While footballers and managers grab all the hype and fame, the officials often get left behind. Despite holding the power of turning a team’s fortunes upside-down, you’ll rarely hear referees be household names.
However, a few have managed to breach that barrier, the likes of Pierluigi Collina and Marcus Merk come to mind. Another addition to that list is English Referee Mike Dean, and unfortunately, for all the wrong reasons.
The 53-year-old has officiated in the top flight for 22 years now, and yesterday, news about his upcoming retirement broke out. Going by reports, Dean is all set to hang up the whistle this season, a year later than his planned retirement last year.
Dean, quite literally, holds more popularity than certain footballers, however, his name is sure to live on in infamy.
Known for questionable decisions, brandishing cards left and right, strolling about with a swagger unlike his contemporaries, the list goes on, but sadly does not get any better.
He’s perhaps one of the only referees to have a chant dedicated to him, rest assured, the chant has no intentions of singing his praises.
Naturally, Twitter was on point with the reaction when the news emerged –
A Premier League legend
Mike Dean, the most box-office referee the Premier League will ever see 🤣 pic.twitter.com/2vtGLJB703— Football Daily (@footballdaily) March 21, 2022
What’s next for Deano!
Mike Dean may still be back to claim more red card victims remotely as a full-time video assistant referee.— That’s Football! (@ThatsFootballTV) March 21, 2022
Some are gutted
Some won’t admit it but I’ll miss Mike Dean when he retires at the end of this season😭 pic.twitter.com/fsCgFdhrA8— Krishna (@lcfckini) March 21, 2022
Some are not
Absolutely buzzing about Mike Dean retiring. A vile narcissistic cheat and the epitome of the atrocious officiating in this country. Scum. pic.twitter.com/a0Q6HL5UzV— MC (@MattChReport) March 20, 2022
But, Clearly a popular figure
Mike Dean is the only referee in Premier League history to show 100 red cards in the competition.— Squawka (@Squawka) March 21, 2022
Box office. 🎟 pic.twitter.com/bmNoYFD3eT
Tottenham in shambles
🤪 Tottenham have benefitted from the most red cards given out by Mike Dean in the Premier League since the 2009/10 season (8 to their opponents) pic.twitter.com/2uwUCT3nQy— WhoScored.com (@WhoScored) March 21, 2022
When he sent Wenger to the stands!
Mike Dean set to retire at end of the season.— BenchWarmers🇺🇦 (@BeWarmers) March 21, 2022
Never forget this moment with Dean & Wenger 🤣pic.twitter.com/v0T207v5ZQ
One last dance?
The title race is incredibly tight. Arsenal and Spurs have to play each other for a Champions League spot. It could be Man City v Liverpool CL final.— Paddy Power (@paddypower) March 21, 2022
Mad to think what Mike Dean is going to do in his final season to upstage all of that. Can’t wait for it.
Nevertheless, we’ll miss the memes, the no-look bookings, the empathic penalty calls and most importantly, the swagger.