Ilkeston Town announce split with academy and U23 side for financial reasons

Ilkeston Town have announced a split between the club and its football academy and under-23 setup which will now relocate and be rebranded.

Friday, 26th November 2021, 12:14 pm
Updated Friday, 26th November 2021, 12:23 pm
Ilkeston Town will no longer have an academy and U23 side attached.

The Robins’ under-23 side, more widely known as Ilkeston Town FCB, are currently top of the Notts Senior League Premier Division and have operated out of the New Manor Ground since Ilkeston incorporated the former Nottingham FC and its squad not long after being re-formed.

That move saw Nottingham FC’s players form the bulk of the new squad, with a separate academy set up for younger players which also saw them gain academic qualifications.

However, since then the club has struggled to attract players from the Ilkeston area, meaning most are travelling from Nottingham for training, home matches and for some the education element of the associated academy course.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Now, an opportunity has arisen for the team to relocate back to Nottingham, with coaches Anthony Spencer and Dave Lilley moving them to Clifton where the team will be rebranded accordingly.

Ilkeston co-chairman and owner Dave Hilton says the move is best for all parties.

He said: “Unfortunately, the academy was losing money and therefore the club had to prop it up financially. Out of the 42 students, only five signed up locally with the rest coming from Notts FC’s youth setup.

"Anthony had an immediate opportunity to take the academy to Nottingham which will have a far greater chance of success in recruitment with 90 per cent of the students benefiting from an easier commute to the new venue.

“Unfortunately, for the sustainability of the club, any failing department needs to be addressed, however, all students will continue their education programme and football as planned at the new venue.

“The U23s will also be moving and therefore rebranding after this weekend, with many players being students of the academy.

"We’d like to make our priorities clear to all supporters, as we did to the supporters club last week – our priority first and foremost is the first team and its progression and we sometimes have to make hard decisions for the good of the club.

“Should any area of the football club make a sustainable model more difficult to achieve then it will unfortunately have to close. This is no different to any other business.”

Coach Anthony Spencer said: “I want to thank [former chairman/owner] Mark Clifford and [current co-chairman/owner] Andrew Nally for bringing me to this great club. But in football things move fast. The academy will not be ending, just relocating to a new venue.

“Myself and David Lilley are very proud of how far the boys have come and will build a new venue for the boys and the new community we will represent.”

The team’s last game under the Ilkeston Town banner will take place on Friday night at the New Manor Ground with a local derby against Awsworth Villa.