Notts County chairman and owner Alan Hardy has completed the purchase of Ilkeston Football Club.
As expected, following Hardy’s acquisition from Ilkeston FC’s liquidators Smith Cooper, the club’s name will revert back to Ilkeston Town FC and the team will compete in the Midlands Football League Division One, at step six of the non-league pyramid.
Hardy owns several successful companies, including Paragon Interiors and the Nottinghamshire Golf and Country Club, and also acquired Notts County Football Club in January.
He went on the record last month as being keen to save Ilkeston FC after it was wound up in the high court.
Having secured the purchase of the club, Hardy has also appointed former Ilkeston FC assistant manager and ex-Nottingham Forest star Steve Chettle as manager on a three-year contract. He will be assisted by player/coach Ian Deakin.
Hardy said: “I am absolutely thrilled to have completed my purchase of Ilkeston FC and can confirm that the club’s name will revert to Ilkeston Town Football Club with immediate effect.
“It is with great excitement that I also announce Steve Chettle as the club’s new manager following his departure from National League North side Nuneaton Town, where he was assistant manager.
“Steve is an Ilkeston and Nottingham Forest legend who I’m sure will prove to be an exciting appointment for supporters.
“He will be assisted by Ian Deakin, who brings plenty of experience and local knowledge after managing Kimberley last season.
“Having grown up in neighbouring Eastwood, I simply couldn’t allow one of the East Midlands’ finest non-league clubs’ existence to cease when I knew there was a viable method for me to take it forward.
“I am grateful to the FA for giving us the opportunity to compete in the Midland Football League Division One this season and it’s now time to move on with making Ilkeston Town a success on and off the field following a very challenging period for the club.
“Ilkeston Town will have its own corporate governance, with separate directors, financial structure and accountability.
“Naturally, as would be the case between any professional and semi-professional football clubs, there will be an opportunity for transactions when it comes to such things as the loaning of players, sharing of expertise and so on.
“I am absolutely committed to making Ilkeston Town not only self-sustainable, but also competitive and ambitious in aiming to claim a place in the second tier of non-league football in the medium term.
“I vividly remember my seven-year-old self-standing behind the goal, bang in the centre, lapping up every minute of derbies between Ilkeston Town and Eastwood, as well as other local matches involving the likes of Long Eaton, Heanor Town, Belper, Kimberley and Arnold. They were all blood- stirring encounters and all those memories have enabled me to carry great enthusiasm into my career in football.
“I am now looking forward to working with the people of Ilkeston to develop a club they, and their town, deserve.”
On the sale, Dean Nelson, Head of Business Recovery and Insolvency at Smith Cooper, commented: “Ilkeston FC is a pillar in the local community, so I’m delighted that we’ve been able to achieve a sale of the business and its assets, with Erewash Borough Council’s support, ultimately securing football to be played this season. Credit is also due to the fans who have remained passionate and patient throughout this difficult time whilst a sale has been concluded.
“The club has a fantastic track record of developing players through its academy and remains at the heart of its local community. I am confident that Alan Hardy and his backroom team will transform this club and provide a solid platform for it to achieve long-term success.”