After a nervous wait, Ilkley Town are delighted that promotion to semi-professional football has been confirmed by the FA. The team will play the 2021/22 season in the North West Counties First Division alongside teams from West Yorkshire, Lancashire and Manchester.
It is the first time that a football team from Ilkley has reached Step 6 of the football pyramid. Promotion was in the balance as the current season had to be curtailed. However the FA decided to proceed with promotions and assessed the club on the quality of facilities as well as playing record over the last few seasons.
Club Chairman Richard Giles commented
"This is an exciting new chapter for football in Ilkley. The club have made good progress in the last few years thanks to the hard work of many volunteers. The 4G pitch, built in 2017, was a gamechanger and has been the springboard for development of all aspects of the club.
This is a tremendous achievement for the men's first team. We pride ourselves on being a community club and are really pleased we can represent our town on a bigger stage. The whole club is thriving. We have a strong and sustainable infrastructure which includes junior players, girls and women plus an increasing supporter base. The increased profile of the first team will benefit the whole club"
Manager Simon Armstrong and his coaching team have improved the squad each year for the last 5 years. They were top of the West Yorkshire Premier Division when the season was curtailed. They will now get the opportunity to compete against well established semi-professional clubs that include local rivals Steeton as well as longer trips to Bury AFC and Isle of Man.
Simon Armstrong, first team manager commented
"I am delighted we now have the opportunity to test ourselves at the next level. The players and coaching staff have worked hard to get to this point and we are ready for a new challenge. The players who have represented the club for the last two years have been outstanding and we feel are well equipped to go further. We also now have the opportunity to play in the FA Vase which should bring a lot of interest to the town."
The new season kicks off with the first game on 31 July 2021.