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Arsene Wenger was the scariest manager in the Premier League, not Alex Ferguson, reveals Mike Dean

The scariest manager in Premier League history is Arsene Wenger – and NOT Sir Alex Ferguson, Mike Dean points out – who reveals Arsenal’s refereeing under the legendary Frenchman ‘was difficult…it was just his presence’

  • Iconic referee Mike Dean has revealed the toughest managers he’s seen
  • He Named Arsene Wenger The Most Terrifying Boss Because Of His ‘Presence’
  • Dean said Sir Alex Ferguson was ‘not that bad’ despite his stern reputation

Referee Mike Dean has named Arsene Wenger as the most intimidating manager he has functioned with, calling him a ‘tough presence’ during Arsenal matches – but insisted that Sir Alex Ferguson was ‘not that bad’ despite his fierce reputation.

Dean will blow his whistle at the end of the season and become a full-time VAR officer at Stockley Park and has reflected on his career and experiences as he competed against some of the best players and managers.

The 53-year-old was asked who were the toughest managers he was up against, and many expected him to name former Manchester United boss Ferguson.

Arsene Wenger was the scariest manager in the Premier League

Mike Dean has named former Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger (L) as the most fearsome boss he’s faced in the Premier League

Many expected Dean to name Sir Alex Ferguson after years of hunting for top flight officials

Many expected Dean to name Sir Alex Ferguson after years of hunting for top flight officials

But he said Wenger was “hard” on the sidelines because he “wanted the best for Arsenal” and would make life difficult for umpires.

“It must be Arsene when he was at Arsenal,” he told BBC Sport.

“I’ve always found it difficult not to referee Arsenal in general, but to referee Arsenal when he was manager. It was just his presence – he always wanted the best for Arsenal and if he could get a way to get someone over you, he would.

“Since he finished football, I’ve seen him and he’s great. Cross the white line and everyone is different, just like umpires. We’re normal people.’

Dean said Wenger was the strongest because of his 'presence' on the sidelines in big games

Dean said Wenger was the strongest because of his ‘presence’ on the sidelines in big games

He infamously sent the Frenchman into the stands during a match against Man United in 2009

He infamously sent the Frenchman into the stands during a match against Man United in 2009

Dean infamously sent Wenger into the stands during a 2009 match between Manchester United and Arsenal at Old Trafford after he kicked a water bottle in anger after Robin van Persie’s goal was disallowed for offside.

After Wenger initially tried to stand in the dugout, he was told to go higher with the spectators – with the iconic image of the Frenchman holding out his hands wide as stunned fans laughed around him.

Ferguson, meanwhile, was notorious for criticizing officials during critical moments of the match and often criticized them in post-match press conferences, but Dean said the legendary Scot was not actually as stern as many think.

“He always got a lot of sticks saying he’d come in and slam the door,” Dean added. “He came by every now and then to voice his opinion when something had gone terribly wrong, but he wasn’t as bad as people made out.”

1649152025 156 Arsene Wenger was the scariest manager in the Premier League

But he insisted Ferguson was ‘not that bad’, despite his stern reputation often yelling at referees from his tech circle

Dean has also discussed some of the greatest players he has encountered, naming Roy Keane and Patrick Vieira the players he was most nervous about as arbiter.

‘You had huge players with a big personality, the [Roy] Keanes, such people, [Patrick] Vieira—they were all there then,’ he said.

“For me to come from the Football League to the Premier League and referee those players… it was just a huge step.

“I was a little nervous and a little scared to make a decision.”

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