They have been members of the FA Premier Reserve League Southern Division since its foundation in 1999. They play their home games at Underhill Stadium, which is also the home of Barnet FC. 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.
The reserves' head coach is Neil Banfield, who picks and manages the side. Arsenal's head of youth development Liam Brady and his assistant David Court oversee the development of the squad in general.
Arsenal have had a reserve team since their early days based in Plumstead as Royal Arsenal FC, 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.
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. This continued until the end of the 1954-55 season although the East Anglian Cup was also entered 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 founder members of the FA Premier Reserve League; they have never won the competition, although they finished as runners-up in 2001-02. From the 1999-2000 season, the reserves have played in the FA Premier Reserve League (South). Players from the reserve team have also been used extensively in the League Cup since the 1997-98 season.
Season-by-season playing recordEdit
- As of 9 February 2010.
Template:Fs start Template:Fs player Template:Fs player Template:Fs player Template:Fs player Template:Fs player Template:Fs player Template:Fs player Template:Fs player Template:Fs player Template:Fs player Template:Fs mid Template:Fs player Template:Fs player Template:Fs player Template:Fs player Template:Fs player Template:Fs player Template:Fs player Template:Fs player Template:Fs player Template:Fs player Template:Fs end
Players out on loanEdit
- As of 9 February 2010.
Template:Fs start Template:Fs player Template:Fs player Template:Fs player Template:Fs player Template:Fs player Template:Fs mid Template:Fs player Template:Fs player Template:Fs player Template:Fs player Template:Fs player Template:Fs end
- 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
- 1900-01, 1901-02, 1902-03
- London League First Division: 3
- 1901-02, 1903-04, 1906-07
- 'A' team
- 1931-32, 1952-53
- 1958-59, 1960-61, 1962-63
- 1960-61, 1965-66
- 1960-61, 1961-62
All of Arsenal Reserves' Premier Reserve League matches have been broadcast on Arsenal TV Online, a paid subscription service on Arsenal FC's website, since 2004. Since January 2008, they have started to be broadcast on Arsenal TV, a television station dedicated to the club.
- Official page on Arsenal.com
- Information about the reserves from Arseweb
- Arsenal Reserves at the Football Club History Database (incomplete)
|- !style="background:#BFD7FF; border:1px solid #000000;"| Premier Reserve League seasons Template:Fb inner start |- |align=center| 2000-01Template:, 2001-02Template:, 2002-03Template:, 2003-04Template:, 2004-05Template:, 2005-06Template:, 2006-07Template:, 2007-08Template:, 2008-09Template:, 2009-10Template:, 2010-11