Altrincham Football Club News Archive
28 April to 2 May, 2005

2 May 2005


Kettering Town (4th) beat Droylsden (3rd) 2-1 today in the first play-off semi-final in Nationwide North and will now either host Altrincham or travel to Nuneaton in the final next Saturday. Sunshine gave way to torrential rain, thunder and lightning as the game started and soon The Poppies went ahead through Burgess (12 mins) but Droylsden had the majority of the possession, especially in the second half. With 8 minutes left, a well judged back-header by Jody Banim, a peripheral figure till then, made it 1-1 (82 mins). The Bloods gave the game away just before the break in extra time when, having survived one defensive error, thanks to a magnificent save by Phillips, they immediately lost possession again and Danks got clear to put the ball into the net.


NL Daily reports that "A football fan received a suspected broken skull during violent clashes involving up to 100 rival supporters at a Warwickshire pub on Saturday. Trouble flared at the Naggs Head in Nuneaton [town centre] before the Nationwide North match between Nuneaton Borough and Kettering Town. A 38-year-old Kettering man suffered a suspected fractured skull and is in a serious condition in hospital. More than 80 riot police, armed with shields and batons, were called to confront about 100 football supporters... Supporters from both teams were throwing bricks, bottles, glasses and flares... Nuneaton Borough Football Club praised the 2,000 supporters inside Manor Park but distanced itself from the incident in the town centre".

Nuneaton Borough stated "We would like to praise the Nuneaton Borough and Kettering Town supporters who attended yesterday’s match inside Manor Park. However, outside the ground and in the town centre there were disgraceful scenes which we as a football club distance ourselves from and the offenders clearly came to the area intent on causing violence and were not here to watch a game... The matter is now in the hands of Warwickshire Police... Over 2000 supporters were inside Manor Park and can be praised for their behaviour and we hope people will return in their numbers on Tuesday for the play-off semi final with Altrincham... Managing Director Clair Finnigan said: 'We can assure people that for our game on Tuesday night with Altrincham there will again be a high profile Police attendance to ensure no further incidents arise'".

There has been previous trouble specific to Nuneaton/Kettering games so hopefully all will be peaceful on Tuesday night, as Altrincham supporters will certainly only be there for the football.

The Nuneaton Borough website also carries a press statement about an article in The Heartland Evening News headlined 'Where Will Boro Play Next Season?'. The football club has now banned the newspaper from covering games at the Manor Ground including Tuesday's match against Altrincham.


The Altrincham FC Staff v Supporters game will be a 7.30pm kick off on Monday, 9 May. Admission is free and everyone is welcome. The Altrincham FC stewards are having their presentation night at the above event and there will be a buffet available for all the particpating players, stewards, gate people and ballboys/girls, whilst the Bar will be open for all spectators.


Some £4000 was raised for Marcus Hallows at his fundraising Chinese Banquet last Thursday at the Chef Peking in Urmston. Many thanks are due to all who organised and supported this event, whose highlight was an after-dinner talk by Sam Allardyce, manager of Bolton Wanderers. Marcus was due to enter hospital again last Friday for further treatment to aid his full recovery from his fractured leg.


Howard Watts's Through the Years data for 3 May is here.

Longstanding Altrincham fan Arthur Hodgkinson has kindly passed on to me his data on Altrincham's goal-scoring times in the league this season. Arthur's data shows that most of Altrincham's goals have come in the final five minutes of each half and, to reinforce that yesterday, Altrincham duly scored their second goal in first-half added time! In all more than 28% of Alty's goals have come in the 40-45 minutes and 85-90 minutes periods - 19 goals in all at these times. Of Alty's 66 goals in the league, 45 have come at home, 21 away. 26 have been in the first half and 40 in the second half. All this suggests that Alty never give up and keep going right to the end of games! And finally, another statistic, Alty's 33 cup goals mean that, in all, Altrincham have netted 99 this season - so far!

Other updated statistics:

  • Alty's postwar league record.
  • Alty's postwar leading league goalscorers.


    The FA Cup dates for each of the Rounds to Round 1 Proper in 2005-06 are:
  • Extra Preliminary: 20 August
  • Preliminary: 27 August
  • 1st Qualifying: 10 September
  • 2nd Qualifying: 24 September
  • 3rd Qualifying: 8 October
  • 4th Qualifying: 22 October
  • 1st Round Proper: 5 November


    Hucknall Town has a match report on Saturday's game against Altrincham. It concludes, "Altrincham looked to the officials as Gary Ricketts looked to be in an offside position, but the Referee decided he was not interfering with play and gave the [fourth] goal". The Hucknall Town forum has pictures of the game.


    Barrow report that "Gavin Knight, Steve Ridley and Karl Colley all pledged their futures to the Holker Street club by signing contract agreements that will keep them at Barrow next season".
    1 May 2005


    By finishing 5th, Alty now travel to Nuneaton Borough on Tuesday night for a play-off semi-final. STAR coach travel details are here. You can book either through the club on Tuesday morning (tel: 928-1045) or by e-mail to Mark Eckersall, the STAR travel coordinator. The other semi will be Droylsden v Kettering Town, on Monday 2nd May at 3pm.


    The UniBond League today "confirmed their decision to expunge Spennymoor United's playing record. This decision is subject to appeal, and in the event of any such appeal, it is anticipated that an FA Tribunal will meet on Wednesday 4th May to decide the outcome. The semi-finals of the Premier Division Play-Offs will take place, provisionally, on Saturday 7th May with the final scheduled for the following midweek". This means that Yorkshire club, Farsley Celtic, are promoted to Nationwide North, subject to any appeal. The play-offs should therefore be Hyde Utd v Burscough and Workingon v Whitby Town.


    In The Pink, Graham Heathcote says that the system of clubs going into administration and losing ten points is unfair, particularly as several clubs have done so late in the season when the points deduction has little effect on their future. "It's wrong when clubs can take this route and subsequently sign the type of players many of the rest of us can't afford... What they've done is perfectly legal... but we're talking about a principle here. And what we have seen this season is that a 10-point deduction... simply isn't sufficient. We could have gone down the same road, instead we've acted honourably but I'm surprised more clubs haven't been tempted to clear their debts in this way. I can see this going on until the punishment... guarantees offending clubs are relegated. Those who have gone into administration and still managed to stay up seem to be attracting a lot of praise, but they get no credit from me".


    Also in The Pink, Graham Heathcote says, "No one can say we haven't given them a season to remember and the players have shown tremendous character and no shortage of skill throughout. They have been a credit to the club and for that I thank them. My heartfelt thanks also go to my assistant Dalton Steele and the rest of my backroom staff... Neil Brown and George Heslop and their staff have done a marvellous job with our reserve and youth teams... Thanks must also go to our fans, who have been right behind us all season and to our sponsors and supporters' trust, STAR. We couldn't survive without them. As for the Board... the strides we've made and the respectability we have gained are down to the leadership we've been given... Every week is a struggle, but it can safely be said we're moving in the right direction".


    Centre-back Gary Talbot and Eddie Hussin would appear to be Altrincham's biggest injury doubts for Tuesday's match at Nuneaton Borough. Eddie was injured against Redditch and did not figure on Saturday whilst Gary limped off at Hucknall.


    Ryan Hevicon scored yesterday for Chadderton, as did former Alty Reserve, Sam Baker. Anthony Hargreaves netted for Flixton in the same game, whilst Steve Tobin also played.


    Above: Goalmouth action in Sunday's game.

    Alty Youth, fielding an under-17 team rather than their usual under-18s, drew 1-1 this afternoon at Priory County, who play on the outskirts of Wilmslow. Priory County will be working in cooperation with Alty Youth next season and will be directing likely talent to manager George Heslop who, in turn, will route under-age players to County. The game was marred by the loss of consciousness of a County player after he and a team-mate clashed heads. The game was completed after a delay of ten minutes but an ambulance had to be called to attend to the player. All at Altrincham wish him a speedy recovery. Report to follow


    The NL Paper's "Dream Team" this Sunday was selected by Morecambe's Michael Twiss, who was briefly at Alty in the pre-season of 2000-01. Twiss selects Marcus Hallows as one of his forwards. He describes Marcus as "a big, powerful lad, who wins a lot in the air... We did well as a partnership [at Leigh]... A good friend, who only lives round the corner, so we see each other a lot".


    Above: Josh Mitten jumps highest against Hucknall as Richard Norris and Gary Scott look on.

    Match report here.

  • Final League Table
  • Alty Stats
  • Who Played Where
    30 April 2005


  • Ashton U. 0 Bradford PA 0
  • Barrow 1 Vauxhall M. 2
  • Droylsden 1 Worksop T. 3
  • Gainsborough T. 3 Worcester C. 0
  • Harrogate T. 2 Southport 5
  • Hucknall T. 4 ALTRINCHAM 2
  • Moor Green 2 Hinckley U. 1
  • Nuneaton B. 2 Kettering T. 0
  • Redditch U. 2 Stalybridge C. 3
  • Runcorn FC Halton 2 Lancaster C. 2 (at Southport FC)
  • Stafford Rangers 3 Alfreton T. 1


  • Sunday 1st: Alty Youth are away in a friendly to Priory County, 2.30pm. Directions on the youth page.
  • Tuesday 3rd: Alty Reserves v Bamber Bridge Res. at Moss Lane, 7.45pm.


    Terry Rowley's attendance grid shows that Altrincham's average home league gate for the 2004-05 season was 665, an increase of almost 14% on the 584 average last season. If we can qualify for the play-offs there could just be another home game this season, which would be the Nationwide North play-off final, next Saturday (7th).


    Altrincham Reserves lost 0-1 to Burscough Reserves at Moss Lane on Thursday.


    A profile of goalkeeper John Connaughton, by Terry Rowley, has been added to the Legends section.


    A new Budweiser advert is being shown on TV which apparently features Droylsden FC players.

    This is Nottingham says that "With the departure of manager David Lloyd and assistant Charlie Williamson, Alfreton captain Grant Brown has been put in charge of team affairs for tomorrow's final league game... at Stafford Rangers. He is expected to rely on Mark Sale - suspended for the game - to oversee things from the dugout... High on the list to replace Lloyd are Buxton manager Nicky Law and... Gary Mills, who is currently playing again with Glapwell. Another contender could be ex-Hucknall Town manager John Ramshaw".

    Meanwhile, This is Derbyshire adds that at Alfreton Town "The manager's job will be advertised nationally this weekend but several suitors have already declared an interest in the role - including former Notts County boss Gary Mills" who said, "I am hungrier than ever to get back into football management, either in the Football League or in non League. I thoroughly enjoyed my previous spells in non-League management. If Alfreton were interested in me, that would be great. I'm looking for a club that wants Gary Mills and I'll provide them with 100% effort and passion". Chairman Wayne Bradley stated, "To say we've had a lot of interest in the position would be an understatement. The standard has been very good but the aspect I'm most pleased about is the diversity of the applicants. We've got recognised managers with Football League experience as well as what you would call potential managers - people who are probably still playing but would be expected to go on to work in a management role". As a consequence, "Alfreton have decided to delay publication of their retained and released lists of players for the 2005-06 season by seven days... The official date for players to be informed is tomorrow - one week before contracts expire".


    The BBC confirms that a supporters' trust will take control of Stockport County from this summer.


    At their meeting on Sunday 24th April the Board decided to expunge the record of Spennymoor United from the Premier Division table which resulted in three clubs ­ Gateshead, Hyde United and Workington ­ appealing to the Football Association against this decision. One of the grounds of appeal by all three clubs was that the meeting on the 24th April was not quorate and after obtaining legal advise this view was confirmed by the F.A. who recommended to the League that they withdraw their decision and take the matter back to be considered by a meeting that was quorate... The League decided to urgently call an emergency board meeting... [which] will now take place on Sunday, 1st May... It is therefore unlikely that the semi-finals of the Premier Division play-offs will take place on... Monday 2nd May... The Premier Division table will now be published in two formats... The League regrets the confusion, uncertainty and embarrassment caused to all participants by this extremely complex issue".


    Two more clubs are reportedly going into administration and will therefore lose 10 points this season. They are Cambridge United, now relegated to Conference National and Margate, just relegated from Conference South.
    29 April 2005


    A very successful fundraising Chinese Banquet was held for Marcus Hallows at the Chef Peking restaurant in Urmston last night. It was particularly good to see Marcus, who badly broke his leg on 19 March, in good spirits and able to move round without crutches. After an excellent Chinese banquet, guest speaker Sam Allardyce gave an entertaining summary of his career and answered questions in very honest fashion. Sam promised that he would bring a Wanderers team to play a friendly against Alty in the summer 2006 pre-season. An auction of football and cricket items also raised a good sum, with Sam himself purchasing a signed Wayne Rooney England shirt for £475.


    In the NL Paper, Colin Little says of Saturday's opponents, Hucknall, "We got a draw against them in the league and hope to go one better this time. We didn't score against Redditch but we created chances against a team in form so there's nothing to say we can't do the job against Hucknall". Two full coaches of Alty supporters, plus many others travelling independently, will attend the Hucknall game.

    Last Wednesday, Hucknall fielded a strong 4-4-2 line-up at home to Droylsden- Smith G.; Asher, Timons, Cooke, Barrick; Smith M., Hunter,Rowland, Todd; Ricketts, Bacon. The subs were Plummer, Ward, Winder, Brown and Harding. Today's NLP says that Town "are fielding a full strength side" against Alty.

    Despite losing 4-0, NL Daily says that "a very tired-looking Hucknall Town gave title-chasing Droylsden a run for their money for the majority of the game at Watnall Road until the fatigue of playing six games in eleven days finally caught up... towards the end. Hucknall Today agrees, saying: "Once again tiredness played its part in the locals' downfall, even though they fielded a near full-strength line-up. The visitors' physical approach bullied Town into submission" It adds that Town have now had "a run of four defeats inside only six days against Lancaster City, top-of-the-table Southport, lowly Stalybridge Celtic and second-placed Droylsden. Not one goal was scored over the 360 minutes either as a hectic fixture-backlog of 14 games in only five weeks finally caught up with Town's tired limbs. And although the main aim of avoiding fresh injuries was successfully completed, it would be nice to see The Yellows bow out on a high when they take on promotion play-off contenders Altrincham at Watnall Road tomorrow".


    The process to determine who joins Nationwide North from the UniBond "appears set to end in chaos after title-chasing Workington and Hyde both refused to take part in the promotion play-offs, which are due to start on Monday reports the News & Star. Workington, who are now second after winning 1-0 at Whitby Town on Wednesday night... and third-placed Hyde - along with lowly Gateshead - have appealed against the league's controversial decision to expunge Spennymoor United's record... The appeal is not likely to be heard before Monday". The Workington chairman Dale Brotherton said, "We have insisted that we won't get involved in any play-offs until we know the results of our appeal to the FA. By contesting a play-off game, it intimates we have accepted the league's decision. Our appeal to the FA went in on time and we have laid down eight good points as to why we contest the decision to expunge Spennymoor's record at this stage of the season". Workington boss Tommy Cassidy added, "I know my players deserve to win that title. I told them so ahead of the Whitby game and they responded magnificently... They were massively deflated by the decision to produce a new league table within 24 hours of us going top, which left us in third place... to have it all taken away from us in this manner is just not right".


    The GLS Cup Final ended Stalybridge C. 0 Woking 1 on Wednesday but cup sponsor Victor Gladwish told the NL Paper, "The competition didn't have sufficient advertising. The front page of the final programme didn't even carry our logo... I'm disappointed and very unlikely to sponsor it again next year".

    After defeat by Nuneaton, Lancaster boss Phil Wilson said "What happened against Nuneaton really sums up our season. We have played well at times but we have struggled against the more physical sides and that happened against Nuneaton. We have never looked in trouble against sides playing football so I know that is something I need to address... The Nationwide North is a much tougher standard than the UniBond Premier and we are competing with clubs with bigger and better resources and bigger crowds" reports This is the Lake District.

    IC Cheshire reports that "It seems likely the Linnets will continue at Prescot next season with a view to finding some way of coming home to Runcorn". The Runcorn boss Steve Soley added: "I don't really know about my future... I know the Doc [chairman] wants me to stay... This is not my team and you should be judged on your own team... Do we retain players or do we start looking for players we want to bring in? We don't know. Cas (assistant manager Steve Carragher) and I are in the dark. We need a structure; we need somewhere we can play and train and I can concentrate on running the team. But if LIST [supporters' trust] are taking over, they might want to bring their own man in. The club could bounce back. I look at Kettering who are in the play-off positions and they are not such a good side... The infighting has got to stop as well. I think the fans have come round to the fact they know the problems we've got and we never really had a chance... The team had no pre-season. We are an unfit side and you can't change that with a quarter of the season to go... The problems we've had this season have all come from that eight-week spell where the lads never got paid. That needs clearing up".


    Despite their troubles, "Manager Steve Burr is on the verge of signing a new contract with Northwich Victoria" says IC Cheshire. Burr said, "I want to stay at Northwich and am waiting for the club to come back to me. We'll be identifying possible new signings and we are even talking to two this week as well as talking to some of the existing squad".
    28 April 2005

    CHRIS'S 150TH

    Chris Adams (right) is set to make his 150th start for Alty at Hucknall on Saturday. In addition, he has made one sub appearance in an Altrincham career which has spanned three spells at Moss Lane. Last Saturday, Chris (29) was the first player to receive the Tom Earley Trophy, a new annual award to be made to the "clubman of the year". Despite suffering from a hamstring problem for many weeks of this season, Chris has missed just one league game and with 40 league starts has started more league matches than anyone else at Moss Lane this season. It was this willingness to give his all for his local club which led manager Graham Heathcote to select his left-back, who outside football is an Altrincham postman, for the new award.


    After Droylsden's 4-0 win at Hucknall on Wednesday night, the title and play-off situation on Saturday is as set out below. The league table is here.

  • DROYLSDEN v Worksop T. - If Droylsden win by 3 goals and Southport draw, the Bloods are champions.
  • HARROGATE T. v SOUTHPORT - If Harrogate fail to win, Alty are in the play-offs, regardless. If Harrogate draw they can only catch Alty if we lose by a hatful of goals at Hucknall. If Southport win they are champions.
  • Hucknall T. v ALTRINCHAM - A win for Alty guarantees a play-off place; a draw would suffice if Harrogate don't win, and if Harrogate lose, we could afford to lose and still qualify.
  • NUNEATON B. v KETTERING T. - If Kettering lose, and Alty get a point, we are in the play-offs. If Kettering draw and Alty win, we are in the play-offs. Nuneaton are in the play-offs anyway. If they win, they can equal Southport's current 81 points but their goal difference is 14 worse.


    Before last night's game, The Tameside Advertiser quoted Droylsden boss Dave Pace: "Liam (Watson, Southport boss) said he would take 81 points which is what he’s got at the moment but we want to make sure we better that. People have got to understand that we aren’t happy with the play-offs, I still refuse to acknowledge they’re even there until it's mathematically impossible we can win the league. Southport probably think they have won it, but I wouldn’t fancy going to Harrogate, who have only been beaten twice at home all season, to get a result in the last game of the season".

    Gainsborough Trinity lost a local cup final at home to Grantham, 1-2, this week and the match "ended with floodlight failure... The ref decided to play the remaining 2 minutes in partial darkness and Trinty's boss Mitchell was furious. Trinity also had Jamie Sherlock sent off as tempers boiled over".

    But Redditch United "emerged victorious in the Birmingham Senior Cup Final", winning 3-2 against a young Birmingham City team.


    IC Cheshire reports that "A businessman has told the Chronicle he has lodged a £500,000-plus bid for Northwich Victoria. A 'take it or leave it' offer... to buy High Legh-based owner Mike Connett out of the club and the land at the Victoria Stadium was made last week. 'What offer? There's been no offer. It's a joke. You are talking to idiots,' Mr Connett told the Chronicle. But we can confirm an offer has been made in writing by a Cheshire-based businessman. It has been a dramatic week at Vics. Mr Connett banned two former chairmen - Rod Stitch and Dave Stone - telling them they could not attend games and instructing stewards to prevent Mr Stitch from entering the Wincham Park ground for the last match of the season on Saturday. Both men paid at the turnstiles. Commercial manager Brian Edge quit on Thursday. He was also banned and paid at the gate. Meanwhile the Chronicle understands two companies have begun legal proceedings against Mr Connett alleging they have not been paid for work at the Victoria Stadium. The companies, both involved in building the new Victoria Stadium, are seeking to recover money allegedly owed. One claims two loans of £20,000 and £5,000 were made and not been repaid. Mr Connett allegedly wanted to close the club website, which is run by volunteers and has now become unofficial. The owner-chairman is believed to be launching a new website. Mr Connett, 53, who bought Vics for £250,000 after the club went into administration in September, refused to comment on any other issues, referring the Chronicle to his solicitors. But he insisted he was still working to have the ground ready for May 31, a deadline set by the league".