Referee Mike Dean explains why he sniffed linesman’s "horrendous" shirt

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Mike Dean is set to retire from refereeing after 22 years in the Premier League, and he will leave the English top-flight with a plethora of iconic moments.

Dean is the marmite of matchday officials, though one thing is always certain when he is on the pitch – he’s going to catch your eye at some point doing something out of the ordinary. One of the 53-year-old’s most memorable incidents came before a match had even kicked off.

Before a Manchester Derby, Dean was caught on camera bizarrely sniffing the shirt of the linesman as the teams lined up for photos. But the Tranmere Rovers-loving official has finally provided context to the whiffing memory.

He told Sky Sports : “I wouldn't say I sniffed my linesman, I sniffed his shirt. Ian puts this oil stuff on his shirt, and it stunk in the tunnel before the game, stunk going out and it just wouldn't go away… it was horrendous so I just sniffed it."

Amongst other things discussed in the video, Dean also debunked the video-fuelled rumour that he celebrated Tottenham’s goal against Aston Villa. In 2015, after Mousa Dembele had scored, Dean was seen extravagantly showing that he had played the advantage and took a lap of honour-like route back to the halfway line that made him appear to be celebrating Spurs’ goal.

When asked about his reaction to the goal, he said: “I don't think I was celebrating Spurs' goal, I was celebrating my wonderful decision as an advantage! I got sucked in again. Because I love football, if I play an advantage and something works out, I give a thumbs up… I didn't do it on purpose."

Dean has never been far from controversy either throughout his career but has also been involved in some of the biggest games in Premier League history. He was the man in the middle for Manchester City’s title-winning match against QPR in 2012 when Sergio Aguero scored a late winner in his side’s 3-2 win.

Speaking of the match, Dean continued: “(It was the) Best game I've ever been involved in, because of what was at stake… I said to the guys ‘something's going to happen – if they get one more goal, they get another’.

“'Just the best ending ever and it will never be topped again. No team will ever win the league in that way again.”

  • Premier League

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