In 2006, Arsenal moved from Highbury to the new Emirates Stadium to allow the club to sustain their competitiveness at the highest level and to be a leading European Club.
The following year, an American Billionaire bought stakes in Arsenal and shortly after, vice-chairman David Dein left due to irreconcilable differences.
These developments had a massive impact on the values, vision, environment and leadership of the club:
- The club was now under huge financial pressure. Rather than developing and retaining their team, they were forced to sell top rate players.
- Their identity had to undergo and long process of “Arsenalisation” in a bid to restore the club’s heritage and history.
- David Dein’s departure meant that Wenger lost a big ally, and the players a great leader: Dein went into the dressing room after every single game to shake each player by the hand. He knew all the youth team players and was instrumental in convincing some of the world’s biggest talents to join the club. Thierry Henry claimed that Dein’s departure left him in no doubt that it was time to move on.
So, Merci Arsene for the football memories, for the lessons on leadership, and for showing us no matter what level you’re managing at, it can be really really tough leading a team when things around you are constantly moving!