Andy Burgess talks to RDFC Fans blog

 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!] 

 

Bless....

  Considering how things went at Luton for you, do you now regret leaving Nene Park?

I don’t know about ‘regret leaving’… I didn’t really have a great deal of choice. The Club offered me a slightly lesser deal than the one I was on, and then a 33% wage drop, which for anybody in any walk of life would be difficult to accept. But I certainly dont blame anyone at Rushden for that – its the way of the world and certainly at the time the Club had to cut its cloth accordingly.
The thing was, the previous summer I had agreed a one year extention to my current deal with Gary Hill and Lee Power, which I agreed, we shook on and it was all done apart from me signing the contract – which I would have done if anybody had put it in front of me! Meaning I would still be in contract now, so its amazing how football goes. I’m not blaming Gary or Lee for that, I dont know why I was never asked to sign it, perhaps they just forgot!

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?

I think if you look at successful teams, they have a settled side with a definate and organised way of playing, which is what I think probably let us down. Take the Conference winning team, you could name the team now that played most of the season – Turley, Mustafa, Underwood, Peters, Warburton, Brady, Burgess, Carey, Butterworth, Jackson, Darby, with the likes of Rodwell, Setchell, Mills and Sigere coming in when needed.
I like Gary Hill as a person – he was always 100% honest and open with me and for that I had the upmost respect – but I think he struggled sometimes on being prepared to trust his players on the pitch to play football and not just kick the ball long, which he had great success playing like at Dagenham. With players like myself, Rob Wolleaston, Lee Tomlin and Daryl Clare, plus the likes of Marcus Kelly, Curtis Osano and Gareth Jellyman, he had a squad of players more than capable of playing football the right way but like I said, was more at home wanting us to play direct which didn’t really suit us.

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?

Absolutely. Tommo has more ability in his little toe than most players at this level have in their whole bodies. He has everything, every attribute that is needed to play at the top level and now it seems he has added consistency to his game which as a young player is very hard to find, but he has.
I am delighted for him and hope he does progress on – either with Rushden or someone else because the Clubs at Championship and Premiership level are now awash with foreign players and we need to keep producing and getting players from the lower leagues up onto the big stage.

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?

Career in the Premier League, without a doubt. Ask anyone high up in jobs associated with top level football – journalist, commentators, groundsmen – even Managers and coaches, they will tell you there is no substitute for playing.
I have enjoyed every minute (just about!) of being a lower level footballer, so what the boys at the top level must feel like, wlaking out in front of 50,000 people every week, living lives of luxury – yes there must be times when living in the public eye is ‘annoying’, but for the rewards they get its a small price to pay to have to sign a kids t-shirt in the street or pose for a photo with an adoring fan whilst walking round Tesco… or probably more like Marks and Spencers!!

You missed the play-off final with us… fancy captaining us to Wembley? Would you ever consider a third spell at Rushden?

Missing the Play-Off final was absolutely devastating – it still plays on my mind now and I still remeber the exact moment I ‘kicked out’. But it was my only red card of my career (so far) so I guess it learnt me a decent enough lesson!
I’d fancy captaining Wollaston Vics at Wembley! Yes of course I would consider it – if truth be told I would love to go back to Rushden as Manager one day, and one day soon. Those who know me well know that I have been a Manager since I was 18 years old – and am currently Manager of Sheffield Wednesday Women, who play in the second tier of ladies football in England. Its a very good standard.

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?😉

Haha, well to be fair, I haven’t really got any beef with them, apart from them being Rushden’s rivals, but they always seem to give me a hell of a lot of stick… so 11!!
Fully appriciate the opportunity to be asked to answer these questions and I hope the answers are OK.
Many thanks
Burge
 

Many thanks to Burge for his very interesting and thorough answers. Best of luck for the season ahead! 

 

5 Responses to Andy Burgess talks to RDFC Fans blog

  1. wwodb says:

    Seriously who gave a thumbs down??

  2. Anonymous says:

    Garry Hill?

  3. Roger says:

    I don’t why you’re giving Burgess the time of day.He rarely put in a good shift, and is far from being a Diamond legend.

  4. android says:

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  5. Johne201 says:

    Several of these games are worth some time and are actually ddegceaacked

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