Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Ref Keith's Got One Ell of a Job on His Hands!

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Ref Keith's Got One Ell of a Job on His Hands!

Article excerpt

Byline: Jeff Winter

SUNDAY'S showdown at Elland Road is not going to be a game for the faint-hearted.

But in Keith Stroud the football authorities have wisely appointed an experienced Championship referee.

He'll need to be on the ball from the first second until the last, mind.

So it's a good job Mr Stroud is one of the most experienced refs at this level.

Take it from me, it's the kind of game you want to ref. Frankly, if you don't fancy officiating in a big game like Leeds versus Boro, like Leeds versus Millwall, which can be naughty, or North-east derbies, you shouldn't be a match official.

Elland Road was one of the most intimidating grounds I ever reffed at.

It was even more intense when the opposition was Chelsea, Manchester United or Sunderland, and it's the same when Boro pay a visit.

When you walk out onto the pitch, Elland Road is one of the most hostile atmospheres you can experience.

It calls for a very strong referee, as the red card count for Leeds versus Middlesbrough games over the years testifies.

Rarely does the final whistle blow at Elland Road with all 22 players remaining on the pitch.

But Boro have got experienced footballers who are used to big match atmospheres.

Players like Grant Leadbitter, Jonny Howson, Darren Randolph, Britt Assombalonga, Stewart Downing and Ben Gibson.

Leeds will definitely be up for this one, mainly because of their misguided belief that Garry Monk walked out on them to join Boro.

Anyone who attended his press conference at Rockliffe Park in June will know that he couldn't speak highly enough about Leeds United.

Jeff But that won't stop the fans will be putting pressure on the match officials.

Winter That is the aim of the fans at any ground in the country but with the greatest respect to most other grounds, they don't create an atmosphere comparable to Elland Road. …

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