kris0710

AFC Rushden and Diamonds - Back from the dead.

176 posts in this topic

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This is my team. Its strange as i started watching Rushden Town in 1988 as a six year old and then in 1992 a merger with Irthlingborough Diamonds brought around Rushden and Diamonds. After years of success and going from non league to what is now League One the club hit on money troubles. Quick relegations back to the Blue Square Bet Premier left us trying to start over but the wheels came off dramactically last season and in the summer the club was denied a place at non-leagues top table for the current season. Basically RDFC is dead. But as with clubs at this level a new side was created and away we go again.

For people that dont know AFC Rushden and Diamonds for this current season are running with just an u-18's side and doing well. For the 2012/13 we hope for a place in the United Counties Premier Division and a ground share with Wellingborough Town. We have a fantastic support base already and have 418 (at last count) paid up members and our games attract between 200 and 500 fans, just for u-18 games on weekday evenings.

So onto my career. I have opened up the lower leagues down to English County Leagues. I have taken out Blackstones from the United Counties League and replaced them with the extinct Rushden and Diamonds base within the editor. Given the fan base the club has currently i have changed all the Rushden stats to match fellow UCL side King's Lynn. They like us has good support and have been forced to drop many leagues to start again. I have copied Wellingborough for youth and training facilities as we are going to be ground sharing. I have given the club the same budget as King's Lynn which is one of the bigger in the league but that will be backed by the fans coming in.

Season 2011/2012

Now i have already completed a season and a half before i decided to start a career thread so the first season will be brief.

Being in the lowest division the way i manage is totally different to a top side. I make a signing a week almost and brought in 44 players last season. Many were on £15 pw contracts and it was trial and error as i had no players when i started the game. After going through many players in the first four games i settled on a squad i was happy ish and off we went, trying to move through the non-league levels. I have managed in UCL before with both Irchester and Wellingborough and won the league with ease so i was hoping for the much the same this season.

Everything seemed to click and after the 42 games we were comfortably the winners of the league.

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That leads us into the Southern League First Divison Central Divsion for next season, one step closer to the top. My aim is to get the club back into the BSBP before i think about leaving.

I have noticed already in my career that many clubs have had take overs and mine was no different. During the summer of 2012 Neil Crace comes in as chairman and tells me he has no interest in chucking money into the club. I thought that was fair enough but moaned and moaned about youth hoping to improve what we have.

Season 2012/2013

I have made no changes to my squad ahead of the new season and have kept on the players from last year. We are spending £100,000 per year on wages which is third highest in the league and given the success of last season we are getting 1000 fans to our home games. I am a little down about this as im thinking i may have edited the club a little too good but looking at King's Lynn they have an average attendance of 908 so maybe i haven't. I don't to careers when i have given one club a huge advantage but i do feel this is becoming a little too good to be me! Opinions please?

Im thinking this because my side continue to win games and after 31 games the table looks like this:

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Its looking likely that promotion is coming our way so from next season will to better and more regular updates but would like some feedback on what i have done in terms of adding the club? I feel i have put the club at the level they will come in at, facilities and support but i have a bit of a downer on it as its been easy so far? Hmm....

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It does seem easy at that level in FM anyway, but you have put Rushden into a league they aren't in, though with likely realistic finances and facilities. Maybe you should have played just under 18s in the first season to mirror what Rushden are doing this season?

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It does seem easy at that level in FM anyway, but you have put Rushden into a league they aren't in, though with likely realistic finances and facilities. Maybe you should have played just under 18s in the first season to mirror what Rushden are doing this season?

Kind of wish i had in that first season but now in my third year 16 players in my first team squad are 18 or younger.

Of my regular starting XI the ages are:

GK 30

DL 17

DR 17

DC 25

DC 17

MR 20

ML 17

MC 30

MC 17

FD 16

FD 17

Thats an average age of 20.72 so i am certainly keeping faith with young uns.

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Season Two - 2012/2013

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Our one and only season in the Southern League First Divison Central was fantastic. With the same squad as last season we win the league with great ease but the big news is from the board. My old chairman excepted that we needed a stadium to call our own and my new boss agrees and has the cash to make it happen. October 2014 is when we are due to open the AFC Rushden Stadium with a huge capacity of 3279!

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congrats, it does get harder eventually! Make sure you have a couple of scouts found a few gems in the lower leagues.

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congrats, it does get harder eventually! Make sure you have a couple of scouts found a few gems in the lower leagues.

I have six players im looking at closely but money is very tight. Have a couple of players who i have picked up and am looking to bring into the first team soon enough. Had a couple of League Two managers watching my players also so may have to sell to buy.

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Season Three - 2013/2014

A new season, a new league. The most thrilling fixtures this year will be against main rivals and new tennants at our former home Kettering Town. Successive promtions for us were matched by successive releagations and im expecting us to battle for top spot. Maybe a little optimistic but the bookies have us second favs behind The Poppies.

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Over 180 minutes the clubs could not be tighter matched but the league was a different matter...

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Blue Square North coming up. Derbies vs Kettering and Corby plus a new home!

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Season Four - 2014/2015

Blue Square Bet North

We have now moved into our new home, AFC Rushden Stadium and are ready for an exciting season in the BSN. Local derbies with Kettering and Corby will be the highlights but also games against Chester and FC Halifax will pit us against other clubs that have come back from the ashes of former clubs.

After the way we have dominated in the last couple of years i have decided against bringing in new faces as i am confident with the players we have. Maybe a loan or two if i can attract anyone but with the new stadium im looking to keep costs down.

I will continue with the 4-4-2 formation and here is a little look at some of my players:

GK - Clive Baldwin

DR - Calum Bennett

DL - Wes Brightwell

MC - Gary Halford

ML - Jon Evans

S - Dave Stevenson

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Season Four - 2014/2015

Blue Square Bet North

Nothing to say about the season i have just had.

League Table:

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Following that i recieved an offer

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I have rejected that offer.

The stadium is being increased by 721 to fit with BSBP rules.

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Season Five - 2015/2016

Blue Square Bet Premier

August Update

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A good start tot our season in the top flight of non-league. Its far to easy to carried away and im certainly not. The first five games have gone well but the three teams we beat during August are currently in the bottom four and the other two, Fleetwood and Boston are in 15th and 19th. Game one was live on tv and we gave the viewers a special performance. The star of the show was Tommy Bobbins whose second of the game ended as the BSBP Goal of the Month. Not to be bowled over by that Bobbins strike against Fleetwood came second in the poll. In all our games we have had spells of domination where we look unbeatable but we seem to switch off after half time.

September brings six games including games against third and fourth place Barrow and Chelmsford. We will be without defender Adam Fray who is to serve a three match ban following a horror tackle in the Fleetwood win. A Manager of the Month award has just been delivered for myself and Tommy Bobbins continues to pick up awards, this time Young Player of the Month.

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Your doing better than me mate, well done. Keep an eye on Colwyn Bay they seem to get quite a few quality players on trial, I pinched more than a few off them!

Great start to the BSP

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Your doing better than me mate, well done. Keep an eye on Colwyn Bay they seem to get quite a few quality players on trial, I pinched more than a few off them!

Great start to the BSP

Cheers!!

I have my scouts in BSN and Colwyn Bay seem to be a second home for some of my staff. Every month there are two or three players that catch the eye. Im hoping to keep this squad together as the average age is 18.77. We could go far together.

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Also take notes on other clubs your scouts seem to take a liking to. I had about 4 clubs I used to scout on youth candidate day. Bovey, Northwich Villa, Askern Villa and Launceston. Someof the non league clubs sem to have insane youth facilities not sure if random or pre-set but I found by using my scouts I made a lot of money selling these players on.

Thats a very young squad if you can continue to get promoted every year it should be easier to hang onto. Tie them down to long contracts as some of the demands can get quite ridiculous

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Also take notes on other clubs your scouts seem to take a liking to. I had about 4 clubs I used to scout on youth candidate day. Bovey, Northwich Villa, Askern Villa and Launceston. Someof the non league clubs sem to have insane youth facilities not sure if random or pre-set but I found by using my scouts I made a lot of money selling these players on.

Thats a very young squad if you can continue to get promoted every year it should be easier to hang onto. Tie them down to long contracts as some of the demands can get quite ridiculous

I must be honest after reading through your thread a couple of nights ago i did have a little look at some clubs you mentioned. I have a shortlist of about 25 players at the moment that im looking at.

As with my players i have most on three year deals but one of my star forwards wants £6,750 p/w. NOT A HOPE! I have a decent amount spare in wages, spending about £12k with a budget of £15k. Im the 8th highest wages in the league so room to play around. Scouts are regular at my club checking out three or four players, rejected two bids from West Brom for £750,000 and £1.2m. Very tempting offers but im dying to keep the squad together.

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Season Five - 2015/2016

Twenty Six Game Report

Our first season in the BSBP has been a success so far. With our other seasons i have hoped we will challenge for at least a play-off place and we have gone on to win the title and this season my aim is the same.

The season started off well and continued to get better until mid November brought around four defeats in a row. As we move into January the table is:

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A nice lead at the top but i am still wary of Ebbsfleet as they can close the gap.

A few player issues have started to hit with top scorer Tommy Bobbins requesting a move away from AFC Rushden Stadium. There is interest from Middlesboro and Crystal P for midfielder Gary Halford and defender Adam Fray.

As for cup competitions:

FA Cup

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Wins over league rivals gave us a 2nd round trip to League One Carlisle. Despite a close 1-0 defeat we rarely tested the home keeper and we are now left with the FA Trophy.

FA Trophy

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Only one round in but a comfortble home victory over our former landlords was after five defeats in a row. For me the most important result so far. I was hoping for a trip to local rivals Kettering Town in the next round but Chelmsford held off the BSN side in the replay. Looking for revenge as it was 'The Clarets' that dumped us out of the same competition last season.

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Season Five - 2015/2016

Blue Square Bet Premier

End of Season

Our form from the first half of the season continued right through to the end. Another successful season at AFC Rushden Stadium brings a fifth promotion in a row and back to the Football League we go.

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The normal manager changes clicked in around the middle of May and my name has been linked with a few. The first to follow up the media interest was newly relegated from the Championship Middlesborough

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After having a look at the players they have and more importantly the money they have been spending i decided this job was not for me. Would need to sell many players and as i have been managing in the very lower leagues i have limited knowledge of good League One players.

Next came a newspaper report linking me with West Brom. A club just relegated from the Premier League. Never would they want me so i brushed off the interest.

Until

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Now i am stuck. A really good offer from a good yo-yo club but the chance to manage my club into the FL is a challenge i would love.

After asking for a week to think about it im still no closer to deciding. Im off for a shopping trip to Asda with the family to decide. Any opinions?

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How far can you realistically take Rushden? West Brom is a decent job offer, if you keep them up then you should have a decent budget to build a mid table side next season

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Plenty of people take non-league sides to the top; the game is designed to allow the user to. However it's how quickly he wants to get there.

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Im not sure how close to the top i will get mainly due to money. We are just in a new stadium which holds 3,200 but with player sales its being expanded to about 4,500. I doubt the growth of the stadium is going to be huge so if i continue to get through the leagues could have a max capacity of something like 8,000 which will not be good enough. No chance of new stadium for 17 years!!

I personally think that leaving without trying League 2 would be something i would regret and i have a squad that is full of youngsters so thats exciting. Currently the oldest player in my first team is 20!!

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Season Six - 2016/2017

npower League 2

Pre-Season Report

After alot of thought up and down the aisles of Asda i have decided to give AFC Rushden and Diamonds at least another year of my time. Have had a great five seasons and leaving would feel like i have left before i should have. My aim when taking the job was to restore them to the Blue Square Premier and that has been done so now the aim is to reach League One, the level R&DFC once reached.

The summer has seen a turn around of staff a little and some rewarding contracts for the star players of my squad.

Players leaving were the like of Prosser (152 league games) who has joined League Two Millwall

Ryan Da Silva (107) and Pelly Ruddock (156) were the other first teamers who were released and the rest were young reserve players apart from Adam Fray. The 20 year old who played 145 times for me has moved upto the Championship with Norwich City for a fee of £1.4m with another £1m possible in add-ons.

The money from that has gone in expanding the stadium a little more and i will be using none to replace the players who have left.

Only 3 players have joined, all wingers.

Reece Ridley: 19 year old back up left winger joins from AFC Telford. Four years spent with the BSBP club brought around just 20 league apps but a solid display against my title winning side twice last season made my mind up to give him a chance. Still young and will be second choice as my first choice Jon Evans is one of the best players at the club.

Louis Piper: The right winger was signed from Portsmouth and again fits the mould as a youngster, 18. He can play across the midfield although his best position is right wing.

Ross Gosling: Signed on a season long loan from Middlesborough he will be my first choice right winger and has impressed in pre season so far. At 17 has yet to make a professional appearence but six goals from seven pre season games has the rest of the league worrying, not me.

Pre-season went as well as possible. I decided for seven games this summer, more than normal with a couple of Prem teams (Man City and Burnley) and a couple of lower league sides (Nuneaton and Margate)

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Cracking results and performances there. Good home crowds for the friendlies also. Man City came with half first team players (Rob Green, James Milner, Marcelo and even Balotelli played 45 mins). We only had one shot in anger but it flew into the bottom corner.

The Scunny game was by the far the most exciting 1-0 up, 2-1 down, 3-2 up, 3-3 then two late goals gave us the win.

Nine goals from Richard Roach should give the 18 year old confidence as the season starts.

The League Cup has drawn Championship side Preston at home. A tough tie but looking forward to it.

Have set the challenge at a mid-table position for this season and am very hopeful of getting that. My main concern is top scorer Tommy Bobbins is out of contract next summer and wants £3k + pw to sign a new one. Cannot afford that so need to decide to cash in or not??

The first game is apon us now, Darlington away and i expect no more transfer activity unless i sell Bobbins.

Other Info

  • Eddie Howe is new England boss
  • Sheff Wed are newly promoted to Premier League
  • Stevie G is youth coach at Arsenal
  • Ronaldinho is a scout for Aston Villa
  • Dirk Kuyt is manager of Blackburn
  • Man City have won 3 out of 5 titles (Arsenal and Spurs the other two)
  • Swansea are down in League One

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Season Six - 2016/2017

npower League 2

August

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A nice start to the season for us! The opening game was tough and a draw would have been fair for both clubs but that man again, Bobbins strikes from 15 yards just two mins after the hosts missed a penalty. Bobbins was the main man in the league with five in the two wins over Crawley and Shrewsbury. The defeat to Oldham was harsh, we really got hit by three counter attacks.

The League Cup brought at fantastic win over Championship side Preston. Twice behind before snatching a 90th leveller to go into extra time. Once again we fall behind but show desire to level in the 102nd minute. Penalties came with a 3-1 win. We missed one of four while Preston failed win three of their four attempts. A trip to Premier League side Blackpool was the reward but a close first half (1-0 down) was shattered by a stunning second half by 'The Tangerines'. The final result was a little harsh but we were never going to win the cup.

The Johnstones Paint Throphy brought a trip to League One Bristol Rovers. On a scale of 1 to 10 on how important this game was i would score it 1. No interest in the competition this season. It was already game number eight in twenty four days following a long pre season so i changed the team around. Eight of the starting eleven had onyl made sub apps for the first team this season. A deserved defeat, behind early and conceding two late on gave it a more comfortable look.

Free scoring Tommy Bobbins picked up the Player of Month award with nine in five league games and another in two cup games. It leaves him on 94 league goals, closing in on record scorer Darren Collins 113.

Fellow forward Richard Roach has been performing well, he just needs to add to his one goal scored against Oldham. The flip side Wes Brightwell has had a tough start at left back, maybe the step into the Football League is a little too much for him.

September brings six games including trips to local rivals Northampton and 'shock of the season' side Millwall. I say this as they have lost all their games so far and side bottom of the Football League. We also face 23rd place York while a home game vs 2nd Southend should bring a decent crowd into AFC Rushden Stadium.

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Season Six - 2016/2017

npower League 2

September

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A month where we could concentrate fully on league duty and a tight month it proved. Two wins, a difficult away win to a side sitting 23rd (the winning goal turned out to be Goal of the Month) was quickly followed by a thumping win ovet then third placed Southend. Two early goals in the first half helped us out and a third early in the second killed the game off. Our only defeat came at home, again, in a game where scoring machine Bobbins was out with a thigh injury. Not much to say about the two 0-0 games and the month ended with an entertaining game against an improving Millwall. Early Bobbins goal set us up well but two defensive slips left them back in before Louis Piper for the second time in September popped up late on.

Off the pitch by far the biggest movement was Tommy Bobbins agreeing a new three year deal worth £1,600 pw. After asking for £3,400 i kept up the pressure and with a minimum fee release, match highest earner and wage rise after int apps he finally agreed. Geat news all round there. We are currently 17th in the 'salary per annum' list.

Transfer wise defender Calum Bennett has asked to leave of which im happy to let him. Currently fourth choice in the CB position he will be easily replaced. Third choice keeper McCarthy, who played in the JPT defeat has joined BSBP side AFC Wimbledon for a month.

October starts with a massive home game against leaders Hereford. After that we have five more games, only two away, featuring 5th placed Cambridge and 23rd place Rotherham.

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Season Six - 2016/2017

npower League 2

October

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Well October was a bit like eating a sandwich with your favourite filling, but both bits of bread are stale. First up we had the top of table clash with Hereford in which we blew a 2-0 lead and were forced to settle for a point. The second part of the bread was a woeful defeat away to Cambridge. We struggled to put two passed together in that one. But the filling was great, four wins, eight goals, none conceded. A good month for Roach and my star midfielder Gary Halford have helped us into a good position coming into the winter months.

FA Cup

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Should be a nice chance to get through to Round 2. Currently 15th in BSBS although have beaten a fellow BSBS side and BSBP side Farnborough to get this far.

October brought a personal award for myself with the 'Manager of the Month' award and Gary Halford was runner up in both 'Player of the Month' and 'Young Player of the Month'. Halfords srike against Hereford also got him third in 'Goal of the Month'. Finally on that front our keeper on loan at AFC Wimbledon came third in 'Young Player of the Month'

During our run of wins in October the press got a little bored and decided i was the front runner for two jobs in League 1.

22nd place Barnsley and 14th placed Swindon while also linking me with Championship side Sunderland currently sitting in 15th.

I denied interest in the first two but with Sunderland i just remained silent. If they want me, they best put an offer on the table.

Novmeber brings the FA Cup but also league games with the sides in 18th and 24th.

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Season Six - 2016/2017

npower League 2

November

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Not a great month in the league sadly but we have stayed in second place so all is not lost. We are playing ok just unable to find the target enough. Im sure its just a small blip and the wins will come again soon.

FA Cup

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A good little run is occuring now. Comfortable away win to non league side was followed up by a tight affair against League Two rivals Crawley. Our one and onyl shot on target came after just 35 seconds but that was enough to put us in the 3rd round where another divisional rival awaits.

It has been a busy month on the transfer front with Bolton bidding for two of my players. The side are looking to strengthen their promotion bid as they are currently fifth in the Championship.

The first bid was for striker Richard Roach. £750,000 was offered but i managed to better the deal to £1m upfront and a 50% sell on fee. Not bad business for an 18 year old with just fourteen football league starts.

This time i noticed Bolton were interested in my left winger Jon Evans and guessing they had money to spend i offered him to them for £2.5m. They came back with an offer of £400,000 upfront, another £1m over 24 months and a 45% sell on fee. Accepting that offer means over the next two years 60% of my weekly wage will be covered by this one transfer. That opens the door to me maybe being able to hold on to one or two more players than originally thought.

December brings five league games with third place Darlington the only side currently in the top fourteen. A good month here will set us up nicely for the second half of the season.

None of the three jobs from last month came to anything, although im not too disappointed. I had a small interest in Sunderland but would not have entertained the other two.

As for the two clubs chasing me in the summer, West Brom are sixth in the Championship. Alan Pardew was the man they opted for but he lasted until November when sacked and replaced by Craig Levein.

Middlesborough are down in 15th in League One and have also sacked the man who took the job after my rejection. Andy Ritchie lasted five months and now Richard Money is the man at the helm.

Looks like i made the right choice with both chairmen showing little patience.

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Nice FA Cup run will help boost the finances, you're in a great position to go up again!

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Season Six - 2016/2017

npower League 2

December

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A bit of an up and down month, two wins when playing poorly, a draw where we missed a late penalty and the defeat Port Vale was our best overall performance. Footballs a crazy game. Our last game of the month against Darlington was postponed due to snow.

With two players leaving for Bolton i have brought two of my u-18 players up to replace them. Forward Martin Birch has hit two goals in five games while winger Aaron Smedley has hit one in three. Looking good for cheap replacements there.

Going into January we really need to find our shooting boots again with the FA Cup 3rd round and league matches against playoff chasing Darlington and Stevenage.

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Season Six - 2016/2017

npower League 2

January

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An inconsistant month really. In each and every game we look like getting nothing, even when winning 4-0! We seem to be lacking some creativity in the middle and the goal drought of Tommy Bobbins is not helping. Overall though happy with the three wins this month and hope it continues until the end of the season.

FA Cup

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Enough said.

With the sale of the two players to Bolton it not means we have the lowest wage spend in the league which makes our run to the automatic promotion places even better. The transfer window came and went, three offers rejected for players so rather than waste money on others i am looking to bring in a couple of loans over the next four weeks.

Once again the press link me with a move away and again i deny any interest in the job at League One strugglers Crystal Palace.

The next month brings another five games featuring local rivals Northampton and the teams in 5th, 6th and 7th. This really will set us up one way or another, a good month should mean the top three places are well in reach while a bad month will bring us into a battle with upto seven other sides battling for a play-off spot.

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Season Six - 2016/2017

npower League 2

February

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A month with not much entertainment but four wins from five moves us to the top of League 2. Fantastic work by my young squad. Tommy Bobbins ended his 16 hour goal drought and we beat rivals Northampton too! Really uspet with the defeat though, at home to 23rd place York. Should have won.

Despite the defeat i won 'Manager of the Month' which is nice. The 14th of my 2066 days with AFC R&DFC

March brings three home games and three away games. We play both 2nd and 3rd but to even it out we host 22nd and 24th. It seems im saying this every month but its really a huge month. Nine points clear of fourth could easily be 16 points by April or just two!

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Season Six - 2016/2017

npower League 2

March

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Another decent month puts us within touching distance of League One. Although we lost to Hereford we were helped by third place Cambridge beating them with us in turn beating Cambridge.

Tommy Bobbins has hit top form once again and helped by youngster Walton who has hit five in his last two.

April will be tough as we close in in the end of season. Only one game is against a team in top 13 so its totally in our own hands.

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you'll definitely get promoted from here and should wrap up the league, another good season!

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Good luck with your career at Diamonds! I'll be keeping an eye on how you do.

I look forward to using my local team next year when hopefully they'll be in the game!

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Season Six - 2016/2017

npower League 2

End of Season

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After a long season we have once again over achieved. As with the last few months we have been consistant without running away with things. We went into the last game of season knowing a draw would give us our sixth successive title. League One will be a totally different challenge and i need to consider my squad. I have made hardly any signings over last three years but will that policy be enough to keep us in League One?

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Again i seem linked to job after job and Premier League bottom club Sheffield Wednesday are the next to be linked with my name. I stayed silent on the matter but they went for Alan Pardew instead.

The way we have stayed competitive is by keeping the squad mostly the same but knowing one or two players will need to be sold on and this summer will have to be the same. Whether i can keep Tommy Bobbins remains to be seen but with him just five goals away from a club record i hope he stays. No clubs have made a firm bid for any of my players but i cannot resist all.

Once again the ground is have a little expansion, 1,200 standing spaces are to be created which will help the money coming in but we will have to manage our wage budget to a low level again. Im just hoping the board and fans do not expect too much next season.

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Season Seven - 2017/2018

npower League One

August

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First up, the summer. Last season i had my team playing seven friendlies and it backfired as in the first two months of the season my players were all in need of a rest. This time round i played just two, one win and one defeat plus a couple of matches against my u-18's.

As for transfers one player was released, Alan Russell who at the age of 20 had not made a senior appearence for us. The only other player leaving was loanee Ross Gosling. I tried to re-sign him but Middlesboroughhave promoted him to the first team.

Only one player has joined, to re-place Gosling, and that is Brighton's 20 year old Phil Stephenson.

The League season started well. Third place and unbeaten! A tough draw with Exeter was followed by a fantastic second half against Wycombe which saw us come from 1-0 down to win 3-1. A bit of a derby at home to Luton was edgy but an early goal settled it. Away to Dagenham i was confident as they have started badly and once again our away form shines bright.

The only blip was a defeat away to Championship side Rochdale in the League Cup. Never mind.

The club are expecting us to finish around mid table, which im more than happy with and the media have us as 14th. On the wage front only Cambridge are spending less. I am happy with the budget but i cant spend even close to it as we are currently £1.2m in debt. Its mainly come from ground expansion which we need so its a double edged sword really.

September brings Barnsley and Doncaster to AFC Rushden Stadium while our fans get long trips to Plymouth and Carlisle.

History: AFC Rushden and Diamonds (p286 w 218 d 36 l 32)

[TABLE]

[TR]

[TD]2011/12

[/TD]

[TD]United Counties Premier

[/TD]

[TD] 1st

[/TD]

[TD][/TD]

[/TR]

[TR]

[TD]2012/13

[/TD]

[TD]Southern League First Division Central

[/TD]

[TD] 1st

[/TD]

[TD][/TD]

[/TR]

[TR]

[TD]2013/14

[/TD]

[TD]Southern League Premier Division

[/TD]

[TD] 1st

[/TD]

[TD]FAC 3rdQual

[/TD]

[/TR]

[TR]

[TD]2014/15

[/TD]

[TD]Blue Square Bet North

[/TD]

[TD] 1st

[/TD]

[TD]FAC 2nd, FAT 3rd

[/TD]

[/TR]

[TR]

[TD]2015/16

[/TD]

[TD]Blue Square Bet Premier

[/TD]

[TD] 1st

[/TD]

[TD]FAC 2nd, FAT 3rd

[/TD]

[/TR]

[TR]

[TD]2016/17

[/TD]

[TD]npower League 2

[/TD]

[TD] 1st

[/TD]

[TD]FAC 3rd, LC 2nd, JPT 1st

[/TD]

[/TR]

[/TABLE]

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Season Seven - 2017/2018

npower League One

September

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Well what can i say. The month started with us giving away a last gasp leveller to Barnsley then defeat after leading to Carlisle. Things improved to smash Wrexham and winning away to then leaders Plymouth sent me into a spin! It was all about Tommy Bobbins in the Oxford match as you will see shortly before an all round team performance left Doncaster manager Tommy Jaszczun picking up his p45 within twenty four hours.

Back to Bobbins and the second of his goals against Oxford brought the crowd to the feet for a different reason

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Brilliant for a lad who is just twenty. Thats now 114 league goals in 176 league games. Fantastic.

The start to this season has amazed me and im really wondering now how far we can go. The happy Rushden fan in me says all the way, we will win the lot. But the realist in me knows that the money will not support us in the Championship.

A job has just come up in League One, Swansea. Currently spending a stupidly high £13m per annum on wages (more than the sides second, third and fourth combined) and down in 21st. What a challenge. A side that has slide from the Prem to league One, still throwing cash about it seems. Must say im tempted to apply.

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Season Seven - 2017/2018

npower League One

October

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Another month where we make ourselves very hard to beat. We started with a dull draw then an entertaining draw where we needed a late strike to get a point. Two more similar games where both sides deserved something but some cool finishing and great goalkeeping sent us into the Coventry game nicely clear. That game flew by, alot of good short passing gave Coventry no hope really and we wore them down to end October four clear.

We travelled to Doncaster in the JPT and i made eleven changes to the side. Only Brightwell had started a league game this year and depsite going one down we fight back well and complete an easy away win. Hull at home await.

I decided against going for the Swansea job, i have a great job here and cant walk away - yet.

Novmeber has us against Hull in JPT and we will enter the FA Cup also. In the league play-off chasing Bournemouth and Preston are two of our three fixtures.

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Season Seven - 2017/2018

npower League One

November

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Another top month all round. The league saw us beat the two play-off chasers and draw the other. In the cups a second string side did for Hull, although blowing a 2-0 lead in the process. The FA Cup saw off league rivals Hereford with Steve Gibbons scoring on his professional debut. Up next is BSBP side Tonbridge in the FA Cup and League Two Bury in JPT.

The cash flow will see a boost on Jan 1st as defender Neil McIlwain joins Norwich for £2.5m. A player who has been with me since the United Counties League it will be sad to say bye but 194 league games later he deserves his chance elsewhere.

My stock continues to rise in the press with mid table Prem side Aston Villa the latest to have my name linked. Unsuprisingly nothing came of it.

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December brings seven games, five in the league, including Hull, Swansea and Middlesborough. Hopefully it will be a happy christmas for us and our march to the Championship continues.

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Season Seven - 2017/2018

npower League One

December and January

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This was always going to be a tough time of the year. Lots of league games, cup matches too, transfer window opening and i already knew one of my brilliant back four was going. The two months brought around some inconsistancy but we still are tough to beat. Only one game did we totally dominate and should have won by more and there were scrappy results against Luton and Chesterfield. On the defeat front, Exeter needed two penalties to get past us although we could have played for a month and not scored. There lies the problem, Tommy Bobbins cannot socre in the league at the moment. Just one in ten is putting pressure on the rest.

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The cup has been a welcome distraction for us and Bobbins too, who has hit two cup goals recently. The FA Cup saw an awful display against Tonbridge, then an even worse one in the replay where we missed a pen, had a man sent-off and needed two goals from a centre back to get through. Our reward was Prem side Newcastle coming to us. 4-3 score looks like a fantastic tie but we were never in and scored two in last five mins to get back from 4-1 down.

The JPT is giving us hope of a day out at Wembley. A penalty shootout win at League 2 Bury put us in the Northern Final against Middlesborough. We are joint top of the league so it was always going to be tough but a 1-1 away in the first leg gives us hope for the second leg in Feb.

On the transfer front we new McIlwain was going but offers for two more of my prized back four means we are in a re-building phase. West Brom came in for centre back Sam Kearns. A fee rising to maybe £2.4m was something i cannot reject and off he went to the Premier League. Just a day later Championship side Bolton offered £1.7m for left back Jason Gibbons. At just 19 he had clocked up 111 league games for us but being out of contract in the summer meant the offer had to be accepted. It means our back line has three youth teamers in it but its worked for me in the last six years so why change now. This could blow our hopes of promotion but the club now has £2m sitting in the bank which is more important at the moment. If we went up we would need to stick with youth so im willing to risk it.

The more the season goes on the more im thinking of walking away in the summer. I cant see how the club can substain a Championship side with a stadium that holds 6,000 and we struggle to stay afloat with a weekly wage budget of £20,000. Swansea have five players earning that a week in their current League One squad.

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Season Seven - 2017/2018

npower League One

February and March

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As expected the sale of my three defenders in January has led to a slump in form. Goals are not flying as they have been and i have taken the choice to bring through five of my younger players to give them experience of the last few games. This should help us for next season. If we can pick up form we are still in a great position to go up but i really feel we are not strong enough defensively.

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A trip to Wembley is coming up against League 2 side Gillingham. A great day out for the fans and the players with hope of a trophy. The club has never been to Wembley before so this is another first on our journey together.

My aim for rest of season is to try and get the 2nd spot in League One but also work on a plan for next season. I want to have a squad ready to roll as soon as the current season finishes. Youth will get a chance as i have a couple of players i have hopes for. More about them later.

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Season Seven - 2017/2018

npower League One

End of Season

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What can i say? Wow, brilliant, amazing, unexpected, crazy.....

WE ARE GOING UP!!!

It went down to the final game, at home to champions Middlesborough, a win and we were up. 1-0 Rushden, 1-1, 2-1 Rushden, 2-2, all i was thinking was we would lose then three subs, two scored then top scorer Bobbins pounced to end this amazing season.

Next season is all about one thing, staying up.

I have broken the clubs transfer record by re-signing left winger Jon Evans from Bolton. We sold him for £1.4m back in January 2017 and have got him back for £275,000. Even better is Bolton still owe £55k a month for next six months so we have signed him for free really. Fantastic.

Im looking for maybe two or three more players but cash is still very tight.

Due to league regulations we have to make our stadium all seater meaning for the next 9 months we will be going to ground share with Kettering Town, at Nene Park. I cannot believe it. Rushden and Diamonds die, our rivals move into our home, we start again, the lowest league possible and end up asking Kettering Town for use of what was our home. Its a sad day. These nine months cant go quick enough.

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Season 8 - 2018/2019

npower Championship

My Squad

GK: Clive Baldwin

age: 22

league apps: 182

clean sheets: 84

DR:

Shaun Mutch

age: 16

league apps: 10

goal: 0

DL: Jonathan Shackleton

age: 17

league apps: 8

goals: 0

CB: Bernard Asante

age: 20

league apps: 71

goals: 2

CB: Bagasan Mulholland

age: 21

league apps: 79

goals: 6

MR :Louis Piper

age: 20

league apps: 63

goals: 12

ML: Jon Evans

age: 21

league apps: 90

goals: 22

MC: Gary Halford

age: 21

league apps: 144

goals: 15

MC: Christian Lewis

age: 19

league apps: 75

goals: 10

FWD: Jonathan Walton

age: 18

league apps: 51

goals: 22

FWD: Tommy Bobbins

age: 21

league apps: 212

goals: 132

That squad of players is made up of ten players that have come through the youth system. The one who didn't was Louis Piper who has come from Portsmouth for £3.5k. Jon Evans left for Bolton but that has not worked out so he is back, with a point to prove to others.

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Season 8 - 2018/2019

npower Championship

August

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Not difficult to see where our problems are so far this season. Starting the season i lost both left wingers in pre season so record signing Jon Evans is expected out until October and Aaron Smedley until Christmas.

My main strike force has been as unsettled as Tommy Bobbins is out with a torn hamstring for 3 months and Jonathan Walton serving a three match ban for an early red card against Portsmouth. Then my third choice forward Kieran Spencer had attracted interest from Tottenham and a deal worth £2.475m with a 50% sell on was agreed.

Results wise we were outplayed in the opening two league games and was very happy with a double 0-0 result. A shock defeat to League 2 Torquay was not all important as league survival is our aim. Against Brighton we were well in it for an hour but two goals in five minutes ended our hopes there. The worst display was Norwich. Three down at the break we were never in the game.

Points and goals are needed quickly and with Crystal Palace away and Leicester at home next it could be tough...

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Season 8 - 2018/2019

npower Championship

Septmeber

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A much better month of the results and goals front, but not injuries. We are picking up so many injuries at the moment i have stopped training. Yeah thats right, no players are training at the moment while i give players a chance to recover.

Back to the results, a penalty award with just two minutes left gave us our first Championship win over Leicester and the momentum continued at home with a battling point over Sheffield United and a brilliant win over Sunderland. For the Utd game we had a newe forward playing. With all the injuries i have been looking at three or four players and the one i chose agreed a deal until the end of the season. £2,000 pw for a twenty year old who scored 70 goals in 140 games for VFK Zalgiris Vilnius in Lithuania, Aivaras Budrys. But to fit with our season n debut he sprained an ankle and is out for seven weeks.

October brings five games where Nene Park wlecomes West Ham and Birmingham while trips to Middlesborough and Reading look winnable.

In other news, following the World Cup England boss Eddie Howe stepped down to be re-placed by u-21 manager Stuart Pearce. Two weeks followed and the new u-21 boss was revealed to be Eddie Howe....hmmm....

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