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'Knight of the Whistle': W. P. Harper and the impact of the media on an Association Football referee

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Media interest in the association code of football is an accepted part of the modern form of the game. The impact of this increased attention from the media can be traced both through an understanding of the developing media/sport relationship during the 1920s and 1930s and specific examples of this burgeoning relationship through the career of W.P. Harper, a prominent referee, who recorded and maintained some of the press coverage he received during his career. This paper explores the embryonic impact of the media on referees, utilizing W.P. Harper as an example, charting incidents during his career and the associated media coverage that these high profile examples received. The consideration afforded to the early role of the media, and the direct impact on referees, assists in a greater understanding of the development of this relationship and therefore an increased comprehension of the role of the media in Association Football in the game today.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)306-324
JournalThe International Journal of the History of Sport
Issue number3
Early online date3 Mar 2016
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2016


  • Knight_of_the_Whistle

    Rights statement: This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in The International Journal of the History of Sport on 2016, available online:

    Accepted author manuscript (Post-print), 369 KB, PDF document

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