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Life President
Oct 28, 2003
On Saturday, we return after 47 years and 5 days to the scene of one of our best FA Cup victories. We had coasted the first two rounds with a combined winning margin of 18 goals and then got drawn at Swindon in the 3rd round. They were high flyers in the third division, only off the top due to games in hand and unbeaten at home for nearly a year; we were 8th in the fourth division. In front of nearly 19,000 we deservedly won 2-0 with goals from Best and Hamilton. They went on to secure promotion, along with Watford, and, even more impressively, beat Arsenal in the League Cup final.
The song of the day was from a Dave Davies hit ..... let's all drink to the death of a town.

Anyway, enough nostalgia. The man in charge of Saturday's fixture is Graham Salisbury from Preston. The second oldest and most experienced official, he is in his fifties and in his 15th season on the list. Not quite as old as Nigel Miller.

He has enjoyed a reputation as a steady journeyman official who was never going to make it to the top, but a safe pair of hands at Football League level. He has refereed Southend just eight times before. That important end of season game at Grimsby (1-1) in 2004/5 (which ended rather abruptly) and the match at Luton (lost 1-0) in 2007/8 when one of Luton's players cautioned was Anthony Grant. More recently he paid his first visit to Roots Hall in 2010/11 for the home defeat by Shrewsbury, marked by an unusually high level of tolerance. He did eventually caution Mohsni and Matt Harrold and another of theirs.

His fourth match went rather well on all counts. It was the 2011/12 away win at Rotherham when even Gilbert scored in a 4-0 victory. No cards were shown at all.

Then he did 2012/13 away 2-1 defeat at York with a caution for Cresswell and a couple of theirs and next the 2013/14 0-0 draw at Bristol Rovers cautioning 3 of theirs and John White.

Penultimately, he did last season's late visit to Hartlepool when a rare Will Atkinson goal was enough to secure all 3 points. Cautions for Barratt and Worrall and one of theirs.

Finally he took charge of our disappointing defeat at Chesterfield this season, where I thought he did okay. We were overwhelmed by a surprisingly good Chesterfield side. Surprising because that was their only win in a run of 12 home games. Caution for the Pig and a couple of theirs.

His last match at Swindon was over 7 years ago when they lost at home to Yeovil.

It was widely thought that each of the last few seasons would be his last, but he is still going strong with 22 matches so far this season. His card count has, by his standards, risen to 69 yellows and 5 reds and his matches include just three Championship appointments.

Assisting will be Mark Pottage from Wincanton and black official, Dave Bushell from London. Fourth Official is Mark Mellor, another oldie, from Hemel Hempstead who I saw have a wretched match at Tilbury in the FA Cup earlier this season.
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