Guillem Balague column: Patient development and plenty of hard work is the only way to grow success as grassroots level

I was never a great fan of the phrase 'grassroots' football although the more I have been involved in the lower league game, the more it has - if you'll excuse the pun - 'grown' on me.
Biggleswade United Ladies are one of many highly valued teams at the club.Biggleswade United Ladies are one of many highly valued teams at the club.
Biggleswade United Ladies are one of many highly valued teams at the club.

I was never a great fan of the phrase 'grassroots' football although the more I have been involved in the lower league game, the more it has - if you'll excuse the pun - 'grown' on me.

Organic, patient, time-consuming development, growing from the bottom-up is the only way to achieve long term success for any grassroots football club. It isn't particularly glamorous but vital for the simple reason that it is physically impossible for anything to grow from the top-down.

Throwing money in at the top might well bring short term success but will never bring about long term stability.

Which is why here at Biggleswade United we hold our youth football section and our lower ranked senior sides like the Ladies Blue team and our men's reserve side in such high esteem.

Not because they are the all-conquering greatest teams in the world but rather because they are our guarantee of the future, as important if not more so than our senior sides that play at a higher level. Without them we are merely a team - no more no less - with them we are a united club.

My dream at Biggleswade United has always been - infrastructure permitting - to build a club where youngsters can join at an early age and feed their way through the ranks all the way to the first team.

It isn't easy, nor is it a fast, flat and even road but every now and then you get moments of pure joy that persuade you that you are doing things right.

Like when players graduate from the reserves side into the men's first team or when young women players who cut their teeth in the blue side find themselves regularly picked for our high flying Red women's side who are currently just two levels below National League level.

Last week our reserves beat top of the table Cranfield United in a county cup match 3-1 exactly one month to the day since they lost 1-5 against them in a league match.

On a week that our men's first team managed to get their sixth win in a row and the women's Red side secured an 8-1 victory that put them top of the table, I cannot think of a result that has pleased me more for a long time.

And it is for this same reason why I love the FA Vase so much, not because it is the greatest competition in the world but rather because it is the embodiment and in some cases the fulfilment of those dreams that clubs like ours across the country are constantly striving for.

We are currently six ties and seven games from a place at Wembley. I'm not saying we are going to get there but someone has to and why shouldn't it be us.

We now face London Lions in the second round of the competition at the Keech Hospice Care Stadium next weekend (November 12). So far we have earned just over £2000 from our three victories in the competition and a win next Saturday would bring in another very welcome £900.

But, as welcome an addition to club funds as it might be, it isn't just about the money but rather the realisation that the FA Vase is tangible proof that we are heading in the right direction and are getting there by doing things the right way.

I can't wait