GUILLEM BALAGUE: Hopefully the only way is up!

Paris Saint-Germain star Kylian Mbappe shows off the Biggleswade United colours with chairman Guillem BalagueParis Saint-Germain star Kylian Mbappe shows off the Biggleswade United colours with chairman Guillem Balague
Paris Saint-Germain star Kylian Mbappe shows off the Biggleswade United colours with chairman Guillem Balague
In his latest column, Biggleswade United chairman and television pundit Guillem Balague reflects on the season and his encounter with French superstar Kylian Mbappe

This was a season that took my beloved Biggleswade United men’s side (both first team and U23s) as close to the brink as we have ever been since I joined the club back in 2014.

But we were able to enjoy, too, a sterling campaign from our women’s teams with the Reds finishing as runners-up in both the County Cup final against the higher-ranked Bedford Ladies and Division One North of the Eastern Region Women’s Football League and the Blue side third in Division One of the Bedfordshire & Hertfordshire Women’s Football League.

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Plans are already in place for the next campaign of the men’s first team back in our spiritual home that is the South Midlands Spartan League.

Against all the odds we survived a season out of our comfort zone in the more northerly based United Counties League.

Victory for our men’s first team in our last game of the season meant we finished one point clear of the relegation places. Ironically had we been relegated it would have been back to the Spartan League but into Division One rather than the Premier Division.

It was a bonus as well for our Under-23 side, many of who stepped in so valiantly when we lost practically all of our first team squad following the move, who also saved themselves on the last match of the season

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In the end the powers-that-be decided what we knew all along, namely that our rightful place both geographically and emotionally was in the more southerly located Spartan League where we would regularly play against old friends and rivals.

So from the start of next season our fans can once again look forward to local derbies for our men’s first team against the likes of Baldock Town, Arlesey Town, Dunstable, newly-promoted Stotfold and Shefford and of course Potton United who have also been moved back from whence they came.

So now hopefully the only way is up with new sponsors, Winchmore Brickworks, along with plans to give away 10 level one coaching courses to girls and volunteers eager to take the first steps down the coaching road.

We have a meeting planned for June 16 for all current, new and aspiring coaches to put in place the next stages of development for our club and hopefully this will be a good opportunity to touch base with old friends and get to know new ones.

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Recent times have meant that running any football club of any age group, gender or ability has proved physically, emotionally and financially daunting and to any clubs out there who are thinking of calling it a day I would urge them to speak to us to see if there is any way we can help and work together in the future.

Please contact me on [email protected]

Earlier this week, I had the privilege of meeting up in Paris with Kylian Mbappe and Nasser Al-Khelaifi, the president and chief executive officer of Paris Saint-Germain to discuss the young superstar's decision to stay with the French club rather than take the chance of joining Real Madrid.

And despite all the talk about obscene amounts of money, greed and opportunism for me what shone through when talking with this young, highly intelligent, supremely gifted and totally dedicated young man was his passion for playing the beautiful game and his total respect for all those who play it, irrespective of whatever level that might be.