09 20






To some extent, Ilkeston FC was Ilkeston United under a new name. Certainly many of the old players joined this new club, and Ilkeston FC took over United's place in the Derbyshire Senior League. The red shirts remained as well although the colour of theshorts changed from blue to white. Even the nickname, The Robins, remained in place. However, the structure of the club was different and they were debt free. But not for long.
Ilkeston finished third in the Derbyshire Senior League in 1932/33 and this gave the club all the encouragement they needed to enter a newly formed league, the Central Combination. Like the Central Alliance before it, the Combination was created to fill a gap between county football and the Midland League. Ilkeston performed solidly during the first couple of seasons and also won the Derbyshire Divisional Cup in 1933/34 but soon the debts began to mount. 'The Depression' of the 1930s had caused widespread unemployment, and with money scarce attendances crashed. Chairman Roberts resigned in the summer of 1934 as he felt that someone else was needed to give the club fresh impetus, and the club also lost the services of secretary Albert Haynes through ill health at the same time. Chaos ensued, however, when the rest of the committee resigned en masse in protest at punishments handed down to the club by the Central Combination as a result of the team arriving late for a couple of away games. The supporters club came to the rescue on July 9th when, at a special meeting held at the Erewash Hotel they agreed to take over the club. S Marner, the landlord of the Miners Arms became chairman; Eric Grebby, a local boxer, became vice chairman; and Elijah Reeves took over secretary.
Just when one crisis had been averted almost a third of the Central Combination clubs resigned from the league in 1935 and this left the competition with just nine clubs. Perhaps unwisely under the circumstances the club continued with its membership but with just eight poorly attended home league games taking place during the 1935/36 season the financial situation became critical. Elijah Reeve appealed for other parties to come and take over the club in July 1936 and a special meeting was held at the Rutland Hotel the following month but only five people attended. Somehow Ilkeston managed to get through another season before they, along with the Central Combination, faded away in summer 1937. On July 16th the club said its future was still in doubt. That was the last that was heard on the matter.
It was not for another eight years that Ilkeston fans witnessed senior football again, due in part to the outbreak of the Second World War. Once hostilities ceased it was time for a brand new club to put Ilkeston football back on the map.