Ref Reviews 2013: Mike Dean. An unacceptable bias.

By Walter Broeckx

This article is part of the series of the Referee Review 2013. You can find links to earlier articles on the bottom of this article.


For the next ref in our series we have ref Mike Dean..    Mike Dean  is 45 years old and is in fact now one of the longest serving  refs in the PL to my surprise. We have seen him around for 13 years in the PL. So he should be one of the most experienced refs around.  Dean has been a Fifa ref for many years also so by the PGMOL he is regarded as one of their top refs. Will we find this in the games we have reviewed?

In the season just gone ref Dean did 28 games in the PL and we reviewed 17 of his games. That is 60,71 % of his games we have been able to cover. So a rather high number and this makes it more easier to draw conclusions.  This is one of the higher percentages of all the refs we have. So this should be good to draw some conclusions at the end of this article.

So how did he do when we look at all the decisions?

M Dean all

In those 17 games we reviewed we have seen that Ref Dean had to make 2537 decisions in total. Our panel of referee reviewers found that he had 2166 of the decisions correct. This is a rather low mid-table score  compared to the other refs  we had in the PL.  So for being a Fifa ref not really convincing material to suggest that he was better than his colleagues on the field.

Of course for those who have been following us for a while,  you know that judging them as correct is not the same as being correct completely. When we can’t judge a call or when we are not 100% sure he made a mistake we call the decision correct. But it might be that if we had seen other angles we might have seen an incorrect decision.  So in general the numbers could be even flattering the refs but this goes for all the refs and not the refs we are looking at today.

So Ref Dean does not have one of the best scores when we look at the general decisions. What matters more is seeing how his important decisions have been and this is something we can see in the next table.

M Dean imp

In the 17 games we reviewed we saw that ref Dean had to make 1239 important decisions. And our panel found that he had 900 of those decisions correct. That is a score of 72,64%.  And yet again this is a rather low mid-table score and certainly not what we expect from a Fifa ref.

If we go in detail we see that he had a rather high score on the goal decisions. But with almost 10% wrong goal decisions I think this is not really what we want to see.  Goal decisions should be close to 100% correct for the whole season. We have seen other refs reach that number so maybe Fifa refs should get it right also.

If we look at the foul/free kick decisions we see that he gets a score of around 75%. Not the worst but certainly not the best score around.

The penalty decisions have a score of around 42%. Now of course we think this is too low but compared to other refs this is not really that bad.  The bad thing is that after a while you kind of get to accept bad numbers.

That can also be said of his yellow cards decisions. Compared to others this wasn’t completely bad but then again getting not even half of the decisions correct is somehow not really good.  And this number drops even significantly when we look at the second yellow cards. Only 16% correct is not really an impressive score.

When we look at his red cards decisions this is roughly the same. Not a complete disaster but still missing too many red cards.

Now let us move on to find out how his bias score was.

M Dean bias

And when we reviewed ref Dean in his 17 games we had 15 different teams on the pitch. And being slightly generous we can say that 7 of those teams had a rather low bias score. Going from a small negative score against Chelsea and Southampton we notice a zero bias score for Reading.  And then we have a few teams with a very small positive bias like West Bromwich Albion, Manchester City, Swansea and Tottenham.

Teams who have a bigger positive bias are Manchester United and Wigan. And for those who have been following us over the last seasons these are no surprises. What might be more surprising is the two teams with the biggest positive bias. Sunderland and Aston Villa are the ‘lucky ones’.

Now if we move on to the teams who have a bigger negative bias we find Newcastle and Arsenal. Arsenal has had a terrible record over the last seasons under Dean. The seasons before Arsenal was by far the team that suffered from the errors of ref Dean. Somehow this seems to have changed a bit in the PL last season. Mind you such a bias score is still very bad but it has been worse in the past.

But now there are two teams who suffer even worse. And those teams are Fulham and West Ham United. And the bias against West Ham United is one of the worst I have seen.  Completely unacceptable.

FINAL CONCLUSION: Not a great score for a Fifa ref. We should raise the standard for FIFA refs a bit so we should see higher scores but this isn’t the case for Dean. Not just Dean as we have seen other FIFA refs not really having better scores than their non-Fifa refs colleagues.  Also very high bias numbers against some teams are not what we like to see in the bias table.  The only London team that seems to escape suffering from the errors of Dean is Tottenham. But all other London teams we saw in the games of Dean weren’t really favoured when he made mistakes.


12 Replies to “Ref Reviews 2013: Mike Dean. An unacceptable bias.”

  1. It would be interesting if you could produce a ‘league table’ for 1 year and say.. 5 year? moving average. other than that good show chaps

  2. Dean has been shockingly biased against Arsenal in recent years. A truly incompetent and suspiciously biased referee whose over-dramatic performances when the cameras are on him are quite repellent. Why Wenger hasn’t caused a stink about him is a mystery. If alex Fergusson had the biased decisions against him from Dean he would’ve ensured he never undertook another game with them by causing a mass press rant against him.

  3. It is the same general pattern as with the other refs – very poor on the major decisions and with an anti Arsenal bias. Spurs seem to be the only London club that gets a favourable bias from Dean.

    Based on his past performances in Arsenal matches I am not really surprised.

    Dean is in no way a competent ref – he should go.

  4. The only suprise here is that Arsenal arent the ones with the highest negative numbers with him in charge. I always thought Dean was a competent but biased/bent ref though i see i was totally off on that one. He aint competent at all. His major decisions bar the goals and own goals are pathetic all around and i agree with bjt he should go but knowing PGMOL he will be named the chief when Riley retires

  5. Wow, he does seem to like the physical teams found north of the Watford gap! Surprising arsenal do not come off worst, maybe even a recent slight improvement for us due to the work of this site, and articles in the press about our statistically freakish low win percentage under him. All these numbers seem to show is that whatever else is clearly going on, our refs are just not good enough. Will be interesting to see how arry’s QPR do under him, when they return to the top flight, probably better than most London teams.

  6. His last 2 games saw us vs Wigan and Stoke – hardly top 4 material, so even with all the bias he couldn’t do anything to prevent us from winning. I bet Mickey r thought this through, and specifically delegated him to those matches in order to “fix” his record.

  7. Rotational bias it should be called I think.

    With Untold as the first one making some noise about Dean his terrible games against Arsenal the media picking up on it and then it was clear to see that there was something wrong.

    And I have said this for a few years now: Dean is a very clever person. He knows when to act and when not to act. Acting like he did for many seasons with the spotlight of the media focussed on him would have been stupid. So he did what a clever person did and made absolutely sure that in his last games he kept himself far away from anything controversial against Arsenal.

    And that is the reason for a significant drop in his anti-Arsenal bias. I think Untold banging on the nail for a few years and finally being picked up by the media made him turnaround his refereeing when Arsenal was involved.

    It will be interesting to see how he acts in a few seasons time. Because to get his numbers back to normal we will have to win the next 10-15 games when he is in charge.

  8. About the rotational bias remark: I think other refs have been told to take the place of Dean.

    They know we are watching them….

  9. Mistake in paragraph?
    “Teams who have a bigger positive bias are Manchester City, Wigan. And for those who have been following us over the last seasons these are no surprises. What might be more surprising is the two teams with the biggest positive bias. Sunderland and Aston Villa are the ‘lucky ones’.”

    Manchester City should be Manchester United here.

  10. Although, through these detailed analyses you have confirmed what many of us have only suspected, I still can’t help feeling sick to the stomach that the game that I love is being perverted in such a way by these enemies of football. And as a gooner I feel its just like russian roulette to see when this wonderful team ‘get the bullet’. I’m sure, when it does come, it’ll be no surprise to readers on this site as to who pulls the trigger. Keep up the good work…

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