Fleetwood’s break-even hope

Andy Pilley
Andy Pilley
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Fleetwood Town chairman Andy Pilley has revealed for the first time his hopes that the club can break even this season.

Town have massively trimmed their playing budget with 17 players, including the majority of last season’s top earners, departing at the start of the summer.

The club’s summer recruitment policy has mainly been based around young, unproven talent, backed up with one or two more experienced names.

Town are shackled on the playing side by strict Financial Fair Play rules.

But Pilley, speaking to the Business Insider website, has revealed a greater ambition – to put Town on a long-term sustainable footing.

He explained: “There’s a meeting at our club, normally at the end of the season, when you set out your plans in preparation for the new season.

“In the past, our plans have been to progress and we may have decided to invest in the team and the stadium to try to climb another level.

“Our plans right now are to make the club self-sufficient. We’re confident we can break even this year.”

Town’s chairman is hoping the club’s new £6.5m training ground at Poolfoot Farm in Thornton will assist in developing young talent.

And he’s hoping the club can set up a production line, with young stars making their name at Highbury and moving on to the upper echelons of the game.

Another cash windfall this summer – a six-figure sum coming in thanks to Jamie Vardy’s England debut – will no doubt have strengthened the chairman’s resolve that producing talent is the way to go.

“We have a population of 27,000 people in the town of Fleetwood and it’s the smallest population in the Football League,” said Pilley.

“We are a peninsula, with the sea on three sides. You’re not getting any more supporters from the west, the north and the east. The south is our only option.

“We’ve got to be smarter and more creative. We’re up against cities with populations of millions.

“Our business model is changing and evolving year in, year out. Right now it’s more focused on developing younger players and hopefully selling them to the big boys in the Premier League or the Championship.”

Town’s players are currently on their pre-season tour of Germany.

They take on Borussia Dortmund B this afternoon in the first of two friendlies on the continent.

And assistant boss Chris Lucketti is pleased with how the camp has gone so far, despite driving rain during the majority of sessions.

He said: “This week will be especially tough because we have got the lads all day. We can put them through their paces.

“It means we can really start to work on some principles of what we’ll be using this season.

“I think the lads will prefer the rain to the sun, if I’m honest.

“I never used to like running in the sun, so the rain has been a welcome bonus for the lads and has made the surface better under foot.”