Premier League’s renowned referee, Mike Dean, has decided to retire as a video assistant referee, marking the end of his involvement officiating professional English soccer.

Standing down before the start of the new season, he ends a career that began as a rookie assistant referee in the Football League and lasted for 28 years.

At the age of 55, Dean has come to an agreement with Howard Webb, the head of the referees’ organization PGMOL (Professional Game Match Officials), to step down. This decision comes after a season in which Dean’s suitability for VAR duties has been questioned.

When did Mike Dean become VAR official?

After concluding his on-field refereeing career at the end of the 2021-22 season, Dean transitioned to one of two full-time VAR officials with PGMOL.

Unfortunately, this transition did not produce the desired outcomes for either party. Dean’s expertise as a referee did not seamlessly translate into making decisions remotely from Stockley Park.

His last appointment to VAR duties in a Premier League game was in February. Dean outlasted the other full-time VAR official, Lee Mason, who was relieved of his duties following errors during Arsenal’s draw with Brentford in February.

114 players were sent off under his command

While Dean’s next professional venture remains unknown, broadcasters are expected to seek his presence, curious to observe whether his strong personality as a referee can also shine in the television studio.

Given his passion for ballroom dancing during his teenage years, Dean may discover an aptitude for hosting primetime Saturday night television of a different nature.

From his first Premier League game as a referee in the 2000/2001 season to his last game at the end of the 2021/2022 season, Dean worked 560 Premier League games, showing 114 players the red card.

The first player red-carded by Dean was Noberto Solano in April 2001, the last player to be given his marching orders was Josh Dasilva in February 2022.

His unbending resolve in the face of players’ strongest objections and the memorable command that preceded at least one of those 114 dismissals—”Off you pop”—have made him a legend.

Photo credit: IMAGO / News Images