Arsenal legend and Premier League architect David Dein spoke to Nescot students on Monday, two days after his former team won their eleventh FA Cup.
Sports students packed into the college’s staff lounge to hear the previous Arsenal FC and FA vice-chairman and Arsenal Ladies FC president talk about his career and British football.
He spoke of his pride at seeing Arsène Wenger, the manager he’d been instrumental in getting appointed, do the double in his second season, and told the students how he’d got into football in 1983 by sending a blank cheque to Arsenal’s board to buy unissued shares.
David, 72, also gave the students advice on how to forge a successful career, and then spent time answering their questions as well as posing for pictures and signing autographs.
He also told the group about his experience of helping to create the Premier League in 1992 and his role in developing goal-line technology, and demonstrated vanishing spray 9.15, which will be used at this summer’s World Cup.
“My motto in life is much like that of the turtle: You never get anywhere unless you stick your neck out,” David told the students.
“If you are going to something then make sure you give it your best, no matter what it is. Remember that success is a journey and not a destination – it can take year to get where you want to go, but you learn so much along the way.”
David visited Nescot as part of the Speakers for Schools programme, a charity that aims to inspire young people by providing role models to visit schools and colleges around the UK.
“It’s a job I get a lot of satisfaction from and one that feels very important,” David said after his talk.
“I speak two to three times a week in schools and colleges and hospitals, because I feel like I’ve learnt a little bit about life and I want to be able to give something back.”
Second-year Level 3 Sports student Chris Thorpe, an AFC Wimbledon fan who is planning to study a degree in Football Studies at Southampton Solent next year, said he’d enjoyed David’s talk.
“It was really interesting to have someone so high-profile to talk to us, and we learnt a lot about his career and how he made it,” Chris said.
“I thought the most interesting bit was when he was talking about the FA’s plans for goal-line technology, and when he showed us the 10-yard spray that will be used at the World Cup.”
David joined the Arsenal board in 1983, and was made vice-chairman the same year. He then became vice-chairman of the FA, as well as serving on various UEFA and FIFA committees, and also served as president of Arsenal Ladies FC. He left the club in 2007.
During David’s time at Arsenal, the club won the League five times and won 18 trophies including five FA Cups, the UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup, two League Cups and the Community Shield five times.