AFC Fylde owner David Haythornthwaite says: Rug pulled from under us again but we'll be back next season

Owner David Haythornthwaite vowed the football club will not suffer as AFC Fylde come to terms with seeing their season scrapped once and for all.

Monday, 15th March 2021, 8:00 am

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Three weeks after clubs voted to abandon the National League North and South season and declare it null and void, the FA have now rejected proposals from clubs, such as Fylde, who wanted to play on.

The NL North and South clubs keen to continue had proposed to form a National League Two, all playing each other once, with the champions climbing into the National League and a second club promoted via play-offs.

David Haythornthwaite admits he was not surprised the FA rejected proposals to complete the season

However, the FA annunced on Friday that its “Alliance Committee rejected the proposal, and any alternative, in the interest of the integrity of the National League System”.

Fylde had played only once since January 9 but had continued to train until the end of last week in the hope their season would resume.

Chairman Haythornthwaite completely understands the disappointment of everyone at the club but believes they can look to the future with optimism.

He told The Gazette: “We had a team meeting on Saturday and I told Jonty (Castle chief executive), Jim (Bentley, manager) and Nick Chadwick (assistant manager) that I know how difficult it is for everyone.

“This time last year everyone had to take a wage cut and we were heading into the unknown. That’s not the case this time – we know where we are and with the vaccine there is now a lot of light at the end of the tunnel.

“Nobody will suffer on the football side. We’ll make the right decisions for the club and start preparing for next season.

“We’ve had the rug pulled from under our feet twice in successive seasons. I don’t want to go over old ground but we feel we were demoted unfairly last season.

“And this season we have been denied the opportunity to win our place back in the National League because a lot of clubs are, in my opinion, unprofessional and decided not to play on.”

However, Haythornthwaite admits he was not shocked by the FA ruling and added: “I always remain optimistic but I felt it was 50-50 at best and the decision wasn’t something that surprised me.

“The FA is a very structured and institutionalised organisation and thinking outside the box is not something they are not particularly great at. I hadn’t build my hopes up and so I wasn’t particularly disappointed.

“But I thought a National League Two was a great idea. The proposal was well thought out and workable.

“We were every much part of putting the proposal together, with Jonty playing a major role, and I was very supportive of the idea.

“There was enough time to play all the games and I always feel that if there’s a will there’s a way. The FA have told us that they will let us know their reasons, so we’ll look forward to hearing them.

“But there are a lot of worse things going on in the world, so we have to take it, dust ourselves down and prepare for next season.”

Fylde were second in National League North when play was halted last month.

However, although the season is over for AFC Fylde’s senior side, it continues for the Academy and for Fylde Women.

The club’s Under-18s face Cambridge United in Newmarket on Wednesday is a rearranged FA Youth Cup third round tie, with Chelsea awaiting the winners on April 3.

On April 4, Fylde Women will play their first match since mid-December away to Burnley in the Women’s FA Cup.

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