Chris Johnson is quitting Fylde to link up with Sale FC but says his move to the Woodlands transformed his rugby career – though he feels the time is right for a fresh challenge.
The fly-half, who joined Fylde from Huddersfield in 2012 and chalked up a formidable tally of 990 points, said: “At Huddersfield I thought I could play rugby, but I soon realised when I came to Fylde that I was not that good at it.
“Brian Ashton was helping out Mark Nelson with the coaching at the time and the style of rugby was completely different for me to what I had been used to before.
“I soon found out that there were aspects of my play that weren’t good enough – I learned so much, became a more rounded player and it helped playing alongside such outstanding players as Oli Brennand, Chris Briers, Paul Arnold and Alex Loney.
“Mark Nelson also pushed me in the right direction and with his help I progressed to playing for Sale Jets, Lancashire and England Counties.”
“It was very special to wear the number 10 shirt at Fylde considering the good players there have been in that position.”
Now Johnson has decided to move down a division to play for Sale FC in National Two North. And he says that travel was a big factor in his decision to move to Heywood Road.
He said: “Sale is just about two miles away from where I work in Carrington.
“To get to Fylde for training it can take 90 minutes or more. That means sometimes having to leave work early, which I can’t really do.
“On Saturdays there are some long trips for Fylde games, which means I am up at 7.30 in the morning and not getting home until 11 at night. I have my family to think about and we have a little baby girl.
“Sale want to move up the league from where they are and that is the incentive for me.
“Maybe National League One is the best that Fylde are going to achieve – at this stage of my career I want to be playing for a team that is challenging for something.
“I hope Fylde do well in the future. They need to go up another gear after finishing 10th last season and it is going to be hard for them to get in the top four again.
“There are teams like Coventry, Hartpury College and the London clubs who are putting lots of money into their team.
“It needs a lot of investment at Fylde. I hope they do that, and I also hope that the players and the club flourish.”