Oh no! Another controversial ref takes charge of Newcastle game at Wigan

Dwight Gayle and a few teammates may have to watch their flying feet as Newcastle bid to go back to the top of the Championship at Wigan tonight.

Simon Hooper
Simon Hooper

For in Simon Hooper, United will meet a referee who does not look kindly on attacking players performing the spectacular in opposition penalty areas.

For all Championship referee stats, including Hooper's yellow and red cards, click here.But the Magpies' travelling fans may give some leeway to an official who has recently dished out rough justice to a team regarded as cheats by many on Tyneside.

Hooper is hated in Norfolk for the most infamous decision of his career - disallowing a spectacular overhead kick by Norwich's Cameron Jerome on the opening day of last season.

Rather than equalise against Crystal Palace at Carrow Road, Hooper's decision to penalise Jerome for a high boot saw Norwich lose 3-1 at the start of a campaign which would see them relegated from the Premier League.

The Wiltshire referee also brought Newcastle no luck at the very start of this season, taking charge of their 1-0 defeat at Fulham.

But Hooper has since officiated United's 3-1 home win over Brentford in October, and brought tonight's opponents Wigan no luck in a 1-0 defeat by Brighton at the DW Stadium a week later.

Yet it is the red card he dished out to Nottingham Forest's Hildeberto Pereira in September which is perhaps the main reason Hooper will start tonight with some credit among the Geordie faithful.

That dismissal - for Pereira jumping into the away end to celebrate a last-minute equaliser at Aston Villa - was almost as controversial as the sendings-off of Newcastle's Jonjo Shelvey and Paul Dummett amid Henri Lansbury's play-acting for Forest against Newcastle on December 2.


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So far this season, the 34-year-old has taken charge of 11 Championship games, issuing 45 yellow cards at a rate of just over four per match.

His three games involving Wigan and Newcastle have seen 13 cards brandished.