Pic: AFC Fylde
THIS summer is the biggest in AFC Fylde’s history according to chairman David Haythornthwaite.
The Coasters narrowly missed out on promotion to Non-League’s top tier last season, losing in the National League North promotion final to North Ferriby United.
Fylde have now switched to full-time training, a move which boss Dave Challinor believes gives them a “real advantage”.
Challinor has already brought in Harrogate winger Brendon Daniels, centre-back Steve Williams from Barrow and ex-Crawley Town midfielder Andy Bond as the Coasters gear up for another promotion charge.
The club move into their new 6,000 seater Mill Farm stadium soon, hosting ex-Blackpool striker Brett Ormerod’s testimonial as a curtain raiser on July 31.
It’s set to be a busy time at the club before the Coasters return to action in the ultra competitive National League North in August.
“There is no doubt this is the biggest few months in the history of this club,” Haythornthwaite told Fylde’s website.
“We built Kellamergh Park a few years ago and it’s been a fantastic little ground but it wasn’t fit for purpose. The new stadium certainly is. We have done everything the right way here so if we fail it won’t be through a lack of effort.
“Dave and I have got on well right from day one. That relationship between chairman and manager is the most important one in a football club. When that relationship doesn’t work it usually ends up in tears. We agree on most things and we both want to play in a certain way to entertain the supporters.
“The new pitch here is as big as you can possibly get and that’s how we want to play, wide expansive attacking football.”
While promotion is clearly the aim for the ambitious Coasters, Haythornthwaite knows it won’t be easy with the National League North looking as tough as ever.
He said: “I honestly think the league above will be an easier league than ours next season. We have to face the likes of Halifax, Darlington, Stockport, the Manchester United lads with all their money at Salford, plus all the other clubs that are throwing a lot of money around this summer.
“There are plenty of other owners like myself that have exactly the same ambition of getting out of this division, but it just seems to get harder every year.”