Introduction of neutral linesmen

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Cinneide
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Introduction of neutral linesmen

Post by Cinneide » Tue Feb 15, 2011 7:02 pm

In 1900 the Scottish League agreed to introduce neutral linesmen. The Daily Record reckoned that this should improve general conduct in games and help referees, although Scottish Sport was opposed. Linesmen were to be paid 10s 6d and a 3rd class train ticket.

My question: who provided the linesmen prior to this in the League? The home team? One from each team?
[url=http://www.PTEarlyYears.net/]Partick Thistle - The Early Years - A Club History Online[/url]

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Re: Introduction of neutral linesmen

Post by Scottish » Tue Feb 15, 2011 11:01 pm

Off the top of my head I think it was one of each. In any case the decision must have been swiftly reversed as Bob Crampsey points out in his centenary history (pg 46) "Thus in September 1902 one McAvoy of St Mirren was accused of kicking the Hearts linesman, neutral linesmen having once more been abolished in the interests of economy rather than impartiality."

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Re: Introduction of neutral linesmen

Post by Snuff » Tue Feb 15, 2011 11:57 pm

Aye and in 2011 - 11 of the 12 SPL clubs still believe the 12th gets to appoint its own linesmen
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Gordon Baird
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Re: Introduction of neutral linesmen

Post by Gordon Baird » Thu Feb 17, 2011 12:26 pm

Crampsey's book also states that neutral linesmen were re-introduced around 1921 (page 75) and that as a consequence of the General Strike in 1926, on a motion by Ayr United, they were dispensed with for Second Division matches, saving clubs £1 per game (page 82).

In 1939/40 club-appointed linesmen were still operating in the Second Division even though the fact that they were not exactly neutral was a long-standing complaint. A Fife Cup Final replay at East End Park in August 1939 saw the Dunfermline linesman, an official of the Supporters' Club, ordered from the field by the referee following a disagreement over the award of a throw-in!
Not long after this, it was reported in the local Journal newspaper that neutral linesmen returned to East End for a match against Dundee in the Eastern Division of the SFL's Emergency League on 28 October 1939. Presumably this was because the two divisions included a mix of First and Second Division clubs.

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Re: Introduction of neutral linesmen

Post by Cinneide » Thu Feb 17, 2011 12:45 pm

Thanks all
[url=http://www.PTEarlyYears.net/]Partick Thistle - The Early Years - A Club History Online[/url]

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Re: Introduction of neutral linesmen

Post by Insertnamehere » Thu Feb 17, 2011 12:46 pm

Going slightly off centre here I know but, a few years back didnt they put a call out for an emergency linesman at Cappilow and a guy, who actually was qualified, jumped over from the stand in a Morton top went and got changed then ran the line inbetween waving to his mates in thr crowd and joining in the singing?

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Re: Introduction of neutral linesmen

Post by Skyline Drifter » Thu Feb 17, 2011 12:51 pm

Insertnamehere wrote:Going slightly off centre here I know but, a few years back didnt they put a call out for an emergency linesman at Cappilow and a guy, who actually was qualified, jumped over from the stand in a Morton top went and got changed then ran the line inbetween waving to his mates in thr crowd and joining in the singing?
Yes they did.

Has happened a couple of times at Palmerston too where Bob Park, a retired but qualified referee who comes every week, has stepped out of the crowd to become a linesman when the referee was injured. He wasn't wearing a football top before he started though!

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Re: Introduction of neutral linesmen

Post by Scottish » Thu Feb 17, 2011 1:17 pm

Insertnamehere wrote:Going slightly off centre here I know but, a few years back didnt they put a call out for an emergency linesman at Cappilow and a guy, who actually was qualified, jumped over from the stand in a Morton top went and got changed then ran the line inbetween waving to his mates in thr crowd and joining in the singing?
I don't believe that. SINGING? At Cappielow?

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Re: Introduction of neutral linesmen

Post by Insertnamehere » Thu Feb 17, 2011 2:09 pm

scottish wrote:I don't believe that. SINGING? At Cappielow?
Yes indeed they were, im pretty sure that was the season they took the bookies to the cleaners for losing the league, allegedly of course :roll:

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Re: Introduction of neutral linesmen

Post by Scottish » Thu Feb 17, 2011 7:16 pm

Insertnamehere wrote:
Yes indeed they were, im pretty sure that was the season they took the bookies to the cleaners for losing the league, allegedly of course :roll:
Ah, so it was the PLAYERS that were singing. That makes more sense.

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Re: Introduction of neutral linesmen

Post by Snuff » Thu Feb 17, 2011 10:13 pm

Best one I can recall about an emergency linesman emerging from the crowd (other of course than the sight of a track-suited Jimmy Hill on the line at Arsenal) was the afternoon when the referee at Somerset Park pulled a muscle and, while Louis Thow, who was spectating, went home for his kit, Tiny Wharton, the match referee supervisor, took over the stand-side line, wearing his black raincoat over his SFA blazer and regulation grey flannels. When he emerged with the flag, Ally MacLeod approached him and said: "Alistair MacLeod, same spelling as the last time you booked me".
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Re: Introduction of neutral linesmen

Post by HibeeJibee » Fri Feb 18, 2011 12:23 pm

Insertnamehere wrote:Going slightly off centre here I know but, a few years back didnt they put a call out for an emergency linesman at Cappilow and a guy, who actually was qualified, jumped over from the stand in a Morton top went and got changed then ran the line inbetween waving to his mates in thr crowd and joining in the singing?
That happened at a Berwick v Morton game back in 2004 or so, too.

Linesmen pulled-up with a hamstring or suchlike, and an appeal went out over the tannoy for any qualified officials... A Morton fan in a Morton top jumped out of the Ducket, then went back and borrowed a black jumper from someone, and ran the Berwick goal end during the 2nd half!!

Perhaps same bloke.


Even today, there are still "club linesmen" in the Junior district leagues, and a portion of games in the EOSFL and SOSFL. Due to shortages of qualified refs, in the case of the EOSFL and SOSFL - I assume it's the same in the Juniors. The SFA only appoints assistant refs to SFL + SPL (and I think HFL) - rest are on league lists. Interestingly, ~20% of the EOSFL list are women (including 2 female students).

Of course club linesmen don't really *do* anything - bar flag throw-ins (more for convenience of players/fans rather than anything else - seldom have I seen a ref not actually instruct the direction of the throw, if it's not obvious). You get some who studiously flag goal-kicks / corners / handball etc., tbf. Sometimes the club linesman is let us say, 'rather rotund' - I've seen many who'd score low on "keeping up with play".

It's also a profession open to all ages. I've seen men in their 60s or even their 70s be club linesmen in the EOSFL SOSFL + Juniors. And during Berwick Reserves short-lived EOSFL stint in 2007-08, a 15-year-old ran their line when required.

Other anecdote was a game at Meadowbank many years back. The 2nd flag couldn't be found, and the ref had neglected to bring a set - so what appeared to be a red-and-white pattern tea-towel was pressed into service. Bizarre sight...

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Re: Introduction of neutral linesmen

Post by Snuff » Sat Feb 19, 2011 12:28 am

It's not only football which has a problem with club linesmen. Some three decades ago Ayr Rugby Club travelled through to play Haddington in a Division Two match, the winner of which would be promoted to the top flight of the National Leagues.

Late in the game, with Haddington leading by one point, Ayr broke through and one of their wingers had an unchallenged run down the touchline for a certain matcvh-winning try; as he crossed the line to touch down, the Ayr club linesman, who was on that side of the pitch was charging down the touchline slightly behind his winger, with both arms above his head in triumph. The winger touched down, but the referee disallowed the try and brought play back fo the line-out - because the touch judge had his flag up, to his mind signalling for a foot in touch.

The Ayr touch judge protested in vain that he had merely been celebrating his side's winning score; but the referee was having none of it, a line-out it was, Haddington hung-on for victory and promotion.

From that day until his death, the Ayr touch judge was known in the club as "The Haddington Haddie".

Rugby is still to this day bedevilled by Home Team Referees and at some clubs you have to kill to get a draw. Playing for Cumnock RFC against Ayr at Old Racecourse one afternoon, I was sent off for telling the Ayr club referee who was a 16th man to the home side that he was, in my opinion: "A fat, cheating, bent Fettes gay". As I walked off the Ayr captain came up, asked what was going on and when I told him he informed the referee: "Everyone in Ayrshire rugby knows you're a fat, cheating, bent Fettes gay - he's not going off".

I stayed on, the game was finished, but the Ayr captain did give me a hard "shoeing" in the next ruck.
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