Altrincham Football Club News Archive
1 to 3 March, 2005

3 March 2005


From The Manchester Evening News:

Twenty-five years ago Altrlncham were the undisputed kings of semi-pro football, earning the title of ‘the Manchester United of non-league'. But the Robins have hit hard times since then, and here their skipper of the halcyon days of the late 70s and early 80s, John King, tells TONY GLENNON why he fears the golden years might never return.

Alty caught in cash trap.

Once-mighty Altrincham must find an equivalent of Chelsea's billionaire owner Roman Abramovich if they’re ever to re-emerge as a League club in the making. That’s the view of Moss Lane legend John King, who believes the best the Robins can currently hope for is to re-establish themselves in the Nationwide Conference.

Altrincham, last weekend, crashed out of the FA Trophy, a competition they won in 1978 and ‘86, falling victim to one of the growing number of full-time non-leaguers, runaway Nationwide South leaders Grays. As a strictly part-time club and with six-figure debts, Alty can realistically no longer hope to compete with the non-league game’s top sides. And their former captain and three-times manager King, who, in an act of support for the club’s present hierarchy has just relinquished the substantial shareholding he acquired in helping save the Robins from extinction 10 years ago, believes that’s the way it will stay King said: "Let’s get one thing straight, my old friend and colleague, Graham Heathcote, is doing a superb job, as is chairman Geoff Goodwin and his board of directors. But unless someone on the lines of Abramovich takes over, I can’t ever see them going into the League. I hope Altrincham can get back into the Conference very soon now and, providing Graham’s given the necessary backing, I believe they will".

He added: "What Altrincham need is someone who can do for them what Dave Pace has done for Droylsden, someone with plenty of money who’ll say: ‘I can’t take over United or City so let’s have a go at Alty’. I remember going to Droylsden when their ground was the pits, but whenever I’ve been to the Butcher’s Arms in recent years, the place has got better and better - and that’s all down to one man. Dave is Droylsden through and through and I’m made up for him that he’s doing so well. Someone like him could make Altrincham into a force again, but that’s not intended as a criticism of the Alty board, who are doing their utmost to straighten the club out".

Altrincham’s gates have risen this season as the Robins push for promotion from Nationwide North but their present average attendance of around 600 is still well short of the 2,000-strong crowds King and his team-mates regularly used to attract. Nevertheless, King believes Alty’s support will continue to grow if the team remains successful. He continued: "I know it’s hard for clubs like Alty to attract decent crowds when they have the likes of United and City on their doorstep, but I still feel that, if Altrincham could get back in the Conference, the potential for good gates is still there. "Perhaps they wouldn’t go up to the level Altrincham once enjoyed, but just to see them topping 1,000 for every home match would be great. But you have to walk before you can run and I still think there’s a chance Alty could become a major force again, but only if they can find themselves a money man".


Alty visit the Impact Arena at Alfreton on Saturday which is one of many new stadium names in non-league these days. Our old friends Wakefield-Emley, for example, now play at the Atlantic Solutions Stadium, whilst Leek Town's Harrison Park is now the magnificently named Upright Solicitors' Stadium. Howard Watts's Through the Years stats for Saturday are here.

This is Derbyshire reports that "Both Paul Teather and Richard Cooper were drafted into the Alfreton line-up for their long midweek trek to play table-toppers Southport (on Tuesday) while John Knapper took over from the suspended Matt Fisher... However, it will be the last game that the influential Knapper will play for a while after he was taken to hospital following the defeat with a suspected broke leg". The Alfreton team was Butler, Teather, Chapman, Foster, Brown, Nwadike, I Robinson (Holmes, 79), Knapper, Godber, Duffield, Cooper. Other subs: Woolley, Thompson, Saxby.

The Alfreton website says that "A depleted Alfreton Town fell to... their second consecutive league defeat... John Knapper made only his fourth start of the season and his first for three months. With Matt Fisher serving the first of a two-game suspension [the second is v Alty], further injuries to Carl Bradshaw and Mark Sale, allied to Mark Blount, Mitch Ward and out for the season Mark Hume meant the down to the bare bones Reds could name only four substitutes including goalkeeper Gav Saxby and youngsters Stephen Woolley and James Thompson, the latter named for the first time this season. This Saturday, the Reds are at home to play-off spot chasing Altrincham".


The following message is from Altrincham FC Safety Officer, Phil Taylor:

Following Saturday's FA Trophy fixture versus Grays Athletic a violent incident occurred which resulted in a member of the Altrincham Stewarding Staff spending three hours in Casualty. The individuals involved in this incident have been identified and appropriate action will be taken.

Altrincham FC will not accept any form of violent behaviour within its Moss Lane ground, particularly when directed toward its staff, all of whom are voluntary, and will take the strongest possible action against anyone who behaves in this manner.


Matt Bailey (right), who was on loan at Alty last season, is going on loan again, from Stockport County to Leigh RMI.


STAR "has become a distributor for the Utility Warehouse. This company provides the cheapest domestic electricity and gas in the UK. It also provides landline telephony cheaper than BT’s best price deals AND in addition provides Broadband with unrestricted access and downloads plus free connection, for just £19.95 per month for 1Mps (so long as your BT line will support this speed). If you take advantage of any of the cheaper services from the Utility Warehouse, STAR receives a monthly income based on a percentage of the total spent by supporters. See the STAR site for details and for the final slim4alty results.


This is Cheshire says that "Runcorn FC's home game to Gainsborough is in jeopardy with stadium owners Halton Council still awaiting a decision from the club about its future... According to the council, no one has said if the game at Halton Stadium is going ahead. A council spokesperson said: 'We have written to the chairman repeatedly and have received no response. The club is in arrears of more than £12,000, and despite repeated requests, we have not yet received an answer on whether they intend to play at the stadium this weekend'. A temporary ground share with Witton Albion and Northwich Victoria is ruled out because both sides have home games this weekend. Runcorn's chairman Dr David Robertson was unavailable for comment".

Tuesday's M6 crash near Lancaster caused problems in Nationwide North, with the Barrow v Bradford PA game not kicking off till 9.05pm whilst the Lancaster City v Runcorn match was postponed because the home team did not arrive at the ground in sufficient numbers! Runcorn got there by the revised deadline of 8.45pm set by the referee, with some players even using the train to complete their journey but manager Phil Wilson and various City players were caught in the gridlock.

Radcliffe Borough announce that manager Kevin Glendon "has added the services of centre half Darren Royle and left back Peter Carty from Ashton United to his depleted squad... Royle, the son of Ipswich Town manager Joe Royle, 30, began his career as a youth player with Oldham Athletic and then Rochdale before playing for Altrincham in the Conference... Royle was being chased and courted by Harrogate Town and Stalybridge Celtic before the turn of the year".

"Andy Preece, player-manager of Worcester City, admits there is no rush to draft in fresh faces... Preece has clinched just one signing since taking over the City helm, former Bury midfielder George Clegg, while two players have been released. Matt Gardiner has now followed midfielder Aleksejs Volosanovs out of St George's Lane to join Bromsgrove Rovers for the remainder of the season". Preece told This is Worcs, "I think we would make our moves in the summer. But you have to keep your eyes open because the player you want may become available at any moment and maybe we can get somebody in before the summer rush. If the right player becomes available, we'll need to get in there quick"

"Workington face a bill of up to £30,000 to upgrade Borough Park if they win promotion to Nationwide North next season... Conference chiefs, on an inspection of the ground, warned that cash must be spent to bring it up to standard... Workington would have to install around 200 seats, to take the total to 500, extra turnstiles and toilets, and crush barriers, to raise the capacity 500 to a minimum of 3,000. 'We would have to complete the work within two years of going up to the Conference', said chairman Dale Brotherton. 'We believe it would cost between £20,000 and £30,000, but if we get our lease sorted out, we could get funding from the Football Foundation'... Reds’ current lease on Borough Park expires in three years, and the key to securing grant funding lies in nailing a new 10-year agreement with landlords Allerdale Council. The club is currently negotiating with the council, but the lease must be in place before April 1st or Reds face the prospect of plummeting five divisions for failing to meet nationally agreed standards on such agreements".

Stafford Rangers raised £450 from a bucket collection plus £175 given to the manager and an anonymous donation of a £1000 to help them pay their non-contract players and staff. This is Staffs confirms that ex-Alty man Jamie Phoenix was a sub in that game and that striker Neil Grayson now starts a 3-game ban which will see him miss the game against Alty on 8 March.

Stalybridge Celtic report that "Andy Parton's loan has been extended till the end of the season". Their postponed GLS Cup match at home to Halifax will now be played tonight.

Southport report that their "lowest gate of the season (704) saw Southport extend their lead at the top of the Nationwide North by beating the late arriving Alfreton Town side 3-1... with Kevin Lynch out of the side following a car crash at the weekend... Credit needs to be given to Alfreton who came to play football, rather than settle for a draw".

Barrow report that "Darren Gardner has his latest book on Barrow AFC on sale soon. Neil Doherty: out on the wing is a look at the career of the former Barrow AFC winger. The 68 page book, limited to 250 copies and costing £5 (+£2 p&p if required) will be launched on 12 March - email to secure a copy".

The NW Evening Mail says that Barrow "boss Lee Turnbull fears losing Guy Heffernan for up to four weeks [Alty play Barrow on 26 March] ... after he was injured by a reckless tackle in Saturday’s 2-2 draw at home to Stafford Rangers... He was diagnosed with nerve and ligament damage to his ankle. 'From past experience that will probably take about three or four weeks to clear up', Turnbull said".

On This is Lincs Gainsborough "boss Paul Mitchell blamed the club's lack of training facilities for defeat at Stafford Rangers... Trinity had not trained for 10 days and looked very sluggish in the first half... 'We had no game at the weekend, but because of the weather we could not train at the Northolme or on the other pitch we use', said Mitchell".

This is Nottingham> reports that "A last-minute equaliser denied Hucknall all three points against Vauxhall Motors... [who] were reduced to ten men in the 82nd minute when Darren Wright was sent off for dissent". The gate was just 267.

This is Redditch says that this week "four fresh faces joined the ranks [of Redditch United] at the cost of three others. And the quadruple new signings of Kidderminster Harriers' centre back Chris McHale, Shrewsbury Town's Ross Stevens, Northwich Victoria's Mark Briggs and Moor Green hitman Daire Doyle got a "baptism of fire" as the Reds were pummelled 5-1 by Nuneaton Borough on Saturday. Out go midfield maestro Fraser McHugh, winger Chris Gray and striker Arthur Appleton. Reds' boss Rod Brown said: "I've tried to bring in players who I think will do us a job but I've also got to balance the book".

Runcorn FC Halton "have transfer listed experienced right-sided midfielder Kieran Durkan. 31-year old Durkan, who was capped at under-21 level by the Republic of Ireland... Runcorn manager Steve Soley said, 'I was actually surprised when I came to the club and found that Kieron was here. He is capable of playing at a much higher level than Nationwide North, and I would not be surprised if a League One or League Two side came in for him'"

2 March 2005


For the home game against Stafford Rangers on 8 March, which is a replay of the abandoned game on New Year's Day, those who attended the original match can obtain a voucher for free entry to the match. These vouchers must be claimed by 5pm on the match day (8 March) - none will be issued after this time. Season ticket holders should bring their season-ticket books with them to the match for free admission. To claim your vouchers either write (with an s.a.e to the address at the top of the page), phone (0161 928-1045), or visit the club office at Moss Lane during normal working hours. For other spectators, admission will be just £3 for adults and children will be admitted free.


Chris Adams, who missed last week's game, will be fit for Saturday's game but it is unlikley that he is going to be able to withstand more than one game every week or so until his hamstring problem is resolved.


Altrincham FC is running a draw for a Giant Easter Egg, to be made on March 19th at the Ashton United game; tickets are £1 each from the club.


The Conference North Player of the Month voting is between Jody Banim (Droylsden), Norman Sylla (Redditch), Matty Collins (Nuneaton), Nathan Talbott (Stafford Rangers), Steve Oleksewyzc (BPA).

Nuneaton Borough confirm that "The Nationwide North award goes to Nuneaton Borough`s manager Roger Ashby. This accolade follows an unbeaten February which saw Ashby`s side win three and draw one of their four league fixtures".


The Runcorn website "has been updated with a number of new Legends [including ex-Alty men] Barry Howard [&] Barry Whitbread".

NL Daily says that "Radcliffe Borough have confirmed they have secured the services of popular midfielder Scott Wilson for another two years. Wilson signed the agreed contract after negotiations with manager Kevin Glendon and has signed for next season with an option for the following season. Wilson, the subject of a seven-day approach from Stalybridge Celtic, has been in inspired form this season".

1 March 2005


  • Barrow 3 Bradford PA 2
  • Hucknall T. 1 Vauxhall M. 1
  • Lancaster C. v Runcorn FC Halton OFF
  • Southport 3 Alfreton T. 1
  • Stafford R. 2 Gainsborough T. 0
  • Table


    Alty Reserves' game with Burscough Reserves at Abbey Hey tonight has been postponed due to a waterlogged pitch.


    A report on the Youth team game against Lancaster last Sunday is in the Youth section.


    The Conference Handbook states that the Nationwide North and South play-offs will comprise two-legged semi-finals on 2 and 5 May, followed by a regional final on 14 or 15 May. However, I have now had written confirmation from the Conference that these plans have been scrapped and the new system will involve one-legged semi-finals for both Conference North and South to be played on Monday 2nd or Tuesday 3rd May, as follows:
  • 2nd in league v 5th
  • 3rd v 4th

    Then, on Saturday 7th May, the winners of the above two matches will play each other, with the team finishing higher in the league having home advantage. The winner of that match will then meet the winner of the other regional Conference division's play-offs in the play-off final at the Britannia Stadium, Stoke, (i.e this will be the winners of Conference North play-offs v winner of Conference South play-offs). This game will be on either Saturday 14th or Sunday 15th May.

    Interestingly, the play offs for the National Conference remain two-legged affairs; the first leg is on 30 April/1 May; the second on 4/5 May, with a final at Stoke, also on 14th or 15th May like the regional final.


    Altrincham Football Club statement:

    The Board of Altrincham FC is pleased to announce that, after protracted negotiations, two other major shareholders have relinquished their shares in the club. These shares have now been acquired by memb3ers of the Board. We would like to express our thanks and appreciation to Mr Noel White and Mr John King, who have been great servants of the club and who now feel that the way forward is for the Board to hold a larger shareholding".


    Altrincham FC will hold a football match between its staff and supporters at Moss Lane on either 7 or 9 May, depending on our involvement, or otherwise, in the play-offs. Each player will be asked to donate £30 to the club's funds. All volunteers are asked to contact either Grahame Rowley or Gary Warrington to register their interest.


    There is now a brief report on the Reserves' win at Bamber Bridge in the Reserves' section.


    In Monday's MEN, Graham Heathcote says of the defeat by Grays, "Sometimes you've got to hold your hands up and admit that you were beaten by a better side... We didn't play to the level we can but credit to Grays for looking every inch a quality side".


    David Lloyd, manager of Alfreton Town, whom we meet on Saturday, "admitted after Saturday’s defeat by Droylsden [watched by 288 people] that his side is temporarily ‘running on empty’. Speaking to the Mansfield Chad's Gordon Foster after the match, Lloyd confirmed that the squad’s confidence is currently low, and that doing all he can to try to rebuild that is a priority. 'To be honest, a heavy season seems to have caught up with us', he said. 'We’re still battling hard, but we seem to have lost that zing, that sharpness... I’d love to be able to bring in two or three players... but people are asking for silly money, and the chairman is quite rightly not prepared to go down the road which has seen clubs like Stafford Rangers come unstuck financially... We have a budget, and we stick to it'. Lloyd has come under fire recently from a section of the crowd, but his job has certainly not been helped by the heavy injury toll affecting key players ­ not to mention suspensions. 'We’ll have Matt Fisher suspended for a couple of games [including v Altrincham], Ian Robinson is struggling again with his ankle, and I don’t know how long Mark Blount will be out'" he said. Also, "The loss of a player like Mick Goddard has not done much for the manager’s popularity either. But Lloyd insisted: 'He wanted to leave the club... We’re going through a spell now when we’re playing five of the top six in a very short space of time... If I can get a couple of loan players in to give us a lift, and then get a couple of good results, then we’re still not out of the running'".

    This is Derbyshire reports on Droylsden's win at Alfreton. "The visitors came with a game plan, took the play to Alfreton and succeeded by virtue of a 10th-minute goal that was enough to take the points. They were few positives for the Reds, other than outstanding defensive performances from Luke Foster and Carl Bradshaw".


    STAR announce that, following "the slim4alty final weigh in the Noel White Suite after the Grays match on Saturday, and with some results still to come in, our current leader amongst the public slimmers is Club Director, Grahame Rowley. In addition to Grahame's remarkable performance, it's true to say that many of those taking part have lost very large amounts of weight during the eight week period: in total, so far our public slimmers have lost almost 250 lbs between them or the equivalent of a prop forward! Well done to everyone taking part, and if you haven't yet given your final weight to Jon Stack, then please contact Jon on 01827 64471 or by e-mail, so the result can be finalised and the winners officially confirmed. If you've sponsored any of our slimmers, then please send your sponsorship money in as soon as you can. Once again, thanks to all slimmers and sponsors for making this such a successful and healthy event!


    This is WCFC reports that Worcester City's Andy Preece and Shabir Khan are fit again. Preece has had damaged ribs and, as for Khan, "Preece believes the teenager could prove to be a terrific asset to his squad".

    This is Staffs whom we meet on 8 March included former Alty man Jamie Phoenix against Barrow on Saturday, but he "missed with a free header". Phoenix was then replaced by "Rangers' 40-year-old assistant manager Dave Norton, for his league debut".

    Barrow boss "Lee Turnbull pointed the finger of blame at Kirk Wheeler on Saturday after his side’s 2-2 draw at home to Stafford Rangers" says the NW Evening Mail. He "felt Wheeler was out of position for both [goals]". Barrow's first goal came from Neil Campbell who "was named in the starting line-up after his proposed loan move to Workington Reds failed to materialise on Friday. That could still happen, however".