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"Arsenal should have made Arsene Wenger chairman – his exit made me so angry": David Dein EXCLUSIVE

Arsenal Manager Arsene Wenger (R) looks on with former Arsenal Vice-Chairman David Dein during the UEFA EURO 2016 Group A match between Switzerland and France at Stade Pierre-Mauroy on June 19, 2016 in Lille, France.
(Image credit: Matthew Ashton - AMA/Getty Images)

Former Arsenal vice-chairman David Dein says that he believes Arsene Wenger should have been given a seat on the board following his exit from the club – and that the Frenchman was treated badly in the end by the board.

Wenger parted ways with the club in 2018, 22 years ago Dein himself was pivotal in hiring his good friend as manager. A gamble back in 1996, Wenger went onto establish himself as one of the greatest coaches in the history of English football, winning three titles and seven FA Cups. 

But after two successive campaigns without European football in 2017 and 2018, Wenger stepped aside – though it was never made clear whose decision that truly was. Now, Dein has told FourFourTwo exclusively that Wenger was owed more to the club that he served with such distinction. 

"I felt very sad – I thought it wasn’t handled well. I thought he deserved better," Dein says of Wenger's departure now, speaking exclusive in FFT's South American special issue. "Above all else, even if the club thought that he should be relieved of his duties as the coach/manager, they should have given him a job within the club. 

"He should have been made chairman or sporting director – give him whatever title he wanted. He wasn’t good enough for Arsenal, yet he was good enough for FIFA to be made the head of global football development, responsible for football’s development in 211 countries. 

"That is too good a brain to lose, and he was an Arsenal man for 22 years. The way he was treated made me so angry."


David Dein answers readers' questions in the current issue of FourFourTwo (Image credit: Future)

Of course, Wenger wasn't the only Arsenal legend cruelly ousted from the club. Dein himself was asked to leave as vice-chairman in 2007, following his ambition to bring new owners to the club – and explains now how he stopped the manager he'd brought to north London from walking out the door with him.

"He was ready to leave when I left," Dein said. "I thought about it very carefully, then said, 'Arsene, you have to stay – the club needs you.'

"Irrespective of what had happened to me, I’m still a big Arsenal fan – I still go to games now – so it was the right thing for him to do... also because I was still a significant shareholder!"

The new issue of FourFourTwo, featuring the full feature where David Dein answers YOUR questions, is available now. (opens in new tab)

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