Mike Dean was expected to leave refereeing when he retired at the end of the season but there has been a U-turn somewhere and he will now take up a new job in refereeing.

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
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

Three referees ended their on-field careers at the end of the 21/22 season.

Martin Atkinson and Jon Moss were both given jobs within PGMOL but Mike Dean, who was initially rumoured to be moving to a full-time VAR position, was expected to leave the game entirely.

Most speculation seemed to think he was heading for our TV screens, either as a pundit or on reality TV shows.

That seemed like a perfect fit for a man who spent his career trying to be the centre of attention. That it also kept him from refereeing in any capacity was a bonus.

Now, however, it has been announced that Dean will indeed move to a full-time VAR role next season as first speculated.

Dean is the second permanent VAR official appointed after that other stellar example of refereeing pedigree, Lee Mason, was made the first by the outgoing PGMOL boss, Mike Riley.

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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.