Why Ivan Gazidis Will Never Be David Dein

On 18 April 2007, David Dein, The Arsenal Vice-Chairman, resigned. His eventual long term ‘replacement’ came in the form of Ivan Gazidis, who officially took up his role in January 2009. Arsenal Football Club are yet to recover.

David Dein’s departure from the club was a difficult pill to swallow for Arsenal fans & employees alike. He reigned as Arsenal Vice-Chairman between 1984 and 2007, dedicating himself to making Arsenal the club it is today. [quote_right]”It is a huge disappointment because we worked very closely together. Red and white are the colours of his heart.” – Arsene Wenger[/quote_right]

Dein was largely responsible for major club signings like Dennis Bergkamp, and also played a pivotal role in bringing Arsene Wenger to the club from the Japanese J-League. A bold move from a true visionary.

For twenty three years, David Dein helped shape Arsenal Football Club. Yet in 2007, a disagreement with the board saw Dein resign. His departure is still shrouded in controversy and debate. However, he certainly left his mark.

Eventually, Ivan Gazidis was appointed Chief Executive of Arsenal Football Club. Although he is not a direct replacement for David Dein (who was Vice-Chairman), many have come to realise that the job title may be different, but the job role is very much the same.

[title]Just Who Is Ivan Gazidis?[/title]

Ivan Gazidis is of Greek origin, but was born in Johanesbourg, South Africa. At the age of 4 he moved to Manchester, where he grew up supporting Manchester City.

In 1986 he graduated from Oxford University with a Law degree, before moving to the United States in America to work for the global law firm Latham & Watkins.[quote_left]”Arsenal have become financially cautious in the transfer market and are rapidly falling behind rival clubs, thanks to stringent wage structures.”[/quote_left]

In 1994 Gazidis joined the founding management team of Major League Soccer, becoming in its deputy commissioner by 2001. He oversaw MLS’s key strategic business & marketing decisions throughout his reign.

His marketing expertise was put into practise via the Soccer United Marketing, organization, of which he was president. An impressive resume for any footballing executive.

There no doubt then, that Ivan Gazidis is qualified to be part of the Arsenal board. However, the fact remains that Arsenal have failed year on year to win a trophy in the absence of David Dein. Instead, Arsenal have gradually become financially cautious in the transfer market and are rapidly falling behind rival clubs, thanks to stringent wage structures.

Since the appointment of Ivan Gazidis, Arsenal have lost players such as Gael Clichy, Mathieu Flamini, Cesc Fabregas, Samir Nasri and most recently, Robin Van Persie. Of course, Gazidis is not solely to blame, but his arrival seems to have introduced a new, worrying president at Arsenal. A president which David Dein would never have stood for.

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[title]Why Ivan Will Never Be David[/title]

To put it simply, Ivan Gazidis will never love Arsenal the way David Dein does.

There is no doubting his experience and knowledge of the game, but it’s clear for all to see that Ivan Gazidis works for Arsenal because Arsenal employ him. David Dein worked for Arsenal because he loved the club. He wanted to see Arsenal Football Club thrive.

We are currently seeing Arsenal led down a very dangerous path. A path paved with out-dated business models and cleverly spun rhetorics. Our finest players are leaving us, and our self-sustaining business model only seems to be benefitting the board member’s wage packets. The sad reality is that David Dein’s departure has left a vacuous void within Arsenal which has never been filled.

Arsenal need to find a true visionary who loves the club as a historic sporting entity, not just as a modern business. Ivan Gazidis will never be that man.

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