Fylde Women bosses are disappointed by the early end to their league season
Fylde Women co-managers Kim Turner and Danielle Young were both “gutted” by the FA decision to end their league season.
The club had briefly gone out of existence last summer but rose again to enjoy a remarkable first half to their season, which left them second in the FA Women’s National League Northern Premier.
Their season is not over, however, as Fylde are due to play their first match for nearly four months, away to Burnley in the second round of the Women’s FA Cup on Easter Sunday, April 4.
Unable to train all year, the squad will only be allowed to get together six days before the tie as lockdown restrictions ease.
Last week, Turner told The Gazette about the carefully-planned training programme put together for all the players to follow on their own in the meantime.
This could all be for just one game, though Fylde hope for victory over the Clarets at Padiham, which would mean a home tie against Sunderland or Sheffield and a possible clash with Manchester United beyond that.
Firstly, the joint-managers must come to terms with the end of their league season and both were emotional on speaking to The Gazette last week.
Turner said: “We are really gutted, particularly for the girls, because we know how much work everyone has put in.
“We had to bring the team together with some people who had fallen out of love with the game, and for them not to play any more, we’re just gutted.
“The welfare of the players should be at the forefront of the FA’s thinking and I don’t really think it has been.”
The league season stopped before Christmas and the decision not to restart it was finally announced last Monday.
The FA ruled that completing the campaign for tiers three (Fylde’s level) to six of the women’s game would not be viable, even though other competitions have the green light to play until the end of June.
Young is as disappointed as her co-manager and said: “There has been a lot of outstanding work done behind the scenes by volunteers, who have worked so hard to keep the league going.
“The FA’s position is that after we had lost the first three weeks of April to the FA Cup, there would not be enough time to fulfil the league fixtures.
“When you get down to tiers five and six, a lot of teams play on council pitches which would no longer be available by the time you get to June.”
Turner added: “It is hard to comprehend how we can continue playing a cup competition but not the league.
“There’s a lot we are having to deal with emotionally, but we’ve spoken about shorter and longer-term goals and we have to turn our focus to the cup game.
“Who’s to say where this cup run will end and all we can do is push on and try to finish the season on a high.”
The season has been one huge high, though, for a club reborn at Kellamergh Park in Warton this season after AFC Fylde reconsidered its decision to pull the plug and save money amid the pandemic.
Just like AFC Fylde, Fylde Women are looking ahead positively after the blow of seeing their promotion quest cruelly halted.
Young said: “Whatever happens the players can be so proud of what they have achieved.
“In 2020 we were at rock bottom, and to have got where we are, everybody can hold their head up high.”
Turner added: “We’ve done something really special this year, without resources or income, and with no supporters. Our hope is to keep this squad together and go again next season.”
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