ILKESTON FC chairman Dave Mantle has lavished praise onto Kevin Wilson and Darren Caskey for the part they have played in establishing Ilkeston FC as a significant non-league force within such a short space of time.
Following on from the Academy team’s Central Conference League and Cup double success in their first season of competitive action, the Robins’ management pair have steered the first-team to the top of the Evo-Stik League Division One South.
And the chairman said: “I think what Kevin and Darren have achieved within ten months of us launching the new club is nothing short of remarkable.
“We are certainly some way ahead of where we expected to be at this point and in my view, that’s down to a combination of their management skills and the amazing level of commitment they give to the job.”
Mantle admits that he took “a bit of a gamble” when SR Education moved in by handing three-year deals to Wilson and Caskey when he didn’t really know them, but he added: “As each week goes by, I realise what a brilliant decision that was.
“People tell me football managers never plan ahead because they don’t expect to be in the job for more than a few months but we’re fortunate to have an exception to that rule.
“Everything Kevin does is with an eye to the future and we share the same philosophy in that respect. We are in this for the long haul and we really want to build a lot more than just a team that may or may not get promoted this season.
“He’s obsessed with doing things properly but I have no problem with that. He’s an experienced manager who still has ambitions to fulfil but Kevin is not silly about his demands.
“He understands what is possible, sticks to his budget and I really respect him for that.”
The chairman’s convinced the club is in good hands and he added: “As Kevin keeps reminding us, we are far from the finished article but I just think that he and Darren deserve a pat on the back for all the good work they’ve have put in so far.
“When I think back to November it’s incredible how far we have come and I’m in no doubt where the credit lies for that.”