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Some extracts from ‘The Football Referee’ the magazine of ‘The English Referees’ Union’, which was the Referees’ Association’s name back in 1913. These extracts could well be of interest to those societies seeking their start date, but have lost their old minutes. Apparently, there was a Welsh Referees’ Union in being around this time, so the actual start date of a society could be earlier than those mentioned in the RA magazine., which was an organ of the English Referees’ Union at the time.

December, 1913 -      ‘ AN OPEN LETTER   (Edited extracts!)

                           TO THE REFEREES OF SOUTH WALES

It has been suggested that you are all – at any rate most of you – desirous of knowing whether the benefits which the Referees’ Union claim for members are real or simply mythical. It is often asserted, with what truth we are unprepared to say, that Welshmen are particularly hard to convince …… and so we will endeavour to put to you simply and briefly the advantages of the Union.
……… Well then your local Referees’ Societies are of value, or we take it you would cease to evince any interest in them, or even belong to them…….
……….We therefore appeal to you in Wales to join forces with us, and help to create what has every promise of becoming a great force in the government of our national game.’

This message must have reached the ears of some societies in Wales. How many, is open to further research. But, it is pretty certain that societies existed in Cardiff and Monmouthshire, and possibly Swansea, who celebrated their 75th Anniversary in 2007, but could well have existed under another guise before that, namely The Gwalia Referees’ Union, or was that the name of the ‘lost’ Welsh Referees’ Union. But suddenly the name of another great society, if one can be a little biased, appears in The Football Referee –

February, 1914 -                  PEMBROKESHIE SOCIETY

‘A  Meeting was held on January 15th, the Chairman being Mr S.W. Tucker, who welcomed the new members, and spoke on the rules of the Society.
Correspondence was read from the Hon. Secretary of the Referees’ Union, and it was decided to make enquiries with regard to affiliation, and also for a general outline of the Union work, a desire to join being expressed
The meeting then discussed several points that had occurred locally on the field of play during the past month.
Mr S.W. Tucker, Mr. W.E. Thomas and Mr. Crapnell RN., promised to give the following papers for the meetings held in February, March and April: (1) The benefits of a Referees’ Society, (2) The Ideal Referee, (3) Service Football.
        Hon. Sec. – Mr W. E. Thomas, 6 Church Street, Pembroke Dock.’
    (Pembrokeshire has a very large Naval base at this time!)

1913-14 MEMBERSHIP ROLL        No Welsh societies are listed, but the following Direct Members from Wales were:
Seniors(?) -  A.Davey of Cardiff, J.G Harvard of Aberdare and R.Morris of Blaenau Ffestiniog.
Juniors(?) – F.E.Carter of Cardiff and F.White of Cwm (Gwent?).

1914-15 - MEMBERSHOP ROLL           Again, no Welsh societies are listed, and only 3 Direct Members:
Seniors - J.G. Harvard of Aberdare was joined by an A Shallcross of Ebbw Vale. Juniors - W.H.Richards of Merthyr Vale.

Due to the 1st World War and debts occurred in printing The Football Referee we do not see it’s reappearance for a few years. A special fund The Magazine 1000 Shilling Fund was launched to clear the debts. For those who do not know what a shilling or a ‘bob’ was, you still have a long wait for your bus pass! The following are some who contributed:

!923 - 1000 SHILLING FUND

F.H..Hudson  of Barry Dock, W.C.Pough of Abertillery and E.S.Edward of Talybont on Usk, all contributed.

October, 1923                             ‘Welsh Whispers’

        Wales has arrived, at least the advance guard is in camp in the shape of The North Wales Referees’ Association, which has affiliated all its members, and has set a splendid example to other associations by paying for a copy of each issue of the Magazine to be sent directly to all its refs.
        We are now looking for their brethren in South Wales, who are embodied in the Welsh Referees Union. Negotiations are in progress and it is hoped that these will end in the remainder of Wales coming into line.

February, 1924                       Society Memberships

The Midland Division show the following for the first time:

1923-24    1922-23

Monmouthshire Association                 26                    Nil
North Wales Association                      17                    Nil

February, 1924                         Monmouthshire Referees
                                       Newport Visited by the English President

             There was a good attendance of Mon. referees to welcome Mr. A.Pellowe (Oldham), President of English Refs Association to Newport on Saturday evening. Mr.H.R.Watts (Pres. Co. Assoc.) was in the chair, supported by ……………
…..Mr. Pellowe remarked that it had been a difficult job to reach Newport, yet like his brother refs, he could never rest content unless he fulfilled engagements. ……he regretted to state that some well advanced in age had not yet felt it was time to make way for the younger men………… The present method of selecting refs called for improvement. ……………. Common sense decisions were all that were required.

April, 1924    An article under the title  ‘HINTS TO SPECTATORS’ appeared, written  ‘By a Member of the North Wales Coast Referees’ Association’, who possibly didn’t want the ‘spectators’ to know who he was!

December, 1924      An update from the Monmouthshire Refs Association appeared, and   included; ‘Propaganda work in outlying districts is being followed up. And, ere long. the Referees’ Associations up and down  the whole of S.Wales, will become affiliated to the E.R.A., known this way as the ‘new era’………..’

February, 1925   Another piece from the Monmouthshire RA, which recorded ’ … 25 members present, many of them came from a distance, even as far as Barry! ………… and four bob is all we charge for the season, one of which goes to ERA! ‘

April, 1925  MEMBERSHIP ROLL     The two association in Wales, N.Wales and Monmouthshire, apparently hadn’t sent those bobs in for their members for season 1024-25. Both showed nil, at this time.

April, 1926  MEMBERSHIP ROLL    Monmouthshre RA the only one to show membership for 1925-26 with a total of 20.  (16 now shown for 24-25!)

                                                     Heavy Fine imposed

“It was a savage and unwarrantable assault and you were no sort of sportsman to have attacked a referee like that,” remarked the court clerk to W….. L…… of Corporation Road, Newport, who at the local police court was fined 40s or a month for assaulting Clifford Phillips of 80 Caerleon Road, Newport.
Mr.W.C..Pitt Lewis prosecuted on behalf of the Monmouthshire Refs Association, and explained that complainant was appointed referee to supervise a match between Orb Villa and Corp. Road Old Boys at the Spitty Lane Rec. Ground on October16th.
Complainant stated that defendant was playing for orb Villa. Witness had occasion to warn defendant for foul play, and 5 minutes later noticed him deliberately jump and kick an opponent on the thigh. The player was knocked out and had to be carried off. Witness again warned defendant, who then started swearing. Defendant was then ordered off the field. He objected, but was forced of by members of his own club. He stood on line shouting threats, and when complainant was partaking of a lemon at half-time, defendant came up behind him and struck him behind the ear and then on the jaw.
Defendant: “It is absolutely a mistake. I apologised and was forgiven, and now this is brought up!”
In fining him Mr W.H.le Grand Chambers observed,” The essence of a sportsman is to keep his temper.” 

October, 1931       Midland Division Report in The Football Referee

                                              Cardiff and Newport
Our association in S.Wales is going strong. It is more than likely that these two branches will be more than 100 members in the very near future. Mr. B.V.Hinton and Mr.A.Morgan are working very hard. They are receiving great help from the South Wales Press;

October, 1931          Annual Meeting of Monmouthshire Refs Association.

In this report the following was noted: ‘The return match with Cardiff referees is to take place this month, it is hoped on the Lovell’s ground. After the match the visitors will be entertained to dinner.’

February, 1932            Midland Divisional Report

‘… I was put in touch with the secretary of the Gwalia Referees’ Society, Swansea. We were able to arrange a visit to their monthly meeting on Nov. 28th. I made the journey along with Mr.B.V.Hinton of Cardiff, and were met by Messrs. W.J.Parkhouse, T.T.Lewis (Chairman), B.Williams (President), several members of the W.Wales FA, and a party of about 40 colleagues……. Although no decision was arrived at in the meeting I am happy to say that on Jan. 3rd a letter arrived confirming that they had decided to join us and fees would soon follow. When attending a meeting in Cardiff on Nov. 25th I met Mr.E.C.Duckworth of Treorchy. Here again another new branch has been formed. It is gratifying to know that after visits to Cardiff, Newport and Swansea that things are moving fast in S.Wales, and I feel certain that they will soon pass the 100 mark. Our colleagues in S.Wales are very keen.’

August, 1932             South Wales

‘ …. Swansea has now got its branch going with a membership of 30. Good news comes from Cardiff and Newport……. ‘

February, 1933          South Wales

‘…… Cardiff, Newport and Swansea have increased their numbers. A new branch has started at Aberdare. Bridgend we hope to get going in a few days, and there are great hopes that Treorchy will join us before the end of the season. This will mean that S.Wales will be able to elect a rep. on the Divisional Exec. Committee, and the thanks for this splendid move forward is due to the Cardiff and Newport branches……’

October, 1933             Membership in Midland Division 1932-33

‘ Aberdare – 15, Cardiff – 72, Monmouthshire – 34,  Swansea – 21 ‘

February, 1934          Divisional Reports – Midland Division

‘…… Good results were being achieved in Wales, and a new society formed at Pontypridd. It was hoped to get established at Bridgend, Llanelly and Treorchy.’

April, 1934                 Monmouthshire Association

‘The branch had the honour of being invited to give an address on the laws of the game at the Feb. meeting of Newport County Supporters Club. The meeting, attended by about 250 members, including a good muster of refs, was held at the Assembly Room in the Town Hall, and was an unqualified success…………. Mr.F.L.Harper moved a hearty vote of thanks, and said the discussion was a revelation to him, and many points that he thought refs were wrong in giving were evidently right, and he would now understand and enjoy the game better……….. Another branch was formed in Abertllery, and they intend to join the E.R.A. Our E.C. rep. Mr.B.V.Hinton is assisting.’

June, 1934                   Midland Division 1933-34

‘ ……..  S.Wales is one bright spot and continues to improve. A new branch has been formed at Pontypridd with 35 members, and I’m delighted with the progress made in this area, which, a few years ago, did not exist. There is every possibility of other activities being formed in this area, and tremendous spade work is being put in. ……… There is also to be an election in S.Wales, where Mr.Hinton (Cardiff), who has done great work, is being opposed. Mr.Hinton has been nominated by Cardiff and Aberdare, and Mr. Sambroke (Swansea) has been nominated by Swansea Society.’

February, 1935            Midland Division

‘ …………… New societies have been formed at Hereford and Bridgend, and Worcester is back again with us.’

April, 1935              Continental Tit-Bits   (To relax!!)

‘……… Il Duce takes a very great interest in Association football in Italy, and attends as many internationals played in Rome as his work will permit. His son, V.Mussolini, is also a very keen player, and in fact, is likely to be considered for national honours. (Did he? Who was brave enough to stop him!!)’
‘ Referees’ in Flight! Mr.W.J.Lewington is following the practice Dr.P.J.Baewens in flying to matches on the Continent. Certainly it is the quickest method, providing there are no accidents!’

June, 1935                     Midland Division

‘ …………….. The absence of Aberdare and Swansea can, I think, be traced to personal grounds, which should never be allowed to creep into a movement that is for referees only, and I only hope that the cause will soon be removed. We are, naturally, very concerned over the matter….. (Possibly the election held the year before.)
…………There is every possibility of societies joining us from North Wales as a result of visits paid to that area.’

December, 1935                   An Unusual Problem!

‘A player, apparently a stranger to the team he intended to play for, arrived at Southampton Common, where there upwards of 20 matches going on, and saw a side in the colours of his new club. He joined them, but after playing some time he discovered he was playing for the wrong team.
He immediately informed the ref, who had no alternative but to release him to play for his proper club. The side for which he had been playing then asked permission to bring on another player. The ref decided that this would be fielding a substitution, and refused to accede to their request.’

December, 1936                    Divisional Reports – Midland Division

‘ ………… new branches had been formed at Ripley and Bangor.’