Ilkeston Town under new ownership as head coach Mark Clifford buys the club from Alan Hardy
Ilkeston Town boss Mark Clifford has completed a takeover of the club after successful negotiations with outgoing owner Alan Hardy.
Clifford took over as boss at the New Manor Ground in July and has now done a deal with Hardy to buy the club, with investors lined up and what Clifford described to the Advertiser as a 'sustainable model' moving forward.
He said: "It's taken a while to push it through but I'm thrilled it's now complete. I have a couple of investors that I'm keen to get on board and there are various plans that we will reveal in the coming days and weeks that will detail the sustainable model we aim to create which I believe will never see the club go out of existence again."
In a statement released this afternoon, Clifford added: "This is an extremely proud day for me and an ambition fulfilled after 25 years in football".
“I’m going into this with my eyes wide open knowing that there is a lot of hard work ahead to develop our squad and improve our ground.
“As people are aware my involvement with the Club is not limited to the present time, I have also had time at the Club as a player in the past. Despite much turmoil over the years along with the constant threat of extinction I was pleasantly surprised at the unwavering passion still being shown both within the Club and by the supporters.
“For this reason along with my own personal ambition I decided to use a network of my contacts to try securing help in purchasing the Club, along with moving it forward to where I believe it needs to be. These people have now committed to investing significant funds in order to purchase the Club and pay off all outstanding debt.
“Their vision and business model in respect of creating a self-sustaining Club whilst enabling me to build a team capable of progressing to greater heights will be exemplary to other non-league clubs and there for all to see in forthcoming press releases.
“Anyone that puts time, effort and money into a project of this nature deserves tremendous credit and I would like to thank Alan Hardy for the part that he has played in Ilkeston’s history and saving the Club back in July 2017
“There are big challenges ahead but I’ll be surrounded by good people committed to driving our standards, on and off the pitch.
Clifford forged his managerial reputation with a golden spell as number two at Basford United having hung up his boots on a playing career punctuated by league appearances for Mansfield Town and Boston United, and four spells at Ilkeston Town.
“My history with Ilkeston stretches back a long way and while it may appear like a big leap, an opportunity to become the custodian of the Club felt like something that I had to embrace,” said Clifford.
“There’ll be no immediate change in the running of the team and I’ll still be calling the shots from the dugout on Saturday afternoon but, away from our match days, we will be putting a plan together that can deliver the stability needed to become self-sufficient and successful.
“It’s new, there’s a lot to plan and there will always be bumps in the road, but we hope to be in a position to unveil more details about our structure and our plans very soon.
“I can confirm several millions of pounds are to be invested into the clubs new business model, securing its future, providing better facilities and funds to strengthen the playing staff along with creating a community project that not only supporters, but local businesses and residents can participate in and be proud of. All at the club believe community involvement during these exciting times is paramount in its predicted future success.”