Referee: ROBERT MADDEN
Assistants: Thomas Harty and Darren Williams
Fourth Official: Oliver Bickle
Madden is, to a degree, football royalty. It was only this summer he made his way onto the English list, but he’s been a firm fixture in Scotland for the past 20 years. He’s officiated in nine Old Firm matches, and just over a year ago, he was in charge of The Derby of Thessaloniki, PAOK and Aris, over in Greece. He was a FIFA list referee; he’s taken charge of internationals and even officiated in the Champions League; he’s taken to the field of the San Siro and Allianz Arena as an official. You’d expect he won’t be overawed by the atmosphere at Hillsborough this weekend.
We’ve had him once, our 2-0 defeat at Shrewsbury earlier in the season, but he didn’t have a bad game at all, and I don’t recall him standing out for any reason.
How is he doing in terms of stats this season? Well, he might be experienced, but he does like the sound of his whistle – in his ten League One matches, he’s awarded 25.50 fouls per game – that’s the fifth-highest and the most for an official with more than three matches under his belt. He is only eighth for fouls awarded per tackle, but again second if you take out those with fewer than three matches
Here’s the interesting thing – despite awarding so many fouls, he’s 44 out of 55 for yellow cards per game, averaging just 3.10 across his appearances. That foul count might creep up, but he’s one for keeping his cards in his pocket. As he’s been in charge of such big games, it is a surprise that the numbers suggest he’s prone to losing control a little. He was keen to get his cards out during his first game in England – he sent two off in the Bradford Doncaster clash, including veteran striker Lee Tomlin for some theatrics just before halftime. The only red he’s given in League One this season was to Nathan Thompson of Peterborough, the same player sent off for them during our match with them in 2020/21. The only penalty he has awarded was against us at Shrewsbury.