by Bulldog Drummond
On Wednesday this week Coventry City play Arsenal in the Checkatrade Trophy. I’m not too sure how big the crowd will be but there will be two Untolders there trying to sort out what is going on and of course report back after the match.
And “sort out” seems to be the operative phrase because there is precious little information about the match around so we’ve had to do some digging.
What I can say from the off is that Arsenal are required to play an under 21 squad with a maximum of two older players – I’ll come back to that point later.
Anyway, being an honourable and committed reporter I went searching for the news, and yes indeed there is a page on Arsenal’s web site. Here is the full URL…
and it is, at this moment on Tuesday morning, the day before the match, blank to the point of non-existence. (Maybe they should invite Untold to help them out. Running web sites and keeping them up to date is a tricky business – harder than it looks in fact).
Anyway the blankidity of the page is something of a shame because there are some of us who like to keep tabs on these matches – especially as we plan to be there. Indeed in the old days when we have leagues like the Football Combination those of us living in the East Midlands would go and see the reserves play at regional grounds just to keep in touch.
The great thing about these matches, apart from the fact that it gave those of us in the region a chance to see the reserves without having to make yet another journey to London, was to continue the tradition of young supporters getting their chance to see their team in their early years and trying to work out what chant was appropriate without the expense (and in the days of terracing, the worry) of taking youngsters to the game. Fathers looking away pretending that the noisy eight year old chanting inappropriate chants and getting the players’ names wrong, was not actually with them, was a common sight.
Indeed I still recall my dad taking me to Combination games at Highbury – an important family memory for me at least, and hopefully I didn’t embarrass him to much. Ah well…
Anyway, since no one seems to want to count this as a match at all, thus meaning there are precious few (actually no) previews, it is, I guess, down to Untold to fill in the gaps. Here we go with part one…
The Checkatrade started out as the Associate Members’ Cup in 1983 – a cup for third and fourth division teams – a competition which they could enter and have a chance of winning. Not a very imaginative name given – but then it was named by football administrators for whom imagination has always seemed like a highly dangerous characteristic. Indeed if they had the technology I suspect we wouldn’t just be checked for unacceptable objects in our pockets going into a match but unacceptable attitudes – and imagination would be at the very top of that list.
And as witness this point of non-imagination, for much of the time in its history this competition has been called the Football League Trophy.
64 teams enter the competition this year and the current champions are Lincoln City. The most successful team in its existence is Bristol City who have won it three times. The final is played at Wembley and does get a very large turnout.
For this match, Arsenal are required to play an under 21 team, with a maximum of two players over the age of 21 who have more than 40 senior appearances – presumably the latter to keep the kids under control given that they are playing a team that can have players of all ages in and may include a few hearty roughs.
At present there are 16 regional groups, each containing four teams (16 x 4 = 64 – a well known fact to those of us who went to school in the era of 16 ounces in a pound). The top two from each group go through to the knock out stages and as ever there is a final at Wembley. At this stage the groups are divided into north and south and because, very occasionally, logic does hold sway in football, we are in the southern section.
There will be more on the match anon. I would say in the words of the over excitable tabloid press that you can follow all the build up to the big game here on Untold Arsenal, but I think that might be pushing my luck a bit.
- Arsenal’s upcoming matches
- If Serena Williams had played for Arsenal she’d be banned for a year.
- Brussels court lobs a bomb into football as big as Bosman. And it affects everyone.
- Arsenal has let in one more goal than at this stage last season, and that’s a disaster
- Arsenal continue to make more progress than the rest of the big seven
- Arsenal v Tottenham; the team and some rather jolly recent history
- We are running out of referees, and the reason is the PGMO.
- Arsenal v Tottenham: the key fact the media won’t to tell you – and why they won’t