VETERAN Colac football umpire Mike Green will notch up his 700th central appointment tomorrow.
Green, 63, will officiate a clash between Western Eagles and his former club Irrewarra-Beeac, 35 years after first picking up a whistle.
He credited fitness as the reason why he first got involved but never thought it would lead to more than three decades of umpiring in the Colac district.
“I played at Irrewarra in ‘73 and ‘74, after that the idea was to umpire juniors in the morning and play golf in the afternoon but at the start of the next season they put me in the seniors,” he said.
“When I first started it was just to keep fit and be involved then I became secretary, got a life membership, I never really thought I’d umpire this long – I just love football.”
Green has also notched up about “30 or 40” boundary games and “80 or 90” in the goals in addition to his 699 central appointments, umpiring in the Hampden, Heytesbury and the Western Plains leagues.
The mad Collingwood supporter said umpiring a schoolboys’ match on the Pies’ spiritual home at Victoria Park in the mid-1980s was a highlight of his career.
“I’ve seen some really good footballers over the years as well, I’ve umpired Luke Hodge, Nathan Foley, Easton Wood, Ben Cunnington, Gary Rohan – young Brody Mahoney has got great skills as well, he’ll probably make it in the AFL,” he said.
“But the toughest footballer I’ve seen was Kevin McVilly when he was coaching Simpson.”
Green, a Colac district umpires association life member, will this weekend umpire alongside good mates Ian Pyke, David Robinson with Geoff Coghill and Tim Evans in goals.
“The friendships and the camaraderie are the best things about umpiring, whether they’re umpires, administration or players – I still get players come up to me and say ‘you used to umpire me’ and that might have been 25 years ago,” Green said.