Officials for the League Two match between Yeovil Town and Cheltenham Town have been published by the Football League. The match takes place on Tuesday 1st January 2019, with a 3.00p.m. kick-off at Huish Park. The man in charge of dealing with your New Year's Day hangover, and possibly making it worse, is referee Trevor Kettle (Rutland). Yes, indeed the Football League have decided to give fans "the Whistling Kettle" to welcome you into 2019, to remind you that it may be another year, but but you're getting the same old referees.
Going back 18 years, our first view of him was on a Bank Holiday Monday, August 28th, 2000. We won the match against Hednesford Town 4-2 but still came away talking about an utterly bizarre refereeing performance that included two farcical penalty decisions for the penalties. The thing about Trevor is he likes to be noticed - and he doesn't care what you think of him. If he's given one penalty decision in a game, then he has no qualms in giving another - the same applies to yellow and red cards, and if anything there's a perception that once the card-waving genie is out of the bottle, it's hard to put it back in.
His appointment to the National List in 2003 coincided with our rise into the Football League, but his position in the RAF found him moving to East Anglia and we saw far less of him. However our fates have remained intertwined, and his highest refereeing honour to date, was as Fourth Official at the 2007 League One Play-off Final at Wembley.
It's not that he is controversial on every occasion. Even we had to stick on our neutral hats and admit that probably Gary Roberts deserved to walk for a high tackle whilst on a yellow card at Cheltenham Town in our meeting in April 2009 - such an opportunity to get the cards out for that was meat'n'drink for Trevor. The problem is that's what he does - you'll rarely get a 'last warning' with Our Trev, he'll whip out a card quicker than a sharp-shooter in an old-fashioned Western film, and by the time you're midway through the second half, you've entirely lost count. In the case of a Southend United vs Canvey Island televised cup tie, even he lost count as to who he had booked and when, by showing a 'second' yellow card to a player who hadn't been booked. Oh how we laughed!
Then there was the match in January 2011 at Hillsborough saw a 2-2 draw that ramped up his reputation for the more modern Yeovil Town supporter, who might not have appreciated why us old-timers rant'n'rave every time his name gets mentioned. This game was littered with seven yellow cards being raised, two red cards, and a twice taken (and missed) penalty. On that night, it was at times like watching one of those motorway pile-ups, where you realise that once one car crashes, that it's going to release a horrible chain of events. On 53 minutes, not a single card had been raised, but in the remaining 37 minutes, you needed a calculator to keep up with what was going on.
The red card for Luke Ayling was a typical Kettle dismissal - the majority of League One referees would not have considered raising a second yellow, giving the player one last chance on what wasn't a particularly bad tackle, but no, off he went. Equally, the Giles Coke twice-taken spot kick on the video showed the major encroachment actually came from Yeovil players and not from the Owls, so we got a bit lucky there. Even though there were no complaints on Adam Virgo's red card for a professional foul, the general feel of the night was that this was a Kettlesque performance.
We then had him three months later against Oldham Athletic at Huish Park. We're not sure if the Latics had done their homework on the official, but they seemed to do rather a lot of trying to wind things up, combined with the odd dodgy tumble inside the box to see if Our Trev would bite. He didn't on that count, but still managed to raise his yellow card seven times, including sending poor old Luke Ayling from the field for a second time.
Where would you like to be on Valentines Day? We spent 2012, with our One True Love, as we journeyed to play Wycombe Wanderers. This romantic encounter was never a dirty game, but Mr Kettle was in the mood for handing out cards to those he loved - providing eight players across both teams a memento of their floodlit evening. We're not sure if we should praise him or heckle him for the fact that the Glovers had to take off Gavin Williams during that game to stop him from being sent off. In most other circumstances Gav wouldn't have been in danger - to be fair to the referee, he apparently did tell the Glovers bench that Gavin's next foul would see him leave the field, thus inviting us to get Gavin off before he did. He also managed to conjure up seven minutes of second half injury time in a game where the physios had barely entered the field of play.
On Tuesday 12th March 2013, we were left almost disappointed. The Football League's website had quite firmly stated that Mr Kettle would be joining us for the evening home game against Crawley Town. By the time we got to kick-off, his name had been replaced by James Adcock. Mr Adcock had a game so bad that a number of people still assumed it was Our Trev as they abused Adcock with Kettle-heckles, but mercifully he was sat at home watching TV.
However, he made his mighty return later that year for the August 2013 fixture against Reading during our year in the Championship. With 13 minutes remaining of a gutsy Glovers performance, Luke Ayling and Adam Le Fondre did battle close to the home terrace touchline, and with the ball looking like it was about to run out of play, Le Fondre went own. The Whistling Kettle decided to do his thing and award the penalty that won the game for the Royals. Watching back on the match video, the decision looked horrifically soft, and manager Gary Johnson berated the decision:
"I'm gutted for the lads because they've had that great performance taken away from them by that particular decision. And if you give that decision as it was, then you've got to give the one at the other end (when Michael Ngoo went down in the box), because in my opinion they are exactly the same. This particular referee likes to give penalties on occasions and is very quick to give them. I just think that sometimes you have to think about it for a couple of seconds. I'm going home pleased with my team, but a little bit angry with how the game has been won."
It seems that in the matches that have followed since 2016, Trevor has been growing wise to our critiques of his refereeing. Or at least we assume so, because for the match against Dagenham and Redbridge at Victoria Road - a vital six-pointer in which he could have easily stepped in and become the star of the show - he actually had a good unobtrusive game, with just one late yellow card and very little input into the game of note. He was rather more visible for the April 2017 game against Carlisle United - where he was the man that dismissed Ben Whitfield from the field of play. The challenge on Tom Miller looked more accidental than vicious, but when a crowd of opposition players all surround Kettle after a controversial incident, you know the red card is coming out. To be fair, if it wasn't him in charge, we probably would have nodded in agreement.
We had him twice during the 2017-18 season. The first was in September 2017, when he took charge of the League Two match against Crawley Town. In all honesty, he didn't have a big impact on the match, even if he lived on the edge with seven bookings, that left you wondering who had and hadn't been booked. We didn't have a good day, losing the match 2-0, and Kettle stopped us from getting back into the match late on after he blew up during a goalmouth scramble, but despite our green-tinted spectacles we thought Crawley's keeper had been fouled. It wasn't a particularly good day, but the officials didn't come into that. He then took charge of the April 2018 match against Swindon Town at the County Ground. There he was unusually restrained - a rather robust challenge by Omar Sowunmi just before half time led to a melee that usually results in Our Trev raising a red or two - instead he just dished out two yellows, and otherwise stayed out of the game. The most recent meeting was a September EFL Trophy home game against Exeter City. Most fans couldn't be bothered with the competition, and it seems as though on this occasion Trevor wasn't too fussed either. As a result we got through a local derby without a single booking for either team.
If you think it's just Yeovil Town matches that he does this for, then you'd be wrong. In February 2017, he took charge of the League Two match between Cambridge United and Newport County. During that game he awarded a penalty, and gave a red card to Newport's Mitchell Rose late on during the match. Whilst they couldn't appeal against the penalty itself, Newport successfully appealed against the red card dished out to Rose, and were successful in doing so. However, Kettle still had the last laugh - during the incident, Rose had knocked the red card out of Kettle's hand with it dropping to the floor, and so Rose was charged by the FA for misconduct. The end result was that he received a five match ban for that part of the incident, penalising him for a card that the FA agreed should never have been raised.
Mr Kettle will be aided and abetted by Steven Plane (Worcestershire) and Samuel Ogles (Hampshire). The Fourth Official will be Marc Whaley (Devon).
Link: January 2011 : Sheffield Wednesday 2 Yeovil Town 2.
Link: April 2011 : Yeovil Town 1 Oldham Athletic 1.
Link: February 2012 : Wycombe Wanderers 2 Yeovil Town 3.
Link: August 2013 : Yeovil Town 0 Reading 1.
Link: February 2016 : Dagenham and Redbridge 0 Yeovil Town 1.
Link: April 2017 : Yeovil Town 0 Carlisle United 2.
Link: September 2017 : Crawley Town 2 Yeovil Town 0.
Link: April 2018 : Swindon Town 2 Yeovil Town 2.
Link: September 2018 : Yeovil Town 0 Exeter City 0.
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