Whistleblower - Everton v Portsmouth
A well respected man in the middle for this match comes in the shape of Mr. Howard Webb.
The Referees fitness co-ordinator for Sheffield and Hallamshire County FA, Howard has a no nonsense approach to his game and rules with a rod of iron. He has officiated in twenty seven Premiership matches this season and is currently placed fourth in the referees table, having booked 104 players and dismissed four which gives him a total of 4 bookings per match. His most recent sending off was the match at Blackburn who hosted Charlton last week - Fratton Park`s most disliked player Ben Thatcher was sent from the field of play during that match for a second bookable offence.
During this season, Howard has officiated in just two matches involving Portsmouth prior to this significant encounter. Those matches brought mixed results but both involved Manchester clubs. His first was the match at Old Trafford on the 4th November which finished 3-0 to United; his next was Pompey`s 2-1 home win over Manchester City on the 10th February. In contrast, Everton have yet to be involved in a match with Howard as referee, though he has been fourth official in two of their matches.
Howard will most mostly be remembered by Pompey though for the controversy that surrounded his actions over the blatant stamp by Joey Barton on the Achilles tendon of Portsmouth`s Pedro Mendes during the match at Fratton Park this season - Mendes has not played apart from one match since then due to that injury. Latest events at Manchester City tend to highlight that this behaviour of Barton`s was simply not "accidental"; a view shared by the Match of the Day panel who voiced their belief that Barton`s challenge was certainly deliberate.
Howard started off on his journey to become a professional referee in 1989, officiating at local level in Rotherham leagues. By 1993 he moved up to the Northern Counties East list as an Assistant Referee and progressed to a Northern Counties East Referee in 1995. Six years later in 1996, he joined the National List of Assistant Referees and became a Football League Referee and Premier League Assistant Referee in 1998. Two more years and he moved up to the National List of Referees in 2000 before making the grade of Select List of Referees in 2003.
His record to date shows that he was the referee for the 1997 Sheffield & Hallamshire Senior Cup Final, Assistant Referee for one of the 2000 FA Trophy Semi-Finals and was referee in the 2000 Pontins League Cup Final. More recently, he was the Fourth Official for the 2004 FA Community Shield between Arsenal and Manchester United, the referee for the 2005 FA Community Shield between Chelsea and Arsenal and the referee for the 2006 FA Trophy Final. Howard was also the referee for one of the European Under-21 Championships semi-final and referee for the final.
In his spare time, Howard classes himself as a keen sportsman and enjoys spending time with his family.
Everton v Portsmouth
Saturday 5th May - 3.00 p.m.
Howard Webb -Yorkshire
Andy Garratt West Midlands
Glenn Turner Derbyshire
Mike Pike Cumbria