Altrincham Football Club News Archive
26 to 29 July, 2005

29 July 2005


Match report here

This is Lincs reports on Lincoln's game at Altrincham saying "Lincoln City were held to their first pre-season draw as they did everything but find the back of the net at a rain-swept Altrincham. Such was their dominance, keeper Alan Marriott only had one save to make... But he could only watch as his strikers drew a blank at the other end". (I don't remember Stuart Coburn making too many either, ed.!)

"Both sides took time to settle in awful conditions, which saw heavy rain falling on a pitch still showing visible signs of summer drainage work". After half-time "The Imps looked as comfortable as they had done in the opening 45 minutes, but struggled to turn their superiority in to clear-cut chances...The result left the Imps with 10 victories and a draw from their 11 pre-season outings". But "Imps boss Keith Alexander was far from disappointed with his side's performance at Moss Lane last night, despite seeing them fail to win for the first time in 11 outings. Heavy rain and a pitch badly scarred by summer drainage work, made conditions far from ideal, but City dominated for long spells against the Conference newcomers. 'We controlled it from start to finish and Alan Marriott was only forced to make one save', said Alexander".

Pictures from after the game, below...


Striker, Lutel James (dob 2 June 1972), who made his debut for Alty last night, has now signed non-contract forms for Altrincham, as has goalkeeper Richard Acton. Lutel's early career was at Selby Town, Yorkshire Amateurs and Scarborough before he joined Guiseley. From there he moved to Hyde in 1996. He joined Bury from Hyde in 1998 but they released him at the start of the 2000-01 campaign. Lutel next joined Accrington Stanley where he had a prodigious scoring record. In November 2004 he went on three-months' loan to Droylsden but picked up an injury. He is a St Kitts & Nevis international.


The funeral of Neil Thomason (46), who was Alty Youth's coach till the end of last season, takes place today at Altrincham Crematorium (3pm). SAM has an affectionate tribute to Neil. In it, Graham Heathcote says that "It's due to people like Neil that this football club has revIved itself", whilst Youth manager George Heslop added, "Due to Neil's coaching, we were always the fittest team at our level and when we played Barnsley in the FA Youth Cup, even they were surprised at the fitness levels of our players".The thoughts of all at the football club remain with Neil's wife, Karen, and their three sons.


Above left: Nehru McKenzie leads Kieran Lugsden off the pitch, right: Lewis Chalmers, Lutel James and Gary Williams.


NL Daily reports on recent friendlies: "Exeter City went down to a 2-1 defeat against Nottingham Forest... Cambridge United travelled to former rivals Scunthorpe United and lost 2-1 to a near full-strength hosts... Morecambe picked up their second win of pre-season with a 1-0 victory over Kendal Town... Leyton Orient beat Grays Athletic 2-0 in a physical encounter at The Rec... Two goals from Nigerian striker Stanley Udenkwour helped Scarborough to a 3-0 win at Bridlington... Woking and Yeovil Town met at Kingfield, but the now Coca-Cola League One side comfortably won 2-0".


Alty beat Lancaster last Tuesday but "Phil Wilson's toughest night in football finished with five players being released after Lancaster City's boss spent an evening of soul searching. Faced with a cut to his budget, Wilson had to trim his squad and that was a task made even harder by trialists impressing during pre-season games. In the end, veteran Martin Clark, striker Chris Ward, defender Stuart Howson and midfielder Chris Thompson were told they were all surplus to requirements at Giant Axe. Polish trial player Ariel was also told he had no City future. 'It was my most difficult night in football', Wilson said".
28 July 2005


Alty meet Lincoln City tonight at Moss Lane. This is Lincs reports that "Delighted Imps' boss Keith Alexander has landed striker Maheta Molango on a year-long loan deal from Championship side Brighton... The Swiss-born striker, who had a spell at Spanish side Atlético Madrid, has been a revelation in his trial period with the Imps, scoring four goals in as many outings... However, heading for the Sincil Bank exit is defender Jack Hobbs. The 16-year-old will undergo a medical at Anfield today to put the seal on his dream move to European champions Liverpool".

Meanwhile "Giant defender Jamie McCombe is set to play with specially made foam supports in his boots to combat painful shin splints... The 6ft 6in centre-half is hoping to play some part in tonight's friendly at Conference newcomers Altrincham (7.45pm). But new midfield signing Steve Robinson is still sidelined by a foot injury". Keith Alexander said, "It will be another strong side which plays tonight - it's going to be another test for us as we look to prepare for the League Two season."

Last night a "Lincoln City XI lifted the Sleaford Invitation Cup on Wednesday evening, thanks to a 3-1 victory over Sleaford Town" reports the Imps' website. In that game, former Hucknall striker "Danny Bacon produced a neat finish from just outside the area".


Alty Youth got off to a good start in the Umbro Youth tournament at Manchester University's grounds yesterday, beating Stockport Junior Blues 6-1 and Norton Juniors of Rochdale, 11-0. Match reports are in the Youth section.


Match report here.


SAM says that "Alty manager Graham Heathcote is searching for the final piece in the jigsaw to complete his squad... Heathcote said a striker would now be his main priority to ensure his team are strong enough to compete at the next level. ... [Karl] Munroe became the fourth player to arrive at Moss Lane this summer". Already Munroe has played for Alty "in every position across the back four. He can also play in midfield if required and it is this versatility that Heathcote believes will be Munroe's most important asset next season. Speaking exclusively to SAM, he said: 'People will see a theme with the type of players I am signing this summer because they can all play in numerous positions. We have the lowest wage bill of all the clubs in this division so when you don't have the finances to sign cover in all positions you have to sign players who play in more than one position. I hope to sign a striker next week and then we will be more or less ready for the start of the season'". Speaking of the Crewe friendly, Graham added "Crewe were more the type of side we will be playing in the Conference. Teams who pass the ball around will give you space to do the same and I was pleased with how we kept possession against them. We have a different type of game against Lincoln because they play in a completely different way. We tried to put opposition in front of the team to give us different challenges and see how the players can adapt".


Alty captain Eddie Hussin is due to have his cruciate ligament operation today (Thursday) whilst Gary Scott sees a specialist about his hernia problem on Monday. We wish them both speedy and full recoveries from their treatment.


IC Cheshire has a report on the Alty v Crewe game last Friday. It says that "Altrincham looked like winning the friendly when Kieran Lugsden scored twice in the second half" but Matt Bailey "earned a draw when he showed good instincts to latch on to the loose ball to tap home".


Our first league opponents, Stevenage Borough report that "Boss Graham Westley has confirmed that Anthony Elding has returned to training... Westley and Elding talked late into Saturday night after the Boro striker had been ruthlessly axed from the club's trip to Spain and left out of the team at the weekend, with Westley promising that Elding would not succeed in leaving Boro's push for a Championship season behind. Elding is believed to have pledged his 100% commitment to the club, his manager and his team mates after accepting that he has made mistakes in a lengthy conversation".

Our first opponents at Moss Lane in the coming season will be Accrington Stanley whose website announces that "Peter Cavanagh will go for a scan on his ankle... The 23 year old defender is still suffering from the injury picked up at the endof last season... Physio Ian Liversage explained 'If it is tissue damage we will send Cav down to the FA's medical facility at Lilleshall for some intensive rehab and he should be fine for the start of the season'".

"Rob Newman's appointment as manager of Cambridge United for the new season was confirmed at a board meeting on Monday. Chairman Roger Hunt said, 'We were impressed with the progress that Rob has achieved under such difficult conditions'... Hunt confirmed that the atmosphere at the board meeting, the first since the club came out of administration, was sober but upbeat" reports the clubwebsite.

The Hereford unofficial site says that "Chester keeper Wayne Brown is set to join Hereford United on a one year loan spell... The position of trialist Clint Davies, who played the whole game against Ludlow is unknown".

This is Exeter says that "City fans' disappointment at Birmingham's failure to field their Premiership stars at St James's Park last night was replaced by elation after sponsors flybe gifted the Grecians £10,000 to wipe out losses made at May's Italian Masters event... The Grecians' windfall came on top of Birmingham's decision to waive their right to a share of the gate receipts from a 3,189 crowd".

NL Daily says that "Gary Mills, manager of Alfreton Town, has taken his total of new signings to eleven... Mills swooped to sign Tamworth midfielder Mark Turner on Tuesday evening. Mark Turner, 32, is the son of Hereford United manager Graham". NL Daily also reports on this week's friendlies: Cambridge boss Rob Newman "delivered a rocket to his players after a poor performance in drawing 2-2 at Ridgeons League First Division Gorleston". Elsewhere, "Worcester City handed neighbours Kidderminster Harriers a 2-0 defeat... Canvey Island, went down to a 1-0 defeat to Shrewsbury Town". And , "although it was only a Crawley Town XI, the Nationwide Conference National side will not have been happy to leave Farnborough Town on the end of an 8-1 hammering!" Doing better were Forest Green Rovers who drew with Swansea City and "St Albans City shared a 1-1 draw against Stevenage Borough".

Unconfirmed reports state that winger Robbie Booth, from Chester City, has joined Southport.

The York City unofficial site confirms that the club had "reported a trading loss of £83,568 for the year ending 30th June 2005, with officials blaming a reduction in the club's recent commercial business due to the team's dire playing record. Equally, unexpected charges such as private medical cover for the likes of Chris Brass, Steve Davis, Gary Pearson and Andy Bishop have had a cumulative effect. The enforced cancellation of last season's pre-season friendly against Premiership giants Newcastle United also cost the club in the region of £20,000. However with City recording a similar sized profit for the previous trading year, it means that the club have more or less broken even over the course of the past two seasons. Nevertheless the Minstermen are still preparing for increased expenditure over coming months, with the first annual repayment of £100,000 due to the Football Foundation in respect of the loan agreement covering the purchase of the club's ground".

Grays Athletic "have signed Andy Sambrook on a one year contract. The right back was previously with Rushden & Diamonds... The club are again confirming that they have not received a bid from Southend United, and the club have no intention of selling Dennis Oli at the moment"and "Steve Robinson was out of contract and therefore a free agent. He understandly did not want to wait around for a game so has therefore departed".

At Forest Green "boss Gary Owers secured the services of two players when striker Alex Meechan returned to the club on a one year contract and goalie Ryan Clarke arrived at The Lawn on a year loan from Bristol Rovers. Alex is... now his third spell at the club... He still holds the record for being Rovers top scorer in the Conference... Ryan is 6'3" and... during January 2001 he trained with the England Under 18 squad in La Manga. Last season he was on loan to Kidderminster Harriers and Southend".

27 July 2005


Right: Rod Thornley (11) receives the ball from Nehru McKenzie at Lancaster.

Altrincham were deserved winners after a strong second half performance in which trialist Gary Williams (ex-Accrington, Doncaster) put Alty ahead, rounding the keeper well from a well-won headed flick-on by Aaron Wilford (53 mins). Williams impressed before limping off midway through the second half. Rod Thornley seized on a loose ball to hammer home a second goal from just inside the box after 74 minutes. Traffic delays caused Maddox, Olsen and Scott to arrive after 8pm which affected the starting line-up.

Match report here.


Graham Heathcote has released four players so far in pre-season. They are midfielder Paul Tilley, wide-man/striker Wes Wilkinson and strikers Gavin Salmon and Steve Owens.


This is HUFC says that "Hereford United Vice-Presidents' Club has been able to increase their donation to its parent club to record levels. 35 members at the club's annual meeting on Monday heard that £32,500, up from £20,000 the previous year, had been handed over during the season" . Annual subscription is £375 and this entitles members to their allocated seat at all matches, both league and cup, at Edgar Street during the season".

Halifax Today reports that "Town skipper Steve Bushell was on his way to the national training centre at Lilleshall today in a bid to speed up his recovery from a broken leg... While Bushell is away, the Town squad will be bolstered by the addition of a third goalkeeper. James Salisbury, who spent a game and a half on loan at the Shay last season from Wigan, is back".

From The Argus is news that "The Duly family have spoken for the first time about selling Crawley to the SA Group and admitted: 'We didn't have enough financial clout to take the club forward'... The Dulys have had a 26-year association with Crawley and invested more than £1.25 million into the club. Outgoing owner John, who owns a coach company [sounds familiar?!], began driving the team coach in 1979, before becoming a director in 1982 and then buying the club outright in 1999... Steve Duly, who confirmed the club was [sold] for £547,000, said: "We were honest enough to sit down after one season of Conference football to know that we just did not have enough financial clout to drive the club forward". The new owners' company "is run by the Majeed brothers, operates five bars and nightclubs in Crawley, Burgess Hill, Worthing and Brighton, owns 20 off-licences and convenience stores running from Newhaven to Littlehampton, runs a lifestyle magazine called RH Review, operates three restaurants and imports beer, which is supplied to major supermarkets through the country". They promise: "£2 million will be invested into the club over the next three years. £100,000 will be made available to manager Francis Vines for transfers next summer. They will look to take club full-time within next three years. £100,000 will be spent on the social club, which will change to an Irish theme bar and family orientated restaurant. All money generated by the club will be reinvested without exception over next three years... New owners Chaz and Azwar Majeed are not looking for a return on their investment and will not draw a salary from the club... The new board will only be made up of the Majeed brothers... Chaz Majeed said: "We want to go up the divisions. That's our aim and that is where all the money is going to go".

This is Thurrock states that "Despite losing Mitchell Cole to Southend United, Grays look set to hang onto another of their young talents. Gary Hooper was missing from the Grays squad which travelled to... East Thurrock United and was instead turning out for Reading". But Grays boss Mark Stimson said "Reading have decided not to take him".

The BBC states that "Gravesend and Northfleet manager Liam Daish is sure ex-Worcester City keeper Aaron Kerr will join the club", whilst "Cambridge United caretaker boss Rob Newman is closing in on two keepers. Much-travelled Paul Crichton, 36, is in talks over a contract, while West Ham youngster Darren Behcet is set to sign a long-term loan deal".

At Cambridge United "Former U's skipper Andy Duncan is expected to train with the squad... The defender was one of just three players offered new contracts at the end of last season but he, Adam Tann and Matt Somner rejected the deals on offer. However... it appears Duncan's seven year spell at the Abbey Stadium could possibly be extended".

From Accrington Stanley we hear that "John Coleman has secured the services of Stuart Jones and Matthew O'Neill... Goalkeeper Jones signs on a non contract basis after impressing pre-season. He spent last season at Doncaster Rovers... Matty O'Neill spent the final months of last season here at Stanley on loan from Burnley. The 21 year old winger has...signed a one year deal".

26 July 2005


Running a football website ,you get some unusual requests and one was referred to me by Graham Heathcote yesterday. Channel 4 TV is seeking candidates for its "Wife Swap" series in which it needs a family involved in non-league football!

Channel 4 writes:

Wife Swap… the award winning series is back and we’re looking for a star family!

Do you want a chance to take part in one of the most legendary shows on TV? If football is important to your lifestyle and you’d like to give it a go, get in touch.

But if that doesn’t suit you nominate someone! We are casting for a special episode where you can secretly swap with someone you know!!

For the first time ever you can sort out a family you know or get your mum, wife, daughter, aunty to learn something NEW!

To nominate a family for a secret swap please get in touch. We would love to hear from you!

…Please call Daisy Lukas on 0207 013 4207 or email her. You can also apply through the RDF Media website.

The club and website take no responsibility for the consequences!


New Alty signing Karl Munroe was with Oldham Athletic as a schoolboy and also played for Manchester Boys alongside Wes Brown. He then joined Swansea City as a YTS trainee and earned a contract during which he made one appearance for the first team. In 1999 he left on a free transfer for a brief spell at Haverfordwest. After a trial with Brighton, he signed for Macc in summer 1999 and played in central midfield. In his first season there he earned the nickname 'Axeman' as "15 bookings left him with the reputation as Britain's dirtiest player". "That's when the change came", Karl told Manchester Online, "I knew I had to stop giving away silly fouls and getting silly bookings. I still aim to be a battler in midfield, but as I play more I'm learning to time my interventions better". He spent most of last season at Halifax before joing the Vics in April 2005.


Alty's first team is away at Lancaster tonight and Lancaster Today reports that City "earned a battling goalless draw with Preston North End at Giant Axe on Tuesday night... Phil Wilson... experimented with a 4-3-3 formation in the first half, with Steve Jones and trialist Chris Thompson and Alex Taylor in attack". Their team was Yeomans, Uberschar (Mahoney 45), Scott (Mrowinski 75), Sparrow (Clark 45), Swan (McMahon 45), Bauress, Skinner (Howson 45), Rogan (Elderston 45), Jones (Ward 45), Taylor (Sullivan 45), Thompson (Black 45).

Alty reserves are at Warrington Town tonight; details of both games are here.

ALTY LIVE is showing Altrincham v Scarborough live on its wesbite on 20th September. Other live games are 16 Aug: Woking v Stevenage, 26 Aug: York v Woking, 2 Sep: Kidderminster v Canvey I., 27 Sep: Aldershot v Hereford".


Yesterday's Daily Telegraph has a feature on Jonathan Mitten and FC United of Manchester. It says, "Jonathan Mitten, a burly non-League no.9 embodies the passion for the game that characterises players and fans of football's newest club, FC United of Manchester, "I'm a plumber" Mitten explained, "and if I'm working on a burst radiator at 3.30 and the coach for the match leaves at 4, I turn the stop-cock off and say: "I'll be back in the morning... I have never missed a match- I love playing too much". The former Altrincham forward has inherited his ardour from his great uncle Charlie Mitten, Manchester United's legendary post-War left-winger". He continued, "I have to juggle football, the games and training, with my job, It's hard but I love it". Also mentioned is ex-Alty youth keeper Barrie George whom the fans "heralded as 'England's no.1".

The NL Daily reports from Bamber Bridge who are adjusting "after losing the likes of Dave Leaver to retirement and Barry Shuttleworth through injury". Whether this means "Baz" has given up the game is unclear.


This is York says that "City boss Billy McEwan has threatened to make all friendlies next season behind-closed-doors affairs after objecting to a supporter's reaction during Saturday's 4-0 home defeat against Hartlepool United. McEwan was involved in a verbal exchange with a heckling Main Stand fan... He said: 'If fans are going to do that then I won't be here. I am not having that, no way... Next year I will not play any public games in pre-season if that's the way we are going to have it... We have got young lads that have come here for another chance after being released by other clubs... I call them the liquorice allsorts or Bertie Bassett's Bunch because they are all trying to blend in and play different systems that we are looking at... but they will not come back on trial if they are going to get abuse". In fact, "McEwan handed starts to trialists Nathan Peat, Emmanuel Panther [ex-Partick], James Dudgeon and Joe O'Neill against Hartlepool with goalkeeper Farhad Afandiyev, Craig Mudd, Henry McStay [ex-Leeds], Ryan Mallon and Danny Ekoku... as substitutes while David Pounder stayed on the bench... Last season's leading marksman Andy Bishop is expected to return to full training this week."

Woking FC's re-structured business management team are banking on newcomer Mike Pay [managing director] to help turn around the club’s fortunes off the pitch, as efforts are made in earnest to reduce an annual trading deficit currently standing at around £400,000. And new chairman John Buchanan believes the club will be in a position to announce plans for the re-development of Kingfield in 'two to three months' with owner Chris Ingram currently looking at various proposals from interested developers... Elaborate new sponsorship packages, designed to give potential partners more value for money, have been drawn up, with Bellway Homes the latest to come on board at Kingfield". Buchanan said "At the moment, to be brutal about it, we have very few facilities to offer people other than a small sponsors’ lounge". But "While a hotel is still a possibility... the club could go down the banqueting facilities route as favoured by Stevenage Borough... On the playing side, Cockerill has the budget to bring in two to three players in addition to Jimmy Aggrey, Lloyd Blackman and latest recruit Craig McAllister. And he hinted on a different style of play having lost pacey Amos Foyewa, Jefferson Louis and Raphael Nade up front - with McAllister and Blackman seen more as target men".

The Herts-Essex News says that "Stevenage are to invite former Premier League referee Paul Taylor back to the club in the next few weeks in a bid to further improve their disciplinary record... Boss Graham Westley feels a disciplined attitude is vital next season".

Scarborough Today rpeorts that "Boro boss Nick Henry has revealed he wants to add a striker and defender to his squad". Henry said: "We are still lacking a certain physical presence up front". In a recent friendly trialist "Brian Wake took his goal well... while Mark Quayle just needs more games to get his finishing touch back". But Henry said that trialist midfielder Kunle Olusesi and right-back Danny Moore "were not right for us so they won't be coming back".

This is KHFC says that "Axed assistant manager Gary Barnett could be set for an amazing return to Kidderminster Harriers just days after losing his job because of budget cuts. Barnett has already been lined up for a possible full-time role coaching the youth set up... But with fresh investment expected to bring the wages war-chest towards its original level, the new look board are now turning their attention to stumping up funds for the youth team set up". Indeed, the club website says that manager Stuart Watkiss "is hoping to have around 20 apprentices enrolling on a two-year local college course tailored to providing football coaching and academic study... A supporters' group known as 'The 250 club' has been formed to raise 'ring-fenced' funds for the Youth Scheme by subscription of £250".