Whether it’s pulling bizarre faces, chatting to players like he’s their best mate/an irritating teacher, celebrating Tottenham scoring or simply sniffing his linesmen before matches, the very mention of Mike Dean is bound to conjure up some remarkable images.
And probably a lot of anger too, because the veteran man in the middle absolutely LOVES a red card, far more than any other ref in Premier League history.
To date, the Wirral official has issued a staggering 99 red cards in his top-flight career, which began way back in September 2000 when he took charge of Leicester vs Southampton at Filbert Street.
However, it did take some time for Dean to summon the courage to reach for his back pocket – he didn’t brandish his first red card until April 2001, when he gave Newcastle’s Nobby Solano his marching orders for a deliberate handball against Ipswich Town. He’s never looked back since.
Dean has refereed 472 Premier League encounters, averaging a red card every 4.7 matches – way more than any of his contemporaries. This season alone he has sent off nine players in just 19 games.
So it’s only a matter of time until he hits his landmark 100th red card, a feat that will most probably be achieved on Sunday afternoon when he takes charge of Man City vs Chelsea.
Why? Well, Dean has dished out nine red cards to each of these two teams, more than any other side in the country.
Now, in a Paddy Power exclusive, we can reveal how the 50-year-old is going to mark the glorious occasion when he finally gets to dismiss that pesky 100th player…
1. He’ll start by issuing the lesser-spotted circular red card
You may think this is pretty inconsequential, but the rarely seen circular red card is always a talking point with fans and celebrity ref aficionados on social media whenever it’s whipped out.
It’s this meticulous attention to detail for, er, getting attention that Mr Michael Dean specialises in and it will ensure all eyes are on him as he secures his latest victim.
Remember when Mike Dean gave Ross Barkley a no-look yellow?! 😂😂 pic.twitter.com/SlgptuXYGj
— SBO (@SBOnet_) January 14, 2018
2. It’ll be a no-look sending off
The trademark action of any celebrity referee worth their salt was popularised by the inspired Mike Dean – who else?
There’s simply no way he would let a moment of such magnitude pass without wheeling out one of his nonchalant greatest hits.
3. The red card will be gifted to the dismissed player
We can picture the lip reading now: “Oi, Sonny Jim! Before you go, take this. I’ve signed it, so make sure you keep it safe. It’ll be worth a lot of money in years to come, so if you’re ever hard up for cash, you can always just auction it off to a memorabilia collector. Or if you’re feeling generous, just donate it straight to the National Football Museum – they’ll bite your hand off for it. Now, off you trot, miladdo!”
4. He’ll reveal a commemorative vest
Once the player trudges off down the tunnel, Dean will be fully aware the cameras are back on him. But rather than whistle for play to restart, he will take this opportunity to wheel out the classic shirt-over-the-head celebration and do a celebratory lap of the pitch.
In doing so, he reveals a premium cotton vest which has been printed, front and back, with a list of all 99 of his previous red card brandishings.
Well, when will he ever get a chance to do something like this again?
5. There’ll be a quick raise of the bat
Lap of honour duly completed, a wheezing Dean makes his way to the bench to collect a cricket bat beautifully emblazoned with “100 not out” and a picture of his face on.
Completely unaware of the Etihad crowd’s incensed nature and deaf to their booing, he raises it aloft and salutes all four corners of the stadium.
— Adam Curry (@RemedyX_Ltd) January 4, 2018
6. He signs off with a wink down the camera lens
Last but not least, he rounds off his century celebration with his trademark wink, smile and over exuberant gesture to restart play.
It’s going to be peak Mike Dean and we can’t wait to see it. Although quite how he tops this for his 200th red card game is anyone’s guess…