AFC Fylde will not be rushed into finding the right manager to replace Dave Challinor, the club’s owner David Haythornthwaite has pledged, even if that means appointing a temporary team boss for Saturday’s FA Cup tie against Peterborough Sports.
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Chairman Haythornthwaite revealed the decision to sack Challinor and his assistant Colin Woodthorpe was taken on Tuesday last week, after the 3-1 home defeat by Chesterfield.
The announcement was delayed by Haythornthwaite’s visit to Japan, but he insists that Challinor’s eight-year reign would have ended on Saturday even if Fylde had beaten Sutton United at Mill Farm (as it turned out, the London club’s transport problems prevented that game from going ahead).
The timing of Challinor’s sacking, just hours after Saturday’s postponement, took many by surprise but Haythornthwaite explained the sequence of events to BBC Radio Lancashire.
He said: “We felt the Chesterfield game on the Tuesday was a game we had to win. It was against a team below us, who were on a bad run.
“W were at home and had lost three on the bounce, and we felt that was a critical game. We lost and that was when the decision was made.
“The problem was that I was in Tokyo to watch England in the Rugby World Cup and was not due back until the following Tuesday.
“But because England v France was cancelled I decided to come home early. Out of respect for David I was never going to fire somebody over the phone or by email. I wanted to see David face to face, tell him we were going to make this change and hear him out.
“The (Sutton) game being cancelled was very fortunate. If we had won 4-0, it was going to be difficult to tell him at the end of the game that we had decided to terminate his contract, which we would have done even if we’d won.
“The cancellation allowed us time to have that conversation with David. It was all about doing the right thing. Had I not been out of the country, we’d have done it last Wednesday morning.”
As for the process of appointing a successor, Haythornthwaite made no comment on his approach for Barrow manager Ian Evatt, which was publicly rejected by the Cumbrian club on Monday.
The Coasters supremo added: “We started this process a few weeks, maybe a month ago, when you wonder if we are going to turn it around.
“Your mind turns to thoughts you have not had in the past, such as what manager would we go after. You know managers in this league and managers who are maybe out of work ... and you start to think who might do a job for us.
“A lot of this is about how we want to play and about how football should be played in my opinion. We also want to win and getting that combination is not easy.
“You obviously have two or three targets. Sometimes they aren’t available, sometimes you are not able to put together a deal and some targets are out of reach.
“We aren’t in a rush to do it. We want to get the right person. It’s the most important position in any football club, so we are very open.
“The phone has been ringing off the hook, with all kinds of people at all levels and with all skill sets, so we will sort through that slowly.”
The Gazette understands that fitness coach Jake Simpson was overseeing training earlier in the week as the sudden exit of Challinor and Woodthorpe left no obvious candidate to take charge in the short-term.
Haythornthwaite said: “We’ve got a couple of ideas on who may run the team this weekend.
“We don’t have a youth manager to step up but we are looking at a couple of people who could come in on a temporary basis and we hope that’s under control.”
On a permanent appointment, he added: “We’re in talks with a couple of potential candidates and are waiting for permission to talk to a couple – but we have to do things properly.”