Mike Dean, Lee Mason, Michael Oliver: Who is the best Premier League referee?

Mike Dean

From the flamboyance and perceived narcissism of Mike Dean to the questionable fitness of John Moss, everyone has their own views on the competency of Premier League referees.  

Who would be a referee, really? 

It's the one job in football that every spectator proclaims to be better than the professional at.

It's a job that automatically consigns you to a lifetime of abhorrent abuse and relentless scrutiny in the public eye.

It's a job that every football fan would undoubtedly excel at if they were willing to spend years of their life absorbing abuse from Sunday League brutes in exchange for a measly fee that won't come close to covering the cost of counselling you'll inevitably need afterwards. 

But still, just because we've not got the time, patience, knowledge, commitment or stiff upper lip to be a referee doesn't prevent us from casting judgement over those who don the black colours and preside over a multi-billion pound sport for a living.

Every week fans digest analysis from the best pundits in the business and pour scorn over decisions that were made in a split-second.

We have minutes to reach our decision, a multitude of angles, the ability to slow the replay right down and, let's not forget, the ubiquitous expertise of Peter Walton to confirm that VAR is brilliant and gets everything right. 


Despite the obvious advantages of analysing decisions retrospectively rather than in real-time, the footballing world constantly finds itself in a state of bewilderment over the standard of refereeing. 

There are some referees, though, who are actually good at their jobs. You'll be hard pressed to find anything the media to substantiate that, so you'll just have to take our word for it. 

But which individual stands tall as the most competent, eagle-eyed and authoritative referee in the Premier League? The grandmaster of this peculiar profession, if you will. 

Well, in order to answer that question, 90min.com have ranked all 19 referees to have taken charge of a Premier League game and ranked them from worst to best. 

In a hilarious piece that uses a quirky ranking system - including the 'it's all about me' and 'hair' categories - to reach their decision, those enigmatic men in the middle have been placed firmly under the competency microscope. 

The full list is detailed below in descending order from worst to best, but we strongly recommend checking out the original piece as well.  

19. Robert Jones


18. Darren England

17. Lee Mason

16. Simon Hooper

15. Jonathan Moss


14. Graham Scott

13. Craig Pawson

12. Peter Bankes

11. Anthony Taylor 

10. David Coote


9. Andy Madley 

8. Kevin Friend

7. Stuart Attwell 

6. Chris Kavanagh 

5. Paul Tierney 

4. Martin Atkinson

3. Andre Marriner


2. Mike Dean

1. Michael Oliver 

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