The last 10 years have seen Fleetwood Town transformed from non-league dreamers into an established Football League club – and now chairman Andy Pilley’s desire for the next 10 years is to be a sustainable Championship club with bigger crowds.
In the 2007-08 season Town clinched promotion from the Northern Premier League to the Conference North.
Fast forward 10 years and Fleetwood are riding high in the third tier of English football, with a £9.5m training complex, a vastly improved stadium and players linked with moves up the divisions.
And at last night’s packed fans’ forum at Highbury, Pilley was asked where he saw himself and the club being a further decade on.
The Town chief said: “Ten years is an awful long time. We always sit down at the end of the season and we have an open and honest conversation to discuss the targets for the coming season.
“That is common practice and I think it is best practice at any football club.
“So much has changed in 10 years here at Fleetwood. Things have changed beyond recognition, from the stadium to the training ground. The transformation has been incredible .
“In the next 10 years, I would love to be comfortable in the Championship with an increased fan base and local players coming through to the first team.
“I would like to be a club that can sustain, can stand on its own two feet and is not reliant on one man – ie me – writing a big cheque every year!
“I just think it is in the best interests of the club that it can stand on its own two feet.
“The model we have now is that we have signed players who are on long-term contracts, who are on that upward curve.
“What will happen naturally if we carry on doing well is that these players will have admirers and it becomes very difficult to stand in a player’s way.
“We had this a few years ago with a certain one who is now in the Premier League (Jamie Vardy), who had offers 10 times his wage.
“So if someone comes in and offers one of our players 10 times his wage, or even four or five times his wage, I feel obliged as the custodian of the club.
“One of the reasons we buy these players is that it is sold to them that we want to be that football club, that stepping stone that can help them to the very top, to the Premier League or the Championship.
“We want to see them on Match of the Day. We want to see them in an England strip performing at the very top level.
“That would be my target – to be comfortable in the Championship, to have bigger crowds, to have traded well and to have a sustainable football club.”
Town’s League One fixture away to Blackburn Rovers, scheduled for Sunday week, has been postponed.
Rovers have gained EFL permission to postpone the game because three of their players have been selected for international duty that weekend: Corry Evans (Northern Ireland), Jayson Lautwiler (Canada) and Charlie Mulgrew (Scotland).
The match was due to kick-off at 12.15pm on September 3 and be shown live on Sky Sports. A new date is yet to be confirmed.
Any match tickets or coach travel purchased by Fleetwood fans through the club will still be valid for the new date.