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Robins owner Hardy wants quick rise through the divisions

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Alan Hardy says he is determined to see Ilkeston Town promoted back through the leagues as soon as possible after he completed his purchase of the club last week.

Hardy, who also owns Notts County, paid what he says was a ‘six-figure sum’ for the assets of the former Ilkeston FC, immediately announcing the club would revert to the name of its predecessor and installing Steve Chettle and Ian Deakin as the management team.

And, speaking to Radio Derby, he says he is excited by the prospect of bringing football back to the town.

He said: “I was brought up in Eastwood and as a kid I went to lots of football matches locally including plenty at Ilkeston, so I have fantastic memories of that and it’s when football really got in my blood.

“Ilkeston were within weeks of not being able to register to play this season and would have found it hard to recover from that, and taking it on was something I was keen to do.

“We’ve got a great management team in place in Steve Chettle and Ian Deakin and I’m also in talks with a coach who is an Ilkeston legend with a view to him playing a part too.”

Whilst Hardy was adamant there would be no conflict of interests with regard to his simultaneous ownerships of both Ilkeston and Notts County, he did emphasise how important it will be for the Robins to make use of some of what Notts can offer.

He said: “We’ll be able to call upon people like our nutritionist at Notts County and the sports scientists, as well as physios and so on, plus there’s the chance to give some of Notts’ younger professionals some first team football in loan deals which will help both clubs, as we did with Basford last year.

“The club is 100 per cent mine. It will have its own separate corporate governance including a new set of directors so is a completely separate entity to Notts County.

“It will be registered as a community company and be completely transparent.

“I’m keen to engage fully with the Ilkeston community and bring the good times back to Ilkeston Town.”

The Robins will compete in the Midlands Football League Division One, at tier six in the non-league pyramid, with Hardy adding: “Unfortunately there was no room in the East Midlands Counties League so we’ll have to face a lot of teams from the Leicestershire, Warwickshire and Birmingham areas, but when we get promoted I expect we’ll have much more locally-based football.”