Ilkeston owner Mark Clifford wants to bring feel-good factor back to the club

Owner Mark Clifford wants to put smiles back on the faces of Ilkeston FC’s fans.

Monday, 11th May 2020, 11:38 am
Updated Monday, 11th May 2020, 11:39 am
Ilkeston owner Mark Clifford is eager for a successful season to put smiles on the faces of fans.

Clifford believes exciting times are ahead for the Robins and is keen to see supporters enjoying their football once again.

“We will be a stronger Ilkeston when we come back on and off the pitch,” he said.

“We will be a force on the pitch and the renovated ground is going to be a nice place to come.

“We just want to bring the feel-back factor back to Ilkeston, there have been too many gloom and doom days and we are all coming through the gloom of lockdown.

“We just want people to be happy - coming back to the club, seeing how excited we are and to be able to enjoy this together.”

Clifford announced plans to install a new 4G pitch at the club would be postponed for 12 months due the knock-on effect of coronavirus.

But work to improve the Clock Tower stand will go ahead to bring it back to its former glory, along with improvements to the changing rooms and dug-outs.

And Clifford, who bought the club in October 2019, believes the next six months will be pivotal for the club.

“We are excited about getting started for the next season and what that might involve,” he added.

“It is going to be a pivotal six months from Ilkeston.

“We just want the country to go back to normal, in a safe way so we can resume our plans.

“We are very excited about them, a pandemic is the last thing you want six months after buying a football club.

“We want the green light to resume some of the improvement work that we want to do and to get it ready for when the season starts.

“We will get people on site when we can, that is why we had to cancel the pitch plans - you can't get the people or you can't get the materials - it has had a big knock on effect.”

And the former manager is confident that the Robins have plenty of positives to build upon following what he described as a tough start to his career as clubb owner.

“The first six months since I bought the club have been tough if you look back and reflect,” he said.

“On the pitch we found it tough in a crucial part of the season, which ultimately probably might have cost us a play-off place had the season finished.

“We had a few internal issues that needed to be sorted out, the squad then settled down nicely and started to pick up some good results with good performances.

“We were really excited about the future for the club and the players we have earmarked to bring in.

“You often take a lot more from defeat than a victory and we had a lot to reflect over.

“You saw that in the performances from the players when they did start to pick up a few results, they had more grit to their play and more resolute defending.

“Some of those players will still be with us, some will probably move on, but the players we bring in to add to the quality we already have will always have grit and that knowledge of the game and how to get through games.”

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