Ian Deakin says he’s excited by the challenge of bringing smiles back to the faces of Ilkeston football fans as a new era begins at the New Manor Ground.
Deakin will be player/assistant manager alongside boss Steve Chettle as Ilkeston Town FC begin life in the Midland Football League Division One following Alan Hardy’s acquisition of the club which was announced on Thursday.
And for a man with vast experience in local football having starred for the likes of Eastwood Town, Mansfield Town, Buxton and Staveley before managing Kimberley Miners Welfare last season, 30-year-old goalkeeper Deakin can’t wait to start putting his knowledge to good use.
He said: “I’ve been recovering from a bad injury over the last year and always had the urge to get back playing, but I enjoy the coaching side too, so this fitted in nicely with what I wanted to do.
“It came out of the blue, I must admit, but when Alan Hardy contacted me and told me his plans, it was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up.
“Ilkeston has always been a massive club and whenever I’ve played there it’s always been a great atmosphere. The fans deserve better than what they’ve been through and the club deserves to get back to where it wants to be. That’s the vision and I’m excited to be part of it.”
With Chettle and Deakin both having sizeable contacts books to call upon, fans of Ilkeston Town could well see a mix of well-known names and young prospects next season as the squad tries to gain a quick promotion into step five.
Deakin said: “I’ve played with a lot of good players and there will be a sprinkling of experienced players in there, many of whom may be known to fans of football locally.
“We should have a squad largely assembled by the end of this week and then have some friendlies arranged for the next ten days or so to try and get everyone fit for the first game. We’ve even got the training kit sorted!
“It will be a strong squad. We’re determined to get promoted as soon as we can but will need to hit the ground running.
“It will also be exciting and it has been that way trying to organise everything, but I’m confident everything will be in hand ahead of the first game at Uttoxeter on August 5.”
Deakin also highlighted how impressed he has been by Hardy and his passion for the game.
He added: “Alan just loves football at all levels, right from the professional game down to grass roots. His passion is obvious and that will impress the fans as much as it impressed me, I’m sure of it.
“His passion and drive will be the key and I really hope supporters will get behind everything we do because it should be a great ride.”