With the Notts Senior League season having been curtailed, the league have put together a cup-like competition which features four groups of four teams, with sides playing each other twice.
The team placed top of their league after the six games will go into the semi-finals, with the winning sides going into the final played at Basford United FC.
Our FCB side played their first group stage game on Saturday at Hucknall Town (neutral venue) against Attenborough FC.
Coming into the game after two convincing friendly wins over Sandiacre and Awsworth Villa, coach David Lilley was confident that his team would pick up the three points.
The Robins proceeded to celebrate their first competitive win since January as Mitchell Tait’s impressive lob, Seke Spence’s header and Brontae Wint’s 20-yard curler sealed a 3-2 win in the group stage opener.
STARTING XI: Watson, Simmons, Altaf, Grace, Tait, Sillah, Manneh, Spence, Cummins, Dill, Spencer
USED SUBS: Dunkley, Peach, Lloyd, Wint
MTOM: Mitchell Tait.
Ilkeston Town’s younger footballers returned to action this week as the Robins’ academy and FCB sides got back on the pitch.
The academy victory came thanks to goals from Ayleal Dill with a brace and Seke Spence, while Dill was on target again at Sandiacre alongside Ricco Spencer and Kieran Cummings.
For Mitchell Tait, who took the coaching reins for the academy fixture, it was good to see the players back in action after such a long break.
He said: “I thought the game went really well considering it was our first match back for four or five months.
“We dominated the game from start to finish – the first 30 minutes or so everyone was a bit rusty but you’d expect that. We created a lot of chances though and the best thing about it is that we’re starting to link training into matches, and our work on movement off the ball was evident in all three goals we scored today.”
Manager Martin Carruthers has expressed his delight at signing a new two-year contract with Ilkeston Town.
The Robins boss has committed further to the club having so far overseen two campaigns that have been brought to a premature halt thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic.
But promising signs have been evident throughout both of those seasons and Carruthers wants to build on that once football finally returns again in the summer.
He said: “Even before the latest lockdown I was keen to get us tied into a new deal.
“It’s a fantastic football club and I can’t thank the chairman and investors enough for the support and backing they’ve given me. It gives me the confidence to know I can go into the next season with a good squad of players, with the backing from above, and they’ve given me everything they can to help me be successful and drive the club forwards which is the only ambition now.
“It’s a statement of intent from the club that we’re the team to take them forward and get them promotion and get it back where it belongs.”
Ilkeston Town are proud to announce the launch of the New Manor Sports Foundation.
The brand new charity will be based at the home of the Robins and aim to provide and support various initiatives to help the local community.
And Ilkeston’s owner and chairman Mark Clifford says the Foundation will be all inclusive when it comes to those who will benefit.
He said: “Put simply, the Foundation is for the people of Ilkeston. There will be no age limitations in the projects we discuss and it will be about emphasising that the football club is an integral part of their community and that the facilities will be there to benefit them not just on a Saturday afternoon but through the week as well, helping with a range of issues they may be facing.
Trustee and Treasurer Mark Frost added: “I think the football club is the biggest asset this community in Ilkeston holds.
“With the Foundation, we can start as a football club to give back to the community and deliver projects to the people that mean so much to us.
“It’s the next step in the development of the football club and builds ties with the community and is a really exciting time as I think with the expertise we have in place, it will go from strength to strength.
“We also want to continue to build the relationships with the big businesses and employers in the town.”
“It’s a difficult time for people at the moment with many people feeling quite insular at home, and we want them to know that we are here for a friendly chat if needs be.”
Various areas of support will be put in place throughout the Erewash Valley, helping all age groups and walks of life – particularly as the country recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Clifford said: “Some of the projects we’re planning will be much-needed in the coming months as the whole country recovers from Covid. We have a clear plan and a clear pathway that we want to execute to make sure we are ready, not just ourselves but also some of the other fantastic partnerships within the Erewash Valley as working together in the charitable sector can be really important.”
One of the many key areas the Foundation will focus on will be helping the young people of Ilkeston, whether on a personal, employment or career pathway level, while the mental health and well-being of the town’s people will also be a focus in the coming months.
Themes will include suicide prevention, introducing walking football to the older members of the community, and championing ‘Let’s Talk’ initiatives that will target numerous demographics in the area.
Clifford added: “We’ll launch a Healthy Robins course during half-terms, focusing in particular on the heart and the health of the heart, exercise and nutrition and it will be free to those who wish to take part.
“This isn’t an elite football initiative, it’s aimed at people in the area from around eight-years-old and over.
“We’re also looking to do some work with dementia, which is something very personal to myself but which is also one of the biggest killers out there. That will involve putting on sporting initiatives for those living with dementia and their carers.
“It’s a hugely exciting time for the football club overall and the Foundation will be a huge part of it.”
You can also see a video featuring the interviews with Mark Clifford and Mark Frost HERE.
This evening sees The Robins virtually travel to Woodside Park in the Hopper & Son Virtual FA Cup. The Isthmian League Premier Division side Bishop Stortford host us in the virtual competition after The Robins overcame Norwich United at the New Manor Ground in the last round
Kick-off is at 8pm on the CPriday Twitter account. The poll will last for 3 hours and will go to extra time if it is level.
Chairman and Head of Football Mark Clifford said: “I think the virtual FA Cup is a great way of bringing our supporters together albeit it virtually!”
Firstly I would like to wish you all a Happy New Year, I thought it important at this stage to share with you the possible impacts on Ilkeston Town FC should Investor David Hilton be successful in his bid to revive Bury FC.
I have spoken to David regularly throughout this negotiation and from the outset, I sought assurances to ensure the ITFC project remains in his plans. Without hesitation, David assured me that the project will be completed as promised.
As investors at ITFC David and Andrew have been very hands on and this shows in what is a revitalised New Manor Ground. Our playing squad is one that excites me and our recent friendly at Gainsborough Trinity was another reminder of the potential in this squad.
Since their arrival not only has the ground had the makeover they have listened to what is needed to make the football club thrive through local young talent, we have launched an academy who had a great run in the FA youth cup which is some achievement for a side that featured players from the academy and our u16’s. We have an U23 team playing at step seven and competing very well for a team of 16-18 year olds. We have a plan to bring through young homegrown and hungry players that not only can play for our first team but to go beyond that to the higher levels of Non-league and of course into the professional game.
The Plans for a state of the art 3G pitch will still go ahead, as soon as we have confirmation from the league to confirm the seasons end. The pitch will go as originally planned and replace the grass pitch at the NMG.
This will be a great thing for the club and community meaning our junior teams, ladies, academy, Vets and first-team can train and play at the NMG on a more regular basis as well as creating revenue for additional bookings to ensure the long term sustainability of the club is achieved as was always the model when we took ownership of the club.
Pending planning permission the plans to build units on the site of the NMG car park will still go ahead in the next 12 months.
One thing that excites me is the potential partnership between ITFC and Bury FC that can be mutually beneficial and we have discussed the possibilities and its just another example of how we look to provide pathways and opportunities for players to reach their potential.
I hope this reassures any concerns that may arise from the Bury FC takeover. This is still the very beginning of the journey for ITFC under this stewardship and we fully expect to deliver on the promises made both on and off the pitch.
We can’t wait to see all of you back at the New Manor Ground once it is safe to do so, in the meantime please follow government guidelines and keep yourself and your families well.
The board of the Northern Premier League has, together with fellow Trident Leagues, reviewed the implications of the latest Government lockdown. The matter was also discussed at length by the FA’s Alliance Committee earlier this week.
Firstly, after such an unpredictable 2020 I would like to offer clarity on a matter that has the potential to cause a little uncertainty or unrest. After receiving many messages and emails recently regarding Bury Football Club, I can confirm that I have participated in discussions over recent weeks about potentially purchasing the club.
Whilst most negotiations have been extremely positive, I have failed to reach an agreement with Mr Dale regarding his shares and at present cannot proceed.
My only objective is to revive Bury Football Club and create a self-sustainable model moving forward, eradicating the clubs’ debt as part of the process. A very similar model to the one that was insisted upon before offering investment at Ilkeston Town Football Club.
Despite all other business activities and a global pandemic, nothing promised has been nor will be sacrificed at Ilkeston. The funds originally allocated have not only been honoured but exceeded and further investment will continue throughout the summer in order to secure the clubs future and competitiveness at a much higher level.
Over the last fourteen months I have watched Ilkeston Town rebuild relationships throughout the whole community and it has become a big part of mine and my children’s lives, these relationships will continue to thrive forever, of that I am certain.
We have a strong playing squad, an academy with a clear pathway for progression and an unrivalled junior network, along with a new, much younger set of fans to add to the already envied excellent supporter base at the club. So much now for us all to be positive about.
I would like to thank my business partner and friend Andrew, Mark Clifford, Mark Frost and Mike Pike along with all the coaches, players, staff and volunteers for helping already create some fantastic memories and a club and business we can all be proud of.
Finally, stay safe have a wonderful New Year and I look forward to seeing you all at the NMG soon.
We can confirm that after discussions with Carlton Town and Belper Town, the decision has been made to rearrange our respective fixtures for later on in the season. This means we no longer have games on Boxing Day (December 26th) and New Year’s Day (January 1st).
We can confirm that unfortunately tomorrow’s Pitching In Northern Premier League fixture at home to Kidsgrove Athletic has been postponed due to the NMG pitch being waterlogged.
As it stands our next game will be on Boxing Day away to Carlton Town.
Our next game at the New Manor Ground will be on New Year’s Day when we host Belper Town.