Altrincham Football Club News Archive
9 to 13 February 2005

13 February 2005


Today's home Youth game with Lancaster City Youth has been postponed due to a waterlogged pitch.


Today's Pink has a column by Graham Heathcote and an interview with Mark Maddox.

Graham writes, "Everyone can say we're doing well and that's very gratifying but it's not going to count for an awful lot if we don't perform over the next three months. My fear is that, if we continue to progress in the Trophy, as I sincerely hope we do, it will expose the lack of cover in our squad as we chase promotion... I'm delighted by the progress the likes of Kieran Lugsden (left) and George Melling are making and, indeed, with our reserve and youth teams matching the fortunes of our senior side, the future of the club is looking particularly bright. But you still need experience... That's why I'm particularly delighted to have just signed Richard Norris, who was an England non-league international just a couple of years ago... I'm on the lookout for a left-sided player following the news that Chris Adams could have a hernia problem.... We've given ourselves a great chance to be in the shake-up [for promotion] at the end of the season, but for that to happen, we've got to keep our eye on the ball... My assistant, Dalton Steele, and I have long known March and April were going to be particularly busy months for us, which is why I took the decision to give our players as much time off as possible, both last month and this. The commitment we're going to need from them, if we're to achieve anything is immense...It's not just our players who have to be dedicated. Neil Brown and George Heslop, who manage our reserve and youth teams, deserve a lot of credit, as does our physio, Sean Riley, who did a particularly amazing job getting Gary Talbot out against Barrow. Everyone is doing his or her job and that includes our supporters, whose continued backing, home and away, is appreciated. We have a unity at the club which hasn't been there for some time".

Meanwhile, Mark Maddox (right), spoke to The Pink after his 300th Alty appearance. "Everyone knows I love the club and so for me to have played 300 games for Altrincham is something special". He recalls his debut against Rushden and Diamonds, winning the UniBond League and playing against Darlington in the FA Cup second round in front of the Match of the Day cameras as highlights of his career. "Maddox names his first defensive partner, Barry Butler, and his present one, Gary Talbot, as perhaps the best two he has played alongside". Recalling his goal against Leigh recently, Mark admitted that "By the Monday after the game, the lads had got sick of me texting them saying what a great goal it was"!


After yesterday's postponement of the Altrincham game, the search for football took your correspondent to Stalybridge, only to find that the game there had been postponed between leaving home and arriving at the soggy Bower Fold. So, a quick drive the few miles to Ewen Fields followed and success was found with a game taking played between Hyde United and Frickley Athletic on a pitch that was soft but in excellent condition. The icing on the cake was a well-taken goal from visiting striker and former Alty player, Leroy Chambers, in a 1-1 draw. Also taking part, as a second-half substitute, was ex-Robin, Matt McNeil. Hyde also gave a home league debut to Lincoln Adams, who was playing for his third Tameside club this season (after Ashton United and Stalybridge Celtic).


Old boys in action yesterday included Danny Adams (Stockport), Peter Band and Mark Quayle (Northwich) - but Ian Craney was only an unused sub for Accrington.


  • Steve Baynes (York C. to Harrogate T. on loan)
  • Chris Dolby (Alfreton T. to Ilkeston T. on loan)
  • Mark Duffy (Vauxhall M. to Prescot Cables)
  • Griff Jones (Runcorn FC Halton to Whitby T.)
    12 February 2005


  • Alfreton T. 0 Worcester C. 0
  • Altrincham v Runcorn FC Halton OFF
  • Barrow 2 Gainsborough T. 0
  • Harrogate T. 5 Ashton U. 1
  • Hinckley U. v Hucknall T. OFF
  • Moor Green 0 Lancaster C. 2
  • Redditch U. 3 Bradford PA 1
  • Southport 3 Droylsden 0
  • Stalybridge C. v Kettering T. OFF
  • Vauxhall M. 0 Stafford R. 0
  • Worksop T. 2 Nuneaton B. 3

    Alty have dropped to 8th but can still attain the second highest maximum number of points in the division.

  • League table


    Today's NN match between Altrincham and Runcorn FC Halton has been postponed as the Moss Lane pitch is waterlogged after heavy rain, which started on Friday evening. Although it is dry now, a pitch inspection took place at 9am this morning and the decision was that to play would be impossible. The above picture was taken at 10am this morning and shows the sodden pitch. The left corner of the ground at the 20/20 End, off picture, is particularly bad.


    Alty Reserves lost 3-1 at Lancaster on Thursday night.


    Our Trophy opponents Grays Athletic are having a clear out; their website reports that "The following players have been made available for loan or transfer: Carl Emberson (reserve goalkeeper), Liam George, Gavin Heeroo, Vill Powell and Martin Carthy". Powell, with 14 goals this season, has been previously linked with Cambridge United. But "Grays have signed striker Aaron McClean from Aldershot Town on a two year contract". However, he is believed to be cup-tied for the FA Trophy.


    Runcorn FC Halton's future at the Halton Stadium is in doubt but the Runcorn Forum reports that "Council chiefs are expected to give the green light to plans to build a new stand at Halton Stadium. The plan to build a new all-seater stand at the east end of the ground will complete the development of the stadium which is home to both Widnes Vikings and Runcorn FC Halton".

    Leigh RMI "have signed Danny Byrne from Droylsden... To help balance the books the new boss has released the versatile Karl Rose" reports This is Bolton.

    This is WCFC confirms that "Worcester City player-manager Andy Preece is to step up his search for a another versatile midfielder as moves to sign ex-Bury captain Martyn Forrest broke down. Forrest had been playing for Radcliffe Borough and an announcement on the club's official website claimed the midfielder had joined City. However, Preece said last night that Forrest is not heading to St George's Lane after the 26-year-old had secured a new job that would have made commuting to Worcester difficult... Preece added that City's left-back spot was another problem position, made worse with the injuries to Les Hines and Shabir Khan".

    On Harrogate Today reports that Harrogate Town chairman Bill Fotherby "was in bullish mood after rejecting an 'enormous' bid for record signing Lee Morris last week... Ashton United are thought to have bid £12,000 for Morris". Fotherby said "If Neil Aspin feels that a player is a part of his plans, that player is not for sale - it's as simple as that. Take Lee Morris as an example. Ashton came in with an offer and I rejected it. They then came in with a second offer and, to be honest, it was an enormous bid. But I spoke to Neil and he said that Lee was an important part of the squad. So I rejected their follow-up offer as well. In normal circumstances you'd have to have a look at a bid like that. But these aren't normal circumstances - we're flying high in the league and chasing promotion to the Conference. So we need to be building a team, not selling our best players". Morris "who joined Town for a fee of around £9,000 in pre season, said 'I love it at Harrogate - it's a great club'".

    Hucknall Today quotes Vics' boss Steve Burr after his side lost to Hucknall Town in the Trophy, "I hope they go all the way and win it now. I'm sure they can".

    According to Lancaster Today, City manager Phil Wilson said: "We will do a bit of work on shooting in training on Thursday and see if we can get a bit of confidence back into the players. Strikers Tony Sullivan and Jamie Hughes were both expected to play for the Reserves at Giant Axe on Thursday night against Altrincham to sharpen their striking instincts".

    IC Solihull says that "Solihull Borough have come to the rescue for temporarily homeless Moor Green by offering Damson Park to the Hall Green outfit for the rest of the season. Moors will play tomorrow's league clash with Lancaster City at Boro's homeground and Bob Faulkner's men will call the Elmdon-based stadium 'home' for the rest of their campaign".

    11 February 2005


    In This is Trafford quotes Brian Flynn, chairman of Altrincham supporters' trust STAR on Altrincham's FA Trophy draw against Grays Athletic. "I think it is a very tough but interesting draw. Altrincham are one of the top established non-league clubs whereas Grays are one of the up and coming sides. It will be a close game, they have only lost one away game and we have only lost one home game". After beating Barrow in the last round, Alty manager Graham Heathcote said: "It was a great win as a result of the lads' 100% effort. It was a difficult week. There were a lot of injuries and problems getting a side out there. Going through is financially a massive result for the club. My priority is to win football matches and to progress but I know, as a result of being [Club] Secretary, how hard it is financially... Grays are a full-time team, they will have a fitness advantage and they are well clear in their league... Their position is similar to Weymouth last season. But we are at home and can't ask for any more. Hopefully there will be a good turn out, home support can quite often win you games".


    Next week Alty play at Kettering Town, and Kettering Today says that a petition is being raised in support of Kettering Town's plans to move to a new ground; 17 year-old supporter "Mark Hope has collected 270 signatures in a week... At present the club's five directors fork out about £80,000 a year to keep the club afloat. In the past ten or 11 years the club has lost more than £1 million".

    This is Cheshire reports that "Speculation is continuing to mount that Runcorn's next home game will be their last at Halton Stadium. Unconfirmed reports are the Linnets will quit Widnes after the visit of Hinckley United on Saturday, February 19, and move to Witton Albion... Two obvious hurdles would be the 10-year lease which the football authorities now insist should be held by clubs playing at such a level and the problems which would be caused by immediate clashes with Witton fixtures... The Linnets Independent Supporters' Trust (LIST) met with Dr Robertson last week and has reportedly been offered a bigger say in the running of the club". Martin Fallon of LIST added "The Trust has approached Witton informally to ask would it be possible. They are happy for us to go there... We're also going to be opening discussions with Pavilions as to whether it's feasible to move down there or not in the longer term. The Conference wouldn't let us move to Witton unless we are moving back to Runcorn eventually'... Pavilions in Sandy Lane, Weston Point, has West Cheshire League standard facilities. But the complex's owners have their own problems, announcing last week its playing fields could close unless funding is secured for vital maintenance work. Grant applications to various funding bodies have been unsuccessful"

    On the field, "Matty McGinn's move to Southport is in doubt as a Coca-Cola League One team have now inquired about the player".

    The NW Evening Mail quotes Barrow manager Lee Turnbull who said "I think 45 points is probably the first target and then anything above that I will be reasonably happy with. I think, in my own mind, if we can get to 50 points and win half the games that we have got left I am sure we will finish the season in a respectable position".

    Radcliffe Borough "have lost the services of former Bury midfield player Martyn Forrest. The former Bury skipper had been at the 'Boro' since late last year and has moved to Worcester City managed by former Bury manager Andy Preece. Manager Kevin Glendon said 'Its typical of this club and the current situation, we find a player who has failed to settle elsewhere and with some work and the manner in which we play he has settled down and enjoyed it so much his natural ability has shone through. We cannot compete with Worcester's offer and although we were due to put him on contract next season the arrival of his former manager has meant we have had to let 'Fozzy' go. The now former 'Boro' midfielder will leave with immediate effect... The manager concluded 'I am gutted to lose 'Fozzy' but... the offer was just so far away from ours'".

    Alfreton Town gained their "first league win of 2005 on Tuesday night at Lancaster City... Despite going out of the FA Trophy at the fourth round stage at home to Conference full-timers Woking last Saturday, that game also saw an outstanding man of the match debut from central defender Luke Foster, 19, recruited on loan from Sheffield Wednesday, while Michael Simpkins’s second game since joining from Burton Albion on loan also produced an impressive performance at left back".

    Stalybridge Celtic's website says that "Phil Eastwood and Lincoln Adams have both made the short move to Ewen Fields to join Hyde United. Eastwood has joined the Tigers on a month's loan, while Adams has made the move on a permanent basis".

    Workington Town, favourites for promotion to Nationwide North next season, "The club has 'accepted in principal' an offer of a new lease from landlords Allerdale Council that will secure their future... Workington had been unhappy over progress in agreeing a new lease with the council and warned they would plunge down the league pyramid if a new ten-year lease was not signed by April 1st. Nationally agreed rules now require long-term leases to be in place on football stadiums" says the News & Star.


    Matt Bailey netted the equaliser for Stockport County on Wednesday in a 2-2 draw. Leigh RMI's website has a profile of Lee Shillito (21), the former Alty Youth striker now at Hilton Park.
    10 February 2005


    Moss Lane hosts the Man. Utd v Middlesbrough Premiership Reserve match tonight, at 7pm. Adult entry is £3.


    IC Cheshire confirms that Peter Band will return to the Vics' subs' bench after being cup-tied last Saturday for Northwich Victoria.


    IC Sefton quotes Southport boss Liam Watson: "The title is in our own hands but we have a long way to go and Saturday's match against Droylsden is a massive one for both sides. What we have to keep in perspective is we get three points for each win. We need another 29 points, whether that comes in ten wins or 8 wins and two draws I am not really bothered". But 8 wins and 2 draws is only 26 points and quite why 80 points (Port have 51 pts now) will guarantee the title is unclear as, currently, 15 teams could get 81 points or more!

    The Tameside Advertiser states that "Droylsden chief Dave Pace is waiting to hear what Tameside Council will say before deciding whether to move from the Butcher’s Arms to the new Tameside Stadium. He is meeting officials to discuss a switch to the new ground despite having spent £1m on improving the Butcher’s Arms". Pace said "We’re the top team in Tameside, so let’s see what help we get. If they want to see a Tameside club live on television, the only team that’s got a chance is Droylsden. Let’s pull together and help Droylsden get where I feel they should be which is the Football League".

    "Striker Robbie Talbot has completed his free transfer from Burton Albion to Droylsden. But the striker missed out on a quick-fire debut in the Bloods' 4-0 defeat of neighbours Ashton United... Liverpool-based Talbot was ruled out by a calf strain". Talbot added, about his time at Burton, "If you look at the statistics, 28 goals in 45 starts, that's more than one goal in every two games... Droylsden is close to home, although it's a bit of a step down, which is something I'm not overjoyed about... I'm looking forward to going there and enjoying my football" he told the Burton Mail.

    Confguide reports that former Bury boss, Andy Preece, has signed ex-Manchester United and Bury midfielder George Clegg for Worcester City. Clegg played for Alty Reserves in August before moving to Northwich.

    IC Coventry reports that "The loan duo of Gavin Cowan and Brian Quailey are key factors in Nuneaton Borough's quest for promotion reckons manager Roger Ashby... And while Cowan has been turning on the style at the heart of the defence since his arrival from Canvey Island in early January, ex-Nuneaton striker Quailey [on loan from Stevenage, has also] proved what a valuable asset he could be".

    "Redditch United manager Rod Brown is calling on his players to put their miserable run behind them and climb back into the play-off places says This is Redditch "We have had... two points out of a possible nine... But I don't want to bring people in just for the sake of it". Brown's "plans to sign a striker on loan from Kidderminster Harriers have been dashed".

    Preston Today reports on Lancaster's defeat to Alfreton. "Manager Phil Wilson vented his fury at the shabby state of the home turf afterwards, but even that could not explain away a display from the Dolly Blues so dire that their match sponsors could not pick a man of the match". The attendance was just 212.


    NL Daily reports that "Grays Athletic went out on penalties against Stevenage Borough... with the impressive visitors on top for the majority of overtime... in the penalty shoot-out Boro ended victorious by a 3-1 margin". Grays travel to Alty on 26 February.
    9 February 2005


    Altrincham v Worcester City will now be on Tuesday 12 April at 7.45pm. This game was originally set for 26 February so is displaced by the 5th Round of the FA Trophy on that date.


    As well as Ged Nolan, Runcorn FC Halton will also be without suspended former Alty midfielder Michael Garrity for the game against Altrincham this Saturday.


    Our next away opponents, Kettering Town, report that "26 year old centre back Rob Greetham has left the Poppies after just two months with the club... due to work commitments".

    Kettering Today confirms that "Kettering Town FC wants to build a new home at Weekley Hall Farm, which is owned by the Duke of Buccleuch. The site, which is near the Kettering northern bypass junction with the A6003, would incorporate a new theatre... It will also provide a school, community centre and 750 homes... The duke would lease the land to the club for what is expected to be at least 99 years". Club chairman Peter Mallinger confirmed: "We have had talks with the duke but nothing has been finalised". Kettering Council's deputy chief executive, Martin Hammond, said "If the club just wanted to put an application in for a stadium, it could be sorted out in a matter of a few months. We have invited them to submit an application for a stadium only, but they have said they can't". For its part the club says "it cannot feasibly submit plans for a stadium-only because it would not be able to afford to pay for it. The planning application is expected to cost about £300,000".


    Morecambe's Michael Twiss, who was a pre-season trialist for Alty in 2000, is the subject of a £50,000 bid from Chester City, flush with their earnings from the sale of another ex-Robin, Kevin Ellison to Hull City. Morecambe have rejected the offer.


    In similar vein to the Daily Telegraph report yesterday, the NL Daily suggests that the Trophy tie with Grays may be a foregone conclusion as it states, "Grays Athletic, who put five goals past league rivals Havant & Waterlooville without reply, will fancy their chances in the next round when they travel to seventh-placed Nationwide North side Altrincham". This season’s final is on 22 May, 2005 at Villa Park before it returns to Wembley in 2006.

    One of Grays' players, Mitchell Cole is Nationwide South Player of the Month for January. The North's winner was Hucknall's Gary Ricketts (Hucknall Town) with 568 votes - and Droylsden's Jody Banim got less than 50. But, somehow, Cole polled 4,353 votes, many times the average gate at Grays' home matches! Grays lost on penalties to Stevenage in the GLS Cup last night.


    From Stalybridge's website comes news that "Celtic have announced the loan capture of striker Andy Parton. Parton (21) arrives on an initial month's loan from Scunthorpe United. He impressed on a loan spell with Harrogate last season where he scored twice in two games before injury cut short the deal, and Celtic boss John Reed is happy to renew the acquaintance... Striker Phil Eastwood is likely to join a UniBond Premier League side on a month's loan in an effort to regain match fitness, and both [ex-Alty] defender Terry Bowker and Phil Hadland have had their names circulated as available for loan."

    Steve Bleasdale, new manager of Leigh RMI, is set to sign "former Liverpool winger Mark Peers, who was released by the Reds in 2003 after suffering a bad injury. Peers (20), then had a spell in Scotland... before joining Vauxhall Motors a year ago".

    Barrow report that "Phil Rowlands has signed for Hucknall Town whilst Ian Kilford has gone on loan at Kendal Town"; both were on the bench at Moss Lane last Saturday. The NW Evening Mail adds that "One player who [manager, Lee] Turnbull says will not be leaving Holker Street is midfielder Gareth Simpson... 'Simmo has another year left on his contract. I want him to play four or five games in the reserves to get his appetite back and hopefully fight for a place back in the first team'", he said.

    Before last night's game, in Preston Today Lancaster City boss Phil Wilson said "I'm convinced that we can still make a powerful challenge for the play-offs. We've several games in hand on the top six... the play-offs are still a realistic goal for Lancaster City... We've drawn too many games and if we are to have any realistic hope of reaching the top six, then we've got to go on a decent winning run".