Sunday’s referee is Simon Hooper who will take charge of the Swans for the second time this season with the potential lucky omen being that he took charge of the game against Norwich at the Liberty back in February. Remember the optimism after that night?
In just his 9th Championship game of the season, he was promoted to the Select 1 group of officials at the start of the 2018/19 campaign aged just 36.
He was promoted to Select Group 2 in 2016 and took charge of the League One play-off final between Bradford City and Millwall at the end of the 2016/17 season.
Hooper went on to referee 42 matches across all competitions in 2017/18.
He has officiated three Premier League fixtures, the encounter between Norwich City and Crystal Palace, in August 2015, Newcastle United’s home match against Burnley in January 2018 and Newcastle v Leicester City in September of the same year.
He also took charge of the League One playoff semi-final between Charlton Athletic and Shrewsbury Town in May 2018.
Upon his promotion to the Group 1 list former top flight referee Mark Halsey said he was unsure Simon Hooper deserved to be promoted into elite list of English referees. Hooper was promoted at the same times as David Coote and Halsey said at the time “Coote fully deserves his promotion, he’s a good referee and given he was suspended last year, he’s done very well to bounce back from it and have an excellent season.
“The same however, I must admit, cannot be said for Hooper. Madley and Jones are far better referees and they quite rightfully must be confused and disappointed with PGMOL’s decision. I personally would have put them on ahead of Simon.”
The claims were hit back though by the PGMOL with a source saying “If you look at what they’ve done on a consistent basis over the course of the season, how they manage players and expectations, they have consistently performed to a really high level and pushed themselves into the frame.
“They’ve had a Premier League game each leading up to this and those games for both of them have gone fantastically well.
“It’s a case that everyone has looked and thought they’ve shown they’ve got something about them. They’re being given the opportunity now to rise in the Premier League.”
PGMOL Managing Director Mike Riley, a Premier League referee until 2009, said: “Coote and Hooper will both make a positive contribution to the Select Group next season and we look forward to helping with their continued development.”
Hooper will be assisted by Stuart Burt and Simon Bennett whilst Stephen Martin is the fourth official.