16 Feb. 2004
Though it sadly no longer concerns us, here is the FAT6 draw; games are on February 28.
Aldershot T. / Tamworth v Exeter C.
Hednesford T. v Hornchurch
Shrewsbury T. v Telford U. or Margate
Stalybridge C. / Canvey I. v Maidenhead U.
Alty Youth won 4-0 yesterday to stay top of the league. See the Youth Page for more...
ALTRINCHAM 0 SHREWSBURY TOWN 1
This site's match report..
A Shrewsbury-based match report
Details of the STAR supporters' coach for Alty's game at Spennymoor next
Saturday are here. Spennymoor's social club was
burned down over Christmas but temporary alternative facilities are in
courtesy of Terry Rowley.
Through the Years data for 17 February, courtesy of Howard Watts.
The Northern Echo reports that "Any North-East clubs who progress into the new Conference North could be facing some mammoth trips next season... Thirteen clubs are going to be promoted from the UniBond League at the end of the season, which could include Spennymoor United, Whitby Town and Blyth Spartans. Another five clubs will join from the Dr Martens League, and they are likely to be Hinckley Athletic, Stafford Rangers, Nuneaton Borough, Hednesford Town and Worcester City, while another two will switch from the Ryman League - Kettering Town and Bedford Town... The area's UniBond League clubs work on a travel budget of approximately £20,000 per year, but this could increase by another £10,000 given the extra distances involved".
Harrogate Town "have signed
striker Aron Wilford on loan from York City for 1 month". He had an
earlier spell on loan at Worksop Town. Wilford left Whitby Town for York
in July 2003.
Michael Sawtell (Burscough to Northwich V.)
Phil Bayliss (Lancaster C. to Rossendale U.)
CENTENARY BALL Details of the Altrincham FC centenary ball are here.
Saturday's STAR Bucket collection raised an excellent £118.60; thanks are due to the collectors and donors alike.
15 Feb. 2004
The Pink says that Graham Heathcote is seeking both to sign Marcus Hallows permanently and to "extend Stockport striker David Holt's loan stint... into a third and final month".
After yesterday's game Graham Heathcote told the NLP, "I think we played well and closed the supposed gap between the UniBond and the Conference. In fact, I think that their keeper kept them in it...Lady Luck was not on our side". The NLP said "the match was a contradiction of the scoreline".
Mattie Hughes, who left Alty this season due to his work commitments, has now done the same at Mossley. Hughes limped off after just 10 minutes of his Mossley debut and then, three days later, announced his departure.
After turning down a new Macclesfield contract, on what he says are worse terms than previously offered, Danny Adams says "I have been told I can go and sort myself out with another club... I am just 28 and don't feel I have yet hit my peak".
Tony Sullivan hit a hat-trick for Lancaster, and Jez Illingworth scored twice for Guiseley, whilst Lee Thompson netted for Skelmersdale. Other "old boys" in action yesterday included Mario Daniel (sub. Leigh), Adam Farley and Leroy Chambers (both Droylsden), Paul Ellender (Boston), Andy Dibble and Paul Edwards (Wrexham). TNS Manager Ken McKenna was sent off, from his dugout to the stand!
The Pink claims that Stalybridge are pursuing Wakefield & Emley's Mark Wilson.
14 Feb. 2004
ALTRINCHAM 0 Shrewsbury T. 1
Stalybridge C. 0 Canvey Island 0
Exeter C. 3 Arlesey 0
Hornchurch 2 Burton A. 1
Halifax T. 0 Maidenhead 2
Aldershot 1 Tamworth 1
Hednesford 1 Dover 0
Telford/Weston-Super-Mare v Margate
Ashton U. 1 Hucknall T. 6
Blyth S. 3 Runcorn FC Halton 3
Bradford PA 0 Burscough 2
Droylsden 4 Marine 2
Frickley A. 0 Harrogate T. 0
Lancaster C. 6 Spennymoor U. 0
Southport 1 Alfreton T. 0
Wakefield & Emley 2 Barrow 5
Worksop T. 1 Whitby T. 1
ROD PRAISES SUPPORTERS
Friday's NL Paper quotes Alty's Rod Thornley: "We must have taken 300 fans to Weymouth and they never stopped singing. I've never heard better support in Non-League. They are a massive boost to us and I would urge as many as possible to get to the game [today against Shrewsbury]". Rod went on, "The lads are massively up for the game. We are desperate to play it". Speaking of possibly winning the Trophy, Rod added, "It would be absolutely amazing to do it this year because it's the club's centenary season". The Alty striker continued, "Our preparation will be second to none. There is no doubt, though, that they [Shrewsbury] have skills all over the park".
Rod flies to Portugal on Monday with the England first team, in his role as masseur so will not be available for the game against Vauxhall Motors this Tuesday or a trip to Shrewsbury if there is a Trophy replay, as the NLP betting expert forecasts. The FA website has a long article on Rod's England and Alty roles.
For today's game against Shrewsbury, the bar will be open from 12.30pm with the main turnstiles opening at 1pm.
The Shropshire Star reports that "Shrewsbury Town travel to Altrincham tomorrow with manager Jimmy Quinn finally having a fully fit squad to select from following the return of Jamie Tolley and Ryan Lowe. The duo are definitely in the 16 for the trip to Moss Lane and the exact role they play in the FA Trophy fifth clash will depend on how they come through training today. With all of his players fit and raring to go and cup-tied striker Jody Banim the only senior man unavailable for action, Quinn hopes Town's luck has finally turned for the better... Despite Town's billing as the competition's best team, Quinn has warned against the dangers of being complacent and underestimating the Unibond Premier Division club. "They've got home advantage and they've got a set of players that know the non-League scene very well so it won't be easy. I've played at Altrincham a few times in the Cheshire Senior Cup so I've got a good idea what to expect. They get men behind the ball, make themselves difficult to beat and don't give anything away. We've got to make sure that we go there and do a professional job", said Quinn.
CAROLE EXPANDS BUSINESS
Longstanding Alty sponsor, Carole Nash, has expanded her motorcycle insurance company by taking over the AA's entire motorcycle insurance business. Her Altrincham-based company now has 350 employees and the main stand (right) at Moss Lane is named the Carole Nash Stand.
Ex-Alty keeper Nick Stephens has moved from Mossley to Glossop NE.
Harrogate Town "chairman Bill Fotherby believes Leeds United 'have handed a massive boost to their relegation rivals by axing David Batty... When he retired the idea was he was going to come to Harrogate, according to both David and his agent Hayden Evans, and I am trying to put something together. I have been talking to his agent all season and I have stepped up those negotiations now... I am dying to get him here to Harrogate Town - he would win the championship for us'".
Alty travel to Blyth on 28 February. IC Newcastle says that "Blyth boss Paul Baker today backed his squad to end the famine that has brought only three goals in six matches. 'We have been creating chances and not taking them. We battered Blue Star in our Northumberland Senior Cup tie the other night, but managed to score only once. But the 1-0 win will boost our overall confidence and I am backing us to get out of the rut".
Gareth Downey (Scarborough to Spennymoor U. loan extended)
Paul Haddow (Lancaster C. to Kendal T.)
Guy Heffernan (Leigh RMI to Barrow)
Mark Lewis (Gainsborough T. to Shepshed D.)
Neil McCann (Vauxhall M. to Welshpool T.)
Nicky Young (Northwich V. to Marine)
Worksop's "Gavin Smith has gone on a month's loan to Ilkeston Town".
Marine have announced the "signing of experienced striker Nicky Young who had been released by Northwich Victoria. Young, 30, scorer of over 100 goals in his eight seasons at Vauxhall Motors, has been signed to strengthen the Mariners' attack".
13 Feb. 2004
According to the Shropshire Star our Trophy opponents' "frustrated frontman Jody Banim is determined to play a significant part in Shrewsbury Town's FA Trophy clash at Altrincham this weekend - even though he won't be on the pitch. The 25-year-old striker is Cup tied... but... has been passing on tips about Town's Unibond Premier opponents. 'I've spoken to the gaffer about certain Altrincham players because I know four or five of them and a couple of them are good mates of mine', he said. 'They're up for it and they reckon the Shrewsbury game is all their supporters are talking about'. The article adds, "One striker who will be in action on Saturday is Luke Rodgers, who is buzzing after another impressive display for England despite their 4-1 defeat to Italy.... 'I did play well last night and I set up a goal and hit the bar', he said. 'It doesn't bother me who I play, whether it's Italy or Altrincham I still go into the game with the same focus'".
"Northwich Victoria lost £245,000 last season", IC Cheshire reports. "Their first year (2002/03) at Wincham Park was the financial disaster many predicted, although as well as the operating loss, they also made a record profit of £1.31 million, because of the sale of the Drill Field... Chairman Dave Stone lays the blame squarely at the door of Vale Royal Borough Council. "We thought the groundshare was a one-season arrangement, but the perversity of the council meant the delays they generated would require us to spend a second season at Wincham Park... I sometimes listen in disbelief when I hear of the help some clubs in our league receive from their local authority. All we have received is hindrance and obstruction". The article continues, "Losses over two seasons totalling £½ million, paying off debts, buying land for a new stadium and building it, all has to come out of the sale price of the Drill Field... The figures for 2003/04 show match receipts dropped by only £3,500 after the switch to Witton Albion's ground and sponsorship actually rose to £77,500. But the wage bill for the team and admin ran at £263,000 - more than £5,000-a-week, roughly the amount the club was losing".
Alfreton Town chairman Wayne Bradley says "The general feeling now is that it may not take a target of around 62 points to guarantee a top 13 spot, it may come down to between 56 and 58, that is because nearly every team is win one, lose one, such is the intensity, hardly anybody is able to put a run together... Most clubs who would
have cut their losses and budgets by now having attained mid-table safety or written off their title hopes can't afford to do so and I know of at least half-a-dozen clubs who have shelved plans to do that. You can go right down to the foot of the table and everyone is still in with a
chance, and yet there is very little player movement of any substance". However, Town's "Anthony Tansley has joined neighbours Belper Town on loan".
The NW Evening Mail says that Barrow "manager Lee Turnbull is hoping to thrash out a deal... which will keep Wayne Curtis at Holker Street... Turnbull said: 'I will be speaking with Jim Harvey (Morecambe manager) within the next 48 hours regarding Wayne Curtis. I will be trying to persuade him to let us have Wayne on a full-time basis'".
Runcorn FC Halton may soon sign their "fifth Runcorn-based player. Chris Lightfoot landed the fourth this week when he swooped for 18-year-old former Port Vale reserve Craig Mitchell. Mitchell joins Carl Rendell, Neil Larkin and player-boss Lightfoot himself as hometown players... Now fellow townsman Nicky Young is in Lightfoot's sights again. Young has just been released from his contract at Northwich Victoria... [but he] faces competition from Marine and Burscough", reports IC Cheshire. The club
website says the Linnets have "designated the match against Southport, on Saturday 21 February, as 'The Grand One'... To reach a crowd of 1000 [and]... To raise £1000 in sponsorship. We aim to sell 40 sponsorship packages at £25 each".
12 Feb. 2004
MARCUS IS WILLING?
SAM reports that "Marcus
Hallows might stay at Moss Lane beyond the end of his loan term,
which expires in just over a week's time. The striker, who has netted
three times in his short Alty career, signed on a three month's deal from
Chorley on November 21 and has proved an instant hit with the Moss Lane
crowd. Manager Graham Heathcote... said, 'I'm speaking with Chorley at the
moment but it is difficult to know which way that's going to fall. I'd
like Marcus to stay, I'm sure he would love to stay but the ball is not
necessarily in either of those two parties' hands at the moment'".
"Peter Band and Chris Adams picked up knocks against Ashton on Saturday, but Heathcote is confident they will be fine for Saturday", says SAM. "It's just a question of
levels of fitness for a number of them, but with five subs available, I
can't see any problems on Saturday", said Graham Heathcote. The Alty
manager added, "All the ingredients are there - it's a cup match, there's
going to be a great crowd and Shrewsbury are favourites so we are the
underdogs. It's a chance for this team to make another little piece of
history, to add to the one they made down in Weymouth".
SAM's Mike Crockett quotes his counterpart Mat Kendrick of The Shropshire Star: "This season, Shrewsbury have been a bit inconsistent. They have struggled to put any kind of run together - they've won a few then lost a few... Many players were released at the end of last season and Quinn brought in about 13 or 14 of his own players".
The Shropshire Star said that in last night's semi-pro international "Confident Shrewsbury and England star Luke Rodgers" hoped to "kickstart his nightmare Conference career... With just four Conference goals in front of his own fans this term, Rodgers has struggled more than most to to find his form in non-League football's premier division". The striker said, "It's been an awful season for me in one way or another what with the injury and everything else... I still get the odd twinge with it which is worrying but they've said I can keep playing".
A former Alty team-mate of Graham Heathcote is also enjoying cup success. Brian Le Boutillier, now manager of Andover, has steered his team to the quarter finals of the FA Vase, where they meet Winchester City. All at Moss Lane wish him well.
Runcorn FC Halton "have signed
young midfielder Craig Mitchell who was recently released by Port Vale".
"The venues for the semi-finals of The FA Sunday Cup... have today
been announced by The FA", report Marine
FC, who with Bristol City will host the semis. The game at Marine will
be a "Merseyside derby between Nicosia, winners of The FA Sunday Cup in
1991, and their Liverpool Business Houses Sunday League rivals A3
(Canada)... on Sunday, March 21, and at stake will be the chance to play
at the world-famous home of Liverpool FC in the final".
11 Feb. 2004
Whitby T. 2 Wakefield & Emley 1
Margate 2 Worksop T. 0
England National Game XI 1 Italy U-23 4
Lancaster C. 1 Bradford PA 3
Congleton T. 0 Witton A. 1 aet.
The CSC Final is at Moss Lane on 24 March v Woodley Sports.
Leigh RMI have released Carl Alford, whilst Northwich have released former Vauxhall man, Nicky Young.
From Nationwide comes news of our Trophy opponents.
"Plans to sell Shrewsbury Town's Gay Meadow ground to an unnamed developer are set to gather pace after a last-ditch bid to build a £15 million municipal theatre complex on the site were rejected. Local councillors turned down the plans at a meeting on Monday, but the club have said they will now step up negotiations with a developer as the Shrews bid to fund their proposed new £8 million stadium".
Meanwhile, manager Jimmy Quinn says, "We are going to have a meeting so I can discuss with the lads what's expected of them over the final months of the season. It's been a bit stop start for us lately with one thing or another and we've got to remain focused". The Shropshire Star adds that "Jamie Tolley and Ryan Lowe came through a practice match at Lilleshall yesterday with no reaction to their injuries".
Over the last four games, Alty are 5th in the UniBond form table, behind Hucknall, Stalybridge, Southport and Barrow.
Hucknall Town report - "Fact: Watnall Road has a current capacity of 1794, has 315 seats, four turnstiles, and floodlights with a rating of just over 150 lux. The Club will be allowed in to Conference 1 North next season but will then have until April 2007 to bring the capacity up to 3000 with 500 seats, five turnstiles and floodlights rated at 180 lux. This will cost in the region of £40-50K and will give the Club a Conference 'B' Grade ground. Fact: A Conference 'A' Grade will require the capacity increasing to 4000 with eight turnstiles and 250 lux floodlights. This could cost at least another £100K. Fact: The Club will require a playing budget of around £225K per season to be sucessful in Conference 1 North and at least a third of a million to survive in the Conference proper (Scarborough's is approx. £400K) and a lot more than this if it ever were to be full time. Fact: With an average league attendance of just over 600 (although some of these are free children and concessions) the Club at present generates a gate income per season of approx. £80K... Fact : The Club is already one of the higher payers in the Unibond and is able to do this because apart from the Groundsman, Club Steward and the Commercial Manager all the rest of the personnel involved with running the Club do so on a voluntary basis". A company (Bolsover Properties) have a deal whereby they will find an alternative location for Hucknall Town and then develop the Watnall Road site. So Town are reluctant to do too much development in case they have to move "One way round this would be to erect a fabricated stand which could be dismantled and taken to a new site in the future... Watnall Road actually holds almost 2000 at present but the County Council reduces the capacity of all areas of the Ground by 10% because we have a safety factor of 0.9 rather than 1. Thus, if we wanted to achieve a Conference proper capacity of 4000 then we would at present have to build it to hold 4400".
10 Feb. 2004
NL Daily reports that
"Spennymoor United are hoping to sign full back Mark Robinson on loan for
a third month" from Hartlepool. But "Droylsden have lost the services of
dimunitive striker Steve Brodie following his recall from loan by Chester
City". Meanwhile, Radcliffe Borough's latest signing is Mark Redshaw, "The
19-year-old is the son of former Horwich RMI and Chorley striker Ray
Redshaw, who was a familiar face on the UniBond scene in the mid-80s and
Draw for FA Vase Round 6, 21 February:
Colne v Eastwood T./Stone D. Winchester City v
Andover Cray W. v AFC Sudbury Bideford v Studley/Gosport B.
9 Feb. 2004
Alty Youth drew 1-1 at home to Prestwich Heys yesterday. Kieran Lugsden was the Alty scorer.
Alty Director Grahame Rowley informs the website that "An excellent
night was had by all at Moss Lane on Saturday night. 75 people packed the
Sponsors' Lounge to see Graham Heathcote marshall the Famous Five (Mark
Maddox, Rod Thornley, Niell Hardy, Peter Band & Stuart Coburn) superbly.
The food, donated free by Carl and Ann as a leaving present from them, was
excellent as usual. A framed Alty shirt was given to Carl and a large
bouquet of flowers to Ann as a thank you for their 5 years of service at
the club. We wish them well in their future plans in Ireland. Questions
were put from all corners of the Lounge, interspersed with jokes and
ditties from the MC. Along with a raffle and auction, the night made in
excess of £2,000 and a big thank you must go to everyone who attended for
making the night a great success for the Club. Thanks also to the players
and Graham Heathcote for giving their time up to entertain us all.
ASHTON UNITED 0 ALTRINCHAM 2
STAR, the Alty supporters' trust, has entered Alty mascot Rocky Robin in
the Great Pancake Race at the Print Works in Manchester city centre on
Sunday 22nd February at 3pm. He will compete against the other Manchester
clubs' mascots in a race around the Pump Yard area with competitors having
to flip pancakes as they are running.
Also, STAR's Community
Development Director, Mike Rose, has now contacted over 100 schools in the
local area with match posters and kids go free vouchers for matches in
January and February and STAR has also been busy targetting the Corporate
sector, with a recent mailshot to over 350 local companies from Marketing
Director, Jon Stack. For more details, see the STAR website.
Any readers who hold Kids Go Free vouchers for the league game against Worksop Town in February 14th are asked to note that as that game has been postponed, those vouchers are NOT valid for the FA Trophy match against Shrewsbury Town to be played on that date.
Finally, STAR has appointed matchday steward and current "Miss Altrincham", Dawn Abbott as its new Secretary. All at the club also send their best wishes to STAR's
Treasurer, Caroline Worthington, who is recovering from a fall which
caused her a serious knee injury.
The Ashton Forum reports: "Not
much joy for the hardy souls who braved the Pennine winter conditions in
the home section but a workmanlike display from Altrincham was more than a
match for off-key Ashton... Altrincham funnelled six to eight men back in
defence and were as difficult to break down as they were to watch clearly
mirroring their manager whose touchline rantings were a joy to behold and
obviously affected the team's outlook on the game. Ashton were outfought
and will have to get more of the ball and make better use of it to glean
anything from a trip to Moss Lane which still awaits".
Howard Watts's Through the Years feature has been added for 14 February and Terry Rowley's UniBond Attendances have also been updated. Click links above, left, for the updates.
OLD BOYS MOVE
Dave Swanick has signed for Woodley Sports of the NW Counties League, whilst Adewale Ajetunmobi has moved on from from Wakefield & Emley to Prescot Cables.
1002 goals have now been scored in the UniBond Premier this season in 318 games of which 72 have been draws. Games involving Altrincham and Worksop Town have witnessed the least goals (68), whilst those involving Radcliffe have seen 136 - exactly twice as many! 12 teams have scored more than Alty but only two have conceded fewer (Hucknall, Worksop). Only the bottom three (BPA, Burscough, Wakefield) have won fewer games than Alty (8) but only Barrow (4) and Hucknall (5) have lost fewer than us (6).
Amongst many interesting snippets in the Blyth management meeting minutes is the news that
"Southport F.C. have confirmed that food will not be served to players in
the dressing rooms in future". One wonders what prompted this decision!
Moves: Wayne Bullimore (Belper T. to Bradford PA) Paul Haddow
(Lancaster C. to Kendal T. Darren Roberts (Worksop T. to Kidsgrove A.
on loan) Liam McGuire (Southport loan extended to Prescot C.) Alex
Kevan (Droylsden to Witton A.)
Barrow are attempting to boost gates by offering three match tickets for £18 to watch their games against Radcliffe, Vauxhall and Droylsden.
Hard times for our neighbours Flixton were summed up by an attendance of just 20 for their NW Counties Div. 2 game against table-toppers Formby, according to the NWCL website.
8 Feb. 2004
ASHLEY BACK AT CITY
Former Alty goalkeeper Ashley Timms has rejoined Manchester City, the club he left last summer. The 17 year-old has recently been playing at Atherton LR and figured in their 6-5 defeat a fortnight ago. Ashley said "I might have to be on the bench for the first-team against Man. United. I was on the bench for Altrincham in the FA Cup but didn't get on, so I'm still eligible". Ashley has already turned out for City U-19s this week.
Ex-Robins in action yesterday included: Paul Ellender (Boston), Andy Dibble (Wrexham), Mario Daniel (used sub for Leigh), Dean Greygoose (kept goal as AFC Sudbury beat Congleton in the Vase)and Leroy Chambers (scored for Droylsden).
Shrewsbury's James Tolley, arguably "the best midfielder in the Conference", according to the NLP, is set to return after injury. Shrews' keeper Ian Dunbavin, displaced by Scott Howie, is going on loan to Doncaster Rovers.
In the Pink Graham Heathcote says of the Trophy match against Shrewsbury, "It's a great draw for us. We're at home to a side who will bring a massive following and there's everything to play for".
PACE DOUBTS ALTY
In the Pink, Droylsden boss Dave Pace writes, "I'm not quite as convinced as some people seem to be that Stalybridge and Altrincham will finish in the top 13". He adds that Alty "still have a lot to do to squeeze in".
In the NL Paper, STAR's Mark Murray has a letter printed praising the warmth of Weymouth's welcome to Altrincham fans last week.