It was 2004 when Mark Clattenburg first refereed a Premier League game. He was 29 at the time and would go on to officiate in the league for nearly 13 years before departing for a role with the Saudi Arabian FA earlier this year.
During his time in the Premier League, Clattenburg had a air of confidence, maybe self-regarding to his style. Speaking on NBC's Men In Blazers podcast, the 42-year-old explained that his confidence and what he sees as an ease with players was not always present.
"I probably lacked man management. I didn't have management experience because I was still a young boy. I hadn't had that employment background. I didn't have any experience of dealing with people, managing people, saying the right thing at the right time," revealed Clattenburg.
"It's only when I got older that I started to develop those skills. When you have those skills, you interact with adults better, players better. If you interact with players, they make your life easier. When they make your life easier, you become a good referee."
Clattenburg recalled his first big game in the Northumerland Senior Cup. He says he was "bullied and manipulated" by players shouting and screaming, giving decisions in favour of the team which shouted the loudest.
That was a tactic which Roy Keane replicated during Clattenburg's first season in the Premier League.
Even in the Premier League, I still smile at the first time I came across Roy Keane. He screamed at us for a corner and I'm sure it was a goal kick but because he screamed at us so loudly, I gave a corner, I was that petrified of him.
Due to his style of officiating, one which he believes was different to others referees in the Premier League, Clattenburg says that he became the "darling" of both clubs and the media.
When I was in the Football League, I was not ready at 24 or 25. I was about to be elevated to the Premier League at 28 and knew I wasn't ready and needed that one more season to gain more experience.
When I got to the Premier League, players liked my style, I liked to talk. I was a typical northern person who would prefer to speak [rather] than dish out cards. The players loved us.
When I got into the Premier League, it was like breath of fresh air - the clubs, the media, I was their darling. It was like, 'Woah, this is something different.' This is something that they wanted a referee to be like, they wanted someone to manage to game rather than just give out yellow cards.