Rushden and Diamonds

Ground Name: Nene Park
Capacity: 6,441 (4,641 seats, 1,800 terracing)
Address: Irthlingborough, Northants, NN9 5QF
Main Telephone No: 01933-652-000
Fax No: 01933-650-418
Ticket Office: 01933-652-936
Ticket Office Fax No: 01933-652-638
Team Nickname: Diamonds
Year Ground Opened: 1992
Shirt Sponsors: MOTO
Kit Manufacturers: Errea
Home Kit Colours: All Red
Away Kit Colours: All Blue
Official Web Site: www.thediamondsfc.com
Unofficial Web Sites: www.rdfcnet.co.uk,
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What are the grounds like?

The ground was completely rebuilt during the 1990’s. What emerged was not only a modern stadium, but one of quality in terms of workmanship and materials used. The ground is totally enclosed, with all stands covered and roughly the same height. Three sides of the ground are all seated, with terracing behind one goal in the home end. The Air Wair Stand at one end is particularly pleasing to the eye, having a semi-circular roof. The corners of the ground although enclosed do not house supporters. One corner has an electric scoreboard, apparently bought from Millwall FC. An unusual feature are the owl statues on the roofs brought to deter other birds from the area.

What is it like for visiting supporters?

Away fans are housed in one end of the ground, in the all seated, Air Wair stand where the normal allocation for away supporters is 1,000. This end is normally shared with home supporters but if demand requires it then the whole of this stand can be given to visiting fans, increasing the number to 2,372. 

I was thoroughly impressed with the ground and facilities and on my last visit there was a good atmosphere generated. It still has a new feeling from when it was built and from what I can judge no expense has been spared. The leg room and views from the away end are excellent. I also found the stewarding to be okay and the Rushden fans to be amicable. If you are feeling hungry then the refreshment areas offer large ‘Diamond double burgers’ at £2.60, as well as the delicious ‘Football’s Famous Chicken Balti Pie’You may also want to have a look in the Club Shop which carries a range of discounted Dr Martens clothing and footwear.

Where to drink?

There are no pubs within the immediate the vicinity of the stadium. However there is the Strikers Bar at the ground itself. Apart from ‘high profile’ fixtures, away fans are admitted and the bar which can be found behind the South Stand. Within the ground and away fans are treated to their own bar, called the Airwair bar. If you want a proper pub, you can either take the 15 minute walk into Irthlingborough, or drive down the A6 for another couple of miles to Higham Ferrers.

At the traffic island by the entrance to the ground, you will find a road leading up to Irthlingborough. If you walk up this road you will first come to a pub on your right called ‘The Bull’ which is quite popular with away fans. If you continue straight on past this pub, then you will reach another on your left, called ‘The Horseshoe’, a small comfortable pub serving real ale. A little further on from this pub is ‘Mai’s Chinese take away & chippy’ which we found to serve good food, that we happily munched on the way back down to the ground!

Roger Paterson adds ‘if you go into Higham Ferrers heading towards Rushden itself you will find a pub called the Green Dragon (located just before Higham market square on the left hand side). Here you will find a large selection of beers. They specialise in real ales and often have a good range of guest ales. An assorted food menu is also available. A little further up the High Street is ‘The Griffin’, with a smaller selection of beers but the restaurant is excellent and good value. The Queens Head (located on the opposite side of the road) is more basic offering regular lagers and bitters. 

Alternatively you can drive to the Needle and Awl. This is probably the best place for away fans, as it offers a vast amount of ales, beers and lagers as well as good food. Driving there will take five minutes. When you exit the ground, turn left towards Rushden (on the A6),then right at the roundabout (this will have you heading towards Wellingborough on the A45). Proceed along the A45 for approx 1 1/2 miles then take the 1st exit of the next roundabout and there will be the Needle and Awl. You will find the supporters of Rushden a friendly lot’.

How to get there and where to park?

So where are Rushden & Diamonds located? Well they are in Northamptonshire. The ground is located in Irthlingborough, just off the A6 between Bedford & Kettering. It is a little strange as the ground basically seems to be in the middle of nowhere, on the outskirts of Irthlingborough and surrounded by green fields. Travelling down the A6 it just seems to appear out of nothing!

From The North/Midlands:
Leave the motorway at the M1/M6 intersection and take the A14 towards Kettering. On just passing Kettering take the A6 towards Irthlingborough/Rushden/Bedford, you will reach the ground on your left.

From The South:
Leave the M1 at Junction 15 and take the A508 towards Northampton. At the junction with the A45 turn right towards Wellingborough. Follow the A45 past Wellingborough and then towards Rushden. At the junction with the A6 turn left towards Irthlingborough. You will come to the ground on your right. 

There is a fair sized car park at the ground, which used to be free, but now costs £2 per car to park in (plus motorbikes £2, minibuses £5, coaches £10). However, it is normally full within an hour of kick off and this leads to a number of cars parking on grass verges along the A6. Steve Bingham a visiting Lincoln City fan adds; ‘As regards parking on the verges, make sure you don’t park across the footpaths or you may well get a parking ticket from the local constabulary’. It can also take some time to exit the official car park after the game (one Cambridge fan informed me that it took him 45 minutes and suggested that this was another reason why fans parked along the A6).

By train

The nearest railway station is in Wellingborough, which is six miles away! Therefore it may be advisable totake a taxi to the ground and then at the same time book one for the return.

John Thompson informs me; ‘Alternatively you take a train to Bedford and then take the hourly number 50 bus from Bedford bus station, about 10 minutes walk from the railway station. I caught the 12:55 bus from there direct to outside the ground, excellent value at £4.50 and approx 55 mins journey time. Return was at 16:55 so if the game drags on into injury time you may miss the first bus although there is another 20 minutes later which although advertised as a change in Rushden is I suspect the same bus all the way through to Bedford’.

Local Rivals

Kettering Town, Northampton Town, Peterborough United and from a little further a field; Luton Town.

Fixtures

For the Rushden fixture list click here (to take you to the BBC Sports Website)

Record and Average attendance

Record Attendance:
6,431 v Leeds United
FA Cup 3rd Round, January 2nd 1999.

Average Attendance:
2005-2006: 3,162 (League Two)
2004-2005: 3,321 (League Two)
2003-2004: 4,457 (Division Two)