Whistle blows on David’s time as the man in black

David Thompson with his scrapbook and memorabilia
David Thompson with his scrapbook and memorabilia

According to Wikipedia Referees in football are first described by Richard Mulcaster in 1581.

In this description of “foteball” he advocates the use of a “judge over the parties”. In the modern era, referees are first advocated in English public school football games, notably Eton football in 1845.

A match report from Rochdale in 1842 shows their use in a football game between the Bodyguards Club and the Fearnought Club. Traditionally referees wore black but since the 90s more colours have been introduced nationally and internationally.