The death of Aaron Scragg (Football League referee)

August 14, 1909
The sudden death of Mr. Aaron Scragg at Rhyl on Saturday caused quite a painful sensation among his large circle of acquaintances in Cheshire. It appears that Mr. Scragg was staying at Colwyn Bay with his wife and family, and on Saturday he spent the day with some friends at Rhyl.

He was apparently in his usual health, but having stayed longer than he anticipated he had to hurry to the station. When near the station he complained of pain in his side, and his friends told him not to hurry and went on ahead of him to detain the train. On their return they found that Mr. Scragg had collapsed. First-aid was rendered by ambulance men from Caerwys camp, and Dr. Jones was summoned, but on his arrival that gentleman pronounced life extinct.

Deceased held the important position of principal coal buyer to the London and North Western Railway Co., and appointment he had obtained by perseverance and sheer force of character. But he was more widely known by his connection with Association football, first as a player and latterly as official referee.

Mr. Scragg hailed from Scholar Green, near Kidsgrove. He commenced life as a pupil teacher and acquired a love for football during the time he was at the Chester College. Some thirty years ago he played for Golden Hill, and it was then that he first met Mr. C.J. Hughes, and formed what was a life-long friendship.

At the annual meeting of the Cheshire Football Association, Mr. Hughes, in presenting Mr. Scragg with a long service medal in recognition of his valuable services to the association as treasurer, mentioned that he was an enthusiast in those early days and played for all he was worth.

Twenty-one years ago he was elected a member of the Council of the association and he rendered inestimable service to county football by his ripe experience and thorough knowledge of the game. He became one of the most prominent referees in the country and the crowning honour of his career was when he was appointed to officiate in the English Cup Final.

He was one of the most earnest and active promoters of the Crewe Cottage Hospital Cup Competition, by means of which hundreds of pounds have been raised for the benefit of the hospital. During the time he was playing the game Mr. Scragg represented the country on several occasions, and he had lively recollections of visits to Norwich when they had to fight their way to the station. To quote his own words, they did not play drawing-room football in those days.

Mr. Scragg was exceedingly popular. He played for Crewe Alexandra at the time the Railway Club began to assert itself in the county. He was exceedingly popular with all classes of footballers and at one period his services were frequently requisitioned as referee in some of the most important matches, especially where there was great local rivalry, notably Everton v Liverpool and Sheffield Wednesday v Sheffield United. It was only at the recent annual meeting of the Cheshire F.A. that he practically retired from the game he loved so well.

Mr. Scragg was a member of the directorate of the Crewe Alexandra F.C. and the Alexandra Athletic Club recently did him the honour of electing him chairman of that flourishing organisation. He had been a member of the Football Association Council since 1893.

He had many amusing experiences when acting as referee. In one cup-tie between Chirk and Old Brightonians the players burst every ball the club possessed, and the game was finished with a ball borrowed from some boys half a mile away. On another occasion in the Potteries the secretary of a club surprised Mr. Scragg, who was refereeing, by rushing on to the field of play and kicking the ball through the goal for his own side.

Deceased was a typical all-round sportsman and his tragic death is deeply regretted by his many friends in the world of athletics. In politics Mr. Scragg was a staunch Conservative. He was interested in bowls and was a popular member of the Crewe Bowling Club. He was 46 years of age. The funeral takes place on Wednesday at Crewe.
(Source: Runcorn Guardian: August 18, 1909)

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