Tuesday, October 3, 2023

Football League Trophy involvement would be of great benefit to Arsenal’s youngsters

Changes are afoot in the Football League Trophy ahead of next season, with 16 academy teams from the Premier League set to be allowed to participate in the competition.

It hasn’t yet been confirmed whether Arsenal will be one of the sides involved, but if they are included then the experience will surely be hugely beneficial for the club’s youngsters as it would provide them with an opportunity to test themselves against experienced opponents.

In essence, it will give Arsenal’s starlets the opportunity to sample the loan experience without actually being dispatched on temporary transfer. In recent seasons, some young Gunners, such as Dan Crowley and Chuba Akpom, haven’t suited the style of play preferred by their loan sides.

However, playing against senior opposition while surrounded by their Arsenal team-mates would eradicate that problem and will also ensure that the players in question are available to be called up to the first-team squad if needed.

If Arsenal are indeed involved in the Football League Trophy then it will ensure that it will be a hectic season for the club’s youngsters, given that they also have commitments in the U21 Premier League, the UEFA Youth League, the FA Youth Cup and the U18 Premier League.

However, the incentive of potentially progressing in a knockout competition against senior sides, and perhaps even reaching the final at Wembley, would surely be too difficult for Arsenal to turn down.

Arsenal currently have an exciting crop of youngsters at their disposal, and playing in the Football League Trophy could be an important part of their development in terms of ensuring that they improve both tactically and in their ability to cope physically.

It is understandable why supporters of some of the existing participants in the Football League Trophy may have concerns about the potential involvement of academy sides as, from their perspective, it could demean the competition and there are also fears that the youth systems of lower league sides are being harmed by Premier League teams signing their best starlets.

As far as Arsenal’s academy are concerned, however, this is a very exciting development.


Jeorge Bird is the author of  www.arsenalyouth.wordpress.com  Follow him on Twitter @jeorgebird


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step towards putting B teams in the league structure and should never have been allowed to happen by the league clubs


And/or a step towards turning the lower divisions into American-style “development leagues.”

Inspector norse

Why the hate against b teams ? They will have to start on the bottom of the league system and work them self up the league of course. The talents will develop much better against real opposition in an Arsenal team playing like Arsenal, like they have been doing since they were 6-13 years old. Look at any other league most of them have b teams example spain and germany there is reason for that. B teams are the only way England will ever win anything ever again (well maybe) it’s the best way too produce talent in quality and… Read more »


league football is about teams representing towns or cities competing against each other on an equal footing. Once we’ve lost that we’ve lost everything.

Inspector norse

But it’s not equal the tv money is not shared equally with the lower leagues nor should they. B teams are about giving the kids the best possible oppurtunity too succedd too develop talents into first team players. And so what if Coventry and Sheffield united will have too play against Arsenal b would that destroy anything i really don’t see it, im sure lots of Arsenal fans would love too se Arsenal b too. If anything it will bring through more british players into the league in general and far more into the premier league if the premier league… Read more »


the premier league want you to believe that their clubs are special and worth more than the football league clubs. That their b teams playing lower in the pyramid is fine because it benefits the premier league. But fans in league 1 don’t want to see reserve football. what I meant by equal footing is that all the teams can be promoted and relegated. b teams can’t be. If one wins the championship then no ones won it. It was a waste of time. these problems affect the football league not the PL, I get that. But we’re all fans… Read more »

Inspector norse

Actually it would benefit the whole league and it’s not just Pl who should have b teams championship teams too and maybe league 1 after that it becomes moot i think. As i said they will have too start at the absolute bottom of the league as a newstarted club, if Arsenal b reaches league 1 arent they on equal footing ? Who cares if they are considered reserves at the Arsenal, i feel reserves are the wrong word by the way they are talents it should not and would not be a team of flaminis ospinas and gabriels thats… Read more »

James - yellow and blue and red and white - F

It’s the thin end of the wedge. The real plan is the Dyke plan – to get B teams into the league, not just the cups. The rationale is that it will support the development of English players… but it won’t! Any B team that enters the league will displace a team from another town or city. Accrington Stanley, Yeovil, Crawley, Newport – these are the teams threatened by this move. And these small teams, which are woven into their communities in a way that’s just not possible with a massive Premiership team, will generally be full of English players.… Read more »

Andy Mack

Do they have ‘B’ teams in the Bundesliga?
I didn’t think they were allowed beyond ‘regional’ level.


Piss take for fans of lower league teams. Their teams are just as important as us or any big team and deserve to be respected.

I hate this idea.


I totally hear the doubts and the ‘thin end of the wedge’ arguments. A ‘reductio ad absurdum’ would have like Arsenal A and Arsenal B in the Premier League. However, on the other hand, premier league academy teams visiting Harlepool or Yeovil would generate a hell of a lot of interest in the sticks, and give them decent gates too. On the whole….i kinda like it.


I’m a Walsall fan with a soft spot for Arsenal. I’m interested in how my team competes with its peers in the league and cups. Watching a team of 18 year olds who may or may not make it into somebody else’s first team isn’t all that interesting, actually. If it was I’d go and watch Aston Villa reserves.

Gutbukket Deffrolla

Are you sure a Hartlepool fan’s thoughts wouldn’t be closer to “Why should I spend good money to watch a bunch of teenagers who will never play for Arsenal’s 1st team?”. They don’t have any emotional attachment to our U19/U21 players, so there’s bugger all interest in Hartlepool in seeing whether the careers of some 17 year olds they’ve never heard of are progressing nicely. Not to mention that the Hartlepool (and every other real team) players will see this as a piss-take. You’re fucking around with their livelihood. Once our academy team is playing against professional teams then if… Read more »


Not sure if you’re serious or not? Hartlepool fans won’t think any differently of our under 21s compared to any other team, Hartlepool fans don’t go to games to see if other teams. Players are progressing nicely or not. They go to see their team win and if anything beating our u21s may be as good, if not better than beatingthe likes of Northampton, Colchester etc… So they’d want to put us ‘in our place’. Also, if the u21s win, then it’s fair enough if they’re taking wages away from the other teams players, so to speak. If a bunch… Read more »

Gutbukket Deffrolla

I was as sober as a f*****g judge, thanks for asking.

😉 (*)

* By Request

Dublin Gooner

Very disrespectful to the league teams, no one will turn up to see their local team play ‘Arsenal B’. Just because it’s beneficial to Arsebal doesn’t mean it’s beneficial to the leagues

James Kilfoyle

Bolton fan here who is disgusted by this idea, there’s already a petition against these proposals in which over 5,000 fans have signed across the country. This is just a trial for this season, I appreciate the 2 Arsenal fans who are against it and would greatly appreciate it if you signed our petition https://www.change.org/p/the-head-of-the-efl-abandon-the-2016-17-efl-trophy-proposals?recruiter=false&utm_source=petitions_share&utm_medium=copylink


James, I’m an Arsenal fan of 45 years standing – and am absolutely disgusted with this as an idea. It is totally disrespectful to the currently lower placed clubs, and displays an arrogant superiority complex. I’ve happily signed the petition and think you’ll find that there are plenty of us ‘big club’ supporters who totally support your stance.


I believe that it’s going to be regionalised, so no visit to Hartlepool, but maybe a visit to Stevenage or Barnet or Crawley, where the attendance will be boosted by Arsenal fans and a nice pay day for the club’s involved.

Gutbukket Deffrolla

What Arsenal fans? There might be some attendance boosts as a result of the novelty of teams playing PL youth teams, but this would likely be offset by the group format of the new competition, and if the new format got beyond the trial season I can envisage the novelty wearing off very quickly. The only way to gain any real support for this from amongst the League 1/2 clubs would be if the PL Academy teams were prohibited from advancing out of the group stages (and how many PL fans would attend if their was no end product or… Read more »

Gutbukket Deffrolla

B*gger me, I’m getting so old that I’ve started using the wrong there/their/they’re options. Is this how senility begins?


If the FA are serious about developing home grown talent, allowing reserve sides to play in lower leagues and tournaments is the most logical solution, much the way other leagues across Europe do, rather than enforcing player quotas on PL sides.
I’m all for this, as it will strengthen our younger players and increase competition for places.

Gutbukket Deffrolla

The point is that in those leagues the teams may be able to top a league if they’re lucky, but they don’t get promoted, so they can’t “steal” the prize (promotion) from any “proper” team. If the Arsenal Academy team won the new Cup it would have a profound effect on all those teams for whom this is the only feasible way to get any “Cup Glory”. Not to mention that in Cup games no self-respecting fan of any team (apart from one playing their Academy in the competition) is going to be happy to get knocked out by a… Read more »


What is Football Leaugue Trophy?

Cornelius P. Snuffington III

Knockout competition for just for third- and fourth-tier clubs (league one and league two).


exactly the right question. A cup competition that has nothing to do with the premier league.

Dial square

If it’s the only trophy we win, will Arsene still say it was a successful season???

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