When English referees decided only they knew how to handle a match

As we are now in a time when football is rarely played (2020 being an exception as the Premier League prepares to restart) we find the anniversary files dominated by administrative changes and international matches.  Penalties were created on this day in 1891 to stop rugby style pushing at free kicks awarded close to the goal.  Arsenal were fined for playing weakened teams in the run up to the cup final.  English teams were banned from Europe as a result not of all clubs behaviour, but that of Liverpool fans and Heysel.

But also we have an early sign of just how grossly out of touch English refereeing had become in its little bubble world in which football was still seen as the English game which foreigners did not understand.

Never was this clearer than in the world cup finals of 1962 when Chile, the host nation, played Italy on this day with Englishman Ken Aston as referee.   We may think today that English referees live in a world of their own (which possibly was why at the last world cup there were no English referees at all) but in 1962 they really had no idea.

Aston sent off an Italian player Giorgio Ferrini on eight minutes (it was not a red card – red cards did not come into the world cup until 1970, despite Murray and Walker claiming otherwise in their review of the game).  He refused at first to go and it was only the sight of heavily armed police officers entering the field of play that persuaded the player to leave.  Sanchez of Chile then punched David of Italy, and Aston did nothing, and so taking  that as a signal David took a flying kick at Sanchez and was sent off.  In a match totally out of control Aston had somehow contrived to send off two Italians and no Chileans.

Of course the English media, even then, would not say a word against the referee, but it can be argued that this was the start of the now dominant attitude among PGMO (the referees’ organisation) that English referees do it their way, secure in the knowledge that the media will never call out their mistakes.

It was ever thus.

Here are the anniversaries…


2 June 1891: The International Football Association Board (which at the time was the FAs of England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland) approved the notion of awarding a penalty for fouls close to the goal.  Prior to this a free kick of the normal type was given, thus leading to 11 men in a line on the goal line and open warfare between forwards and defenders fighting for space.

2 June 1908:  James Quayle signed for Arsenal for a second time before receiving an offer from Northfleet where he played for two seasons before turning professional and rejoining Woolwich Arsenal.   He made just one appearance for Arsenal on 12 November 1910 but was badly injured and did not play football again.

2 June 1934:  Wilf Copping joined Arsenal from Leeds United for whom he had played 162 games.  He stayed at Arsenal until 1939 whereupon he returned to Leeds.

2 June 1936: The League announced that Arsenal should pay a £250 fine for playing a weakened team throughout the run up to the FA Cup Final.  But giving the earnings from the FA Cup final the accountants probably thought it had however been worth it. 

2 June 1937: Reg Lewis played his third game in a row in which he scored, in a 3-0 win over Copenhagen.  He was one of the few players who played for Arsenal either side of the war, and managed 103 goals in 154 league games. For the tour see here.

2 June  1947: Tom Whittaker became manager of Arsenal, thus continuing the dynasty of managers who had a direct connection with Herbert Chapman.  See also here

2 June  1968: Last appearance for Jim Furnell as David Jenkins scored a hattrick in a friendly in Kuala Lumpar.

2 June 1980.  Raphael Meade was given professional status.  He had been at Arsenal since 1977 but although staying until 1985 only managed 41 league games

2 June 1985: As a result of the attack by Liverpool fans on Juventus fans at the Heysel stadium Uefa banned English clubs from playing in Europe.  The ban prohibited Arsenal from playing in the Uefa Cup in 1988 and 1991 even though Arsenal fans had not been involved in any European crowd trouble.

2 June 1991:  Gus Caesar moved to Cambridge United on a free transfer but did not play for the club.  He soon moved on to Bristol City, but it was not until he reached Airdrieonians and then Colchester Utd that he showed the form that George Graham suspected he could maintain although at a lower league level.

2 June 2002: Campbell, Seaman and Cole play for England in a World Cup game against Sweden. 

2 June 2005: Ashley Cole was fined £100,000 for having illegal talks with Chelsea.  He claimed he had done so because he was made to feel physically sick by the lowness of Arsenal’s offer in its contract discussions with the player.

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