Arsenal Without David Dein

Forget Eden Hazard, Brede Hangeland or even Pepe Reina. The one man that can help Arsenal end their silverware drought is former vice-chairman David Dein. Listen carefully Stan Kroenke...
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Forget Eden Hazard, Brede Hangeland or even Pepe Reina. The one man that can help Arsenal end their silverware drought is former vice-chairman David Dein. Listen carefully Stan Kroenke...

A manager lost in a failing project, young players who don't care, disarray at board level, a Chairman who thinks shareholders are silly, supporters fighting each other in the stands... things are far from rosy at London's biggest football club.

Just like a small child cries for their mother when they're in trouble, the Gooner faithful has only ever called for one name over the last 6 years when we've hit challenging times... that name?

David Dein.

The man’s name is synonymous with Arsenal. He was vice chairman of Arsenal from 1984 through to 2007 and he's been responsible for many of the great things that happened to Arsenal during that time. He was a visionary, he was a doer and most importantly... he bled red and white.

Unfortunately, way back in 2007, he recognised that if we wanted to compete with the new money of Chelsea, we'd need outside investment. He didn't believe the self-sustaining business model; an idea conceived before the age of the Sugar Daddy, could cope against the might of financial doping.

His solution? Well, he scoured the world of billionaires identified Stan Kroenke as a suitable future custodian of Arsenal. He brought him to the attention of the football club. He sold him the vision of Arsenal and pointed him in the direction of ITV's minor shareholding. Stan bought into the dream... Danny Fiszman baulked, Peter Hill-Wood declared his sort wasn't welcome and the rest is history.

Cheerio David Dein!

That didn't stop him trying to make an ill-advised come back. In a bid to work his way back into the club, he formed an alliance with the mega rich Alisher Usmanov and Fahrad Moshiri. They called their group Red&White Holdings, Dein sold them his 14.78% of shares. This was probably his biggest mistake. He still receives stick from some quarters of the fanbase about selling up but what was his holding worth? He was frozen out. The Arsenal board promptly ostracised Red&White Holdings by association and as a result, Dein had to resign. A move the Eastern Europeans naively hoped would improve their board relations.

Since then, it's all been very quiet on the David Dein front.

It might be overstating his importance to say that his departure has been solely responsible for our lack of trophies since 2007, but I certainly believe it's a very important factor. The way the club has behaved in many areas has noticeably deteriorated.

Who else would have the gall to sign up a manager plying his trade in the Japanese J-League? Who would have the guts to put a man who looked like a professor in charge of a dressing room of yobs.

Many people point to Wenger as being the man who started the Arsenal revolution. For me, the most important acquisition in the history of Arsenal is Dennis Bergkamp. He was the first true world-class superstar we ever signed. He started the ball rolling and that deal was brokered by David Dein way back in June of 1995.

Our ex-vice chairman was also the man responsible for signing Arsene Wenger  from Grampus 8. You have to say, in the grand scheme of managerial signings, the appointment of Wenger was both one of the most risky and at the same time, probably the most visionary. Who else would have the gall to sign up a manager plying his trade in the Japanese J-League? Who would have the guts to put a man who looked like a professor in charge of a dressing room of yobs where you were just as likely to find a bottle of gin as you would a pair of football boots? That ability to spot talent and have the belief to go through with a deal is something you could argue Arsenal have missed lately.

On another level, he was a man of the people. Arsenal have a Chairman at the moment who has a documented disdain for the working fan, he's an old Etonian and his attitude has completely alienated the fans leaving us feeling very much like consumers opposed to supporters and stakeholders we are.

Bayern Munich, Real Madrid and Manchester United have brand ambassadors who represent their clubs. Bayern have Uli Hoeness as their General Manager, an ex-player who understands the values of the club. Madrid have playing legend Di Stefano as their Honorary President, they also have people like Zinedine Zidane and Pedrag Mijatovic knocking around the corridors to remind people of the high standards expected at the worlds most revered club. United have Bobby Charlton on the board of directors, he was invited after the resignation of Sir Matt Busby.

Arsenal don't have a man like that on the board anymore. We've got a commercial team of corporate monsters from America, we have a number of the old guard who are obviously Arsenal through and through but there's no real fan connection. We need a guy on the board that feels our pain, we need someone who would prefer to see an open top parade for a trophy over a balance sheet, we need someone who can gently prod Wenger in the right direction and make deals happen.

David Dein once stopped for me late after a game back when I was a kid. I didn't know who he was but my Dad asked if he'd sign my programme. He stopped even though he looked in a rush, he signed it for me and he had a chat about the game we'd just watched. It's also well documented that he'd go and watch the reserves play, he'd know the names of everyone who worked at the club and he took an active interest with the supporters groups.

He is the man who can bind the fractured support of Arsenal. He's the man who could put us back on track. He's the man who could make me and many other fans feel great about our club again... because at the moment, I've never felt more detached.

If Stan Kroenke wants to make an immediate impact on a very sceptical fan base this summer, bring in a man who can act as a sounding board for the supporters, someone who is well versed with the politics of the FA, the Premiership, UEFA and FIFA. Take advantage of someone who has refused highly paid roles at Newcastle and Liverpool because of his unconditional love for one club, a person who has to park locally to the stadium and walk to games because the club won't give him private parking. Someone who won't dither over £2million when a player like Xabi Alonso is up for grabs.

Someone who actually loves the club because he supports them, not because of a retainer or a seat on the board.

Arsenal's biggest signing this summer should be a 67 year old who we could land on a Bosman with no salary or signing on fee... think about it Stan, it could be the best move you ever make for Arsenal.

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