Egg on face, custard all over face, total red face… how do I express my utter embarrassment?
After weeks if not months laughing at the Tiny Totts and others not managing to put together a reserve team, Young Guns (exquisite, up to date and far more accurate than Untold on such matters) has revealed that Arsenal has pulled out of the FA Premier Reserve League.
And this just a few days after the news came out that Arsenal would be playing in the top division of the reserve league next season.
It is worrying, because we join the likes of the mighty Fulham, Stoke “he’s not that sort of player” City, Birmingham “he’s not that sort of player” City and the Tiny Totts in not playing in the league of the Reservoir Dogs.
However I suspect that the reasoning is going to be quite different.
Young Guns suggests that the whole of youth development at Arsenal is changing. Whereas only days ago I proudly announced four Arsenal teams (Arsenal FC, Arsenal on Loan, Arsenal Reserves, the All-Conquering Youth Team) the Reserve team players are now going to split between the first team squad (under 21s don’t count in the “25” rule – at least I got that right), and more on loan.
I hesitate to make any more semi-skimmed and half-crazed guesses, but well, since I have a whisky mac beside my typing fingers (the journalist’s drink of choice you know) it might be that this notion of having a friendly club outside of England that will allow our Reserves to be on loan to them and help them through the season is coming to pass.
Certainly when we have discussed this before I have the strongest feeling that there is a groundswell of opinion that we ought to be putting the kiddies out on loan at our own favourite feeder club rather than making them play in the Reserves. And if Arsenal do find a favourite club to take lots of players then I can claim that I was right all along.
We’ve discussed it often – a club in the third division of the McScots League perhaps, or a friendly club (not owned by Arsenal because that’s against the law) that will take lots of Arsenal kiddies. A club in Spain is needed since we bring in a growing number of central and south Americans who need two years in Spain to get their EU passport.
Maybe we’ll have four loan clubs, as we have so many kiddies.
Young Guns says the new route gives the players a “quicker route from Under 18′s football into the first-team. The best players will be moved up to work with Arsène Wenger, while those just needing a little extra will leave on loan.”
So there it is – we’ll see more details shortly. But since you now know what a load of erratic dross I write here, here’s the latest prediction.
1. The reserves will play friendlies against other reserve teams, either at Barnet, or behind closed doors.
2. The Barnet deal will eventually end – probably in one more year.
3. The players will go out on loan which will allow the Lord Wenger to see much more quickly who is good and who is not.
4. The whole process is arising because we have so many youngsters, that we are never going to fit them all into a league schedule anyway.
5. Some teams continue to play their out of favour first team players who are just trying to avoid injury, and that sort of match does not help anyone see how good or bad a young player is.
6. When the young kiddie is out on loan the club taking him pays his wages.
7. The wages of sin is death. Actually that doesn’t have anything to do with this, and is actually a quote from Romans (that’s the Bible you know).
8. We can really see how a kiddie is doing with the loan spell. I mean, take Lansbury last season – he was bloody amazing for Watford.
9. The reserves at Barnet get to believe that all league pitches are on a slope.
10. Arsenal actually were pushing for a much bigger, much more realistic reserve league, and when their plans were rejected they pulled out, to form their own reserve structure.
I am not sure how long Arsenal reserves have been going for. I recall in the 1950s when I started going our reserve team played in the Football Combination, and before that the London Combination. So this is a probably a momentous occasion, and if it is, that is good, because I won’t have to mention my mistaken prediction again.
The first season without a reserve team is xxx years. Fill in the details for me someone will you?
Anyway, here we are…
- Arsenal First Team Now Extended with more kiddies
- Arsenal On Loan particularly with a team somewhere that wants lots of loanees. Probably two teams.
- Arsenal Youth
Once upon a time the world used to make sense.
Untold Arsenal: you know it gets it sort of well maybe half right sometimes
Making the Arsenal – the first edition is fully sold out and we are now flogging the second edition, while working on another book. Isn’t that fun.
Job vacancy: editor of Untold Arsenal. Needs a firm grip on reality and a knowledge of football facts. Desire endlessly to promote his own book is not a positive attribute.