First Turf Moor game for Premiership referee

Last updated : 19 January 2007 By Tony Scholes
Atkinson, from Leeds, has been on the Football League list of referees since the beginning of the 2003/04 season but our paths have crossed only twice, both away from home at Crewe and Sheffield United two seasons ago.

At Crewe he yellow carded debutant Pete Whittingham, who had signed the day before from Aston Villa, but his most difficult decision was dealing with a twenty minute delay during the second half when the lights went out. He didn't have too bad a game, although like many referees he fell for the idea that Dario G's team are angels.

A few weeks later he certainly fell for the antics of Steven Kabba, who conned him into booking Gary Cahill (another player on loan from Villa, Eric please note), although he soon realised as the distraught Kabba jumped to his feet after the card had come out.

By the time he first refereed us, in just his second season on the list, he'd already refereed two Premiership games. His first came at Selhurst Park as Manchester City beat Crystal Palace 2-1 and by the end of that season he'd added three more games in the top league.

Since then he's been a regular Premiership referee and this season tomorrow's game will be just his fifth in the Football League. He's had his moments, seven yellow cards in the Arsenal v Newcastle game back in November, but overall he's had a reasonably quiet season, certainly when it comes to cards.

He's sent off three players this season in 23 matches and he's reached just 60 yellow cards. The players he's sent off have been Leyton Orient's Adam Tann in a 3-0 League One defeat at Blackpool, then Tottenham and now West Ham defender Calum Davenport as they drew 1-1 at Aston Villa and Watford's Chris Powell as they were beaten 1-0 at home by Sheffield United.

Recently he's been favouring the home teams when it comes to the yellow cards and only three of the last fourteen have gone to home players. Overall though, he booked four players in the FA Community Shield game and since then 23 of those yellow cards have gone to home players and 36 to away players.

Over the last couple of months we have had Premiership referees three times and on each occasion they have done well, Phil Dowd, Mike Dean and more recently Rob Styles who had an excellent game at Reading. There's no reason to suspect that Atkinson will be any different and let's hope his Turf Moor bow is a good one.

He will be assisted by Gary Brittain (Yorkshire) and Shaun Procter-Green (Lincolnshire) and the fourth official duties will be in the hands of Football League referee Mark Haywood (Yorkshire).

Previous Burnley games:







Burnley players carded



Sheffield Utd