First Burnley game for referee Madley at Birmingham

22 November 2011 10:44
Ossett schoolteacher Bobby Madley will referee Burnley's game at St. Andrew's tonight against Birmingham City and it will be the first time he's refereed either club.

Madley's brother Andy is also now on the Football League referees list but previously both have officiated as assistants in the Premier League and Bobby remains the youngest ever Premier League official.

When he refereed his first Football League game, the League Two fixture between Bury and Port Vale on the opening day of last season, he was just 24 and takes tonight's game less than a month after his 26th birthday.

He's a referee who has been earmarked and it would be no surprise to see him elevated to the Premier League very quickly.

That almost suggests we've got a young referee tonight who may well be somewhat over keen with his cards but evidence suggest not. Last season, his first, saw him issue 53 yellow cards and 5 red cards in 27 games.

In terms of yellow cards that's just under two per game and he's virtually continued with that ratio this season with 28 yellows and a solitary red in 13 games.

Of those yellow cards, 16 have gone to home team players and 12 to away team players whilst the one red card was shown to Everton's Jose Baxter playing on loan for Tranmere in their 4-2 defeat at Scunthorpe.

Madley's last game was last Saturday's League One game between Wycombe and Bournemouth, won 1-0 by Bournemouth. There were four yellow cards in that game, Wycombe's Stuart Lewis and Leon Johnson along with Bournemouth's Scott Malone and Wes Fogden.

The assistant referees are Mathew Buonassisi (Northamptonshire) and Amy Fearn (Leicestershire). The fourth official is Guy Stretton (Leicestershire).

One of those assistants, Amy Fearn, has twice carried out the duties in Burnley games previously, both against Sheffield United at Bramall Lane. At that time she officiated under her maiden name of Amy Rayner.

She became the first woman ever to referee in the Football League in February 2010 when she stood in for the injured Tony Bates for the last 20 minutes of Coventry's home game against Nottingham Forest. That's a far cry from the day when then Luton boss Mike Newell said of her: "She shouldn't be here. I know that sounds sexist but I am sexist. This is not park football, so what are women doing here?"