College head throws in towel for beautiful game

April 2, 2004

Mike Riley last year gave up the stresses and strains of being a college manager to become a professional international football referee.

He confirms that although he enjoyed his seven years at Nelson and Colne College in Burnley, the responsibilities and pressures he faced seemed at times greater than those of a football manager.

"The difference between football manager and academia is that as a football manager your destiny is more in your hands. It is your own long-term plan that you are trying to deliver," he said.

"But as a further education manager, on top of the day-to-day running of the college, you are trying to meet various targets set by the government.

Even though you can see the long-term needs of your local community and you are trying to meet those, your destiny is tied up with the government's agendas."

Mr Riley said most people he had encountered in college management positions were working at least 50 to 60 hours a week.

Nevertheless, he did not rule out returning to further education if the glamour of the Uefa Cup ever lost its appeal.

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