Altrincham Football Club News Archive
18 to 22 December, 2004

22 December 2004


Courtesy of Terry Rowley, details of Altrincham FC's managers from 1945-63 have now been added to this site's list of Alty Managers which runs to the present-day.


STAR's has two new fundraisers:
  • Slim4alty which starts with "a public weigh in in the Noel White Suite after the Stafford Rangers match on New Year's Day. Slimmers will be seeking sponsorship for every pound lost in the period up until the closing weigh-in on February 26th... The Winner is judged on the basis of greatest percentage of body weight lost from the initial weigh-in. If you're a little shy about your weight you don't have to go public! You can also take part privately without revealing your weight to anyone, just get in touch with STAR for a sponsor pack". Entrants so far include Alty boss Graham Heathcote and chairman Geoff Goodwin.
  • The STAR Travel Club "through which supporters can book their holidays at exclusive discount prices and earn commission for STAR and Altrincham Football Club at the same time! STAR has teamed up with local travel agents, Wardle Travel, to offer discounts on almost every tour operators’ brochure; visit STAR's website. And, of course there is shop4alty for those last-minute Christmas gifts.


    Last night's scheduled Stalybridge v Redditch match was postponed. Our next opponents, Stafford Rangers, were due to play a Staffs Senior Cup tie away to Sutton Coldfield this week but it, too, was postponed.

    Stalybridge "Celtic have today announced the signing of striker Phil Hadland. Phil (24) arrives at the Fold from Northwich Victoria... In keeping with club policy details of the deal were not disclosed". But Vics' site says "a four figure fee was agreed with Stalybridge Celtic".

    Leeds Today reports that Harrogate Town "fell flat on their big day at Alfreton and ultimately swapped places with their rivals". Manager John Reed said: "We looked a poor team. We were just not up for it at all, and they were up for it massively. They had more desire than us, more will to win and at the end of the day we got what we deserved, nothing". But speaking to BBC N. Yorkshire, Reed said "If somebody had said to me that at Christmas we would be 3rd in the table... I would probably have laughed at them!"

    Alfreton's website confirms that "Town go into Christmas sitting proudly on top of Nationwide North" after defeating Harrogate. "The Reds proved themselves once again a team for the big occasion".

    "Worcester City wing man Nick Colley, [the player involved in the tackle which resulted in Stephen Rose's injury] is confident of a return to first-team action within the next few weeks... after suffering cruciate ligament and meniscus damage" says This is WCFC. The website also predicts the champions of Nationwide North - "A tough one to call you would think with just 11 points separating league leaders Alfreton Town and Lancaster City in 15th position... Southport's confident boss Liam Watson... said: 'We've not lost a league game since September and if we can continue to be resilient then there's no reason why we can't take the title, and that's our aim'... Perhaps he will need to revise his comments a little following Southport's 2-1 loss to Altrincham... Alfreton Town are the bookmakers' favourites after defeating Harrogate Town in Saturday's top-of-the-table clash... My choice though would be Kettering. Although they have played more games than all their rivals, the Rockingham Road club are of one of the division's best counter-attacking teams and were outstanding in both matches against Worcester City".

    IC Coventry quotes Nuneaton boss Roger Ashby: "We have tried really hard to improve the squad but no way will I take on new players just for the sake of it. I have had opportunities to have done that but I'm looking for the right type of player. The directors have given me permission to bring a couple in, however, they need to be the right ones at the right price... I've spent many hours on the phone looking to arrange loan deals and it hasn't quite happened but I will not stop trying". Meanwhile "Avun Jephcott and Stuart Wilson will be in the line-up as they look to improve their fitness levels following recent illnesses" - Alty are away to Nuneaton on 22 January.

    My Sport Today states that "Steve Croudson is likely to hang onto his place in goal for Kettering Town when they travel to Hinckley United on Boxing Day... Boss Kevin Wilson now insists that Gary Hateley, who missed the weekend game through suspension, is going to have to wait to get his place back. Wilson said: "We have two goalkeepers here at the moment and they are both young". Leading scorer Darren Lynch has missed the last three games with a thigh injury. But Wilson said, "Jonathan Rowan is doing well for us at the moment and Matt Nolan did very well in his first game on Saturday. So it means there are other options available to us. The most important thing from Darren's point of view is that we ensure he has recovered properly before bringing him back".

    The Tameside Advertiser reports on Droylsden where "Four consecutive wins have pushed the Bloods into seventh spot... Central to that run has been the form of Jody Banim who has scored 15 goals in 16 games. However, the Bloods have seen loan signing Lutel James break a bone in his foot, prompting Pace to take Danny Byrne off the loan list". Manager Dave Pace said, "I have changed nine plyers from the team that won four trophies last season because if we had stuck with them, we would be down at the bottom of the division... We’re back on track and hopefully we will keep it going. I think the secret is that nobody’s guaranteed a place,– some of the big names were dropped and I put my neck on the block. At the moment, there’s competition for everyone so nobody walks into the dessing room and can say they are playing".

    21 December 2004


    Alty Youth secured their fourth successive win and have now gone more than four hours without conceding a goal, following their 1-0 win away to Lancaster City on Sunday. The winner, his 20th goal of the season, was scored by the captain, Lee Hendley. For a match report, see the Youth section.

    Also going well are the Altrincham Reserves, now unbeaten in eight games and the first team, unbeaten in six games in league and cup.


    Last week's Robins' Review article by Terry Rowley about Alty legend Walter Jones has prompted Alty Youth team manager, George Heslop, to add some further details about this remarkable sportsman who was one of his first Alty heroes. George was a spectator at Moss Lane at the famous game in which Jones destroyed the Golf Road goalposts. Jones ran into the keeper's left-hand upright and snapped it in two! A plank of wood was found and nailed to the two halves of the snapped post and then a saw had to be found to remove the overlapping timber before play could resume. George also recalls that in addition to Walter's appearances for Rochdale at football, rugby league, cricket and crown-green bowls, which Terry chronicled so well, Jones also turned out for Rochdale at speedway. Not a man to sit idly by, Walter also found time to become a Justice of the Peace! See the Alty Legends section for Terry's article on Walter Jones.


    The STAR bucket collection for injured Alty striker Peter Wright raised £123.23 on Saturday. Many thanks to all who collected and/or gave.


    Southport Forums has pictures and a report on Southport's defeat at Moss Lane. "But Liam Watson’s ‘Port will be wishing the saturated Moss Lane had failed a Saturday morning pitch inspection, after struggling to inspire against play-off contenders Altrincham. An attempted second half salvo was not enough for the visitors, for whom defensive errors either side of a Terry Fearns penalty proved costly". The STAR site has Gavin Rathbone's pics of the game.

    IC Sefton also has a report which says that "Moss Road[!!] has never been a happy hunting ground for the Port". Boss Liam Watson said "The pitch was very poor but it was the same for both sides. Altrincham deserved their victory".


    This is Staffs reports on our next opponents (away and home), Stafford Rangers, who "continued their climb up the table with a third successive victory in eight days... at lowly Ashton United... But it was resolute defending which ensured they returned with maximum points as the home side mounted a strong challenge in the second half. Player-manager Phil Robinson said: "I thought, on the whole, it was a fantastic performance. We totally dominated the first half and went in 2-0 up... Being 2-0 up is sometimes a tricky scoreline and when you concede one, the game changes and you are under a bit of pressure. In the second half, even though we created a lot of chances and made their keeper work, we had to do some defending and did that very well. On the whole I'm really pleased with the team and the work-rate, pleased with the amount of chances we created". Stafford played last night at Sutton Coldfield Town in the Staffordshire Senior Cup.

    "Stafford Rangers’ assistant-manager Dave Norton is itching to join striker Neil Grayson in proving there is soccer life after 40. Norton... officially hung up his boots three years ago when player-manager of Forest Green Rovers. But since being invited to be Phil Robinson's right-hand man at Marston Road earlier this season, Norton has been yearning for a final fling on the field. He has been a regular for the reserves... For the last couple of Nationwide Conference North games, Norton has been on the bench... Norton's determination has impressed his manager, who sees him as another option for the squad: 'As things stand, I would have no qualms about putting him into the team. In fact, Dave can't be very far away from getting a place on merit'". Meanwhile, Grayson "is now joint leading scorer with Craig Wilding on seven goals". And Rangers have also signed "another experienced professional, Dennis Pearce, for the second time this season...[from] Northwich Victoria" reports NL Daily.


    In January, Alty have four away trips in a fortnight, starting with a trip to Worksop on 8 January, followed by a visit to Leigh RMI in the Trophy (15th), to Vauxhall in the CSC (18th) and to Nuneaton in the league (22nd). Kettering Today reports on the Poppies' win over the Tigers. "The win was made all the more impressive with the fact that three men Robbie Greetham, Steve Croudson and Matt Nolan were all given their debuts... The Tigers came to Kettering on the back of a ten-match unbeaten run and it was easy to see why. They were physical and strong... and, although tempers did flare at times, it was the hosts that won the battle".

    Our Trophy opponents, Leigh RMI lost on Saturday at at Aldershot where the game "hinged on one decision by the referee, the dismissal of Mark Drew", a former Alty Youth player. The Leigh boss Geoff Lutley said, "Drew had been influential for us in midfield. I felt the sending off was harsh... In the first half we once again played suburb football we controlled the ball and closed them down quickly... The back five played magnificently". Lutley added, "I have now made a change in the captaincy of RMI. Andy Roscoe will be the team captain".


    IC Cheshire says that "Runcorn are still stuck in their rut after five straight defeats... [On Saturday,] they let in an early goal, missed a penalty which would have levelled at 2-2 and failed to capitalise on the dismissal of Droylsden midfieldman Ged Murphy".

    The NW Evening Mail says that "Glenn Murray would love a return to Barrow AFC if things don’t work out for him at new club Carlisle United. The 21-year-old striker yesterday signed a short-term deal with the Nationwide Conference big guns to end month’s of speculation surrounding his future. Murray, who hit nine goals in nine games for AFC and became an instant favourite among the Barrow fans, has penned a deal that will keep him at Brunton Park until the end of the season. After signing the contract Murray said: 'I would love to come back down to Barrow and play under Lee Turnbull again if things don’t work out. I really enjoyed my time at Barrow'".

    NL Daily says that "Red tape has held up the transfer of Maltese international midfielder Jonathan Holland to Bradford Park Avenue. Park Avenue were unable to get international clearance... Holland is a Maltese national and has... 18 full international caps".

    20 December 2004


    Congratulations to Mark Eckersall and his partner on the birth of their son over the weekend. Mark is the STAR (supporters' trust) Travel Coordinator and has been a tireless worker for Altrincham FC over many years in many roles ranging from painting the ground to matchday announcer. So, that's two seats taken on the STAR coach for the away trip to Stafford Rangers on Boxing Day, then!


    On 14 January there is a fundraising "potato pie" night at Moss Lane for Stephen Rose and Peter Wright, both long-term injured. Stephen has a broken leg incurred at Worcester whilst Peter fractured an eye-socket playing for the Reserves. Please support this event if you can - the guest speakers will be ex-Manchester United midfielder Paddy Crerand and former United 'keeper and Moss Lane regular, Jack Crompton, who between them cover most of the post-War era at Old Trafford. Tickets are £18, from the club (928-1045).


    In Saturday's programme, Alty boss Graham Heathcote wrote about Nationwide North, "It is so close [at the top] that we will be looking to strengthen if we can and I feel that it is the goals that you score that will be the deciding factor... Normally I would say it is how strong you are defensively. But every game I watch at our level there are always numerous chances and it is the side that takes the higher percentage of these chances that could win it". Graham added, that unlike some clubs like Southport who have "spent heavily", Altrincham "as always, at the moment, have to be prudent and await our chance to pick up players on free transfers and then, only players who want to come here for the right reasons".


    The updated Nationwide North attendance data from Terry Rowley is here.


    David Holt, who was at Alty at the start of this season, has now moved from Flixton to Trafford. Wes Wilkinson, former Alty youth striker, was released last week by Oldham Athletic. Another recent Alty Youth player, Frenchman Joel Ekolongeni, has now joined New Mills, where Kelvin Lugsden also plays. From the youth team a couple of seasons earlier, defender Mark Drew was sent off for the second time in a fortnight for Leigh RMI.

    On Saturday, both Carl Furlong and keeper Ashley Timms were on the bench for Runcorn FC Halton. Leroy Chambers scored Frickley's winner; also a scorer was Mark Quayle (Vics). Peter Band has become a regular in the Vics side. Danny Adams picked up a nasty head injury for Stockport but played on, whilst Niell Hardy turned out for Ashton United. The Pink has an article on Ian Muir, once a keeper at Alty, who is now President of the Lancashire & Cheshire League.

    NL Daily reports on Richard Acton's Bangor City who lost their unbeaten away record at the weekend, 5-1 at Llanelli, but Richard (right) saved a penalty.


    The Lancashire League has now released its January fixtures and those for Altrincham may be found in the Reserves' section where there is also a link to the updated league table which shows Alty climbing high after an unbeaten eight game run.

    Also on the Reserves' page is an interesting piece on Abbey Hey's ground, where Alty Reserves' play - including plans to convert to astroturf.


    Bottom of the table Stalybridge's problems are compounded by a dreadful injury list. They are likely to be "without Craig Dootson, Tony Whealing, Danny Caldecott, Gregg Pearce, Kevin Parr, Scott Bonsall, Dean Calcutt, Phil Eastwood and Chris Denham, which is almost a first team in itself" on Tuesday at home to Redditch United reports the Celtic website. The same site's excellent statistics show that Alty are 13th in the form guide over the last 8 league games; our next opponents, Stafford, lie 5th.

    Linnets Online reports that Runcorn's Peter Ellis is considering retirement after being out for a year with ankle problems whilst ex-Alty youngster Lee Kissock is still recovering from a broken leg.

    19 December 2004


    The STAR supporters' coach details for the trip to Stafford on Boxing Day (3pm) are here. The two sides have met once before on Boxing Day, in 1986, at Moss Lane, as Howard Watts's Through the Years data show. The return match is on New Year's Day at Moss Lane (3pm).

    Alty last met Stafford in the league in 1994/5 when both of us were in the Conference and Alty won 1-0 away and 5-1 at home. The Rangers' unofficial website reports that yesterday "Rangers make it 3 league wins in a row with victory away at Ashton". Alty are four games unbeaten in the league so they should be good contests between the two sides over the festive period. Stafford are unbeaten at home and have the league's joint tightest defence but have found goals harder to come by.


    The Robins' Review yesterday printed another in the Alty Legends series; the quite remarkable story of Walter Jones, who not only spent 5 years at Moss Lane and demolished the goal posts in the process, but also represented Rochdale at football, rugby league, cricket and crown green bowling. His story is reproduced here as the 50th in the Legends series, courtesy of the author, Terry Rowley.


    Mario Daniel hit a hat-trick for Mossley yesterday but his side lost 4-3 at Warrington Town in the UniBond President's Cup. The UniBond Press Release, a wonderful publication by Alan Allcock which appears within a couple of hours of the end of every Saturday's games, with full results, attendances, scorers and news, reports that "Radcliffe Borough reserve team goalkeeper Barry George was very impressive in this week's World Cup for the partially sighted. Whilst all outfield players must be partially sighted, fully sighted goalkeepers are allowed and the eighteen year old gave a polished performance for England particularly against the Ukraine against whom they only needed to draw in order to progress to the semi-finals. However, despite some great saves from George, England crashed 3-0 and went out of the competition. George has yet to make his competitive debut for Borough but helped Woodley Sports out of a crisis earlier in the campaign". Last year, Barry was Alty's youth team keeper.


    "Alfreton Town manager David Lloyd has landed Ryan Mallon on loan from Halifax Town in time for the top of the table clash against leaders Harrogate Town at the Impact Arena. Considering it was the Saturday before Christmas, a fairly healthy 468 saw Mick Godber give the Reds a 3rd minute lead and Mark Sale wrap up the points".

    Kettering Town have signed goalkeeper Steve Croudson from Stevenage Borough and Matt Nolan, a striker, from Peterborough United.

    Other moves:

    One curious move reported by NL Daily is

  • Troy Hayder (Altrincham to NEWI Cefn Druids) - to the best of my knowledge Hayder, who has played as a striker for several local teams, has not been on Alty's books.

    Other moves:

  • Danny Trueman (Ashton U. to Wakefield-Emley)
  • Lee Wilson (Worksop T. to Belper T.)


    Full-backs Chris Adams and Steve Aspinall leave the pitch after another whole-hearted performance, against Southport.

    Another richly entertaining game at Moss Lane ended with Alty consolidating their sixth position thanks to goals by Thornley and Little.

    Match report here.

  • League Table
  • Alty Line-Up
  • Alty Stats

    That the match was played at all was a tribute to the hardwork of volunteers, not least Alty director Grahame Rowley, who spent the pre-match period operating the manual mopping machine which removed huge amounts of water off the pitch.

    18 December 2004


  • Alfreton T. 2 Harrogate T. 0
  • ALTRINCHAM 2 Southport 1
  • Ashton U. 1 Stafford R. 2
  • Bradford PA 2 Hucknall T. 4
  • Gainsborough T. 1 Hinckley U. 1
  • Kettering T. 2 Worksop T. 1
  • Lancaster C. v Worcester C. OFF
  • Nuneaton B. 2 Vauxhall M. 1
  • Redditch U. 2 Barrow 0
  • Runcorn FC Halton 1 Droylsden 3
  • Stalybridge C. v Moor Green OFF

    On Harrogate Today, Town boss John Reed "has issued a rallying cry to his high-flying charges, demanding they take to the field with 'arrogance, hunger and confidence' running through the team" against Alfreton tomorrow. "It's an absolutely colossal match. They don't get any bigger than this. It's the biggest tie of them all. This beats any of the games I've been involved with during my four years here", he said. Also, Harrogate have "secured the permanent signing of goal machine Danny Holland. The former Hucknall striker has been on-loan at Town for the past two months but will now remain at Wetherby Road until the end of next season. 'He's a massive signing' enthused Reed... The Wetherby Roaders remain in top-spot... after salvaging a 1-1 home draw against Altrincham last weekend. Danny Holland spared Town's blushes... by popping up in the 88th minute to hit a spectacular goal and snatch a point".

    This is Staffs reports that defender Dennis Pearce has rejoined Stafford Rangers after being released by Northwich. Alty meet Rangers twice over Christmas.

    Hucknall Today says that "Town are trying to put a brave face on the bombshell transfer of fans' favourite Danny Mayman... Midfielder Mayman (25) has ended a 5-year stay at Watnall Road by joining Northwich Victoria, who are managed by former Yellows' chief Steve Burr... And it is possible that other players could follow him out of the exit door. Two offers have already been turned down for striker Gary Ricketts. Chairman Brian Holmes is demanding that Town's squad is trimmed as financial pressures mount, because of a combination of factors that include the demise of sponsors, Parkfield Projects, falling gates and another failure to reach the First Round proper of the FA Cup. But the main factor is continued uncertainty over how vital ground-improvements, costing £100,000, are to be paid for, although the club received hope this week that they could be in line for a Football Foundation grant next month. New boss Dean Barrick confessed that... 'The wage bill is a lot higher than it should be'". As for Mayman, Barrick said "I think we could have got a fee for him. But if the chairman feels that is the best way for Hucknall Town to go forward, then that's fine by me". The chairman said, "Footballers' contracts these days are not worth anything... and about as useful to the clubs as toilet rolls that hang on the wall...No club can afford to keep a player who wants to better himself and move on".

    Hucknall "need to raise [ground] capacity to 3,000... They also want to improve the floodlights. After their poor start to the 2004/05 campaign, the completion of the work did not seem urgent. But their revival under new boss Dean Barrick has lifted them into the top ten of an incredibly tight table, so they are determined to get the improvements done... The winners of the North play-offs play their South counterparts for the right to the third promotion slot. However... the grounds of the three teams must attain a certain grading. And other clubs, like Harrogate Town and Worksop Town, are in the same boat as Town, awaiting vital funding from the Football Foundation... Holmes is also concerned about falling attendances at Watnall Road. Only 270 turned up for last Saturday's match against Ashton United, reducing the average-gate in 14 competitive home games this term to 334, compared to 574 last term".

    "Gresley Rovers have further strengthened their squad with the loan signing of David Holmes from Alfreton Town. The 31-year-old striker is a former Moat favourite having a previous spell with Rovers between 1994 and 1995".