GUILLEM BALAGUE: Our Under-23s have benefited from first-team experience

The latest column from the Biggleswade United chairman and top television pundit

By Jon Dunham
Thursday, 13th January 2022, 11:13 am
Updated Thursday, 13th January 2022, 11:14 am
Guillem Balague
Guillem Balague

The notion that it is often better to travel than arrive was certainly put to the test last week when I flew in from Spain hoping to watch our first team at Godmanchester only for that - and every game - to be be postponed because of the glorious English weather.

But the day was not completely wasted because the late cancellation did at least mean I could take my place with the Under 23 side as we used the time to take official team and individual player photographs.

It is an honour for me to do so. Our Under 23 side has gone through similar difficulties to those suffered by our first team when we were moved into a different league and their contribution in helping us to get through the crisis we faced recently is immeasureable and one of the proudest and most humbling moments throughout my entire time at Biggleswade United.

Lack of personnel had a knock on effect down through our system when we lost just about all our players and many of them were promoted into the the first team, if perhaps a little bit too early.

But as they say, needs must when the devil drives, and now at least - following the gradual strengthening of our first team squad - many have returned to the Under 23s, stronger, more seasoned and better prepared because of their experiences of playing at a higher level.

This is now a team with at least four players (James Clarke, Callum Elliott, Alfie Hickey and Henry Thompson) that moved up from an Under 18 side that had to be folded because of the demands on personnel that worked its way down the chain.

Their arrival has given the side a renewed freshness while the playing of a couple of veterans, Martin Russell and Michael Simpson have helped to guarantee stability.

The contribution of the the three coaches in charge of the side, Charlie Shephard, Darren Hunt and Martin Russell again, has been priceless and has also helped to strengthen the bond between the two sides who now have constant communication via a WhatsApp group and a set protocol that ensure that all sides and coaches are all singing from the same song sheet.

On Saturday (3pm) we face a huge battle when we welcome to the Keech Hospice Care Stadium, Northampton ON Chenecks one of our direct rivals in the fight against relegation in a must win game.

We are currently four points away from safety and it's beginning to look like it's going to be a battle between us, our opponents on Saturday, and Rothwell Corinthians to avoid finishing in one of the bottom two relegation places.

And once again I will be throwing myself at the mercy of the vagaries of the English weather and hope that this time I will be able enjoy the game alongside our loyal fans who I know will join me in hopefully cheering the side to victory in this most important of matches.

In addition to the first team our under 23s visit Shefford Town & Campton Reserves tomorrow (2pm) while on Sunday our Red ladies side travel to Kempston Rovers Ladies (2pm) and our Blues Ladies team visit Hitchin Town Women (2pm).

See you there

Guillem