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Men In Black

Pundit ponders the more authoritarian referee

Johnny Pundit: Brushes with authority
Johnny Pundit: Brushes with authority
Hiller: Retired to Bolivia
Hiller: Retired to Bolivia
Marching orders
Marching orders
Funny old thing, Football. For instance, managers and referees. Never destined to get on, are they? Like chalk and cheese — if considerably less useful.

Who do you think you are kidding..?

Of course, the real trouble comes when the Man in Black is convinced he's always right — despite the evidence to the contrary. In my day, we had a Mr Hiller (odd that referees never used to have Christian names). He'd strut up and down the pitch, dishing out dodgy decisions like rationing tickets. Given the proximity to the War, and Hiller's apparent proximity to a Nazi, he soon acquired the nickname of 'Mr Himmler'. And I must say, having experienced some of his perplexing but robustly-enforced decisions, it didn't seem extreme at the time to liken an annoying insurance salesman from Barnstaple to a genocidal maniac.

Jimmy Jimmy

In one match I played in, when I was briefly at Stoke City, our manager, Jimmy Evans, made it his personal mission to wind up Mr Hiller. All through the match he called out "Wrong decision, Mr Himmler", "Not sure about that one, Mr Himmler", apparently thinking it must have just been coincidence that the ref shared his surname with a war criminal. Hiller, who'd served in North Africa, warned Jimmy three or four times but you could tell it was getting to him.


Halfway through the second half, Jimmy called out "You sure you're not on the other side, Mr Himmler?" — and Hiller snapped. He strode to the touchline, beckoned Jimmy over — and decked him. Jimmy went down like a continental striker. Hiller instantly gave himself his marching orders and strode off remonstrating with himself, although it seemed to me unlikely he would ever overturn his own decision. Jimmy lost two teeth.

Yours aye,
Johnny Pundit

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