We are pleased to confirm that James Stanley has signed a professional contract with AFC Fylde. 


The 18-year-old is comfortable both at left-back and in central defence and has been an impressive performer throughout his time with the Coasters’ academy. Stanley has experienced first team involvement previously in his time with the club and is now viewed as ready to take that next step into full-time training with Jim Bentley’s side.

The youngster will show that he’s an attack-minded wing-back, but with the knowledge of when to hold his position and use his defensive attributes. His tall frame allows him to be a threat in both penalty areas, whilst also showing that despite his perceived inexperience, he will not be out-fought on left-hand-side of the pitch. 

This is further recognition of the good work that the AFC Fylde Academy is doing, with Stanley adding his name to the ranks alongside fellow graduate Sheldon Green. Chairman, David Haythornthwaite has spoken throughout the summer about his desire to ensure that AFC Fylde offer local youngsters a pathway to play for the club and this is another exciting step towards that vision.

After signing his deal, Stanley told afcfylde.co.uk: “I’m really pleased this has happened, it’s something I have always worked hard for and always wanted to happen. Now that time has come, I am just going to keep giving my all and see where it takes us. 

“I’m a full-back really, but I have played as an out and out central defender, so in truth I am happy to play anywhere I am needed. I’ve played in academies elsewhere but never had a real opportunity, so I am really thankful to have been given a chance on the scholarship programme here. The club have shown that they’re willing to give young players a chance and I am buzzing about that.”

On Stanley’s development and progression, Jim Bentley told us: “James has done very well in the youth set up and he joined up with the first team a bit last season. I like his attitude, he has good ability and he’s a hard working lad. 

“It’s important we bring home grown players through and in Sheldon and James, we have two good lads who are determined to do well and prove themselves in the game, so I’m please we can give them that chance to improve and ultimately get in and around the first team.”