MIKE Dean will take charge of the second Tyne Wear derby of the Premier League season as Sunderland host Newcastle at the Stadium of Light on Sunday.
The 46-year-old has been chosen as the referee when the relegation-threatened Black Cats welcome their fierce North East rivals for Dick Advocaat’s first home game as manager (KO 4pm live on Sky Sports).
He will be assisted on Wearside by Fifa linesmen Stuart Burt (Northamptonshire) and Simon Long (Cornwall) while the fourth official will be fellow Select Group referee Craig Pawson (South Yorkshire).
The last three years ago saw the Wirral official brandish nine yellow cards, award the Black Cats a 90th-minute penalty and send off two Sunderland players including captain Lee Cattermole after the final whistle for foul and abusive language towards him.
Dean will be in the middle for the first time since being branded “arrogant” by Leicester boss Nigel Pearson after awarding a dubious penalty to Tottenham in his side’s 4-3 defeat at White Hart Lane before the international break.
That was the Heswell-based whistler’s 29th game of the campaign in all competitions and his 22nd in the Premier League.
Earlier in March, Dean also awarded a spotkick to Southampton in their 1-1 draw at leaders Chelsea, whose boss Jose Mourinho questioned the decision following Nemanja Matic’s challenge on Dusan Tadic.
In January, another of his penalty awards was scrutinised after pointing to the spot for Arsenal in their 2-0 victory at champions Manchester City following Vincent Kompany’s perceived barge into Nacho Monreal even though the official did not appear to have a clear view of the incident.
Among his high-profile matches this term are the first top-flight game of the season when Swansea won at Old Trafford, the table-topping encounter between City and Chelsea at the Etihad in September, United’s victory over Arsenal and the Capital One Cup semi-final second leg between Sheffield United and Tottenham.
It will be the first time Dean will encounter Newcastle since their six-goal thriller with Burnley on New Year’s Day while he last oversaw Sunderland in a 1-1 draw at Hull City on March 3.
With his ability to draw on a wealth of experience at the highest level, Dean is regularly considered to officiate these sorts of occasions and is still regarded as one of the top referees in England in a similar bracket as Mark Clattenburg, Michael Oliver and Martin Atkinson.
Among the Premier League’s oldest officials along with Chris Foy and Phil Dowd, he has overseen over 350 top-flight games since promotion from the Football League in 2000 and spent a decade on the Fifa list until retiring from the position in 2013.
Dean has long since completed the domestic set of stellar appointments in his career including the 2004 FA Community Shield, both the 2006 and 2009 Championship play-off finals, the 2008 FA Cup final and the 2011 League Cup final.
The sides’ meeting on Tyneside back in December was officiated by Anthony Taylor as Adam Johnson netted a 90th minute winner for Sunderland in a low-key match which saw eight yellow cards brandished.
Both have changed their managers since with former Rangers boss Advocaat – who suffered a 1-0 defeat at West Ham in his first game a fortnight ago – replacing the sacked Gus Poyet earlier in March while John Carver was promoted to Newcastle’s head coach after Alan Pardew left to join Crystal Palace in January.
Sunderland have won four Tyne Wear derbies in a row for the first time with Newcastle last tasting victory over the Black Cats in August 2011 although it was on enemy territory.