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Life President
Oct 28, 2003
Continuing our series of "We haven't won at ...... since ....", we don't have the best of records in Newport. We have won just once in 50 years and that was over 35 years ago when our 2-1 victory brought the curtain down on our successful 1977/8 promotion campaign. We only conceded 21 away goals that season, which I'm sure must be a club record - it certainly wasn't eclipsed in our defensively superb 1980/81 season.

Tomorrow sees the 96th match between the two teams with honours largely even to date.

Referee for this match is Keith Hill from Hertfordshire. He was the FA's Regional Referees Manager for the East of England but spent a couple of years in Japan on some refereeing mission. He is now back and in his second full season of the resumption of his Football League career.

He has been refereeing since he was fourteen. Promoted to the National List of Assistant referees in 1994 and served for a further three seasons as a SG assistant referee before being promoted to the Referees List in 1998. His career appointments include refereeing a semi-final of the FA Trophy, and being appointed as 4th Official on the 2002 Game of Unity in Kabul.

He is in his 16th season and is, in my opinion, way past his best (which wasn't very good anyway). I'm sure his previous position had much to do with his extended run on the list as better officials seem to have been culled during this time. I did sometimes wonder if he benefited from positive discrimination.

This will be his 22nd League and Cup match in charge of Southend. By and large, we have done quite well with him in charge winning far more than losing. His matches have generally been littered with pickiness, inconsistency and plenty of cards, some justified. He was more than capable of whistling any football match to death. It appears, however, that he is now taking a much more laid back approach - after 6 years without a cardless match, he had two in a row early last season, but none since ! His 11 matches thus far have seen an around average 34 yellows and 1 reds.

He was in charge of the splendid win at Portsmouth last season, showing 2 yellows to them and a red to Woodrow and yellow to Prosser and later last season took charge of our disappointing home draw with Hartlepool - cautions for Philips and Leonard and one of theirs.

Before that his last Southend home match was the home draw with Rotherham towards the end of 2012/13 (2 yellows each) and previously the home win against Oxford 2010/11. Three yellows apiece and a red for them.

Preceded by the 1-0 home defeat (penalty) by Oldham the season before that. Before that the rearranged match against Scunthorpe; and just previous to that a couple of weeks earlier when he called off the same match seconds before the scheduled kick off.

He also did Yeovil away that season.

"Highlights" of his Southend matches: the home defeat by Kingstonian in the Cup (Roget off), home win over Darlington (Searle off), the more recent away defeat at Palace (one of his more ok games) and the ever so forgetable 0-0 draw at Oxford in the Cup.

Assistants are newly promoted Brian Durie from Tewkesbury and Paul Hobday from Tipton who also ran the line at Cheltenham just a few weeks ago. Fourth Official is Derek Eaton, also from Tewkwsbury.