Altrincham Football Club News Archive
17 to 19 May, 2005

19 May 2005


Above: Gavin Rathbone's photomontage shows Alty celebrating at Stoke on Sunday. This and more of Gavin's excellent images can be purchased on his website.

More pictures of the game at Stoke can be found on Alty supporter Paul Johnson's Aardvark Sport site.

Right: Rod Thornley in the act of scoring (I think!) at Stoke - picture kindly supplied by Andy Boyers.


Alty Director, Grahame Rowley writes:

With the fantastic news of promotion to The Nationwide Football Conference on Sunday, the need for increasing income for the club has become an immediate requirement. With this in mind may I appeal on behalf of the club for people/companies to join our Patrons' Club for 2005. We have exceeded our initial target of 50 and have signed up more than 100 people/companies - but more are needed!

For just £50 (or £5 per week for the 10 weeks of the close season) your name will appear on the club's official web site, in the matchday programme throughout the 2005/2006 season and you will also have a chance in the draw to be made in July, to be the match sponsor for our very first game back in The Conference. This package, that used to retail at £500, allows 10 guests to be wined and dined pre match, and includes matchday programmes and half time drinks and biscuits for all sponsors.

Help your club and join the Patrons' Club - we need your help. Full details of the scheme and a list of its members are here.

Grahame Rowley


Shots Web says that "Manager Terry Brown has announced that three players have played their last games for Aldershot Town. Chris Giles, Dwain Clarke and Jon Challinor have all been told they do not figure in the Brown's plans... Brown is also said to be moving into the transfer market to add players to the squad and will be hoping to unveil at least one player soon".

"Nick Henry, head coach of Scarborough, is... waiting for a number of players to put pen-to-paper on new contracts before he can delve into the transfer market. Keeper Leigh Walker, defenders Steve Baker, Ashley Lyth and Kevin Nicholson and midfielder Neil Bishop have already signed their contracts, while a number of others are expected to follow suit". Henry said, "It was disappointing to hear that Chris Senior, Scott Kerr and Mark Hotte might not be coming back... There is nothing more we can do - we won't be held to ransom", he told Scarborough Today.

"Dagenham & Redbridge have announced the signing of striker Tresor Kandol from neighbours Thurrock... Whilst at Shipp Lane, the 6ft 1in striker scored 79 goals in just 113 starts, and he joins the Daggers for a small transfer fee on a two-year contract" says the Daggers website.

At Canvey Island "Striker Jason Hallett has signed a further one-year contract". Whilst at Gravesend "The Club is pleased to announce that Jimmy Jackson has today signed a new one year contract... on a part time basis. However Jean-Michel Sigere [who scored against Alty for Rushden in 2000] has not accepted the terms offered to him and has left the club".

At the end of April, Cambridge United applied to enter administration and were docked ten points but only after relegation from League Two was a certainty anyway. Confguide adds that "The club, with liabilities of about £900K, sold its Abbey Stadium earlier this season to ease cash flow problems... Relegation to the Conference means that it is not feasible for the club to trade sufficiently profitably to pay off the debt". The BBC added that "directors of the struggling outfit believe it will need £140,000 to keep them in business. Finance director Nick Pomery told the club's website: 'The administrators will decide by 20 May if the club has a future or be put into liquidation'". Manager "Steve Thompson has left the club following their relegation from the Football League". And The Cambridge Evening News reported yesterday that "United's out-of-contract players are waiting to find out if they have a future at the Abbey. Caretaker manager Rob Newman will hold crunch talks with a host of players on Thursday as he shapes a squad for next season. United have only four players with deals for the 2005/06 campaign - Darren Quinton, John Turner, Dan Gleeson and Ashley Nicholls - and Newman has to submit a list of retained players to the Football League on Saturday... With the club in administration... they cannot offer new contracts, so will instead issue letters of intent to renew players' deals". The Finance Director added that United "would aim to set a break-even budget for next season after several years averaging £500,000 losses". The Cambridge United Supporters' Trust reports that "With the deadline of Friday 20th May for raising £40k to keep CUFC out of liquidation looming, we are within £10k of the target and are very hopeful that we will meet it... Any monies raised over and above the £40k that is required now will be held and carried forward against the close-season costs for July and early August, expected to be £75-£100,000".

This is Kidderminster Harriers says that "Harriers' board have demanded face-to-face talks with the men who want to take their place. The third party, believed to be a Hampshire-based consortium led by former Farnborough chairman Ron Higgins, want to check the Aggborough club's accounts before making any firm take-over bid. They could buy Lionel Newton's majority shareholding for £1, but must also be prepared to plough at least £400,000 into the cash-strapped outfit. However, current chairman Colin Youngjohns and his group, including former Harriers chief Dave Reynolds, are not prepared to give up the club without a fight and a counter-offer... It is feared the future of the club may even remain undecided before the annual meeting on June 7".

And also, Newton said "I would have thought that by now I would have had a formal offer in writing from the current board... In another twist, the Kidderminster Harriers Independent Supporters Trust (KHIST) are thought to be contemplating their own audacious takeover bid".

Chris Lane has rejoined Southport from Leigh RMI.


Stalybridge Celtic have "completed the signing of four players as manager John Reed... has gone back to his former club Harrogate Town to secure the services of goalkeeper Nick Buxton (28), defender Mark Barnard (29) and ex-Celtic striker James Turley (23). The quartet is completed by striker Lee Ellington (24) who comes to Bower Fold after three consecutive 20-goal seasons at Gainsborough Trinity".

"Busy Dean Thomas, manager of Hinckley United, has announced his retained list for next season and seven players are being allowed to leave... Along with the already announced retirement of Adam Willis, and the release of John Burns, the players let go are defenders Gavin Stone and Danny Pitham, midfielder Wayne Dyer and striker Chris Smith. Goalkeeper Tommy Whittle... has been placed on the transfer list... Thomas is currently in talks with another three players, a defender, a midfielder and a striker, having already brought in former England semi-professional internationals goalkeeper Ryan Price and striker Marc McGregor, Worcester City’s long-serving Carl Heeley and Scunthorpe youngster Andy Brown". The boss said, "To bring in players I need to get rid of others and that's just the way it is. I've had some of these players with me for two or three seasons now and I felt I just had to cut my losses" reports the club website.

Worksop Town have "signed Richard Carrington... who was a prolific goalscorer at Barnsley, being top scorer in both the Reserves and the Youth Team in 2002/03". 18 May 2005


In addition to getting the cheapest admission prices in the Conference National, purchasing an Altrincham FC season ticket for 2005-06 will also bring you free entry to all of the pre-season friendlies at Moss Lane. It is expected that three of these will be against league clubs (including one from the Premiership), whilst an interesting fourth home match is already arranged - against Scotland's Greenock Morton.

For the record, purchasing an adult season ticket for the terraces before 30 June, at £160, means that it could cost you as litle as £7.62 to watch each of the 21 Conference home games in 2005/06 - as well as seeing the home friendlies free. Full details of ticket prices are below...

And, why not also join STAR, (the Alty supporters' trust) and get cheap travel to all away games as well as many other benefits? See the STAR website for details. Do you really want to drive your own car to Exeter, Canvey Island or Aldershot and back? Travel in a Go Goodwins luxury coach instead and enjoy the company of fellow supporters as well.


From Grahame Rowley:

A meeting will be held in the Noel White Suite on Monday 6th June at 7.30pm to invite people to volunteer to help the club during the coming season. With the step up to the National Conference, attendances will hopefully increase and with that comes greater need for manpower (person power!) to run the various operations both pre-match, during the match and post match. Even if you can spare half an hour, your help would be appreciated and a job can be found for you.

We are also looking to utilise people’s expertise be it in handiwork, I.T. marketing or other. If you believe that you could be of some help to the Football Club, please come along and express an interest.

The club needs your help – please come along!


Grahame Rowley, on behalf of the Board of Altrincham Football Club, writes:

Admission Prices 2005-06

Members of the Board met on 17 May to discuss pricing issues for next season. With the need to strengthen the squad to face the challenges of the Nationwide Conference it was felt that admission prices would have to rise. The proposed new prices are:-

  • Seating Main/Family Stand Adults - £12
  • Seating Main/Family Stand Concessions (U16 and OAPs) - £7
  • Terraces – Adults - £10
  • Terraces – Concessions (U16 and OAPs) - £6

    Children under 11 will be admitted for £2 on production of a SAM voucher or via specified turnstile.

    Season Tickets 2005-06

    In order to avoid this bigger than usual price increase we have set the season ticket prices at:-

  • Seating Main/Family Stand Adults - £210-00
  • Seating Main/Family Stand Concessions (U16 and OAP’s) - £90-00
  • Terraces – Adults - £170-00
  • Terraces – Concessions (U16 and OAP’s) - £80-00

    A £10 discount will be applied to these prices for all season tickets purchased before 30th June 2005.

    These are one of, if not the, lowest prices in the Nationwide Conference and if the early purchase discount is applied, an adult will be able to watch Conference Football, in the stand, for under £10 per game.

    APPLICATIONS: Season ticket applications with appropriate payment should be made to Altrincham FC, Moss Lane, Altrincham WA15 8AP. For further details, ring the club on (061) 928-1045.


    The above poster has been put up on the walls of Moss Lane to thank everyone who helped the club have such a successful season. The Conference National will place additional burdens on the club such as dealing with larger crowds, possible visits from Sky TV, etc, etc. So, if you are able to volunteer your services in any way please do not hesitate to come forward - you can ring the club on 928-1045 or e-mail Grahame Rowley to offer your help.


    In Tuesday's M/cr Evening News, Graham Heathcote says, "I've a strong feeling we'll find out next season whether we can regard ourselves as being a Conference National or Conference North club. In achieving promotion, we've proved what level we can attain, but it's whether we can sustain it. Top-flight Conference football has certainly improved since we were last in it and, to put our situation into perspective, we'll be up against clubs with annual budgets of £1million and more - well over five times what ours will be. We're clearly going to be at a massive disadvantage, but it's a problem we wanted as anyone who witnessed our reaction to winning on Sunday will testify".

    He added, "We are in no panic about the position we're going to find ourselves in because we consider ourselves a well-run club and I'm sure we can adapt. But we'll consider it an achievement if we can stabilise in Conference National. We've spent just one of the past eight seasons at that level and, having gone straight back down again the last time we were promoted, our first priority has to be to try to ensure that doesn't happen again".

    Correspondent Tony Glennon says that "With 'Mr Altrincham' Heathcote content to accept he'll be offered no more than a small rise to his modest wage bill, it's little surprise to hear him say he plans to keep faith with the bulk of his promotion-winning squad. Nevertheless, the Alty boss is optimistic he can fashion a side which, at the very least, will be competitive. And, ironically, he believes the Robins' hopes of re-establishing themselves in non-league's top-tier could soon be aided by a reversal of the trend towards full-time football in the Conference. Heathcote added: "Whatever figure the board gives me to work on, it will be no more than we can afford. I'll be trying to speak to as many of our players as possible this week, but I have no intention of making wholesale changes. Of course we realise there are areas where we need to improve and my assistant, Dalton Steele, and I will be seeking to bring in some new faces of the quality required. But this is not about to become a club full of mercenaries and, in any case, money can't buy the spirit we have here at the moment. I'd be a fool to let that slip away".


  • UniBond Play-Off Final: Workington 0 Farsley C. 0 (Workington win 6-5 on pens to qualify for Nationwide North).


  • Charlie MacDonald (Crawley T. to Gravesend & N.)
  • Rambir Marwa (St Albans C. to Dagenham & R.)
  • Sam Saunders (Carshalton A. to Dagenham & R.)
  • Graham Ward (Cheltenham to Tamworth)

    Scarborough Today says that "Scott Kerr, Mark Hotte and Chris Senior could all be on their way out of Scarborough... All are in talks with other clubs... Chairman Malcolm Reynolds was still upbeat, especially as around 1,000 players have been given their notice by League clubs and a number look likely to drop into the Conference".

    "Exeter City have stepped up efforts to bolster their squad ahead of next season by launching a bid to sign former Kidderminster Harriers left-back Billy Jones. Exeter manager Alex Inglethorpe said 'He is only 21 and has already played eighty-odd games in the Football League'... Jones was one of ten players axed by Kidderminster... to significantly trim their wage bill". But Exeter "veteran defender Scott Hiley is set to sign a new contract" reports This is Exeter.

    Nigel Clough, "The Burton Albion boss, described as 'laughable' Sunday newspaper reports that he had turned down the chance to assist Stuart Pearce... 'I'm much more interested in getting my squad sorted out for next season at our new ground'". In fact, "The Brewers have brought forward the date of the opening game at the Pirelli Stadium... against Chester City on Saturday, July 16th." says the Burton Mail.

    17 May 2005


    Altrincham have signed young midfielder Lewis Chalmers (right) on contract after he impressed in his four starts and nine sub appearances for the first-team this season. Lewis is a product of George Heslop and Neil Thomason's youth team and made the step up to Altrincham Reserves this season. He made his first team debut on 28 March against Hinckley and with his good ability in the air, strong tackling, long throws and crossing ability played on the left and right of midfield in many of the subsequent games, though often as a substitute. Lewis can also play at centre-back.


    Three more friendlies have been arranged and at least three more games, against Premiership and League clubs, are being organised at Moss Lane. The full list of games announced to date is:
  • 16 July: Greenock Morton (H) - to be confirmed
  • 21 July: Trafford (A)
  • 23 July: Radcliffe Borough (A)
  • 26 July: Lancaster City (A) and Warrington Town (A)
  • 6 August: Marine (A)

    It is thought that next season's league fixtures will be available in late June. It is hoped to announce admission prices in the near future but the Board has yet to meet to decide these.


    If anyone would still like one of the special Play-Off t-shirts, Grahame Rowley needs a minimum order of 24 to cover the costs of another print-run. So, if anyone is interested, please either phone Grahame (07720-606897) or email him indicating quantity and size required.. They remain a bargain at £5. There is a picture of the t-shirt here


    Above: Andy Boyers's vivid picture shows Alty fans celebrating (apart from a shocked-looking Ian Rosendaal!) at Stoke on Sunday.

    In Monday's M/cr Evening News there is an illustrated article on Alty's win over Eastbourne Borough. Manager Graham Heathcote said, "I always knew it was going to be a 14-man job because Eddie [Hussin], Azza [Steve Aspinall] and Pottsy [Colin Potts] were all struggling with knocks" before kick-off. He added. "We might not have a lot of cash but you can't put a price on spirit and it is that which has helped us through". The manager concluded, "We defended well when we had to and I can't speak highly enough of the lads for what they achieved and for putting Altrincham right back on the football map".

    Below: Gavin Rathbone captures Rod Thornley in action against Eastbourne. For more of Gavin's images see his GR Photos site.

    The Eastbourne Borough website has a full match report which says that "An uncompromising Altrincham side finally ended Borough's unexpected dreams of joining the Non League elite at the Britannia Stadium".

    The Argus reports that after Sunday's play-off final, Eastbourne Borough chairman Len Smith said, "It probably would have been a step too far if we had gone up. We would have taken it of course but we did not plan to be there this quickly... We didn't expect to get this far so it was a big bonus just to be involved". Manager Garry Wilson said: "We didn't get going for the first hour and when we finally did it was too late. We looked nervous in everything we did and only started to relax when we were 2-0 down. You never know how the players are going to react and unfortunately we didn't really play. It was bitterly disappointing because we have been fantastic all season. There can be no complaints because we've only got ourselves to blame". the manager added, "Maybe it was not meant to be. We were not really meant to be here in the first place, we should be a mid-table side really".

    Curiously, the paper claims that "More than 1,000 fans travelled, which far outnumbered the Altrincham support" and, again, "The Altrincham fans were easily outnumbered by the travelling Borough support". Actually Altrincham sold around 1,500 tickets, with other Alty fans buying theirs at the stadium, to help make up a gate of 2,839.

    More Stoke pictures to follow later this week... with many thanks to Gavin Rathbone and Andy Boyers.

    SAM reports that after Alty's win at Stoke, "An impromptu party was held by the club at which supporters, directors, coaches, players and their families celebrated a historic day in Robins' history". The paper is inviting fans to record their views of the game at Stoke on its website.


    Altrincham's promotion means that we move from being a centrally located club in Nationwide North to being a northern club in Conference National, with only 6 of our 21 opponents being located north of us.

    From the 21 clubs who were with us in 1999/2000 when we were last relegated from the Conference, only Scarborough, Morecambe, Hereford United, Northwich Victoria, Stevenage Borough and Woking have remained in that division. But two other clubs from the class of 1999/2000 will also be rejoining in 2005/06, as well as Alty - they are Kidderminster Harriers and Southport. We will renew acquaintance too with recent UniBond champions Accrington Stanley and Burton Albion.

    Northern teams (8):

  • Scarborough, Morecambe, York City, Halifax Town, Accrington Stanley, Southport, Altrincham and Northwich Victoria.

    Midlands/Central England (6):

  • Tamworth, Burton Albion, Kidderminster Harriers, Hereford United, Stevenage Borough and Cambridge United

    South (8):

  • Dagenham & Redbridge, Canvey Island, Grays Athletic, Gravesend & Northfleet, Woking, Aldershot Town, Crawley Town and Exeter City

    Of our 21 opponents, we have not played the following in any league before: York City, Tamworth, Cambridge United, Canvey Island, Grays Athletic, Aldershot Town, Crawley Town and Exeter City. However, we have met York, Grays and Aldershot in FA Cup or Trophy ties. In addition to these new clubs to visit in the league, Northwich Victoria will be at a new ground in 2005-06.

    It is always good to get promoted - there are new grounds to visit, the team can be tested at a higher level, better press and TV coverage is attracted - but there are some downsides such as longer journeys, segregation and higher gate-prices. On the last front, sample prices in the Conference in 2004-05 ranged from £10 to stand at Gravesend, Dagenham or Tamworth up to £13 entry at York City or Halifax. It is £16 in the stand at York City or Kidderminster Harriers but only £12 at Accrington. There is also a nasty habit of charging away fans more than the home ones at some grounds; Stevenage for instance charged £10 this season to home fans and £13 for away fans to stand on the terraces.

    There has been some confusion about how many teams will be relegated next season from Conference National. The Conference website has a press release from January 2005 which says, "In season 2005/2006, the Nationwide Conference will continue to operate as a 22 Club Competition but at the end of the season will relegate two clubs to Nationwide North and South (one to each competition) while promoting four clubs from Nationwide North and Nationwide South (two from each competition). This will allow the Nationwide Conference to move to a 24 Club Competition from the commencement of season 2006/2007. The Nationwide Conference moving to 24 clubs in season 2006/2007 is to allow for the increase in promotion and relegation".


    The Sunday Mail updates the story of the arrest in Prescot, Liverpool, of former Alty boss and Everton star Mark Ward on drugs charges. "He appeared at St Helens Magistrates Court to face charges of possession with intent to supply cocaine and crack cocaine and being concerned in the production of crack cocaine... Several kilos of Class A drugs were discovered together with a variety of drugs paraphernalia. Ward is set to appear before Knowsley Magistrates on May 19".


    Barrow confirm that Jonathan Smith, "the tall 29-year-old central defender, who was released by Accrington Stanley... has penned a two-year deal" at Barrow.

    NL Daily reports that "Roger Ashby, manager of Nationwide North club Nuneaton Borough, has... agreed terms with the majority of last season’s squad... Darren Acton, Rob Oddy, Neil Moore, Michael Love, Matty Collins, Mark Noon, Stuart Whittaker, Gez Murphy and Michael Frew have all agreed to sign new one-year contracts. Striker Brian Quailey has accepted a one-year deal with the club and Martin Reeves is expected to put pen-to-paper... Gary Fitzpatrick and Ryan Poole have both agreed non-contract deals. Youth team striker David Blenkinsopp has also been handed a one-year deal... Avun Jephcott, Stuart Wilson, Brian McGorry, Scott Goodwin, Chris Tullin, Steve Farmer, Matty Lamb and Simeon Williams have all been released".

    "Moor Green have confirmed that they have no plans to merge with neighbours Solihull Borough... Rumours were rife that a merger was on the cards between clubs that have groundshared each other’s facilities in recent years. Moors’ spokesman Nigel Collins said: 'We will certainly start next season groundsharing with Solihull, but whether that continues for the remainder of the season still has to be decided. At the moment we can’t do anything until the insurance situation with the Moorlands is sorted out'. Meanwhile, player of the year Phil Trainer and Phil Midworth have both committed their immediate future to Moor Green... Moors have, however, released Jae Martin".

    "Hucknall Town’s striker Danny Bacon could be set for a move to his former club Mansfield Town. Stags' manager Carlton Palmer told local radio... Bacon would be joining them for training this week" says NL Daily.

    Last season "Stafford Rangers... could boast the meanest defence in their league and... also came through a financial crisis which threatened to tear the club apart... The public admission of penury from the board had one positive outcome - it galvanised the fans' resolve to form a supporters' trust and the organisation called STRIPES will have an official launch in July. Manager Phil Robinson said, "If you take the season as a whole, we performed very well... For a long period, we were in with a shout of the play-offs... If you take the fact that we qualified for the First Round of the FA Cup for the second time during the three seasons I've been here.. and regained the Staffordshire Senior Cup... then you could say we have had a very good season... At the moment we are striving for FA Charter accreditation for youth development", reports This is Staffs.


    This is Bolton confirms that "Radcliffe Borough should be £5,000 better off when Richard Battersby's transfer to Northwich Victoria goes through". Boro boss Kevin Glendon "has spoken to midfielder Steve Flitcroft, released by Accrington Stanley recently, and is awaiting an answer".

    This is Hereford United says that "Hereford United's director of football Graham Turner has released four players... Veterans Lee Mills and Graham Hyde will not be offered new deals and Turner is also letting go reserve goalkeeper Ben Scott and midfielder Danny Williams."