This evening AFC Fylde CEO, Jonty Castle, has confirmed that their women’s team is to be disbanded, citing the cause as the coronavirus pandemic.
This is desperately sad news and while I don’t want to vilify those involved in the men’s team it doesn’t sit well that just over a month ago AFC Fylde’s Chairman, David Haythornthwaite, assured supporters that “[AFC Fylde] is wholeheartedly committed to its women’s team and will ensure it remains a part of the club.” Statements like this bring into question the integrity of those involved.
The statement from Castle suggested that “We have spoken with Conrad and he is aware of the plans we have put in place, and we thank him for his understanding at this difficult and uncertain time. We wholeheartedly understand and accept this is not the news anyone wanted to give or to receive and everyone at the club would like to offer our best wishes to all current players and staff for their future careers.”
What does that even mean? ‘Thanks for your hard work but you can go now, bye.’
I can only imagine the anger, upset and betrayal Conrad Prendergast, Danielle Young and the rest of the squad must be feeling right now. Presently it appears that the squad are keeping dignified silence in public but from what I have heard is that those involved are understandably heartbroken.
My biggest fear is that AFC Fylde will not be the last women’s team tossed aside by their male counterparts.
You can read the full statement below:
With the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic across the world, I feel it is right that we offer the most transparent and clearest communication possible with regards to our current position.
I have had in-depth discussions with Chairman, David Haythornthwaite and we recognise that as a community based football club, AFC Fylde always wanted to operate a Women’s team.
The Women’s team, lead by manager, Conrad Prendergast has been a credit to the football club and the local area. However, due to the current and ongoing fluid situation regarding the COVID-19 virus, the Chairman has had to take the tough decision to disband the Women’s team in its current format.
We have spoken with Conrad and he is aware of the plans we have put in place, and we thank him for his understanding at this difficult and uncertain time.
We wholeheartedly understand and accept this is not the news anyone wanted to give, or to receive and everyone at the club would like to offer our best wishes to all current players and staff for their future careers.
I sincerely hope that all supporters both of the men’s and women’s team, along with all your families, are keeping safe and well at this difficult time.