Cast your minds back to September, when Reading were in the play-off places, Steve Clarke was loved by all fans and Nick Blackman was scoring goals for fun. I know, I wish it were still the same too.
But I’m not just tormenting you with that look back on happier times, as it does have some relevance to this week’s Ref-Watch, with Tony Harrington the man in the middle when the Royals beat Burnley 2-1 to rise to third. Harrington is back as the official for tomorrow’s game against Wolves, having not picked up a whistle since mid-January. We hope you enjoyed your break Tony!
Apart from that win at Turf Moor, the North East ref has previously officiated just one other Reading game - a 0-0 draw at Leeds United in October 2014 when he handed out the most yellow cards he has given in a single Football League fixture (7).
So far in 2015-16, Harrington has taken charge of 18 games in all competitions, showing 51 yellow cards and just the one red. But even that sending off was as a result of two bookings, to Bolton’s Jose Casado. He has also awarded five penalties, including two in his most recent match between MK Dons and Northampton in the FA Cup. They were both scored, by Ben Reeves and former much maligned Royal Simon Church.
To end, let’s take a look at Harrington’s art skills, which went viral last year. This is his representation of a waterlogged pitch for his official Football League report for the Accrington vs Bury game which he quite rightly called off.
van Gogh eat your heart out.
The assistant referees for the game at the Madjeski Stadium will be Richard Kendall and Ian Cooper, whilst on fourth official duty is Michael Bull.