DUFFERS’ DIARIES: Chettle’s Ilkeston departure will leave huge shoes to fill

Steve Chettle will become first team coach at Notts County, leaving his role as manager of Ilkeston Town.
Steve Chettle will become first team coach at Notts County, leaving his role as manager of Ilkeston Town.

The announcement that Steve Chettle will be reliquishing his role as Ilkeston Town boss to become first team coach at Notts County has generated mixed emotions amongst those who follow the Robins.

On the one hand, most are delighted that an outstanding coach has landed a first team role at a Football League club, and one that Chettle is already familiar with given his work with the Magpies’ academy and of course the links with Ilkeston.

On the other hand, there’s disappointment that the man who led the newly-formed Robins to promotion in their first season, as well as to the top of the table early in this campaign, won’t be on hand to continue that good work.

Chettle has become very much part of the Ilkeston footballing family in recent years since arriving to assist Kevin Wilson as part of Ilkeston FC’s management team, having also seen his son Callum come through the academy at the New Manor Ground.

His return from Nuneaton Town went down very well with supporters and although the role he will now take up is one that sees him step away once more from the front line of being the head coach, it is almost certain he’ll have that kind of role again in the future and quite possibly at a good level.

I’m sure we’ll see Chettle back at the New Manor Ground frequently and it goes without saying that all will wish him well.

What’s important now is that whoever is appointed in his place can continue the hard work done by Chettle and his staff to get the Robins to where they currently are, namely top of the league and attracting crowds of over 600 to every game.

It’s a very tough job to take on given the expectation of not only supporters but also the club’s hierarchy to get the Robins back to the higher echelons of non-league football before too long, therefore one has to assume that someone with plenty of experience in the non-league game will be brought in.

Many fans believe the Robins’ current assistant manager Ian Deakin would be a natural choice. In terms of continuity given his familiarity with the squad, it would make perfect sense, but I do fear that Deakin’s relatively inexperienced managerial career might count against him not only in doing the job itself but also when it comes to being considered in the first place.

That said, Deakin is proving to be a very good coach who the Ilkeston players respect greatly and it would be a superb chance for him to build his reputation should he be asked to take the job, so if he can perhaps contain his self-confessed ‘lively’ temperament a little then why not give him the opportunity?

As for other names mentioned, Kevin Wilson of course is one on the lips of many fans but having spoken to Wilson in the past he doesn’t seem all that keen to return to management and there’s the question too of whether it’s better to look forwards rather than back this time around.

He’s another, however, who is familiar with the club and the current squad having been a regular spectator in recent months.

Plenty of other names are in the frame, both with and without Ilkeston links, so it’ll be quite the challenge for Alan Hardy and Anthony Redwood to come up with the right man. A proven track record has to play some kind of part, in my eyes, rather than just going for a big name or a fans’ favourite, but it will be very interesting to see how things progress.