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Life President
Oct 28, 2003
As we go for our 4th consecutive win at Oxford, tomorrow's man in charge is fourth year League referee, Darren Handley from Bolton who made it on to the League list in 2014 after 6 years of Conference officiating. He is 40 and a PE teacher at Tottington High School.

He has refereed Southend five times before. Firstly the 2014/15 home 0-0 draw with Plymouth when there was just one yellow for them. He did okay in that game.

Then he brought the curtain down on his first season with our late, late 1-0 win at Exeter. Just one caution again, this time for Barrett.

Next came the 2015/16 2-2 draw at Coventry when he cautioned White, Atkinson, Hunt and Mooney (the latter two also being our goalscorers) and a couple of home players.

Then, also in 2015/16 he took charge of our fine 2-0 win at Barnsley who went on to get promoted. A very early goal from Payne and a very late one from Timlin clinched matters. Two yellows apiece, Bentley and Wordsworth for us.

We didn't see him last season although he was in charge of that vital game between Bristol Rovers and Millwall on the last day of the season. I blame the "lino" more than him.

Finally he took charge of our 4-1 defeat at Doncaster earlier this season. Yellows for Oxley, Bwomono, White and a generous one for Wordsworth which could easily have been red and also two of theirs. He saved his red card for Ferdinand at the final whistle for offensive, insulting or abusive language.

Despite that game at Doncaster, his card showing is decidedly average with 112 yellows and 6 reds to show for his 37 games this season so far. Those games this season have been League One, League Two and a very high 6 Checkatrades but he did get a few Championship games before the full-time referees took over.

One Assistant will be Ben Cobb from Poole, making his Southend debut. The other is ex-Aston Villa ballgirl and one time mascot at the 1999 UEFA Cup Winners Cup Final between Lazio and Mallorca, Lisa Rashid from Birmingham. Just so as you'll be able to distinquish between the two, here's a picture:


Fourth official will be Londoner, Matt Foley.