VAR is coming to the Premier League next season and whilst we are a bit terrified of the things that are definitely going to go wrong and the fact that literally nobody is going to be able to understand how the handball law works anymore, we can’t wait for one thing: Yellow cards being upgraded to reds. And if we can’t wait, there is one feller who is genuinely twitching with excitement at the thought of this.
Picture it now. Marcus Rojo has just gone in for one of his classic no-nonsense, entirely unnecessary, two-footed lunges right into Callum Hudson-Odoi’s ankle. The Chelsea players have come running from all over. Jorginho’s going nuts, gesticulating widely and all that. Rojo’s lost it completely and is repeatedly making the ball gesture so rapidly he’s started to look like he’s doing some sort of strange new swimming stroke. David Luiz has just two-footed the advertising boards with a wild grin on his face to show the ref what happened. The whole thing is like some sort of demented circus act.
And right in the middle of it all, Mike Dean stands still, legs wide apart, brushing Chelsea players off and slowly beckoning Marcus to his seemingly inevitable doom. Mike loves a red card, everyone knows that. To the entire stadium’s shock, he brandishes a yellow and walks over to Hudson-Odoi, getting his first start in 387 games from Sarri, and tells him to get up himself.
Wait, Mike grabs his ear and the stadium screens all flash simultaneously showing the words “VAR RED CARD CHECK”, the Chelsea fans spontaneously burst out into a raucous rendition of “V-A-R! V-A-R! V-A-R!”. On the sidelines, Stephen Child and Sian Massey turn to encourage the Stamford Bridge faithful. Mike makes the big TV sign and starts trotting over to the side of the pitch.
After reviewing the incident in slow-motion for just under a minute, he’s made up his mind. Fourth official, Andre Marriner lets out a cheeky smile as he knows what’s about to happen. Mike hasn’t stopped talking about this for the last two years.
He beckons Rojo over with a single finger and pulls his best “I had no choice” face before pulling out the yellow and giving it the huge cancelled sign. Now comes the best part. The Premier League players aren’t used to this yet so Rojo, finally vindicated and still making the ball sign, rushes back to defend the free-kick but just as he passes the taker he hears a deafening shout.
Marcus turns, suddenly stricken with fear, to see Mike Dean, legs splayed again like Cristiano Ronaldo stepping up to take a free-kick, holding the red card aloft. It was all theatre and he was just playing the leading role in Mike Dean’s production.
By the way, this has already happened a few times around the world and it has been hilarious. It happened to Rooney at the weekend.