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Answering the Call: Why Supporters Still Matter

The worst nightmare of a supporter is to see their club go away.  But great joy can be found again by bringing that club back to life.

Photo Credit: Malcolm Swinden Photography – Mal Swinden

Sports betting sites are a great way to enjoy international football, especially matches in England.

Ralph Burditt knows this firsthand as the first Chairman of AFC Rushden & Diamonds, a phoenix club created out of the ashes of a well-known English club called Rushden & Diamonds.

Like many clubs, R&D suffered greatly during the football recession and swiftly disappeared.  Supporters were left without their hometown club and had a big decision to make: try to save the existing club or start from scratch. The huge debts made it difficult to keep the original club alive so they decided to start over, creating an entirely new organization in the process. It is a proven method, considering the meteoric rise of AFC Wimbledon into the Football League.

“AFC Wimbledon is a very inspirational club,” Burditt declared. ”The supporters were dealt a great wrong by the football community and the FA. There were a lot of people needed to make things right. They have had outlandish success.”

Wimbledon expects promotion every other year, a lofty goal that has been met so far, but many obstacles lay ahead.  AFC R&D have goals of their own, none higher than sustainability. The club, which is focused on the community, has 26 teams (including men’s and women’s squads) already in place. The purpose is to develop local players to play in their first team and beyond.

Burditt also hopes the club will eventually have a ground to call their own as they currently share a ground over 5 miles away.

“We hope to give rise to the construction of a facility that will provide much-needed sporting facilities in the area,” Burditt continued.

The strength of support in the Rushden and Irthlingborough area was noted by a recent match that drew 1157 fans, a bright spot in AFC R&D’s inaugural season.

That season has been a success by all accounts, considering they currently sit at third place in the ChromaSport & Trophies United Counties League Division One table.

Photo Credit: Malcolm Swinden Photography – Mal Swinden

Developing young players has been a priority and it has been a job well done so far. Alfie Taylor and Joe Merrill are the first names that come to mind when discussing players that have the ability to progress up the pyramid.  Louis Smith, Ashley Foulger, Sam Brown, and Elliot Dent are other young players with lots of talent.

Simply put, the future of AFC Rushden & Diamonds is bright.  Maybe, just maybe the club can relive the biggest successes of their former selves.  For Burditt, the best memory was Duane Darby scoring 2 against Kettering Town in 2001.  This time around maybe it will be one of AFC R&D’s young stars that will score an iconic goal.

AFC Rushden & Diamonds Announce Youth Setup for 2012-2013

AFC Rushden & Diamonds are delighted to announce a football for all youth team setup from next season 2012-2013 after developing a partnership with South Rushden Junior Football Club.

Local players will be able to have a clear progression all the way through the age groups to the senior team.

In total there will be 22 youth teams, including girls teams and multi-disability teams.

Acting Chairman Ralph Burditt believes that the deal is vital for the future of football in the local area, “I am delighted that we have been given the opportunity to join together with South Rushden Junior Football Club, a club which is universally well thought of for the high standard of coaching that they provide. From day one, AFC Rushden & Diamonds has stated its commitment to providing football opportunities for local young people and this is the first and most vital step down the road to building a club which serves its community rather than the other way around. As a result of this deal, local youngsters will have a clear road set out before them, down which they can progress from a young age to Under 18s and beyond to senior football – all within the same club. We will be offering football for all abilities as well as all ages, providing a challenging and rewarding development for those who want it, without alienating those who simply wish to play for fun. We will also be able to provide the currently-existing teams with extra volunteers and indeed any other help which they need to support their footballing activities.”

South Rushden Juniors Football Club have been offering football for all within the local community for 10 years and feel the amalgamation fits with their  long-term aims and aspirations.

South Rushden Juniors’ David Cockings says “As a club we are committed to offering the children of Rushden and the surrounding area  somewhere they can play football at a reasonable cost and benefit from quality coaching.  The FA have recognized this and we have been a Charter Standard Club since 2007.  Our meetings with AFC Rushden & Diamonds have been very positive and we have so many aims in common that amalgamating the two club’s talents and abilities is the right thing to do.”

Rushden Set for Priory Lane Vist

Rushden & Diamonds are the latest former Football League side to visit Priory Lane as they take on Eastbourne Borough in the Blue Square Bet Premier on Wednesday night (September 29).

In spite of a respectable performance, Borough suffered a 4-0 reverse at Mansfield on Saturday – but they are developing a reputation for taking the pain of heavy defeats out on their next opponents. After they lost 4-2 at Tamworth on opening day, Garry Wilson’s side spanked Hayes & Yeading 5-0 a few days later, and they also put five past Altrincham a week after losing 4-0 to Barrow.
Rushden will be the next side to run that particular gauntlet in a repeat of Borough’s first-ever fixture at this level in 2008-09, when a Curtis Woodhouse penalty earned the visitors three points in a tight game.
Both teams are neck-and-neck in mid-table with similar records, on 14 points after the first 11 games. Rushden edge it on goal difference, despite their 1-0 defeat to Sussex opposition, in the shape of Crawley Town, on Sunday. It is because that match, screened live on Premier Sports, was pushed back that this one has also been moved 24 hours, from Tuesday to Wednesday.
Borough have been at their irresistable best at home, netting 17 goals in five matches, and will fancy their chances against a Rushden side that have won just once away from home this season (at Northamptonshire rivals Kettering).
Rushden moved to strengthen their squad last week by capturing target man Tim Sills on a three-month loan deal from League Two club Stevenage. The 31-year-old, who scored against Borough while playing for Torquay, was part of Stevenage’s Blue Square Premier title-winning side last term. Former Borough midfielder Joe Keehan, who signed a pro deal with Rushden in the summer, is yet to make an appearance for his new club, but has been an unused substitute on three occasions.

Borough Chase Weekend Points

An Eastbourne Borough side unbeaten in three matches chase more points over the Bank Holiday weekend with two attractive fixtures, at home to second-placed AFC Wimbledon on Saturday and at former Football League club Cambridge United on Monday (3 pm kickoffs).

Garry Wilson’s side won both those matches last season and will be looking to build on a good start which has seen them earn seven points from the first four games to sit third in the Blue Square Bet Premier table. They were on course for another victory when leading 1-0 at Histon on Tuesday night, only for an unstoppable 87th minute free-kick to deny them maximum points.

Last year’s home match with AFC Wimbledon attracted the biggest-ever league crowd at Priory Lane (3,108) and another sizeable attendance is anticipated with the match all-ticket for AWAY supporters only. Terry Brown’s side, in only their second season in non-league’s top flight, have made an impressive start to the campaign and lie second, with three wins in four matches. They suffered their first defeat of the season on Tuesday, however, going down 1-0 at Rushden & Diamonds.

Tickets are priced at £14 for adults, £10 concessions and £4 for children. Stand tickets will cost an extra £2. Free car parking for around 400 vehicles is available at the ground. For more information on Priory Lane and the match, visit

Two days later – and six days after their jaunt to Histon – Borough’s part-timers will journey back to Cambridgeshire for the match with Cambridge United. Borough took the spoils at the R Costings Abbey Stadium in January thanks to a Jamie Taylor header and will be hoping for a similar result against the U’s who, ahead of this weekend, have yet to win, having drawn three games and lost one. The Eastbourne Borough Supporters’ Club coach will be leaving Priory Lane at 10.45am – ring Les Baker on 01323 735378 for information on joining the supporters club and travelling away.

Speaking to the BBC this week ahead of this weekend’s matches, Borough boss Garry Wilson said: “It’s two big games for us but that’s what we’re in the Conference for, that’s where we want to be playing our football. We will pull in a big crowd on Saturday for AFC Wimbledon and then we’ll look forward to going to Cambridge on Monday.”