Altrincham Football Club News Archive
31 December 2005
TAMWORTH 1 ALTRINCHAM 1
In a game delayed for half an hour by a road accident outside the ground, Alty were well worth their point, especially after having to re-jig their side when they lost two of the regular defenders on the morning of the match. Before today's match, 11 of the Altrincham squad against Tamworth had previously started fewer than ten Conference matches for Altrincham this season.
The Lambs website also has a match report.
Above: Warren Peyton goes up for the ball watched by Lewis Chalmers and Gary Scott.
FITNESS FOR TAMWORTHVal Owen will again be missing from the Alty midfield for the game at Tamworth today, but he may be fit for Monday's clash with Kidderminster. However, defenders Gary Scott and Chris Adams are both fit for the Tamworth game but centre-back Gary Talbot, who has missed the last six league games, is to have another scan on his foot and again will not be available today.
GRAHAM'S TARGETIn Friday's Manchester Evening News, Graham Heathcote is said to be "confident Alty will survive their first season back in non-League's top flight if they can marginally improve on their average of one point per game in the 20 matches they have left... Heathcote said, 'We were pleased with our performance and the result at Kidderminster and I've told the lads that if we can do just a little bit better over the second half of the season, then we'll stay up'".
But This is KHFC says of the game with Alty, "A decent crowd of 2,206 would have been better off staying in watching repeats on the telly as Harriers and their mid-table visitors served up an unappetising turkey of a match. Besides the two harshly awarded penalties from Iyseden Christie and Stephen Aspinall there was little in the way of goalmouth action during a bitterly cold afternoon as two mid-table teams cancelled each other out... too many Harriers were content to go through the motions and they paid the ultimate price when Graham Heathcote's men grabbed an equaliser... So poor were Altrincham before the break that they could only get better in the second half and it was inevitable they would enjoy a purple patch and just as likely that they would equalise. Like the Harriers' penalty, the visitors' spot-kick came in dubious circumstances, when the match official evened things up by penalising skipper Mark Jackson for an apparently innocuous body-check on Kieran Lugsden... Ultimately, a draw which does little for either team's below-average league position, was the fair result".
CONFERENCE NEWSThis is Exeter reports that "Exeter City boss Alex Inglethorpe rates Paul Buckle as his best signing... Inglethorpe initially brought Buckle back to City last December as temporary cover... The 35-year-old made an instant impact, helping the Grecians to four straight Conference maximums before signing a deal with Devon neighbours Tiverton Town. But just three months later Buckle was back at the Park as a player-coach... At the start of the current campaign, Buckle was promoted to assistant manager... [but] he has come under fire from a minority of fans who have questioned his right to a place in the starting line-up... City have won 17 and drawn four of the 25 contests in which Buckle has played a part since his return in December 2004... But in his absence, the team has won just 13 of 30 contests, drawing six and losing 11". Inglethorpe said, "The best way to describe it is you can be a seven out of 10 player and through your voice and experience help other players become eight or nine out of 10 players, and in doing so become an eight or nine out of 10 player yourself".
NL Daily says that "Kevin Wilson, manager of Kettering Town, has boosted his ranks by signing experienced midfielder Hugh Auley. The much-travelled former Cheltenham and Kidderminster Harriers man enjoyed a successful month on loan at Rockingham Road from Tamworth earlier this season".
OLD BOYSFormer Alty midfielder Danny Hooper has quickly moved from Radcliffe Borough to Hyde Utd, whilst Alty trialist last summer, Gavin Salmon has moved from Droylsden to Woodley Sports. Welsh Premier club NEWI Cefn Druids "have signed former England under-18 goalkeeper Phil Cross... Cross made two Welsh Premier appearances for Bangor City at the start of the season before being released, and has also played for Tranmere Rovers, Sheffield Wednesday and Nationwide Conference National side Altrincham" says Welsh Premier. Last August, Cross played for Altrincham Reserves in a pre-season game at Old Alts.
30 December 2005
"BIGGEST GAME OF THE SEASON"Alty travel to Tamworth on Saturday (1pm). The Tamworth Herald confirms that "Tamworth have re-signed homegrown striker Scott Rickards. The 24-year-old forward has joined from Redditch United on a non-contract basis and could make his debut against Altrincham this Saturday - a game manager Mark Cooper has billed as his side's biggest of the season so far. Rickards was signed by former Lambs boss Gary Mills in August 2001... His sparkling form also earned him a call up to the England non-league squad. He was snapped up by Jan Molby at Kidderminster Harriers for an undisclosed fee in December 2003 but was released to Redditch United less than a year later". Rickards said, "It is special to play for Tamworth and I would have loved to have come back when things didn't work out at Kidderminster. Molby wasn't going to let me return to the club he had paid money to for me a year earlier so I chose Redditch because I needed to play. However, I always wanted to play at Conference level again and I had some great times at Tamworth last time". Manager Cooper added, Scott has great movement and pace. He is more mature now so I am hoping he can produce an end product as well".
Also, "Cooper is also closing in on a permanent deal for on-loan striker Jake Edwards. The Lambs' boss revealed Edwards was about to be recalled by Exeter City before Christmas but refused to return to St James' Park.'He has enjoyed himself here and we have him until January 11', Cooper said. 'We are keen to sign him but we know there will be a lot of clubs after him when the transfer window opens. But the chairman (Bob Andrews) has been great and is also keen to get Jake so we will make him an offer'". Tamworth "were without recognised defenders Matt Redmile, Adie Smith (both suspended) and Alan Neilson (injury) but battled away to gain a point against local rivals Burton Albion on Boxing Day. All three are available for Altrincham... 'Saturday's game is massive - for me it's the biggest of the season so far', Cooper said. 'We have to show the same application as we did under difficult circumstances on Boxing Day. The lads who came in and had to do a job were magnificent, especially Jimmy Turner and Nathan Jackson, who both played as central defenders for the first time'". But "Tamworth have injury doubts over Dave Bampton (hamstring) and Eddie Ancelet (ankle)".
Howard Watts's Through the Years statistics for 31 December are here.
CHRIS MISSES KIDDYThe FA confirms that for "Altrincham FC, Christian Adams [from] 02/01/2006 [is] suspended from all first team football until the Club have completed 1 first team match". He was booked for the fifth time this season at Kidderminster on Boxing Day. So he will miss the return game against the Harriers on 2 January, as will Kiddy's on-loan player from Reading, John Mullins, who is also suspended.
This is KHFC says that "Caretaker boss Martin O'Connor has dropped his biggest hint yet that he could be tempted to consider managing Harriers on a more permanent basis... O'Connor revealed that he had been in discussion with the board... and if the player-coach is given the go ahead to recruit or release players, it could be a strong indication of his chances of remaining in the dug-out. Speaking after the below-par 1-1 draw with Altrincham on Boxing Day, O'Connor said: 'After that performance I've probably gone to the bottom of the queue again! The club needs to have somebody at the helm and if that's me or if it's somebody else, someone needs to be appointed'". However, "With Taiwo Atieno's loan spell from Walsall expiring after tonight's home match with Burton Albion, O'Connor is anxious to know how much control he has over comings and goings at the club... 'I don't know if he'd like to stay, I've spoken to him about it but he's still undecided at the moment', said O'Connor. 'If it needs freshening up, I'm not afraid to make changes', said O'Connor, who could name himself and fit-again Simon Russell in the 16 for tomorrow's clash against Nigel Clough's part-timers".
"Kidderminster caretaker manager Martin O'Connor will check on Iyseden Christie's fitness before finalising his line-up for the visit of Burton. The Harriers’ top scorer, who converted his side’s penalty in the Boxing Day 1-1 draw with Altrincham, is nursing an ankle injury. Laurie Wilson has recovered from a foot problem but is not expected to feature while Simon Russell is still recovering from a broken wrist."
COMING UPOn 31 December after the game at Tamworth (1pm), back at Moss Lane at 7.30pm, there is a free party organised by the Club for all Altrincham fans - though you must get a ticket from the Club in advance to gain admission.
After the game at home to Kidderminster on 2 January, the next matches for Altrincham fans are:
CONFERENCE NEWSThe BBC reports that "Halifax Town have extended the loan stay of Blackpool winger Rory Prendergast [ex-Emley and Accrington] for a second month. 'He's getting fitter every game and hopefully we'll see the best of him', assistant manager Wayne Jacobs told Halifax's website".
"Canvey Island have been dealt a blow with the news that leading scorer Lee Boylan will be out of action for around six weeks with a facial injury. Boylan was hurt when he collided with a post... The 27-year-old has since undergone hospital tests and been told that he will be sidelined until February", says the BBC.
Sacrnorough Today says that "Striker Brian Wake could have earned an extended stay at the McCain Stadium. Wake's loan deal with Boro comes to a close at the end of the month but the frontman, who has hit four goals in four starts for the Seasiders, has impressed boss Neil Redfearn... The Boro chief said: "We are keen to extend his deal. Obviously Gretna are wanting to know what is going on and I will hopefully be talking to them over the next couple of days".
This is Exeter claims that "Exeter City are putting the finishing touches to a five-year plan they hope will deliver League One football by 2010. Earlier this year the club, under the guidance of former managing director Ian Huxham, commissioned an interim report to look at how to move the club forward... A club statement read: 'The Directors of Exeter City are considering an interim report they commissioned into the future structure and organisation of the club'... The report is currently being reviewed by an independent volunteer with a background in such planning. Next week it will be put to the Supporters' Trust's board of society for their views".
From NL Daily is news that "Rob Newman, manager of Cambridge United, has secured a new addition to the squad. Millwall winger Trevor Robinson has agreed a month’s loan to take effect from January 1st.. 'He can play anywhere down the left hand side', explained Newman. 'He had a spell on loan at Tamworth earlier this season and by all accounts did very well there'". (He scored against Altrincham in the FA Cup this season). "Newman hopes to secure at least one more new signing in time for Monday's game, but if that is not possible he expects to have one or two new faces in the squad by the end of next week" says their website.
But Confguide says that "Mark Angel has become the fourth player to leave Cambridge United in a little over a week. The 30-year-old has returned to King's Lynn following his long-term loan... He is expected to be joined out through the exit door by Ashley Nichols, who is set to join Rushden and Diamonds when the transfer window opens, while Darren Behcet, Matt Nolan and Parys Okai have also left the club. 'They are all good pros and they gave their all for Cambridge United while they were here, but for different reasons it didn't work out for them', manager Rob Newman told the club's official website".
Scarborough 's "Kevin Nicholson has missed training this week to have treatment on the hamstring injury sustained in the York game. The injury is not too serious, however. [Ex-Alty striker] Mark Quayle is the other player on the treatment table whilst the remainder of the squad have trained on the beach rather than the snow-covered McCain Stadium pitch. Paul Foot continues his rehabilitation after his hernia operation and will be in contention in early January".
29 December 2005
EARLY STARTDon't forget that Saturday's game at Tamworth is a 1pm kick-off .. and is followed, back at Moss Lane, at 7.30pm by a free party organised by the Club for all Altrincham fans - though you must get a ticket from the Club in advance to gain admission.
Right: James Robinson seen in action against Tamworth at Moss Lane earlier this season - another of Gavin Rathbone's excellent photos.
CONFERENCE NEWSFrom the BBC there is confirmation that "Woking have extended Stuart Nethercott's loan spell from Wycombe until the end of the season... The two clubs have agreed an extension which will keep him with the Cards for the rest of their promotion challenge. Cards' boss Glenn Cockerill will also ask the club's board for the backing to bolster his squad in the transfer window". Woking are currently challenging for promotion from 9th place, 15 points behind Accrington.
"Morecambe's acting manager Sammy McIlroy is keen to keep on-loan Bury defender John Hardiker for an extended period.... 'I had him at Stockport and know what a quality player he is', McIlroy told the Morecambe Visitor newspaper".
This is York reports that "Former York City striker Jon Parkin could net his old club a tidy sum in the New Year if cash-strapped Macclesfield Town decide to sell their prize asset... The 6ft 4in forward could now be sold when the transfer window reopens on New Year's Day with Macclesfield facing the threat of closure unless £257,000 is raised before January 31. And City will pocket a 'reasonable' percentage of any transfer fee if Parkin is sold from Macclesfield".
Halifax Today says that "Fans are planning to take the fight to save the Shay stadium to a national TV audience. Sky TV cameras will be at the ground on Monday, January 9, to screen the Halifax Town clash with Morecambe. And supporters are being urged to pack the Skircoat seats with banners opposing the council's plans to sell-off the Shay. Previous TV coverage at the Shay has led to the half-finished ground being branded a national embarrassment. Town fan Gavin Butler said 'Our intention is not to embarrass Calderdale Council but to show there is concern over its proposal to sell the Shay' ...Calderdale Council caused uproar among supporters of both clubs when it announced this month it wanted to sell off the Shay to a developer. A condition would ensure sport was maintained on the site but such a decision would kill efforts by the Shay Stadium Trust to bring about a fully developed stadium with commercial income streams to benefit both clubs".
Grays' relatively poor recent run is recorded by This is Thurrock. Grays lost at home to Canvey Island recently and manager, Mark Stimson said, "I'm very disappointed with the result and the performance... There were a few players out there who went missing on the big occasion". However, the manager added, "I would love to get two or three new players in but we know the financial structure of the club and we are not going to put the club in any silly position... It's difficult; where do we improve the squad from here? For me it's League players. League players have experience and are earning decent money and I don't think at present we have that sort of money".
Sky Sports say that "Stevenage have strengthened their squad with the signing of Jefferson Louis from Ryman Premier outfit Worthing. The 26-year-old striker has joined Boro... on non-contract terms. Louis is no stranger to life in the Conference having enjoyed spells with Woking, Gravesend and Forest Green Rovers in the past. The front-man signed for Bristol Rovers in May but failed to find the net in nine appearances and upon his release he was snapped up by Worthing. The arrival of a new forward at Stevenage will increase speculation that Anthony Elding is on his way out of Broadhall Way in the January transfer window".
NL Daily says that "King’s Lynn have signed Matt Nolan, who was released from his short-term contract at Cambridge United last week" and that "Hitchin Town signed a third new player in twenty-four hours with the acquisition of left-sided midfielder Parys Okai... who has [also] recently been with Cambridge United".
NL Daily also says that "Halesowen Town have re-signed experienced goalkeeper Mark Gayle" who signed for "Tamworth as cover in the summer," whilst "Ronnie Glavin, manager of Worksop Town, has signed striker Darren Mansaram from Halifax Town until the end of the season".
28 December 2005
NEXT GAMEAlty travel to Tamworth on Saturday but The Lambs' website quotes manager Mark Cooper on their draw with Burton on Boxing Day, "We drew, but it feels like a point. Our team was understrength and against a club like Burton - who have 'double' our budget - we did fantastically well.. Michael Touhy was outstanding today but he needs to do that every week. The same as Jimmy Turner - they both need to perform in every game we play. The team spirit is great". For that game they had Matt Redmile and Adie Smith suspended whilst Alan Neilsen was out with an injured thigh and on loan Carl Motteram was unfit. Tamworth have so far only won once at home in the league this season but they beat Alty there in the FA Cup. Tamworth's team comprised: Heggs (Jackson 59), Edwards, Melton, Storer, Ward, Anaclet, Touhy, Bampton (Francis 71), Turner, McConnell, Bevan, with unused subs: Cooper, Dryden, Gayle". The FA confirms that Tamworth's Shaun Booth will be suspended for the Altrincham game.
CONFERENCE NEWSCambridge United confirm that "Parys Okai has been released".
KIDDERMINSTER VIEWSHarriers On Line says that "Christmas pudding played its part in [a] dour home draw against an equally dour Altrincham side. For us the first half was the better but after the teams rolled out for the second half this had been reversed with Alty displaying more interest in the game than us... A cross was fired into the Alty goalmouth but struck the arm of their skipper, Maddox, on the way. The ref pointed to the spot and the keeper obligingly dived the wrong way as Christie stroked the ball easily into the net. After that bit of Christmas cheer we seemed to sit back for too long a period but Altrincham hadn't got the nous or imagination to capitalise... Alty came out stronger for the second period and it stayed that way for the majority of the half. The Reds were being forced into making repeated mistakes by the visitors.. With time running down the fans could sense that the three points were about to be snatched away from us... Lugsden stopped momentarily but Jackson was too late and made the slightest of contact with his back and he went sprawling with all the theatrics of a man shot in the back with a .22 rifle and the ref decided now was the time that things were evened out".
Confguide quotes Harriers' caretaker boss Martin O'Connor : "We did all the hard work by going in front today but we spoiled it in the second half. I don't think we even bothered coming out after the break... I don't want to name individuals but we were missing four or five big players out there, they just went missing. The players are down, I'm unhappy and ultimately we're lucky to have got a point. Altrincham's goal was deserved in the end".
And This is KHFC adds that it was "a tale of two controversial penalties awarded by Derbyshire referee Robert Shoebridge". These were "a harsh hand-ball award against Altrincham centre-half Mark Maddox from a Simon Heslop cross. But then skipper Mark Jackson was penalised for a challenge milked by sub Kieran Lugsden and Stephen Aspinall fired in the deserved spot-kick equaliser". The site quoted Martin O'Connor: "A point against a side who are lower than us is not good enough. Altrincham deserved the point. We didn't come out at all in the second-half. They got the second balls, had a go at us and we defended too deep... I told the players at half-time that the referee had given us a shady penalty and he would try to change it for them. Unfortunately, he gave it but it wasn't about the Jackson challenge. Leading up to that, they had too much possession on the ball".
OLD BOYEx-Alty youth centre-back, Steven Howarth, has joined Atherton LR.
CHESHIRE NEWSThe BBC confirms that "Manager Chris Turner has left Stockport County by mutual consent. His assistant Colin West has also left following a run of five successive league defeats for the Hatters, who lost 6-0 at Macclesfield on Boxing Day. Former player Jim Gannon, 47, has been named as caretaker manager. Turner... won just seven of his 51 games in charge".
27 December 2005
26 December 2005
KIDDERMINSTER HARRIERS 1 ALTRINCHAM 1
Above: Lewis Chalmers heads off (far right) to take a long throw on a dull afternoon at Aggborough.
After the supporters' coach suffered a puncture near Hilton Park services on the M6, many Alty fans arrived at Aggborough just as the home side were taking the lead with a dubious penalty awarded against Maddox for handball when a ball was driven against him from close range (23 mins). But, with their vocal support in place, Altrincham enjoyed the better of the second half and deservedly equalised after 80 minutes when Lugsden was brought down by Jackson in the box and Aspinall, making his first ever Conference start, drove the resulting penalty home. Chris Adams picked up his fifth booking of the season and will be suspended in the near future.
On the Kidderminster official site caretaker manager Martin O'Connor said of his Harriers team, "We were lucky to get a point". But the site claims that "A dubious late penalty from Altrincham's Stephen Aspinall was enough to deny Harriers all three points in a less than thrilling Boxing Day affair at Aggborough today".
MANY THANKSAdversity brought out the best in Altrincham FC and its supporters today. With 43 fans stranded in a coach with a flat tyre on the hard shoulder just outside Hilton Park service station, Alty chairman Geoff Goodwin sent the Go Goodwins team coach back from Kidderminster to pick up the supporters at the services whilst director Grahame Rowley and STAR chairman Brian Flynn turned their cars round and drove back to pick people up. So, many thanks are due to all those named above as well as the two coach drivers, STAR travel coordinator Mark Eckersall, Paul Daine who stopped to pick up a stranded passenger and the tyre repairmen who got the coach ready to bring everyone home after the match - not to forget Karen Rowley at "Mission Control". Chairman Geoff Goodwin waived the hire fee for the coach and this money will go towards the STAR travel fund for away trips later this season. Pictured, right, Alty chairman Geoff Goodwin (right, wielding a crow bar) checks the repaired wheel before the return trip from a wet Kidderminster; not something you'd see Chelsea's chairman doing!
BOXING DAY SCORES
THIS WEEK'S GAMESAlty meet Kidderminster twice in the next week; the Harriers are the only team whom we have not played in the Conference yet this season. They lie two points ahead of Alty but have played a game more. Our last two meetings (in 1999/2000 season) saw a 1-1 draw at Aggborough and a goalless draw at Moss Lane, in an end of season match which saw us relegated and Kiddy promoted to the league. But, at Aggborough, Alty have lost just 3 times in 15 previous visits. The Harriers are currently without a manager following the sacking of Stuart Watkiss but, under caretaker boss, Martin O'Connor, they have seen a revival of form
DURING THE YEARWith two games to go before the end of the calendar year 2005, Altrincham's first team has seen 43 different players named for league matches so far this year but four did not get on the pitch, (goalkeepers Richard Acton and Chris Cloherty, Sean Smith and defender Adam Brindle, who sat on the bench six times without being used once as a substitute). The unfortunate Brindle was named as a sub 10 times in his Alty career over 2004-05 but he never once got to play for the first team. In 2005's cup games 33 different players were named for matches and all got onto the pitch at some point. By comparison, in 2004's league games, 37 different players were named for matches but four never got on the pitch (Chris Downey, Adam Brindle, George Melling, Joey Roberts). In 2004 cup games 35 different players were named but Sean Smith, Lewis Chalmers, Kurt Edginton and Kelvin Lugsden were named but not not used. A full statistical review of 2005 will appear in the New Year.
25 December 2005
JOIN THE ALTY FOOTBALL PONTOON!From Altrincham Director, Grahame Rowley:
Altrincham FC – Football Pontoon 2006
With the New Year almost upon us, our sights must be set on survival in Nationwide Conference. With this in mind we are proposing to run a football pontoon, starting on Friday 3rd February. To play it will cost you the princely sum of £10 and the winner will receive either £150 cash or a Season Ticket for next season for Altrincham FC.
- You pick one random team out of a hat and that is your team for the duration of the competition. Premiership, Championship, League 1&2 and Conference teams available.
- Your team has to be the first team to score EXACTLY 21 goals for you to win
- If your team goes over 21 goals you are bust!
- Only competitive games (League or FA Cup games) played on a Friday, Saturday, Sunday or Monday count towards the goal total
- If more than one team reaches exactly 21 goals on the same day the prize money will be shared (there will be no Season Ticket option)
- If a particular weekends matches are missing any teams due to postponements or blank fixtures those teams will be awarded 2 goals
- International weekends do not count towards scoring.
An updated table showing each person's team and how they are doing will be posted on the website and in the programme as soon as possible. Let me know if you wish to join up for this exciting game of Pontoon. Any questions, do not hesitate to phone me 07720-606897 or email me
Many thanks for your support.
Director, Altrincham FC
CHRISTMAS GAMESConfguide says that "Resurgent Kidderminster will not be able to count on the services of Laurie Wilson for the Boxing Day home clash with Altrincham. Wilson is ruled out with a foot injury, while Simon Russell is still recovering from a broken wrist as the Harriers bid for a third successive victory in all competitions.However, caretaker boss Martin O'Connor has more options after Johnny Mullins, Simon Heslop and Gareth Sheldon all returned from their respective injuries for the midweek LDV Vans Trophy victory over Bradford. Meanwhile, groin injury victim Val Owen is ruled out of Altrincham’s trip to Kidderminster, whilst Robins' boss Graham Heathcote will also have to check on the fitness of Steve Bushell, who is still struggling for fitness after returning from a broken leg".
The Harriers Online site says that "This seasons Christmas double header sees us given what some bureaucrat at the FA think is a local derby for both ourselves and Altrincham, a town situated not far from Manchester. We were told it was because the police wanted crowd control kept to a minimum... I can't see many Alty fans travelling down the M6 on a Boxing Day and think that the crowd at Aggborough will be one of the lowest on the day... Iyseden Christie seems to have shaken off his neck injury so we should be looking at an unchanged side... Altrincham, sitting just below us in the table, will be without old timer Val Owen who has a groin injury... I expect this to be an easy victory for us and to keep our un-beaten run going for a little bit longer".
CONFERENCE NEWSGary Owers, manager of Forest Green Rovers, has played down rumours linking Cheltenham Town striker Damian Spencer with a move to The Lawn... [but] Owers can certainly expect to be busy shaping his forward line in the New Year, with the futures of Julian Alsop and Guy Madjo still uncertain. Madjo is on loan from Bristol City until December 31st, although Rovers are optimistic they can tie him down until the end of the season at least. Tamworth striker Alsop has scored only once since arriving on a three-month loan on October 21st, but his all-round performances have improved of late and Owers is keen to retain his services for longer... [but] Owers is demanding more from the likes of Bruno Teixeira and Scott Rendell" reports This is Glos.
"Exeter City are rumoured to be keeping a close eye on Aldershot Town winger Nick Crittenden as boss Alex Inglethorpe... was at last weekend's FA Trophy tie between Aldershot and Grays Athletic to run the rule over the former Yeovil Town star. Inglethorpe has made no secret of his need to recruit a winger following the departure of Tony Scully to Crawley Town... Bracknall-born Crittenden ... joined Aldershot at the beginning of last season... Now, with his contract up at the end of the season, the winger has become the subject of interest from other clubs desperate to lure fresh talent in the transfer window", says This is Exeter.
24 December 2005
HAPPY CHRISTMASA Happy Christmas from all at Altrincham Football Club and the official website to all Altrincham supporters and visitors to this page! Please keep visiting over the festive period for daily updates. Altrincham's games over the holiday period are:
MAD DOG'S CHRISTMAS VIEWSAM quotes Alty captain Mark Maddox (pictured), "The Christmas period is going to be a crucial time of the season for us... Kidderminster have come off the back of wins against Scarborough and Bradford so it's going to be a really tough game. But I've always liked playing down there... The game against Accrington ended up being a bit of a disappointment really, it was probably the worst we have played against them all year... I wasn't involved against Woking but it was a tough one to take, they were just physically much stronger than us - they weren't a particularly good team and they didn't really try to play football, they just overpowered us... I was really surprised to hear the news about Southport going full time at the start of next season, it really did come out of the blue. To be honest I didn't think they would have the kind of resources to go ahead with a move like this and it seems strange that they'd announce this while they're bottom of the league... But fair play to them, it's a bold move and if it pays off then it could make life more difficult for us". On a personal note, "The only problem is that I'll be working on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day because that's the price I have to pay for getting Boxing Day off!... It's a shame that the lads haven't been able to get together for a proper do as well but it's always difficult what with everyone working and living in different places... I'm sure we'll all get together and have a good night out in the New Year!" I
OPPOSITION'S VIEWThis is KHFC says that caretaker manager Martin O'Connor "is not setting points targets from the double header with Altrincham on Boxing Day and Monday, January 2... He simply wants his team to put in displays of 'commitment and endeavour' ... O'Connor insisted: 'We've won two games but are still 16th in the table as they were cup matches. We need to take our cup form into the league period over Christmas. When you're 16th, every game is a big game. These are winnable. But I certainly don't want to show any disrespect to Altrincham as they will be fighting for their lives. A good performance is my only target... We need to show commitment and endeavour. I want them to enjoy their football and play with a smile on their faces'". The report adds that "Striker Lee Thompson... has impressed alongside top scorer Iyseden Christie. Midfielders Russ Penn and Terry Fleming... are proving their worth in the engine room, while skipper Mark Jackson has been a rock at the back recently... O'Connor hopes to field an unchanged line-up to face 17th-placed Altrincham". O'Connor added: "A big thing for us has been keeping the same team for the last two games... There are a few bruises from the Bradford game but hopefully it will all have cleared up in time for Altrincham".
UPDATESThe Alty Youth team's and Reserves' fixtures have both been updated as has the Lancashire League table.
OLD BOYNL Daily says that "Hyde United have boosted their squad ahead of the Christmas and New Year period by signing midfielder Danny Hooper".
JANUARY DATEAlty have no game on 14 January which is the date of the next round of the FA Trophy. But two other clubs out of the Trophy have now arranged a fixture that day:
Alty fans looking for a local game that day could try:
CONFERENCE NEWSConfguide says that "Halifax Town have sent striker Darren Mansaram out on loan to Worksop Town until the end of the 2005/06 season... after the forward’s spells with York City and Tamworth... The 21-year-old boasts an impressive goal ratio having scored four times in six appearances for the Shaymen".
The BBC reports that "Cambridge United manager Rob Newman wants to bring in four players to bolster his squad... The U's boss has already released Darren Behcet and Matt Nolan in order to raise funds... Newman told BBC Radio Cambridgeshire: 'We'll be getting three or four new bodies in because we need to improve our decision making on the pitch'"
"Crawley boss John Hollins feels he had no option but to rest Daryl Clare ahead of the tough festive programme. The striker missed Saturday's FA trophy win at Stevenage with a back injury". Hollins told BBC Southern Counties Radio, "I know he wants to play every game but I had to rest him because I cannot afford to play him half fit".
23 December 2005
FACING REALITYIn today's NL Paper Graham Heathcote says, "I think we have performed pretty well... We actually finished fifth in the Nationwide North last season so the enormity of the step up was always going to prove pretty troublesome for us. To be heading into the Christmas period in the frame to steer clear of relegation can be seen as a decent first half to the campaign, though I am not happy that we have already been knocked out of the major cup competitions... Our fortunes will now depend on what we can afford to do in the second half of the season. It will be very hard for me to improve the side - there are no funds available. We may have to take the opposite view and look at what we have to do in economic terms to remain in existence. We have to ensure that we are still operating as a club at the end of the season, whether it be in the Conference or below. I am expecting my Board to tell me at the beginning of January that I will have to cut the wage bill. The extra expense of playing at this level is considerable. On the footballing front, if we can survive in the Conference with the financial constraints that we have, then everyone will have done a fantastic job".
RESERVES REPORTThe reserves' section has a match report on the game at Moss Lane against Morecambe Reserves on Wednesday.
BUSHELL STAYSThe BBC confirms that Alty's on-loan Halifax Town midfielder Steve Bushell has signed for a second month. "Bushell was due to return to Halifax after Altrincham's Boxing Day clash at Kidderminster but has now been given the all-clear to stay on at Moss Lane. The 32-year-old has so far started three Conference games for Graham Heathcote's side as he looks to return to full fitness following a broken leg".
Another extended loan is at Morecambe where Blackburn Rovers goalkeeper Steven Drench (20) is to stay for another month where he has replaced the injured Ryan Robinson. Morecambe may also extend the loan of their own former player, John Hardiker, from Bury.
NEXT UPThis is KHFC claims that "Harriers' homegrown hero Mark Yates has emerged as a strong contender for the managerial vacancy". Chairman Barry Norgrove says he is looking for a "somebody hungry and young who will try and work hard" but admitted that he will not start interviewing until January 9. He added, "I don't know what his contract is like at Burnley but if Mark Yates was to be in contention for the job that's up to him to sort out". Norgrove also said that "the number of applications was now close to 50". He went on, "To be honest with you the directors don't know some of the people who have applied yet". Yates, a former Harriers captain, is number two to Burnley manager Steve Cotterill but still lives at Hartlebury. The article speculates that "Another up-and-coming coach that could fit the bill is Stafford Rangers boss Phil Robinson with Norgrove saying: 'There are some decent managers that have done well in the lower leagues. The chap at Stafford for example'". But the same news sources adds that "Martin O'Connor could become the front-line contender for the Kidderminster Harriers hot-seat by translating cup form into league points... [but] he is seemingly reluctant to take over permanently from old friend Stuart Watkiss who was sacked two weeks ago... A string of job hopefuls watched Kidderminster's impressive 2-1 win over Bradford City in the LDV Vans Trophy on Tuesday night. Ex-Bristol Rovers boss Ian Atkins, former Manchester United favourite Frank Stapleton and Dave Titterton, who managed Stourport Swifts, were all in attendance... Harriers' convincing displays against Scarborough and Bradford set them up perfectly for a Conference encounter with fellow strugglers Altrincham at Aggborough on Boxing Day". However, "O'Connor must sort out the long-term future of five-goal forward Taiwo Atieno who is on loan from Walsall until the end of this month. Reading defender Johnny Mullins' stay has been extended until late January, while Barnsley midfielder Simon Heslop's work experience switch is for the 'foreseeable future'. Non-contract right-back Patrick Flynn, a former Wolves youngster, has been rewarded with a month-to-month deal after some promising displays."
Alty Safety Officer and STAR board member Phil Taylor reports on the Alty Forum that "The supporters' trust at Kidderminster Harriers, KHIST, have advised us that there are bogus letters which appear genuine circulating to all opposition clubs stating that their fans will not be allowed into the Harriers Arms, which is the pub at the front of the main stand at Aggborough. This is not true, all Alty fans will be welcome in the pub before and after the match. The social club behind the John Smith stand is also open to visiting fans, although this is an independent club and proceeds do not benefit the club".
NEW YEAR'S EVETamworth's Shaun Booth is suspended for the match against Alty on 31 December.
Don't forget the free party for Altrincham fans at Moss Lane after the Tamworth game - but you must get a ticket in advance. Click here for details.
OLD BOYBarrow confirm that "New Manager Phil Wilson, certainly has an in-depth knowledge of his new loan signing, as it is his son, Kyle. The pacey 20 year-old Crewe Alexandra striker joins Barrow on a month's loan after just completing a two month similar stint at Altrincham".
CONFERENCE NEWSCrawley manager John Hollins told BBC Southern Counties Radio that goalkeeper "Phil Smith played really well against Stevenage at the weekend. He's working hard and shows a great deal of awareness and gives the team confidence when he's in this form" before curiously adding , "At the weekend the best save he made was not with his hands but his head".
Southport's former Lancaster City central defender Farrell Kilbane "is poised to make his loan move to Stalybridge Celtic permanent. The 31-year-old...has been on loan at Stalybridge since the end of November. Port boss Liam Watson has also allowed [former Runcorn] midfielder Dominic Krief to join Farsley Celtic. Watson plans to reshuffle his squad further in the January transfer window" as his side moves towards full-time. Also departing from Haig Avenue is Kevin Lynch who has reportedly joined Droylsden.
"Cambridge United boss Rob Newman has released striker Matt Nolan. The former Peterborough front man, 23, joined the U's in the summer but failed to score in ten Conference appearances. '"Unfortunately Matty is a case of the striker who hasn't been scoring goals and we need to get someone in who will', Newman told his club's Cambridge Unitedwebsite. Cambridge have also ended the work experience stay of West Ham goalkeeper Darren Behcet, 19, who had not figured in the Conference since September".
Mark Cooper, manager of Tamworth whom we meet on 31 December, "wants to sign on-loan Exeter City striker Jake Edwards on a free transfer when the transfer window opens in January". Cooper told the Express & Echo: "I have spoken to Alex Inglethorpe and there wouldn't be a fee involved, there is no way we could afford to pay a fee. But I would certainly like to keep him here, I rate him highly".
Hereford Bulls News reports that "An article which appeared on the Official Hereford United Newsblog suggests the club are looking into making the official site pay per view. The article was posted by Skeets (Keith Hall) last night, but was removed swiftly and has not been replaced, and suggested that the club had 'contacts in the specialised service areas' required to make the switch to pay per view. The 'contacts' may be Keith Hall himself with the one-time PA announcer now working for both the BBC in local radio and Teamtalk Media doing commentary and camera work for Conferencefootball.tv. The article cited Woking's recent move to pay per view, with subscription packages up to £99.99 a year, as the model and stated that a poll would be set up on the official forum to gauge interest. When contacted the club had no knowledge of a move to pay per view, suggesting that the article was not an official piece of club news and was removed when seen by one of the more senior website team. A move to pay per view would be a kick in the teeth for the existing official website team who have worked hard to develop the site free of charge to the club for nearly ten years, also raising several thousand pounds over time".
NL Daily reports that "Glenn Cockerill, manager of Woking, is hoping to sign experienced Wycombe Wanderers defender Stuart Nethercott on a permanent basis when the transfer widow opens in January. 32 year-old Nethercott, the former Spurs and Millwall centre back, has been on loan with the Cards since the end of August. 'I'm looking to keep Stuart if I can. He’s keen to stay and I'm very keen to sign him permanently. I’ll be talking to John Gorman again'" said Cockerill. Cockerill also told the club's official website: 'Apart from that [the signing of Nethercott], my hands are largely tied by my budget and the salary-capping rules. Woking play these things very straight so I've got little room for manoeuvre."
"Ambitious Nationwide North club Workington have formally applied to join the Conference National next season. Nationwide North and South clubs are required to apply before December 31st if they want to go up next year to the top level below the Football League. 'We have to go for it', said chairman Dale Brotherton . 'Nothing could be worse than if we were in a position to get promotion and were then knocked back because the ground was not up to scratch. We would want shooting if that happened. The list of requirements to ensure we are okay for promotion is quite extensive. It includes more seats, extra turnstiles and crush barriers. But it’s all coming together. It’s quite a nice position to be in'” he told the Conference site says that Halifax Town manager Chris Wilder, finances permitting, will look to bolster his attack with the acquisition of a proven goalscorer when the transfer window opens in January. 'To take that next step and to have a real push at going up we have to improve at the top of the pitch', he told BBC Sport. 'But we have hit a bit of a brick wall when it comes to improving that area and getting players in. There are goalscorers out there and players I know would improve our squad but without the finance we can't compete'" - a tale which Graham Heathcote could echo.
Cambridge News says that "City fans have reacted with horror to the thought that they and arch-rivals United could merge... And there has been a mixed reaction from United fans about the prospect of one "super-club" being formed". City supporter Sharon Pettengell said: "Everyone at Milton Road trusts chairman Arthur Eastham's judgement, although it would be disappointing if it does come to a merger because you don't want to see the identity of your club disappear... United fan Mark Saywell, said: 'As far as the foreseeable future is concerned, if there's no co-operation I can only see a bleak one for City and one of mediocrity for United'".
From Halifax Today we learn that "Sports fans are planning to march through Halifax to oppose council plans to sell The Shay. Organiser Ian Griffiths said he hoped hundreds of people would turn out on January 10 - the day councillors hold a special meeting to consider their options... At last week's meeting of the council, members voted to negotiate with the stadium trust the surrender of its lease, to prepare a development brief for the site and to offer it for sale. A condition is that it would be retained for sport and the development of the east stand completed".
On Scarborough Today "boss Neil Redfearn has warned that more first team players could make way in a bid to turn around a stuttering season. Ian Clark has been listed and... Redfearn is prepared to sacrifice more starting regulars. He said: 'The team has had its shelf-life now, we need to freshen things up immediately. If it means sacrificing more regular first team players to bring in others then we will do it. There may be a few shocks over the next couple of weeks. I have a number of players who are ready to sign but we need to free up wages to bring them in. The other managers all know I am interested, we just have to work around the financial constraints'"
22 December 2005
BUSHELL EXTENDEDAlty's loan of midfielder Steve Bushell (right) from Halifax Town is being extended to 24 January 2006. Steve has been injured for part of his first month's loan but it is hoped that he may be fit for Boxing Day. (Picture by Gavin Rathbone).
ALTY RESERVES 1 MORECAMBE RESERVES 2In a game of two halves Altrincham Reserves were unable to recover from a two-goal first-half deficit despite a strong second half performance on a misty night at Moss Lane. With no first-teamers in the squad, Alty had a much changed team from recent games and were second best to a slick Morecambe side in the opening stages. The visitors went 2-0 up after only 17 minutes. But the second half was a different story, with Pat McFadden impressive and a promising performance from substitute Alex Tiesse, (ex-Millwall youth and Woking). Mike Brown drove home a free kick from the left to make it 2-1 with just 12 minutes left but Alty could not find the equaliser. Report to follow.
GRAHAM'S VIEWSAM reports that "Altrincham took some time out... to play a hastily arranged friendly against Witton Albion... But there was a more serious element to the game, with manager Graham Heathcote using it as an opportunity to take a closer look at trialist Michael Rankine... He said: 'I think I need to see Michael again before I make any kind of decision because I didn't see enough of him against Witton. It wasn't like a league game, you get different levels of performance from a friendly and you aren't always able to make a proper judgement. But we've also got issues financially. We still need to see what he wants and if we are able to afford it. As I have already said, some tough decisions are going to have to be made before the end of the season and if we do bring anyone in we're going to have to balance that with players we release". Graham added, "Since we are out of all the cups now I can arrange more midweek games and will have plenty of time to look at the young lads like Ben Deegan and James Marsden to see what exactly we have already at this club... The Witton game was good because it was about building up confidence again after the two cup exits". As for the trip to managerless Kidderminster on Boxing Day, "It's like any situation where the manager has just been sacked, the team are trying to prove a point and it will be a tough game".
MOSS LANE CHANGEA new TV/video camera gantry has been erected at Moss Lane. It is suspended from the roof of the Popular Side, rather than sited on the terrace steps as formerly. The club would like to express their thanks to Neil Faulkner of Robinsons' Preservation and to Dunham Scaffolding for erecting the platform. This will now be a permanent fixture at the ground, reports Alty board member, Grahame Rowley.
CONFERENCE NEWSCambridge News Says that "One super-club could be formed in Cambridge after it was confirmed that United and City have been holding discussions to merge... The two financially-stricken clubs have been in negotiations with a view to linking up as one in time for the start of next season... Both clubs are of the view that it could be the best way forward. City, who formed in 1908, have large debts that they are struggling to sustain, and are in the process of selling Milton Road, which would be used to ease both clubs' financial problems. United, founded in 1912, were forced to sell the Abbey Stadium to director John Howard's Bideawhile company this time last year... They went into administration during last season, with relegation to the Nationwide Conference following, and it was only the intervention of Sports Minister Richard Caborn MP that saved United in their battle with HM Customs & Revenue... City chairman Arthur Eastham said: 'As far as Cambridge City is concerned, we cannot sustain football at this level because of the debt that the club is in.... We have had discussions last week with Cambridge United and we are going to meet again this week'... It is envisaged that the new club would play in the Nationwide Conference - assuming United are not promoted or relegated this season - at United's Abbey Stadium, until a new community stadium is built... United's financial director Nick Pomery confirmed: 'We held a meeting last week at the instigation of Cambridge City chairman Arthur Eastham to discuss ground-sharing and some co-operation on youth policy', said Pomery. 'A merger was one of the options which came up. We felt it was something that was worth having another meeting about and it will be held shortly'.
The BBC says that "Kidderminster caretaker manager Martin O'Connor has given credit for the team's cup successes to former boss Stuart Watkiss. Kidderminster followed up their FA Trophy win over Scarborough by knocking Bradford City out of the LDV Vans Trophy... 'I spoke to the lads and we've agreed that these last two performances have been for Stuart'", said O'Connor. Meanwhile, "Aldershot boss Terry Brown admits that his side's FA Trophy replay defeat at holders Grays underlined the need to add to his squad in January. 'The difference between the two sides was that they were able to bring strong fresh legs on in extra-time and we were unable to do that... I need to get a couple of players in that are capable of finishing off a game like this'".
"Scarborough manager Neil Redfearn has told attacking midfielder Ian Clark that he can leave in the January transfer window. Clark, 31, joined the Seasiders from Darlington in the summer and has been an ever-present in their Conference campaign to date. 'I need a bit more from my attacking players, and maybe it's time for a change', said Redfearn".
"Crawley Town have allowed midfielder Joe Keehan to make the short move to join Eastbourne Borough on a month's loan. Keehan, who can also play in defence, has started five Conference games for Crawley this season".
NL Daily reports that "Gravesend & Northfleet have extended midfielder Bradley Johnson's loan spell from Northampton Town for a second month. The 18-year-old has scored once in five games for Fleet, who are also trying to extend the loan of his fellow Cobblers' loanee, defender Brett Johnson. The Kent club also hope to tie up an extension for on-loan Lincoln City’s former Dulwich Hamlet striker Omari Coleman, 25, and manager Liam Daish is then aiming to sign the trio on a permanent basis in January".
21 December 2005
WITTON ALBION 1 ALTRINCHAM 2
Above: Gary Scott (no.2) takes a throw-in at Witton, watched by Graham Heathcote (right).
CHESHIRE NEWS"Macclesfield have been fined £62,000 and told to pay the Football Foundation £195,000 after an inquiry into the funding of their Estate Road Stand. The investigation centred on a payment made to the previous administration of the Moss Rose outfit in connection to the stand during 2000-02. The club, which has the right to appeal against the punishment, says the fine threatens its existence... Football Foundation regulations forbid clubs to receive any more than 80% of the total funding for a construction project but it has been established the payment eventually covered the entire cost... The inquiry eventually heard Macclesfield supplied bogus invoices suggesting they had paid their share of the construction costs up front, when in fact no payment had been made. In addition, rather than being an actual sponsorship deal, the contract with the constructors merely shaved some of the cost off the entire project. This meant the Football Foundation eventually bore the whole cost of the stand, so the FA have ordered the Cheshire club to repay the overspend before 31 January next year" says the BBC.
Confguide adds that the Macclesfield financial crisis "could pave the way for the former Manchester City boss Horton to make the switch across Cheshire in a move which he could have taken around 12 months ago. Horton was short-listed by Stockport County as the possible successor to the dismissed Sammy McIlroy to take the reigns at Edgeley Park... Pressure is mounting on current County chief Chris Turner following a dismal run of results which sees them collect only seven wins from fifty games".
CONFERENCE NEWSThe BBC says that "Canvey Island have allowed goalkeeper Ashley Harrison to extend his loan spell at Great Wakering Rovers for a further two months. The long-serving stopper... has only made one Conference appearance this season". Also "Halifax striker Ryan Sugden has had to delay his comeback until the New Year. Sugden, 26, has been out of action since the start of October with a stomach muscle tear and is yet to resume full training".
NL Daily reports that Exeter City's Rytis Leliuga has moved to Taunton Town on loan and in another loan move Dan Glozier of Gravesend & Northfleet has gone to Tonbridge Angels.
Confguide confirms that "As from Tuesday, December 20, 2005, the Conference video site will cease to be a free service and switch over to subscription. Although there was some support for the "Keep Conference TV a free service" campaign... the interest generated was not sufficient to keep the service free. Subscription fees for the service are £4.99 per calendar month and £14.99 for the rest of the season, with subscribers enjoying the following services:exclusive match highlights from the 2005/6 Nationwide Conference season. Well over 30 minutes of footage per week. One "Game of the week" shown in full " and other features.
Halifax Town say that they "find it beyond comprehension that, after some two years of hard work by the Shay Stadium Trust on behalf of ourselves, Halifax RLFC, our respective Trusts and the sporting public of Calderdale, a proposal developed in conjunction with Council Officers and agreed by Cabinet can be summarily discarded at the eleventh hour... What cannot be refuted is that funding available to Halifax Town and to a lesser extent Halifax RLFC has brought the Stadium to its current state. Not a penny of council taxpayers' money has been spent on the development thus far. Indeed, Calderdale MBC has allowed the two clubs to expend in excess of £2,500,000 on its land, and now proposes to sell it to the highest bidder. This is the shameful act of an unscrupulous landlord. A landlord who was happy to agree in principal to a minimum 35 year lease before work commenced on the original north and south end terraces... The Authority's decision has undermined both clubs' ability to generate the level of commercial income essential to sustain professional sport. It may well be that neither club is able to survive in their current form with the inevitable delay that this decision brings. Only time will tell".
"Patrick Flynn has done enough during his short spell at Kidderminster to convince caretaker boss Martin O'Connor to keep him on a month-to-month contract basis. The former Wolves youngster has acquitted himself well in the right-back position since arriving at the club on trial in mid-November... O’Connor told the club’s official website, "He's looked comfortable at right-back and his crossing of the ball is superb... We're keeping him on a month-to-month non-contract basis and things will just go from there" states Confguide.
20 December 2005
WITTON GAMETonight (Tuesday) sees Alty play a friendly game at Witton Albion, who are enjoying a good run under Jim Vince (junior), who himself was once on the fringes of the Alty team, making one substitute appearance in the Conference in 1988-89. Kick off at Wincham Park is at 7.45pm and entry is just £5 (children free).
Witton are an in-form side and lie third in the UniBond Premier. Jim Vince took over as caretaker manager in October and was confirmed in post in early November. His assistant is Benny Phillips, well known in local non-league circles, having been manager at several clubs including Mossley. Former Alty chairman, Mark Harris is on the board at Witton and is their programme editor. Witton also have Griff Jones, the ex-Barnsley midfielder who played several games for Altrincham Reserves earlier this season. Up front is the prolific Mike Moseley whilst in defence, veteran Brian Pritchard is the man who was sent off in the infamous CSC Final at Moss Lane, when he tackled a streaker. Other familar faces at Witton are two ex-Runcorn men, David Ness and Tom Spearitt. Albion's most recent signing is left-sided midfield player Sam McNutt from Vauxhall Motors; he was formerly at Southport and Prescot Cables, whilst Crewe have recently loaned Witton two players, Nicky Maynard and Rob Lloyd.
This is the first of several midweek friendlies which Altrincham hope to arrange in the coming months. The Witton game should give Graham Heathcote the opportunity to look at some possible players for the second half of the Conference season and maintain players' fitness levels now that Alty have no midweek game till mid February. Expected to take part for Alty at Witton is striker Michael Rankine, recently at Scunthorpe United and before that at Barrow. Also likely to be involved is Byron Jenkins, a former Crewe, Southport and Accrington midfielder. Both Rankine and Jenkins have recently played for Altrincham Reserves, whose captain and right-back, James Marsden (right), will be with the Alty squad tonight. But ruled out tonight is youth team striker Ben Deegan who was to have played but was injured last week playing for the Reserves.
Another man out of contention is Kyle Wilson, whose loan from Crewe has now ended. His loan spell was affected by injury and he was limited to just 4(+2) appearances. Also out for Alty is the unlucky ex-Crewe man, James Robinson who was beginning to make an impression up front for the Robins in recent games. James was stricken by an illness last week which caused vomiting and this, in turn, ripped his gullet leading to his being in hospital for several days. He is due out of hospital today but is still suffering from headaches and will take some time to recover from this unpleasant injury. All at Moss Lane wish him well.
Also out of action, both today and for the Boxing Day match is Val Owen, with a groin injury, whilst Steve Bushell's fitness also remains uncertain. Some of the players involved tonight will also be involved in Wednesday's Reserves' game at Moss Lane when Alty meet Morecambe (7.45pm).
CUP BLOW FOR ALTYwebsite Alty manager Graham Heathcote says, "We've gone out of the cups far too easily this season. Last year we generated some finance on the back of cup runs but we've generated nothing this year and that will take its toll in the new year squad-wise. In many ways this season has really come too early in terms of our financial plan and while you don't budget for your cup competitions they are a vital ingredient in terms of income and make life easier".
Alty were drawn away in all three cup competitions this season, going out of the FA Trophy last Saturday at Accrington, out of the FA Cup at Tamworth and the Cheshire Senior Cup, at Crewe Alexandra, after winning a round away at Woodley Sports.
CONFERENCE NEWSThe BBC reports that "Canvey are waiting to find out the full extent of facial injuries sustained by top scorer Lee Boylan in Saturday's FA Trophy win over Kingstonian. Boylan collided with a goal post and was taken to hospital... [but] has since been released but must return later this week for tests after the swelling has gone down".
Cambridge assistant boss Tony Spearing told BBC Radio Cambridge after their Trophy exit to Dorchester, "Our performance as a whole lacked desire and we must put that right. You need to be prepared to get hurt, show guts and desire and apart from our central defenders the rest of the players are not doing that".
"Scarborough have secured the services of Halifax goalkeeper Ian Dunbavin until the end of the season... and Seasiders' boss Neil Redfearn hopes to further strengthen his squad following their heavy defeat in the FA Trophy at Kidderminster, 'That showed me that I need to bring players in quickly', Redfearn said".
The Conference reports that "After scoring on his Exeter City debut, Anton Robinson has set his sights on earning a contract at St James' Park. 'I have signed on a non-contract basis and, if I do well and impress, we will take it from there', Robinson told Echo Sport. 'I like the set-up, the lads are great and the gaffer has been good to me'".
19 December 2005
WITTON AND FRIENDLIESThe gate price for tomorrow's friendly at Witton tomorrow (Tuesday) will be £5 but children will get free admission.
Graham Heathcote has indicated that other midweek friendlies will be arranged during the coming weeks as there is just one scheduled midweek first-team Conference match between now and the end of the season - at home to Halifax in February.
FA TROPHYTies to be played on January 14th:
NEXT GAMEAlthough Alty have a friendly at Witton Albion on Tuesday 20th (at 7.45pm), they have no first-team competitive game till Boxing Day, when we travel to Aggborough to play Kidderminster Harriers. As Howard Watts's Through the Years records show, this is one of our longest trips on a Boxing Day, though we have been to distant places such as Barrow on that date in the past.
Alty's last visit there was for a 1-1 draw on Saturday 11th March 2000 before the home side's second largest home gate of the season, 3,054. Altrincham started that game in tenth place and went into the match on a run of three wins and a draw and a record of only two defeats in the preceding 19 Conference matches. Kidderminster led the League, following a last-gasp victory in midweek at Doncaster. But the clubs' fates were to diverge as the Harriers gained promotion to the Football League at the end of that season whilst this creditable draw was to be the start of a run of eleven Alty games without a win which culminated with relegation after a goalless draw at Moss Lane when Kidderminister were again our opponents. Alty's side that day was 1. Key; 2. Hodson, 3. Adams, 4. Timons (capt), 5. Talbot; 6. Goodwin, 7. Gallagher, 8. Russell, 9. Chambers, 10. Morrell, 11. Ellison Subs: 12. Power, 13. Greygoose, 14. Landon, 15. Hawes, 16. Lovelock. Alty's scorer was Mick Morrell.
Right: Jason Gallagher takes a throw-in at Aggborough in March 2000. Keith Russell (8) is in the background.
AT MOSS LANEAlty reserves are at home to Morecambe Reserves at Moss Lane this Wednesday (21st) at 7.45pm. Entry is just £2 - free for season ticket holders.
GATESTerry Rowley's updated Conference attendance data is here.
YOUTH NEWSThe youth team is also operating a Monthly Draw and is keen to add new members for the remaining five months of the season, at just £5 a month. All proceeds go towards helping the Altrincham FC Youth team. Please contact the club on 928-1045 to assist.
A report on the youth team's game at Woodley is in the Youth section.
PRESIDENT JACKAccording to the NW Counties Football League former Manchester United keeper and a regular at Moss Lane, Jack Crompton, has been honoured by Curzon Ashton. "Both Jack and (his wife) Sheila are avid followers of the United reserve team and it became clear that with Curzon's youth structure and his views, there was a great similarity. Some days later, amongst ourselves, we discussed the possibility of inviting Jack to become our President. The club formally confirm his acceptance of this position
NATIONWIDE NORTHDays after Phil Wilson left Lancaster for Barrow, Redditch have become the second Nationwide North to become managerless in a week as Rod Brown has resigned as boss of the Midlands club. It is rumoured this decision followed a cut in the playing budget.
LAST GAMEAccrington quote their manager John Coleman after Saturday's Trophy win over Alty, "It was a good, convincing win and the team played well... We’ve under-achieved in the Trophy in the last few years and as the top non-league side in the country, we should be looking to get into the later rounds".
CONFERENCE NEWSOn the BBC "Neil Redfearn described Scarborough's 4-0 FA Trophy defeat at Kidderminster as their worst performance since he took over as manager. 'We were 3-0 down at half-time, and it could have been six. They hit the bar twice and every time they went forward they looked dangerous. The pitch was lively and bumpy, but Kidderminster wanted it more. That was the biggest side I could have put out, but they were winning headers above us in the box'".
18 December 2005
Anthony Davies goes for the ball against Woodley, watched by Hassan Zareh-Ourang (left) and Matty Williams (right).
Alty Youth lost 5-2 away at Woodley Sports this afternoon. Matt Williams and Astley Mulholland netted Alty's goals. Report to follow.
CONFERENCE NEWS"Scarborough have snapped up goalkeeper Ian Dunbavin until the end of the season and player-manager Neil Redfearn hopes more signings will follow. 25 year-old former Morecambe man Dunbavin who was man of the match on his debut against Exeter City last week, was originally signed on loan until January 1st. Redfearn said: 'We have also got Lee Fowler here for the rest of the season but I would love to extend it further than that... It would be great if we could get Lee – and a few other players I have my eye on – signed up, not only for this season but for next as well. I know there are financial constraints but the club is now in a stable state. I have a number of targets lined up who all play in the Football League at present'", reports Scarborough Today.
17 December 2005
ACCRINGTON STANLEY 2 ALTRINCHAM 0
Above: Little's penalty cannons off the keeper's legs and goes behind the goal.
Match report here
Right: Alty's James Robinson, doubtful with illness.
Saturday 17th: FA Trophy 1
SATURDAYAlty are again hit by injuries and SAM says that for the game at Accrington, Alty's second visit there in a fortnight, "Both Peter Band and Mark Maddox have recovered from suspension, while Val Owen and Steve Aspinall should both be fit to play. Stephen Rose is suspended... and he is joined on the sidelines by injury casualties Gary Talbot (foot), Karl Munroe (ankle) and James Robinson (illness). Steve Bushell is cup-tied under the terms of his loan from Halifax, although he is currently unavailable through injury as well, and Chris Adams is still struggling with the injury that saw him substituted against Woking. But reserve keeper Richard Acton is now fully recovered from a long-term injury". Meanwhile, the Stanley site says "I am sure that we are all hoping that this is the last season that we will be involved in this competition and that next season we are in the Carling Cup instead. Stanley have not had much success in the F.A. Trophy recently going out at the first hurdle in the last three seasons to Tamworth, Burton Albion and last season Hereford".
CONFERENCE NEWSShotsweb reports that "Shots defender Tarkan Mustafa will be staying at Billericay Town for another month after all parties agreed to extend his successful loan spell at the New Lodge... The Aldershot right-back position now seems to be firmly secured by Matt Somner and it looks less likely than ever that Tarks would be able to return to the Shots' first team". And "Roscoe D'Sane's tendinitis has re-emerged only a short time after the start of his comeback... It could herald the approach of an end to Roscoe's time at Aldershot as the club is keen to move into the transfer market to secure the signing on a contract of a new striker... That signing would cover the departure of Aaron McLean".
On This is Exeter "Former Exeter City chairman Ivor Doble says he's relieved his beloved club is still in existence - even though he lost almost £450,000 because of the club's debt-busting CVA... Dozens of creditors were paid a total of £227,619, which is the equivalent of just over seven pence in the pound for the money they were owed by the club when the CVA was set up in June 2003. The arrangement, which was set up by the club's supporters' trust when Doble handed them his majority shareholding, slashed City's debts from £4.8m to about £750,000. City businessman Doble, who ploughed vast sums into the club during his 20-year involvement as a director, was the club's single biggest creditor. He was owed more than £483,000 and received less than £35,000, but he told Echo Sport, 'I'm just glad the football club is still there... It's just sad that nobody is coming in with the money it still needs to prop it up. I was there for 20-odd years and it nearly killed me... There's not many people in Exeter who are as mad as me now. I feel very upset about not getting the money, but there's nothing you can do about it. You don't put money into a football club and expect to get it back'... The club paid £300,000 to service the CVA and an estimated £450,000 to so-called 'football creditors' ... That left £227,619.10 for creditors. Doble received a cheque for £34,413 despite being owed £483,297 and former director Peter Carter was paid £12,432 of the £174,600 he was owed".
From the same source: "Officials at Exeter City have dismissed reports linking Chris Todd with a host of clubs. Bournemouth are the latest club rumoured to be interested in snapping up the fast-improving Welsh semi-professional international defender... Plymouth Argyle and Swindon Town are two other clubs who have been linked with the former Swansea City centre half. City vice-chairman Julian Tagg said 'It would be nice if it was genuine and someone started to talk figures'... Todd is out of contract in the summer and City boss Alex Inglethorpe is keen to tie up his future"
Clitheroe Today reports that loan player "right back Michael Howey has been sent back to Southport as [the Clitheroe manager] wasn't happy with his level of commitment".
The BBC confirms that "Gravesend & Northfleet midfielder Ben Surey has joined Basingstoke Town. Surey, 22, had been on loan at The Camrose since early November and has now agreed a permanent deal... Fleet have also allowed defender Daniel Glozier, 19, to join Tonbridge Angels on a month's loan".
"Tamworth have completed the signing of former Newcastle United and Fulham defender Alan Neilson... The 33-year-old was with Luton Town last season and also previously had a spell at Southampton. Cooper has also signed former Exeter City defender Barry McConnell, although the 28-year-old will not be available for action until Boxing Day" says the BBC. Alty travel to Tamworth on 31 December.
From This is KHFC we learn that "Martin O'Connor has backed Kidderminster Harriers' young midfielders to continue shining in his absence. The caretaker-boss is struggling to return from a knee problem but believes the emerging Russ Penn and Simon Heslop, along with the experienced Terry Fleming, are worthy replacements... He continues to distance himself from the permanent job after the Kidderminster board met yesterday to draw up a shortlist of six before interviews start next week... [He] admitted: 'I'd rather be asked to do the job than put my name forward'... But O'Connor was not so complimentary about the senior players involved in Harriers' 2-1 defeat to Halesowen in the Worcestershire Senior Cup... John Danby, Wayne Graves, Gavin Hurren, Chris McHale, Laurie Wilson and Gareth Sheldon were meant to add experience alongside youth teamers. O'Connor added: 'They have been told in no uncertain terms that I was not happy and am not going to put up with that performance'".
Halifax Today claims that "Rory Prendergast is set to return for Town against Southport at the Shay tomorrow.But Denny Ingram may have to be content with a place on the bench - 'Denny came back and played 90 minutes on Tuesday... and if he plays two games in a week it would be putting a lot of pressure on his hamstring... Justin Bowler, who started Tuesday's game but limped off after six minutes with a pulled hamstring, is likely to be out for two to three weeks". Manager Chris Wilder said "I want us to get back on a winning track... We have not done particularly well in this competition, certainly not as well as we would have liked and, with money being as tight as it is now, we need to pull out all the stops to get a run going".
Bullsnews says that "The prize fund for the LDV Trophy is at risk after LDV announced it will enter adminstration today. The Birmingham based van maker shut down production last week amid a cash crisis... LDV have sponsored the Associate Members' Cup for the last six years... [and] are also the official minibus and commercial vehicle supplier to the Football League".
16 December 2005
CONFUSING RULESSAM reports that as Alty boss Graham Heathcote "prepares to bring in one or two new faces to help his side compete, he claimed the current transfer regulations act as a hindrance for the club". He said, 'Every club needs to employ a Philadelphia lawyer to try and understand the current regulations, I don't even think our own FA understands them. The registration of players is a minefield and you have to make sure you don't slip up because you will cost your team points if you breach any of the rules. They are trying to distinguish between contract players and non-contract players but they are really making a complete mish-mash of things and making it very difficult for clubs operating on a non-contract basis at this level. It is a worry if they are aiming to remove non-contract clubs from this level of football but that could be the case... In the past players have come to this club on good faith but it takes some persuading to bring in players now who don't really know this club because we can't offer them the security of a contract'". But the Alty boss remains confident for the immediate future saying that "We are in a stronger position team-wise for the second half of the season. We are not in unknown territory and we know what to expect. We know that if we can get at least 21 points again in the second half of the season then we will have a total of 42 and that should be enough for safety".
NEXT GAMEOn Saturday, Alty travel to Accrington for an FA Trophy 1st Round match and NL Daily reports that "Teams playing in the FA Trophy and FA Vase, both in partnership with Carlsberg, will enjoy an added incentive over the later rounds of the competitions. The Carlsberg ‘Team of the Round’ will be decided by a panel that includes The FA’s Steve Clark and David Barber. The winning team will receive two crates of Carlsberg beer and complimentary tickets to the final of their own cup competition. There will also be a photo-call with either the FA Trophy or The FA Vase in attendance – and the club will be featured on The FA’s official website, www.TheFA.com and on nonleaguedaily.com... Meanwhile, the tradition of awarding the leading goal scorer in each round a VIP trip to the final of their cup competition continues".
Meanwhile, "The lads have been magnificent", Accrington manager John Coleman told The Accrington Observer . "We had four home games and we knew it would be a tough ask to take 12 points but we have... People will see Gary Roberts has scored again again and there could be a few people knocking on our door when come January but we have to keep hold of players like Gary Roberts if we are to have the ambition to win the league".
CONFERENCE NEWSBottom of the table Southport's "Chairman, Charles Clapham, has announced that the club will be moving towards full-time. The club has undergone a full structural review and to compete in the Nationwide Conference the Chairman says 'It is abundantly clear to go forward we have to go full-time. It is likely twenty to twenty-two clubs will be full-time in the Conference next season. The full-time structure for 2006/2007 will be right for the football club, we will manage our resources carefully. Liam Watson will be able to use our move towards full-time as a bargaining tool in the transfer window."
The Liverpool Echo confirms that "an announcement concerning a change of status for the Sandgrounders is due to be made. And although long-serving chairman Charlie Clapham has in the past resisted a switch from part-time football, such a move has become inevitable. Southport have operated on a part-time basis since being voted out of the Football League in 1978... Their decision to join the full-time ranks is one which will hopefully leave Liam Watson's men on a more level playing field" in the Conference. It is uncertain how quickly the change will come, though it is rumoured that some players at the club may go full-time very soon.
Above: Halifax's new stand has remained uncompleted for several years. It is seen above in September, when Alty visited The Shay.
Halifax Today reports that "Councillors have voted to sell the Shay and surrounding land to a developer who will finish the East stand and keep the stadium available for sport. If it becomes no longer needed for that purpose, a clawback provision will ensure the council benefits from any increase in the value of the 13-acre site. But before it can be marketed, the Shay Stadium Trust will have to surrender its lease to the land and the council will have to draw up a development brief. Calderdale Council spent 90 minutes discussing what to do with the Shay in response to a request from the trust for a £3 million loan... Council leader John Ford said, 'We would not write a blank cheque because there was no viable plan in place to repay the money'. The entire council is due to meet again on January 10 to hear the response from the stadium trust".
"Alex Inglethorpe, manager of Exeter City, is set to reject a new contract at St James's Park until the financial uncertainty surrounding the club is resolved. Inglethorpe has decided to hold fire on signing a deal that could keep him at the club until 2010 because of fears his budget could be further slashed... He said: 'I have declined the contract for the time being at least until certain issues around the club are cleared up. I will review it again later and expect to sign one in the near future'. One factor is said to be that former managing director Ian Huxham "is threatening legal action and seeking compensation after walking out on the Grecians two months ago. Sources claim Huxham is intending to file for constructive dismissal and is hoping to secure a cash settlement. No explanation has been given for his decision to quit his £40,000-a-year post... It is understood Inglethorpe fears any financial settlement stemming from Huxham's departure will take another huge chunk out of his playing budget. The City boss has been already been hit by a £160,000 reduction... Exeter were unable to compete financially with struggling Crawley Town in the chase to land winger Tony Scully". But Inglethorpe said, "If I wanted to have gone I would have gone by now", he told This is Exeter.
conf fo4rum re Exeterhttp://www.confguide.com/cboard.mpl?action=View+Thread&thread=50749 Exeter City report that "in conjunction with The Exeter City Supporters' Trust [they] are pleased to announce that Jerry O’Sullivan, being the supervisor of the CVA has now concluded the arrangement entered into by ECFC on the 16th of October 2003... Whilst not responsible for the huge £4.8 million of debt outstanding at the date of the takeover on 20th of May 2003 the current directors are extremely conscious that many creditors, many of whom have continued to support the club, have lost significant sums. They would therefore, now like to express their gratitude to the vast majority of creditors that supported the CVA so positively enabling the club to enter a new era.This announcement that the CVA can now be concluded and that ECFC is officially debt free, has been achieved by the monumental efforts of all those associated with the club".
Confguide says that "Peterborough manager Mark Wright has recalled André Boucaud from his loan spell at Aldershot. Shots manager Terry Brown told the club's official website: 'We will be looking to improve the squad during the forthcoming transfer window although our priority is not in the midfield department'".
Meanwhile, the BBC says that "Doncaster forward Adriano Rigoglioso's loan spell at Southport may be ended early because of a knee injury. Rigoglioso has been restricted to just one game for Port, and has returned to Doncaster for treatment".
Our Christmas and New Year opponents, "Kidderminster Harriers are due to begin interviewing applicants for the vacant manager's post next week. 'We're pleased with the quality," chairman Barry Norgrove told BBC Hereford & Worcester. We've got the best ground in the league and we've just dropped out of League Two, so I think potential managers see an opportunity here. Perhaps there's an opportunity for the new man to make moves when the transfer window opens in January'".
LOCAL NEWSIn the Manchester Evening News on Thursday, FC United of Manchester are advertising for "exceptional individuals" as Chief Executive on c.£25,000 p.a. and Club Secretary on c.£18,000. Applicants must "demonstrate experience in activity within the football supporters' movement ideally at Manchester United Football Club".
Thursday's Daily Telegraph reported Northwich chairman Mike Connett's annoyance that their FA Cup opponents, Sunderland, are cutting admission prices at the Stadium of Light for the game. He said, “Sunderland proposed ticket prices of £6 and £1, which I said was a waste of time. I said I’d accept £20 for adults and less for concessions. The FA have ruled that the prices should be £10 and £5, which I think is a disgraceful way to treat non-League football.. I believe they have cost us £200,000 by going so far below normal prices...They underestimate us, which suits us fine. I fancy us to do well there".
15 December 2005
BRADFORD P.A. RES. 2 ALTRINCHAM RES. 5Alty Reserves'impressively overcame the previously unbeaten Bradford PA on Wednesday night at the Horsfall Stadium. Rod Thornley, Steve Aspinall, Pat McFadden, Stephen Rose and Richard Acton were the first teamers in the Alty squad but trialist Michael Rankine and newcomer Byron Jenkins also impressed. Rankine, a young striker recently at Scunthorpe but before then with Barrow, was delayed in traffic so could only be used as a sub. Jenkins counts Crewe, Southport and Accrington amongst his former clubs. Alty's goals came from an own goal, prompted by good work from Jenkins, plus efforts from McFadden, Thornley (2 goals - 1 a 40-yarder!) and Rankine. Report in the Reserves' section.
Last Thursday, My Football News reported that "Scunthorpe striker Michael Rankine has joined Lincoln City on trial. The 20-year-old is training with the Red Imps as boss Keith Alexander considers moves to strengthen his squad in the January transfer-window. He has not played a first-team game this season but has scored regularly for the reserves and recently spent a spell on loan at former club Barrow. Of his 24 appearances for the Iron, 21 have come from the bench with his only league goal coming in a win over Bury".
OLD BOYFormer Alty goalkeeper Lance Key's last-minute own-goal allowed Nuneaton to squeeze past Histon in last night's FA Cup replay.
IN THE PICTURE
One positive outcome that emerged from Saturday's game with Woking was that Gavin Rathbone of GR Photos again took some excellent pictures. Above, he captures Kieran Lugsden in action.
CONFERENCE NEWSBurton Albion have set their ticket prices for the FA Cup tie with Manchester United. "Seat tickets will be priced at £30 for adults and £25 for over 65's and under 16's. Terrace tickets are priced at £25 for adults and £20 for over 65s and under 16s... The club will be selling a special commemorative shirt together with a range of merchandise which will be available at this Saturday's game against Worksop Town".
On the Gravesend Forum one correspondent says that Victor Gladwish's sponsorship of The Fleet is believed to be "approx £50,000 for each of 3 years totalling £150,000. If Victor were to pull out now, with a half season left, this would equate to £25,000 for the remainder of this season divided by 11 home games = £2272 lost per game. To recoup this lost money we would need a gate increase of 189 full paying adults per game. Although the loss of Mr Gladwish's money, if it happens, would cause problems, they would not be insurmountable". Closer to home GLS also sponsored Chadderton, Glossop North End and Stockport Georgians.
Bullsnews says that Kidderminster "were originally seeking a swift appointment [of a new manager] but, having advertised the position at the weekend, have chosen to wait to make a decision. Worcester boss Andy Preece, an early favourite for the post, has ruled himself out of the running by signing a new contract at St Georges Lane until the end of the 2006/7 season".
Woking admit that on Tuesday they "were comprehensively outplayed by a skilful, pacy Vics side and the only surprise was that they were still in with a chance of saving the game right up until the final whistle. For that they have the superb [goalkeeper] Shwan Jalal to thank – about the only Woking player who performed to anything like his full potential on the night".
Confguide says that "Accrington are close to being able to give their top summer signing a his first team debut. Central defender Andy Tretton was the Shots' [?Stanley's] main acquisition during the close season, but a knee injury picked up shortly after he arrived from Hereford has so far kept him reluctantly on the sidelines... The stylish centre back featured in a Lancashire Cup game on Tuesday, with no ill effects, and is now targeting a Conference debut early in the new year".
"Cambridge boss Rob Newman praised his players following their defeat to Macclesfield in the LDV Vans Trophy on Tuesday night. 'We came to a team who are a league above us and we've done ever so well', Newman told BBC Radio Cambridge.
The Harriers website quotes Martin O'Connor, caretaker-manager of Kidderminster - "We've got a busy spell coming up and everyone needs to keep focused, there's still a season going on out there and we need to play the games and try and pick up the points, as well as doing as well as we can to progress in the Cup games." It adds that "O'Connor also admitted that he's currently working to secure Simon Heslop's services for a longer period, with fellow ‘work experience’ youngster Marc Pugh returning to Burnley."
GAZZA FOR DOLLY BLUES?The Lancaster & Morecambe Citizen reports that "Paul Gascoigne has thrown his hat into the ring to be the next manager of Lancaster City - a fortnight after being fired by Kettering Town... 'I have had a phone call from his agent', says City chairman Steve Johnston. 'There has been no official application. We have had several applications already but at the moment Peter Ward and Gary Bauress are in charge of the team as caretaker managers. And we will then review the situation in January'".
14 December 2005
CONFERENCE NEWSWhen Alty visited Gravesend recently, Victor Gladwish, whose GLS Football are the Fleet's sponsors, was in attendance distributing his company's brochures in the bar. But now NL Daily reports that "Victor Gladwish has pulled the plug on his GLS Football company and, as a consequence, this will affect a good deal of non-League clubs. A statement was issued to all those affected on Sunday and the following GLS Football contracted clubs are known to be seeking sponsorship elsewhere: Grantham Town, Forest, Loxwood, Horsham YMCA, Whitstable Town, Lymington & New Milton, Gravesend & Northfleet and Worthing, while Chatham Town have commented that the decision will seriously affect their youth policy. The following will also be affected but have not commented as yet: Egham Town, Southend Manor, Pease Pottage and Harlow Town and Tony Williams Publications", which publishes the Non-League Club Directory each year. Gladwish said: “Due to having had three cancer operations since August 2004, and with the last one being a tumour, I am not permitted to drive. I have struggled to find a driver since February 2005 and as GLS Football has lost £250,000 in the last two years it has been decided to close the company". The Fleet's website says, "Gravesend & Northfleet had one further year to run of its three and a half year deal with GLS Football, and we are in contact with Victor Gladwish regarding the final year. Meanwhile to ensure that the Club does not find itself without sponsorship for the 2006/2007 season, the Directors will immediately begin looking for a replacement sponsor. The Club has received its full sponsorship money for 2005/2006, so there are no immediate financial implications of Victor's decision".
The BBC reports that Kidderminster "Caretaker manager Martin O'Connor is set to stay in charge of Kidderminster Harriers until after Christmas. 'The board say they want to appoint a new manager as soon as possible, ideally within the next two or three weeks', he told the club website. 'They'd like me to watch over things until that point at least. I'm happy to do that and help out where I can'". Alty meet Kidderminster on Boxing Day and 2nd January.
Exeter manager Alex Inglethorpe has told the Exeter Express & Echo- "At the half-way stage we're still kicking around and annoying people. It's a great position to be in... There have been an awful lot of trials and tribulations over the past couple of years and for the team to be where they are at the minute is testament to how far they have come. The hardest thing at Exeter is managing the expectation. We are doing everything on a value for money basis, we are working on a limited budget and we are trying to do the best within that. But we are pleased with the first half of the season".
Bullsnews says that "After discussions with the police, Exeter City have confirmed that adult Hereford United supporters will pay an extra pound to see the game between the two clubs on December 30th. Part of their statement, which also refers to the Aldershot game on Boxing Day, says: 'There is still the unfortunate risk that a minority, who are not considered to be football supporters by either club, may attempt disorder. The club's first responsibility is to its fans and their safety. For that reason there will be police present at this game (v Aldershot) and the following fixture against Hereford Utd ... The financial agreement reached between the Police and club is much reduced from the initial figures quoted but is none the less a significant sum and there is regrettably the need to increase admission prices by £1 for full paying adults only at both of these fixtures".
Bullsnews reports that Hereford United "were refused permission to play Chester's on-loan keeper Wayne Brown in any cup competition, despite the player being on an unbreakable year long loan, leaving them searching for an adequate backup to Craig Mawson for cup matches. Now Chester, who are seemingly trying to isolate the keeper who helped them back into the league, face a goalkeeping crisis that threatens their League Two promotion efforts. Ex-Bulls goalkeeper MacKenzie broke a thumb early in the second half in Saturday's loss at Lincoln and teenage reserve stopper Brookfield, making his debut, strained a hamstring later on in the game. Meanwhile...Chester Council hit back at chairman Stephen Vaughan by telling fans that the club hadn't paid rent on the Deva Stadium for over two years, running up a £50,000 debt and failing to meet a November 15th deadline for repayment. The council also revealed that the Deva Stadium was close to closure in the summer before the club spent £40,000 on safety work necessary for the safety certificate".
But IC Cheshire reports that "Chester City's derby with Wrexham will go ahead at the Saunders Honda Stadium [i.e. Chester] after the Football League refused a request for it to be moved to Widnes. Chester City chairman Stephen Vaughan wanted to play the December 28 match at Halton Stadium, home of Widnes Vikings, after this week striking a deal to invest in the rugby league club. But a Football League spokesman said... it was 'not appropriate from a competition point of view'. They also revealed Chester had been unable to inform them if the Halton Stadium - once the home of Runcorn FC Halton - was licensed for senior football".
OLD BOYNL Daily reports that Lancaster City chairman Steve Johnston "cut short a business trip to return to an emergency board meeting held on Monday evening. He stated: 'Phil Wilson quitting was a shock, to say the least. There had been accounts linking Phil to Barrow, but they had been dismissed due to Phil having signed a contract with Lancaster City, not due to expire until June 2007. We think Phil could have been in talks with Barrow as far back as November. This is a bitter blow. The board of directors have been working extremely hard to bring financial stability to the football club. This has included working closely with Phil, keeping him informed at every juncture. Due to the nature of the departure and obvious breach of the contract, the matter is being investigated by our solicitors'". Assistant-manager Peter Ward has taken over till January.
13 December 2005
TUESDAY GAMESFA Cup 2R:
FRIENDLY ARRANGEDSubject to there being no Trophy replay next Tuesday, Altrincham will play a friendly at Witton Albion at 7.45pm. Graham Heathcote may use the game to look at a trialist.
For Saturday's Trophy game it is confirmed that Val Owen is NOT suspended, despite it saying so in Saturday's programme. He has already served a ban and has six bookings in total this season. Mark Maddox and Peter Band will be back from suspension but there are injury doubts over Val Owen, Karl Munroe, Gary Talbot and Chris Adams. In addition, Halifax will not allow Steve Bushell to play in the Trophy but he is also currently injured in any case. Stephen Rose is suspended for Saturday's game.
For the Reserves at Bradford PA on Wednesday, Rod Thornley, Steve Aspinall, Pat McFadden, Stephen Rose and Richard Acton (right) are the first teamers in the squad.
STANLEY LOSE FANSAccrington Stanley, whom we meet on Saturday for the second time in a fortnight away at the Interlink Express Stadium, in the FA Trophy, report that "Chairman Eric Whalley has expressed his disappointment at the recent decline in attendances despite the fact that we are now four points clear at the top of the Nationwide Conference and that a return to the Football League has never been so achievable. 'I don’t understand why we continue to lose supporters despite the fact that we are winning games and playing great exciting football', explained Eric, 'Each week we seem to get less and less home support through the turnstiles. On Saturday we won our seventh consecutive game, and we haven’t conceded a goal in the last five. We have played 12 home games in the Conference this season and won ten of them. We play great attacking football with a mixture of young talent and experienced professionals; we have a handful of England semi-pro players and a lad who captained his country in the World Cup Qualifiers earlier this year'". He went on, "We want the people of Accrington to really get behind us. The extra income that we are looking for can then be used when the transfer window opens to ensure that the squad is strong enough for the end of season run in, and will also be spent on the ground making the changes necessary for us to play in the Football League next season... The question I want to ask now is; do the people of Accrington want a Football League side?”
GRAHAM ON WOKING
From Gavin Rathbone of GR Photos comes this great shot from the Alty v Woking game of Alty's new midfielder, Ged Murphy, in action.
SAM says that "Working on such a limited budget, Alty cannot be expected to have the same strength in depth as the majority of their Conference opponents and never was this more evident than against Woking.The Surrey-based outfit travelled to Moss Lane knowing that Altrincham would be missing several key players through injury and suspension and took full advantage, employing an extremely physical - some would say cynical - approach to claim a 4-0 victory. 'Their tactics are what they are', said disappointed Robins' manager Graham Heathcote (right) after the game. 'It's not pleasant to watch for supporters but they're high up the league and they'll deem it to be the right way to play for them. In the end we were all over the shop with the team and it shows that we don't have the depth we probably need in certain areas. I think they were a fortunate side to catch us at the time that they caught us'".
BUCKETS"The STAR board are pleased to announce a £40 rate for life time membership of STAR to our senior members (60+). For more details on STAR membership click here. The STAR bucket collection at the Woking game raised £90.90 making a season's total to date of £839.09. The club is very grateful to all concerned.
Left: The sodden Burton pitch back in October when Alty visited, (see story below).
Always worth a look at, Bullsnews reports that "The latest criticism of the new Burton Albion pitch comes from Gravesend keeper Craig Holloway who described the pitch to the BBC as 'It was very wet and sticky in patches, but some patches were hard - it was weird out there. With it being a new stadium, I can't understand why the pitch is so bad. You'd expect it to be a lovely pitch, so I don't really understand that'".
The same source says that "Bristol City, Bournemouth, and Plymouth are fighting it out to sign Exeter's Welsh defender Chris Todd in January's transfer window. Todd, who signed for Exeter in March 2003 from Irish side Drogheda Utd, is out of contract and over 24 so Exeter are likely to allow a move now rather than lose him on a free transfer in the summer". "Halifax Town boss Chris Wilder says he is flattered to be linked with the vacant managerial role at Rotherham United", reports BBC Radio Leeds. "The former Millers player has two-and-a-half years left on his contract at The Shay... He said: "I've never hidden my ambition to work in the Football League. I'd like to do it here but I would be showing a lack of ambition if I didn't want to get back into the League".
NL Daily says that "Aldershot Town have announced that fans’ favourite Nikki Bull has put pen-to-paper on a new contract that will keep him at the Recreation Ground until the 2007/08 season. The 23-year-old Sussex-born goalkeeper joined Aldershot from Queens Park Rangers at the start of the 2002/03 season and was named Supporters Club Player of the Season at the end of his first campaign. Bull has represented the England National Game side".
N.W. NEWSAshton United "have accepted the resignation of team manager Paul Futcher along with his assistant Gerry Luczka... Following an emergency board meeting it has been agreed that Scott Green will take over as caretaker/player-manager". Also on the move is ex-Alty player Phil Wilson who " has quit Lancaster City and will take charge of Nationwide North rivals Barrow on Monday. Wilson, 54, has been at Giant Axe for two-and-a-half years but has been hampered with cash cuts at City this season. 'It was a really tough decision because I have had nothing but good times at City. But I am ambitious and want to win things and unfortunately it is difficult with Lancaster's budget. But I believe I have left the club in a better position than it was when I took over. The side is good and I am proud of that - but the time was right to move on'" reports NL Daily.
12 December 2005
ALTRINCHAM 0 WOKING 4
Match report here.
For more on the game, see below...
Above: Alty Youth striker Matty Williams in action in the 2-1 win against Kingsley United on Sunday. Matty scored one of the two goals but his regular strike partner Ben Deegan missed the game after being injured for Alty Reserves last Friday. For a match report see the Youth Section
GRAHAM'S PLANSIn Saturday's Robins' Review, Graham Heathcote writes, "I do believe that we need still to strengthen in the January [transfer] window and if this is possible, then we will do so."
TWO BACKAlthough Mark Maddox and Peter Band will both be available for the Trophy match at Accrington this Saturday, but Stephen Rose will be suspended according to The Robins' Review. Val has accumulated five bookings whilst Stephen was sent off recently whilst on loan at Radcliffe Borough. Gary Talbot will still be missing for the Stanley game. Karl Munroe's ankle injury may not be as bad as it first seemed and, knowing Chris Adams, he will be keen to play despite coming off injured on Saturday. Lee Hendley is likely to be out for several more weeks whilst Steve Bushell is also likely to be sidelined again by injury.
BARGAIN TICKETSHalf-season tickets are now available to cover all eleven Altrincham FC Conference home matches from the Kidderminster home game on 2 January onwards. The prices are:
So, for under £8 a game, you can watch Conference National football at your local club.
BIRMINGHAM 20Tickets (£12) for the Birmingham 20 celebratory event to mark the 20th anniversary of Alty's win at First Division Birmingham City in 1986 are now available from STAR, via the Football Club or from Altrincham Tourist Information Office. At least ten of the twelve-strong squad from that match will attend the event at the Ashley Hotel, Hale on 28th January at 7.30pm for 8pm, after the home game against Aldershot Town.
NEARLY £1,000 RAISEDThe combined profit from the recent Altrincham FC Bingo Night and Christmas Fair was over £900. Thanks are due to all the organisers and attendees.
OLD BOYSThe following old boys were in action on Saturday: Terry Bowker (scored for Ashton), Kirk Hilton (Ashton), Griff Jones (Witton), Mario Daniel (Woodley), Chris Downey (netted for Mossley), Peter Wright (scored for Chorley) and for FC United of Manchester Josh Mitten was sent off after scoring twice and both Steve Torpey and former Alty Reserve, Adie Orr, also netted. Michael Garrity, James Olsen and substitute James Glendenning played for Vauxhall Motors and Tony Sullivan turned out for Lancaster City.. NLP has an interview with Accrington's Ian Craney who is confident that Stanley can win the Conference. Nigel Gleghorn's Newcastle Town have signed Wes Wilkinson; the two were previously together at Nantwich Town.
LOCAL NEWSThe NW Counties Football League says that our neighbours "Trafford FC can reveal that rumours of Franny and Graham Vaughan being released by the club are correct. Manager Danny Johnson said, ' There could well be further departures if I feel it's time for players to move on. This is a results orientated business and I need to try something different in order to achieve the success this club deserves'". The Vaughan brothers have been regulars for the Shawe View club over many years; Graham has now joined Flixton.
If ou are looking for a game this Tuesday, Trafford are at home to Skelmersdale United, whose players include former Alty striker Lee Thompson. Trafford's playing staff includes ex-Alty man Simon Woodford.
RESERVESThe Marine website has a report on their Reserves' win over Alty's last Friday. It says that "The Marine Reserve side dominated this match leeaving many in the crowd wondering who were really top of the table. The 3-0 scoreline was thoroughly deserved for a hard-working Marine team". Their star man was Lee Kissock, himself at Alty some years ago.
PHIL GOES NORTHFormer Alty player Phil Wilson, father of our current loan player Kyle Wilson, has reportedly resigned from his post as manager of Lancaster City with a view to going to Barrow as their new manager.
CARDS' VIEWSA Woking fan has pictures from Saturday's game at Moss Lane here.
The Woking site has a match report and also manager Glenn Cockerill's comments. “It was a terrific performance. I couldn’t have asked for more. The players’ attitude was tremendous.... We went for an early goal, just as we had done at Dagenham, and could have gone in front even before Justin scored his first goal. Shwan made an excellent save when we were 1-0 up and they really only had two or three more shots all game".
11 December 2005
THREE IN A ROWUnless there is a Trophy replay, Alty now have three successive away games. Details of the STAR travel arrangements for supporters going to the games at Accrington, Kidderminster and Tamworth are all here, along with the usual map links.
YOUTHS HOLD ON
Above: Andy Keogh contests for the ball with Kingsley keeper Nolan.
In a game of two halves today at Wythenshawe Town, Alty Youth beat Kingsley United 2-1. After missing several chances Alty took a deserved half-time lead though Keogh and Williams before Kingsley had the better of the second half but could only score in the first minute of added time. Report to follow
CHRISTMAS CHEERDespite the absence of seasonal cheer at yesterday's match at Moss Lane, Saturday evening witnessed a very enjoyable sell-out Christmas Celebration Dinner and Disco at the Cresta Court Hotel. The aim was to celebrate our promotion last season (as well as to celebrate Christmas), though both Chairman Geoff Goodwin and Manager Graham Heathcote jokingly blamed the players - almost all of whom were in attendance, for getting the Club in the current "mess" of competing this season with well-funded full-time sides on a modest part-time budget! Matchday secretary George Heslop calculated that more than £6,500 had been raised by the accompanying auction of sporting memorabilia alone. The auction included a signed pair of Wayne Rooney's England boots as well as Alty and Australian cricket items - and even a "Coronation Street" item from former Chairman, Gerry Berman. The costliest item was a Steven Gerrard England shirt, signed by the national squad, which raised £1,100. The food was excellently prepared and efficiently served by the Cresta Court and the Football Club extends its thanks to the Hotel as well as to all of the guests and sponsors who supported the event. A highlight of the evening was Alty defender Gary Scott's excellent rendition of "Mack the Knife" - Gary's not just a major footballing talent but a vocal star in the making, (so he tells us)!
Don't forget that there is a free New Year's Eve Party at Moss Lane (Noel White Suite) at 7.30pm following our trip to Tamworth that day for a 1pm kick off. Everyone is welcome, but all attendees must obtain a ticket in advance; these are available from the club offices.
GRAHAM'S VIEWAfter yesterday's defeat by Woking, Alty boss Graham Heathcote told the NL Paper, "You can't lose your three central defenders and expect to defend properely. Today we just weren't strong enough and were totally outmuscled. We were weak at the back and when we lost Karl Munroe at half-time and Val Owen, shortly after, it was too much. By the end we were all over the shop but had seven players struggling for fitness". Of the spectators he said, "I'm sure they could have spent their money better elsewhere at this time of year. At four down there was little I could do. I thought my players didn't get the protection they needed and I would only have got myself in trouble [had I stayed on the touchline instead of going to sit down on the bench]". Glenn Cockerill, The Cards' boss said, "I was delighted with my players and felt their attitude was spot on.. Yes, my keeper had to pull off two good saves, but that's what he's paid for".
YOUTHS AT HOMEAlty Youth entertain Kingsley Utd today at 2pm at Wythenshawe Town FC (Timpson Rd, Baguley).
WOKING "WIN UGLY" - ALTRINCHAM 0 WOKING 4Right: Ged Murphy leaves the pitch
Match report here.
10 December 2005
MARINE RES. 3 ALTRINCHAM RES. 0
Match report in Reserves' section .
GRAHAM'S WARNINGSAM reported on Friday that Alty "manager Graham Heathcote has already warned his players that their efforts against Accrington and Grays will count for nothing if they slip up tomorrow.... The lack of goals is still a worry, although both Kieran Lugsden and James Robinson have been impressive in recent games, but a plan has been set in place and survival now seems a more realistic prospect. But the cost of Altrincham's draw at Grays is the possible absence of several players for the visit of Woking... There are now doubts over the fitness of Val Owen, Steve Bushell and Chris Adams, who will all receive late fitness tests before the game... Meanwhile, Woking are without Gary MacDonald, Chris Sharpling and Karl Murray and there are doubts over the fitness of former Arsenal midfielder Ian Selley....The Robins have been impressive at home and are currently enjoying a five-game unbeaten run at Moss Lane... But the Cards have one of the best away records in the league, having won four of their nine games on the road so far". SAM reports that the dangermen are striker Justin Richards and captain and midfielder, Neil Smith.
In the NL Paper, Graham said, "I feel that our fitness levels are much higher now. The midfield has been changed and the fresh legs appear to be doing the trick... I believe that we can do better over the second half of the season. If we can at least double our points tally then we won't be far from safety". Woking's manager Glenn Cockerill said of Alty, whom he watched at Grays, "They are a well-organised side and I exoect a tough, close game. We always set out to play good football but lots of sides make it difficult for you so I'm prepared to win ugly if necessary". The NLP suggest that Alty's Steve Bushell, on loan from Halifax, "could be out for several weeks". It adds that Alty are "likely to recall loan players including Rod Thornley. The plan to loan out Steve Aspinall to gain match fitness may also have to be shelved". In fact, Aspinall played for Alty Reserves last night.
Howard Watts's Through the Years has data on previous Alty games on 10 December.
MARK CONFIDENTAlso in SAM, Mark Maddox writes about the floodlight failure at Garys in midweek. "It was difficult to get focussed on the game but we were all laughing and joking in the dressing room because a couple of the lads worried that stuff might go missing with it being pitch black and there being so many Scousers around! With all the disruptions and with it being such a big game there was a bit more pressure on me to lead the team and to lift the lads but I got plenty of help from Stu, Val and Colin... The worst thing Grays could have done was score early because it gave them a false sense of security and once we had settled down we played really well. With ten minutes to go I was thinking to myself 'I can't believe this, we've had loads of chances but haven't been able to get a break' and then Kieran scored.It was a great feeling, I tried to catch him to celebrate the goal but Kieran's a good two years younger than me so he got away from me. We have played two of our toughest games in the Conference over the last week but we also put in two of our best performances. I got back at 4.15am after Grays and I was knackered all through the next day... Graham said to us after Grays that this could be a marker for us to change our season now so we can't slip up against Woking... Survival is not too far away, we will take care of ourselves, I'm pretty sure of that now".
SATURDAY GAMESToday's game for Alty is their 21st of the season which means that half of the season is over for them. After today, Alty have three successive away games, at Accrington in the Trophy (17th), at Kidderminster on Boxing Day and at Tamworth at 1pm on New Year's Eve. By then they will have played 13 away matches and just 10 at home in the Conference. The STAR supporters' coach times and fares will be on the website on Sunday; supporters can book all three trips tomorrow at Moss Lane.
YOUTH GAMEAlty Youth's next game is at home (at Wythenshawe Town FC) to Kingsley United on Sunday at 2pm in the Allied Trophies Premier Division.
CONFERENCE NEWS"Former Bury, Hull, Blackpool and England semi-professional international midfielder Gary Brabin is the latest name to be linked with the vacant manager's job at Barrow... He started this season at Conference National side Halifax Town, but was handed a long ban by the FA in October" says the NW Evening Mail.
"Mangotsfield United’s winger Luke Prince is attracting the attentions of Exeter City. Grecians manager Alex Inglethorpe is reportedly keen to take the former Aston Villa trainee on a week’s trial" reports the Bristol club's website.
Meanwhile "Colchester United’s winger Dean Howell is training with former club, Halifax Town. Howell left The Shay in the summer in pursuit of League football and appeared to be settling in... until being struck down by a hernia injury... And manager Wilder has not ruled out the possibility of the former Morecambe man returning to the Shay. 'I have never had a problem with Dean' he said. 'He wanted to leave to play in the Football League. I never fell out with him'" reports NL Daily.
The BBC confirms that "MK Dons midfielder Ben Harding has extended his loan spell with Conference strugglers Forest Green Rovers. Harding has agreed a second month's stay... Meanwhile, Forest Green striker Mark Danks has joined Cirencester Town on a month's loan".
"Cambridge United boss Rob Newman is hoping to have winger Courtney Pitt back for the Christmas programme. The former Portsmouth and Boston player, 23, has been sidelined since mid-October with a knee injury".
the Accrington Observer says that "Stanley will be bidding for a sixth straight win against Kidderminster Harriers... John Coleman will have to make one change with Ian Craney serving a one-match ban. However, the shoulder injury sustained by the midfielder last Saturday is not as serious as first feared and Craney should be back to again face former club Altrincham in the FA Trophy on Saturday-week".
Southport's Forum reports that its "Fans are setting up an independent supporters' club. An inaugural meeting is being held next Wednesday... Jacqui Forster, of Supporters' Direct [and Altrincham], will address the meeting".
9 December 2005
SEVEN GONEWith the departure of Kirk Hilton, seven squad players have now left Moss Lane this season; they are Chris Butler, Steve Hawes Kirk Hilton, Lutel James, George Melling, James Olsen and Gary Williams. In all, 30 players have played for Alty in the Conference this season, with Stuart Coburn (right) and Colin Little the only ever-presents.
Also on the statistical front, Alty have scored just 2 first-half goals from open-play in the league this season; two other goals have come in the first 45 minutes but one was an own goal and the other a penalty. For a part-time side, who might be expected to tire in the closing stages, it is commendable that 8 of our 14 goals this season have come in the last half hour of games. Alty conceded 15 goals in 4 games in a worrying fortnight in September but otherwise have conceded just 15 goals in their other 16 Conference matches.
WOKING'S ASSESSMENTAlty's last encounter with Woking at Moss Lane was on 16/9/99 when we drew 1-1 after Dicky Landon scored in the 4th minute; Alty won that year at Kingfield, 1-0, thanks to a Jason Gallagher goal. In a total of six Conference games with The Cards at Moss Lane, Alty have won 2, drawn 2 and lost 2. Saturday may bring Alty up against former Spurs' star Stuart Nethercott who headed a superb goal against Alty in our FA Cup defeat at White Hart Lane in 1995. He is currently on loan at Woking from Wycombe.
Woking's website quotes manager Glenn Cockerill "'Altrincham have got a very experienced side and they are now finding their feet after a difficult spell. They played well on Tuesday night to get a draw at Grays and will have gained confidence from that'. Glenn acknowledged that Altrincham will have two central defenders missing on Saturday but pointed out that one of them had missed the Grays game and that Altrincham hadn’t been too badly affected as a result... 'It’s a massive week for the Club but we’re just concentrating on the Altrincham game'", said the manager. The website debates whether Ian Selley will play "in place of the suspended Karl Murray but it sounds as if Ian is doubtful: 'He’s picked up an ankle injury', explained Glenn, 'and at present I rate him only 50/50 for Saturday... Steve Evans can play in a central midfield role'".
The club website continues, "Anyone who thinks this is going to be an easy away fixture obviously hasn’t looked at Alty’s home record or taken notice of their fine performance on Tuesday night when they secured a 1-1 draw at Grays Athletic in another gutsy display. Graham Heathcote, Alty’s manager, has been playing down their chances of survival this season, but his team are picking up enough points to make people think it’s all a bluff".
Though Alty are without Peter Band, Gary Talbot and Mark Maddox from central defence, "Woking will be without the suspended Karl Murray for this trip...So, barring any new injuries, the Woking line-up is likely to be: Shwan Jalal, Paul Watson, Karim El-Salahi, Stuart Nethercott, Simon Jackson; Liam Cockerill, Ian Selley or Steve Evans, Neil Smith, Steve Ferguson; Justin Richards, Craig McAllister".
Glenn Cockerill told the Woking News about their FA Cup draw away at Sunderland -if they beat Vics - "It’s a terrific draw for the club and it will obviously be in the back of the players’ minds when we play Northwich. But we must stay focussed and think about Altrincham first". "The league remains the priority so we want to pick up points on Saturday", he stated. The report adds: "Cockerill has been happy to bring in ex-Coventry left back Paul Watson, who has slotted in well and allowed Karim El-Salahi and Liam Cockerill to play in their best positions".
CONFERENCE NEWSBullsnews says that "Dagenham striker Tresor Kandol has jeopardised his £50,000 move to Darlington by going missing for three days...He failed to return for a Sunday training session in preparation for Tuesday's game at Shrewsbury and failed to attend the match either. Kandol, who is yet to score in three games for his new club, is believed to have been in a minor road accident but Quakers' boss David Hodgson is unhappy with the striker, and has scheduled a disciplinary meeting for today. Dagenham boss John Still has insisted that the £50,000 transfer is a done deal with no get-outs. In other Conference news, ex-Halifax winger Dean Howell is back with the club after being told by Colchester that his six month deal will not be renewed in January.. He will train with the Shaymen but cannot play for them until January".
The BBC says that "Accrington Stanley boss John Coleman wants to sign on-loan Wigan defender Phil Edwards when the transfer window opens in January. Edwards is currently in the second month of a loan spell with the Conference leaders".
"Canvey defender Nathan Bunce has joined St Alban's City on a month's loan" whilst "Burton Albion will play their FA Cup third round tie against Manchester United at their new 6,000-capacity Pirelli Stadium... The Conference side decided not to switch the game to nearby Pride Park after discussions with police. But the game will take place on Sunday to avoid being playing same day as the Derby County versus Burnley tie, as the two sides use the same stewards" says the BBC. The Burton Mail quotes Nigel Clough: "We're not going down the road of having them watched and doing reports and stuff because our time in that respect can be more usefully spent watching the likes of Worksop and Tamworth".
This is Exeter says that "Exeter City are set to stage talks with cash-strapped Exmouth Town to discuss ways of boosting their fight for survival... Long-standing debts and a hefty tax demand forced Exmouth to withdraw from the Toolstation Premier Division a fortnight ago.League officials have granted the struggling club a six-week fixture hiatus, giving them until January 7 to make a final decision on their future". An Exeter spokesman said, "We certainly should be able to help by organising a legends' game and perhaps Steve Perryman could offer his services for a fundraising night down at the club. We can't make promises regarding players, but it could be that some of our boys who are not getting games or some of the younger lads could go and help out - there are no guarantees but it is something we have discussed".
"Kidderminster Harriers chairman Barry Norgrove is hoping to make a swift appointment in their quest to replace Stuart Watkiss as manager... 'Ideally we'd like the new manager installed before the end of the month to give him time to manoeuvre in the transfer window' Norgrove said". On This is KHFC Harriers' chairman, Barry Norgrove, has insisted Kidderminster Harriers' play-off wish be rekindled by their new manager. He said, "We just felt that, overall, results weren't good enough. I think if you take the season as a whole, we haven't performed well enough in the Conference and we just think it's time for a change... The play-offs are still our goal this season". The article adds, "Harriers will advertise and in-tend to appoint a new man by the end of December in time for the January transfer window. Possible candidates such as Mark Yates, the former Harriers' skipper currently coaching at Burnley, and ex-Shrewsbury manager Jimmy Quinn have been mentioned by fans. Player-coach Martin O'Connor will get a chance to stake his claim for the job in the interim as caretaker-boss".
8 December 2005
KIRK HILTONAlty left back Kirk Hilton (24) has now left the club in search of regular first-team football; it is believed that he will be staying with Ashton United for the time being at least. Flixton-born Kirk is a former Man. United Reserve and, in 2002-03, was a first-team squad member (no.28) at Old Trafford. He made his Alty debut in February 2005 after undergoing a cartilage operation in summer 2004, but he was plagued by injury during his time at Moss Lane. Recently he has been on loan at Ashton United. In all he made 9(+6) appearances for Alty, and scored one goal. The club wishes him well for the future.
INJURIESVal Owen and Steve Bushell are injury doubts for Saturday's game against Woking but Warren Peyton, who took a knock on Tuesday, is expected to be fit. Both Steve Aspinall and Pat McFadden will play for the Reserves tomorrow but Lee Hendley is likely to remain sidelined for several weeks more with a foot injury. As expected, Peter Band and Mark Maddox are suspended on Saturday.
GET YOUR ALTY CALENDARAltrincham FC photographer Gavin Rathbone of GR Photography has produced an excellent Altrincham FC calendar for 2006 - and this time the players have kept their clothes on! Gavin intends to have a limited supply of calendars at the game against Woking on Saturday and further copies will be produced to order. The price is just £10 which is excellent value for 12 months of high-quality photos. The calendars are on sale in the Robins Shop at Moss Lane or via the club office (928-1045). For more of Gavin's Alty photographic products, visit the Robins' Shop on matchdays or visit his website.
Above left: The calendar's cover. Right: The month of February 2006.
YOUTH TEAMCourtesy of George Heslop, the Youth team's league fixture grid has been updated in the website's Youth section.
GRAYS VIEWSSAM says that "Tuesday evening may have started in darkness for Altrincham - a floodlight failure delaying their Conference clash with Grays by 45 minutes - but it certainly ended brightly.... Coming on the back of a similarly gutsy performance at Accrington, there is plenty for the club to be proud of". Interviewed by SAM's Connor Murphy, Alty boss Graham Heathcote said, "All I can say to the lads is to maintain that standard of play whoever we play and we'll be all right, we've shown we can compete with the so-called best teams in this league... You get what you deserve in football and we did tonight."
From This is Thurrock comes the Essex view of the match. It says that "Grays have won 11 points in the final 10 minutes of games this season so it was only a matter of time before the tables were turned and they ended up on the receiving end of a last minute strike as manager, Mark Stimson, admitted afterwards. 'I don't know how many times we have got late goals but it's quite a few and we have been hit with one ourselves tonight. But the positive is that the goal didn't mean we were defeated because that would have been a real blow to the boys. Altrincham made it really hard for ourselves tonight. They work extremely hard and though they are at the bottom end of the league their last three or four results have been good. They drew with Exeter and only just lost to Accrington so they really pick themselves up for the big games. But we weren't at our best tonight'. The report adds that in the second half, "All the while Altrincham grew in confidence and boss, Graham Heathcote, threw on two attackers, Lugsden and Kyle Wilson, as they searched for an equaliser. Both subs caused the Grays back line plenty of problems and when Matthews fouled Lugsden on the left touch line, James Robinson, came close to sweeping home the resulting free kick. Lugsden then wasted two good opportunities to test Eyre before, in the second minute of overtime, Coburn launched a huge free kick... and Lugsden shrugged off Matthews to fire past Eyre".
OLD BOYS & LOANEESOwen Brown has resigned as manager of Vauxhall Motors. On-loan Rod Thornley scored for Radcliffe Borough on Tuesday whilst old boy Jamie Baguley scored two for Salford City v Bacup Borough. Peter Wright netted for Chorley.
CONFERENCE NEWSConfguide says that "Cambridge United are waiting to discover whether their offer to buy back the Abbey Stadium from Bideawhile will be accepted... Cambridge took the decision to sell the stadium a year ago to help ease the club’s financial problems". Bullsnews adds that "Cambridge City finance director, Nick Pomery, has told the Cambridge Evening News that the club is losing around £250,000 per year... Major cutbacks since the summer have seen the club's budgeted running losses for the season fall from £1.1m". Pomery added, "We've cut all the costs we can and now we've got to build the income streams and that's a hard job, particularly because the club has dropped down a division... The work we're doing, which we need to make sure happens, is to get us through the close season. We're not in the position where we can relax about it because there's still a lot to do".
7 December 2005
HARRIERS' MANAGER GOESOur Christmas double-header is with Kidderminster Harriers but, today, that club parted company with its manager, Stuart Watkiss, a former Mansfield boss. The BBC says that "Martin O'Connor takes over as caretaker manager... Kidderminster chairman Barry Norgrove says recent poor form was the main reason behind the decision to end Watkiss's year-long reign. Harriers' win at home to Dagenham and Redbridge on Saturday was their first Conference victory in seven matches".
GRAYS DRAWThose watching Ceefax or the BBC website last night will have been puzzled by the following: "Kieran Lugsden (right) grabbed a last-gasp equaliser for Altrincham to stop Grays leapfrogging Accrington into top spot. Aaron McLean's delightful fourth-minute opener put the promotion-chasing hosts on course for another vital victory. The Grays striker fired home Michael Kightly's pass from 20 yards and influential midfielder Kightly almost made it two with a fierce effort. But the visitors got the goal their display deserved when Lugsden converted Stuart Coburn's cross". Stuart is a great goalkeeper but even he does not provide crosses from the Alty left wing.
For more on the game, and a match report link, see below...
OLD BOYSChris Cloherty, the Trafford reserve keeper who was on the bench for Alty at Hereford this season, has gone to Stoke City for trials.
From the Guardian we read about a former Alty manager and Everton star, Mark Ward, now gaoled for drug-related offences. Mark said: "My big break came when I was named manager of Altrincham. It was a good job, but they were in financial crisis. Although we were doing well, a new chairman came in and sacked me with no explanation. He obviously wanted his own man in charge. It was the worst day of my career. I remember going round to the kit man's house and bursting into tears. That was when things started to go bad for me. Jane and I split up and I struggled to find more work in the game. People saw I had been sacked and that put them off. I helped out in my brother's pub and then spent some time in Australia. But I had to come home eventually to arrange a work permit".
STANLEY NEWSOur opponents last Saturday and, again, a week on Saturday in the Trophy, Accrington Stanley report that their ex-Alty captain "Ian Craney is expected to be out for two weeks with a shoulder injury he picked up on Saturday, though he would have missed the Kidderminster match anyway after accumulating five yellow cards this season. Gary Roberts is a doubt for [a cup match this week against Ramsbottom] with a slight thigh strain, however central defender Andy Tretton could make his competitive debut for Stanley after being given the all clear by physio Ian Liversedge. Andy picked up a knee injury shortly after he signed during the pre-season campaign, but has now fully recovered from the operation that was required".
SAM has a report on the game at Accrington in which "Altrincham were ultimately undone by a touch of class from... winger Gary Roberts, a constant thorn in Alty's side and surely a prime candidate for a move back to league football come the January transfer window... Although it was just reward for the hosts' endeavour, it was harsh on Alty, who had put in a tenacious yet controlled display to frustrate their opponents for the majority of the game". Manager Graham Heathcote said, "I'm not disappointed with the performance one iota. But [refrerring to Peter Band's dismissal] the whole day was once again spoiled by an official".
CONFERENCE NEWSShotsweb states that "Ryan Scott revealed that he has been awarded a contract by Aldershot Town after his efforts this season. Scott has been the star turn of the season so far... The 18-year-old midfielder told the official club site, 'I used to watch the Shots from the terraces and I always said that I wanted to be out there myself so to be actually doing it is terrific'".
From Dagenham & Redbridge we learn that "A second successive 3-1 defeat, this time against Kidderminster Harriers continues The Daggers' slide down the Nationwide Conference league table. In fact the Daggers have failed to register a point in the league since the home victory against Aldershot Town back on October 9". And the BBC adds that "Dagenham and Redbridge boss John Still is ready to tough it out in his bid to halt his team's poor run of form... But Still expects to stop the rot and point his side in the right direction". He told the BBC, "It's no good people getting down and moaning. We have got to get on with it...We will have a look at it in January, but at the moment I would say that the squad of players we have will be the squad we have. And what I do have is a really honest group of players who will keep working... One of the things we don't have is a big squad... But when you have people injured and get one or two who suffer a loss of form there are no changes you can make". The BBC observes that "Ashley Vickers, Craig Mackail-Smith, Jake Leberl and Sam Saunders are out, while striker Tresor Kandol has gone". Of Kandol, Still commented "He was our leading scorer and we had devised a way of playing which involved him. We are now working hard to find the next right way of playing, because he was a focal point". However, "The purse strings at Glyn Hopkin Stadium stay tightly drawn. But Still, who rejected the chance to go back to the Football League as boss at Bristol Rovers this season, will not use that as an excuse... "Finances here are tight. We are a members' club. We don't have one person putting the money in. We're not that sort of club. But I'm not moaning about it'".
This is Exeter carries a report that "Exeter City manager Alex Inglethorpe has rekindled his interest in wide-man John McGrath - and is taking a look at former Millwall midfielder Anton Robinson... Inglethorpe has revealed he is trying to find room in his budget to sign McGrath, a player he lost out on in the summer when his budget was cut. He has kept close tabs on the former Kidderminster Harriers' midfielder since he signed a short-term deal with Eircom League First Division club Limerick at the start of the season. But the 25-year-old... has now left Limerick and is desperate to engineer a move to St James's Park...and is pinning his hopes on Inglethorpe finding the financial resources to offer him a deal". Inglethorpe said, "Nothing has changed with regards to my budget. It will mean people will have to leave in order for new players to come in. But that is something I am prepared to do". As for Robinson (19), "I am keen to take a further look at him. This is a big time for us. I still feel we are light in certain areas - we have to remember we are still essentially a young squad".
GRAYS ATHLETIC 1 ALTRINCHAM 1
Right: Top marks were in order for the Alty management duo at Grays last night as they coaxed a magnifcent performance out of a team lacking several regulars. Pictured are Graham Heathcote and Dalton Steele watching as, in the background, Mark Maddox prepares to head clear. Apart from the emergency lighting, the outdoor spotlight on the flats (centre) had been the only illumination on the pitch when the floodlights failed in the warm-up.
Match report here.
Summary: A battling performance by Altrincham gained them a deserved point at Grays in a match delayed 45 minutes by floodlight failure during the warm up. It then looked ominous for Alty when McLean scored for Grays after only five minutes. But Alty improved and were playing well by half-time, with Robinson impressing up front on his debut and Munroe fitting in well in a hard-working back four led by Maddox. Grays started the second half well but Alty gradually got back into the game and finished strongly. After several chances had gone astray, Alty finally levelled in the third minute of added time when Owen won a header on the left and Lugsden gathered the ball, before scoring coolly. Overall, this was a great team peformance as Alty again overcame their part-time status to achieve a fine result against many people's championship favourites. And was Kieran Lugsden's goal, at around 10.23pm, the latest ever for Alty from open play?
6 December 2005
For details of the supporters' coach to Grays Athletic, please follow the Away Travel link at the top left of this page. Howard Watts's Through the Years statistics for 6 December are here. This is Alty's second encounter with Grays Athletic; they beat us 4-2 at Moss Lane in the FA Trophy last season.
It is hoped to have a short summary of the game on this site soon after the end of the match.
BAND BANNED- BUT WHO ELSE IS?In the Conference, red cards attract an immediate suspension but, curiously, cumulative bookings (e.g. five yellows) only start a week after the last caution. So, The FA confirms the following suspensions;
And, of relevance to next Saturday:
NEXT SATURDAYWoking boss Glenn Cockerill is now concentrating on getting through to the next round of the Surrey Senior Cup on Tuesday and then the important trip to Altrincham on Saturday. “That’ll be good preparation too for the replay at Northwich”, he added.
TRIBUTE TO GEDRadcliffe Borough's website quotes boss Kevin Glendon on Ged Murphy's return to Altrincham, "I am obviously sorry to see Ged go. But I was fully aware of the situation from the beginning. I know he has been impressed with our set up and the way we do things at the club and after speaking to him he has enjoyed himself immensley. I have been impressed with his attitude, his drive, enthusiasm and commitment and I am sure it has inspired the other players around him. As I said he wears his heart on his sleeve and gives his all in every game he plays and our improvement recently has certainly been helped by his performances for the team. I would like to wish Ged the best of luck at his new club". The site adds "For the record Ged played in 5 games in total and was never on the losing side, winning 4 and drawing the other game".
TWO SIDES TO THE STORYNL Daily confirms thta "Paul Gascoigne has left Kettering Town after only 39 days as manager... A statement from the Poppies’ owner Imraan Ladak said: 'Following discussions it has been decided that Paul is unable to carry out his duties as manager'... Gascoigne's response was to issue his own statement: 'I've lost two out of seven games in the league & have been told of the previous management team stats when they took over. The chairman wants to sack me but I said I will never walk away from Kettering Town & I will fight all the way. I am now looking to buy the football club... I have spoken to top professionals in the game and they have said I should of walked away weeks ago. I didn't and got my head down by working hard & I will continue to stick in there until I achieve my goal. If the fans want to get rid of me I will take that on board. I have worked hard in the last 6 weeks and haven't been paid by the club... Imraan has questioned Paul Davis's decision on Arsenal reserve team players... [and] he sacked a long standing fan & supporter of the club & then re-instated him the following day. I have paid all of the voluntary staff personally out of my own pocket as they are a fantastic asset to the football club & players. Imraan's view was, don't pay them because they're not used to it... Imraan rang up the reserve team manager and said drop the two forwards that the manager had included and told him to play his own choice of forwards... he totally undermines the football management decisions... Look at what we've achieved in 5 weeks. Two top teams want one of my players, two players have been called up by England, I've brought in two top players, installed a reserve team to help with new trialists & injured players coming back, improved the nutrition for the players and I've achieved this in only 5 weeks at the club... Imraan has got the arse with me because I have been in the game for years. I've asked him not to be in my office and asked him if he could use somewhere else to conduct his business. I also asked him to smarten up for match days and to act as a club ambassador...He has my whole staff a nervous wreck and I can't continue in this way... I have thoroughly enjoyed working with the Kettering community, switching on the town's Christmas lights, meeting fans & sponsors & I feel I've created a buzz around the town which I want to continue. I'm totally committed to Kettering and I have a dinner planned on the 14th December at Wicksteed Park which will go ahead if the fans still want to come and see me'".
On the Conference site, it states that Kettering owner Imraan Ladak said, "I spoke to Paul on Sunday and that was a result of 37 separate incidents I have had to deal with since appointing him as manager... I would not sell Kettering Town FC for £100m of Roman Abramovich's money... We are delighted to confirm that Kevin Wilson has accepted our offer to rejoin Kettering Town Football Club as manager. This position is for a period of three years and will commence immediately".
CONFERENCE NEWSThe BBC says that "York City manager Billy McEwan has allowed forward Ryan Mallon to join Gainsborough Trinity on loan... York's scheduled Conference clash against Stevenage on 13 December has been postponed due to Stevenage's FA Cup replay".
OLD BOYSFormer Alty Youth captain Paul Lewis was "in outstanding form" for Leigh RMI Reserves last month, with two other ex-Alty youths, Pat Claffey and Steve Howarth in the same side.
CHESHIRE NEWSFormer Macc boss "Peter Davenport resigned as manager of Bangor City immediately after his side's 4-1 defeat at Rhyl on Sunday" says NL Daily, depite being Wales's manager of the month for November.
5 December 2005
THANK YOUThe Club would like to thank all those who organised or supported the Altrincham FC Christmas Fair on Sunday. With only one home game between now and the New Year, fundraising revenue from events such as this is important. Next up is the Christmas Dinner celebration at the Cresta Court next Saturday evening. For details of forthcoming social events, click here.
ACCRINGTON STANLEY 1 ALTRINCHAM 0
Right: Chris Adams (in blue) takes a throw-in as Boco looks on.
CENTRE-BACK PROBLEMSSubject to confirmation, Peter Band may be suspended for two matches and not three, as first feared, for his dismissal at Accrington for use of foul language. If so, he will miss the Grays and Woking games. Fellow centre-back Mark Maddox will be suspended for one game for his fifth booking whilst Gary Talbot remains injured. However, Mark will be able to play on Tuesday at Grays as suspensions for five yellows do not produce an immediate ban. Also, another Alty centre-back, Stephen Rose, was dismissed in the first half for two yellow cards playing for Radcliffe Borough on Saturday and it is believed that he will be suspended for Alty's Trophy game at Accrington a week on Saturday.
This is Thurrock has a report on last Friday's Grays v Mansfield FA Cup match.
NOT ENOUGHGraham Heathcote has told the NL Paper about the failed bid to acquire Barrow's left back, Scott Maxfield; "We made as good an offer as we could but obviously it was not enough" to stop him joining Stalybridge.
FA CUP DRAWIn yesterday's 3rd Round draw, non-league clubs' ties were as follows:
OLD BOYSDanny Adams's Huddersfield won the televised FA Cup match against Worcester City yesterday and now meet Chelsea, away, in Round Three! Former Alty Reserve Ryan Gilligan has left FC United for Flixton; another ex-reserve, Anthony Bingham netted for Mossley. Tony Sullivan has returned to Lancaster City after being released by Chorley. Rod Thornley played for Radcliffe Borough on Saturday, along with Stephen Rose.
BIRMINGHAM 20Tickets for STAR's "Birmingham 20" event to be held on Saturday, 28th January, 2006 at the Ashley Hotel are now on sale at £12 each from the Club, The Ashley Hotel, Altrincham Tourist Information Office and the STAR counter in the Robins Shop on matchdays. Ten of the 12 Alty players involved in the win over Birmingham City in 1986 will attend the event together with former players and officials including the legendary Jackie Swindells and assistant manager George Rooney.
CONFERENCE NEWSThe BBC reports that "Northampton boss Colin Calderwood says he expects the FA to look into a touchline clash during his side's FA Cup tie at Stevenage. Borough's goalkeeping coach Lionel Perez has been accused of allegedly poking his Northampton counterpart Dave Watson in the eyes".
"Bristol City midfielder Ryan Harley has rejected the chance of another month's loan at Forest Green and will return" says the BBC. But "Cambridge duo Dan Gleeson and Stephen Smith both received some good news after their 2-1 win over Scarborough. Smith limped off with a foot injury at half-time, while Gleeson was stretchered off in the 82nd minute, but X-rays have revealed no broken bones. Physio Greg Reid told the club website "Dan's shinguard was smashed in half - if not for the fact he was wearing a shinguard, he would almost certainly have had a very nasty fracture".
4 December 2005
YOUTH GAME OFFToday's youth team cup game against Bootle has been postponed due to the heavy rain today (Saturday).
STANLEY VIEWSIn today's NL Paper, Graham Heathcote said, that Peter Band "got sent off for swearing at the assistant but he only said something because of the decision. The ball hit his shoulder, you can still see the imprint, and it is an absolute nonsense. I thought the referee had a good game today. I am just disappointed Peter will miss three games. We played well and gave Accrington a game. We came here with no fear... It was a piece of quality for the goal. I am not disappointed with the performance but am disappointed, yet again, with a decision".
The Accrington official site says of yesterday's game, "It was always going to be a difficult encounter against a team fighting for its life in the Conference, but an out-of-sorts Stanley were still good value for their slender victory... Altrincham were playing very deep and looked as though they were there to settle for a draw, which was an understandable approach... The second half largely followed the pattern of the first, with the visitors playing extremely deeply and employing some very physical tactics at times. On one such occasion Craney was savagely upended on the edge of the area... Some more cavalier tackling from Altrincham resulted in another Stanley free-kick on the edge of the area. This time Roberts curled a low shot around the wall and although Coburn scrambled across his line, the shot beat him low down to his right hand side... In the closing minutes of the game Band handled close to the touchline and in a fit of anger he screamed obscenities in the face of the referee’s assistant. You just can’t do that in the modern game and he was shown a red card".
OLD BOYSAlty old boys Peter Wright (Chorley), Chris Downey (Mossley, Steve Hawes (Stocksbridge) and Mario Daniel (Woodley) all scored on Saturday. Former Alty youth, Graham Tench has moved from Leigh RMI to Chorley. Mike Pollitt kept goal for Wigan at Liverpool.
CONFERENCE NEWSNL Daily says that "Gravesend & Northfleet have signed former Crawley Town midfielder Richard Hodgson, who has most recently been turning out for Carshalton Athletic in Nationwide South.
3 December 2005
WEEKEND GAMESSaturday 3 Dec: Conference
FA Cup 2
STANLEY GAMEIn its preview of today's game at Accrington, SAM confirms that "Alty will also be without Gary Talbot, who is set to see a specialist about his ongoing foot injury, and Lee Hendley is also yet to recover from his own foot problem. But new signing Ged Murphy will start for Alty after serving a 30-day cooling off period under FIFA transfer regulations. Stephen Rose and Rod Thornley will both play the next two games for Radcliffe with a view to rejoining the first team squad after that and Kirk Hilton will play for Ashton United if he is able to recover from illness. Meanwhile, Accrington have a full bill of health, with the only absentees being long-term injury casualties Andy Tretton and Andy Proctor". The paper identifies Stanley's main dangermen as Ian Craney and Gary Roberts "a former Liverpool and Crewe winger who joined Stanley in March 2005. Since then, he has become a first team fixture at the Interlink Express Stadium, proving a constant danger from the left flank... [However,] Benin international striker Romuald Boco has found chances limited this season but he got his chance in the 4-0 win over Southport and certainly impressed..and could play a part once again [against Alty]". Craney (left), the former Alty captain is Stanley's leading scorer with 7 goals this season.
But Stanley's website says that they "have released 20 year old Mark Smyth after failing to agree a deal. Mark signed on non contract terms two weeks ago... . A win against Alty will see Stanley at the top of the league at least until Tuesday when Grays entertain Altrincham". So, Alty could play a part in who leads the Conference twice in four days. The Stanley site concludes, "It will probably prove to be a long and hard season for Altrincham, battling in a league that is more competitive than it was five years ago they may simply not have enough to avoid a swift return to Conference North. The last time they were promoted back to the Conference, it was a short stay, and the smart money would suggest the same again this time around".
The Accrington Observer quotes Ian Craney: "I have a lot of respect for their manager, Graham Heathcote and his assistant and the players at Altrincham. I still know quite a few like Pete Band, Rod Thornley and Gary Scott and have had a few phone calls this week! ... The two sides will meet again in quick succession after being drawn together in the FA Trophy on Saturday 17 December but Craney knows which of the two games is most important to him. 'I would prefer the three points. We want to win them both but I would take the win in the league first'". Craney "is targeting 15 goals in this campaign... Hopefully we will keep our run going as there is an air about the lads, it is not cockiness, but they are oozing with confidence... People don’t seem to have faith in us but we have faith in ourselves and hopefully we will prove them all wrong". However, "The Reds will have a new face in their squad tomorrow. Keeper Robert Elliot, from Charlton Athletic, linked up with his new team-mates on Thursday and is on loan with Stanley until the end of December as Darren Randolph has returned to the Premiership side".
Alty and Stanley last met in April 2003 when Accrington confirmed their promotion to the Conference, two of their goals in a 3-1 win being scored by Lutel James, whom Alty released this season.
GRAHAM ON GMROn GMR on Friday night, Graham Heathcote indicated his disappointment that Chris Butler had chosen to leave Moss Lane for Vauxhall Motors after just one appearance. Graham indicated that it was particularly upsetting as he had chosen to sign Butler when he had to choose between two possible new players.
YOUTH DATAThe Alty Youth team's player statistics and league table have been updated in the Youth section
CSCCheshire County FA Senior Cup - Quarter-Final -
GRAYS ON TUESDAYOn GMR last night, Graham Heathcote indicated that because of the difficulties that part-time players have in getting time off work, he would only take the "bare essentials" in terms of players to Grays on Tuesday. In other words, no one who was not in the team or on the bench would travel. Meanwhile, Mark Maddox (right) writes again in SAM that "We're probably about to face our two toughest games of the season so it's really important that we get at least a point on Saturday... It's going to be really tough making a Tuesday night trip to Essex but... Something is for certain though, we'd much rather be travelling to Grays on a Tuesday night than somewhere in the Conference North and if we get something out of it, it will make the trip home feel much better... Personally, it's also been really good to get a few games under my belt because competition has been strong in the team this season... It's great leading the team out because this club means a lot to me... but Graham knows that I'll shout and scream on the pitch whether I've got the armband on or not. It was good to hear Warren Peyton's comments about the club - I think anyone who comes here notices straight away that this club is run almost like a professional one. Things are done in the right way here and it's been like that as long as I've been here, it makes you fell part of something special".
In Friday's FA Cup 2nd Round match, our opponents next Tuesday, Grays Athletic, lost 3-0 at Mansfield Town. Grays defender Andrew Sambrook was sent off early in the game for a rash tackle. The club website conforms that "Gary Hooper has been shortlisted for the November Nationwide Conference 'Player of The Month Award", along with Lee Boylan (Canvey Island), Justin Richards (Woking), Iysenden Christie (Kidderminster Harriers) and Ian Craney (Accrington Stanley). All except Boylan will face Alty between now and Boxing Day. The Manager Of The Month award for November has gone to Aldershot's Terry Brown.
OLD BOYSNL Daily reports that "Gary Fellows, manager of Salford City, has added another local lad to his squad in Jamie Baguley. Baguley represented England under-16s while still at school and was previously at the Manchester United Academy. Baguley has been playing at both UniBond League First Division side Rossendale United and NWCL outfit Flixton this season." Jim Vince, manager of Witton, was briefly at Altrincham as a player and IC Cheshire reports that "his club has "taken the unique step of giving reserve goalkeeper Brett Walker a contract without him ever having made a first-team appearance! Manager Jim Vince said: 'I am protecting our assets. Lots of clubs want him. He is 6ft 4ins and high quality and is going to be a very good player. It's not a huge contract, but it's money well spent'. Meanwhile, Vince has signed 19-year-old former Stockport and Bangor City full back Liam Brownhill from Connah's Quay Nomads". Brownhill was at Alty this pre-season.
The NL Paper reports that amongst those hit by wage cuts at Chorley is former Alty striker, Peter Wright.
CONFERENCE NEWSAlty fans who visited Gravesend recently will recall that one end of the ground was closed, apart from space for a single row of spectators at the front of the terrace. The Fleet's website reports that the club "will now be putting seats in the Northfleet End rather than replace the existing terracing... There are design issues that make replacing the existing terracing impractical... The Club... have received a proposal from a seating company that would enable them to keep the existing roof at the Northfleet End whilst placing a new covered seating configuration with 513 seats on top of the existing terrace. Chairman, Brian Kilcullen, commented “Whilst we have plans to move to a new stadium as soon as possible, we may still be here for a few more years yet and want the ground to be fully functional”. Kilcullen added “The Football Stadia Improvement Fund has supported our proposal at 50% of the cost and we would very much like to thank then for their invaluable support on this project”. He further commented “I personally often stood behind that goal because I enjoyed the atmosphere and am disappointed it has come to this”. The Fleet also say that "It has been mutually agreed to cancel Manny Omoyinmi’s contract with immediate effect. This decision has been reached amicably between both parties following the player’s inability to force his way into a regular First Team slot so far this season. Manager Liam Daish said. 'We had a tentative enquiry from Lewes... He lives on the South coast and Lewes is an easier journey for him".
Confguide says that "Cambridge United boss Rob Newman has moved to address his side's goal-scoring woes by inviting Iwan Roberts to give his misfiring forwards lessons in finishing".
The BBC says that "Exeter boss Alex Inglethorpe is set to give Jamie Mackie another opportunity to shine... Mackie, 20, scored and set up another in the 2-0 win at Hereford".
"Burton Albion have secured the services of Bury midfielder Jake Sedgemore for a further month. The Shakers agreed to Burton boss Nigel Clough's request to extend Sedgemore's loan stay at the Pirelli Stadium" according to the BBC who also report that "Sutton United have signed Crawley midfielder Michael Gordon and also taken Canvey Island defender Jay Conroy on a month's loan".
The Harriers On Line forum quotes from IC Birmingham to the effect that "Several Kidderminster players have been struck down with a virus which forced manager Stuart Watkiss to cut short training yesterday. Wayne Hatswell and Mitch Butler were both sent home, but Watkiss also has Marc Pugh, Lee Thompson, Gareth Sheldon and Gavin Hurran showing similar symptoms... Watkiss already has key players Martin O'Connor, Gareth Sheldon and Simon Russell ruled out with injury. To make matters worse his central defensive partnership of Mark Jackson and Daryl Burgess will both miss the Dagenham game through suspension... Watkiss said: 'Although I didn't expect us to be at the top, I am embarrassed and ashamed at our position in the league'".
2 December 2005
STANLEY GAMEIn its preview of tomorrow's Accrington Stanley v Altrincham game, the NL Paper quotes Graham Heathcote on Stanley's former Altrincham captain. "He should be playing at a higher level. He is a good player and is scoring goals for fun at the moment". He added, "We are doing quite well at home but we are struggling away. I don't know why it is as it is the same squad of players... Everyone agreed we should have beaten Accrington earlier this season but we were still finding our feet. And they have gone on a hell of a run since then". Craney said, "Every player enjoys playing against their former clubs. I still know a lot of the lads [at Alty] ... I got a decent reception at Altrincham [earlier this season]. I hope I will get another. We beat them 1-0... but they deserved to get something out of the game. We let ourselves down so now we've got something to prove".
JUNIOR ROBINSThe Altrincham FC Junior Robins are holding a Christmas Party on 18 December; details to follow.
BINGO SUCCESSLast Monday's Bingo Night at Moss Lane raised more than £500 for the club; many thanks are due to all who organised and attended the event which saw the Sponsors' Lounge full to almost overflowing!
PEYTON'S PLACE IS ALTYSAM says that "Altrincham are about to come up against the toughest test of their season - a gruelling double-header against the top two teams in the Conference, in the space of four days. The part time club's resources will be stretched to the limit when they first travel to face Accrington Stanley on Saturday before a long-haul Tuesday night trip to Essex to take on Grays Athletic". But "new signing Warren Peyton (right) is optimistic about their chances". He told SAM, "We know what we have to do to get a result. If we can cut out the mistakes we will be able to build on that and the longer we are on a level footing with Accrington, the better our chance of winning is. And if we do well on Saturday we can go into the game with Grays with plenty of confidence". Warren is a happy man to have joined Alty as "When I was at Leigh there was just no life in the club and it was tough playing there but we are definitely much better prepared. It is much more like a professional club here, we have a lot to offer and know we can stay up." After relegation at Leigh, "Peyton decided to take a break from football and did not intend to play competitively at all this season. But after being persuaded to reconsider his decision, Peyton has credited the Moss Lane club with helping him to rediscover his passion for football. 'I had had two seasons of the same thing at Leigh where we were just scraping by and it was difficult coming straight after my time at Doncaster. I was looking for a break but I spoke to Stu Coburn and Graham and Dalton kept in touch with me and I eventually decided to join them. I have always enjoyed playing at Moss Lane, they are a very different club to Leigh and they are what you would expect a proper football club to be like".
OLD BOYChorley have released former Alty winger Tony Sullivan as a cost-cutting measure. ERENCE NEWS Sky Sports say that "Altrincham have been linked with a move for centre back Carl Ruffer, who was released by Nationwide Conference rivals Morecambe...Droylsden have also been mentioned in connection with the stopper, who has been troubled by injuries recently". An innovative fundraising idea comes from Forest Green who "are looking for volunteers aged 8-12 years old to pack shopping bags in the Nailsworth Somerfield... We are looking to occupy 5 check outs with 2 children per till. One to collect donations and one to pack. So looking roughly at 20 per day for the two shifts, depending on volunteers. They will be asked to do this for 3 hours but will be able to have doughnut breaks etc compliments of Somerfield... The children need to wear their Forest Green Rovers Shirts and will receive a goodie bag upon completion of their shift. The proceeds will go towards Forest Green and The Children's Hospice". But Rovers' striker Guy Madjo, on loan from Bristol City, has lost his appeal for a sending off and will be banned for three games.
The Conference says that "Nigel Clough has pencilled in talks with Crewe and Bury to discuss the possibility of extending Lee Bell and Jake Sedgemore's loan deals. Clough told the Burton Mail: "I'll be speaking to Crewe and Bury this week and I'm fairly hopeful that I'll be able to persuade them to let us keep Lee and Jake for a few more weeks". But Dario Gradi said of Bell, "We're going to have to decide whether to bring him back - and we probably will because I think he will perhaps go into the squad somewhere over the Christmas period".
"Tamworth's Scott Stamps faces at least a month on the sidelines after undergoing surgery to correct a persistent problem... [but] Bob Taylor's suspected broken foot is not as serious as first thought" says the Conference. The Tamworth Herald reports that the club is selling shares "in blocks of 100 and cost £1 a share."
"Struggling Southport boss Liam Watson is to start his side's campaign all over again, beginning on Saturday. The Sandgrounders' defeat to Accrington Stanley last weekend was their fifth in succession". Manager Liam Watson toldIC Sefton "We will get it right. I have had to fight for everything in my football career and this is no different," Watson told the "We have a week now without a fixture and we will treat the time as a mini pre-season. Accrington are an excellent guide as to what I want to achieve at Southport. If we finish third from bottom at the end of the season we will have achieved our first objective".
"York City boss Billy McEwan has put his side's inconsistency down to 'a massive turnover at the club'. York have brought in a number of loan signings who have not been fully integrated into the squad. As a consequence McEwan has been using a week of inactivity to try to get his new and old acquisitions to gel".
Cambridge News quotes United boss Rob Newman, "What we're doing now is still looking and keeping our finger on the pulse for when the transfer window re-opens. I don't want to be waiting until the end of January when it's just about to close again before we do anything". The paper adds that"a new forward would appear to be the priority... Meanwhile, Newman may also be searching for extra cover on the right and left wings once the loan deals of Mark Angel from King's Lynn and Farnborough's Gavin Heeroo... come to an end on New Year's Eve".
This is KHFC states that "Harriers' boss Stuart Watkiss has called for a fans' forum to mark his first anniversary at Aggborough... [He] came in for criticism after failing to speak publicly following the disappointing 1-0 defeat at Burton Albion last weekend. Six Conference games without a win has seen Harriers slip into the bottom third of the table... 'If the supporters want to organise a fans' forum anywhere in Kidderminster then I'm more than willing to come and answer their questions... I don't want to vet the questions in advance, I just want to be honest and get everything out in the open'".
Morecambe Today says that "Hard work is paying off at Christie Park, according to caretaker manager Sammy McIlroy". Of the players, he said: "They have worked their socks off since I have been here. It is the ugly side that wins you games at times. It is when you haven't got the ball, that is when you find out a good side". Meanwhile, "Jim Harvey was in Blackpool Victoria Hospital this week for further tests after his heart attack but is understood to be doing well... McIlroy has brought in Stephen Drench on loan from Blackburn".
1 December 2005
BUTLER BOWS OUTLeft-back Chris Butler, has informed Altrincham FC that he is leaving the club after just one appearance as he is able to receive better financial reward at Vauxhall Motors in Conference North. Alty boss Graham Heathcote was also unable to give Butler the regular assurance of a first-team place that he sought. Chris joined Alty earlier this month from Accrington Stanley, for whom he had played 30 games after being released by Liverpool in September 2004. He made his only appearance for Alty at Gravesend on 19 November 2005 and played for 58 minutes before being substituted. As a result, Chris is the current holder of the "Tony Cullen Cameo Appearance Award" for 2005-06, named after the midfielder who made a three-minute substitute's appearance for Alty at Accrington in 2002-03 and was never seen again.
STAR AGMThe STAR (the Altrincham FC supporters' trust) AGM took place at Moss Lane last night, with STAR chairman Brian Flynn presiding. STAR had had a successful year and had donated £500 a month to the club as well as other monies which had been raised from STAR events and initiatives. The main items of discussion concerned the accounts. In this respect, the two main topics were the amount of financial detail which should be sent to all members and the need, or otherwise, to have detailed annual auditing of the accounts. After hearing the pros and cons, a vote of the members decided almost unanimously to continue with the full annual audit, even though this cost several hundred pounds, as this ensured financial probity and was also a requirement of Supporters Direct for trusts with turnovers more than £2,300. It was felt that the benefits of remaining in Supporters Direct outweighed the savings on auditors' bills. (Paul Daine indicated during the discussion that an anonymous STAR member had actually undertaken to meet all the auditors' costs "ad infinitum" though, as a Supporters Direct representative pointed out, this could not be taken as a certainty for ever, as the benefactor "might fall under a bus"). The AGM also elected Ian Harwood and Paul Daine to the STAR Board whilst re-electing Phil Taylor and Jacqui Forster. A full report of the meeting will, no doubt, appear on the STAR website in due course.
Above: Paul France and Mick Carmody after last night's STAR AGM and forum.
After the formal business had been concluded, there was a fans' forum at which the guest panel comprised Alty stars of the nineties, Paul France and Mick Carmody, along with current manager Graham Heathcote. Brian Flynn chaired the forum and amazed the audience with his encyclopedic recall of match details and even match-dates from ten years ago and more!
Both Paul France and Mick Carmody are based in Yorkshire; Paul works for Huddersfield Town in their community football programme but Mick no longer has any involvement in the game, though he still follows the fortunes of Alty, Emley and Ashton United closely. Both men, along with Graham, recalled memorable Alty games and especially the FA Cup match at White Hart Lane against Jurgen Klinsmann and company. Memories were also recalled of the exploits of former managers John King and Gerry Quinn, both of whom were greatly esteemed by the players, despite their contrasting management styles. Graham underlined the importance of team spirit and pointed out that often it can be fringe players who are vital in that respect. An example of this with which all three men agreed, was the role of Dave Cockram in the 1990s - though he only played a handful of games for Alty, his infectious enthusiasm was an essential part of the team's success at that time.
Everyone was grateful to Paul and Mick for the efforts they had made to attend the meeting and for their entertaining comments about their days at Altrincham.
Also, Jacqui Forster outlined the plans for STAR's "Birmingham 20" event in January, more details of which will appear here shortly. Ten of the 12 Alty players involved in the win over Birmingham City in1986 will attend the event at the Ashley Hotel, Hale.
WELCOMEAt last night's AGM it was announced that Altrincham FC had appointed Andy Osgood as its new physio. Since the departure of Sean Riley, Alty player Richard Norris has been acting as club physio. Andy's first major task is to treat Gary Talbot, whose persistent foot injury rules him out again this Saturday.
ACCRINGTONAltrincham FC have confirmed that for Saturday's game at Accrington, our supporters will be allocated a half of the covered terrace, opposite the main stand.
CONFERENCE NEWSThe BBC reports that "Aldershot manager Terry Brown reckons the time is right for his team to beat Scunthorpe in the FA Cup on Saturday... 'Had it been played a month ago they would have probably spanked us... But now they are having a bit of a dip and we go into the fixture, which is at home, full of confidence'", he said. "The draw for the first round of the FA Trophy handed Aldershot a home draw against holders - and Conference leaders - Grays Athletic... ''At last we have got two decent home draws in the cup competitions' added Brown. The manager went on, "If I look through my side the back four have all had Football League experience. Barnard should really still be in the league". Also, "Aldershot have revealed they tried to sign Wycombe's Jonny Dixon before the close of the transfer window last week... However, chairman Karl Prentice told his club's AGM that an offer for the 21-year-old had been rejected. Meanwhile, Brown is monitoring winger Ryan Williams' situation at Bristol Rovers following a loan spell with the Conference club earlier this season". And Hereford's Bullsnews adds that "Aldershot have announced that they are looking for a new main sponsor for the next two years...The Shots are looking for a six figure a season investment - more than double the figure the Bulls receive from their main sponsor. The main reason for the high figure is the exposure from using the ground as the base for Chelsea's reserve side - getting regular attendances over 5,000 per game with those matches also regularly broadcast live over the Chelsea TV satellite channel. Meanwhile, the club announced record turnover of £1.1m for the past season at their recent AGM. A small operating loss of £13,157 was recorded... Losses had been incurred so far this season following poor gates under the break even figure of crowds 'approaching 3000' ".
Talking BBC Radio Kent, Gravesend chairman Brian Kilcullen says, "The absolute earliest I'd imagine we'd be playing in the new stadium would be three years - but it could be five or seven... In terms of gates, we're giving tickets away to children now and that's starting to make a difference already".
"Scarborough captain Neil Bishop does not intend to press charges against Halifax Town defender Denny Ingram following an incident between the two. Police were called after Bishop's lip was cut in an alleged clash in the tunnel after their 2-1 win. Bishop told the Scarborough Evening News: 'I was furious at the time and was considering pressing charges. I would have gone through with it had he done any serious damage. But we all just want to move on'".
NORTH WEST NEWSAccording to NL Daily, Lancaster "City boss Phil Wilson has ruled himself out of the running for the vacancy at league rivals Barrow".
For earlier news, click here
Compiled by John Laidlar