Mason has the derby whistle
Bolton referee Lee Mason has refereed Burnley games against both Preston North End and Blackpool but tomorrow is tasked with officiating at our biggest derby game against Blackburn Rovers.
It's fair to say that Mason, now 41, didn't make the best of starts with his first Burnley game. His performance in our home defeat against Preston in December 2007 was as bad as anything we've seen from a referee in recent years.
It started with his failure to spot the deliberate hand ball on the line by Matt Hill and ended with us finishing the game with nine men. Between, there had been countless bad decisions and left Mason has public enemy number one.
After the game, recently appointed Burnley manager Owen Coyle said: "I would love to talk about football, but I think everyone saw what happened with their own eyes. From the second minute that was a clear penalty. The boy has actually extended his arm and it was so obvious that I thought I even heard Stevie Wonder shout 'penalty' in the stands behind me."
That was a couple of weeks short of five years ago and Mason has refereed us on five occasions since. A year later he refereed the same game and, if anything, lent towards us, but in those five subsequent games we've had no real problems.
Such was that first performance he went straight to the bottom of the fledgling RATE THE REF table with a rating of just 17.46 out of 100. To his credit, from a total of six games, he's now reached 46th place with a rating of 54.61 out of 100.
It will be a big surprise if tomorrow's game is card free, that's a rarity for Mason, but he doesn't overuse his red card and the last player he sent off was Shaun Derry in QPR's 2-0 Premier League defeat at Manchester United in April, a somewhat controversial decision. QPR appealed that decision but the FA upheld it, a decision Derry described as ridiculous.
This season he's refereed 12 games, nine in the Premier League, two in the Capital One Cup and the Championship game between Brighton and Leeds in which he awarded three penalties.
In those games there have been a total of 49 yellow cards, just about four per game, with that total boosted with nine in the COCUP tie between Chelsea and Manchester United.
Of those cards, 20 have gone to home team players and 29 to away team players. It was the away team who suffered in his last game which was the Premier League encounter between Swansea and West Brom that was won by Swansea.
Swansea had no cards in this game but four West Brom players received yellow cards, namely, Gareth McAuley, Chris Brunt, Jonas Olsson and Billy Jones.
The assistant referees tomorrow are Simon Bennett (Staffordshire) and Sian Massey (West Midlands). The fourth official is Premier League referee Mike Dean (Wirral) who refereed our home win against Peterborough earlier this season.
Previous Burnley GamesSeason Opponents V Res Y R Burnley Players Carded 2007/08 Preston North End h 2-3 2 2 n McCann, Gudjonsson n Elliott 2008/09 Preston North End h 3-1 4 1 2008/09 Blackpool a 1-0 5 0 n Kalvenes, McDonald 2009/10 Liverpool a 0-4 2 0 n Jordan Eagles 2009/10 Wigan Athletic h 1-3 2 0 n Carlisle, Alexander 2011/12 Barnsley a 0-2 1 0
Source: Clarets Mad
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