Mike Dean is a referee well-known for controversial moments and already, only weeks into the new season, he seems to be at it again.
A top-flight official for over 20 years, the 53 year old – who is also an ardent Tranmere Rovers fan – is famous for his apparent celebrations of goals and comical interactions with players.
Now, with the new season only just under way, Watford goalkeeper Ben Foster has revealed the iconic ref was up to his usual antics in the first game of the season.
Appearing on Jaackmate’s Happy Hour podcast, Ben recalled the infamous referee’s reaction to Watford taking the lead against Aston Villa on August 14.
He explained: “Mike Dean’s the referee. Everybody knows Mike Dean’s a character anyway.
“In the build up to the very first goal, I think there was a little bit of a bad challenge, but he allowed play to continue.
“So we’ve carried on going and then we’ve scored a goal.”
Celebrating the goal, Ben explained that Watford midfielder Tom Cleverley was in the middle of the pitch, making his way back to the half-way line for the restart when Dean decided to have his say on the action.
Ben continued: “He’s walking back around the half-way line. Mike Dean comes bowling past him and says: ‘Assist for Mike Dean’.
“So he’s just buzzing off the fact that he’s allowed play to go on, and then we’ve gone and scored from it.”
Ben revealed that the Watford players loved this response.
“Clevs has come into the changing room afterwards: ‘lads, lads, listen to this, listen to what Mike Dean said…’ We were crying honestly it was world class,” he said.
Perhaps spurred on by the incident, Watford went on to win the game 3-2, even taking a three goal lead before John McGinn and Danny Ings grabbed consolation goals for Villa.
Recently, Dean gave an interview about his life before refereeing, where he revealed that he used to work in a chicken factory in the 1980s, where he would slaughter 135,000 chickens a week.
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