Nene Park is a sports stadium situated by Irthlingborough, Northamptonshire, England, along the bank of the River Nene, and holds 6,441, with 4,641 seated and 1,800 standing. It once hosted football matches but is currently unused. From 1992 until 2011 it was the home ground of Rushden & Diamonds until their demise, having from 1969 been the home of predecessor Irthlingborough Diamonds. It became Kettering Town's home for 18 months. However, the ground has been vacant since November 2012, with little immediate chance of further football use in the foreseeable future. Nene Park’s record attendance of 6,431 was set when Rushden & Diamonds met Leeds United in the FA Cup Third Round on 2nd January 1999.
Irthlingborough Diamonds Football Club - 1969-1992
The original ground 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.
Rushden & Diamonds Football Club - 1992-2011
Rushden & Diamonds FC Badge
Beginning in February 1992 soon after the merger between Rushden Town and Irthlingborough Diamonds, the ground was radically redeveloped at an estimated cost of £30 million over the following ten years. Away from the stadium itself, during the 1997/1998 campaign improvements were made to the training ground. New dressing rooms were constructed beside pitch two, with two entirely new training pitches (three and four) added to the Nene Park portfolio. Some years later shortly before the 2000–01 season, the Dr. Martens Sports and Exhibition Centre with gymnasium, recreational facilities and offices was opened. An all-weather pitch was developed later on in the season to complete the work.
Kettering Town Football Club and Closure - 2011-Present
Kettering Town FC Badge
Following eviction from the Rockingham Road Ground, Kettering moved to Nene Park in June 2011, until financial troubles and high running costs of the stadium saw them move again in November 2012. Kettering would be the last club to called Nene Park home and it has stood empty since.
Nene Park was to be used as a training camp for athletes ahead of the 2012 London Olympics. The sports to be hosted were archery, fencing, football, judo, table tennis and wrestling.
On 11 December 2012 it was reported that Coventry City were considering moving to Nene Park due to a rent dispute with their current landlords at the Ricoh Arena. That move did not occur with Coventry entering a ground-sharing agreement with Northampton Town, playing their "home" matches at Northampton's Sixfields stadium in the 2013-14 season.
In September 2014, developers Rose Property Consultants announced plans to demolish Nene Park in order to make way for a leisure park, consisting of a multi-use football facility along with entertainment and retail zones. This was refused planning permission in March 2015.
The South Stand
The South Stand includes the Diamond Centre and hospitality suites. Away fans, if travelling in small numbers, were situated in a block of this stand. There are 1,224 seats.
The North Stand
The North Stand was home to the press box and more hospitality suites. It held 976 people (all seated). After Kettering Town's demotion to the Southern League in 2012 it was decided to close the stand permanently due to lack of demand for the stand's capacity.
The Airwair Stand
The Airwair Stand was the biggest stand in the stadium. Holding 2,372 fans, it is situated behind one of the goals. During Rushden and Diamonds' tenancy it was split between away fans and home fans. After their relegation back to the Conference National it was closed to cut costs, only being used when a large number of away fans travel. This stayed the same for the first season of Kettering Town's tenancy, however since their demotion to the Southern League it was permanently closed.
The Dale Roberts Terrace(Formally the Peter De Banke Terrace)
Originally named after Peter de Banke, it was later named after the late former Rushden & Diamonds goalkeeper and fan favourite Dale Roberts. It was opened in late-1994. Holding 1,800 fans, it is an all-standing covered terrace. Within two years of Max Griggs taking control of the club, the terrace was constructed, replacing temporary dressing rooms and offices.
Kettering Town sometimes took the decision to close the Dale Roberts Terrace if a match's attendance was anticipated to be well below the capacity of the South Stand, preferring to put all fans in the South Stand, to cut costs and create a better atmosphere.
Since starting exploring, I've always wanted to bag a football stadium. In our group, we had a mate who was a season ticket holder for Rushden & Diamonds. As a fellow football fan, I shared his excitement for our location. Unfortunately, the Director's boxes, bars, etc were completely boarded up. But walking around the empty stands held a charm about it.
Following the crowd troubles and hooliganism of the 70's and 80's, football clubs started having 'tunnels' coming from the changing rooms to protect players from missiles from opposing fans.
When erected in the late 90's, Rushden & Diamonds became, not only the first 'non-league' team to have a digital score board, but the first outside of the top two tiers of British football. This was financed by successful FA Cup runs.
Dale Roberts was Rushden & Diamonds' first choice keeper, and a bright prospect for the future in the early 2000's. On 14 December 2010, just hours before he was due to play in an FA Trophy match against his former club Eastwood Town, it was announced that Roberts had died. The match was subsequently postponed. Roberts was found by Northamptonshire Police at his home in Higham Ferrers, Northamptonshire; they said that they were not treating the circumstances as suspicious. The cause of death was reported to be suicide by hanging. Following Roberts' death, Rushden retired their number one shirt in his honour.
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|Like the history with the pics.|
It adds meaning to the images.
Seems you shot a white elephant.
Just when I thought I was out... they pulled me back in.
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