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JEFF THE REF REMINISCES ABOUT SOUTHAMPTON

I made the long trip to referee on the South Coast on ten occasions, split between The Dell and St Mary's. My first two involvements with The Saints though were away from home in the FA Cup.

I was the Lino at Old Trafford when Saints knocked out Manchester United 4-2 on penalties after a 2-2 draw. They also lost at Forest 3-1 in a Fifth Round replay.

I was in the middle for one of the most talked about games in Premier League history when they beat Manchester United 6-3 and Roy Keane saw red. Eric Cantona also went in my book that day.

People often confuse this game with the time United changed their kit at half-time but that in fact was on another occasion. I reffed the fixture again a few years later and Saints won that one as well.

A 1-0 victory at home to Crystal Palace early in the 97/98 season was significant because it was the first time ever that a female assistant referee, Wendy Toms, officiated in the Premier League.

They won at Anfield, drew at Arsenal and at home to Liverpool, also beating Chelsea at The Dell, so they enjoyed success on many occasions when I had the whistle but all of these pail into insignificance I would imagine to the 3-0 hammering of local rivals Portsmouth in a game I reffed towards the end of my career.

I had to double check my records when I realised that I had cautioned both Dennis Wise and Frank LeBouf in the victory against Chelsea because by that time they were playing for Saints AGAINST Chelsea.

The final Premier League game of my career featured The Saints as they lost 2-1 at The Valley against Charlton Athletic. Their midfielder David Prutton has the dubious distinction of being my final ever yellow card in the League.




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