Degree Speeches

 Summer 2000


Peter Jones

Public Orator, Professor John Dawkins, presented the Honorary Graduand at the Degree Congregation held on the morning of Monday 17 July 2000

Chancellor, High Sheriff of Leicestershire, Mayor of Charnwood, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen, New graduates of Loughborough.

Our Graduation Ceremony began with a video of University life, past and present. You may remember that it kicked off with a quotation from our old friend, Anon.

"Learn from yesterday, enjoy today, and hope for tomorrow."

Nobody, could embody this maxim better than Peter Jones, our Honorary Graduand. We have a triple reason for delight in honouring him. First and foremost, he is distinguished in the field - literally in his case. Second his field is the sports field, and at Loughborough that is usually a good deal more important than life or death. Third, he is one of the family, a local lad who lives down the road in Quorn.

Peter Jones really has "learned from yesterday".

Here was a talented young footballer, playing in the Leicester City Mutual League, who one Saturday in 1971 followed a friend's example and refereed a club match. The appeal of match control took hold of Peter Jones and never let go. After refereeing in the North Leicestershire League, the Midland Intermediate League, and the Southern League, he entered the big time of the Football League in 1988.

Those of you who have just completed several years of assessments and examinations, will welcome Peter Jones as a fellow sufferer. For a referee's performance, at every match, at every level, is assessed and given a mark. There is no impaired performance form, no appeal, no recount.

Right from the start, Peter Jones did well in his top-level assessments, and in 1994 he was invited to join the distinguished list of Premier League referees.

All his past experience of the game had now become the springboard, from which to enjoy this next stage in his refereeing career. In 1996, he was invited to act as a FIFA match official visiting countries all over Europe, and clubs whose names spell glamour to us all.

But, decisions on the football field can be controversial.

In 1999, Arsenal played Sheffield United in the Fifth round of the FA Cup. Match referee Peter Jones.

After a highly controversial incident, following an injury to a Sheffield United player, Arsenal scored, what proved to be the winning goal.

Despite much furore and intense pressure, on the pitch and after the final whistle, Peter Jones knew, that his decision to let the goal stand, was correct.

Shortly after this match, Peter Jones was named as referee for the 1999 FA Cup Final.

What about "hope for tomorrow?" Peter will retire from the big time in a couple of years. He intends then to go back to where he started, and referee non-League matches for the fun of it. Peter will be demonstrating his hope for the future and his belief in football's tomorrow, by passing on his skills to younger people, with lessons that apply to anyone in any walk of life, especially to those of you starting out on new careers.

Prove your knowledge of the rules of the game, of course. Develop character - you'll have to learn how to take criticism and abuse, even though you know you're right, and worse, even when you know you're wrong. Put together a support team you can rely on to help you through good times and bad. Keep a sense of proportion. Cultivate a low profile, and don't view the field as an opportunity to strut your own ego.

Peter Jones has made an outstanding contribution to football in this country, and, in doing so, has reached the highest levels of excellence, an achievement that is recognised by all who have had the good fortune to watch him at work. Therefore, Chancellor, I present to you and the University, Mr Peter Jones, for the award of the degree of Master of Arts, honoris causa.










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