Author: andypilley

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Inspirational Young Players Help Cod Army Launch Level Playing Field’s ‘Weeks Of Action’

A talented group of young amputee footballers were guests of honour as Fleetwood Town celebrated the start of Level Playing Field’s Weeks of Action.

The annual campaign – now in its 15th year – shines a spotlight on those who make a difference to the enjoyment and experience of disabled sports fans. 

And to mark the start of 2019 #WeeksofAction, Town chairman Andy Pilley invited a group of Lancashire-based amputee footballers to enjoy a special day at Highbury.

Liam Brittles, 16, Jamie Oakey, 15, Thomas Atkinson, 15, Ben Tierney, 14, and CJ Donaghey, four, are hoping to attend a European training camp in Germany this summer, supported by funding from Fleetwood Town and other sponsors.

The young players took to the Highbury pitch ahead of Saturday’s League One game with Gillingham to show off their skills and meet Cod Army head coach Joey Barton.

Jamie, who was born without a right foot, plays for Everton and is a member of England Amputee FA’s Under-23 squad. He said: “It was amazing to be invited to the game and we had a brilliant day.

“It was great to meet Joey Barton and the team and be on the pitch before kick-off. The club has been brilliant sponsoring our trip to Germany which is really going to help all the lads.”

The #WeeksofAction initiative – held this year between March 2-17 – is organised by Level Playing Field, the representative body of disabled football supporters. 

It is an annual celebration of disabled football supporters and the work being done by clubs, disabled supporters’ associations, fans and other organisations towards delivering access and inclusion. 

Andy Pilley said: “It was an honour to invite an inspirational group of young players to be our special guests on Saturday.

“I was delighted we were able to donate towards helping these lads get to their training camp in Germany and we have offered the England amputee squad free use of our training facilities any time they need them.

 “As a club we are very proud of the work to ensure that our matchday experience is inclusive for all.

“Both the club and our Community Trust work with many groups, both at Highbury and our Poolfoot Farm training ground, to make sure disabled fans and players get to enjoy this wonderful sport, whether they are spectators or players.

 “It was great to see the young amputee players on the pitch before the game and we wish them the very best out in Germany. We’re sure the Cod Army got to see some real stars of the future.”

The junior amputee players are closing in on their target of raising £5,000 to attend the European training camp. If you can help contact Elaine Oakey on 07759 959445. They are also holding a fund-raising night at the Guards Club, Whitegate Drive, Blackpool, on Saturday March 23 from 6pm. Auction and raffle prizes welcomed.

To find out more about the work of Level Playing Field and its #WeeksofAction go to www.levelplayingfield.org.uk

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Jamie’s Story Inspires Cod Army To Back England’s Young Amputee Footballers

The inspirational story of a young footballer born with only one foot has led to Fleetwood Town chairman Andy Pilley backing England’s next generation of amputee players.

Jamie Oakey was born prematurely and weighing only 2lb 4oz after his mum Elaine was involved in a serious accident.

Fast forward 15 years and the Blackpool teenager has been named in the England Amputee FA’s Under-23 squad.

Jamie – who was born without a right foot and a short right leg – is also part of a group of junior players hoping to take part in an international training camp in Hoffenheim, Germany, in July.

To get there the young amputees and their families need raise £5,000 and so Jamie’s mum approached Fleetwood Town.

Chairman Andy Pilley was so moved by Jamie’s story he has not only offered financial support for the Germany training camp but is giving the England squad free use of the Cod Army’s state-of-the-art £9m Poolfoot Farm training base whenever they need it.

Andy said: “Jamie’s story is truly inspirational. When I heard about him and his team-mates, and then meeting his mum Elaine, I knew I just had to help.

“He is a local lad who has already achieved so much and so anything we can do to help him and his team-mates we’ll do it.

“I’m delighted to offer financial support for the Germany trip in July, but more importantly for me is to offer the England squad free use of our wonderful facilities here at Poolfoot anytime they need them.

“It was a privilege for me to meet Jamie and his mum and I wish the lads every success out in Germany. We cannot wait to welcome them here to Poolfoot in the future.”

As well as being part of the national squad Jamie is the youngest player ever selected to represent Everton FC in a Champions League match.

Proud mum Elaine said: “All these boys are totally amazing, inspirational superhumans who have overcome so much to be able to play the sport they love.

“The lads are amputees for various reasons, whether it be a birth defect, cancer or serious accident. They are truly remarkable, and nothing holds these kids back. However, due to funding limitations, players’ families need to raise money to meet travel and kit costs.

“I can’t thank Andy Pilley enough for his support. The donation for the Germany trip, which is a great opportunity for these young lads, together with the offer of the use of Fleetwood’s training ground, really means a lot – thank you Fleetwood Town!”

All national squads are supported by the England Amputee Football Association (EAFA), a registered charity, and the annual European training camp is co-ordinated by the European Amputee Football Federation (EAFF).

EAFA Chairman Steve Johnson said: “This is a fantastic social interaction opportunity for young amputees involved in our organisation to travel to Germany and meet other young amputees from various countries around Europe.

“I would like to thank Andy Pilley for his really generous donation towards this training camp to enable the young amputees to attend.”

The young amputee squad will also get to see Fleetwood Town in action as they have been invited to the Cod Army’s home game against Gillingham on March 2 – the club’s Junior Football Day which celebrates young grassroots players.

If you would like more information or to support the England Amputee Football Association visit www.theeafa.co.uk

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‘Dream Team’ Rose and Rimmer reunite in bid for titles

Champion boxer Brian Rose has teamed up with long-time coach and mentor Bobby Rimmer in his bid for titles.

The Blackpool middleweight is midway through a “punishing” training camp in California ahead of his eagerly-awaited return to the ring in April.

And Brian – who is sponsored by Fleetwood Town FC and club chairman Andy Pilley’s Lancashire-based businesses BES Utilities and Card Saver – is delighted to have Bobby back in his corner after a break of 18 months.

Brian said: “All my best moments in my career have come with Bobby by my side. He not only helps get me physically right, but mentally right and I’m delighted we are back together. I need him in my life, it’s the dream team!”

Brian and Bobby flew out to the States in January for an intensive eight-week training camp. They are based at Tiki Ghosn’s Huntington Beach Ultimate Training Centre where Brian is training alongside former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion and Mixed Martial Arts Hall of Famer Quinton ‘Rampage’ Jackson.

Working with renowned strength coach Paul Herrera and nutritionist Eric Huerta, the hard work is already paying off.

Brian says he is now focused on returning to light middleweight, the division where he enjoyed most success in his illustrious career, which included a British championship and a fight for the WBO World Super Welterweight Title in 2014,

The boxer, who celebrates his 34th birthday today with another tough training session in the States, added: “It’s full on here, it’s punishing stuff. There is no time to celebrate my birthday.

“The reason I came here was to be taken out of my comfort zone. Being away from home and my family means I am totally focused. These last few weeks have shown me what I need to do and what levels I need to reach to be challenging for titles again.

“The facilities here are out of this world, there is everything I need. The training is very hard, but the focus and intensity are exactly what I need.

“I feel brilliant, the best I have in years, and I will be a force to be reckoned with when I get back in the ring.”

Bobby said he was delighted to again be coaching Brian full-time and believes the popular Lancashire fighter has a real shot at winning titles again.

He said: “I would not be here with Brian if I did not believe he had the hunger and desire to get back to the top. To make it as a top boxer you have to make so many sacrifices, especially at home, with your family and how you live your life.

“Brian is making these sacrifices because he wants to get back to be fighting at the very top. Since we’ve been here in California, we are starting to see the old, hungry Brian Rose again and it’s a joy to see.”

Brian returned to the ring last November with a points win over Alistair Warren. He is set to fight an, as yet, unnamed opponent in April.

Both Bobby and Brian praised the support from Fleetwood Town and Andy Pilley.

Brian said: “Without Andy and Fleetwood Town’s help none of this would be possible.

“He’s given me the opportunity to come here, safe in the knowledge everything is covered back home so I can concentrate on getting back to the level I know I am capable of reaching. The world’s my oyster with the backing and support of Andy and the Cod Army.”

Bobby added: “Brian’s sponsorship is brilliant and it means he gets access to amazing facilities, both at Fleetwood’s Poolfoot Farm training base and here in the States. Coming on training camps like this is going to make all the difference.”

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Fleetwood Town Chairman Pledges £10,000 To Help Tackle Bullying In Schools

Fleetwood Town FC have become the first national sponsor of a ground-breaking training programme aimed at tackling bullying in schools.

The League One club have joined forces with Human Behaviour Trainer and Success Coach, Norry Ascroft, by pledging £10,000 to enable the roll-out of an online teacher training program to 100 schools.

Norry started helping teachers, parents and children a decade ago after reading about a teenage girl who had committed suicide due to cyber bullying. This led him to start a campaign – MADD About Bullying, MADD standing for ‘Making A Direct Difference’.

He has now created an online teacher training programme which looks at the foundation of human behaviour together with strategies to tackle negative actions which can lead to bullying.

The MADD About Bullying programme has already been shared with 100 schools across Lancashire. Now, thanks to the £10,000 sponsorship from Fleetwood Town, another 100 schools in the North West will get access to the programme.

Norry said: “I can’t thank Fleetwood Town and their chairman Andy Pilley enough for their generosity which will make a direct difference in so many schools.

“We have had individuals sponsor up to 10 schools, but for Fleetwood Town to directly sponsor 100 is absolutely amazing. It’s even more special because Andy genuinely wants to help children reach their true potential.”

Andy, who together with his role at Fleetwood Town is managing director of Lancashire-based energy supplier BES Utilities and merchant service company Card Saver, said he was so moved by Norry’s passion for young people he had to get involved.

Andy said: “When you meet Norry you cannot help but be inspired by him and what he says. He is so passionate about wanting to help tackle bullying, which is not only an issue in schools but in many walks of life.

“Therefore, I’m delighted Fleetwood Town is able to team up with Norry and help roll out his excellent training programme to more schools across the North West. I believe Norry can make a real difference and so we are delighted to be his first national sponsor.” 

The MADD About Bullying training programme, which is presented through a series of engaging video modules, is funded entirely through sponsors and is delivered to schools free of charge.

Blackpool-based Norry, who says the course ‘psychologically gets to the root problem’, added: “Training teachers, parents and children, about the behaviour weaknesses that drive bullying is the only way we are going to make a real difference.

“Bullying is still the main reason behind our children’s low self-esteem, low confidence, and poor mental health. When a problem keeps getting worse you have to change your response to what is already being used. This course is different to what has already been used, and it has to be.“At the lowest level of bullying our children are being held back from reaching their true potential and, at worst, bullying is causing more mental health problems and an increase in teenage suicides. This is why I’m so passionate about the bullying problem.”

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Fleetwood Town Chairman Returns To His Roots To Help Youngsters Chase Their Football Dreams

Andy Pilley has returned to the park he played at as a boy to help local youngsters chase their own football dreams.

In a new partnership, Fleetwood Town will now help maintain the football pitches at East Pines Park, Anchorsholme.

Although the park is lovingly looked after by a dedicated ‘Friends’ group it has suffered in recent months through a spate of anti-social behaviour while poor drainage often left the pitches unplayable.

On hearing about the issues, Fleetwood Town chairman Andy decided to get involved.  He said: “I played football at East Pines Park as a young lad and myself and my mates had some great times there.

“However, the pitches have never been the best – in fact, the goalposts don’t even line up!

“So, when I was approached by the Friends group, I knew this is something I would love to get involved with.

“The Friends group does an amazing job and it has won a £10,000 Postcode Lottery grant allowing new drainage to be installed, together with a new playing surface and nets. But to keep the pitches in good condition they need to be maintained properly.

“We are delighted to announce that grounds staff from Fleetwood Town will look after the pitches. I am really pleased to be able to give something back to the community where I grew up.”

The Friends of East Pines Park are made up of local councillors and volunteers who do tireless work in maintaining the park.

Since 2015, the group has secured funding and raised money allowing them to install £45,000 of new play equipment, erect £28,000 of new railings, plant more than 4,000 plants and open a café at Anchorsholme Library.

Earlier this year the park was named ‘Best Park in Blackpool’ in the Blackpool In Bloom awards

Cllr Paul Galley, who is chairman of the Friends group, said he was delighted Andy and Fleetwood Town were getting involved.

Cllr Galley said:  “The park is much-loved and well used. The Friends group has done so much to transform it into a place to be used by the whole community.

“However, this year there has been a number of anti-social behaviour issues and we are determined that this doesn’t happen again.

“Both myself and my fellow Anchorsholme councillor Tony Williams have made it a priority to have a number of options in place for teenagers to be involved within 2019 and onwards. These new pitches, looked after by a Football League club, will be the best around!

“We can’t thank Andy Pilley enough. Both he and Fleetwood Town have been absolutely amazing and this new partnership with the ‘Cod Army’ will have a massive positive impact on the park.”

(4) Fleetwood Town grounds staff at East Pines Park (2) The unaligned goalposts before work began at East Pines Park (3) Poor drainage led to flooding at the park

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The Lion Is Ready To Roar Again With The Support Of The Cod Army

Brian ‘The Lion’ Rose is back – and he has Fleetwood Town in his corner.

Brian ‘The Lion’ Rose is back – and he has Fleetwood Town in his corner.

The former British champion is set to return to the ring next month after 15 months away from boxing.

And the Blackpool middleweight is being supported on his road back to the top by Fleetwood Town FC and their owner Andy Pilley.

The League One Club – together with Andy’s Lancashire-based businesses BES Utilities and Card Saver – are now Brian’s headline sponsors.

They will be roaring ‘The Lion’ on to victory when he makes his return on November 11 at Manchester’s Victoria Warehouse.

Brian, who won the coveted Lonsdale belt in 2012 and fought for the WBO World Super Welterweight Title in 2014, says he has never felt better and has his eyes on winning titles again.

He said: “The Lion is back and I’m in the shape of my life.

“I can’t thank Fleetwood Town and Andy Pilley enough for supporting me on this next chapter of my career. It will be the final chapter, but it will be the best chapter.

“Fleetwood’s backing means I can focus 100 per cent on my boxing. On top of the financial support, I can use all of the club’s facilities at their state-of-the-art Poolfoot Farm training base. The facilities and staff are brilliant and the best I’ve ever had access to.

“The club and Andy have been superb, and I want to repay their support by winning titles again.”

Brian, 33, whose professional career has included 29 victories and countless memorable nights in the ring, has not fought since challenging for the World Boxing Association International Middleweight Title in February 2017.

But since returning to training, under the watchful eye of Robert Rimmer – the son of his long-time mentor Bobby Rimmer – Brian’s sharpness and hunger have returned.

Brian added: “I’ve had 15 months away from boxing and in that time I’ve matured as an athlete, both mentally and physically. I’ve never felt better – I’m in the shape of my life.

“I’m not coming back for the money, this is about professional pride and unfinished business. I don’t want to end my career with any regrets and there’s no doubt I believe I can win titles again.

“I know I’ve fought for world titles and won a Lonsdale Belt, but I know that I’m capable of coming back and achieving even more than I already have.

“I truly think I could get another shot at a world title. I’m seeing people now winning world titles that I feel are not as good as me and that’s another thing that drives me on. I’m back and I’m back with a mission!”

Andy Pilley, chairman of Fleetwood Town FC, BES Utilities and Card Saver, said his club and companies are backing Brian to return to the top. He said: “Brian is a fantastic boxer and a wonderful guy.

“He’s a local lad whose desire and drive to get back to the top is infectious. We are delighted to be helping him in this way.

“Poolfoot Farm is a facility we are very proud of. We have given Brian free use of all the facilities, including access to our coaches and physios, which will hopefully help him on his way back to the top.

“Brian will be proudly wearing our club crest on his shorts when he steps back into the ring in November and we’re sure every member of the Cod Army will be roaring him on.”

 

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Card Saver Boost For Fylde Coast Hospice Care

Lancashire entrepreneur Andy Pilley is supporting the Fylde coast’s hospice services by making it easier for people to donate money.

Through Blackpool-based Card Saver, merchant service terminals have been donated to Trinity Hospice and Brian House Children’s Hospice enabling members of the public to swiftly donate cash by card rather than having to look for loose change.

Andy was encouraged to donate the card payment terminals free of charge to Trinity and Brian House after being contacted by local fund-raiser Andy Charles who has raised more than £70k for Brian House through a series of sporting challenges.

Andy Charles said he is delighted Andy Pilley has been able to help. Andy Charles said: “I approached Andy Pilley as in my experience, collecting by cash and by text is difficult in the digital revolution.

“Making it easy for people to donate gives the chance to donate for those who choose to be cashless and embrace contactless technology.”

The Trinity and Brian House team have wasted no time putting the terminals to action as they encouraged concert-goers to donate using the Card Saver terminals when they were charity partners at the recent Lytham Festival.

Trinity Hospice and Brian House Head of Fundraising Linzi Warburton, said: “We are incredibly grateful to everyone at Card Saver for these new card machines.

“These days, making card payments is so easy that people often don’t carry cash on them. This can affect charities like us as people just don’t have anything to put in our charity collection buckets or to make spur-of-the-moment purchases like for our raffle tickets.

“It was great to be able to have the machines ready for our night at Lytham Festival, where people commented it was definitely easier for them to be able to support our charity by using them. This will make a huge difference for us.”

Card Saver supplies credit and debit card machines to businesses both locally and across the UK employing more than 100 people at its Bispham offices.

Andy Pilley said: “I am absolutely delighted that through Card Saver we are able to help both Trinity Hospice and Brian House Children’s Hospice.

“We’re moving more and more into a cashless society, so it makes absolute sense that people should be able to donate easily using their credit or debit card when they see these amazing charities collecting.

“Hopefully by providing these merchant service terminals free of charge Trinity and Brian House will see donations rise at their many events.

“Both facilities provide the most wonderful care, so I am happy that through my business we are able to support them in this way.”

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Joey Barton to be appointed new Head Coach

Fleetwood Town can confirm an agreement has been reached which will see Joey Barton named Head Coach on June 2nd.

The vastly experienced 35-year-old, who excelled during his top-flight playing career with the likes of Manchester City, Queens Park Rangers and most recently Burnley, will take charge of the club’s first team this summer after signing a three-year deal.

On the news, Barton said: “I’m very excited by the challenge and the project at Fleetwood Town.

“It’s a club I’ve known for a long time, and a chairman I already have a very good relationship with.

“My first job in management was always going to be a big decision for me and I’m delighted with the opportunity ahead, I’m joining a club with big ambitions. I’m looking forward to getting started on June 2nd.”

Andy added: “This is a huge appointment for Fleetwood Town Football Club and one I’m very excited about.

“Joey not only brings a host of experience and profile, but I also feel he has the potential to become one of the best in the new generation of coaches”

“He’s someone I’ve known for a number of years and I am convinced he’s ready to make the step into management, and that he will be a huge success.

“Joey will be able to build-on the fantastic work done by John Sheridan during the last couple of months, one he deserves huge credit for.

John joined us on a short term arrangement with the aim of keeping us in League One and I’m delighted he’s been able to do that.

“Today’s news signals a new chapter for Fleetwood Town which starts on June 2nd, and one which we are all excited about.”

Andy has spoken to Fleetwood Town’s media team following the recent news about the managerial changes at the club.

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Major boost for Fylde Coast as BES Utilities creates 50 new jobs

Lancashire-based energy supplier BES Utilities is creating 50 new jobs.

The company, which turns over more than £100m per year, currently employs almost 200 staff at its Fleetwood headquarters.

As the business continues to expand in the hugely competitive non-domestic energy sector, BES founder and chairman Andy Pilley today announced the creation of 50 new roles.

The jobs – which cover all areas of the business from Customer Services, Operations, Human Resources to Business Support Services – will be based in Fleetwood.

A two-day recruitment event will now take place on May 2nd and 3rd for potential candidates to learn more about the roles which range from apprenticeships to management positions.

Andy said: “We have seen fantastic growth since we set the company up in 2005.

“The business continues to go from strength-to-strength, so we are delighted to announce we are creating these 50 new roles here in Fleetwood.

“We want to find ambitious people who want to become a part of our future success, while offering them not just jobs, but real careers and life-changing opportunities.”

Andy’s BES Group, which include BES Utilities, merchant services company Card Saver, Fleetwood Town Football Club and the Poolfoot Farm Sports & Leisure Complex, employs more than 600 people from across the Fylde coast.

Andy added: “We are proud to be a Fleetwood-based business and one of the biggest employers on the Fylde coast.

“The recruitment event is a great way to showcase our business and the career paths available to local people. We want to see as many people as possible, with varying skill sets. These could be entry level apprentices or experienced and highly-skilled people looking for a fresh challenge.

“Over the years we have helped many people realise their untapped potential, develop their skills and open new opportunities, and that is what we are looking to do here again.”

The May 2nd and 3rd recruitment days will run into the evening to allow people the chance to attend outside of normal office hours.

Those who attend, will be able to find out more about BES, the roles on offer and how their skills could fit in the business or with other BES Group companies.

To find out more about the recruitment days and how to get involved, please visit BES’ website.

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BES Utilities successfully ends 3 year online hate campaign

In January 2018, BES Utilities successfully concluded a legal action against two individuals who had orchestrated a long-running online hate campaign against the company, its directors, employees and legal representatives. The defendants, Oliver Mooney and Neil Scrivener, had published numerous abusive and inaccurate articles and blog posts including (sometimes doctored) images of Andy Pilley, his young family and others.

It appeared that large amounts of inaccurate information had been sent to by the defendants to Trading Standards, Ofgem and others. Evidence shown to the court also indicated that the men had discussed teaming up with an energy brokerage, whereby they would receive payment for forwarding customer details to the broker, who would then attempt to move customers from BES to other energy suppliers in return for a commission payment. They had also requested large sums of money from BES in return for ceasing their campaign. The defendants had also published homophobic images of Mr Pilley and others, plus shared photos online of employees’ young children.

The defendants in the case provided undertakings to the court to remove the content they had published in relation to Mr Pilley, his companies and all employees, agents and representatives. Both men were issued with court orders including penal notices which prevents further interference with BES, its directors or associated businesses.

If the men fail to comply with the order they may be held in contempt of court and could be fined or imprisoned. The court has also ordered that if the defendants breach the undertakings, they will be required to pay £250,000 towards BES’s substantial legal costs. They also signed the following statement: “We withdraw any allegation of fraud or dishonesty against Business Energy Solutions Limited and BES Commercial Electricity Limited, their directors, officers, agents, legal advisers and other professional representatives”.

Following a raid of BES and Commercial Power in July 2016, which it appears may have been influenced by the actions of the defendants, a claim for damages equating to £8.6m was launched against Cheshire West and Chester Trading Standards in late 2017. These proceedings are ongoing.

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