AFC Fylde's blueprint to growing the club's fanbase

AFC Fylde chief executive Jamie Roberts
AFC Fylde chief executive Jamie Roberts

AFC Fylde chief executive Jamie Roberts says the club must stick to its attacking principles if they are to grow the fanbase.

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The Coasters have averaged home attendances of 1,650 this season in what is their second season in the National League.

It’s a far cry from the days of playing in the West Lancashire League, but Roberts says the club must do even more to attract even more fans.

“It’s not just about winning games and being successful,” he said.

“I won’t mention names of teams, but there are some sides that have been successful but you sit there and think ‘I wouldn’t want to watch that every week’.

“So it’s not just about that, it’s also about the standard of football and style of football.

“Dave Challinor is an outstanding manager, an outstanding coach and he has us playing a brand of football that is exciting to watch.

“The chairman has always said we will win or lose with this brand of football, we won’t change.

“People say you have to kick your way through this league but we’re proving that is not the case.

“The other thing we’re doing, which is a massive thing, is engaging with the young supporters and schools.

“Every week we have a local primary school come and the kids get a free season ticket and a shirt. They’re then invited back again.

“Slowly and slowly we are growing. We are seeing an increase in younger fans of the 13 to 15 age bracket, which has been great to see.

“We know as those fans become 16, 17 and 18, they start to travel away and that will give us that identity.”

Roberts is coming to the end of his first season with the club, having joined from Wigan Athletic.

As first seasons go reaching two Wembley finals isn’t bad, but he says nothing has been achieved just yet.

“It’s been a bit of a whirlwind and a massive learning curve,” Roberts said of his first year.

“I never expected two Wembley finals, but the fact we achieved the play-offs last year certainly gave us a benchmark.

“As to how it’s gone, it’s mainly been ups but there’s been a few downs. But there were so few you don’t really need to think about them, it’s just been the odd bad result.

“We’ve got a fantastic defence and we’ve scored loads of goals. We’ve had some amazing wins and we’ve played some amazing football.

“Any season that ends in two Wembley finals, if you’re in any way disappointed I think you’re setting your standards way too high.”