Balague: postponed matches are hard on our volunteers

Guillem Balague.
Guillem Balague.

If the fans thought it was frustrating to miss out on their weeky fix of football because of the weather, then spare a thought for our team of hardy volunteers at the club who are even less enamoured with the prospect of a postponed game.

Our home fixture against Tring Athletic last weekend was called off because our pitch at Second Meadow was unplayable.

Any notion however that this means a weekend off for many of our magnificent team of volunteers could not be further from the truth, in fact the opposite is true because there is actually more to do but obviously without the bonus of having a match to enjoy at the end of it.

A normal home week starts with Heather Rennie washing and ironing the players’ kit while on Thursday, Tracey James sets about compiling the match programme. At the same time John Titmus can be found at the clubhouse cleaning the pipes in the bar to ensure the quality of the beer on offer does at least match that of the football. It would be fair to say that on occasions this season it has exceeded it.

Friday afternoon involves Tracey marking out the pitch and sprucing up the changing rooms while Friday evening sees Heather preparing half a ton of food to feed 30 hungry footballers plus coaching staff after the game.

Even in the best case scenario, Saturday morning involves an early start but when the bad weather kicks in a referee – and not just any old referee, but a Level four official – has to be called in as early as possible to decide whether or not the surface is playable and if, as happened last weekend, he decides it isn’t, there are a host of people to inform, not least the opposition and match officials, the volunteers and of course, the fans.

We’re probably talking about ten phone calls at least, of which one of the most important these days is to whoever is going to communicate the news on our social network sites.

Biggleswade United were not the only club to fall foul of the weather last weekend. But I’ll tell you one that wasn’t. AFC Sudbury are based in Suffolk and I will be visiting the town next month for an evening in the town’s theatre where I will be talking about my life in football.

They played last Saturday, as one of their teams invariably does every Saturday, come rain or shine; and the reason for that, of course, is because they have a 3G pitch which is the football playing surface equivalent of a great big raspberry blown at just about any weather conditions – with the exception of fog, perhaps – that the elements decide they want to throw at you.

Am I jealous? Damned right I am!

Of course for the next couple of weeks much of this will be somebody else’s problem as we face three away games on the bounce starting with a trip to Cockfosters tomorrow (Saturday ko 3pm) and St Margaretsbury on Tuesday night (ko 7.45pm).