Altrincham Football Club News Archive
June 2006

30 June 2006


Altrincham FC expect to reveal a couple of new signings over the weekend, both of whom are likely to be involved in the game at Woodley Sports on Saturday (k.o. 1pm). Also in the squad for tomorrow's game are last season's youth players Richard Gresty, Astley Mulholland and Ben Deegan.

Don't forget that after the Woodley game, the bar will be opened at Moss Lane for a big-screen viewing of the England v Portugal game which kicks off at 4pm.


The kick off times of the home friendlies against both a Bolton Wanderers XI and a Manchester City XI have been changed to 7.30pm, not 7.45pm as previously announced. Details and directions for all the pre-seaon games are here.


Alty chief steward, Darren Gregory writes that " If anybody would like to join the stewarding team next season please contact the club on 0161-928-1045 and leave your details or alternately there is a stewards' meeting in the Sponsors' Lounge tonight Friday 30th June at 7.30pm; please feel free to come along if you are interested. You must be over 18 years old".


STAR the Alty supporters' trust reports that "Following the STAR SGM at the end of May 2006 Phil Taylor and Jackie Forster have decided to resign from the STAR Board. After lengthy discussions a new board has stepped in which currently consists of Dawn Abbott, Mike Ainsworth, Paul Daine, Peter Lewis, Cliff Wignall and Mark Murray. This is intended to be an interim board until elections can be held at the AGM in the autumn. It is the intention of the new board to follow the mandate from the SGM to reinstate fund raising activities and to liase closely with the Board of Altrincham Football Club. Mark Eckersall has confirmed he will continue to arrange travel to away matches under the STAR flag". For more see the STAR website. Meanwhile, "STAR will be at the Altrincham festival Field this Saturday July 1st holding a Rocky Robin penalty shoot out and a few other fund raisers. Please contact any of the Board members if you wish to get involved".


The new signings continue at Weymouth who "are pleased to announce that they have signed Simon Weatherstone from Stevenage Borough. The 26 year old central midfielder comes with a wealth of experience... He was also previously with Garry Hill at Hornchurch".

NL Daily says that "Nuneaton Borough have secured the services of goalkeeper David Clarke following his release by Northwich Victoria... It has been a productive week for Ashby, who signed experienced left back Ben Chapman, also from Vics".

The BBC confirms that "Burton Albion boss Nigel Clough has given up trying to sign midfielder Tom Curtis from Chester City. The former Derby County player has kept Clough waiting for almost two months and the offer has now been withdrawn... Clough told the Burton Mail, 'He has delayed making a decision for too long'".

The Aldershot News and Mail reports that "Terry Brown has revealed that Aldershot may be able to unveil as many as four new signings at the Party on the Pitch on Sunday... The Shots have been heavily linked with Brentford striker Marcus Gayle over the past week, but the Shots boss refused to confirm or deny whether he would be one of the signings mooted.... 'We are currently in talks with two centre halves, a centre midfielder and another striker... If everything goes well, we will be signing at least four players by Sunday but if it goes pear shaped we will be unveiling at least two... I will feel a bit happier when I have some centre halves in the squad too... I am going for defenders of real calibre... I have not got all my main transfer targets but I have got the calibre of player I wanted to bring in'".

From This is Exeter we learn that "Exeter City's former managing director Ian Huxham has failed in his claim against the club at an industrial tribunal... The tribunal was told rifts had appeared at the top level of the club, and the financial failure of a venture to bring veteran Italian internationals and a New York Fire Department team caused more problems".

And "Former Reading boss Jimmy Quinn has admitted he would have loved to manage a 'terrific' club like Exeter City - but says he is not bitter about being snubbed for the managerial hotseat in favour of Paul Tisdale. 'It's one of those things', Quinn said philosophically. 'Exeter are a terrific club and to be honest I was really excited about the possibility of getting the job. There's nice people at Exeter and I like the way they run the club'".

The Gravesend Reporter says that "Fleet striker Charlie MacDonald can't wait for the new season to begin after his debut campaign with the club was overshadowed by injury... MacDonald recalls: "I rushed back too soon and ended up tearing the actual hamstring... I've been doing running sessions with the gaffer and have been given the all clear to resume normal training... Last year was quite tough because we did three 18 minute cross-country runs in a forest in Brentwood. I've been told it won't be so bad this time because they are going to ease us in with some gentle stuff on the Wednesday before the serious stuff begins the following Monday'... Liam Daish made a further addition to the Fleet attack this week when he signed 30-year-old John Keeling from Canvey Island... MacDonald welcomed the arrival - as well as the earlier signing of Danny Ekoku".

This is KHFC says that "Harriers' manager Mark Yates believes he has the makings of a competitive Conference squad after snapping up striker Dean Sturridge, keeper Scott Bevan and midfielder Jamie McClen. The triple signing takes the Aggborough playing staff to 14 with four more players promised after Harriers return to pre-season training next week. At 32, former Derby, Leicester and Wolves striker Sturridge has spent nearly all of his career in the top two tiers of English football. Sturridge has been out of action since leaving Championship club QPR last Christmas, but his one-year deal represents an exciting coup for Harriers... Bevan's arrival ends Yates's search for an experienced goalkeeper after the manager's decision to release John Danby and Dan Lewis. The 6ft 7in former Southampton and Milton Keynes Dons stopper will compete with ex-Telford youngster Steve Taylor for the Harriers number one jersey... McClen is a Geordie midfielder who made 22 first team appearances for Newcastle United and captained the Magpies reserves during 10 years at St James's Park. The 27-year-old spent a short spell with last season's League Two champions Carlisle but ended the season with Shrewsbury Town".

Morecambe Today says that "Three more graduates from Morecambe FC's Academy have joined the first team squad.Thomas Pickersgill, Michael West and Andy Langford all signed for the club last week... Academy director, Dickie Danson, said: 'Sammy McIlroy has had a look at them prior to the end of the season. It is never an easy choice but they deserve it. I am delighted. We have now got a number of boys involved in the first team squad who have come through the Academy... We now get boys wanting to come here because of the system that we have got'".

IC Cheshire says that "The Northwich Victoria Supporters Trust will be looking back over a difficult - though successful - year at its AGM tomorrow (Thursday). But members say the trust is at a crossroads and they want a big turnout to decide where to go next. The trust has donated more than £12,000 to Vics, but one member, John Gleave, has proposed it folds as he believes Vics owner Mike Connett 'calls the shots now'". However, Mr Gleave subsequently withdrew his proposal.

This is York reports that "Released Scunthorpe United goalkeeper Tommy Evans has joined York City for pre-season training. Evans, 29, played 23 times for the Iron last season but has been released... City boss Billy McEwan is looking for a new goalkeeper after deeming Chris Porter and David Stockdale surplus to requirements at the end of last season. Teenager Arran Reid, who is yet to make his first-team debut, has agreed first-year professional terms but McEwan will be looking for a senior figure to start the new season between the sticks... Evans... made 292 appearances in nine years at Scunthorpe... Should Evans complete a permanent move to the Minstermen, he is likely to play behind James Dudgeon after the 25-year-old centre-back agreed new terms... and McEwan also expects Neal Bishop, Mark Convery, Clayton Donaldson, Manny Panther, Nathan Peat and Bryan Stewart to follow suit shortly. Teenagers Byron Webster and Nathan Kamara are yet to sign first-year professional contracts but are currently training at the club, along with a number of trialists".

The draw for the Extra-Preliminary, Preliminary, and the First Qualifying Rounds of the FA Cup will be on Friday 7th July.

29 June 2006


Altrincham FC have arranged several more friendlies in pre-season.
  • Tuesday 25 July, 7pm: Runcorn Town v Altrincham XI. Runcorn Town is the new name of the former Mond Rangers and the club is a member of the West Cheshire League.
  • Tuesday 1 August, 7pm: Runcorn Town Reserves v Altrincham FC Youth
  • Saturday 5 August, 2pm: Bangor City v Altrincham XI.

    A full list of pre-season matches is here.


    Whilst Altrincham are playing Runcorn Town of the West Cheshire League in pre-season, (see above), neighbours Runcorn Linnets FC, the new club which has just been accepted into the NW Counties League and which will play at Witton next season, says that "Fans will be pleased that they will recognise a number of players from Runcorn FC Halton who have confirmed their allegiance to the new club. Robbie Holcroft, who took last seasons Player of the Year award, will stay on as goalkeeper and have responsibility as team coach. Mark Phillips will take on the role of Assistant Manager, in addition to his role in defence. Other familiar names that have joined the club are strikers Andy McCoy and Thomas Lamb, plus defender Lee Siadankay". The Linnets are managed by former Runcorn FC Halton player and manager, Steve Carragher.


    June 30th is the last day to apply for your Altrincham FC season ticket with a £10 discount. Full details of season ticket prices are here. At £160 for an adult terrace season ticket (before 30 June), you will be paying less than £7 a game for Conference National games - a real bargain!


    "Veteran defender Peter Atherton is expected to agree month-to-month terms with Halifax Town for next season after discovering he requires a minor knee operation. The centre back, who was dogged by hamstring trouble last term, needs the joint cleaning out. And he has indicated to boss Chris Wilder that he is willing to prove his fitness on a short term deal. 'The fact that he told us everything up front sums him up', said Wilder. 'He could easily have signed for a year and then told us about the operation after'. Atherton, who was 36 in April, arrived at the Shay last summer from Bradford City and... went on to make fourteen Conference appearances... With Greg Young still recovering from a summer shoulder operation, Wilder said he was on the look out for another central defender ahead of the new season" reports the Halifax Courier.

    NL Daily reports that "Nuneaton Borough have made their second pre-season signing by adding title winner Ben Chapman to the squad. The 27-year-old left back.. began his career at Grimsby Town as a trainee in 1997 ... Chapman was released by Northwich following their promotion to Conference National and has turned down offers from both Cambridge United and Barrow to join Boro".

    "Hyde United have signed midfielder Steve Pickford from Southport. Pickford joined `Port from Stalybridge Celtic in May 2002. Originally with Glossop North End, he moved to Leigh RMI in March 1999 and developed into a highly-rated attacking midfielder, who has also had a spell at Doncaster Rovers. Pickford is seen as a major signing for theTigers, having been an ever-present in the Southport side last season".

    The Football Conference says that "Kidderminster have agreed a deal to bring former Newcastle United midfielder Jamie McClen to the Aggborough Stadium on a 12-month deal. McClen made 22 appearances for the Magpies but failed to break into the first team before moving on to Carlisle and Shrewsbury, who released him in April. He becomes the Conference club's seventh new signing of the summer as manager Mark Yates continues his squad rebuilding".

    York City report that "Jamie Price and Darren Dunning are the latest 2 departures from KitKat Crescent. Price has signed for Harrogate Town and joins former York City player Dave Merris, who is having his second spell at the club. Dunning meanwhile is a free agent and is able to join another club". But "York City central defender, James Dudgeon, has signed a new contract with the Club... James Dudgeon said, 'The supporters were brilliant last season and I think we played some good football. Hopefully we can build on what we achieved and the team will do well in the season ahead.'".


    The FA Trophy for season 2006-2007 offers the following prize money:
  • Preliminary Round winners (34 clubs) £1,000
  • First Round Qualifying (72) £1,350
  • Second Round Qualifying (36) £2,000
  • Third Round Qualifying (40) £3,000
  • First Round (32) £4,000
  • Second Round (16) £5,000
  • Third Round (8) £6,000
  • Fourth Round (4) £7,000
  • Semi-Final Winners £16,000
  • Final Winners £50,000

    Whilst the FA Cup rewards are:

  • Extra Preliminary Round winners (129) £500
  • Preliminary Round (166) £1,000
  • First Round Qualifying (116) £2,250
  • Second Round Qualifying (80) £3,750
  • Third Round Qualifying (40) £5,000
  • Fourth Round Qualifying (32) £10,000
  • First Round Proper (40) £16,000
  • Second Round Proper (20) £24,000
  • Third Round Proper (32) £40,000
  • Fourth Round Proper (16) £60,000
  • Fifth Round Proper (8) £120,000
  • Sixth Round Proper (4) £300,000
  • Winners (1) £1,000,000.

    The FA has also announced the FA Youth Cup dates for 2006-07:

  • Preliminary Round week commencing 11 September 2006
  • First Round Qualifying w/c 25 September 2006
  • Second Round Qualifying w/c 9 October 2006
  • Third Round Qualifying w/c 23 October 2006
  • First Round Proper to be played by 11 November 2006
    28 June 2006


    On Saturday morning (1st July) on Sky Sports 1's "Cricket AM" programme, Australian cricketer Jason Gillespie (seen right in his Alty shirt) will be interviewed - and he will be talking about Altrincham FC in the process. As Alty fans will recall, Jason and the rest of the Australian touring team visited Moss Lane to watch a pre-season friendly last season, as guests of Alty chairman Geoff Goodwin, who had been driving the Aussie team round England to their matches in one of his Go Goodwins luxury coaches. Go Goodwins is the official coach company of the England Cricket Board. A number of the Australians continue to keep in touch with Geoff regularly and to monitor the progress of Altrincham FC in the process.

    Continuing the cricket theme, Geoff is currently busy organising a Cricket Dinner at Lancashire County Cricket Club on 18th September 2006. As a response to the Australians for their generosity towards the football club, the proceeds of the dinner will be split evenly between Altrincham FC and the McGrath Foundation, an Australian organisation akin to the UK's Macmillan Nurses. The Foundation was set up by Aussie cricketer Glenn McGrath and his wife, Jane. The Foundation "aims to raise funds to place more breast care nurses throughout the country while generating support and raising awareness of the cause". Details of the dinner, at which Jason Gillespie and Darren Lehmann will host a question and answer session, and at which other cricket personalities will be in attendance, will be released by Geoff in the near future.

    Meanwhile, all at Altrincham FC wish Jane McGrath a speedy recovery for, as the McGrath Foundation website states, she "is currently receiving ongoing treatment for a recurrence of breast cancer".


    Stevenage Borough "have won the race for the signature of highly rated right full back Barry Fuller who joins Boro from Charlton Athletic. The 21 year old, released by Charlton after 6 years, made 15 appearances for Barnet on loan at the end of last season and can also play in central midfield".

    "Harrogate Town have made a double swoop, signing ex-York City players Dave Merris and Jamie Price. Merris rejoins Harrogate after a three-year absence".

    "Tamworth goalkeeper Scott Bevan, 26, has also signed a one-year deal with rivals Kidderminster Harriers. The ex-Southampton trainee joined the Lambs from Milton Keynes Dons in January after a successful loan spell, but then needed emergency kidney surgery. Having recovered from the operation, Bevan will compete with Steve Taylor for the goalkeeper's jersey at Aggborough. Harriers boss Mark Yates has also recently captured defender Mark Creighton from Redditch United, striker Andy White from Notts County, defender Stuart Whitehead from Shrewsbury and ex-Wolves and Derby star Dean Sturridge" reports NL Daily.

    "Gresley Rovers` striker Aaron O'Connor will join Rushden & Diamonds next Monday - for a two-week trial which could end with a move to the Nationwide Conference National outfit... Rovers boss Gary Norton said: 'It appears there is still interest in Aaron from Rushden... They want him to play in two friendlies against Nottingham Forest and Reading... I have said that if he was going to go, I hoped he would go to a professional club. I included Conference clubs in that as most are full-time and they have a fantastic set-up at Rushden... I'm not sure what funds they have available, but they are aware that there would be a fee involved. They could make us an offer if they did not want to risk going to tribunal and we would not stand in Aaron's way if he really wanted to go and the offer was a fair one'", he told the Burton Mail.

    The Football Conference reports that "Discarded Notts County striker Steve Scoffham is hoping to rebuild his career with Burton Albion. The 22-year-old is to join the Brewers on trial next week after being released by Magpies boss Steve Thompson. Albion manager Nigel Clough said: 'Steve has only left Notts County in the last few days and he's approached us and asked if he can join us for at least part of pre-season'... Meanwhile, Clough has expressed his surprise at Thompson's decision to pull out of a pre-season friendly which had been scheduled for the Pirelli Stadium... He said: 'Usually clubs honour arrangements already made before a change of manager - which is the case with Billy Davies at Derby'".

    Also, "Rushden and Diamonds have captured experienced defender Paul Watson from rivals Woking. The 31-year-old left-back has agreed a two-year deal at Nene Park after turning down the offer of a new deal by the Cards".

    27 June 2006


    Shaymen Online reports that "John Grant will NOT be signing a new contract with the Shaymen having rejected the new 12-month offer made by manager Chris Wilder. The decision will bring a mixed reaction from the supporters with many never really taking to the former Shrewsbury Town striker. He did however score some important goals last season including one in the play-off final against Hereford United moments after coming on off the bench. Grant now seems likely to join Altrincham leaving Chris Wilder with the opportunity to bring in someone else. Given that there is plenty of time before the season starts you wouldn’t bet against the manager drafting in someone of better quality than the outgoing Grant.The frustrating striker made a total of 55 appearances for Halifax Town (15 as substitute), scoring 14 goals". The BBC adds that "Halifax Town striker John Grant is set to leave the Shay... Grant, 24, was Town's leading scorer last season with 13 Conference goals... However, the former Crewe frontman may now join a fifth Conference club following earlier spells with Hereford and Telford. Grant has been linked with a move to Altrincham, along with former Halifax captain Steve Bushell".

    NL Daily says that "Exeter City have announced the appointment of Paul Tisdale as their new manager. Tisdale has left his position as head coach at Southern League Premier Division Team Bath to sign a twelve-month rolling contract. Tisdale guided his former club to four promotions in seven seasons and was also team coach to the England Universities' side which won the British Universities' Championship in 2006. .. He struggled to hold down a regular first-team spot at Ashton Gate and in December 1997 Peter Fox brought him to St James's Park on loan... and [he] went on to enjoy a productive ten-game stint in Devon"

    "Kidderminster Harriers have completed a major transfer coup with the signing of former Leicester City and Wolverhampton Wanderers striker Dean Sturridge. Thirty-two-year-old Sturridge began his career at Derby County in 1991, scoring 59 goals in ten years at Pride Park. He then played at Leicester before a move to Wolves, where he scored twenty-eight goals in forty-four games. The striker then went out on loan to Sheffield United before joining QPR, where he remained until midway through last season. Sturridge has signed a one-year deal with Harriers and should provide valuable goals and experience to the attack", reports NL Daily.

    York City FC "has signed striker, Craig Farrell. The 23 year old centre forward played at Exeter City last season... Craig hails from Middlesbrough".

    Morecambe Today states that "Craig Stanley was expected to sign for Morecambe this week after agreeing terms and passing a medical... after failing to agree a deal to stay at Hereford... Stanley said: 'What Sammy McIlroy had to say impressed me, everything has been agreed... As a player I want to get hold of the ball and play good attractive football that is good on the eye. Every time I have played against Morecambe they have been tough games... We have a good squad, and we will definitely be pushing for promotion".

    The BBC confirms that "Scarborough's teenage striker Michael Coulson is set to join Barnsley. Coulson, 18, enjoyed a successful trial spell with the Tykes last season and is poised to complete a move to Oakwell following Scarborough's relegation... The deal could see a couple of Barnsley's young players join Scarborough on loan next season".

    "Southport midfielder Liam Blakeman is staying at Haig Avenue after signing a new full-time contract. Blakeman, 23, joined the Conference club from Burscough last January... Former Chester forward Robbie Booth, 20, and midfielder Carl Baker have also agreed full-time deals" says the BBC.

    "Cambridge United have signed goalkeeper Paul Crichton from Gillingham. The veteran shotstopper, 37, has joined the Abbey Stadium outfit on a player-coaching deal. Crichton was with the U's on trial last pre-season before attracting the attentions of the Gills but only made one appearance last season".

    Stevenage Borough "have signed left sided defender Santos Gaia on a 2 year contract. The Brazilian has made over 130 appearances for Exeter City in 4 seasons since he joined from Corinthians. Manager Mark Stimson has been impressed by the 27 year old whenever he’s watched him and moved swiftly to add him to the squad for next season".

    26 June 2006


    Next Sunday there will be another working day at Moss Lane to try and complete various jobs around the ground. This will start at 10am. As well as needing volunteers for painting, the club would be keen to hear from anyone willing to help with minor repair jobs at the ground on Sunday. If you are a handy-man or -woman of any kind please let the club know in advance so that they can schedule jobs accordingly.


    It has now been confirmed that England's progress in the World Cup has affected next Altrincham's pre-season friendly at Woodley Sports on Saturday (1st July). Alty's game will now kick off at 1pm. As soon as possible after the game, the bar back at Moss Lane will be opened for a big screen viewing of England v Portugal to which all are welcome.

    The Alty players involved in this first pre-season game will include those who have already been training plus three or four Reserves who have graduated from last year's youth team. The game will be played on Woodley's impressive artificial pitch and all supporters are welcome.

    Woodley's direcions to their ground are: "Leave at Junction 25, which is signposted for Bredbury. Follow signs from here for the A560 towards Bredbury and Sheffield. Just after passing the McDonalds Drive-Thru, take a left at the traffic lights and proceed down Stockport Road towards Woodley, passing under the railway bridge at Bredbury Railway Station. Having passed St Mark's Church on the right, you reach a set of traffic lights. Immediately after the lights, at The Lowes Arms and before the Waggon & Horses Pub, turn left onto Mill Street. Proceed over the bridge on Mill Lane and then follow the signs to the ground".

    A map of the area is here.


    Alty play a pre-season friendly at Kidsgrove Athletic in July and their chairman Stan Brown is determined to develop the club. So far "he has helped double the seating capacity at the stadium which bears his name to 1,000 seats and is aiming to turn the stadium into a totally enclosed ground". A former Athletic player, Brown said "We don't owe a penny and, as long as I'm in charge, it never will". The club has a thriving club house and, unusually for a football club, a beer garden complete with a children's play area which can be used during games. Brown told the NL Paper, "This club is really going places".


    The NL Paper reports claims by the former Chief Executive of Canvey Island, Keith Johnson that "he was approached by a senior official of another Conference club towards the end of last season, and invited to lose a game against them... A sum of several thousand pounds was involved... Johnson declined to name the club or official involved" but said "Luckily we did not lose the match".

    In his Dream Team, Scarborough defender Denny Ingram says of Halifax Town's Sale-based midfielder Steve Bushell, he "is a great leader and born winner and that makes him the ideal person to captain my side. At Conference level it is hard to find anyone better than Steve Bushell. He's a great all round footballer".

    The Football Conference confirms that "Southport manager Paul Cook has promised the club will start next season with a new-look squad.... Steve Daly, Carl Baker, Liam Blakeman and Earl Davis are among those who have been offered a chance of full-time football, but it may mean accepting a slight drop in wages".

    25 June 2006


    Sunday (25th) is another Working Weekend day at Moss Lane, starting at 10am. Please do come along and help get the ground ready for 2006-07 if you possibly can. Afterwards, stay and watch England v Ecuador Live at 4pm on the big screen in the bar, which will open at 3pm. And bring a £1 to buy a Golden Goal and have the chance of winning 10 free drinks. Even if you cannot help with the work, you are welcome to come and watch the match in the bar, alongside fellow Alty supporters.


    Get your Sale and Altrincham Messenger this week, to see the outcome of the above newspaper's photographer's shot of Karen and Sarah Rowley. Karen and Sarah were publicising the sale of match-worn shirts from last season's Altrincham squad. Details of how to get yours are here.


    For those looking for pre-season European football, Welsh Premier reports that "Rhyl will be hopeful of another good result against Lithuanian opposition after drawing Suduva in the Uefa Cup first qualifying round. The Lillies, who knocked out FK Atlantas last season, will host the first leg at Belle Vue on Thursday 13 July".


    Welsh Premier reports that ex-Alty "Midfielder Marc Limbert has returned to Connah's Quay Nomads after three seasons with Welsh Premier rivals Rhyl. Limbert, who is a former Everton trainee, played fourteen Football League games for Chester City... He has also played for Altrincham and Colwyn Bay and, after a brief spell at TNS, joined the Lillies in 2003".


    Right: The sign which Alty's players see as they leave the dressing room at Moss Lane to enter the tunnel onto the pitch.


    NL Daily states that "Former Morecambe defender Darren Kempson has started training with Crewe Alexandra... Kempson is a free agent after the Shrimps offered him a new contract after the deadline for players under the age of 24... 'Darren has come in to train and he will come to Portugal with us after which we will decide what to do with him fairly early after we come back', explained Gradi".

    "Oxford United have turned down at least two bids for midfielder Andy Burgess from a Coca-Cola League One side. The skilful left sided former Rushden & Diamonds player is one of U's most creative players, and one of their most saleable assets, but United apparently don't want to lose him... Rushden had previously turned down £25,000 offers for Burgess from both Northampton and Leyton Orient" reports the Oxford Mail.

    The Football Conference. says that "Exeter City are expected to name a new manager on Monday to replace the departed Alex Inglethorpe... Former Grecians captain Shaun Taylor is among the contenders, alongside former Reading boss Jimmy Quinn and Paul Tisdale, the Team Bath coach".

    The Burton Mail confirms that "Rushden & Diamonds' boss Paul Hart kept his promise of signing a striker yesterday - but it was not Gresley Rovers frontman Aaron O'Connor... Tthe Diamonds, relegated to the Conference at the end of last season, yesterday announced the signing of Leo Fortune-West from Doncaster on a two-year deal, subject to the agreeing of personal terms... Hart said: 'From the moment I came into the job I decided we needed an experienced striker'".

    The Cambridge Newssays that "United are set to call an extraordinary general meeting as they step up their attempts to attract new investors. It comes at the end of a week of turmoil after it emerged last night that finance director Nick Pomery is to follow chairman Terry Baker in quitting the board following the Abbey Aid flop, which made a loss of £135,000. With United also suffering running losses of almost £400,000, Pomery said he had been given little option but to resign. However, Pomery, who was hailed as a saviour for his efforts after United were just hours from going bust last summer, said he would stay on until a new board was in place. He said it was vital a new broom swept through the club to restore United's financial fortunes... [and that] the club's rule allowing nobody to own more than 20 per cent of United's shares should be scrapped to encourage new investors. Pomery said: 'We've not made the progress we should have done and that's because there's no unity of purpose. If it takes me going or someone else, so be it'... We can't keep bumbling along,. What the club needs is a new board where everyone is heading in the same direction, so the club can really move forward. Any direction is better than no direction, which is what the club has had in recent times'".

    Crawley Today reports that "Crawley Town owners the Majeed brothers have told the club's administrators it owes THEM £750,000. Administrator Rob Sadler told a source the cash-strapped club has debts of £1.1 million – but most of them are to the Majeeds themselves... The club's creditors – including all the players and staff – had no idea the brothers would claim the club owed them money. Players' rep Dave Woozley said: 'It's definitely a shock. I'm not sure any of the players knew that'".

    This is Glos states that "Gary Owers has ruled out bringing former Lawn favourite Steve Book back to Forest Green, insisting a new goalkeeper is not a priority. Ex-Cheltenham Town stopper Book recently left his position as player-coach at Bristol Rovers, sparking rumours he could be on the Nailsworth club's shopping list this summer. But Owers has given his backing to 20-year-old rookie Ryan Harrison - understudy to Ryan Clarke at The Lawn last season - and is more worried about the lack of defenders currently at his disposal. Centre-half/midfielder Paul Wanless is unlikely to be fit for the start of the season after a knee operation, while Darren Jones is suspended for the opening three games of the campaign... This leaves new recruit Kevin Nicholson as the only specialist defender on the books". But Owers added, "We're close to agreeing a deal with a new central defender, which should be completed when he gets back from holiday... It might be that we'll have a look at one or two goalkeepers during pre-season but Ryan Harrison has been working hard all through the summer and I would have no qualms about picking him".

    In the Gravesend Reporter we learn that "Liam Daish hopes to add even more names to the Gravesend and Northfleet squad in the coming weeks... The Fleet boss made a trio of signings last week, taking his current squad numbers up to 13, and he wants to snap up a few more fresh faces before next season's preparations begin in earnest on July 5. He said: "I'm still trying to get as many players as I can on the budget I've got.. I'm looking to get players that can come straight in and do a job - players that can be relied on to make an immediate impact'. At the time of going to press, Daish was close to cementing a deal for a left-sided midfielder and has also lined up a swoop for a much-needed left-back - both with Conference experience... The Fleet boss also dispelled fears that his number one goalkeeper, Craig Holloway, could be set to leave... He said: "He's here for next year - there's no problem there. He obviously suffered a bit of an injury at the end of last season and we've just monitored that situation'".

    This is York says that "York City boss Billy McEwan has signed his first '30-something' player during his 16 months in charge... Seasoned campaigner Steve Bowey has completed his transfer to the Minstermen... At 31, the former Queen of the South captain is the oldest player McEwan has recruited since taking the managerial reins at KitKat Crescent, discounting Greg Heald who changed his mind just three days after putting pen to paper for the Minstermen last summer. City played the whole of last season without anybody over the age of 30 and McEwan is hoping that the former Bristol Rovers, Forest Green Rovers and Gateshead player will provide a reliable senior presence to the club. He said: 'We need a bit of experience. Manny Panther came down from Scotland last season and I still have contacts up there'... The City manager is now hoping to complete the signing of David McGurk, who played 39 times for the KitKat Crescent club last seaon on loan from Darlington".

    24 June 2006


    Gary Warrington, who runs the Alty Fans' Forum has "had a couple of prototype polo shirts made with all profits going to the club" which will be on view on Saturday (24th) at the Working Weekend at Moss Lane, which starts at 10am. Please do come along and help get the ground ready for 2006-07 if you possibly can. On Sunday, also from 10am there is another Working Day, followed by England v Ecuador Live at 4pm on the big screen in the bar, which will open at 3pm. And bring a £1 to buy a Golden Goal and have the chance of winning 10 free drinks.


    The superb Tony Kempster website reveals that next season Altrincham supporters will travel 3,209 miles to follow their team in the Conference. This is the eighth highest total of the 24 teams in the division, exceeded only by Exeter (4809 miles), Morecambe (4401), Weymouth (4344), Southport (3894), Halifax (3798), Crawley (3406) and Northwich, who travel just two more miles than Alty, with 3211 miles to cover. The team with the least time on the road is Tamworth with just 2519 miles to travel. The shortest journey for Altrincham is the 13 miles to Northwich whilst Alty's longest journeys are to Weymouth 248, Crawley 230 and Exeter 229.


    "Phil Wilson, manager of Barrow, says he has agreed to put midfielder James Olsen on a contract. The 24-year-old midfielder was signed by Wilson in February on non-contract terms... Some impressive performances brought admiring glances from Barrow’s rivals Stalybridge Celtic, who later put in seven days’ notice for the player. Olsen, however, stayed with Barrow and now looks set to be rewarded with a contract. Wilson said: 'I’ve agreed to put James on a contract for next season'" reports the NW Evening Mail.


    The Shots site says that Aldershot "Manager Terry Brown has confirmed that the club will be represented at an Intertoto Cup tie this coming Saturday afternoon as Northern Ireland side Dungannon entertain Icelandic outfit Keflavic at Windsor Park in Belfast... [He] said, '"Representatives will be present at the game in Belfast on Saturday where we are looking at a number of Icelandic players. The Intertoto gives us the opportunity to look at some reasonably priced athletic and talented youngsters from other countries. We are lucky now to have a decent scouting network that allows us to know who is available on a wider scale. It is probably the first time that Aldershot Town has sent a scout abroad and let's hope that they come back with something positive'. The boss also confirmed that midfielder Gary Holloway is due to sign for Lewes and explained, 'Gary has the opportunity to work in his father's business as a builder and if he combines this with part time football then he will be far better off financially. It is not for a want of offers either as I know that Chester City offered him a two year contract'".

    Gravesend report that "As supporters of Conference National clubs wait for 2006/2007 fixtures to be announced, the league has advised clubs that due to a number of logistical difficulties, Christmas and New Year's fixtures could take on a new look next season. The Conference has told clubs that, due to a number of key factors, most of which are beyond their control, it will not be possible to provide reverse fixtures on Boxing Day (26 December 2006) and New Year's Day (1 January 2007). They are attempting to meet as many Club home preferences as possible on either 26 & 30 December 2006 or 1 January 2007. Fixtures over this period will still be local but are unlikely to be with the 1st Choice requested on the forms returned this season. Conference National fixtures are currently scheduled for distribution during the first week of July". Altrincham FC expect the Conference National fixtures to be available on Monday, 3rd July.

    This is United an Oxford United unofficial site, reports that "boss Jim Smith has appointed the vastly experienced Bobby Roberts as the club's new chief scout. Roberts brings a wealth of experience to the role, having spent seven years as chief scout at Derby County and more recently as a scout for Newcastle United... Roberts will forever have a place in Wrexham history for managing the side who led the club to victory over FC Porto in the European Cup-Winners' Cup."

    Rushden & Diamonds confirm that "Leo Fortune-West talks about joining Diamonds. 'I'm here to help all the youngsters'", he said. The BBC adds that "Rushden and Diamonds have completed the signing of veteran striker Leo Fortune-West on a two-year contract. The 35-year-old netted 23 times in 71 starts during a three-year period at Doncaster".

    Southport confirm that "Liam Blakeman has this afternoon signed a full time contract. Carl Baker, Robbie Booth, and Tony Gray [from Burscough] have agreed terms with Paul Cook... [and they] will sign their contracts on Monday". The Southport Visiter adds that "Southport will start next season with an almost completely new squad as new boss Paul Cook brings to end his first full week in the Haig Avenue hot seat... Currently contracted part-time players who he feels could be given a chance... include Steve Daly, Carl Baker, Liam Blakeman and Earl Davis. In a sense, Southport are victims of their own success. Paying good part-time wages to players who hold down full-time jobs means it is very difficult to offer the equitable full-time wages to players who still have a question mark over their ability in the ever-progressive Conference... Cook said: 'I am rebuilding the squad virtually from scratch. I am making the decisions on the offers to the players who served the club last season. Each one will have to make their own personal decision to come on board full-time. It is up to them. I have told them I cannot wait much longer as I intend to be making moves for a number of players... We will have a very different looking squad to last season. Let's get it right, last season's squad struggled in the Conference and just survived. My aims are a lot higher'".

    St Alban's City "goalkeeper Paul Bastock will miss much of the pre-season campaign after undergoing a knee operation. The veteran goalkeeper picked up a slight tear in the April.... Bastock's absence will give second choice goalkeeper Ricky Perks the chance to get some match action in the friendlies. Perks re-signed for City in May after leaving the club last season. Full back Scott Cousins will find out on Wednesday, July 5 whether he has the green light to return to training following his broken leg... Defender Ben Martin and striker Simon Martin are both expected to be involved in pre season."

    York City "have signed experienced central midfielder Steven Bowey. The 32 year old penned a contract deal with manager Billy McEwan and is the second close season signing with league experience following Darren Craddock joining The Minstermen a couple of weeks ago".

    The Conference say that "Exeter City are hoping Premiership club Tottenham Hostpur will pay up a sum of money as compensation for the signing of their manager Alex Inglethorpe... in a coaching capacity... Exeter's commercial director told the Exeter Express and Echo: 'We have received an official approach and now it's a case of discussing figures".

    The Press Gazette reports that "Hundreds of freelance journalists could be out of pocket following news that 'financial irregularities' have forced the Non-League Paper into administration. Editor David Emery said the weekly sport newspaper is now up for sale and will continue being published. He said that whatever money is offered for the title will go towards paying creditors... Financial director Jonathan Stobart has left the company as well as account manager Dave Swinton. Emery said the title had gone into administration because 'a huge hole' had unexpectedly been found in the company finances. He said that it could well become subject to a police investigation. Owner Chris Ingram has refinanced the paper to keep it going in the short term. Emery said: 'Personally it is a horror that people who you trust in a small company can betray you so badly that it puts the business in jeopardy'... It is the second time the paper has gone into administration. The last time was in 2002 when £272,000 went missing from the company finances. Emery said: 'There is no doubt the Non-League Paper will continue — owned by whom and run from where we shall have to find out'... Emery said whether The League Paper [the NLP's sister paper] reappears will depend on the new owners".

    NL Daily states that "Midfielder Shaun Wilkinson has returned to Weymouth just six weeks after the midfielder was released by the Terras. The former Brighton star has agreed a new one-year deal at the Wessex Stadium after manager Garry Hill told him he was welcome back at Radipole Lane".

    The BBC confirms that "Swindon Town look set to complete the capture of out-of-contract Cambridge United striker Folawiyo Onibuje, subject to Football League approval. Onibuje, 21, made 25 league starts for the U's last term, netting 9 goals. The Lagos-born forward is tipped to sign a three-month deal with The Robins... following spells at Peterborough, Barnsley and Huddersfield".

    23 June 2006


    Alty director Grahame Rowley has written to STAR members (and all supporters) with details of various fundraising schemes. Details of these are here - please do try to help the club by participating in one or more of the ventures. Alty will need ever penny next season to remain competitive against clubs which much bigger budgets.


    Please come along and help at the Alty Working Weekend this Saturday and Sunday from 10am. Help is needed to get Moss Lane ready for the new season and work starts at 10am each day. On Sunday, from 3pm, the bar at Moss Lane will be open for another World Cup big-screen showing of England in action in the World Cup, this time against Ecuador (k.o. 4pm). Please come along and enjoy the atmosphere!


    SAM quotes Graham Heathcote (right): "By July 22 we will have to narrow down the list of players to what will hopefully be the squad for next season. The players are back now. We had 18 at a fitness session on Monday night and I was delighted with the condition the players were in, both the familiar faces and the trialists". SAM adds, "Graham revealed that a midfielder, a defender and a young wide player featured in his plans for new additions to the squad", As previously reported on this website, those training at Moss Lane include winger Ben Kitchen from Rochdale and striker Ashley Stocks from Preston NE.

    Off the pitch there is less good news as the funds for constructing a new toilet bloack at Moss Lane have not been granted by Trafford Council. Graham Rowley said, "We are a strategic partner in the process of the disposal of the car park and were a bit disappointed that we could not secure an advance to develop facilities at Moss Lane. That particular programme has had to be put on hold"


    Bullsnews confirms that "Chester's £100,000 move for former winger Kevin Ellison has collapsed with the player joining Tranmere for an undisclosed fee". Former Alty winger Kevin turned down a move to Scunthorpe last week.


    The exodus from Southport is confirmed as three players opt to follow former manager Liam Watson to Burscough. The Southport website says that "Kevin Leadbetter, Dominic Morley, and Neil Robinson have left Southport to join Burscough after declining the opportunity to go full time. Burscough's leading goalscorer last season Tony Gray is joining Southport as part of the deal. Tony wants full time football so this move is ideal for him". Meanwhile Burscough confirm that "striker Tony Gray who found the net 33 times last season is completing a transfer to near neighbours Southport FC. Chairman Chris Lloyd said 'Tony had a fantastic season with us and we are sorry to see him leave but the chance for him to play Conference football with a full-time club was too good an offer for him to turn down and we fully understand why he wants this challenge.... The deal we have done with Southport is that Burscough FC will receive a sizeable proportion of any transfer fee should Tony move on and that players that Liam Watson wanted for his squad for next season would join us".

    The Crawley Argus reports that "Crawley Town's players were this week offered three weeks' wages and asked to leave the club... The wage bill is believed to be clocking up £25,000 a week... A source said, 'They were offered three weeks' wages and asked to sign release forms. It was a pretty derisory offer but they are considering their position before responding'". The article points out that if the creditors, including the players, reject an offer from the administrators they "could be forced to sell Crawley Town to the highest bidder. Diamond dealer John Goodwin and at least five other potential investors are prepared to make bids".

    NL Daily reports that "Liam Daish, manager of Gravesend & Northfleet, has added more experience to his squad by signing former Canvey Island forward Jon Keeling. Keeling, aged 30, joined Canvey in 2004 from Hornchurch, and as well as previously playing for Tilbury and Thurrock, also appeared for the England National XI against Belgium in 2003. 'He can play in midfield or attack and will add a dimension to our play which has been missing'" Daish told the Fleet website.

    "Kidderminster Harriers have secured the signature of defender Mark Creighton from neighbours Redditch United. The centre back, 24, started his career in the Harriers' youth team in 1999/00 and since then has plied his trade at Bromsgrove Rovers, Willenhall Town and Moor Green. Creighton said: 'I'm delighted to be offered the chance to play full-time. I'm really pleased to be back here, I had the most memorable year of my career so far when I was here before" says NL Daily.

    "Northwich Victoria have leapt back into the transfer market and signed another player to add to the capture of long-time target Kevin Townson earlier this week. And there is an 'evens' chance of a former Premiership player arriving at the Victoria Stadium in the next few days to bolster the midfield. Vics' latest recruit is are Ryan Brown, the second left back enlisted by manager Steve Burr and his assistant Dave Moss in the past week. Brown was a full back with Port Vale until being released twelve months ago and he played last season for Leek Town in the UniBond Premier... Only last week Burr (pictured) announced the acquisition of experienced left back Tony Gallimore, from Rochdale... Townson, 21, joined from neighbouring Macclesfield Town". Vics have five strikers, "but all are staying put, says Moss, including Mark Sale... It all leaves only a midfield vacancy for Burr and Moss to fill and they could have made the signing before training starts on July 1st. They have been talking to two possibilities - a young player recently released by a Premiership club and a 'hugely experienced' older player who has played in the Premiership as well as the Football League" reports IC Cheshire.

    The BBC says that "Oxford United have forged a partnership with American youth side Seacoast United... The Conference side may look to recruit players identified in the States by Seacoast United and send young players to America to train. 'Seacoast is a successful operation. It develops great players and has also impressed with its business model', said U's director Kelvin Thomas".

    "Darlington defender David McGurk has set his sights on a move to York City. McGurk, 23, has been offered a new contract by the Quakers but is keen to re-join City where he spent a successful loan spell last season. 'I've spoken to the Darlington manager and told him I want to sign for York and I have told York I want to sign for them', McGurk told the York Press. York boss Billy McEwan has so far added just former Hartlepool defender Darren Craddock to his squad this summer".

    "Rushden and Diamonds goalkeeper Daniel Crane has signed a new 12-month deal at Nene Park... Crane, 22, joined Rushden from Burton in January and started eight League Two games before the end of the season. Diamonds boss Paul Hart is also hoping to confirm the arrival of a new striker on Friday with Leo Fortune-West linked with a move to the Conference club" says the BBC.


    IC Cheshire confirms that "Witton will share Wincham Park with new club Runcorn Linnets next season. Linnets, successors to Runcorn FC Halton, were admitted to the North West Counties League at the weekend. 'I have no problem with sharing. We were their last chance and it is right we should help', said Witton manager Jim Vince.
    22 June 2006


    The Football Conference says that "Cambridge United director and major shareholder, Paul Barry, has spoken candidly about the problems afflicting the club at 'staff and board level'. In a damning indictment of the current management structure Barry categorically stated that the 'board agree they cannot work together on a long term basis'. The U's exhibit the signs of a club in serious turmoil, with Terry Baker having resigned as chairman after four months in the hot seat at Monday's board meeting to be replaced by Brian Attmore... 'A unified management and board needs to be put into place as soon as reasonably possible... The club needs to face reality and match its off-field expenses with that of a Conference club, and maximise its use of the stadium on non-matchdays, which it has failed to do', Barry told the club's website".

    Meanwhile, "After signing up to a two year deal with Exeter City, new striker Adam Stansfield has set himself a double target: 20 goals and promotion... He told the Exeter Express and Echo: 'I have been promoted with the last two clubs I have been with and there is no reason why Exeter can't be the third. I do feel I am only dropping back into the Conference for one year as I am confident we can get promoted next season'... City are expected to name Alex Inglethorpe's successor next Monday and it is understood that Jimmy Quinn, Shaun Taylor and Paul Tisdale are amongst those to be interviewed for the post on Friday".

    Southport confirm that "Jerome Fitzgerald has left the playing staff at Haig Avenue and joined Fleetwood Town". Southport have also reportedly lost goalkeeper Jamie Speare, and Neil Fitzhenry, whilst Steve Pickford, who wishes to remain part-time, is linked to both Hyde United and Stalybridge Celtic. Neil Robinson and Dom Morley are also reported by the local press to be "poised to leave" whilst Kevin Leadbetter and Chris Lane will have talks with the club about next season. However, Earl Davis, Liam Blakeman, Carl Baker, Michael Powell, Robbie Booth and Steve Daly "will all have a great fulltime stage under Paul Cook's coaching to take their careers forward at a rapid rate" but goalkeeper Steve Dickinson may remain as a part-timer.

    In the Carling Cup draw, the clubs promoted from the Conference have good draws:

  • Accrington S. v Nottingham F.
  • Hereford U. v Coventry C.
    Whilst locally:
  • Leeds U. v Chester C.
  • Stockport C. v Derby C.

    NL Daily confirms that "Moor Green have signed 24-year-old goalkeeper Daniel Lewis from Kidderminster Harriers on a one-year contract... Lewis made twenty appearances for Kidderminster during his time at Aggborough, with one coming in the Football League and the other nineteen in the Conference National last season".

    21 June 2006


    "Rhyl have announced the signing of no less than six new players... The new boys at Belle Vue are midfielders [ex-Alty reserve] Conall Murtagh from Connah's Quay Nomads, Marcus Orlik and Dylan Owen from Caernarfon Town and Ian Burrows from Poulton Vics, striker Alex Hay [who played for Alty on loan from Tranmere] from Vauxhall Motors and defender Adrian Moody from Newtown" reports Welsh Premier.

    "Joey Dunn and Mal Liptrot who will join new boss Liam Watson in the management and coaching team at Burscough... Dunn is well known in non-League circles in the North West having played for, among others, Burscough in the late 1980s, Runcorn and Altrincham. Dunn also has experience as reserve team manager with Runcorn, Altrincham and Southport". Watson said, “Forest Green Rovers are only based in a small Cotswold village and they have been in the Conference National five years, so why can’t Burscough match them?”


    In its report on Ghana's win over the Czech Republic, the Sunday Telegraph report says, "Meanwhile the Ghana supporters, aided by a group with a banner proclaiming Altrincham, Cheshire, celebrated in the sun".


    The Crawley Argus reports that "Disgruntled players, sacked staff and the taxman could vote to sell Crawley Town football club from under the noses of the Majeed brothers. The fate of owner Azwar Majeed and his bankrupt brother Chas will be decided by the people owed a reported £400,000 by the club at a meeting in the next few weeks. The Argus understands creditors will be offered a quarter of what they are owed as part of a financial rescue package drawn up by accountancy firm Begbies Traynor, which is running Crawley Town after the club was taken into administration by the Majeeds. If half of them reject the offer, Begbies Traynor would be forced to sell the club to the highest bidder, according to insolvency practitioner Malcolm Fillmore. Mr Fillmore, of Crawley-based firm Atherton Bailey, said: 'The Majeeds insist the club is not up for sale but really they have little control over that. I'm not sure they understand that if creditors cannot be satisfied, the decision to sell could well be taken over their heads'. Information received by The Argus reveals the club is £1.1 million in debt. Some £700,000 of that is owed to the Majeeds for money they claim to have injected into Crawley Town since they bought it nearly a year ago. The Inland Revenue is understood to be owed tax on employees' wages and VAT from ticket and bar sales. Players are owed their May salaries and unpaid match bonuses, while the wage bill continues to clock up an estimated £25,000 a week. Sacked managing director Steve Duly is still owed the £35,000 he was awarded by an employment tribunal for unfair dismissal. Any deal to buy the club would require paying off the Majeeds, said Mr Fillmore, who took the club into administration in 1999 and subsequently sold it to John Duly for £65,000. He said: 'If the Majeeds claim they are owed £700,000 they would need to be paid at least £175,000 to go away... If there is a wish to get a transfer of the club to new owners, the creditors need to join forces to tough it out. To block the Majeeds' proposals will require at least half of them to stand together. There does not appear to be much goodwill on the part of creditors towards the Majeeds'. Mr Fillmore is doubtful the Inland Revenue will accept the 25% offer".

    "Scarborough chairman Ian Scobbie is fuming with the Football Conference after their refusal to hand over a cash sum that would ease their current financial plight. His feelings were revealed after manager Neil Redfearn's comments in the local press in which he said the Boro players and staff hadn't been paid for around two months. Scobbie said that the club were owed £15,000 by the Football Conference as a part of their yearly allowance, and the Boro chief is planning legal action to make sure they receive it. He said: 'The matter with Neil has been dealt with internally, but I was a bit disappointed by the way he went about things. His actions were a breach of contract, but things have been sorted out. 'We have been awaiting a payment of £15,000 from the Conference, which we were expecting at the end of last week. We understand that every other member club has received this money, but we haven't been given a satisfactory reason why we haven't been given ours. We felt that we were harshly dealt with by the Conference in being relegated and docked 10 points, but now if you look at this, it seems as though we are being picked on. We decided not to appeal against the original decisions, but we feel that we have no choice but to challenge this. That money would have helped us through our short-term financial troubles. We have had a boost in season ticket sales over the past week or so, which has been a huge bonus for us. Now we just need fans to back us and continue to buy them" reports the Scarborough Evening News.

    NL Daily reports that "Nigel Clough claims he is 'not desperate' to make any more new signings for Burton Albion. Clough has so far managed to tempt only Wales semi-professional international midfielder Lee Fowler to the Pirelli Stadium after failing to land striker Justin Richards... Clough said: 'I haven’t got any other irons in the fire. It’s easy to forget that we signed Daryl Clare only a couple of months before the end of last season.. We’ve still got two other very good strikers in Jon Shaw and Shaun Harrad... We already have our starting eleven for August 12th in mind, and we don’t think it’s a bad one.. There’s always the chance that someone will pop up who we didn’t expect" confirms the Burton Mail.

    The BBC states that "Oxford United boss Jim Smith is sure the club's relegation to the Conference will not deter potential new signings. Smith is yet to add to his squad since Oxford dropped out of the Football League in May but believes the U's are still an attractive opposition. 'Players want to stay in the League', Smith told Oxford's website. 'But with the stadium and training facilities we've got, it give us an edge in bringing people here rather than to League clubs'".

    "York City have played down reports of a move for former Queen of the South captain Steve Bowey. According to the Scottish First Division club Bowey, 31, has agreed a deal with York after reaching the end of his contract at Palmerston Park. But City secretary Nick Bassett told the York Press: 'The boss Billy McEwan has been on holiday and I have not been in contract negotiations with him. So saying he has joined us cannot be right', added Bassett".

    The BBC adds that "Morecambe have released veteran striker Stuart Barlow. Barlow, 37, joined the Shrimps from Bury in January and scored five times in 16 appearances... Meanwhile, goalkeeper Ryan Robinson has agreed a new 12-month contract at Christie Park. The 23-year-old missed most of the second half of last season through injury but will be fully fit to start the new campaign".

    20 June 2006


    Left: When this picture was taken last September, no one would have guessed that York City's Joe O'Neill (red shirt, no.10), who scored the opener in this game against Alty, would be playing for us this season whilst, just to his right is Alty captain Mark Maddox (no.4), who has now been released.

    The Sale & Altrincham Messenger confirms Alty's signing of "strike duo Joe O'Neill and Peter Thomson from York City and Stafford Rangers respectively, while Vauxhall Motors captain Robbie Lawton joins in midfield.But the club's recruitment drive is far from over, with manager Graham Heathcote set to announce the arrival of a winger and another midfielder by the start of July. A defender also ranks high on the Alty chief's list of priorities and he remains confident of assembling a squad capable of improving on last season's league performance. Speaking exclusively to SAM, he said: 'What these signings have shown is that the profile of the club has now been raised and that people want to come here. That we have got them to commit to us so early is a real bonus and a couple of them turned down bigger offers from other clubs to come here'... Despite scoring just five goals in his 37 appearances for York [one of them against Alty last season], O'Neill laid on his fair share of chances for strike partners Andy Bishop and Clayton Donaldson. Thomson, meanwhile, will add height and strength to a forward line that seriously lacked a targetman last season... The hardworking and energetic Lawton joins an already competitive midfield that will be further bolstered by the expected return to fitness of Eddie Hussin... But there could also be several departures from Moss Lane". The manager added, "The players were fantastic last season but I think the three-year group of players we have at the club has probably gone as far as it can. It was obvious that we needed to improve, so we have got to have a smaller squad but a better squad. I don't want to spend time this year experimenting with trialists, I want to get a squad together early and then work with them to get ready for the new season".

    Despite his disappointment the recently released Alty captain Mark Maddox told SAM Sport with his customary sense of humour: "'I said to my mate who's the chief scout at Liverpool that I was available but I don't think he took it very seriously'... Offers to continue his playing career elsewhere were quick to come in but the Liverpudlian centre half has not even considered the future... 'I haven't got a clue what I'm going to do now, I might just pack it in altogether', he said. 'For the past 10 years I have only known Alty... When I made my debut in a friendly against Cliftonville I never thought I would end up staying at the club as long as I did. But it is a great club and I have lots of friends there. Alty has a great history and I was always very appreciative that I had been given the chance to play there, I never saw it as a stepping stone to move on elsewhere. The club is so professional and they really look after you. On matchdays, the kitmen Dave and Charles are unbelievable, they are on their feet all day looking after you.. The first result I will look for on a Saturday will always be Alty's'". Mark continued, "I've been lucky enough to play with some great players as well, the likes of Colin Little, Tony Kelly and Ian Craney - they are probably the most talented players I have ever played with". The article adds that "The 33-year-old has recently completed his level two coaching badge and a career in management remains his ultimate goal. And Maddox refused to rule out an emotional return to Moss Lane somewhere along the line.. 'If a full time manager's job came along sometime in the future I would jump at the chance. I would really like to go back to Alty in a coaching role but that's not for me to say, so we'll just have to see".


    "Morecambe have agreed a deal to bring striker David McNiven to Christie Park. McNiven will sign a two-year contract with the Lancashire club once he finalises his release from Scarborough. 'He is a proven goalscorer who wanted to come to Morecambe so we are delighted to get him', Shrimps' manager Sammy McIlroy told the BBC. The 28-year-old joined the Seasiders from Queen of the South in January 2006 following earlier Conference spells with Northwich and Leigh RMI."

    Aldershot Town state that "After media announcements surrounding the recent signing of striker Jason Lee from Northampton Town the club wishes to inform supporters of the following information: Jason Lee has reneged on his agreement to join Aldershot Town Football Club to sign a contract with League Two side Notts County. Aldershot Town Football Club would like to make clear to the supporters that the management and Directors have acted in the best possible interests and acted professionally at all times regarding this situation and feel particularly let down by the reversal of decision by Jason Lee... On May 24th, in the presence of manager Terry Brown, Coach Martin Kuhl, Director Aidan Whelan and Secretary Andy Morgan Jason duly committed his future to Aldershot Town Football Club in a two year agreement after completing and passing a full medical... the contract was agreed to commence on July 1 2006. Upon return from his vacation Jason... informed the club of his wish to sign for Notts County; Jason resides in Nottingham... Although Aldershot Town Football Club could pursue the matter legally it has been agreed to draw a line under the matter as the club does not wish to sign a player that quite clearly does not want to be part of the set up". However, "Manager Terry Brown has confirmed that 19 year old right sided Chelsea defender Dean Smith has signed for the club". Brown said "He will start with the number 2 shirt on and is a big part of my plans". But "It has also been confirmed that utility player Matt Somner has joined Notts County on a two year deal".

    From Crawley Today we read that "Crawley Town players have been told their club faces liquidation unless its creditors are willing to accept 'next to nothing', a players' rep said today [last Wednesday]. This would see the club being relegated by up to five divisions. The cash-strapped club went into administration last week with reported debts of £500,000. Players' rep Dave Woozley said he spoke to 'former' chairman Chas Majeed yesterday [last Tuesday]. Mr Woozley said: 'What he told me was the club doesn't own any assets – there's nothing to sell to give the creditors any money. He said he can stop it going into liquidation by finding some money from other parts of his business, but only if the administrator is able to get the creditors to take a much smaller offer. Chas said he foresees it going into liquidation unless the creditors accept what – I would imagine – amounts to next to nothing'. Nationwide Conference boss John Moules said liquidation would see Crawley Town relegated 'as low as Sussex County League'. Among the creditors are all the players – none of whom have been paid wages for six weeks, or bonuses since February. Mr Woozley said: 'For the players it's a real kick in the teeth. To get any money at all you have to terminate your contract for next year. But if the club goes into liquidation there will be no contracts next year anyway. Every single player at Crawley Town is actively seeking other clubs at the moment'. The biggest creditor is widely reported to be former owner John Duly, who sold the club to the Majeed brothers last summer for £600,000". The Football Conference adds that "Midfielder Paul Armstrong is the first departure in what could be a mass exodus from the Conference club... Armstrong joins Conference South side Eastbourne Borough".

    Cambridge United confirm that "Former Hereford striker Danny Carey-Bertram has signed for Cambridge United". "He has a proven goal-scoring record in the Conference. Hopefully he can give us the pace we need", stated Rob Newman the United manager. And another departure from Hereford is confirmed byExeter City whose website states that "Adam Stansfield signs". Meanwhile, "Exeter City have narrowed down their search of candidates to replace the departed Alex Inglethorpe to a three-man shortlist. Forest Green Rovers' assistant boss and former City captain Shaun Taylor are among the names thought to be in the running for the position. Former Exeter loanee Paul Tisdale is also reportedly on the three-man list, with the Grecians set to interview the trio of candidates this Friday", says the Conference website.

    Gravesend & Northfleet "manager Liam Daish has added more experience to his new squad by the clinching the signature of Peter Hawkins, the 28 year old Maidstone born defender who played four games for the Fleet at the end of last season... Daish has continued to rebuild his squad for the new season by signing 20 year old forward Danny Ekoku".

    Grays Athletic "have secured the signing of ex-Farnborough Defender Jay Smith on a 2-year contract".

    Southport confirm that they have "appointed thirty seven years old Paul Cook as Manager to succeed Liam Watson. Paul has been on the coaching staff at Accrington Stanley for the last two years, and played an influential role in Accrington's Conference winning team".

    From the Woking website we read that manager Glenn Cockerill "said that there is still no firm news to report as regards Paul Watson and Lloyd Blackman. He has not spoken to either player recently and is waiting for them to get back in touch with him... Glenn said that there had been no developments either as regards Shola Oyedele and Stuart Nethercott. Glenn confirmed that... his priorities were to sign another full back and a forward... The Club confirmed later that Lloyd Blackman has been released".

    The Football Conference reports that "Weymouth manager Garry Hill insists his squad next season will be based on quality rather than quantity... The Terras boss has strengthened significantly already with the signing of Halifax Town midfielder Dean Howell, his fifth signing of the summer. Nick Crittenden, Tony James, Ashley Vickers and Richard Logan are the other four players who have been recruited in recent weeks. Hill says he intends to bring more new faces in... He said: "This season I'm looking to work with a squad numbering 18 or 19 players and with Dean's arrival, we're now up to 16... No disrespect to any of our previous squad members but in order for Weymouth to move forward we need to recruit a better quality of player nowadays to tackle the challenges of the Conference".

    As for relegated Rushden & Diamonds, "Peter Rolton, newly appointed Rushden and Diamonds chairman, is hoping the reputation of manager Paul Hart will be a factor in attracting more players to the club. The Diamonds boss has already secured the signatures of defenders Jon Ashton and Glenn Wilson and has also registered interest in Gresley Rovers striker Aaron O'Connor and Nottingham Forest midfielder Andrew Rigby".

    "Halifax Town boss Chris Wilder has extended his commitment to the club after agreeing a contract extension that will run until 2009. The news has gone down very well amongst the Halifax squad with striker Ryan Sugden, who put pen to paper on a new 12-month deal of his own this week, admitting to being delighted with the news. 'We may not have achieved promotion last season, but given the circumstances the club is in and the budget he has to work with he is bound to attract attention from other clubs', Sugden told the Halifax Evening Courier. 'the fact that he is signing an extension to his deal will be great news for the whole squad'".

    The Football Conference adds that "newcomers Northwich Victoria have swooped to sign long-standing target Kevin Townson. 23-year-old Townson was released byneighbours Macclesfield Town at the end of last season... Townson becomes the third new face at the Victoria Stadium this summer following the signings of experienced duo Gareth Griffiths and Tony Gallimore".

    19 June 2006


    Normal daily updating of this website now resumes after a short break.


    Ian Craney features prominently in the NL Paper as winner both of their Player of the Year and Conference Player of the Year for 2005-06. Paul Cook, his former coach at Accrington said, "Ian was too selfish when he first went to Accrington and more concerned with scoring himself. But in the last year he grew into a man". Having gone fulltime at Stanley, Craney said, "When I was playing for Altrincham, I used to have a few late nights. But at Accrington we stay in a nice hotel, so everything is done right. [At Alty he never played in the Conference so hotel stays were not on the agenda then]. I used to go out on a Saturday and then spend Sunday on the ale... I'm currently negotiating a new deal, I know there's a few clubs sniffing around but I'm loyal and I've got to give Accringon a go in the League."


    Altrincham & District FA referee Anthony Taylor has been promoted to the League list of referees. In doing so, Anthony (25) has become the first Altrincham official to be elevated to the League list for 40 years.


    David McNiven, who shunned Alty to join Scarborough last season, has left the Yorkshire side claiming he has not been paid for a couple of months. He has now joined Morecambe.

    Paul Cook, coach at Accrington Stanley, has been appointed manager of Southport in succession to Liam Watson. Watson has now replaced former Alty player Derek Goulding as manager of Burscough.

    Crawley Town owners, the Majeed brothers, have stated that the financially troubled club is not for sale, despite being in administration.

    Hereford United have lost two of their promotion side in Adam Stansfield who has surprised the Bulls by joining Exeter City and Daniel Carey-Bertram who has joined Cambridge United.

    Displaced Morecambe manager Jim Harvey names a team of players whom he would choose to sign from the Football League list of released payers. But he cannot resist saying that "I'd like to sign someone who is not on the League list but has just been released by a Conference side- Steve Bushell of Halifax. He was really influential and a good skipper".


    The bar at Moss Lane will be open at 7pm tomorrow (Tuesday) for England's final group match against Sweden, which will be shown on the big screen. Please come along and enjoy the atmosphere amongst fellow Alty fans.


    The planned Altrincham FC friendly on 22 July against Oldham Athletic has been cancelled. The fixture had been arranged with John Sheridan when he was the Oldham Reserves' coach but, now that he has become first-team manager, he is unable to accommodate this game. The date is likely to remain blank as Alty have four games in the preceding six days anyway. However, a further friendly may be arranged by Alty against another team in the week leading up to the start of the league season on 12 August.

    The friendly at Woodley Sports on 1 July has been moved to a 2pm kick off and may be moved even earlier still if England have a World Cup game on that date.


    Altrincham FC have signed three new players for this season. The three players are:
  • Joe O'Neill (d.o.b. 28.10.82) - a 6ft 1in striker from York City, with previous experience at Bury, Mansfield Town, Chester City and Preston North End.
  • Peter Thomson (d.o.b. 30.6.77) - born in Bury, Peter is a striker who has been signed from Stafford Rangers. He has also played against us for one of his previous clubs, Lancaster City. Peter has also played for Chorley, Dutch club NAC Breda and Luton Town.
  • Robbie Lawton (d.o.b. 14.6.79) - midfielder from Vauxhall Motors, where he was the captain. He was previously with Marine and Caernarfon Town and can play on either flank.

    Amongst the others training with Alty at the moment are Ben Kitchen, a winger released by Rochdale, and centre-forward Ashley Stocks, who will be 18 this summer. Ashley is from Urmston and has previously played under Alty Reserves' manager Neil Brown.

    12 June 2006


    NL Daily has an interview with Alty keeper Stuart Coburn. He describes as "the most bizarre moment of his career" when he scored with a punt from his own goalmouth which went into the Runcorn net. The last red card he saw was "12 years ago when I was playing for Trafford... The red card was later rescinded... because the referee had a rethink". He mentions his tour of Botswana last month with the Middlesex Wanderers invitation team. Stuart reveals himself to be a Manchester United fan, and that the best player he has ever played with is Colin Little, "He never stops moaning, though", says Stuart. The loudest manager he played under was Mark Patterson at Leigh RMI. Amongst the five guests he'd least like to have round for dinner are Tony Blair, Saddam Hussein and "Colin Little because he's always complaining". As for the Alty changing room joker, now that Mark Maddox (left) has been released, he nominates Gary Scott. "Some of the stuff [he does] you wouldn't even be able to write down"!

    On a sadder note, the NLP also has a piece on the release of Alty captain Mark Maddox who went from being "over the moon" that Alty were staying in the Conference National to "'a bit up the wall' after taking a phone call to release him" from the club. Mark said, "It's the gaffer's decision and you just have to get on with it. I'm mad up that Alty are staying up. I'd never want to see anything bad done against them. It was what we deserved. We'd stayed up on merit on the field. It is harsh on Scarborough but I don't think they can have any complaints, they finished bottom". As for Alty, Mark generously added, "I have always got on well with them and will continue to do so. With four going down next season it's going to be a lot tougher but that year in the Conference will stand them in good stead".


    Alty Youth will be holding trials for next season on Saturday, 1 July. Anyone interested in attending should contact manager George Heslop in advance by ringing him on either 0161 718-0624 or 07939-9890503.

    Altrincham Youth also invite sponsorship for next season to help meet the costs of approaching £4,000 for travel and training costs. Again, if you can help, please contact George Heslop, as above, or ring the club on 0161 928-1045.

    In the European Colleges' tournament, Alty's Richard Gresty played in England's winning side in the third-place play-off. "Gresty justified his selection by dominating after a nervy start by both sides" says the NL Paper.


    From 1 July, Paul Daine of Premium Collections Ltd, is running a competition. He writes "It is based on the National Lottery. We need 49 people to pledge £1 per week and they will be allocated a number from 1 to 49 that they will keep for as long as they contribute to the scheme. Every Saturday whoever has the number that matches the bonus ball in the main National Lottery draw will win £25. The remaining £24 per week will go straight to the club. We only have about 20 places left so anyone wishing to join should e-mail me ASAP"


    The prospective new owner of Crawley Town, former Bishops Stortford chairman John Goodwin, says in the NL Paper, "I'm offering stability and a hands-on approach to make sure the club is run correctly rather than spending more than it earns. It's all very well to get carried away if it's your sweet shop on the corner but the owners are only the custodians of the club. Football clubs belong to the supporters... Potentially Crawley Town is a great club which could play in the Football League, without a doubt". However, there is as yet no indication that current owners, the Majeed brothers, are prepared to sell.

    Eleven of last season's Conference referees have moved on to the Football League . Those promoted are messrs. Bratt, Desmond, Foster, Graham, Haywood, McDermid, Shoebridge, Taylor, Lee, Lewis and Whitestone. Due to additional losses through retirement, 18 new referees will grace the Conference next season to replace these eleven.

    Scarborough Supporters' Club chairman Stuart Canvin told the NL Paper, "It's time to bite the bullet and get on with life, although we feel we have been badly treated and are not liked by the Conference".

    This is Lancs says that "Accrington Stanley chairman Eric Whalley hopes common sense will prevail in the decision to match Stanley and Burnley's home games... As things stand, it looks likely that, on police advice, the Reds and Burnley will share the same home matchday, thereby preventing supporters being able to watch both games... 'They say it's to save public money, but I can't say how many police we will need on a matchday. Even for the big games that we had in the Conference, like Carlisle and York, we didn't have a police presence, so I can't imagine we will need much now'. Research by the Lancashire Evening Telegraph shows that on the occasions Stanley had home attendances of 2,000-plus, Burnley were either away or did not have a game... Whalley said '"I'm not sure what sort of crowds we'll realistically get next season. I still hope it's around the 3,000 mark. But I would think we are going to lose around £70,000. It's a lot of money that we can't afford to lose'.. A spokesman for the Football League said: 'Our hands are tied because we have to adhere to police requirements... Blackburn are at home, Burnley are away, but now Accrington have come into the equation. Blackburn police don't want the extra club to police".


    The Accrington Observer says that "There continues to be a buzz around Accrington Stanley with more names linked to the League Two club. Ex-Macclesfield striker Neil Robinson, a big crowd favourite at current club Southport, is a name repeatedly connected with the Reds... although boss Coleman does also have his eye on a more established Conference striker. And Radcliffe Borough keeper Danny Hurst has also been linked with a move to the Fraser Eagle Stadium. Meanwhile... Ian Craney collected the Conference Player of the Year trophy... Midfielder Craney is now out to make it a hat-trick of titles in League Two next season. The 23-year-old won the UniBond Player of the Year a couple of years ago with Altrincham. 'I have got the UniBond and Conference one and now I want the League Two one - that would be great', laughed the midfielder who is set to sign a new contract which will keep him at Stanley until 2008. 'Everything is agreed with the contract, it is just a case of tying up the little things and with the manager currently on holiday and I am going away it won’t probably be signed until the end of June. It is great for me to get a new contract as I have only a year left on my current one and it shows that I want to stay. I have always said I want to play in the league with Stanley'. Craney has been linked with a host of clubs with Gillingham believed to be keeping tabs on the England non-league player". As for the award, Craney added, "It is a privilege to win it though - especially as it was voted by the Conference managers. It shows I will have a future in the Conference if it doesn’t work out next season!".

    Matthew McNeil, who finished last season on loan to Macclesfield Town from Hyde United, has now signed for the League Two club.


    NL Daily reports that our old bogey team, "Wakefield-Emley, relegated to the UniBond League Division One at the end of 2005/06, will undergo dramatic wholesale changes ahead of the new season, including a change of name and a new home as the club moves forward into a fresh era. The club will start the new season as Wakefield FC following the difficult decision to lose the historic Emley mantle... The former home of Wakefield Rugby Club, College Grove, is to be their new base... Another major difference will be the club colours - gone are the maroon and blue, to be replaced with a blue and yellow home strip. [But]... Paul David remains in charge of the first-team... And the current Emley Athletic side, who play in the Wakefield Sunday League, are making the move to join forces with the new Wakefield FC... David cannot see a problem with it: 'I think we should have changed it as soon as we left the Welfare Ground - you have to accept that things do change - we still carry the history, you can't take that away'".
    11 June 2006


    Pictured right is the newly unveiled Altrincham FC away kit for 2006-07, which is now available for order from the Club (by telephone, 928-1045, or e-mail).


    Saturday saw the start of the close season Working Weekends, which coincided with the first England World Cup match shown on the new big screen in the Noel White Suite. A good crowd was in attendance, along with a photographer from the NL Paper, to watch England stutter to their 1-0 win over Paraguay.

    The timetable for the working weekends is below:

    Altrincham FC invite all supporters to help the club prepare for the coming season with a series of working weekends, which have been paired with World Cup Afternoons at Moss Lane. The following have been designated as "Working Weekends" at the club:-

    The Working Weekends are as follows:

  • Saturday, June 10th from 10am followed by England vs Paraguay in the bar at 2pm
  • Sunday, June 11th from 10am

  • Saturday, June 17th from 10am (Portugal vs Iran 2pm available in the bar if reqd)
  • Sunday, June 18th from 10am (Japan vs Croatia 2pm available in the bar if reqd)

  • Saturday, June 24th from 10am (Match to be announced)
  • Sunday, June 25th from 10am

    Grahame Rowley adds that "Refreshments will be made available by the Club to all who assist in the working parties". The bar will be open for normal cash sales during the matches.


    Alty have a pre-season friendly at Kidsgrove Athletic of the UniBond League Division One. "Athletic have announced four more new signings, but joint manager Peter Ward said: 'We are nearly there now'. Latest newcomers are midfielder Ian Dawes, goalkeeper Tony McMillan, both from Ward's former club, Lancaster City, and striker Aaron Rey from Marine. Ward has also added former Newcastle Town, Congleton Town and Warrington Town centre back Michael Owen to their squad. Dawes, 22, spent time on the books at both Liverpool and Everton and Ward said: "We will have a go next season and we need a bit of `Scouse` element in the team because they are winners" reports NL Daily.


    "Alex Inglethorpe has delivered striker Adam Stansfield as his parting gift to Exeter City before quitting the Grecians to take up a post in Tottenham Hotspur`s Academy. The Tiverton-born player has turned down a new deal to play in the Football League with promoted Hereford to return to Devon - and the club that turned him away after a brief trial when he was 19... 'He is a player I would have loved to have worked with', said Inglethorpe. 'Any combination of him, Lee Phillips and Jamie Mackie will prove very difficult for opposition defences... Following Stansfield's arrival, the club will now cool their interest in other potential targets until a new manager is appointed. Inglethorpe had originally said he would stay at the club to help smooth over several other signings. But he has now decided to step back so that his successor can have more of a say in how his budget is spent. That would appear to rule out City moves for the likes of Oxford United striker Tim Sills, who has been heavily linked with a move to St James's Park in the past fortnight, former winger Tony Scully and Hereford midfielder Craig Stanley. Sporting director Julian Tagg insists the club have not made a move for former Jamaican international Marcus Gayle. The veteran ex-Wimbledon striker, who has been playing centre back for Brentford in recent seasons, is reportedly available on a free transfer. Tagg admitted City did consider him alongside other potential targets, but the club won't be following up that interest. Meanwhile, operations director Frances Farley says there is plenty of interest being shown in the vacant manager's post. The job was only advertised on Wednesday, but Farley has already fielded many inquiries" reports This is Exeter.

    St Alban's City Chairman John Gibson says, "There has been much said in the press recently about the possibility of moving to a new stadium. A great deal of the comment has been speculation... The Club cannot progress any further unless we have a new stadium. The current stadium cannot be improved sufficiently because of its age and the infrastructure around the ground and particularly the lack of parking... We currently cannot spend too much money on ground improvements as quite simply, it will be wasted if we move. We can no longer satisfy the likes of Arsenal Ladies or Watford Reserves who have both been unhappy with the facilities on offer and this has lost us valuable potential income, as they have chosen to play elsewhere... The Football Club would like a new stadium and we believe with a fair wind this is achievable. If a target of 3/4 years is not achievable, then it is not the end of the world".

    Grays Athletic "have secured the signing of Ashley Sestanovich, Ashley previously played for Manchester City, Sheffield United and more recently Farnborough Town. Also Cam Mawer and Michael Kightly have signed an extension to their current contracts".

    10 June 2006


    Stuart Coburn (left), Peter Band and Colin Little (right) have all re-signed for Altrincham for next season. Meanwhile, Graham Heathcote has confirmed that he is making four new signings in the coming weeks, though some of the names cannot be announced until July 1st and none of them can be made public now. The four consist of a striker and three midfielders. Graham is particularly impressed that three of the new signings have turned down better offers from other clubs, one of them having rejected a substantial offer from another Conference National side as he had verbally agreed to join Altrincham. Graham underlined that these are the sort of players whom we want at Moss Lane; ones who want to be here for reasons other than simply their pay packet.


    Robins' Shop manager Jenny Heslop informs me that Altrincham FC's new blue away strip will be on display in the bar tomorrow, though rumours that it will be modelled by her husband George have yet to be confirmed. Orders for the new kit, to be supplied by Ian Senior's Sensport Kits will be taken tomorrow. Prices are yet to be finalised but are expected to be much the same as last year's. Though the same general colour as last year's away shirt, the new version is a different shade of blue.


    Scarborough FC have issued a statement about their demotion:

    Boro director Malcolm Reynolds has urged fans to get behind Boro as the club prepares for its debut in Conference North. The Club has decided against appealing the Conference’s decision to relegate The Seadogs from the top division of non league football. ‘It’s vital that everyone at the club gets right behind Neil and the team. The best way they can do that at the moment is to buy season tickets. We need the income during the summer to support the club’s activities and the season tickets represent a considerable discount over match day prices.’

    Reynolds was also heartened by the turnout at Wednesday’s Fans’ Forum. ‘It’s heartening to see that so many people care about the future of the club and were so willing to offer their support. One man grabbed me at the end and wrote a cheque to buy two season tickets. I now need another 998 to follow suit!’

    The Conference issued a statement ahead of the Forum seeking to explain its reasons for last Saturday’s decisions. Boro officials have identified that several claims in that statement are incorrect. However it has decided against issuing a detailed rebuttal after declining the opportunity to appeal against the decisions.


    Forest Green's Club Secretary, Colin Peake, writes on his club's Forum, "All Conference clubs have received amongst other documentation for next season, a new 'player registration form'. The changes to the form, have been made in light of the problems surrounding the Altrincham case and hopefully this will prevent in future any such similar problems occurring. In particular, there are three MAIN changes to the form and these are:
  • Clubs have to enter ALL other clubs that the player has played for in the last 12 months and NOT that season. (This covers the scenario of a player signing a form in July or August) when the season is not really under way.
  • It also asks and is required to be declared has the player EVER been registered with a club outside of England and goes on to remind clubs; that if, that is the case, they MUST obtain clearance from the Football Association before he can play. Such clearance will normally be in the form of an International Clearance Certificate, which the club will receive in written form from the FA.
  • Finally and most important the PLAYER when signing the form MUST declare his status, that he is not registered with any other Conference club (unless on loan) and the player also confirms by his signature, that he has declared his International Status is correct at the time of signing the form. This now places the emphasis more on the player, and not the club, to disclose his playing history and status.

    Since my presentation to the AGM, obviously approval for the registration form to be changed has been agreed by the Conference Board. Whilst I would not take sole credit, hopefully some of my suggestions were found to be sensible. Hopefully these changes will eradicate the situation Altrincham FC found themselves in and in future there would have to be something radically wrong if such a case arose again. All clubs should however bear in mind, it is STILL the ultimate responsibility of the club, seeking the players registration, that the player is CORRECTLY signed and eligible to play for the club. It is not the duty of the Conference or the FA".


    The Cambridge Evening News reports that "Cambridge United have had to go back to the drawing board over a decision on their future at the Abbey. There is little further movement on the deal agreed in principle on the eve of the club's annual meeting in January for director John Howard's firm Bideawhile to sell the ground back to United... United have been forced to find new consultants to assess whether they should consider relocating to a new stadium or stay at the Abbey. Finance director Nick Pomery said it had been discovered that the company the club had been dealing with for the last four months had also been working for Howard's firm. He said: "They have registered us as related to the Abbey Stadium site and Bideawhile to the Milton site (for a proposed community stadium) and hadn't connected the two, so they weren't aware there was a conflict of interest"... Meanwhile, he believed the scale of the losses from the ill-fated Abbey Aid concerts would be known in the next few days, but did not think they would affect United's ability to get through the summer".

    The Argus reports that "Steven King has begun a major overhaul of his Lewes squad... Five new signings were unveiled by the Lewes manager last night, including former Crawley captain Ian Simpemba". The others include "Aldershot fullback Lewis Hamilton and Gravesend pair Andy Drury and Jay Saunders... King has clinched the signing of Simpemba at the second attempt. The former Wycombe and Republic of Ireland under-21 defender almost joined Lewes after being made available for loan by Crawley in March but instead signed for Aldershot".

    From the Romford Recorder we learn that "A progressively competitive Conference coupled with the departure of their leading goal scorer will not herald a season of struggle for Dagenham & Redbridge, according to the club's chairman Dave Andrews... When Daggers kick off the new campaign, minus striker Chris Moore, they will do so with renewed optimism, yet they will be confronted with arduous challenges.... 'Yes, there are teams in the league who can spend a lot more money than us on players. I'm not jealous of them. We're a happy community club. If I was a rich man, I'd do a lot more. If someone came along and was prepared to put £250,000 or £500,000 into the club, then great, but we get a lot of help from local businesses in the area... We are a members' club and we stage a lot of local events. People look at us and wish they had our off-field activities. We look at other clubs and wish we had their gate receipts though. The biggest income of a club is its gate receipts. We average 1200 a game. Other clubs get two, three, even four thousand. When you're getting those figures, you don't need to do anything else. Even at our height, we were only getting 1800. We're in a hotbed of football. We have West Ham just up the road but the supporters we have are loyal to us... The money some players ask for is ridiculous and it's got worse over the years... I don't think we have to do too much in terms of changing the team around'".

    This is Exeter states that "Former Exeter City skipper Shaun Taylor has confirmed he would be interested in succeeding Alex Inglethorpe. Taylor, who is the assistant manager at Forest Green, was interviewed for the job in October 2004 but the was passed over in favour of Inglethorpe". He said, "I will need to speak to Gary Owers and the chairman at Forest Green and let them know exactly what my intentions are. I was disappointed not to get the [Exeter] job last time".

    IC Sefton says that "Southport chairman Charlie Clapham will continue holding interviews for the manager's job over the weekend, and revealed that he has drawn up a short-list of three candidates.. Meanwhile, the chairman has dismissed rumours that St Helens Rugby League Club are looking to invest in the Sandgrouders as 'inaccurate' and 'lies'".

    The BBC confirms that relegation escapees Tamworth's manager "Mark Cooper has further strengthened his squad with the capture of former Notts County defender Emmet Friars. Friars joins the Lambs after leaving Meadow Lane at the end of last season. The 20-year-old follows striker Matty Williams in making the switch from Notts County to the Conference club. Friars made 15 first-team appearances for the Magpies, and also played on loan at Alfreton Town and AFC Telford United last season". Meanwhile, The Tamworth Herald confirms that "boss Mark Cooper is keeping tabs on West Bromwich Albion winger Brian Smikle. The 20-year-old was released by the Baggies at the end of the season. Cooper is aware of the youngster's talents after he enjoyed a loan spell at Halifax Town last season".

    "Stevenage Borough have confirmed the signing of winger Dale Binns from Cambridge City on a 2 year deal. Mark Stimson has long been an admirer of the 25 year old pacy winger and expects to add 1 or 2 more players in the coming weeks".

    9 June 2006


    Alty boss Graham Heathcote is hoping to start pre-season stamina work for his squad as early as next week, on a once a week basis. Graham indicated that the training night would be worked around World Cup fixtures!


    The BBC says that "Scarborough's directors are looking to hand control of the club to the fans. 'It would be our intention to try and get supporter representation on the board at an early stage', said chairman Ian Scobbie. 'We would then look to hand over, once we have moved into a new ground and have no debts, to a Supporters' Trust'. The Seasiders have also indicated that they are not planning to appeal against the Conference's decision to relegate them to Conference North". FAscinating background to this is provided on the Surfing Seadog forum by "Brief Minutes from the fans' forum" at Scarborough FC, attended by Ian Scobbie (chairman), Malcolm Reynolds (director) and other officials, but not manager Neil Redfearn.

    The report says "Relegation was due to the fact we had been in three different CVAs, however this was queried at the board meeting in Leicester as we had only had two CVAs, with the latter one being reworked recently to include extra footballing debts (£28,000). The ten points were deducted also for the fact we entered into a new CVA". It was stated that "the cost of an appeal is £35,000 to the courts. That appeal could only be regarding the Relegation and not the 10 points as the points were deducted for the CVA which we cannot dispute. Any appeal over the relegation would most likely be fruitless as an appeal would most likely carry into next year due to the lengthy legal system in the country, and if we won the appeal what would happen (as we could not be reinstated in January! - 5 months into the season). Any appeal would be about the relegation but could be a bargaining tool to say ’okay we cant be re-instated, but give us back the ten points’...

    Towards the end of the meeting it was decided by all but one or two of the 150 strong crowd that any appeal would no doubt be fruitless and the money would be better used towards playing costs... It was agreed to bite our lip, accept the punishment and not appeal due to the costs and stress involved. We currently have an outstanding debt of £1.6million which is covered in the CVA. Included in this are all the creditors from previous reigns and current ones. At current the club is running at debts of £20,000 per month, which again are covered in the CVA. The debts are due to be solved and paid within the new ground move... Malcolm and Ian have both added a vast ammount of their own money to keep the club alive over the past years, without reward... It was also discovered that Brooks Mileson has been helping out the directors with funds for various things - a great gesture and one which he should be thanked for....

    The club owns the McCain Stadium land. It is currently worth a selling value of £4.1million. The covenant on the ground dictates that the Council says that the land can only be used for sporting purposes. Any ground move which would involve the land being used for any other reason would incur a charge by the council to remove the covenant and allow housing to be built... this would be around £1million... The club is currently at very advanced stages of signing the paperwork on a deal to sell the land to Persimmon homes - for £4.1million minus the covenant fee. At the edge of town there is to be a 83 acre business park development by Caddick, which is already agreed with the council... Within this space we have a 15 acre plot. 5 acres of this will be the new stadium. the other 10 acres (five times the size of the current McStad land) is to be a community development which will include five a side pitches, offices, etc… Boro will take a share of the profits from these. The ground itself will of course be used for Boro, but also included useage for 365 days a year with Pindar Sports School being heavily involved... The stadium section of the 83 acre site could be complete and ready to use by Autumn 2007... So to sum up….. We sell the McStad for £4.1m, £1mil goes to council, £1.6m to pay off all debts, leaving roughly £1.5million for building of the new ground".

    As for manager Neil Redfearn, "Everyone pretty much agreed that he should be given a chance to show what he can do with his own squad of proper players... The supporters' trust will likely be set up following the ground move into the new stadium and will see a set of supporters literally take over the reigns from IS and MR, as they will want to reliquish control after the move happens and the club is on a sound financial and debt free base... It was viewed that training in West Yorks could save the club £60 per week per player on travel expenses. This idea was well worth looking into... A full time budget is in place, with £4,000 per week for wages. Neil will be allowed however to bring in players he sees fit for the team on whatever basis, be it fulBBC Sport reports that "Notts County chief executive Geoff Davey says that Alex Inglethorpe will not be the next manager of the Meadow Lane club. Davey was responding to speculation that Inglethorpe would become the successor to Gudjon Thordarson. Inglethorpe is available for work after he left his job as Exeter manager earlier this week".

    l or part time... [Striker] Tony Hackworth is signing for Gainsborough and Hughes for Blyth. These two along with Sam Baker were players IS wanted to keep but finances dictated otherwise".

    "Gravesend and Northfleet manager Liam Daish says despite their full-time status he knows they will have a small budget by Conference standards. Daish told BBC Radio Kent: 'Eleven players have left since last season but I don't think that's a problem. Some players I wanted to keep like Andy Drury and Jay Saunders but could not get them on full-time contracts. I'm working on a tight budget, it will be one of the bottom six budgets in the league, so I've got to use it wisely'". Gravesend & Northfleet FC confirm that "Liam Daish [has] added former Stevenage midfielder Rob Quinn to his squad".

    NL Daily says that "Rushden and Diamonds have announced that Ian Bowyer has been appointed as their new assistant manager. The moves re-united Bowyer with former Nottingham Forest team-mate Paul Hart, who took charge at the Nene Park club last month. Bowyer also previously worked under Hart's management at Forest as well as holding coaching positions at Birmingham and most recently MK Dons. The 55-year-old also had a spell as player-manager of Hereford United".

    "Several unnamed candidates have already expressed an interest in the Exeter City manager's job after Alex Inglethorpe confirmed he was leaving... Following a week of soul-searching, Inglethorpe informed City's board he was leaving to take up a role working within Tottenham Hotspur's youth Academy. In the wake of the news, his former aide, Steve Perryman, has refused to rule himself out of the running to take over. Also, it is understood, a number of would-be successors - including a former international player - have already contacted the Conference club to express an interest in the job. In the meantime, while City begin the search for a new manager, Inglethorpe will stay on and try to conclude a list of summer signings that have been approved at board level. In an official statement, City announced they would be advertising for an "experienced" manager... That would appear to rule out any possibility of assistant-manager Paul Buckle taking charge and, in itself represents a change in policy, given Inglethorpe's lack of experience when he took the top job at the Park in October 2004" reports This is Exeter.

    "Giant striker Leo Fortune-West could be set to join Rushden & Diamonds. He may follow Crystal Palace defender Glenn Wilson, who became new Diamonds' boss Paul Hart's first signing since taking charge two weeks ago. Wilson, 20, put pen-to-paper on a two-year deal at Nene Park. He can play at right-back or as a centre-half, having captained Palace's reserve team last season... Meanwhile Fortune-West has also been in for talks over a possible switch. The 6ft 4in forward, who has spent the last three years at Doncaster Rovers, may be joined by ex-Scunthorpe United and Barrow man [and ex-Alty trialist] Michael Rankine in a new-look attack. Hart has already confirmed an interest in Gresley Rovers striker Aaron O'Connor and Nottingham Forest midfielder Andrew Rigby while Gainsborough Trinity frontrunner Jamie Smith is another target. But the manager's top priority is bringing in defenders as centre half Wayne Hatswell is the only back-four member on the eleven-man retained list. The Diamonds squad features young strikers Dan Chillingworth, Simeon Jackson, Greg Pearson and Lee Tomlin, so Fortune-West would provide valuable experience... Fortune-West cost £300,000 in 2000 when he joined Cardiff City from Rotherham United. He has also played for Brentford, Lincoln City, Leyton Orient, Gillingham and Stevenage Borough with more than 100 career goals. Rankine, meanwhile, has turned down an offer to stay at Alfreton Town as he considers a chance to join Diamonds. Last season he scored only three times in twenty-five appearances".

    The Football Conference confirms that "Boston United look set to beat off competition from Exeter City to sign Braintree striker Alex Revell".

    Weymouth "have signed forward Richard Logan. The 24 year old has moved to the resort with his wife and family... He played last season for Peterborough and has turned down offers from several league clubs to join the Terras".

    Northwich Victoria were "presented with THREE awards last weekend at the Nationwide Conference AGM and Awards Presentation. Not surprisingly, Steve Burr was presented with the award of Manager of the Season in the Conference North whilst the team won the TEAM OF THE YEAR award for the Conference North and super JONNY ALLAN collected the coveted PLAYER OF THE SEASON AWARD for the Conference North". And The Vics "have snapped up experienced defender Tony Gallimore... Gallimore, 34, joins former Rochdale team-mate Gareth Griffiths at the Vics following his release from Spotland at the end of last season. 'Tony still wants to do things in the game and along with Gareth brings vital experience to a young side', Northwich boss Steve Burr told BBC Sport.

    The Shaymen Online says that "Former Accrington Stanley midfielder Steve Jagielka has held talks with Chris Wilder with a view to joining the Shaymen. The skilful 28-year-old wasn’t offered a new contract with promoted Stanley... Northwich Victoria are also said to be in the running for the player's signature". Meanwhile, "Chris Wilder looks set to sign his third former Bradford City player of the close season on Friday with Tom Kearney heading to The Shay. Whilst Jake Wright and Danny Forrest have agreed to come verbally but unable to put pen to paper until the end of the month, Kearney is expected to sign on the dotted line sometime during Friday... He does sound to be the ideal replacement for Steve Bushell but may have to remain patient for a place in the starting line-up".


    "Goalkeeper Anthony McMillan has quit Nationwide North club Lancaster City and dropped two levels into the UniBond League Division One as the City squad starts to break up. The stopper, regarded by many last season as the best in Nationwide North, has decided to move to Kidsgrove Athletic with former Giant Axe manager Peter Ward". Alty have a pre-season game at Kidsgrove... More players could yet leave before the Dolly Blues make their return to pre-season in a month. [Ex-Alty man] Tony Sullivan is expected to hang up his boots, while Andy Scott's work commitments make it difficult for him to make midweek games. Kevin Brown has already opted to move to league rivals Barrow following his release from Blackpool and skipper Andrew Bond is also expected to sign for the Holker Street outfit. Their manager Phil Wilson [an ex-City boss] is believed to be monitoring the City situation closely as he looks to strengthen his Bluebirds...Meanwhile, star striker Alex Taylor has attracted the interest of Doncaster Rovers" reports NL Daily.

    The Lancaster & Morecambe Gazette reports that "Mystery surrounds the immediate future of Lancaster City. Major shareholder Ron Moore was set to sell to a consortium headed by Francis Mardale with an announcement due last Friday. However, no deal was done, and... the century-old Dolly Blues are now in limbo with players likely to be snapped up by their league rivals... The Citizen tried to speak to Mr Mardale after being contacted by Cheltenham businessman Nick Daffern.Mr Daffern, a director of modular building experts Rapid Retail, says Mr Mardale expressed an interest in buying £1million of his constructions, which are used at Premier League grounds and at Formula One circuits... Nick Daffern says he was called to a meeting at Giant Axe with Francis Mardale, who wanted the modular constructions as part of his planned redevelopment of the ground... Says Mr Daffern: 'We install temporary buildings at motor racing events and supply Premier League football teams with club shops and hospitality boxes... I met this bloke called Charlie Moore, who was set behind a desk in a tiny office surrounded by paper work. He said he was going to be the new chairman then this scruffy geezer came in the room. He introduced himself as Francis Mardale and started telling me about his Chinese connections. It might have been more believable if he had been wearing a clean shirt and a tie. He said he was related to the HSBC so I asked him if he knew the chairman and gave him a fictitious name. Mardale said he knew him. I played along with them and they said they wanted some of our boxes. They started off with five and then raised the order to about 20 there had been no planning or forethought from them. That was a £1 million order I said that if they intended the work to go through we would have to carry out a site survey and we needed £18,500 up front. That money never materialised. Mardale said he was trying to move it from his Geneva account... I managed to work on the train both ways and I am not outraged by them because I am not that sort of guy. I find it very funny to be honest. The whole meeting reminded me of the film This Is Spinal Tap' it was all very surreal and because of that you just wonder if there is some frisson of truth, that this could really happen'"

    8 June 2006


    Ceefax reports tonight that Scarborough are not appealing against the decision to demote them which means that Altrincham are safely reinstated in Conference National for 2005-06.


    Alty director Grahame Rowley has announced that the, as squad numbers will be changing for 2006-07 season and, therefore, a new set of shirts is being ordered, the club is auctioning off last season's "match-worn" shirts, signed by a player of your choice. Grahame writes, "How about making an offer for a match-worn, personally signed shirt from a player of your choice. Starting offers must be £50 - highest bidder by June 30th wins the shirt. Please contact Grahame or the club (928-1045) with offers".


    The Football Conference has now made a statement on its reasons for demoting Scarborough. It concludes that "the Board has decided as follows: 1. Scarborough Football Club is relegated to Conference North under Article 5.3 of the Articles of Association; and 2. Scarborough Football Club will be deducted 10 points under Rule 14 relating to Sporting Sanctions for season 2006/2007. The decision was subsequently confirmed to Scarborough in writing. In the circumstances, the Board is surprised by various statements appearing on Scarborough’s website that Mr Scobbie and Mr Reynolds were not given any information about the rule that Scarborough had breached and did not know which rule Scarborough had breached. Scarborough have until 20 June 2006 to lodge any appeal against this decision with the Football Association". The full text is here.


    The Sale & Altrincham Messenger reports on Alty's reprieve. "While Robins' manager Graham Heathcote was delighted his team would be able to ply their trade in non-league's top flight next season, he was disappointed about the manner in which it came about. Speaking exclusively to SAM Sport he said: 'I was delighted for the players, the fans and the club in general but there are still things that leave a sour taste in the mouth. Scarborough are now going through what we have been through over the last few months and I feel very sorry for them. But I suppose we have just got to be grateful that justice has been done in our case and the players are in their rightful place'.

    SAM also reports that "with Scarborough planning an appeal against their own relegation, the current saga could yet rumble on for at least another month, if not longer... The Robins were only dragged into this post-season mire in the first place as the result of an administrative oversight that had absolutely no bearing on the club's on-pitch performances... If any good at all is to come from this mess, then both the league and the FA need to take stock and ensure their rules are both reasonable and flexible in cases of international clearance... Ultimately, the Conference's credibility is at stake. For the third year running, relegation has not been decided entirely on the pitch and it is about time that officials realised the real reason for this league's existence - football."


    SAM also reports that "Long-serving defender and captain Mark Maddox has been released after almost ten years with the club. Well-liked and respected by players and fans alike, Maddox's departure will be mourned by many at Moss Lane and Heathcote described it as 'the hardest decision [he has] had to make in football'". Graham said, "'He's Altrincham through and through but the time comes when some tough decisions have to be made and it's not one I've enjoyed at all'. Meanwhile, Maddox paid tribute to the club as he prepared for life elsewhere. He said: 'Everyone knows what this club means to me. For the past 10 years I have spent my summers coming here to prepare for the season and I'm gutted that I won't be doing the same this year. But that's football and I suppose I'll just have to get on with it''". As for Ged Murphy, Graham said, "I thought Ged did very well, but his departure is more simple because we have a player coming in in his position. We will be looking to bring in new players before the start of the season and the only way we can do that is by releasing some of the players we already have here".


    Alty chairman Geoff Goodwin has unveiled plans that could see Moss Lane renamed "after starting a search to find a stadium sponsor. The club are keen to raise vital funds and see the sale of the ground's naming rights as the ideal opportunity to bring a major backer on board. Moss Lane has been home to the Robins for more than 90 years, with the first game being played at the ground on September 3, 1910 against Macclesfield Town. And if the club do manage to strike a deal, they will follow in the footsteps of several Conference rivals - including York, whose Bootham Crescent ground became KitKat Crescent, and Burton, who named their home the Pirelli Stadium. 'We are looking for a stadium sponsor because it will bring in funds that will help us achieve the goals we have set out at the club', chairman Geoff Goodwin told SAM Sport. 'Especially because we are playing in the Conference National now, the club receives a lot more coverage than in the past and it would be great for a big company to get on board. We are moving in the right direction now and we would love to form a long-term partnership with anyone interested in getting involved here'". Altrincham "are already guaranteed a six-figure windfall from the proposed sale of land adjacent to their Moss Lane ground and are confident of re-establishing themselves as a Conference force in the future. Goodwin added: 'There have been some bad times in the past but we have plans to develop this into a strong community club. But we need financial support and we would urge any companies interested in becoming our stadium sponsor to get in touch with the club'".


    Hull City have accepted an offer of £100,000 from Scunthorpe United for Kevin Ellison.

    The Daily Telegraph has a piece on former Alty winger, Dave Gardner. "'David Beckham found time to lend his expertise to best friend David Gardner and his actress wife, Davinia Taylor. 'David and Davinia were looking around an exclusive property in Manchester's Worsley area when, all of a sudden, a huge black Bentley roared up and out stepped David Beckham', a local tells me. It was last Friday when the England squad was training nearby and I thought it was sweet of Becks to take time out of his schedule to help his friends'. Gardner and Taylor were looking at the property... after deciding to move out of London and away from the fast-living ways of the Primrose Hill set".

    "Jason Beckford, manager of Mossley, has made his fifth close season signing by again raiding neighbours Ashton United to sign defender Terry Bowker", says NL Daily. "He was practically an ever present with Ashton last season and also captained the team".


    "At the Annual Nationwide Conference Congress last weekend, Dagenham & Redbridge Football Club were proud to receive the Nationwide Conference Programme of the Year award. The trophy was collected on the Clubs behalf by Commercial Manager Steve Thompson together with a cheque for the Club of £1,000. This is the second time the Club have won the award, having also collected it in 2002/03".

    NL Daily reports that "Hyde United have announced the signing of former Bury striker Gareth Seddon just days after the 26-year-old declared that it was too far to travel to join Tigers’ league rivals Worcester City... The club’s football director Tony Beard said: 'Gareth is a major signing for us and along with Craig Dootson, who signed last week, improves our squad significantly. No players have been released from last year's squad as we want to mount a serious challenge in the League this season'".

    The BBC reports that "Accrington Stanley midfielder Ian Craney [ex-Alty] is set to sign a new two-year contract with the Conference champions. Craney, 23, whose current deal has 12 months to run, is ready to commit himself to the Reds after being named as the Conference's player-of-the-year. Meanwhile, Stanley have confirmed the signing of former Niort central defender Julien N'Da, 20. Winger Andy Todd, 27, has also agreed a 12-month contract with the newly promoted League Two side".

    The BBC also states that "Forest Green Rovers forward Mark Beesley has agreed a new contract to keep him at the club next season. Beesley, 24, earned a new deal after returning in January from a 10-month absence with a knee injury to help Rovers stay in the Conference".

    "Aldershot have signed former Rushden and Diamonds youngster Sean Ridgway. The 19-year-old ex-Republic of Ireland under-18s midfielder has agreed a 12-month deal with the Shots after being released by Rushden".

    "York City Supporters' Trust have voted by three to one to accept a takeover offer at a meeting on Tuesday evening, reports BBC Radio York. The Trust agreed to accept the offer of managing director Jason McGill. His company JM Packaging have offered to invest a substantial sum into the Conference club, in return for a majority shareholding. Although the deal was accepted, there was still a minority of fans against the deal".

    7 June 2006


    For more on the release of Mark Maddox (left) and Ged Murphy (right), see yesterday's news.


    The annual Goal/Clean Sheet sponsorship scheme is running again in 2006/7. Please e-mail Jon Stack to pledge your sponsorship per goal or clean sheet, or as Jon and Winnie Stack write, "if you prefer, you can name the player whose goals you'd like to sponsor; sponsor Stuart Coburn's penalty saves or even sponsor the goals scored against particular teams. In return, you'll see your name listed as a sponsor in every match programme,- and at the end of the season, as a thank you for your help, you'll receive a special framed action photograph of one of those goals or one of Stu Coburn's stupendous saves. All monies raised will be paid directly and immediately to the Football Club, and payment will be in two instalments, one after half the season has gone and then the remainder at the end of the season. We'll be providing regular updates throughout the season of the amounts raised so far, so please take part, there's no minimum amount, and we look forward to welcoming you as a sponsor. Thanks very much for your support. Jon and Winnie Stack, on behalf of Altrincham Football Club".


    NL Daily reports that "UniBond League Premier Division newcomers Hednesford Town" have signed, "Vastly experienced goalkeeper Dave McCarthy, a former Welsh Youth international who started out at Chesterfield and then AFC Bournemouth" from Arnold Town. Dave came briefly to Alty on loan a couple fo seasons ago when The Robins had an injury crisis.


    Scarborough Today reports that "Boss Neil Redfearn has been given his wage budget to get Boro back into the Conference.Redfearn will be allowed to spend £4,000 a week on players' wages. When Altrincham moved up from the Conference North two seasons ago they had a budget of £3,500, while Harrogate Town, who reached the play-offs last season, spent £4,000 on wages. Boro have cut their budget from last season's £7,500 a week, due to their relegation to the Conference North. Chairman Ian Scobbie said: 'The budget will remain unaltered from what it was when we thought that we would be playing in the Conference again. It was a low Conference budget, but £4,000 a week will be a decent budget for the Conference North and it is one that has been proven to get teams out of that division. We are unsure whether we will remain full-time or switch to part-time though, the team will probably be a hybrid of the two. If Neil can bring in a squad of players who are happy to come in on a full-time basis then we will stay full-time. If not then we will become part-time". Also, "Boro have put up their prices despite dropping down into the Conference North. The first price change in three seasons will now see adults pay £12, concessions at £8 and under-16s pay £5. Chairman Ian Scobbie believes the club must raise prices to cover the loss of income from the demotion".

    "Defender Matthew Gadsby has signed for Hinckley United from Forest Green Rovers" reports NL Daily.

    One consequence of not being relegated is that we will need to start saving now for next season, with Oxford United reportedly charging £19 for away fans and Weymouth asking £16 for their "Premier Stand" and £13 for the terraces. Less expensive will be Grays Athletic with a gate price of £12 for adults and just £7 for concessionaries.

    St Alban's City report that "At the Nationwide Conference awards dinner on Saturday night, City's very own Matt Hann received the Conference South's Player of the Season award". Former Alty man Ian Craney (Accrington) won the Conference National award.

    The BBC also confirms that "Exeter midfielder Danny Clay has revealed that he has held talks with a number of clubs over a possible move... The 20-year-old recently turned down the Grecians' offer of a new one-year contract extension. And he told the Express and Echo: 'I am speaking to a few clubs at the moment. There are no offers at the moment but I hope something concrete comes soon. I have been in contact with clubs in the Conference and the Conference South'.

    "Former Hereford keeper Craig Mawson has joined Halifax. Town have also brought forward Danny Forrest, 21, back to the club on a permanent basis following his release by Bradford City. Forrest, who spent last season on loan at the Shay, is joined by defender Jake Wright, 20, who has also made the move from City after an earlier loan spell. Mawson, 27, had a brief stint at Halifax earlier in his career and has played over 150 Conference games. He has had spells with Morecambe and Hereford."

    The Burton Mail confirms that "Burton Albion have picked up the Nationwide Conference Fair Play award... Commercial manager Fleur Robinson and club director Ray Bowering picked up an engraved trophy and a cheque for £3,000 on the club's behalf... It is Albion's second Conference Fair Play award in three seasons and their fourth during Nigel Clough's eight-year reign, with the club previously winning awards in both the Dr Martens and UniBond Premier Divisions. Brewers' chairman Ben Robinson said 'I think the fact we've won the Fair Play award four times during Nigel's management is a reflection of his character and self-discipline and the way he has instilled those qualities in his squad. We are are often complemented as we travel around the country for trying to play good, passing football instead of trying to kick lumps out of the opposition. I think that is why we get big clubs like Birmingham City, Wolves, Derby County and Sheffield Wednesday wanting to play us in pre-season friendlies".

    Exeter City have issued an enigmatic statement sayng that "It has been decided today that Alex Inglethorpe will leave the Club to pursue the next stage of his career. Together we have worked tirelessly to achieve our common desire for Alex to stay but Alex now feels that it would be in the best interests of the Club for him to leave within a mutually agreed timeframe. The Club and Alex still have, and will continue to enjoy, a great relationship, and this is reflected in Alex's agreement to complete the possible signings we have lined up for next season. Alex's judgment in the transfer market has proven to be first class and we have all concurred that it is to the Club's overall benefit that we conclude these signings as we had planned". However, from wherever Inglethorpe is headed, there is a "compensation agreement that we will expect to receive... We will this week place an external advert for a new, experienced, manager to work with us... Job applications will be accepted until 16th June... To allow supporters to share our confidence that both Alex and the new manager will bring the right players in to the Club, we are delighted to announce that, as a gesture from the Club, we will be extending the 'Early Bird' season ticket rates until Friday 23rd June".

    The BBC says that "Relegated Scarborough have brought former captain Mark Hotte back for a second spell... following a 12-month stay with neighbours York... Hotte becomes manager Neil Redfearn's first signing since Boro's relegation to Conference North was confirmed by the Conference".

    "Oxford United striker Tim Sills looks set to leave the U's following their relegation to the Conference. Sills has been allowed to talk to other clubs as Oxford boss Jim Smith seeks to make room for new signings. Exeter City are leading the chase for the former Aldershot frontman, with Hereford United also reportedly showing an interest. Sills, 26, joined Oxford from Aldershot in January but failed to make an impact in the closing months of the season", says the BBC.

    "A former diamond dealer has emerged as a potential saviour for crisis-club Crawley Town", reports The Argus. Hertfordshire-based businessman John Goodwin [no relation to Geoff?], 61, has revealed that he wants to buy the club from owners Chas and Azwar Majeed. Crawley officially went into administration yesterday... It means Crawley will start next season with a ten-point deduction, the punishment for any club going into administration. Goodwin has registered his interest with the administrator. He recently sold his jewellery business and is about to move from his Hertfordshire home to south London. He stepped down as chairman of Bishop's Stortford last month after seven years at the Conference South club. He helped them clear debts of almost £300,000 and build a new stadium. He has also been chairman of Essex League club Romford and his friends include former Crawley manager Billy Smith. Goodwin said: 'I would certainly be interested in buying the club. ... I relish the challenge of finding clubs that need to create income streams and make their business successful. Crawley is a potential Football League club, there is no doubt about it. It has lovely facilities, the backing of the council and a very good support base. They need someone who knows the football business to come in and run it properly. I know the business and I know how to make football clubs successful. I would want 51 per cent until I turned it around and the other 49 per cent I would make available to anyone who wanted to invest'... Supporters fear [the Majeeds] are using administration as a way to clear the debts and would then be reluctant to sell. Goodwin tried to contact them in March when Crawley's money problems were first revealed. He was told they were not interested in his potential investment. He said: 'You cannot gamble with the club because you have not just got the interest of a few workers to consider, you have thousands of fans and local people involved... When I went [to Bishop's Stortford] in 1999, they had no ground and only had £23 in the bank. When I left, the club was debt free, owed no money and had a nice new ground'".

    But the Crawley FC Forum has the Club's press release "on administration and the club being up for sale". It says, "This [situation] has been the result of the Club’s ongoing financial battle throughout the season, which extends further beyond the time when the Club was bought last year... This is one of the reasons that it was previously put up for sale, a year before Mr Majeed procured the Club. Considering the lack of finances available it would not have sustained its current league position. As a direct consequence of entering administration, the Club will start the season with a deduction of 10 points. However, the Management are confident that the season will be a success with the potential to still meet the play offs with a focused team. John Hollins and Alan Lewer remain committed to the Club and bringing it through this turbulent transition. Despite recent speculation, the Club is not up for sale by the administrators and no one has formally approached the Chairman with a sensible intention to procure Crawley Town".

    NL Daily reports that "Neil Aspin, manager of "Harrogate Town, has completed his first signing of the summer, bringing former England semi-professional international striker Kirk Jackson to Wetherby Road... He joins Town from Nationwide South champions Weymouth, and has signed for two years... Speaking at the end of last season, Weymouth boss Garry Hill commented: 'Jacko's an old-fashioned honest professional who has always put everything into every performance. He's a northern lad and I gather he'll be heading back up that way for next season and I wish him well'".

    "Former Bury striker Gareth Seddon will not be joining Nationwide North club Worcester City. Lancashire-based Seddon, 26, is not prepared to travel the long distance for training sessions and home games... A sufferer of reactive arthritis, a condition brought on by the rigours of full-time training, Seddon is only prepared to feature for a part-time non-League club... Seddon was a huge hit at Gigg Lane, scoring nineteen goals during three seasons, and a string of northern-based Conference and Nationwide North clubs are vying to capture his services" reports This is Worcester.

    Woking report that "Glenn Cockerill has confirmed that former Stevenage Borough player Ollie Berquez has agreed terms for a one year contract to join the club".

    6 June 2006


    Graham Heathcote tonight paid tribute to his captain and centre-back Mark Maddox and to midfielder Ged Murphy, who have been released. Graham described the decision to release "Maddog" as "the most heartbreaking decision I have ever had to take in football". The manager explained that he has four centre-backs at the club and the finances dictated that the squad had to be pruned if the aim of improving the squad for next season was to be achieved. "Mark has epitomised what I'd like to see in every Altrincham player" said Graham, adding that he had to make a "very sad decision, a footballing decision" and that only time would tell if it was the right one. Graham thanked Mark for his commitment to the club and has told him that the club would like to arrange a testimonial game for his benefit.

    Last season, injury and suspension limited Mark to 28(+3) appearances, bringing his career total for the club to 326(+22) games, in which he scored eleven goals. A 33 year-old Liverpudlian, Mark first joined Alty at the start of the 1996/97 season from Sunday football in Liverpool, having earlier been a trainee at Tranmere Rovers. As Terry Rowley wrote in his article inducting Mark as an Alty Legend, Mark "started his Altrincham career as a full back, before slotting into his more accustomed role at the centre of the back four. His time at Altrincham has not always been easy but he has always given everything. Mark's first season unfortunately ended in injury causing him to miss the final run-in which led to relegation to the UniBond Premier League. At the start of the 1998-99 season he was lured to the bright lights of Barrow, but things didn’t work out and he barely got a game in his time there. By December 1998 he was back at Moss Lane, where he struggled to get into a side that now contained both Chris Timons and Paul Ellender. There were no complaints, though, from Mark and he knuckled down and still gave nothing less than 100% when called upon. Back in the Conference for the following season, Mark took his chance when Paul Ellender was sold to Scarborough and, since then, barring injury (and the odd suspension) he has been a regular choice at centre-back. In 2004-05 he completed 300 first team appearances (quite an achievement in this day and age)".

    Mark has recently penned a series of highly entertaining diary articles about the club in the Sale & Altrincham Messenger and his good humour and dedication to the cause made him one of the most popular players to have graced Moss Lane in recent years. Everyone at the club will be very sorry to see him depart and will sincerely wish him the best of luck in his future career.

    Also released by Graham Heathcote is midfielder Ged Murphy (27), who joined from Droylsden last November, making 23(+1) appearances and scoring twice. Ged started out at Oldham Athletic, who released him in summer 1999. Despite being a trialist at Altrincham that close season, he did not join us then. After spells at various clubs, including Stafford Rangers and Leigh RMI, he moved from Stalybridge Celtic to Droylsden in 2002. Ged became a regular for Alty after his debut on 3 December 2005 at Accrington. Again, all Alty fans will wish Ged well for the future and Graham Heathcote wishes to record his thanks to Ged for his important role in keeping the club in the Conference.

    As with Mark, Ged was a victim of the club only being able to fund new players of a good standard by releasing others already on the books. Manager Graham Heathcote hopes to make at least one signing in central midfield but no announcement can be made about new players till 1st July. There may also be other departures in the close season but that will depend on who it is possible to bring in to try and cement the club's place in the Conference National division. Graham also has the difficult task of evaluating the fitness of various players who are undergoing treatment over the summer. Colin Potts has a double hernia operation in mid-July, whilst both Val Owen and Colin Little are having scans to assess their injuries. Chris Adams, too, is still working with the club's physios to regain his fitness after an injury-affected season.

    On other matters, Graham confirmed that there is now an amended registration form for Conference players which includes a question about whether a player has "ever played abroad". He also confirmed that the club will ensure that every player's international clearance is checked with the FA following the Robinson Affair last season.


    Another image from Sunday's charity game (for details of which, see below). Here, Alty Reserves' defender Colin McAllister and Alty director, Grahame Rowley, keep an eye on proceedings.


    Bullsnews reports that "Lincoln are battling to keep striker Simon Yeo, who has scored 51 times in 157 games for the club. Ex-Imps boss Keith Alexander wants the out of contract player at Peterboro, while Stockport are also interested". Simon watched former team mate Peter Band play in Sunday's Altrincham FC charity game against Houldsworth FC.


    In The Argus "Former manager Francis Vines today told Crawley's owners: 'Go now'. He is furious that Chas and Azwar Majeed have applied to take Reds into administration and believes the Conference club are in danger of going under if they stay in charge. Vines was the most successful manager in Crawley's history before being sacked by the Majeed brothers last October. He sued them for unfair dismissal and was awarded more than £5,000... Vines said: 'The only way the club is going to survive with any dignity is for them to go now. Who wants to support a club when the owners don't care about it and think they can do whatever they want? ... I'm just sad to see what has happened to the club... They've managed to take it backwards in less than a year... Steve Duly and I have been gone quite a long time now so if they want to carry on blaming people who have been out of the club for the last eight months then so be it... I was told last pre-season that we were staying part-time, even though I knew these people were coming in. I had a meeting with them and then 45 minutes later we were going full-time. But I was told we weren't going full-time until the first Monday after the start of the season. That meant we couldn't prepare properly... I would advise the players to hang on. I have some ringing me up asking what to do and my advice is don't jump ship just yet, wait until you see what happens. They should stay until the last minute to see exactly what the administrators come up with'".

    "Troubled Conference club Crawley Town have finally been put into administration, reports BBC Southern Counties Radio. The club's owners, the Majeed family, have obtained the court order needed at a hearing in Leeds. Insolvency specialists Begbies Traynor will now effectively be in control. The Reds were deducted three points and fined for breaking Conference financial rules last season and now face a 10 point deduction ahead of next season" says the BBC.

    The Burton Mail reports that "Albion chairman Ben Robinson today defended the decision to dump Scarborough in the latest twist to the Nationwide Conference relegation saga. The Seadogs finished bottom of the table, but thought they had been spared the drop because of Altrincham's 18-point deduction... The decision was taken for 'an unspecified breach of rules' and will see Scarborough start next season in Conference North with a 10-point deduction. Board member Robinson said: 'I cannot discuss the finer detail, but we had good reason to take the action we did'".

    "New Stevenage Borough manager Mark Stimson has told The Mercury he is excited by the the challenge of fulfilling the club's potential and leading them into the football league... Stimson turned down the offer of a job managing a league side to take the Boro' job and arrived along with assistant and goalkeeping coach Scott Barrett on three-year contracts. Stimson said: 'In three years' time we want to be a league side. This club is definitely going places. The set-up is fantastic with the fan base, ground and training facilities on a par with a league club'. Assistant Barrett added: 'Stevenage Borough is a league side, it's just in the Conference at the moment'". Stimson added, "Our main priority is to go out and attack, entertain and score goals". But "The recent release of 15 players has left Stimson with only 10 contracted professionals". However, Stimson forecast that "'We are now looking to add eight to ten players which will improve on what we've got'... The new boss wasted no time in starting his recruitment drive after confirming his first signing - 23-year-old Grays full back John Nutter". The Stevenage Borough club "has announced 2 new signings today. Jon Nurse, 25 year old striker has signed a new 2 year deal and goalkeeper Danny Potter has signed from Canvey Island". Potter is seen (right) receiving the Man of the Match Award at Moss Lane in March.

    On This is Exeter we read that "Alex Inglethorpe will today tell Exeter City whether or not he intends to continue as the club's manager. Inglethorpe has been offered the vacant managerial post at League 2 Milton Keynes Dons and has been spent the weekend mulling over the offer... City's commercial director Paul Morrish said: 'We are remaining extremely hopeful that Alex will continue to build his and the club's future together'... Inglethorpe has been linked with a string of jobs over the past week. Spurs are understood to want to give the Grecians' boss a role developing their young stars, while Northampton Town and Brentford, both on the lookout for new managers, have expressed an interest... Inglethorpe rejected a five-year contract at Exeter earlier in the season and instead agreed terms on a one-year rolling contract. Club officials are believed to have inserted a clause in his contract which would net the club a significant compensation pay-out in the event of him departing. Supporters have expressed fears that should Inglethorpe announce his exit today a number of transfer targets will choose to go... [Meanwhile] City fans must wait to discover whether the former managing director has succeeded in his claim for up to £105,000 in lost earnings for breach of contract and unfair dismissal. The three-day hearing ended on Friday and a decision will be announced at a date yet to be set"

    The Gravesend Reporter staes that "Liam Daish believes he is close to bringing in several new faces to boost the Fleet's threadbare squad. Financial constraints have forced the Gravesend boss into an unwanted shake-up of his squad with 11 players already departing... The manager revealed: 'I'm talking to a number of players this week and things are developing quickly. It could be tomorrow or it could be next week.. A lot of the available players out there are keeping their options open. We don't want to just jump straight in and start signing players just for the sake of making a signing. I know we are bare in terms of numbers but... It is important that we hold our nerve and don't start getting twitchy. In our current situation I would ideally want them all here for pre-season, but this isn't an ideal situation financially and every penny counts'... Unlikely to be donning Fleet colours next season is long term target Alex Revell with the striker on the brink of signing for Boston... Former Fleet favourite Jimmy Jackson this week sealed a move to Kentish neighbours Margate".The Fleet themselves say "that defender Paul McCarthy has agreed a new one year contract. Goalkeeper Sam Mott and forward Jack Roberts have both been offered one year deals at the club".

    This is KHFC reports that "Harriers' squad rebuilding is taking shape after boss Mark Yates snapped up two more transfer targets. Former loan striker Andy White has returned to Aggborough on a 12-month contract while defender Stuart Whitehead has agreed a two-year deal after leaving Shrewsbury. With Michael Blackwood also pledging to stay for another year, Harriers now have 10 players signed up for next season. Jake Sedgemore, Russ Penn, Gavin Hurren, Luke Reynolds, Simon Russell and Michael McGrath are already on board, along with young Telford goalkeeper Stuart Taylor... Barry Norgrove and the Harriers board have been overseeing the re-seeding of the Aggborough pitch. A specialist firm have been brought in to improve the playing surface... 'It desperately needed doing and we've spent a fair bit of money to bring it back up to scratch', said Norgrove".

    Morecambe Today reports that "it's been another busy week at Christie Park with three more players signing new contracts and Mark Lillis agreeing to rejoin the club [as] Sammy McIlroy's assistant... And, after agreeing deals with Garry Thompson and Jim Bentley last week, the Shrimps board have also signed up Ged Brannan, Keiron Walmsley and Michael Howard for next season... McIlroy said: 'The club have now secured many of the players who were out of contract and I am encouraged that the rest should be put to bed in the near future. I am also looking to strengthen the squad'". Morecambe FC report that they have "successfully completed negotiations with another four players... international defender Chris Blackburn has agreed terms for a further season, whilst midfielder Gary Hunter has agreed a new two year contract. Academy graduates, midfielder Paul Lloyd and defender Sean Gray have also signed new one year contracts".

    Scarborough Today says that "Furious Boro fans have blasted the Conference over its decision to relegate the Seasiders... Conference chief executive John Moules says that because Boro entered into a new voluntary arrangement with creditors last week, the Conference had no choice but to relegate them... Steve Smith, who runs the club's official website, is writing to Conference chiefs to express his anger and is urging other supporters to follow suit. He said: 'The Conference seem to have something against our club. Halifax are also in a CVA but they were untouched, while Crawley Town are set to go into administration but again they weren't asked for any financial assurances. I think we are condemned to two seasons in the Conference North – the 10-point deduction will be too much. However, the club will be back'".

    The Woking News & Mail says that "Glenn Cockerill has revealed he may only need just two new signings — if he can persuade Stuart Nethercott, Paul Watson and Shola Oyedele to sign contracts. The Cards’ boss has spoken to four possible recruits and is hoping his man management skills and the lure of playing for Woking will tempt at least two of them to sign... He confirmed: 'I won’t know about Shola and Stuart until their contracts run out at MK Dons and Wycombe at the end of June. If they want to re-sign, and Paul is included in that as I’m waiting for him or his agent to come back to me, then in my eyes they will be new signings'... Cockerill is resigned to losing star striker Justin Richards but is not too concerned with replacing him. 'I sat next to his agent at the England game on Saturday and said to him ‘I see you’ve sorted out my player’. He just got up and went and sat down in the row in front of me. I’ve since heard stories that Justin had done a deal with another club a couple of months ago which would explain his performances for us in that time. It won’t be a problem to me if he goes to a Conference club but I don’t think he’s got a better chance now than to go into the Football League. Because of the goals he scored last season, that’s where he should go. But if money is his motivation then he’ll stay in the Conference'". However, "With Mark Rawle, Malik Buari and Jimmy Aggrey all having left Kingfield, Cockerill has also made the decision to release number two goalkeeper Clint Davies... In his place he has offered terms to youth keeper Aaron Howe, son of former Fulham defender and Basingstoke boss, Ernie. 'For the past two years I’ve gone with two number one keepers and alternated them but I just felt Shwan has gone on to a much better level than Clint', said Cockerill. 'I’m hoping Aaron will accept the terms on offer and he will be paid more for appearances. A few of the younger ones are on less basic and are paid like that. Sometimes as a young player you have to make sacrifices. They have to ask themselves do they want to go and work behind the counter in a video shop for example, or do they want to be a professional footballer?'" Woking FC report that "Glenn Cockerill has confirmed that Aaron Howe and Jerome Maledon will be at the club (Tuesday) to sign one year contracts for the Cards after impressive displays for the Youth and Reserve Team in 2005/06".

    5 June 2006


    Above is Alty's squad for the charity game on Sunday at East Levenshulme. Back: Craig Ellison, Neil Faulkner (of Robinsons' Preservation, a keen Alty fan and sponsor, who won an auction to take part), Lewis Chalmers, Kieran Lugsden, Colin McAllister, Peter Band, Geoff Goodwin, Grahame Rowley, Ben Deegan, Hassan Zareh-Ourang, Stuart Coburn. Front: Keith Wedge, Pat McFadden, John Maloney, Astley Mulholland, Ashley Brown, Charles Heathcote, Mike Brown, Warren Peyton. The mascot is Neil Brown's daughter. The squad used both the Reserves' strip, sponsored by Ian Senior's Sensport Kits and Neil Faulkner's blue Alty kit, sponsored by Robinsons Preservation.

    An Altrincham team comprising first-teamers, reserves, youth teamers, club officials and a supporter played a friendly charity game for Christie Hospital against a Houldsworth Arms side at East Levenshulme on Sunday afternoon. In an entertaining game, Alty won 4-2. After Kieran Lugsden's well taken goal had put Alty ahead just before the interval, Geoff Goodwin scored with a fine volley early in the second half. Charles Heathcote made it 3-0 before Houldsworth pulled back a goal through their no.10. just after the hour mark. Astley Mulholland made it 4-1 with five minutes left before Houldsworth's no.10 scored again to make it 4-2 in the final minute.

    Above: Alty chairman Geoff Goodwin, in blue facing camera, celebrates his goal yesterday as Ben Deegan (left) and Pat McFadden (no.11) look on.


    Above: Graham Heathcote, fresh from his well-earned holiday, was amongst those at Moss Lane last night celebrating Altrincham's inclusion in the Conference National line-up as determined by the Conference AGM on Saturday.

    Right: The message on the main entrance at Moss Lane is clear.


    After the England Colleges had overcome Spain and Northern Ireland, Alty Youth captain Richard Gresty was injured in the warm up against Poland and unable to play. England lost but qualified for the Third Place Playoff in the UEFA tournament against Romania, which England won and in which Richard played.


    The Forest Green Forum has a posting from the Club's Press Officer. It includes the following, "Obviously, much about the financial affairs of a number of clubs had gone on behind closed doors since Friday and the AGM therefore was delayed whilst legal advisors for the respective clubs sorted out and advised their clubs of each situation. Accordingly, I can offer no answers because the other member clubs were just advised of the respective ‘Constitutions’ which saw Scarborough relegated with a 10 point deduction next season, which meant that Altrincham retained their place in the National Division. Also it appears that Crawley Town will have a ten point deduction for next season because it was stated they are going into administration...

    I had tabled a presentation on the subject of ‘Registration and Compliance’... We pointed out the confusion there are over rules of the Conference, the FA and FIFA and the interpretation you get, which often is dependant on who you speak to. Allied to this was the recommendation by Lord Burns that there should be a formal separation away from the Board in such decision making. All the way along, that is what I had said about the Altrincham case. It was not about them being deducted points but how the process should be dealt with. This matter I’ve had two long discussions with Geoff Goodwin (Chairman of Alty) about.... Many clubs at the AGM learned for the first time that after Altrincham had been charged by the Conference and ordered to appear before a commission on 13th April at Hinckley United, both FGR and Tamworth received letters from the Conference stating that if we did not make an official complaint against Altrincham then the commission would be cancelled and Altrincham called before the Board. Both FGR and Tamworth vehemently rejected such a demand, stating we had queried the original FA statement, which had to be wrong (the FA have just admitted in the last few days that it might have been misleading), and how could a contract player change his status, when the window was ‘closed’. Due to the threat towards FGR and Tamworth, our solicitors drafted letters to the Conference and the FA, when it was confirmed that the commission was cancelled and that Altrincham would appear before the Board. In essence this was exactly what the Lord Burns report recommended should not happen. Decision making and compliance should be separated by clear lines, so as to preserve the integrity of the sport... We felt a review of procedures/policy would hopefully put into place a safety net, so if in future there was a similar instance, then at least it would be detected within days and not months, resulting in a maximum of 3 points deduction in a worse case scenario. My main argument, and I know it is strongly supported by Geoff Goodwin, is the fact that a commission should have been the correct procedure, to establish the truth... For the record it was stated at the AGM that a proposed change to Rule 6.8 (The one that saw Alty lose 18 points) had been made to the FA on 10th May but the FA would not sanction any change to that rule.) The meeting agreed to re-submit the proposal to the FA again, so we await a further decision on that in due course".


    Amongst the less publicised decisions at the conference AGM is a change to the play offs for promotion from North and South which will now include two-legged semi-finals and which will allow teams as low as seventh to qualify for the play-offs if teams above them in the table are ineligible. Fixtures are not now due out till after 3rd July with the first games of the season being on 12 August 2006 and the last on 28 April, 2007.

    "Cambridge United have secured the services of three players from Nationwide South neighbours Cambridge City on free transfers. Midfielder Josh Simpson (19) and strikers Michael Gash (19) and Robbie Simpson (21) have all agreed deals which will keep them at the Abbey Stadium for the next twelve months... Following these three new signings, U’s manager Rob Newman has secured fourteen players to new contracts for next season" reports NL Daily

    "Terry Brown, manager of Aldershot Town, has confirmed that 23-year-old goalkeeper Louis Wells has signed from Nationwide South side Hayes. Wells will provide a challenge to last season’s player of the year Nikki Bull for the number one jersey" says NL Daily.

    The Football Conference reports that "York City's controlling Shareholder Trust is considering downgrading its 85% share of the club. The Trust are currently considering an approach from JM Packaging who are proposing to become 75% (plus one share) majority shareholders in the club, with the Trust retaining the residual 25% (less one share). JM Packaging are owned by current City managing director Jason McGill... City vice president Simon Mallett told the York Evening Post: 'I have some reservations about it but consider it is in the best interests of York City for the proposal to go ahead. I do not like the reduction in Trust ownership of the club... The proposal will increase the financial security of the club. It will not necessarily be sufficient to solve the club's financial problems. It will, however, make a significant difference and, without it, the club has real financial problems'. Mallett insisted the Trust will retain a right of veto over important decisions as well as continuing to have an important say in the day to day administration of the club".

    "Southport are taking their time in appointing their first full time manager since joining the Conference, insisting that getting the right man is of paramount importance. Chairman Charlie Clapham has acknowledged that with the club going full time a hugely important period lies ahead... 'This is such an important appointment we have to explore all potential avenues', he told the Southport Visitor. 'The quality of applicants, as we thought, has been phenomenally high. Some are familiar names, others from a broad spectrum of the football management coaching world... We have certainly caught the imagination'... It is thought that an appointment will be announced some time next week... Clapham continued, 'Everything will be done as a full-time club would operate. That will give us a level playing field to operate in the Nationwide Conference, no more no less'" reports the Football Conference. Meanwhile, Southport state that "The report in the Non League Paper regarding Steve Daly being out of contract is totally inaccurate. Secretary Ken Hilton has confirmed that Steve Daly plus 15 other players are contracted to the club next season. The players who left the club at the end of last season are the loan players, and Jamie Speare, whose option the club did not take up. All the contracted players have been put on the retained list submitted to the Football Association, and The Nationwide Conference as per the rules".

    And it looks as if next season Alty and Northwich could have their first league derby since 1999/2000. The Vics report that their prices next season will be £14 (for adult seating), £12 (concessionary seating), £7 for under-16. On the terraces, prices will be £12 (adults), £10 (concessionaries) £5 (u-16) and £2.50 (u-11).

    4 June 2006

    "AS IT STANDS"...

    Today's NL Paper quotes the Conference's John Moules as saying "As it stands, Altrincham remain the Conference National". The phrase 'as it stands' is presumably a reference to the fact that Scarborough have indicated that they may appeal against the decision to demote them. Scarborough's new chairman, Ian Scobbie, an insolvency lawyer, says "I believe the Conference board has viewed this as if we have entered a new CVA. In fact, all we have done is modify our existing agreement... We are not even entirely sure how we have contravened the rules... We will almost certainly go back to the FA... Our directors may conclude that they do not wish to continue when the club's future seems to lie at the whims of the Conference board. I have nothing against Altrincham and we said from the beginning that we thought their 18-point penalty was harsh, but we seem to have been singled out here. Crawley and Halifax face similar financial plights, yet no sanctions have been taken against them". But in its leader article, the NLP says of Scarborough, "Their existing CVA has run for three years, the maximum allowed by Conference rules. If that is continuing, then relegation is a prescribed punishment".

    The Paper also interviewed Alty chairman Geoff Goodwin who said, "I cried when I saw our name on the list of Conference (National) teams for next season. This means that much to me and this club. I keep thinking Jeremy Beadle is going to jump out in front of me and tell me this was all a dream. I still can't believe that we have been put through all this, but we have learnt a lot from the experience. This decision is a reward for the way we have conducted ourselves... I will put this down to experience... Through this, I've learned that there are a lot of genuine people in football and, yes, I know who my friends really are".

    In this continuing uncertainty, with their first pre-season friendly fewer than four weeks away, Alty manager Graham Heathcote is faced with an uphill task in preparing for the new season when it is still not 100% certain which league we will be playing in.


  • 1pm Altrincham FC charity game at East Levenshulme - everyone welcome. Details in yesterday's news, below...
  • 5pm Staying-Up Party at Moss Lane, to celebrate the team's achievement in 2005-06, of staying in the Conference with their on-field performances; everyone welcome.


    Patrick Waterhouse, the Seadogs webmaster who, by coincidence, works in Bowdon (Altrincham), has put a club statement on the Scarborough website. It says,

    "Boro were relegated to Conference North this morning in an unexplained manoeuvre by the Nationwide Conference Management Board. Meeting prior to today's Annual General Meeting in Birmingham, the Board announced its decision to relegate Scarborough for an unspecified rules breach. The 10 points deduction was applied due to Boro's rescheduled CVA which was agreed between the Club's shareholders and creditors yesterday.Having finished bottom of the league Boro had expected to be relegated. However the resignation of Canvey Island and the 18 points deduction suffered by Altrincham led to a reprieve for the Seadogs.

    The Conference sought information on Boro's finances two weeks ago and the Club complied with the request. Two other conference members [York City and Halifax Town] are subject to CVAs at present and a third [Crawley Town] has indicated its intent to move into Administration. None of these clubs was invited to provide similar information or guarantees.

    Director Malcolm Reynolds has spoken to the Official Website from the AGM and firstly recorded his delight for Altrincham. 'Altrincham had been treated very harshly for a technical offence and it's nice that they will retain their place for next season. However today's events have not been about Scarborough and Altrincham. We have sought clarification from the Board about their decision. John Moules refused to notify us which rule we have breached. As of today's date we have not been charged with any breach and therefore have not had any opportunity to respond. We have been advised that the Board will write to us with the details of its decision. We will also seek the minutes of the meeting. Once we received details of the alleged breach we will respond. We will consider our position then. If we believe that the Conference has acted outside of its jurisdiction we reserve the right to seek immediate judicial redress through the courts'.

    Boro had previously been summoned to a meeting of the Conference Board at Leicester City two weeks ago at the start of these discussions. When challenged by Boro Chairman Ian Scobbie, Moules et al declined to identify which rules the Conference was using in its deliberations. Today's refusal to similarly identify the apparent breach once again will lead to questions being asked about the Governance of the competition.

    We are unable to provide further information about the reasons for today's decisions. If you wish to enquire further, the Chief Operations Officer of the Conference, John Moules, can be contacted at: Nationwide Football Conference Ltd, 51 Highfield Rd, Dartford DA1 2JS Tel: 01322 292199 and "".

    The website adds, "Conference Chief John Moules spoke to the Scarborough Evening News today and refused to be drawn on the reasons for Boro's relegation. Mr Moules told the Evening News: 'On Friday, Scarborough successfully entered into a voluntary arrangement with creditors and members and therefore based on that, the Football Conference had no choice but to place Scarborough in the Conference North from next season and deduct them 10 points. Because there are other aspects to this I am not at liberty to make any further comment'... The 10-point penalty was sanctioned because the board felt the re-jigged agreement with creditors constituted a brand new arrangement. It decided to relegate Boro because it had breached the Conference’s articles of association - although the club only learned about the breach just prior to the meeting. Mr Scobbie [Boro chairman] said he felt the club had been 'singled out' by league bosses".

    The Conference's own website reports that "Scarborough FC have been relegated to Conference North... The Nationwide Conference Management Board made the ruling for an unspecified rules breach leading to a 10 point deduction for the Seadogs. The club was asked to submit details of ground, financial and ownership issues to the FA as well as the Conference board and it is assumed that the decision was based upon this information... 'Altrincham had been treated very harshly for a technical offence and it's nice that they will retain their place for next season' Scarborough Director Malcolm Reynolds told the club's official website".

    It is believed that yesterday's Conference AGM passed a motion stating that any appeals against its decisions will be at the expense of the appelants.


    Having been apparently condemned to Conference North, this site changed its links and maps page accordingly. Now it has had to change them back to Conference National. The new links (amended, but still subject to a successful appeal by Scarborough) are here. However, the Conference North links remain available, here.

    The six new clubs in Conference National next season are:

  • Relegated from League Two: Oxford United, Rushden & Diamonds
  • Promoted from Conf. North: Northwich Victoria, Stafford Rangers
  • Promoted from Conf. South: Weymouth, St Albans City

    Only four clubs have left the division: Accrington Stanley and Hereford Utd (promoted), Canvey Island (resigned) and Scarborough (demoted). Two extra clubs have been added to make the division 24-strong next season. Altrincham have played all the clubs in Conference National in league matches previously except for Oxford United and St Albans City. There should also be two new grounds to visit, at Northwich Victoria and Forest Green Rovers.

    3 June 2006


    Today's Conference AGM condemned Scarborough to relegation for "a breach of competition rules" (i.e. for financial reasons) and therefore Altrincham will play next season in Conference National despite the application by the Conference and FA of an 18-point deduction following the James Robinson affair. The commiserations and sincere best wishes of Altrincham FC go to Scarborough who have conducted themselves with complete dignity throughout this affair, not least at the AGM today. Boro will drop to Conference North where they will start with a ten-point deficit.

    Come along and celebrate the good news for Altrincham by supporting tomorrow's charity match involving Altrincham at East Levenshulme (details below). And then Moss Lane will be open at 5pm tomorrow (Sunday) for a celebration party - the one we should have had at the end of the season if the Robinson Affair had not been hanging over us. Everybody welcome.

    Meanwhile the Conference will hear an appeal from Carshalton Athletic to be heard on Wednesday (7th) against the reinstatement of Leigh RMI in Conference North whilst they were relegated from Conference South.

    To sum up:

  • Tamworth and Scarborough finished 21st and 22nd in Conference National at the end of the season. Altrincham finished 18th.
  • Canvey Island (14th) then resigned for financial reasons and dropped three divisions, thereby reprieving Tamworth
  • Altrincham were deducted 18 points, and dropped to bottom place, thereby reprieving Scarborough
  • Scarborough have now been demoted for financial reasons, thereby reinstating Altrincham.


    Neil Faulkner, of Robinsons Preservation, a company which frequently supports Altrincham with sponsorship, with a bid of £200, has won the auction to be the highest bidder for a place in the Altrincham FC side playing a charity match at East Levenshulme this Sunday at 1pm. Please come along and see a host of Alty players from the first-team, reserves and youth team. They will play half the game in the red and white stripes of Alty Reserves and the second half in the blue of Neil's Robinson's company team. The game is at East Levenshulme Cricket Club on Elsa Road and everyone is welcome. Spectator entry to the game is free though donations to the Christie Hospital will be welcomed. To get to the ground, from the A6 (Stockport Road) in Levenshulme turn onto the B6178 (Broom Lane) . Then turn right into Barlow Road and look for the large sign on the side of a house indicating a right turn into Elsa Road.

    Reserves' manager Neil Brown and physio Alan Ainsley have arranged the charity match for the benefit of Christie Hospital, Manchester in which an Alty supporter will be guaranteed at least 45 minutes on the pitch playing alongside players from the Football Club. Appearing for Alty, against a team called Holdsworth Square, are first teamers Stuart Coburn, Lewis Chalmers, Pat McFadden, Peter Band, Kieran Lugsden and Warren Peyton (right), reserves Ashley and Mike Brown, John Maloney, Keith Wedge, Colin McAllister and Craig Ellison, youth teamers Ben Deegan, Hassan Zareh-Ourang and Astley Mulholland, as well as club officers Geoff Goodwin, Grahame Rowley and Charles Heathcote.


    "Midfielder Miles Thorpe has left Worksop Town after two seasons with the Tigers. The 33-year-old spent two seasons at Sandy Lane, joining shortly after Ronnie Glavin became boss in 2004... He said: 'It's been a very tough decision to make, but I want to step down a couple of divisions – maybe not even UniBond'... Glavin said: 'Miles has been a very important player for us and I wish him all the best. We need to move on and the midfield is an area where we now need to strengthen. I'm always looking at players but it's difficult to assess who we need to bring in until the budget is sorted'" reports Worksop Today.

    "Paul Hart, manager of Rushden & Diamonds, is looking to bring in up to six signings this summer. Hart wants to work with a twenty-man squad for next season's championship challenge. Diamonds' retained list was revealed with just eleven players staying at Nene Park while Dan Crane, Ashley Nicholls and John Turner are also set to agree contract terms. Last season's player of the year Phil Gulliver, experienced left back Ronnie Bull and young defender Magnus Okuonghae are among thirteen squad members to leave along with five scholars".

    Conference North fixtures start on August 12th. Stalybridge Celtic report that "Matchday admission prices for the 2006-07 season have been set at £10.00 adults and £6.00 concessions. This price applies all round the ground and there is no premium for a seat". Meanwhile, Moor Green say that "Admission prices for next year will remain the same cost as last season. These are £9/£4", but at Kettering, they have their first increases for fiveyears resulting in "Adult Mainstand £12 Terrace £10, U16s Mainstand £5 Terrace £4, Concessions Mainstand £10.50 Terrace £8". At Harrogate Town "Match day admission will once again be £10 for Adults, £5 for Concessions and £2 for under 12s. Transfer to the seated stand will be £1 per person".

    Hyde United "have signed goalkeeper Craig Dootson from Bury".

    The Argus reports that "Crawley Town was widely rumoured to be formally entering into administration at Leeds County Court yesterday (Thursday) but the court had received no documents from the club or Begbies Traynor by the end of the day. Gil Roberts, a spokewoman for the Majeeds, announced administration was imminent last night. She said: 'It will be in the next few days and it will be in Leeds. We are awaiting approval from the football authorities and the wheels to turn but it's an inevitability'. The Football Association and the Football Conference both denied having any contact with the club to discuss going into administration. The Majeeds still owe a large sum of the £600,000 deal which saw them take over the club from John Duly last summer. They have also been ordered to pay about £60,000 to former staff by employment tribunals and a £3,000 fine to the Football Conference for exceeding the playing budget. Azwar Majeed, who owns a string of bars, clubs and offlicences in Sussex, claims an investor withdrew backing from the club earlier this season, leading to the money troubles. He is thought to be on the verge of entering into a Company Voluntary Agreement... Malcolm Fillmore, a partner in the Crawley-based insolvency practice Atherton Bailey, said: 'Administration would buy the Majeeds time to dig themselves out of the mess. "The administrators would begin negotiating with the creditors... They will probably get a fraction of what they are owed'... A joint statement by the Crawley Town Supporters' Club and the steering group of the supporters' trust Devils Trust said: 'The latest events at the club mean that we are once again entering a period of uncertainty and many fans may be feeling disillusioned... Although we all expect it to be a painful experience in the short-term, the long-term prospects for the club still remain exceptional'".

    From BBC Sport we learn that "Scarborough shareholders have agreed to accept a new financial package. The agreement means that the club is no longer in the hands of administrators and plans for a new ground for the club is a step closer. The move was decided after a meeting on Friday and a Conference AGM on Saturday will reveal the extent of the deal. The meeting saw Scarborough provide the Football Association and the Conference with information on ground, financial and ownership issues".

    2 June 2006


    The Argus confirms that "John Hollins's future as manager of Crawley is in doubt after the Conference club confirmed they are going into administration. Reds have revealed the running of the Broadfield outfit will be handed over to insolvency firm Begbies Traynor following a season of money problems... Hollins said: 'It is a very uncertain time. You are in a position when you are enjoying it and working and then you suddenly might not be in a job... I want to carry on working but I can't do anything about it until we know the full situation... I have kept them in the league, I have cut the budget, got some quality in the football and got young players on the map and then this happens... All I can do is wait and see what happens'". As things stand, Crawley would be deducted ten points, which would apply next season.


    This season's Conference National relegation issues are not being decided on the pitch but in the committee rooms of the Conference as The Sale & Altrincham Messenger confirms. It writes "Alty will receive the final word on their league status next season when Scarborough go before the Conference Board on Saturday... Members of the Yorkshire club's board presented the Conference with paperwork regarding their exit from administration and the progression of their ground move yesterday. Yet there is still some doubt over their financial situation and they will finally learn their fate at Saturday's Conference AGM. Boro chairman Ian Scobbie said: 'We have presented all the required documents to the Conference and now we just have to wait and see what our fate will be on Saturday'... And even if Alty do stay up as a result of Saturday's meeting, it will still leave many Robins fans questioning the credibility of the Conference".


    "Witton Albion have signalled their intent for the future by putting manager Jim Vince on a two-year contract. It is the first time a manager has been contracted at the club since Mike Worthington took over as chairman almost ten years ago. Worthington said: 'This is a very positive move and it says to all people that Witton Albion are ambitious and are moving forward. We believe we have got the right man and we're not going to let anyone pinch him from us. Nor are we going to let him walk away. He'll be here for two years'. Vince told This is Cheshire "To be offered a contract because the club believes in what we've done and what we are trying to achieve is just incredible."


    The BBC says that "Veteran defender Gareth Griffiths has signed for Conference North champions Northwich Victoria... following his release from Rochdale at the end of the season. The centre-back become manager Steve Burr's first signing since the Vics' return to the top flight. The 36-year-old had announced his retirement from professional football at the beginning of May after he was not offered a new Spotland deal".

    "Ian Baird, manager of Havant & Waterlooville, has named Stevenage Borough’s Justin Gregory as his first new signing of the close season. The left back, who can also play in midfield, has been a Boro regular over the last two seasons... In the season preceding that he helped Crawley Town to the Southern League championship. Gregory (pictured) also gained promotion and Conference National experience during a three-season tenure at Farnborough Town"..

    The BBC also confirms that "Peterborough sign prolific Woking striker Justin Richards, the Conference's top scorer, on a free transfer"

    Bullsnews states that "Exeter manager Alex Inglethorpe has admitted that he is considering two job offers.The first is the manager's job at MK Dons, the second is a youth job at a Premiership club - believed to be Spurs. Inglethorpe has told the Exeter Express and Echo: 'I have been given the club's permission to talk to two teams. I haven't made a decision yet. I am very happy at Exeter, my family are happy and we enjoy living in the area. No one wants to move but, of course, everyone in life wants to have the opportunity to progress... I have been contacted by both clubs, I've definitely not done the chasing.... It is a huge decision and I won't take it lightly. I need to make sure it is the right decision".

    1 June 2006


    Above: Anthony Davies has just scored from 30 yards and is congratulated by Ashley McGrath. Meanwhile, Ben Deegan emerges form the net, in which the ball can still be seen.

    A report on Alty Youth's defeat by Morecambe in the Neil Thomason Trophy Final on Tuesday night is in the Youth section.


    Scantily clad young ladies were reportedly on the pitch at Moss Lane yesteray as an advert was shot for a plasma TV advert at Moss Lane.!


    The Crawley News reports that "Crawley Town Football Club is up for sale just one year after it was bought - and the club's owner has consoled himself by splashing out £370,000 on a sports car and jetting to Spain on holiday. Reds boss Azwar Majeed has instructed solicitors to begin administrative proceedings and the case will be heard in court tomorrow (Thursday). A source close to Crawley Town said: 'The club is going into administration. If someone wants to buy it and they make a sensible offer then it will be sold. All sensible offers will be seriously considered'. The news came as Mr Majeed prepared to take ownership of a Koenigsegg CX sports car which can reach speeds of 250mph. He is also preparing to fly to the luxury resort of Puerto Banus for a week-long holiday, the News has learned. As a result of the administration proceedings,Crawley Town will start next season with a 10-point deduction. The source said: 'Every debt and every player's contract is now invalid'.

    SA Group, which owns the club and is run by Azwar Majeed and his bankrupt brother Chas Majeed, paid about £600,000 for it last summer. Reds' supporter Chris Frances, 26, from Bewbush, said: 'It's just heartbreaking news. A lot of fans will be really angry about what the boss is splashing his cash on when the club is in such trouble'. In March it was revealed that Chas Majeed was barred from any involvement with the club because he was an undischarged bankrupt. And in April, the Nationwide Conference docked the club three [three not eighteen, ed.] points and fined SA Group £5,000 after Crawley Town exceeded its agreed annual players' budget.

    Three ex-employees have since won employment tribunals and are owed almost £60,000 in pay-outs. Last Wednesday ex-managing director Steve Duly was awarded £35,000 for unfair dismissal after the tribunal found he had been wrongfully and unlawfully sacked. A tribunal involving Ian Holman, an administrative assistant, has yet to be settled. The source said a question mark still hangs over the future of many jobs at the club but was adamant that none of the present players will remain. 'All players' contracts have been cancelled. If SA Group still owns it by the end of the summer then there will be a brand new team and John Hollins will stay. The club blames Steve Duly for us going into administration'... In response, Mr Duly said: "I gave six years of my life to the club and I hold it very close to my heart and the most important thing to me is that is has a stable, secure future and that investors are not put off by them losing the 10 points'. Mr Majeed had failed to comment when the News went to press.

    Surrey Online continues: "John Hollins has admitted that he is in the dark over his future following the news that Crawley Town face administration.... Town were plunged deeper into financial crisis last week after being forced to pay out almost £35,000 at a tribunal for unfair dismissal... Rumours of administration have been floating around the Broadfield for the past two weeks... It's believed that Town's owners, The SA Group, had meetings with administrators yesterday and Hollins has admitted that his future at the club is no longer guaranteed. 'I just don't know what will happen at the moment', he told the Crawley News. 'All I can say is that neither myself nor my assistant have signed a contract with the club. If administration is how it goes then in my experience the first to go are the manager and his team... I was in last week trying to get everything sorted out for the new season, but I won't be going in this week... So, as it stands, I'll return to work with the 13 contracted players and while there are still players to work with I'll do my best to train them and get them ready for next season'".

    Meanwhile, "John Moules, Operations Director of the Nationwide Conference, confirmed what would happen to any team who fell into that trap. 'The rule regarding administration is clear', he said. 'It is a 10 point deduction for next season if a club enters into administration before or after the league AGM on Saturday'".

    Back at Crawley, a club statement said, "We still have creditors to pay and the bills are growing as we have no income over the summer months". Crawley News adds that "Town have been told that they will not learn when the current registration embargo, in place at the club following the breach of player contracts, will end until after the Conference AGM this Saturday".


    Your starter for ten. Which of these clubs should be relegated from Conference National?

    1. Altrincham FC sign a player from Accrington Stanley and, not unreasonably, do not seek international clearance for a player who has been at a supposedly reputable club in the same division and located just 30 miles away in the same country. But , because Stanley failed to get international clearance for the player, Altrincham are docked 18 points and fined £1,000 - amidst copious crocodile tears - whilst Stanley are fined a mere £200.

    2. Meanwhile, Crawley Town, after a season of breaching the Conference wage cap (and thereby gaining a direct playing advantage), then not paying their players, then halving their wages, whilst having a bankrupt calling himself their chairman whilst their real chairman was his brother, have now been put up for sale and the chairman has allegedly just spent £370,000 on a sports car before departing abroad on holiday.

    The unsurprising answer: It is Crawley Town not Altrincham who look to have a certain Conference National future since if the Sussex side goes into adminitration its "punishment" is not applied till next season and, even then, is a mere ten points. Is it any wonder supporters are not happy up here at part-time Altrincham, a club with an unblemished Conference record over most of the last 26 years. Altrincham FC has honoured its debts, refused to go into administration and has committed no offence other than to be caught by a rulebook written so badly that it supposedly "forced" grown men in Soho Square to condemn us to relegation. Likewise, Scarborough are presumably none too pleased at the Crawley fiasco as they face the football equivalent of the Spanish Inquisition this weekend after emerging from administration. Boro are being threatened with infringement of an unspecified rule which could see them thrown out of the Conference completely and relegated to the UniBond League.


    All at Altrincham FC send their best wishes to Alan Johnson, who ran the original official Altrincham website and later became the club's official matchday photographer. Alan has not enjoyed good health recently but we are pleased to report (via Mark Murray) that he has successfully undergone a major heart operation which "was a complete success". We all look forward to seeing Alan back at Moss Lane for the 2006-07 season.


    NL Daily says that "Young fans at Alfreton Town will be able to watch the Reds in home Nationwide North action for just £1 a game following the club's launch of a 'Junior Red' members' scheme this week... Junior Red members will also gain free admission to Under-19s home league games- again if accompanied by an adult; be able to receive 10% discounts on any goods purchased in the Reds clubshop; 10% off any ATFC Coaching Courses attended and a £5 voucher off a replica shirt which actually works out greater than the 10% discount in the shop! The youngsters will also receive a birthday card signed by the first-team squad... The young fan attending the most home league games over the season will be presented with an autographed football... [But] the club have taken the decision not to operate a reserve team for the 2006/07 season... However, the successful under-19s will continue to operate. [Meanwhile], Matt Fisher was the Alfreton’s Players' Player of the Season for the 2005/06 campaign.. Striker Jon Stevenson won both the Manager's Player of the Season and Leading Goalscorer, while Ryan Clarke was the Supporters' Player of the Season. Striker Michael Rankine [an Alty trialist last season] has turned down Alfreton Town's offer for the 2006/07 campaign and is understood to be in talks with Rushden & Diamonds with a view to a deal".

    "Billy McEwan, manager of York City, has signed defender Darren Craddock, who was released by Hartlepool United... The 21-year-old enjoyed a month-long loan spell at York earlier in the year, making four appearances", whilst "Forest Green Rovers have signed midfielder Jamie Pitman, who was recently released by play-off winners Hereford United... [and] Kidderminster Harriers have signed former Shrewsbury Town defender Stuart Whitehead... [but] Oxford United have suffered an early blow with news that striker Eric Sabin has decided to hang up his boots... The 31-year old striker has decided it's time to move on... 'I came to this country with big dreams of playing at the highest level but I feel I have come up short of my expectations', said Sabin. 'I have some business ideas I would like to pursue. One of them involves programme production, and the other involves setting up soccer camps in France and the UK, with the aim of teaching a little bit of football and a little bit of French'" reports NL Daily.

    "Mark Stimson has made defender John Nutter his first signing since taking over as manager of Stevenage Borough. Stimson returned to former club Grays Athletic to sign the 23-year-old full back on an initial two-year deal. England National Game international Nutter was out of contract at Grays and opted to follow Stimson to Stevenage rather than stay on at Bridge Road. Nutter joined Grays from Aldershot Town in July 2004 ... It is rumoured that Stimson is set to plunder his old club again for the likes of Dennis Oli, Aaron McLean and Stuart Thurgood, but all three are on contract with Grays" reports NL Daily.


    Newly formed "Runcorn Linnets FC have announced the appointment of Steve Carragher as player-manager of the newly formed club... After making almost 200 appearances for Runcorn, many as captain, Carragher was appointed manager of Runcorn FC Halton at the end of the 2004/05 season after a short spell as assistant boss. Steve Pritchard, the club's press officer, said: 'We see his appointment as representing yet another step towards our goal of competing in the North West Counties League next season'". Carragher said: 'I'm very pleased to get involved with this club that shares my ambition to put Runcorn back into the UniBond League as soon as possible'. While Carragher starts the hunt for players, the committee are still rigorously pursuing their application into the North West Counties League Division Two. Currently, the main stumbling block to joining the league is that the status of the old club isn't precisely known. It is understood that Runcorn FC Halton have failed to apply to play in any league next season, and have confirmed that they won't be taking their place in the UniBond First Division to which they were relegated. Until it is clear that the old club is not going to continue to play, and cease its membership of the FA, it's not possible for the new Runcorn Linnets FC to take the position within the league that a reformed club can hope to be entitled to... Pritchard added: 'We see ourselves as the de facto reformation of the old Runcorn FC Halton club irrespective of the apparent confusion over the actual status of the old club. We need to convince the FA and league that this is the case'".