Mike Dean and his 100 Red Cards

Dean has set a new record by becoming the first Premier League referee to reach triple figures in the number of red cards issued, a milestone Ashley Young will now be forever associated with.

Mike Dean is currently the senior-most referee in England.   -  Getty Images

“The trouble with referees is that they know the rules, they don't know the game.” The Bill Shankly thought may lead to debates but referees do have an unenviable job in football.

They have the best seat in the house and they go about their job quietly, but their decisions often cause rifts among fans. The referees are always part of post-match analyses.

One man who likes all the attention is Mike Dean. After spending years in the lower divisions of English football, he made his Premier League debut in the 2000-01 season and has since become a famous name in the English top flight. The senior-most referee in England is known for his flamboyant style; he enjoys controlling the proceedings.

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In a league, where records are made and broken every season, Dean has set a new record by becoming the first Premier League referee to reach triple figures in the number of red cards issued, a milestone Ashley Young will now be forever associated with.

He is the league's most prolific referee, having officiated a lot more games than the still-active Martin Atkinson (373) and the retired trio of Graham Poll (329), Phil Dowd (308) and Mike Riley (283). Apart from Atkinson and Andre Marriner, every other current Premier League referee has produced almost half or less the number of yellow and red cards.

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Those numbers would have been much bigger if not for his slow start as a referee. In his debut year, he flashed his first red card in April — towards the end of the season — to Newcastle's Nolberto Solano for a handball.

His first five seasons saw him pull out the red card five times or lesser. Since then, he has sent off players five or more times in all but two seasons. He has given the marching order four times this season and could well add to that tally by the end of the season.

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The 50-year-old has produced the red card every 4.8 matches on an average; more frequently than any of his colleagues at present.

With nine players each, Chelsea and Manchester City lead the way among the clubs that have witnessed Dean’s red hot discipline. Newcastle (seven), Arsenal (six) and Tottenham Hotspur, Stoke City and West Brom (six each) follow the two English giants.

Only six players have been sent off by Dean twice.

PlayerClub
Andrew ColeFulham and Manchester City
Ashley YoungAston Villa and Manchester United
Richard DunneManchester City
Laurent KoscielnyArsenal
Fernando TorresChelsea
Mike WilliamsonNewcastle

 

Dean has had his share of criticisms, as any referee would. The lowest point of his career was when he was demoted to the Championship, the second tier of English football, for a weekend following a string of questionable decisions involving the dismissals of Sofiane Feghouli and Ross Barkley in games over the festive period. He took charge of the Yorkshire derby, Leeds United vs Barnsley, before returning to the Premier League.

In any sport, the referees prefer not being discussed after the game is over. It’s the opposite for Dean, who likes the glamour and spotlight.

Former Irish cricketer and Rugby referee Alan Lewis once famously said, “Coaches do so much research about a referee because they believe refereeing is such a crucial part of the game that the result may hinge on what we say or do. They probably know more about me than I know myself!”

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