Premier League Career: 2011-PRESENT
First Premier League Match: Blackpool 1-2 Birmingham City (4 January 2011)
Jon Moss was promoted to the Select Group of Referees in 2011. He has often been in the firing line since with football supporters across the country. Moss is one of those officials who will have some great games but is probably going to divide general opinion on some of the key decisions that can affect the course of crucial matches throughout any given season.
Although he is now based in Horsforth, West Yorkshire, Moss was born in Sunderland and grew up in the North East. He is a member of the West Riding County Football Association. He grew up as an avid footballer and won a football scholarship at Central Connecticut State University in the United States. However, he completed his studies with a degree in physical education and teaching at the University of Leeds.
Playing junior football at academy level, Moss admitted in a 2015 interview: “I was a competitive midfield player and I liked to tackle. Sometimes you mistime a tackle and you get the attention of the referee – but I was always polite!”
He played in the juniors at his hometown club Sunderland and then for Millwall. However, his studies meant he stopped playing as travelling to London became too much of an interference. It was during his A-level studies that Jon began to focus more on refereeing, taking courses to enhance his training and development. He fully qualified as a referee way back in 1988. However, it wasn’t until just before the end of the 20th century that he elected to forget his dream of playing the game and concentrated on refereeing it instead.
After progressing through the Northern Counties East League and Northern Premier League, he reached the National Group of assistant referees in 2003. It was from this point that progress started to gain momentum. Appointed to referee the 2005 Conference play-off final between Stevenage and Carlisle United, Jon was then promoted to the National Group of Referees who take charge of the three divisions in the Football League. His first game at this level was a League Two match between Shrewsbury Town and Rochdale.
Moss had four years of experience at this level before being appointed to a Premier League game for the first time. The match was between Wigan Athletic and Aston Villa in December 2010. However, a deluge of snow and freezing temperatures in the week before Christmas led to the match being one of seven Premier League postponements across the weekend. Jon had to wait a fortnight for his big break before being selected for Birmingham City’s visit to Blackpool in January 2011. After this audition, he was added to the Select Group in-time for the start of the 2011-2012 season alongside Neil Swarbrick.
It was only his third Premier League match when he handed out his first red card. That went to the late Steve Gohouri who was dismissed for two yellow cards in Wigan Athletic’s 2-1 home defeat to Tottenham Hotspur in September 2011. Three years later, he awarded no fewer than four spot-kicks during Manchester City’s 4-1 success over Spurs, also sending off Federico Fazio in the same match. That remains a record for most spot-kicks to be awarded in a Premier League game. In fact, he handed out eight red cards in-total in the 2014-2015 season and as of the November 2018 international break, he had taken charge of 181 matches, handing out 623 yellow cards at an average of 3.44 cautions per game.
28 times the red card has come out of his back pocket. Among those to be dismissed in high-profile matches were Jamie Vardy for simulation in Leicester’s feisty 2-2 draw with West Ham United in April 2016 and Sadio Mane for a dangerous challenge on Manchester City goalkeeper Ederson during an encounter at The Etihad Stadium in September 2017 which Pep Guardiola’s side went on to win 5-0.
In 2015, Moss was the referee for Arsenal’s 4-0 victory over Aston Villa in the FA Cup final. Jon Moss might not be liked by everyone within the game but as a referee, you have to be strong and not show any weakness in making key decisions. He is not shy of being forced to make these tough judgements, even if that means he sometimes can make the headlines more than the players.