Altrincham Football Club News Archive
7 to 10 July, 2005

10 July 2005


SAM quotes Alty manager Graham Heathcote on the return to training of his players: "I had told them not to come back expecting to start to get fit but to be fit to begin with and I was pleased with what I saw, they all worked very hard". So far as recruiting new faces is concerned, Graham said, "I thought I had a player sorted out but he opted to go to another Conference National club. Quite clearly other clubs are able to offer far greater financial packages so it makes it difficult for us". As for the new season, Graham added, "I've already read that Stevenage have already said they expect to win the first game now they know it's us and that's fine because people can say what they want. We'll just prepare in a professional manner and give it our best shot". The Alty boss is also keen to find "new volunteers to help out at the club, especially on matchdays". He said that director "Grahame Rowley and his family have worked tirelessly, as have a lot of other volunteers at the club, but it is still a very big workload for only a few people".

Work continued at Moss Lane today to tidy up the ground for next Saturday's opening home fixture against Greenock Morton. This included making good the remaining scars to the pitch caused by the recent slitting work to improve drainage, weed removal, edging of the pitch area, disposal of old ground-cover sheets, painting and general tidying up. As ever, the club is very grateful to all the volunteers and hopes to see others today (Sunday) from 10am.


NL Daily reports that "Goals from Fredi Kanouté, Mido and Jermain Defoe helped Tottenham Hotspur to a comfortable pre-season win over Stevenage Borough", our first league opponents this season. The Boro's website now lists the squad numbers for 2005-06. Alty have yet to issue theirs but it is believed that they will be based on the numbers used in the play-off final at Stoke in May.


Right: Former Alty Youths, Lee Shillito (in red, centre) in action against QoS, whilst Ian Taylor walks along the touchline. RMI Man of the Match, Steve Smith, looks on.

International football came to Hilton Park as a Leigh RMI side including a number of ex-Altrincham Youth players drew 1-1 against Queen of the South, of Dumfries, from the Scottish 1st Division. Ex-Moss Laners who played included Lee Shillito (on the right wing), Ian Taylor (sub, on the left), Mark Drew (in centre midfield), Liam Coyne (at centre-back), Adam Girdlestone and Graham Tench (both subs), whilst the spectators included two other Leigh players who were at Alty Youth, defenders Pat Claffey and Matt Tooth, the latter recovering from a dislocated shoulder. On behalf of the players Pat Claffey sent condolences to the Thomason family on the recent untimely death of their former Alty Youth team coach, Neil Thomason (reported below).

Former Alty loanee from Stockport County, Jamie Baguley, has moved from Woodley Sports to Ashton United.


"Southport have signed one of non-League football's hottest properties - left-sided midfielder Matty McGinn from Runcorn FC Halton... McGinn was a regular in Southport reserves and then played for Runcorn when Liam Watson was in charge". Manager Watson commented: "I am discussing Matty's move with Runcorn due to him being under 24. We will come to an agreement". Also "Watson admitted he is hot on the heels of a 19-year-old who played in the Football League last season". The manager told IC Sefton "big name signings" are "noT my style...The players I sign make their names at Haig Avenue"

"With only 10 senior players on Aldershot's books at this time", their manager is looking at trialists. "With no Phil Warner, Brett Johnson, Will Antwi or Ray Warburton for next season, the defence will need further strengthening - and with Tim Sills the only recognised striker on a contract at the club, at least one more hitman should be arriving" reports Shotsweb. NL Daily adds that "Aldershot Town have announced that their [home] fixture against Crawley Town is to be featured live on Sky Television. The match will now be played on Monday, September 5th... Meanwhile, the club have confirmed that talks with midfielder, [captain], and the 2004/05 player of the season Steve Watson were progressing well"

Ex-Conference men in the news... "Gary Mills, manager of Alfreton Town, has added signings numbers 5 and 6 to his pre-season tally with Neil Ross, 22, and Shaun Smith, 32, the latest to arrive... Ross is a 6'1'' striker who began as a trainee with Leeds United... has had spells with Northwich Victoria, Tamworth and last season with Halifax Town... Left-back Shaun Smith will add a huge amount of experience to the Reds defence having been captain for the majority of his 442 appearances at Crewe Alexandra". He was at York City last season.

"Francis Vines, manager of Crawley Town, has made his second signing of pre-season, securing the services of experienced winger Lee Elam. 28 year-old Elam, who began his career at Bradford City, has vast experience of the Conference, with spells at Southport, Morecambe (twice), Halifax Town and Yeovil Town" reports the clubwebsite.

"Striker Julian Alsop trained with Tamworth and later had talks with manager Mark Cooper about a possible return to the club". Cooper added that he "regarded the prospects of getting his man as 50-50, aware of the fact that other clubs are after him. The 6ft 4in Alsop... was last with Forest Green Rovers... Hugh McAuley is definitely a Tamworth player despite vibes to the contrary that he had signed for Northwich Victoria... Turner is also running the rule over four or five trialists. Goalkeeper Chris Neal [is] out of the equation, having gone to Chester City on loan. However, Cooper is closely monitoring the situation regarding ex-Sheffield Wednesday keeper Chris Adamson. James Francis has signed a contract, while striker Karl Rose remains a non-contract player with Lambs" reports the club website.

Forest Green's Club Secretary confirms on their Forum that "both Mark Danks and Darren Davies have signed new contracts for next season on a full time basis. Tom Gould has left the club by mutual consent".


The Chester Daily Post says that "Chester City have received a five-figure offer from ambitious Conference North club Droylsden for goalkeeper Wayne Brown and central defender Richard Hope".
9 July 2005


Runcorn's Matty McGinn, who had been linked with Altrincham for next season, has signed for Southport according to the Southport Visiter.

Woking chairman, John Buchanan told the Supporters’ Club AGM that "He understood that Raphael Nade had agreed personal terms with Carlisle earlier that day... John confirmed earlier that Carlisle had agreed to pay an upfront fee of £20,000, with clauses relating to appearances which could increase the fee to as much as £50,000". Meanwhile Jon Boardman was "offered a new contract last Christmas. He had been expected to sign but Rochdale made a last-minute contract offer" and when Luke Oliver left, "Yeovil had dealt very fairly with us over compensation". As for the ground, "the general intention was to build a new stand, with perhaps 3,000 seats... other parts of the site would be used for housing and/or a hotel".

The Burton Mail says that "Republic of Ireland under-21 international winger Keith Gilroy has signed a two­year contract with Burton Albion". He was formerly at Scarborough.

"Lee Turnbull, manager of Barrow, continues his search for a striker when he runs the rule over a former Doncaster Rovers hitman, Ben Jackson... although Halifax Town are also interested in the player", states the NW Evening Mail.

NL Daily says that "Dean Thomas, manager of Hinckley United, has secured the services of midfielder Sam Shilton from Burton Albion". He is Peter Shilton's son.

"Scarborough are tracking former Newcastle United trainee midfielder Mark Boyd... Nick Henry is hoping that the 23-year-old will make a loan switch from current club, Gretna" says Scarborough Today.

Cambridge News states that "Dan Gleeson... the 20-year-old right-back is one of just four players under contract for next season but has missed pre-season training after an operation to resolve a respiratory problem".

This is Thurrock quotes Grays manager Mark Stimson after the release of striker Leroy Griffiths: "We don't need a striker, we've got six and I'm happy with that... Ideally we want a squad of 20 to 21 players so we need three or four to get us to that total".

This is Exeter confirms that "Hopes of engineering a deal to secure Marcus Martin for a further season have been dashed after cash cuts priced Exeter City out of a potential deal... with their Plymouth Argyle counterparts over extending the youngster's loan period for another year". Manager Alex Inglethorpe said, "My budget has been cut by 20%". Meanwhile "Exeter City players are being put through their paces as they embark on a gruelling endurance visit to the Royal Marine Commando Training Centre at Lympstone".

This is Glos quotes Forest Green chairman Trevor Horsley: "I never actually thought we were going to go down with the things that were going on in the background at Northwich... Somewhere in the back of my mind I always knew there would be a problem with Northwich" - and that is what reprived Rovers from relegation. He added, "Going into a new stadium next year, with bigger commercial outlets and sources of income streams, then we want to look at top six... We need to stabilise this year".

This is KHFC says that the "Harriers go into the first friendly... with the close-season take-over saga still hanging over them... The Barry Norgrove-led consortium must do without the financial clout of Bermuda-based businessman Gordon Howard who is believed to have pulled out of the deal... Despite Howard's withdrawal, the consortium's commitment to invest £300,000 now and £100,000 over the next year still stands". The Kiddy official site quotes manager "Stuart Watkiss- 'It's got to a point where my job has become impossible. I've managed to put up with the situation throughout the summer, but now it has all come to a head and must be resolved immediately'. The delay now means Harriers' recently announced signings - Martin O'Connor, Michael Blackwood, Wayne Evans, Daryl Burgess, Terry Fleming and Laurie Wilson - will not play on Saturday whilst Harriers' bid to sign Scunthorpe midfielder Gareth Sheldon has also been thrown into doubt... Watkiss admitted he had been seriously considering cancelling Saturday's friendly but has assured Bewdley that he will honour the agreement'".

Herts-Essex News reports that "Stevenage chairman Phil Wallace is refusing to back down in his threat of legal action against the Non-League Paper... after the newspaper ran an article in which writer Colin Mafham suggested that Boro' were one of the Conference's 'big spenders'. NLP editor David Emery said, "We printed our article in good faith".


NL Daily reports that "Nuneaton’s top two sports clubs will have a new stadium by the New Year, providing planning permission is approved... The current Liberty Way stadium will be refurbished to provide a home for both clubs, with a capacity of 2,500 for the first season. Nuneaton Borough will begin the 2005/06 campaign at their existing Manor Park base, before moving home... Boro and the Nuns will have their own separate clubhouses".
8 July 2005


It is with the deepest regret that we have to record the sudden and very premature death of Neil Thomason who, until the end of last season, was the coach to Altrincham FC's successful youth team. Neil died on Wednesday whilst on holiday in Tenerife. The deepest condolences of all at the club go to Neil's wife and family as well as to all the lads who benefited from his skills and knowledge in the Altrincham youth set-up. In partnership with Alty youth team manager George Heslop and, more recently also with Tony Spilsbury, Neil was a major factor in the success of the Altrincham youth team over recent years. As well as his coaching duties, Neil performed virtually every task imaginable in connection with the youth team, including minibus driving to away games, serving as physio and off-field fundraising. He was a very popular figure both amongst his youth team colleagues and players but also, more widely, at Moss Lane. Because of his work commitments with BT, Neil had had to resign from his role with the youth team at the end of last season but, knowing Neil, he would no doubt have continued to give every assistance possible to George, Tony and the youth players over future years in an unofficial capacity. On a personal note, Neil was a great help to this website and his lively banter from the touchline always made youth team games pleasurable to attend. Neil is pictured above (left) at the end of the 2003-04, with George Heslop (right), displaying the league and cup trophies won by Altrincham FC that season. Neil's outstanding contribution to the youth team was marked on 28 May this year when a well-deserved presentation was made to him at the Youth Team Presentation Night to mark his retirement as coach.


Altrincham FC has been getting firmly involved in the local community with two initiatives involving local schools. Firstly, in a three-way partnership involving the football club, Trafford Leisure Services and Blessed Thomas Holford School (off Urban Road), the club has been able to use the school's sports facilities for training. Agreement has also been reached for the school to provide additional parking for spectators at Moss Lane. This will cost £1 with the money going to the school which is having a new all-weather pitch laid which Altrincham FC will be able to use for training purposes. The existing car park at Moss Lane will become a ticket-only facility this season, though the way in which this will work has not been finally decided.

Further initiatives have seen several local schools sign up for "tours" of Moss Lane. Broomwood Primary were the first to come, this week, and they will be followed by Altrincham CofE Primary, The Willows Primary and Moss View Primary (Partington).


To fulfil the requirement that Conference National games are videoed, for clarifcation of disciplinary matters, a gantry will be erected on the half-way line at the front of the Popular Side for the start of this season.

The Broadband Channel will be at Moss Lane on 16th July filming the ground and interviewing club personnel for a feature on Altrincham FC. When it becomes clear where the resulting video will appear, it will be posted here.


Alty Director Grahame Rowley has passed me the following press release, composed by longtime supporter Paul Brady. Paul was one of the volunteers in the ground painting and tidying team last weekend and having observed the problem the club is having with pigeons, since last season's reseeding of the pitch, he penned the following:


New 'wingers' wanted

Altrincham Football Club (The Robins) are looking for new 'wingers' to help their preparations for a return to Nationwide Conference football.

But it's not the footballing variety they are after. It's falcons to deter pigeons that have been feathering their nests at the club's Moss Lane ground.

Club manager and secretary Graham Heathcote said: "Pigeons are soiling the stands and terraces, causing a lot of repetitive work for the volunteers who are helping prepare the stadium for the new season.

"They have been enjoying meals from the newly seeded pitch and then leaving their mark in various parts of the ground after nature has taken its course.

"We are hoping that a local falconer would like to exercise his or her birds around the ground - which is close to both a brook and a golf course and may make a suitable area in which to fly them.

"Hopefully this will persuade the pigeons that it will be a good idea to fly the roost and leave us to carry on with our painting and ground maintenance without having to clear up after them all the time." Anyone who may be able to help can contact the club's offices on 0161 952 4506 (or 928-1045).


The Alty supporters' trust, STAR, "will be running a predictions league this season giving you the chance to prove your psychic knowledge of football and predict all our results correctly now before the season even starts! Usual rules, 3 points for a correct score, 1 point for a correct outcome, nil points for a complete miss. Entry forms are on the STAR site for you to print off. Top of the table at the end of the season wins £50. All entrants go into the prize draw at the first home game of the season for a 2005/6 Alty replica shirt (kindly donated by Ian Senior). All for a measly £2 entry fee."


Our neighbours and pre-season opponents, Trafford FC quote manager Danny Johnson about approaches to his players: "Yes, FC United have approached both Franny and Graham Vaughan along with Tony Coyne". The Vaughans "will be training with FC United this week and will be making a decision on what they will be doing this season over the next week or so".


Accrington Stanley "striker Lee McEvilly has signed for Wrexham for an undisclosed fee. The 23 year old... made 57 appearances for Stanley, notching up 25 goals". He joined Stanley from Rochdale but played against Alty before that for Burscough.

"Following the announcement of the resignation of Alan Barnard as Chairman of Grays Athletic FC, the Club Secretary Phil O'Reilly wishes to confirm this is true". However, Micky Woodward, the main funder, is still at the club. At the club "Twenty or more trialists (some from abroad) are currently training... Subject to agreement by both parties Nicholas Eyre (goalkeeper) from Spurs will be signing a two-year contract tomorrow".

Tamworth are reported to have signed Hugh McAuley (ex Aldershot) and Jimmy Turner (ex Farnborough).

The Seadogs website reports that Lincoln's "new signing Scott Kerr says his former club Scarborough were guilty of making a 'schoolboy error" which allowed him to slip through their fingers and join The Imps on a free transfer... City are in possession of a letter from the FA which states the Leeds-born player was a free agent because the Seadogs failed to offer him a new contract within the required time, as laid down in their rules". Kerr told The Lincolnshire Echo. "I was told Scarborough should have sent me the offer by May 7... However, they were a week late in doing that, which is a schoolboy error... so there's no chance of them getting compensation now". The Seadogs chairman Malcolm Reynolds responded "The rules are quite clear. Scott was under 24 on the 30 June 2005 and an offer had been made to him. We are therefore entitled to a fee". He added, "Having paid him over £70,000 during his time here I’m disappointed that he sees fit to accuse us of errors".

This is York says that "Released City defender Sean Davies is on trial at Cambridge United. Davies, 20, has joined cash-strapped Cambridge, who are currently in administration, for pre-season training".

Scarborough Today reports that "Boro head coach Nick Henry was happy with his players' efforts after their first pre-season training session" which included "former Aston Villa and Team Bath keeper Antoni Pecora and ex-Bradford City striker Sean Clifford (19)". More trialists will be assessed including 21-year-old French defender Jen-Yves Foupa Fomat, who turned out for Racing Club Paris last season.

This is KHFC says that Kiddy manager Stuart Watkiss "has insisted he is not assembling a `Dad's Army' with the signing of another 30-something. Midfield hardman Terry Fleming, 32, is Kidderminster Harriers' sixth new recruit of the summer on a 12-month deal and their fourth over the 30 age bracket". The manager said, "I'll make no apologies for bringing older players in because we do need experience but it's all about getting the balance right and I'm working hard to bring in some younger athletic players to complement them".

Halifax Today says "Gary Brabin hopes to complete a remarkable recovery by joining Halifax Town - 18 months after being told he could die if he ever set foot on a football pitch again... [He] was playing for League of Wales outfit TNS at Connah's Quay in January last year when he found himself unable to breathe properly... and initial examinations discovered that he had a heart condition". Brabin said, "I have come here to see how it goes, but I will continue to see the specialist as well".

From This is Exeter comes news that "Exeter City boss Alex Inglethorpe has drawn up a wish-list of potential frontmen in a bid to replace master marksman Sean Devine... Inglethorpe has been hit with a £130,000 budget cut ahead of next season's Conference assault... [He] has currently only got three recognised strikers - Steve Flack, Jake Edwards and Lee Phillips... he also hopes to recruit a new wide-man....[but] winger Gareth Sheldon remains locked in talks with Kidderminster Harriers over a possible switch to the Midlands club".

Cambridge News states that "Adam Tann could be on his way to Reading after joining [them] on trial". But "David Bridges could be on the verge of a return to Cambridge United after being brought in on trial by caretaker-manager Rob Newman... The 22-year-old midfielder turned down a one-year deal with United last summer, but trials at American Major League side New England Revolution, Chesterfield and Rushden & Diamonds failed to bear fruit... Newman is also looking at former Boston midfielder Lee Thompson and ex-York defender Sean Davies... Newman has also made his first moves to bring in a keeper to replace John Ruddy after his £250,000 move to Everton. He is looking at former Southend stopper Danny Gay".

Aldershot Town boss Terry Brown "will give two ex-Aldershot Town players the chance to re-instate themselves in this season's squad... Defender Mark Peters and striker Jamie Taylor return" for a pre-season game... Former Farnborough Town and ex-West Ham striker Bertie Brayley will also be trialling". After a trial game, Brown said, "Last year there was one player that we thought could potentially be a signing, this year there’s eight... Loans will also be a big part of the squad".

7 July 2005


The Robins' Shop has a small quantity of the Football Manager 2005 PC Game still available at a discount price of £10. If you would like one, please contact the club on 928-1045 or e-mail Grahame Rowley


Wednesday's MEN has a feature on FC United of Manchester and their signing of former Alty striker Jonathan Mitten. It relates how Mitten is the great-nephew of the legendary United player, Charlie Mitten (who also managed Altrincham in the early 1960s). "Several UniBond League clubs chased the 28 year-old Mitten after being released by Altrincham but [manager Karl] Marginson said, 'He is a big United fan and wanted to play for us'".


The BBC says that "Halifax Town boss Chris Wilder has included veteran duo Peter Atherton and Gary Brabin in his pre-season plans. Ex-Bradford defender Atherton, 35, and former Hull midfielder Brabin, 34, have started training with the Shaymen. 'There is nothing concrete. We will have a look at them and they will have a look at us', Wilder said.

The Stevenage Borough website reports that "Phil Wallace, chairman of Stevenage Borough, returned from a short holiday and made his first call of the day to the club’s lawyers... Wallace said: 'We're all getting sick and tired of the ‘Non-League Paper’ printing outrageous statements and prejudice to sell papers. Their reports have never been the most accurate but their policy of using freelance writers that I understand only get paid if an article is printed, has led some writers to manipulate the truth more and more to get a story printed, hiding behind key words like 'reported' and 'believed' that they think will protect them from litigation. Well we've all been around the block and there are some things that you don't let go... Apart from the mind-boggling figures quoted, which the writer Colin Mafham must have obtained from his local lunatic asylum, there is the knock on effect for all clubs from such irresponsible press... To quote figures like £1,800 a week wages for Anthony Elding, £1,400 for Darryn Stamp plus free houses and cars is so deep in fantasy land that it brings the whole concept of what the Conference is trying to achieve into disrepute. We will write to Lincoln and we will take legal advice on the action we can take if they have tried to entice one of our players'".

NL Daily reports from Witton Albion that "In something of a coup for the Wincham Park outfit, former England National Game international goalkeeper Jon Kennedy has been signed, despite interest from a number of other clubs, including Nationwide North outfits. Kennedy, 24, joined Accrington Stanley just prior to the start of the 2003/04 season after being released by Sunderland"

NL Daily also confirms that Gravesend & Northfleet striker "Roy Essandoh is set to train with Kettering Town... The move for Essandoh comes after Wilson revealed that Kettering were the mystery club wanting to sign former Burton Albion and England semi-professional international striker Christian Moore from rivals Worcester City".

Portchat reports that Southport reserve goalkeeper "Ian Lowe will be staying with the club, but going on a season loan to Warrington Town" whom we meet in a pre-season game.

Kidderminster Harriers confirm that Grimsby's Terry Fleming (32) has joined the club. "Harriers' boss Stuart Watkiss said: 'He's a tough character and a winner; the type of player any team that wants to be successful needs in their side... Meanwhile talks are still ongoing between Harriers and Mansfield over the future of Chris Beardsley whilst Mark Rawle has joined Barnet on trial".

Exeter report that "The 2003 Licensing Act will come into effect in November 2005, and over the next two months there will be noticeable changes in and around St James Park". The new Act requires the licensee "to become a designated 'Premises Supervisor'". Also because the charge for Magistrates' Courts to grant licence extensions will rise from £10 to £37, Exeter City will change the 'permitted hours' of opening.