Fleetwood Town F.C. - Wikipedia

The Opposition

Fleetwood come to Nailsworth on Tuesday 18th April for the final evening kick-off of the season (7.45 pm).

When the 2 sides played each other on the 25th October last year in Fleetwood, the result was a 1-1 draw (Harvey Bunker’s 23rd minute opener cancelled out by a 70th minute leveller).

Known as ‘the Cod Army’, Fleetwood are one of the EFL’s smaller clubs.  They play at Highbury Stadium, the 3rd smallest ground in the EFL (only Salford & FGR are smaller), with a capacity of just over 5,300.

With its population of around 26,000, Fleetwood was the smallest town in England with a League club (until the promotion of FGR in 2017).

How are they doing?

With 14 defeats, 14 draws and 12 wins, Fleetwood have had a pretty solid season.  They are comfortably lower mid-table in 15th place.

They have done slightly better away from home than they have at home this season (more than half their goals have come on the road).  They score only marginally more goals than they concede (44 scored, 43 conceded) which suggests they are defensively difficult to break down and are good at grinding out results in tight games.  Only Burton Albion have succeeded in scoring 3 goals against them (beating them 3-2 in Fleetwood).  The Burton Albion result was unusual – most of their games are low-scoring affairs.

That said, they have matched some of the better teams during this season – they have beaten Peterborough twice and taken 4 points from their games against Plymouth and 4 points from their games against Derby.

GLASGOW, SCOTLAND - MAY 12: Celtic captain Scott Brown during the Scottish Premiership match between Celtic and St Johnstone at Celtic Park on May 12, 2021, in Glasgow, Scotland. (Photo by Alan Harvey / SNS Group)

Former Celtic captain Scott Brown has taken his first job in football management in charge of Fleetwood

Who to watch?

Shaun Rooney (no relation) who plays full back for Morecambe has fast become a fans favourite since his move from St Johnstone last summer.  Voted Morecambe’s Player of the Month in February, Rooney has scored 6 times this season and is his side’s 2nd highest scorer.  Not bad for a full back!

Sean Rooney (number 26) has been ever-present in the side this season.

Senegal-born Spaniard Carlos Mendes Gomes, Fleetwood’s number 7, is their top scorer this season.  The winger was sold by Fleetwood to Luton in 2021, then, after a season with Luton, was loaned back to Fleetwood in 2022.  He has 7 goals for the Cod Army this season.

Mendes Gomes began his career as a teenager at Athletico Madrid before a family move to the UK.

Atletico Madrid to Morecambe: Carlos Mendes Gomes' journey from La Liga to League Two | Football News | Sky Sports

Carlos Mendes Gomes – from Athletico to Morecambe.

The Club

Fleetwood gained promotion to the Football League in 2012, as champions of the (then) Conference National.  This was the first time a club from Fleetwood had ever played in the Football League.  In 2014 they won through the play-offs to be promoted to League 1.

The rapid rise of the club meant that long-serving defender, Nathan Pond, who played for the club between 2003 and 2018, entered the Guinness Book of Records having played in 7 different divisions for the club – ‘the most football (soccer) divisions played in for one club by an individual.’

The history of the football club goes back to 1908, but the club have been through 4 incarnations, most recently in 1997 when the club reformed as Fleetwood Wanderers (which became Fleetwood Town in 2002).

Double trouble as Town reveal two new mascots - News ...

Fleetwood’s mascots are the Captain Cods!  Fleetwood supporters are known as the cod army and the club’s nickname is either The Fishermen or, more usually nowadays, the Cod Army.  No prizes for guessing the town’s major industry until the start of a decline in the 1960’s!

Nathan Pond to join Salford City after 15-year spell at ...

Nathan Pond entered the Guinness Book of Records with Fleetwood

Highbury Stadium

Highbury Stadium’s Parkside Stand

A Record Breaker

In 2012 Fleetwood set the current record transfer fee for a non-league club when they sold Jamie Vardy to Leicester for reputedly £1 million plus add-ons potentially worth another £600,000.  Vardy had scored 31 times for Fleetwood in the 2011/12 season in the Conference Premier – the only season that Vardy was at the club after a move from FC Halifax Town.  He was the League’s top scorer that year, needless to say.

Rashford, Grealish & Vardy: Football's greatest 'how it started vs how it's going' stories | GiveMeSport

Jamie Vardy in his Fleetwood days

The Town

No part of Fleetwood is far from the sea (the town is surrounded on 3 sides).  Writer Bill Bryson described the view from its promenade across Morecambe Bay as ‘easily one of the most beautiful in the world’.  Fleetwood is in Lancashire, about 8 miles north of Blackpool (at the top end of the Blackpool Tramway).

Local football rivalries are with Blackpool, Morecambe & Accrington Stanley.

The town’s major employer these days is Lofthouse of Fleetwood, who manufacture the lozenge, Fisherman’s Friend, which is exported worldwide and is especially popular in Japan.

Fleetwood’s main export!