Thousands of fans have signed a petition calling for Mike Dean to be sacked as a Premier League referee.
Dean hit the headlines on Saturday after he sent off West Ham’s Tomas Soucek for an elbow on Fulham’s Aleksandar Mitrovic, after studying video footage for several minutes. The majority of fans and pundits strongly disagreed, believing any contact was minor and accidental.
The 52-year-old was also the referee in charge when Southampton lost 9-0 to Manchester United. His decision to send off Jan Bednarek and award a penalty to United was controversial and the red card was overturned on appeal.
Southampton even reportedly requested that Dean not referee any of their games in the coming weeks.
However it isn’t just the Saints who are furious at Dean, as the rapidly growing list of names signing the Change.org petition shows.
The explanation on the website states: “The guy clearly doesn’t understand the game anymore. Soucek red card was embarrassing, as was his performance against Southampton.
“It’s always all about him, will ruin the game if he’s allowed to keep reffing.”
Dean is one of the most high-profile Premier League referees, entrusted with many of the season’s biggest games. The view from inside the FA is reportedly that his success rate in terms of correct decisions (in previous seasons at least) is well above the top-flight average.
However he’s often upset fans and some players with his perceived high-handedness and eccentricities. Dean’s critics believe he loves the limelight a bit too much for an official.
“Football is not about two teams competing when that man and his ego are on the pitch,” reads one comment on the ‘Reasons for signing’ section of the petition. “Make it stop!”
“He constantly makes big mistakes,” claimed another signee. “Thinks the game is all about him.”
“VAR is killing the game with a lot of help from Dean,” wrote another signee.
Is Mike Dean really such a poor referee that his time is coming as a top-flight ref is coming to an end? Or, despite his occasional quirks, is he still one of the league’s best referees?
Let us know in the comments.