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Life President
Oct 28, 2003
League matches against Blackpool are nicely balanced at seven wins each (with two draws) but we have won four out of our last five home matches against them.

Saturday's referee is Graham Horwood from Luton, in his 7th year as a League referee and refereeing his 10th Southend game. It will be his fourth Southend match in around 12 months and it's fair to say two of the other three did not go well for us!

His six and a bit years of League service are either side of a two year gap when he was demoted for performance reasons.

His first visit to Roots Hall last season was to preside over the start and end of our Cup run. That shocking Chester match saw a hefty number of yellows, 4 a piece. Ours went to Binnom-Williams, Sokolik, White and Timlin. Towards the end of last season he presided over our 1-0 home win over Tranmere on their way out of the League. Yellow for Bolger and 3 of theirs.

In between those matches he was in charge of our game at Wycombe, where we were very much second best. The sending off of Binnom-Williams was probably correct. Yellows went to O'Toole and Deegan and a couple of theirs.

His only other Southend match since his re-instatement was the pre-Christmas, Friday night game 2013/14 against Rochdale which finished 1-1. It was 1-1 on yellow cards too - Leonard got ours and ex-blue Lund, theirs. He did okay.

During his period of de-selection he appeared in Southend matches on a couple of occasions as an Assistant. Before that, his previous four visits to Roots Hall as a referee weren't too bad. The most recent was the final home game of 2008/9 against Cheltenham. The other three were Hereford in the same season and Rochdale in the cup and Bournemouth in the League the year before that. So, Chester apart, we have a very decent home record with this official. The only match of these with a significant number of cards was the Rochdale Cup game where they had 4 yellows to our one. Le Fondre scored for them; Bailey and Harrold for us.

Since those he refereed the 1-0 defeat at Aldershot 2010/11 when we shaded the yellows 3-2.

A referee who will probably never rise above the level of those making up the numbers, he started the season late and has refereed just four games, showing a highish 17 yellows and no red as yet. They are easing him up gradually, quality wise, his last two League matches being at Orient and then, last week, at Colchester. I recall a lot of complaints about him on Essex Radio last Saturday when I was driving back from a game.

One Assistant will be Ian Rathbone from the whimsically named Semilong in Northamptonshire. It is to be hoped Mr Rathbone will be able to detect all the offsides that come his way. Other Assistant is Sam Purkiss from Highbury who once sent off 5 home players in a Ryman League match that was subsequently abandoned. No blame was attributed to him. Carl Brook from St Leonards-on-Sea will be doing the 4th official stuff.