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Ref-Watch: Derby (H)

Can we come out now? At last, the international-break ice-age has thawed, the domestic football saplings are sprouting anew through sheets of snow, and #RefWatch is back (again). Enter DARREN DEADMAN, stage left.

Darren Deadman shows Liam Lawrence red, at the Sixfields Stadium. Alliteration aplenty.
Darren Deadman shows Liam Lawrence red, at the Sixfields Stadium. Alliteration aplenty.
Pete Norton

Ah, Darren "The Walking" Deadman. If only you had held off for a couple more weeks - then I could have REALLY run rampant with the Halloween wordplay. Alas.


A staple of the Football League's officials list since 2005, Deadman happens to also be a rather tallman, towering at a none-too-shabby six feet and three inches. Beanpole.

Fun fact: Darren is merely one of a (frankly) jaw-dropping FOUR Darrens refereeing in the Football League this weekend, alongside Messrs Drysdale, Bond and Handley. So for all you prospective parents out there, if you fancy rearing your offspring as a referee - name him/her Darren. It is destiny.

Deadman clocks in at 41 years of age, and lives (ha, ha) by day as a public transport officer in his native Peterborough. He is a product of the officiating equivalent of Barcelona's world-famous La Masia academy: Hertfordshire. Now now, don't you scoff. The hallowed grass of Hertfordshire has spawned and tempered such refereeing demi-gods as Grahams Poll and Barber. All hail.

Big Daz' most high-profile match appointment to date came in 2011, when he took charge of the League Two playoff final between Torquay and the victorious Stevenage.

In the Championship this season, Darren has overseen only two matches (though one was a cracker, I tell you) - first supervising Nottingham Forest's frenetic 5-3 win against Fulham, and then Rotherham's much more sedate 1-1 home draw with high-flying Charlton.

He's yet to flash the red, but totalled an impressive 12 yellow cards across those two second-tier fixtures. Darren also pointed to the spot in that mental and aforementioned Forest match, with Britt Assombalonga notching his second of three. A measly drop in the eight-goal ocean.

Should Darren succeed in appeasing the bestial and feral HooliHoops with a sound performance on the weekend, then, fingers-crossed, he'll still very much be an Aliveman come Saturday evening.