Nene Park is the home ground of Rushden & Diamonds football club. The stadium is situated in Irthlingborough, Northamptonshire, England, along the bank of the River Nene, and holds 6,441, with 4,641 seated and 1,800 standing. The car park can hold 800 vehicles.
The stadium was built in 1969 as the home of Irthlingborough Diamonds, after the land was bought from the water board. In 1978, Nene Park became the first United Counties League stadium to have floodlights, which were turned on by Bobby Robson. He was watched by future Rushden & Diamonds manager Brian Talbot, who was still in his playing career at the time. In 1992, when Irthlingborough Diamonds merged with Rushden Town to form Rushden & Diamonds, Nene Park was extensively redeveloped. The stadium was torn down and rebuilt under the financial guidance of Max Griggs. The new stadium has conference facilities in the Diamond Centre, which features three hospitality rooms and was opened by Prince Charles in 1995. In recent years the stadium's biggest stand, the Airwair Stand (see below) was closed. This was in response to the falling attendances, which meant that the cost of keeping the stand open had become uneconomic. The all-seated Airwair is however opened when large numbers of travelling fans are expected, with a potential 2,372 if required. For teams with smaller followings, a section of the South Stand is allocated. An unusual feature of the stadium is the model owls in each corner, to deter birds from nesting in the roof.
Hotel Nene Park has permission to build a three-star, 150-bed hotel on its grounds. Strategic Director at Rushden & Diamonds, Helen Thompson said,
Other developments Diamonds chairman Liam Beasant has recently indicated that other plans are afoot for the Nene Park site. The construction of a supermarket, swimming pool and sports centre are new ideas that are being discussed. 2012 Olympics training camp Nene Park is to be used as a training camp for athletes ahead of the 2012 London Olympics The sports to be hosted are archery, fencing, football, judo, table tennis and wrestling.
Average crowd sizes
The South Stand includes the Diamond Centre and hospitality suites. Away fans, if travelling in small numbers, are situated in a block of this stand. There are 1,224 seats. The North Stand is home to the press box and more hospitality suites. It holds 976 people (all seated). The Airwair Stand is the biggest stand in the stadium. Holding 2,372 fans, it is situated behind one of the goals. Originally home to Rushden fans it has since been closed, only being used when a large number of away fans travel. The Peter De Banke terrace, or PDB, is named after the late popular club stalwart, Peter De Banke, and was opened in late-1994. Holding 1,800 fans, it is an all-standing covered terrace. It houses Rushden's singing fans. Within two years of Max Griggs taking control of the club, the PDB was constructed, replacing temporary dressing rooms and offices.
- 6,431 vs Leeds United, FA Cup Third Round, 2 January 1999
“ This is of huge significance to the Club to assist in working towards a sustainable future for the whole of the Nene Park Sports Complex and perpetuate the special gift that Max Griggs gave to the local community. Our personal thanks go to all those involved in supporting this application. In recent years Irthlingborough has unfortunately witnessed the redevelopment of many employment sites, we have a serious lack of local jobs. The range of full and part time positions this scheme will bring will provide an economic boost at a critical time, both during construction and once opened. ” Season Ave. Attendance +/- ave. on prev. season Competition 2002”“03 4,323 unknown Third Division 2003”“04 4,457 +134 Second Division 2004”“05 3,321 -1,136 League Two 2005”“06 3,162 -159 League Two 2006”“07 2,045 -1,117 Conference National 2007”“08 1,586 -459 Conference National 2008”“09 1,509 -77 Conference National 2009”“10 1,678 +169 Conference National
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