Chairman’s Update #23 – 23 August 2020

Hello and welcome to the latest update from the AFC R&D Board.

As I am sure you are all aware, we have been given the green light to welcome supporters back to Hayden Road and will now play our pre-season games with spectators inside the stadium. This is great news for everyone, and I know many of you have been eagerly awaiting this day. Equally I know that for some people they will not yet be ready to come back and watch football for many reasons.

On Thursday, we communicated all our arrangements for the pre-season friendly matches over the coming weeks. A list of all the matches can be found here if you missed it – https://www.afcdiamonds.com/202021-senior-fixtures-and-results/  

Given that many people will be visiting Hayden Road for the first time in many months I just wanted to let you know about some of the specific changes we have had to introduce to make sure everything is as safe as we can make it. When you enter the ground, you will find the following changes:

  • Some areas are now designated as ‘no spectating’ areas and these are clearly marked by yellow painting on the floor and pitchside barrier. These areas include the walkway behind the goal in front of the ball catcher at the Maple Road end of the ground, the walkway at the corner of the ground near the exit gates and immediately behind the dug outs. Along with the existing hatched areas in front of the stands, these new areas should be used solely as a walking route.
  • The area in front of the main stand and tunnel area is designated as a red zone. This is clearly marked on the floor and pitchside barrier with red paint. In line with Football Association requirements only authorised people are permitted to remain in that area. When the tunnel is retracted our stewards will allow the area to be used as a walking route but please do not stay in the area.
  • Both the Hevey and Chris Ruff seating stands have had individual rows and gangway seats closed off with clearly visible tape. These seats are strictly not to be used.  You are free to use the remaining seats in line with the government’s social distancing guidelines, leaving two seats free between your group and the next.
  • The Peter De Banke stand also has restricted capacity, with only 2 rows being in use. Blue markings, 1 metre apart have been placed on the 2 barriers to allow spectators to maintain social distancing. Please do not stand on the steps.
  • Around the remaining terracing areas of the ground you will see blue markings on the pitchside barrier, floor, and steps to identify where you can stand using the blue markers as a guide to maintain social distancing. Some individual steps are out of use and these are marked in red at the end of each row. 

I know some of the restricted areas may be where you may have watched the game from previously, but I hope and trust you will fully understand why these arrangements are currently in operation. It is important that everyone coming to Hayden Road observes the restrictions as well as maintaining social distancing guidelines. Please note, we are strongly advising people to wear face coverings inside the ground. We would also request that once you have chosen a spot to watch the game, please stay there and minimise unnecessary movement around the ground.

As you know, there will be very limited facilities open at the ground for the pre-season games with no catering being available. The only toilets available will be the external ones as the clubhouse complex is being refurbished by Rushden & Higham United. We hope that we will be able to offer increased facilities over the coming weeks.

Tickets for the pre-season games will be available from Ticketsource; with tickets for the match against King’s Lynn Town FC on Tuesday evening now on general sale; they can be purchased here –https://www.ticketsource.co.uk/afcrd/t-jdvapy. Remember, that members and Season Ticket holders have priority access to tickets before they go on general sale. 

Our Membership Team have been working hard with the new initiative, “Together, We are Diamonds”.

New memberships and renewals continue to be strong, especially over recent days. We thank all of you who have joined/renewed for this season. Your support is greatly appreciated and invaluable to the Club. There is still time enter into the free prize draw for a chance to win a framed new season shirt & lithograph signed by the 1st Team, by becoming a member before 31st August. Also, by becoming a member you will have priority access to match tickets 24 hours before they go on general sale. Membership is available for:

  • Adult / concession memberships £25
  • Junior/under 16 memberships £5 – this gives you entry into all home league games free!

To become a Member, go to www.afcdiamonds.com/membership.

Season tickets offer great value for all league games. With the capacity at the ground restricted, and likely to remain so, now is a good time to invest in yours if you are able to. Adult Season Tickets are only £199 while concessions are £145; seats can be reserved for the season for only £20 in conjunction with a Season Ticket. Full details are available here –http://www.afcdiamondsshop.com/tickets.asp . 

There is still time to join the Team Building Lottery in time for the August draw which will include a bumper quarterly prize of around £1,800 plus the monthly prize and Cineworld tickets. This is a hugely important initiative to help Andy Peaks in being able to get the best players in he can while also giving each lottery ticket buyer the chance to win to excellent cash prizes…..but you have to be in it to win it.

Finally, as we have seen Northampton added to the locations of concern this week, please remember to stay safe and keep up to date with all government guidelines regarding Covid-19 either via local media or Government and Public Health England advice here – https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus.

AFC Rushden & Diamonds

One Fan, ONE vote, one community, one club