AFC Rushden & Diamonds have been given confirmation that they will be playing step 4 football next season, despite finishing second from bottom in their league campaign, following Loughborough Dynamos’ voluntary relegation.

The Diamonds were given a reprieve from relegation, following the news of the FA’s league allocations, allowing them to participate in the Northern Premier League Midlands Division for the 2024/2025 season.

The Diamonds social media team clearly enjoyed the news.

The Northamptonshire Club will be thankful for their excellent end to the season, which saw them go from rock bottom to joint 15th, going unbeaten in eight of their last nine league fixtures. Finishing bottom of the league would not have given them any chance of being saved due to other teams dropping out, a fate that Gresley Rovers suffered. 

Joseph McCormack, commentator for Rushden & Diamonds, spoke to us about what it meant for the club before the news broke: “In the second half of the season we were sixth in the form guide, but on the last two games we ended up in the drop zone because Rugby won 3-0 and 4-0 in the last two games, which was pretty crushing.

“We were very much under the illusion that we were down when the final whistle went, but half an hour later we were stunned and confused when Loughborough announced the news, so there was a gradual increase in optimism the more we researched these scenarios from the past.

“When the news came through it was just sheer relief.”

Supporters like Joseph will hope this is the first step in trying to return to the success of the original Rushden & Diamonds, who were a mainstay in the Football League, before being liquidated in 2011.

“It makes a big difference for our summer plans in terms of recruitment and it’s a massive weight off our shoulders – we can finally focus on next year.

“The feeling around the fanbase is to consolidate again, but with the end of season form and the squad we’ve got, there’s no reason as to why we can’t push on to mid table.”

This is the fifth example of the same situation taking place this week, as Beckenham Town were also given a reprieve to stay in the Isthmian South East Division One over the weekend. Questions will be asked as to why so many clubs have fallen foul of the pyramid, as many teams are opting out of certain leagues that give them a serious geographical disadvantage. The most contentious example is Oxford City, who have been placed in the National league North to the dismay of many supporters. Their most mammoth journey will be a ten hour round trip to Blyth Spartans.