kris0710

AFC Rushden and Diamonds - Back from the dead.

176 posts in this topic

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Season 11 - 2021/2022

Premier League

November

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A much better month! Great stuff.

It started with Blackburn in which we gave our best performance of the season. One up after 25 minutes soon became 2-1 down, the second a harsh penalty. In the 69th minutes Raffa Trovo stepped up with a 20 yard free kick to give us just our second point.

Next up a trip to Everton. A real backs to the wall performance brought a goal right on the break. Tommy Bobbins with a far post header. The game brought around two injuries, including one to goalkeeper Baldwin jsut to keep me on the edge of my seat.

We ended with defeat to Aston Villa. They totally dominated the match, more so from the 37th minute when we had defender Bancroft sent off after already losing right back Mutch on the half hour. With just 14 minutes to go Duarte scored the winner. Overall happy, ten men, totally outplayed, but only beaten by the one goal.

This month had seen me answer three media questions about the Burnley, Ipswich and Wigan jobs. Denied interest in all three.

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Haven't looked at this for a while, it's fantastic that you finally got out of the Championship and into the Premiership! Lets hope you can survive :D

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Very best of luck in the Prem. It's looking a daunting affair at the moment! Hopefully you can stay in touching distant of safety by Jan, then hopefully try for some more loanee's/freebies for the final push. I'm predicting 15th place ;).

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Season 11 - 2021/2022

End of Season

Premier League

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Our Premier League adventure is over for now. It was a tough season all in all, could not score enough and conceded too many. We only went down with two games remaining following Stoke winning at Manchester City.

Highlights from the season:

  • Ending with a bank balance of £30m, will keep the club going for years.
  • League rules meant our stadium was expanded to 12,500 all seater
  • Our first Premier League win away at Everton 1-0
  • Beating West Brom 4-2, our biggest League win

Lowlights of the season:

  • Conceding 4 goals 10 times, plus one 5 and one 6
  • Players wages rocketing up
  • Being relegated

The new season is almost here, so far i havn'e lost any major players so we have a good championship squad. Mid table is the boards wish for this season so im sure we can get that, minimum. Have certainly learnt from my mistakes and hopefully if we can win promotion again we wil be in a better position to stay there. A year down the line and £30m in the bank its not been all bad!

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Unlucky mate I am sure you will bounce back

I'm hoping so, still have a settled squad and some of my youngsters have improved greatly over the year so my squad has better depth rather than just a decent first eleven. Was never ready for the top flight anyhow.

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Lowlights of the season:

  • Being relegated

I'd say! Definitely capable of a better second go.

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Unlucky on the relegation, but to have £30mil in the bank is really something! I think you will easily go back up and will have loads of money to improve the squad.

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Season 12 - 2022/2023

npower Championship

August to October

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Not exactly the return to the Championship i was hoping for. With a squad almost the same as last year the relegation hangover has continued but a decent October hopefully means we have turned a corner. To keep up spirts we have had a decent run in the league cup.

The summer saw 10 players leave the club. Carlos Kameni joined Stoke for £160k while Niko Kranjcar retired. The biggest sale was young defender Luke Bancroft. After 99 league games for us he joins Premier League Brighton for £5.5m. Other first team squad members leaving were Bagasan Mulholland to Sheff Wed (£90k) and Jake Bond to Blackpool (£325k)

Coming into the team over the summer was Damien Cartwright from Everton for £275k and Donimique Paris on a free.

On the money side we have £42m in the bank and are spending £4.63m per year in salary. Only QPR (£3.44m) and Bolton (£2.97m) are spending less in the Championship.

25 year old Tommy Bobbins has has hit his 200th league goal for Rushden

26 year old Clive Baldwin has past 350 league apps for Rushden

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Despite our troubles in the league the cup has been brilliant. A comfortabel home win to League 2 side Bury brought a trip to Liverpool. A massive crowd of 41,411 saw us take the lead before Liverpool levelled in the 88th minute. We then scored in each half of extra time before Liverpool got a second with two minutes left.

The Liverpool team featured an £11m French international keeper, an Irish international with over 50 caps, a Swiss left back with 72 caps, £12.5m Croation midfielder with 31 caps, an Italian striker that cost Liverpool £16.25m in 2021 who has scored 24 in 42 Prem games and has 46 international caps and a 22 year old English forward who has scored 29 in 38 for England u-21's. It makes the win more special as they had a good team ot, was not full of 19 year olds.

The draw for the next round brought a trip to Old Trafford. United had started the season with 7 wins and a draw from eight games sitting top of the Prem when we went there. A strike from our left back after half an hour was enough to win and in the end we had 16 shots to Utd's 8, 6 on target compared to 4. Excellent performance.

The United side had a keeper ho had not conceded in his three Prem games this year, Mexican right back who at age of 23 has played 44 times for his country. The captain of Ghana captained United (he has 143 international caps). The United starting line up had two 16 year olds and two 17 year olds but the rest had all featured at least three times in Uniteds first 8 Prem games.

Next up is a home clash with Burnley. A club that have finished in the top 12 in the Premier League for 5 of the last 6 seasons.

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Season 12 - 2022/2023

npower Championship

November and December

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Not the worst of two months overall which included coming third in the manager of the month for december. Two late goals away to Portsmouth got November off and running for us and after losing a close match to Swansea we beat play-off chasing Derby with some ease. After a couple of poor games we started to get some injured players back to fitness which led to 10 points from 12 in December. The game we slipped up in could have been alot worse as we were 2-0 down after just eight minutes. Coming into the transfer window we are smack in the middle at the half way point. 13 points from playoffs and 14 clear of the relegation zone.

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The League Cup ended with an extra time defeat. Such a shame but its been great fun picking up a couple of big scalps. Moving to the FA Cup a tough trip to Bournemouth, second in League One, turned out to be easier than expected. Our good league form continued and we were also comfortable. The draw for the 4th round gives us Championship rivals Scunthorpe at home. Hopefully we can make the 5th round as we are unbeaten in the 7 previous meetings, winning five.

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Season 12 - 2022/2023

npower Championship

January and February

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Once again not a bad couple of months. Some decent results and scoring some goals which is nice. The season is in danger of just fizzling out though as we are too far from the play-offs to make a bid for promotion. Maybe once the new intake of youth come along i will start playing some youngsters in prep for next season.

One the transfer front two players will be leaving in the summer. Centre defender Kerst Brodkorb who joined on a free at the start of last season has agreed an end of contract transfer to Benfica. In the summer i tried to offer him a new contract but his wage demands were far too high for me. Yes the money was there to honour his wishes but i am not prepared to break the bank for him.

The second player leaving is Raffa Trovo. Such a talented player and one i didnt want to lose but when Lazio come offering £6m for a player i signed on a free three years ago is great for the club. He is out of contract next summer and wanted £21k pw to sign again and i cannot do that. He will be a massive miss as 144 lge apps, 19 goals and 41 assists in his near three seasons.

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The FA Cup is still going strong for us. Round 4 needed a 90th minute pen from top scorer Sutton to put us through then Round 5 saw a confident win over QPR, a month after hammering them 6-1 in the league. That brings a cup quarter final away to Manchester United. Having already dumped them out of the League Cup i can have hope we will do it in the FA Cup although i doubt it much.

Thus season has brought us our best ever run in both cups and makes up some what for the mid table league showing.

The club is currently under a transfer embargo as current chairman Neil Crace looking to sell up. Club director Graham Wilkinson is favourite to become my new boss. ON the finance side we have £38.5m in the bank with a trip to Old Trafford to come. That game was moved for TV giving us a bonus of £250,000. The salary is at £4.53 per annum with still QPR and Bolton below us in the Championship wage table.

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Season 12 - 2022/2023

npower Championship

March

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A mid tale month for a mid talble side in the League. The defeat to Middlesborough came from a late goal but the win over Sunderland featured an even later goal so it evens its self out really. The month revolved around the FA Cup tie really. The rest of our games come before the end of April, four home games and three away. Looking to try and finish 7th, only five points behind Bolton so a good run should bring a much more respectable finish.

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It seems little old AFC Rushden and Diamonds have found a way to beat Manchester United. Thats two wins from two trips to Old Trafford. 3-0 was way above anything i could ever dream of and now a Wembley trip (just our third one win one defeat) against Premier League 10th place West Brom. The other semi final is between Man City and Liverpool.

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Season 12 - 2022/2023

npower Championship

April

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A cracking end to the season in the league, in the end just four points from a play-off place. Five wins and two draws mean we end the season on an eleven game unbeaten run in the Championship.

Rogan Sutton ended the season as top scorer with 27 in all competitions

Left back Bill Tierney played the most games - 51

Rafa Trovo ended the season with 24 assists. A new club record

Sutton and Andy Reid both had the most man of match awards with eight

Sutton also ended with the best average rating - 7.41

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So close yet so far in the end. A great performance all round and for us to reach the semi final was fantastic. Going down to to such a narrow defeat hurts but im sure our time will come

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Had some good cup runs and a Wembley run out. Just have to try and add a few players in the summer

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Season 13 - 2023/2024

npower Championship

August

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A perfect start to the season for us. In a summer that saw us lose three of our starting eleven i was hoping for a decent start but top after four games is great. Pre season was hindered with injury to Tommy Bobbins and he is just about back on the bench at the moment but the record scorer has a job on to get back into the team as last seasons top scorer Rogan Sutton has scored 3 and had 6 assists while new signing Danny Dekelver has hit 5 in six with one assist.

We started the season with a tight 2-1 win at Nottm Forest, coming back from one down and needing sub Piper to strike the winner. Next up brought another tight match where centre back Paris scored just after the break.

A trp to Bolton is always tough and winning just two in our nine games against them shows. How wrong was i. Two up through our two before mentioned strikers when Paris put through his own net just on half time. Two more second half strikes from Paris (pen) and midfielder Muldoon. We ended the month with a comfortable win at home to Oldham. Winger Piper hit one and Dekelver twice to put us top of the pile.

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The cups just keep on giving. After last seasons League Cup quarter final run we now have a fantastic home tie with Chelsea in Round Three. To start we beat off League Two Bristol Rovers 4-1, another o.g for Paris but we were 4-0 up at the time. Championship rivals Olham came next and tough game, just three days after we beat them in the league, saw us through with a long range strike from Dekelver.

The summer saw former captain Gary Halford move from Braga to Southampton for just under £10m and with us having a 50% sell on clause we are in for a big cash injection over the next 24 months. I mentioned above players mving on and Trovo went to Lazio while Broadkorb left on a free to Benfica. Also leaving was left back Bill Tierney after Ipswich met his minimum fee release of £1.8m.

On the signing front Jack Manswell came in on a free to replace Trovo. 18 year old fromerly with Trinidad and Tobago side San Juan Jabloteh Sports Club.

Mick Smith is in a replacement for Tierney. Coming from Barnsley at the end of his contract at the age of 25.

Louis Wotton is on a eason long loan from Crystal Palace as a number two goalkeeper. He spent most of last season here playing 11 times in the Championship.

Danny Dekelver is an 18 year old forward signed again on a free following his release from Genk in Belguim. Five goals in six games he is looking a good signing so far.

Finally in comes French winger Ilyes Duval. The 20 year old was released from Auxerre and is cover on the wings as Aaron Smedley joined Oldham on loan.

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Perhaps promotion is on the cards.

Hoping so...Have enough cash now to make a real go of the Premier League.

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Looks like Manswell and Dekelver could be some quality additions, hopefully carry on the early form and back into the Prem!

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Season 13 - 2023/2024

npower Championship

September

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We ended August top of the table on goal difference and after four more games and with September out of the way we are still level on points with only goal difference between three teams.

We started poorly with a home defeat to Norwich. That was the first defeat for us in the Championship since March 4th. We needed to pick up points in a trip to Charlton as they are going well and we built a 2-0 lead before Charlton even had a effort on goal.

A clash of the then top two came about with Middlesborough. A goal up within two mins we played superb until right on half time when keeper Baldwin put into his own net. Thats now 6 goals conceded this season and three have been og's. We ended the league month with a win at Leicester. No much quality on show but Lewis struck with ten to go from 16 yards to give us the points. Thats now 11 away games without defeat in the league going back to February.

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Our League Cup run comes to an end with defeat to Chelsea. Despite taking the lead with ten minutes Chelsea had gone 2-1 up and missed a penalty.

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Season 13 - 2023/2024

npower Championship

October

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Not the best of months but again we are making ourselves difficult to beat. Injuries have ripped through the squad meaning a settled starting eleven has not been achieved this month.

We started October slightly disappointed by Brighton scoring with just four minutes left to share the points. My birthday brought a cracking game for most people. Within 11 minutes both strikers had scored and we were crusing. By the time we reached the 56th minute we were 3-2 behind when the Morecambe keeping scored an og. The final goal of the day came from Paris with eight minutes left.

We served up another treat for the home fans against bottom side Swindon running out 3-0 winners. Anybody in late for the Portsmouth game missed all the action with Pomey scoring after just 33 seconds. Our worst 90 minutes was followed by another awful 53 against Watford. 2-0 i make a treble change and the two midfielders brought on provide the assists for Sutton to score within 4 minutes.

With all the injuries i entered the free transfer market and brought in a new centre back Edward Jabang. Formerly with FC Kobenhavn he was released in the summer and im hoping he will have a bright future with us.

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Season 13 - 2023/2024

npower Championship

November

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Yet another month that so easily could have been better. A brillaint win against West Ham was followed by a shocking display at leaders Blackpool. How they didnt score five or six is amaxing. Before the West Ham win we let slip a lead to Rochdale before letting in yet another 90 + minute goal. We started win defeat at Wigan where 36 year old Robert Snodgrass scored the only goal.

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Season 13 - 2023/2024

npower Championship

December

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Shocker of a month!! Looking at the table though, a game over half way and being 7th is more than pleasing. I see us a a top 12 side in the Championship at the moment but there is some sadness given the start we had.

December started awful with 1 point from 9 but christmas cheer was back with back to back wins leading us to end the month with some confidence. Two home games that if we pick up 6 points right in the mix.

Sadly we decided to thow both games away. leading in both we wnt 3-1 and then 4-1 down before scoring late on to make the results look a little better.

Some concern from striker Reid and full back Smith about lack of first team chances so could well see some movement next month. Our midfield has been wiped out during the month also with 6 of my 8 midfielders out injured or suspended for the last two games of the month. To make it worse it just the little niggle injuries, all one or two weeks!

The FA Cup sends us to League Two strugglers Chesterfield.

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Season 13 - 2023/2024

npower Championship

January

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Another poor month in the league that started with some promise.

A decent draw away at Swansea, after being one down after just 40 seconds was followed with a brillaint win over Bolton, everything we seemed to do paid off that day. Then the bad stuff came. What i thought was an awful display at Oldham turned out to be an amazing display after the way we played against Norwich. Never ever been so downhearted about two results.

Somehow though we are still in a decent position and well in with a play-off shout.

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The FA Cup was a different story. Hammered Chesterfield and the win over Swindon was more comfortable than the results suggests. For the second time this season we host Chelsea in a cup tie.

On the transfer front forward Andy Reid was sold to West Ham for £375k while Mick Smith and Neil Howson were released. Also released was loyal servant Bernard Asante. The defender came through the youth system after joining in March 2013 and making him debut in 2016. After nearly 11 years with the club he made 204 league apps and scored 13 times. A brilliant servant who over the last 30 months had become very much a bit part player. I wanted him to go off and find a club and continue a career that includes 19 full caps and 26 u-21 caps for Ghana, scoring once. He has also won Championship Play-Off in 2021, League One and League Two titles in 2018 and 2017 while in 2023 he was a member of the Ghana squad that won the African Nations Cup.

Coming into the club were three new players.

  • Preben Fiege - a free transfer left winger signed to help with the midfield injury crisis. Former of Lynby he had failed to impress on trial with both Rochdale and Swansea but i certainly feel he has a bright future. 13 Danish u-21 caps with 5 goals he has played 122 minutes for us so far, with one assist and an average rating of 7.40
  • Jai Middleton - another free transfer after his release from Seattle. Just 20 years old and born in England a WP was not needed. His time in the MLS shows he is a goal scoring full back with 3 in 22 i hope he can make the left back slot his as its one of my weakest positions.
  • Willaim Maxwell - a third and final freebie he was released from Coventry after 6 goals in 6 starts and 19 sub apps. A raw player who has until the summer to impress. He is my 4th choice forward currently, playing once in the FA Cup.

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Season 13 - 2023/2024

npower Championship

February

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A nice unbeaten league month, although two wins and two draws. Things started with a credible draw at Middlesborough and then fought back from 2-0 down to beat Leicester 3-2. A trip to Morecambe saw us lead three times but only get a point. We ended the month with a thumping win at bottom club Swindon. Saying that they played most of the game with ten men and scored two o.g's

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Our cup run ended with a big defeat to Premier League side Chelsea. Never in the game, two goals in each half.

Following the form of my forwards Tommy Bobbins has hardly played this year allowing Clive Baldwin to now become the clubs record appearence holder with 412 apps.

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Season 13 - 2023/2024

npower Championship

End of Season

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All in all disappointed to finish outside the top 6 but we didnt desdeve too. As with last season a good run in the last few weeks saw us fall short. Nobdy is complaining with a second sucessive 9th place finish though.

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Whose won what

Premier League:

Manchester City - 4

Arsenal and Tottenham - 3

Manchester United - 2

Chelsea - 1

Championship Title Winners:

Blackpool and Watford - 2

Leeds, Cardiff, Bristol City, Nott'm Forest, Leicester, Ipswich, Portsmouth, Burnley and West Ham - 1

League One Title Winners:

Preston, Crystal Palace and Morecambe - 2

Peterborough, Coventry, Middlesborough, Wrexham, QPR, Huddersfield and Birmingham - 1

League Two Title Winners:

Swindon, Plymouth, Bournemouth, Luton, Oxford, AFC Rushden, Oldham, Crawley, MK Dons, Chesterfield, Hull, Macclesfield and Colchester - 1

Blue Square Bet Premier Title Winners:

Cambridge and Cheltenham - 2

Luton, Northampton, Darlington, AFC Rushden, FC United, Notts County, Tonbridge, Nuneaton and Stockport - 1

FA Cup Winners:

Manchester City - 3Manchester United, Arsenal and Chelsea - 2

Liverpool, Ipswich, Tottenham and Newcastle - 1

League Cup Winners:

Arsenal - 3

Manchester City - 2

Stoke, Blackburn, Burnley, Bristol City, Wolves, Manchester United, Newcastle and Liverpool - 1

Johnstones Paint Trophy Winners:

Hull - 2

Preston, Colchester, Oxford, Sheffield United, Plymouth, Swansea, Gillingham, Exeter, MK Dons, Chesterfield and Stockport - 1

FA Trophy Winners:

Lincoln, Aldershot, Fleetwood, Bury, Torquay, FC United, Kettering, Newport County, Bromley, Dartford, Grimsby, Cheltenham and Kidderminster - 1

Champions Cup Winners:

Barcelona and AC Milan - 4

Real Madrid - 2

Manchester United, Liverpool and Arsenal - 1

Euro Cup Winners:

Manchester United - 3

Manchester City - 2

Real Madrid, PSG, Shakhtar, OM, Porto, Liverpool, Arsenal and Tottenham- 1

World Cup Winners:

Italy - 2

Croatia - 1

European Championship Winners:

Italy, France, Spain and Romania - 1

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Unlucky mate

Overall just not good enough. Its a time of transition though, more younger guys coming in as over the last two years i have lost 6 or 7 first teamers to bigger clubs. Am confident this year we can go better and get a play-off spot.

Youth facilites are being improved again and another 58 seats added to the capacity!!

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Season 14 - 2024/2025

npower Championship

August

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For a second season running we have had a good start to life in the Championship.

The opeing day took us to QPR and saw us endure a nightmare start with conceding inside two minutes. The lead last just eight minutes when Belgian forward Danny Dekelver volleyed in from a Fiege cross. The five minutes before and after half time were awful as both Fiege and Wareham went off injured. Goal number two game in the 69th minute through Steven Breen and the match was settled in the 95th minute with Dekelver's second of the game. Although QPR two more shots we ended the match with 59% possession which is fantastic for an away team. The way we passed the ball won us the match with our defence, midfield and attack beating QPR in the completion stats 73 to 57, 84 to 76 and 85 to 63%. That gave us an overall pass completion rate of 81% (compared to QPR 67%)

Home game number one saw Middlesborough well beaten at the AFC Rushden Stadium. Goals from Rogan Sutton and Dekelver in either half were enough for us. Once again our passing game worked wonders with an 83% completion rate with an overall possession of 61%. According to the stats we have the best work rate in the league and that showed as over the 90 minutes my players ran 188km compared to 111 from Middlesborough.

I did'nt expect to get much from Birmingham away and how wrong was i. Two up inside 14 minutes from the same scorers as Middlesborough the game was made safe in first half stoppage time though Ilyes Duval. We could also afford a first half penalty miss from Steve Muldoon. An amazing 24 shots to Birmingham 6 went along way to sealing victory.

Game four brought a clash of the 100% record holders. It was us that started the best and Rogan Sutton scored after 24 mins. Cutting past two players on the right wing he beat another player before curling the ball into the top corner. That goal was later voted Goal of the Month (

). Norwich levelled before the break after a poor piece of goalkeeping left Ambassa with an empty net. Overall we were happy to take a point as Norwich whacked the bar and really dominated the second half, particuarlly in midfield.

The final game of August took us to Wigan where the only first half action was a harsh penalty award to Wigan left Holloway with a simple chance to score. We got level in lucky circumstances with a harmless cross from Sutton somehow diverted into his own net by Wigan defender Kamran Newman. The final goal came with just four to play. A four man move featuring one touch passing left Graham Flynn free inside the box and he slid the ball past the advancing keeper. We should ahve made the most of the ball as we had 62% possession at the DW Stadium but it just wasn't our day.

Despite being 5th in the table we are doing things right as Danny Dekelver, Steven Breen and Rogan Sutton filled the top 3 spaces of the Young Player of the Month award.

Clive Baldwin and Christian Lewis are currently 1st and 5th in the passes completion table (92% and 89%) while Dekelver is 3rd in the dribbles per game (3.2). We have three players (Duval - 1st, Muldoon - 7th and Piper - 11th) in the top 11 for the distance covered so far. Leader Duval has covered 64.2km compared to second placed 60.9km.

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Once again we come across Chelsea in the cups. After being beaten by them in both competitions by them last year in hoping for a bit of revenge. We have that chance thanks to two wins against lower league clubs. League 2 Stevenage scored first and last, an og and a penalty, but a goal straight after the break then two inside four minutes put us through.

League One Plymouth were next up and the results flattered us somewhat. Yes we were the better team and two up when Plymouth pulled one back but we needed goals in the 85th and 88th minutes to seal a spot in round 3.

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Hope you keep it up this time.

Certainly hope so. Playing some good stuff so far.

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A better season so far :) Hope the play matches the expectations you have!

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Season 14 - 2024/2025

npower Championship

September

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Optimism replaced by disappointment

September started with a home match with Morecambe. For the fans a cracking match but despite coming from behind twice the away side struck the winner with just five minutes left. Our first goal from Lewis was later voted third in the

award. After seeing the goal though i thought it was worthy of first place. The overall performance was was well down on recent games so defeat was no suprise.

Next up away to Scunthorpe looked all the world to be another defeat at half time with us 2-0 down. The final forty five minutes though were superb, so much so commentry used the phrase 'Scott's boys never looked like losing this one'. We needed goals from centre back Edward Jabang and captain Christian Lewis. Lewis, although born in Irthlinborough, Northants now represents Trinidad and Tobago.

With our tails firmly up Leciester were the next visitors to our place and they scored with their only effort on target. We again gave another good second half showing and our leveller came six minutes after Jack Manswell was sent off.

The month ended with a poor effort at Sunderland. Danny Dekelver ended his goal drought but that about the only positive from the game. We were already a goal down when Dekelver scored following a rebound from a long range Piper strike.

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The cup run is ended by Chelsea once again. Im getting very board with a home tie against them! A decent performance though shows me we are doing something right. Two goals after the break did for us and just a little bit of quality was mssing.

Three of my players in the top 15 for pass completion (Baldwin - 93%, Dekelver - 86% and Piper - 85%)

Duval and Piper are 3rd and 4th in the distance covered at 103.2 and 102.7km.

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Season 14 - 2024/2025

npower Championship

October to February

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Season 14 - 2024/2025

npower Championship

March

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Its clear to see that the play-offs in the minimum aim now for this season. The next month brings so real tough matches. The last three games of the season are against the sides currently 7th, 1st and 2nd so a top 6 place is not assured yet.

March was a decent month in the end. Started shakey but three nice wins put us in a great position. Goals are still flowing and only the top 2 have better defensive records.

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Season 14 - 2024/2025

npower Championship

May

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Fifth place, play-off semi final against Watford. We tried and tried to throw it away but vital wins over Charlton and Everton gave us this good finish.

Going into the play-offs im not all that confident as our record against Watford is poor. Maybe its going to change now!!

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Play-Off Semi Final

First Leg

AFC Rushden Stadium

23mins GOAL!!! AFC RUSHDEN 1 - 0 Watford - Louis Piper scored following fellow wingers Cartwright shot being parried by the Watford keeper.

27mins GOAL!!! AFC Rushden 1 - 1 WATFORD - Tamer Driscoll scores an almost identical goal to Piper. A shot from Hooper was well saved but the rebound fell kindly to the Watford man.

45+2mins GOAL!!! AFC RUSHDEN 2 - 1 Watford - Louis Piper is in dreamland scoring his second of the game. Danny Dekelver ran down the left and drilled a cross along the floor to the back post where Piper was waiting to shoot back across the keeper into the corner.

HALF TIME AFC RUSHDEN AND DIAMONDS 2 -1 WATFORD

65MINS RED CARD!!! Watford have had left back Carl Wooley sent off for violent conduct

76mins GOAL!!! AFC Rushden 2 - 2 WATFORD - Tamer Driscoll scored the goal of the game with a curling free kick from fully 30 yards. Stunning

FULL TIME

AFC RUSHDEN AND DIAMONDS 2

WATFORD 2

My record against Watford now reads PLD 11 WON 0 DREW 6 LOST 5. Going to be a tough ask for the second leg. It is also my 700th game in charge of AFC Rushden.

Play-Off Semi Final

Second Leg

Vicarage Road

12mins GOAL!!! WATFORD 1 - 0 AFC Rushden - Shane Mountford scores after taking the ball past two defenders and shooting from 9 yards.

21mins GOAL!!! Watford 1 - 1 AFC RUSHDEN - Danny Dekelver picks the ball up on the half way line, jinxs past one defender and races into the box beofre sliding the ball past the keeper. Game on.

36mins GOAL!!! WATFORD 2 - 1 AFC Rushden - Mountford strikes again, a cross from the right hits his fellow forward and bounces right onto his left foot. Blink of an eye and the net is rustling

HALF TIME WATFORD 2 - 1 AFC RUSHDEN AND DIAMONDS

FULL TIME

WATFORD 2

AFC RUSHDEN AND DIAMONDS 1

(AGG 4-3)

2025 PLAY-OFF FINAL

LEEDS UNITED vs WATFORD

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Better luck next time.

Having a bit of a squad clear out so hopefully can go better next year. Been a little too loyal to a couple of my players so maybe its about time i used the transfer market rather than bringing through youth.

Slightly annoyed that after a year of planning and £170,000 paid out the council rejected our bit in increase the stadium by......58 seats

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Season 15 - 2025/2026

npower Championship

August

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After 5150 days, 701 games, 392 wins, 136 draws, 173 defeats, eight promotions with six titles i have left my job with AFC Rushden and Diamonds.

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For the fifth time during my AFC career Stoke City have offered me the job and although i am moving to a divisional rival i see this as a step forward. I felt that after taking Rushden to the Play-Off semi finals last season that 14 years is enough at one club. I could not wait another 9 years for a stadium, the new chairman has cut my budget year on year despite the club being in great shape.

Stoke City started the season with a 1-0 defeat to Leicester City so my first match in charge will be against Barrow in the League Cup. In the time i have been with Rushden, Stoke City have been relegated from the Premier League three times, won the League Cup once and also been runners-up once.

They have had TEN managers, of which 7 were sacked:

Tony Pulis - Left 2013 for international management

Steve McClaren - Sacked in 2014 after finishing 15th in Premier League

Alan Shearer - Sacked in 2015 after finishing 19th in Premier League

Chris Riggott - Sacked March 2016, the club finished 3rd in Championship

Jan Polak - Sacked October 2016 - just 6 months into the role

Safet Susic - Retired in May 2021

Nigel Adkins - Left in Summer 2024 to take over at Blackburn

Mohammed Abdellaoue - Sacked in March 2025

Walter Samuel - Sacked four months into the job following takeover

Mark Cooper - Sacked 9 days into the job by new owners

Kristopher Scott - 10th August 2025 to ?????

Its certainly going to be a challenge and i have just three weeks until the transfer window slams shut...

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Stoke City

Season 15 - 2025/2026

npower Championship

August

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The club started the season managerless and lost the opener against Leicester. Ahead of my first league game in charge i made six changes from the side selected on day one. To add to the nervousness the match was against Watford, a side i have not managed to beat in 12 attempts with AFC Rushden. Fear not though a good performance resulted in a 3-1 win and that was quickly followed by a comfortable win at Morecambe.

Just a day before the Morecambe game number one keeper pulled up injured so an u-18 lad stepped into the first team. Attempts to bring in a loan keeper have failed despite approching 7 players. That ended up costing us eve more a 3 of the 5 goals conceded in the next two games were from keeper errors. Take nothing away from AFC Rushden though, totally battered us from the first minute. New manager Mark Cooper must have really enjoyed it the win as im sure he is bitter following his Stoke sacking after 9 days.

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My first game in charge was a extra time win at League Two Barrow. Really should have won the game well before extra time but a win is a win. Round Two brought another League Two side, this time Stevenage Borough. Much more comfortable for us, two first half strikes then one shortly after the break killed the tie off.

I ahve joined when Stoke have a decent squad so i am going to bring in some good backroom staff and importantly new scouts to prepare the club for a busy January. Ideally i am looking to have a squad ready for the 2026/27 season by the end of January. That will give the players 18 games or so to gel.

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whats stokes finances like?

Not too bad.

Balance: £20,000,000

Transfer budget: £8,710,000

Wage budget: £432,725

Wage spend: £338,565

Due to previous transfers the club has a minimum of £1m per month coming in through installments for the next 16 months

As its the first season back in the Championship is promotion is not achieved then we will be parachute payments also

Last year the club lost £1.5m but spent £11m on transfers and brought just £6m in from sales so all in all decent shape.

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Stoke City

Season 15 - 2025/2026

npower Championship

September

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An inconsistant month for us but we are in a decent position for a club not hitting top form. We started well with victory over QPR. A match that swung from side to side, 1-0 down to 2-1 up then back to 2-2. A strike with just ten minutes left was enough to send 17,500 fans home happy.

A trip to the seaside saw Blackpool donkey Alex Pearce score the only goal after 16 minutes. Should have clinched a point though, hitting both posts in the final six minutes. Another league defeat followed with Middlesborough racing 2-0 up. A goal from my former youth player at AFC Rushden Jonathan Walton pulled one back with twenty to go but not enough.

We needed to beat Oldham in the final game of the month and that we did. 2-1 up at the break we raced clear in the second half with the 4th goal from Ross Mckay later voted

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We travelled to Championship leaders Brighton inbetween our two league defeats and gave our best performance so far. A goal in each half and a fantastic defensive display giving the hosts just two attempts on goal all game. The 4th round sends us to Premier League Liverpool.

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