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'They said they were going to petrol bomb the house' - Veteran Premier League referee Mike Dean opens up on death threats

5:14 PM WAT 04/04/2022
Mike Dean, Premier League referee
The 53-year-old is set to hang up his whistle, and has spoken out on a key incident that left his family affected

Veteran Premier League referee Mike Dean has reflected on his family getting death threats over his dismissal of West Ham's Tomas Soucek last season, as the official prepares to wind down his career.

Dean will hang up his whistle at the end of the season following a two-decade-plus career in the top flight, and leaves as one of the game's more colourful characters, known for his flamboyant performances and controversial calls.

The 53-year-old has been no stranger to a tough decision, but found himself in hot water after a subsequently rescinded call against Hammers star Soucek in February last year - and says that his family were particularly affected by the abusive fallout.

What has been said?

"My daughter got death threats," said Dean. "They were saying they knew where we lived and they were going to petrol bomb the house. It was pretty bad. I told the Premier League; they got the police involved. I reported it to the police and they came around.

"My family was affected pretty badly for a couple of weeks. I just took myself off games as I wasn't in the right frame of mind. I am a pretty strong person at times. I can be weak at other times. I had to be strong for the family that week. It was tough.

"I had West Ham four weeks later and I was surprised to get it so soon. I apologised to Soucek but he came over and was great."

Dean reflects on toughest managerial critic

Having refereed FA Cup and EFL Cup finals across his career, as well as Premier League crunch clashes, Dean is no stranger to drawing the ire of coaches, and has now picked out his most intimidating technical area opponent.

"It has to be Arsene [Wenger] when he was at Arsenal," he added. "I always found it tough, not refereeing Arsenal in general but refereeing Arsenal when he was the manager.

"It was just his presence - he wanted the best for Arsenal all the time and if he could get any way of getting one over you he would do. Since he has finished football I have seen him and he has been great. Cross the white line and everyone is different, like referees. We are normal people."

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