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Ref Watch ........ Burton (A)


Life President
Oct 28, 2003
Tomorrow's referee is a bald man from the armed forces, which will not please everybody! However he's not the worst example of that ilk (damned with faint praise?).

Man in charge will be 48 year old, Darren Drysdale from Lincolnshire. A sergeant in the RAF, on the human resources side, he began refereeing in 1988, officiating in the Northern Alliance and Northern Premier League, became an assistant referee for the Football League in 1996, and in 1997 progressed to being a Conference North referee. In 1998 he was appointed as an assistant referee for the Premier League, and two years later was given the honour of being an assistant referee to Graham Poll in the 2000 FA Cup Final, he also became a FIFA assistant referee in the same year. In 2002, he became a UEFA assistant referee, one of only three from the UK at the time. He was appointed to the Football League List of referees in 2004.

He attracted some media attention in 2007 after Bradford City's Dean Windass received a five-match ban for swearing at him in the car park after a home game against Brentford. He was dropped from the list a couple of years later and is now in his second spell as a League referee. Apparently he used to drive a top of the range Bentley with personalised number plates.

He made the headlines a couple of seasons back for a better reason when he assisted a player who had swallowed his tongue in the match at Morecambe.

We have seen little of him over his 13 years; just 12 matches the last few of which went okay until this season’s match at Wycombe when we contrived to get no points from a match we were winning 3-2 in the 89th minute. Just two yellows in that match – Bishop and Lennon. Then came last season’s Checkatrade at Luton which we drew 1-1. A caution for Yearwood and 3 of theirs. There were two matches the season before - the win at Walsall when he booked four of theirs and the game's only goalscorer, Cox and then the Boxing Day 3-1 win over Charlton when he booked Oxley, Coker, Leonard and Ranger but not our double goalscorer Cox. He also booked two of theirs including their sub, Lennon, who played the whole second half without getting injured.

Before that was the disappointing home defeat against Chesterfield in 2015/16. A yellow for Coker and 2 of theirs. Phil Brown "slammed" the referee for a penalty decision. Others, including Adam Barrett, slammed Phil Brown for his tactics.

The one before that was far from his best. It was the 2014/15 home draw with Bury when he cautioned Prosser, Worrall, Payne and Binnon-Williams along with 3 of theirs.

Prior to that, the most recent match was 2013/14's Friday night 3-0 victory over Mansfield which also turned into a bit of a cardfest with a red for Clifford and two reds and three yellows for them. A difficult match to referee and he did what he had to do reasonably well.

Previously it was the unforgettable Cup replay at Brentford, when he (and Smith) did rather well. One caution for Prosser. He rushed to congratulate Smith at the final whistle.

Before that it was the 3-2 away win at Bristol Rovers in 2012/13 when any criticism would have centred on a slightly soft penalty. He sent off one of theirs and booked Tomlin and Phillips. Before that he brought the curtain down on the season before with the home play-off match against Crewe which, of course, we drew 2-2. Four cautions - one for us (Grant) and 3 for them including a controversial one for simulation.

Previously, it was a 3-2 home defeat by Coventry in 2006/7 (2 yellows apiece; Maher & Guttridge) and the 2-1 win at Port Vale the following season when Macca got the winner (we shaded the yellows 3-2; Clarke, Bailey and Macca).

Card count was decidedly average last season with 129 yellows and 6 reds from 38 matches. He has started this season with a somewhat higher 72 yellows and 1 red from 20 games.

Assisting will be ex-Aston Villa ball-girl and one time mascot at the 1999 UEFA Cup Winners Cup Final between Lazio and Mallorca, Lisa Rashid from Birmingham. The other Assistant, making his Southend debut, is Conor Brown, a passionate supporter of Rochdale AFC and employed by Manchester FA as the Referee Duty of Care and Appointments Officer. Another Southend debutant stands by as Fourth Official – Wade Smith from Stockport.