FOOTBALL League referee Andy Madley will take charge of the 2015 FA Vase Final between Glossop North End and North Shields at Wembley next month.
It will be the 32-year-old’s first time at the national stadium as the man in the middle and is the most prestigious appointment of his 16-year career thus far.
His assistants on the day are Wade Norcott (Essex) and Daniel Cook (Hampshire) while the fourth official will be newly-promoted Football League referee Chris Kavanagh (Manchester).
The West Yorkshire whistler has brandished 97 yellow cards, sent off three players (two in the Championship and one in the Capital One Cup) and awarded six penalties.
He has overseen 11 Championship fixtures, 13 in League One and seven in League Two as well as five Premier League fourth official assignments.
In his fourth season in the Football League, the Wakefield-based official is highly rated among refereeing circles and was in charge of the first match of the 2014-15 campaign as Blackburn drew with Cardiff in the second-tier back in August.
Madley was also at the helm for the notoriously fiesty East Midlands derby between Derby and Nottingham Forest at the iPro Stadium in January and put in a competent performance.
He has handled several Premier League teams in cup competitions including West Bromwich Albion’s 7-0 win over Conference Premier side Gateshead in the FA Cup third round this term.
Madley is considered part of the so-called “Talent Group” of Football League referees who are deemed worthy of being promoted to the Select Group of full-time Premier League officials.
He is widely expected to receive a Football League play-off semi-final tie or potential final – which is likely to occur after this game.
The appointment continues the recent success of officials from West Riding Football Association after Jon Moss was selected for the FA Cup Final, Mark Haywood will oversee the FA Sunday Cup and Andy’s brother Robert will be in charge of the FA Youth Cup Final.
Ironically, last year’s FA Vase Final was also officated by a West Riding-based referee in David Coote from Northampton, who then took charge of the League One play-off final between Leyton Orient and Rotherham later that month.
Madley started out in his local divisions in Heavy Woollen and began to progress through the supply lines from 2004 before becoming a Premier League linesman in 2009.
One of his career high-points was running the line for the League One play-off final as Millwall edged past Swindon Town in 2010 at Wembley.
He joined the National List of Football League referees in 2011 with his first game coming on the opening day of the 2011-12 season as Morecambe faced Barnet at the Globe Arena in League Two.
Madley was also the man in black for the League Two play-off semi-final tie between Northampton and Cheltenham Town in May 2013.
Like any other official, he has not avoided some element of controversy during his progression.
The Ossett-born referee mistakenly sent off Preston midfielder Neil Kilkenny against Port Vale in League One last season and incurred the wrath of Millwall boss Ian Holloway for sending off young defender Sid Nelson against Reading this term.
But it is widely accepted that Madley’s appointment is deserved based on a number of impressive displays over the past 18 months particularly.
One qualified referee said on forum Rate the Ref: “Fantastic appointment for all involved, and very much deserved based on their performances this season.
“Chris Kavanagh has certainly made a good impression in his first season on the list. Wouldn’t be surprised if he got a play-off game. I would also hope that Andy Madley gets a play off game too.”
Unsurprisingly, Madley – who refereed Oxford’s 3-0 win at Tranmere in League Two last weekend – has not crossed paths with either Glossop North End or North Shields in the past.
The Hillmen – who lost 2-0 to Whitley Bay in the 2009 FA Vase Final – will make their second-ever trip to Wembley on the back of winning the North West Counties title to secure promotion to the Evo-Stik First Division North with two league games left to play.
Chris Willcock’s team could still claim a treble this season with the North West Counties Football League Cup Final against Atherton Collieries to come on April 30 at Curzon Ashton’s Tameside Stadium.
North Shields – a Tyneside club who reside in Northern League Division One – are fifth in the table and beat Highworth 3-0 over two legs in the semi-finals.
The 32nd FA Vase Final will kick-off at 3pm on Saturday, May 9, and tickets are still available on the FA website.