David Dein – Reflections On A Life in Football

A seminar as part of the Birkbeck Sport Business Centre Public Seminar Series

Given by: David Dein

Lecture Theatre B36
Main Birkbeck Building
Torrington Square
Birkbeck College
Malet Street
London WC1E 7HX

Monday 1st October 2018, 6pm-8pm

For directions click here.

Attendance at the event is free but you need TO REGISTER.

  • Currently this event is only open to Birkbeck students and alumni.


In this presentation, David Dein, former Vice-Chairman of Arsenal FC, and Vice -Chairman of the Football Association (the FA), and the man widely acknowledged as one of the key intellectual originators of the Premier League, will reflect on some of his key experiences at the heart of English and European football over the last four decades and offer an assessment on some of the critical challenges facing the game in 2018.

With the Premier League, in 2018/2019, entering its 27th season as the dominant professional club football league in the world, David will first discuss the very different football world he faced as Arsenal Vice-Chairman in the late 1980s, and the influences and factors that led him to promote the concept of the independent elite league for English football that became the Premier League for the 1992/1993 season. He will then go on to reflect on how the Premier League has progressed in the intervening 26 years, highlighting what he believes are its major achievements, and the major challenges it faces going forward.

David has been a long-term supporter of women’s football, from his time as President of the Arsenal Ladies team (since 2017 the Arsenal Women Football Club), one of English football’s most decorated women’s professional football teams. The women’s game in England has made much progress in recent years, and David will discuss what he sees as the key elements necessary to be included in a successful growth strategy for the women’s game going forward.

David famously enjoyed a very close relationship with former Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger, one of the most successful club managers in the history of English football. David will discuss what he believes are the key attributes that make a successful modern manager, most notably the ability to effectively manage millionaire club player employees.

The Video Assistant Referee (VAR) and Goal Line Technology (GLT)  played significant roles in many games in the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia. Drawing on his long experience working within the committee institutions of FIFA and UEFA David will offer an assessment of the contribution of these technological innovations to the health of the global game and how they have affected the role of the referee.

David will conclude by offering some general observations on the requirements for successful leadership and management in the modern, international, sport environment.


David Dein joined the Board Arsenal Board of Arsenal FC in 1983 and was made Vice-Chairman in the same year.  He also rose to the position of Vice-Chairman of the Football Association (the FA) and has served on numerous UEFA and FIFA Committees. 

David was an early proponent of women’s football having been President of the hugely successful Arsenal Ladies Team. 

He was the man who appointed Arsene Wenger as Arsenal manager in 1996.  During David’s time at Arsenal the club won two Football League Division 1 and three Premier  League titles, five FA Cups, one UEFA Cup Winners Cup, two League Cups, and five Community Shields.

David was a prime mover when the Premier League was launched in 1992.  As Greg Dyke, the former Chairman of the FA, told the Financial Times in 2013:

  • “David Dein was the most revolutionary bloke I’ve met in football. David Dein created the Premier League, it was his idea”.

In 2017 the Daily Mail listed David Dein in the top ten most influential people in the  history of the Premier League alongside key figures such as Sir Alex Ferguson.

These days David spends much of his time speaking in schools, prisons, and businesses, and at universities in the UK, and internationally at institutions including Harvard Business School in Boston.

Further details on the Birkbeck Sport Business Seminar Series


Sean Hamil
Department of Management
Birkbeck College
Malet Street

Tel: 020-7631 6763

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