IN NOVEMBER 2021, it will be 150 years since the first FA Cup games were played. Was it really 50 years ago that we celebrated the 100th anniversary with the bruising Leeds United v Arsenal final? Later this year, there’s a … Continue reading FA Cup: Anniversary waltz in the shadow of the A1
THE FA TROPHY doesn’t have the cachet of the FA Cup, but it still represents a mid-season distraction for non-league clubs at step three and beyond. Biggleswade Town v Hitchin Town also had the added spice of a local derby, so it seemed a reasonably attractive tie for a dull, drizzly afternoon by the A1(M). Hitchin were still basking in the glow of rubbing shoulders with Premier League opposition in the form of Arsenal’s under-21 team, a game that attracted a 1,200 crowd and promises to provide some valuable charity for Bob Wilson’s Willow Foundation. Biggleswade Town, who were trying … Continue reading Trophy bitter at the Carlsberg
THE WIND TURBINES were moving round at pace, the A1 traffic was humming and the elements had been kind enough to make the afternoon dry – but for a pint or two in the Cock pub in nearby Broom. Hitchin Town travelled to Biggleswade Town in search of three more points in their quest for promotion. The great and the good turned out – including some people who had not been seen for a while at a Hitchin game. There was a slight air of tension. After all, Hitchin were not accustomed to being in this position – the National … Continue reading North or South? That may be the question for buoyant Hitchin
Alan Ball, a World Cup winner, was once informed he was too small to make it as a professional footballer. Both Wolves and Bolton rejected the youngster but he went on to play for Blackpool, Everton and Arsenal, among others, winning 72 England caps. “Not bad for a little lad from Farnworth,” Ball told me in 1993. Ball was indeed small, just 5ft 6in, but he had a bit of muscle about him and was a commanding player in the middle of the park. A lot of young players today seem to be lacking in physique, but at the top … Continue reading That’s Saul, folks!
Remember the “Laughing Policeman”? Charles Penrose of the “ho, ho, ho” song that was a staple of BBC Radio’s Junior Choice in the 1960s? Well he came from Biggleswade and counts as one of this small town’s most notable residents. Now Penrose has a rival to his crown – Brett Donnelly, an angular centre forward with a penchant for collecting referee’s cards. Donnelly scored the goal that sent Biggleswade Town – strangely one of two senior teams in this A1 satellite of 16,000 people, surely ripe for merging? – into the FA Cup first round. Penrose must be chortling in … Continue reading Biggleswade make the policeman laugh…all the way to round one