Arsenal F.C. Reserves
|Full name||Arsenal Football Club Reserves|
|Chairman||Sir Chips Keswick|
|League||Professional Development League,
|2014–15||Professional Development League,
Arsenal Reserves are the reserve team of Arsenal Football Club.
They play the majority of their home games at Meadow Park, which is also the home of Boreham Wood F.C.. The team mainly consists of Under-21 players at the club, with players under 18 playing for the Arsenal Academy side. Senior players occasionally play in the reserve side, for instance when they are recovering from injury.
Terry Burton was named head coach on 5 July 2012, replacing Neil Banfield after his promotion to the role of first-team head coach. Arsenal's head of youth development Andries Jonker and his assistant Frans De Kat oversee the development of the squad in general.
Arsenal have had a reserve team since their early days based in Plumstead as Royal Arsenal F.C., with the reserve side initially set up in 1887. Initially playing friendlies and cup competitions, winning the 1889–90 Kent Junior Cup. In 1895–96 Woolwich Arsenal (as they had been renamed in 1891) reserves joined the Kent League, winning the title the next season but leaving in 1900 or some time soon after. They later joined the London League and won three titles during the 1900s.
From 1900–01 to 1902–03 the reserves played in the West Kent League, winning the title for every season they played. Too strong for the local opposition, in 1903 the team moved to South Eastern League, playing there until 1914–15 when football was suspended due to the First World War. Concurrent to this period, the reserves were also entered in the London League First Division in seasons 1906–07, 1907–08, 1908–09, 1913–14 and 1914–15. The club dropped the "Woolwich" from their name in 1913, becoming plain "Arsenal".
Following the end of World War I, Arsenal Reserves took the first team's place in the London Combination league (which was renamed the Football Combination in the summer of 1939). For the 1926–27 season, the competition was expanded to include teams as far afield as Portsmouth, Swansea, Southend and Leicester. During the inter-war period the reserves matched the first team's success, winning the Combination title eleven times. Additionally, from 1931 onwards the reserves were entered into the London FA Challenge Cup, winning it twice in 1933–34 and 1935–36.
To give opportunities to younger players, Arsenal created an 'A' team in 1929. Initially the 'A' team entered the London Professional Mid-Week League and were champions in 1931–32. They competed until 1933–34, until, during the summer of 1934, Arsenal took on Kent side Margate as their nursery team. Arsenal agreed to send promising youngsters to Margate to give them experience in the Southern League and were given first choice on any Margate players. The two clubs enjoyed the relationship for four years before Arsenal broke it off in 1938.. After that, Arsenal entered the reserve team in the Southern League in its own right. Home games were played at Enfield's ground in Southbury Road. The club finished 6th in 1938–39.
At the start of the 1939–40 season the reserves played two Football Combination games and one Southern League game before football was suspended due to the outbreak of the Second World War. Arsenal did not run a reserve or an 'A' team during the war.
For the 1946–47 season, the Football Combination resumed but the league was split into two divisions with the winners of each division playing in a final to decide the champions. A new competition was introduced – the Football Combination Cup. This was the same teams that played in the Football Combination but divided into 4 groups with the winners of each group playing in semi-finals and a final. This format continued until the end of the 1954–55 season. From 1955–56 the Football Combination continued generally as a normal league format, occasionally consisting of two divisions with promotion and relegation. The Football Combination Cup was discontinued but re-instated for seasons 1965–66 to 1969–70 inclusive and 1996–97. The reserves continued to be entered in the London FA Challenge Cup until the 1973–74 season, with the exception of 1961–62 when the first team were entered.
The 'A' team was resurrected at the start of the 1948–49 season when a team was entered in the Eastern Counties League, Eastern Counties League Cup and East Anglian Cup, winning the Eastern Counties League in 1954–55, after which they left the league (stating that it was so strong that they needed to enter a more competitive team, which would be more expensive), but continued to play in the East Anglian Cup for the next two seasons. In addition, the 'A' team was also entered in the London Professional Mid-Week League from 1949–50 to 1957–58, winning a second time in 1952–53. During the summer of 1958, the 'A' team was entered into the Metropolitan League, Metropolitan League Cup and Metropolitan League Professional Cup. This proved a very successful venture until the mid-1960s. Towards the end of the 1960s, the 'A' team struggled against strong amateur teams and the club declined to enter a team after the close of the 1968–69 season.
In 1999 they left the Combination to become founding members of the FA Premier Reserve League. They never won the competition, although they finished as runners-up in the 2001–02 season. From the 1999–2000 season, the reserves played in the FA Premier Reserve League (South). At the end of the 2011–12 season they finished 3rd in Reserve League South, in what would be the competition's final season. Players from the reserve team have also been used extensively in the League Cup since the 1997–98 season.
At the beginning of the 2012–13 season Arsenal's reserve and academy structure received a major overhaul. The reserve team left the FA Premier Reserve League and joined the Professional Development League 1 for the competition's inaugural season. Fundamentally, replacing the reserves with a Under-21 team that has the allowance of three over-age outfield players and one goalkeeper per match day squad. Arsenal also signed up for the expanded NextGen Series after the success of its first season. The competition will use a Champions League style format for Under-19s, a combination of players from the reserves and academy will be selected under the guidance of Terry Burton.
- As of 10 June 2015.
Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.
- Reserve team
- Football Combination (formerly the London Combination): 18
- 1922–23, 1926–27, 1927–28, 1928–29, 1929–30, 1930–31, 1933–34, 1934–35, 1936–37, 1937–38, 1938–39, 1946–47, 1950–51, 1962–63, 1968–69, 1969–70, 1983–84, 1989–90
- Football Combination Cup: 3
- 1952–53, 1967–68, 1969–70
- London FA Challenge Cup: 7
- 1933–34, 1935–36, 1953–54, 1954–55, 1957–58, 1962–63, 1969–70
- Kent League: 1
- West Kent League: 3
- 1900–01, 1901–02, 1902–03
- London League First Division: 3
- 1901–02, 1903–04, 1906–07
- Kent Junior Cup: 1
- 'A' team
- London Professional Mid-Week League
- 1931–32, 1952–53
- 1958–59, 1960–61, 1962–63
- 1960–61, 1965–66
- 1960–61, 1961–62
- "Youth sides to play at Meadow Park". 30 July 2013.
- "Woolwich Arsenal Reserves". Football Club History Database.
- Kelly, Andy. "Complete Honours List". Arsenal Pics. Archived from the original on 2003-04-08. Retrieved 2006-12-03.
- Blakeman, M (2010) The Official History of the Eastern Counties Football League 1935-2010, Volume II ISBN 978-1-908037-02-2
- "Under-21 and NextGen Series fixture news". Arsenal.com. 31 July 2012. Retrieved 5 August 2012.
- "Arsenal sign up for the NextGen Series". Arsenal.com. 18 April 2012. Retrieved 5 August 2012.
- "Reserve Players". Arsenal.com. Archived from the original on 12 August 2008. Retrieved 2008-08-11.
- Official page on Arsenal.com
- Information about the reserves from Arseweb
- Arsenal Reserves at the Football Club History Database