You can’t often feel sorry for referees, but Keith Hill must be an exception. Despite being one of this country’s most experienced officials, you probably haven’t heard of him as you have Messrs Clattenburg or Atkinson.
Hill has been a Football League ref for nearly 17 years but has never been promoted to the select group that get to officiate in the top flight. He also has to cope with a withered left arm, making the chant "you’re not fit to referee" very much true, but he doesn’t let it affect him.
The Hertfordshire whistle-blower has also spent two years in Japan, to not only spread the gospel of English referees, who are revered the world over, but to train and develop his colleagues in the Far East. What a nice guy.
Ok, enough of the sympathy, because in truth, Reading’s record when Hill is the man in the middle is pretty abysmal. In 17 previous Royals games he has taken charge of, we have won just four times, losing eight and drawing five. Having said that, Hill was our official three times in 2014-15, and we didn’t lose once – beating Wolves and Millwall and drawing to Bolton.
So far this campaign, the 47 year old has reffed eight fixtures, and has handed out a red card to a goalkeeper in each of his last two game. Watch out Jonathan Bond or Ali-Habsi! In total, Hill has given 27 yellows and three reds – an average of 3.75 cards per game. On top of this he has given four penalties in his last three games, as well as one in the first round of the League Cup. Will he carry this on into this match? As long as it’s in favour of Reading, I won’t be complaining?