A former Sunderland fan, Saturday’s referee Geoff Eltringham had to give up his Stadium of Light season ticket in order to pursue his career as an official, a decision which he is unlikely to regret considering the Black Cats’ performances in recent years.
It shows a dedication to the cause from Eltringham, who so far in 2015-16, has been the man in the middle on 33 occasions in all competitions, showing 85 yellow cards and seven red cards as well as awarding seven penalties.
The 35 year old was named on the Football League’s list in 2009 and since then, has officiated four games involving Reading. We’ve lost just once, back in December against Preston. Eltringham awarded the Lilywhites a penalty in that match which Joe Garner scored, proving to be the only goal of the game.
The County Durham whistleblower also pointed to the spot when Reading visited Blackpool last April, again penalising the Royals. One penalty he did not give however, was in our trip to Blackburn in November 2013. Instead, he booked Chris Gunter for diving after the right-back was clearly tripped in the box by Rovers' Grant Hanley in a 0-0 draw at Ewood Park. In turn, he infuriated Nigel Adkins, who proclaimed "it's that obvious for everybody, I don't need to say anything," and "it's totally wrong." Eltringham did write an apology letter to Adkins, which in an era of frequent refereeing mistakes, is something you wish you’d hear more of.
The assistant referees at the Macron Stadium will be Christopher Akers and Steven Copeland, whilst on fourth official duty will be Carl Boyeson.