Mike Dean has opened up on how he deals with fan abuse with the Premier League referee regularly the centre of attention.
Dean was appointed to the Premier League in 2000 and has been a regular in black every weekend.
The 51-year-old has gained something of a cult following with his extravagant and exuberant reactions to players.
But fans often think Dean has got a decision or two wrong and the 2008 FA Cup final official has explained how he deals with the abuse he gets.
“We have a rule that phones go off an hour before kick-off and don’t come back on until 45 minutes afterwards,” Dean said on That Peter Crouch Podcast.
“Oh yeah [there can be plenty of abuse when turned back on]. But it comes with the nature of the job.”
“Now it doesn’t bother me. When I first started it did, because you think ‘have I really been that bad?’
“I probably was at the time but I can handle it now.
“If I’m driving home on a Saturday night and I’m getting grief on the radio, it’s just laughable some of the stuff.”
Dean hasn’t always been that man in the black though, admitting to ballooning to 18 stone in his younger years.
He got into refereeing though it was not lucrative enough to be a full-time job, so he had to work in a chicken factory.
He added: “For 16 years. I was working on the shop floor. I was dealing with the insides of the bird.
“Then I moved up to supervisor in the business end where they came in live and we had to kill them. On a shift, we ended up killing about 140,000 chickens a day.
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“I was refereeing anyway, just local stuff and I was doing both jobs.
“I would go in at six o’clock, work until two o’clock, get home, get my bag, drive to Carlisle, Hartlepool, Scunthorpe, wherever, go and referee, get home at three in the morning and then straight back in work at five.
“That was how it was for four or five years, bit of a killer.”
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