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The Referee : By Eddie Mullins

Eddie has been refereeing for thirty years, fifteen of those in the league of Ireland. He has officiated at international level in Iceland and Paris. Rotated locally on all the city leagues and is member of the Cork Referees Society since starting as a ref. In this day and age a great deal has been written about the referee. A lone figure in black, justice on the run, who’s sole job is to see justice done and fair play extended to the two teams on the day.

 

Is he appreciated for his efforts, I think not.

The ref is being constantly told to get a guide dog and a white stick. On other occasions he is told that he never had a mother and father and in most games he is advised to go and reproduce himself (a very difficult task indeed). I myself had been told to put the whistle in a certain part of my body which if I did it would most painful.

 

Are we popular? I think not.

On one occasion a player who dislikes refs, told me, “If a referee had an accident I’d dial 998”. If you want to know what players think of refs you might as well ask a lamp post what he thinks of dogs. An old rhythm sums it up.

When a player is hurt in the fray
The crowd cheer when he comes back in play.
But when the ref hurts and sprawls in the dirt
Its much the best laugh of the day.

I would like to tell you a story, though somewhat dated because it happened so long ago, it is perfectly true. When I was in my second season as referee, Roy Rodgers the King of the Cowboys was very popular in Cork. I was refereeing on the old Blackpool pitch when this young fellow kicked everything and everyone (except the ball) and I had to send him off. I called him up and asked him his name, like a flash he said “Roy Rodger”. This was greeted with a roar of laughter from the players who waited to see how I would take it. “Ok Roy”, I said, “Saddle up Trigger and ride to the choral”

I had occasion to ref a new country team, they could not manage the throw in no matter how I explained it to them. After about 20 foul throw in later they went into a bit of a huddle and their captain came over to me and said, “Hey Ref , we don’t seem to be able to manage them throw ins at all, so if you don’t mind don’t give us and more of them, give them to our opponents instead.

On another occasion I was refereeing a match between Garda v Co Council, the match was woeful , the day cold and only one spectator. This fellow, a skin head, stayed for the whole game. At the end as I passed him , he said, “I wish I could have played in that match” to which I replied “You must be joking that was a terrible game”. “I know “ he said, “ But it would be the only time I could kick a Garda without going to jail”.

A manager of a third team in a well known club was talking to his players after yet another defeat. he said, “Well yee did it again, 10 games lost on the trot, no goal scored, 50 against. 
What have yee to say”. One of the forward said smiling, “”Well you can’t win them all”. The manager withered this fellow and said, “The trouble with ye is that everybody is holding the ball except the keeper, and everything in our favor is against us”.

 

The names some players put on one and other never ceases to amuse me.

A forward who cannot connect quickly enough - Cinderella, because he’s always late for the ball.
A goalkeeper called Dracula, because he hates crosses.
A defender called Teach, because he stayed on so long at school everybody though he was 
one of the teachers. 
A winger called Speedy, because his speed is deceptive, he is slower that you think.


If I could suggest one rule which might increase the number of people coming into refereeing it would have to be rule 25.

Rule 25 : All referees must officiate in Official Dress. Official Dress shall mean:- Shirt, Blazer, and Knickers.

In conclusion may I,. on behalf of the Irish Soccer Referees Society (Cork Branch), extend our good wishes to all involved in that great Mayfield club. To founder members Ernest and Joe who love their football, to the men and women who worked so hard and can see the wonderful sports complex now the jewel in Mayfield’s crown, enjoy your football and here's to another 25 wonderful years.

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