Mike Dean has confirmed he will hang up his whistle at the end of this season, having delayed his retirement for a year.

LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 18: Referee Mike Dean gestures as he referees his 500th Premier League match during the Premier League match between Arsenal FC and Sheffield United at Emirates Stadium on January 18, 2020 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND – JANUARY 18: Referee Mike Dean gestures as he referees his 500th Premier League match during the Premier League match between Arsenal FC and Sheffield United at Emirates Stadium on January 18, 2020 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)

As I turned on the Manchester City FA Cup match towards the end of March, my ears pricked up when I heard the BBC commentator mention that it could well be Mike Dean’s last FA Cup tie as the referee is retiring at the end of the season.

The joy on Twitter at this news was in danger of triggering a call from the celebration police.

Now, the referee has confirmed his plans in an interview with The Athletic.

“Times have moved on, referees are getting older, I am not getting as fit as I used to be, so things have got to change,” Dean said.

“I have made the decision myself, I have gone out on my terms which is what I wanted to do and nobody else’s terms which is good.

“I will miss when the season starts next season and not walking out to referee a game, but I have had a good innings with 22 years.

“It is time to move on and see what is in the future maybe we don’t know yet, but we will see.”

Dean was meant to retire at the end of last season but made a u-turn after the the pandemic forced many games to be played behind-closed-doors.

There were reports that Dean would remain involved as an officially dedicated to VAR, but he added, “Contrary to reports and speculation, I have been offered no VAR role at all, that is just word of mouth I think.

“It could be there if I wanted to go for it, but I don’t know yet. I need to keep my options open and see what is available.”

Some in the media suggested Dean wanted to see out his final season with fans in the stadium.

Of course, Mike Dean has been the least of Arsenal’s refereeing problems for a while now, having been surpassed by newer, even worse models.

Few of those, however, are able to deliver their awful decisions with quite the same dramatic flair as the 53-year-old who will have refereed in the top flight for 22 seasons at the end of this season.

There is, of course, always the possibility that he could replace Mike Riley as the head of the referees’ association, but let’s leave that horror aside for another time.

SUNDERLAND, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 29: Referee Martin Atkinson is seen prior to the Premier League match between Sunderland and Arsenal at the Stadium of Light on October 29, 2016 in Sunderland, England. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

Martin Atkinson and Jon Moss to retire with Mike Dean

We all know that Mike Dean is set to retire at the end of the season and he will be joined by Martin Atkinson and Jon Moss.
Arsenal's French manager Arsene Wenger (L) speaks to fourth official Mike Dean as he arrives for their English Premier League football match against Wigan Athletic at the DW Stadium in Wigan, north-west England, on December 29, 2010. AFP PHOTO/PAUL ELLIS

Arsene Wenger responds to Mike Dean comments about him

Arsene Wenger looked totally gobsmacked when he was informed that Mike Dean had called him the most intimidating manager he ever refereed.
arsene wenger sent off at old trafford

Mike Dean: Wenger tougher to referee than Sir Alex Ferguson

Mike Dean says that Arsene Wenger was a tougher manager than Sir Alex Ferguson to deal with during games.
Mike Dean

25% of all Mike Dean’s matches involve Arsenal or Manchester United

Mike Dean has been in charge of 63 Arsenal Premier League games, far more than any other official in the history of the league, but he's refereed even more Manchester United games.

Arsenal, Manchester United and Mike Dean

Would it even be a trip to Old Trafford to face Manchester United if Mike Dean wasn't the referee for Arsenal's game?
Previous articleArsenal make contact to sign €40m 23yo striker Gianluca Scamacca
Next articleTim Akinola’s season could be over after training injury
Writer. Feminist. Dreamer. Gooner. Owner of DailyCannon.com, writing about Arsenal since 2008. Sometimes found in the Guardian, Vice.com & elsewhere talking queer issues, politics & football. If in doubt, assume sarcasm.