Referee who dismissed Leeds United's top-scorer during never-say-die relegation clash takes charge of Premier League clash against West Ham United

Referee Mike Dean will officiate his 548th Premier League game when he takes charge of Leeds United's matchnagainst West Ham United at the London Stadium on Sunday.

By Flora Snelson
Wednesday, 12th January 2022, 4:50 pm
Updated Wednesday, 12th January 2022, 4:52 pm

Dean was the man in charge when Leeds were held to a 1-1 draw by Newcastle United at St James' Park in September.

Last season, Dean booked three Whites players across two Premier League fixtures, United's 1-1 draw with Manchester City at Elland Road and an away defeat to Sunday's opponent's, West Ham.

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Of the 31 Leeds games for which Dean has been the man in the middle, the Whites' 3-2 win over Leicester City in April 2004 is among the most memorable.

United were teetering on the edge of relegation from the Premiership when they hosted fellow strugglers Leicester, who arrived at Elland Road seeking a win to keep their own hopes of survival alive.

Leeds stormed to a two-goal lead inside fifteen minutes, with the Whites' top-scorer Mark Viduka entertaining the home crowd with an acrobatic overhead kick to double the lead following Michael Duberry's opener.

Several times, the Whites came close to adding a third but were prevented by visiting 'keeper Ian Walker.

Premier League referee Mike Dean. Pic: MB Media.

Walker's contribution looked vital when a late bright spell by the Foxes drew them level, with strikes from Paul Dickov and Muzzy Izzett making the score 2-2 with ten minutes left to play.

Leeds attacker Alan Smith had the last word, though, giving his hometown club the lead again in the 86th minute with what would turn out to be one of his final goals in white.

With United on track to claim all three points at Elland Road, Viduka - who had assisted Smith's winner - soured the occasion by receiving a second yellow card in the game's dying moments.

When the Australian kicked the ball away, Dean did not take kindly to the show of dissent and sent Leeds' attacking ace for an early bath.

Mark Viduka celebrates doubling Leeds United's lead during the Whites' 3-2 Premiership win over Leicester City. Pic: Gareth Copley.

Whites head coach Eddie Gray took a philosophical approach to the dismissal in his post-match remarks.

"It is a big blow to lose Mark," Gray said.

"It was silly, he knows that himself, but sometimes these things happen in football."

Overall, Gray was delighted with the fight shown by his relegation-threatened side as they put an end to Leicester's six-game unbeaten run.

Mark Viduka is given his marching orders by Mike Dean during Leeds United's 3-2 victory over Leicester City in April 2004. Pic: Gareth Copley.

"They would have been delighted with a point but I was pleased with how our players responded," Gray said.

"There are some disappointed lads in the dressing room, though, because they know we should have won the game easily.

"I thought the players handled the pressure well tonight.

"I said before we had to win our home games and pick up points on our travels.

"The fans feel the pressure too, obviously, so I'm pleased for them.

"We decided to push forward and it was important we got a good response [after Lecesiter drew level]."

Rodrigo goes into Mike Dean's book during Leeds United's 1-1 draw with Newcastle United at St James' Park in September. Pic: MB Media.

In his encounters with Leeds, Dean has shown United players 52 yellow cards and just one straight red.

This season, the Wirral-born ref has officiated 13 top-flight games, handing out 44 yellows and two penalties. He is yet to dismiss a Premier League player this season.

On Sunday at the London Stadium, Dean will be assisted by Eddie Smart and Mark Scholes, with Simon Hooper acting as fourth official. Craig Pawson will take charge of VAR, with Darren Cann assisting.

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