Winning is wonderful but I have always maintained that in football there is much more to it than just that. It is also about being taught how to play the best of games in the best of ways, and when victory follows as a natural progression, then it is that much sweeter.
We all love to win, and we all do the very best we can to do so, but it is not the be all and end all and here at Biggleswade United, not now, nor ever, will we go in search of victory at the cost of abandoning our principles.
It is for this reason that I was really touched to see that we recently received an email from Hadley chairman, Guy Slee, who wrote to us saying the following:
“Just a quick note to say that I watched our Development game Saturday and it was a really good technical game with both sides looking to play it on the deck – hardly a long ball all game and really enjoyable, played in a good spirit – your young players are a credit to your club.”
Accolades like that mean more to me than just about anything else that we might achieve at the club. Thankfully, our message is hopefully beginning to get through, we are heading in the right direction.
Not to everyone unfortunately and the disgraceful scenes both during and after our Under 17 game against Canvey Island and the behaviour of their coach and players show us once again that we clearly still have a long way to go.
If what we witnessed is part and parcel of that particular club’s ethos and approach to ‘teaching’ youngsters – not just with football but also about how to conduct themselves in life as they career into adulthood – then, frankly, I want no part of it.
If parents believe that this type of ‘schooling’ will turn their offspring into better, ‘proper’, disciplined and ordered people then they need perhaps to take a long and lingering look at themselves in the mirror.
In truth the right approach will invariably reap dividends. At the start of the season our development side earned just one win from their first six games. It would have been easy to panic, to abandon our ideas in search of victory.
But our coaches didn’t; they remained faithful to what we are trying to bring to the table, which is more than merely a silver pot. The side are now unbeaten in the last six games, with four wins, and now providing a frequent source of young, disciplined, talent for our first team.
And that’s how we mean to go on. We will not be sacrificing our ideals and our ethos for a short term winning fix. We are here to build something good, worthy and sustainable and we will not be deflected from our aims.
Having said that I enjoy victory as much as the next man and it was certainly sweet to get back to winning ways against Holmer Green last weekend thanks to a super strike from Nick Elliot.
The following day we had our Christmas party and photographs were taken of all our teams, coaches and backroom staff.
It was a wonderful day with a disco and buffet generously sponsored by Alex Carter of Carter Recruitment and a perfect example of what football at this level should be about, not just on, but also off the pitch.
And talking about matters on the pitch, tomorrow (Sat 3pm) we visit Hadley for a league match before travelling to division one side Southall on Wednesday night for a League Challenge Trophy.
And before we start to think it might be easy for us against a lower league side, we’d do well to remember that Southall are the lowest ranked team in the country of all those in the last 32 of the FA Vase.
See you there