Am I dreaming? An audience with David Dein and Arsene Wenger – Arsenal legends

Am I still dreaming or did it really happen!

Postponement after postponement, I thought it would never happen but finally, it did, on Monday night at the Palladium, London.

And it gave Arsenal fans and general football fans a chance to come together with two of the most intelligent, amazing, and influential people that football and in particular Arsenal football club will ever know, to raise money and awareness for the Twinning Project!

Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine to be part of such an amazing night. And as a lifelong Arsenal fan it was an honour to be present on such a special night. So much so that I just had to write about it!

Arriving with a red carpet in front of me made me feel I didn’t belong. Somewhere I was out of my comfort zone in front of so many eyes, but once inside I never felt so at home!

The night I had the privilege to attend an event with legends Arsene Wenger, David Dein, many ex-Arsenal legends and many celebrities including Dermot O’Leary, one main Arsenal legend for me, Ian Wright and one Arsenal Women’s legend, Alex Scott.

As an attendee at the VIP party and mixing in with the likes of Freddie Ljungberg, David Seaman, Jens Lehmann, Ray Parlour, Martin Keown and many more, is something I could have only dreamed of.

Then moving into the Theatre Hall, we were spoilt with even more legends, Pat Rice, Robert Pires, Patrick Vieira and Cesc Fabregas to name a few, well it would be just too much to name them all!

But it was a night where going into it you knew some of the ins and outs of Arsene’s tenure at the club but not in this great personal detail.

Arsene and David’s honesty made me love and respect them both even more than I already do.

The passion, intelligence and loyalty of both of these men for each other, their club, the fans and all their players and people involved at and with Arsenal and football in general -barring some referees of course- is something that to this day has not and will not be replicated.

Dein and Wenger made Arsenal football club what it is today and although people only remember the negatives about trophies and the lack of it, nobody can deny that what Arsene and David did for the first eight years of his time at the club at least, was something that may never be achieved by anyone again, namely the Invincibles!

Arsene changed Arsenal and he changed football and if they really did appoint him for the pure sense that ARSENE and ARSENAL sounded the same then it was the best appointment ever!

Yes, it all went downhill in 2007, and once David Dein left you knew it would, as the connection and job they did together was something special and could only be done together.

Unfortunately, us fans had to get used to the fact that both men left our beloved club, well the day was always going to arrive, but there is no denying the memories and the legacy they have left behind, and what a legacy it is!

One thing is for sure from the legendary players inside the hall, even to this day to see and hear them still calling Arsene “Boss” and to hear even more in depth, the way David and Arsene were father figures to many, including the amazing Ian Wright and Thierry Henry, shows that if you treat people right and impact their lives in the most positive of ways, then they will always remember and respect you forever!

Wenger is a well-loved, intelligent and respected person. An Arsenal legend in his own right and always will be. And had Dein stayed, who knows what would have happened, maybe we would have gone on to win the treble or even the quadruple, but it doesn’t take their double titles, invincibles title and other achievements away, it makes you appreciate them even more.

But the respect people and players, not just at Arsenal but in football in general, have for these two men cannot be bought by any price. The love for them will never die and neither will the respect.

They are and always will be, two legends, both individually and collectively.

No matter what happens at the club no one can take away Arsene Wenger, David Dein, their connection to the club, their friendship, their achievements and their true love and passion for Arsenal and football.

So, to two great legends of our club – Mr Arsene Wenger and Mr David Dein-  it was an honour to be there on such an amazing night, thank you for the laughs, the stories, the insights and for all you have done for football and for our club and what you will continue to do for football around the world. Keep being you, you are both amazing as you are.

This will forever be one of the best nights of my life. Thank you!

Shenel Osman


Watch this week’s <strong>Just Arsenal Show </strong>- <a href=”” rel=”noopener” target=”_blank”>Video Analysis – Dan Smith rates the Arsenal players out of 10 this season </a>

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  1. Excellent article – up there with Dan’s on the same subject.

    These two men were the image of “doing it the Arsenal way” and I believe they should be honoured with a statue of them together and sited near to the one of Herbert Chapman.

    It’s so sad that neither man seem able, for different reasons, to become Ambassadors for our club – only The Arsenal (owner, fans and board) would ensure that that would, seemingly, never happen.

  2. Well name the ones you believe were not there then.
    If you make an accusation like that, you have to have the evidence to back it up sir!!!!

  3. An uplifting article which I hugely enjoyed reading. Well written Shenel.
    I do, however, remain firmly in the camp of those who think it was Herbert Chapman who made us “what we are today”, in that he made all the wonderful AW/ DD double act possible, by elevating us to the world renowned club we already were over half a century before AW CAME ON BOARD , LEST THAT BE FORGOTTEN!

    DD and AW would never have been here at all IMO – nor probably almost all of us – had we still been the also rans we were before CHAPMAN totally made and transformed our club into a world famous one.

    I realise Shenel and many Gooners are far younger than I, SO WOULD NOT BE SO ACUTELY AWARE OF OUR LONG TERM HISTORY.
    But that history does not lie and remains the PRIME reason for us being where we are today. I say this as a fan who loves AW and DD and who will never underrate their amazing acheivements, when here TOGETHER!

    1. The great Arsene made Arsenal the global giant it is today. Arsenal was not a global giant in 1930s. Not in 40s or 50s either. Heck, Arsenal in 1995 was not a global giant it is today.

      I get your point on the role of Chapman and I agree that he built the foundation upon which Arsenal still stands today, and PROBABLY Arsenal wouldn’t be the same today of it weren’t for the job Chapman did.

      But you fail to understand (and I am very surprised with this) that for an organisation more than a century old, many people will pass. Some will be notable and leave their mark while the others less so. Some may even bring the organisation backwards like the current manager is threatening to do.

      For example, today we have fast working and incredible computers. They were not built by one person in a single decade. It took many years of different people adding to their predecessors innovations with their own innovations to get where we are today.

      My point is everyone has a role. Chapman had a role of building the foundation and it took up to Wenger to take the club a level further than it was before. Wenger was Chapman 2.0

  4. Great article. Thanks for this. Couldn’t be there but as an Arsenal supporter/man for over 70 years I loved reading about it. 2 great and very special Arsenal men made it happen for us!!!

    Thanks David. Thanks Asene

  5. Great and heartfelt article Shenel, wish I could have been there. Probably the best double act in the history of the Premier League? AW definitely felt the loss of his friend and wingman DD in the following years.

  6. Two heads are better than one, as was clearly evident by what transpired once DD had left the room…the chances of this sort of union ever existing in North London again is slim to none so long as our largely indifferent owner cares infinitely more about the success of his LA Rams franchise

    1. Was it Dean who brought out the best of the great Arsene or was it the other way around? David Dean was at Arsenal for a very long time before the arrival of Wenger, was there success to equal that of the great Arsene in all that time?

      David Dean is always wrongly credited to be the reason behind the great Arsene success, I think it was Wenger who brought out the best of Dean.

      The one behind Wenger’s success is Wenger himself. The fact that we declined after Dean’s departure is nothing than just a coincidence. The reasons for our decline are very obvious and Dean wouldn’t have been able to change anything if Wenger couldn’t. What was the reason he left in the first place?

      1. HH, does it really matter though?
        With all successful duo’s, one is equal to the other.

        I take your point regarding DD pre AW and, as some people think that AW struggled after DD left, the exact same point could be aimed at DD…. so you see they needed each other.

        I’m just happy that I was around to see what they achieved together and that they are still the greatest of friends.

        As I said in a previous post, what a shame that neither of them are involved with our club today – they would / could be great ambassadors for the club.

        1. Yes Ken. The perfect team, a match made in heaven, a perfect combination. I don’t know exactly what Mr Dean role was, but considering everyone regards him so high
          (including Wenger himself), it must have been a very important role.

          Like you have put it, each found the perfect partner.

          1. HH, based on your previous statements, it appears as if you have no real functioning understanding of Dein’s profound contributions to our club in the years prior to and during Wenger’s pre-Emirates tenure, which is an all-to-common refrain for many within the fanbase who have blindly followed our former manager

            even if you only went so far as to read his Wiki page, I think it would provide you with some much-needed perspective…the very fact that you tried to suggest that Dein has been overpraised and Wenger underpraised for what transpired during their time here together speaks volumes about your inherent biases, as those words are hardly ever uttered whenever anyone is discussing/debating such matters

            Dein’s association to Kroenke rubbed a lot of people the wrong way, justifiably so, even though he tried in vain to right this wrong, so he became somewhat of a pariah in North London circles…as a result, any Arsenal-related praise shifted squarely to Wenger, until such a time as some fans became so frustrated with Arsene’s asset mismanagement and recruitment missteps, that they openly wished for the return of Dein or at least someone with the same skillsets

            1. I think you still miss my point. I am not disputing Dean’s contribution to the club regardless of having understanding of it or not.

              The success of Arsenal from Wenger’s arrival to Dean’s departure, often times than not I read some making it as if it were all Dean’s doing.

              Did Dean pick the team? Did Dean coach the players? Did Dean scout the players? Did he change their positions to play to their strengths? Who changed the great Thierry from an average winger to the greatest ever EPL player?

              What Dean did behind the scenes no matter how great it was, needed a manager capable of making a great use of it. Hence my question, was Arsenal as successful in Dean’s years pre Wenger?

              If someone think it was all Dean, that point can easily be flipped to “it was all Wenger.” Success did continue for many years post Dean even if there were not regular trophies.

              I suggest you re-read Ken’s reply above as he quickly understood what I am trying to say.

              Two talented people made a successful partnership that elevated the club to the higher level than it was before. Each played his role perfectly. It should not be credited to only a single one of them like Ken has pointed above.

              You might be interested to read my reply to Jon who still credit Chapman for what Arsenal is today. Chapman did great job, Wenger came and did a great job and hopefully in the future another one will come (or even Arteta) who will take the club a level further than it ever was.

              1. my response was based on your actual words, “David Dean is always wrongly credited to be the reason behind the great Arsene success, I think it was Wenger who brought out the best of Dean”

                I certainly wasn’t trying to be rude, I’ve simply encountered a considerable amount of former card-carrying AKBs who have vastly underestimated Dein’s contributions…that said, I strongly believe that they were a match made in footballing heaven, but it’s hard to argue with the fact that once Dein had vacated the premises Wenger was a mere shadow of his former self

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