Contrary to public perception, referees live and breathe football. So when one of their kind, a Football League stalwart, goes missing for two years, something must be up.
Perhaps he retired? Or, maybe suffered a long-term injury or fell out of love with the sport? In the case of Keith Hill, our referee for the game against Wolves on Saturday, those possibilities could not have been further from the truth.
The Hertfordshire ref had effectively taken a two-year vacation - or maybe more of a busman's holiday - in Japan to spread his knowledge of the game to officials over there.
He perhaps deserved it, having been a referee since 1998, the year he first took charge of a Reading game.
Since then, he has overseen the Royals on 16 occasions, but I'm afraid it doesn't look good. We've only won three under his control, losing eight times and drawing on five occasions.
Two of those games have come this season season though and neither have been defeats. Hill was the man in the middle for our 3-2 win over Millwall and the 0-0 draw against Bolton.
As for the rest of this season, Keith (who's namesake is Rochdale boss err... Keith Hill) has officiated 23 games, handing out 76 yellow cards and four reds.
Meanwhile, he's given just seven spot-kicks this season, but only three have been scored, including Nick Blackman's effort from 12 yards against Millwall.
So it's hard to expect what the scoreline will be in our trip to Molineux, but as I've learnt over the past few months is that the referee's statistics will have absolutely nothing to do with it.
Take Mr Hill for example, after officiating in the 6-6 draw between Dagenham & Redbridge and Brentford in the League Cup and Bournemouth's 8-0 thrashing of Birmingham back in October, he went on to oversee a 0-0 draw between Reading and Bolton. Typical.