C.D. Crisp – The Shepherd’s Bush Referee who was once pursued across River by an Angry Mob!

Posted on by Steve Sayce

In a copy of New Penny Magazine, dated 1st February 1902, there is a wonderful article by A. Wallis Myers on some of the well known first-class referees at the time, including one who happened to come from the Bush.

C.D. Crisp is described as ‘one of the most eminent authorities on the game’. So much so that he used to attend FA headquarters for the purpose of ‘putting aspiring referees through their paces.’

Mr Crisp

His article then goes on to recall some of his refereeing experiences:

‘During his twenty years of refereeing he has had many remarkable experiences. His escape at Reading from the attentions of an angry mob which resented his giving a penalty kick against the home side was one of the most exciting incidents of his life; for he found it necessary to proceed under escort at a swift speed, and to take refuge in a barge in which to cross the river at Caversham; his pursuers followed in another craft, still keeping up the chase.

Mr Crisp sighted an empty cab and entered it, only to leave by the opposite door. The cabman, however, had been told to drive on; and the crowd, thinking their quarry was inside, pursued it, while Mr Crisp made his way comfortably home chuckling at his fortunate escape.

At Portsmouth he had another extraordinary experience, but this happened on the field of play. A corner was being kicked, and Mr Crisp actually headed the ball through the goal. Of course the point was valueless, and the corner was re-kicked, but the incident is worthy of mention as being probably the only case on record where a referee has involuntarily increased the score.

In another match, at Cowes, Mr Crisp had to send five men off the field; these were soldiers, and travelling one day to officiate at another town nearby, in the compartment of his train he met the worst offender of all, a sergeant, whose suspension sentence had expired that day. The extraordinary thing was that this man was to play in the match for which Mr Crisp was bound.

Mr Crisp is one of those hard-working referees who refuse to take any fees for their labours. The ordinary fees for officiating, it may be explained, range from a guinea for first-class matches to five shillings for lower-rate matches; but none of the gentlemen mentioned in this article officiate, of course, in any but the former.’

Crisp was one of the founders of the Referees’ Union.

Steve Russell



One Response to C.D. Crisp – The Shepherd’s Bush Referee who was once pursued across River by an Angry Mob!

  1. ESSEXURs aka Colin Woodley says:

    Great article about a fascinating early football legend. He was on every committee known to man!
    Unfortunately he was on the board of two London Clubs who shall be nameless but one of them could prevent Steve extending the article!
    Let me know if you are doing a follow up article Steve. If not I will add more.


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