Ref-Watch has returned after an extended break, which included the much maligned international fortnight and my own personal holiday (no, I don’t just research refs 24/7, what kind of person do you think I am?!). To celebrate (used in a very loose sense), the Football League have put Premier League official Roger East in charge of our game against Ipswich tonight under the lights and in front of the TV cameras.
I say Roger is a Premier League man, but in fact he is yet to take charge of a top flight match this campaign, instead officiating Portsmouth vs Morecambe and Bury vs Oldham in Leagues Two and One respectively. Those games have produced seven yellow cards and one red between them.
In 2014-15, The 50 year old was the man in the middle for 17 Premier League games, contributing to 31 officiated matches in total last season in which he handed out 101 yellows and five reds (an average of 3.4 cards per game) as well as giving nine penalties. The last of those games was Ipswich’s 3-1 play-off semi-final second leg defeat to rivals Norwich, in which East gave the Canaries a spot-kick and sent Tractor Boy Christophe Berra for an early bath.
His most recent Reading fixture also ended 3-1, but unfortunately it wasn’t in favour of the Royals. The Wiltshire ref was in charge when we visited Brentford last season, but of course we reversed the score line two weeks ago! Overall our record when East is in charge isn’t that great. In five games, we’ve won just once against QPR in the 2012-13 League Cup, lost twice and drawn twice. The good thing is, Ipswich have also only won once when East is the man in the middle.
Last season, Roger famously made headlines when he wrongly sent off Wes Brown instead of John O’Shea in Sunderland’s trip to Manchester United. With the names on the back of shirts even harder to read in the Championship and red lettering on Reading’s blue and white hoops, who is to say he won’t get McShane and Ferdinand confused tonight? Then he might actually have to go to Specsavers*…
*Other opticians are available