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THESE ARE EXCITING TIMES for Ilford Football Club.
A book portraying the Essex Senior Leaguers rich history has recently been publishing, while the appointment of Adam Peek as the Clubs new Chairman has injected bright new ambition into the Cricklefield Stadium outfit.
Indeed, it has been a case of ‘spinning plates’ for Peek, who also serves as assistant manager to Jon Fowell, a position he receives enormous satisfaction from; “I’ve no ambition to give up the coaching role I’m there for and enjoy,” he told Yellow Sport.
Despite relishing the new challenge, Peek is fully aware of the hard graft that lies ahead; “As for the new position, I’d had several conversations over the past few months. The truth of it is if something didn’t change and another path was taken, Ilford Football Club wouldn’t be here in twelve months,” he explained.
“Financially, it isn’t bringing any money in. Non-league football is very different now. You can’t rely solely on gate money and people using the bar. We had to raise our profile on social media and find different revenue streams.
“We needed to go in a whole new direction. I was doing some work with our youth set-up and realised there was huge potential. I suggested we could make a business of it, long-term. And once I was installed as Chairman I was given a free rein, as long as I stuck to the values of the Club, which is very important to us. The identity and colours must always remain, but if we can find a platform for the future, then we must take the opportunity.”
The new man at the held insisted that Ilford is an untapped resource and a revamped youth set-up could go a long way towards future success at first-team level: “In recent years, we have simply survived. Now we need to raise the bar and do so much more.
“I’m young, fresh and have lots of ideas. The youth system for us is going to be massive for us. We need to ensure longevity rather than looking short-term.
“Despite being the Chairman, my love of football is management and coaching. Understanding business as a sales director will help me with the new position, particularly budgeting.
“We are not going to run before we can walk, but my ambition is to be playing Isthmian League football again within three years. We want to step up the ladder again. We know that will be difficult, but you must have something to strive for.”
As for the new publication, Peek believes the Ilford story badly needed to be shared to the modern generation, offering local football enthusiasts the opportunity to see that they have a club to be proud of right on their doorstep.
“The book has been expertly compiled by Michael Foley and offers detailed and interesting content going back to our roots in 1881.
“The Wembley appearances, international players and above all, the fact that Ilford turned down a place in the Football League in 1908, handing it to Tottenham Hotspur so we could remain amateur. All this history needs to be shared with a wider audience.”
Resurgam – I shall rise again – The history of Ilford Football Club 1881 – 2019 can be purchased for £12:99 (plus postage and packaging) by contacting [email protected]