Duffers’ Diaries: Suspense is killing us...and maybe the club too

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When I wrote - and indeed re-wrote - last week’s column it was with a degree of certainty that by the time I came to writing the next one we’d know for sure whether Ilkeston FC would be living on or dying off.

However, as I write this on Tuesday there seems little clue as to what will really happen next, although the longer that remains the case the more one fears for the club’s future.

At one point last week they looked finished, with the winding up petition upheld by the judge and then the Northern Premier League refusing Ilkeston a licence, a move which although not all that surprising in the circumstances did seem a little premature given takeover talks were apparently at an advance stage.

Quite how true that is has been hard to decipher. All Eight Sports Management were, according to some reports, given until midnight last Wednesday to complete the deal they claimed to be so close to finalising, but with no news having emerged after that time they then said they would rather not comment on everything when I approached them on Sunday.

The well-documented interest of Notts County owner Alan Hardy got a few fans excited and even I couldn’t help but think it looked a positive option if something could be done, but despite Hardy seeming very keen, at the time of writing he’s yet to speak on the matter again.

The whole situation is incredibly frustrating for all, not least journalists like me trying to contact people and not getting very far.

Nigel Harrop is often very receptive to my calls and even rings me back on occasion if he’s missed one, but since Wednesday last week I’ve failed to get in contact with him despite repeated attempts.

I know he was a little frustrated by the way all media outlets reported the events of last week, particularly after the court appearance, but to produce a self-imposed media blackout doesn’t help things as it only leads us to be tempted to deal more in speculation than perceived fact.

As before, we’ve got two scenarios. If Ilkeston are liquidated in the near future then that is that and the new community club can begin the steps towards trying to replace them.

If Ilkeston FC are finally bought out, there is now precious little time to be accepted into a league (which you’d imagine will be looked into before anyone ploughs any money into them), find a manager, a team and some pre-season friendlies.

Overall, it’s been a total shambles for the last few days with positive vibes from Harrop about a deal being close so far coming to nothing, while in the background various creditors scratch their heads and wonder if they’ll ever get paid.

I truly, truly hope this all gets worked out and a deal is done that can see the club move forwards, but I fear the worst at the moment.

As always, by the time you read this column in print things could have changed dramatically so if that happens, I’ll update the online version with my thoughts!