The 2013-14 Premier League season is rapidly approaching, and while we are more than aware of the 20 teams who will be competing in the upcoming campaign, perhaps we aren't as considerate when it comes to the men in the middle—the referees.
After all, without the match officials, who would make those calls that we all love to dismiss post game? Who would be the supporters' hate figure, if not the man in black?
Here's a guide to the 18 Premier League officials in the coming season:
Forty-two-year-old Martin Atkinson was appointed to the Premier League select group in 2005, and has gone on to become one of the top flight's most recognisable officials.
FIFA-listed, Atkinson refereed the 2011 FA Cup final between Manchester City and Stoke City and was also a part of the English officiating team at Euro 2012.
Durham-born Mark Clattenburg joined the Premier League select group in 2004 and, like Atkinson, has gone on to become a FIFA-listed official. Indeed, he took charge of last summer's Olympic Games final between Mexico and Brazil.
Now 38, it's nine years since his Premier League bow at Selhurst Park in a game between Crystal Palace and Everton. He took charge of 21 Premier League games last season, dishing out 67 yellows and six reds—a greater red:game ratio than any other official.
But he only handed out three yellows in last weekend's Community Shield between Manchester United and Wigan Athletic.
Heading into his 14th year as a Premier League official, 45-year-old Mike Dean was forced to step down from the FIFA international list this past summer, having reached the mandatory retirement age.
Nonetheless, he retains his place amongst the Premier League's elite, having previously refereed FA Cup and League Cup finals.
In 309 career matches in the top division, he's dished out 51 reds and 908 yellows, including 104 yellows in his 28 games last time round.
One of the most talkative officials on the field of play, Phil Dowd enters his 13th year amongst the Premier League's select group of referees this season.
Now 50, the Staffordshire-born official took charge of 26 matches last season, brandishing 79 yellows and four reds to players, whilst also awarding nine penalties.
Dowd officiated the 2012 FA Cup final between Chelsea and Liverpool and will be at the Liberty Stadium as Swansea City play host to the champions on the opening weekend, looking rather trim after shedding two stone in weight during the close season.
Having impressed in his trial run as a Premier League official in 2012-13, 48-year-old Roger East has been permanently promoted to the elite group this past summer.
His Premier League debut came in the September clash between Swansea and Sunderland, where he dismissed Swans defender Chico Flores, and he would go on to officiate in five more matches, dishing out three reds and eight yellows in total.
The oldest referee amongst the Premier League's select group, 50-year-old Chris Foy has been officiating in the top flight since 2001.
Twenty-one matches last season saw Foy give out just the one red card (45 yellows). He officiated in the 2010 FA Cup final as a Didier Drogba goal saw off Portsmouth.
Having joined the select group of officials in 2009, Kevin Friend has gone on to officiate 76 times in the Premier League, handing out 13 reds and 277 yellows.
Last season saw Friend begin the campaign in charge of Manchester City vs. Chelsea in the Community Shield at Villa Park, before officiating 24 league matches, dishing out 95 yellows and two reds.
Forty-five-year-old Mike Jones was the referee who allowed Darren Bent's infamous goal for Sunderland against Liverpool in 2009, when his shot on goal deflected past Pepe Reina via a beach ball.
A Premier League official since 2008, he took charge of 22 matches in the top division last year, handing out 69 yellow cards and just two reds.
The new kid on the block this season, Robert Madley has been added to the Premier League's elite group after a baptism of fire on his debut last season.
Madley, from West Yorkshire, handed out three red cards as Southampton were beaten 3-0 by West Brom last season, and was widely praised for his decisions.
Having debuted in 2004, the Birmingham county FA official has taken charge of 157 Premier League matches in his time, giving a not-inconsiderable 33 red cards, five of which came in his 24 games last season.
Lee Mason, 41, has been among the elite group of officials since 2006, and the chairman of the Bolton Referees' Society continues in that position to this day.
Mason took charge of 24 matches last season, showing 80 yellows and three reds. He was referee for last season's memorable League Cup match between Chelsea and Manchester United, which culminated in a 5-4 extra-time win for the Blues.
One of the less recognisable officials on our list is 42-year-old Yorkshireman Jonathan Moss, who has only been a part of the Premier League's select group since 2011.
His debut came at Bloomfield Road on January 4 that year as Blackpool met Birmingham, and last year he took charge of 23 games, showing 68 yellow cards and a single red.
Having only joined the Premier League list in 2010, 28-year-old Michael Oliver's rise to refereeing prominence has shown no signs of abating in recent times: Oliver has already been elevated to the FIFA list which makes him eligible for Champions League, Europa League and international duty.
He became the youngest-ever top-flight official when he took charge of Birmingham vs. Blackburn in 2010 and will be at Carrow Road on the opening day.
Twenty-two games last season saw Oliver hand out 60 yellows and one red card, and award five penalties.
The third of the Premier League's newbies, Craig Pawson made his top-division bow towards the end of last season, handing out two yellow cards as Swansea beat Newcastle by a solitary goal in March.
A referee since 1993, his biggest game to date is arguably the 2012 League Two play-off final which saw Crewe Alexandra beat Cheltenham Town at Wembley.
Another FIFA-listed official, 41-year-old Lee Probert has been a part of the Premier League's select group since 2006-07, when he debuted taking charge of a game involving Neil Warnock's Sheffield United.
Probert, who hails from Wiltshire, took charge of 24 Premier League matches last season, giving out 79 yellow cards and five reds.
The 47-year-old Lancashire-born official was appointed to the Premier League's elite list of officials back in 2010, having only joined the Football League five years previously.
Swarbrick took charge of 18 matches without handing out a single red card last season (61 yellows). He'll be the man in the middle for Sunderland vs. Fulham on Saturday, the reverse of which coincidentally happens to have been his Premier League debut.
No official handed out more red cards in 2012-13 than Anthony Taylor, the Cheshire native dishing out six ejections in his 24 matches.
The best-known referee in the English game. The former South Yorkshire policeman came into international focus when he officiated the 2010 World Cup final between Spain and Netherlands.
Forty-two-year-old Webb handed out more yellow cards than any of his peers last season, his 30 matches encompassing 109 yellows and four reds.
He opens his season at Upton Park, officiating West Ham as they take on Premier League new boys Cardiff City. That doesn't bode well for Hammers fans: he took charge of four of their games in 2012-13—they failed to win any of them.
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