Relieved Challinor cherishes Fylde’s promotion party

Dave Challinor with chairman David Haythornthwaite
Dave Challinor with chairman David Haythornthwaite
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AFC Fylde boss Dave Challinor is relishing the opportunity to celebrate with the home fans when his side get their hands on the National League North trophy on Saturday.

The presentation to the Coasters will be made at Mill Farm after the final match against Worcester City, the title having been sealed at Boston last weekend.

After back-to-back disappointments in the play-offs, Challinor was delighted to make it third time lucky.

The Fylde boss said: “To be honest, it’s a weight off my mind. It’s great and it gives us the opportunity to really enjoy the occasion on Saturday.

“It will be nice to celebrate what we have achieved with our fans at home. We can get our hands on the trophy and enjoy a day that everyone can savour. It’s a fitting end to what has been a fantastic season.

“It means everything to me personally and to the club. It is a project that is fully in motion and it has taken three tough years to get out.

“After coming so close two years running, to win it at the third time of asking is a big relief as much as anything.

“That takes nothing away, though – it’s a massive achievement.

“This league has got tougher year on year. The club is now going to be competing at the highest level it ever has, and it’s another stepping stone and another challenge. However, it’s one that we are relishing.”

While admitting the squad celebrated in style after clinching the championship this weekend, the manager revealed he had a slightly more subdued evening.

Challinor added: “The lads have celebrated and enjoyed themselves and they deserve it. From my perspective, last Saturday was a really emotional day and mentally draining. I enjoyed the trip back but fell asleep almost as soon as I got home!

“To finally get over the line, considering everything that has gone on this season and the work that has been put in, really means a lot. Behind the scenes, everyone has worked really hard for this.

“This week we have reflected on what we have done and now we can enjoy a great day.

“Sometimes you don’t take in huge occasions because of the pressure on the day.

“Going back to the League Cup Final I played in at Wembley, I don’t remember anything about the day because I was so caught up in the emotion of it all.

“Now we have an opportunity to relax and take it all in. We still want to win on Saturday and put on a show as league champions, but we will be able to celebrate and round off a brilliant campaign.”