East Midlands referee Trevor Kettle will be the man in-charge of our away fixture with Exeter on Saturday, it has been announced.The Rutland-based official will oversee the clash that could see the Iron clinch promotion with a game to spare, before we host York City on the final day of the season.
On the day, it will be our 45th league match of the 2013/14 campaign, Kettle’s 31st. He has overseen matches in all three Football League tiers, as well as the Capital One Cup, FA Cup and Johnstone’s Paint trophy.
An experienced official, Kettle took up refereeing in 1983 before being listed on the national list of referees 15 years later as a linesman. He ran the line during the 2002 Worthington Cup final and has also served as a Premier League fourth official.
He has brandished 111 yellow cards and sent off four players this season. Three of those cautions came in November at Fratton Park, when we beat Portsmouth 2-1, thanks to a double from Dave Syers, and Andy Dawson was the only Iron to be booked.
Last season, he refereed 35 matches, showing 135 yellows and nine reds. One match was at Glanford Park as we drew 1-1 with Brentford, Leon Clarke was our scorer. Kettle booked Jimmy Ryan and sent off David Mirfin in the 86th minute for handling the ball and he was shown a second caution.
This referee took charge of Russ Wilcox's second home game in charge of the Iron, as caretaker in 2003/4, when we played Rochdale. He booked 10 players as the game finished 2-2.
In an interview with his local paper, the Rutland Times, Kettle fondly remembers an Iron game in his debut campaign as a whistle-blower.
"I remember doing a game at Scunthorpe in my first season,” he said. “This Canadian goose suddenly landed on the pitch. It was a real beast. It delayed the restart by six or seven minutes while the stewards chased it and the Rochdale goalie unsuccessfully tried to grab it."
Despite being regularly abused for doing his job, Kettle still feels the same passion for the game.
"I love it – I thrive on the pressure of refereeing," he said. "People always ask me why I do it because of some of the abuse we can receive.”
"It is a real mental and physical challenge controlling a game in front of 30, 40 or 50,000 people and a television audience of millions but I genuinely enjoy it.
During the week, he is a senior air traffic controller with the RAF, but it doesn’t get in the way of his sporting commitments.
"I am my own boss in the RAF so I can schedule work around whichever matches I have to referee."
He is yet to referee the Grecians this year and his last game involving them was in October 2012, as they lost 3-0 at Cheltenham.
Kettle will be assisted at St James Park by Colin Lymer and Gavin Muge, with Adrian Tranter acting as his fourth official.