Saturday's match against Oldham Athletic will be looked after by referee Michael Oliver (Northumberland). Michael is one of the youngest referees on the circuit and is around 22/23 years old. He comes though with plenty of experience in the family - father Clive is also on the Football League's referee list. Unsurprisingly, Michael is the youngest referee in the Football League and is regarded as a potential high-flyer given the head start he has got on many of his counterparts.
Having had dad take charge of Yeovil games for a number of away games, Oliver Jnr's first time in charge of a Yeovil match came in February 2008 when he was the man in the middle for the away game at Walsall. He did OK, although we did grumble a touch at the lack of protection he gave to Glovers keeper Steve Mildenhall, who was receiving some rather over-physical challenges following an earlier injury. Mildy didn't finish the game and we lost 2-0.
Michael only joined the Football League's list of referees at the start of the 2007-08 season, having been an assistant referee prior to that. He made history in August 2005 when he assisted his father in a match between Rotherham United and Port Vale - the first father-son partnership in the history of the Football League. That match bizarrely saw both men head off to the game in separate cars, despite Michael still living at his father's home - Football League rules instruct officials not to car-share in case of any problems when travelling to the game.
Mr Oliver also gained a notable notch on his CV at the tail end of the 2006-07 season when he took charge of the Exeter City vs Morecambe Conference Play-Off Final at Wembley. Despite his youth, the authorities have been happy to chuck him in the deep end and earlier this season he was at Anfield, taking charge of a Liverpool League Cup match against Crewe Alexandra. His last match was on Tuesday night when he dealt with Preston North End's match against Watford without resorting to use of his cards.
Mr Oliver will be assisted by Scott Duncan (Tyne and Wear) and Robert Jones (Cheshire). The Fourth Official will be Paul Graham (Greater Manchester).
Link: February 2008 : Walsall 2 Yeovil Town 0.
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