Mike Dean has admitted he enjoys his reputation as an “entertainer” and says he doesn’t mind if people think he “comes across a bit arrogant”.
Dean called time on a 22-year career as a referee at the end of the 2021/22 Premier League season. While the 54-year-old will no longer be visible on the pitch followinghis retirement, he will still be involved in officiating matches, having signed up to be afull-time Video Assistant Referee.
He is one of themost famous refereesin Premier League history, having become well-known for his unique style in managing games. Dean’s exuberance, flamboyance, exaggerated movements, eye-rolling and gestures saw him become something of a pantomime villain over the years.
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He has been accused ofcelebrating a goaland revelling in dishing out red cards. But the man himself says none of the accusations have stuck – and that he simply hopes he is remembered by fans as “an entertainer”.
“The last four or five years, because you know you are going to finish one day, you make sure you go out and enjoy yourself,” he toldThe Times. “I don’t go out refereeing with fear, I just love the job.
“If it comes across a bit arrogant and a bit of showmanship that’s fine, it’s people’s opinions, but I would never change what I’ve done over the last 22 years at all. I’ve not one regret.”
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Dean was on the receiving end of death threats last season after a controversial decision to send off West Ham’s Tomas Soucek. But he says his retirement had nothing to do with “stupid supporters” threatening his family.
“That had nothing to do with it. I’m not getting any fitter, any younger, and it catches up with you – the time was right. I’m pleased I made the decision off my own back and I wasn’t told to leave,” he said. “I was OK about it [the threats] but when it affects people close to you – and my daughter was getting death threats – that’s when I decided to step away and have a couple of weeks away and decide whether this was worth doing again.
“I decided, ‘Yes it was,’ and it’s just some stupid supporters and thankfully the police found who they were and it was all put to bed.”
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