The EFL have now announced the Match Day officials that will take charge of the all-important Championship Play-Off Final at Wembley this weekend.
Aston Villa face Fulham at the national stadium with a return to the Premier League on the cards for the winner and the significant financial uplift that brings to the coffers given the riches to be found in the English top-flight.
Having passed the Middlesbrough test and Tony Pulis’ ‘defend don’t attack’ way of winning games, Fulham will pose a completely different test for us as they were (said through gritted teeth) worthy of the third-placed finish they earned in the table.
The game kicks off at 5pm and drinking for many, to sooth the nerves, will begin many hours before that.
Referee: Anthony Taylor
Assistant Referees: Gary Beswick and Dan Cook
Fourth Official: Kevin Friend
Reserve Assistant Referee: Edward Smart
We now turn to Vital Villa’s resident refereeing expert sirdennis for his unique insight into the appointed Official. Surprisingly, and worryingly, sirdennis is positive about the appointment.
“Right. Anthony Taylor, widely considered to be the best of a bad bunch, so it could have been a lot worse. Clearly we haven’t had the displeasure of him reffing our games this season so it’s hard to assess his current level of ineptitude, but one thing that does stick in my mind about him is that he gave the finest display of refereeing known to mankind when we beat Arsenal 3-1 at their place on the opening day of the 2013/14 season (Tony Moon anyone?). He gave us two penalties and sent off Koscielny as well.
“So Anthony if you are reading this, you don’t want to go to Fulham next year with their clappers and 15,000 attendance, you want to go to the magnificent Villa Park with the wonderful, completely natural atmosphere and 40,000 fair-minded and completely unbiased fans. If you want the latter and you clearly do, a repeat of the Arsenal performance on Saturday will be much appreciated and would possibly get you awarded the freedom of Aston.
“I thank you in advance.”
As sirden rightly states, the last time we saw the man was back in the 2015/16 campaign where he oversaw matches against Southampton, Tottenham and Watford. Although the Arsenal showing was the standout, 2015/16 saw a return of one point only from those three games, but he did show eight yellow cards and one red. Five yellows came to us, as did the red.
Here’s hoping he has another blinder instead!