Altrincham Football Club News Archive
20 to 25 July, 2005

25 July 2005


Alty Reserves' home games will be on Wednesday evenings at Moss Lane this season. Entry will be free on production of a valid AFC season ticket book and just £2 to those without this. The fixtures are here


After Peter Band, Steve Hawes and James Olsen, Graham Heathcote has made his fourth summer non-contract signing in defender Karl Munroe (d.o.b. 23.9.1979). Karl was released by Swansea City after one league game in 1999 and joined Macclesfield Town. He spent much of last season at Halifax Town but in March 2005 he moved to Northwich Vics from the Shaymen having been earlier sidelined by injury. Six-footer Karl, who hails from Cheetham Hill, made his Alty debut as a sub at right back in a friendly against Morton on 16 July 2005 but he has since also played at centre-back.


Altrincham have four friendlies this week, two for the first team and two for the Reserves. On Tuesday 26th (7.45pm), the first team are away The Giant Axe against Lancaster City, whose manager Phil Wilson was "spying" on Alty at the Crewe game on Friday. Underlining how managers take even the friendlies very seriously, Bangor's Peter Davenport was spotted at the Trafford v Alty game last Thursday. The Lancaster game clashes with the Reserves' trip to Warrington Town (also 7.45pm). There is another clash of games on Thursday (28th) when the first team is at home to Lincoln City at Moss Lane and the reserves are away at Congleton Town. The NL Paper still has Alty's home game against Bangor City listed as this Friday - in fact it is on 9 August. Details of all the pre-season games and how to get to the away matches are here.


FC United of Manchester are featured across two pages of the NL Paper, whilst ex-Alty striker Josh Mitten is shown in colour on the front page. The squad photo of AFC United includes other ex-Robins, including former Youth keeper Barrie George who was 18 when he left us just over a year ago but is now 28 according to the caption! Also shown are Steve Torpey, Ryan Hevicon, ex-Reserve Ryan Gilligan, former Alty trialist Mark Rawlinson and in the match report former Reserve Adie Orr is mentioned, too. The article also reveals that Barrie's other job is as a shelf-stacker at Tesco whilst Ryan Hevicon is a labourer and Josh Mitten is described as a "plummer".

In Saturday's friendlies, Ian Craney was in action for Accrington.


The NL Paper reports that Stevenage, our first league opponents, have been hit by a transfer request from top scorer Anthony Elding who wants to play higher-grade football.

The Lambs website says that Tamworth "boss Mark Cooper has set a deadline of Tuesday for a decision about Andy Todd, who is still waiting to hear from Oldham regarding his future. 'If Andy doesn't come to the Lamb, I may look for another squad member, but may go with what we've got. I am undecided yet', Cooper said. Former Nottingham Forest 'keeper Alex Bacherini [has] impressed Cooper but he is leaving the final decision about who will be the Lambs' number one shot stopper to his goal keeping coach Mark Gayle".

Halifax Town report "that their home game with York City on Monday 29 August will now kick off at 5.15pm as the match will be shown live on Sky TV".

After having the freedom of watching football from wherever you liked inside virtually all Nationwide North grounds last season, there is a reminder from the Crawley Town website of the restrictions we will face this season at certain Conference grounds, such as York City's Kit Kat Crescent, where "Crawley fans have been allocated the Grosvenor Road terrace, with some seating available in the Popular Stand. Seating is reserved for away supporters in Popular Stand Section U (capacity 300). We also have standing behind the Grosvenor Road goal (Capacity 2,700). Popular Stand - Adults £14, Under 16s/OAPs £9. Standing - Adults £13, Under 16s/OAPs £8. Matchday programmes are £2.50".

24 July 2005


The full season's Lancit Lancashire League fixtures for Altrincham are now in the Reserves' section. All the home games will be at Moss Lane this season, normally on Wednesday evenings.


Above: "They also serve who only stand and watch": Alty had a full team on the terraces as well as on the pitch at Radcliffe. Here, in yellow, Gary Talbot and Adie Brocklehurst (who must share the same hairdresser) leave the pitch, whilst George Melling (back to camera) and another obscured player, are the object of interest from the non-playing squad and from Graham Heathcote (back to camera, far right). On the terraces, left to right are Kirk Hilton (in pale blue), Val Owen, Steve Garvey, Richard Norris, James Olsen, Mark Maddox, Colin Potts, Gary Scott, Stuart Coburn and Stephen Rose. See below for another picture of the game.

Match report here


Altrincham FC and Go Goodwins Coaches chairman Geoff Goodwin, who is personally driving the Australian cricket tourists round England this summer, gave a lively interview on Radio 5 Live yesterday. He has invited the Aussies to come to the Alty v Bangor match on 9 August and they have "all said they are coming". Geoff had previously converted some of the squad to following the fortunes of Altrincham FC via the website, having previously driven them on their tours of England. Adam Gilchrist is "a big Alty fan" and e-mails Geoff regularly to congratulate him when the Robins win. Geoff is known as "Popeye" to the Aussies, allegedly because of his rippling forearm muscles! Asked how he came to be involved at Moss Lane, Geoff said that he decided to get involved because the club owed his coach firm money and he thought that was the best way to get it back- but he ended up writing off the debt and becoming chairman! He also revealed that his 8 year-old son Jay could be England cricket's greatest hope as he has been coached in the nets by Ricky Ponting and team-mates!


"Former Nottingham Forest defender Gavin Hurran and ex-Boston United striker Lee Thompson are the two latest names to pledge their immediate futures to Kidderminster Harriers after the duo both agreed one-year deals. 19 year-old Hurran [was] released from the City Ground at the end of last season... Hurran and Thompson join Russ Penn and Jermain Hollis in signing deals at Aggborough this week" reports the club website.

York City's unofficial site reports that they "were comfortably defeated by Hartlepool United in their latest pre-season friendly at KitKat Crescent". Amongst the City players were a couple of names to strike fear into tannoy announcers everywhere: Farhad Afandiyeu and Levent Yalcin and the strikingly named Emmanuel Panther.

Grays Athletic have "signed 24 year-old midfielder Glenn Poole from Thurrock FC, Michael Kightly a former Southend United player, Tom Williamson who previously played for Canvey Island and Cameron Mawer. Vil Powell has left the club, his contract being cancelled by mutual consent". However, "The Club have made the decision to withdraw the Reserve Side from the Essex & Herts League, [but] will expand the youth section".

Accrington Stanley state that former Emley winger "Rory Prendergast has signed for League One side Blackpool for an undisclosed fee. The 26 year old winger came to Stanley from Bradford Park Avenue in 2002 and made over 100 appearances".

23 July 2005


Match report here on Friday's game.


Above: It's 1-0 as Gavin Salmon (in yellow, on left) moves in to finish off Wes Wilkinson's shot which had been parried by keeper Hurst.


The prize draw for the Altrincham FC Patrons, who have pledged £5 a week for 10 weeks over the close season was held at half-time yesterday. The winners were:
  1. Campbell McLay, who won a matchday sponsorship for ten people.
  2. Paul Daine, who won corporate hospitality for five people.
  3. Terry Surridge, who won corporate hospitality for five people.

The club is very grateful to the contributions of all the patrons. Details of the scheme can be found here.


Before last night's match, the Crewe Alex website said that for the game at Moss Lane, "Dario Gradi names a youthful looking back four and an inexperienced front line although Lee Bell and Ben Rix will be looking to impress their manager again as they look for a place in the midfield three" in the first team. Referring to "youngsters Nicky Maynard, Matthew Bailey and Kyle Wilson", Gradi said, "It's a chance for them to impress and they will have more chances... I'm quite reluctant to play them in this league [The Championship] when they're so young anyway so one of them might go out on loan. But they need to be able to play well against the likes of Altrincham as that is the level I would like them to go on loan to". Bailey, of course, had a successful loan spell at Altrincham in 2003-04 when he was with Stockport County.


The Greenock Morton website has video and photos of the game at Moss Lane last Saturday. Also the Stockport County supporters' trust site has photos not only of the Morton game but also of Alty's play-off final at Stoke.

STAR's Mark Murray reports that the DVD of Alty's greatest moments should be ready in mid-September. Editing is progressing and, Mark adds, "We just need to shoot and add a mystery bit of footage... and design and print covers".


Cambridge United confirm that they have come out of financial administration. Finance Director Nick Pomery said, "Now we can start the club again with a clean slate... We still need to develop a balanced budget and find ways to increase the amount of money available to Rob (Newman) for the first team squad... We need a final fund-raising effort to make the club fully secure for this season and the easiest way to do this would be to get a decent crowd at the match against Northampton Town on 30 July".

At Kidderminster Harriers, Directors Neil Savery and Wayne Allen say, "Now that the dust has settled on the takeover of shares at the club, we would like to say a few words to the supporters... As Chairman Barry Norgrove has stated on several occasions, we are first and foremost supporters of the club who attend almost every match, and therefore want to see entertaining and positive football and results as often as possible... Fellow director Mr. Howard will be arriving in the country in the next couple of weeks and will doubtless have some suggestions to make as well".

Meanwhile "Harriers are delighted to announce that trialist Russ Penn and youth teamer Jermain Hollis have both agreed to sign 12 month deals... Penn, formerly of Birmingham City, had spent the last three years in the youth system at Scunthorpe United... Hollis meanwhile, a product of Harriers' own youth team setup, made the breakthrough to the first team in the final game of last season".

Welsh Premier reports that "Caersws’s striker and former Vauxhall Masterfit Retailers Welsh Premier ‘Golden Boot’ winner Graham Evans was on the bench for Hereford United on Tuesday night. He was one of several trialists... He spent two seasons on contract with Aston Villa"


Alty Reserves play in the Lancashire League and the August fixtures were released a week ago. However, these have now been changed and the fixtures till the end of the season have also now been released.

Meanwhile, from Morecambe's site comes the following: "The Management Committee have been able to secure a main sponsor for the Lancashire Football League... The league will now be known as The Lancit Haulage Lancashire Football League. The initial period of sponsorship is for 2 years... It is part of the agreement that all reference to the league should be by its full title... Lancit Haulage... are a Lancaster based company... They undertake work both locally and nationally on behalf of a great many companies... League Chairman, Neil Marsdin added, "It is another step forward for the league... We now have 17 clubs, all from the upper level of Non League football".

22 July 2005


A goal in the 89th minute from ex-Macclesfield trialist Stephen Owens gave Alty their second 1-0 away win against NW Counties Division One opposition this week. Owens seized on a defensive error by Southwood and kept his head to get past keeper Gillies and knock the ball into the empty net. In the first half Alty fielded a strong eleven mainly featuring squad players with just two trialists included; Colin Bell at right back and Karl Munroe at centre-back. But ten changes were made at the interval, with Bell the only player to survive the cull. As at Cammell Laird the game was well contested and while Alty will have been pleased to have won, Trafford also acquitted themselves very well.

Match report here.


The funeral of former Altrincham Youth coach, Neil Thomason (46), who died on 6 July in Lanzarote, will be at Altrincham (Dunham) crematorium at 3pm on Friday, 29 July. For the benefit of those who have asked for directions, the crematorium is located off Sinderland Road, which is a left turn off the A56 heading towards Sale, immediately after the Altrincham Retail Park and the Cheshire Cheese pub on the left. About a mile and a half down Sinderland Lane, after passing the turn (on the right) to the recycling centre (tip), the crematorium is signed to the left. It lies about 100 yards down Whitehouse Lane.


SAM quotes Graham Heathcote after the win at Cammell Laird: "It was another good workout and this was about looking at players and seeing who is fit - having so many games in a week is not a normal situation but it means that all the players can get a game under their belt. We are in a position now where we can make decisions after the Radcliffe game and we have to trim down the squad now while getting in one or two players before the start of the season. I don't over-analyse pre-season games and I'm not interested in the result because our organisation, fitness levels and ability to retain the ball are all more important. It is not about being a good side on July 13 but on August 13. I hope we can keep the ball in our next two games as well as we did on Saturday but we need to start creating when we are in possession. When you play the Crewe Alexandra's of this world you know they will be able to keep the ball so it is going to be a tough test for us to see where we are in that respect".


At 7pm (NB time), Altrincham entertain a Crewe Alexandra XI at Moss Lane. Whilst there must be a chance that striker Matt Bailey, who had a loan spell at Moss Lane from Stockport County in 2003-04, may be in the visitors' squad, it seems that goalkeeper Ben Williams, another loan player at Alty that season, may be rested. But the Crewe websitereports that "After promising young goalkeeper Stuart Tomlinson injured his ankle... Ben Williams was not risked in the friendly against Northwich Victoria with young Welshman Owain fon Williams stepping up to the first team squad". Dario Gradi added, "I'm still not totally happy with the goalkeeping situation... We couldn't risk Ben... We could get a goalkeeper in on loan but then we would have to play him and that wouldn't be fair on Ben. He... deserves a chance to establish himself... In an ideal world I would like another young keeper like Ben Williams to come in and challenge for the number 1 spot - but that is unlikely".

Matt Bailey was a sub in the 1-0 win over Northwich. However, "Alex's new kit is unavailable "due to flash flooding in Romania and the inability to transport the merchandise to the UK".

Entry at Moss Lane tonight is £5 at the gate and £2 for concessionaries. Season ticket holders gain free entry.


Tamworth confirm that Julian Alsop has signed for The Lambs, despite being linked with one of his former clubs, Forest Green recently. The Lambs website says that "Julian is remembered at The Lamb for his 'unofficial fastest hat-trick in the world' timed at just over a minute at Armitage (Feb 18 1995) during his previous stint as a Tamworth striker". Alsop wil train for four days a week as he is studying accountancy on the other days.

Andy Todd of Hucknall Town played as a trialist for Burton Albion this week despite his recent trial at Oldham Athletic.

21 July 2005


Match report here.

Right: Aaron Wilford (in yellow), scorer of Alty's goal.


Our opponents tonight (Thursday), Trafford FC will be hoping that keeper John Gillies proves as unbeatable against Altrincham as he did for Altrincham on Tuesday at Cammell Laird, when he played on loan. Our Shawe View neighbours' manager Danny Johnson also reveals on the club website "that both Franny and Graham Vaughan will be with us for the start of the new season. Both the brothers... have turned down excellent offers from FC United... This also goes to show that it's not all about the money, Mr Glazer... I can also confirm that Phil Carratt has returned to the club following spells at Northwich Victoria and Woodley Sports... and I have told him to go out and regain his enjoyment for the game".

Alty's next game after Trafford is at home on Friday (NB 7pm) against Crewe Alexandra who beat Northwich Vics 1-0 on Tuesday. Manager Steve Burr said, "We were able to see that we are capable of playing a good passing game on the excellent surface at our new stadium... [before] another good crowd", he told their website.

On Saturday there is a 3pm k.o. for Radcliffe Borough v Altrincham. All the friendlies and directions to the above venues are listed here.


Aty's away Cheshire Senior Cup tie at Woodley Sports will be on Monday, September 12th. Woodley have laid a new artifical pitch this summer.


A list and brief details of Altrincham's trialists is here.


The new unofficial FC United of Manchester website has a match report mentioning ex-Alty men Barrie George, Adie Orr, Ryan Hevicon, Steve Torpey and Josh Mitten.


Amongst Tuesday's friendlies involving local sides were:
  • Colwyn Bay 1 Leigh RMI 0
  • Witton Albion 0 Greenock Morton 2


    England international games continue to cause problems for non-league fans as Southport's match v Gravesend is moved to a 12.30pm kick-off on 3 September. Travelling over 200 miles by lunchtime will mean a dawn start! Alty may face a similar dawn trek later in the season as their game at Canvey also clashes with an England game.

    The York City unofficial site says that "Trialist defender Nathan Peat appears set to become York City's latest signing... The 22 year-old former Hull City left-back spent the first half of last season on loan at Lincoln City and completed thirteen senior appearances". York's trialists include "former Scarborough trio James Dudgeon, David Pounder and Ryan Mallon, ex-Preston North End striker Joe O'Neill and one-time Bradford City junior Danny Ekoku".

    "Stuart Watkiss and Gary Barnett, the managerial duo of Kidderminster Harriers, are considering pulling their boots on again because of the club's shortage of players. The new consortium at Aggborough has pledged to meet the £500,000 budget agreed with Watkiss before they took over, but they have warned that level of funding will not be available immediately. At the moment Watkiss has just fifteen available players... Now 39, Watkiss, a centre-half who played for Wolves, Crewe, Walsall, Hereford and Mansfield, hasn¹t turned out since April 1998 when he retired because of an ankle injury. Much-travelled winger Barnett, 42, last played competitively in Harriers' first Football League season five years ago". Watkiss said, "The board are some way short of making up the budget to £500,000 and we are short of players", reports their website. But later the same site says that "Stuart Watkiss confirmed to the press that Harriers' assistant Manager Gary Barnett has left the club". The boss said, "Gary's departure is in no way a footballing decision, and that is a decision that was made by the board...

    "Sadly it's a financial decision". However, "Former Boston United striker Lee Thompson has joined on a trial basis ahead of tonight's pre-season clash with Walsall at Aggborough".

    Halifax Town say that Peter Atherton has joined them from Bradford City.

    Grays Athletic report that "Following Gary Hooper's week long trial with Reading FC, the Championship side are said to be impressed with the youngster both on and off the pitch and will continue to watch him... The club have no intention of selling him at this time".

    20 July 2005


    The new Alty faces at Cammell Laird last night (see below) were:
  • John Gillies, Trafford's new, ex-Chorley keeper, who was loaned to us due to Stuart Coburn's tight hamstring and Richard Acton's substitute duties with TNS against Liverpool.
  • Liam Brownhill, an Altrincham-born 18 year-old defender ex-Stockport County.
  • Colin Bell, a defender released by TNS recently. Formerly with Rochdale, Bury and Chester Reserves.
  • Lee Robinson - midfielder whose former clubs include Crewe, Burnley, York, Wigan and Telford but he has recently been coaching in Canada.
  • Aaron Wilford (23) - striker who was with Stalybridge last season but former clubs also include Whitby Town, Lincoln City, York City, Darlington and Clyde.
  • Nehru McKenzie, ex-Hyde midfielder.


    Every season manager George Heslop has to rebuild a side as the 18 year-old age limit dictates who is eligible for the Altrincham Youth team. With the help of coach, Tony Spilsbury, the team got off to a good start to their pre-season with a 3-1 win at Warrington Town last Sunday. A match report is in the Youth Section.

    Also courtesy of George Heslop, the Allied Trophies League fixtures for the youth team are at the above link, though these have only been issued till mid-February so far. In addition you will find the Youth Team's cup fixtures and also the games for the Altrincham & District FA Youth side, which is also managed by George and Tony.


    Of last year's end of season squad, everyone was involved against Morton on Saturday except: Stuart Coburn, Steve Aspinall, Lewis Chalmers, Gary Talbot, George Melling, Eddie Hussin, Stephen Rose, Gary Scott, Paul Tilley, Marcus Hallows and Rod Thornley. Stuart, Steve, Eddie, Stephen, Gary, Marcus and Rod were all either carrying minor knocks or awaiting/recovering from surgery and George played for the Reserves on Saturday. With four games in five days this week, manager Graham Heathcote can be expected to give everyone who is a fit a run out - as well as casting an eye over the trialists (see news for 18 July below). NL Daily says that trialist Lee Richardson, listed in last Saturday's Alty programme, but not in the squad against Morton, is the "veteran Halifax Town, Watford, Blackburn, Oldham, Huddersfield and Chesterfield midfielder".


    "Crawley Town manager Francis Vines has agreed a three-year extension to his contract [after]... winning an amazing 7 senior trophies since taking over as caretaker boss in February 2003" reports the club's website.

    Forest Green have signed Abdou Sall, released by Kidderminster and Sekani Simpson from Bristol City.