Rushden expelled from Conference

Rushden & Diamonds

Rushden & Diamonds have been expelled from the Football Conference for financial reasons, ahead of a hearing for a winding-up petition on Monday.

"The primary reason why we've been expelled is because of the financial issues with the winding-up petition," said chief executive Steve Beasant.

Relegated Southport earn a reprieve as Diamonds' fate means they will stay up.

Thurrock will remain in the Blue Square Bet South, while Bishop's Stortford will move to Blue Square Bet North.

A statement from the Conference said: "Based on information provided by the club, it is clear that it has significant financial problems.

"The Board has no confidence in the club's ability to pay its creditors or as to its ongoing viability or its ability to meet its obligations in the forthcoming season, and in order to perserve the integrity of the competition it was with regret that the board considered it had no alternative but to expel Rushden & Diamonds FC."

Hopes of being rescued by a consortium linked in with the Glenn Hoddle Academy were dashed on Friday.

And, although the club made a presentation to the Football Conference AGM concerning their status for next season, they have now lost their place in the league.

"We've had two investment consortiums show interest in taking over the club and injecting money," Beasant told BBC Radio Northampton.

"We needed more time to get that interest confirmed.

"We've got a business model and we had investors but the conditions put on us by the Conference made the deal impossible."

Beasant says that Diamonds will now aim to find a place in next season's Zamaretto League - a drop of at least two divisions.

"We'd have to make representation to them to be included, so we'll deal with that on Monday," he said. "But the priority is to make sure that the club isn't wound up on Monday.

"We've got to deal with the winding-up petition. We're looking for an adjournment."

Cash-strapped Rushden's financial problems have been well documented.

They were fined £2,000 and docked five points last month, leading to them being demoted one place to 13th in the final Blue Square Bet Premier table.

Rushden were created in 1992 when club founder Max Griggs merged Rushden Town and Irthlingborough Diamonds.

He was then at the helm for 11 years, building a new home at Nene Park, during which time he took the club into the Football League in 2001.

But Griggs stepped down at the age of 65 in October 2003, deciding that he has done all he could do for them.

He gave the stadium and 22 acres of land to the club's Supporters Trust in 2005.

But the former owner resigned as life president in January 2007, following an argument over land.