From the Stray to Wembley! Jon Moss lined up for FA Cup final

Jon Moss with the FA Cup
Jon Moss with the FA Cup

Referee Jon Moss will complete a journey from the Stray to Wembley at the weekend when he officiates the FA Cup final.

Moss, who lives in Leeds but originates from Sunderland, will take charge of the match between Arsenal and Aston Villa, almost 20 years after starting his refereeing in the Harrogate and District League.

“It’s the realisation of a dream,” he said.

“Growing up, I used to watch the FA Cup final religiously with my dad and want to play in it. I guess the next best thing was to referee in it.

“It’s the culmination of years of hard work. It started on the Harrogate League, on the Stray, and it’s been a fantastic journey.

“You only referee the FA Cup final once. You always have a hope that you will be considered but you never what to assume that you re are tone.”

Moss, 44 began his refereeing career in his teen years before soon taking a break from officiating.

He returned later to the sport in his late 20s in Harrogate, and vividly remembers the days of handling matches across the district.

He added: “The Harrogate League was a stepping stone to my career.

“I remember shepherding sheep off the pitch at Pateley Bridge before the match. I think it was the only time I had to stop a game because of a sheep too. You don’t get that in the Premier League.

“I was only on the league for a year before I got promoted into the Northern Counties and Evo-Stik levels, so I’ve been round a lot of the local grounds.

“Two years later and I was in the Conference. Within six years from doing the Harrogate League, I was in the Football League.”