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Life President
Oct 28, 2003
Well, this is the 54th and final Refwatch of the extended season.

Ten years ago, we were in the League Two Playoff Final. The referee in charge on that occasion, Martin Atkinson, was refereeing a European Champions League semi-final a couple of weeks ago and in a week’s time he will be refereeing the Europa League Final.

Will we, in 10 years , be looking at Saturday’s referee enjoying similar success? I personally doubt it, but you never know.

The man in charge at Wembley will be Simon Hooper from Swindon refereeing Southend for the fifth time in his 7th season as a League referee. On Swindon’s books as a junior he was released at the age of 16 and turned his attentions towards refereeing. He also represented Wiltshire at tennis and athletics in his younger days.

His most recent Southend match was the unfortunate match at Mansfield last season when we lost 2-1 and had Clifford sent off along with yellows for Bentley, White and Barnard. Phil Brown went very public with his criticism of the referee on this occasion.

Before that it was the early season home draw with Northampton in 2011/12 - yellows for Mohsni, Grant and Phillips and 2 yellows and a red for them. His previous visit to Roots Hall was the match against Brighton (0-1) which I believe sealed our relegation in 2009/10. Only a yellow apiece, ours went to Moussa.

The other match was a win at Hereford, as always, in 2008/9 with all four yellows going to the home team.

He was also 4th Official at the away leg of our Orient JPT triumph en route to our last visit to Wembley.

His card count is decidedly average with 124 yellows and 4 reds from a high 38 matches. Eleven of his last 14 matches have been Championship appointments and mostly key matches which is an indication of the esteem in which he is held. His last match was Bury’s promotion clincher at Tranmere.

Graham Scott, who in my opinion refereed the Stevenage home match very well, has been given a token day out at Wembley after all as 4th Official (he would have done the League One Final had Swindon not been in it.)

Assisting are Billy Smallwood from Northwich who, as a Premiership linesman, has been seen regularly on TV making horrendous mistakes and Jonathan Hunt (no, not that one!) from Liverpool.

We also get a “reserve lino” for this one and doing the job for the second time in a week at Wembley is Martin Coy from Durham. Those of us who were sat behind him at Morecambe a couple of weeks back might be wondering if he was deserving of one such appointment, let alone two.