Scottish Premiership: Bobby Madden to referee Celtic v Aberdeen

The Fifa whistler will take charge of his third top-flight game of the season when last season’s top-two face off at Celtic Park.

Bobby Madden referee (Celtic v Aberdeen - 8th May 2016)
We meet again: Madden will oversee his third fixture involving the two sides, all at Celtic Park (Picture from Sky Sports)

BOBBY Madden will be the man in the middle when Celtic host Aberdeen at Parkhead on Saturday in the Scottish Premiership.

The 37-year-old Fifa referee will take charge as the top-two in the last two seasons meet for the first time this season (KO 15:00 BST).

He will be ably assisted by Stuart Stevenson and Gavin Harris, while Steven McLean will be the fourth official.

Madden handled the previous encounter between the champions and the challengers – Celtic’s 3-2 win in May which mathematically sealed their fifth successive title.

He also officiated Celtic’s 2-1 win in September 2014, remembered for Aleksandar Tonev receiving a seven-game ban for racially abusing Dons full-back Shay Logan.

Domestically, Madden was promoted to Category One in 2009 and has built up a wealth of experience and respect to become a Scottish top-flight regular since his first match in January 2011.

He first took up the whistle in 2002 and last year revealed that an advert in the East Kilbride News – spotted by his brother Jamie – inspired him to become involved in refereeing after realising he wouldn’t make the grade as a professional player.

Since joining the Fifa list in 2010, Madden has refereed several Europa League games and been an additional assistant referee for Champions League matches, the 2015 Uefa Super Cup, and part of Willie Collum’s team of Euro 2016 officials for two group games.

The East Kilbride-born whistler has also controlled several domestic cup semi-finals and play-off matches, with his biggest honour coming in 2015 when appointed to referee Celtic’s 2-0 win over Dundee United in the League Cup Final at Hampden Park.

Saturday’s game at Celtic Park – surprisingly not being broadcast live on TV – will be Madden’s seventh of the campaign in all competitions, his third in the top-flight.

He has so far brandished 15 yellow cards, sent off one player and awarded four penalties – three of which came in the space of 23 minutes in St Johnstone’s 3-0 win over Falkirk during the Betfred Cup first round group phase.

Elsewhere, Kevin Clancy will take charge of Rangers’ Friday night trip to face Kilmarnock at Rugby Park and Greg Aitken will oversee his first top-flight game of the season when Hamilton host Ross County on Saturday.

You can view a full list of SPFL match official appointments here.

Premier League: Bobby Madley, Jon Moss & Andre Marriner receive TV games

  •  Madley to handle Spurs v Liverpool on Saturday lunchtime
  •  Moss in charge of Hull v Manchester United evening kick-off
  •  Marriner appointed to Manchester City v West Ham on Sunday
Bobby Madley, Jon Moss and Andre Marriner
Regulars: Madley, Moss and Marriner are now established Premier League referees (Pictures from Sky Sports)

BOBBY Madley will take charge of Tottenham’s Premier League encounter with Liverpool on Saturday.

The 30-year-old, from west Yorkshire, will be in the middle for Saturday’s lunchtime game at White Hart Lane between two sides hoping to finish in the top four this season (KO 12:30 BST, live on Sky Sports).

For the second top-flight game running, he will be assisted by Peter Kirkup (Northamptonshire) and Marc Perry (west Midlands), while Craig Pawson (south Yorkshire) has been appointed as fourth official.

Madley has handled three games across different competitions so far this season – brandishing 14 yellow cards and awarding two penalties but he is yet to send a player off.

The Huddersfield Town fan performed well in Manchester City’s 2-1 win over Sunderland on the opening weekend, correctly awarding City a third-minute spotkick after Patrick van Aanholt fouled Raheem Sterling.

He has also handled qualifiers in the Champions League and Europa League last month, as well as being fourth official for the Community Shield, Hull’s 2-0 win over Swansea and Middlesbrough’s 2-1 at Sunderland last weekend.

The Wakefield-born whistler, who was promoted to the Select Group in 2013 and became a Fifa referee in January, oversaw 24 Premier League matches last season – including his first Wear-Tyne and Merseyside derbies.

Since the start of last season, only Mike Dean (16) has awarded more penalties in the Premier League than Madley (14).

Madley hasn’t officiated a Spurs league match since their 2-2 draw at home to Stoke last August, but did award a controversial late penalty in the FA Cup tie against Leicester in January which allowed them to salvage an away replay.

He encountered Liverpool as recently as the final day of last season in their draw at West Brom, but also officiated two Reds matches at Anfield – their 2-2 draw with Sunderland in February and 4-0 victory over rivals Everton in April.

Spurs-Liverpool has been a fixture awarded to progressive officials in recent years – Mike Jones dismissed two Reds players in Spurs’ 4-0 win in 2011 and Craig Pawson gave a steady display in last season’s goalless draw, Jurgen Klopp’s first game as Liverpool boss.

Bobby Madley referee (Hull v Sheffield Weds - 28th May 2016)
Visits: Madley has been to Wembley three times so far in 2016 – twice as fourth official and the referee for Hull’s 1-0 win over Sheffield Wednesday in May’s Championship Play-Off Final (Picture from Sky Sports)

ELSEWHERE…

Jon Moss will be the man in the middle for Manchester United’s trip to promoted Hull City (KO 17:30 BST, live on BT Sport).

His team of officials will be Andy Halliday (north Yorkshire), Eddie Smart (west Midlands) and fourth official Martin Atkinson (west Yorkshire) at the KCOM Stadium.

Moss had a quiet game in Swansea’s 1-0 win at Burnley on the opening day but issued seven yellow cards and could have sent off Chelsea striker Diego Costa for two bookings in their 2-1 win at Watford last weekend.

The Horsforth-based official might have another busy match in store, with both sides hoping to preserve their 100% start to the campaign.

Moss officiated 33 games across four competitions last season – issuing 97 yellow cards, sending off seven players and awarding nine penalties.

The Sunderland-born whistler was in charge of the League Cup semi-final second leg between Liverpool and Stoke at Anfield and one of his 25 Premier League matches was Leicester’s 2-2 draw with West Ham, after which he was heavily criticised.

Moss gave Foxes striker Jamie Vardy a second yellow card for diving and awarded each side a penalty – all three being contentious decisions in a key game at the King Power Stadium in April.

The 45-year-old controlled five United games in 2015-16: their 1-0 opening weekend win over Spurs, 3-0 victory at Everton in October, home wins over Swansea in the league and Sheffield United in the FA Cup in successive weeks in January, and 3-1 win against Bournemouth in their final game which had to be rearranged after a bomb scare.

But his last match involving Hull was their goalless draw against Leicester – when both were scrapping for Premier League survival – at the King Power Stadium in March 2015.

The Tigers have surprisingly begun with six points from six under the interim guidance of former United assistant manager Mike Phelan, beating champions Leicester 2-1 in the Premier League opener before a 2-0 success at Swansea last weekend.

United have also opened the season impressively since Jose Mourinho’s arrival, following up their Community Shield triumph and 3-1 win at Bournemouth with a 2-0 victory over Southampton at Old Trafford in the first Friday night football.

The last time the teams met was on the final day of the Premier League season in May 2015, when United’s Marouane Fellaini was sent off by referee Lee Probert in a goalless draw that relegated Hull.

Jon Moss referee (Arsenal v Aston Villa FA Cup Final - 30th May 2015)
Biggest honour: Moss was chosen to take charge of Arsenal’s 4-0 win over Aston Villa in the 2015 FA Cup Final at Wembley (Picture from BBC Sport)

MEANWHILE…

Andre Marriner will be the referee when Manchester City play host to West Ham at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday (KO 16:00 BST, live on Sky Sports).

The west Midlands official will oversee his second Premier League game of the season after issuing just one yellow card in Manchester United’s 3-1 win over Bournemouth at the Vitality Stadium on the opening weekend.

He was also in charge of the Europa League third qualifying round tie between Apollon Limassol and Grasshoppers in Cyprus last month, in which six players were booked.

Marriner was the fourth official for both Manchester United’s 2-0 win over Southampton and Leicester’s goalless draw with Arsenal in the Premier League last weekend.

Before the weekend game in Manchester, the Sheldon-based whistler will be in charge of the Champions League play-off round second leg between German outfit Borussia Monchengladbach and Swiss side Young Boys on Wednesday night.

At the age of 45, this is due to be his final season on the Fifa list before reaching mandatory retirement, having been one of England’s representatives on the international scene since 2009.

Marriner dished out 124 yellows and five reds in 36 games last term, as well as awarding 13 penalties.

His three City matches were all defeats on their travels – in the 2-1 reverse against Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium just before Christmas, February’s 5-1 FA Cup loss at Chelsea, and the 4-2 defeat by Southampton at St Mary’s in May when he jokingly tried to keep hat-trick hero Sadio Mane’s match-ball.

He was due to oversee their home match against Stoke but was swapped with Madley after Martin Atkinson pulled out of Liverpool’s game with Newcastle through injury.

Madley was in the middle for last season’s corresponding fixture, which also took place early in the campaign, as West Ham recorded a shock 2-1 win thanks to first-half goals from Victor Moses and Diafra Sakho.

It will be Marriner’s first outing at the Etihad as man in the middle since its expansion – and since his performance was criticised in City’s 1-0 win over Everton in December 2014.

Meanwhile, he only oversaw two West Ham games in 2015-16, both at Upton Park in the league – their goalless draw with Stoke in December and 1-0 London derby win over Spurs in March.

Marriner will be assisted by Simon Beck (Bedfordshire) and Scott Ledger (south Yorkshire), with Mike Jones (Cheshire) as fourth official.

To date, the League Cup Final is the only major domestic honour to elude Marriner, who is one of the more experienced Select Group members having officiated his first Premier League game in 2005.

Andre Marriner books Nicolas Otamendi (v Arsenal - 21st Dec 2015)
Caution: Marriner shows Nicolas Otamendi a yellow card, one of two players booked in City’s 2-1 defeat at Arsenal last December (Picture from Sky Sports)

AND…

It’s a third successive week on TV for Anthony Taylor, who will take charge of West Brom against Middlesbrough at the Hawthorns on Sunday (KO 13:30 BST).

The 37-year-old Fifa referee, from Cheshire, has already overseen Chelsea’s 2-1 win over West Ham on the opening weekend and Manchester United’s 2-0 victory against Southampton at Old Trafford last Friday in the Premier League.

You can view the rest of matchday three’s PL match official appointments here.


REACTION:

SkyBet Championship: David Coote to referee Ipswich v Norwich

The West Yorkshire whistler will handle his first East Anglian derby, while Paul Tierney is in charge of Derby’s televised Midlands derby against Aston Villa.

 

David Coote awards free-kick (M'boro v Sheffield Weds - 28th Dec 2015)
Established: Coote has handled more than 150 matches during his six years as a Football League referee (Picture from Sky Sports)

REFEREE David Coote will take charge of his first East Anglian derby between Ipswich Town and Norwich City this weekend.

The 34-year-old will be the man in the middle when the Suffolk and Norfolk rivals meet on Sunday lunchtime at Portman Road in the SkyBet Championship (KO 12:00 BST, live on Sky Sports).

He will be ably assisted by new Select Group 2 assistant referees Nigel Lugg (Surrey) and Ian Cooper (Kent), while the fourth official is Oliver Langford – who will fulfil the same role for Nottingham Forest against Wigan on Saturday.

Coote – from Halifax in west Yorkshire – is one of 18 full-time referees forming the new Select Group 2 which will predominantly officiate in the Championship and help drive up standards across the English Football League.

He will handle his fourth game of the season and third in the EFL – all in the second-tier – having so far issued eight yellow cards, no reds and awarded one penalty.

Coote oversaw Leeds’ win over Fleetwood on penalties in the EFL Cup first round on August 10, Bristol City’s 2-1 win at Burton Albion three days later and Derby’s 1-0 victory over Preston at Deepdale on Tuesday night.

He will also be fourth official to Keith Stroud on Saturday for the Midlands derby between Birmingham and Wolves at St Andrews – his fourth appointment in that role this term.

Stroud himself was the referee for the previous East Anglian derby on Ipswich territory in the Championship almost two years ago to the day.

Progress

David Coote awards free-kick (Burnley v Birmingham - 15th August 2015)
Starring roles: Coote was fourth official for the Football League season opener on August 5, but will now oversee his first TV match as referee this term (Picture from Sky Sports)

Coote began refereeing in 1996 at the age of 14, when he spent two months as an assistant referee for his dad David and uncle Mick’s team in the Newark Alliance.

The cricket-loving whistler – originally from Winthorpe, near Newark in Nottinghamshire – made his journey through the Notts Alliance League, Northern Counties East Football League and Northern Premier League.

It eventually took him to the Select Group of assistant referees in 2009-10 after three years as a Football League linesman, which started at Stockport County’s Edgeley Park for a League Two game against Hereford.

He became a Football League referee in 2010 and has since forged a reputation as a reliable and lenient official across the three divisions.

Coote has since had five trips to Wembley as a match official – including the FA Vase and League One Play-Off Finals as referee in May 2014.

He also ran the line for the 2009 FA Vase Final when Whitley Bay beat Glossop North End 2-0, as well as the FA Trophy Final between Barrow and Stevenage a year later and being fifth official for Portsmouth’s 2-0 win over Tottenham in the 2010 FA Cup semi-finals.

Coote – who has ambitions to referee in the Premier League in future – left his role as Manchester FA’s County Development Manager last month after two years and two months.

Rarely the subject of criticism, he was in the spotlight last season after awarding a controversial penalty to Birmingham which proved decisive in their 1-0 Championship win against Cardiff.


Recent encounters

David Coote speaks to Jose Semedo (v M'boro - 28th Dec 2015)
Sporadic: Coote – whose father played professional cricketer for Nottinghamshire – only refereed 10 Championship games last season (Picture from Sky Sports)

Coote last encountered Ipswich in January for their 2-2 draw at home to League Two Portsmouth in the FA Cup third round at Portman Road.

But he has not overseen a Norwich game since their 4-2 win over Fulham in May 2015 – their final game of the regular league season when they were last in the Championship.

The Canaries then went on to face Ipswich in the play-off semi-finals – progressing 4-2 on aggregate after a 1-1 draw away and 3-1 win at Carrow Road.

With the ties refereed by Premier League referees Anthony Taylor and Roger East respectively, they were the last occasions the two fierce rivals locked horns.

Related articles:

Referee David Coote discusses the new Select Group 2: http://www.efl.com/news/article/2016/match-officials-referee-david-coote-discusses-the-new-select-group-2-3249475.aspx

Referee David Coote on swapping wickets for Wembley: http://quaysnews.net/index.php/2015/12/09/feature-referee-david-coote-on-swapping-wickets-for-wembley/

Men in Black – David Coote: http://www.efl.com/news/article/men-in-black-david-coote-1868688.aspx


ELSEWHERE:

Paul Tierney in action (Southend v Burton - 22nd Feb 2016)
Seasoned campaigner: Tierney has refereed over 200 Football League matches since joining the National Group of referees in 2008 (Picture from Sky Sports)

Paul Tierney will be the referee for Saturday’s televised Midlands derby between Derby County and Aston Villa in the Championship.

The 36-year-old, from Lancashire, will take charge as the promotion-chasing Rams host their relegated neighbours at the iPro Stadium in the evening kick-off (KO 17:30 BST, live on Sky Sports).

The former hairdresser, from Wigan, was promoted to the Select Group of Premier League referees over the summer along with Stuart Attwell.

He has so far dished out six yellow cards and awarded one penalty in two games this term – Birmingham’s 2-1 win at Leeds in the Championship last Saturday and the 1-1 League Two draw between Hartlepool and Colchester on the opening weekend.

Tierney has officiated five Premier League games in total – with his first being Swansea’s 3-0 win over West Brom at the Liberty Stadium two years ago.

He will be assisted in the east Midlands by Select Group linesmen Mick McDonough and Matthew Wilkes, with Geoff Eltringham the fourth official.

Derby against Aston Villa was a Premier League fixture as recently as 2008, with both sides under new management this term in Nigel Pearson and Roberto di Matteo respectively.

You can see the rest of the weekend’s EFL match official appointments here.

Craig Thomson in charge of St Johnstone v Celtic

The experienced Paisley whistler is the referee for the champions’ Saturday lunchtime trip to McDiarmid Park.

Craig Thomson (Rangers v Celtic Scottish Cup semi - 17th April 2016)
Vast: The former solicitor was promoted to a Category One official in 2002 after just two years in the SFL and was named on the Fifa list 12 months later (Picture from Sky Sports)

CRAIG Thomson will be the man in the middle for Celtic’s Scottish Premiership encounter against St Johnstone on Saturday.

The experienced 44-year-old has been assigned to his second successive lunchtime kick-off when the champions make the trip to McDiarmid Park (KO 12:15pm, live on BT Sport).

It will be his third match of the campaign – all in the top-flight – after Rangers’ 2-1 win at Dundee last weekend and Motherwell’s victory over Kilmarnock by the same scoreline on the opening day.

He has issued four yellow cards in each but opted not to send off Gers midfielder Harry Forrester for a second bookable offence at Dens Park last time out – even Rangers boss Mark Warburton admitted another referee might have done so.

Thomson did, however, give Killie boss Lee Clark his marching orders after just 10 minutes the week before at Rugby Park on the advice of the fourth official.

He officiated 44 matches across eight competitions last season – brandishing 181 yellow cards, sending off eight players and awarding 19 penalties.

The Edinburgh-born whistler also handled Celtic’s second league game last term – booking six players during their 4-2 win over Inverness Caley Thistle at Parkhead.

He oversaw three other Hoops games in 2015-16 – their 2-1 defeat at Aberdeen in September, 5-0 win over Dundee United in October, and the 1-1 draw at Hamilton in February in which he controversially sent off Celtic defender Dedryck Boyata.

Thomson also handled both their domestic cup semi-final losses – dismissing Efe Ambrose early on in the 3-1 defeat to Ross County in the League Cup and keeping a lid on the thrilling Scottish Cup Old Firm clash as Rangers progressed on penalties.

Craig Thomson referee
Secondary: Thomson is no longer preferred to officiate the so-called “big games” in Scottish football, with Willie Collum considered the leading official (Picture from Sky Sports)

The Renfrewshire-based official also encountered St Johnstone seven times last season – including their 2-1 win over Motherwell 12 months ago, 3-1 League Cup quarter-final win at Morton and, most recently, the 3-0 win over Aberdeen in April.

He was also the man in charge of the Saints’ biggest game in their 132-year history when they beat Dundee United 2-0 at Celtic’s Parkhead in the 2014 Scottish Cup Final to clinch their first major trophy.

It’s one of three Scottish Cup Finals that Thomson has overseen as referee, as well as three Scottish League Cup Finals on his CV.

His vast experience as the longest-serving official amongst the current crop includes 16 games at Hampden Park, a number of play-off matches across the divisions, Champions League and Europa League games, international asssignments and selection to officiate at Euro 2012.

Thomson oversaw Celtic’s 1-0 victory at McDiarmid Park on Boxing Day in 2013 but has only handled two other league games between the sides.

He will be assisted on the day by David McGeachie and Alan Mulvanny, with Andrew Dallas the fourth official.

Brendan Rodgers’ Celtic have not played in the league since their 2-1 win over Hearts at Tynecastle on the opening weekend after cancelling their fixture with home game against Partick Thistle to play in a friendly against Inter Milan, much to Alan Archibald’s dismay.

As the Hoops chase a sixth successive title this term, St Johnstone are looking to finish in the top-six for the sixth season in a row.

Tommy Wright’s men have started off the league campaign positively, with a goalless draw at home to Aberdeen and 2-1 win against Motherwell at Fir Park last Saturday.

You can view the rest of the weekend’s appointments here.

Premier League: Mike Dean to referee Hull City v Leicester City opener

The experienced official will take charge of the first 2016-17 game at the KC Stadium, while Bobby Madley, Michael Oliver and Andre Marriner will also oversee TV games.

Mike Dean watches on (WBA v Manchester City - 10th August 2015)
A year ago: Dean was the man in charge of Manchester City’s 3-0 win over West Brom at the Hawthorns on Monday night on the opening weekend (Picture from Sky Sports)

MIKE Dean will take charge of the first Premier League game of the 2016-17 season when Hull City host Leicester City on Saturday.  

The 48-year-old will be in the middle at the KCOM Stadium as the newly-promoted Tigers host the champions in the eagerly-awaited lunchtime match (KO 12:30pm, live on Sky Sports).

He will be ably assisted by Simon Long (Devon) and Simon Bennett (Staffordshire), while the fourth official is Lee Mason (Lancashire).

It’s the second time Dean will oversee the season opener in recent years, after handling Swansea City’s 2-1 win over Manchester United at Old Trafford in 2014.

Mike Dean books Juan Mata (v West Brom - 6th March 2016)
Veteran: Dean, who is the most experienced of the current Select Group of referees, will oversee his 400th Premier League game this weekend (Picture from Sky Sports)

The Wirral-born official, who is now based in north Wales, is the proverbial safe pair of hands when there is no margin for error and has been entrusted to control the first top-flight match since the summer rule changes.

Dean – who first took up the whistle in 1985 – has been refereeing in the Premier League since 2001 and spent a decade on the Fifa list before reaching the mandatory retirement age of 45 in 2013.

The Tranmere Rovers fan only officiated in four competitions last season and was at the helm for three Championship games – including Middlesbrough’s 1-1 draw with Brighton in the automatic promotion decider on the final day.

Mike Dean stats
Statistics: Mike Dean’s 2015-16 season in numbers (Picture from Transfermarkt.com)

Three of his 33 Premier League matches involved Leicester and all were at the King Power Stadium – their dramatic 3-2 win over Aston Villa in September, 1-0 victory against Crystal Palace in October and 3-0 success over Stoke in January.

He last encountered Hull in the goalless draw at Arsenal in the FA Cup fifth round in February.

Incidentally, Dean was heavily criticised for his display in Chelsea’s 2-0 win over Arsenal at Stamford Bridge last term – dismissing Gunners duo Santi Cazorla and Gabriel but failing to send off Diego Costa, who raised his hands to Laurent Koscielny.

He was subsequently branded a ‘petulant schoolteacher’ who ‘sucks the life out of games’ by BBC pundit Garth Crooks while Gunners boss Arsene Wenger accused him of being ‘weak’ and ‘naïve’.

Dean’s major honours include the 2004 Community Shield, 2004 FA Trophy Final, Championship Play-Off Finals in 2006, 2009 and 2015, the 2008 FA Cup Final and the 2011 League Cup Final.

Mike Dean talks to Seb Larsson (SUN v NEW - 5th April 2015)
Impressive: Dean’s flamboyant style but firm approach has earned plenty of respect and praise during his stellar career (Picture from Sky Sports)

The managerless Tigers, who beat Sheffield Wednesday 1-0 at Wembley in May to secure an immediate top-flight return, have endured a torrid summer following a series of injuries, a lack of signings and boss Steve Bruce’s resignation.

They will be under the stewardship of former Manchester United assistant Mike Phelan on Saturday.

Meanwhile, Claudio Ranieri’s Foxes will begin the defence of the Premier League crown they won against all odds last season after losing 2-1 to Manchester United in last weekend’s Community Shield.


ELSEWHERE…

Bobby Madley referee (Hull v Sheffield Weds - 28th May 2016)
Rapid rise: It’s the start of Madley’s fourth season in the Premier League, just six years after he joined the National Group of Football League referees (Picture from Sky Sports)

Bobby Madley will be the man in the middle for Manchester City’s Premier League opener against Sunderland in Saturday’s evening kick-off.

The 30-year-old, from west Yorkshire, has been appointed to oversee Pep Guardiola and David Moyes’s first competitive games in charge of their respective clubs at the Etihad Stadium (KO 17:30 BST, live on BT Sport).

The Huddersfield Town fan will be assisted by Peter Kirkup (Northamptonshire) and Marc Perry (west Midlands), with Neil Swarbrick (Lancashire) on fourth official duties.

Madley has already refereed two European qualifiers so far this term and was fourth official for Manchester United’s 2-1 win over Leicester City in the Community Shield last weekend.

The Ossett-based whistler, who has been a referee since 2001, surprisingly received more responsibility last term but excelled with a number of impressive displays.

Bobby Madley speaks to Yaya Toure (v Everton CO Cup SF 1st leg - 6th Jan 2016)
Expectations: Madley is set for another important campaign after making excellent progress last season with a number of high-profile appointments (Picture from Sky Sports)

He was the fourth official for the Capital One Cup Final in March and then became the youngest ever referee to handle the Championship Play-Off Final in Hull’s 1-0 win over Sheffield Wednesday – his first game as a referee at Wembley.

Madley officiated 37 games in all competitions in 2015-16 – 26 of which were in the Premier League. He brandished 108 yellow cards, sent off eight red cards and awarded 14 penalties – more spotkicks than any other Select Group official.

He encountered City more than any other team last season with six games in total – 4-0 wins over Stoke and Bournemouth in April, 2-1 home victories over Swansea and Norwich, 2-1 defeat by West Ham in September, and January’s Capital One Cup semi-final first leg loss at Everton.

Madley also took charge of the Black Cats on four occasions last season – most recently in February’s 2-2 draw at Liverpool as well as December’s 3-1 defeat at Arsenal and 2-2 draw against Aston Villa at Villa Park 12 months ago.

But the game Sunderland fans will remember most is the 3-0 win over Newcastle in October in Madley’s first Wear-Tyne derby, in which he awarded the Black Cats a penalty and sent off Magpies skipper Fabricio Coloccini for a professional foul.

Madley – one of eight Fifa referees from England – is the younger brother of Football League referee Andy, who was promoted to the new Select Group 2 over the summer.


MEANWHILE…

Kevin Friend (Bournemouth v Arsenal - 7th Feb 2016)
Last time: Friend hasn’t encountered Middlesbrough since a 4-3 defeat at Fulham in April 2015 but oversaw Stoke’s 2-1 defeat at Crystal Palace in May (Picture from Sky Sports)

Kevin Friend has been assigned to Middlesbrough’s first game back in the Premier League against Stoke City on Saturday (KO 15:00 BST).

The 45-year-old, from Leicestershire, will be in the middle at the Riverside Stadium when Aitor Karanka’s side host the Potters.

The experienced Darren Cann (Norfolk) and Jake Collin (Liverpool) will be the assistant referees, while Football League referee Nigel Miller (County Durham) is the fourth official.

Friend, who refereed the 2012 Community Shield and 2013 Capital One Cup Final, has handled almost 150 Premier League games since his first in September 2009.

He officiated 31 games in all competitions last season – brandishing 99 yellow cards, six red cards, and awarding seven penalties.


Andre Marriner (Everton v Sunderland - 1st November 2015)
Top-flight: Marriner, who was an additional assistant referee at Euro 2016, officiated 24 Premier League games last season (Picture from Sky Sports)

Andre Marriner and Michael Oliver will take charge of Sunday’s televised Premier League games at the Vitality Stadium and Emirates Stadium respectively.

Marriner will oversee Jose Mourinho’s first league match as Manchester United boss when the Reds visit Bournemouth (KO 13:30 BST, live on Sky Sports).

The West Midlands whistler, 45, will be assisted by Simon Beck (Bedfordshire) and Scott Ledger (south Yorkshire), with Roger East (Wiltshire) the fourth official.

And straight afterwards, Oliver will be the referee for Arsenal’s clash with Liverpool in the standout game of the opening weekend (KO 20:00 BST, live on Sky Sports).

The 31-year-old, from Northumberland, was also at the helm for the corresponding fixture last season – a goalless draw almost 12 months ago to the day.

The linesmen will be Stuart Burt (Northamptonshire) and Eddie Smart (west Midlands), while Craig Pawson (south Yorkshire) will be the fourth official.

Michael Oliver referee (Man United v Leicester - 1st May 2016)
Busy: Oliver oversaw 37 games in all competitions last term, including Liverpool’s defeat on penalties to Manchester City in the Capital One Cup Final (Picture from Sky Sports)

BUT…

Mark Clattenburg referee (Euro 2016 final France v Portugal - 10th July)
Unprecedented treble: Clattenburg refereed the FA Cup Final, Champions League Final and Euro 2016 Final in quick succession (Picture from BBC Sport)

There is no game for Euro 2016 Final referee Mark Clattenburg, who won’t be involved at all in the opening round of matches.

The 41-year-old handled four games in France, including the host nation’s 1-0 defeat by Portugal in the Paris showpiece on July 10.

He is said to be taking an extensive break following his exploits at the tournament, while last week it emerged he had two of his major achievements last season tattooed on his arm whilst on holiday in Spain.

Click here for a full list of appointments for the Premier League’s opening weekend

Scottish Premiership: Don Robertson to referee Rangers v Hamilton opener

Don Robertson will take charge of the first SPFL match of 2016-17 at Ibrox, while Nick Walsh and John Beaton are also in action on the opening weekend.

Don Robertson (Dunfermline v Airdrieonians - 29th Jan 2016)
Relative rookie: Robertson has only handled 28 Premiership games to date – issuing 82 yellows, eight red cards and awarding nine spotkicks (Picture from BBC ALBA)

DON Robertson will take charge of the first match of the 2016-17 Scottish Premiership season when Rangers host Hamilton Academical on Saturday.

The 29-year-old is a surprise choice to referee the top-flight opener as the promoted Gers take on Accies in the televised lunchtime encounter (KO 12:30 BST, live on Sky Sports).

He will be ably assisted by Graeme Leslie and Brian Templeton, with Craig Charleston performing fourth official duties.

It’s the start of Robertson’s third season in the Premiership having received his first match on the opening weekend two years ago in Hamilton’s 2-0 home defeat by Inverness – after being promoted with Andrew Dallas in the summer of 2014.

The Glasgow whistler officiated nine top-flight games in his debut campaign and 19 last season, when he established himself as a regular with 41 games in all competitions.

Don Robertson stats
Statistics: How Don Robertson’s 2015-16 campaign fared across all competitions (Picture from Transfermarkt.com)

Robertson has brandished four yellow cards in as many League Cup games so far this term and awarded one penalty but is yet to send a player off.

He has already encountered Hamilton in their 3-0 win over St Mirren at New Douglas Park on July 23 and made history by handling the first game of the revamped Betfred Cup in Dundee United’s penalty shootout success over Arbroath.

Robertson – who is an accountant by occupation – was also in charge of Partick Thistle’s 4-1 win at Stenhousemuir and Motherwell’s 3-0 victory over Stranraer at Stair Park last weekend.

He will be in Croatia as late as Thursday night as fourth official to John Beaton for the Europa League third qualifying round second leg between Hadjuk Split and FC Olexandriya.

Robertson has been a Category One official since 2012, the same year he oversaw the Scottish Junior Cup Final.

He began refereeing at the age of 17 after playing semi-pro with Partick Thistle, Queen’s Park and St Mirren.

Robertson has played a supporting role for a number of crucial games – having been an additional assistant referee for two Scottish Cup semi-finals and the 2015 Scottish Cup Final between Inverness and Falkirk.

He was the fourth official for Rangers’ 4-0 win over Peterhead in the Petrofac Training Cup Final at Hampden – and fulfilled the same role at Ibrox on the opening weekend in 2013 for the Gers’ 4-1 win over Brechin City in League One.

It will be a quick reunion with the Light Blues for Robertson, who was the referee for their final game of the Championship season on May 1 in the 2-2 draw at St Mirren.


ELSEWHERE…

John Beaton in action (Partick Thistle v Celtic - 9th August 2015)
Different role: Beaton was an additional assistant referee at Euro 2016 as part of Willie Collum’s team of officials for two group games (Picture from BT Sport)

John Beaton will be the man in the middle for Celtic’s opening league game against Hearts on Sunday.

The 34-year-old, from Lanarkshire, takes charge when the champions visit Tynecastle for Brendan Rodgers’ first Premiership match at the helm (KO 2:15pm, live on Sky Sports).

He will be assisted by David McGeachie and Gary Hilland, while Alan Muir – who was the referee for Celtic’s 3-1 win in the teams’ last encounter – is the fourth official.

Beaton didn’t have his best game in Celtic’s 2-1 victory over the Jambos in the League Cup quarter-finals last October – his only previous fixture between the sides.

Like Celtic, the Motherwell-based whistler is on European duty in midweek having been assigned to referee the Europa League third qualifying round second leg between Hadjuk Split and FC Olexandryia.

He has awarded one penalty in each of his four games so far this season – three of which were in the Betfred Cup, including Rangers’ 3-0 win over Stranraer at Ibrox.

Beaton – who is still a part-time communications officer at the University of Strathclyde – was the referee for Celtic’s 1-1 draw with Leicester in the International Champions Cup at Parkhead a fortnight ago.

Aside from the League Cup tie, he encountered Hearts on four other occasions last season – twice in the Premiership against Partick Thistle and Kilmarnock at Tynecastle, and twice in the Scottish Cup against Aberdeen and Hibernian.

Beaton handled three Celtic league games – their 2-0 Glasgow derby win at Partick Thistle and 3-1 victory over St Johnstone in August, and goalless draw at home to Dundee in March.

Overall, he brandished 156 yellow cards, sent off 10 players and awarded 10 penalties in 45 matches across all competitions.

A Category One official since 2009, Beaton has established himself as a regular in the Premiership since his first game in 2012 and is one of seven Scottish referees on Fifa’s international list.

He has officiated the 2015 Ramsdens Cup Final, two League Cup semi-finals, two Scottish Cup semis including one last season, and been an additional assistant referee for two Scottish Cup Finals.

John Beaton in action (Dundee Utd v Dundee - 11th August 2015)
Experience: Beaton, whose cousin Steven Nicholls is a referee, first took up the whistle in 1997 (Picture from Sky Sports)

MEANWHILE…

Nick Walsh in action (Hibs v Alloa - 21st Feb 2016)
Rookie: Walsh will take charge of only his fourth Premiership match in Maryhill on the opening weekend (Picture from Sky Sports)

Nick Walsh will take charge of the Premiership opener between Partick Thistle and Inverness Caley Thistle at Firhill on Saturday (KO 15:00 BST).

The 30-year-old from Stirling, who was promoted to Category One over the summer, is only in his fourth season as a senior official.

He will be assisted by Andrew McWilliam and Graham McNellie, while Mat Northcroft will be the fourth official.

Walsh has dished out 13 yellow cards and awarded two penalties in four League Cup games so far – Queen of the South’s 2-0 victory over Airdrieonians, Motherwell’s 3-1 victory at Annan, and Peterhead’s surprise 2-1 win against Dundee.

He was also called up as a late replacement for Willie Collum for Ayr United’s opening 2-1 success over Hamilton Accies.

The Glasgow-born whistler only handled his first top-flight game in April and received two more before the end of the season.

He was in the middle for Partick Thistle’s 1-0 defeat at Ross County and 2-1 loss at home to Dundee, as well as Hearts’ 1-1 draw with Ross County on the final day of the season.

Walsh was one of the most card-happy officials in Scotland having brandished 123 yellow cards and 14 red cards in 32 games last term, as well as awarding 10 penalties.

He has been a regular in the Championship and fourth official for numerous Premiership games in the last two seasons.

But his attitude was questioned by Motherwell boss Mark McGhee, who felt his communication should have been better when in control of electronic board duties during April’s 4-1 defeat at Aberdeen.


Willie Collum referee (Scottish Cup Final - 30th May 2015)
Notable meeting: Collum oversaw the 2014 Scottish Cup semi-final between the sides at Ibrox (Picture from Sky Sports)

Euro 2016 referee Willie Collum will be in the middle for Sunday’s other televised game between St Johnstone and Aberdeen.

The 37-year-old school teacher, from Glasgow, will take charge of his second domestic match of the season in the lunchtime kick-off at McDiarmid Park (KO 12:15 BST, live on BT Sport).

He will be assisted in Perthshire by Frank Connor and Douglas Ross, with Greg Aitken on fourth official duties.

Collum performed well in his two games in France before being sent home at the end of the group stages – Turkey’s 2-0 win over the Czech Republic and the hosts’ 2-0 victory against Albania.

The Fifa official – who has been an SPL regular since his 2006 debut – oversaw Dundee’s 7-0 victory against Forfar in the Betfred Cup first round.


Kevin Clancy before the 2016 Scottish League Cup Final
Major honour: Clancy, who handled the 2014 Challenge Cup Final, officiated Ross County’s 2-1 win over Hibs at Hampden in March’s League Cup showpiece (Picture from BBC Scotland)

Kevin Clancy will be the man in the middle for the Championship’s standout opening match between Falkirk and Hibernian on Saturday (KO 15:00 BST).

The 32-year-old has been assigned to the opening weekend game between two expected promotion hopefuls at the Falkirk Stadium as Neil Lennon prepares to take charge of his first league game as Hibs manager.

Clancy – who will be assisted by Alastair Mather and Daniel McFarlane – has received more responsibility in the last 18 months having overseen a number of high-profile games such as Edinburgh and Dundee derbies, and last season’s Scottish League Cup Final.

The Renfrewshire-based whistler has handled a Champions League qualifier, Europa League game and three League Cup matches so far this season.

Glasgow-born Clancy – who has been a Category One official since 2009 – took charge of Hibs’ 1-1 draw with Falkirk at Easter Road last December, among 10 Championship games in 2015-16.

He has also been appointed to referee the televised League Cup second round tie between Premiership sides Celtic and Motherwell at Parkhead on Wednesday night.

2016-17 Football Season: Predicted Tables

With one of the most unpredictable seasons in years in store, guessing the final outcome across England, Scotland and Spain has proved difficult.

2016-17 football season
Mouth-watering: Football fans can expect one of the biggest and best seasons in recent memory in 2016-17 in England and Scotland (Pictures from Sky Sports)

AFTER the briefest of breaks following the unexpected climax at Euro 2016, football makes a welcome comeback as the new domestic campaign begins in earnest.

2016-17 promises to be more dramatic, exciting and entertaining than seasons gone by with new managers, players and teams settling into their fresh surroundings and hoping to make an impact.

From Jose Mourinho’s arrival at Old Trafford to Burton Albion’s Championship debut, there are many intriguing sub-plots which could present more shocks and surprises – such as Leicester City’s stunning Premier League title triumph as relegation favourites last term.

Such is the uncertainty of how clubs will fare amid the hive of summer activity, unrivalled spending and the fall-out from last season’s outcomes, predicting the precise outcomes in the promotion, play-off and relegation pictures in all leagues is an incredibly tough task.

Here’s my rough guess on what the final standings might look like across the main divisions in England, Scotland and Spain when May eventually comes around…


Manchester United and Manchester City fans outside Old Trafford
Rivals: After battling each other for a Champions League place last term, United and City will hope to mount a title pursuit this time around (Picture from Getty Images)

Premier League predicted table:

  1. Manchester City
  2. Manchester United
  3. Chelsea
  4. Liverpool
    ——————–
  5. Tottenham Hotspur
    ——————–
  6. Arsenal
  7. West Ham United
  8. Leicester City
  9. Everton
  10. Southampton
  11. Stoke City
  12. Crystal Palace
  13. Bournemouth
  14. Middlesbrough
  15. Watford
  16. Sunderland
  17. Swansea City
    ——————–
  18. West Bromwich Albion
  19. Burnley
  20. Hull City

Rafael Benitez pre-match (v Man City - 19th April 2016)
Contrast: The former Real Madrid and Liverpool boss will hope to steer the Magpies to an immediate Premier League return in his first taste of the Football League as a manager (Picture from Sky Sports)

SkyBet Championship predicted table:

  1. Newcastle United
  2. Norwich City
    ———————
  3. Derby County
  4. Sheffield Wednesday
  5. Brighton
  6. Aston Villa
    ———————
  7. Nottingham Forest
  8. Leeds United
  9. Ipswich Town
  10. Wolves
  11. Fulham
  12. Reading
  13. Queens Park Rangers
  14. Cardiff City
  15. Birmingham City
  16. Wigan Athletic
  17. Blackburn Rovers
  18. Brentford
  19. Bristol City
  20. Preston North End
  21. Huddersfield Town
    ———————-
  22. Barnsley
  23. Burton Albion
  24. Rotherham United

Chris Wilder (Sheffield Utd boss at Wembley - 30th May 2016)
Possible saviour: The former Northampton boss is bidding to take the Blades back to the Championship after six years in the third tier (Picture from Sky Sports)

SkyBet League One predicted table:

  1. Millwall
  2. Charlton Athletic
    ——————-
  3. Sheffield United
  4. MK Dons
  5. Bolton Wanderers
  6. Coventry City
    ——————-
  7. Bradford City
  8. Peterborough United
  9. Gillingham
  10. Scunthorpe United
  11. Southend United
  12. Walsall
  13. Northampton Town
  14. Swindon Town
  15. Oxford United
  16. Bristol Rovers
  17. AFC Wimbledon
  18. Rochdale
  19. Fleetwood Town
  20. Chesterfield
    ——————–
  21. Bury
  22. Port Vale
  23. Shrewsbury Town
  24. Oldham Athletic

Derek Adams on sidelines (v Wimbledon - 30th May 2016)
Disappointment: Derek Adams, who has signed a new four-year deal at Home Park, saw his side beaten 2-0 by Wimbledon in last season’s Play-Off Final at Wembley (Picture from Sky Sports)

SkyBet League Two predicted table:

  1. Portsmouth
  2. Plymouth Argyle
  3. Doncaster Rovers
    ——————–
  4. Leyton Orient
  5. Luton Town
  6. Colchester United
  7. Notts County
    ——————–
  8. Wycombe Wanderers
  9. Cambridge United
  10. Carlisle United
  11. Exeter City
  12. Accrington Stanley
  13. Cheltenham Town
  14. Mansfield Town
  15. Blackpool
  16. Grimsby Town
  17. Crewe Alexandra
  18. Hartlepool United
  19. Barnet
  20. Yeovil Town
  21. Stevenage
  22. Crawley Town
    ———————
  23. Newport County
  24. Morecambe

Dover Athletic supporters before KO (v C Palace in FA Cup - 4th Jan 2015)
Positive: Dover Athletic fans will be optimistic their side can make up for failing to make the play-offs last season in non-league’s top tier (Picture from BT Sport)

National League predicted table:

  1. York City
    ———————–
  2. Tranmere Rovers
  3. Forest Green Rovers
  4. Wrexham
  5. Dover Athletic
    ———————–
  6. Eastleigh
  7. Braintree Town
  8. Dagenham & Redbridge
  9. Macclesfield Town
  10. Torquay United
  11. Lincoln City
  12. Woking
  13. Gateshead
  14. Chester
  15. Barrow
  16. Aldershot Town
  17. Bromley
  18. Boreham Wood
  19. Solihull Moors
  20. Southport
    ————————
  21. Guiseley
  22. Maidstone United
  23. North Ferriby United
  24. Sutton United

Stockport County sign outside Edgeley Park
Ready to rise: Former Football League club Stockport County will be hoping their fourth successive season in the sixth tier is their last (Picture by Adam Higgins)

National League North predicted table:

  1. AFC Fylde
    ————————
  2. Kidderminster Harriers
  3. Harrogate Town
  4. Stockport County
  5. Salford City
    ————————-
  6. FC Halifax Town
  7. Boston United
  8. Chorley
  9. Altrincham
  10. Stalybridge Celtic
  11. FC United of Manchester
  12. Nuneaton Town
  13. Bradford Park Avenue
  14. Curzon Ashton
  15. Alfreton Town
  16. Darlington 1883
  17. Gainsborough Trinity
  18. Tamworth
  19. Gloucester City
    ————————–
  20. Worcester City
  21. Brackley Town
  22. Telford United

Mark Warburton with trophy at Ibrox (v Alloa - 23rd April 2016)
Challenge: Rangers boss Mark Warburton will expect his team to compete with champions Celtic for the title after their long-awaited Premiership return (Picture from Sky Sports)

Scottish Premiership predicted table:

  1. Celtic
    —————-
  2. Rangers
  3. Aberdeen
    —————-
  4. Hearts
  5. St Johnstone
  6. Dundee
    —————-
  7. Motherwell
  8. Inverness CT
  9. Partick Thistle
  10. Ross County
    —————–
  11. Hamilton Accies
    —————–
  12. Kilmarnock

Jason Cummings (Hibs forward v Rangers - 23rd August 2015)
Key: Striker Jason Cummings, who has 48 goals for Hibs, will be a crucial factor in Neil Lennon’s side ending their three-year stay in the Championship (Picture from Sky Sports) 

Scottish Championship predicted table:

  1. Hibernian
    ——————–
  2. Dundee United
  3. Falkirk
  4. St Mirren
    ——————–
  5. Raith Rovers
  6. Queen of the South
  7. Dunfermline Athletic
  8. Greenock Morton
    ——————–
  9. Dumbarton
    ——————–
  10. Ayr United

Zinedine Zidane and Luis Enrique
Familiar battle: Zinedine Zidane’s Real Madrid and Barcelona coach Luis Enrique (right) will be leading the pack in the race for the title (Pictures from Sky Sports)

La Liga predicted table:

  1. Barcelona
  2. Real Madrid
  3. Atletico Madrid
  4. Sevilla
    ——————-
  5. Villarreal
  6. Valencia
    ——————-
  7. Athletic Bilbao
  8. Espanyol
  9. Real Socediad
  10. Malaga
  11. Celta Vigo
  12. Granada
  13. Sporting Gijon
  14. Real Betis
  15. Deportivo La Coruna
  16. Osasuna
  17. Eibar
    ——————–
  18. Las Palmas
  19. Leganes
  20. Alaves