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George Reader

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George Reader
Personal information
Date of birth 22 November 1896
Place of birth Nuneaton, Warwickshire, England
Date of death 13 July 1978(1978-07-13) (aged 81)
Place of death Southampton, England
Position(s) Centre-forward
Youth career
St Luke's College, Exeter
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1919–1920 Exeter City 1 (1)
1920–1921 Southampton 3 (0)
1921–1922 Harland and Wolff
1922–1930 Cowes
*Club domestic league appearances and goals

George Reader (22 November 1896 – 13 July 1978) was the fourth man to referee a FIFA World Cup Final, the first Englishman (one of only 10 match officials from the United Kingdom) to do so, and the oldest match official at any World Cup in history. He hailed from Nuneaton, Warwickshire.

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Referee (association football)

Referee (association football)

In association football, the referee is the person responsible for interpreting and enforcing the Laws of the Game during a match. The referee is the final decision-making authority on all facts connected with play, and is the match official with the authority to start and stop play and impose disciplinary action against players and coaches during a match.

FIFA World Cup

FIFA World Cup

The FIFA World Cup, often simply called the World Cup, is an international association football competition contested by the senior men's national teams of the members of the Fédération Internationale de Football Association, the sport's global governing body. The championship has been awarded every four years since the inaugural tournament in 1930, except in 1942 and 1946 when it was not held because of the Second World War. The reigning champions are France, who won their second title at the 2018 tournament in Russia.

England

England

England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Wales to its west and Scotland to its north. The Irish Sea lies northwest and the Celtic Sea to the southwest. It is separated from continental Europe by the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south. The country covers five-eighths of the island of Great Britain, which lies in the North Atlantic, and includes over 100 smaller islands, such as the Isles of Scilly and the Isle of Wight.

Nuneaton

Nuneaton

Nuneaton is a market town in the borough of Nuneaton and Bedworth in northern Warwickshire, England, close to the county border with Leicestershire and West Midlands County. Nuneaton's population at the 2021 census was 94,634, an increase from 86,552 at the 2011 census making it the largest town in Warwickshire.

Warwickshire

Warwickshire

Warwickshire is a county in the West Midlands region of England. The county town is Warwick, and the largest town is Nuneaton. The county is famous for being the birthplace of William Shakespeare at Stratford-upon-Avon and Victorian novelist George Eliot,, at Nuneaton. Other significant towns include Rugby, Leamington Spa, Bedworth, Kenilworth and Atherstone. The county offers a mix of historic towns and large rural areas. It is a popular destination for international and domestic tourists to explore both medieval and more recent history.

Early career

By profession he was a schoolmaster, going to St Luke's teacher training college (the same one that Ken Aston was to attend) just after the First World War in Exeter. St. Luke's is now part of Exeter University.

Finding work in Exeter as a young teacher, Reader first played as an amateur for Exeter City in the Southern Football League, in the 1919–20 season. It was with that club that he played in a friendly against Southampton on 3 January 1920, a week before the third round of the FA Cup.[1] Reader scored and impressed the visiting side so much that they signed him for a fee of £50, as a handy replacement centre-forward to Bill Rawlings, who was a mainstay of the Saints side in the 1920s.

Unfortunately, given Rawling's abilities (he scored on average a goal every two games), Reader was unable to break into the side and played only three times in the old Third Division (South)[2] before moving to Harland and Wolff for a year, and then playing on the Isle of Wight at Cowes until 1930, commuting on the ferry from his job as an assistant schoolmaster in Southampton.[1]

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Ken Aston

Ken Aston

Kenneth George Aston, MBE was an English teacher, soldier, and football referee, who was responsible for many important developments in football refereeing - including the yellow and red penalty card system.

World War I

World War I

World War I or the First World War, often abbreviated as WWI or WW1, and referred to by some Anglophone authors as the "Great War" or the "War to End All Wars", was a global conflict which lasted from 1914 to 1918, and is considered one of the deadliest conflicts in history. Belligerents included much of Europe, the Russian Empire, the United States, and the Ottoman Empire, with fighting occurring throughout Europe, the Middle East, Africa, the Pacific, and parts of Asia. An estimated 9 million soldiers were killed in combat, plus another 23 million wounded, while 5 million civilians died as a result of military action, hunger, and disease. Millions more died in genocides within the Ottoman Empire and in the 1918 influenza pandemic, which was exacerbated by the movement of combatants during the war.

Exeter

Exeter

Exeter is a city in Devon, South West England. It is situated on the River Exe, approximately 36 mi (58 km) northeast of Plymouth and 65 mi (105 km) southwest of Bristol.

Amateur sports

Amateur sports

Amateur sports are sports in which participants engage largely or entirely without remuneration. The distinction is made between amateur sporting participants and professional sporting participants, who are paid for the time they spend competing and training. In the majority of sports which feature professional players, the professionals will participate at a higher standard of play than amateur competitors, as they can train full-time without the stress of having another job. The majority of worldwide sporting participants are amateurs.

Exeter City F.C.

Exeter City F.C.

Exeter City Football Club is a professional association football club based in Exeter, Devon, England. The team play in EFL League One, the third tier of the English football league system. Known as "the Grecians", the origin of their nickname is subject to speculation and debate. The club is owned by the club's supporters through the Exeter City Supporters' Trust. Exeter are one of two Devon clubs who compete in the Football League, the other being Plymouth Argyle.

Southern Football League

Southern Football League

The Southern League is a men's football competition featuring semi-professional clubs from the South and Midlands of England. Together with the Isthmian League and the Northern Premier League it forms levels seven and eight of the English football league system.

1919–20 in English football

1919–20 in English football

The 1919–1920 season was the 45th season of competitive football in England, and the first following the end of World War I.

Southampton F.C.

Southampton F.C.

Southampton Football Club is an English professional football club based in Southampton, Hampshire, which competes in the Premier League. Their home ground since 2001 has been St Mary's Stadium, before which they were based at The Dell. The club play in red and white shirts. They have been nicknamed "The Saints" because of the club's beginnings as a church football team at St Mary's Church. Southampton share a long-standing South Coast derby rivalry with Portsmouth, in part due to geographic proximity and both cities' respective maritime histories.

FA Cup

FA Cup

The Football Association Challenge Cup, more commonly known as the FA Cup, is an annual knockout football competition in men's domestic English football. First played during the 1871–72 season, it is the oldest national football competition in the world. It is organised by and named after The Football Association. Since 2015, it has been known as The Emirates FA Cup after its headline sponsor. A concurrent women's tournament is also held, the Women's FA Cup.

Bill Rawlings

Bill Rawlings

William Ernest Rawlings was an English footballer. A centre-forward, he scored more than 196 goals in 367 league games in a 15-year career.

Isle of Wight

Isle of Wight

The Isle of Wight is a county and the largest and second-most populous island of England. It is located in the English Channel, two to five miles off the coast of Hampshire, from which it is separated by the Solent. Referred to as 'The Island' by residents, the Isle of Wight has resorts that have been popular holiday destinations since Victorian times. It is known for its mild climate, coastal scenery, and verdant landscape of fields, downland and chines. The island is historically part of Hampshire, and is designated a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve.

Cowes Sports F.C.

Cowes Sports F.C.

Cowes Sports Football Club is a football club based in Cowes, Isle of Wight, England. They play in the Wessex League Premier Division. The club is affiliated to the Isle of Wight Football Association, which is a division of the Hampshire Football Association.

Refereeing

He first took up refereeing in 1930, appearing on Southampton Common,[1] and progressed through the promotional system with an alacrity that underlined his ability and experience. Within six seasons he was running the line in the Football League, and three years later was invited to referee their matches in season 1939–40. Unfortunately, that season was abandoned after three games, due to the start of the Second World War, and therefore Reader officially only refereed three Football League matches in his whole career.[3]

However, during hostilities, Reader featured prominently in wartime football, and was appointed as referee in two War Cup finals and the British Home Championship and then, towards the end of hostilities, was appointed to take charge of Victory internationals between England and allied national teams. He retired from the Football League list in November 1944 but was still in such demand amongst foreign Football Associations that he was selected to officiate throughout Europe; in Barcelona for a Spain versus Argentina game in 1947, and also taking charge of matches in 1949 in Stockholm (between Sweden and Hungary), and in Geneva and Lisbon. In 1948 the Football League took the unusual step of recalling Reader from retirement to referee the Brentford versus Chelsea fixture at Griffin Park. His swansong, at the age of 50, appeared to be the Rest of Europe versus Great Britain representative match at Hampden Park, held to celebrate the "blessed Peace", but in 1949 England qualified for the FIFA World Cup finals in Brazil.

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1939–40 in English football

1939–40 in English football

The 1939–40 season was the 65th season of competitive football in England. It was suspended in September after the outbreak of World War II.

Football League War Cup

Football League War Cup

The Football League War Cup was an association football tournament held between 1939 and 1945. It aimed to fill the gap left in English football by the suspension of the FA Cup during the Second World War. Though it was often referred to in contemporary coverage as the "League Cup" or "Football League Cup", it is not to be confused with the later English football competition with the same name, which was formed in 1960 and is currently known as the EFL Cup. As with all wartime football in England, records and statistics from the competition are not considered official.

British Home Championship

British Home Championship

The British Home Championship was an annual football competition contested between the United Kingdom's four national teams: England, Scotland, Wales, and Ireland. Beginning during the 1883–84 season, it is the oldest international association football tournament in the world and it was contested until the 1983–84 season, when it was abolished after 100 years.

England national football team

England national football team

The England national football team has represented England in international football since the first international match in 1872. It is controlled by The Football Association (FA), the governing body for football in England, which is affiliated with UEFA and comes under the global jurisdiction of world football's governing body FIFA. England competes in the three major international tournaments contested by European nations: the FIFA World Cup, the UEFA European Championship, and the UEFA Nations League.

Argentina national football team

Argentina national football team

The Argentina national football team represents Argentina in men's international football and is administered by the Argentine Football Association, the governing body for football in Argentina.

Hungary national football team

Hungary national football team

The Hungary national football team represents Hungary in men's international football and is controlled by the Hungarian Football Federation. The team has made 9 appearances in the FIFA World Cup and 4 appearances in the European Championship, and plays its home matches at the Puskás Aréna, which opened in November 2019.

Estádio José Alvalade

Estádio José Alvalade

Estádio José Alvalade is a football stadium in Lisbon, Portugal, home of Sporting Clube de Portugal. It was built adjacent to the site of the older stadium. The stadium is named after José Alvalade (1885–1918), the founder and first club member of Sporting CP in the early twentieth century.

Brentford F.C.

Brentford F.C.

Brentford Football Club is a professional football club based in Brentford, West London, England. They compete in the Premier League, the highest tier of English football, having gained promotion via the playoffs at the end of the 2020–21 Championship season. Nicknamed "The Bees", the club was founded in 1889 and played home matches at Griffin Park from 1904 before moving to Gtech Community Stadium in 2020. Their main rivals are fellow West London-based clubs Fulham and Queens Park Rangers.

Chelsea F.C.

Chelsea F.C.

Chelsea Football Club is an English professional football club based in Fulham, West London. Founded in 1905, they play their home games at Stamford Bridge. The club competes in the Premier League, the top division of English football. They won their first major honour, the League championship, in 1955. The club won the FA Cup for the first time in 1970, their first European honour, the Cup Winners' Cup, in 1971, and becoming only the third English club to win the Club World Cup in 2022.

Griffin Park

Griffin Park

Griffin Park was a football ground in Brentford in the London Borough of Hounslow, England. It was the home ground of Brentford F.C. from its opening in September 1904 to August 2020. The ground is in a predominantly residential area and was known for being the only English league football ground to have a pub on each corner. The ground's name referred to the griffin featured in the logo of Fuller's Brewery, which at one point owned the orchard on which the stadium was built.

Hampden Park

Hampden Park

Hampden Park, often referred to as Hampden, is a football stadium in the Mount Florida area of Glasgow, Scotland. The 51,866-capacity venue serves as the national stadium of football in Scotland. It is the normal home venue of the Scotland national football team and was the home of club side Queen's Park for over a century. Hampden regularly hosts the latter stages of the Scottish Cup and Scottish League Cup competitions and has also been used for music concerts and other sporting events, such as when it was reconfigured as an athletics stadium for the 2014 Commonwealth Games.

FIFA World Cup

FIFA World Cup

The FIFA World Cup, often simply called the World Cup, is an international association football competition contested by the senior men's national teams of the members of the Fédération Internationale de Football Association, the sport's global governing body. The championship has been awarded every four years since the inaugural tournament in 1930, except in 1942 and 1946 when it was not held because of the Second World War. The reigning champions are France, who won their second title at the 2018 tournament in Russia.

1950 FIFA World Cup

As an adjunct to England's participation, FIFA requested that a team of British match officials journey to Brazil for the 1950 FIFA World Cup. Despite reservations about his advanced age, Reader's international experience had placed him amongst those the Football Association could call on, and he was selected alongside Mervyn (Sandy) Griffiths (of Wales), George Mitchell (of Scotland) and the two English referees Reg Leafe and Arthur Ellis.

Given charge of the opening match, Reader's powers of control were put to the test just after Brazil scored their first goal against Mexico. As was the custom, the goal heralded a mass invasion by reporters demanding immediate responses from goalscorer and goalkeeper. Ellis, watching on, later wrote, in his book The Final Whistle: "How could any one man restore law and order? Somehow, George Reader did just that within a few minutes. He cleared the pitch almost single-handed and re-started the World Cup curtain-raiser as if it were an end-of-the-season fixture in the Yorkshire League." In their next match against the Swiss, the Brazilians voiced their criticisms of the Spanish referee, Ramón Azon Roma, stating that he had cost them victory (Jacques Fatton equalising in the 88th minute[4]) and, as a result, the editor of a daily newspaper in Sao Paulo, Gazeta Esportivo, sang the praises of the British referees, telling his readers that even if they were to face England, Brazil would demand a British referee. "We must strongly demand that Brazil shall not take the field again in this World Championship if a British referee is not in charge. Even should we finally meet the English we shall still demand a British referee and have full confidence in him", he wrote. With England's early exit this unlikely event was averted. However, all four matches that Brazil played thereafter were refereed by one of the British contingent.

So, as Brazil won their way through to the final match, and as public expectation grew so much that it threatened to engulf even the massive Maracanã, each Brazilian game came to be refereed by one of the British team, including the decisive match of the final group stage.

The decisive game (Uruguay vs Brazil)

Reader had refereed two matches prior to the final group: the opening game (in which Brazil beat Mexico) and Uruguay's thrashing of the Bolivians in Group 4; but it was to be in his appointment to the final Brazilian game that he would secure his place in history. Although there was no provision for a final deciding match in this tournament, the last game of the tournament (albeit played at the same time as the Sweden v Spain fixture) was the determining fixture. Reader was appointed to referee this match, with Ellis and Mitchell running the lines. On the day of the final, Reader was 53 years and 236 days old, significantly older than any referee who officiated in the FIFA World Cup final at any other tournament.

Approximate recordings for the attendance that day differ wildly. FIFA consider that there were 174,000 people there; although other estimates indicate that there may have been between 199,854 and as many as 250,000 (which would have been more people than lived in Reader's Southampton at the time). In any event, it is the highest recorded attendance at a football match in history.

In the 47th minute of the game Obdulio Varela of Uruguay took the ball out of the net after Friaça's goal had put Brazil 1–0 up. Varela strode up to Reader and started arguing incomprehensibly in Spanish to the monolingual referee. By the time Reader had waved play to begin again, the crowd had settled and Varela had issued the rousing cry: "Now, it's time to win!" Brazil lost in such a shocking, emotional manner that suicides were reported at the stadium, and Jules Rimet would comment (about the lack of noise from the massed banks of the Maracanã): "The silence was morbid, sometimes too difficult to bear."

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1950 FIFA World Cup

1950 FIFA World Cup

The 1950 FIFA World Cup was the fourth edition of the FIFA World Cup, the quadrennial international association football championship for senior men's national teams and held in Brazil from 24 June to 16 July 1950. The planned 1942 and 1946 World Cups were cancelled due to World War II. This tournament ended the hiatus. Uruguay, who had won the inaugural competition in 1930, defeated the host nation, Brazil, in the deciding match of the four-team group of the final round. This was the only tournament not decided by a one-match final. It was also the inaugural tournament where the trophy was referred to as the Jules Rimet Cup, to mark the 25th anniversary of Jules Rimet's presidency of FIFA.

George Mitchell (referee)

George Mitchell (referee)

George Mitchell was the first Scotsman to participate in a FIFA World Cup final match when he ran the line to George Reader in the 1950 final group match between Brazil and Uruguay.

Reg Leafe

Reg Leafe

Reginald James Leafe was a FIFA referee in the 1950s and early 1960s.

Arthur Edward Ellis

Arthur Edward Ellis

Arthur Edward Ellis was an English football referee. He was born in Halifax, West Yorkshire.

Brazil national football team

Brazil national football team

The Brazil national football team, nicknamed Seleção Canarinho, represents Brazil in men's international football and is administered by the Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF), the governing body for football in Brazil. They have been a member of FIFA since 1923 and a member of CONMEBOL since 1916.

Mexico national football team

Mexico national football team

The Mexico national football team represents Mexico in international football and is governed by the Mexican Football Federation. It competes as a member of CONCACAF.

Jacques Fatton

Jacques Fatton

Jacques Fatton was a Swiss footballer.

Bolivia national football team

Bolivia national football team

The Bolivia national football team, also known as La Verde, has represented Bolivia in international football since 1926. Organized by the Bolivian Football Federation (FBF), it is one of the ten members of FIFA's South American Football Confederation (CONMEBOL).

Sweden national football team

Sweden national football team

The Sweden national football team represents Sweden in men's international football and it is controlled by the Swedish Football Association, the governing body of football in Sweden. Sweden's home ground is Friends Arena in Solna and the team is coached by Janne Andersson. From 1945 to late 1950s, they were considered one of the greatest teams in Europe.

Spain national football team

Spain national football team

The Spain national football team has represented Spain in international men's football competitions since 1920. It is governed by the Royal Spanish Football Federation, the governing body for football in Spain.

FIFA World Cup

FIFA World Cup

The FIFA World Cup, often simply called the World Cup, is an international association football competition contested by the senior men's national teams of the members of the Fédération Internationale de Football Association, the sport's global governing body. The championship has been awarded every four years since the inaugural tournament in 1930, except in 1942 and 1946 when it was not held because of the Second World War. The reigning champions are France, who won their second title at the 2018 tournament in Russia.

Obdulio Varela

Obdulio Varela

Obdulio Jacinto Muiños Varela was a Uruguayan football player. He was the captain of the Uruguayan national team that won the 1950 World Cup after beating Brazil in the decisive final round match popularly known as the Maracanazo. He was nicknamed "El Negro Jefe" because of his dark skin and the influence he had on the pitch, especially during the unlikely victory over Brazil. He was of African, Spanish and Greek ancestry. Commonly regarded as one of the greatest classic holding midfielders, Varela was adept in defence and was renowned for his tenacity and leadership. He is regarded as one of the greatest captains in football history, and "he remains one of the biggest sporting heroes in Uruguay".

Retirement

Uruguay went on to win and Reader returned home to Hanley Road in Southampton and promptly retired from refereeing, stating that he had had everything that football can give him. He ended his teaching career as headmaster of Western School, Shirley, in 1960.

George Reader became a director, and later chairman, of Southampton in 1963, and sat beside HM The Queen when Lawrie McMenemy's side won the 1976 FA Cup Final, passing away on the anniversary of the very first World Cup matches two years later.[1]

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Shirley, Southampton

Shirley, Southampton

Shirley is a broad district and a former village on the western side of Southampton, England. Shirley's main roles are retailing and residential. It is the most important suburban shopping area in the west of the city. Housing is a mixture of council houses in the centre of the district surrounded by private housing, with larger suburban houses concentrated in Upper Shirley. Shirley is separated from Highfield by Southampton Common, a large green public space.

Southampton F.C.

Southampton F.C.

Southampton Football Club is an English professional football club based in Southampton, Hampshire, which competes in the Premier League. Their home ground since 2001 has been St Mary's Stadium, before which they were based at The Dell. The club play in red and white shirts. They have been nicknamed "The Saints" because of the club's beginnings as a church football team at St Mary's Church. Southampton share a long-standing South Coast derby rivalry with Portsmouth, in part due to geographic proximity and both cities' respective maritime histories.

Lawrie McMenemy

Lawrie McMenemy

Lawrence McMenemy MBE is an English retired football coach, best known for his spell as manager of Southampton. He is rated in the Guinness Book of Records as one of the twenty most successful managers in post-war English football.

1976 FA Cup Final

1976 FA Cup Final

The 1976 FA Cup Final was the 95th final of the FA Cup. It took place on 1 May 1976 at Wembley Stadium and was contested between Manchester United and Southampton.

Source: "George Reader", Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, (2022, November 25th), https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Reader.

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References
  1. ^ a b c d Holley, Duncan; Chalk, Gary (1992). The Alphabet of the Saints. ACL & Polar Publishing. p. 280. ISBN 0-9514862-3-3.
  2. ^ Chalk, Gary; Holley, Duncan (1987). Saints – A complete record. Breedon Books. pp. 64–65. ISBN 0-907969-22-4.
  3. ^ Ellis, Arthur (1962). The Final Whistle. S Paul Publishers. ASIN B0000CLLRB.
  4. ^ Brazil v. Switzerland, 1950 World Cup: Planet World Cup website.
External links
Preceded by FIFA World Cup final match referees
1950
England George Reader
Succeeded by

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