Arsenal’s power in reserve football forces more teams out

One of the crazier sidelines of the failure of England to do very much in a world cup final has been the parade of has-beens (as opposed of course to people like me who have never been in the first place) saying that England needs to “clear the decks” and “wipe the slate clean” and throw around a large number of other meaningless phrases.

Then, we are told, we need to bring in lots of young England players.

But, say the alternative has-beens, who are hired to argue with the has-beens, these kids never get games with their Premier League clubs.  So how will they be good enough?  Our current squad can do better.  Rooney is really good really.  Especially when he has that fellow who plays with him at Manchester Untidy.  What’s his name again?  Oh yes.  OG.  That’s the fella.  Get OG to play along with Rooney.  After all OG scored about 13 goals for Manchester U last season.

And so on.

But is it true that the kids never get a chance to play?  Actually, err, no.

Arsenal has four teams at present.

  • Arsenal first team squad (now limited to 25 plus kiddie-winks)
  • Arsenal on-loan (generally clocking in at 15 to 20 players)
  • Arsenal reserve team squad who also play in the Diddy Cup
  • Arsenal youth team squad (league winners for the last two years)

Now, as we all know, Tottenham Hotspur withdrew from the reserve league two seasons ago, and this year Fulham have gone as well.  Stoke City and Birmingham City have gone also (largely on the grounds that people don’t like playing their Shawcross style thugs).   When England start looking for kiddies they might ask what the hell is wrong with the reserve league system.

But the Reserve League is reorganising itself.

I haven’t seen anything definitive as yet (definitive from English football – what a laugh), but Young Guns says it will be like this, and that is good enough for me…

We will have three leagues…

Group A: Bolton Wanderers, Manchester City, Manchester United, Newcastle United, Wigan Athletic.

Group B: Blackburn Rovers, Blackpool, Everton, Liverpool, Sunderland.

Group C: Arsenal, Aston Villa, Chelsea, West Bromwich Albion, West Ham United, Wolverhampton Wanderers.

Each side will play the other teams in their group twice, home and away, and every other team once, meaning a total of 19 games. The winners of Group A would then face the winners of Group B for the right to meet the Group C winners for the national title (Arsenal).

The big problem for the likes of clubs like the Tiny Totts, Stoke and others of that ilk is that Arsenal use the reserve league to play up and coming 17 year olds as a transition point between the youth league and loaning out.  Francis Coquelin is a case in point, having just entered phase three of his journey, with his loan year in France all set to start – having last year played in the reserves.

But other clubs don’t have the production line like we do, and use the reserve league to play big boys.  Anyone who watched the Tinies against Arsenal in the reserve league the season before last will know how the Tinies played 8 internationals in the game, against Arsenal’s 16 and 17 year olds.  The Tiny players looked ill at ease and were ungracious, laughing at the occasion.  Arsenal kids gave it everything.

So the production line will be getting a boost with more games to watch at Barnet.

If you can get there, and have not seen a reserve match, try it.  Entry is free, and you see the youngsters who are just a loan spell away from the first team squad.


Everything Arsenal is at this amazing web site, with links to here, there, and somewhere else.

10 Replies to “Arsenal’s power in reserve football forces more teams out”

  1. I used to watch the reserves games on arsenal TV online but halfway the season they stopped this. I still regret this decision from Arsenal a lot as I enjoyed it a lot. I hope they come back on this decision in the new season.
    I think we will see a lot of last years youth league winning team in the reserves. Players like Afobe, Freeman, Henderson, Frimpong and other kids. Looking forward to it.

  2. all this is good but !! it still reads england failed in this world cup because,one,capello got no tactics after useing 442.
    two,capello insisted taking players like joe cole,ledley king,and wank rooney(all injured,in rooneys case no man utd player plays for engand and gives 100%),and players like callagher who had no define right to be thier and we all know why,heskey who can’t play football let alone score goals,and james who made more mistakes in goal then fabinaski(dispite being best player against germans).
    three refuseing to take players (all be it untried in friendlys)cattermole,mica richards,bentley(yes bentley the one who refused to play under 21 footy bit like callagher who refused to play for seniors cos he were’t good enough)
    and thiers many more walcot not my favourite player but much better then lennon and swp,hart should been given the number one jersey,england got the players maybe not world class players but players i believe who would of given 110% more then the rooneys and gerrrrardddddss of the current squad.
    when a manager takes players who retired from international duty and players who were never fit enough then you got problems.
    the main problem is the england managers since ramsey have all been scared to take untried but fit and committed players,
    unfortunatly the only two good managers we’ve had snce ramsey is venables and hoddle, and the fa got rid of them as quickly as they could.
    our only chance now is too hire a third tottenham manager in redknapp, i’m not a redknapp fan but he would get the players up for the big games.

  3. also sorry to go on, but ,should’t the fa take a large amount off blame for this too, they keep hireing managers who are yes men and would’t say boo to any off the fa. get rid of the old fa and bring in new men to run english football

  4. Hi Tony/Walter,
    Any news on Vertonghen? He looks like a class act and can play both DM/CB. Would be a great signing. Dont think Sol would sign.If he wanted to, he would have done so by now.I seriously hope Bartley is not our fourth choice CB. It would be too much pressure on our young backline.

  5. Wrighty WAS an Arsenal legend, if you want betting advice listen to Wrighty. Have you seen the TV show he does on Channel 5??? Its an absolute embarrasment, and discredits everything he has to say about anything….

  6. Two points in response to Wright’s Sun article:

    He says “Capello had only 44 per cent of players in the Premier League to choose from.”

    True, he only had ((20*25)/100)*44 = 220 players who supposedly compete in the “best league in the world” at his disposal.

    If Capello (or Wrighty for that matter) think they are handicapped by an artificially-reduced gene pool numbering 220 then one wonders just how many they need to increase this by before that all-important, difference-making Mesut Özil turns up in the gloop.

    For heaven’s sake it’s not about numbers. If I remember correctly, we had to leave players behind. We were spoiled for choice. Dammit, Capello made Theo cry when siding with those eventual World Cup stars Lennon and Wright-Phillips.

    In fact quite opposite is true. As that allegedly-racist rag: The Mail points out:

    It seems that the “all-important, difference-making Mesut Özil” we actually need was stolen from Turkey.

    It’s a bizarre, though poiniagnt article (in both pre and post match contexts) as it actually rebuts Wrighty’s demand for greater numbers of “English” players in the PL (the rebuttal by dint of Germany’s eventual foreigner-induced 4-1 scoreline).

    What’s really weird is that before the match one commentator asked (in reference to Germany’s apparent mediocrity) “how many German players would be in the England eleven?” Answer: “… one, maybe two”. Then after the match a different commentator stated “How many England players would get into the Germany team?” Answer: “On that performance I’m not sure there would be any at all.”

    Yes Wrighty, it’s all about numbers: 90 … as in minutes.

  7. The issue of ex players saying gibberish will always be with us. They were top dogs as footballers, now they need to do something. But What?

    Along comes a TV station or paper and says, “hey come and say something”. Player says, “I think Wenger is wonderful” and paper says, “tell you what lad, we’ll write it and pay you £10,000 for putting your name at the top. OK?”

    So it goes.

  8. Geezer, you are right to say that Wright WAS a legend. I think now he takes great pains to denigrate Arsenal at every occasion. I do not read anything he says anymore. Dixon and a few others are more supportive

  9. Gunnerfan, I’m leaving in half an hour to go too the Heineken Arena in Amsterdam to see Mark Knopfler (Dire STraits) live over there tonight. It is next to the Amsterdam Arena and I think next to the training ground from Ajax. In the past the training grounds were open and you could just walk in and see the training. You can be sure I will be sniffing around a bit to see if I can hear something. 😉

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