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22 to 26 January, 2004

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ALTY  LEGENDS
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26 January 2004

GRAHAM ON WEYMOUTH

In the Sunday Pink Alty manager Graham Heathcote says, "Anyone with any doubts about how far we can go in the Trophy need only look to Burscough to see what can be achieved. What they did, we've got to feel we can do, too, otherwise we shouldn't be in the competition. They've lit a beacon and it's up to clubs such as ourselves to try to follow". The article states that Alty's "players will travel south on Friday and spend the night before the game at a hotel in Yeovil... [but] they'll almost certainly be without Rod Thornley and Mark Maddox". Graham adds, "Weymouth are a strong side... But one mustn't forget they're at exactly the same level as us in the Pyramid and so we have to feel we're in with a chance down there".

BEST WISHES

The Altrincham supporters' trust, STAR, will be contacting Alty players and staff at their hotel with messages from well-wishers on the morning of the Weymouth FA Trophy tie. If you would like your message to be included and read by the team then please send it here or fax Jon Stack on 01827 312852. Please send messages to arrive by 5 p.m. on Thursday, 29th January if possible. STAR's Jacqui Forster has cleared this with Graham Heathcote who will read the messages to the team.

YOUTHS STAY TOP

Top of the table Altrincham Youth won 6-1 away at second-placed Morecambe yesterday. For a report see the Youth Page

BIG SHORTS IN TROUBLE

Timperley Big Shorts, the Sunday-league side founded by former Altrincham "mascot" Frank Sidebottom, are threatened with closure after one of their players committed disciplinary offences during and after his debut game and was found to have given a false name to the match officials. The resulting fine of 250 threatens the future of the team, whose other claim to fame is being the only non-professional side ever modelled by the Subbuteo football game.
25 January 2004

ASHLEY SCORES

Ashley Timms, who has kept goal for both Alty Youth and first teams this season, let in six whilst playing for Atherton LR yesterday but also scored from a corner in an amazing 6-5 defeat by Nantwich in the NW Counties League. LR trailed 5-1 with less than 10 mins to go before Timms levelled it to 5-5 and then lost to a late goal. "LR won a corner kick and Timms ran up-field to hit a perfect, low, hard drive past Simon Pay in the Nantwich goal", says the NWCFL site.

ANOTHER SIGNING

Our next opponents, Weymouth, have made yet another signing, making it at least five new faces in the last fortnight. This time "The Terras have signed 19-year-old left winger Lewis Cook on a month's loan from Wycombe Wanderers". Weymouth chairman Ian Ridley is a personal friend of Wanderers' manager Tony Adams. "Cook, who has made a handful of first team appearances for the Chairboys, is set to make his debut for Steve Claridge's outfit at Dover Athletic on Saturday. Ridley said: '"We want to build a squad of quality players that gives us cover in every position. We are a little light down the left flank at the moment and that's an area Steve has been looking to strengthen... Obviously Ian Hutchinson can play wide left but Steve wants to have more than one player available for each position'", reports This is Weymouth. Today's NLP says that Claridge has also bid 3,000 for Havant's Shaun Wilkinson.

Weymouth won away again, 3-2 at Dover, to stay top of the Dr Martens League yesterday but there is a good sign for Altrincham in that all three of the league matches the Terras have lost this season have been at their own Wessex Stadium, where Saturday's game takes place against Altrincham. The Terras' website reports that two of their three goals yesterday came from loan signings made in the last fortnight: Robbie Pethick and Stewart Yetton.

OLD BOYS

Ex-Alty and St Helens Town keeper Joe Paladino has become Director of Football at St Helens, where manager Paul Lodge has stepped down. "Mr Paladino has agreed to invest a substantial amount of time, effort, and most importantly money into the club over the next five seasons with a view to seeing the club progress on the field and off" says the NWCFL site.

Mario Daniel (Leigh RMI unused sub), Danny McGoona (used sub Caernarfon Town), Simon Woodford (Trafford) and goalkeeper Ryan McMahon (Prescot Cables) were amongst the Alty old boys in action yesterday. Chris Timons scored for Gainsborough Trinity.

UNIBOND NEWS

Worksop Town report that "Last night Richard Peacock was released by the Club and he is now a free agent... [and confirm that] the Club are honoured to host an International Match on Sunday 28 March... between Iceland and Armenia in the UAFA European U17 Championships 2nd Round. Worksop is now on the international list for hosting further games".
24 January 2004

ALTY DROP

With no game today, Altrincham dropped a place in the table tonight:

Premier Division

  • Alfreton T. 0 Southport 2
  • Radcliffe B. 4 Frickley A. 2
  • Spennymoor U. 2 Runcorn FC Halton 1
  • Stalybridge C. 2 Bradford PA 0

    ULCC

  • Bishop Auckland v Burscough (Sunday)
  • Matlock T. 1 Guiseley 0
  • Vauxhall M. 0 Hucknall T. 1
  • Whitby T. 1 Droylsden 2

    President's Cup

  • Ashton U. 0 Barrow 0 - Barrow won 4-2 on pens
  • Bridlington T. 0 Harrogate T. 3
  • Marine 1 Worksop T. 0
  • Workington 1 Lancaster C. 0

    Chairman's Cup

  • Blyth Sp. 0 Kidsgrove A. 1
  • Hyde U. 2 Wakefield & Emley 1 aet
  • Leek T. 3 Farsley C. 2
  • Stocksbridge PS 0 Gainsborough T. 3

    NEW DATE

    The Altrincham home match with Wakefield and Emley, displaced from 31 January by our Trophy game at Weymouth, will now take place on Tuesday, 2 March at 7.45pm.

    UNIBOND NEWS

    Frickley report that "Phil Sharpe has strengthened his squad with the acquisition of experienced midfielder or sweeper Wayne Benn from Bradford Park Avenue... Although Avenue demanded a small fee, and despite our recently publicised financial position, the playing staff and committee felt it prudent to acquire Benn's services for the small amount that was being asked. The sum required has been raised by contributions from players, committee members and club members. This move hopefully shows that we are 100% committed to trying to finish this season in the top 13... All we need now is for a few more supporters to venture through the turnstiles".

    IC Newcastle says that "Blyth boss Paul Baker, determined to strengthen his squad, is having talks with former Sunderland striker or midfield man Keith Graydon... who has been playing for FA Cup heroes Scarborough".

    The Southport site reports that manager "Liam Watson has talked to Chris Lane but the ex-Port full-back has been training at Chester City and is hopeful of being signed by Mark Wright... [But] Lane has promised Nuneaton his services this Saturday on a temporary basis". The website also states that "Right back Jimmy Williams is ruled out for 4-6 weeks after having a shoulder operation... Liam Watson has extended Neil Robinson's loan spell for a second month" from Macclesfield and "Neil Whitworth's loan spell has ended at Radcliffe Borough".

    NL Daily reports that "Krystof Kotylo has transferred from Gainsborough Trinity" to Buxton. Other transfers:

  • Christopher Davies (Lincoln C. to Hucknall T.)
  • Martyn Forrest (Droylsden to Leek T.)
  • Joe Washington (Huddersfield T. to Wakefield & Emley)

    PIGS AT WEYMOUTH!

    Our Trophy opponents Weymouth's website says the club will be holding "Pig Racing at the Wessex Stadium... it's pigs racing on film, like the old horse racing evenings. Trot off is 7pm".

    23 January 2004

    GAMES ALTERED

    Altrincham's home League game against Ashton United, scheduled for Tuesday 17 February, has been moved to 24 February and the home game against Vauxhall Motors, scheduled for 24 February has been moved to 17 February. All this is due to Ashton's involvement in the Manchester Premier Cup.

    LAST WEEK AND NEXT WEEK

    In SAM says that Alty manager Graham Heathcote felt his "side did not do themselves justice in the first half of Saturday's 1-0 win over Marine and can't afford to do the same at the Wessex Stadium... We had words at half time and I thought we did much better in the second half... We certainly cannot play like that against Weymouth because by half-time the game will be gone". Graham added that "The blank Saturday this weekend is coming in handy helping us to be 100 per cent prepared for Weymouth". However, "Mark Maddox has still not trained through illness while striker Rod Thornley is now training regularly. Also, Barry Shuttleworth is likely to be fit for the trip to Dorset".

    NEW PAPER

    The Non-League Paper launched a Friday edition today (priced 1). It includes midweek match reports and previews of weekend games. A new feature is a "pools' panel" forecast for non-league games. The Sunday edition continues at 1.20 per issue.

    UNIBOND NEWS

    The Lancaster Guardian reports that "Inland Revenue bosses took Lancaster City to the brink of closure this week over a 12,000 tax bill. Football club bosses said the PAYE account had been settled. But tax chiefs claimed it was still outstanding and sought a winding-up petition against the Dolly Blues. 'The Inland Revenue are a pain in the arse', said Keith Lewis, a business associate of publicity-shy City chairman Ron Moore. 'They had this money once. Then they tried to claim it again.....We have made our point and the case has been withdrawn'. Court officials in London said, however, that the hearing was still listed for next Wednesday. Mr Moore had pumped in about 300,000 in the last two seasons to keep the UniBond Premier League outfit afloat. Latest returns at Companies House paint a bleak picture of City's finances. At the end of 2002 the club had over 350,000 worth of debts due to be repaid within one year. In 2002 the the profit and loss account showed a loss of 582,016... Mr Lewis said the position was sustainable". Thanks to Richard Ingham for this story.

    IC Sefton quotes Southport boss Liam Watson: "I talked to winger Colin Potts but he decided to stay with Northwich despite being made available and earlier appearing to prefer a move to Stalybridge. In no way was that a financial issue but I only want players who have a real desire to be at Haig Avenue. He is no great loss".

    Bradford PA confirm that "Neil Grayston is to return to Avenue, for whom he played over 100 games between August 1996 and May 1999. He has recently been with Alfreton Town. Also, Wayne Benn has transferred to Frickley Athletic".

    IC Sefton has more on Burscough's "audacious attempt to try and entice Stan Collymore out of retirement...'This is certainly not a publicity gimmick', said [director] Lloyd... 'What I am looking at is to make an impact at the club straight away, we need people coming through the gate and we need something, or someone, who can make it happen'".

    "Fourth officials could be implemented by the UniBond Football League following Saturday's farcical scenes at Ashby Avenue", says This is Lincs. "The Lincoln United v. Workington match was abandoned after 75 minutes when referee George Mellor pulled up with a torn hamstring. However, League rules clearly state the match should have continued with just a referee and linesman... Fourth officials are not currently used in the UniBond League, but that could all change, according to League secretary Phil Bradley. 'I believe the League will now consider making the presence of a fourth official mandatory following the controversy at Ashby Avenue on Saturday'", said Bradley.

    "Runcorn FC Halton have, by signing Neil Larkin, replaced Barry Hogan with a midfield man in the same mould, says IC Cheshire. "Hogan, 19, joined TNS last week and Lightfoot moved quickly to bring in Runcorn-based Larkin [who] has played for... South Wirral League side Tricorn and, in the West Cheshire League, with Manweb. But he has most recently been turning out for Barnton, the Mid-Cheshire League title chasers... Hogan has been joined through the exit door by Kevin Leadbetter, who has become the third Runcorn player to join ex-manager Liam Watson at Southport, who paid 6,000. [Manager, Chris] Lightfoot said: 'I had a text off Kevin last week saying he would never play for Runcorn again and I have got the text to prove it... The way his attitude was this time last week, I didn't want him around the place'... Meanwhile, Runcorn have renewed their bid to bring in ex-Vauxhall striker Nicky Young, who lives in Runcorn, from Northwich Vics on a month's loan". Also Lightfoot "is awaiting contact with another target, ex-Chester striker Aiden Newhouse".

    Alfreton Town chairman Wayne Bradley says: "The club have been issued with a list of work to do to achieve a national 'B' grade which would allow entry into the full Conference. The major bonus is that the work has an extended deadline of the year 2007. We have already been given the go ahead to move into the Conference North ... It is also strongly rumoured that there is already a sponsor in place for the new level which will probably mean more money for each club in those sections... As I see it, it will now be possible for a club to get promoted from any of the three feeders into the new Conference level next season, and to go on and obtain a full Conference place because they will then have three years in which to make sure all stadium-criteria work is met". The article adds: "The Conference have confirmed that all 69 Premier Division clubs across the country have applied for entry into the second tier of the Conference".

    The Daily Telegraph today has an article on Droylsden's late and unsuccessful attempt to get clearance for promotion to the Conference. "We would have been prepared to put everything in place in time had we known where we would be today" said chairman Dave Pace.

    OLD BOYS

    IC Cheshire said of new signing (ex-Alty) Steve Porter's debut for Vauxhall Motors: "Steve is a talented player who had featured in all of Droylsden's matches this season. They're doing well and his form had been impressive, but there was a personality clash between him and their assistant manager. Obviously, David Pace wasn't going to let his number two go so it was decided that it would be best for everyone to let Steve go, but we're glad to have him".

    More on the aborted Wes Wilkinson transfer to Stafford from IC Cheshire: "Rangers were reported to have agreed a four-figure sum with the Dabbers [Nantwich] with further payments and a 40% sell-on clause inserted into the deal... Nantwich chairman Clive Jackson said: 'We agreed a fee for the player with Stafford but Wes could not agree personal terms. We're delighted because we're in no rush to see him go'. Scouts from Leicester City and Bristol City have also been trailing Wilkinson, 19, who started in Altrincham's youth team, in recent weeks. Nantwich player-manager Nigel Gleghorn said: 'I think Wes will be with us for at least the rest of the season now and I'm pleased because if he is to move on, I'd like to see him go into the Football League. To be honest, I'm amazed nobody has taken a chance on him. He offers something a little bit different and I think people are put off because they wouldn't know what position to use him in. But to me that's a sad reflection on the state of English football'". Jackson added: "Wes had a spell on trial at Crewe last year... If Wes moves in the summer, he will still be under 24 so we will still get a fee".


    22 January 2004

    TONIGHT

    Man.Utd Reserves take on Everton Reserves at Moss Lane this Thursday (7pm).

    WES STAYS PUT

    "Highly-rated young [ex-Alty] striker Wes Wilkinson is staying with North West Counties League club Nantwich Town after a proposed move to Dr Martens League Premier Division side Stafford Rangers broke down over personal terms", reports IC Cheshire.

    FINAL AT ALTY

    The Cheshire Senior Cup Final will be at Moss Lane on either Tuesday, 23 March or Wednesday 24 March at 7.45pm. Woodley Sports reached the Final, last Tuesday, by beating Stalybridge Celtic. They will meet either Witton Albion or Congleton Town.

    TERRAS GOING WELL

    Alty's next game is at Weymouth. According to the Terras' website, after they beat Bath City on Tuesday, manager Steve Claridge "hailed striker Stewart Yetton, signed on a work experience deal from Plymouth Argyle... 'We were an absolute pleasure to watch tonight'", he said. Claridge added, "I feel very lucky to have a set of players of the ability, application and skill they have. They played some fantastic football and were a credit to the club tonight. Stewart is 19-years-old... He has again been brilliant and I can't speak highly enough of him". And, "The player-boss said he was also impressed by debutant defender Graeme Power, signed on non-contract terms after his release from Tiverton... [and] Robbie Pethick has hinted he wants to make his switch to Weymouth permanent... 'When Steve Claridge got in touch about coming back to Weymouth it took me hardly any time to agree... It is a fantastic club and I want to help them get back into the Conference - scoring on my debut was a start'".

    OLD BOYS

    Former Alty striker Mark Quayle faces Chelsea for Scarborough in the FA Cup at the weekend. The Daily Telegraph has a substantial interview with Quayle, but does not include Altrincham in the list of his former clubs. Mark, a former Everton youth player, is revealed by the article to have 10 GCEs and to speak French and Spanish. He is seen, right, against Lancaster on 28 August 2000, a game in which he and Dickie Landon (in the background) both scored.

    Former Robins' forward Brian Le Boutillier (at Moss Lane 1979-81) is now manager of Andover of the Wessex League, who have reached the FA Vase 5th Round. NL Daily reports that "Less than two months after taking over as manager, Brian Le Boutillier is leading the Lions into new territory against Bedfordshire side Leighton Town of Ryman Division Two. 'It's the biggest game in the club's history', said chairman Alan Mussell. 'Brian's done wonders with the players. He quietly goes about his business and gets the results he wants'".

    UNIBOND NEWS

    The Spennymoor website reports that "Former York City and Burnley striker, Anthony Shandran has been released by mutual consent. In comes left sided defence/midfield player, Paul Talbot from Queen of the South".

    Burscough "have made a substantial four figure offer to an unnamed UniBond League club for one of the First Division's leading scorers".

    "Bradford Park Avenue, are hoping that their latest sponsor will help to boost performances at away games. The Royal Air Force has agreed to sponsor the Bradford club's away strip... They are hopeful that the new slogan emblazoned across their shirts - 'Rise above the rest' - will inspire them to even greater things". Meanwhile, Neil Grayston has joined BPA from Alfreton Town.