Ah, James, we’ve been expecting you. No, it’s not Mr Bond (we’ve already got one of those), but Mr Linington, who was Reading’s most frequent referee last term, taking charge of four of our matches. It’s taken him until league game number 17 to be appointed this time around.
It is in fact a year to the day that the second of those four games took place – the trip to Cardiff which we lost 2-1, with Alex Pearce getting sent off and giving away a penalty. That fixture was also the first one I wrote a Ref-Watch for, so it’s fitting that James is back to celebrate this anniversary! Of the other games he officiated last season, we won all of them – against Newport County, Norwich City and Derby County. In total 15 yellow cards were shown, one red card, and four penalties were given (two for Reading and two against). Altogether, Linington has been the man in the middle for nine previous Royals encounters, and we’ve won four, drawn two and lost two.
Over the summer, the Isle of Wight whistle-blower became a full-time official, which takes me on nicely to how he’s done so far in 2015-16 (congratulations on the promotion by the way James!). He has refereed 16 games, shown 44 yellow cards and three red cards, and awarded three penalties. All of those spot-kicks have come in his last three games. Will the trend continue? Judging by the madness that has gone on in the last week, pretty much anything could happen at the Madjeski Stadium this afternoon, and Linington is likely to be right in the middle of it.