‘Landmark occasion’ for Biggleswade United as Balague hails Stevenage venture

Guillem Balague at Biggleswade United FC
Guillem Balague at Biggleswade United FC

It what will be a landmark occasion for Biggleswade United, tomorrow night at Second Meadow we will witness the signing of a joint venture with Stevenage FC to launch a new football and education programme.

Regular readers of my weekly ramblings will know I have always maintained that Biggleswade United has always been about much more than just football but also about the nurturing of, and the co-existence within, the community.

To that end this new arrangement with Stevenage is proof that we are all here for the long haul and not merely for a quick football fix.

It is unquestionably one of the most important days in the history of this football club and to say I’m proud doesn’t even begin to express my feelings

The scheme which will be called the EDP (Elite Development Programme) Biggleswade United / Stevenage FC will be run on similar lines to those as Stevenage’s partnership with Cheshunt with the coaching and playing philosophy in place, led by us although the day to day running of the scheme will be in Stevenage initially, until such time as we can upgrade our facilities to a level that will enable us to carry out all the training, playing and academic activities.

It will launch in September 2016 and look to recruit 25 school leavers who will embark on a two-year programme of sport and education that will give late developers another chance in the world of football while continuing their education.

During that time they will study for a BTEC Extended Diploma in Sport, which is the equivalent of three A Levels, and which on successful completion, will allow the youngsters to go to university should they so wish.

Along their journey they will also receive up to eight hours a week with, among others, Cristian Colás who is a Pro Licenced Qualified Coach and also strive to gain various qualifications, including FA Coaching badges, that can help them decide and shape their futures.

For a long time now I have ‘banged the drum’ about the quality of coaching available at our little club. Stevenage’s decision to join forces with us is justifiable confirmation of the enormously high levels learning skills we can offer and how, via the sport, we can help young people prepare not just for football, but for life itself.

But, of course, here at Biggleswade United, football is indeed what we do and despite a 1-0 defeat at Welwyn Garden City on Wednesday, our first reversal since we lost at home to Tring in January, we go forward with a proud record of 43 points from the last 19 games .

Saturday sees us make the trip to Leverstock Green before we face a tough trip to Berkhamsted on Tuesday night. See you there.