After 22 years, referee Mike Dean is hanging up his whistle, calling time on a career that has seen him become one of the most talked about referee of all time.
And an interview with the BBC has revealed that Dean’s all-time favourite match to officiate was Manchester City’s title winning match at home to Queens Park Rangers in 2012. Dean sent off QPR’s Joey Barton in the second half with the score at 1-1 before the blues went 2-1 down.
As we all know, City came back to win the match 3-2 and clinch their first top-flight title since 1968, wrenching the trophy from United’s grasp.
“Manchester City v QOR has to be,” Dean said when asked the question. “Bearing in mind what was at stake, I don’t think it will ever happen again – team winning on goal difference with the last kick of the match.”
Dean had an excellent game on the day, handling the Barton sending off well, despite the former City man lashing out at Sergio Aguero in a blatant attempt to force a retaliation and take a City player with him.
The referee also famously booked Aguero following his late winner and explained that he had no option but to show the legend a yellow card. However, if the Argentine striker had already been booked, Dean revealed that he would not have sent him off.
“Unfortunately, it had to be done [yellow card]. If he was already on a yellow, I’d have totally not done it. I’d have told the bosses ‘think of the bigger picture.’”
Dean also seemed to have a soft spot for Aguero and hid the ball in the back of his shirt when the Argentine scored a hat-trick as the blues hammered Chelsea 6-0 in February 2019. Dean looked to have told Aguero he didn’t know where the ball was before handing it to the striker.
It’s not often that a referee with such passion for the game comes along and puts a unique spin on things, but Mike Dean did exactly that. Maybe not everyone’s cup of tea, but he certainly lit up match days.