It has been confirmed that first team head coach of Ilkeston Town, Mark Clifford, has replaced Alan Hardy as the owner of the club.
The news comes two months after the former Basford United number two and ex-Mansfield, Boston and Ilkeston player was appointed.
— Ilkeston Town FC (@ilkestontown_fc) October 16, 2019
Clifford said: “This is an extremely proud day for me and an ambition fulfilled after 25 years in football”.
“I’m going into this with my eyes wide open knowing that there is a lot of hard work ahead to develop our squad and improve our ground.”
“As people are aware my involvement with the Club is not limited to the present time, I have also had time at the Club as a player in the past. Despite much turmoil over the years along with the constant threat of extinction I was pleasantly surprised at the unwavering passion still being shown both within the Club and by the supporters.”
“For this reason along with my own personal ambition I decided to use a network of my contacts to try securing help in purchasing the Club, along with moving it forward to where I believe it needs to be. These people have now committed to investing significant funds in order to purchase the Club and pay off all outstanding debt.”
“Their vision and business model in respect of creating a self-sustaining Club whilst enabling me to build a team capable of progressing to greater heights will be exemplary to other non-league clubs and there for all to see in forthcoming press releases.”
“Anyone that puts time, effort and money into a project of this nature deserves tremendous credit and I would like to thank Alan Hardy for the part that he has played in Ilkeston’s history and saving the Club back in July 2017
“There are big challenges ahead but I’ll be surrounded by good people committed to driving our standards, on and off the pitch.
“My history with Ilkeston stretches back a long way and while it may appear like a big leap, an opportunity to become the custodian of the Club felt like something that I had to embrace.
“There’ll be no immediate change in the running of the team and I’ll still be calling the shots from the dugout on Saturday afternoon but, away from our match days, we will be putting a plan together that can deliver the stability needed to become self-sufficient and successful.
“It’s new, there’s a lot to plan and there will always be bumps in the road, but we hope to be in a position to unveil more details about our structure and our plans very soon.
“I can confirm several millions of pound are to be invested into the clubs new business model, securing its future, providing better facilities and funds to strengthen the playing staff along with creating a community project that not only supporters, but local businesses and residents can participate in and be proud of. All at the club believe community involvement during these exciting times is paramount in its predicted future success.”
Clifford has urged supporters to come and attend their home game against Frickley on Saturday. The Robins currently sit 4th in the Northern Premier League Division One South East table, impressive for their debut season.
After finding out that head coach Mark Clifford is the new owner of Ilkeston, fans took to give their reaction as well as wish him luck – see those tweets on the next page.