The Referee’s a W*nker – Chris Turner

Brief outline

A former professional player turned poet and song-writer, Chris Turner still frequents the stands at Southend United. The chants and rants he hears (and utters?) there have been the inspiration for a number of poems, one-liners and riddles/word puzzles, about 40 of which have been collected in this anthology, interspersed with plenty of artistic and pertinent photographs. The poems are quite inventive, making extensive use of the author’s song-writing skills (read them aloud to get the full experience). In 2006, the book caused somewhat of an upheaval, when Turner sponsored a local team by providing kit shirts with the book’s cover printed on it. The authorities were less than pleased: Stambridge United (via Fantasysportnet)

Value for active referees

None whatsoever. I bought the book for the title poem, which is a compilation of the base and less than inventive invectives shouted at referees from the terraces. The poem is represented on the Dutch page of this post, so check it out there. Here I’d like to print the one other poem about a referee, which has a little more sympathy in it (or is it pity?).

“Jeff the Ref”

he’s jeff the ref

half blind half deaf

(headbutted by

the I.C.F.)*

arthritic knees

his ankles seize

contracts the

referees’ disease

of yellow cards

that’s not ten yards

a skinhead cut

he thinks he’s hard

like mickey rooney

loony tuney

adolf hitler

meets the moonies

past his best

he passed the test

had more sent off

than all the rest

gone whistle mad

books jack the lad

gets hate mail

from his mum and dad

ignores the flag

shut it you slaaag

inspects the pitch

then has a fag

his watch is wrong

his notepad’s gone

forget about the ball


he’s lost a screw

ain’t got a clue

and coming to

a game……near you!

Copyright Chris Turner

(*The I.C.F. stands for the Intercity firm, a notorious seventies and eighties West Ham supporters group)

Pardon the French. The usage in this anthology reflects the language used on football grounds all over the world, so it may be somewhat colourful.

Overall verdict

A collection of inventive poems and chants reflecting British football culture, where the language may be a bit “unpolished” in places. Apart from two poems about referees (and the title), the book has little to offer the men in black.


Title The Referee’s a W*nker, Football Rhymes
Author Chris Turner
Publisher Davids House Press
Year 2006
Pages 96
3 / 5     

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