PREMIER LEAGUE ref Mike Dean is set to hang up his whistle at the end of the season after 22 years in the game.
But before that, the official, 53, could have a huge say on Leeds United’s top-flight status.
Controversial ref Mike Dean is retiring at the end of the campaignCredit: PA:Press Association
Premier League stars won’t be seeing Dean brandish cards next seasonCredit: Reuters
Dean will take charge of their crucial game against Brighton at Elland Road on Saturday.
And perhaps he might just give us another controversial or hilarious moment before he retires.
Here’s the best we’ve seen over the course of his career.
Spurs have scored!
Perhaps the funniest Dean moment came during a game between Tottenham and Aston Villa at White Hart Lane in 2015.
After Moussa Dembele scored from close range and sent Spurs fans wild, Dean was spotted racing to the centre circle appearing to celebrate the goal and pumping the air in delight.
Why? Well, he had just played an advantage seconds before the goal – so why not.
He certainly isn’t a Tottenham fan, as you’ll find out later in this story.
A chuffed Dean appears delighted with his decision to allow Spurs to play onCredit: BBC
Putting Bilic in his place
There were few men who stood toe-to-toe with Slaven Bilic during his playing days.
And even fewer when he became a manager. But that didn’t stop Dean from giving the Croatian his marching orders after he approached him on the pitch at half-time.
The then West Brom boss was given a red card in a game against Everton in 2020, but afterwards admitted he was at a loss why.
“I know that I have done nothing wrong, or my intention was not to do anything wrong, just to have a small chat, which I as a manager think that I am entitled to have,” he said after the final whistle.
Slaven Bilic remonstrates with Dean during West Brom’s game at Goodison ParkCredit: AFP
Sterling, you’re off!
Man City star Raheem Sterling has only been sent off once in his career… and it was at the hands of Dean in 2017.
After scoring a 97th minute winner against Bournemouth at the Vitality Stadium, the England winger ran to the visiting supporters to celebrate in the stands – with some finding their way on to the pitch.
Dean didn’t like that. So, he gave Sterling a second yellow – much to his manager Pep Guardiola’s surprise.
The booking was for excessive celebrations.
A baffled Raheem Sterling receives his marching orders from DeanCredit: AFP AFP or Licensors AFP or Licensors
Time for showboating
We’ve seen the world’s best players deliver a no-look pass.
And we’ve also seen Dean give out a no-look yellow card too.
He once brandished a yellow card in a Merseyside derby in 2016 – without even looking at the player.
It brought refereeing showboating to a whole new level.
Today, in the age where players and referees cover up their mouths when they converse on the pitch, it’s impossible to know what they’re saying.
But before that, back in 2018, Dean made sure viewers knew exactly what he said when he sent Lewis Dunk off for Brighton against Bournemouth.
As he reached into his pocket to brandish a second yellow card for the giant centre-half, he appeared to mouth, “Off you pop”.
Quite brilliant from the man in black.
Lewis Dunk was memorably sent off by Dean in a Premier League match against BournemouthCredit: Reuters
Soucek sees red
VAR controversy this time saw Dean give West Ham midfielder Tomas Soucek a red card, which gave football purists the ultimate chance to bash him and video technology.
In a game last season, the Czech Republic star brushed Fulham’s Aleksandar Mitrovic with his elbow – clearly accidentally.
But Dean and his VAR official for the day Lee Mason saw it differently, and sent Soucek off after viewing the pitchside monitor.
The decision was overturned after an appeal, but Dean chillingly admitted that he received death threats soon after.
Forest Green away… love it!
Now to who Dean really supports.
In 2019, he was spotted in the Tranmere Rovers away end celebrating a famous victory over Forest Green Rovers, and later in the play-off final against Newport County
The man from Wirral, normally centre stage on the pitch, could be seen proudly singing in the stands after both games.
He often watches his beloved Rovers, admitting in the past to joining in the with the chants, “the referee’s a w*****”.
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