Writer: Barry Worthington
Date:Tuesday November 22 2011
Following last weekends abysmal performance from match referee Andre Marriner in the Latics 3-3 draw with Blackburn, it is interesting to note that he isn't officiating at any Premier League grounds this weekend, maybe he's been demoted? Anyway the Latics travel to the North-East on Saturday to re-new old acquaintances with former boss Steve Bruce with a tussle against Sunderland at the Stadium of Light, so who will be grabbing all the headlines this time round, Leicestershire referee and postman Kevin Friend, that's who.
Friend (sounds strange saying that!) has seen a bit of controversy when refereeing a Latics game, last season he was in charge of the 2-1 defeat away to Blackburn Rovers in November when he inexplicably disallowed a Charles N'Zogbia goal for, well for nothing.
The 39 year old has been refereeing since he was just 13 and made the grade all the way to the top when on 20th September 2009 he took charge of the Premier League game between Wolves and Fulham.
Speaking last summer about his appointment to the select group of ref`s Friend said he was chuffed but also that it was a challenge, now what could he mean by that?
Well being a former postie he could be worrying that if he got the letters wrong when booking or sending off players he could end up with the sack, sorry, couldn`t resist. So remember Kev its C-A-T-T-E-R-M-O-L-E
Friend said about his appointment to the big league: 'I'm chuffed to bits and really thrilled'
'It is also a big challenge because it will be completely different to what I'm used to.
'There's a lot of pressure in the Premier League and there's a lot of money involved. I've been fourth official at all the big venues, but being out there in the middle will be a totally new experience.
'My promotion means I'm now full-time which allows me to concentrate solely on the football.
Here`s hoping the fussy ref will be regarded as a friend of the Latics come 5 pm on Saturday.
Kevin Friend Card Watch 2011/12
Games - 10, yellows - 37, reds - 1
Referee: K Friend. Assistants: S Massey, A Halliday
Fourth Official: C Foy
Match Delegate: S Howey
PGMO: D Laws
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Date:Tuesday November 22 2011
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