Mike Dean steps in as emergency official for Tranmere after attending as a fan

Mike Dean was on hand to step in as an emergency fourth official during Tranmere's League Two clash against Walsall on Saturday – after going to the game as a supporter.

Having entered the stands alongside friends for the encounter at Prenton Park, one of the officials designated for the fixture picked up an injury and had to withdraw.

After seeing the assistant leave the field during the 53rd minute, Dean rushed down from the stands to step into the role based in the dugout so the game could continue.

Just 13 minutes later former Wigan forward Callum McManaman grabbed the only goal of the fixture, with Dean no doubt forced to hold back in the sort of celebrations his fellow Rovers fans would be used to.

Dean, who has been a Premier League referee since way back in 2000, is often referred to as a 'showman' for his style of officiating, which includes the flamboyant issuing of cards – and step overs.

Dean recently explained: "I do come across like a showman.

"If the ball comes towards me I will let it go through my legs.

"I love a step-over. I love what I do and the way I referee. It kind of comes out I enjoy what I do. I've had this the past 10 years."

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His most memorable moment as a Tranmere fan came during their play-off semi-final victory over Forest Green back in 2019, with his celebrations caught by cameras.

But that might well have been rivalled by his call into action this week.

Assistant referee Richard Bartlett was the man that couldn't continue, and not many have more experience than Dean following his time as an international referee from 2004 to 2013.

The official Tranmere account first wrote: "Break in play as the linesman hobbles off with an injury."

Before adding: "It looks like Mike Dean will now be fourth official."

They saying: "Maybe not, he's gone back down the tunnel. We'll keep you updated."

And finally concluding: "Confirmed that Mike Dean is now fourth official."

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