7 to 17 June, 2003
The NW Evening Mail reports how "A teenage burglar hid for 16 hours in an underground room in a failed bid to avoid capture by the police", after breaking into Barrow's Holker Street clubhouse "looking for alcopops. He got into the ground in the early hours before loading up an empty crisp box with bottles of booze. After setting off the club's new alarm system he took up a small hiding place. Police officers searched Barrow AFC's club bar but found nothing. The youth was eventually found around 16 hours later when police returned to the club after the alarm was set off for a second time".
Entry to Harrogate Town's pre-season friendly against a Leeds United XI will be £10.
Vauxhall Motors' defender Phil Brazier has chosen to join Northwich Vics in preference to Shrewsbury Town. Vics' former manager Jimmy Quinn had lined up Brazier before taking over as manager of the Shrews and offering Brazier a place at the Shropshire club. However, Brazier has opted to sign for Northwich.
The Alty squad comprised: Richard Rushton (gk), Tom Jacobs, Matthew Lamey, Philip Lamey, Andrew Glester, Richard Babington, Andrew Nash, Jordan Tyms and Ian Rosendaal.
Ian Rosendaal, who kindly supplied the above information, tells me that "supporters of many other teams have already shown an interest in taking part in any future games, and all being well this will become a regular thing". It is hoped that games will not only be enjoyable but will promote a friendly spirit between North-West supporters.
Hucknall Today reports that Hucknall Town "were alarmed by a dip in their average home gates last term from 288 to 224, despite their best-ever season... Now they are determined to woo the footballing youth of Hucknall and turn them into long-term Town fans. Free admission will be guaranteed to everyone aged 16 or under at all Unibond matches and Town's chairman, Brian Holmes, and new commercial manager, Daniel Lewis, are to tour Hucknall schools, handing out hundreds of tickets... The club have also decided to keep admission prices for next season at £6... and they have reduced the price of season tickets to £100. Another key feature of plans to make matchdays more attractive to the Hucknall public is a new £75,000 social club, which is to be built next month to be officially opened at the start of September... The new social club could develop into a real money-spinner for Town, who learned this week that their major sponsor, Doff Portland, have again signed up for next term".
"A second striker from Third Division Mansfield Town could be on his way to Watnall Road...for strapping beanpole Andy White (21) has spoken to Hucknall, after rejecting derisory new terms offered by The Stags. As with team-mate Danny Bacon, Hucknall are in a position to offer White more money than Mansfield... Should the two moves go ahead, it is likely to cost Town a hefty, four-figure sum in compensation, which would be due Mansfield under the Bosman ruling... Another high-profile player to have been linked with a move to Hucknall this week is central midfielder Gary Patterson, former captain of the England semi-professional side... He has been shown the door by Farnborough and he could be ready for a move to the leading non-league club in his native county. Meanwhile Hucknall chairman Holmes was confident this week that Clint Marcelle and John Burns WILL re-sign for the club".
Whitby Town's installation of new seats, turnstiles and pitch work has secured the approval of the UniBond inspectors and will allow the club to remain in the Premier Division next season.
Lancaster Today says that "City bosses have announced the details of next season's kit - and there is some concession to the Dolly Blue purists. Fans will still be seeing last season's 'Argentina' pale blue and white stripes, but the shorts and socks will revert to the traditional City colours of navy blue... In previous years City had used the Reebok's Bolton Wanderers blue 'away' strip as their first choice colours, but since Bolton switched to a yellow away shirt, Reebok have had a limited choice in blue-coloured shirts. The club did investigate the cost of buying their own blue kit, but with the Reebok deal worth £15,000 in kit and training gear, they decided it would be impractical to try and purchase kit of similar quality".
This is Nottingham reports on the war of words at Hucknall Town. Sacked manager "Phil Starbuck today hit out at the decision to end his reign as manager, insisting: 'We turned this club around... I think I deserve better treatment after everything I have done for the club... It was, simply, the most successful season in the club's history'.... But Chairman Brian Holmes countered: 'We have had more successful seasons in the past. John Ramshaw, for example, was more successful in the UniBond Division One. Our performances were better then. Given the resources we have provided in recent times, the achievements of last season were no more than I would have expected'." Starbuck responded: "With the greatest of respect to him, if things were so much better under John Ramshaw, why did the chairman let him go? For the chairman to suggest that things were better under him is scandalous... I am going to appeal, because I feel I have been dealt an injustice. I have been harshly treated", he said.
Worksop Today reports that Worksop Town are using Chesterfield Football Club's Centre of Excellence training facilities to make preparations for their first pre-season friendly at Witton Albion. "The facilities there are out of this world," said manager Steve Ludlam who was a coach at Chesterfield before joining Tigers. "It could make a real difference to our early form", he added.
Wakefield Today says that "Ryan Crossley, the Wakefield and Emley full-back, has left the club for...Bradford Park Avenue... The other player with an out of date contract is goalkeeper Paul Cuss and talks are still ongoing".
UniBond champions, Accrington Stanley, have signed another veteran- Burnley's 35 year-old ex-Sunderland defender Gordon Armstrong.
Hucknall Town have released the following short statement: "On Tuesday evening a disciplinary hearing was held at the ground in relation to the Manager's position. Subsequent to that, Phil Starbuck was given notice of dismissal. Phil Starbuck has the right of appeal, and until such time as that is done, or not, whichever the case, then the Club cannot comment further".
This is Runcorn says that Runcorn FC Halton Secretary, Debbie Quaile, "could this weekend become the first woman to be elected to the Unibond League management committee...after a secret ballot at its AGM on Saturday. 'It would be a good challenge and a great honour', said Debbie, who joined the Linnets' board four years ago after more than six years with Ashton United".
The Non-League Daily confirms that Spennymoor United midfielder and assistant manager Jason Ainsley has followed Jamie Pollock out of the Brewery Field. "I love Spennymoor, and it's a wrench to leave the club after the success of last season, but there's nothing personal in it. I don't want to break my partnership with Jamie", said Ainsley.
Alfreton could lose up to 11 players before August. Released are captain and central defender Darren Brookes, left-back Mark Jules, striker Jamie Robshaw, midfielder John Sunderland, winger Matt Hogg and striker Craig Housley. Centre-back Steve Heath has been sold to Bridlington Town. Three more have been transfer-listed - goalkeepers Ross Turner and Stuart Ford plus winger Ryan Hindley. In addition, Ryan France is a target of Coventry City. Chairman Wayne Bradley added, "We arenít going into the division to simply consolidate".
As no players are reported to have left or joined Altrincham this close-season and with manager Graham Heathcote currently on holiday, there is little to report from Moss Lane at present. So, here is some more news from our UniBond rivals:
Hucknall Town manager Phil Starbuck is reported to have been sacked by his Chairman for allegedly talking to the press about a reduction in the club's wages budget. He becomes the sixth manager of last season's Premier Division clubs to lose his job, following changes at Colwyn Bay, Gainsborough, Lancaster, Blyth and Worksop.
The UniBond League site reports two more signings by Alfreton Town. These are the ex-captain of Ilkeston Town, midfielder Ian Robinson (24), and his Ilkeston team-mate Emeka Nwadike (24), who cost Ilkeston £5,000 from Kingís Lynn. Robinson has also had a spell at Northwich Victoria. As with all other close season "signings" registration cannot take place till after this Saturdayís UniBond AGM in Blackpool. Alfreton have hinted they may sign upto another four players, making eight close season signings in all.
Defender Andy Martin has become the fifth Blyth Spartans' player to leave and re-join former manager John Charlton, now the boss at Whitley Bay.
The Tameside Advertiser quotes Stalybridge Celtic manager Dave as seeking a replacement for keeper Craig Dootson who has gone to Accrington Stanley. "Miller said: 'Iíve got my eye on a keeper but he's on holiday at the moment. Heís more or less agreed to sign when he comes back at the end of June'". However, though "Dootson is the only player to have left Bower Fold at the moment, he could be joined by Kenny Mayers. 'I think Hyde are interested in Kenny and I think have offered Kenny terms'".
Pictured, right, is Mark Maddox in the only FA Cup tie played at Moss Lane last season, against Kendal Town.
FA Cup qualifying round dates are:
According to the Gateshead official site, the relegated club has signed Washington defender James Curtis and keeper Terry Burke, formerly at Blyth Spartans and Whitby Town. Burke's most recent club is Whitley Bay. Otherwise, "all players with the club at the end of last season have been invited back for pre-season training".
The NW Evening Mail confirms that Barrow's management duo, Lee Turnbull and Lee Warren "want to hold on to everyone who finished last season with the club. And the good news is that all the players wish to remain in an effort to better last year's runners-up finish". However, The Bluebirds failed to land "Darren Connell, who turned down a switch to Holker Street in favour of a move to Accrington Stanley".
IC Newcastle" confirms that a fourth Blyth player has joined former Spartans' boss John Charlton at Whitley Bay. He is striker David McMahon.
The Southport Visiter reports that "Steve Soley hopes to put his Southport injury nightmare behind him after going under the surgeon's knife this week... Soley made just 18 full Conference appearances in an injury-interrupted season that began disastrously in the final pre-season friendly at Altrincham when the former Portsmouth midfield schemer limped out of the action following a shuddering first-half tackle". [It was actually a firm but fair and unpenalised tackle by Stephen Rose.]
Wakefield Today says that "Wakefield and Emley FC Chief Executive Ric Knowles has left the club to join Unibond Premier League rivals, Gainsborough Trinity...But, as far as Pewits' boss Ronnie Glavin is concerned, Knowles will be the only departure from Belle Vue, as he dismissed press speculation suggesting several of his star players are set to leave". Emley have signed two new strikers, Adam Ackroyd and Ian Twitchin.
The Lancaster City site quotes manager Phil Wilson as saying that "there would be new faces arriving before the start of the season. He said: 'I have spoken to most of the players who were with the club last season and I have spoken to a number of others I want to bring in. But you find at this time of the year they are playing their cards close to their chests, seeing what's available before commiting themselves. That suits me, it gives me time to see more of them and certainly there are a number of players who are out-of-contract who I would be very interested in keeping'".
Mike Marsh, who helped Accrington win the UniBond title in 2003, has joined Nuneaton Borough as assistant manager. Nuneaton were relegated from the Conference in 2003.
Radcliffe also report that ex-Alty forward Niell Hardy "has decided against a move to Altrincham. Niell was offered a deal by the Cheshire club but has decided to stay at Radcliffe. Niell will once again partner prolific scorer Jody Banim in what should be a dynamic and successful Premier partnership".