Former Mansfield Town player and manager Paul Holland has walked free from court after admitting fraud and forgery in relation to his time managing a non-league club.
Derby Magistrates’ Court heard Holland, of Kensington Close, Toton, near Nottingham, admitted abusing his position as manager of the Ilkeston FC for financial gain between November 2016 and March 2017.
The former Stags midfielder – who made more than 150 appearances for the club after coming through as a trainee to make his debut in 1991 – was handed two sentences of 24 weeks, to run concurrently, suspended for two years.
He will also have to carry out 200 hours of unpaid work.
He was also ordered to pay £500 compensation, a surcharge of £15 and costs of £85.
Neither Ilkeston Town FC – the club which was born after Ilkeston FC folded earlier this year – nor Holland were willing to comment on the case.
Obviously I was disappointed he did what he did.Andrew Raisin
The charges Holland admitted related to a deal he agreed with his former club Aston United for use of the pitch at Ilkeston’s New Manor Ground.
The former manager forged club secretary Andrew Raisin’s signature on the deal, before siphoning payments off into his own bank account.
Mr Raisin, now club secretary at Alfreton Town FC, said: “Obviously I was disappointed he did what he did.
“We had tried to help him out in the past and I felt he had let me down.
“I think he probably got himself in a position where he did not know which way to turn and probably made the wrong choices.
“I can’t comment about the things happening around the club at the time. I just hope I can put it all behind me now – I wouldn’t want to go through all that again.”
Holland, aged 44-year-old – who was affectionately known as ‘Dutch’ by fans – had been involved with Ilkeston since its rebirth in 2010.
He stepped down as manager in February, the same season Ilkeston FC came under fire for not paying its staff their wages.
The club folded in the summer, before the new club of Ilkeston Town FC was set up.
As well as Mansfield, Holland played for Sheffield United, Chesterfield and Bristol City in a decade-long career.
After finishing his playing career, Holland managed the Stags twice, once as a caretaker and once as full-time boss.
After replacing Billy Dearden as manager in March 2008, he was unable to stop the club’s slide out of the Football League and was sacked.
The departure severed an 18-year-long relationship with the club he joined as a schoolboy at the age of 13.