Duffers’ Diaries: Awaiting Ilkeston FC’s next move

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Nothing really shocks me at Ilkeston FC anymore but I was quite surprised to see Andy Watson depart last week.

The timing of it was strange, but the reasons behind it seem pretty clear. If Ilkeston wanted a straightforward head coach next season, they’d surely have kept Watson in charge, so it strikes me that a player/manager may be the way they’re looking to go now.

Nigel Harrop says he’s keen to bring quality in rather than journeymen when it comes to experienced players. Those who can coach too would seemingly be the preference, giving the Robins something of a ‘two for the price of one’.

It might not be the worst idea, but as with everything down at the NMG, time will tell.

I have great sympathy with Andy Watson who is a very amiable chap with vast experience at the highest level of the game. I hope losing someone of that calibre won’t come back to bite Ilkeston on the backside.

I noted too this week that the ticket prices have been released for next season.

The ‘affordable football’ iniative has been shelved, perhaps not surprisingly given the gates weren’t really that much higher than they would have been had the prices been in line with other clubs.

It should in theory have proved more successful than it was and where any blame lies is up for debate, but it seems that whatever the price there is a hardcore of 400-500 Ilkeston fans with a good few more casual supporters around to help boost the gates for bigger games.

In a town this size, the averages could be much better, but maybe more success on the pitch will generate more people through the gate, as tends to be the way.

Elsewhere, I’m writing this just after Blyth Spartans lost their play-off semi-final to Workington. To get 99 points and not go up will hurt, particularly given the Northern Premier League’s bizarre decision to suspend Darlington’s 12 point deduction for fielding an ineligible player and yet immediately deduct nine from Northwich in D1 North for a similar crime, but maybe that’s an argument for another day!