KEVIN Wilson basked in the glory of Ilkeston FC’s promotion this week and declared it the start of a very bright future at the New Manor Ground.
The Robins boss oversaw a 2-0 win over Leek Town in Saturday’s play-off final, a result which secured promotion in the club’s first ever season after rising from the ashes of Ilkeston Town in November 2010.
And as Wilson began to make immediate plans for life in the Evo-Stik Premier Division next season, he took time out to praise everyone throughout the club for an outstanding campaign.
He said: “This is all testimony to the hard work put in by the chairman Dave Mantle and so many other people.
“There are too many to name but they know who they are. On and off the field things have been done superbly and the result was not only a fantastic day on Saturday but has also been emphasised by the trophies won across the board since the club was formed.”
With the season complete, Wilson has been making decisions with regard to who he wants to be part of the club’s future.
Four players – James Reid, Gary Ricketts, Russell Cooke and Daryll Thomas – are all signed up for next season, while talks are currently ongoing with a number of other players.
Wilson said: “I’m hoping to keep hold of the majority of this squad because I feel most are more than capable of playing at the higher level.
“It’s sometimes complicated at this stage because there are one or two issues that arise that need to be sorted out before offers can be made, but we’re in the process of speaking to everyone.
“I’ll be attending various exit trials around the country in the next week or two to try and find more young talent to bring in, such is the ethos at the club and given the success that has brought us.
“It’s been a very busy season and I think of all four squads’ matches I’ve only missed about three games, so I’ll be glad of a break at some point to play a bit of golf and enjoy some family time, but I hope to have a large portion of pre-season arranged by then as well as have a good squad framework in place.”
Regarding Saturday’s final itself, Wilson was in particular pleased with the Robins’ second-half performance after a frustrating first period which saw them unable to turn their dominance into clear-cut chances.
He said: “We owed Leek one after they beat us here in February, so we knew how they’d set up and how we could beat them.
“But we snatched at things in the first-half and needed to show a bit more composure. We did that in the second-half, taking an extra touch and putting more thought into things, and it really paid off.
“I was wary at 2-0 because Leek then had a couple of good chances to pull one back, but in the end I felt we were comfortable winners.”
Chairman Dave Mantle (pictured above) also expressed his joy after Saturday’s win.
He said: “I’m absolutely delighted to see how much pleasure it has given the people of Ilkeston - let’s hope there will be many more trophies to come.”