Officials for tonight's League One match between Oldham Athletic and Yeovil Town have been published by the Football League. The match takes place at Boundary Park tonight with a 7.45p.m. kick-off. The man in charge of the fixture will be referee Jeremy Simpson (Lancashire).
Mr Simpson was promoted to the Football League's ranks in the summer of 2012, and as a result we've yet to have him as a man in the middle. The only times we've come into contact with him were a November 2005 FA Cup match against Macclesfield Town and a September 2010 League One game against Huddersfield Town.
He's done 17 matches since his promotion, which have produced 55 yellow cards and four red cards. One of those came in his last match, as he took charge of the 1-1 draw between AFC Wimbledon and Burton Albion, dismissing Zander Diamond for a headbutt in the box. A number of the reds he has issued this season have produced grumbles by the affected managers, largely on the basis that they felt that he was taking a hard line on any indiscipline, rather than directly saying he'd gone the decision wrong.
He did cause significant controversy though last December, when he called off the Notts County vs Leyton Orient match at Meadow Lane with both clubs insistent that the game should have gone ahead. Holding two pitch inspections he eventually decided that the pitch was waterlogged. Magpies Chief Executive Jim Rodwell said immediately after the call-off that he couldn't understand the decision:
"I am astonished at the decision of today's match referee to call the game off. In all my years in football I have never been more surprised at a decision. It quite simply beggars belief that a professional match official could come to this conclusion. Both managers and both sets of players wanted to play the game and were more than happy with the condition of the pitch. It appears that the only person in the stadium who thought that the game was a danger to the players was the referee."
Two days later Rodwell hadn't calmed down and decided he was going to lodge a formal complaint with the Football League, including video footage of the pitch:
"I thought it was a wind-up when I was first told. He (Simpson) said there were pockets of water on the pitch. I might be going crazy, but I couldn't see them. He took the ball out there and did the right things. The ball was rolling and bouncing just fine, but for some reason he felt it was potentially dangerous to the players. I might be up for an FA charge, but I'm only saying what I'm thinking. It was an astonishing and disgusting decision. I have never seen a decision like it in all my time in football."
With snow having fallen overnight in the Oldham area, and more expected later today, fingers crossed that lightning doesn't strike twice!
Mr Simpson will be assisted by Marvyn Amphlett (Worcestershire) and Paul Cook (East Yorkshire). The Fourth Official will be Jonathan Hunt (Liverpool).
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