Barbados’ first-ever female referee, Joan Hall, is pleased to see the development of local football and would be even happier for the day when local players move from amateur to semi-professional.
Hall who first began officiating in the 1970s and 1980s said she was very satisfied to see the number of women who were gravitating towards becoming referees. Since Hall wrote her name in Barbados’ history books, the likes of Gillian Martindale, Tonia Deane and Shannon Gibson have all gone on to secure FIFA badges.
Now in her 70s, Hall who refereed back in the day alongside Mark “Bob” Forde, Frederick Hoyte, Noel Stephens, Sherlock Wall and founder of the Christ Church League Gordon Douglas, is elated to see efforts being made through the Emmerson Boyce Foundation, the Barbados Football Association and Team You to develop the women’s side of the game.
The possibility of Barbados making it to the World Cup someday may not be in her lifetime. But Hall is confident that it could happen once adequate support is given.
“I feel happy to see the development of women’s football locally because other countries are doing well. All we have to do is live by the rules and don’t let anybody determine what we are to do and rather we know what we are to do. Like they got some little children, you tell them don’t move, they move. All we have to do is work to the best of our ability and Barbados will get through.
“In my time the guys used to go work in construction and then have to come home and go play football. It was hard. Somebody got to sit down and talk so something can be done. Especially the guys who represent Barbados should be given time to train and represent the country, like a semi-professional something,” Hall explained.
The mother of former Barbados midfielder Adrian Hall and John Hall is a proud supporter of Claytons Kola Tonic Notre Dame and Weymouth Wales and a die-hard Liverpool and Barcelona fan. Hall hardly ever missed an international game that Barbados played especially when Adrian was in the line up.
Reflecting on her days officiating, Hall who did several school leagues, local premier league and a few regional competitions particularly in Guyana, said it was one of the best experiences of her life.
She also spoke about what it was like officiating the men’s game during that era, noting that some were respectful and would listen to her commands on the field.
“I used to fret the referees before I became one. And they used to tell me to come and join so somebody could fret me. It was nice, that’s the truth and I used to be every Saturday morning at Weymouth or the Garrison. I even refereed in Guyana and it was so nice. You used to see the parents come out and everybody had a good time,” Hall said.
An avid sports lover who also enjoys watching cricket, she encouraged players to respect referees because it was not an easy job. In fact, she insisted that respect should go both ways and added: “Refereeing is a tiresome job and when you don’t get the respect you should get dealing with big people it makes it difficult.”
A former maid at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital which was not far from home as she was born and raised behind the St. Michael School, Hall believes in discipline and advised parents to send their children to church. She said: “I always say I’m the mother, not the child is the mother. So, you got to hear what I say, not that I am to listen to you. So, I would like to see the parents sending their children to church and Sunday school.”
Once a student of St. Ambrose Primary and Harlington High which was located where Purity Bakery is now stationed, Hall suggested that if the BFA could attract a good sponsor to finance a two-hour coverage of local football that would be great.
“All I would like is a good sponsor so that when some of the teams play, that we can have two hours on television to see and not only hear on the radio. That is what I would like. And once that happens the fellas got to understand it is football they come to play and not go sit and smoke and such like. Left that out for another time. Not on the field or even half-time. When you are finished, you relax, then bathe and go home,” Hall added.