Hereford will be looking to quickly put to bed a poor advert for Vanarama North football at the Horsfall Stadium in which the Bulls rarely threatened the home goal. However, Fylde will also be looking to bounce back after an unlikely defeat at the hands of Leamington.
Simon Wright, recently described in a fanzine as “frighteningly prolific” previews the visit of our wealthy opponents.
Just a few days after playing opposition where every penny counts, we go to the opposite extreme where for our visitors, money continues to be wildly chucked around in an ever-increasing desperation for “success”. AFC Fylde are £1.3 million in the red but continue to employ 80 paid staff. Recent decision making seems to lack both proper governance and common sense as these examples may illustrate:
In 2019. (Daily Mail) “An accountant who stole nearly £250,000 from a football club to fund his obsession with a webcam glamour model has been jailed for 32 months. Andrew Barnbrook, 38, siphoned off cash from AFC Fylde to his personal bank account for up to two and a half years before the scam was uncovered after he was sacked. Preston Crown Court heard the Lancashire club would have gone out of business if it had not been part of an umbrella company, Tangerine Holdings, which borrowed the cash to cover the shortfall.”
In 2019, manager Dave Challinor was sacked, just 5 months after talking Fylde to their first two Wembley Cup Finals and being in charge for 9 years. Since then, Challinor took both Hartlepool and Stockport into the Football League while the Coasters went into reverse gear.
In 2021: Advert for a general manager “We work hard at Fylde so again, don’t apply if you are looking for a work-life balance or have to pick up the kids from school twice a week at 3.30.” an advert which produced such a toxic response it was taken down rapidly. It’s the thought that counts.
In April 2022, the club recruited David Bottomley as Chief Executive. A modicum of research would indicate he was heavily involved in some unpleasant goings-on at Rochdale FC. In July, the penny dropped, and he was removed by Fylde. Bottomley is now banned by the EFL for two years for taking a lead role in an illegal takeover.
In early 2022: although knowing there were reasons why then National league leaders Chesterfield manager James Rowe departed by mutual consent, Fylde employed him anyway on a 3-year deal. They claimed to have done due diligence. After Derbyshire Police announced that Rowe would be appearing in court, the manager handily resigned from his Fylde contract.
The current gaffer is Andy Taylor on an interim basis. Taylor was an AFC defender whose career was cut short by injury. He was originally a first team coach, then elevated to No 2 and now he has the hot seat.
Yes, success is proving elusive and so are supporters. The club average attendance is below 1,000 and possibly lower still as some midweek gates are not being revealed. This don’t forget is for a play-off competing club who win the majority of their matches. A side enjoying a long unbeaten League run and are still in the FA Cup. On the road, with this weekend’s 2-1 defeat at the New Windmill Stadium, they have won two League fixtures, drawn two and lost at Banbury & Leamington.
The Northern club has previously visited the Street twice with both clubs winning one each. Sadly, for Hereford fans, the Bulls 2-1 victory in December 2020 was played out without any paying spectators in the ground. Last season, the visitors showed off their full-time status by winning 4-1 very comfortably.
Almost inevitably there is a Hereford connection. Keenan Patten who learned all about mens’ football with HFC is now a regular midfield starter for the full-time Coasters. Their main man once again is Nick Haughton, pretty much the League’s top scorer, as he was last season. The Coasters are one of the very few clubs who can retain their star names at this level.
The north-west side are the first of seven midweek pre-Christmas Cup and League matches, although happily there are cup vouchers on offer and special deals for schools.
Make sure you get your priority for the FA Cup clash against League One opponents Portsmouth by buying a ticket for this game against Fylde.
See you there?