Crucial Clash: Referee who infuriated Dean Smith lands Aston Villa vs Brighton job

The Premier League have appointed David Coote to take charge of Aston Villa’s crucial final day clash with Brighton on Sunday.


Villa need to secure victory over the Seagulls to guarantee Europa Conference League football next term with Tottenham Hotspur and Brentford in close pursuit. Anything other than three points would give Spurs and Brentford, who face Leeds United and Manchester City respectively, the chance to nip in and steal seventh place.


Coote, 40, will referee the match at Villa Park and he will be assisted by Simon Bennett and Timothy Wood, with Andy Davies acting as fourth official. Graham Scott will be VAR and he will be assisted by Lee Betts.

Coote has refereed two Villa games already this term, both of which ended in defeat. He took charge of the 1-0 defeat to West Ham in August and Villa’s 4-2 Carabao Cup exit to Manchester United in November.


Back in January 2021, Coote infuriated then Villa boss Dean Smith after Man City scored a controversial opener in a 2-0 defeat at The Etihad. Smith clashed with Coote – who was the fourth official on the day – over a Bernardo Silva goal he believed should have been ruled out for offside and ended up getting sent off.


“It was a farcical decision (to allow the first goal),” raged Smith. “Let’s be honest, he was 10 yards offside and he’s taken advantage of an offside position to tackle our player. It’s a pathetic rule and a pathetic decision in my view.

I said to David Coote, ‘Have you got juggling balls for Christmas?’, and he (Jonathan Moss – referee) came over and gave me a yellow card. He said, ‘I was doing the laws of the game’, so I said ‘Maybe you should have done it earlier in the game’, so he upgraded it to a red.”



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