Nickname: The Coasters
Ground Address: Mill Farm, Coronation Way, Wesham, PR4 3JZ
The club was formed by the amalgamation of Kirkham Town FC and Wesham FC in 1988. 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.
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.
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 seasons 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.
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
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 club’s fourth time winning the Shield in six years.
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.
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. The following Tuesday they played their first-ever home match under floodlights winning 2–0 at home to Holker Old Boys.
Manager Mick Fuller won the league’s Manager of the Month award for December 2007 following four successive wins during the month. 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. 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. On 11 February they were drawn at home in the Quarter Final to Midland Football Alliance club, Coventry Sphinx on 1 March. The match ended in a 3–3 draw after extra time and Kirkham & Wesham won the replay 1–0 on 9 March in Coventry with a goal from Sean Paterson. In the two-legged semi-final against Eastern Counties League Premier Division club, Needham Market the team won 4–2 on aggregate.
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.
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, Keith Walwyn, who only played the last 11 minutes of the game. 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
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.
The 2013–14 season was extremely successful for Fylde, as they won the Lancashire FA Challenge Trophy, and 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, Skelmersdale United 1–0 at Edgeley Park, Stockport to win the NPL Challenge Cup, Worksop Town 3–1 at home in the playoff semi-final, 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 to the Conference North
The Coasters signed Tom Hannigan, Liam Tomsett & Danny Rowe in preparation for their first season in the Conference North and defender Josh Langley stayed on at the club after joining late the previous season.
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, with Richie Allen and Danny Lloyd both scoring at least 20 goals in all competitions. Josh Langley won both Player’s Player of the Year award and the Supporters’ Player of the Year award, while Dion Charles took the Young Achiever of the Year award.
Tom Hannigan took Manager’s Player of the Year in what was widely regarded as a successful season for the club, having only been promoted to this division the previous season. Three AFC Fylde players were selected in the Conference North Team of the Season at the end-of-season AGM awards. Ben Hinchcliffe, Josh Langley and Brad Barnes were all picked by their fellow clubs within the league.
Long-serving players Joe Booth and Michael Barnes moved on before pre-season started along with Michael Potts, Luke Denson and Dave Hankin also leaving the club. The signings of centre-half Dominic Collins from Southport and striker Matty Hughes from Fleetwood show serious intentions for the club in the upcoming season as both players had played in higher divisions than the Conference North the previous season.
Fylde enjoyed a successful campaign, once again reaching the FA Cup first round and putting in a fine display in a narrow 3-1 defeat at League One giants Millwall, before ultimately losing in the play-off final against North Ferriby United. The Coasters also reached the last 16 of the FA Trophy.
In 2016/17 AFC Fylde moved into their new ground at Mill Farm as well as establishing a Ladies’ Team throughout the season they scored an incredible 109 goals and secured 88 points, which were more than enough to win the National League North title and promotion to the National League for the first time in the club’s history. The club’s striker Danny Rowe created history scoring a record 47 league goals.
The Coasters’ first season in the fifth tier of English football brought unprecedented success with Dave Challinor’s side qualifying for the second round of the FA Cup. The opponents were Wigan Athletic, the first leg ended 1-1 at Mill Farm before losing the televised replay 3-2. Success followed in the league as AFC Fylde finished the season in 7th, their highest-ever league position. They qualified for the expanded playoffs, however, they were beaten 2–1 by Boreham Wood in the qualifying round.
The 2018/19 season was another record-breaking one for the Coasters – once more achieving their highest-ever league finish, and claiming historic silverware in the process.
A fantastic season saw the Coasters finish in fifth position, which saw them in the playoffs for the second year running. After beating Harrogate Town 3-1 in the playoff eliminator, the Coasters then recorded a solid 1-0 away win at Solihull Moors.
This set up a playoff final with fellow North-West club Salford City, of who the Coasters had enjoyed a rise through the league. It wasn’t to be, however, as a comprehensive 3-0 victory for the Ammies saw them join the Football League for the first time in their history.
Just a week later, however, the Coasters had the chance to bounce back at the national stadium – taking on the National League champions Leyton Orient in the FA Trophy final.
Danny Rowe struck a sweet second-half free-kick, which gave the Coasters a 1-0 win – becoming the first team in English football history to win both the FA Trophy and FA Vase.
The 2019/20 season started on a sour note when after eight hugely successful years at the Club, Dave Challinor left with the Coasters in the relegation zone, something that was massively against the odds ahead of the campaign.
However, a new era was set to start, with the Coasters appointing Jim Bentley as Manager, ending his 17-year association with Morecambe FC as a player and manager. Things got off to a great start as Bentley lost just two out of his first 12 games in charge. That was followed up by a stellar FA Cup run, where the Club made it to the Third Round of the competition for the first time in its history but lost out narrowly in a 2-1 defeat to Sheffield United at Bramall Lane.
Unfortunatley, when the end of the 2019/20 National League season arrived, the Coasters were second bottom after the season was curtailed and decided on Points Per Game, a little unfair on the side after a late rally, where Bentley’s men lost just twice in eight games.
The Coasters made a brilliant start to the 2020/21 National League North season, where they were sitting at the top of the table before the season curtailed again due to the Pandemic. However, the National League decided that the season would be null and void, despite the Coasters on course for promotion back to the top division of non-league on PPG (points per game).
Fylde headed into the new 2021/22 campaign hoping for an undisrupted season and looking to seal promotion back to the National League, and after an unbalanced season that saw Jim Bentley lose his job, the Coasters had to settle for the play-offs. After finishing in third place, that meant they would skip the eliminator and head straight into the semi-final, but that proved a step too far as they were beaten by Boston United, who stopped all hope of promotion at the first real opportunity.
Following the play-off disappointment, a strong start to the 2022/23 National League North season gave everyone around the Club new hope that this year would be theirs. Just two defeats in 11 games put the Coasters in a great position before Head Coach Adam Murray was appointed in October 2023. From then, with very few bumps in the road, Fylde grew from strength to strength under the guidance of the former Besiktas Assistant Manager, which saw them in a hugely entertaining title battle with King’s Lynn Town.
Once victory was secured away at King’s Lynn in March 2023, thanks to Joe Rowley’s cute finish into the bottom corner, it looked like it would be smooth sailing from then on in, though the Linnets continued to push Fylde all the way, who built up a handy tally of games in hand, one of which would come against Curzon Ashton, a side who were on a good unbeaten run themselves.
After grabbing a 2-0 win at the Tameside Stadium, the Coasters needed just one more win on the final day of the season against Bradford (Park Avenue), and after Nick Haughton and Joe Rowley scored the all-important goals, it meant the Coasters were crowned the 2022/23 National League North Champions, sending them back to the National League for the 2023/24 campaign for the first time in three seasons.