|Full name||Paul S Danson|
2 May 1958|
|? – ?||Leics. Senior League||Referee|
|? –1987||Southern League||Referee|
|1984–1987||Football League||Asst. referee|
|2005–2006||Football League||Asst. referee|
In 1972, he qualified as a referee, progressing through the Leicestershire Senior League and the Southern League. He became a Football League linesman in 1984, graduating to the Football League referees list three years later, at the age of only twenty nine.
His major breakthrough came in 1994. He was one of three new referees appointed to the Premier List along with fellow Leicestershire official Peter Jones and Gary Willard from Sussex. Over the next three seasons all his league games were at Premiership level (as was standard for Premiership referees at the time). However, his performances did not always find favour – most notably a game at Highbury between Arsenal and Sunderland on 28 September 1996,† when two away players were sent off before half-time. At the end of the 1996–97 season he was dropped from the Premier List and reverted to Football League level.
For the next few years he was one of its senior officials, often receiving key appointments such as an old First Division play-off semi-final on 17 May 2001 at Deepdale, where Preston beat Birmingham after extra-time and penalties (Preston had already missed a spot-kick during the regulation 90 minutes). The then Birmingham manager Trevor Francis was said to be "visibly furious" after Danson moved the location of the penalty shootout from the empty end of the ground to the goal behind which the Preston fans were situated (on police advice), and he removed his players from the field in protest for a short while.
Following a Football League Championship match between Crystal Palace and West Bromwich Albion at Selhurst Park on 20 September 2003, he had to attend hospital in Croydon (Surrey) for treatment, due to being hit in the mouth and rendered unconscious whilst dealing with a three-man altercation on the pitch during the match, which ended 2–2 and generated eight cautions.
Matters took a very different turn in the 2004–05 season. He refereed only three games in the top division of the Football League and was largely on lower division duty. At the end of that season he lost his place on the League List after a tenure of eighteen years. Potentially he could have had another two years before retirement and had that happened he would have completed twenty years and become the longest-serving referee since the 1920s.‡ However, he did gain experience in Europe as a fourth official and assistant referee.
He returned to the assistants' list for the first time since 1987, although he did handle three games as a referee in the Football Conference North in season 2005–06 before finishing his top-class career completely.
- Football League Handbooks 1984–1987
- Rothmans / Sky Sports Football Yearbooks 1987–2006
- Rothmans Football Yearbook (1997), Headline, (†p14)
- ‡ Gilbert Upton (2005) Football League and Premiership Referees 1888 to 2005, Soccerdata, p20.
- Birthdate confirmation and profile Archived 15 January 2008 at the Wayback Machine at the Football League official website. Retrieved on 19 July 2007.
- Arsenal v. Sunderland, Premier League, 1996: soccerbase.com website. Retrieved on 27 March 2008.
- First Division play-off semi-final, 2001: soccerbase.com website. Retrieved on 27 March 2008.
- Trevor Francis' Archived 28 September 2007 at the Wayback Machine reaction to a Paul Danson decision, 2001 play-off semi-final, Preston v. Birmingham: League Managers Association website. Retrieved on 19 July 2007.
- Injury to his mouth, Crystal Palace v. West Brom, 2003: Independent on Sunday report via the FindArticles.com website. Retrieved on 19 July 2007.