02 April 2019

Celebration of the Century: Mike Dean's 100th Red Card!

I'm sure the entire Arsenal family joins me in offering a warm, heart-felt round of applause to a gentleman who has long been near and dear to our hearts, a noble man whose selfless and unbiased service to the truth and to fair play has for too long gone unacknowledged and under-appreciated. On the momentous occasion—on the achievement of a feat most said was impossible (if also undesirable—but I digress!)—let us pause to tip our caps to someone who is surely a genius ahead of his time. Ladies and gentleman, I give you none other than Mike Dean. Where is he? Mr. Dean, are you with us? Is he—no? He's not? More's the pity. Ah, well. Let's have a look at his burgeoning legacy, shall we?

Mr. Dean has been perhaps unfairly slandered, nay, libeled, in this and many other publications for his perceived anti-Arsenal, pro-Tottenham bias. A quick perusal of his record shall lay that vile innuendo to rest, I'm sure. What you see below is a table that highlights Mr. Dean's impeccable, unimpeachable record of all matches he's refereed for the top-five clubs, Liverpool having been excluded due to Mr. Dean's having been hatched—er, excuse me, born—in Wirral, part of the Liverpool City Region. Can't have any appearance of bias, can we? Let's have a gander, then.

Statistics courtesy of transfermarkt.com

As you can see, Dean has refereed a very comparable number of matches for all five clubs concerned. He's been rather consistent with the yellow cards, although those who favor Tottenham for various reasons still unexplained by scientists or philosophers will be gratified to see that they've largely been spared Dean's implacable, but still completely objective, wrath. Their gratification will surely grow when they see that no Tottenham player has ever been shown a straight red card because, of course, all Tottenham players' souls are as pure as the driven snow—just as their home kits always symbolize. However, Tottenham fans may be dismayed to discover that, aside from their sterling, paladin-like performances on the pitch, they've not benefitted all that much from any perception among their critics that Dean prefers them above all others. Still, they may draw some comfort from seeing that their erstwhile superiors, the Arsenal, have only ever earned a measly five penalties from Dean—less than half than Chelsea, Man City, or Tottenham have earned, and less than a third than Man U has earned.

If anything, instead, a nugget of rather uncomfortable truth does start to emerge when we look at points earned. Here, it seems, Mr. Dean's sterling reputation does seem to acquire a bit of tarnish—a taint, if you will pardon my French. Even if we account for Chelsea's successes over the years (dating back to the beginning of Dean's Prem career in 2000, it seems rather remarkable—one might even say extraordinary, others might even say unseemly—how well Chelsea have done when Dean presides. To have taken nearly 70% of the points available from matches in which Dean has been present, well, that's...well, suffice it to say that it takes "unseemly" to depths your correspondent is too refined to wallow in. This is, after all, a family-friendly publication). Over the courser of a season, that would be enough to earn 79.3 points, a haul that could win the Prem quite a few times, especially when we consider how poorly the other contenders have fared.

It seems then that the Arsenal faithful owe Mr. Dean a profound, effusive, and heart-felt apology. Broken glass shall be made available for those who wish to crawl across it on hands and knees. Inquiries into acquiring a cat-of-nine-tails have been made but are tied up in paperwork. For, lo these many years, how many Gooners (what a fitting aptronym, one muses...) have lambasted Mr. Dean, this humble, lowly servant, for favoring Tottenham? How wrong they were! How completely—and utterly—wrong they were. To have so wrongly and repeatedly impugned the integrity of one who only ever wanted to serve, well, there are no words that can adequately express the exquisite outrage we all must feel. For it was not Tottenham he served, no matter how desperately they needed it. It would have been similar to finding a tortoise on its back and righting it, after all. No, no, not at all. Instead, Dean offered his services in a servile, slavish manner to none other than Chelsea.

It appears that nothing in this century is sacred.

Well, on the other hand, at least the 100th red card went to Ashley Young. There's at least a dollop of redemption in that.