A lifelong ambition and a determined spirit has earned a former Staffs Sports Studies student a place in history as the Premier League’s youngest ever referee.
At just 25 years of age, Nuneaton-born Stuart Atwell may be a good deal younger than some of the football players in the Premiership, but his impressive performance and ability to stay calm under pressure has earned him the career he has always dreamed of ever since he was a young boy.
Stuart’s father Martin says his son’s passion for refereeing became a part of his life long before he even started his course at Staffs.
“Stuart has always wanted to be a referee; he’s done it for years and years. He really has worked his way up through the football leagues, starting off with the local ones, and then joining Non League football.”
“Not long after that he was promoted to the West Midlands league, then to the contributory leagues, up until just recently when he got promoted to the Premier League.”
Atwell, who graduated from Staffs in 2004, will be English football’s youngest ever official to reach the Premiership when the 2008-09 season begins, beating the previous record set by Mark Clattenburg, who was 29 when he earned the privilege back in 2004.
Many people who knew and taught Stuart during his time at Staffs are immensely proud of his success; Dr Nigel Thomas, the Head of Sport and Exercise said the university always encourages all their students to follow their dreams.
“It’s excellent to see Stuart doing so well. The credit goes to all staff within the sport and exercise department who are dedicated to enabling aspiring youngsters to achieve their potential.”
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