Tuesday’s trip to Colchester United may seem like a relatively easy first round League Cup tie where most of the team will be youngsters, and that’s really what it is. But referee Darren Drysdale has had a huge part to play in Reading’s history.
Without him, there would be no "We’ve got the record, 106" chant, and those three digits would not be known by every Royals fan. That’s because, back on 30th April 2006 at the Madjeski Stadium, with just six minutes left of an already historic season for Reading, Mr Drysdale gave a penalty to the hosts, with the score at 1-1 against QPR. The rest is history as skipper Graeme Murty stepped up to score only his second ever goal for the club, ensuring every outfield player that season had hit the back of the net and giving us the record points total for the Championship. Darren, we are forever grateful.
He has only taken charge of one Reading game since – also a win, and also in a title winning season. If that isn’t an omen that we’ll win the league in 2015-16, I don’t know what is?! The Lincolnshire official was the man in the middle when Leeds visited Berkshire in April 2012 and an Adam Le Fondre brace secured a 2-0 win, with Drysdale also sending off the visitors’ midfielder Zac Drysdale. 11 days later, we would secure promotion back to the Premier League.
As much as I’d like to continue reminiscing about success, it’s back to the present to look at Drysdale’s recent statistics. In 2014/15, he officiated 28 games and handed out a total of 109 cards – 102 yellow and seven red. Furthermore, he only gave one penalty throughout the entire campaign. In one of the games he took charge of, Dominic Samuel scored two goals for Coventry against Sheffield United. Same again please, Dom.
So, everything points to a Reading FC win at the West Homes Community Stadium judging by the referee’s history. Drysdale is also a sergeant in the RAF, which obviously stands for ROYAL Air Force, and Reading are of course the ROYALS. Ok, maybe I’m going too far with this superstitious nonsense. It’s only a relatively easy first round League Cup game where most of the team will be youngsters for god’s sake.