Mike Deans four most iconic Premier League moments as legendary referee set to quit

Mike Dean discusses the time he ‘celebrated’ a Spurs goal

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Referee Mike Dean looks set to put his cards away for good this summer and call time on an on-field Premier League career that has lasted over 20 years. The 53-year-old has been tipped to move into a full-time role as a Video Assistant Referee (VAR).

Dean has long been an extroverted, flamboyant character and has hit the headlines over the years for his quirky behaviours on the pitch. And Express Sport takes a look at four of his most iconic Premier League moments on a football pitch.

Celebrating a Tottenham goal

In 2015, Dean was in charge of a Premier League match between Tottenham and Aston Villa at White Hart Lane. Spurs were in the ascendency as Mousa Dembele made his way into the box, while contending with an overzealous Ciaran Clark apparently attempting to rip his right arm from its socket.

Dean played the advantage and was vindicated as Dembele found the back of the net. And the referee wheeled off with both arms in the air as if he was celebrating the goal, before he raced back to the halfway line as he vigorously pointed his finger at the centre circle.

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No-look yellow cards

In true Roberto Firmino-style Dean has developed quite the habit for brandishing yellow cards to players while looking in the opposite direction: aka giving ‘no-look’ cards. He’s done it to Ryan Fraser and he’s done it to Ross Barkley amongst others. For far too long, referees have played it safe by looking a player in the whites of their eyes while booking them.

But showman Dean enjoys exhibiting his idiosyncratic tendencies and has proved that he has the ability to accurately pin down his victims without even having to set eyes on them.

Can’t touch this

Dean has no time for players who feel it necessary to touch him during matches. In 2014, during a north London derby between Tottenham and Arsenal, the referee looked genuinely disgusted when Mikel Arteta put his arm around him in an attempt to curry favour.

And 10 minutes later his face was again quite the picture when Sandro did the same thing. Dean demands respect – and he knows he won’t get it if he allows players to manhandle him.

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Hiding the ball from Sergio Aguero

After Sergio Aguero had bagged a hat-trick in a Premier League clash against Chelsea in 2019, Dean thought he’d unleash his uproarious humour by hiding the ball from the Argentina striker. Aguero clearly wanted to partake in the long-held tradition of taking a match ball home after scoring three times with it.

But Dean wasn’t happy to merely be a sideshow. So as Aguero approached the referee to receive the ball, Dean hid it up the back of his shirt. Aguero saw the funny side and Dean got his moment in the spotlight.

In all truth, there are too many iconic moments to choose from. Whether he was giving players a friendly pat on the backside, giving his assistant referee a sniff, getting involved in the action by allowing the ball to go through his legs or cheering on his beloved Tranmere in the away end at Forest Green, Dean has never been far from the limelight. And he will surely be missed by fans up and down the country – although he may still have a key say in matters next season from the VAR booth.

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