Chromasport United Counties League
Published 22nd July 2012
....signing of Diamond `legend` Chris Hope from Evo-Stik League Southern Premier Division side St Neots Town.
Hope started his career as a trainee at Darlington before joining Nottingham Forest. In 1993 he joined Scunthorpe where he played over 280 League games before joining Gillingham for £250,000.
In July 2006 he signed for Rushden & Diamonds where he firmly established himself as a pivotal player at the club.
He joined Corby Town in 2009 and last season helped guide St Neots Town to the Southern League Division One Central title.
Hope said: “I am pleased to be back at the club. I didn’t ever think it would happen. When I left we all know the story of what happened and I was personally gutted as I had three very enjoyable years here and know lots of people connected with the club.
“I have been behind the reformed club from day one, they had a great campaign last season and I am really happy to be back. I want to be part of the group that gets this club off the ground in senior football. I would like to think my experience will help and the aim will be to not to concede goals and hopefully chip in with a couple myself it’s very exciting and I know the fans can’t wait for Saturday football to return.
“Locally football has not had the best of times over the last few years, so it’s great that a club is on the up with good news. I am really looking forward to getting the club back to where it belongs.”
Manager Mark Starmer was understandably delighted with the signing: "Hopey is a massive addition to the squad. He will bring a lot of experience to the team in so many ways, he has been around the club from the start and was the one who first talked to me about joining last year. He is another player that wants to be here, to see this club progress, he is not here for the money. I know he has had the chance to join other clubs on a lot more money than we can offer, but he was here from the start and has always said he wanted to play for us.
“I have known Chris for a few years and we have always got on well so am really looking forward to him joining."
Chairman Ralph Burditt believes the signing will prove to be a very influential one: “Chris is a fantastic signing, he's been a great friend to us over the past year or so and has put himself out on numerous occasions to help the club. Of all the players that we've signed this season Chris is the one that I have watched the most in the past and therefore I have a very good idea of what he can bring to the squad in terms of his playing ability.
“He's dropped down from a higher level to be here and I don't think there's any doubt in anyone's mind that he could still compete at that level or indeed even higher. I've also had the chance to see a bit of Chris Hope off the pitch over the course of the past year and I don't think that it would be possible to find a nicer or more genuine bloke or a better all-round professional - he'll definitely be a great influence on the younger players. Most importantly of all, not only is Chris a Diamond through and through, but he's a winner and we will definitely need winners this season if we are going to achieve our aim of competing at the top end of the division."