Martin Atkinson, the man most Toffees fans don’t want to see anywhere near Goodison Park, will referee Everton vs. Swansea on Saturday.
Everton supporters have an acrimonious relationship with the 45-year-old official, who hails from West Yorkshire.
He’s responsible for a litany of decisions Toffees fans will still feel deeply aggrieved about. Atkinson sent Jack Rodwell off against Liverpool in October 2011. That decision which was later overturned.
And then there’s the incomprehensible blunder he made in the cup semi-final against Manchester City in January. Raheem Sterling was obviously out of play, but Atkinson either missed it completely or turned a blind eye.
Either way, the action eventually resulted in a Kevin De Bruyne goal, which put City ahead. The Blues were beat 2-1, and ousted by the narrowest of margins.
And, of course, who doesn’t remember when Atkinson snubbed Leighton Baines, refusing to shake his hand. It’s yet another example of what we’ve come to expect.
Atkinson’s favorite color
Phil Jagielka professed his annoyance on the day, labeling Atkinson as “arrogant”. Atkinson is one of the most experienced officials in the Premier League, often dishing out yellow cards with reckless abandon. He has brandished 48 yellows in the 12 matches he’s refereed this season, an average of four per game.
Atkinson refereed Everton without incident on opening day against Spurs. Miraculously, he didn’t even brandish a single yellow card. Guess he had some warming up to do.
It’s the only game so far this season he has refrained from showing a yellow. Atkinson has shown at least four yellow cards in eight of the 12 games he has officiated in 2016-17.
Even more alarmingly, Atkinson has brandished the yellow card at least five times in six different contests.
The tyrannical referee has even shown seven yellows in a single encounter twice so far this season, including Sunderland vs. Arsenal on Oct. 29 and Stoke vs. West Brom on Sept. 24.
That’s a lot of yellow. Wonder what the color of his home decor is?
Atkinson earns about £600 per yellow card
Last season, Atkinson doled out 169 yellows in 46 games, about 3.7 yellows per game. According to Total Sportek, Atkinson earns about £100,000 per year, which equates to £591.72 for every yellow card.
Mark Clattenburg and Atkinson are the highest paid Premier League officials, with Mike Dean, who earns about £85,000 per season, coming in at third.
Not a bad racket, Atkinson.
Let’s hope, against all of his instincts, Atkinson can keep the cards where they belong, in his pocket.