Premier League

Love him or loathe him the burning issue is this; is Mike Dean any good as a referee?

I always like a referee to be invisible during a game, making the big decisions when needed but doing it in a manner that isn’t theatrical or clearly just loving the limelight. Dean, as we know, does love a camera and just watching him is infuriating at times.

The thing is, I used to love watching Pierluigi Collina in Serie A. He was, at the time, a breath of fresh air and who didn’t love the way players literally took three steps back when he approached them? Total respect.

Hereby lays the difference between them; both theatrical, both loving the limelight, yet if you saw Collina in a dark alley you would turn and walk the other way without a blink of an eye. Yet with Dean there isn’t a menacing look about him in any shape or form. Clearly he loves his job and why not? He’s paid to referee some of the top games in English football; yet he always manages to take it that step too far. We’ve all seen the jokes of him being a supporter of this team or that, mainly when he allows play to go on and the said team score and he does his little rendition of Swan Lake. Clearly he has a talent for dance and Strictly Come Dancing must be calling soon. But maybe this is just Dean’s way of celebrating a decision that he has made that has come off. Likewise when he allows play to go on and the team manage to lose the ball, his frustration is shown on the pitch, probably more than any of the players. This is what irritates majority of fans out there.

But the crazy thing is, I’m writing this and smiling to myself. I can see every little jump or pirouette or theatrical yellow card ever produced by Dean and I wonder; could we actually afford to lose him from the Premier League or am I just looking for our very own Collina?

From an officiating point of view, Dean really isn’t that bad. Ok his last game (West Ham v Manchester United) was shocking and, let’s be honest, most Arsenal fans go into a cold sweat when they see Dean is refereeing one of their matches; but all officials make howlers! Graham Poll, World Cup 2006 anyone?

So to conclude, what do we really think of Michael Dean?

Are there any referees that any of us actually like? As soon as they make one howler against our team they become the most hated and wanted men on the planet, and rightly so. But maybe, just maybe, Mike Dean is a good referee after all. Because, like most referees, he does get decisions correct more times right than he gets them wrong and, I have to admit, I did enjoy researching the man and watching all his little snippets of quality refereeing.

But you’re right, who am I kidding? Please stop acting up for the cameras and become “Mr Invisible” in matches.

Give me Pierluigi Collina any day.