Ilkeston Town Ladies’ Hannah Bloomfield says it’s good to be back in training after the enforced break due to COVID-19.
The Ladies, like their male counterparts, saw their season eventually curtailed after several months on hold.
And Bloomfield said life without football was difficult to come to terms with, the players having had to instead exercise on their own.
She said: “It has been horrible because we have not been able to train and we have not been able to banter with each other.
“I have just done a bit of running and a bit of football at the park. Things like that, nothing major. It‘s hard when you have not got the girls around. It is definitely not the same.“
The team has now started training again in preparation for next season. In the last campaign, the team was fighting to get promoted from the East Midlands Women’s Regional League Division One South, being in fourth place when the season ended but only a point behind leaders Derby County Academy with a game in hand.
Bloomfield added: “It is definitely good to be back with the team and getting ready for next season.
“I am sad that the league was cancelled because we were doing well. We were close to the top so it is disappointing.
“Now we just focus on next season. The next couple of months will be hard; Mike and Earl are going to put us through our paces. We will be playing friendlies and training hard.
“We‘ve got a really good team so it‘s exciting to see what will happen.”
New Ilkeston Town signing Remaye Campbell believes promotion is a real possibility for the Robins next season.
The 20-year-old striker has joined up with Martin Carruthers’ squad having been released by Notts County, a loan spell at Grantham Town having been his most recent port of call.
And he’s now delighted to be part of the setup at the New Manor Ground.
He said: “The gaffer messaged me to come down for training about about three weeks ago now to have a look at me. I guess I impressed and it’s kind of gone quickly from there to be honest.
Ilkeston Town will play in the newly-formed Northern Premier League Midlands next season.
The news was confirmed by the Football Association on Tuesday following a comprehensive restructure of steps 4-6 of the National League System, with the new division having been inserted at step four.
It means the Robins will face several different teams to those in more recent campaigns, with a number of trips to Cambridgeshire and the South Midlands set to replace the more usual journeys north.
The full list of teams in the division is as follows, with final ratification still to take place.
Soham Town Rangers
Sutton Coldfield Town
Labour Party leader Sir Keir Starmer visited the New Manor Ground on Saturday (24th).
Sir Keir was instantly enthralled by the quality on show by our U14s side.
He said: “It’s really great to see young players. The U14s won their game this morning, and having spoken to them it was great to hear their plans to become pros.”
Mr Starmer says he was very impressed with the investment put into the club and the facilities available for the local community.
He was pleased after speaking to chairman and head of football Mark Clifford about the proposed 4G pitch which is planned to be put in over the summer, and the units that will be available for local businesses to use as part of the plan to make the club self-sustainable.
Clifford said: “It was great to welcome Sir Keir to the New Manor Ground, along with our local councillors Tony King and Catherine Atkinson. It is really important that we develop a positive relationship with all parties to ensure that we can become a community asset for all the local community to benefit from aside from football, but with football at the heart of what we do.”
CONGRATULATIONS | To Mo Sillah, Tyrelle Bartley and Ellis White for coming 1st, 2nd and 3rd respectively in academy lockdown competition.
During lockdown, academy manager Anthony Spencer and coach Dave Lilley put together a competition for all the academy boys to take part in.
We’d like to say a huge congratulation to Mo Sillah, Tyrelle Bartley and Ellis White for coming 1st, 2nd and 3rd respectively in the lockdown competition. These young men put an incredible amount of work in off the pitch during lockdown and have won £200 worth of gift cards between them as a result.
There were many activities where each person won points, and the winners winning vouchers.
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.