Lots had been said both locally and nationally about premier league referee Mike Dean’s dismissal of Dale Stephens in Albion’s crucial promotion decider at Middlesbrough last Saturday.
Sure it’s frustrating to have a player sent off. But many have forgotten or chosen to overlook the incident that happened a few minutes before Stephens received his marching orders.
Right under the nose of referee Dean both Stephens and Gaston Ramirez, the player the Seagulls midfielder was adjudged to have fouled, had a pushing and shoving match.
In fact Dean had to calm the pair down but chose to take no action even though hands were raised.
The main criticism appears to be that Dean acted retrospectively, only reaching for the red card once he saw the apparent gaping hole in Ramirez’s shin.
But don’t referees often act retrospectively? It’s called the advantage rule!
I am sure it’s not unprecedented for a referee to look at the physical effect of a tackle and change his mind.
I am sure Dean refereed Albion at Withdean back in the day during a Premier League international break and in the Amex’s first season. Both without incident.
My point is Albion fans must now get over this perceived injustice quickly and re-adopt their “can do” attitude in time for the play-offs.
The Seagulls didn’t have a clear-cut chance after the sending off and few before it. The fans must now move away from the what might have been. Let’s not dwell. We have only just got over Gordon Smith.
Everyone must put their thoughts and support behind beating Sheffield Wednesday over two legs. The club still have a great chance of promotion.
Let’s get behind them again and make Sussex blue and white once more, especially as the FA has now confirmed that Stephens’s three-match ban will stand. Sadly he is out until August.