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Please Support This Petition: ‘Prevent Mike Dean From Ever Refereeing Another Arsenal Game’
Being a football referee is probably the most difficult job in professional sport. Apart from the fact that you’re in the unique position of performing your duties in front of a packed stadium and millions of people watching around the world, you’re not privy to the replays and different angles from which they get to view the game. They can pause, rewind and look again, whilst a referee has to make decisions based on a split second judgement.
Inevitably, there are going to be mistakes. This is especially true when you consider the fact that most players try to gain an advantage for their team by deliberately misleading the referee. They might take a dive to get an opponent booked, feign injury or contact to win a free kick, or use their hands when the ref’s not looking. Either way the man in the middle has got it tough.
While all football fans will admit that referees deserve more protection and support from technology, it’s hard not to notice a tendency amongst a number of leading officials to gravitate towards being the centre of attention. This is natural, but more certainly needs to be done to stamp out the search for the limelight by referees.
One ref who has attracted a lot of negative feedback in recent years has been Mike Dean, and in particular his performance when taking charge of Arsenal games. In fact, in 25 Arsenal Premier League games since 2009 which Dean has been the referee for, the Gunners have a win ratio of only 24%- a shockingly low statistic when you consider that their average is probably double that over the same period. It looks like there is something going on here.
Dean has given a high number of red cards to Arsenal players in big games, which clearly has an impact on the ultimate result. The most recent red cards were during the 2-0 loss to Chelsea in September. Gabriel Paulista was sent off, despite it being clear to everyone watching that Diego Costa was really to blame for the incident, while Santi Cazorla also saw red late on. Dean received plenty of criticism from fans and pundits alike, including a record number of negative tweets on twitter. Garth Crooks, a resident on BBC Sport’s Final Score show, offered a particularly withering summary of Dean’s performance, stating that Mike Dean “too often wants to be the star of the show” and behaves “like a petulant schoolteacher”.
This appeared to be the final straw for plenty of Arsenal fans, who quickly set up a campaign to stop Mike Dean from ever refereeing their team again. You can sign the petition here, and given the statistics, Arsenal will probably benefit should it be taken notice of by the FA.
Whether Mike Dean is secretly a Tottenham fan, as is suggested by this video of him celebrating a Spurs goal against Arsenal, or just loves to be at the heart of the spectacle, it’s probably best that he doesn’t referee another Arsenal game for a while.