It is Brighton v Newcastle next Tuesday (28 February).

The biggest game in the Championship this season and the authorities have seen fit to ‘parachute’ in a Premier League referee to take on the job of officiating at this crucial game.

All sounds good…

The Argus:

“Premier League ref Robert Madley has been parachuted in for Albion’s big Championship clash with Newcastle at the Amex next Tuesday.

It will be Madley’s first match at Championship level since the play-off final between Hull and Sheffield Wednesday at Wembley in May.”

Yes, this is the same Robert Madley who fatally sabotaged Newcastle’s Premier League season and arguably provided the key moment that ended up relegating the club.

The 25 October 2015 saw Newcastle battering Sunderland, the first half was embarrassingly one-sided at the Stadium of Light, with it looking only a question of time before the Magpies got the opening goal.

Step forward Robert Madley, who somehow adjudged that Fabricio Coloccini had to go (the red card was later rescinded – see FA statement below) AND awarded a penalty.

On the stroke of half-time, Adam Johnson (you couldn’t make it up) stepped forward and put Sunderland one up, the game at that moment gifted to the Mackems and an eventual 3-0 scoreline, though Newcastle still looked the better team most of the second-half even with only 10 men.

Considering Newcastle ended the season only two points below Sunderland, it isn’t difficult to imagine how differently the season could have worked out, without the intervention of Robert Madley. Before that win, Sunderland were rock bottom of the Premier League and if Newcastle had won on Wearside, the mackems would have been bottom (below even Villa) with only three points from the first 10 games.

It is obviously a conscious decision to bring in Madley for this specific high profile game, seen as he hasn’t reffed a Championship match all season.

Hopefully lightning doesn’t strike twice…

Official FA Statement 27 October 2015

‘Fabricio Coloccini will not serve a one-match suspension after his wrongful dismissal claim was successful.

An Independent Regulatory Commission found that the match referee had made an obvious error in dismissing the Newcastle United defender for denying an obvious goalscoring opportunity during the game against Sunderland on Sunday 25 October 2015.

Newcastle United have been charged for failing to control their players in relation to their reaction to the match referee’s decision.

The club have until 6pm on 30 October 2015 to respond to the charge.’