Newcastle United are set for a rare sighting when we host Crystal Palace on Saturday, as the Premier League have announced that Simon Hooper will be in charge of this weekend’s meeting.
Hooper has only ever held the whistle over six of our fixtures in all competitions, and was last in the centre of a Magpies match when we lost 2-0 at home to Leicester City in September 2018.
The only other time that Hooper has been in charge of a Premier League game involving United came in January ’18 when we drew 1-1 at home to Burnley, with our previous four each coming in the Championship during the 2016/17 term.
We won two of the four second-tier fixtures he officiated that season, while playing out a 0-0 draw at Birmingham City and losing 1-0 to Fulham.
Hooper has actually overseen fewer Crystal Palace games than he has Newcastle matches, having been in charge of just four fixtures involving the Selhurst Park natives and none since August 2015 when they beat Norwich City 3-1.
The Eagles’ win on the road to the Canaries four years ago is the only Premier League match involving Palace that Hooper has watched over, ahead of taking charge at St. James’ Park this Saturday.
What will the result be on Saturday vs Palace?
Hooper has refereed four top-flight games thus far this season, most recently Sheffield United’s 2-1 win at Norwich on December 8. It was the third Blades game the Wiltshire-resident has taken charge of this term, after also holding the whistle during their 2-0 win at Everton and 3-0 win over Burnley.
The 37-year-old has shown at least three yellow cards in each Premier League game that he has overseen in 2019/20, while sending AFC Bournemouth’s Simon Francis off for two bookable offences as the Cherries lost at home to Wolverhampton Wanderers in November.
Assistants Richard West and Derek Eaton will join Hooper at St. James’ Park on Saturday, where Ross Joyce will be the fourth official, while Chris Kavanagh will be the VAR with Sian Massey-Ellis his number two.
In other Newcastle United news, fans have been reacting on social media after the Toon were linked with a £25,000-per-week first-team regular.
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