Ilkeston Town FC News

Updated 18th August: The latest news for Robins fans...

Ilkeston Town FC 0-2 Heath Hayes FC – Saturday 12th August
Midland Football League Division 1 South:
The attendance at the NMG for the re-start of competitive football for a newly formed Ilkeston Town FC on Saturday was 583.  Talk swirled around the ground of it being a league record, only for the initial euphoria be somewhat dampened as information dribbled through of four figure sums elsewhere last season.

No matter – 583 was a great figure to demonstrate the groundswell of support for new owner Alan Hardy – the fans giving a message that his investment was worthwhile.

However, what those 583 fans saw was the reality that although this is a restart, it is in fact, more than that – this is not just a re-start – but more like a beginning.  Remember that this side has been not so much assembled, more scrambled in the few short weeks after the takeover by the Notts County owner, the recruitment of the manager and the hacking through the undergrowth to find the NMG pitch once more.

Heath Hayes were the visitors on Saturday, a side who have recently dropped from the Midland Football League Premier Division, home to Long Eaton United, to join the Robins in their inaugural season.

It was a bright start by Ilkeston in their first home game in their new form but Heath Hayes proved to be a tough nut to crack, end to end inside the opening 30 minutes, but nothing happening in front of goal.  However, a minute before time, the visitors opened the scoring – Jake Humphries capitalising on a short back pass, the keeper Hall rounded, the ball slotted into an empty net.

In the second half, Ilkeston held firm, denying the visitors, but lacking a cutting edge in the final third to get back on level terms.  That inability proved to be their downfall as Heath Hayes found a second fifteen minutes from time – a quick counter attack allowed Mitch Teece to go one-on-one with Hall and emerge victorious, Hall beaten again as the Robins were opened up

Manager Steve Chettle was clear in his dissatisfaction in talking to local media, a sign then that the former Forest legend may have to dig deep into his experience and reserves to steer this new ship on a successful course.

Uttoxeter Town 1-1 Ilkeston FC – Saturday 5th August
Midland Football League Division 1 South
The date for local football fans to note in their diaries, for posterity if nothing else, is Saturday 5th August 2017.  That is the date on which a football team representing Ilkeston took the field once more, this time, with a tinge of retro to it as the name ‘Ilkeston Town FC’ returned over seven years since it was last used.

Thanks to the interest of Notts County owner and former Robins terraces resident Alan Hardy, the Robins continue to exist although after initial plans to carry Ilkeston FC back to  andwhere its predecessor club had sat, Ilkeston Town FC has, through league rules and the reset process, carried them downwards to Step 6 of the football league pyramid – the Midland Football League Division 1 South.

Before a ball had even been kicked, hosts, Uttoxeter Town were already gearing themselves up for one of the best if not the best attendance in league history, and so it came to pass with a 276 present, a fair portion of them having journeyed along the A50.

Steve Chettle’s men were very quickly out of the blocks, and after just five minutes, Billy Bennett had made contact with the Uttoxeter crossbar in the wake of the Robins enjoying their majority of possession as the adrenaline surged but it was the more established hosts who took the lead with around 20 minutes played – a well taken half volley making the difference.

However, by the half hour, Ilkeston had begun more than a fight to level, a sustained period of pressure starting that would see the game out.  Five minutes into the second half, the first of a number of close calls – Lench’s left foot strike from 20 yards was tipped wide, Hopkinson four later, one-on-one with the keeper, striking the ball well but sending it straight to the man between the posts.

The attempts continued almost relentlessly in a more than determined bid to avoid an opening defeat on such an historic day.  As the final two minutes ticked away, Ilkeston won a promising looking free kick.  Chris Shaw stepped up to take it with his left foot and with a fair few Ilkeston fans standing behind goal, Shaw arced the ball from the edge of the area and into the net to spark joyous celebrations from the travelling Ilkeston faithful.  A draw was the least they deserved.

ROBINS RETURN: MAGPIES OWNER COMPLETES DEAL FOR ILKESTON FC:  The Chairman of Notts County FC Alan Hardy has completed a deal to take control of Ilkeston FC.

The Magpies owner acquired what was left of the club - wound up over around £14,500 of debt - to establish Ilkeston Town FC - the name of the club which collapsed seven years ago but different due to the exact name registered at Companies House.

The new club will play at Step 6 of the league pyramid and in the Midland Football League Division 1.

Mr. Hardy is a prominent local businessman and entrepreneur and took control of League 2 side Notts County earlier this year.  He spoke out a few weeks ago to express how keen he was to ensure that Ilkeston still had a football club in the way it had been most recently established and with his name being added to the Companies House listing at the end of June, it is perhaps no surprise that he emerged as front-runner in taking over the troubled Robins.

As reported by Erewash Sound SPORT on Facebook previously - former Ilkeston FC assIstant manager to Kevin WIlson and Forest legend Steve Chettle has been appointed as manager of the new club on a three year deal assisted by Ian Deakin.  Both Wilson and Chettle left Ilkeston for Nuneaton at the end of the 2014/2015 season.

Mr. Hardy recently released a statement which said: “I am absolutely thrilled to have completed my purchase of Ilkeston FC and can confirm that the club’s name will revert to Ilkeston Town Football Club with immediate effect.

“It is with great excitement that I also announce Steve Chettle as the club’s new manager following his departure from National League North side Nuneaton Town, where he was assistant manager.

“Steve is an Ilkeston and Nottingham Forest legend who I’m sure will prove to be an exciting appointment for supporters.

“He will be assisted by Ian Deakin, who brings plenty of experience and local knowledge after managing Kimberley last season.

“Having grown up in neighbouring Eastwood, I simply couldn’t allow one of the East Midlands’ finest non-league clubs’ existence to cease when I knew there was a viable method for me to take it forward.

“I am grateful to the FA for giving us the opportunity to compete in the Midland Football League Division One this season and it’s now time to move on with making Ilkeston Town a success on and off the field following a very challenging period for the club.

“Ilkeston Town will have its own corporate governance, with separate directors, financial structure and accountability.

“Naturally, as would be the case between any professional and semi-professional football clubs, there will be an opportunity for transactions when it comes to such things as the loaning of players, sharing of expertise and so on.

“I am absolutely committed to making Ilkeston Town not only self-sustainable, but also competitive and ambitious in aiming to claim a place in the second tier of non-league football in the medium term.

“I vividly remember my seven-year-old self-standing behind the goal, bang in the centre, lapping up every minute of derbies between Ilkeston Town and Eastwood, as well as other local matches involving the likes of Long Eaton, Heanor Town, Belper, Kimberley and Arnold. They were all blood- stirring encounters and all those memories have enabled me to carry great enthusiasm into my career in football.

“I am now looking forward to working with the people of Ilkeston to develop a club they, and their town, deserve.”

It is understood that Erewash Borough Council has collectively backed Mr. Hardy's plans. Dean Nelson, for joint liquidators Smith-Cooper said: “Ilkeston FC is a pillar in the local community, so I’m delighted that we’ve been able to achieve a sale of the business and its assets, with Erewash Borough Council’s support, ultimately securing football to be played this season. Credit is also due to the fans who have remained passionate and patient throughout this difficult time whilst a sale has been concluded.

“The club has a fantastic track record of developing players through its academy and remains at the heart of its local community.  I am confident that Alan Hardy and his backroom team will transform this club and provide a solid platform for it to achieve long-term success.”