In Depth

Referee Mike Dean slammed over West Ham red card

Official under fire after sending off Sofiane Feghouli after 15 minutes of match against Manchester United

Referee Mike Dean stole the headlines as Manchester United beat West Ham on Monday, brandishing a red card at Hammers midfielder Sofiane Feghouli for what appeared to be a relatively innocuous challenge on Phil Jones 15 minutes into the game at the London Stadium.

The decision was criticised by pundits covering the game, with Niall Quinn of Sky Sports branding it "disgraceful".

He added: "I try very hard doing this job to understand how hard it is for referees and not just jump on the bandwagon, but I'm delighted to make an exception in this case and call it rank bad refereeing."

Fellow Sky commentator Gary Neville said Dean's "head was a mess", while Alan Shearer at the BBC added to the criticism.

Henry Winter of The Times was equally unimpressed, saying the referee has a history of gaffes.

"It's now known in football as the Mike Dean Show, and this episode in the East End could easily have been staged in the West End such was the referee's infuriating and continued capacity for claiming the limelight," he writes.

"No Premier League referee has given more penalties (ten) and red cards (five) than Dean this season. The best referees, such as [Mark] Clattenburg, seek video technology to assist them. The worst ones, like Dean, urgently need it. In the time it took for Jones's roll to end, and for Feghouli to vacate proceedings, the video assistant referee could have advised on what occurred."

However, there was a modicum of support from those who have been in a similar position. Former referee Graham Poll, writing for the Daily Mail, says Dean "will have believed he was right [when he showed the card] but when he watches this back he will know and accept that he was wrong".

He also has a warning for the official: "Referees aren't on the field to be popular... They are also not supposed to guess or appear to seek the limelight."

Howard Webb in the Times also "can understand" the decision. "When a player leaves the ground like that and makes late and heavy contact he is going to risk getting sent off," he writes.

"Players should be wary of jumping in if they know they are not going to win the ball cleanly and fairly."

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