THE celebrating is already over for Fleetwood Town chairman Andy Pilley, who admitted: “My whole Monday will be dedicated to meetings as we prepare for the Football League.”
After steering Town from the North West Counties League to the Football League in his nine years at the helm, Pilley has every right to wallow in Town’s Conference title triumph, but the chairman told The Gazette: “I’m not one for basking in glory. We’ve enjoyed the weekend but it’s back to the grindstone on Monday.”
Always looking and planning ahead may be businessman Pilley’s mantra, but he couldn’t resist a moment’s reflection after the club’s fifth promotion in eight seasons.
Pilley said: “It’s been incredibly hard work to achieve this dream. We have had to live it and breathe it for a number of years, and for Fleetwood Town to now be in the elite 92 is fantastic for everyone associated with the club.
“When I arrived our biggest game of the season was against Squires Gate. They are a smashing club but it’s not the same as mixing with the likes of Bradford City, a former Premier League club who will be in our division.”
The preparations for League football which have been progressing apace at Highbury will step up a gear now the club’s place in the English professional game’s fourth tier is secure. Top priorities include making the minor improvements necessary to meet all the Football League’s criteria for stadium standards, but as usual Pilley is planning beyond that towards further enhancements to Fleetwood’s home.
He explained: “We need to improve the toilets for away spectators and we need a new catering facility.
“Both are small developments and plans have been submitted for them.
“But we do now need to take a long look at the stadium and decide exactly how we can make it better still because we need a bigger capacity than 5,000.
“We are in a different world to where we were a few years ago in terms of gates and we have to look at ways of increasing our capacity.”
After packed houses for the last two home matches against Wrexham and Lincoln, when Pilley and the Cod Army were left disappointed by Town’s rare failure to record victories which would have clinched the title, the chairman can prepare for a promotion party at home to Luton on Saturday week.
Asked if big-match nerves may have got to the players in those games, with the winning post so close, Pilley added: “I would say it was frustrating more than nervy, but we were always confident we were going to get over the line. It was a question of when rather than if.
“Now we are unbeaten in 29 games and I know Micky (Mellon) wants to make history by keeping that run going for two more.”
By refusing to take his eye off the ball, manager Mellon sounds just like his chairman, who added: “We will continue to strive for excellence but we need to be very professional to continue our success.”