Prem ref Jon Moss discusses his other career as owner of a vibrant record shop – The Sun

LIKE many of us, Jon Moss grew up imagining himself as a professional footballer or a rock star.

So as a Premier League referee and the owner of a vibrant record shop, he has had a decent crack at living those dreams.

He hears a lot of songs while carrying out his day job, many abusive and directed towards him.

But the sound of music is helping the 49-year-old to bear up in the lockdown.

Moss opened The Vinyl Whistle in the Headingley part of Leeds last summer.

And the former indie-band member has been polishing up his guitar skills as well as learning to play the drums since football was suspended five weeks ago.

His morning fitness sessions are accompanied by a new album every day.

Then there is the private collection at his Leeds home consisting of between 5,000 and 10,000 vinyl LPs. This is a Moss who gathers Rolling Stones.

It was fellow top referee Graham Scott who gave The Vinyl Whistle its name — and several other Premier League officials have dropped in to pay a visit.

Moss said: “David Coote is a massive indie fan and Martin Atkinson bought a couple of Jam records from us — Martin is an old-school Mod.

Craig Pawson brought a bit of Drake, he likes his R n’ B, so we tend to put him in the corner and ignore him!

“Craig Pawson brought a bit of Drake, he likes his R n’ B, so we tend to put him in the corner and ignore him!

“And Rich Robinson, head groundsman at Headingley cricket ground, is one of our best customers.”

Moss was a decent player for the youth teams of his boyhood club Sunderland as well as Huddersfield, Millwall and Luton, and won a footballing scholarship to Connecticut State University.

He said: “Injuries and socialising took care of that dream really.

“I was a central midfielder, with a fantastic first touch — no, actually, I liked a tackle and that was about it.

“All refs think they can play but if I’d been good enough, I’d have made it.”

In his twenties, Moss played guitar in indie band Power Sleep with the street artist Andy McVeigh, famous in Leeds as ‘the Burley Banksy’, on drums.

Now the frustrations of isolation have been eased by his love of music.




THE STONE ROSES (The Stone Roses)

GEORGE BEST (The Wedding Present)


He said: “I can’t wait to get back to football. I’m training every day.

“We have weekly Zoom calls and we’re looking hard at clips, so when it is safe to resume football we’re ready.

“We have a support package from our sports scientists, heart monitors and send in data and watch what we eat.

“You use the one hour a day you can to get out and train and I also do some gym work at home.

“I’m trying to listen to a different album every day — as we’re training by ourselves and not having that usual interaction, music helps you get through tough sessions, like running up hills.

“I’ve bought myself a Telecaster guitar, a Marshall amp and got an effects pedal from my daughter.

“I’ve also got a full drum kit and I’m trying to teach myself via YouTube.”

There is a long-standing bond between football and indie music.

We don’t really get the chance to talk publicly, when people come into the shop they realise we’re not as bad as they think we are

One of Moss’ favourite bands, Leeds-based The Wedding Present, named their debut album after George Best and there is also the Half Man Half Biscuit tune The Referee’s Alphabet.

Moss reckons Rochdale have the best pre-match playlist — ‘full on Manchester indie’.

And he also uses trips to referee European matches as a chance to seek out bargains in foreign record stores.
Opening his shop has allowed fans to see the human side of the man in black.

Moss said: “A lot of football fans come in from around the country and, away from the 90 minutes, are interested in refereeing and ask nice questions.

“As we don’t really get the chance to talk publicly, when people come into the shop they realise we’re not as bad as they think we are. I’m a normal person with a love of football and music.”

Moss opened the shop with his wife Julie last July.

He said: “As a student in Leeds, I had a passion for record shops. I am very into indie music and bought loads of vinyl.



DISCO VOLADOR (The Orielles)

BONIFACE (Boniface)

“I had this nagging feeling I could own a record shop and it would be better than some of the ones I was going in.

“We were on holiday and I said to my wife ‘I fancy opening a record shop’. She always wanted a coffee shop so we said ‘why don’t we do coffee as well?’.

“When I was in record shops, I’d have to speed-flick my way through records and she’d be hovering around.

“This way, the other half — male or female — can have a coffee, chill out, read a magazine and there’s no time pressure on you looking for records.

“Headingley has a real student vibe like Camden but it was missing a record shop. I took the plunge.

“It’s been a learning curve. We were a bit naive at first and while lockdown is a challenge, online sales are going well.

“People are buying records more as they have more time.

“Outside of lockdown, football takes up a lot of time. Often you’re refereeing midweek, Saturday and Sunday and at St George’s Park for training camps.

“But I like going into the shop some afternoons — it doesn’t feel like work.”

As for the day job, Moss has experienced his biggest ever change with the introduction of VAR.

He said: “VAR is a work in progress. We’ve come a long way in a short space of time.

“It’s not perfect yet but everyone is working hard to get something better than we have now, something which engages people inside stadiums more.

“On-field reviews are happening now and the number of key match incidents being changed has increased.

“This is the fastest and most robust league in the world, so we have to give it time.”
Clearly Moss cannot wait to get back on the pitch — even if the music ringing in his ears is not always so sweet.

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