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Mike Dean’s most memorable moments in the Premier League with the official set to move to VAR

He has arguably been the most exciting player to never kick a ball in the Premier League – English football will be much less lively without Mike Dean in the thick of the action.

Dean is reportedly set to call it a day as a top flight referee after 22 years in the game and handing out a whopping 114 red cards, which will be a blow to fans who have been wildly entertained by his eccentric and over the top style of officiating.

The 53-year-old has made us chuckle with his bizarre facial expressions, his gesturing with players and flamboyant behaviour on the pitch. Dean has admitted his antics may come across as arrogant, but were really a reflection of his confidence in his ability and his love of the game. 

In a very unique start to his career, Dean started off by working in a chicken factory, revealing he had killed 140,000 of them every day, before refereeing football matches after his shift.  

Mike Dean is set to retire from officiating after 22 years to go full time into the VAR studio

Dean is said to be hanging up his whistle at the end of the season to go full time with VAR at Stockley Park – and the latest rumours have linked him with a sensational appearance on the upcoming edition of I’m a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here.

He is now a huge favourite at just 2/1 to make an appearance on ‘I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here!’ in odds released by Ladbrokes. 

Should he end up featuring on the hit ITV show with Ant and Dec, you can bet he will be up for plenty of bushtucker trials voted by his beloved football fans.

With so many memories of his hilarious career, Sportsmail has looked back on Mike Dean’s best moments as a referee. 

The official has entertained football fans for years with his hilarious and baffling behaviour

The official has entertained football fans for years with his hilarious and baffling behaviour

‘CELEBRATING’ A TOTTENHAM GOAL… TWICE!

Dean’s most iconic and bizarre moment as a referee came during Tottenham’s clash against Aston Villa in 2015, when he appeared to ‘celebrate’ Mousa Dembele’s opening goal of the game before Spurs went on to win 3-1. 

The Belgian midfielder was bearing down on goal from the left flank with pressure on him from an Aston Villa defender – who was threatening to haul him down inside the box and give away a penalty. 

But the powerful Dembele held off the challenge and continued on before slotting away to give Mauricio Pochettino’s side the lead, and Dean ended up wheeling away with his arms aloft as Dembele ran off to celebrate with his team-mates.

Dean then turned around and started pointing to the air enthusiastically in incredible scenes – with fans instantly questioning whether he was a Spurs fan who had failed to keep in his joy. 

He once famously appeared to celebrate a goal Tottenham scored against Villa in 2015

He once famously appeared to celebrate a goal Tottenham scored against Villa in 2015

The 53-year-old has since cleared up that he was simply celebrating a successful advantage

But he later admitted the incident was ‘stupid’ while speaking to That Peter Crouch Podcast, claiming he was actually trying to play advantage to Dembele and was simply happy with his decision.

‘The stupid Tottenham vs Aston Villa advantage,’ he said. ‘I’ve played on and you don’t play on when it’s in the box because its either a pen or you don’t do nothing.

‘When it’s gone in the back of the net I’ve just gone “that will do me” but I’ve pointed to the centre circle and didn’t realise I was doing it that much until it showed it on the screen and one official said “have a look at the TV”. 

‘I thought “f***ing hell, we are going to get a bit of a b******ing tomorrow I think!” That’s the most bizarre thing I have ever done.’

Incredibly, that wasn’t the only time he was accused of celebrating a Spurs goal. In Tottenham’s north London derby against Arsenal in 2012, Louis Saha’s strike deflected off Arsenal’s Thomas Vermaelen before bouncing towards the net – with Dean looking animated and waving his arms as if to suggest he wanted the ball to cross the line.  

CHEERING IN THE STANDS AT TRANMERE

Dean is a passionate Tranmere fan and could often be seen in the stands at Prenton Park on matchdays, but a clip of him pumping the air after their League Two play-off semi final win over Forest Rovers in 2019 left many fans bemused. 

Many supporters see referees as neutral – even though it’s common knowledge most of them have teams they follow – but it was still a stunning sight to see Dean taking time off from being a referee to cheer on his side with such energy. 

It was hard not to notice him as the cameras panned over to a section of the Tranmere support, with Dean framed in the middle going absolutely bananas to celebrate his side’s success.

Dean is an avid supporter of Tranmere Rovers and was once seen passionately celebrating their win over Forest Rovers in 2019

Dean is an avid supporter of Tranmere Rovers and was once seen passionately celebrating their win over Forest Rovers in 2019

HIDING THE MATCH BALL UP HIS SHIRT

It’s the referee’s job to hand over the matchday ball to the player who has scored a hat-trick, but Dean decided to tease Sergio Aguero and keep him waiting following his treble against Chelsea in 2019.

As City players lined up to shake the hands of the officials, Dean placed the ball behind his back as he embraced goalkeeper Ederson and Raheem Sterling, before he saw Aguero coming towards him to collect his prize. 

Dean then started rolling the ball up the back of his shirt as he shook hands with Kevin de Bruyne, before approaching Aguero and shaking his hand – all of this with a big ball-sized lump behind him. 

Aguero quickly wised up to what was going on and started laughing before Dean eventually gave up the act and gave the Argentine his ball.

He left Sergio Aguero in stitches by hiding his match ball up his shirt after he scored a hat-trick

He left Sergio Aguero in stitches by hiding his match ball up his shirt after he scored a hat-trick

He eventually gave up and rolled the ball out of his shirt when Aguero came to collect it

He eventually gave up and rolled the ball out of his shirt when Aguero came to collect it 

SPANKING PLAYERS AND BIZARRE FACIAL EXPRESSIONS  

Dean always did things with a flourish – even it meant catching the eye with some rather silly antics after being seen spanking the behinds of a couple of players. 

Midway through Arsenal’s clash against Manchester City, Dean looked up to see Abou Diaby in his path and moved around the player, bizarrely tapping his behind as he trudged past him up the pitch. 

And it’s not the first time he’s done it – with cameras catching him giving a slap on the bottom of Adnan Januzaj as he was subbed on for Marcus Rashford while working as a fourth official during a Manchester United game. 

Dean once spanked Adnan Januzaj as he was being subbed on for United

Abou Diaby also get the same treatment while playing for Arsenal against Man City

Dean once left supporters puzzled after he was seen spanking Adnan Januzaj (L) as he was being subbed on for United, as well as Abou Diaby (R) in Arsenal’s clash against Man City 

He has also been seen pulling off strange facial expressions when walking out before a game 

He always found a way to keep things interesting with players – another famous moment seeing him give United star Marouane Fellaini a rather strange look as he pulled away from the Belgian.

Fellaini had confronted Dean to complain about a decision during the game and the referee was clearly baffled by what he had just heard, backing away from him and bulging his eyes. 

Even something as simple as picking up the matchday ball at the start of a game became a memorable moment – once appearing to angrily glare at it before lifting it up prior to West Ham’s home clash against United. 

SNIFFING HIS ASSISTANT REFEREE

It wasn’t just players who were subjected to Dean’s antics, he involved his fellow referees and officials in the craziness too. 

Before a Manchester Derby clash, Dean stood alongside his two assistant referees in the centre of the pitch.

He then leans over to one of them and points at his shirt, before proceeding to give it a whiff and pulling away in disgust. 

The assistant saw the funny side and laughed it off – just another example of Dean’s spontaneous behaviour.  

Dean made his assistant referee laugh by giving him a sniff before a Manchester Derby 

STEPOVERS AND SHOWMANSHIP 

Dean is a self-proclaimed ‘showman’ and has admitted he enjoys adding a bit of spectacle to his performance as a referee – even though they are supposed to be secondary to the action during a game.

But while many referees do their best to stay out of the action – Dean was usually central to it, often letting the ball roll through his legs instead of jumping out of the way of it.  

‘I do come across like a showman,’ he told Peter Crouch in his podcast. ‘If the ball comes towards me I will let it go through my legs, I love a stepover.

Dean has always been something of a showman and loves letting the ball run through his legs

Dean has always been something of a showman and loves letting the ball run through his legs

‘I love what I do and the way I referee. It kind of comes out I enjoy what I do. I’ve had this the past 10 years.’

And if he wasn’t near the ball, he’d be getting attention during the big decisive moments – such as awarding a penalty. 

Fans will look back fondly on his incredibly dramatic awarding of a penalty during Chelsea’s clash against Manchester City after Cesar Azpilicueta had fouled Raheem Sterling – standing still and pointing to the spot while staring intently.  

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