Ref Watch: Charlton Athletic (A)

The recent game against Shrewsbury was one the referee let flow, a little too much.

It’s easy to comment on moments like the Adam Jackson concussion with the benefit of slow-motion replay, but overall the ref seemed to let a lot go when a few bookings might have been applicable. Will we see the same this weekend?

Assistants: Samuel Ogles and Paul Yates
Fourth Official: Conor Farrell

It’s rather ironic that the last time we welcomed Robert ‘Bobby’ Madley to the Bank, it was against Shrewsbury earlier in the season for our 1-1 draw.

He took charge of three Imps matches last season – the 1-0 defeat at Doncaster and our draw with Hull in the EFL Trophy being two of them. On both occasions, he officiated with common sense and was barely worth a mention, just the type of official you like to see at your games. The final time he came across our path was the game against MK Dons in which we recorded a 4-0 win. Again, he wasn’t the centre of attention, and he could easily have dismissed Brennan Johnson early doors, but chose not to.

We first saw him during our relegation season, 2010/11, when he took charge of out 0-0 draw at home against Stockport (so riveting and combative there wasn’t a single booking), and later an impressive but ultimately futile 1-0 win at Hereford. By the time we came back in 2017/18, Bobby Madley was a Premier League official, with a Championship play-off game under his belt as well as a couple of years of top-flight officiating. He had the 2017 Community Shield and had ascended to international football, looking after Iceland v Ghana at the end of the year.

Credit Graham Burrell

His career collapsed in 2018 when, after being body-shamed in the national news, he sent an ill-advised Snapchat message to a supposed friend, and ended up having to leave the game. In a testament to his character, he battled back and was reinstated on the national list for the beginning of this season. What I like about him is despite his profile, a former top-flight referee who has been in the news, it is never about him, only the game.

This season he’s officiated 15 games in League One, handing out an above-average 59 bookings and just a single red. He typically awards around 22 fouls per game, leaving him 30th in the table, with 0.85 fouls per tackle. He does like a penalty though, with 0.60 per game, leaving a total of seven in his 15 outings.