Is Mike Dean 'haunting' Brighton and does Graham Potter need tactical rethink?
Ian Hart: Older readers may recall a classic episode of Minder, where Sgt Chisholm, referring to Arthur Daley asks, “Can you actually be haunted by someone who’s still alive?”
The same might be said for the Albion faithful and referee Mike Dean. There was yet again more controversy at the weekend with the Wirral based official turning down, after VAR verification, an Albion penalty appeal at Old Trafford when Harry Maguire appeared to foul Danny Welbeck.
It’s not the first time Mr Dean has had a bearing on an Albion game. Back on May 7 2016, the last day Championship decider at Middlesbrough was poised at 1-1 when Albion midfielder Dale Stephens got a straight red for a questionable challenge.
Four minutes after equalising Boro held on to clinch the automatic promotion place, and the Albion fell at the play-off semi-final hurdle nine days later.
Whilst Mr Dean wouldn’t be at the top of my invite list for a post-lockdown barbecue, I’m not in the school of thought that thinks these events are sinister.
As was famously and numerously said in a ITV reality show I’m all too familiar with, ‘it is what it is’.
Mike Dean is a good official, possibly one of the best this country has, and he has no grudge against the Albion.
He doesn’t burn effigies of Lewis Dunk and Steve Foster in his back garden, he makes the decisions as he sees them. Sometimes he’s right, sometimes he’s wrong, but like the rest of us he’s human.
I still maintain a full-strength Albion would have found a winner at the Riverside five years ago, but it is what it is (there you go I’m using it now).
As for the events on Sunday night, Albion again took the lead, sat back and then suffered the consequences.
How many points is that dropped now from a winning position this season?
Too many, but all part of the learning curve. I still maintain the Albion won’t get relegated.
With Covid, this season has been a one-off but it is certainly an education for all of us in the Albion family.
Everton arrive at the Amex on Monday night, possibly the biggest Jekyll and Hyde team in the EPL. Which Everton will turn up. Although more’s the question, which Brighton will?