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Society whistleblower retires

Masterful - John halts the game and pin-points his missing contact lens

There's moaning in the gloaming as the “Sassenach in Black” finally hangs up his boots

Geoscientist 18.7 July 2008

Dawne Riddle writes: This May, at the end of the Scottish Premier League (SPL) season, former Council member John Underhill (who in his spare time, idles away the hours as Professor of Stratigraphy in the University of Edinburgh’s School of Geosciences) blew his final whistle.

Fourteen of John’s 27 years behind the Acme Thunderer were spent at the top levels of Scottish and European football; and his final two games were both at Fir Park, Motherwell. There, fans saw now-defunct Gretna beat Hearts 1-0, and Motherwell clinch a place in Europe - while also thwarting Rangers’ chances for the Championship in a 1-1 draw that was transmitted around the world on live TV.

Since beginning his refereeing career (while still a geology undergraduate at Bristol University) John has handled around 1500 games - including 132 SPL matches, over 40 international appointments (including several Champions League and World Cup games) and four national cup finals.

The spud-faced nipper receives his first caution