My Football Passion

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Cod Army pitches in to transform park for footballers young and old

A once forlorn football pitch is bringing players of all ages together thanks to a stunning transformation led by Fleetwood Town.

The pitch in East Pines Park, Anchorsholme, was in a rather sorry state until the Cod Army’s grounds team got involved.

Town chairman Andy Pilley – who grew up nearby – pledged to help revamp the facilities after he was approached by the Friends of East Pines Park.

Now, following extensive improvement work, which includes drainage and a new marked-out playing surface and goals, the pitch plays host to a variety of community football sessions for youngsters. There are also weekly walking football sessions for older players.

And the new facilities have already been credited with reducing instances of anti-social behaviour in the area.

Visiting the park to see the stunning transformation for himself, Andy said: “I grew up near the park and know it very well. It’s an important open space for local residents that sadly, until the Friends group got involved, was in a rather sorry state.

“I’m delighted that as a local lad I’ve been able to assist the great work the Friends group does. The pitch now looks fantastic – I’d hazard a guess it’s probably the best park pitch on the Fylde coast!

“What is great to see is that since the work was carried out so many groups are now using the pitch. The club is committed to helping with its upkeep and we hope this is the start of something really special for Anchorsholme residents young and old.”

(3) Anchorsholme youngsters check out the new pitch at East Pines Park.JPG

Together with the help of Fleetwood Town, the Friends group– which is made up of a dedicated band of volunteers and local councillors – has secured grants from Sport England and the Lancashire Crime Commissioner.

This has enabled the creation of coaching sessions for under-11 to under-16 age ranges. The sessions, run by Sport Blackpool in association with coaches from Blackpool and The Fylde College, involve around 50 youngsters.

Cllr Paul Galley, who represents Anchorsholme ward, said: “Andy and Fleetwood Town have been amazing. With their support we have been able to create a truly wonderful playing surface. It has proper drainage, is correctly marked out, goals, nets, corner flags and is something the whole community is rightly proud of.

“The impact of the pitch and coaching sessions, together with our message of respect for the park, respect for other residents and respect for the local community, has helped reduce anti-social behaviour in the park massively.

“Our next step is to create several East Pines Park five-a-side teams that can play in the leagues at Fleetwood Town’s Poolfoot Farm training complex. Again, Andy has generously agreed to help us on that journey.

“Through Andy and Fleetwood Town’s support and guidance, we are creating an amazing footballing and sports legacy which will positively shape the lives of people of our young people for a generation to come.”

Since 2015, the Friends of East Pines Park 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. In 2018 the park was named ‘Best Park in Blackpool’ in the Blackpool In Bloom awards.

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Cod Army chairman helps youngsters get on the ball with their very own pitch

Football-mad youngsters living at a Salvation Army Lifehouse have now got their very own pitch to play on thanks to Fleetwood Town Football Club chairman Andy Pilley.

The Cod Army was approached by the charity with a view to donating footballs to assist young residents living in temporary supported accommodation, George Williams House. 

However, Andy was so moved by the fantastic work done by The Salvation Army he arranged for the club’s grounds staff to visit George Williams House in Fleetwood which offers support and services to young people and families facing homelessness.

The Highbury team cleared an overgrown garden area and created a football pitch for residents to use. Fleetwood Town’s Community Trust also donated goals, nets and footballs. 

James Scott, Salvation Army Support Worker, said: “We can’t thank Andy and the team at Fleetwood Town enough for their hard work and generosity in getting our garden back into use.

“Since the work they’ve carried out our younger residents have been playing football every evening after school and all day at the weekend.

“It’s a much-needed resource and this was a very generous gesture from Fleetwood Town FC. This offers the children a valuable chance to meet other young residents in a safe environment allowing them to have fun in a healthy way.”

Andy Pilley said: “Fleetwood Town is a real community club and when I heard about the great work The Salvation Army does in Fleetwood I was only too happy to help.

“Our grounds staff not only do brilliant work at Highbury, and our Poolfoot Farm training base, but in the community through our Community Trust.

“It is wonderful to see the transformation of the garden area at George Williams House and we hope the young people living there have many happy hours playing football with their friends and family.”

As well receiving temporary accommodation, residents at George Williams House are helped with gaining access to GPs, mental health support services and assistance with any health issues they may face.

This can include accessing help from agencies who work with people struggling with addiction issues.

Staff also offer support with money management when residents move on to their new home as well as tenancy training to ensure they sustain their new accommodation.

For more details about Fleetwood Town Community Trust’s work in the community go to www.fleetwoodtownfcct.com and for information about The Salvation Army go to www.salvationarmy.org.uk

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Onward Card prices launched for 2019/20 season

Adult card prices FROZEN as younger fans reap rewards of great deal

Fleetwood Town are delighted to announce a PRICE FREEZE for all adult Onward Cards for the 2019/20 season.

And, in a massive boost for young fans and families, the price of an Onward Card for all Under-16s has been slashed to just £23 a season for standing and £50 for seating.  

That is asaving of up to £40 and means young fans can watch the Cod Army next season for from as little as JUST £1 A MATCH!

Onward Cards for the 2019/20 season go on sale at 9am Tuesday May 7th.

The cards, which replaced traditional season tickets at Highbury last summer, not only give supporters entry to all 23 Sky Bet League One home matches but an exclusive range of offers and discounts across the club and its partners.

Onward Card packages are available to buy in full or with 10 monthly instalments using the club’s partnership with Card Saver and their Fan Pay service.

Adult prices start from just £17 per month, with Seniors and Under-25 Onward Cards £12 per month and Under 16s from £2.30 per month. Supporters under the age of five are free with a paying adult.

Fleetwood Town chairman Andy Pilley said“We are delighted to be able to not only freeze the price of the Onward Card for all adult supporters but massively reduce the price for Under-16s.

“We pride ourselves on being a true family club and providing real value for money for our loyal and brilliant fans. With packages starting at £2.30 per month for juniors and £17 for adults we feel we are offering fans a real bargain.

“This is a very exciting time for Fleetwood Town and we want as many families and young fans here at Highbury to enjoy this journey as we go ‘Onward Together’.”

Existing Onward Card holders have until 5pm on Tuesday May 28th to secure their seats for the new season. After this date, their seat will be available to purchase on general sale. Card holders should also retain their existing Onward Card as they will be revalidated upon renewing.

The Onward Card will be split into three different pricing structures, available on both monthly and annual plans. The Standing prices are for the Memorial Stand, with the Seating for both the Parkside and Highbury Stand. The Premium pricing is for Block D of the Parkside Stand only. A new improved Family Zone has been created in the Parkside Stand, located in Block A.

Monthly Onward Card Pricing
(10 monthly payments)
 StandingSeatingPremium
Adult£17.00£24.00£30.00
Senior£12.00£18.00£24.00
Under 25£12.00£18.00£24.00
Under 16£2.30£5.00£5.00


A number of existing Onward Card holders signed up for the club’s auto renewal process. Payments for the new season will be taken out of your account on July 1st. The club will be contacting members directly via e-mail and post over the next 48 hours.

If you wish to upgrade, move your ticket to another part of the ground, or switch to monthly payments, please contact the club directly via onward@fleetwoodtownfc.com

For fans who would like to pay up front, Onward Cards are available from £170 for adults, £120 for Seniors and Under 25s and £23 for Under-16s. An administration charge is applicable for cash sales.

Onward Cards are available to buy from Tuesday 7th May at 9am, over the phone by calling (01253) 775080, in person at the Club Shop at Highbury Stadium, or online at www.onwardcard.co.uk

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Fleetwood Town launches International Football Academy in global search for talent

Fleetwood Town is today proud to announce the launch of its very own International Football Academy (FTIFA).

Based at the English Football League (EFL) club’s £10m Poolfoot Farm training base, the academy is open to aspiring players from around the world.

Through a series of structured four, 12 and 24-week residential courses, FTIFA provides players with an unrivalled platform to help realise their dreams of making it as a professional footballer.

Players not only receive expert UEFA-qualified coaching, bespoke training programmes – all tailored to their individual skills and development needs – but the opportunity to showcase their talents in front of scouts representing clubs in the UK and abroad.

The first players enrolled at FTIFA – who hail from as far afield as America, Africa, India and the Middle East – are already experiencing the full range of benefits this unique academy has to offer.

Fleetwood Town chairman Andy Pilley said: “Football is a global game and we know there is a huge amount of untapped talent out there.

“Our sensational training facilities here at Poolfoot Farm are among the best in the UK and so we want to open our doors to aspiring players, wherever they live, and give them the opportunity to learn from our top coaches.

“They will not only get the chance to train alongside our pro players and experience Premier League-standard facilities, but they will be able to showcase their talents to not only us but clubs here in the UK and around the world.

“Fleetwood Town is perhaps most famous internationally as the place where Jamie Vardy cut his teeth before becoming the Premier League star he is today. Who knows where FTIFA will lead us, maybe we’ll discover the next Jamie Vardy!

“This is a very exciting development for Fleetwood Town and the Fylde coast – it’s a true global search for football talent and we cannot wait to see what we discover.”

FTIFA is now being marketed around the world and academy managers have just returned from a promotional trip to Europe where they have been in talks with clubs and agents.

Mick Horsfall, FTIFA Head of Operations, said: “What makes this academy unique, compared to others in the UK, is that it is based within a professional football club.

“Every player that comes here will be treated like a pro footballer and get a true pro football experience. They will train alongside our first team, development and academy squads and be coached and mentored by FTFC’s elite academy coaches.

“They all get access to our stunning state-of-the art facilities which include top class FIFA-grade training pitches, gym and physiotherapy suite, classrooms and they eat in the same restaurant as the first team.

“Individual development is key. Players will be constantly assessed and evaluated, and their progress will be discussed with them throughout. Through bespoke training programmes and in-depth analysis we can clearly track their development and improvement.

“The aim is to make them better players, and be better equipped to make it. Their time at the academy really could be the start of these players’ pro careers.”

Among the first to join FTIFA is 24-year-old Godswill Erbahor from Nigeria, he added: “It’s extraordinary here. The facilities are amazing, the pitches, the physios, the gym it has all been amazing.

“The coaches work with us individually to look at our specific traits, our weaknesses and strengths. They really care about us footballers. The football is high quality. To see the elite players train here every day inspires you to be like them. I can learn so much from them.”

Jaylan White, 22, from New York followed up by saying: “Every day is a new experience and you are always learning. The coaches are always trying to better you as a player and that is what you need. This is one of the best facilities I’ve ever seen and I’m living my football dream here!”

To find out more information about the training packages available at Fleetwood Town International Football Academy (FTIFA) visit www.ftifa.co.uk or call 01253 208440.

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Card Saver Teams Up With Blackpool FC To Give Fans Hassle-Free Payment Options

Card Saver is today delighted to announce it is Blackpool Football Club’s new payment technology provider – a partnership which will allow fans to buy tickets and merchandise via a range of hassle-free methods.

The Blackpool-based payment solutions company – set up and led by Lancashire entrepreneur Andy Pilley – will now provide all cashless payment services at the League One club.

This will enable fans who want to buy tickets, merchandise or food and drink at Blackpool’s Bloomfield Road stadium the opportunity to do so through quick, easy and secure payments via either debit and credit cards, or Apple and Google Pay.

Thousands of Seasiders’ fans are expected to return to Bloomfield Road for this Saturday’s home League game with Southend. This has already led to large queues outside the club’s ticket office.

Andy Pilley, who is chairman of the Seasiders’ League One rivals Fleetwood Town, said: “Myself and Card Saver are delighted to be the new payment technology providers for Blackpool Football Club.

“Blackpool FC and Fleetwood Town are rivals on the pitch for 180 minutes every season, but we are also Fylde coast neighbours and so I’m delighted my company is partnering with the Seasiders in this way.

“You can clearly see from the crowds that have already been queuing up to get tickets there is huge excitement building ahead of Saturday’s game.

“The new board at Blackpool contacted me to say they needed a new card services and contactless payments provider and asked whether we could help.

“We have now installed 25 payment terminals covering all areas of the club, from the ticket office, club shop and in the hospitality and food and beverage areas.

“I am delighted Card Saver is able to provide payment solutions for this proud and historic football club as they and their fans enter a new era.”

Card Saver was set up in 2015 and has thousands of business customers across the UK. Together with many high street stores, SME businesses and charities it works with several football clubs, including Fleetwood Town and Premier League Burnley FC.

Ben Hatton, Blackpool FC’s Executive and Managing Director, said: “We are extremely grateful to Andy Pilley, and to everyone at Card Saver for coming in at short notice and pulling out all the stops in order to get us up and running for the game this Saturday.

“These new payment terminals will make a huge difference, particularly at the kiosks in the stadium. With contactless payments available to all supporters it should significantly speed up the time taken to serve people.

“It has been heart-warming to experience the swell of support for the club in the last week or so, and the fact Andy, the chairman of a neighbouring rival League One club, has been so helpful is a fantastic example of the football family pulling together.”

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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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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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Town appoint new Head of Academy

Fleetwood Town have hired former Blackpool academy manager Ciaran Donnelly, just days after he guided the Tangerine youth team to the league title.

“He’s someone we’ve known for a long time following his brief spell here as a player and have more recently monitored the excellent job he’s done at Blackpool.

“Last season he managed the league and cup double with his U18s side and we believe we have appointed one of the top young prospects around to run our academy”

To read the full story, visit the original ‘Blackpool youth team boss in shock move to Fleetwood‘ story.

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Fleetwood Town posted a £4.5m pre-tax profit

Fleetwood Town not only escaped relegation last term but the club also returned to the black as recently released accounts show they posted a £4.5m pre-tax profit.

It took a final day win over Crewe Alexandra to ensure Town’s League One status last season but they have gone from strength to strength on the pitch this term.

To read the full story, visit the original ‘Town profit from their success in League One‘ story.

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Thousands turn out in support of Fernando Ricksen in Fleetwood

An England Select side featuring Darren Anderton and Lee Hendrie beat Rangers Legends 3-2 in a star-studded friendly to raise money for Fernando Ricksen’s MND foundation.

Former Gers and Holland star Ricksen was diagnosed with an aggressive Motor Neurone Disease in 2013 and watched the game from a dugout.

To read the full story, visit the original ‘Thousands turn out in support of Fernando Ricksen as Rangers Legends beaten by England Select XI at Fleetwood‘ story.

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