AFC Fylde manager Dave Challinor axed after poor run of results

Dave Challinor leave AFC Fylde after almost eight years as manager.
Dave Challinor leave AFC Fylde after almost eight years as manager.

AFC Fylde have parted company with manager Dave Challinor after almost eight years in the job.

The news comes after a run of four straight defeats which has seen the Coasters slip into the relegation zone of the National League - less than six months after they almost reached the Football League.

Assistant Colin Woodthorpe has also left the club.

The club issued a statement this afternoon from chairman David Haythornthwaite and president Dai Davies which said the decision had been an "extremely difficult" one, but had been dictated by football reasons.

The statement said: "It goes without saying that this was an extremely difficult decision for both of us. It doesn’t seem that long ago we were at Kellamagh Park interviewing Dave for the job.

"In fact, Dave and Colin’s first game was November 3rd 2011 away to Curzon Ashton in Evo Stik One North, nearly eight years ago.

"That meant that until today Dave was the second longest-serving manager in the top five tiers of English football, with only Jim Bentley at Morecambe being in the job longer.

"That in itself is a testament to Dave’s track record and the very special relationship the three of us enjoyed on our wonderful journey up the football pyramid.

"We have won together, laughed together, lost together and cried together.

"Today it was the latter, as we took this decision to part company with a man who was not just our manager, but someone who became our friend and whom we respect enormously not only as a manager, but as a human being.

"Now, however, as football dictates, we must go our separate ways.

"Dave and Colin will forever hold a very special place in the hearts of all Fylde supporters and will always be welcome back at the club.

"A club where they helped two lifelong pals fulfill their footballing dreams, culminating in that very special week at Wembley last May when we graced that hallowed turf on two occasions, a record which will stand for a very, very long time.

"We have no doubt in our mind that sometime in the not too distant future Dave will become a Football League manager and he leaves with our sincere thanks and best wishes.

"Thank you David, thank you Colin. The club will be making no further statement at this time."

The decision comes less than six months after Challinor and Woodthorpe led Fylde to two Wembley appearances in the space of a week.

The club lost the all-important play-off final which would have seen them promoted to the Football League. But the players returned the following weekend to lift the FA Trophy.