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Foster in charge of Coventry game
Foster in charge of Coventry game
Friday, 12th Feb 2010 10:56

Tyne and Wear official David Foster is in charge of Saturday's encounter between Coventry City and Queens Park Rangers at the Ricoh Arena.

Coventry City v Queens Park Rangers
Referee: David Foster (Tyne and Wear)

Assistants – Knowles (Northamptonshire) and Phipps (Oxfordshire)
Fourth Official – Perry (West Midlands)

On Saturday we visit the Ricoh Arena, scene of a little bit of history on Tuesday night when an English Football League match was refereed by a woman for the first time. Amy Fearn was called into action midway through the second half when Anthony Bates had to retire hurt. QPR fans may remember Fearn under her maiden name Raynor as the linesman unfairly chastised by then Luton manager Mike Newell after a 3-2 win for the R’s at Kenilworth Road.

Raynor awarded a questionable corner from which QPR scored and went on to win the game – Newell spent most of his post match press conference ranting about women in sport. Raynor’s case wasn’t helped by ITV’s decision to bump the match up from the usual ten second highlights package QPR used to get on The Championship into one of the main matches with a dubbed on commentary that exaggerated Raynor’s impact on the game. It was, all in all, not the greatest day for the league – and replays failed to prove conclusively that it wasn’t a corner anyway. I’ve been sympathetic to Raynor/Fearn’s cause ever since then and hope she continues to succeed.

After the game Fearn said: “It was great – I could get used to that every week. I always have a laugh before the game with the referee saying, ‘go on give me ten minutes’. Then on 70 minutes I saw the referee on the floor and I wasn’t sure if he’d tripped over but it became obvious that it was serious. He called over to the fourth official to tell him to start the warm up and it was then that it dawned on me what was happening. It felt very surreal and then started sinking in. I had to start doing the checks with the fourth official before going onto the pitch. There is paperwork that has to be done and you have to make sure you are up-to-date with who has been cautioned. The decision is made before the game which official will replace the referee in the event of him coming off, so even though I wasn’t the Fourth Official, I was the most senior so it fell to me to replace Tony.

“The game stepped up a level when I entered the pitch. Going from the line to the middle is very different. It is the same as a player substitution, there is an extra stimulus in the game and with 20 minutes to go, Forest were desperate to get a goal. I understand there was a big reaction from the crowd but I don’t remember it at the time. I’m glad there was nothing controversial in that twenty minutes – football should be about the players not the officials.”

At the Ricoh this weekend Tyne and Wear official David Foster is in charge of the Sky Blues and QPR. Foster has only recently joined the Football League list after several seasons refereeing on the non-league circuit. This is his first QPR fixture, and only his fourth Championship appointment of the season, but he did take charge of Coventry’s 1-1 draw at Burnley last season.

This season Foster has shown 40 yellows (2.5 a game) and two reds in 16 matches. His biggest haul in a single match is five yellows in a League One encounter between Huddersfield and MK Dons. Three of those matches, and six of the yellow cards, have come in Championship fixtures including Blackpool’s 3-2 defeat at home to West Brom last week. Last season he showed 45 yellows (1.95 a game) and four reds across 23 games.

Looking further ahead we have Pat Miller in charge of our Tuesday night match with Watford at Loftus Road. More on him on Monday.

Photo: Action Images

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