Forget about alcohol and stuffing yourself… referees have to reign it in at Christmas
12:16 GMT, 25 December 2012
Christmas is the time to relax and spend time with friends, eat a little too much and have a drink or two.
Then, perhaps, on Boxing Day pop down to watch the local team, allow the fresh air to clear your head and get ready for more food and drink… unless you are a professional referee.
How would you fancy a greatly shortened Christmas Day, with no alcohol and not too many sausage rolls or much turkey and then saying goodbye to your family to drive 200 miles to a hotel where you spend Christmas night on your own
Hold it: Referees are not allowed to tuck in with abandon at Christmas
At least players have their team-mates with them and travel together.
I remember being appointed to Middlesbrough v Liverpool on Boxing Day 1998 when we had two very young children and found it incredibly difficult to leave them – just to be abused by fans at The Riverside!
My mood wasn’t improved by a telephone call on the way home appointing me to another Premier League game on 28th with a long journey, after being promised the day off.
There was also the game on Boxing Day 1994 when I certainly didn’t have the Christmas spirit at The Dell, cautioning 11 and sending one off in a feisty encounter between Southampton and Wimbledon.
Fortunately this year not too many referees appear to have to travel on Christmas evening and those who do are not fathers of very young children.
Referees happily accept this very different Christmas to serve the game they love, not that the fans appreciate that of course and no doubt they will still get their share of abuse from the terraces.
Personality: Phil Dowd is liked by the players
Fulham v Southampton
Referee Phil Dowd G12, YC34, RC2
Assistants: S Child & L Betts
4th Official: D Coote
Phil Dowd, who oversaw Chelsea’s 8-0 demolition of Aston Villa, returns to West London from his home in The Potteries for Southampton’s visit to Fulham.
Those who watch Dowd a lot often remark on his shape being less than athletic.
Having trained with him I can assure them that he is fit and you don’t need to be a racehorse to referee at the very top level.
personality shines through when he referees and is generally
appreciated by players, even when he is awarding two penalties against
them when trailing by 6 goals!
This on paper should be another relatively low key game but one which both teams will think they can win and so will have its moments and the crowd at Craven Cottage are never the most referee friendly.
Norwich City v Chelsea
Referee: Jon Moss G9, YC25, RC1
Assistants: P Kirkup & D Bryan
4th Official: A Madley
Jon Moss is another who will be staying in an hotel, The Holiday Inn at Norwich, before Boxing Day’s game at Carrow Road as his journey from West Yorkshire is too far to leave until match day.
Moss goes into his 10th Premier League game of the season well aware that many felt he should have awarded Wigan a couple of penalties for hand ball against Arsenal on Saturday and will do well not to award a ‘soft’ spot kick in this game.
However hard you try to block out the last game there is always some effect, especially when the games come as close together as they do over the Christmas period.
Penalty doubts: Jon Moss knows he could have given Wigan some spot kicks
Arsenal v West Ham United
Referee: Andre Marriner G10, YC38, RC0
Assistants: M Mullarkey & D Cann
4th Official: L Probert
Aston Villa v Tottenham Hotspur
Referee: Mark Clattenburg G9, YC34, RC4
Assistants: S Ledger & M McDonough
4th Official: A Taylor
Everton v Wigan Athletic
Referee: Lee Mason G11, YC36, RC0
Assistants: A Garratt & S Massey
4th Official: M Oliver
Manchester United v Newcastle United
Referee: Mike Dean G12, YC44, RC1
Assistants: J Collin & J Brooks
4th Official: N Swarbrick
Queens Park Rangers v West Bromwich Albion
Referee: Chris Foy G12, YC20, RC0
Assistants: S Beck & H Lennard
4th Official: A Davies
Reading v Swansea City
Referee: Mike Jones G11, YC41, RC1
Assistants: R Ganfield & M Wilkes
4th Official: D Phillips
Stoke City v Liverpool
Referee: Howard Webb G13, YC48, RC2
Assistants: S Burt & D England
4th Official – D Drysdale
Sunderland v Manchester City
Referee: Kevin Friend G10, YC38, RC1
Assistants: A Halliday & G Beswick
4th Official: K Wright