David Dein: Former Arsenal chief shares top tips for success

Former Arsenal vice-chairman David Dein MBE at the Emirates Stadium

Former Arsenal vice-chairman David Dein MBE at the Emirates Stadium - Credit: Arsenal Football Club / Stuart MacFarlane

Former Arsenal vice-chairman David Dein MBE has shared the secrets of his success with students from City and Islington College.

In a live online chat arranged through the charity Speakers for Schools, he urged young people from the further education college to show values of hard work, vision and courage during their studies and future careers.

During David's 24-year tenure at the club, the Gunners won 18 trophies including five league titles, five FA Cups, two League Cups and the UEFA Cup Winner’s Cup.

He was also instrumental in the formation of the Premier League,  and revealed that when he joined Arsenal in 1983 the club’s turnover was £1.5m but through his involvement it is now £450m.

David, who was vice-chairman of the Football Association and served on numerous UEFA and FIFA committees, said: “Every successful person I’ve ever met in my life over the years - Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, Alan Sugar - they’ve all had the same three qualities: hard work; you will not get anywhere in life unless you’re prepared to work hard; vision – you’ve got to know where you want to get to in life; and courage – you have got to have the determination to get there.”

David recalled how he grew up watching Arsenal with his uncle on the North Bank at Highbury and would play football three times a week as a teenager. 

After buying his first share in the club he later sent a handwritten letter with a blank cheque to the board to subscribe for more.

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He would eventually own a 42 per cent share of the club.

“I knew they would have to answer me, and they did. They invited me to an interview and from there I got onto the board and the rest is history. 

"I live by the motto of the turtle, which is you don’t get anywhere unless you stick your neck out,” he said.

He concluded by giving students his six tips for interviews – be punctual, look smart, make eye contact, give a firm handshake, smile and ask questions.

“This is your moment in time to accumulate as much knowledge as you can," he said.

"It will be the launching pad for your careers, so really take it seriously. Don’t waste this moment, it’s a golden moment of your lives.”