We always keenly await the announcement of the referee appointments from the EFL, and this week has thrown up someone who is no stranger to a controversial moment….so, ladies, and gentlemen, please show your respect for Darren Drysdale.
50-year-old Drysdale from Lincolnshire is a sergeant in the RAF and to a degree has fallen from grace. He was appointed to the EFL in 1996 and had a rapid rise being on the FA Fast Track Programme. In 1998 he was appointed as an Assistant Referee to the Premiership and just 2 years later he was an assistant to Graham Poll in the 2000 FA Cup Final. Two years later he was one of only three UK based officials appointed to the pool of UEFA Assistant Referees.
He received a posting to the Middle East with the RAF and on his return in 2004, he became a fully fledged EFL referee taking his first game between Rushden & Diamonds and Kidderminster Harriers, and just a year later he was quickly promoted to the list of refs able to officiate in the Championship.
You would have expected him to be a regular Premiership referee by now, but he is never far from a controversial moment and that has probably thwarted his rise in the game.
In 2007 he had an altercation with Bradford City striker Dean Windass in the carpark after a game, a few weeks later Windass was suspended for 5 games for his verbal assault on Mr Drysdale.
What most people will remember about ref Drysdale is his coming together with the unsavoury character Alan Judge who himself is no shining example of how to conduct yourself.
In a game between Ipswich Town & Northampton Town in 2021 Drysdale had cause to book Judge for simulation (and it was), Judge took exception to this and said (apologies for this) ……” It’s a F***** penalty you cheating bald C***”. What followed were ugly scenes, Drysdale appeared to move his head towards Judge in an aggressive manner, and further words were exchanged before the pair were separated by the other players. Judge refused to complain after the incident to the FA but denied some of the language he used, although he was concerned that his good name in the game would be tarnished……yes, he really said that.
The upshot of it all was that Drysdale was banned for four games, the sentence said to be lenient because of the extensive mitigation (Drysdale saying he had never encountered such abuse during a game) and the FA believing this to be totally out of character for Drysdale.
Anyway, he finds himself at SMK on Saturday for our match with Doncaster Rovers and he will be assisted by MK regular Anthony Da Costa and Michael Chard on the flags, with Joseph Stokes as 4th Official.
The last time we saw Mr Drysdale in action for us was in our superb 2-1 away victory at high flying Wigan Athletic on October 19th, 2021. Charlie Wyke put Wigan ahead on 20 minutes only for the Dons to respond with two goals in 7 minutes, Peter Kioso heading home a Daniel Harvie cross and then an own goal by Tendayi Darikwa after it had already deflected off Jack Whatmough. Wigan pressed for the equaliser, but the Dons held out for a well-deserved victory.
This season he has overseen 19 games and booked 72 players and converting 1 of those to a double yellow offence, in addition he has sent 2 players off and awarded 3 penalties.
Photo Credits – SkySports.com