Rushden and Diamonds Club Profile
Rushden and Diamonds : Quick Links
Click on the links below to go directly to the relevant parts of the guide :

Club Background; We've Met Before; Club News; Club Statistics; Club Information; Directions To The Ground; Web Resources; Food And Drink; Local Amenities


Rushden and Diamonds : Club Background
Ah, our old er, friends The Annies. Talk about Rushden and you will inevitably talk about money. In the past it was all about how much they had. The Annies were rolling in dosh. The idea of a budget as other clubs knew it, just didn't come into it. The club is a very new one, having been formed by the merger of Rushden Town (just relegated to the Southern League Midland Division) and Irthlingborough Diamonds (United Counties League) in 1992. The merger was initiated by Dr Martens chief Max Griggs, a man who clearly had more money than he knew what to do with. A brand new ground was built, and the amount Griggs is supposed to have thrown at the club varies whoever you talk to. He himself doesn't seem to know, having mentioned figures from around £15 million up to £30 million, and several others in between, in various interviews over the years.

Main Stand, Nene Park
The Main Stand
Photo © 2006 Ciderspace

Their progress up the leagues was swift, until they rather stalled in the Conference. They were Champions of the Southern League Midland Divison in 1993-94; and Champions of the Southern League Premier Divison in 1995-96. By the time they arrived in the Conference the few hundreds of fans that Rushden Town and Irthlingborough Diamonds had managed between them had mysteriously grown to around two and a half thousand - though oddly you struggled to find an Annie who didn't claim to have supported the former clubs since the year dot. The bandwagon jumpers immediately endeared themselves to the rest of the Conference with their modest ways, slightly shamefaced admission that they were lucky to have so much money, and low key suggestions that they would have to learn their trade before progressing further. Or not. So much so that everyone else was very very sorry for them when they fell flat on their faces season after season, and didn't p*ss themselves laughing - oh no, not at all. Finally, after Halifax Town, Cheltenham Town and Kidderminster Harriers had all left them behind, even ex-West Bromwich Albion manager Brian Talbot couldn't think of any more excuses as to why two to three times as much money at his disposal than anyone else in the Division wasn't enough, and Rushden & Diamonds achieved promotion at last in 2000-01.

Things went well initially in the Football League. Talbot got rid of most of his £100,000+ purchases (that's individuals, not entire teams that his former rivals would have put together for that sum) from Non-league days quite quickly and brought in loads of new ones. In their first season they finished sixth and got to the Play-off Final, only to find ex-Non-leaguers Cheltenham Town pipping them once again. However in 2002-03 a late run by Rushden married to a complete collapse in the run-in by Hartlepool saw them Champions, and it was on to Division Two. There were warning signs though. Although Champions Rushden's average crowd was lower in this second Football League season than it had been in the first. And chairman Max Griggs was posting signals that the gravy train could not run for ever.

Peter de Bank Terrace, Nene Park
The home terrace. The club have tried to pursuade the home fans into seats but so far they have er, stood firm.
Photo © 2006 Ciderspace

At this point the history of Ru$hden & Diamonds ends, and the history of Rushden & Cashless begins. Trouble in the Dr Martens empire meant that the seemingly ever fruitful money tree came crashing down. Timber! And so - surprise, surprise - did the club whose fans had for so long stoutly maintained owed its rise to its own self financing efforts, and nothing to vast subsidies. As the piggy-bank put up a "For Sale" notice buyers wandered up, then ran away screaming when they discovered the club was spending £2.5 million above income year on year on year. The years of largesse had produced a 'money no object' culture. Ventures that should have been making money, like Strikers, were making losses. The programme cost more than twice as much to produce as was being recouped in sales. With Griggs no longer in a position to simply cover all the losses, or even continue his sponsorship, Rushden was heading for the rocks full steam ahead. The club's credit facilities were withdrawn, and by Spring 2004 it was within weeks of administration the Chief Executive later revealed. Desperate times called for desperate measures, and as transfer deadline day loomed the club simply shipped out its highest earning players to anyone who would take them off its hands. Manager Talbot had already seen the writing on the wall, and was gone like a rat down a drainpipe.

Rushden were seemingly fairly comfortable in mid-table at the time, and maybe the calculation was made that they could afford to slash the playing staff and still retain their Division 2 status, though the financial situation was so dire they probably had no other option anyway. If so they got it badly wrong. Only a single point from the last nine games of the season saw all but two clubs overtake them, and they were relegated in 22nd place.

North Stand, Nene Park
The North Stand.......tends to be where the away support is put these days, but we'll be in the AirWair.
Photo © 2006 Ciderspace

Back in Division 3 (by then League 2), and trying to cut a million or two off the wage bill, Ernie Tippett came - and went, Barry Hunter came - and went. In 2004-05, as Yeovil went up as Champions, Rushden survived by the skin of their teeth in 22nd. It was only putting off the inevitable. In 2005-06 they finished 92 in the Football League and were relegated back to the Conference. With crowds haemorrhaging and finances draining away further as you watched they came close to dropping out of the Conference, but just about hung in there. Paul Hart came in over the summer of 2006, but he and his whole management team only lasted until October before they were sacked. At the time we played them in the FA Cup late in 2006, Tony Godden was their caretaker manager. They then went through Graham Westley and Garry Hill as they struggled to stay afloat, and struggled to bring themselves to terms with the fact that they were now a normal club needing to work within normal budgets and normal constraints.

Their current manager Justin Edinburgh, arrived at Nene Park as Garry Hill's assistant in October 2008, but became caretaker manager in February 2009 when Hill left, and then assumed the position permanently in April. Finally they appear to be getting it right on the field again and are probably a stronger club than they were when they beat us in 2006 in the FA Cup. Under Edinburgh they were Conference play-off semi-finalists, losing to Oxford United who eventually got promotion, whilst the 2010-11 season has seen them start looking as though the play-offs are achievable for a second season running. However, this time, they're going to have to do it the hard way, and without reaching for Uncle Max's chequebook.
AirWair, Nene Park
We'll be back in the AirWair after Rushden changed their minds.........
Photo © 2006 Ciderspace

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Rushden and Diamonds : We've Met Before
Previous Results for Yeovil Town First Team vs Rushden and Diamonds

20/09/1997HomeConfL1-22317Pickard
21/04/1998AwayConfD2-21784Smith, Winston
05/09/1998HomeConfL0-12876
13/04/1999AwayConfW2-12367Patmore 27, Piper 30
13/11/1999HomeConfW5-12180Skiverton 1, 44, Hayfield 51, 66, Smith 68
07/03/2000AwayConfD1-13611Hayfield 86
04/11/2000AwayConfW2-15283Patmore 42, Way 84
21/04/2001HomeConfD0-08868
28/08/2004HomeCCL2W3-15088Johnson 18, Tarachulski 44, Jevons 45
02/04/2005AwayCCL2L0-23726
11/11/2006AwayFAC1L1-32530Cohen 62
06/11/2010AwayFAC1W1-01666A Williams 83


Results Summary For Yeovil Town First Team vs Rushden and Diamonds

HomeAwayOverall
WDLFAWDLFAWDLFA
212953229105341815


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Rushden and Diamonds : Club Information
Address : Nene Park,
Diamond Way,
Irthlingborough,
Northamptonshire.
NN9 5QF.
(click for map)

Telephone Number : 01933 652000
Fax : 01933 652606
Email: matthew.banyard@rd-fc.co.uk (Ticket Office)
Chairman : Keith Cousins
Club Secretary :
Press Officer : Matthew Banyard
Manager : Justin Edinburgh

Capacity : 6,441
Seated : 4,641
Covered Terrace : 1,800
Record Attendance : 6,431 v Leeds United, F.A. Cup 3rd Round, 02/01/1999

Nickname : The Diamonds Annies
Colours : shirt - white with blue and red trim, shorts - blue, socks - white

Ticket Prices : Yeovil Town supporters have been allocated the AirWair Stand. This will be familiar to Yeovil fans from the past, but is frequently closed these days, and is only opened when larger away followings are expected - much the same rule of thumb we apply to the Copse End at Huish Park.

2010-11 FA Cup prices are: adult £17.00; concessions £12.00; under 16 £6.00 and under-8s free of charge. Concessions apply to Over-60s and full time students. Disabled supporters pay the concessionary price with one helper going free. The match is pay-on-the-day.

Disabled Info : 17 wheelchair parking spaces are provided for all disability groups; 69 wheelchair positions spread around the ground as follows - North Stand 21, South (Main) Stand 24, East (AirWair) Stand 24, and with the added benefit of a small elevation which helps the view. Partially covered, with the helpers behind. The AirWair has two adapted toilets, one in each corner. Rushden don't list a designated liaison officer, but the nearest fit is Matthew Banyard (e-mail matthew.banyard@rd-fc.co.uk) who appears to cover both the Ticket Office and the Media Department.

Note that Rushden's Ticket Office only opens on Tuesdays, Fridays and match days, from 10.00a.m. until 5.00p.m. (except for match days when the office is open until kick-off).

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Rushden and Diamonds : Directions To The Ground
General

Rushden & Diamonds aren't to be found particularly near the town of Rushden at all. The nearest place is Irthlingborough. It is supposed to have a population of 6,000 but feels much smaller. With a meagre three pubs and few shops it feels like a large village.

There is a big car park at the stadium, but as virtually everyone has to go the match by private transport it fills up before kick-off. In the days when they had some gloryhunters there was plenty of time to take in the car park scenery after the game. Half an hour to forty-five minutes to get out was nothing unusual. And no point leaving early either - you wouldn't beat the locals........ unless it was the whole of the second half that you were prepared to miss. As a result people parked along the verges of the A6, but those areas filled up quickly.

Initially it was free to park at Nene Park, but around the point that they needed to live within their means a car park charge was introduced, currently £3.00. As Nene Park is in the middle of nowhere the trade off for saving three quid is likely to be a long walk unless you are lucky. If you are drinking up the hill in Irthlingborough there's a small car park roughly in the middle of the town/village that was free on our last visit. It's about a mile from there to the stadium. Note that Northants Police are taking a dim view of those who park 'dangerously' - always a subjective definition that may vary from policeman to policeman - however, anything that blocks walkways, sighting on junctions or results in your car poking halfway out into the road is likely to be stamped on. Rushden claim that their own club car park gives spectators 'ample' parking, although obviously larger than usual crowds may push that.

By Supporters Coaches

GWSC: Coaches will depart Yeovil Bus Station at 8.45a.m. and then from Huish Park at 9.00a.m. Cost of travel will be £19.00, with concessions available at £17.00. Non-GWSC members are welcomed and will pay two pounds extra compared with the above prices. To place your booking, call Paul Hadlow on 07736 044570 or Rich Rendell on 01935 427072 (Evenings).

By Road

The ground is outside Irthlingborough, alongside the A6, and just off the A45. There have been road improvements in recent years but it's not exactly the L.A. Freeway round here.

We've tried a number of routes in off the M1 over the years, and to be honest they are all problematic. From the south cutting across to Bedford from Junction 13 on the A421 and going up the the A6 looks like you are finding a major road, but it is slow and tortuous and takes you through the middle of various towns. The A509 from Junction 14 up towards Wellingborough looks nice and direct but is an awful road. The A45 from Junction 15 is much the best road, dual carriageway all the way, but it's a bit of a dog-leg to get up to it, and the first section is pretty much the outer ring road for Northampton and thus very busy.

By Rail

The nearest railway station is Wellingborough, which is six miles away from the ground. Services are from Midland Mainline. There are two buses an hour, run by Stagecoach, from Wellingborough to Irthlingborough - the No.45 - timetable here - at the time of writing they leave at 30 and 00 past the hour. from Wellingborough Station and take around 15 minutes to reach Irthlingborough. If you take a taxi book the return then and there, or at least take a note of the number to phone on your mobile, as you won't find any waiting outside the stadium after the game.
Some Wellingborough taxi numbers :
Jaycabs 01933 229229
Nucabs 01933 226565
Station Taxis 01933 678826

By Foot

If you find anywhere to park in Irthlingborough it's about a 15-20 minute walk. At least it's down hill to get to the game.

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Rushden and Diamonds : Web Resources
Web Sites

Diamonds Mad
Another pointless unmanned Mad franchise site. Don't bother.


RDFCNet
Might be worth a browse through its archives, but as its last news date was early in the 2006-07 season, don't expect any up to date information to be here.


Rushden and Diamonds Official Site
Despite being a Conference club, this is a PTV site, hence comes with that network's usual limitations.


Web Message Boards

The Diamonds Forum
Rushden's main fans message board.



E-Mail Mailing Lists and Newsletters



Local Press

Northampton Chronicle and Echo
Since they dropped out of the Football League, the only club this paper appears to cover online is Northampton Town. You might find something about Rushden if you're lucky.


Northants Evening Telegraph
Dedicated section within this paper for Rushden news. The URL tells us that the Annies are a devilish Section No. 666 in the Northants ET. Are they trying to tell us something?



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Rushden and Diamonds : Food & Drink
General :

Wellingborough, which is about 15 minutes drive away, is full of pubs that left us thinking the last coat of paint they saw was on the windows during World War II. A couple of miles north up the A6 from Nene Park there was the Dolben Arms at Finedon. When this author was in there before a night game some years ago there were three men, and a large dog, who all, including the dog, looked like they hadn't moved from their stools for twenty years. Virtually every beer was "off", and it was made quite clear that if any food was requested we could open our own packet of crisps, thank you very much.

In Irthlingborough, between fifteen and twenty-five minutes walk from the ground, there are two pubs strung along through the centre of the small town. The Bull used to be the closest, but it closed down around the year 2000, having been trashed by a load of Hereford followers (surprise, surprise) not long before, and although subsequently refurbished it's never been open on any of our subsequent visits. It may not even exist anymore. The Horseshoe (pretty dreadful) and The Oliver Twist (pretty good) are further away along the High Street. A fish'n'chip shop called Vince's Fish Bar is one of two in the town and is situated a few doors along from The Oliver Twist. Back in the Conference days, this takeaway was good, and the pub, having stopped doing food on a Saturday, allowed us to bring back fish and chips from there and even offered cutlery, ketchup etc. This is the best end of town to be in, but sods law is that it's the part that is the furthest walk from the ground.

Club Bar :

Exactly as you’d imagine. New, expensive looking and very well appointed. Much money was thrown at Strikers and the attached restaurant and other facilities and, according to their former Chief Executive, much money was being lost by them. Back in their Conference, they had several reasonably decent real ales, from the Charles Wells stable if we recall correctly from our visits, as well as the usual keg beers and lagers although we're unsure whether the ales survived the cull. With their financial needs to the fore both home and away supporters are now welcome in the main Strikers bar.

There is provision in the AirWair for away fans. An unpleasant concrete bunker, and even more unpleasant keg beer and lager, but it's more than most clubs provide for their visitors to be fair. The Diamond Burgers always used to be some of the best stadium food on the circuit, but again on our last visit these were not quite so generous in their portions.

Local Pubs :

Horseshoe Inn: First pub (assuming The Bull is no more) you will come across walking from Nene Park into the town. On our last visit, this place had peeling paint and dirty, smashed windows and was a bit grim. More recently we got a bit of a grumpy email from new owners telling us it had been done up. Hopefully they're right, but we've not been able to verify this either way.
Horseshoe Inn, High Street, Irthlingborough, Northamptonshire, NN9 5PU. Tel: 01933 650344. Map: Click Here.

Rushden Historical Transport Society: As mentioned above Nene Park isn't anywhere near the town of Rushden, but this has been included as it is a total 'one-off'. You'll either love it, or wouldn't be seen dead in the place. Opening is 12.00 - 3.00 p.m. (Saturdays and Sundays only) and 7.30 p.m. - 11.00 p.m. ( 7.00 p.m. - 10.30 p.m. on Sunday) in the evening. It's run by the local Historical Transport Society and the bar is lit by gas, has an open fire, and is full of transport memorabilia as one might expect. The house beer is Fuller's London Pride, with an ever changing selection of five guests. Around 300 different beers are made available in an average year. There's on-site parking and membership for the day is £1.00. Has Northants skittles - we've no idea how that varies from West Country skittles, if it does? This. pub has won the CAMRA National Club Of The Year Award, so if you like real ale, or if there's a little bit of an enthusiasm for transport memorabilia in your genes, then it's worth making the hefty detour.
Rushden Historical Transport Society, The Station, Station Approach, Rushden, Northamptonshire, NN10 0AW. Tel: 01933 318988. Email: andy@rhts.co.uk. Website: Click Here. Map: Click Here.

The Oliver Twist: The best of the pubs in Irthlingborough and - as is Sod's Law - the one furthest from the stadium. You're up to about twenty minutes or so walk by now. Food is on from 12.00 - 2.00 p.m., but on our last visit was no longer available on Saturdays. However it's a very friendly place. There are a couple of guest real ales. No problem about children during the day. Also does B&B should you want to stay over in Irthlingborough........though God knows why anyone would in all honesty.
The Oliver Twist, 96, High Street, Irthlingborough, Northamptonshire, NN9 5PX. Tel: 01933 650353. Map: Click Here.


Likelihood the Natives Will Understand You :

Pretty high although we couldn’t quite get a handle on their accents, a kind of midlands/fenland hybrid. Wave your wad of twenties at them shouting "loadsamoney".......sure they'll appreciate the irony of their change of fortune.

Top-Tip :

Get someone else to drive and check out the country pubs.

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Rushden and Diamonds : Local Amenities
Local Guesthouses and Hotels

Go to A1 Tourism's Online Guide to find Guest Houses/Hotels in the town and surrounding areas.


Other Points Of Interest

Hard to think of any. Nene Park is out in the middle of nowhere much - and to be quite frank this is a very dull part of the country. Northamptonshire is for driving through.

[No responsibilty is taken for any inaccuracies. This page is entirely the product of bias and prejudice.]

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