Goodbye but not au revoir to the Biggleswade golden generation

PUBLISHED: 12:58 20 December 2018 | UPDATED: 13:07 20 December 2018

Jack Bowen's primal scream after breaking a scoring drought for Biggleswade Town. CREDIT MARTYN HAWORTH

Jack Bowen's primal scream after breaking a scoring drought for Biggleswade Town. CREDIT MARTYN HAWORTH

Martyn Haworth

In this final edition of the Biggleswade Comet, sports writer Toby Miles takes an emotional look back at his time reporting on the town's thriving football scene.

The Comet Biggleswade Town reporter Toby Miles watches on from the stands. Picture: DANNY LOOThe Comet Biggleswade Town reporter Toby Miles watches on from the stands. Picture: DANNY LOO

It’s a freezing December night in Biggleswade. I’m at Langford Road, or maybe Second Meadow.

The stands are empty, the whistle has blown, the bar is warm. Floodlights power down as I file my match report, and by the light of my phone I head towards the warmth, in search of Dave Northfield, or maybe Lee Allinson, Chris Nunn or Guillem Balague.

Joe Hankins and Spencer Lewis celebrate the first goal. Picture: DANNY LOOJoe Hankins and Spencer Lewis celebrate the first goal. Picture: DANNY LOO

The man I’m looking for leads me away from the bustle, and affords five minutes of insight. It’s refreshing honesty and electric passion, pride and ambition. Characters like these thrive at Biggleswade Town, Biggleswade United and Biggleswade FC.

With my work done, I stride back into the cold, buzzing. I never saw a dull game in Biggleswade. Town 6-4 Royston Town was breathless, FC 4-1 Arlesey Town saw the joy of a dominant team in full-flight, United 3-2 Welwyn Garden City was a gripping underdog upset.

Biggleswade Town's fearsom Brett Donnelly pictured against his former club Hitchin Town at Langford Road in the Evostik Premier Division Central. Picture by Martyn Haworth.
07463250714
27/08/2018Biggleswade Town's fearsom Brett Donnelly pictured against his former club Hitchin Town at Langford Road in the Evostik Premier Division Central. Picture by Martyn Haworth. 07463250714 27/08/2018

I began writing for the Comet with little knowledge of Biggleswade football, but quickly saw something special.

I couldn’t have said the same 15 years ago. FC didn’t exist. United were swapping between step five and six. The Waders were nowhere men, sharing grounds with the cricket club.

Potton United V Biggleswade FC - Alex Marsh in action for BiggleswadeFC.


Picture: Karyn HaddonPotton United V Biggleswade FC - Alex Marsh in action for BiggleswadeFC. Picture: Karyn Haddon

Now, they’re three of the most exciting non-league institutions. All at the highest level in their history, all with promotions probable within three seasons.

The man who orchestrated the Waders’ rise was former boss Nunn. After he’d announced his departure after 12 years, we organised an in-depth interview - in Bedford Sainsbury’s cafe.

Biggleswade Town boss Chris Nunn. Credit: Martyn HaworthBiggleswade Town boss Chris Nunn. Credit: Martyn Haworth

For more than a hour, Nunn recounted stories from inside his relegation fight, promotions and FA Cup run. I was enthralled by the Waders’ journey already, but Nunn’s stories showed how unique it was. It culminated in an in-depth feature, which was a gripping writing experience.

I was also there for the first ever ‘Carlsberg Classico’, between FC and the Waders, who share the Carlsberg Stadium. There was a special atmosphere for the Wednesday night county cup game.

Reece Fielding shapes to score the first ever goal in a 'Carlsberg Clasico' after two minutes. Credit: Martyn HaworthReece Fielding shapes to score the first ever goal in a 'Carlsberg Clasico' after two minutes. Credit: Martyn Haworth

Many Waders fans also support FC, and the occasion had a jovial yet emotional feel. The Waders won 5-3 on penalties after a 1-1 full-time score, but it was FC boss Northfield’s pride which was most memorable.

Sat on the sofas in the Langford Road members room, Northfield told me: “We were great. We played our passing game and we pushed them all the way. This means so much to me.”

Biggleswade Town's most loyal supporters on an away day at Hereford FC's Edgar Street, watching their Waders battle to hold off the resurgant football league titans for 90-minutes, until conceding late in injury-time. Credit: Martyn HaworthBiggleswade Town's most loyal supporters on an away day at Hereford FC's Edgar Street, watching their Waders battle to hold off the resurgant football league titans for 90-minutes, until conceding late in injury-time. Credit: Martyn Haworth

I hope you’ve enjoyed my coverage of these fantastic clubs. Though this is the final issue of the Biggleswade Comet, I’ll continue following these clubs closely. Each has boundless potential, and each deserves the golden generation of Biggleswade football they’re about to get.

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