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3 to 9 March, 2004

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ALTY  LEGENDS
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9 March 2004

NEXT TWO OPPONENTS

Alty play at Gainsborough tonight. On This is Lincs "Gainsborough Trinity boss Paul Mitchell criticised Leek Town's pitch following their... defeat at Harrison Park on Saturday... Mitchell even changed his tactics to suit the pitch of peril, but said the long-ball route he employed in the second half would be the first and only time he would ever use it. "If I had to play the long ball game every week, I would jack the game in altogether... That style gets you only so far, whereas our passing game has a future and from now on that's how we'll always play... Everything we tried to do, did not work at all... And to be quite frank, I thought they were shocking".

Apart from Lee Ellington, who was briefly at Alty in 2000, another Trinity face to look for is keeper Tom Linley, a North American loaned from Sheffield Utd. He has already faced Alty, for Hucknall Town, back in October 2003.

On Saturday we host Bradford PA at Moss Lane. By coincidence, since Matthew Boswell left for Burscough last week, BPA have also acquired a North American goalkeeper. He is Andrew Britton also from Sheffield United. This is Bradford reports that BPA's point last Saturday against Blyth "was from a game they should have won". Boss Trevor Storton said, "I'm fed up to the back teeth of saying we are not having any luck... They are the same players who have done ever so well for the club in previous seasons but they don't want to be the one who shoulders the responsibility just in case it costs us two or three points".

UNIBOND NEWS

Lancaster City report that on Saturday Ryan Elderton "took a bad injury that could keep him out of action for the remainder of the season".
8 March 2004

NEW FACES

Graham Heathcote has brought in three new faces to ease the injury crisis in advance of tomorrow's game at Gainsborough. He has signed Ryan Hutchinson, (born Manchester 20/9/83), a right-midfielder from Stoke City who has been a regular in Stoke Reserves, having emerged from the youth team. Graham has also taken on loan two players from Stockport County.

They are Matthew Bailey, a 6ft 2in (or 6ft 4in or 6ft 5in in some sources!) teenage centre-forward formerly at Nantwich Town, and Jamie Baguley (born Salford, 1984), a wide-left player. Both have signed on a month's loan. Baguley was with both Man. Utd and City before joining County in 2001.

Defender Derek Ward, signed last Friday as cover, but also now playing for Cammell Laird, is unavailable for Alty tomorrow. Stevie Taylor (right) of Alty Youth, has signed UniBond forms but is also unavailable for the Gainsborough match because of work commitments. Rod Thornley has been told to rest his knee so could be out for some time, whilst Steve Aspinall is only 50/50 for tomorrow. Gary Talbot is suspended and, as previously reported, Chris Adams, Niell Hardy and Gary Scott are out for the rest of the season as are Sean Smith and Danny Murphy.

NEXT

Altrincham are away at Gainsborough tomorrow (k.o. 7.45pm).

Alty will be hoping to stop Gainsborough's Lee Ellington (who was briefly with Altrincham in 2000). He scored from the spot (above) at Moss Lane this September in a 2-2 draw.

PROMOTION CONFUSION

Confguide claims that the UniBond statement (see 7 March news) confirming that the runners-up can be promoted to the Conference if the UniBond champions are ineligible "adds no new info - it just reiterates that the rules allow the runners-up to be promoted, but that they're subject to the criteria". Make of that what you will!

UNIBOND NEWS

Whitby Town report that "Mark Sheeran has decided to stay with the Seasiders for the rest of the season. The former Darlington youngster has his sights firmly set on a return to the Football League and will hopefully use his time at the Turnbull to turn a few heads!".

Saturday's Frickley v Lancaster match saw the ref take the players off for 10 minutes when Wayne Benn was sent off following an incident involving City's Rick Mercer and the previously booked [ex-Alty] Tony Sullivan.

Blyth Spartans report "an injury to Michael Laws in the game at Bradford Park Avenue. Michael has broken his leg and had to stay in hospital in Bradford overnight... We have to assume that he will be missing for the remainder of the season".

Blyth's recent Open Forum heard that "We have had to cut the [players'] budget back to the figure of £2,200 agreed at the start of the season". The club is paying off a VAT bill at £750 per month whilst "The Inland Revenue made an inspection of the club in November [and their]... report is concerned mainly with wages and PAYE not being administered correctly... The outcome is a bill for the Social Club of approximately £7,000 for two years of incorrect administration".

As well, "We have received a figure from the Inland Revenue... I am not able to go into more detail at this stage because of the confidential nature of our discussions". But "On a day to day basis things are running reasonably well. However, it now seems that the debt of £54,000 which we understood to exist three years ago should have been nearer to £120,000".

On the field, as regards cautions Blyth's "tally has gone up unacceptably over the last quarter with the yellow cards now standing at 50 - only one less than last year".

Transfer:

  • Darren Roberts (Worksop T. to Farsley C. on loan)
    7 March 2004

    STICK TOGETHER

    In the Pink, Graham Heathcote says, "We've been unfortunate in losing some key players to injury but others have got sloppy, which is unacceptable and, for the moment, we look a poor side. I've got to take the flak too... All I can do for the moment is get down and try to bring fresh faces in, which isn't easy where money's as tight as it has to be here...We must take a reality check, regroup and find an answer as quickly as possible". Graham is quoted as saying we need 20 more points to qualify for the Alliance North. He added, "It's a case of the season starts here. The lads had proved before the slump that they're good enough ability-wise, so it has to be a psychological thing. And the only way we're going to come out of it is by sticking together".

    OFF

    Alty Youth have no game today. League fixture changes mean that the planned game with Leigh RMI is postponed.

    OLD BOYS

    Anthony Hargreaves and Chris Young both scored for Flixton who won 5-2 in front of just 20 spectators. Paul Ellender scored for Boston, whilst Danny Adams laid on Stockport's first goal on his debut for County. Former Alty Reserve Chuku Otutu has moved from Woodley Sports to Atherton LR.

    PROMOTION

    The UniBond League states that it "has received written confirmation from the Football Association that the second placed club will be eligible for promotion subject to qualification criteria in the event that the Champion club isnít promoted. As current leaders Hucknall Town, along with challengers Droylsden and Harrogate Town, did not make application for promotion in August Barrow are likely to be the main beneficiaries of the FAís edict".

    RESTRUCTURE

    NL Daily says that "March 5th's meeting of the FA's National League Systems` committee in Soho Square rubber-stamped the restructuring at the end of this season and set up working parties to prepare the way for the restructuring of the rest of the non-League Pyramid in 2007. By May 8th it should be known exactly where clubs will be playing next season and will be announced on Monday, May 10th.

    Under the new restucturing system, the Northern Premier and Northern One will be run by officials of the current UniBond League... with an elected committee made up of officials of all three leagues in overall charge. It also looks highly unlikely that Barrow will win their case in being promoted to the Nationwide Conference should they finish as runners-up... It now appears that a mistake somewhere along the line means that the rule WAS actually sanctioned but omitted from the current Conference rules in the handbook".

    Also, "Prices are being increased for the FA Cup, FA Trophy and FA Vase finals".

    UNIBOND NEWS

    Harrogate Town chairman Bill Fotherby "feels he has reached a 'dead end' and the man he brought to Wetherby Road four years ago is right behind him. An emotional Fotherby said: 'If there is no future here, there is no point me staying here. There has to be a future at this club... I wanted us to be a Nationwide League club and now it is a different story. It is obvious the council don't want a professional club in Harrogate' Meanwhile manager John Reed revealed that if Fotherby stepped down, the strong bond he has with the ex-Leeds chairman may make the Town chief consider his own future... 'I'm disappointed with the attitude of the council - they don't deserve Mr Fotherby and they don't deserve the team they've got', Reed remarked. 'If he were to leave, we would back in the UniBond One within a few years', warned the charismatic boss". Fotherby added "We are back where we are started and it doesn't feel like there is a future for Harrogate Town".

    Harrogate Today adds that "Mr Fotherby is now considering a move to York City... 'I'm not going to be pouring money into Wetherby Road when there's no point', he said. 'It's not good for me. I'm only interested in being a winner'"

    The Evening Chronicle reports that "Blyth manager Paul Baker is hoping to sign Newcastle United midfield man Steve Blair.

    "A reward of £250 has been put up after vandals ran amok by smashing windows at Hucknall Town's new social club, Talk Of The Town, on Watnall Road. Angry chairman Brian Holmes is offering the money... The £2,000 worth of damage was caused at 2 am on Tuesday" states Hucknall Today.

    Burscough report that "With David Newnes shortly due to spend almost three weeks in the USA playing in the prestigious Dallas Cup manager Derek Goulding this evening signed goalkeeper Matthew Boswell from Bradford PA".

    "Anthony Wright of Aberystwtyh has been lined up as a replacement for Terry Fearns who is expected to join Hull City in the next week or so, say Vauxhall Motors. "Wright has recently completed a 3-month loan spell at Hyde Utd... [but] Owen Brown knows Wright well from their time at Barrow together when they won the Unibond".


    6 March 2004

    RESULTS GO OUR WAY

    Right: Derek Ward, Alty's new signing, see News for 5 March below.

    League

  • Ashton U. 4 Runcorn FC Halton 2
  • Bradford PA 1 Blyth S. 1
  • Frickley A. 0 Lancaster C. 2
  • Spennymoor U. 0 Southport 2
  • Stalybridge C 1 Whitby T. 3
  • Vauxhall M. 2 Alfreton T. 0
  • Wakefield & Emley 2 Radcliffe B. 1
  • Worksop T. 1 Burscough 1

    ULCC SF

  • Droylsden 3 B. Auckland 2
  • Hucknall T. 2 Matlock T. 1

    President's Cup SF

  • Marine 0 Barrow 2
  • Workington 4 Harrogate T. 4 aet, Workington won 4-3 on pens.

    Chairman's Cup SF

  • Hyde U. 3 Kidsgrove A. 1
  • Leek T. 2 Gainsborough T. 0

    NEXT OPPONENTS

    Paul Mitchell, manager of our next opponents. Gainsborough, who have signed at least three loan players in the last month "insists he is not in the race to sign highly-rated Retford United hitman Vil Powell. A number of UniBond clubs have enquired about the player, who has scored 45 goals in 31 games for the Badgers", according to This is Lincs. "For one, we would not be able to afford to buy him" said Mitchell. Trinity, who have loaned left-back Richard Lucas to Stocksbridge PS, play the semi-final of the UniBond Chairman's Cup today but Mitchell says "The trophy lost its worth when the league stopped their interest in it. They are not bothered how you play the final or where. They don't make it feel special". The article adds that "Trinity are at full strength, although Mitchell may ring the changes with Martin Drury and Chris Dickman given a chance to start. The pair may come in for midfielder Chris Hurst and defender Ben Purkiss who are still fighting to regain match fitness from calf and knee injuries respectively".

    LAST GAME

    There is a match report on last Tuesday's game at Moss Lane on IC Huddersfield. "Had Altrincham's Ian Craney, Peter Band and Marcus Hallows had their shooting boots on then Emley could have been in trouble but Fearon made valuable clearances and they took heart from the glaring misses to make their mark in the second half", it states.

    UNIBOND NEWS

    The official Barrow site says that the confusion continues over whether a runner-up can be promoted to the Conference if the champions are ineligible. "The National League System committee met on Friday... It was agreed that, as it was an issue regarding the interpretation of Rules, the Sanction and Registrations Committee would be asked to make a final adjudication. They will be meeting soon".

    Radcliffe Borough report that "striker Paul Wheatcroft has joined First Division neighbours Rossendale United on loan". He was once with Manchester United.

    Stalybridge Celtic have promoted midfielder Paul Clough (18) from the Celtic Juniors side and although "Bradford PA have turned down an audacious double swoop [from Celtic] for striker Andy Hayward and central defender Ryan Crossley... the two clubs could well agree terms for Steve Oleksewycz when he returns from holiday". But, off the field, disaster struck "this week when workmen severed a water main outside the ground and flooded the car park, pitch and offices" at the Bower Fold.

    Moves:

  • Andrew Britton (Sheffield U. to Bradford PA on loan)
  • Paul Aldridge (Derry City to Runcorn FC Halton)
  • Thomas Raw (Scarborough to Spennymoor U. on loan)
  • Andrew Wright (Bradford PA to Wakefield & Emley)
    5 March 2004

    EMERGENCY WARD

    To ease their injury crisis, Altrincham have re-signed Vauxhall Motors defender Derek Ward, (d.o.b. Birkenhead, 17/5/72), who was previously at Moss Lane for the 2002-03 pre-season. However, Derek moved on to Vauxhall Motors before the season started. He can play on either defensive flank. In his early career he was at Bury and Northwich before joining Stalybridge Celtic. He then joined Ken McKenna's TNS in the League of Wales before his first spell at Alty.

    DANNY TO COUNTY

    Further to the report below, ex-Alty left-back Danny Adams will sign for Stockport County on Monday for a nominal fee. However he has registered as a loan player for the weekend so he may play for County tomorrow according to Stockport.com.

    OLD BOYS

    The MEN quotes Sammy McIlroy after he had watched Danny Adams play for Stockport Reserves: "I think Danny Adams can do a job for us. He is obviously short of games having been involved in a contract dispute [at Macclesfield]. I will have to go to the Board to discuss any move".

    Elsewhere, Nantwich's former Alty Youth striker Wes Wilkinson signed for Oldham Athletic yesterday till the end of the season. The Dabbers' chairman said, "We will receive a sum of money and we will also gain another sum if he plays an agreed number of first-team games. We have also agreed a 20% sell-on clause and a lucrative pre-season friendly against a strong Oldham team".

    Chris Downey, who made one sub appearance for Altrincham this season, has now joined Mossley.

    Leroy Chambers scored on Wednesday for Droylsden but James Glendenning tore a muscle in the same game.

    MOVES

  • Richard Lucas (Gainsborough T. to Stocksbridge PS)
  • Jerome Fitzgerald (Stalybridge C. to Accrington S.)
  • Andy Ralph (Northwich V. to Stalybridge C. on loan)

    UNIBOND NEWS

    Our next opponents, Gainsborough, are leading the UniBond Fair Play table for this season; Alty lie 11th.

    Like Alty, Stalybridge Celtic have injury problems. "We're certainly a few players short for the Whitby game", says manager Dave Miller. Goalkeeper "Craig Dootson has a hernia problem that may well require an operation which effectively has put him out for the rest of the season... I've brought in Andy Ralph [ex-Vauxhall keeper] from Northwich on loan for a month... Greg Pearce is struggling with a knee injury, Darren Bowman has a groin injury and Phil Eastwood is still recovering from his cartilage operation. On top of that Kevin Parr and Nathan Wharton are both suspended for Saturday. Also, Jerome Fitzgerald has today gone to Accrington Stanley". But he added, "We are currently in discussions with Bradford Park Avenue with a view to bringing Andy Hayward and Ryan Crossley to Bower Fold... but currently Bradford are asking too much, given the current market situation". BPA are having financial problems which have prompted a reduction of their wage-bill.

    Tameside Advertiser quotes Dave Pace following Droylsden's defeat at Lancaster. "If we had wanted it more, we would have got a result but it wasnít to be, so they got a kick up the backside. Although we have achieved what we wanted to achieve, Iím still bringing in new players. The groundís not good enough to get into the main Conference so I can understand where the players are coming from a little bit".

    According to IC Cheshire, Vauxhall's "On-loan Mark Roberts has extended his stay at Rivacre Park for a further month but his Crewe team-mate Tom Betts has returned to Gresty Road. Vauxhall may get Terry Fearns's scheduled three-match ban overturned after the referees' assessor from Saturday's game confirmed he did not think it was the striker who had hit Southport's Alex Mortimer... However, the switch could see Kevin Lynch suspended instead".

    The same source says that "The postponement of two home games this week, due to frozen pitches, has left Runcorn with 14 UniBond League games to play in 49 days. Boss Chris Lightfoot, mindful of the toll this could take on his small squad, is looking to further strengthen after the capture of Paul Aldridge from Southport. Manager Chris Lightfoot said, "There are not many players about who are going to strengthen my starting 11 but we are going to be playing Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday for a couple of weeks. If we get injuries, we are going to need bodies on board to fill the gaps. I'd like another centre-half and possibly another striker".

    Barrow have won the leading goalscorers award for February selected by the UniBond League.

    BIG NAMES

    Last night Manchester United and Manchester City's Reserves drew 3-3 at Moss Lane in front of 2,224 spectators who included Kevin Keegan, Stuart Pearce, Asa Hartford, new United deputy manager Walter Smith and Bryan Robson. City played with 10 men for more than an hour after their captain, Stephen Jordan, was sent off but went on to lead 2-0. United finally got level with a penalty 8 minutes from time, converted by Kieran Richardson. Other big names on the pitch were City's Joey Barton, Danny Tiatto and Icelandic keeper Arni Arason.

    PROMOTION

    Confguide says that "The National League System committee will meet on Friday to discuss the current confusion over whether the Conference's feeder leagues' runners-up can be promoted if the champion club is ineligible. The Conference says that only the Champions of each feeder league can be accepted - and if they are ineligible then no club is promoted from that league... The FA are adamant that the runners-up can qualify if the champions do not... Our theory on this is that the FA would not sanction a formal change to the rules to bar the runners-up - but that the Conference has attempted to achieve the same effect by amending its admission criteria. The situation is particularly of interest to Barrow".
    4 March 2004

    BOOK THE DAY OFF

    Altrincham's away game at Blyth Spartans has been rearranged for Wednesday 14 April (7.45pm). The preceding Monday is Easter Monday (when Alty are at home to Alfreton), hence the choice of Wednesday. The following Saturday we travel to Whitby.

    INJURY LIST GROWS AGAIN

    Graham Heathcote is faced with major injury problems as two more players joined the injured list this week. With three regulars (Adams, Scott and Hardy) already ruled out for the rest of the season after picking up injuries in the last fortnight or so, Steve Aspinall, (groin strain) and Rod Thornley (knee) are both now "very doubtful" for Tuesday's game at Gainsborough. The suspension of Gary Talbot for the next three games only adds to Graham's problems. Already 36 players have appeared on the Alty team sheet this season and long-term injuries have befallen Acton, Adams, Scott, Hardy and Thornley whilst Murphy and Smith have been out all season and Gardner and Welton had to leave due to work commitments.

    To address the crisis, Graham has been busy phoning round to line up new faces. Having used three loan players already this season (McCarthy, Williams, Holt), only two more loans are permitted by the League. By early next week Graham hopes to have acquired two new loan players and possibly a couple more players who have been released by league clubs. He has also added midfielder Stevie Taylor from the youth team to his back-up squad.

    GRAHAM'S VIEWS

    In SAM Graham Heathcote refers to Tuesday's defeat by Emley as "an embarassing performance... They [Emley] were probably as poor a side as we have played this season and we were poorer than them... There's no excuses to offer...We don't look like a threat to anybody, we don't look like we're going to score a goal, we're second to the ball - I could go on all day... We've gone from a fully fit squad playing well against Shrewsbury to something that was shambolic". In response to that game and to the current injury crisis he says, "I've got to get out there and find some bodies. Whether I can, or not - and for nothing - I don't know".

    MORE ON EMLEY GAME

    The STAR Bucket collection on Tuesday raised £87.62. Before that game at Moss Lane, IC Huddersfield stated that "Victory for Emley would hand them a first League double"- and it did! The report added that "Wakefield & Emley Football Club could merge with their rugby league playing landlords Wakefield Trinity Wildcats... Ted Richardson, chairman of Trinity, has gone on record as saying: "We are close to finalising a deal which will result in us being a merged club." But an FC spokesman said "I see no sense in merging with the rugby league club... It's important that both organisations keep their identity". Plans are afoot to upgrade the shared Belle Vue ground".

    TRINITY NEXT

    Before Alty met Wakefield last Tuesday, the Yorkshire club had failed to score in 14 league games this season - the most in the league. Next Tuesday we visit Gainsborough Trinity who have kept 14 clean sheets - the most in the league. Updates:
  • The STAR supporters' coach details for Gainsborough next Tuesday and
  • Howard Watts's Through the Years statistics for 9 March are now on the website.

    THURSDAY

    Man Utd and Man City Reserves meet at Moss Lane tonight (Thursday 7pm); entry £2 (concessionaries £1).

    OLD BOY

    Danny Adams made his debut for Stockport County reserves last night in a 4-0 win over Rochdale, but was substituted.

    UNIBOND NEWS

    As well as transfer listing leading scorer Stephen Oleksewycz, BPA have also apparently released goalkeeper Matthew Boswell for financial reasons.

    Whitby are suffering a player crisis with 8 first teamers out against Alfreton on Tuesday - including three suspended and three "unavailable". They gave a debut to "French defender Fabien Bossy, signed from Darlington last week and local full-back Paul Atkinson". They were able to field "just two substitutes- one of those, was newly signed York City teenager David Stockdale- a goalkeeper".

    The UniBond League is carrying out a survey of non-league football supporters. If you visit their website you can complete a survey form.


    3 March 2004

    WEDNESDAY

  • Bradford PA 0 Droylsden 2

    ALTRINCHAM 1 WAKEFIELD & EMLEY 2

    Match Report

    OLD BOY

    Alfreton's ex-Alty striker "Tony Hemmings has joined Halesowen Town on a monthís loan spell".

    UNIBOND NEWS

    Speaking to the Evening Press, Harrogate manager John Reed said: "I will hang on to the hope of winning the title until the grim death and when it is mathematically impossible, but you have to be realistic and say Hucknall look to have a good chance of being good champions". Another rival, Lee Turnbull, manager of Barrow, watched Hucknall recently and told The NW Evening Mail "When we played them I thought we more than matched them, but they were excellent against Harrogate and totally dominated the game".

    But the title favourites' own website has a strong message for the Nottingham Evening Post, which says "At a meeting of the Hucknall Town FC Committee last night, it was agreed, that until such time as your attitude towards Hucknall Town FC specifically, and Non-League Football in general, changes, then we will no longer be sending you information about our football club". This follows alleged failures to print match reports and other failings. The club told the Post, "Your coverage of the highest placed Non-League side in the Nottingham area has been deplorable at best".

    "Several UniBond League clubs are currently in talks with [Vil Powell] so it seems only a matter of "when" and not "if" he decides to leave Retford with only a few months left on his current contract" says NL Daily. Powell played against Alty for North Ferriby a couple of seasons ago and has hit 45 goals in 31 games since moving to Retford.