Arsene Wenger - Then and now.

David Dein reveals brilliant dinner party incident helped Wenger get Arsenal job

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Today marks the 20th anniversary of Arsene Wenger's reign as Arsenal manager - a phenomenal achievement that has seen a host of former players, colleagues and media folk offer up stories on the long-time Gunners boss.

However, we doubt that any of them can compete in the bizarre stakes with Arsenal vice-chairman David Dein's 1989 dinner party anecdote.

While Wenger didn't take the Arsenal job until 1996, Dein has revealed that a chance meeting seven years prior - and an impromptu game of charades - meant the Frenchman was in mind when it came to hiring in '96.

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"We met in 1989 at the old Highbury stadium. By chance he was just passing through for one day before going back to Monaco," Dein explained to TalkSPORT, via the Daily Mail.

"I met up with him and said, 'Well what are you doing tonight?” He said, “Nothing”. I said, 'Well would you like to come out with my wife and me for dinner, we’re going to a friend’s house'.

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"Astonishingly the next word he said changed all of our lives. He said, 'Yes I would'. So we went out for dinner and at the end of our dinner we played charades."

Acting up

Arsenal fans who have watched Wenger prowl the touchline for the past two decades probably can't imagine the now 66-year-old offering up some amateur dramatic skills in front of a room of people he had never met until that day.

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However, as Dein went on to explain, Wenger surprised everyone by falling back on some good old fashioned Shakespeare knowledge to impress the man who would ultimately prove to be one of his bosses.

"I said to Arsene, 'Do you want to play?' Of course English was not his first language by a long way. He said, 'Yes I’ll play'. The next thing is he’s acting out A Midsummer Night’s Dream."

If only smartphones had been around back then. We'd have loved to see Wenger - presumably a couple of glasses of vin rogue down - offering up his best impression of Donkey from the famous Shakespeare play.

Arsene Wenger

Unfortunately, the amazing story only lives on through Dein and those who were in attendance. Fortunately for Wenger, though, his performance meant he got the attention of the then vice-chairmen of Arsenal.

Thanks to that memorable first meeting the pair stayed in touch over the years and Dein often visited Wenger in France.

According to the 73-year-old all the subsequent meetings were, in effect, a job interview leading up to the Frenchman taking over the reigns in 1996.

The rest, as they say, is history.

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