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Dave Challinor becomes the third National League boss to get the chop in as many days

Dave Challinor

AFC Fylde manager Dave Challinor became the third National League boss to get the chop in the last 72 hours on Saturday when he was sensationally sacked.

Challinor and his number two Colin Woodthorpe were shown the door at lunchtime, 48 hours after Ebbsfleet terminated Garry Hill’s contract on Thursday and Hartlepool United dispensed with the services of Craig Hignett.

The duo’s departure was announced in a Coasters statement within an hour of the club’s scheduled National League clash with Sutton United being postponed following rail disruption.

Dover Athletic’s clash at Barrow and Dagenham & Redbridge’s fixture at Stockport County were also called off following a fatality on the railways that caused chaos for travellers heading out of Euston.

Pictured putting pen-to-paper on a three year contract extension running until 2021 in June 2018, Challinor oversaw three promotions since arriving from Colwyn Bay in November 2011, including masterminding the Coasters rise to the National League as National League North champions in 2016/17.

AFC Fylde chairman David Haythornthwaite and president Dai Davies issued a joint statement explaining their decision and paying tribute to Challinor and Woodthorpe.

They said:  “It goes without saying that this was an extremely difficult decision for both of us. It doesn’t seem that long ago we were at Kellamagh Park interviewing Dave for the job.

“In fact, Dave and Colin’s first game was November 3rd 2011 away to Curzon Ashton in Evo Stik One North, nearly eight years ago.

“That meant that until today Dave was the second longest-serving manager in the top five tiers of English football, with only Jim Bentley at Morecambe being in the job longer.

“That in itself is a testament to Dave’s track record and the very special relationship the three of us enjoyed on our wonderful journey up the football pyramid. We have won together, laughed together, lost together and cried together.

“Today it was the latter, as we took this decision to part company with a man who was not just our manager, but someone who became our friend and whom we respect enormously not only as a manager, but as a human being.

“Now, however, as football dictates, we must go our separate ways.”

The statement added: “Dave and Colin will forever hold a very special place in the hearts of all Fylde supporters and will always be welcome back at the club.

“A club where they helped two lifelong pals fulfil their footballing dreams, cumulating in that very special week at Wembley last May when we graced that hallowed turf on two occasions, a record which will stand for a very, very long time.

“We have no doubt in our mind that sometime in the not too distant future Dave will become a Football League manager and he leaves with our sincere thanks and best wishes.

“Thank you David,  thank you Colin. The club will be making no further statement at this time.”

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