Derek Davis' Football Chatter

ARSENE Wenger's suggestion that Arsenal should field a reserve side in the Football League is an insult.The Gunners boss, whose Under-18s threw away a goal advantage to go out to Manchester United in the FA Youth Cup, believes his young players are not being tested enough in the current Premier Reserve League, which they rejigged last year to get rid of Championship teams that no longer played in the top flight.

ARSENE Wenger's suggestion that Arsenal should field a reserve side in the Football League is an insult.

The Gunners boss, whose Under-18s threw away a goal advantage to go out to Manchester United in the FA Youth Cup, believes his young players are not being tested enough in the current Premier Reserve League, which they rejigged last year to get rid of Championship teams that no longer played in the top flight.

Like Rafa Benitez and Alex Ferguson, Wenger thinks his team is too good to mix with the second string of anyone other than the top four, although Chelsea don't seen to moan about it. But why should these clubs be allowed to ride roughshod over the Football League and demand entry?

If they want their boys to improve, toughen up or whatever they should start at the bottom of the Football League pyramid and try and work their way up. I'm sure the likes of AFC Wimbledon and FC United of Manchester would love to help them with their footballing education.


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Perhaps if these clubs didn't go around buying up players just so other clubs could not use them, or had their squads trimmed on a mandatory basis, they would look at the bigger picture. If they have decent lads that need to learn the trade at a higher level than under-18s or reserves ship them out on loan.

Quite often a spell at a lower league club sorts the wheat from the chaff and while it has been a great stepping stone for some, it is amazing how many youngsters don't go on to reach the heights.

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PHIL Parkinson has snubbed Huddersfield Town to stay at Charlton as No. 2 to Alan Pardew at the Valley.

The 39-year-old former Colchester United boss had agreed to take on the Terriers role, but called an hour before the official announcement was due to be made, to say he had changed his mind after speaking with Addicks chief executive Peter Varney.

Although Parkinson was offered a much-improved deal it is more likely that he wanted to stay working at Premiership level in readiness for a big job in the top flight, rather than just pocketing a bigger salary.

WHEN things are not going as well as you would like, it doesn't hurt to reminisce about the good old days. Ipswich Town plan to do just that on Thursday, April 19, when the Blues Foundation host an 'Evening with the FA Cup' at the Corn Exchange.

Ipswich fans are invited along to share the memories with Mick Mills, Kevin Beattie and Roger Osborne, with members of the foundation able to ask questions to the legends.

Tickets are available at £10 from the ticket office on 0870 111 0555.

Or you can try to win one of the two pairs of tickets the Chatter has to give away in our testing competition, by answering this question: Who scored the winning goal for Ipswich in the 1978 FA Cup final?

The first two correct answers picked will get to spend the evening with the Blues stars.

Send you entry to derek.davis@archant.co.uk or post it to Championship Chatter, EADT sports desk, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN. Competition closes 5pm, Thursday, April 12.

WE also have a pair of tickets to give away for Ipswich's home game with Derby County next week. All you have to do is tell us which Ipswich manager later took charge at Pride Park and send your answers to the above address.

Meanwhile, congratulations to Stan Mott of Kesgrave, who has won two tickets to see Ipswich entertain Barnsley on Saturday.

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