A group of Arsenal fans, well 70,000 fans and counting, have signed a change.org petition to get referee Mike Dean banned from working any more Arsenal games after he sent off Gabriel when Gabriel retaliated to Diego Costa putting his hands in Laurent Koscielny’s face and harassing Gabriel to get him to step on Costa’s foot. Fans felt Costa should have also been sent off for his conduct. He has been charged by the FA (after the fact), along with Gabriel for violent conduct that could carry a three game ban.
In this petition, addressed to the FA, pointed out multiple instances in which Arsenal fans felt Dean had wronged them by making incorrect calls over the years and do not want Dean working any more Arsenal games. After just two days, 70,000 fans have signed and will likely reach its goal of 75,000 signatures later today.
Do Arsenal fans have a right to be upset about what happened? Yeah, probably. Dean made a terribly bad call that changed the complexion of the game. Is he biased against Arsenal? Well some Arsenal fans may say yes but he very likely isn’t. Referees are like commentators and even writers. When someone makes a call or says or writes something that isn’t pleasing for a team, a (usually small) sector of fans of that team will immediately believe you are against their team in some way. Every team has fans like that, it’s not exclusive with one team.
I don’t know what team Mike Dean supports (if he does) but I would imagine that a 15 year Premier League referee has made multiple mistakes for every team he has worked with just in sheer probability. Some of those mistakes may not be as bad as this past weekend but they were mistakes nonetheless. I’m sure this doesn’t make Arsenal fans feel any better but the man made a mistake that helped result in Arsenal losing the game. I highly doubt there is a grand conspiracy from the FA to appoint referees who hate Arsenal to work games.
While it’s highly unlikely anything will come as a result or even the FA reads this, I will say that at least these Arsenal fans are going about their in a peaceful way by instituting a petition. Some fans’ imaginations can run wild with things they would like to do with a referee who made a bad call. At least this petition doesn’t involve any sort of physical harm.