Altrincham Football Club News Archive
9 to 12 August, 2005

12 August 2005


Most of the clubs we meet this season will not be familiar to us after five seasons out of the Conference National. So,here is a brief guide to some of Stevenage's players whom we may face tomorrow. The Boro's unofficial website has very good, full profiles:

  • Squad no. 1 Alan Julian - the regular keeper, ex-Brentford.
  • 2 Michael Warner - the regular right-back.
  • 3 Justin Gregory - was regular left-back least season.
  • 4 Rob Quinn - central midfielder/defender
  • 5 Jason Goodliffe - centre-back and captain
  • 6 Barry Laker defender- one of the many ex-Farnborough players to have followed manager Graham Westley to Broadhall Way
  • 7 Danny Williams - winger, signed from Hereford over the summer
  • 8 Michael Brough - central midfielder
  • 9 Dino Maamria - striker, well-known in the North West after spells at Leigh RMI, Southport and Doncaster Rovers.
  • 10 Anthony Elding - ex-Boston front man who has been Boro's leading scorer for the last two seasons - but has also picked up 23 yellows in 96 starts!
  • 11 George Boyd - 19 year-old winger
  • 17 Ollie Berquez - attacking midfielder, signed from Canvey Island this summer
  • 20 Jon Nurse - back-up striker
  • 27 Darryn Stamp - striker from Chester City, signed in early 2005
  • 31 Shane Gore - newly signed from Barnet, where he was second-string keeper.

    For Altrincham FC player profiles, see the Squad Page


    The Daily Telegraph on Thursday had a column by Australian cricketer Matthew Hayden before the Test Match at old Trafford. He writes, "We will take inspiration from, of all teams, Altrincham Football Club, whose chairman Geoff Goodwin, or Popeye, as we like to call him, is also our coach driver. We were guests of the club on Tuesday when they took on Bangor City in their final pre-season friendly and they put on a show, winning 5-0. Hopefully, we can put together a performance equally as convincing. Popeye would expect nothing less".


    SAM's Connor Murphy has been talking to some of Alty's new signings. Steve Hawes (right) said, "It's a massive club, I've been at Hull City and Sheffield United but Alty are the biggest non-league team I've been at. I was at Worksop the other year but Alty are massive and I always wanted to come back. If we get off to a good start this year, we'll have a good chance of keeping this team in the Conference". Lutel James added "It's a good club, it's organised and they seem to have everything in place and are moving in the right direction", whilst Gary Williams said: "It's a good set-up and a good set of lads and seems better than where I was last year, at Leigh". Karl Munroe (left) commented, "When I first came in the lads were all bubbly and lively and it's a nice ground to play at and a good club".

    SAM also quotes manager Graham Heathcote: "We have got a tough season ahead. We finished fifth last season so it is not hard to realise that we are going to struggle in a higher league. We've got to pick up points at Moss Lane and be disciplined and organised away from home, our away record last year wasn't good enough".

    In extensive coverage of Alty's new season, SAM also pays tribute to Alty's "Marketing supremo Barry Pond has also worked tirelessly behind the scenes at the club, securing three major sponsorship deals which will bring in much-needed funds. Carole Nash have agreed to expand their existing deal and the company name will now appear on the first team's shirts and shorts throughout the season. Well-known Manchester company Stockton's Furniture have also signed a two-year deal for a large section of advertising boards, while Brown, Dunne and Gray Solicitors will sponsor the family stand".

    The Stevenage forum has Stevenage Boro boss Graham Westley's column in "The Comet" where he recalls, "My record as Stevenage manager: 21st on arrival in January 2003; 12th by May 2003; eighth by May 2004; fifth and play-off finalists in May 2005... My objective is very clear... This year, I believe that we will achieve our goal and that we will win the title... We have kept the squad together... We have made three very good signings that have improved our squad. The creativity of Williams, the aggression and goals of Berquez and the goalkeeping of Gore are nice pluses... Nurse, Elding, Maamria and Stamp have all hit the net in pre-season, which is good. We are ready now to play. Newly-promoted Altrincham visit on Saturday. They will undoubtedly be pumped up and determined to kick off strongly. It is strange to think that if we had won our final and they had lost theirs, we would be in League Two and they in Conference North! Two leagues apart. But here we are at the same level... Controlled, organised, fast flowing, resilient, ruthless. For 42 games. One at a time. It is now all about winning on Saturday. Our focus is on that in all that we do".


    Scarborough play at Hereford on Saturday and, on their website, Seadogs' boss Nick Henry says "'Hereford are favourites in my eyes... Of the other sides, Morecambe will be there or thereabouts. Kidderminster, having just come down from League Two, will also be strong'... Boro face all three of Henry’s fancied sides in the first week of the season".

    BBC News reports that "Halifax Town have signed former Scarborough midfielder Tyrone Thompson. The 24-year-old has agreed a short-term deal after leaving the Seasiders at the end of last season, when he was an ever-present in the Conference. Halifax have also signed former Leeds United striker Justin Bowler, 19, who has agreed a 12-month contract. Meanwhile, Halifax midfielder Gary Brabin has been given the all-clear to start the season with the FA suspending a six-match ban pending an appeal".

    "Manager Rob Newman dusted off his boots to play as a Cambridge United XI won 3-1 at Huntingdon Town on Tuesday. The goals were scored by trialists Matt Nolan... Robert Duffy, the ex-Rushden & Diamonds striker, and David Bridges, who was making his comeback... Other trialists on show last night were Mark Coulson, the former Peterborough trainee... and 33-year-old goalkeeper Scott Howie, who counts Norwich City... among his previous clubs. With long-term trialist keeper Jamie Waite currently training with the Thailand under-23 squad in Manchester, and veteran Paul Crichton not having been in touch with Newman this week, he used Tuesday's match to take a look at Howie, who he described as 'a good, experienced keeper. Paul Crichton hasn't got back to me so it looks as though that may be finished now" reports the Cambridge website. Also, "Matt Nolan... and Robert Duffy have both been offered terms, and Newman awaits their response".

    "Veteran defender Greg Heald has joined his third club within two weeks, having quit Burton Albion after less than an hour's football. The 33-year-old former Barnet, Peterborough and Rochdale player has decided to take up the offer of a one-year contract with Ashton United... However, Brewers boss Nigel Clough said "In the end, the security of a one-year contract with Ashton swung it for him", reports the Burton Mail.

    Halifax Town have been fined £1,000 for their disciplinary record for the 2004/05 season. The club had a suspended £5,000 fine over them from the season before, however the FA didn't feel that there had been 'an acceptable improvement' and have invoked part of that fine. Lat season the Shaymen had 75 yellow cards given and 6 red cards in league games".

    Segregated clubhouses are a downside of our promotion. Gravesend are away at Canvey this week and report that "Island are putting the finishing touches to a new building installed at Park Lane which will allow away fans to enjoy a pre-match drink and relax in comfortable surrounding before and after each game. A selection of rolls/sandwiches, pies and light snacks will also be available. Prices will be no different to the home clubhouse which is generally cheaper than the local pubs".

    Forest Green "have registered three more players on non-contract terms... Jonathan Beswetherwick, Jamie Gosling and Luke Clenell joined Rovers last night. Defender Beswetherwick started at Plymouth as a trainee and went on to make 125 appearances for the club before he made a move to Sheffield Wednesday". Macc Town is also one of his ex-clubs. Jamie Gosling is a midfielder whose former clubs include Yeovil Town... Luke Clenell is a product of Rovers' youth team".


    "Striker Mike Byrne and ex-Runcorn FC Halton centre back Robbie Moore have been added to manager Steve Burr’s squad. However, Vics have released former Port Vale striker Simon Eldershaw and ex-Crewe and Doncaster winger Fran Tierney, who has suffered a series of injuries in the past year or so and was attempting a comeback with Northwich. Burr has also decided not to sign ex-Macclesfield full back Matthew Carragher."
    11 August 2005


    BBC North West News had a substantial feature on the visit of the Australian cricketers to Moss Lane on Tuesday, which also included clips of the Alty game against Bangor - Colin Little's and Kieran Lugsden's goals were shown, as was Mark Maddox, leading out the team. Adam Gilchrist confirmed that he followed Alty's fortunes from afar whilst Geoff Goodwin expressed his delight that so many of the tourists had come to watch the game against Bangor City.

    Above: Gavin Rathbone's great picture of Australian wicketkeeper, Adam Gilchrist, and captain, Ricky Ponting, with Alty chairman Geoff Goodwin, admiring the Cheshire Senior Cup at Moss Lane on Tuesday night. Visit the GR Photos website for more of Gavin's images. Below: Gilchrist is seen with Graham Heathcote, Geoff Goodwin, Eddie Hussin and Michael Kasprowicz. Right: This third image by Gavin Rathbone shows Kieran Lugsden going for goal against Bangor..

    Manchester Online reports that "Moss Lane became Oz Lane last night (Tuesday) as Australia's cricketers descended on Altrincham Football Club ahead of Thursday's vital Third Test at Old Trafford. The Aussies attended Alty's final pre-season friendly against League of Wales outfit Bangor City as guests of the Nationwide Conference club's chairman, Geoff Goodwin, who also happens to be the driver of the tourists' team bus... Altrincham [matchday] secretary George Heslop said: 'All the Australians appeared to thoroughly enjoy their evening with us and it's a pity they can't come here more often if that's how we perform when they're with us! I tried to break Shane Warne's hand when I was introduced to him, but he wasn't having any of it. But hopefully he and his fellow bowlers will have tired wrists from signing autographs!'"


    There are reports on Alty v Bangor City here:
  • Bangor City website
  • SAM
  • Alty official website


    The newly issued Nationwide Conference Handbook for 2005-06 confirms that Alty's away colours will pair the light blue shirt already announced (and visible on the Robins' Shop page) with dark blue shorts and light blue socks.


    In Tuesday night's programme notes, Graham Heathcote wrote: "I took the view to play a lot of pre-season games instead of training, believing players would prefer to play. I may have got it wrong as I feel we have a lot to do yet and maybe more time on the training pitch would have been more beneficial [in] trying to integrate the new lads... Complacency towards the task we have ahead has left me very disappointed as we approach our opening game with Stevenage. This was illustrated by the ridiculous indiscipline we showed at Marine for which we will suffer in the early part of the league campaign".


    The Altrincham FC Christmas Celebration Dinner will be at the Cresta Court Hotel on Saturday 10th December at 7.30pm. Tickets are £40 per person and, as well as the meal, there will be entertainment, a raffle, auction and disco. Please ring the club on 928-1045 to book your tickets or see Grahame Rowley or Barry Pond.


    One feature of the pre-season games has been noting the new advertising hoardings replacing the old ones at Moss Lane. This vital work in gathering sponsors for the club is very largely due to the efforts of Alty's Commercial Manager, Barry Pond. The largest new boards are those for Bob Peters's 20/20 Research and, in the corner of the Popular Side and the 20/20 End, is one for Stocktons, a long established family furnishing firm in Manchester. Please support the club's sponsors.


    "Scarborough are checking out Preston North End striker Mark Jackson. 19 year-old Jackson is spending two weeks at the McCain Stadium and head coach Nick Henry will make a decision after that. Boro have already signed defender Dave Elebert on a three-month loan deal from the Championship outfit and he will make his debut against Hereford United on Saturday", reports Scarborough Today.

    "Woking have confirmed that Clint Davies has signed a one-year contract... 22 year-old Davies hails from Perth, Western Australia. He was taken on by Birmingham City... and was on the bench for several first-team games. He had spells at Bradford City, Halifax Town and Bristol City and made appearances on loan for... Nuneaton Borough, Tamworth and Woking during the 2002/03 season. Davies will compete with Shwan Jalal for the number one jersey at Kingfield" says hte club website. The Evening Press reports that "York City have decided on the preferred location for a new stadium... The Evening Press believes that the new ground will be situated either in the area behind York Railway Station in the Leeman Road area, known as York Central, or the current site of the Terry's Factory... Managing director Jason McGill said: 'Along with the council, we have looked at five sites and have identified two to focus on and one of them would suit us better as a football club'... Finance director Terry Doyle added that the club are currently losing income by staying at KitKat Crescent because of the maintenance and repair costs incurred at an ageing stadium. Fellow board member Sophie McGill ... added that [a move] is unlikely to happen before 2013... McGill also added that a new stadium is likely to attract a more family-orientated audience with a recent survey revealing that the average age of a City season-ticket holder is 58'".

    The Hereford unofficial website says that "United have confirmed that West Ham defender Darren Blewitt has joined the club on a one year loan deal. The 19 year-old is six foot two and will provide cover at the back... He spent the spring of 2005 on loan to Southend but only featured once as a substitute".

    At Gravesend "The first phase of work has begun at the Plough End of the stadium. If all goes according to plan... it will mean that a small section of the stand will be open for this Saturday's opening fixture of the season... The work involves an infill of concrete from the pitch boundary wall back to the third row of existing terracing. A flat area will be created and will allow restricted standing for up to 300 spectators... It is planned to build further terracing over the next few weeks that will extend to about halfway back into the stand and this will increase capacity to 800 souls. Our total ground capacity will then be increased to in excess of 5000 souls".

    Canvey Island have "signed Jay Conroy on a one-year contract. He is a 19 year-old defender who previously played for Crystal Palace".

    The Cambridge United website has a curious report about Alty. It says that "Moss Lane outfit Altrincham were the non-league's fairy tale story last year, as manager Graham Heathcote led his low-budgeted, debt-ridden team to a return to Conference football when even the most die-hard fans were expecting a tough season of fighting relegation in the newly formed Conference North. Altrincham were founder members of the Conference way back in 1979 and stayed in this division for a staggering for 18 years until a bad financial status affected on the field performance and the club were relegated. The Robins bounced back to the Conference for one season only but were embarrassingly outclassed week after week and finished way adrift from safety. [This is not true - we were only relegated on the last day of the 1999-2000 season and, had we won the last game, would have stayed up; we went down with one of the lowest number of defeats ever in the Conference, having drawn 19 games]. Last season was purely a mid-table effort [actually, we were sixth or higher for most of the season] until a fantastic run of wins in the last ten games [we won only 5 of our last 10 league games] saw Alty just pip Harrogate Town to the final play off spot on goal difference [we actually beat them by a point]. Even then, facing hot favourites Kettering Town, nobody gave them a chance until a fine extra time win in the second leg [it was a one-legged match] saw the Robins facing Eastbourne Borough at Stoke's Britannia Stadium, only 90mins away from a return to top level football. A 2-1 win followed and the Robins celebrated in style.

    Graham Heathcote has stressed that the club will not make the same mistakes as past boards have and Alty will stay part-time and not splash the cash in a bid to maintain Conference status. Every player has another job and the club only trains three times [twice] a week, but Heathcote will be hoping the club's togetherness, grit and hard work ethic will at least make sure the Robins can compete with most this season. Anything above third bottom will be seen as a massive success for Altrincham".

    The BBC says that "Tamworth have been fined £1,000 by the FA for their poor disciplinary record last season. The club has also been given a further suspended fine of £6,000... But they already have one red card to their name. Midfielder Kyle Storer was dismissed, along with Aston Villa's Lee Hendrie, after they clashed in a recent friendly".

    "Canvey Island have strengthened their strike force with the signing of former Yeovil Town forward Kezie Ibe. The 22 year-old agreed a 12-month deal... The former Aylesbury player also spent time on loan at Exeter last season, scoring once in four appearances". The BBC also reports that "Eastbourne Borough have signed striker Danny Marney from Crawley Town".

    Accrington Stanley "have made their second signing this week, 22 year-old centre half Michael Welch has joined the Reds initially on a non-contract basis. Michael started as a trainee at Barnsley and has spent the last 4 years at Macclesfield, making over 120 appearances. Leam Richardson now looks unlikely to join us, however John Coleman is hoping to bring in a left back on loan from a Coca Cola League One side and to sign an additional striker before the weekend".

    10 August 2005


    Right; Australia's Shane Warne enjoys Alty chairman Geoff Goodwin's hospitality last night at Moss Lane. Almost the entire Australian cricket touring party was in attendance at the Alty v Bangor match, at the invitation of Geoff, who has been driving the tourists from match to match in one of his luxury Go Goodwins coaches.

    Match report here..


    Manchester Online reported yesterday that "Aussie wicketkeeper Adam Gilchrist isn't stumped for somewhere to go tonight ahead of Thursday's third Test. Gilchrist will be cheering on his favourite football team - Altrincham - at Moss Lane for the game with Bangor. Why Altrincham? Well, Robins chairman Geoff Goodwin just happens to be the man whose job it is to drive the tourists' team bus and he has invited Gilchrist and his team-mates to Moss Lane for the match. Geoff's Eccles-based coach firm have a contract with the ECB to transport touring teams. He knows the Aussie lads well and looks forward to rolling out the red carpet tonight. Said Geoff: "Adam in particular is a big football fan and he supports Altrincham! I've known the Aussie lads since last September and Adam has followed our fortunes ever since. He watches out for the results and was made up with the fantastic year we had last season, gaining promotion and winning the Cheshire Senior Cup. I told them they must come and cheer on Altrincham while over here and this is a perfect opportunity. Their manager Steve Bernard is another big fan and is looking forward to seeing us play. The Aussies are a great bunch of lads and they took their Test defeat in their stride. I've enjoyed driving them all over the country. There will be 28 members of the tour party at tonight's game including the captain Ricky Ponting and Jason Gillespie... I am made up that they are coming to see my team. I have told them so much about Altrincham and it's great to work with them".


    Confguide says that "There has been a change in the coverage of the Woking v Stevenage match, originally due for a live webcast on on the evening of 16th August. The match will not go ahead, as Sky TV will be broadcasting Cambridge v Hereford that evening at 8.05pm. And will have its first live webcast of York v Woking on Friday 26 August (7.45pm)"

    The BBC says that "Cambridge United midfielder Ashley Nicholls has joined Rushden and Diamonds in a three-month loan deal... He joined Cambridge last summer but has been out of favour".

    "Burton Albion have signed defender Greg Heald on non-contract terms. The former Rochdale centre-back, 33, rejected a move to York earlier this summer and played for the Brewers in a friendly last Saturday... Clough is also hoping to add a keeper to his squad and is interested in a loan deal for Mansfield's Jason White".

    The BBC adds that "Yeovil defender Scott Guyett has signed for Aldershot on a month's loan after joining them on trial... Guyett joined the Glovers from Chester last summer, but made just 23 league and cup appearances as his season was hit by injuries".

    "Tamworth have signed Birmingham City keeper James Dormand on loan. The 19-year-old, who has been given a professional deal by the Blues after coming through the youth system, has joined the Lambs for the season. Dormand will fill the number-one slot at Tamworth with former Crewe and Walsall keeper Mark Gayle providing cover alongside his coaching duties".

    NL Daily rpeorts that "Phil Robinson, player-manager of Stafford Rangers, has announced the signing of Vil Powell" from Grays Athletic. Powell also scored against Alty for North Ferriby in the FA Trophy a few seasons back.

    "Runcorn FC Halton have confirmed that the ongoing negotiations have reached a conclusion and Matty McGinn has finally signed a contract for Southport".


    The NWCFL reports that "Curzon Ashton have... secured the services of Niell Hardy" from Chorley. NL Daily says that "Stalybridge Celtic lifted the Ray Stanley Memorial Shield" beating Hyde United for whom Matty McNeil scored.
    9 August 2005


    Alty open their season at Stevenage on Saturday. In the Herts-Essex News it says that "Key Stevenage defender Barry Laker faces a race against time to be fit for the new Conference season after suffering a recurrence of a hamstring injury... Skipper Jason Goodliffe and Mickey Warner are also nursing knocks, but both should be fit in time for Boro's opening game of the season against Altrincham... If Laker fails to prove his fitness... Boro' boss Westley may turn to trialist Mark Coulson, who has been training with the club this week. The 19-year-old was released by Peterborough United... Stevenage are continuing to look at Zema Abbey... The former Norwich City striker is available for free after being released by Torquay United... Aside from the trialists, Westley is unlikely to make any further signings ahead of the new campaign having already brought in Danny Williams, Ollie Berquez and Shane Gore... He says he knows his best team and was pleased to see his side record their first victory of the pre-season campaign against Aylesbury United on Tuesday".


    Alty host Accrington next Tuesday (16th). After reporting that Andrew Mangan had signed for them, the Accrington Stanley site now reproduces the same list of new players with "19 year old right back Danny Ventre" named instead of Mangan.

    This is Lancs reports on Stanley; "I'll settle for that next week', quipped Reds boss John Coleman, after seeing his side ram five past Stalybridge Celtic... with new midfielder Anthony Barry setting things in motion with his his 18th-minute strike, star striker Paul Mullin weighing in with two... trialist Andy Mangan capping a fine performance with a goal before veteran Paul Cook rounded the afternoon off'". The Stanley side was Stuart Jones (Danny Alcock 49); Peter Cavanagh (Mike Flynn 46), Robbie Williams (Danny Ventre 64), Michael Welch, Leam Richardson (Chris Butler 65); Steve Jagielka (David Brown 53), Anthony Barry (Ged Brannan 65), Ian Craney (Andy Procter 65), Gary Roberts (Matt O'Neill 56); Andy Mannion (Paul Cook 77), Paul Mullin (Rodney Jack 60)".


    Alty are at The Recreation Ground on Bank Holiday Saturday. Aldershot Town boss Terry Brown said, "During the pre-season I’ve had to watch players I know I’m not going to sign just to get a team out because so many of my first teamers are injured. I’ve been getting stick off the boys asking when we’re getting someone decent in but it’s a waiting game, it does make you slightly nervous, you don’t want to get to the start of the season and not have the players you want on board. But with five major signings in a week, the squad Brown will have for Tamworth is slowly starting to take shape, albeit without a fit, signed-on striker and a few first-team injuries. Brown added: 'This really has been the worst July ever, absolutely torrid. I’d like to make a couple more signings this week'".


    Kidderminster have signed Walsall striker Taiwo Atieno (20) on a 5-month deal and Crawley have signed strikers Jamie Cade (21) and Danny Ekoku (19) reports the BBC. Also "Cambridge United have signed experienced defender Mark Peters. The 33-year-old centre-back has signed after leaving Leyton Orient... Midfielder David Bridges, 22, has also re-signed".

    Southport's Sam NcNutt has joined Vauxhall Motors, whilst Clitheroe Today reports that Clitheroe have signed three Southport players, "Ian Kearney, tall centre forward Tony Evans and wingman Sean White".