Sunday 29 April 2012

Mike Dean Masterclass Display Part 2

Continued from Mike Dean Masterclass Display Part 1

Incident Seven: Careless Challenge and Good Advantage

In the 38th minute, a Sunderland (red/white) player carelessly tackles a Newcastle player (black-white). Mike Dean does not unnecessarily stop the match and instead allows advantage (with Newcastle's Ryan Taylor producing a cross from the right wing that results in a corner kick).

 Referee Mike Dean plays a good advantage

Incident Eight: Violent Conduct and Correct Send Off

In the 58th minute, Sunderland's Stephane Sessegnon (red 28) swings an arm into Newcastle's Tiote's face. Mike Dean is right there and sends off Sessegnon.


 Sunderland's Sessegnon can have no complaints about his send off

Incident Nine: Careless Challenge in Penalty Area and Correct Penalty Decision

In the 81st minute, Sunderland's Frazier Campbell clatters into Newcastle's Shola Ameobi in the penalty area. Mike Dean is well positioned and awards a penalty. 

 A clear penalty which Mike Dean clearly sees

Incident Ten: Goal and Good AR1

In the 90+1st minute, Newcastle's Ameobi scores the equalizer. Ameobi is onside when the ball is headed forward by his team-mate.

Newcastle's Ameobi (black/white attacking player closest to the AR) is onside

 Incident Eleven: Red Card for Offinabus

In the 90+5th minute, after the final whistle, Sunderland's Lee Cattermole abuses Referee Mike Dean. Cattermole is given a straight red.

Clap all you like captain Cattermole (red/white 6), you're still carded and suspended


Referee Mike Dean performed admirably, skillfully and professionally. He exuded composure, confidence, credibility, coolness and class.

To correctly issue a caution in the first minute, and a total of six cautions within 24 minutes, without fear or favour speaks volumes about Mike Dean's no-nonsense approach to a feisty derby match between highly-charged players. This is what Referees are meant to do, manage players and allow a fair and competitive match to develop. Referee Assessors are trained to assess Referee performances, and this match is a fine example for everyone—from Assessors down to junior Referees—on how top Referees should perform.

However, speaking of assessment reports, one weakness of assessment reports written by Referee Assessors is that they are always based on the single isolated match without reference to any other relevant match or other relevant Referee. Personally and professionally, this is unhelpful; especially if there is also an arbitrary numerical marking scheme applied. If Referee Assessments are given and taken in isolation (which they usually are), then there is only limited learning opportunities. To improve (and good Referees should always be looking to improve), we should always be looking for a greater learning experience.

For example, Mike Dean's masterclass performance would mean so much more (and be so much more useful to everyone else) if it were sensibly compared with other Referee performances of a similar nature or level. Comparisons are rarely done, if at all, which is why assessment reports offer limited help and learning opportunities. Fortunately, there is a relevant comparison on this Blog that will help reveal just how much quality Mike Dean's masterclass performance was. The comparison is Howard Webb, Dean's fellow PGMOL colleague, who Refereed the corresponding North-East derby earlier this season (see here).

What better comparison of a similar nature or level ...
  then the North-East premier league derby matches between Newcastle United and Sunderland United during the 2011-2012 season?

If we look at Webb's performance in the first derby match and compare it with Dean's performance in the corresponding derby match, the difference is clearly significant and striking.  Who gave the better and more accomplished performance?

Former EPL Referee Graham Poll has consistently given puzzling comments. In the case of this season's North-East derbies, Poll praised both Referees' performances. Briefly, here's what Poll said:

About Howard Webb: Poll said Webb, despite missing 4 straight red card incidents, deserves "great credit" for a performance that allowed an "absorbing Tyne-Wear derby that is a great advert for the Premier League". 

About Mike Dean: Poll said Mike Dean was on "top form"

Such 'opinions' from an ex-EPL Referee are not useful or helpful. Poll's comments cannot be taken seriously. Why praise both performances (and therefore misinterpret and misjudge the true worth of each of the performances)? Should Dean's performance be praised in the same manner as Webb's performance? Of course not. It should be obvious that Mike Dean's performance was so much more polished, proficient and professional particularly when compared with Howard Webb's poor performance.

It doesn't always happen to referees but Mike Dean had a masterclass display in this match and all Referees and Referee Assessors would do well to recognise this and learn from it.

Related Posts

Webb’s Weak Woeful Week

Mike Dean Masterclass Display Part 1

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