Altrincham Football Club News Archive
December, 2006

31 December 2006


The Forest Green Rovers Press Officer has posted the following on the club's forum.

"Following the dismissal of Tony Butler at Altrincham, for alleged use of the elbow (violent conduct), the club is happy the player was only guilty of stepping across Peter Band to stop his run on a counter attack. Unfortunately, Peter Band fell awkwardly and in the process hurt his shoulder. Initially, Graham Heathcote (Alty Manager) accused Tony of use of the elbow but later, after speaking to Peter Band, Graham came to the FGR dressing room and apologised to Tony, confirming from Peter Band that all Tony had done was to block his run. FGR understand Peter is recovering from the injury sustained when he fell and hopefully from the information supplied by Altrincham it is not as serious an injury as first it appeared.

As known, from those who saw what happened after, the referee decided to dismiss Tony on the advice of an assistant who was over 50 yards away and running with the counter attack. It was this official who deemed the offence to be violent conduct and claimed Tony had used an elbow. Despite such being violent conduct he chose not to flag for the offence but to speak to the referee later when the ball went out of play. The club therefore asks if he thought it that violent why did he not flag instantly to demonstrate a serious offence.

Having liaised with Tony and Jim Harvey and spoken to the FA, the club will not however be lodging an appeal due to the technicality that the video of the match does not show the incident in its entirety. Sadly, under the rules and regulations of appeal procedures for 'Wrongful Dismissal' the video MUST show the incident clearly for the appeal commission to view and formulate a decision. Accordingly, Tony accepts he will now have to serve a three match suspension unless the referee reports otherwise, which is unlikely. Please note before anyone asks, that again under FA rules, neither the player nor the club can make any approach to the referee/assistant referee. To do so is deemed serious misconduct.

Tony and the club have to accept that on this occasion the video was just one yard too much to the right. We just have to take it on the chin and get on with it".


A Happy New Year to all from Altrincham Football Club. Thank you for your support in 2006

The New Year's Eve Party on Sunday evening starts at 8pm in the Noel White Suite. Though the event is free, you need to obtain a ticket in advance from the club. It is a bring a plate event.


SAM reports that against FGR, "Despite starting brightly, the Robins seemed to be suffering a hangover from their Boxing Day exertions against Northwich and allowed Forest Green to have the better of the chances". In The NL Paper, Graham Heathcote said, "Obviously I would have liked six points from the two games over Christmas but I would have settled for four this time last week. People who didn't see the game on Tuesday will not understand our performance today. We played a lot of the game against Northwich with ten men and we had no energy levels today. Sometimes you just have to dig out a point. I'll openly admit Forest Green were the better side today but we came back twice to get a point and that is a testament to our character". FGR boss Jim Harvey criticised his goalkeeper, saying "I feel the keeper should have helped his defenders by taking control of the ball when he had the chance". As for the sending-off of Butler, Harvey said, "I think the officials got it wrong... Altrincham have come to our dressing room and said that it wasn't an elbow".


NL Daily reports on our next opponents, Halifax Town who lost to Dagenham on Saturday. "Craig Mackail-Smith's late strike gave Dagenham & Redbridge victory and sent them to the top of the Nationwide Conference National table ... Halifax Town had most of the early possession but it was the home side who had the first effort on goal when Danny Foster's shot flew just over". After Saturday's match Halifax Town confirm that "midfielder Tyrone Thompson will now miss a game through suspension" but he will be available to play against Altrincham.


Old boys in action against each other yesterday included Ged Kielty (Trafford) v Carl Furlong (now at Formby) - both players scored. Also Ian Craney (Swansea) and Danny Adams (Huddersfield) faced each other yesterday. Craney is set to sign for the Swans tomorrow. Elsewhere, Craney's former Alty team-mate Paul Ellender told the League Paper, after Boston's 4-0 defeat, "There was talk about striking after training yesterday and it's obviously affected us in a performance that was embarrassing today". Allegedly the Boston players have not been paid recently. Mario Daniel played for Woodley whilst "In the only Principality Welsh Premier game to survive the wet and wind on Friday night, champions The New Saints saw out the old year in style with a 7-0 thrashing of Airbus UK at Treflan. Striker John Toner led the way with his second hat trick in four days", reports NL Daily.


On Saturday at Cambridge, "Burton left it late to equalise, a corner from Keith Gilroy headed past his own keeper Paul Crichton by Andy Duncan 9 minutes from time. It went from bad to worse for the hosts when Crichton was sent-off for bringing down Shaun Harrad at the death and Daryl Clare slotted in the last-gasp penalty". And "A goal by Luke Reynolds and a penalty save by Scott Bevan helped Kidderminster Harriers make it four wins in a row against Southport at Haig Avenue. Bevan dived to his right to keep out Dino Maamria's second-half penalty."

The Football Conference reports that "Grays Athletic chairman Mick Woodward has revealed that Premiership leaders Manchester United have made a late bid to sign winger Michael Kightly. The 20-year-old midfielder has put in some eye-catching performances while on loan at Wolverhampton Wanderers and is expected to complete a £125,000 permanent switch to Molineux on Monday. However, Woodward is adamant that he will not go back on his word to sell Kightly to Wolves and it looks like Alex Ferguson will have to set his sights elsewhere for a young winger. 'United have expressed a lot of interest in Michael this week', Woodward told the Sun... 'They asked if we could do a deal, but I told them I'd already agreed a deal with Wolves and I wouldn't go back on my word. Michael is an old-fashioned winger - the Ryan Giggs of non-league'".

Our Trophy opponents Tamworth "made three changes from the side that lost 1-0 to Burton on Boxing Day for the game against in form Morecambe – Steve Burton replaced Matt Williams, John McGrath replaced Kyle Storer in midfield and Cameron Belford came in for suspended goalkeeper Jose Veiga. Cameron – the son of Lambs' goal keeping legend / coach came in on loan from Coventry City where he has been impressing in their reserve side."

30 December 2006


Above: Val Owen celebrates his goal. To the left, Peter Band returns to his defensive position whilst Warren Peyton and Robbie Lawton congratulate the goalscorer. Picture kindly supplied by Gavin Rathbone, whose website has more pictures of the game.

Altrincham were the more relieved of the two sides at the 2-2 scoreline after a distinctly under-par performance for more than an hour of this game.

  • Match report here.

    Right: Alty made a triple substitution against FGR with Thomson, Owen and McFadden replacing O'Neill, Thornley and Scott.

    Saturday 30th December

  • ALTRINCHAM 2 Forest Green R. 2
  • Cambridge U. 1 Burton A. 2
  • Dagenham & R. 1 Halifax T. 0
  • Gravesend & N. 1 Rushden & D. 0
  • Oxford U. 1 Crawley T. 1
  • Southport 0 Kidderminster H. 1
  • St Albans C. 1 Exeter C. 2
  • Stafford R. v Northwich V. 1-1 - MATCH ABANDONED AFTER 47 MINS, WATERLOGGED
  • Tamworth 0 Morecambe 1
  • Weymouth 0 Stevenage B. 1


    Today's "Featured Club" from the Timperley & District Junior Football League is Longhey Athletic JFC. Founded in 1985, the Timperley club will be bringing a group of players to sit in the Family Stand today, as guests of Altrincham FC, for the match against Forest Green Rovers. As well as the club's details on the TDJFL website, Longhey has enterprisingly placed a display notice in Altrincham's Tesco store which states that the club's aims include "having fun and learning how to play football at the same time. We are a family club with a good reputation".

    Altrincham FC hopes that they will enjoy their visit. More details of the Featured Club scheme are here.


    The referee for today's game at Moss Lane against Forest Green Rovers is Mr Mark Brown. He also reffed the Altrincham v Halifax match in September.

    "Forest Green will be desperate to avoid an unwanted milestone at Altrincham tomorrow" says This is Glos. Failure to take all three points away from Moss Lane will mean Rovers have completed a calendar year without an away win in the Conference. Paul Wanless was among the scorers on the occasion of the last triumph on the road, a 3-1 victory at Kidderminster Harriers on September 18, 2005. Now combining the role of player with that of assistant manager at the New Lawn, he admits... 'It would be easy for me to say the current squad aren't affected by it because most of them weren't at the club last season. But we all know it's been over a year since we won away and it's a rod we want to get off our backs... Believe it or not, we will win away from home, and there would be no better place than at Altrincham...We all thought we deserved something out of the Aldershot game because we battled hard and were hit by a sucker punch in the last minute.. We're back in the relegation zone because we deserve to be, and we've just got to work very hard to get out of it'. Relations between Forest Green and tomorrow's opponents have been strained since the end of last season, when the Lancashire [i.e. Cheshire] side were docked 18 points by the Conference for fielding on-loan midfielder James Robinson without international clearance. A section of their supporters wrongly accused Rovers of 'grassing up' a potential relegation rival, although financial problems at Scarborough meant Altrincham eventually escaped the drop".

    The BBC says that "Forest Green have defensive pair Darren Jones and Alex Lawless, along with attacking midfielder, Paul Stonehouse struggling with flu. Striker Charlie Griffin is back in training and he could come into the reckoning for the game". Meanwhile, Alty are without the suspended Colin Little and midfielder Val Owen remains doubtful, through a calf injury.


    The Boxing Day bucket collection by STAR raised £121.79 and the Club thanks collectors and donors alike for this.


    SAM Sports reporter Connor Murphy interviewed Graham Heathcote after the Boxing Day game. The manager said: "The win over Northwich was just what we needed and it gave everybody a real buzz. It had drama, a great crowd, good atmosphere and it was everything you could have wanted from a derby day. We performed very well as a team, which I think we have done for the majority of this season. I'm confident in our ability to play but now we have to put points on the board. We have to bounce another win off on the back of the Northwich game and then look to put a good run together. Last season we managed to do it and that was one of the main reasons we stayed up. We haven't been able to put together a few wins on the bounce this season so far but I'm still confident we can do it. I am still keen to freshen up the squad because I think it's something we will need in the second half of the season but we've got nothing certain yet. I have been speaking to a few people but inevitably, they've got interest from other clubs as well and we can't afford to be dragged into a bidding war for anyone. We will just have to wait and see. A lot depends on how the players we have perform during the next couple of weeks, then we'll see what our options are'".


    After their defeat at Moss Lane, Northwich Vics have "added two new players to his squad in the form of James Beaumont, a 22 year-old midfield player recently released by Nottingham Forest, & James Dean, a 21 year-old centre forward from Clitheroe who has scored 15 goals in 19 games so far this season. Unfortunately, due to the restrictions of the transfer window the first chance for them to make their debuts will be at St.Albans. Moving the other way is Danny Mayman who has joined Alfreton Town on a month's loan".

    The Thurrock Gazette confirms rumours that "Grays Athletic are planning to quit their 100-year-old home for a new purpose-built stadium nine miles outside their home town. Chairman Mick Woodward says that the two-time FA Trophy winners would 'die' if they did not quit their New Rec stadium for a new site. Supporters have been polarised by the club's announcement, with some disappointed at the prospect of leaving their historic home. The favoured location for a new stadium... is believed to be a site south of the A13 near the Five Bells roundabout. The chairman said the new stadium, which would have a capacity of at least 5,000, would be funded by the sale of the Blues current Bridge Road home... 'We are landlocked at the moment and at the end of the day we cannot bring in major sponsors because of our location. At the moment we cannot even accommodate Sky TV. I know Grays Athletic has a history in the town but if the club doesn't move then it will die. We are looking at options, and the Five Bells is among them, and if that means building a new ground then we will do it. The only way this will happen is if the New Rec is redeveloped, but the final decision will be up to the planners." The sale of the New Rec - which Mr Woodward has an option to buy from current owners the family of Ron Billings, who saved the club in 1981 - for a figure of around £5million would fund the building of the new stadium. The chairman added: 'It is up to East Thurrock to do what they have to do, but we have found a new site and I would like to think that us and East Thurrock or Aveley could own it right down the middle to cut the costs. One thing I will make clear is that we will not amalgamate with East Thurrock or Aveley, but we would consider joint ownership'".

    From NL Daily we learn that "Crawley Town have signed former Woking and Farnborough Town striker Lloyd Blackman after he was released by Ryman League Premier Division high-flyers Bromley. Blackman, 23, has joined Reds on non-contract terms, with a view to being made permanent when the transfer window opens in January. Crawley`s joint-caretaker manager Ben Judge said: 'Lloyd's very hard working for the team which is very important and should score his share of goals. He's very self motivated and wants to prove himself to a lot of people. He wanted to go full-time and has Conference experience, which is what we are looking for'... He made his debut for Reds during their disappointing 1-0 defeat at Gravesend & Northfleet on Boxing Day" confirms Crawley Today.

    The BBC reports that "Chairman Lee Power says some of Cambridge United's players are not good enough to compete in the Conference and will be leaving the club in January. He feels manager Jimmy Quinn has done everything possible to improve the performances, but some players are incapable of following instructions. Power told BBC Radio Cambridgeshire: 'We want to make changes once the transfer window re-opens. Some of our squad are set to be going as they aren't doing what is asked'".

    The Cambridge Evening News adds that "Jimmy Quinn has hit back at supporters criticising his leadership following Cambridge United's 1-0 defeat at home to fellow Conference strugglers Rushden & Diamonds. Several fans vented their anger at close quarters... He said: 'I know people get disappointed, but I was trying to talk to one or two, but they weren't up for chatting so I won't waste my time anymore. People don't know me yet at this place, but I've been passionate all my life and I played with passion and then people talk to you as if you're an idiot. Unfortunately, in this country these days there's a blame culture and they've always got to find someone to pick on, but I'll always stand my ground. If they want to talk about football, I'll talk to them but if they want to talk rubbish, I won't waste my time. I'm willing to talk to any fan about the situation here and I'll put them straight on it. Unfortunately, we aren't the Cambridge that were in the Championship a few years ago, we're the Cambridge that were second from bottom in the Conference when I got here. There has been slow progress, but I haven't got a magic wand so I can't wave it and bring a title-winning team overnight. It's going to take time'... [In their last game] Jordan Collins, 18, made his debut at left-back with Danny Brown suspended and Tommy Jaszczun injured and found praise from Quinn for his efforts".

    Dagenham & Redbridge "are pleased to announce the signing of striker Ben Strevens. Born May 1980, Ben began his career at Barnet where he scored 46 goals for the Club and was a part of the Bees side that won the Nationwide Conference title in 2005. Whilst with the North London side the Edgware-born forward also had loan spells at Slough Town and St Albans City. He left Underhill at the end of last season and joined Crawley Town where he netted four times in 13 appearances before suffering a fractured cheekbone in the FA Cup defeat to Lewes at the end of October. It was initially feared that the non-contract player could be out of action until the end of the season but after having two metal plates inserted in his cheek he has enjoyed a speedy healing process and goes straight into the Daggers' squad for the visit of Halifax Town tomorrow".

    29 December 2006


  • York C. 0 Woking 1

    ON THE ROAD...

    Please remember that if you want to join the STAR supporters' coach to Halifax Town on New Year's Day, you can book a seat by contacting Mark Eckersall.


    Altrincham's players had a shorter Christmas break than many of their supporters as they had to report for training yesterday (Thursday) in advance of Saturday's match (30th Dec.) against Forest Green Rovers. Midfielder Val Owen remains an injury doubt for that game.

    Previous games at Moss Lane with FGR have ended as follows:

  • 1999-2000: Draw, 1-1
  • 2005-06: Alty 2 FGR 1

    Howard Watts's Through the Years statistics for 30 December are now on the website.


    Right: Alty fans in exile may be interested to see the adjacent picture of a rival sporting attraction being built on Moss Lane. This view from Moss Lane railway bridge shows the new ice rink in an advanced stage of construction, with the Leisure Centre in the background. The new rink replaces the old one in Devonshire Road, which was demolished a few years ago. The new rink is only a temporary construction, which will be replaced by a more permanant one to be constructed on the adjacent car park. Currently the ice hockey team which will be based at the new rink is playing on Deesside


    Apparently, "emergency" signings are warranted by sendings-off if the following report is correct. Mark Cooper, the manager of our Trophy opponents, Tamworth, "will bid to sign a goalkeeper on an emergency loan ahead of Saturday's vital Conference clash with form team Morecambe" states the Tamworth Herald. The Lambs will be without former Benfica keeper Jose Veiga for this weekend's fixture at The Lamb after he was sent off during the 1-0 Boxing Day defeat against Burton Albion. Tamworth legend Dale Belford was forced to come off the bench during the derby clash and will be called into action again if Cooper is unable to sign a new keeper in time. Micky Tuohy, Dave Bampton and Alan Neilson are also unavailable for Saturday but John McGrath returns after serving a one-match suspension on Boxing Day. Lambs' boss Cooper, meanwhile, was taking positives from the derby day defeat against Burton. 'It was the best we have played for a long time - a fantastic performance', Cooper enthused. 'I cannot take anything away from our lads because they have been different class. I have said to them that if they play like that and give us that kind of commitment each week, we'll be fine. They played ever so well. The tempo was great and we competed well. There was not much more that we could do than that... To play like that and get beaten was heartbreaking. It was a smash and grab raid from them'... Belford, meanwhile, insisted he is ready to answer Cooper's SOS if required this weekend. 'I am under no illusions that I am at the club as a back up keeper', Belford said. 'If Mark Cooper can get a top class keeper in for the weekend that will be the case. I will respect that decision but if I am called upon to play, I can assure the supporters and the manager that I will give it my best shot and try not to let anyone down'".

    Three players are leaving Grays. The NL Daily confirms that "Grays Athletic`s England National Game international winger Michael Kightly will join Wolverhampton Wanderers permanently in January, according to Wolves' boss Mick McCarthy. Kightly is currently on loan at the Molineux and became a hero when he scored in stoppage time to hand Wolves a 2-0 win over Derby County at Pride Park on Boxing Day. It was Kightly's second goal in four appearances... McCarthy confirmed: 'We have agreed a deal with Grays for Michael and we are confident we have signed a good player. He scored plenty of goals for Grays last year and he is a bright boy. But he has not been plucked from obscurity because he had a professional upbringing with Southend before he was released and joined Grays'. McCarthy has also been linked with a move for other talented players who are plying their trade in the Conference. Dagenham & Redbridge striker Craig Mackail-Smith and Stevenage Borough's George Boyd are two reported targets... McCarthy said: 'We have been looking at those players because we had good reports about them. It has worked well with one player but we are not suddenly going to fill our team with non-league players'".

    The BBC reports that "Stevenage Borough have agreed a deal to sign striker Jamie Slabber from Conference rivals Grays Athletic. The ex-Spurs man, 22, previously played under Boro boss Mark Stimson at Grays. Since Stimson's departure in the summer, Slabber has not figured as regularly and recently spent a month on loan at Oxford United. His arrival could signal the departure of Darryn Stamp, with Halifax renewing their interest in the 28-year-old, whose is currently on loan at York". The BBC also states that "Leicester City have signed former Everton striker Danny Cadamarteri. The 27-year-old has been training with Leicester for two weeks and has earned a deal until the end of the season... Cadamarteri, who has also played for Bradford, Leeds and Sheffield United, made two appearances for Grays in the Conference this month after completing a six-month drugs ban".

    "The England National Game XI looks set to be joined by teams from Wales, Ireland and Northern Ireland in next season's European Challenge Trophy. Plans are under way for the competition, which was won by England's under-23 non-league side last month, to be expanded to an eight-team event. Wales, Ireland and Northern Ireland have expressed an interest in joining England, Italy, Holland and Belgium in the competition, which would be played in two groups of four with a one-off final in the spring of 2009 and play-off matches for the other positions. The FA's Leagues' Manager, Mike Appleby, said: 'The two Irish Associations and the FAW agreed to confirm their participation by the end of March next year. We also have a few options to explore with regard to the eighth team'. The Uefa sanctioned competition, which will be re-named The International Challenge Trophy, is due to get under way in November 2007. It will remain an under-23 tournament but players who start the tournament meeting the age criteria will remain eligible through to the final" says the BBC.

    This is Exeter says that "Weymouth boss Garry Hill has distanced himself from Exeter striker Lee Phillips's comments that he would like to rejoin the club. Phillips spoke of his desire to play for Weymouth again in the build up to City's 2-1 Boxing Day defeat to the Terras. And rumours he could be set for an imminent return to the Wessex Stadium were seemingly given further credence by his late withdrawal from City's travelling party through illness. But Hill said: 'I read the comments that the player has made in the newspaper. I was a bit worried so I phoned Paul Buckle last Friday to clear things up. The story has come from things the player has said and I wanted to make it absolutely clear it had not come from me or the club. From what I understand the situation is that he has made it clear that he wants to be at Weymouth. It has all come from the player and to be honest I was amazed he was not at the game on Boxing Day. If I was interested in any player I would always go straight to the manager first and have a conversation. I don't really want to get dragged into the situation as none of this has come from me and I have the utmost respect for Exeter City and would not talk about one of their players'. Phillips has made it clear he is far from happy with his squad player status at St James's Park this season. While he was the first name on the team sheet under former boss Alex Inglethorpe, his successor Paul Tisdale prefers to rotate his front men. Phillips has publicly criticised the policy and staged clear-the-air-talks with his manager... Meanwhile, Tisdale insists he does not envisage any members of his squad leaving the club when the transfer window opens next month. 'I cannot see anyone going', he said. 'We have a small squad and cannot afford to lose anybody'. The City boss also revealed it is unlikely he will rekindle his interest in Torquay United winger Martin Phillips when the transfer window opens next month".

    From IC Cheshire reports that "Northwich Vics' manager Steve Burr has put four players on his shopping list for when football's January sales open tomorrow. Burr wants a man for each department of the team - a goalkeeper, centre back, midfielder and striker - during the mid-season transfer window. 'Ideally, that's what we will get. We are about halfway through the season and we are just above the relegation zone. We have got to be looking to push upwards and not get involved in a relegation fight. We shall be bringing players in and that will mean one two departures', he said. With Steve Payne and Gareth Griffiths both injured, centre back is an obvious priority for Burr. But he also spoke of a lack of competition in central midfield and with captain Stuart Elliot facing a possible ban because of his racial abuse charge, that position could become urgent later in the month. Vics do have broken-leg victim Chris Williams to return in the spring, but none of their strikers are prolific this season, while neither goalkeeper, Phil Senior or Ben Connett, has inspired. Burr added: 'There will be a lot of players available and certainly a fee would be involved for one of the players we are interested in'".

    The Football Conference says that "Crystal Palace are leading the chase to sign Stevenage Borough midfielder George Boyd once the January transfer window opens...Peterborough boss Keith Alexander has already had two offers for the Stevenage youth team product turned down, with the player setting his sights on The Championship at the very least. Charlton and Spurs were linked with his signature in the summer after his 11 goals from midfield last year in the Conference. Already this season Spurs, Newcastle, Reading, Fulham and Palace have all had the youngster watched with bids ready to be made. Although the only non-Premiership club interested in him, Palace have the advantage that Boyd is in fact a Palace fan. Borough chairman Phil Wallace has all but conceded that Boyd will be sold but has refused to accept a token price for the talent. 'We turned down a significant bid from Peterborough United and they've now increased that offer in an effort to sign George', Wallace said. 'Effectively this would mean a Conference record fee for us and a significant long term deal for George. We've had enquiries from other clubs and we're telling everyone the same thing "George will only be available if we get a fee that we believe is commensurate with his ability, not the league we currently play in"'".

    Stafford Rangers confirm that "Striker Brian Quailey has rejoined Nuneaton Borough".

    28 December 2006


    All of the latest Alty Youth fixtures are now listed in the website's Youth section.


    Above: The agony: - Colin Little is shown red. Picture courtesy of Gavin Rathbone of GR Photography.

    The FA confirms that Altrincham's Colin Little is "suspended from all football until the Club have completed 3 first team matches for a sending off in a match played on 26/12/2006". He will miss the games at home to Forest Green, away to Halifax Town and at home to Rushden. Also missing from the game at The Shay will be Halifax Town's Daniel Forrest, who is "suspended from all first team football until the Club have completed 2 first team matches for a sending off in a match played on 23/12/2006".

    Above: The ecstasy: - Rod Thornley celebrates the opening goal. Picture courtesy of Gavin Rathbone of GR Photography.

    The Northwich Guardian says, "What a waste of money. That was the verdict of more than 450 Vics fans as their side slumped to a humiliating humbling - those words hanging in the air long enough to turn Steve Burr's face a deeper shade of red. His complexion was a cocktail of rage and embarrassment. To lose a derby in so desperate a fashion - and with a display so bereft of cohesion or desire - can but set alarm bells ringing at the Victoria Stadium this morning. The Robins were rightly buoyant. Vics were given an opportunity to put space between themselves and their rivals in the lower reaches of the league when Colin Little was sent off for violent conduct after 22 minutes. But they blew it.

    Little reacted foolishly after being cynically fouled by Kieran Charnock, grabbing Tony Gallimore around the neck under the referee's nose. He sunk to the floor holding his head as the red card was flashed in his face... A tempestuous half threatened to boil over once more when Carlos Roca and Bushell clashed on the touchline. The Vics winger took exception to the force of his opponent's challenge - shoving him in the chest - but the match officials missed a clear right hook from the Alty skipper that should have seen the hosts reduced to nine men... Burr opted for Plan B after the break, introducing Mark Sale and Michael Byrne for the Ryan Brown and the out-of-sorts Roca, but as so often happens when Sale comes on they reverted to launching long balls forward.... [Then] Alty were awarded a bizarre penalty. Charnock's kicked fresh air as he attempted to clear, instead connecting with Joe O'Neill's face as the forward slipped in the box. Steve Aspinall coolly converted from the spot... Chants of "easy" from the Alty faithful were too much to take for Vics' travelling throng - many of which had long departed before the end".

    The Sale & Altrincham Messenger reports that "Altrincham packed a punch befitting of Boxing Day as they thumped Northwich 3-0 in a thrilling derby clash at Moss Lane. The Robins... showed passion, desire and an unbreakable spirit to snap their six-game winless streak... An elated Dalton Steele (right), Altrincham's assistant manager, said after the game: 'It was a great performance, especially as we only had 10 men for most of it. It's not often that we have to play a man down but we dealt with it really well and I thought we defended fantastically as a team. It was an absolutely vital three points to pick up. You have to pick up as many points as you can at this time of year because most of the full time teams will come good in the second half of the season and we needed a boost to kick us on'".


    From the Aldershot Town site we read of our next opponents Forest Green Rovers, who lost at the Recreation Ground on Boxing Day. It was, the site says "A first half where the visitors were limited in their pursuits... In truth, nobody could deny Terry Brown's side the victory... The boss said afterwards, 'Forest Green were very organised which I expected in a Jim Harvey side... We dominated possession without taking the chances that we should have. They gambled in the second half to try to get back into the match. It was a bit of class from one of our senior players that won the game".

    From This is Glos we learn that ""Forest Green took one punch too many in a bruising Boxing Day encounter at the Recreation Ground. Former Welsh international Darren Barnard, making his 100th appearance for Aldershot, sealed all three points for his side in the 89th minute... but they can have few complaints about the defeat after taking a battering for most of the afternoon. A sickness bug ruled out Rovers skipper Darren Jones and defender Alex Lawless, so there were recalls to the starting line-up for Mark Preece and assistant boss Paul Wanless... It seemed Rovers were heading for the unlikeliest of points, only for Barnard to break their hearts in the final minute of normal time with a sumptuous curling strike into the top right-hand corner... Forest Green: S. Williams; J. Hardiker, M. Preece (T. Butler 46), C. Giles, K. Nicholson; D. Williams, M. Brough, P. Wanless (P. Stonehouse 58), S. Clist; L. Afful; A. Meechan (M. Beesley 73); Subs not used: M. McEntegart, C. Griffin"

    However, "Forest Green boss Jim Harvey did not fault his players for effort or attitude after a third straight Conference defeat... but Harvey was far more encouraged with the display than after the previous two home defeats. 'I thought we were excellent and the boys were very disappointed in the changing room afterwards not to have come away with something', he said. 'Our effort and commitment were first-class and we achieved everything we set out to, so to concede right at the death in the first half and second half was not what we deserved. Going into the game we lost Darren Jones and Alex Lawless with sickness, and we lost Preecey (Mark Preece) at half-time, so not a lot is going for us at the moment. But the attitude and character we showed against a good Aldershot side meant we deserved at least a draw'. Deprived of any recognised strikers, Harvey's post-match comments were more than a little familiar. 'Again we needed to be a little bit smarter in the attacking third', he said. 'Charlie Griffin was on the bench today, but he wasn't really fit to play. He might be back for this weekend, but Allan Russell is still 10 days away. It's a wee bit desperate for us at the moment, but we've just got to get on with the job'".


    Former Alty Reserves Tom Baker (Ashton United) and Mark Drew (Rossendale United) both netted on Boxing Day.


    The NL Daily says that "Graham Westley, the new manager of Rushden & Diamonds, is hoping to clinch the signature of Tunisian striker Dino Maamria in the January transfer window... He is hoping to link up with Maamria (pictured) again after a successful three-year partnership at Stevenage Borough. If rivals Southport do accept an offer for the services of the Tunisian, then Westley will give him the role of player-coach at Nene Park. However, Southport boss Paul Cook is adamant that he won't let Maamria go on the cheap... Cook said 'I cannot let Dino go without a fee that will finance a replacement. He has been happy at Haig Avenue but sees this as a step forward on the management side... It's up to Graham Westley to come up with an offer I accept, as simple as that".


    Altrincham travel to Halifax on New Year's Day. Town boss "Chris Wilder questioned the appointment of referee Michael Oliver for Town's Conference derby clash with York City", according to Halifax Today "The Ashington official awarded a 65th-minute penalty to the Minstermen which was converted by Clayton Donaldson to effectively seal victory for the home side. 'The game was too big for him as far as I am concerned' said Wilder. 'It was the only Conference game of the day so why did we not have an experienced referee? Why did we have a young fella? Is this league just a breeding ground for people to make mistakes? He is expected to progress through this league. Will he be able to handle Leeds v Hull a season down the line? I don't think he would come out of there alive if he gave decisions like he did on Saturday. We had him last season against Accrington Stanley when he failed to send a man off or give us two clearer penalties than we saw today. He sent Matt Doughty off for a two footed tackle in the final minute of a game when we were 4-0 up. And he gave a penalty against Tyrone Thompson this season when Tyrone slipped and fell on the ball'".
    27 December 2006


    The STAR Christmas Prize Draw

    Pictured above is Alison Lewis, making the draw for the annual STAR Christmas Raffle. The winner of the prize to rename the Golf Road End for a year was Dawn Abbott. Other winners included youth team manager George Heslop, who won a signed football, and Gary Warrington, whose prize was a Jordan ironing board cover!


    Altrincham's newest supporter is George Bernard Michael Mitchell (right) who was born on Tuesday, 19th December at Wythenshawe Hospital. He is the son of Altrincham supporters Colin and Jill Mitchell. Colin is a gateman at Moss Lane and he was already back on duty at the Boxing Day game against Northwich Victoria. As seen in his father's photograph, George already has a Santa suit but his baby-sized Altrincham shirt is also on order!


    Steve Burr's immediate reaction to his Vics' side defeat at Moss Lane was reported below in yesterday's news. The Vics' boss went on to tell the Northwich Guardian, "There's too many people playing on reputation alone. I won't name names but they know who they are - it's unacceptable". The paper addes that "Burr takes his troubled team to Stafford Rangers on Saturday before welcoming struggling Southport on New Year's Day".


    Colin Little was not the first man sent off at Moss Lane by Saturday's referee Karl Evans. From this website's report of the friendly against Greenock Morton on 16 July 2005, we read that Altrincham's "Garvey was put through again, in the inside-left position, and as he shot from just inside the box, he was jostled by Harding and went down as his shot went wide of the keeper's left post. Mr Evans was right to award a penalty but it was a harsh decision of his to send off Morton's new centre-back for the offence in a friendly match".

    Also sent off in the Conference yesterday, according to NL Daily, was "Tamworth keeper Jose Veiga, who made a string of fine saves, [and] saw red for bringing down Jon Shaw... [Burton's] Clare fired home the resultant spot-kick". A third player dismissed yesterday was Morecambe's Perkins.


    Wes Wilkinson scored for Newcastle Town
    26 December 2006


    Before their biggest home league gate for more than 15 years, ten-man Altrincham deservedly overcame their Cheshire rivals, Northwich Victoria.

    Match report here.

    The Northwich Guardian reports that Vics' boss Steve Burr "was visibly shellshocked after his team had failed to score, despite having an extra player for more than an hour. 'I'm embarrassed by what I've just seen', he told the Guardian after the game. 'We lost to a team with more desire, but my players showed they have no bottle. As a manager I pride myself on my teams having a go at the opposition - we've not done that today'".

  • Alty Line-Up
  • Alty Player Statistics

    Right: Lewis Chalmers, a deserving Man of the Match, receives his award from Alty supporter Stan Riley.

    Tuesday 26th December, Boxing Day

  • Aldershot T. 2 Forest Green R. 1
  • ALTRINCHAM 3 Northwich V. 0
  • Cambridge U. 0 Rushden & D. 1
  • Dagenham & R. 0 Grays A. 0
  • Gravesend & N. 1 Crawley T. 0
  • Oxford U. 0 Woking 0
  • Southport 1 Morecambe 2
  • St Albans C. 2 Stevenage B. 3
  • Stafford R. 1 Kidderminster H. 2
  • Tamworth 0 Burton A. 1
  • Weymouth 2 Exeter C. 1


    The Sale and Altrincham Messenger has Colin Little's regular column. in which he says, "We've had some setbacks in recent weeks and our luck doesn't seem to be getting any better. The last thing we needed was for the Tamworth cup game to be abandoned, especially when we were leading 2-1 at half time. It was a terrible decision by the referee because if he had called the game off at the start you would have said 'alright' but he called it off after we had already played 45 minutes and the conditions were getting better, not worse. It's a shame because we looked like we were on course to get our first away win of the season but I suppose that's just the way things go.

    We had come in for some criticism after the home game and rightly so - we didn't play well enough - but we were on our way to putting it right in the replay. I know I keep repeating this but I'm not panicking the way some people are about our results... We have been playing well enough recently to turn things round... A few things have been said about the crowd because there were only 600 people there but as far as I'm concerned, it doesn't matter... There were still plenty of fans there who had to watch a pretty poor game so we're all keen to repay them for their support...

    We'll just have to do it against Northwich on Boxing Day! I'm really looking forward to the game, it'll be a real derby battle, but in the back of my mind I'm a little bit worried as well. I just hope there's no nervousness among the crowd, that they just get behind us, because if there is any nervousness it'll transfer to the players and we'll struggle. It's important we all show that we're ready for the battle and go all out for the win... It's up to us to have a big second half of the season.".


    A book that may have been in a few football supporters' Christmas stockings this year is "The Best of Charles Buchan's Football Monthly", a compilation from the top-selling football magazine of the 1950s to 1970s. The book has a fascinating full page about Altrincham FC, reproduced from its May 1966 issue. Headed "W&S Ltd", it tells the story of White and Swales's revival of Altrincham FC...

    "They are as different as chaIk and cheese - in appearance, in personality, in likes and dislikes. They are not quite the direct opposites that are popularIy supposed to make ideal partners - but they are different enough to be extremeIy good for each other... With £50 between them they decided ten years ago to "have a go" and opened a music shop in Altrincham. They added records and record pIayers, and radio and television naturally followed. They now have 15 shops, and, being former players themselves - Lancashire-born Swales played inside forward for Ashton United, White had three years at centre-half with Chester - they were naturally interested in Altrincham F.C, the Cheshire League team.

    By 1961 the club was in a bad way financially, the ground was in bad shape, the team doing badly and the future gloomy. They decided to step in-and once the decision was made they applied the same sound, tough, almost ruthless methods that had built up their business. They loaned £6,000 to the club to clear its immediate debts. They·took up £2,000-worth of unissued shares and by guaranteeing wages, they succeeded in preventing the club's complete professional staff from walking out. They replaced all the then directors (except Len Pollitt, a haulage contractor) with specialist members of their own staff... Knowing only too well that names make news, they brought in ex-NewcastIe.and Manchester United inside forward Ernie Taylor; Paddy Fagan from Manchester City and Tommy Banks from Bolton. They made Paddy player-manager, but three weeks later he was injured and never played again. They next appointed Charlie Mitten as manager after his spell with Newcastle and he stayed a couple of seasons. When CharIie left they had a re-think. Maybe the best man for a non-league club was a manager who knew the non-league set-up, inside out.

    They picked Freddie Pye- a successful scrap-metal dealer, who had played with Accrington Stanley, but who made his biggest mark in winning two Cheshire League championship medals as a wing-half with Hyde United. With two business-men at the helm, and an equally good business-man running the team, things began to happen, They reached the third round of this year's F.A. Cup, and met Wolves at MoIineux. 'Our ambition, naturally, is League Football at Moss Lane, but not just yet. We still have a lot to do', they told me... Already they have smartened up the ground and installed three new refreshment bars. They have built a £38,000 social club; organised a weekly pool which started with a £45 top prize that is now £350, and which has raised £50,000 for the club in five years. They have put in first-class fIoodlights. 'The club has just finished paying back to us the original £6,000 that we loaned - and every year so far we have shown a profit, including increased gate money, receipts from pools and raffles, from the sale of jockey-style caps (we've sold 1,000 of them), and of club ties which are steady sellers' say W. & S. Everything has to show a profit - or we want to know why, but the only real guarantee of success is a winning team, and thanks to Freddie Pye we've had that too."


    "Burton Albion have a score to settle in their Boxing Day Conference derby against Tamworth at the The Lamb, kick-off 12.30pm. Albion will be itching for revenge after suffering FA Cup heartbreak at the hands of their arch rivals a month ago... Albion boss Nigel Clough told the Burton Mail Sport: 'Even now, weeks after the game, it is still a very hard defeat to stomach because we played so well on the day. We'll certainly be going there on Boxing Day wanting to even things up... For the first time since we joined the Conference we are in the play-off places and we're looking for a good start to our Christmas programme to make sure we stay there'... After sending a weakened team to Gateshead in the FA Carlsberg Trophy, Clough will be able to choose from a strong squad... A decision on a possible return for winger Keith Gilroy will be left to see whether his tight hamstrings react to a full week of training'".
    27 December 2006


    The STAR Christmas Prize Draw

    Pictured above is Alison Lewis, making the draw for the annual STAR Christmas Raffle. The winner of the prize to rename the Golf Road End for a year was Dawn Abbott. Other winners included youth team manager George Heslop, who won a signed football, and Gary Warrington, whose prize was a Jordan ironing board cover!


    Altrincham's newest supporter is George Bernard Michael Mitchell (right) who was born on Tuesday, 19th December at Wythenshawe Hospital. He is the son of Altrincham supporters Colin and Jill Mitchell. Colin is a gateman at Moss Lane and he was already back on duty at the Boxing Day game against Northwich Victoria. As seen in his father's photograph, George already has a Santa suit but his baby-sized Altrincham shirt is also on order!


    Steve Burr's immediate reaction to his Vics' side defeat at Moss Lane was reported below in yesterday's news. The Vics' boss went on to tell the Northwich Guardian, "There's too many people playing on reputation alone. I won't name names but they know who they are - it's unacceptable". The paper addes that "Burr takes his troubled team to Stafford Rangers on Saturday before welcoming struggling Southport on New Year's Day".


    Colin Little was not the first man sent off at Moss Lane by Saturday's referee Karl Evans. From this website's report of the friendly against Greenock Morton on 16 July 2005, we read that Altrincham's "Garvey was put through again, in the inside-left position, and as he shot from just inside the box, he was jostled by Harding and went down as his shot went wide of the keeper's left post. Mr Evans was right to award a penalty but it was a harsh decision of his to send off Morton's new centre-back for the offence in a friendly match".

    Also sent off in the Conference yesterday, according to NL Daily, was "Tamworth keeper Jose Veiga, who made a string of fine saves, [and] saw red for bringing down Jon Shaw... [Burton's] Clare fired home the resultant spot-kick". A third player dismissed yesterday was Morecambe's Perkins.


    Wes Wilkinson scored for Newcastle Town
    26 December 2006


    Before their biggest home league gate for more than 15 years, ten-man Altrincham deservedly overcame their Cheshire rivals, Northwich Victoria.

    Match report here.

    The Northwich Guardian reports that Vics' boss Steve Burr "was visibly shellshocked after his team had failed to score, despite having an extra player for more than an hour. 'I'm embarrassed by what I've just seen', he told the Guardian after the game. 'We lost to a team with more desire, but my players showed they have no bottle. As a manager I pride myself on my teams having a go at the opposition - we've not done that today'".

  • Alty Line-Up
  • Alty Player Statistics

    Right: Lewis Chalmers, a deserving Man of the Match, receives his award from Alty supporter Stan Riley.

    Tuesday 26th December, Boxing Day

  • Aldershot T. 2 Forest Green R. 1
  • ALTRINCHAM 3 Northwich V. 0
  • Cambridge U. 0 Rushden & D. 1
  • Dagenham & R. 0 Grays A. 0
  • Gravesend & N. 1 Crawley T. 0
  • Oxford U. 0 Woking 0
  • Southport 1 Morecambe 2
  • St Albans C. 2 Stevenage B. 3
  • Stafford R. 1 Kidderminster H. 2
  • Tamworth 0 Burton A. 1
  • Weymouth 2 Exeter C. 1


    The Sale and Altrincham Messenger has Colin Little's regular column. in which he says, "We've had some setbacks in recent weeks and our luck doesn't seem to be getting any better. The last thing we needed was for the Tamworth cup game to be abandoned, especially when we were leading 2-1 at half time. It was a terrible decision by the referee because if he had called the game off at the start you would have said 'alright' but he called it off after we had already played 45 minutes and the conditions were getting better, not worse. It's a shame because we looked like we were on course to get our first away win of the season but I suppose that's just the way things go.

    We had come in for some criticism after the home game and rightly so - we didn't play well enough - but we were on our way to putting it right in the replay. I know I keep repeating this but I'm not panicking the way some people are about our results... We have been playing well enough recently to turn things round... A few things have been said about the crowd because there were only 600 people there but as far as I'm concerned, it doesn't matter... There were still plenty of fans there who had to watch a pretty poor game so we're all keen to repay them for their support...

    We'll just have to do it against Northwich on Boxing Day! I'm really looking forward to the game, it'll be a real derby battle, but in the back of my mind I'm a little bit worried as well. I just hope there's no nervousness among the crowd, that they just get behind us, because if there is any nervousness it'll transfer to the players and we'll struggle. It's important we all show that we're ready for the battle and go all out for the win... It's up to us to have a big second half of the season.".


    A book that may have been in a few football supporters' Christmas stockings this year is "The Best of Charles Buchan's Football Monthly", a compilation from the top-selling football magazine of the 1950s to 1970s. The book has a fascinating full page about Altrincham FC, reproduced from its May 1966 issue. Headed "W&S Ltd", it tells the story of White and Swales's revival of Altrincham FC...

    "They are as different as chaIk and cheese - in appearance, in personality, in likes and dislikes. They are not quite the direct opposites that are popularIy supposed to make ideal partners - but they are different enough to be extremeIy good for each other... With £50 between them they decided ten years ago to "have a go" and opened a music shop in Altrincham. They added records and record pIayers, and radio and television naturally followed. They now have 15 shops, and, being former players themselves - Lancashire-born Swales played inside forward for Ashton United, White had three years at centre-half with Chester - they were naturally interested in Altrincham F.C, the Cheshire League team.

    By 1961 the club was in a bad way financially, the ground was in bad shape, the team doing badly and the future gloomy. They decided to step in-and once the decision was made they applied the same sound, tough, almost ruthless methods that had built up their business. They loaned £6,000 to the club to clear its immediate debts. They·took up £2,000-worth of unissued shares and by guaranteeing wages, they succeeded in preventing the club's complete professional staff from walking out. They replaced all the then directors (except Len Pollitt, a haulage contractor) with specialist members of their own staff... Knowing only too well that names make news, they brought in ex-NewcastIe.and Manchester United inside forward Ernie Taylor; Paddy Fagan from Manchester City and Tommy Banks from Bolton. They made Paddy player-manager, but three weeks later he was injured and never played again. They next appointed Charlie Mitten as manager after his spell with Newcastle and he stayed a couple of seasons. When CharIie left they had a re-think. Maybe the best man for a non-league club was a manager who knew the non-league set-up, inside out.

    They picked Freddie Pye- a successful scrap-metal dealer, who had played with Accrington Stanley, but who made his biggest mark in winning two Cheshire League championship medals as a wing-half with Hyde United. With two business-men at the helm, and an equally good business-man running the team, things began to happen, They reached the third round of this year's F.A. Cup, and met Wolves at MoIineux. 'Our ambition, naturally, is League Football at Moss Lane, but not just yet. We still have a lot to do', they told me... Already they have smartened up the ground and installed three new refreshment bars. They have built a £38,000 social club; organised a weekly pool which started with a £45 top prize that is now £350, and which has raised £50,000 for the club in five years. They have put in first-class fIoodlights. 'The club has just finished paying back to us the original £6,000 that we loaned - and every year so far we have shown a profit, including increased gate money, receipts from pools and raffles, from the sale of jockey-style caps (we've sold 1,000 of them), and of club ties which are steady sellers' say W. & S. Everything has to show a profit - or we want to know why, but the only real guarantee of success is a winning team, and thanks to Freddie Pye we've had that too."


    "Burton Albion have a score to settle in their Boxing Day Conference derby against Tamworth at the The Lamb, kick-off 12.30pm. Albion will be itching for revenge after suffering FA Cup heartbreak at the hands of their arch rivals a month ago... Albion boss Nigel Clough told the Burton Mail Sport: 'Even now, weeks after the game, it is still a very hard defeat to stomach because we played so well on the day. We'll certainly be going there on Boxing Day wanting to even things up... For the first time since we joined the Conference we are in the play-off places and we're looking for a good start to our Christmas programme to make sure we stay there'... After sending a weakened team to Gateshead in the FA Carlsberg Trophy, Clough will be able to choose from a strong squad... A decision on a possible return for winger Keith Gilroy will be left to see whether his tight hamstrings react to a full week of training'".
    25 December 2006


    First and foremost, best wishes for a Happy Christmas Day to all visitors to the website and to all the players and officials at Altrincham FC. Nine points are at stake over Christmas and New Year, as follows:
  • Tuesday, 26 December, 3pm: v Northwich Victoria at Moss Lane.
  • Saturday, 30 December, 3pm: v Forest Green Rovers at Moss Lane.
  • Monday, 1 January, 3pm: v Halifax Town at The Shay. Supporters' coach details here.

    And the website hopes to have its one millionth visitor to its homepage between now and the New Year. (Counting began during 2001 but the site started in Spring 2000). We are very grateful to everyone who visits the site and hope that you will continue to do so in 2007.


    Both Altrincham and Accrington Stanley have coach firms as sponsors; in Alty's case it is chairman Geoff Goodwin's Go Goodwins company, which is the club's main sponsor. According to Sunday's League Paper, "Accrington are sponsored by coach firm Fraser Eagle who took over all travel arrangements for the team in a blaze of publicity last summer. However, due to their poor away following, they pulled the coach to Bristol Rovers yesterday, as fewer than ten fans had booked. No wonder manager John Coleman complains about the low level of support... and may be forced to sell to balance the books".

    Meanwhile, at Altrincham FC - without an away win all season - the supporters' trust, STAR, still runs well-supported coaches to all away games - even to FA Trophy replays on foggy Tuesday nights in freezing Tamworth, as last week's game testified. So, congratulations are in order for STAR coach co-ordinator Mark Eckersall and his deputy Tom Jacobs for their excellent work and to Geoff Goodwin and his company for providing the luxury coaches. We may not be a full-time club but our supporters are not part-time.

    For details of the STAR supporters' coach to Halifax on New Year's Day, visit the Away Travel page. As usual you can book through the club on 928-1045 but, as an alternative, given that the offices will not be open for all of the Christmas/New Year period, you can e-mail Mark Eckersall to reserve your seat.


    Former Alty midfielder Ryan Hutchinson has joined NW Counties League Division One leaders, Salford City.


    The Non-League Paper, yesterday, reports on Alty's game versus Northwich on Boxing Day. "Northwich are without a league win in three but after the FA Trophy win against FArsley, striker Paul Brayson believes they have turned the corner. 'Inconsistency has been the story of this season. We have let ourselves down in games we should win. That has left us looking over our shoulders but we are back on track now". Meanwhile the "Robins are without a league win since late October. And striker Colin Little [said]... 'We really need to win this one. It's a massive game for us and the fans. Last Saturday, against Tamworth, we were poor, and that needs to change'".

    The BBC's preview states that "Altrincham boss Graham Heathcote has a doubt over defender Stephen Rose, who is carrying a hamstring injury. Heathcote's team are short of football, they have not played a league game since their 3-2 defeat at Kidderminster on 9 December. Northwich defender Gareth Griffiths has left the club to temporarily assist Rochdale caretaker-boss Keith Hill while his fractured cheekbone heals. Greg Young has been recalled from his loan spell by Halifax".

    Alty's first opponents in 2007 are Halifax Town and Halifax Today says that "Town boss Chris Wilder pulled no punches in his view of the penalty that effectively sealed his side's fate in the Yorkshire derby at the KitKat Crescent [on Saturday]... It remains unclear whether the penalty was for an Adam Quinn challenge on James Dudgeon on the edge of the area or a handball by the Town centre back.But Wilder clearly disagreed with 65th-minute decision made by Ashington referee Michael Oliver. 'I applaud the Halifax fans' loyalty and support, but if I had been them seeing the award of the penalty I would have walked out of the ground', said Wilder. 'It disgusted me that they have paid decent money, travelled to York on a busy day to see a game completely spoiled by one man's decision that 3,500 people have not seen'. Despite the defeat - Town's ninth in 11 away games this season - Wilder was pleased with his side's battling qualities after they had fallen behind in the fifth minute. 'I thought that in the first 20 minutes of the second half we looked like we could go on and win the game', he said. 'York were sitting back deeper and deeper. We can take a lot of heart from a performance away to a team who moved up to third in the league'.

    The decision to award the spot kick also led to the dismissal of Danny Forrest who voiced his disapproval and was shown a straight red card by the referee".

    Alty's opponents next Saturday at Moss Lane are Forest Green Rovers. This is Glos says that "Scrapping for Conference survival will seem like a breeze this year for Jim Harvey, whose Forest Green side travel to Aldershot Town on Boxing Day. As if the festive season were not hectic enough, Harvey and his family have spent the past week relocating from Lancashire to their new home near Hereford. The ensuing chaos has at least afforded the Rovers boss little time to dwell on a run of three straight defeats and a lengthening injury list. And he has received good news from organisers of the club's GRASS (Give Regularly - Assist Squad Sponsorship) scheme, who have banked a £5,000 cheque from the Supporters Club to boost his transfer kitty. 'To get an amount like that in one lump is really something and I'd like to thank all the supporters who've put their hands in their pockets', he said. 'It's been a crazy week for me, what with moving house, but my phone will be red hot again once Christmas is over and I'll be working hard to bring players in'. The need for a new striker is becoming increasingly desperate for Harvey, who will arrange a late fitness test on Charlie Griffin's swollen ankle. A broken bone in Allan Russell's foot and Mark Beesley's lack of form means Rovers could take to the Recreation Ground pitch without an out-an-out striker. 'We're really struggling in terms of numbers but feeling sorry for ourselves won't do us any good', said Harvey. 'It'll be very tough for us, but we've been to some difficult places already this season and come away with something'.

    Aldershot manager Terry Brown has added to his squad this week in the shape of ex-Charlton Athletic trainee Karl Beckford. The 21-year-old could line up in midfield alongside Ben Harding, who spent an impressive two months on loan at Forest Green last season. Harding has struggled for first-team action at League Two side MK Dons and is spending the entire campaign in Hampshire".

    24 December 2006


  • York C. 2 Halifax T. 0
  • League table


    Rod Thornley scored again for Chorley yesterday as he continues his "loan" to the Lancashire side. He remains eligible to play for Altrincham.


    Alty host Northwich Vics at Moss Lane on Boxing Day (3pm). Altrincham's home record in the Conference/Alliance against Northwich Victoria is not good. In 19 encounters, Alty have won just four at Moss Lane. However, one of those wins was the last Conference encounter with our Cheshire rivals on 3 January 2000, when goals by Kevin Ellison and Dickie Landon won the game 2-0 in front of 1,713 spectators. Also in that season, Alty drew 1-1 in the reverse fixture at the Drill Field and beat the Vics 6-1, away, in the Conference League Cup and 3-1 in the Cheshire Senior Cup.

    In the Manchester Evening News, Graham said "This is a massive game for both ourselves and Vics. A win for us and we go level on points with them. A win for them and we will trail them by six. It's nice for us to be meeting Northwich again after such a long break. I think it's pretty safe to assume the game is going to be a tense, tight affair."

    The Northwich Vics Supporters' Trust "will be organising transport for our next two important away games. [The first is on] Tuesday 26th December BOXING DAY at ALTRINCHAM. Bookings have already been brisk for this fixture and a 53-seater coach has been booked.Meet at the Memorial Hall 1.15pm - return approx 6.00pm - Cost £8 adults and £6 concessions".


    Anthony Hargreaves scored Flixton's goal as they drew with FC United yesterday. Meanwhile, a contemporary of his at Alty, Mike Turner, was a used sub in Maine Road's 3-1 win over Bacup Borough.


    STAR reports that Altrincham FC Commercial Director, Barry Pond, "is asking for donations of computers that run Windows XP. Please contact Barry at the club 0161 928 1045 or e-mail Paul Daine via the STAR site to arrange collection". Also "The STAR Xmas raffle draw will take place after the Northwich home match on Boxing day in the NWS. So why not take some of your Xmas money to the match and treat yourself to a few extra tickets?"
    23 December 2006


    Altrincham FC, like virtually all Conference sides, have no game this weekend. Over the holiday period, the fixtures are:
  • Tuesday, 26 December, 3pm: v Northwich Victoria at Moss Lane.
  • Saturday, 30 December, 3pm: v Forest Green Rovers at Moss Lane.
  • Monday, 1 January, 3pm: v Halifax Town at The Shay. Supporters coach details here. As usual you can book through the club on 928-1045 but, as an alternative, given that the offices will not be open for all of the Christmas/New Year period, you can e-mail Mark Eckersall to reserve your seat.

    Neither the Reserves nor Youth team have matches till into the New Year.

    The staff and players of Altrincham FC would like to wish all the club's supporters a very Happy Christmas and New Year and thank them for their excellent support this year. Don't forget the New Year's Eve party at Moss Lane, which is free but for which you must get a ticket in advance from the club.


    The Altrincham FC Junior Robins' Christmas party went very well last Sunday and included an impromptu match on pitch as well as the usual party treats. Also the 2nd Hale Beavers had a tour of the ground last Monday which was "a great success" according to their leader.


    The NW Evening Mail reports that "As the season has progressed Phil Wilson has attempted to correct the slide down the standings by strengthening his squad. He brought in winger Colin Potts last week to bolster the side’s midfield and the 28-year-old made an impressive debut in the 5-2 FA Trophy defeat by Worcester City on Tuesday...'Colin Potts did okay for us on Tuesday, he’s just a little bit short of match practice and that’s why he came off, he’ll get better with every game. He gets good balls in and he’s a good footballer, once he gets a little bit fitter he will be fine for us'" said the Barrow boss.


    The BBC reports that "Aldershot Town have completed the signing of former Lewes Athletic midfielder Karl Beckford. The 21-year-old, who started his career with Charlton Athletic, has joined the Shots following a successful trial. Shots boss Terry Brown told his club's website: 'We have needed a goal scoring midfielder and Karl fits that bill... and I like Karl's attitude. Karl wanted to get back into the full-time game and we're giving him a chance to do that'".

    Stevenage Borough "have confirmed further Football League interest in striker George Boyd as the Transfer Window opening on 1st January draws closer. Chairman Phil Wallace said 'We turned down a significant bid from Peterborough United and they've now increased that offer in an effort to sign George. Whilst we admire the tenacity of Peterborough in trying to secure a player they rate highly, we won't consider a move unless the terms are right for us and, most importantly, George wants to go to the Club who makes the offer. Effectively this would mean a Conference record fee for us and a significant long term deal for George. We've had enquiries from other clubs and we're telling everyone the same thing - George will only be available if we get a fee that we believe is commensurate with his ability, not the league we currently play in. There's nothing to talk about until after Christmas anyway but we're more interested in bringing players in during January than seeing them go in the other direction. Having said that, we've had several calls enquiring about Jason Goodliffe, currently on loan at York City and Halifax have registered their interest again in Darryn Stamp, having failed narrowly to sign him earlier in the season."

    Crawley's Argus says that "Ben Strevens is ready to hit the ground running as Crawley bid to end a turbulent year on a high. The former Barnet striker has been out of action since fracturing a cheekbone in the FA Cup defeat to Lewes at the end of October... The 26-year-old made a surprise return in a specially arranged friendly against Oakwood on Tuesday night and proved his fitness for the Boxing Day trip to Gravesend and Northfleet with a goalscoring display. Strevens admits the two metal plates he had inserted to hold his shattered cheekbone together still cause him discomfort but claims the rest of his body is in perfect shape... He said: "The physio has been working me quite hard and I've been doing all the running with the other lads so my fitness has not really dropped off at all... I probably feel fitter now than I have all season and the only thing I am missing is a bit of match sharpness... I'm still a bit wary of my cheek and I'll probably be concious of going up for headers to begin with but I'm sure I'll forget all about it after a few games. My cheek still feels pretty wierd because I've got two metal plates in it but I've got to get used to them as they're in there for the rest of my life now... The impact was by the side of my eye and the whole cheekbone crumbled in three or four places. It was a really bad one... We've worked so hard to get in the position where we are now and we know that if we can have a good Christmas period we can start pulling away from the relegation zone and even start looking up rather than down'".

    TheBurton Mail states that "Albion manager Nigel Clough is preparing for a hectic round of transfer talks as soon as the January transfer window opens. The Brewers boss is hoping to tie up a deal to keep midfielder Paul Carden at the Pirelli Stadium for the rest of the season. And he will push on in his bid to bolster his Albion strikeforce. Peterborough United's Justin Richards — currently on loan to Conference rivals Grays — is still believed to be top of Clough's shopping list... The Brewers boss told Mail Sport: 'We have made inquiries about two or three players. We are at the mercy of other people, but all the groundwork has been done and we just hope the effort that has been put in bears fruit'". Carden is "technically on loan from Burscough until the end of the year, though only because Albion found a loop hole to secure his services outside the transfer window after the midfielder had been released by Peterborough in October... Clough said: "We hope Paul agrees to stay because we're very, very pleased with his contribution. Pretty much everything he gives us is positive — his talking, his experience and his enthusiasm. He is not just a dogged, hard-working midfield player, but a much better passer of the ball than we probably gave him credit for... We have a problem in offering people 18 months at the moment because of the uncertainty over which league we will be playing in next season'... On the striker front, Clough was reluctant to name names, though he did rule York City's Clayton Donaldson out of the reckoning... He has turned down a new contract, which means York may well have to sell him next month, but Clough said: 'Donaldson is not in our thinking because we expect him to end up with a League club'" As for promotion, Clough added, "We might still be the outsiders, but we're up there with a fighting chance of making the play-offs. That's why we want to strengthen now because other teams in the frame like Dagenham and York are going to lose players next month. I don't envisage that happening to us because we have not had a single inquiry about any of our current squad. It would take some very serious money to persuade us to part with anyone — unless it is a player who could be replaced straight away or someone we could do without. That's where we think we can give ourselves a slight advantage over other teams because we will be looking to add to a squad that's already strong'".

    22 December 2006


    Altrincham's next away game is at The Shay, against Halifax Town, on New Year's Day at 3pm. Details of the STAR supporters' coach are on the Travel Page. As usual you can book through the club on 928-1045 but, as an alternative, given that the offices will not be open for all of the Christmas/New Year period, you can e-mail Mark Eckersall to make your booking.


    Surprisingly, the 2006 Boxing Day clash with Northwich is only the fourth time in 70 years that the two Cheshire neighbours have met on 26 December, as Howard Watts's Through the Years information shows.


    The Tamworth Herald says that "Tamworth boss Mark Cooper will be boosted by the return of central defender Simon Weaver ahead of Tamworth's Boxing Day cracker with Burton Albion. Weaver has recovered from a hip problem... It means only Dave Bampton, Michael Tuohy and Alan Neilson are ruled out". Cooper added, "It's a big period for us and I have targeted seven points out of nine. I'm looking to bring in new players in January - a left winger, a midfielder and a striker. So the lads who are in possession of the shirts at the moment are running out of time to prove themselves to me. Two or three of the lads didn't perform in the first half against Altrincham on Tuesday night. I know Mark Bright was watching the match and I told the lads afterwards that they had blown their chance to show what they are capable of. I can't imagine the BBC blog will be too complimentary after that! The players have got to raise their game in the next couple of weeks or they won't be playing against Norwich". But "Cooper said referee Adam Watts' decision to abandon Tuesday night's clash at half time was the right decision. 'I think the game could have descended into farce', Cooper said. 'The referee said he couldn't see the linesman on the far side and the conditions weren't going to get any better. Whether the abandonment helped us ultimately, I guess we will never know. I was planning to ring the changes at half time but at least now we will get to play the game in better conditions'".


    NL Daily confirms that Crawley Town continue to defy the laws of economics when it reports that the supposedly debt-ridden Sussex side "are hoping to boost their attacking options by signing Scott Rendell on a permanent contract this week. The 19-year-old is on work experience from Premiership Reading until January 1st and Crawley are hoping to secure his services on a long-term basis. But as the club's top scorer this season with nine goals, Rendell's performances have not gone unnoticed and so the Reds may have to fend off several other clubs interested in his signature. Crawley's need for the teenager to sign has become even more pressing this week as on-loan forward Ryan Peters has returned to Brentford as the Bees await the announcement of their new manager... Crawley captain Ben Judge said of Rendell 'He is happy here but he knows he has got other clubs chasing him. It's up to him whether he wants to stay here or go to one of the other clubs at this level', he told IC Surrey

    The BBC reports that Kidderminster Harriers' manager Mark Yates says he is expecting a tough test in his side's Boxing Day derby with Stafford Rangers. Yates told his club's website: "First and foremost it is going to be a battle, a real scrap. And if we are not up for it then they will beat us. If any of my players don't fancy it they had better tell me now because they have to be committed to the cause. That is what Stafford are about and we have got to impose ourselves on them. Most of them have been in the game long enough to know that they have got to be dedicated over Christmas. I want three points at Stafford and I don't want them feeling the after-effects of drinking and stuffing themselves with turkey'".

    "Out-going England National Game XI manager Paul Fairclough is expected to re-apply for the job in a bid to extend his successful reign in charge. Fairclough, who is also manager of League Two side Barnet, is out of contract with the Football Association. The FA is to advertise the post this weekend and expect Fairclough to apply".

    "Conference strugglers Rushden and Diamonds have decided to release goalkeeper Nicky Eyre", confirms the BBC. The 21-year-old, who joined Rushden from Grays Athletic in the summer, has not had his short-term contract at Nene Park extended... However, the former Tottenham youngster has had to alternate with Scott Tynan in recent weeks with Tynan now set to continue in the side".

    From Oxford, This is United claims that "Oxford United's Boxing Day match against Woking is now a record attendance for the Conference. Advance sales yesterday passed 9,500 – which means United have smashed the Conference attendance record of 9,432 set at Lincoln City's home game against Wycombe Wanderers in 1988. The Boxing Day match is fast approaching a sell-out".

    Southport report that "Graham Westley, the new Rushden manager, has made approaches to take Dino Maamria to Rushden and Diamonds. Paul Cook has been dealing with this matter for sometime and is adamant 'Dino is our player and no one wants Dino to leave Haig Avenue. Dino has been approached to go to Nene Park as coach and player. I cannot let Dino go without a fee that will finance a replacement. Dino has been happy at Haig Avenue but sees this as a step forward on the management side. Dino's registration as a player is here at Haig Avenue and he will remain a Southport player until a deal is done. I am not losing a striker to a club level on points with us without the finance to strengthen the club. I have talked this through several times with Dino and he understands the club's stance. I want to make it clear to our supporters that I do not want Dino to leave and Dino states himself he has been happy at Haig Avenue. We have had a really good couple of weeks and this is unfortunate but I have been aware this has been going on for sometime. It is up to Graham Westley to come up with an offer I accept, as simple as that'. Dino stated 'I enjoy Southport. However I am 35 and have the chance to work as a coach with Graham Westley, it is a chance I feel I cannot turn down and have therefore requested being allowed to join Rushden'... Chairman Charlie Clapham stated 'We have had no approach from Rushden. Paul Cook does not want to lose Dino Maamria and no contact has been received from Rushden... We are very unhappy how this situation has been dealt with by both Rushden and Graham Westley. Approaches have to be made officially, not in this way'".

    The Aldershot News & Mail states that "Terry Brown has revealed that he hopes to add an attacking midfielder to his squad...The Aldershot boss told the News that the goalscoring midfielder would initially join on a non-contract basis to ensure he is available for the busy Christmas period, before signing a contract at the start of the January transfer window. Brown was remaining tight-lipped over the identity of the player, but he is known to be a keen admirer of Maidenhead United’s Dwane Lee, while Farnborough Town have issued a hands-off warning over Matt Pattison. However, the boss admitted that some current squad members may have to leave the club to help balance the books [and said]... . “We have also made enquiries about Jonny Dixon, as we are aware that Grays have had an offer accepted".

    The Northwich Guardian says that "Stuart Elliott will appeal against a charge of racial abuse towards another player. The Vics' captain denies he did anything wrong during the Conference clash with Halifax Town, after which midfielder Tyrone Thompson made an accusation. He was told of the FA's decision after training on Thursday.'It's been a tough time for Stuart', said manager Steve Burr yesterday, Tuesday. 'As skipper he's tried not to let it affect his game, but clearly it's not easy having something like this hanging over you'. Elliott, who met with Burr and Vics' secretary Derek Nuttall immediately after receiving the call from the FA, will be backed by the club until a decision is made. The game's governing body charged Elliott, 29, with using racially aggravated abusive language... They gave him until December 28 to respond, but the midfielder has already told Burr he will fight to clear his name. The FA are likely to call parties from both clubs to a hearing in London next month.... Halifax Town have spent the past six weeks gathering evidence and getting statements from their players".

    The Oxford Mail reports on the postponemnt of Oxford's midweek game. "Said U's secretary Mick Brown: 'It was absolutely the right decision at the time, and there were no dissenting voices whatsoever... We had wanted to see if we could get a referee in to make an inspection earlier in the afternoon, but with the nature of fog, which can come and go, the FA are very reluctant to let you do that. It is very disappointing for anyone that's travelled and we feel sorry for all supporters who had a wasted journey". The match will now be played on Tuesday, January 9 (7.45) and tickets purchased for last night's game will be valid for the new date. And in line with Oxford United's Customer Charter, if any supporter is unable to attend on January 9 they can obtain a refund of the cost of the tickets, but not the cost of any booking fee, by returning them before 12 noon on the day of the match".

    Southport GB confirms that "Leading goalscorer Dino Maamria could be on his way out of Haig Avenue... Initial negotiations ended after Westley appeared to drop out of the running for the Nene Park vacancy, but the ex Stevenage Borough manager was appointed earlier this week and remains keen to offer his former striker a coaching role".

    From The Comet we learn that "George Boyd remains a Stevenage Boro player - for the time being at least... League Two Peterborough have had an offer refused. Boro boss Mark Stimson said: 'George has raised his own levels... He was outstanding in that spell after half-time on Saturday. Of course I want to keep him. With him in the team, we've finally got something we've been working really hard for... We'll have to see what happens after Christmas'. Midfield dynamo Brad Johnson was recalled by League One strugglers Northampton this week... Stimson said: "Aldershot were by far the best team we've played this season so far on the night... Tenth is good after the start we had... We should be in for a good New Year'... St Albans manager Colin Lippiatt is planning changes for the derby game against Boro... Lippiatt said: 'On Boxing Day changes will be afoot. This is not a knee jerk reaction. I will see whether or not I can bring one or two players before the game because they have got to be non-contract'". Meanwhile Stevenage Reserves recently played a game in which they "included St Albans striker Paul Hakim who may be in opposition ranks in the Boxing Day derby. Hakim, with eight goals for Saints in the Conference, has had an outing as a substitute for Brighton reserves".

    "Garry Hill has secured the services of Ben Smith, after the Weymouth club captain signed a contract extension until June 2009" states This is Weymouth. Smith said: "At the start of the season everyone was talking about consolidation. We had an eye on doing a little better than that but we never thought we would be in the top three by Boxing Day. Now we are in that position we want to stick in that top five and we will be disappointed if we do not achieve that".

    21 December 2006


    SAM reports that "Altrincham manager Graham Heathcote was once again left cursing his luck on Tuesday night after his side were once again denied their first away win of the season... [when] the game [at Tamworth] was called off due to fog... Speaking exclusively to SAM, Heathcote said: 'I feel it was a poor decision to call off the game. The referee tried to justify it by saying the conditions had deteriorated but they hadn't and that was what galled me. It is the referee's right to call off the game but he doesn't need to find a reason for it when that's not the case - the conditions had actually been worse during some of the first half than they were at half time. But that's life and you have to overcome these setbacks, we still have a good chance of getting through to the next round as we have showed we are more than capable of beating Tamworth. Every season the Christmas period is very important. We had a good one last year and we have to aim for that again this year and then look to kick on in January'".


    NL Daily reports that in midweek, Skelmersdale United "hosted fellow lower mid-table Kidsgrove Athletic and went ahead in the 18th minute through James Glendenning". Leigh RMI won again on Tuesday with current Alty players Eddie Hussin, Kieran Lugsden (right) as well as Mark Maddox in their squad. And there was "a certain degree of reorganisation in the RMI side as Steve Porter moved from right back to the centre of midfield".


    Woking confirm that "Glenn Cockerill remains defiant in the face of speculation about his position as Woking manager and has vowed to turnaround the club’s fortunes.... There is a certain irony in [chairman] John Buchanan being down under, where he will take in a bit of Test cricket, during a time when Woking’s season is turning to ashes and Cockerill may consider himself fortunate he has not yet got the dreaded vote of confidence. But the manager is adamant he has not ‘lost’ the dressing room as some people have suggested". Cockerill said “Yes, I’ve picked out certain players for criticism because I want them to care as much as I do about our situation... It’s taken four years to have a run like this under me". The article adds that "Eight defeats in the past 11 matches have not helped Cockerill’s cause... Saturday’s defeat brought some strong words from him: 'I’m disgusted with Simon Jackson, Karl Murray and Steve Ferguson. People know I’ve stuck by my players but I’ve stuck with some of them long enough. I don’t think some of them have given me as much as I’ve given them. Afterwards I was stronger than I’ve ever been with this mob and I told them, if I’m still here in January, there’s going to be a big shake-up and some of them won’t be. I’m not having that performance, it was disgraceful and not enough of them were trying. There was not enough care and pride. I heard some of the fans behind our dressing room afterwards singing ‘you’re not fit to wear the shirt’ and they were right about some of them, they are certainly not. I was better off when I had battlers and fighters because when we lost, at least we lost properly. It’s my fault, I signed them, because I know they can play football and they’ve proved that... Karl Murray is a worker not a footballer and he doesn’t work hard enough... I can take the ‘Cockerill out’ shouts... But I’m not having six or seven of my players not showing as much pride as my management staff, and my fans. That just can’t happen. I’ll have to ship some out and I don’t think it’s going to be difficult to work out after what I’ve said, which ones might go. That’s if I can get anyone to take them'. At least one board member has told the manager he should not have gone public with his slating of players but now it is out in the open, Cockerill has the difficult task of motivating men who know they are on borrowed time".

    The BBC says that "Kidderminster have extended the loan signing of West Brom defender Rob Davies for a further month. The Wales under-21 international orignally signed on a one-month deal". But "Northwich Victoria defender Gareth Griffiths is returning to Rochdale to assist caretaker-manager Keith Hill. Vics' boss Steve Burr has let Griffiths, 36, help out at his ex-club while he is out with a fractured cheekbone. Hill told Rochdale's website: 'He was a big presence in the dressing-room during his time here and I felt having him around would benefit us'. Northwich hope Griffiths, who joined from Rochdale in the summer, will resume his playing duties when fit".

    Meanwhile "St Albans City have parted company with winger Ben Walshe. Walshe, who is also an actor, has ended a third spell at Clarence Park by mutual consent because of increased work commitments. The former QPR player rejoined the Saints in October after helping them to win promotion from Conference South last season".

    The BBC also reports that "Stafford Rangers have signed Crewe defender Ritchie Sutton on loan for the rest of the season. Sutton joined the R's at the start of the current campaign and has started 18 games for the Conference club either side of a spell out with a knee injury. The 20-year-old was also with Stafford last season, helping them win promotion from Conference North". But "Gravesend and Northfleet have cancelled the contract of striker Danny Ekoku by mutual consent. The 21-year-old signed a one-year deal at the start of the season but struggled to break into the first-team, making half-a-dozen appearances. Ekoku was signed at the start of this season from Crawley Town, who he joined in August 2005. He was on the books at Bradford City, and had a spell on loan to Bradford Park Avenue".

    From the Burton Mail we read that "Winger Keith Gilroy's Burton Albion comeback has been put off again... Gilroy has made only nine starts this season because of persistent hamstring problems... The Brewers' boss [Nigel Clough] told Mail Sport: 'We want to build him back gradually and think he will benefit more from training sessions. We've already had two this week, and we've got two more planned for Thursday and Sunday. Hopefully, he will come through those without any reaction and then we can seriously look at getting him back on the pitch during the Christmas period'". Defenders Ryan Austin and John Brayford and strike pair Shaun Harrad and Jon Shaw returned to the starting line-up for a recent local cup match with Clough saying "None of them have had much football of late and it won't hurt them to have another run". Meanwhile for the next first-team game "Gary Rowett (knee), Lee Fowler (illness) and top scorer Daryl Clare (back strain) are all expected to return to the starting line-up but full-back Aaron Webster is unlikely to be fit... as he recovers from a knee ligament strain".

    despite their financial situation "Crawley Town are looking for cover up front after Ryan Peters returned to Brentford at the end of his month's loan. Caretaker joint-boss Ben Judge said: 'We are are looking to bring in two or three players during the transfer window, extending loan deals or else bringing new players in permanently. We need cover up front because Ryan has gone back and in each department because two more of our loan signings are due to end". In a local friendly this week "Striker Ben Strevens had a run out after being sidelined for seven weeks after fracturing his cheekbone".

    This is Glos says that "Forest Green chairman Colin Gardner has pledged to back manager Jim Harvey in the January transfer market...Harvey has made no secret of his desire to sign at least one striker during next month's transfer window... Harvey said: 'A lot depends on whether we can move a few players out and free up more of the budget, but if we're not able to do that then there are other options such as loan players. I'll be ringing everybody I know in the game over the next few weeks and, by hook or by crook, I'll get players in. I'm confident the board will support me if that's what it takes to keep us safe in the Conference'. Gardner confirmed: 'The board will support Jim'... Harvey plans to meet this week with the organisers of the club's GRASS [Give Regularly - Assist Squad Sponsorship] scheme, which helps to top up the playing budget via donations from fans... He said: 'We have six defenders on the books who I would be happy to pick from, and we're pretty solid in midfield. But it doesn't take a wise man to see we're not scoring enough goals'... Many of the 50 or so supporters present voiced concerns that the new stadium was proving a drain on the club's resources. Gardner denied this, but admitted improvement was needed in the marketing of facilities... 'We have a 10-year mortgage on the stadium and we have to meet current debts, but as a club we are paying our way', he said. 'There were costs involved with the stadium which we didn't forsee, such as £80,000 to move a radio mast... We don't think this football club will break even for two years, but we don't have a problem meeting any of our targets and I don't forsee any problems meeting them in the future. The facilities we have are bringing more money into this club than ever before... I don't believe this club markets itself well enough. Our facilities on the leisure and commercial side are among the best in the county and we should make more of them'".

    Nearer to home IC Cheshire reports that "Northwich Vics' chairman Mike Connett last week bemoaned poor attendances at the Victoria Stadium... The players and the manager are also affected by empty spaces on the terraces. 'I am disappointed', said manager Steve Burr. 'I thought we would get a few more. I have always believed this club could do what Macclesfield have done, but you begin to wonder whether we would ever attract sufficient fans. We need to be full-time to compete in the Conference and we need the help of Northwich people to do that. I understand results matter and that our home form has been poor. But we do play attractive football and the players are surprised by the response this season from the fans. They expected more atmosphere, but that is not an excuse for any bad result'. Before they travel to East-bourne in the FA Trophy 2nd round on January 13, Vics play Altrincham away (Boxing Day), Stafford away, Southport home and St Albans away. 'They are all clubs around us or below us and that means it is vital we pick up points', said Burr. But the Vics' boss is low on personnel. On loan full back Greg Young has been recalled by Halifax Town, which must put in doubt his anticipated permanent move to the Victoria Stadium in January. Burr sent German Felix Bastians back to Nottingham Forest. 'He did well against Halifax, but never reached that standard again and I don't think his heart was in it', said Burr. Centre back Steve Payne has a scan on his injured knee on Friday and cartilage damage is suspected. But Burr is preparing a shopping list for the January transfer window".

    The Northwich Guardian adds that "Burr has resigned himself to missing out on Greg Young... 'Greg has a place in my long term plans here', he said". But Halifax boss Chris Wilder said that "Young was allowed to play for Vics to regain match fitness and has challenged him to stake a claim for a regular place at the heart of the Shaymen's defence".

    Southport GB says that "Southport are hopeful that Ged Brannan will become the club’s first signing of 200... The Sandgrounders have expressed interest in offering the 34-year old a player-assistant manager role... But an agreement is yet to be struck with Brannan’s current employers, Morecambe, meaning he could initially join on loan".

    It is stated by This is Weymouth that "Dorchester and Weymouth are both casting an eye on Taunton Town's Sonyo da Mata. The Portuguese has excelled for the Somerset side... and played as a trialist for the Terras against Swansea City last week. Mata can play up front or in midfield".


    Alty's former rivals in the UniBond League, Lancaster City, have reportedly gone into administration, which brings with it a 10-point deduction but another club in administration, Scarborough, have better news, according to Scarborough Today. "Boro Supporters' Club chairman Stuart Canvin.. was in an emotional mood after hearing the Council had opened the door for Boro's proposed move to a new site in Eastfield. The club now need the motion to be passed at a full cabinet meeting on January 8, which will allow the move from the McCain Stadium to get underway – a move which could safeguard the future of the club. Canvin said: 'It is fantastic news, a perfect early Christmas present. The council giving us that lifeline is bigger than the club drawing Chelsea in the cup... Boro needs its dignity back. It is now time to push on and start thinking about getting back into the Conference'".

    20 December 2006


    The BBC confirms that "Northampton Town have recalled midfielder Bradley Johnson from his loan spell at Stevenage Borough. Stevenage boss Mark Stimson was hoping to keep the 19-year-old at Broadhall Way following a successful month-long stint at the Conference club".

    Also from the BBC is news that "New Rushden and Diamonds boss Graham Westley has appointed former Luton Town defender John Dreyer as his assistant.Dreyer, 43, previously spent a spell working with Westley on the coaching staff at Stevenage Borough. Westley told Rushden's website: 'He impressed me a lot. He has vast experience and great connections'. Dreyer also played for Oxford, Stoke and Bradford before ending his playing career with Stevenage, where he also had a stint as caretaker-manager".

    NL Daily says that "The board of directors at Cambridge United have issued a statement regarding Saturday's embarrassing FA Trophy defeat at Nationwide South neighbours Histon... 'Our display at the Glassworld Stadium on Saturday was very poor and one which we cannot defend. This is not to take anything away from Histon, who deserved their victory, and who we wish well in the Trophy. Too many players underperformed and did not appear to have the passion and commitment to match their counterparts. We expect the team to respond positively to the criticisms made of them and hope that we will look back upon this time as theseason's low point. Cambridge United are very fortunate to have such a loyal and understanding fan-base and the board of directors want the supporters to know that we share their disappointment and appreciate their patience'".

    The Football Conference says that the nominations for Conference Player of the Month for November are Craig Mackail-Smith (Dagenham & Redbridge), Adam Stansfield (Exeter City), Scott Rendell (Crawley Town), John Grant (Aldershot Town) and Iyseden Christie (Kidderminster Harriers).

    Rushden confirm that from 1 January 2007 their ground will be a no-smoking location.

    Morecambe state that "forward Michael Twiss has pledged his long-term future to the Shrimps. Twiss, 29 last October, has signed a three-year extension to his current contract that will keep him at Christie Park until 2010. Morecambe manager Sammy McIlroy said, 'I am delighted to have re-signed such an influential player. Michael is a quality act and proven goal-scorer and I am sure this signing will send out the right message to the other members of the squad that we are negotiating with at present and to all Morecambe supporters'... Michael Twiss commented, 'I am more than happy to sign and commit my future to Morecambe Football Club. I love it here, the players, officials, staff, management and fans, everything about the club. I am enjoying my football and want to be a part of the progress of this football club'".

    Hereford's Bullsnews confirms that "The club have extended the loan of ex-Bull David Brown to Burton for another month".

    19 December 2006


    Above: Referee Watts (centre) and his assistants survey the scene before kick off.

    Alty fans and officials were left fuming after referee Watts controversially abandoned the game at halftime with Alty leading 2-1 and visibility actually better than it had been for most of the first half. A chaotic 20 minutes later, after counting the fans three times, Tamworth produced some half-price vouchers for the replay of this replay, which will be on 9 January, just four days before the next round. The Board of Altrincham FC has generously offered holders of these vouchers five pounds if presented at Moss Lane before that date so as to offset the additional cost for travelling fans.

    Alty had taken a two-goal lead after Little converted Chalmers's low cross from the left (16 mins) and then Thornley netted from close range following a corner by Bushell (40 mins). Smith headed home a freekick as the game went into added time (45+1 mins). In a match sponsored by the local Baptist Church, tonight's events were a clear case of divine intervention on behalf of Tamworth.

    Match report here.

    Above: Graham Heathcote talks to the Alty fans after the abandonment.


    Tuesday 19th

    FAT 1

  • Barrow 2 Worcester C. 5

    FAT1 Replays

  • Basingstoke T. 0 Welling U. 2 - winners play Altrincham or Tamworth
  • Bath C. 0 Farnborough T. 1
  • Leigh RMI 2 Harrogate T. 1
  • Tamworth 1 ALTRINCHAM 2 Match abandoned after 45 mins.
  • Vauxhall M. v Kidderminster H. Postponed, fog.


  • Cambridge U. v Stafford R. Postponed, fog.

    Wednesday 20th


  • Oxford U. v Lewes. Postponed, fog.


    SAM says that "Moments of excitement were as sparse as the Moss Lane crowd on Saturday as Altrincham's FA Trophy clash with Tamworth ended in a goalless draw. Only 621 fans turned up to watch a clash between two of the Conference's basement dwellers and, unfortunately, the quality on display befitted their respective league positions. It was a particularly out of sorts performance from Alty, who have generally played some good football this season despite their poor fortune". Graham Heathcote said, "First half, I think we played some decent football but didn't stick away any of our chances. Then second half it went ragged and was a poor game of football. We have looked very nervous at times recently, which is understandable considering we've not won in five games".


    Steve Foster informs the website that the December winners of the Friends of Altrincham FC Draw were
  • First prize of £100: no.28 Jackie McLay
  • Second prize of £25: no. 57 Ian Jones

    Thanks are due to all the Friends; you can join the scheme here -and help the Club in the process.


    The Football Conference confirms that "Championship side Barnsley have recalled defender Robert Atkinson from his loan spell at Halifax Town because of injuries to three first-team regulars... The 19-year-old has been in fine fettle recently, bagging three goals from two games and has made five appearances for the Shaymen. Despite Atkinson leaving the Shay, manager Chris Wilder won't be too worried, as he has recalled Greg Young from his loan at fellow Conference side Northwich Victoria to soften the blow" The BBC adds that "Young, 23, made three league appearances... The former Grimsby defender will be included in Halifax's squad for Saturday's derby at York City".

    Likewise, "Brentford have recalled striker Ryan Peters from his loan spell with Crawley Town. The Conference club were keen to keep Peters but the Bees, who are set to name their new boss this week, have brought him back to Griffin Park. The departure of Peters, who scored once in four games, has left Crawley short of strikers. Ben Strevens is not expected to return to action from a fractured cheekbone until January".

    Meanwhile, the BBC also reports that "York City striker Clayton Donaldson has rejected the offer of a new contract at Bootham Crescent. Donaldson who scored his 15th goal of the season in last Saturday's defeat at Morecambe, reaches the end of his current deal in the summer. 'He's been offered a new contract and has turned it down so we will have to wait and see on that', said City boss Billy McEwan. Donaldson, 22, has scored 32 goals for York since joining in June, 2005".

    Another unhappy manager is St Albans City's Colin Lippiatt who has "vowed to make changes after their 3-2 FA Trophy exit at Bishop's Stortford. 'I have just read the riot act. I have had enough of people coming here in a comfort zone, so those changes will start on Boxing Day', he said. 'We saw a performance today which was way below the level I expect. No disrepect to Stortford but they are not a special team in any shape or form. I have quite a list of players who are interested in coming here in January'".


    Monday 18th FAT1 Replay

  • Hinckley U. 1 Stalybridge C. 2
    18 December 2006


    NL Daily reports that "Rushden & Diamonds have announced the appointment of Graham Westley as their new manager. The former Stevenage Borough boss made a name for himself with Farnborough Town, steering them to victory in the Ryman League Cup during his first year. 'Graham is and has always been our first choice as a replacement to Paul, but it has taken time to secure his services', said Rushden chairman Keith Cousins. 'His coaching skills, his wealth of knowledge on players at this level, experience in this league and his contacts in the game generally, played a major part in our decision to appoint him ahead of anyone else. He is extremely ambitious with a real desire to win, therefore bringing to the club that ambition which is in keeping with both the clubs' and my own ambition. Graham is under no illusion of how difficult a task he faces but is looking forward to the challenge between now and May and is confident he can ensure the club climbs the Nationwide Conference table and be challenging for a play-off position come the end of the season. We currently find ourselves at the foot of The Nationwide Conference and are in a position that was not anticipated at the start of this campaign. It was our wish and intention to at least be challenging for The Nationwide Conference title this season. This, however, has not been the case with performances and results having left us off the pace by a county mile and in the wrong end of the league, which is unacceptable'".

    TROPHY 2

    After tomorrow's replay, Altrincham or Tamworth are at home to Welling United or Basingstoke Town in Round 2 of the FA Trophy on 13 January.

    The full draw is:

  • Stalybridge C. v Kettering T.
  • Lewes / Oxford U. v Halifax T.
  • Morecambe v Mangotsfield U.
  • Altrincham / Tamworth v Welling United / Basingstoke Town
  • Newport County v Histon
  • Eastbourne Borough v Northwich V.
  • Exeter C. v Kidderminster H / Vauxhall Motors
  • Salisbury C v Southport
  • Redditch U. v Dagenham & R.
  • Barrow / Worcester C. v Burton A.
  • Witton Albion v Rushden & Diamonds
  • Weston super Mare v Grays A.
  • Farnborough T. / Bath City v Braintree T.
  • Stevenage B. v Harrogate T. /Leigh RMI
  • Yeading v Bishop's Stortford
  • Gravesend & Northfleet v AFC Wimbledon

    THE TEAM OF 1905

    The deadline for bids on Ebay for the rare 1905 postcard of Altrincham FC is fast approaching - you now have just four days to secure this historic piece of Alty memorabilia.


    Altrincham's FA Trophy replay will be this Tuesday (19th) at 7.45pm at The Lamb, Tamworth. There will be a STAR supporters' coach to this match - details here. Links to maps of the Tamworth area are on the Links Page.

    Please do make use of the supporters' coach if you possibly can!


    Right: Gary Talbot makes a presentation to joint match sponsor, Bob Peters of 20/20 Research, on Saturday.

    Tamworth confirm that our Trophy replay against The Lambs on Tuesday is a 7.45pm kick off. It adds, "After the game at Moss Lane, where Tamworth have failed to score in three visits, Lambs boss Mark Cooper had the following to say, 'I know Graham Heathcote's Alty will be up for the win on Tuesday night, but we have home advantage which should count for something. We were not at the races for the first 20 minutes today and did OK after that, but still were lacking that bit of quality in the final third. When we moved to three up front at the end we almost snatched it but a clean sheet is something we can take from the game but we really didn't want to have to replay'. Simon Weaver sat the game out with a hip injury but should be in contention for the game on Tuesday but faces stiff competition in defence now that Tom Kemp has returned. 'Tom did well, in fact all four of the defenders did, but I thought Adie Smith was our best player'".

    Prices at The Lamb are:

  • Terraces: adults £11, concessionaries £6.
  • Stand seats: adults £13, Concessions £9.


    Stephen Lunt (left), now 21 and a student at the University of Sheffield, but an Altrincham first-team squad member from 2002-04 has been selected for the English Universities' squad. A former pupil of Blessed Thomas Holford School, Altrincham and South Trafford College, Steve made his first-team debut as a late substitute against Bradford P.A. on 12 November 2002. He had previously established himself as a striker for the Altrincham Youth team, as well as playing for Altrincham F.C. Reserves, during 2001-02. He made his first first-team start, in a cup match against Hyde in November 2002 and scored. However, in late July 2004, he decided to take a break from football to concentrate on his studies after making 11 starts and 34 substitute appearances for the Altrincham first team, for whom he scored four goals.

    A more recent product of the Altrincham youth team, Richard Gresty, (now with Hyde United Reserves) has been selected once more for the English Colleges squad.

    A Mark Maddox corner laid on a goal for Leigh RMI on Saturday, says the NL Paper; whilst elsewhere Chris Timons played for Harrogate Town and Lance Key for Histon in the Trophy. Nehru McKenzie is now playing for Woodley whilst former Alty reserve, Griff Jones, netted twice for in-form Witton Albion. In League Two, Paul Ellender and Tim Ryan celebrated a rare win for Boston United. Terry Bowker and former Alty Reserve, Tom Baker, turned out for Ashton United, whilst Anthony Hargreaves netted for Flixton.


    The NL Paper refers to the deferred December meeting of creditors of Crawley Town since "some of those owed money are becoming impatient as the meeting has not yet been rescheduled. At the end of August creditors agreed that Azwar and brother Chas Majeed should pay them about £500,000... by October 30 at the latest". But "The brothers had come up with only £115,000 before the deadline... A winding-up petition against Majeed-run SA Retail which owns the Club... was dismissed by the High Court on Wednesday... SA Retail will pay undisclosed legal costs, and the taxman is still owed £220,000 by the Club, separate from the company's previous debt".


    Sunday 20th FAT 1

  • Fisher A. 0 Eastbourne B. 1
    17 December 2006


    In the NL Paper today, Graham Heathcote says of yesterday's Trophy game, "I come from an era when the Trophy was important to this club. But we had 620 here when the average gate is 1000 so people obviously don't think it's that important. There was no buzz about the place and that contributed to a flat game". For his part, Tamworth boss Mark Cooper said, "We had our chances after not being at the races for the first 20 minutes. The last thing I needed was a replay".

    Tamworth's match report says that "With just over a week to go until Christmas there was no surprise that the ground appeared less populated than expected with around just 40 Lambs fans making the journey north... The first real chance of the game came to the home side and ended with Colin Little firing wide with a well taken volley after Robbie Lawton and Gary Scott had combined down the right".


    Today's Altrincham Youth's match at home to Salford City Youth has been postponed due to a waterlogged pitch. The next scheduled match is on Sunday 7 January away to FC United of Manchester's newly formed youth team, who normally play at Shrewsbury Street, Old Trafford though this venue has to be confirmed for this game.


    The January fixtures for Altrincham Reserves for January 2007 have now been issued and can be found in the Reserves' section.
    16 December 2006


    This was hardly a game to reward the 621 souls who opted to watch this FA Trophy match rather than complete their Christmas shopping. Match report here.

  • Alty Line-Up
  • Alty Player Statistics


  • Aldershot T. 1 AFC Wimbledon 2
  • Altrincham 0 Tamworth 0
  • Barrow v Worcester C. POSTPONED
  • Bishop's Stortford 3 St Albans C. 2
  • Braintree T. 3 Ashford T. 0
  • Dagenham & R. 2 Crawley T. 0
  • Exeter C. 3 Heybridge S. 0
  • Farnborough T. 1 Bath C. 1
  • Fisher A. v Eastbourne B. Sunday game
  • Forest Green R. 0 Yeading 1
  • Gateshead. 0 Burton A. 4
  • Halifax T. 3 Hyde U. 1
  • Harrogate T. 1 Leigh RMI 1
  • Havant & W. 1 Gravesend & N. 2
  • Histon 5 Cambridge U. 0
  • Kettering T. 1 Stafford R. 0
  • Kidderminster H. 4 Vauxhall M. 4
  • Lewes 0 Oxford U. 0
  • Mangotsfield U. 2 King's Lynn 1
  • Morecambe 2 York C. 1
  • Newport C. 2 AFC Sudbury 1
  • Northwich V. 3 Farsley C. 1
  • Nuneaton B. 0 Redditch U. 3
  • Rushden & D. 3 Scarborough 2
  • Salisbury C. 3 Woking 1
  • Southport 1 Droylsden 0
  • Stalybridge C. 2 Hinckley U. 2
  • Stevenage B. 7 Merthyr Tydfil 0
  • Welling U. 0 Basingstoke T. 0
  • Weston Super Mare 1 Evesham U. 0
  • Weymouth 1 Grays A. 2
  • Woodley S. 1 Witton A. 3

    Yet another postponement due to a waterlogged pitch has hit Altrincham Reserves. Their Lancashire League Cup match, today, at Atherton Collieries has been called off.


    Before today's Trophy match at home to Tamworth, the Sale & Altrincham Messenger has its weekly Colin Little Column.

    The Alty striker says, "We put in another good performance against Kidderminster and after that we would have expected to come away with something but we lost again. It does get you down a bit when this keeps happening but at least it's better than getting completely outplayed and not knowing where your next point, your next win is going to come from. Our performances have been good so we know that if we keep it up we will eventually get our reward... There's no point panicking about the situation... We've also had plenty of bad luck recently and that penalty decision against Kidderminster was ridiculous but we can't keep moaning about things like that, we just need to get on with it... We have to enjoy the challenge ahead of us rather than feeling down about it... Only a couple of wins could lift us out of trouble. Just look at Southport, weeks ago they looked dead and buried but after a couple of good results they're off the bottom and back in with a shout... Everyone's looking forward to this weekend's Trophy game and it's one we think we have a good chance of winning... Although I would like to do well in the Trophy, the league's more important for us at the moment and I would trade a Trophy win for three points in the league.

    I was sad to see Pottsy leave this week because he's a good player and a good lad. There's no doubting his ability but the problem was always his fitness and what he gave you in defence. Most of the time in this league, we have to keep it extremely tight to make sure we don't give anything away and that's just not possible with Pottsy on the wing. He's not been helped by the fact that Robbie (Lawton) has come in and done so well. Pottsy wants to play regularly and he can't be guaranteed that here so fair play to him. You have to make these tough decisions all the time, it was the same with Mad Dog (Mark Maddox) in the summer. I'm sure we'll see both of them at our Christmas do next week. I still get texts from Mad Dog after every game saying how did 'we' do. It's sad to see guys who love the club so much leave like this but unfortunately that's football".


    The Football Conference states that "Rushden and Diamonds have set their sights on Tamworth manager Mark Cooper but the Lambs' boss has no intention of leaving any time soon. Cooper is said to be the number one target for the Diamonds' board but the Lambs won't let him go without a fight. Tamworth have been quick to end the speculation though by releasing a statement from Cooper himself. It read: 'I'm only 6 months into a two-year contract here at Tamworth, and have not been approached by any other club regarding a manager's position'". Tamworth themselves report that "They travel to another ‘jinx’ club this coming Saturday in the FA Trophy and Cooper welcomes back central defender Tom Kemp into his squad and he is likely to go straight into the starting eleven. Kemp is able to feature for The Lambs again as he had his contract cancelled at Lincoln and has waited the correct length of time to become a 'free agent' before being signed up back at TFC. However, The Lambs have failed to show their best side at Moss Lane on their two previous visits and both times have come away on the wrong end of 2-0 scorelines. But boss Mark Cooper, despite wanting to get back into league action ASAP, is looking for his side to bounce back and bury the hoodoo at Alty".


    SAM reports that "Barrow manager Phil Wilson said of Colin Potts: 'He's somebody who I have known about who may be available for a good deal of time. I spoke to him in the summer and he wanted to try and stay in the Conference. Although he's only 28, he's experienced at playing at Conference North and Conference standard, he's the type of player we want. He's got quality, he's an experienced player and he's got a will to win, so we're pleased to have him'. Potts will go straight into the squad for Barrow's FA Trophy first round clash with Worcester, now due to be played on Tuesday after Saturday's game was postponed due to a waterlogged pitch at Holker Street".

    "He has signed for Barrow on non-contract terms. Wilson added of his capture: 'I have known him for quite a period of time. I speak to him whenever I see him and make the odd phone call to him to see his availability. I've always shown an interest in being able to sign him and he has rewarded us by coming to the club. He's experienced, he's a good footballer, he can pass the ball".


    Thanks to Barry Pikesley we now know that Dean Greygoose is actually currently at Soham Town Rangers. The goalkeeping Greygoose at nearby Bury Town is one Sean Greygoose.


    NL Daily reports on a crackdown against managers. "Buxton have received the bombshell news that their manager Nicky Law has been ordered to serve a six-month touchline ban... The sanctions resulted from post-match exchanges between the managers and the referee at the Brigg Town home match on November 8th... The severity of the penalties has taken all at the Silverlands by surprise but would seem to be part of a FA crackdown on the non-League scene" says Buxton Today. Meanwhile "Mick Norbury, player/assistant-manager of Goole AFC, has been banned from the touchline for SIX YEARS... The Football Association's disciplinary commission has charged Norbury in relation to two accounts of foul and abusive language and threatening behaviour towards referees this season... Norbury said: 'It is unbelievable. I am gutted as we have started buzzing recently. The referees have worded the complaint worse than how it was. I pleaded guilty to the charges even though some of the words were wrong to get it out of the way... In his report at Colwyn Bay the referee said I went up and threatened to knock him out but I actually said, some would say you want knocking out after that performance. I have been sent-off more times in my career than anyone else and I have only ever appealed once as they usually end up giving you longer sentences. I once appealed for when I got a ban for head-butting a goalkeeper. I appealed and took the goalkeeper with me to the appeal because I didn't touch him and he told them that but the ban was increased from 90 to 112 days'" reports .


    This is Staffs reports that "Nick Farquharson's goal could not prevent Crewe from suffering a shock 2-1 FA Youth Cup third-round defeat at Cambridge United". Meanwhile, "Nantwich Town head coach Steve Davis is attempting to bring in a central-defender on loan from Stafford Rangers" says This is Staffs. But "Stafford Rangers' FA Trophy hopes have taken a battering, with one key midfielder facing surgery and another suspended for tomorrow's clash at Kettering.The Conference club have been stunned by news that Kevin Street needs an operation on a suspected broken ankle. The surgery has been lined up for January and Street may not be available again until the end of February. [Ex-Alty man] Ged Murphy has a one-match ban after picking up his fifth booking of the season. Rangers' problems don't end there - defender Craig McAughtrie's recovery from a calf injury suffered a setback this week and he will miss his fifth game in a row".

    The Comet reports that Stevenage "Boro's two loan players at York, club captain Jason Goodliffe and striker Darryn Stamp, have been issued with different instructions this weekend. Goodliffe is being allowed to play but Stamp is ruled out to ensure he will not be cup-tied and thus he will be more appetising to other clubs in the January transfer window".

    In the St Albans Observer we read that "Paul Hakim is likely to pull on a St Albans City shirt in the New Year should he not secure a move away from Clarence Park in the transfer window next month. The striker has been training with Brighton & Hove Albion this week and featured in a Reserve game against Southampton on Wednesday. Hakim is also set to play for Conference rivals Stevenage Borough against Colchester on Monday night in a bid to secure a move into the professional game. City boss Colin Lippiatt has spoken to the nine-goal striker twice this week - 'It was all very amicable', remarked Lippiatt - and appears willing to welcome the contract rebel back into the fold should Hakim not find a new club. However, Lippiatt has already made provisions for life without Hakim by asking Bristol City if he can extend the loan spell of Elliot Benyon until the end of the season. A move for a midfielder is also on the cards. 'Paul is our player until April 2007', confirmed Lippiatt. 'We are paying his wages and it would be foolish to cut off our nose off to spite our face. He is still part of our squad and I haven't got a major issue with him coming back. A lot of things have been said by myself and chairman John Gibson but the dust has settled now. He's still a very good player and we need to stay in this division'".

    Rushden Today says that "Goalkeeper Nicky Eyre has been handed his chance to earn a new contract at Rushden & Diamonds. Caretaker-manager Tony Godden revealed that the former Tottenham Hotspur trainee only signed a six-month deal when he left Grays Athletic last summer so he could leave Nene Park during the January transfer window. Eyre, who was ever- present for the first three months of the season, returned to the team for Saturday's home win over Oxford United after Scott Tynan failed to keep a clean sheet in four appearances. Dan Crane is also back in the Diamonds squad following a loan spell with Nationwide South side Lewes. Goalkeeping coach Godden said: 'Nicky's contract only runs until January so he's got a chance to sign another one for the rest of the season or to put himself in the shop window and play for another team'... Godden added: 'I keep going day by day. When something is about to happen I'm sure the board will tell me. They are telling me things all the time about what they are doing behind the scenes. The new chairman Keith Cousins is totally up front and honest so we will see what the outcome is when he's ready.. We need to become more consistent and I'm still confident we can put an unbeaten run together... It has been a difficult few weeks – it really has been. But you keep going... We are a young side and we are learning'".

    The Oxford Mail confirms that "Oxford United have released their former on-loan Grays striker Jamie Slabber... Slabber, who has also been let go by Grays, is understood to have another club chasing his signature, but if it doesn't work out there, he may still have a future at Oxford... 'Jamie won't be playing tomorrow, he's released', Smith confirmed. 'He's not gone back as such because he's got nowhere to go to, but he'll be signing for someone else, I presume, within the next few days'.... In his month at Oxford, Slabber was unfortunate to arrive just as the team were experiencing a dip in form... United's manager said: "I think he's a super lad, but he hasn't had enough games and he's come to us at a bad time for somebody who's coming on loan... He's being released for obvious reasons because we've got Marvin Robinson coming back... What I've said to Jamie is that we want to look elsewhere for players, and the wage cap comes into play. But I would like to look at him again, and I've offered him the opportunity to join us for training in pre-season next year, unless he signs for someone else. But he's got two or three clubs who want to sign him'".

    A piece on This is Glos informs us that Forest Green Rovers' "boss Jim Harvey is set to return to the tried and tested 4-4-1-1 formation that proved so effective during the opening weeks of his tenure. Last week's experiment with a wing-back system against Southport backfired badly, as the visitors emerged with a 2-1 victory...'I've told myself to slow down a bit and concentrate on what I know the players can do', said Harvey. 'We changed one or two things around against Southport and the previous week against York which, looking back, was maybe a mistake. We had been going well and perhaps I was getting a wee bit ahead of myself and complicating matters. The players are comfortable with 4-4-1-1 and that's the way we're looking to go for now'".

    The Burton Mail alerts us to the news that "Loan signing David Brown is staying with Burton Albion until the New Year. Accrington Stanley have agreed the striker can continue to help Albion... The 28-year-old Brown was due to return to the Lancastrians this week after completing his month's stay at the Pirelli Stadium... But Stanley manager John Coleman has sanctioned an extension of the loan until January 6. Brewers' boss Nigel Clough said: 'Although David hasn't scored for us so far, we're pleased to have him on board for the next few weeks. He'll be with us for another five games at least, taking us through to when the transfer window opens'... [In the Trophy at Gateshead] Clough is toying with the idea of using Brown on the right side of midfield to allow Shaun Harrad and Jon Shaw to revive last season's partnership up front... Clough said: 'Daryl has also been carrying a couple of knocks, and it might be the right time to give him a little break like we did earlier in the season. That's why we might possibly go with Shaun and Jon up front'... Meanwhile, it is Andy Ducros' lack of form that is tempting Clough to use Brown in a wide midfield role... Clough is contemplating using Lee Fowler on the left to give Danny Holmes another chance alongside Paul Carden in the centre of midfield... Defensive pair Ryan Austin and John Brayford can also expect recalls... Clough insisted the changes had nothing to do with a lukewarm approach to the Trophy.

    TheAldershot News & Mail says that "Farnborough manager Ian McDonald has warned Aldershot boss Terry Brown to steer clear of January transfer bids for two of his key players. Brown is known to be a keen admirer of midfielder Matt Pattison and in-form striker Michael Charles... But Macca said: 'If Terry wants to watch my players that’s fine — he can even have a season ticket if he likes watching them that much. Aldershot haven’t got the money to buy either of them — they simply can’t afford them. I haven't got a problem with Terry looking at my players. If he’s watching them then it means they’re playing well, but the bottom line is they’re not for sale... It would take a big cheque for us to even think about letting them go".

    Stevenage Borough "chairman Phil Wallace has confirmed that they have rejected a significant bid from Peterborough United for striker George Boyd. Chairman Phil Wallace told Webnews 'Barry Fry is a proven judge of young talent and it’s no surprise that he’s increased his bid and tried to buy George again. We have the greatest respect for Barry and a good relationship with Peterborough but we believe we’re still in with a chance of the play offs so we want to keep our players together as long as we possibly can. George is a unique talent but fortunately we don’t need to sell anyone. Our club has a great spirit, George is enjoying his football and happy to keep improving under Mark and I think Barry knows that if he were able to sign George then he would be signing a Championship quality player for a Conference fee'".

    15 December 2006


    Following his request, this week, to be released by Altrincham FC, winger Colin Potts has joined Barrow in Conference North. All at Moss Lane wish him well at Holker Street where he will be managed by former Alty player, Phil Wilson.


    The Tamworth Herald says that "Tamworth's players are battling for their futures as they embark on the FA Trophy trail this weekend. Boss Mark Cooper was furious at seeing his side go bottom of the Conference last weekend after a dismal defeat at Crawley. And he has made no secret of the fact that unless results improve quickly - starting at Altrincham on Saturday - players will be axed in January. The Lambs' boss has already started identifying targets and has agreed to sign a Birmingham City left-sided midfielder on loan next month. That is believed to be Jamie Price, who netted the winner when the two sides met in the Birmingham Senior Cup earlier this month. 'The players at this football club keep telling me they are better than Crawley, Southport etc but the fact is we are not', Cooper fumed. 'We are below them in the table and the league doesn't lie. The fact is the players are not doing the business and they are running out of time to prove to me that they deserve to be at this football club. It's okay raising their game for matches against the better sides or the FA Cup but they have to do it week in, week out. If they don't, I will replace them, it's as simple as that. Saturday's game at Altrincham gives them a chance to prove to me that last weekend was a one off. Saturday is another big game because the prize at the end of it could be a trip to Wembley'... Cooper is boosted by the return of Tom Kemp, who has re-registered for the club after his contract at Lincoln came to an end. Kemp's arrival is a timely boost as Simon Weaver is struggling with a hip problem. Micky Tuohy and Emmet Friars are also likely to be missing along with long-term injury victim Dave Bampton. Cooper, meanwhile, admitted Lee Moore's departure to AFC Telford could turn out to be a mistake. 'It's a move which could come back and bite us on the bum', said Cooper. 'But we have got a fee for him and a sell on, so we are covered in that respect'".


    Right: Mr Collin is pictured after Steve Aspinall (no. 2) netted Alty's second, from the spot, against Stevenage in August.

    Saturday's match referee for the Trophy game against Tamworth is Mr J. Collin. He has generally been a good omen for Altrincham. He refereed the FA Cup match which we won against Kendal but sent off Jamie Phoenix in that game which proved to be the player's last outing for Altrincham. He also reffed Alty's 4-1 home win over Worksop Town in 2004 and that same year oversaw our 3-0 win at Runcorn. More recently, he handled the opening game of this season, our win over Stevenage Borough at Moss Lane.


    The BBC says that "Forest Green Rovers defender Matthew Robinson is leaving The Lawn to join Salisbury City. Robinson, 31, has decided to make the move into part-time football in order to combine playing with a job in the police force. [He] joined Forest Green from Oxford United at the beginning of the season".

    "Conference leaders Oxford United have decided to end striker Jamie Slabber's loan spell at the Kassam Stadium. United boss Jim Smith has opted against extending the Grays' striker's loan spell into a second month. Former Spurs and Aldershot frontman Slabber failed to score in three appearances for Oxford. The 21-year-old Slabber could have played for Oxford in the FA Trophy on Saturday but has returned to Grays to avoid being cup-tied" says the BBC.

    "Crawley striker Ben Strevens is not expected to return to action until the New Year...after fracturing his cheekbone in three places... Caretaker boss Dave Woozley told the Argus: 'He is meeting with a surgeon and could get the all clear but we have not put a time on when he will return'". reports the BBC.

    "Exeter City midfielder Matt Gill has committed himself to the club by agreeing a new two-year deal. The contract will keep the former Peterborough and Notts County player, 26, with the Grecians until May 2009... Gill's decision comes as a major boost to Exeter after he had originally declined a new offer".

    The Argus reports that "The brothers in charge of Crawley Town FC have once again brought their company back from the brink of liquidation. Chas and Aswar Majeed, who own the club and SA Retail, were taken to the Royal Courts of Justice in London last month over an unpaid corporation tax bill of £206,000. The Inland Revenue had applied for a winding up order which would have placed the Majeed's companies, including the football club and bars in Brighton, Crawley and Burgess Hill, in the hands of receivers.... At the Royal Courts of Justice yesterday the case was dismissed. SA Retail was ordered to pay court costs which are yet to be decided. Chas Majeed said: 'It was dismissed because the debt was paid last week'. The club has had a chequered financial history. Earlier this year it was put into voluntary administration with debts of £1.4 million.

    At the end of the administration period creditors refused a deal tabled by the Majeeds. Administrator Begbie Traynors announced the club would go into liquidation. An 11th hour deal was agreed and the creditors settled for 50p in the pound. Among creditors are the Inland Revenue which is owed £220,000 in unpaid tax. This is owed by Crawley Town and is separate from the SA Retail debt of £206,000... All creditors are still waiting for their money.

    Antony Weller, a spokesman for Crawley Town Supporters' Trust, said: 'Some creditors have been waiting over a year for their money and some individuals are owed fairly substantial sums. There has been no attempt to pay and the debts remain outstanding'".

    Dagenham & Redbridge "are pleased to announce the signing of former Arsenal and Watford midfielder Paolo Vernazza. Paolo, aged 27, began his career at Arsenal where he made his first-team debut in a League Cup tie against Birmingham City in October 1997. Such was the player's ability that he made the England squad for the 1999 FIFA World Youth Championship as well as Premiership and Champions League appearances whilst with the Gunners... before leaving Highbury for Watford in December 2000 for a fee of £350,000. The midfielder made close to 100 appearances at Vicarage Road... He joined Rotherham United in July 2004 and had a loan spell at Barnet. Since the summer he has been training with Bristol Rovers and the Daggers for whom he scored for in a friendly fixture against Thurrock. Manager John Still said, 'Paolo is a very experienced player who has been training with us and is someone I’ve known for a while'".

    From St Albans City we learn that "St Albans City Football Club are please to announce that many of the players have signed extended contracts and committed their futures to the club. Skipper Lee Clarke has led by example and signed for 3 years. Others who signed for a further 2 seasons are Paul Bastock, Matty Hann and Chris Seeby. Gary Elphick has signed for another season and fans are reminded that Ram Marwa and Tom Davis are under contract to play for the club next season".

    At Woking "Glenn Cockerill will need his players to stand up and be counted.. when his team travel to Salisbury City in the FA Trophy first round on Saturday... 'I know our season could be dead and buried by the turn of the year and it’s my job to ensure it isn’t', he said. 'I’ve got a response from my teams before but that’s been from tougher players... I’ve got two weeks to suss my players out and they’ve got three games, if you like, to prove themselves. I’m afraid if they can’t grasp how important the attitude side of it is they won’t go too much higher than this level... But I can’t do anything to change it until January'. He revealed that the decision to send Karim El-Salahi out on loan to Eastleigh was purely financial and added: 'With Karim, I’m just trying to get some money into the club over December, which could release a bit for me in January. His money, on top of Shwan’s, makes a difference. I haven’t given up on Karim, it’s just a way of saying I don’t really need him in December and I just need my two centre halves to get through the next three games'... Giuseppe Sole is back in light training but is unlikely to be risked on Saturday... Ollie Berquez is struggling and needs a small operation on his knee but Liam Cockerill has had his Gilmore’s groin operation, courtesy of Saturday’s opponents Salisbury, who were obliged to foot the bill as he got injured while on loan with them in November. The Wiltshire club are believed to have been less than happy at having to pay what was said to be around £3,000".

    Halifax Today says that "Councillors have voted to redevelop the Shay themselves – subject to another feasibility study and detailed costings. Plans for the 13-acre site by the Stadium Trust... were thrown out at last night's special meeting. Instead, Calderdale Council wants to consider providing office accommodation at the ground and at the same time finish the East Stand, work on which came to a halt four years ago... Trust chief executive Geoff Butler said he was satisfied with the idea... One idea could be to transfer the 500 or so staff from the council's administrative HQ, Northgate House, to the stadium. But the decision last night stops short of making a specific decision on that. As much as £12 million might have to be spent on Northgate House to bring it up to standard and there are staff working in other sub-standard offices in Halifax who could be transferred to the Shay. The Stadium Trust's plans involved revamping the ground for sport, office, retail space and flats. But that would have required £4 million to make it feasible"

    The FA confirms that "Northwich Victoria's Stuart Elliot has been charged with racially-aggravated abusive words towards Halifax Town's Tyrone Thompson during the match on 4 November. He has until 28 December to respond to the charge".

    14 December 2006


    The Sale & Altrincham Messenger says that "Altrincham manager Graham Heathcote has called for Conference officials to adopt a more common-sense approach after his team once again found themselves victims of a dubious penalty decision on Saturday... Speaking exclusively to SAM Sport, he said: 'Some of the tackles the referee gave fouls for in our match would've been considered harsh in one of my son's Sunday morning under-10s' games... We seem to be heading towards a non-contact sport. The penalty decision was probably the worst I have seen in my entire career and I don't think anyone in that ground would have disagreed with me... Players and managers see a completely different game of football to the officials and it's a problem I can't see being sorted out anytime soon. There's nothing we can really do about it because we're not allowed to criticise them. In a country that prides itself on free speech, football is one of the few places you can't have it because if you do speak out you end up in front of the FA... It would be a massive bonus if we did well in the FA Trophy but that's all it would be. Every league game is more important than this one. That's not to knock the Trophy but we just need to focus on survival in the Conference. Really, we just need to get a win under our belts and I believe we can do that because we've been playing well recently'".


    IC Cheshire reports that "Northwich Vics' chairman Mike Connett is calling on the fans to get behind the team and help them push for the Football League. Connett told the Chronicle he hopes more supporters will flock to Victoria Stadium as work progresses to develop the ground. But he is concerned by the low attendances in the club's new home, which he fears could hinder chances of Steve Burr's men making the step up. He said: 'We've built what is by far and away the best ground in the Conference and in the area and I'm concerned that the attendances are still so low - we have the lowest gates in the league and that is dreadful when you consider the fantastic facilities we've got . I want to see more people supporting the club. We are looking for Football League status but at the moment we don't have the support to back us up. Everybody at the club is disappointed - including the players and the manager. We also have one of the best sides in the league and none of us can understand it. When Burton Albion opened their new ground they had Manchester United and Sir Alex Ferguson there and they sold 6,000 tickets - we only managed to get 3,000 when they came two weeks ago. Nobody else in the 130-year history of the club has supported them like I have and the fans need to give something back. People need to start getting off their backsides and supporting us - forget everything else, I'm here to stay and so is the club'. Northwich's home record of eight defeats in 11 league games naturally depresses attendances, however. The average at the Victoria Stadium is 962 [the lowest in the Conference], with the home support around the 800 mark. But Northwich is also among the smallest drawing areas and a slice of the town still favours Witton Albion... On Saturday they get an ideal chance to progress to the second round of the FA Trophy when Conference North Farsley Celtic are the visitors to Wincham... Vics' boss Steve Burr has a full report on Farsley but may have to persist with left back Greg Young in the centre of defence as Steve Payne recovers from a knee injury and Gareth Griffiths (broken cheekbone) is sidelined. Four of the following five games are against relegation strugglers [including Altrincham] and are now vitally important".

    The BBC says that "Weymouth have lodged an appeal with the FA against the red card shown to defender Trevor Challis in Saturday's 1-0 defeat at Northwich. The full-back was dismissed for a challenge on Paul Brayson".

    Meanwhile the same source states that "Grays have been given a timely boost with the news that striker Dennis Oli avoided serious damage when injuring a knee in Saturday's 0-0 draw with York. Oli, 22, was sent for X-rays and an MRI scan after falling awkwardly. The scans have revealed no major structural damage for the England non-league international, who has scored just once this season {against Altrincham]. Meanwhile, ex-Chelsea and Stoke striker Mark Stein has left Grays after a spell as physio with the Conference club".

    Exeter City boss Paul Tisdale "wants to establish a new scouting policy at St James's Park to improve the club's ability to identify new players. Tisdale watched three games last week as he searches for new faces to swell the ranks when the January transfer window opens". He said "The club doesn't really have a scouting network. Four years ago the club was bankrupt, so there is literally no scouting network. I am trying to set that up. I watched three games last week but I can't physically do that every week of the year and stay in the office until 10pm at night. I am trying to do that as well as taking coaching and I am on the phone trying to do the networking and trying to make the best of what we have got. Paul Buckle has been the biggest ally this year in terms of knowledge and contracts". However, This is Exeter adds that "Tisdale suffered a setback last week when striker Jamie Mackie, midfielder Matt Gill and full-backs Danny Woodards and Billy Jones turned down new contract offers... While he insists the door remains open to the four contract rebels, he accepts he may have to use his money differently when the transfer window opens next month". The manager went on, "You might identify 10 players but at the end of that only one might tick all the boxes - and that is the hardest thing. But I am sure every other club is no different. We have a list of players who we are interested in and we will do our best to bring the right ones to the football club, whether that is in January or in the summer".

    The Crawley Town Forum reports that "Case 6830/2006 SA Retail Limited [was] listed as to be heard not before 11.30am at the Companies Court of the Royal Courts of Justice" yesterday (Wednesday). A normally reliable source at Crawley states that "The case was dismissed today. HMC are no longer pursuing [the company]. I don't really know why or anything like that". The Forum's moderator adds, "SA Retail are saying payment settled, HMRC won't comment on individual cases. A figure of £200K has been mentioned by a couple of sources". We await confirmation of all this...

    IC Surrey claims that, despite the club's supposed penury, Dannie Bulman "expects to return to the Crawley Town side in January after agreeing a permanent deal with the club. The influential midfielder has signed a pre-contract agreement with the Reds after his previous employers Stevenage Borough terminated his contract with them by mutual consent... The 27-year-old had been on a three-month loan deal at the Broadfield Stadium before it expired on November 30, during which time he made 16 appearances and scored four goals. And after he cut his ties with Stevenage last week, Bulman said 'It wasn't a hard decision to make to be honest. I'm a player who plays better when I'm enjoying my football and that is the case at Crawley. It wasn't about the money. Crawley made it clear they wanted me because they kept saying how much they wanted me to sign, so when a club wants you that much, you know you are going to be happy'. Bulman said the Reds had offered him a permanent deal during John Hollins' reign as manager but the player had preferred to stay on loan at the time. 'I wasn't sure about the stability of the club financially then', he said. 'But I've had a chat with the chairman and he's assured me that everything is going to be okay. To be fair I wasn't really enjoying it at Stevenage, but Crawley are glad to make me welcome and since I've been here I've taken to it like a duck to water.'.. [He] will register formally with the club on an 18-month contract when the window re-opens on New Year's Day... [The player added,] 'John Hollins was a great guy and we all respected him. But since Ben (Judge), Dave (Woozley) and John (Yems) have taken over the lads have really put the effort in for them and they have the respect of all the boys'... Crawley signed four players in November, including Gavin McCallum on loan from Yeovil. McCallum's loan deal will run out on January 6 ... Speaking after his debut, McCallum said he was happy with his performance but admitted the Tamworth players seemed to be aware of his strengths since he had been on loan with the Lambs earlier in his career... 'It's more serious here than at Tamworth. The lads are great and they keep your spirits up'".

    Rushden Today reports that "Tony Godden is backing Rushden & Diamonds striker Lee Tomlin to return soon feeling even greedier for goal-scoring heroics. The highly-rated 17-year-old was surprisingly left out of caretaker-manager Godden's 16-man squad for the shock 1-0 home win over leaders Oxford United last weekend after leading the attack for the previous seven games. But Godden [explained]: 'Lee has got a few aches and pains because of his age and we felt that he needed a break... His body is starting to hurt after the games. His back is really sore and I felt he needed a rest so I left him out completely against Oxford. "He totally understood and he was one of the first up to me after the final whistle to shake my hand and give me a cuddle. That's the team spirit we've got'. Meanwhile, right-back Glenn Wilson resumed training yesterday after being forced to sit out the Oxford game for personal reasons. Midfielder Tom Shaw is suffering with a back problem... But on-loan Peterborough United defender Chris Plummer has retired from professional football to go into business with a friend following just two appearances for Diamonds... Former Nottingham Forest midfielder Andrew Rigby – who joined Diamonds in the summer on non-contract terms for expenses only – has been sent on loan to Southern League club Rugby Town for match fitness and additional income".

    The BBC says that "York City will have to continue their push for promotion from the Conference without midfielder Mark Convery until well into the new year. Convery, 25, has been out of action since mid-October with a foot injury. It is now thought the former Darlington player has damaged a metatarsal, with a visit to a specialist expected to confirm another six-week lay-off."

    Peterborough United boss Keith Alexander believes he has hit a rich seam of talent by digging deep into the reserves of non-league football. 'There are a lot of very good players at that level', Alexander told BBC Sport. 'A lot of people seem to forget that they call them non-league players but they often have a background at league clubs at some stage, whether it be as YTS or young professionals. They are not non-league players in the old-fashioned sense. They know what is required at League level. It has always been a policy of mine and that won't change... I have a lot of contacts in non-league football. I had 10 or 12 years in it myself and I know they types of players and characters that are in it'... Alexander's own boss is steeped in non-league tradition with Peterborough's director of football Barry Fry famed for his early successes with Barnet. Alexander played under Fry at Underhill".

    The Halifax Courier reports that "Councillors look set to back plans to complete the east stand at the Shay and incorporate a council office block. But it is believed it will reject a larger development of the site drawn up by the Shay Stadium Trust because it would mean a cash injection of up to £4 million. The issue is to be debated at a special council meeting tomorrow [Wednesday] but is almost certain to be held in private. The six members of the Shay Stadium Working Party, set up nearly a year ago, are unwilling to talk publicly about the plans. But confidential details given to the Courier show, probably for the first time, a cross-party willingness to develop the stadium and the east stand "in accordance with the council's investment needs... Council leader Ann McAllister (Con, Rastrick) said she was optimistic, 'As far as I am aware, the working party has come to a consensus and I believe that tomorrow's council meeting will be productive' she said. 'The old east stand was pulled down in May 2000 and work on the £2.3 million replacement came to a halt before the end of that year. Since then only the roof and some seating has been added'".

    13 December 2006


    If you don't have a season ticket already, Altrincham FC is offering Half-Season Tickets for all the home league games from Boxing Day (inclusive). The tickets also allow free entry to Reserves' matches at Moss Lane, the prices are just:
  • Terraces - £85 (adult), £40 (junior and OAP).
  • Seating Main/Family Stand £105 (adult) £45 (junior and OAP).

    Games in all cup competitions are not covered by full- or half-season tickets; all spectators pay at the turnstile as follows:

  • Seating Main/Family Stand Adults - £12
  • Seating Main/Family Stand Concessions (U16 and OAPs) - £7
  • Terraces - Adults - £10
  • Terraces - Concessions (U16 and OAPs) - £6


    Altrincham Reserves' season has been blighted by postponements due to waterlogged pitches and the latest game to succumb to a postponement is Wednesday's away fixture against Hyde United. They are due to play away at Atherton Collieries on Saturday 16th December in the League Cup.


    The December draw for the Friends of Altrincham FC lottery takes place on Saturday (16th). As usual, it will be held in the Noel White Suite, at approximately 5.30pm. The numbers entering the draw will be:

    1. Simon Ellis, 2. Steven Raftery, 4. Pamela Gresty, 5. Grahame Rowley, 6. Karen Rowley, 7. Paul Daine, 8. Paul Daine, 9. Steve Foster, 10. Steve Foster, 11. Peter and Judy Foster, 12. Peter and Judy Foster, 13. John Laidlar, 14. Mike Lloyd, 15. Daisy Seller, 16. Daniel Eadie, 17. Stephen Murray, 18. Brian Topping, 19. Dianne Swindells, 20. Derek Wilshaw, 21. John Browne, 22. Laurence Howorth, 23. Lisa Jones, 24. Dan Yarwood, 25. Dan Yarwood, 26. P B Smith, 27. Campbell McLay, 28. Jackie McLay, 29. John Brennan, 30. John Brennan, 31. Paul Brady, 32. G & J Muir, 33. G & J Muir, 34. Ian Langford, 35. Andrew Shaw, 36. Andrew Shaw, 37. Daniel Jones, 38. Niall Flynn, 39. Lori Flynn, 40. David Mardon, 41. David Mardon, 42. Nigel Hennerley, 43. Nigel Hennerley, 44. Neil Faulkner, 45. Neil Faulkner, 46. Anthony Henderson, 47. P J Crawford, 48. P J Crawford, 49. George Heslop, 50. Jenny Heslop, 51. Mrs M Warrington, 52. Mrs M Warrington, 53. Ruth Gallagher, 54. Ruth Gallagher 55. Dalton Steele, 56. Graham Jackett, 57. I Jones, 58. Jean Heathcote, 59. J. Jordan.

    Thanks, as ever, go to all participants and to the organizer, Steve Foster. First prize is £100, with a £25 prize for the runner-up. Click the following link for full details of the Friends Scheme and how to join... all proceeds go to the Football Club.


  • Basingstoke T. 1 Aldershot T. 3
  • Nottingham Forest 2 Salisbury C. 0


    The BBC says that "Burton Albion may be without long-serving defender Aaron Webster until the turn of the year. The 25-year-old, who has started over 150 Conference games for the Brewers, has been sidelined with a knee ligament injury sustained in training. Boss Nigel Clough told the Burton Mail: 'At the moment we're presuming he will miss Gateshead (in the FA Trophy) and all of the holiday games'".

    "Jonny Dixon looks set for a move to Grays Athletic in the January transfer window after Wycombe accepted a bid. The 22-year-old striker turned down a £5,000 move to another Conference side Aldershot in the summer. But he has fallen down the pecking order under new boss Paul Lambert, making just one start this campaign. Grays chairman Mike Woodward told the Bucks Free Press: 'Wycombe have accepted our offer and it's a matter of sitting down and talking to him'" reports the BBC.

    The Football Conference says that "John Coleman, manager of last year's Nationwide Conference champions Accrington, has refused to rule out a move for Morecambe's Michael Twiss. The 28-year-old Morecambe striker, who is out of contract in the summer, has scored ten goals in the Conference this season... Coleman said: 'Michael Twiss is a good player and is someone who does interest us but he's under contract to Morecambe so I can't really comment any more on that. I want to bring in three or four players in January because we haven't got the strongest squad and some players that haven't been featuring may leave the club... There have been a couple of calls (about Accrington players) and I'm making a few enquiries about other players myself'".

    From the unofficial This is United site at Oxford, we learn that "Jim Smith is certain that his Oxford United team will come good again soon, despite their recent wobble continuing with a shock defeat at Rushden... He said: 'The most disappointing part of it all was that we probably had 80% of the game, but... in the whole 90 minutes we didn't have a shot at goal. And that's not because we were penned in our half, because we were in theirs'". Smith's thoughts have turned to new new players but he said, "You're limited as to what you can do in January, buying-wise. And the lads have done tremendously well anyway. They're having a bit of a dip at the moment, but they will come on again, and that's what they've got to do".

    Meanwhile "Oxford United will not risk anyone in their FA Carlsberg Trophy tie at Lewes this Saturday who is injured, because it would be too much of a risk to their league campaign". As for defender Matt Day, physio Neil Sullivan said, "He's definitely damaged ligaments, but it's not as bad as was first feared. We're hoping in a couple of weeks he'll be OK... And there was better news too on centre back Chris Willmott, who... will not need an operation. 'The anterior cruciate was the concern but, fingers crossed, he might be OK for the games after Christmas'". Regarding the Trophy game, a confident Smith stated "It's not as if we've got a massive squad. I'll put out what I think will be a team that's going to win the game. We don't want to be going out of the Trophy early and we don't want to be going out to a team in a lesser league than ourselves. It's a lovely place to go, so I've been told, but we need to get back winning so this will hopefully give us an opportunity to do that".

    The BBC adds that "Oxford United have accepted a transfer request from goalkeeper Chris Tardif. The 25-year-old has played over 50 games for Oxford since joining the club from Portsmouth in May 2004. But the 25-year-old has been restricted to just one appearance this season with Billy Turley firmly established as the U's number one".

    12 December 2006


  • Terry Rowley's Conference attendance statistics.
  • Barry Pond's Match Sponsorship list.


    The Kidderminster Shuttle heads its report ""Mad, mad Robins go sob, sob sobbing along. Altrincham boss Graham Heathcote was seething after the controversial penalty that gave Harriers the upper hand. Heathcote had to be given a talking to by referee Roger Vaughan after taking issue with the match official's dubious decision to award a spot kick for Peter Band's 41st minute challenge on Iyseden Christie. The Robins' manager was clearly fuming in the dugout for the remainder of the match and he still hadn't calmed down by the time he faced the press. 'It wasn't a penalty, full stop', he said... Harriers' boss Mark Yates admitted his side had 'got lucky' with the penalty decision which put the hosts in front for the first time. 'I'll do an Arsene Wenger and say I didn't see it', joked Yates. 'No, seriously, the referee said at half-time it was for a clear push so I'll take his word for it. If we've got lucky with one, we'll take it'.

    The paper adds 'Jonny Harkness was the match-winner again as Harriers overcame their home hoodoo to edge a five-goal thriller against Altrincham. The set-piece specialist used his sweet left foot to great effect once more to whip in the deciding goal on 65 minutes. It was the former Walsall defender's third free kick goal in two matches and continued his impressive return to form. The strike was enough to earn Harkness the sponsor's man-of-the match award, although in fairness the accolade should have gone to another player with Saddlers connections, James Constable.The on-loan frontman led the line superbly all afternoon...The game's decisive moment came on 41 minutes when referee Roger Vaughan awarded Kidderminster a dubious penalty when Iyseden Christie went down under a seemingly fair challenge from Peter Band".

    Meanwhile the Harriers' official site "can reveal that defender Mark Creighton is to get a fantastic early Christmas present in the form of a new 18-month contract".


    NL Daily says that "Jim Smith, manager of Oxford United, has dismissed speculation that Leeds United's new boss Dennis Wise is poised to make a move for former Rushden & Diamonds midfielder Andy Burgess. A national newspaper claimed Wise had targeted 25-year-old Burgess, but that Oxford wanted £250,000 for him. But U's boss Smith said the story was 'a load of b*******"'.... Smith said: 'I can't see Andy Burgess being Dennis Wise's kind of player in a relegation battle. I hope they do offer £250,000! But I haven't heard anything from them'. Burgess is widely regarded as the most skilful player in the Conference, and is United's most saleable asset... United's manager admitted: 'We do rely a little bit on Burgess in terms of opening teams up in our attacking play, but we don't have any really outstanding player in the team – we play together as a team. You always need to sell, at whatever club you're at, unless you're Chelsea or Man Utd'", he told The Oxford Mail.

    The Argus reports that "Crawley caretaker manager Ben Judge says he would like to stay in charge for the rest of the season. Judge, 29, and fellow defender Dave Woozley, 27, extended their unbeaten run as temporary managers to five games with a fortunate win over Tamworth. It takes Reds out of the Conference relegation zone for the first time... They can do the job in difficult circumstances and the fans like them. The last thing Crawley need after a turbulent year is for a new man to come in, all guns blazing and rock the boat again. The finances are not there anyway. It would be a case of getting the best out of what is already there, something Judge, Woozley and coach John Yems are already doing. Handing them the job until the summer now seems the best option for owners Chas and Azwar Majeed. The club, as long as it is still around (nothing should be ruled out when it comes to Crawley), will hopefully have paid its debts by then and could reassess the situation and start afresh next season....Asked if he would take the job until the end of the season, Judge said: 'At the moment yes. Dave and I both think it has come around a little too early for us but all the time we are getting results, it is something we will carry on doing until something happens. I would imagine we will get through the Christmas period and then they will have a look at it when the transfer window opens in January. 'We need to know what is going on then, to see if we can get players in or out. They have to let us know as early as possible so we can start planning, if they want us... We are expecting them to bring someone else in but at the moment we will get on with what we are doing... Maybe it is affecting our performance a little bit. Dave did well but personally I wasn't happy with my performance. We try to switch off from the manager side but it is difficult'".

    11 December 2006


    Altrincham FC have allowed winger Colin Potts (right) to leave, at the player's request. After missing much of the summer due to a hernia operation, Colin has not been able to command a regular place this season and indicated to manager Graham Heathcote that he wanted regular football. Graham was unable to guarantee that and has agreed to release him. Altrincham FC would like to record its thanks to Colin for his service to the club. This season Colin, who is 28, made 7(+4) appearances and in all turned out on 81(+25) occasions for Altrincham and scored 13 goals. He joined Altrincham in summer 2004 after a brief spell at Northwich Victoria. His other clubs included Rochdale, Morecambe, Chorley, Bamber Bridge, Lancaster City (from Nov. 2000), Stalybridge (from May 2003), Northwich Victoria (November 2003) and Stalybridge again (February 2004). Colin, who runs a carpet business in Preston when not playing football, went briefly on loan to Burscough in early September 2006 to regain match fitness and, for the same reason, recently turned out for Chorley. All at Moss Lane wish him well.


    Sunday's youth team game away to Morecambe was abandoned in farcicial conditions at Lancaster & Morecambe College. Though played on a supposedly "all-weather" pitch, the rain had been so heavy that it had standing water on it. Also, the crossbars were both the wrong, different height after vandalism, there were no corner flags and only two match officials. The game kicked off after a protest by Alty Youth team manager George Heslop. After just five minutes the wet pitch gifted Morecame a goal but five minutes later the referee abandoned the game. Altrincham now face the unwanted expense of travelling again to re-play the match. They now play Salford City next Sunday (17th) at Wythenshawe Town, k.o.2pm.


    After Saturday's game at Kidderminster, Alty boss Graham Heathcote told the NL Paper, "Not one person at the ground other than the referee thought that it was a penalty. Show me one who said it was a penalty and I'll show you a liar. The referee said it was body check but if that's a body check, he wants to watch the wrestling. I'm not interested in the result of the performance, I'm just interested in the performance of the referee which was sub-standard. When we are poor away from home, I can swallow that but what I can't swallow are bad refereeing decisions"


    The unofficial Harriers Online site is complimentary about Altrincham. It reports on Saturday's game saying that "Jonny Harkness scored his third goal in two games, since being recalled to the side... In addition to that we had James Constable and Iyseden Christie to thank for the win against an Altrincham side who were determined not to give up without a fight. Full marks also to our visitors for showing us that they will not be a team struggling at the bottom for too long and for playing their part in providing a game full of heart stopping moments... Although this game ended with five goals hitting the back of the net we could have seen a far higher scoreline if both sides had done more with their chances. The Harriers were probably more guilty in this department with Christie in particular missing a bag full because the ball was on his wrong foot and he couldn't exchange to the other foot quickly enough. The first goal, going Altrincham's way, came just prior to the half hour mark and also totally against the run of play... Minutes before the break Iyseden Christie surged past Gary Scott into the box, rode the tackle, but then kind of crashed into Peter Band and fell to the floor. No one thought much about it but then to everyone's surprise the referee pointed to the spot. Christie is not one to spurn a free gift and placed the ball on the spot, walked back, walked up and blasted it into the net.... Altrincham had obviously been doing a bit of thinking during the half time break too and both James Constable and Simon Russell were being more closely marked now. This tactic paid dividends in the sixtieth minute when the ex-York City striker, Joe O'Neill, pulled back another goal to draw his team level". After going ahead Kiddy "missed a stack more chances to increase the lead further, something we desperately needed to do because Alty were still looking dangerous... We had a heart stopping moment near to injury time when a goalmouth scramble saw the ball finally being cleared to safety by Kenna".

    The Altrincham FC site's match report is here.


    Alty's next game is at home to Tamworth on 16 December. Tamworth knocked us out of the FA Cup last season. Meanwhile, Howard Watts's records for 16 December Through the Years are here.


    The latest table for Altrincham Reserves is on the website of the Lancashire League. The next game is away at Hyde United on Wednesday 13th at 7.45pm.


    Leigh RMI report on a fine win at Worcester on Saturday. After going behind RMI "were back on level terms almost immediately when an Ian Taylor {former Alty youth] corner was powerfully met by the head of Gavin Lee-Ellison to level the scores.Suddenly RMI looked a changed side and looked a lot more confident in the final third than they had previously in the game, with the pace of substitute Kieran Lugsden ['on loan' from Altrincham] particularly effective against a tiring Worcester defence.RMI grabbed the winning goal with thirteen minutes left". Alty's Eddie Hussin and former Robins' captain Mark Maddox also played for RMI.
    10 December 2006


    Right: Action from Aggborough on Saturday.

  • Match report here

  • League Table
  • Alty Player Stats
  • Alty Line-Ups & Bookings


    Despite the result yesterday, Altrincham FC held its Christmas Celebration yesterday at Moss Lane. Although we are now in the bottom four, we all remember where we were a couple of years ago when, not only were we playing at a lower level, but the club was on the brink of financial disaster. Whatever the outcome to this season, the last few seasons - both behind the scenes, where the Board has worked wonders, and on the pitch, where the management and players have excelled on scant resources - have restored the pride in the club.

    Thanks for last night's event are especially due to the organisers and especially the "caterers", Karen Rowley, Alison Lewis and Angie Jones, as well as to Rafo and his colleagues for organising the music.


    Ian Craney played 90 minutes in League One for Swansea City yesterday, whilst Mike Pollitt came on as a sub for Wigan Athletic. Anthony Hargreaves and Josh Mitten both scored for Flixton, as did Jamie Almond for Abbey Hey. The NL Paper has a picture of Marc Limbert and in its Dream team feature, Paul Ellender is one of the selections.

    9 December 2006


  • Burton A. 1 Aldershot T. 3
  • Crawley T. 1 Tamworth 0
  • Exeter C. 3 Dagenham & R. 2
  • Forest Green R. 1 Southport 2
  • Grays A. 0 York C. 0
  • Halifax T. 4 St Albans C. 1
  • Kidderminster H. 3 ALTRINCHAM 2
  • Morecambe 1 Stafford R. 0
  • Northwich V. 0 Weymouth 1
  • Rushden & D. 1 Oxford U. 0
  • Stevenage B. 3 Gravesend & N. 0
  • Woking 0 Cambridge U. 1


    The Kidderminster Shuttle claims that "Harriers will name an unchanged team at home to Altrincham on Saturday with Johnny Harkness getting the nod over fit again captain Stuart Whitehead... Despite some poor early season performances the former Walsall full-back bounced back with two goals and a strong second-half defensive display. Harkness will be glad of a second chance after being made the fall-guy for Harriers' failings... 'Johnny hasn't had flak off me to be fair, he's just been in and out of the side - if he calls that flak, he's wrong, that's football', said manager Yates. 'He has been a little bit inconsistent but that was the Johnny I signed last season... Although Stuart Whitehead is our captain and he says he's fit we've decided to err on the side of caution and give him another week'". Yates said of Altrincham "I saw them earlier in the season and we've had them watched and they're a strong, hard-working side. Graham Heathcote has worked wonders keeping them in the division with a part-time budget and part-time staff and they deserve credit".

    The BBC adds that "Loan striker James Constable scored his first goal for the club against Fleet and should partner Iyseden Christie. Altrincham will be without Karl Munroe, who is suspended. Gary Talbot (right) faces a late fitness test but Peter Band, who came off the bench last week after missing two games with a knee injury, is available".

    The unofficial Harriers Online has a preview of the Altrincham game today. "After last week's stunning victory at high flying Gravesend it's back to (soggy) home turf for a game against low flying Altrincham. General consensus is that it's high time our away form was transferred to Aggborough and we have got to start getting some results there soon. Just three home wins all season, and one of those was in the FA Cup, does not make for plenty of points and we have got to get over this tendency to clam up in front of a home crowd. Lucky for us Alty are also going through a bit of a slump at the moment and have dropped from mid table a few weeks ago to the edge of the relegation zone where they now sit just below us... Altrincham are also just as bad as us when it comes to scoring goals... Our visitors poor scoring record stems from the loss of Colin Little for the past two months due to injury and the inability to get a recognised striker in during the recent transfer rush... Our only doubt is Stuart Whitehead following his hamstring injury from the Stevenage defeat two weeks ago. It's doubtful if he'll be fit for tomorrow. I expect us to win this game and rightfully so". Rightfully?

    The official Kidderminster Harriers site adds that "A minute's silence will be held before the game with Altrincham at Aggborough, in memory of former club director John Healy who died last weekend"

    SAM's Sports reporter Connor Murphy has interviewed Harriers' fan Charlotte-Emma Paddock who says "Iyseden Christie is somewhat of a fan's favourite, his return sparked real optimism among the Harriers faithful and he has scored seven goals since rejoining the club on loan... Our biggest cult hero must be Ocker Davies, he was and still remains a real favourite here in Kidderminster". She says that Alty fans can expect "a warm welcome and friendly banter from the Harriers' faithful. It's a friendly place and a decent stadium...The Harriers social club behind our home terrace has a separate bar for away fans, and inside the ground, the food is fantastic, make sure to try the soup and the cottage pie!"


    There is a Christmas Celebration Evening tonight, December 9th, after the Kidderminster away game, from 7.30pm in the Noel White Suite. Tickets are just £10 and include entertainment and a buffet and many of the players will be in attendance. Tickets are available from the club.


    SAM has its weekly column with Colin Little after defeat by Burton. Colin says "I wasn't too bothered about it because for 55 or 60 minutes our performance was very good. We played some nice football so I don't get too disappointed when we play like that because I know the results will come. We were really unlucky. We had a few chances and I should've scored early on - it might have changed the game if I had. A couple of mistakes from our defence and suddenly they were in the lead. It was so uncharacteristic of the defence because they've been so solid this year but it happens sometimes. My own performance was much better and thankfully my foot wasn't giving me as much trouble, which is a good sign for the rest of the season... There are goalscorers in the squad, particularly Rod, whose record speaks for itself, and I know we will start scoring more regularly... The reason we've not scored as many goals as we would have liked this season could be down to the fact that we've changed our style of play. We don't use out-and-out wingers anymore but midfielders who play out wide, so that we are a bit more solid on the flanks. When we had Pottsy (Colin Potts, right) out wide he supplied the kind of crosses that a striker loves, so I was able to put plenty of them away. But you do lose out defensively when you play him so we've had to sacrifice that service and the goals have to come from elsewhere. I know quite a few of the fans have said they think Robbie Lawton should always be played down the middle but as a striker, I think he's much better used out wide. Robbie's been our most consistent player this season... He's the kind of midfielder that enjoys making surging runs with the ball rather than looking for that killer pass, so when you're a striker and you've got your central midfielder running at you it can sometimes be difficult to know what to do. But when Robbie's out wide he is able to get to the byline and get the ball into the box and that's definitely something that will benefit us as a team. Personally, I prefer to see Bush (Steve Bushell) in the middle with Val because he's a playmaker and a good passer of the ball so he can get the ball up to the strikers pretty quickly... We have been playing well and we are a better team than we were last season.

    The trip to Kidderminster on Saturday is one we might have looked at last year as a bit of a hopeless cause... But we are pretty hopeful we can get something because we have gone to a few tough places and got results this season - the likes of Oxford and Aldershot - so we don't fear anyone".


    James Walsh, now resident in the North East, but whose Alty connections go back to an uncle, Charles Atkins, who was a former groundsman and gateman at Moss Lane, informs me that Chester City have recently named a terrace at the Deva Stadium in honour of the former Alty Reserves' manager Harry McNally (1936-2004).

    As reported on this website some time ago "Harry was reserve team manager at Altrincham (c.1980/81) at the time when Graham Heathcote was a player at Moss Lane. Graham said, 'Harry was one of football's great characters... He always had a joke to tell you.... But more importantly than any of that, he had a great football brain, a fantastic eye for a footballer and a passion to win. You put that in a package and you've got a football man. That's what he was'. Another ex-Alty player Graham Barrow recalled how McNally, before his time in insisting on correct diets for players, told Mrs Barrow, 'You can't be giving him pies. He's an athlete!'". The Chester website says that "The board of Chester City Football Club Limited have decided to make a fitting tribute to a legend who will long be remembered at City. Despite never playing league football, Harry McNally carved out a successful managerial career at Altrincham, Southport and Wigan. But he is most fondly remembered at Chester City, whom he managed between 1985 and 1992... Such was the scale of his achievement that The Sun named him manager of the year for 1992. Therefore we have decided to rename the North Terrace as 'The Harry McNally Terrace'".


    The most recent club from the Timperley & District Junior Football league to visit Moss Lane under the Featured Club scheme, Unicorn Athletic, has a report on its website


    BBC Essex says that "Peterborough will sign Dagenham & Redbridge pair Shane Blackett and Craig Mackail-Smith when the transfer window reopens in January. The deal is thought to be worth more than £200,000 to the Daggers. Striker Mackail-Smith, 22, has scored 10 goals this season but will be out of contract in the summer. Meanwhile, 24-year-old defender Blackett has recently been linked with other Football League clubs including Colchester and Crystal Palace. The pair, who both joined the Daggers from Arlesey in May 2004, were both in the England National Game XI squad for the Four Nations tournament during the summer".

    "Four young Barnsley players have extended their loan spells with Conference sides Halifax and Tamworth. Defender Ryan Laight, 21, will spend the rest of the season on loan at Tamworth, and midfielder Simon Heslop, 19, will stay there for another month. Meanwhile, Tykes defender Robert Atkinson and striker Nathan Joynes, both 21, will both spend a second month on loan at Halifax. Barnsley will have a 24-hour recall over Heslop, Atkinson and Joynes. The quartet have only made four substitute appearances between them for Barnsley's first team, although Heslop spent most of last season on loan at Kidderminster, while Atkinson spent time at Scarborough", says the BBC.

    The BBC has more on how "Grays hope to sign former Everton and Bradford striker Danny Cadamarteri. The Conference club are confident they can conclude a deal for the 27-year-old before Saturday's game against York. Cadamarteri is a free agent after ending a six-month drug ban imposed towards the end of last season during his second spell at Bradford. Grays have also signed midfielder Matt Bodkin from Welling and have targeted Wycombe's Jonny Dixon, Welling's Danny Kedwell and Exeter's Jon Challinor. Cadamarteri has previously played for Everton, Fulham, Bradford (two spells), Leeds and Sheffield United. 'Danny is looking to get back to Championship or League One level and needs games so we think this would be the ideal situation for him and also to help out Grays and Andy King', his agent Neil Sang told BBC Essex. 'We're looking to get him one or possibly two games with Grays. He's under no illusions as to how difficult the Conference is, and wants to show a good attitude'".

    On Friday York City reported that "The England Under 16 International against Scotland which was scheduled to be played tonight at KitKat Crescent has been switched to Scunthorpe United’s Glanford Park due to a waterlogged pitch... All 6000 tickets which have been purchased will be valid at Scunthorpe United".

    Woking "are delighted to announce that as of 11.00am this morning (Friday), Jamie Taylor signed for the club on non-contract terms. Karim El-Salahi has joined Eastleigh on a month's loan".

    Tamworth say that "Lee Moore [has] agreed an 18 month deal with AFC Telford United after spending nearly 3 months on loan at Telford... AFC Telford made Tamworth an offer for Lee a few weeks ago, but this fell short of Tamworth of what Tamworth required. Following days of talks, and taking on board Lee Moore's desire to play week in week out a deal was struck that makes both sides happy... Part of deal includes Tamworth visiting Bucks Head in pre season 2007/08". The BBC reports that a figure of £5000 has been agreed on.

    This is Glos reports that "Paul Wanless could be handed a shock start for Forest Green, his first for more than eight months. Rovers' assistant manager underwent a knee operation at the end of March... Lack of fitness, niggling injuries and illness have restricted him to only two substitute appearances this term... Rovers' boss Jim Harvey said: 'Wanny has been desperate to get back playing again but he's been suffering from a virus in the last couple of weeks. He's over that now... He's been coming in early in the mornings for extra training. He's lost more than a stone in weight and I think he's just about ready for games now'". Harvey confirmed that he had considered joining Southport before FGR. "There was interest from both sides but I spoke to the chairman (Charlie Clapham) and decided it wasn't for me", he said. "I expect Southport to put plenty of men behind the ball and show limited ambition, so we'll need to control the game better than last week. We had a couple of new personnel in defence last week in John Hardiker and Chris Giles and I think that unsettled us a bit".

    From Halifax Today is confirmation that "Barnsley loanees Nathan Joynes and Rob Atkinson have agreed to extend their stay into a second month. The duo have done well since arriving from Oakwell... 'I am delighted that we will have them both for another month', said Wilder. 'We needed to tighten up at the back and Rob has helped us do that. and Nathan has given us a bit of sharpness up front'... [Meanwhile] defender Greg Young's loan spell at Northwich has been extended to a second month".

    The Tamworth Herald says that "Tamworth FC boss Mark Cooper reacted to speculation over his Lambs' future by insisting it was business as usual ahead of this weekend's trip to Crawley. Cooper has been strongly linked to the vacant managerial job at Rushden and Diamonds. But he said: 'Because I have played for Rushden and we got a result against them in the FA Cup, I am going to be linked with them. It's a big club at Conference level with fantastic facilities. But I’m only six months into a two year contract here... The club hosts its first live TV fixture in the FA Cup third round and it will be one of my proudest moments in football to be the manager of Tamworth Football Club on that day. I can assure the supporters and the officials of the club that... I will continue to work tirelessly for their football club”.

    8 December 2006


    Thursday night's Manchester Evening News reports that Alty's chairman, "Bus firm boss Geoff Goodwin, says he would rather go to jail than pay a parking ticket slapped on one of his coaches in Sale. The penalty notice from Trafford council was served as his coach waited in a lay-by outside Sale baths to pick up schoolchildren - under a contract awarded by . . . the council. Mr Goodwin, owner of Eccles-based Go Goodwins coaches, who has had the swimming contract for all Trafford schools for eight years, says double yellow lines in the Woodlands Road lay-by were put there at his request to stop cars parking there. He says that if his coaches are not allowed to wait there, youngsters would be at risk and have to cross a busy road when they come out of the baths. He is taking legal advice after Trafford's parking bosses refused to rescind the ticket because, they say, the coach waited for more than five minutes and there was no driver at the wheel. Mr Goodwin said the driver was at the back of the coach - and needed to wait for the 40 or 50 children to come out.'I am only doing what they have hired me to do', he said. 'I'll go to prison before I pay it'. Trafford Council said its parking officials were planning to meet Mr Goodwin this week". The paper adds "Is Mr Goodwin right to make a stand? Have your say".

    Above right, one of Geoff's coaches delivering Alty supporters to York's Kit Kat Crescent.


    Lewis Chalmers, who made his international debut last week for the National Game XI, has told the Sale & Altrincham Messenger "It was just unbelievable. Paul Fairclough had told me on the morning of the game that I wasn't going to start so that was a bit of a downer... But he said I'd come a long way in a short time and that he knew what I could do, so I would get for 20 minutes at least. He kept his promise... I almost scored, too, but I squared it when I should probably have had a go. I even ended up playing up front.. but I think I'll leave the goalscoring to Colin Little and Rod Thornley. I haven't got the killer instinct. I was just happy to be out there... Now I've got to work hard to make sure I get picked again".

    After Alty's defeat last Saturday, Lewis added, "Graham Heathcote and the board have done a great job so I think it's only a matter of time before we start to get the credit we deserve. I think we are good enought to finish in the top 14 this season because I can only think of a couple of teams who have really outplayed us this season. Personally I'm just concentrating on establishing myself at the club. The manager has certain names who are first on the teamsheet every week and I want to be one of them".


    Our next opponents are Kidderminster Harriers and the local Kidderminster Shuttle reports that "Aggborough-phobia is all in the mind. Harriers' management team has been 'trying to get into the players heads' to get to the bottom of their home hoodoo. Boss Mark Yates and assistant Neil Howarth have been continually frustrated by Kidderminster's failure to string together a run of results. Under-achieving at Aggborough has been the primary cause of Harriers' downfall, compared to their creditable results on the road... 'I've spent a lot of time since the Stevenage game trying to analyse what's been the difference between our home and away form and why we're not doing particularly well at home', said Yates. 'Hopefully we've come up with one or two answers. We had a bit of a meeting with the players to sort things out rather than letting it drag on. We've tried to get into their heads and get them in the right mindset and when they turn up at the ground at 2pm on Saturday we don't want any excuses. Looking at the next few games at home they are games on paper that we should win, but they're the kind of games we've struggled with. We've had a good chat about it and we've tried to instil a positive mental attitude into the players'".

    Meanwhile "Kidderminster's Mr Consistency Scott Bevan insists the main thing missing from his game is keeping more clean sheets. The giant stopper has been a rock between the sticks for Harriers and his displays have relegated understudy Steve Taylor to a permanent place on the bench... but shutouts continue to elude the keeper. Other than blanks against Northwich, Rushden, Southport, Morecambe and Oxford, he has been beaten in every other game, often through no fault of his own. 'That's one of the things as a keeper you obviously look for, clean sheets, and that's what you get judged on', said Bevan... 'The way we've defended in most the games recently we deserve more clean sheets... It's very frustrating for the lads and it must be for the manager too for us to come to teams like Gravesend and Dagenham who are in the top two or three and get a result then play at home to teams like Crawley and Tamworth and get beat... We put on a bit of a show against Droylsden in the FA Cup a few weeks ago and we need to make sure we repeat that kind of display in our next few home games'", he added.


    The UniBond League has announced that its sponsors "Henkel Ltd. have agreed to extend their partnership under the UniBond League banner for a further two seasons until June 2009 – taking the duration of the sponsorship up to a record breaking 15 years".


    Grays Athletic report that they "are confident on acquiring the services of Danny Cadamarteri, Danny is an ex Everton player who has also been with Fulham, Bradford, Leeds and Sheffield United, this deal should be completed by tomorrow. Grays Athletic are looking to sign other players and offers have been made to the following:
  • Jonathan Dixon, forward, ex-Aldershot currently with Wycombe
  • Danny Kedwell, forward, currently with Welling
  • Jon Challinor, midfielder, currently with Exeter".

    However, as reported below yesterday , Exeter were said to have rejected a five-figure offer from Grays for Challinor.

    This is Exeter says that "Exeter City have been dealt a blow after four players snubbed an offer to extend their contracts at St James's Park. Danny Woodards, Billy Jones, Matt Gill and Jamie Mackie, who are out of contract at the end of the season, were all offered fresh terms by the club last month".

    The BBC says that "Southport midfielder Liam Blakeman will be out of action for at least the next six weeks with a fractured cheekbone. Blakeman is due to see a consultant on Friday for further assessment of the injury he sustained in last Saturday's draw at Dagenham & Redbridge. But Port manager Paul Cook will have to plan without the 24-year-old until the middle of January".

    "Midfielder Dannie Bulman has left Stevenage and is expected to sign for [supposedly hard-up] Conference rivals Crawley next month. Bulman's contract at Broadhall Way has been cancelled by mutual consent following the end of a successful three-month loan spell with Crawley. The ex-Wycombe defender is now set to join the Red Devils permanently when the January transfer window opens" states the BBC.

    From NL Daily we learn that "Matt Bodkin looks set to leave Welling United to sign for Grays Athletic after the Essex outfit`s new boss Andy King made a seven-day approach for the midfielder. Bodkin is a quick and pacy player who has great ability on the ball. He was with both Nottingham Forest and Gillingham as a youngster and played for the Gills` first-team during their FA Cup defeat at Portsmouth in 2004/05 and then signed for Welling the following August after being released from Priestfield. Bodkin rejected a contract offer from the Wings as the player is in search of full-time football. He was on non-contract terms with Welling and if he joins Grays will leave on a free transfer" says Welling's site.

    The Tamworth Herald says that "Tamworth boss Mark Cooper and general manager Russell Moore this week hailed the BBC's decision to televise their mouthwatering FA Cup clash with Norwich and admitted: 'This will lift the whole town. I have had some stick from people who have said I whine a lot about our lack of coverage', Cooper said. 'I have never said we deserved it over anyone else but after what we have achieved over the last couple of season, knocking out the likes of Hartlepool and Bournemouth, I'm delighted... And, from my point of view, I can now use this as a real motivational tool going into the next few league games. If the players want to be stars on the television, they are going to have to deliver the goods'. General manager Moore admitted the BBC's decision would boost the club's finances and strengthen their long-term future, 'It's an open secret that the club will get some money as a result of this', he said. 'But there will also be a lot of costs involved in staging the match. That said, where possible, funds will be made available to try to strengthen and secure our place in the Conferencence... I'm sure Tamworth folk will be looking to spot themselves on the television. Hopefully, the coverage will encourage more people to come down and give us their support'".

    Forest Green Rovers state that "After this coming Saturday's match against Southport, Jim Harvey will sign a contract at Forest Green Rovers to cover his managerial position until the end of the 2007/08 season... Jim has been pleased with the response from the players during his sixteen match tenure to date, which in the Nationwide Conference has seen a return of 4 wins, 9 draws and 3 defeats. Having now almost completed his move with his family south and happy with the set up at the New Lawn, the time is now right to put pen to paper and commence the task to reform all the footballing set up at Rovers".

    At Oxford This is United says that "Former Oxford United boss Ian Atkins says he has no interest in the vacant manager's position at Rushden – United's opponents this Saturday... Tony Godden has been caretaker boss for seven weeks, but hopes that a new manager would be appointed this week have been dashed, with chairman Keith Cousins saying the board will not be hurried. Colin West is favourite to take over after advanced plans to bring in Graham Westley broke down".

    Last season's Conference champions "Accrington Stanley want to leave their Fraser Eagle Stadium and move to a new ground in the town. The League Two club will go ahead with plans to cover the Clayton Terrace end of their ground but have started talks over a possible new site. Chairman Eric Whalley said: 'We are ambitious and want to move on. We can have one more promotion here but don't want to make major improvements'. Stanley have been at their existing home since 1968. They previously played at Peel Park prior to their resignation from the League in 1962" reports the BBC.

    And an insight into the cost of promotion out of the Conference comes from the Accrington Stanley club itself. "The accounts to the end of last season show a turnover of £667,846, with a small profit of £30,277. This is fantastic news as it shows that we made the return to the Football League but kept within our budget, and most importantly didn’t spend money that wasn’t coming in... This season we are on target for a turnover of around £1m, and once again our expenditure on players' wages is budgeted accordingly.. However this means the average annual salary of one of our players is half of that of the average for a player in League Two. To put it simply, this is the reason why we are missing out on the players that Coley has tried to bring in... It is why we have young players on loan instead of experienced Football League players. Our annual playing staff costs for this financial year will still be in excess of £600k, without the salaries of the managers and coaching staff etc... Attendances have been a little low compared to other clubs that we have competed against in recent years... [which has] an impact on our ability to take the club forward... We are also expecting good news regarding grant funding for the covering of the North Terrace in the next few weeks. Longer term we have had some initial discussions regarding relocating to another site, though these are at a very early stage and obviously any developments would be several years away. We do have to decide over the coming months though whether we spend money developing the present site or look at other options for the future".

    7 December 2006


    Friday night's Altrincham Reserves' game at Wakefield has been postponed due to a waterlogged pitch. The next scheduled match is away at Hyde United on Wednesday 13 December.


    The monthly STAR Quiz Night takes place tonight (Thursday 7th) in the Noel White Suite at Moss Lane.The entry fee is just £1.00 per person for the general knowledge quiz and there is a maximum of 6 persons per team. Doors open at 8.00pm and the quiz starts at 8.30pm


    Above Gavin Rathbone of GR Photography captures the celebrations after Val Owen's goal on Saturday. With Val are Lewis Chalmers and Robbie Lawton.

    "Despite a run of just two points in four games, Altrincham manager Graham Heathcote remains optimistic about his side's chances of avoiding relegation... Speaking exclusively to The Sale & Altrincham Messenger he said: 'Our position does concern me but I'm not about to get sucked into worrying about the rest of the season. There are only eight points separating the bottom 10 teams in the league so a couple of wins could send anyone shooting up the table. We have to turn things around at some stage, especially away from home, but what it all adds up to is a dramatic end to the season and some good games of football for the fans. There are periods of the season that appear on paper as potential periods for picking up points and this is one of them. But the reality is that you just have to go out there and play each game as it comes rather than putting pressure on yourselves to pick up points at any certain time. I've been pleased with our performances and I think if we play like we did in the first half against Burton then we should be all right', he said. 'We are still a better side than we were last year, we have just had problems scoring goals. That hasn't been helped by the fact that Colin (Little) has been injured most of the season but we don't have the finances to go out there and get another striker. The loan market is possibly an option but any striker good enough to score 20 goals in the Conference wouldn't be up for loan anyway. We are very lucky to have Colin and we do need him to have a good second half of the season. But now the question I'm asking is can someone else step up to the mark?' because we need everyone to chip in'".


    The Daily Telegraph reports that former Alty defender Paul Ellender's club, Boston United "could face extinction after the club's plans to move to a new ground were thrown out. The League Two side wanted to leave their York Street home and build a 7,500 seat-stadium to help pay off debts of £1.1 million. But Boston Borough Council rejected the scheme and the club face being wound-up by the Inland Revenue. Boston's home game against Wrexham on Saturday could now be their last match".

    Matty McNeil scored the goal which gave Macclesfield Town their first league win of the season, against Rochdale, on Tuesday.


    "Leigh RMI had a golden opportunity to confirm the victory late on, but the referee turned down the appeals of a seemingly definite penalty when substitute Kieran Lugsden [on 'loan' from Altrincham] was brought down by the Hucknall goalkeeper, only for Lugsden to be booked for diving when it appeared that he would have certainly scored had he not been brought to the ground when dribbling around the goalkeeper".


    Right: Peter Thomson - injury has prevented Peter making a start yet for Altrincham's first team since his arrival in the summer.


    "Gravesend & Northfleet boss Liam Daish has rejected the chance to talk to managerless Conference rivals Rushden & Diamonds", reports BBC Radio Kent. "Fleet chairman Jason Botley is determined to hold on to his manager. "'This is a positive reflection of Liam's performance - I am not surprised other clubs are taking an interest in him', Botley told the club website. 'However we have no wish to see Liam leave and I know Liam feels the same way. This is the end of the matter'".

    "Crawley's longest-serving player Ben Judge admits he must be a glutton for punishment. 'Life would be a lot easier if I was somewhere else', he told BBC Sport. 'I'd just be going into training and being a normal player'. Instead, the 29-year-old finds himself as co-caretaker-player-manager of the troubled Conference side... Judge, who joined Crawley in 2001 from Ryman League side Croydon, almost left in the summer. 'I decided enough was enough', he said. 'I've got a young family and we weren't sure when we were going to be paid again, contracts were up in the air... But in the end I sat down with the manager John Hollins and I decided to take the risk and give it another season. I like the club, it's local for me, I've got a good relationship with the fans and I don't want to go anywhere else'... When Hollins and his assistant Alan Lewer 'parted company' with the club in October, 'The players were all shocked and disappointed', he said. 'When he left, had it not been for the 10-point penalty, we would have been 9th or 10th in the table. We were doing pretty well but obviously things were going on behind scenes that we didn't know about... Being part of the management team has been interesting' said Judge. 'There is a lot of stress and if it affects my playing I'll think again but at the moment I'm playing OK... We've only got squad of about 13 so we've been trying desperately to get players in'. All the time, the threat of extinction hangs over the club, with a potentially crucial creditors' meeting set for 4 December... 'If we'd have panicked every time there was an emergency meeting, we'd never have slept', he said. 'Something happens every week and we try to just get on with it. I'm sure things will work out. There are problems but the board are confident things will get sorted out and we can move on. It's a very good club and I really hope it gets back on its feet and we can move up the table and secure our place in the Conference next season which is ultimately our aim'".

    NL Daily says that "Morecambe are reportedly keen on tying down highly-rated striker Michael Twiss... as his contract is due to expire at the end of the season. Twiss's former club Chester made a £50,000 bid for the services of the Salford-born attacker in February, 2005 but the club rejected the offer. Twiss started his career as a trainee with Manchester United... He signed for Morecambe on a free transfer in May, 2004 [after an earlier trial game for Altrincham] and has gone on to make 104 appearances, scoring 44 goals in the process".

    "Glenn Cockerill, manager of Woking, is reportedly keen on signing striker Jamie Taylor from Horsham. The former Crawley Town, Aldershot Town and AFC Wimbledon frontman is not currently under contract, meaning that Woking would be able to sign him on a free transfer... Cockerill has lodged an official seven-day approach with the Hornets and Taylor is expected to make his decision some time this week" says NL Daily..

    This is Exeter says that "Jon Challinor has spelled out his determination to win a new contract at Exeter City after club bosses snubbed an approach from Grays Athletic for his services.While Paul Tisdale has offered several of his current players contract extensions next season, he has yet to open talks with Challinor, who is out of contract at the end of the campaign. The talented midfielder says he is relieved Exeter City turned down the five-figure cash bid from their Conference rivals... 'I would like to be at Exeter next season and hopefully I can earn a new deal', said Challinor, who is the club's leading goalscorer this season, having netted on six occasions. 'It is a waiting game. It is a case of them coming to me rather than me going to them because I don't see it as my place to do that... If you let it affect you, your performances can suffer. So you just have to keep doing what you are doing and if a new deal comes it comes and if it doesn't it is time to move on'... The 26-year-old admits he was surprised that Grays launched a bid to lure him away from St James's Park... 'It is always flattering to have clubs interested in you', he added. 'I am pleased that Exeter turned it down because that shows the club are ambitious and want to keep their players... "I was a little surprised that Grays came in for me but they do seem to be splashing the cash. However, money has never been a factor for me - it is about the football and I am happy and settled where I am'".

    For their part Grays Athletic "have appointed Justin Edinburgh as Assistant Manager, Justin had distinguished career as a player with the likes of Tottenham Hotspur, Portsmouth and Southend, he was recently manager at Conference South side Fisher Athletic. Chairman Mike Woodward said 'Justin knows the Conference Leage very well and will be a great addition to Grays Athletic, we are now putting the team back together and the future looks bright for the club’"

    The Cambridge Evening News quotes United manager Jimmy Quinn, "From where I'm standing, we've played 22 games and got 23 points. There are another 72 points at stake and we need to get at least 30. We need at least 53 points to stay in this league and the quicker we can do that the better, starting with Woking away on Saturday. The only thing we're consistent at is being inconsistent, so we need to start setting ourselves targets, and if we can have a FA Trophy run in between, even better. Hopefully, we'll be able to get one or two better players in and improve our squad, and one or two players will go the other way. I'd be a fool to think that the players we've got, with the inconsistency we've been showing, will do well for us next season as well. We need a better team, it's as simple as that". Meanwhile "Darren Quinton has joined Cambridge Regional College on a month's loan, while Stephen Smith's temporary spell with the Ridgeons League side has ended".

    "Quinn is calling for Shane Herbert to show he has what it takes when he makes his Cambridge United debut at Woking on Saturday. The 20 year old keeper has been handed his chance between the posts as Paul Crichton misses the game because of suspension... He said: 'Shane deserves his chance'... Ironically, United could not have had Herbert on the bench to take over from Crichton when the No 1 stopper was sent off against St Albans as he was serving his own ban picked up playing for CRC".

    Tamworth "Goalkeeper Sean Bowles' s loan move to Hinckley United has been made permanent. His contract with Tamworth was cancelled by mutual consent, enabling him to sign a deal with the Conference North outfit".

    Weymouth "have signed ex Milton Keynes Dons' goal-keeper Matt Baker... Weymouth boss Garry Hill said: 'Matt has signed subject to a medical and he will be training with us today. He came down last week and we are taking him on until the end of the season... He played in the Conference with Hereford before going to Wrexham in the Football League. He played a certain amount of games there and was also in the same England National Game XI side as Nick Crittenden a few years ago. More recently he was at Milton Keynes Dons who he parted company with in the summer. He might not play for us for a week to ten days because he needs to get some training under his belt but I am confident he will be a good signing for us'. Weymouth's other two stoppers Jason Matthews and Arran Lee-Barrett have both shared the goalkeeping duties in recent weeks but they have been unable to stop the side from conceding 16 goals in their last six games. Hill said: "I have not been happy with the goals we have conceded recently. They have not all been down to the goalkeeper but if that problem can be sorted by bringing in a more experienced player then so be it. I informed Jason and Arran that I was bringing Matt in, so at the present time we will have three goal-keepers at the club'".

    The Woking News & Mail states that "Jamie Taylor believes he has what it takes to fire Woking up the Conference table and can’t wait to get cracking in a Cards’ shirt.The diminutive striker, 24 next week, has made the switch from Horsham and, having rattled in 109 goals in 179 appearances for the Sussex club, he believes he will make the grade in non-league’s elite. Taylor had a brief taste of Conference football when he signed a two-year contract at Aldershot Town aged 19 but it didn’t work out for him. And after a spell at AFC Wimbledon, he re-joined Horsham where he has made his name as a prolific goalscorer. His chance at Woking might come sooner than expected... with the news that Giuseppe Sole is out for a possible three weeks with ankle ligament damage... 'It’s a jump of two divisions but I made two or three substitute appearances for Aldershot in the Conference and to be honest there’s not that much difference in quality to what I’ve been used to in the Ryman. It’s only the physical presence of the players that’s different and they show a better attitude as it’s more professional'. Taylor, a painter and decorator by trade, is delighted to be back in the Conference and added: 'When I was at Aldershot I was just breaking in to the first team when I got an illness and lost two stone. Because I’m not big anyway, I went downhill from then on and eventually ended up back at Horsham, which is where I started. It’s every player’s dream as a child to become a full-time footballer and I can’t wait. My boss was away and I didn’t have anything to do for two weeks. “So a friend told me he’d get me a couple of days training at Woking and I went down one day. Glenn Cockerill didn’t know me but after seeing me train, fancied me as a player and it’s gone from there. I’ve always been told my movement off the ball is the best part of my game and if you can create that space for yourself it helps you score goals. It’s a step up but I believe in my ability'... Cockerill confirmed Taylor had signed non contract forms on Wednesday and said: 'We’ll look at him for a month'... Woking look to improve on a run of five defeats in the past six league matches".

    6 December 2006


    Tuesday night's Altrincham Reserves' game at Guiseley was postponed due to a waterlogged pitch. On Friday night the Reserves are away at Wakefield - weather permitting.


    Aldershot's match at home to Crawley on Tuesday night was postponed because of a waterlogged pitch.

    The BBC reports that "Nottingham Forest midfielder Felix Bastians is to spend another month on loan at Northwich Victoria. The 18-year-old German played in the 2-1 defeat against a Manchester United XI at the official opening of the Victoria Stadium in November. Northwich manager Steve Burr said: 'We have a good relationship with Forest and I am pleased Felix is staying. He is enjoying his football with us and doing well. He has certainly made us stronger'"

    On Halifax Today we learn that "A multi-millionaire businessman has been revealed as the man who could be on the verge of buying Halifax Town. In an exclusive interview with the Courier, Marc Rushton said he was looking to put something back into the community, having made such a success of his business ventures.'It is too early to be specific but I have had a couple of meetings with chairman Geoff Ralph, who is a very nice guy, and I will be at the match on Saturday. I have followed the club for a while. Everyone knows I am on the look out for something local and, on the face of it, there could be something there', he said. Mr Rushton's bid to buy the Batley Bulldogs recently collapsed after a disagreement with the National One rugby league club's chairman, Kevin Nicholas. 'I get on well with Geoff Ralph – he is far more professional and commercially minded – and you never know what that might lead to', he said.

    Mr Ralph said today: 'We have been looking for new investors for some time but I cannot confirm or deny anything about talks we have been having with groups or individuals because I don't want to upset anyone. But I am hoping to be able to announce before Christmas something significant in terms of outside investment'. The football club has been struggling for some time to pay off a Creditors' Voluntary Agreement which involves a bill from the taxman for £350,000. The club now has just over £100,000 outstanding but the debt has created problems on the pitch in terms of the club's ability to buy new players. That and uncertainty over the Shay stadium redevelopment scheme has created further headaches and limited fund-raising opportunities.

    Mr Rushton is "The 38-year-old owner of the Bar Work pub in Leeds, set up Telewest and the Regus group – which he later sold for £1.5 billion. Lancashire born Mr Rushton had promised to invest a six-figure sum in the Batley Bulldogs and cited plans to rebuild parts of the stadium and build a hotel. In return, he wanted an 80 per cent stake in the club for a reputed £50,000. Talks are still under way between Calderdale Council and the Shay trustees about a £6 million redevelopment plan for the stadium which could incorporate a hotel, offices, flats, bar and restaurant. But the scheme would require a £4 million cash injection from the council or another outside source."

    Seemingly disregarding their financial plight, NL Daily says that "Crawley Town are keen to make the transfer of midfielder Dannie Bulman from Nationwide Conference National rivals Stevenage Borough permanent in the January transfer window. The Ashford-born player signed for the Red Devils on a three month loan deal in September this year and has gone on to make 16 appearances, scoring four goals in the process. Crawley are currently in talks with Stevenage and are confident a deal will be reached to finalising the permanent transfer".

    5 December 2006


    Trafford FC have contacted the website to say that their game tonight against Newcastle Town is definitely on (7.45pm). So if you are looking for a match, get along to our friendly neighbours at Shawe View.


    Alty manager Graham Heathcote's halo shines brightly whilst Nigel Clough's seems to have slipped in this picture (right) by Gavin Rathbone - but the Brewers' boss had the final laugh on Saturday. More of Gavin's photos are on his GR Photos site and they can also be purchased from the Robins' Shop.


    The FA confirms that Alty centre-back Karl Munroe will miss the game at Kidderminster after picking up his fifth yellow card on Saturday- four cards in the Conference and one in the Cup. The ban is just for that game. Karl has started the last 15 Conference games and been in the squad for every match this season. Manager Graham Heathcote will be hoping that one or other of Peter Band and Gary Talbot, both recovering from injury, will be fit to take Karl's place.


    Last Sunday's Car Boot Sale on the car park at Moss Lane was a success despite the awful weather the night before and the blowy conditions on the day. Keith Davey's snack bar kept the vendors and buyers refreshed.


    The Sale & Altrincham Messenger reports that Altrincham's disappointing league form continued after they succumbed to a 3-2 defeat at the hands of Burton Albion at Moss Lane. Graham Heathcote's side have now taken just two points from the last four games, a run which has seen them slide from a respectable 15th place to their lowest league position this season, 20th, just two points above the relegation zone. The manager will be encouraged by his team's first half display, but with a crucial game away match at fellow strugglers Kidderminster coming up, Altrincham must surely improve their performance if they are to come away with the points".

    Left, Gavin Rathbone of GR Photos captures Val Owen as he scores his goal on Saturday.

    The Burton Mail states that "So far this season, it has mostly been a grudgingly efficient defence that has promoted Burton Albion to the ranks of promotion hopefuls. But at Moss Lane on Saturday it was a demonstration of lethal finishing that secured three more precious points... Daryl Clare and Lee Fowler prospered in stunning style as Albion discovered the season of goodwill apparently arrives early in Altrincham... The pair ruthlessly exploited some inept defending by Alty to paper over the cracks in their own rearguard".

    "Nigel Clough is already looking forward to a Christmas feast after watching... a 3-2 win at Altrincham... 'It’s a nice position to be in at this stage of the season," said Clough after watching his men recover from a shaky start. 'We’ve got a home game to come (against Aldershot) and if we can get something from that, it will make the turkey taste a little bit better'". But after "an indifferent first-half display by the Brewers at Moss Lane, Clough said: 'We gave them too much encouragement and too many opportunities in the first half... Daryl spent the last 20 minutes trying to get his hat-trick. We wished he had have done because we could have sent someone else on to have a shot at goal instead of him. But we’re pleased with the three goals, especially the one by Lee Fowler'".


    You can get your tickets from Jenny Heslop at the bar, or from Karen or Grahame Rowley for the Altrincham FC Christmas Celebration Evening at Moss Lane on December 9th, after the Kidderminster away game. Tickets are just £10 and include entertainment and a buffet and many of the players will be in attendance. The event starts at 7.30pm. Everyone is welcome


    The BBC reports that "Kidderminster assistant boss Neil Howarth praised two-goal hero Jonny Harkness after their 3-1 Conference win at Gravesend & Northfleet. 'We were always going to miss Stuart Whitehead, who has been magnificent over the past two months', he said. 'But Jonny has come in, he's always worked hard and there's never been any doubt about his set-piece quality. We work hard through the week, and today was one of those days where we felt it would come right, and it did'".

    NL Daily says that "Mark Yates, manager of Kidderminster Harriers, has given striker Luke Reynolds his assurance that he is still part of his first-team plans this season. Reynolds joined the Aggborough club in March last year and made an instant impact, scoring four goals in eight starts. However, the striker has found his first-team chances limited of late with top scorer Iyseden Christie in fine fettle and James Constable joining the club recently... 'Luke's definitely part of the squad here and he's not one I'm looking to go anywhere', Yates said... 'He'll definitely get his chance - it's up to him to take it'".

    4 December 2006


    The Open Cup tie between Lancaster Youth and Alty Youth scheduled for Sunday was postponed due to the bad weather overnight at The Giant Axe.


    Above, Alty Reserves' boss Neil Brown is also the Club's groundsman and he has being doing a magnificent job in keeping the pitch at Moss Lane in excellent condition. The above picture, captured before today's match, shows part of Neil's version of the mowing pattern which is used at Bolton Wanderers' Reebok Stadium.


    The Altrincham FC supporters' trust, STAR states that its Christmas Draw "tickets are on sale now! £1 each. Have the Golf Rd named after you! Other prizes include - Sony PSP, digital camera, 2 nights' dinner, bed and breakfast at The Knighton Hotel, 2 County Stand tickets at Haydock Park races, Corgi Go Goodwins coach model, Alty's greatest moments DVD, bottles of wine, halogen ceiling lamp, teddy bear, garden care set, chocolates, gift set for golfers, Football Manager 2007 PC game, autographed football, signed Alty shirt and a (!)Jordan ironing board cover"


    Lance Key continues to turn in good performances for Histon in Nationwide South, whilst former Alty Reserve Rio Nelson has moved from Chadderton to Curzon Ashton. Meanwhile, FC United report that they "were held to a draw for the first team this season by a stubborn Congleton Town side in difficult conditions at a windy Wincham Park on Sunday afternoon... Patterson failed to convert a penalty after [ex-Alty man] Phil Power, making his first appearance of the season as a substitute, was brought down in the box".
    3 December 2006

    FA CUP 3

    Today's FA Cup 3rd Round draw included:
  • Blackpool v Aldershot T./Basingstoke
  • Tamworth v Norwich C.
  • Salisbury C./Nott'm F. v Charlton A.

    and locally...

  • Chelsea v Macclesfield T.


    Burton Albion report on the Brewers' win at Moss Lane. "Manager Nigel Clough was understandably delighted with another three points, the sixth time this season that his side has captured maximum points on their travels but there was still a feeling of slight frustration that things could have been different had Altrincham made the most of a sloppy start from the Brewers. 'We gave them a little too much encouragement and too many opportunities early on, a bit like last year really. The back four were not as solid in the first half as they should have been. In the last few minutes in the dressing room we were saying play positive, play forward and don’t give them any encouragement and in the first few minutes they have had a corner and half a chance'. The game marked the first time since the away win at Stevenage in March that the Brewers have scored three times in a Conference match but the manager was more concerned with the goals conceded in the last two away matches in the league. 'We have scored three goals away from home and are just a little disappointed to have conceded two when we shouldn’t have done. That’s five on our travels in the last two matches' . There was praise for midfielder Lee Fowler who grabbed his first goal for the club with a cracking 25 yard left foot shot... The Welshman admitted himself that he was relieved to get on the scoresheet for the first time as he had been subjected to wearing the yellow bib in training this week, reserved for the player voted worst of the week by their teammates, mainly as a result of his lack of goals for the team". The Burton site also has a full match report.

    The Altrincham website match report is here.

    In the NL Paper, Graham Heathcote said, "I thought we played very well in the first half and controlled the game but we found ourselves behind. You can't defend against any side like we did today and get away with it, let alone a side that has the likes of Daryl Clare in it. We were punished for our mistakes and failed to punish them for theirs. Goals change games and we gave three away to make it a very diapppointing day. I haven't had to criticise my defenders before today as we have looked solid but you cannot prepare for individual mistakes". Burton's Nigel Clough said "I think we were generally on top but I am disappointed in the way that we conceded the goals. I wasn't happy with my back four in the first half... But we took control and probably could have won by a bigger margin".


    Deatils of the STAR supporters' coach to Kidderminster Harriers next Saturday (9th) are here. And Howard Watts's fascinating Through the Years records for 9th December are here.


    Unicorn Athletic from the Timperley & District Junior Football League were the guests of Altrincham FC for Saturday's match, under the Featured Club Scheme. Right, Alty boss Graham Heathcote is seen signing autographs for the young visitors, who magnificently kept up an "Alty" chant for much of the game.


    Following the argument last week between Billy McEwen, the York manager, and Dagenham and Redbridge over the Daggers' late arrival for a match, in today's Football Paper, there is an interview with Alty chairman and coach-firm owner Geoff Goodwin about the difficulties of getting teams to matches on time.

    Geoff says, "You can't plan for traffic these days. We've been fined for being late but there's not a lot us drivers can do... When I take the Altrincham team we aim to get to the ground at least two hours before kick off". Geoff goes on to say how, when transporting the Australian cricket tourists to a match at Bristol, the traffic was so bad that the Test stars had to get off and lug their kit a mile to the ground. "Some of them like Adam Gilchrist and Jason Gillespie bought shares in our club and I'll be at the Fourth Test over Christmas as a guest of Cricket Australia".

    "Not all the teams at our level can afford to go overnight and stay in hotels so, if the roads are terrible and there are mitigating circumstances... there's got to be a bit of flexibility. If a team coach has left late after waiting for a player then, yes, they deserve to be punished heavily. Our manager, Graham Heathcote, always asks my advice about what time to leave and, once I tell him, he informs the lads. If they aren't where they are meant to be at that time, then we will go without them. But that never happens with our lads. They all know we run the club properly and they would be letting themselves and the club down. You can't even blame Dagenham for going on the train. It was probably cheaper for them to do that and more often than not, a lot quicker... non-League teams have even been known to fly to games. Our lads don't get that option because I give the club the use of my coaches and the players know how lucky they are. Our top-of -the-range buses cost £325,000. The lads get all the luxuries they could wish for... But that money can't buy a clear road".


    Saturday's Robins' Review states: "If you are interested in purchasing shares in Altrincham FC, they are available for £5 each". Please contact the club for further details.


    NL Daily reports that on Saturday "Oxford United came from two goals behind to net a share of the spoils at Stevenage Borough... The hosts went ahead when Steve Morison's low shot flew in, but they were soon down to ten-men, Hasim Deen being sent-off for hitting Chris Hargreaves. Oxford were stunned when Morison made it 2-0 from close-range, before Rob Duffy halved the deficit by lashing home from Yemi Odubade's cross. Stevenage were down to nine when Luke Oliver was dismissed for two bookings before Hargreaves levelled matters". Meanwhile Dagenham & Redbridge's 0-0 draw with Southport was "a game of few chances". And "Defender Mark Peters' heroics as an emergency keeper could not help Cambridge United as they lost to St Albans City at the Abbey Stadium. Peters took over from Paul Crichton after he was sent-off for a professional foul on Saints' striker Elliot Benyon after 55 minutes. Tom Davies scored the resulting spot-kick for the visitors' second goal".

    And yet another twist at Crawley Town whose forum refers to a statement released by Crawley Town FC's creditors, Begbies Traynor. The local Argus newspaper says: "The proposed [creditors'] meeting on 4 December 2006 has been postponed, however, Begbies has confirmed that this has nothing to do with the winding up petition hearing of SA Retail Limited. Begbies are currently awaiting further information from their property agents to enable them to report fully to creditors. A meeting will be convened once the information has been received". Meanwhile, Andy Sprott, the players' representative, said: "The 60-day deadline has long passed. Myself and other creditors have been chasing Begbies for an update on the situation and repeatedly told a meeting date will be set and they will report to creditors. We are all getting increasingly frustrated that they have failed to pay up. We are still sitting waiting for the administrator who should be acting in our best interests to tell us what's going on".

    2 December 2006


    Right: Alty's Steve Bushell and Burton's Darren Stride line up with the match officials and mascots before today's game.

    Match report here.

  • League Table
  • Alty Line Ups and Bookings
  • Alty Player Statistics


  • ALTRINCHAM 2 Burton A. 3
  • Cambridge U. 0 St Albans C. 2
  • Dagenham & R. 0 Southport 0
  • Forest Green R. 0 York C. 1
  • Gravesend & N. 1 Kidderminster H. 3
  • Halifax T. 3 Woking 0
  • Stevenage B. 2 Oxford U. 2
  • Weymouth 3 Grays A. 2

    FA Cup 2

  • Brighton & Hove A. 3 Stafford R. 0
  • Swindon T. 1 Morecambe 0
  • Aldershot T. 1 Basingstoke T. 1
  • Rushden & D. 1 Tamworth 2

  • Youth team: Altrincham Youth play away at the Giant Axe against Lancaster City this Sunday in the Open Cup. This is a match re-arranged from November, when the game was postponed.


    A Justin Bowler goal won the game for Alty reserves today at Ossett Town. The Altrincham squad was:



    The Burton Mail says that "Burton Albion striker Shaun Harrad hopes to be gunning for his first Conference goal of the season at one of his happy hunting grounds. Harrad could make for his first Conference start in two months at Altrincham. The former Notts County forward, who is 22 in 11 days' time, scored his last away league goal for the Brewers in the corresponding Moss Lane fixture near the end of last season. He has been put on stand-by by manager Nigel Clough because the Brewers could be without loan signing David Brown. A hip injury picked up by the Accrington Stanley player in Monday's 1-0 defeat of Exeter City could pave the way for Harrad's first start since the 1-0 defeat at Forest Green on October 10... Clough said 'David is doubtful as much as anything because any injury in the area of the hip can be quite restrictive. We're also mindful of the fact that he's not our player, which means we have a responsibility to make sure we do not take unnecessary risks with his fitness'". As for Harrad, who "scored a hat-trick in a Birmingham Senior Cup tie against Bedworth United, but has not managed a Conference or FA Cup goal, the Brewers' boss said: 'Shaun came on and played for the best part of an hour against Exeter, and I thought his running made a difference. When we're not able to pass it around and play it to feet, you sometimes have to settle for hitting the corners. That was how things worked out against Exeter, and Shaun is exactly the sort of player you need in those circumstances. "It might be that sort of game [at Altrincham], which means Shaun is next in line if David Brown doesn't make it. He's gone back to Accrington for treatment, but I'm not too optimistic about his chances of playing'.

    Clough could also make other changes from the side that beat Exeter, but there may still not be room for defender Ryan Austin in the starting line-up... Darren Stride has what Clough describes as 'his usual ailments' — tightness in his groins and hamstrings — but is expected to report fit. The Brewers' boss is also optimistic that Gary Rowett's knee will stand up to the rigours of his second game in five days. But winger Keith Gilroy will again be missing from the teamsheet because of the recurrence of his hamstring problems... The Brewers boss could still make a change in midfield because Andy Ducros has struggled for form since deputising for Gilroy on the left of midfield. Lee Fowler may be switched to that position, with Danny Holmes operating alongside Paul Carden in the centre of midfield. Clough said: 'Andy seems to have spells where he's good for a month and then loses it for a few weeks — usually when it's connected with a niggle. Lee is quite comfortable playing out wide and Danny might be in with a shout because sometimes you need a slightly different approach away from home'.

    However, "Clough has warned his men to expect a "tough" battle at Altrincham tomorrow... The Moss Lane outfit have dropped to 18th place in the table, just two points off the relegation zone, after a run of four games without a victory. But Clough is realistic enough to know there is no such thing as an easy ride in the Conference — particularly for an Albion side with an unhappy nack of struggling against opponents in the lower reaches of the table. The Brewers have already been beaten by perennial strugglers Southport and Forest Green and were dumped out of the FA Cup — albeit undeservedly — by Tamworth. Clough said 'We know from our own experiences that games are never easy against sides scrapping for points. I'll be pleasantly surprised if it's anything other than a tough battle at Altrincham. They've slipped a bit in recent weeks, but they're a strong side at home and, these days, I think they possibly perceive us a bigger club to have a go at'". The manager added that in the past "We've done okay against Altrincham, though I wouldn't ever say they're an easy side to beat... We've got two league games before the holiday programme kicks in, Altrincham away and Aldershot at home, and we have set our sights on a minimum of four points from the two games".

    Meanwhile, Alty boss Graham Heathcote said: "I know some fans thought we should have won at Grays, but our players had to work hard to get a result against a quality side. Burton will be another tough game. They are a good footballing side and have one of the best defences in the division. It's always difficult playing teams like them because you have got to try and open up to score goals, but then you run the risk of getting caught on the break".


    Don't forget there is a car boot sale on the Moss Lane car park at Altrincham FC on Sunday (3rd December). Pitches cost £5 per car and £7.50 per van, in advance, from the club offices. On the day the cost is £2.50 more. Sellers will be allowed on site on site from 7.30am. Volunteers to help on the day are also welcome. Plesse come down and snap up a bargain - and don't forget that Keith Davey's refreshment van will be operating on the day.


    In Friday night's Nationwide North derby between Leigh RMI and Hyde United, the Railwaymen ran out 2-0 winners. Alty players Eddie Hussin and Kieran Lugsden were in the Leigh squad, the latter coming off the bench to score Leigh's second in the sixth minute of added time. Leigh had taken the lead in the second minute of the first half through Chris Simm. Eddie Hussin completed another ninety minutes as he returns to full match fitness after his year-long injury lay-off, whilst for Kieran it was his second goal in a week, as he had scored for Leigh RMI Reserves in midweek. Former Alty centre-back Mark Maddox, now playing for Leigh, had to leave the game at half-time due to illness. The crowd watching this local derby was a very disappointing 151.


    The cover if Gavin Rathbone's 200th Altrincham FC Calendar is shown right. The calendar can be purchased from today at the Robins' Shop, priced £8 or £15 for two. It can also be ordered from the club by phone (928-1045) or e-mail. Each month's display covers two featured players from the Altrincham FC first-team squad.


    On the SAM website Colin Little says that "Spirits have been pretty high this week because we got a decent result at Grays. It wasn't the win that we wanted but it was a good performance... This season I don't think we have played quite as well as we did when we were at our best last season but we have been more consistent... The only problem is that our injuries haven't properly cleared up yet. Bandy (Peter Band) and Talbs (Gary Talbot) are still out and I'm not over my injury yet either. I wasn't able to train on Tuesday because I'm still struggling with it. It's a bit of a worry really because it should've healed by now and it's stopping me from playing at the level I want to be at. I'm just going to have to go for a scan next week and then take it from there. It's difficult because I want to play and help the team but I know that if I continue to play like this I'm not going to be at my best... Rod (Thornley) banged in a hat-trick for Chorley on Wednesday so that's a good sign. He's probably the most natural goalscorer at this club so to get him back fully fit would be a massive boost. Going on loan will do him the world of good. I used to come and watch Alty when I wasn't signed on here and I always thought he was a good striker. Maybe the way we have been playing this season hasn't suited him because a lot of the strikers' work has been back to goal stuff, holding the ball up on the halfway line. But if we create chances for him, Rod will score. We can beat Burton on Saturday, they are a good side but if we play at a high tempo and use the home advantage we can do it". Colin adds, that Lewis Chalmers "made his England debut on Wednesday and he deserves it. I heard he played up front when he came on but he better not start thinking he's a striker. He said that the England set-up was good and that they treated them like kings, but when you come from Miles Platting that probably means they gave you a pork pie and a sausage roll".


    "Troubled Conference North side Scarborough's future has been put on hold again", reports BBC Radio York. "At a meeting in Leeds, the former Football League club's creditors decided to extend the voluntary agreement by six weeks. That allows the club to pay them back what they are owed at an agreed rate. It's also hoped that by 12 January the Borough Council will decide whether a covenant stopping the McCain stadium being sold to developers can be lifted. Fans have launched an online petition to ask the council to lift the covenant, so the stadium can be sold, a new one built and the club's debts paid off."

    "Dagenham & Redbridge boss John Still has been handed the Nationwide Conference manager of the month award for November. Still led the Daggers to three wins from their three league games during November".

    The Football Conference reports that "Birmingham have handed a trial to Tamworth defender Tom Kemp after a series of eye-catching performances in the Nationwide Conference. Blues' boss Steve Bruce is looking to strengthen his defence in the January transfer window and Kemp could earn a dream move if he impresses. The 19-year-old joined The Lambs in August this year and has gone on to make 16 starts and one substitute appearance for Mark Cooper's side. Kemp has reportedly also attracted the interest of Portsmouth, Derby and Sheffield United".

    Northwich Victoria 1 A Manchester United XI 2 was the score in a midweek game played to celebrate, belatedly, the opening of Northwich's Victoria Stadium. "Sir Alex Ferguson brought a young but very impressive United side... Vics produced a much more lively performance in the second half with Mark Sale proving a handful upfront, but they could just not find an equaliser in front of the 2905 crowd".

    1 December 2006


    For Saturday, Altrincham still have doubts over injured defenders Peter Band and Gary Talbot, who have both missed the last few games. Colin Little is still not 100% despite playing well at Grays last Saturday.

    Saturday's vistors to Moss Lane are Burton Albion, whose "boss Nigel Clough has admitted to a 'dilemma over the fitness of winger Keith Gilroy. The Irishman missed Monday's 1-0 defeat of Exeter City with a recurrence of a hamstring problem that has troubled him since pre-season. The injury has restricted the 23-year-old to just nine starts this season — and is the cause of frustration for the Brewers boss. Clough told the Burton Mail that 'We miss Keith because of the quality he gives us, especially in home games. But equally we have the dilemma that if we push him too hard his hamstrings might go altogether, which could result in him being out of the side for a month. His hamstrings tightened up again leading up to the Exeter game. We could have taken a risk with him, but we decided to err on the side of caution and left Keith out of the 16. Hopefully, by doing that we've saved him from a more serious injury and also improved his chances of being involved at Altrincham on Saturday'. Albion have two other doubts ahead of the trip to Moss Lane, where they will be looking to cement their place among the promotion play-off contenders. Striker David Brown, currently on loan from Accrington Stanley, is struggling to shake off a hip injury which curtailed his home debut against Exeter, while defender Gary Rowett may be rested. Clough said: 'We'll leave a decision on David as late as possible, but his hip his very sore after the whack he got against Exeter. In Gary's case, it's a question of waiting to see whether he recovers quickly enough to play twice in five days'".

    The Referee at Moss Lane this Saturday is Mr Al Halliday. Three of the four Conference games that he has reffed this season have involved Southport.


    Gavin Rathbone of GR Photography has again produced an excellent Altrincham FC Calendar. The 2007 edition, in full colour, will be on sale from this Saturday at the Robins' Shop. It will be a bargain at just £8 a copy, or £15 for two. The calendar features a page for each month with two players featured and profiled per page.


    The FA reports that "England National Game XI Coach Paul Fairclough was delighted to see his team come from behind to beat Holland 4-1 at Burton Albion and lift the first ever European Challenge Trophy... 'I thought it was an outstanding performance.. We do a series of ‘what ifs?’ and how to respond to those, so it wasn’t a reaction to that, we got a response to an eventuality that we had prepared for. When it happened and we went behind, we knew what we had to do. Some teams panic when they go behind, but there is a lot of work that goes into these players working on these situations. They remained relaxed and got on with the job... Winning this tournament is great for the team, they have all played very well tonight. We had ten debutants playing tonight [including Alty's Lewis Chalmers], so for them it’s extra special, lifting a trophy on their first outing for the National Team. It shows the quality of player that is playing outside the Football League in this country'".


    "Leicester City have recalled striker Louis Dodds from his loan spell with Northwich Victoria. Dodds, 20, returns to City to cover for injuries after scoring three times in six games for the Conference club. The Vics have also lost defender Gareth Griffiths until January after X-rays confirmed he fractured a cheekbone in last Saturday's defeat by Gravesend. Meanwhile, a Manchester United XI will visit Northwich on Thursday to formally open their new Victoria Stadium" reports the BBC. The report adds that "Northwich have said they have heard nothing from the Football Association regarding allegations from Halifax Town that one of their players was racially abused when the clubs met four weeks ago".

    The Aldershot Newws and Mail states that Shots' boss "Terry Brown has admitted that tomorrow’s crucial FA Cup second round tie at home to Basingstoke could make or break his side’s season... Brown’s squad has been stretched over the past few months as a series of injuries, coupled with a slump in form, has seen Aldershot slide down the Conference table and the manager is desperate to add to his ranks. 'Without a doubt, the next month will define the rest of our season. If we do well on Saturday and make it to the third round (of the FA Cup) I will be able to strengthen the squad in January. The side has settled down in recent weeks and they are on the periphery of the play-off spots but we need to add some strength in depth. I need players all down the middle of the side. I really need a goalscorer up front. John Grant has chipped in with 11 goals but we need another striker to share the burden, and I also need a goalscoring midfielder. Ricky Newman has stepped in and done very well at the back and I will be looking very closely at that because I need another centre back'", said Brown.

    The Cambridge Evening News says that "Paul Barry wants to buy John Howard's partner's share in Abbey Stadium landlords Bideawhile in a bid to slash half of Cambridge United's £200,000 rent burden. United's biggest shareholder is putting the same offer to Stephen Clark - to purchase his half of the company at a substantial premium as he made to the club's former vice-chairman Howard in the summer. Howard rejected the plea to sell his 50 per cent stake at a substantial premium in Bideawhile... Barry told the News last night he was now writing to Clark to see if he would relinquish his interest instead. If successful, the Seattle-based United director would not charge the club rent on his share, reducing the club's annual lease to £100,000. He said: 'The reduction in rent for the football club would mean more money could be invested in the playing squad to help us get back into the League'... Barry said, 'Our belief is that the development that has been promised isn't going to happen and this gives Stephen Clark an exit opportunity. Every single person we've spoken to in and around Cambridge related to property development says it's a non-starter'.. The deadline of next June looms for United to buy back the Newmarket Road End - a provision they must meet if they are to repurchase the rest of the ground. He said: 'I've had no contact with Stephen Clark whatsoever and we, as a board, have been trying to get through to him through the chairman Lee Power to arrange a meeting, and it hasn't been forthcoming. 'The sole communication I'm aware of in the last two years between him and the club was an unproductive meeting with former board members'".

    From This is Exeter we learn that "Exeter City defender Billy Jones is on the verge of signing a new deal at St James's Park.The full-back, who has been one of City's most consistent performers this season, has been in talks with the club over extending his stay in Devon.. 'I am enjoying my time here so if we can get a deal sorted out and certain things are done and dusted then I would have no hesitation in signing', he said... 'I am just pleased to be offered another deal so early in the season'... Grecians' boss Paul Tisdale has drawn up a priority list of players he wants to keep on board next season. Only Rob Edwards, Chris Todd, Paul Buckle, Adam Stansfield, Lee Phillips and Paul Jones have got contracts beyond the end of the current campaign. And it is believed that Danny Woodards, Matt Gill and Jamie Mackie are also in talks over their futures". Jones added, "I feel every aspect of my game has improved since last year... Last year it was kind of mix and match in the back four but now we have got a solid base now and we haven't conceded many goals... [Paul Tisdale] knows which players he wants in the long-term and he wants to be successful. He wants to change things and we are aiming to climb the league and play at the highest level we possibly can. He is totally different to how Alex (Inglethorpe) ran things, which is a good thing and hopefully it can only get better'".

    The Kidderminster Shuttle claims that "Jamie McClen could be set to return from his loan spell after picking up a suspension which rules him out of his final game. McClen got sent-off in his penultimate match for Bedlington Terriers... Harriers' boss Mark Yates is in talks with the Bedlington manager to see whether the North East club wish to extend the loan... McClen has seen his first-team chances restricted at Harriers despite impressing during pre-season. The former Newcastle United reserve team midfielder has failed to live up to expectations after signing from Shrewsbury".

    But Yates "insists he has sufficient defensive cover for the trip to Gravesend if captain Stuart Whitehead fails to come through a late fitness test... 'Stuart is still 50/50 at the moment after tweaking his hamstring and we'll have another look at him on Thursday and Friday. It will be a big loss for us if he doesn't play because he's been performing well lately but that's what we've got the squad for. We've got Jeff Kenna, Johnny Harkness and Gavin Hurren who can all play there so we've got options that I'm happy to use'... The return of Jake Sedgemore will also boost Harriers' options with the utility man finally overcoming a knee injury and virus'. However, 'Out of favour frontmen Andy White and Luke Reynolds have been told to "be patient" by boss Mark Yates following the arrivals of another loan striker... James Constable on a two-month loan from Walsall... 'They've got to be patient', said Yates who is likely to keep faith with the strike partnership of Iyseden Christie and Constable for Saturday's trip to Gravesend... 'We've only scored 18 goals in the league this season and it's not good enough, we need more... If players want to be in the team the best thing they can do is work hard and take their chances when they come along'". The manager continued, "After 20 games it's difficult to say that we're in a false position all I can say is that we're better than our position suggests. The players keep telling me they can still do something this season and I believe in them. Somebody asked me the other day how many points teams would need to stay up but I haven't thought about that, it hasn't even entered my mind. I've not even considered that we'll stay where we are in the table because I've got tremendous faith in my players. My players know that it's no use being a squad with lots of belief if we're not winning games," he said... We've got to win four games out of the next five and we're capable of it, but it's time for action rather than words".

    As for Rushden Today it reports that "Keith Cousins has revealed that Rushden & Diamonds are hoping to finally name their new manager early next week.The chairman, who took over at Nene Park with a 'substantial' investment last week... admitted: 'We are looking at all opportunities and we are now hoping to conclude discussions by the early part of next week. We have approached a couple of clubs and we are waiting for their responses. We want to try to find someone who knows this level so we can get away from the relegation zone. We had around 70 applicants putting their name forward, mainly those out of work at the moment'... Caretaker-boss Tony Godden will remain in charge for Saturday's FA Cup second-round tie at home to Tamworth... Godden is still in the frame to become Paul Hart's long-term successor and the goalkeeping coach will be offered a chance to stay in a new set-up, even if he doesn't get the top job himself". Also, "Zema Abbey could be set to join Rushden & Diamonds just a few days after leaving Kettering Town. The former Norwich City striker... arrived at Nene Park yesterday to feature in a reserve-team friendly against Boston United... Abbey played for 20 minutes.... Meanwhile Diamonds caretaker-manager Tony Godden says it's business as usual more than six weeks since Paul Hart was sacked ... [Godden said] 'I want to give it a go for all those people who care about this place'".

    The St Albans Observer claims that "Colin Lippiatt was last night (Wednesday) due to hold talks with contract rebel Paul Hakim and discuss whether the striker still has a future at Clarence Park. In light of confirmation from The Football Association yesterday that Hakim is registered as a contracted player with the club - meaning Weymouth would have to pay a fee to secure the services of the nine-goal striker - Lippiatt has left the door open for Hakim's return and he could even be in the squad for Saturday's trip to Cambridge City. Hakim failed to report for training on Tuesday and has received a letter from the club informing him that he is in breach of club discipline. But Lippiatt appears to be willing to put the whole saga behind him - at least until January when the transfer window re-opens and Hakim can be sold".

    This is Weymouth is of like mind, stating that "It appears Weymouth will not be able to sign striker Paul Hakim until the transfer window re-opens. Last week the Terras said they had received an e-mail from the Football Association informing them that the 24-year-old was on non-contract terms at St Albans City but now the governing body seems to have changed its tune. In a dramatic U-turn yesterday, the FA ruled that Hakim is under contract at Clarence Park, which means any potential move could not happen until January and would probably command a fee".

    The Woking News & Mail says that Cards' goalkeeper "Shwan Jalal will not be allowed to leave Kingfield for less than £100,000 should his one-month loan spell at Championship giants Sheffield Wednesday be successful. 'Sheffield Wednesday and other interested clubs know what we want for Shwan and if they want him that is what they will have to pay as part of a package including appearances, said Cards’ chairman John Buchanan, while manager Glenn Cockerill added: 'I would like to think Shwan can make a career for himself up there and that’s our valuation'. Jalal responded, 'I’m grateful to Woking for not standing in my way and it’s up to me to prove I can do it at a higher level'... Cockerill drafted in Michael Poke from Southampton as Jalal’s replacement, leaving youngster Aaron Howe in no doubt that he is number two in the pecking order at Woking. But Cockerill has been impressed with Howe and confirmed he will be attempting to tie up some key young players in the coming weeks, starting with Giuseppe Sole. 'I’ll be speaking to Giuseppe when he comes back from the England squad on Thursday and there are others too I need to think about', confirmed Cockerill. 'Lads like Jerome Maledon, whose loan I have extended at Carshalton, Matt Ruby, who will only get better and Sam Cockerill, who has really been pushing in training, are all doing well and in time, will be on a par with the experienced ones. I don’t see any reason not to keep youngsters like that in the squad'. While Goma Lambu’s return to form has "allowed” Cockerill to “return to 4-4-2” making him perhaps the key player in the squad as the boss won’t play that formation without him, Woking could have stumbled across a player who could turn out to be another gem. Horsham’s Jamie Taylor has trained three times at Kingfield having 'just turned up when a friend asked if he could come along', according to Cockerill. 'It could turn out to be a stroke of luck,” said the boss. “Since he turned up we’ve had him watched and he is a centre forward, good in the air for a little lad, and quick. We’ve put in a seven-day approach to speak to him, which I can do on Friday, even though he’s not under contract'.

    In the meantime Stevenage Borough have come back with an official response to Woking’s offer for Jon Nurse. 'The message was for me to come back with a serious offer', said Cockerill, but that’s all we can afford so that just shows where we are at this club. The Cards travel to Chris Wilder’s Halifax Town on Saturday... 'After losing four league games, we haven’t fallen away from it too far... Everybody is beating each other'... Cockerill is unconcerned with the fact his team have only beaten Aldershot Town and Weymouth in the top half of the table... Gary MacDonald remains doubtful with a hamstring strain while Liam Cockerill’s loan spell with FA Trophy first round opponents Salisbury City is now ended with the player returning to Kingfield requiring a Gilmore’s groin operation".

    Grays Athletic confirm that "Will Hendry has signed with Grays Athletic until the end of the season [and] Justin Richards has extended his loan with us until January 6th 2007".