Guillem Balague is proud of solidarity as Hitchin Town v Biggleswade United’s big FA Cup tie looms

Journalist Layth Yousif talks non-league football with Guillem Balague.

Journalist Layth Yousif talks non-league football with Guillem Balague. - Credit: Archant

The FA Cup is well known for throwing up any number of coincidences but the drawing out of the hat of a first qualifying round clash on Saturday – which is also Non-League Day – between Hitchin Town and Biggleswade United is a wonderful story.

Sky Sports expert Guillem Balagué is director of football at Biggleswade United – as well as a proud resident of Hitchin where the Canaries play – and was also one of the main campaigners in the latter club’s successful fight to keep the Top Field ground they’ve played on since 1928 and who developers wanted to turn it into a supermarket.

Ironically the two teams who showed such solidarity during the successful Save Top Field campaign play on Non-League Day when fans of Premier League clubs are encouraged to visit their local sides as their own top-level teams do not have fixtures because of the international break.

Guillem said: “Hitchin’s victory was a victory for the people, and for the little guy against the multi-national giants.

“I’ve had more than my fair share of memorable moments in football, but doing my bit to help ensure Hitchin kept their ground will always be one of the happiest and proudest episodes of my life.”

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A protest was covered extensively by the Comet and the day was crowned by a rousing speech by Guillem and a march through the town ending at the ground where Hitchin Town were playing a league match that afternoon.

It was decided then that whenever the two clubs met again in the future they would play for the Topfield Trophy. Saturday’s game will also be notable because both clubs have agreed – and the FA have granted permission – spectators can come to the match on a ‘pay what you want’ basis with 10 per cent of the gate receipts to be donated to Prostate Cancer UK.

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With a crowd of more than a thousand expected to attend, it should be a memorable afternoon as Spartan League’s Biggleswade United look to shock the Canaries who play two leagues above in the Evo Stick Southern Premier League.

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