Arsenal back in the reserve league, after major concessions

Having pulled out of the reserve league structure Arsenal have agreed to return, having won a number of concessions from the league.

The key change is that during the winter months when the pitch at Barnet can get rather rough and bumpy, Arsenal has the right to play its reserve matches behind closed doors at the training centre.

Also, the way the matches are now arranged has been changed with the league season consisting of 20 games.

As in the previous announcement there are three leagues – a southern, and two northern.  Here’s the in’s and out’s

The mighty and overwhelming Southern Group

Arsenal, Villa, the KGB in Fulham, West Brom, West Porno, Wolverhampton

The rather tired and sorry Northern Group A

Notlob, Manchester Arabic, Manchester IOU, Newcastle Basketcase, Wigan

The even more disheveled and ragamuffin Northern Group B

Blackburn Rotational, Blackpool Traffic Jam, Everton, Liverpool Insolvency, Sunderland.

Each team will play home and away against the other teams in their group and once against all other teams (equally divided home and away).  This is a change from before in which only some teams were played.

The winners of the two Northern Groups will play off to determine the Northern League Winners.  This will be a matter of no significance.

The Northern League Winners will then play off against the Southern Group Winners to determine the Barclays Premier Reserve League Play Off Winners.  Arsenal will win this match and be crowned king of kings, and masters of the multiverse.

So this is what all the in-fighting has been about.

Here’s how Arsenal report the story: “Arsenal will be staging several home Premier Reserve League fixtures, as afternoon kick offs, at the London Colney Training Centre. Unfortunately, the Club is not permitted to allow supporters at this venue and therefore these home Reserves matches will be staged ‘behind closed doors’.”

So, you shout, what of Barnet?  The message from beyond continues…

“The Club hugely values the loyal following that has attended Reserve League matches at Barnet FC in recent years and we are keen to maintain opportunities for supporters to watch young talent developing in our Reserve team.

“Therefore, we have reached an agreement with Barnet FC to stage home Premier Reserve League matches at Underhill during months with more favourable weather – ie September, March and April, as well as any home FA Youth Cup matches in Rounds Three, Four and Five.”

The full Premier League Reserves fixture list will be announced next week.

And that’s what it was all about – the club were trying to avoid having the kiddies play on ludicrous pitches which bore no resemblance to the pure grasslands of the Ems, and which exacerbate injuries.   Without the agreement from the Reserve League to make this happen, the club pulled out, and that got the rule changed.

Of course teams don’t have to play behind closed doors – but they can do if they want to.

As to televisuals – no message at all at the moment.  We await developments.

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6 Replies to “Arsenal back in the reserve league, after major concessions”

  1. Because untill halfway last season they showed the reserve games on But then they stopped doing this, and I didn’t liket this decision at all. So here is one hoping that Arsenal will showe the matches back on their website so I can see with my own eyes how the young kids are doing.

  2. This Barnet decision really seems to be a downer and deprives those who can’t afford to attend the main games, of the chance to see Gooners in action. As it is the reserves have to play on all sorts of pitches so quite where it helps is anybody’s guess. They train on the Colney 4 or 5 times a week regardless. And believe me, Barnet in March and April can be a hell of a sight less favorable than October and November. And, come March, the pitch is not a thing of beauty and joy.

    Then there’s the thought that if these games are to be played behind closed doors what happens to those very good blogs such as Young Guns with their reports and comments?

  3. I’m sure Jay will still report on those matches for Young Guns as before. I’m as interested in their progress and potential as any Arsenal fan should be, but perhaps AW, LB and Neil Banfield think that less attention and less expectation would be more beneficial. Take the spotlight off them while they find their way.

  4. on rough pitches injuries can be a lot worse.

    really this is the best option outside of building a new Ems.

    if you think about ramsey’s injury and how that will curtail his progress, to me this seems a really well thought out plan.

    certainly all of you who have the privilege of being so close to all things arsenal will be able to catch a game or two, of which i’d be more than happy with.

  5. Good points mingus and the fact is the reserve games were dropped from the schedule because hardly anyone was watching them.

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