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Life President
Oct 28, 2003
Happy New Year, one and all !!

For the first refwatch of 2017 we go to a ground where we haven't always got the best of a number of poor refereeing decisions.

The referee for tomorrow is relatively inexperienced in only his third season as a League referee. He is Bristol-born Kevin Johnson from Weston-Super-Mare, a shaven-headed 40 year old who works in property maintenance.

The former Bristol Evening Post newspaper printer was promoted to the Football League National panel of referees at the start of the 2014/15 season following six seasons in the middle for Conference games.

He began officiating during his late teens in the Bristol and Suburban and Gloucestershire County Leagues before taking charge of Western League and Southern League fixtures. A little later he progressed up the ladder to assistant referee with the Conference National before being given an opportunity eight seasons ago to referee at that level. His hopes of further progression were hampered by a persistent calf muscle injury which affected him during 2010/12, a condition he appears to have shaken off for good.

His first two seasons in the League went reasonably well, with a few Championship appointments. His card count has been decidedly average throughout. Thus far this season his 17 games have seen 53 yellows and 2 reds. He has been okay, or better, when I've seen him.

His last Southend match was back in October at Roots Hall for the 1-0 win over Chesterfield (Thompson got the goal and Coker and Leonard got our two yellow cards - to their one). He had a decent game.

Before that came the away game at Peterborough last season, a goalless draw when he was somewhat embarrassed by the incredible exhibition of semaphore flag waving by one of his assistants. That match saw yellows for Bolger and Hendrie but no home players.

Previously came two more home games. Firstly, 2014/15's home match against Shrewsbury when we won, and all the cards (4 yellows and a red) were shown to the visitors. Unsurprisingly there were few complaints.

Then last season he took charge of our home win over Scunthorpe, again few complaints with our only yellow going to Deegan and three for the visitors. So an unbeaten record with Mr Johnson.

Assisting are Wayne Barratt from Worcester (who got the opportunity to referee a League match at Portsmouth last year when the match referee went off injured) and Louis Marks previously from Waterlooville but now employed as a manager at Bedfordshire FA. Fourth Official is Dumitru-Ravel Cheosiaua from Redditch, the Referees Appointments Officer for Worcestershire FA.