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A challenge match between the cream of local talent and Staveley, one of Derbyshire's leading clubs and the Derbyshire Senior Cup holders, took place on April 4th 1885. The Ilkeston select team did well to hold Staveley to a creditable 2-2 draw and it proved that there were enough good local players for Ilkeston to have a decent football team. The seeds of a new club had been sown and three months later Ilkeston Town, known as The Reds, came to life. The first meeting in connection with the new club was held at the Queens Head Inn (which stood on Bath Street near the corner of Chapel Street) on Tuesday July 21st 1885 with WH Gaunt and GB Marples, who would both play for the club, elected as secretaries. Marples' skills as a right winger were renowned throughout the county from his time at Staveley. Most of the top players in the district joined the new club which made the Barkers Bridge venue its home, albeit for a brief period.
Town, understandably, fared better than the Mechanics had in the Derbyshire Senior Cup by reaching the second round in 1885/86. They also won the local charity cup competition, which again was no surprise. However, it was not all plain sailing for the new club. Some of Ilkeston's other clubs were antagonistic having lost most of their best players to Town, and they certainly did them no favours. When Town left Barkers Bridge in the late autumn of 1885 it was so that they could play on a pitch closer to the centre of town to draw bigger crowds. They initially moved to Mr Shaw's Field but quickly found that the pitch and the dirt track leading to the venue were unacceptable. In the meantime Ilkeston Wanderers had moved to Barkers Bridge and when Town contemplated a return they were quickly rebuffed. Town were left with no alternative but to relocate to the Pimlico Recreation Ground. This too proved unsuitable but there they had to stay. The best ground in the area was the Cotmanhay Recreation Ground, home of Cotmanhay Wanderers, and they were in no mood to assist Town.
The 1886/87 season was the second and final season of the club. Results were poor during the first half of the season but they picked up considerably after the arrival of several Cotmanhay Wanderers players. Ironically, the club was unbeaten in eight games before its final match. That match ended in a 2-0 defeat against Ilkeston Wanderers at Barkers Bridge, and weeks later the club folded and Wanderers became Ilkeston's leading club. Attempts to find a suitable home ground had proved to be impossible and most of their disillusioned players left for Ilkeston Wanderers or Cotmanhay Wanderers. This was one defeat that the club was unable to recover from. 

TOWN FACTS:
Founded: July 1885
Disbanded: 1887
Nickname: The Reds or Town
Honours: Ilkeston Cottage Hospital Cup winners 1885/86
Grounds: Barkers Bridge, Shaw's Field, Pimlico Recreation Ground
Record win: 6-1 v Stanton (A) 1885/86
Record home win: 7-3 v Nottingham Jardines 1886/87
Record defeat: 1-8 v Nottingham Jardines (A) 1886/87
Record home defeat: 2-8 v Derby Midland - Derbyshire Senior Cup 1st Round - 1886/87
Most appearances: Sam Wagstaff (probable)
Most goals: George Marples (probable)
Derbyshire Senior Cup best: 2nd Round 1885/86

The following players are known to have played for Ilkeston Town (players often appeared in different positions but their usual roles are indicated):
Harry Aldred
(half-back/outside-left) born Ilkeston 1867. appeared very occasionally during the 1886/87 season. later joined Ilkeston Wanderers.
Sammy Aldred (forward) - born Ilkeston 1868. previously with Ilkeston Swifts, he joined Ilkeston Wanderers when Town closed and became a prolific centre forward. he first appeared for Town in December 1885 and was a regular from then on. also a good tackler, this attribute led to him being used at full back frequently towards the end of the 1886/87 season
Aaron Baker (centre-forward) - born Ilkeston 1867. father of the legendary Baker brothers, he joined Ilkeston Wanderers upon Town's closure and went on to score the first ever goal on the Manor Ground in 1893 to guarantee his own local legend status. came from cotmanhay wanderers in december 1886 and was a prolific scorer prior to Town's demise 
Charlie Barker (half-back) - born Ilkeston 1864. the former Ilkeston Mechanics and Ilkeston Church Institute player could operate anywhere in the half back line. he enjoyed going forward and had a powerful shot, and was a regular throughout Town's two year history. later played for Ilkeston St Marys and Cotmanhay Wanderers
W. Batty (left-back) - his only known appearance came in february 1886. previously with Ilkeston Church Institute
J. Calladine (centre-half) - previously with Ilkeston Mechanics his only known appearance for Town was in december 1885
A. Carrier (inside-right) - played for Town in february 1887 but was with Ilkeston Wanderers before the end of the season. previously with Ilkeston Rovers
George Cockayne - (outside-left) good crosser who made a handful of appearances during the middle of the 1886/87 season. joined Ilkeston Wanderers
Stanley Felkin (right-back) - born Nottinghamshire 1866. former Ilkeston Mechanics player who made a handful of appearances spread over the two seasons. 
Joe Fox (left-half) - born Ilkeston 1865. formerly with Ilkeston Mecahanics and Ilkeston Church Institute, he was a good tackler. he appeared occasionally over the two seasons, making a handful of appearances
J. H. Gadsby (inside-right) - a good reader of the game he appeared frequently during the second half of the 1886/87 season
W. H. Gaunt (right-back) - previously with Ilkeston Mechanics, he joined Ilkeston Wanderers upon Town's closure and later became their vice president. he was a regular for Town until the turn of 1886
Arthur Goddard (outside-left) - born Nottingham 1860. former Ilkeston Mechanics player who joined Ilkeston Wanderers upon Town's closure. appeared occasionally in 1886/87 after being a regular during the previous campaign

M. Henshaw (outside-left) - his only known appearance came in October 1886
Frank Henson (left-back) - born Shardlow 1864. was a regular at the start of the 1886/87 season but he only appeared occasionally during the second half of the campaign 
S. Holden (centre-forward) - player whose only known appearance came in December 1885
Jack Hollis (inside-left) - exciting former Cotmanhay Wanderers player who returned upon Town's closure. A good dribbler, passer and crosser who was unafraid to go for goal he featured prominently from November 1886. later joined the re-named Ilkeston Town club
Roland Horspool (goalkeeper) - born Ilkeston 1869. made a favourable impression after first appearing in December 1886. joined the new Ilkeston Town some time after Town's closure 
Leverton (right-back) - appeared in the final game of the 1885/86 season but apparently not before or after
George Marples (outside-right) - born Staveley 1856. believed to be the co-founder of the club, he was a former Staveley right winger with a great reputation and was quite possibly the finest player to wear an Ilkeston shirt in the 1880s. he had pace, was an excellent dribbler, could deliver crosses with deadly accuracy and had a powerful shot. it is likely that he scored more goals for Town than any other player, despite a knee injury causing him to miss part of the 1886/87 season. joined Ilkeston Wanderers when Town folded
W. Mellors (centre-forward) - a clinical finisher previously with Cotmanhay Wanderers. found the net frequently during the second half of the 1885/86 season
Arthur Morley (forward) - born Ilkeston 1867. formerly with Cotmanhay Wanderers, he rejoined them upon Town's demise. was able to play well in any forward position and was a regular from November 1886. later played for the re-named Ilkeston Town club
J. Osbourne (left-back) - played in Town's last ever game but there is no record of any other appearances. later appeared for the future Town club. 
Fred Paling (inside-left) - born Ilkeston 1863. once of Ilkeston Mechanics, he had plenty of pace. played regularly during the first half of both seasons but was unable to keep his place throughout. later appeared for Cotmanhay Wanderers

Shaw (inside-right) - his only known appearance came on Boxing Day 1885
Jerry Slack (half-back) - a busy player, he was a mainstay of the 1886/87 team. joined Ilkeston Wanderers upon Town's closure
Smith (goalkeeper) - appeared once in February 1887 but there is no record of any other appearances
J. Stanley (utility) - joined from Ilkeston Swifts. a frequent member of the 1885/86 team although he missed much of the middle third of the season. he appeared in a wide variety of positions
L. Stanley (inside-right) - probably not the same player as the one listed above although the pair never played together. made a number of appearances in autumn 1886
Samuel Statham (half-back/inside-left) - born Ilkeston 1865. previously with Ilkeston Mechanics and Ilkeston Commercial he featured prominently during the first half of the 1885/86 season but his appearances were limited thereafter despite being with the club until at least November 1886. later played for Ilkeston St Marys
Freddie Tilforth (inside-right) - born Breaston 1865. formerly with Ilkeston Mechanics and Ilkeston Commercial, he was a regular in 1885/86 although he rarely appeared after the autumn of 1886. he played senior football in Ilkeston into the 1890s, was a good passer, and was the newly named Ilkeston Town club secretary from 1888
Joseph Tilson (half-back) - born Ilkeston 1850. ageing former Ilkeston Mechanics player who made just a couple of appearances, one in each season, during 1886 
S. Trueman (full-back) - joined from Sawley Rangers in December 1885 and remained for the rest of the season. he was rated extremely highly because of his superb defensive work
Enoch Wagstaff (goalkeeper) - born Cossall 1865. formerly with Ilkeston Rangers he was arguably the first specialist goalkeeper to play senior football in the town. did well initially for Town but he lost form towards the end of the 1885/86 season, and appeared infrequently during the following season. played at centre-half in their last ever game.

Sam Wagstaff
(half-back) - born Cossall 1855. known as the 'veteran' he was a dogged and determined player. probably made more appearances for Town than any other player. usually figuring in the half back line he even appeared in goal on at least three occasions. joined from Cotmanhay Wanderers. brother of Enoch

F. Watkin (left-half) - made a couple of appearances shortly before Town's demise
Jack Wheatley (full-back) - joined Cotmanhay Wanderers and later the new Town club upon Town's closure. he could operate on either side and played frequently during the second half of the 1886/87 season
Fred Wilkinson (centre-half/goalkeeper) - born Newcastle 1867. previously with Ilkeston Mechanics he had good passing skills. he first appeared in december 1885 and was a regular until the club folded. had a lengthy spell as the goalkeeper but after starting well it was eventually agreed that he was a better outfield player. joined Cotmanhay Wanderers, Ilkeston St Marys and then the future Town club upon Town's closure
Wooliscroft (outside-right) - his only known appearance came in February 1887
George Wright (full-back) - a former Ilkeston Rangers player who could operate on either side. he had a powerful kick, was strong in the air but lacked a little in pace. a regular for Town during both seasons, he joined Ilkeston Wanderers upon Town's closure

Many of these players were immortalised in print when the following poem appeared in the Ilkeston Advertiser, written by an unknown scribe:

Ilkeston Town, of great renown of football it can boast
Of as good a team as need be seen, though support they've not the most.
Enoch Wagstaff between the sticks a right good man is he;
When called upon to clear his lines, in his place he's sure to be.
Next comes George Wright, who with all his might kicks, heads, and dodges well;
With a little speed, which he stands in need, no back could him excel.
Then Stanley Felkin, he comes next, who plays full back so grand,
And if he plays in every match, they're sure to make a stand.
Then comes Joe Fox, the left half-back, at tackling he's a gem;
When the forwards come up in a rush their progress he does stem.
Then Charlie Barker, he appears, a back of great renown;
He puts some rattling shots at goal, and is a good man for the Town.
There's the grand old man, Sam Wagstaff, who plays upon the right;
Whene'er a scrimmage does occur he's always in the fight.
The captain, GB Marples, we next shall name to you;
He's a dashing outside wing man, with honours not a few.
Then Freddie Tilforth comes to light, he plays very well indeed;
He passes to his captain, who puts on his greatest speed.
The centre forward, he comes next, who is often to the fore
And when the ball is near the goal he never fails to score.
Then Sammy Aldred we can't forget, a sterling left wing player;
He's always there, and does his share - you may back him as a stayer.
Arthur Goddard next comes forth, he must not stand alone -
He plays as well at football as he does on his trombone.
Fred Wilkinson is the next to shine, a sure and steady kick;
He plays up nice, and passes well is up to every trick.
Fred Paling is the next we name, his speed we much admire,
Though Freddy is not playing now, he acts as their umpire.
Then success to all their efforts in the matches they do play,
And when people go to see them, Shropshire Bill he makes them pay.