SIMON Hooper has been confirmed as the referee for the 2015 League Two Play-Off Final between Southend United and Wycombe Wanderers on Saturday May 23.
The 32-year-old from Wiltshire will oversee his first game in the middle at Wembley when the two sides battle it out for a place in League One.
He will be assisted by linesmen Jonathan Hunt (Liverpool) and William Smallwood (Cheshire) while the fourth official is Graham Scott (Oxfordshire) and Martin Coy (Durham) will be the reserve assistant.
Hooper was also the fourth official for the FA Trophy Final between North Ferriby United and Wrexham in March at the national stadium.
He has overseen 38 games in all competitions this season – brandishing 124 yellow cards, sending off four players and awarding 11 penalties.
The IT services manager has officiated 21 times in the Championship, 10 in League One but only twice in League Two throughout the 2014-15 campaign.
However, his first ever Football League game came in the fourth tier when Exeter faced Shrewsbury and he has already witnessed one promotion to League One as Bury beat Tranmere on the final day of the season.
Hooper has handled several notable games including the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy northern area final first leg between Preston and Walsall in January and Bournemouth’s 3-0 win over Bolton in April which secured their Premier League promotion.
He has been the fourth official for four top-flight games this term and others in previous years.
However, Hooper has been involved in a few incidents even from his first game this season when Norwich’s Martin Olsson appeared to shove him whilst being sent off at Wolves.
He also failed to award Sheffield United a blatant penalty in their Yorkshire derby with Bradford back in October when Bantams defender Rory McArdle wrestled United midfielder Stefan Scougall to the ground in the box.
Failing to make the grade at Swindon as a striker when released at the age of 16, Hooper took up refereeing and was promoted to the Football League list as a linesman in 2006.
He oversaw the Conference League Cup final in 2008 at the end of his first campaign as a National List referee but it is now eclipsed by this game as his most high-profile appointment.
Hooper, who has ambitions to become a full-time Select Group official, is in his eighth season as a Football League referee but is among the so-called “talent group” of officials who are being considered for promotion.
He established himself as a regular in the second tier last season, officiating 17 Championship games – five of which came in front of the Sky Sports cameras.
Both Southend and Wycombe finished the regular season fourth and fifth respectively on 84 points with Phil Brown’s Shrimpers beating Stevenage 4-2 on aggregate in the play-off semi-finals while Gareth Ainsworth’s Chairboys overcame Plymouth 5-3 over two legs.
Last year, the League Two Play-Off Final was refereed by Michael Naylor (South Yorkshire) as Fleetwood secured a 1-0 victory over Burton Albion.
Meanwhile, Andy Madley (West Yorkshire) will take charge of the League One Play-Off Final between Preston and Swindon on May 24.