Altrincham Football Club News Archive
April 2006

30 April 2006


Come down to Moss Lane this evening for the STAR Player of the Year and Race Night -in the Noel White Suite. Doors open at 7pm and racing begins at 7.30pm. Admission is free to all.

Presentations for the Altrincham FC Player of The Year will take place after the 4th race. As STAR's Mark Murray says, "This is a vital event for the club to raise funds to take us through the close's always a great night so if you've never been to a race night give it a go this year."


Football is a sport; a form of relaxation. But this end of a season, when Alty should be celebrating staying up in the Conference - a magnificent achievement on our budget - we find ourselves reading of promotion and relegation chaos not just involving us in our own division, the Conference National. We read of clubs trying to undermine other clubs both publicly and behind the scenes; of certain ill-informed parts of the media suggesting totally honourable club officials should resign; of accusations and counter accusations. Is this what the supporters pay their good money for?


Alty chairman Geoff Goodwin (right) has today expressed his sincere thanks to all of the Altrincham fans for their magnificent support over the last season and, not least, yesterday at Woking, where the support was tremendous, even when trailing 0-3. Geoff said that "nothing that can happen to Altrincham FC over the next few weeks will break the spirit of the Football Club. The fans' support yesterday [at Woking] proved that they are 100% behind the Club in its present situation". Geoff added that Altrincham FC is an honourable club. With our inherited money problems, he pointed out that Altrincham could have taken the easy route into administration but because the board believes in paying its debts, it has battled against financial adversity, keeping within an annual budget and chipping away what it owes, to get to a point where, financially, things are looking much better than they used to be, though we are still in need of all the support we can get.

Geoff went on to refer to the recent unwarranted attacks on the Club by the Non-League Paper. Geoff has refused to answer the paper's recent requests for interviews and has urged a boycott of the newspaper by Altrincham fans. The "NLP has shown disrespect to our manager and secretary, and therefore the whole club, by telling him to jump on his sword; that was a disgrace". Geoff also pointed out that in their editorial last week the NLP made great play of the "fact" that the registration form asks whether a player has "ever" played abroad and the NLP went on to say, in as many words, that anyone should be able to deal with that simple question. In fact, Geoff points out that the registration form does not even use the word "ever" in the sentence to which the NLP refers so the article's whole point is undermined.

Today's NL Paper at least goes a small way to redressing its gross imbalance of recent issues by printing two letters in support of Altrincham's case. It also has an interview with Tony Kirkland, the former Secretary of Burton Albion, whom it cited last week as the "honourable" example which Altrincham's secretary should follow as Mr Kirkland had resigned over a registration case some years ago. But Mr Kirkland quite clearly says today that, "The Burton situation was nothing like the Altrincham case" and goes on to explain that his resignation turned on the non-receipt of a registration from by the Conference and that he resigned because "We couldn't prove otherwise".

On the positive side, Geoff wishes to express his really sincere thanks to numerous other football clubs, and supporters of other clubs, for rallying to the Alty cause. In particular he picked out the support of fellow Conference teams Grays Athletic, Cambridge United and York City. This whole affair "has ripped my heart out" said Geoff. After this affair is over, Geoff will make very clear the role of certain other clubs in this affair.


All that is good about Conference football was seen yesterday at Woking, where a non-segregated crowd gave great support to both sides. At one point, Woking fans even moved in with the Alty choir to express support for our current plight.


But there is another side to football at present. In Sunday's NL Paper, Tamworth boss Mark Cooper said, after his side failed over the season to muster enough points to get out of the relegation places, "Altrincham used an ineligible player so I cannot see how the FA can possibly overturn the decision made by the Conference, There will be lawsuits flying around if they do". Interestingly, the BBC has been very sheepish about saying that Tamworth have been relegated - why?


This weekend's UniBond Press Release states:"The quagmire that currently surrounds the question of International Clearance following the deduction of eighteen points from Conference club Altrincham reared its ugly head again this week. An anonymous letter had been circulated to relegation threatened UniBond League Premier Division clubs alleging an international clearance irregularity regarding a Leek Town player Ryan Brown. Immediately after the announcement of the Altrincham decision a formal complaint was lodged with the League by Radcliffe Borough which could have resulted in Leek Town losing thirteen points. The case was heard on Thursday evening when, after all the facts were considered, the decision was that Mr Brown’s registration as a bona fide player of Leek Town had not breached League rules and that the matter had already been appropriately dealt with by the Football Association under FIFA regulations. The situation, however, again highlighted the need for a review of procedures relevant to International Clearance and an improvement in the communication process to all relevant parties".

Underlining that it's not just in the Conference where promotion and relegation chaos reigns, this weekend's UniBondPress Release states: "Frickley Athletic have lodged an appeal with the FA against the decision of the Conference not to accept the club in to the Conference North should they win the UniBond League play-offs because Athletic’s ground does not meet the required standard. In view of the appeal, which the UniBond League fully supports, the decision has been taken that the play-offs will go ahead as scheduled. In the event of Frickley Athletic winning the play-offs they would be eligible for promotion until such time as their appeal was heard but if the appeal was subsequently unsuccessful then the League would recognise the club that Frickley had beaten in the play-off Final as the winner of the play-offs and therefore qualify for the second promotion spot". Frickley was a Conference ground from 1980-87 and is a hardworking club battling on, honestly, with very limited resources. Many at Altrincham will wish them well in their Appeal against this decision.


Alty chairman Geoff Goodwin, the owner of Go Goodwins Coaches, has often told Alty fans - and even his wife - that his first love is his coaches. So whilst the football side of life has been causing Geoff immense grief in the last few weeks, he was delighted that his Van Hool T917 coach, as used by the English Cricket Board to ferry visiting cricket tourists around the country, won the "Best Executive Coach", "Best Van Hool Coach in the Country" and "Best Uniform" awards recently at the Brighton Coach Rally. The winning coach, pictured above at Woking yesterday, has satellite TV, personal audio, Playstations and other top of the range facilities. Yesterday, Geoff himself drove the coach to Woking carrying the Altrincham team for the game at Kingfield. The steward who helped him park the vehicle took some convincing that its driver was actually the visiting football team's chairman! Go Goodwins will be ferrying the visiting Pakistani Test team this summer, having done so last year with the Australians. But the next job for the Van Hool is to ferry Gladys Knight and the Pips on their UK tour.


The Lancashire League, in which Altrincham reserves play, has updated its League table. The Reserves are at Moss Lane this Saturday (6th) at 1pm against Barrow. Please come along and support them!


Alty Youth are away today at Bootle. On Tuesday they are away at Woodley Sports in the first leg of the Subsidiary Cup Final and then on Thursday (4th), the second leg will be played at Wythenshawe Town - both games are at 6.30pm. On Sunday (7th) they are at Ashton Athletic's ground playing the Open Cup Final against Marine (2.30pm).


Mario Daniel and Gavin Salmon, now of Woodley Sports, will be involved in the UniBond One promotion play-offs whilst Chris Downey's Mossley gained promotion yesterday to the UniBond Premier. Congratulations also to our old UniBond Northern Premier rivals Blyth Spartans on lifting the title and gaining promotion to Conference North and likewise to Northwich Vics for lifting the Conference North title. Good luck too, to local side Droylsden in the Conference North promotion play-offs. But commiserations to our neighbours Leigh RMI who are relegated to the UniBond Premier. Indeed, the NL Daily confirms that "The Conference Disciplinary Committee has deducted the point RMI earned through their 3-3 draw with Worksop on March 18th. RMI keeper John Lamb was loaned to Bradford Park Avenue, but due to an injury to James Coates was recalled for the Worksop game. Due to an administrative error on the original loan form, the recall was not permitted and therefore the player was ineligible to play in the game... Leigh’s excellent 2-1 win over champions Northwich Victoria was therefore irrelevant".


This site's match report is here - a couple of matchday pictures are lower down this page, with more to follow later.

The Woking official site has a match report on yesterday's game, which included "probably some of the best we’ve played the whole year. Alty played their part too, with some superb support from their fans and some fine attacking moves which probably deserved more reward than the single goal they scored... The penalty looked debatable – Alty fans would probably use a different adjective! – but, after furious protests and a couple of bookings, Justin tucked the penalty away to make it 2-0".

29 April 2006


Above: Alty's post-match celebrations.

Emotional scenes greeted the final whistle as Alty players and supporters saluted each other at the end of a season which should have ended in celebration at the magnificent feat of survival as a part-time side with the lowest budget in the Conference. Instead, the rejoicing was muted, as we have a massive points deduction hanging over us because James Robinson's previous club did not get international clearance for him. As a result, Altrincham do not know in which league they will be competing next season.

Above: No.17, Watson's freekick beats Coburn and the Alty wall.

Match report here

  • League table
  • Alty line-ups and bookings
  • Alty player statistics


    The Manchester Evening News has an intriguing quote from "an FA spokesman" in Friday's edition. The spokesman says, "We are waiting to hear from Altrincham regarding any appeal. Once we do, we will schedule a hearing as soon as possible. We told Altrincham they hadn't a case to answer because they hadn't breached FIFA or FA regulations, which is why we initially charged Accrington. The Conference have their own rules".

    But last Monday night, the Conference's John Moules told us on Radio 5 [in words re-quoted in the MEN] that "Unfortunately, the rules that we have to go by are those rules laid down by the FA. We have to follow them religiously". He explicitly indicated the rules applied to Altrincham were "not the Conference's own rules". Indeed, as this website has quoted more than once previously, the first sentence of the Conference "Rule 6, Players, Status of Players" quite explicitly states "The FA rules will apply in respect of all matters concerning players".

    So, if the FA is now openly saying Alty does not have "a case to answer because they hadn't breached FIFA or FA regulations" and if the Conference rule book says "The FA rules will apply in respect of all matters concerning players", and if Mr Moules has confirmed on national radio that the Conference rules are not his own league's rules but the FA's, why are we finishing an otherwise successful season in which we have won the points to stay in this division in a state of trepidation at an 18 point deduction? Or, have I missed something in all this?


    The following is my view and not necessarily that of Altrincham FC.:

    The case of a small non-league club lodging an appeal with the FA against a threatened 18 point deduction, imposed when that club acquired a player from another English club, has elicited supports from all sorts of people, including:

  • support from the c8,000 who have signed a web petition started by a York City suppoter. The signatories are drawn from all over this country and beyond
  • support from the local Trafford Metropolitan Council councillors
  • support from the local Member of Parliament, Graham Brady, who has even written to the FA
  • support from many other non-league clubs, including several in the Conference National and notably Grays Athletic, whose vice-chairman has offered to fund a QC for the club's appeal
  • support from the local press such as the Sale & Altrincham Messenger, which devoted several pages to the issue this week and even changed its masthead to red as a mark of support
  • support from national radio, notably Five Live, whose Mark Saggars interviewed the interested parties last Monday and clearly supported the club's cause
  • even the Conference itself, which actually imposed the deduction, through its Head of Operations, John Moules, describes the 18 points as punishment as "draconian" on its own website and Mr Moules has explained on radio that the deduction had been applied because they were "unfortunately" obliged to implement rules were "not the Conference's own", but the FA's, and had to be obeyed

    But one public voice has consistently denigrated the club in question, Altrincham FC, in its leader columns. For the second issue running The Non-League Paper, an otherwise informative and campaigning medium, has slated the club. This Friday's edition stated: As the NLP made clear last week, registration forms for Conference players ask simply if a player has ever appeared for a club outside this country. That should be easy enough for any player to understand - and any club to implement. The punishment for not doing so, as Altrincham have discovered, is quite brutal - the clubs loses the points it gained while that player turned out for them.

    To ask the Conference to waive its rules, or appeal to the FA to effectively over-rule what was an inevitable decision by the league, is just not sense. Equally, it makes little sense for the Conference... to do nothing more than stick by those rules".

    The NLP goes on to cite Hereford boss Graham Turner as pointing out "that League clubs just don't seem to have this problem [with international clearance]. With more Conference clubs going full-time next season, says Turner, both the league and clubs must discover how League clubs avoid this".

    So the NLP is effectively saying that small clubs, like Altrincham, are not sufficiently organised to implement the registration procedures. Whilst that might be said to be true of the club that failed to get Robinson's clearance before he joined Altrincham, the NLP's case seems to rest on the paper's surmise that Altrincham did not "ask simply if a player [Robinson] had ever played abroad". Firstly, what evidence do they have as to whether this question was asked or not? Secondly, why in any case should a club acquiring a player from another English club have to ask that question?, And, thirdly, even if the issue were as simple as the NLP suggests, what would asking the question "have you ever appeared for a club outside this country?" actually prove? If the player said "yes", how would that "simple question" tell you whether his previous English club had got international clearance or not?

    So, why is the NLP taking this rigid "rules are rules line" and even claiming that an appeal to the FA should not be allowed? Rules (laws, in fact) used to tell English courts to hang people, or transport them for life, for stealing sheep until someone was brave enough to stand up and show the unjustness of those rules. Why is the NLP not campaigning to get the international clearance rules changed? The rules so beloved of the NLP are the same rules which John Moules himself openly volunteered, on Radio 5, that his Conference league were already actively seeking to change. Why is the NLP accusing Altrincham of not asking questions which it does not know were asked or not and, why did it disgracefully suggest last week that the club's secretary and manager should resign? I am a regular reader of the NLP and until last week had a very favourable view of it and the excellent service it provides to non-league supporters. I hope it will soon see the error of its ways in this case and back the cause of common sense and justice.

    John Laidlar.


    In the NL Paper, Stuart Coburn talks of the threatened points deduction; "We're all still devastated, shocked and upset about the whole thing. It was hard to believe then and it is hard to believe now. It's a big kick in the teeth for us all but with the wheels of our appeal now in motion, we've got hope. We've got to pray common sense comes out on top and that the petition (, that has so many signatures already, helps our cause. It is a boost to everyone at Altrincham that so many other fans are keen to play their part and can see the injustice of the situation". However, Stuart added, "Altrincham as a club and Graham Heathcote have been fantastic to me and I know the other lads feel the same way. If the worst does happen, then I can't see anyone wanting to go".


    The Woking News & Mail reports on the Cards' win over FGR "in front of the lowest Conference crowd at Kingfield since Woking entered the league in 1992, the only sour note was Tom Hutchinson’s straight red card in the 37th minute for a foul-... 'a disgraceful decision' in Cockerill’s view... Cockerill admitted he questioned his players’ commitment two or three games ago and he added: 'Maybe I was a week or two late in doing that and I hold my hands up when I make a mistake,” he said. But I don’t want to get carried away with the last six weeks when it hasn’t gone so well for us. That was down to many things, including a lack of players and a lack of confidence... Eight to 10 weeks ago we were looking a really good side and then all of a sudden we looked like a poor side... I’ve put so much belief in them (my players) and I’ve told them they’re going to win the Trophy final. If we can win on Saturday (at home to Altrincham) we can go into it feeling confident and saying to Grays ‘right, come on then, take us on’... At the minute we feel very good'". Also, "Anthony Elding was an interested spectator at Kingfield on Tuesday, sparking debate as to whether he will become a transfer target for Glenn Cockerill this summer".

  • League table


  • Cambridge U. 1 Dagenham & R. 2
  • Exeter C. 1 Scarborough 1
  • Forest GR 2 Stevenage B. 0
  • Gravesend & N. 0 Burton Albion 1
  • Grays A. 1 Morecambe 2
  • Halifax T. 0 Canvey I. 2
  • Kidderminster H. 2 Accrington S. 0
  • Southport 0 Aldershot T. 1
  • Tamworth 0 Crawley T. 0
  • Woking 3 ALTRINCHAM 1
  • York C. 1 Hereford U. 3


    The BBC says that "Scarborough expect to come out of administration early next month as they fight to stay in the Conference. 'We are on course to exit administration', confirmed chairman Malcolm Reynolds. 'We should achieve that by the middle of next week, and certainly by the deadline set by the Conference'".

    "Alex Inglethorpe, manager of Exeter City, has heralded the impact made by new recruit Matt Gill, and admitted he wants to keep the midfielder next season. Gill is only one of a handful of players who is out of contract at the end of the season". Inglethorpe said, "It is unusual to get a combination where someone can close down as well as pass. Matt is one of the best I have seen at doing both", he told This is Exeter.

    The Conference reports that "Tamworth face a vital match against Crawley Town on Saturday but will have to line-up without any strikers... following an injury to Tris Whitman earlier this week when the forward injured his ankle after falling down the stairs at home. With Danny Davidson and Tommy Johnson both out of contention due to hamstring injuries and Matty Williams' registration running out Cooper is hoping Bob Taylor can recover from a sore foot in time to play. 'I didn't realise Matty's loan spell would end at this point until a couple of weeks ago when I discovered he'd only been registered for 90 days', Cooper told The only other attacker Cooper can call on is Carl Heggs, who is recovering from a broken hand. 'Carl would need to play with his hand in a cast, but there would be a danger if he fell awkwardly', added Cooper. 'The decision will be down to Carl, but he'll be putting himself on the line if he does. It might be we have to adopt the old Italian system and play five in defence and five midfield. Otherwise I'll have to play myself up front'".


    NL Daily reports that "Vauxhall Motors are facing a ground crisis which could threaten their Nationwide North status. The Motormen have been rocked by the news that their plans for a new grandstand at Rivacre Park will not receive the necessary funding from the Football Stadium Improvement Fund (FSIF). The club are required to erect a 500-seat grandstand by April 1st, 2007 in order to retain their membership of the Football Conference. But despite receiving planning permission for the stand at the south-east end of the pitch, the club are now facing a financial dilemma after the FSIF told them they would only provide funding for a 250-seat stand". Club chairman Alan Bartlam said, "The Conference require us to have a 500-seat stand in place by 2007 and have told us all along that funding would not be an issue. But the FSIF have said that because we are only a level two club, they can only provide funding for the 250-seat stand... The worst case scenario would see us having to withdraw from the league in 2007... We need the Conference to take action because at the moment what they expect and what we can achieve are two very different things", he told IC Cheshire
    28 April 2006


    In Metro News Graham Heathcote says of the James Robinson affair, "My conscience is clear and I believe James Robinson was being totally honest with me when he signed. All sorts of people say I should resign. But that's an issue I will address when everything is finalised. If we lose the appeal though I believe it will have massive implications for the work of all football secretaries. But there are clubs working very hard to ensure Altrincham are relegated".


    Connor Murphy and Mike Crockett at the Sale and Altrincham Messenger have done Altrincham proud in this week's issue, which devotes its whole front page to the football club and its threatened points deduction of 18 points. The paper has even adopted a red masthead for the first time in its history to show its support for the club. It has also dedicated two inside pages and most of the back two sports pages to the club. Even local MP, Graham Brady, has lent his support saying, "I have written to the FA in support of Altrincham's appeal against this grossly unfair punishment. I sincerely hope the FA will take a common sense approach to this. It would be a complete travesty if, after a hard-fought season, Altrincham were relegated".

    The paper publishes letters from Alty supporters Gary Warrington, Jeremy Longsden and Thomas Highland Hope, as well as a superb list of "18 reasons to take a stand" against the 18 points deduction. There is also an interview with Grays vice-chairman Mike Woodward who has offered Alty a top QC at his own expense to help fight the club's cause. Mr Woodward says, "we are a club that has come out of the ashes like Altrincham so I wanted to do whatever I could to help. Even with the problems hanging over their heads at the moment, they made us feel very welcome at Moss Lane, just as they did in last year's Trophy game. It's a great club and they did not deserve what they got from the Conference".

    Don't delay, get your SAM today!


    On the Conference Forum a Maidenhead source says that "At a hearing at Conference HQ, Maidenhead United were deducted a total of two points for fielding Solomon Taiwo in seven games at the start of the season. A fine (which could have reached £7k) was waived. The Conference commended the club for the way they conducted themselves and have said they are looking to review the procedures regarding checking player eligibility... The fact is Soloman was signed by Maidenhead from another UK club at the start of the season. He never told the club that during the close season he had played in the USA. He stated his last club was UK based".

    Taiwo then moved to Weymouth whose website reported on Thursday that "Conference South officials today insisted the Soloman Taiwo saga has yet to be resolved. Operations Drector John Moules confirmed no decision has been made on whether to deduct Weymouth four points for fielding the midfielder with-out international clearance. The Terras won the championship following victory at Bishop's Stortford last weekend and are expecting to be awarded the title trophy at the Wessex Stadium on Saturday. Chief executive Gary Calder revealed earlier this week that Weymouth had been informed there was no threat of points being taken away. But Moules has denied this, claiming a decision will made at a league meeting to be held today which Calder will attend. Moules told Echosport: 'No decision has been taken by the Conference and to say otherwise would be incorrect. I appreciate Weymouth supporters want to see the matter resolved quickly, as do I. But the issue is extremely complicated because it involves a number of clubs, not just Weymouth. In addition, there are things like appeal hearings and protest boards we also have to look at and take into consideration. All I can stress is the matter has not been resolved at this stage although we hope to know more later this week'. A four-point deduction for Weymouth, who currently enjoy a five-point lead over St Albans City with one game to go, would leave Garry Hill's side requiring victory over Lewes this Saturday to guarantee the title. Taiwo joined Weymouth from Maidenhead United last September having previously had a short spell playing in America for Fort Wayne Fever... Both Weymouth and Maidenhead claim they were unaware of the midfielder's spell in America, with the latter claiming he denied playing abroad when he joined them last summer. The matter came to light when Taiwo's registration was reviewed by the Football Association earlier this month after he was booked playing for current club Windsor and Eton. Other teams caught up in the affair include Chesham United and Tooting and Mitcham. Fears were raised Weymouth would be punished after Conference side Altrincham were docked 18 points for breaching international clearance regulations".


    Alty's only injury problems for Saturday's game at Woking are Val Owen and Stephen Rose, who will again be out of contention. Meanwhile Woking's website quotes manager Glenn Cockerill after the midweek win over FGR. “It was a fantastic performance. It just goes to show how quickly things can change in football. Until about two weeks ago it was all gloom but we began to show against Accrington that we were picking up and now we’ve had two excellent performances against Aldershot and Forest Green. People were beginning – very foolishly – to write us off for the Final, but now we’ve had some decent results and have shown that we can play a bit too. Confidence is so important in football, and these couple of games have restored the players’ self-belief”. Cockerill added, "Neil Smith didn’t want to come off at half-time but I told him that there would be a lot of chasing around to do in the second half and that, with another game coming up on Saturday, it would be better if he had a rest. Stuart Nethercott was superb at the back. In fact, all the defenders played really well, including Clint Davies in the second half. {Goalkeeper] Shwan [Jalal] took a knock to his head in the first half and we decided at half-time to bring Clint on instead. Shwan is OK, though, and will be available for Saturday" against Altrincham. But the website adds that "Ian Selley is still having problems with his Achilles, apparently, and isn’t expected to be available... Liam [Cockerill] took a bad kick on the calf in the Aldershot game but should be OK for Saturday. Glenn expects Saturday’s game to be tough. Altrincham will be battling for three points in the hope that the FA rescinds or reduces the 18 point penalty recently imposed by the Conference". Cockerill stated "A win against Altrincham on Saturday would set us up very nicely for the Trophy Final".

    The Woking side kindly adds "Relegation would be harsh indeed [for Altrincham] after the valiant battle which Graham Heathcote and his side have fought to stay up in what everyone knew would be a difficult season, competing against clubs with far greater resources". It adds that "A win – or even a draw – against Alty on Saturday would keep us above the Shots and secure a place in next season’s successor to the LDV Vans competition... The Cards will be without the suspended Tom Hutchinson and Steve Ferguson, and neither Ian Selley nor Chris Sharpling are expected to be fit enough to play. It seems likely that Gary MacDonald will partner Stuart Nethercott in central defence, with Paul Watson at left back. Glenn has expressed the hope that he might be able to give a run-out to some younger players in this game but, given the importance of the match to both sides, places on the bench might have to be the starting position at least".


    On Thursday Umbro did a photo shoot at Moss Lane for their next catalogue - their "models" included Chris Adams, sporting green and white and Reserves' players Ashley Brown, in white, and Mike Brown in red, plus some schoolchildren.


    Dates for Alty Youth's three upcoming cup finals have now been announced as well as next Sunday's league match. Details are in the Youth section.


    A friendly between FC United and Altrincham has been provisionally arranged at Moss Lane for Wednesday July 26th.


    The BBC reports that "Cambridge United midfielder David Bridges has agreed a new 12-month deal at the Abbey Stadium... Bridges spent last season on loan but has re-established himself this term, scoring eight times and being capped by the England National Game XI".


    Adam Farley scored for Marine on Tuesday night.
    27 April 2006


    The FA has confirmed that Woking's Thomas Hutchinson is suspended from Tuesday 25/04/2006 "from all first team football until the Club have completed 1 first team match for a sending off", so he will miss Saturday's game against Altrincham.


    The official Conference site has the following: "Altrincham, whose Conference survival depends on their appeal against an 18-point penalty for fielding a player without international clearance, are unhappy with the way their situation has been reported. 'Some people are determined to relegate Altrincham before the FA appeal' is the quite justifiable complaint expressed on the club's official website. The article continues 'at various times the Conference's own website, the BBC and SkySports have all published league tables with Altrincham deducted 18 points - the deduction does not apply unless our appeal fails'. The part-time club, who operate on the tightest budget in the Conference, have mustered a commendable 41 points this season, and manager Graham Heathcote has understandably expressed his pride in his players' achievements. But 'the James Robinson affair', in which Alty unwittingly fielded an ineligible player, continues to cast a dark shadow over the club. However that cloud is not as dark as has been suggested in certain quarters, and the club are keen to stress that fact. The club has received messages of support from all quarters in its bid to escape the draconian penalty which FA rules dictate, including a 6,000-strong fans petition as well as expressions of support from other clubs and the town's local council. Like Altrincham we await the appeal verdict with bated breath".


    The Argus reports that "Crawley Town will be deducted up to three points and fined £10,000 if found guilty of bringing the Nationwide Conference National into disrepute. Crawley must reassure the league they can resolve the ongoing issue with players' wages by the end of this week or face punishment. Crawley are under a transfer embargo after exceeding the annual budget allowed to be paid to players set by the Conference. They are also in breach of player contracts after a temporary pay-cut last month and the continuing non-payment of bonuses. Crawley officials were called before the Conference board last week to explain the issues. A club statement said: 'No conclusion was reached following Crawley's meeting at Burton Albion with the Conference board... In addition, there are ongoing discussions pending the issue of the annual players' budget. The excess of the budget is directly linked to the problems within the players' contracts, which led to the initial wage reduction in February'.

    "Even if found guilty, Crawley will get off lightly compared to the punishment handed out to Altrincham. The Cheshire club are facing relegation after being hit with an eighteen-point penalty for fielding an ineligible player. A three-point deduction will not endanger Crawley's league status".

    Meanwhile, the Crawley Forum reports that "the case against Azwar Majeed [Crawley chairman] was adjourned at Worthing Magistrates yesterday. Azwar has pleaded not guilty to the charge of assault by beating. The case was adjourned for trial at Worthing Magistrates, with a date set of 25th October".


    Courtesy of the Sale & Altrincham Messenger, an excellent shot of Colin Little, watched by Rod Thornley, against Grays last Saturday.

    Graham Heathcote has spoken to SAM Sport about going to Woking on Saturday. "We will not be going there for a party and we will not be worrying about what might happen. It will be a tough game because Woking will be wanting a good send off before the FA Trophy final but we want to finish the season with as many points as possible. The players deserve enormous credit for what they have done - it should have been a day of celebration last Saturday [when survival was confirmed] but instead it was a damp squib. The commitment and effort they've had to put in to get 41 points has been immense in what has proved to be a very difficult league. When I first started as manager we were fourth from bottom in the Unibond Premier but since then we have risen about 44 or 45 league places and many of those players are still here, which is monumental in football terms. I'm very proud of what they've achieved, they have done their job on the pitch and that's all that matters to me". Chairman Geoff Goodwin added, "Graham is incredible. He does so much for this club - he is manager, secretary, groundsman and even cleaner, it is for people like him that I decided to get involved here. That's what hurts me most about the Conference's decision to dock us 18 points, that it spoils the effort put in by Graham, Dalton and the players. Graham deserves major respect, so it really hurts me that Accrington Stanley have not even bothered to phone him up to apologise throughout the whole James Robinson issue".


    Whilst Alty are caught in limbo, not knowing which level they will play at next season pending the appeal about the points deduction, the Conference reports that other clubs are making moves for next season. "Burton goalkeeper Saul Deeney, who has declined to sign a contract with the Brewers in the hope of winning a move back into the football league, could be set for a nasty surprise. Deeney was singled out for criticism by boss Nigel Clough on Tuesday night as the Brewers guaranteed a top 10 Conference finish for the first time in their history with a 2-2 draw at home to Dagenham and Redbridge. And coming hot on the heels of that criticism Deeney will have been pained to hear that Clough is making plans for next season which could leave him without a club. Clough has a replacement lined up, and is set to make a decision as to whether to bring in the new man or to retain Deeney's services in the next 24 hours. 'We'll be making a decision on Thursday one way or the other. We've been offered a loan goalkeeper from a league club and really it's who we decide to take, so we said we'd let Saul know on Thursday', Clough told the Brewers' official website".

    "Exeter boss Alex Inglethorpe has secured the services of two promising youngsters on new one year deals and has high hopes for two more as well. Jamie Mackie and Martin Rice have pledged their futures to St James's Park and Danny Seaborne and Dean Moxey are expected to follow suit shortly. The future of Danny Clay, who has just spent three months on loan at rivals Crawley Town this season, remains unclear... Goalkeeper Rice, who has been behind Paul Jones in the pecking order for much of the season, has broken into the side in the last three games... Inglethorpe also remains keen to recruit an experienced player or two in order to balance his relatively youthful squad".

    26 April 2006


    The Western Daily Press reports that "Weymouth are definitely the new champions of the Nationwide Conference South... Terras' chief executive Gary Calder revealed that no points are to be deducted from their record following a shock allegation that they had earlier in the season played former Millwall midfielder Soloman Taiwo in two games without international clearance. 'We have done nothing wrong', said Calder, 'and have been told by officials of the Conference League that they will be at the Wessex Stadium when we play Lewes in our final match of the season, together with the sponsors, Nationwide, to present the Championship trophy. It will be a proud day for us all. I feel that everybody has taken this allegation out of proportion. We have been caught up with something which has not been our responsibility. We have not been charged with any misdemeanour at all'".

    Taiwo played in games in which Weymouth gained four league points this season, following his move from Maidenhead where he also, allegedly, played without international clearance.


    Right: Astley Mulholland in action against Kingsley. Behind him are Dean White and keeper, Lewis Bishop.

    There is now a match report on the Youth team's win over Kingsley last Sunday, in the Youth section.


    Altrincham announced in the programme at the weekend that their admission prices would remain the name season - assuming they remain in the Conference National. Elsewhere Burton Albion have done the same but Forest Green Rovers "remain the only Conference side to increase matchday admission charges out of the dozen or so sides to announce prices so far" states Bullsnews.


    Some people are determined to relegate Altrincham before the FA appeal; at various times the Conference's own website, the BBC and SkySports have all published league tables with Altrincham deducted 18 points - the deduction does not apply unless our appeal fails. Having corrected its table, the BBC nevertheless has a report on its website which includes a photo of Moss Lane subtitled "Moss Lane will not stage Conference football next season"! The BBC report goes on to quote from last Monday's Five Live interviews about the James Robinson affair. His father, Paul, said, "He's devastated, it's upset him no end. He had a great relationship there and doesn't feel they [Altrincham] are to blame... He (James) reckons that administrative staff at Accrington should have sorted his international clearance out". But "Director of Operations for the Conference League, John Moules said: 'James Robinson had never appeared on any Conference team sheet or registration sheet other than that of Altrincham. We have to follow the rules set by the FA and follow them religiously. The board had to apply the rule. It is not our rule. It is the FA's rule and we had to follow it to the letter'".


    The STAR supporters' coach to Woking on Saturday is already full and there is a reserve list. Times and fares are on the Away Travel page.

    In Tuesday night's matches, Woking had defender Tom Hutchinson sent off for fouling Guy Madjo to concede a penalty to Forest Green, so he should be suspended on Saturday along with Steve Ferguson, who is also suspended for a recent dismissal.


    Bullsnews reports that "There appears to be some confusion over when the return-leg of the play-offs will take place. Originally the Conference announced that the first leg was to be played on either the Saturday or Sunday (May 6/7) and the return on the following Thursday (May 11) with a 7.45pm start. However Sky, who are televising one of the two play-off games from both legs, now say that the return leg being televised will take place on the Wednesday (May 10) as well as the game on the previous Sunday.

  • Sun 7 Play-off semi-final first leg TBC SS1 5.30pm Conference
  • Wed 10 Play-off semi-final 2nd leg TBC SS1 5.30pm Conference

    They haven't listed information about the final as yet.

    25 April 2006


  • Burton A. 2 Dagenham & R. 2
  • Exeter C. 4 Crawley T. 0
  • Grays A. 1 Southport 1
  • Halifax T. 2 Gravesend & N. 0
  • Woking 2 Forest GR 1


    Above: Daniel Gregory leaves with his award from Gary Talbot; below Rod Thornley makes an award and Mark Maddox congratulates Samantha Lewis.

    After last Saturday's game the whole Alty squad and a good number of supporters stayed behind to give deserved cheers to the club's excellent band of ballboys and girls. Expertly organised by Ray Armstrong and Mike Antrobus, they are a credit to the club, a point often underlined when we visit away grounds where delays occur as the players retrieve balls for themselves. Ray and Mike rewarded those with the most appearances with a watch. As well as the list of this season's boys and girls (see News of 16 April 2006), the list of all-time appearances is below.

    Total Appearances of Ballboys and Ballgirls for Altrincham FC:

    Those in bold are in the 2005-06 squad.

    1. Matthew Summerfield 253
    2. Stuart Wilkinson 184
    3. Michael Jamieson 171
    4. Gareth Thomas 154
    5. Matthew Jamieson 153
    6. Samantha Lewis 140
    7. Colin Broadhurst 138
    8. James Dawson 135
    9. Ryan Ashton 134
    10. Michael Rogerson 126
    11. Thomas Hart 124
    12. Edward Wilkinson 112
    13. Michael Bradshaw 99
    14. Andrew Clarkson 77
    15. Michael Bailey 70
    16. Mark McGrath 70
    17. James Hart 68
    18. Matthew Taylor 67
    19. Ian Pastore 67
    20. Alex Pugh 65
    21. Peter Malon 58
    22. Tim Ainsworth 51
    23. Scott Bradshaw 50
    24. Nicholas Taylor 49
    25. James Antrobus 49
    26. Stephen Pollitt 48
    27. Philip Ryan 48
    28. Matthew Cook 44
    29. Sam Fletcher 41
    30. George Carr 41
    31. Jamie Wilson 40
    32. James Nettleton 40
    33. Daniel Burke 40
    34. Callum Doherty 40
    35. Matthew Eaton 34
    36. Damir Sirovica 39
    37. Matthew Eaton 34
    38. Chris Butt 34
    39. Wayne Sellstrome 32
    40. Hannah Fletcher 31
    41. Lee McGuinness 31
    42. Jamie Bell 30
    43. Adam Dennett 29
    44. Damien Murray 28
    45. Sean Johnson 28
    46. Andrew Jones 25
    47. Sean Greygoose 23
    48. Adele Stephenson 23
    49. Samantha Malon 21
    50. Zaid Slaei 20
    51. Barry Stephenson 20
    52. John Bradley 20

    In all, 334 ballboys and ballgirls have made 10 or more appearances for Altrincham Football Club, who wish to thank them all.


    As well as the 6,000 signatures on the petition and the many expressions of support in the media and from other football clubs, Trafford Metropolitan Council leader, Susan Williams, told last night's Manchester Evening News of "her disbelief at the decision" to dock Alty 18 points. "I pray that the FA will see sense and accept the appeal... An 18-point fine is too heavy ... This is a sad day for the Trafford sporting community". And local Hale councillor Alan Mitchell added, "This is a massive blow to local people, whether or not they actively support the local team. The club means so much to the area".


    A brief report on Alty Reserves' defeat at Fleetwood last Friday is in the Reserves' section.


    "Rob Smith, manager of AFC Telford United, has told experienced midfielder Greg Challender he is unlikely to be needed again this season — and he seems certain to be released in the summer. Challender, 33, was signed in January from Bradford Park Avenue just days after former manager Bernard McNally was sacked" reports the Shropshire Star.


    "Nigel Clough, manager of Burton Albion, is stepping up his search for a midfielder... The impending departure of Kris Taylor from the Pirelli Stadium has prompted Clough to widen his transfer net. Taylor is coming to the end of his spell on loan to the Brewers from Walsall... Clough has already cast an eye in the direction of Chester's Tom Curtis... Curtis, now 33, began his career with Derby County" reports the Burton Mail.

    The BBC states that "Bury striker Jon Newby has returned to Gigg Lane following a month's loan spell at Kidderminster...Kidderminster have also allowed on-loan defender Simon Rea to return to Nuneaton Borough".


    On BBC Radio 5 Live on Monday night there was a very revealing ten minute slot in which Alty chairman Geoff Goodwin, James Robinson's father, Paul, and Conference chief John Moules were all interviewed by Mark Saggars - albeit separately. Firstly, Mr Robinson explained how, as soon as James had gone to Accrington and before he had signed for them, he had told them about his playing history, including his period in Iceland. James was distraught at what had happened but the error was clearly by Accrington. Geoff underlined his conviction that his club had acted honourably but accepted that Mr Moules had no option but to implement the rules which, interestingly, Mr Moules asserted "were not our rules, anyway", i.e. they were FA rules not Conference rules. Moules went on to say that he felt "let down" by the FA as they had allegedly refused to give the Conference access to the evidence on which they had told Altrincham FC that they had no case to answer. When pressed about the international clearance rules, Mr Moules volunteered that the Conference were already discussing changing them, subject to FA approval, and that indeed they would be raising this very matter at a forthcoming meeting with the F.A. Asked if he should not be "passionate" rather than "clinical" about this affair, Mr Moules said he had to be "clinical" to be fair to other clubs. Mr Moules was asked whether other Conference clubs had been lobbying the Conference to take action against Altrincham to which he would only reply that he had "no comment". He added that Altrincham did have "somewhere to go" in this affair, namely to appeal to the F.A.

    Meanwhile, at Moss Lane, after the club's AGM tonight, Geoff Goodwin confirmed that many clubs, including a number of prominent Conference clubs, had contacted him with their support in the Robinson Affair. Geoff then joined Grahame Rowley in an Alty FC Staff v Robinsons' Preservation (Neil Faulkner's XI) friendly match, on the hallowed turf of Moss Lane. More than 6,000 people have now signed the petition set up a York City supporter.

    24 April 2006


    The BBC reports that "Crawley Town are involved in ongoing talks with the Conference in a bid to avoid a three-point deduction and £10,000 fine. They appeared before the Conference board over an alleged breach of their approved playing budget (wage-cap). However, no decision was reached and further discussions will continue once further information is forthcoming. Crawley were asked for clarification over their promise that the players' wage issue will be resolved after a 50% cut was briefly imposed this season. The Broadfield Stadium outfit were also asked for reassurances over the future running of the club".


    A copy of the formal notice of the STAR (Altrincham supporters' trust) Special General Meeting on 23rd May is here. All STAR members are urged to attend this very important meeting.


    Above: ALTRINCHAM FC YOUTH TEAM seen before Sunday's game are, BACK ROW, Tony Spilsbury (coach), Rick Crawford, Michael Risk, Dean White, Reza Zareh-Ourang, Lewis Bishop, Tom Barclay, Danny Chebrika, Ben Shanks-Pepper, Hassan Zareh-Ourang, Danny Gray, George Heslop (manager). FRONT ROW, Astley Mulholland, Andy Keogh, Ben Deegan, Richard Gresty (capt), Matty Williams, Anthony Davies.

    Altrincham FC Youth's players reached their fourth cup final of the season on Sunday, defeating Kingsley United 2-1 in the NW Allied Trophies League, Premier Subsidiary Cup Semi-Final. A report on this match will follow on the website. They are also in the Open Cup Final and the Neil Thomason Memorial Trophy Final, having already won the Cheshire FA District Youth Cup as the Altrincham & District FA 's representative side.

    Alty's first goal on Sunday came from Ben Deegan , his fiftieth of the season in all competitions in a season disrupted by injury and suspension. The second came from Astley Mulholland, who made his Altrincham Reserves' debut last Friday.


    More than 5,000 people have now signed the Help Alty petition against the Conference's decision to deduct Altrincham 18 points following the failure of Accrington Stanley to secure international clearance for James Robinson before he played for Stanley's reserves and Alty's first team.These include supporters of numerous clubs in a variety of leagues across the UK and beyond. Meanwhile, Alty manager Graham Heathcote indicated after Saturday's game that he expected the result of the FA's appeal panel to be known in about three weeks time. Meanwhile the magnificent achievement of Graham, his assistant Dalton Steele, the players, staff and supporters of Altrincham FC in keeping the club in the Conference National on merit, on the field of play has been overshadowed by the threatened points deduction.

    After Thursday's Conference ruling, alty boss Graham Heathcote told SAM "The hearing went as we anticipated. We expected to be back at the FA with this. To be fair, the Conference's hands are tied with regards to their rules. Hopefully justice will prevail at the FA. Certainly the punishment appears to be massively excessive in proportion to the offence".

    For more on the Robinson Affair, see below...


    Kitmen Dave Mitten and Charles Heathcote were worthy winners of the Altrincham FC Clubmen of the Year award on Saturday. Above, Graham Heathcote holds the awards as he awaits the arrival of Dave and Charles. Pictured above are Graham, on the front row, with Alty matchday announcer Steve Raferty (left) and ballboys' and girls' coordinator Ray Armstrong (right).

    Pictures and more details of the Ball Boys' and Girls' awards at Moss Lane on Saturday will appear shortly on the website.


    Pictured on the pitch after Saturday's game, right, is 7-month old Max Band, whose parents are Alty's Peter Band (also seen here) and his wife Louise. Max has obviously already learned to keep his eye on the ball!


    Altrincham FC would like to thank everyone who contributed and assisted in the bucket collection at Moss Lane on Saturday to raise funds to help fight the Conference deduction of 18 points from Altrincham's record. This raised a magnificent £846.09.


    The Grays-Mad site has a report on Saturday's game at Moss Lane. It says "Grays athletic confirmed a play off position with a 2-0 away victory against the team we all currently feel sorry for - Altrincham. There is no one in football who doesn't feel some sympathy for the autocratic way in which poor old Altrincham have been dealt with a by a group of despotic rulers who glory in their own self worth but have little sense of reality as to how such ridiculous punishments affect football and its community. Would these powers be so quick to unburden such a ridiculous punishment on a more wealthy high profile side I wonder? It doesn't take much thought to realise the answer. Hopefully the ruling will be legally challenged in court and Alty gain some credit from the whole farcical affair and in doing so the powers that be are publicly condemned and their own ineptitude put on show publicly. Everyone in football wishes Alty well in their challenge". The game itself "displayed all that is good about two honest and decent sides".


    "Burton Albion’s £1 million-plus FA Cup run could not have been better timed. The club's accounts for May 31st, 2005, reveal a record loss of more than £293,000. The deficit was mostly due to an increase in salaries as the club introduced extra training sessions and full-time administrative staff. The wage bill shot up from just over £500,000 in 2003/04 to more than £630,000 and the Brewers also had the burden of extra interest payments on loans taken out during the construction of their new ground. Gate receipts dropped in Albion's last season at Eton Park by £18,000 to £201,000 and net income from transfer fees was down by £9,000... Chairman Ben Robinson (pictured) said: 'The board were very much aware that, for the season in question, the club's overheads were going to be considerably higher. The main reason for creating the new facility in the Pirelli Stadium, other than for the benefit of the community, was to create more commercial opportunities. That is the only way we could ever hope to generate the income needed to compete because of the escalating costs of playing in the Conference or the Football League. Part of the plan is to now proceed with the pub and hotel development because we know that is another of the areas where the required profit can be achieved'", he told the Burton Mail.

    From NL Daily we learn that "The squad has been announced to represent the FA in a match against Cambridge University on Sunday, 30th April... as a part of the 150th Anniversary celebrations for the University side. The squad has mainly been selected from teams in the reasonable location, with Nationwide North side Kettering Town providing a trio of players in midfielders Brett Solkhon, Andy Hall and striker Anthony Elding". The rest are from Nationwide South and the Ryman League whilst "Only two players from the Conference National have been selected in local duo Michael Morrison and Darren Quinton from Cambridge United".

    23 April 2006


    Despite the off-field situation described below, Altrincham have one more game to play in the Conference this season, away at Woking next Saturday (29th). STAR is running a supporters' coach and the details of times, fares and booking arrangements are here. Please come along if you possibly can!


    Under the heading "Conference playing by the rules", the Non-League Paper today states:

    There is no doubt that Altrincham appear to have been harshly treated over the James Robinson affair which sees their battling season collapse into relegation after a year back in the top flight. Their case and their consciences are clear. They signed the player in good faith from another English club.

    But before getting too worked up about the tough line the Conference board have taken and look set to repeat as more clubs in similar situations come to light - there are a couple of points worth considering.

    The standard Conference registration form asks a simple question. 'Has the player been registered with a club outside of England?' It is incumbent on every club to ask every player that question. Not, was it his last club, but has he EVER been registered abroad? If the answer is 'yes' the line of action is absolutely clear. There is no excuse for failure.

    Some years ago when Burton Albion were in a similar position, secretary Tony Kirkland resigned, on the spot as a matter of honour. Despite the fact that the player concerned did not actually touch the ball in the few minutes he was on the pitch, the club were still docked points.

    The other current criticism is that the Conference Board somehow conspired to keep members' clubs out of trouble.

    The fact is that when the vote on Altrincham was taken, Trevor HorsIey of Forest Green Rovers, Charlie Clapham of Southport and chairman Bill King - the former Ally chairman - all abstained because of a possible conflict of interest.

    Yes, 18 points and seemingly certain relegation for a club which has struggled so hard to establish Itself is harsh. But the rules are clear and the Conference have acted in accordance with them.

    Ally could yet be saved. Ironically, if Canvey do pull out of the Conference when owner-manager Jeff King withdraws his funding and if Scarborough cannot resolve their administration ~ situation, then perhaps a rough kind of justice.

    As an individual who pays his money every week to follow Altrincham, home and away, and not as a spokesman for Altrincham FC , I should like to raise a few points about the article above:

  • Altrincham FC has not seen its "battling season collapse into relegation"; the club has been docked 18 points subject to an appeal to the FA, who may, hopefully, have a different view on the matter.
  • Does the Conference registration process require the player to sign that he has or has not played abroad? If not, why not? If he is required to sign to this effect, has that signed document been produced and what does it show? If the current method of registration does not require the player to sign whether he has played abroad or not, how can any club ever be sure whether he has or he has not? And, from the player's point of view, how does James Robinson or any other player prove that he told a club something or not? Does the PFA have a view on this as it presumably affects all of their members?
  • The article makes no reference to the formal appeal process and suggests that Alty's only hope of survival is through two other clubs' misfortune; that is not correct.
  • The article says "Yes, 18 points and seemingly certain relegation for a club which has struggled so hard to establish Itself is harsh. But the rules are clear and the Conference have acted in accordance with them". As a campaigning newspaper, why is the NL Paper not asking why the full 18 points were deducted when the Conference's own rules still allow leeway about those matches in which the player in question was merely a used substitute? Had that leeway been applied, the deduction would "only" have been 10 points.
  • Also why is the NLP not asking why the Conference changed its own rules in 2005, removing the clause which said "The Board may vary the decision [about docking points] in exceptional circumstances relative to international clearance of a player's registration", a change which therefore meant they had boxed themselves into a corner? This rule change was presumably checked by the Conference's legal advisers - so why was the change made? Paying supporters deserve to know the answer.
  • Finally, is the NL Paper suggesting above that Alty Secretary and manager Graham Heathcote should resign as did the Burton secretary? If not, its comment about the Burton situation is totally gratuitous. Graham has acted honourably throughout this sorry episode and any suggestion that he should resign "as a matter of honour" is thoroughly out of order.

    Elsewhere the NL Paper reports that Altrincham have "vowed to fly James Robinson 12,000 miles round the world to fight their mammoth 18-point deduction.... The NLP understands the 23-year-old - who has since moved to Australia - lays the blame firmly on the newly-crowned Conference champions... Alty chairman Geoffrey Goodwin said, "! will fight this as much as I can. If I have to fly him over, I will, because we need all the support we can get over this. The player is as devastated as us and says he told Accrington about the situation. I hope he will stand up in court and say so. I am more angry with Accrington and their chairman over this. Why didn't they hold their hands up and admit they made a mistake? They should apologise to us and accept the responsibility but they haven't even made contact.. It is beginning to look as though the Conference don't want part-time clubs in their league. It should be the first club that signed him punished, not anyone else. We saw James play for Accrington so why should we think he needed international clearance? I hope the FA will see sense but the Conference is going to look like a laughing stock".

    Conference operations director John Moules said: "It is always disappointing to have to apply the disciplinary rules to any of the clubs in our division. I have received over 400 hate e-mails". Mr Moules is also quoted on the case of Soloman Taiwo, who seemingly played for Weymouth, Maidenhead United as well as Chesham and Windsor and Eton without international clearance. He says, "We are aware there is a situation here but it is very different to the Altrincham one" - quite why it is different is unclear as Taiwo is reported to have joined Maidenhead and then Weymouth and the other two clubs without having clearance after playing in the USA.

    Meanwhile, Accrington Chairman Eric Whalley admitted to the NL Paper that his club had not checked Robinson's clearance but claims, "It is definitely the player's fault. How could he possibly not know whether he had international clearance or not? The player was offered to us by Crewe and he played a couple of games in our reserves but it was just a trial. If he had played in our first team we would have checked his clearance". But James Robinson's father responded: "Everyone is blaming James for the Altrincham situation. But both he and I know he is completely innocent. He told Accrington everything and it was then down to their administrative staff to deal with it and get clearance. The Conference have stuck to their rules but Altrincham acted in good faith". Whalley added, "! will be speaking to Altrincham and Graham Heathcote to let him know my feelings because I think they've had a really raw deal".

    What a mess!

    Meanwhile, a well supported bucket collection was held at yesterday's match to raise funds for Alty's appeal and two Alty fans have pledged to cover the £1,000 fine applied by the Conference when it made its points deduction on Thursday. These are all very welcome gestures of support for the Club.

    22 April 2006


    After today's match at Moss Lane, the Grays Vice-Chairman and chief backer, Mr Mike Woodward, offered the Alty chairman Geoff Goodwin and Alty director Grahame Rowley, the services of a top London QC at his expense, to help argue their case to the Football Association concerning the deduction of 18 points which the Conference has applied to Altrincham. Altrincham FC is very appreciative of Mr Woodward's offer and will be following up this offer with him on Monday. On top of the 5,000 plus signatures already collected on the Help Alty website, created by a York City supporter, this gesture from Mr Woodward underlines that there is an awful lot of support for us against the charges brought against us following our playing of James Robinson, who joined us from Accrington who had not obtained his international clearance.


    Both the Conference's own website and Sky Sports are tonight displaying league tables showing an 18 point deduction for Altrincham - and therefore relegation. This is in advance of Altrincham's appeal to the FA against the Conference's decision last Thursday.

    ALTY STAY UP (barring FA decision)!

    Above: Alty players salute their supporters after learning that results elsewhere had secured another season for them in Conference National - unless the FA decides against the club's appeal against an 18-point deduction.

    Despite losing to an own goal and a penalty that never was, Alty celebrated at the end of the game when it became clear that results elsewhere had ensured their survival in the Conference National Division for next season - barring a decision by the FA over the next three weeks to dock Alty 18 points following Accrington's failure to get international clearance for James Robinson before he joined Alty.


    Above: 55 mins - Watched by Dalton Steele and Graham Heathcote, Stuart Thurgood (in yellow, foreground) has just sent in a freekick which Aaron McLean (on the deck) and Mark Maddox (hidden behind Karl Munroe (17) went for. The Alty captain unfortunately headed the ball (seen just above Grays no.3's head) into the net for an own goal.

    Match report here

    After the match, all the players and the Board attended an awards ceremeony on the pitchside for the wonderful team of ballboys and girls at Moss Lane, who are supervised by Ray Armstrong and Mike Antrobus. In a brief speech, Graham Heathcote praised his players and all at the club before presenting the Clubmen of the Year awards to Alty's kitmen, Dave Mitten and Charles Heathcote. Chairman Geoff Goodman paid tribute to the management, players and supporters and indicated that the club would be debt free in six months time. Report and pictures from the ball boys' and girls' awards are to follow..

    Right: Alty's Stephen Rose is currently sidelined with a groin strain.

    Saturday, 22 April

  • Accrington S. 2 Tamworth 1
  • Aldershot T. 1 Woking 1
  • ALTRINCHAM 0 Grays A. 2
  • Burton A. 1 Forest Green R. 0
  • Canvey Island1 Exeter C. 1
  • Crawley T. 2 Halifax T. 2
  • Dagenham & R. 3 Kidderminster H. 0
  • Hereford U. 1 Southport 1
  • Morecambe 3 Gravesend & N. 0
  • Scarborough 1 Cambridge U. 2
  • Stevenage B. 1 York C. 1


    Grahame Rowley has written an article in the Robins' Review for the Grays game on Saturday afternoon confirming that on Thursday evening after the Conference ruling on the James Robinson Affair, "Andrew Shaw and myself attended a planning meeting at Trafford Borough Council where an application made by the Council for outline planning permission to develop the car park adjoining the club and the old ‘Chequers club’ was passed unanimously – a fantastic result after almost 3 years of work. This should result in a substantial amount of money being made available to the club within the next 12 months which should help alleviate the club's inherent debts and put it back on a firm footing. What a day it should have been but alas celebrations were tempered by the outcome of the morning’s meeting".


    Grays report that for the Altrincham match, "Due to lack of numbers wishing to use the Supporters' Coach, the Association regret that this coach has had to be cancelled". Nevertheless, whatever the attendance today, Alty will have averaged more than 1,000 spectators at Moss Lane this season for league games for the first time since 1994/95 when the average was a 1,002. That was the first four-figure average since 1990/91 when 1,385 was the average gate. For the latest figures, see Terry Rowley's Conference attendance data.

    For Saturday's game at Moss Lane, the BBC says that "Grays manager Mark Stimson will definitely be without striker Jamie Slabber (knee) and Andy Edwards. And defender Andrew Sambrook is also a major doubt after sustaining a calf strain against Scarborough in midweek".


    Alty Reserves lost 4-1 at Fleetwood Town, a result which severely dents their title hopes. Lee Hendley fired Alty ahead after 10 minutes, but an impressively hard working Fleetwood responded with two goals in each half. Report to follow.


    NL Daily also reports that "The news that Altrincham are to be deducted eighteen points for fielding an ineligible player during this season has been greeted with anger by fans of many clubs. A petition has been set up at at by supporters who use the forum. They are seeking wider publicity for their reaction to the sanction and their demonstration of solidarity with Altrincham and their supporters. The supporters say the punishment is wholly out of proportion with the unwitting yet admitted offence, and they are demanding that the points deduction is overturned. Already over [four] thousand have `signed` the petition. The supporters are also pointing to a lack of consistency in the punishments handed out by the Football Conference - under the stewardship of John Moules - in recent years that make the sanction imposed on Altrincham look all the more draconian. Reaction to the decision has been nationwide, with features on national TV and radio and the creation by a York City supporter of a `Help Alty` website"

    Radio 5 Live are reportedly running a feature on the Altrincham points deduction on Monday night. They hope to have spokespersons from Altrincham FC, the Football Conference and James Robinson. As Monday night is also the Altrincham FC AGM, this remains to be seen.

    Conference South has its own "international clearance" case now as Solomon Taiwo, who played several games for both Maidenhead United and Weymouth this season, has now been found not to have international clerance after joining a third club, Windsor and Eton.


    NL Daily reports that "Halifax Town have extended the loan deal of West Bromwich Albion winger Brian Smikle for a further month. The 20-year-old midfielder['s] loan deal was set to expire on April 20th. However, Halifax boss Chris Wilder has been keen to keep Smikle at The Shay with the Shaymen losing only one of their last eight games".

    Our last opponents of the season (next week), Woking, "have extended the loan deal of Wycombe Wanderers’ defender Stuart Nethercott until the middle of May. The former Tottenham Hotspur trainee has featured in thirty-four matches for the Cards this season and his loan deal was set to expire at the end of the regular League season. However, due to Woking's success in the FA Trophy, manager Glenn Cockerill was keen to retain the services of the experienced defender for the Trophy final against Grays Athletic at Upton Park on May 14th. Nethercott is expected to return to Wycombe after the Trophy final to help in their push for a play-off spot" reports NL Daily.

    "Exeter City have been handed a compensation package that could potentially top £1million for young stars Mark Ellis and Jamie Hatch. Ellis was lured to Premiership Bolton Wanderers in the summer, while Hatch was plucked from City’s centre of excellence by Southampton almost three years ago. After a lengthy stand-off and failed negotiations, both cases were heard by a transfer tribunal at the FA`s headquarters at Soho Square. The tribunal ruled City will receive an initial down-payment of £150,000 — £90k for Ellis and £60k for Hatch — with a host of add-ons based on first-team and international appearances. City’s sporting director Julian Tagg, who attended the tribunal, revealed he was pleased with the amount received for Ellis, but felt the fee for Hatch was too low" reports This is Exeter.

    "Kidderminster Harriers have released former Burnley and Sheffield Wednesday winger Paul Smith. The remainder of his contract, which was due to expire in the summer, has been cancelled to allow the player to spend further time with his ill mother" says NL Daily. But "Kidderminster defender Gavin Hurren has agreed a new deal to keep him at the club until the end of next season. Hurren, who joined Harriers last summer after being released by Nottingham Forest, has established himself in the first team in recent weeks".


    This week "Woodley Sports guaranteed themselves of at least a play-off place by winning 3-2 at Rossendale United... with Chris Young on target" before "a stoppage time winner from Mario Daniel".
    21 April 2006


    Earlier today this website mentioned that both Accrington Stanley and James Robinson had "reportedly" been charged by the FA. This statement was based on the fact that on 3 April BBC Ceefax and, subsequently, some newspapers, reported that James had been charged. We are now pleased to make clear that James Robinson has, in fact, NOT been charged by the FA, despite these reports and apologise for any distress caused to James or his family by alluding to them.


    On the unofficial Crawley Forum it says that the local newspaper reports on the five matters which the Conference discussed with Crawley Town on Thursday.Subsequent information is that "Barry Munn is quoted in The Argus today saying that we will not receive any punishment for the off the field activities." Munn represented Crawley at the Conference hearing.


    Right: Val Owen

    Amidst all the off-pitch activity, there is a game at Moss Lane on Saturday at home to Grays Athletic. Epitomising the spirit of the Altrincham squad, manager Graham Heathcote paid tribute to midfielder Val Owen, who contacted him this week to ask to play tomorrow, despite having a fracture in his foot. It was only when Alty physio Andy Hosgood re-identified the fracture for him that Val accepted that he had to miss the match tomorrow. Also out tomorrow is Stephen Rose, who remains sidelined with a groin problem whilst Chris Adams, though not fully fit, will be available for selection along with the rest of the squad.


    Altrincham FC has now received brief, written confirmation of Thursday's Conference decision and has indicated that it will appeal against it to the FA. An appeal must be lodged within 14 days. A hearing is then set by the FA but the timescale for this to occur is not known. Tomorrow's half-time bucket collection during the match at home to Grays Athletic will go towards any costs incurred by the Football Club in lodging an appeal against the Conference's decision on Thursday - please give generously!


    Altrincham FC would like to make perfectly clear to its supporters that it considers that James Robinson gave honest answers to the questions asked of him as regards his registration when he moved from Accrington to Altrincham. In particular, James genuinely believed that the necessary procedures in relation to his registration had been carried by Accrington Stanley before he joined Altrincham. The Club has, and will continue to have, good relations with James and his family, who have been helpful in clarifying the events surrounding his registration.

    In connection with this affair, the Club has pointed out that the Conference decision on Thursday was affected by the fact that a recent change in the Conference's Rules meant that the following words had been deleted from this year's Conference rulebook compared with last season's. The deleted words were: "The [Conference] Board may vary its decision in exceptional circumstances relative to international clearance of a player's registration". Deletion of the above sentence by the Conference effectively gave the Board little leeway in its deliberations this week. It is not immediately clear why that change of wording was made in 2005.


    Right: James Robinson

    The Conference website states that "Following a meeting on Thursday afternoon, the Nationwide Football Conference made a decision regarding Altrincham FC's fielding of an ineligible player [James Robinson]. On Thursday, the Board of the Nationwide Football Conference conducted a full enquiry and determined that Altrincham FC had breached Rule 6.8 of the Rules of the Football Conference by playing a player in 16 matches this season without having obtained the required International Registration Transfer Certificate.

    Altrincham were represented at Thursday's hearing by Secretary Graham Heathcote and solicitor, Aidan Carr.

    Whilst the Board accepted there were mitigating circumstances, based on legal advice, it was compelled by Rule 6.8 to deduct points gained, resulting in the deduction of 18 points gained in the 16 matches and a total fine of £1,000.

    The Football Conference is concerned with the current operation of the system of International Clearance, which is beyond its control, and the impact that it has on its clubs.

    It is anticipated that Altrincham will exercise its right to appeal to the FA".

    For more on this matter, see below...


    In today's NL Paper, Colin Little says "I will be fit" for tomorrow's game against Grays. The article adds, "Little suffered a tight hamstring on Easter Sunday but because of a lack of numbers was forced to take part from the bench [at Morecambe]". Colin added, "I've had treatment and I'm ready to play". Meanwhile, Grays Athletic's midfielder Stuart Thurgood confirms that his team wants to confirm a play-off place by winning tomorrow, rather than relying on gaining points in their final game at home to Morecambe.


    Altrincham FC does not wish to exacerbate the current situation regarding the 18 point deduction imposed on the club for playing James Robinson in 14 games this season. The website will therefore limit itself to factual reports rather than expressions of personal opinion about the matter.

    Firstly, a brief explanation for those unfamiliar with the background to this case. James Robinson was signed by Altrincham from another English club, namely Accrington Stanley, in November 2005. Accrington, for whatever reason, had not obtained international clearance for Robinson, who had previously played in Iceland. Robinson then left Altrincham for Australia and it was only when the Australian authorities were registering him that the failure to obtain international clearance by Accrington came to light. Both Accrington and Robinson have reportedly been charged by the FA, but Altrincham have not.

    Robinson played in 14 Conference games, starting 8 and being a used sub in 6. Alty won 5 of those games (v Kidderminster [h], Aldershot [h], Scarborough [a] Cambridge [h] and Tamworth [h]) and they drew 3 more, (v Grays [a], Tamworth [a] and Stevenage [h]), gaining 18 points in the process. Conference rule 6 which concerns players and which starts "The FA Rules will apply in respect of all matters concerning players" goes on to say in section 6.8 that the Conference "may vary the decision in respect of the deduction of points gained only in a case where a substitute player participates in a match". Had this variation been applied, Alty would only have been deducted 10 points but the Conference yesterday applied the full 18 point sanction.

    This is the largest deduction ever applied to a Conference team and far exceeds, for example, the deduction of four points imposed on Boston for financial irregularities in 2002, which was only applied at the start of the season following their misdemeanours, after they had won the Conference title on goal difference from Dagenham..

    Reaction to the decision has been nationwide, with features on national TV and radio and the creation by a York City supporter of a Help Alty website. On the radio, on Thursday, Alty manager and secretary, Graham Heathcote, indicated that the club had behaved in an "honest and above board manner" throughout and that he was confident of the outcome of an appeal to the FA regarding the Conference's decision. Graham can also be heard on Clubcall (see details, right).

    Meanwhile all Altrincham fans are urged to turn out in force for the remaining two games, at home to Grays on Saturday and away at Woking a week on Saturday, to ensure that the team is well supported as it seeks to confirm its position above the relegation places in the league table. Howard Watts's Through the Years statistics for Saturday's date are here.


    BBC Sport says that "Grays manager Mark Stimson believes three more points will secure his side a Conference play-off place after they thrashed Scarborough 7-2 on Wednesday. 'My philosophy is to score more goals than our opponents and so far this season it's working', Stimson said. 'But we are not there yet. I think we need one more win'" - and their next match - away at Altrincham this Saturday!

    Meanwhile, "Scarborough boss Neil Redfearn hailed Grays Athletic as the best team in the Conference after they hammered the relegation-threatened Seasiders 7-2. 'That's not taking anything away from Accrington because if you get promoted you have done all the right things and you have done well', said Redfearn. 'But if you catch them (Grays) on a good day you have got problems. If you score two goals at home you expect to get something, but I thought we were a shambles at the back'".


    There is now a report and picture of Alty Youth's game against Morecambe on Thursday in the Youth section.
    20 April 2006


    At its meeting today (Thursday) at Burton, the Football Conference has implemented its rule that the playing of an ineligible player attracts a fine of £1,000 and a deduction of all of the points gained in matches in which that player took part. So, Altrincham have been fined this sum and an 18-point deduction is to be applied to the club's league record this season. The club is awaiting this decision in writing before deciding on an appeal to the Football Association.

    As readers will know, this case arises from the transfer from Accrington to Altrincham of James Robinson. Accrington had not obtained international clearance for Robinson, who did not actually play for them in the Conference.


    Right, Steve Allen's excellent picture of Gary Scott in action against Hereford United last Saturday.


    A depleted Alty Youth side went down 2-5 on Wednesday night in a league match. Alty's goals came from Matty Williams and Ashley McGrath. Report to follow.


    SAM quotes Graham Heathcote after defeat at Morecambe on Monday. "There's no point in me getting nervous, we just have to concentrate on getting as much as we can from our last two games. We might get criticised for playing negative football against Hereford and Morecambe but are we supposed to play open football and concede three or four goals? People have to understand the physical aspect of what these lads have done over the past ten days, I could not ask for any more from them". Alty's part-time side had just completed their fourth game in ten days against full-time opposition.


    Alty director Grahame Rowley writes, "Following the successful Patrons Scheme started last year, we have decided to re-launch it for the coming season 2006-07. For the cost of £50 your name will appear throughout the coming season in the matchday programme as a Patron of Altrincham Football Club. At the beginning of the season, every member will be entered into a prize draw, with the winner being match sponsor for an appointed game along with 9 guests. Second prize will be hospitality for 5 people and third prize hospitality for 3 people in the Sponsors' Lounge. If you are interested in becoming a Patron, please speak to Grahame Rowley or Barry Pond on 07720-606897 or 07957-456375 or email Grahame.


    On the Conference website we read a curious statement that "Forest Green Rovers boss Gary Owers insists events elsewhere must not detract from his side's efforts, even though it now appears their Conference status is secure. [N.B. FGR are currently bottom of the Conference and two clubs go down this season]. Canvey Island are set to withdraw from the Nationwide Conference at the end of the season, which looks like handing Rovers a dramatic reprieve, but Owers has refused to acknowledge the potential lifeline. 'As far as I'm concerned this is just paper talk', he told the Stroud News and Journal this week. 'We have certainly got enough about us to win the next two games, which I think will be enough for us to get out of trouble'. Clearly, Owers does not want to leave anything to chance - nor does he want to spend next season facing the charge that his side are only in the division by fluke, and full marks to him for that". The Stroud News seems to forget that last season FGR were only saved from relegation by other clubs' off-field misfortunes despite being nine points adrift of the fourth-bottom side, in a season when three clubs were to be relegated.

    NL Daily reports that "Mark Yates, manager of Kidderminster Harriers, is hoping to sign striker Luke Reynolds on a permanent basis for next season. The former AFC Telford United player, 26, joined Kidderminster on non-contract terms in March and has scored three times in his first six games for the club".

    19 April 2006


    A depleted Alty Youth side went down 2-5 on Wednesday night in a league match. Alty's goals came from Matty Williams and Ashley McGrath. Report to follow.


  • Scarborough 2 Grays A. 7

    Grays are Alty's next opponents at Moss Lane, this Saturday.


    Rio Ferdinand was a guest at the Nationwide's Head Office in Sale, as part of their sponsorship agreement with England's national football team. Alty's Nationwide coordinator, Jo Ryan, invited Alty director Grahame Rowley to join the panel asking a few questions of Rio, following interviews of the player by Talk Sport and Sky TV . Grahame's questions included the following, "Is it true that Sky have moved your game agianst Sunderland to Friday night to avoid a clash with the more important NATIONWIDE Conference fixture of Altrincham vs Hereford United?". After a great deal of laughter, Rio replied that Grahame had better ask Sky TV about that!. Rio kindly signed an England shirt signed for Altrincham FC to go with our Beckham shirt. The above photo was kindly supplied by Gavin Rathbone. It shows, (l. to r.) Grahame, Rio and Jo.


    Wednesday's home match with Bradford PA Reserves has been postponed as BPA are reportedly unable to fulfil the fixture. More on this when known...

    Alty Reserves' fixtures have been changed again - see the Reserves' page.


    Congratulations to STAR member and Australian cricketer Jason Gillespie, who hit his maiden Test century yesterday and went on today to reach 201 not out - the highest ever score by a night-watchman. He's never looked back since visiting Moss Lane last summer as a guest of Geoff Goodwin!


    George Heslop's report on the Youth team's win at Eagley is in the Youth section.


    On Morecambe Today reports on The Shrimps' "comfortable victory on Monday... The Shrimps had to show a great deal of patience to overcome a stubborn, struggling Altrincham side who were happy to plough bodies behind the ball and wait for the chance to attack on the break... There were a few signs of frustration creeping in among the crowd when Morecambe scored the goal their domination deserved a minute from the break. Chris Adams gave away a needless corner and Michael Twiss floated the ball to the far post for Bentley to arrive late and direct a bullet header past Stuart Coburn".


  • Scarborough v Grays A.


    The Scarborough official site reports on their last minute defeat by Accrington, "A goal in the final minute of injury time beat Boro after Kevin Nicholson was stretchered off with a bad leg injury... Andy Todd popped up in the fourth minute of injury time to stab the ball home from close range and break Boro’s hearts. Boro fought well but were up against it when Chris Hughes was sent off for a foul on Andrew Mangan after 69 minutes". The BBC adds that "Scarborough boss Neil Redfearn claimed the dismissal of Chris Hughes had been the turning point.... 'We were on top and there was only one team going to win at that stage so to make that kind of challenge was very unprofessional... We've only conceded one goal in three games and it's still up to us to get out of it (relegation)'"

    On the Conference site, "despite much speculation John Moules, Operations Director of the Nationwide Conference confirmed that to date Canvey Island had not made any application or indications to the competition regarding the 2006/2007 season... While there may be further discussions in the coming weeks at present Canvey Island continue to be a member of Nationwide Conference - for season 2006/2007".

    "Nationwide Conference side Burton Albion have confirmed an interest in signing Chester City's veteran midfielder Tom Curtis in the summer... 'Tom is certainly one we're interested in and it's the fact that he's local and out of contract at the end of the season that alerted us', Brewers boss Clough said. 'If there are other people available in those positions, we're going to look at them early, because we don't want to miss out on them', said Clough.

    Our last away game is against Woking whose website reports that manager "Glenn Cockerill described [defeat by Gravesend] as a ‘very poor performance’ and was clearly struggling to explain how a side with only one change from Saturday could put in such a different display from what he described as a ‘fantastic performance’ against Accrington Stanley. 'Their goal just before half-time killed us. I could see it in the players’ faces. I tried to lift them during the break but we were poor in the second half and there was no way back after the second goal'. Glenn said that he’d played Ian Selley because he needs games to get fit. He explained that he would otherwise have taken him off after an hour or so, since he was clearly struggling with the pace of the game. Glenn commented that Shola Oyedele hadn’t been as effective as on Saturday... Glenn was exasperated with Steve Ferguson’s sending-off. 'Steve had won the free-kick. He should just have got up and got on with it. I thought the referee could have just booked them both, rather than sent them off. Steve slapped McCarthy on the upper arm'... Steve will miss the remaining three league games... Glenn felt that the Fleet had been better than us today at doing the ‘horrible’ things: “They cleared their lines well and put our back four under pressure. Some of the younger players have got to learn from people like Neil Smith and Stuart Nethercott to do the ‘horrible’ things well and keep a clean sheet' ... Glenn fully appreciates that we’re on a bad run in the league, with four defeats in a row and only one win in our last nine league games. He seemed to accept that, even if only subconsciously, we’ve eased off mentally, preferring to concentrate on the Trophy Final. He’s still intent on getting in the top 12 and qualifying for next season’s LDV competition'".

    The BBC reports that "Tamworth boss Mark Cooper says his side cannot rely on other clubs if they are to avoid the drop this season. Teams in the Conference drop zone could be spared relegation if Altrincham have points deducted this week and Canvey quit the division as expected. But Cooper said: 'I've said all along we want to do it properly and can't rely on others faltering either on or off the field. But we will have to see what happens elsewhere as this week unfolds'".

    "Aldershot manager Terry Brown has warned some of his players they have no future at the club following Monday's 3-0 home defeat by Grays. 'I have to say that I am embarrassed by what I saw and embarrassed for the fans who deserve better', said Brown. 'There were too many players who are seeing the season out and quite frankly their performances make my job that much easier at the end of the season. I hope some of them don't think they will be playing here after that'" , reports the BBC

    The Burton Mail says that "Albion [were] given the all-clear to include Andy Corbett in their side against Conference relegation battlers Southport [on Tuesday]. The full-back should be serving a one-match ban after receiving the first red card of his career at Scarborough on Saturday. But Albion have formally appealed to the Football Association in a bid to overturn the dismissal for deliberate handball. And, because the FA's Soho Square HQ has been closed for Easter, that hearing cannot be held until tomorrow, freeing up Corbett to face Southport. Brewers boss Nigel Clough said today: 'We don't think the ball hit his hand in the first place, but it also came at him from such close quarters that any contact could not have been deliberate'. Clough said: "Southport are one of several clubs fighting for their lives and we know we're in for another battle, especially with pitches as hard and as bouncy as they are... We've got three home games in eight days now and we don't want to ease off".

    18 April 2006


    Tuesday, 18 April
  • Burton A. 0 Southport 0


    This weekend, Alty Director Andrew Shaw (above, right) and his next-door neighbour Michael Carter (above, left) successfully walked some 70 miles to Morecambe to raise funds for Altrincham Football Club. Here they are pictured, looking remarkably fit after their efforts, at the game at Christie Park. It is believed they have raised several thousand pounds for their magnificent efforts.


    Chris Adams and Mark Maddox returned after injury and suspension as Alty adopted a 4-1-4-1 formation, deploying Band in front of the back four and giving Pat McFadden his first start, employed as a loan striker. Colin Little was out of the starting line-up for the first time this season after reporting a leg problem before the game.

    Match report here.

    Easter Monday, 17 April

  • Accrington S, 1 Scarborough 0
  • Aldershot T. 0 Grays A. 3
  • Dagenham & R. 2 Canvey Island 2
  • Forest Green R. 0 Exeter C. 0
  • Gravesend & N. 2 Woking 0
  • Hereford U. 1 Tamworth 0
  • Kidderminster H. 1 Cambridge U. 0
  • Morecambe 2 ALTRINCHAM 0
  • Stevenage B. 2 Crawley T. 1
  • York C. 0 Halifax T. 2


    Part Three of Terry Rowley's fascinating A to Z of Altrincham FC is now here. Did Alty really place a pig on a wall near Moss Lane to indicate that it was matchday?


    A very good article on the atractions of football at Moss Lane appeared in a recent Robins' Review. It was penned by a good friend of the club, Jimmy Wagg, of BBC Radio Manchester.


    By Jimmy Wagg, from the Robins' Review, 8 April 2006

    Liniment... The smell of liniment to be more precise. As a young lad at Maine Road, the pungent waft of Wintergreen as the players ran out of the tunnel before kick off , was one of things I really used to look forward to. You don't get that any more in the Premiership.

    I'm not complaining. Covering football for BBC Radio Manchester means I get to spend a fair bit of my non-studio time in the top flight grounds of Greater Manchester, and that certainly beats working. I can't help feeling, though, that from a fan's perspective, it is an increasingly remote and sanitised experience; it is very hard to get up close and personal with a Premiership club. The football can be great, but as the top end of the game has become more business like, it has also distanced itself from Joe Public.

    Before "Angry of Hale" writes to complain that I am deluded and looking at the game through the distorting lens of age and nostalgia, let me offer a chance to test my theory. If you want to see football as an involvement sport for the spectator, get yourself down to Moss Lane and watch Altrincham (a night match under lights being my first choice).

    Every comment within 50 yards is clearly audible. If a referee's assistant feels the pressure under the stony glare of Fergie and 60,000 Reds at Old Trafford, at least the personal barbs blur into the general hubbub. Not so at Conference level. The linesman against York was given a personal and in depth appraisal of his every shortcoming.

    Character building, I'm sure, but hard going on a cold Tuesday night. By the end of the game, his conciliatory smile had frozen into a defensive rictus. I've never run the line, but, personally, I'd take the wrath of Sir Alex any time.

    As for the York subs who paused to watch a passage of play whilst warming up on the touchline, a trenchant "We've paid to watch Alty, not the back of your head!" soon had them scooting off towards the corner flag. When José Mourinho berates a referee, the vast majority at Stamford Bridge have to work out the tenor of what is being said from the manager's gestures. When Graham Heathcote does the same, half the main stand at Moss Lane can give you chapter and verse!

    It all adds up to an intensely involving experience. Like most football fans, I love to watch the game at any level, from Wembley to Wythenshawe Park, but this is football where you really are part of the drama, rather than just the backdrop to it. I can, of course, be accused of bias. I have been a Manchester City supporter (sorry Mr Heathcote) for over 40 years, but, like a lot of people who grew up in the garden city of Wythenshawe, Altrincham has always been my non league team. The Blues will always be my first love in football and I'm sure that I will always spend the bulk of my football watching time at Eastlands. I will, though, take any available opportunity to dip into the Alty experience.

    A plea. Your local football team needs you. If you are a lapsed Robins fan, or if the expensive and impersonal nature of the Premiership has turned you into an armchair supporter, why not give Moss Lane a try? It's the difference between watching "Coronation Street" and being in it. Get down to Altrincham and smell the liniment.


    17 April 2006


    Alty Youth's players reached their third cup final of the season on Sunday with a 5-3 win at Eagley in the Allied Trophies Open Cup semi-final. Alty recently reached the Neil Thomason Memorial Trophy final and, playing as the Altrincham FA Youth side have already won the Cheshire FA District Youth Cup Final. They have a chance to reach a fourth final next Sunday in the Premier Subsidiary Cup when they meet Kingsley United at Wythenshawe Town FC.


    Sunday's NL Paper reports that Radcliffe Borough's "sharpest shooter" is "rookie Ben Stanford, until recently an East Lancashire League player. 'He gave us a call after a trial with Altrincham didn't work out' said Boro' manager Andy Johnson. 'He has an immense shot, much harder than Steve Foster, who's got the hardest at our club'".

    Morecambe Reserves fielded "a mixture of trialists and players with first team experience [in] a 1-1 draw at Fleetwood Town on Good Friday. At right back was "Wedge", presumably Keith Wedge, who has played two games as a trialist for Altrincham Reserves recently.


    Marine confirm rumours circulating last week that "Throughout this season Accrington Stanley Reserves have been struggling to fulfill their [Lancashire League] fixtures and with some 11 games left to be played in almost as many days they have been forced to acknowledge the fact that they cannot complete the season. As a result Accrington Stanley are to be expelled from the league for this season and their results will be expunged... A quick calculation suggests that this leaves the top five as follows: Marine Reserves: pld 29, pts 61; Altrincham Reserves: pld 26, pts 54; Fleetwood Town Reserves: pld 24, pts 48; Bradford PA Reserves: pld 23; pts 43; Morecambe Reserves: pld 22, pts 42.". Altrincham lost the three points from their win over Accrington earlier this season, whilst Marine did not so now the side from Sefton must be the favourites for the Lancashire League title.


    Tamworth quote manager Mark Cooper after losing to Morecambe on Saturday. “It was a shocking performance. The game was effectively over after 12 minutes. Our experienced lads let us down but collectively we were not good enough. I will be expecting an immediate response on Monday at Hereford. Morecambe were fitter and stronger and we are desperately missing Carl Heggs, but he is unlikely to feature again this season. We came into the game on the back of a five game unbeaten run so we know we can pick up points, but I was disappointed that the response and support was not behind us. You don’t expect the other sides around us in the relegation battle to do us any favours and I think we still need one win to be safe. I want us to do it properly and not rely on other sides results or fortunes".
    16 April 2006


    George Heslop's report on the Youth team's win over Woodley last Thursday is now in the Youth section.


    Match report here.

    Pictured right, Man of the Match, Gary Talbot, receives his award from an Alty hero from the past, Derek Halliwell.


    As is customary at the last home game of the season, there will be an awards ceremony on Saturday, 22 April, to honour the ballboys and girls who do such a great job at Moss Lane during every first-team game.


    Ballboys and Girls Appearances for the Season 2005-06

    Coordinators: Ray Armstrong and Mike Antrobus

    Senior Ballboys Winners

    1. Tim Ainsworth: 26 games. (Receives a watch)
    2. Matthew Jamieson: 25 games. (Receives a watch)
    3. Arron Howarth: 19 games
    Junior Ballboys Winners
    1. Matthew Cook: 23 games. (Receives a watch)
    2. James Antrobus: 21 games. (Receives a watch)
    3. Alex Pugh: 19 games.
    Mini Ballboys Winners
    1. Daniel Gregory: 18 games. (Receives a watch)
    2. Jack Bowyer: 11 games. (Receives a watch).
    Ballgirls Winner
    1. Samantha Lewis: 20 games. (Receives a watch).

    Also, well done to all of the other youngsters who acted as ballboys and girls, namely:

  • Damir Sirovica : 17 games
  • Chris Bott, Damien Plumb: 16
  • George Carr: 15
  • Robin Griffin: 14
  • James Black: 8
  • Joe Battersby: 6
  • Mark Marshall, Zaid Slaei: 5
  • Chris Pugh, Charles Braunstein: 4
  • Calvin Smith, Matthew Anderson, Paul Marshall, Mike Neocleous: 3
  • Ben Wainwright, Ashley Leyfield, Chris Ottaway, Scott Bentley, John Shield: 2
  • Liam Brooks, Arron Heath, George Meehan, Elliott Cooke, Tom Ottaway, Jordan Norwood, Steven Norwood, Joseph Faupel, Matthew Simpson, Daniel Little: 1

    Ray Armstrong writes: This season, by way of a change, due to a problem in getting hold of some trophies, the winners will receive watches, which I hope they will enjoy. The first and second in each category will receive a watch while the third will also receive a prize. Many thanks to all of the AFC ballboys and girls, plus a very big thanks to Mike Antrobus who has done a fantastic job, once again, for Altrincham Football Club".

    Altrincham Football Club itself would also like to record its sincere thanks to Ray and Mike and all of their ballboys and ballgirls for the wonderful job that they do, in all weathers, in keeping games flowing and in retrieving balls that get kicked out of the ground.


    In Saturday's Robins' Review, Graham Heathcote writes:

    I must take this opportunity to apologise to Russell Moore, the secretary of Tamworth and to Tamworth FC. After having spoken to Russell, it would appear that I got the wrong end of the stick with regards to the comment of ignorance. Once he had explained the question out to him by The Non-League Paper, the way I read it in that paper was incorrect and I apologise to him profusely. I am very sorry that my comment caused some idiot to ring Russell with abuse. If we find out whoever did this, they would be banned for life; there is no place for that sort of thing. Pressures are on lots of people and we do have to keep this sort of thing in perspective".


    Steve Hawes scored for Stocksbridge PS yesterday.


    "Cash-strapped Canvey Island are poised to withdraw from the Nationwide Conference at the end of the season, reports BBC Radio Essex. Manager and director Jeff King wants to stop bankrolling Canvey and poor ticket sales means the club must cut costs. 'I have been thinking about this since last summer', said King. 'We have gone up six Leagues in the last ten years and yet still people have not come'. The club have until 13 May to submit their application to resign. An official notice of their resignation would then be made at the Conference AGM on 3 June. If they withdrew from the Conference they are expected to apply for a place in the Ryman Premier Divison or they could drop down to the Essex Senior League. King's businesses have sustained Canvey's climb up the non-league ladder to the Conference since he became manager in 1992. The businessman has pledged not to 'cut his ties' with the club but assistant manager Glenn Pennyfather says it is an end of an era for the part-timers. 'There'll be a lot of sadness when we walk out of the door for the last time', he said. 'The dream is over but there is a bright future'" .
    15 April 2006


  • ALTRINCHAM 0 Hereford U. 1
  • Crawley T. 2 Aldershot T. 0
  • Exeter C. 3 Dagenham & R. 1
  • Grays A. 2 Forest Green R. 2
  • Scarborough 3 Burton A. 0
  • Southport 1 Gravesend & N. 0
  • Tamworth 0 Morecambe 3
  • Woking 0 Accrington S. 1 - Accrington promoted.

    100 UP

    A report on Alty's 7-2 win at Eagley last week is on the Youth Page, courtesy of George Heslop. In this game, Alty scored their 100th goal of the season.

    Also on the Youth Page is news of Alty's role in helping the NW Allied Trophies League to win the Lancashire FA's Under-18s Inter League Cup Final and in the North of England Colleges' recent win over a Sheffield Wednesday youth side.


    Alty keeper Stuart Coburn told the NL paper yesterday, "The win at Dagenham was, by some way, this club's biggest result of the season. The pitfalls of being parttime mean I got to bed at half three and I was up for work at seven. But it makes it easier hearing the alarm clock when you've won 4-2. Hereford will be massively difficult for us. We're not expected to pick anything up from it. If we do, it will be a bonus. We go in as underdogs but at least now we can be more relaxed knowing we are unlikely to be relegated for what we do on the pitch".

    This is HUFC reports that "Hereford United go into their Easter programme knowing that two victories will confirm their position in the end-of-season Nationwide Conference play-offs for the third successive campaign. But the Bulls need to end a troublesome run of four games without a win and this will not be easy as both Saturday's opponents Altrincham and next Monday's visitors Tamworth are looking for points in their relegation battles. Hereford will also be looking for their first success in four matches against Altrincham when they travel to Moss Lane on Saturday. The Cheshire side gained a win and a draw against the Bulls when they were last in the Conference back in 1999-2000 and claimed a goalless draw at Edgar Street back in September. Hereford director of football Graham Turner should have the majority of his squad available for selection at the weekend, although there are still doubts over two of his main defenders. 'Tony James is very doubtful with his groin injury, although Ryan Green, who picked up a hamstring injury and a bruised ankle at Morecambe, may have recovered in time', he said. Midfielder Andy Ferrell, who has just finished a three-match suspension, will be available again, and Guy Ipoua is set for a long-awaited comeback. The Cameroonian striker has been sidelined with an Achilles problem".


    The NL Paper says that there will be a hearing by the Conference at Burton this Thursday concerning the James Robinson Affair. It quotes Conference Director of Operations, John Moules, as saying, "A decision will be made on the day". However, "representatives from Southport and Forest Green will not be on the panel making the decision. Accrington Stanley have decided not to appeal against the FA charges for their failure to get international clearance for Robinson before he joined them. Their chairman Eric Whalley said, "Ignorance is not a defence and we will take whatever punishment we have to. The FA can't take points off sides and he didn't play for our first team so it is likely to be a fine".


    Votes for the STAR Player of the Season need to be registered by the end of Saturday's game at Moss Lane. You can e-mail your first, second and third choice here.


    The Romford Recorder reports on Alty's win at Dagenham. "It was 90 minutes of football that represented a microcosm of everything good, bad and ugly during John Still's two-year Victoria Road reign. Collectively, Daggers' defending was a nightmarish replay of the dark days of a horrendous period towards the back end of last year, when one win in 12 Conference games gave rise to nervous glances at the bottom three. They conceded four soft goals in this match and the margin of defeat might have been even greater against an Altrincham side, whose on-field and off-field plight reflected their desperation for victory... 'I've no qualms with the second red card but I didn't see what happened with the first one', said Still when asked for his view. When told that Bruce had thrown his head aggressively at the Altrincham player, Still said: 'If he did that, he deserved to go and he'll be dealt with... They scored a freak first goal. Our application in the first half was poor, our energy levels were poor and our all-round game was slow. Being 3-0 down was harsh on us but we deserved to be behind. The fourth goal killed us though. I don't know what Tony was doing. I'd have to see that again'". In the NL Paper, Still said, Alty's "first goal was a complete freak. The lad went to corss it and it ended up going in". Is he suggesting Colin Potts didn't really aim for the top corner??

    Stuart Coburn said, "Colin Little steadied the nerves with a crucial fourth and that's typical of him. He was there to tidy up and he's helped us win a lot of points this season. We're nearly where we want to be with this result The gaffer said we needed four more points last week and we've got them but one more will see us over the finishing line and we're very confident now. We can relax a bit more and play with no fear in the last games".


    The Canvey Forum reports that Canvey is to form a supporters' trust as their chief backer, Jeff King prepares to leave the club. One attendee wrote that next season "It Is 99% probable [that we] won't be [in] Conference National... Current Chairman Keith Johnson and Secretary Wayne Purser will be redundant from the end of the season/month".

    BBC Sport says that "Forest Green chairman Trevor Horsley feels that nine points from their last five games would prevent relegation from the Conference National division... Horsley told the Gloucester Citizen newspaper: 'I've been disappointed with the players at times this season. If we go down, it's because we haven't been good enough - in fairness, I've told the players that to their faces'". The BBC adds that "Exeter City have recalled midfielder Danny Clay from his loan spell at Crawley Town. Clay, 20, has not featured in the Conference for Exeter this season after struggling with injury and illness. However, he made 10 appearances for Crawley, scoring once - and has been offered a new deal by the Grecians".

    "The Football Association has upheld defender Lee Protheroe's appeal against his sacking by Gravesend & Northfleet. The 30-year-old was dismissed for gross misconduct after he admitted speaking to a Stevenage player about Fleet's likely tactics before a game. However, the FA ruled that they could not take disciplinary action against him while he was on loan at Margate".

    On Monday Alty travel to Morecambe and Morecambe Today reports that "Caretaker manager Sammy McIlroy said morale was high in the squad and they were just taking 'one game at a time'. [He said,] 'We are expecting four hard games between now and the end of the season... We are unbeaten in four, now we've got to keep it going'. The Shrimps host Altrincham on Monday as part of an Easter programme that is bound to have a huge bearing on the play-offs... Dave Perkins was back in training this week but McIlroy said that they would have to wait before deciding whether he will be involved over the weekend".

    NL Daily says that "Australian midfielder Jon Brady has committed to his future at Cambridge United by penning a new contract for the next term. Cambridge manager Rob Newman [said] 'He's been with championship winning sides in the Conference before so he brings us that experience, plus he has great energy and work ethic and commitment to the cause'.. . Meanwhile, midfielder Ritchie Hanlon has also agreed a new deal to keep him with United until the end of next season".

    14 April 2006


  • Cambridge U. 2 York C. 0
  • Canvey I. 2 Kidderminster H. 1
  • Halifax T. 1 Stevenage B. 1


    Hereford's Bullsnews says that "Graham Turner has told BBC Hereford and Worcester that the Bulls face two tough tests in three days with the game at Altrincham and against Tamworth who are both near the bottom of the Conference. 'It looks as though Altrincham are going to get away from it, although they could go down on a technicality, but both games will be difficult. And what we need is decent performances, particulally at the home match, and to make sure we are in the play-offs and then we can start planning for them'... For Hereford, 'Tony James is very doubtful with his groin injury, although Ryan Green, who picked up a hamstring injury and a bruised ankle at Morecambe, may have recovered in time', said Turner".


    The Sale & Altrincham Messenger has a piece on Alty director Andrew Shaw's sponsored walk from Altrincham to Morecambe which starts at 8am today and ends on Monday for the game at Christie Park. You can sponsor Andrew, for club funds, by e-mailing Grahame Rowley.


    On SAM's website Mark Maddox writes - "The win against Dagenham in midweek has given the whole club a boost, finally our hard work has paid off... I said to [physio] Andy Hosgood that the game would go down as one of the great games in the club's history and I truly believe it will... We desperately needed a result and we came up with the goods... When you look at the performances of Gary Talbot and Rod Thornley, who have only just recovered from injury, it just shows you the desire and determination in this squad. The fans were absolutely brilliant as well, especially considering they had to travel six hours on a coach to get to the game... I had to perform the kitman duties to make myself useful while I was down there... and make sure the lads got a good scoff on the way back... I almost had a heart attack during the game. Now I know why Graham has started losing his hair! ... I was really pleased with the impact Pat McFadden made when he came on, he scared the life out of their centre halves. I'm speaking from experience when I say that if you've given your all in a game and you're exhausted, the last thing you want to see is a little nipper like him running at you... I'm not saying it's all done and dusted yet but we're almost there. We've held our own against most of the bigger teams and we've already taken a point off Hereford this year, when I came on as a sub to play the Xabi Alonso role... It doesn't look like I'll be back in the team when my suspension has finished though, I'll probably be watching the Morecambe game from the bench again. Talbs has been brilliant last couple of games so I'll just have to bide my time. I'm not bothered though as long as we stay up and if that does happen, Graham should get manager of the season, no doubt about it".

    Meanwhile, Dagenham's two red-carded players on Tuesday have received their suspensions; Paul Bruce is banned for 3 games whilst Shane Blackett will sit out one game for bringing down Pat McFadden.


    The Essex Chronicle claims that "Chelmsford City look to set to sack current manager Craig Edwards at the end of the season and bring in a new boss - with Canvey Island's Jeff King strongly tipped to take over... It is understood that informal talks with the Nationwide Conference manager have already been held by City officials... King, who as manager and chairman... has become increasingly disillusioned with the lack of support on the terraces... City clearly has the greater potential, now playing back home at Melbourne Stadium with gates of 1,500-plus, while the Islanders, despite all their on-field success, rarely attract more than a few hundred to their home games". City's senior director Peter Stroud said: 'We are in discussions with other parties in looking for the longer term future of the club both on and off the field. Jeff King is one of those we have spoken to, and there are others, but nothing will be decided until the end of the season'"... Current City boss Edwards said: 'I know there is no smoke without fire. I am bitterly disappointed that I have found out from supporters about what's going on and that no official at the club has spoken to me about the situation now or about the future'".

    The BBC reports that "Halifax Town have signed a new sponsorship deal with the club's shirt sponsors. The Shaymen are to receive a five-figure sum for next season from train operator Grand Central. Part of the deal also covers transport and accommodation for the team". The same source addas that "Scarborough manager Neil Redfearn believes their race to avoid relegation still has a long way to run... saying: 'I said a few weeks ago that there will be twists and turns. We will win games people say we shouldn't and not win ones they say we should'".

    "Crawley Town have recalled Robbie Kember from his loan spell at Lewes... Kember has made just one substitute appearance in the Conference this season, but will rejoin John Hollins's squad for the rest of the campaign", whilst "Midfielder Ritchie Hanlon has agreed a new deal to keep him at Cambridge United... The former Peterborough and Rushden man joined Cambridge last August following a short stay with Weymouth" states the BBC.

    Meanwhile "Exeter have launched an investigation into allegations that inside information regarding the team was passed to Grays manager Mark Stimson. It is alleged that an anonymous phone call regarding team selection and tactics was made by the father of an Exeter player to Stimson. The Grecians' operations director Frances Farley told City's website: 'If this allegation is proved then this would be a clear case of gross misconduct and any player concerned would obviously have no future at the club'. Stimson confirmed to BBC Sport he had received a phone call prior to Monday night's Conference game between the two clubs... Stimson said the information had no bearing on how Grays approached Monday's game, which they won 3-0... Afterwards Stimson informed Exeter manager Alex Inglethorpe of the phone call... Gravesend & Northfleet recently sacked defender Lee Protheroe after he spoke to a Stevenage player about an up-coming game between the two clubs".

    This is Exeter confirms that Alex Inglethorpe, manager of Exeter City spoke after "His battling side went down 3-0 but gave it a real go against Grays Athletic. Afterwards, asked if the result effectively ended the Grecians' play-off challenge, Inglethorpe said: 'I think so. At the start of the season it was always going to be a big ask of a young team'... The league table doesn't lie and the truth is City just have not been good enough. A return of just seventeen points from seventeen games isn't promotion form and, had it not been for their excellent start to the campaign, they would have been left behind weeks ago. Inglethorpe will point to the enforced budget cuts he was forced to make in the summer".

    Prices for the FA Trophy final on 14 May are on the Woking website. Woking have been allocated 9500 tickets costing £15 or £20.

    The March player of the month was York City's Clayton Donaldson, with Alty's Colin Little the runner-up.

    13 April 2006


    Alty Youth beat Woodley Sports Youth 4-1 tonight in the Subsidiary Cup, with two goals from Matty Williams, one from Ben Deegan and one from Tom Barclay. They now meet Kingsley United at home in the semi-final. The other semi will be Woodley or Leigh away to Bootle. Report to follow.


    Altrincham travel to play at Morecambe on Easter Monday (17th). The STAR coach details are here.


    Alty's Mark Maddox completes his suspension on Saturday at home to Hereford United so will be available for the Morecambe trip on Monday. However, Val Owen will be out of action and Chris Adams is also doubtful for the weekend. Blake Norton was ill with a sickness bug earlier this week but may have recovered for the weekend whilst there is also a doubt about Stephen Rose, who was unable to complete last night's Reserves' match through injury.


    Altrincham Reserves went down 3-2 on Wednesday night to Southport. Alty's goals came from McAllister and Heffernan. Report to follow.

    Below are pictures of the staff and players involved last night for the Altrincham Reserves.

    L to R: Neil Brown (manager); Carlos Marsden (coach), Alan Ainslie (physio)
    L to R: Ashley Brown; Paul Monaghan, Keith Wedge
    L to R: Danny Heffernan, Colin McAllister, Mike Brown
    L to R: James Marsden, Pat McFadden, Mark Smyth
    L to R: Craig Ellison, Lee Hendley, John Maloney
    L to R: Richard Norris, Richard Acton, Stephen Rose


    Above: Ged Murphy (no.37) celebrates his first goal for Altrincham FC, against Gravesend last Saturday. Also seen are Colin Potts (7) and Gary Scott (11) whilst in the background Graham Heathcote punches the air. This and more of Gavin Rathbone's images are available on his GR Photography website and copies can also be ordered in the Robins' Shop.


  • Terry Rowley's updated Conference attendance statistics are here
  • Howard Watts's Through the Years records fro 15 April are here.


    SAM has a report on Tuesday's game at Dagenham where Alty gave "a performance of true heart and class". Graham Heathcote told Connor Murphy of SAM, "I'm happy for our fans tonight because they deserved that, they have been excellent throughout this season and there was a great turnout again here. But now it's up to the people of Altrincham to come out and support us against Hereford on Saturday, so that we can finally put this to bed... We went at them right from kick off and all the lads showed real heart. If we approach the Hereford game in the same way we will have a good chance of taking something from it". The report adds that "The inspiration that had often been lacking in the previous eight games came in the form of Colin Potts". The BBC reports that "Graham Heathcote does not want to rely on results of other teams to keep his Altrincham side in the Conference. 'We want to do it ourselves by putting enough points on the board', Heathcote told BBC Sport. 'We have made it tough for one or two teams below us, but we are not there yet. Any win is a good win for us, considering the pressure we are under as well. And after conceding a last-minute equaliser on Saturday, the character the players showed to come back again was fantastic. I can't ask for any more from them!'" The Dagenham & Redbridge website also has a report, with statistics.
    12 April 2006


    Above: Just some of the Alty fans who made the trip to Dagenham. They sang throughout the game, got soaked in the latter stages, endured a 6 hour journey to the match and then a closure of the M1 on the way back, but their support was excellent throughout.

    Match report here.


  • Dagenham & R. 2 ALTRINCHAM 4
  • Scarborough 0 Tamworth 0
  • Howard Watts's Through the Years for 11 April

    Right: Alty's Chris Adams limped off on Saturday.


    Alty play Hereford on Saturday. Bullsnews reported yesterday that "Guy Ipoua was fit and ready for selection. Ipoua played in a reserve match at home to Cardiff [recently] with Adam Stansfield and a penalty, from a trialist from Cardiff, bagging the goals in a 2-0 win. Stacy Coldicott also featured in the game. Turner also stated that Robbie King had gone back to Colchester for a reserve match but was still available if needed, but that Harry Donaghey was no longer training with the club. On the leases, Turner assured the assembled representatives of the various supporters groups that an interim extension to the lease to cover promotion requirements would be in place to Football League approval, but a longer extension to allow redevelopment was still being discussed... On the LDV, the Football League had assured clubs that the money would be paid - but HUFC had not so far received any of the 'about £12,000' they were due".


    NL Daily says that "Paul Wanless has pledged his future to relegation-threatened Forest Green Rovers for next season, regardless of which division they are playing in. Rovers' inspirational midfielder and top-scorer underwent a knee operation last week, ruling him out of the rest of this campaign. But he has been handed a deal until the end of 2006/07, and the 32-year-old admits he had no hesitation in signing after being impressed by the club's set-up and fans. 'I've really, really enjoyed my time at Forest Green and I want to be part of taking the club to the next level in a new stadium next season',Wanless said... A proportion of the costs of Wanless's operation have been covered by fans donating to the GRASS [Give Regularly - Assist Squad Sponsorship] scheme, indicative of how Rovers supporters have taken to the former Cambridge United and Oxford man... 'I've got to say a big thank you to everyone who gave money to GRASS because the club can't afford to take out expensive insurance policies for players. I'm also very grateful to chairman Trevor Horsley, who had no hesitation in paying to get the operation done'", he told The Gloucester Citizen.


    Gateshead are looking towards a bright future on and off the pitch. Chairman Derek Bell confirmed the ambitious former Football League club have plans to relocate to a new purpose-built stadium in the town. Bell said: 'The stadium would be built to Nationwide Conference standard and is a necessity if we're to increase income streams and attendances'... The Tynesiders have struggled to attract crowds to their current base at the 11,750-capacity all-seater International Stadium, with only 121 watching the recent win over Burscough... 'We need our own identity if we're to realise our ambitions', added Bell".
    11 April 2006


    There is now a report on the Alty Youth team's impressive 6-0 win against Fleetwood Hesketh in the Youth section.


    The BBC states that "Dagenham striker Paul Benson showed no ill-effects after his weekend return from injury so will again be included [against Altrincham on Tuesday night]. Reserve goalkeeper Simon Overland could start on the bench after a shoulder injury but Jake Leberl (back) and Lee Goodwin (leg fracture) are sidelined. Altrincham, who have gone eight games since victory, look as if they will be missing Chris Adams who picked up a knock at the weekend against Gravesend. Fellow defender Mark Maddox is banned and Val Owen has a fractured foot".

    The Barking & Dagenham Post reports that "Dagenham & Redbridge full back Danny Foster has assured manager John Still of his versatility by insisting he is ready to make the switch into his favoured position of central defence... Since making his Conference debut 17 months ago against Northwich Victoria, the tenacious youngster, who spent his early playing career in the Tottenham Hotspur youth team, has established himself as Daggers' first choice right back... but [has] found bombing forward in support of his team's attacking surges at right wing back tougher, especially with a long ball style of play Still has persevered with this season... Still conceded: 'Danny is a centre half playing at right back. Some players don't feel comfortable in certain areas. When he's in a defensive area, he's okay, when he's in an attacking area, not as much. He has been converted to right back and has done a good job but this year, he has struggled at right wing back. He's no more a right wing back than me but he goes in, does his job every week and does fantastic. We've got nobody else to do it'". Foster added, "I've liked playing right back. I've spent the last few months playing at right wing back and I've had to try and adapt to that and play in that position and I think I've done okay. Central defence is a position I enjoy too and I feel that's my best position". The manager "meanwhile, moved to clarify speculation surrounding his hesitation to sign a new two-year contract at the weekend, maintaining he has not had 'a change of heart' over putting pen to paper".


    Our Cheshire neighbours Nantwich Town will now face Hillingdon Borough in the FA Vase final to be held at Birmingham City's ground on Saturday, May 6th. Former Alty midfielder (2000-01) Stuart Scheuber is now a Nantwich player.


    The Football Conference says that "Gravesend and Northfleet boss Liam Daish was left to reflect on a 2-2 draw at Altrincham that had all the makings of a movie blockbuster on Saturday. Certainly the plot line had all the twists and turns you could ask for, and the dialogue seems to have been pretty spicey too; 'We gave ourselves a mountain to climb, as we didn't adapt to the conditions and there were a few words said at half-time', Daish told BBC Sport. 'We were against the wind, the pitch was very boggy and we were struggling to clear our lines. But we got one back, and in the second half we got more on the front foot, and we deserved our penalty in the end', Daish commented".

    Kent on Line briefly reports on Gravesend's draw at Moss Lane, but worryingly concludes that "Altrincham goalkeeper Stuart Coleman saw red for his wild challenge on substitute Luke Moore and Johnson kept his nerve to score from the spot".


    "Canvey Island striker Lee Boylan has had a transfer requested accepted by the Conference club. 'Lee said he wants to play in the Football League and I understand that', Canvey boss Jeff King told BBC Sport. Boylan has scored over 170 goals for Canvey since joining the club in 2001 and has netted 10 times this season, despite lengthy spells out with injury. The 27-year-old, who started his career at West Ham, is under contract for next season so is likely to command a fee". King, said, after pulling the plug on further cash for the club, "Unless we find new backers or as supporters we can do something financially the club will be no longer. If we do find financial help then we have the option of staying in the Conference or starting again in the Essex Senior League".

    Cambridge United quote chairman Terry Baker, "'We are delighted Rob Newman and Tony Spearing have signed for next season. The club has been through a turbulent time and needs stability in order to progress... We have been impressed by the commitment Rob and Tony have shown... They have worked tirelessly within tight financial constraints and with a rapidly evolving squad this season - we believe they have earned the right to see what they can achieve with a more competitive budget next year'". Newman responded, "It's been a very tough year but we've got through it as a club by everyone working together - supporters, players, directors and management. Now we have to use this season as a springboard and kick on from here, get everyone pulling in the same direction, and we can really achieve something at Cambridge United. Now I want to concentrate on offering contracts to the eighteen or so quality players we need to mount a challenge next year".

    10 April 2006


    Monday 10th
  • Grays A. 3 Exeter C. 0
  • Southport 1 Woking 0


    Match report here. For a picture and more on the game, see below....


    Alty host Hereford next Saturday and Bullsnews states that "Andy Ferrell will return to the Hereford United squad next Saturday for the match against Altrincham. He was red carded in the match against Kidderminster and therefore has missed the last three games... In the Kidderminster game he was sent off in the first half when the score was 0-0. Including that game, Hereford have only taken three points out of a possible twelve from their last four matches, by far the poorest return from four games of this season. During his enforced absence Jamie Pitman and Robbie King have deputised for him. However Ferrell seemed to have struck up a useful partnership in midfield with Craig Stanley. In the previous eight games before the Kidderminster defeat, the Bulls dropped just four points out of twenty-four and both Ferrell and Stanley were playing. Whether the expected restoration of the partnership will return the Bulls to winning ways remains to be seen".


    On the Canvey Island forum a correspondent confirms that a meeting was held at the club on Sunday and "Basically Jeff King and the King family have pulled all financial backing as of the end of this season. [King is the manager and owner of the club]. Unless we find new backers or as supporters we can do something financially the club will be no longer. If we do find financial help then we have the option of staying in the Conference or starting again in the Essex Senior eague. It really is dependent on finding someone or people to save the club". It is believed that King would be prepared to stay as manager but not to finance the club any further. King recently expressed disappointed at the por gates at the Essex club - last week they attracted just over 350 people for a midweek game against Woking. King is rumoured to have paid around £9,000 per week to keep the club going.

    Bullsnews adds that "King has been a revelation for the club who were in the Essex Senior League when he arrived. A string of promotions through five levels brought them to the Conference last season but gates have failed to cover the bills and King, through his family businesses, has repeatedly bankrolled the club's success. Rumours have been circulating linking the club to a merger with Chelmsford City, but these have been dismissed by King".


    The NW Counties League reports that "FC United are pleased to announce that Tony Cullen has agreed to manage our reserve team next season. Tony has played 22 times for FC this season, and is currently taking his coaching badges. The reserve team is an exciting development for the club; both Karl and the board are looking forward to expanding the opportunities for local youngsters to play for FC United, and are delighted that Tony has agreed to take on the job". Cullen was briefly with Altrincham a couple of years ago.

    Ashley Timms was sent off on Saturday, playing for Moor Green. Stuart Scheuber yesterday scored one of the goals that ensured Nantwich Town's place in the FA Vase final.

    9 April 2006


    L to R: Alty Youth team's Dean White, Andy Keogh and Hassan Zareh-Ourang pictured in the match against Fleetwood Hesketh on Sunday afternoon - before the hailstorms struck.

    Altrincham Youth followed up the seven goals in their last match with a 6-0 victory over Southport side Fleetwood Hesketh on Sunday afternoon. The game started and finished in sunshine but, in between, strong hailstorms lashed the pitch. Ben Deegan hit four of the goals with Astley Mulholland and Danny Browne also scoring. Report to follow.


  • York C. 2 Kidderminster H. 2


    Apart from crucial matches against Dagenham and Hereford in the coming week, Altrincham FC "should know in 48 hours if they face a controversial relegation from the Conference" claims the NL Paper today. It states that "Lawyers acting for the Conference are expected to give an answer as early as tomorrow (Monday) on whether Alty broke the rules by failing to get international clearance for former Crewe midfielder James Robinson - and the punishment they face if they did.... Accrington Stanley, who transferred Robinson to Altrincham without knowing he had not received clearance from his previous club in Iceland have already been charged by the FA with breaching FIFA regulations, They have until Tuesday to respond. Altrincham could be similarly accused under Conference rules and face up to an 18 points deduction if they are found guilty". Conference chief John Moules said, "We are waiting for our legal advisors to assess the sutuation then we will investigate if there is a case to be heard or if there has been any breach of the rules. If you play an ineligible player you lose the points gained under our rules but, until we look at all the facts, we can't make any decisions". The articles states that "Moules hinted that relegation rivals of Altrincham had attempted to apply pressure to the Conference and added, 'Clubs keep getting in the way when they should let us deal with the matter'". The article goes on, that the ruling on whether Alty broke the rules "will almost certainly spark an appeal to the FA and cause end of season chaos". It adds that when the FA charged Accrington, it "said Alty had no case to answer... But pressure from other clubs in relegation trouble appears to have forced the Conference hand".


    Today, Sunday 9th April at 2.30pm, Altrincham Youth host Fleetwood Hesketh in the league at Wythenshawe Town.


    STAR is running a supporters' coach to Dagenham and Redbridge on Tuesday night. Full details are here, whilst Howard Watts's Through the Years data for 8 April can be found belatedly here.


    SAM has Mark Maddox's latest entertaining column. On his sending off at Exeter, Mark writes, "I knew the minute I lashed out at the lad it was stupid and I regretted it straight away, I've not stopped apologising to the lads since. The fans deserve an apology as well... The lad fell on top of me and wouldn't let me up so I just lashed out to try and get him off me... Then the York game made things even worse, I was absolutely gutted afterwards.... Some people might think we will be starting to panic but ...Everything is still in our hands... I think if we can get another four points then we should be fine... The Dagenham trip on Tuesday night will be a bit of a killer because I probably won't get back home till the early hours of the morning but I still want to go down there with the lads... The whole international clearance issue hasn't really played on our minds, we are just doing our best to get as many points as we can on the pitch for survival... I'm not sure about this whole playing in Iceland business though anyway. I always said he [Robinson] would make a better checkout assistant than a footballer so I think he was working at Iceland never mind playing in a different country".


    At half time in yesterday's game at Moss Lane an ambulance was called to take long-time Alty supporter Alex Dummigan [apologies if misspelt] to hospital after he became unwell whilst watching the match from the Carole Nash Stand with his son Neil. All at Moss Lane wish Alex well and hope to see him back at Moss Lane soon.

    N.W. NEWS

    "Barrow have revealed that they are to ask supporters to convert their loans to the Bluebirds into donations in a move which would cut overall debt. When the ground was bought from the liquidator in 2002, fans were asked to support the club by buying debentures, which they did to the tune of £97,000. A debenture is effectively a loan, and therefore shows as a debt on the club’s balance sheet. Now the club will write to the hundreds of debenture holders, asking if they want to change their loan into a donation... Not only would it cut the club’s debt, it could help free up money for manager Phil Wilson to spend in the summer. It is thought many supporters who gave money did so thinking of it as a donation anyway" reports the NW Evening Mail.
    8 April 2006


    The Fleet's captain, Bowry takes a first-half free-kick at Moss Lane.

    Match report here.


  • Aldershot T. 1Cambridge U. 3
  • ALTRINCHAM 2 Gravesend & N. 2
  • Crawley T. 1 Burton A. 1
  • Halifax T. 2 Southport 1
  • Hereford U. 1 Dagenham & R. 1
  • Morecambe 3 Woking 1
  • Stevenage B. 2 Scarborough 0
  • Tamworth 1 Canvey I. 0


    Alty meet Gravesend and Northfleet today at Moss Lane (3pm) for their first visit since 1981/82 season when Alty won 3-1. In their two previous visits Alty won 4-1 (1979/80) and 2-1 (1980/81). But The Fleet beat Alty at their ground 2-0 earlier this season. The Sale & Altrincham Messenger reports that Alty "manager Graham Heathcote has challenged his squad to gain enough points to secure survival as quickly as possible, no matter what happens off the pitch. And there is no better time for them to face Gravesend. The Fleet are coming off a run of five defeats in their past six games and have an injury list that seems to be growing by the minute. With top scorer Charlie MacDonald already ruled out for the rest of the season, Bobby Bowry (knee), Jay Saunders (back), Mark Rawle (hamstring) and Andy Drury (toe) will also be sidelined for Saturday's game. Steve McKimm and Daniel Glozier are also suspended leaving Gravesend's resources stretched almost to breaking point. Alty, meanwhile, will be without the suspended Mark Maddox and have doubts over Val Owen (foot) but otherwise have virtually a full bill of health". SAM identifies Fleet's long-serving midfielder Jimmy Jackson as a danger... having played more than 500 games for the club. A free kick specialist, he has been played out of position of late due to Fleet's lack of striking options but is still canny enough to cause some problems and has chipped in with five goals this season. On-loan Northampton midfielder Bradley Johnson was the scorer of Gravesend's only goal in the midweek defeat to Grays and has generally impressed during his time at the club. Still only 18 years old, Johnson is athletic and enthusiastic and will be important going forward from midfield".


    Above: Steve Aspinall takes on York City's Dunning last Tuesday night. This and more of Gavin Rathbone's images are available on his GR Photography website and copies can also be ordered in the Robins' Shop.


    Terry Rowley's updated Conference attendances statistics are here.


    "Aldershot boss Terry Brown is keen to give teenage defender Dave Winfield more experience between now and the end of the Conference season. He made his full league debut against Gravesend & Northfleet last Saturday. And Brown told the Shots' website: 'He has only just turned 18, and was colossal last weekend. He is not the finished article yet, but what 18-year-old is? He needs to be playing now, so I will give him all the games he can get at the moment'". The BBC also states that "Exeter boss Alex Inglethorpe has offered new one-year contracts for next season to five players. The quintet in question are strikers Jamie Mackie and Danny Seaborne, midfielder Danny Clay, keeper Martin Rice, and defender Dean Moxey. Inglethorpe told the Express & Echo newspaper: 'We expect big things of them sometimes but we forget they are all 19 and 20 years of age - we need to have half an eye on them for the future'"

    Tamworth confirm that "following a board meeting at The Lamb on Thursday night, Tamworth FC are delighted to announce that manager Mark Cooper and assistant manager Richard Dryden have signed further two year contracts. In a very positive meeting it was also decided that Tamworth, for the 2006-7 season, will make the step up from part- to full-time. 'This can only be seen as a positive step forward for the club', said General Manager Russ Moore... It is ladies day on Saturday and Ladies England and Birmingham City striker Karen Carney will be in attendance [at Tamworth's match], along with Nationwide Conference Secretary Kellie Discipline". And "'It was a fantastic performance by the lads', boss Mark Cooper said of his side's 2-1 victory over Aldershot - the first Tuesday night league win at The Lamb since February 2003 - hopefully we have turned the corner. Michael Tuohy should be fit for the weekend and Matty Williams is hopeful for our trip to Scarborough next Tuesday.It is unlikely though, that Dave Bampton will feature again this season following a knee injury picked up against Exeter City'". Yet, The BBC says that "Notts County striker Matthew Williams, who is on loan at Tamworth, is battling to play again this season. The 23-year-old broke a bone in his foot in February, just after extending his loan spell until late April. However, County's website states that although his rehabilitation is going well, he is unlikely to recover before the end of the Conference season". The BBC adds that "The Lambs are one of just five teams operating in the Conference on a part-time basis but already hold some daytime training sessions. Southport have previously said they will also be fully professional next season if they stay up, while Burton are moving towards full-time football". So that leaves just Altrincham and Canvey Island as Conference clubs remaining part-time.

    7 April 2006


  • Forest Green R. 1 Accrington S.1


    Val Owen will miss tomorrow's clash with Gravesend & Northfleet. He has an injury which requires further investigation but will certainly not be fit for tomorrow's game.


    The BBC reports that "Tamworth are to go full-time from the start of next season".

    Meanwhile, Graham Heathcote has been contacted by Russell Moore, secretary of Tamworth FC. Since comments about the James Robinson affair, attributed to Mr Moore, were printed in the NL Paper, the Tamworth secretary has received a number of abusive anonymous phone calls. Altrincham FC wishes to make clear that should any such calls be found to emanate from Altrincham fans, those concerned would be banned for life from Moss Lane. Graham accepts Mr Moore's explanation of the comments attributed to him in the NLP and also accepts Tamworth's assurance that they were not one of the clubs who allegedly may have complained to the authorities regarding Altrincham's role in the Robinson affair. Altrincham FC will now await the outcome of the Conference hearing into this matter and expects that others will do the same. Graham has indicated that the main issue for Altrincham FC at the present time is the acquisition of points on the pitch to ensure the club's survival in the Conference national division. The next Altrincham matchday programme will include a statement by Graham Heathcote making the above situation clear as regards Tamworth. That statement will also be reproduced on this website.


    In today's NL Paper, Graham Heathcote dismisses talk of a crisis at Alty. "It may sound ridiculous but we've been playing very well lately... There is no confidence problem here - our results have been poor but our performances haven't. There are only six games to go and it is simple. Along the way we've got to get a win and a draw. I for one will be very surprised if four points won't be enough to keep us here for another year. There's no talk of a crisis. We had a crisis here three years ago when the club almost became extinct".


    Our next opponents Gravesend & Northfleet report that "There have been a number of rumours concerning the departure of Lee Protheroe who, although he is on loan to Margate, was still under contract to GNFC and was still being paid by the club. On the morning of the match at Stevenage, Lee was in communication with a Stevenage player and informed him of how he thought Liam Daish [manager of The Fleet] would play that day. Lee has admitted this fact, and although the board accept that the Stevenage player was a friend of Lee's, after due consideration, the board decided that his actions amounted to gross misconduct and terminated his contract. Lee has appealed against this decision and the matter has now been passed to the FA and the Conference".

    The Gravesend Reporter states that "boss Liam Daish hit out at Tuesday night's referee Steve Tomlinson after a contentious decision gave visitors Grays Athletic a lifeline back into the game. Tomlinson awarded the Essex side a free-kick after Fleet centre-back Peter Hawkins inadvertently handballed just outside the penalty area - which was duly despatched into the net by Grays midfielder Glenn Poole... He said: 'I thought the referee was poor... He gave a handball for an innocuous incident. I cannot imagine a player of Peter Hawkins' experience deliberately handballing it in that area of the pitch. To me, it looked like a foul the other way". Daish - often accused of tactical naivety by some sectors of the Fleet faithful - pulled out plenty of surprises in Tuesday night's squad announcement. The Fleet boss dropped impressive goalkeeper Craig Holloway for Aaron Kerr and made four other alterations to his starting XI in an attempt turnaround the clubs' woeful recent run... He said: 'I thought our approach to the game and the formation worked very well. We had a lot of energy in midfield; we got up in support of James Smith, broke off him and caused them problems... We've just got to keep at it, keep pulling together and we've got two important games coming up now against Altrincham and Southport away... We've got a good chance of getting two good results'"

    The Reporter adds that "Gravesend and Northfleet fell apart in a madcap four-minute, second-half spell which gifted Grays Athletic all three points... Steve McKimm was sent off late on... to give Fleet boss Liam Daish a selection headache ahead of this Saturday's trip to Altrincham. Daish made five changes to his starting line-up from Saturday's showing against Aldershot Town and deployed a 4-5-1 formation. Both teams spent the first-half content to soak up pressure and hit their opponents on the counter-attack, which led to a scrappy opening 45 minutes of defensive clearances and half chances".

    "Brian Kilcullen has revealed Lee Protheroe is no longer involved with the Stonebridge Road club after being sacked for gross misconduct. The Gravesend and Northfleet chairman told the Reporter that Protheroe was given his marching orders after telephoning a Stevenage Borough player on the morning of their game with Gravesend and Northfleet 12 days ago, informing Graham Westley's side of the Fleet's likely line-up and prospective weak links. Kilcullen explained: "Lee was a fans' favourite and he'd been here a little while, but we've sacked him for gross misconduct since he went on loan to Margate. We found out that before the Stevenage Borough game that Lee made contact with one of their players and told him the formation he expected Liam to play against Stevenage that day. As soon as I'd got wind that something of this nature had happened, I called Lee and asked him for his version of events and he admitted to me that he'd done that. I felt that Lee's actions justified sacking for gross misconduct. To my mind, he let me, the manager, his team-mates and the fans down. I was very, very, very upset and I've told him that". Protheroe said, "I'm disappointed to leave Gravesend in these circumstances, but these things happen in football and players come and go. I'm just one of them to be moved on". Kilcullen added, "I cannot believe one of my players would speak to an opposition player on the morning of a game - even if they're friends".


    Altrincham will need good support at their remaining away games as well as those at Moss Lane if they are to gather the necessary points to keep out of the relegation places. Their next trip is on Tuesday to Dagenham and Redbridge (7.45pm) and as usual STAR is running a supporters' executive coach. Full details of the trip will be available at Saturday's game against Gravesend and will be on the website after that. Subject to confirmation the departure time from The Vine will be 12.50pm and at the usual intervals for the other pick-up points.


    Gavin Rathbone's camera catches Val Owen in action, watched by Warren Peyton, against York City. More of Gavin's images are available on his GR Photos website and copies can also be ordered in the Robins' Shop.

    SAM reports on Alty's on-field and off-field fights to gain more points and maintain those they have earned already in the face of the Robinson Affair. "Both Accrington, for whom he played three reserve team matches, and Robinson himself have already been charged by the FA over the issue, while Alty were exonerated by English football's governing body. But now the Conference have taken up the matter, with a hearing set to take place in the near future... Graham Heathcote told SAM Sport: 'If we are found guilty we will appeal to the FA and I have great faith in them to make the right decision. Lots of people are banging lots of different drums about this issue without even knowing the full facts, which are only known by myself and the FA. I am just trying to make sure we do our job on the pitch. I want my players to be able to say at the end of the season that we did the job no matter what happens, that's the motivation in the next six games. We have not done that yet but I want it so much now'".

    Against York, Sam says that "For the first 20 minutes on Tuesday night, Alty were actually the better team. Direct and effective, they sliced the York defence open all too easily and thoroughly deserved to take the lead... But the goal never came and as the game wore on, the greater quality of the full time side became glaringly obvious... Despite the scoreline, Alty's second half performance was more heartening... And manager Graham Heathcote remained positive after the game. 'We were playing a really good side tonight, I've said all along the month of April was going to be a very tough month.I'm pleased that the lads kept their heads up in the second half and kept going because at 3-0 down they could have easily given up. I'm not saying there's lots of plusses but I'm happy with the application the players showed over the 90 minutes'".


    The BBC says that "Canvey Island manager Jeff King has hinted he may have to sell players if they continue to get low crowds. The Gulls' last two home Conference matches have attracted disappointing attendances, with fewer than 500 people through the gate on each occasion. There were just over 350 at Tuesday's 2-0 home defeat against Woking. King told BBC Essex: 'It's their choice (the fans) but they're going to force something to happen here and they won't like it - it's going to be their call'".

    "Burton Albion midfielder Chris Hall has agreed a new one-year deal... after signing from Lincoln United at the start of last season. However, defender Lee Ayres has not been offered a new deal and has left the club after having the remaining few weeks of his contract paid up. Ayres, 23, joined the Brewers from Tamworth in August 2004 but has not played this season because of injury"says the BBC which adds that "On-loan Lincoln defender Matt Bloomer is to stay with Cambridge United until the end of the Conference season".

    Grays Athletic confirm that "manager Mark Stimson has signed a new three-year contract which will keep him at the club until 2010. Stimson, 38, has led his side to fourth place in the Conference and a second successive FA Trophy Final. Chairman Micky Woodward told BBC Essex: 'I believe he's one of the best managers in non-League football. I'm very lucky to have him'. Stimson took over as boss in September 2002 and has guided the Blues from the Ryman Premier Division to the verge of the Football League".

    The Conference says that "Francis Vines, the former Crawley manager, has been awarded £5,825 in compensation against the owners of Crawley Town for not honouring a severance clause in his contract. According to the Surrey press, the ruling came after chairman Azwar Majeed failed to turn up to an employment tribunal. Three other former Crawley employees are also said to be suing the club. Vines later said that he would have to wait and see if Majeed will pay him the award. 'This is typical of the way the Majeeds approach things. I really enjoyed my time at the club. They were fantastic times and it was only the last few months that were a bit unstable but the rest of the time it was great' he said".

    There is a statement by The York City Supporters' Trust on the club website. It says that "the Supporters' Trust is involved in discussions with J M Packaging Ltd with a view to introducing a significant amount of additional funding to York City Football Club that, if concluded, will involve a change to the ownership structure of the Club. Currently, the Trust owns 85% of the total issued share capital of the Club and Jason McGill owns 15%... The discussions are ongoing and no conclusions have been reached... For there to be a reasonable rate of return for J M Packaging Ltd on the funds it has provided to the Club. This return would only be paid by the Club following the sale of Bootham Crescent, as part of the move to a new stadium in the city in several years time. The interest rate is to be agreed between the parties.". Cambridge News reports how Adam Davies, "The 20-year-old Cambridge United defender stopped breathing after suffering a head injury in his side's 2-1 win over Exeter City... The game was delayed for 22 minutes as he received treatment on the pitch from United physio Greg Reid, the club doctor and paramedics. 'He sustained a head injury and when I got to him his airway was blocked, he wasn't breathing and he was fitting', said Reid. 'It's the most serious life-threatening situation I have been involved in on a football field'... Davies was taken to Addenbrookes, but late in the night discharged after a series of CAT scans and checks".

    6 April 2006


    Above: A grainy picture of Richard Norris (15) and Pat McFadden (14) joining the game as Kieran Lugsden comes off, after his hat-trick. Towards the left of the picture, Eddie Hussin shakes hands with a team mate as he, too, is substituted.

    Kieran Lugsden hit a well-taken hat-trick but Altrincham Reserves disappointingly let a 3-1 lead slip against Fleetwood Town at Moss Lane last night. Defenders Ashley Brown and Laurence Ball were the only regulars from the Reserves in the starting line-up. Otherwise, Alty included seven players who hold first-team squad numbers in their starting eleven. These included Eddie Hussin, starting his first game since last season, having had half an hour as a used sub last Saturday, along with Richard Acton, Stephen Rose, Rod Thornley, Lewis Chalmers, Kieran Lugsden and Blake Norton. The other two starters were trialists Keith Wedge (ex-Bury), who looked useful at right-back, and Mark Smyth (ex-Liverpool and Vauxhall Motors), up front. The used subs were Lee Hendley, Pat McFadden and Richard Norris, making his first appearance of the season after injury. Fleetwood's equaliser was a 60-yarder by Mark Davis, who fired a kicked clearance by Richard Acton straight back past the keeper who could not get back to his line in time to stop the ball. Had they won, Alty would have gone top of the Lancashire League but they remain well placed with three games in hand on Marine, who are a point ahead. Report to follow.


    Alty will be without suspended captain Mark Maddox again against Gravesend and Northfleet on Saturday. But The Fleet will also be missing a suspended player, Steven McKimm, banned for 3 games following a sending off last Tuesday.


    The BBC says that "Scarborough must exit administration by 31 May or face automatic relegation from the Conference's top division. League rules say clubs cannot play for three straight seasons in the Conference while in administration. Scarborough are currently in their second year in administration and therefore have until the 31 May deadline to abide by the ruling. Conference chief executive John Moules told BBC Sport: 'They've until May to get out of it. It's in their court'... However, Scarborough chairman Malcolm Reynolds said: 'We are in a position where, first and foremost, we as a football team need to stay in the league. If that is the case then in terms of complying with the ruling I have been told that we are in a position to sort it out in a matter of days'".

    NL Daily reports on Gravesend's defeat by Grays on Tuesday in which "Grays scored three times in four second-half minutes". It also reports that "Jamie Guy's injury-time strike earned Cambridge United victory against Exeter City in a game marred by a sickening injury to Adam Davies. He was kicked in the throat by substitute Jamie Mackie and play was suspended as he received extensive treatment before being carried off on a stretcher". Also, "Hereford United midfielder Andy Ferrell has signed a new twelve-month contract... Ferrell, 22, who started his career at Newcastle United, joined Hereford from Watford last summer. He has started twenty-six games for Graham Turner's side this season... Ferrell joins striker Andy Williams, midfielder Stacy Coldicott and defender Alex Jeannin in being confirmed as part of Turner's squad for next season".

    "Grays Athletic would swap their chance of retaining the FA Trophy to secure promotion from the Nationwide Conference National, according to winger Glen Poole... He said: "We have been talking about it, and we'd all definitely swap our place in the Trophy final to go into the Football League. Grays' striker Aaron McLean agreed, adding: 'After we beat Exeter City in the Trophy semi finals, the gaffer told us we could either rest easy until the final or play for promotion - we obviously want to get out of this league'".


    The unofficial York City website has a report on City's win at Moss Lane. Its statistics show
  • Alty shots 9 (on target 5), fouls 18, corners 7
  • York shots 13, (on target 6), fouls 9, corners 4

    This is York also has a report stating that "Donaldson has now netted 16 times this season - and he and Bishop are just one strike short of a 40-goal partnerhip. About their latest efforts, manager Billy McEwan said: 'The build-up for the first goal was good but you will not see many better in the Conference League this season than the second and third. They were superb finishes from two clinical strikers and I was delighted for them. Altrincham have improved a lot since we beat them 5-0 in September but they came up against our two strikers, whose finishing was red-hot... What impressed me most about our strikers was when they lost the ball they worked back tremendously hard... They worked their socks off as did the rest of the team'" However, "Altrincham went close three times and rattled the visitors' crossbar before Donaldson opened the scoring and McEwan warned: 'They started lively but we were a bit sloppy. We lacked discipline in key areas... We had nearly 500 supporters away on a Tuesday night and it gives me a little buzz when I see those big flags waving and the enjoyment and pleasure on people's faces when we scored the goals'". This is York also says that York's "pride and passion was illustrated by angry early altercations between visiting City players as skipper Emmanuel Panther, among others, demanded higher standards, following a worrying start that saw Altrincham rattle the crossbar after just 12 minutes... It was Altrincham who had the better of the early exchanges with James Dudgeon and David McGurk both making crucial blocks from home striker Colin Little after just three minutes. Warren Peyton's excellent 30-yard lob then crashed back into play off Chris Porter's crossbar".

    5 April 2006


    Congratulations to Diane Swindells who has won the Altrincham FC Pontoon competition with her team, Arsenal, who won 5-0 on Saturday to take them from 16 goals to a winning total of exactly 21 goals. The club wishes to thank everyone who has taken part in the Pontoon for their continued support for Altrincham FC. Please look out for more games of Pontoon next season!!! The final Pontoon Table is here.


    Match report here.


    Alty Reserves are at home (Moss Lane) to Fleetwood on Wednesday 5th April at 7.45pm. The game against Guiseley set for May 3rd has been moved to Saturday 29th April (3pm, to be confirmed).
    4 March 2006


    Tuesday 4th April
  • ALTRINCHAM 0 York C. 3
  • Cambridge U. 2 Exeter C. 1
  • Canvey I. 0 Woking 2
  • Gravesend & N. 1 Grays A. 3
  • Morecambe 2 Hereford U. 2
  • Tamworth 2 Aldershot T. 1


    Alty Youth won 7-2 tonight, away at Eagley in a league match. Report to follow.


    Pictured above is the Altrincham & District FA Youth team, winners of the Cheshire County FA District Youth Cup Final, 2006. Left to right back row: Rick Crawford, Kieran Raynes, Danny Chebrika, Danny Browne (partly hidden), Anthony Davies, Michael Risk, Dean White, Tom Barclay, Andy Keogh, Ben Deegan, Hassan Zareh-Ourang, Lewis Bishop, Ashley McGrath (hidden). Front row: Matty Williams, Richard Gresty and Astley Mulholland. The photographer with her back to camera is physio, Julieanne Gresty.

    A match report on the game is now in the Youth section.


    This is York reports that colourful City manager "Billy McEwan labelled certain players 'brain-dead' after declaring himself angry and disappointed with his side's 0-0 draw at Burton Albion on Saturday... a third Conference match without a victory... and McEwan pulled few punches at the final whistle. The Minstermen manager lectured his players for 30 minutes afterwards and, after emerging from the visitors' changing room, said: 'I was very disappointed and angry after the game because of the way we played... We never passed the ball enough and were hoofing it up the pitch. We are better than that and it was not good enough. We were careless, sloppy and casual, giving away silly free-kicks and making unnecessary back passes. I think some of us were brain-dead.. We nearly committed hari-kari at the back by being careless and had Chris Porter to thank for a good save'...[Meanwhile], City will also be assessing right-back Jamie Price this week after he picked up a knee injury and had to be replaced by Stephen Thomas".


    On the Altrincham clubcall (right) Alty boss Graham Heathcote, interviewed by Brian Flynn, gives an interesting account of the Robinson affair and the behaviour of certain other clubs in the matter. Ring the Clubcall (right)for full details.

    Many Altrincham supporters will now, more than ever, want Altrincham FC to make absolutely sure that it does not finish in the relegation places and thereby save one of those clubs currently, as Graham puts it, "clutching at straws" to avoid relegation for off the field reasons at our expense. Alty fans can do their bit by re-doubling their already excellent support for the team in the closing stages of the season, starting tonight against York City. Sadly this sorry saga may run into the close season, with the Conference AGM on 3rd June possibly being a key data in its resolution.


    The Conference states that "Nationwide Conference sides Accrington Stanley and Altrincham are currently under investigation by the FA after fielding a player without international clearance... 'We have got to investigate, which we are doing at the moment, and come to some decision and do that as quickly as possible', Conference chief executive John Moules told BBC Sport. 'Hopefully we can do that within the next two weeks'. Tamworth general manager Russell Moore has called on the FA to review their decision after clearing Alty because they had signed the player from another English club. Tamworth were docked three points last season for playing James Francis - the son of Trevor Francis - when he was ineligible because of an administration oversight. 'The FA have made their decision but this is not the end of it. No one wants to see the demise of Altrincham but the rules and the regulations of the Conference have to be adhered to and upheld', Moore told 'They have contravened the rules. Ignorance is no defence in law. Leigh RMI were dismissed from the FA Trophy last season in similar circumstances. The FA, who are the arbitrators of our competition, have to be seen to be acting in a fair and consistent manner. The fact we could benefit from a points deduction for Altrincham is not the issue. We would feel exactly the same if we were in the top six'". So now we know.

    Tamworth report that "It has been brought to the attention of Tamworth Football Club that a finger of suspicion is being pointed in their direction on various public website forums regarding a registration issue involving fellow Conference member clubs. To set the record straight, the club has issued the following statement, accompanied by another from the Football Association which clearly exonerates TFC. General Manager Russell Moore said: 'I would like to place on record now that Tamworth Football Club has not made any complaint to the Football Association regarding the matter of James Robinson and/or Accrington Stanley and Altrincham Football Clubs. Tamworth Football Club learned of the situation with James Robinson and the above named clubs once it was put into the public domain with a statement on the Altrincham website. It was then, and only then, that Tamworth Football Club asked the Conference office for their clarification on the player’s eligibility. This was done following the harsh way we felt we, has a club, were treated last season following being found guilty of being in breach of such a rule. I would therefore like it to be public knowledge that no-one from Tamworth Football Club spoke with, or sought to bring this matter to the knowledge of, the Football Association'. Clarification that TFC was in no way responsible for bringing the matter to the FA's attention came from Mark Hooper of their Communications Department who states: 'I am happy to confirm that the FA charges brought against Accrington Stanley and James Robinson resulted from the FA's own inquiries. The FA received no communication from Tamworth on this matter. I have made this clear to any journalists who have called me'".


    The club which caused the current Robinson Affair by failing to get his international clearance, Accrington Stanley, had nothing at all about the FA charge on its website last night but did give an "Update on ground improvements... required to enable us to play at a higher level. Long before we had reached the top spot in the Conference, a series of meetings with a number of organisations...had taken place, and plans developed to take the club forward. The result was a long term plan for the stadium that allows us to make interim improvements that fit in with how we want the stadium to look and work in the future. Work has now begun on the ground improvements necessary to allow us to play at a higher level, in particular the following key areas have been identified as essential work to be completed:
  • 1, Segregation of separate areas of the ground... the stadium will be divided into four standalone sections
  • 2, Installation of a spectator first aid room.
  • 3, Installation of a stadium control room.
  • 4, Other improvements [including] - All turnstiles will be linked to a central computer with stadium management software enabling easy monitoring of all areas of the ground

    The improvements just to enable us to play at a higher level will require an investment in the region £100,000".

    The Daggers "are pleased to announce that three players have signed contract extensions. Exciting left back Scott Griffiths has put pen to paper on a deal that will keep him at the Glyn Hopkin Stadium until June 2009. Midfielder Sam Saunders and striker Paul Benson have both signed contracts until June 2008. More contract extensions are expected over the next few weeks".

    "Alex Inglethorpe, manager of Exeter City, has had his playing budget increased by 27 per cent for next season. The extra funding is the result of better financial planning and cost-cutting measures introduced by the club's new five-year plan, V10. The initiative, which aims to deliver League One football by 2010, proposed the club's playing budget should comprise 55 per cent of its total expenditure. Cuts in the summer meant this season's budget was set at roughly 47 per cent of outgoings. Inglethorpe said: 'It is no secret that last year the budget was announced very late and was dramatically reduced - it is clearly of great benefit to already know what I have got for next year... I think we were able to uncover a few gems in the likes of Lee Phillips, Billy Jones, Jon Challinor and Danny Woodards. But there is a need to strengthen and I have already got a list of potential targets...Turnover for the [last financial] year was £2,174,336, with a profit of £591,600, generated by the lucrative Manchester United FA Cup ties. The additional income from the two games totalled more than £900,000... A club statement read: 'Without this income the club would have made a substantial loss during the financial year. This underlines the need to address the overspending'".

    This is Exeter reports on the Grecians' win over Alty, especially praising Jamie Mackie, a former Wimbledon striker". As for the play-offs, manager Inglethorpe said, "I still think we have shot ourselves in the foot over the last couple of weeks and maybe a few more points would have given us a far better opportunity".


    NL Daily reports that "With the transfer deadline looming, Clayton Blackmore, manager of Bangor City, has worked hard in recent weeks to strengthen his squad for the closing stages of the season... The new faces include Kwame Barnett, who made his debut against Port Talbot Town on Saturday. Twenty-two-year-old Barnett played alongside Kieran Killackey and Richard Acton in Altrincham’s reserve side and caught the eye as a regular goalscorer for Fletcher Moss Rangers of Didsbury in the Lancashire & Cheshire Amateur League. A powerfully built striker, Barnett came off the bench in the 80th minute to add his own brand of attacking play to the Bangor frontline". Kwame was nicknamed The Bull by Alty Reserves' manager Neil Brown, as a tribute to his powerful physique.
    3 April 2006


    Altrincham FC has been charged by The Conference with alleged infringement of Conference Rules 6.1 and 6.8. These charges relate to the playing of James Robinson, who was signed by Altrincham on non-contract terms from Accrington Stanley. Stanley allegedly failed to get international clearance for Robinson after he had played in Iceland. Ceefax reports that the FA, as opposed to the Conference, have charged both Stanley and Robinson. Should the Conference findings go against Altrincham, they could be deducted up to 18 points and fined. 18 points is the total gleaned in games in which Robinson either started or was a substitute. If this happens, Altrincham could then appeal and the FA would set up a panel to hear the case. So, a final decision in these circumstances would not be reached until into the summer close-season.

    With Conference joint vice-chairman Phillip Wallace (Stevenage Borough chairman) being quoted as saying in last Sunday's NL Paper that "the final decision would have to come from the FA", it would appear that the Conference will not throw the case out. Wallace is joint chairman of the Conference with Charlie Clapham, the chairman of Southport, who are one of the clubs below Altrincham in the table.

    Conference Rule 6.1 relates to the "Status of Players". The first sentence of this rule says that "The FA Rules will apply in respect of all matters concerning players" and its final sentence is, "It is the responsibility of each Club to ensure that any player signing a registration form for that club has, where necessary, the required International Transfer Certificate". Rule 6.8 is "Playing an Ineligible Player" and states that "Any Club found to have played an ineligible player in a match shall have any points gained from that match deducted from its record and have levied upon it a fine in accordance with the fines tariff. The Company may vary the decision in respect of the deduction of points gained only in a case where a substitute player participates in a match or is listed on the official team sheet but does not participate in the match".


    Alty captain Mark Maddox has received a four-match suspension following his sending off at Exeter on Saturday. The ban is immediate.


    On the Conference Forum, Colin Peake, Secretary of Forest Green Rovers has issued a personal statement about the James Robinson affair. For more on the Robinson affair, see yesterday's news, below...


  • Alty go down at Exeter... more here
  • Alty Reserves hit five... more here
  • Altrincham and District Youth win the District Cup... more here


    Our next opponents are York City (on Tuesday night at 7.45pm at Moss Lane), and the Conference site quotes York City boss Billy McEwan after their goalless draw away to Burton Albion. "I was very disappointed with the way we played", McEwan said. "The conditions and the pitch weren't conducive to the way we like to play, but there was stuff going on out there that I wasn't very happy with. We didn't pass it enough - we were just hoofing it down the pitch, and we can play a lot better than that". The site describes the match as being played on "A saturated pitch, and a blustery wind made for difficult conditions all-round". Opposition manager Nigel Clough observed, "The only ball that caused either side problems was the ball over the top, and that's where the chances came from".

    Our visitors next Saturday are Gravesend & Northfleet, whose boss "Liam Daish felt that inexperience was the cause of some disappointing defending as they were beaten 3-0 by Aldershot. But the Fleet boss explained: 'We had a lot of young players out there, and not a great deal of experience. Sometimes they can switch off - one player has been honest and held his hand up, and I can't ask any more. It's all part of their experience - it's all about how you react to it, whether they sink or swim".


    Stuart Scheuber played as Nantwich Town beat Anthony Hargreaves's Cammell Laird in yesterday's Vase semi-final. Former youth player Ben Ashmole has moved from Colne to Newcastle Town.
    2 April 2006


    Altrincham and District FA captain Richard Gresty holds aloft the Cheshire FA District Cup.

    Altrincham and District FA Youth deservedly beat Stockport and District FA today 3-1 in the Cheshire FA District Cup Final at a soggy Moss Lane. The Altrincham FA team was made up entirely of Altrincham FC players and is managed by George Heslop and his assistant, Tony Spilsbury. Alty's goals came from Matty Williams (2) and Anthony Davies, whilst Stockport's reply was a penalty by Mark Haslam. Report and more pictures to follow on the Youth Page..


    Today's NL Paper has a front and back-page story headed "Alty facing points row: rivals insist club were wrong". Several clubs below Altrincham in the Conference table have reportedly sought to put Altrincham in the dock regarding the case of James Robinson and two of them have now gone public. Robinson was signed on non-contract terms by Alty from Accrington Stanley. It has now emerged that Stanley failed to get international clearance for the player, who had previously been in Icelandic football. He never played in the Conference for Stanley but did appear in their Lancashire League reserve side. Stanley claim that Robinson did not tell them of his Icelandic background, though that has yet to be verified.

    Because Robinson moved on from Alty to Australia in February, his new Aussie club sought to register him, only to discover that his clearance from Iceland had not been obtained by Stanley. Altrincham acquired Robinson from Stanley, a fellow-English club, and therefore international clearance should not have been an issue. Following prolonged contact with the FA, Graham Heathcote said earlier this week, "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".

    In today's NL Paper two of the clubs below Alty in the table, who are pressing for action against Altrincham for this situation, have had their say. Tamworth general manager Russell Moore is quoted as saying, "If anything happened to Accrington that would be an absolute embarrassment but Altrincham have played an ineligible player and, in my opinion, they have contravened the rules, [albeit] accidentally". Moore continues, saying that Altrincham's "Ignorance is no defence in law and the FA have boobed here. Our league has to take a lead on this. The rules are quite clear and the only exception is when a player is on the team sheet but doesn't come on".

    Another club weighing into the argument is Forest Green Rovers, whose secretary Colin Peake is quoted as having "e-mailed all their fellow Conference clubs to dispel any suggestion that they [are the club that] might have blown the whistle on Altrincham". Peake says, "I am not asking for anyone to lose points but this sets a very dangerous precedent... If all the clubs in the Conference were allowed to get away with what is in total contravention fo the rule, I am not sure where we would end up".

    Conference vice-chairman Phil Wallace said that "the final decision would have to come from the FA". For his part Graham Heathcote who is not only manager of Altrincham but has been club secretary for eleven years, said, "People are jumping up and down hoping this football club will have points deducted but you live with what you think is right and I am confident".

    Finally a website quiz question: "What would have happened if Robinson had moved from Altrincham to Tamworth or FGR and then to Australia, at which point the international clearance issue emerged?".


    Contrary to an earlier announcement in the STAR Column of the Robins Review quoted on this site, the STAR (supporters' trust) Special General Meeting will not take place in April but will occur after the end of the season, on a date yet to be finalised.


    The Altrincham FC AGM will take place on Monday 24th April. Those eligible to attend have been (or will be) notified by post


    Karl Munroe (blue shirt) covers an Exeter attack up the left wing, as (l to r) Steve Aspinall, Warren Peyton and Val Owen look on.

    Match report here

    There is more on the game in Saturday's news, below...

    After the game, Karl Munroe told the NL Paper, "If we had stayed with 11 men, it might have been different.. We have not had any luck today but there are still plenty of points to play for".

    Right: Mark Maddox leaves the field after being sent off, accompanied by kitman Dave Mitten.

    1 April 2006


    Altrincham Reserves won 5-0 today at home (at Wythenshawe Town) to Bamber Bridge. Kieran Lugsden hit a hat-trick, whilst Lee Hendley and John Maloney also netted. Eddie Hussin played his first 30 minutes of the season as a second half substitute. The Alty team was: 1. Richard ACTON, 2. James MARSDEN, 3. Ashley BROWN, 4. Laurence BALL, 5. Stephen ROSE, 6. Colin McALLISTER, 7. Mike BROWN, 8. Danny HEFFERNAN, 9. Kieran LUGSDEN, 10. Mark SMYTH, 11. Lee HENDLEY. Subs: Eddie HUSSIN, Keith WEDGE, John MALONEY.


    Match report here


  • Accrington S 2-3 Grays A.
  • Burton A. 0-0 York C.
  • Cambridge U. 2-2 Morecambe
  • Canvey Island 1-1 Forest Green R.
  • Dagenham & Redbridge 1-0 Halifax T.
  • Exeter C. 3-1 ALTRINCHAM
  • Gravesend & Northfleet 0-3 Aldershot T.
  • Kidderminster H. 0-0 Stevenage B.
  • Scarborough P-P Tamworth
  • Southport 0-2 Crawley T.
  • Woking 1-1 Hereford U.

    Alty's day got off to a bad start after the players' coach broke down on the way to Exeter from their overnight stay at Taunton and the players eventually arrived at the ground just after 2.25pm, having been picked up from the M5 hardshoulder by the supporters' coach, which had returned to collect them after it had delivered the fans to the ground. Above the players cross the pitch after their arrival at the ground..


    Saturday's referee at Exeter, Mr Sarginson, is the man who officiated in Alty's last gasp home defeat by Canvey Island earlier this month whilst the BBC claims that "Youngster Pat McFadden has impressed manager Graham Heathcote in training and could take advantage of the injuries to get his first start". This website hopes to have a match summary on this page in early evening on Saturday, with a full report to follow on Sunday.

    The Sale & Altrincham Messenger says that "The battle to avoid relegation has started in earnest and none of the games between now and the end of the season will bring any guarantees of success... The Robins now find themselves in the unenviable position of needing results from a run of games that includes five of the top eight teams in the league... Injuries to several key players and the departure of James Robinson have done nothing to help the cause, but there is light at the end of the tunnel. Manager Graham Heathcote is hopeful that Gary Scott, Mark Maddox, Chris Adams and Karl Munroe will be fit for tomorrow and all four have travelled with the squad. And despite Val Owen's absence from training this week, he is expected to be included in the starting line-up. Meanwhile, Exeter are expected to field the same 11 players who started the midweek game against Tamworth, with striker Craig Farrell keeping his place ahead of Steve Flack". SAM identifies the Grecians' key men as Lee Phillips and Jon Challinor. "Phillips' downturn in personal form has coincided with Exeter's slump in 2006 but the 25-year-old remains the club's top scorer with 14 goals in all competitions" whilst "Challinor has chipped in with his fair share of goals. An important source of creativity in midfield, Challinor will also get forward at any opportunity and the Robin's defence will need to be wary of his presence around the edge of the penalty area".

    This is Exeter reports that "Chris Todd hopes the luck Exeter City enjoyed at the start of the season will return in time to keep their promotion dream alive... and he says three points against Altrincham at St James's Park tomorrow can be the springboard for a thrilling end-of-season fightback. 'We are all professionals and you try your best, but sometimes it is about a bit of luck', he told Echo Sport. 'At the start of the season things just seemed to go for us - we were pinching goals and picking up points...The lads were gutted to have only got a point from Tuesday's game because we should have had all three'... Exeter City boss Alex Inglethorpe is considering the prospect of recalling Les Afful from Torquay United to fill the void left by Wayne Carlisle, who was ruled out for the rest of the season with a broken leg". Todd added, "No one is giving up on the play-offs. We will keep going until it is mathematically impossible. Six wins is what we need". But the article adds, "City face the prospect of having to overcome another banana skin in the shape of struggling Altrincham tomorrow. The Cheshire side are six points off the bottom and Todd warned: 'They will be fighting for their lives and sometimes it is harder playing against sides near the bottom than mid-table sides. But we are more than capable of winning it and then finishing the season strongly'". However, "Todd is currently locked in talks with the club over a new contract at St James's Park, but as yet no deal has been agreed".


    Hastings United have "confirmed the signing of striker Marc Whiteman on a dual registration basis from Nationwide South bottom-markers Maidenhead United".


    The BBC says that "Gravesend & Northfleet boss Liam Daish has not ruled out the prospect of Charlie MacDonald returning to action later this season. The striker has been sidelined with a hamstring injury. But Daish told BBC Radio Kent: "Hopefully he can maybe get a few games in before the end of the season". The Fleet are the next visitors to Moss Lane, on April 8th.

    However, "Forest Green Rovers midfielder Paul Wanless will miss the rest of the season after having a knee operation. The 32-year-old has scored 10 goals in 30 Conference appearances".

    NL Daily reports that Worksop Town "have confirmed that goalkeeper David Stockdale has returned to York City following his impressive loan spell at Sandy Lane".