Michael Oliver to become Premier League's youngest ever referee
The 25-year-old Northumberland-based official will replace Stuart Atwell in the record books when he takes charges of Birmingham City's game against Blackburn Rovers at St Andrew's on Saturday. "When you start out you want to progress to the Premier League and as you progress through the ranks it becomes a realistic possibility," said Oliver, whose father, Clive, is also a full-time referee. Related ArticlesBirmingham City v Blackburn Rovers: match previewBeckham a Blackburn targetAllardyce 'set for £100m transfer windfall'Blackburn close to £300m takeoverBlackburn boss looks for improvement as his side welcome Everton for the openerTransfer Talk"I'm the same as anyone else because you want to go as far as you can in any profession and I am delighted to be selected, as it is the pinnacle of refereeing in this country. "My first step is to have a solid 12 months and progress from there. In the long-term various things are possible but my first step is to get on and be solid throughout." It will be the latest record to be set by Oliver who is the youngest referee in Conference and the Football League, the youngest to referee a match at the rebuilt Wembley Stadium and youngest Premier League fourth official. Attwell was 25 years and 322 days old when he took charge of Blackburn's 1-1 draw with Hull in Aug 2008. Father Clive, who with Michael is thought to have formed the first father-and-son team of officials in British football five years ago, is confident his son will thrive under the glare of the Premier League spotlight. "I am very proud of him," Clive Oliver said. "Michael is very good at man-management. He is as prepared as he possibly can be. "Nobody knows what is around the corner but he has a good few years' experience. "If he was a 25-year-old player, no one would say anything. He has 11 years' experience, five years refereeing adults, and he has been to Wembley three times. "He has spent some time as a fourth official in the Premier League and that is all good experience for him, watching top referees. They are all miked up now, so you get to hear everything. "When it (the major mistake) happens he is family so we will close ranks on him." Oliver junior, who was on Newcastle's books as a schoolboy before concentrating on refereeing, will be returning to the scene of his most high-profile decisions this weekend. "He has not had many huge incidents - probably the biggest was giving a penalty and sending the goalkeeper off at Birmingham just before the play-offs two years ago," Clive Oliver added. "TV cameras proved it happened just outside the box, but he should have been sent off. "It was picked up because it was a crucial time of the season, but any referee can have them. Two incidents in different games do not get treated the same, and that is correct. "It is down to the tempo of the game and the situation. You have to work out how the players tick and how best to deal with them. "Howard Webb came out of the World Cup final with lots of good press, but if you just watched clips on video you would say he got some of the decisions wrong." Michael Oliver, who hails from Ashington, was due to break Attwell's record in January only for the match between Fulham and Portsmouth to be postponed, and then injury sidelined him when the game was re-arranged. "He has coped with it all well," Clive Oliver added. He knew he had a problem with his ankle, he just did not know what it was. "He would have refereed that Fulham game with a broken ankle, but the diagnosis was made a few weeks later and now it has been operated on. "The Premier League told him not to rush back. He has another year under his belt now and he will be better for it. "It is probably not much more than ten (Premier League) games since he was due to make his debut."
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