How to Referee

If you’re reading this, chances are you are or at some point were an active referee. Have you ever stopped to think how easy it has been for you to become a ref? Regular courses, good instructors, mentors, plenty of books available, feedback at referees’ associations… You name it. Now imagine how that was in the early days of organised football, let’s say 100 years ago. Hardly any courses  or instructors, mentors, no one to help you or encourage you.. And: no books from which to take guidance. Yes, there was the Referees’ Chart, first published in 1896, but apart from that there was nothing. Until 1906. As it happens, the man who came up with the idea of the Referees’ Chart, William Pickford, was also the man who wrote the first “manual” for referees, aptly titled “How to Referee”.

Not surprisingly, this book is now a collector’s item. Ever since first reading about it a few years ago I’ve wanted to have a copy, which is hardly surprising either for a collector of books about refereeing. I only ever saw one copy for sale, but its price was prohibitive: nearly 500 pound! Imagine my surprise when very recently I saw another copy on offer for a much lower price. I didn’t think twice and pounced! A few days later it arrived:


Obviously, it’s the pride and joy of my collection. I’ll handle it with kid gloves. I do intend to read it, though, a report of which you will first find here.

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