Altrincham Football Club News Archive
July 2006

31 July 2006


Stevenage Borough reports "There was good and bad news from the Boro camp after this week’s two friendlies. On a positive note Mark Stimson has announced: 'Luke Oliver is going to be named captain now, he will take over from Jason Goodliffe who will become club captain. Since working with him I have got to know him and he is a fantastic lad. I think he will go a long way in the game if he can just get a little bit more vocal. He is a big lad and if he can just use his voice, he will go a lot, lot higher'". But "The knee injury picked up by Dales Binns at Boreham Wood is worse that it originally seemed... A scan revealed some damage and a consultant visit is scheduled this week to determine whether it will require surgery or rest. Either way Borough will be deprived of his services until late August...Stimson confirmed. 'That’s a big blow because he has been a massive positive for us in the pre-season... So it’s one in and one out with Jon Nurse back in contention and Dale missing for a while – I know they don’t play in the same position but they both possess pace and we need a bit of that in the team'”.

Tamworth "gave the home crowd something to cheer about for the second time in a week on Saturday by recording a 2-0 victory over a youthful Baggies. With an air of confidence and bucket loads of passing and skilful touches, it meant a second friendly league scalp in as many games. And following the fixture both 'keepers James Dormand and Sean Bowles agreed terms with Mark Cooper to ensure there is competition for the No.1 shirt and striker Lee Moore also put pen to paper after a number of impressive displays".


Kyle Wilson, on loan at Alty last season, played for a Wrexham XI on Saturday, whilst Steve Porter is still playing for Vauxhall Motors. Sunday's NL paper has Lance Key in the paper's weekly Dream Team.
30 July 2006


Yesterday's programme notes by Andy Johnson, the Radcliffe Borough manager, said "I hope to have tied up an agreement and arrangement for the season with Graham Heathcote from Altrincham regarding Kieran Lugsden and Pat McFadden". In the first instance, it is believed that Keiran and Pat will spend the next month at Borough. Both played, along with Stephen Rose, in yesterday's Boro friendly against Stalybridge Celtic. Pat is seen, right, in Saturday's game.


Alty chief steward Darren Gregory says "I am looking for volunteers to become stewards for the forthcoming season. Anybody who is interested should please contact the club on 0161-928-1045 leaving their name and telephone number and I will get back to you. Otherwise, please see me at any of the pre season friendlies. I have lost a few stewards from last season as they are helping the club in different jobs".


When Altrincham met Eastbourne Borough in the Conference Promotion Play-Off Final last season, the Sussex club's webmaster, David Bauckham, was very helpful to this site. Then last season, David was in touch again, as he prepared to visit Moss Lane and other local grounds to research a book on football ground dugouts. That book has just been published and was very favourably reviewed last week by The Daily Telegraph which said, "This is a classy publication... the heart of the book is Bauckham's fine colour photographs and the understated texts." The photos "are exclusively of non-league grounds and the variety and imagination of design is remarkable...Dugouts are often the only manifestations of the club on show when the players are absent... It is perfectly possible for a book to be both silly and fascinating, and that is the combination here". Dugouts, by David Bauckham, published by New Holland, £7.99, ISBN 1845374789 .


NL Daily reports that "Northwich Victoria shared a useful 2-2 draw against Welsh Premier champions The New Saints in Wales. Alfie Carter gave the hosts a 16th minute lead and John Toner [ex-Alty] doubled that 11 minutes later. However, Steve Burr's side pulled one back with a Paul Brayson free kick and equalised through Chris Williams, although it appeared to be an own goal by Phil Baker".

"Former Scarborough boss Neil Redfearn is set to turn out for UniBond League Division One side Bradford Park Avenue after putting pen-to-paper following talks with manager Phil Sharpe", confirms NL Daily., which also says that "Rushden & Diamonds have announced the non-contract signing of midfielder Andrew Rigby. 19 year-old Rigby was a trainee at Nottingham Forest and has been on trial at the Diamonds for the last three weeks. Diamonds' manager Paul Hart said: 'I have known Andrew since my time at Nottingham Forest. Despite being young, he is a good footballer who knows his way around a football pitch'".

This is Glos states that "Forest Green Rovers manager Gary Owers has given his team a week off to recover following their seventh pre-season friendly. Rovers drew 5-5 with Team Bath behind closed doors at the University of Bath two days ago, with both teams featuring several trialists... Two late goals from Rovers squared it before the final whistle. Owers declined to reveal his line-up for the contest or the scorers of the Rovers goals... 'The players are very tired at the moment and they need this weekend to recharge their batteries', said Owers. 'We decided to have the game at Team Bath because we're both full-time and it gave us a chance to experiment with one or two different things. There were a few trialists on show, but I don't want to say too much about the match. It was behind closed doors for a reason'. Owers would confirm that both Tom Williams and Ash Triore would not be offered contracts with the Nailsworth club after failing to impress on trial".

The Thurrock Gazette reports that "Grays' boss Frank Gray insists he won't be rushed into making signings just to get players in before the new season kicks off. The Scot admits he needs two or three acquisitions before he is totally satisfied with his squad, but despite Blues' first game of the season being less than two weeks away, Gray says he is in no hurry. 'The transfer window shuts at the end of August and just because the season starts in two weeks we will not rush into signings that don't suit the club', Gray said after his side's 2-0 friendly win over AFC Wimbledon... Top of Gray's shopping list are two central defenders.. Blues have trialed a trio of central defenders in their last three games Jerome Sobers, Jim Sangare and Nathan Moulds and two more, one of whom is the former Bournemouth defender, Jason Tindall, will arrive at the club next week. Ex-Barnet midfielder Dwaine Lee will also join the squad on Monday... A reserve goalkeeper is also high on Gray's wanted list following the departure of Nicky Eyre who asked to leave the club last week to find first team football. Ex-Gillingham stopper and East Thurrock United loanee Danny Knowles played a half against Wimbledon on Saturday... but Gray will look at two or three other stoppers before making his decision". Against AFC Wimbledon, "Of the two trialists, Ashley Nicholls, who arrives from Darlington, looked strong and purposeful in midfield while Nathan Moulds did well enough at centre half... Lewes centre back Sangare shone more than Moulds while Mark Wright looked promising at left back".

from Morecambe Today we learn that "boss Sammy McIlroy faces a keeper crisis... Both Ryan Robinson and Steven Drench, vying for the number one jersey, have aggravated long-term injuries in the past week ... McIlroy said: 'The goalkeeping position is a worry. I have two good keepers there but they have both taken knocks and I may have to bring someone else in as cover'. The manager said before the start of pre-season fixtures that results were less important than fitness and performances but even he was shocked by the 5-1 thumping by Tranmere on Friday night. 'I know Morecambe supporters are experienced enough to realise that pre-season results aren't the be all and end all but it seemed like every time they came forward they scored. I was very disappointed but the players were as well, which is the reaction I want. It was a big wake-up call but it's better to get displays like that out of the way before a season starts. We have talked about the defensive errors and will be working on putting it right over the next couple of weeks... I don't have a massive squad but we do have options in different positions. I want to give all the players about the same amount of time on the field so they'll all be ready come the first game'. McIlroy is still talking to former Stockport and Mossley centre back Danny Meadowcroft and monitoring his fitness before making a decision on whether or not he will start the season in a Morecambe shirt. But, apart from that, he doesn't envisage having to make any more signings. 'I said last season that I thought the squad was good enough to mount a challenge if we added another two or three of a good quality. I think McNiven and Stanley are very good quality and give us good competition for places'".

The St Alban's Observer confirms that "Colin Lippiatt will hand a trial to Luke Maitland in tonight's re-arranged friendly with Hampton & Richmond Borough... The St Alban's City boss will run the rule over the former Luton Town youngster who contacted Lippiatt after he failed to land a contract at AFC Bournemouth. Maitland can play on either flank and will provide cover and competition for Matt Hann and summer signing Adam Wilde".

Released Alty midfielder Ged Murphy played in Stafford's recent friendly against Walsall. This is Staffs says that "the one-division gap currently between the clubs hardly revealed itself... but both teams managed to fluff their opportunities... Robinson made five substitutions after the break, with former Walsall and Wolves star Simon Osborn replaced by another triallist, Ged Murphy, at the interval".

The York Press reveals that "Former Premiership star Andy Campbell has written to York City requesting a chance to rebuild his career. Campbell, who is only 27, has been on trial this summer with Wycombe and Halifax, but has asked City boss Billy McEwan for an opportunity at KitKat Crescent and played in last night's 2-0 defeat against Darlington as a trialist. The 5ft 11in striker, whose elder brother Neil began his career with the Minstermen in 1995, left Dunfermline at the end of last season after a spell with League Two strugglers Oxford United following his release by Cardiff City. But, just four years ago, Campbell cost the Bluebirds £950,000 after leaving Middlesbrough... Prior to his move to Wales, he had also spent the last seven years playing alongside and competing for a starting place with the likes of Fabrizio Ravanelli, Paul Merson and Alen Boksic at the Riverside Stadium. Campbell played 49 games in the Premiership and scored seven times for Boro... McEwan said: 'He's out of work and we are short up front so, after he wrote me a letter, we have decided to have a look at him. We only met before the match and I think he needs to be at a club where he gets some proper training inside him rather than spending a week here and there. He's got ability and there's no way a player of his calibre should be messing around at this stage of the season looking for a job'. Campbell, who is short of match practice, struggled to make an impact in City's three-pronged strikeforce during a friendly that was played at an impressively high tempo and in a competitive manner".

The Northampton Chronicle says that "Phil Gulliver has made a shock return to Rushden & Diamonds –but he is unlikely to stay. Last season's player of the year signed for Hereford United last week on a free transfer after rejecting a new contract offer at Nene Park. But the deal has fallen through as Diamonds reportedly want a £30,000 fee. Now the defender is back with his former club for training... Gulliver... is expected to sort out his future away from Diamonds early next week. Manager Paul Hart explained: 'I contacted him once after speaking to him as I came into the job. But he didn't want to come here. Because we offered him a new contract and he's 23, we are still entitled to compensation. He's back for the next couple of days and we will see what happens'. Hart added, "We've tried a new formation with three up front and these are the type of games [against Peterborough] to find out whether it works. With just two weeks to go until the start of the season we have to get our fitness work done as there will be no time in between league matches".

29 July 2006


Three current Altrincham players turned out for Radcliffe Borough in today's friendly at home to Stalybridge Celtic, a match refereed by Premiership official Mark Halsey. As well as Kieran Lugsden and Pat McFadden, who played the first and second halves respectively, Stephen Rose played on the left of the back three. Stephen, who had only ever scored once for Alty in 135 appearances put Radcliffe ahead when he converted a corner, which had been won by his excellent freekick. Radcliffe added a second after the break to win, deservedly, 2-0. Other ex-Alty faces on the pitch included Radcliffe's Scott Wilson and Celtic's Steve Garvey, who was a trialist at Alty last year.


Above: First half action from the Alty v Man City XI game as Warren Peyton and Adam Yates are the foremost Alty players with Steve Aspinall, Peter Band and Gary Talbot behind them with goalkeeper Coburn.

A match report on the Alty v Manchester City XI match on Thursday is now here. Manager Graham Heathcote pronounced himself happy with his players' fitness levels in what he described as the team's best 90 minutes of pre-season so far. Manchester City report that "City's reserves have begun their pre-season campaign with a 3-1 win over Altrincham in a friendly. A young Blues' side fell behind to an early goal from Colin Little, but a brace from Daniel Sturridge gave City the lead before half-time. Fellow marksman Kelvin Etuhu sealed the win in the second half, showing why both he and Sturridge have been moved from the City Academy into the first team squad over the summer".


The Lancashire League has apparently been split into two regional divisions with Altrincham put in with clubs who, with the exception of Woodley Sports, seem to be all from Yorkshire. So far only the August games have been announced, which are listed here. All home games are at Moss Lane; entrance is free to Alty season ticket holders, others £2.


It has been a bad few days for young and rising stars at Moss Lane. On Tuesday, 18 year-old Ashley Brown suffered a double fracture of the leg playing for Alty Reserves.. Then, another young Reserve, centre-back Richard Gresty suffered a triple cheekbone fracture whilst playing for Sale United in the Umbro Trophy competition at Wythenshawe. Richard was last season's Youth Team captain and a member of the English Colleges' team.


The new catering operation at Moss Lane, overseen by Keith Davey assisted by Dawn Abbott and other volunteers is drawing rave reviews in pre-season from connoisseurs of football catering. Congratulations to Keith and his team.


Graham Heathcote has confirmed that two more of last season's players have now re-signed for next season. They are central defender Gary Talbot and midfielder Val Owen.


"Alsager Town are up in arms at being denied the chance to play in a cup final. The newly-promoted UniBond League side were due to meet Northwich Victoria tonight in the final of last season's Mid Cheshire Senior Cup, only to be informed the Nationwide Conference side have pulled out. Northwich beat Witton Albion in their much delayed semi-final last Saturday, but no longer wish to pursue their interest in the competition. Furious Alsager manager Greg Clowes said: 'Northwich and Witton are the two big teams in the competition, but it seems now they have had their go at it and had a nice little earner it means nothing to Northwich. The chairman of the Mid Cheshire FA has apologised profusely to us, but I think Northwich have walked all over them and should be fined. I am appalled they can get away with it. We got to the final and have been made to wait. Now Northwich say they are not putting out a team against us. Clearly the competition means nothing to them and I am disgusted'. Alsager win the trophy by default, but Clowes said: 'This was the first time we had entered and we won't be entering again'".


BBC Sport says that "Dagenham & Redbridge defender Anwar Uddin has signed a contract extension, reports BBC Essex. "The former West Ham United trainee, 24, has put pen to paper on a deal which will keep him at Victoria Road until the summer of 2009".

Grays Athletic's rebuilding continues as "Following discussions with the management team, goalkeeper, Nicky Eyre has left the club by mutual consent. The club would like to thank Nicky and wish him well for the future". Meanwhile, "Grays Athletic have parted company with midfielder Ashley Sestanovich - having only signed him in June. The club's official website states that following an incident which happened prior to his joining them, Sestanovich is in prison awaiting trial. The 24-year-old's contract has since been terminated because of the seriousness of the incident" says the BBC.

"Swindon Town have signed goalkeeper Phil Smith on a one-year contract. The former Crawley Town stopper will become the understudy to Peter Brezovan at the County Ground". The BBC also says that "Cambridge United have signed former Norwich keeper Shane Herbert, after he impressed in pre-season with them. He joins on non-contract terms... 'He should be a more than capable understudy', boss Rob Newman told Cambridge's website".

This is United says that "Oxford United have offered trialist striker Robert Duffy a contract for next season. It follows the decision to offer former Newbury and Portsmouth defender Matt Day one earlier in the week. Said U's boss Jim Smith: 'They haven't signed yet but I don't think there'll be any problem'... Duffy has been with United on trial throughout pre-season... The former Stevenage and Rushden striker's hold-up play is good but he doesn't look as though he is going to be a prolific goalscorer".

The Cambridge News states that "Rob Newman is waiting to see if striker target Aaron O'Connor will be available for Cambridge United's home friendly with Ipswich Town tomorrow (Saturday, 29 July). O'Connor, 20, has scored 63 goals in 102 appearances for Unibond League outfit Gresley Rovers... The hotshot has had trials with Peterborough and Rushden & Diamonds... Attacking midfielder Wayne Carlisle and striker Lloyd Blackman are likely to play some part as Newman searches for the missing piece to his jigsaw. And he has been handed another boost with the return of club captain Andy Duncan to training yesterday (Thursday, 27 July) after recovering from his Achilles operation".

The Argus reports on Crawley's 1-3 reverse against a Brighton & Hove Albion XI. It says, "Defeat for Crawley came in another traumatic week for the debt-ridden club. They were put up for sale on Tuesday after creditors rejected a survival package from the club's administrators. But boss John Hollins refused to use that as an excuse and was unhappy with the performance. He said: 'I don't like losing games no matter what the circumstances. We can do better than that but we didn't really get going'... Despite Crawley's problems, Hollins was able to field a relatively strong line-up, made up mainly of trialists. Players with League experience, Ben Strevens (Barnet), Scott Hiley (Manchester City), and Mark E'Beyer (Oxford), were included, as well as four of last season's squad in Ben Judge, Dave Woosley, Lee Blackburn and Tony Scully... Crawley pulled an undeserved goal back on the stroke of halftime thanks to an opportunist strike by Jake Edwards. The one-time Exeter front man gave the otherwise untroubled Michel Kuipers no chance with a 20-yard shot... Mark Wall, the former Oxford striker released by Woking last season, somehow headed wide from three yards" for Crawley.

The Romford Recorder quotes Daggers' boss John Still, "In my time in management, I've had sides enjoy a good pre-season and then a poor start to the campaign and vice-versa. The important thing is for us to get fit and be organised before Forest Green. Each game is seeing our fitness improve and we are working on organisation from now until the start of the season'. The paper adds that "Still has ex-West Ham and Southend player Darren Blewitt still on trial and is giving trials to another young former Hammer in central defender Liam White and forward Danny Morgan, formerly on Oxford United's books. He also pronounced himself highly satisfied with the contributions of close season captures, midfielder Dave Rainford, from Bishop Stortford and ex-Thurrock winger Sam Sloma".

The Tamworth Herald says that "Lambs' boss Mark Cooper has targeted a defender - and possibly one more striker - as the final pieces of his jigsaw... Cooper has also revealed he hopes to tie up the permanent signing of former Bedworth striker Lee Moore, who has been on trial at the club. The signing of another striker hinges on whether new forward Steve Burton is fit for the new season. The former Crawley striker faces a scan today after picking a knee injury in training".

This is Staffs says that "Stafford Rangers have been rocked by an injury to up-and-coming striker Nathan Smith in a motorbike crash just over two weeks before they start their Nationwide Conference campaign. The 20-year-old, who burst on the scene with a dozen goals in Rangers' promotion campaign, sustained serious cuts and bruises. But when he began to make a recovery, it was found he also suffered a knee injury that may see him miss a good portion of the new season. Manager Phil Robinson said: 'I don't know what he was up to, but he's fallen off the motorbike and sustained a number of injuries... I felt Nathan would revel in the Conference, playing on better pitches and against better teams'". Also "Winger Robin Gibson has picked up a groin strain in pre-season and Danny Edwards is still undergoing treatment for ankle ligament damage he picked up in the promotion play-off final in May. The good news for Robinson is he now has a new assistant to replace Pompey-bound Paul Groves: former Manchester City star David Oldfield will be number two at Marston Road. The 38-year-old Australian, who had an 18-month spell with Stoke City, has also signed Conference playing forms for the club, but Robinson said: 'I don't see him playing too much football this season - the fact he can play is a bonus'".

28 July 2006


Altrincham were drawn against Chester City away in the Cheshire Senior Cup recently. However, Chester have requested a swap of venue and date, which has now been agreed. So, the game will now be at Moss Lane on Wednsday 6 September, 7.45pm; it was originally pencilled in for the following week. Chester likewise surrendered home advantage in the CSC in November 2004 when Alty went on to win 3-0 and eventually lift the CSC trophy by beating Crewe.


Altrincham gave a very creditable performance on Thirsday night against a Manchester City XI which included eight of their FA Youth Cup Final side. Alty took the lead after 12 minutes with a smart volley from Little beyond the back post after Schmeichel had failed to hold an aerial freekick from the left by Peyton. But Sturridge levelled after 19 minutes when he turned Peter Band and poked the ball into the bottom left corner of Coburn's net. Sturridge added a second after 34 minutes from close range, after a cross from the right. Etuhu sealed the game by making it 3-1 when he outpaced Band to a ball up the middle (39 mins). Alty held their own in the second half with a rasping shot from Thornley which just cleared the bar the highlight for them. A bonus for Alty was the performance of trialist left-back Adam Yates from Leek Town. Report to follow.

ALTRINCHAM (Red & white striped shirts, black shirts, red socks.) 1. Stuart COBURN; 2. Steve ASPINALL, 15. Peter BAND, 5. Gary TALBOT, 22. Adam YATES; 10. Rod THORNLEY, 12. Warren PEYTON, 30. Steve BUSHELL, 8. Justin BOWLER; 9. Colin LITTLE, 7. Joe O'NEILL. Subs: 1*. Andy CUMMINS, 3. Chris ADAMS, 4. Eddie HUSSIN, 14. Lewis CHALMERS, 17. Karl MUNROE, 20. Kieran LUGSDEN, 21. Stephen ROSE, 26. Lee HENDLEY, 28. Pat McFADDEN.

MANCHESTER CITY XI (All black): 1. Kasper SCHMEICHEL, 2. Shaleum LOGAN, 3. Sam WILLIAMSON, 4. Nathan D'LARYEA, 5. Gary BREEN, 6. Michael JOHNSON, 7. WIllo FLOOD, 8. Marc LAIRD, 9. Kelvin ETUHU, 10. Daniel STURRIDGE, 11. Piers BOWMAN. Subs: 12. Ashley GRIMES, 13. Joe HART (gk); 14. Ashley WILLIAMS, 15. Curtis OBENG, 16. Ched EVANS, 17. Karl MOORE

Footnote: Adam Yates, pictured in the foreground, above right, was born in Stoke on 28/5/83 and has played for Leek Town for the last two seasons. Before that he spent 2003-04 on loan from Crewe Alexandra at Halifax Town, where he made 12 appearances in the Conference at the same time as Colin Little, Steve Bushell and Val Owen were at The Shay. He joined Crewe as a scholar in 2001. He played against Alty on 29 July 2003 in a pre-season game for Crewe - in the same Crewe side were James Robinson and Kyle Wilson, who were also to play for Altrincham.


"Potential buyers of Crawley Town have until next Wednesday to submit their bids for the Conference club", reports BBC Southern Counties Radio. "At least five interested parties are thought to be studying the club's financial details... Businessman John Goodwin is expected to confirm his bid in the next 48 hours. However, the club's former owners, the Majeed family, say they are still considering their options. Crawley have been in administration since early June, with debts of just under £1.4m".

"Gravesend and Northfleet's new signing Stacy Long will miss the first month of the season with a broken metatarsal. The midfielder, 21, got the injury in Saturday's friendly and X-rays have revealed a chip in the bone" says the BBC. He is therefore a doubt for the game against Alty on August Bank Holiday Monday.

NL Daily says that "Former Crewe Alexandra prodigy Alex Morris is aiming to resurrect his career with Northwich Victoria. The 21-year-old midfielder was released by the Coca-Cola League One club... Dario Gradi had high hopes of the Potteries player - so much so he stood by him over two seasons which were wrecked by injury.... Vics' manager Steve Burr, who wants a midfielder to be his last summer signing, told IC Cheshire: 'Alex has had terrible luck with injuries. If he is fit, he is an exceptional player and I am hopeful of him'

Southport boss "Paul Cook has stated stay-away striker Steve Daly had been given the same terms offer as Dino Maarmria. That offer has not changed from when Paul Cook first arrived. Daly a contracted part time player has to consider that offer on the table and either become part of the full time Southport set up or drop down the football pyramid. No Nationwide Conference club have yet to show an interest. Daly has turned down a deal with Droylesden. Paul Cook said 'My aim is to have a happy squad with everyone pulling together'. Gary Brabin has a knee injury that has resulted in him missing the last couple of weeks of training... Paul Cook said about his veteran defender 'when Gary is fit he will be in my squad'".

Oxford's unofficial This is United site says that "United boss Jim Smith is hoping to develop Yemi Odubade into a 90-minute player after his sensational entrance as a substitute in the 2-1 victory at Eastleigh last night. Odubade staked a strong claim with a stunning two-goal show to be one of the U's strikers when they kick-off the new season in the Conference... Smith said afterwards: 'Yemi's got pace and he's a good finisher. We have got to find a way so he can last 90 minutes. He is still a 20-minute player. He took the goals well, and he's done that almost every time, to be fair. When he comes on with his pace he frightens people'". Odubade played for Eastbourne against Alty in last year's play-off final. But "questions remain about Oxford's lack of a striker with presence" in a recent friendly at Eastleigh in which "Andy Burgess's class stood out... Right wingback Eddie Anaclet also showed plenty of skill", whilst Eastleigh "had former Oxford striker Jefferson Louis in their ranks after he signed from Woking". Jim Smith added, "I was very pleased with John Dempster in the holding role".

As an indicator of what might happen when Alty visit Oxford, Northwich have announced that Oxford have sent them tickets which can be purchased in advance at a cost of £16 (£10 for concessionsaries under 16 or over 65) and £12.50 for students. If bought on the day, prices are up to £2 dearer.

The Kidderminster Harriers' "manager Mark Yates has made his second signing of the day, as we can reveal that Scott Eaton, one of the stars of last season's Youth Team, has signed professional terms" and "have moved to bolster their ranks this afternoon with the signing of promising trialist Brian Smikle on a one-year contract".

Also signing two players are Exeter City, in the shape of Patrick Ada and Bertrand Cozic.

27 July 2006


Alty Reserves' manager Neil Brown would like to thank everyone who has sent messages of support for his son, Ashley (right), who suffered a double fracture of the leg last night at Runcorn Town whilst playing for Altrincham Reserves. 18 year-old Ashley was to have an operation to pin the leg yesterday but the specialist decided that as his leg bones were very strong, it would be better simply to plaster the leg. Ashley is now in a full-leg plaster cast which he will have to wear for three months.

This website's match report is here. The Runcorn Town site has a good report.


Keith Davey, who is in charge of catering at Moss Lane this season has appealed to anyone who may be able to donate a chest freezer, of any size. If you can help, please ring Keith or Jenny Heslop at the club on 928-1045 or e-mail the club


SAM confirms that "Young Alty striker Lee Hendley (right) needs no extra motivation as he prepares for tonight's Moss Lane friendly against Manchester City. Not only is the Robins' hotshot a Manchester United fan, he was also released by the Blues as a 16-year-old youth team player. With four goals in four games already this summer, Hendley is keen to continue his scoring streak - starting with City. He told SAM Sport: 'I'm loving it at the moment and I'm just looking forward to playing more and getting involved in the first team. I have been working hard in training, improving my game and it's been going well so far. Whenever I get my chance I just want to make sure I keep scoring so that Graham has to keep on picking me. It would be good to score against City because they released me when I was 16 so I've definitely got a bit to prove to them... I love playing alongside Colin Little. I've learnt a lot from him and he always takes the time to talk to me and tell me where I'm going wrong and what I can improve. We've brought in a couple of new strikers this summer already so there's a lot of competition up front, all the lads we have are good players. But if I can keep on scoring then there's no reason why I shouldn't stay in the team. We've got some good young players coming through now like Pat (McFadden) and we're ready to get into the first team'".


"Altrincham FC's Patrons' Scheme has almost reached its century. There are now 96 members joined up for the new season, although the club are still aiming to reach the incredible tally of 140 set by last year's scheme. Becoming an Alty patron costs £50 and includes publication of your name in the matchday programme, as well as entry into a prize draw that will be held at the first home game of the season. First prize is the chance to be match sponsor for the home game against St Albans City, along with hospitality for nine guests. Second prize will be hospitality for five people and third prize hospitality for three people in the sponsors' lounge. For further details contact Grahame Rowley on 07720 606897 or Barry Pond on 07957 456375" says SAM.


The now unofficial Crawley Town site confirms that "The CVA proposal produced by Begbies Traynor was rejected by creditors at the creditors meeting on Tuesday morning. The administrator is now obliged to listen to offers for the club from other interested parties. They have asked that any offer for the club be made within seven days. It is understood that there have been five parties who have registered an interest with Begbies Traynor with a view to purchasing the football club, two of whom are John Goodwin and the Majeeds [who are the current owners]".

The local Argus newspaper adds that "Crawley have been forced to sign 11 teenagers just to ensure they can compete in the Conference next season. The debt-ridden club was put up for sale yesterday after creditors turned down repayment proposals from administrator Rob Sadler. They cannot sign any players on contract until a new buyer is found so manager John Hollins has had to register a team of youngsters to meet the league's Saturday deadline. Only five of last season's squad are currently training with the club - Dave Woozley, Ben Judge, Lee Blackburn, Tony Scully and Danny Brown - but they can leave at any time after having their contracts breached. Crawley will start the new campaign on August 12 with a ten-point deduction as a punishment for going into administration. Hollins said: 'To put the Crawley Town supporters at ease, there will be a team to start the season. As far as I know, we have met the deadline and we will be allowed in the Conference. That is what they told me to do so it means we will kick-off the season with 11 players in place. But none of them are the contracted players, like Lee Blackburn and Ben Judge, who have contracts and want to renegotiate. They all have to be non-contracted players'. Hollins insists he will not walk away from the crisis-club despite the uncertainty over his own future. He verbally agreed a new contract with the outgoing owners Chas and Azwar Majeed at the end of last season but did not get sign it. He said: 'It is a traumatic time but you have to keep going because if we all stopped then there would be no Crawley Town Football Club. Until someone tells me to go home, I will keep working because I don't give up things easily'".

The Argus also confirms that "Crawley Town football club is on the market after administrators Begbies Traynor yesterday failed to reach an agreement with creditors owed about half a million pounds. Current owners the Majeed brothers face a Government investigation into their running of the club over the last year. Former diamond dealer John Goodwin is the front runner to buy the club and will put in a bid today. Mr Goodwin, previous chairman of Bishop's Stortford and Romford football clubs, said: 'I intend to be the man who buys the club and puts it back on track'. Begbies Traynor had hoped creditors would agree to a deal which would have seen them paid a quarter of what they are owed over three years and the Majeeds retain control at the club. But the Inland Revenue, owed almost a quarter of a million in unpaid tax by the club since the Majeeds took over last July, rejected the proposal citing the poor track record of payments. A number of other creditors, including sacked former managing director Steve Duly and manager Francis Vines, owed £50,000 between them, also rejected the deal in a bid to oust the Majeeds. The decision to liquidate the club and sell was agreed at a meeting of creditors at the Broadfield Stadium yesterday. Administrator Rob Sadler said former chairman Chas Majeed's involvement in running the club despite being barred because he is bankrupt would form part of his report to the Department of Trade and Industry. Mr Sadler said any offer to buy the club would have to include a "sufficient" dividend in order to pay creditors at least some of what they are owed. The Majeeds claim they are owed a £850,000. Mr Sadler said: 'If we only get a derisory offer the only available step would be to dissolve the company, which would mean the dissolution of the football club. I have a figure in my head of what we would be prepared to accept but I am not prepared to state that publicly'... If Mr Goodwin buys the club he has offered to sell 49 per cent to the supporters' trust over five years with the option of buying him out after that. Devils' Trust interim chairman Phil Ogbourne said: 'We're obviously delighted with today's events... The Majeeds were bad for this club and hopefully their involvement will be ending very soon'".

"Former Grays Athletic striker Mark DeBolla has become the latest player to join Liam Daish’s new look Gravesend & Northfleet squad. Twenty three year old DeBolla was born in London and started his career as a trainee with Aston Villa before joining Charlton Athletic. Towards the end of his spell with Charlton he had a loan period with Cheterfield before joining the Spireites full time. He scored five times in 45 appearances for the Derbyshire club before joining Notts County in 2005 before moving to Grays. Said Daish. 'He is only 23 but has good pedigree and brings more Football League experience into our squad. He... will be able to do a good job for us as a striker or in midfield'”.

Halifax Town "have announced that Michael Taylor has left the club".

From Stafford Rangers we learn that "Nathan Smith, our young striker, is injured at the moment after a motorbike accident but we hope to get him ready for most of the season".

"Following instructions from the Football Licensing Authority and the Football League, York City Football Club will be asking supporters not to exit the ground at half-time during their home fixtures this season. The Club has been informed that in allowing supporters to leave the ground at half-time, the Minstermen are breaching their ground safety certificate and are placing increased pressure on stewards. York City Football Club requires their safety certificate in order to host games at KitKat Crescent and any breach of this could jeopardise entry into the Football League should the Club be in a position to be promoted at the end of the season... The Minstermen confirmed that in order to ensure supporters have good access to refreshments at half-time, an extra kiosk has been erected in the bottom left corner of the David Longhurst stand... The new rules will only apply to first team games starting rom Friday 28th July. From this date the Club Shop, Social Club and Car Park Kiosk will be closed at half-time and exit from the ground will only be permitted in the case of emergency".

26 July 2006


The injury to Altrincham Reserves' Ashley Brown is, sadly, worse than feared. After being carried off (see below) in last night's friendly at Runcorn Town, Ashley was taken to hospital in Warrington. There, x-rays have revealed that he has broken both his tibia and fibula and he will have an operation on the fractures today, which may involve a plate or screws being inserted. All at Altrincham and Runcorn Town FCs wish him a full and speedy recovery from the injury. It was Ashley's 18th birthday last Saturday and he was looking forward to the new season, having established himself in the Altrincham Reserves as a left-sided defender/ wing-back last season. Despite his injury, Ashley is keen that all who saw the game don't forget the expert chest down and flick of the ball over an opponent which he executed before he got injured last night! Thanks are due to Alty physio Alan Ainsley and his Runcorn counterpart, Alan Charlesworth, as well as the ambulance crew, for their expert handling of the injury.


Aaron Edwards (centre) and an opponent clash as Danny Heffernan (14) and John Maloney (8) look on.

Altrincham were made very welcome at Runcorn Town's Pavilions complex for a game which was overshadowed by a bad injury to Alty's Ashley Brown. After taking a two-goal lead inside 8 minutes, both goals being well taken by former Preston North End youngster Ashley Stott, Brown suffered a serious injury to his right leg when he went in bravely for a 50/50 ball. After almost 10 minutes of treatment on the pitch by physio Alan Ainsley and his Runcorn counterpart, Alan Charlesworth, Ashley was stretchered off and then taken by ambulance to hospital in Warrington. It is hoped that the leg is not fractured but only an x-ray will tell. The game was played in four quarters of 20 minutes to make allowance for the fierce heat and the sloping pitch made it even harder work when playing up the slope. Though there were no more goals the game was well contested and allowed manager Neil Brown to blend a number of last season's youth team and reserve players with some new faces. Report and pictures to follow


SAM has an amusing report on Alty's defeat at Leigh. "Puzzled Alty fans listened on as the two teams were announced over the PA system - including one 'Stuart Little' up front for the visitors, hardly the target man manager Graham Heathcote had been searching for. And although the famous mouse failed to emerge from the tunnel with the rest of his teammates, Alty barely managed a squeak in reply to their hosts' two opportunistic efforts... It was a third defeat in six preseason games for the luckless Robins, whose next test comes in the shape of a Manchester City XI at Moss Lane on Thursday night."

Another name that was "alien" to the Alty fans on the Leigh RMI tannoy was that of "Damien" Lugsden.


NL Daily says that "Rushden & Diamonds have announced the signing of striker Michael Rankine until the end of the season. Rankine, formerly with Barrow, was with Scunthorpe until January 1st this year when he moved to Nationwide North side Alfreton Town. He has been on trial with the Diamonds for three week... Manager, Paul Hart, said: 'Michael has performed very well whilst on trial with us during the last three weeks. He is an aggressive, quick centre forward who has earned this contract'"> Rankine had trials with Alty last season.

From the Crawley Town forum are reports that at Tuesday's creditors' meeting the settlement proposals were rejected, notably by the Inland Revenue, and that voluntary liquidation may be the next step.

Forest Green Rovers say that "With confermation that Julian Alsop has now joined Newport County, boss Gary Owers will now be looking for a replacement front man to partner striker Charlie Griffin". Meanwhile, "Forest Green Rovers Football Club Ltd, announce, that following a Board meeting held this evening, with immediate effect Chairman Trevor Horsley is stepping down from his position with the Board of Directors. Having been instrumental in the development and building of the clubs new stadium, not only has he had to deal with those attendant pressures, he has also had to steer his own company through major changes, which meant he has spent considerable time overseeing several high profile projects in the Middle East. More importantly, he was admitted to hospital some six weeks ago, where he underwent an exploratory operation. The results of those findings are obviously a personal and private issue but clearly his health must come first to himself and his family. The consequences of this are, that he must make changes to his lifestyle and part of that process is to step down as Chairman of the club. The role will now be undertaken by Vice Chairman – Colin Gardner, up until the AGM of Forest Green Rovers FC Ltd, which is scheduled to take place on Thursday 17th August. Following that meeting further announcements will be made with reference to the structure at the club and the composition of its Board of Directors".

Bullsnews says that "Forest Green will trial a string a forwards [against Hereford] as they continue to prepare for the coming season. Former Wigan man Sam Litchfield and Swede Ash Triore will join Lloyd Blackman, notable to Bulls fans as the player at the centre of a "gypo" storm in a teacup a couple of years ago... One player not likely to get an opportunity is Guy Ipoua, who failed to impress during a brief trial last week".

Gravesend & Northfleet "are able to update all parties that works [at their ground] are finally due to commence in early August. We have now received firm confirmation from the Football Stadium Improvement Fund that all costs and suppliers have been approved and the project can commence without further delay. The chosen supplier of the seating (Slick Seating Systems Ltd of Redditch, Worcs) has been informed and the order and deposit for the supply and installation of 558 seats has been placed. Some of the preliminary civil works will start imminently and once the seating has arrived on site we will be in a better position to advise supporters as to which home game the new stand is to be formally opened".

25 July 2006


Alty, (in blue), defend in the hot sun at Leigh. Left to right are Munroe, Thornley, Bushell, Band and Coburn.

Match report here.

A report from the Leigh viewpoint is here.


NL Daily says that "Gravesend & Northfleet have agreed terms with former Notts County midfielder Stacy Long following a successful trial spell. Twenty-one-year-old former Charlton trainee Long was released by County at the end of last season. Fleet boss Liam Daish also hopes to sign another triallist in 23-year-old striker Mark DeBolla. DeBolla ended last season with league rivals Grays Athletic, having previously served Charlton, Chesterfield and Notts County".

"Hinckley United are expecting to sign former Derby County and Celtic striker Tommy Johnson... His more recent clubs have included the likes of Sheffield Wednesday, Gillingham and Kilmarnock before Johnson joined Tamworth last February" says NL Daily.

"John Still has ended months of speculation over his future by signing a new two-year contract with Dagenham & Redbridge. Club chairman Dave Andrews insisted that pen had finally been put to paper....Andrews said: 'John was alright about it when we spoke though he was concerned about losing players, but there's no problem... He has signed and he hopes to see out his time at this football club' " reports the Romford Recorder.

"Halifax Town have agreed terms with AFC Wimbledon for the transfer of New Zealand international striker Shane Smeltz. Smeltz joined AFC Wimbledon in March 2005 having been released by Mansfield Town... The clubs have agreed not to release details of the deal, but have announced that a sell-on clause has been included in the agreement".

"Former Morecambe midfielder Jimmy Kelly is in talks with Lancaster City but Joe McMahon finally left the club last week. Kelly played for City last Saturday against Partick Thistle and was training at Giant Axe last week. Manager Gary Finley said: 'There are a number of clubs interested in him, including one or two Conference National clubs'... McMahon's move to ambitious UniBond Premier newcomers Fleetwood Town has been on and off all summer but last week the two clubs agreed an undisclosed fee for the defender".

"Phil Robinson, manager of Stafford Rangers, is closing in on his first signings of the summer... Robinson, renowned for not announcing signings until the last minute, did confirm he had been looking at a number of trialists,... 'I’ve retained everybody I wanted to from last season’s squad and I’m talking to a number of people with a view to adding to the squad, including a couple of attacking options', said Robinson. The latest batch of trialists includes former Bradford City striker Pat Bannister... Bannister was joined by several other triallists, including young ’keeper Danny Alcock (ex-Accrington Stanley) and former Altrincham midfielder Ged Murphy. Brackley Town's player-coach David Oldfield is also considering a move to Marston Road. Oldfield, has been offered the position of assistant-manager to Robinson".

This is United reports that "Oxford United have taken the unprecedented step for a Conference club of challenging a police request to switch a match. Jim Smith's men were scheduled to play their Nationwide Conference game at varsity city rivals Cambridge United on Saturday, October 21.But they were told by Cambridge last week that the game was being brought forward to the Friday night, October 20, on police advice. United, though, have not accepted the decision lightly... and have now asked the Conference to intervene, in order to rule on the matter. Said United secretary Mick Brown: 'We are just trying to stand up for our fans. If the team are doing well and the game is on the Saturday, we could take 1,000 supporters to Cambridge. But traffic on the M25 on a Friday night is notoriously bad and if it's brought forward to then, we may only take 400. More importantly, we are questioning the way Cambridgeshire police have done this and have challenged their request to move the match. They say there are three reasons for switching the game – 1 past history, 2 intelligence and 3 finance. The past history relates to one small incident last year when a few of their fans came to one of our home games and there was a bit of trouble, though very minor, and then one or two of our fans went there and apparently there was a problem in the city centre involving them... We question the intelligence when, having spoken to our police, they haven't even been contacted by Cambridgeshire police about this game... I feel Cambridgeshire police have jumped the gun here".

The BBC says that "Trialist Gary Hooper is hoping to earn a contract at Southend...The 18-year-old forward was released by Grays earlier this month, and recently spent time on trial at Barnet. 'At Grays, they were only bringing me on in the last five minutes or so, and I wanted to get out of there', Hooper told the Shrimpers' website".

"Oxford United boss Jim Smith has decided not to pursue his interest in Blyth Spartans striker Robbie Dale. Dale spent three weeks training with the U's... but will now return to his Conference North club. 'We weren't aware that Blyth had an option on Robbie's contract when he came', Smith told the club website. 'Robbie feels he wants to stay in the north-east, so that is what he will do'".

"Exeter have re-signed their former defender Jon Richardson - six years after he left the club to join Oxford. The 30-year-old was released by Conference rivals Forest Green Rovers at the end of last season, and recently rejoined City on trial" says the BBC.

24 July 2006


The draw has been made for this season's Cheshire Senior Cup. Altrincham have been drawn away at Chester City in the week we are set to play Halifax Town in the Conference on the Tuesday night.(12th September). The full draw is

Preliminary Round w/c 14th August

  • Alsager Town v Runcorn Linnets
  • Hyde United v Vauxhall Motors
  • Nantwich Town v Congleton Town
  • Winsford United v Cheadle Town

    First Round w/c 11th September

  • Cammell Laird v Hyde Utd/Vauxhall M
  • Chester City v ALTRINCHAM
  • Crewe Alexandra v Woodley Sports
  • Nantwich T/Congleton T v Stockport County
  • Northwich Victoria v Alsager T/Runcorn L
  • Warrington Town v Macclesfield Town
  • Winsford U/Cheadle T v Stalybridge Celtic
  • Witton Albion v Tranmere Rovers

    Dates for following rounds:-

  • 2nd Round 11th November
  • Semi Final 20th January


    Alty pay their first visit to Runcorn Town on Tuesday night and Martin Fallon, the club's Press Officer writes:

    Runcorn Town players can't wait for Tuesday's visit of Altrincham after weeks of hard training sessions with new manager Tony Murphy. They feel a lot fitter than previous years with many players commenting that the training they have done this year has been a lot harder than previous years, and they are eager to put training ground ideas into practice in a full match.

    Altrincham have confirmed that it will be mostly their reserves who visit, with most first teamers playing at Leigh RMI tonight. Former Runcorn Town player Ste Savage will line up for Altrincham after impressing there on trial during pre-season.

    Entrance to the game will be just £2.00 for Adults and £1.00 for Concessions. Pavilions bar will be open before and after the match."

    Parking is good with about 150 spaces in the Pavilions car park and about another 50 on the private road leading to the club. Parking is of course free.


    Leigh RMI confirm that "Altrincham visit Hilton Park on Monday 24th July with a 7-30 kick off. Gates on the Mick Martyn (B&Q) side will be open from 6pm. Prices are £8 and £4 concessions... RMI supporters will have the opportunity to see Andy Nelson’s latest recruits as for the first time he plans to field his strongest line up. RMI are pleased to welcome back some old favourites in Stuart Coburn and Warren Peyton (right) now both playing for Altrincham". The NL Paper quotes new Leigh signing Mark Maddox on Monday's friendly against Alty, "I've told Colin Little to wear full body armour!'"


    Marine FC have announced that next Saturday's friendly against Altrincham has been postponed, giving Alty their second blank Saturday in succession. The reason given is that after work on the playing surface, "the pitch has not recovered sufficiently to allow Saturday's game to go ahead. The hot weather and lack of rain has not helped but a decision has been made in conjunction with the groundstaff and Altrincham that the pitch would not be suitable for use".


    Lutel James came on as a sub for Guiseley at the weekend. Kevin Ellison netted for his new club Tranmere against Morecambe, whilst Stu Scheuber turned out for Vase holders, Nantwich Town. FC United of Manchester report on their new Reserves' side's game on Saturday and whose "manager Tony Cullen [ex-Alty] made eight changes to the side... With just sixty seconds on the second-half clock, Ryan Stewart [ex-Alty youth?] had conceded a penalty for a trip".


    The NL Paper quotes Tamworth chairman Bob Andrews on his club's £9,000 fine for "a second season of ill discipline" on the pitch. He proclaimed,"It is absolutely outrageous for our club to receive such a large fine... It is a massive amount of money and a part-time club at our level should not be expected to pay this... and will try to appeal to the FA because we simply cannot afford that amount. They need to look at other club records because Stevanage have an equally bad tally". The FA said the fine was "for a series of misdemeanours which include fielding an unregistered player in December 2004" .

    NL Dailyreports that "Former Scarborough boss Neil Redfearn has signed for UniBond League Division One club Bradford Park Avenue... Redfearn's father was a professional at Park Avenue during the 1950s... Other newcomers in the starting line-up against the Tykes [included] Guiseley`s Jeremy Illingworth [ex-Alty] and ex-Halifax Town forward Matty Hoyle".

    Though Crawley's owners, the Majeed brothers, proclaim that "We will be continuing woth the club", a creditors' meeting on Tuesday could see them ousted "To retain control the Majeeds must poll at least three-quarters of all [creditors'] votes.. If the Revenue, [ex-MD] Steve Duly and Francis Vines [ex-manager] all opposed [the settlement offer to creditors] they would have at least 53%, enough to defeat any proposal" of settlement.

    "Kidderminster Harriers have suffered a blow with news that Burnley defender Duane Courtney has turned down a move to Aggborough. Harriers` boss Mark Yates had targeted the young stopper as an ideal summer signing... 'We were allowing Duane Courtney to go to Kidderminster', said Burnley boss Steve Cotterill. 'But he has since had a chat with his agent and he thinks he can get Duane somewhere else'".

    The Football Conference says that "Swindon have offered former Crawley Town goalkeeper Phil Smith the chance to play in the Football League on a one-year contract... He would become the understudy to Peter Brezovan... The 26-year-old stopper has impressed during the pre-season tour of Ibiza and boss Dennis Wise had no hesitation in offering him a deal".

    Grays Athletic confirm that "Following an incident which happened prior to joining Grays Athletic, Ashley Sestanovich has been arrested and is currently in Wandsworth Prison awaiting trial. The club were unaware of any problems prior to signing Ashley Sestanovich and this has come as a shock to the club, due to the seriousness of the incident the club has terminated his contract.". Reportedly an arrest warrant was issued recently against Sestanovich by Grimsby magistrates for failing to attend court in regard to motoring offences. Grays' boss Frank Gray told the NL Paper, "I believe we need to add one or two more defensively but I've got a good squad". New signing Lee Boylan from Canvey "is a proven scorer at this level... and looks capable of forming a good partnership up front with Aaron McLean".

    Bullsnews says that "Former Bull, Bertrand Cozic, is currently on trial at Exeter. The French midfielder, who played for Team Bath last season, has seen service with a string of clubs since a brief spell with the Bulls late in the 2003-4 season. He managed four substitute appearances for the Bulls, and was a sub yesterday for the Grecians in their 1-0 friendly defeat to Bristol Rovers".

    23 July 2006


    On Monday, Alty travel to Leigh RMI who for the second time in recent seasons have been saved from relegation by demotion of other clubs and remain in Conference North. Leigh have a number of players with Alty connections. The Leigh site quotes manager Andy Nelson who writes that "The management team is confident and feel the progress is very encouraging... with many quality players coming to the club. I can confirm that we will be keeping Scott Willis and Chris Simm who were both creating much interest from other clubs last season. Moving on will be [ex-Alty man] Gary Williams, who has moved to Spain, and [ex-Alty youth] Liam Coyne who is joining F.C. United. In return we have signed Mark Maddox the vastly experienced centre half from Altrincham. In fact when Altrincham gained promotion from Conference North to Conference National their twin centre backs were Mark Maddox and George Melling (right) who are now both with Leigh RMI. We are hopeful of completing the signing of a strong central midfield player this week and have brought in a giant centre forward called Dan Owen. Leigh also welcome back to full fitness Mark Drew, Lee Shillito [both ex-Alty youths] and Gavin Lee Ellison who will make a big difference to the strength of our squad. Another point of good fortune will be the return at the end of August of Martyn Lancaster who has been playing professionally in USA and Michael Warwick a very exciting talent who returns from professional football in Israel... We are of course very appreciative for the support given and would encourage you all to come and get behind a squad of young players playing with a passion for the town of Leigh starting with the pre-season games against Altrincham on Monday 24th July at 7-30pm and FC United on Saturday 5th August at 2pm".


    Altrincham play a Manchester City XI on Thursday 27th July and they have notified Moss Lane of their likely squad for the game. It includes several players with first-team experience, the best known names being midfielders Lee Croft and Stephen Ireland, goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel and right-back Willo Flood. Up and coming players such as Daniel Sturridge are also included. The full MCFC squad is:-
  • Goalkeepers: Kasper Schmeichel, Laurence Matthewson
  • Defenders: Sam Williamson, Nathan D'Laryea, Shaleum Logan, Matt Mills
  • Midfielders: Ashley Williams, Lee Croft, Stephen Ireland, Willo Flood, Marc Laird, Michael Johnson
  • Forwards: Kelvin Etuhu, Daniel Sturridge, Ashley Grimes, Ishmael Miller


    IC Cheshire says that"Runcorn FC Halton are in limbo after resigning from the UniBond League following relegation from the Premier Division at the end of last season. Chairman Dr Dave Robertson says the club is not defunct although he has suspended its activities indefinitely. 'The club is not wound up or closed down but it is not trading or active,' he explained. 'It remains in existence pending whatever events occur in the future. There are costs involved in winding up the club and as it has no money to wind itself up, it remains as a dormant entity until such time as something happens that enables it to move on... [After the breakaway Runcorn Linnets were formed] I wasn't prepared to put myself in the situation where I could suffer further financial embarrassment and loss'".


    The Burton Mail says that NIgel Clough's "squad will again feature midfielder Danny Holmes and striker Steve Scoffham, who he expects to tie up on deals next week. Holmes, who has been released by Port Vale, and former Notts County striker Scoffham could be Clough's final signings now that Crewe goalkeeper Stuart Tomlinson has been secured on a long-term loan. The Brewers' boss said: 'If Danny and Steve sign, we'll have the 18-man squad we were looking for. I can't honestly see anyone else suddenly becoming available who we aren't already aware of.'".

    NL Daily confirms that "Gateshead have clinched the signing of Scarborough captain Steve Baker".

    In weekend friendlies, Gainsborough Trinity beat York City 2-1. The York unofficial site confirms that in the game "The visitors had earlier started with trialist keeper Tommy Evans (Scunthorpe United), while Jeffries, centre-back Simon Weaver (Scarborough), midfielder Tom English (Queen of the South) and strikers Wilkinson and Andy Appleby (both Hartlepool United) were introduced during the second period. The match kicked-off 45 minutes late after a malfunctioning bridge had delayed fans' arrival". But thunderstorms created havoc for other games in the Midlands with Stamford v Hucknall, Alfreton v Tamworth and the match at Kettering all abandoned.

    Southport report that "Experienced Conference goal scorer Dino Maamria has re-signed for Southport. The ex-Stevenage and Leigh RMI leading goal scorer will add experience to Paul Cook's squad as the team building exercise continues". Meanwhile Southport beat a Macclesfield team 2-0 on Saturday. "Southport dominated proceedings throughout, with Steve Dickinson rarely called into action... Cook gave second half opportunities to Francis Barry, Griff Jones, Paul Brown, Chris Lane and Joe Fowler". Jones was briefly in Alty's Reserve side a year ago. And "Chairman Charlie Clapham announced today that Haydn Preece will be the clubs first Chief Executive. The Chairman stated that "With the club going full time this summer and with the need to continue to raise the club's profile in the town Haydn Preece will be responsible for all day to day activities at Haig Avenue... and will be working very closely with the clubs new progressive Trust in Yellows supporters' trust... Haydn Preece has left education after 25 years, the press after 16 years and has experience in sales and marketing". He said, "For example on match days we are redesigning the programme and intend to involve our supporters a lot more in its content. I am passionate about youth development, our junior section, the profile of the club in the town, the need for regular half termly soccer camps and integrating the club on non match days as a great place to come with events and activities for the community".

    22 July 2006


    Trafford FC quote their manager Danny Johnson on the game against Alty on Thursday. "Last night's game against Altrincham was a great work out for us and it gave me a chance to look at fitness levels and to see our new signings in action. The first half front pairing of Troy Hayder and Glyn Barker was very pleasing, both players have given everything throughout pre-season and I felt that came through last night. New signings Sean Smith and Andrew Simpson settled in exceptionally well and I think both players will be great additions this season. There were also substitute appearances for new players Dion Depeiaza, Ross McNair and Levi Kennedy along with run outs for Players' Player & Supporters' Player of the Year for last season Martyn Andrews and Dean Canning, I was also impressed with the way youngsters Gareth Johnson, James Lindley, Danny Hooper and Liam Donnelly acquited themselves against very good opposition. Most of you recognised former player Billy McCartney in the starting line up, Billy has yet to commit himself to the club but I am hopeful he was impressed enough by the way we do things and sign for the club this season...There were one or two new signings absent last night for one reason or another but most of them will be figuring on Tuesday against Fleetwood Town. I have brought back midfielder Tom Purcell to the club along with Paul Massay (Centre Midfield), Andrew Jones (Defender), Craig Malbon (Defender) and Daniel Doherty (Right hand side midfield)... I will be looking to add to the squad further prior to the start of the new season".


    Josh Mitten's trial with Barrow is over and the Cumbrian club have unfortunately not signed him. Josh was with FC United last season.


    Tamworth "have been severely hit in the pocket because of a poor disciplinary record on the field over the last two seasons. A fine of £9,000 will have to be met - a combination of a new fine and one which had been hanging over the club from 2004-5. Everyone at the club was shocked at the severity of the action taken but understand the message the FA is sending out to every club, at all levels of the game. At a hearing on Thursday the club was fined £10,000 for its poor disciplinary record in the 2005-06 season, although £7,000 of this will be suspended.The FA panel did, however, decide to invoke a £6,000 penalty which had been suspended from the 2004-05 season. The simple message at the end of 2004-05 was that player discipline must improve significantly or else, and unfortunately it was, if anything, worse last season. The management team was made aware that the chairman, board of directors and officials of the club expect to see a vast improvement on the on-the-field discipline this coming season".

    Aldershot Town "confirmed on Thursday evening that the club has added a further three players to its ranks as preparations for the 2006/07 season continue... Defender Phil Anderson has actually played in all four matches so far. Phil is a left sided defender who can also play as a central defender. He was previously at Southend United. Mark Pritchard scored three goals in his first two friendly appearances and arrives from Swansea City... Kirk Hudson requires little introduction to Shots supporters. The 19 year old spent his youth career at Glasgow Celtic and Ipswich Town. He arrived at the Rec earlier this year after a spell at AFC Bournemouth... After joining the Shots Kirk had an extended run in the first team towards the end of last season and scored in victories at Gravesend and Northfleet and Kidderminster Harriers featuring a dozen times in Conference action".

    The Cambridge Evening News says that "Shane Herbert could be the man to battle against Paul Crichton for the place in Cambridge United's goal... And United manager Rob Newman said he would be talking to Herbert, who was released by Norwich City at the end of last season, about the possibility of moving to the Abbey. Herbert spent the second half of last term on loan at Gillingham under the eye of Crichton, the former player-goalkeeping coach with the Kent side... With Jamie Waite likely to be out of action for some time while having chemotherapy for Hodgkin's disease, Herbert could be the answer to Newman's search for another keeper".

    The unooficial This is United site says that "Oxford United's pre-season campaign got off to a morale-boosting start with victory over Didcot last night... Goals from Barry Quinn, Yemi Odubade [who played against Alty for Eastbourne last May] and a stunning strike from Josh Kennet gave Jim Smith's side a deserved success... [But] new signing Eddie Anaclet and youngster Ben Weedon both forced off with injuries... U's triallist Mohammed Lamine, who hails from Guinea, impressed down the right flank, linking well with Odubade.... United finished the game with ten men, having used all their subs before Weedon was carried off with a nasty ankle injury... Oxford Utd: Tardif (Turley HT), Anaclet (Gunn 55), Johnson (Weedon HT), Quinn (Kennet HT), Willmott (Dempster HT), Gilchrist (Day HT), Pettefer, Winters (Lamine HT), Dale (Duffy HT), Beechers (Odubade HT), Burgess".

    St Alban's City report that "Referee Darren Deadman has been charged by the F.A. with failing to correctly apply the Laws of the Game. The charge relates to a disagreement over the number of permitted substitutes prior to a pre-season friendly between St Albans City and Luton Town on Wednesday 12 July". The referee refused to continue officiating a St Alban's friendly after a limit of six subs per side was exceeded and another official had to take over.

    Weymouth confirm that "Andy Harris will miss the start of Weymouth's Conference National season. The influential midfielder has undergone an operation to repair damaged cartilage in a knee and has been told he'll be out of action for up to a month... Boss Gary Hill said: 'It is better we get Andy 100 per cent right before he comes back to full training because we always want players fit and healthy. There's no point rushing Andy back when it's not necessary'. Harris's place in midfield is likely to be taken by summer signing Simon Weatherstone who joined Terras from Stevenage Borough".

    Halifax Town's "Portuguese midfielder Luís Melo and winger Lee Thompson were on the scoresheet as Town opened their pre-season campaign with a 5-2 win at Brighouse Town... The duo were among six trialists used by Shayman manager Chris Wilder in the annual match at St Giles Road. Neil Prince, Chris Clarke, Laurence Hunter and David Scarcella were the other new names in the Halifax squad". Wilder said, "A couple of the lads on Wednesday night - Luis Melo and Neil Prince - don't really know the structure of how we want to play, but they were clever enough to have picked it up". The Halifax Courier adds that "Melo played on a recommendation from one of Wilder's contacts while Thompson, who was at Kidderminster last season, has been training with the squad... Prince is a former Liverpool trainee who was with Stalybridge Celtic last term, Hunter is a youngster who had been at Leicester City and Clarke is bidding to secure a third contract with Town. Scarcella is an Australian keeper who has been on Barnsley's books for the past couple of seasons and also played a dozen games for Tooting & Mitcham United in the Ryman League last season."

    "British Gas Business Southern League Premier Division club Bath City have targeted former Swansea City front-man Julian Alsop as the man to boost the club's strike force... Alsop, 33, is currently contracted to Forest Green Rovers, but has already held talks with Newport County while City have also made inquiries... Alsop, who is well known as a tough-tackling target man, has enjoyed a colourful League career" says This is Bath.

    21 July 2006


    Altrincham FC have released two players:

  • Blake Norton (right). Left-winger Blake, signed for Altrincham on 2 March 2006 from Worksop Town and made 3 starts and 3 appearances from the bench last season. But manager Graham Heathcote said that he is "disappointed that things have not worked out for Blake at Altrincham" but he wishes him well for the future. It is believed that Stafford Rangers may be interested in signing him.

  • Richard Norris (left). Richard, a former semi-pro international right-sided/central midfielder, was signed from Northwich Victoria on 4 February 2005. He was injured in the last pre-season game of 2005 and was unable to play for the entire 2005-06 season after undergoing an operation in November 2005. Now recovered, Richard has figured in several pre-season games and Altrincham FC have offered him the option of staying with the Reserves to get fully fit. But it is thought that Richard is likely to elect to move on. His Altrincham appearances totalled 13(+5) and he scored 1 goal. As with Blake Norton, the Club thanks Richard for his services, both as a player and on the physio side, and wishes him the best for the future.

    Further exits from Moss Lane can be expected shortly as the management has to trim the squad to match the wages budget.

    However, two of this summer's trialists Lee Mannion and Steve Savage will be staying at Moss Lane with the Altrincham Reserves. Midfielder Lee was released by Crewe this summer whilst striker Steve is a former Mond Rangers (now Runcorn Town) player with experience in Welsh football. Tuesday's match at Runcorn will feature the Altrincham Reserves squad. Before that, on Monday, Altrincham's first team squad travels to Leigh RMI (k.o. 7.30pm).


    Manager Graham Heathcote today professed himself pleased with the Altrincham players' fitness. In particular he praised Peter Band and Warren Peyton, who have completed two matches on successive days. One or two knocks have been picked up, however. Gary Scott (knee), Peter Thomson (groin) and Steve Aspinall (groin) have minor problems whilst both Val Owen and Eddie Hussin have reported understandable stiffness after their injuries last season.


    A STAR key fob with two keys was found by Trafford FC after last night's match. The keys are now at Moss Lane so please call the club (928-1045) to claim them.


    Above: Richard Norris, Blake Norton and Val Owen take a breather at Trafford. For Richard and Blake it proved to be their last game for Altrincham.

    Match report here.


    Above: Gavin Rathbone has set himself a high standard for the coming season with this magnificent shot of Joe O'Neill's diving header against FC United on Wednesday night. This and more of Gavin's photos are available on the GR Photographysite and via the Robins' Shop.

    SAM says that "Alty got their preseason campaign underway in earnest on Saturday when they kicked off a run of eight games in 15 days with a trip to Birkenhead... And in the main, the new boys gave a good account of themselves. Robbie Lawton showed plenty of endeavour working on the right flank, Joe O'Neill was neat and tidy in possession, while Peter Thomson could be just what Alty need up front, a bona fide targetman. But it was 20-year-old winger Justin Bowler who stole the show. There are undoubtedly parts of his game that the youngster will need to work on, but he showed blistering pace and an ability to get to the byline and deliver that killer ball the Robins so often lacked last season... Possibly even more pleasing for the Robins' faithful was the return of both Eddie Hussin and Richard Norris from long-term injury".

    Graham Heathcote told SAM Sport, "The early [friendly] games are not necessarily the type of games we would be playing in during the season. But there is always a method in your madness and these games are more hurly burly, they will give the lads a physical test. People also have to appreciate what level we are working at and we can do that by showing them what level they could be playing at if they don't get it right. The way the players play in these games is completely foreign to what they would usually do within a game. I'm looking at them as a completely different exercise to the fans. We've come in earlier this year for preseason training with three sessions in June and hopefully we realise that we need to be up and running by August 12. We can't be found wanting in the first two months of the season because we have a lot of games to play in a short space of time and we need to make sure we get off to a good start".


    NL Daily reports that "Ambitious Farsley Celtic have further strengthened their squad ahead of their inaugural season in Nationwide North by snapping up ex-Halifax Town striker Craig Midgley... Guiseley and new league rivals Scarborough, were also believed to have been in the running for the player who wants to go part-time in order to complete exams to become an estate agent, with an eye on his long-term future". Also Farsley "have opted to enter a team into the Lancashire League... The Lancashire League has split into two divisions – east and west – for the forthcoming season and Celtic will find themselves against predominantly fellow-Yorkshire sides [and Altrincham FC Reserves] in the east set-up" says Leeds Today.

    "Forest Green Rovers are ready to do battle with rivals Kidderminster Harriers for the signing of defender Mark Preece. Rovers` manager Gary Owers will step up his pursuit of the 18-year-old, who had a spell on loan at Gloucester City from Bristol Rovers last season, after allowing Chris Giles to leave Nailsworth. Centre back Giles joined from Crawley Town only last month, but a routine medical highlighted a thigh injury which requires a minimum of three months' complete rest. After lengthy discussions with Owers, it was agreed that his season-long contract be declared null and void. This leaves Preece, who has so far played for Rovers on trial in pre-season friendlies against Swindon Town and Bristol City, as the most likely replacement. Owers said: "The problem we have is that he's playing half a game for us one day and half a game for Kidderminster the next, when ideally I would like a longer look at him". Regarding Giles's injury, Owers said, "With Darren Jones suspended for the first three games of the season, and Paul Wanless out until September, we couldn't afford to carry any more long-term injuries". And "Owers has handed trials to a number of central defenders this pre-season, including former Swindon man Steve Jenkins and ex-Scarborough man Simon Weaver. New recruits Tony Butler and Matthew McEntegart have bolstered the ranks, but Rovers urgently need cover in that position before the start of the season on August 12th" says the Gloucester Citizen.

    "Central defender Andy Edwards has signed for Aldershot Town after impressing during the pre-season campaign so far. The 34-year-old 6` 3" Epping-born player has featured in all three home friendly fixtures so far and has linked up well with fellow new signing Rhys Day. Edwards started his career as a trainee at Southend United and in a distinguished career he has made 623 senior appearances.... [He joined] manager Barry Fry again at Birmingham City for a fee of £400,000. After making 59 appearances for the "Blues" he linked up again with Fry at Peterborough United where he made a further 310 appearances between 1996 and 2003... Manager Terry Brown said: 'Andy's leadership and ability to instruct players around him and deal with the ball itself is going to be a massive advantage to us. I think that it is a fantastic signing for the club and I absolutely chuffed to have him on board'" reports NL Daily.

    The BBC says that "Defender Gary Rowett is relishing the prospect of helping Burton's promotion push... A serious knee injury appeared to have ended his career and he was forced to retire from professional football in July 2004. Rowett, 32, told the Burton Mail: 'It's great to have the chance to be as near to full fitness as I'll ever be. I can't physically do every training session but I'm enjoying it'".

    "Grays Athletic have been dealt a huge blow to their pre-season preparations after captain Stuart Thurgood broke his leg, reports BBC Essex. Thurgood, 24, sustained the injury in the 3-2 pre-season friendly defeat at home to Leyton Orient on Wednesday. The midfielder has broken his fibula and has had an operation to pin the injury on Thursday morning". We wish him well for a speedy recovery.

    "York City have completed the signing of young Huddersfield Town full-back Anthony Lloyd. The 21-year-old was on loan at Torquay for the whole of last season, having previously made 40 appearances in the Terriers' first team. Lloyd is a versatile player who can also play in midfield" states the BBC.

    20 July 2006


    Right: Warren Peyton's chipped goal on Wednesday against FCUM is captured here by Gavin Rathbone. This and more of Gavin's photos are available on the GR Photographysite and via the Robins' Shop.

    The official FCUM site has published a Board statement on last night's match at Altrincham:

    The club are currently thoroughly investigating the facts surrounding an incident that occurred during our friendly versus Altrincham. The club are aware of the allegations and are aware of who are alleged to have been involved. Once the full facts are established the individual(s) involved will be invited to explain themselves to the club with a view to taking appropriate and proportionate action.

    Despite the actions of only one or two individuals, it is the whole of the club and our support that ultimately suffer. As supporters we have rightly taken pride in the ability to self-police over the last 12 months; a policy that has served us well, negated the need for authoritarian stewarding, enhanced our reputation and made us countless friends throughout the North West Counties League. That reputation and the very future of the club is imperilled if we allow the actions of one or two individuals to prevail.

    Further, the club would like to make it clear that it will not absolve its own responsibility in these matters. We will continue to defend our own supporters when unfair accusations are made of them. We will continue to correct what we deem injustices.

    We will not however defend or ignore incidents of unacceptable behaviour and anyone found to be involved in such behaviour will face the appropriate consequences. The club reserves the right to protect its good name including, should the circumstances merit it, a ban from all our games.

    FC United Board

    Below is Altrincham FC's statement on the events.


    After Altrincham had gone ahead in last night's match with FC United of Manchester, there was some trouble in the crowd at the Golf Road End. There now follows a statement on this episode from Graham Heathcote, on behalf of Altrincham FC:

    Altrincham FC would like to make it clear that it will not tolerate such exceptional behaviour as was seen last night at Moss Lane from a very small minority of the travelling supporters, who spoiled the occasion for everyone watching. Altrincham FC is concerned that, whilst the regular attenders at Moss Lane well know that such behaviour at Moss Lane is very unusual, any supporters attending Moss Lane for the first time should be aware that the situation last night was a very unfamiliar one for our Club.

    It is unlikely that Altrincham FC would ever put on a similar match again and the Board of Directors will be looking very closely as to whether to hold some other requested fixtures from clubs who have to play FC United of Manchester in their league and wish to do so at Moss Lane.

    Altrincham FC is well aware that it is only a very small minority of irresponsible supporters who caused the trouble last night and the Club would hope that they gave a false picture of the majority of supporters of FCUM. However, Altrincham FC feels that even a handful of supporters behaving as they did is not acceptable as the norm in non-league football and certainly has no place at Moss Lane. The Club apologises to all supporters who had to witness the short, unsavoury scene. In hindsight, segregation might have been applied but there was no real evidence beforehand that this would be necessary. The Club reiterates that it was a just a handful of mindless people who caused the problem and it is not a familiar occurrence at Moss Lane.

    The Club wishes to praise its stewards for their prompt action in dealing with the situation and preventing it from escalating. The stewards' actions proved the value of their training, which has been beneficial to us all.

    Trafford FC are provisionally set to play FCUM at Moss Lane on 9 September in a NW Counties league match.


    Match report here

    The unofficial and official FCUM sites also have reports.


    Altrincham have arranged some more friendlies:
  • Tue. 8 August: Altrincham v Bangor City

    And there is a double-header between the Reserves and Wythenshawe Town; both games at Wythenshawe Town FC next to Tesco at Baguley.

  • Sat. 5 August: Wythenshawe Town v Alty Reserves (2pm)
  • Thu. 10 August: Wythenshawe Town v Alty Reserves (7pm)

    On 29 July Alty are away at Marine in a friendly. "Marine have announced that they have entered into a sponsorship agreement with bus operator Arriva to change the name of its ground that has been known as Rossett Park since 1903. The new name of the ground from the beginning of this season until May 2011 will be 'The Arriva Stadium'. The sponsorship agreement of a significant four-figure sum per annum for each of the next five seasons... Marine chairman Paul Leary said: "This has been an excellent summer having now secured a ground name sponsorship for the very first time and this follows our recent announcement of the double stand and shirt sponsorship deal with the Ascot Property Group... John Rimmer, operations director for Arriva North West and Wales, added: 'The work we have done in partnership with Marine FC in recent years has clearly benefited both parties... Arriva always looks to provide support for the local community and Marine form an integral part of the area we serve". And the Arriva service 263 is just one of the company's routes that runs to Altrincham!


    Former Alty left back Kirk Hilton is rejoining Belgian club Royal Antwerp. He spent last season with Ashton United.


    This is Staffs reports on Alty's game at Kidsgrove on Tuesday, "When the Conference side got going, Grove keeper Tim Mullock moved smartly to hold a Val Owen header, and then went one better with a great save from Pat McFadden. After the break, the Grove defence was under the cosh for long spells, but Wayne Brotherton and Michael Owen stood firm. The pressure then told when Lee Henley was sent clear to round Mullock for the equaliser. Altrincham went ahead on 79 minutes when Pat McFadden cleverly turned Brotherton before steering a shot wide of Mullock. But Grove fought back for a merited equaliser when substitute Dave Shaw met Anthony Kielthy's centre". For this site's report, click here.


    The BBC says that "Weymouth midfielder Andy Harris is set to miss the start of the Terras' top-flight Conference return. Harris, 29, is likely to be out of action for up to a month after undergoing surgery on a knee injury. 'He had an operation to flush out his knee and it's the recovery which takes time', Weymouth boss Garry Hill told the Dorset Echo".

    Also "Tamworth midfielder Michael Touhy will miss the start of the season after undergoing an ankle operation. Touhy, 19, had surgery on his left ankle after suffering inflammation and discomfort during pre-season training. The former Aston Villa youngster is expected to be out of action for four weeks... [He] started 15 games for the Lambs before the end of last season".

    "Aldershot have completed the signing of former Southend defender Andy Edwards. The 34-year-old was released by the Shrimpers in May. 'Andy's leadership and ability to instruct players around him and deal with the ball itself is going to be a massive advantage for us'" said manager Terry Brown.

    NL Daily confirms that "Eastbourne Borough have announced the signing of Neil Jenkins from troubled Crawley Town."

    "UniBond League Premier Division `golden boot` winner Robbie Dale is set to stay at Blyth Spartans, despite the possibility of a full-time contract at relegated Football League club Oxford United. Dale is in the middle of a month's trial with the Nationwide Conference National newcomers and unless he's offered a good deal will return to Croft Park... Dale, who scored thirty-three goals in his first season at Blyth, has yet to be offered terms by Oxford's former Newcastle boss Jim Smith, who took the 22-year-old on trial without contacting Blyth. Spartans' manager Harry Dunn said: 'It will take a hell of an offer to tempt Robbie and if it's a short-term contract then there's no chance of him going. He's a very good player and we'd obviously want a fee for him. It wouldn't be one that prevented the deal from going through but we would certainly want a good sell-on clause'" . Meanwhile at Blyth, "Former Halifax Town defender Paul Stoneman, 33, could be one new face" says IC Newcastle.

    19 July 2006


    Right: Eddie Hussin at Kidsgrove.

    Match report here..


  • Altrincham have arranged another friendly, away at Salford City, on Tuesday 1st August at 7.45pm.
  • Altrincham's Conference match at Burton has been switched to Friday 2nd March.


    Altrincham FC is holding a Fans' Forum on the evening of 31 July at 7.30pm. In attendance will be the Alty Board, the management team and the new Board of STAR, the supporters' trust. Fans will be able to put questions on any topic related to the club so please come along and get the latest news.


    Mark Eckersall informs the website that "STAR will once again be providing coach travel to all away games next season, supplied by Go Goodwins coaches. Coaches are open to all supporters but STAR members receive a discount when travelling. All coaches are non-smoking and alcohol is not permitted (by law). The coaches are used by fans of all ages with families welcome. Go Goodwins coaches are of the highest standards and win many awards for service and quality. They have full washroom and toilet facilities.

    STAR aims to arrive an hour before kick off to allow supporters to enjoy a drink or look around the towns we visit, and return after the final whistle so people can return home in good time. We hope as many fans as possible will support the coach travel as we look to continue our reputation as being well supported away from home. Full booking details will be available at the Stevenage game on August 12th.


    NL Daily says that "Sam Sloma has left Nationwide South club Thurrock and has stepped up a level to sign for neighbours Dagenham & Redbridge on a one-year contract... Now 23, Sloma captained Wimbledon’s youth team before the split... He signed for Wingate & Finchley in December 2002 and was a prominent member of their side, representing Great Britain in the 2005 Maccabiah Games and scoring regularly from midfield".

    Also, "Bruno Teixeira looks almost certain to leave Forest Green Rovers after a row with boss Gary Owers over a new contract. The Portuguese striker was axed from the squad for Saturday's game against Sunderland after the Rovers boss objected to being 'held to ransom' over wage demands. However, Rovers fans could soon have another overseas signing to get excited about in the shape of South Korean frontman San Lee. Recently released by Premiership newcomers Sheffield United, Lee is a former under-20 international and was impressive as a 61st minute substitute against the Black Cats". Owers told the Gloucester Citizen , "Bruno's been made an offer, and then another offer, but thought he could get some more money somewhere else. That turned out not to be the case, so he's come back and he wants to have his cake and eat it. Well he's not going to get it because he needs to respect the players in the dressing room and also the supporters. He needs to make a decision pretty quickly and I won't be on the end of the telephone being held to ransom by anyone, which is the reason why he's not here. There's something there for Bruno at this club if he wants it, but if he doesn't then let's all move on"

    Bullsnews says that "Former Hereford striker Guy Ipoua played for Forest Green Rovers in their 6-0 defeat by Bristol City. Ipoua is looking for a contract after being released from United in May". But theBBC says that "Defender Chris Giles has left Forest Green Rovers less than two weeks after joining the club. Giles had agreed a 12-month deal after leaving Crawley but is not fit to play because of a thigh problem which is set to keep him sidelined for three months. The 24-year-old has had his contract scrapped, although Rovers may look to revive a deal in the future".


    "Prescot Cables have announced the signing of a number of new players [imcluding]... Mike Garside, a skilful and accomplished midfield player, has arrived after spells with the likes of Altrincham, Salford City, Atherton Collieries, Trafford and Flixton".
    18 July 2006


    As reported here last week, Alty strikers Kieran Lugsden and Pat McFadden have been getting some pre-season match experience at Radcliffe Borough whose website reports that last Saturday "The ‘Boro’ registered a deserved first pre-season win against non-league’s new phenomenon FC United. The ‘Boro’ were missing [ex-Alty midfielder] Scott Wilson... Both sets of players put on an entertaining game for the enthusiastic and sizeable crowd - 1,132... Two Boro goals from captain Simon Kelly and one from [Altrincham's] Pat McFadden were enough to see off last season’s North West Counties Division 2 runaway champions and manager Andy Johnston said, “I thought... the two lads – Kieran Lugsden & Pat McFadden - we are hoping to keep from Altrincham were very lively and full of running".


    The rebuilding at Southport continues. "Paul Cook has agreed terms with a number of players who starred in the draw with Crewe... Defenders Paul Martin, Kevin Lee, midfielder Joe Fowler, [ex-Alty] left winger James Olsen plus strikers Mark Jackson and Francis Barry have signed up... The above join centre midfielder Mark Boyd and striker Tony Gray who have already signed up. From last season Michael Powell, Liam Blakeman, Carl Baker, Robbie Booth have gone full time with longest serving player goalkeeper Steve Dickinson making up the squad so far". The job goes on as "Paul Cook has stated that he will field a number of trialists on Tuesday against Oldham... The manager is hopeful he will see some real promise from his youthful players on Tuesday night... Paul Cook has also made it clear he will be bringing in experience to complement the exciting talent he has already signed up".

    Northwich Vics report that "This week will see a £30K Investment on a pitch irrigation system & extending players' tunnel. A specialised irrigation contractor has commenced work installing an automatic pop-up sprinkler irrigation system at the Victoria Stadium & the system should be fully installed & operational by Friday of this week. The system will be able to use water from either the mains supply or collected surface water".

    "Boss Liam Daish wants an improvement from Gravesend in the coming matches after the 3-1 loss against Folkestone Invicta in their first pre-season game. Daish told BBC Radio Kent, "Each game we should be getting better and that is what pre-season is about". The report adds that "Amongst the Fleet trialists were former Charlton man Stacy Long and ex-Fleet player Jefferson Louis".

    "Cambridge United manager Rob Newman has warned his players that slipping up against sides from a lower division will not be acceptable. The U's lost 3-1 against Norwich at the weekend and... Newman told BBC Radio Cambridgeshire: 'We have friendlies coming up against Fakenham Town and Enfield and we must deliver".

    "Halifax Town boss Chris Wilder hopes to clinch the signing of New Zealand international striker Shane Smeltz. Smeltz, 24, has impressed during a trial spell and will be offered a deal provided he does not have too many international commitments next season. Wilder told the Halifax Courier: 'Shane has done well but we want to check at the New Zealand end how many games they have coming up over the next season. If he'll be away for long periods then we would have to reassess'. Smeltz spent last season with AFC Wimbledon following a brief spell in the Football League with Mansfield Town". Meanwhile, NL Daily confirms that "Former Halifax Town midfielder Craig Midgley is training with Nationwide North side Scarborough... If he joins it will be Midgley's third spell at the McCain Stadium having twice been on loan there when a Bradford City player".

    "Woking have signed former Cambridge United defender Danny Bunce. The 20-year-old full-back has agreed a 12-month deal with the Cards to become the second new arrival this summer... Bunce, who started his career at West Ham, made a dozen appearances in the Conference for Cambridge last season before being released by the U's" states the BBC.

    NL Daily confirms that "Three new players who have joined up with UniBond League Premier Division club Whitby Town for pre-season training are being given trials ahead of the new season.. New boss Lee Nogan is taking a look at left back Sean Davies, who he knows from his days at York City. Davies also played for Cambridge United in the Nationwide Conference National last season".

    "Billy McEwan has added another talented player to his growing squad for the new season" reports the York City website. "The latest addition to the squad is 20 year old local boy Ross Greenwood. York born Ross has previously had spells with Sheffield Wednesday & Stockport County... The versatile youngster can play at Right Back, Right Midfield or as a holding Midfield player".

    17 July 2006


    Right: New striker Peter Thomson on his Alty debut at Cammell Laird. For more on the match, see yesterday's news, below...

    Alty have three more friendlies this week:

  • Tuesday 18th, away at Kidsgrove Athletic (7.30pm)
  • Wednesday 19th, home to FC United of Manchester (7.45pm)
  • Thursday 20th, away to Trafford FC (7.30pm).

    Details of all these matches are on the Friendlies Page.

    Our next opponents, Kidsgrove Athletic who, like other recent opponents Woodley Sports and Cammell Laird, play in the UniBond First Division, have recently signed former Alty and Marine defender Neil Murphy as well as ex-Leigh RMI player Andy Scott. In their previous pre-season games, Kidsgrove have drawn 2-2 at home to Northwich Vics and 1-1 with Hyde United.


    In the wake of the Italian match-fixing demotions, Saturday's Daily Telegraph had a list "7 Severe Punishments" in the world of sport. One of their seven was "Altrincham: docked 18 points ... for fielding an ineligble player". The other punishments listed include Swindon Town's denial of promotion for financial irregularities in 1990 and Hanse Cronje's life-ban for match fixing in 2000.


    Mark Maddox, released by Altrincham this summer, will always remain a favourite at Moss Lane for his whole-hearted commitment to the club; he even turned up to watch Alty's friendly at Cammell Laird yesterday. In the NL Paper, Mark refers to his new club, Leigh RMI's friendly with Alty a week on Monday. "It will be nice to see the [Alty] supporters. I've had loads of messages on the e-mail and text from them expressing their surprise and best wishes since Graham let me go. It came as a shock but that's football and you have to get on with these things". At RMI, Mark is impressed by manager Andy Nelson; "Andy's got all the coaching badges and the training has been really good".

    Kevin Ellison is named in Nuneaton player Gez Murphy's "Dream Team" in the NL Paper. Gez says, "I played against Kevin when he was at Altrincham and it was clear he had a great left foot. He could cut inside and crack a shot in and beat you for pace on the outside".

    Striker Josh Mitten is currently a trialist at Barrow; he took part in a recent match against Gretna.


    John Hollins has refused to blame Crawley Town owners, the Majeed brothers, for the club's current plight. In Sunday's NL paper, Hollins says, "They are successful businessmen in other businesses and I think they've learned a very expensive lesson in how to run a football club, but I'm not going to blame them. The club went from being non-professional to professional within a week, which was a big mistake... All I'm looking at is trying to put a squad together so we can put a team on the pitch". Meanwhile the Crawley supporters' trust is to debate a motion expressing "absolute condemnation of the use of administration a tool for getting out of a financial crisis". The motion adds that "The punishment of ten points deducted and an imposed transfer embargo are a direct result of the mismanagement of the club".

    New Stevenage boss Mark Stimson has spoken to the NL Paper about the Conference title, saying that "There are about 12 teams in all that can win it... I see Morecambe and Halifax as strong sides. Grays.. .should be up there... and Burton Albion finished well... You've got Weymouth, who are financially well-backed. Exeter and Aldershot as well and there's always Rushden & Diamonds and Oxford, who've come down... I don't see anyone running away with it". Stimson added that in the Conference, "The long ball [game] is not the way to go anymore. It used to be the way because the pitches were so bad".

    Woking's Ian Selley is reportedly sidelined for six months after snapping his Achilles tendon on an exercise bike last Friday. But Cambridge United's Andy Duncan is starting training after a heel operation. Exeter City have released Jefferson Louis after trials and Northwich have allowed goalkeeper Kris Rogers to leave . "It was a bit of a shock when I found out while on holiday" said the Cardifff-based keeper.

    The Football Conference reports that "Kidderminster Harriers' veteran striker Bob Taylor believes the club can do good things when the new season gets underway. Taylor, now 39 years of age, is on trial at Harriers and... has played in the Conference with Tamworth".

    Stevenage Borough "have awarded a 2 year contract to 18 year old striker Hector Mackie. The young forward trialed at West Brom, Reading and Spurs last year... A club spokesperson said "Mark Stimson is well known for giving young players an opportunity. Hector has pace, strength and determination and is keen to carve out a career as a professional footballer'".

    16 July 2006


    Right: Joe O'Neill and, behind him, Peter Thomson, Alty's strike pairing at Cammell Laird.

    Match report here


    NL Daily says that "Supporters of Burton Albion should get their long-awaited first glimpse of new goalkeeper Stuart Tomlinson on Saturday. The 21-year-old stopper will make his Albion debut against Wolverhampton Wanderers at the Pirelli Stadium. And moving in the opposite direction is the man he replaces — Saul Deeney. While Tomlinson is stepping out of League football with Crewe Alexandra to spend a season on loan with the Brewers, Deeney has rejoined Notts County ten months after his acrimonious departure from Meadow Lane. Deeney had been training with Walsall, but last night put pen to paper with Notts... The visit of managerless Wolves' also gives Nigel Clough his second chance to run the rule over striker Steve Scoffham - a free agent after being released by Notts County". Clough added "Most of the lads have only done 45 minutes in our first two games, and although there's still a month to the start of the season we'll be gradually stepping up the amount of time people spend on the pitch". Still at Burton, "Former Port Vale trainee Danny Holmes will have another outing on trial, but Clough has decided not to call on midfielders Justin Walker and Lee Thompson. Walker, who has been released by Chester City, and former Boston United and Kidderminster player Thompson played the first half of the Birmingham game, but failed to impress Clough. However, the Brewers boss is still interested in giving a trial to former Sheffield Wednesday and Notts County midfield man Lewis McMahon. McMahon, 21, has been training this week with Rotherham United" reports the Burton Mail.

    "Halifax Town face Oldham Athletic in a behind closed doors friendly on Saturday... The players have been back in training for a fortnight and will play a maximum of 45 minutes each, with several triallists hoping to make their mark. New Zealand international striker Shane Smeltz, with AFC Wimbledon last seasaon, and centre back Chris Clarke will both be included in the squad. Both players have been with the Shaymen since the start of pre-season training. Alan Russell, a 25-year-old striker who has had League experience with Macclesfield Town and Mansfield Town, will also get a game, as will Lee Thompson. He is a 24-year-old winger who has had spells with Kidderminster Harriers and Boston United". Manager Chris Wilder added, "During the off season all the players were given their own programmes to follow. They all met their targets with some going beyond them", reports the Halifax Courier.

    "A player with European Cup experience is among the triallists trying to impress Mark Yates at Kidderminster Harriers... Yates is looking at a string of young players alongside attacking right back Martin Naylor, 28, released in the summer after four seasons with one of the Welsh Premier's top clubs, TNS... He has previous Conference National experience with Telford United in the 1999/00 season and featured in a handful of matches for Shrewsbury Town... Winger Brian Smikle, 20, who has had spells on loan at Hereford United and Halifax Town, is also likely to feature following his release, ironically, by Albion. Also on trial at Aggborough are ex-Aston Villa youngster Ashley Edkins, 19, a right back who played a single game for Boston United last season, and former Wolves midfielder Jordan Fitzpatrick. Stuart Sinclair, 18, released by Luton Town, and last season's Harriers youth teamers, centre half Ashley Walker and striker Scott Eaton, join them". Yates said, "We've got a number of young pros that have been released by league clubs who we're having a good look at. "They've come in, worked hard with the rest of the squad and they've got a good spirit about them" according to This is Worcester.

    The Football Conference confirms that "Fisher Athletic have clinched the signature of defender Matt Hocking on a free transfer from Stevenage Borough".

    Southport report from their game with a Crewe side that ex-Alty man "James Olsen put the Port ahead mid way through the second half. Richie Sutton powered in a fine header to equalise 7 minutes from time. Paul Cook certainly saw plenty of encouraging signs as he puts his new look squad together".

    15 July 2006


    Despite taking an early lead through new signing Justin Bowler, Alty went down 2-1 to the newly promoted UniBond Division One side today. Alty also fielded other other new signings in the shape of Steve Bushell (captain), Joe O'Neill, Peter Thomson and Robbie Lawton (right), whilst Eddie Hussin and Richard Norris, both of whom missed all of last season through injury, were amongst the second-half substitutes. Report and pictures to follow


    The Sale & Altrincham Messenger says that "Graham Heathcote is relishing the chance to concentrate on his Alty managerial duties after he this week relinquished his role as club secretary... Stepping into the breach will be long-time club volunteer Derek Wilshaw and Heathcote has no doubts about his suitability for the role. Speaking exclusively to SAM Sport, he said: 'This change is something I have known I was going to do for a while. Especially after what happened last season, I don't want to put myself in a position again where I can get charged for something I didn't knowingly do. But I'm very happy with Derek taking over. I've worked with him for 10 years and he has been a god send for this club, like all volunteers are. It's a progressive step for the club because it frees me to look at more matters to do with players. We can't afford an extensive scouting network so it's up to me to get out there and do the groundwork'". As for pre-season the Alty boss said, "I'm not one of them who worries about preseason results, I'm just looking at the fitness levels and sharpness of the players, pure and simple. I've been pleased with what I have seen so far... There are no major injury problems at the moment and we've got both Eddie Hussin (left) and Richard Norris working towards full fitness now".

    In a repeat of a step taken last season, "young striker Kieran Lugsden is due to turn out for Radcliffe Borough in their friendly against FC United on Saturday.Lugsden will join up with Radcliffe in order to get some match practice under his belt - an agreement which may be continued into the forthcoming season". Kieran played one match for Boro under a similar arrangement last season but was injured in the process.


    "They may not have a state-of-the-art youth academy to rival the likes of Manchester United or Liverpool, but that hasn't stopped Altrincham from developing their own production line of young talent" says The Sale & Altrincham Messenger. "In the past two seasons, a hat-trick of young players have rolled off the conveyor belt straight into the first team - and there seem to be plenty more where they came from. Established stars Kieran Lugsden (left) and Lewis Chalmers (right) have already been joined in the first team by striker Lee Hendley, while the likes of [striker] Ben Deegan and [defender] Richard Gresty are ready to push their case for inclusion in the coming season. Under the guidance of Alty stalwart George Heslop and his assistant Tony Spilsbury, the team has gone from strength to strength, despite lacking the kind of funding given to youth schemes at bigger clubs. And while the first team's season ended in chaos, the youth team maintained Alty's proud reputation with a string of impressive performances that saw them furnish the club's trophy cabinet with three more pieces of silverware... Heslop remains extremely optimistic about the future. He told SAM Sport: "I think the future is bright for youth football at this club. But it's not about what trophies you win, it's about helping the young lads progress to the next level and that's what we're proud of here. Graham has already taken Lee Hendley, Kieran Lugsden and Lewis Chalmers into the first team squad and hopefully more will follow. The quality of players we are taking in each season is getting better and better and in two or three years we will be producing players of first team standard on a regular basis. We've had 137 applications for trials for the coming season from as far afield as London and Cornwall. Testament to Alty's youth set-up is the fact that five players were called up to represent their county sides during the past season - Gresty, Deegan and Anthony Davies for Cheshire and Danny Gray and Anthony McGrath for Manchester - while both Deegan and Matty Williams were also called up for trials with League Two side Lincoln City. Gresty also represented England Colleges in the European Colleges tournament in Italy, winning praise for his performances as he helped England into third place". But, said, George, "It is very costly running a youth team and we have to pay out around £4,000 each year to cover our travel and training costs. Our players still pay subs and we rely on the success of fundraising events like the race night, as well as contributions from sponsors. When I got involved with the youth team nine years ago I said I would only do so as long as we progressed it and I feel that is what we are doing. Now that we have a strong reserve team as well it will allow us to get these youngsters ready for Conference football".


    On behalf of Altrincham FC, Mike Healing is organising the coming season's player sponsorship. For just £150 you can sponsor any player at Altrincham FC and you will receive that player's signed shirt at the end of the season. You may sponsor either the home or away shirt, or both. If you either sponsor both home and away shirts of one player or one shirt each for two different players, there is a discount of £50, meaning that you pay £250, not £300. To arrange your player sponsorship, please ring Mike on 07989 091689, or contact the club on 0161 928-1045.


    Leigh RMI report that an "Alty duo hold key to RMI fortunes Leigh RMI hope that reuniting former Altrincham centre-backs Mark Maddox and George Manning [i.e. Melling] will be the key to a successful season... Manning [Melling] joined RMI last season and now manager Andy Nelson has brought in Maddox, a player he sees as a key component of his squad. The 33-year-old Maddox was a legend at Altrincham, having made more than 300 appearances for the Robins in a 10-year spell, and was a member of the 2003 FA Trophy winning side [?]". Nelson said, "My budget is smaller than last year so that does pose problems but we have kept the nucleus of last season's side and added a couple of good players". But "Nelson has released Gareth Stoker, [ex-Alty striker] Alex Hay and Ryan McDowell, while teenage centre-half Liam Coyne has moved to FC United who, in return, have agreed to play a friendly against Leigh at Hilton Park on August 5. Nelson added: 'It is poetic justice that we avoided relegation after we were deducted a point on a technicality. I have put together a great squad but can't afford to keep it. I am working on the figures at the moment... We have to try and survive until we go into the new stadium in 18 months time when we will increase our income".

    All at Alty wish Mark well at his new club.


    Back in May, this website recorded the untimely death of Altrincham supporter John Whitehead at the age of 45. John regularly attended home and away games, often with one of the club's most senior supporters, Norman Brown. Now, a friend of John's and another Alty fan, Rob Hadley, has kindly sent me the adjacent photo of John, on his travels with Alty a year or two ago. The website and football club would like to reiterate its commiserations to John's family and friends following their sad loss.


    On IC Cheshire we read that "Altrincham will visit Runcorn during pre-season with two games against West Cheshire League side Runcorn Town. The first game, on Tuesday July 25, will see the visit of Altrincham's first team and will be the toughest of tests for Town, whose manager Tony Murphy is busy building a squad that can challenge for promotion from Division Two next season. On Tuesday August 1, the highly-rated Altrincham Youth side will visit to play against Town reserves, who are effectively last season's cup-winning youth team following a club restructure".

    Postings on the Marine Forum suggest that Alty's game at Marine on 29 July may be in doubt. A posting says, "We have had new drains put down at both sides of the pitch and despite the fact that some of us have been down with watering cans to enhance the sprinklers I think it will be several weeks before the grass comes through. We are not the only ones with these sort of problems as the hot weather has played havoc with pitches throughout the country". Another writer adds, "I asked Chairman Paul the exact same question on Tuesday night before the quiz & he assured me the club are doing everything within their power to make sure the game will be played. I'm sure all will be revealed at Monday night's AGM". Last Monday Marine announced - "It is with extreme disappointment that we have today advised Tranmere that our pitch will not be ready for the game a week on Saturday (22nd July)".


    At Southport, "Kevin Lee and Paul Martin are among forty trialists to have participated in pre-season training to date and [manager Paul] Cook has made no secret of their encouraging initial impressions or his desire to sign them. Having joined Wigan Athletic as a trainee in 2004, Lee became a reserve team regular at the JJB Stadium before fleeting spells on loan at Accrington Stanley and Blackpool last season. Martin, meanwhile, spent the majority of the campaign sidelined by a back injury having reportedly been close to a breakthrough at Tranmere Rovers, where he had been since the age of twelve... The Sandgrounders are also allegedly pursuing Barrow midfielder James Olsen... Olsen, a former Liverpool schoolboy, spent four years at Tranmere before short stays at Macclesfield Town and Altrincham" says NL Daily

    And there is confirmation of another new face at Southport from Hucknall Town, "Hugh McAuley has gone to Southport and Lee Morris is believed to be joining Stalybridge Celtic". IC Southport adds that Southport boss Paul Cook "gave a number of his younger hopefuls a trial at Chorley on Tuesday night with several impressing. Cook and coaches John Durnin and Mike Marsh now have to whittle down the bumper squad of ex-Football League apprentices. On Tuesday night Southport beat Chorley 4-0. Scorers were Aaron McConville, Paul Hart, Steve Daly and Dan Bromilow... The midfield is looking like the first element to come to shape with potential quality in new signing Mark Boyd, plus Carl Baker, Liam Blakeman, Michael Powell and Robbie Booth".

    Our first league opponents in August, Stevenage Borough, have completed a double signing. Striker Tony Thorpe joins from Colchester United and winger Craig Dobson joins from Cambridge City. Both join Boro on two-year contracts... Former Luton man Thorpe (pictured), 32 was the subject of a £1m move to Bristol City and an £800,000 move to Fulham.... Dobson is a 22-year-old pacy right sided winger who won the Nike UK Free Skills competition five years ago and has played his recent football at Lewes and Cambridge City after appearing briefly for Barnet. Boro agreed a small four-figure fee with Cambridge for his transfer".

    "Cambridge United defender Michael Morrison has the chance of joining Chelsea after going on trial with the Premiership giants", says the Football Conference. Morrison has had trials recently with Watford and Newcastle United. But Cambridge boss Rob Newman [said]... 'He's a Cambridge player and he appreciates that, so after this spell at Chelsea he'll concentrate on being here'".

    The BBC states that "Crewe have handed a one-year contract to triallist Darren Kempson... Defender, 22-year-old Kempson, joins the club from non-league side Morecambe".

    Bullsnews reports that "Kidderminster Harriers have give one time Bulls loanee Brian Smikle a chance to shine at Aggborough.The former West Brom player, released in May, was part of the Halifax squad to make the play-off final in May after tasting Conference action with the Bulls the year before. Smikle [recently] played the second half as Kidderminster defeated Gloucester City 5-1, scoring the fourth".

    Bullsnews also has an insight into the world of League Two, to which Conference clubs aspire. Boston manager Steve Evans is quoted as saying, "I know of at least 11 clubs in League Two that have a playing budget of around £1.5 million. When you look at Darlington's (£250,000) offer for the boy Bridges, it really does show what the likes of Boston United are up against. We have a team budget of £575,000 and out of that, we pay our travel and any accommodation costs we may have over the season. I accept that we are one of the smallest clubs in League Two, if not the smallest". Bullsnews adds that promoted Hereford United's "budget for this season is estimated... to be around £750,000".

    14 July 2006


    Altrincham FC announce that the 2006-07 season tickets will be ready for collection today (Friday). Those which have been ordered through the post will start to be despatched today as well. Don't forget that Alty season tickets admit you free to the home friendlies. For season ticket details, click here


    Grahame Rowley writes, "If you can spare any time between 10am and noon this Saturday, before setting off for the Cammell Laird away game at 3pm, help is required with painting and general jobs around the ground. Also, we have now bought our own catering van that is situated at the away end for next season, all proceeds going to the club. Chips and other food will be available and home fans will be able to get to this facility through the gates with a 'pass-out' ticket".


    Alty's next friendly is on Saturday (15th) when, for the third year running they travel to Rock Ferry, Birkenhead, to take on Cammell Laird FC, a club which is rising rapidly through the non-league pyramid. For directions, see the Friendlies Page. It's then a busy week with games on Tuesday at Kidsgrove (7.30pm), Wednesday at home to FC United of Manchester (7.45) and Thursday, away at Trafford FC (7.30). The above link gives full details.

    "Former British Universities' goalkeeper Tim Mullock is contemplating a comeback with Kidsgrove Athletic. The 26-year-old, who took part in the 2002 World Student Games in Japan, has played little football for 18 months, but turned out for Kidsgrove in their 2-2 friendly draw against Nationwide Conference National outfit Northwich Victoria on Monday. He said: 'I've been concentrating on my tiling business, so I'm feeling my way back into football. I have not done much training and I've not signed for anyone... But I really enjoyed the Northwich game and was impressed with the Kidsgrove squad'... Mullock completed two league and cup doubles with Hyde United after a previous spell with Kidsgrove four years ago. He said: 'Kidsgrove is a completely different club from when I was there before. They have some good lads and I can see them as a team to watch'. Kidsgrove had attracted goalkeeper Tony McMillan from Lancaster City, but he has now joined Rossendale United. Joint-manager Paul Ogden said: 'We are trying to whet Tim Mullock's appetite. He is not on trial with us - we are on trial with him', rpeortd This is Staffs.


    Relegated Scarborough are reported to have former Halifax Town midfielder Craig Midgley on trial.

    NL Daily confirms that "Forest Green Rovers have secured the services of Wycombe Wanderers` striker Charlie Griffin on a twelve-month loan deal. The Bath-born forward returns to The Lawn after previously enjoying a season-long spell with Rovers between April 2004 and May 2005".

    Elsewhere NL Daily reports that Mossley have suffered a setback in the build up to the UniBond League Premier Division campaign. Captain and central defender Danny Meadowcroft has moved to Morecambe. Meadowcroft initially joined Mossley at the age of 17 in a loan deal from Stockport County, where he was a trainee... [and then] spent almost two years at Seel Park".

    The Football Conference says that "Grays Athletic have shocked their supporters with news that teenage sensation Gary Hooper has been released. The 18-year-old came to prominence last season, scoring eight goals in 16 starts from the midfield but this was not enough to convince manager Mark Stimson [actually Stimson is now manager of Stevenage!] to retain his services... He is currently on trial at Barnet... Grays turned down a transfer bid from Championship side Reading last season but in a complete turnaround he has been released on a free transfer". But Grays Athletic have confirmed he signing of Lee Boylan, from troubled Canvey Island; he has signed a one-year contract.

    The BBC states that "Portsmouth have appointed veteran defender Paul Groves from Stafford Rangers as their reserve-team coach. Groves, 40, helped Stafford win the Conference North title last season after spells with York and Scunthorpe".

    Also in the Midlands, "Tamworth are set to winger John McGrath... after a spell with Weymouth last season. The 26-year-old has also had previous stints at Doncaster and Kidderminster after beginning his footballing career with Aston Villa. Tamworth manager Mark Cooper has also snapped up 22-year-old striker Steve Burton, following his departure from Crawley Town".

    13 July 2006


    "Southport manager Paul Cook has added former Liverpool midfielder Mike Marsh to his backroom staff" reports the BBC. And he joins a growing band at Haig Avenue for NL Daily adds that "Life as part of Southport’s new-look management team may barely be seven days old for John Durnin, but it is the opportunity to rekindle past glories on the pitch that represents his most immediate task...The scorer of over 100 professional goals for seven different teams, Durnin, 42, has been a regular fixture in the formidable Liverpool legends side since retiring from League football in 2001... Twelve months after starting out at amateur side Waterloo Dock, Durnin signed for Liverpool in 1985, but although he became a regular for the reserve side, the boyhood dream was tempered by a solitary League Cup appearance for Kenny Dalglish's side.... A twelve-year stint in the second tier of English football [followed] with a move to Oxford United, where forty-one goals from 161 appearances prompted a £200,000 move to Portsmouth... He top-scored for Kidderminster Harriers with nine goals during their first season as a League side, before assuming a player-coach role at Rhyl and eventually signing off by representing Port Vale and then Accrington Stanley. Although his exact role in Haig Avenue set-up is as yet unspecified, Durnin accompanied new manager Paul Cook to Stanley’s pre-season fixture against Burnley last Saturday and is expected to work alongside Gary Brabin, who agreed a player-coach role with the previous regime. "

    "Blyth Spartans' hopes of making an impact in their first Nationwide Conference North campaign could receive a blow from former Newcastle United boss Jim Smith. The `Bald Eagle`, back where his career began at Oxford United, has swooped to take Blyth's top scorer Robbie Dale on a month's trial. And the offer of a contract for the 6ft 6in striker would complete a meteoric rise for the 22-year-old, who only joined Blyth from Arngrove Northern League Second Division club Ryton last season... He has scored 33 goals in 56 appearances since moving to Croft Park... Dale said: 'Oxford will be full-time in the Conference and, hopefully, I'll do enough to earn a contract. It's been quite easy so far.. It'll be up to Jim Smith whether he wants me in the squad. He's a man of few words, but when he does speak everyone listens'.. Blyth chairman Tom Hedley said: 'I don't think Dale will sign for a club outside the Football League, but if he did go we'd be looking for a five-figure fee after the season he had at Blyth'" reports IC Newcastle.

    "Swindon Town's youth team manager Ian Woan is set to leave The County Ground to take up a first-team coaching role at Rushden & Diamonds... where he teams up with ex-Forest manager Paul Hart and coach Ian Bowyer, on Thursday" says NL Daily.

    York City confirm that "Three players have signed contracts with the Minstermen [recently] for next season in a very busy day at Kit Kat Crescent. Mark Convery, Neil Bishop & Nathan Peat have all put pen to paper to become Billy McEwan's latest signings... All three players were regulars for City last season and have been back in training since the end of June".

    At Woking manager "Glenn Cockerill... has been in talks with Charlie Griffin from Wycombe Wanderers and had come to an agreement with the player over a move to Woking. Glenn confirmed that the talks had gone smoothly and that the deal was firmly in place with both Wycombe and the player, and as far as all parties were concerned, he would be playing for the Cards for the 2006/07 season. However, Griffin asked for an extra day before putting pen to paper and, in what Glenn feels is a 'shock move', he did a sudden u-turn on the deal and has now signed for Forest Green Rovers. Griffin's unexpected change of heart is likely to be a result of location, since he lives close to Forest Green.... The Woking Manager went on to say that despite this setback, both he and his assistant Matt Crossley will continue to work hard to find the right players that they want to join the Woking squad".

    Meanwhile "Forest Green manager Gary Owers feels the club's facilities have played a major part in him recruiting seven new players for the forthcoming season. The Lawn was demolished over the summer and a new stadium has been built. Owers told BBC Radio Gloucestershire 'Last season we didn't have the best stadium in the league, some people were hesitant about coming here but there are no problems there this year'".

    In a recent friendly, Stafford Rangers "gained a draw at Rocester with a late equaliser from substitute Dave Walker. That goal, scored in the 82nd minute after good work by Jamie Phoenix, cancelled out a penalty scored 12 minutes after the restart by Rocester's Chris Rowley. Starting line-up: Williams, Rowling, Talbott, McAughtrie, Daniel, Lovatt, Downes, Street, Grayson, Murray, R. Gibson.". Phoenix was briefly at Altrincham player a couple of seasons ago.

    The Argus reports that Crawley manager "John Hollins has named an impressive line-up for Crawley's pre-season opener, dismissing fears that the crisis-club would be unable to raise a side... Hollins has revealed a strong side made up of those who have remained - Danny Brown, Dave Woozley, Tony Scully, Lee Blackburn and Ben Judge - plus players recently released by other clubs. Former Manchester City, Birmingham and Portsmouth defender Scott Hiley is the most high profile. The 37-year-old has been released by Exeter and will play alongside another former Grecian Jake Edwards. Striker Ben Strevens, who played for Barnet in League Two last season, is due to turn out as well as former Southend and Oxford forward Mark Rawle. Crawley cannot sign any new players until after administrator Rob Sadler meets with the club's creditors on July 25. They must have at least 11 players registered by July 28 or face heavy punishment by the Conference. Hollins... said: 'I have been calling in a few favours and using my contacts and these are just some of the names we have got at the moment. We can't keep any of them until the administrator has sorted things out and we know that if somebody sees them do well against Millwall they will take them but that is the way it is... There will be more to come if things sort themselves out. We could have a couple of crackers but we will have to see what happens'. Hollins is hoping the line-up will stop fans boycotting the game. The Supporters' Trust have urged people to protest outside the Broadfield Stadium in a bid to force owners Chas and Azwar Majeed to leave"

    12 July 2006


    Altrincham's friendly at Bangor City, set for 5 August, has been cancelled. For a revised list of friendlies, click here.


    Alty travel to Kidsgrove for a friendly next Tuesday. This Is Staffs reports that "Kidsgrove Athletic joint manager Paul Ogden pronounced himself satisfied after his team held Northwich Victoria to a 2-2 pre-season friendly draw at the Stan Brown Stadium last night. New Kidsgrove recruit Micky Lennon twice put the UniBond League outfit in front, but Northwich hit back through Carlos Rocca and Paul Brayson. Ogden said: 'We played a defensive system at first - you have to be scared of Conference teams - but we played very well and so went to a 4-4-2 formation... We have another stiff test against Hyde United on Thursday and Altrincham next week'".

    On Saturday (15th) Alty are away at Cammell Laird who report that "In the last few days [they] have scooped two major signings in their quest for Unibond League success... Ex-Blackburn Rovers defender Michael Cole has signed from neighbours Skelmersdale United for an undisclosed fee. Michael has a reputation for pinpoint accuracy in his passing and set piece play. The other signing, again from Skelmersdale United is Ex Preston North End and Morecambe midfielder Tony Hallam. Strong in the air and a skillful tackler Tony will be a welcome addition to the Lairds' squad. Lairds' assistant manager Paul Conboy in a statement said; "Our squad is pretty much unchanged from the one that did so well last season and the addition of Michael and Tony will enhance our chances of maintaining our rise up the football pyramid". Also, "Cammell Lairds are pleased to announce that prolific scorer Ronnie 'Rocket' Morgan has signed an extension to his contract.. Ronnie, top scorer in the last two championship winning seasons, has amassed an incredible 147 goals in the last three seasons and hopes to take that form into the Unibond League... A club statement said; 'We know that several league clubs have had their eye on Ronnie for a while now, we regard it as a bit of a coup to be able to hold on to Ronnie in the face of that competition'". Pictured left is Aaron Wilford, then a trialist with Altrincham, who scored the only goal of the pre-season match against Lairds on 19th July 2005.


    Barrow report that former Alty left-winger "James Olsen has been offered the chance to go full time at Southport so we have withdrawn the offer of a contract for him". The Confguide Forum confirms that "Midfielder James Olsen (right) has left to take up an offer at Southport to go full-time. Olsen had been offered a contract at Barrow, but manager Phil Wilson cancelled the offer so Olsen could take up his dream of full-time football. He turned down a move to Stalybridge last season". Olsen played 5(+4) games for Alty last season in the Conference and scored once, at Aldershot Town. Moving out of Southport is Earl Davis who has "transferred to Hyde United F.C. for an undisclosed fee. Everyone at Southport Football Club wish Earl every success at his new club".

    The BBC reports that "Wrexham boss Denis Smith has three more players on trial at the Racecourse Ground... [One of whom is] released Crewe striker Kyle Wilson", who played 4(+2) games for Alty last season on loan from Crewe Alexandra.


    NL Daily says that "Steve Scoffham has emerged as the favourite to end Nigel Clough's quest to bolster his strike force at Burton Albion. The forward, who turns 23 on Wednesday, had only a gashed eyebrow to show for his trouble in a 45 minute appearance for the Brewers in Saturday’s 5-1 defeat by Birmingham City at the Pirelli Stadium... The Brewers' boss said: 'Steve is definitely in contention and we would like to have a longer look at him... He’ll be with us this week and will play against Wolves on Saturday...The top strikers in the Conference have gone into the League — Justin to Peterborough, Andy Bishop to Bury and Chris Moore to Brentford. That is an indication of how good the Conference is and we possibly have to look at players coming in the other direction'... Clough seems less likely to pursue his interest in midfield pair Justin Walker and Lee Thompson. He explained: 'I’m not quite sure where we could fit either of them into the squad. By the end of this summer, we’ll probably have turned down an entire team of players who we would have taken in the past'", he told the Burton Mail.

    The Football Conference says that "Mark Cooper, manager of Tamworth FC, will be running the rule over veteran Carl Muggleton as he looks to add a goalkeeper to his squad. The 37-year-old stopper started his career with Leicester City as an apprentice and has gone on to play for 15 different clubs... Cooper is looking for a new goalkeeper following Scott Bevan's switch to Kidderminster Harriers recently".

    But "Stevenage have dismissed rumours that Crystal Palace are keen to sign midfielder George Boyd, who has also been linked with Leeds... Boss Mark Stimson said: 'That is the first I have heard of it, although there could have been some interest in George last season, before I took over... George has the ability to play at a higher level, but we are desperate not to lose him, because he is a phenomenal talent'".

    "The Crawley Town FC supporters' group who call themselves 'Devils' Trust', are preparing a £100,000 bid as they look to take control of Broadfield Stadium. The Majeed brothers, who are the current owners, are close to steering the club out of administration but the supporters group feel that intervention is needed to get the club back on track. The Trust has received big-money pledges and could link up with former Bishops Stortford owner John Goodwin, who staked a claim to buy the Sussex outfit back in March. 'Everyone who has and understanding of the current situation will be aware that there is no real future under the present ownership', a Trust spokesman said".

    The unofficial Shaymen website says that "Chris Wilder made one of the most important signings of the summer on Tuesday when Assistant Wayne Jacobs put pen to paper on a new 2-year deal. The former Bradford City defender joined the Shaymen last summer after Sean McAuley shocked the club by quitting... The manager is obviously keen on continuity with Lee Butler also agreeing a new deal. Butler is now in his third spell at The Shay and the popular goalkeeper will continue in his dual role of goalkeeper coach and back up to the first choice shot stopper. He also plays a vital role in the dressing room with squad morale".

    a href="">Hereford Bulls News confirms that "The FA Cup prize money on offer this season has risen in the early rounds for the first time in three years. £16,000 will now be on offer to First Round winners, and £24,000 to Second Round winners, up from £12,500 and £18,000 respectively. 687 teams have entered this season's cup".

    11 July 2006


    On behalf of Altrincham FC, Mike Healing is organising the coming season's player sponsorship. For just £150 you can sponsor any player at Altrincham FC and you will receive that player's signed shirt at the end of the season. You may sponsor either the home or away shirt, or both. If you either sponsor both home and away shirts of one player or one shirt each for two different players, there is a discount of £50, meaning that you pay £250, not £300. To arrange your player sponsorship, please ring Mike on 07989 091689, or contact the club on 0161 928-1045.

    Meanwhile don't forget that you can bid for last season's shirt of Altrincham first team players, in an auction arranged by Grahame Rowley. Bids start at £50.


    An Altrincham season ticket is a real bargain, with adult prices starting at just £170 - and on top of gaining admission to 23 Conference National games, the season ticket will also admit you free to all the home friendlies in pre-season which include visits by teams from Manchester City, Bolton Wanderers and FC United. For the FC United game on 19 July the gate prices for those without season tickets will be £7 (adults) and £2 (concessionaries). It is now hoped that the season tickets will be available before the FC United game.


    Altrincham FC are delighted to announce that the Phoenix Cheerleaders will be in attendance at our home games. Coached by Claire Hinds from Timperley, the 'team' have recently performed at the Trafford Centre.They will be making their debut at the FCUM game on Wednesday 19th July. Anyone interested in joing the team should contact Claire on 07739-508484. The Cheerleaders have a website for more information.


    NL Daily confirms that "Along with striker Jody Banim, Droylsden have made another excellent signing ahead of the new campaign. Steve Jagielka has arrived at the Butcher`s Arms from newly-promoted Coca-Cola League Two outfit Accrington Stanley".


    The Football Conference says that "Burton Albion have handed a trial to former Lincoln City midfielder Justin Walker. The 30-year-old midfielder was released by Chester City at the end of last season".

    The BBC reports that "Defender Michael Morrison has returned to Cambridge United after Newcastle boss Glenn Roeder opted not to pursue his interest in the 18-year-old. Morrison spent ten days training with Newcastle but was not offered a deal. 'Glenn said they don't think he's quite ready and it would be too big a gamble for them at the moment', Cambridge boss Rob Newman told the club's website. 'He's back with us and he's been invited to another Premiership club on trial, which is testament to the lad'".

    Tamworth report that "Mark Cooper's squad is taking shape and below is a list of signed players and current trialists...

  • Signed: Adie Smith, Michael Tuohy, David Bampton, Matthew Redmile, Emmit Friars, Graham Ward, Kyle Storer, Jon Stevenson, Matthew Williams, Mark Cooper, Alan Neilson and Richard Dryden
  • Trialists / not signed: Sean Bowles, Matthew Ghent, Carl Muggleton, Richard Munday, Danny Douglas, Matthew Brown (ex Adders), Ezekeil Tomlinson (ex-Stockport & WBA), Shaun Ridgway, Marcus Ebdon and Steve Burton".
    10 June 2006


    Alty manager Graham Heathcote is relinquishing his other role at Moss Lane, as Club Secretary, to allow him to concentrate more on playing matters and the acquisition of new players. The new Club Secretary, from 24 July, will be Derek Wilshaw, who will be known to Moss Lane regulars as the voice most likely to answer the phone when they ring the ground. Derek has been giving many hours a week to the administration of the club for many years and, as a result, is very well versed in the running of the club. We wish him well in his new role.


    The Club is keen to hear from anyone interested in either of the following voluntary matchday posts, both of which will allow you to complete your duties before kick off and will then permit you to have free entry to see all the action on the pitch:
  • Front Doorperson - whose role is to staff the main entrance at Moss Lane before matches and to admit those with valid passes. This vacancy arises because the present postholder, Keith Davey, will be occupied in overseeing the ground catering operations in the coming season.
  • Car Park Supervisor - whose role is to ensure that those with car park passes are admitted and to admit other vehicles as space permits.

    Please contact the club offices (928-1045) as soon as possible if you are interested in either of these positions.


    Congratulations to the winner of the Altrincham FC World Cup competition, Campbell McLay, whose team Italy lifted the trophy in Berlin. Campbell will be known to Alty fans as the man who runs the programme section in the Robins' Shop. He wins a £100 prize.

    Completing a Robins' Shop double is Jenny Heslop, manageress of the shop, who won the Altrincham FC Bonus Ball rollover prize of £50 when Saturday's National Lottery produced number thirteen as the bonus ball.

    For more on all of Altrincham FC's fundraising competitions and ventures, please click here. By taking part you not only stand a chance to win prizes but also helping the club.


    NL Daily has a summary of the Middlesex Wanderers' tour of Botswana. The Wanderers are an invitation team who undertake an overseas tour each year and this time Alty's Stuart Coburn was one of the squad. Amongst the rest of the squad were four from Southport and three from Dagenham & Redbridge.


    Alty Youth's leading scorer last season, Ben Deegan, celebrates his 18th birthday this Thursday (13th) and the management and club send him their congratulations.


    Gil Roberts, spokeswoman for Crawley Town criticised fans threatening to boycott the club's games in protest against the owners, the SA Retail group and its owners the Majeed brothers. She said, "Everyone is blaming the owners. But what are they (the fans) doing to help? They are actively contradicting the cause that they are fighting for. But the supporters' Devils' Trust spokesman, Anthony Weller countered that the Majeeds "have no place in football... There is no other course of action than to actively work with the authorities to have them removed from the football club". Meanwhile, Chas Majeed, "has been arrested on suspicion of assault causing actual bodily harm... following an alleged incident in High Street, Crawley last Saturday... Chas was bailed to appear at Crawley police station on August 15".

    NL Daily reports that "Fleetwood Town have announced the signing of Lee Dodgson from neighbours Morecambe".

    The Football Conference says that "Chester City have completed a raid on Exeter City to snatch midfielder Glenn Cronin from the Nationwide Conference National side. Former Ireland Under-18 player Cronin, 24, progressed via the youth ranks at Exeter and now signs on a two-year deal at the Deva Stadium. Cronin was sidelined with a knee injury during the 2004/05 season, but on his return to action last term he claimed the Exeter player of the year award".

    "Canvey Island striker Lee Boylan admits he still has dreams of playing in the Football League despite the red tape prolonging his stay at Park Lane. Boylan has been linked with a number of Conference clubs since the Gulls' end of season demise and has revealed he is in talks with 'at least one' League side. Boylan told The NLP: 'I'm still under contract with Canvey and I'm in the process of finalising things there. That's the problem at the moment. I can't take my conversations with any other club any further because I've got to wait and see what happens with my forms. It's frustrating because I really don't know what's going to happen or how long it,s going to take".

    "Wolverhampton & Dudley Breweries are delighted to announce a 2 year shirt sponsorship agreement with Northwich Victoria. Marston Smooth, the official beer of the Nationwide Conference will take pride of place on the shirts of the newly promoted Champions. We believe this will be a fantastic partnership with Marstons, a National name, proud heritage and excellent quality, working with a club with the same characteristics. The club has show a huge desire and passion to succeed, and the substantial investment they have put into the new ground development to make it one of the best stadiums in the league, is testimony to that" said Phil Barnett, Sales Director for WDB Brands".

    Burton Albion's pitch, which had drainage problems last season, has been relaid and, reportedly, it came through Saturday's friendly against Birmingham City well. Meanwhile, Forest Green's new stadium is set to be inaugurated next week and there is also a possibility that Bristol Rovers may play there in 2007-08 as they seek a ground whilst their own stadium is refurbished.

    9 June 2006


    The World Cup Final wil be broadcast on the big screen at Moss Lane tonight. Kick off is 7pm but the bar is open an hour earlier. Everybody welcome.


    For the third successive season that Alty have played in the Conference, they face Stevenage Borough on the opening day of the campaign (August 12th). In 2005, Alty lost 0-3 at Broadhall Way on the opening day and in 1999 went down 0-1 at Moss Lane. Alty's team back in 1999 was Coburn, Hodson, D. Adams, Timons, Ellender, Talbot, Gallagher, Kielty, Russell, Burke and Ellison, with the bench comprising Landon, Greygoose, Lovelock, Hemmings and Chambers. Three of Alty's players have since plied their trade in the League (Adams, Ellender and Ellison) and only Coburn and Talbot are still at Moss Lane (though both have been away in the interim).

    The Herts-Essex News quotes Stevenage boss Mark Stimson: "It will be a very difficult league with a lot of big games against tough teams. We're not looking any further forward than winning our first game against Altrincham. You can only win three points from any one game so they are all just as important. The only thing we're concerned with is being ready to handle anything thrown at us on the opening day". Borough's first pre-season game is on Tuesday against Crystal Palace. Meanwhile, "Stimson is still looking to add a right winger and a centre forward to the squad, and may take a closer look at several trialists in forthcoming friendlies. He added: 'The pre-season games will help build the players' fitness and understanding of what I want from them, which is to enjoy the ball when they've got it and work extremely hard when they haven't'".


    All numbers except 20 and 40 have been taken in the Altrincham FC Bonus Ball Competition run by Paul Daine. Please e-mail Paul if you wish to join the fundraising competition.


    TNS, The Welsh Premier club, now known as "The New Saints" started their European campaign on Saturday, beating Glentoran, away, 2-1, thanks to a winner from former Alty man, John Toner. Another ex-Robin scoring yesterday was Alex Hay, now at Rhyl, in a pre-season game against West Kirby.


    Steve Jagielka has joined Droylsden from Accrington Stanley.


    NL Daily says that "Burton Albion`s fans will have to wait for their first glimpse of the goalkeeper Nigel Clough has lined up for the new campaign. Crewe Alexandra stopper Stuart Tomlinson was due to make his debut at the start of a season-long loan in Saturday`s prestige friendly against Birmingham City at the Pirelli Stadium, but an injury picked up by the 21-year-old on Alex's training camp in Portgual will keep Tomlinson on the sidelines for at least a week... Clough, however, has so far drawn a blank in his search for a replacement and veteran goalkeeper coach Martin Taylor is on stand-by to appear in Saturday's game... Albion's squad will include at least three triallists — defender Danny Holmes and midfield pair Lee Thompson and Justin Walker. Burton-born Holmes has been released by Port Vale, while ex-Chester man Walker and former Kidderminster Harriers player Thompson are both looking for new clubs. Clough is waiting to hear whether striker Steve Scoffham will join up with the squad. The former Notts County striker is on trial with the Brewers, but has not trained since Tuesday because of a family tragedy" reports the Burton Mail. Albion lost 5-1 to Birmingham.

    FromThis is Exeter we learn that "Former Exeter City duo Scott Hiley and Jake Edwards have both spent a week attempting to relaunch their Conference careers with Crawley Town. But the experienced pair have been left in limbo following their week in West Sussex as the Red Devils can't sign any players because of their ongoing off-field woes. Crawley manager John Hollins invited right-back Hiley and striker Edwards to join a handful of trialists and the seven remaining contracted players - including ex-Grecian Tony Scully - at the club's first week of pre-season training". Hollins admitted "Scott and Jake both came up for a week but they have gone again now. It's like everything else for me at the moment, I've just got to wait and see what happens with the club... But we can't sign anybody or pay anybody. I'm having to take things day-by-day and just try to operate as a normal football club... Meanwhile, dialogue between Exeter City and Tottenham Hotspur in regard to compensation for Alex Inglethorpe is ongoing".

    The Football Conference says that "Former Gills' skipper Chris Hope, who was released at the end of last season, has put pen to paper on a two year deal with Rushden and Diamonds.The 33-year-old spent six seasons at Priestfield and made over 250 appearances for the Gills scoring 15 goals. He was an ever present under Andy Hessenthaler when he was a rock in the back four". Hart said, "He is a gutsy battler who shows great leadership".

    This is York reports that "Bryan Stewart has made it clear that he is still pursuing a career in professional football despite turning down a contract for next season at York City. The 19-year-old winger is currently training with Stalybridge Celtic and is on the lookout for another club after leaving KitKat Crescent. Stewart, who signed first-year professional terms last summer, rejected a new deal with City after the club refused to give him a pay rise but he has corrected comments made by youth development director Steve Beck in a press release that he is now seeking a profession outside of football. He said: 'The club offered me the same terms as last season. I asked for a rise and they have said they could not afford to do that. The money I am being offered makes it hard for me to live on so I asked for my release papers but I never said I was looking for a new career and I still want to be a professional footballer'".

    IC Southport says that "boss Paul Cook has made a pre-season plea for the club's fans to be patient as he radically rebuilds the Southport squad... The words from Cook are cautionary: 'We are all building for that first game of the season at home to Woking. That is what it is all about. We will be ready then. Results in pre-season are not the priority'... The club's full-time squad will be virtually all changed and the highly experienced coach is not prepared to rush and regret as he needs real quality in a squad that, according to the new Haig Avenue supremo, will be a competitive force in the Nationwide Conference. Cook added: 'The training has gone very well so far. A number of lads have come in and I will be assessing them in the next couple of weeks'.

    A Tamworth fan on the Conference Forum gives an interesting review on the Conference clubs' grounds. These include:

  • Aldershot - Old ground but with character. best home support in the league by a country mile.
  • Altrincham - Strange looking ground but does have a fairly good atmosphere. Friendly fans who do tend to generate a fair bit of noise. Fairly decent town with some good old fashioned boozers.
  • Cambridge Utd - Parts of the ground old fashioned but I thought the away stand was the best in the league. Friendly locals.
  • Crawley Town - Nice ground, one side uncovered small terrace but on the whole ok. Fans were quiet and they seem to attract a few chavs.
  • Dagenham & Redbridge - Very friendly and welcoming fans.
  • Exeter - Away stand is possibly the worst in the league.
  • Halifax Town - Best ground in the league in my opinion (well once they finally finish that seating stand).
  • Southport - Strange looking ground, mainly open with a big seating stand on the side.
  • Woking - Odd looking ground, 3-4 stands on one side from memory, a seating stand behind one goal that wouldn't look out of place in The Championship... Supporters superb.
  • York City - old football league ground with character, can also create a good atmosphere.

    Unconfirmed admission prices at other Conference grounds this season include:

  • Southport: Seated - Adults £12.50; Concessionaries £8.50; Standing -adults £11, Concessionaries £7.50. Under 11s accompanied by an adult - free
  • Tamworth: Seated - Adults £13, Concessionaries £9; Standing - Adults £11, Concessionaries £6
    8 June 2006


    The Lancashire League, in which Altrincham Reserves play, has ben restructured into two divisions, West and East. Altrincham have been out into the eastern section so six of their nine league opponents this season hail actually from Yorkshire (Goole Town, Wakefield, Ossett Albion, Ossett Town, Farsley Celtic and Guiseley), the other three being Woodley Sports, Rossendale United and Hyde United. The season starts on 19th August but the fixtures have yet to be drawn up. It is believed that there will be a cup competition as well. Altrincham Reserves, managed by Neil Brown (right), expect to play their home games either on Wednesday evenings or Saturday afternoons, at Moss Lane.


    The FA Youth Cup First Qualifying Round puts Altrincham at home to either Midlands side Handsworth United or Holker Old Boys from Cumbria. Ties must only be played in the week commencing Monday 25 September 2006. If successful, Alty would be away to Winsford United or Worksop Town in w/c 9 October 2006. The 3rd QR is a fortnight later, the week commencing Monday 23 October 2006 and if they reach it, Alty would be at home to one of Workington or Vauxhall Motors or Ashville or Morecambe.


    The BBC says that "Forest Green Rovers boss Gary Owers has signed three central defenders, who have all agreed one-year contracts. The experienced Tony Butler, 33, joins after being released by Blackpool... Rovers have also signed Chris Giles, 24, on a free from crisis club Crawley, and Matthew McEntegart, 22, for an undisclosed fee from Chippenham Town. Australian McEntegart had also been targeted by Newport County. With Crawley in administration, all of their players are seeking new clubs. Giles was one of only five players to report for pre-season training, but his contract has now been cancelled to allow him to move to Forest Green".

    "Aldershot Town have completed the signing of defender Rhys Day. The 23-year-old Welsh centre-back moves from Mansfield Town, where he was one of eight players released... Day began his career at Mancehster City... He joined Mansfield in 2003 after an initial loan spell, and made over 100 league appearances for the Stags".

    "Cambridge United are poised to sign former Rochdale full-back Tommy Jaszczun, subject to a medical. The 28-year-old played 16 times on loan for the U's last season, and recently had the last year of his Dale contract terminated by mutual consent. 'He did well for us last season, so I'm hopeful we will have him on board', boss Rob Newman told the club website".

    . "Rushden & Diamonds have appointed Tony Godden as their full-time goalkeeping coach... The 50-year-old enjoyed a prolific playing career, including spells at West Bromwich Albion, Birmingham City and Chelsea".

    The BBC also reports that "Stafford Rangers' manager Phil Robinson hopes the winning habit will help his side gain a foothold in the Conference. Stafford are preparing for their first season at the highest level of non-league for 11 years". The boss said, "We have retained the players we wanted to. We have got the bulk of last season's squad", he told BBC Sport. "These players proved in the FA Trophy last season that we could compete against teams in the Conference. The players have got a good spirit and desire and hopefully we will take a winning mentality into next season. We beat Forest Green and Morecambe and drew with Woking, although we are aware that playing relentlessly against Conference opposition is a different proposition. We are under no illusions that it's going to be a difficult first season for us... I look at it as the Premiership being out on its own and then four divisions and the Conference is the fourth division. It has moved on incredibly since Stafford Rangers were in it before - I speak to other managers and I'm amazed how far the Conference has come. I'm proud that Stafford are now going to be playing at that level... Season-ticket sales have doubled and there is a big buzz around town". However, like Altrincham and St Alban's City, "Stafford will remain as one of the league's few part-time clubs. 'We know we will be up against it doing it that way. But it has to be evolution rather than revolution', Robinson added. 'If we maintain our status at this level then hopefully that (full-time) is the way we are going to go'".

    NL Daily says that "Experienced defender Chris Hope is due to become Rushden & Diamonds' fifth summer signing. The 33-year-old centre half... is set to sign on a free transfer at Nene Park after being released by Gillingham... Hope has agreed a deal with Diamonds to join fellow new boys Leo Fortune-West, Glenn Wilson, Paul Watson and Jon Ashton. However, Hart is still hoping to bring in another midfielder and probably a striker as John Turner is set to leave... Utility man Ashley Nicholls has also left... Hart has brought in four trialists – Gresley Rovers hitman Aaron O'Connor, former Scunthorpe and Barrow striker Michael Rankine, ex-Nottingham Forest midfielder Andrew Rigby and Welsh under-21 international goalkeeper Kyle Letheran".

    York City "midfielder, Emmanual Panther, has signed a new contract with the Club. The Glasgow born, 22 year old, joined the Minstermen last summer and... striker Clayton Donaldson has put pen to paper", too.

    Tamworth report that "A decision has been taken by Tamworth Football Club to cancel the benefit match which had been planned for Saturday July 29 at The Lamb. Various factors have been taken into account and while the surprise news that Scott Bevan had signed for Kidderminster had a bearing, it is certainly not the sole reason for not going ahead with the game. Changes in the goalkeeper's personal circumstances plus the need to prioritise accordingly in Tamworth FC's pre-season schedule came into the equation. Local reaction and feedback regarding Bevan joining Harriers has certainly dampened enthusiasm for the benefit match which would have featured celebrities of sport and TV. A club statement said: 'The manager and officials have made no secret of their surprise and disappointment to learn that Bevan had signed elsewhere, especially after the way this club stood by him. Although Mark Cooper was aware of Kidderminster's interest, he and his assistant made it clear to Scott that should he decide to continue playing and prove his fitness, they would have been keen to sign him. The benefit match was suggested when Scott's future was uncertain but now he has signed a full time contract and will make his livelihood as a professional footballer. A large number of items were donated by many clubs to help the planned benefit game, these items will still be raffled and all monies raised will be donated to Kidney Research. Some people may be critical of the cancellation decision but we stress it was not to be a charity match. If anyone wishes to challenge this constructively and in writing, their points will be answered".

    This Is United confirms that "Oxford United are back on live TV – but they're not going to make a fortune out of it. Their game at Crawley Town has been chosen by Sky TV for live coverage... But United, who received £100,000 when their FA Cup second-round tie against Swindon Town was screened by the BBC in December 2002, are not expecting to make more than £5,000 from their screen test this time. The Conference receives a set sum from Sky TV, who show 13 live games through the season – including the play-off semi-finals and final – and then distribute this to all the clubs in the league. John Moules, chief executive of the Conference, said: 'Last season when matches were on Sky, the home team got £5,000 and the away team received £3,000. But we do have, in addition to this, an amount which we put into a pool from the TV contract, and clubs also receive a payment from that. This is obviously so that every club receives some benefit from the TV contract, even if they're not chosen for a live game. It's the first game chosen by Sky – they always select one of the relegated clubs to feature in the first live match. Last year they chose Cambridge United, and this year it's Oxford United'... Meanwhile, Moules said the dates for the Conference play-offs have yet to be finalised because of a scheduling clash with the FA Cup final and FA Trophy final. At the moment, the Conference play-off semi-finals are scheduled for Tuesday, May 1 and Saturday, May 5, with the final on May 19 or May 20. But the FA Cup final is on May 19 and the FA Trophy final on May 20".

    7 July 2006


    Graham Heathcote is one of the guests on Anthony Wilson's "Talking Sport" programme on BBC Radio Manchester tonight (Friday) between 7pm and 8pm.


    Manchester's Metro News has a curious piece about Google and Altrincham FC's website."On Google you can look up commonly used search terms and find out where the people who keyed them in live". Curiously, the article says, Portsmouth comes near the top for searches on Manchester United, Manchester City, Stockport County, Oldham Athletic and Sale Sharks and ""It's first for 'Altrincham FC' way ahead of Manchester and London".


    The Sale & Altrincham Messenger says that "Alty manager Graham Heathcote's teambuilding efforts are almost complete after he welcomed two more new faces to Moss Lane last week. Former Halifax Town pair Steve Bushell and Justin Bowler became the latest to sign, joining earlier arrivals Joe O'Neill, Peter Thomson and Robbie Lawton... He said: 'The squad is nearly there now and there will probably be departures rather than arrivals before the start of the new season. But we could probably do with bringing in one more player and I'm still hopeful of bringing in a certain player over the next couple of weeks. 'Then I will have to take a good look at the squad and after the week when we have friendlies on the Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday [29 July] I will have to make a decision on who to release. At the end of the day it's about balancing the books and we don't have the money here to keep a big squad'... Bushell's arrival, in particular, will be eagerly anticipated by Alty fans... Former Leeds youngster Bowler, meanwhile, will add much needed pace on the left flank and Heathcote is pleased with the calibre of players he has been able to attract despite his club's limited finances. 'They are certainly not coming here because we are the best paying club in the Conference', added the Alty boss. 'The profile of the club has been raised among players... We want to bring in players who want to play for the club. I know that one of the lads could have got a far better deal elsewhere but the fact that he decided to come here is a real bonus'". As for last Saturday's reverse at Woodley, Graham said, "The game on Saturday was a case of getting a feel of the ball and easing ourselves back in. We didn't look sharp but that didn't worry me because you can expect that - we'll have plenty of time to work on it before the start of the season".


    "Scarborough have parted company with manager Neil Redfearn. Redfearn and assistant Eric Winstanley opted not to stay on following the appointment of Mark Patterson to the club's coaching staff. Patterson will now hold talks with the Seasiders with a view to taking charge... 'I had a meeting with Neil and Eric about a number of issues I had about the way things were progressing', chairman Ian Scobbie told BBC Sport. 'I told them I was proposing to bring in Mark Patterson to work alongside Neil. That would have meant no place on the coaching staff for Eric, who would have been given notice under the terms of his contract. 'However, Neil indicated he was not prepared to countenance any changes to the coaching staff and both indicated they would leave the club with immediate effect'... Ex-Leigh RMI boss Patterson, 41, returns to Scarborough following an earlier spell as assistant manager".

    "Rushden & Diamonds have handed one-year professional contracts to two of their youth products, both of whom made their first-team debuts last season. Midfielders Daniel Grainger and Tom Shaw, both 19, have both penned one-year contracts at Nene Park".

    The NL Daily reports that "Leroy Rosenior, manager of Brentford, has completed the capture of Dagenham & Redbridge striker Chris Moore. The 26-year-old front man turned down a new deal with the Daggers at the end of last season".

    "Sammy McIlroy, manager of Morecambe, has added midfielders Adriano Rigoglioso and Fraser McLachlan to his squad on a permanent basis. The pair joined the Shrimps on loan last season... Rigoglioso, 27, started a second spell at Christie Park in March after being released by Doncaster Rovers. McLachlan, 23, joined from Mansfield Town at about the same time".

    "Nigel Clough, manager of Burton Albion, is ready to widen his search for new talent after finally missing out on Tom Curtis. The Chester City midfielder has ended two months of uncertainty by signing a 12-month deal with Notts County... The Brewers boss now plans to run the rule over Justin Walker, another midfielder released by Chester, and former Boston United man Lee Thompson. Walker, 30, began his career as a trainee with Nottingham Forest and has also had spells with Scunthorpe, Lincoln, Exeter and Cambridge United. Thompson, 24, is looking for a new club after being freed by Kidderminster Harriers. And Clough is also hoping to make contact with Lewis McMahon, a 21-year-old midfielder released by Notts County... Burton-born Danny Holmes is also training with the Brewers. The 19-year-old — a 6ft defender — has been released by Port Vale", says the Burton Mail.

    "Newcastle United have handed Cambridge United defender Michael Morrison a chance to impress on trial", says the Football Conference. "The 18-year-old has been at Tyneside for the past week... The young centre-half was the youngest-ever player for the U's reserves when got a run-out as a 15-year-old schoolboy".

    York City confirm that "Bryan Stewart has left York City by mutual consent. The left-sided midfielder was offered a new contract by Manager, Billy McEwan, but has instead decided to pursue a career outside football". But, "Byron Webster has today signed his first professional contract with York City... The 19 year old midfielder is a product of City’s youth development scheme and featured in the Minstermen’s first team line-up last season".

    Weymouth say that "The Terras today completed the signing of Marcus Richardson from Chester City. The centre forward... had previously played for Yeovil Town , Rochdale, Lincoln City, Hartlepool Utd , Torquay Utd, Cambridge Utd and Harrow Borough".

    This Is United reports that "Jim Smith declared himself 'very happy' with his new-look Oxford United squad as they got together... to watch as 21 professionals were put through their paces by coaches Andy Awford and Shaun North, and fitness coach Jordan Milsom. Among them were new signings Phil Gilchrist, Carl Pettefer, Eddie dhiambo-Anaclet, Gavin Johnson and Eddie Hutchinson, who only agreed a deal that morning after rejecting Swindon Town. Chris Tardif, Billy Turley and Barry Quinn were also present, having agreed new deals to stay with the club". Smith explained that "We put down a list of names at the start of the summer that we wanted to fill various positions, and we have had a 95 per cent success rate in attracting them to Oxford... We have got 21 professionals training, three of which are on trial so the squad is not the biggest, but there's quality there. I am very, very happy with the new faces... We wanted people who can adapt to this league – you have got to be aggressive and hard-working, as well as being skilful. We have probably got nine or ten players still here from last season, and that's good. I wasn't too unhappy with what I inherited, but there were some big problems. We couldn't score a goal for love nor money so we'll put that right. The defence wasn't too bad, but I didn't feel the midfield was strong enough so we've improved that. It's a much better-looking squad now, and I think the right balance is there".

    The Oxford official site confirms that "United's away game at Crawley Town will be shown live on Sky TV... and will now be played on Monday September 19". This is quite a surprising choice by Sky given that Crawley had only five of last year's squad turn up for training this week, have been docked ten points and are in financial trouble. But Sky's money will no doubt help them.

    Oxford United supporter Terry Winter has kindly provided me with some useful information for our first ever visit to Oxford United , later this season. He confirms that the price on the matchday is £18 but the booking in advance can be made by away supporters at a price of £16 (for the North Stand of the all-seater stadium). The stadium capacity is 12,500 - all under cover. The ground will take 4500 away supporters and you can sit where you like. Parking is free around the stadium which is next door to the bowling alley, cinema and Frankie and Benny's restaurant. However, if travelling by car, do not park on grass verges along the road as the police will issue parking tickets. Matchday programmes are £2.50 and all areas of the stadium have access to food and drink outlets, with Sky Sports being televised showing football results as well as other sports. Apparently the Kassam stadium is not known as such by most United fans in protest against previous chairman Firoz Kassam who bought the club when it was in the Championship (then known as the First Division) and oversaw a decline in the club's fortunes. The full ticket price details are:

  • Adults..£18 (or, in advance, £16)
  • Students with NUS Card ..£14. (or, in advance, £12.50)
  • Under 16s and Over 65s. .£11 (or, in advance, £10)
  • Under 7s.. £11 (or in advance, free).

    The ticket office phone number is: 01865 337533. No money is taken at the turnstiles as supporters have to go to the ticket office located at the front of the stadium to buy a ticket and then proceed to the relevant turnstile.

    6 July 2006


    Terry Surridge, well known at Moss Lane as an expert on the history of Altrincham FC, gave an entertaining talk last night to the Ashton on Mersey and Sale History Society. Sadly, the talk clashed with the World Cup semi-final but it seems that those who chose to watch the match would have had a more enjoyable evening listening to Terry.


    A recent query from a visiting supporter prompted the following information about the capacity at Moss Lane. The official ground capacity is 6,085 which comprises:
  • Hale (20/20) End terrace: 1,434
  • Golf Road (Debbie Dawson) terrace: 1,554
  • Popular Side terrace: 1,774
  • Main Stand and vicinity 1,133
  • Family Stand 190


    Grays Athletic report that they have signed "Adam Green, Defender - 22yrs old Trainee at Fulham in 2003, been on loan at Sheff Weds, Bournemouth and recently at Bristol City" and "Scott Canham, Midfielder - 31yrs old Trainee at West Ham 1993, played for Torquay, Brentford, Leyton Orient, Chesham, Woking and recently Farnborough"

    NL Daily says that "Aldershot Town have made an £8,000 bid for Wycombe Wanderers` striker Jonny Dixon as boss Terry Brown looks to piece together his new-look squad. The Shots chief contacted new Chairboys boss Steve Brown in the hope of forming a new three-pronged attack with Dixon leading the line with two other new boys — the experienced Marcus Gayle and Halifax Town hot shot John Grant. Dixon was on the verge of making a permanent move to The Rec in the summer after becoming a huge hit with Shots fans following two separate loan spells at the club. The deal broke down, however, in the wake of John Gorman's departure as manager and Dixon soon re-signed for Steve Brown at the Causeway... The Shots boss has revealed his intentions to unleash a new 4-3-3 formation on what he describes as 'the hardest Conference ever' this season... He said: 'We have to dig into the transfer kitty but Jonny Dixon wants to sign for us and that's the most important thing... I'm delighted with the calibre of signings we already have. John Grant is a proven scorer at this level, scoring 13 goals in a side that got to a play-off final and he even scored in that final. To nick Halifax's leading scorer is a major boost for us. Added to that, target men these days are like gold dust and after the disappointment of losing Jason Lee it says something about the ambition of the club to get someone of the calibre and pedigree of Marcus Gayle. When you've got Louie Soares and Ryan Williams on either flank you've got a decent strike force and it opens it up for me to get one more central midfield player... and we've been looking at centre halves from the Championship, League One and League Two. I'm confident we will get a decent, quality centre half in by the end of the week and another one the week after'".

    "Assistant boss Paul Buckle has reiterated his commitment to Exeter City and... new boss Paul Tisdale. Buckle has been asked to remain in his current capacity.... [He said], 'I know all the players which will be a bonus, but Paul will be making up his own mind in the end and rightly so... I assume everyone will start with a clean sheet and be looked upon with fresh eyes'... Indeed, he was relieved that he was not asked for his thoughts during the interview process, adding: 'I wasn't consulted and I didn't want to be - I made that crystal clear. I didn't apply for the job and I didn't see it as my place to say something about the new manager'... Buckle was handed a two-year playing contract at the end of last season, meaning he is assured of a place in City's squad.... 'Paul could bring someone else in, I have realised that all along'... Buckle also revealed how he advised the board not to continue talks with the summer targets lined up by former boss Inglethorpe.... but Buckle felt that the new manager should be able to shape his own squad" reports This is Exeter.

    The Football Conference. states that "Torquay United have completed the signing of midfielder Lee Mansell from Conference newcomers Oxford for an undisclosed fee... He can also play at right-back, and has agreed to sign a two-year deal at Plainmoor. The 23-year-old made 51 league and cup appearances for Oxford last season".

    York City are holding an Open Day on Sunday 16th July 2006 from 10.30am - 3.30pm. "Admission is free of charge and York City players will be in attendance. Attractions Include: Bouncy Castles, Soccer Coaching, Tenpin Bowling, Food & Drink, Raffle & Tombola, Fire Engine, Face Painting, Hair Braiding, Team Mascots, Police Bicycle 'Tagging', Social Club Bar, Free Giveaways & Many other stalls. Fun for all the Family". A similar day is being organised when Alty visit on Bonfire Day.

    Weymouth boss "Garry Hill declared himself a happy man as Weymouth's players began preparing for life in the Conference National yesterday. Last season's Conference South championship winning squad were joined by five of Hill's six summer signings... Tony James, Nick Crittenden, Richard Logan, Dean Howell and Simon Weatherstone linked up with their new team-mates for the first time... The only absentee was defender Ashley Vickers who joined Terras from Dagenham and Redbridge earlier this summer. The former Peterborough full-back works as a teacher and will link up with Hill's squad later this month". The boss said, "Full-time professionals are extremely dedicated these days and take more care of their bodies over the summer months than they used to... No longer do you have to spend the first couple of weeks of training having the players running in order to shed a few pounds... We've brought in Richard Logan (ex-Peterboro) this summer which I'm pleased about and we've got Wayne Purser back fit again now but I'm still looking to add another striker".

    5 July 2006


    Both Steve Aspinall and Gary Scott have re-signed for Altrincham FC for 2005-06. However, the next couple of weeks are likely to see some departures from Moss Lane as the wage bill is adjusted to offset the costs of the three new signings to date (Joe O'Neill, Robbie Lawton and Peter Thomson). So far, only Mark Maddox has been released from last season's squad.


    Subject to league approval, it is likely that two of Alty's fixtures will move to Sundays. These are:
  • Altrincham v Dagenham & Redbridge. This was originally scheduled for 1pm on Saturday 2 September because England have a game that afternoon. However, as the England game is at Old Trafford, Alty have agreed to the Daggers' request to move it to Sunday 3 September at 3pm to minimize travelling problems for the visitors.
  • York City v Altrincham, scheduled for Saturday 4 November at 3pm, is likely to move to Sunday, 5 November at 3pm as York City wish to hold a Family Day on the Sunday, which is Bonfire Night.


    The Stockport Express has a brief report on Alty's defeat at Woodley last Saturday. Sports' boss Ally Pickering said, "Altrincham included four or five regular first-teamers in their side and a couple of trialists but my lads have worked hard in training ... It was roasting and, to be fair, the referee asked the players if they wanted to play three 30-minute periods instead of two 45-minute halves. But Altrincham players wanted to get away for the England game which was fair enough".


    Last season's match-worn shirts are available for auction bids. The following players' shirts have already received bids, which can be topped: Coburn, Maddox, Adams, Robinson, Little and Scott. The deadline for bids is 14th July. Pictured right are Karen and Sarah Rowley with the shirts for auction. Please ring the club on 928-1045 or e-mail Grahame Rowley to record your bid.


    Directions to the next Alty friendly, away at Cammell Laird on 15th July have been added to the Friendlies Page, courtesy of Andy Wilson of Vauxhall Motors website.


    The World Cup Final will be shown on the big screen in the Noel White Suite at Moss Lane, next Sunday (k.o.7pm). The bar will open an hour before kick-off.

    83 PATRONS

    The Patrons' Club now has 83 members, to whom the club is very grateful. There is still time to add your name to the list. Details here.


    Getting on for 200 Altrincham FC season tickets have so far been ordered. Due to printing problems these may not be available till after the home pre-season games have started. If that is the case, steps will be taken to ensure that those who have bought season tickets will still get free admission to the games.


    The Argus says that "Crawley boss John Hollins says he is encouraged after five players turned up for pre-season training. Club captain Danny Brown, Dave Woozley, Tony Scully, Chris Giles and goalkeeper Phil Smith reported back yesterday after the summer break. Non-contracted player Sami El-Abd was also training along with 13 trialists. Hollins did not know how many of last season's squad would return following the Conference club's move into administration. Every player is free to leave after having their contracts breached. Hollins said: 'It was encouraging that they turned up and wanted to train... The good thing is that they are here and we have people to work with...The opener [v Rushden] is a good one and there should be a big crowd. We want the [10] points [deduction] back as quickly as possible'". Meanwhile Brighton & Hove Albion "are giving trials to... four Frenchmen, including former Crawley defender Leonard Mendy". Also the Football Conference says that "Steve King, manager of Nationwide South club Lewes, has unveiled a handful of new signings... Crawley Town striker Jamie Cade has agreed terms on a permanent deal following a successful loan spell at the end of last season. Highly-rated midfielder Gary Holloway has joined the club from fellow Conference side Aldershot Town".

    This is United reports that "Jim Smith's squad is taking shape after the Oxford United manager signed three more players. One is vastly experienced, one a proven winner with successive promotions behind him, and one well-known as a former U's trainee. Former Ipswich Town defender Gavin Johnson is the best-known capture, and one who will, along with last week's signing, Phil Grilchrist, add vast experience to the defence. The 35-year-old helped Northampton to promotion last season, playing 24 times for the Cobblers... Joining him and the rest of the United players as they report back today to begin pre-season training – in typically scorching temperatures – are midfielder Carl Pettefer, who joins from Southend United, and 20-year-old Eddie Ancalet, who was a former trainee at Oxford, and used to be known as Eddie Odhiambo... Anaclet is returning to Oxford after four years with Southampton, and spells at Yeovil and Tamworth on loan last season. Smith said: 'I'm in talks with another midfield player, who will hopefully join us, and he's coming out of the First Division'. That player is believed to be Eddie Hutchinson, who was not offered a new contract by Brentford".

    NL Daily states that "Paul Tisdale, the new manager of Exeter City, will cast his eye over three trialists this week... Former City defender Jon Richardson, ex-Stevenage Borough striker Jefferson Louis and centre back Patrick Ada will arrive at the Cat & Fiddle training ground as the squad returns to pre-season training... City's major priority is to recruit a defender to plug the gap left by Gary Sawyer, who has returned to Plymouth Argyle, and Santos Gaia, who last week signed for Stevenage. Richardson, who spent six years at St James's Park... has been at Forest Green Rovers for the past three seasons... And City will also run the rule over another centre back in the shape of former Barnet defender Patrick Ada", who was at St Alban's City last season... "With seven players heading through the St James's Park exit door - and only one arriving in the shape of Adam Stansfield - City are expected to be busy in the transfer market in the next few weeks. While a centre half is the main priority, the Grecians will also need to recruit a striker, a central midfield player and at least one winger" reports This is Exeter. and also "Following discussions between Paul Cook, the new manager of Southport and Tommy Lawson, boss of Skelmersdale United, it has been agreed to allow Carl Osman to join `Port for pre-season training. Midfielder Osman, the brother of Everton’s Leon, is currently under contract but Lawson said: 'Southport are going full time this season, and to deny Carl the chance of playing football at Conference level wouldn’t be fair to the lad" says NL Daily.

    4 July 2006


    Alty Director Grahame Rowley writes:

    One of the new STAR initiatives, run by Paul Daine, is the Bonus Ball Bonanza and it started this Saturday. For just £1 per week each participant is allocated a number between 1 and 49 and if that number matches the Bonus Ball in the National Lottery each Saturday, you are the winner of £25. This Saturday the prize was not won as there were only 43 entries and the next number to be allocated was 15 – the Bonus Ball number this week. Thus if you had signed up before Saturday you would now be the proud winner of £25. There is now a roll-over for next week so don’t miss out on your chance again. Email Paul Daine or phone 929-3955 to join in the fun and help your club. Alternatively, call the club on 928-1045 and they will arrange for a number to be allocated to you. Good Luck!


    There are just four teams left in the World Cup and in the Altrincham FC World Cup competition, the draw for which is seen, right. The remaining contenders are:
  • Germany: Sarah Coop
  • Italy: Campbell McLay
  • Portugal: Peter Foster
  • France: John & Dana Laidlar

    The website is not biased, but would just like to say, "Allez les Bleus!"


    Altrincham's next game is another away game, a friendly at Cammell Laird. Details and a map of the ground area are here.

    A Runcorn Town press release confirms that "Nationwide Conference side Altrincham will be visiting Runcorn during pre-season with two games against West Cheshire League side Runcorn Town FC. The first game, on Tuesday 25th July, will see the visit of Altrincham's first team and will be a tough test for Town, with manager Tony Murphy busy building a squad that can challenge for promotion from West Cheshire League Division 2 next season. The following week, on Tuesday 1st August, the highly rated Altrincham Youth side will visit to play against the reserve team, who are now last season's cup winning youth team following a club restructure... Restructuring at Runcorn Town will mean... the youth team merging with the Reserve team to play West Cheshire Division 3 football next season... With no Sunday football being played, the club can work on getting the playing surface up to a higher standard, with the ground used far less than the 100+ matches that were played during the 2005/06 season".


    SAM confirms that "Alty will kick off the new Conference season with a tough clash against promotion hopefuls Stevenage Borough at Moss Lane. Mark Stimson's side will visit Cheshire on Saturday August 12... But the fixture that will be most anticipated by Alty fans is the home Boxing Day encounter with local rivals Northwich Victoria. The game is sure to draw a crowd of more than 2000 to Moss Lane, with the return fixture at the Victoria Stadium following less than a month after, on Tuesday January 23".

    The blank Saturdays in Alty's league fixtures for 2006-07 are taken up by:

  • 28.10.06 FAC4Q
  • 11.11.06 FAC 1
  • 16.12.06 FAT 1
  • 13.1.07 FAT2


    Southport report that "Midfielder Mark Boyd today joined Southport. Last season Mark played for Accrington Stanley. Boyd's previous club's include Newcastle United, Carlisle, and Port Vale. Striker Tony Gray has also signed his contract after his release papers did not arrive from Burscough until after he went on holiday." Boyd was set to play for Alty Reserves at one point last season but opted for Stanley instead.

    Cambridge United say that "Matt Bloomer has agreed terms... and is set to sign on Monday, subject to medical".

    The boss of Gravesend, Liam Daish, "has recruited French defender Sacha Opinel to join his new look side for the start of the new Conference National season". Opinel played against us for Crawley Town last season.

    The Football Conference says that "Colin Lippiatt, manager of Nationwide Conference newcomers St Albans, is set to run the rule over a number of trialists in the next few weeks. Lippiatt has already made a few summer signings but is not completely satisfied with his squad... Lippiatt told The NLP, 'We're short of one, maybe two players and we'll look at the trialists we've invited down to train with us - but we don't want to upset the balance too much'".

    From Halifax Today we learn that "Centre-back Michael Taylor was expected to link up with Halifax Town when they returned to training after the summer break today. And the 23-year-old is believed to have been offered a 12-month deal as manager Chris Wilder looks for cover for Greg Young and Peter Atherton as they recover from summer surgery. Young is not expected to be available to train until next month having had a shoulder operation three weeks ago while Atherton has had a troublesome knee cleaned out... Liverpool-born Taylor started his career as a trainee with Blackburn Rovers and spent a spell on loan at Rochdale... He switched to Cheltenham Town in July 2004 and made 25 appearances for the Robins... Towards the end of last season Taylor was on loan at Forest Green... making 10 starts... Wilder is hoping to complete negotiations with his backroom staff - assistant manager Wayne Jacobs and coach Lee Butler - as soon as possible. The manager has already agreed an extension to his current contract.".

    The Burton Mail states that "With the temperature expected to soar above the 30C mark, Nigel Clough vowed not to burn his men out. The Brewers' boss said: 'It is exceptionally hot at the moment, with high humidity, so we need to make sure the lads take plenty of water on board. But the hard work has got be done — it's just a question of getting the balance right because we don't want to kill anyone'. Albion will be joined this week by trialist striker Steve Scoffham and, unexpectedly, midfielder Tom Curtis. Only a week ago, Clough said he was no longer interested in signing 33-year-old Curtis because the Chester City player had stalled on making a decision on an offer made to him in May. Curtis, however, has asked if he can join the Brewers for training and Clough was in a more conciliatory mood today. He said: 'I'm not entirely sure what Tom's thinking is, but it could possibly mean a shift in his position'... Scoffham, who is 23 this week, is looking for a new club after being released by Notts County... Clough said: 'We're training twice a day for the first two weeks and Steve will hopefully be with us for all those sessions, as well as playing a few games so we can have a good look at him'".

    3 July 2006


    For our third successive Conference season (1999/2000, 2005/06, 2006/07), Altrincham start the campaign against Stevenage. A Tuesday night away trip to Cambridge is probably our most inconvenient journey, though Gravesend away on August bank holiday Monday is another contender.. Weymouth and Dagenham face 1pm kick offs at Moss Lane due to clashes with England's internationals.

    Right: The opening game of last season- at Stevenage Borough.

    1. Sat 12.8.06: H Stevenage B
    2. Tue 15.8.06 A Stafford R
    3. Sat 19.8.06 A Exeter C
    4. Sat 26.8.06 H St Albans C
    5. Mon 28.8.06 A Gravesend
    6. Sat 2.9.06 H Dagenham 1pm
    7. Sat 9.9.06 A Rushden
    8. Tue 12.9.06 H Halifax
    9. Sat 16.9.06 H Woking
    10. Tue 19.9.06 A Forest Green
    11. Sat 23.9.06 H Tamworth
    12. Sat 30.9.06 A Aldershot
    13. Tue 3.10.06 A Cambridge U
    14. Sat 7.10.06 H Weymouth 1pm
    15. Tue 10.10.06 H Morecambe
    16. Sat 14.10.06 A Oxford U
    17. Sat 21.10.06 H Southport
    18. Sat 4.11.06 A York C
    19. Sat 18.11.06 H Crawley T
    20. Sat 25.11.06 A Grays A
    21. Sat 2.12.06 H Burton A
    22. Sat 9.12.06 A Kidderminster H
    23. Tue 26.12.06 H Northwich V
    24. Sat 30.12.06 H Forest Green R
    25. Mon 1.1.07 A Halifax T
    26. Sat 6.1.07 H Rushden
    27. Sat 20.1.07 A Woking
    28. Tue 23.1.07 A Northwich V
    29. Sat 27.1.07 H Kidderminster
    30. Sat 3.2.07 A Southport
    31. Sat 10.2.07 H York C
    32. Sat 17.2.07 A Crawley T
    33. Sat 24.2.07 H Grays
    34. Sat 3.3.07 A Burton
    35. Tue 6.3.07 H Cambridge U
    36. Sat 10.3.07 A Weymouth
    37. Tue 13.3.07 A Morecambe
    38. Sat 17.3.07 H Oxford U
    39. Sat 24.3.07 A Stevenage
    40. Tue 27.3.07 H Stafford R
    41. Sat 31.3.07 H Exeter
    42. Sat 7.4.07 A St Alban's City
    43. Mon 9.4.07 H Gravesend
    44. Sat 14.4.07 A Dagenham
    45. Sat 21.4.07 A Tamworth
    46. Sat 28.4.07 H Aldershot T.


    The annual statistical review is here for the season 2005-06.


    Paul Roberts on behalf of Altrincham FC put in a lot of effort to raise the club's profile at last Saturday's Altrincham Festival with a juniors' football competition. Also at the event, STAR ran a penalty shoot out competition with Mark Murray and Peter Lewis in attendance; details and pictures of this are on the STAR website. The Club would like to thank everyone concerned for their efforts which were much appreciated.


    Does the FA know something or is it just a cockup that they have Altrincham, alone of Conference National clubs, entering the FA Cup at the 2nd qualifying round, whilst the rest of the division and relegated Scarborough are shown as entering two rounds later? See their website for details! Likewise for the Trophy, the FA shows Alty entering at the 3QR rather than 1st Round Proper.

    The Aldershot Forum confirms that Aldershot Town have signed strikers Marcus Gayle from Brentford and John Grant from Halifax .

    The BBC reports that "Rushden & Diamonds' boss Paul Hart will take a closer look at Gresley Rovers striker Aaron O'Connor this week. The 22-year-old... will spend a two-week trial period with Conference outfit Rushden. O'Connor has attracted attention after scoring 63 goals in 102 league appearances for Gresley".

    "Notts County face a battle with four other clubs to sign ex-Brentford midfielder Eddie Hutchinson, according to Magpies' boss Steve Thompson. The 24-year-old left the Bees after he was not offered a new deal this summer. 'He has spoken to Port Vale, Barnsley and Huddersfield', Thompson told County's website. 'He doesn't really want to move away from London. Oxford have come in for him too'".


    The demise of one of our historic rivals, Runcorn (FC Halton), has led to the creation of Runcorn Linnets FC who will play in the NW Counties 2 next season. The new club held its first trials recently and "saw almost 60 trialists attempting to impress Manager Steve Carragher. In addition to the registered trialists, there were around 20 players who had simply turned up... [Manager] Steve Carragher said 'The interest was overwhelming, far greater than I expected. A number of lads caught my eye'... Carragher will be looking to add to his squad which already includes names that will be familiar to those who followed Runcorn FC Halton last season; Robbie Holcroft, Mark Phillips, Andy McCoy, Thomas Lamb, and Lee Siadankay".
    2 July 2006


    There is a report on Alty's defeat at Woodley, yesterday, here.


    Altrincham fielded two signings from Halifax Town on Saturday against Woodley Sports. They are central midfielder and former Shaymen captain, Steve Bushell and left winger Justin Bowler. In the adjacent picture, from the Woodley game, Steve is in the foreground in the blue shirt, whilst Justin is to the right. Behind Bushell is Warren Peyton.

    Steve had a spell with Altrincham last season when he was loaned to us as he recovered from a broken leg. In just 7 starts for Alty he made a great impression and Altrincham fans will be delighted to see him back again. A local lad, Steve has previously played with Alty's Colin Little. Steve (d.o.b. 28 December 1972, height 5ft 9in) made seven outings for Alty between his signing on loan on 24 November 2005 and his return to The Shay, where he once again figured in the Halifax first team. Steve's career record includes:

  • York City. League 157+18, 10 goals; FA Cup 5; League Cup 8+1, 2 goals, Other games 11+2, 1 goal.
  • Blackpool: League: 64+14, 6 goals; FA Cup: 5+1, League Cup 8, Other games 3+1
  • Stalybridge Celtic: League 16+2, 1 goal, FA Cup 1.
  • Halifax Town: League 120+1, 6 goals; FA Cup 3

    Like Steve, Justin Bowler played against Alty last season. A very fast wingman, (d.o.b. 26.6.1986), Justin joined Halifax last August from Leeds United, where he had been a trainee. He went on to make 5 Conference starts and 13 sub appearances for Halifax, two of which were against Alty. He also played in 2 FA Cup and 2 FA Trophy games for the Yorkshire club but was injured for part of the season.


    The teams yesterday at Woodley were as follows.

    WOODLEY SPORTS: 1. Liam HIGGINBOTHAM, 2. Dave SWANICK, 3. Russell HEADLEY, 4. Carlos MEAKIN, 5. Mark PHILLIPS, 6. Chris YOUNG (capt), 7. Mario DANIEL, 8. Chris CURLEY, 9. Danny QUEELEY, 10. Daniel DOUGLAS-PRINGLE, 11. Luke HORROCKS.

    ALTRINCHAM (Pale blue shirts and socks, dark blue shorts.) 1. Craig ELLISON, 2. Stephen ROSE, 3. Richard GRESTY, 4. Karl MUNROE, 5. Peter BAND, 6. Steve BUSHELL, 7. Lewis CHALMERS, 8. Warren PEYTON, 9. Colin LITTLE, 10. Kieran LUGSDEN, 11. Jason BOWLER. Subs: 12. Ben DEEGAN, 14. Blake NORTON, 14. Laurence BALL, 15. Adie NEVINS, 16. Pat McFADDEN, 17. Astley MULHOLLAND, 18. MANNION, ?. Richard NORRIS

    Those above who were not new signings or from last year's first team squad were: Richard Gresty (last season's Alty Youth captain and an English Colleges' player), Astley Mulholland and Ben Deegan from last year's Youth team; and Craig Ellison and Laurence Ball from Alty Reserves. Nevins and Mannion are trialists, Nevins being a former Manchester United youngster who emerged from local football and who later played under Alty reserves' manager neil brown at Fletcher Moss FC.


    Today (Sunday 2nd) there is 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.


    The The Football Conference confirms that "Nationwide Conference newcomers Oxford United have been boosted by news that goalkeeper Billy Turley has penned a new contract at The Kassam Stadium. The Wolverhampton-born stopper signed for Oxford in June last year after being released by Rushden & Diamonds on a free transfer. 'This club is going forward', Turley told the club's official website. 'The Kassam era is over and in the cold light of day maybe we had to hit rock bottom to come back up. If I'd left here when we'd been relegated it would have left a bad taste in my mouth. Jim Smith is a legend in football, the new chairman is so positive, and I know that I'd regret it if I went to another club and then saw Oxford do well next year and wasn't part of it'". Meanwhile, This is United reports that "Oxford United are giving a month's trial to two non-League strikers... Joining the squad when they report back on Tuesday will be Blyth Spartans' hotshot Robbie Dale, who smashed 37 goals last season on his way to helping the north-east outfit win the UniBond Premier title – along with the Chairman's Cup and Peter Swales Memorial Shield – plus former Kettering and Rushden striker Robert Duffy. At the end of last season Duffy was at Stevenage, and he has been recommended to Jim Smith by Malcolm Elias, the former Oxford United youth development officer who is now at Liverpool. Smith said: 'Duffy is a big boy, aggressive – and he might be quite useful in the Conference'". As for Dale, "Blyth Spartans' manager Harry Dunn said "I'm surprised no-one has come in for him weeks ago... He's only 21 and I think he has the chance to go a lot higher". Meanwhile, "The 6ft 1in Duffy, 23, scored once in eight starts at Rushden and joined Stevenage at the last minute after last season's transfer deadline had passed. Jim Smith said: 'We're taking both triallists for a month to have a good look at them'".
    1 July 2006


    Altrincham went down 3-1 at Woodley in today's opening friendly of the pre-season period. Colin Little netted Alty's goal. Making their debuts for Altrincham were new signings from Halifax Town, midfielder Steve Bushell and winger Justin Bowler. Report and more on the signings to follow.


    Alty have a friendly at Bangor City in a month's time. "Supporters of Bangor City, concerned at a lack of news from Farrar Road over the close season, may get some answers on Friday night. Chairman Ken Jones has called what he calls 'a very important meeting' of club officials. Jones says: 'The meeting will be of a financial nature... This meeting could be the beginning of a long hard road," he adds. The Citizens are still experiencing problems with progressing plans for a new stadium at Nantporth, with developers now coming forward with new planning proposals for Farrar Road after a major supermarket pulled out. Meanwhile, City front man Carl Lamb has left to sign for NEWI Cefn Druids" reports Welsh Premier.


    Northwich Vics boss "Steve Burr continues his hard work in assembling a good squad for Vicsreturn to the Conference National when he signed former Huddersfield goalkeeper Phil Senior. Senior, 23, has signed a one-year deal with Vics after being released by Huddersfield at the end of last season. Senior, who made over 50 appearances for Huddersfield, replaces Kristian Rogers, who has moved away from the Northwich area."

    The unofficial This Is United site reports that "Barry Quinn said he had 'unfinished business' at Oxford United, after agreeing a new one-year deal at the club. The Republic of Ireland international made 89 starts since he first arrived on loan from Coventry in March 2004. And after turning down approaches from League sides, he said: 'I could have moved to another club, but I think there's unfinished business here. I wouldn't feel right walking away after the club were relegated, and want to be part of the team that gets them back into the League. It's like another club anyway with the way things are run and the buzz around the place'". Indeed, "Jim Smith [has] made his first summer signing for Oxford United, bringing defender Phil Gilchrist back to the club where he enjoyed success in the mid-90s... while heading out of the revolving door was striker Tim Sills, who joined Hereford. However, it is the signing of Gilchrist that is sure to get the United supporters buzzing... His central defensive partnership with Matt Elliott is still regarded as one of the finest in United's history... He said. 'They have been in a bit of turmoil, but with a new owner and Jim Smith here, I am sure that this can be the start of something special'... Smith was hoping other signings would be on their way soon. 'We start training again on Monday, and I would like to have everyone in by then', he said. 'We have got four who we are hoping to sign very soon, two trialists and we are close to agreeing with the other two out-of-contract players – Billy Turley and Chris Tardif'".

    From Southport we learn that "Robbie Booth and Michael Powell [have] signed full time contracts".

    York City say that "Tommy Evans has joined City on trial. The keeper who has just been released by Scunthorpe, featured in 23 games for the club last season, and shared Number 1 duty with Paul Musselwhite... News of the other 6 players offered contract extensions by City: Nathan Peat, Emmanuel Panther, Neal Bishop, Mark Convery, Bryan Stewart and Clayton Donaldson, will appear on this website".

    The BBC says that "Supporters' group Cambridge Fans United say they have loaned the club £20,000 to enable the U's to pay its wage bill... in June. A statement adds: 'CFU would like to state that the costs, lack of revenue and investment need to be addressed before the club can move forward. It would like to thank the supporters for helping to raise this money and for their recent messages of support'".

    The Cambridge Evening News adds that "After turning down the terms of United's initial one-year deal offer, Matt Bloomer has been offered an improved contract and Newman is hopeful the versatile defender will sign.[Manager Rob Newman said that] Bloomer, 27, who was released by Lincoln City at the end of last season, would not be joining United for pre-season training unless he signed". Manager Rob Newman said that he "was still waiting to discover if his attempt to bring back Tommy Jaszczun, who spent the second half of last season with United, would be successful. The experienced left-back is midway through a two-year deal with Rochdale, but is keen for a move closer to his home in Northampton... 'It's down to both 'Blooms' and Tommy to say what they want to do. We can't wait a few weeks. We want them both in, but training starts on Monday and we've been talking to them for long enough'".

    This is Glos reports that "New Forest Green Rovers defender Matthew McEntegart has been criticised by Newport County manager Peter Beadle after he pulled out of a deal to join the club. Former Cirencester Town man McEntegart had agreed to join the Exiles at Spytty Park before leaving for a month-long break in his native Australia. However, Rovers' manager Gary Owers announced this week that he was about to finalise a deal with the 22-year-old and Beadle was left seething. 'I was disappointed in Matthew', he said. 'I can understand why he decided to go to Forest Green, but he shook hands with me after we had talked with him, his dad and his agent... I will watch with interest how he gets on at Forest Green, because I feel at his age it is too early for him to make such a big step up. I don't think he is ready yet for Conference football, a year or two years in the Nationwide South would have been in his best interests in my opinion'".

    The Woking News & Mail says that "Matt Crossley has stated that Woking will not rush into recruiting a striker despite the club not yet having replaced leading scorer Justin Richards. 'We won’t panic', said the Cards’ assistant manager in the absence of boss Glenn Cockerill, who returns from holiday at the weekend. 'There are players we’re interested in but some of them want to stay in the Football League so it’s a case of waiting to see who we can pick up if they don’t get their wish. We have Craig McAllister and Fergie up front and Chris Sharpling is looking like he’ll come through his injury worries so we have options'... Meanwhile, Woking have lost the services of Paul Watson who has signed a two-year deal at Rushden and Diamonds. With Shola Oyedele likely to stay at MK Dons, The Cards will soon know whether influential central defender Stuart Nethercott is available, his contract with Wycombe Wanderers ending on June 30. The Cards begin their pre-season training next week".