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Report - Nene Park, Irthlingborough, Northamptonshire - Jan '16

Discussion in 'Leisure Sites' started by KM_Punk, Jan 19, 2016.

  1. KM_Punk

    KM_Punk Muppet
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    Explored with @Lost Explorer and a non member

    History

    Nene Park is a sports stadium situated by Irthlingborough, Northamptonshire, England, along the bank of the River Nene, and holds 6,441, with 4,641 seated and 1,800 standing. It once hosted football matches but is currently unused. From 1992 until 2011 it was the home ground of Rushden & Diamonds until their demise, having from 1969 been the home of predecessor Irthlingborough Diamonds. It became Kettering Town's home for 18 months. However, the ground has been vacant since November 2012, with little immediate chance of further football use in the foreseeable future. Nene Park’s record attendance of 6,431 was set when Rushden & Diamonds met Leeds United in the FA Cup Third Round on 2nd January 1999.
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    Irthlingborough Diamonds (1969-1992)

    The original ground was built in 1969 as the home of Irthlingborough Diamonds, after the land was bought from the water board. In 1978, Nene Park became the first United Counties League stadium to have floodlights.

    Rushden & Diamonds (1992-2011)

    Beginning in February 1992 soon after the merger between Rushden Town and Irthlingborough Diamonds, the ground was radically redeveloped at an estimated cost of £30 million over the following ten years. Away from the stadium itself, during the 1997/1998 campaign improvements were made to the training ground. New dressing rooms were constructed beside pitch two, with two entirely new training pitches (three and four) added to the Nene Park portfolio. Some years later shortly before the 2000–01 season, the Dr. Martens Sports and Exhibition Centre with gymnasium, recreational facilities and offices was opened. An all-weather pitch was developed later on in the season to complete the work.

    Kettering Town and closure (2011-Present)

    Following eviction from the Rockingham Road Ground, Kettering moved to Nene Park in June 2011, until financial troubles and high running costs of the stadium saw them move again in November 2012. Kettering would be the last club to called Nene Park home and it has stood empty since.

    Nene Park was to be used as a training camp for athletes ahead of the 2012 London Olympics. The sports to be hosted were archery, fencing, football, judo, table tennis and wrestling.

    On 11 December 2012 it was reported that Coventry City were considering moving to Nene Park due to a rent dispute with their current landlords at the Ricoh Arena. That move did not occur with Coventry entering a ground-sharing agreement with Northampton Town, playing their "home" matches at Northampton's Sixfields stadium in the 2013-14 season.

    In September 2014, developers Rose Property Consultants announced plans to demolish Nene Park in order to make way for a leisure park, consisting of a multi-use football facility along with entertainment and retail zones. This was refused planning permission in March 2015.

    The Stands

    The South Stand
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    The South Stand includes the Diamond Centre and hospitality suites. Away fans, if travelling in small numbers, were situated in a block of this stand. There are 1,224 seats.
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    The North Stand
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    The North Stand was home to the press box and more hospitality suites. It held 976 people (all seated). After Kettering Town's demotion to the Southern League in 2012 it was decided to close the stand permanently due to lack of demand for the stand's capacity.
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    The Airwair Stand
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    The Airwair Stand was the biggest stand in the stadium. Holding 2,372 fans, it is situated behind one of the goals. During Rushden and Diamonds' tenancy it was split between away fans and home fans. After their relegation back to the Conference National it was closed to cut costs, only being used when a large number of away fans travel. This stayed the same for the first season of Kettering Town's tenancy, however since their demotion to the Southern League it was permanently closed.
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    The Dale Roberts Terrace (Formerly the Peter De Banke Terrace)
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    Originally named after Peter de Banke, it was later named after the late former Rushden & Diamonds goalkeeper and fan favourite Dale Roberts, who died aged 24 in December 2010. It was opened in late-1994. Holding 1,800 fans, it is an all-standing covered terrace. Within two years of Max Griggs taking control of the club, the terrace was constructed, replacing temporary dressing rooms and offices.
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    Kettering Town sometimes took the decision to close the Dale Roberts Terrace if a match's attendance was anticipated to be well below the capacity of the South Stand, preferring to put all fans in the South Stand, to cut costs and create a better atmosphere.

    Explore

    Since starting exploring, I've always wanted to bag a football stadium. Along with myself and Lost Explorer, we had Lost Explorer's mate who was a season ticket holder for Rushden & Diamonds. As a fellow football fan, I shared his excitement for our location. Unfortunately, the Director's boxes, bars, etc were completely boarded up. But walking around the empty stands held a charm about it.

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    Some Externals

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    Cheers for Looking​
     
    #1 KM_Punk, Jan 19, 2016
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2016

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  2. AuntieKnickers

    AuntieKnickers inquisitive historian
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    Nice one bud.
     
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  3. WildBoyz

    WildBoyz Is this the future?
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    Very nice Punk, some sharp shots there. It was a good read too :thumb
     
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  4. The Stig

    The Stig Urbex = Nosey Bastard
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    Very nice mate, really like the black and white pictures :)
     
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  5. ThisWay

    ThisWay 28DL Full Member
    28DL Full Member

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    Great stuff, and an interesting read. I didn't realise Kettering played there briefly. If you didn't see it in the other Nene Park thread, I won the Champions League with Rushden & Diamonds on Championship Manager 00/01, after being sacked by Stoke, so even though it was only a virtual relationship, I looked out for Rushden & Diamonds' results and felt a tinge of sadness when they disappeared. I'm going to have to pay this place a visit. :)
     
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  6. Lost Explorer

    Lost Explorer Who Dares Wins
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    Cracking report mate! Was a good day :)
     
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  7. The Wombat

    The Wombat Mr Wombat
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    Comprehensive history
    nicely done :thumb
     
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  8. KM_Punk

    KM_Punk Muppet
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    Cheers guys :thumb

    Kettering played there for 18 months, during a time where they hosted 4 grounds in 5 years. I've played as R&D on manager games, used to have a bit of a soft spot for them. One thing that didn't help R&D was the decision to sack manager Brian Talbot, after he was found to be tapping half the players' wives.
     
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