We kick-off a new series of articles taking a closer look at each and every team we'll face during the 2017/18 National League campaign.
Nickname: The Coasters
Who’s in charge?
Former Tranmere Rovers and Bury star Dave Challinor has been the boss at AFC Fylde since November 2011, leaving Colwyn Bay to take up the post.
A no-nonsense defender during his playing days, Challinor came to prominence when his throw-in was officially recognised as the longest in football when he hurled it almost 50 metres in 1998.
Chester-born Challinor has enjoyed good success with AFC Fylde, having guided them to the Northern Premier League Division North title in his first season in charge and then promotion to the National League last term.
How did they get on last season?
The Coasters coasted to promotion from the National League North last season, winning the title after finishing six points clear of second-placed Kidderminster Harriers.
They clinched promotion to the top tier of non-league football for the first time in their history in emphatic style and with a game to spare when they won 3-0 at Boston United.
It was a case of perseverance paying off for the Lancashire outfit who had suffered play-off agony in each of the previous two seasons.
When did we last meet?
This season’s fixtures will be the first time the two clubs have ever met in competitive action.
Where do they play?
AFC Fylde moved in to their new Mill Farm home at the start of the 2016/17 campaign, with the 6,000-seater stadium at the heart of a multi-million pound Sports Village.
When do we play them?
The National League fixtures are set to be released on around 5th July.
Mark Carruthers, of NonLeagueDaily.com, gives us his take on AFC Fylde…
“The Coasters are one of a number of “up and coming” non-league clubs and are fiercely ambitious. Owner David Haythornwaite has overseen a monumental transformation since taking over the club in 2011.
“He implemented a target of reaching the Football League before 2022 and has really put his money where his mouth is. In 2014, an Evo-Stik Northern Premier League play-off win over Ashton United saw the Coasters move within two promotions of their Chairman’s ambitious target.
“Two became one last season as they won the National League North by six points, in no small part down to the forty seven league goals scored by striker Danny Rowe, who was subsequently named as the league’s Player of the Year.
“There were significant moves off the pitch last season too, with the club moving to a full-time, professional status and they moved into a new 6,000 capacity stadium at Mill Farm, which is part of a community sports complex that cost around £18m.
“After spending time visiting their previous Kellamergh Park home during my time as Press Officer at Blyth Spartans it is safe to say the contrast between their old and new home could now be any bigger.
“Kellamergh Park’s capacity was around 3,000, and had a fine view of farmer’s fields full of sheep and most of the facilities were actually portacabins.
“Their new home is as impressive a stadium as I have seen in non-league, the main stand holds around 2,000 and wouldn’t look out of place in the Championship. There are plans to expand Mill Farm even further.
“Their manager is former Tranmere Rovers defender Dave Challinor. He became famous for having the longest throw in football in the early 2000s, something Sunderland found out to their cost when Rovers knocked them out of the FA Cup in 2000. He is assisted by former Stockport County and Bury defender Colin Woodthorpe.
“During Challinor’s reign the Coasters have achieved three promotions in six seasons and reached the FA Cup First Round on three occasions, although that was as far as the runs went after defeats to Accrington Stanley (2012/13), Plymouth Argyle (2014/15) and Millwall (2015/16).
They are one to watch this season in the National League, fuelled by ambition and finance they could well be a decent outside bet for the play-offs this season.”