Stephen Martin, seen above wearing a very fetching purple outfit (it’s not quite African violet), followed in his father’s footsteps when he joined the Football League’s national group of referees in 2012. His dad Andy was a Premier League official in the 1990s, and Stephen will surely have ambitions of also reaching the top flight in the future.
That might be some way off yet though (sorry Stephen!), as he has taken charge of 22 games so far this season, but only five have been in the Championship. In total, he has given out 57 yellow cards and four red cards, as well as four penalties.
One of those fixtures was Reading’s 2-0 win at Bristol City in September (back when we were in the lofty heights of sixth), with Oliver Norwood yellow carded that day. It was the second Royals game he had been the whistle-blower for after the 3-1 home loss to Barnsley in March 2014, when he awarded the Biscuitmen a penalty which Pavel Pogrebnyak scored.
The assistant referees at the Madjeski Stadium will be Ronald Ganfield and Robert Massey-Ellis, whilst Dean Treleaven is on fourth official duty.