Referees and Refereeing (Athletic News.)
When we came across Mr Ormerod— "the genial Samivel"— the other day he was completing his toilet after officiating in an important match, and, following a cordial greeting, we asked him if it was necessary to put on such a complete chango of attire after being on the field. " Yes," ho replied, as he wiped off the perspiration, "it is forme, for it is no joke to runabout for an hour and a-half with 2261b of flesh in tow. You might manage it," with a supercilious glance at my somewhat spare figure. "If you intend to talk we will have something to drink," he added, and we drank forthwith. " Do you like refereeing ?" I inquired. " Yes, I do ; it keeps down the weight, and I have been 2261b for the last six year. It is rather unpleasant sometimes, I'll admit, but I don't object to a little hooting if the spectators will keep their hands off. I have now been out almost every week during the football season for many years, but have only once been mobbed, and that was about four years ago, at Bolton, when Darwen Old Wanderers threw the Bolton Wanderers out of the Lancashire Cup ties. Besides the mobbing there was something else occurred in that match which impresses it vividly on my mind. A young man named Marsden had his leg broken, and after he had recovered, on going to play in his first match, he was struck dead by lightning. The only other time I have been seriously inconvenienced — though there was no mobbing in this case — was in a match between the Rovers and Notts Forest, at Blackburn. I could hardly blame the crowd, it was such a peculiar case. Barp had been lamed, and lay between tho Rovers' posts. The ball was sent in from half-back by Luntley, and Woolfall, the goal-keeper, rushed out to clear, but he only just touched it, and it rolled to Barp, who turned over and put it between the posts. course Woolfall, in simply playing the ball, had put him on-side, and I allowed the goal. The spectators hooted and yelled above a bit, I can tell you, and they kept me company right down the street. " What is the largest crowd I have officiated before? Well, I scarcely know, but I should think it was the one at Preston last Christmas but one, wheh North End played the Rovers. They had not standing room, and the people literally crushed us out of the field. " Yes, I should say crowds are worse to please than they were some years ago. The interest is more keen, and the spectators are better educated — or imagine they are, which amounts to tho same thing. They thus feel themselves privileged to criticise the decisions of a referee, no matter how competent he is, forgetting that they see the matter in dispute from a different point of view." " How do you find the players now that professionalism has been legalised ?" " Not much different, until you remind them that there is a body of meu known as the Committee of the F.A. But, as a rule, the players will listen to reason— after the match."
" No, I don't find professionals worse to deal with than amateurs, who generally carry a lot of superfluous j' gas,' which they bestow on the referee. Nor do I think professionals play more roughly than amateurs, one or two of whom I consider the heaviest chargers we have. In the North charging has practically been abolished, and players have now a more scientific method of getting their opponents out of the way, but sometimes it very closely resembles a foul, and a referee has to have his eyes about him to detect it. No, I never give a foul unless I see it, though it may be most palpable to the majority of the spectators. "You are right. There are very few impartial umpires and when one gives
a decision it is almost useless to look to the other. We invariably disagree. But for all that I would rather officiate between two of these so-called twelfth men than neutral umpires, as in cup ties, for as a rule they do not claim sufficiently, and the referee comes in for all the row. I once acted in a match, and had not a decision to give, but for all that there were several important points decided upon, for which I got the benefit from the spectators. The off-side rule is the mo3t troublesome, and, strange though it may seem, not one-half of the players thoroughly understand it. I will give you an instance. In a cup tie, in which the Rovers and Withnell were engaged, the latter obtained a corner, and H. M'lntyre, as good a judge of football as anyone, shouted to his men to get out of goal and tbrow "Vfithnell off-side. The most amusing part of it was that Withnell took the hint, and I enjoyed a quiet laugh when I saw all the lot half way up tho field. Fancy, off-side for a corner kick ! It quite tickled me," and Sam had another outburst.
" The firnt match I was referee in was a cup tie between Eagley and Edgworth, on the latter's ground, and on going on the field I came across the Eagley captain, who was a member of the Lancashire Football Association along with myself, and, of course, shook hands with him. ' Did ta see tb,at ?' the natives asked each other, and on leaving the ground, after Eagley had won, more than one remarked, • Tha seed that hond-shakin before t' match? That settled it.' ;i 'should think the most important match I ever officiated in was the one between Queen's Park and the Rovers — the first time the Q.P. had visited Lancashire. It resulted in a draw of two goals each, and in consequence of a decision. I gave I was asked to meet a deputation of the Scotch F.A. to explain the off-side rule, which they appeared to be mixed up about. " Yes, it is much easier for the referee when big scores are made, for a g»al or two makes little difference. The largest score I have seen was that between North End and the Wanderers last Christmas Day, when North End won by twelve goals to one, and against Trainer, too, whom I consider the finest goalkeeper in the world. The next to this was in the match between Lancashire and Glasgow, when the latter won by eleven to one, in 9in of snow, at Darwen. " The roughest match I have taken part in was between Lincoln City and Grimsby Town in the final for the Lincolnshire Cup IS months ago. It was a caution, I can tell you, and it got me in a bit of a fix. The result was a draw at the end of the usual time, and according to the rules, play ought to have continued an extra half hour, but I couldn't stand it, and refused to allow them to proceed. There was a lot of bother about it before it was settled. Tho spectators were the most impartial lot I ever came across. I .had a nice journey that day. I left Accrington at 7 o'clock, and on returning found I had to wait at Retford from 8 o'clock until 3,30 the next morning, and it fairly snowed. I got home about noon on the Sunday." Pulling out his watch at this point, Sam picked up his bag and remarked that it would be Sunday noon again if he did not hurry up. He bade me good night, and, throwing me a post card, which he had just received, said I should there find his address if I wanted anything further. It ran-.— Mr Sam Ormerod, Professional Football Referee, Accrington.
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