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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Feb 1, 2009

Ex-chief Dein: Arsenal struggles prove me right

Former Arsenal vice-chairman David Dein believes the club face a challenge to maintain their status as Champions League regulars but has backed Arsene Wenger to put the Gunners back on track.

Dein left the club in 2007 but has been consistently linked with a return to the Emirates Stadium, possibly in tandem with Russian businessman Alisher Usmanov's Red and White Holdings - to whom Dein sold his stake in the club.

He would not be drawn directly on his future intentions or a potential return to Arsenal but did state that as a fan of the club he was concerned about their recent form.

The Gunners endured another disappointing result yesterday with a goalless home draw against West Ham leaving them five points behind fourth-placed Aston Villa and out of the Champions League places.

''When I left I said it was only because I could see what was on the horizon,'' he told Radio Five's Sportsweek programme. ''I said it was in danger of slipping and I think that's what is happening at the moment and it has to be contained.

''This season is one of the most delicate in that they are fighting for their Champions League place.

''The first goal is to get that Champions League place. Five points behind Aston Villa is a mini-mountain to climb but there is talent there and there is resolve. They can do it.''

When pressed about his own future plans he said: ''I'm there for every home game, I still see the boys playing and still get a tremendous feeling of entertainment because I still feel part of it.

''I'm an Arsenal fan through and through. I've been offered many glamorous opportunities with other clubs but I'm not looking for a 24/7, 365-days-a year job and Arsenal is my only club.''

Key to those prospects will be Wenger, who Dein believes would be an almost impossible figure to replace.

''I call him the miracle worker,'' said Dein. ''He does it year-in, year-out and for 12 years we've been in the Champions League every year. That's not easy and it's getting harder.

''He does get stressed but you don't see it it. He conceals it brilliantly. His external persona is calm, collected, pensive. He's such a professional.

''I think only he can say when he feels he's had enough of putting on a tracksuit and a stopwatch in the morning.

''The easiest thing to do is to get rid of someone. The clever thing is to find someone better. He would certainly be a hard act to follow.''

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