The Premier League’s Mike Dean is now the odds on favourite for winning our poll for worst referee.
He’s always been a close second in our annual race to proclaim English soccer’s worst referee but just 15 minutes into Monday’s West Ham United-Manchester United game Dean may have sealed his fate. The not so lovable Merseyside official quickly leapfrogged his closest rival Mark Clattenburg in this year’s race of incompetence and appears to have a lock on the infamous title.
At kickoff the Londoners were motivated for the victory and in good spirits to start their first match of the New Year. But the Hammers faithful weren’t blowing bubbles when Dean reached into his pocket and issued midfielder Sofiane Feghouli a straight red card.
Feghouli had gone to ground for the ball with Manchester defender Phil Jones. with the two players ending up in a tangled heap at the top of the West Ham penalty area. Although initial replays appeared to show Jones more at fault for the foul than Feghouli, Dean dismissed the French midfielder while allowing the English international to remain.
The decision changed the face of the game and handed the victory to the Red Devils. As social media raged with disapproval over Dean (and will for days!), West Ham manager Slaven Bilic tried to keep his composure during his post-match media address but his frustration with Dean was clear.
“Feghouli’s foot was not high and it was not deliberate….It was never a red card,” said Bilic. “There was a challenge from both of them and to be fair I feel it was the other way around and it was Phil Jones’ foul [instead].”
Immediately after the foul Jones appeared to be in pain and rolled around on the field clutching his leg. Stop me if you haven’t seen this one before… But after Feghouli was dismissed Jones appeared to miraculously recover, bush off his near death experience and played the full 90 minutes, further irritating West Ham fans and Bilic.
This season Dean leads the way in penalty kicks awarded in the Premier League but that’s a break from the tradition and his normal hands-off approach to brandishing cards and discipline. In the past Dean was infamously known as the referee who “had left his cards at home” but that has all been thrown out the window this year.
His bid to be voted the worst referee hasn’t. Its likely Dean will face a mild slap on the wrist for his latest howler from the body that oversees Premier League officials, the PGMOB (Professional Game Match Officials Board) and he’ll be back in a more appropriate role of fourth official for his next match.
The poll is in it’s fifth year with retired referee Howard Webb winning the title the first two years and Kevin Friend currently the two-time title holder. Our worst referee poll can be soon below and is also accessible by clicking on this link: