Mike Jones and Neil Swarbrick have called time on their refereeing careers with the Premier League who announced their retirements last week from the Select Group 1 list.
50 year old Jones’ 202nd and final Premier League match was West Bromich Albion’s 1-0 win against Tottenham Hotspur at The Hawthorns, whilst Swarbrick, 52, made his final appearance as a referee at Wembley last Wednesday, when he officiated Spurs’ 1-0 win against Newcastle United, his 131st Premier League match.
The Ref Online’s Mark Halsey believes the two referees will be missed by PGMOL, he said: “Neil will be a loss, he’s a good reliable referee. He goes about his business quietly and players respect him. He knows the game, he played at a decent level and he will be difficult to replace.
“Mike’s a lovely guy but if I’m honest I don’t think he’s one of our better officials, frankly he’s an average referee. That said the PGMOL will miss his experience. Both of these guys are referees that they relied on to do 15 or 16 games a season, without much fuss and so the PGMOL will need to find suitable alternatives.”
The Premier League stated on their website that ‘both referees will continue to work for PGMOL, with particular focus on the continued Video Assistant Referee trials in the English game.’
However Halsey was unsure that would be the case: “I know they’ve been offered exit packages which they are considering taking up. From what I understand it’s likely that they will accept them and move back to their full-time careers outside of football. So I’m unsure they will actually be staying on with the PGMOL.”
Regarding their replacements, David Coote and Andy Madley both made their debuts this season whilst Simon Hooper also made a comeback at the start of the year, so there will be plenty of competition for promotion to the Select Group 1 list.
Halsey believes the former two will be in the running and threw up another name in contention, he said: “I don’t think Simon Hooper will get the nod, I believe he’s out of the running but Coote and Madley have very good chances.
“Another name I believe could be given the nod is Rob Jones. He has been invited to the PGMOL offices over the coming weeks and it may well be to discuss promotion. He’s at the top of the Championship merit list, so it would be no surprise if he is being considered.”