Altrincham Football Club News Archive
5 to 6 July, 2005

6 July 2005


Altrincham's pre-season home game against League of Wales side Bangor City has been transferred from Friday, 29th July to Tuesday, 9th August, kick off time to be confirmed.


There will be another working weekend at Moss Lane this Saturday and Sunday, starting each day at 10am. Although the ground is looking tidier and smarter after two weekends of work on it, there is still plenty of work to be done, including painting. If you can spare some time, please do come along and help out.


Former Altrincham loan-player, Alex Hay (23), is a current trialist at Accrington Stanley after being released by Rushden and Diamonds. Hay was at Tranmere Rovers when loaned to Alty. He scored 8 goals in 18 appearances for The Robins in late 2000.

NL Daily reports that Arnold Town manager Phil Starbuck’s "biggest coup is the signing of experienced goalkeeper Dave McCarthy". The former Hucknall keeper was on loan at Altrincham in 2003-04.


Accrington Stanley report that "Following successful spells at the club last season, left winger Gary Roberts and left back Chris Butler have now agreed terms... Meanwhile a number of trialists continue to train with the club pre- season. Amongst them 20 year old left sided defender Lee Lawrence is a former Manchester United trainee who was at Shrewsbury... 21 year old striker Leighton McGivern is training with Stanley after spending last year with Rochdale, and just flown in from America this week is 16 year old goalkeeper Steven Gobels".

Crawley Town "goalkeeper Phil Smith has signed a new two-year contract".

At Kidderminster Harriers manager Stuart Watkiss "has made former Aston Villa man Michael Blackwood his fifth signing in as many days. The 25-year old, who can play on the left side of defence or midfield, has agreed a 12 month deal" after leaving Lincoln City. "Watkiss has revealed he has agreed terms with the agent of an un-named player and hopes to conclude a deal within the next few days... Hopes of landing former Shrewsbury midfielder Jake Sedgemore were cruelly ended when Bury 'gazumped' the deal with a last minute offer".

Worksop Town have "completed the signing of goalkeeper Adam Solitt, last season Solitt was with Morecambe".

The BBC reports that "Exeter winger Gareth Sheldon is wanted by Conference rivals Kidderminster. Harriers' boss Stuart Watkiss has comfirmed that he has held talks with the 25-year-old". Also, "Striker Julian Alsop is training with Forest Green Rovers, who are keen to sign him for a second time. Alsop, 32, played three times for Rovers last season before a lengthy FA ban imposed for an incident while he was at Oxford curtailed his stay... Rovers boss Gary Owers is also looking at former Bristol City pair Sekani Simpson and Craig Loxton, and ex-Yeovil duo Chris Giles and Jamie Gosling". And, "York City have been rocked by defender Greg Heald's decision to back out of a move... after agreeing a deal following his release by Rochdale". Manager Billy McEwan said, "He's wasted my time really. We had been talking for three or four weeks".

5 July 2005


League of Wales champions TNS have called up Altrincham reserve goalkeeper Richard Acton to be on the bench for their UEFA Cup campaign, starting with both legs of their prestigious tie with Liverpool, reports the Saints Alive website.


Courtesy of George Heslop, the full season's Alty Youth player appearance and goalscoring statistics for 2004-05 are in the Youth section.


Ian Lyon, who runs the Lancashire Football League website, confirms that last season's game between Vauxhall Motors Reserves and Workington Reserves was never played as the Cumbrians could not raise a team. The match was awarded to Vauxhall 1-0. The revised league table is in the Reserves' section.


NL Daily says that "The FA have backed down on a controversial referee ruling that could have cost non-League clubs hundreds of pounds. They had ruled that when non-League teams meet Football League or Premiership clubs in pre-season friendlies, they must engage officials qualified to take charge of League or Premiership matches and pay them at the appropriate rate... But after protests... the FA's Referees Committee has issued new instructions. They say match officials will still need to be at the level appropriate to the higher competing team but that clubs may continue to organise their own officials and arrange their own remuneration. If the appointment is made by one of the appointing authorities, the match officials are, 'in the absence of any other agreement', to be paid the fees and travelling expenses appropriate to the competition of the lower club competing in the match by the home side".


Kidderminster Harriers report that "Experienced campaigner Martin O'Connor... [has] agreed to a player/coach role at the club... The midfield hard man joined Shrewsbury Town... and was a key player in the side that won promotion back to the Football League... The 37-year old has [also] agreed to join Harriers on a 12-month deal as a player. Harriers boss Stuart Watkiss "has confirmed press reports that he is in talks with Exeter City midfielder Gareth Sheldon". Also, "a host of trialists were also on show at" training this week. Teenagers Ryan Moss (forward - previously with Bournemouth), Gavin Hurran (defender - Nottingham Forest), Russ Penn (forward - Scunthorpe) and Stuart Bridges (midfield - Aston Villa) were all eager to impress whilst former Birmingham City defender Liam Reynolds is due to arrive next week".

Scarborough confirm that "The sanction which had been imposed on Boro by the FA for their disciplinary record in season 2003-04 - a suspended fine of £5,000 - has been removed from the records. This is a consequence of the team's much-improved record during season 2004-05 which brought only one red card... Confguide confirms that Leigh RMI, Tamworth and our first-day opponents, Stevenage Borough were the worst offenders in last season's Conference. Boro had 4 red and 88 yellow cards. The BBC report that the "Seasiders still want to secure a fee from Lincoln following their signing of ex-captain Scott Kerr".

Cambridge News claims that "Andy Duncan has played his last game for Cambridge United after seven years at the Abbey". At training, "the former captain was absent after confirming he would not accept the chance of a new deal at the club. Adam Tann and Matt Somner, the only other first-teamers offered new deals once the club comes out of administration, have also rejected the chance of helping United's battle to get out of the Nationwide Conference at the first opportunity... It leaves United with just four players under contract - Ashley Nicholls, Dan Gleeson, John Turner and Darren Quinton. The club is unable to sign new players until they are out of administration - expected to be after the creditors' meeting on July 18 - but United hope youngsters Lee Blackburn, Dave Daniels, Nick Robbins and Paul Atkins will sign".

"Business Finder is an online business directory, now live on giving local companies the opportunity to be associated with the club. The service aims to become the first port of call for all fans whenever they need... a plumber, decorator or even financial advice... Pam Gregory, Operations Director at Business Finder Ltd, said: 'With almost 5,000 fans visiting the Halifax Town official website each month, this is a great opportunity for businesses to harness the affinity between supporters and clubs to gain access to thousands of potential new customers. Football fans are very loyal to their clubs and a large proportion support businesses that support their team'".

4 July 2005


A report on the Youth team's last game of the season, a 10-0 win at Euxton, is now in the Youth section.


As Altrincham struggle to keep their finances on an even keel, our opponents on the opening day of the season have been revealed to be one of the top payers in the division. Stevenage Borough, who just missed promotion to the League last season when they lost the play-off final, are reportedly paying players up to £1,800 a week, according to yesterday's NL Paper. The paper also says that Stevenage offered one player £1,400 a week plus a free house and car. The NLP also pictures Colin Little as it states that "It's a day one clash for two of the Conference's sharpest strikers. Colin Little of Altrincham will face hitman Anthony Elding" of Stevenage.


The NL Paper clarifies new rules next season, which include:
  • Players must now stand at least 2 metres away from a throw-in.
  • A red card is now mandatory for any dangerous tackle, whether from behind or otherwise.
  • If a penalty kicker's side commits an infringement at a missed penalty kick, an indirect freekick is awarded to the opposition.
  • "To be offside, you have to have your head, body or feet in front of the second last opponent. The arms are not counted because you cannot play the ball with them". Otherwise, offside remains unaltered i.e. you can be on-side if you are not interfering with an opponent's "vision or him playing the ball, or actually touch the ball" to be offside.


    According to Herts-Essex News, "Stevenage assistant manager Andy Ford wants the club to emulate their Hertfordshire rivals Barnet and dominate the forthcoming Conference campaign from start to finish. Boro' begin the new season with a home game against newly-promoted Altrincham on August 13". Ford said, "It's important that we start well... You always like to get a home game first under your belt". The "club will be training at Bisham Abbey, a venue used regularly by the England national team, as their facilities at Shephalbury are being re-vamped and will not be available until September". Because of the transfer window, manager Graham Westley says, "Instead of allowing some of the youngsters to be loaned out, we will keep them at the club where we can develop them and, hopefully, give them a chance in the first team". But Boro "appear to have missed out on signing Northwich Victoria's Paul Brayson. It is thought that Boro' offered a contract to the striker... But Northwich boss Steve Burr is adamant that Brayson is staying with the club... It is unlikely that Stevenage will make any more signings until Westley returns from holiday" this week.

    Cambridge United 's supporters' trust chairman Dave Matthew-Jones has praised Sports Minister Richard Caborn for his role in saving the club. But United Finance Director, Nick Pomery said, "This is only the first hurdle. We still need to raise more money to get through the close season and to fund the CVA".

    Exeter City report that "Talks have taken place with both Wessex Trains and Devon County Council about schemes to promote increased use of St James Park Halt on Match days. Wessex Trains have given provisional agreement to increase the number of trains from Exmouth and the Park and Ride at Digby stopping at St James Park Halt on match days".

    Halifax Town's "skipper Steve Bushell has been found not guilty by the FA, after he was charged following an incident in the away game at Barnet back in April. The 32 year old, who broke his leg in a challenge with Liam Hatch in the second half of the game, was alleged to have reacted to abuse from a section of the Barnet fans as he was carried away on a stretcher". The club has also "announced that they will be using the expertise of fitness expert Ed Baranowski for the new season... The 45 year old has joined for the full season and is being funded by the University of Huddersfield". The Shaymen's boss said "Ed was a pioneer of diet and fitness under Dave Bassett at Sheffield United".

    "Nigel Clough has set his sights on a fourth Shrewsbury Town player" reports the Burton Mail. His "latest target is the versatile Jake Sedgemore". Clough said, "He's joining us for training". Meanwhile, "Former Gay Meadow skipper Darren Tinson is expected to become Albion's new defensive linchpin, with Clough confident that a deal is imminent. Winger Aiston, however, slipped the net yesterday after being offered terms by Tranmere Rovers... Clough is also monitoring former Hucknall Town striker Andy Todd, who is currently on trial with Oldham Athletic".

    This is Exeter states that "City new-boy Jon Challinor took part in his first training session... and immediately declared: 'This is 1,000 times better than what I'm used to'. Former Aldershot midfielder Challinor and fellow summer signing Billy Jones joined their new team-mates for the first time... [at] the Cat & Fiddle training ground". Challinor said of the ground, "It's unbelievable and one of the best I have seen... It is 1,000 times better than Aldershot's".

    This is HUFC quotes Hereford Utd's director of football Graham Turner about the closure of the transfer window on 31 August: "We are now thinking of a squad of 22 whereas before it probably would have been 18 at the start". Also, "Former Exeter City full-back Alex Jeannin has now signed a two-year contract and Turner has also agreed deals with two more ex-League players. But details will not be released until their current contracts expire".


    In the FA Vase 1QR draw (games on 17 September) both of our nearest neighbours are away in the North East:
  • Tow Law Town v Trafford
  • Esh Winning v Flixton Should they win, Trafford will be away again at Durham City or Eccleshill United and Flixton wil be away at Nelson.
    3 July 2005


    STAR, the Alty supporters' trust, had a popular stall at the Altrincham Festival on Saturday with Rocky Robin raising funds by keeping goal in a penalty-taking competition whilst Mark Murray hosted an adjacent bric-a-brac stall. Pictured above on the STAR stall are (l to r), Jean Maxwell, Karen and Grahame Rowley, with their home-made cakes and, at the foot of the picture, the Cheshire Senior Cup and the Nationwide Conference Promotion Play-Off Trophy, both won by Altrincham FC in 2004-05. In the preceding parade through Altrincham, the STAR personnel won the second prize, for their attire. Featuring in the parade was Geoff Goodwin's immaculate vintage coach (below), which was used to carry Aston Villa 40 years ago or more. Geoff, the Alty chairman and owner of Go Goodwins Coaches, is currently driving the Australian cricket team round England on their summer tour of England.

    Meanwhile, back at Moss Lane, painting work continued today and there will be a further session tomorrow, starting at 10am - all volunteers welcome! Also on Saturday the first-team, reserves and youth teams gathered for a pre-season training session at which Graham Heathcote, Neil Brown (Reserves' manager) and Tony Spilsbury (Youth team coach) ran their eyes over several trialists as well as many of last season's squads.

    Pictured below is the newly painted Carole Nash stand seen from the 20/20 End where volunteers were busy painting the crush barriers on Saturday. On the pitch, Neil Brown was watering the pitch which is recovering from the "slitting" done during the week to improve the drainage, by connecting the parallel drains which run lengthwise up the pitch. The first match on the pitch is on 16 July against Greenock Morton.


    Anthony Wealle, Altrincham Reserves' regular striker at the end of last season, has had to leave the club due to work commitments. Manager Neil Brown would like to thank Anthony for his hard work for the team in 2004-05 and to wish him well in his future career.


    Cambridge United's "three out-of-contract players will not be returning... At the end of last season, Andy Duncan, Adam Tann and Matt Somner were the three players on United's retained list whose contracts were due to expire on 30th June. Offers of new contracts were made to all three but their agent Richard Cody has confirmed to the club in writing that they will not be accepting... This leaves caretaker boss Rob Newman with just four contracted senior players when the players return on Monday... Midfielder Ashley Nicholls is the oldest of the four at 23, with 20-year-old Dan Gleeson starting his second season as a pro, and John Turner and Darren Quinton (both 19) as the only other professionals on the books. The club is unable to sign players or offer contracts whilst in administration". Newman said, "We've got seven lads coming in next week for us to have a look at them... We've got our first game on Saturday so we've got to have enough players to fill the team... We've got a team full of babies at the moment. We need some players in their mid-late 20s so that's what I'm looking for".

    The Daggers reports that Dagenham "forward Jack Midson has joined Bishop's Stortford on a free transfer".

    At Gravesend who, with Alty and Scarborough, are the only three founder-members of the Alliance/Conference National teams who are in the division in 2005-06, "are pleased to announce that James Smith has today signed a two year, full-time contract... Manager Liam Daish stated 'James, at 19, has a lot to offer this Club... He will add strength and pace to our defence'... James was signed for a four figure fee from Welling United FC; there are two additional four figure payments to be made following a fixed number of appearances".

    Kidderminster Harriers have signed right-back Wayne Evans (33). Evans joined Walsall in 1993 and made 200+ appearances. In 1999 he went to Rochdale where he made almost 300 appearances. Also, "The 20 year old son of MK Dons boss Danny Wilson, has agreed a 12 month contract with club." after a year at Burton Albion. Manager Steve Watkiss "has challenged Wilson, described as a strong 'box to box' midfielder, to force his way into the first team". Meanwhile, "Former WBA defender Daryl Burgess (34) is latest player to agree terms to join Kidderminster Harriers... Burgess, with almost 500 League appearances to his name, will be a vital component in a back four which will ooze experience this season... Harriers' conceded 85 league goals last season".

    Bet365 has Tamworth as 11/4 favourites for relegation, followed by Forest Green, Gravesend and Cambridge United. Joint fifth favourites for the drop are Altrincham, Burton A. and Canvey I. at 5/1. At the other end, title favourites are Hereford U. followed by Aldershot T. and Stevenage U.

    Stevenage Borough report that "For the fourth time in five years Boro will begin their Nationwide Conference campaign in front of their home fans at Broadhall Way, with the mouth-watering prospect of an early season visit to old rivals Woking following just four days later. Before the trip to Kingfield Stadium, Boro entertain newly promoted Altrincham at Broadhall Way on August 13. By coincidence the pair met six years ago on the opening day of the season the last time The Robins were in the Conference, this time at Moss Lane with Boro travelling home from Manchester with a single goal victory. Graham Heathcote’s side secured promotion with a 2-1 victory against Eastbourne Borough in the promotion final at the Britannia Stadium, 24 hours after Boro’s heartbreaking defeat to Carlisle United. In fact, opening day fixtures have proved successful for the club since its elevation to the Conference in 1994, just twice falling to defeat in 11 matches... Having said, that you have to go back four years to find the last victory... When blessed with home advantage Boro are unbeaten, winning three times from the six occasions they have played at home". Manager Graham Westley said, "I am confident that we will win our first game". Chairman, Phil Wallace added, "To host newly promoted Altrincham at home on the 13th August will be a test as they'll be flush from last season's promotion".

    2 July 2005


    Alty host Lincoln City at Moss Lane on 28 July and This is Lincs says that "Lincoln City unveiled 11 new faces yesterday...Left-back Paul Mayo (23) has rejoined the club from Watford... He is joined by another former Hornets player, 24-year-old striker Omari Coleman... Scarborough duo Colin Cryan (24) and Scott Kerr (23) have both penned two-year deals, while strikers Danny Bacon and Gary Birch signed last month. Defender Luke Foster has arrived from Sheffield Wednesday, while experienced former Swindon and Birmingham midfielder Steve Robinson (29) has signed a one-year contract. Midfielder Dean Keates... has agreed a one-year deal from relegated Kidderminster Harriers... Keates has revealed City boss Keith Alexander is planning a change of playing system for the coming season, which could see the Imps deviate from the 5-2-3 system they have deployed for the past three seasons... Alexander has also taken on two trialists... highly-rated Irish left back Jeff Hughes (19) has arrived from Larne, while former Notts County midfielder Willis Francis (19) has also been given a chance to impress".

    Alty also entertain Hednesford Town on 2 August and their manager Chris Brindley is "delighted after former Hinckley United goalgetter Chris Smith agreed to bring his considerable experience to the Pitmen's Nationwide North challenge" reports The Sentinel.


    IC Cheshire reports that "Former [Runcorn] Linnet Richard Acton is the new number one target as Runcorn FC Halton player-boss Steve Carragher looks to fill his goalkeeping vacancy... Acton served the Linnets last time they were in the UniBond League but lost form after an excellent start. He has since had spells in the Welsh League and Altrincham, and is still at Moss Lane. However, Carragher said: 'Richard is going to be number two at Altrincham as Stuart Coburn has just signed a new contract. 'It depends on him - does he want to be second choice there or number one at Runcorn? I have told him I need to know by the end of next week. I would definitely like him to come'... Whatever he decides, Acton could yet find himself on European Champions' League duty with TNS against Liverpool next month. The Welsh club's manager, former Runcorn [and Alty] striker Ken McKenna, has apparently approached Acton about going on the bench for the first qualifying round double-header".

    "Former Rotherham United star Shaun Goodwin has been cinfirmed as being Ally Pickering’s assistant-manager at Woodley Sports... Pickering said: 'He was very impressed and can see that Woodley Sports is a club that’s going places... [ex-Alty] striker Jamie Baguley has, however, now left Lambeth Grove" reports the Stockport Express.


    From Alty's first league opponents of the new season comes news that "Graham Westley, manager of Stevenage Borough, explained his decision to release Jimmy Dack from his coaching role at the club, [saying] "Time moves on and decisions get made". Westley has confirmed Andy Ford as his assistant, reports the clubwebsite.

    Hucknall's Andy Todd looks set to leave the club. He is "spending this week on trial at Oldham Athletic... [but] even if it doesn't work out at Boundary Park, the 26-year-old is almost sure to step up to the Conference National where both Southport and Hereford United have shown strong interest" says Hucknall Today.

    Woking "can now confirm that an offer has been accepted from Carlisle United for Raphael Nade. Carlisle have now been given permission to speak to the player to agree personal terms".


    In the FA Cup extra-preliminary round, local ties include:
  • Flixton v Hebburn
  • Cheadle Town v Abbey Hey

    Whilst in the prelimary round there is:

  • Trafford v Silsden, with the winners at home to Yorkshire Amateur or Newcastle Benfield (Bay Plastics) or Bedlington Terriers.