Altrincham Football Club News Archive
3 to 7 May, 2005

7 May 2005


Alty boss Graham Heathcote was interviewed last night on GMR. Asked if Alty were worried about the strong vocal support which Kettering boss Kevin Wilson has asked his supporters' to provide, the Alty boss replied that, as yet, no spectator had ever scored a goal in a football match, and that strong support can sometimes actually rebound against teams when things do not go according to plan on the pitch. He indicated that Altrincham could well be taking as many as 500 fans of their own to Kettering. Graham gave nothing away about his starting line-up today, after the hard match at Nuneaton. A second minute goal from Colin Little brought Alty a 1-0 win in the league match at Rockingham Road in February.

Kettering Today quotes Kevin Wilson as saying, "When you get a day like this everyone should enjoy it. That will be my message to the players. They should savour this because it doesn't happen very often. Obviously we want to win and go on another step further but it will be a tough match against good opponents. We are all in this together and that includes the fans. Their support could be vital to us tomorrow. If you don't have butterflies in your stomach before a game like this then I don't think you can be human. There are bound to be nerves but that is natural. All I want is for our players to go out there and give it everything they have got".


Carole Nash Insurance, one of Altrincham's most successful businesses and a leading national company in motorcycle and car insurance, has generously doubled its existing sponsorship of Altrincham FC. The company logo will appear on the back of Alty's home and away strip next season, as well as on the shorts. The main stand (above) at Moss Lane has been known as the Carole Nash Stand for many years and this will continue to be the case. To visit the company website, please click on the company logo above. So, if you need insurance, you know where to go! The club would like to thank Carole very much for her sustained support.


A former Altrincham centre-forward has been in touch with the website. He is Darren Armstrong who played for the Altrincham first team in 1995/96 under John King and Graham Heathcote. Darren made three substitute appearances in the Conference for Alty but was later stabbed seven times by a burglar, which obviously disrupted his career. Since leaving Moss Lane he has been at college doing his A-levels in sports development and fitness and is heading for university to pursue a degree. He still plays football, for his college. He writes, "I am glad to see that you are in the play offs and I hope you do very well in the future, take care and give my regards Graham Heathcote, thank you Darren Armstrong". All at Alty wish Darren well with his course and future career.


The Conference is running its April player of the month vote. Those shortlisted include Alty's Colin Little, plus Gary Burke (Droylsden), Mark Danks (Kettering), Terry Fearns (Southport) and Leon Kelly (Worcester). On the Conference North Forum a Kettering fan writes, "Our very own Mark Danks has been nominated....But how and why ?,i don't think he even made a apperance for us in April. I know he scored the winner at Droyslden on Monday but that game was in May so it does not count as April's vote... I can only think they made a mistake and gave Danks's name instead of Scott Cross who scored 3 times in 4 games in April". The Conference Newsletter announces that its website has goalscorers' lists for each club but that for Altrincham is wrong; it has too low a goals total and some wrong player totals.

Moor Green's ground has reportedly suffered a third arson attack which affected the turnstiles adjoining the carpark. The surrounding fencing has also been damaged.

Nuneaton Borough "have retained the registrations of Rob Oddy, Matt Collins, Mark Noon and Michael Frew. Manager Roger Ashby said, "They are the nucleus of the side here". All came to the club after being released by League clubs.

Harrogate Today says that manager Neil Aspin, "expects a big overhaul in his playing staff... and, with a string of Town favourites now out of contract, Aspin was expected to discuss their futures during showdown talks this week... And with some Wetherby Road players already understood to have been approached by rival clubs, Aspin is in no mood to be held to ransom by his troops. 'I don’t want players here who aren’t totally committed to the cause. I’d rather work with players who have less of a profile but who are willing to work hard and learn... I won’t go for no-expense-spared signings for short-term glory. ... It might well be a case of... getting lads in on year-loans, things like that'".


The UniBond League reports that "Due to further complications with regards to the complex issue of Spennymoor United’s unfulfilled fixtures, the Premier Division Play Offs have been put back one week. The semi-finals will now take place on Saturday 14th May and the final the following mid-week". Meanwhile, Leeds Today says that "Farsley Celtic are pursuing legal action after sensationally being stripped of the UniBond League Premier Division title... The FA has said there is no right of appeal, but Celtic chairman Andy Firbank isn't ready to concede the fight for the title". He said: "We have sought legal advice and we are meeting with our solicitors today. It is not over yet. We believe we have strong grounds for appeal... This is England not outer Mongolia. Of course we have the right of appeal... I think the decision totally goes against the rules of the competition. The UniBond League rules clearly state anyone who doesn't complete their fixtures will have their record expunged. The FA in its wisdom has totally ignored that and applied a rule to reinstate the record without even giving an explanation as to why it has done so. It has also awarded three points to clubs who haven't played matches, again without giving an explanation, and to my knowledge that rule doesn't exist anywhere in football. The only decision that was fair was to deduct points from everyone. To give points to certain teams is just favouritism". The report adds that "Prescot Cables, who came from nowhere to take fifth spot after being handed six points for their two unfulfilled games against the Moors" have replaced Burscough in the play-offs".
6 May 2005


Above Chris Adams is seen in action at Nuneaton in Tuesday, courtesy of Gavin Rathbone's camera. See Gavin's website for more pictures in his Events section.


Tonight's MEN says that "Gary Talbot (right) is winning his battle to be fit" for tomorrow's game at Kettering. "Skipper Eddie Hussin, keeper Stuart Coburn and right-back Steve Aspinall are each also fighting to shake off knocks, but [Graham] Heathcote is optimistic all three will be fit to start". Manager Heathcote added "It's one down and hopefully two to go [in the play-offs] but anything can happen in these games and, despite the fact Kettering finished 12 points behind Nuneaton, it will be no less easy for us tomorrow than it was on Tuesday".


Kettering Today says that Poppies' boss Kevin Wilson "has appealed to Kettering's fans to come out in force and create an intimidating atmosphere from the first whistle. 'It doesn't matter if you have never been to a game before. If you live in the town then we need you to come along and help make some noise on Saturday. Our fans have been magnificent all season and at Droylsden on Monday it was probably the best vocal support we have had since I have been at the club. We just want everyone to come along and get behind the players. I want everyone to try to create an intimidating atmosphere that will put Altrincham under a bit of pressure. Sometimes supporters wait for something to happen on the field before getting behind the lads but we want plenty of noise from the very first whistle... Hopefully people will be going home exhausted, with no voice but perhaps with a smile on their face'. Wilson watched the Robins win at Manor Park on Tuesday and is well aware of the danger they pose. He added: 'They are a hard-working side and they won in very similar circumstances to us at Droylsden. Nuneaton were strong but Altrincham hung in there and they showed they will not give up easily. One thing this final will have is two honest sides who will work their socks off until the bitter end'".

In today's NLP, Graham Heathcote says of the Kettering game, "This is just like every other game we have played this season. There was presure on each of the 42 league games and the Nuneaton match and this one will be no different". Kevin Wilson stated, "Altrincham are a very good side. We've had a couple of tight games with them already this season. Graham Heathcote always has his teams organised. We know a lot about them but it's what we do, not Altrincham...Colin Little is an excellent player and isn't long out of League football. Give him half a chance and he will score... Altrincham showed a lot of desire and commitment to go to Nuneaton and win but we will be ready for them".


In today's NLP, Graham Heathcote says "It was a magnificent win for us but the Nuneaton supporters deserve a lot of credit for the way they accepted the disappointment of losing such a big game. The scenes after the final penalty were a credit to non-league football. The way both sets of supporters applauded each other and the teams was great to see... When you concede a goal in injury time, it's soul destroying but the lads hung in and did the business in the shoot-out". Graham added, "We got back home at 1.30am" but if future play-offs were on the Bank Holiday Monday, "The players wouldn't have to take time off work and it would be a lot easier for the supporters"


Danny Adams has been offered a year's contract at Huddersfield Town but Mark Quayle has been released by Northwich.


The Tameside Advertiser reports that, after elimination from the play-offs, Droylsden boss Dave Pace said, "I’m gutted but I’ve got to take it on the chin ­ it’s my responsibility. I’ve tried to intimidate Southport as much as I possibly could and tried to get the upper hand, but all credit to Liam Watson because there was nobody I wanted to win the league more than him. From that point of view, I hope they do well in the Conference National because they have a great manager and chairman in Charlie Clapham. As far as I’m concerned, I’ve let the Droylsden supporters down... I became distracted by off-the-field activities like getting the ground up to Conference standard. I can only apologise to the fans and just hope we come back bigger and stronger next year. We’ve got to make one or two changes in the summer and bring in some higher calibre players... Don’t take anything away from the players though because they have done tremendously well to push a massive club all the way for the title". The report adds that "Pace is also overseeing further ground improvements with work being done on the terraced end of the Butcher's Arms, fuelling speculation he will again snub a switch to the Tameside Stadium".

NL Daily reports that "Worcester City's veteran captain Carl Heeley is leaving the club. Heeley, 35, who has spent eleven seasons at St George’s Lane... has failed to agree the new terms offered to him by City boss Andy Preece... Preece has released player-coach John Snape and Dan Parker... Former England semi-professional international Christian Moore, who has been plagued by injury since joining City last summer from Burton Albion, has been placed on the transfer list".

At Lancaster City, "boss Phil Wilson sat down with talismanic top scorer Ryan-Zico Black to talk new terms. And now the manager can start forward planning after the 23-year-old put pen-to-paper on a two-year deal to stay at the Giant Axe... One player who may not be around next season, however, is strike partner Peter Thomson" states This is the Lake District. Wilson added, "I know I need to bring more players in because we have not been strong enough this season... I do not set my stall out to finish fourteenth. I want us to do better next season... I think that I need four or five new faces just to freshen things up a bit". The report adds, that Wilson "may also lose winger Neil Prince to long-time admirers Northwich Victoria. But the manager laughed off suggestions winger Tony Sullivan has retired... Wilson says: 'Tony will be back'".

Lancaster City have their centenary season in 2005-06. After a charity game against an Emmerdale XI, the Dolly Blues include Preston NE and Blackpool in their pre-season friendlies' programme.


IC Cheshire quotes Vics' chairman Mike Connett who insists "that the new £2 million Victoria Stadium at Wincham will be ready for the official inspection on May 31st... Supporters' Trust secretary Peter Grimes said: 'We have pledged Mike Connett our backing. The chairman expressed his disappointment with recent events, but said rumours of trouble had to be quashed. Work is back in full swing this week and we have been assured it will be completed as instructed. Plans for the main stand have had to be modified and instead of 1,200 seats there will be 600 in the first phase with access from the front for spectators. We are appealing to supporters to drop their differences and turn up at the ground to do essential work. The place is busy again, but many hands are needed'".
5 May 2005


Despite earlier press reports that tickets for the Nationwide North/South Promotion Final (Sunday 15th May - 1pm kick-off at Stoke) would be available for the participating clubs to sell from Sunday 8th May, this is not the case. It will be Tuesday before tickets are available. More on this later, should we be involved!


The STAR supporters' coaches for Kettering on Saturday are offering a special discount rate. This is possible because of the large numbers making use of the supporters' transport this season. So, instead of the £13 normally charged for this, the longest away league trip for Alty this season, adult STAR members can travel for £10. Full details here.

On Kettering Today Poppies' boss Kevin Wilson said: "Altrincham are a good side who will make it very hard for us. But we are at home and we have an opportunity to get into the North and South play-off final. They will come and try and hit us on the break here but as long as we concentrate then we will be in with a chance". Against Droylsden, Kettering sprang "a couple of surprises with centre-half Rob Gould given a role up front while fellow defender Craig McIlwain played in midfield". The manager said, "Our supporters may have been a bit surprised by the team selection but I had to put a big and strong side out there... As a defensive unit we were excellent".

Kettering Town report that for Saturday's game against Altrincham "Admission for this match will be 'All Pay' as the gate receipts will be divided between the three parties in question... Kettering Town, Altrincham and The Football Conference". The club website also has a match report on the semi-final win over Droylsden for which "Over 400 Kettering supporters made the long trip North and were soon in good voice". Their team was: Mark Osborn, Wayne Diuk, Martin Matthews, Luke Graham, Brett Solkhon, Derek Brown (capt), Ollie Burgess, Craig McIlwain, Rob Gould, Chris Difante, Jamie Gould. Subs: Scott McCafferty, Jonathan Bewers, Stephan Morley, Scott Cross, Mark Danks.


Above: Rod Thornley drives home Alty's goal.

Above: Stuart Coburn saves Reeves's penalty.

As well as these excellent photos from Nuneaton, Gavin Rathbone has more than 100 other images from the game on his new website which is well worth a visit. On the site, there is also an Alty on-line shop for buying photos.

There are also photos of the game by Kipax.

IC Coventry has a match report on the Nuneaton v Alty game wher "The gates closed for the last time on the club's home since 1937 after battling Boro lost out to Altrincham on penalties... A despondent [manager Roger] Ashby said: 'The fans were terrific. Manor Park has come alive in the last couple of games. We've had two really good gates and it's possibly a fitting end in one way as the atmosphere was tremendous and there was an awful lot of passion around. We were a bit unfortunate not to make the next play-off game, especially when you finish 12 points clear of Altrincham in the league and they go through... The first half is where we lost it. We were uptight, nervous and didn't play in certain areas whereas they were sharp and decisive... Terry got the equaliser in injury time and we thought we would go on to win. But it didn't quite happen".


Alan Johnson's pictures from the Alty game at Hucknall are on the STAR website.


Worksop Town "have signed Chris Hurst from Gainsborough Trinity. Chris is someone that Ronnie Glavin managed during his time at Emley before Chris moved into League football".

Barrow boss "Lee Turnbull [has] agreed to the release of striker Neil Campbell following 2 seasons at Holker Street".

NL Daily reports that "Former Premiership star Mitch Ward is the highest profile player of several released by Nationwide North club Alfreton Town this week as the Reds begin a rebuilding campaign for next season. Ex-Evertonian Ward is joined on the outgoing side by another vastly experienced former Football League player Carl Bradshaw. Nick Heinemann, who was on loan, is also through the exit door, as are out of contract Grant Brown, Mark Sale, Emeka Nwadike, Gav Saxby, Ben Chapman and John Knapper". Chairman Wayne Bradley said "The club hasn’t necessarily ruled out new deals for all the released players whose contracts expire this weekend, but any new deals will have to be sanctioned by the new manager once appointed". Also, "Chris Dolby is the only player contracted until the end of May 2006, but it wouldn’t be a surprise if he moves on during the closed season. Retained are Chris Bettney, Mark Blount, Matt Fisher, Mick Godber, Mark Hume and Stephen Woolley while 29-goal striker Peter Duffield has agreed a new one-year deal... The board are also hopeful of agreeing new deals with goalkeeper Lee Butler and Ian Robinson... both Richard Cooper and Luke Foster are considering new deals put to them". Bradley said, "Next season we will have to be as lean as our gates dictate, and we will have to look at a trimmer squad of probably no more than eighteen".

4 May 2005


The UniBond League has announced that "The FA has overturned the UniBond League’s Board decision to expunge the playing record of Spennymoor United. As a result Spennymoor United’s playing record will be re-instated into the league records. In addition the FA have awarded 3 points to the team for each game outstanding against Spennymoor United, although no goals for or against will be allocated".

Hyde United report that "At a FA Appeal Hearing today, the FA upheld the appeals made by Hyde United and Workington. They ruled that the Unibond League were incorrect to expunge the record of Spennymoor United. They awarded three points to all clubs having unplayed games with Spennymoor with the effect that Hyde United are crowned champions and Prescot Cables replace Burscough in the play-offs. It should be noted we only appealed against the expungment and that the award of points was purely an FA decision based on the facts before them... The decision is final and binding on all parties". So, Hyde are in Nationwide North next season.

Revised Final Positions:

  • 1 Hyde United P41 PTS88
  • 2 Workington P42 PTS85
  • 3 Farsley Celtic P42 PTS83
  • 4 Whitby Town P42 PTS80
  • 5 Prescot Cables P40 PTS71
  • 6 Burscough P42 PTS70

    PLAY OFFS: NUNEATON B. 1 ALTRINCHAM 1, Altrincham win 4-2 on penalties

    ABOVE: After the game, Jonathan Mitten and Mark Maddox leave the pitch. RIGHT: Colin Little heads for the dressing rooms.

    Match Report Here

    Nationwide North Regional semi-finals:

    Monday 2 May, 3pm

  • Droylsden 1 Kettering T. 2 aet

    Tuesday 3 May, 7.45pm

  • Nuneaton B. 1 ALTRINCHAM 1 Altrincham won 4-2 on pens

    Nationwide South Regional semi-finals

    Tuesday 3 May, 7.45pm

  • Thurrock 2 Eastbourne B. 4
  • Cambridge C. have a bye as Lewes are ineligible for play-offs due to ground-grading.
    3 May 2005


    Graham Heathcote and Dalton Steele, as well as players Eddie Hussin (right) and Chris Adams, were amongst a bumper crowd at The Butcher's Arms yesterday for the Droylsden v Kettering play-off. Eddie, the Alty captain, is expected to be in the squad tomorrow after recent injury.

    If you want to use the STAR supporters' coaches travelling to Nuneaton tomorrow evening, please contact the club as soon as possible on 928-1045. Alty's last visit to the Manor Ground was an exciting goalless draw and when the sides met at Moss Lane, this season, Alty were the 1-0 winners. However, Nuneaton are the form side with nine straight wins, though Alty themselves have only lost once in the last eight matches - in the last game at Hucknall. Over the years, Alty have played 9 league games at Nuneaton and only won once, but have also drawn four and lost four. In those 9 games they have scored only 6 goals! But history counts for nothing tonight and as the underdogs, Altrincham have nothing to lose and they will be looking to emulate Kettering's win yesterday over higher-placed Droylsden. If Alty win tonight they will be away to Kettering on Saturday (3pm) but if Nuneaton win, they will be at home to The Poppies.

    Nuneaton Borough say that "Saturday`s game attracted the club and the league's biggest gate of the season and - despite the unsavoury incidents in town before kick-off - inside the ground, there was an excellent atmosphere created by both Nuneaton and Kettering Town supporters. Altrincham are being welcomed with open arms by the club [tonight]". After their highest gate of the season last Saturday, manager Roger Ashby said "The atmosphere inside the ground was electric and the players have told me what a great crowd it was to play in front of... The way the Cock and Bear sang their hearts out in the second half was amazing - let`s hope for more of the same [tonight]!"


    Pictures of the Hucknall v Alty game:
  • From an Alty fan
  • From a Hucknall supporter.


    In the Youth section is a report on Sunday's game at Priory County.


    Terry Rowley's Nationwide North attendance figures for 2004-05 season are here. Alty had the 7th highest average (665), though 6th placed Hinckley's average was distorted by free entry to their first match at their new ground which attracted 2,029 people. Southport were the only club to average over 1000 per game. Vauxhall had the lowest average (230)


    Bradford PA "announce with considerable regret that they will not be renewing Carl Shutt's team manager contract for the season 2005/06. The Board wish Carl and his assistant Ian Roscrow every success for the future, but after considerable discussion feel that, following this season's disappointing relegation, they cannot provide the level of budget this management team would require to bounce straight back into Conference North. The Board remain extremely ambitious for the club and will now begin the process of recruiting a management team that can achieve the immediate reinstatement of the prestigious status lost this season".

    NL Daily reports that "Dean Thomas, manager of Hinckley United, has targeted the play-offs as a 'minimum requirement' next season... Their season has fizzled out disappointingly and Thomas is desperate not to let the same happen again in 2005/06. "I want us to push on and take this club forward. We need to get ourselves into the play-offs at least and then, over the next two or three years, look to get out of this division".