Arsenal to build a new stadium

By Tony Attwood

Every now and then a story arises that Arsenal are looking to build a new stadium.  The idea is that it could be used for the home matches of Arsenal Ladies, Arsenal Ladies reserves, and Arsenal men’s under 21 and under 18 cup and league games.

The story that has circulated is that there was a vision of such a stadium, but local planning permission could not be attained.   However I’ve heard that there is now a resurrection of the plan and it is being taken seriously.  I can’t confirm it, but the source was a good one.

At present Arsenal has its Training Centre at London Colney in Hertfordshire.  Although it contains ten pitches, an indoor pitch, and all the medical and rehab facilities, it doesn’t include a stadium that can be used for matches with a crowd present.

This was the facility that was built after Arsène Wenger was appointed manager and opened in October 1999.  The common perception is that it was paid for from the £24m profit gained from the sale of Nic Anelka and obviously the club wanted to limit its expenses.  So training facilities it has, but no stadium.

It was also used by the England team until they got their own new training centre in 2012.

As a result of the lack of facilities for supporters to see games, Arsenal have played some of their under 21 matches at Meadow Park, Boreham Wood, some behind closed doors, and (because the rules insist that they must) three at the Emirates each season.

The problem with the Emirates game is that the crowd is small – only 2000 or so for most games.  The problem with the Boreham Wood ground is that the quality of the pitch is not always that which we might like to see.

As we know there was an overhaul of the under 21 and under 18 approach in 2012 and as part of the new rules in the Professional Development League 1 meaning the under 21 team could have three over age outfield players – adding to the need for a quality pitch, especially when bringing a player back after a long period out of the game.

In addition we first had the Next Gen Series and most recently (continuing this season) the Uefa Youth League.   An interesting regulation for this competition (article 21) says that for clubs playing in the Champions League and Youth League, the home club must ensure that the match venue is not located more than a 45-minute bus drive from the corresponding UEFA Champions League match venue.

Arsenal’s standing in the two development leagues has been hindered a little by the way in which Arsenal organise its team.

Obviously at the top are the two squads of 25 for the Champions League and Premier League.  But between these squads and the under 21 squad are the loan players.

This list is currently made up of 12 players.

  • Wojciech Szczesny, AS Roma
  • Carl Jenkinson, West Ham United
  • Yaya Sanogo, Ajax
  • Serge Gnabry, West Bromwich Albion
  • Ainsley Maitland-Niles, Ipswich Town
  • Isaac Hayden, Hull City
  • Chuba Akpom, Hull City
  • Emiliano Martinez, Wolverhampton Wanderers
  • Daniel Crowley, Barnsley
  • Jon Toral, Birmingham City
  • Wellington Silva, Bolton Wanderers
  • Gedion Zelalem, Rangers

Most of these players could play for the under 21 team, but are getting more competitive experience away from the club.  Which means that the under 21 team is often incorporating younger players, and that in turn has a knock on effect on the under 18 squad.

Here is the under 21 table.  The goal difference is particularly encouraging.

1 Arsenal U21 4 4 0 0 11 3 8 12
2 West Brom U21 4 3 1 0 5 2 3 10
3 Wolverhampton U21 4 2 1 1 6 2 4 7
4 Aston Villa U21 3 2 1 0 3 1 2 7
5 Swansea City U21 3 2 0 1 4 2 2 6
6 Fulham U21 4 2 0 2 3 5 -2 6
7 Stoke U21 4 1 1 2 2 4 -2 4
8 Derby U21 3 1 0 2 3 4 -1 3
9 Blackburn U21 3 0 1 2 1 3 -2 1
10 Newcastle U21 3 0 1 2 3 6 -3 1
11 Brighton U21 2 0 0 2 0 2 -2 0
12 West Ham U21 3 0 0 3 2 9 -7 0

And the under 18 league table

1 Chelsea U18 5 4 1 0 12 5 7 13
2 Reading U18 5 4 0 1 14 5 9 12
3 Leicester U18 5 3 1 1 12 5 7 10
4 Arsenal U18 5 3 1 1 9 7 2 10
5 Fulham U18 5 3 0 2 9 6 3 9
6 Spurs U18 5 2 2 1 11 8 3 8
7 Aston Villa U18 5 2 1 2 6 5 1 7
8 Brighton U18 5 2 0 3 12 16 -4 6
9 Norwich U18 5 1 1 3 5 10 -5 4
10 Southampton U18 5 1 0 4 6 12 -6 3
11 West Ham U18 5 0 2 3 3 8 -5 2
12 Swansea U18 5 0 1 4 4 16 -12 1


13 Replies to “Arsenal to build a new stadium”

  1. really encouraging to see the u21’s doing so well after last years poor effort.
    Tony, would the stadium be open to supporters for the u21 games?

  2. I suspect that all this brouhaha about a new stadium has been fuelled by the Head Groundsman at the Emirates, desperate to keep as many folk as possible off his beloved pitch. 😉

  3. It is good to see both youth teams doing much better this season, the U18s last season finished bottom of the second tier and, whilst still exhibiting some of the same frailties at the back, are managing to compensate with a better attacking lineup. I guess that most youngsters want to be attacking midfielders these days rather than play defence.

    I am a regular, albeit intermittent, spectator at Meadow Park and the ground really isn’t of the standard that our Ladies and Youth teams should be playing competative games on so a new small stadium would make a lot of sense. I guess it would need to have a 5-8,000 or so capacity to allow for the likely increase in popularity of the Ladies game over the next few years. The top gate this year at Meadow Park was close to 2,000.

    I just hope that the new Stadium is close to decent public transport links.

  4. It is long overdue Arsenal have their own mini Stadium to be hosting their under 21, 18 and the Arsenal Ladies games. Therefore, if this Stadium can be built at their London Colney training ground is a welcome idea as the Gooners cannot watch the Gunners in training sessions save on an open Arsenal day at the Emirates Stadium. The building of this new mini Stadium could give the Arsenal Ladies a home feel instead of having an away feeling as they play at Boreham Wood or at Meadow Park. I hope London Colney is not more than that Uefa’s 45 miles requirement to the Emirates Stadium.

  5. It will be a welcome development if Arsenal builds another Stadium. This I believe, will ease off problems at the Emirates.

  6. I see it more like improving on what is on ground already at London colney and not building an entire new stadium as the heading suggests which is easier I think

  7. Man City have a 7,000 capacity stadium as part of their training complex which opened at the start of last season. Their development squads and Ladies play their games there. The whole complex is literally over the road from their main stadium and linked by a footbridge. We need a similar sized stadium to be able to match facilities and ensure we can continue to attract the best young talent from across the world.

  8. If we need to build a stadium then there’s a bit of overgrown waste ground not far from the Wenger Stadium. It’ll need some serious soil de-contamination and it’s in a real rough area though, a place called Shite Fart Lane (something like that)……….

  9. OT: A Spurs fan with CartilageFreeCaptain at SBNation has a request for Gooners

    I stumbled across this note. I seldom look for other blogs. In any event, this person at SBNation has learned that a Gooner blogger recently picked up some nasty injuries, and bills to go with them. If the story is true (I have no way to check). Maybe someone can check?

  10. A mini stadium to watch youth ànd reserve football would follow the continental line. I Know that Barca have one as I have seen a few matches there.However I am not sure that London Colney is the place to get the footfall. If a crowd of 5 – 7000 were to turn up there would be quite a parking problem which I doubt the local council would be too enamoured with.

  11. One day, Arsenal TV will be able to show these other games: Arsenal Ladies, Arsenal U21 & U18 to a worldwide audience/fan base. I feel there is a market there – though one that shouldn’t be over-hyped or even priced for too much as the idea is to develop the boys and to give the fan base some idea about how our boys are shaping out. It will also improve the awareness and interest in Arsenal Ladies – something that tends to fly under the radar at this time.

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