Manchester County FA referees have taken to the City Football academy for the first time, led by Level 3 Mark Astley.
Early this year Football League assistant referee Astley made the decision to retire at the end of the season. Mark has been a Manchester County FA match official for over 20 years, spending 15 years as a Football League assistant referee.
Joined by Trevor Thomas, Richard Cooper and Justin Bebbington, Astley led his team of MCFA officials out on the first game to feature Manchester City at the CFA stadium.
Referee Development Officer Chris Kavanagh paid tribute to Mark and described the appointment as 'deserved recognition for his service to the game'.
"Mark is a long-serving Manchester County FA match official over many years and has been professional throughout," he said. "He is an inspiration to others. I felt this appointment was just reward for the hard work and dedication Mark has shown over them many years."
Astley was thrilled with the appointment.
"I was delighted to receive the call from Chris with the opportunity to referee the first ever City game at the complex," he revealed. The facilities are first class and it was an enjoyable game to referee."
From all at Manchester County FA we would like to thank Mark for his service and wish him an enjoyable end to the season and wish him the very best of luck for the future.