It’s now more than a year and a half since David Dein was forced out of Arsenal and, rather like the global scarcity of centre backs claimed by Arsene Wenger, finding someone to replace DD has proved a difficult task.
So here’s my solution to bringing in a replacement for our former vice chairman: appoint David Dein.
I don’t think any right-minded Gooner believes that Dein is anything other than a diehard Arsenal fan himself, whereas the Gunners board comprises a number of individuals who we know very little about.
One of those board members is American sports mogul Stan Kroenke.
Lest any of us forget, Mr Kroenke was the reason for David Dein’s acrimonious departure from the Arsenal boardroom. Dein brokered the deal whereby Kroenke was able to buy 9.9% of Arsenal from TV company Granada.
That deal gave the Gunners its first major billionaire shareholder, but it so infuriated the incumbent board that they sacked Dein, citing “irreconcilable differences” before Arsenal chairman made the now legendary Kroenke gaffe by pronouncing “his sort” was not welcome at the club.
Here we are 18 months later and Kroenke has been welcomed onto the board and, in my opinion, Arsenal will be stronger for it because the Denver-based businessman has vast experience in building sports franchises.
And then there's our other billionaire owner, Alisher Usmanov...
Dein sold his personal stake of nearly 15% of Arsenal to Usmanov in a mooted £75 million deal, before becoming chairman of the Russian’s holding company Red & White, presumably with the intention of forcing a takeover bid and buying his way back into the club that he loves so much.
Dein has since stepped down as chairman of Red & White and lo-and-behold, what has happened? Now Usmanov - once vilified by the club directors - has been invited to take some seats in the Arsenal directors’ box. There’s one condition to him being allowed to sit there, however; he is not allowed to invite David Dein as one of his guests.
That, for me, is petty in the extreme.
Indeed, with Usmanov just a few shares away from the magical 25% mark, where he can insist on a seat on the board, it’s hardly a huge concession that the board has made to the Russian oligarch.
You may disagree with me - and I’m pretty sure the Arsenal board does - but I reckon David Dein is due an apology from the club.
He was the only director with the foresight to see that Kroenke could be a real asset to Arsenal, so he did something about it. That act wasn’t illegal and it wasn’t against club rules. But he fell on his sword for having the strength of his convictions.
Usmanov continues to buy Arsenal shares as and when he can persuade shareholders to part with them. He has forced the price up to £8,125 per share and now needs only about 50 more shares before he is able to achieve a 25% holding.
He can then expect to become a director of the club and we may even get to hear some of his proposals for Arsenal. Whatever Usmanov’s background, the man knows how to operate major companies, so it might not too long before Hill-Wood (who owns less than 1% of the club) is also singing Alisher’s praises in public.
In the meantime, though, Arsenal are missing a managing director, after the departure of Keith Edelman. It’s obvious to me that Arsene Wenger has not been able to devote as much time as he’d like to when it comes to player negotiations, so we need someone with experience in that field to step into the job.
I’d suggest the man who helped attract the likes of Dennis Bergkamp, David Platt, Thierry Henry, Patrick Vieira and, of course, Arsene Wenger to Arsenal Football Club.
Dein had reservations that the level of debt required to pay for a new stadium would impact negatively on the club’s ability to sign new players. I leave it up to you lot if you think he was right on that score.
So, step forward Arsenal Addict’s favoured candidate for the vacant CEO job - David Dein.
Do I think he will secure that appointment? Not for a moment.
But do I think he should be considered and welcomed back into the fold? Absolutely. After all, he has zero shares and therefore cannot be considered a threat, but his wisdom and expertise would help the club more than anyone else who is currently shuffling around Highbury House.
I can’t think of a better candidate than David Dein to help Arsene Wenger behind the scenes and if the current directors are completely honest with themselves - and are the astute businessmen that they make out they are - they will see that the moves that Dein put in place 18 months ago are now very welcome indeed.