Fast track referee at Crewe

Last updated : 24 December 2004 By Tony Scholes

He joined the Football League list at the start of the 2003/04 season and had, in terms of cards, a quiet season with 61 yellow and 3 red cards in 26 games. There were strong suggestions that he was rated and that he was being fast tracked to the top.

He started his second season back in August with a League One game between Tranmere and Hartlepool when he sent off Tranmere youngster Chris Dagnall for over celebrating a goal in his side’s 2-1 win.

That didn’t hold him back and on 18th September, just over a year after his first Football League match, he was referee for the Premiership fixture between Crystal Palace and KKMC at Selhurst Park.

He’s had one more Premiership game since – Middlesbrough v Portsmouth – but he is expected to take the full step up to the elite list next season.

There’s no doubt he hasn’t got there because of card waving and again this season there are no signs he has gone over the top with 49 yellows and 3 reds in 19 games. The other two red cards both came when Doncaster won 3-1 at Barnsley. Jacob Burns of Barnsley and Doncaster’s Ricky Ravenhill were sent off in separate incidents.

The yellow cards have been distributed evenly with 25 to home players and 24 to away players.

There has been little said about him although he did have a poor game in the recent Lancashire derby between Wigan and Preston when he gave the impression he didn’t understand when to give penalties and when not to give them.

But for us, it will be the first time we have seen Martin Atkinson although he has refereed Crewe previously, that was their 4-1 Carling Cup win against Blackpool earlier this season when there were no bookings.

His assistants at Crewe on Boxing Day will be Tony McGee (Merseyside) and Chris Sarginson (Staffordshire).