Owner David Haythornthwaite reveals big plans for AFC Fylde after buying rest of Mill Farm site
David Haythornthaite has massive plans to further develop the AFC Fylde complex after purchasing the rest of the Mill Farm site.
The Coasters owner’s plans include the development of their youth academy, gym, extra parking spaces and the North Stand.
In the latest in his series of video interviews broadcast on the club’s website, chairman Haythornthwaite revealed he has completed the purchase of the remaining 11 acres of the original farm site, adding to the 30 he had previously bought.
He said: “It’s always been my ambition since the development got going to eventually try to get the rest of that land, which will enable us to tidy up the whole site and a number of opportunities go with it.”
The development of the football academy would enable Fylde to “bring in students from all over the country and put them in digs”, Haythornthwaite added.
“We’ve looked at the possibility of converting the existing buildings to house up to 20-24 students. That would be a tremendous development of our academy and something we’ve looked at doing for a long time.”
A gym is another of the owner’s ambitions for the complex adding: “We now have a temporary gym in the away concourse and it isn’t very professional when you want to be a professional club.
“We’ve earmarked one of the buildings on there to become a permanent gym for the club.”
As for the North Stand development, he explained: “We have a three-sided ground at the moment. We wanted to wait to see what happened and we’re pretty clear now on what we want to do.
“It’s not the time to build it now. We haven’t got the money but in the future, when we come through this, hopefully the next phase we start on will be finishing the ground.
“It is Football League standard now, so should we be fortunate enough to be promoted in the next couple of years we’ll be fine but obviously we want to complete the ground.”
And as regards parking, Haythornthwaite said: “It’s a situation I believe won’t disappear no matter how many parking spaces you have. Even if you have a free carpark, some people will always want to park where they always have and walk up. People are creatures of habit.
“But in order to comply with everything, we need to have a little bit more permanent parking than we’ve got. This allows us to develop that.”
Haythornthwaite stresses work on these projects won’t begin immediately, with funding tight as all clubs battle the Covid-19 crisis.
However, he says the deal is a cause for great celebration and adds: “It’s a milestone day for me. It’s something I’ve been chasing for three or four years, so it’s great we’ve been able to get that deal despite the coronavirus situation.
“I don’t think I’ll be buying anything more down there but it will be great. We won’t be doing anything there immediately for obvious reasons.
“At the moment we have to conserve every piece of cash but once we see some light at the end of the tunnel we’ll begin to see some developments down there.
“We won’t be able to build at the moment because we don’t have the funds but it’s all about having the pieces of the jigsaw puzzle ready to place.”