Josh went into open-age football having only just become an adult himself, and he tells us of what affect it had on him as a person.
“It was better going into open-age football; I feel with youth football, parents are a bit rowdier, but with adult football, mostly it's just managing the game.
“Game-management can be tricky at times, you obviously have more swearing, players will answer back a bit more, but I feel like I took it in my stride.
“I definitely grew up as a referee going into open-age, I was 18 or 19 at the time and it definitely matures you. I was quite shy growing up and back then I would have probably said no to this interview!
“Refereeing overall has hugely helped my confidence, and I've really grown as a person so it was the best thing I could have done.”
Refereeing certainly hasn’t come without it’s challenges though for Josh, but he feels honesty is the best way to learn.
“There's been some learning moments for me where you think you've heard something, and you might not have heard exactly what you thought.
“A recent example was a player saying, "that's a disgrace" and I heard it as something that was a bit more expletive, so I sent him off. I shouldn't have done it, and I admitted to my mistake after the game which they thanked me for.
“I offered to speak to the secretary of the league and the Sussex County FA, admitting to my mistake, and get it appealed for them. I'm always quite honest about my performances, there's nothing I'll back away from, I think it's important as referee to do that.
“When someone questions my decision, whether it be during the game or after, I’ll just be as honest as possible, that's all you can be. There's no point beating around bush; if you've given a penalty that wasn't a penalty, then at the end of a game, if that gets questioned, you've just got to admit it sometimes.”
Josh’s progression at such a young age, shows the potential that possesses. We’re speaking with Josh only days after he returned from a well-earned, four-month break travelling, on the back of a very successful season.
“I firstly went from 6 to 5 because that was the season I was still playing, and I was balancing trying to get promotions just by doing under-23s games midweek and then the Sunday games.
“I didn't have enough games to go straight to 4, so it was 6 to 5 initially, and that's when I thought I needed to go for this a little bit more. I felt like I could referee a lot higher than I could play, which obviously I am now proving to be the case!
“It was a big shock for me to get the double promotion last season; with COVID, I couldn't get my promotion to Level 4 as soon as I hoped, so I ended up getting it mid-season, last year, so the 21/22 season, then by the end of it I got the promotion to Level 3.
“There's a lot of people I can thank for this, especially my coach Gary Willard last season for getting me through. I had worked hard, didn't really close many dates, kept my Saturdays free, and it's definitely paid off!”