Everton kick off the 2016-17 season against Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday, and it will be unpopular figure Martin Atkinson refereeing the match. The reasons for why the match official is less than desirable around Goodison Park are legion.
- Blowing the final whistle as Everton were attacking a shell-shocked Manchester United at Goodison Park in September 2010.
The Blues had staged a brilliant late comeback to tie the game at 3-3 from two goals down, but with captain Phil Jagielka leading the charge forward and the game deep into time added on, Atkinson inexplicably blew the final whistle to the utter consternation of manager David Moyes and a chorus of boos from the home crowd.
- Wrongly sending off Jack Rodwell during the Merseyside Derby at Goodison in October 2011.
Rodwell was sent off by the referee after just 23 minutes for what looked like a legitimate challenge on Suarez. Moyes was livid, claiming that the ref had ‘ruined’ the game as Liverpool went on to win 2-0. He was validated later by the Football Association (FA) who repealed the three-game suspension that follows a direct red card.
- Stevan Jovetic dive against Manchester City in January 2015.
While this wasn’t a major gaffe, it did produce a fan comment of the year contender and a Vine for the ages as a Toffees fan standing too close to the commentators had the microphones catch his comment.
Martin Atkinson Reffing our first game https://t.co/ZVDrAVreJa— Phil Ⓥ (@GungaChief) August 8, 2016
- Not showing a second yellow card to Lucas Leiva during the Merseyside Derby at Goodison in October 2015.
Lucas got into it early in the game, committing a succession of fouls and got a yellow card, which did not seem to temper his viciousness. Brendan Rodgers replaced Lucas to put Atkinson out of his misery, before himself getting fired at the end of the 1-1 game.
- Allowing City’s Raheem Sterling to go out of bounds with the ball in the January 2016 Capital One Cup semi-final second leg at the Etihad.
This one really burned Everton. In a game where they were on the back foot for long periods defending resolutely, it took Sterling going over the touchline to send in a cross from which they took the lead and knocked the Blues out of the tournament.
Martin Atkinson first up then. Hope he's had an eye test since earlier in the year. pic.twitter.com/tI3TzyT1g6— John Merro (@johnmerro1) August 8, 2016
- Abusing captain Phil Jagielka soon after he missed the call shown above.
Jags was obviously incensed by the mistake, and approached the official to ask about it. While the skipper declined to repeat what Atkinson said to him, he did say that the ref made a sarcastic remark about Everton's defending in the lead up to the goal.
Oh well, it looks like that’s what we are stuck with on Saturday.
Match Officials details -
Referee: Martin Atkinson
Assistants: S Child, L Betts
Fourth official: J Simpson
Martin Atkinson’s Everton record -