Which Clubs Do PL Referees Support?


Even referees have a favourite club or two — and English Premier League (EPL) referees are no exception.

Most officials have a club(s) to whom they’ve been loyal fans since their boyish days.

So, which clubs do PL referees support and are they permitted to control them in matches?

Let’s find out!

Which Clubs Do PL Referees Support?

Martin Atkinson

Born: March 31st 1971
Hometown: Drighlington, the UK
Joined PL: 2005
Supporter of: Leeds United

Martin Atkinson has referee experience that deems him one of the most respected and highest-paid PL football officials.

Atkinson’s beginnings date back to his younger years (15), and ever since, he has made a name in football by going up the ladder.

That said, he’s been part of the PL since 2005, which makes it 17 years now. During these years, Atkinsons have controlled 462 games and issued 1.450+ yellow cards and 67 red ones.

Some of the biggest games he controlled:

  • The FA Cup semi-finals (2009) – Arsenal 1:2 Chelsea
  • The FA Cup final (2011) – Manchester City 1:0 Stoke
  • Championship play-off final (2013) – Crystal Palace 1:0 Watford

Though he’s regularly the middleman in matches — Martin is a first-line Leeds United supporter.

Stuart Attwell

Born: October 6th 1982
Hometown: Nuneaton, England
Joined PL: 2008
Supporter of: Luton Town

Stuart Attwell is a football referee with Nuneaton roots and a proud supporter of the Luton Town boys. Besides that, he is also the youngest official who entered the PL, at only 25.

Before he reached the PL (2008), he controlled local domestic club matches and some non-league ones.

Attwell was in charge of 167 games in the PL and issued 593 yellow cards and 23 red cards.

Some of the most prominent games he took charge of are:

  • PL (2008) – Blackburn Rovers 1:1 Hull City game
  • League 1 Play-off Semi-final (2012) – Sheffield United 1:0 Yeovil Town

Peter Bankes

photo source: nufc

Born: May 18th 1982
Hometown: Lancashire, England
Joined PL: 2019
Supporter of: Unknown

Peter Bankes is an English pro referee who started officiating at only 14 (1996). And at the beginning was appointed to non-league and league matches. However, his hard work and referee reputation has made steady professional progress.

After refereeing in the Sky Bet Championship, he entered Select Group 1 in the 2019/20 season. Peter officiated 46 football matches in the PL and issued 175 yellow cards and five red ones.

These are some of his more significant games:

  • PL (2019) – Leicester 3:1 Bournemouth
  • PL (2020) – Crystal Palace 1:0 Newcastle

Unfortunately, there’s no record of which club Peter supports.

Also read: Who is the goalkeeper with most clean sheets in the PL?

John Brooks

photo source: scfc2

Born: 1990
Hometown: Melton Mowbray, England
Joined PL: 2021
Supporter of: Unknown

Brooks started his career at 14, and naturally, he advanced professionally by moving to the Football League as an assistant referee, followed by a promotion to one of the richest sports leagues in the world.

In 2021 he was finally called by the PL as a permanent referee. During his relatively short time in the PL, he has controlled 11 games and whistled 50 yellow cards, but none red.

Some of the more important games he was appointed to are:

  • League One (2016) – Scunthorpe United 4:0 Southend United
  • PL (2021) – Wolves 0:0 Burnley

There are no records of which club Brooks supports, but, he’s also never officiated at a Leicester game.

Mike Dean

Born: June 2nd 1968
Hometown: Wirral, England
Joined PL: 2000
Supporter of: Tranmere Rovers

Mike Dean is one of the most well-known EPL referees and has been a loyal supporter of the Tranmere Rovers since the mid-80s.

Like everyone else, Mike made it to the football top tier by climbing the scale step by step: from the Northern Premier League to an entrance into the PL (2000-2022).

In his 22 years in the PL, Dean was the referee of 560 games, issuing 2.046 yellow and 114 red cards.

Some of the biggest matches he controlled:

  • FA Cup final (2008) – Portsmouth 1:0 Cardiff
  • EPL (2010) – Manchester United 1:2 Chelsea
  • EFL final (2011) – Arsenal 1:2 Birmingham

Dean retired as the referee with most years in the top tier and a record-breaking number of red cards (100) in the PL (2019).

Darren England

photo source: scunthorpe

Born: December 23rd 1985
Hometown: Doncaster, England
Joined PL: 2020
Supporter of: Barnsley

Darren England has been Barnsley’s faithful supporter and a PL referee since 2020. Interestingly, he is such a loyal fan that he was involved in various roles at Barnsley FC’s community programme from 2007 until 2011.

However, Darren progressed upwards once he was out of the FC Barnsley community programme (FIFA assistant referee – 2012; Select Group 2 referee – 2017, etc.).

In the PL (2020), he contributed his professional referee opinion in 34 matches and handed out 122 yellow cards and three red ones.

These are some of the biggest matches under his referee eye:

  • League Two Play-Off Final (2017) – Blackpool 2:1 Exeter City
  • PL (2020) – Wolves 1:0 Fulham

Also read: How many matches are played in a PL season?

Kevin Friend

Born: July 8th 1971
Hometown: Bristol
Joined PL: 2009
Supporter of: Bristol City and Leicester City

Kevin found out he is referee material at the age of 14. And he is also a hardcore supporter of Bristol City and Leicester City.

While making his way up to the PL, he controlled domestic club matches in the Leicestershire Senior League and the Midland Football Alliance.

Quickly after, Friend entered the first league in the 2009-10 season. Since then, Kevin has refereed 273 games and given away 931 yellow cards and 33 red cards.

The following are his biggest matches refereed by now:

  • Community Shield (2012) – Chelsea 2:3 Manchester City
  • EFL final (2013) – Swansea 5:0 Bradford

Kevin is retiring, but we’ll remember him refereeing at least 36 games of one of the most successful clubs in England – Liverpool.

Jarred Gillett

Born: November 1st 1986
Hometown: Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia
Joined PL: 2021
Supporter of: Unknown

Jarred Gillett is a PL referee of non-English or Irish origin — instead, he’s Australian.

Before becoming a PL referee, Gillett was making football decisions in the Hyundai A-League (2010-2019). Consequently, he took the opportunity to participate in the Asian Football Confederation Project Future program for referees too.

Finally, in 2021, he entered Select Group 1. Since then, Gillett appeared in 16 PL games – and gave out 59 yellow cards and one red.

These are some of his biggest games so far:

  • Championship (2018-19) – Blackburn Rovers 2:2 Swansea City
  • EFL Cup (2019) – Colchester United 0:0 Tottenham Hotspur, or 4:3 on penalties

But we still can’t make out who is his English favourite among clubs.

Simon Hooper

photo source: scfc2

Born: July 15th 1982
Hometown: Wiltshire
Joined PL: 2018
Supporter of: Swindon Town

Simon Hooper is a huge Swindon Town supporter and has been a PL referee for seven years. Furthermore, Hooper is also part of the Wiltshire FA and the National List of Referees since 2008.

Over the years, Hooper acquired quite the referee experience throughout several leagues. However, his biggest referee leap was the PL promotion in 2018.

Since 2018, Hooper has been in control of 58 games, during which he issued two red cards and 161 yellow ones.

Some of his biggest games include:

  • League One Play-Off semi-finals (2018) – Charlton Athletic 0:1 Shrewsbury Town
  • PL (2015) – Norwich City 1:3 Crystal Palace.

Also read: Who has the highest wage bill in the Premier League?

Robert Jones

photo source: nufc

Born: April 4th 1987
Hometown: Merseyside, England
Joined PL: 2019
Supporter of: Unknown

Robert Jones is an English PL referee that has been through various leagues before getting to the PL.

His progress includes the Premier Reserve League with just three appearances (2011). This was  followed by a referee spot in the National League in 2014, and in two seasons, he controlled 37 matches.

Jones’s PL career consists of 31 games, three red cards and 92 yellow cards. He’s also been part of some outstanding games:

  • National League (2014) – Southport 0:1 Forest Green
  • PL (2019) – Brighton 0:1 Sheffield United
  • PL (2022) – Aston Villa 0:2 Chelsea

Andy Madley

photo source: efl

Born: September 5th 1983
Hometown: Huddersfield, England
Joined PL: 2018
Supporter of: Huddersfield Town

Madley started refereeing football matches for local leagues like Wakefield. But, he soon became a Level 3A referee (2008), which opened up his way to 3 Football League divisions as an assistant referee.

However, he didn’t stop until he joined his big brother, Bobby, in the top-tier football league – the PL (2018).

Since 2018 he has been part of 55 games and handed out four red cards and 147 yellow ones.

Here are some of his most significant matches:

  • FA Trophy Final (2019) – Leyton Orient 0:1 Bournemouth
  • EFL League One Play-Off Final (2019) – Charlton Athletic 2:1 Sunderland
  • PL (2022) – Aston Villa 0:1 Arsenal.

Andre Marriner

Born: January 1st 1971
Hometown: Birmingham, England
Joined PL: 2005
Supporter of: Aston Villa

What started as an accidental opportunity in 1992 turned out to be Andre’s career. Marriner is a pro football referee with 17 years in the PL (only).

Before the PL, he was overseeing Birmingham Amateur Football League matches. And after a short run in the Football League, his next stop was the PL (2005).

During his PL career, he’s been in charge of 382 games and issued 60 red cards and 1.182 yellow ones.

Some of the biggest games he was appointed to are:

  • Championship Play-off final (2008) – Blackpool 3:2 Cardiff
  • The 2010 Community Shield match – Manchester United vs Chelsea (3:1)

And Marriner gladly admits of being the Villans’ loyal supporter for many years.

Related: How much is the prize money for winning the Premier League?

Jon Moss

Born: October 18th 1970
Hometown: Sunderland
Joined PL: 2011
Supporter of: Sunderland

Moss is a former football referee and also one of the highest-paid ones in the PL. Furthermore, he’s also been a passionate Sunderland fan since he can remember.

Before joining the top tier, he officiated the Northern Counties East League and Northern Premier League matches.

Moss entered the PL (2011), and in the coming years, he appeared in 275 games and handed 893 yellow cards and 39 red ones.

These are some of the biggest games he had the chance to oversee:

  • PL (2011) – Blackpool 1:2 Birmingham
  • FA Cup final (2015) – Arsenal 4:0 Aston Villa
  • Community Shield Final (2019) – Chelsea 0:2 Manchester City.

Michael Oliver

Born: February 20th 1985
Hometown: Ashington, England
Joined PL: 2010
Supporter of: Newcastle United

Michael Oliver is a football referee of the Northumberland Football Association lines who has followed in the footsteps of his father, Clive.

Though he primarily controls PL matches, Michael is also a FIFA-listed referee. However, Oliver was also named the youngest football official at the Conference National play-off finals (2007).

During a 12-year run in the PL, he appeared in 331 matches and issued 46 red cards and 1.043 yellow cards.

Some of his most significant games are:

  • EFL Cup final (2016) – Liverpool 1:1 Manchester City (City won the match on penalties)
  • Community Shield (2014) – Manchester City 0:3 Arsenal

Michael is a fan of the Magpies. Hence, his jokes about how each ruling against Newcasle isn’t smart.

Craig Pawson

Born: March 2nd 1979
Hometown: Sheffield, England
Joined PL: 2013
Supporter of: Sheffield United

Besides being a regular football referee in the PL since 2013, Craig is also a verified Sheffield fan.

Before he reached the English top tier, he was a regular referee in the Football League during the 2012-13 season. Furthermore, his hard work paid off, and he received a spot among the FIFA-listed referees in 2015.

Pawson’s 9-year PL career stats showcased 214 games, 760 yellow cards, and 31 red cards.

These are some of his most significant matches as a referee:

  • (2012) League 2 Play-off final – Crewe 2:0 Cheltenham
  • Community Shield (20160 – Leicester 1:2 Manchester United
  • FA Cup semi-final (2017) – Arsenal 2:1 Manchester City.

Also read: Find out the locations of Premier League teams

Michael Salisbury

photo source: scfc2

Born: 1985
Hometown: Penwortham, England
Joined PL: 2021
Supporter of: Unknown

Salisbury is a former PE teacher that chose to swim in the football referee waters like his father, Graham.

In fact, Michael started his career by controlling domestic leagues in Preston (2001). However, his biggest football advancements are the Football League and the PL entrance.

His PL career so far consists of 10 games appearances, one red card and 45 yellow cards.

Some of the most prominent games he has been in control of are:

  • EFL Trophy semi-finals (2019) – Bristol Rovers 0:2 Sunderland
  • PL (2022) – Crystal Palace 1:2 Aston Villa.
  1. Graham Scott
  • Born: October 10th 1968
  • Hometown: Oxford, England
  • Joined PL: 2015
  • Supporter of: Swindon Town

Scott is a former goalkeeper for Abingdon Town F.C. and an English pro referee since 1997.

He started controlling football matches in low-profile local leagues but soon progressed. In 2008, he became part of the National list of Referees and started overseeing matches in higher leagues (e.g. Football League Cup matches).

Ultimately, he reached the first league in 2015. Since then, he has been part of 97 matches, issuing 265 yellow cards and 17 red ones.

The following are some of the highlight matches in his career:

  • Championship (2011) – Bristol City 5:3 Barnsley FC
  • League Cup (2013) – Bolton Wanderers 1:2 Crawley Town
  • PL (2014-15) – Burnley 1:1 Aston Villa

You’ll probably see Scott controlling a Brighton game. But you’ll also see him cheering for the Swindon Town club.

Anthony Taylor

photo source: themirror

Born: October 20th 1978
Hometown: Wythenshawe, England
Joined PL: 2010
Supporter of: Altrincham

Anthony is one of the most famous football referees and has been part of the PL for 12 years. Additionally, he is a huge Altrincham (a non-league club) supporter.

Taylor’s career started by refereeing non-league matches but soon advanced to the Northern Premier League (2002), leading him to the Conference North (2004).

He started making his path through various leagues and cups, and in 2010 he joined the PL, with Fulham vs Portsmouth, as his debut match.

In 12 years, Taylor marked 325 games and issued 49 red cards and 1.108 yellow ones.

These are some of his most significant referee ‘gigs’:

  • FA Cup final (2017) – Arsenal 2:1 Chelsea
  • EFL final (2015) – Chelsea 2:0 Spurs
  • Championship Play-off final (2018) – Fulham 1:0 Aston Villa.

Paul Tierney

Born: December 25th 1980
Hometown: Wigan, England
Joined PL: 2014
Supporter of: Wigan Athletic

Paul Tierney is a Wigan-born football referee and a hardcore League One Wigan Athletic fan. Naturally, he, too, paved his path to the PL by controlling local teams and leagues.

He swiftly progressed and became an assistant referee in the FA Cup finals (2009). However, his biggest breakthrough was the entrance into the PL in 2014.

Since joining the PL, he has been in charge of 140 matches and has issued 474 yellow cards and 16 red ones.

These are some of the biggest games under his referee eye:

  • PL (2014) – Swansea 3:0 West Bromwich
  • EFL Cup Final (2021) – Manchester City 1:0 Tottenham Spurs.

Related: Who is the player with the most red cards in football?

Are Premier League Referees Allowed To Control The Teams They Support?

In brief. PL referees that favour a particular club(s) or are loyal supporters of the same aren’t allowed to officiate their games.

Hence, this is what end-season updates of all referees serve for. So that the organisation responsible for the refereeing appointments for PL games enables all clubs fair and square gameplay.

The updates include information such as

  • Which clubs do PL referees support;
  • Current place of living;
  • Which games they’ve played (if any), etc.

For example, a person living in Oxford can’t be a referee of an Oxford club game.


The Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL) ensures the referees’ background is complete and neat and that the referee game appointment is fair for both teams.

Now, since you know which clubs do PL referees support, you have a more detailed picture of the referees’ professional backgrounds.

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