Mike Dean has now recalled the ‘hilarious’ time that Arsenal fans started a petition to get the referee banned following an incident in a Premier League match with Chelsea.

The official finally called time on a 28-year career with the whistle this summer after leaving his PGMOL role. Dean elected to step down as a Video Assistant Referee (VAR) at the end of last season aged 55. He had earlier retired as a game official at the end of the 2021/22 term.

A trip to West Ham United in May 2022 marked the final time that Arsenal had a game with Dean as the referee. Rob Holding (38’) broke the deadlock at London Stadium before Jarrod Bowen (45’) equalised. Gabriel Magalhaes (54’) would later secure the Gunners the 2-1 win.

West Ham United v Arsenal - Premier League
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Dean agreed to transition into a role at Stockley Park to use his vast experiences to help his fellow referees. But The Telegraph noted in July that he reached an agreement with PGMOL chief refereeing officer, Howard Webb, to leave after being found unsuited to his VAR duties.

Mike Dean joined Sky Sports after retiring as a referee and as a VAR

The PGMOL had not allotted Dean a VAR role since February. His career tally of 560 Premier League games as a referee, which saw him issue 114 red cards, did not transfer into being an efficient VAR. Now, Dean has joined Sky Sports to work on its Soccer Saturday results show.

Dean was the referee in 80 Arsenal games across all competitions over his career as an on-field official. Those games further yielded 149 yellow cards, three double-yellow cards, three straight red cards and seven penalties. The Gunners also won 39 times, drew 23 and lost 18.

Mike Dean recalls the time Arsenal fans started a petition to get him banned

Chelsea v Arsenal - Premier League
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One particular defeat with Dean as the referee infuriated some Arsenal fans after losing at Chelsea. The Blues won 2-0 at Stamford Bridge in September 2015 after a goal from Kurt Zouma (53’) and Calum Chambers’ (90’+1) own goal. Arsenal also ended up with nine men.

Dean sent Gabriel Paulista and Santi Cazorla off at Chelsea and sparked some Arsenal fans to start a petition to get the referee banned from their future matches. He showed Gabriel a straight red for a petulant kick out at Diego Costa before showing Cazorla two yellow cards.

Gabriel’s red card infuriated Arsenal supporters as Costa had avoided a red card, despite the striker appearing to hit Laurent Koscielny in the face twice. The petition to get Dean banned from refereeing Arsenal matches exceeded 106,000 signatures. But he found the funny side.

“It was funny, comical,” Dean has now recalled to The Athletic. “I thought it was hilarious.”

Soccer - Barclays Premier League - Chelsea v Arsenal - Stamford Bridge
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Is Mike Dean a Tottenham Hotspur fan?

Dean angering Arsenal supporters to such levels that they started a petition could also raise suggestions that the referee is a fan of their arch-rivals, Tottenham Hotspur. But the Heswall native is not a Spurs supporter. Dean is actually a well-known boyhood Tranmere Rovers fan.

The official has supported Tranmere since he was a kid. Sky Sports also caught Dean going wild with other Tranmere fans whilst celebrating the club beating Forest Green Rovers in the League Two play-off semi-finals in May 2019. They won 1-0 before drawing the second leg.

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