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Howard Webb

Hero status is normally accorded to those playing the game, not the ref. But Howard Webb’s contribution to football – and by extension that of his fellow officials - was recognized in the New Year’s Honours with a well-deserved MBE, though sainthood for navigating the continual cheating and bleating on the pitch would have been equally appropriate. His fairness in the World Cup Final was underlined by subsequent complaints from both teams; a lesser man in charge and the match might have ended early via the seven player rule. Without the referee the organised game we love would be impossible, so we salute Mr Webb for performing an increasingly difficult but indispensible role heroically without the superpowers enjoyed by managers able to see (opposition) off-sides from 60m away diagonally.

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An election is a moral horror, as bad as a battle except for the blood; a mud bath for every soul concerned in i - George Bernard Shaw
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On this day:
The Worlds Richest Shipwreck - 1631, Battle of Rowton Heath - 1645, St Leger first run - 1776
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