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Living The Dream



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They just never learn, do they?

After a summer of overspending and overambition, the recent news coming from Rushden and Diamonds doesnt come as too much of a shock.

We all knew it was promotion or bust, and we all knew it would go wrong at some point. But to see it all go wrong so quickly is concerning to say the least.

8 players have been made available for transfer, and judging by the quality of players on offer, this isn’t for footballing reasons. It seems the bubble has burst.

Then again, it was always destined to fail. The budget was unmaintainable for a club of Rushden’s size, but that didnt stop them. It never does. Because to chase success, some will stop at nothing, and it doesnt matter about the casualties along the way.

Of course, Rushden have been here before.

In 1992, Rushden and Diamonds were created by Max Griggs, the owner of the Dr Martens shoe empire, as two small non-league clubs Rushden Town and Irthlingborough Diamonds were merged together.

And almost immediately, the money was poured in as Griggs aimed his sights at the Football League.

Nene Park was built, an attractive modern stadium that cost £30million pounds to construct, and then boss Brian Talbot was given all of the funds he required to get Rushden to the promised land.

And for a short time, it worked. Rushden made it to the old second division, and the dream had become a reality.

Or so they thought.

Because like so many clubs before them, Rushden were living beyond their means.

Griggs eventually left, and took his substancial financial backing with him. And without a sugar daddy behind them, Rushden simply couldnt sustain themselves.

Consecutive relegations to the Conference followed, with the club now in the hands of the supporters trust. Briggs still helped financially when he could, but the most important thing was security. Rushden couldn’t afford to take anymore gambles with their future. The most important thing for Rushden and their fans was having a club to support.

Unfortunately, that looks to have been the case. Keith Cousins took the reigns as Chairman, and backed his manager Garry Hill in spending big in the summer on the likes of Daryl Clare and Lee Phillips, amongst others. Clearly another push at the Football League was on the agenda, as Cousins and Hill looked to relieve the glory days.

For a team of Rushden’s size, it was a big risk. And it seemingly hasnt paid off, with Rushden languishing in mid-table and players being sold off to balance the books.

Living the dream? The dream hasn’t even begun.

And as usual, it’s the fans that will suffer. The same fans who have suffered before. Who would have thought lightning would strike twice?

No doubt the main culprits will walk straight into another club and get away with it, just like Peter Risdale did.

But the fans? The real victims in this piece? Let’s just hope they have a club to support at the end of all this.

This article is a submission for the Soccerlens 2008 Writing Competition; to participate, please read the details here. The competition is sponsored by Subside Sports (premier online store for football shirts) and Icons (official signed football jerseys).