The Royals will be ruled over by a Premier League referee on Tuesday night as Mike Dean heads to Elland Road for our clash with Leeds United.
Dean has consistently officiated at the top level of English football since being appointed to the Select Group of referees in 2000.
Dean’s first steps on to the Football League ladder came in 1995 as an assistant referee. He was promoted to the full referees’ list two years later and went on to officiate in the top flight of English football at the turn of the millennium.
His last match in charge of the Royals came in the FA Cup in March 2016 when he sent off centre-back Jake Cooper for blocking the run of Yanick Bolasie with five minutes remaining - Yohane Cabaye converted the resulting penalty and the Eagles edged into semi-final stages of the competition at Reading's expense. Dean was also in charge when we lost an FA Cup quarter-final against Aston Villa back in 2010.
An experienced referee, Dean's history with the Royals goes back a long way - he took charge of our 3-2 defeat at Old Trafford in 2007 (sending off Sam Sodje against Manchester United after the substitute receieved two yellow cards in nine minutes!), and he showed the red card to Royals twice in 2007-8, giving Kalifa Cisse his marching orders in a home defeat to Chelsea before dismissing Ibrahima Sonko in losing to Portsmouth.
However, he has also seen some iconic Reading games, none more so than Adam Le Fondre's brace in our 3-1 win at St Mary's in April 2012 which took Brian McDermott's Royals towards promotion!
His last Championship match was at Cardiff where he witnessed a 1-0 win for Wolves as the division's top two battled it out for a place in the top tier in April. But the Championship encounter he presided over before that match involved Leeds - in January 2017, Dean saw Barnsley nick a 3-2 home win over United at Oakwell.
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In 2003, Dean was promoted to the FIFA list and took control of the FA Community Shield between Arsenal and Manchester United a year later. A Championship Play-off Final followed in 2006 and he was in the middle for his first FA Cup Final in 2008, when Portsmouth defeated Cardiff City at Wembley Stadium. He also officiated Birmingham City’s League Cup triumph over Arsenal in 2011.
Since his promotion to the FIFA list, three UEFA Champions League matches have seen Dean in charge, while the Wirral-born referee officiated a further 31 matches in the UEFA Cup/Europa League.
Dean has enjoyed a successful international career too, which began when he officiated a friendly between Netherlands and Republic of Ireland in 2004. In addition, he has since taken charge of FIFA World Cup and UEFA European Championship qualifying matches.
Dean will be assisted by Darren Cann and Mark Scholes, while Lee Mason is the fourth official on Tuesday night.