Tags Posts tagged with "premier league"

premier league

    All appointments have been sourced from the Premier League, Football League and the FA.

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    All the match officials for upcoming fixtures in England will be displayed as and when they are they released. Click below to view a league/cup's fixtures.

    Premier League

    Saturday 4th March

    Manchester United v AFC Bournemouth
    KEVIN FRIEND
    Assistants: D Cann, M Wilkes
    Fourth official: Lee Probert

    Leicester City v Hull City
    MIKE DEAN
    Assistants: S Long, D Eaton
    Fourth official: Neil Swarbrick

    Stoke City v Middlesbrough
    CRAIG PAWSON
    Assistants: I Hussin, S Ledger
    Fourth official: Paul Tierney

    Swansea City v Burnley
    ANTHONY TAYLOR
    Assistants: J Collin, S Bennett
    Fourth official: Stuart Attwell

    Watford v Southampton
    JON MOSS
    Assistants: E Smart, H Lennard
    Fourth official: James Linington

    West Bromwich Albion v Crystal Palace
    MIKE JONES
    Assistants: A Garratt, M Scholes
    Fourth official: Mark Clattenburg

    Liverpool v Arsenal
    ROBERT MADLEY
    Assistants: P Kirkup, M Perry
    Fourth official: Andre Marriner

    Sunday 5th March

    Tottenham Hotspur v Everton
    MICHAEL OLIVER
    Assistants: S Burt, C Hatzidakis
    Fourth official: Neil Swarbrick
    ASunderland v Manchester City
    MARTIN ATKINSON
    Assistants: S Child, A Holmes
    Fourth official: Paul Tierney

    Monday 6th March

    West Ham United v Chelsea
    ANDRE MARRINER
    Assistants: S Beck, R West
    Fourth official: Mike Dean


    SkyBet Championship

    Friday 3rd March

    Birmingham City v Leeds United
    CHRISTOPHER KAVANAGH
    John Flynn and Mark Pottage
    Fourth Official Trevor Kettle

    Saturday 4th March

    Blackburn Rovers v Wigan Athletic
    JEREMY SIMPSON
    Shaun Hudson and Nick Hopton
    Fourth Official Andy Haines

    Bristol City v Burton Albion
    GRAHAM SCOTT
    Dave Bryan and Mick McDonough
    Fourth Official Brendan Malone

    Derby County v Barnsley
    KEITH STROUD
    Nick Greenhalgh and Billy Smallwood
    Fourth Official Kevin Johnson

    Fulham v Preston North End
    SIMON HOOPER
    Robert Hyde and Daniel Robathan
    Fourth Official Darren Deadman

    Huddersfield Town v Newcastle United
    ROGER EAST
    Daniel Cook and Andy Halliday
    Fourth Official David Coote

    Ipswich Town v Brentford
    SCOTT DUNCAN
    Adam Crysell and Nigel Lugg
    Fourth Official Lee Swabey

    Nottingham Forest v Brighton & Hove Albion
    OLIVER LANGFORD
    Neil Davies and James Wilson
    Fourth Official Darren Bond

    Queens Park Rangers v Cardiff City
    DARREN ENGLAND
    Daniel Leach and Timothy Wood
    Fourth Official Tim Robinson

    Reading v Wolverhampton Wanderers
    ANDREW MADLEY
    Mark Russell and Steven Meredith
    Fourth Official Robert Dabbs

    Rotherham United v Aston Villa
    STEPHEN MARTIN
    David Avent and Jonathan Hunt
    Fourth Official Richard Clark

    Sheffield Wednesday v Norwich City
    ANDY DAVIES
    Paul Hodskinson and Geoffrey Russell
    Fourth Official Geoff Eltringham

    Tuesday 7th March

    Birmingham City v Wigan Athletic
    SCOTT DUNCAN
    Christopher Akers and Akil Howson
    Fourth Official Darren Drysdale

    Blackburn Rovers v Cardiff City
    DAVID COOTE
    Tony Peart and David Avent
    Fourth Official Andrew Madley

    Bristol City v Norwich City
    STEPHEN MARTIN
    Mark Jones and Andrew Fox
    Fourth Official Christopher Sarginson

    Derby County v Preston North End
    JAMES LININGTON
    James Wilson and Steven Meredith
    Fourth Official John Brooks

    Fulham v Leeds United
    LEE PROBERT
    Matthew Wilkes and Daniel Cook
    Fourth Official Oliver Langford

    Huddersfield Town v Aston Villa
    DARREN BOND
    Matthew McGrath and Billy Smallwood
    Fourth Official Jeremy Simpson

    Ipswich Town v Wolverhampton Wanderers
    DARREN DEADMAN
    Darren Blunden and Daniel Leach
    Fourth Official Simon Hooper

    Nottingham Forest v Brentford
    TIM ROBINSON
    Jonathan Hunt and Nick Hopton
    Fourth Official Darren England

    Queens Park Rangers v Barnsley
    TONY HARRINGTON
    Nigel Lugg and Robert Hyde
    Fourth Official Nicholas Kinseley

    Reading v Newcastle United
    ANDY DAVIES
    Ian Cooper and Adam Crysell
    Fourth Official Keith Stroud

    Rotherham United v Brighton & Hove Albion
    GEOFF ELTRINGHAM
    James Mainwaring and Nick Greenhalgh
    Fourth Official Christopher Kavanagh

    Sheffield Wednesday v Burton Albion
    PETER BANKES
    Shaun Hudson and Mark Dwyer
    Fourth Official Mark Brown


    Sky Bet League One

    Saturday 4th March

    Bolton Wanderers v AFC Wimbledon
    DEAN WHITESTONE
    Matthew Parry and Neil Radford
    Fourth Official Martin Coy

    Bradford City v Peterborough United
    BRETT HUXTABLE
    Paul Thompson and Geoffrey Liddle
    Fourth Official Steven Copeland

    Bury v Gillingham
    DARREN DRYSDALE
    James Bell and Robert Atkin
    Fourth Official Christopher Akers

    Millwall v Milton Keynes Dons
    ROSS JOYCE
    Alix Pashley and Ashvin Degnarain
    Fourth Official Akil Howson

    Northampton Town v Charlton Athletic
    BEN TONER
    Daniel Cook and Ian Dudley
    Fourth Official Kevin Howick

    Oxford United v Bristol Rovers
    CARL BOYESON
    Paul Hobday and Marc Wilson
    Fourth Official Dave Bushell

    Rochdale v Sheffield United
    SEBASTIAN STOCKBRIDGE
    Steven Rushton and Gary Hilton
    Fourth Official Matthew Dicicco

    Scunthorpe United v Fleetwood Town
    PETER BANKES
    Michael George and Mark Jones
    Fourth Official Ricky Wootton

    Shrewsbury Town v Coventry City
    ROBERT JONES
    Richard Bartlett and Peter Gibbons
    Fourth Official Kevin Morris

    Southend United v Port Vale
    NIGEL MILLER
    Ian Rathbone and Matthew Lee
    Fourth Official Darren Blunden

    Swindon Town v Chesterfield
    CHRISTOPHER SARGINSON
    Justin Amey and Stuart Butler
    Fourth Official Samuel Allison

    Walsall v Oldham Athletic
    JOHN BROOKS
    Iain Siddall and Declan Ford
    Fourth Official Marvyn Amphlett

    Tuesday 7th March

    Charlton Athletic v Scunthorpe United
    DEAN WHITESTONE
    Declan Ford and Matthew Lee
    Fourth Official David Rock
    Oxford United v Sheffield United
    PAUL TIERNEY
    Eddie Smart and Darren Cann
    Fourth Official Gavin Ward

    Sky Bet League Two

    Saturday 4th March

    Accrington Stanley v Barnet
    MARK HAYWOOD
    Billy Khatib and Danny Markham
    Fourth Official Mark Dwyer

    Blackpool v Morecambe
    TONY HARRINGTON
    Matthew McGrath and Philip Dermott
    Fourth Official Tom Nield

    Cambridge United v Colchester United
    EDDIE ILDERTON
    Lee Venamore and Ravel Cheosiaua
    Fourth Official Garry Maskell

    Cheltenham Town v Mansfield Town
    CHARLES BREAKSPEAR
    Joe Clark and Christopher Wade
    Fourth Official Andrew Fox

    Crawley Town v Doncaster Rovers
    MICHAEL SALISBURY
    Josh Smith and Gavin Muge
    Fourth Official Anthony Da Costa

    Grimsby Town v Wycombe Wanderers
    NICHOLAS KINSELEY
    Nigel Smith and Ian Smedley
    Fourth Official Thomas Bramall

    Hartlepool United v Exeter City
    ROBERT LEWIS
    David Benton and Stephen Wade
    Fourth Official Graeme Fyvie

    Newport County v Leyton Orient
    GAVIN WARD
    John Law and Richard Hulme
    Fourth Official Craig Taylor

    Plymouth Argyle v Carlisle United
    MARK HEYWOOD
    Adrian Tranter and Mark Derrien
    Fourth Official Adrian Quelch

    Portsmouth v Crewe Alexandra
    JOHN BUSBY
    Ian Fissenden and Christopher Kidd
    Fourth Official Graham Kane

    Stevenage v Notts County
    DAVID WEBB
    Adrian Waters and Stephen Finch
    Fourth Official Ian Cooper

    Yeovil Town v Luton Town
    DARREN HANDLEY
    Louis Marks and Andrew Quin
    Fourth Official Adam Matthews

    Tuesday 7th March

    Crawley Town v Portsmouth
    KEVIN JOHNSON
    Paul Kelly and Garry Maskell
    Fourth Official Charles Breakspear
    Plymouth Argyle v Blackpool
    JOHN BUSBY
    Justin Amey and Simon Knapp
    Fourth Official Brett Huxtable

    The FA Cup

    Wednesday 1st March

    Manchester City v Huddersfield
    PAUL TIERNEY
    Harry Lennard and Simon Lonh
    Fourth Official: Jon Moss


    EFL Cup 

    EFL Trophy

    Wednesday 1st March

    Luton Town v Oxford United

    NIGEL MILLER
    Chris Husband and Craig Taylor
    Fourth Official: Mark Heywood

      Alan Biggs is joined by former referee Dean Mohareb and Premier League winner Chris Sutton to discuss all the action from the weekend's football. Joey Barton is in discussion after an incident in the FA Cup where Lincoln City provided the big upset of the 5th round. Also in discussion is Mark Clattenburg's exit from the Premier League. Widely regarded as the world's best, he has moved on to Saudi Arabia and the panel give their reaction. And with his departure, comes the promotion of three officials from the Select Group 2....

        Author: Alan Biggs

        Football Soccer Britain - Liverpool v West Ham United - Premier League - Anfield - 11/12/16 Referee Mark Clattenburg gets out of the way from Liverpool's Jordan Henderson Action Images via Reuters / Lee Smith Livepic EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 45 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.

        English refereeing chiefs are under pressure to combat a crisis with a “transfer market” for referees potentially forcing them to look abroad.

        It is a predictable scenario long foreseen by You Are The Ref experts. Professional Game Match Officials are having to wake up to the threat - but will it be too late?

        Certainly, the drain of English talent from the Premier League shows no sign of slowing with Michael Oliver touted for a switch to Major League Soccer in America following Mark Clattenburg’s move to Saudi Arabia.

        Keith Hackett, who once tried to lure Pierluigi Collina to England, believes PGMOL will have to “go into the market” amid the depletion of the Select Group which he feels has only around five referees of consistently reliable standard in the top flight.

        The organisation may first have to conduct an emergency review of a modest pay structure which has already cost them its top official and makes them vulnerable to having more lured overseas.

        Select Group referees are understood to be on a basic of around £100,000 a year. With international commitments on top, Clattenburg was thought to be earning in the region of £200,000.

        The Saudi Football Federation has clearly topped that figure by some distance. Speculation suggests Clattenburg is earning at least £500,000 in becoming Saudi’s refereeing chief.

        For a referee at just 41 years of age and at his peak, Clattenburg’s departure represents a huge blow for the Premier League, just as Howard Webb’s retirement at 43 had been equally damaging.

        Imagine the fall-out if Oliver, rapidly developing into one of the world’s best,  were to be lost at 31. Fortunately for PGMOL, there is a strong union influence on MLS referees which would make such a move highly unlikely and it is extremely doubtful that the PRO organisation are actually pursing Oliver.

        However, approaches from across the globe are more probable than possible.  It is a nightmarish scenario that PGMOL has to react to if standards of officiating, already a subject of some concern, are not to plummet further.

        Hackett, England’s former head of referees, said: “It is not being wise after the event to say urgent action is required. My colleagues and myself have been pointing to the danger for a long time now.

        “PGMOL have tended not to allow their referees to officiate prestige one-off matches around the globe and you can now see how short-sighted that policy has been. There is now a global market for referees, just as with players.

        “It is not a threat. That is the reality. In any walk of life, and certainly in sport, the top talent is much sought after and in football it attracts big money offers.

        “Clearly, the pay ceiling in the Premier League is too low. It has to be increased as a starting point.”

        This and other pressing issues will be discussed on this week’s Ref Show featuring Chris Sutton and former referee Dean Mohareb.

          Author: Alan Biggs

          Britain Football Soccer - Tottenham Hotspur v Middlesbrough - Premier League - White Hart Lane - 4/2/17 Referee Mark Clattenburg Action Images via Reuters / Paul Childs Livepic EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 45 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.

          Saudi Arabia’s need for a new refereeing supremo has sparked a move for Mark Clattenburg, the Premier League’s number one official.

          The Saudis aimed high when they lured Howard Webb into the job 18 months ago, seeking an international figurehead for their developing football scene.

          Webb is now about to start a new job in Major League Soccer in America and Canada after taking a key role with the Professional Referee Organisation (PRO).

          This left Saudi Arabia seeking a replacement of similar stature – and with the financial pulling power to achieve it. And that led to the logical scenario of an approach for Clattenburg, who was already at the centre of speculation about interest from China.

          The difference is that Webb had retired from refereeing when he moved to the Middle East for a role he combined with being a match day pundit for BT Sports.

          Clattenburg, 41, is at the peak of his career having emulated Webb’s achievement of presiding over two major finals in the same year.

          However, Webb wasn’t much older when he was seen to prematurely quit the middle at 43 in 2014 after officiating the Champions League final and World Cup final in 2010.

          Clattenburg, the Euro 2016 final referee on top of handling the Champions League final, is in a similar position after achieving almost everything a career can offer.

          While he will have had aspirations about the 2018 World Cup, the North east official will doubtless have been plotting  a career in football after refereeing. And the Saudi opportunity, while provoking a dilemma, will have been very appealing.

          The news is a major blow for the Premier League. A statement from Professional Game Match Officials Ltd said: "Since joining the PGMOL Select Group in 2004, Mark developed into one of our top officials, refereeing at the highest level and setting standards for others to follow.

          "Mark is a talented referee, he has been a great asset to the English game and hopefully an inspiration to those who want to get into refereeing at the grass roots of the game.

          "We understand this is an exciting opportunity for Mark as well as further underlining what high esteeem English match officials are held throughout the world game."

            Goal-line Technology

            Goal-line technology is to be introduced in the Championship from the start of next season in a move welcomed by You Are The Ref. Clubs have agreed "in principle" to use goalline technology from the start of next season.

            Clubs agreed to the decision on Thursday and it will be presented at the EFL annual general meeting in June. Our experts have repeatedly called for it to be introduced and the move will see Hawk-eye technology installed at all Championship clubs in order to assist referees and their assistants.

            SimiLar technology has been in operation in the Premier League since the 2013/14 season and is also already utilised in the latter stages of the EFL Cup and the Sky Bet EFL Play-Offs.
            Keith Hackett said: "I'm really delighted to see this development. There is so much money riding on clubs getting to the Championship that having this proven system is a must."

              Former assistant referee Glenn Turner and ex Sheffield Wednesday striker David Hirst both joined Alan Biggs on today's show and there was plenty to discuss. In particular, during the Arsenal v Hull City fixture, there was a contentious goal where Alexis Sanchez appeared to handle the ball during the Gunners first goal. Much discussion has followed, so much so, that game at Emirates, alone, takes up the whole of the first half. The panel discuss the incident and try to explain whether they would have given it or not. There were also talking points elsewhere in the Premier League and we also take a look at the new You Are The Ref academy....

                Football Soccer - Atletico Nacional v Kashima Antlers - FIFA Club World Cup Semi Final - Suita City Football Stadium, Osaka, Japan - 14/12/16 Referee Viktor Kassai awards a penalty to Kashima Antlers Reuters / Kim Kyung-Hoon Livepic EDITORIAL USE ONLY.

                Where there is a will, it is amazing the progress that can be made.

                I was delighted to read that David Elleray, as technical director of the International Football Association Board, has announced that the use of the Video Assistant Referee may be introduced before the next World Cup in Russia.

                I compliment him on the work he's doing to achieve this. For instance, I'm aware of his recent visit to the United States and Mexico, presumably to monitor progress and update these countries on the system.

                It would appear that the live trials are making good progress. With France, Germany and Mexico keen to test the system themselves, I hope to see its introduction earlier than the two years previously forecast.

                Shortly the IFAB will be meeting in order to be updated on the VAR.

                Meanwhile, the IFAB annual meeting will be asked to extend the “Modifications” section of the Laws of the Game to give national football associations more freedom and responsibility to modify the organisational Laws, e.g. number of substitutions and length of play, to assist with the development of their domestic football by promoting and encouraging more people to take part in the game.

                VAR - Ismail Elfath

                National Football Associations will be permitted to decide at which levels the modifications are applied in their domestic football, except for competitions involving the first team of clubs in the top league and senior ‘A’ international teams.

                Additionally, as part of “Modifications”, the proposal to allow temporary dismissals (sin bins) in youth, veterans, disability and grassroots football for yellow card offences will be considered following tests in UEFA’s development competitions over the last three years.

                On the topic of video assistant referees (VARs), the AGM will receive updates on the completion of the first phase of experiments including reports from the workshops held and more than 20 test matches organised to test the VAR protocols which were approved one year ago.

                The meeting will receive detailed information on the key learning areas which will be incorporated into the ‘live’ experiments starting in almost 20 competitions around the world in 2017.

                  Football - Israel v England - UEFA Euro 2008 Qualifying Group E - Ramat Gan Stadium - Tel Aviv - Israel - 24/3/07 Steve McClaren - England Manager and Geoff Shreeves - Sky Sports Mandatory Credit: Action Images / Alex Morton

                  Alex Griffiths bumped into Sky Sports reporter @GeoffShreeves at the National Football Museum, a man known for celebrity scoops such as Mike Tyson and Kevin Costner. That's not to say, however, that those numbers of referees in his phone book are not among the most cherished.

                  Having made the move from producer to operating in front of the cameras some 18 years ago, it's been 25 years in total at Sky and, while the discretion which has ensured such longevity is predictably present and correct, he's not exactly shy about identifying what's not right with the game.

                  How do you explain the success of your touchline/tunnel reporting style?

                  I rely on that old scout motto of 'be prepared'. We have a fantastic stats department at Sky; they come up with an enormous set of information for each and every game. The key from my point of view is not to know all of it, though, it's to know which are the relevant parts, and when to use those.

                  Don't forget, I may talk to managers before and after, plus the players, but the real reason people are watching is for the middle bit, the match itself!

                  If Klopp has just dropped Mignolet, though, he needs to be asked why. Of course, you need a good overview doing what I do, but it's a bit like a newspaper reporter thinking on their feet when it comes to a potential re-write.

                  Say John Terry has won Man of the Match and I'm getting told in my ear by the producer that  he and Thibaut Courtois will be with me live in however many minutes and to be ready.

                  That can still all go out of the window depending on events, and then, while you're on, people can burst in or even walk out, so it's a case of expect the unexpected.

                  What would indeed be unexpected given the current arrangements would be if your producer were to tear up the running order and tell you “we have now got the ref; three, two, one...”

                  Well we used to talk to referees after games many moons ago, of course, and I'd like to think I'd be just as prepared! It used to be a regular thing, but we ended up doing it less and less.

                  Are you claiming there was a decision to stop those interviews made by Sky as opposed to anyone else?

                  Not at all, but the problem was, referees were only getting wheeled out when they had made a mistake, and referees always tell me they are at their happiest when they have gone unnoticed.

                  You'd be amazed how many times I have had a ref watching a decision on a monitor with me and they have been ecstatic at a correct call confirmed by the replay, it really is just like scoring a hat-trick for them.

                  Other times they will come off and check with me, and just like a player, their reaction when they have got it right shows how much it means to them.

                  Ever tried refereeing yourself?

                  No, but I am a big fan! I'm in touch with all the top referees, I spend a lot of time in their company and I stand up for them on Twitter all the time.

                  In general I find we lose sight of referees as human beings and the reactions to their genuine mistakes are always so way over the top, we forget that we are all fallible.

                  In this very conversation I will slip up at some point, and how many passes are misplaced by the players? Yet we fail to show forgiveness or understanding for what a difficult job refereeing is, and you can also add that 99% of the ones I have come across are well worth having a drink with, too!

                  We have allowed dissent and abuse at unacceptable levels for far too long and I think if anything comes of Ryan Hampson's threat to strike that would be a good thing, it could be just the wake-up call required.

                  Any more suggestions to make refs' lives easier?

                  They could definitely get more help... because the sheer pace makes it impossible for one man to keep up. The technology has worked well so far, which I would extend, and I am also in favour of retrospective action when it comes to simulation.

                  But having players in their faces sends out completely the wrong message for me and you do see it copied by school kids. I know it's a cliché but you only have to look at rugby to see that referees can be treated differently. I'm just not buying the argument that says education or lack of it is a factor here, if that was true how do you explain the respect for discipline in boxing?

                  It seems like such an all-consuming world, so do you permit yourself a holiday from football, when you are actually supposed to be on holiday?

                  It is always on, I'll give you that. However, when I'm off, I'm off, if you know what I mean.

                  The funny thing is, when you're away you tend to bump into players anyway, so there can be no escape as such. I have been known to catch a local game, and you keep an eye out, naturally, but you don't want to defeat the object of getting a break.   

                  Football - League Managers Association Manager of the Year Awards - The Crowne Plaza Hotel - Nottingham - 14/5/07 Graham Taylor Mandatory Credit: Action Images / Lee Mills

                  How much will football miss the late Graham Taylor?

                  As we have seen from the recent tributes, Graham really was a lovely guy. I actually had a cameo role in The Impossible Job, the Channel 4 documentary which formed so many negative memories of him, back when I was freelance floor manager, and I remember how difficult it was for him around the time of the San Marino match in particular.

                  The thing was, Graham never, ever forgot the fact that whoever he was dealing with was also a professional and he always gave them the appropriate respect. Compare for yourself one famous scene from that documentary, the infamous exchange with the fourth official in Rotterdam, with the recent outburst on the touchline from John Sheridan [when Sheridan was still at Notts County].

                  You can't very well go singling refs out from the domestic game for obvious reasons, but are there any referees from further afield you feel worthy of a mention?

                  Yes, I think Cuneyt Cakir, the Turk who took two Champions League semis in 2016, stands out, actually, and I know I'm not alone in singing his praises.

                  He refereed Fulham on their UEFA Cup run quite a while back and has also taken games at the Euros and the World Cup 2014 semi between Argentina and the Netherlands.

                  On the subject of international fixtures, has TV coverage led in any way to the decreasing popularity of international football compared to the likes of EPL and Champions League?

                  I don't think so. I do think social media has had a hand in that, but the continued lack of success can't help!

                  In the old days it was as if life in many countries, not just the home nations, came to a standstill when the national team played. Now you can't say that there is not still a healthy following for England, for example, but success does at the end of the day breed interest.

                  Keeping an eye on social media will tell you that, yes, some people are less bothered and don't forget football is competing with an ever-increasing number of things for attention, but I'm pretty sure you can't blame that on TV!

                  Britain Soccer Football - Manchester United v Liverpool - Premier League - Old Trafford - 15/1/17 Manchester United's Wayne Rooney is spoken to by referee Michael Oliver Reuters / Phil Noble Livepic EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 45 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.

                  As captain of his country Wayne Rooney is never far from a headline but, speaking as a close observer, do you feel those who say that in showing more respect and maturity he has lost something along the way?

                  I don't agree with that at all, and I think the fact he is able as a captain to 'peacemake' and promote dialogue with the officials is a good thing, it helps keep a flow that the referee can manage better.

                  He's another target of undue criticism if you ask me, and I don't know who he listened to or if that's what was behind any change but it looks like he figured out [after a red card in Montenegro] that if he wanted to play more games then he would need to mature.

                  For me he now sets a fine example: just look at the moment he broke Sir Bobby Charlton's club goalscoring record in what was a moment of great personal significance.

                  He instantly shouts at a team-mate to get the ball back so they can try and win the match, and then in reply to his first question afterwards he talks about being down because of the result. That's a team player for you, and that fire has certainly not dimmed at all.

                  Have you favourite memories you could share that reflect your unrivalled access to football at the highest level and the men in charge?

                  Well you will forgive me for mentioning no names but one ref had had a bet on the Arc de Triomphe one year, a long time ago, as had I, and kick-off was looming.

                  Well, between us and the match director, somehow the bell wasn't actually rung until we knew the result... and only then did the whistle get blown to kick off!

                  Another memorable occasion occurred when I was guilty of thinking: at last, here I am, getting total insight from within the dressing room and from the horse's mouth. I still remember how nervous I was.

                  It was a top Premier League game and a mistake by this referee had resulted in a goal. I've got the producer in my ear telling me to go in at half-time, share a cuppa, go easy and try and find out whatever was in his thinking.

                  So in I go, telling myself I can't be blunt here, I have to keep in mind he's another 45 minutes ahead of him... and there we are, drinking tea and talking like we are now.

                  It seems to take an age to get there, but I finally pluck up the courage to ask about the build-up to the goal in question, and I'm ready to have this man open his heart and reveal all...

                  “Oh that”, he said, “I just f***ed it up!”

                  Thanks Geoff, your secret is safe with us...

                    Author: Alan Biggs

                    stuart-attwell

                    Mike Dean and Stuart Attwell find themselves in the Championship this weekend - out of respect to the competition.

                    Dean is in charge of Saturday's Yorkshire derby between Barnsley and Leeds while, on the Friday night, Attwell presides over Brighton versus Sheffield Wednesday. Both games are live on television in front of potentially near capacity crowds and a substantial viewing audience. All four teams involved are pushing towards the top of the Championship.

                    Although Dean has been at the centre of controversy recently, his absence from the top flight this weekend is in no way a reflection of that.

                    The latest round of Premier League fixtures is relatively low profile, giving an opportunity for two Select Group referees to be deployed in major games in a much respected competition.

                    "This is standard practice and in no way reflects on Mike - or Stuart, for that matter," said former referees' chief Keith Hackett.

                    "I am all for more accountability and feel this is lacking.

                    "However, Mike has come through two games, one in the FA Cup, relatively well since the controversial calls of the West Ham v Manchester United match.

                    "He is an excellent referee and the Premier League needs him. But I can understand his redeployment this weekend.

                    "I also applaud Stuart Attwell's appointment for a huge game in Brighton v Sheffield Wednesday.

                    "No-one should get the idea either has been dropped or demoted.

                    "When that happens they are usually a fourth official somewhere - certainly not refereeing games of this magnitude."

                      Joining Alan Biggs on the show this week are former Sheffield Wednesday and England striker David Hirst, and ex PGMOL chief Keith Hackett. In discussion are the performances of the officials in what was described as another successful week. One or two incidents are still up for debate however, including the game at Old Trafford and others, including in the Championship. The panel also pay tribute to Graham Taylor who sadly passed away last week.

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