Located smack bang in the middle of two proud footballing cities, Nottingham and Derby, Ilkeston is a working-class town with a huge passion for football. Meet the club that refuses to die.

Year founded: 2017 (most recent club)

Nickname: The Robins 

Stadium: New Manor Ground 

Capacity: 3,029

Manager: Ian Deakin 

League: Northern Premier League Northern Division


Ilkeston certainly haven’t had it easy, as they are on their fifth side to have played in the town. Football was first brought to Ilson’s original Manor Ground in 1882, where they played in the Midlands Football League until their disbandment in 1903.

Their longest running club was the second Ilkeston Town which ran from 1945-2010 following Ilkeston United’s dissolution.

During this time, the club oversaw its transition to the New Manor Ground in 1991, where they have remained ever since.

Two more clubs, Ilkeston F.C and the third Ilkeston Town who have represented the town for the last seven years.


For a small town with a population of just 38,000, Ilkeston have had relative success to say they are 20 minutes away from two clubs with First Division titles to their names.

The height of this success was promotion to the Conference North in 2008/09 under ex Ipswich Town, Shrewsbury and Grimsby manager Paul Hurst after winning the Northern Premier League playoff.

They followed this up with an eight place finish the following season, the highest finish in the club’s history.

Their proximity to Nottingham Forest and Derby County has proved to be fruitful, as a plethora of ex Reds and Rams have appeared for the club, most notably Kelvin Wilson, Nathan Tyson,  current player James Perch and Northern Ireland international Jamie Ward.

Current manager Ian Deakin even played as a goalkeeper at Forest’s reserves. 

Ilkeston celebrating promotion in 2008/09

Off the pitch, the takeover of the club by local businessmen David Hilton and Andrew Nally was completed in 2021, and they had immediate impact by overseeing extensive improvements to the club’s ground. 

A state of the art 3G pitch was installed, and there are plans to continue improving the New Manor Ground.

Tough times

As touched on before, the club is no stranger to having to start again from the ground up, but the 2010 season is bound to stick in the minds of Ilson fans who will wonder what could have been.

Having reached their highest ever league position, the club were issued with a winding up order for a £50,000 unpaid tax bill.

This stopped The Robins in their tracks to continue climbing up the leagues, and judging by their trajectory it would not be ridiculous to suggest they could’ve at least made the fifth tier. 

Modern era

The club have consolidated in the last few years after winning promotion from the Northern Premier League in 2021-22, sat in the seventh tier of English football competing against the likes of Macclesfield, Marine and local rivals Basford United.

After achieving their highest position in the current club’s history, The Robins are only one promotion away from reaching the sixth division again, a testament to the work done over the last 14 years.