After years away, I’m back where my career started out

Rushden and Diamonds Vs Leeds Utd at the Diamonds FA Cup 'Action Brian Talbot and Max Griggs 'Saturday January 2nd 1999
Rushden and Diamonds Vs Leeds Utd at the Diamonds FA Cup 'Action Brian Talbot and Max Griggs 'Saturday January 2nd 1999

Sports editor Mark Lea’s new weekly column

My career in newspaper journalism – all I’ve ever really wanted to do – began 21 years ago with the Lincolnshire Free Press and Spalding Guardian.

Now instead of starting out as a trainee news reporter, I’m combining the roles of sports editor and deputy editor.

Born and bred in Boston, I’d been away for a while until this summer.

The majority of those years were spent with the Northamptonshire Evening Telegraph where I’d worked my way up to become deputy sports editor.

For 12 seasons I had covered the ups and downs of Rushden & Diamonds Football Club – at a rough estimate that was 600 games home and away, not including friendlies!

My first campaign at Nene Park saw Brian Talbot’s team finish runners-up in the Conference. The next year they won the title – delivering the dream of Max Griggs (you may know of him from the Dr Martens business).

Diamonds went on to reach the play-off final and win what was then known as the Division Three championship (now League Two).

But it all went wrong after Griggs pulled out and it turned out Diamonds are not forever as the club went bust three years ago.

Those of you who follow the United Counties League will no doubt be fully aware of the ‘phoenix club’ being run by supporters.

As well as covering the fortunes of Spalding United at a higher level, I’m looking forward to seeing more UCL action.

And even in the last few weeks I’ve already come across a few familiar faces – notably Holbeach United joint-manager Graham Drury who I know from his spell in charge of Corby Town.