It is Butler at Bramall Lane

Last updated : 31 December 2002 By Tony Scholes

He has been no stranger to Burnley games in the past few seasons and if you were to ask most Burnley supporters for their best and worst games during the recent period then the two games most likely to be chosen were two refereed by this referee from Sutton-in-Ashfield in Nottinghamshire.

He was with us at Scunthorpe on that wonderful day in May 2000 as promotion was clinched. Does anyone remember that he yellow carded Steve Davis, in fact does anyone care? It was a performance from Butler without any controversy and we could have asked for no more from the referee on the day.

Less than a year later and his next Burnley game he booked Glen Little and Paul Weller as we witnessed an April disaster at Ewood Park. It would be nice to lay the blame for a heavy defeat at the feet of the referee but he could not be blamed.

Since that horrible day he has been in charge of two other away defeats, both though by just one goal.

The first of these was last season’s 1-0 defeat to West Brom at the Hawthorns. He booked both Kevin Ball and Gareth Taylor. We next saw him at Cheltenham as we went out of the FA Cup last season and again Bally was carded along with Lee Briscoe and Arthur Gnohere.

Butler has refereed neither Burnley nor Sheffield United previously this season. His season got off to a late start and his first match was not until late September. He has not been over active with his card waving and in 12 game has issued just 31 yellow and 3 red cards.

Just 12 of his yellow cards have gone to home players and 19 to away players although this figure was exaggerated following his last match when all five yellow cards were given to Bradford City players in their 1-0 defeat at Watford.

The three players to see his red card this season are Yeovil’s Lee Johnson in a 4-2 LDV Vans Trophy defeat at Boston, QPR goalkeeper Simon Royce in a 0-0 draw at Port Vale and Franchise’s Robert Gier in a 3-2 home win against Walsall.

Looking back over the previous Burnley games that Alan Butler has refereed I have never seen any reason for complaint, just a bit of help possibly in April last year would have been appreciated. Hopefully that will continue at Bramall Lane on an afternoon when his fourth official could have the more difficult job with Stan and Warnock down on the touchline.