Referee Mike Dean was in charge of some memorable Burnley games

Referee Mike Dean will hang up his whistle and cards at the end of the season, he has announced.

The Wirral official has been the man in the middle for some of the biggest dates of Burnley’s recent history - including that never to be forgotten afternoon at Wembley in May 2009, when the Clarets ended a 33-year absence from the top flight, beating Sheffield United with a Wade Elliott wondergoal.

His history with Burnley goes back 25 years - he was in charge as Chris Waddle scored his only Clarets goal, and future boss Eddie Howe claimed his first career strike, in a 2-2 draw with Bournemouth in the Second Division at Turf Moor.

Dean was also the referee as Ian Wright made his Burnley debut after a remarkable Valentine’s Day signing in 2000, in the goal-less draw with Wigan Athletic at the Turf.

There was controversy in September 2002 at Bradford, as he dismissed two home players - Mark Bower and Danny Cadamarteri - with the Bantams a goal to the good at Valley Parade.

Burnley recovered to lead through Robbie Blake and Gareth Taylor, but the nine men claimed a point with a last-minute Michael Proctor equaliser.

There were eight goals in December 2003, as Dean took charge of Preston 5, Burnley 3, as Ricardo Fuller tormented the Clarets with a hat-trick, on a day when a “naffed off” Stan Ternent had to deny he had resigned: “Under no circumstances will I resign from Burnley Football Club. I have never quit in my life and I won't do now. If they want me to leave, that's a different ball game."

In February 2005, he oversaw a goal-less draw against Blackburn in the FA Cup, where he had to contend with three pitch invaders, one of which was determined to take a swing at Robbie Savage before being dragged away.

Then in May 2009, Dean sent off the Blades’ Jamie Ward, and then substitute Lee Hendrie after the whistle, as Burnley beat Sheffield United to reach the Premier League, with Ward aggrieved at the earlier lack of a penalty award after a Christian Kalvanes challenge.

In December that year, he pointed to the spot to allow Graham Alexander to equaliser against Arsenal in a 1-1 draw at Turf Moor, but later that season, in March 2010, Dean was targeted by Blackburn Rovers, as he incorrectly awarded a penalty for a Martin Olsen dive at Burnley in the derby - the last time the Clarets tasted defeat to the old enemy.

Brian Laws fumed: Olsson took a dive, he conned the referee. “The referee's not in a great position and he's given the penalty which was very harsh and left us with a mountain to climb.

"I'm not blaming the player, he's done everything possible to try and get a goal against us through a penalty or his own work, but I'm disappointed because we want to see honesty and we want to see the referee get the correct decisions."

However, Dean was in charge when Burnley ended a run of almost 35 years without a win over the old enemy, triumphing 2-1 at Ewood Park in March 2014, on their way to promotion to the Premier League, with captain Jason Shackell and Danny Ings on target.

In that first season back in the big time, Dean took the whistle for Burnley’s 3-3 draw at Newcastle United on New Year’s Day 2015, as the Clarets, despite losing three players to sickness and injury in the first half, came back three times through a Paul Dummett own goal, Ings and George Boyd.

Dean, up until Paul Tierney sent Nathan Collins off at Brentford last weekend, was then the last man to dismiss a Burnley player in the Premier League, in January 2019, when he sent off Robbie Brady in a vital 2-1 win at Huddersfield Town – the Clarets then going on to set a Premier League record for games without a red card.

The following month, Dean was the referee for Burnley’s 2-1 win at home to Spurs – arguably one of their best performances of the Premier League era, with goals from Chris Wood and Ashley Barnes cancelling out a Harry Kane equaliser. Spurs would go on to reach the Champions League Final three months later.

Another famous date came last January at Anfield, as Dean awarded Barnes a late penalty for a foul by Alisson, which he cooly converted to earn a 1-0 win and end Liverpool’s 68-game unbeaten home league run.

As it stands, Dean’s last game in charge of the Clarets was the 1-1 draw at home to Manchester United in February, with Jay Rodriguez equalising after a first half Paul Pogba effort.

VAR had ruled out two United goals in that first period, for Harry Maguire and a Josh Brownhill own goal.

VAR is where Dean is set to lend his expertise, after 22 years as a Premier League referee.

The 53-year-old has refereed 553 Premier League matches since 2000 – more games than any of his colleagues – and handed out 114 red cards.

Dean is reportedly in talks with the Professional Game Match Officials (PGMOL) to potentially continue as one of just two full-time VAR officials.

Dean is believed to have been talked into staying on this season by PGMOL chief Mike Riley, having pondered quitting before last summer’s European Championship Finals.