Six days after the Robins lifted the Northern Premier League Midlands Division trophy, the New Manor Ground bar was packed with supporters in what was going to be an evening of celebration and recognition, reflecting on our title-winning season.
The evening started off with an opportunity for fans to get their professional photograph taken with the trophy by Robins club photographer Craig Lamont. (You can access the photos here)
Soon afterwards, Mark Frost took to the stage to welcome those in attendance and make his speech.
“On the 19th of October 2019 I met two men for the first time, those two men were David and Andrew. I can remember that meeting like it was yesterday. From that day I vowed to give my all and everything for this football club.
“They (David and Andrew) inherited a club days, no, minutes away from existence. After sailing ship Ilkeston through these torrid waters, Covid hit whilst undertaking a seven-figure stadium upgrade… Talk about bad luck.
“David and Andrew’s passion remains high to this day, in fact, that’s a lie. Their enthusiasm and passion is far greater today than it has ever been. Long may it continue.
“We are very fortunate to have such owners who are so proactive. The installation of our new synthetic pitch, not just any pitch but a Polytan pitch, a global leader in synthetics, is a game-changer. The installation of this pitch makes this arena our biggest community asset.
“You the supporters have excelled this year and it is great to see so many new faces. Your support definitely helped Martin and the lads get the title over the line.
“Martin has assembled a magnificent team who were worthy winners in the end, apart from the last few weeks where there were some squeaky bums.
“I think we all forget how young some of these lads are, they’re mere young boys. I think they handled being top of the pile amicably. Look at the shocks this week in the play-offs alone, when clubs were favourites to win but faced pressures which have been on us since the turn of the year and lost. Well done lads, I’m proud of you.
“There is no business plan in football that guarantees success, but hard work certainly helps. From our bar staff managed by Kelly, to Phil and Sally in the kitchen, Mike our groundsman, the players out on the pitch, to Martin, Wayne, Kelvin, Laura and Danny managing the team, Graham and Kate, to your our supporters and not to mention our owners. Every one of the Ilkeston team has worked their socks off and played their part in winning promotion.
“But yet I’ve forgotten somebody. For years we the supporters have asked to be heard. Now we have our very own Liam Attwood as our club secretary. Well done Liam, it’s a dream come true.
“Before we look at the awards on offer tonight, I would like you all to stand one last time and raise your glasses in a toast, to Ilkeston Town FC, the champions.”
Supporters club chairman Alex Middleton then stepped up to award the supporters’ player of the season.
“Thank you all for coming today, I was expecting one man and his dog so I’m really pleased everyone has turned up. Like Mark has said we have two fantastic owners who have helped us no end and have let me go to work a little bit with the club shop. You guys, the supporters, have bought your woolly hats, your pin badges and scarves. We have made a profit so I would like to present Dave and Andy with a cheque from the supporters to the club for one thousand pounds.”
Billy Bennett was then presented with an award celebrating his 100 game milestone from the supporters, after playing in the first-ever game for the newly formed Robins in 2017 and continuing to put on the red and white ever since.
The supporters’ player of the season was won by Robins’ top goalscorer Zak Goodson.
Robins skipper Kieran Fenton was presented with the goal of the season award by Wayne Hallcro and Kelvin Wilson for his free-kick at Wisbech Town in the final game of the season.
Zak Goodson was up for another honour as he was given the top goalscorer award scoring 22 goals in 42 appearances.
Kieran Fenton picked up his second award of the evening as he took home the manager’s player of the season award.
Remaye Campbell then collected his players’ player of the season award.
Robins co-owner Andrew Nally then awarded Vince Fletcher and Brian Gee a collection of signed match programmes from this season as a thank you for all their hard work.