Swansea City's Huw Jenkins surprised Mike Dean will referee Cardiff crunch
HUW Jenkins admits he is “surprised” Mike Dean has been handed control of the biggest Welsh derby in history after the controversy of Ninian Park 2009.
Jenkins reckons some Swansea City fans may be expecting a favour from the Wirral referee given the highly contentious penalty he awarded to Cardiff four-and-a-half years ago.
Swansea were 2-1 up at stoppage time in the last ever Ninian derby when Dean, who had earlier been hit on the head by a £1 coin thrown by a home fan, pointed to the spot after Ross McCormack tumbled under the softest of challenges from Ashley Williams .
Swansea were furious, with then boss Roberto Martinez adamant that it was “100 per cent not a penalty” and unused substitute Tom Butler seeing a red card after the final whistle.
Jenkins admits Swansea have not forgotten the Dean decision — and hopes Sunday’s collision with Cardiff will not be settled by a referee’s call.
“I was surprised to see that Mike Dean had been appointed for this particular game,” Jenkins conceded.
“Probably most people will say it is quite a strange choice to make, and also some of our fans might think it’s a chance to put right the wrongs of what happened in the game at Ninian Park.
“But on the other hand, you have to say that every referee goes into these games and does his best.
“Every referee gives what he sees and we have to accept that.
“I just hope that in games like this — in any game — the better team on the day wins and the referee does not have to make any decisions that could change that.
“Let’s hope the football decides the result on Sunday.”
The experienced Dean has been a select group referee since 2000, and has also been taking charge of international games for almost a decade. The 45-year-old has refereed major finals — including Cardiff’s FA Cup defeat by Portsmouth in 2008 — but upset Michael Laudrup at Spurs last season when Michu was flattened by Hugo Lloris and he failed to stop play.
It is the McCormack decision, though, which to this day rankles with Swansea’s fans.
“Somebody has made the decision (to appoint Dean for the derby) because they feel it is the right thing to do,” Jenkins added.
“We have just got to accept that and get on with preparing to do our job right on Sunday.”
Jenkins reckons the venue for the latest Welsh derby collision will lessen the chances of a post-match debate about refereeing decisions.
“Things have changed since the days of our own Vetch and Ninian Park,” he continued.
“The atmosphere was different in those grounds and that could have a big bearing on games, but there’s no doubt that has changed.
“Referees are only human, and they feel pressure like anyone else.
“Sometimes those decisions went for you and sometimes they went against you, but I don’t think modern stadiums are as intimidating.
“Hopefully, in most cases now, the best team wins the game.”