Altrincham Football Club News Archive
31 March 2006
THE ROBINSON CASEAs stated on this website earlier this week, the international clearance of former Alty player James Robinson has become an issue which the FA is investigating. The NL Paper today reports that an FA spokesman "confirmed that Altrincham would not face any action over the matter as they took Robinson from another English club", i.e. Accrington Stanley. The Paper adds that "There is a suspicion that a fan from one of Altrincham's relegation rivals may have tipped off the FA" to investigate the matter. Alty manager and club secretary, Graham Heathcote, is quoted as saying "Some people are seeking to profit from the situation... I believe justice will prevail".
For their part, Stanley claim they did not know Robinson had previously played in Iceland when they signed him and they do not expect to be docked Conference points as Robinson only ever played for their Reserves' side.
EXETER COVERExeter City FC have helpfully contacted Altrincham to confirm that, as the away-fans' end at St James Park is uncovered, they will open an adjacent covered stand for Altrincham fans should it be raining tomorrow. If this is necessary, the supporters who transfer to that stand will be required by stadium regulations to remain seated.
BUTTONSIn the NL Paper, Graham Heathcote says, "I bet if every side in the Conference put their wage bill on the table it would be frightening what they have in comparison to us. Our wage bill is £150,000 a year, gross and, believe me, that's buttons... I've not spent a single penny in the last three years because we have debts and in the last two seasons we have over-achieved. If we stay up this season it will be another great achievement but my players have given everything so far and I have no reason to think that will change... I will always be satisfied if I'm convinced my players have given their all and they deserve a lot of praise because that has certainly been the case.... Those who predicted we'd be relegated straightaway have been proved wrong and we've still got points and games in hand on the sides below us. OK, we're on a bad run... but [we] have a lot of resilience".
BLOW TO OPPONENTSAlty travel to play Exeter City this Saturday and the BBC confirms that "Exeter City winger Wayne Carlisle will miss the rest of the season with a broken leg. Carlisle was injured in City's 1-1 draw at Tamworth on Tuesday night and scans have confirmed that the 26-year-old fractured the tibia in his left leg... Carlisle joined from Leyton Orient in January until the end of the season".
For their part, Alty who travel down to Taunton to stay before Saturday's game, will give fitness tests to defenders Mark Maddox, Chris Adams and Gary Scott.
Meanwhile, This is Exeter adds that "Alex Inglethorpe has vowed to solve the weaknesses in his squad after Exeter City's play-off hopes suffered another setback at Tamworth. The Grecians were forced to settle for a draw, even though they dominated the game and created so many chances they could have racked up a cricket score... Inglethorpe admitted Tuesday night's game highlighted the problems in his squad". The manager said, "I genuinely believe when you are playing against a team who have got 10 men behind the ball that is the time you need that piece of individual skill, that moment of brilliance that perhaps the squad doesn't have at the moment. We probably don't have that wide-man who is going to ghost past two or three players, or the centre forward who is going to drop his shoulder and be that fox in the box that we need. We don't have that central midfielder who is going to split a defence open with a pass. So you are asking players who are trying their hardest at the minute to do the best they can. But it is something will be addressed in the summer". But he has not given up on the play-offs, saying "I still believe we can do it and the players still believe they can do it. But if we weren't to do it then it would mean we weren't good enough this season... There are seven or eight contracts we are obligated to at the minute... If you look at the players who are on contracts next year - the likes of Danny Woodards, Lee Phillips, Billy Jones - that gives me a tremendous amount of hope. If we can add around that nucleaus I think there are some exciting times ahead. I have already been given permission to speak to three or four players who I have targeted for next year".
SATURDAY'S FIXTURESHoward Watts's Through the Years records for April 1st are here.
BINGO BONUSLast week's Bingo Night at Moss Lane raised more than £400 for the club. The club is very grateful to all who organised and supported this event.
CONFERENCE NEWSNL Daily reports that "Burton Albion's Nigel Clough and Halifax Town's Chris Wilder are the joint winners of the Nationwide Conference Manager of the Month award for March... The Nationwide Conference judges the Nationwide Manager of the Month Award on a points system - four points for an away win, three for a home win, two for an away draw and one for a draw at home".
The Conference says that "Cambridge United and Cambridge City will bring their respective youth academies together at the end of the season as they seek to form a united youth front for the Cambridge area. Essentially the City youth set-up will be integrated within the United set-up - the new structure will thus operate under Cambridge United FC. City's academy director Jez George will move across to the Abbey Stadium and will become Head of Youth Development within the new system. United Director Nick Pomery couldn't contain his delight... 'We are delighted to welcome Jez, his team of coaches, and so many local youngsters to Cambridge United. Our recent difficulties are well known, but the club's commitment to youth remains unshaken, and we are very pleased to be able to form such a strong scheme', he told the club's official website. 'This agreement allows us to rebuild our youth set-up far faster than we had previously hoped, and that is great news for the future of United'".
Meanwhile, "Cambridge United have released Paul Atkins, Dave Daniels and Nick Robbins as well as young frontman Mbiyeye Medine... Atkins, Daniels and Robbins are products of the Cambridge United youth system and turned pro last year". Manager Rob Newman said, "They've been in the building with us this season and they're not what I want for next season. It's not a good time to be a manager because you're letting good kids go and taking their living away from them... It's never pleasant to tell someone they won't be kept on but to get to where we want to be next year we need to get new faces in and there could be more going at the end of the season".
The Conference's Player of the Month nominations for March seem to be based largely on goalscoring achievements throughout the season as they include Paul Mullin (Stanley), Clayton Donaldson (York) and "Altrincham's Colin Little [who] has been a consistent performer for the Nationwide strugglers and the striker also happens to be on even terms with both Mullin and Donaldson, bagging 13 goals". Also nominated is "Stevenage Borough frontman John Nurse... [and] Woking's Justin Richards is the league's second top scorer with 18 goals to his name".
30 March 2006
COLIN SALUTES PATColin Little speaking to SAM Sport said "The lads have been gutted about the results recently. We knew which games were winnable but we haven't been able to deliver. But we aren't going to panic, we are still in a good position and Graham and Dalton have done really well to even get us into this position. Knowing this club, we will probably leave it to the 90th minute of our game against Woking to finally secure safety. It's just like when we got promotion last year, we blew several chances to secure our play off spot and took it right to the wire. Exeter have been a bit up and down recently but they need a win to get themselves back on the play off track. They will be going for it massively and we just need to make sure we match them in that way, it will be a difficult place to get something from but you never know with us. With the York game being rescheduled it could actually help us because they've cooled off a bit recently. We could have a better chance of getting a result now although we need to remember that all the games are going to be tough. Without a doubt, injuries have hurt us because we've not got a very big squad and have only about 11 players with real experience at this level. We need players to step up and I've been impressed with young lads like Pat McFadden (right) - he's been really impressive in training recently and did well when he came on against Southport. He looks like he's ready to come through the ranks and do really well".
PONTOON LEADERSPaul Daine, David Gonet and Brian Birtles are in a three-way tie in the Altrincham FC Pontoon, with their teams each having 19 goals. So two more goals for Nottingham Forest, Southend or York City will produce a winner this week.
GATESTerry Rowley's Conference attendance chart has been updated, here.
NEXT GAMESThis Saturday, Alty travel to Exeter. This is Exeter says that "Exeter City were forced to settle for a draw against nine-man Tamworth last night... The Grecians were left reeling at the weekend when their hopes of ending a 16-year wait for silverware were dashed as they were dumped out of the FA Trophy. And any prospect of banishing those painful memories was killed off when Mark Cooper came back to haunt his former club... Having lost six out of their last seven league games, the onus was on City to halt their slump in fortunes. The point leaves them six points adrift of the top five with time fast running out. City winger Wayne Carlisle was taken to hospital last night with a suspected fractured leg... Put simply, City will now have to win six of their remaining eight league games to stand a chance of claiming a top five place. And on current form that prospect seems increasingly remote... An alarming sequence of five defeats from their last six games had cast them adrift in the race for promotion" before Tuesday's 1-1 draw at Tamworth where manager Inglethorpe "made just one change to his starting line-up, bringing in Craig Farrell in place of Dean Moxey and reverting to his favoured 4-4-2 formation". City took the lead following a long throw after 52 seconds.
Next Tuesday, York City visit Moss Lane. From This is York we learn that "Two trialists will get their chance to impress Billy McEwan on Wednesday night as York City reserves take on Grimsby... Former Coventry City goalkeeper Jonathan Tuffey, thwarted from a Monday debut because of a waterlogged pitch at Scarborough, will get his chance... Midfielder Martin Butterworth will also be out to show what he can do. James Dudgeon returned to training yesterday following a virus and stiffness, but both Mark Convery and Nathan Peat were sidelined by injury. Convery has a hip muscle problem and Peat a knee strain".
Right: Rod Thornley in action against Burton Albion last Saturday in a photo kindly supplied bY the Sale & Altrincham Messenger, via Gavin Rathbone.
OLD BOYSJames Robinson reportedly scored on his debut for Richmond Eagles in Australia.
Radcliffe Borough have signed former Manchester United striker Callum Flanagan. Flanagan was signed from Worksop Town" but was with Alty Reserves earlier this season.
CONFERENCE NEWSBBC Sport reports that "Tamworth player-boss Mark Cooper was delighted to have gained a point from a fiery clash against Exeter [who host Alty on Saturday] that saw both Cooper and Peter Folkes sent off. Cooper said: 'One through eleven were fantastic tonight. We should be playing like that every week and there's no reason why we shouldn't be. It was a massive point against a strong side and we missed two or three chances to win the game even when we were down to 10 men'".
Halifax Today says that "Steve Bushell fired Halifax Town a step closer to the play-offs with a stunning winner against Woking at the Shay... 'The keeper was lining his wall up for what seemed like ages', said Bushell. 'One of their players came back and tried to stand on the ball so I turned to the referee and told him I was going to take the free kick. He said 'fine' and luckily it went in. I hit it well, sometimes they go in, sometimes they don't. The way the pitch is at the moment, set pieces will be a big part of our game', said Bushell, whose form since returning to the side has been so good Martin Foster cannot get a start. 'Last season I would have been guaranteed playing if I was available because we simply didn't have the squad. Now we have a bit of strength in depth'". Manager Chris Wilder told BBC Sport. 'It was a great bit of thinking from Steve and a nice bit of glory for him and he has been our best player in the four years that I have been here'"
"Crawley boss John Hollins is delighted with the fighting spirit that is lifting his side clear of relegation. Town secured a fourth straight victory on Tuesday evening with a 3-0 win at Dagenham & Redbridge. 'Just as we were going in for half-time a couple of the boys had a real set-to', Hollins revealed. 'I sat the players down and said that is the exact spirit I want to see and told them to show it on the pitch - they then came out and were terrific'", states the BBC.
"Kidderminster Harriers have confirmed that midfielder Laurie Wilson has left... after being told he did not figure in manager Mark Yates's plans. The former Sheffield Wednesday youngster joined Kidderminster from Burton Albion last summer...Yates says his side appears frightened of playing at home after being beaten 5-0 by Grays. The result followed on from a 4-1 home defeat by Aldershot, with a surprise 1-0 victory at Hereford in between. 'It's like we're scared to play at home, I can't understand the performance', Yates said. 'These players don't seem capable of playing at home and if you can't perform in from of 1,200 people then you have serious problems'" reports the BBC. But Grays Athletic boss Mark Stimson told BBC Sport, "We have had patches in games when we have played that well but for the whole 90 minutes that was one of our best performances".
The Conference confirms that "Reading's promotion to the Premiership is set to earn Cambridge United another handy £100,000 windfall. Reading's elevation to the top flight is set to trigger a bonus clause in the deal which took striker Dave Kitson to the Madejski Stadium in December 2003 for an initial £150,000... The U's have already picked up £75,000 based on a clause linked to the striker's appearances. This latest bonus comes just a month after United received £100,000 as a result of former keeper John Ruddy's surprise debut for Everton. The U's are also keeping tabs on Southend's bid to win promotion to the Championship. If that happens a clause in the deal which took Luke Gutterridge to Roots Hall will also come into profitable effect".
Alty's final trip of the season in April is to Woking. Bullsnews says that "Woking recommend that, for personal safety reasons, women and young children do not walk unaccompanied to Kingfield Stadium. It would be advisable to take a taxi from Woking Station direct to the ground, costing approximately £4".
29 March 2006
JAMES ROBINSONAltrincham manager and Club Secretary, Graham Heathcote (right) has not only had to plan for his team's Conference games but, for the last two weeks, he has also been occupied with the issue of James Robinson's registration. The former Crewe forward was signed by Alty from Accrington Stanley in November 2005, having previously played in several Lancashire League games for Stanley, including one match against Alty's Reserves. Before joining Stanley, James had played for an Icelandic club. When, in February 2006, James moved from Alty to play for Richmond Eagles in Australia, the FA contacted Altrincham about James's international clearance. However, Graham Heathcote said today, "I have been dealing with the FA over this matter for the last fortnight and I am comfortable with the outcome of those dealings. The matter is also being considered by The Football Conference, who have been made aware of the FA's findings".
RESERVES' GAME OFFTonight's Reserves' game between Altrincham and Barrow at Moss Lane has been postponed because of a wet pitch and the forecast of further rain this afternoon and evening. Alty Reserves' next game is this Saturday (1st, 3pm) at Wythenshawe Town FC, when Bamber Bridge will be the visitors. So, if you cannot get to Exeter with the first team, come along and watch the Reserves, who may include some first-team squad members in their ranks. Amongst those who would have played tonight for the Reserves were Gary Scott, Karl Munroe, Mark Maddox, Stephen Rose and Colin Potts as well as trialist Mark Smyth from Vauxhall Motors, whilst on the bench would have been Eddie Hussin and Richard Norris.
If Saturday's game is played, that will be Alty Reserves' first game since 15 February, six weeks ago. Wythenshawe's Town ground is on Timpson Road, which runs behind Tesco's Baguley store.
ALTY DROP A PLACE ...Tuesday scores:
A thousand and one goals have now been scored in the Conference this season.
... BUT IT COULD BE VERSEDespite dropping a place last night it could be verse for Altrincham - captain Mark Maddox might take up poetry after the success of his excellent weekly prose column for the SAM website. Penning verse is not such a fanciful idea, as Alty historian Terry Rowley has discovered an Altrincham player who, indeed, is also a published poet! As no Alty fan under the age of 60 stanza chance of guessing his identity, the website can reveal that the footballing bard is one Harry Boyle, an Alty player in the 1950s. You can read more about him and his life in a fascinating article on the Southport GB site. Indeed, "After leaving Rochdale, Harry played as a part time player with Runcorn and Altrincham in the then Cheshire League whilst running a corner shop in Southport. Success also came to Harry off the field when he joined the Spar organisation and won a national shop window dressing competition - winning a holiday for two in Bermuda!" Seriously though, Harry's three books of verse "I Love Today" (1989), "Love is Freedom" (1991) and "Love Defined" (1998) were published for the benefit of the Queenscourt Hospice in Southport and Macmillan's Cancer Relief, two great causes, which deserve your support.
PONTOONSarah Rowley has kindly supplied an updated Alty FC Pontoon Table.
BOOKINGSSAM reports that "Six of the Robins' team received cautions during the 2-1 defeat to Burton and, while he [Graham Heathcote] does not blame this for the final result, he believes it put undue pressure on his players. 'At the end of the day, it's very difficult for a team to play when an official's booked six of them and put them in a situation where they'll be off if they make another mistake. I didn't think it was a dirty game in any way, shape or form and yet I've got six players booked and it's absolutely ridiculous. Certain challenges were punished and then you see similar things go unpunished and I'm not saying they should have been, but I am saying that some of the earlier fouls shouldn't have been punished".
ALTY SUPPORTERS' SUCCESSCongratulations to the Altrincham FC Supporters' Club (Australia), a.k.a the Australian cricket team, for their Test Match series win against South Africa. Several of the Aussies continue to follow Alty's fortunes through e-mails with our chairman Geoff Goodwin, who provided the coach for their last tour of England and even drove the tourists round the country himself. Some of the Aussies also joined STAR, the Altrincham supporters' trust, when they visited Moss Lane last summer..
CONFERENCE NEWSBullsnews says that "Crawley's owners have ordered their official website offline after falling out with the webmaster. The webmaster, who also controlled the ctfc.net fans forum and was part of the steering committee to form a Supporters' Trust, was accused by the Majeed brothers on Saturday of organising a campaign against them when they were approached over the idea of a Supporters' Trust. The conversation ended with Azwar Majeed, currently on trial for assault, telling him to "F*** off you mug". He was told by a text message from Ben Taylor, Assistant General Manager, to 'stick your site', and that his free season ticket - the only reward he received for running the site free of charge - was being revoked".
On the Crawley Forum the man who ran the Crawley official site said, "It is with regret that I have to advise that the official site will be offline until the new one is launched. I received a reply from Ben Taylor just a short time ago telling me to pull it. Ben Taylor wrote: '....stick your site and will get the new one up and running. Your free ticket has also now been taken away'. I replied that it was a shame it had come to that as 'sorry' is such an easy thing to say. That was followed shortly after with: Ben Taylor wrote: It is a shame but why say sorry when you don't mean it? I have to agree with what Azwar said. If you want answers join the supporters' club". The new website is now up at the old URL.
Meanwhile, The Argus reports that Crawley "players have received the remaining half of February's money and are set to be paid in full for March this week. However, the Professional Football Association say the payment of bonuses and appearance fees have not been resolved. PFA spokesman Simon Barker said: "Bonus schemes are an integral part of the contract so if they are not being paid then the club is in breach of contract... We are taking it on a week by week basis. The players got another great win on Saturday in difficult circumstances, so they are fulfilling their side of things. We want the club to do the same". Captain Danny Brown said, "The way the boys are playing now has nothing to do with wages and the way we were playing before had nothing to do with wages. We are doing better now because we have found a team that is working. It has been swapped around so much in the past but now we have a steady base".
The Conference has launched "Conference Rewards... the new way to ensure that you never pay for the game that you love ever again. By gaining reward points from your every day shopping, you can redeem your points against anything from your replica shirt to money can't buy experiences... You sign up online at www.conferencerewards.co.uk and then make your purchases through one of over 200 retailers (many high street brands including Currys, Dixons, Ebay, Expedia, Halfords, HMV, JD Sports, Kitbag, Marks & Spencer, Mothercare, Tesco and Thomas Cook), the reward points are added to your account and then you are free to redeem against a whole host of your club's products, you could get your season ticket, your shirt or many money can't buy items only available through Conference Rewards".
Southport's Tuesday match against Lancaster City in a local cup final at Leyland was postponed due to a waterlogged pitch.
28 March 2006
RESERVESShould Wednesday night's Moss Lane clash between Altrincham Reserves and Barrow Reserves beat the heavy rain this week, there should be a large number of first team players on show. Gary Scott, Karl Munroe, Mark Maddox, Stephen Rose and Colin Potts are all expected to start along with trialist Mark Smyth from Vauxhall Motors, whilst on the bench would be Eddie Hussin and Richard Norris, both of whom have been out injured all season to date.
Meanwhile, the Reserves' fixture list, only issued recently, has already been changed. The May Bank Holiday clash between Altrincham and Bamber Bridge has now been brought forward to this Saturday (April 1st) at 3pm at Wythenshawe Town FC, Timpson Road, Baguley, next to Tesco.
Alty Reserves' striker Kwame Barnett has now joined two former team-mates, Kieran Kilackey and Adam Docker at Bangor City. It is hoped that Bangor City will host a pre-season game against Altrincham Reserves this summer.
OLD BOYS"Nationwide North play-off hopefuls Harrogate Town have announced that central defender Chris Timons has joined until the end of the season... after being released last week by league rivals Hucknall Town, where he was skipper... Timons joins on a non-contract basis with a view to a possible permanent deal in the summer".
"Martyn Rogers, manager of Southern League Premier Division club Tiverton Town, has paid tribute to Peter Conning after he was forced to part company with his assistant-manager last week. Conning, who was an FA Vase winner in his Tivvy playing days, was released as part of the club's drastic cost-cutting measures, which have been brought about by chronic over-spending this season". Rogers said, "Pete is a smashing fellow and it was a difficult thing to do. But the club has to come first and it was the right decision" reports This is Exeter.
BURTON ANALYSISThe Burton Mail says that at Altrincham last Saturday, "It was the contribution of Ducros which caught the eye of Nigel Clough after he asked the little midfielder to fill the boots of skipper Darren Stride, who was ruled out of Saturday's game by a neck injury. The Brewers boss said: 'We lost Darren and there were times when we needed him because they put us under a lot of pressure at corners and free-kicks. But at the same time we gained a very good performance from Andy Ducros in ways you don’t always associate with him. He was the smallest player on the pitch but he must have challenged in the air a dozen times without giving away a single free-kick. I thought he was outstanding... The centre-halves (Darren Tinson and Gary Rowett) were off it a bit in the first half and the goalie was at fault again" for Alty's goal, added Clough.
CONFERENCE NEWSThe BBC confirms yesterday's news that "Aldershot defender Greg Heald has left the club as he looks to pursue a career outside the professional game. 'I have got some studies to concentrate on and some future work and I have to look to the future', Heald, 34, told Aldershot's website... Meanwhile, former Shots striker Roscoe D'Sane, 25, has joined Ryman League side Wealdstone following an 18-month battle with injury".
"Southport's Kevin Leadbetter will miss the rest of the season because of a broken wrist. He will be able to play no further part in Port's battle to avoid relegation after sustaining the injury at work... Meanwhile, Southport will put their relegation fears to one side on Tuesday night when they face Lancaster City in the final of the Lancashire County Cup", says the BBC.
"Gravesend defender Lee Protheroe has joined Margate on loan until the end of the season. The 30-year-old, who also plays in midfield, has not been in Fleet's first-team since early January. Protheroe has started 43 Conference games for Gravesend since joining the Kent club from Canvey Island in May 2004... Meanwhile, Danny Glozier has returned to Gravesend after reaching the end of his loan spell at Tonbridge Angels" reports the BBC.
Hednesford Town have confirmed the signing of vastly experienced midfielder Martyn O’Connor", who was recently at "Kidderminster Harriers, where he enjoyed a spell as caretaker-manager after Stuart Watkiss was dismissed".
27 March 2006.
Right: Alty keeper Stuart Coburn receives his award from director Grahame Rowley to mark his 300th appearance last week. More on this below...
Match report here. More details in yesterday's news, below...
The Burton site has its match report here. It describes the match as a "solid if unspectacular victory against a hard working, industrious side who picked up six yellow cards in a physical battle".
OLD BOYFormer Alty midfielder Vernum Rowland has joined Flixton.
RESERVES' GAMESThe Lancashire League has reissued the fixtures from now till the end of the season; Alty's games are listed here. Alty's next match is this Wednesday at Moss Lane (7.45pm) versus Barrow.
The League table shows that the title remains in Alty Reserves' hands after some recent results involving rivals, including:
But BPA did hit six of their own against Clitheroe with ex-Alty man Lutel James scoring twice.
YOUTH TEAM REACHES FINALAlty Youth reached the Final of the Neil Thomason Memorial Trophy on Sunday with a 3-0 win over Fleetwood Hesketh. The goals all came in a nine-minute burst late in the first half and were scored by Andy Keogh, Rick Crawford and Matty WIlliams. Report in Youth section.
Several of Alty Youth's remaining fixtures have also been changed but a number remain to be fixed. Two midweek matches in the coming week have now been postponed, so the lads are next in action, as the Altrincham & District representative side in the Cheshire County FA District Youth Cup Final at Moss Lane next Sunday at 2pm. Entry is just £2 so why not come along and support the youth team which has produced four of Alty's current players who are on Conference forms?
CONFERENCE NEWSThe BBC confirms that "A number of people were arrested in York when fighting broke out on Saturday evening after a York City v Accrington Stanley football match. Several police officers were involved in breaking up a series of incidents in the city centre... The arrests came after fights outside the Hole in the Wall pub on High Petergate".
Elsewhere, "Cambridge boss Rob Newman was unhappy with the discipline shown by his side in their 1-0 loss at Crawley. Newman said: 'We came here on the back of four decent results and expecting to get something out of the game. I don't think we showed enough responsibility and discipline out there to deal with Crawley's threat... This shows that there is a lot to be changed for next season'".
o "Kidderminster's assistant boss Neil Howarth felt his side delivered the 'perfect response' with a 1-0 win over rivals Hereford. Harriers suffered a 4-1 loss at home to Aldershot last Saturday, and Howarth said: 'Everyone at the club was hurt after the Aldershot game... It was the very least the players could have done for the fans'".
The BBC also reports that "Scarborough player-boss Neil Redfearn was pleased to have played a large part in his side's 1-0 win at Aldershot. 'It's important that you get your better players out - and whichever way you look at it, I'm one of the better players at the club', he said. 'Even though I can't get about like I used to, I can do enough'".
Our next opponents, Exeter City lost their Trophy semi-final on Saturday. Boss Alex Inglethorpe said: 'There's nothing worse than losing a semi-final, and the penalty was probably pivotal'".
"Gravesend & Northfleet boss Liam Daish was left to rue defensive lapses as they were beaten 2-0 at Stevenage. Our strength lately has been our defence, but in the first half we were a little bit dozy" manager Liam Daish told the BBC.
Tamworth boss Mark Cooper said, ''It was a must not lose game today', after his side's goalless draw with fellow strugglers Southport... 'I think it will go all the way to the wire, we have got to stay in there with a shout and pick up points while we can. If it ends up us needing a point or three points at the final game then we will have to take that. I can't visualise a path to safety, we just have to keep going... There are some big games coming up for us starting with the visit of Exeter and we will see how they react to losing the FA Trophy Semi Final'".
Forest Green Rovers confirm that "Scott Rogers moves to Bath City. One of Rovers longest serving players has today moved from Forest Green Rovers to Bath City".
Aldershot Town "Defender Greg Heald left the club after Saturday's 1-0 home defeat against Scarborough at the Rec. The 34 year old... said afterwards, 'I have come to an agreement with the club that I leave now. I have got some studies to concentrate and some future work and I have to look to the future as I have a wife and family to look after'"..
26 March 2006
SUPPORTERS OF TOMORROW
Above, under the guidance of Andy Hilton, Football Development Officer from Trafford Sports Development, pupils of Blessed Thomas Holford School, Altrincham, demonstrate their skills as part of the Nationwide Supporters of Tomorrow initiative between Trafford MBC and Altrincham FC at half-time in Saturday's game at Moss Lane. The girls' kit was donated by Altrincham FC.
To mark his 300th appearance for Altrincham, Stuart Coburn was presented with a magnificent framed photo (seen above), taken by Gavin Rathbone of GR Photography and put into presentation format by Bill Coop.
DISABLED ACCESSAltrincham travel to Exeter City on Saturday and their Supporters' Club has kindly advised us of arrangements for disabled supprters and their helpers at St James Park. A brochure has been sent to Altrincham FC explaining the arrangements and copies can also be had from Exeter by ringing the club's office on 01392 411243.
OLD BOYSMatthew McNeil scored for Macclesfield, whilst Lutel James has joined Bradford PA. Gavin Salmon(2) and Mario Daniel netted for Woodley whilst Chris Downey hit two for Mossley and NL Daily reports that in Friday's game aginst Leigh, "Hyde’s on-loan striker Mark Quayle received his marching orders for a straight red card offence on George Melling early on in the second half".
"[Altrincham and] Hucknall Town’s former skipper Chris Timons has been told by new boss Kevin Wilson that he is free to leave Watnall Road. The new manager has told the former Mansfield and Ilkeston Town defender that he does not feature in his plans for next season... But though we will remain with Hucknall for the moment, he can speak to other clubs about a move. Wilson has also let four other players leave the club as he continues his clearout ready for next season... 'Chris is a good, honest player and will continue to play for us while he gets himself another club', said Wilson. 'But he does not figure in my plans for next season and I thought it was only right that I told him that now'" reports This is Nottingham
25 March 2006
THE ROAD TO EXETERDetails of the STAR supporters' coach to Exeter next Saturday are on the Travel Page, as are the usual map links.
ALTRINCHAM 1 BURTON ALBION 2
Right: Chris Adams becomes one of six Alty men shown a card by Mr Cummins; three of the other four Altrincham players in the picture were also booked this afternoon - Peyton, Owen and Aspinall.
Whilst Alty came back well in the first half after conceding a fourth minute goal, headed home by Webster from a corner, they could not repeat the act after conceding an even quicker goal in the second half. After Webster's goal, Alty got level after just seven minutes of the first half when Little got on the end of Aspinall's long ball to steer the ball past Deeney who had been slow to come off his line. Indeed, Alty could have led at the break but for Deeney's superb save from Little's volley. But when Alty also conceded an early goal in the second half, as Harrad charged down Aspinall's clearance and carried on up the middle to score (48 mins), the Robins could find no way back. For most of the second half Alty rarely looked likely to score despite plenty of effort. Though Burton deserved their win, referee Stephen Cummins gave another of his bewildering displays, managing to book six Alty players and one Burton man in a game which was far from physical and he left the field to a chorus of booing.
Today's referee, Mr Cummins is no stranger to controversy in matches at or involving Altrincham. He was the man who reffed the Alty v Dagenham game earlier this season in which he allowed a goal to be scored into an empty net from a freekick where the ball was moving, with Alty keeper Coburn stranded. He was also the referee who achieved national notoriety when he sent off Witton Albion's Brian Pritchard at Moss Lane for tackling a streaker in the Cheshire Senior Cup two years ago, yesterday.
Match report here.
ALTY SPIRITIn Friday's NL Paper, Stuart Coburn describes the Altrincham players' recent night out go-karting, organised by chairman Geoff Goodwin, whose son Jay is an accomplished karter. Stuart said, "For the chairman to pay for it all was brilliant and that is what it is like at Alty. We are part-time, but we are treated professionally... The group of lads have been together for a few years now and it helps. You all now what you are fighting for whereas, if you bring people in on loan, do they want to be there? Look at Tamworth and the amount of players they've used this year... A win will take us up to 40 points and when we hit that barrier, we'll relax a bit. We've got four games at home out of the eight we play in April and if we can't take a couple of points out of those, we deserve to go down".
BURTON GAMESAM's preview of the Burton game says that "although Burton are currently eight places above Alty in the Conference table, only a win will do... Blake Norton's signing and the return to full fitness of Colin Potts should ensure that Alty do not lack in creative options. The only major worry is in defence, where Mark Maddox and Gary Scott are both out injured. Chris Adams and Karl Munroe did not train on Thursday night either and both face late fitness tests... Burton, meanwhile, enjoy a full bill of health, with Darren Stride returning after a dead leg [but see below] and new signing Daryl Clare going straight into the matchday squad... Burton have enjoyed a superb run of form in 2006... The Brewers have won five of their 11 games since losing 5-0 at Old Trafford, including a 2-0 victory over Exeter and 3-2 wins at both Grays and Stevenage. Burton have lost two of their last three games but these defeats came against title challengers Accrington and Hereford and both by narrow margins".
The Burton Mail says that "Brewers' boss Nigel Cough hinted today that he may hold back his star signing's full debut... Clough believes the Moss Lane clash may have come too soon for Daryl Clare, 27, after a hectic two weeks of transfer talks rather than football. The Brewers' boss said: 'Daryl will have some part to play at Altrincham, but we have to be mindful of the fact that he hasn't played for two-and-a-half weeks and has only had one training session with us. Daryl hasn't done much football-wise since he left Crawley... So it might be better for him to get a full week's training under his belt and then make his first start against York'. Clough is expected to keep faith with Jon Shaw and Shaun Harrad up front, but looks set to make a change in midfield. Skipper Darren Stride is a doubt after straining a neck muscle in training — but in any event the Brewers' boss wants to find room for Andy Ducros. Clough said: 'Stridey has pulled a small muscle that's also affecting his shoulder... Andy is the obvious replacement if Stridey can't play, but I would like to find a place for him somewhere anyway... Altrincham are in a position similar to the one we were in a year ago. They're not quite safe, but two or three more wins should seal it and — like us last season — they'll want the points in the bag as quickly as possible. They have got a decent home record and, because we're a mid-table team, they'll see this game as a chance to take a step in the right direction. We've just played well against three of the top five in very good games of football, but Altrincham are likely to provide us with a different kind of challenge. We'll be looking for our strong and experienced players — Gary Rowett, Darren Tinson and the skipper if he plays — to play a leading role". The article lists the Burton squad as, Deeney, Corbett, Tinson, Rowett, Webster, Hall, Stride, K Taylor, Gilroy, Shaw, Harrad, Clare, Ducros, Austin, Moore, Henshaw, M Taylor.
YOUTH NEWSAlty Youth attempt to host Fleetwood Town for the third successive Sunday this week; the first attempt (a league match) foundered when the Southport side could not travel through snow, then last week's Neil Thomason Memorial Trophy match game was called off after the match officials failed to show up. The kick off on Sunday is still to be confirmed - it may be 2pm or 2.30pm. If I get clarification it will appear on the Youth Page, which also has more on Alty's role in the Cheshire FA win over Manchester FA last Wednesday.
ALTY'S FORLAN?Mark Maddox may be unfit to play this Saturday but in his SAM article, he is in his usual fine form. He writes, "This injury is doing my head in at the moment... Personally, I wanted to at least be on the subs bench tomorrow but Graham doesn't want to take any risks... Our injury problems in defence are a real setback but it's just one of those unfortunate things... I think our first half performance at Haig Avenue was poor, little better than against Canvey, but the wind was a massive influence and we were the better team after half time. We created plenty of good chances and after Colin missed that volley I've started calling him Colin Forlan because he can't hit the backside of a cow with a banjo at the moment. He might be going through a bit of a barren spell at the moment but it doesn't last long for players of Colin's class, he'll hit the back of the net soon enough... Southport beat Accrington on Tuesday night. That was a real turn up for the books. Craney's been doing the business this season but he let me down on Tuesday, I don't know what he was doing on penalty duty because he can't take them and I've already told him to stay off them in the future... Survival is still in our hands and I'm confident we will tie it up soon. A win tomorrow would really set us on our way... Some people are saying we've got the hardest run in of all the teams at the bottom but if you look at some of the teams we've beaten at home this season, I would always bank on us at home... [As for Burton Albion, they will] only be better with the arrival of Daryl Clare this week. He's a quality striker and although some people may say he's a big time Charlie, he's nothing like that on the pitch. He always has a good bit of banter with you and we'll have to watch out for him tomorrow. Our fans have been brilliant this season and if they get behind us again tomorrow we'll try and reward them with a result".
OLD BOY"Nicky Law, manager of Northern Counties East League Premier Division leaders Buxton, has recruited no less than four new players ... The best known is experienced forward Leroy Chambers, who made almost 100 League appearances with Sheffield Wednesday, Chester City, and Chesterfield and has more recently played for the likes of Belper Town, Matlock Town and Droylsden and was at UniBond League Premier Division Frickley Athletic at the start of this campaign" says NL Daily.
CONFERENCE NEWSThe BBC says that "Cambridge United have revealed that boss Rob Newman tied up a loan signing before Thursday's deadline to boost his goalkeeping options. Lincoln teenager Ayden Duffy, who has yet to play for the Imps' first team, has joined the U's on work experience". And "Colchester striker Jamie Guy has rejoined Cambridge United on work experience. The 18-year-old front man had already spent a month at the Abbey Stadium earlier this year".
Bullsnews tells us that "Youngster Harry Donaghy has joined Hereford United from Portsmouth... Harry is a left sided player that can play at left back and left midfield".
"Sammy McIlroy, caretaker-manager of Morecambe, has signed midfielder Fraser McLachlan on loan from Mansfield Town until the end of the season. McLachlan signed for Mansfield in January 2005 after a period on loan from Stockport County where he began his career as a trainee in 2001. The Manchester-born player also had a period on loan at Northwich Victoria in 2004", says the club's website
Lewes Today reports that "The prospect of Lewes appearing in the Nationwide South play-off finals is still clouded in uncertainty... The Conference cut-off point for ground improvements is April 1st... but there is a slight possibility that the date might be extended given that so many clubs are struggling to meet the requirements... The play-offs threaten to become a farce with question marks hanging over the participation of Lewes, Cambridge City and Farnborough Town, and the authorities could end up by not having a southern competition. Lewes managing director Martin Elliott said: "We're waiting to see what the Conference are going to do if anything and whether they choose to come down and see the work we are planning to undertake. The main work starts on April 23rd but we aim to begin some before that... Progress into the Conference National would undoubtedly increase the gates, but trips to places like York, Morecambe, Exeter and Altrincham do not come cheap and the cost of players in the higher standard would rise". As for Conference North, there is also some apparent doubt about play-off contenders, such as Moor Green, who play at Solihull Borough's ground, meeting the criteria. Nearer to home Northwich Vics' ground is to be inspected next week.
"Former Bury hotshot Jon Newby has joined Kidderminster Harriers on a one-month loan deal, along with the former Peterborough United defender Simon Rea... Bury hope that by coming to Aggborough he can get some more competitive games under his belt in readiness for next season. Simon Rea, a defender, has also arrived following injury and is also hoping to get himself fit enough to return to his parent club, Nuneaton Borough, in time for next season", reports Harriers Online.
24 March 2006
TERRY GIVES ALTY A LIFTTerry Surridge is a longstanding supporter and historian of Altrincham FC who, over the years, has sponsored many an Alty match or matchball and is also to be seen at most matches at Moss Lane, selling matchday programmes. Terry, who works at Wright Robinson College in Manchester is also a qualified weightlifting coach for the GB team and has put the Altrincham FC squad through their weight-training on more than one occasion. Terry is seen in the photo (right) presenting the "Best Lifter Award (Under-14)" to James Burley of Scotland at the British U-16 Weightlifting Championships a week last Saturday. This award was sponsored, through Terry, by Altrincham FC. Though unable to attend the Alty v Canvey match because of the above event, Terry had not forgotten Alty - he was sponsoring the match ball at Moss Lane for that game.
STAR PLAYER OF YEARSTAR's Race Night and Player of the Year event will be held on Sunday 30 April. You can vote before 15 April either at the STAR counter in the Robins' Shop or by e-mail on the STAR website.The event will be held in the Noel White Suite at Altrincham FC's Moss Lane Ground on. Doors open at 7pm and racing begins at 7.30pm. Admission is free to all.
You can sponsor horses for the Race Night for just £5 with winning owners receiving a bottle of bubbly! Races can be sponsored for just £25 with all race sponsors entered in a free draw for a case of wine! You can make your sponsorship pledge at the STAR desk at half time on matchdays or by post to Mark Murray, at 65 Fulmar Drive, Sale, Cheshire M33 4WH, not forgetting to include your horse/race name and payment.
Presentations for the Altrincham FC Player of The Year will take place after the 4th race. As Mark says, "This is a vital event for the club to raise funds to take us through the close season....it's always a great night so if you've never been to a race night give it a go this year."
STUART PRAISEDOn BBC Sport Graham Heathcote "has paid tribute to 29-year-old goalkeeper Stuart Coburn following his 300th appearance for the club. '"You'd have to go a long way to find a better goalkeeper in non-league. I have always believed he is one of the top three or four. His consistency and performance levels have been fantastic. He's won us a lot of points and cup games. Hopefully that will continue for a long time to come'".
COACH WARSAlty chairman Geoff Goodwin will again be providing his Go Goodwins coaches to take the Altrincham team and supporters to Exeter next week but he will not face the complaints made to his counterparts in Devon. This is Exeter tells us that "Supporters vented their feelings about City's use of arch-rivals Plymouth Argyle's Ginsters' pasties-emblazoned coach for travel to certain away games. And as a show of displeasure, a protest was launched during the recent league clash with Halifax Town when pink balloons were released and banners were unveiled. Now the club have joined forces with Target Travel - the coach company - and sponsors Flybe to bring about a solution to the problem. Flybe will deck out two different coaches with their logos for the rest of the season to ensure City will not need to travel on the Argyle coach again... Exeter started using the Argyle coach because it had the facilities on board which best met the club's requirements for long away journeys".
OLD BOYSNL Daily states that "Mario Daniel notched his 15h goal of the season and the winner with only 4 minutes remaining." on Wednesday for Woodley Sports against Ossett Albon. against Ossett Albion. Former Premiership player Paul Warhurst, who backed out of a Reserves' game trial for Altrincham recently has now signed for Barnet.
CONFERENCE NEWSCrawley Town report that "The players' welfare has always been the prime concern of the owners. The wage cut was an immediate repercussion of the cashflow problem caused when an investor withdrew last month. The owners have already provided a financial injection of £800k within a short period of eight months and were not in a position to immediately sustain the shortfall... The management today have proved that the players are their priority and can confirm that the wage bill will be covered from a separate business within the SA Group. In addition, clarification has also been made in conjunction with the FA regarding the position of Chas Majeed. As previously stated, the club is in regular liaison with the Conference, PFA and FA. In response to recent press coverage, Chas has not resigned from the club and will continue to work regularly at the stadium, demonstrating his passion and commitment to Crawley Town Football Club". Some Crawley fans are expected to protest against the Majeeds at Saturday's game.
"Reading have allowed 19-year-olds Ryan Crockford and Scott Rendell [who scored against Alty for Forest Green] to join non-league sides on work experience. Midfielder Crockford will join Conference side Aldershot for the rest of the season, while striker Rendell has joined Hayes". Also Alty's Mark Eckersall, who was confronted by all sorts of outlandish names whilst acting as matchday announcer at Moss Lane will be interested to know that "Reading have decided not to offer a contract to DR Congo international Lord-Kangana N'Diwa" who graced Moss Lane whilst playing for Bolton Wanderers Reserves against Man. United Reserves.
"Gravesend & Northfleet have signed former Rushden & Diamonds defender Peter Hawkins... after leaving Nene Park by mutual consent earlier this month... Fleet manager Liam Daish told his club's website, 'It has been an absolute nightmare trying to bring players to the club, and this whole transfer window scenario is killing clubs at our level'. Meanwhile, Daish has learned that midfielder Jimmy Jackson's leg was badly bruised rather than broken in Tuesday's Kent Senior Cup win against Margate".
"Forest Green Rovers have completed the loan signing of midfielder Liam Coleman from Torquay on a one-month deal. The 20-year-old has not played for the Gulls since December and boss John Cornforth said he wanted to give the youngster first-team football". Meanwhile "Kidderminster have signed Bury striker Jon Newby on a month's loan. The 27-year-old striker has had a frustrating time with injuries this season but hopes first-team action at Aggborough will improve his fitness" says the BBC.
This is York says that "City boss Billy McEwan is hoping to add to what he believes could be the smallest squad in the Conference this week. The recent loan departures of first-year professionals David Stockdale, Ashley Winn and Stephen Baynes mean 13 players have left KitKat Crescent since Christmas with only Stephen Thomas travelling in the opposite direction and staying with the Minstermen. Other players to leave the club during the last three months include Ryan Mallon, David Pounder, Lev Yalcin, Graeme Law, Leo Bertos, Tcham N'Toya, Darren Craddock, Terry Barwick, Evan Horwood and Lee Andrews. The squad trimming means McEwan now has a squad of 16 professionals, including right-back Jamie Price who is currently returning from a hernia injury after being on the sidelines since November... But City boss McEwan is still hoping to recruit two more loan signings before tomorrow's transfer deadline. He said: 'We have been lucky to keep a winning, settled side and that's not undermining the efforts of Joe O'Neill, Dave Merris and Mark Hotte who have been superb when they have come in and Bryan Stewart who has also done all right but we have got a very bare bones squad now. I think it could be the smallest in the Conference. With just a couple of injuries, we will be down to 14 professionals so I've got to bring a couple of bodies in before the deadline in case something happens'".
From Morecambe Today says that "After seeing a giveaway goal set his side on the way to another away defeat at Dagenham on Saturday, Sammy McIlroy's frustration was evident this week. Previous defensive errors have seen opposition teams gifted the lead at Stevenage, Accrington and Aldershot in recent weeks – all games the Shrimps have gone on to lose. McIlroy told The Visitor: 'We came out after the break and in no time we're a goal down and chasing the game because of a real schoolboy defensive mix-up'... .McIlroy said the poor displays on their travels were now putting pressure on the home fixtures as the dash for a play-off place hots up in coming weeks. 'Apart from the silly mistake there was also a lack of fight and work rate on Saturday that meant we couldn't get back into the game and that was really disappointing... There are not many natural leaders out there - and that's what you need when things get tough, particularly away from home. Jim Bentley leads well on the park and there is Ged Brannan and Dave Perkins who lead by example but it needs more. The team needs to battle and do the ugly things of football - from the front players right back... I had considered bringing in Garry Hunter who has come back nearly to full fitness... But both he and Rigoglioso may well come into the reckoning in coming games as we look to make things happen'. McIlroy also said he might ask about having an overnight stay prior to forthcoming games at Cambridge and Grays. 'Asking players to get out of bed at 6.30am and travel across country for a 3pm kick off is not the best way to prepare. No-one is putting it forward as an excuse - but it's not ideal'".
"Kidderminster Harriers have admitted that the 'substantial funds' they trumpeted upon Mark Yates's arrival as manager do not exist" reports This is KHFC. "Chairman Barry Norgrove pledged that there would be a lump sum of money set aside for team strengthening when the new boss was unveiled in January. But Yates told 150 supporters in the sell-out fans' forum at the Aggborough Suite on Friday night [17th] that there is no such sum and he never expected to receive 'subtantial funds'... 'I just think the chairman saying `substantial funds' just got a little bit... not misquoted... we just got carried away if you like'". However, Norgrove "has predicted that the current board will soon out-invest former sugar daddy Lionel Newton. '"Lionel Newton was here for eight years," said the chairman. 'He put £1.3 million to £1.4 million into this club with other people. We've been here seven months and we've put a third of that money already into this club. At that rate we'll overtake him next year'... Meanwhile, it was also revealed that supporters will be able to join the board, providing they can stump up enough money. Norgrove admitted that £50,000 was the going rate to become a Harriers' director and... The chairman has extended the offer of a place on the board to wealthy individuals or supporters groups including KHIST and the 250-group. There was also talk about selling affordable £100 shares to supporters to make them feel part of the club". Manager "Yates is hoping to add 'two, possibly three' new faces to his beleaguered Kidderminster Harriers squad before the Nationwide Conference transfer window closed. Defender Junior Osborne, the pacy youngster who was at Aggborough on a work experienced loan deal, has returned to his parent club Watford and Paul Smith is unlikely to feature in the near future as he is absent with personal problems... He said: 'I am looking for anything that will improve my squad.. until the end of the season. Our last few performances have made me change my thinking and hopefully two, possibly three, new players will be coming on board'".
The Barking & Dagenham Post reports that "John Still has insisted he is ready to plunge more untried, unproven, raw youngsters into action before the end of the season... The Dagenham & Redbridge manager is keen to use the remaining 10 matches to continue building up match sharpness and fitness of his established players but also to give youngsters on the periphery of the squad a taste of first team action. Midfielder Bai Mas Lettejallow, 20, was handed his first-ever Conference start against York City at Victoria Road at the start of March... and with the likes of Shaun Batt, Seb Schoburgh, Liam Francis and Kenny Clark all itching to mix it in the senior team, Still is prepared to throw a few more young players the chance they have been waiting for. Still said: 'Our season is not over yet, far from it. Our form has been quite decent but I have one or two other young ones, apart from Bai Mas, who I might have a look at as well along the way. Not just yet but I'll give it a couple of games'" (Alty travel to D&R on 11 April.) Still added, "I will be renewing the contracts of some of these promising young players but I won't have any money to spend on new players".
The bbc also confirms that "Preston striker Mark Jackson has joined Southport on loan for the rest of the season... Jackson, 20, has made a handful of first-team appearances for Preston but has not figured this season... Port boss Liam Watson has also signed former York City midfielder Kyle Armstrong on Conference forms for the end-of-season run-in". And Confguide says that Grays Athletic have signed striker Mark De Bolla (23) on a short-term contract and Charlie Henry (19), a wide player. "He has had trials with Wycombe Wanderers and has featured in the reserve side, although he has agreed to come to Grays on a non-contract basis until the end of the season. Charlie was previously with Arsley Town". Burton's Dale Anderson has gone on loan to Moor Green. Morecambe have signed Fraser McLauchlan on loan from Mansfield, whilst Tamworth's Scott Stamps has joined Chester City on loan.
23 March 2006
TWO SIGN ON CONFERENCE FORMSAltrincham will be without Mark Maddox and Gary Scott on Saturday due to injuries but it is hoped they may be fit again for the Exeter trip next week. Also carrying knocks are Colin Little, Val Owen and Steve Aspinall but Graham Heathcote is hopeful that they will be fit for the Burton game this weekend.
Because of the postponement of recent Reserves' games, Graham has been unable to look at some potential additions to the first team squad but has now signed two players on Conference forms, even though in one case he has yet to see the player play for us. That player is Mark Smyth, a former Liverpool Academy striker, who is with Vauxhall Motors. Mark (d.o.b. 9 January 1985) made one first-team appearance for Liverpool, as a used substitute in a Carling Cup match at Tottenham in December 2004 but he was released at the end of last season. After a brief spell with Accrington Stanley, he joined Vauxhall Motors. Smyth is expected to play in the next Reserves' fixture for Altrincham.
Also now signed on Conference forms is prolific Alty Youth striker Ben Deegan, who has recently been training with Lincoln City. Ben joins Kieran Lugsden, Lewis Chalmers, Pat McFadden and Lee Hendley as products of Alty's youth or /and reserve sides who are currently on Conference playing forms. Otherwise manager Heathcote has confidence in the players who have done so well for Altrincham during the last three seasons to complete the job of keeping the club in the Conference over the next month.
Long term injured players Eddie Hussin (left) and Richard Norris (right) are both back in full training and will also take part in the next Reserves' game as part of their rehabilitation. Neither has played this season at all.
CLARE SIGNS FOR BREWERSAlty host Burton Albion on Saturday and the Brewers' website confirms the "signing of 27 year old former Crawley Town striker Daryl Clare on a deal until the end of season 2006/07... Daryl had been linked with moves to Lincoln City and Yeovil Town following his release but has opted to stay in the Conference with the Brewers".
ANOTHER LANDMARKIf he plays this Saturday, Alty centre-back Gary Talbot (right) will be making his 250th appearance for the club - he has made 245 starts and 4 substitute appearances to date and has scored 18 goals.
ENGLAND’S NUMBER ONEStuart Coburn, "The man Robins fans call 'England's number one'marked his 300th appearance for the club by pulling off two stunning second half saves in the seaside showdown... Coburn told SAM 'I had to make a couple of good saves but you expect that because Southport are fighting for their lives and they're going to throw everything at you. After the game, some of the lads were saying 'that was brilliant' but it's just my job.'I was really disappointed not to keep a clean sheet... Rod [Thornley] and Blake [Norton] were both telling me to go up when we won that free kick in injury time but by the time I got there, there wouldn't have been much point. After “Talbs” scored I wanted to jump into the terrace behind me with the Alty fans because they went absolutely mad. The fans have been brilliant this season so I'm glad we've been able to reward them with some good results'.. Coburn's next chance to record a century of clean sheets comes with the visit of a rejuvenated Burton Albion side to Moss Lane on Saturday... Coburn added 'We can match anyone at home so it will be absolutely pointless going out to play for a draw on Saturday... Survival is still within our hands. If we can pick up another couple of wins within the next few games then we should be safe and we will be able to start enjoying our football'".
CONFERENCE NEWSThe BBC confirms that "Chester City - the Football League's bottom club – have completed the loan signing of Exeter City striker Jake Edwards. The former Wrexham and Yeovil striker, 29, will spend the rest of the season at the Deva Stadium. 'Jake is the sort of big target man who will give us extra options up front," said Chester boss Mark Wright... Edwards spent three months on loan at Tamworth earlier this season before returning to favour at St James Park".
On the BBC site Southport manager Liam Watson says “It's nice to get out of the bottom two. We seem to have been there forever and it's a killer. That gives us a great chance”. Meanwhile Southport "will take on full-time status next season if they stay up". Watson added, "If we could go in two-and-a-half years' time from spiralling out of control in the UniBond Premier Division to getting into Conference North and winning it, consolidating in the Conference on a part-time basis and then going full-time, that's the stuff dreams are made of... The hardest thing for us was that having won the league last year to go up we then found ourselves down at the bottom. I had a massive amount of loyalty in the players and maybe I was too loyal. But if I had my time again I would so the same, because that's the person I am. And looking at it now most of the squad numbers are the same and they have come through. We are getting the same mentality and spirit as last year...Since the turn of the year our form is probably top-half... and if we do something similar over the run-in we will be safe. But we have to get another three wins. I think that will do it".
The BBC says that "Former Crawley Town striker Daryl Clare has rejected the chance to join League One side Yeovil Town.... [as] he wanted to stay closer to his Lincolnshire home for family reasons... Lincoln City boss Keith Alexander held talks with him, but told the Lincolnshire Echo: 'I was certainly interested in bringing him to Sincil Bank, but only for the right price'".
"Grays Athletic striker Tony Battersby has left to join Ryman Premier side AFC Wimbledon. The 30-year-old has agreed a deal until the end of the season at Kingsmeadow after being released from the rest of his Grays contract by mutual consent", whilst at nearby Gravesend & Northfleet. "midfielder Jimmy Jackson suffered a suspected broken leg in their 1-0 win in Tuesday's Kent Senior Cup semi-final against Margate".
"Title talk is off limits around Conference leaders Accrington Stanley after their 20-game unbeaten run was ended by struggling Southport... 'Maybe this will shut up some people who say we have won the league', said Accrington boss John Coleman. 'We just have to knuckle down and hope Hereford drop a couple of points to give us a lift. I am confident in my squad and confident in my ability to motivate the players'", he told the BBC
The 2006/7 Conference season is expected to start on August 12th, earlier than usual, to accommodate the extra fixtures needed in what will be a 24-team league.
22 March 2006
300 UPStuart Coburn became the second Alty player in the current squad to reach 300 games when he played at Southport last Saturday. An award will be made to him at Saturday's game against Burton Albion. Only Mark Maddox with 322(+22) appearances is ahead of him. But Alty's ball-playing centre-back and captain will no doubt point out to his goalkeeping colleague that he has also scored 11 goals to Stuart's one! The next appearances landmark is likely to be Colin Little's 100th start for Alty; so far he has made 93 and scored 50 times. Rod Thornley remains the club's leading current scorer with 75 career goals in 163+22 appearances for Alty.
SATURDAYHoward Watts's Through the Years information for Saturday 25 March is here. Five years ago on Saturday we were beating Accrington Stanley 5-2 in the UniBond Premier League.
SOUTHPORT REVIEWSpeaking of the game at Southport, Alty manager Graham Heathcote has told SAM, "The wind did dictate the game and it was difficult for both sides to get it down and play. It was a typical, nervy bottom of the table battle. But I think, overall, nobody could argue with the result, Southport obviously had a lot of pressure first half and got a great start but we had a lot of pressure second half. Stuart made two great saves that kept us in the game but we created an awful lot of chances... We got nicked last week in the 90th minute and you just hope it turns round and today it has and we've got an important goal. We made the decision to go against the wind first half and that did seem to backfire. But we decided that we wanted it behind us at the death and as it turned out, it proved to be a good decision. I just didn't expect to have to wait until the 90th minute to get something back". Gary Talbot added, "It was just what we deserved to be honest... It was disappointing to concede that early goal but at half time we kept our heads up and we knew we could get something if we improved in the second half. We created the chances but I thought it was going to be another one of those days at the office, so I was made up when I got that goal late on. The wind made a huge difference. At times when we were able to get the ball down we were able to create chances but that didn't happen often. They made the most of the wind in the first half and we knew we could do the same in the second and get something. We just need to get to 40 points as soon as possible, so today was a massive blow for them but great for us, although I'm still disappointed we didn't get the three points. We should have put away more of our chances but to be honest, I'd be a bit more concerned if we weren't creating the chances. As long as we start putting them in the back of the net now we'll be all right".
NORTH WEST NEWSNL Daily reports that "Steve Carragher, manager of Runcorn FC Halton, is under no illusions about how hard the remaining weeks of the season will be. In a desperate financial situation, it’s been necessary to let a number of players go. Lee Furlong has gone to Nationwide North neighbours Vauxhall Motors, Colin Flood to Marine, Shaun Whalley to Witton Albion and Adam Hunter to Prescot Cables to name a few...However, reassuring news for Carragher is that goalkeeper Robbie Holcroft is set to stay... Dropping out into the North West Counties League is a possibility that has been considered, and would reduce costs at a crucial time in the club’s future, but it is felt that the UniBond still offers the best prospects for the survival of the Linnets",
CONFERENCE NEWS"AFC Telford United have completed the signing of Tamworth loan man Jimmy Turner, with the confident defender declaring: 'My best is yet to come'.", says The Shropshire Star.
The Conference reports that "Southport have managed to bring former captain Chris Price back to Haig Avenue on a loan deal until the end of the season. The 30-year-old midfielder has previously played for Everton, Marine and Morecambe but has fallen out with management at Stalybridge. Southport boss Liam Watson told the official website. "Chris has great presence on and off the pitch. He has the ability to change a match from the bench and is capable of notching us a couple of goals in the final ten matches. Chris wanted to come back as soon as I contacted him... We will decide on the role he plays match to match."
"Exeter City have confirmed that League Two side Chester City are interested in striker Jake Edwards". Grecians's manager Alex Inglethorpe admitted: "There have been enquiries but I'm sure Chester are looking at a number of targets. Jake is available to the right club and we'd be happy if he had the opportunity to go to a league club". Meanwhile, "Exeter City have announced that manager Alex Inglethorpe has signed a new contract with the Club. Inglethorpe has penned a one year rolling contract... 'In the short period of time that he has been here Alex has built a young team that has achieved more than any other we have had for well over ten years', Sporting Director Julian Tagg told the club's website.
"Tamworth manager Mark Cooper is planning a playing return to help his side avoid relegation. Cooper, 37, has been out of action since January but is closing in on a return to full fitness. 'I am training every day and hopefully I can bring a bit of experience to the midfield', he said. Cooper hopes that on-loan striker Tommy Johnson may be a week away from fitness but expects to be without Matthew Williams for a further fortnight". However, "Cooper has defended his recent transfer policy and believes he can still lead the Lambs to safety. Cooper's move to sign former England star Paul Merson, 38, did not pay off when he retired after one league game. Former Manchester City winger Nicky Summerbee, 34, was also released after a handful of appearances. 'I've been criticised for bringing in Paul and Nicky, but before that I was criticised for a lack of quality in our play', Cooper told The BBC. Cooper added: "It was a case of damned if I do and damned if I don't. Nicky Summerbee has gone on to Notts County so he can't be that bad. And Paul Merson had so much quality to win games but injured an Achilles in training and had to pack in, which was a blow". Last Saturday, "Cooper's squad was down to the bare bones for a game which stretched their winless run to seven matches. Despite that, Tamworth are far from marooned in the bottom-two and with games to come against relegation rivals Southport and Scarborough, their fate remains in their own hands. ''We have got the right games to play if we get the right results', Cooper added. 'It's going to be tight but I think if we can get our best players available for two weeks in a row we will be okay... We want to stay in the league. That was the remit at the start of the season and if we do that with a small squad it will be a successful season'".
"Aldershot midfielder David Lee is on course to return from his long-term injury before the end of the season. Lee, 25, has not played since badly breaking a leg in the second game of the campaign last August".
Before last night's game, IC Sefton quoted Liam Watson, "We have got nothing to lose. We have got to work hard and try and take our chances when they come along, but in a way, the pressure is off us".
21 March 2006
BOTTOM BEATS TOP
ALTY DIRECTOR GOES BUST!Alty Director Grahame Rowley has gone bust - in the Altrincham FC Pontoon competition - where five goals by his team Carlisle United on Saturday took him to 22 goals, one more than he needed to win the prize. The new leader is Brian Birtles who, amazinlgy has both the leading clubs now - Huddersfield Town and York City - who have both scored 17 times since the competion began. Sarah Rowley's updated table is here.
NEXT GAMESAlty host Burton Albion this Saturday and the Burton Mail reports that "Albion boss Nigel Clough brushed off his disappointment to praise his men for another gallant effort against... Hereford United... But only a goalkeeping blunder by Saul Deeney stood between Albion and a point... Clough said: 'We’ve played Accrington, Stevenage and Hereford — all in the top five — in our last three games and although we’ve only got three points, we’ve proved we’re extremely close to them... In fairness Saul has not made too many mistakes in his six months with us".
Alty's next away game is at Exeter on April 1st. This is Exeter confirms that the Grecians' skipper Glenn Cronin "suffered a broken foot and could be out for the rest of the season following a innocuous challenge during City's 2-1 first leg FAT victory over Grays Athletic"- in which, incidentally, away goals do not count double in the event of tied scores. Team-mate Chris Todd added, "He had a fracture before the game and all credit to him for playing. That's the type of lad he is - full of heart and he wants to play for the club". Manager Alex Inglehorpe said of Cronin's injury, "It seemed innocuous but he signalled straight away that he had heard a crack. It is a big blow to lose your captain".
LAST GAMESAM reports from Southport where "Graham Heathcote gambled and won at the Lancashire resort, yet it was not a cuddly toy the proud Alty manager took home with him, it was another vital point in the fight for Conference survival. His bold decision to play three up front towards the end of the second half ensured his side enjoyed the lion's share of the chances. And just as it seemed the Robins' would fail to capitalise on any of them, up popped Gary Talbot (right) of all people - the man with the head of steel nodding home a Steve Aspinall free kick in the fourth minute of injury time to send the travelling support into raptures". Southport GC.net also has a match report and good pictures from Saturday's game.
CONFERENCE NEWSAldershot Town "have today confirmed that Dave Winfield has returned to the club following his successful loan period at Staines Town FC".
Bullsnews remarks that "If you're an ex-Premiership star, the best advice is to steer clear of Tamworth. Following on from the exits of Paul Merson and Nicky Summerbee, Tommy Johnson has now been ruled out for most of the remainder of the season with a hamstring injury". And after Hereford had beaten Burton "Nigel Clough, the Burton manager, praised his goalkeeper Saul Deeney whose error allowed Andy Williams to score...He said it was only the second time the 'keeper has cost his side a goal in 29 games".
NL Daily reports that "Mark Cartwright, manager of UniBond League Premier Division strugglers Leek Town, is looking to extend the loan signing of Morecambe’s Jamie Davies for a third and final month this week... Cartwright was in discussions with Shrimps’ boss Sammy McIlroy over the weekend in a deal that could see the young defender playing in all but the last game of the season".
AtCrawley Town "boss John Hollins said his players had again proved their professionalism with their battling 1-0 home win over Forest Green. 'That's the first time we have won two league games in a row this season and we also have two clean sheets in a row. The players have problems of their own but they have put it behind them again and got us the points. I can sense a change in the atmosphere now we have won a couple of games. We are starting to do things properly and this is a tough league... I don't think there will be any more incoming players. I am happy with the squad we have now and they are doing their job. They are a good team but they have taken a long time to prove it. We have eliminated a little bit of the cavalier attitude and if we lose games now it will probably be by 1-0. That will help us with regard to gaol difference, too, which could still prove very important'” .
The Walker Stadium at Leicester is to host the Nationwide Conference Play-Off Final on Saturday, May 20.
Shaymen on Line ask the question, "Did you know that the Halifax Town Supporters' Trust has only 184 members? Almost 70 - seventy - fewer than just a month after it was launched back in April 2002... Twelve of the current 184 are Pub Pals. Eleven are children. Thirteen are members of the Society Board. That means only 148 Halifax Town supporters have been persuaded to sign up and keep their membership alive... It seems the supporters, through the Trust alone, have raised over £50,000 to help secure the club's future. But is the future of the club more secure now than when the Trust was launched over four years ago? Have we, the supporters, had value for money? In a word, no. The latest club accounts reveal that the club is once again sliding head-long into debt, and this is despite having an elected Halifax Town supporter on the board of the club, paid for by the Trust, paid for by everyone who has ever been a member".
20 March 2006
ON SOUTHPORTIn Sunday's NL Paper, Alty boss Graham Heathcote said of Saturday's draw at Southport, "No one can argue with the result... It didn't look a good shout conceding so soon. We have had a lot of half chances and it would have been cruel if we had lost.. I threw three up front because we had nothing to lose. I do not know what I would have said to the lads if we had got nothing". He added that "It was difficult for us at the start of the season but the physical side is no longer a problem".
Match report here - picture below, in yesterday's news...
GATES AND DATESTerry Rowley's attendance statistics have been updated here.
A little belatedly, the Through the Years data for last Saturday is here, courtesy of Howard Watts. Howard's statistics for next Saturday will appear later this week.
OLD BOYSMidfielder Nehru McKenzie (right), with Alty at the start of this season, has joined Abbey Hey.
Sunday's NL Paper has an article in which the England National Game XI manager Paul Fairclough "tips Accrington midfielder Ian Craney to be the next one to folow Birminghan's D.J. Campbell". Fairclough explained, "I have watched him develop into a class act. He could easily jump up a couple of leagues at least".
FOUNDER MEMBERS REVISITEDFollowing correspondence in the NL Paper, Alty's Terry Rowley has reached the following conclusions about the number of leagues of which Northwich Victoria and Altrincham were founder members. Altrincham were founders of :
As for the Vics, they were founder members of:
CONFERENCE NEWSExeter City, whom we meet a week on Saturday, had their captain Glenn Cronin stretchered off with a suspected broken foot in their FA Trophy game on Saturday.
The NL Paper reports that the pay for Conference referees is £70 per game.
Aldershot boss Terry Brown has spoken to the club website about "Lewis Hamilton who has now had an extended run in the side... [playing most recently] in the right back role". Brown said "Lewis has height, pace and is a good athlete. He also has a reasonable touch on the ball for a defender and he possesses blistering pace too. He can also be misleading because he is also capable of an exceptional leap. I know that Lewis could become a first class defender at a much higher level. He needs to stop beating himself up about things and needs to work a touch harder but the opportunity is there for him".
Cambridge United boss Rob Newman spoke after his side's draw with Halifax Town. "The result keeps the unbeaten momentum going and we can look forward to Crawley next... I made a couple of changes to the team that played last week and it's answering questions all the time, so if we can come off the pitch with a few positives then it stands us in good stead. Heeroo has come in and completed 90 minutes, I wasn't planning on using Buncey for the next couple of games but he's come on and given us 70 minutes today so that's answering questions. Obviously the results are important to us but we need to be answering questions about the players between now and the end of the season... Hopefully the supporters can understand what I'm trying to do between now and the end of the season", he told the club website.
Crawley's former chairman Jo Gomm describes Chris Majeed, the current chairman as "not fit to run the club" according to the NL Paper. She added, Majeed is "not listed as a director... However, he is acting as a director... This kind of thing has got to be rooted out of football".
19 March 2006
SECOND GAME OFFFor the second Sunday running, an Alty Youth home game against Fleetwood Hesketh had to be postponed in strange circumstances. Last week, the Southport based side could not travel to Altrincham for a league game due to snow at their end; this week they arrived but the referee and officials did not. Although Alty Youth manger George Heslop managed to locate another referee within half an hour of the scheduled 2pm kick off, Fleetwood Hesketh were not prepared to play this Neil Thomason Trophy semi-final, as is their right, because volunteer linesmen would have had to be used.
FOUNDER MEMBERSIn today's NL Paper, Alty supporter Peter Hennerley responds to a claim last week that Northwich Vics may have been founder members of more leagues than any other club. Peter points out that Alty were founder members of the Manchester League, Cheshire County League, Northern Premier, the Alliance and Conference North. Alongside Peter's letter is one from another Vics' fan claiming that the Vics have been founder members of seven leagues. However, as one of those claims is plain wrong it raises some doubts about the others. The writer claims that Northwich were founder members in 2005 of Conference North. However, that league was started in 2004 (Alty were founder members) and though Vics should have been founder members they were spared from relegation to it by other clubs' off-field misdemeanours and only joined it in 2005.
OLD BOYSAmongst the Alty old boys in action yesterday were Danny Adams (Huddersfield), Paul Ellender (Chester), Ashley Timms (Moor Green), James Olsen (Barrow), Matt Bailey(Lancaster), Wes Wilkinson, Lee Shillito and Gary Williams (Leigh), Jez Illingworth (Guiseley) and Chris Timons (Hucknall). Stuart Wright scored for Cammell Laird and former Alty reserve, Conall Murtagh was booked for Connah's Quay.
STUART HONOUREDThe NL paper selects Stuart Coburn as Alty's man of the match at Southport and also includes him in its national Team of the Day.
SOUTHPORT 1 ALTRINCHAM 1
Above: Blake Norton leads his team-mates off the pitch at half time. The other visible players for Alty are Warren Peyton, Gary Talbot and Chris Adams, followed by Peter Band. The Southport players shown are, left to right, Gary Brabin, Matty McGinn and Neil Robinson. Watching, back to camera, is Alty boss Graham Heathcote.
Match report here.
18 March 2006
FA Trophy SF 1st leg
PORT INJURIESAlty travel to Southport today. Yesterday's Southport Visiter confirms that Port boss "Liam Watson has a midfield injury crisis on his hands with three midfielders ruled out... Carl Baker and Liam Blakeman were both injured in Tuesday's Hereford defeat and tomorrow skipper Steve Pickford starts a two-match ban after picking up ten bookings. Baker damaged ankle ligaments on Tuesday night when he fell awkwardly and Blakeman struggled through the latter stages of the second-half with a hamstring problem. The good news, however, is that centre-back Mark Roberts returns from a one-match ban at home against Altrincham".
NATIONWIDE SUPPORTERS OF TOMORROW
Below is a set of pictures sent to Altrincham FC by Andy Hilton, Football Development Officer from Trafford Sports Development showing him taking a coaching session with the girls' football team from Blessed Thomas Holford (BTH) School in Altrincham. Andy's coaching of the girls is on behalf of Altrincham FC and is part of the "Nationwide Supporters of Tomorrow" initiative, with which the Football Club is delighted to be associated. The scheme is concentrating on the rapidly growing area of women’s football in the United Kingdom. Indeed, football is already the top participation-sport amongst girls at schools and clubs around the country. The girls from BTH will be Altrincham Football Club's guests at the next home match (v. Burton Albion (on 25th March) and at half-time in that game, they will give a demonstration of their football skills on the pitch. Also at that game, Altrincham FC will present a set of football kit to the girls.
SOUTHPORT GAMEMark Maddox (groin) and Gary Scott (ankle) are expected to be missing at Southport, but Chris Adams and Karl Munroe should be available.
In its match preview, SAM says, "Even if Southport were to win on Saturday, the Robins would still be seven points clear of their Lancashire rivals, so this game is not quite the desperate battle for survival it has frequently been portrayed as... Alty's destiny is still very much in their hands and a mere six points from their final ten games should see them safe... Southport are suffering something of a mini injury crisis themselves, with both Carl Baker (ankle) and Liam Blakeman (hamstring) injured and captain Steve Pickford suspended. Experienced defender Gary Brabin is also a doubt but on-loan Crewe centre half Mark Roberts returns after serving a one-match suspension".
MAD DOGOn the SAM site, Alty captain Mark Maddox says "I have definitely had better weeks. Not only did we lose against Canvey Island but I pulled up in the warm-up as well, so I didn't even get the chance to play. It's something that's never happened to me before but as soon as I ran out I knew there was something wrong and I just couldn't shake it off. So I went in to see Andy (Hosgood) and it turned out I had a groin strain, so I don't know how I got that!... The Southport game will be too early for me but hopefully I can get back to fitness quickly because it's doing my head in. This is the first time I've missed games through injury this season, which isn't bad for a 33-year-old... The Canvey game was completely unbearable and I don't think I'd be able to say what I really thought about it in a family newspaper. It was no advert for Conference football and I don't think either side did anything to help that.. It looked more like a game from the Unibond days... I couldn't do the go-karting with the lads on Tuesday night either. I'd been having a go at the lads all week, telling them I'd beat the lot of them, so they loved it when I wasn't even able to drive. What amazed me was the fact that Scotty was one of the best, he was whizzing around the track, so I don't know what his excuse for not passing his driving test is... Fair play to chairman Geoff Goodwin because he paid for it all. It just shows the kind of people we have involved in this football club and if he's prepared to do things like that for us, we have to repay him by doing our bit on the pitch. The Southport game on Saturday will be a real battle".
SPONSORSBarry Pond's updated list of Altrincham FC matchday sponsors is here. For more on Alty's commercial supporters, please see the Sponsors' Page.
CONFERENCE NEWSAldershot ""The club can confirm that they have secured the services of defender Ian Simpemba from Crawley Town and also signed forward Kyle Matthews who has joined on a work experience deal from Watford until the end of the season."
The Cambridge News says that United manager Rob Newman "aims to persuade Colchester to let Jamie Guy come back to Cambridge United on loan in time for Saturday's home encounter with promotion hopefuls Halifax... The United manager said: "I spoke to the powers that be at Colchester on Thursday and... I spoke to Jamie and he's itching to play for us after only getting 16 minutes in the last two weeks for Colchester, but it's their decision". For Saturday "Paul Atkins will definitely be in the squad following his return from a loan spell at Norwich United as Newman wants to see if he worthy of another contract".
Dagenham report that "Midfielder, Lee Goodwin could be out for the rest of the season after being diagnosed with a stress fracture in his leg".
And from Forest Green Rovers is confirmation that "22 year old left sided midfield player, Craig Dove joins Rovers until the end of the season... Craig joins us on loan from Chester City and has previous experience at Rushden & Diamonds and initially at Middlesbrough where he played twice for the 1st team... The club have also formally cancelled the registrations of Barry McConnell, Byron Anthony and Scott Rendell".
"Former Exeter City utility player Barry McConnell has signed on non-contract terms for Tiverton Town - and he will play for free against King's Lynn on Saturday" states This is Exeter.
Kent on Line states that "Grevesend chairman Brian Kilcullen has warned that the club cannot sustain full-time football on gates of 618... the lowest attendance of the season for the 2-1 defeat by second-placed Hereford United... Before the start of the season, the club’s board of directors budgeted for home crowds of 1,250. The three [?two] home games before Hereford attracted crowds of 930 (Scarborough) and 698 (Crawley)... Mr Kilcullen said: "The bottom line is that we cannot sustain full-time football on gates of just over 600. We have no divine right to expect people to come and watch us so we are going out into the local community and working hard on a number of projects to try and get more people through the turnstiles. We’re working overtime on developing our fan base and that work will continue. But when I left the ground after the Hereford game I felt very low and frankly wondered what more we had to do".
The Lambs website confirms that manager Mark Cooper "has brought in Coventry City striker Craig Reid on loan. Craig is a member of their first team squad and won the Sky Blues Trust 'Young Player of the Year Award' in 2005 and is nominated again this season".
From York City we learn that "Steven Baynes and Ashley Winn have joined Stalybridge Celtic on a months loan. Neither player has been able to break in to Billy McEwan's first team squad this season".
The Conference says that "Young striker Francino Francis who has been at Kidderminster Harriers on work experience has returned to Watford... [after] making six appearances".
Next visitors to Moss Lane are Burton Albion. The Burton Mail claims that "Nigel Clough is prepared to change a winning team as Burton Albion try to keep their Conference play-off hopes alive... Winger Keith Gilroy seems certain to return to the starting line-up after dropping to the substitutes' bench for the last two away games. And Clough could ask Andy Corbett to demonstrate his versatility on the right side of midfield". Clough said, "Andy Corbett also comes into the equation because we would like to see him have a run at outside right even though Chris (Hall) had a very good game at Stevenage."
Scarborough Today says that "Former Boro player Jason Blunt is set to return to the McCain Stadium tomorrow. Midfielder Blunt, 28, who made over 50 appearances for the Seasiders, could be among a number of trialists to play for the reserves... Blunt will play alongside fellow midfielders Lewis Dodds and Seb Anzevui, who were both recently released by Sunderland". Of Blunt, Redfearn added: "He has been with Alfreton but he knows this level of football very well and he will be up for the scrap".
17 March 2006
SOUTHPORT GAMEIn today's NL Paper, Graham Heathcote says of Saturday's game, "The run in is always intense but it will be much harder for Southport because of their games in hand... This is a vital game but it is more vital for them than it is for us and, while two or three sides could go on a run, it will take a monumental effort for them to all get out. I think two more wins would put us close to survival but being dead honest, right now, I would take finishing third from bottom. I'd be delighted with it". However Southport will see the game against Alty "as the easiest fixture of the [next] three", a fact confirmed by Port's defender Jerome Fitzgerald who said, "Altrincham is the game to get three points... We've got five home games left and, if we win them, I think we'll be all right". Graham Heathcote went on, "There is no comparison between Southport and us. Without a doubt, they pay a lot more than we do but I've got a lot of respect for them as a club and Liam [Watson] in particular".
ALTY ALPHABETPart Two of Terry Rowley's fascinating Altrincham FC A to Z, comprising the letters H to L, is here.
CONFERENCE NEWSThe BBC says that "Dagenham and Redbridge boss John Still is expected to sign a new two-year contract this month". Chairman Dave Andrews told The Ilford Recorder, 'When he came back to the club he had to cut back but he took it in his stride and I can't speak highly enough of what he has achieved... He has a record of taking clubs back into the Football League and I'm in no doubt he can take us into the league".
"Forest Green Rovers are expected to strengthen their squad with the loan signing of Chester City midfielder Craig Dove. Dove, 22, was recently made available by the League Two strugglers. And the former Middlesbrough youngster looks set to move to the Lawn for the remainder of the season". Meanwhile, "Aldershot manager Terry Brown is looking to get next season's squad in place as quickly as possible... 'You have to learn by your mistakes and I'll be looking to get players in at an earlier stage', Brown told BBC Sport. 'Last year I was quite confident we would pick up some quality players in July and August but most of my targets joined Football League clubs. The recruiting process is starting now. I have a wish list as long as my arm. Last year I must have had about 200 on my list and eventually signed four... The main areas we are looking to improve are all down the middle. We are looking to rebuild so we might go a little younger and we have targeted a few experienced players to help the youngsters come through. It will be quite a substantial rebuild... This year we have always been too far off the pack".
Brown's recruitment is bearing fruit this week: "Crawley Town defender Ian Simpemba is set to become the latest player to leave by joining Aldershot Town. Shots boss Terry Brown has held talks with the 22-year-old and hopes to complete a loan deal ahead of Saturday's trip to Kidderminster... with a view to a permanent deal... Meanwhile, Brown hopes to sign Watford striker Kyle Matthews, 18, on work experience for the rest of the season".
"Cambridge United have allowed winger Dave Daniels to join AFC Sudbury on a month's loan. The 20-year-old has just returned from a similar spell at Southern Premier Division side Hitchin Town. Meanwhile, striker Paul Atkins, 19, and defender Nick Robbins, 20 have returned to the Abbey Stadium after spells on loan at Norwich United. The duo are now expected to challenge for a first-team place at Cambridge".
" Kidderminster Harriers have signed striker Luke Reynolds and midfielder Michael McGrath. McGrath, 20, joins on non-contract terms for the remainder of the season from Redditch. Reynolds, 26, has also signed on a non-contract basis following his departure from AFC Telford United last month".
Following the departure of Paul Merson, "Tamworth have parted company with veteran winger Nicky Summerbee. Summerbee, 34, made four Conference appearances for the Lambs" confirms the BBC.
The BBC also confirms that loan deals for Conference National are allowed up till 5pm on 23rd March.
CHESHIRE NEWSMacclesfield Town announce that they are "very pleased to announce that final agreement has now been reached with The Football Stadia Improvement Fund (FSIF) and the Football Association (FA) in connection with the construction of the McAlpine Stand. The FSIF has accepted our proposal to immediately pay £130,000, with the balance of £65,000 to be paid by the end of October 2006. The FA has also kindly agreed to our proposal to pay the related fines totalling £62,000 (plus some £1,000 in costs) by December 2008... We would also like to reiterate our genuine thanks to our wonderful supporters, and fans from all over the country, and beyond, for their support over the past few months. Notwithstanding the above, the Board of Directors of MTFC reserve the right to consider their position with regards to pursuing parties connected with the building of the McAlpine Stand under a previous regime, over the consequences of their actions at the time of building the Stand, which led to this enquiry".
The NL Daily reports that "Speculation about Runcorn FC Halton’s financial situation has been rife in recent weeks, but despite the difficulties, the club still believes it has a future – a future that belongs in Runcorn. After spending ten years, almost to the day, as chairman of the club, Dr Dave Robertson looks to the future of the club... with Pavilions being the preferred location. Bringing the facilities up to the standards required for one of the top 32 non-league clubs in the country will have to become one of the highest priorities within its new three-year plan... As part of the three-year plan, the chairman is treating the monies he has personally put into the club as an interest-free loan, to be reviewed after three years. Dr Robertson concedes that there could be a perception that any potential investor in the club might feel that their contributions are simply going to pay back those Directors that have put money into the club, and that this can act as a deterrent to new people coming into the club... If any companies or individuals are in a position to help by sponsoring the team coach, or by providing team or player sponsorship, then the club would be more than happy to hear from them".
16 March 2006
NEXT GAMESAM quotes Graham Heathcote before Saturday's game at Southport. "Our game against Southport will be no more important than the next game or the game after that, we just have to go there to play the best we can with the team we have available... Survival is still very much in our own hands". The paper adds that "Alty's woes were compounded during the 1-0 loss against Canvey Island by the loss of Gary Scott (right), Chris Adams and captain Mark Maddox to injury. Graham added, "What I do know is that this will be no more tense than the play offs last year and the battle to get into the Conference North the year before that. Gary Scott will be out for three to four weeks and we will just have to wait and see on both Mark Maddox and Chris Adams. These things are always sent to hamper you but if you start panicking you won't sleep at night - and I have never lost any sleep over football".
SAM also reveals that "Alty have, however, received a major boost in the form of the recent share donation scheme, which raised £17,000 for the club. The scheme saw 98 supporters pick up shares donated by the Altrincham FC board and supporter's trust, STAR, in return for a donation to the club's funds. "On behalf of Altrincham Football Club I would like to thank everyone who participated in the recent share donation scheme and welcome them as shareholders in the club," said Robins' director Grahame Rowley. "This monetary input has allowed the club to overcome its temporary cash flow problem and should now allow it to see out the rest of the season without further monetary problems", he added.
Alty travel to Haig Avenue this Saturday. After Southport's 1-2 defeat to a weakened Hereford side on Tuesday, manager Liam Watson told The Visiter, "We did enough to get something out of this. We had chances and did not take them. Again, we did well to comeback from an early setback. It's no use people telling me we played well, I'd have preferred a scrappy match and a points return than accolades for a performance that brought us nothing". Meanwhile the FA confirms that the combative Steve (Sid) Pickford will be suspended against Altrincham after picking up a 2-game ban for 10 bookings this season. Carl Baker may also miss the game with injury, whilst Liam Blakeman and Gary Brabin are also possible doubts with knocks.
IC Sefton reports that "Looking at the current bottom four things appear favourable for Liam Watson's great escape plan, especially after last Saturday's 2-1 win at Forest Green Rovers. Cash-strapped Crawley are lurching off the pitch while Scarborough and Tamworth are both slumping". Their win at FGR last Saturday "set up the Sand-rounders' three successive home matches - last night's fixture with second-placed Hereford, this Saturday's massive match against Altrincham and then next Tuesday's match against Accrington Stanley"
Right: An excellent Sale & Altrincham Messenger's photo shows Alty debutant Blake Norton holding off a challenge from Canvey's Mario Noto..
TWO WINS NEEDED"Altrincham manager Graham Heathcote believes two more wins should be enough to secure his side's Conference status. Despite a run of three straight defeats, Altrincham have an eight-point cushion above the drop-zone... He told BBC Sport: "If we get at least another two wins I would be astounded if that did not prove to be enough. I wouldn't hang my hat on that, but I would be surprised. We just want to get them as soon as we can. If we don't do it early then we will be in the cluster of clubs going into the last five or six games with a battle on. But at the moment we have got a bit of a leeway and we are endeavouring to keep that. All we are focusing on is doing the job off our own bat. We are very positive and upbeat. We have got the points on the board and others are fighting to get to us. There are five clubs below us who I would not swap places with. They are scrambling to get to us and we are scrambling to get the next win or two out of the next ten games... Whether four or five can get sufficient points to get beyond 40-42 points only time will tell". The BBC adds that Altrincham "have to face play-off candidates in seven of their last 10 games... 'We have got a few teams going for the play-offs to come here which should mean a good atmosphere. That's what players are in the game for and that's what we won the play-offs for last year. It's nothing to be frightened of'", added the Alty boss.
CONFERENCE NEWSMorecambe caretaker boss Sammy McIlroy said of Michael Twiss's recent goal, "He has not scored since November but he took his goal well. A Michael Twiss in form can see us over the line", he told The Morecambe Visitor.
Another manager with a target is Woking's Glenn Cockerill who hopes to reach the play-offs. "We need to win eight out of our remaining 11 league games. It's a tall order but it's not impossible. We've got 14 cup ties - including the Trophy Final if we get there and I want to win them all", he told the BBC.
CSCIn Tuesday's CSC Final at Moss Lane, the first goal was announced as Mike Moseley's but has now been confirmed as being scored by Mark Jones. The Witton Albion site says that "With a team that had only half the players ever playing together previously Albion completely threw the form book and odds out of the window with this their 11th success of lifting the County's most prestigious trophy", beating Stalybridge Celtic 2-0.
OLD BOYSAfter two goals at the weekend, former Alty trialist Gavin Salmon hit a hat-trick for Woodley Sports on Tuesday night, and Mario Daniel also scored.
15 March 2006
Above: The Sale & Altrincham Messenger's picture shows Kieran Lugsden being foiled by Canvey Island keeper Potter last Saturday. .
ALTY GO KARTINGThe Alty players were taken go-karting in Manchester on Tuesday night by chairman Geoff Goodwin.
ALTY PONTOONThanks to Sarah Rowley, the Alty FC Pontoon chart has been updated here - as her father, Grahame Rowley takes the lead in the competition.
CONFERENCE NEWSThe BBC quotes Scarborough manager Neil Redfearn: "I have only got three strikers and it's obvious I need another one. It's no secret I am desperate to get a striker, but resources are limited". The BBC adds, "Meanwhile, Scarborough have released midfielder Leo Bertos, who has joined Worksop Town".
"Aldershot will be without on-loan Wycombe striker Jonny Dixon for a month after he was injured in Saturday's win over Dagenham & Redbridge. 'Jonny went to Wycombe for tests and he has ruptured his hamstring', said Shots' boss Terry Brown. 'It is likely to be a month on the sidelines', he told his club's website.
As the clubs hovering over the drop zone into the Conference fight it out, "Manager Brian Talbot has been sacked by Oxford United after less than a year in charge of the League Two club... A poor run of results has seen them slip to 22nd in the league. They have not won a game since they beat Chester on 2 January".
NL Daily says that "Morell Maison, manager of Kettering Town, has been trimming the squad... Hugh McAuley has been released three months after his free transfer from Tamworth".
Bullsnews reports that "Crawley Police have warned fans that a repeat of the pitch invasion and other incidents that occured prior to last week's match may force Police to increase their presence at the Broadfield Stadium. Each individual officer costs the club a minimum of £200 plus VAT depending on rank, with the Police saying seven will be deployed at the stadium if fans repeat their protest of last week against the current owners. This bill, for six PCs, one Sergeant and control room staff, will come close to £2,000 per game. The Police have also warned that, with Crawley struggling to stay afloat, failure to pay the Police bill will see games being cancelled on safety grounds - a move "that will incur sanctions from the FA".
14 March 2006
WITTON LIFT CUPIn a very entertaining game at Moss Lane tonight, UniBond Premier side Witton Albion deservedly won the Cheshire Senior Cup 2-0 against their Conference North opponents, Stalybridge Celtic. Mike Moseley was credited with both goals, which were scored after 39 and 72 minutes. Though Celtic went close in the late stages, Albion held on to record their first CSC Final win since 1996 . The gate was 425 on a night of constant drizzle. Witton, managed by former Alty player Jim Vince (junior) included former Droylsden men Neil Hall and Garry Burke, whilst ex-Alty trialist Liam Brownhill had a good game at left-back. Celtic included another summer trialist at Moss Lane, Steve Garvey, as well as Lee Ellington, who briefly played for Alty in 1999-2000 season.
CANVEY REPORTSA report on Alty's defeat by Canvey is on the SAM site. It starts "The Oscars may have already been dished out for another year but Moss Lane witnessed a late contender for best original screenplay on Saturday. It was the kind of story that not even Hollywood could make up, although football does have a habit of throwing these things at you. Having been out of action since colliding with a goalpost... the stage was set for Canvey top scorer Lee Boylan to make a triumphant return... After almost three weeks without a competitive game, the Robins were completely lacking in the kind of sharpness that only match practice can bring, evident in their sloppy passing and poor decision-making... Kieran Lugsden, actually injected some excitement into a game which had become interminably dull". From This is Essex we read that "Goal hero Lee Boylan announced his return after a three month absence with the injury time winner at Altrincham and proclaimed: 'It's great to be back'.
SOUTHPORT NEXTOur next opponents, Southport, have a game on Tuesday night. Their website reported at tea-time on Monday that "The snow that was lying on the pitch has now virtually gone, but this has now caused areas of the pitch to be flooded but hopefully by tomorrow a lot of this surface water will be gone. There will be a referee's pitch inspection at noon on Tuesday".
JOHN KING NOMINATEDThe FA says that "It's the 125th season of The FA Cup, the world's greatest domestic cup competition, and we've launched our search for the All-Time FA Cup Team of Heroes... After giving the top 125 ranked FA Cup clubs their chance to nominate their five Cup legends - one keeper, one defender, one midfielder, one forward and a manager - our panel of specialists narrowed them down to a shortlist of 125 - 25 for each position. It's now down to you, the fans. You can pick your own Team of Heroes from our final list in a 4-3-3 formation until the closing date of midnight on Monday 24 April 2006... You also have to nominate your chosen manager to lead your team and reward one player with the 'Star Man' tag... Thanks for helping make history! " Amongst those nominates is "John King, nominated by Altrincham. King remains a legend at Conference club Altrincham, having served them as player, manager, director and 'saviour' from the 1970s onwards. This steely midfielder and captain is remembered for his clashes with Ossie Ardiles as Alty took the mighty Tottenham to a Third Round replay in 1979".
CONFERENCE NEWSThe BBC says that "Hereford midfielder Stacy Coldicott has returned to Edgar Street following a loan spell with Cambridge United. Coldicott, 31, made four appearances for the U's... Meanwhile, Hereford hope to have Simon Travis and strikers Guy Ipoua and Adam Stansfield back in training next week following injury lay-offs".
The Argus tells us that "Crawley manager John Hollins praised the professionalism of his players after seeing them win their most important game of the season... Victory followed another week of off--field turmoil. First, chairman Chas Majeed criticised the players and attempted to justify his decision to cut their wages in half at an open meeting with supporters. Then the players were hauled in for more one-on-one meetings about their futures and there has been plenty of speculation linking them with other clubs. Hollins was forced to sign three youngsters from Millwall on the eve of the game in case an exodus left him without enough players. The Argus revealed on Friday that Majeed had been declared bankrupt in the past and, to cap it all, top scorer Daryl Clare officially left Reds the day before the game after handing in a 14-day notice". Despite this Crawley "battered an appalling Scarborough side and gave everyone hope that avoiding relegation". Hollins said of his players "They have made their noises but they have been professional and played". However, "more players are expected to go. Club captain Ian Simpemba, who was not in the squad, is the latest. Hollins said: 'I don't know what will happen with him yet. There have been a couple of enquires and that is his business. He can do whatever he likes, as they all can unfortunately. I would not like to lose any of them'".
This is Exeter says that "Exeter City boss Alex Inglethorpe is backing his side to gatecrash the Conference play-offs despite a further setback to their promotion challenge at Halifax". He said, "We have a big couple of weeks coming up and we believe our destiny is still in our hands... You can't rule anything out at this stage of the season and we are still confident".
This is York reports that "York Minstermen have temporarily frozen cash donations to the football club and Supporters' Trust. The 100-strong York City fans' group, set up as a fundraising body last year, have decided to take the measure until a resolution to the club's on-going ownership discussions is found. City's Supporters' Trust are currently considering whether or not to offer JM Packaging, owned by Minstermen managing director Jason McGill, shares in the club in return for switching the Malton-based company's £300,000 loan to the club, due to be repaid in January, into an investment. It is unclear as yet whether such a move would lead to the Trust, who currently own 85 per cent of the shares, surrendering their controlling interest in the club and, speaking on behalf of the York Minstermen committee, Frank Ormston said: "We will continue all fundraising activities and hope other supporters groups will do likewise. All money held by York Minstermen will in due course be donated to the club and/or the Trust once the current uncertainty has been resolved". As a result "the £2,000-plus proceeds from the Pitch in a Pound bucket collections and all future contributions to the appeal will now be held by York Minstermen until repair work takes place on the damaged KitKat Crescent playing surface". A Trust board spokesperson said : "Discussions continue to include a possible way forward involving changes to the Trust's existing partnership with Jason McGill and JM Packaging Limited that are likely to involve changes to the ownership percentages of the club".
"Bill Fotherby, chairman of Nationwide North club Harrogate Town, is looking to buy Harrogate Rugby Club's Claro Road ground and is awaiting the rugby club's "blessing" to create a joint-home for both teams... As it stands, following several failed re-location bids, cash-strapped Harrogate Rugby Club will become homeless in 2009 while Harrogate Town may need a new ground as early as next year if they win promotion to the Conference National... Harrogate Town's Wetherby Road ground does not meet Conference guidelines and Fotherby has stressed he will not waste money on his club's current home that he is planning to spend at Claro Road" reports Harrogate Today.
13 March 2006
Above: Blake Norton (centre) runs out to make his Alty debut against Canvey Island on Saturday, preceded by Peter Band, Val Owen and Gary Talbot, and followed by Colin Little and Chris Adams.
Above: Saturday's Men of the Match were Alty's Peter Band (left) and Canvey's keeper, Danny Potter. Yesterday's match was sponsored by Deborah Services and Scotchem Ltd.
Match report here. For other pictures from Saturday, see below in yesterday's news.
STARSTAR, the Altrincham supporters' trust, reports "that a cheque for £2,000 was handed to the club last week..a list of donations to date is on the STAR website". There is confirmation on the site that "As from December 2004, STAR is donating £500 a month towards the club's historic tax debt". The website also confirms that STAR donations to the Football Club are "to date £26,500 + monthly £500 Inland Revenue instalments".
The STAR website also mentions that chair person Brian Flynn says that "certain issues raised by the club have been discussed and members will be informed of the proposed solutions through the usual channels including the STAR website".
Also, STAR's "Paul Daine is requesting Alty fans save up their Tesco computers for schools vouchers and hand them in to STAR via the STAR counter in the club shop".
NEXT AT MOSS LANEOn Tuesday night, the Cheshire Senior Cup Final between Stalybridge Celtic and Witton Albion is being played at Moss Lane (7.45pm). The Cheshire FA reports that "Supporters wishing to see the game at Moss Lane, Altrincham can pay at the gate, admission prices, £8:00 stand, £7:00 ground and £3:00 OAP/child".
OLD BOYFormer Alty Reserve, Rio Nelson has moved from Abbey Hey to Curzon Ashton.
RESERVESOne of Alty's Lancashire League title rivals BPA Reserves beat Workington Reserves 3-2 at the weekend.
CHESHIRE NEWSNL Daily confirms that "The Moore & Co Construction Solicitors North West Counties League are assured of a finalist in this season’s FA Vase Final at Birmingham City after Nantwich Town went through at the expense of Northern Counties East League side Pickering Town on Sunday. The Dabbers’ victory means that they will take on league rivals Cammell Laird in the semi finals, with the first leg being on Merseyside on April 1st".
CONFERENCE NEWSGravesend & Northfleet announce that "The ticket prices for season 2006/07 have now been announced. The adult match day admission price remains at £12 with season ticket prices also frozen. As there will be two extra matches next season, season tickets are an even better deal than they were last year. Concessions for OAPs and children remain at half the price of a standard ticket". Discounts apply for tickets bought 30 April 2006". An interesting idea is that if you buy a season ticket before that date and introduce a friend who was not a season ticket holder, you get £25 off your own ticket and if you introduce as many as four friends, you get your season ticket free!
Also from Gravesend, NL Daily reports that "Following a desperate season of continuous injury it has been mutually agreed to cancel the contract of Graham Porter. Secretary, Roly Edwards said: 'Graham has been plagued by injury after injury and he has recently picked up another whilst on loan at Heybridge Swifts FC that will keep him out for the remainder of the season. We sat down with him and he was honest enough to accept that termination of his contract was the best way forward for both parties'".
12 March 2006
SOUTHPORT TRIPAltrincham play away at Southport next Saturday (18th) and details of the STAR supporters' coach to the game are here.
YOUTH GAME OFFThough the pitch at Wythenshawe Town is playable today, Alty Youth's opponents from Southport, Fleetwood Hesketh, are unable to get there because of four inches of snow in the Southport area. Therefore the match has been postopned.
ALTRINCHAM 0 CANVEY ISLAND 1
Colin Little leaves the pitch; ahead of him, Gary Scott hobbles off supported by physio Andy Hosgood. And the gentleman in the crowd, far left, is Huddersfield Town's former Alty left-back Danny Adams. Town were without a game yesterday and Danny still lives in Sale.
BEHIND THE SCENES
Right: Altrincham FC owes a lot to unsung workers behind the scenes and two of those are pictured here. They are commercial manager Barry Pond and yesterday's joint matchball sponsor, Sarah Rowley, who with her family puts in many hours of unpaid work for the football club.
ALTY ALPHABETTerry Rowley's A to Z of Altrincham FC has been appearing this season in the Robins' Review. Letters A to G are now also on the website, here> Amongst the most fascinating entries is the one on Fixture Congestion. Terry writes: Fixture congestion - Try this: in the 1907/08 season Altrincham played 6 games in 5 days. Starting with 2 matches on the Good Friday, meeting Sale Holmfield in the morning, playing in the Altrincham and District Cup and then Denton in the afternoon in a league fixture. The next day, Saturday, another league match was played, followed by two more games on Easter Monday and one on the Wednesday. Not surprisingly Altrincham lost 5 of the 6 games!
OLD BOYSAnthony Hargreaves scored twice for Cammell Laird yesterday whilst Peter Wright scored for Chorley. Wes Wilkinson netted once for Leigh RMI for whom Geroge Melling also played. Keeping Leigh out was Moor Green keeper, Ashley Timms. Chris Timons played for Hucknall, whilst Matt Bailey and Tony Sullivan (Lancaster), Mike Garrity (Vauxhall) , James Olsen (Vauxhall) and Steve Hawes (Stocksbridge) all played yesterday.
CONFERENCE NEWSCrawley Town "regrets to announce the departure from the club of striker Daryl Clare... [He] joined the Red Devils for a club record fee from Boston in September... He went on to score 11 goals in 25 Conference matches and one LDV Trophy game for Crawley, including both goals in last month's 2-0 home win over Altrincham. Clare was able to leave by giving 14 days' notice due to the club's current financial situation. He is not expected to play for the club again. Chairman Chas Majeed has apologised to fans for saying during Monday's fans forum that he expected Clare to stay with the club. At the time, the club's management team were under the belief that Daryl would continue to support the Reds for the remainder of the season. However, due to personal family reasons Daryl has indicated he would prefer to continue his career nearer to his home in Lincolnshire. Daryl handed in his notice on Wednesday. The club would like to thank Daryl for his commitment and efforts in his time at Crawley and wish him the best of luck with his future career".
And the Sussex club also reports that it "would like to take this opportunity to clarify once again the current position of Chas Majeed. The issue raised recently in the local media regarding bankruptcy is simply an administrative issue of updating records. Crawley Town Football Club has been in constant liaison with the Conference and the FA and both representations are aware of Chas' role as chairman. Following the recent reports in the media, the Conference has confirmed that the club will NOT be suspended from the league, nor will any actions be pursued".
"Kidderminster have signed Burnley teenager Cayne Hanley on work experience terms... and may join his former youth coach Mark Yates permanently at Aggborough. Aldershot have lost the services of on-loan defender Gary Elphick from Brighton after his club received a cash offer for the player from St Albans City." says Bullsnews.
NL Daily reports that "Burscough have signed midfielder Paul Lloyd on a month’s loan from Morecambe. Lloyd is a few days short of his 19th birthday... Lloyd has appeared in the first-team this season".
11 March 2006
IMPS EYE TWO YOUTH PLAYERSLincoln City have approached Altrincham FC about two of our youth strikers, Ben Deegan and Matty Williams. Both lads are travelling to Lincoln on Tuesday and will train with The Imps from Wednesday to Friday; they will also take part in a game against a Rochdale side during their stay.
Above: Chris Adams prepares to take a throw in the game at Canvey on 8th October, which ended 1-1.
SAM previews today's game with Canvey Island. "Currently just a point separates the two sides in the Conference table as they jostle not only for position, but also for the right to call themselves the best semi-professional side in the country". However, whilst the possible "return of Lee Boylan from injury will provide Canvey with a major boost as they look to do the same this time round... Alty have their own boost in the form of new signing Blake Norton. The 22-year-old winger will add pace and skill on the left flank and, along with the fit-again Colin Potts, will give Graham Heathcote an extra option in midfield, where the Robins' were previously somewhat one-dimensional. For the first time in months, Alty have a clean bill of health, with only long-term worries Eddie Hussin and Richard Norris - both of whom are progressing well - still out. Karl Munroe is also unlikely to be involved after recovering from injury and will be looking to regain match fitness with the reserves... Lee Boylan is absolutely vital to Canvey's chances of avoiding relegation and the fact they have only scored nine goals in 11 games in his absence speaks volumes".
Meanwhile Mark Maddox, Alty's captain, writes in SAM, "I really can't wait to get back on the pitch on Saturday because last week was just boring. The York game had been built up... I was absolutely gutted when Graham phoned me to tell me it was off. So I was stuck without anything to do on Saturday, the missus was going shopping but there was no way I was going to be doing that. I went round to the old fella's and watched the sport on TV all afternoon before taking my lad to the Liverpool game - but that didn't make things much better either". Talking of Blake Norton, Alty's new signing, Mark says "He's settled in really well already, he was best mates with Ged [Murphy] before he came here but he doesn't seem to have as big a mouth as Ged, which is a good thing... I can't remember the last time we had a quick, skilful left winger.. You've got to go back to Kevin Ellison. I offered my services to Graham but funnily enough he just turned me down straight away, I can't think why... As far as the Canvey game is concerned, I think we should be looking to get a win seeing that they are on a level par with us and that we are at home. But I'm sure they'll be approaching the game in the same way and it definitely won't be easy. Lee Boylan's supposed to be back to fitness and that's bad news for me... We are in a good position and things are shaping up nicely, the only thing that would make life better would be if Scotty would learn to drive. He's a right pain and I've already told him I'll be strapping him to the roof rack next if he doesn't get his driving licence soon".
The Canvey Island website confirms the Islanders' 20-man squad for the Alty game as Danny Potter, Richard McKinney, John Kennedy, Chris Duffy, Ben Chenery, Steve Ward, Joe Dolan, Dave McGhee, Dominic Sterling, Stuart Bimson, Jay Conroy, Ben Sedgemore, Jeff Minton, Mario Noto, Jon Keeling, Dwain Clarke, Allan Tait, Neil Gregory, Kezie Ibe and Jason Hallett. The club forum reports that "The Echo says that Boylan was seeing the specialist today and if he was (as expected) given the all-clear he would be involved against Altrincham".
CHESHIRE NEWSNon-League North a new website, states "News coming through to us contains information about the players of Runcorn FC Halton who have walked out on the club due to unpaid wages. We have also heard that they won't be returning to the club". Indeed, IC Cheshire confirms that "Players at the club have not been paid for several weeks which perhaps sheds new light on the dip in form - a decline which has left them in deep relegation trouble... There has been no official comment from the club to date, with chairman Dr Dave Robertson being unavailable. However, it is known the players have not had any wages for six or seven weeks. Dr Robertson, who was out of the country last week, is due to meet player-manager Steve Carragher over the issue before the weekend in the hope of a solution to the immediate difficulties. although it seems the club is likely to meet its short-term playing obligations, its longer-term viability may now well hinge on new investment being found. The club has stumbled from one financial crisis to another in recent years - having to sell Canal Street to pay off spiralling debts and then being forced to quit Halton Stadium, when they found the annual £60,000-plus-VAT rental too much".
CONFERENCE NEWSNL Daily says that "Troubled Crawley Town have signed a trio of young players from Coca-Cola Championship side Millwall on ‘work experience’ to boost the squad at Broadfield Stadium. Right-back Jack McLeod, 17, central defender Michael Bostwick, also 17, and 19-year-old Dean Pooley, who can operate in central defence or midfield, have all signed Conference forms and are eligible to play in Saturday's crucial game at home to Scarborough... All three players have been regular members of Alan McLeary's successful young reserve side".
"After a number of weeks of speculation, Adriano Rigoglioso has re-signed for Morecambe on a permanent deal that will see him tied to the Shrimps for the remainder of this season. Rigoglioso left Doncaster Rovers in early February and has been training at Christie Park since. Rigoglioso initially joined Morecambe during the summer of season 2000/2001, signing from UniBond League Premier Division side Marine. He had previously played at Liverpool in the same FA Youth cup-winning team as Michael Owen" reports the Shrimps' website.
"Rob Smith, manager of AFC Telford United, is set to launch a bid to make defender Jimmy Turner’s loan move from Tamworth permanent. The 22-year-old moved to the New Bucks Head a fortnight ago" states the Shropshire Star.
"Exeter City have been dealt a major boost with the news that striker Lee Phillips could be back in action by next weekend. A chest injury sparked fears the club's leading scorer may be ruled out until the end of the season. But Phillips is hopeful of a return in time for next weekend's FA Trophy semi-final first leg showdown against Grays Athletic. The 25-year-old suffered a haematoma where tendons and ligaments in his chest were torn away from the bone, causing severe swelling and bleeding". Phillips said, "I certainly don't think it is as bad as people are making out, like missing the rest of the season. I am sure it won't be that long because I am a quick healer and I am hoping to be alright by next week... but it is still really sore". As for the play-offs, "Six more wins should easily get us in there. All the lads are confident at the minute", he told This is Exeter
Bullsnews say that Hereford boss Graham Turner has confirmed that "Andy Willams has signed a new contract... until the end of next season. He is the first of the current squad to extend his contract and is the third player, along with Stacy Coldicott and Alex Jeannin, to be tied to Edgar Street next season".
10 March 2006
YOUTH GAMEThis Sunday (12th) the youth team is now at home at Wythenshawe Town to Fleetwood Hesketh in a league match at 2.30pm.
RESERVES' GAME OFFAlty Reserves' away game against Accrington Stanley on 18 March has been postponed as Stanley are unable to provide a venue for the match.
ON THE VERGEIn today's NL Paper, Colin Little says "The season's gone really well. We're on the verge of avoiding relegation, which is what we set out to do... We set ourselves a target of 43-44 points. We want to get the points ont he board as quickly as possible because we've got a really difficult run-in".
SPORTSMAN'S DINNERA very enjoyable Sportsman's Dinner was held at the Chef Peking in Urmston last night. The guests were two Manchester City legends Ken Barnes and his son, Peter, who very kindly gave their time for the evening, as did GMR's Jimmy Wagg. Signed copies of Ken's new autobiography were available and Peter and Ken answered numerous questions from the floor. Thanks are due to the organisers, Grahame and Karen Rowley as well as many others who helped to make the event a successful fundraiser as well as an enjoyable evening. And, as usual, the Chef Peking produced some excellent food and very good service.
ATTENDANCESTerry Rowley's Conference attendance statistics have been updated here
NEXT OPPONENTSOur opponents on Saturday, Canvey Island confirm that "Defender Jay Conroy has returned to the club after completing his loan period at Sutton United."
Our next away game is at Southport (18th March) but "Woking defender Jimmy Aggrey is returning to Kingfield after Southport opted not to extend his loan stay. Aggrey, 27, joined Port last month with a view to spending the rest of the season at Haig Avenue. However, Southport confirm that "Mark Roberts this afternoon signed on loan until the end of the season. Central defender Roberts, from Crewe Alexandra, begins his second loan spell here at Haig Avenue, following his earlier spell which ended at the beginning of January".
After imposing a 50% pay cut on his players, Crawley Town chairman Chas Majeed said earlier this week of striker Daryl Clare, "He is one of the guys who plays with passion and he might even still be here if we didn't pay him at all!”. But today "Daryl Clare looks set to leave cash-strapped Crawley Town", reports BBC Southern Counties Radio. "Clare, 27, did not appear for training on Thursday, and boss John Hollins has allowed him to talk to the several clubs who are chasing him... [And] utility man Ian Simpemba is a target for Crawley's Conference rivals Aldershot Town".
The Argus confirms that "Top scorer Daryl Clare is poised to leave Crawley, just days after chairman Chas Majeed promised fans he was staying. Clare's representatives are in talks with other clubs... Clare cost Reds a club record fee - believed to be around £40,000 - when he joined last September but he can now walk out for free because the club are in breach of his two-year contract. According to the players' union the PFA, Reds' players can join teams at all levels outside the transfer window after serving a 14-day notice... Clare said: 'I'm in the same boat as all the other players at the moment. There is interest from other clubs and we are talking to Crawley about my future. I will know in the next 48 hours what is going to happen'. Peterborough head the queue of interested clubs. Clare lives near the League Two team and manager Steve Bleasdale worked with the Reds' striker during his time at Chester. Bleasdale said: 'I fancy he could be useful to us in the run-in'... More players are expected to leave before Saturday's crucial Conference bottom-of-the-table home game against Scarborough".
The Argus later confirmed that "The chairman of crisis-hit Crawley Town football club is a bankrupt barred from running businesses... Chas Majeed, real name Shafqat, 36, was declared insolvent at Brighton County Court in May 2004 and has never been discharged from bankruptcy. Sussex Police and the Football Association have launched an investigation into our findings about Mr Majeed, which have also been passed on to the Department for Trade and Industry (DTI). The club could end up being suspended from the league or fined under FA regulations if he is found to be involved in the management of the club. It is a criminal offence for an undischarged bankrupt to be concerned in "promoting, forming or managing a limited company, or acting as a company director, without the court's permission, whether formally appointed as a director or not." Majeed's brother Azwar claimed "it was irrelevant because his brother was the chairman and not a director of the company.... [and] Azwar claimed HE was the chairman and that Chas was just an employee, 'dealing with the media, doing day to day stuff'. But The Argus has obtained a press release from the Nationwide Conference club's own website in which Chas is referred to as chairman and copies of match-day programmes which list him as a director".
Another story which may not altogether surprise everyone is the BBC report that "Paul Merson has left Conference club Tamworth and has announced his retirement as a player. Merson, 37, joined the Lambs last month following his dismissal as player-manager of Walsall but started just one game for Mark Cooper's side. 'Tamworth can confirm that Paul Merson has retired from competitive football', said a club statement. However, "He will return to Tamworth on May 21 to play in a testimonial match for goalkeeper Scott Bevan, who lost a kidney in a near-fatal playing accident earlier this season. Tamworth also have former top-flight players Alan Neilsen, Tommy Johnson and Nicky Summerbee on their books".
The BBC reports that "Burton Albion defender Darren Tinson is set to extend his stay at the club. Tinson, 36, is poised to agree a new 12-month deal after missing just one Conference game this season. 'We have had a chat about next season and we both think he can do another year', manager Nigel Clough told the Burton Mail.
The Football Conference confirms that Andy Bishop of York CIty is winner of the February Conference player of the month award.
The Aldershot website says that "Manager Terry Brown has confirmed why striker Leroy Griffiths was on the substitutes bench on Tuesday evening... The boss said, 'Leroy is a problematical young lad and the fact that he appeared for the game was magical enough really. We have had words and he has been disciplined. Hopefully he will decide that he wants to knuckle down and finish the season off with us.The decision is in his hands but he has to train with us and work hard. When he plays he does well. He is a lively performer and he scored when he came on. I have no problems with Leroy on the park it is just getting him to turn up'".
The Football Association "are delighted to confirm that this year’s Four Nations Tournament will take place at Eastbourne Borough FC, Worthing FC and Bognor Regis Town FC between May 23-27".
9 March 2006
PONTOON UPDATESarah Rowley has again kindly updated the Alty FC Pontoon chart, which shows York City and Brian Birtles still in the lead.
TWO HAPPY PLAYERSAlty captain Eddie Hussin (left) has been sidelined all season after a cruciate ligament operation in the summer, but he told SAM, "I want to get back playing before the end of the season. When I got the injury I was worried that I might not get the chance to play in the Conference but I suppose I've got the lads to thank because they've put us in a good position to be playing in this league again next year. The healing process has gone fine and now it's just about strengthening up the knee as much as I can. But you never know how it's going to go until you actually get onto the pitch and play a full game. It's really hard because I'm not full time and you can't do all the work you would like to do on the injury - if I was able to work on it every day I would probably be back by now. I just can't enjoy watching the games, it's too hard. I end up finding myself going into the dressing room and telling the lads 'you should be doing this' or 'you weren't doing that right'". Meanwhile, Eddie "has already taken his UEFA B Badge and coaches Preston North End's under 14s side... 'Coaching's definitely something I'm looking into', he said... 'I've learnt a lot from Dalton Steele [right] because I've known him for seven years and Graham's a great manager to learn from as well. He's not the kind of manager who won't listen to other people's ideas and he's always willing to discuss with players if they think there is a better way of doing something'". Eddie continued, "There is a good team spirit here and the lads have done really well but the fans have been great too. They are unlike any fans at any other club, they know everything about everything at Alty and it's been great to hear them singing my name. It creates a good atmosphere at the club and it definitely rubs off on the players".
Another man glad to be at Moss Lane is new signing, Blake Norton. He told SAM Sport: "I'm delighted to be coming here, Altrincham is a great club. I used to go to school at North Cestrian so I would go past Moss Lane every day on my way home and I knew all about the club's history. I will always remember watching Alty play Tottenham in the FA Cup - they lost the game but they did themselves proud that day". Of former club Worksop Town he added, "I was sad leaving because they had been really good to me during my time there but I wanted to play Conference football. It's important to me to go as high as I possibly can with Alty". He continued, "The most enjoyable part of the game for me is gliding past players and then putting the ball into the box. That's probably the best part of my game and some people have even said that I'm quicker with the ball at my feet than without, so hopefully I can add a new dimension to the team".
OLD BOYSNL Daily has news of an old boy, Clive Freeman (right), scorer of that famous goal which won the BBC Goal of the Season competition in 1992/93. He has been apoointed assistant manager to Phil Sharpe at Bradford PA. Sharpe, too, was an Alty player in 92/93. "A club spokesman said that Sharpe and Freeman are very much looking forward to the challenge, and the club re-formed in 1988, look forward to the new management team halting the slide down the table, and refocusing the club on its goal of achieving promotion back to the Nationwide North".
CONFERENCE NEWSAfter their fifth successive win on Tuesday night, York manager Billy McEwan spoke of the younger players in his squad. "They're learning a little bit now and they're getting a little bit stronger mentally now and they're maturing," McEwan told BBC Radio York.
As reported yesterday, Exeter City's leading scorer, Lee Phillips, could be out for six weeks. The BBC explains that he "sustained a chest injury in Saturday's win over Southport. 'Initial reports were that he could be out from anything from two to six weeks' manager Alex Inglethorpe told the Express and Echo. 'If that's the case then it is a massive blow to lose your top scorer at this stage of the season'".
8 March 2006
YORK GAMEThe Altrincham v York City match, postponed last Saturday, has been re-arranged for Tuesday 4th April at 7.45pm.
GAME OFFTonight's Alty Reserves v Bamber Bridge game has been postponed due to the incessant rain.
RESERVESWednesday night's Reserves' match at Moss Lane against Bamber Bridge will be subject to a decision during the day about the pitch and the amount of rain that has fallen on it in the last few days. Both last Wednesday's Reserves' game and last Saturday's first-team game at Moss Lane were postponed due to frost.
CONFERENCE NEWSThe BBC says that "Striker Andy White has returned to Notts County following a month's loan with Kidderminster Harriers. Harriers' boss Mark Yates had been keen to extend White's temporary deal".
The Crawley saga continues and the official site states that "Chas Majeed, chairman... said reducing the wage bill had been necessary to meet the Conference salary cap, and that a restructured budget could enable new players to come in to boost the club's fight against relegation. He said that... the club's wage bill had been the second highest in the division... Majeed said... 'We will complete our fixtures this season, there is no doubt about that... We will not go into administration'". He added that "he would never again hand players big money two-year contracts, which he said had led to some complacency... I should have been there when the contracts were being negotiated and signed – that's my fault, I admit that. But we left it to other people and it has not worked. We know now that what we should have done is put them all on one-year deals in order that they maintain their drive and don't slip into a comfort zone". And "Majeed was quick to assure fans that top scorer Daryl Clare was not one of the players he expected to leave in the near future... He is one of the guys who plays with passion and he might even still be here if we didn't pay him at all!”. Assistant general manager Ben Taylor "said the club staff were determined to make the club a success despite having their own wages cut as well". Explaining why the club had gone full-time, Majeed said “If you saw our games at the start of the season, the players looked tired in the second half – they couldn't even play for 90 minutes. You have to be full-time to compete in this league... We are sure John Hollins is the right man for the job". Also, "Club consultant Alan Mullery's involvement was questioned and Majeed said that while he still advised the club on procedural matters and how other professional clubs operate, he no longer had any say in player recruitment, which is now down to John Hollins".
The local Argus newspaper reports that "The owner of Crawley Town has announced £500,000 profits for his shops and off-licence empire... just days after players' wages at the football club were slashed by 50 per cent. An investigation by The Argus into Azwar Majeed's business dealings revealed his involvement in two companies which have gone bust in the past two years. And a search of company records shows Mr Majeed's two main firms, SA Leisure and SA Retail, are worth a fraction of the £50-million widely reported. The Lamborghini-driving entrepreneur, 30... told fans... 'I paid £560,000 for this club because I thought it represented a good business opportunity... and I am here to stay'". The Argus claims that "a beer importing company owned by Mr Majeed was forced into liquidation in 2004. At around the same time Mulberry Wines Ltd, which operated off-licences in Sussex, went bust. The company was owned by Abdul Majeed, a relative. Mr Majeed was not a director but admitted an involvement in the company. He bought the firm's stock and assets and still runs SA Retail, valued at just £37,000 in its 2004 financial report to Companies House... SA Leisure... had a turnover of £905,782 but assets of just £3,441. Mr Samrah, the leading figure in the fight for Brighton and Hove Albion's Falmer Stadium, said: "It is incredible a man involved in two liquidated companies and with no significant demonstrable wealth can take over a football club. It is another example of non-football fans taking over at a club which has led to disaster, which is exactly what happened at the Albion".
The Argus also reports that Majeed said: "I believe in the next week or so that everything will be okay. I cannot set a deadline because it depends on how many players leave... We have players who are only here for the money. Once we get rid of them we can get others in on loan and non-contract, who want to play for the club and I believe that will help the team stay up. We had investors with us at the beginning of the season but they have pulled out because of bad performances".
From This is Exeter we learn that Exeter City boss Alex Inglethorpe "believes his side's run-in gives the Grecians a decent chance of promotion. 'I think six more wins would do it. There are certainly six winable games left in the fixtures'". But he will have to cope "with the absence of leading goalscorer Lee Phillips for up to six weeks". Inglethorpe admitted "And there is no scope to bring anyone else in unless we let someone else go". Also, as Jake Edwards is "struggling with a back problem, Steve Flack might be called upon... The towering striker currently stands on 98 goals".
Halifax Today says that "Lewis Killeen and Steve Haslam are the latest players to commit themselves to Town for the 2006-07 campaign", joining Martin Foster, Adam Quinn and Tyrone Thompson. Manager Chris Wilder added, "There will be more. I have spoken to some and there are others who still have a little bit to do and they understand that. It is only natural that there will be some who fall by the wayside".
Scarborough Today states that "chairman Malcolm Reynolds would welcome an artificial surface at the proposed new ground... He said: "If we had the chance to have a plastic pitch then I wouldn't hesitate. It would save us on a lot of problems, such as the team having to travel to Heslerton so they can train. When we make the move we also want to make it a community stadium, so if we introduced a plastic pitch then it would be available to be used by everyone seven days a week. It hasn't been passed by the league at the moment, but if it was before we get things sorted then I would jump at the chance".
And Manager Neil Redfearn said: 'Mark Quayle is going to Hyde on loan and there is an option for them to take him until the end of the season... He hasn't really figured here and the fact that Hyde are chipping in with his wages will free up a little bit of money... You can't keep going with strikers who don't score because the bulk of any side's goals must come from up front. I have been talking to a few strikers over the past couple of days and one does really interest me. He is a proven Conference goalscorer and he has been told that he can leave his current club, so we could well make a move for him".
"Hereford United have confirmed that Daryl Taylor's loan from Walsall has been extended for a third month", states Bullsnews.
Last season the Conference play-offs were of great interest to Altrincham but this season they will be of more academic interest to us. This time around the regional finals are not at league grounds. The Conference confirms the dates as: Conference National
Play-Off Final - Sunday 7th May 2006 - Stevenage Borough FC - k.o. 2pm "
7 March 2006
OLD BOYSMatty McNeil scored for Macclesfield in the LDV Vans Trophy tonight.
VERY LAST ORDERS!Time is running out to get your ticket(s) for the...
Altrincham FC is pleased to announce that former Manchester City star Peter Barnes has agreed to be our guest speaker at this event which his dad, Ken will also attend. For those of you who went to the Marcus Hallows event last season you’ll need no reminding of the fantastic meal served up by the Chef Peking. Tickets are priced at £17-50 – various sized tables are also available for group bookings.
To book your place(s), please ring Grahame Rowley on 07720-606897as soon as possible.
SQUAD REVIEWAltrincham have seen 30 players play for the club this season in the Conference but several have since moved on. So, as latest arrival Blake Norton receives his new no.18 shirt, it is a suitable point to review the current squad. Fuller details are on the Players' Page.
Gary Talbot (left) is the most experienced player at Moss Lane, whilst Lee Hendley (right) is the youngest - he is three days younger than Pat McFadden.
CANVEY COMINGRegarding our next vistors to Moss Lane, This is Essex reports that "Canvey soccer boss Jeff King has accused some people on the island of having unrealistic expectations of his Conference side. King has taken the team from county football to the highest level of the non-league game over the past decade. And he admits: 'If we carried on making the same sort of progress over the next 10 years we'd be playing in the Champions League with the likes of Manchester United and Barcelona. That's just not going to happen'".
The Canvey Forum reports that they will be bringing a coach of supporters to Altrincham on Saturday - "Let's fill up the coach and go to Cheshire with a real enthusiasm for the lads. Forget about our home support for a moment, (which is dissapointing to say the least) and forgive me, the loyal supporters who follow us passionatly at home but are unable to go away, but having been in the Conference now for the second season I believe our away support is up there with the best. Keep the flags waving, the drums banging, and the seagulls flying, and long live the coach".
CONFERENCE NEWSInteresting as ever, Bullsnews writes that "Comparisons between Conference clubs and their spending on wages is often difficult. Most clubs do not issue detailed accounts so unless a chairman or manager reveals the figures they may be hard to trace... Chris Wilder, the Halifax manager, has mentioned the subject in an interview with the Yorkshire Post. 'As far as I am concerned, with our resources, the record of this football club stands up against any other in the Conference. I know some fans feel that just because we are a former Football League club we should be competing for the title, but in reality there are a lot of clubs who have never been in the League and yet are very strong financially'. .. Finance remains a struggle with Halifax's weekly spending of £7,000 on wages paling into comparison with the vast majority of their rivals, Carlisle United winning promotion via the play-offs last season with a reported budget three times what the Shaymen are able to pay this time around. This lack of resources was brought home to Wilder last weekend when former Bradford winger Summerbee lined up for Tamworth, one of only two clubs in the Conference purporting to still be part-time. Halifax had tried to sign Summerbee earlier this month but were unable to match the offer from a club sitting third bottom in the table". Meanwhile at Hereford, ."the last available figures say that the amount spent on wages and salaries at the club, less directors pay, was just over £480,000 and that includes several people in administration and social security costs". By way of comparison in mid-February, Alty's Graham Heathcote told the NL paper, "Our budget is the lowest in the league by a mile, just £150,000. Our success has been achieved by good spirit and team-work".
Nuneaton Borough have completed the signing of Scott Rickards. The 24-year-old has agreed a deal until the end of the season following his release by Tamworth... Rickards also gained England semi-professional international honours before moving into the Football League with Kidderminster Harriers, who signed him for a four-figure fee"
"Crawley Town's players have had their wages cut to save the club from heading towards administration. The Crawley squad have seen their pay docked by 50 per cent in a bid to cut costs and all the players have been placed on the transfer-list. 'We had to make that decision. There is more money going out than coming in', Crawley's assistant general boss Ben Taylor told BBC Sport.He added, 'At the moment an investor has pulled out and it's a big challenge. The chairman cannot sustain the money going out each month since the backer has pulled out. We have spoken to the Conference and the PFA and we are abiding by their rules and regulations... The chairman put his money where his mouth is, but the results have not come. Attendances are down on last season and the money is not coming into the club...We want to be paying full wages, winning games and for everybody to be happy. But they [the players] have been utterly professional and got on with their jobs. There have been no strikes... Crawley does have a strong future, that's why we are doing this. There are no worries about this club disappearing... Chas is doing what is best for the club and the supporters. He has his heart in this club and he will turn it around'"
The Crawley Forum has various correspondents' reports on the meeting on Monday night between club officials and supporters. One writes that chairman Chas Majeed said he is "commited to the club and will do whatever it takes to get the club out of trouble. We found out that we should have new players playing by the weekend.... He has no intention of raising prices at the turnstiles. He says we will definitely be able to fulfil the remaining fixtures of the season. He says that really all the players at this club are committed to saving the club. When brought up, he said Daryl Clare would still be at this club even if we asked him to take a 100% pay cut". Another supporter added, Chas says that "He has learnt some hard lessons and isn't going to walk away. We are paying second highest wages in the league and need to get that sorted out... He expects new signings for Saturday and has confidence in John Hollins but Mullery is still around... Players will be on 1 year deals from here on. Daryl Clare is totally committed and playing for the shirt not the cash, they didn't expect him to leave... Bit surprised some supporters seem to accept relegation is inevitable".
The Burton Mail says that "Albion's cut-price treat to their fans has been put back until the last home game of the season... The club have now decided to reduce prices for adults to £5, with youngsters admitted free, at their final home game of the season against Forest Green Rovers... Chairman Ben Robinson said: 'Traditionally, we make our awards to the players at the end of the final home game of the season, and hopefully a big crowd will help to create a carnival atmosphere'". As at Moss Lane, Burton's game last Saturday was postponed - and for very similar reasons, as manager Nigel Clough explained: "A strip 15 yards wide in front of the main stand had been covered for four days, but the frosts leading up to the game were so severe that it penetrated the sheeting".
The Cambridge Evening News says of United's first away win for some time, "Whether the introduction of sports psychologist David Childerley to the ranks made any difference, who knows. But it has been clear to see how Newman's side have been affected mentally when they have gone behind away from home, and if his involvement can have the smallest positive impact on the team, such as this, then it can only be good news for United". Meanwhile, manager "Rob Newman has admitted that he has watched players from troubled neighbours Cambridge City as he prepares to boost Cambridge United's squad next season... He said: 'City are just one team I've been watching in terms of players for next season, but they've definitely got four or five I feel could hold their own in the Conference. They're marked down in the file along with players from other clubs we've looked at'".
From This is Exeter we read that Grecians' boss "Alex Inglethorpe praised his side for getting their league campaign back on track against lowly Southport. He said: 'Hopefully this will give us the lift for the rest of the season... We are looking more like our old selves... We have gone through a bad spell of results but we have not panicked. We will now have to quickly assess the squad, assess the fitness and assess the mentality of the players in preparation for Tuesday'". In contrast Port boss Liam Watson said of the 5-0 defeat at Exeter, "This is obviously a blow but it was always going to be difficult and that's how it proved. You don't come to Exeter expecting to beat them but we did have a go. It hasn't happened for us today but we will have to move on. If we are going to get out of trouble we are going to have to do it at home". Alty's next away trip is to Southport.
6 March 2006
NUMBER 18Alty's new signing, Blake Norton, will have squad number eighteen - the number previously worn by Lutel James.
YORK GAMENo date has yet been fixed for the game at home with York City, which was postponed on Saturday.
BOYLAN BACK?Alty's next match is at home to Essex side, Canvey Island on Saturday (11th). When we played Canvey Island, away, earlier this season, Lee Boylan the club's leading scorer, returned to their team after injury to play against us and it seems he could possibly do the same again for the return match at Moss Lane. The NL Paper reports that he is expected to get the all-clear for action after ten weeks out with a facial injury, following his collision with a goalpost.
OLD BOYSMartin McDonald has moved from Flixton to New Mills, whilst Hyde United have signed Mark Quayle on loan from Scarborough till the end of the season.
GATESTerry Rowley's Conference attendance statistics have been updated, here
CONFERENCE NEWSThe NL Paper reports that "Police were called to the Crawley match [on Saturday] as chairman Chaz Majeed and a fan took off their jackets and squared up to each other in the bar at half-time".
The Crawley Town website quotes manager John Hollins after Saturday's game: “Afterwards I thanked the players for their unbelievable effort, which showed strength and courage... Only Simon Wormull has left. I will take Monday when it comes but no-one has so far told me they won't be coming to training. This club has got to be in this league and now I've got my teeth into the job I am determined to make sure we do [?stay there]. The financial situation is frustrating but we are up for the challenge... We all want to know what's going on but I still don't know what I will be working with on Monday". Meanwhile "Crawley Town defender David Woozley said the current financial trouble at Broadfield Stadium will not stop the players giving 100 per cent on the field. Woozley, who is the club's PFA delegate in their negotiations with the Conference and the FA, said after Saturday's game: “There was never any doubt about the team playing today because we have a good group of players. We have been in contact with the PFA so we know what our rights are with regard to the contracts, which the players signed in good faith. It's totally been sprung on us because we have worked on the basis that we would get full wages – and we are paid in arrears... We'll deal with the situation as it develops. It's not going to benefit us to strike as we need to train to get the results we want on the pitch. We just want to get out of this situation as quickly as possible". It is believed that new transfer rules mean that players leaving Crawley at this stage of the season can only play on if they join a club lower down the pyramid - as Simon Wormull is doing, having moved from Crawley to Lewes.
The NL Paper confirms that Gravesend & Norhthfleet chairman Brian Kilcullen is hoping to involve the club in the Ebbsfleet development taking place 200 yards away from the ground. As well as a new stadium, this may mean a change of name to Ebbsfleet, which will be the site of a new cross-Channel international railway station. The chairman said, "As a football club we are one of the best located in the country. Find me another club outside the Premiership with such potential".
5 March 2006
NEXT, AT MOSS LANEAlty Reserves' next game is on Wednesday 8th at Moss Lane against Bamber Bridge Reserves (7.45pm).
Next Saturday sees the first ever visit to Moss Lane of Canvey Island. The two sides drew 1-1 in the reverse fixture earlier this season, when Alty were unable to overcome ten men for the entire second half after Colin Little had scored from the spot, just before the interval. Howard Watts's Through the Years information for 11 March is here - it has not been a lucky day in the past.
CONFERENCE NEWSThis is Nottingham clarifies the recent contradictory reports on Tamworth's Carl Heggs. Hucknall Town boss Kevin Wilson has confirmed that "We thought we had sorted a deal for Carl, but he has decided to stay at Tamworth".
The UniBond Press Release reports that "On-loan Lee Dodgson, who has been instrumental in Leek Town’s revival, has been recalled by Morecambe".
OLD BOYSThe NL Paper says there was "a man of the match perfromance from substitute Anthony Hargreaves" as Cammell Laird reached the FA Vase semi-final yesterday. Elsewhere, Lee Kissock has moved from Marine to Radcliffe Borough.
4 March 2006
LOCAL ACTIONThe highest level non-league match played today in the Manchester area was on Woodley Sports' all-weather pitch where the home side drew 2-2 with Clitheroe. Sports included several players with Alty connections, as well as having as their manager Ally Pickering, who was briefly an Alty midfielder. Chris Young played as Woodley's captain, in midfield, whilst Mario Daniel was on the right-wing. Up front and the scorer of one of Woodley's goals was Gavin Salmon, an Alty trialist last summer. However, another ex-Robin at Woodley, right-back Dave Swanick, was suspended today whilst former Alty Youth Chris Curley was also missing.
RESULTS GO ALTY'S WAY
Should teams pick up points over the remaining games at the same rate they have earned them up to now (as shown on the league table link above), 36 points (which Alty already have) would be enough to stay up this season. Obviously one of the bottom two teams may improve their average points haul per game and raise that target so another couple of wins (or more) may be necessary for Altrincham.
MATCH OFFToday's game at Moss Lane against York City has been postponed because of overnight snow which has fallen onto a frozen pitch. This is particularly disappointing on a day when Alty could have expected a bumper crowd, both because of York's large following and the absence of competition from Manchester United and City games.
Right: Ged Murphy is recovering well from his thigh injury.
YORK GAMESince Alty lost 5-0 at York, SAM says that "The Robins have transformed almost beyond recognition... Victory is important for Alty, who are at home three times in their next four Conference games and will need to use this opportunity to pick up as many points as possible". Welcome news for the York game is that "Ged Murphy will undergo a late check-up on his thigh problem and could play. Meanwhile, York will be without the suspended James Dudgeon and Jamie Price is unlikely to feature despite returning to training after an ankle injury". SAM adds that "Andy Bishop and Clayton Donaldson are possibly the most dangerous strike-partnership in the Conference, contributing 28 league goals between them during the current campaign".
The York City Forum says that the game at Alty "will not be an easy game against a side whose home record has kept them comfortably clear of the relegation dogfight... Centre back James Dudgeon will miss out after picking up his fifth booking of the season... Club Captain Mark Hotte is likely to be the player who gets his chance"
This is York reports that Alty's "average attendance this season is 1,053 with only Forest Green Rovers (932) and Canvey Island (884) boasting lower crowds. City, meanwhile, are the second-biggest supported club in the Conference and Heathcote is worried that tomorrow's clash might seem like a home game for Billy McEwan's men... The Cheshire club have wobbled in recent weeks, losing their last two matches against Halifax (2-1) and lowly Crawley (2-0)... Cash-strapped Altrincham could only muster 15 available outfield players for their last match against Halifax and have now lost stylish midfielder James Robinson, who has joined Richmond Eagles in Australia... York City will climb into a play-off position by beating Altrincham tomorrow afternoon, regardless of scores elsewhere" and "City boss Billy McEwan is adamant that his Nationwide Conference Manager of the Month award will not curse his team at Altrincham. "It's the reward for all the hard work that's been put in by the players and everybody. I would not have won it without my groundsman, laundry women, office staff, players, board and fans" he said. McEwan added that Altrincham "have got stronger and are a lot better than they were at the start of the season. It was a big thing for them coming up into the Conference but they have acquitted themselves well in the last few months". As for contracts renewals, he added "We're not in a position as a club where we can offer contract extensions in February like some of the bigger boys might do. We also don't know what league we will be in at the moment".
MORE ON BLAKESAM reports that "Alty manager Graham Heathcote has confirmed the signing of Worksop Town left winger Blake Norton after the player agreed terms. The 22-year-old is expected to go straight into the matchday squad for the visit of York City after training with his new teammates last night". Graham said, "We've not had a player like Blake since I became manager, which is an example of the kind of patience I have had to have to get the right player. He's the type of player we've needed for a long time, he's a natural left-sided winger and will bring balance to the team, as well as an ability to go past people. With both him and Colin Potts in the squad we now have the option to play with two out-and-out wingers. We've known about Blake for a long time," he said. We had him here a while ago but ended up deciding not to take him on. This season he's been doing really well for Worksop but now it's about whether he can make the step up to Conference level or not. He's here for the long term and now only time will tell if he can do well in the Conference".
MARK'S OUTLOOKAlso in SAM, Mark Maddox writes that "It felt good to get back into training this week and everyone is looking forward to getting back in action. We had a good session at Moss Lane on Thursday night but it was Jack Frost, there were even a couple of penguins crying in the corner of the pitch. The covers were on parts of the pitch because the surface was really frosty in places, so hopefully the game against York won't get called off. We had Blake Norton training with us for the first time as well and I'm looking forward to seeing him play because he's always done well against us. Scotty said he couldn't remember ever playing against Blake but that's because the only thing Scotty ever saw of him was his backside when he'd gone past him. York will be a tough game but, to be honest, I think the fact that they're a footballing side might actually suit us". As for Crawley and their listing of all their players, Mark said, "I'm sure Graham's felt like doing that to us in the past!... The whole Crawley situation just proves that we have the right attitude here, we are realistic about our aims... Our fans understand the situation as well and no matter what happens on the pitch, they clap you off at the end of the game. A few years ago, when we were struggling at the bottom of the Unibond it was all doom and gloom but the mood's good now... The last time we were in the Conference we were in a similar position at this stage of the season and it ended up going completely wrong. But a major factor in that was Graham leaving and I've always told him that I blame him for our relegation that year! Being serious though, we lost our way big time because we never had anyone who could organise us the way Graham can".
CONFERENCE NEWSThe Argus says that "Crawley Town are in financial crisis. The entire squad is up for sale and chairman Chas Majeed has told the club's employees, including office staff, that they will have to take a 50% wage cut. The players are still owed their February salaries and boss John Hollins admitted he does not know which of them will turn up for tomorrow's home game against Conference leaders Accrington Stanley. There is likely to be a mass exodus of players, some of whom are under contract until the end of next season... Majeed sais, "At the moment 90 per cent of the bills go on wages. There are a lot of players who are just here for the cash. They don't care about the football or their careers. They are here because we pay good wages for 52 weeks of the year". The report adds that one senior player, who didn't wish to be identified, said "It was horrible because you're talking about players losing their living. A couple of the lads were in tears and were wondering how they could go home and face their wives because they won't be able to pay the mortgage this month. One of the others has had to raid his child's savings to pay the bills". Bullsnews says that "Should the 90% figure be correct, Crawley may well be subject to a penalty from the Conference for exceeding the squad budget rules. It is reported that the full squad trained today, but it is believed seven of the players have already indicated that they will leave early next week". Indeed, the exodus seems to have started with the Crawley forum reporting that "Simon Wormull has left the club and has joined Lewes".
The BBC says that "Aldershot have allowed teenage defender Dave Winfield to extend his loan at Staines Town for a further month. He has made nine first-team appearances for Terry Brown's side this season, including four in the Conference". And "Cheltenham Town defender Michael Taylor is to join Forest Green Rovers on loan after being given a free transfer... Taylor will spend an initial month with Conference club Forest Green."
NL Daily reports that "Newport County have pulled off quite a coup by signing experienced duo John Brough, recently released by Aldershot Town, and ex-Welsh international Andy Legg"
3 March 2006
BLAKE SIGNS FOR ALTYAltrincham have signed Blake Norton, a left winger from Worksop Town. Born on 10th December 1983, Blake joins Altrincham following the recent elimination of The Tigers from the FA Trophy. He originally joined Worksop on 20th August 2004 from Rossendale United. He had previously played for Chester City and Stockport County before joining Marine in January 2003 but very soon afterwards he signed for Trafford. Blake then moved on to Stalybridge Celtic for six weeks before rejoining Trafford and then Rossendale United. He joined Northwich Vics from Worksop for an undisclosed sum in June 2005 before returning to The Tigers. He is available for selection for tomorrow's game against York City.
On the Worksop forum, Blake writes, "Tonight I have signed for Altrincham FC. The opportunity was to good to turn down. It's 5 miles from my home and it is a step up into the Conference National".
MARK ON YORKIn today's Non-League Paper, Alty skipper Mark Maddox responds to reports that York City's top scorer Andy Bishop has yet to be offered a contract for next season. "He can come to Alty if he wants, no problem! ... Bishop's a good player but the other lad up front with him, Clayton Donaldson, is a good player as well. We've got our own strike partnership in Colin Little and Rod Thornley though, so hopefully our front two can cause them a few problems". Mark went on, "York are the best team we've played... They just took us apart [at KitKat Crescent]. They got balls in the box dead early and it could have been six or seven. I think we've improved since then... We'll learn from what happened at their ground... All we wanted to do is stay in the Conference. We've got to get a few more wins to do that but I'm convinced we can".
FCUM FRIENDLY?In SAM Alty director Grahame Rowley thanks "all fans and helpers who made sure Saturday went smoothly [when FC United of Manchester played at Moss Lane against Holker OB]. We always try and do our best to accommodate other clubs. It's about being part of the community, so it would good if we could arrange for FC United to come down and play a pre-season friendly this summer".
FCUM's general manager Andy Walsh said, that his club is investigating an extended ground share at Bury but "Moss Lane is certainly another option. It's in the Trafford area, it's got good transport links and people are familiar with the ground". He went on to thank "Altrincham for the help they gave us [last Saturday], from Graham Heathcote down to the stewards and service staff".
FINAL AT MOSS LANEThe UniBond Cheshire Senior Cup Final between Stalybridge Celtic and Witton Albion will be at Moss Lane on Tuesday 14th March, 7.45pm.
NEXT OPPONENTSThe manager of our opponents on Saturday, York City, "Billy McEwan is the Nationwide Conference manager of the month for February. McEwan wins the award after four straight wins which have lifted his side back into play-off contention. McEwan has transformed York's fortunes during his first full season in charge, despite the club's ongoing financial problems".
This is York confirms that "Andy Bishop, 23, has shot to the top of the Conference goal charts after scoring in each of the Minstermen's four matches last month, culminating in a hat-trick during the 5-1 victory against Forest Green Rovers on Saturday".
The York City site says that "Club directors, Jason McGill and Sophie McGill travelled to London yesterday to meet with Football Foundation executives at the organisation's Gloucester Place offices. Positive and productive discussions took place regarding the Club's delayed payment of this year's interest on the £2 million loan acquired to buy back Bootham Crescent. Various proposals were presented by the Club directors and these will be discussed at a meeting of the Football Stadia Improvement Fund's Board of Trustees in mid-April. At this point, the Club's Board of directors then expect to receive a decision from the Football Foundation on how to proceed forward".
OLD BOYThe former Alty forward Matt McNeil (29) has moved on loan from Hyde United to Macclesfield Town till the end of the season.. 'I've seen Matt play numerous times. He's six-feet, five and very quick and I'm pleased he's joined us', manager Brian Horton told the club's website.
CONFERENCE NEWS"Crawley Town have put their entire playing staff on the transfer list, reports BBC Southern Counties Radio. The decision was made by chairman Chas Majeed in an attempt to restructure the club and reduce staff wages. The players have been advised to contact the PFA as the club is now in breach of individual contracts. It is not clear how many players will turn up for training on Friday ahead of Saturday's match with Accrington". Sources on the Crawley forum claim that wages have also been cut at the Sussex club. And Bullsnews adds that "Should the breach of contract be confirmed, the players would be free to leave the club without the constraints of the transfer window... Should Crawley leave the Conference before the completion of the season, their record would be removed". In Alty's case that would mean the loss of just one point.
A transcript of a radio interview with Crawley owner Chaz Majeed (CM), by Tim Durrans (TD) on the Crawley forum adds further detail. Amongst other things, Majeed admits that wages have been cut and that that is a breach of contract. He agrees that the club has been paying wages which are too high but said the club would not return to part-time status under him. He admitted to having sunk £800,000 into the club, which is the Conference limit on investment.
The BBC says that "Chester City have confirmed the names of six players they have made available for loan moves before the deadline later this month. Keeper Stephane Gillet, defender Luke Dimech, midfielders Craig Dove, Tom Curle and Abdou El Kholti and striker Marcus Richardson are all up for grabs. Richardson is reported to have attracted interest from Conference sides Aldershot, Woking and Southport".
"Gravesend and Northfleet's on-loan striker Mark Rawle wants to earn a permanent contract at the club. The 26-year-old signed joined Fleet from Woking in January for the rest of the season loan. Rawle told BBC Radio Kent: "I'm trying to put myself in the good books of the manager and if he wants to offer me something at the end of the season that's good for me".
Meanwhile, "Notts County striker Matthew Williams is to stay on loan at Tamworth until the end of April. Williams has had his loan spell extended after scoring five times in his first seven games for the Conference strugglers... Williams has scored just once for County since joining the club from Manchester United in March 2004".
"Forest Green Rovers have completed the signing of Darren Jones after the former Bristol City and Newport County centre-back was released from jail. Jones, 22, has agreed a deal until the end of the season... Jones was jailed for assault last November".
Those nominated for Conference Player of the Month in February are Andy Bishop (York), George Boyd (Stevenage), John Grant (Halifax), Paul Mullin (Accrington) and Andy Williams (Hereford).
Right: Alty's Karl Munroe is returning to fitness, but was denied a run-out on Wednesday when Alty Reserves' match was postponed.
2 March 2006
GET DOWN TO MOSS LANESAM interviews Graham Heathcote before Saturday's game at home to York City. "York will bring a lot of fans with them on Saturday and it's absolutely vital to get as many of our own fans in as possible so that it doesn't end up feeling like an away game. Support has been fantastic this season and our attendances are up 50 per cent on last year. But my message to all fans would be 'get yourselves down here on Saturday', the job's not done yet and we have to keep picking up points so everyone needs to play their part", the Alty manager said. He added that "It's tough trying to keep people fit in such a demanding league and it's a struggle trying to maintain this squad size-wise. For sure, we need to replace James Robinson - his departure's been a major blow because he had scored some very important goals and would have gone on to score more. We are always looking to bring in new players but finances are still very tight. Every week is a financial struggle at this football club and people need to understand that". The report adds that "Heathcote refused to be drawn on rumours linking him with a move for Worksop left winger Blake Norton". But Graham was more forthcoming about Saturday's opposition, "I watched York against Forest Green on Saturday and they are on a great run at the moment. They are the one team that have really deserved to take us apart this season and can include the two English National Game strikers in their team, so that shows just how dangerous they are... You have to earn the right to play football and we need to be able to match them on the day".
York City "goalkeeper, David Stockdale, is set to join Worksop Town for a one month loan period... having been unable to get back in to City's first team squad since he sustained an injury to his neck".
Above: Back in September, Alty lost 5-0 at KitKat Crescent. Here, the Alty fans watch a throw in by York's Price. Only five of the Alty eleven who started that game are likely to start on Saturday: Coburn, Maddox, Band, Owen and Little, whilst Adams and Rose may do so.
This is York says that "York City will travel to Altrincham on Saturday hoping to clinch a fifth successive league victory for the first time since 1984". Meanwhile, "The club have announced that they are expecting six-figure losses over this season and have failed to meet the first £100,000 repayment on the £2million Football Foundation loan, which was due last month. JM Packaging, whose company secretary and director Rob McGill is the father of City directors Jason and Sophie McGill, has also informed the Trust that it requires assurances that a £300,000 loan... can be met by its January 2007 settlement date". Former York City Supporters' Trust chairman Richard Snowball said, "The reality of the situation is that the club has been under-funded since day one and, if it wasn't for the £300,000 loan put in to bankroll the club last year by JM Packaging, we probably would not be in existence now so, if Trust members and supporters want it to remain a supporter-owned club, they have to find ways of funding the £500,000 shortfall and meeting the annual £100,000 repayments. One simple answer is that if 2,000 regular supporters pledged £25 per month for the remaining ten months of the year and then £5 every month, starting in January 2007, for the next eight years, then we would have the required money and the Trust could retain ownership. But "Snowball added that great efforts during the last three years to halt a slide in Trust membership from 2,000 members to just under 1,300 have proven fruitless with people's interest waning after the club had been saved". He also revealed that "We have nearly 40 members who make regular donations to the Trust. They contribute more than £5,000 per year" But he "ruled out the possibility of launching a shareholding scheme to raise money, saying: 'You have to abide by Financial Services Authority rules and regulations and it cost AFC Wimbledon more than £100,000 to set up. That's not really an option as the Trust do not have that kind of spare money'" .
YOUTHGeorge Heslop's report on last Saturday's youth team win at Leigh is in the youth section.
CHESHIRE NEWSFrom Bullsnews is confirmation that our neighbours "Chester are to clear seven players out in order to bring in more faces for their relegation fight. In order to adhere to squad budget rules, new boss Mark Wright must clear players out to bring in the faces he needs. All seven will be made available for loan to all League Two and Conference sides. Chester have lost 12 of their last 13 games, sliding down to just three points off the relegation zone".
CONFERENCE NEWSTamworth "would like it known that Carl Heggs is a Tamworth player and will remain a Tamworth player till the end of the season. An offer was made for his services, and Mark Cooper is delighted that Carl as pledged 100% support to Mark and the club and is looking forward to helping Tamworth put some points on the board and climb the table". This follows press reports that Hucknall Town had signed Heggs.
"Forest Green Rovers are refusing to release Bath City’s target Scott Rogers because of a minor injury crisis at The Lawn". Bath manager John Relish said, "Fair enough, Forest Green want to keep him because they haven't got cover at the moment. We're just hoping he becomes available soon" reports This is Bath.
The BBC claims that "Southport manager Liam Watson is to bolster his side's defence with the return of Crewe defender Mark Roberts. The 22-year-old will start a second loan spell of the season at Haig Avenue next Monday after his current loan deal with Chester City expires".
Cambridge News reports that "Nick Pomery hopes fans will get a chance to decide by the summer whether Cambridge United should stay at the Abbey or move elsewhere. The club's finance director told members at Cambridge Fans United's annual meeting last night that consultants were looking at both options on behalf of the club and he hoped to have their findings shortly". He added that "the longer the club goes on in this form of limbo where we don't know if we're staying or going isn't good for anyone... You're never going to please everybody which ever option we decide to do but we've got to get as many people behind it as we possibly can... I appreciate there's a big emotional attachment to the Abbey but we have to do what's in the best interests of the football club... Pomery added that he hoped the deal being thrashed out between the club and Abbey owners Bideawhile over the ownership of the ground would not drag on too much longer... But Pomery said both sides had been forced to make compromises... 'We were bankrupt and we sold our ground to a property developer who had absolutely no obligation to do anything for the club. While John Howard is a director of the club and Bideawhile, there are other directors of Bideawhile who have no connection to this club. That's the reality we're dealing with and we have to get a solution where everyone gets something out of it'".
And "United are calling on fans to help them get plans for a money-spinning pop concert off the ground this summer... Nick Pomery has said profits from the event would help boost manager Rob Newman's budget for next season... 'It's the biggest potential money earner for the club and it's the single most important thing we're going to do this year', said Pomery.
Cambridge News also says that "Craig Westcarr has been warned he must find the goalscoring touch if he is to have any chance of earning a contract with Cambridge United for next season". Manager Rob Newman said: "I've had this conversation with him and if he doesn't score the goals between now and the end of the season, it doesn't look too good for Westie... It's down to the number of goals he scores". Newman added "that he was looking to work with a squad of only 18 players next season in a bid to find consistency for United's planned bid for promotion... 'You look at successful sides and they use very few players. There's no way you'll get consistency if you keep swapping your teams'", said the manager.
The Manchester Evening News has a feature on Sammy McIlroy's caretaker's role at Morecambe where the local beach is being used for training during the current frosty spell. He admitted that "It's going to be a big ask to overtake Accrington... The pressure is on Accrington, not us". The report adds that McIlroy and assistant Mark Lillis "would like to be involved at a higher level after their time is up at Morecambe".
INTERNATIONALThe FA announces that "The Four Nations International Football Tournament is scheduled to take place between 23-27 May 2006, run by The Football Association at three venues across Sussex. The tournament will involve representative sides from England, Scotland, Wales and the Republic of Ireland... The full match schedule for the Tournament will also be unveiled on Wednesday".
1 March 2006
RESERVESTonight's Alty Reserves' game at home to Guiseley was called off shortly before kick-off as the referee deemed the pitch unfit after last night's frost and the rain earlier in the week. The Yorkshire side were already at Moss Lane when the decision was made.
SATURDAYFirst-team manager Graham Heathcote hopes that both Colin Potts and Chris Adams will be available for selection on Saturday for the match against York City.
GET YOUR COPYThe new Conference football magazine, "For the Love of the Game" has produced its first issue, copies of which will be available in the Robins' Shop next Saturday. At £3.50, it comprises 92 pages in full colour with coverage of every club in the Conference - National, North and South - including Altrincham. Copies can also be ordered by phoning the club (928-1045) or by e-mail. For details of the magazine click here.
CONFERENCE NEWSThis is York reports that "City hat-trick hero Andy Bishop has admitted that he is waiting to hear whether the club want to keep him next season... Should City offer the 23-year-old forward an extension to his current deal, under the same terms, then Bishop could only leave the Minstermen for a transfer fee because he is too young to leave for free under the Bosman ruling. Bury offered City £20,000 for the former Walsall striker during the January transfer window and he is likely to attract interest again at the end of this season". Bishop told the Evening Press: "At the moment, I am out of contract at the end of the season and nobody's spoken to me. I've not got a clue what's going on and I don't think anybody does as we are all out of contract this summer but it's down to the manager and the board if they want to speak to me". However, "City's parlous financial problems were the hot topics on the agenda at the York City Supporters' Trust board meeting... Trust spokesman Paul Rawnsley said: 'The Trust board is confident that a solution can be put in place and will work to progress matters as quickly as possible'".
Scarborough's local cup match at York was postponed on Tuesday night preventing Paul Warhurst's debut for the Seadogs. In a Lancashire FA United Co-op Challenge Cup game, Southport won 4-2 at Accrington Stanley.
BBC Sport says that "Cambridge manager Rob Newman is keen to sign teenage Bolton keeper Sam Ashton on a short-term deal", whilst "Tamworth have clinched the signing of experienced striker Tommy Johnson on loan from Scunthorpe United. The former Celtic and Derby forward is to spend the rest of the season with the Conference club".
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