Diamonds manager Peaks pays emotional tribute to 'lovely man' Griggs

Max Griggs, the man who formed Rushden & Diamonds in 1992, passed away at the end of last week

Wednesday, 14th July 2021, 11:59 am
Updated Wednesday, 14th July 2021, 12:00 pm
Max Griggs remained a regular visitor to Hayden Road for AFC Rushden & Diamonds home matches. Picture by Alison Bagley
Max Griggs remained a regular visitor to Hayden Road for AFC Rushden & Diamonds home matches. Picture by Alison Bagley

AFC Rushden & Diamonds manager Andy Peaks has paid an emotional tribute to Max Griggs.

Griggs, who formed Rushden & Diamonds in 1992 after the merger of Rushden Town and Irthlingborough Diamonds, passed away at the end of last week.

Peaks was part of the first Diamonds team at Nene Park as the club set off on an incredible journey that would, with Griggs’ financial backing after making his fortune through Dr Martens boots, ultimately lead them to the Football League.

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He later sold the club to the fans for £1 in 2005 before it went into administration six years later, which then led to the formation of the phoenix club.

Griggs continue to be a regular in the stands for AFC Rushden & Diamonds matches at Hayden Road, something that Peaks always appreciated as they were able to maintain their long-standing friendship.

The news of Griggs’ death came ahead of Diamonds’ 3-0 friendly win over Cambridge City last Saturday, which saw the players wearing black armbands as a mark of respect.

“I was devastated when I got told on Saturday morning,” Peaks said.

“I’d seen Max right up until lockdown last year and I obviously had the pleasure of meeting him way back when the clubs first merged.

“I don’t think anyone believed him when he said what he wanted to do but he did it. It was a hobby to him, an expensive one at that!

“He took the club to great heights but the best thing about him was that he was just so humble.

“He always had time for everyone. It was never about the money. It was about him mixing with people.

“I remember when we got promoted the first time, he came out on the Wellingborough Road with us in Northampton and was drinking in the pubs with us.

“He always wanted to come into the dressing-rooms before the games because he wanted to be amongst it and I remember our manager at the time Roger Ashby having a job to get him out at times!

“And then to come here as the manager and still see him coming to every game was great. He always made a point of coming and talking to me.

“I was actually looking forward to seeing him last weekend so it was a massive shock when the news came through.

“All I can really say about Max is that he was a wealthy man but he was a lovely man. He had time for everyone, he was always very positive even if things weren’t going right and he was humble.

“My thoughts just go out to his son Stephen and the family. I feel privileged to have known him and to have been able to call him a friend.”

Current Northampton Town manager Jon Brady played for Rushden & Diamonds during Griggs’ tenure and was part of the squad that won the Conference and gained promotion to the Football League in 2001.

“I had a huge personal connection with Max,” Brady said.

“He was my chairman for four years and we went through some hugely successful times together.

“He was the type of guy who would pop into the changing room and he would have a kickabout with you and he would relax you before a big game.

“I don’t think there was a nicer human being that I knew. He was just one of the nicest guys you could ever meet and he created an amazing place and an amazing footballing environment.

“Everyone loved to come to the ground and we enjoyed some unbelievable cup runs and some great times and he created some unbelievable memories for the whole area.”