FA Cup Final referee Martin Atkinson explains his pre-match routine.
The full interview appears in The FA Cup Final Matchday Programme (Buy Online)
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While the players take to the Wembley pitch on Saturday looking to make a name for themselves by becoming an FA Cup-winning hero, Martin Atkinson and his team of referees will be happy to have a quiet game and just be a part of a classic Final.
The 40-year-old from Wakefield, who will be supported by assistants Adam Watts and Simon Beck, fourth official Lee Probert and reserve official Jake Collin, says that after a weeks of preparation, he and his team are looking forward to the day.
But despite this being such a big occasion in the football calendar, he says the officials will treat the game just like any other, including his pre-match music ritual.
“It’ll be an early start, about 8am, and I’ll meet the team for breakfast then we’ll be focused on the game," Atkinson told FATV (video interview)
"We’ll probably get to the stadium maybe an hour earlier than a normal matchday, go to the changing rooms, check our kit and have a walk around the stadium to familiarise ourselves with everything.
“Team sheets will be exchanged at 2pm. We’ll have a quick word with the two captains, which is something they’ll be used to, then prior to kick off we’ll go through the usual drill of warming up.”
He added: “A lot of the time the music is on in the dressing room to relax the team. There is also a song that I play prior to walking out for a game and I’ve listened to it for the last five or six years. I won’t say what it is, but it’s a song that’s close to me.
“It’s important that we go out and enjoy a game like this. It’s a one-off for all of us. The reason why we are a team on this game is because we have done well so we want to enjoy the occasion.” You can pick up the official FA Cup Final matchday programme from Wembley Stadium, or various WHSmith and Tesco outlets, priced at £10 including a £1 donation to official FA Charity Partner Action for Children
You can also buy your copy online, click here*...*Programmes ordered after Monday 9 May will not guaranteed to arrive prior to The FA Cup Final.