Pic: Emma Clayden
By Sheridan Robins
SPAIN may be looking to defend their European title in little under a year at Euro 2016 but Biggleswade United have attracted their own Spanish contingent to focus on more pressing matters in the Spartan South Midlands League.
Spanish football expert and Sky Sports pundit Guillem Balague is on board as director of football and former international Gaizka Mendieta is gaining his coaching badges at the club through the youth side.
With Barcelona born Christian Colas, 31, at the helm – who Balague is intent on naming “head coach” and not manager – the whole philosophy of the club is now built upon the Spanish style of coaching.
Alongside this, United were approached by adidas and now have the backing of the sportswear giants who will provide the kit across the whole club.
Balague told The NLP: “We were lucky that adidas got in touch and now everyone is dressed head to toe in the kit – from our U14 girls to our first team.
“Facilities are expensive so to not have to pay for the kit and have a great sponsor as we now do will help our players. But the thing that makes a player the best they can be is coaching.
“The philosophy of this club is to have the best coaching in this area, which we have, to develop our players.”
Mendieta, the 41-year-old former Middlesbrough midfielder, is looking to make an impact, starting with completing the coaching qualifications that he started two years ago.
He told The NLP at last weekend’s FA Vase victory over Laverstock Green: “I love Non-League. This is the real football and it’s like going back full circle in my professional career. I love to see the community and the people involved in the club.
“Everyone thinks about the big players and the big stadiums but this is where a lot of us started and no one should forget about it and we need to look after it.
“I feel I can bring something in that other coaches can’t. The Spanish involvement is going to give this club a different flair.”