Rushden Expelled From The Football Conference

The non-league football AGM cup had been eagerly awaited, but the early results have still come as a bit of a shock. Rushden & Diamonds were expelled from the Football Conference this morning, a decision that will have ramifications throughout the non-league game. Southport, who finished in fourth from bottom place in the league and were to be relegated into the Blue Square North for next season, will be reprieved and Hertfordshire club Bishops Stortford, in one of those quirks that is always possible in a regional system, seem likely to be shifted into the Blue Square North. Amongst the round trips that they will face next season will include a six hundred mile round-trip to Workington and a five hundred and fifty mile round-trip to play Blyth Spartans. We have reported on the problems at Rushden on this site before, of course. The arrival of Gary Calder (formerly of Hornchurch and Weymouth, hardly a Curriculum Vitae to inspire a great deal of confidence) with the father and son Beasant duo in December of last year brought considerable problems for the club, and a familiar argot of phrases – players unpaid, transfer embargo, HMRC, winding-up order, creditors meeting – has come to encircle the club over the last six months or so, culminating in a farcical meeting which only seemed to exacerbate the tensions that had built up between...

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