Reading have a lot to thank Darren Drysdale for. Back on 30th April 2006 at the Madjeski Stadium, with just six minutes left of an already historic season for Steve Coppell’s side, Mr Drysdale gave a penalty to the hosts, with the score at 1-1 against QPR. The rest is history as skipper Graeme M-U-R-T-Y 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 of 106 for the Championship. Rather fitting perhaps, that the anniversary of that promotion is next week.
The other two previous Royals games he has been the man in the middle for have also been wins. The 2-0 victory over Leeds United in 2013 when he sent off the Whites’ Zac Thompson, and our 1-0 win over Colchester United after extra time earlier this campaign in the League Cup. This ref sounds great! But it gets better, as the 45 year old is also an RAF sergeant fighting for our country. Hero. You could call him a RAFaree. *bad pun alert*
It’s been quite a career for Drysdale, who was also the assistant referee in the 2000 FA Cup Final. He’s been a Football League whistle blower since 2004, and so far this season, the Lincolnshire official has been the man in the middle in a total of 28 games. He has shown 66 yellow cards, two red cards and awarded three penalties.
The assistant referees at the Madjeski stadium will be Mark Russell and Darren Blunden, whilst the fourth official will be David Rock.