Pilley: We can take club further

Andy Pilley with Town manager Graham Alexander
Andy Pilley with Town manager Graham Alexander

Chairman Andy Pilley is looking beyond League Two as Fleetwood Town prepare for a second season among football’s elite.

As manager Graham Alexander looks to rebuild his squad Pilley has eyes on development elsewhere to take the club forward.

“We’ve got lots of plans,” he told The Gazette.

“We believe we can take this club further than League Two.

“To do that we need to continue to expand the stadium.

“We’ve got development work going on in the Memorial Stand.

“There’s other work we want to do to increase the capacity, we’ve got lots of plans which we’re hoping we can announce in the near future and we’re hoping to be able to announce something on a new training ground soon.”

Town finished in 13th spot in their first season as one of the 92 – the chairman taking some tough decisions over the course of 46 games, not least to part company with manager Micky Mellon who had masterminded the club’s promotion.

“It has been a learning curve, no doubt,” said Pilley.

“(Chief Executive) Steve Curwood would agree with that one hundred per cent.

“Off the pitch we’ve had to deal with and abide with so many regulations and so much regulation.

“On the pitch we’ve discovered what the division is all about.

“It’s an incredibly professional environment, there are high standards and you’ve got to be on top of your game to succeed.”

Despite Fleetwood struggling in the latter stages of the season, Pilley stands by his decision to part company with former manager Micky Mellon – a move made following Town’s FA Cup second round exit in December.

“It was a decision we thought long and hard about.

“That was the decision we made and we do think it was the correct thing to do.

“I try not to have any regrets.

“I’ve a lot of time for Micky, personally and football wise.

“He’s a smashing bloke and he’s been hugely influential in the success this club has got and he’s playing his part in Barnsley’s valiant survival battle as we speak.”

A first season in the 
Football League has seen Town forced to adjust to financial fair play rules – under which only 55 per cent of a club’s turnover can be spent on players’ wages.

It is a scheme Pilley applauds.

“You have your budget and if you stray over that you end up in embargo,” explained the chairman,

“You have to look at it as a business and run it as a business.

“You’ve got to make sure the business ins are more than the outs.

“It’s a good habit to have in any commercial activity.

“The rule can only be applauded.”

Graham Alexander is expected to rebuild his Fleetwood side this summer and Pilley is looking forward to seeing the results.

“We need to see the team perform to the best of their abilities and finish nice and high up that table.

“Hopefully we can do that next season.

“You’ve always got to try and improve but you’ve also got to enjoy.

“This is a club that comes from humble origins and we’re punching above our weight in the Football League.

“We don’t necessarily follow the crowd and do what other people do.

“But I’m loving every minute as a Football League chairman, I’m living the dream.”