Howard Webb is the man in the middle as Queens Park Rangers face champions Manchester United this weekend.
The country’s premier official joined the National List of referees in 2000 before progressing to the Select List only a few years later – this leap ensured he hasn’t refereed Rangers since.
He has refereed several important fixtures during his career including the FA Cup final, Uefa Champions League final and most impressively the Fifa World Cup final.
Thus far this season he has taken charge of 18 games, dishing out 72 yellow cards and four reds – thus giving him an average of 4.22 cards per game.
He will be assisted by Darren Cann (Norfolk) and Andy Garratt (West Midlands), with the fourth official Andre Mariner (West Midlands).
Mr Webb’s first time overseeing QPR came at Bloomfield Road as Rangers travelled to Blackpool for the first time since 1990. The outcome was very much the same despite a brace either side of half time by Leroy Griffiths. John O’Kane and Graham Fenton levelled matters for Blackpool.
A slender win for QPR then ensued later that campaign under his watchful eye when Andy Thomson dispatched a penalty against Peterborough United to keep Rangers sniffing around the Division Two playoff places.
Webb was by now a familiar face to the QPR fans overseeing three QPR games in 2002/03 – firstly a convincing 2-0 win over Swindon Town with Kevin Gallen and Richard Langley notching for the hosts.
Following a horrendous Christmas period, things dramatically picked up and despite Dan Shittu’s goal being cancelled out by Mark Peters at Brentford, Marc Bircham then slammed home an iconic 90th minute goal to secure a priceless win.
Then came the moment of deep heartbreak – the Milennium Stadium, Cardiff. QPR looked weary after months of relentless pressure and this told with just over five minutes of extra time remaining – Andy Campbell putting Cardiff City into Division One.
Fast forward to this season’s Premier League campaign, and Rangers’ first visit to White Hart Lane since their relegation in 1996. Goals from Gareth Bale and Rafael van der Vaart had given Spurs a two goal advantage for the dominant hosts.
Jay Bothroyd halves the arrears for Rangers with a well-taken close range header before another Bale stunner restored the two goal advantage for Spurs and ensured a well-deserved victory despite the R’s valiant effort.
MR WEBB & QUEENS PARK RANGERS
Blackpool 2-2 QPR – 18/09/2001
Goals: John O’Kane 52, Graham Fenton 89; Leroy Griffiths 32, 46
Yellow: Richie Wellens; Terrell Forbes, Steve Palmer
QPR 1-0 Peterborough United – 23/03/2002
Goals: Andy Thomson 34pen
Yellow: Richard Langley
QPR 2-0 Swindon Town – 14/09/2002
Goals: Kevin Gallen 50, Richard Langley 56
Yellow: Terell Forbes; Alan Reeves
Brentford 1-2 QPR – 19/04/2003
Goals: Mark Peters 81; Dan Shittu 8, Marc Bircham 90
Yellow: Jay Tabb; Stephen Kelly, Dan Shittu, Marc Bircham
Cardiff City 1-0 QPR – 25/05/2003
Goals: Andy Campbell 114
Yellow: Graham Kavanagh, Andy Campbell; Steve Palmer, Marc Bircham, Paul Furlong
Tottenham Hotspur 3-1 QPR – 30/10/2011
Goals: Gareth Bale 20, 72, Rafael van der Vaart 33; Jay Bothroyd 62