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David Dein Leaves Arsenal. That Can’t Be Good.

Vice-chairman and – besides Arsene Wenger – the most visible man behind Arsenal’s success in the Premiership era, David Dein, has resigned with immediate effect.

Chairman Peter Hill-Wood and the club released the following statement,

Hill-Wood said: “On behalf of the board I would like to express our gratitude to David Dein for the many years of loyal service he has given to the club.

“We sincerely regret that irreconcilable differences between Mr Dein and the rest of the board have necessitated a parting of the ways.”

A club statement read,

“In light of recent speculation with regards to the ownership of the club, the remaining board members, who together own 45.45% of the issued share capital of the company, would like to reassure the supporters, shareholders and employees of Arsenal Football Club that they remain long-term holders of their interests in the club.

“To this effect, they have entered into an agreement not to dispose of their shares for at least one year and have confirmed that they intend to retain their interests on the expiration of this period.”

Dein was behind the appointment Arsene Wenger and is one of the most influential men in football – holding positions of significant power at the FA and G-14. His relationship and shared vision with Wenger has been a huge plus for the club, and there really can’t be too many good reasons for this to have happened – especially given that Dein was probably Wenger’s strongest link to the men upstairs.

What’s a bit confusing is the reason behind such a rift between Dein and the rest of the board. You would think it’s because Dein, Arsenal-fan and massively tied to the club, didn’t want to sell the club to American investors – joining Manchester United, Liverpool and Aston Villa – while the rest did, but the club statement suggests the opposite. The alternative is that Dein himself has done something dodgy and the club have decided to get rid of him in a pre-emptive move.

Regardless, Arsenal fans aren’t exactly too happy, and Tottenham supporters are unsurprisingly pleased. For a club enduring a bit of a rough season, this is pretty badly timed.

[Update 1: It appears that Dein did leave because he wanted to sell while others didn’t. If that’s the case, what kind of problems do Arsenal have that Dein deemed foreign investment important enough to resign over?]