Thursday, July 27, 2017

Nene Park, where Rushden & Diamonds played

Rushden & Diamonds was formed in 1992 by a merger between two non-league team from Northamptonshire, Rushden Town and Irthlingborough Diamonds.

The merger was promoted by Max Griggs, owner of the Doc Marten shoe brand, who funded the new club.

The new club was remarkably successful. It rose through the non-league divisions and were promoted to Division 3 of the Football League (as its lowest division was then called) in 2001. Two years later they won it.

After that they began to struggle, particularly after Griggs handed the club to its supporters. They were soon out of the Football League and were wound up in 2011.

I was at the site of Rushden & Diamonds' ground, Nene Park, today.

Once they brought Leeds United and Sheffield United here in the third round of the FA Cup and staged under 21 and non-league internationals.

Even after Rushden & Diamonds folded, Kettering Town (a club with its own problems) played here for a while, and there was even talk of Coventry City being based here.

But Nene Park was demolished earlier this year. A Northamptonshire Telegraph report said:
"The building is in a dangerous condition and is unsafe. 
"The stadium represents a major fire risk. 
"The site is derelict and subject to wanton damage."
It is not known what will become of the site - nothing has happened at Leicester City's old Filbert Street ground - but at least that was nice use of "wanton".

And for the time being the blackberries growing there are very good.

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