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 in 2013-14. During that season they progressed to the third qualifying round of the FA Cup in their debut season in the competition. In their first two seasons in the FA Vase they reached the third round and the fourth round.
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.
The AFC Rushden & Diamonds Management Team and First Team Squad for the 2014/15 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, and for general player and game stats for last season see here. Player ages correct as of 9/4/15.
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.
Assistant Manager – Paul Lamb. Paul joined the club 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 loca; 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 after leaving his post as Assistant Manager at Northampton Spencer. Scott, or Biff as he’s more commonly known, brings a wealth of experience having worked with AFC R&D Manager Andy Peaks over the last few seasons.
U21 Team Manager – Andy Keen. Former Reading FC Academy coach Andy, who counts Thatcham Town, Beaconsfield SYCOB and Sandhurst Town amongst his previous clubs, was most recently involved in men’s football as manager of Hellenic League Premier Division side Bracknell Town.
First Team Physiotherapist – Kelly Freeman / Colin Hodsden
Matt Finlay joined the club from Cogenhoe United at the end of January 2014. The 34-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.
David Bevan is a 25-year-old Irish-born keeper who joined the Diamonds in November 2014. He began with Aston Villa as a junior, before moving to Walsall where he made four appearances in League One. He then spent a short spell with Daventry Town before becoming the regular keeper at Rugby Town. In the 2013-14 season he was with Boldmere St Michaels at Step 5 level. He made his debut for the club in the FA Vase game at Hullbridge Sports in November 2014.
Rhys Redding is a young goalkeeper who is a member of the AFC Rushden & Diamonds U18 Academy side, as well as being part of the Under-21 squad. After an impressive showing during the pre-season period he joined the first team squad and took a place on the bench at the start of the 2014/15 season.
Liam Dolman is a 27-year-old defender, who joined the club from Daventry Town during June 2014. Liam can either play at centre back or full back and was club captain at Daventry, as well as being named Supporters’ Player of the Season in 2013/14. 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. He then moved to Daventry Town where played at Step 4 level in the Southern League Division One Central.
Jack Ashton is a 24-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.
Joe Merrill is a versatile 23-year-old who can play as a sweeper, full-back or in midfield, and he also joined the club from Northampton Spencer in the summer of 2012. He made 29 league and cup appearances for the Millers in the UCL Premier in 2011-12. Joe made 25(5) appearances during 2012-13, scoring a goal in the game at Rushden & Higham and winning the club Player of the Month award in September 2012. He made 41(2) appearances for the Diamonds in 2013/14, bracketing the season with goals at the start and end of the campaign.
Sam Brown is a 22-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.
Jake Gillingwater is a 22-year-old utility player who was a prominent member of the youth squad at Rushden & Diamonds FC. After the end of his scholarship, Jake signed for Soham Town Rangers, then went via Northampton Spencer to Irchester United. Jake made 26(4) appearances during 2012-13, scoring four goals. One of those goals, against Basford United in the FA Vase, won the Diamonds Goal of the Season award at the 2012-13 Presentation Evening. He made 12(10) appearances for the Diamonds in 2013/14, including a memorable game playing as goalkeeper in an FA Vase game. After leaving the club at the start of the 2014-15 season to play for Irchester United and Sileby Rangers he returned in March 2015.
Charlie Butt is a 20-year-old right back / midfielder who joined the club in October 2014. Although most recently signed with Corby Town, he started out with the Peterborough United Academy before moving to Kings Lynn Town, and has also had short spells at Lincoln United and Wisbech Town.
Darren Purse signed for the Diamonds as emergency cover in March 2015. He is currently playing for Conference South side Staines Town. Darren, who manages the AFC R&D/MAA U18 side, has signed on in order to provide defensive cover for the remainder of the season. The 38-year-old defender started his career at Leyton Orient, before going on to play in the football league for Oxford United, Birmingham City, West Bromwich Albion, Cardiff City, Sheffield Wednesday, and Millwall amongst others.
Richard Bunting is a 33-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.
Neil King signed for AFC Rushden & Diamonds in January 2015. The 32-year-old midfielder had started the season at Bedford Town, having joined them in summer of 2014 from Daventry Town. He had previously played for Aylesbury United, Brackley Town, Banbury United and Woodford United. He appeared for the Eagles against the Diamonds in the FA Cup earlier in the 2014-15 season – and is the eldest of three footballing brothers which includes ex-Diamond Aaron King.
Adam Confue joined the club from Daventry Town at the start of June 2014. The 29-year-old central midfielder was almost “ever-present” at Step 4 level for Daventry in the 2013-14 season, and was on target 10 times, as well as picking up several man-of-the-match awards at Communications Park. He has spent much of his career in Daventry, apart from a short spell with Banbury United.
Matt Gearing is a 28-year old attacking midfielder who joined the club from Cogenhoe United in early November 2012. He started his career in the youth system at Northampton Town before several spells with Rugby Town and a period in Australia. During the remainder of the 2012-13 season he made 24(3) appearances, scoring 5 goals. He made 37(7) appearances for the Diamonds in 2013/14, scoring 17 goals and picking up two player of the month awards as well as the fans’, manager’s and players’ Player of the Season award.
Liam McInally is a 25-year old midfielder who joined the club from Corby Town in November 2014. He had appeared for Corby against the Diamonds at the Dog and Duck back in July 2014 in a pre-season game, and went on to make 11 appearances for the Steelmen. His season was cut short through injury shortly after making his second appearance in the senior side in early 2015.
Brad Harris is a 24-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.
Sam Donohoe is a 23-year-old midfielder who stepped up from the Diamonds U21 squad after joining the club from PDFL Premier side Riverside FC. He plays in midfield and then went on to make his league debut as a substitute in the game against Long Buckby in April 2015.
Luke Fairlamb signed for AFC Rushden & Diamonds in January 2015. Luke is a 21 year-old midfield / forward player who was born in Northants and was on junior books with several local clubs, playing in various positions including left back and left midfield. Most recently he was playing college football in the USA for Saint Peter’s College in New Jersey. He was a member of a very successful youth team at Corby in the 2011-12 season, which reached the third round of the competition before losing at Manchester City. He signed on dual registration terms with Bedford Town at the start of February 2015 and spent the remainder of the season with the Eagles.
Jason Turner is a 33-year-old striker who joined the club shortly after the end of the 2013-14 season, having played for Wellingborough Town in that campaign, scoring 30 goals. He has had success at various levels, including spells at Grantham Town and Stamford Town as well as being part of the Kings Lynn side that won promotion from the UCL Premier in 2012.
Russ Dunkley is a 32-year-old striker who joined the club in June 2013, after helping Kings Lynn to promotion in the Evostik Northern Premier League Division One South during the 2012-13 season, whom he joined following a successful title campaign at Long Buckby in the UCL Premier in the 2011-12 season, scoring 35 goals in 39 games. He has also been part of the UCL title winning sides at Woodford United and Daventry Town. Other previous clubs include Newport Pagnell, Cogenhoe United, Leamington, Brackley, Raunds Town, Northampton Spencer, Bedford Town, and Rushden & Diamonds academy. He made 39(2) appearances for the Diamonds in 2013/14, scoring 23 goals and picking up two player of the month awards, as well as the FA Player of the Round award for his five goal tally against Cockfosters in the FA Cup.
Tommy Berwick is a 28-year-old striker who joined the club in January 2015, having been most recently with Daventry Town, where he has had three spells, including scoring 52 goals for them in the season they won the UCL Premier title. He then impressed at Step 4 level for Daventry in his second spell there, with 30 league / cup goals in the 2010/11 season at Step 4 level, despite starting the season elsewhere. He then had spells at Leamington, playing at Step 3 level, as well as at Redditch and Stratford Town before joining Corby Town for the start of the 2013-14 season. During that season he also had spells with Hemel Hempstead Town and Stourbridge Town before returning to Daventry for the third time in March 2014. He had played 11 games for Daventry in the 2014-15 season, scoring four times.
Scott Joseph is a 26-year-old striker who is having his second spell with the club. He originally joined from AFC Kempston Rovers at the end of March 2014, and scored 5 goals for the club in the remainder of that season before moving back to Kempston. He rejoined the Diamonds in October 2014.
Tom Lorraine is a 25-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, but only had the chance to make a single start for the Cooks. He had appeared for Woodford United and Banbury United earlier in his career. He scored two goals in five games for the Diamonds at the end of the 2013/14 campaign.
Declan Rogers signed for AFC Rushden & Diamonds in January 2015. The 25-year-old midfield / forward player joined from UCL rivals Huntingdon Town, where he was club captain. Rogers can play on the left wing or across the midfield, and had scored 14 goals from 20 appearances for Huntingdon in 2014-15, following the previous season’s haul of 29 goals from 38 games. Rogers started his career with Peterborough United before joining Cambridge City in 2010. He then had a spell with Soham Town Rangers before joining Huntingdon Town where he had played for the previous three seasons, apart from a brief spell at St Neots Town in the Southern League Premier in 2012.
Elliott Lamb-Johnson joined the club from Cogenhoe United at the end of May 2014, Now aged 19, he can play on either wing, as well as in a more central role. He made 28 appearances for Cogenhoe in the UCL, scoring 5 goals and scooping the “Young Player of the Year” prize at the end of season awards.