Mark Clattenburg will referee an Everton match at Goodison Park tomorrow for the first time in six years when he is in charge for the visit of Southampton.
Clattenburg’s last game at Goodison was a controversial Merseyside derby when he sent off two Everton players (one, Tony Hibbert, after appearing to reach for a yellow, then – after a word from Liverpool’s Steven Gerrard – going for his red); let off Dirk Kuyt for a kung-fu kick at Phil Neville; and ignored a strong injury-time penalty appeal when Jamie Carragher wrestled Joleon Lescott to the ground.
To put this six-year wait into context, after the Chelsea-Manchester United game in October 2012 – after which Clattenburg was accused, and subsequently cleared, of racially abusing John Obi Mikel – the official waited only six months before returning to Stamford Bridge.
Meanwhile, after Martin Atkinson sent off Nemanja Vidic and gave Chelsea a late winning penalty against United at Stamford Bridge in March 2011, he was publicly criticised by Sir Alex Ferguson and did not take charge of a United game for 12 months.
So, for Clattenburg to wait six years for a return to Goodison is unprecedented. Since that Merseyside derby in October 2007, Clattenburg has refereed 149 Premier League matches at 28 grounds – but only been in charge of one Everton game, at Aston Villa in January 2012.