We were slightly surprised (but secretly rather pleased) to find that our Jobs Blog gets to places we never expected.  While we know that a lot of you do enjoy reading the interviews with staff and the quirky and interesting stories and facts about Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire, we didn’t expect to come across a reference to the blog in a book on Scottish football referees!

Yet there is it, on page 125 of “Stop the Game: we are going to arrest the goalkeeper,” a paragraph about our blog, published in August 2021 and entitled “Aberdeen has always been ahead of the game (of football).”  More specifically, this is what is says…

 “These stories from Perthshire (about early football) can be replicated across Scotland. Generally referred to as “the Ba’ game” and with records going back hundreds of years, this ‘football’ is still played today in Kirkwall, Jedburgh, Roxburgh and Duns.  I also came across an article on the Robert Gordon University ‘Jobs Blog’ (of all unlikely places) which explained that Aberdeenshire can lay claim to having an interest in this proto-football, with records from the early 17th century showing that in either 1633 or 1636 (opinions differ as to which is the correct year), there is some evidence of schoolboys in Aberdeen playing a football game. The original source is in Latin, but roughly translated it suggests that handling of the ball was allowed, as was charging into the opposition, and the ball may have been ‘passed’ from player to player. The word used for the goal in the original source is (in Latin) “metum,” which was the pillar at each end of the circus course in a Roman chariot race.  As any Spanish scholars out there will know, the word for goal in that language is “meta” and a goalkeeper is a ‘guardameta.’”

We may provide “an unlikely place” to find such an article, but we’re delighted that we were able to provide some additional facts and material for this book on refereeing. Incidentally, “Stop the Game” is an entertaining book with some very funny (parental advisory!) interviews with former Scottish referees and a longer discourse on the impact Scotland has had on the development of the laws of football.  If you’d like to read it, you can find it on Amazon here.


Julie Skinner, Resourcing and Benefits Specialist, RGU