18 April 2004
After yesterday's bad injury to Kieran Lugsden whilst playing for the first team at Whitby, comes the good news that he had been released from Scarborough hospital this afternoon. He has suffered a wrist fracture and is also cut and bruised about the head. It will also take some time for him to overcome his grogginess but a scan has indicated there is no lasting damage after his collision with a concrete wall at the side of the pitch.
WHITBY TOWN 2 ALTRINCHAM 3
Marcus Hallows nets goal no.3; an image from Alan Johnson's photosite where more are to be seen.
Stuart Coburn almost gets to Craig Veart's penalty.
Above, Matt Bailey (on ground) sees his shot hit the crossbar.
Today's "In the Hot Seat" column in the Pink is by Graham Heathcote. He writes, "We're entering one of the most critical weeks in the history of Altrincham FC... No one will ever convince me we've been more than a shade unfortunate to find ourselves in the situation we're now in, because how we managed to come out of our recent games with Lancaster, Hucknall and Alfreton with nothing, I don't know... We were also victims of what I'll diplomatically refer to as some questionable decisions at Blyth... When the chips were down the boys showed real character [at Blyth]... We've had to cope with some horrendous injury problems during the run-up to the end of the season... but there's no point continually carping on about how unlucky we've been. We're in this position and we just have to deal with it... Now's the time for us to really show what we're made of... One thing I'm desperately trying to get through to my players is the need to rid themselves of any thoughts that we're fighting a relegation scrap... We're a mid-table side... more than capable of giving anyone at our level a game". As the final two games are at home, Graham says that if you "still fail to get the results you need, there really is little room for excuse... I've found the last 12 months the hardest I've ever known in football". As for the club, Graham adds "thanks to the efforts of our new board, this club is going forward again off the field".
The Man Utd Reserves game against Newcastle at Moss Lane has been brought forward to Wednesday 21st (7pm) from Thursday. Because of the change, volunteer stewards are needed; please contact Darren Gregory, the chief steward, or ring the club on 0161-928-1045 if you can help. It would be much appreciated.
In action yesterday were Danny Adams (Stockport) and Kevin Elllison (Lincoln), whilst in the Conference both Mario Daniel and Graham Tench played for Leigh. In the UniBond, Neil Murphy (Marine), Tony Sullivan (Lancaster), Chris Timons (Gainsboro'), Terry Bowker (Stalybridge) and Steve Hawes (Worksop) played yesterday. The Pink has a picture of Trafford Reserves who have won their league; the image features ex-Alty Reserves and Youth goalkeeper Dale Newbrook, Melvyn Pampila, Mark Drew and Pat Claffey.
17 April 2004
Burscough 0 Marine 0
Harrogate T. 5 Wakefield & Emley 0
Hucknall T. 0 Bradford PA 0
Lancaster C. 0 Gainsborough T. 1
Runcorn FC Halton 3 Stalybridge C. 0
Southport 0 Ashton U. 0
Spennymoor U. 3 Radcliffe B. 1
Vauxhall M. 2 Blyth S. 1
Whitby T. 2 Altrincham 3
Worksop T. 2 Barrow 4
HOW THE OTHER HALF LIVES
Weymouth, who Alty knocked out of the FA Trophy this season, are managed by Steve Claridge who "is set to earn a staggering £100,000 in his first season as player-manager... Claridge would have netted another £25,000 in bonus if the Terras had won promotion... He collects a basic wage of £1,000 a week, which is topped up by a range of lucrative incentives. These include £200 a week in expenses, £250 per appearance, £200 for a win and £100 for a draw. The 39-year-old also picks up £75 for every goal he scores, and receives 20 per cent of gate receipts at the Wessex Stadium when crowds go above the 1,000 mark... Based on those figures, he is on target to bank £66,000 in basic salary and weekly expenses, along with more than £21,000 in playing incentives... The player-boss has also banked in excess of £5,000 and picked up another £5,000 signing on fee... Claridge should break the £100,000 barrier. He is also in line for a loyalty bonus of £40,000 if he is still with the Terras on August 1st, 2005 and £20,000 for each subsequent year... Terras' chairman Ian Ridley admits Claridge is 'expensive' but claims he is 'worth every penny...Previous manager Geoff Butler came cheap, and look what happened... Weymouth made a loss of more than £80,000 last season due to very poor attendances and minimal sponsorship income. This year we expect to break even'", reports This is Weymouth.
Closer to home, Hucknall chairman Brian Holmes confirmed that "manager Steve Burr is staying at the club for at least another season and the Watnall Road ground is to be upgraded this summer, so that if Hucknall win the Conference North next season, they CAN go up to the top division of the Nationwide Conference. Burr was expected to sign a new one-year contract this week". Holmes added, "The majority of the squad will re-sign too and Steve will be given the opportunity to strengthen the squad. Burr is... understood to be one of the best-paid full-time managers outside of the Football League". Chairman Holmes "has presented a £3 million compromise plan to the [ground's] owner, Welbeck Estates, which it seems likely to accept given its failure to gain planning permission for development of the site... Holmes intends to press on with a scheme to build a new covered, terraced stand... which would take the capacity up to 4,000, the minimum required by the Conference. He is confident the rest of the ground is already up to scratch", reports Hucknall Today.
The Runcorn Weekly News reports that Runcorn FC Halton now has a Supporters' Trust, called LIST. Spokesman Martin Fallon said, "One of our main aims is to look at ways of getting the football club back to Runcorn... The other aim we can concentrate on immediately, though, is to rebuild links between the football club, its supporters and the local community".
Leigh RMI are set to be relegated to the Alliance but "Chairman Bill Taylor admitted he was unsure what lies ahead for his club. He said: 'The chairman of the Conference, Bill King, was at the Northwich Victoria game and I asked him who was going down and he said he couldn't answer that. I really do not know what is going to happen and to be honest I am disgusted in the way the FA have acted'", he told Leigh Today.
16 April 2004
For the last few months, this website has been struggling with a lack of available webspace. I am pleased to say that over Easter this problem has been resolved by the acquisition of a new and
much larger domain to add to the existing one. This means that there will no longer be a need to delete images from archived news files and that,indeed, those that have been deleted can be restored. It will also permit expansion of the site both for current information and for archived material. Amongst other things, more statistical information from the present and past will be added.
Access to the Altrincham FC Official Web Site will remain as now, i.e. by
Left: Matthew Bailey appears to be about to emulate the recent
Moss Lane streaker as he leaves the pitch at Blyth on Wednesday but Stephen
Rose, in pullover, and Marcus Hallows avert their gaze. Also leaving the pitch is Ged Kielty
with physio Gary Thompson. Above, right, is an image from Alan Johnson's photosite showing some of Alty's
travelling fans on the new terrace at Croft Park.
On IC Newcastle Blyth
Spartans' boss Paul Baker said of the game, "I am annoyed we conceded two
goals but we were without key players and it showed".
After the Alfreton game on Monday, Graham Heathcote told SAM, "I was
delighted with the effort shown today, we just need Lady Luck back to smile
on us a bit more".
Alty's last game of the season is at home to Runcorn. IC Cheshire quotes
Runcorn manager Chris Lightfoot's call to fans to "offer the club some
positive support in a crucial week ahead. Player-boss Lightfoot admits he
has heard the rumour the club is packing its bags to move in with former
landlords Witton Albion. He said: 'I have heard the rumour and spoken to
the chairman about it. He doesn't know where it has come from. But there
are all sorts of rumours going around and none of them are true'". He
defended his Chairman saying, "If it wasn't for Dave Robertson, there
wouldn't be a Runcorn Football Club. 'He has been paying the wages for the
last three or four years out of his own pocket'". He added, "We have some
people who just haven't been seen at games classing themselves as big
Runcorn supporters... We have people who just go to away matches and only
put money in other clubs' pockets, which is disappointing". The article
continues, "The last game of the season, at fellow contenders Altrincham on
Saturday week, is looking like a possible decider and what a prospect that
would be with all the history between the two arch rivals. 'Hopefully it
won't come to that and we'll get something out of the next few games so we
are all right. I think if we can win four out of the last five, we will be
OK'. Lightfoot expects on-loan Matty Platt to be back in contention this
weekend after groin trouble. There are no suspensions beckoning but the
Linnets are still missing ex-Port Vale midfieldman Craig Mitchell (ankle)".
15 April 2004
BLYTH SPARTANS 2 ALTRINCHAM 2
Ashton U. 0 Worksop T. 3
Blyth S. 2 Altrincham 2
Runcorn FC Halton 0 Burscough 0
Stalybridge C. 1 Marine 1
ULCC Final 1st Leg: Droylsden 2 Hucknall T. 0
Chairman's Cup Final 2nd Leg: Leek T. 0 Hyde U. 1 (0-2 on aggregate)
14 April 2004
ALAN EARNS A REST
Alan Johnson (right), who runs the Alty photographic website, reports that some time ago he decided that he "would retire as the photographer for Altrincham FC and the web master of the site" at the end of this season. Alan has been a familiar site at home and away games, in all weathers, recording Alty's progress on the field. If anyone wishes to succeed Alan, they should contact him via the above link. Alan also previously ran the official website so he has well earned the right to enjoy watching Altrincham in future without having to worry about photography and all at Moss Lane will wish him an enjoyable (semi-)retirement. One of Alan's other jobs is as route-guide to the driver of the STAR supporters' coach to away games, so he will be fully occupied this afternoon getting us to Croft Park and avoiding the traffic jams around St James's Park on the way!
STAR's preparations for the Race Night /Player of the Year event on 24 April are going well. Steve Foster's race prediction chart has already made £100 before the event begins but there is still time for others to have a go. The Player of the Year votes have been counted but the result remains a closely guarded secret! The Juniors' player of the year award will be awarded in front of the main stand after the Runcorn game.
Whitby Today states that "Whitby Town are now level on points with 13th placed Altrincham after scraping a 2-1 win in a bad-tempered clash with Frickley" on Saturday. But the club website reports that "It was very disappointing display from Whitby Town as they slipped to an away defeat against a lowly Spennymoor side [on Monday]. Two second half goals in a minute dealt Whitby a crushing blow in their Conference North hopes. Whitby never looked up for the game and must now win both of their remaining games to have any chance of automatically qualifying for the new set up next season". Their next game is at home to... Altrincham!
NEXT HOME GAME
Alty will hope that Worksop, whom we meet on 20 April, are as generous as they were to our play off rivals, Gainsborough, on Monday. "A fortuitous goal... came when a back pass by Mark Haran to goalkeeper Ian Bowling left the Tigers' keeper little time to clear and as he attempted to hit the ball downfield, the ball hit Gareth Grant and fortunately for him the re-bound left him with little to do other than find the net from just two yards out... Just one minute from time following their first corner of the match, Trinity equalised when Luke Staton put the ball back into the Worksop area and Mark Haran unfortunately headed past his own goalkeeper in an effort to clear".
This is Lincs says "Loanee Kevin Ellison believes the Imps [Lincoln City] could succeed in the Second Division - and is determined to play a massive part in their promotion drive... 'I've signed until the end of the season, and there was no hesitation on my part to extend it when the deal was offered to me', said Ellison... Ellison is naturally a left-sided midfielder, but has been asked to play as a left wing-back by Imps manager Keith Alexander... 'When I first arrived at the club and Keith Alexander said left-wing back I thought 'Oh no!'', admitted Ellison. 'But as the games are going on I'm enjoying it... I'll play anywhere... I'm naturally not a defender so I like to get forward and get in as many crosses as I can'". Alexander added, "We've extended the loan for another month because Kevin wants to stay and we want him here. Whether we can afford him for any longer than this season, who knows?"
The UniBond site reports that for 2004-05, "At this stage it is envisaged that the League will receive four or five clubs on transfer from the Southern League or its feeder leagues... That leaves either eight or nine clubs required to make up the League’s full complement of 44. Of the new applicant clubs Alsager Town, Fleetwood Town and Sheffield FC unfortunately did not meet the necessary ground grading requirements. However that still leaves main contenders Clitheroe, Congleton Town, Mossley, Warrington Town and Woodley Sports of the North West Counties League and Brigg Town, Buxton, Eastwood Town, Ossett Albion and Selby Town from the Northern Counties East League battling it out for the probable eight or nine places on offer".
The Alfreton site has a brief report on Monday's game at Moss Lane.
IC Ormskirk reports on Burscough's win over Alty, which "means end-of-season qualification for the Conference North play-offs is within reach".
13 April 2004
12 April 2004
ALTRINCHAM 0 ALFRETON TOWN 1
Right: For the second time this season, Mark Maddox is sent off against Alfreton Town.
Altrincham 0 Alfreton T. 1
Barrow 3 Blyth S. 0
Frickley A. 2 Wakefield & Emley 1
Gainsborough T. 2 Worksop Town 1
Harrogate T. 0 Bradford PA 1
Hucknall T. 1 Droylsden 1
Radcliffe B. 1 Ashton U. 2
Southport 2 Stalybridge C. 3
Spennymoor U. 2 Whitby T. 0
Vauxhall M. 1 Marine 0
ALTY YOUTH 2 LANCASTER CITY YOUTH 0
Alty Youth took another step towards the league title with a hard-earned 2-0 win on Sunday. The goals came from Adam Ball and Lewis Chalmers. Report on the Youth Page.
For news of Alty's decimated squad, see news below for 11 April. Alty Youth midfielder Stevie Taylor is on standby for today's game. He is seen, right, in yesterday's Youth win over Lancaster. The Through the Years stats have been updated.
Though Altrincham will hope to avoid them, the play-off arrangements are as follows. On Tuesday 27 April:
1: 14th team in the Premier Division v Champions of the First Division
2: 15th Premier v 20th Premier
3: 16th Premier v 19th Premier
4: 17th Premier v 18th Premier
Saturday 1 May:
5: Winner of Game 1 v Winner of Game 4
6: Winner of Game 2 v Winner of Game 3
Monday 3 May:
Winner of Game 5 v Winner of Game 6 (3pm)
The Burscough site says of Saturday's game:
"Burscough continued where they left off against Blyth with a comprehensive 3-1 victory over Altrincham at Victoria Park".
The Welsh Premier site reports on Rhyl v TNS yesterday, where goalkeeper Richard Acton of Altrincham was on loan to TNS. A cross from ex-Alty man, Marc Limbert "was headed goalwards by skipper Timmy Edwards, and Acton let the ball squirm from his grasp to leave Moran with the easiest of chances" for the only goal of the match. But "Seconds earlier, the [TNS] Saints' keeper had produced a superb save from Limbert".
11 April 2004
After losing Steve Aspinall and Stephen Rose on Monday night against Hucknall, Alty lost Gary Talbot in the first half at Burscough on Saturday and after the game it emerged that goalkeeper Stuart Coburn had a "dead leg" and was also in doubt for Monday's game against Alfreton. With Alty's second keeper, Richard Acton, on loan at TNS, international clearance is needed before he can play again for Altrincham and this cannot be obtained before Tuesday. So, Graham Heathcote has put youth team keeper Barry George on stand-by for tomorrow's game. Barry, 18 this month, is also the Cheshire FA keeper. Also on stand-by is youth team midfielder Stevie Taylor. Currently Alty have nine first teamers either out or doubtful for tomorrow's game; as well as those mentioned above, Adams, Scott, Hardy, Thornley and Wright were sidelined for Burscough, with only Wright likely to play at all again this season. Between them, the nine have made 230 league appearances this season.
After the last match of this season, at home to Runcorn FC Halton on 24 April, Altrincham's supporters' trust, STAR, is running a Race Night at Moss Lane. But before then there is an even more vital 9-horse race to complete for qualification for the Alliance North. With the UniBond Premier's top eight virtually guaranteed qualification and the bottom six unable to achieve this, nine teams remain in contention for the remaining five places. Six of the nine are NW clubs.
The good news for Alty is that their fate remains in their own hands as their maximum achievable points total (68) is second highest of the nine. The full list is: Stalybridge (max. 71), Altrincham (68), Ashton & Vauxhall (67), Runcorn & Gainsborough (66), Marine (63), Whitby (62) and Bradford PA (59).
The full details of the STAR supporters' coaches to Blyth (14th) and Whitby (17th) are on the Away Travel page. Join the Alty away supporters and help to get the club to the qualification point for Alliance North.
A letter from Barrow in the NLP says of the UniBond Premier's playing surfaces, "of the better pitches, I would have to choose Altrincham, followed by Southport, Vauxhall and Barrow".
Stockport continued unbetaen in the seven games played with Danny Adams in their side, whilst Kevin Ellison's Lincoln won again, too. Wes Wilkinson was Oldham's unused sub. In the UniBond, the following played yesterday: Chambers & Farley (Droylsden), Neil Murphy (Marine), Sullivan (Lancaster), Bowker (Stalybridge), Porter (Vauxhall), Timons (Gainsborough) and Hawes (Worksop).
Chris Downey netted again for Mossley.
10 April 2004
BURSCOUGH 3 ALTRINCHAM 1
Above Right: Mark Maddox advances into the Burscough half, as Ged Kielty looks on.
Alfreton T. 0 Radcliffe B. 0
Ashton U. 1 Barrow 2
Blyth S. 3 Harrogate T. 4
Bradford PA 0 Spennymoor U. 0
Burscough 3 Altrincham 1
Droylsden 3 Southport 2
Marine 1 Lancaster C. 1
Stalybridge C. 3 Vauxhall M. 4
Wakefield & Emley 0 Gainsborough T. 2
Whitby T. 2 Frickley A. 1
Worksop T. 0 Hucknall T. 3
Because of the Easter holidays the club is short of help for Monday's match against Alfreton. If anyone would like to volunteer and help out either as a turnstile operator or a steward please contact the club on 0161-928-1045 or e-mail Darren Gregory, the chief steward.
Alty meet Alfreton Town on Monday. Their website reports that at Runcorn FC Halton on Thursday "Mark Sale hit his third goal in two games and
David Holmes was the Alfreton man of the match while Grant Brown was rested, missing from the starting line-up for the first time this season after 49 consecutive appearances."
On Wednesday, Alty are at Blyth. They drew 0-0 with Lancaster on Tuesday but had Dale Telfer sent off, reports IC Newcastle. They have now gone 12 games against league opposition without a win. Manager Paul Baker said, "I was really happy about the way in which we applied ourselves - but we cannot go overboard about a goalless draw. It is important that we improve". Graham Fenton captained the side in the absence of injured defender Richard Forster who "has little chance of recovering from knee trouble" for Blyth's game today.
Despite a goal from Mario Daniel, Leigh RMI were relegated last night and will join the Alliance North with Northwich Vics. Barry Howard will be in Hyde's 1983 Reunion XI against an All Star XI at Ewen Fields on Friday 16 April (7pm) to commemorate when Hyde played Burnley in the FA Cup 1st Round. The All Stars will be mix of ex-players and soap actors. The players include another ex-Robin, Len Cantello. Admission is £3.
IC Crosby quotes Marine boss Roly
Howard on new midfielder Ben Kay: "He's just what we've been looking for. He can tackle, pass and wins the majority of the loose balls". Ex-Alty man Neil Murphy has just returned to the Marine side after injury.
"Unflustered manager Paul Mitchell has remained defiant over his future at Gainsborough Trinity", says This is Lincs... Mitchell's side haven't won since February 21. 'I don't feel any pressure from others, and this run, although it is bad, has not made me question my own future', said Mitchell... 'The club needs stability and it hasn't had that for a long time. I want to hopefully remedy this and, given the time, I feel I can change Trinity's fortunes around'".
Hucknall Today says that the club's chairman heard the news of his side's win at Altrincham on "a beach in Barbados". The match report says that Hucknall's win "came against a side many expected to cause an upset. But for drawing so many games, Altrincham would be far better placed in the table than 12th. They boast a healthy goal-difference and have lost only as many times as second-placed Droylsden, whom they beat only two weeks ago".
9 April 2004
ANOTHER PLAYER OUT
As well as the four players out for the rest of the season (Thornley, Scott, Adams, Hardy) and the two injured on Monday night (Aspinall and Rose), both of whom will miss the Easter weekend games, Stuart Wright has become the latest Alty player to be ruled out of Saturday's game at Burscough. Stuart has tonsilitis. Manager Graham Heathcote has drafted into the squad Jamie Almond, who was signed from Woodley Sports on 12 March but is yet to play for the Robins. He is a 20 year-old winger, who was an England under-15 international and was with Manchester City's Academy. He is seen, right, in a white shirt playing against Alty at Mossley in pre-season.
The updated Youth team league table is in the Youth section of this site.
Jason van Blerk, who played for Alty earlier this season, has now returned from Australia and gained clearance to play for Macclesfield Town.
After all the fuss at Altrincham when a streaker disrupted the UniBond Cheshire Senior Cup Final at Moss Lane, Barrow were also victims of a streaker at Tuesday night's match against Workington.
BBC North Yorkshire quotes the Harrogate manager John Reed. "The word is 'unbelievable', for both me as a manager and for the club...
three years ago we were bottom of the UniBond First Division... "The thing about Mr Fotherby [chairman] is that he gets everyone working together. I will always remember last year when we lost six on the bounce. Obviously, that's usually a manager's exit. He never panicked, and kept encouraging me, and I'm still here now".