Lee Mason. Nice to see you again. Well, we didn’t actually see him the first time. The experienced official was meant to be in charge of our FA Cup Quarter-Final with Bradford, but felt light-headed in the morning and had to be replaced by Neil Swarbrick an hour before kick-off.
But avoiding any nights out in Bolton from Mason (I presume that’s why he cancelled), he will take charge of our clash with Birmingham City on Wednesday.
So far in 2014-15, Mason has officiated 28 games, the majority being in the Premier League, so I'm not entirely sure why the Football League have given him a meaningless midweek second tier fixture in Berkshire.
That aside, we should perhaps be honoured to have the 43 year old in charge, and we have a relatively decent record when he has been the man in the middle. Of the 12 previous Reading fixtures Mason has reffed, we have won six, lost five and drawn once. The fondest victory is perhaps the 6-0 win over West Ham United on New Years' Day 2007.
Fun(ish) fact - Ibrahima Sonko was sent off twice by Mason whilst playing for us, in August 2006 against Aston Villa and almost exactly two years later against Charlton.
Speaking of red cards, Lee has brandished six of those this campaign, including in his last match as he gave Moussa Sissoko an early bath when Newcastle visited Liverpool. He also sent off Wayne Rooney back in September. Meanwhile, 89 yellow cards have come from Mason’s pocket, meaning potentially he could show his 100th card of the season at the Madjeski Stadium if he brandishes five or more, which he has done on seven occasions so far this season. However, the Lancashire official has only given four penalties this term, and all have been scored.
If Mason doesn’t turn up again, then something suspicious must be going on, but then again I wouldn't blame him for staying at home to watch MasterChef. I would.