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League Two Lowdown: Fleetwood

25 July 2013

Our look at Pompey's 2013/14 opponents continues with the Cod Army

Meetings with Pompey
Pompey and Fleetwood Town will meet for the first time during the 2013/14 season.

Fleetwood history
Fleetwood went through several incarnations on their path to league football, but the original side – Fleetwood FC – were formed in 1908.

They were champions of the Lancashire Combination in 1924 and also won the Lancashire Combination Cup in three successive seasons.

Keeping goal in the first of those cup triumphs was an 18-year-old named Frank Swift who was between the sticks for Manchester City when they beat Pompey in the 1934 FA Cup final. After playing 19 times for England, he tragically lost his life, aged 44, in the Munich air disaster.

After 60 years in the Lancashire Combination, Fleetwood were founder members of the Northern Premier League in 1968.

The highlight of these years was a Northern Premier League Cup triumph in 1972, but they were normally consigned to the bottom half of the table, finishing last in 1975 and 1976.

But this turned out to be the least of their worries and the club was soon forced to fold due to financial difficulties.

They reformed in 1977 as Fleetwood Town with many of the original personnel and were promoted to Division One of the North West Counties League in 1984, reaching the FA Vase final in the same season but losing 3-1 to Halesowen at Wembley.

They were Division One champions in 1988 and finished fourth in the Northern Premier League in 1991, before going the same way as their predecessors and folding in 1996.

But they reformed once more as Fleetwood Wanderers – although a sponsorship deal soon saw them renamed Fleetwood Freeport – and were placed in the North West Counties League.

The Cod Army were promoted to the Premier Division of the North West Counties League in 1999 and changed their name back to Fleetwood Town in 2002.

They rose through the leagues in impressive fashion, with successive promotions in 2005 and 2006 seeing them reach the Northern Premier League.

Fleetwood won that division in 2008 and reached the second round of the FA Cup for the first time the following year, attracting a then record crowd of 3,280 for a 3-2 defeat by Hartlepool.

Promotion to the Conference via the play-offs was achieved in 2010 – meaning that just 12 years after playing in the 13th tier of English football, Fleetwood were within touching distance of the Football League.

Fleetwood present
The club’s players all turned professional for the 2010/11 campaign and they reached the play-offs in their first season in the Conference, only to lose 8-1 to AFC Wimbledon over two legs.

But Fleetwood more than made up for that the following year and they reached the third round of the FA Cup – losing 5-1 to Blackpool – and won the league with two matches remaining thanks to a 29-match unbeaten run.

They made a steady start to life in the Football League, finishing 13th in League Two last term.

Information for Pompey fans
Away fans are housed in the covered Percy Ronson terrace, which holds 831 behind one of the goals. A further 300 seats are normally available in the Parkside Stand and this number can be increased if there is enough demand.

Jim’s Bar at the stadium welcomes away fans, but fills up quickly. The Highbury Club is adjacent to the away turnstile, but does not admit travelling supporters.

The Queens Hotel is a 15-minute walk from the ground, while more pubs and food outlets can be found with a stroll into town.

Travelling by road
Postcode: FY7 6TX
Distance from Fratton Park: 286.6 miles
Estimated drive time: 5 hours 4 minutes

Leave the M6 at Junction 32 and take the M55 towards Blackpool. Then leave the M55 at Junction 3 and take the A585 towards Fleetwood. On the outskirts of Fleetwood you will come to a roundabout with Blackpool and Fylde College on your left. Continue straight on towards Fleetwood, but after the roundabout take the first left into Copse Road. After about a mile, and as you pass Fleetwood fire station on your left, branch left and turn left onto Radcliffe Road (going back on yourself but in parallel with Copse Road). Then take the next right into Stanley Road and the stadium is at the bottom on your left. There is no away parking at the ground, but street parking is available in the area.

Travelling by rail
There is no station in Fleetwood. The closest is Poulton-le-Fylde, which is five miles away. You can get here via Preston. The 80 and 82 buses go from Poulton-le-Fylde to Fleetwood.

Blackpool North station is seven miles from the ground and the numbers 1 and 14 buses go from here to Fleetwood, as does the tram from Blackpool seafront.

A train from Portsmouth stations to Blackpool takes five hours and 31 minutes, including the change at Preston which you get to via London Euston. The standard fare to here or Poulton-le-Fylde is £106.40.

League Two fixtures
Pompey v Fleetwood: Saturday, September 21 (3pm)
Fleetwood v Pompey: Saturday, March 15 (3pm)

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