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Ref Watch ......... Gillingham (H)


Life President
Oct 28, 2003
League matches between the two teams have gone just slightly more Gillingham's way with 39 wins to our 36 (26 drawn) - not helped by a six-year spell in the 80s when we shipped 5 goals twice and 8 once. Our “2-0 double” over them last season brought us near to parity but we slipped further behind at Priestfield in October.

Anyway, tomorrow's man in charge is the loose cannon that is Trevor Kettle. Or, rather, ex Wing Commander Trevor Kettle who used to work for the RAF and Ministry of Defence (worrying thought for those who've seen him referee). His Armed Forces days are behind him and he now works as the Sales Director for a firm of precision engineers in Melton Mowbray.

This will be his second Southend match of the season, the first being our defeat at Sunderland by just the odd goal - just a yellow for Hopper and two of theirs; a quiet day for him.

His most recent Southend home match was last season’s win over Scunthorpe. We got all the goals, they got all the cards (3 yellows and a red) so all good there!

Before that was the miserable midweek away defeat at Luton earlier last season. Yellows for Demetriou and Hyam plus one of theirs.

He brought the curtain down on our away schedule 2017/18 at Bradford (a match he did for the second year running). Again all was good - a win and no cards.

The season before he did three Southend matches starting with that first match at Bradford for our midweek 1-1 draw booking our goalscorer, Wordsworth and a couple of theirs. Then came our 1-1 home draw with Oxford in that ever so low key Checkatrade match - caution for Timlin and 2 of theirs.

Then came the 2-0 defeat at Bristol Rovers where he cautioned one of theirs and Ferdinand, Atkinson, Demetriou and Cox.

He also brought the curtain down on 2015/16 when (on the advice of an Assistant) he awarded a contentious, but not necessarily wrong, match-winning penalty in the last minute of the last match of last season. A couple of yellows, Worrall and Mooney, and a trip to the stands for Phil Brown.

Before those came the 2015/16 defeat at Burton when a solitary Prosser o.g. produced our first ever defeat with Kettle in charge. Two yellows apiece, ours went to Leonard and Wordsworth.

Previously it was the season before's comfortable home win (2-0) against Carlisle; a bit of an anti-climax on the Kettle front with just one yellow card for them.

Before that his last two visits to the Hall were co-incidentally both against Cheltenham. Firstly when he was good enough to send off one of theirs early on in our 4-0 win in 2011/12 and more recently 2013/14 last when a late, late penalty earned Cheltenham a point. Yellows for Prosser, Corr and Straker and one of theirs.

This is his 17th season as a League referee and his matches have been littered with controversy and condemnation throughout. I am sure there is not the slightest truth in the rumour that he only obtained and retained his position by virtue of his marriage to the daughter of the man who used to be in charge of Football League referees (Mr Ashworth). A referee noted for extreme over-reactions and maverick decisions. His general decision making has varied between random and perverse.

This is his 28th Southend match and we have a good overall record with him in charge (won 15, drawn 7, lost 5), although all five defeats were relatively recently.

However his matches have not been uneventful and include:

11/12 Cheltenham H – sent off one of theirs
11/12 AFC Wimbledon A - sent off one of theirs
10/11 Barnet A - not great - booked Hall & Easton
09/10 Brentford H - not great - booked Macca
09/10 Orient H decent game - booked Macca
08/09 Stockport H - sent off Harding
07/08 Oxford H - 8 yellows
07/08 Oldham A - sent off Richards (successfully appealed)
06/07 WBA H - 7 yellows
05/06 Bradford A - sent off one of theirs
05/06 Bournemouth H - sent off one of theirs
03/04 Canvey H - 5 yellows
03/04 Canvey A - 8 yellows and sent off Warren
03/04 Carlisle H - just 2 yellows but it was one of his first matches

He has actually had a couple of reasonable matches, especially a couple of seasons ago, when I have seen him, but needless to say these have been few and far between. His most recent away games before Burton were 2012/13 win at Aldershot (4 yellows, only Straker for us) and, in the same season our win at Wycombe in which he cautioned both of our forward pairing of Corr and Assombalonga.

His yellow card count has dropped slightly as his career nears a conclusion, too slowly for my liking. He’s still pretty hot with the red card though.

This season he has shown a high 90 yellows and an even higher 9 reds from 24 matches.

He comes to Southend fresh from a cardless match at Grimsby on Saturday, his first cardless League match for nigh on 2 years (our game at Bradford). The last season he had two consecutive cardless matches was 2006/7 so long odds on a repeat tomorrow.

Senior Assistant is Alasdair Ross who I believe is the very experienced Scottish official who has assisted in a number of top matches north of the border. He’s working in London now so picking up some matches down here. Other Assistant is regular visitor, Nicholas Cooper from Ipswich. Paul Kelly, who I used to describe as “from Gillingham” will be standing by as Fourth Official. I will now say he’s from Rochester and may as well travel on their team coach and save Ron a few quid on expenses.