Pilley all smiles at turn of year

Fleetwood chairman Andy Pilley shakes hands with Uwe Rosler
Fleetwood chairman Andy Pilley shakes hands with Uwe Rosler

It was a year of change, highs and lows, but Fleetwood Town chairman Andy Pilley is proud of the way his club ended 2016 on and off the pitch.

Town started the year as they ended the last – with a 1-0 win – and have climbed into a play-off place in League One.

Monday’s win at Shrewsbury stretched Town’s unbeaten run to 11 and head coach Uwe Rosler has been nominated for December’s manager of the month gong.

The ex-Brentford and Wigan boss’ attacking style of football has transformed Town from relegation candidates to promotion hunters. Town beat the drop on the final day of last season and Rosler replaced Steven Pressley as boss just a week before the start of the current campaign.

It has been a landmark year for the club off the pitch, with the opening of the Poolfoot Farm training complex.

Pilley told the club website: “As a club we end the year in fantastic condition on and off the field, something we should all be very proud of.

“While on the field the first half of 2016 wasn’t up to the standards we expect, off the field we made major steps forward, with the completion of our £9m training complex at Poolfoot Farm.

“The facility is something which will become a major part of our strategy going forward and hopefully will become my best-ever investment at Fleetwood Town.

“On the field we were delighted to attract Uwe Rosler, a head coach of real pedigree and stature in the game, and his start has been very encouraging.

“I’m sure you’ll agree that the style in which the team play at the moment is fantastic to watch, with the Boxing Day draw with Bury the first time in 23 league games the team had failed to score.”

Pilley says that Poolfoot has helped attract signings to a club which did its first business of the transfer window on Monday by signing Preston North End defender Ben Davies on loan until the end of the season.

The chairman added: “Poolfoot Farm is now in full operation, after opening in April, and has had a huge impact on the club.

“As well as being an incredible community hub for the Fylde coast, it’s already proving hugely beneficial in our recruitment.

“Some of the signings we’ve managed so far, and hope to in January, are testament to the facilities we can now offer.

“Just as positive is the impact the complex has had on the local community.

“Poolfoot Farm boasts some of the best 3G pitches in the country, and in evenings they are jam-packed with local footballers and, of course, our very own Academy.

“In 2016 our Academy was awarded Category 3 status, which everyone at Fleetwood Town is proud of.

“We now have more than 140 young players registered to the club, and it was great to see young goalkeeper Billy Crellin become the first product of this system to sign a professional deal with the club.

“We are hoping he’s the first of many to break through, although we are fully aware of the patience needed to develop young players.

“In the coming year we have plans to improve our Academy further, with the long-term goal of a step-up to Category 2 status.”

And Pilley says the fans’ support has not gone unnoticed.

“Finally a message to the fans – your support has been superb once again.

“In 2017 we aim to grow our fanbase further and we are already working hard on improving our fan engagement, as well as our commitment to continue making tickets as affordable as possible for our supporters. Happy New Year.”