Altrincham Football Club News Archive
20 to 24 May, 2005

24 May 2005


It is understood that the "travellers" who have descended on Moss Lane (see below) have been served with notices to leave by Thursday of this week.


On his club's website Tom Walmersley, chairman of our neighbours Trafford FC, has kindly recorded his congratulations to "Altrincham F.C. on their great achievement this season and wishes them the very best of good fortune next season". Altrincham meet Trafford in a pre-season friendly on 21 July, which will be a 7.45pm kick-off and hopefully as many Alty fans as possible will go along to Shawe View where there is always a friendly welcome and an excellent pitch which is conducive to good football.


The club has now obtained an injunction against the so-called "travellers" who apparently cut their way past the height restriction barrier to park themselves on the car park at Moss Lane on Saturday. There have been numerous reported incidents at the ground since then, which the police are now dealing with. In addition to the sterling work of the board and other club officials to obtain the injunction, numerous supporters have also weighed in by contacting local councillors to try and speed up the process. Thanks are due to everyone concerned for their efforts.


Paul Edwards has been released by Blackpool.


Stalybridge Celtic keeper Craig Dootson has been signed by Huddersfield, where his team-mates include former Alty left-back Danny Adams. Meanwhile, Celtic's Chris Denham has moved to Droylsden who have also signed Steve Halford who had been on loan from Accrington last season. NL Daily reports that in addition to signing six new players (as reported earlier on this site), Redditch "manager Rod Brown and his assistant Gary Whild have also agreed new two-year deals themselves [and]... Brown has boosted his backroom staff by bringing in Barry Powell and goalkeeping coach Phil Parkes, the former Wolves favourite... The signings leave Brown with a four-strong strike force that also includes former Tamworth pair Scott Rickards and Norman Sylla. It means there are no places at the Valley Stadium for frontrunners Matt Aubrey and Rory May, who together with former Northwich Victoria player Mark Briggs, are released".


"Southport boss Liam Watson has [signed]...a new three-year contract. The 34-year old... will become the club’s second longest serving non-league manager... Assistant Neil Whalley has also agreed extended terms... Watson has overseen a staggering turnover of forty-one players during his brief tenure, with just three players remaining from the squad he inherited. The onus has substantially shifted to youthful exuberance", says NL Daily.

"Mark Cooper, player-manager of Tamworth, has found himself a goalkeeper to sit on the bench ­ but he’s still looking for one to go between the sticks. Cooper has signed veteran Mark Gayle, who will double up as a coach and reserve keeper... Cooper admits he has made little progress in filling the void left by Ryan Price’s departure to Hinckley United".

23 May 2005


The "travellers" who camped on the Moss Lane car park earlier this year have returned. Coincidentally or not, there have been two break-ins at the ground at the weekend with windows broken in the Sponsors' Lounge and a door forced. The club is trying to get the travellers moved on but in the meantime, work on upgrading the pitch is held up. Thanks are due to Manchester Glass for their swift response.


The NL Paper reported that talks were at an advanced stage for the use of Moss Lane between Altrincham FC and the AFC Manchester United, a proposed team to be set up in the wake of the Glazer takeover at Old Trafford. A spokesman for Altrincham FC said that this report was not correct and that talks had not taken place.

10 OUT OF 10

In the last ever Sunday Pink, Altrincham receive a 10 out of 10 marking in the review of last season. The summary says "It is virtually impossible to overstate the size of Alty's achievement in winning promotion". It adds that "boss Graham Heathcote is now being widely heralded as non-League's manager of the season". Whilst next season will be "tricky for the cash-strapped Robins... with wily old 'Cote in charge, it would be a mistake to write them off". The Pink has now ceased publication but its publisher, The Manchester Evening News, promises increased sports coverage in its Monday to Saturday pages.

Also in the press, a photo of Eddie Hussin lifting the play-off trophy is featured on the front page of the Non-League Paper.


Alty Youth team's coach Neil Thomason had to resign last week due to work commitments. On behalf of the Altrncham youth team players, Chris Bailey has sent the website the following message

"A big thank you to Tommo. It has been great to work with you and it has had a massive impact on all the boys. You will be a great loss and will be hard to replace. Wherever the game takes you, we are sure you will have many successes. We are glad that the team found a good way to see you off with a 10-0 win in the final game! Cheers, Tommo, from all the lads at the youth team".


The BBC reports that last Thursday, former Alty boss (2000-01) and "Former Everton footballer, Mark Ward, appeared [again] before magistrates in Merseyside on drugs charges. The ex-midfielder is accused of possessing with intent to supply four kilos of cocaine and more than half a kilo of crack cocaine. He is also charged with being concerned in the production of a quantity of crack cocaine. Mr Ward, 42, appeared before Knowsley magistrates on Thursday... He has been in custody since his arrest and no application for bail was made. Mr Ward was remanded in custody and will appear before St Helens magistrates via video link on 16 June".


NL Daily reports that "Danny Johnson, manager of Trafford, has moved quickly to bring in his new assistant-manager for next season in Danny Jones. Johnson said: "We played together for Salford Boys and The Greater Manchester Schools FA along with Preston North End". He added "I am chasing four players. I have spoken to three of them with one agreeing to join us and the other two thinking over my offer... On a sadder note it is with great regret that I announce that Liam Ralph has had to retire from the game due to a recurrence of the knee injury he suffered three years ago... At the age of 21 it is a real pity that such a talent has left the game". All at Moss Lane are sad to hear this as Liam Ralph was signed for Altrincham on UniBond Premier forms in March 2004 to cover for an injury crisis. However, the Trafford left-back never played for The Robins.


Cambridge Fans United would like to thank everyone who, in little more than a week, helped reach the target set by the Administrator of raising £40,000 by Friday 20th May... One important date will be in early June when Grant Thornton will put a package to the clubs creditors on behalf of Cambridge United. These will need to be acceptable and fair in order to obtain agreement from the creditors".

This is KHFC reports that "Redditch United is continuing to become a hot-bed of former Kidderminster Harriers talent. Released Harriers' utility man Lee Jenkins has signed for the ambitious Nationwide North outfit. And Jenkins will team up with John Williams who scored the goal in Harriers' FA Cup draw with Wolves in January 2004. Striker Williams has signed from Bath City with Harriers old boys Scott Rickards, Sean Flynn and Matt Clarke already on the Redditch books. Left-back Billy Jones, one of a string of players axed by Harriers, has agreed terms on a one-year deal with Exeter City. Chris Beardsley's future is still uncertain with Harriers continuing to hold out for a fee, believed to be at least £5,000, from interested club Mansfield Town... Meanwhile, the Aggborough take-over wrangle seems set to carry on until at least June 7, the date of Harriers' annual meeting. Club owner Lionel Newton has relaxed the deadline for written offers but this will be further bad news for Watkiss. The Harriers' manager has little chance of clinching new signings with such uncertainty in the boardroom and over wage budgets. He has admitted that delay is a 'recipe for disaster'". The Harriers site says that "Watkiss may look to the loan and youth markets to bolster his ranks next season".

22 May 2005


The non-league football grounds of Cheshire by John Keohane is a new book (84pp.) which includes three pages of text and photographs concerning Moss Lane. The Debbie Dawson (Golf Road) End is described as a "superb end terrace". The volume also includes some now defunct grounds, including the Drill Field, Northwich, New Brighton FC and Linotype FC on Lawrence Road in Altrincham. The book is published by Newlands Photographic and costs £9.95 (ISBN 1-900257-14-9).


Recently, a previously unknown 1904/05 Altrincham team picture-postcard has come to light. Terry Rowley, joint editor of The Robins Review and a keen historian of Altrincham FC has kindly supplied a lot of fascinating data about the players depicted. The picture and details can be found here.


A review of Altrincham's 2004-05 season will appear on the site this week. In the meantime, if you sponsored Altrincham for every goal they scored, please remember to make your payments now, either via the STAR website or c/o the club at Moss Lane. Excluding the play-off penalties at Nuneaton, Altrincham netted 105 goals in 2004-05 (72 league, 33 cup). For those sponsoring clean-sheets, Alty achieved 19 (15 league, 4 cup).


Grays Athletic, who knocked Alty out of the FA Trophy, today won the Trophy Final 6-5 on penalties against Hucknall Town in front of a crowd of more than 8,000 at Villa Park. The game ended 1-1 after extra time, with Bacon the Hucknall scorer. Hucknall have netted £100,000 from this year's competition, most of which will be used for ground improvements.
21 May 2005


Neil Thomason, coach to the Altrincham FC Youth team for the last few seasons, has had to resign due to work commitments. Neil's work is now based in Preston and he has found it increasingly difficult to get away for his football coaching duties. The club and, in particular, the Youth team manager George Heslop, would like to thank Neil for his commitment and hard work for the team. Neil is pictured above (left) with George, displaying the trophies won in 2003-04. Neil's coaching duties will be assumed by Tony Spilsbury, who has been helping the youth team this season and was formerly a reserve-team manager at Moss Lane.

The youth team will be holding its annual presentation night in the Noel White Suite at Moss Lane on Saturday 28th May at 7.30pm. All supporters are welcome. Though they did not win any trophies this season there were many notable achievements by the lads, not least the 15-1 win over Kingsley United in which Lee Hendley scored seven times. In fact, Lee broke Steve Lunt's youth team goalscoring record this season. But, one of the best performances of the season was the narrow 2-3 defeat by Southport in the FA Youth Cup when one of the visitors' goals came after the referee had clearly whistled for offside and then allowed play to continue! It has also been pleasing to see a number of ex-Alty Youth players making regular appearances for the Altrincham first-team this season, notably Kieran Lugsden, Lewis Chalmers and Paul Tilley.

George Heslop will be supplying the website with the end of season league table and statistics as well as details of the last two matches of the season. However, the league has not yet advised George of all the results so the final table is not yet available. Neverthless, it is known that Altrincham finished fourth.


SAM has extensive coverage of Altrincham's promotion including a match report. Manager Graham Heathcote said on Sunday, "This will never be forgotten. It's the first-ever Conference North v South playoff final and it's Altrincham's name in the history book. What's important is that this group of players will never be forgotten about now. They've worked so hard over the course of a whole season, as everybody knows. No one will ever forget the team that has taken Altrincham back into the Conference... Everyone has a part to play and that is the sort of club we are trying to build here. We've moved this club forward five years today".

Chairman Geoff Goodwin said, "This is unbelievable for the club. Considering the wage budget we have, it's just unbelievable. We've got to be realistic. Thger's no point spending loads of money and coming back down with loads of debt... In Graham, we have got one hell of a manager". Geoff added, "I like to talk to the players. I ring them up and say 'sorry, I can't pay you more' and they all say they are not bothered. Some have come up to me recently and said, 'Mr Chairman, if we get in the Conference, we just want to play there'. It's not about the money for this lot". Player Gary Scott added, "Every man has been playing for each other throughout the team and the squad". Speaking to SAM, Graham Heathcote added, "I'll look to put a squad together on a budget; money can't buy the spirit we showed out there and throughout the season".

Manchester Metro News reprints a substantial article by Tony Glennon on Alty's promotion from the MEN


Confguide says that "Work continues to get Northwich's Victoria Stadium ready in time for the deadline set by the Conference... Peter Grimes's ever-informative newsletter reveals the current status of work: Monday sees the Health and Safety inspection... The following day the Conference are doing a "pre-inspection" inspection meeting. They will determine what has to be done by the following week for the formal inspection. Work has started on the seating and the fixing should be completed by next week... tarmaccing behind the goals is 75% complete... The outside of the ground (car parking etc) will be done next week... The ground will be open for volunteers to work from 8.00am Saturday... There is a definite need for joiners and tradesmen over the next 2 weeks".

The Cambridge News quotes City's finance director Nick Pomery after they had raised £42,000 to stave off liquidation. "As well as the money raised over the last 10 days, we have had two firm commitments of large investments that will be made in the next couple of weeks and will contribute around £35,000... This means we are already a good part of the way toward our next fund-raising target of £100,000 to cover July's costs". And Cambridge keeper John Ruddy (18) has signed for Everton for £250,000 according to Ceefax.

Unconfirmed reports on the Conference Forum claim that the club's owner Mick Woodward told fans at Grays Athletic that the wage bill is £24,000 a week.

Aldershot Town report that manager Terry Brown is "showing a hat-trick of players the door... Jon Challinor, Chris Giles and Dwain Clarke are the first to be released... Challinor... has been attracting interest from a number of clubs with Exeter City and Oxford United the front-runners". Brown said "I used my full allocation of budget last year so I also need to free up funds in order to get two quality strikers". The boss "hinted that injury-hit striker Roscoe D’sane may well be following the trio out of the door at the Rec." The club's "centre halves (Brett Johnson and Will Antwi) are attracting interest from the League". Indeed, NL Daily says that "Exeter City have signed midfielder Jon Challinor, who was surprisingly released by league rivals Aldershot Town".


"Dave Robertson, chairman of Runcorn FC Halton, is poised to announce the arrival of three new directors as the club bids to bounce back from relegation... Robertson expects to finalise a deal with Ted Mercer, the owner of Prescot Cables' Valerie Park, to share the ground next season while the club investigates the longer-term possibilities of a return to Runcorn... Dr Robertson added: 'Each new director is required as a minimum requirement to buy £1,000 worth of shares and generate another £5,000 either in effort or cash during the season... It has often been very lonely in my position... I have left a couple of messages with [manager] Steve Soley with a view to meeting this week'... Former Ashton United striker Phil Denney has left the Linnets to join Mossley" says IC Cheshire.
20 May 2005


Former Alty keeper Andy Dibble (now 40), has been released by Wrexham. Despite being displaced at Moss Lane in 1998 by Stuart Coburn, Andy got back into league football to complete a long and successful career.


STAR's Jo Ryan (who is also our Nationwide Coordinator) has a small supply of the original Nationwide North Founder Member T-shirts left. These are available to buy at £6.50. (limited sizes and colours) and will be sold on a first come, first served basis. Please e-mail Jo if you would like one, or more.


As well as playing Alty, Scottish side Greenock Morton are playing at Northwich in pre-season (14 July).


The England National Game XI for the Four Nations Tournament in Eire from 22 to 28 May includes Yeading striker DJ Campbell and four players each from Barnet and Hereford United. Kieran Charnock of Northwich Victoria is also included as are three Grays players who played against us in the Trophy, Oli, Thurgood and Cole.

Former Blackpool defender Mike Flynn who joined Accringon last season told This is Lancs, "I was surprised at the professionalism. Accrington, like Blackpool, prepare in the right manner... When we travel to a long distance away game, and there are quite a few, we stop in similar hotels to those I stopped in with my previous clubs... The standard in the Conference has impressed me. There are a lot of good players and good teams who could hold their own in League Two".

Southport are reported to have signed Dominic Krief from Harrogate Town.

Shotsweb reports "two further departures from the Aldershot squad as Terry Brown confirmed that Jamie Slabber and Tyron Smith are not being offered new deals".

From Hereford are reports that Craig Mawson is "very close to signing a new deal with Hereford United... Less certain is the position of current captain Tony James". Gary Johnson "has made a couple of signings including Luke Oliver from Woking. Oliver, a 6ft 7 in centre-half, who is only 20".

This is KHFC says that boss "Stuart Watkiss has promised he will not walk away from Kidderminster Harriers despite the power struggle that is tearing the club apart". He said, "I've got to gear up and prepare as if I'll still be here next season".

The FA has already confirmed some Conference suspensions for the start of the new season on 13 August including: Aldershot Town's Darren Barnard and Canvey Island's Daniel Potter - both for 2 games.

The Cambridge News says that "United are close to reaching the £40,000 they need to beat Friday's deadline and avoid going into liquidation, and chairman Hunt has outlined how the short-term fundraising will benefit the playing squad in the longer term... Caretaker-manager Rob Newman... will be working with a reduced budget in his attempts to build a squad - which currently has only four contracted players... Administrator Ian Carr said: 'They (the FA) want to be able to see the budget for next year to see the club can fulfil its fixture list'".

Scarborough Today says that the Seadogs "have started their summer signings by capturing two of Scottish third division champions Gretna's most promising players on long-term loan deals. Midfielder Mark Eccles has signed up until the end of the season, while striker Brian Wake joins on loan until Christmas... Wake, 23, stepped into the limelight when he bagged 9 goals in 12 starts in an unsuccessful bid to keep Carlisle from dropping into the Conference two seasons ago... Eccles, 21 has been on loan at Workington Town, helping them gain promotion from the Unibond League into Conference North with 15 goals from midfield".

Northwich Vics have signed midfielder Hugh McAuley from Forest Green Rovers recently. He was formerly with Hucknall and Burscough as well as having two previous periods at Vics.


Forest Green will replace Altrincham in next season's Nationwide North. For Barrow this means a 470 mile round trip! The other newcomers are Leigh RMI, Hednesford Town, Hyde United and Workington.

NL Daily says that "Veteran defender Terry Angus will have a major part to play with Nuneaton Borough next season, despite hanging up his playing boots again. The central defender, who scored the final goal to take Boro into extra-time in their play-off semi final with Altrincham, hits 40 next year... The club are keen to keep Angus as part of the coaching staff ­ and also sign him on forms, just in case!

Worksop Town have "announced that Ian Bowling, Ryan Davis and Chris Cleary have been released".

Hucknall have signed 23 year-old Scarborough striker Robert Gill (23). Scarborough Today says that "Whitby Town boss Dave Logan is chasing Scarborough striker Tony Hackworth".