Premier League Career: 1995-2004
First Premier League Match: Nottingham Forest 0-0 Chelsea (23 August 1995)
Final Premier League Match: Charlton Athletic 2-1 Southampton (15 May 2004)
On average, Jeff Winter would officiate 20 Premier League matches a season and his no-nonsense approach to the game made him one of the leading officials in the country in his prime.
During his Premier League career, which lasted nine seasons, Winter took charge of 185 Premier League matches. He handed out 535 yellow cards, awarded 27 penalties and dished out the red card on 27 occasions too.
Manchester City’s Richard Edghill was the first victim of a red card from Jeff Winter. He picked up two bookable offences to see the tunnel earlier than his Manchester City teammates in a 3-1 reverse to Newcastle United in September 1995.
Other notable Premier League red cards he gave out included:
- Sent off Blackburn Rovers debutant Garry Flitcroft inside of three minutes in a 3-0 home defeat to Everton in March 1996.
- Dismissed Roy Keane in October 1996 in the first half as Manchester United crumbled away at Southampton, losing 6-3.
- Gave Franck Leboeuf his marching orders after a petulant stamp on Harry Kewell as Chelsea went down 2-0 at home to Leeds United in December 1999.
- John Hartson saw red for foul and abusive language in Wimbledon’s damaging 3-0 loss to Bradford City in April 2000; a result that played a crucial role in the “Crazy Gang’s” relegation from the top-flight in 1999-2000.
- Sent off Christian Ziege in the closing stages of Spurs’ entertaining 3-2 win at Manchester City in December 2003. This turned out to be the last time Jeff Winter would show a red card in a Premier League match.
Two of Winter’s hardest Premier League games came in 2001. In August, he showed nine yellow cards and sent off both Lee Bowyer and Danny Mills for two bookable offences in the match between Arsenal and Leeds United at Highbury. Despite finishing with nine men, Leeds held on to a 2-1 victory.
Four months earlier, he made several dubious calls during a pulsating Merseyside Derby at Goodison Park. Winter awarded two controversial penalties, booked 11 players and harshly sent Igor Biscan off in a performance which was questionable to say the least.
His last match in professional football was the 2004 FA Cup final as Manchester United saw off First Division outfit Millwall 3-0 in the showpiece event.
After retirement, Winter appeared as a referee in the revived BBC programme ‘Superstars’ and became an official in Masters Football indoor tournaments. He has worked on radio from TFM Radio on Teeside, and also has a book out called ‘WHO’S THE B*****D IN THE BLACK? CONFESSIONS OF A PREMIERSHIP REFEREE’
Current Aston Villa manager Steve Bruce once said this of Winter: “He drives me nuts. An absolute prat – and you can print that as well.”
However, he did his job very well and won plenty of respect too.