‘I’ve seen more prisons than the last Minister of Justice…’ ‘As I go round, I see the state of prisons – disappointing, shocking – some of them need to be closed…’They lose their liberty, their job, their partners, their self esteem…’
This is the voice of David Dein, who I interviewed in his Mayfair home at the end of last year. It really is an odd experience to hear these words coming from a man who’s built his life and fame around football, Arsenal to be precise. How has this happened? And what exactly is his brainchild, ‘The Twinning Project’, which links prisons with their local football club.
Dein’s progress from football to prison went via schools where he gave and gives motivational talks. This following twenty-seven years being the power behind Arsenal, instrumental in the arrival of Arsene Wenger, and Vice-Chairman of the FA. He’s still happy to boast about the 18 trophies Arsenal won and the ‘invincible team’ of 2003/4. Clearly, David Dein has enthusiasm and self-confidence in abundance.