Introduction to RDFC1992

This site is an archive for content that was published on the Official Rushden & Diamonds Football Club website. The club was formed in 1992, reaching the third tier of English Football under Chairman Max Griggs, but when Max handed over the control of the club things went downhill, and bad decisions were made, leading to the closure of the club in 2011.

After R&DFC was liquidated in 2011 the official website remained for 12 months as an archive until the hosting company decided to terminate the agreement.

There was content on that site that ex-R&DFC fans felt should be kept for historic purposes, notably a complete A-Z of Player Profiles for the entire club history from 1992 to 2011, and official match reports from 2001 to 2011. The Player Profiles have also been continually updated to reflect the subsequent careers of ex-Diamonds. There are also match reports from 1997-2001 that are mostly from the old unofficial R&DFC website.

Above you will see two menu headings. Clicking on “Rushden & Diamonds Players” will lead to a list of all R&DFC players with summary stats, plus a link to a Player A-Z entry for that player, with career details and Diamonds appearance details Alongside that you will see a “Player A-Z” option which leads to an alphabetical list of player links. Clicking on the “Rushden & Diamonds Match History” header will give a complete list of Diamonds results with appropriate detail, and using the drop down menus there will lead to a summary of each Diamonds season, with team line-ups, league tables, and links to match reports and videos where available.

Further details of Rushden & Diamonds Football Club History, along with summary stats can be found here.

A summary of the current status of the ex-R&DFC players as at the end of 2012 is here.

Please notify any errors or omissions to rdfc1992@outlook.com

Please note that a community based football club – AFC Rushden & Diamonds was formed in 2011. Their website can be found here, with a club history here and a player history here.

Photographs courtesy of Mal Swinden, Mark Brown, Pinnacle Photo Agency, Paul Redding & Empics unless otherwise stated ©

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Rushden & Diamonds Football Club History

Rushden & Diamonds FC

A Club History

Formation (1992)

Rushden & Diamonds Football Club was formed at the end of the 1991/92 season following a merger between Rushden Town (Southern League) and Irthlingborough Diamonds (United Counties League). Rushden Town was formed in 1889 and competed in the Midland and Northants Leagues before joining the United Counties League. The club made a brief sojourn to the Central Alliance before returning to the U.C.L. in the late 50s and winning the title in 1963/64 and 1972/73. In 1983 it was elected to the Southern League Midland Division and progressed further in 1990/91 with promotion to the Premier Division. Unfortunately, after finishing 14th in their first season at this level, the Russians were relegated back to the Midland Division, as their Hayden Road ground was not considered up to the standard required. The club had made considerable improvements to the ground and the Social Club, and was devastated when told that the facilities were not acceptable. Irthlingborough Diamonds was founded in 1946 and began playing competitive youth football in 1947. For the next decade they played as an under-18 side before progressing through local football in the Rushden & District and Kettering Amateur Leagues until 1964. They then achieved senior status with a move to the United Counties League winning the title for the first time in 1970/71. In addition to League success the Diamonds had exciting runs in the FA Vase, reaching the semi-finals in 1980/81 and 1983/84 before losing to Willenhall and Stamford respectively. But after the successes of the 70s and 80s, the early 90s saw a decline in the clubs fortunes and Max Griggs, a local businessman, was approached concerning a possible sponsorship.

Mr Griggs recognised the problems being experienced by both Rushden Town and Irthlingborough Diamonds and suggested a merger. Despite widespread reservations this amalgamation was eventually agreed and the Irthlingborough Diamonds ground, Nene Park, was brought up to the required standard.

The Early Years (1992-96) 1992/93 started with the newly formed club, managed by former Rushden Town and Irthlingborough Diamonds stalwart Roger Ashby, entertaining Bilston Town in the Southern League Midland Division in front of 315 spectators. The team for that historic first game was Kevin Shoemake, Mark Bushell, Junior Wilson, John Flower, Darrell Page, Steven Heard, Dave Johnson, Aidy Mann, Ollie Kearns, Frankie Belfon and Paul York.

The season ended in disappointment with the club finishing two points behind runners-up Gresley Rovers, but seven points adrift of league winners Nuneaton Borough.

Roger Ashby Thanks to the wonderful backing of R Griggs Group (best known for their Dr Martens and Airwair footwear products), and excellent support from local businesses, 1993/94 commenced with the new North Stand, capable of holding 1,000 spectators, fully operational. The Beazer Homes Midland Division title was clinched on May 2nd 1994 in front of 1,504 spectators to achieve a notable double, the side having already won the NFA Hillier Cup six days earlier. The strike partnership of Dale Watkins and Mickey Nuttell had been backed up by a strong defensive unit featuring Kevin Fox, John Flower and Dave Johnson.

BHM Champions The summer of 1994 saw the magnificent Diamond Centre in use with function rooms, club bar, hospitality boxes and restaurants, as well as the dressing rooms and gymnasium.

The Diamond Centre

The centre was officially opened in April 1995 by HRH The Prince of Wales during his visit to an exhibition by the Princes Youth Business Trust, which is extensively supported by the Griggs Group. The main function room, The Kimberley Suite, has staged the Dr Martens European Snooker League, and regularly hosted Sportsmans’ Dinners with guest speakers including Sir Geoff Hurst, Sir Bobby Charlton, Ian St.John and Denis Law. The South Stand, adjoining the Diamond Centre, was fully operational prior to the 1994/95 season when Peterborough United were defeated in the NFA Maunsell Cup. The season commenced with a 2-0 defeat by eventual Southern League Premier Division runners-up Cheltenham Town. After an early FA Cup exit, the hoped-for promotion was overshadowed by an excellent FATrophy run, eventually ended by a 2-1 two-legged semi-final defeat at the hands of GM Conference runners-up Woking. The West Terrace, named the Peter DeBanke Terrace in memory of a former player and respected servant of both Rushden Town and Irthlingborough Diamonds, and capable of accommodating 1,800 spectators, was opened during the 1994/95 season leaving only the East Terrace uncovered. A highlight of the 1995/96 pre-season was the visit of Newcastle United, with David Ginola and Les Ferdinand making their debuts, when 4,600 watched the Premiership giants triumph 3-1. A long FA Cup run ended with a home First Round Proper defeat at the hands of Cardiff City. After one or two jitters the season climaxed in May, when 4,664 people, then a ground record, witnessed a 3-2 victory over Merthyr Tydfil to secure the Southern League Championship and a place for Roger Ashby’s side in the Football Conference. That team had included Garry Butterworth, Darren Collins,  Graham Benstead, Andy Kirkup and Nick Ashby.

Garry Butterworth

The Conference Years – Part 1 (1996 – 2001)

The summer of 1996 and the early part of the 1996/97 season saw the installation of a new road complex, Diamond Way, and the erection of phase 1 of the East Stand, which would extend the official ground capacity to 6,572. This was officially opened in December 1996 by Max Griggs and named The AirWair Stand. The club failed to justify favouritism for the Conference title in 1996/97 and, despite another lengthy FA Cup run to the First Round Proper stage, the end of February 1997 found the side at the bottom of the table and out of both the FA Trophy and Northants Senior Cup. Brian Talbot, the ex-Ipswich Town, Arsenal and England player, was appointed to the coaching staff on 1st March, taking complete control a week later. The team lost only twice more to eventually finish in 12th place and Talbot was confirmed as Head Coach in time for the 1997/98 campaign.

Brian Talbot

The influx of new players such as Adrian Foster and Paul Underwood gave optimism for 1997/98 but this was soon tempered with only one point being gained from the first four matches. Defeats at the first stages of both the Spalding and FA Cups followed before replacements were introduced such as Darren Bradshaw and Mark Smith. This led to a successful run which elevated the side to 2nd place. However, the legacy of the poor start to the season and eventual lack of cover for injuries and suspensions brought an eventual fourth place finish behind Halifax Town. Darren Collins was once again the top scorer for the club, with 29 league goals.

Darren Collins Developments to the complex during 1997 and 1998 saw major improvements to the Training Ground, The summer of 1998 brought the completion of the North Stand development with the inclusion of additional hospitality boxes, football club offices and a large retail outlet to house the clubs merchandise store, known as the Doc Shop. Further development of the AirWair Stand commenced that June with the installation of a roof making the stadium completely covered by November.

AirWair Stand

After a record-breaking start when seven successive wins were recorded, the 1998/99 season saw the club repeat its fourth place finish in the Nationwide Conference, with the season fading quickly after a home defeat by eventual champions Cheltenham Town who scored twice in the dying minutes of the game. Early season promise had been brought via signings such as Michael McElhatton and Jon Brady, with additional players arriving during the season such as Ray Warburton.

Ray Warburton

The Northants Senior Cup was won for the second time in the clubs brief history, but the highlight of the season was undoubtedly the FA Cup run which culminated in a Third Round clash with Premiership side Leeds United. In January, before a ground record crowd of 6,431, the Diamonds secured a memorable 0-0 draw. Over 39,000 watched the replay at Elland Road eleven days later but, after taking an 11th minute lead through Carl Heggs, the cup dream was ended as the Premiership side stepped up a gear and ran out 3-1 winners.

Leeds Draw Celebrations   Heggs goal away at Leeds

Prior to the start of 1999/2000, Brian Talbot was appointed Club Manager and the Maunsell Premier Cup was again captured at the expense of Northampton Town. The Club were made favourites for the Conference title, with signings such as Billy Turley and Mark Peters, and were always in the upper reaches of the table. Optimism was high at the end of February when leading the table, with a run of home games to follow.  However, only two of these were won, and defeat against the eventual champions Kidderminster Harriers at Aggborough effectively decided the season, and runners-up spot had to suffice. Another successful FA Cup run again culminated in a Third Round Proper exit on penalties in a Nene Park replay against Sheffield United, following an excellent 1-1 draw at Bramall Lane. Disappointment came in the quarter finals of the FA Trophy with a shock reversal in a home replay against Sutton United.

Pre-season 2000/2001 dawned with the opening of the Dr Martens Sports and Exhibition Centre adjacent to Pitch No.2, including the base for the playing staff complete with gymnasium, management offices and recreational facilities. The previous seasons disappointment hadn’t deterred the bookmakers and Diamonds were again rated favourites to secure the one promotion place to the Football League. This favourite status was reinforced by signings such as those of Justin Jackson, Duane Darby and Tarkan Mustafa to fit into a side that already included the likes of Paul Underwood, Ray Warburton, Mark Peters, Garry Butterworth and Jon Brady.

Justin Jackson

A 12-game unbeaten run at the start of the season put them in pole position, but a run of bad results, including a fighting 1-0 defeat at Luton Town in the First Round of the FA Cup, left them trailing Yeovil Town heading into Christmas. Brian Talbot came under pressure from a minority group of supporters but Max Griggs faith never wavered and he was rewarded when the team lost just one of their final 23 league games to secure promotion to the Football League, just nine short years after the club came into existence.

A key 2-0 victory over local rivals Kettering Town, achieved with 10 men away from home was followed by a tense goalless draw with Yeovil Town in Somerset, and then the title was clinched with a 2-1 victory over Chester City.

Duane Darby

Other players that featured that season included Andy Burgess in just his second season, Shaun Carey, Jim Rodwell, Gary Setchell, Jean-Michel Sigere, Gary Mills and Stuart Gray.

Conference Champs

Conf Champs

The Football League Years (2001 – 2006)

The first year in the Football League brought around more excitement to the club. The club started the season in fine style, recording their first win in the Football League with a 1-0 victory over York City. Warren Patmore, signed from Yeovil and scored the club’s first ever Football League goal but lasted only four games before transferring to Woking.

Despite a Worthington Cup win over Burnley, the club went seven league matches without a win and the hard-earned league status looked under threat as Barry Hunter was signed along with Scott Partridge and the returning Ritchie Hanlon to try to reverse the trend. The record books were rewritten for Diamonds on October 2001 but unfortunately it was for the wrong reasons. A 7-1 hammering at Cardiff in the LDV Vans Trophy game was a club record heaviest defeat. However, the season was about to change in December following the signing of Onandi Lowe, a Jamaican international who had an excellent scoring record for his country. This signing was reinforced with the arrival of Stuart Wardley and Paul Hall. The club lost only eight games in 26 matches from December. Lowe went on a scoring spree for Diamonds – hitting nine in the final five games of the season to shoot Diamonds up the table and secure a play-off spot. Diamonds were pitted with Rochdale in the semi-final and after an emphatic 2-2 draw at Nene Park it was all down to one match at Spotland on a cold Tuesday night for a place in the final at the Millennium Stadium. It looked as though Diamonds would not get their day at Cardiff after a mistake from Billy Turley, miskicking a rolling ball, saw the club go one goal down. However, their day in the Welsh capital was secured when Onandi Lowe and Paul Hall grabbed a goal apiece. The final, however, was not to be Diamonds day and Cheltenham ran out deserved 3-1 winners, with Hall grabbing the club’s goal at the famous stadium.

The 2002-2003 season brought much optimism for the club following their impressive first year in the Football League. Marcus Bignot, a former Crewe player was brought in to strengthen the squad and the club made an impressive start, losing only one game from their opening eight encounters. Despite an 8-0 loss to Coventry in the Worthington Cup (breaking the record for the heaviest club defeat) Diamonds were never out of the top six throughout 2002. A 5-1 home win over Shrewsbury kicked off 2003 and important victories over Kidderminster, Cambridge and Bournemouth kept the momentum going. On March 1st 2003, Diamonds were in second place in the table, a massive 12 points behind leaders Hartlepool, and at that stage there was no talk of the title. However, an incredible turn of fortunes for both sides resulted in one of the most amazing finishes to the season. With Hartlepool struggling to find any form, Diamonds took full advantage and in March the club racked up wins over York, Hull, Bury and Exeter, with Brian being named Manager of the Month (his second award of this type for the season). Diamonds won four important games on the trot in April, including a 2-1 victory over Carlisle, which secured promotion and could have secured the championship in the penultimate match of the season, but a 0-0 draw against Leyton Orient combined with a Hartlepool win set up a mouth-watering end of season game. The computer fixture could not have written the script any sweeter – Hartlepool were the last day opponents for Diamonds at Nene Park. The home side knew a draw would be good enough to secure the title and Paul Hall settled nerves with a first-half opener. It looked as though there would be no response from Hartlepool but with minutes remaining Diamonds fans were to endure nail-biting moments when Hartlepool grabbed an equaliser. However, this was to be Diamonds day as they held on for a famous draw to secure the championship in only the club’s second season in the Football League.

Rushden and Diamonds kicked off life in Division Two with a 3-1 opening day loss at Luton Town. New signing Rodney Jack had to settle for a place on the substitute’s bench as Brian Talbot began with the same eleven that clinched the title against Hartlepool at Nene Park in the previous campaign. Despite Onandi Lowe giving Rushden a first half lead, two goals from Tony Thorpe and a strike from Matthew Spring gave the Hatters the win. The opening day league defeat was followed by a 3-1 loss in the Carling Cup, at the hands of West Ham United, in front of a near 14,000 crowd at Upton Park. Rushden’s league form varied throughout the season, as the Diamonds could not manage more than two consecutive victories. Life in Division Two was proving to be a challenge. At Christmas, Rushden were placed 14th in the table, yet it was all very tight in the league at this time. Diamonds were only eight points above the drop zone, yet only six points behind Bristol City, who occupied the final play-off spot. The Christmas period brought Rushden two wins out of three, and lifted the side to within two points of the play-offs. However, the turn of the year resulted in a dramatic turn of fortunes for the club. The team desperately struggled for form on the pitch, picking up only eight points from a possible thirty-three. Additionally, off-the-field problems were beginning to mount, and clearly having an effect on the team’s performance. The beginning of March saw manager Brian Talbot resign from his post before heading to Oldham Athletic. Barry Hunter took charge of first team affairs on a Caretaker Manager basis. Hunter’s reign began with a 1-0 loss at Bristol City. A brace from centre-half Andy Edwards gave Rushden a victory against Notts County at Nene Park, a win that would prove to be Diamonds’ last victory of the season. Transfer deadline day saw four first team regulars leave Nene Park. Paul Underwood headed to Luton Town, while right full-back Marcus Bignot left for QPR. Jamaican duo Paul Hall and Onandi Lowe also departed, moving to Tranmere Rovers and Coventry City respectively. Lowe’s goals had been vital to Rushden and his departure was a major blow, as Rushden struggled for goals from then on.

Paul Underwood

As the club continued to slide down the league table, Ernie Tippett was appointed as manager to attempt to maintain Rushden’s Division 2 status with three games remaining. The task proved too much as Diamonds lost all three games 2-0, to Hartlepool, Colchester, and Port Vale, condemning Rushden to relegation after just one season in Division 2.

ERNIE The pre-season of 2004/05 was a busy period for the club, as Ernie Tippett and Stewart Robson looked to effectively rebuild the squad for the forthcoming campaign. New signings included defenders Sean Connelly, Graham Allen (both from Tranmere Rovers), Peter Hawkins and Rob Gier (from MK Dons). Phil Gulliver also arrived along with Craig Dove (a winger) from Middlesbrough. Alex Hay and Gareth Seddon were also brought in to provide more attacking options. Before the fixtures for the 2004 / 05 campaign were announced, there was a great air of anticipation around Nene Park, in fact, around Northamptonshire. Everyone was eager to find out when Rushden and Northampton Town would lock horns, having missed each other the previous season, after Rushden won Division 3, and Northampton were relegated from Division 2.

The two sides would not have to wait long to meet. Rushden would travel to the Sixfields Stadium after an opening day home tie against Kidderminster Harriers. After drawing the opener with Kidderminster 0-0, Rushden went down 1-0 to Northampton, after Eric Sabin struck late on in the game.  Injury and illness denied Gareth Seddon the opportunity to pull on a Diamonds shirt, so Ernie Tippett and Stewart Robson would utilise the loan system. Kevin Braniff arrived from Millwall on a three-month loan, and he scored vital goals in 1-0 wins against Grimsby and Cheltenham. The highlight of the opening half of the season was Rushden’s 5-1 thumping of Notts County at Nene Park. New loan signing Drewe Broughton scored a hat trick, the first of the three coming after just ten seconds. However, a run of 13 league games without a win would ultimately spell the end of Ernie Tippett and Stewart Robson’s reign at Nene Park. Barry Hunter took charge for his second spell as Caretaker Manager, and got off to the best possible start, with a 2-0 win over Leyton Orient.

hunter

Hunter had reignited the passion and determination that Rushden had missed for so long, and he also made some excellent loan signings to strengthen the squad for the battle ahead. Scott Shearer was brought in from Coventry City, to fill the troublesome Goalkeeper slot following Billy Turley’s departure. Hunter also brought in Neil McCafferty , a tenacious young Irish midfielder from Charlton, and Mark Williams, a Northern Ireland international, loaned in from MK Dons at centre-half. Drewe Broughton returned for a second spell at Nene Park, to forge an excellent strike partnership with Billy Sharp, an eighteen year old from Sheffield United. Rushden were becoming quite a force at home under Hunter, and the highlight of the season would be March 12th, 2005. Rushden played Northampton at Nene Park, and with the game level at 2-2 in injury time, Luke Chambers misjudged a clearance-come-pass from Rob Gier, allowing Sharp to steal in and slot the ball past the Cobblers’ goalkeeper as the Rushden fans went wild.

sharp

Safety was guaranteed despite the loss of the final two matches of the season to already relegated Cambridge, and promotion chasing Macclesfield. Kidderminster were the other relegated side. In Summer 2005 Max Griggs stepped down as Chairman and owner of the club after announcing his intention to sell the club in October 2003. The Rushden and Diamonds Supporters Trust, made up of supporters of the club, were formed in order to protect the club. In January 2005 Griggs announced his plans to hand over the Football Club, the Nene Park stadium and 22 acres of land – except the sports and exhibition centre – to the Trust. The Griggs family also offered a cash injection of £500,000 for the 2005/06 season, and £250,000 for the 2006/07 season.

Max Griggs The club was formally handed over to the Supporters Trust at a ceremony at Nene Park on 3rd June 2005 in a historic gesture, with Rushden & Diamonds becoming the first Football Club owned solely by a Supporters Trust.

trust On the playing side, Barry Hunter remained as Manager after avoiding relegation the previous season. Young players Greg Pearson, Daniel Chillingworth and Neil McCafferty were signed from West Ham, Cambridge United and Charlton respectively. Hunter also recruited experienced midfielder Dave Savage from Bristol Rovers as well as securing the loan signings of young goalkeeper Jamie Young from Reading, Ashley Nicholls joined on loan from Cambridge and striker Chris O’Grady from Leicester. During the January transfer window many additional signings were made including Wayne Hatswell, Darren Caskey, Tyrone Berry, Scott Tynan and Ronnie Bull. Also in January youth team products David Bell and Andy Burgess both left the club with Bell joining former Diamonds defender Paul Underwood at Luton Town.

BELL The 2005/06 season would ultimately be a season of struggle culminating in relegation to the Football Conference. However, highlights included the 3-0 home victory over fellow strugglers and near neighbours Oxford United at the end of January and a decent spell of form in February and March. Relegation was confirmed at Boston United on April 29th with Diamonds losing 2-0 after they had numerous chances to win the game. After the game most of the players joined the fans to commiserate, and the club’s 5-year stay in the Football League had ended.

The Football Conference – Part 2 (2006 to 2011) As a result of relegation the club decided not to renew Barry Hunter’s contract as Manager whilst many players were also released. A total of thirteen senior players left the club including Player of the Year Phil Gulliver and top scorer Drewe Broughton.

Paul Hart training 2

Former Nottingham Forest and Barnsley Manager Paul Hart, was appointed First Team Manager on 23rd May 2006. In addition the high profile names of Ian Bowyer, Ian Woan and Tony Godden were also brought in as back room staff. With only a short list of players retained, Paul Hart set about signing a number of players in June. Glenn Wilson, Paul Watson, Jon Ashton, Chris Hope and Leo Fortune-West all arrived on free transfers, while Michael Rankine and Nicky Eyre both signed after a successful trial periods at the club.

Chris Hope challenges Onome Sodje

The Diamonds started the season poorly with defeats to Crawley Town and Grays Athletic, and after a 4-1 defeat to Northwich Victoria, and with only 4 wins in the first 16 games Paul Hart and his management paid the price for the Club’s poor league position, with Tony Godden taking temporary charge as Caretaker Manager.

Tony’s first game in charge saw a respectable 1-1 draw away at Weymouth and although the side lost in the League to Dagenham & Redbridge, St. Albans and Aldershot, the club progressed to the Second round of the FA Cup after beating League One side Yeovil Town 3-1.

On 22nd November 2006 the Supporters Trust handed over control of Rushden & Diamonds, and the Nene Park facilities they controlled, to Keith Cousins, who became the new Club Chairman.

Keith Cousins

Following Mr Cousin’s arrival the club sought a new manager, with Graham Westley being appointed on Monday 18th December 2006 prior to the Club’s busy Christmas schedule.

Graham Westley

After results picked up, and Conference safety looked certain, Graham Westley left the club by mutual consent to be replaced by Garry Hill, the former Weymouth and Dagenham & Redbridge manager, appointed at the end of February 2007.

GARRY HILL

Garry’s side finished the season in 12th place on 62 points. Over the summer players such as Curtis Woodhouse, Martin Foster, and former Diamond players Jon Challinor, Andy Burgess and Phil Gulliver were bought in to strengthen the youthful team, in the aim of a push for in the newly renamed Blue Square Premier in the 2007/08 season.

The 2007/08 season turned out to be a season of consolidation, with the club maintaining a solid mid-table position throughout the season, finishing in 16th place on 59 points. Players departing included Wayne Hatswell and Simeon Jackson, with the latter moving to the League One level with Gillingham.

Simeon Jackson

After an initial difficulty in finding the net at Nene Park the fans were treated to two successive 5-0 victories – the televised game with Oxford United followed a victory over Solihull Moors in the FA Cup. The cup form continued with victory over league two Macclesfield Town, but the run ended at the Memorial Stadium in Bristol, with Rovers making the best of difficult conditions.

A further highlight of the season was a run to the final of the Setanta Shield, and although beaten on penalties, the 3-3 draw at Aldershot will be long remembered by those that witnessed it live or on TV.

fans

The season ended with the Diamonds lifting the NFA Hillier Cup with a 2-1 victory over Brackley Town.

For the 2008/09 season, 10 pre-season signings included Daryl Clare and Rob Wolleaston, with Curtis Osano joining the club on a permanent basis after spending the previous season on loan from Reading. Victory over Peterborough United in the Maunsell Cup Final was the fourth occasion the Diamonds had won the senior Northamptonshire FA competition.  The season got off to a good start, with the first four games unbeaten, including a draw at local rivals Kettering Town.

Sam Smith equalises

However, the season quickly tailed off, and saw the Diamonds go out of the FA Cup at Evesham United in the fourth qualifying round. Garry Hill resigned as manager of the club on 10th February 2009, and was replaced by Justin Edinburgh as caretaker-manager. Edinburgh’s first game in charge was in the 9-0 victory over Weymouth at the Wessex Stadium on 21st February 2009. That was followed by the Diamonds maintaining their excellent record over local rivals Kettering Town with a 1-0 victory at Nene Park.

Northwich Celebration

Edinburgh was then awarded a permanent contract just prior to the final game of the 2008-09 season. That final game saw the Diamonds complete the campaign in 11th position in the Blue Square Premier.

Justin Edinburgh

For the 2009-10 season a number of new players were signed, including Craig Farrell, Max Porter, Aaron O’Connor and Jamie Stuart, but long servants Chris Hope and Andy Burgess departed before the season started.

Andy Burgess

After keeping a stable squad for all of the 2009-10 season, Justin Edinburgh led the team to fourth position in the league, including a memorable victory over champions Stevenage Borough, a record 8-0 home victory over Gateshead and a 3-0 away victory over local rivals Kettering Town, With only two league defeats from the start of the year 2010, the club clinched a place in the post-season playoffs for the first time, but they lost over two legs to Oxford United in the semi-final.

Stevenage Celebration

For the 2010/11 season in the newly renamed Blue Square Bet Premier there were a number of changes in personnel, with ten summer signings and a similar number of departures from the club. Star player Lee Tomlin had remained at Nene Park for much of the pre-season period but left to join Peterborough United shortly before the start of the season.

Lee Tomlin celebrates

The first three months of the season saw a mixed set of results, including two more victories over local rivals Kettering, including an FA Cup victory during October that saw Justin Edinburgh win the manager of the month award.

On 1st December 2010 Keith Cousins announced he was stepping down as club chairman, endorsing Liam Beasant and Gary Calder as the new owners of the Football Club. In February 2011 Gary Calder left the club, with Liam Beasant taking over as Chairman, with Steve Beasant coming in as Chief Executive Officer.

On 14th December 2010 the club reported the sad loss of goalkeeper Dale Roberts, one of the most popular players at the club.

roberts england c

At the end of the 2010-11 season the Rushden & Diamonds Youth Team clinched the Midland Youth Cup with a 3-2 victory against Chesterfield at the b2Net Stadium on 19th April 2011.

Diamonds youth team celebrate winning the Midland Cup

The Youth Team then completed a double when they clinched the Football Conference Youth Alliance title at the start of May 2011.

Under 18 team celebrate winning the league

On 11th June 2011 the club was expelled from the Football Conference at the Conference AGM.

Honours Board

Football League Division Three Champions – 2002 / 03

Football League Division Three Playoff Finalists – 2001 / 02

Football Conference Champions – 2000 / 01

Southern League Premier Division Champions – 1995 / 96

Southern League Midland Division Champions – 1993 / 94

NFA Maunsell Cup Winners 1994 / 95, 1999 / 00, 2005 / 06, 2008 / 09

NFA Hillier Cup Winners 1993 / 94, 1998 / 99, 2006 / 07, 2007 / 08

Midland Youth Cup Winners 2010 / 11

Conference Shield Winners 2000 / 01

Southern League Championship Cup Winners 1996 / 97

Progression in FA Cup – Third Round 1998/99, 1999/00

Record Victory : Weymouth 0 Rushden & Diamonds 9 (Blue Square Premier – 21st February 2009)

Record Defeat : Coventry City 8 Rushden & Diamonds 0 (League Cup – 2nd October 2002)

Sequence Stats – For League, FA Cup and Football League Cup / FA Trophy / FA Vase games only

Longest Sequence of Wins – 8 (from 2nd May 1998 to 5th Sep 1998)

Longest Unbeaten Run – 20 (from 5th Feb 1994 to 7th May 1994)

Longest Sequence of Home Wins – 9 (from 28th Nov 1992 to 6th Mar 1993)

Longest Sequence of Away Wins – 7 (from 1st May 2000 to 30th Sep 2000)

League Positions

Season Division P W D L F A Pts Pos
1992-93 Southern League Midland 42 25 10 7 85 41 85 3
1993-94 Southern League Midland 42 29 11 2 109 37 98 1
1994-95 Southern Premier 42 19 11 12 99 65 68 5
1995-96 Southern Premier 42 29 7 6 99 41 94 1
1996-97 Conference 42 14 11 17 61 63 53 12
1997-98 Conference 42 23 5 14 79 57 74 4
1998-99 Conference 42 20 12 10 71 42 72 4
1999-00 Conference 42 21 13 8 71 42 76 2
2000-01 Conference 42 25 11 6 78 36 86 1
2001-02 Division 3 46 20 13 13 69 53 73 6
2002-03 Division 3 46 24 15 7 73 47 87 1
2003-04 Division 2 46 13 9 24 60 74 48 22
2004-05 League 2 46 10 14 22 42 63 44 22
2005-06 League 2 46 11 12 23 44 76 45 24
2006-07 Conference 46 17 11 18 58 54 62 12
2007-08 Conference 46 15 14 17 55 55 59 16
2008-09 Conference 46 16 15 15 61 50 53 11
2009-10 Conference 44 22 13 9 77 29 79 4
2010-11 Conference 46 16 14 16 65 62 57* 13

* = 5 points deducted for Conference Rule 18 breach

Season Records – League Apps and Goals (Regular Season Only)

Season Most League Games Most League Goals
1992-1993 John Flower (36+3) Andy Kirkup (12), Dale Watkins (12), Glenville Donegal (12)
1993-1994 Micky Nuttell (40), Dale Watkins (40), Dave Johnson (40) Micky Nuttell (29)
1994-1995 Garry Butterworth (41) Dale Watkins (25)
1995-1996 Garry Butterworth (42) Darren Collins (30)
1996-1997 Garry Butterworth (41), Jim Rodwell (41) Carl Alford (13)
1997-1998 Darren Collins (39) Darren Collins (29)
1998-1999 Paul Underwood (40) Darren Collins (17)
1999-2000 Garry Butterworth (41), Paul Underwood (40+1) Michael McElhatton (11), Darren Collins (11)
2000-2001 Tarkan Mustafa (41), Billy Turley (41), Garry Butterworth (40+1) Duane Darby (24)
2001-2002 Billy Turley (43) Onandi Lowe (19)
2002-2003 Paul Hall (44+1) Paul Hall (16)
2003-2004 Rodney Jack (44+1) Onandi Lowe (14)
2004-2005 Andy Burgess (42) Billy Sharp (9)
2005-2006 Marcus Kelly (39+2) Drewe Broughton (10)
2006-2007 Chris Hope (45) Simeon Jackson (19)
2007-2008 Jon Challinor (35+10) Simeon Jackson (16)
2008-2009 Chris Hope (46) Sam Smith (8), Rob Wolleaston (8), Lee Tomlin (8)
2009-2010 Max Porter (34+9) Lee Tomlin (14)
2010-2011 Matt Johnson (22+22) Aaron O’Connor (14)

Paris Cowan-Hall

Paris Cowan-Hall

Born 5 October 1990 (Age 20 at debut)

Position: Forward

(Diamonds player #368)

Total appearances 3 – 1 goal

(3 League)

Debut:

22 February 2011 (Home Eastbourne Borough)

Final game:

22 April 2011 (Away Crawley Town)

Paris had started his career at Nene Park in the Club’s Development Programme aged 12. After two seasons, he signed for the Diamonds’ Centre of Excellence in September 2005 and represented the Diamonds at Under-18 level, whilst still only 15. He went for unsuccessful trials at Manchester United and Chelsea. When former manager Paul Hart became Youth Team boss at Portsmouth, he signed Paris to their Youth scheme in July 2007 whilst they were still a Premiership club. After time spent with the Portsmouth Youth and reserve sides he went on two loan spells with Grimsby Town in 2010, both of which were cut short due to illness and injury, before being released at the end of last season. In the early part of 2010/2011 season he signed for Championship club Scunthorpe United, initially on trial but was then given a permanent deal in October 2010. He made his league debut for the Irons as a substitute in their Championship game against Watford on 3 January 2011. Paris arrived at Nene Park on a three month loan on 16 February 2011, and scored in his first game against Eastbourne Borough.

paris

At the end of the season, he returned to his parent club, Scunthorpe United with injury and illness having limited him to two starts and one substitute appearance in Conference games. He was released by them in May 2011, and was on trial at League Two side Gillingham during July before signing for Conference South side Woking on 12 August 2011. He helped Woking to the Conference South title, scoring 11 times in 27 appearances. Although he was offered a contract extension, Paris declined this in favour of a move to League Two side Plymouth Argyle which was announced on 29 May 2012, to commence on 1 July after compensation was agreed between the two clubs. He scored 5 times in 45 appearances, but was transferred to fellow League Two side Wycombe Wanderers on 25 June 2013 on a two year deal, for an undisclosed fee. He joined Millwall at the start of 2015 but his appearances there were limited and he return to Wycombe Wanderers in June 2016, initially on loan, but then signing a deal through to 2019. His Wikipedia page is here.

Appearances

2010/2011 – squad number 10

Conf

22.2.11

Eastbourne B (H)

1 goal

Conf

12.3.11

Wrexham (A)

Conf

22.4.11

Crawley Town (A)

as sub

Jerry Nash

Jerry Nash

Born 18 July 1994 (Age 16 at debut)

Position: Midfielder

(Diamonds player #365)

Total appearances 1

(1 Hillier Senior Cup)

Debut & Final game:

12 January 2011 (Home Brackley Town)

Another product of the Youth set up at Nene Park, the creative midfielder was a first year scholar when he made his debut for Diamonds when he was came on as a first-half substitute in the Hillier Cup game against Brackley Town on 12 January 2011.

Following the demise of Diamonds and a year to go with his scholarship, Jerry joined the youth set-up at Luton Town for the 2011/2012 season and made his first team debut in the FA Trophy tie at Hinckley United in January 2012. On 31 August 2012, Jerry joined Southern League Division One Central side Leighton Town on work experience. He was released at the end of his scholarship in the summer of 2013, and signed for Southern Premier side Bedford Town on 3 July 2013. Whilst studying in the Nottingham area he joined Basford Town, helping them to promotion in 2017-18 before moving to Matlock Town in June 2018, but after a short spell there he moved on to AFC Mansfield in September 2018.

Appearances

2010/2011 – squad number =

HSC2

12.1.11

Brackley Town (H)

as sub

Ryan Leonard

Ryan Leonard

Born 24 May 1992 (Age 18 at debut)

Position: Defender

(Diamonds player #363)

Total appearances 1

(1 Hillier Senior Cup)

Debut & Final game:

12 January 2011 (Home Brackley Town)

 

Ryan joined Plymouth Argyle as a schoolboy, and progressed through the clubs Centre ofExcellence, before signing a professional contract. He made his debut for Plymouth in March 2010 at the age of 17, but failed to make the first team squad the following season. He went out on loan to Conference South side Weston-super-Mare in December 2010, before coming to Nene Park for a trial. He made his single appearance for Diamonds in the Hillier Senior Cup game against Brackley Town on 12 January 2011, but returned to Home Park after the game. He was released in the summer, and went for a trial at League Two side Southend United before signing a one year deal with the Shrimpers on 27 July 2011. He had a very successful time at Southend, right through to the start of 2018, when he signed for Sheffield United. He signed a loan deal with Millwall which is due to become permanent at the start of 2019. His Wikipedia entry is here.

Appearances

2010/2011 – squad number =

HSCSF

12.1.11

Brackley Town(H)

Luke Prosser

Luke Prosser

Born 28 May 1988 (Age 22 at debut)

Position: Defender

(Diamonds player #360)

Total appearances 7 – 1 goal

(6 League, 1 Hillier Senior Cup)

Debut:

8 January 2011 (Home Altrincham)

Final game:

12 February 2011 (Home Gateshead)

Born in London, Luke was a member of the Tottenham Hotspur Youth Academy, before signing for Port Vale as a 16-year old in 2004. He actually played against Diamonds youth team in the FA Youth Cup tie in the 2004/2005 season. He progressed through their youth team, eventually earning a professional contract.He made his debut for Port Vale on 5 April 2008, and played 5 games at the end of that 2007/2008 season. He played 28 games the following season, but found himself out of the first team squad the next season. He went on a two month loan to Conference side Salisbury City in August 2009, before returning to Vale Park, then in March 2010, went to Kidderminster Harriers on loan until the end of the season.

He was released in the summer after 36 appearances for Port Vale, and joined Southend United in August 2010 on a one year deal. The central defender played for Southend in their pre-season friendly at Nene Park and played 13 games for them before he was allowed out on a three month loan deal, arriving at Nene Park on 7 January 2011. He made his debut in the 1-2 defeat at home to Altrincham the following day. He scored a goal for Diamonds at Hayes and Yeading, but also conceded an own goal in what was to be his final game for Diamonds against Gateshead. He was recalled by Southend United on 17 February 2011, due to a number of injuries to their own squad. He stayed with Southend until May 2016, joining Colchester United. His Wikipedia entry is here.

Appearances

2010/2011 – squad number 5

Conf

8.1.11

Altrincham (H)

HSC2

12.1.11

Brackley Town (H)

Conf

18.1.11

Hayes&Yeading(A)

1 goal

Conf

22.1.11

Newport Co (A)

Conf

29.1.11

Tamworth (H)

Conf

5.2.11

Cambridge Utd(A)

Conf

12.2.11

Gateshead (H)

Michael Gash

Michael Gash

Born 9 March 1986 (Age 24 at debut)

Position: Forward

(Diamonds player #359)

Total appearances 19 – 6 goals

(18 League, 1 Hillier Senior Cup)

Debut:

1 January 2011 (Away Luton Town)

Final game:

2 April 2011 (Away Mansfield Town)

Michael was born in Germany and started his career with Cambridge City. After a move to Cambridge United in 2006, he returned to City a year later and struck 27 goals in the 2007/2008 season. He then moved to Ebbsfleet United in the summer of 2008, and scored some 13 goals for the Fleet in his one season at Stonebridge Road. His impressive strike rate earned him a £55,000 transfer move to York City at the start of the 2009/2010 season, but fitness and injury problems restricted his appearances during his first season at Bootham Crescent. He won an England C cap whilst with York, and arrived at Nene Park on 1 January 2011 on a loan deal until the end of the season, making his debut the same day at Luton Town. He scored his first goal for Diamonds at Newport County three weeks later.

He scored four goals in the home game against Bath City, but a toe injury against Mansfield Town resulted in him missing the final seven games of the season, and he returned to York, only to be released at the end of the season. On 30 June 2011, Michael signed a one year deal with Cambridge United, which was later extended for another season in May 2012. On 17 August 2012, he went out on loan with fellow Conference side Braintree Town, before returning after one month. On 4 March 2013, Michael joined Kidderminster Harriers, initially on a loan deal until the end of the season, and the move was made permanent on 1 May 2013, when he signed  a two year deal. He left the Harriers at the start of 2015, joining Barnet, but after some success there a serious injury meant he missed much of the 2016-17 season. He joined Kings Lynn Town in July 2017. His Wikipedia entry is here.

Michael Gash v Bath City

Appearances

2010/2011 – squad number 30

Conf

1.1.11

Luton Town (A)

Conf

3.1.11

Kettering Town (H)

Conf

8.1.11

Altrincham (H)

HSC2

12.1.11

Brackley Town (H)

Conf

18.1.11

Hayes&Yeading(A)

Conf

22.1.11

Newport Co (A)

1 goal

Conf

29.1.11

Tamworth (H)

Conf

1.2.11

Cambridge U (H)

Conf

5.2.11

Cambridge U (A)

Conf

12.2.11

Gateshead (H)

Conf

22.2.11

Eastbourne B (H)

Conf

1.3.11

Bath City (H)

4 goals

Conf

5.3.11

Hayes&Yeading(H)

1 goal

Conf

8.3.11

Forest Green (H)

Conf

12.3.11

Wrexham (A)

Conf

19.3.11

Southport (H)

Conf

22.3.11

Luton Town (H)

Conf

26.3.11

AFC Wimbledon(A)

Conf

2.4.11

Mansfield Town (A)

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