“I’LL never be a yes man. I’ll do it my way. I will not change. I am passionate about the game.”
Which sporting maverick uttered these words? Step forward Ossie Tosum, perhaps Britain’s most leftfield football referee.
Tosum was featured in Saturday’s Manchester Evening News – and subsequently several national newspapers – after sending off a player with an orange B&Q till receipt because he had left his red and yellow cards at home.
On another occasion, he forgot to take his watch to a game, and had to keep checking his mobile phone to check whether the 90 minutes were up.
He has now been suspended by the Lancashire and Cheshire Amateur League. Not for either of those incidents, but for launching into a drunken rant at a referees’ meeting held as part of the FA’s Respect campaign.
(The fact that he also failed to turn up for a match at all without giving any notice doesn’t seem to have helped his cause either.)
“We all have a bit of a blip in life and I’ve had one over the last few weeks,” said Tosum, from Oldham.
There was, sadly, no comment from B&Q over this flagrant misuse of their till receipts. It’s a fair bet that Tosum’s remarkable piece of improvisation wouldn’t work in reverse, though. Certainly, if B&Q do start accepting red cards as proof of purchase, then I’d like to know about it.
I’d also love to know what he would have used as a yellow card. A banana? A canary?
Tosum’s receipt waving continues a fine tradition of off-the-wall refereeing actions, such as Graham Poll’s three-card trick at the last World Cup and Clive Thomas’ decision to disallow a Brazil winner against Sweden at Argentina ’78 because he decided that time was up a split-second before the ball hit the net.
Any chance, therefore, we can get Ossie to the next World Cup? It has to happen.