Premier League referee Mike Dean is set to step down from his role at the end of the season, and has named former Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger as the toughest manager that he has had to officiate over.
The 53 year-old is believed to be closing in on a new role with him expected to take up a role in the VAR room from next season, and has been speaking about his time refereeing over the years.
After 22 years officiating in the top flight of English football, he has claimed that Arsene Wenger was the man he found most intimidating to ref against.
‘It has to be Arsene when he was at Arsenal,’ he told BBC Sport.
‘I always found it tough, not refereeing Arsenal in general but refereeing Arsenal when he was the manager. It was just his presence – he wanted the best for Arsenal all the time and if he could get any way of getting one over you he would do.
‘Since he has finished football I have seen him and he has been great. Cross the white line and everyone is different, like referees. We are normal people.’
Considering the ‘Fergie Time’ comments and the touchline manner of Sir Alex Ferguson, you would have imagined that he would have been thought of as more intimidating, but Wenger clearly had an aura about him, which clearly helped in keeping his players in line also.
I guess all the best managers must have something about them, which makes them great leaders, but it’s very interesting that Wenger was the more intimidating of the Premier League era.
Do you think all referees will have felt the same way about Wenger?