Following discussions that have been taking place over the last few months, AFC Fylde have announced that the club will operate on a full-time basis from the start of the 2016-17 season.
The Coasters narrowly missed out on a place in the National League following defeat in the Promotion Final a fortnight ago and the decision was made that going full-time would be beneficial for the club to progress.
In addition, the management team of Dave Challinor and Colin Woodthorpe have been handed an extension to their current contract, illustrating the ongoing commitment of Chairman David Haythornthwaite to the future of the pair.
Challinor believes the decision gives his side a fantastic chance next season and in preparation for the future.
“We are moving into a new era for the club with a new stadium and we felt it was the right time to go full-time.
“We have spoken about if for a while now and had we gone up we would have definitely done it. Missing out on promotion put question marks over it, but it was quickly decided after the game that the infrastructure is now in place to make this step up.
“It won’t be full-time on a part-time basis, we won’t be training two or three days a week, we will be doing it properly. We are going into this with a professional mindset and we want the lads to take on the mentality of being full-time footballers which ultimately gives us the best opportunity of getting out of what will be a very difficult division.
“We have been preparing for this transition for a while in terms of our recruitment. There will be some players that we would love to keep that will be leaving due to work commitments, but we can’t let that stop us doing what we want to do. We have recruited players over the last few years that we think would be able to go full time at some point.
“Inevitably there will be casualties and this will undoubtedly rule out a few transfer targets that we were looking at when we were part-time.
“Most of the teams in the league above are full-time and this will hopefully give us a head start if we are to be promoted next season.
“There are two or three clubs at this level that are already full-time and it gives you the scope to work with players on a regular basis. It also gives us a chance to bring in younger players and coach them properly.
“That was always difficult with part-time players as lads sometimes have had tough days at work and that makes training in the evening difficult. This gives us a real advantage.”
Challinor admits the decision was not taken lightly but felt the team on and off the pitch were ready: “It’s been a big decision and there are obviously cost implications involved, but our team off the pitch is getting stronger and stronger. You have to keep moving forward and developing in this business.
“Most people laughed when we said we were going to build a new ground but that’s now a reality and we continue to progress.
“We have made the decision now and we will be putting in the structure to ensure it works out. We will have longer on the training pitch and the lads will be able to focus solely on being professional footballers.
“We play in a different way to a lot of teams in this league and that sometimes makes it difficult to be successful, but I have a philosophy as a manager to play attractive football. It might be easier to lump the ball up but that’s not pleasing on the eye and ultimately doesn’t work in the long term.
“Of course there are still areas where we can improve and we will look to address that in the summer.
“For us to have got so close to promotion on two occasions has given us a greater desire to succeed. We work really hard and have a great relationship with David and Dai and nothing would give me more pleasure than helping them achieve their dream.”
Chairman David Haythornthwaite said: “It’s a big decision but the right one. We knew we would have to make this move at some time in the future and with us moving into the new stadium in August it just seemed right to do it now.
“The cost implications are obvious for all to see and our wage bill will grow dramatically as we will now be paying 44 weeks as opposed to 38, but this is all part of putting the club on the best professional footing. It will also help us attract a better quality of player which is ultimately what we all want.
“We need to get out of this division and I want to give Dave and Colin the best possible opportunity.”