I have always maintained that at whatever level you may play or watch this maddeningly, magnificent passion that takes up so much of our time, it has always been, still is, and will always be the same game – football.
I am a truly lucky man. I have seen the best players in the world play for the finest teams, in the biggest stadiums for the greatest prizes but I can tell you from the bottom of my heart that there is NOTHING in a footballing sense that I feel more passionate about, nothing that has given me more enjoyment than Biggleswade United,where I have the honour of serving as the club’s director of football.
I am currently in Spain adding the finishing touches to the update of my biography on Leo Messi and in the process I have had the real pleasure of meeting up for an uplifting and re-affirming chat with the wonderful Ernesto Valverde, currently the head coach of Barcelona.
Now while we certainly spent much time talking about the influences of Leo Messi, the upcoming Champions League match against Chelsea etc etc, it will surprise no one that the subject of Biggleswade United also came up in our conversation.
Ernesto may well be manager of one of the biggest – arguably THE biggest – club in the world but he spoke to me with the same attention, respect, commitment and understanding about our little club as he did about the international giant that is Barcelona FC.
And the reason for that is because he gets it; he understands.
The respect shown by Ernesto Valverde is not for our football club per se but for the sport, for football and the genuine and in no way patronising way we talked about the club is because he is quintessentially a footballing man who knows that it isn’t about the level, it’s about the love of the game.
He told me that when everything is stripped to the bone, other than the level at which the game is played there was no difference between Barcelona and those involved at Biggleswade United. The same things apply. It was, he said, about helping to build something special and then feeling part of it, about spirit, togetherness and working together.
Winning, of course, is important he said, but it is not just about that. It’s about building a world, an environment where people feel like they are a vital and integral part because they were instrumental in its creation and development and long term achievements always taste sweeter than short term successes.
Which is just as well really because if I had to pick a word that best described our season, inconsistent springs immediately to mind. A snakes and ladders of a 2018 with victories or defeats arriving in sets of two since the end of last year.
Against Leverstock Green we enjoyed a lot of the possession which, contrary to what many think, is different to control. How well you control the game is not defined by how long you have the ball but how you react when you lose it and in this case the answer was not very well, which is why we lost 3-1.
With our midweek trip to Holmer Green and tomorrow’s visit to Berkhamsted postponed because of the weather, we’re next back in action at Second Meadow on the 10th March and I can’t think of anywhere better to reverse the two by two results formation of the first two months of this year.
See you there