Once upon a time there were feeder clubs – Arsenal were one of the first clubs to have such a relationship – with Margate FC in the 1930s.
Since then the powers that be have, inevitably, become involved and made all sorts of rules about the relationship between clubs. Arsenal worked their way through the minefield and had a deal with Beveren in Belgium – a deal which brought Toure and Eboue to us, but which then came to an end with all sorts of wild allegations made by the BBC – allegations which still remain on their web site.
FIFA then found there was nothing wrong, no one was charged with anything, and everything carried on, although the arrangement with Beveren came to an end in 2006, and since then the club has fallen into the second division.
Beveren was odd in the sense that it was a Belgium club in which all the players came from the Ivory Coast – which must have been odd for the supporters. So that is all long since gone.
Since then the really interesting link has been with clubs in Spain, and we have a growing range of links with the likes of Merida and Vela playing there, among others.
Having a feeder club somewhere, somehow, would make a lot of sense, if it can be done within the regulations, and Division 2 in Spain would seem an ideal place – not least because it is easier to get players from South America into the EU via Spain than it is via other countries. And it would give us all another place to visit during the holidays. (The second division in Spain plays on until June).
And one little PS. When the silly twirp Flamini left a whole load of blogs came up with stories about Arsenal being the feeder club for the big boys of Europe. How very droll.