A.F.C. Fylde

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A.F.C. Fylde
AFC Fylde (2014).svg
Full name Association Football Club Fylde
Nickname(s) The Coasters
Founded 1988; 27 years ago (1988)
(as Kirkham & Wesham)
Ground Kellamergh Park
Bryning Lane
Warton, Fylde, Lancashire
Ground Capacity 3,180 (533 seated)
Chairman David Haythornthwaite
Manager Dave Challinor
League Conference North
2014–15 Conference North, 2nd

AFC Fylde is a football club based at Warton in the Borough of Fylde in the English county of Lancashire. The club were known as Kirkham & Wesham F.C. until the end of the 2007–08 season. Having spent most of its existence in the West Lancashire League, after winning the league title for seven out of eight seasons the club were accepted into North West Counties League Division Two in 2007. They currently play in the Conference North. The club won the FA Vase in 2008. The club currently play in the Vanarama National North.



The club was formed by the amalgamation of Kirkham Town FC and Wesham FC in 1988.[1] By taking this name, the club was adopting the name of a previous club which had played in the West Lancashire League in the years immediately before the First World War.

West Lancashire League[edit]

Kirkham & Wesham played their first season in the West Lancashire League in 1988–89, taking the place previously held by Kirkham Town in Division One. The following season they finished bottom of this division and were relegated to Division Two. After three seasons in Division Two they were promoted in the 1992–93 season, only to again suffer relegation in 1994–95. They were immediately promoted again, finishing as runners-up and only losing two games all season in 1995–96.[2]

The West Lancashire League was re-structured with the First Division being renamed as the Premier Division in the 1998–99 season. After finishing fourth in successive season in the 1997–98 and 1998–99 seasons, the club then dominated the Premier Division for a number of years. They were Champions in seven out of eight seasons between the 1999–2000 and 2006–07 seasons, finishing as runners-up in the one season they failed to win the league, 2002–03.[2]

Between January 2003 and October 2004, the club did not lose one match in any competition, a record that spanned 21 months. The run finally ended when they lost a league match, 1–0 to Dalton United[3]

In April 2006 the club completed a hat-trick of consecutive victories in the Lancashire Amateur Shield cup final when they beat fellow West Lancashire League side Charnock Richard 2–0 at the Lancashire FA ground in Leyland. It was the clubs fourth time winning the Shield in six years.[4]

As the nominated representatives of the Lancashire County Football Association (Lancashire FA), the club have been winners of the Northern Counties Cup in 2004–05, 2005–06, and 2006–07.

North West Counties League[edit]

Following their West Lancashire League championship success in 2006–07, the club were accepted into the North West Counties League for the 2007–08 season.

The club's first match in the North West Counties League was a home match on 11 August 2007, against Darwen in front of 101 fans, which they won 5–0.[5] The following Tuesday they played their first ever home match under floodlights winning 2–0 at home to Holker Old Boys[6]

In September 2007 the club announced a new shirt sponsorship deal with Lytham St Annes based company VetPlus, who are due to sponsor the teams kit for three years, as part of a five figure deal.[7] On 8 September the club played their first ever match in the FA Vase beating Northern Counties East League Division One club Worsbrough Bridge Athletic 3–0. The club had also arranged for the FA Vase trophy to be on display before the game.[8]

Manager Mick Fuller won the leagues manager of the month award for December 2007 following four successive wins during the month.[9] On 26 January 2008 the club reached the last sixteen of the FA Vase, in their first season in the competition, when they beat Studley 3–0.[10] On 9 February they reached the Quarter-finals of the FA Vase after they beat Sussex County League leaders, Crowborough Athletic 2–0 in front of a record crowd of 772 at Crowborough's Alderbrook Recreation Ground.[11] On 11 February they were drawn at home in the Quarter Final to Midland Football Alliance club, Coventry Sphinx on 1 March.[12] The match ended in a 3–3 draw after extra time.[11] Kirkham & Wesham won the replay 1–0 on 9 March in Coventry with a goal from Sean Paterson.[13] In the two-legged semi-final against Eastern Counties League Premier Division club, Needham Market the team won 4–2 on aggregate.[14]

A football match in progress at a small ground in a rural setting. A player has just taken a throw-in. Some players are reacting to the throw, others look on. The crowd is generally sparse, with the exception of a small covered area to the right which is well-populated.
A match between Fylde (white) and Mossley in 2009

On 24 April, the club won the Division Two knockout trophy with a 1–0 win over Bootle, and two days later secured one of the two automatic promotion places in North West Counties Division One when they beat Castleton Gabriels 3–1.[citation needed]

On 11 May, they won the FA Vase beating Lowestoft Town 2–1 in the final at Wembley Stadium in front of a total crowd of 19,537, with about 14,000 from Lowestoft and about 3,500 Kirkham & Wesham supporters. A goal down for most of the game, Kirkham & Wesham scored twice in the last six minutes, both goals coming from seventeen-year-old substitute Matt Walwyn, son of former Blackpool player, the late Keith Walwyn, who only played the last 11 minutes of the game. Kirkham & Wesham secured prize money of £20,000 for their win.[15][16] Although the total amount the club earned was expected to be around £75,000.[17] They were promoted to the Premier Division after finishing second in Division Two.

For the start of the 2008–09 season, the club changed their name from Kirkham & Wesham to A.F.C. Fylde.[1][6]

Northern Premier League[edit]


Long serving manager Mick Fuller was moved upstairs in September 2010 and Kelham O'Hanlon was brought in as first team coach. The club finished in mid-table with a high turnover of playing staff and the side at the end of their first season in the Northern Premier League Division One North was barely recognisable compared with the one that started the campaign. The following season the club achieved a play-off place. In the semi-final Matt Walwyn scored in a 1–0 win over Skelmersdale United but the team lost 2–1 to Chorley in the final.


In the 2011–12 season they were installed as early promotion favourites but Kelham O'Hanlon was replaced as manager in November 2011 after a poor run of results and was quickly replaced by a new management team of Dave Challinor and Colin Woodthorpe. Challinor left Conference North side Colwyn Bay to drop two divisions to join the Coasters, pointing to the club's ambition and plans for the future as the factor that made them move to the Fylde Coast. They were 16 points off the top of the table when they came to the club but claimed the title with a 1–0 win over Salford City. Challinor won several awards including Manager of the Year at the NPL Awards Dinner.


In 2012–13, the club managed to achieve a playoff position in their maiden season in the Northern Premier League Premier Division. They lost out 3–1 on penalties to eventual playoff final winners Hednesford Town F.C. in the semi final, which ended 3–3 after extra time at Keys Park, Hednesford. The game was notable for a 60-yard goal scored from a free-kick by Coasters goalkeeper Ben Hinchcliffe.[18]


The 2013–14 season was extremely successful for Fylde, as they won the Lancashire FA Challenge Trophy, the Northern Premier League Challenge Cup, and gained promotion to the Conference North via the playoffs. They beat Chorley F.C. 4–1 at the Reebok Stadium, Bolton to win the Lancs FA Trophy,[19] Skelmersdale United 1–0 at Edgeley Park, Stockport to win the NPL Challenge Cup,[20] Worksop Town 3–1 at home in the playoff semi-final,[21] and then required penalties to beat Ashton United at home in the playoff final, with the game finishing 1–1 after extra time. Goalkeeper Ben Hinchcliffe scored the deciding penalty to end a tense game and send the Coasters up.[22]

Conference North[edit]


AFC Fylde finished their first season in the Conference North in second place with 85 points, losing to Guiseley in the subsequent play-off semi final.. Their top scorer was Danny Rowe with 31 goals.


Future development[edit]

At the club's annual general meeting (AGM) in July 2007, a 15-year plan was put forward with the stated aim of reaching the Conference National by 2017, and The Football League by 2022.[23] On 19 January 2008, the club announced plans for a further move to yet another new stadium at an unnamed 26-acre (110,000 m2) site.[24]

In February 2010, a charitable trust called the Haythornthwaite Sports Foundation unveiled plans for a new Community Sports Complex in Wrea Green, comprising outdoor sports facilities catering for local junior football, cricket and other sports plus a new 2,500 capacity stadium for AFC Fylde. Consultations took place in 2011 but a planning application was rejected by Fylde Borough Council in spring 2012[25] and the plans were later abandoned.[26]

On 3 September 2013, it was announced on the club's website[27] that plans had been drawn up for a new £18m development at Mill Farm on the outskirts of Wesham, close to junction 3 of the M55, containing a distribution centre, an Aldi supermarket, a hotel, a restaurant, a petrol station, community sports pitches, sports science facilities, and a 6000 capacity, Football League standard ground for AFC Fylde.[28]

The stadium plans include a 2000 capacity all-seater main stand with a supporters' bar, executive boxes and a function room.

AFC Fylde chairman David Haythornthwaite said at the unveiling, “This is a well thought out development plan that will create superb facilities and help fuel the economic growth of the area... we anticipate we can create up to 200 new jobs over the next three years, many of them for local people."

The planning application for the stadium and associated facilities was accepted by Fylde Borough Council on 4 June 2014.[29] Construction work is expected to begin by September 2014.[30]


They play their home games at Kellamergh Park (previously known as the Birley Arms ground) in the village of Warton. They previously played in Kirkham at Coronation Road. In 2005 the club purchased land in Kellemargh, Warton and began to develop the facilities.[1] They relocated to their new ground which was purpose built to meet the requirement for playing in the North West Counties League at a cost of £150,000.[23]

The new ground was officially opened on 5 August 2006. It has a 200 seat main stand which cost £30,000 to build[23] with four rows of seating and a designated Press Box area.[31] A PA system is installed, and new floodlights are in place with other areas of the ground being developed. The ground is 3.8 miles (6.1 km) from their old council owned ground at Coronation Road in Kirkham.

Further improvements were made to the stadium in March 2009 to achieve Ground Grading GRADE E (Step 4) including additional covered seating, Club House and a new Directors Box.

The record attendance at the ground is 1,418 for a league match against FC United of Manchester on 13 October 2012 which Fylde won 4–2.[32]

In March 2010 a new terrace behind the goals was erected and another matchday bar facility was built called 'Fullers Bar' and in summer 2010 a new training ground is being developed on adjacent land and the ground met Grade D grading by the FA as a result in readiness for the 2010–2011 season. The club installed a 250 seater stand in March 2015. The ground capacity is now set at 3,180 (533 seated).


As of 31 July 2014.[33]

Current squad[edit]

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Position Player
England GK Craig Dootson (player/goalkeeping coach)
England GK Ben Hinchliffe
England DF Luke Denson
England DF Jake Gregory
England DF Dave Hankin
England DF Tom Hannigan
England DF Josh Langley (on loan from Wigan Athletic)
England DF Adam Sumner
England DF Dom Collins
England MF Bradley Barnes (Captain)
England MF Michael Barnes
England MF Dion Charles
No. Position Player
England MF Tom Eckersley
England MF Caspar Hughes
England MF Joey Mullen
England MF Liam Tomsett
England FW Jamie Allen (on loan from Fleetwood Town)
England FW Richie Allen
England FW Matthew Blinkhorn
England FW Ryan Charnley
England FW Danny Lloyd
England FW Karl Noon
England FW Danny Rowe

Non-playing staff[edit]

Name Role
England David Haythornthwaite Chairman
England Dai Davis President
England Sam Cornall Operations Manager
England Ryan Adderley Community Development Manager
England Dave Riche Commercial Manager
England Chris Park Media Officer
England Ben Yaffe Assistant Media Officer
England Jack Connor Assistant Media Officer
England Dave Challinor Manager
England Colin Woodthorpe Assistant Manager
England Andy Pilkington Reserve Team Manager
England Simon Hurst U18 Manager
England Tom Hutton Director of Community development
England Mick Fuller Head of Football Development
England Steve Jackson Physiotherapist

Club honours[edit]

Northern Premier League Premier Division

Northern Premier League Division One North

North West Counties League Premier Division

West Lancashire Football League Premier Division

  • Champions 1999–2000, 2000–01, 2001–02, 2003–04, 2004–05, 2005–06, 2006–07

FA Vase

  • Winners 2007–08

Northern Premier League Challenge Cup

  • Winners 2013–14

Northern Premier League President's Cup

  • Winners 2013–14

Lancashire FA Challenge Trophy

  • Winners 2010–11, 2012–13, 2013–14

Northern Inter Counties Cup

  • Winners, 2004–05, 2005–06, 2006–07[34]

Lancashire Amateur Shield

  • Winners 2000–01,[35] 2003–04, 2004–05, 2005–06[4]

Richardson Cup

  • Winners 1998–99, 1999–2000, 2000–01, 2004–05, 2005–06[1][36]

Presidents Cup

  • Winners 1995–96[34]

Houston Cup

  • Winners 2005–06[34]



  • Largest League Attendance: 1,418 v FC United on 13 December 2012
  • Record attendance: 1,418 v FC United on 13 December 2012


As of 9 March 2009, the average league-game attendance at Kellemargh Park[37] for the 2008–09 season is 260, which places Fylde first for the division, and is an increase of 94.6% from the previous season.[38]

Past averages:


  1. ^ a b c d "Club History". Kirkham & Wesham F.C. 2007. Archived from the original on 12 December 2007. Retrieved 2008-01-27. 
  2. ^ a b "Kirkham & Wesham". Football Club History Database. Archived from the original on 5 September 2007. Retrieved 2007-09-07. 
  3. ^ "Champs lose for first time since January 2003". Blackpool Gazette. 14 October 2004. Archived from the original on 28 September 2007. Retrieved 2007-09-07. 
  4. ^ a b "Kirkham's goal is a trophy clean sweep". Blackpool Gazette. 13 April 2006. Archived from the original on 28 September 2007. Retrieved 2007-09-08. 
  5. ^ Templeman, Ian (13 August 2007). "Non league match of the week: Kirkham vs Darwen". BBC Sport. Retrieved 2007-09-07. 
  6. ^ a b "A great start for Kirkham & Wesham". North West Counties League. 18 August 2007. Archived from the original on 16 August 2007. Retrieved 2007-09-07. 
  7. ^ Jones, Howard (7 September 2007). "Sponsorship deal for club". Blackpool Citizen. Archived from the original on 29 September 2007. Retrieved 2007-09-07. 
  8. ^ Templeman, Ian (10 September 2007). "Non league match of the week: Kirkham vs Worsbrough". BBC Sport. Retrieved 2007-09-07. 
  9. ^ "Fuller gets manager of month gong". Blackpool Citizen. 5 January 2008. Archived from the original on 4 March 2008. Retrieved 2008-01-21. 
  10. ^ "Match Reports Kirkham & Wesham vs Studley". Kirkham & Wesham F.C. 26 January 2007. Archived from the original on 1 February 2008. Retrieved 2008-01-27. 
  11. ^ a b "Kirkham and Wesham in Extra Time Thriller". Blackpool Gazette. 14 October 2004. Archived from the original on 3 March 2008. Retrieved 2008-03-02. 
  12. ^ "Kirkham at home in quarter-final". Blackpool Gazette. 11 February 2008. Archived from the original on 13 February 2008. Retrieved 2008-02-11. 
  13. ^ "Kirkham progress to semi-finals of the FA Vase". Blackpool Gazette. 9 March 2008. Archived from the original on 11 March 2008. Retrieved 2008-03-11. 
  14. ^ Kirkham seal Final spot
  15. ^ "Matt's magic for Kirkham". The FA. 11 May 2008. Retrieved 2008-05-12. 
  16. ^ "Wonder kid wins it for Kirkham". Blackpool Gazette. 12 May 2008. Retrieved 2008-05-12. 
  17. ^ "Kirkham in cash bonanza". Blackpool Gazette. 12 May 2008. Archived from the original on 13 May 2008. Retrieved 2008-05-12. 
  18. ^ http://www.afcfylde.co.uk/first-team/match-reports-archive/2013/030.php
  19. ^ http://www.afcfylde.co.uk/match/770/
  20. ^ http://www.afcfylde.co.uk/match/826/
  21. ^ http://www.afcfylde.co.uk/afc-worksop/
  22. ^ http://www.afcfylde.co.uk/result-afc-fylde-1-v-aston-united-1-4-3-on-pens/
  23. ^ a b c "Vodkat League news, July: Kirkham & Wesham future". North West Counties League. 19 July 2007. Archived from the original on 20 July 2007. Retrieved 2007-09-07. 
  24. ^ Jones, Howard (20 January 2008). "Kirkham on the Move". The Non-League Paper. Retrieved 21 January 2008. 
  25. ^ Planning, http://www.planningresource.co.uk/Development_Control/article/1125920/Council-votes-reject-sports-village-plans/
  26. ^ AFC Fylde, http://www.afcfylde.co.uk/the-club/future-plans.php
  27. ^ AFC Fylde, http://www.afcfylde.co.uk/latest-news/archive/2013/September/002.php
  28. ^ Fylde Council Application 13/0655
  29. ^ http://www.afcfylde.co.uk/mill-farm-planning-permission-approved/
  30. ^ http://www.afcfylde.co.uk/stadium-announcement-next-week/
  31. ^ "Non League grounds AFC Fylde – main stand". nonleaguegrounds. 2 August 2008. Retrieved 2008-09-19. 
  32. ^ "Match Report". FC United of Manchester. 12 October 2012. Retrieved 2012-10-17. 
  33. ^ http://www.afcfylde.co.uk/first-team/player-profiles.php
  34. ^ a b c "Honours". A.F.C. Fylde. 2013. Retrieved 15 January 2014. 
  35. ^ "Champs' treble chance". Blackpool Gazette. 15 April 2001. Archived from the original on 28 September 2007. Retrieved 2007-09-07. 
  36. ^ "Triple of applause". Blackpool Gazette. 5 May 2005. Archived from the original on 28 September 2007. Retrieved 2007-09-08. 
  37. ^ Some home games toward the end of the season were played at Squires Gate F.C.'s home ground in Blackpool
  38. ^ "Attendances – North West Counties Premier Division". Tony's English football site. Archived from the original on 26 February 2009. Retrieved 11 March 2009. 
  39. ^ "Attendances – North West Counties Division Two". Tony's English football site. Retrieved 2008-10-21. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 53°45′29″N 2°54′06″W / 53.75814°N 2.90170°W / 53.75814; -2.90170