GUILLEM BALAGUE: Our emphasis is not merely to build better teams but to help in the making of better people

In his latest Chronicle column the Biggleswade United chairman reflects on the week's games and explains how the club aims to help players develop and flourish as people

By Zoe Ashton
Saturday, 27th November 2021, 11:52 am
Updated Saturday, 27th November 2021, 11:54 am
Biggleswade United Chairman Guillem Balague
Biggleswade United Chairman Guillem Balague

It was always going to be an uphill struggle for us at home to promotion contenders Market Harborough especially after we conceded a penalty within three minutes and found ourselves reduced to 10 men with just 16 minutes of the match played.

A contentious red card saw Josh Sturniolo sent off midway through the first half and was the last thing we needed although to our credit we showed a commitment and battling spirit throughout.

We need to show perhaps a little less naivety and find a way of putting in a run of games that can set us on the road towards safety and I have a feeling that we need to find around a further eight wins this season from our remaining 19 fixtures if we are to avoid relegation.

But it certainly isn’t all doom and gloom.

A fantastic result for our Under 23s this weekend, who turned the form book on its head by winning 2-0 at league leaders Caldecote First, a fitting reward for the efforts of those youngsters blooded into the side from our Under 16s and Under 17s out of necessity at the start of the season, plus a tribute to the magnificent coaching of Charlie Sheffard, Darren Hunt and Martin Russell, who have also recruited cleverly.

A perfect, if somewhat enforced, example of the pathway we are seeking to build at this club which will allow youngsters to start playing with us at the age of seven and progress all the way to the first team.

It was heartwarming to see that the parents of our under seven and under eight sides that I met up with recently are all on board with our plans (they had a great time watching the first team too and the kids being mascots on the day) and now, after a period of transition, Dan Watkins and his team will be actively looking to build our academy both at the more senior Under 16 and Under 17 levels as well as with the younger age groups.

We are in the process of drawing up a syllabus for the academy that will set out what the targets of every team are.

The emphasis of everything we want to do at the club is not merely to build better teams but to help in the making of better people and we need to emphasise that to achieve that there are far more important things than merely the winning of football matches.

Winning is as enjoyable as it is important but no more or less so than learning how to deal with defeat and adversity.

Our aim will be to create conditions whereby those in our charge will not only enjoy playing our style of football, but more importantly develop and flourish as people.

We are always on the lookout for more girls to join us both in a player and coaching capacity as well as coaches from ethnic minorities and anyone interested in joining us (be it players or coaches) should contact the club at [email protected]

On Saturday (November 27) our first team visit Lutterworth Town (ko 3pm) while our under 23 side welcome Riseley Sports First to the Keech Hospice Care Stadium (ko 2pm).

Sunday our ladies Red side welcome Billericay Town Women Development in the Eastern Region League Cup match (ko 2pm).