Paul Merson lost his cool on television while engaging in a fierce argument with Mike Dean as the former referee spoke about the controversy from Tottenham Hotspur’s 2-1 win against Liverpool last weekend. The ex-Arsenal man couldn’t keep quiet as he listened to the retired official discuss the situation around VAR and what might be done in the future.
It was an explosive outburst from Merson, who was clearly frustrated with the comments that Dean was making about the situation. It made for entertaining television, though and the rest of the crew sat by listening to the situation unfold.
Dean, who refereed in the Premier League for over two decades between 2000 and 2022, was on the show talking about the protocols surrounding VAR and how it could be improved following a series of controversial mistakes that have the entire football world talking. Whether it’s intense training or replacing the team altogether, no one really has a concrete solution right now, but the former official knew one thing he didn’t want to see happen and used it to make a dig at Merson.
What did Mike Dean say that set Paul Merson off?
When discussing how VAR could be improved, Dean spoke about the training that the officials continue to go through in efforts to improve their performances. He touched upon potentially replacing the officials and one suggestion that’s been made numerous times in the past is potentially getting ex-players to run the VAR instead, something he certainly doesn’t want.
When talking about the topic, he bluntly shot down the suggestions of former players stepping into the role and used it as an opportunity to poke at Merson who had earlier called for games to be stopped in situations like the one during Spurs vs Liverpool. Speaking about why he doesn’t want former players in the role, Dean said: “Do you get ex-players in? For me, no. Half of them don’t know the laws of the game, full stop. As you can tell from what you’ve just said about restarting games for the sake of it.”
It wasn’t a subtle shot by any means, and Merson couldn’t help but speak up afterwards. The former Arsenal man quickly lost his cool and what followed was a pretty wild situation.
What did Paul Merson say?
After Dean’s comments, Merson quickly lost his cool and erupted at the former referee. After his comment about restarting games, the former player said: “For the sake of it? What do you mean, for the sake of it? You’re playing Liverpool against Tottenham, one of the biggest games and you’re saying ‘for the sake of it’.”
Dean quickly responded, saying that Merson didn’t know the law, which ticked him off even more. The ex-midfielder couldn’t keep his composure, saying: “There is no law. No one’s going to die, so stop the game. Nothing’s gonna happen. You’re all scared.”