Goodbye but not au revoir to the Biggleswade golden generation
PUBLISHED: 12:58 20 December 2018 | UPDATED: 13:07 20 December 2018
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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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