Mike Dean would be proud! Ligue 2 ref seizes spotlight after his final game

Au revoir and thanks for all the cards

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Referees, eh? Can’t live with them, can’t play without them.

An old truism dictates that if a ref is having a good game, you don’t even notice he’s on the pitch. But that just won’t do for a new breed of celebrity refs who seem to value airtime as much as they value getting decisions right.

The shining light for this crew has long been, of course, (future Sir) Michael Dean, but it appears the Wirral man may now have some competition as Lord Of The Celeb Refs. Or at least he would have, had the new challenger not chosen the moment of his retirement to joyfully seize the limelight.

Enter Yohann Rouinsard, a French arbitre who has spent most of his career in Ligues 1 and 2. On Friday night, thousands of people showed up at Stade Municipal Saint-Symphorien to pay tribute to Rouinsard, who was kind enough to allow Metz take on Brest in a Ligue 2 fixture during his leaving do.

As is only right, Rouinsard rewarded the legions of fans with a magnanimous gesture, stopping the match two minutes before the end to hand out his cards to a group of adoring players, before scrawling “Merci” on the pitch with his spray.

All we’ll say is, we hope Deano’s watching and learning. This is how you put yourself centre stage, Mike.

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