Chairman Ralph Burditt has paid tribute to the volunteers at AFC Rushden & Diamonds after it was confirmed that they will start the season at Hayden Road.
The ground passed the grading inspection required to play in the Evo-Stik South League East on Monday and it was confirmed by the Football Association today (Wednesday), meaning Diamonds can host Hanwell Town in Rushden on the opening day of the campaign on Saturday.
It comes after a big effort over the summer following Diamonds’ move from the Dog & Duck in Wellingborough to Rushden & Higham United’s home ground in the heart of Rushden.
They had been set to start the season by playing their home matches at Kempston Rovers but they can now look forward to a full campaign at Hayden Road.
Burditt said: “This is a truly amazing result for the club, the transformation of the ground has been wonderful to see.
“Each volunteer should feel incredibly proud of what they have achieved at Hayden Road and the way in which they have supported the club over this time.
“We are incredibly lucky to have so many wonderful and dedicated people willing to give up their time to help the club and my heartfelt thanks goes to each and every one.
“As fans will be aware we have an agreement to play our games at Kempston Rovers until Hayden Road was brought up to the required standard.
“We will now begin games in Rushden a lot earlier than anyone could have imagined and I would like to express our thanks on behalf of the club to Andy Kirby, Russell Shreeves and everyone at Kempston Rovers for their support at a time when we needed it most.
“I would also like to thank Rushden & Higham United and Rushden Sports for all their support over this incredibly busy time. It is a really exciting time for football in Rushden and our partnership with Rushden & Higham promises great things for both clubs.”
Manager Andy Peaks added: “To get Hayden Road ready this early is incredible.
“It will be a massive boost for the players and for the fans to begin playing games in Rushden.
“The fantastic support which we enjoy really spurs the lads on and I can't wait to hear the roar when they walk out of the tunnel for the first time.”
Diamonds will now continue their fundraising efforts as they bid to raise the £30,000 to help pay for all the work.
Donations can be made by visiting www.crowdfunder.co.uk/our-new-home or through the club’s website http://www.afcdiamondsshop.com/index.asp
Don't miss a full preview of AFC Rushden & Diamonds' opening game of the season in Thursday's Northamptonshire Telegraph