Altrincham Football Club News Archive
5 to 18 June, 2005

18 June 2005 cont'd


Reserves' manager Neil Brown (left) is currently busy assessing players for next season - as well as labouring hard under a hot sun in his role as groundsman to get the Moss Lane pitch in good condition for next season.

But a late change to the Lancashire League, in which Alty Reserves play, has been announced this weekend. Vauxhall Motors have resigned from the league but four new teams were expected to be joining (Thackley and Ossett Albion from Yorkshire, as well as Fleetwood and Clitheroe), so there would be 19 teams in the League. The League was therefore expecting to arrange the season with each team playing each other just once with the rest of the season taken up by a cup competition to be played initially on a regional group basis. However, since the AGM, it has emerged that Northwich and Thackley have now withdrawn from the League and that the League has now decided to go back to playing a full league programme of home and away games (i.e. 32 games per team). Also, the season will now start on 6 August. Alty Reserves have arranged a friendly - away at West Didsbury & Chorlton on 13 August (2.30pm) but this is now likely to clash with a league game.


There will be a series of "working weekends" at Moss Lane starting on Saturday June 25 and Sunday June 26 and continuing for the next two weekends as well. Jobs to be done include painting work around the ground. Anyone who can help with the ground tidying or who has any other skills to offer to the club should contact the club as soon as possible on 0161 928 1045.


Peter Wright has left Bamber Bridge and joined Chorley. Goalkeeper Mike Pollitt, who was briefly with Alty in 1992-93 is expected to move from Rotherham United to Premiership club Wigan Athletic, according to the Manchester Evening News.


Now that Alty are back in the national division of the Conference, the BBC has a specific page for Altrincham FC. It currently includes an articleby Pete Oliver. "'I knew from the moment we won it we would be in for a difficult time', Graham Heathcote told BBC Sport. 'You only have to look at the last couple of years to see that part-time clubs have had problems... But we will try and bridge that gap the best we can within the ways of a non-league club, training a few nights a week. We will find out if Altrincham Football Club, in its present situation, is a Conference National side that can compete with 16 full-time clubs in what it is a fourth division. Or is Conference North the level for a part-time non-league team. That's what we will find out, but we won't push the boat out just to survive... We have got a lot of homework to do on the teams we are going to play'". The Alty manager added, "For me personally it means everything and I believe this club is now back at a level it should be operating at". Oliver adds, Heathcote "now wants to attract four-figure gates to watch affordable, entertaining family football. Heathcote has brought former players Peter Band and Steve Hawes back to the club... There will be one or two other additions but Altrincham will stick largely with the squad that battled through to beat Eastbourne in the play-off final. 'One, because of finance, and two, because I believe they have earned the right to have a go', Heathcote added. 'They won't continue to play in the Conference National on sentiment but they deserve a chance to show me they are up to it. I have no fear in terms of the players' attitude to it. Now we have to see if we are good enough and I believe that, initially at least, we will be. I think the spirit that got us up will be a big ingredient this season, especially early doors. I think that will make sure we pick up some points and then there might be a levelling off point. And if there is, we will have to deal with it'".


Fans returning to Moss Lane next season will see a number of changes. Amongst them will be a permanent camera platform on the Popular Side from which the obligatory matchday video will be recorded. This is a requirement of the Conference as video evidence is called upon to assist in judging disciplinary cases.

Another physical change will see the Robins' Shop enlarged by being extended within its existing structure towards the Golf Road End. As well as stocking a wide range of merchandise, it will also provide a base for Gavin Rathbone's photographic sales. The shop will stock a very wide range of Alty replica kits, coats, sweat shirts, etc., manufactured by Prostar and provided to the club by Ian Senior's Sensports. Pictured, right, is the new away kit. More pictures of other Alty merchandise and a full price list will be on the website shortly. All orders should be placed with Jenny Heslop at the club (928-1045) with delivery of orders by Ian's company being very prompt.


"Northwich Victoria were threatened with expulsion from the whole of the non-League Pyramid if they pressed ahead with their appeal against relegation from the Nationwide Conference National, it has been claimed. Sources in Cheshire and London both say Vics - the one still officially run by the administrators - were under pressure from the FA and Conference not to appeal, which could not have been heard until next week and had the potential to causes confusion throughout the leagues. They were reminded if they appealed and lost, the punishment for failing to satisfy financial criteria could have been expulsion from the system entirely. That would put Northwich Vics into the Mid-Cheshire League - though more likely they would have been put into the UniBond First Division or even the North West Counties League. Faced with that stark choice administrators, Begbies Traynor, opted for the offered place in the Nationwide North, even though they and owner Mike Connett believed they had good case for an appeal. The problem arose because Northwich Victoria (2004), the new club set up by Connett, were not members of the FA and had a lease to the Victoria Stadium, while Vics in administration were FA members but had no lease. But how Vics tripped up over financial criteria has not been made officially clear. Meanwhile, the Northwich Supporters' Trust have written to the FA and Conference asking for a full explanation. Connett appeared on Granada and Sky TV on Monday repeating his view that Vics suffered an injustice and threatening law suits... Connett added: 'This now looks like a witch hunt to me, but we are not taking it lying down because it is an injustice. It's like being put in prison without knowing why', he told IC Cheshire.


Alty meet Woodley Sports in the 2005-06 Cheshire Senior Cup 2nd Round and "NL Daily reports that "If early indications are anything to go by, UniBond League First Division club Woodley Sports look set for a bright future under new manager Ally Pickering". Ex-Alty midfielder Pickering said, "My main three players have signed contracts for next season - striker Mike Norton, midfielder Carlos Meakin and centre-back Mark Phillips - so I’m delighted with that". As well as a four-day tour of Cornwall, Sports also have a pre-season game against Carlisle United on 16 July. "Pickering’s former Rotherham United [and Altrincham] playing teammate Shaun Goodwin (36) will be joining Woodley for pre-season training, and looks likely to take up a coaching role at the club".
17 June 2005


From Alty director Grahame Rowley comes the following announcement:

Altrincham Football Club are proud to announce the launch of a commemorative triple DVD.

The package includes two discs which depict full match coverage of the play off final (v. Eastbourne Borough) at The Britannia Stadium, Stoke, together with the presentations and post-match celebrations. A further disc relives the highlights of all three play-off games at Nuneaton, Kettering and, finally, Stoke through the eyes of our club photographer Gavin Rathbone of GR Photography, with approximately 400 images.

Price: - £20 + £2.50 p+p (UK). Cheques made payable to Altrincham FC.

Copies of this memorable souvenir can be obtained through the club or via Grahame Rowley by e-mail or by ringing 07720-606-897.


STAR, the Alty supporters' trust, report that they "have paid for the licence for the footage for the DVD and recently received the footage from the BBC on a special digital video cassette... Brian Flynn has sent the tape off to a media friend who is converting it onto VHS from which we can start to edit and produce. Thanks to everyone who pre-paid and for your patience. This is a big project that has not turned out as straightforward as initially thought but the main obstacles have hopefully been overcome now. The delay may have a silver lining in allowing us the chance to put some extra bonus footage on (no promises!)".


SAM reports that "Peter Band became the second ex-captain to return to the club this summer when he agreed terms on a year-long deal this week, joining Steve Hawes who has already signed from Stocksbridge Park Steels". Manager Graham Heathcote said, "We have to get players who want to play for this football club within the budget we have got here. People have to be appreciative not sceptical because players only come here because they want to, not for money. Peter could've stayed at Northwich and got a better contract but he wants to play here and you can't ask more than that". The Alty boss "was also keen to point out that Band had made his mind up about the move before Northwich were relegated from the Conference at the league's AGM last week for failing to properly register the club with the FA". Graham added: "The first two signings I've made are players who can play in numerous positions, we don't have the luxury of being able to put together a big squad. Without competition for places we would have major problems next season so both Peter and Steve have been signed to give us options". Referring to the re-signing of Stuart Coburn, Chris Adams and Colin Potts, the manager said, "This is just as important, if not more than the signings we have made, it's great news for the club".


Altrincham FC can confirm that Chris Adams, Colin Potts, Colin Little and Stuart Coburn are amongst the players who have re-signed for next season. Others are away on holiday and will sign in due course. So far two "new" players have signed - both of whom have been at the club previously. They are Steve Hawes from Stocksbridge Park Steels (as previously reported) and Peter Band from Northwich. Peter was with Alty till early last season when he moved to Northwich Victoria.

Less good news is that two Alty players face operations next Tuesday. They are captain Eddie Hussin (left) who is having a cartilage trimmed and right-back/midfielder Steve Aspinall (right) who is have a minor ankle operation. It is hoped that both will be fit for the start of next season.


Alty's first known fixture in 2005-06 is in the Cheshire Senior Cup where we have been drawn away to Woodley Sports in the week starting 12 September. The Conference National fixtures are expected to be announced on 23 June and will be recorded on this website on that date. Don't forget that you only have till 30 June to get a £10 discount on your Altrincham season ticket; details here.


NL Daily confirms that "Only two clubs will be relegated from the Nationwide Conference National next season... Four teams will be go up from the North and South divisions to create a twenty-four-club top flight for the 2006/07 season. The Conference League Cup (GLS last season), which was re-introduced last season... has been axed. Meanwhile, the Conference revealed that Northwich Victoria applied for voluntary relegation to Nationwide North ahead of the league's AGM, much in the same way that Margate had done the previous season".

Wayne Jacobs admitted that the chance to join Halifax Town had come 'completely out of the blue'. The 36-year-old replaced Sean McAuley as assistant to manager Chris Wilder when he signed a twelve-month deal... He left Bradford City after eleven years last month. On his release from the Bantams he set off for the Far East to walk the Great Wall for charity... 'When I left for China everything at Halifax was sorted," he said. "It was only on my return that I got the call from Chris to say that Sean McAuley was leaving... I am here to assist Chris, but it is a dual role. "I will definitely be ready to play when called on'", Jacobs told Halifax Today.

"Goalkeeper Ryan Clarke looks set to spend next season on loan at reprieved Nationwide Conference National club Forest Green Rovers after being told there is no future for him at Bristol Rovers" reports This is Bristol.


As well as winning the Wirral programme of the year award for Nationwide North, Altrincham's Robins' Review also won the 12th annual Soccer Swap Shop Programme Awards, with Alfreton 2nd and Lancaster City 3rd. In the national division the winners were Exeter City, followed by Morecambe and York City. Overall the Robins' Review came 30th in the country in non-league.
16 June 2005


The website will revert to its daily update service with effect from Friday 17th June.


Over the last 10 days:
  • Peter Band has rejoined Altrincham from Northwich Victoria- welcome back!
  • Colin Little and Stuart Coburn re-sign for Altrincham for 2005-06
  • Northwich Victoria have been "relegated" to Nationwide North

    More on these stories (and other news) tomorrow...

    6 June 2005


    To help the club and to enjoy next season to the full, here are some suggestions of things to do in June...
  • Join the Altrincham FC Patrons' scheme - everyone's help is needed.
  • Attend the meeting at Moss Lane on Monday, June 6 at 7.30pm, at which details will be given of how you can help the club- this will include working parties at Moss Lane to get the stadium ready for next season.
  • Buy/renew your Altrincham FC season ticket - season tickets give free access to the home pre-season friendlies.
  • Join/rejoin STAR, the Alty supporters' trust.
  • Put the dates of the pre-season friendlies in your diary.
  • Get your replica kits and other accessories from the Robins' Shop - please ring the club on 0161 928-1045 to place your orders. Made by Prostar, these are supplied ot the club through former Alty keeper Ian Senior's efficient Sensports company.


    For the fifth year in succession, The Robins' Review, Altrincham FC's matchday programme has lifted the national Wirral Programme Club's "programme of the year" award for its division. Edited by Grahame and Terry Rowley, and designed and printed by Expressions Offset, the programme incorporates plenty of textual content and colour photos and at just £1.50 knocks many of the over-priced efforts at our level (and above) into a cocked hat. The Wirral awards are apparently ceasing this year so Grahame and Terry will have no chance of a sixth award. Congratulations to all concerned!


    Alty captain Eddie Hussin is likely to need a cartilage operation over the summer which could mean that, as last season, he will be racing to regain fitness at the start of the 2005-06 season. Eddie played several games at the end of last season with his knee heavily strapped to protect the cartilage, such was his determination to help the team. All supporters will wish Eddie a speedy recovery.


    Lance Key is the goalkeeper in the NL Daily's "Dream Team" selected by Histon's Roscoe Hipperson.


    The NL Paper has a survey of Conference admission prices for next season, accompanied by a photo of Alty fans in the rain at Southport (by the way, what is Ecky doing with his watch?). It says that "Altrincham supporters are the biggest losers after the club announced a 36% increase" in prices. But does admit that Alty will still be "one of the cheapest clubs to watch in non-league's top flight". Graham Heathcote is quoted: "We are trying to be fair to our fans. We could easily have hiked it up a lot more on the back of promotion, but this is like a reward to them- we appreciate their support. We'd rather have ten more people on the terrace than slightly more money. We're never going to compete financially with some of the clubs in this league. We're a part-time team and we'll live by that... Not all the extra money will go into the team. It is important we live within our means".

    Only two clubs will charge less for a standard season ticket than Alty (£170) next season; Crawley (£162) and, commendably, Hereford (£155). (Please remember that you can get £10 off an Alty season ticket if bought before 30 June). The most expensive club is Kidderminster (£242) followed by Aldershot and Halifax (£230) and, surprisingly, Accrington (£220).


    Altrincham Reserves play in the Lancashire League and the league table has been updated in the Reserves' section. The Reserves finished tenth. As this was their first season since re-formation and given manager Neil Brown's constant need to change his line-up as players were called up to the first team and as first-teamers and trialists needed to be accommodated to assess their fitness, it was a very good outcome. Neil will soon be providing the details of the last two fixtures and then the full reserves' "Who Played Where" chart and appearance and goalscoring statistics for 2004-05 will be put on the site.

    But, rather than league position, it is the progression of players from the Reserves to the first-team which gives the management team, which includes assistant manager Carlos Marsden and physio Alan Ainsley, the most pride. Youngsters George Melling and Lewis Chalmers established themselves as regular members of the first-team squad, whilst Val Owen, Kirk Hilton, Paul Tilley, Sean Smith, Matt Tooth, Steve Torpey, Joey Roberts and Adam Brindle all also played for the Reserves before joining the first team squad last season.

    Equally importantly, as well as Chalmers and Tooth, a number of present and former Alty Youth players featured to varying degrees for the Reserves last season, including Adam Douthwaite, Sam Fox, Matt Garland, Richard Gresty, Danny Grimshaw, Lee Hendley, Arron Hevingham, Levi Kennedy, Marcus Maddix, Paul Monaghan, Daley O'Neill, Rico Richards and Hassan Zareh-Ourang.

    With the first-team's promotion to the Conference National, Reserves' manager Neil Brown has had to adjust his plans for next season as his squad will now have to produce players capable of graduating to the national rather than regional stage. News of the Reserves' plans for 2005-06 will appear on the website in due course.


    The NL Paper says that Aldershot Town "have already lost six of last season's squad" and fear that they will also lose Defender Brett Johnson and striker Tim Sills. Referring to Northwich's possible exclusion from the Conference, the NL Paper also says that "The plight of Northwich Victoria will bring despair today to all those who hold Non-League dear. Seldom has there been such an uplifting soccer story as Vics' courageous fight against the odds last season... Once again, it seems that dedicated fans and hard-working management and players have been badly let down by a businessman [chairman] unable to deliver what he so glibly advertised".


    Nuneaton Borough "would like to point out the planning application submitted to Nuneaton and Bedworth Borough Council is a joint application between Nuneaton Rugby Club and ourselves... We are still limited as to what can be announced due to the embargo agreed by all parties concerned. A further announcement from the club regarding our plans for next season will follow shortly. Nuneaton Borough AFC would also like to point out that they are in discussions with Bloor Homes over the possibility of staying at Manor Park up until early autumn but nothing has been finalised as yet".

    Despite relegation from the Conference Forest Green Rovers are pressing ahead with going full-time next season says the NL Paper.

    5 June 2005


    The close-season is a busy time at most football clubs as preparations are made for the next season. Above, is a view of the Moss Lane pitch taken yesterday showing work in progress to improve the playing surface.


    Two more friendlies have been arranged for pre-season. These are:
  • Friday, 22 July, home, v Crewe Alexandra. NB Kick-off is at 7pm
  • Thursday, 28 July, home, v Lincoln City at 7.45pm.

    Both matches are free to holders of 2005-06 season tickets. As a consequence of the Lincoln game, it is likely that the home match against Bangor City scheduled for 29 July will now be moved, probably to either Tuesday 2nd or 9th August. Of course, Alty last met Crewe in the Cheshire Senior Cup final this season, which Alty won. As for Lincoln, Alty met them during the Imps season in the Conference in 1987-88, when the sides drew 0-0 at Moss Lane; Alty lost the game at Sincil Bank 5-0! The sides have also met in the FA Cup, in 1988-89, when Alty knocked the Imps out of the FA Cup in Round 1, 3-2 at Moss Lane in front of 2,196 spectators. John Timmons and Ronnie Ellis (2) were the scorers.

    Lincoln have just lost out in the Division Two promotion play-offs, their third unsuccessful play-off campaign in three years. They are managed by Keith Alexander, the former Northwich boss, who has taken numerous non-league players into the League, not least Hyde's Simon Yeo, who has recently announced his emigration to New Zealand so will not be playing against us.


    Worksop Town "are delighted to announce that Blake Norton has re-signed for the club [from Northwich Victoria, whom he only joined last week]. Blake met with manager Ronnie Glavin on Friday night and signed a contract" and also "On a busy day for the club Michael Simpkins became the second player to join on Friday. The 26 year old defender has signed from Burton Albion".

    "Skipper Tony James admits he agonised over the prospect of leaving Nationwide Conference National club Hereford United. James, 26, currently the Bulls' longest serving player with almost 250 games to his name, pondered a move away from Edgar Street before finally agreeing to sign a new twelve-month deal. 'But in the end, for the sake of signing another year's contract, I did not feel there was any need to move on. And at the end of the day, I believe we can get promoted"... Tamika Mkandawire, midfielder Rob Purdie and goalkeeper Craig Mawson have also agreed new deals" reports This is Worcs.

    The Cambridge News says that "United's fundraising concert planned for July has been called off. The recent announcement of the new Live 8 concerts for the same weekend in early July has hit ticket sales so the club has decided to postpone the event until next year. Pop singer Natasha Bedingfield was due to play at the Abbey Stadium on July 1 as part of the two day Abbey Aid event... The decision to delay the concert until next May will affect the club's transfer budget for next season but the board of directors says it has raised enough money through other activities to ward off the prospect of going bust. CUFC finance director Justyn Medd said: "It might have an impact on the number of players he can sign and the quality of those players".

    Scarborough report that ex-Alty "Striker Mark Quayle looks set to sign for Boro for the second time early next week. The 26 year old Liverpool-born striker spent last season at Northwich Victoria".

    Tamworth's website says that "Kyle Storer has undergone keyhole surgery on his knee and the damage was not as bad as feared which means that the young midfielder will be resuming preseason training this coming week. Scott Stamps will also start this week - four weeks earlier than most of the 2005-6 squad". Manager Mark Cooper "will be meeting former striker Julian Alsop later this week to discuss a possible return".

    This is York says that "Transfer-listed striker Paul Robinson would still like to be a York City player next season. Robinson's availability was circulated to other clubs at the end of last season despite... still having one year of his contract left to run. As yet, he has only received a sniff of interest from prospective new employers... Robinson, who once signed for Wimbledon in a £1.5million deal, added that he is unwilling to languish in City's reserve team."

    This is KHFC quotes Kidderminster chairman Colin Youngjohns - "We've sold almost 600 season tickets which is great when you consider the confusion that has surrounded the club... It means that we can offer Stuart Watkiss some form of budget already". Last season, the "Harriers had record season ticket sales of 1,100 and they are on course to challenge that figure".


    NL Daily reports that "Spennymoor have reformed after their expulsion from the UniBond and will be in Division 2 of the Northern League next season. "Meanwhile, Benny Mottram, the owner of the old club, says he is considering a civil action against the UniBond League to recover £6,000 for advertising the UniBond brand in the matchday programme".