David Dein Won 13 Major Trophies For Arsenal – How Can He Be Bad?

David Dein seems to stir up a few emotions still in Arsenal fans. It seems I can’t criticise anyone without some section of Arsenal fans being upset about it. Maybe I should just stop criticising people altogether! A crazy notion, clearly.

I should correct one thing I said in my previous post (as was pointed out to me on Twitter): the first block of shares Dein purchased in Arsenal were unissued, as I mentioned, but this of course meant that he did put that initial money (£290,000) into the club. My mistake.

I was also asked on Twitter why I was picking on Dein rather than Hill-Wood, Fiszman or the Carrs, all of whom also made money from Arsenal. It’s true they all did, but not really like Dein. The Hill-Woods and Carrs inherited their shares from their fathers and grandfathers, so they never went into football with the aim of profiting. David Dein is the first major Arsenal shareholder who conceivably did that. I don’t know, and I doubt anyone can ever prove, that David Dein’s sole or main intention was to make money from Arsenal for himself, but he’s the first with that opportunity. And he was instrumental in the formation of the Premier League, with its crystallising of power in the hands of the big clubs, and could see that football was about to enter a much richer age. Danny Fiszman came in after Dein, and was also richer beforehand so had less of a motive to profit personally from Arsenal. Of course they all took the opportunity to make some money from Arsenal when they could, but in most cases motives are complex and a matter of opinion.

And the other reason I’m writing about David Dein this week rather than anyone else is that he’s the only former Arsenal shareholder currently planning to disturb the peace of his neighbourhood with building works.

Here’s an interesting fact about David Dein, that I was aware of, but nicely put by Andy Kelly in the comments of Sunday’s blog post:

  • Arsenal have won 27 major honours in a 127-year existence.
  • 13 were won during Dein’s 24 years at the club.
  • 14 were won during the other 103 years.

“I’m not saying Dein had anything to do with what went on on the pitch,” says Andy, “but it’s a mighty big coincidence.”

Well how much of a coincidence is it, and how much is David Dein actually involved in that impressive trophy haul?

George Graham won six of those trophies as manager, and I believe David Dein had a hand in appointing Graham to the job, so credit there. However, I also believe that he approached Terry Venables, who rejected the offer and recommended his mate George. So perhaps the credit needs to be tempered with luck that Venables wasn’t interested and had the good sense to recommend the right man. How much Dein then helped with matters like transfers during Graham’s time is unclear to me, but I suspect he certainly tried.

George’s reign came to an ignominious end, and probably lucky for Dein’s trophy ratio that it ended when it did, as the team was in decline almost to the point of freefall in the mid-90s. Twelfth place? Behind Tottenham? Oh dear oh dear.

But then big credit to Dein for having the foresight to bring in Arsene Wenger, and as we know Arsene counted Dein as a very close friend. His influence on the manager, and therefore indirectly on success on the pitch, is undeniable.

Even prior to Wenger, Dein was active in making big signings like Bergkamp and Platt to revitalise Arsenal, so the club was heading back in the right direction before Arsene arrived. Circumstances were right for the Frenchman to challenge the only other big club at the time, but well done to Dein for seeing the possibilities.

When Dein left Arsenal in 2007 we were still challenging, but oil money meant trophies were already much harder to come by, so from the point of view of his trophy ratio he left at the right time, though not of course by choice. We may have won another trophy or two since 2007, but even with Dein present it wouldn’t have been on the scale of 1998-2005.

There’s something about David Dein that always seems to make him fall on his feet, though. Something bad happens and he manages to pull out something better, by luck or judgement. Maybe Arsenal should bring him back just for that. What could go wrong?

Follow me on Twitter: @AngryOfN5


7 thoughts on “David Dein Won 13 Major Trophies For Arsenal – How Can He Be Bad?

  1. David Dein sold his shares in Arsenal the moment he received a decent offer. He brought on board Stan Kroenke hated by many fans, then brought on board Usmanov, hated by all fans. His son Darren, with his permission, asset stripped our first team squad of all it’s top players over a 4 year period. He wanted us to move to Wembley as building our own stadium was “too much hassle”.Arsenal through and through? Per-lease, the blokes a douchebag…and you’d know that if you knew what you were talking about rather than rewriting items you found online.

  2. Tony Adams said- “I think that a significant factor, 90 per cent, in why we achieved so much is that Danny Fiszman invested £50m in the club and we were able to go to the next level,”

    No doubt David Dein did a good job- but it was also gut wrenching that his greedy agent son has profited and been instrumental in so many players leaving- including van judas, Thierry Henry, Gael Clichy, Cesc Fabregas and Song- all represented by Darren Dein when they left. maybe the dressingromm harmony now could be down to the fact he has nobody left at the club

  3. Dein would have controlled Stan more than the rest of the board did. This means Stam would not have slowly buy more shares instead be a shareholder and market Arsenal in the USA for giving away much less control.
    Also Dein would have made sure his son was pro Arsenal.

    He 70 now but still can influential for success but instead he is a wasted figure.

    No trophies since David Dein. Still lets all blame Wenger instead as nobody has the ability to think for themselves and go along with the press.

    Arsenal’s future is in a dangerous situation, remember all of Stan’s sports clubs are unsuccessful.

  4. David Dein is Arsenal through and through, without a doubt. When he invested his original stake in Arsenal, Hill Wood was astounded – nobody thought football would turn into the billion pound business it is now, because nobody could foresee the rise of Sky. To suggest DD was in it for the money from the start, compared to the grandees who inherited their shares and so are somehow superior to the self made man, is the sort of forelock tugging balderdash that makes this country mediocre.He may have been mistaken about moving to Wembley, but he feared the price of building in islington would deny the club money for transfers. Was he wrong? He admits he was probably wrong about Silent Stan, and as for Usmanov? I’d rather not have an oligarch, but the latter at least attends many matches and seems to care. And a large section of fans do wish for a fat East European fairy godfather.
    As for Darren – yes, that is annoying. All fathers should be able to forbid their thirty year old sons from living their onw lives.

  5. Now that Josh is on board Arsenal will never be as successful as they were under Dein.
    Also Dein will not be allowed back.

  6. If I was hugely rich – and even if I’d made the money from dealing in Arsenal shares – I would not donate a penny to AFC, (other than the cost of the best seats in the house.) And neither would any of us. Why? Because we don’t own the Club, Kroenke does – and he has $2.5 billion dollars, so why give him more? As for the peace of DD’s Mayfair neighbours, I shed not a tear: if they had raised valid objections, planning permission would not have been granted for building work of that scale. My impression is that DD lived the dream: he bought himself a chunk of the Club he had supported as a boy. Even better, he played a major role in the Club. Are any of the current regime Arsenal fans? As for PHW, he thought DD was nuts to pay him so much for the shares. If you are looking for a mercenary, look no further than him. ‘Not the type we want here’ was his opinion of Kroenke – only for him (as chairman) to rubber-stamp Kroenke’s every wish.

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