AFC Fylde's ambition
Yesterday's Non-League Paper carried an advert for a chief executive at AFC Fylde. On offer is a £50,000 base salary plus car and benefits. That's a lot of money for a second tier non-league club, but, as the advert states, 'AFC Fylde are a highly ambitious club.'
The advert continues, 'The club plan to be in the Football League by 2022 if not before. [They are currently second in the Vanarama Conference North]. 'A new sports complex, Mill Farm Sports Village, which includes a brand new purpose built 6000 capacity stadium, all weather pitches and conference facilities started construction this month and is scheduled to be opened in February 2018.' The whole complex will cost £18m.
In a recent article on the club, Four Four Two noted that their current home is 'little more than a Lancastrian farmer's field with a few huts round the side. Sheep huddle on the hillside as sleet whips in from the nearby Irish Sea.'
The club were formerly known as Kirkham & Wesham. The clubs from these two tiny towns merged in 1988. Under that name they captured the FA Vase in 2007-8.
Blackpool supporter David Haythornthwaite had made two attempts to buy the Tangerines. Frustrated, he decided to take his money elsewhere (another frustrated supporter, Andy Pilley, bought Fleetwood Town, now in League One). The new owner changed the name to overcome local parochial attachments.
The problem for AFC Fylde is that there are not many chimney pots in the vicinity and a number of alternative clubs to support. Admittedly, Blackpool are in desperate straits, but their core fan base remains loyal.
Is it Rushden & Diamonds all over again? They were in an area of small towns and country villages. They got to League One, but when the money dried up, the club folded. Their Nene Park stadium in Irthlingborough is to be demolished and replaced by a retail park.
Rushden supporters were accused of being plastics and glory hunters, but they have put their efforts into a phoenix club, AFC Rushden and Diamonds.