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Mike Dean now set to be suspended after Newcastle 1 Fulham 0 VAR shambles at St James’ Park?

1 year ago
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Mike Dean has craved the headlines all of his career.

Well, I think he could be making plenty more after Sunday at St James’ Park.

Mike Dean the centre of attention after this Premier League game ended Newcastle 1 Fulham 0.

Having retired as a referee,  Mike Dean is now a dedicated VAR official (as things stand, only he and Lee Mason are dedicated VAR officials (and no longer active referees), supposedly the experts…).

It was of course Lee Mason who presided over the absolute disaster at St James’ Park at the start of September when Newcastle v Crystal Palace took place, the VAR official responsible for the ‘goal’ NUFC ‘scored’ ending up overturned.

The former referee intervening after the on the pitch referee (Michael Salisbury) had initially given a goal, Mason then making the situation even worse by showing the referee the worst possible action replay angle when he looked at the pitchside monitor. The goal disallowed for Willock making contact with the keeper, when if the referee had been shown the correct angle, he would have seen the Palace defender clearly push Willock.

Nothing was announced officially, but full-time VAR official Lee Mason then disappeared for a month from officiating at Premier League matches, which clearly appeared to be a behind the scenes ban / punishment for his actions at St James’ Park.

Fast forward four months and we now have Mike Dean, the other full-time VAR expert, making history repeat itself, same stadium and indeed the same penalty area, as the one where Lee Mason had his nightmare.

On Sunday, midway through the second-half we had a passage of play where Fulham in quick succession were appealing for a penalty from two separate incidents / challenges. Referee Robert Jones giving a penalty for neither incident.

However, when the ball eventually went dead, Jones was directed by Mike Dean to go and look at his pitchside monitor, after which we got the inevitable, a penalty awarded. The on-pitch referee rarely, if ever, going against the VAR official once he has been asked to go and look at a particular incident. I know Geordie referee and Newcastle fan, Michael Oliver, has done this (refused to change his decision after the VAR official asked him to review an incident) in the Premier League this season, but not aware of any other referees doing the same.

Anyway, it turned out that Mike Dean hadn’t directed referee Robert Jones to look again at the first incident (Dan Burn and Andreas Pereira) BUT had asked him to review the second one (Kieran Trippier and Bobby Decordova-Reid).

As I say, the inevitable happened, Robert Jones giving the penalty after a quick look at the replay Mike Dean had selected to show him.

This is where it all goes very wrong, once those of us at the match are at home and get to see exactly what Mike Dean had access to, in terms of having been able to look closely at TV replays of the two incidents.

The coming together of Trippier and Decordova-Reid, Mike Dean directing referee Jones to watch a certain TV replay, which when anybody looks at it, you do think this is a penalty that could be given, as the Newcastle player doesn’t appear to play the ball, there is contact with the Fulham player, who then falls to the ground, and contact is clearly made just inside the box.

However…when you see it from the other angle, the one that Mike Dean didn’t direct the referee to watch, it is then clear as day that it is actually Decordova-Reid who stands on Trippier’s foot and then throws himself to the ground. Never mind whether it is a penalty or not, it is actually clearly a foul ON the Newcastle defender, which I’m sure the on-pitch referee would have spotted, like the rest of us at home, if Mike Dean had shown him the right angle / replay.

It gets worse though for Mike Dean.

As when you look at the first incident involving Dan Burn and Andreas Pereira, Dean SHOULD have directed referee Jones to have a look at it again.

I’m not convinced it was definitely a penalty BUT if it had been at the other end of the pitch, for sure I would have been very ‘disappointed’ if Newcastle hadn’t got the benefit of Mike Dean asking the referee to look at a TV replay.

Dan Burn has been class this season BUT he has got a habit of laying hands on opposition players in the box and needs to cut it out, as only a matter of time before he is punished for it by match officials.

This time Burn got the wrong side of Pereira and put his hand on the Fulham player’s shoulder and whilst it was a very theatrical fall (which maybe was the big factor in the referee not giving the penalty initially, due to Pereira’s reputation for going to ground so easily), you have to accept that certainly on balance, this would usually equal a spot-kick given.

Bottom line is that in a matter of seconds, Mike Dean in his VAR studio got two decisions very wrong, despite having all the benefit of TV replays from various angles. In the time it took from the incidents happening, to Robert Jones having finished looking at his pitchside monitor and making his eventual decision, Mike Dean had several minutes to look and look again at the various angles on both incidents, yet managed to make such a mess of it.

This is yet another example, proof if you like, that the big problem isn’t VAR itself when it comes to deciding to review key incidents, instead the key issue is the people who are implementing it. Ironically, the two people who are supposed to be the biggest experts, who are full-time VAR officials, Mike Dean and Lee Mason, have shown they are not fit for purpose.

Surely having a former player sitting alongside the VAR official for each Premier League match is a no-brainer, something I think which would make such obvious massive blunders far less likely to happen.

All eyes now on the next Premier League announcement, when they name the match officials for the next round of Premier League matches for the weekend.

Will Mike Dean be quietly stood down for a number of weeks (preferably permanently!)? What I would say is a certainty, is that Dean won’t be named for the Palace v Newcastle match on Saturday, not the Fulham v Spurs game next Monday night.

Stats from BBC Sport:

Newcastle 1 Fulham 0 – Sunday 15 January 2pm

Goals:

Newcastle United:

Isak 89

Fulham:

(Half-time stats in brackets)

Possession was Fulham 37% (43%) Newcastle 63% (57%)

Total shots were Fulham 5 (2) Newcastle 20 (11)

Shots on target were Fulham 0 (0) Newcastle 5 (4)

Corners were Fulham 5 (2) Newcastle 10 (7)

Referee: Robert Jones

Attendance: 52,247

Newcastle United:

Pope, Trippier, Schar, Botman, Burn, Bruno (Saint-Maximin 45), Longstaff, Willock (Isak 71), Almiron (Murphy 85), Joelinton, Wilson (Wood 90+6)

Unused Subs:

Dubravka, Lascelles, Ritchie, Manquillo, Lewis

(3 Positives and 3 Negatives to take from Newcastle 1 Fulham 0 – Read HERE)

(Newcastle 1 Fulham 0 – Match ratings and comments on all the NUFC players – Read HERE)

(Top four breakaway is now definitely on – Just look at Sunday night Premier League table and upcoming games – Read HERE)

(Bruno Guimaraes injury – Newcastle United official update – Read HERE)

(Marco Silva embarrasses himself as blames match officials for Newcastle 1 Fulham 0 – Read HERE)

(Bruno Guimaraes leaves St James’ Park on crutches with protective boot – Posts personal message to Newcastle fans – Read HERE)

(Newcastle 1 Fulham 0 – The instant NUFC fan / writer reaction – Read HERE)

(Newcastle 1 Fulham 0 : First time seen this happen at St James’ Park – Absolutely remarkable win – Read HERE)

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