Tag: Ilkeston Town

Ilkeston Town FC: A Small Club For A Big Society?

The battle for the future of football in Ilkeston is now on. Ben Shave reports on what has been going on since the old club in the town was liquidated. Since becoming Prime Minister, David Cameron has consistently referred to his ‘Big Society’, describing it as his “passion.” Emphasising the collective role that communities can play in their progression and development, Cameron declared that the initiative is intended to “turn government on its head.” This philosophical declaration has manifested itself in many ways since Cameron made that speech in Liverpool this past July, some of which have had a profound impact on the landscape of spectator sport, and football in particular. In May of this year, the Coalition Agreement stated that “we will encourage the reform of football governance rules to support the co-operative ownership of football clubs by supporters. Hugh Robertson MP, Minister for Sport and the Olympics, recently expressed his determination “to make progress and to push ahead with both the wider reform agenda and football supporters’ involvement.” Fine words, but as ever in politics, the proof will be in the policy-filled pudding. Today an opportunity has emerged for the new government to make a real difference to the future of a true community club. Ilkeston Town FC of the Blue Square North division were wound up by court order on September 8th. Owing £47,000 to HM Revenue...

Read More

By Hook Or By Crook, Football Has To Be Rid Of The Preferred Creditor Rule

Poor old Ilkeston Town. They bit the dust over a debt of just £47,000 and it seems unlikely that they will be the last to be made to suffer this way. There will be plenty more clubs that find themselves at the High Court on The Strand in London having hunted down the back of the metaphorical sofa, gambling the very existence of their institution after having skipped paying one of their most basic obligations: their tax bill. What is becoming apparent is that there is no realistic likelihood of HMRC letting up in their pursuit of football clubs that have failed to meet this obligations and that there doesn’t seem to be any realistic likelihood of legislation changing back to before the 2002 Enterprise Act, when HMRC had the “preferred creditor” status that football clubs continue to enjoy under the rules of the game. Considering this, it should be down to the FA itself to redraw the rules on what happens to a football club in the event of insolvency. It feels as if it is fruitless chase down a blind alley to try and appeal to clubs to “do the right thing” in this respect, and the prevailing attitude towards taxation in this country seems to be, if anything, a hardening attitude against paying it at all, where possible. The reasons for the aggressive behaviour of HMRC...

Read More

Ilkeston Town Pay The Ultimate Price

The Derbyshire town of Ilkeston and Sheffield are a mere forty-five miles apart, but that difference must have felt like light years today at the High Court in London, as Ilkeston Town of the Blue Square South were wound up over a claim for £47,000 brought about by HMRC while Sheffield Wednesday of League One managed to cheat the grim reaper after the Co-operative Bank agreed to fund a payment of £780,000 to HMRC to keep Wednesday ticking over while the search for the a new buyer for the stricken Yorkshire club continues. The extent to which this is a moral conundrum is a debatable one. Wednesday clearly seem to have access to the sort of credit facilities that a club of Ilkeston’s means don’t have. That a judgement that Ilkeston were “plainly insolvent” could be made in under two minutes, as happened this morning, while Wednesday were rescued by the same registrar on the same day may stick in the craw of some, though. Ilkeston Town’s recent travails have been reasonably well documented. They were rescued in the first place by local businessman Paul Millership in 1992 when their ground was sold by Erewash Borough Council, but Millership’s untimely death at the age of fifty-nine in 2007. The club was taken over by millionaire construction company owner Chek Whyte in 2008 but, although the club managed to get...

Read More

Keith Alexander: 1956-2010

At the time of writing, England are about to kick off against Egypt in their first friendly match of 2010. This is football as a peculiar mix of Hollywood and pantomime, a story that often seems to have very little to do with what goes on during the matches themselves. It’s a world that frequently feels alien. Away from this, however, there is a whole other world of football going on, a world in which people give up their youth, their other aspirations, relationships and families because they believe in the game. Often away from the spotlight and the wilder excesses of the game, the people that inhabit this world are often easily dismissed as “journeymen”, but they are crucial to our narrative of football. We lost one of them last night. Neither Keith Alexander’s playing career nor his managerial career scaled, as some might put it, the heights. As a player, he spent fourteen years in non-league football before going on to enjoy something of an Indian summer in the Football League with Grimsby Town and Mansfield Town, whilst winning a handful of caps at international level for St Lucia. It was not, however, his playing career that marks out his significance in the game, rather the managerial career that followed it, a managerial career that lasted from 1993 until right up until his death at the tragically...

Read More