A look at the referees

December 21, 1915
The referee on Saturday, at Anfield, was Mr. T. Nelson, of Burnley. He made an unfortunate debut, as his watch played him false. He had forgotten the late start, apparently, and certainly the idea that has been suggested elsewhere that he cut the game down to allow a collection for the Flag Day is a grotesque one.

Anyone who knows the rules of football knows full well that such a scheme is impossible. Still, one point arises from the discrepancy of time-keeping: What were the linesmen doing not to report to the referee the error in timekeeping? They were as culpable as the referee.

The referee is sole timekeeper, and can please himself on this score when he blows his whistle so long as the game does not go above the allotted span. But let me relate an incident which rankled with the Bolton men. I am told that when Mackinlay was taking the free kick Mr. Turner told the players there was just time for that kick.

Now, the kick misfired, and, a Bolton man encroaching, the referee ordered it to be retaken. Mackinlay shot into the net the second time, but the question at once arises whether Mr. Turner allowed extra time for the retaking of the kick.

A referee, of course, is allowed by the rules to extend a game for the taking of a penalty kick, but not in any other circumstances, and this was the point raised by the Bolton players, though, if they encroached purposely in the hope that there would not be time to take the free kick again, I should not have much sympathy, and would be the first to say the loss of victory was just punishment for an action that was not good sportsmanship.

The incident remind me of one in the Burnley match, where the boot was on the other leg, but where the incident was not as momentous in its general effect. In the game at Turf Moor, Bamford scored with the first shot, but, ordered to retake the free kick, he was very much wide. Here was a case of a side benefiting by its own misdeeds, so that Bamford can now rest content that Fortune has tried to balance the scales against the Trotters – and given their opponents bumping weight. – “The Tramp” (“Bolton Evening News”).
(Source: Liverpool Echo: December 21, 1915)

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