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Opinion

Steve Martin – From North Ferriby to Infamy

3 years ago
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On a summer night in August, there wasn’t a Newcastle fan who thought that the name Steve Martin would end up etched into the consciousness.

On Tuesday 23 August 2016, the Staffordshire based referee took charge of his first ever Newcastle United match, a regulation 2-0 League Cup win over League Two Cheltenham Town.

As it happens, there were a lot of talking points in the match but none that majorly involved Steve Martin.

A series of freak accidents saw Rolando Aarons stretchered off, before then both Dwight Gayle and Aleksandar Mitrovic ending up with bandages wrapped around their heads.

Post-match, it then emerged that due to concussion, neither striker would be available for the crunch game at home to Brighton on the Saturday, which United duly won 2-0.

So moving forward a few months, nobody batted an eyelid when Steve Martin was named as taking charge of the Friday night live match featuring Nottingham Forest v Newcastle United.

This won’t be the case in the future.

Having already taken charge this season of matches such as Sheffield Wednesday v Aston Villa, Huddersfield v Birmingham and Brighton v Aston Villa, it isn’t as though this was the first significant game he had taken charge of.

However, it is ironic/amusing that only three days before the Forest v Newcastle game, Steve Martin took charge of Chester v North Ferriby in front of 1,392 in the National League.

You do though have to feel that this particular referee has blown his big chance, in front of a live TV audience he has cocked up an entire match, getting decision after decision wrong and getting his name known for all the wrong reasons, unlikely to be forgotten either with the American Comedian namesake.

The Select Group of referees take charge of the Premier League matches and Steve Martin is one level down from that – in Select Group 2.

In December 2015, the PGMOL announced that from the 2016/17 season a new Select Group 2 will be created to officiate primarily in the Championship, this will be made up of 18 referees, 12 full-time and 6 part-time who will train with their Select Group colleagues.

Whilst there is only one aim on Newcastle United’s agenda, similarly Steve Martin would have been looking for a promotion of his own in the near future.

If there is any satisfaction to be taken from Friday’s debacle, it must surely be that this referee has scored a major own goal in terms of his own ambitions, with him set to remain, a bit like Forest, in the second tier at best.

(Infamy: The state of being well known for some bad quality or deed/An evil or wicked act.)

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