So as we move into January and closer to the time when money begin to change hands in the great football merry-go-round that is the transfer window, the once mighty Rushden and Diamonds are still employing on Garry Hill esq. A curious decision if ever there was one, but then football can be a strange place at times.
Let’s look at the cold facts; Garry, who henceforth will be referred to by his given name of Benny, has been at Nene Park for nearly two years now and in that time has produced a win record that is under forty percent. Interesting then that he should be looking forward to a transfer window at all, he has brought over thirty players to the club, some of which have never actually played in a competitive game for the Diamonds.
Benny had a strange record before being brought into Nene Park to replace the successful Graham Westley prior to the home game against Exeter in the 2006/7 season. After a successful career as a television personality and entertainer Benny made the strange decision to move into the world of football management, probably as a bet from one of the scantily clad ladies he was oftern seen with. The first record that I can be bothered to think of were at a small club in the south of England called Dagenham and Redbridge. At Dagenham he nearly reached the football league, only to be denied (possibly illegally) by Boston United by one point. This was achieved with a large budget, and eventually when the success had never been repeated the Daggers made the decision to let him go.
His next port of call (with traditional comedy music playing in the background) was to Hornchurch who had recently been taken over by some wealthy backers, therefore allowing Benny the chance to get his hands on a chequebook. This was probably a mistake by the board as after a particularly long binge on overpriced and under talented players (probably cut with some Scott Partridge) the club unfortunately ran out of cash and folded.
Undeterred by his inability to manage a football club without destroying it (a fate that D&R managed to narrowly miss) our hero set his sites on a small club on the south coast, often known as Weymuff, or in his own indescribable accent weymaff innit. This was a boon for his player habit as he was again presented with the ability to spend vast quantities of ready cash on players. This time there was more of it to go around as he was able to bring the purple shirted team into the big leagues and even then place them in a play off position, before strangely the club was called to a meeting with their bank manager only to discover they had an overdraft. Benny was once again to go cold turkey from his habit. So finally he ended up thrust upon the unfortunate fans of a small Northamptonshire club (a county that Benny initially believed to be in Wales) and the rest leads us to the current position that Rushden and Diamonds hold in the Blue Square Premier.
On joining the club Benjamin followed a policy of ‘if dey’ve played for da dooimonds befoa, I’ll get ’em back like’ and soon and influx of ex-players began. As he looked over his new squad the manager set about coaching them to play his way, or, in other words, coaching all the talent out of the players that he could. His policy worked as Rushden duly struggled to beat a poor Farlsey Celtic team earlier in the season, and promising signing Jon Challinor followed Hill’s coaching to the letter by never having a shot, despite a formidable goal scoring record at previous senior clubs. Andrew Burgess previously one of the most talented players to grace Division Two was played in as many positions as possible that weren’t his preferred position, with the ‘gaffa’ eventually plugging for the right side of midfield as his best position, possibly believing in the Joe Cole theory that talented players players would be even better if played on the opposite wing to their strong foot. In defence the strong Chris Hope was partnered with Wayne Hatswell or Phil Gulliver, all of whom are very talented players, but that wasn’t going to get Benny down as he was able to produce a defence leakier than the Titanic after a broadside from HMS Victory. This was helped by the use of the outstanding goalkeeper Paul ‘under your body’ Bastock. The plan was complete as the players he had assembled brilliantly played out a shoddy lower-mid-table season. All those who threatened to change this were soon banished to other clubs as Simeon Jackson, Wayne Hatswell and eventually Jon Challinor (who had tired of the non-attempt policy and begun scoring) all departed.
A close season that lulled Diamonds fans into a false sense of security followed as Benny managed to get his hands on probably the most talented team in the league as his big money transfer habit relapsed. This was bliss for our hero, as he fed on their former talent and produced a team that seemed to have never met each other, helped by not bothering to get in a new assistant (Kevin Hales having mysteriously disappeared late in the previous season).
So we get to where we are, and there is no laughing now at the position we are in. While Stevenage fans found our reaction to the third goal strange we have seen abject crap served up at every opportunity this season. Even in victory we have looked atrocious while managing to make the team that’s bottom of the league look good. This club is haemorrhaging fans, and talent yet the manager remains in place.
So, KC, we mostly think you’re a great chairman, so please, give us a late Christmas present and remove the cancer that is infecting our club.
Thanks to Ben Miles for summing up what most of us are thinking.