His first game for us came just over 10 years ago, in a home FA Cup tie against Ilkeston. Since then he has experienced all of the ups and downs that has marked our club’s short but vibrant life. He was part of the league-winning sides in 2001 and 2003, and saw us fall all the way back down again the following couple of years. He’s made over 300 appearances for the club, the second most capped player in our history. Andy Burgess takes time out from his playing and coaching career to talk to RDFC Fans Blog about his time and Rushden, his hopes for the future… and how much he hates Kettering!
Favourite moment in a Diamonds shirt?
The final whistle at Chester when Jon Brady had scored moments earlier to win us the game and complete what was an amazing season for the club and me personally. That moment sparked some amazing times, including the open top bus through Rushden and the celebrations in the ground, as well as a celebratory summer! The Division Three Championship winning game against Hartlepool was immense as well, but because of what it took for the Club, and Max, to acheive its dream of League Football that topped it – I also felt we had a closer nit squad when we won The Conference, but both were amazing times.
Best friend in football?
Football is strange in that you have a lot of ‘ships in the night’. I have always kept in touch with Gary Mills, Rob Duffy and Jon Challinor, which is good ‘cos I’m now with them all at Mansfield, but I also speak with Dan Talbot a lot. From my last time at the Club I speak with Marcus Kelly, Tom Shaw, Alex Bolt, Curt Osano, Michael Corcoran, Lee Tomlin and Dale Roberts a lot.
But I would have to say Phil Gulliver and John Dempster are my best firemds in the game. I have been through a lot with both of them and they are both ushers at my wedding in the summer, which will be fantastic. [Ed. – congratulations Mr. and Mrs. Burge!]
Considering how things went at Luton for you, do you now regret leaving Nene Park?
I had a good relationship with Justin and Michael though – I still do, and would have liked to have worked for longer under him.
Last season we had the best squad on paper… why didn’t it work out?
Then when things didn’t work, he brought players in and chopped and changed things too much in my opinion, probably in a little bit of desperation for things to happen and bring success to the Club.
Lee Tomlin is on fine form this season – 12 months ago, when he was placed on the transfer list, did you think he would turn into the exceptional player he is today?
You’ve been at the club during our glory years as well as the more recent bad times. How does it feel to see Diamonds doing reasonably well again?
Honestly, it’s fantastic. I’m delighted for everyone – the lads that I still know there, the Management and Physio department (couldn’t miss him!), and most importantly the fans. They have been through some tough times in recent years, and a Club like Rushden deserve to be at the higher end of this league and challenging.
Do you regret not going to Swansea?
If I am being perfectly honest then yes, but things happen for a reason. It would have been a great opportunity for me, but it didn’t happen and my path has taken me elsewhere, so hey ho!
Can you tell us about the betting situation?
In a word – no.
If you could only choose one which would it be: a top flight career as a journalist or a career in the Premiership?
You missed the play-off final with us… fancy captaining us to Wembley? Would you ever consider a third spell at Rushden?
People will argue that Managing a womens side is different to that of a Professional club, and to a certain extent I would agree, but in the main you have to deal with the same issues and same situations as you would at a professional level. I have 5 years expereimence of working at the top levels of womens football, as well as working under some brilliant, and some not so brilliant Managers and you take so much, good and bad from all of them.
So, in answer to your question, I have a year and a half left on my Mansfield deal at the moment, and I am enjoying it there. Past that, who knows what will happen. I certainly wont be a player who goes on to play till they are 35… I think i’ll be 31, 32 tops, but I will, 100% persue a career as a Manager and I am very focused on that leading to me Managing at the top level, the Premier League. Some will laugh, but you must have a vision!
It must have been a strange sensation when we beat you at Kenilworth Road early in the season….
Extremely, and one its hard to describe in words. I was playing for my football, against my adopted football club! Everyone knows Luton are the team I support – nothing will ever change that, its in my blood, but Rushden are a very very close second and like I said, I am delighted to see them going well this season under Justin.
Which was better, beating K*ttering in the 00/01 season (Duane’s game) or beating them last season?
Both were obviously fantastic, but I have to say that Duane’s Derby (ha!) gets the nod. After losing Jacko so early, and then to go and beat them two in, in such circumstances, was incredible. The atmosphere in the changing room after that game, was still the most superb I have ever experience post match, definately.
On a scale of 1-to-10… how much do you hate Kettering? 😉
Many thanks to Burge for his very interesting and thorough answers. Best of luck for the season ahead!