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Refs of the past, Jack Taylor the Wolvo
Butcher who upset Beckenbauer in ’74.
Roger Kirkpatrick, a Dickensian figure
Of fun, mocked and loved in turn. Clive
‘The Book’ Thomas, Welsh wizard of the
Whistle. Blew for time, Brazil went mad.
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Ray Tinkler, denied Leeds a title; Elleray,
The schoolmaster on the field. Leicester
Lad Gordon Hill with his trendy moustache
Giving as good as he got. Only in black then,
No other colour sullied their authority. Since
The ’60s, trial by TV an occupational hazard.
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Now it’s assitants on the touchline, fourth
Officials even. Refs who like to stand out,
Rather than blend in. Or was it ever thus,
Since Victorian gents oversaw matters –
Getting chased by irate mobs, when their
Boys were sent off, or a goal disallowed.
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Pilloriied at Old Trafford, head over heels at
Hillsborough. One-eyed, or blind. Which is
It ? Figure of discipline, control, supervision;
Values scarcely respected anymore, anywhere.
But without him, we’d be gameless – from the
Premier to parks pitch. The referee rules, OK.