Altrincham Football Club News Archive
23 to 30 December 2004, 2004
30 December 2004
In the above action picture from the Boxing Day game, very kindly supplied by Andy Boyers, Stuart Coburn makes a fine, one-handed catch to thwart Stafford's Neil Grayson as Steve Aspinall and Gary Talbot look on.
YOUTHS IN THE PICTUREThe Youth section now has a 2004-05 team picture of Altrincham Youth, courtesy of Gavin Rathbone of GR Photography.
NATIONWIDE NORTHAlfreton report that "After having both their last two games postponed due to unfit pitches, Alfreton Town will be pulling out all the stops to try and ensure New Year’s Day’s local derby clash with Hucknall Town at the Impact Arena goes ahead.. Chairman Wayne Bradley explained: 'We don’t have the same facilities as Football League clubs when it comes to keeping the frost at bay. Whilst we couldn’t do anything about the two [away] games we didn’t play, we will be turning to our own devices. I can confirm our groundsman Matt Dawson will be putting inflatable sheets over the worst affected frost area - in front of the Tom McRoy stand - and if necessary we will also get hot air blowers in to try and help get any frozen areas thawed'... Reds' boss David Lloyd said: 'We are desperate to get some action and stop falling further behind in terms of games played'.
Runcorn FC Halton also suffered a postponement on Boxing Day, at Vauxhall, so "The club took advantage of the milder weather today and played a behind closed doors game against Capenhurst Villa, a local West Cheshire League club at their home ground. It was an opportunity for all the available players to get minutes under their belt considering the festive season and at the same time gave players looking to return from injury the chance to test their rehabilitation... The game also allowed the new incumbents, keeper Ashley Timms [ex-Alty], Tyrone Grant and Phil McDiarmid to play the whole match as did Jordan Burke [also ex-Alty]".
IC Coventry says that "Avun Jephcott could be booted out of Nuneaton Borough after admitting playing for a Sunday league team. The 21-year-old former Sky Blues striker, who signed a 12-month deal with Boro in the summer, has been suspended until further notice by manager Roger Ashby. Jephcott scored for Peugeot Hills in a Birmingham FA Sunday Vase tie just over a week ago. He originally assured Ashby he had not played but has now admitted to the breach of club discipline... The likelihood is that his contract will be ripped up and he will be asked to leave Manor Park, but Ashby and the club directors are not expected to discuss the situation until early in the New Year". Ashby added, "What hurt me was that he prefabricated a story instead of being honest and up front and admitting to what he had done... There is a possibility we will terminate his contract".
NL Daily reports that "Stocksbridge Park Steels have added to their fire power by re-signing striker Michael Blythen. Blythen, who can also play as an attacking midfield player, re-joins Steels after a very brief spell with Gainsborough Trinity".
29 December 2004
OLD BOYSAfter turning out for Northwich's Reserves against Altrincham's less than a fortnight ago, former Alty defender Jason van Blerk (36) has re-joined Colwyn Bay, reports NL Daily. He was previously with the Bay, briefly, at the end of 2003.
In Tuesday's games Ian Craney (Accrington) conceded a late penalty but Alex Hay (Rushden) and Kevin Ellison (Chester) were both on the scoresheet.
NATIONWIDE NORTHIn last night's MEN, Graham Heathcote says of Boxing Day's game at Stafford, "I told the ref beforehand I thought he was making a big mistake in not postponing the match and I believe what followed proved me right because it was nothing more than a lottery".
In contrast, This is WCFC says that "Worcester City chairman Dave Boddy described the decision to postpone Boxing Day's derby fixture with Nuneaton Borough as 'shocking'... Burton referee Roy Burton called off the match 90 minutes before kick-off after deeming that two separate areas of the St George's Lane pitch near to the stand were frozen and unsafe... Boddy said: 'It was a shocking decision by the referee. Myself and Graham met at the ground at 8.30am and we both agreed that we did not need an inspection. That's a decision we made and we are both ex-class one referees...The referee was the only person that did not believe the game was playable... It has cost us £10,000. We would have got that through gate receipts, programmes and selling burgers among other things'".
The Midweek Visiter has a back page about Southport FC which largely concentrates on iys youth set up and what is claimed to be the "largest youth sponsorship in the country" by Caterforce, a corporate hospitality company which supports the Haig Avenue youth set-up.
28 December 2004
STAR NEW YEAR EVENTSSTAR, the Altrincham supporters' trust, holds its annual prize draw on Saturday after the Stafford game, when there will also be the initial weigh-in for the 'Slim4Alty' fundraising competition. So, please return your ticket stubs as soon as possible.
OLD BOYSIn one of the few games to be played on Monday, our neighbours Trafford defeated Maine Road 4-3 at Shawe View in the NW Counties League, Division One and there were several players with Alty connections on show. Trafford's right back Simon Woodford was one of them and he laid on one of the goals. Trafford also included Andy Lundy and Liam Ralph, both of whom signed UniBond forms for Alty during our injury crisis last season. A substitute for Trafford was David Holt, who was at Moss Lane at the start of this season, whilst in the Maine Road side, also as a substitute, was Steve Howe who captained Alty's youth team three years ago and who has now played more than 100 games for Maine Road.
FROM THE OTHER SIDEStafford's unofficial website has a report on the Boxing Day game at Marston Road which says that "for the most part it was defences that were on top... [before] the lively Colin Little's tamely hit free-kick took a wicked deflection inside the area and rolled past keeper Tomlinson... Ultimately, Altrincham held out comfortably for the win".
The Up the Boro site also has a report which says that "Unfortunately, in a game that deserved to be a draw, Altrincham had a large slice of luck just after the hour... A free kick (which in my opinion should have been a Stafford one anyway) was looking a comfortable take for Tomlinson in the Boro' goal before clipping the heel of Wayne Daniel and finding its way into the back of the net".
For this site's report, click here.
27 December 2004
Above: Eddie Hussin is the Alty player nearest the ball in this shot of the match at snowy Stafford. For a further picture and a report on the match, see below.
TODAYIf you are looking for a local match today, the Trafford FC website says that their game against Maine Road today is definitely on - at 3pm.
TROPHYNL Daily says that our Trophy opponents Leigh RMI "are without a win in 17 games although manager Geoff Lutley is optimistic he can break his duck". The boss said that "The dismissal of Mark Drew [ex-Alty Youth] against Aldershot Town cost us at least a point. We played very well and would have come out of the game with something if it had not been for the sending off". Leigh are likely to have James Mann, on loan from Rochdale, in goal "but Ian Martin has been released for the second time this season. The small squad has been boosted by the signing of Israeli Youth international Michael Warwick after the pacey wideman impressed for the reserves. Warwick, 18, played for Maccabi Tel-Aviv as a youngster and then had two years as a youth at Bolton Wanderers followed by a spell with Stoke City. In May 2003 he was called up for Israel’s national under-17 team for the European Cup first round in Romania and played in the quarter-finals in Portugal".
NATIONWIDE NORTH"Stalybridge Celtic have made an approach for Aberystwyth Town striker Paul Moore, who only joined [Aberystwyth] from AFC Telford United in November and has scored four goals in four appearances for the Black & Greens. Celtic... have put in seven days' notice of approach" reports the Welsh Premier site.
"The financial meltdown at Nationwide North club Hucknall Town is threatening to overshadow the excitement generated by the derby duels with Alfreton Town. For commercial manager Daniel Lewis has become the latest victim of the cost-cutting at Watnall Road". Lewis had been "a full-time employee to oversee fundraising, sponsorship and advertising and the running of the new Talk Of The Town social club... But now the position of commercial manager has been dispensed with. Lewis has been laid off... saving the club his annual salary of between £20,000 and £30,000 a year. The bombshell is the latest in a series of cost-cutting measures that have afflicted Town since their main sponsors, chairman Brian Holmes's company, commercial building contractors Parkfield Projects, hit severe financial problems last month. Holmes has since ordered the playing squad to be cut, which resulted in the departure of popular midfielder Danny Mayman to Northwich Victoria. And it is possible that other players could leave...Striker Gary Ricketts has been the subject of a THIRD approach, again from Northwich, who are managed by former Hucknall boss Steve Burr. But they balked at the asking price" reports Hucknall Today.
Runcorn's Site reports that "The club has signed Tyrone Grant, a Manchester lad, 18 year old, 6 feet plus, left sided central defender/full back. Tyrone has been released from Manchester City's Academy... [But] The injuries still mount. Ged Nolan, Robbie Moore, Kieron Durkan, Martin Molyneux are all unavailable for selection at this present time".
STAFFORD RANGERS 0 ALTRINCHAM 1
L. to R. Gary Talbot, Colin Little, Val Owen, Steve Aspinall, Eddie Hussin and Gary Scott await a throw-in at Marston Road, whilst Stuart Coburn appears to be exchanging pleasantries with Stafford fans behind the goal.
On a snow-covered surface, Altrincham ended Stafford's unbeaten home record with a goal from Colin Little, deflected from a free-kick from a central position 20 yards out.
Match report here.
26 December 2004
STAFFORD SITESStafford Rangers have (at least) three websites. The official one is not fully up to date but there are two good unofficial sites:
A GAME EACH DAY?After Boxing Day's game, if you are looking for a local match on Monday 27th, then possibilities include Trafford v Maine Road, Abbey Hey v Glossop NE, Salford C. v Curzon Ashton, Warrington T. v Colwyn Bay, Woodley S. v Mossley and Hyde U. Witton A. - whilst on Tuesday 28th, Northwich Vics host Stevenage Borough.
OLD BOYFormer Alty defender Greg Challender has moved again, from Bamber Bridge to Salford City.
NATIONWIDE NORTHWitton Albion have signed Droylsden forward Gavin Salmon.
Leeds Today quotes Bradford PA boss Carl Shutt, "We have got to stop being naive, cut out the silly mistakes and keep our concentration for the full 90 minutes... We have been playing teams up near the top, and outplaying them at times, but we are only getting draws or losing because of mistakes. It is a young team we have got, and young lads do make mistakes". He added "I hope they can be disciplined off the field as well over the Christmas period. I want the players to enjoy themselves, but not too much... The most important part of the season for us will be in January. We have a run of five games where we play teams around us - Barrow, Stalybridge twice, Moor Green and Vauxhall Motors".
However, John Reed, manager of BPA's Boxing Day opponents, Harrogate Town, said "The Alfreton game simply wasn't good enough and I am expecting better against Bradford... I'm certainly not under-estimating Bradford, they are the only side to beat us at home this season". Reed told This is York "Championships are not decided in December and I think this one will go all the way... I feel we will still be up there among them come April and May".
25 December 2004
BOXING DAY AT STAFFORDFriday's Evening News reports that Graham Heathcote is hoping that striker Marcus Hallows (right) will have recovered by Boxing Day from the bruised foot which saw him come off against Southport last week.
This is Staffs says that "Stafford Rangers aim to close the gap on the Nationwide Conference North play-off pack over the Yuletide period. Rangers entertain old rivals Altrincham on Boxing Day (3pm) and, in the absence of other local non-league attractions, expect to pull in their biggest league crowd of the season. A win would give Phil Robinson's outfit four wins in a row and leave Rangers poised to overtake Altrincham in the New Year's Day return... Rangers were spared a Staffordshire Senior Cup tie at Sutton Coldfield on Monday due to the weather, but midfielders Craig Lovatt and Rob Heath are both doubtful for the Altrincham clash due to niggling injuries". Alty fans may wish to know that admission prices at Stafford are £9 (£5 concessions), an extra £2 for a stand seat and entry is £2 for children 12 and under accompanied by an adult.
OLD BOYYesterday's papers had accounts of the Beckhams' baptism celebrations for their two sons. Present at the event was Beckham's best friend Dave Gardner, the former Alty winger. All the guests received a diamond as a "going away" present.
The NL Paper has a piece on the late Harry McNally, who came from a different football world from the Beckhams. Harry was reserve team manager at Altrincham (c.1980/81) at the time when Graham Heathcote was a player at Moss Lane. Graham said, "Harry was one of football's great characters... He always had a joke to tell you.... But more importantly than any of that, he had a great football brain, a fantastic eye for a footballer and a passion to win. You put that in a package and you've got a football man. That's what he was". Another ex-Alty player Graham Barrow recalled how McNally, before his time in insisting on correct diets for players, told Mrs Barrow, "You can't be giving him pies. He's an athlete"!
TROPHYOur Trophy opponents on 15 January, Leigh RMI, have signed James Mann on loan from Rochdale. They have also taken on Carl Rezai from Mossley. Ex-Alty Youth Mark Drew has picked up a four game ban for his two recent sending-offs.
NATIONWIDE NORTHOn the Conference North Forum is a seemingly authoritative statement that Worcester City "have entered into exclusive negotiations with a residential developer for the sale of St. George's Lane. The Club are looking at three sites within the City for a new Football League standard stadium, believed to be 6,000 capacity... It is believed that revenues earned would be sufficient to purchase land, build new stadium and clear the Clubs 700,000 - 800,000 pound debt. "
24 December 2004
NEW LOOKThis website is being given a slightly new look over Christmas; hopefully all the links will work as usual but if you encounter any problems, please let me know - there is an e-mail link at bottom of page.
OLD BOYSThe Tameside Advertiser reports on last Saturday's Hyde United game at Bridlington Town which featured "new signing Ged Kielty". Manager Waywell said of the UniBond Cup game: "It gives people like Ged who hasn’t played yet a chance to get match-fit... Ged had a good game which I thought he would do". But another ex-Alty player at Hyde, Steven Clegg (21) "is taking twelve months out of football, starting on January 19th, to go and travel the world".
Paul Ellender has spoken to This is Lincs about Sunday's game against Lincoln, who beat Ellender's Boston last Boxing Day when the ex-Alty defender conceded the deciding penalty. "I didn't think it was a penalty... To lose like that was a sickener - but we are all determined to make up for it".
SAMBecause of space constraints over the pre-Christmas period, SAM has not been able to print the STAR column for the last fortnight so here is what was submitted for this week's issue.
NATIONWIDE NORTHHarrogate Today says that "Town chief John Reed is calling on his high-flying charges to turn on the style in an effort to keep in touch with the league's leading pack. Town turned in one of the worst performances of the season against Alfreton". the manager said, "We were absolutely awful last weekend, but we are all still focused on winning the league... We've made Wetherby Road a fortress this season and long may that continue". But centre-half Mark Haran is out "for the next three weeks... with ankle ligament trouble". Reed continued, "The most disappointing thing about the game was that I didn't rate Alfreton. They didn't look like a championship-winning side and I thought we should have beaten them comfortably. I think people should take a step back and look at what my boys have achieved. We haven't got the money or the attendance of other clubs, but we're still up there with them".
The NW Evening Mail says Barrow boss Lee Turnbull "has been scouring the market in a bid to bolster his wafer-thin Bluebirds squad. But the Barrow AFC boss has met a dead end in his efforts to bring fresh blood to Holker Street... Turnbull said 'I’ve been on the blower to quite a few clubs about players but they’re very reluctant to let them go at this time of year'".
23 December 2004
TIGHT AT THE TOPSAM reports that "Altrincham remain just four points from the top of the Nationwide Conference table in the tight league in which just five points are separating the top eight teams. Alty boss Graham Heathcote said: "It is so close it is unreal and making for a great season for every club. I still believe that a run of six or seven straight wins is enough to achieve that top spot, it is very close". As for the win over Southport, Graham said, "It was a superb effort all round in tough conditions, we had two pitch inspections before we decided the match could go ahead. The players' attitudes were fantastic, that is all you ask for".
The Portchat site quotes from the Southport Visiter where Port manager Liam Watson says that he "felt his side lacked 'quite a bit of quality at Altrincham'" and "will be looking to see if he can strengthen his squad to add impetus for the 2005 championship chase". The defeat by Alty "was the Sandgrounders' first league defeat since September 25 but draws with Worksop and Lancaster plus Saturday's setback were missed opportunities to break away from the pack. The treacherous Moss Road [Road?!] pitch was only just playable after two pitch inspections but there could be no excuses from the Sandgrounders". Watson added, "Altrincham were worthy winners and a number of our players did not put in the performances I expect from them. It was an awful start from us. We started poorly, they set the tempo and it is hard to recover from that. It is not usual but they looked like they wanted it more than us. The conditions were not great but that is no excuse".
OLD BOYSDave Swanick is now at Burscough and last month played against Altrincham Reserves for the Linnets' Reserves.
NATIONWIDE NORTHThe UniBond League reports that "Northwich Victoria have stunned Leek Town, ahead of their Xmas clash with Matlock Town, by recalling 24-year-old Phil Hadland. Hadland had returned on loan to Leek in November after previously being with them in 2003. Stalybridge Celtic have offered The Vics a fee for the player and Conference rules allow the recall to enable the transfer to go ahead".
Worksop Today says that "Town were this week given an ideal Christmas present. The long-time stumbling block to building work at Sandy Lane, problems with parking, could at last have been removed. And that means the Tigers are hoping to start work early next year in January or February".
IC Cheshire says tha "Alvin McDonald has urged everyone to stick together in a bid to arrest Runcorn's slump. The Linnets haven't picked up a point from their last 15 and the optimism of a few short weeks ago is being replaced by criticism". The manager said, "Supporters are entitled to their opinion and everyone is frustrated but none more so than me and (assistant) Peter (Carroll). But we are playing teams who are spending an awful lot of money on squads - Droylsden were one of the teams who thought they were going to win the title this year... I've inherited the squad and everyone's had a fair crack. It's now coming to the time where it becomes my squad. We've got to put a stop to this run. We've got to do it sooner rather than later before we are dragged into the relegation zone. We remain upbeat. I look at these teams who have spent a lot of money getting settled squads, thinking they are going to win this league. I can't say I have walked away thinking they are a million miles better than us". Meanwhile "McDonald hopes loan deals for two full-time professionals from Manchester City's academy will come to fruition before the weekend... One of the targets is a left-sided centre back and the other a left winger with good dead-ball delivery". Alty fans wil be interested that "The Linnets have already signed 21-year-old Jordan Burke, a left-sided midfield player who has served Vauxhall, Altrincham and Burscough and Phil McDiarmid, a ball-playing midfielder formerly with Leigh RMI".
FOR EARLIER NEWS, CLICK HERE