AFC Fylde
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AFC Fylde

AFC Fylde
AFC Fylde (2014).svg
Full nameAFC Fylde[1]
Nickname(s)The Coasters
Founded1988; 33 years ago (1988) (as Kirkham & Wesham)
GroundMill Farm
Capacity6,000
ChairmanDavid Haythornthwaite
ManagerJim Bentley
LeagueNational League North
2020-21National League North (season curtailed)
WebsiteClub website

AFC Fylde is a professional association football club based in Wesham in the Borough of Fylde, Lancashire, England. Originally known as Kirkham & Wesham following a merger of Kirkham Town and Wesham in 1988, the club adopted its current name in 2008 after winning the FA Vase. They are currently members of the National League North, and play at Mill Farm in Wesham. They are the first and so far only club to win both the FA Vase and the FA Trophy.

History

The club was formed by the amalgamation of Kirkham Town and Wesham in 1988,[2][3] adopting the name of a previous club that had played in the West Lancashire League in the years immediately before World War I. The new club assumed Kirkham Town's place in Division One of the West Lancashire League. In 1989-90 they finished bottom of the division and were relegated to Division Two. After three seasons in Division Two they were promoted in the 1992-93 season after finishing third, only to be relegated again in 1994-95. The following season they finished as runners-up in Division Two, losing only two league games all season, and were promoted back to Division One.[4]

The West Lancashire League was re-structured in 1998 with Division One renamed the Premier Division. After finishing fourth in successive seasons in 1997-98 and 1998-99, the club then dominated the Premier Division for a number of years, finishing as champions in seven out of the eight seasons between 1999 and 2000 and 2006-07, the only blip being 2002-03 when they were runners-up.[4] In the 21 months between January 2003 and October 2004, the club did not lose a match in any competition; the run finally ended when they lost a league match, 1-0 to Dalton United.[5] In April 2006 the club completed a hat-trick of consecutive victories in the Lancashire Amateur Shield cup final when they beat fellow West Lancashire League side Charnock Richard 2-0 at the County Ground in Leyland, the club's fourth Shield victory in six years.[6] As the nominated representatives of the Lancashire FA, the club also won the Northern Counties Cup in 2004-05, 2005-06, and 2006-07.[]

North West Counties League

Following their West Lancashire League championship success in 2006-07, the club were accepted into Division Two of the North West Counties League for the 2007-08 season. At the club's annual general meeting (AGM) in July 2007, a 15-year plan was put forward with the stated aim of reaching the Conference National by 2017, and the Football League by 2022.[7] The club's first match in the North West Counties League was a home match on 11 August 2007, against Darwen in front of 101 fans, which they won 5-0.[8] The following Tuesday they played their first ever home match under floodlights winning 2-0 at home to Holker Old Boys[9] On 8 September the club played their first ever match in the FA Vase, beating Northern Counties East League Division One club Worsbrough Bridge Athletic 3-0. The club had also arranged for the FA Vase trophy to be on display before the game.[10] On 26 January 2008 the club reached the last sixteen of the FA Vase when they beat Studley 3-0.[11] On 9 February they reached the quarter-final after they beat Sussex County League leaders, Crowborough Athletic 2-0 in front of a record crowd of 772 at Crowborough's Alderbrook Recreation Ground.[12] They subsequently defeated Midland Football Alliance club Coventry Sphinx 1-0 in a replay after a 3-3 draw.[13] In the two-legged semi-final against Eastern Counties League Premier Division club, Needham Market, Kirkham & Wesham won 4-2 on aggregate.[14] On 11 May, Kirkham & Wesham won the FA Vase in their first season in the competition, beating Lowestoft Town 2-1 in the final at Wembley Stadium in front of a crowd of 19,537, with about 14,000 from Lowestoft and about 3,500 Kirkham & Wesham supporters. A goal down for most of the game, Kirkham & Wesham scored twice in the last six minutes, both goals coming from seventeen-year-old substitute Matt Walwyn, son of former Blackpool player Keith Walwyn, who only played the last 11 minutes of the game. Kirkham & Wesham secured prize money of £20,000 for their win,[15][16] although the total amount the club earned was expected to be around £75,000.[17] The season also saw the club win the Division Two knockout trophy with a 1-0 win over Bootle, as well as securing promotion to the Premier Division when they beat Castleton Gabriels 3-1 on 26 April.[18]

For the start of the 2008-09 season, the club changed their name to AFC Fylde.[2][9] They won the Premier Division at the first attempt, finishing above New Mills on goal difference and earning promotion to Division One North of the Northern Premier League.[19]

Northern Premier League

Long-serving manager Mick Fuller was moved upstairs in September 2010 and Kelham O'Hanlon was brought in as first team coach. The club finished in mid-table with a high turnover of playing staff. The following season the club finished fifth, qualifying for the promotion play-offs. After beating Skelmersdale United 1-0 in the semi-final, they lost 2-1 to Chorley in the final.[19]

In the 2011-12 season they were installed as early promotion favourites, but O'Hanlon was replaced as manager in November 2011 after a poor run of results and was quickly replaced by a new management team of Dave Challinor and Colin Woodthorpe. Challinor left Conference North side Colwyn Bay to drop two divisions to join the Coasters, pointing to the club's ambition and plans for the future as the factor that made them move to the Fylde Coast. The club were 16 points off the top of the table when the new management duo arrived at the club but claimed the title with a 1-0 win over Salford City,[20] earning promotion to the Premier Division.

In 2012-13 the club finished fifth, qualifying for the play-offs. However, following a 3-3 draw, they lost out 3-1 on penalties to Hednesford Town in the semi-final.[21] The 2013-14 season saw the club win the Lancashire FA Challenge Trophy (beating Chorley 4-1 at the Reebok Stadium), the Northern Premier League Challenge Cup (with a 1-0 win against Skelmersdale United at Edgeley Park) and gain promotion to the Conference North via the play-offs. After beating Worksop Town 3-1 at home in the play-off semi-final, they defeated Ashton United 4-3 on penalties after a 1-1 draw.[19]

National League

AFC Fylde finished their first season in the Conference North in second place with 85 points, losing to Guiseley 3-1 on aggregate in the subsequent play-off semi-final.[19] Three Fylde players, Ben Hinchcliffe, Josh Langley and Brad Barnes, were selected in the Conference North Team of the Season at end of season AGM awards. Fylde finished the 2015-16 season in third place in the renamed National League North. After beating Harrogate Town 2-1 on aggregate in the two-legged semi-final, they lost 2-1 to North Ferriby United after extra time. In 2016-17 they won the National League North, earning promotion to the National League. In their first season in the National League the club reached the second round of the FA Cup for the first time after beating Kidderminster Harriers 4-2 in the first round.[22] In the second round Fylde drew 1-1 at home to Wigan Athletic before losing the replay 3-2.[23] They went on to finish seventh in the league, qualifying for the expanded play-offs, but lost 2-1 by Boreham Wood in the quarter-final.[19]

In 2018-19 Fylde finished fifth in the National League. They defeated Harrogate Town in the play-off quarter-final and Solihull Moors in semi-final to qualify for the final at Wembley against Salford City. Although the final saw them lose 3-0, the club returned to Wembley a week later in the FA Trophy final and won the competition with a 1-0 victory over Leyton Orient. The following season saw the club reach the third round of the FA Cup for the first time; after beating Nantwich Town 1-0 in the first round and Kingstonian 2-0 in the second, they lost 2-1 at Sheffield United in the third round.[19] In 2019-20 Fylde finished second-from-bottom of the division, resulting in their relegation back to the National League North.

Stadium

The club played home games at Kellamergh Park in the village of Warton between 2006 and 2016, having previously played at the council-owned Coronation Road in Kirkham. In 2005 the club purchased land in Kellamergh and began to develop the facilities at a cost of £150,000 in order to meet the requirement for playing in the North West Counties League.[7]

The new ground was officially opened on 5 August 2006, with a £30,000 200-seat main stand with four rows of seating and a designated Press Box area.[7][24] Further improvements were made to the stadium in March 2009 to achieve Ground Grading Grade E (Step 4) including additional covered seating and a new Directors Box. Kellamergh Park eventually had 533 covered seats and could hold just over 3,000 spectators, having been upgraded during the latter part of the 2014-15 season to meet the Football Conference requirement of 500 covered seats, which were installed in late March 2015 and situated at the south end of the ground behind the goal.[]

On 19 January 2008, the club announced plans for a further move to yet another new stadium at an unnamed 26-acre (11 ha) site.[25] In February 2010, a charitable trust called the Haythornthwaite Sports Foundation unveiled plans for a new Community Sports Complex in Wrea Green, comprising outdoor sports facilities catering for local junior football, cricket and other sports plus a new 2,500 capacity stadium for AFC Fylde. Consultations took place in 2011 but a planning application was rejected by Fylde Borough Council in spring 2012.[]

On 3 September 2013, it was announced that plans had been drawn up for a new £18m development, Mill Farm Sports Village, on the outskirts of Wesham, close to junction 3 of the M55. This included a distribution centre, an Aldi supermarket, a hotel, a restaurant, a petrol station, community sports pitches, sports science facilities, and a 6,000-capacity Football League standard football stadium.[26] The stadium plans include a 2,000 capacity all-seater main stand with a supporters' bar, executive boxes and a function room. The planning application for the stadium and associated facilities was accepted by Fylde Borough Council on 4 June 2014,[27] and the ground opened on 13 August 2016 for the club's first National League North match of the season against Brackley Town.[]

Players

Current squad

As of 16 February 2021[28][29]

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Pos. Nation Player
1 GK England ENG Chris Neal
2 DF England ENG Luke Burke
3 DF Northern Ireland NIR Luke Conlan
4 MF England ENG Liam Nolan
5 DF Montserrat MSR Nathan Pond
6 DF England ENG Alex Whitmore
7 MF England ENG Ben Tollitt
8 MF England ENG Danny Philliskirk
9 FW England ENG Jordan Hulme
10 MF England ENG Nick Haughton
11 FW England ENG Junior Mondal
12 DF England ENG Jack Sanders
No. Pos. Nation Player
15 FW England ENG Jack Sampson
16 MF England ENG Jordan Lussey
17 MF England ENG David Perkins
18 FW England ENG Kurt Willoughby
19 DF Australia AUS Reagan Ogle (on loan from Accrington Stanley)
20 DF England ENG James Stanley
21 GK England ENG Max Johnstone
22 MF England ENG Sheldon Green
23 MF England ENG Sam Osborne
24 DF England ENG Jack Byrne
25 DF Nigeria NGA Emeka Obi

Coaching staff

Source:[]
Jim Bentley Manager
Nick Chadwick Assistant Manager
Joe Potts Goalkeeping Coach
Gareth Thomas Physiotherapist
Wilson Mascot

Honours

  • FA Trophy
    • Winners 2018-19
  • National League
    • National League North champions 2016-17
  • Northern Premier League
    • Division One North champions 2011-12
    • Challenge Cup winners 2013-14
    • President's Cup winners 2013-14
  • North West Counties League
    • Premier Division champions 2008-09
  • FA Vase
    • Winners 2007-08
  • West Lancashire League
    • Premier Division champions 1999-2000, 2000-01, 2001-02, 2003-04, 2004-05, 2005-06, 2006-07
  • Lancashire FA Challenge Trophy
    • Winners 2010-11, 2012-13, 2013-14
  • Northern Inter Counties Cup
    • Winners, 2004-05, 2005-06, 2006-07[30]
  • Lancashire Amateur Shield
    • Winners 2000-01,[31] 2003-04, 2004-05, 2005-06[6]
  • Richardson Cup
    • Winners 1998-99, 1999-2000, 2000-01, 2004-05, 2005-06[2][32]
  • Presidents Cup

Records

Controversies and criticisms

The rise of the club has been criticised by football traditionalists and fans of more established teams as the club's rise in fortunes has been strongly linked to bank-rolling the club to success by its chairman.[35] The record low attendance of the 2019 National League play-off Final where AFC Fylde sold only a few hundred tickets at Wembley was used to highlight this point.[36]

In 2019, the club's ground had a pro-Brexit billboard encouraging the then prime minister Theresa May for a no-deal solution.[37] The chairman David Haythornthwaite, publicly supports UKIP and fracking,[38] is a prominent Brexiteer and endorses right-wing populist politician Nigel Farage.[39] That same year the club hosted a Brexit Party rally led by Nigel Farage, with allegations of some participants encouraging violence against then Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.[40]

That same year the club's former accountant was jailed for 32 months for misappropriating £240000 of the club's funds to spend on cocaine, cam-girls and gambling.[41]

In 2020 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic the club was relegated from the National League after it suspended the season which was met with a legal threat from the club.[42]

See also

References

  1. ^ "Club Info and History". AFC Fylde. Retrieved 2020.
  2. ^ a b c "Club History". Kirkham & Wesham F.C. 2007. Archived from the original on 12 December 2007. Retrieved 2008.
  3. ^ "FA Cup first round: Guide to the 31 non-league teams taking part". BBC Sport. Retrieved 2019.
  4. ^ a b c Kirkham & Wesham at the Football Club History Database
  5. ^ "Champs lose for first time since January 2003". Blackpool Gazette. 14 October 2004. Archived from the original on 28 September 2007. Retrieved 2007.
  6. ^ a b "Kirkham's goal is a trophy clean sweep". Blackpool Gazette. 13 April 2006. Archived from the original on 28 September 2007. Retrieved 2007.
  7. ^ a b c "Vodkat League news, July: Kirkham & Wesham future". North West Counties Football League. 19 July 2007. Archived from the original on 20 July 2007. Retrieved 2007.
  8. ^ Templeman, Ian (13 August 2007). "Non league match of the week: Kirkham vs Darwen". BBC Sport. Retrieved 2007.
  9. ^ a b "A great start for Kirkham & Wesham". North West Counties Football League. 18 August 2007. Archived from the original on 16 August 2007. Retrieved 2007.
  10. ^ Templeman, Ian (10 September 2007). "Non league match of the week: Kirkham vs Worsbrough". BBC Sport. Retrieved 2007.
  11. ^ "Match Reports Kirkham & Wesham vs Studley". Kirkham & Wesham F.C. 26 January 2007. Archived from the original on 1 February 2008. Retrieved 2008.
  12. ^ "Kirkham and Wesham in Extra Time Thriller". Blackpool Gazette. 14 October 2004. Archived from the original on 3 March 2008. Retrieved 2008.
  13. ^ "Kirkham progress to semi-finals of the FA Vase". Blackpool Gazette. 9 March 2008. Archived from the original on 11 March 2008. Retrieved 2008.
  14. ^ Kirkham seal Final spot The Football Association, 29 March 2008
  15. ^ "Matt's magic for Kirkham". The Football Association. 11 May 2008. Retrieved 2008.
  16. ^ "Wonder kid wins it for Kirkham". Blackpool Gazette. 12 May 2008. Retrieved 2008.
  17. ^ "Kirkham in cash bonanza". Blackpool Gazette. 12 May 2008. Archived from the original on 13 May 2008. Retrieved 2008.
  18. ^ Kirkham celebrate promotion win BBC Sport, 28 April 2008
  19. ^ a b c d e f g h A F C Fylde at the Football Club History Database
  20. ^ AFC Fylde - Champions Northern Premier League
  21. ^ Hednesford 3 AFC Fylde 3 (Hednesford win penalties) Blackpool Gazette, 8 May 2016
  22. ^ AFC Fylde 2-1 Kidderminster Harriers BBC Sport, 4 November 2017
  23. ^ Wigan Athletic 3-2 AFC Fylde BBC Sport, 12 December 2017
  24. ^ "Non League grounds AFC Fylde - main stand". Non-League Grounds. 2 August 2008. Retrieved 2008.[permanent dead link]
  25. ^ Jones, Howard (20 January 2008). "Kirkham on the Move". The Non-League Paper. Archived from the original on 17 July 2011. Retrieved 2008.
  26. ^ Fylde Council Application 13/0655
  27. ^ Mill Farm planning permission approved AFC Fylde, 5 June 2014
  28. ^ "First Team Squad". AFC Fylde. Retrieved 2018.
  29. ^ "AFC Fylde". Soccerway. Perform Group. Retrieved 2020.
  30. ^ a b "Honours". AFC Fylde. 2013. Retrieved 2014.
  31. ^ "Champs' treble chance". Blackpool Gazette. 15 April 2001. Archived from the original on 28 September 2007. Retrieved 2007.
  32. ^ "Triple of applause". Blackpool Gazette. 5 May 2005. Archived from the original on 28 September 2007. Retrieved 2007.
  33. ^ AFC Fylde vs Chorley AFC Fylde
  34. ^ This week in Coasters' history AFC Fylde
  35. ^ https://thesetpieces.com/latest-posts/rise-rise-afc-fylde/[bare URL]
  36. ^ https://twohundredpercent.net/national-league-money-love/[bare URL]
  37. ^ https://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/1086740/brexit-latest-fylde-lancashire-david-haythornwaite-tangerine-support-theresa-may-no-deal[bare URL]
  38. ^ https://www.independent.co.uk/sport/football/football-league/afc-fylde-wigan-fa-cup-second-round-non-league-looking-break-through-class-ceiling-a8084301.html?amp?espv=1[bare URL]
  39. ^ https://www.lythamstannesexpress.co.uk/news/eu-ref-fylde-leave-campaigner-its-smashing-win-and-great-day-uk-873556[bare URL]
  40. ^ https://www.indy100.com/news/brexit-party-rally-corbyn-video-lynched-nigel-farage-blackpool-8930841[bare URL]
  41. ^ https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/amp/uk-england-lancashire-48220443[bare URL]
  42. ^ https://www.thenonleaguefootballpaper.com/latest-news/national-league-step-one/31107/afc-fylde-throw-in-the-towel-over-relegation-and-abandon-legal-action/[bare URL]

External links


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