Altrincham Football Club News Archive
17 to 20 January 2005

20 January 2005


Man. Utd Reserves were due to play Bolton Wanderers Res. tonight at Moss Lane, but the match is now postponed due to the heavy rain in recent days.


IC Cheshire says that "Runcorn's top football club could be forced to leave the borough for good within weeks, it has been revealed. A bitter cash crisis at Runcorn Halton FC means it can no longer afford to pay the £60,000-per-year rent to use Halton Stadium. Crowds of less than 250 - against a break-even figure of 400 - and a lack of sponsorship and financial backing means the club is staring into the abyss. In fact, chairman Dr Dave Robertson had to pay the latest £6,000 rent instalment with his own credit card. He has warned that unless the club finds new backers the Linnets will be forced to leave Halton and complete the current Nationwide North campaign with an unpaid junior squad. A total of £120,000 is needed to complete the season, with the current squad, at the stadium. Dr Robertson said: 'The two other directors and myself are not bottomless pits and we've run out of resources. 'If the money cannot be found from somewhere and backers are not available to take this club forward then we'll not be playing in Halton at the end of the season."


Nuneaton Borough, our next opponents, gained "a comprehensive victory at rain-lashed St George's Lane [Worcester]". this week, says IC Coventry. Stuart Whittaker, "Borough's leading scorer with seven, was in sparkling form and could have had a hat-trick". The report adds, "With Gavin Cowan and Neil Moore rock solid at the heart of the defence Worcester's attacking opportunities were severely limited".

Alty boss Graham Heathcote has no new injury worries and will have new striker Jozzer Mitten available for selection for the first time after suspension on Saturday.


SAM has a match report on Alty's FAT win at Leigh on Saturday - "The match was far from a dirty one, but still contained the requisite amount of fouls that gritty northern cup ties always seem to serve up. However, as teams have learned previously, it takes more than a kicking to beat Altrincham". The report adds that Mark Maddox's goal "had his team-mates recalling Carlos Alberto's memorable goal against Italy in the 1970 World Cup final".


Alty meet Barrow in the FA Trophy Round 4 on 5 February. The Holker Street Newsletter says that although "Barrow beat Hinckley United 3-0 on Tuesday night... the only downside was the attendance, 524, which was low because of the shocking weather... Karl Colley will be suspended for the Runcorn game at home on Saturday January 29, whilst Anthony and Cotterill also have to miss games following their recent bookings and Salmon will be out for month after this Saturday". The NW Evening Mail says that our Trophy opponents' boss, Barrow's "Lee Turnbull, [has] stepped up his bid to find cover for skipper Mark Salmon... The Bluebirds' boss revealed he’s spoken to several league and non-league clubs and players in an attempt to fill the void which will be left by the influential centre-half. Salmon will play his last game for a month at Hucknall on Saturday before flying to Egypt with work. After watching his side tear apart Hinckley with goals from Neil Tarrant, Gavin Knight and Scott Maxfield, Turnbull said: 'I’ve spoken to about four clubs about nine different centre-halves, so hopefully we will have one through the door. I’d like to have something in place by Saturday, and then certainly something concrete by Monday. I’ve spoken to three league clubs about players, Conference players and lads at our level, so across the full spectrum. I would imagine whoever we bring in it will be on-loan to cover Sammo.'" Barrow have offered the use of Holker Street to flooded Carlisle United. United used Workington this week and are set to play Leigh at Gretna this week.


The Conference Handbook lists the following dates for Nationwide North play-offs:
  • Monday 2 May: Semi-Final (Leg 1)
  • Thursday 5 May: Semi-Final (Leg 2)
  • Sat./Sun. 14-15 May: Final
  • Fri./Sat./Sun. 20-22 May: Winner of North Final v Winner of South Final

    However, despite having moved the 30 April league fixtures to 19 April, rumours have gathered of a change in the arrangements and the Holker Street Newsletter says that, after contacting the Conference, it has been confirmed that the play-off "games would be played over one leg, but the dates are still to be confirmed".


    "Andy Penny has re-signed for Hinckley United after he left us to join Redditch at the start of the season. DT never wanted to let him go but couldn't offer Penny what Redditch were offering, however when he found out that Penny was unhappy Thomas offered him a way back". Manager Dean Thomas said: "'Andy is a player I never wanted to lose but he had a good offer from Redditch. When I heard he was unhappy there I gave him a chance to come back, and it will be good to have him back. We have been letting in too many goals from set pieces and hopefully this will tighten things up'. To make way for Andy Penny, defender Tommy Goodwin has been loaned out to Solihull Borough, and midfielder Sam McMahon has been told he can leave on a free".

    Portchat reports that Southport boss Liam Watson "has put seven days' notice in on Worksop's Blake Norton, the former Chester City and Stockport County utility man, and could secure the signing ahead of this weekend's clash at leaders Kettering Town". Watson added: "There are other targets I'm looking at".

    Droylsden have signed striker Chris Thompson (22) from Northwich on a month's loan. He has 30 games for Grimsby under his belt and played in most of Vics' games last season.

    Lancaster manager Phil Wilson told his club website, "The team is playing some good football and we are competing well with the top teams in the league. We just need to put some of these draws into wins. We are a decent team, if not a top team yet... I was very flattered with the interest of Ashton and Stalybridge but, I am happy here and I feel that we are building a good squad of players and hope to be here for a few more years". But Preston Today reports that Lancaster put in their "worst performance of the season" against Vauxhall in the Trophy last Saturday.

    Meanwhile, Stalybridge Celtic boss "John Reed will have the luxury of picking from an almost fully fit squad for Saturday's vital clash with Bradford PA.... [Chris] Denham, who despite reports to the contrary has not left the Fold, is unlikely to feature again this season. [Kevin] Parr picked up a medial ligament injury in the win at Vauxhall and could be sidelined for another two to three weeks".

    NL Daily reports that former Runcorn boss Chris Lightfoot has joined UniBond side Marine "as first-team player-coach until the end of the season... Roly Howard and Roger Patience will remain in position as manager and assistant until their planned retirements at the end of April".

    Worksop Town's financial problems continue as reportedly they could not produce a match programme for their game with Droylsden.

    This is Redditch reports that "United chairman Pat Cremin will be writing to the FA after the 'absolutely disgraceful' way the Reds fans were treated at Workington's Borough Park on Saturday [v. Carlisle]. Cremin said the 150-plus fans were left to suffer the inclement weather conditions in the open air, had just two toilets between them, were not allowed to use the bar or access to any hot drink facilities after making the five hour coach trip up the M6... Cremin added: 'The club's lost £10,000 because of the switch in venue'... United boss Rod Brown said: 'As soon as I saw the pitch I knew it was going to be a problem for us fitness-wise'... Brown admitted [goalkeeper] Richard Anstiss was picked over the inform Dean Coleman out of loyalty... He added: 'Carlisle were absolutely embarrassed with the numbers at the game in fact they were that embarrassed that they've promised us a pre-season friendly next year so hopefully we can make some money back from that'".

    Hucknall Today reports that Town's "centre-back Mick Heathcote (39)... aggravated a long-standing back-injury while doing the Hoovering at his home and missed last Saturday's defeat against Nuneaton". Manager Dean Barrick's "other major worry is in goal where both of his 'keepers, Matt Taylor and James Lindley, are out. Taylor has just had an ankle operation, while Lindley sustained a shoulder-injury against Nuneaton that has forced Barrick to bring in 19-year-old Greg Smith from Bury on loan".

    Harrogate Today quotes ex-Town manager John Reed on his move to Stalybridge. "'Why do you think someone would go from a team who are in the play-off places to a team who are adrift at the bottom?' he said. 'I just got terribly frustrated with everything. Firstly, We were getting poor crowds - you should be expecting more than 300 fans for a Conference North team. And also, Harrogate have no training facilities. We were traveling all over the place and using awful facilities. It's such a shame and I feel terribly sorry for Mr Fotherby. I just hope that this comes as a wake-up call to people in the Harrogate. The club needs outside help if it is to carry on growing'".

    19 January 2005


    The re-arranged Stafford game takes place on 8 March. Spectators who were at the abandoned game on New Year's Day can collect a voucher for admission to the re-played match by calling at the club office on any league (but NOT FA Trophy) matchdays. Vouchers will not be available on the match-day itself. Altrincham season-ticket holders do not need to obtain vouchers but should bring their season-ticket books to the game.


    Jozzer Mitten, the striker signed from Ashton but yet to make his Alty debut because of a three-match suspension incurred at Ashton, has been hit with a further five-game ban for another offence committed before he joined Altrincham. He is eligible for Saturday's game at Nuneaton but, after the Lancaster City game on 29 January, Jozzer will have to sit out the next five matches as his ban is from 31 January.

    But (right) Steve Aspinall's booking, picked up at Worksop, has now been officially rescinded as the referee conceded it was a case of mistaken identity.


    Following their recent postponement, here are new dates for:
  • Vauxhall Motors v Altrincham (CSC semi-final), 7.45pm on Tuesday, 1 February. STAR coach times are here.
  • Droylsden v Altrincham (N. North), 7.45pm on Monday, 21 March (subject to league approval).


    Released by Runcorn, Carl Furlong has rejoined Colwyn Bay.


    Harrogate Town's chairman, Bill Fotherby, told the club website, "The club... will not rush into any permanent appointments" of a new managerial team. He also said, "I am pleased to announce that Neil Aspin has agreed to return to the club as Caretaker Manager until the end of the season... I wish to record our great appreciation to Lee Philpott for taking charge of the team last Saturday. Lee had no previous experience in this capacity but did an excellent job in motivating the players to a good team performance... Accordingly, he has been appointed as player/coach to work alongside Neil". On Leeds Today Fotherby says: "Neil was my first choice because he knows everything about us and the way we work – he had three very successful years here... He has all his coaching badges and I think he will make a success of it... We are in a good position in the league and we have got most of our best players signed up on contracts" But Fotherby added, "Stalybridge [now managed by ex-Town boss, John Reed] have put seven days' notice in to speak to Paul Shepherd... But we expect to keep the majority of the squad".

    NL Daily says that "Hinckley United have made midfielder Sam McMahon available for transfer or loan. The Leicester-based McMahon is 26 and has scored twice in 21 appearances for Hinckley since joining in the summer after a short spell with Burton Albion. He has previously played for Stevenage Borough, Kettering Town and Leicester City".

    Worksop Town report that "As the administration clouds loom over Sandy Lane, officials of the club met representitives of Bassetlaw District Council on Monday in order to clarify a number of points but mainly to discuss the historical debt of the club which amounts to almost £60,000. The Council are initially pressing for an immediate payment of £5000 this month and £5000 next month. However following today's discussions, it is hoped that the council would defer any further pressure until the end of the season when large savings can be made when a number of long contract players leave the wage bill. Club officials are hopeful that the council will answer the clubs request favourably and it can continue trading as Worksop Town Football Club at least until the end of the season when the clubs position can then be reviewed". This follows a report in The Worksop Guardian that "Worksop Town could be forced into administration... The shock news is the result of a stand-off between Bassetlaw Council and club chairman Howard Raymond over a debt on the loan used to build Sandy Lane. Mr Raymond claims the council are squeezing him to pay off the remaining £60,000 owed £42,000 of the original £99,000 loan and £18,000 in rent arrears in £5,000 monthly instalments... Mr Raymond admitted the club were considering the option of administration".

    Revised FAT4 draw for 5 February:

  • Gravesend & N. v Histon
  • Bishop Stortford v Leyton
  • Grays v Havant & W.
  • Alfreton T. v Woking
  • Northwich v Hucknall T.
  • ALTRINCHAM v Barrow
  • Aylesbury v Canvey I.
  • Stamford v Walton
  • Carlisle v Barnet
  • Cambridge C. v Crawley
  • Vauxhall M./Lancaster v Morecambe
  • Eastwood v Hayes
  • Slough v Thurrock
  • Accrington S. v Hyde U.
  • Tamworth v Billericay/ Exeter C
  • Burton A. v Hednesford T.
    18 January 2005



    CSC Semi-Final

  • Alsager T. v Crewe A. OFF

    N. North

  • Worksop T. 0 Droylsden 2
  • Barrow 3 Hinckley U. 0
  • League table

    FAT3 Replays

  • Hucknall T. 1 Southport 0
  • Lancaster C. v Vauxhall M. OFF
  • Alfreton T. 2 Kettering T. 1 gate - 253.


    Just hours after Alty's Cheshire Senior Cup semi-final away at Vauxhall Motors, (postponed from tonight because of the Motormen's involvement in a Trophy replay at Lancaster), was re-scheduled for next Tuesday (25th) at 7.45pm it had to be postponed again! Tonight's Lancaster-Vauxhall match was postponed this afternoon and that game has now been arranged for the above date (25th)! Matches against Vauxhall seem to be doomed to postponement; it took several attempts to play them in the league earlier this season!


    Right: Gavin Rathbone captures Colin Little, watched by Eddie Hussin, in action at Leigh.

    After yesterday's Trophy draw paired Alty v Barrow, the Cumbrians' website recalls that "There have been some marvellous cup ties between the two over the years, including an FA Trophy Quarter final win for Barrow in front of over 5000 at Holker Street in March 1988". The NW Evening Mail quotes Barrow boss Lee Turnbull: "We are not going into the unknown, we know plenty about Altrincham. I’m sure we will take a big travelling support down there. They have already beaten us once this season so there is a bit of revenge on the cards". Elsewhere, the same paper says "Turnbull is confident defender James Cotterill will stay at Barrow despite interest from Guiseley [who] last week put in seven days notice to speak to the 21-year-old AFC centre-half".


    NL Daily reports that our next opponents "Nuneaton Borough have made their peace with ‘bad-boy’ Avun Jephcott. Jephcott was suspended by Boro boss Roger Ashby and fined him two weeks wages after discovering he’d played for Coventry Sunday League side Peugeot Hills... However, Jephcott has now made his peace with Ashby after sending him a written apology. Ashby said: 'The important thing to remember is he hasn’t shot or killed anyone... Now he needs to knuckle down'".

    IC Coventry adds that "Avun Jephcott has been handed a golden opportunity to re-establish himself at Nuneaton Borough - thanks to Gez Murphy's misfortune... [Jephcott] escaped having his contract torn up by Borough for playing in Sunday football without permission, the club deciding that a two-week ban and a fine of two weeks' wages was sufficient punishment. Then, just a few hours after Boro boss Roger Ashby told Jephcott of his decision, Murphy limped off with a recurrence of his hamstring injury... And the experienced striker now faces at least a month on the sidelines... Ashby said: 'The injury to Gez is a huge blow to us, he is a very experienced player and he and Kevin Wilkin had forged a great partnership up front, they held up the ball and scored goals. But it does give Avun a real chance to settle down and establish himself'... However, Ashby is mindful that Jephcott and fellow youngster Michael Frew took a battering from defenders when Murphy and Wilkin were sidelined earlier in the season. And he is looking at the option of signing another experienced frontman, possibly from a Nationwide Conference club. Meanwhile, the club were this week celebrating after Bloor Homes signed a historic six figure, three-year deal on the sponsorship of Borough's new stadium and a two-year deal on the shirt sponsorship - Bloor Homes recently won planning consent to build homes on the Manor Park site".


    The Yorkshire Post yesterday had a large colour photo of Kevin Ellison making his Hull City debut. Manager Peter Taylor said, "It was a very good debut, he showed he is going to fit in well".


    Monday's Yorkshire Post reports that former Harrogate coach Neil Aspin was seen at Saturday's game at Wetherby Road, fuelling rumours of his return to the managerless club.

    Ashton United's "Board have announced that they will be selling shares in Ashton United FC. The Club trade as a Limited Company, have no outstanding debts and a five year plan in place to update both the ground and the playing structure... The shares are currently available at £1.78 each with a minimum purchase of 25".

    Carlisle knocked Redditch out of the Trophy on Sunday and "Richard Anstiss was stretchered off after 48 minutes" says their website.


    "New club AFC Emley will unveil their plans to bring first-team football back to the village's historic Welfare Ground on Friday, March 4th. Officials of the club, who have no link to existing UniBond outfit Wakefield-Emley, who left the Welfare ground in 2000, plan to hold a public meeting... AFC Emley will apply to the Northern Counties East League, but it is doubtful whether they will be accepted as under the new Pyramid system now run by the FA, clubs are not allowed to be accepted into a level 6 league except in a situation where level 7 feeder leagues are unable to fill any vacancies", which brings us neatly onto the reorganisation of non-league next summer...

    The excellent NW Counties website has the following explanation. "60 clubs from thirteen Step 5 leagues have indicated to the Football Association that, subject to finishing as champions or runners-up of their league and having facilities of the required standard, they wish to be considered for promotion to a Step 4 League for next season... There are only eight places available for promotion to the Step 4 Leagues, which are the Ryman First Division, the two Southern League First Divisions and the UniBond League First Division. Play-offs will take place at the beginning of May with each league providing one club ... Each club has had to pay the Football Association a £150 fee alongside its application". Amongst those applying locally are Buxton (NCEL) and NW Counties' sides Bacup Borough, Colne - Fleetwood Town, Newcastle Town, Ramsbottom United, Skelmersdale United, St Helens Town, Stone Dominoes and Trafford.

    17 January 2005


    Alty's next opponents won again tonight:
  • Worcester C. 0 Nuneaton B. 2
  • League table


    In today's FA Trophy Fourth Round draw, Altrincham have drawn Barrow at Moss Lane. The game will be on Saturday, 5 February, with prize money of £5,000 at stake. Altrincham have twice previously met Barrow in the Trophy, each time being drawn at home:
  • 1987-88 - a goalless draw in the quarter-finals at home then a replay at Barrow, won 2-1 by Barrow.
  • 1988-89 - Alty beat Barrow 5-3 at Moss Lane.


    With Alty having four successive away games this month, it is Manchester United Reserves who are the next to grace the Moss Lane pitch, this Thursday (20th, at 7pm) when they take on Bolton Wanderers Reserves. Admission £3.

    But Alty Reserves are due to play Guiseley Reserves at Abbey Hey this Wednesday at 7.45pm, weather permitting (entry free). The updated Lancashire League table is in the Reserves' Section.

    Alty Youth's next game is now at Euxton Villa on Sunday (23rd).


  • Attendances, courtesy of Terry Rowley.
  • Through the Years, courtesy of Howard Watts.


    New striker Jozzer Mitten's debut for Alty will be delayed still further by the postponement of Tuesday's CSC match at Vauxhall. However, he has been travelling with the squad and is seen (right, foreground) warming up at Leigh RMI last Saturday. He should be eligible to be named in the Alty squad for Saturday's game at Nuneaton.


    The UniBond League reports that "Late applications [for promotion] from Prescot Cables and Colwyn Bay were among several from around the country that have this week been accepted should the clubs concerned finish in a qualifying position next May"


    Old Alty boys on the move include Andy McDonald back to Cheadle Town, Danny Hooper to Glossop NE and Jordan Burke to Salford City. "Marc Lloyd-Williams became the first player to score 200 goals in the Vauxhall Masterfit Retailers Welsh Premier" reports Welsh Premier. Also in Wales, Richard Acton was again Bangor City's keeper on Saturday.


    Redditch United lost 3-1 to Carlisle in the Trophy at Workington on Sunday, despite taking the lead.

    The Conference website lists Alty as fifth in the form guide over six games; our next opponents, Nuneaton Borough, lie tenth. But on home form Nuneaton lie 5th and Alty are 8th on away form.

    Harrogate Town says that The Evening Press is reporting that Harrogate Town Chairman Bill Fotherby is 'dredging his Leeds United contacts book' as he begins the search for a new team manager. Fotherby said: 'I have already been inundated with calls. I am looking for somebody good like Gordon Strachan, Gary McAllister or Eddie Gray - I will be getting in touch with all of them'. Speaking about John Reed's departure, he commented: 'I'm still in shock really. For the money they [Stalybridge Celtic] offered him they could have taken the entire team but they are desperate... and I am very disappointed in the fact that they never gave us a chance to try to persuade him to stay... It's been done very secretly and behind closed doors - I had no idea until Thursday afternoon'". Stand-in boss Lee Philpott has only been with Town for five weeks as a player.