ILKESTON FC manager Kevin Wilson looked back on the club’s remarkable first year - and stated his satisfaction at the way things have moved forward.
With the newly-formed Robins flying high in the Evo-Stik Division One South and a thriving youth set-up throughout the club, the future looks bright both in the short-term and further down the line as the infrastructure continues to grow.
And Wilson was keen to pay tribute to all of those who have made a difference.
He said: “It’s been a fantastic thing to be part of, right through from the academy doing so well when we still didn’t have a first-team, up to the last few months where the senior squad has started so well.
“I have to give enormous thanks to everybody at the club, whether they’re here full-time, part-time, or just on matchdays, as without every single one of them we wouldn’t have the kind of set-up we now possess.
“Great credit of course has to go to Dave Mantle and SR Education for putting so much into not only their vision for this club but also the community as a whole.
“And of course the supporters have been absolutely fantastic from day one.
“They no doubt have a few things to say about me at times but they’re entitled to that, especially as they’re so willing to praise us when it goes well, so I hope they will all stick by us as we move forward.”
Wilson says he still believes his side has the ability to gain promotion at the first attempt, but that as this is only year one of a five-year plan, a sense of reality needs to be maintained.
“If we win against Belper we’ll have 50 points from 25 games, exactly the average of two points per game I wanted at the start,” he said.
“So the expectancy is there and we have set our own targets. I believe we’re good enough to be there at the end and the first target will be a play-off place, then if we achieve that we can aim for higher.
“But I hope a sense of perspective is kept should things not work out, because we are after all building great foundations here and if things don’t go to plan straight away we’ll be stronger next year.”
The Robins earned their first win in three games with a 2-0 success at Hucknall Town on Boxing Day, a victory which Wilson felt was ‘solid but not spectacular’.
He said: “Hucknall huffed and puffed a bit but didn’t really trouble us too much, and we did a professional job in getting the three points.
“I felt the defence looked comfortable, helped by having a good goalkeeper like Dan Lowson behind them, and we did what we had to do.”
Next up is the visit of Belper Town on Bank Holiday Monday (2nd), with Wilson keen to make home advantage count once more.
He added: “We still need to do better at home as I feel we’ve sometimes struggled to cope with teams coming here to sit back and catch us on the break.
“I hope the support will be as good as it is away from home as the fans make a huge difference, and if we play as well as we did at Hucknall we should be in for a positive start to what will hopefully be a great year.”