AFC Fylde part company with manager Dave Challinor

Dave Challinor
Dave Challinor

AFC Fylde have parted company with manager Dave Challinor and his assistant Colin Woodthorpe.

The Coasters made the announcement on Saturday afternoon, their National League game with Sutton United at Mill Farm having been postponed due to the visitors not being able to travel to Lancashire due to disruption on the rail network.

AFc Fylde owner David Haythornthwaite

AFc Fylde owner David Haythornthwaite

Challinor had been in charge at Fylde since November 2011 and last season led them to Wembley twice.

They were beaten by Salford in the play-off final but returned the following weekend to beat Leyton Orient 1-0 and lift the FA Trophy.

In Challinor's tenure, Fylde were promoted three times.

After last season's near miss in the play-offs they were expected to be among the front-runners for promotion but Fylde have won just four of their 16 league games to date.

Fylde chairman David Haythornthwaite and club president Dai Davies released a joint statement to announce the news.

The statement read:"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 3, 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 fulfil their footballing dreams, cumulating 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."