An Introduction to AFC Rushden & Diamonds
AFC Rushden & Diamonds was formed in 2011 following the demise of Rushden & Diamonds FC as a supporter-owned, supporter-run football club. After a season in youth football in 2011-12 they were allocated a place in the United Counties League Division One for 2012-13. They gained promotion in second spot in that league at the end of their first season, and followed that with third place in the UCL Premier Division before winning the title in the 2014-15 season, backed up with the League Cup. This meant they won promotion to the Southern Football League Division One Central. In 2015-16 they finished fifth in the SL1C, reaching the playoff final and winning their County Cup. They were transferred to the Northern Premier League First Division South for the 2016-17 season.
They currently play at the Dog & Duck in Wellingborough, and have adopted a “Community Benefit Society” constitution accredited by the FSA. This reinforces the principles of One Fan, One Vote and ensures that the club and its assets are protected on behalf of the community in the long term. With 750 club members, today the club has 30 teams of all ages including Academy, Development, and Community teams not forgetting the much respected multi disability team; all wearing the traditional Diamonds white shirt.
Being a community members club means that to succeed and achieve long term plans, the club aims to sustain a strong youth and community football base, whilst engaging and gaining the support from the local community.
For a more detailed Club History see here.
Management Team and First Team Squad Profiles 2016-17
The AFC Rushden & Diamonds Management Team and First Team Squad for the 2016/17 season are detailed below. Further squad members will be linked to the AFC R&D U21 Squad. For individual profiles including game and competition stats see here. Player ages correct as of 4/2/17.
First Team Manager – Andy Peaks. Andy had joined Mark Starmer’s management team in May 2012, bringing a wealth of UCL experience as well as his notable career history with Rushden & Diamonds FC where he was eighth in their all-time appearance list, having played 205 times for R&DFC between 1992 and 1997. He holds a UEFA B coaching license. He took over control of first-team affairs in a caretaker role following Mark Starmer’s resignation on 19th March 2014, and was installed on a permanent basis a month later. In his first full season at the helm he took the club to a League and Cup Double in the United Counties League.
Assistant Manager – Paul Lamb. Paul joined the club in the summer of 2014 after performing a similar role at Cogenhoe United. He started his playing career at Northampton Town before making over 200 appearances for Wealdstone before moving back to the local area, playing for Brackley Town, Banbury United and Bedworth United before taking up the position of player-coach at Daventry Town. After helping Daventry clinch the UCL title he took on an assistant manager role at Banbury United before taking up a similar role with the Cooks.
First Team Coach – Scott Carlin. Scott joined the club in the summer of 2012, after leaving his post as Assistant Manager at Northampton Spencer. Scott, or Biff as he’s more commonly known, brought a wealth of experience having worked with AFC R&D Manager Andy Peaks over the previous few seasons.
First Team Physiotherapist – Kelly Freeman / Colin Hodsden
Matt Finlay joined the club from Cogenhoe United at the end of January 2014. The 36-year-old goalkeeper joined the Cooks in August 2013 after playing in the Northern Premier League Division One South to help Stamford win promotion to step 3 in the 2012-13 season, joining the Daniels from Banbury United. He had previously played for Woodford United, helping the Reds win the UCL Premier Division title and then playing for them in the Southern League. He has also played for Raunds Town, Bedford Town, Daventry Town, Brackley Town, St Neots Town, Wellingborough Town and Oxford City. He made 13 appearances for the Diamonds in 2013/14, but became a mainstay of the side as they won the League and Cup double in 2014/15, appearing 46 times. After another successful season in 2015/16 he was named as fans’ player of the season as well as picking up the players’ player award.
Ben Heath is a 21-year-old goalkeeper who joined the club at the end of October 2016. The young stopper had been with Rugby Town most recently, having also played at Step 4 level for Daventry Town.
Liam Dolman is a 29-year-old defender, who joined the club from Daventry Town during June 2014. He is from Northamptonshire, and started his career with Northampton Town, progressing from youth level to the first team, making his league debut at the end of the 2006/07 season and making over 50 appearances in League and FA Cup games for the Cobblers in the next two seasons. He then had a short spell playing Conference Football for Kidderminster Harriers in 2009/10 before joining Banbury United before moving to Daventry Town. After joining the Diamonds he had a successful first campaign, picking up the Manager’s Player of the Season award in 2014/15, as well as a Player of the Month award for February 2015 when he scored 6 goals from 4 games from his centre-back role. His goal at Long Buckby was also chosen as goal of the season. He was a mainstay of the side in the 2015/16 season, picking up a player of the month award for his memorable contribution to the Diamonds record run in the FA Cup.
Jack Ashton is a 26-year old defender, who joined the Diamonds on a dual registration basis with Stamford AFC in March 2014. He joined the Daniels in 2013 from Banbury United, with whom he had two spells either side of playing for Oxford City. He originally joined Banbury from Cogenhoe United, having previously had a spell at Long Buckby. He appeared in the final six games of the season in 2013-14, and won the April 2014 Player of the Month award. He picked up two further Player of the Month Awards in 2014/15, and also won the Fans Player of the Season award as well as the Players’ Player of the Season trophy. Despite injury problems during 2015/16 he won two further player of the month awards as well as picking up the goal of the season award for his late winner that clinched the Hillier Senior Cup.
Ruairidh (Rory) Winters is a defender, aged 26, who can play in various positions at the back. He joined the club in September 2016 after a previous spell with Gloucester City, having studied football coaching locally, following time in the USA playing for the AFC Cleveland Royals, and in Canada for FC London. He started his career in his native Lancashire after being with Oldham Athletic as a junior, playing at Lancaster, Morecambe and Kendal Town. He also had a short spell on the Wirral playing for Vauxhall Motors.
Kyal McNulty signed NPL forms with the club at the end of July 2016. Kyal is a 25-year-old defender who can also play in midfield, having played at Aylesbury United, Leighton T, Banbury, Arlesey, Biggleswade Town and Bedford Town.
Sam Brown is a 23-year-old defender who was a junior at the Centre of Excellence at Rushden & Diamonds FC. He joined AFC Kempston Rovers in 2009, aged 16, and helped them to reach the UCL Premier in 2010. Sam made 35(1) appearances during 2012-13, scoring two goals towards the end of the season, and winning the club Player of the Month award in January and April 2013. He also won the Manager’s Player of the Season award in 2012-13. He made 48 appearances for the Diamonds in 2013/14. In 2014/15 he reached his century of appearances for the Diamonds. After being a key part of the Diamonds setup at all three levels they have played he finished the 2015-16 season early in order to travel abroad.
Callum Westwood is an 18-year-old right back who signed for the club on dual registration terms with Kettering Town in January 2017. He was previously dual registered with the Poppies and Rugby Town. Before signing for the Poppies the 18-year-old defender was with the Northampton Town Youth Academy.
Richard Bunting is a 35-year-old midfielder who joined the club from Kings Lynn Town in November 2013. He had captained the Linnets to the Northern Premier League Division One South title in the 2012-13 season. In the previous season he was captain for Long Buckby when they won the United Counties Premier League title. He played for Cogenhoe United, Raunds Town and Brackley earlier in his career. He made 14(4) appearances for the Diamonds in 2013/14 with his goal at Newport Pagnell picking up the goal of the season award. He became club captain in 2014/15 helping the Diamonds pick up the League and Cup double in the UCL. He missed the latter part of the 2015/16 season.
Ben Farrell is a 30-year-old midfielder who joined the club from Bedford Town in December 2016. Ben has had several spells with Bedford Town, and earlier in his career made the step up from the Eagles to play Conference football with Cambridge United. He then had spells with Weymouth, Cambridge City and St Neots Town along with Arlesey Town before rejoining the Eagles.
Brad Harris is a 26-year-old midfielder who joined the club from Desborough Town in December 2012. He can play in central midfield or at centre-back. He started his career at Rugby Town, and played at Daventry Town and Long Buckby before joining Northampton Spencer where he played under Diamonds Manager Andy Peaks. After joining the Diamonds he made 19(3) appearances in the remainder of the 2012-13 season. He made 33(9) appearances for the Diamonds in 2013/14, picking up the Player of the Month award in March 2014. In 2014/15 he reached his century of appearances for the Diamonds, scoring some memorable goals which helped him earn two further Player of the Month awards.
Ross Oulton is a 26-year-old midfielder who joined the club in August 2016 having most recently been with Leamington FC. Prior to his time with the Brakes he was with Bedford Town and Rugby Town, having begun his career with Northampton Town.
Lewis Leslie is a 25-year-old midfielder, who joined the club from Cogenhoe United in November 2015, making his league debut during that month. Lewis came through the youth ranks at Compton Park to become a regular first-team player for Cogenhoe. Although he missed the 2013-14 season due to a knee injury he recovered to play 41 times for the Cooks during the 2014-15 season, scoring 12 goals. He ended the 2015-16 season in fine form, picking up the final player of the month award as the Diamonds reached the league playoffs.
Joe Curtis is a 23-year-old midfielder who joined the club before the start of the 2016-17 season. He had played at Daventry Town and Spalding United in the 2015-16 season, having previously been at Stamford and Brackley Town. He graduated through the youth system at Southampton, having also been a junior with Leicester City before a serious injury saw his release. He can play in central or wide midfield.
Ben Ford is a 22-year-old midfielder / utility player who joined the club at the end of October 2016. He was part of the Rushden & Diamonds FC youth setup before transferring across to the Kettering Town system, prior to getting first team experience at UCL level with Newport Pagnell. He then signed professional terms at Kettering, playing in the Football Conference for the Poppies, before earning a deal at Nuneaton Town. This was followed by spells with Hinckley United, Bedworth United, St Neots Town, Biggleswade Town and Arlesey Town. He signed for Chesham United in September 2015, and appeared 16 times for the Southern League Premier side. After joining the Diamonds he has been dual-registered with Newport Pagnell Town and played a part in their FA Vase campaign.
Fazel Koriya is a 35-year-old striker / wide midfielder who originally joined the club in June 2013. Fazel played for Rugby Town as well as playing at Brackley Town, Rothwell Town, Bedworth and Cogenhoe, as well as Evesham United where he played in the Southern League Premier Division. He has had several spells at Long Buckby, most recently in their 2011-12 UCL Premier title-winning side. He left the club to rejoin Rugby Town in January 2015 before moving to Newport Pagnell Town for the start of the 2015/16 season. He rejoined the club in December 2016.
Tom Lorraine is a 27-year-old striker who joined the club from Cogenhoe United at the end of March 2014, where he was registered with Daventry Town on a “dual-registration” basis. Tom had joined Daventry Town from Bedworth United at the start of the season, and after starting 21 times and scoring 8 goals, he registered on UCL terms for Cogenhoe a month earlier. He had appeared for Woodford United and Banbury United earlier in his career. He was the club’s top scorer in their promotion winning 2014/15 campaign scoring 19 goals, but showed his flexibility by playing in midfield towards the end of the season to provide much-needed cover in that position. He was also the top scorer in 2015/16 with 15 goals as the club played their first season at Step 4, picking up the Manager’s player of the season award.
Nabil Shariff is a 24-year-old striker, who joined the club from Daventry Town in January 2016. Nabil began his career at Rushden & Diamonds FC making his league debut in the 2010-11 season. He was given a first league start in April 2011, scoring three goals in his first two full games in the North East. He started the final game played by R&DFC. Originating from Milton Keynes, he joined the Diamonds Centre of Excellence at the start of his Under 14 year, working through the ranks to Conference level. Since leaving R&DFC he has played for a number of clubs, including spells with Tamworth, Banbury United, Corby Town and Stamford. His debut for the club was delayed due to injury and he was only able to make a number of cameo appearances for the club in the 2015-16 season.
Lewis Wilson is a 23-year-old forward player who joined the club in October 2016 on a dual-registration basis whilst also playing at Step 4 level for Arlesey Town. Lewis started his career as a junior with Rushden & Diamonds FC, and after impressing at Newport Pagnell Town he was signed on Northampton Town’s books during the 2012-13 season. After appearing for the Cobblers in League Two he was loaned out to Kettering Town, joining the Poppies directly in the following season. Since then he has been with St Neots Town and Oxford City before joining Arlesey.
Ollie Brown-Hill is a 20-year-old forward player who joined the club from Stamford AFC in January 2017. He had previously been with Leicestershire clubs Oadby Town and Barwell FC.
Taylor Orosz joined the club in August 2016 following a number of impressive showings in pre-season games in a forward role. Taylor has previously been with Cogenhoe United and Kettering Town U21s after starting his senior career at AFC Kempston Rovers. He is aged 20. He also scored four goals in the first half against the Diamonds U18 side while he was a junior at Wellingborough Whitworth, having also netted a brace in the return fixture. He had also faced the Diamonds twice in the previous season while with the Daventry U18 side, scoring in both games.
Robbie Parsons is a 19-year-old striker who joined the club on a dual registration basis in February 2016. He had previously gone on loan from Northampton Town to Wealdstone FC. He then signed for the club prior to the start of the 2016/17 season. After a short spell with Corby Town he rejoined the club in December 2016.
The following players are registered with the club but not actively appearing in the match-day squad due to injury, unavailability, being part of other squads at the club or dual-registration with other clubs.
Jon Stevenson is a 34-year-old striker, who joined the club in January 2016. Jon started his career at Leicester City as a trainee and featured 12 times in the premier league between 2000 and 2003. He has also featured for Swindon Town, Cambridge City, Alfreton Town, Tamworth, Hinckley, Boston Utd, Corby Town, Oadby Town and during the 2014-15 season he was at Barwell.
Joseph Haynes is a 28-year-old goalkeeper who was added to the First Team Squad shortly before the start of the 2016/17 season. Joseph has been with Daventry Town, having also played for Woodford United.
Jordan Holmes is a 26-year-old right-midfield player who joined the club in September 2016. He has played for a number of clubs in the South Leicestershire area, including Oadby, Hinckley United, Loughborough Dynamo, Atherstone and Shepshed Dynamo, as well as Sutton Coldfield Town. He has also represented English Colleges.
Lewis Jackson is a left-sided defensive player aged 26 who joined the club in August 2016. He was with Corby Town before playing at Desborough Town and Stamford. He had begun his career in the Mansfield area, spending time with several clubs in that vicinity. He is dual-registered with Desborough Town.
Ash Deeney is a 25-year-old defender who signed for the club in October 2016. After being in Luton Town’s youth system, he played for St Neots Town, Kings Lynn Town and Slough Town, followed by a brief spell with Kettering Town before making over 60 appearances for Daventry Town at Step 4 level. He was club captain for Daventry, playing in either a right-back or wing-back role. A serious knee injury has interrupted his 2016/17 season.
Jake Newman is a 25-year-old striker who has had two spells with the club. He originally joined the club from Northampton Sileby Rangers in September 2012. He made 37 appearances for the Diamonds during the 2012-13 season, aged 21, scoring 26 goals and winning the club Player of the Month award in November 2012. He left the club before the start of the 2013-14 season to move up to the Southern League level with Kettering Town, playing at Oadby Town and Wellingborough Town in the 2014-15 season. After a successful period with the Doughboys he moved to Spalding United in September 2015, and also had success when moving up to step 3 level at Stamford during the 2015-16 season. He signed dual-registration terms with Northampton Sileby Rangers in January 2017.
Aidan Bradshaw is a 21-year-old right back / right-midfield player who joined the club in August 2016. He had made his debut for the club in the previous month when playing in the Maunsell Cup game against Peterborough United. He had previously been with Desborough Town after he began his senior career at Kettering Town with loan spells at Thrapston Town and Sileby Rangers. He is dual-registered with Desborough Town.
Alex Vitue is a 21-year-old goalkeeper who progressed through the ranks of the AFC R&D youth system. After a period gaining senior experience elsewhere he rejoined the club in the summer of 2015, gaining further valuable experience with the Diamonds U21 setup.
Merdi Maki is a winger who joins the club in December 2016 having recently been playing for Northampton Sileby Rangers. He is in his early twenties and appeared for Sileby in their FA Cup game against the Diamonds at the Dog & Duck earlier the 2016-17 season.
Chris Wreh initially joined the club in Summer 2016 as a triallist, going on to play in the Maunsell Cup Final. Born in the USA, 20-year-old Chris had played as a striker with Stony Stratford Town recently, having also spent time with Barton Rovers. He signed NPL forms for the club at the start of September 2016.