Ilkeston FC have announced that chairman Dave Mantle has sold the club.
The takeover has seen the Robins’ current general manager, Nigel Harrop, buy Mantle’s 100 per cent stake with a view to further outside investment taking place in the summer.
The move is the first step in a period of financial restructuring for the club, although its current model of bringing young players through its impressive academy set-up will continue and is seen as a key factor in any hopes of future success.
Mantle’s company SR Education took on the running of the new club at its formation ahead of the 2011-12 season and will continue to be the education provider for the Robins’ academy scholars.
Harrop said: “My task when appointed general manager was to make the club more sustainable. This challenge also involved seeking new investment and in the last few months I have represented the club in talks with several individuals looking to invest. I was also involved in the recent sales of Che Adams and Ashley Hunter to Sheffield United and Fleetwood Town respectively.
“More recently I’ve been involved, alongside Kevin Wilson and Steve Chettle, in making use of our vibrant academy set-up within the first team and also running the club on a reasonable financial footing whilst at the same time moving it forward.
“This has ultimately placed it in a better position to attract more financial investment.
“My task now though is to drive the club on even further. This will obviously involve new investment both on and off the field and although we see this as the start of an exciting new adventure for the club, we will always work within our budget.”
Harrop was also keen to point out the major role Mantle has had in giving Ilkeston FC such solid foundations.
He added: “I have been at the club in one role or another since the dark days in 2010 and it is amazing what has been achieved by Dave, Kevin Wilson, Darren Caskey, Steve Chettle, Andrew Raisin and all the other staff in the last few exciting years.
“Dave has worked tremendously hard and put in no small amount of money since taking over the club in 2010 and is also well on the way to achieving a goal he set with the management almost four-and-half years ago, namely to reach the Conference North within five years.
“Dave has always retained sole control of the club should the time come, like now, to move it on even further with new investment.”
“He now needs to get back to his core business running SR Education, who will still continue as the club’s education provider based at the New Manor Ground.”
Harrop also says Mantle will be leaving Ilkeston FC debt free, with any debts incurred during his tenure being written off by Mantle whose company have also paid the wages of Ilkeston staff since the club was formed.
The takeover will therefore see Ilkeston FC become an entirely separate entity in financial terms, which will in turn make both businesses more attractive to investors.
Harrop added: “With Dave’s business writing off the debt it shows that he hasn’t simply jumped ship. He has helped turn the club around and make it profitable, aided by the recent transfer deals.
“I’m adamant that any future money we make will be put straight into the football club as it’s the only way we can prosper and develop. In fact our balance sheet will show a profit when the latest set of accounts are released in the next few weeks, thanks to the way we’ve run the club in recent months.
“So this is all a really positive step and an exciting prospect for fans of the club as we continue to grow.”
For the thoughts of manager Kevin Wilson on the takeover and on the Robins’ league games at Ramsbottom and Blyth Spartans, see www.ilkestonadvertiser.co.uk.