Former Gunners chairman enjoyed unforgettable highs at the club but opens up on the lows and his fears for football’s future

The pen sits in his jacket. It goes everywhere he does. At night, while he sleeps, it rests on the bedside table alongside him. David Dein has been in business for more than half a century, and one of his earliest lessons was that it helps if you have a story to tell. And so now he holds it up to the camera: the Mont Blanc pen with which he signed Dennis Bergkamp, Thierry Henry, Sol Campbell and many more.

Not that Dein needs a memento to remind him of the good times. At the age of 79, the memory is as sharp as ever: an Arsenal fan who became its owner, its saviour and later its martyr. The highlights of his career are also some of Arsenal’s: the league title in 1989, the Invincibles of 2004, the signing of a little-known French coach called Arsène Wenger.

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