In 1886, workers at the Royal Arsenal in Woolwich founded a football club and called themselves Dial Square. By 1913, after becoming ‘Royal Arsenal’ and ‘Woolwich Arsenal’, the prefix was dropped to become ‘Arsenal’.
Early in 2012, ex-Arsenal chairman David Dein proposed a new club to be formed in the Blue Square South, to fill the void created by the demise of MK Dons and the subsequent league reshuffle. The clubs aim was to return football to the local fans put off by the high prices of supporting premiership clubs. The name was chosen to highlight the link to Arsenal, but also to show that they were starting again, starting afresh. A consortium of multi-millionaire fans who missed the old Highbury stadium purchased it and converted it back into a stadium, leasing it to the club for a nominal rent. Arsenal, seeing the benefit of a club so local in the lower leagues, agreed a deal to loan players and play an annual pre-season friendly, and also agreed to allow some of the players who were upset at lack of games at the club to join for free. Supportive of Dial Square’s aims, many of them took a substantial pay cut.
With the 38-000 capacity Highbury Stadium as their home, Dial Square are set for a long time, though not so large that there is no scope for a new stadium in the long-term. Training and youth facilities are average, which is very good for the Blue Square South. The reserve and youth will play at the QEII in Enfield, home of Enfield Town Football Club in the Ryman Premier, rather similar to how Arsenal’s reserves play at Barnet, which is the neighbouring borough.
The kit colours are a homage to the original Dial Square colours, though the white is introduced as a reference to the red and white of the modern Arsenal. The away kits are just a reverse of the home kit.
Staff and Players
Ex-Sweden international and Arsenal player Freddie Ljungberg agreed to join as a manager despite having no managerial experience, and brought in ex-Arsenal captain Tony Adams as his assistant. ‘Mad’ Jens Lehmann joined as a Goalkeeping Coach, and Gary Lewin signed on as Head Physio, combining the role with his work with the England National Team. Paul Winsper is a respected Fitness Coach.
Damián Martínez and James Shea
Dami, as he is affectionately known, is a solid Argentinian goalkeeper with Championship-level potential. Irish ‘keeper James Shea is good for this level, but only has potential for League Two level.
Left – Brandon Ormonde-Ottewill, Jernade Meade; Right – Héctor Bellerin
Both Ormonde-Ottewill and Meade are young, English and good for this level, but are low in potential rating. Bellerin has potential to be good at League One level, at least.
Leander Siemann, Martin Angha, Sead Hajrovic, Issac Hayden, Richard Hockton*
Siemann, Angha and Hajrovic are good for the BSS, with potential to play in League One, Issac Hayden is poor and only good as a last resort.
DMC – Craig Eastmond, Nico Yennaris, Jordan Wynter; MC – Connor Henderson, Jon Toral
Eastmond is on loan from Arsenal for the season, with a pre-arranged deal to join at the end of his contract. Yennaris is a backup to Eastmond, and can also cover at RB. Jordan Wynter is pretty poor and only a last resort. Henderson and Toral are both very good for this division and have potential to grow into Championship-level players.
Left – Anthony Jeffery, Austin Lipman; Right – Serge Gnabry, Matt Ruel*; Centre – Thomas Eisfeld, Kristoffer Olsson, Jack Jebb
Jeffery and Lipman are good enough for this level but no real potential. Gnabry is the star of the team, with enough potential for the Premier League if he reaches it. Eisfeld may be the darling of the Arsenal Reserves in real-life, but not so on FM. He is still plenty good enough for this level, with potential to be a leading League One player. Olsson is in the same mould. Jack Jebb is filler.
Benik Afobe and Chuba Akpom
Afobe is rated as a leading League One player already, where as Akpom needs a good bit of work if he is to ever live up to his Championship-level potential.
(* Players created by the game to fill spaces in the squad)
So there you have it. Dial Square all summed up! I shall document my career as I have done with my others – a season review, every season! Hopefully you’ll enjoy reading them as much as I enjoy playing them!