Just over a decade ago AFC Fylde and Salford City were so far apart, one of the clubs had a different name and the others had a different colour for a home kit.
Fylde were named Kirkham & Wesham until the 2008/09 season before winning the FA Vase at Wembley, the same venue of the play-off final. Salford’s main kit was orange until a controversial colour change following on from the takeover that changed Non-League forever. 2014 was the year the Ammies found fame, following the takeover of The Class of 92.
It’s fair to say Fylde and Salford have more than ambitious owners. As near neighbours, Blackpool have suffered aplenty under the Oysten Family, the new up and coming Lancashire club have been doing the complete opposite. Under chairman David Haythornthwaite, a top of the range stadium and academy named Mill Farm has been constructed.
Now with Haythornwaite’s backing, they too have aimed to make the Football League. 2022 is their desired aim for League Two football, meaning if David Chanillor’s men come up short against Salford, they’re still ahead of progress to one day be in England’s top 92 teams. Alongside businessman Peter Lim, Gary Neville and co have something similar planned at the Peninsula Stadium.
Both teams have clear objectives, but by sunset tomorrow one side will have exceeded all aims and objectives. By August one of Fylde or Salford will welcome Oldham, Scunthorpe or Bradford to their respective stadia, while the other dust themselves down and goes again in the league they’ve spent nine months trying to get out of.
For Graham Alexander at Salford, promotion to the football league would be nothing short of his set standards. Only over a year ago Alexander was managing Scunthorpe in League One, come next season he may be taking his present team back to Glanford Park in League Two where the Irons have now been relegated to.
The former Scunthorpe and Fleetwood Town boss has been working with a lucrative budget this season, the reason why few eyebrows were raised when he made the rare step down in league quality. Most likely one of the few clubs below the Championship, let alone the National League to be able to have £4,000 a week Adam Rooney within his ranks, managing the club neighbouring Man United and City certainly holds a fair few bonuses.
But with money comes expectation and Salford have revelled in that. Set for another promotion, possibly their fourth in five seasons, working out where the momentum will end for the Ammies has been impossible. Working out where that will stop with victory tomorrow is a troublesome task as well.
Signings from Bristol Rovers (Rory Gaffney) and Chesterfield (Scott Wiseman) have helped Salford in their attempt to complete the last leg of their Non-League journey. In their way stand the club of the Fylde Coast. After finishing 5th in the regular league season and taking down Solihull Moors in last Sunday’s semi-final, they now have dreams and expectations of their own.