Victory for Biggleswade United in tonight’s North Bedfordshire Charity Cup final against Stotfold could pave the way for future successes, according to chairman Chris Lewis.
The Second Meadow side finished their Spartan South Midlands Premier Division season in ninth place and will now look to end the campaign on a high by lifting a trophy they last won in 2015.
Speaking ahead of the match in Langford, Lewis expressed his belief that a United triumph tonight would be vital in giving the club’s players a winning mentality.
“It’s great to cap off the season with a cup final,” he said. “It’s a long league season with 42 games, it takes its toll on the players.
“When the opportunity to play in a cup comes along and there is nothing to necessarily compete for in the league, it’s fantastic the players have something to look forward to.
“When you are building any long term success at a club, you have to start somewhere. Winning a cup competition and getting the players to experience winning and having success is something that is really vital.
“You need to develop a platform. Hopefully, this competition will be the start. Once they’ve won it, they will know what it feels like to win and be successful, therefore they will want to replicate that over a longer period.
“Let’s hope we can get the ball rolling against Stotfold, then take that on into next season.”
Lewis also discussed the value of the Charity Cup, a tournament with a history dating back to 1908 and whose proceeds have always been donated to good causes.
“It’s a competition that goes back a long way, it’s one of the oldest competitions in England.
“Stotfold will be out to exact revenge [from their final loss two years ago] so we will need to be at the top of our game to win the match.
“It’s a great community cup that a lot of local people will have experience in. It’s fantastic to be able to compete in cups like the FA Vase and FA Cup – cup competitions like this one don’t necessarily get the exposure because of their size.
“But because of the heritage of this competition and because the money raised from it goes to charity, it’s fantastic to be able to compete in it and do it justice.”
Despite their final appearance this evening, United’s league season tailed off disappointingly as Cristian Colas’ side won just two of their final 12 games. However, the chairman is adamant that great strides are being made at the club and that the young players who featured in recent matches will have benefited enormously from the experience.
“It’s a shame we have slipped down the table slightly. I’m sure the coaches and others within the club were aiming to finish higher this season, but we are still building as a club.
“Therefore, we have to be realistic and take things slowly sometimes in order to get to where we want to be longer term. Things sometimes can’t be rushed.
“If it takes a little longer than we would like to get promoted and push up the leagues, then so be it. At least we’ll have gone about it in the right way.
“The recent league form has been for a reason. When we got to point when we couldn’t get mathematically promoted, it’s a great opportunity to blood a lot of the under 23 players.
“It’s a fantastic opportunity to get them first team action and experience and really blood them for next season.
“The young players will have grown personally from that experience of playing for the first team. Their individual performances have been really good.”