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Referees in the Middle: Mike Dean

Premier League Career: 2000-

First Premier League Match: Leicester City 1-0 Southampton (9 September 2000)

From the Wirral, Mike Dean will be entering his 18th season as a Premier League referee in 2017-2018. His presence in many of the big games and longevity must be praised, even though he is a ref who doesn’t give many chances to players and like dishing out cards – sometimes unnecessarily.

He began refereeing back in 1985 and after three seasons in the Football League, was appointed to the Select Group of officials in 2000. His first Premier League game was an uneventful match involving Leicester City and Southampton in September 2000 which the Foxes’ won 1-0.

In total, Mr Dean has taken charge of 429 Premier League matches, flashed out his yellow card a whopping 1545 times and sent off players on 42 occasions. In the 25th season, he sent off five players including two from Sunderland and Nathan Redmond of Southampton. In January 2017, he gave West Ham’s Sofiane Feghouli a highly controversial red card against Manchester United, even though the challenge didn’t look reckless. Many accused Dean of falling for Phil Jones’ exaggerated reaction after the Algerian’s challenge. He later missed a blatant offside for Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s goal which sealed a 2-0 Manchester United victory at the London Stadium. It is fair to say, this was a poor evening at the office for Dean.

However, he does show humour too and in November 2015, produced a light-hearted moment in the wake of Tottenham Hotspur’s opening goal of their 3-1 win at home to Aston Villa. After allowing a fine advantage early in the move, Mousa Dembele tucked away the first goal of the evening. Dean’s reaction was to show off his dancing, discotheque move which attracted plenty of humour from social media followers and professional pundits.

Mike Dean is one of the Premier League’s highly-respected officials and is held in high regard by many of his fellow peers. Therefore, it is no surprise that although he divides a range of opinions from fans across the country, he does get a fair share of the elite matches in any season. He has been in charge of an FA Cup final in his career back in 2008 as well as Birmingham City’s shock 2011 League Cup final success over Arsenal and three Championship playoff finals.

Expect Mike Dean to be at every ground at some point over the 2017-2018 campaign. With his high penalty percentage award record, don’t be surprised if you will like and loathe his decisions over the course of the next year.