Reg Trim: only one game for Arsenal but a varied career as a footballer

by Tony Attwood

Today, playing large numbers of matches in the Football Combination (the reserve league) would be derided, but many is the player for whom doing just this in the 1930s was a matter of significance, and the medals to be won as Arsenal regularly won the Combination league were items to be cherished.   Here is the picture of the 1934/5 team reserve team.  Quality copies of this picture are available via Amazon, if you are interested.

Back (left to right) Frank Robert Tiger Hill, Ray Parkin, Leslie Compton, Alex Wilson, Reg Trim, Sidney Cartwright, William Milne (trainer). Front Ralph Birkett, Dr.Jimmy Marshall, Norman Sidey, George Cox, Ronnie Green, Pat Beasley.

In this picture we can see Reginald Frederick Trim who was born on 1 October 1913 in Portsmouth, and became the captain of England Schoolboys at left back, signing for Arsenal in April 1933 and remaining with the club until 1937 despite making just one first team appearance during all that time.

That appearance was in the infamous 1-0 home defeat to Derby on the final day of the 1934/35 season.  The game was infamous because Arsenal had already won the league with two games to spare, and Derby were under no threat of relegation as the table with two games to go clearly shows.

So there was no excuse for Derby to do anything other than play an entertaining exhibition game, and try and catch Arsenal being less than fully focused.   With Eddie Hapgood out again, Compton was rested and Trim given his chance,

But Derby had no such thoughts of entertainment in mind and went on an outrageous physical rampage which the ref did nothing to stop.  So violent was the assault that during the game Ted Drake, Tim Rogers, Bobby Davidson, George Male and Pat Beasley were all injured.  The Arsenal management were so shocked that rather than the normal policy of keeping injured players on the pitch at all costs they allowed players to come off and receive extended treatment as a way of protesting them against the brutality.   At one time three players were off the pitch together getting treatment.

Reg Trim never made it as a first team player other than for his one game, but did make over 150 appearances in the Combination.  This picture shows him playing in the regular pre-season game of the first team against the reserves in August 1935


7 Replies to “Reg Trim: only one game for Arsenal but a varied career as a footballer”

  1. Interesting article Tony. I think these days so many footballers do not play anything like enough matches. They spend a lot of time, if they are lucky, sitting on the bench. Many others do not even get that far very often and when they do get called on for a few minutes have a hard job to excel. Fit they might be from training games but competitive match fit they are not. Also more likely to get injured in my opinion.

    Arsenal pre and post second world war always had reserves who often won the Football Combination and took great pride in their club and were ready to step up to the first team when required. It was a natural progression from junior to senior player but now there appears no intermediate stage. Unless you count the knock out cups which can be a very few games. A lot of Arsenal greats worked their way up to the first team this way, or when getting back from injury or a loss of form had full games in which to get their confidence back. You look at the statistics and you will see some of the first team squad have hardly played when being fully fit. Goalkeepers in particular are very short of real match practice.

    I am probably a dinosaur but a good reserve league would be beneficial to all clubs in my opinion and I would hope the players would be happier as well without the need to being loaned out so much losing that personal contact with the club. There was suggestions of the bigger clubs allowed to have reserve teams in the league but understandably most other clubs were against it. Having seven players on the bench seems to have been the final nail in the coffin for proper reserve football, mores the pity.

  2. Nigel as a person whose introduction to football, and Arsenal, was the Combination, I agree with you. It was low cost, there was a decent enough crowd for me to feel I had been at a proper match, and it was a bonding thing with my dad. But Mr Wenger seems to want players to train and not play too many matches, so the reserve leagues have far lower interest for everyone. And of course who would go and see the reserves when the first team is on TV? I do get to one or two under 23 games a season at the Emirates, but the crowds are very tiny.

  3. Have you any idea of the wages for Reg in the reserves? I wonder if they were quite good and he had nothing to gain by seeking first team football elsewhere. Around the time of Reg Arsenal won a lot of trophies and i was reading about the celebration dinners, was this for the first team squad only or would the reserves have been invited also?

  4. I read where Reg was bought as cover for Eddie Hapgood yet whenever he played for England Reg didn’t take his place in the Arsenal team, why?

  5. I have no idea of the wages, but I do know that winning the Combination was considered a trophy in itself. One of the reasons for setting up Margate was that the reserve players didn’t want untried youngsters coming in for games – they wanted to clock up enough games to get their medal. The Combination games got serious crowds – 10,000 plus sometimes, and there was always the chance of impression the manager and getting to play for the most famous and highly regarded team in the world – hence the willingness to play there. Unlike now they had a game each saturday, and given that there was a maximum wage for players, I suspect their earnings were not much less than they were for first team players

  6. Yes, i guessed he would be on a decent wage that wouldn’t improve much if he got first team football at another club. I also wondered if he had a good job or a business as well as the football that maybe kept him happy playing in the reserves.

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