AFC Rushden & Diamonds are pleased to have been invited to play in the Supporters Direct Shield for the second season running. They will play newly-formed Hinckley AFC at the Dog & Duck on Wednesday 30th July (KO 7:45pm). This means that the planned friendly against Ampthill Town will not now take place. Hinckley AFC was formed early in 2014 following the demise of Hinckley United. They will play their home games in Heather, near Ibstock, Leicestershire and have been given a place in the Midland League First Division, which is a newly formed Step 6 league.
Supporters Direct have produced the following Press Statement about the fixture.
AFC Rushden & Diamonds and Hinckley AFC to compete for the SD Shield
Two of the country’s newest clubs, AFC Rushden & Diamonds and Hinckley AFC, are to compete for the Supporters Direct Shield on Wednesday 30th July.
This will be the fourth time that the Shield has been contested, and will give AFC Rushden & Diamonds a chance to avenge last season’s defeat to 1874 Northwich, and join Scarborough Athletic and Lewes FC on the list of winners.
It will be a particularly poignant fixture for supporters of Hinckley AFC who are about to embark on their first season in the senior pyramid after Hinckley United were wound up in the High Court in October 2013. They will be aspiring to follow the path of AFC Rushden and Diamonds, who are now in their 4th season, made up of over 30 teams and thriving as a community owned club.
Robin Osterley, CEO of Supporters Direct said, “We are very proud of the achievements of both of these relative newcomers. They represent one part of the huge spectrum of the work that we do from the Premier League to the Midlands League. We’re hoping for a great day, and I am very much looking forward to meeting fans and officials alike from both clubs”
AFC R&D Chairman Ralph Burditt added: “I am extremely happy that Supporters Direct have offered us the opportunity to play for this trophy once again. Our club owes a huge debt of gratitude to SD for their continued support and I am thoroughly looking forward to what should be a cracking advert for supporter-owned, supporter-run football clubs. I am also looking forward to welcoming our newest allies in the football world, Hinckley AFC and hearing all about their plans for the future.”
Acting Chairman of Hinckley AFC, Gary Hancox said: “Like minded clubs competing, what a fixture; this will be a highlight of our first season.” Manager Carl Abbot added “This is a fantastic opportunity to have a prestigious game with a competitive element to it just before we begin our league campaign. Hopefully our supporters will travel in numbers for this one and give the players a real feel good factor going into the season.”
Whilst providing the opportunity for some on the field success for both clubs, both are equally keen to promote the fixture as one of a celebration of fan ownership.
The game is to be played at The Dog and Duck Stadium, in Wellingborough with a 19:45 kick-off. Tickets are available on the gate priced at £4, £2 for concessions and Under 8s are free.