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29/07/1929: Onward interviews James Mason
Author: Isaque Argolo | Creation Date: 2022-04-23 12:32:53
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How Jim Mason became the most popular referee
Interview by Onward | 29/07/1929
The greatest teams and the greatest players he has seen are refered to by Mr. James Mason, the famous referee, in concluding his Life-time Story in football.
The respecr he enjoyed amongst players he attributes to the fact that he always treated them courteously, and he heartily endorses the recent decision of the F.A. which entitles any player reported for musconduct to defend himself in person.
When I ceased a week a go I was dealing with some of the great teams and the great players I have seen. I mentioned Preston North End, Aston Villa, and Sunderland when they were known as the Team of all the Talents, and I expressed the opinion that the Preston Invincibles would beat any of the present-day first-class teams, because not only were they well endowed physically but they were greater craftsmen, and had greater command of the ball than present-day players. The forwards also took the shortest path to goal.
Of course, present-day football is, I admit, faster, but, in my opinion, the teams would not live with the giants of the old days. There never was a defence like that of Preston North End, for James Trainer was the finest goalkeeper I ever saw, and Nick Ross the most resolute and reliable back.
Still, talking about full-back play, the best exhibition I ever remeber seeing in any one match was that of Johnie Forbes when he came down and played with the Vale of Leven against Burslem Port Vale. It was a magnificent display.
TWO GREAT "VILLANS"
James Crabtree, of Aston Villa, was the finest all-round player I ever saw. No matter whether he played as a full-back or a half-back, his form was worthy of International honours. The example he set the rest of his side in energy and enterprise was invaluable.
Forwards for whom I always had the greatest admiration were James Quinn, Dennis Hodgetts, William Meredith, Steve Bloomer, and Billy Basset. I read the reminiscences of Dennis Hodgetts in the Athletic News with the greatest possible pleasure. It revived memories of old times, when Hodgetts was one of the most accomplished forwards playing.
During the whole of my career I never allowed a player to dictate to me, but my relations with players were always of the happiest character. I object to the referee who treats players in a dictatorial manner and as if he were a superior being.
My experience has been that if a referee will treat a player in the same courteous manner as he would desire to be treated himself, a mutual respect will be established. I have always believed in treating football players as gentlemen, and I have generally found that my confidence in them has not been misplaced.
During my first seven years as a referee in first-class games I never had occasion to order a player to leave the field, and in my ten years' service as a Football League referee, I sent only two players off the field.
While on the question of players being sent off, I must say that I heartily agree with the recent decision of the Football Asssociation which admits the right of a football player who has been reported for misconduct to defend himself personally. The system which condemned a player without giving him the chance to speak in his own defence was quite contrary to the principles of English justice. In my opinion, referees generally ought to welcome the reform, which was long overdue.
Although officially I retired many years ago I have since refereed scores of matches, inclyding schoolboy Cup-ties and charity games. I love to referee a boys' match. There is a freshness and enthusiasm about their efforts which always appeals to me.
Although I am in my sixtieth year I feel very fit, and I am looking forward to refereeing a few games during the coming football season, for the love of the game.
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