ILKLEY Town AFC have rebranded in preparation for when they hope to turn semi professional in 2021.

The newly nicknamed Baht ‘atters had intended to be playing step six football next season, as they were on their way to gaining promotion from the West Yorkshire League Premier Division, before the Football Association decided to void their season due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Town have had a rapid growth over the last 10 years, acquiring more than 2000 people to be involved with the club including players, supporters, volunteers and local businesses.

Ilkley also want to develop an elite player program and think rebranding will help promote the club further.

Chairman, Richard Giles points at a football league team as an example of what he is trying to do.

He said: “We need to attract more supporters and sponsors to keep pace with the growing success on the field. The brand is how we communicate what we stand for to a wider audience.

“We are interested to learn from other clubs that have successfully climbed the non-league ladder. Last week, I spoke with the chairman of Forest Green Rovers about their journey.

"Forest Green is based in Nailsworth, a town of 6,000 people and have risen to League 2.

"It was really interesting to hear how they had used their brand to build fan clubs nationally and internationally. Our rebrand will help us reach more people and further afield.”

The club have decided to update its branding to reflect the qualities of Ilkley as a town.

Town will adapt a new badge (right) with the image of the Cow and Calf rocks, while retaining the motto Palma Non-Sine Pulvere – “No Reward without effort” – which has been part of the club’s logo for 40 years.

The club asked its members to vote on their preferred options for a nickname. Their favoured choice was a reference to the famous song that Ilkley is known for all around the world.

Giles added: “We are very aware of the important role we play in the town. Team sports have a huge positive benefit to all those involved and brings people together for a common purpose.

"The football club is at the heart of our community. Ilkley is a very special place and we wanted to update the branding to reflect that and promote the unique qualities of the town.

“It was actually quite difficult to decide on a nickname that reflected the strong heritage of the town and portrayed the club in the right way.

"The committee were undecided, so we thought it best to ask our members.

"156 members voted and chose Baht ‘atters, which brilliantly reflects Ilkley’s unique and special place.

"Together with the Cow and Calf logo this really presents a distinctive image of the club based on the town’s character.”

The club have also joined together with Ilkley Bid to promote local businesses during the period of lockdown to their club members and through social media.