MIKE DEAN is a "nutter" who tells players to "shut up, you f***ing knobhead", according to former referee Jeff Winter.
Speculation is rife that the veteran ref will walk away at the end of this campaign.
However, SunSport understands that no decision has been made so far by Dean or the refereeing governing body over whether he will continue next season.
And according to Winter, if Dean does indeed hang up his whistle, the game will lose one of its real personalities.
The 66-year-old, who rates Dean as the best referee in the Premier League, told the Undr The Cosh podcast: "He’s gone showboat with his decisions.
"Deano is a character, he’s gone into this mode of all these demonstrative signals and that, but he’s one of the lads.
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“We used to sit in the room and watch the game, and if Deano was refereeing he had this habit of, if a player gave him a mouthful – you know he’s from the Wirral so let’s call him a posh scouser – he’d turn around and go, ‘shut up yo f***ing knobhead’.
“We could see his lips. And I’m not saying that’s right, but that has most definitely gone out of the game.”
Winter was later asked who he would prefer to take out for a pint of all the officials in the game.
He answered: “Of the present generation I would say Mike Dean, because he’s a nutter, good banter, great entertainment."
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Should Dean put down his whistle at the end of the campaign, he could stretch his red card record by taking up the role of Video Assistant Referee at Stockley Park.
Dean is about to finish his 22nd year of Premier League officiating having developed into one of the game’s most respected and well-known refs on and off the pitch.
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