AFC Fylde set out plans at fans' forum including new North Stand

AFC Fylde owner David Haythornthwaite and manager Dave Challinor set out their plans at a fans' forum this week.
AFC Fylde owner David Haythornthwaite and manager Dave Challinor set out their plans at a fans' forum this week.
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The expansion of AFC Fylde’s Mill Farm stadium was among the topics discussed at a fans’ forum this week.

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Chairman David Haythornthwaite revealed the club is looking to begin work on a new North Stand in September.

It is currently standing only in that area behind the goal, but plans are in place to erect a new permanent stand.

“We had a meeting about this just recently,” Haythornthwaite told supporters in attendance at Wednesday night’s event.

“We’re looking at starting this around September time, if all goes well, and this will have an increased capacity of around 1,850.

“It would become the fans’ home for the more vocal support.”

Chief executive Jamie Roberts and manager Dave Challinor were also on the panel alongside the club’s owner.

Challinor took questions about his future as well as the Coasters’ ambition for the coming season.

“It’s obviously very flattering to be linked to other jobs,” he said.

“I’m a loyal person and I’d love to work with everyone in getting the club into the Football League.

“I want to be a Football League manager and my players to be Football League players, but nothing would give me more satisfaction than to do this with Fylde and repay the faith that David and Dai (Davis, club president) have had in me all these years.”

Haythornthwaite added: “I’m sure Chally has had offers from Football League clubs and it’s just like players’ situations.

“If other clubs aren’t interested in our players, then the manager isn’t doing his job.

“Everyone wants to progress in their career and if I can help Chally to become a manager of a top club, then I’ll be extremely proud and pleased for him.

“But I’d love him to say with us as long as we can and get into the Football League together.”

Fylde have already made a string of new signings ahead of the 2019-20 campaign as they look to go one better after falling at the final hurdle last term.

Supporters of their National League rivals have been impressed by the calibre of Fylde’s acquisitions and have suggested the Coasters are turning their attention to the league title.

Challinor said: “We’re always looking to make the squad as strong as possible and we’ve added a lot of proven quality in the positions we’ve recruited so far.

“That should hopefully ease the burden on Danny Rowe up front.

“Ultimately this group of players will be together for a few years.

“This group of players have a chance to become Football League players this time next year.

“And that has to be the ultimate motivation for them after the disappointment of the play-off final.”

On the topic of Rowe, Challinor insists the club’s talismanic striker is happy with life at Mill Farm.

The striker was the top scorer in the National League last season but has spoken of his desire to play in the Football League on a number of occasions.

Challinor admitted: “The team is built around accommodating him as best we can.

“We turned down a significant offer from him last year from a Football League club but he’s very settled.

“He undoubtedly has a desire to play in the Football League but we hope that the players we have brought in will allow him to realise that with us.

“He’s played an awful lot of games over the years he’s been here.”

A second fans’ forum, planned for the following evening and aimed at supporters aged under-21, was postponed until further notice because the number of advanced registrations was below the required figure.