Friday 15 August
Ilkeston FC have received a massive eve-of-the-season boost because the legal action that was threatening the club’s future has been resolved.
An out of court settlement has been agreed with John Thompson, who suffered serious facial and other injuries in July 2011 when he was involved in a clash with Gary Ricketts during a pre-season game against Mansfield Town.
Said Ilkeston FC chairman Dave Mantle: “The issue has been hanging over us for the past three years and I have to admit that there have been times - especially in recent months - when I thought we might not get through it.
“The settlement along with legal costs have had a big impact upon our finances and the situation has forced us to make decisions about the way the club operates that we might not necessarily have taken in different circumstances.
“Thankfully though, we have managed to reach an amicable agreement without any admission of liability and it means that finally, we can look to the future with more confidence.”
Because Ricketts was a contracted employee of Ilkeston FC, it meant the club was at risk of being found jointly liable for his actions and although the cost of the settlement of the claim against the club - combined with legal fees - is substantial, Mantle said that at least they now know where they stand.
He added: “I have every sympathy for John Thompson and the situation he found himself in. You could argue that the injuries were not the club’s doing but because Gary Ricketts was a contracted employee of Ilkeston FC, it meant we were at risk of being found jointly liable with him for those injuries.
“Unfortunately for us, our insurance company would not cover the costs. We took out the policy as recommended to all Evo-Stik League clubs but were then told it didn’t cover events of this nature. It’s important that all clubs should be aware of this because they could find themselves in the same situation at any time.”
• The announcement is a real boost for everyone concerned with the welfare of Ilkeston FC and comes with perfect timing as the youthful Robins head to Witton Albion tomorrow to launch the new League campaign.
Said the manager: “We’ve arrived at a fascinating stage in our development and my advice to supporters is to sit back and enjoy the ride.
“The aim all along was to develop our own team eventually but it has probably happened 12 months earlier than planned. The bulk of the squad have all had the same grounding, they understand the Ilkeston FC way of doing things - and they genuinely care about this football club.”
Wilson is free of injury problems for the curtain-raiser and he added: “Although everyone wants to be in the starting line-up, they can’t all be. But I believe we’re now in a situation where we will have people on the bench who are capable of going on and offering us something different and it’s a healthy situation.”
Don’t forget that the Robins launch their New Manor Ground programme on Monday evening, when Stourbridge are the visitors.