I was walking back from the Arsenal vs Liverpool game. I’d just watched a very depleted Arsenal get beaten 2-0 by a side that had invested 100 million pounds in the previous two transfer windows. It was the clearest image I’ve seen of two teams going in opposite directions. Both aiming for a Champions League spot, however it was the one from Merseyside that seemed to be heading for the European promise land.
My mate asked me in the rain outside the Emirates after the game, ‘Who do you think we should sign tomorow then?’. Of all the experienced defenders, combative midfielders and star strikers we’ve been linked to over this long and tiresome transfer window there was only one name I could think of– David Dein. There are a number of reasons for this.
Number 1: Dein was the kingpin at Arsenal. He commanded the respect of all the board members (despite their differences), the players, the fans and above all Arsene Wenger. If Arsene Wenger wanted something, Dein would pull out all the stops to get it for him. On the other hand, Dein would also, to an extent keep, Arsene in line. He would make sure that Arsene took care of the footballing side of the club whilst he focused on the business and transfer side of things. However, when he left in 2007, all those responsabilities seemed to have landed on Arsene’s shoulders and his authority and power have slowly started to erode as he just couldn’t cope. He could no longer just concentrate on making a team play well, he had to build it all by himself. Before 2007, both he and Dein were responsible for building teams and the results speak for themselves.
Number 2: From watching his interview on BBC sport a couple of days ago it appears to me that David Dein seems to still have a rich understanding of what is going on inside the club and that he has a stable working relationship with Stan Kroenke but maintains a close personal friendship with Arsene Wenger. This, combined with his strong character, would mean that if he was bought in, he would be the perfect man to stable the red and white ship. As a whole, from the interview you get a very distinct impression that Dein knows exactly how to fix the club.
Finally, in defence of the La Professeur himself. I can understand the calls for his head and him to walk the plank at Arsenal. But, Dein bought up a very good point. Dein, who probably knows more about Arsenal Football Club and Arsene Wenger than anybody else alive. He asked the question, who do you replace him with? And I’ve asked a couple of fellow Gooners this same question. Every time there is a long pause before a couple of ‘I suppose….. ummmms……wells…………………’. And thats the point. There really is nobody. People say Owen Coyle? A man who’s only managed two seasons in the top flight and not yet acheived a top flight finish? Pep Guardiola? As likely as a pig flying. Both he and his Mourinho have their eyes fixed on Sir Alex Ferguson’s current office.
Like Dein said, keep the faith. Under Arsene we have good times, and we’ve had even better times. Yes Arsene got us into this mess, but with a couple of quality signings and a strong character in that boardroom, he may get us out of it.