The referee for the Imps game against Luton has been appointed, with ‘exciting’ new referee Tom Neild in charge.
Early in his career Neild (26), took charge of seven a-side matches at the Paralympics, and he taught refereeing at Norfolk College at the tender age of 21. He was promoted to the position of Assistant Referee for the 2013/14 season, accelerating a significant rise through the ranks.
He was elected Chairman of the national RA-FA Youth Council, and spent a year leading young referees in the creation of new ideas and strategies to entice young people into refereeing. He worked under close supervision of some of the top names in English refereeing in his role, including Chairman of the FA Referees Committee, David Elleray. That’s is quite some pedigree, he’s a young man who is destined to officiate at the highest level.
Interestingly, Neild is as new to the Football League as Lincoln are. He’s taken charge of two matches as a Football League official, Carlisle’s win at Cambridge and Chesterfield’s win against Port Vale. He’s had a steady start to his Football League career too handing out just just four bookings and a penalty.
He isn’t new to Lincoln though and usually his presence means a lack of goals. He took charge of the two 0-0 draws we had at home last season, sending off Solihull Moor’s Jon Yves Koue Niate and having a steady game as we were held by Eastleigh. He was also the man in the middle during that historic 2-1 win against Macclesfield in April, and again he had a quiet but steady game. He didn’t like dishing the cards last season either, just two bookings for City across the three games.
In fact for the whole of his National League career he’s had a calm head and a knack of avoiding controversy. His only red card of his first season came as he sent off Aaron Racine at Sincil Bank in January 2015, but other than that his cards stayed in his pocket. He didn’t show a single card as we drew 2-2 with Southport, and he also took charge of our win at Chester. In that game he booked Paul Farman and Chris Wood
Can we expect a decent game from the referee? I think so. He’s a well-regarded, up-and-coming with a sensible and balanced approach to the game. This will be the biggest match of his career so at though, and possibly a stern test of his skills given the presence of Danny Hylton. The striker was sent off twice last season, and in two years he’s picked up 26 bookings! His antics will be the first proper field test for the bright young thing in the centre of the park, and a mild headache for Sean Raggett and Luke Waterfall.