Diego Maradona and Lionel Messi turn up in Biggleswade – or at least framed shirts Guillem Balague asked them to sign!

Tony Wren and Guillem Balague with the Biggleswade United shirt Maradona signed

Tony Wren and Guillem Balague with the Biggleswade United shirt Maradona signed - Credit: Archant

Football royalty Diego Maradona and Lionel Messi turned up in the Biggleswade United clubhouse last weekend – or at least framed shirts signed by them did.

The ninth-tier outfit, who play at Second Meadow, have as their director of football personable Sky Sports presenter Guillem Balague – who through his travels in the football world and contacts managed to get both global superstars to sign a Biggleswade top.

Both frames will go on the club’s ever-growing Hall of Fame wall – which already includes pictures of Premier League idols such as Manchester City’s Sergio Aguero, Arsenal’s Ray Parlour, Liverpool legend Jamie Carragher and more than 50 other well-known faces with the Biggleswade shirt.

Speaking exclusively to the Comet, Guillem said: “It started after I decided to take the shirt everywhere. I thought: ‘Wouldn’t it be nice if one of my friends in football or people I interview signed it’.

“I met Barcelona’s Javier Mascherano, and I had the shirt with me – he said: ‘Quick, take a picture of me with it!’ Another player was Real Madrid and Spain’s Alvaro Morata, who also asked for a picture and wanted to hear about the project we’re trying to achieve here.

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“Our Hall of Fame wall tells a story of who I’ve talked to over the last two years, but it’s kind of charming people are interested in Biggleswade.

“I got invited to Jordan to meet Maradona as we were due to give a speech on stage. In the green room before, where you have a cup of tea and wait to go on, there were 10 Argentina shirts laid out on a table ready to be signed by Maradona. And at the end of the line was a red Biggleswade shirt.

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“But Maradona decided he didn’t want to sign the shirts – so he passed down the line until he came to the Biggleswade shirt, when he stopped and said: ‘What’s this shirt?’ So I explained it’s a Biggleswade shirt from the ninth division of English football – and he asks me if I want him to sign it!”

Why not take a look at Biggleswade’s famous Hall of Fame wall and watch them play Hashtag United to raise money for Football Beyond Borders on Sunday?

Both shirts were framed by Innovation On-Site, owned by club sponsor Tony Wren.

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