Diamonds boss Peaks hopes for brighter days ahead
AFC Rushden & Diamonds' season is over but the club has been in the national spotlight this week
Andy Peaks is hoping AFC Rushden & Diamonds and non-League football in general will be able to return in the summer for a full season of action.
The almost inevitable news was confirmed last week with the Football Association announcing that the 2020/21 seasons at Steps 3 to 6 of the National League System were to be curtailed with no further league matches taking place.
Diamonds hadn’t played a Pitching In Southern League Premier Central game since October 24 last year, although they did have a brief return to action on December 8 when they were beaten 5-1 at home by Peterborough Sports in the first round of the Buildbase FA Trophy.
For the second year in a row, the football season at non-League level has been torn apart by the Covid-19 pandemic.
However, there are hopes that next season will start as scheduled should Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s ‘roadmap’ come to fruition and all social restrictions are eased from June 21.
Diamonds boss Peaks conceded he had probably been more “sceptical” than others about the season’s prospects when it began back in September.
But he is hopeful better days are on the horizon.
“It’s been tough for everyone,” he said.
“I guess I was probably a bit more sceptical than some about the season’s prospects when it first started. I wanted it to work out but I was concerned it wouldn’t.
“It almost became inevitable what would happen because it wasn’t sustainable for clubs to play without fans and it wasn't safe to play in the current conditions.
“I completely get it and understand, even though it’s disappointing.
“I guess we just have to be grateful we are here to fight another day.
“I have been in touch with all the players and explained what’s going on and as soon as we have some dates for pre-season then we will get them out there and we will be ready to start.
“I am feeling more confident now that we will get a full season next time.”
Diamonds, meanwhile, had the spotlight on them last night (Tuesday) when they played a role in the new BT Sport film ‘Ours’.
The documentary shined a light on fan-owned clubs or those clubs where fans have a key role in the running of things behind the scenes.
Peaks was interviewed for the film on the old Nene Park site in Irthlingborough where he played for Rushden & Diamonds in their early days.
Vice-chairman Jon Ward, commercial manager John Gregory and fan Joseph McCormack were also interviewed by Michael Calvin who wrote and narrated the documentary.
AFC Rushden & Diamonds was formed nearly 10 years ago after the demise of the original club and Peaks was pleased to see it get some national exposure.
“BT Sport got in touch quite a while ago about it,” the Diamonds boss said.
“I met them at the old Nene Park site and we walked across there and had a good chat.
“They were good people making the documentary and they then went to Hayden Road to speak to others from the club.
“It’s good exposure for the club, it was nice for all of us to tell people about what we do here and to also reflect on the way Max Griggs built Rushden & Diamonds in the first place.
“It can only be a good thing for the club to have the spotlight on it.”