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On 8th August 2015, Simon Hooper was allocated his first ever Premier League game when Norwich played Crystal Palace at Carrow Road to open up the 2015/16 season. It is far to say that it didn’t go well.

For the record, Norwich were beaten 3-1 and the only player yellow carded in the game was Norwich’s Alexander Tettey. Robbie Brady made his debut for Norwich whilst Patrick Bamford didn’t make his for Palace; he was an unused sub.

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The referee’s performance that day was judged on two incidents. He missed a blatant penalty for the home side when Connor Wickham fouled Sebastien Bassong but earlier, with Norwich trailing 2-1, he disallowed a superb Cameron Jerome goal because he claimed it dangerous play as Jerome scored with an overhead kick.

He was condemned for his performance that day and he’s not refereed a Premier League game since so when he leads the teams out tonight at St. James’ Park it will be just his second Premier League game and he takes charge just four days after he had a difficult afternoon in the Championship with his handling of the Ipswich v Wolves game.

He’s a referee who hasn’t caused us too many problems in the seven games he’s taken charge of. His first Burnley game was a 1-0 win at Millwall in the 2011/12 season; more recently he was the man in the middle when we beat Blackburn in the League Cup this season.

He yellow carded both Phil Bardsley and Kevin Long that night; both were correct decisions and in total this season he has given out 89 yellow and three red cards in 28 games. Of those yellow cards, 36 have gone to home team players and 53 to away team players.

His first red card of the season was Fulham’s Tomas Kalas in the very first minute of their 1-1 draw at Reading on the second Saturday of the season. Fulham boss Slavisa Jokanovic said after the game: “It’s too early in the season to start complaining about the referees and blaming them.”

More recently he sent off Middlesbrough’s Daniel Ayala in a 3-0 home defeat against Derby and Harlee Dean, the Birmingham defender, as they lost 1-0 at home against Wolves. They were in successive games for Hooper.

I’m sure he’ll be hoping there won’t be any controversy this time as there was at Norwich two and a half years ago.

Finally, it is only right within this article, that I write about Paul Alcock, the former Premier League referee who lost his life yesterday after a long battle against cancer.

Alcock was just 64 and his last Burnley game was a 1-0 defeat at Walsall in March 2002. My thoughts are with his family and friends at this sad time.

The assistant referees are Gary Beswick (County Durham) and Lee Betts (Norfolk). The fourth official is Neil Swarbrick (Preston) whose only Burnley game was our 1-0 win at Barnsley in April 2014.

Previous Burnley Games – Simon Hooper

SeasonOpponentsVResYRBurnley Players Carded
2011/12Millwalla1-050Y: Trippier, Bartley, Easton
2012/13Charltona1-040Y: Austin, Lafferty, Vokes, Paterson
2013/14Leedsh2-120Y: Jones
2015/16Ipswicha0-210Y: Kightly
2015/16Brightonh1-140Y: Mee
2015/16Middlesbrougha2-130Y: Barton
2017/18Blackburna2-030Y: Bardsley, Long
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