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Meet The Ref - Manchester United v Latics

Meet The Ref - Manchester United v Latics

Wigan Athletic take a jolly jaunt 15 miles down the East Lancashire Road on Saturday to face the big boys from across the way, Manchester United, in a game that will be officiated by Sir Alex Fergusons favourite referee Martin Atkinson, great.

Earlier this season Atkinson found himself demoted to fourth official following an incident in the game between Everton and Man United at Goodison Park that finished 3-3 but was brought to an abrupt end with the Toffees on the attack, I`ll let Alan Biggs of the Daily Mirror take up the story:

Everton boss David Moyes went onto the field to berate Atkinson after the official blew the final whistle just as his side - who had recovered for a point by scoring twice in stoppage time - were through on goal with a chance of a winner.

Atkinson's failure to show commonsense seems to have rebounded on him in the latest round of appointments. He has been moved away from the middle and will act as fourth official for Sunderland versus Arsenal.

Let`s just hope that Atkinson uses some commonsense on Saturday and isn`t swayed by the leagues most annoying manager to make decisions with a, let`s say, home flavour.

The Bradford born whistleblower started refereeing at the age of 16 and by 34 he had made his Premier League debut when on the 20th April 2005 he took charge of the Manchester City Vs Birmingham City game.

This season Atkinson has gained Champions League experience taking charge of Bayern Munich`s 3-2 win over CFR Cluj back in October but still claims that the Liverpool 3-6 Arsenal Carling Cup tie is the most exciting game he`s been in charge of.

In a recent interview Atkinson tells us why, amongst other things, he got into refereeing:

How did you get introduced into refereeing?

Started refereeing at the age of 16 due to the local team not having a Referee to officiate games. I therefore took the FA Referees instruction course in order to make myself available. I was encouraged by a local Referee who assisted me at the start of my career.

What has been the highlight of your career so far?

There have been numerous highlights in my career to date including promotion onto the National List of Referees, promotion onto the Select Group of Referees. The highlights of my career was the appointment to the FIFA international list and refereeing The 2006 FA Community Shield at the Millennium Stadium, Cardiff.

What is the best game you have officiated and why?

Best game involved in was the Liverpool v Arsenal re-arranged Carling Cup tie a couple of years back. I had to postpone the first game due to fog, then the re-arranged game produced nine goals in a 3-6 win for Arsenal. This was an end-to-end game of cup football and a pleasure to be involved in as a Referee.

Martin Atkinson Card Watch 2010/11:

Games - 12, yellows - 44, reds - 5

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Writer:Barry Worthington
Date:Tuesday November 16 2010
Time: 7:00AM

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