The following article is taken from the 1956 NSW Soccer Association Yearbook written by RJ Wright, an international referee and clearly a man who feels no different to the referees of today. This article was transcribed by Greg Stock.
In recent years, demonstrations together with severe criticism of referees by spectators, and some club officials, have almost reached hysterical proportions; it seems that if their team lose they never lose on their lack of playing ability but because of the referees incompetence.
Unfortunately, because of their unjust treatment, several referees have terminated their services, and others are thinking along the same lines. It is all very well to add that a qualificiation for a referee is to be able to withstand criticism, but it is getting beyong the limits of normal endurance. Apart from being abused by spectators and club officials, referees have been assaulted both on and off the field of play. It is also reaching the stage where referees are being shunned by their friends and workmates, because of decisions they give while acting as referee or linesman.
This whole position is deplorable; we do not want a squad of police for referee escort duty each weekend, neither do we desire bitter relationship between referees and clubs, one is absolutely dependent on the other, therefore a great deal more tolerance must be observed before anything of a more drastic nature takes place.
It must be remembered that referees only officiate because of their love of the game. From a financial point of view there is very little to be gained: affiliation fees, purchase of uniforms, officiating at charity fixtures, together with numerous other donations leave very little on the credit side of the ledger when the season is over.
Of course referees make mistakes: after all they are only humans; perhaps inexperience or being temporarily unsighted could be attributed to what may seem to onlookers a bad decision, but referees endeavour to be strictly impartial at all times.
One day, perhaps not far off, a team will lose a close game with no blame being attached to the referee from either players, club officials, or even spectators.