Altrincham Football Club News Archive
28 to 30 January 2005

30 January 2005


Goals from Lewis Chalmers and Danny Grimshaw secured a 2-1 win for the Reserves today. Report in Reserves' section.


For pictures and report link, see Saturday news (29th) below...


When we play Barrow next Saturday they are likely to include their former defender Kirk Wheeler, who has just returned from Grimsby Town to Holker Street on non-contract terms. Another returnee is striker Neil Tarrant who has been a major part of Barrow's recent revival. Gavin Knight, who broke his nose recently, nevertheless played for Barrow yesterday as did goalkeper Simon Bishop who has been out recently. But, next Saturday, The Bluebirds will be without Mark Salmon, who is working in Egypt, though Karl Colley and Graham Anthony will both be available after suspensions. Barrow Manager Lee Turnbull says of recently signed cover-keeper Jamie Waite "his chances of a future at Barrow appear slim. He's playing and training for free, but at the moment we are not in a position to offer him a deal". Alty will be without Mark Maddox who will be suspended.


STAR's Community Director Mike Rose advises that:

Alty's mascot, Rocky Robin, will compete in the annual Football Mascots' Pancake Race at The Printworks, Withy Grove, Manchester on Sunday, 6 February at 3pm. Rocky will take on such elite opponents as Manchester United's 'Fred the Red' and Oldham's 'Chaddy the Owl'. All support for Rocky will be very welcome!


Yesterday's Robins' Review revealed that Val Owen has recently turned down a move to Conference side Tamworth.


Peter Wright who left Alty last week has joined Bamber Bridge. Alty Youth team player Paul Lewis has joined Leigh RMI and played against Altrincham Reserves yesterday; Alty won 2-1. Also yesterday, Lee Thompson (Skem), Leroy Chambers (Frickley), Carl Furlong (Colwyn Bay) and Kelvin Lugsden (New Mills), who "smashed home a freekick", all scored. Former Alty Reserve Lee Evans has joined Woodley Sports from Curzon Ashton. Former Alty youth Mark Drew played for Leigh RMI for whom ex-Alty Youths Lee Shilito and Ben Ashmole were on the bench, as was Alex Hay for Rushden & Diamonds. Anthony Hargreaves and Ryan Hutchinson played for Flixton.


Yesterday's STAR bucket collection for the Asian Tsunami Appeal raised an excellent £286.05.


In today's NL Paper, Ged Courtney of Runcorn selects Alty's Stuart Coburn as the keeper for his Dream Team. He describes Stuart as "a good shot-stopper with terific handling skills and a great reader of the game. Also very agile and superb at closing down a striker's shooting options". Also in Ged's eleven were two other ex-Alty players, Tim Ryan and Phil Bolland.


Accrington report that "Steve Halford has joined Droylsden on loan until the end of the season".

Moor Green's game was postponed yesterday due to the fire at the ground in midweek. This "has caused extensive damage to the main stand at the Moorlands. The fire, believed to be an arson attack, was started around 6.45pm just prior to the regular Tuesday training session. Fortunately smoke was spotted and the clubhouse and dressing rooms were evacuated immediately as within minutes the whole stand was engulfed in flames that could be seen from miles away. Four fire appliances were in attendance for several hours before the fire was extinguished, but the stand is now completely gutted and appears structurally unsafe. The dressing rooms, physio room, board room and social bars underneath the stand have also been subject to severe damage by the amount of water used by fire crew in getting the blaze under control. Fortunately, due to the speedy action in evacuating the area, no one was injured which is certainly a major blessing. At this point in time the club has been closed awaiting CID investigation and all electricity to the club has been cut off due to safety reasons".

IC Cheshire quotes "Axed Runcorn FC Halton boss Alvin McDonald last Tuesday: "At 3pm yesterday afternoon, I got a phone call off the chairman. He told me he was relieving me of my duties and when I asked why, he couldn't tell me. I said there must be a reason for it - he must have a reason or an explanation. After quite a while of not getting anywhere on that one, he said he'd decided to take the club in a different direction and that he won't be going back on his decision. That's all I know. If it is through money or financial considerations, which the chairman hasn't told me it was, he hasn't asked me would I take a pay cut or do it for nothing and just see the season out until May. That is something me and Peter would have done. I believed we were more than capable of keeping our place in Conference North and, after Saturday's performance, there was nothing to say that we wouldn't. I don't think I would have got the players to respond like they did on Saturday if they did not want to play for me... But no player has argued or moaned although they have been disappointed. I have never lost a player to a bust-up. There are 120-150 diehard, genuine Runcorn supporters of which 40-50 have travelled away from home with us. They have been absolutely superb to me and Peter from day one. They knew what we were trying to do and the circumstances we were working under. I do really appreciate everything the fans have done before and after the (chairman's) phone call yesterday and if anyone deserves things, it is them".

Alfreton Town report that "Michael Simpkins has joined the Reds from Burton Albion on a month's loan. Simpkins, 26, began his career at Chesterfield before being transferred to Cardiff City in May 2001. He has also had spells at Exeter and Cheltenham on loan before a transfer to Rochdale in July 2003. He made nearly 30 appearances for the Spotland club last season before Nigel Clough picked the tough tackling left-sided defender up. He is equally at home at full back or centre back and is reputed to be a threat at set pieces".

29 January 2005


Above, Mark Maddox is smothered by his colleagues (Owen, Potts, Scott) after scoring. Photo kindly supplied by Gavin Rathbone.

Match report here.

  • Alty Line-Up
  • Table
  • Alty Statistics

    Above, another excellent shot from Gavin Rathbone shows Peter Thomson (no.9) hitting the post from the spot as Aspinall, Potts and Maddox watch Coburn go the right way.


  • Alfreton T. v Kettering T. OFF waterlogged
  • Altrincham 4 Lancaster C. 0
  • Barrow 1 Runcorn FC Halton 1
  • Harrogate T. 2 Droylsden 1
  • Hinckley U. v Ashton U. OFF waterlogged
  • Moor Green v Stafford R. OFF due to fire damage
  • Redditch U. 1 Hucknall T. 1
  • Southport 2 Gainsborough T. 1
  • Stalybridge C. 1 Nuneaton B. 1
  • Vauxhall M. 1 Bradford PA 0
  • Worksop T. 2 Worcester C. 0 29 January continued


    NL Daily reports that "striker Jamie Hughes, who Vics signed from Swedish side Ostersunds in October, has returned to one of his former clubs, Lancaster City", our opponents today. "Hughes, 27, started at his career at Cardiff City, before moving to Welsh Premier side Connah's Quay Nomads, Irish outfit Derry City and then Lancaster, where he was a prolific scorer in the UniBond Premier".

    Today's opponents Lancaster have good reason to recall Lee Poland (seen right in Terry Rowley's picture), as he hit a hat-trick against in the memorable cup replay at The Giant Axe in November 2001. Friday's NL Paper reports that he is now the leading scorer in the Liverpool Combination, having scored 28 for Speke this season. He played 22(+35) for Alty and scored 15 goals.


    Runcorn may have been our Cheshire rivals for decades but no one at Altrincham will want to see them go to the wall, so please read the following plea from their supporters' trust:

    The Linnets Independent Supporters' Trust (LIST) has issued an urgent plea to the people of Halton and the football community in general to help save Runcorn Football Club. The SOS - Save Our Soccer - has come about out after the football club were told to find £3,000 by Thursday (3rd February) in order to continue their agreement at the council run Halton Stadium in which they play. It is feared that if the money cannot be found then the football club could be evicted from the stadium by Halton Borough Council. If this happened then this would cast doubt over the club’s ability to fulfil home matches for the rest of the Nationwide North season.

    Martin Fallon, Acting Communication Director of LIST, said, "The situation is very serious and we need help. If we do not find this money by Thursday then there is a very real possibility that we will be removed from the Stadium. If that happens then the football club would face an uncertain future. We need to raise money in order to help the football club pay for a facility so that they can reach the end of the season. Whether this money is put towards paying the rental of the Halton Stadium or is used to rent another ground until the end of the season will become clear in due course.

    The main aim of LIST has always been to get the football club back to Runcorn, but to do that we need to survive in the short term. Therefore we are issuing this appeal for financial help to anybody who can assist us. Any donations, no matter how small, would be very much appreciated and gratefully received.

    Donations can be made direct to the LIST bank account whose details are as follows: The Co-operative Bank, Account Name "Linnets Independent Supporters' Trust", Sort code 089299, Account Number: 65156575. Alternatively you can send a cheque made payable to the Linnets Independent Supporters Trust to LIST, 28 Primrose Close, Castlefields, Runcorn. WA7 2LL.

    For further information, please contact Martin Fallon, Acting Communications Director of LIST on Mobile 07808 737773 or Joanne Wilks, Acting Chair of LIST on 07984 833466. Alternatively e-mail


    Stalybridge Celtic have signed striker Aron Wilford (22) from Clyde in Scotland. Although "his former clubs include Middlesbrough, Lincoln City, York City and Scarborough", Alty fans will remember him playing against us for Whitby Town.

    NL Daily says that "Managerless Worcester City visit Worksop Town on Saturday... still looking for their first victory in 2005... Matt Gardiner, who has joined the club for a second spell following his release from league rival Redditch United, is expected to be included in the squad, while Latvian international, winger Aleksejs Volosanovs, who has been playing for Express & Star West Midlands League side Ledbury Town, is likely to make his league debut, having signed non-contract forms".

    "Halifax Town’s striker Ryan Mallon has joined Gainsborough Trinity on a three-month loan deal, having recently completed a loan spell at Trinity’s rivals Alfreton Town", says NL Daily. The 21-year-old...has played thirteen games for the Shaymen, scoring two goals "reports their website.

    Matty Caudwell of Gainsborough Trinity has cracked an ankle bone and could be out for the rest of the season says the NL Paper. The same source attributes Droylsden's good form to a "bonding day" in January held by manager Dave Pace for his players.

    Nuneaton Borough have released a joint statement with the local Rugby club. "We want to make it quite clear that the fact that D Lynch Construction has been placed into administration will not in any way effect the programme for the development of the stadium, and matters are still progressing toward planning, unaffected by this issue".

    Barrow have signed Kirk Wheeler on non-contract terms; he played for Barrow against Alty whilst on loan from Grimsby. Lee Colkin, released by Tamworth, is expected to sign for Hinckley United.

    Before Harrogate Town chairman Bill Fotherby met the Nationwide Conference on Thursday, he told Harrogate Today, "I have to explain our ambitions and what we're going to do to achieve them. If we do get into a position where we're promoted this season, we'll need to make certain improvements to the ground... We might need a little bit of time to get all the work done, but I hope the Conference will bear with us. The biggest thing is car parking - we need more spaces. Plus there's television coverage to consider, so we'll need to have a gantry. And we need more toilets as well. The Conference also want us to have a youth development program in place... As for the rest of the work, we're working with the council". He added, "I said I wanted a new ground by 2006 and I still believe it is possible. I hope the council can help us out". The site adds, "Fotherby will report Stalybridge Celtic for failing to contact Harrogate Town before speaking with ex-boss John Reed. Although there are no laws stating a club must seek permission to speak to managers, Fotherby hopes he can persuade league bosses to reprimand Celtic and issue a cautionary warning".

    IC Coventry quotes Nuneaton boss Roger Ashby as he plans to defeat Stalybridge today. "They might be second bottom but that means nothing. There are no gimmes in this league... We are well placed in the table and this is a crucial time where we cannot afford to drop off the pace".


    Confguide quotes the Distant Vics' Newsletter to the effect that "Northwich plan to expedite the move into the new Victoria Stadium with a series of temporary measures.The objective is for Vics to play at the Victoria Stadium soon as possible by utilising the Dane Bank Stand and the areas behind each goal. The Dane Bank Stand will be completed and seating for spectators, directors, sponsors and press etc with hospitality accommodation provided. Temporary accommodation for players and officials will be located at the eastern end of the ground. Toilets, car parking and refreshment facilities will also be included. The remainder of the site will then be securely fenced off in order to allow construction to continue... Addition: We understand that 5th March is the current target date for the first game, when Woking are the visitors". Meanwhile, Friday's NL Paper has an advert selling the old Northwich Vics' floodlights.
    28 January 2005


    SAM has a piece on Peter Wright's exit from Moss Lane. Manager Graham Heathcote said, "Peter wants to play more football but I think his patience has been very short considering he has been injured for 10 weeks. Peter Band leaving I could live with but I'm very disappointed with Wright in light of what the club and fans have done for him".

    As for Saturday's game against Lancaster, Graham said, "Lancaster are always very well organised, Phil Wilson has been involved in non-league all his life, as a player and manager. They will look to counteract whatever system we put out. It will be a tough game like all games in this league but we need to get back on a roll at home. We've had a long break and have now got to get momentum back up". Alty's last completed home game was six weeks ago, a win over Southport.


    STAR sends "a reminder to all fans that Saturday's bucket collection will go towards the Tsunami appeal. As money was needed urgently by the appeal and this is our first opportunity to collect, STAR have donated £250 (which with gift aid meant £320 went to the appeal) in advance. Any shortfall from the collection will be made up by STAR Board members personally but hopefully we will be able to donate more to this worthy cause".

    Also, "Children aged 14 and under can now visit the STAR website and print off a sheet of free vouchers for forthcoming home Nationwide North matches... In addition, STAR is publishing its match posters on the website, advertising forthcoming home fixtures".


    Last Sunday's Youth team game at Euxton was postponed. The Youth team is away again next Sunday, against Marine. NL Daily reports that "Marine, have announced that the vacancy created by the retirement of manager Roly Howard at the end of the current season is to be advertised now. Marine chairman Paul Leary said the club "is looking for a locally-based part-time manager who has senior non-League managerial/playing experience and coaching ability'".


    Alty will be hoping to reach the Cheshire Senior Cup Final when they meet Vauxhall Motors next Tuesday in the semi-final. If they do so, they will play Crewe who beat Alsager Town 2-1 in the other semi, fielding ex-Alty loan-keeper Ben Williams. This is Staffs says that the winner came "in the dying seconds to break Alsager hearts and spare Crewe's blushes... Dario Gradi admitted it wasn't a day for attractive football - instead choosing to take advantage of the height of his forwards, Andy White and Michael Higdon". Early on "Crewe were stunned when, after only 11 minutes, Carl Espley finished off a quick break by firing a low effort from 20 yards past the sprawling Ben Williams... [Then], Williams failed to deal with a corner when put under pressure by Heler after 30 minutes and when the ball fell loose, the Alsager striker spun and poked a shot goal wards, only to see it hit the post... and, within 60 seconds, Alex were on level terms". But in injury time, Alsager produced a "sweet volley from 25 yards which forced a wonderful save from Williams" to preserve Alex's lead.


    Alty host Barrow in the Trophy on February 5th. The NW Evening Mail says that "Barrow AFC’s manager was confident of signing a central defender this week. But he has been turned down by his two main targets, leaving him short at the back... The Bluebirds' chief desperately needs cover with Mark Salmon missing for a month through work commitments and Karl Colley suspended for Saturday’s home game against Runcorn". Turnbull said, "We’re trying to bring one in on loan... I think a win on Saturday will, in my opinion, alleviate any relegation fears, really. I think it’s a massive game".


    Confguide reports that "Although Derby County's Pride Park stadium was considered this year, the promotion final returns to Stoke City's Britannia Stadium". as Pride Park "wasn't available on the required dates. The national promotion final is set for the weekend of 14th May". It also reports that "The national division of the Conference is to expand to 24 clubs from 2006/7. At the end of the 2005/6 season, only one club will be relegated to the north/south divisions, instead of three. The expanded 24-club setup will thus start from 2006/7". It is believed this will lead to four clubs going down each season with two each promoted from North and South.

    IC Cheshire recalls that "Runcorn FC Halton's chairman... Dr Dave Robertson last week revealed the cash-strapped club needs to raise £120,000 to complete the rest of the season in its present form. And he admitted that unless more backing was forthcoming in terms of sponsorship, extra spectators and investment, the club may have to move outside the borough to finish the campaign with a team of mostly amateurs. Dr Robertson, Linnets' chairman since 1996, admitted he would be willing to listen to anyone who wanted to take over the chair... Dr Robertson "revealed the club's problem was cash flow rather than money owed, which is small compared to other clubs. The majority of the club's debts were to its directors and officers. About £40,000 is owed to other creditors who are being paid in instalments. 'In terms of day to day, we are up to date - we still have the December payment to make for the stadium and we are only a little behind with the players. We have tax to pay for this year of £14,000 but we haven't got an overdraft to the bank and we don't owe the VAT any money'... The club's annual Halton Stadium rental is £60,000 plus VAT a year - paid monthly - while it has a wage bill of around £2,000 [a week]... The club has a shirt sponsorship deal with Halton Borough Council - this year worth £12,500 and knocked off the stadium bill. All 'gate' receipts are retained by the council... The chairman added: 'We are not talking about winding up or going into administration'"

    But "Dr Robertson is ruling out a return to Runcorn... 'There isn't anywhere in Runcorn a Conference North club can play'... Had a planning application for a supermarket on the club's former Canal Street site been passed, the club could have had state-of-the art facilities in Runcorn, which it could have shared with the community. But the only approval available was for housing and much less lucrative. Once debts had been settled and the Commission for New Towns had taken its clawback - under the terms of the club's purchase of their ground in the 1980s - there was no money left in the kitty to lay down roots at a new base. The club's current rental of £60,000 plus VAT is for 25 games at £2,808 a game. [This adds up to £70,000!]. Dr Robertson added "Our first opportunity to come to the [rugby] stadium was when it was still Naughton Park and we would have been part of the original arrangement between the council and Widnes Rugby League Club. We carried on at Canal Street; a new stand was built and we tried to carry on there. The bills were mounting up and debts weren't being paid. The situation became clear that the only way to survive was to sell the ground to come here to Halton Stadium".

    IC Cheshire also reports that "Runcorn FC Halton have appointed former Southport midfielder Steve Soley as player-manager. Soley, 33, who joined the Linnets as a player only three weeks ago, replaces Alvin McDonald, who was relieved of his duties on Monday after just three months in the hot seat. Long-serving Runcorn player Steve Carragher will be Soley's assistant. Club chairman Dr David Robertson said that Soley's appointment was a change in policy brought about by the Linnets' precarious financial position. 'I had been thinking over the last few weeks as to how to inject a new urgency and vitality at the club, and a focus on youth, while at the same time trying to make some economies', said Dr Robertson. 'It's a change in direction to have two young and currently playing professionals in charge, and there is some cost effectiveness in that as well. I hope that this will act as a shot in the arm to the club and encourage more people to come and watch our games. This is one of the steps to be taken in the hopeful regeneration of Runcorn Football Club'".

    NL Daily reports that "Alfreton Town have appointed a full-time commercial manager... Terry Smith... and his capture is a major coup for the Reds as they bid to bring another dimension to their commercial activities". Smith said "I am hoping I can arrange a sponsored car as one of my first tasks". But Town "manager David Lloyd has had a frustrating week in search of new players. Lloyd commented: 'I need to change things and some people will be getting a bit of a rude awakening. But, at the moment it is frustrating with some people not even returning phone calls. On the other hand, some clubs and players are pricing themselves out of moves to the Impact Arena... I may have to bring a striker in on loan as Mick Godber has a slight groin problem'". Chairman Wayne Bradley added, "I could go throw money at the situation we are in and spend the future away but other clubs have done that and have paid dearly later on. I believe it is the wrong thing to do".

    Worksop Town's website carries details of a public meeting called by The Friends of Worksop Town FC and Worksop Town Supporters' Club on Wednesday, organised following "an article in the Worksop Guardian on January 14th, where it was stated that the club were heading towards administration... Chris Smith, a director of the club gave an official response on the behalf of Worksop Town FC. He went on to say that the club had taken professional advice which the council were not aware of and therefore no discussions can be entered into by the directors present". The local council has indicated that "it is unreasonable to state that the council is forcing the club out of business... but the debt would eventually have to be paid". Local MP, John Mann MP for Bassetlaw, Alan Bloore, of the Football Supporters' Federation, and Mr Phil Tooley, of Supporters Direct, were present. Mr Mann stated that "the club would not go out of business as assets outweighed the clubs debts". The meeting approved a plan to investigate the establishment of a supporters' trust.

    This is WCFC says that "Worcester City chairman Dave Boddy has refused to speculate on potential successors to John Barton... Among those linked to the post include former City striker Andy Preece [and] ex-Notts County manager Gary Mills... City's board of directors have received 20 managerial applications... Carlisle's veteran striker Preece, 37, born in Evesham, is likely to be welcomed by fans following his one-year spell at the Lane in 1989/90".

    Kettering Today quotes Town boss Kevin Wilson: "I am not going to accept getting ourselves into a good position and then let us slip down the league. That cannot, and will not, happen. Players have to learn that they might have to take a few cuts on the eye or broken noses to help our cause. We can't carry on defending like we have been recently. When you look at the number of goals we have conceded either early or late on in games it is very worrying". But after looking at some reserves in the GLS Cup in midweek, Wilson said, "A couple of players came in and did well considering it was their first game for the club. But there were also some unacceptable performances. It might just be time for me to have another look around and see what is about".

    Copyright: ©
    Compiled by John Laidlar