No drop fear for Fleetwood chairman

Andy Pilley with Town director of football Stuart Murdoch
Andy Pilley with Town director of football Stuart Murdoch

Fleetwood chairman Andy Pilley believes the club is well placed to bounce back should the worse happen but refuses to think about relegation.

Town go into tomorrow’s clash with high-flying Burton second bottom of the League One table, without a league victory in six, without a win in eight.

It’s unfamiliar territory for a club which has enjoyed a decade of continual success and the chairman was quizzed on the threat of relegation at a fans’ forum meeting on Wednesday night.

Pilley insisted it was too early to start worrying about the drop, with just two months of the campaign gone.

But he made it clear should Town go down he wouldn’t let the club slip into danger at the wrong end of League Two, as has happened to Crawley Town this term.

“You can look at the teams who are struggling but there are teams that have bounced back as well,” said Pilley.

“You look at Shewsbury as an example of a club who were unlucky enough to have been relegated and bounced back the successive season.

“It’s too early to speak of relegation, we’re two months into a nine month season.

“If we get a couple of wins we can not be far off half way.”

Pilley has taken radical steps to halt Fleetwood’s slide, sacking Graham Alexander and appointing Steven Pressley and Neil MacFarlane to lead Town forward.

And the chairman hinted his new management team could be allowed to dip into the transfer market despite the constraints of financial fair play rules.

“I don’t believe the squad is exceptionally poor,” said Pilley.

“We did need some fresh ideas, some better organisation.

“We probably do need some different players as well.”

Despite the current unfamiliar predicament the Fleetwood chairman had one clear message for those fans concerned about the club’s long-term future.

He said: “Rest assured I’m totally comitted to this football club and there’s no danger that if we were to go down we wouldn’t be able to cope financially.

“The difference financially between what we receive from the Football League in League Two and what we receive in League One is not enormous.

“There are some far bigger clubs in League One - that means our average away attendance was 660 last season.

“That helps pay the bills.

“But the Football League is where we want to be.

“I don’t want to go down to the Conference because the difference financially would be night and day.

“That’s inconceivable for me.

“I don’t do failure and I wouldn’t even contemplate such a hideous thought.

“Rest assured that if such a horrible thing as relegation did occur we’d be well secure to bounce back.”

Pilley took over at Fleetwood with the club in the North West Counties League.

He has financed their rise to League One, rebuilding Highbury Stadium and investing in the club’s infrastructure.

The latest addition is a new training ground at Poolfoot Farm in Thornton.

The facility, including grass and artificial pitches could cost the club as much as £8m and is expected to be fully open in February next year.