There has been a change to the identity of the referee who will take charge of Newcastle v Manchester City on Tuesday.

The late change is nothing to do with illness or injury and has come about because of the complaints of fans.

Referee Kevin Friend is a Bristol City fan but these days lives in Leicestershire and has in the past attended Leicester City matches with friends when ‘off duty’.

Friend was scheduled to take charge of the Stoke v Tottenham game on Monday night.

However, Sky Sports say that he was removed from that match because of complaints from supporters (no doubt Tottenham ones) of potential bias due to his Leicester connection and obviously Spurs battling the Foxes in the title race.

So Kevin Friend (after presumably first being checked for any liking for black cats or canaries…) has instead been moved to take charge of Newcastle v Manchester City, with presumably even the ‘experts’ concluding that Man City won’t catch Leicester with only six matches to play and 15 points the difference.

Replacing Friend at the Stoke v Spurs match is Neil Swarbrick, who presumably has been properly checked out.

Food for thought for Newcastle fans and some of the dubious referees we have had in the past, especially considering how close to the opposition’s ground a number of them have lived on various away matches.

Fan power succeeding for Tottenham supporters on this occasion and possibly setting a precedent?