AFC Rushden & Diamonds are able to confirm that Deven Ellwood has left the club, becoming the second of last season’s squad to leave following the departure of Jake Newman to Kettering Town.
The versatile midfielder/striker became a firm fans favourite for the fledgling Diamonds after signing in July 2012 and scored four times in the club’s pre-season games including a spectacular effort against St Neots Town.
Establishing himself as a first team regular, Deven went on to score three goals for the Diamonds in the early part of the season, the highlight of these coming in the 2-1 FA Vase victory over Yaxley. However, he was often most lauded for his contribution off the ball and was regularly singled out for praise by Manager Mark Starmer in post-match interviews.
Unfortunately, Deven’s season was severely interrupted when he picked up an injury in the UCL KO Cup game against Wellingborough Town. This kept him on the sidelines until mid-January and whilst he went on to feature a total of 25 times for AFC R&D, the former Whitworths man never managed to regain his regular starting place.
Speaking exclusively to afcdiamonds.com, Deven said: “I would like to say a massive thank you to all the AFC R&D supporters for making last season a memorable one and the highlight of my footballing career so far. I will certainly never forget the club or the fans who have made me feel very welcome and I would like to express my heartfelt thanks for all the support that they have given me over the last 12 months.”
Manager Mark Starmer added: :“I am disappointed that Deven is leaving us, but I understand that his personal circumstances have changed. He doesn’t feel that he can offer the commitment required to play for AFC R&D this season and I appreciate his honesty in informing us of this up front. Deven is a lad with plenty of talent and has been great to have around the place. Unfortunately, due to injury, he did not have the opportunity to fulfill his enormous potential last season, but I know that we only saw glimpses of what he can do and I am sure he will be a great asset to whichever club he joins next. I’ve told him that the door is always open for him to come back in the future, so maybe we haven’t seen the last of him – you never know.”
Whilst commenting on Deven’s departure, Mark Starmer was also able to confirm that midfielders Jamie Gilsenan and George Cox have also not joined up with the squad for pre-season training. Gilsenan has moved to Northants Combination Division One side Gretton as player/manager whilst Cox was unable to continue his footballing career due to work commitments.
Further details of players signed on for the forthcoming season will be announced over the coming weeks.