Crawford Allan’s refereeing career started thanks to an unlikely source, he revealed in an interview with YFS reporter Angus Blacklock.
Allan, who retired his whistle in 2018 after 300 professional matches, has moved a role at the SFA where he is the Head of Referee Operations. Speaking to the AngusJB YouTube channel, he spoke about how he got into refereeing, the process and how long it took him, his worst decision, and the best advice he’s ever been given.
“I was helping out with a local boys brigade company and they had a league and they had struggled to get referees, so I just put on the tracksuit top and I would ref the games,” the former top flight ref said.
“I was prompted to do the course by a friend and I had no intentions of making a career out of it. All in all, it took me 11 years to referee a professional game. You can do it a little bit quicker now!”
However, he didn’t start off as the man in the middle.
“My first memory of playing football was school football probably P5 and P6 and then onto a bit of youth football. There was a local youth team near me so I played for them in high school, but I then found the lure of a paper round and money took me away from the youth side and I only played at school level.”
”I played right wing in primary school and then I became an overlapping full back until the legs gave in! But I played in every position.”
He was also keen to give advice to any young referees who are just starting out behind the whistle. “There’s a little phrase we use in the refereeing world.
“Control the Controllable.
“By that we mean, if you turn up at a game unfit - it's your own fault. Whereas if something happens on the pitch, it’s out of your control, so we always try and control all the things that are controllable.”
It’s easier said than done, he admitted. Reflecting on his worst decision, he looked many years down memory lane.
“There was one where I refereed a school game and I gave offside. He was clearly offside - about ten metres!
“After I gave it the attacker asked ‘what about him?’ And for some unknown reason, the defender had stopped to talk to the keeper. I had to stop the game and admit that I made a mistake!”
You can go check out the full interview on the AngusJB YouTube channel by clicking here.