Latics are off to the seaside on Easter Monday to face table toppers Brighton in what is an immensely important Championship game for both clubs.
The man aiming to ensure that both sides adhere to the laws of the game and that it is played in the right spirit is Newport (Isle of Wight) official James Linington.
The 36 year old former plumber travels to all his games by ferry as he heads into Portsmouth from across the Solent, then makes his way by car to wherever he finds himself officiating.
The cost of the crossing is £60 return adding extra expenses to his refereeing fee Linington remarked – ”I think it’s the most expensive stretch of water in the world”.
A former winger, he was released by two league clubs for being too small, before a growing spate shot him up to 6′ 2, ”I just wasn’t strong enough,” he recalled – and took up the whistle at 14. However, his growing spurt helped out with the refing ”Having a tall presence, I think that helps my refereeing,” he said. ”I did think about going back to playing but I’m glad I didn’t now.”
In the 2009/10 season Linington was the man in the middle for the League 2 play-off final between Dagenham and Redbridge against Rotherham United, he says – ”To referee at your national stadium, well, you just can’t beat that.” You can’t beat winning the world’s most famous domestic cup competition there either James.
Here’s hoping he neither misses the boat on Tuesday, nor plumbs to new depths.
This will be the fourth time that Linington’s been in charge of a Latics game this season, all defeats, he ref’d our 4-3 defeat away at Forest on 20th August and followed that up with our 1-0 defeat away at Villa on the 10th December, he also had our 2-1 defeat away at QPR at the end of February.
Linington has had three Brighton games this season, twice at the Amex, both cup games against lower league opposition, their 4-0 win over Colchester in the EFL cup in August and the 2-0 win over MK Dons in the 3rd round of the FA cup in January.
The over game was a Championship encounter on the 2nd February away at Huddersfield which Brighton lost 3-1, they had Lewis Dunk dismissed in the 67thy minute of that game.
James Linington Card Watch 2016/17
Games – 31
Yellows – 132
Reds – 3
Brighton & Hove Albion v Wigan Athletic
Referee – JAMES LININGTON
Assistants – Neil Davies and Mark Pottage
Fourth Official – Ashvin Degnarain
Check out the latest PWU Podcast – Easter Time
A bit of WWE down at the DW on Saturday when Rotherham were in town, Nick ‘The Horse’ Powell came out on top over Lewis ‘Costly’ Price, the Horse’s 97th minute strike flashing into the back of the net to give the Latics 3 points and consign Rotherham to yet another away defeat.
Two games to look forward to, well you know what I mean, Barnsley are at the DW on Thursday, then it’s off to Brighton on Easter Monday.
Last on the agenda, but certainly not least is the Development Squad’s fine victory over Fleetwood in the Central League cup final, Si gives us his report on proceedings.
The podcast can be listened to by clicking the embedded player below or downloaded to listen at you leisure by visiting www.buzzsprout.com