“I have been a fan of Paul Trevillion’s work since my childhood. It’s just for a long time I didn’t know it.” So says Kevin Moore, Director of the National Football Museum in the introduction to this book. It is a sentiment that all of us can empathise with, especially the generations of “You are the Ref” fans.
Like all the best ideas, the genius is in the simplicity – answer reader’s questions about match incidents, and combine them with wonderful illustrations and graphics. Since its debut in the Spurs “Lilywhite” magazine in 1952, through the “People” newspaper, Roy of the Rovers annuals and “Shoot!” magazine up to the current weekly strip in the Observer, all manner of game situations have been set up, encouraging the reader to put themselves in the place of the Referee and make the correct decision.
Even experienced referees have to take a moment to work through the solution, within the overriding considerations of the Laws of the Game. Each of the questions is totally possible and plausible – remember the beachball on the pitch at Anfield? You then get the final, and correct, decision from Keith Hackett, former General Manager of the PGMOL and FIFA Referee, who has been working on this project since 1981, the year he refereed the FA Centenary Cup Final. He even makes his long overdue illustrated debut in this edition
This brings us onto the crowning glory of this book and the series as a whole, that of the pen portraits of the playing, coaching and refereeing Giants of World Football, past and present. Paul Trevillion has illustrated “You are the Ref” from the very start, and his talents are rightly admired by anyone with a feeling for the game and an appreciation of artistic talent.
Also included is a chronology of the development of the Laws of the Game, the first such in any publication, which shows the How and Why the game has developed. Add a selection of World Cup facts and statistics with 250 thought provoking match incidents and you have a very impressive book, well timed for Brazil 2014, but also an informative, entertaining and excellently produced book that would suit any and all ages.