A 25 Year Old Warning Shot for Arteta, Saka, Nelson, Willock and Others

There I was, in lockdown, doing my utmost to be productive and to make some good use of the time I have to spend indoors by having the old clear out, it’s always good for the soul to have a clear out, you know out with the old making room for the new.

Finding Your Ideal House Cleaning Services – LeBox

Anyway as I sorted through some old papers, mostly from the last century, I found an old Arsenal reserve programme, although programme isn’t really accurate as it was a single sheet, but it was a record of the game and it showed that Arsenal Reserves vs Chelsea Reserves played at Highbury in the Avon Insurance Combination, Saturday (yes Saturday!) 10th September 1994, kick off: 3pm (yes 3pm!). How quaint I thought.

It must have been an entertaining game as I wrote the score down as 3-3, but obviously after over 25 years I have no recollection of the game, how the scoring went or how either team played tactically, although you can hazard a guess by the line ups.

Did Arsenal play with a back four or a back three as that was in vogue at the time in England? Oh yes a back three, very continental…

The Chelsea team was a mixture of youngsters, old timers and the odd big signing probably trying to regain some fitness after injury or form after being dropped. That’s what I liked about the Comb’ it allowed experienced players to play with, guide and impart their knowledge onto the youngsters, all the training sessions in the world can’t replicate that.

The Chelsea line up was Kevin Mitchell in goal, then Terry Shiverton, Scott Minto (a biggish signing from Charlton) Craig Norman, Michael Duberry, Andy Dow, David Hopkin, Robert Fleck (a big signing from Glasgow Rangers), Zeke Rowe, Mussie Izzet and Darren Barnard. On the bench was Paul Hughes and Graham Rix!

For Arsenal, our line up was Lee Harper in goal, then Matthew Rose, Gavin McGowan, Paul Davis (changed before kick off to Adrian Clarke), Graeme Hill, Stephen Morrow, Jimmy Carter, Paul Shaw, Paul Dickov, Paul Read, and Stephen Hughes – our subs were Mark Flatts and Chris McDonald, Flatts replacing Clarke during the game.

I didn’t record who scored for Chelsea but Paul Read scored one goal for us and Paul Dickov got a brace. For some obscure reason I seem to recall an Arsenal come back, so it’s possible we were losing.

I’m sure that you all know what happened to many of those  26 players, so I’ll leave it for your good selves to comment on, but for Arsenal Reserves at the time the star man to me was Stephen Hughes, we all predicted big things for him, I also liked McGowan, Read and Shaw, but none of them made it at Arsenal.

Arsenal 1998 double winners: Where are they now? - Telegraph

The Arsenal Reserve Coach at the time was none other than the legend that was George Armstrong and in the previous season the Arsenal Youths coached by Pat Rice had won the FA Youth Cup, beating Millwall 5-3 in a two – legged final. McGowan, Hall, McDonald, Rose and Hughes were all involved.

Just to put some context as to where Arsenal were at the time, the previous season an injury hit Arsenal team coached by George Graham had beaten Parma 1-0 in Copenhagen to lift the European Cup Winners Cup; it was probably one of George Graham’s finest achievements in beating an exciting Parma team with a midfield of Paul Davis, Ian Selley and Stephen Morrow.

alan smith 1 (1)

Graham became only the second and last Arsenal manager to win a European trophy for the club and was gone before 1994/95 season was concluded.

By Allezkev

20 thoughts on “A 25 Year Old Warning Shot for Arteta, Saka, Nelson, Willock and Others

  • Brilliant musings, Kev. It just shows how hard it is to predict the future and especially who will do well. The combination of factors you highlight in your post would make one expect that several of those youngsters would become Arsenal stars but none of the them did. Graham, as far as I can recall, had to be sacked, but some of those players surely should have broken through – if not at Arsenal then somewhere else…

    It goes to show that under Wenger, Arsenal made a paradigm-jump and a different animal of player/youngster was required. It also makes you wonder what would have happened to Arsenal IF Graham had stayed much longer and Wenger had never been signed.

  • Nicely done Allezkev, there’s nothing I like more than digging up old memories. I’ve got a couple of crusty brown copies the Evening Standard one from May 1st 1971 and the other from May 31st 1971 both are the football sections. I bring them out every so often to remind me of just how proud Arsenal supporters were for those years. I’ve also got the program’s from the entire 1970/71 season and they are truly time worn – but they hold many dear memories for me.

    The odd feeling is that when I pass they will have little or no meaning to my children, but both my son and grandson support the arsenal – so who knows?

  • Hey TA–
    Thanks for the outreach. All is well.
    Been IT-busy as our firm (all 80 of us) are working remotely from home.
    Read every so often. But the topics, historically, precede my Arsenal ‘awakening’.

    Everyone be safe!


  • Great to hear from you, jw1. You keep safe too and I hope the working from home constantly is not too stressful for you.

    I also had an email from Pony Eye and he is fine too. So good news all round.

    If you are still reading JYNC… give us a shout!

    Same goes for Legallos!

  • Nicely written Kev. Steve Morrow became an Arsenal legend as you know When Tony Adams lifted him in the air after a cup final against Sheffield Wednesday, and promptly dropped him on the floor breaking his arm!! While everyone else was collecting their medalss, poor old Steve Morrow was being given oxygen on a stretcher,

  • Glad you guys enjoyed my scribbling, Total I’ve seen so many young guys in the Reserves and Youths at Arsenal who I thought would develop into really top players but maybe that was wishful thinking on my behalf or maybe they just discovered woman, recreational substances and fast cars etc? Jay Emmanuel Thomas for example or Gedion Zelalem, Arturo Lupoli and Ryan Smith, all seemed destined for great careers at Arsenal, but all of them fell through the cracks.

    GunnerN5, I used to have an extensive collection of Arsenal programmes, pre war as well, but neither of my lads showed the slightest interest so I gradually flogged the old ones as needs required, but I’ve still got my 1970/71’s. I don’t think football programmes ‘do it’ for the Internet generation, it was a great hobby at the time when I was into it, but as with a lot of collecting hobbies they’re dying out.

    Yeah, I was there that day Retsub, it was a tragic mistake, I mean how many times do players get lifted up by team mates with nothing untoward happening, it kind of took the edge off for me.
    Great season though even if some of the League football in 1992/93 was quite sterile, alternatively in the cups we just flowed, Paul Davis was great and Merse, it was a great team.

  • Kev, I think the reality is that making it into a team’s 16-18 players is really tough for a youngster, especially if they are at a top club. After the initial honeymoon they need to make a massive leap and many just cannot do it. When promise needs to become regular good/top performances it is simply too hard at Arsenal. And the pressure is on the club to perform and reach the CL target year after year, so the players really have to step up or move on. If I was talented youngster I would opt for a club like Bournemouth or Southampton…

  • Good points Total, there were always teams around who gave youth a chance, Crystal Palace, Ipswich Town, Middlesborough, West Ham and yeah Southampton are currently excellent at promoting youth although that wasn’t always the case, Bournemouth likewise as you say.

    At Arsenal it depends very much on circumstances, as well as quality, sometimes a young player comes along when there is a gap in the team, like Ashley Cole who could quite easily have been sold until the Silvinho passport issue saw the Brazilian leave.

    So here we are, the game in financial crisis and guess what, we have a brilliant crop of youngsters and a group of overpaid senior players the club need to move on, it’s the perfect scenario for a young player to take advantage of.

    I’m not sure if anybody noticed but there are discussions going on between the FA, Premier League and Home Office about the forthcoming changes in work permits in football, whereby EU footballers have to be assessed on a similar basis to players from South America or anywhere else. Could that make it almost impossible for Premier League clubs to source youngsters from the EU, no more Cesc Fabregas or Hector Bellerin, or a lot more difficult and no more Jaydon Sancho at Dortmund?

  • Good piece Kev.
    Too bad Adrian Clarke did not play for us in the first team but he is now doing a great job for us, analysing our game and it seems a good way to work for the club he loved.
    Then we were a team that won honours from youth to first team. Nowadays we were doing well at the youth level, but for the senior level we were just not good enough.
    A pity but nowadays we might have had a winning streak due to the players becoming comfortable with Arteta’s tactics had the virus not surfaced, but still it is good that we go back to the videos and see what it could have been.

  • Who knows, Kev (re your last question)? I doubt very much that things will change as the success of the British club game is heavily based on the import of the best talents – players and managers – from abroad. Just imagine all European players gone by the start of the 2021 season; it would be a totally different ball game!

    However, things are likely to change as a result of the financial and social impacts of the Covid-19 crisis and Arsenal should be in a good position to resurface to the top. We have the youngsters, good financial base and rich (relatively) London-based supporters (in a large stadium) to give us a further financial edge. I like it that we have experienced players too… they can help us along without having to make expensive purchases.

  • Yeah, I get that Total, but the best talents will always find their way into the English game, it was always thus except that the FA often obstructed English clubs from signing foreign players.

    Did you know that Herbert Chapman agree and tried to complete the signing of the Austrian National team goalkeeper back in the early 1930’s, from the famous Austrian wonderteam I think they were called, but the Football Association blocked the transfer, Chapman was always ahead of his time.

    I think where this might have an effect is with the signing of potentially very good but unknown players, like for example a Guendouzi, although I’m hopeful that the powers that be will see the huge benefits that foreign players, coaches and managers have brought to the English game and what makes it so attractive worldwide. I’ve even heard that because the authorities are aware of not damaging the product by instigating draconian regulations, that it might actually become easier for British clubs to sign players from South America and elsewhere.

    So get in there Edu…

  • Hi 84, I actually saw Adrian Clarke make his debut at Highbury so he did in fact play some senior football for us. I can’t recall how many times he played for us or where he went when he left us?

  • Yeah 84, he made his debut vs QPR at Highbury in the famous John Jensen game, you know the one or have heard about it, when he finally scored a goal…
    That was a really strange game in a rather dreadful season, Arsenal had lost 3-1 at home but everyone was talking about Jensen finally scoring a goal afterwards, the stadium actually erupted when he hit the net, they even printed t shirts about it. How times change!

  • I didn’t know that re Chapman, Kev. I think it is clear that the national game is suffering as a result of so much competition for British young talent, so a reduction in import and more focus and opportunities for young British talent may be a good thing. Not sure about South-American market working too well in the UK. They tend to do better in southern European countries where there is often a language link as well. But of course there are also good examples of successful careers in the PL…: Gilberto, Ardilles, Aguero, shoulder muncher, etc.

  • Good one Kev…and sorry it’s taken me a bit to chime in… I find myself in a bit of a foul mood these days. My own clean-up work is tough on my body (lower back), there are too many people driving over to use “my” trails (even the rich neighbors across the street have returned…) and we’re coming to grips with how we could’ve saved money on our boy’s (upcoming college) education if we had just spent (wasted?…) the money on ourselves by living in a posher style, as I think y’all might call it… And then there are all the arguments (and politics) about keeping shut in vs (re) opening…

    But, at least I haven’t hurt myself in celebrations (the Adams, Steve Morrow story above)…which makes me think about the night RvP who broke his foot (or a metatarsal bone) while celebrating a Henry goal which capped a nice comeback win against ManU in the new stadium about this time of year in 2007. I remember thinking that–although it was a Pyrrhic victory (United would go on to win the PL title with only the Moo-Man’s Chelsea challenging a bit) it showed plenty of promise for the future and big nights in the new stadium. Alas, Henry would be soon be sold to Barca and RvP would take a good long while to recover from the injury and Eboue (who sent in the cross from the right flank) would (continue to) lose his mind and get booed off by the home crowd in a sub’s appearance soon enough.

    Onto to the topic of Arsenal’s youth set-up–and maybe the idea that kids (and their parents) are just looking for a good academy (and a solid back-up education if they don’t make it as footballers). As fans, we see it differently. They’re “our” kids. Not really, I fear, and each year they have to say goodbye to their mates who don’t make it to the next level AND join up with new guys (often from far flung spots) who are brought in. It’s a (very) tough pyramid to climb and there’s less room for sentiment the closer one gets to the first team. On the other hand, it’s what makes football sooooo fascinating. It’s the ultimate team sport but also one where the individual makes all the difference…

    Maybe like life itself. Work hard, do your best to maximize your talents, but all for the (higher) purpose of being part of something (a family, a workplace, a society, the world itself…) that is bigger than yourself… Like this shelter-in-place moment. Am I “distancing” to protect myself or as part of a bigger project? Hmmm…

    We shall see how Arsenal comes out of all this…but I agree that it’s not the worst situation (as Kev describes). Even if it’s just a whole of lot of video (and other coaching homework) and the veterans (who might be sold or otherwise find that they’ve lost a bit due to the missed games and the clock ticking ever forward) passing on their wisdom (and/or experience and skills) to the kids, who, by contrast, get a tiny bit quicker and stronger and more ready for prime-time with each passing day…

    Or something…Maybe…

  • Hey 17tino, I did enjoy those comments.

    Tell me, what’s the word on the street regarding the Mayor of New York, Cuomo isn’t it?
    I’ve seen him when I occasionally watch a bit of US News and he seems to be quite an impressive operator, but then maybe that isn’t how he’s viewed on your side of the stream?

    Would be interested in your critique of him…

  • Things Arsenal Need To Do During the Transfer Window.

    Players To Sign.

    •Thomas Party – £47m.
    •Axel Disasi – £13m.
    •Santi Carzola – Free.
    •Sign Ceballos on a Permanent Deal – £44m.
    •Sign Pablo Mari on a Permanent Deal – £10m
    •Keep Aubameyang at all cost.
    •Keep Lacazette at all cost.

    Assuming all these are achieved, then let’s talk:
    Players To Sell.

    •Mustafi – £15m.
    •Sokratis – Free.
    •Luiz – £8m.
    •Toreira – £30m.
    •Elneny – £10m.
    •Mkhitaryan – £10m.
    •Mesut Özil – £20m. Approx.


    Arsenal should extend the contract of Konstantinos Mavropanos and loan him out to a top league like the Bundesliga, Premier League or French league. Mavropanos has what it takes to be a top defender and he has impressed since he came to Arsenal with the little opportunities given to him. I still do not understand why he was not given lots more opportunities at arsenal. He is clearly better than Mustafi and Luiz, but these players got a lot more opportunities.

    Arsenal should keep Emile Smith Rowe in the first team, to understudy and compete with Santi Carzola in the No.10 role.

    When you calculate players signed and players sold, you will see that our Net spend will be approximately £21m, which the club will be happy with.
    One of the biggest problems in Arsenal, is that the people running the club are not proactive and lack a clear strategy.

    I expect that a club that doesn’t like to spend big, should be very proactive, especially with transfers and contract extensions. During the season, identify the weak positions in the squad, identify your transfer targets to solve those weak positions, start negotiations, so by the time the season ends and the transfer window opens, the players are already signing.

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