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Eight things you didn't know about Premier League referee Mike Dean


From celebrating Tottenham taking advantage to reaching 500 Premier League games, Mike Dean reflects on a career that has taken him from a chicken factory to one of football's most flamboyant and recognizable characters.

    1. The 500th Premier League game

    Dean took charge of his 500th Premier League game on January 18, 2020 as Arsenal drew 1-1 with Sheffield United at the Emirates…
    "I wasn't nervous as in usual pre-match nerves, there still was a game that had to be refereed. The side show that came with it all week was not off-putting but made you think a bit more.
    "It was a really good day all round, all the family came along except for my youngest daughter, who would rather stay at home and watch Tranmere lose.
    "The Premier League were spot on looking after my family, they got a people carrier to take them to the ground, they stayed in a hotel the night before, got really looked after by Arsenal and then back to the hotel for a meal and a few drinks with the lads."

    2. Mike and the chicken factory

    It wasn't always superstar footballers and 50,000-seat stadiums for Dean, there was a time when he juggled work at a chicken factory while refereeing in the lower reaches of English football…
    "I worked there [in a chicken factory] for 14 or 15 years. For three of those I refereed in the Football League and also worked in the chicken factory.
    "It was tough because I used to get up most mornings at 5am, in work for 6am. I'd finish at 2pm then shoot home, grab my bag and go to somewhere like Carlisle, Darlington or Hartlepool, referee the game, drive home at two in the morning and then be back up for work at 5am.
    "It was tough but in the long run it was worth it."

    3. Agueroooooooo

    Dean was the man in the middle when Manchester City dramatically snatched the Premier League title off Manchester United on the final day of the 2011/12 season thanks to Sergio Aguero's stoppage-time winner against QPR…
    Mike Dean was left with no option but to book Sergio Aguero for taking his shirt off after scoring his title-winning goal in 2012
    Mike Dean was left with no option but to book Sergio Aguero for taking his shirt off after scoring his title-winning goal in 2012
    "It was a massive day. We knew what was at stake for City and United, we had a game plan that we had to go out and execute. It was a privilege to be picked and entrusted with such a game.
    "It was a great ending. Aguero took his shirt off and, as usual, I'm a bit of party-pooper and still had to caution him. It's a good job it wasn't a second yellow, I might not have done it then!"

    4. Advantage Dean

    Dean famously wheeled away in celebration after the advantage he played allowed Moussa Dembele to open the scoring for Tottenham against Aston Villa at White Hart Lane in 2015…
    Mike Dean wheels away in celebration after Moussa Dembele scores for Tottenham after he plays advantage
    Mike Dean wheels away in celebration after Moussa Dembele scores for Tottenham after he plays advantage
    "I wouldn't say it was a goal celebration, I was celebrating the advantage. I kind of got carried away with it on the day. It is a foul and I have played on, I probably shouldn't have put my arms out, but it was good."

    5. Bad decisions not the be-all and end-all

    "I try not to get sucked into it if I make a bad decision. The game has to move on, if I make a bad decision it is not on purpose. Players miss open goals, they don't do it on purpose, it's part and parcel of the game.
    "I'll obviously go home, look at the situation with my coach and assessor and try and get it right the following week, if selected."

    6. Football fan at heart

    You'd have been forgiven for thinking Dean supported Tottenham following his antics at White Hart Lane in 2015, but his allegiances lie with his beloved Tranmere Rovers...
    "I do like my football. I switch off when I can and go watch Tranmere home and away when time allows.
    "Sometimes I go into Tranmere and have a chat with some of the boys about one or two decisions from the week before they might not be happy with."

    7. Dean on the greens

    The football pitch isn't the only playing surface Dean frequents each and every week…
    "I play golf quite regularly, two or three times a week. I play off a handicap of five, my wife plays off 22, so we have a good little rivalry.
    "I got involved with the Ladies' golf a five or six years ago. I emailed people to try and get a job on one of the tours and luckily enough someone got in contact on the Ladies' tour which is good for me, I try do three or four a year if time allows and, obviously, family comes first."

    8. On to the next 500

    "What's next? Match 501!
    "You've got to enjoy yourself. I love the job and that kind of comes out by the way I referee a game of football. I can think of worse things to do for a living. It's not really a job, it's a hobby that you get paid for. It's fantastic and I love it."

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