Wednesday 7 March 2012

Mike Dean Masterclass Display Part 1

The following incidents occurred during the EPL derby match between Newcastle United and Sunderland United on Sunday 4 March 2012. The match finished 1—1, and there were a total of eight cautions and two send offs.

From the first minute until moments after the final minute, Mike Dean gave a fantastic performance as a composed and confident Referee. More importantly, this Refereeing "masterclass" should provide plenty of evidence to dismiss those "pesky" pessimistic doubters who regularly and wrongly claim that Referees who issue cards—especially early ones or red ones—ruin matches by spoiling the spectacle.

A spectacle ruin they do not (as Jedi instructor Master Yoda might say). If anything, such accomplished performances by Referees help enhance the match as an enjoyable spectacle because it is abundantly clear to everyone that players must play within the Laws otherwise they will be penalised according to the Laws. Mike Dean gave a Refereeing Masterclass Display of what top-level Referees ought to do, and be seen to do, on a regular basis.

Incident One: Reckless Challenge and Correct Caution

In the 1st minute, Sunderland's Lee Cattermole (red 6) clatters into Newcastle's Cheick Tiote (black/white 24) mainly from behind. Mike Dean correctly cautions Cattermole for a reckless challenge.

Note 1: It is debatable whether Cattermole used excessive force in this challenge. However, considering the atmosphere of the match, it would have been harsh to dismiss Cattermole unless in the opinion of the Referee the challenge was clearly applied with excessive force or clearly endangered the safety of the opponent.

Also, notice how quickly Sunderland players are already trying to influence the Referee by performing a standard routine. That is, by always ignoring the immediate foul committed by their own team-mate and complaining about some other incident that may or may not have occurred sometime earlier.
Pathetic Pleas Proffered Pathetically by Pathetic Players

"On yer bike", says Dean

Note 2: In the 13th minute, Newcastle's Yohan Cabaye is cautioned. Referees who do their homework already know what Cabaye is capable of, so a quick caution by Dean may have been a good tactic to help him keep Cabaye on the pitch.

Incident Two: Careless Challenge and Correct Public Warning

In the 17th minute, Newcastle's Tiote exacts a measure of revenge on Sunderland's Cattermole. Referee Mike Dean uses his presence and experience to try to calm down Tiote.
Dean having a public word with Newcastle's Tiote

If players are willing to listen, then by all means talk with them.

Incident Three: Reckless Challenge, Mass Confrontation and Correct Caution

In the 18th minute, from the direct free kick, Sunderland's James McClean (red 23) slides into Newcastle's Danny Simpson (black/white 5). It is a reckless challenge (similar to Incident One) and Simpson reacts by putting his head against McClean's head. A mass confrontation ensues.

After allowing players to vent off their frustrations, and without needlessly becoming involved nor in wanting to man-handle players, Referee Mike Dean isolates the two players that started the whole ruckus and correctly cautions them both.

No fuss, no big dramas ... just two good cautions for players who should know better (one for the reckless challenge, and one for the reaction). The Referee and AR worked well together and simply stood nearby and observed (just like Phil Dowd does ... but without the attitude!).

Incident Four: Reckless Challenge and Correct Caution

In the 23rd minute, Newcastle's Demba Ba (black/white 19) tackles Sunderland's Craig Gardner (red 8) and receives a caution from Dean for the reckless challenge.

Incident Five: Holding in Penalty Area, Penalty and Correct Caution

In the 24th minute, Newcastle's Mike Williamson (black/white 6) holds Sunderland's Mike Turner (red 4) and pulls him to the ground in the penalty area. Mike Dean whistles for a penalty.

Notice how, having whistled for the penalty, Dean then calmly walks over to identify and caution Newcastle's Williamson, and clearly communicates to everyone what happened (pulling). Dean then reiterates that he has called a penalty. The following is the calm, composed sequence of events:

Incident Six: Careless Challenge and Good Teamwork

In the 32nd minute, Newcastle's Tiote trips Sunderland's Stephane Sessegnon on the pitch near the technical area. Good teamwork again by the AR1 in helping to signal the foul.

Note 3: Mike Dean has been trying hard to help Newcastle's Tiote by communicating with him and seeing whether Tiote is willing to listen. It appears Tiote is Dean's "mini project" to test whether players are willing to listen to the Referee (or perhaps Dean is unfamiliar with Tiote's characteristics and is giving him a chance to be more sporting?). Eventually, in the 67th minute, after a couple more persistent infringements, Dean cautions Tiote.

So, within the first 24 minutes of the match, Referee Mike Dean has cautioned 6 players, given a correct penalty, and set the standard for the match. The match was a thrilling spectacle because the Referee continued to consistently play his professional part in the unfolding events of the match, and made it clear to all players that they were permitted to express themselves and play within the Laws of the Game (as we shall further see in Part 2 of Mike Dean Masterclass Display).

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