English Premiership referee Jon Moss on refereeing

Published on 13 November, 2014 
By: Mark Williams
Category:

A sense of humour is one of the key attributes Premier League referee Jon Moss believes any official needs.

When the glare of 32 cameras, tens of thousands of spectators and a potential global television audience of millions are on you, it no doubt helps to be able to shrug things off with a smile.

No more so than when you are going to be the target of ridicule for failing to get to grips with the new vanishing spray and accidentally unleashing a blast of it into the face of Arsenal midfielder Santi Cazorla.

"I was hoping you wouldn't menetion that," says Moss, recalling the incident when he took charge of the Gunners' season opener against Crystal Palace.

"When you use the spray, you have to break the seal. I thought I had, but obviously I hadn't.

"I tried to break it twice, I didn't, and then I turned around and ended up spraying him in the face.

"But it helps breaking down the barriers with players because it's a bit of humour, and I think you've got to laugh at yourself sometimes when that happens."

It was just one of a number of aspects of his job the Leeds-based official was quizzed on during his visit to Cambridgeshire earlier this week, which included presentations with fellow referees and visiting a school in Ely to speak to the pupils about refereeing and respect.

And it is his job. Former head teacher Moss has been a member of the Select Group of 17 full-time Premier League referees since 2011, having originally completed the basic course back in 1988.

Good enough to be on the books of Sunderland and Millwall as a youngster – along with playing county-level basketball, a sport he also refereed – Moss did not fully concentrate on refereeing until he was 29.

Ironically, it was being sent off in a game which made him decide to focus on officiating and he reached the top level in just over 10 years.

Not that the journey has been without its sacrifices though, including nearly missing the birth of his son after being asked to switch from a game in Hartlepool to Yeovil.

"My wife was due any day, so she was alright with me going to Hartlepool because 80 miles, in theory, I could get back any time," said Moss. "Yeovil is 270 one way for me, so I said 'yes, of course I can'.

"I drove there and drove back straight away, and I'd been in the house no more than 10 minutes before she told me we were on our way to the hospital.

"She still hasn't forgiven me for that, but you need that level of commitment if you want to get on."

Moss has since travelled as far afield as Barbados and China to officiate, and was able to reflect while serving as assistant referee at the San Siro in Inter Milan's recent Europa League clash with St Etienne.

"I never imagined I would be in Italy doing a game and it just shows, as Howard Webb says, great things happen to ordinary people," said Moss.

And his advice to anyone thinking of taking up the whistle?

"Don't think about it, do it," Moss said. "You won't regret it."

 

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