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Which teams do the Premier League referees support?

Despite all the accusations of big-club bias, not one top-flight referee supports Manchester United or Liverpool. Swindon, however…

VAR Lee Mason hit the headlines after failing to spot an offside in the build-up to Brentford's equalising goal away to Arsenal.
He's been benched for a round of matches as a result, but that will mean he will return at some point, so keep an eye out.

With officials having to fill in a form ahead of the season including the team they support and where they live, accusations of bias are easily avoided.

However, not being very good at your job seems to be the real reason why some teams get on the wrong side of a ref's decision.

Not all Premier League referees' allegiances are known, but some are a lot more open than others as Planet Sport finds out.

Martin Atkinson - Leeds United

Martin Atkinson, referee, Premier League, Thiago Alcantara

Born in Bradford and based in Leeds, Atkinson is a Leeds United supporter.

It has not stopped him taking charge of games involving bitter rivals Manchester United, however, with Atkinson regularly criticised by United fans for seemingly favouring their opposition. Their history with Atkinson actually dates back to 2003 when as a linesman he allowed a Thierry Henry goal to stand even though the striker appeared yards offside.

Stuart Attwell - Luton Town

Stuart Atwell, Premier League, referee, Manchester City

Attwell hails from Nuneaton but is a Luton Town fan. Understandably, he has never officiated a Luton game but did make headlines in 2008 when he awarded a goal for Reading against their bitter rivals Watford despite the ball crossing the line outside the back post.

Peter Bankes - unknown

Peter Bankes, Premier League, Referee

It is not known who Lancashire-born Bankes supports. He began refereeing aged 14 in 1996 and is a coach and mentor within the Liverpool County Football Association. He has never officiated a match involving LiverpoolEverton or Tranmere.

John Brooks - unknown

Another to start refereeing aged 14, Asfordby referee Brooks only joined the Select Group at the start of the 2021/22 season. Affiliated to the Leicestershire and Rutland County Football Association, it is not known who he supports. However, he has never officiated a Leicester City game.

David Coote - unknown

Despite a fake Facebook bio appearing to state otherwise, it is not known who Nottinghamshire-based Coote supports. He has never officiated a game involving Nottingham Forest or Notts County, however.

Mike Dean - Tranmere

Based in Heswall on the Wirral there can be little doubt about Dean's allegiances thanks to a much-shared video following Tranmere's play-off semi-final win over Forest Green in 2019. Dean has followed Rovers home and away since the mid-1980s.
He retired from on-pitch duties at the end of the 2021/22 season, but is now a video assistant referee (VAR).

Darren England - Barnsley

England, from Little Houghton, grew up supporting Barnsley and even worked for their Reds in the Community charity.

Promoted to the Select Group for 2021/22, his elevation came 16 years after he took charge of his first match in the Barnsley Sunday League as an 18-year-old - sending someone off for a headbutt.

Kevin Friend - Leicester City

Born in Bristol but based in Leicester, Friend was controversially dropped from Tottenham's Premier League game at Stoke in April 2016 due to Spurs being in title race with the Foxes.

Jarred Gillett - unknown

The Australian made history in September 2021 when he became the first non-British or Irish referee to take charge of a Premier League match. It is not known if the Gold Coast-born whistler supports a British side, however.

Tony Harrington - Hartlepool

Grandson of Pools legend Tommy McGuigan, Harrington was one of the four referees promoted to the Select Group for the 2021/22 campaign.
Harrington began refereeing in the Teesside Junior Football Alliance at 14 having completed a basic refereeing course as part of the Duke of Edinburgh award.

Simon Hooper - Swindon

Simon Hooper, Premier League, referee
A promising centre-forward, he was released by Swindon Town at the age of 16 after seven years at the club. Went on to play semi-professionally for Highworth Town and Swindon Supermarine.

Robert Jones - unknown

Merseyside-based Jones is in his second season in the top flight. He has never taken charge of a first-team match involving Liverpool, Everton or Tranmere. However, he has refereed matches involving both Liverpool and Everton's under-23 sides.

Chris Kavanagh - unknown

Another referee for whom there is huge conjecture as to who he supports, with the whistler having been born in Manchester.

The fact that he has taken charge of eight United and seven City games means that despite the speculation, he does not follow one of the big teams. Suggestions that he supports Stalybridge Celtic have not been confirmed.

Andy Madley - unknown

The younger brother of former top-flight referee Bobby, Andy Madley's soccer allegiances are unknown. Was at the Huddersfield Town School of Excellence before joining his brother on a refereeing course at Altofts Cricket Club.

Has never refereed a Huddersfield Town game and it is known his brother is a supporter.

Andre Marriner - Aston Villa

Andre Marriner, Referee, Premier League

Andre Marriner hails from Birmingham and admits he is a fan of Aston Villa. "I go as much as I can and my two kids are season ticket holders."

It means he hasn't taken charge of games involving Villa or Birmingham, though he has refereed two West Brom matches.

Jon Moss - Sunderland

Born in Sunderland, Moss is now based in Horsforth, Leeds. Played at academy level, firstly for his hometown club Sunderland and then for Millwall and went on to become a PE teacher in Leeds, where one of his pupils was James Milner. He later sent Milner off in a Premier League match in 2019.

Despite his Sunderland allegiances, he took charge of two Newcastle games in the 2009/10 Championship season.

He also retired at the end of the 2021/22 season, but took up a role as a Select Group 1 Manager at the Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL) so he still has a big hand in all matters football.

Michael Oliver - Newcastle

Michael Oliver, Premier League, referee,
From Ashington in Northumberland, Oliver is a Newcastle United fan and jokes that "every decision against Newcastle is a bad one".

He is not allowed to referee Newcastle or Sunderland games and will not be allowed to take charge of any games towards the end of the campaign involving any of the Magpies' relegation rivals.

Craig Pawson - Sheffield United

Craig Pawson tops the list of referees for cards shown over Christmas

The 2015 League Cup final referee is based in South Yorkshire and is a fan of the Blades. The 42-year-old has never refereed a match involving United and Wednesday or South Yorkshire rivals Doncaster and Rotherham.

However, he was in charge of a solitary Barnsley game in 2013.

Michael Salisbury - unknown

Salisbury, from Penwortham, started refereeing in the local leagues in Preston in 2001 after being inspired by his dad Graham, who has just retired after 588 Football League games.

The former PE teacher's soccer allegiances are not known but his Preston base means he has never taken charge of a game involving the Lilywhites.

Graham Scott - Swindon

A former goalkeeper with Abingdon Town, Scott was promoted to the Select Group in 2015.
Living in Oxford, Scott is unable to referee the Robins or the U's.

Anthony Taylor - Altrincham

Anthony Taylor, referee. Premier League

Taylor lives just six miles from Old Trafford and his appointments for games involving Manchester United often draws the ire of rival supporters.

However, the 43-year-old from Wythenshawe is as neutral as they come, being a fan of non-league Altrincham.

Paul Tierney - Wigan

Wigan-born Tierney is a fan of the League One club and also the stepdad of former Wigan Warriors and Leigh Centurions winger Lewis Tierney.

Least likely to be seen refereeing Liverpool following a bust-up with Jurgen Klopp which had the Reds manager claiming Tierney had a "problem" with him.

Lee Mason - Bolton

VAR Lee Mason is a Bolton fan so has never taken charge of any of their matches.

His younger brother Andy used to play for Hull City, Macclesfield and a pile of other clubs he didn't make much of an impact on.
At least everyone has heard of one of the Mason brothers, even if it is for all the wrong reasons.

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