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Mason takes charge

Filed: Wednesday, 24th September 2014
By: Staff Writer

Lee Mason has been named as referee for this weekend's Manchester United vs West Ham United clash.

Hailing from Bolton, Greater Manchester, 42-year-old Mason has been a referee since 1988 when he officiated in the Bolton Boys' Federation League. He became a member of the Select Group Referees list in 2006.

Last season (2013/14), he officiated 30 matches in all competitions awarding an average of 3.57 yellow cards and 0.10 red cards per games. He has issued three red cards in each of the last two seasons - down from the record eight he meted out in 2008/09.

Mason has taken control of several matches involving West Ham in recent years, the most recent being United's 2-0 home defeat at the Boleyn Ground in March of this year. Most controversially in that game, Mason allowed a Wayne Rooney goal from the halfway line to stand even though he appeared to shove James Tomkins prior to scoring.

Two months earlier the same official took charge of West Ham's hugely-important 2-0 win at Cardiff - a result that went some way to deciding the ultimate fate of both teams in 2013/14. Despite returning to London with all three points, the Hammers had to make do with only ten men for the final quarter of the game after James Tomkins was dismissed for a second bookable offence.

Mason was also charged with oversseeing West Ham's 1-0 defeat at Crsytal Palace in December of last year. It could have been worse for the Hammers had the match official not disregarded Jimmy Kebe's strike, which he deemed (correctly) to be offside. However it could have been much better too, had Mason not ruled out Stewart Downing's effort with Joey O'Brien strangely accused of shirt-tugging - when all evidence pointed to the Irishman being the offended, not the offender.

In September 2013 West Ham lost 3-2 at the Boleyn to Everton. Mark Noble became the first of Mason's victims for the season that day when he was dismissed for a second bookable offence, even though thousands of Hammers behind the goal insisted that Noble made contact with the ball before bringing down Ross Barkley.

Some of the other West Ham games Mason has officiated include:

22 September 2012: West Ham Utd 1-1 Sunderland
"...the complete absence of yellow cards from the ref was somewhat baffling and served only to encourage continued repetition of such challenges with Cattermole in particular gleefully kicking people up in the air safe in the knowledge that there was always at least one more foul available before a card might come."

2 April 2011: West Ham Utd 2-4 Manchester Utd
"As Avram Grant dallied on the touchline referee Mason once again infuriated the Boleyn faithful with an astonishingly poor penalty decision against Matthew Upson that set the visitors up for only their fifth away win of the season."

12 February 2011: West Brom 3-3 West Ham Utd
"Lee Mason waved away a fifth penalty appeal when Noble went down in the box before Ba saw an effort cleared off the line by Nicky Shorey. When the African's penalty appeal on 67 minutes - the game's sixth, and possibly the strongest - was ignored by Mason you got the distinct impression he had made his mind up not to award any today."

18 September 2010: Stoke City 1-1 West Ham Utd
"Always a lively affair, this fixture lived up to its name with four first half bookings, two for each side."

12th December 2009: Birmingham City 1-0 West Ham Utd
No comments.

24th January 2009: Hartlepool Utd 0-2 West Ham Utd
"The referee ruled that the ball was inside the area and gave a penalty. Television replays showed this was a mistake but Noble took advantage of this lucky-break by scoring from the spot. "

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