From The Vaults

09 January 2023
What’s in a Referee’s library? by Keith Gregson

In a recent re-organisation of Ashbrooke's magnificent archives, a small personal library of books belonging to Alan was discovered and its contents are worth listing -

  • The History of the Rugby Football Union - O L Owen (Playfair 1955). For a number of years this was the bible of rugby historians later to be replaced by a centenary publication and, more recently, by a history celebrating 150 years of the RFU. Owen's work contained pictures of and made references to Alan's fellow Ashbrooke administrator Eric Watts Moses who was President of the RFU shortly after the war.
  • Rugby Football - W J A Davis (Webster n.d.c1922/3) was the predecessor to Owen's book.
  • The Art of Refereeing - A Handbook for Rugby Football Referees (RFU 1975 revision). This copy is dedicated in Alan's hand-writing to Robin Auld, another key figure in local and national Rugby administration. Alan's contribution to the publication is made clear in the foreword where thanks were given to him for his personal donation of 'time, experience and skill' in creating what was regarded as 'an indispensable companion for every referee'.
  • The Manual of the RFU for Coaches for Coaches and Players - ed. F H. Ellis (RFU 1952). This book was published at a time when both Alan Bean and Eric Watts Moses were pushing for more structure in the organisation of coaching at all levels
  • Rugby Union in Lancashire and Cheshire - ed. W B Croxford (Liverpool 1950). This contained a written dedication to Alan from the author as well as a foreword from Eric Watts Moses who was President of the RFU at the time.
  • Lions Rampant - the 1955 British Isles Tour of South Africa - Vivian Jenkins (Cassell 1956) - a reflection on Alan's interest in developing international rugby. He had refereed one of the wartime internationals.
  • London Society of Rugby Football Union Referees 1889 -1939 (London Society - c 1939 - hand dated by Alan 24.3.1939). This is a fascinating little booklet signed at the front by seven of the society's members including the famed and long-serving A J Trollope.

Each book has Alan's signature clearly visible on the first page and as the last book mentioned is of more than local interest, the Ashbrooke Club/Sunderland RFC (due to celebrate 150 years in 2023/4 season) has decided to donate it to the World Rugby Museum alongside a small photograph of Alan Bean.

About the Author - Keith Gregson is historian of Sunderland RFC and a regular contributor to 'From the Vaults'. His online biography of founding British Lion, Barbarian and England international Howard Marshall is available to buy here.