Ref! On the silly season

The candid thoughts of former Premier League referee Colin Preece, as recorded by our eavesdropping mole in the Duck and Peasant.


Evening lads,

So here we are on the brink of greatness or the edge of the abyss, eh? I mean, Baz, that the Euros are about to start and we don’t know if it’s going to be great for England or embarrassing. I agree, Dave, the latter looks more likely judging by the three friendlies. No, I don’t know either: Hodgson might have no idea or he might have made up his mind what he’s going to do and just used the friendlies to disprove a few theories.

And yes, I agree with that too: I am talking cobblers. That’s because this is the silly season, and what that means, Baz, is that there’s nothing really going on, so people start making things up. Why do I know that and you don’t? Well, you know more about bricklaying than I do. It’s horses for courses. Don’t forget that until a couple of months ago I was a professional referee, one of the chosen few, maintaining order on the playing fields of England. And now that I’ve retired or, as the local papers put it, “hung up my whistle”, I join the likes of you as an armchair pundit.

Well yes, I did do that before anyway, because one thing about being a ref is that you get a certain amount of free time to sit around in pubs as we are doing tonight and pontificate. Nothing wrong with a bit of pontificating. We all do it and any man who says he doesn’t is a liar. It means, Baz, to speak pompously as if you know it all, and it comes from an old word for the Pope. You’ve heard him referred to as the Pontiff, haven’t you? Well, he is. In good writing, you see, you avoid repetition, and that sometimes means you have to use a different word from the one you would do normally. So if I’ve mentioned the Pope once or twice, I sling in Pontiff next time. Yes, all right, I do owe that particular piece of knowledge to my lady friend – she’s not a bird, Baz – Jody, who is highly intelligent and a bit of an academic, as teachers often are, obviously.

I’ll tell you how the subject came up. In the early days of what used to be called our “courtship”… that’s  right, when I was trying to get my leg over for the first time, if you have to be crude, we used to exchange long emails. Because text is so limiting, Dave. Email is tailor made for the modern love letter, whereas text and WhatsApp and all that  are for the  lazy and the intellectually challenged. And for dirty sods like Baz, yes, but you can be just as dirty on email. And you can send attachments.

Cheers Gary, I’ll have a pint of Guinness, and if it’s the little barmaid, ask her to draw something on the top, she’s good at that. Anything. Surprise me.

Anyway, I was waxing lyrical one night about her bosoms, but I was referring to them as her bazookas. In a playful way, gents – she’s got a sense of humour. But eventually she educated me about repetition and we came up with some alternatives. Okay, but you will have to promise me you’ll treat this with the utmost discretion. My favourite was Mel and Kim, after the pop star sisters. She likes The Sugababes.

Now never, ever breathe a word of this or I’m a dead man, okay? Cheers, Gary. What’s she drawn, then? What’s that, a whistle? A banjo? Oh my god, she’s sending me cheeky notes on the head of a pint of Guinness.




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