lkeston FC have announced that the club’s former Academy Director Paul Holland will fill the vacant position as Head Coach of Ilkeston FC.
Paul made over 300 appearances in the Football League for Mansfield Town, Sheffield United, Chesterfield and Bristol City and was capped two times for the England U21s, playing alongside the likes of David Beckham and Robbie Fowler.
He was part of Chesterfield’s historic run to the FA Cup semi-final in the 1996/97 season.
His Playing career was cut short in 2000 at the age of 27, when he suffered a serious knee injury whilst playing for Bristol City.
Once his playing days were over, he moved back to Mansfield Town as Youth Team Coach and then as Assistant Manager, first to Peter Shirtliff and then to Billy Dearden. He would take over as manager from Dearden for the last few months of the 2007/08 season.
Paul has been involved with Ilkeston FC since the birth of the club in 2010, first as a tutor and coach then as Academy Director since 2015 and has over seen the successful runs in the FA Youth Cup, he was also a coach to the first team during the promotion season of 2011/12.
On his appointment, Paul said: “I’ve been at the club for five years now and seen things from behind the scenes. Kevin Wilson came in and set the club up from nothing and did a great job, Gavin Strachan and Andy Watson carried on that tradition.”
“The first team at any club is always the most important team and it’s important to the fans that they have a successful first team as well as a successful academy”
On his vision for how he wants to see the team and the club progress, Paul continued: “The academy is obviously a massive part of the football club, but to move the first team forward, we need to bring in some senior players alongside the elite of our academy. You can’t win everything with kids, the model works in that we try and move players on, but we do need to bring senior players in to help the younger players. If you’ve got the right players and the right experience around them, then I’m sure we can get the first team where it needs to be.”
Has Paul got any players in mind? “Since the end of the season, with Nigel Harrop going into hospital, we decided that it was important that we didn’t stand still as a club and I’ve spoken to numerous people over the last few weeks, people who have played a lot of football in the football league and it’s nice to see that they all know what Ilkeston FC is about.
”He finished by saying: “I’ve been in lower league football all of my career, I’ve not played at the heights of other managers, but I’m hard working and down to earth and I want the fans onside with what we’re doing. Last season was a difficult season and we want to see the fans with smiles on their faces and all of us pulling in the same direction. One thing that I am keen on doing, is a Fan’s Forum, I’d like the fans to have a chance to meet me and get to know me before we get underway with the new season.”
CEO Nigel Harrop: “These are exciting times for Ilkeston as Paul brings a wealth of football knowledge to the first team. He knows the club inside out having been involved with the academy scholars since his arrival at the club. Being able to promote from within shows the quality we have at the club.”
“When the Head Coach position became vacant, Paul came to me with his own strong ideas of how to take the club forward, using a mixture of experienced players and Academy scholars.”