Coasters’ grounds for optimism

AFC Fyldes attendances have jumped markedly since moving to Mill Farm

AFC Fyldes attendances have jumped markedly since moving to Mill Farm

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AFC Fylde chairman David Haythornthwaite has revealed his delight at the ‘fantastic’ response from supporters since the opening of the new Mill Farm stadium.

The Coasters have averaged over three times as many supporters over the first two games at the new stadium compared with attendances at Kellamergh Park last season.

Mr Haythornthwaite said: “The response to our new ground has been amazing.

“To get 1,832 fans through the gates on a Tuesday night in August is a testament to what we are trying to build here.

“The first Tuesday night game last season at Kellamagh Park was against Hednesford Town and the attendance was 355. The gross revenue for the game against Salford was almost 10 times higher than the game at Kellamergh just 12 months ago.”

Haythornthwaite admits the sudden rise in interest has caused a few logistical issues.

The club has added two further ticket collection/purchase points at the stadium and introduced ticket scanning at the turnstile from a mobile phone, all in a bid to reducing queuing.

Mr Haythornthwaite said: “The fantastic response has caused us problems, but they are, as we say, ‘good problems’, the kind you like to have.

“The main ones revolve around ticketing and parking and we are working hard behind the scenes to resolve these issues.

“I would urge fans wherever possible to buy their tickets online in advance.

“On the pitch it’s been a great start too.

“Halifax and ourselves were the bookies favourites to go up. We haven’t always fared well against Billy Heath, losing to his North Ferriby side in the final last May before he moved on to Halifax in the summer.

“We know where the threats will come from and I’m sure Dave Challinor will have the lads as well prepared as ever. We have our own threats though and a testament to that was the fact there were over 30 scouts at Tuesday’s game, including three from Premier League clubs.”