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James Mason, 1927: Some reminiscences

Author: Isaque Argolo | Creation Date: 2023-04-13 15:42:06

Data providers: Isaque Argolo.
James Mason | 19/02/1927 —

Quite a lot of discussion has taken place during the intervening years of respecting a goal scored in the memorable International match, between Scotland and England, played at Hampden Park, Glasgow, in 1908, and no doubt my explanation — for I refereed the match at the special invitation of the Scottish Football Association — will be of interest to those who remember the incident. The goal in question was the one by which England equalised, and the following will explain how it was scored, and why I had no hesitation in awarding a goal.
While on the run, Windridge, the inside left for England, put in a fast shot which passed beneath the crossbar, lifted the roof of the net, and dropped over the goal-line, from which McBride, the Scottish goalkeeper, punched out. The Scottish players went on with the game, but I immediately blew my whistle and pointed to the centre. Then arose a great hubbub, but I did not intend to yield to the clamour of the spectators, or to be influenced by the prevailing excitement. A goal it was, and I stuck to my decision. Vivian Woodward, the captain of the England team, came up to me and expressed his opinion that it was a goal. Shortly afterwards Charles Thomson, of the Heart of Midlothian Club, approached me and said, "Mr. Mason, it was a goal." The late Mr. John Lewis, the English linesman in the match, said afterwards that there was not the least doubt that the ball passed at least a foot below the crossbar before striking the net.
The team which represented England on that occasion consisted of Hardy; Crompton and Pennington; Warren, Wedlock and Lintott; Rutherford, Woodward, Hilsdon, Windridge and Bridgett. CLEVER WINGMAN.
It was in another International match between Scotland and England, at Hampden Park, Glasgow, in which I had charge of the whistle, that I saw the best exhibition of outside-left forward play that I have ever seen. That was given by "Bobby" Templeton, and those who were privileged to witness it will never forget that display.
It was after that match that an interesting and somewhat unusual incident occurred. At the hotel where I was staying there were among the visitors about ten Aberdeen fishermen. They were delighted with the match, and after its conclusion they came up to me and asked whether I would accept a present of some fresh fish from Aberdeen. I consented, and a day or two later I received at least a hundredweight of fine big halibut. Both the Haywood Hospital and my neighbours benefitted by the Aberdonians's generosity. A RECORD CROWD.
Among the many international matches which came under my charge was the game at Hampden Park in 1912, which attracted the largest crowd on record for such matches, viz. 12,307 who actually paid for admission. It was an exceptional match, and during its progress the ambulance men had cases galore among the spectators. In fact, when I was making my way to the dressing rooms at half-time, I was compelled to stride across the prostrate figures of many spectators who had been overcome by the big crush. It was a sight I shall never forget.
Naturally I felt highly honoured when invited to referee International matches, but owing to the calls of business, I have had to refuse invitations to take charge of Internationals, Inter-league, Olympic Games, and almost innumerable local and district cup finals.
During the time that I was called upon to control the International matches, the spectators were always privileged to witness great duels between Bob Crompton, the English back, and J. Quinn, the Scottish centre-forward, and I should say, without being biassed in any way, that the honours between these two great players were about equally divided. LEADING INTERNATIONAL TEAMS.
Discussion often arise among football enthusiasts of the older school as to the merits of the various players who have represented their country in the International games, and more than once I have been asked my opinion on the matter. Without hesitation I should say the two following teams consisted of the greatest players who have represented their respective countries. England XI.
McMenemy B. Walker
McWilliam Raisbeck J. Gordon
Scotland XI.
* Right half-back: Jimmy Gordon, of Glasgow Rangers
* Right winger: Jack Gordon, of Preston North End.
In addition to the many invitations I have received for important matches in the British Isles, invitations have also been sent to me to referee at Antwerp and Dordrecht in Continental International matches, but these I declined as I have deep rooted objection to any form of sport on Sundays.