Former Ilkeston owner Mark Clifford joins Basford United as head coach

Former Ilkeston owner Mark Clifford has joined Basford United as Head Coach, writes Marc Williams.
Mark Clifford (left) joins Steve Chettle at Basford United as head coach after recently stepping down as owner and chairman at Ilkeston Town.Mark Clifford (left) joins Steve Chettle at Basford United as head coach after recently stepping down as owner and chairman at Ilkeston Town.
Mark Clifford (left) joins Steve Chettle at Basford United as head coach after recently stepping down as owner and chairman at Ilkeston Town.

Clifford will add to manager Steve Chettle’s backroom staff after recently stepping down as owner and chairman of the Robins.

He began his touchline career at United in 2015 as Under 21s manager before stepping into the role as assistant to Martin Carruthers a year later and currently holds a UEFA A License.

“It feels really good to be back,” he said. “It was nice walking through the gates again and, although it’s been a few years, it felt like I’ve never been away.

“I just wanted to get back on the grass – I’ve missed it,” he added, when asked his decision behind the switch. “I’m a football person and definitely not a boardroom person – my day in, day out needs to be on that pitch with players and help Basford win games.

“Ultimately, we’re about winning football matches and we hope we can get plenty of wins whilst I’m here – we want to win games of football.

“I’m going to take my time getting to know the gaffer [Steve Chettle] and Michael [Assistant, Leslie] and how they work and how they want the lads to work.

“I know a few of the players but it’s been a long time and I need to assess where we’re at and – hopefully – begin stamping my authority on a few areas.

“I bring enthusiasm and experience at these levels; understanding how to win games of football and get the best of the players.

Boss Chettle added: “It’s a fantastic appointment. I’ve known Mark a long time and what he did here at Basford before with Martin [Carruthers], as well as the great work he did at Ilkeston in reviving the football club and getting the community back on board.

“As he mentions, he’s a football person and to have another member of staff to support us and take us where we want to go can only be great.

“I’ve asked Mark to bring a different dimension to the backroom. I’ve said that I don’t want somebody who is going to just sit there and not say anything – I want an individual who, if they see it, say it.

“This needs to be an open relationship between all of us and I don’t want someone who asks, ‘have you done this?’ I want you to go and do it yourself.

“Michael Leslie has done some amazing work behind-the-scenes, but ‘Cliffy’ is a bit more experienced, a bit wiser in some ways, shall we say.

“He’s got to get to know how I work, and we’ve already sat down, but he’ll take his time and make sure he gets everything right before he starts commenting on things and we need to ensure we’re all doing things properly.”

United Chairman Chris Munroe: “I am absolutely delighted to welcome ‘Cliffy’ back to Basford.

“Joanne [Wife] and I have massive admiration for him as a person, head coach and his wonderful family.

“Our club objective remains very focused on promotion – either this season or next – and Mark, along with all our first team and academy coaches, will provide massive support to Steve in getting us to our final goals.”

As a player, Clifford played for the likes of Mansfield, Boston United, and Chester City, among others.