Ref watch...Mike Riley
By Les Roberts
Updated Thursday, 1st March 2007
The man they never call 'Old Mother', but definitely should, is refereeing the Blues once more.He's already refereed us twice this season and there have not really been too many incidents of any note to fly off the handle about.
Which means he's either got his act together this season or we're due an absolute shocker from him.
The first Blues match he took charge of was the 1-1 draw at Arsenal in October when he booked Arteta, Cahill and Osman.
The thing that really did everyone's head in in this match was that he played a full minute over the indicated stoppage time at the end of the first half and only blew his whistle when an Arsenal attack had broken down and Andy Johnson had broken clear on the half way line.
Oh, and the free kick Arsenal equalised from looked a bit suspect too.
He then refereed our match against Reading in January.
Again, this one ended up 1-1 and the Blues conceded from another dodgy free kick.
But this time the only thing that was suspect about the set piece was the defending on show and not the actual decision to award it.
The only thing to get worked up about in this one was that Mr Riley probably should have sent off Ibrahima Sonko for chopping down Andy Johnson when he was clean through.
And this came just after the Reading defender had been booked.
But, by Mike Riley's standards, that's hardly anything to get worked up about at all!
In total, Mr Riley has refereed 10 Everton games in the last three seasons, of which the Blues have won just one, drawn three, lost six and have had 17 players booked and one sent off.
So not a great record by any stretch of the imagination!
He has refereed just one Sheffield United match since 2004/05 and the good news is that the Blades lost it…and it was to West Ham!
He took charge of Sheffield United's trip to Upton Park in November which saw the Blades leave with a 0-1 defeat under their belt and bookings for Montgomery, Hulse, Gillespie and Kozluk.
But you just know he is going to do something completely inexplicable in this one.
And, as long as it upsets Neil Warnock, it should be well worth it!