On Saturday the Beachboys entertain AFC Rushden & Diamonds in the 2nd Qualifying round of the FA Cup. We chatted with Jon Dunham of the Northamptonshire Telegraph to find out more of our opponents…
What happened once Rushden & Diamonds folded at the end of the 2010/2011 season?
Well, a number of the club’s fans (170 were at the first meeting) got together and decided they wanted to form a fan-owned club from the ashes.
They did that initially with just a youth team for the 2011/2012 season, but then formed their senior side for the following season, starting in the United Counties League Division One.
Their first game attracted a crowd of nearly 800 and they went on to win that title before claiming the UCL Premier Division title in 2015 to earn promotion to the Southern League.
Diamonds now play in Division One South of the Northern Premier League and continue to attract decent crowds of around 500 at home. While they are a new club, their links with the old Rushden & Diamonds remain strong with the club’s colours being the same and the club badge resembling that of the original set up.
What is the ambition of the owners…to ultimately return to the Football League?
The fans own the club and their main aim is to ensure the same mistakes that led to the demise of Rushden & Diamonds aren’t made again. They are quite clear in the fact that they live within their means and, in time, find their natural level.
The club is well backed in terms of attendances, which enables the club to compete well on the field and they enjoyed their best run in the FA Cup last season when they reached the fourth qualifying round.
I think the ambition is to have a club that lives within it’s means and then competes at whatever level it finds itself at.
How has the season started so far?
Overall, the season has started pretty well. They suffered back-to-back defeats in their first two league matches, but will arrive on Saturday on the back of a five match unbeaten run in all competitions. A new squad has settled down, and already won two FA Cup ties to reach this stage.
What is their view on Concord Rangers?
Manager Andy Peaks has been very respectful of Concord in interviews I have done with him since the draw was made, and they are well aware of the task at hand. Despite Concord’s tough start to the season, there is a two division gap between the two clubs so Diamonds are most definitely the underdogs. But I think they will be confident of putting on a good show and hopefully (from a Northamptonshire point of view!) causing one of the upsets of the round.
Will Concord score their first home goals of the season? Will Concord progress to the 3rd qualifying round?
You can find out the answers to these questions yourself, by coming to the Aspect Arena this Saturday.
3pm kick off
Under 16’s free. Yes free!
Chris Clark was chatting to @JonDunhamNT of the Northamptonshire Telegraph