On Thursday 27th April, David Dein visited Whitley Academy to speak to our pupils.
David is the former Vice-Chairman of Arsenal Football Club (1983-2007), and former Vice-Chairman of the Football Association.
At 12:30pm – Mr Dein arrived.
We were the lucky student reporters who got the opportunity to meet Mr Dein. It is not that difficult to envisage how excited we were waiting for Mr Dein’s visit, as many of us were football fans.
Together with Mrs Nguyen (our teacher), Duncan, Ciaran and Ben (the Year 8 reporters), went to the school Reception to welcome Mr Dein.
Our nerves soon vanished, the ice was broken, and after a few questions and jokes from Mr Dein, we were all in a flowing conversation. We had lunch together in the Learning Resource Centre (LRC). There was a nice little buffet awaiting us all.
Mr Dein explained how your physical and mental state worked together, and that your fitness makes you sharper mentally.
To our surprise, Mr Dein came up with some very funny jokes including, “What did the bee say to the flower? Hello, honey!” and “Knock knock. Who’s there? Merry. Merry who? Merry Christmas!”
Mr Dein then asked us about our aspirations, what we liked to watch on TV, and also what we did as hobbies. While we chatted, we ate some more, but on a banquet of food that couldn’t be forgotten. We felt really happy and so ready to listen to his talk in the Auditorium.
At 1:40pm, Mr Dein spoke.
Throughout nearly one hour of listening to Mr Dein’s talk, we all were hooked into his stories. He took us through the journey to regain the public interest in football, from the bad times of hooliganism in stadiums back in the 1980s. He talked about how television was the main income source for football, and how television networks stopped showing football for six months because they wanted nothing to do with the game! Imagine that!
With the progression of football over the years, he stated that football stadium occupancy has taken a giant leap since 1993. It used to be 69.6%, by 2015/16 it became 96.3%. Furthermore, using Arsenal as an example, he showed us that the bookings for seats in the stadium have gone up by 27,000 in just over twenty years! Wow!
Mr Dein even told us to “Be the best we could be!” It is actually our Whitley Academy motto!
There were plenty of other valuable life lessons too, that we'll take away with us.
- Everybody does a job and they should have pride in the job they are doing.
- There is a motto called 'The motto of the turtle'. It says that "you don't get anywhere unless you stick your neck out".
- To be successful you need three important qualities, they are: hard work, vision and courage.
- Always try to be original.
If you don’t have courage, pride, and vision, you can’t get far in any job, let alone a career in football.
Our very own reflection…
Ciaran of Year 8 said..
"My thought on the visit from David Dein is that anyone can get anywhere if they want to. Don’t be afraid to take a risk. The whole reason he was involved with Arsenal in the first place was because he took a risk and invested in their shares. He did this by sending Arsenal an empty cheque and let them decide how much money they wanted - he wasn’t even sure they would give him any of their shares at this point. Because of this they trusted him and got him on their team".
Ben of Year 8 said..
"I think that David Dein’s visit was very inspiring. He proved to us that anyone who tries hard enough can be successful. His motto was “You won’t get anywhere in life unless you stick your neck out.” That means that you should never be afraid to take a risk, anything is possible. David took a risk and he is a massive success. He is incredibly confident at public speaking so he uses his abilities to inspire children.
Personally, I believe that David is a great person and served Arsenal proud, I hope he will keep doing talks in schools and prisons so that more people gain the knowledge that he shared to us".
After an eventful day we had all enjoyed ourselves, especially being able to talk to Mr Dein! When it was all over (too quickly in our opinion) we took home valuable lessons we had learned and have yet to use!
Our huge thanks to Mr Dein, and the national charity Speakers for Schools for giving the opportunity to the Whitley Academy pupils.
We hope you have enjoyed reading our blog.