Charles Edward Faultless

Charles Edward Faultless, football referee; born

March 5, 1908, died November 27, 1998

CHARLIE Faultless died in St Margaret's Hospice, Clydebank, at the age of 90. In the mid-1950s he had been Scotland's leading football referee, officiating at the World Cup in Switzerland in 1954, at several Internationals, and at the Scottish Cup finals in 1954 and 1955.

Charles Edward Faultless was born in 1908 in Bridgeton to a humble family, his father being an industrial worker in the railway workshops. The following year his father died and young Charlie was raised by his mother in the home of her parents in Rhymer Street, Townhead.

He was educated at Martyrs' Public School (which had been designed by Rennie Mackintosh) and at Provanside Public School. He was later to joke that he thought he might have been helped in getting his Royal Air Force commission by the fact that the all-English Officer Selection Board perhaps didn't understand the full significance of a Public School in Glasgow.

Jobs were not easy to come by in the ''Land Fit for Heroes'' in 1923, and his daily exercise after he had left school was to go to the newspaper offices where the day's edition was displayed, to scan the Situations Vacant section.

His first permanent job was in the stockroom of a clothing manufacturer, but his abilities as a salesman were soon recognised and he moved on to be a commercial traveller. In the 1930s he joined Collins (Mantles) Ltd, an expanding company in the clothing trade, where he stayed for 30 years, as a sales director for much of this time.

He had a natural ability at sport, playing club tennis for Riddrie, and golf at Eastwood and Pollok, at one stage off a handicap of six. He played water polo at Townhead and Hillington baths and was a Scottish trialist. In football he played in goal in the Churches' League and then had spells as an amateur with Greenock Morton and Motherwell before joining Beith. A broken leg ended his playing career and he turned to refereeing, joining the first-class ranks just before the war.

Called up to the RAF during the war, he opted for physical training/sports activity and worked his way through the ranks, reaching the rank of Flying Officer. At one point he

was in charge of the Bomber Command football team, which contained 10 internationalists. Returning to ''civvy street'' he resumed his refereeing which culminated in him reaching the highest levels in 1954 and 1955.

This was the era of giants of the Scottish game such as Big George Young and of characters like Celtic's Charlie Tully.

In the World Cup in 1954 he was in charge of a number of matches, the highlight being what must surely remain the highest-scoring game in the final stages of the competition, the quarter-final in which Austria beat Switzerland 7-5.

After retiring from refereeing, Charlie Faultless maintained his interest in the game by reporting for a Scottish Sunday paper for a further 20 years.

He developed an interest in amateur movie-making and became vice-president of the national body. One of his roles was to visit clubs at their monthly meeting and give a 10-minute update on the committee's activities. On a visit to Dunoon he was welcomed by the local secretary, who, over a pre-meeting refreshment, when asked what was on their programme for tonight, replied: ''You are, of course.'' The well-prepared 10-minute presentation was immediately expanded into a 90-minute discourse, covering many topics.

Charlie Faultless was married twice, firstly in 1935 to Molly Beveridge with whom he had a son and two daughters. She died in 1971, and in 1975 he married Jean MacNeill, who pre-deceased him in 1992.