Steve Bruce opens up on the death threats and 'vile' online abuse he's had at Newcastle United
Referee Mike Dean this week notified police after he and his family received a number of threats and abusive messages following the dismissals of Southampton’s Jan Bednarek and West Ham United’s Tomas Soucek this and last week.
Merseyside Police have said they are "investigating allegations of malicious communications" in the wake of those dismissals.
Bruce has spoken about his own experience of online threats and abuse ahead of Monday night’s Premier League game against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.
"Social media is a really, really powerful weapon for everyone concerned,” said United’s head coach. “These big companies have got to police it better.
"The abuse I've had, death threats and all this sort of stuff. When I see the referee (Dean) become a target for it because he’s made a mistake, people threatening his life, it's absolutely obscene and totally ridiculous.
"They need to clamp down on it and they need to police it better because there are vulnerable people out there and it's vile some of it.”
Bruce’s family have brought some of the things said about him on Twitter to his attention.
Asked if he had received death threats, Bruce added: "I don't go on it (social media), but, of course, people close to me do and they are sensitive towards their father, of course, and yes (there have been death threats).
"Yes, I've had that to deal with. We've got to police it better, and there are some vulnerable people out there. When I see the nature of some of it, it's totally and utterly vile. Some of the stuff I've had has been obscene.
"You feel the hatred, and something has to be done. When i see an experienced referee, whatever you might think of Mike Dean, nobody deserves that.
"He gets a decision wrong and it was in the last 30 minutes of the game, and nothing really hinged on it, but he feels the need to have to step down this weekend.
"For everybody, these big companies have to police it better, and find out who these idiots and morons are who send this vile abuse and make them be punished
"I'm not sure what kind of punishment or penalties I'd like to see for these people, but some of the abuse has been vile, it really has. I'm not sure how far back the abuse goes, but I just know that in conversations with my family over the last few days when we've been talking about the Mike Dean situation, it was brought to my attention that I've had it too.
"It's really horrible stuff, which I couldn't really get my breath with, really. Things like someone saying they hope I die of Covid, and all of this. It's absolutely vile and obscene, it has to be stopped. These big companies should start policing it better than they are doing, that's for sure."