Your browser is out of date or some of its features are disabled, it may not display this website or some of its parts correctly.
Alternatively you can navigate to a legacy version of the website, which is compatible with older browsers: https://www.livescores.com
Former Arsenal and FA vice-chairman David Dein speaks exclusively to LiveScore about his life in football following the release of his autobiography, Calling the Shots: How to Win in Football and Life.
The former Gunners supremo reveals all on his key role in the formation of the Premier League, working with Arsene Wenger and regrets from his time with the North Londoners.
He also has his say on the club’s sensational recent form and why he thinks the World Cup in Qatar will be a success.
The seminal moment which gave me the inspiration to form the Premier League was when I met Jenni Hicks, who was the mother who tragically lost two daughters at Hillsborough.
This was in April 1989. I went round to see her and her husband. Just listening to their horrific story of what happened that day gave me the incentive that had to change.
At the time, football was very difficult to manage. There were 92 clubs and the bigger clubs always got outvoted by the smaller clubs. It was virtually impossible to get meaningful change.
I managed to rally up Manchester United, Tottenham, Liverpool and Everton and together we conspired to form the Premier League. When you look back now, how we did it was extraordinary.
Ashley Cole, it was unfortunate the way he left. He should never have left, he was an Arsenal boy and I regret that now and what happened to him.
I apologised quite recently because I think that should have been avoided.
It was about money. At the time, we were going through a period of austerity as we were building the stadium and that caused a lot of friction.
The stadium itself really was difficult because all of a sudden we were shipping £450m of debt.
We had to pledge our income from our sponsors Nike and Emirates for 10 years up front. Arsene Wenger had to sign a five-year contract to appease the banks.
There was a lot going on there that people don’t realise.
The word I use is brutal! It was in 2007, just after we’d opened the new stadium the previous year. Don’t forget it was on the back of the Invincibles season of 2003-04.
Arsene Wenger and myself had such a wonderful working relationship with each other and we had unfinished business.
I always felt it was a combination of jealously and fear because I realised that the club needed a financially muscular investor and I think some of the board did not share my view.
It’s the opening chapter in the book and it’s the first time I’ve spoken about it in 15 years.
Well they haven’t won the league since 2004! Certainly, when I was working with Arsene, our target was to always finish at the top!
Now it’s a great achievement if we get fourth and qualify for the Champions League!
There was a period of slippage, but now we are seeing a renaissance.
I felt he was badly treated as well. A guy like Arsene, who’d been there 22 years at the club deserved better.
We qualified for the Champions League for 19 successive years, I wish them luck to do that again.
The fact that he hasn’t been back there since tells you another story!
On current form, you’d think so, but we shouldn’t get carried away. But there’s an old Shirley MacLaine song that goes ‘It’s not where you start it’s where you finish’ and that’s what we must remember.
But after eight games, they are doing very well. They’ve got a good work ethic and there’s a lot of talent in the team. I still think Manchester City are the team to beat this year, they look really hot.
This year, it seems that everybody can beat anybody. Chelsea, Liverpool and certainly Manchester United are looking vulnerable so if there was ever an opportunity, this is it.
He has done well in as much as that he has got a team playing for him and playing well. They are playing pretty football, which is good.
He’s had the benefit of working with both Pep Guardiola and Arsene so he’s learned from the best. He’s an intelligent guy and will have picked up the best of their attributes.
Don’t forget, there was a time not long ago that people were calling for his head. That shows you how fragile the game is. The average longevity for a manager across the 92 clubs is 12 months, believe it or not.
Qatar will be a success. Firstly, they have had 12 years to get ready and secondly FIFA can’t afford for it to be anything other than a success.
It is the world’s biggest football tournament. However, it will be a logistical challenge as there will be several million people descending on Doha.
I was there in November for the Arab Cup and there were challenges, particularly the transport. However, I believe it will be sorted out.
I hope England do well. We’ve got an opportunity. I don’t know if we will get to the final or win it but I certainly hope we can give it a good go.
Calling the Shots: How to Win in Football and Life by David Dein is now available via Little, Brown.
Footbal Scores & Sports News