Where Are Premier League Refs From (and Who Do They Support)?

While there’s no prizes for guessing who Mike Dean supports (treat yourself to that golden footage of Tranmere’s League Two play-off semi-final and final in 2019 if you’re unaware), his fellow Premier League referees may do a better job of concealing their favourite side.

We’ve looked before at whether refs in England’s top-flight are full-time, and how well-paid they are – what about where they’re from and where their allegiances lie? (Assuming it hasn’t previously come across in their refereeing, that is…)

Who Do Premier League Refs Support?

*NOTE: ‘Premier League ref’ is defined as any referee to have taken charge of at least one Premier League match in either 2019-20 or so far in 2020-21.

Records of games covered in Interesting Facts column correct as of October 28, 2020.

NameWhere Is He From?Who Does He Support?Interesting Facts?
Michael OliverAshington, NorthumberlandNewcastle UnitedWas on Sunderland’s books as a youth player

Never refereed a Newcastle or Sunderland match
Martin AtkinsonBradford, West YorkshireLeeds UnitedNever refereed a Bradford or Leeds match
Anthony TaylorWythenshawe, ManchesterAltrinchamRefereed 25 Man City matches and 32 Man Utd matches
Mike DeanWirral, MerseysideTranmere RoversRefereed 7 Everton matches and 6 Liverpool matches (including 3 Merseyside derbies)

Was dropped from the 2006 FA Cup final (Liverpool vs West Ham)

Showed a record 100th PL red card in April 2019
Chris KavanaghManchesterUnknownRefereed 3 Man City matches and 5 Man Utd matches

Sent Everton boss Carlo Ancelotti off after final whistle in 1-1 draw with Man Utd in March 2020
Jonathan MossSunderlandSunderlandWas on Sunderland’s and Millwall’s books as a youth player

Previously a school teacher, sent off his old pupil James Milner in January 2019

Now also owns a record shop

Never refereed a Sunderland match, refereed 2 Newcastle matches (not since 2009) and 10 Millwall matches
Craig PawsonSheffieldSheffield UnitedNever refereed a Sheff Utd, Sheff Wed, Doncaster or Rotherham match, refereed 1 Barnsley match (all South Yorkshire clubs)
Paul TierneyWiganWigan AthleticNever refereed a Wigan match
Stuart AttwellNuneatonLuton TownAwarded Reading’s ‘ghost goal’ vs Watford (Luton’s nearest rival) in Sep 2008

Never refereed a Luton match, refereed 4 Watford matches
David CooteWinthorpe, NottinghamshireUnknownNever refereed a Nottingham Forest or Notts County match

Son of David Coote Snr, who played for Nottinghamshire County Cricket Club
Kevin FriendBristol (but Leicestershire-based)Bristol City and Leicester CityWas dropped from Tottenham’s PL game at Stoke in April 2016 due to Spurs being in title race with Leicester

Never refereed a Leicester match, refereed 6 Bristol City matches and 4 Bristol Rovers matches
Andre MarrinerBirminghamAston VillaAwarded the latest penalty in PL history when giving Liverpool a 102nd-minute spot-kick vs Arsenal in April 2011

Never refereed Birmingham or Aston Villa matches, refereed 1 West Brom match
Lee MasonBoltonBolton WanderersYounger brother Andy was on Bolton’s books in mid-1990s

Never refereed a Bolton match
Peter BankesMerseysideUnknownNever refereed a Liverpool, Everton or Tranmere match
Graham ScottOxfordshireSwindon TownNever refereed a Swindon or Oxford match
Darren EnglandBarnsleyUnknownUsed to be a coach in Barnsley’s academy, worked with the likes of John Stones and Mason Holgate

Never refereed a Barnsley or Doncaster match, refereed 1 Rotherham match, 1 Sheff Utd match, 3 Sheff Wed matches
Simon HooperSwindonSwindon TownFormerly in Swindon’s academy

Never refereed a Swindon match
Andy MadleyHuddersfieldUnknownOlder brother of former PL referee Bobby Madley – a Huddersfield Town fan

Never refereed a Huddersfield match, refereed 1 Bradford match and 5 Leeds matches
Robert JonesMerseysideUnknownNever refereed an Everton, Liverpool or Tranmere match
Oliver LangfordWest MidlandsWolverhampton WanderersNever refereed a Wolves match, refereed 6 West Brom matches
Tim RobinsonMiddleton-on-Sea, West SussexUnknownFormer PE teacher, officiated first PL game in Dec 2019 (Burnley vs Newcastle)

Are There Rules On This For Referees To Follow?

Yes – at the beginning of every season, each referees’ background information is collated by the Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL), the organisation who appoints them to Premier League games.

This involves the referees completing a form including who they support, whether they’ve previously played football and where they currently live.

According to the PGMOL, this is so as to avoid “unnecessary extra external pressure and scrutiny on referees” in an “already a high pressure and demanding job.”

Has a Referee Ever Been in Charge of a Game With His Own Team?

In England – yes. Former ref Mark Halsey said he refereed two games involving his beloved Queens Park Rangers before the above rules came into effect.

He told the BBC: “I lived 35 miles away from Loftus Road. I refereed one win and one loss and I thought ‘I can’t do this again’.

“I never told them initially because it was back in the 1990s and things like that were only just starting to happen.

“I had to declare it because I felt like celebrating when they won. But once you’ve crossed the white line you’re the ref and you always remained professional.”

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