`

Should the Manchester United v Newcastle game have a referee born just six miles from Old Trafford?

Match referee Anthony Taylor grew up just a few miles from Old Trafford
Match referee Anthony Taylor grew up just a few miles from Old Trafford

Newcastle United visit Manchester United on Saturday desperately hoping for a result – but should the game have a referee born just six miles from Old Trafford?

Anthony Taylor will be the man in the middle, and some Magpies fans have voiced concerns around his appointment.

The 39-year-old, who has been refereeing in the Premier League since 2010, is allowed to officiate Man United games despite being from Wythenshawe as he doesn't support either Manchester club.

Altrincham chairman Grahame Rowley claimed in 2016 that Taylor was a fan of the National League North club.

READ MORE: 'The Mackem Slayer' Newcastle fans react to Ivan Toney's late equaliser against Sunderland
"Anthony has always been an Altrincham fan,” Rowley told The Guardian.
“Even now, he gets a season ticket every year to support the club, despite the fact he can’t go to all the matches.

"He has helped with refereeing schools at the club and he is often at the ground.

"People around here always ask if you’re a Red or a Blue. He’s actually a great advocate for non-League football, and he should be praised not criticised.”

Taylor's avid support for Alty allows him to referee games involving Manchester clubs.

READ MORE: Kevin Keegan delivers message to Newcastle fans on emotional return
An explanation on PremierLeague.com says the Professional Game Match Officials Board "take into account several factors".

"Appointments are made by the Professional Game Match Officials Board.

"They take into account several factors, including the referee’s overall experience, their current form, how often they have refereed the clubs involved, which team the referee supports and any forthcoming international appointments."

Since 2012, according to WorldFootball.net, Taylor has refereed 19 Premier League matches involving Manchester United, five of which have ended in defeat.

READ MORE: Federico Fernandez urges Newcastle United not to ‘panic’ after winless Premier League start
Taylor has taken charge of two fixtures between the Red Devils and Newcastle, resulting in two defeats for the Magpies.

The first followed when Newcastle were knocked out of the League Cup in a 2-1 defeat at Old Trafford in 2012.

And the other game ended in late drama as Ashley Young fired home a last gasp winner at St James's Park in 2015.

In those fixtures, Taylor has appeared to have refereed the game fairly, dishing out three yellow cards for Newcastle and two for Manchester United.

And while it will always be up for debate on whether Taylor should be allowed to take part in Manchester United games, it is encouraging to know he hasn't been at the centre of any major decisions when the two clubs lock horns.

READ MORE: The statistic that puts Newcastle United among the 'dirtiest' teams in the Premier League
Of course, Saturday could change that!