The 53-year-old has taken command of some of the division’s biggest games and is known for his showman-like manner and no-nonsense approach with players.
After 22 years as a Premier League referee, including two FA Cup final appearances, the Tranmere Rovers fan is retiring to give the next generation of elite match officials the opportunity to imitate his career in the middle.
Not to be outdone, Dean has issued the most yellow cards (2,026) and awarded 184 penalties as a Premier League referee, both of which are Premier League records.
He is said to be in talks with the Professional Game Match Officials (PGMOL) about becoming a permanent video assistant referee beginning next season, following in the footsteps of Lee Mason, who made the switch after retiring as a match referee last year.
Here are his top 3 moments as a Premier League referee!
Yellow cards with no look
Dean has acquired a practice of waving yellow cards to players while facing in the opposite direction, a la Roberto Firmino, dubbed issuing ‘no-look’ cards.
He’s done it to Ryan Fraser and Ross Barkley, amongst others. For far too long, officials have played it safe by booking a player by staring them in the whites of their eyes.
But showman Dean enjoys displaying his eccentric traits and has proven that he can precisely identify his victims without ever looking at them.
This cannot be touched
Dean has no patience for players that feel the need to touch him during games. When Mikel Arteta threw his arm around the referee in an attempt to curry favour during a north London derby between Tottenham and Arsenal in 2014, the referee appeared genuinely offended.
When Sandro repeated the same thing 10 minutes later, his face was once again a picture. Dean expects respect, and he knows he won’t receive it if he lets players abuse him.
Hiding the ball from Sergio Aguero
After Sergio Aguero scored a hat-trick against Chelsea in the Premier League in 2019, Dean decided to unleash his outrageous humour by hiding the ball from the Argentina striker.
Aguero definitely intended to follow in the long-standing practice of taking a match ball home after scoring three goals with it.
Dean, on the other hand, was not content to be a bystander. Dean tucked the ball up the back of his shirt as Aguero approached the referee to receive it.
Dean had his turn in the spotlight after Aguero saw the irony!
To be honest, there are just too many iconic moments to choose from. Dean has never been far from the spotlight, whether he was giving players a nice pat on the backside, sniffing his assistant referee, getting involved in the action by allowing the ball to slide through his legs, or cheering on his beloved Tranmere in the away end at Forest Green.
He will undoubtedly be missed by fans across the country, but he may still have a say in issues from the VAR booth next season!