Altrincham Football Club News Archive
31 May 2007
YOUTH NEWSAltrincham Youth manager George Heslop has announced two pre-season friendlies:
George Heslop also hopes to enter the Altrincham Youth side once again in the Umbro International Tournament, which takes place in Manchester each summer. However, with George not fully mobile yet because of his infected toe, and with coach Tony Spilsbury unavailable due to work commitments, entry into the competition is dependent on George finding a volunteer to help him with the event over its four days from Wednesday 25th to Saturday 28th July. If you can help, please contact George on 0161 718-0624.
George would also be grateful for any sponsorship of the Altrincham FC Youth team for the coming season, so if you can help in this way, please ring George on the above number.
The NW Youth Alliance in which Altrincham FC play their youth team league games is expected to expand next season as six new clubs have applied for election. The teams are Ashton Town, Ashton Athletic B, Bury Amateurs, Curzon Ashton, Formby and Nantwich Town. However, Euxton Villa have resigned from the league.
PATRONS NEEDEDThe Sale & Altrincham Messenger says that "Altrincham FC are appealing for new members to join their close-season Patrons' Club, which raises much needed funds for the club. The scheme runs during the 10 weeks of the close season of 2007. The club is asking for pledges of £5 a week for that period, in return for which donors will have their names printed in the matchday programme throughout the 2007/8 season, and will be entered in a prize draw in mid-July. First prize will be match sponsorship for the first home game of next season at which 10 people, including the patron, will enjoy hospitality in the Gill Oates Sponsors' Lounge".
BLUE SQUARE NORTH NEWSThis is Lincs says that "The outcome of showdown talks with the football authorities holds the key to the future of Boston United. Pilgrims' chairman Jim Rodwell and takeover consortium Standing Alone will meet with the Football Association, Football League and Nationwide Conference, tomorrow [Thursday]. The club will provide details of their company voluntary arrangement (CVA) and learn whether they will be accepted into the Blue Square Premier League... Conference chief John Moules has previously raised doubts about Boston's participation in non-league's top flight because of their continuing financial problems. 'These talks are crucial to the takeover', confessed Rodwell. 'It's the first time the five parties will have sat in a room together and a number of issues should become a lot clearer following it. Standing Alone want a few things clearing up, like what league the team will be in next season. Likewise, the Conference want some guarantees from us, too. I've had a very positive chat with John Moules, so I am confident we will be able to compete in the Blue Square Premier next season. I'm hopeful things will start to happen following this meeting... We want to be in a position to challenge for promotion this season, but we are behind in so many areas... Standing Alone may want to bring their own people and I may want to go elsewhere'", he said.
"Paul Mitchell admits he is having to sell Gainsborough Trinity as hard as he can, to secure the key signings he is targeting... 'While some clubs can offer big wages, we can actually assure them they will get paid on time', said Mitchell. 'There are some silly amounts of cash being paid. However, I know that we can offer a player a stable club that is ambitious and respects the ambition of the players. I have no problem with players arriving here and then moving on to bigger things, and I would never stand in their way. I think our record speaks for itself over recent years... Most recently, Ben Purkiss was picked up by York City and finished the season there, almost making it to the Football League'". As for new players, the manager said "I've been out looking, I've done my homework.... Anyone who does sign will be joining a good club. You never want to panic, though. Some managers will think they need to get people on board and bring in players that in the end they just will not need. I'm staying calm'" he told This is Lincs.
From Blyth & Wansbeck Today we learn that "Blyth Spartans' goalkeeper Adam Bartlett is in Finland this week to represent England. Twenty-one-year-old Bartlett is in the National Game U23 squad [with Alty's Lewis Chalmers] to take on Finland in a friendly in Helsinki... The squad will train in the international stadium – the venue for the match – on Friday before the game that evening. 'I'm really looking forward to it', said Bartlett. 'It's all been really well arranged by the FA, who tell me that we will play in full England kit as well as being supplied with official tracksuits and leisure wear. Plus we get an England international cap!'... Bartlett has done remarkably well to get in to the 16-man squad, especially considering that all the other players, bar one, are from Blue Square Premier (formerly the national Conference). After the game, which is a precursor for a competition later in the year, the squad has a day out in the Finnish capital before returning to England on Saturday night".
The Northants Evening Telegraph says that "Kettering Town signing Tommy Jaszczun has vowed to prove his fitness – just a couple of months after announcing his retirement from football. The 29-year-old left-back, who was born in Kettering and grew up in Wellingborough, quit Conference club Cambridge United in March due to a foot injury... Jaszczun said: 'I'm looking forward to getting pre-season out of the way and then staying injury free because I've been quite unfortunate really.. I dropped out of the Football League. But I can play full-time at Kettering'".
Stalybridge Celtic announce that they have "revealed the identity of their new manager. Ex-Northwich gaffer Steve Burr has been installed in the Bower Fold hot seat, signing his contract in front of a packed Sponsors' Lounge. New chairman Rob Gorski hosted a question and answer session with the new boss, brought in to replace John Reed whose contract was not renewed after a disappointing season".
Meanwhile at Hucknall Town "Danny Mayman signed for the club last night, returning to us from Northwich Victoria".
There is news from the Redditch Advertiser that "Redditch United's pre-season plans have been thrown into turmoil after an abrupt about-turn from veteran striker Carl Heggs. The 36-year-old former West Brom and Grimsby Town striker had committed to stay at United for a season after helping inspire their dramatic late season survival surge. But the forward yesterday completed a u-turn by rejoining former club Tamworth, who will play in the same Conference North as United next season after relegation from the national division. Lambs' manager Gary Mills persuaded the six-footer to rejoin... Reds' manager Gary Whild made retaining Heggs a priority and secured a commitment from the influential striker before announcing a month ago: 'We have secured the services of Carl Heggs for next season'... But with Heggs not signing paperwork he was free to jump ship to his former club, denting Whild's plans for next season".
NL Daily says that "New Alfreton Town manager Nicky Law has landed his first three signings... First in through the door was goalkeeper James Lindley who joins the Reds having spent last season with league rivals Harrogate Town... Lindley, 25, replaces Dale Roberts, who has returned to Nottingham Forest after a season-long loan spell during which he was the only Alfreton player to play in every game during the 2006/07 campaign. Law explained his delight at picking up such an experienced keeper. He said: 'James fills a crucial position for us and it is to our benefit that he has got so much experience at our level and beyond. He has been there, done that and he will fit into our plans. It was refreshing as well to speak to a player whose immediate thing isn’t just about cash. We are a local club which suits him. He wants to come and join us and geographically it will benefit both parties. We are going to look to bring in another couple of keepers to have a look at, we need two for the season'. Nottingham-born Lindley was a graduate of Notts County’s youth academy and made his Football League debut in the 1999/00 campaign. He had a short spells on loan at Lincoln City and Mansfield Town and has also seen action with Tamworth, Stafford Rangers, Gresley Rovers and Hucknall Town over the past three seasons. Law has also snapped up striker Brian Cusworth and winger Matt Outram, both from Parkgate, last season’s Northern Counties East League Division One champions. Cusworth, 27, is a lively, powerfully built 6’4’’ old fashioned style centre forward who smashed over fifty goals for Parkgate last season, despite missing a couple of months of the campaign through injury. He has top scored for the Rotherham-based outfit for the past four seasons having started out with the Millers. Law said: 'We have to be realistic and realise it is a big jump for him but his goalscoring ratio is phenomenal and he has had a lot of clubs chasing him... I signed Matt for Buxton last year but he returned to Parkgate due to loyalty. He is a good player who has been playing well below his level. He has outstanding pace, can cross and ball and play both sides of the pitch. He is a tough customer with a great work ethic who tracks back. I think Alfreton fans will like him... I fully expect another two or three to be on their way into the Impact Arena in the next week or so'".
BLUE SQUARE NATIONAL NEWSBefore his appointment at the Bower Fold, from the Northwich Guardian we read that "Steve Burr has finally handed in his notice. He sent a fax formally announcing his departure this morning [Wednesday], so ending a fortnight of speculation over his future... 'Steve Burr has sadly resigned', said Vics' chief executive Liz Wolstenholme. Chairman Mike Connett had refused to fire Burr and release him from his contract - which still had a year to run - so the 45-year-old made the first move. And he told the Guardian he still intends to sue Connett for constructive dismissal. 'We are doing our best to keep you fully informed of the current situation and will update you accordingly', added Wolstenholme. The chairman will release another statement in the next 48 hours. Before today he had refused to contemplate looking for a new manager, instead stating that Burr was still contracted to the Conference club. His next move could be crucial in holding together a squad known to be restless at events of the past two weeks".
Despite being managerless, "Vics will keep a dozen players as they begin life after Steve Burr... The Conference club published a list of names yesterday, Tuesday, revealing the group of players they hope to build the team around next season. Top scorer Paul Brayson and skipper Stuart Elliott were not on it. 'That does not mean they've left', said general manager Dave Thomas. 'But we needed to get the names to the FA - this list was the one that both the chairman and Steve Burr had been working on'. The biggest surprise is Brayson's omission... Owner Mike Connett sent a letter to Burr in which he said he expected the 45-year-old to turn up for work as normal yesterday. He did not". IC Cheshire confirms that "On the [retained] list are: Jonny Allan, Kieran Charnock, Ben Connett, Mike Byrne, Chris Williams, Kevin Townson, Ryan Brown, Carlos Roca, Richard Battersby, Mike Carr, Mark Roberts and James Dean. Goalkeeper Phil Senior, Gareth Griffiths and Jon McCarthy, who are possibly retiring, Danny Mayman, Terry Barwick and Matthew Shore and Tony Gallimore are all released".
IC Cheshire adds that "Mike Connett has refused to respond to what amounts to a humiliating exposé of life at the Victoria Stadium by manager Steve Burr... Burr used the columns of a national sports paper to lambast his former chairman and tell stories of his 'interference', all of which makes embarrassing reading for Northwich fans and Connett himself. Burr's revelations do Vics reputation no good, but he said on Monday: 'I stand by every word. There is nothing fabricated.' But Vics' owner Connett said: 'Steve Burr is still an employee of this company. He is still driving the company car, so what is he? He still has all the company privileges and until he gives them back or we get a letter of resignation then he is still an employee. I will not use newspapers in this way. I would not lower myself. We are a professional company and we do not behave like that. Until the situation is resolved I will make no further comment'. That included the appointment of a new manager, which Vics obviously need quickly and the latest name to be linked with the job is former Liverpool star Jason McAteer, who had been considered recently by Chester City.
This is Weymouth informs us that "Weymouth skipper Trevor Challis has revealed how many of the club's stars have put possible moves on the back burner while they wait for takeover talks to be resolved at the Wessex Stadium. The influential defender, along with the likes of Ashley Vickers, Nick Crittenden and Stuart Beavon, have all been told by boss Jason Tindall that contracts will be offered to them as soon as the club's future is secured. However, it has now been over a month since last season ended and Challis admits time is beginning to run out. He said: 'The situation is becoming laughable. I sort of touch base with Jason at the start of every week but every time I get the same comment that an announcement is imminent. When you think Torquay United's take over went through in a week it is amazing that it is taking this long. But having said that as long as the final outcome is worth it and the long-term future of the club is secured then everybody will be happy. I have spoke to a couple of clubs. One of them is in Conference South but I have told everyone that I would like to see what happens at Weymouth first.The problem is there is only so long you can wait. Our last pay packet was on May 6 and we have all got mortgages and bills to pay, and families to look after. I am still in touch with most of the lads like Ashley Vickers, Nick Crittenden and Stuart Beavon and they are all doing the same thing because we all want to play for Jason and Weymouth Football Club. I don't want to move away and play up north because that is something I do not want to do. I have enjoyed the last couple of years and although a lot has happened I want to stay'".
An amusing post on Confguide says that "Bid accepted by the CUFC board from Coventry for Robbie Simpson, [amount] not yet known, although hopefully a nice juicy fee with some add ons. On a lesser note, Dan Chillingworth has had his contract offer retracted for fannying about over whether he wanted to sign or not. Most United fans will still sleep tonight though".
CHESHIRE NEWS"Witton Albion have signed Adam Warlow, their 31-goal striker, who has been released by Crewe Alex. Warlow spent all last season at Wincham Park on loan from Crewe and it was a surprise when Dario Gradi freed him. Blue Square North clubs Southport, Telford and Burscough were interested, but he opted for Witton instead".
30 May 2007
STUART AND LEWIS HONOUREDIn the Manchester Evening News both Stuart Coburn (left) and Lewis Chalmers (right) are chosen in the paper's non-league team of the season. Of Stuart, the MEN says, "His heroics between the sticks weren't quite enough to save Alty from relegation, but he deservedly continues to be a huge favourite with Robins' fans". Lewis Chalmers "showed a maturity above his tender years and was rewarded with an England National Game XI call-up. A terrific prospect" says the newspaper. Also in the selection is former Robin, Lee Ellington, for his 24 goals for Stalybridge Celtic this season.
OLD BOYS"Influential midfielder Conall Murtagh has swapped seaside resorts and quit Principality Welsh Premier club Rhyl after agreeing full-time terms with Southport, relegated to Blue Square North at the end of the season. The 21-year-old becomes the third player to leave the club in the past week - striker Paul Roberts was released at his own request and fellow front man Alex Hay [ex-Alty loanee] opted to join Cammell Laird in the UniBond League. A Northern Ireland under-21 international who started his career with Ballymena United and Crusaders before being spotted by Hearts, Murtagh made his Scottish League debut while on loan at Raith Rovers in January 2005. Following his release from Tynecastle he played in the Reserves at Altrincham after arriving in Manchester as a student and then joined Connah's Quay Nomads. After a season on Deeside, he quickly became a fans' favourite at Belle Vue... and was voted into the Welsh Premier dream team by the league managers. He now links up with former Bangor City manager Peter Davenport at Haig Avenue. 'Conall’s a student at Manchester University and Southport’s offer of a full-time contract is the main reason behind his departure', said Lillies' boss John Hulse. 'He told me he thought there would be less travelling and better pitches in the Conference North, but I disagree on both counts. He might change his mind when he has to travel to Blyth Spartans on a bleak midweek winter night!' he added".
NW NEWSNL Daily says that "Cammell Laird have placed Ronnie Morgan, leading scorer for the last four years, on the transfer list. Morgan, 26, has scored an amazing 180 goals in the four years since Lairds left the West Cheshire League and embarked in their climb up the non-League Pyramid. Club spokesman Paul McLoughlin said: 'Ronnie wants to try his hand at a higher level of football. Whilst we are disappointed, we would certainly not stand in the way of a player wishing to move on'".
BLUE SQUARE NATIONAL NEWSThe Argus confirms that "Steve Evans has been unveiled as the new manager of Crawley Town with a two-year plan to reach the Football League. Evans, 44, has agreed to take over the vacant position at the Broadfield Stadium after quitting troubled new rivals Boston United on Sunday. He has beaten a number of high profile names to land the job, including former Gillingham manager Andy Hessenthaler, who has subsequently landed the Dover Athletic post, and ex-Brighton assistant-manager Bob Booker. Evans said: 'I decided that if I was going to manage another club in the Conference, they would have to be ambitious. There are a lot of teams who, although they wouldn't admit it, don't want to progress but Crawley is not one of them, they meet my ambitions. With Steve Evans in charge, I can assure you that there will be a winning team on the pitch. I have a two to three year plan to reach the Football League. If we could do it in one, then that would be great but that is unlikely because it will take a bit of time to get everything into place. There are only four players on contracts from last season so this is a chance to start with a clean slate. They are four lads I would wish to work with anyway and I am looking forward to building a new team with them in it'. Evans guided Boston to the Conference title in 2002, two years after taking them into non-League's top flight from the Southern League. He was banned from football for twenty months soon after for tax offences at the Lincolnshire club and given a one-year suspended prison sentence last November. Evans left Boston three weeks after they were plunged into administration following their relegation from the Football League. The Glaswegian said: 'When I took over at Boston I saw a club with a lot of potential. That is the same thing I see at Crawley. They are coming out the other end of their financial problems and, although there is a lot of work still to do, the club has everything to go into the Football League'".
Crawley Town "have announced former Boston United manager Steve Evans as their new manager... on a two year deal... Evans led Boston to the Nationwide Conference title, pipping Dagenham and Redbridge on goal difference on the final day of the season, although he left the club at the end of the much-publicised FA investigation. After leaving the club during the summer of 2002, Evans returned to York Street in March 2004... Evans's previous managerial experience saw him guide Stamford AFC into the Dr Martens League after clinching the United Counties League title in 1996-97 and then again in 1997-98. Evans began his playing career with Bolton Wanderers, but he soon moved back north of the border to play for Clyde, Ayr United and subsequently St Johnstone, although he was forced to give up playing football at the age of 28, after suffering a cruciate knee-ligament injury".
"Grays Athletic manager Justin Edinburgh is still looking for players to bolster his squad. The club have an 18-man squad for next season but three of those players are on the transfer list. Edinburgh told BBC Essex: 'I'm looking to go with a squad of 18 or 19 so I'm talking to four players at the moment. I'm going for a mix of experience and youngsters who've either left League clubs or are looking to move up. Last season the squad was too big'".
The BBC confirms that "Rushden and Diamonds have re-signed midfielder Jon Challinor on a two-year contract from Exeter City. The 26-year-old started 36 games last season for the Grecians and scored 10 goals in helping them reach the Conference play-off final. He left Rushden in 2000 for Cambridge City and has also had spells with St Albans, Aldershot as well as Exeter. Boss Garry Hill told Rushden's website: 'We're delighted to have Jon back, he's a player with a wealth of experience'".
Woking FC "are delighted to announce the signing of centre forward, Marvin Morgan and midfielder Bradley Quamina from Yeading FC (subject to FA clearance)".
From This is Lincs we read that "Barrie Pierpoint is certain there will be no shortage of applicants for the Boston United manager's job. In the wake of Steve Evans' resignation, the Pilgrims' chief executive will begin a search for a new boss following talks with the potential new owners of the club, Standing Alone Limited, today. Pierpoint revealed he already had 'two or three' names in mind for the position. 'We want someone with vision, the right skills and who can take the club forward', he declared... Early contenders for the post include Andy Hessenthaler, Graham Westley, Neil Redfearn, Leroy Rosenior and Colin Hendry... 'We still need to tidy up the technical issues which have held up the takeover', added Pierpoint, who remains optimistic the takeover of the club will be completed. 'Then we need to pay the players - that is one of the top priorities. Behind that is appointing a new manager, followed by confirming which league we will be in next season and then selling season tickets'... Pierpoint insisted he was surprised by Evans' decision to quit the club at the weekend. 'I was surprised by his departure', he added... Chairman Jim Rodwell remains at the club. The former Boston skipper is also chairman of the club's holding company, Lavaflow, who are negotiating the sale of its shares to Standing Alone... It seems unlikely though he will remain if and when the takeover is completed".
EVANS JOINS CRAWLEYThe BBC reports that "Crawley Town have appointed former Boston boss Steve Evans as their new manager. The 44-year-old resigned from his job with the Pilgrims on 27 May with immediate effect. He will be joined at the Broadfield Stadium by Paul Raynor who was his assistant at Boston. Evans led Boston United to promotion to the Football League in April 2002 but left the club after an FA investigation but rejoined the club in March 2004. He was originally appointed manager of Boston in October 1998 following the resignation of Greg Fee".
BLUE SQUARE NATIONAL NEWSA couple of last season's Conference players have moved to Wales as NL Daily reports. "Llanelli have signed four new players ahead of their UEFA InterToto Cup campaign, which kicks off in a month's time against Lithuanian outfit Vetra. [Amongst them,] goalkeeper Ryan Harrison joins from Forest Green Rovers along with new player-coach Paul Wanless, a midfielder who has more than 340 Football League appearances behind him with Oxford United, Lincoln City and Cambridge United".
Sussex's The Argus has provided some excellent reporting of the Crawley Town financial circus for the last year but now it confirms the almost unbelievable links apparently being forged between The Reds' owners, the Majeed brothers, and the controversial Steve Evans, who resigned as manager of Boston United last week. The Argus says "Steve Evans has emerged as a frontrunner for the vacant Crawley manager's job... Crawley are expected to announce the name of their new manager this week. Bob Booker, the former Albion assistant manager, and former Gillingham boss Andy Hessenthaler have both been interviewed for the position... Evans, 44, hit the headlines when he was given a suspended prison sentence and banned from football for tax offences during his first spell at Boston which came to an end in 2002".
Back in Boston This is Lincs says that "Steve Evans insists he has no regrets after ending his tumultuous second spell with Boston United... Evans's decision to leave the Pilgrims completed a remarkable U-turn. Following United's relegation from the Football League earlier this month, he declared his intention to lead the club in the re-named Blue Square Premier League next season. But the lack of progress in the takeover by Standing Alone Limited and the fact players and staff have not been paid for three months, fuelled his decision to walk away. 'I was growing increasingly frustrated by the whole situation', Evans told the Echo. 'So after thinking long and hard and speaking at length with my wife, I have decided to walk away. It wasn't just about me, I had to think about my family as well. It is with reluctance because I have Boston United in my blood. The chairman (Jim Rodwell) desperately tried to get me to stay, but he reluctantly accepted my decision, yesterday... At the moment, it is still not clear what league the club will be in next season... First, I'm going for a curry with my family, tonight' he said, 'Then I'm just going to take stock over the next few days.. But I still see myself as a manager and I will want to get back into the game'... His first stint as boss ended in 2002, shortly after leading Boston to the Conference title, when he was handed a 20-month ban for financial irregularities. More than four years later, he was spared prison for his part in the tax swindle, but was given a suspended jail term... 'I don't want to talk about something I have already paid for', added Evans on previous misdemeanours'.
Meanwhile "Boston United captain Paul Ellender (right) says the club shouldn't have a problem finding a new manager - but only if the issues surrounding the takeover and unpaid wages are resolved quickly... 'It is not really a surprise that Steve Evans has gone, although it is a bit of a surprise he's gone now,' said Ellender. 'A lot of people thought he might have resigned when the season finished. I've worked with him for six years, so I'm sad he's gone... Whatever people think about him, he's someone who is passionate about football... I think there will be a lot of applicants for the job. It is a decent job. Although the club have just been relegated, the Conference is a good league and a difficult league... With the takeover, it's a chance for a fresh start for the club... We are due for a pay day next week, so we will have gone three months without pay... I still want to stay, as long as the issues are resolved. I'm looking forward to the new season'" aid the former Altrincham defender.
28 May 2007
LEWIS DOES WELLIn the NL Paper report on the England National Game XI's win over Scotland, Lewis Chalmers is awarded 7 out of 10 points for his performance and the paper says that the "Altrincham schemer provided an effective foil to the outstanding Andy Burgess".
NEIL'S BIDAs reported yesterday, there will be a charity match between an Altrincham FC XI and Houldsworth Square (from South Manchester) at Moss Lane on Sunday 15 July at 2pm. The proceeds are going to the Christie Hospital and the St Francis Hospice. In the auction to win a place in the Altrincham FC side, Neil Faulkner has bid £300 (to be split betwen the two charities) for which Neil Brown, who is organizing the Alty end of the game is very grateful. If anyone would like to top Neil's bid, please ring Neil Brown on 07968 045657 by 7th July.
OLD BOYAlex Hay (right, seen playing for Alty against Droylsden), who had a successful loan spell from Tranmere Rovers at Altrincham in 2001, has now joined Cammell Laird.
BLUE SQUARE NORTH NEWSIC Birmingham says that "Solihull Moors admit they may have to make changes to their squad ahead of next season's Blue Square North campaign. Moors amalgamate with Solihull Borough on June 1, although they retain their status in the former Conference North. Even though the majority of last season's Moor Green side have expressed an interest in remaining next season, there could be some key departures. Hot property Phil Trainer has confirmed he is looking to a play at a higher level and the midfielder has already been in talks with a number of Conference clubs. Moors coach John Frain said: 'Phil has been offered terms to stay but he has made it clear he wants to play at a better standard and I can't blame him. He's in his mid-20s and feels the time is right to make the step up'... Moors are also resigned to losing Richard Follett, who looks likely to be relocating to Newcastle... Defender Richard Scott has also revealed he is looking to play closer to his Northamptonshire home... David Bridgwater already looks Bromsgrove-bound after a spell on loan at the Victoria Ground last term with Scott".
"Vauxhall Motors boss Carl Macauley is on the hunt for two new strikers to replace 20-goal strike force Lee Furlong and Karl O'Donell. Furlong... has retired from the game, aged just 27 while the unsettled O'Donnell has been transfer-listed" according to the NL Paper.
The Northwich Guardian says that "Stalybridge Celtic fans are convinced Steve Burr will be their new manager. The Blue Square North club parted company with John Reed and Mark Atkins in April and are set to unveil their replacement on Wednesday. But the supporters reckon they know already who it is... And chairman Rob Gorski added to their fervour yesterday afternoon. 'Events have moved on with the news that the best manager in non league football is now available', he said. 'I'm very optimistic we will be able to announce a manager on Wednesday who will truly excite the fans'. But unless Burr hands in his notice at Northwich, it may not be that simple. Vics' chairman Mike Connett says Burr is still under contract and that [he] won't fire him. Burr is refusing to resign. The pair seem destined to clash in court after Burr filed for constructive dismissal on Wednesday. Either that or Stalybridge would have to fork out considerable compensation on the remaining year of Burr's contract".
BLUE SQUARE NATIONAL NEWSIn Sunday's NL Paper, there is more on the Steve Burr departure from Northwich. Burr has kept a dossier of the goings on at Vics "detailing eveything". The article quotes Burr as saying that, "Connett told him he had to 'get rid' of striker Mark Sale and midfielder Danny Mayman during the 2006-07 season". After Vics had lost at Cambridge, the chairman "came into the dressing room and told everyone they were a disgrace to the club because he had people there watching the match. He wanted a say in which players were picked".The article adds, "Much of the conflict centred around Connett's goalkeeping son, Ben. 'When Ben dropped the ball for Morecambe to score... Connett wanted to know why Kieran Charnock wasn't standing on the goal line. After that... I dropped Ben and we went on a terrific run... but for two weeks he didn't speak to me". Burr also says the chairman Connett cancelled payments for clean sheets to the other keeper at Vics, Phil Senior whilst paying his son for any clean sheets that he achieved. Burr also confirms that in March Mr Connett "told us to go out and tell people if the club wasn't sold within a month then he would liquidate it and all contracts would be null and void. Two days later I got an abusive phone call asking why we'd told people the club was up for sale because it wasn't!". At the end of the season the chairman 'had a list of players and was telling me who he wanted to stay and who he wanted out of the club. That's what I'm paid to do' said Burr". The manager also says Connett had spoken to another manager about taking over as manager at Northwich. The article adds that Burr is expected to be named as the new Stalybridge manager this week.
Pilgrims' own site says that "Boston United can confirm that with 'reluctance' they have accepted the immediate resignations of manager Steve Evans and his assistant Paul Raynor... [Chairman] Jim Rodwell told bufc.co.uk: 'It is with great reluctance that I accept the resignation of our manager Steve Evans and this was quickly followed by that of assistant manager Paul Raynor. However, given the current situation at Boston United, I can understand why they have both decided that enough is enough and they have left with immediate effect'... Manager Steve Evans said: 'This was never an easy decision, but given events over the last few weeks, never mind months, it was the only decision we could make. Like our players and staff colleagues, we have families to support and in the main we need to be given at least some chance of doing the job we are employed to do... My job has been bordering on the impossible over a number of months... I have given the news to my outstanding captain Paul Ellender [ex-Altrincham] who in fairness gave me more support than many; in fact he gave me more than anyone else. To him and the players left at the club, I offer my thanks and best wishes for the future... I must now look forward to the future and I do so with excitement. A new challenge perhaps and a football club with ambition, well that's the plan'". So, where is the "new challenge" and the "club with ambition"? Unbelievably it could be Crawley Town if a report on BBC Radio Lincolnshire is accurate. A poster on the Crawley Forum says that "Local radio in Lincolnshire broke the news at 11.30 this morning that Boston United manager Steve Evans and his side kick Paul Raynor had resigned from the club with immediate effect... In the same radio bulletin it was revealed that Evans is expected to move in at Crawley Town". And a poster on the Conference Forum adds that "BBC Radio Lincolnshire are reporting that Evans is likely to be appointed the new manager of Crawley Town, with Paul Raynor as his assistant".
Stevenage Borough chairman Phil Wallace wants the FA Trophy rules changing so that the losing finalists get some of the £50,000 prize money. As this does not apply in any of the earlier rounds it is difficult to see why it should apply to the Final. Each club got 10% of the Final ticket sales and 45% of the profit from the Wembley final. Meanwhile, "Stevenage Borough have confirmed that striker Jon Nurse will not be at Broadhall Way next season. Phil Wallace said 'We came to an agreement with Dagenham & Redbridge earlier this month and we expect Jon to be playing for them next season. He's been great for us since he joined from Sutton some years ago but Mark wants to change things around a little and bring some new faces in during the summer. Dagenham have always liked him and Jon now has the chance to play in the Football League next season. He's a great lad and we wish him the very best'. Also, "Stevenage Borough are set to throw their doors open to fans for their opinion on a change of name prior to the Conference AGM on 9 June. Chairman Phil Wallace said 'The first reaction of anyone is leave things alone. However, from a marketing and club image viewpoint we have to consider these options. It's not something we would do without seeking the views of our fans but many of us inside the Club have felt for a long time that the name 'Borough' conjures up images of a small part of a town or city, rather than a powerful brand name of a thriving town'. He continued 'In this day of media penetration, branding is everything and our games will soon be broadcast to scores of overseas countries via the new TV deal. We've just had a fantastic win in the FA Trophy, people are hitting our website every day to find out more about us, so if ever there was a time for dynamic change, this is it. I'm not talking about anything radical - perhaps a simple change to Stevenage FC, or Stevenage Boro FC which a few of us like - or even back to the names of the past like Stevenage Town FC or Stevenage Athletic FC. A fresh start with Stevenage United FC is another possibility. There are options there if we want to take them - but we will seek as many views as possible, perhaps with an Internet poll, before we decide whether or not it's a viable option. We have to see what the fans want as we plan for the future".
There has been a massive clear-out by Frank Gray at Woking where the club "confirm that the following players have been either released, or whose services are no longer required at Kingfield: Neil Smith, Ian Slley, Saheed Sankoh, Shola Oyedele, Ollie Berquez, Craig McAllister, Karl Muray, Sam Cockerill, James Bittner, Aaron How, Rob Gier, Jason pearce, Simon Jackson, Daniel Webb and Gary MacDonald... Curtis Osano has returned to Reading and is likely to be placed elsewhere, while Neil Barrett has been invited to return during the pre-season. Goma Lambu is expected to sign on Tuesday next week".
27 May 2007
CHARITY GAME - AND YOU CAN PLAY IN IT FOR ALTY
Altrincham FC groundsman and former Reserves' manager Neil Brown reports that the charity game between an Altrincham FC XI and Houldsworth Square, which is a return fixture of the match played last summer, will take place at Moss Lane on Sunday 15 July at 2pm. Entry to the game will be free but there will be a voluntary collection for the Christie Hospital, Manchester and the Francis House Hospice in Didsbury. Please come along and support these good causes whilst also seeing a mixture of Altrincham FC staff and players in action.
As last year, a place in the Altrincham squad is open for auction. If you would like to make a bid - with the proceeds going to the charities mentioned, please contact Neil Brown on 07968 045657 by 7th July.
Above is Alty's squad for last season's charity game between the same two sides, held at East Levenshulme. Back: Craig Ellison, Neil Faulkner (of Robinsons' Preservation, a keen Alty fan and sponsor, who won the auction to take part), Lewis Chalmers, Kieran Lugsden, Colin McAllister, Peter Band, Geoff Goodwin, Grahame Rowley, Ben Deegan, Hassan Zareh-Ourang, Stuart Coburn. Front: Keith Wedge, Pat McFadden, John Maloney, Astley Mulholland, Ashley Brown, Charles Heathcote, Mike Brown, Warren Peyton. The mascot is Neil Brown's daughter. The squad used both the Reserves' strip, sponsored by Ian Senior's Sensport Kits and Neil Faulkner's blue Alty kit, sponsored by Robinsons Preservation.
LEWIS GETS ANOTHER CAPNL Daily reports that "The England National Game side went to the top of the Four Nations Tournament table on Friday night and now only need a point from their game against Wales at Clach Park on Sunday....At Victoria Park in front of 1,802 on Friday... a cross by [Alty's] Lewis Chalmers was headed goal-wards by John Grant but Shearer too dealt with this one with ease, but it was clear England were going to be the dominant force in this match". The Highland League has a report on the game which England won 3-0. The FA adds that "Manager Paul Fairclough made seven changes to the side that beat Ireland 5-0 on Tuesday and another comfortable victory underlined the quality of players in the English non-League game... England starting Line-up: Scott Tynan (Rushden & Diamonds), Danny Foster (Dagenham & Redbridge), Kevin Nicholson (Forest Green Rovers), Adam Quinn (c) (Halifax Town), Mark Molesley (Aldershot Town), John Ashton (Rushden & Diamonds), Lewis Chalmers (Altrincham), Andrew Burgess (Oxford United), John Grant (Aldershot Town), Paul Brayson (Northwich Victoria), Mitchell Cole (Stevenage Borough). Subs: Adam Yates (Morecambe), Lance Cronin (Ebbsfleet United), Paul Carden (Burton Albion), Neal Bishop (York City), Kieran Charnock (Northwich Victoria), Glenn Southam (Dagenham & Redbridge), Gareth Seddon (Hyde United).
OLD BOYAltrincham have a pre-season game with Tranmere Rovers and This is Wirral reports that "Tranmere Rovers have rejected an offer for an undisclosed sum from Chester City for [former Altrincham] winger Kevin Ellison. Announcing the approach in a statement, the Prenton Park club described the offer as 'unacceptable'". Kevin had an earlier spell at The Deva Stadium.
BLUE SQUARE NORTH NEWSStalybridge Celtic have announced that "There will be a 'meet the manager and the new chairman' on Wednesday 30th May in the Sponsors' Lounge at Bower Fold. The unveiling of Celtic's new manager will start at 7:30pm, and both he and Rob Gorski (Celtic's new chairman) will be open to questions".
Hucknall Town have re-signed Liam Hearn, whilst Mark Noon has signed for next season at Nuneaton Borough where he is hoping to regain fitness for the start of the season after an operation.
At Tamworth "manager Gary Mills today completed the signing of his namesake. Gary Mills signed contract forms today at The Lamb Ground, and everyone is delighted to have him on board. Gary played for Rushden last season, and also gained Football League experience with them".
BLUE SQUARE NATIONAL NEWSHalifax Today says that "Former Halifax Town chairman Geoff Ralph is facing bankruptcy. A hearing into his finances was adjourned at Halifax County Court yesterday. The court declined to give details about the hearing, held in private. Halifax Town has been without a board of directors since last season when Mr Ralph, pictured, persuaded them to stand down to pave the way for a takeover. Mr Ralph quit in March, leaving the club without a chairman, but as sole director he has continued to negotiate with a group interested in taking over. Despite fans being told a deal had been reached, the club has appealed for supporters to raise funds while talks continue".
From This is Devon, we learn that "The ball is firmly in Keith Curle's court at Torquay United. New Gulls chief executive Colin Lee has described the appointment of a team manager as his "No.1 priority", and he is in urgent talks with Curle about returning to Plainmoor to lead a planned Blue Square Premier promotion push next season.The main, indeed only, stumbling block appears to be the fact that former Mansfield and Chester boss Curle, 43, recently moved from Chester to Sheffield with a young family. The new United board, which took over at Plainmoor yesterday, would prefer their next manager to live in South Devon - or spend the majority of his time here. Curle, who played for Torquay as a youngster... remains the favourite for the job and Lee's preferred candidate... Lee revealed that United, who will remain full-time, are aiming for 'a minimum of 20 players for first-team duty. We have already worked out a structure and a budget for that', he said... 'Since the end of last season, we haven't just abandoned ship, gone home and not done anything. We have continued to try and identify certain players we'd like to sign'.. There is a possibility that Lee will go back to some of the United players to whom the club offered fairly modest contracts, and offer them improved ones".
26 May 2007
BLUE SQUARE NORTH NEWSThe Shropshire Star says that "AFC Telford United chief Rob Smith will go into next season with just one recognised keeper on his books - even though he will be allowed five substitutes. Many clubs name a second choice keeper as a precaution - but Smith has already declared his intention to go with five outfield players. New signing Ryan Young, arriving for his second spell at the club, will be first choice keeper". Also, "Smith has swooped for his fifth signing of the summer by snapping up left-sided defender Asa Charlton from Mansfield. The Wolverhampton-born 29-year-old has agreed non-contract terms at the New Bucks Head and can play as a left-sided centre-back or anywhere on the left flank. His arrival follows the signings last week of goalkeeper Ryan Young, midfielders Chris Cornes and Jamie Vermiglio and striker Mattie Lewis". Pf Charlton, Smith said, "He phoned us up out of the blue and I couldn’t believe it. He’s a quality player and it was all agreed within hours. It’s something we haven’t had for a long time - a natural left-sided centre-half. We’ve always struggled in that area... He can play left-back too, or as a left wing-back, so he gives us options. Kidderminster were interested in him but he wants to go part-time".
Hucknall Today reports that "Talismanic striker Gary Ricketts has stunned Hucknall Town by walking out after six successful years at the club. Ricketts (31), who was top scorer for The Yellows last season with 17 goals, has joined fellow Nationwide Conference North side Nuneaton Borough in a shock move. He was one of four players offered fresh contracts for next season but had still not put pen to paper. The others were Liam Hearn, Laurie Wilson and Paul Dempsey. With Ricketts gone, Hearn yet to sign and rumours still circulating about the future of ex-Nottingham Forest man David Johnson, the only striker definitely at Town next season is youngster Stephen Akers. It was thought Ricketts would sign up to continue a potentially formidable partnership with Johnson, who has told boss Andy Legg that he will report for pre-season training with The Yellows. But it appears that a drop in wages and a possible fall-out with Legg have persuaded him to leave. Ricketts has been a cult figure at Watnall Road since he was signed by former boss John Ramshaw for what was then a club record fee of £1,500 from Hinckley United in 2001... Speaking exclusively to the Dispatch, Ricketts said he hadn't enjoyed last season and explained: 'There has been a cut in the budget in the past couple of years and this year's cut was more than what I was willing to take. It was a difficult decision to make. Having been here six years, I know everybody from the ball boy to the chairman. I've always felt welcome at Hucknall and it was a fantastic place to come to. But I didn't think my loyalty was being rewarded and the manager hasn't shown any desire to keep me. I just didn't feel that need for me to stay like I have had with other managers. There have also been too many players and managers coming in and out of the club. With there being new faces every two seconds, it doesn't feel like the same club that I joined and I just felt like it was my time to go. I've seen seven managers at Hucknall and every single one of them has shown great interest in me, apart from Andy Legg... 'When he offered me a contract, I had to phone him to find that out... A couple of clubs gave me brilliant offers and they were too good to miss. I get clubs contacting me at the end of every season but the Hucknall manager has usually already shown his interest and I've signed up again before the other clubs have come in'... But the club's vice-chairman Dave Gamble said: 'Gary hasn't been at his best over the last couple of seasons for us and perhaps it is better for everyone that he moves on.... We are not prepared to throw money at things like some other clubs are'".
The NL Daily reports that "Paul Mitchell, manager of Gainsborough Trinity, has admitted he would jump at the chance to sign former Lincoln City striker Leon Mettam. As Mitchell searches for goalscorers to boost his forward line ahead of next season, the recently-released Mettam (pictured) would appear to be the ideal fit... 'We tried to sign Leon on loan a couple of times during this season but, because of squad size, Lincoln head coach John Schofield understandably wanted to keep him there', said Mitchell... 'In this area there is no better team than Gainsborough Trinity in helping young players move through from non-League to professional football. Every manager is talking with people at the moment and, just like everyone else, if my top targets don't sign I move down my list... What I'm after is goalscorers, but not necessarily strikers. If it's a left back who is a free kick specialist then I'm more than happy to take a look at him'. Whether Mettam proves to be the goalscorer Mitchell is pursuing remains to be seen... 'He is a determined little player', said Mitchell" to This is Lincs.
The Heartland Evening News reports that "Nuneaton Borough midfielder Ollie Burgess has been released after just one season at Manor Park. Manager Kev Wilkin [said]... 'Ollie admitted himself that he has not had as good a season as he would have expected... I need to change things round and look at other options'. He has offered striker Brian Quailley a non contract deal with the club: 'He has gone back to think it over', said the Borough manager. Wilkin is also to have talks to decide the future of midfielder Matty Collins, one of the club's longest serving players... and he may be asked to stay on a non-contract basis".
AtKettering Town "The Club are pleased to announce that, after completing a medical, Kettering-born defender Tommy Jaszczun has become new manager Mark Cooper's first signing for the Club. After starting his career at Aston Villa Tommy moved to Blackpool for £50 000. He has also played at Northampton, Rochdale, and more recently Cambridge United. Tommy will be with the Club in a full time capacity".
CHESHIRE NEWSFormer Alty player "Jim Vince, manager of Witton Albion, has had a busy time strengthening his squad for next season. Rob Lloyd and Jon Kennedy have both signed new contracts for the Wincham club, adding their name to a list that includes Alex Brown, [former Alty trialist] Liam Brownhill and Mark Peers, and Vince has also drafted in two new faces. Veteran forward Steve Brodie makes the move fromStalybridge Celtic, while winger Anthony Danylyk switches from rivals Leek Town. Meanwhile, Witton are still mulling over Bradford Park Avenue's bid for Steve Connors and Darren Hockenhull. The UniBond Division One side, now managed by former Witton asssistant boss Benny Phillips, made a cash offer for the pair last week. They both signed new contracts for Witton in March" reports NL daily.
BLUE SQUARE NATIONAL NEWSFrom no less than an authority than the Football Conference we learn that "Boston United are not guaranteed a place in the newly named Blue Square Premier as they have yet to release details of their entry into a CVA. League standings remain in place until June 7th, when both United and Torquay are due to be replaced by Dagenham and Morecambe in League Two. However United's entry back into non-league cannot be completed until the paperwork from either the club or their administrators, Bartfields, is handed to the Conference chiefs. 'Boston United will remain a member of the Football League until June 7', explained Conference chief executive John Moules. 'However, we have no information regarding their takeover situation or their intention to compete in the division next season. There is nothing more I can say at the moment'".
And from This is Lincs it is confirmed that "Further doubt has been cast over Boston United's participation in the Blue Square Premier League next season. The league's chief executive John Moules.... when asked if the Pilgrims would be discussed at the meeting [Conference AGM], Moules said: 'That depends on them'". Meanwhile "Worried goalkeeper Andy Marriott says time is running out for Boston United, admitting: 'We could be the next club to hit the wall'. With venture capitalists Standing Alone Limited yet to strike a deal to buy the club or their York Street home, the future of the Pilgrims is hanging in the balance. Marriott, United's most experienced player, believes the club has a maximum of just two weeks to be saved... 'I think something needs to happen in the next two weeks. Surely, the Conference are going to want guarantees the club will be able to complete its fixtures next season. They can't run the risk of us going bust three or four months into the campaign. There's no way we can start planning for next season... The situation is getting pretty desperate and some of the lads are considering taking on other jobs just to pay the bills... The meeting [with the club] was cancelled because the information we requested could not be provided', added Marriott... 'If run correctly, the club could prosper in the Conference' he said. 'We'll go from one of the smallest club in the Football League to one of the biggest in the Conference... It could turn out to be for the best thing for the club'".
The BBC says that "Ricky Newman and Ryan Williams have signed new contracts with Aldershot. Both players have agreed 12-month deals". Meanwhile, "Dagenham & Redbridge have released two members of their Conference-winning squad, reports BBC Essex. Defender Tim Cole, 30, and midfielder Paul Bruce, 29, have been told they will not be offered new contracts. Cole... has already found a new club after signing for Thurrock. Meanwhile, former Stevenage striker Shaun Batt has been transfer-listed by Daggers manager John Still". At nearby Grays, "Athletic have signed former Leyton Orient midfielder Derek Duncan on a one-year contract.">
The Northwich Guardian reports that "Steve Burr says Mike Connett's meddling forced him out of Northwich Victoria. The former Vics' boss told the Guardian he refused to have his reputation ruined by a chairman who insisted on deciding which players would stay at the club.'If I can't make those decisions then what am I being paid for?' said Burr... The Guardian contacted Connett today, Friday, but he said his lawyers had advised him not to comment. Burr's legal team posted a letter to the Victoria Stadium on Wednesday saying they intended to pursue a claim for constructive dismissal against the owner, to which the club have replied. But now Burr believes it is time the supporters know why he won't be coming back. 'The interference was persistent from day one', he said. 'But it was inevitable I would leave when it got to the stage that I was being told who was going to stay and who was going to go'. They didn't disagree on many names - Danny Mayman was one - but Burr believes his ability to judge players' potential was being called into question... Up to last weekend he had met Connett three times to talk about next term, but Burr says at no stage was he told how much money he would have to spend. Yet the chairman told the Guardian he wanted to see Vics in the play offs next season. 'I couldn't believe we were discussing players' futures without a budget having been set', Burr added. 'I was quite prepared to carry on managing the team as long as the chairman made it known he was deciding who was coming and going. He wasn't prepared to do that'. Burr said every Vics player had called him in the past seven days to wish him well. 'I don't think any of them were at all surprised', he said. 'They obviously have seen the things that have gone at the club that wouldn't have happened elsewhere'".
25 May 2007
ANOTHER FRIENDLYAltrincham FC will be playing a Bury XI at Moss Lane on Tuesday 10 July at 7.30pm. This is the tenth pre-season friendly arranged, to date. A full list is here.
LOCAL NEWSAltrincham FC meet Runcorn Linnets in a pre-season friendly. The Linnets have announced that they "have identified a potential site for a stadium as part of their long term plans to return the Club to Runcorn. The site is at Riverside College Halton, Runcorn Campus, Campus Drive, Runcorn. The Club is currently active in negotiating a lease agreement with the College. Plans for the site are at an advanced stage, but a final decision is subject to a formal lease agreement with the college, local planning approval and the necessary project funding. The agreement of the college board of governors and funding body (LSC) is also formally required before any go-ahead can occur".
From NL Daily says that "Woodley Sports have announced the appointment of Chris Willcock, formally of North West Counties League side Winsford United, as their new manager. The 37-year-old former Altrincham, Leigh RMI and Mossley player will be introduced to the first-team players next Tuesday night. Willcock and his assistant John Flanagan achieved promotion last year as they steered Winsford to the NWCL Division Two championship in their first season. He is also Head of Youth at Coca-Cola League Two side Rochdale".
WELFARE OFFICERAltrincham FC is pleased to announce that Paul Roberts has been appointed as the Club's Welfare Officer. This role will involve Paul in dealing with all issues relating to the welfare of children whether as spectators on matchdays or as members of the Altrincham FC Juniors.
BLUE SQUARE NORTH NEWSNL Daily says that "Gary Mills, manager of relegated Tamworth, has brought in two vastly experienced campaigners in Tony Thorpe and Carl Heggs, who have both signed contracts for next season... Thorpe was released by Grimsby at the end of the season. A forward who can count Colchester, Luton, Fulham and Reading among his former clubs, the 33-year-old feels a new challenge will reap rewards for himself and Tamworth. Heggs returns to The Lamb, and he is delighted to be back. A whole-hearted player, Heggs is the type that every club needs - strong, committed and willing to go that extra mile in in the pursuit of a victory for the club. Another returning former player is Marcus Ebdon, who is back at The Lamb in the role of youth development officer after losing his job as player-manager with new league rivals Alfreton Town" reports the club
BLUE SQUARE NATIONAL NEWSThis is Lincs says that "At Last, Boston United fans can finally put a face to the mystery consortium trying to take control of their club. Simon Morris - the man who is also attempting to purchase home town club Leeds United - and his company, SR Morris Group is behind Standing Alone Limited. Morris has tabled a £10m bid for League One Leeds, who themselves are in financial chaos... Standing Alone wants to buy York Street and Lavaflow's shares - but a disagreement over the valuation of both is believed to have stalled the takeover. Football League laws forbid dual ownership of English sides, but a spokesman for Morris confirmed that would not be an issue... 'SR Morris Group would never allow that to become an issue - simply because we know of several interested parties who want to take Boston United on as a going concern' said a spokesman... Boston chief executive Barrie Pierpoint admitted the takeover was experiencing technical problems, but is confident they will be ironed out. Pierpoint was yesterday due to meet Pilgrims players, who have not been paid for three months. However, the meeting was postponed because of the hold-up in negotiations... 'We thought we were getting a few answers at this meeting, but again we've been left well and truly in the dark', said exasperated skipper Paul Ellender. 'I only heard through one of the other lads. The players are speaking to each other all the time and we're getting pretty sick of the situation. I want to stay, but unless something happens - and soon - I'm going to have to start looking elsewhere. The situation with the club can't go on much longer'".
"Experienced striker Dean Sturridge has left Kidderminster Harriers after an unsuccessful season at Aggborough. Sturridge, who joined Harriers in a one-year deal last summer, was not offered a new contract by the club... 'It didn't work out as we would have liked with Dean on the playing side of things last season and it was a massive shame with the serious injury he picked up' said manager Mark Yates to his clubwebsite.
The BBC says that "Torquay United owner Mike Bateson has finally completed the sale of the Devon club to an eight-person consortium headed by Cris Boyce. Boyce's group have now acquired the 51% shareholding in the club previously held by Bateson and his wife... But boss Leroy Rosenior's second spell as manager is now expected to end".
"Halifax defender Steve Haslam has become the latest player to commit his future to the Shaymen. Former Sheffield Wednesday full-back Haslam has agreed a deal for next season to extend his three-year stint with the Conference club". The BBC also says that "Cambridge United midfielder Rob Wolleaston has signed a new 12-month deal.. Wolleaston, 27, has been with the U's since February 2006... Boss Jimmy Quinn told Cambridge's website: 'Towards the end of the season he showed he's as good a midfielder as you'll see in this division'. Darren Quinton, 21, has agreed a one-year contract to take the number of players signed for next season to 13".
"Grays Athletic have signed former Barnet defender Adam Gross on a two-year contract, reports BBC Essex" and "Oxford defender Barry Quinn has signed a new 12-month deal. Republic of Ireland international Quinn, 28, has started 130 games for Oxford since signing from Coventry three years ago" says the BBC. Meanwhile "Conference newcomers Histon have signed Exeter defender Patrick Ada. The 22-year-old Ada has joined the Stutes on a free transfer after agreeing a two-year deal at the Glass World Stadium".
From Halifax Today we read that "Calderdale Council is to appoint a project manager to oversee completion of the East stand at the Shay... The council intends to recruit someone internally on a salary of nearly £51,000 on a two-year fixed-term contract... ''We gave a commitment that we would finish the stand by March next year, or as soon as possible after that date, which is exactly what we are going to do'....The decision followed a £100,000 study paid for by the council, which showed that the trust's £5.6 million scheme would require a multi-million pound public subsidy. The council hopes that leasing or selling parts of the stadium outside the playing area will raise between £2 million and £3 million, which would be enough to complete the stand. The extra facilities should also provide the town's professional football and rugby clubs with fund-raising opportunities. The old east stand was pulled down in May 2000 and work on a replacement came to a halt five years ago. Exactly what it will cost to finish the job will depend on what happens when the work goes out to tender, probably to firms throughout Europe. Work on the stand is expected to include finishing the roof, installing seats, turnstiles and lighting".
24 May 2007
BAND LEAVES ALTY FOR TIGERSPeter Band (right) will playing against Altrincham next season after Hyde United confirmed that "United have re-signed former Tiger, Peter Band. Band, 33, has spent the last six years with Northwich and Altrincham in the Conference, but has now pledged his future to Hyde after Altrincham were relegated". Band made 206(+3) appearances for Altrincham and scored 19 goals in two spells at the Club. He originally joined Alty from Hyde United for a small fee in July 2002. Peter left for Northwich Victoria on 3 December 2004 but returned to Altrincham in 2005 close season.
GRAHAM SALUTES LOYAL SQUADSAM reports that "Alty this week received a major boost ahead of their return to the Blue Square North after club captain Steve Bushell committed himself to the club. There had been fears the experienced midfielder would retire this summer after a disappointing campaign in the Conference. But the 34-year-old will stay at Moss Lane as the Robins aim to bounce back at the first attempt. Manager Graham Heathcote has also secured the signature of key defender Karl Munroe, who was outstanding last season after a disappointing first year in red and white. They were joined by promising striker Pat McFadden and versatile defender Andy Scott in signing on and Heathcote believes his squad for the new season is now virtually complete. He told SAM Sport: I think this is a massive pat on the back for everyone involved with this football club for 15 players to commit to us again irrelevant of what league this club is playing in. These players obviously believe we are doing things the right way. People will be asking "why has he kept him?" or "why has he not kept him?" but my belief is that if these players were good enough for the Conference, they are good enough for the Conference North. These players want to be here and want to help us get back into the Conference. You have got to remember these players are staying here with no contracts. In an age when loyalty is way down the list, these players have shown great loyalty'. The only first team squad member yet to commit to the club is Lewis Chalmers, who is currently away with the England National Game XI, although Alty could face stiff competition for his signature. And despite the lack of numbers in his squad, Heathcote is unlikely to be bringing in many new faces. 'The difficulty is that when you get out into the big, wide world, if you are trying to get in another player to replace people who are leaving, you will have to pay more money', he added. 'There are players in the North West Counties League who are earning more net than some of the players in our squad. People need to understand how restricted we are in terms of finances, it makes it very difficult to compete'".
LEWIS A SUBThe FA reports that "The England National Game XI got their Four Nations Tournament campaign off to a flying start with a resounding 5-0 victory over the Republic of Ireland in Inverness. England, with seven debutants in the side, began brightly". When England were 3-0 up "manager Paul Fairclough took the opportunity to use his bench and rest players for the Scotland match on Friday... Mitchell Cole’s treble goes down as the first by an England player at this level and afterwards Fairclough was full of praise for the side...'We excelled in all departments and made a strong start to the Tournament'. In the other match played on Tuesday, Wales beat Scotland 1-0 with a late penalty... The England Team: Lance Cronin (Gravesend & Northfleet), Danny Foster (Dagenham & Redbridge), Kevin Nicholson (Forest Green Rovers), Adam Quinn (Halifax Town), Neal Bishop (York City), Kieran Charnock (Northwich Victoria), Glenn Southam (Dagenham & Redbridge), Paul Carden (c) (Burton Albion), Gareth Seddon (Hyde United), Matthew Tubbs (Salisbury City), Mitchell Cole (Stevenage Borough) Subs: Adam Yates (Morecambe), Scott Tynan (Rushden & Diamonds), John Ashton (Rushden & Diamonds), Mark Molesley (Aldershot Town), Lewis Chalmers (Altrincham), John Grant (Aldershot Town), Andrew Burgess (Oxford United). England will face Scotland at Ross County FC on Friday 25 May before returning to Clachnacuddin on Sunday 27 May to face Wales".
BLUE SQUARE NATIONAL NEWSThe Northwich Guardian says that "Paul Brayson could be the first player to leave Vics this summer. The Geordie striker is a target for North East pair Gateshead and Blyth Spartans. 'We've spoken to him so we'll just wait and see what happens', said Spartans' boss Harry Dunn. New Gateshead boss Ian Bogie has also been on the phone to the 29-year-old. 'We're waiting to see what happens with Brayson', he said. His club have already sent out signals of intent for next term after snapping up York City midfielder Steve Bowey. Brayson - who has netted 65 times in 121 starts for Northwich - has commuted from his Tyneside home for the past three seasons. The birth of his first child in April may convince him to ply his trade closer to home. Vics' first team skipper Stuart Elliott has also held talks with Gateshead, but he is not expected to agree a move, according to the Newcastle Evening Chronicle". Gateshead FC quote from the local Evening Chronicle that "Blyth Spartans and Gateshead, are battling for the signature of free-scoring former Newcastle United striker Paul Brayson... Blyth boss Harry Dunn said: 'Brayson and Elliott are two of a number of players we've targetted and, hopefully, they'll want to play at the highest level'. Dunn, not on a contract at Croft Park, is likely to be in the frame for the Scarborough job following the exit of Seasiders' boss Mark Patterson".
IC Cheshire says that "Northwich Vics' owner Mike Connett and manager Steve Burr are involved in an extraordinary showdown. Mr Burr insists he is no longer employed by the club after the pair apparently failed to reach agreement on a number of issues and he departed on Saturday – but Mr Connett is saying: "Oh yes, you are". The two men seem to be taking up their positions for a legal battle... Yesterday Mr Connett said: ‘Steve Burr is still employed by the club. When we are ready to make a statement we will let you know. I’m not interested in whatever Steve Burr wants to say in the Press but he has not had his contract rescinded'. Mr Burr... is believed to be considering taking actionagainst Mr Connett for ‘constructive dismissal’". Meanwhile, "Vics are in danger of losing most of their squad. The departure of Steve Burr and Dave Moss, who command great loyalty, could easily be followed by an exodus of players... Most of Vics’ players are already free agents. Only a few players are contracted for a further year. But if stories that they are owed wages are true – and one squad member insisted to the Chronicle this week they were – then Vics might be deemed to have broken contracts and favourites like Jonny Allan, Keiran Charnock and Mike Carr could also quit. Connett declined to talk to the Chronicle on these issues yesterday morning, saying... 'Your deadlines do not concern me. We will issue a statement when we are ready'. When Vics did issue a statement it was only to ‘confirm Steve Burr is contracted as manager of NVFC (2004) Ltd and is employed by the above club’...But Burr’s is a tough act to follow. He was the only manager in 48 years to lead Vics to a title... Brian Horton, the former Macclesfield Town boss and ex-Chester City manager Mark Wright, are already being speculated upon. As is former Witton Albion and Winsford United manager Kevin Tully, seen at the recent Northwich-Oxford United game".
"Cambridge United boss Jimmy Quinn has continued his signing spree with the capture of striker Scott Rendell from Conference rivals Crawley Town. Rendell has agreed a two-year deal to become Quinn's fifth new signing since the end of the season. The 22-year-old finished the campaign as Crawley's top scorer with 12 goals after joining the club from Reading". And the BBC adds that "Crewe have agreed to pay £50,000 for Exeter City full-back Billy Jones. The fee, which could rise depending on appearances, met a clause in Jones's contract allowing him to leave St James' Park".
Meanwhile "Woking boss Frank Gray has secured the services of goalkeeper Nick Gindre and midfielder Jerome Maledon on new deals", and "Four players have signed new contracts with Forest Green. Alex Lawless, Kevin Nicholson, Darren Jones and Michael Brough will stay at the Gloucestershire side".
From the Dorset Echo we learn that "Weymouth player-boss Jason Tindall is interested in bringing his former team-mate Marcus Browning to the Wessex Stadium this summer. Tindall played alongside the midfielder for several years at AFC Bournemouth... Tindall said: 'Marcus Browning would be a fantastic signing for us. Bournemouth have not released him but said, due to finances, they may have to reassess the situation... Another player that Tindall is hoping to snare is former Southampton trainee Kyle Critchell... When asked whether the club is any closer to making an announcement about its future, Tindall added:'The chairman is still in discussions and an announcement is imminent. Everyone is working hard in the background and once the news comes through it is vital that as a club we keep together and continue to row the boat in the same direction'".
From This is Devon "Football in the Blue Square Premier next season will cost the same for Torquay United fans as they paid in their farewell campaign in the Football League Two. As lawyers pore over the verbal sale agreement of the club, United have followed up recently renewed shirt and stand sponsorship deals by putting season-tickets on sale... It will still cost adults £14 on Plainmoor's Popular Side terrace and £15 in all other home areas. Senior Citizens and Students will pay £1 less everywhere, with Under-16s getting in for £5".
"The man attempting to buy Leeds United is part of a consortium trying to take over Boston United. It has been confirmed Leeds-based property tycoon Simon Morris and his company, SR Morris Group, is connected to Standing Alone Limited, the previously mystery consortium who want to buy the debt-ridden Pilgrims. SR Morris Group has tabled a £10m bid for League One Leeds, who themselves have significant debts" says This is Lincs which adds that "Debt-ridden Boston United lurched into yet another crisis yesterday after club staff were sent home by chairman Jim Rodwell. The Echo were leaked details of a letter from Rodwell, who has written to 10 office staff advising them to stop working because their wages - as well as the players' - are three months overdue... Rodwell admits...'It is not morally right to expect them to come in and there are also legal implications as well... I'm still confident the deal [with Standing Alone] will go through, but there are a lot of details to negotiate over and I'm not prepared to go into detail about them'". For some interesting background on Mr Morris, see here.
NL Daily says that "Nigel Clough, manager of Burton Albion, is expecting great things of winger Marc Goodfellow, who has signed a one-year deal with the Brewers. The former Stoke City player's appearances were limited last season after he broke his arm in training just days after joining Burton in January. Clough said: 'I think he's going to be an influential player for us'" .
BLUE SQUARE NORTH NEWSThe Northants Evening Telegraph reports that "Kettering Town have begun their summer clearout with five more of last season's squad told they are free to leave the A-Line Arena. The once highly-rated Serge Makofo is, perhaps, the biggest surprise with Moses Olaleye, Stephan Morley and Stephane Seanla also released.It takes the number of departures after the failed Nationwide North campaign last season to seven as Nathan Koo-Boothe, skipper Craig McIlwain and goalkeeper Mark Osborn have already gone. New boss Mark Cooper now has just eight players on contract and is still in talks with the remainder of the squad. Cooper said: 'Jean-Paul Marna has signed, which is good news, and I am hoping others will agree to stay. Obviously we will try and add to the squad with new faces as we go along. But at the moment people are asking for silly money. I am quite happy to take my time and if that means waiting until the end of June and the beginning of July then so be it'. Poppies chairman Imraan Ladak said: "I've been asked a few times about Rene Howe. He has just signed a new contract and did this when we were likely to be in the play-offs... If a big club came in and it was right for Rene and the club, of course we would look at it again. But he is our player, a huge asset and almost impossible to replace at this level'... Ladak also quashed rumours of a possible merger with neighbours Corby Town, who are about to be taken over by former Poppies' chairman Peter Mallinger... The club also announced a new away shirt sponsorship deal with charity Wateraid".
In the Tamworth Herald it reports that "Central defender Michael Briscoe has revealed how he turned down a clutch of league clubs... to sign for Tamworth last week. He said: 'I had the chance to join several clubs including Macclesfield, Stafford Rangers and Wrexham but at the end of the day, I was happy at Tamworth. They will be pushing for promotion next year and I want to be a part of that... The fact that Gerry Taggart has come in as well is something I'm excited about. He's been there and done it at Premiership and international level. At 22-years-old, I think I still have a lot to learn and someone like Gerry can help me develop as a player... In my opinion, Tamworth is a club going places so I'm looking forward to getting back into training in July'".
AFCTelford United reports that "Rob Smith has released a number of players ... Tyrone Barnett, Richard Beale, Lee Chilton, Dean Perrow, Jai Stanley, Ben Twigger and David Woodvine will all be leaving the club; and no further offer will be made to Dennis Pearce. Young goalkeeper Damien Stevens will sign forms, but is likely to play for another club during the season to gain experience. The current squad list for 2007/2008 is as follows: Gary Birch, Stuart Brock (available for transfer), Chris Cornes, Dean Craven, Andy Jones, Indy Khela, Matty Lewis, Justin Marsden, Lee Moore, Steve Pope, Carl Rodgers, Damien Stevens, Richard Teesdale, Jimmy Turner, Lee Vaughan, Jamie Vermiglio, Ryan Young, Yet to be announced: Gary Fitzpatrick, Steve Palmer".
23 May 2007
NEIL'S REPORTAlty supporter and a regular sponsor of the Club, Neil Faulkner of Robinson's Preservation has kindly supplied the following brief report on the game played on the 8th May at Moss Lane. The match between a Robinsons' XI and an Altrincham FC XI included a few current and past Alty players in its line-up. Neil starts by writing, "I would like to thank Grahame Rowley and his Altrincham FC team for a great game full of goals and excitement. On a cold evening the game started well with [former Alty player] Vernum Rowland making his debut for "Robbies". It was Alty who took the lead on the half hour. Robinson’s brought on their first sub a recent addition to the company Ben Deegan, he soon levelled the game with a great goal. Just before half time pressure from the Alty team resulted in fine save by Steve Powell which rebounded back off a defender into the net. Half-time: Robinson’s XI 1 Alty XI 2. The use of rolling subs helped the older members of both teams, particularly as both sides lost a central defender each with hamstring injuries in the first half. Two further goals for [Alty Reserves'] Ben Deegan took the Robinson's XI into a 3 – 2 lead, (what a good signing during the end of season ball by Neil Faulkner!).
A piece of individual skill came from Robbies' captain Matt Day, who turned and volleyed the ball from the edge of the box into the net. This more than made up for his earlier penalty miss, (very similar to Geoff Goodwin’s effort against the supporters the previous Thursday). Matt Day added Robbies' fifth goal of the night, [first-teamer] Pat McFadden rounded off the night with a solo effort, beating 6 or 7 players to slot home Alty’s 3rd Goal. Final score Robbies 5 Alty 3. The evening was finished off with a buffet arranged by Karen Rowley and a curry from 'The Asha' Indian takeaway in Ashton-on-Mersey village which was served by Hazel and Versha. Thanks to everyone who was involved with the game and for making it an enjoyable night and also for raising funds for the Football Club. Here to next season and a quick return to the Conference National where our team deserves to be and let’s maintain the fantastic support we have enjoyed over the last two seasons".
OLD BOYFrom NL Daily we learn that "The Principality Welsh Premier's highest ever goalscorer, Marc Lloyd Williams, is set to be named as the new manager of Connah's Quay Nomads... The hot shot, who was released by Bangor City last month". The ex-Alty striker will join ex-Robins winger Marc Limbert there.
BLUE SQUARE NORTH NEWSIC Coventry says that "Nunetaon Borough have parted company with defender Ben Chapman and midfielder Jay Denny. Both players were told by manager Kevin Wilkin over the weekend that their services are no longer required. Left-back Chapman... lost his place to Connor Franklin in early March after injury and failed to replace the youngster during the run-in... Wilkin said: 'I have to cut my cloth to bring in new faces and unfortunately Ben and Jay are surplus to requirements'". Nuneaton Borough confirm that "Manager Kevin Wilkin is still working and talking with players to piece together next season’s squad, the current status is listed below. Players listed as ‘retained’ have been offered terms with the club.
Tamworth "have reached agreement with Harry Donaghey and Anthony Robinson for next season. Donaghey is a midfielder who can also revert to full back. His former clubs include Aston Villa and Dunfermline. A 19 year old who is hungry to get back into the League. The golden boot Winner of The Midland Alliance League Anthony Robinson also agreed terms with manager Mills. This 25 year old is a late developer ... Both last season played at Stratford Town".
BLUE SQUARE NATIONAL NEWSA terse official statement has been issued by Northwich Victoria in the light of manager Steve Burr's departure last weekend. Burr had said "As far as I am concerned my contract has been terminated'" but in response in a "Statement from the chairman regrading manager Steve Burr" issued on Tuesday 22 May, Connett simply says "I can confirm Steve Burr is contracted as Manager of Northwich Victoria Football Club (2004) Ltd and is still employed by the above Club. No further comment".
The BBC says that "Halifax Town defender Matt Doughty has agreed a new deal to stay at the Shay. The 25-year-old left-back, who joined Town in July 2004, is to sign a 12-month contract... He follows striker Andy Campbell in agreeing terms, leaving Steve Torpey, Steve Haslam, Lewis Killeen and Tyrone Thompson to decide on contract offers".
"Woking boss Frank Gray has continued to rebuild his squad by signing of Sutton United midfielder Matt Gray. Gray, 23, who has played more than 300 games for Sutton, has agreed a two-year contract with the Cards. Meanwhile, Gray is expected to return to former club Farnborough Town to complete a trio of signings. Striker Michael Charles has already agreed a move to Kingfield with winger Matt Pattison and defender Jay Gasson set to follow suit" claims the BBC.
"Histon boss Steve Fallon has stepped up preparations for the club's first Conference campaign with the signings of Dean Bradshaw and Cliff Akurang. Striker Akurang, 26, has joined from Dagenham and Redbridge, while winger Bradshaw arrives from Braintree Town". But "Former Wales international Darren Barnard has left Aldershot Town. The 35-year-old defender has not had his contract renewed by new Shots boss Gary Waddock and ends a three-year stay with the Conference club", whilst "Cambridge United have signed goalkeeper Danny Potter from Stevenage Borough. Potter has agreed a two-year deal with the U's after being released from his Stevenage contract by mutual consent".
From This is Lincs says that "Boston United's unpaid players have grave concerns the club will not live to see next season, according to midfielder Stewart Talbot. Senior members of the Pilgrims' squad will quiz chief executive Barrie Pierpoint on a number of issues, including their wages, which are three months overdue, and the plans of takeover consortium Standing Alone Limited. Skipper [and ex-Alty defender] Paul Ellender, defender Mark Greaves and goalkeeper Andy Marriott will attend the meeting, while Talbot (left) is in regular contact with the Professional Footballers' Association. 'We're not just concerned about whether our wages are going to be met, we're worried whether the club is even going to survive - that's the biggest issue', explained Talbot. 'Nothing seems to be happening, but enough is enough - we want some answers'... Pierpoint admits the current situation is unacceptable and is looking forward to meeting the players for the first time tomorrow...'Things aren't progressing as quickly as I would like', admitted Pierpoint. 'However, I expect things to become a lot clearer by tomorrow'".
22 May 2007
THREE MORE COMMIT TO THE CAUSEThere is more good news from Moss Lane as manager Graham Heathcote has announced that three more members of last season's squad have agreed to stay at the club. They are (pictured, left to right) captain Steve Bushell, defender Karl Munroe and striker Pat McFadden. One player yet to sign on is midfielder Lewis Chalmers who is currently taking part in the Four Nations non-league international tournament in Scotland.
LOCAL NEWSAltrincham play at Shawe View in July in a pre-season friendly where "New Trafford boss [and ex-Alty midfielder] Ged Kielty is looking to pick up where predecessor Danny Johnson left off after taking over at the North West Counties League Division One club last month... This is the midfielder's first foray into the world of football management. But Kielty is confident he can build on the good work done by Johnson, who led Trafford to fifth last season. He said: 'Obviously I'll want to bring my own approach to management but there's not much I need to change at the club because Danny did such a great job. He's a terrific guy and he's done everything he can to help me adapt to the new job. He prepared me for my interview and then gave me a list of useful contacts. I'm also on the phone to him pretty much every week, so he's always there to give me help and advice. I might be young but I've been in football for years, so I know the game, and a lot of lads in the team are younger anyway. I've only been at Trafford six months but I got to know the lads really well and a lot of them look up to me as an old head, so they were really pleased when I got the job'... Popular centre half Lee Southwood has agreed to reconsider his retirement from football and will now stay on as both player and assistant manager. And with much of last season's squad likely to stay at the club, Trafford should be ready to mount another promotion charge. 'We've got a good set-up', said Kielty. 'Tony Coyne's going to be working alongside me and he coaches with Manchester City's Academy so he's got plenty to offer. Then Southy will provide his experience as well, so we'll have a good bash at it. Originally Danny Johnson had wanted to take ten of the fourteen lads who had played our final game at FC United of Manchester with him to Ashton, but now we've whittled it down to about two or three. I've spoken to nearly all the lads now and I'm confident a lot of them will stay'. Before joining Trafford six months ago, Kielty's football career had appeared to be over, the former Ireland under-18 international taking a twenty-two-month break from the game... He said: "'I wasn't enjoying football whatsoever, it had become a hardship. I took up squash and it got to the stage when I was out there playing football thinking to myself I could be playing squash now. But I came back to Trafford and there's no better place if you want to enjoy your football, it's a great club. I'm a local lad so I know this club and I love it here'", reports This is Cheshire.
BLUE SQUARE NORTHERN NEWS"Guy Heffernan insists he won’t return to Barrow as long as Phil Wilson is manager. The out-of-contract defender says he was offered a non-contract deal by the Bluebirds chief last week. However, following a season of being overlooked by Wilson and with other clubs interested, Heffernan will look to kick-start his career elsewhere. 'He’s phoned me up and offered me a new deal, but I don’t think I’ll take it', said the Barrow-born-and-based 23-year-old. 'He said he has to downsize the squad for next season and he wants me to be part of the sixteen. But he never guaranteed me first-team football. I’ve been offered first-team football at other places and on a lot better money as well'. He added: 'I’d like to come back and play for the club, but not under Phil, I don’t think I’ll play under him again. I just don’t like him to be honest and I don’t think he’s good for the club'... A regular at right back under ex-boss Lee Turnbull, Heffernan, despite being fit almost the entire season, made just two league appearances, both as a sub... Frustrated at the way things had worked out, Heffernan didn’t turn up for the last two games of the season, choosing instead to play and captain Barrow Cricket Club’s second team. The player says he was fined two weeks wages by the club as a result. 'I spoke to Phil about three times all last season', says Heffernan. 'His man-management skills are awful. We had an argument the season before and I think he just bore a grudge from that. He doesn’t talk to me, I’m just like an outsider to him. Me, Steve Ridley and Steve Flitcroft I’d say are the outsiders because we’re not his boys - we were not people he’s brought in'. By the end of last season Heffernan, who joined the Bluebirds in early 2004, was the only Barrow-based player in the Barrow first-team squad. 'People will say it’s sour grapes because I never got picked,', he said. 'It’s not a case of that. Last season I wasn’t a player, I was basically a supporter more than anything. I want the club to do well and will still look for their results... I know I’m good enough to play in the team... The board had this bright idea that Phil Wilson would come in with this brilliant record he’s had in the past and that it would rub off on Barrow... People can say we’re now training together, but what has it actually done? We’ve gone further down the league than when under Lee Turnbull'" reports the NW Evening Mail
BLUE SQUARE NATIONAL NEWSThe BBC says that "Torquay are set to confirm Leroy Rosenior's exit from Plainmoor after lead shareholder Mike Bateson agreed a deal to sell his 51% stake in the club. Rosenior was unveiled as the relegated League Two side's new manager on Thursday but learned of the proposed takeover only 10 minutes later. The new consortium, led by Cris Boyce, is likely to appoint a new manager when the deal is completed later this week... Confusion surrounded the position of Rosenior after he confirmed to the BBC he was leaving the club, only for Torquay managing director Debbie Hancox to deny he had left. Rosenior was presented as the new manager at a news conference on 17 May. But on Monday he told BBC News 24 that Bateson called him shortly afterwards to let him know a deal had been struck... 'I did all the interviews, and within 10 minutes, Mike called me to let me know he had actually sold the club. So it was something that I knew was going to happen but I didn't think it was going to happen after 10 minutes'. Bateson has not commented on... reports that the group would appoint former boss Colin Lee to replace Rosenior... Lee was only made redundant from the post on 14 May... The shortest tenure in charge in English football to date is Dave Bassett's four-day reign at Crystal Palace in 1984 - but if Rosenior's departure is confirmed it will beat that by some margin".
"Goalkeeper Scott Bevan has signed a new one-year contract with Kidderminster Harriers. Brian Smikle, Michael Blackwood and Michael McGrath have also agreed new contracts with Harriers" says the BBC.
More departures at our neighbours, as the Northwich Guardian reports that "Dave Moss has joined Steve Burr in leaving the Victoria Stadium. The former assistant boss was out of contract at the end of the campaign, and chairman Mike Connett decided not to renew. 'It's been on the cards for a while',Moss told the Guardian this morning... Connett has told the Guardian he will release a statement either today or tomorrow".
Making a bid to take the place of Crawley Town as the Conference club in greatest turmoil, Boston United report that "manager Steve Evans has spoken to several of his squad about the situation that the players and staff are currently facing and offered sympathy for all those concerned. Last week, Evans unveiled details of a thorough pre-season programme, but admitted that he didn't expect any players to show up if the current situation was not wholly resolved. Captain [and ex-Alty defender] Paul Ellender, speaking to the Lincolnshire Echo, said: 'We just want some answers. The situation is dragging on and we are being told nothing'. Manager Evans would not be drawn on the current situation, but added: 'It's a desperate time for everyone at Boston United. If we look at the local press, we learn more... We have scheduled a tour to the southwest, a number of games and a fitness programme that will get us ready for the new season. However, if the situation is not quickly resolved, we all have to worry about Boston United having a future. My players and staff are entitled to seek clarification about what is happening at the football club from those in charge, given that I cannot provide them with an answer to anything'".
But not to be outdone in the headlines, the Argus reports that former Brighton & Hove Albion assistant Bob Booker "has revealed his interest in becoming Crawley manager. Booker is one of five candidates believed to be in the frame... The others are thought to include former Tottenham defender and Farnborough boss Dean Austin, ex-Gillingham player-manager Andy Hessenthaler, one-time Stevenage chief Graham Westley and Alan Reeves, who was recently assistant at Brentford. Reds owner Azwar Majeed is expected to announce an appointment by the end of the week....[In a leading entry for quote of the year, Booker said of Crawley,] 'There is a nice set-up there'. Ben Judge and Dave Woozley became the first players to agree new deals last week, while Dannie Bulman and Tony Scully opted to take up an option to stay on their current deals. Midfielder Steve Evans also has a pre-contract agreement to remain for next season. The rest of the squad are free agents and a number are believed to be talking to other clubs. Top scorer Scott Rendell is a target for Cambridge United... Defender Magnus Okuonghae is thought to be close to a move to Conference champions Dagenham and Redbridge".
From NL Daily says that "Midfielder Paul Carden has rocked Burton Albion by signing for Accrington Stanley. Carden had shaken hands on a new one-year-deal with the Brewers, but has decided to stay in the North West for 'unexpected family reasons'. Brewers` boss Nigel Clough has targeted Notts County's Dan Martin as a possible replacement for the midfield general". Meanwhile, "Oxford United are prepared to sell Andy Burgess to try and bring in much-needed money to the club. The midfielder has been transfer-listed by boss Jim Smith... 'The manager has made it clear that he doesn't want me at the club for whatever reason, be it financially or anything else', said Burgess... [Smith added] 'We want to get some money for him, so we can help re-organise the playing staff. That's our next job - to bring in some more players'... With a £300,000 deficit in the budget, it is likely that the U's will have a first-team squad of between twenty-two to twenty-four players for next season" reports the Oxford Mail.
"Former Southampton trainee Kyle Critchell is in talks with Weymouth about a possible move to the Wessex Stadium. The Dorchester-born defender moved to Chesterfield
21 May 2007
SHRIMPS PROMOTEDMorecambe gained League status for the first time in their history in Sunday's Wembley Conference play-off final. So, ex-Alty defender Danny Adams returns to League Two as does Alty trialist from last season, Adam Yates.
BLUE SQUARE NORTHERN NEWS31 year-old Gary Ricketts's move from Hucknall to Nuneaton Borough has been confirmed. Photos of Nuneaton's new ground at Liberty Way are here.
At promoted Burscough "As a reminder to supporters, admission costs to Victoria Park for the 2007/08 season on an individual match basis are as follows: Adults... £9, Concessions... £5, Juniors (Under 16's)... £2".
At the New Buck's Head AFC Telford United announce that they "have signed Scarborough midfielder Jamie Vermiglio. The 25 year old midfielder joins on a 1 year deal.... The Bucks have also secured the signatures of defenders Jimmy Turner and Andy Jones, who both have agreed terms to remain with the Bucks next season".
BLUE SQUARE NATIONAL NEWSConfirmation comes from the Northwich Guardian that "Steve Burr is no longer the manager of Northwich Victoria. He telephoned the Guardian last night [Saturday] to break the news, so ending three years at the helm of the Conference club. It wasn't the only bombshell he dropped. Burr is considering legal action against chairman Mike Connett for constructive dismissal. 'As far as I am concerned my contract has been terminated', he said in a statement. 'And therefore I am no longer employed by the club'. His lawyer advised him to say no more at this stage. But he did say thanks to the fans... Burr has met Connett twice this week to make plans for next season but talks broke down after a summit on Wednesday night, the Guardian has learned. It is thought the pair could not agree on which players would be retained - a decision Burr believes should be his to make. He told the Guardian that it was not too late to part on amicable terms as early as yesterday morning but, when he heard nothing from Connett, he decided to release a statement. The now former Vics' boss is away in Scotland this week with the England National Game side, for whom he is assistant to manager Paul Fairclough"
Bulls News says that "Brentford have signed Grays midfielder Glenn Poole on a two year deal" .
A post on the Conference Forum says that "Amid mounting rumour and speculation Torquay United owner, Mike Bateson, has this morning confirmed he has agreed a deal to sell his 51% stake in TUFC to a consortium led by Cris Boyce.Mr. Bateson will not comment any further at the moment other than to say details are being finalised by lawyers and completion is expected early this week. Mr. Bateson would not be drawn on the futures of [manager]Leroy Rosenior or Colin Lee saying - 'This is a matter for any new owners to deal with'".
20 May 2007
BURR LEAVES NORTHWICHOur neighbours Northwich Victoria have lost their manager Steve Burr, "after his roller-coaster three years ended after another dispute wuth controversial chairman Mike Connett. Burr... had been seeking talks with Connett... and after a 9am deadline on Saturday morning passed without Northwich Victoria owner Connett discussing the situation, Burr released this terse statement:
As far as I am concerned my contract has been terminated by Northwich Victoria FC, so therefore I am no longer employed by the club'. Insiders at Vics say Burr, who had a year on his contract to run, had become increasingly concerned with Connett's interference in team selection and player recruitment. Players wages are also believed to be owing for the past three weeks. Club captain Stuart Elliott said, 'This is a blow. Steve built a great camaraderie here'".
BUSY TIME AT ALTRINCHAM F.C.It may be the close season but Moss Lane was a hive of activity on Saturday morning as the club held an Open Day for local residents to see what the club is planning to do as regards its floodlights and other more minor works at the ground. Meanwhile, a few hundred yards away at Blessed Thomas Holford, Chris Bullock and his colleagues were coaching local schoolchildren who had come to the first Altrincham FC Summer School.
Above: Some of the youngsters take a break from the coaching at the Altrincham FC Summer School at Blessed Thomas Holford School by having a kickaround
Everyone is welcome at the Summer Schools which are planned to take place at the same venue every Saturday from now till August, from 10am to 12 noon. For further details, please contact the club (928-1045).
At Moss Lane itself, the pitch is, as previously reported, undergoing remedial work for the new season and, as the picture (below) shows, is currently heavily sanded in places.
Right: One of the new types of light (top) and one of the existing models (bottom). Click to enlarge image.
The club is also hoping to obtain planning permission for a new single-storey "food outlet" and toilet block to be erected at the Golf Road end of the "Mausoleum" (the terraced steps between the bar and the Robins' Shop.) This work would take six weeks to complete and will provide the ground with gents, ladies and disabled toilet facilties. Planning permission for a second, adjacent phase of building is also being sought on the site of the current shop. This would provide facilities for a new shop and club offices and kitchen facilities, with an adjacent entrance to the ground directly off Moss Lane. If this second phase goes ahead (and it certainly won't be happening this year), the plan would then be to modify the internal arrangements in the Gill Oates Lounge, extending the facilities there into the current office area.
Above: The existing club shop, with the "mausoleum" in front of it. The new refreshment and toilet block will be sited just beyond the shop.
LINKSThis site's Links Page has been amended to show Blue Square Northern links rather than National division links - but it also contains links to numerous other websites.
CHESHIRE NEWSThe BBC confirms that "Macclesfield manager Paul Ince has released five players at the end of his first season in charge at Moss Rose. Andrew Smart [the Altrincham-based defender/midfielder who was on loan at Northwich last season], Colin Heath, Marvin McDonald, Rob Scott and Robbie Doyle have all left the club. Ronayne Benjamin, who was on non-contract terms, has also departed and Martin Bullock has joined Wycombe. Dave Morley, Matty McNeil, Andrew Teague and James Jennings are the other players considering new contracts".
BLUE SQUARE NORTHERN NEWSFrom NL Daily we learn that "Well-travelled striker Duane Darby has been released by Nuneaton Borough. The 33-year-old striker, who joined the club in February last year, made forty-one appearances and scored a dozen goals, was told he was surplus to requirements. Manager Kevin Wilkin said: 'Duane was on a decent wage and it does free up more money for me to work with so I can freshen up a few areas, mainly up front. I feel the team has not played to Duane's strengths as we have lacked quality from wide areas but he's getting no younger and maybe it's the right time for him to look elsewhere'. Liverpool-based skipper Neil Moore will remain at the club on a non-contract basis. 'I spoke with Neil and he loves the club and wants to play at the new ground. I made him an offer and I'm delighted he will be joining us at Liberty Way', confirmed Wilkin, who has already signed keeper Darren Acton, vice-captain Mark Noon, right back Rob Oddy and youngster Connor Franklin... 'I have a few irons in the fire for new faces to join us in the near future," Wilkin told IC Coventry.
One beneficial effect of relegation for Altrincham supporters is reduced gate prices next season - compared with the £18 at Oxford, last season, for example, next season "Barrow AFC have frozen admission prices for next season’s Blue Square North campaign, whilst extending the £3 entrance fee to cover supporters up to the age of 16. The cut-off was previously 14, but the club are also keen to encourage adolescents. [Other prices are] Adult Grandstand £10; Concession Grandstand £7, Adult Terrace £9, Concession Terrace £6, Under 16s £3".
Reports from Hucknall Town's forum suggest that former Alty captain Chris Timons has returned to the club from Harrogate Town, where he spent last season. The report adds that "Smith, Asher, Timons, Legg, Reeves, Cooke all signed on - gives us a good base to work from".
At Kettering Town "The Club are please to announce that Jean Paul Marna has agreed terms with the Club and will remain with Kettering Town for next season".
From the Workington News & Star we read that "Ambitious No 2 Tony Elliott says he could leave Workington Reds this summer if the right offer comes along. The former Carlisle United keeper made a great impression in his first full season as Tommy Cassidy’s assistant last term, when Reds made a dramatic improvement to finish third in Conference North. But he revealed that he is keen to further his coaching career - and that could mean his departure from Borough Park. 'I’m not contracted to the club so could walk away tomorrow if the right situation arises for me',” said Elliott. 'I’m dedicated to my job at Reds, but my own development is first and foremost in my mind. I’m going to sit down this summer and weigh up everything that I do. I’ve been very committed to Reds and given up three days a week, when I could be doing other things, to dedicate myself to the job. I have to look after myself, and if other offers come in I have to consider them. I’m not saying I won’t be at Reds next year, but I can’t guarantee it, if the right situation comes up for me. Tommy is aware of that. The work that’s been done has caught the eye, and I want to further my career as a coach. I think the progress of the team and the club is there for all to see. I do a lot of things and can only stretch myself so far'. Elliott said that he enjoyed the Conference North campaign, but he also works in a number of other areas. He runs his own school, the No 1 Keeper Club, and this year launched specialist goalkeeping courses for the Cumberland FA".
BLUE SQUARE NATIONAL NEWSAnd the saga goes on at Crawley Town whose unofficial website reports that "A letter from Begbies Traynor to creditors has revealed that only £100,000 has been lodged with them since the last creditors meeting. This goes against a statement from Azwar Majeed that was published in The Argus on Friday which said funds were in place with Begbies Traynor to settle the CVA".
19 May 2007
BLUE SQUARE NORTHERN NEWSSouthport report that "Peter Davenport revealed at last night's annual general meeting that he had released goalkeepers Paul Harrison and John Bagnall, defender Chris Lane and strikers Paul Tait and Jon Newby. Negotiations were ongoing with other players. Players on loan last season, Dino Maamria (Rushden), Mark Birch (Gretna), Sean Paterson (Blackpool) and Terry Smith (Oldham) had returned to their clubs. Port manager Peter Davenport was pleased to announce at lunchtime today that England capped National X1 player Carl Baker has agreed a new deal. Peter Davenport said 'The club understands and recognises Carl's desire to play at a higher level. There has been a lot of interest in Carl over recent months. However as yet nobody has tabled a firm bid for Carl. We value Carl highly and until such time that a club matches our valuation Carl will remain a Southport player. Carl is well aware and supportive of this situation. I know Carl has exceptional talent and undoubtedly the ability to step up several levels'".
The Worcester News says that City boss Andy Preece "will not rush any Worcester City players into decisions about their futures. Seven players have been offered contracts for next season but were given until at least the end of this month to make up their minds. George Clegg, Nick Colley, Shaun Findlay, Danny Hodnett, Shabir Khan, Gary Walker and Troy Wood are all mulling over terms. Manager Preece said: 'I just want them to think about it and make sure they come to the right decision'. Preece is also continuing to talk to several mystery transfer targets but does not expect anything to materialise for a few weeks as they ponder their options. Former Worcester City midfielder Chris Cornes has signed a one-year deal at AFC Telford United".
Kettering Town states that "Following the appointment of Mark Cooper as our new manager, Chairman Imraan Ladak has released the following statement: Yesterday we concluded our lengthy search for a new manager and I am pleased that Mark has joined us. It was very important that we appointed a manager suited to the challenges and conditions we face at Kettering Town. Last season was very important for this football club and it was frustrating for all of us to watch us waste a wonderful opportunity to rejoin the non-league elite. Not only was the biggest budget in the history of this football club misspent, we now have less revenue for next season and less funding to solve our stadium issue.
The club has two main challenges. The first one is on the field and it is very simple:
We have a very demanding fan-base, which expects success in this division. We all want success but there will only be one winner next season and the division will be much tougher than this year. In our search for a new manager we were looking for someone who:
There were of course several other qualities we were looking for and Mark convinced us he was most capable of building on the foundations at this club. We must accept that our division will be much stronger than last seasons and we will be competing on a level playing field with regards to playing budget with our obvious competitors, rather than last season where we had a significant advantage.
I am not going to place unnecessary pressure or expectation on Mark and next season's squad but I will say that we only want people with ambition and belief at this club, especially our manager. Mark has this in abundance, but with a dose of reality. Although I knew we rightly have belief in the history and status of this club, it was refreshing to see how well we are perceived by other managers and was surprised at the calibre of applicants, how big a club Kettering is seen outside of the Town and how many managers wanted to drop down a division or two to take on this challenge. I would like to thank everyone who took the time to see us over recent weeks and wish them well in future.
Our second challenge is far more difficult than the first and is probably more of a priority. Our club has to solve the stadium issue and time is not on our side. Along with Kevin Meikle, Clive Blanchard, Mark Severn, Ken Samuel, Adam Parrish and two separate investors, I have spent considerable time in finding solutions. I say with the utmost respect for the Council of Kettering and taxpayers' money, that it is unlikely that we will receive the kind of financial backing for our football club and its infrastructure that Corby seems to be enjoying and that Milton Keynes has received. However the Council have been supportive of us finding a new site and I am grateful for this.
I do not see the sense in funding a football club that has no future and so my priority is to find a way of generating substantial revenue to fund a new stadium. In light of this, I will no longer be funding the first team or youth set-up and we will be working on a break-even basis for next season with the first team until the club has secured somewhere to play for the long term.
I do not see this being a major issue as throwing money at the first team does not guarantee success, as Kettering and some much bigger clubs have found this season and throughout history. Players who were only here for the money are welcome in the away dressing room next season. One player 'forgot' we had a fans' match yesterday – is it any wonder Farsley beat us with attitudes like that!
However, the money that would have been spent on the squad will now be invested into acquiring shares or starting several businesses that Kettering Town will own. We have also agreed profit share deals with other companies. These businesses will offer services to our supporters and the general population of Kettering at better value than available to the general public.
If the supporters get behind these projects we are certain the club will be in a position to fund a football league stadium with several community facilities. The equation is simple – “no assets = no stadium = no future”.
Supporters have rightly questioned what the club is going to do about our stadium issue but only the most ignorant could believe that myself, the council or another individual would write the club a cheque for seven figures and a lovely new stadium would magically appear. We will be introducing several innovative ideas and opportunities over the next four months and believe that we will give our supporter base the opportunity to solve the problem ourselves.
I would also like to thank Ron Atkinson, Peter Mallinger, Mick Leech, Dave Dunham, Les Manning, Graham Westley, Danny Nicholls and Craig McIlwain for their support and help in recent times and wish them the very best of fortunes for next season and beyond. Looking forward, I am pleased with the new look Kettering Town and am confident we are heading in the right direction with a strong team on and off the field".
BLUE SQUARE NATIONAL NEWSThe BBC says that "The Football League is to change its rules about clubs entering administration after Leeds and Boston exploited a loophole. The two clubs timed going into administration to avoid starting next season with a 10-point penalty. But the League plans to implement a cut-off date, so any club entering administration after that point would be penalised the following season. The League have yet to decide what date the cut-off will be. In 2003 the League brought in a rule where they would penalise a club 10 points for entering administration in order to deter clubs from getting heavily in debt and then seeking a quick-fix solution.
But Leeds and Boston were all-but relegated when they chose to enter administration to sort out their financial problems, meaning the penalty would be largely ineffective. Their action drew criticism from rivals and has caused the League to act. League chairman Lord Mawhinney said: 'The League board have made the right decision. The original intention of 'Sporting Sanctions' was that clubs should suffer a penalty by going into administration, as a spur to better financial management. None of our clubs have done anything wrong but we need to take steps to make these sanctions meaningful'".
Elsewhere, the BBC confirms that "Boston's 10-point deduction will apply to this season's tally... A league statement confirmed: 'Boston have been deducted 10 points from their points tally for 2006/07. This Sporting Sanction takes effect from April 25th, the date on which the club effectively obtained the approval of creditors for a Company Voluntary Arrangement".
Meanwhile, at one of last year's relegated clubs, "Oxford United boss Jim Smith has vowed to carry on in a bid to lead the U's back into the Football League. Smith, 66, admitted after Oxford's play-off semi-final defeat that there would be changes at the Kassam Stadium. But Smith told his club's website: 'Nick (Merry) wanted me to stay and be the manager and I probably want to be manager now more than ever. I am even more determined to get Oxford back into the Football League. We are better equipped for next year'".
"Ebbsfleet United have secured the services of experienced defensive duo Paul McCarthy and Peter Hawkins. Captain McCarthy, 35, and former Wimbledon defender Hawkins, 28, have both signed new 12-month deals" claims the BBC. Across the Thames, "Grays Athletic striker Dennis Oli has signed a new two-year contract at Bridge Road... Grays boss Justin Edinburgh has been further boosted with goalkeeper Danny Knowles and defender Andy Sambrook also signing new contracts... Grays Athletic have again swooped to snatch a player from Conference rivals Woking with the capture of midfielder Karl Murray. Murray, 24, follows striker Craig McAllister in making the switch from the Kingfield Stadium to Bridge Road." anda lso conformation
And news of one-time opponents of Alty in the Conference.."Conference South sides Hayes and Yeading have merged to create a new club called Hayes and Yeading FC. Both clubs were located within the Middlesex town of Hayes and the new team will play their home games at Hayes's Church Road ground. Garry Haylock, who was appointed Yeading boss in December 2006, will take charge of the merged club. The Football Conference League has approved the merger but it is still subject to ratification by the FA. Former Hayes FC Chairman Derek Goodall said "It is well known that for years our clubs have struggled to attract the big gates needed to survive at this level. 'By combining efforts, know-how and strategy we can secure the future of high-level football in the area'" reports the BBC.
"Gary Waddock has been appointed as the new manager of Aldershot with caretaker boss Martin Kuhl reverting to his role as first team coach", says the BBC.
And the Crawley saga goes on as The Argus reports. "Crawley owner Azwar Majeed today quashed rumours of a takeover. Majeed insists he has no plans to sell up now Reds are close to being debt free following a year of financial problems and reiterated his desire to take the club into the Football League. Crawley owed creditors around £500,000 after entering voluntary administration last summer. A number of potential buyers were thought to have come forward after Crawley clinched Conference survival on the last day of the season. But in a statement exclusively to The Argus, Majeed said: 'I can confirm that (administrators) Begbies Traynor have been sent the money for the CVA and it is now just a matter of a few formalities - crossing the Ts and dotting the Is before the creditors are paid in full. There is no takeover planned and I do not have any plans to sell now or in the immediate future but I will say that my door is always open to anyone potentially interested in investing or buying into Crawley Town Football Club'. Majeed is currently interviewing potential new managers for next season and wants to make an appointment by the end of next week.
The club advertised the position last week after sacking caretaker boss John Yems. Former Stevenage and Rushden boss Graham Westley is believed to be among the contenders along with a number of other well known names. Majeed has spoken to three candidates already and says whoever gets the job will have money available to build a squad good enough to push for promotion. He said: 'New applications for the manager's job are coming in as we speak and the board of directors are preparing a shortlist of prospective new managers. The successful candidate will have to fit a list of criteria and convince the board that he is the correct person who will be able to complete our main objective and be able to drive Crawley into the Football League. The manager will be taking over virtually a brand new football club that is debt free and with the financial backing to go out and choose his squad for the upcoming season. Next season I hope that the fans, new and old, will support the team from the first game to the last game'".
18 May 2007
GROUND IMPROVEMENTS"Altrincham FC are set to spend £50,000 on ground improvements this summer, as they install new floodlights at Moss Lane. The current pylons have been in place for more than 40 years but will now be replaced by state-of-the-art lights. An application for the new floodlights is currently waiting to go before Trafford Council's planning committee but the club are inviting local residents down to their Moss Lane ground to find out more about the proposed changes. An open day is being held between 10am and 12 noon on Saturday (May 19) when the club's directors, as well as a lighting expert, will be on hand to answer any questions. There will also be a small exhibition of plans for other minor improvements at the club, including the installation of a new toilet block. The new lights would bring Moss Lane up to the required standards for hosting televised games but club director Barry Pond said they would benefit local residents as well. He said: 'One of the main things for us is that we will be able to hold televised games at Moss Lane but it will also mean an improve in health and safety standards, which is very important to us. Our old lights were basically worn out, so it was important that we acted now to replace them. Last season, our electricians were on hand at a number of games in case there were any problems, but luckily we never had a failure. These new lights will not only be good for us but for the people living in the nearby area. The pylons will actually be smaller and the light will be a more focussed beam, meaning there will be less spillage. In fact, the glare from the lights on the houses adjacent Moss Lane will be no more than normal street lighting'. Despite their relegation from the Conference, Alty remain committed to improving facilities at Moss Lane, although they do rely on money raised from sponsorship and supporters' fundraising efforts. Long-time club sponsor Carole Nash and her family made a substantial donation to fund the installation of the new lights but the club would welcome any help. To make a donation or suggest fundraising ideas, contact the club on 0161 928 1045, or by e-mail.
JUNIORS INITIATIVESAM says that "Altrincham FC will hold their first Saturday morning club for budding football stars on Saturday. The club for five to eight-year-olds will be held on the new all-weather pitches at Blessed Thomas Holford College between 10am and 12 noon. It is part of Altrincham's new junior set-up and will be run by Chris Bullock, along with other qualified coaches. Each session costs £2.50. If you wish to attend, contact the club on 0161 928 1045 or simply turn up on the day".
Right: A picture from Allan Simper's son Harry of his father in action in the recent Supporters v Staff game in what looks like a choreographed move with Charles Heathcote!
CHESHIRE NEWSBullsnews says that "Chester have released Alex Meechan and Dave Artell in a bid to free up wages to attract new players." aand that "Former Hereford United player Gareth Sheldon has joined Tamworth. Sheldon, now 27, came to Edgar Street at the start of last season after being released by Kidderminster but failed to impress Graham Turner and left by mutual agreement at the end of February. He made ten appearances for the Bulls scoring once".
"Benny Phillips, appointed as manager of Bradford Park Avenue recently, has stripped his former side Witton Albion of five players, including Steve Connors and [ex-Alty reserve] Griff Jones. Darren Hockenhull, Alistair Brown and Ross Clegg are also following the former Albion assistant-manager to ambitious Park Avenue. Chris Gahgan is likely to make the same switch, but centre back Tony Barras has turned Phillips down. And, in an even bigger shock for supporters, Mike Moseley has quit the club after six years and 147 goals. Witton boss Jim Vince is furious with his former second in command. He said: 'I am very, very disappointed in him. All of it has been done without any notification or courtesy call, which is the least Witton deserve. It has been behind my back and is unprofessional. The club and supporters welcomed him back when I wanted him as my assistant, even though they had doubts because he had walked out before. And he has done the dirty on all of us'. Witton have extracted a combined fee for Connors and Hockenhull, who signed a new contract only three weeks ago. But the others are non-contract. Jones and Connors were key men, the remainder squad members. 'Believe me there will be some good players coming to Witton', said Vince. Albion have offered terms to leading scorer Adam Warlow, released by Crewe, but bigger clubs, Southport among them, are also on his trail... 'Mike [Moseley] is a legend and I did not want him to leave. But it worked out he did not play as many games as he wanted', said the manager" according to IC Cheshire
BLUE SQUARE NATIONAL NEWSThe BBC confirms that "Torquay have named former first-team coach Leroy Rosenior as their head coach following their relegation from the Football League. The 43-year-old takes over from Keith Curle who was on a short-term contract which expires at the end of next month".
"Oxford United boss Jim Smith has decided to release seven players following their failure to clinch promotion from the Conference. Senior players Chris Hargreaves, Steve Basham, Rufus Brevett and Gavin Johnson have not been offered new deals. Andrew Gunn, Billy Beechers and Josh Kennet are also among those leaving the Kassam Stadium" says the BBC which adds that "Grays Athletic have completed the signing of striker Craig McAllister from Conference rivals Woking. McAllister had been offered a new deal by the Cards but has opted to make the switch to Bridge Road and has agreed a two-year contract".
"Kidderminster Harriers manager Mark Yates has agreed contract extensions with three first-team players. Defender Jeff Kenna and midfielder Gavin Hurren have both signed new one-year deals. Midfielder Russell Penn, whose current deal was due to expire this time next year, has extended his contract by another year", and also "Stevenage boss Mark Stimson has made Aldershot midfielder Mark Molesley his second close-season signing".
Meanwhile, The Aldershot News and Mail states that "After eight weeks of searching, Aldershot are finally set to unveil former QPR boss Gary Waddock as their new manager. As the News went to press, the 45-year-old had yet to be confirmed as Terry Brown’s successor but it is believed that an appointment will be made within days after he held off the challenge of caretaker manager Martin Kuhl. The Aldershot board interviewed eight candidates for the vacant manager’s position on May 3, before cutting that shortlist down to just three names — thought to be Waddock, Kuhl and former Gillingham boss Andy Hessenthaler. It is believed that it came down to a straight fight between Waddock and Kuhl, with the former QPR man attracting enough support from the board for an appointment to be made imminently... Waddock is expected to take the reins at the Rec and is likely to keep Kuhl on the payroll".
The Burton Mail reported yesterday that "Paul Carden will today sign a new one-year contract with Burton Albion. The 28-year-old midfielder agreed new terms with manager Nigel Clough last week and will travel from his Merseyside base this morning to put pen to paper. Carden's decision to commit his future to the Brewers rather than accept an offer from a Football League club has delighted Clough."
From The Argus we read that "New chairman Vic Marley insists Crawley will not be rushed into finding a manager. Marley, 65, was appointed yesterday by club owners Chas and Azwar Majeed... Applications have been flooding in since the club advertised the position following the sacking of caretaker manager John Yems last week. Marley said: 'We have had a lot of interest about the job but it is very important we get the right man. John Hollins and John Yems took over under very difficult circumstances but the situation is different now. We have had a traumatic 18 months but hopefully we are through the worst bits and we are now looking forward to a good season. The CVA is virtually out the way so whoever comes in will have a clean slate to work with. We have to make sure the new man is right for the club and will work within our budget'". And "Ben Judge and Dave Woozley have become the first Crawley players to put pen to paper on new contracts. The defenders were offered one-year deals last week ... Captain Dannie Bulman and winger Tony Scully have also agreed to take up the option on their current deals to stay at Broadfield Stadium next season. The rest of the squad are out of contract and are due to hold talks over their futures in the next few weeks".
The Northants Evening Telegraph says that "Rushden & Diamonds have signed goalkeeper Paul Bastock. The 36-year-old comes to Nene Park on a one-year deal having left St Albans City at the end of last season. Meanwhile the club have also given one-year professional contracts to striker Lawrence Lambley, goalkeeper Martyn Margarson and midfielders Jake Beecroft and Alex Bolt". "New boss Mark Cooper has just one target in mind and that is to ensure Kettering Town are challenging at the top of Blue Square North next season.The former Tamworth manager was appointed by chairman Imraan Ladak yesterday after a lengthy search. Cooper – who had a spell as a player at Rushden & Diamonds – left Tamworth my mutual consent in January this year. And he actually played against Kettering for Hinckley United who were beaten by Farsley Celtic in the Nationwide North play-off final on Monday. And the 38-year-old admitted he was delighted to get back into management and is looking forward to the challenge of building a squad capable of a return to non-League football's top flight after the play-off heartbreak of last season. He said: 'I applied for the job and to be honest everything moved quite quickly after I had met the chairman. 'I see Kettering as an ambitious club with a lot of potential. Of course the target has got to be mounting a challenge next season. They want to be back in the top league and I want the same... I know there are a lot of people from outside it who believe they should be in a higher league. We have to see if we can make that happen'. Cooper's first order of business is to speak to the players who are out of contract and decide who he wants to keep. Luke Graham, Rene Howe, Darren Caskey and Andy Hall are the only players still contracted to the club for the new season" he told The Northants Evening Telegraph
The Lincolnshire Echo says that "Trying to look on the bright side after going three months without getting paid can't be easy - but Boston United defender Mark Greaves is doing his best. 'I've been playing golf. It only costs a tenner per round at the course we play on - you've got to watch the pennies at times like this!" said a jovial Greaves following his round with Paul Ellender and former Pilgrims team-mate Daryl Clare yesterday. For the record, Ellender won... The 32-year-old's light-hearted mood masks a growing concern among United players about whether they will ever see the wages they are owed... Consortium Standing Alone Limited - the supposed saviours of the Pilgrims - claim they are waiting for the Football League and Conference to decide which division the club will be a member of next season before completing their takeover. 'The club is in limbo at the moment', a Standing Alone spokesman told the Echo yesterday. Meanwhile, the Football League say they are still waiting for details of the Pilgrims' Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA)... Only then, they say, will the League decide whether to hand the Pilgrims their mandatory 10-point deduction in the season just finished, or make them start their Conference campaign on minus 10. The club, for its part, claim they are waiting for the League to get back to them... 'If we're still in the same position in four or five weeks, then I will probably look to move on... I have no problem about dropping into the Conference. I was talking to Daryl (Clare), who plays for Burton, and he says it is a good, competitive league' [said Greaves] ... Pilgrims' secretary John Blackwell has no concerns about the club being accepted back into the Conference. 'I spoke to them last week and there was no issue', he explained. 'We've even received the relevant forms for entry into the Conference. I was filling them out, yesterday'".
NL Daily| says that "Steve Fallon, manager of Nationwide South champions Histon, has been quick to move in and secure the services of two of non-League’s finest goalkeepers as he prepares for the challenge of the Blue Square Premier. With [ex-Alty keeper] Lance Key expected to take up the position of goalkeeping coach, Fallon has made two impressive signings to ensure competition for places in all areas of the side... with the arrival of Mark Osborn from Kettering Town... He started his career at Wycombe Wanderers playing for the club from 1997 to 2002... he then moved into the Nationwide Conference with Farnborough Town where he enjoyed two seasons... He then moved to Kettering in 2004... Outstanding performances against the Stutes have made Cambridge City goalkeeper Danny Naisbitt a key target for the management team this summer so Fallon could not hide his delight at having a second outstanding keeper at the club" reports the Histon website.
"Former Hinckley United and Kidderminster Harriers' striker Matty Lewis has signed a one-year deal with AFC Telford United. Lewis, 23, scored eighteen goals for Halesowen Town last season and won ‘FA Cup player of the round’ for his four goals against Telford in September. Play-off hero Chris Cornes has penned a one-year deal to remain at Telford after rejecting the chance of a trial at Shrewsbury Town, but goalkeeper Stuart Brock has been placed on the transfer list... Manager Rob Smith said: 'We have signed Ryan Young who will start the season as our number one goalkeeper. It is not in the interests of the club or Stuart to have him sat around in the stands, therefore the club have made him available for transfer'. Another newcomer to the New Bucks Head is midfielder Jamie Vermiglio, who has left troubled Scarborough".
Stevenage Borough "have confirmed the signing of 17 year old Jamie Eames from Norwich City. The winger has impressed manager Mark Stimson who believes he has a big future in the game". But, "Borough have confirmed that the following players will be leaving the club – Mark Beard, Dale Binns, Mark Hughes, Hasim Deen, Jamie Slabber and Tony Thorpe".
17 May 2007
NO REST FOR LEWISIn addition to touring Tanzania with the Middlesex Wanderers and selection for a National Game XI match in Finland this summer, Alty midfielder Lewis Chalmers (left) has been selected for the FA England National Game XI in the Four Nations Tournament which is to be played from May 20 and 28 in Scotland. England's matches are:
ROSE TO STAY BUT BAND LEAVINGMore news about the players who will be at Moss Lane next season has emerged. Centre-back, 26 year-old Stephen Rose (right) has committed to the cause for next season. He has made 150 starts and 16 sub appearances for Altrincham since joining in 2002. However, fellow partner Peter Band has indicated to Graham Heathcote that he will be leaving Moss Lane, though his destination is not yet certain. Peter (33) originally left Alty, for Northwich Victoria in December 2004 but returned to the Robins for the 2005-06 season. He had first joined Alty from Hyde United for a small fee in July 2002 and by the end of last season had made 206(+3) appearances for Altrincham and scored 19 goals.
SAM adds that "Peter Band has become the first player to leave Altrincham after their relegation from the Conference... But Band has decided the time is right for him to exit Moss Lane, with former club Hyde rumoured to be a possible destination.. His departure will be a blow to Heathcote's plans, although he remains confident of putting together a squad capable of challenging for honours in the Blue Square North... Heathcote told SAM Sport: 'Bandy has decided it's time for him to move on, it's as simple as that. It's a shame because he's a good player and he's done a good job for us the last two seasons but this is the second time he's left the club now. Now I just want a core squad of 16 fully fit and committed players to start the season... I don't want anybody walking through the door on June 30 needing to do work, I want them to be ready. Without being disrespectful to the Blue Square North, fitness and power are more prevalent than footballing ability in this league. So if we make sure we are as fit as any other team, we then have the footballing ability to play our own game. Our fitness was good in the Conference, although we did flag a bit in the last half hour of games. Now we need to be the team that makes the last half hour count'. With Band following Justin Bowler out of the door, only five of last year's core squad are yet to sign new deals.
Both Karl Munroe and Steve Bushell have asked for time to decide on their futures and Heathcote is yet to sit down with Andy Scott and Lewis Chalmers. Chalmers, currently away on holiday... will discuss his future when he returns. Meanwhile, Gary Scott will have to prove he has overcome a long-term hernia problem before earning a new deal. And Heathcote is still on the lookout for one or two players to join his squad, although he denied he has made an offer to Chris Senior, who was recently released by Halifax Town. He added: 'Lewis has done well this season but he still has a long way to go and hopefully he will stay loyal to this club. As far as Gary Scott goes, I would love to keep him here but there are just a few question marks over his fitness so (club physio) Andy Hosgood will be working with him on that. I would like to bring in players and then there's the likes of Kieran Lugsden, Eddie Hussin and Colin Potts who you might like to bring back to the club. But the problem you have is finance. Our budget is not going to be among the top three or four in this league and I just have to live with that. In trying to maintain the squad of players we have there is very little leeway. But what I won't do is wait around for players who are using Altrincham FC as a back-up to their plans. I want 16 players who are committed to the cause of getting this club back into the Conference National and if they're not I will replace them'".
OLD BOYSChester are to prune their squad so that new manager Bobby Williamson can bring in new faces under the wage cap. First out the door is striker Drewe Broughton, who had 12 months remaining but has negotiated a released. Also definitely departing is former assistant manager Graham Barrow [ex-Alty], also agreeing a settlement on his remaining 12 months despite hinting at doing a youth coaching role.
CHESHIRE NEWSWitton Albion Mike Moseley is reported to be bound for Bradford PA, whose manager is former Witton assistant manager Benny Phillips.
BLUE SQUARE NORTHERN NEWSKettering Town have announced that former Tamworth boss, Mark Cooper, has been named as the new manager of the Poppies.
The Redditch Advertiser states that "Redditch United manager Gary Whild has made his first summer signing - bringing former Valley Stadium favourite Alex Cowley back to the club. The 23-year-old winger left the Reds three years ago for Southern League side Halesowen Town and will return having agreed a two-year deal... Whild said 'He is coming back to us as a more mature player who understands this level of football and who still has his best years in front of him... He can play on both the left and right and I have also seen him play in the middle'. Whild is still looking to agree terms with club captain Carl Palmer and is also thought to be looking at two or three other players ahead of the new season. Defender Exodus Geoghaghan bagged four trophies in the end of season awards... Whild said: 'For a lad of just 22, he has shown great consistency and ability'".
Player releases are reported at Hyde United where "'Germs' [Dave German] is not being retained for next season and we wish him all the best as he, like Lincoln [Adams], was great to have around, JP [Ndejebayi] is also leaving to have trials with Macclesfield. No further departures are planned".
Hucknall Today says that "Former Nottingham Forest striker David Johnson looks set to stay and ex-favourite Alistair Asher has made a surprise return... Player/manager Andy Legg announced his retained list for next term and after threatening to show the door to as many as six players, he officially released only four – defenders Ricky Hanson and Peter Handyside, midfielder John Burns and goalkeeper Damien Beattie. But he revealed that Johnson has promised to stay on, despite interest from Burton Albion... Asher (26), left Watnall Road last summer because of a cut in his wages and signed for Ilkeston Town... The accomplished defender looks sure to be joined at the club by youngster Stephen Akers, who was on loan to The Yellows from Notts County last season but has now been released by The Magpies... Legg said this week: 'David has said he will be here next season and I will take his word for it'... Legg has also offered contracts for 2007/08 to Laurie Wilson, Greg Smith, Russell Cooke, Martin Reeves, Gary Ricketts, Paul Dempsey and Liam Hearn. So far, only Cooke and Reeves have put pen to paper. Liam Powell, Michael Fox and Jermaine Hollis have not been offered new deals but Legg says he expects them to report for pre-season training at the start of July. Also expected to stay on for next season is another former Forest player, defender Tony Vaughan, who has played only twice so far but will be given a chance to prove his fitness in pre-season. As for a third ex-Red, Ian Woan, he has not been available for selection since he signed at the end of March and his future is unclear. Legg commented: "Last season, there were about 14 or 15 players on contracts but that just can't happen for a club of our size, so next season there will be a core of about nine... Loan signings Tony Gallimore and Bobby Wilson have returned to Northwich Victoria and Notts County respectively but Legg hinted that there might be a possibility of them returning... Legg added. 'Come July, there will be people banging at my door. There are plenty of people out there who will be desperate to play football. It's not always the best idea to get players in early because some get greedy. Usually there are many players out there at this time of year who ask for fortunes. But I'm very sorry, there are no fortunes to be had here'".
Tamworth state that "Former Leicester city favourite Gerry Taggart was one of four signings completed today in a busy morning for Tamworth manager Gary Mills. He has also brought in Gareth Sheldon while Michael Briscoe and Michael Tuohy have both committed themselves to another season at The Lamb. Belfast-born Taggart, 36, was a defensive kingpin for Leicester City for whom he made more than 140 league and cup appearances between July 1998 and February 2004... Birmingham-based Sheldon, 27, is a forward whose previous clubs are Scunthorpe, Exeter, Kidderminster and, most recently, Hereford".
From Sputhport we hear that "Defender Matt Hocking signed up this morning having returned from holiday. The former Hull City, Boston and Stevenage defender adds experience to Peter Davenport's squad having made a great impression during the clubs Nationwide Conference run in".
BLUE SQUARE NATIONAL NEWSConfirmation comes from the BBC that "Kidderminster Harriers boss Mark Yates has been fined £350 and given a four-match touchline ban by the Football Association. Yates was found guilty of a misconduct charge when he appeared before an FA disciplinary hearing on Tuesday. The charge followed an incident at the end of the Conference game against Exeter City in February when Yates clashed with City winger Lee Elam".
Bullsnews says that "Torquay have told head coach Keith Curle to apply for the manager's job if he wants it. The club have announced a press conference for tomorrow to make 'major announcements', with Leroy Rosenior emerging as favourite for the manager's job."
The Boston Standard says that the "New Pilgrims' chief executive Barrie Pierpoint says he is not afraid to shake up the York Street status quo. Standing at 6 feet 5 inches tall – often puffing away on his trademark cigar – the former Leicester City, Bradford and Portsmouth supremo is a big man with a big personality and even bigger ideas. And that may mean big changes. 'I'm not afraid to come in and shake things up a bit, that's what I do', he told The Standard on Monday. 'I think that from my point of view, and from what fans and businesses in the area have told me, the club needs to start afresh. It needs to be a clean sheet of paper – and that will mean quite a few changes within the club'. Could those words send shivers down the spine, especially coming from a man who shares a name with the country's most notorious hangman? Mr Pierpoint just laughs and says he will not be drawn any further on his already-in-place strategy to draw the club out of the financial wilderness... 'I'm here to bring a little bit of sunshine back to the club and its fans, I'm taking things forward', he said. In his time at Filbert Street, Mr Pierpoint oversaw changes that increased the Foxes' revenue from £2 million to £24 million per year... 'I've come here with no preconceived ideas', he said... Mr Pierpoint is currently being paid by Standing Alone Ltd, the company whose takeover of the club is currently, we are told, being stalled by outside parties... The currently slow takeover of the club is, however, causing a few problems, as manager Steve Evans will testify. He said: "'I've not been given any budgets yet, which means I can't try and sign any players'".
But just 45 minutes after the above story This is Lincs says that "Boston United's new chief executive has revealed his contract runs out this month - and he may leave the Pilgrims unless the club makes major changes. Barrie Pierpoint [said] 'I don't come with any baggage and I'm the sort of person who wants to work with people, not against them. There are certain things I would like to see happen at the club. If those things don't happen, I won't be keen on staying... Standing Alone has engaged me to act as chief executive, although I am not an employee of the company, but it is short-term at the moment. At the end of this month, both sides will look at the situation. I'd like to stay throughout the summer and for next season but I am increasingly frustrated because things aren't moving quickly enough'... Pierpoint rejected suggestions made by Conference vice-chairman Charles Clapham that the Pilgrims' decision to enter into administration before the end of their League Two campaign - which meant 10 points were deducted this season, not next - was not moral.'It was the best opportunity to go forward and Leeds did something similar', he said".
Meanwhile "Francis Green has issued a "'come and get me' plea to former club Lincoln City. The Boston United striker has revealed he would jump at a return to Sincil Bank, just 12 months after leaving the Imps for their local rivals. Green, who along with his Pilgrims team-mates has not been paid for almost three months, admits he is desperate to leave York Street and sign for a Football League club, with the Imps his preferred destination... Green has a year left on his contact at Boston, but because his wages have not been met since February, he will be free to move on if he gives the club 14 days' notice... 'It's no secret me and a few of the lads are desperate to leave after what has gone on this season', added Green. 'We've heard absolutely nothing from the club since we were relegated at Wrexham two weeks ago. 'If I had another club lined up tomorrow, say, I'd write off that money - things have got that desperate. I'd even take a pay-cut - that's better than not getting paid at all'".
A clearout at York City is reported by This is York. "Midfield trio Steve Bowey, Mark Convery and Lewis McMahon are among eight players that have been released by York City boss Billy McEwan. In addition, defenders Nathan Peat, Anthony Lloyd, Craig James, James Dudgeon and Darren Hollingsworth failed to make City's retained list ... On-loan goalkeeper Paddy Gamble has also returned to Nottingham Forest and, with Clayton Donaldson bound for Hibernian, McEwan has offered new terms to 13 of last season's first-team squad. They are Tom Evans, Darren Craddock, David McGurk, Danny Parslow, Manny Panther, Neal Bishop, Martyn Woolford, Ross Greenwood, Craig Farrell, Richard Brodie, Ben Purkiss, Alex Rhodes and Phil Bell... Rumours were circulating linking the former Partick Thistle midfielder [Manny Panther] to a move to newly-promoted Scottish Premier League outfit Gretna but Panther scotched such speculation... McEwan said: 'I would like to have kept them all and brought in five or six new players... but the budget is tight. "I need money from somewhere to bring better ones in and that comes from them leaving the club'".
From the Cambridge Evening News we learn that "Lee Boylan believes he can be a big hit in front of goal after signing for Cambridge United today. Boylan, 28, has been a prolific scorer in non-League football, bagging more than 170 goals in five seasons with Canvey Island before joining Grays last summer. After a difficult time with Athletic, the ex-Republic of Ireland youth international spent the final three months of last season on loan at Ryman League side Chelmsford. But Boylan, who has signed a one-year deal with the option of a further year, said he wanted to get back into the Blue Square Premier".
NL Daily says that "The Board of St Albans City, relegated from the Nationwide Conference National, have announced the appointment of Richie Hanlon as the new manager at Clarence Park. Hanlon brings a wealth of experience as a player, which includes Southend, Peterborough, Rushden & Diamonds, and latterly at Cambridge United. Following a cruciate ligament injury Hanlon`s playing career was curtailed while with Cambridge. His pro-active and enthusiastic approach, his initiatives for moving the club forward, and his extensive list of contacts fit the Board's specification for the new appointment. 'It is these qualities combined with his strength of character which we believe will set the club on course for a quick return to Conference football', said club chairman John Gibson".
At Woking The Cards confirm that "Tom Hutchinson and Liam Marum have signed 2 year contracts with the club. Danny Bunce has signed on a 1 year deal".
Kidderminster Harriers announce that "Following the end of the season and our defeat at Wembley on Saturday it was time for the clear out to begin at Aggborough . The first of the current squad to face the long walk away from Mark Yates's office were Gary Hay, Andy White, Luke Reynolds, Jake Sedgemore and Scott Eaton. Jake Sedgemore and Gary Hay were to be expected with Jake wanting to go part time next season to spend more time with his architect career.... Hay, who has completely failed to impress any Harriers supporter, will almost certainly return to Bromsgrove. Andy White came on for Iyseden Christie at Wembley and missed what could be classed as a sitter in the final minute of the game. It's not the first sitter that he's missed and he was sent off to Stafford Rangers for the final month of the season but only started one game and also failed to get on the scoresheet. He is thought to be interested in a media career and may take this option up if he cannot get to join another club. Scott Eaton was thought to be 'one for the future' when he progressed from the youth ranks but that promise has failed to materialise... The real surprise, to me, is the release of Luke Reynolds... but this season gone he seems to have lost that edge to his game and has only scored five times in forty nine outings... Expect to see him at the likes of Stafford or Northwich next season".
16 May 2007
MOSS LANE LIGHTINGAs previously reported, Altrincham FC have written to local residents in the Moss Lane area to advise them of the Club's plans for new floodlights. The Football Club is holding an open meeting at Moss Lane for the local residents, the date of which has now been brought forward to this Saturday (19th) from 10am to 12 noon. At the meeting, club directors will be present along with a lighting expert. The open meeting will also incorporate "a small exhibition of other minor plans for improvements at the Club in the future".
Director Barry Pond has told the neighbours that "Our floodlights at the ground have been up for over 40 years and are now approaching the end of their useful life. We have applied for planning permission to erect new floodlights and, with our neighbours in mind, we are seeking to improve the curent lighting situation". Barry points out that the current pylons are 18 to 20 metres high, whereas their replacements will be only 15 metres tall. The proposed new lights will be more powerful but will be better directed to reduce "light spillage" outside the ground.
"BUY" A PIECE OF MOSS LANEIan Rosendaal's Ideas4 Alty scheme is launching a pitch sponsorship sheme. Ian writes:
Altrincham F.C. "My Square" Pitch Sponsorship 2007/08
Altrincham F.C., in association with www.ideas4alty.com, is delighted to announce a brand new fundraising initiative for the 2007/08 season. Not only does this scheme give Robins fans the opportunity to sponsor their own little bit of the Moss Lane pitch, but you could also win your very own piece of Moss Lane turf to keep forever!
You will find full details attached to this email, but if you have any questions regarding the scheme or would like to know more about corporate sponsorship, please email us here.
Keep checking the Ideas4Alty website for regular updates and don't forget to tell all your family and friends about this fantastic new initiative.
Details and an application form are here.
2007-08 PRICESGrahame Rowley, on behalf of the Board of Altrincham Football Club, writes:
Many thanks for the magnificent support that you have shown the club this season. Unfortunately, although we amassed 51 points during the season, it was not enough to avoid the fourth relegation spot and so we find ourselves competing in the Blue Square North next season. With the need to maintain an adequate playing budget to mount a challenge for promotion next season, we have decided to maintain the present admission and season ticket prices. We are introducing a new under-14s' season ticket and are also maintaining the £10 discount on all adult, junior and concessionary season tickets purchased before 30 June 2007.
We hope that we can rely on your support again during the forthcoming season and look forward to seeing you at Moss Lane in July for the friendlies.
Season Ticket Prices
If a Concessions / Junior or Adult season ticket is purchased before June 30th a £10 discount on the above prices can be applied.
Season tickets also normally confer free admission to the pre-season friendlies held at Moss Lane..
APPLICATIONS: Season ticket applications with appropriate payment should be made to Altrincham FC, Moss Lane, Altrincham WA15 8AP using the form here if you wish. For further details, ring the club on (0161) 928-1045.
LEWIS ON HIS TRAVELSAlty's Lewis Chalmers has been called up for the England National Games XI match away to Finland U-23's on 1 June. The squad will be finalised after this weekend's play-off final for promotion to League Two. The venue is FC Haka's stadium at Valkeakoski. On 4 June, Lewis flies out to Tanzania with the Middlesex Wanderers touring team. For this trip he will be joined by Karl Munroe but Stuart Coburn has had to drop out from the squad due to his back injury.
MORE FRIENDLIESAltrincham FC have announced some further friendlies to add to those against Rotherham United, Runcorn Linnets and TNS:
The Blue Square Northern league season begins on Saturday 11th August.
OLD BOYFormer Alty and Leigh RMI defender/midfielder Steve Porter has returned to Australia where he is playing for Stirling Lions in West Australia.
CONFERENCE NEWS"Carl Macauley will not be handed a massive transfer kitty this summer - but Nationwide North club Vauxhall Motors have admitted that if a really special player became available, they may be prepared to break the bank. The Motormen are now preparing for next season having survived a brush with relegation to finish the 2006/07 campaign in mid-table. Club chairman Alan Bartlam said: 'Last season our away form ended up better than our home form. If we'd had a standard season at home, we would have been knocking on the door of the play-offs'. The Motormen won six games at home and six away, but drew six and lost nine at Rivacre Park while drawing nine and losing six on their travels. 'An unbelievable start to the season took us into the top three and we were looking at the play-offs until Christmas', added Bartlam. But a First Round FA Trophy replay loss to Kidderminster Harriers, plus the controversial departure of AWOL top scorer John Lawless, coincided with a severe slump at the turn of the year. Within one month, the Motormen went from play-off contenders to relegation battlers. Bartlam said: 'This summer we need to bring in some more experienced players to help youngsters like Thomas Rooney, Tom Field and Anthony Wright, who have all come on brilliantly this season. We can't give Carl a huge amount of cash this summer but there is money for signings. We have proved that if a player comes along that we have to have because he is so good, we are prepared to find the extra money'", reports IC Cheshire.
"Bill Fotherby, chairman of Harrogate Town, has leapt to the defence of Neil Aspin insisting it's 'crazy' to suggest the manager is under pressure. Harrogate missed out on the play-offs by just one point and Aspin hit back at critical fans saying they were expecting too much on Town's low budget. Fotherby completely agrees and has revealed ticket prices will increase next season in order to release more funds for players capable of challenging for promotion... 'Neil Aspin, let me tell you, is the best manager there has ever been at Harrogate Town', said Fotherby. 'The job he has done is first class -the way he is with the players is fantastic as is the way he understands. He's got 200 per cent of my confidence and let me tell the Harrogate Town supporters that my big fear is that somebody comes and takes him. There's been interest in him already but he's said to me "whenever you're here, I'm here". Nobody at the board wants him to leave and the supporters who think he is under pressure are absolutely unrealistic. He has done everything I have asked of him and the manager can only do so much - it's up to the players as well. He's done absolutely superbly and we were one goal away from comfortably making the play-offs but that's football'. Aspin also re-iterated the fact that he feels he has done a decent job - "We've finished sixth with sixteen teams below us and the best defensive record in the division', he said... Aspin admitted that next year's 'Blue Square North' as it will be called will probably be the toughest ever with Tamworth, Southport and Altrincham relegated, AFC Telford United promoted and Kettering Town missing out in the play-offs. Even getting in the play-offs will be hard, but Fotherby is ambitious... 'We've got to do better and as far I'm concerned for next season to be better than this season we have to go out and win it. Neil has been told this but it all comes down to another thing and that is being able to have the best players. We have a wage bill and we have to balance the books so how do we balance the books? Our prices have to go up. The prices will be going up next year and even then it won't balance and the rest will have to be made up from myself and the directors to compensate'", he told Harrogate Today.
The FA reports that "At the meeting of the Leagues Committee held on Monday, the following allocations were agreed for season 2007/2008. However, it should be noted that there are certain issues still to be resolved and these allocations may therefore be subject to change".
Aldershot Town, Boston United, Burton Albion, Cambridge United, Crawley Town, Droylsden, Ebbsfleet United (formerly Gravesend & Northfleet), Exeter City/Morecambe (Play Off Final 20th May), Farsley Celtic, Forest Green Rovers, Grays Athletic, Halifax Town, Histon, Kidderminster Harriers, Northwich Victoria, Oxford United, Rushden & Diamonds, Salisbury City, Stafford Rangers, Stevenage Borough, Torquay United, Weymouth, Woking, York City
AFC Telford United 76.9, Alfreton Town 58.1, Altrincham, Barrow 102.8, Blyth Spartans 172, Burscough 34.9, Gainsborough Trinity 80.6, Harrogate Town 67.5, Hinckley United 90.3, Hucknall Town 85.9, Hyde United 17.4, Kettering Town 126.8, Leigh RMI 15.8, Solihull Moors 89.6, Nuneaton Borough 95.4, Redditch United 90.1, Southport 41.2, Stalybridge Celtic 20, Tamworth 76, Vauxhall Motors 28.9, Worcester City 100.2, Workington 141.1.
The BBC reports that "Farsley Celtic boss Lee Sinnott says he was stunned by the fightback which saw his side promoted to the Conference. Celtic scored two late goals to come from behind and beat Hinckley United 4-3 in the Conference North play-off final at Burton on Monday. Sinnott told the Halifax Courier: 'I can't believe what I have seen. This team does not know when it's beaten. We struggled at times. But if you get in front with 10 metres of a race to go you don't have long to hold on'".
Bulls News reports that "Torquay have released ten players following their demotion to the Conference".
AFC Wimbledon "are delighted to announce the appointment of Terry Brown as first-team manager. Terry Brown has managed at the highest level of non-league football, with successful spells at Hayes and Aldershot Town, and joins the Dons with immediate effect. He brings with him his assistant from Aldershot, Stuart Cash".
From Hyde United we learn that defender "Lincoln Adams has been released and we would like to thank Lincoln for all his efforts. Steve Pickford has today entered hospital for a hernia operation. It will be of some relief to fans and players alike after Steve has insisted on showing his groin problem to everybody he met".
According to NL Daily "AFC Telford United have tied down their promotion-winning management team on contracts which will keep them at the New Bucks Head until the summer of 2009. Rob Smith and Larry Chambers have agreed two-year deals with the club as they prepare for their first ever crack at the newly-named Blue Square North... Chairman Lee Carter said 'They have done a fantastic job. Results speak for themselves and we wanted to tie them down. They have probably made a few mistakes this year but the important thing is they have learned from them very quickly and it’s clear they love the club... They have good contacts and it never ceases to amaze me the measures they will go down to learn about a player or an opponent... Smith is delighted to have stability as he plots a summer of strengthening with the club. 'There isn’t a better club to be involved in at non-League level and it’s where we want to be', said the boss... After the departures of Steve Foster and Scott Willis, the arrival of goalkeeper Ryan Young and Indy Khela’s decision to sign a new contract, Smith and Chambers plan another wave of meetings with their current squad and potential new signings", reports the Shropshire Star
This is Weymouth says that Terras' "player-manager Jason Tindall is confident that he can keep star striker Stuart Beavon at the Wessex Stadium... But Tindall cannot offer the ex-Didcot Town man a contract until negotiations concerning the club's future are finally completed. The long-awaited announcement has suffered several delays but it now seems certain to be made this week. Tindall said: 'I have been talking to Stuart Beavon on a regular basis and the good thing with him is that we have got a very good relationship. He came to Weymouth because of what I had to say to him and I know he wants to stay here. I will chat again with him later this week once the announcement has been made and then I will sit down with him and hopefully get him to commit to the club. If we can do that then it would be fantastic because there will be no better striker in the league'. The chances of Raphael Nade signing a permanent deal for the Terras are not so clear. The Ivory Coast-born forward, who was on loan at the Nationwide Conference National outfit for the whole of last season, has just had his contract at Carlisle United terminated. Tindall, who has not spoken to Nade since the end of the campaign, said: 'I spoke to all the lads at the end of the season and Raphael Nade was going to speak to his agent. I would like to keep as many of the players as possible providing it is feasible but we are not going to be able to pay the wages that were being paid last season that is for sure. It is certainly going to be a bit different for the players who were here at the start of last season because they are going to have to take pay cuts. If they are prepared to do that then brilliant if not then there is nothing we can do about it'. That means Jason Matthews, Ashley Vickers, Trevor Challis, Roy O'Brien, Nick Crittenden and Simon Weatherstone will all have to swallow a reduction in wages to remain at the club. Tindall added: 'After the announcement is made it might take a while before everything is sorted out. Any new manager that comes into a club wants to bring in his own players and I am no different. There are three or four I would like to bring in for next season and I have already said to them that as soon as everything has been sorted I will speak to them again and put things to them. I felt at the end of the season the team was going in the right direction but I also felt that we were a few players short from mounting a serious challenge'".
From The Argus we read that "Crawley have appointed Victor Marley as their new chairman. The former vice president takes over from Susan Todman, who will remain as a club director. Marley joined the board at the Broadfield Stadium in 1998 and has been working as the club's commercial manager this season. He said: 'I am delighted and feel privileged to have been offered such an important and prestigious position. My association with the club goes back over several years in which time I have always looked to further and promote the best interests of the club whatever their situation. My acceptance is driven by the fact that the club, having been through a tumultuous 18 months, have been able come out of a difficult situation with a stronger will to succeed'".
15 May 2007
CONFERENCE NEWSIn Monday's promotion play-off from Conference North, Farsley Celtic beat Hinckley United 4-3.
The BBC says that "Alfreton Town have appointed former Chesterfield and Bradford City boss Nicky Law as their new manager. Law joins Conference North side Alfreton after leading Buxton to the UniBond League First Division title. The 45-year-old takes assistant manager and ex-Chesterfield goalkeeper Chris Marples with him to the Impact Arena. Law spent 18 months in charge at Chesterfield and Bradford following a playing career which included spells at Chesterfield, Rotherham and Barnsley".
"Oxford United striker Yemi Odubade has signed a new two-year contract with the Conference club" states the BBC which adds that "Halifax Town striker Andy Campbell has agreed a new deal at the club. The former Middlesbrough and Cardiff forward, 28, has signed for a second season after his goals helped keep Town in the Conference. Boss Chris Wilder is still waiting for responses from Lewis Killeen, Tyrone Thompson, Steve Torpey, Steve Haslam and Matt Doughty".
"Boss Nick Holmes says Salisbury City are ahead of schedule in their dream of League football after winning a place in the Conference top flight. Matt Tubbs's 85th minute strike earned The Whites victory over Braintree in the Conference South play-off, and a second successive promotion. Holmes said: 'When I came here five years ago I said I wanted to bring League football in ten years. Five years on, we're a league higher than I expected'" reports the BBC.
Dropping into the Blue Square Premier, "Torquay chairman Mike Bateson has stood down and director of football Colin Lee has been made redundant. Bateson has been replaced by Mervyn Benney at the helm of the club and he has been quick to highlight his vision for the Gulls. 'We have taken the difficult decision to make Colin Lee redundant', he told the club's official website. 'We are going to be working on a tight budget this year and a director of football is a luxury we cannot afford'. Benney continued: 'We will be putting the majority of our budget into the playing side for next season. We are hoping to announce a head coach/player coach within the next couple of days'... Bateson, who will continue as a majority shareholder, returned to United on March 7 as chairman following a five-month break, but he and his wife Sue, who is also a director at the club, decided to step down from their positions after the club lost their Football League after 80 years".
Meanwhile, "Conference play-off finalists Morecambe have signed goalkeeper Chris Neal on loan from Preston. The Shrimps were given special dispensation to sign Neal after keeper Steve Drench dislocated an elbow in the semi-final second-leg win over York. Neal, 21, has made just one senior appearance for Preston. Morecambe manager Sammy McIlroy must now decide whether to play Neal or Scott Davies in the play-off final against Exeter at Wembley on Sunday".
The Woking News & Mail reports that Frank Gray, "The 52-year-old former European Cup winner with Nottingham Forest, appointed last Thursday after five weeks of speculation, has offered Woking’s player of the year a contract and now has to hope a Football League club don’t come in for him. [Tom] Hutchinson has received offers from other clubs, with his agent doing his best to land one higher up the football pyramid, but Woking remains an option for the outstanding defender. 'I’m not going to rush my decision but I do want to get it sorted this week', he said. 'I want to have a break from football and forget about it so it needs to be done soon. Woking have made me a good offer to stay but I’m seeing what other clubs have to say first of all before I make my mind up'. Hutchinson is tempted by the security of a two-year deal at Kingfield but could move for a significant increase in wages to another Conference club, if his dream of a move to a Football League side doesn’t materialise. 'Of course money comes into it but it would need to be lot a bigger offer to get me to leave Woking and for me, any move is more about my ambition to play at a higher level'". While Gray preferred not to name the players he wants to keep from the present squad, he did confirm there were five and, as well as Hutchinson, they are believed to be Karl Murray, Danny Bunce, Nick Gindre and Craig McAllister. It appears that experienced campaigners Gary MacDonald and Ian Selley could be out of the picture, although Gray — who was appointed along with assistant Gerry Murphy — hasn’t ruled out more staying, depending on how he gets on with his potential targets. 'I’d like to get a squad in place for the end of this month', said Gray".
From This is Weymouth says that "Former Weymouth defender Tony James does not expect to see an immediate exodus of players follow him out of the Wessex Stadium. But he warns time is running out for the club if they hope to retain the bulk of their squad for next season. The ex-Hereford United skipper has signed a two-year deal with fellow Nationwide Conference Nat-ional outfit Burton Albion but he still hopes the Terras finally resolve their off-the-field problems and go on to enjoy a good campaign in 2007-08. He said: 'With everything that has happened at Weymouth I was looking for something a little more longer and a two-year deal helps a lot. It is also part-time and that will give me an opportunity to look to the future and maybe go to college or get another job. In the main it is just a good deal for me and it will be good to spend more time with the kids'. James joined the Terras last summer and after a difficult time with injuries finished the season strong. He said: 'When I first came to Weymouth there was a lot of optimism at the club and we had a good enough team to make the play-offs and maybe get promotion. But since Christmas a lot has happened and for a couple of months people have not known where they stood. Having a family, I had to make sure I had some security and something to fall back on... No one knows whether there is going to be a takeover at the club or not and during the last couple of weeks of the season it did begin to get to the players who want to know what is going on.. It may take a few weeks before you see whether other players move on or not because getting another club is not as easy as people think. There are a lot of people out of contract at this time of year and clubs can afford to take their time'". Meanwhile "player-manager Jason Tindall has spoken to former AFC Bournemouth striker Steve Fletcher about a possible move to the Wessex Stadium...but Tindall's hands are tied until the club's future has been resolved".
Confirmation that "Grays Athletic have parted company with midfielder John Martin, who has been reunited with former boss Mark Stimson at Stevenage Borough. However, manager Justin Edinburgh has moved quickly to fill the gap by signing former Welling midfielder Jamie Day, on a two year contract" reports tha Thurrock Gazette.
The Gravesend Reporter says that "Ebbsfleet United boss Liam Daish has all but given up hope of re-signing topscorer Charlie MacDonald for their campaign in the Blue Square Premier next season... Daish is in the process of negotiating deals with a number of the Fleet's first-team squad and hopes to have six or seven players committed to the club's cause by the end of the week. However, MacDonald - who netted 27 goals last term - appears destined for a future in the Football League. 'I'd be very surprised if he's here with us next season', Daish admitted. 'I've offered him something, but he's at the end of his contract and on the back of a very good season, he's in a strong position. I think he'll find himself in the Football League and it may be that we have to go and find ourselves another Charlie MacDonald'... However, Daish could well bolster his frontline shortly if negotiations with the recently released Chukki Eribenne go smoothly. 'He's one of the players that I'm going to be speaking to this week to see if we can now make a deal permanent', Daish explained. 'Anyone can see what you get with Chukki; you get hard work, a real presence and strength and he's technically very good'".
14 May 2007
CLOSE SEASON SUPPORTIt may be the close season but you can still help Altrincham FC in a variety of ways. One way is to join the Patrons' Scheme, which is going into its third year. The Scheme helps the club during the close season when income is otherwise scarce. By pledging £5 for each of the 10 weeks of the close season your name will appear throughout the coming season in the matchday programme as a Patron of Altrincham Football Club. In addition, at the beginning of the season, every member will be entered into a prize draw, with the winner being match sponsor for an appointed game along with 9 guests. Second prize will be hospitality for 5 people and third prize hospitality for 3 people in the Gill Oates Lounge. If you are interested in becoming a Patron, please speak to Grahame Rowley or Barry Pond on 07720-606897 or 07957-456375 or e-mail the club for further details.
You can also help by acquiring a season ticket, for which there is a £10 discount if purchased before 30 June. Full details are here
OLD BOYSStafford Rangers' Ged Murphy named his Dream Team in Sunday's NL Paper, with Colin Little and ex-Alty player Ian Craney two of those whom he selected. Of Craney, Ged writes, "What a player! We were only briefly at Alty but you could see his quality a mile off. Strong, skilful and energetic". As for Little, Ged says "Colin has the biggest mouth in Manchester... he's a lot like me! But he is a killer goalscorer and will never let you down in front of goal... two-footed and always there when there's a chance to be tucked away".
Hereford United's unofficial Bulls' News reports on Matt Bailey who helped Alty qualify for Conference North back in 2004 whilst on loan from Crewe Alexandra. "Crewe's plan to convert former Bulls' loanee Matt Bailey to a centre half has seen former Morecambe defender Darren Kempson released from the club".
NW NEWSAccrington Stanley "boss John Coleman is holding talks with a number of his other players after releasing Michael Welch, Sean Doherty and Mauro Almeida". Meanwhile Crewe "striker Matthew Bailey, 21, has signed a one-year deal... Striker Rodney Jack, 34, has not been offered a new deal while Ritchie Sutton and Adam Warlow [who finished last season on loan at Witton Albion wherhe was top scorer] have been released".
CONFERENCE NEWSTamworth have announced that "Kyle Storer today put pen to paper and signed contract forms for next season.Manager Gary Mills is delighted to have Kyle back on board for next season. Lots of work is going on behind the scenes with players coming down to The Lamb and holding talks with manager Mills. Tamworth Football Club would like to thank John McGrath and Jake Edwards for their services while at Tamworth and wish them well for the future. Both players were offered generous terms by Tamworth FC but have decided they would like to remain in the Conference National. It is understood both players have been in talks with Burton Albion Football Club and have agreed terms".
Southport report that "Haig Avenue has been a vibrant and active place this week. Peter Davenport has confirmed that defender Matt Hocking is the latest player to agree to sign up for the Sandgrounders next season. The experienced central defender made a big impression at Haig Avenue in the final part of the season and it is a major boost to have another player with Football League experience in what will be a new look Peter Davenport Southport squad. Hocking joins Chris Holland who also agreed terms last week. Also already contracted to the club are Carl Baker, Mark Duffy, Kevin Lee, Michael Powell, Liam Blakeman and Tony Gray. Peter Davenport is also continuing negotiations with players at Haig Avenue last season and spreading his net across the north west. Peter Davenport said 'I am looking for quality in all areas. I have more building to do but I am very satisfied with progress so far. I am engaged at present finalising our pre-season programme, getting prepared for our pre-season training and, of course, putting together a squad that will be a competitive force in the Blue Square North next season'".
Alty will meet Hyde United again next season and the Tigers' website says that "Gareth Seddon will miss the first four games of next season for his sending off at Hinckley. He has received an automatic three match ban together with a further game as he had been sent off already in the season".
"The next man to exit the Conference for League football will be Ebbsfleet (formerly Gravesend) striker Charlie MacDonald. Gillingham have confirmed an interest, but face competition from three other Championship and League One sides", says Bulls' News
The BBC says that "Cambridge United have offered star striker Robbie Simpson a new contract. Simpson, 22, hit 17 goals last season after joining from Cambridge City and is mulling over a deal which would make him their highest-paid player. Boss Jimmy Quinn said: 'There's been talk about different clubs being interested, but we've made an improved offer and we're doing what we can. He's a great lad and everyone thinks the world of him and wants him to stay. But it's his decision'".
FA Trophy winners Stevenage Borough "have signed midfielder Johnny Martin on a two-year contract. The 26-year-old has been at Grays Athletic since 2003 after being signed by Mark Stimson... Chairman Phil Wallace said: 'John is the first of two or three players out of contract that we'd like to sign during the next week or so. After that, we'll probably wait and see which players don't get contracts at higher League clubs. Mark believes it's a case of improving a good backbone of players now, rather than making wholesale changes to the core of the team and that will be our strategy during the close season'".
13 May 2007
TEN TO STAY AND MORE TO FOLLOWAlty manager Graham Heathcote is in the process of seeing last season's squad individually about his plans for next season. So far, Graham has confirmed that the following 10 players will remain at Moss Lane next season. The Alty boss hopes to see more of the current squad in the near future so more names will be added to the list of retained players, below. Indeed, to date, none of last season's squad has departed from Moss Lane, though one or two may do so as, hopefully, a couple of new faces arrive.
Chris Senior, who was at Alty on loan from Halifax Town last season, has been released by the Shaymen and has been offered the chance to stay at Moss Lane.
The ten players retained to date are: Stuart Coburn, Richard Acton, Steve Aspinall, Gary Talbot, Warren Peyton, Val Owen, Robbie Lawton, Colin Little, Joe O'Neill and Rod Thornley.
GROUND WORKVisitors to Moss Lane last week will have seen that major work is taking place on the playing surface. The pitch has been scarified, "verti-drained" and re-seeded for next season. 80 tons of sand have been applied to the pitch as well as "Rootzone" treatment to the touchlines, centre circle and goalmouth areas to improve growth.Thanks to groundsman Neil Brown, Alty's pitch last season stood up well to the first-team and reserves playing on it and it should, once again, be in tip-top condition fot the pre-season friendlies in July.
RESERVESAltrincham Reserves will not be competing in the Lancashire League next season, after three seasons back in that competition. It is expected that, instead, the Reserves will play one-off matches against local opposition.
Last season, Altrincham Reserves found themselves placed in a newly created Lancashire League (East) division which meant that most of their away matches involved travelling across the Pennines to Yorkshire.
A GRAND DAY OUT
A full coach of Altrincham FC staff and supporters went to the FA Trophy Final at the new Wembley Stadium yesterday. They saw an entertaining game, won in the last few minutes by Stevenage, who had been trailing 0-2 before emerging with a 3-2 victory. The stadium is impressive with the Alty contingent enjoying good if distant views of the match from Level 5 of the stadium. On the downside the tannoy was worse than any that you will find at a British Rail station - totally unintelligible in the first half though slightly better in the second period and getting out of the coach and car park was a nightmare. But overall it was a great day out and all on board were grateful to Grahame Rowley for his hard work in organising the trip.
Picture above of the view from Level 5 at Wembley, courtesy of Bill Coop.
CONFERENCE NEWS"Droylsden will be an unfamiliar name to many when the rebranded Conference league starts again next season. But if chairman-manager Dave Pace gets his way it will not remain that way for very long. 'I am not going in there to make up the numbers', he told BBC Sport. "I want to be up there challenging and I think we will be a force to be reckoned with'... After ground issues previously prevented them from earning a promotion place from the UniBond League, the Bloods lost twice in the Conference North play-offs - once in the final on penalties - before finally going up as champions. 'They were massive disappointments so it showed a lot of character to come strong again. Winning the title was a massive achievement and I needed it to recharge my batteries', said Pace. After 12 years in control at the Butcher's Arms Ground and having invested over £3m in the Greater Manchester club, Pace was ready for a fresh challenge... 'I am going out to win it. I am not being big-headed by saying we are going to win it but we are going out to win it', he insisted. 'If that becomes mathematically impossible then we will be going for second, third or as high as we can. If you set out to consolidate you get beaten and you end up getting relegated. Consolidation is not in my dictionary. I can't picture myself going into the dressing room and saying 'right lads we're going to consolidate'. We have to go out to win it. I have no fear football-wise and if anyone does not want to come on board and make that journey with me they can get off the bus'. Droylsden scored 85 goals in winning promotion and Pace expects the better pitches they will play on next season to suit their type of game even better. 'We will attack our opponents. I won't set up a brick wall and defend. That's not in my nature. And if we are beaten, we will be beaten the way I want to play', added Pace. Leading the way this season was prolific striker Terry Fearns, who will get a second bite at the Conference cherry after an earlier spell with Southport. Players like Carl Ruffer, Jody Banim, Steve Daly, Jimmy Kelly, Steve Halford and Steve Jagielka have also played at Conference level and above. And Pace will strengthen his squad over the summer as he plans his assault on the Conference by retaining the club's part-time status... 'We are not going full-time in the first year but you won't be hearing any excuses from me about that', he said. 'I am fully aware of the task ahead of us and I'm looking forward to what is involved. There are a lot of players out there at 26, 27, 28 with great jobs and who don't want to go full-time. I will be tapping into that market, otherwise it's just a tug of war for who pays the most... It has been steady progress since I took over', he stated. 'We had 110 fans at first but I've worked hard and what we have got has come from sheer graft. We have got it up to 700 to 800 and I'm looking for 1,000. If we achieve that, there will be a nice little atmosphere in here. We have been playing great football here for a while and word is getting round. I have been through some tough times and now this is a good time'".
Still in Tameside, the Advertiser says that "Steve Waywell believes Hyde United need ‘three or four’ extra players if they are to make next season’s Conference North play-offs. The Tigers ended the 2006/07 campaign in eighth place, only three points behind fifth-placed Farsley Celtic and with a much better goal difference... Droylsden chief Dave Pace told the Advertiser a fortnight ago that he was unhappy with comments attributed to the Hyde boss that he thought Kettering Town would be the ones with the end-of-season silverware. He said: 'What I said about Kettering was that if they performed like they did against us then they’d be champions. They didn’t, so all credit to Droylsden because they deserved the championship... They deserved the title and I know people will say we only beat them because they'd already won the league, but make no mistake, Dave Pace wanted to beat us'... Waywell is already looking at would-be additions to his squad. Whoever comes in, he is hoping that Hyde can avoid the start they had to last season which he feels ultimately cost them a play-off place. He said: 'If you’d said to me in December when we were fifth or sixth from bottom that we’d go to the last game of the season with a chance of the play-offs, I’d have laughed at you. We had a great end to the season but I think we all know we should have got in the play-offs but our run early on in the season cost us'".
Kettering Today reports that "Imraak Ladak says he now has a first choice to be the new manager of Kettering Town... The Poppies' chairman has moved quickly to find someone – although he has given no indication of who the mystery man is. Now Ladak is all set to meet the players to get their thoughts on the last campaign which ended with them beaten on penalties in the Nationwide North play-off semi-final... He said: 'I have got a first choice (manager) and he has been offered the post on manager here but it is unlikely anything will be announced until next week. You never know what can happen in football. I am also 99 per cent certain we will remain full-time for the new season. "I have already said that we need to raise funds for a new stadium and I am currently working on a few interesting initiatives that I think will make that possible. However, I do feel we can operate as a full-time club even though it will be on a slightly reduced budget'... Ladak is meeting up with the squad and he revealed some had already been in contact with him to make it clear they wished to stay at the A-Line Arena for the new campaign. 'As chairman I choose to stay away from the dressing-room during the season because that's not the way things should work', he said. 'But now the season is over this is an opportunity for me to meet up with the lads and have a chat. The players contracted, and all those who want a contract, have been invited and I have already spoken to a couple who say they want to stay here'. Ladak revealed one player who won't be there is Nathan Koo-Boothe who has now officially left the club after an injury hit season in which he missed 7 months with a broken leg".
12 May 2007
JOE AND COLIN STAYThe SAM has the good news that "Strike duo Colin Little (left) and Joe O'Neill (right) will spearhead Alty's Blue Square North promotion push after both agreed new deals this week. The pair have both committed themselves to the club for at least another year despite the club's relegation from the Conference. O'Neill, who is currently studying physiotherapy at Salford University, swept the board at Alty's recent end of season awards ceremony and turned down an offer from League Two side Rotherham to stay at Moss Lane. While Little, who finished as the club's top scorer during the recent campaign with 13 goals, has always made clear his desire to end an impressive career with the Robins... Graham Heathcote said: 'I'm really pleased that both Colin and Joe have committed their futures to the club. "Joe turned down bigger offers to stay here and he told me that he's now happier than he has ever been playing football. It's pleasing that players of this quality want to play at Altrincham Football Club'.
The club last week agreed a budget for the coming season. Relegation means that funds for players will remain tight and although new arrivals will be kept to a minimum, some of the current squad will still have to be released... Graham said: 'It's now about how we can improve the current squad for the coming season. It's going to be difficult with having to take a step back but it doesn't mean the players we have can't get this club back to where it wants to be. It's important the fans understand the loyalty this current group of players have shown to the club. Last season they weren't getting paid as much as other Conference clubs were paying and it will be the same next season. That's been the case for about three or four years now and that's massive in this day and age. When you are a football manager, the main thing you want to have is players who want to play for the club. In the past that wasn't the case because of the debt we had hanging over our heads. But now, because of the way we run things, you got positive vibes and players want to come and play for Altrincham FC again'".
PLAY-OFFSConference National Play-Off Semi-Finals
ALTRINCHAM FC JUNIORSPaul Roberts has kindly sent the website, the following news...
Juniors' Soccer FestivalOn Bank Holiday, the junior section of our club held its first mini soccer festival. Teams where invited from the local Timperley District League, to attend the under-9s & 10s festival, eight clubs were represented. The Alty Juniors proudly wore their new Alty 2007/08 kit and represented our club well. With the under-10s taking the cup with an impressive display, the under 9s' cup was won by Stretfordians B, with our under 9s finishing in third place. The junior section would like to thank everyone who took part and helped out with organising of this event.
And a special thank you to Graham Heathcote who presented the certificates and awards to all the players who took part.
Altrincham FC Juniors' Saturday Soccer Club
Please contact Chris on 0161-962-2369 for further details
Altrincham FC Juniors have applied for three girls' teams at Under 11s,12s & 13s, to be entered into the South Manchester Girls' Football League next season; we would welcome interested players to fill in the enquiry form on the main Juniors' page.
If you are in a different age group from the ones above, or would like to have fun and learn the art of the game, then you can join the Wednesday night session just for girls at Altrincham College of Arts. The meeting time for this session is 5.15pm to 6.15pm. Please contact Chris on 0161-962-2369 for further details.
YANKEE COLLECTOR NEEDEDAltrincham FC is keen to recruit a collector for the Saturday Yankee to cover the Broomwood area. If you are interested, please contact Jenny Heslop at the Club on 928 1045 during office hours.
IDEAS4ALTYIan Rosendaal has now set up a new website for his "Ideas 4 Alty" initiative. Please have a look at the site - and keep the ideas coming!
CONFERENCE NEWSAnd news that will surprise no one comes from the Crawley Observer. "Crawley Town FC will play in the Conference next season – after league bosses judged that the deadline to pay back creditors does not apply to the Reds. It was thought that if the Town's debtors (CVA) hadn't been reimbursed by Saturday May 12 the club would have been booted out of the league. But yesterday a club spokesman said the deadline, which could have seen Crawley play non-league football, doesn't apply to them. A statement issued by the club said: 'Crawley Town FC has been advised by the Football Conference Office that the deadline imposed upon us for completion of the CVA of May 12th 2007 does not stand. This rule applies to Clubs still in Administration, which Crawley Town came out of last November. We have been informed that Crawley Town FC will be eligible to join the Football Conference/Blue Square Premier for the 2007/08 season'. A club spokesman added: 'Both ourselves and Begbies Traynor continue to work hard to ensure completion of the CVA. Much of what we owed has already been paid off but we are still awaiting confirmation on exact figures outstanding before we can settle. The departure of [caretaker manager] John Yems has got nothing to do with this – it was just a decision which had to be made in the interests of the club'".
Earlier The Observer had stated, "Crawley Town have sacked joint-caretaker manager John Yems. It comes just one week after he helped Reds avoid relegation from the Nationwide Conference. Yems said: 'Fans on their website said I was the Majeeds' puppet - this clearly shows I was not. It is disappointing, especially after how hard we all worked. I don't think I did a bad job. I have no axe to grind and it is an amicable separation. I am leaving on good terms'. Crawley Town's owners Azwar and Chas Majeed have so far made no comment on why they dismissed him. The sacking comes just days before outstanding creditors must be paid around £300,000 to avoid Crawley Town being ejected from the Conference and the possibility of it being liquidated'. For more details see the Crawley in Crisis website.
However, The Argus reports that "Ben Judge and Dave Woozley are staying at Crawley - but not as managers. The two defenders have been offered one-year playing contracts after meeting club owners Chas and Azwar Majeed yesterday. But the manager's job is to be advertised, although Judge and Woozley have said they would be happy to assist the new boss. They helped Reds survive in the Conference after teaming up with John Yems to form a caretaker management trio last October when John Hollins was sacked. But after Yems was sacked on Monday, Judge and Woozley met the Majeeds to sort out their own futures. And afterwards Judge insisted they were happy to commit themselves to the club, who stayed up on the last day of the season despite incurring a ten-point deduction for going into administration. He said: 'They have offered us one-year playing contracts as a reward for helping to keep the club up this season. As far as a manager is concerned, I think they have their heart set on getting someone in. John only left on Monday but there have already been lots of applicants and I'm sure there will be plenty more interest. "The owners know our credentials and we won't be applying for the job. They know what we can do and if the new manager wants our help then we will be happy to give it.. After our meeting yesterday Dave and I met up with John and we wished each other all the best. Quite a few Conference managers have already been on the phone to me about the situation at the club. John has enhanced his own reputation by helping to keep the club up and hopefully he will get back into the game soon'".
. A club statement said: "We received a lot of applications last October but felt it important not to be rushed into an appointment and it was always our intention to address the situation again this summer. After discussions with John we felt it was in our best interests to seek a new manager... After the turbulent 12 months we have faced now is the time for everyone to pull in the same direction and push for our long-term goal which is the Football League". Meanwhile The Argus adds that "Midfielder Steve Evans has also signed a pre-contract agreement and will be back at the club next season along with Dannie Bulman and Tony Scully, who are already under contract. The club are scheduled to pay off their creditors under the terms of their CVA by the end of this week although their Conference status is not under threat. League rules state that clubs in administration on the second Saturday in May are not allowed to compete the following season, but the club came out of administration last November".
Halifax Today says that "Boss Chris Wilder has released four players as he starts preparations for the 2007-08 Conference campaign. Gus Uhlenbeek and Greg Strong were told yesterday that they would not be offered new deals and today strikers Shane Smeltz and Chris Senior have been allowed to leave the Shay. But Wilder has offered new contacts to Andy Campbell, Steve Haslam, Matt Doughty, Lewis Killeen, Tyrone Thompson and [ex-Alty winger] Steve Torpey... Senior was a member of the squad that reached the Conference play-off final 12 months ago and came off the bench at the Walkers Stadium. But he was unable to force his way into the side this term and spent the second half of the campaign on loan at Altrincham... Released: Uhlenbeek, Strong, Smeltz, Senior. Offered contracts: Campbell, Haslam, Doughty, Killeen, Thompson, Torpey. Agreed terms: Kearney, Quinn, Young. Contracted: Forrest, Stamp, Toulson, Mawson, Billy, Wright, Gray. To be decided: Foster".
The BBC states that "Rushden manager Garry Hill has placed four players on the transfer list as he continues to re-shape his squad. Midfielders Jon Ashton and Marcus Kelly and defenders Paul Watson and Glen Wilson have all been told they can go. Ashton and Kelly had rejected offers of new deals, while Watson and Wilson have been made available despite having 12 months to run on their contracts".
"Burton Albion have signed defender Tony James from Conference rivals Weymouth. The former Hereford man, 30, has agreed a two-year deal with the Brewers after ending a 12-month stay at Weymouth. James becomes the first summer signing for boss Nigel Clough", who has also signed Tamworth's John McGrath and Jake Edwards.
"Oxford United are set for major changes following their play-off loss with boss Jim Smith considering his own position. Smith told the Oxford Mail: 'I don't know about if I'll be continuing'... Oxford's defeat on penalties to Exeter City means budgets will be cut and the playing squad will be reduced for a second season in the Conference. Smith added: 'Things are going to have to change because we can't afford to go to the level we were at this season...Obviously there will be people that lose their jobs'" says the BBC.
"Midfielder Chris Holland is to stay at Southport, despite the club's relegation to Conference North. Holland, 31, who joined Port from Boston in January, has agreed a new contract at Haig Avenue and been made club captain by boss Peter Davenport. Davenport told the club website: 'He's a massive signing for us. It shows our fans we intend to have quality players in our full-time squad next season'. Defender Michael Powell, 21, has also agreed a new deal for next season" according to the BBC.
"Boston boss Steve Evans has pledged his commitment to the club following their relegation from the Football League. He had been tipped to join Chester following Mark Wright's departure. Evans told Boston's website: 'I have a contract at Boston and I will not be applying for the manager's job at Chester City or indeed a job anywhere'". United report that "manager Steve Evans has asked supporters to 'ignore the nonsense' and get ready for life in the Blue Square Premier League... Evans, speaking exclusively to bufc.co.uk, added: 'We may be back down a step in the football pyramid but if the people steering the ship get the football club financially stable, they can in turn put a budget in place for me to lead the team that wins promotion back to the Football League at the first time of asking. Regarding the points deduction for entering the CVA, the cut-off point is the end of the final game of the season. If a club enters into arrangement with its creditors before the end of the season, the 10-point deduction will relate to that season. But if it comes after the final game has finished, then the points deduction will be held over until the following season'... Evans said: 'As soon as the chairman confirms the budget, as a management team we will be very active indeed. The clock is already ticking and other clubs are already signing players and some of them would definitely be in our thoughts. However, with no budget we cannot talk to them or even the players we currently have. The first priority should be to get our current players and staff paid. I admit some of those are now in financial hardship and it's not good. I have confidence that our new prospective owners, Standing Alone, will make that happen shortly but for some of the players and staff who have contacted me, it cannot come soon enough... Those with mortgages are now not far away from having to sell their homes, but we all hope salaries get paid very soon. It is certainly not easy being manager at Boston United because at times like this all the players and staff look to me for answers and at this time I cannot give any'". Meanwhile "Boston United utility player Jamie Clarke has signed a one-year deal with Grimsby Town... Striker Drewe Broughton has returned to Chester City at the end of his season-long loan stay at the Staffsmart Stadium".
But "Defiant Boston United skipper Paul Ellender says he is ready to lead his side back into the Football League... York Street's record signing said, 'Of course we can come straight back... If we start winning in the Conference then the fans will come back and that will also give the players a boost'. And the United captain also said the post-match chanting of the Pilgrims fans, which the players could hear in the dressing room, has spurred the club on to want a swift return even more. Ellender still has another year left on his United contract and says he expects to stay at York Street. Normally the snarling, growling leader on the pitch, even Ellender was reduced to tears on Saturday after Boston's relegation was cemented... 'I'm taking a few days off to spend with the family. I'm with the kids right now; being with them helps me get over things more easily', he said. 'We're all gutted with what's happened. I've had loads of texts and voicemails from people offering me support'".
From IC Cheshire "Northwich Victoria chairman Mike Connett meets manager Steve Burr later this week to layout plans for the 2007/08 season... Manager Burr will be able to bank on a hard core of last season's top players with Kieron Charnock, Mike Carr, Kevin Townson and Jonny Allan all on two year contracts, although Allan will be missing until October recovering from a badly broken leg. Terms are expected to be offered to up to eight others of last season's squad... Burr believes the club need to make half a dozen good signings during the summer to make a bid for honours next season and expects to be helped by the relegation of Altrincham and Southport. He said: 'We've just had the worst run of injuries I have ever had to contend with in my managerial career. Without them I am convinced we would have been challenging for the play-offs. That has to be our aim next time'. Chief Executive Liz Wolstenholme have announced prices of admission to games at the Victoria Stadium next season, which show only a small overall increase and in several categories a freeze. Adults stand admission will be £14, season tickets £275, before May 31 £257, concessions £12, £225, £212 respectively. Ground admission for adults will be £12, season ticket £245, by May 31st £230. Executive club membership will cost £50, £45 concessions."
This is Weymouth says that "chairman Martyn Harrison has asked Terras' fans for 'patience' while he ties up negotiations concerning the club's future. A Press conference... has now been put back to next week".
CONFERENCE NORTH NEWSNL Daily says that Alfreton Town chairman Wayne Bradley says "We have had to be patient and wait for finalisation of a few personal matters behind the scenes but we expect to be ready to announce the club’s new manager by early next week".
"Tommy Cassidy, manager of Nationwide North club Workington, has urged his board to dig deep to help him build a team capable of reaching the Blue Square Premier next season. The Reds boss wants to add five quality signings, including a twenty-five-goal-a-season striker, to the squad that missed out on promotion in the play-off semi finals...'We need five quality, experienced players for next year - and we’ve got to spend money to bring quality players in. Without quality, you can only go so far - and we need to pay the players the right money'... Cassidy’s side paid the price for a lack of goals as they were beaten 2-1 at home by Hinckley United in front of 1,500 fans last Saturday, having drawn the away leg 0-0. 'I was devastated with the way we played on Saturday. But we’ve got nothing to fear next season. The teams coming down from the Conference National will be shell-shocked and next year is an ideal opportunity for us', he told the News and Star.
Meanwhile "The mass cull at Nationwide North club Barrow has started in lethal fashion. Barely a week after the end of a dreadful season, Bluebirds` boss Phil Wilson has swung the axe on five members of his squad. Ryan-Zico Black, Mike Eckersley, Steve Ridley, Mike Stringfellow and Alex Taylor will not be back next season... 'I just don’t think it has worked out with them for one reason or another', he told the NW Evening Mail
11 May 2007
TROPHY TIMESFor those who have booked on the Altrincham FC trip to the FA Trophy Final tomorrow at Wembley, it has been confirmed that the coach will depart from The Vine (Sale) at 8.10am, The Hare & Hounds (Timperley) at 8.20am, Station House, Altrincham at 8.25am and Moss Lane at 8.30am.
7 May 2007
UPDATESThe usual daily updates of this website are unlikely to be maintained over the next three days.
SEASON TICKETSDon't forget you get a discount of £10 on your season ticket if you buy it before the end of June. Details here
NEIL THOMASON TROPHY
Alty Youth were convincingly beaten 6-0 on Sunday afternoon at Moss Lane by Morecambe in the Neil Thomason Trophy Final. A match report is in the youth section.
Above; Morecambe lift the trophy. Below, Tom Barclay, the Alty captain, and goalkeeper Lewis Bishop receive their losers' awards.
END OF SEASON BALL AND DINNERFirst indications from Friday night's successful Altrincham FC End of Season Ball and Dinner indicated that around £8,000 was raised by the event. The club would like to thank everyone who contributed to this magnificent outcome.
CONFERENCE NEWSCuriously the Sunday Telegraph's preview of next Saturday's FA Trophy Final advises fans to "Look out for Stevenage's goal-mad Steve Morison. Odd fact: his club has a higher average gate (3,000) than some teams in Italy's Serie B." However, Terry Rowley's attendance chart has their average home gate as 2,126.
Bullsnews reports that "The Football League have again poured doubt on Boston's CVA plan. With news spreading that the 10 point deduction was already in place, FL spokesman John Nagle denied this was the case, telling the press: "Boston United have been relegated from the Football League on merit. In these circumstances discussions with regards to the club's insolvency situation will continue in conjunction with the other relevant football authorities".
OLD BOYAustralian 442 reports that "Scoring the goal that effectively won Melbourne Victory the A-League title couldn't keep supersub striker James Robinson in the squad. Robinson's last gasp winner in the final moments of the major semi-final against Adelaide saved Victory from a morale-crushing defeat and gave them the home advantage for the Grand Final. But Victory today revealed Robinson was one of three players being released by the club... 'In James’s case, it is an issue with him being a visa player, so he can consider himself very unlucky'" said a club spokesman. But elsewhere the same site says that "Former Melbourne Victory striker James Robinson has revealed that he will sign for a club called Adelaide Galaxy at the end of the year".
6 May 2007
GOALS GALOREGrahame Rowley announces that the "End of Season DVD will be available from the club shop as from Thursday 10th May priced at £15 Everyone who has pre-ordered a copy can collect it from the office from that date. Other paid for copies will be posted out. Any remaining copies will be available as from Monday 14th May Thank You for your support Grahame Rowley".
ANOTHER POINTS DEDUCTION FARCEThe BBC reports that "A second-half fightback secured Wrexham's Football League status but Boston were condemned to the drop. Boston, who lost 3-1, entered into a Company Voluntary Arrangement before the game but it has yet to be confirmed if they have been deducted 10 points... [ex-Alty defender] Paul Ellender went close for Boston, but in the last minutes Chris Llewellyn and Mike Proctor won it for Wrexham... The Pilgrims' directors, knowing relegation was all but certain in the closing stages of the match, swiftly entered the club into a Company Voluntary Arrangement [CVA] before the game had ended. The financial rescue package is similar to administration and will safeguard the club's future. Boston chief executive Barrie Pierpoint said: 'We have entered into a CVA to keep the club alive and, with myself and chairman Jim Rodwell working on new marketing and commercial strategies, we are looking at getting Boston clear of debt in a couple of years'. Boston, who have been kicked out of their own training facilities and forced to travel to away games in cars, were backed by 450 travelling supporters".
Before the game, the BBC said, "The Football League has written to Boston United ahead of Saturday's crucial League Two match at fellow relegation-threatened side Wrexham... The letter hints that the League reserve the right to decide when any deduction would take place. The League is also concerned that there is 'little prospect' of football creditors being paid in full under the CVA - which is a requirement of the League's articles and insolvency policy. Proposed modifications put forward by the League to resolve the issue were rejected - at 'great concern' to the League... The timing of any 10-point deduction (called "sporting sanctions" by the League) would be crucial to the survival hopes of Boston ... Reports have claimed that if Boston were losing and looking set to be relegated to the Conference anyway, they could attempt to enter the CVA during the game - and suffer the 10-point deduction immediately which would have little effect in real terms. However, if they beat Wrexham and stay up, they could delay the CVA until after the season is over in order to take the 10-point deduction next season in League Two... On Friday, Leeds United - all but relegated from the Championship - went into administration with their 10-point deduction imposed immediately, allowing them to start next season in League One on zero points".
Bullsnews excplains that "The Football League have warned Boston that the club must pay its footballing creditors in full ahead of its proposed CVA.... A statement on the Football League website states: '"Whilst The Football League put forward modifications to resolve this issue, these were rejected by the creditors. This causes great concern to The Football League because it is a requirement of the League's Articles and Insolvency Policy that football creditors are paid in full. Secondly, the letter reserves the League's position with regard to the date of application of Sporting Sanctions. These matters will now be considered by The Football League's Board of Directors'".
Before Saturday's defeat at Wrexham, The Times reported on Boston United's plans to evade the consequences of a CVA. At the match "Jim Rodwell will sit, a lawyer by his side. Rodwell is the chairman of Boston United. If his team do not beat Wrexham, they will almost certainly be relegated to nonLeague football... Rodwell, a former Boston defender, was third on the television show Britain’s Brainiest Footballer. Smart? He had better be. Boston are more than £3 million in debt, most of which is owed to their holding company, Lavaflow, and the Revenue & Customs. Other creditors include the British Red Cross, eight football clubs and the Boston Anorak Company, which made Boston Barmy Army T-shirts for last year’s World Cup. This week, creditors and shareholders agreed in principle that the club should enter a Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA). Similar to administration, it will give those owed money 47p in the pound. It will also, under League rules, cost Boston ten points. So Rodwell has a decision to make: enter the CVA before the final whistle and the club lose the points this season, or wait and let the deduction apply to the next campaign. Rodwell will gauge the flow of play and decide whether to call the club’s insolvency practitioners and prematurely cut off Boston’s Coca-Cola League Two existence in the interests of starting life level with everyone else next season in the Blue Square Premier, the Nationwide Conference having attracted new sponsors. If Boston are losing? May as well go down with 36 points as 46. If Rodwell has dialled and the team mount an astonishing late comeback? Whoops. Pressure? 'Oh yeah', Rodwell said. 'We’ll see. Anything can happen'... The Football League has written to Boston expressing 'great concern'because the CVA does not allow for paying football creditors in full – a League requirement. The League’s board of directors will meet and the club could face stricter sanctions... Boston’s average annual salary is about £35,000. The squad trained for only three days this week because some players could not afford to travel. 'We talked about just turning up for the game, but it’s the last throw of the dice so we stuck together', player Ernie Cooksey said .'A lot of the lads are on their knees. We need the money to pay our mortgages and feed our kids'. Boston last filled their substitutes’ bench on March 10 and probably will not today as there are only 11 fit senior professionals... Yesterday, as normal, the FA paid Sven-Göran Eriksson £6,500 not to manage England".
CONFERENCE NEWSAs Boston go down, the issue of who goes up to the Conference National progressed as the play-off semi-final second legs took place on Saturday. NL Daily reports that "The Nationwide North Play-Off Final at Burton Albion`s Pirelli Stadium will be between arguably the outsiders - Farsley Celtic and Hinckley United - following Saturday`s semi finals" - as it was when Alty met Kettering in the Northern play-off in 2005. "A crowd of 1,519 at Borough Park saw the hosts Workington go a goal behind 2 minutes before half time when Leon Jackson put the Knitters ahead. The interval team talk by Reds` boss Tommy Cassidy went straight out of the window as United went two-up just 2 minutes into the second period through on-loan Colin Marrison. Three minutes from time Workington did manage a response from Dave Hewson, but it was too little too late... They will meet Farsley Celtic, who held the full-timers and favourites Kettering Town to a goalless draw over 120 minutes at the newly-named A-Line Stadium in front of a crowd of 2,033, before winning the penalty shoot-out 4-2".
There was also success for the lower-finishing sides in the UniBond play-offs. "Eastwood Town caused something of a surprise by beating favourites Cammell Laird to take their place in the UniBond League Premier Division next season after winning the Division One Play-Off Final on Saturday on Merseyside. Laird finished a place and seven points ahead of the Badgers in the league, and it was the hosts who deservedly took a 57th minute lead through Ronnie Morgan. However, 10 minutes from time Peter Knox pulled the visitors back on level terms and with extra-time looming, Chris Shaw tried a speculative 35-yard effort that flew past the Laird keeper and into the net! "
Likewise, "AFC Telford United will be plying their trade in Nationwide (Blue Square) North next season after winning the UniBond League Premier Division Play-Off Final at Wincham Park on Saturday against Witton Albion. Lee Moore gave the visitors a great start with he opening goal inside the first minute of the game. That was how the score remained until 20 minutes from time when Albion`s long-serving Brian Pritchard popped up with the equaliser. Carl Rodgers responded by restoring Telford`s lead 10 minutes later and then a good majority of the 2,281 crowd erupted when Steve Foster made sure with the visitors` third in stoppage time".
"The Nationwide South Play-Off Final at Stevenage Borough`s Broadhall Way on Sunday, May 13th will be between Salisbury City and Barintree Town".
Following their promotion ot League Two, "Dagenham & Redbridge have had three players named in the England National Game squad for the Four Nations Tournament this month. Leading scorer Paul Benson is joined by Glen Southam and Anwar Uddin in boss Paul Fairclough's eighteen-man squad for the tournament in Scotland. However, six English squad members - all from Oxford, Exeter, York and Morecambe - are involved in the Conference play-offs. The play-off final at Wembley is scheduled to be played two days before Wales start the defence of their title against hosts Scotland, while England open against the Republic of Ireland. England National Game XI squad:
5 May 2007
GOOD IDEASApologies that the email address quoted in yesterday's news (below) for Ian Rosendaal, though stated correctly was incorrectly linked. It should be email@example.com.
STAFF v SUPPORTERSA match report and photographs from Thursday's Staff v Supporters' game at Moss Lane is here.
Pictured right is the Supporters' management team: Martin Jordan and Mark Eckersall.
ALTY YOUTHS' SUCCESSAlty Youth team play in the Neil Thomason Trophy Final at Moss Lane tomorrow (Sunday) at 2pm so please come along and support them as they take on Morecambe. Entry is just £2 (£1 for concessionaries).
Youth team boss George Heslop informs the website that:
Aquinas College, Stockport, became the English Colleges' under-19s champions by beating Yeovil Town's academy side 2-1 in the Colleges' Final. In the semi-final they beat Middlesbrough College, champions for the past two seasons, 5-1. In the Stockport side, Altrincham FC were represented by three players who are still young enough for next season's youth team games. They are goalkeeper Stefan Fielding, central midfielder Danny Browne and striker Tom Bailey.
CONFERENCE NEWSNews of three clubs in the process of changing manager... Firstly, the BBC says that "Woking have released club captain Neil Smith, following the appointment of Frank Gray as manager. Smith, 35, stepped up to act as caretaker player-boss after the sacking of Glenn Cockerill, and helped to keep the Cards in the Conference. However, he then missed out on landing the job full-time. 'I'm in shock. It's really hurt me. I thought I could have been treated a little better', the former Reading man told BBC Southern Counties Radio. I'm not saying they should have shown loyalty to me, but I don't feel I have had any praise for what I did to help the club in a sticky situation'".
Meanwhile, "Managerless Aldershot have released veteran forward Marcus Gayle, along with Phil Anderson, Karl Beckford, Andy Edwards and Mark Pritchard. Mark Molesley, Ricky Newman and Ryan Williams have been offered one-year contracts at the Recreation Ground. But Darren Barnard and Louis Wells must wait for the new manager's arrival before their future is determined. However, Nikki Bull, Rhys Day, Jonny Dixon, John Grant, Dean Smith and Louie Soares will all be back next season. Kirk Hudson, Ryan Scott [who broke his leg at Moss Lane, last week] and Dave Winfield also recently signed new deals with the Shots".
And the third managerless club is the subject of a piece on Confguide. "Clarence Park could be set for a player exodus following St Albans' relegation as the club are still some way from finding a new manager. Chairman John Gibson claims he "has no idea" when he will be able to name the successor to Colin Lippiatt, who has moved to Woking as their new director of football. Tom Davis and Paul Bastock, who are two of the club's nine contracted players, have already handed in transfer requests as they do not intend to stick around. 'I was hoping to get the new manager in place before the end of the season but that hasn't happened', said Gibson".
CONFERENCE NORTH NEWSThe Redditch Advertiser says that "Boss Gary Whild has wasted no time in building what he hopes will be a Redditch United side capable of challenging for Conference North honours next season. Within minutes of Saturday's final whistle at the end of a last day 4-1 defeat to Farsley Celtic, the gloom around the Valley Stadium was lifted with news that influential striker Carl Heggs had agreed to sign up for another season. The 36-year-old arrived at the club at the start of March promising that he would lift United clear of relegation. Heggs netted a debut goal in the 2-0 defeat of Nuneaton Boro, a win that began the 12-game unbeaten run that steered them to safety. 'We have secured the services of Carl Heggs for next season, so that's obviously a massive step in the right direction for the club', Whild revealed. 'Everyone's pleased as he has done well for the club since he's come here. We'd gone 12 unbeaten before today and Heggsie has been a big part of that since he has come in - both in the dressing room and on the pitch'. Only last week the former West Brom and Swansea striker said he needed time before committing to another season but added that he had been surprised by the ability of the players at the Valley Stadium club... That is a view echoed by his manager who doesn't want a repeat of such a nerve-wracking run-in. 'Hopefully this time next season then we will have a shout of the play-offs', Whild said. "This league is competitive but there is no reason why we shouldn't be up there'".
The Worcester News says that "Des Lyttle and Tom Warmer have been released by Worcester City. Andy Preece has taken the shock decision to let club captain Lyttle leave after budget cuts at St George's Lane. Preece had considered appointing the former Nottingham Forest defender as assistant manager but feels the money would be better spent on a playing replacement. The move brings to an end the skipper's second stint at the club, following a spell in the earlier 1990s, and he made 159 Worcester appearances in total. Warmer departs to make way for a new face in City's midfield... Preece, who will remain player-manager, said: 'The budget has been cut from what it was last year. It is probably a senior player short on last year. It's the position that the club is in. They have got to be as prudent as they can. It's no good moaning about it, that's the reality. I was considering keeping Des as assitant player-manager but to bring an extra player in within the budget I had to free that money up. We will be aiming again for that top-10 finish and see where that takes us. Des will be leaving. That was a very difficult decision because I think he has been a great example to all the younger lads and has been a great servant to the football club. Shabir Khan, Nick Colley, George Clegg, Gary Walker, Danny Hodnett, Troy Wood and Shaun Findlay are mulling over contract offers, while the rest of the squad, including new signing Rapinder Gill, remain under contract. As for Warmer, the manager said: 'It was a difficult decision. Tom has done OK over the two years but we have not achieved what I wanted to achieve. He works his socks off in training and in the game. We just needed a little bit more from him this season. To bring someone in, someone has had to go'. Chairman Dave Boddy said: 'It's a similar budget to this season. There's a lot made of budgets but there are teams who made the play-offs on smaller budgets and there are teams below us who spent more'".
PLAY OFF FIRST LEG RESULTS
MORE CONFERENCE NEWSThe Oxford Mail tells us that "Talks are now under way between Oxford United and Oxford University over a partnership to buy the U's football stadium. When Nick Merry took over as chairman from Firoz Kassam last year, Mr Kassam retained ownership of the £13m stadium and rented it back to the club. Yesterday Mr Merry's business partner, Ian Lenagan, revealed the details of his plan which he hopes will enable the club to afford to buy the stadium within three years. Mr Lenagan, who owns 50 per cent of Woodstock Partners Ltd, which owns Oxford United, told the Oxford Mail talks were starting with Oxford University, regarding the partnership deal. The pair cannot afford to buy the stadium itself and so are looking at radical partnership plans to complete the deal. With the proposal involving the university, lecture theatres, classrooms, and educational facilities for sports management and sports development courses would be constructed beneath the Oxford Mail stand. The club would then own the stadium outright, with the university taking out a 15 to 25 year lease on the sports development facilities. Talks are also taking place with an organisation in the Far East to discuss the possibility of constructing a language school for foreign students beneath the Oxford Mail stand. A partnership deal is also being discussed with a third organisation, another educational establishment, but it is understood that it is not Oxford Brookes University. Mr Lenagan added: 'We need to create the position where we have two to three potential partners'. He explained that it was not a viable option to buy the stadium from Mr Kassam for £13m because the annual interest, £910,000, would hit the club's finances. At last week's fans' forum, Mr Lenagan, for so long the 'silent partner' at Oxford United, introduced himself to fans and unveiled a series of ambitious plans to revitalise the club... They do not depend upon promotion out of the Conference. But the Harlequins Rugby League chairman's cautious business approach is balanced by high hopes for the team and he added: 'Within the next five to 10 years we want to be in the Championship at least - you have to have ambitions and aspirations'. He estimated that it would cost between £1.5m to £2m to build the necessary facilities beneath the Oxford Mail stand, with the option of building a fourth stand on the open side of the ground as part of longer-term plans. A spokesman for Oxford University was unable to confirm that talks are taking place but would be unaware of the details if talks are taking place with an individual college".
The Comet says that "Stevenage Boro fans heading to Wembley for the FA Carlsberg Cup Final face a difficult journey home if they are contemplating going by rail. Engineering works by Network Rail start on the line into King's Cross at 2.15pm, the time the big game at Wembley kicks off a week on Saturday. But by the time fans return home they will face a much longer time journey with buses being used to ferry them between Alexandra Palace and Hertford North back to Stevenage... The football club says it will have at least 50 official coaches going to the match and another 100 will be going carrying groups organised by pubs and clubs around the town and anticipate 25,000 Boro fans making the trip". Altrincham FC will also be sending a full coach!
This is Weymouth states that Terras' "boss Jason Tindall has told his players to talk to any team taking an interest in them. The 29-year-old held a meeting with his squad earlier this week and explained that he will not be able to offer them anything until an announcement is made about the club's future. All the players' contracts run out this summer and rivals of the Terras will no doubt be keen to try and prise some of them away. Tindall said: 'I have told the lads that once an announcement is made I will be able to put things in front of him. I cannot make any decisions or sacrifices until I know what the budget is going to be'. When asked whether an announcement is imminent, Tindall added: 'I believe something could be out by the end of the week but we shall just have to wait and see. Talking to the lads as a player, as well as a manager, I have also told them to talk to any club showing an interest in them to see what they are offering. They cannot be expected to wait two or three weeks to see what is going on here because that is not fair. At the end of the day they have got to look after themselves. Some of them have families and they have got to do what is right for them. Once I am in a position to offer them something I will'".
MORE CONFERENCE NORTH NEWSFrom the Northants Evening Telegraph we hear that "Kettering Town remain on course for promotion after coming from behind to draw their Conference North play-off semi-final first leg match. The Poppies went behind to a 17th minute goal at Farsley Celtic on Wednesday night, but a 75th minute Brett Solkhon equaliser put the Rockingham Road outfit in pole position with the home leg to come on Saturday. In the other semi-final first leg Hinckley United drew 0-0 with Workington".
Alfreton Town say that "With speculation sweeping through the ranks of Alfreton Town fans as to who will be the club’s next manager, it is fair to say that whoever is appointed will have a tough task next season. The end of the season has seen the Reds being joined in Blue Square North by Altrincham, Tamworth and Southport, all relegated from the Conference national, and they will all bring big experience with them of knowing exactly what it takes to get out of the division. The trio also had average gates of 1166, 1200 and 1273 respectively. Coming into the division from the UniBond Premier Division are champions Burscough who saw off AFC Telford’s massive resources, and either Witton Albion or Telford who are in this Saturday’s play off final. And the Burscough manager Liam Watson also knows his way around the division having guided Southport to promotion a couple of seasons ago. All three relegated clubs have far bigger resources than Alfreton and Southport have confirmed this week that they are retaining full time status.If Kettering don’t achieve promotion via this season’s play offs, that means there will be two full time outfits in Blue Square North next season. And if Telford win the play offs they will no doubt add to their already huge average attendance of 2,276 per home game this season just ended. They had a staggering highest of 5,710 for their final home league game. Nuneaton Borough will also be a different proposition in terms of expenditure on the playing side next time around following a move to a new ground which has reportedly wiped out their debts. Burscough’s average league gate this season was 339 with Witton’s 390.
Alfreton ended on 296 from their 21 league games and will go into the 2007/08 season knowing that at least half the division will be paying double and treble what the Reds are able to on squad budget per week. Whoever is named the new Alfreton manager will obviously have their work cut out and it is going to need the whole club and community to show a great togetherness if the Reds are to just stay in the division never mind progress further. It is going to be a tougher division and the club have to step up another level to be able to compete at it".
Barrow report that "Following a meeting with Manager Phil Wilson last night, the Board of Directors can confirm that Phil will be the manager for the forthcoming season. During the meeting Phil outlined his hopes and aspirations for the season, and reiterated his desire to bring success to Barrow AFC. The Board then retired to discuss matters in private before coming to a decision".
At Blyth Spartans "All the players and officials of Blyth Spartans Football Club would like to thank everyone for their support over the last season. Due to holidays, this website will not be updated until the Summer, when we will announce Blyth's pre-season fixtures".
Hinckley United report that in their play-off match, United and "Workington drew 0-0 in a tense and physical game at the Marston Stadium. Both sides were very evenly matched, as league records would suggest, and there wasn't a lot to seperate them on the night. Workington, who many Hinckley fans had agreed looked the best footballing side at the Marston's this season, this time decided to play a very physical, long ball game. Hinckley were up to the challenge which made for an entertaining game, if not a very good quality match. Sometimes Workington were too physical and will count themselves lucky to finish with 11 men, even with 6 of their players receiving yellow cards".
The Heartland Evening News says that "Nuneaton Boro midfielder Mark Noon is preparing for a gruelling pre-season schedule after successful back surgery. The 23-year-old vice-captain underwent an operation in Bordeaux two weeks ago to repair a double prolapsed disc injury. After being dogged with a back complaint from as early as December of last year, the former Sky Blues' trainee has not played for the club since February 3, when he scored in a 2-1 win over Blyth Spartans".
Meanwhile, "Hinckley United striker Leon Kelly has been fined two weeks wages and banned for five games following his third dismissal of the season on Saturday. The former Nuneaton Boro striker reacted angrily to a Blyth Spartans' player, raising his hands a'" said manager Dean Thomas. 'He will be ruled out of the final now if we get there and that could significantly affect our chances of getting into the Conference National'. The gate for the Farsley v Kettering play-off was 1,621 and for Hinckley v Workington it was 1,092.
A new ground for Alty next season will be Damson Park, the home till now of Solihull Borough, who have now merged with Moor Green as Solihull Moors. The Moor Green website says that "The board of Solihull Moors FC have announced admission and season ticket prices for season 2007/08. Adult admission will be £9-00 Concessions will be £4-00".
Worcester City have announced their retained list.
"Andy Preece says Worcester City will continue to battle against the odds until they move to a new ground" according to The Worcester News. "City face another season in Nationwide North after seeing their slim play-off hopes dashed... Manager Preece believes City, who finished ninth after results went against them, have punched above their weight this season and thinks their situation will not get any better while they remain at St George's Lane. He said: 'We have improved on last season in taking it to the last game. We have just got to improve again next year and, if we do, surely we'll be in the play-offs as a minimum. I think for what the budget is, we've finished in about the right position and almost made it into that top five. We've done OK this season, have made improvement and we will just see what the budget holds. I would love to have a budget where I can say if we don't finish in the top five then I've not done my job but I don't think that's going to happen somehow. The problem is we are getting a mid-range budget so you have got to over-achieve to get where we've got to. Everybody knows the situation at the club and it needs someone to invest. Teams like Droylsden can just go and get a player when they need one and that's the difference. But the club can't gamble and I totally understand that. We've been talking about it for years and years, but until the ground gets sorted I just don't see the situation changing..You can go back to lots of games where we've lost 1-0".
4 May 2007
GOOD IDEASThough he is now working in Kent, former Moss Lane regular Ian Rosendaal still gets to as many Altrincham matches as he can - and still has the interests of the club at heart, Ian has come up with a good idea which he has e-mailed to the website. He writes:
"Unlike previous occasions when we have been relegated I feel we are prepared for the task ahead and this will stand us in good stead for the forthcoming season. The purpose of my email is to advise you of a simple (but hopefully effective) initiative which I've come up with. It's a huge coincidence that Geoff Goodwin spoke [this week] of the need for supporters to keep coming up with ideas for fundraising because yesterday I set up an email address: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The purpose of this email address is to give people the opportunity to put forward any ideas they have relating to Altrincham F.C. These may be fundraising ideas, but in addition to this people can send any ideas they like, ranging from increasing home attendances to improving facilities. I am of the opinion that collecting ideas in this constructive way will enable us to collate good ideas and take them to the board of the football club to be discussed in a constructive and productive fashion. I am hoping to have prominent links to this email address placed on the official website, along with the STAR website and Fans' Forum. People can mail ideas anonymously if they wish and ideas can be as big or small as people wish. Don't be afraid to come forward! I am very excited about this idea and hope it can help the club to continue to move forward".
For the third season in succession, the Supporters (pictured above) beat the Altrincham FC Staff side last night but, once again, it took a penalty shoot-out to separate the sides. After 90 minutes of entertaining football, the score was 0-0, despite the Staff side hitting the woodwork twice but in the shootout both sides missed twice in the first five attempts, before Alty chairman Geoff Goodwin's spot-kick hit the cross-bar and the Supporters completed a 4-3 win. Alty manager Graham Heathcote played in the second half and netted a penalty for the Staff side, which was managed by Dalton Steele. Report and pictures to follow.
CONFERENCE NEWSWoking "have named ex-Scotland defender Frank Gray as their new manager, reports BBC Southern Counties Radio. He replaces Glenn Cockerill, who was sacked in March along with his assistant Matt Crossley after more than four years in the post. Gray previously managed Darlington, and more recently took Farnborough to the Conference South play-offs, before a brief spell at Grays last year. He is one of four different managers Grays have had this season. Gray had also been linked with the vacancy at Woking's local rivals Aldershot". The Cards add that "Woking Football Club are delighted to announce the appointment, with immediate effect, of Frank Gray as the new first team manager, along with Gerry Murphy as his number two. Both will be full-time at the club".
OLD BOYSBoston Today says that "Boston United go into Saturday's relegation decider with Wrexham knowing their destiny lies in their own hands and [ex-Alty defender] Paul Ellender can't wait. The Pilgrims'captain knows it is crunch time, but he is licking his lips in anticipation of this winner-takes-all clash. The premise is simple: whoever wins will stay in the Football League. If the two sides were to draw then Macclesfield would have to lose 5-0 at home to Notts County for both Boston and Wrexham to be assured of survival. But no-nonsense Ellender is ready to slay the Dragons. He said: 'I'm looking forward to it. Footballers dream of playing in big, important games and you can't get much more important than this. It's great to be involved in something like this, and I'm going there confident. There's no pressure on us. They're the home side and will be feeling it a lot more in front of their own fans'. After 11 weeks without pay and having training sessions cancelled because players cannot afford to drive themselves to town you would be excused for thinking the Amber and Blacks have had about enough. But Ellender says that is not the case. He says the United squad are a proud bunch and want to keep the club away from the drop. 'There has been a lot going on this year', he adds. 'But that has brought us all closer together. It makes us want to get a result even more'. It was five years ago that Ellender held the Nationwide Conference winners' trophy aloft after captaining United to the championship on the final day. He continued: "I think Saturday is more important. The club has not been in a great situation this season, but things will feel a lot rosier if we end up in the Football League'".
CONFERENCE NEWSThe Northwich Guardian reports that "Mike Connett says the deal with Manchester United has secured the club's future. Last week the Guardian revealed the Red Devils' reserves will play their home matches at the Victoria Stadium next season, and Vics are set to reap the benefit. 'I think it's phenomenal', said Connett. 'You just don't know what sort of opportunities this could provide for us'. Brian McClair's men will play their matches on Thursday evenings. With fixtures in the FA Premier Reserve League North, the FA Youth Cup, the Manchester Senior Cup and the Lancashire Senior Cup, they could play more than a dozen times in Wincham."
The Burton Mail says that "Top-scorer Daryl Clare has agreed to spearhead another Burton Albion promotion bid next season. The 18-goal striker shook hands on a new one-year deal with manager Nigel Clough last night. The Brewers' boss hailed Clare's decision to stay at the Pirelli Stadium as a 'major boost' only days after seeing his side agonisingly miss out on the Nationwide Conference play-offs. Clough told Mail Sport: 'The fact that Daryl wants to stay because he thinks we have a chance of going one better next season is brilliant news for the club and our supporters'. Clare was a major acquisition for the Brewers 14 months ago after he won his release from Crawley Town for contractual reasons... Clough said: 'The great thing about having Daryl on board is not only his ability, but the message he sends out in terms of us trying to bring in other players... It's not just the 18 goals he scored, but the quality of the them that has impressed us... Clare said: 'I want to be part of a successful club, and I don't see any reason why we shouldn't be up there fighting for promotion again next season. It was disappointing to miss out on the play-offs, but you have to be resilient and come back stronger the next season. I think we're capable of doing that, especially as I think the manager intends to bring in a big target man, which should benefit me and the whole team. Burton is a forward looking club that's well run by good people and has a top manager. They are the ingredients you need for a successful club instead of being in a major panic like some clubs who throw money at the golden nugget of the Football League'... Versatile Andy Corbett has joined midfielder Danny Holmes and Clare in agreeing a new one-year deal, while skipper Darren Stride is close to agreeing terms. The Brewers' boss also offered new terms to midfield general Paul Carden, winger Marc Goodfellow and striker Jon Shaw... Veteran defender Darren Tinson and midfielder Andy Ducros have been invited back on short-term deals. Clough said: 'Tinno has been absolutely brilliant in the last couple of years but we can't ignore the fact that he's going to be 38 next season. We are also trying to bring in another centre half, so it would not be right for the club at this stage to offer him another year. We would like him to come back pre-season and see how it goes from there because we've offered short-term deals to players before and they've ended up staying the season. The same applies to Andy Ducros. He's had an up-and-down season and he needs to come back and convince us he is worth a longer contract'. Longer-serving Terry Henshaw and injury-plagued striker Steve Scoffham have not been offered terms, but have also been invited to join in pre-season training".
3 May 2007
GEOFF CLARIFIES THINGSFollowing the report in SAM earlier this week, (see below) Alty chairman Geoff Goodwin has clarified his view on the club's relegation from Conference National. Geoff has confirmed that he would have liked the club to have retained its Conference National status and to play at the highest level achievable but he is determined to look positively at the consequences of being relegated to the Conference (Blue Square) northern division. Having attracted the best attendances to Moss Lane for 16 seasons during 2006-07, the Alty chairman is keen to retain the vast majority of those spectators next season. He points out that, even if we had stayed up, the new counter-attraction of live weekly Blue Square Premier matches on Setanta TV next season may have impacted negatively on our gates in any case. But with supporters having been well entertained by the games at Moss Lane in the past season, he is hopeful that they will continue to come and watch live, untelevised football in their numbers at Moss Lane next season.
STAFF v SUPPORTERSTonight (Thursday) sees the annual Altrincham FC Staff v Supporters match at Moss Lane. Kick off is 7.30pm and entry is free. The Supporters have been in serious training - and the Staff side have not!
Neil Faulkner of Robinsons Preservation, generous sponsors of Altrincham FC, writes: "My company is playing a game at Moss Lane on Tuesday 8th May at 7.30. Last season the same fixture - Robinsons XI 4 V Altrincham XI 2 was a very entertaining game and this year will be expected to be the same, with Grahame Rowley’s boys looking for revenge. Robinsons have a player who has had trials with the youth Team this season and hopefully one of George Heslop’s Youth team from 2003 -04 (Vernum Rowland) who played in the first team for half a dozen games". All spectators are welcome.
GRAHAM STAYING - BUT WE ALL NEED TO DO OUR BITAltrincham chairman Geoff Goodwin has informed the website that at this week's Board meeting, Alty manager Graham Heathcote offered to step down as manager following the club's relegation. However, the Board immediately rejected any idea of Graham departing, given his achievements over the last four and a half years in taking the club from the UniBond North to the Conference National. They feel that Graham and assistant manager Dalton Steele are well qualified to take the club forward once again, next season, at Conference North (Blue Square Northern) level.
But Geoff Goodwin has underlined the need for all supporters to commit themselves to the cause next season. He points out that whilst there is to be income deriving from the development of the Moss Lane car park, this will not mean that the playing budget will be large next season. Indeed, a number of clubs in Nationwide North next season are likely to have larger budgets than Altrincham, who will have to adjust to smaller attendance income and the loss of money from television and other sources which feeds through to Blue Square Premier (Conference National) clubs. So Geoff is calling on all fans to lend their support to the Club's social and fundraising events . If supporters have ideas for fundraising they are encouraged to put them into practice themselves, as there is a limit to what the Board alone can do. Geoff emphasized that all of the Board are volunteers who derive no financial benefit form their positions - in fact, the contrary applies! The chairman sees next season as very important as everyone needs to show commitment to the club despite its reduced status on the field. Geoff indicated that around £100,000 needs to be raised, above and beyond gate money, to ensure that the club competes with the top clubs in the new division. "We've over-achieved over the last few years", said Geoff, and we now need to adjust to our new circumstances.
CALLING STAR GOAL SPONSORSSTAR reminds Altrincham supporters that "Alty's goal and clean sheet sponsors have raised a total of £1370.45 this season, with 55 goals being scored, 12 clean sheets, 1 Stuart Coburn penalty save, 13 Colin Little goals and 4 Rod Thornley goals all contributing to the total. Jon Stack will shortly be in touch with all goal and clean sheet sponsors with news of the superb framed Alty action photographs, which they will receive for being sponsors this season, and to let each sponsor know how much they have raised. All cheques should be made payable to Altrincham FC and sent to Jon at 86 Main Road, Wigginton, Tamworth, Staffs. B79 9DZ, or handed in at the Club. Many thanks to all the sponsors who have taken part".
WEMBLEY BOUNDAltrincham vice-chairman Grahame Rowley has confirmed that the tickets for the FA Trophy for those going on the Club's coach trip to Wembley on May 12th have now been successfully purchased. The coach leaves Moss Lane at 8.30am on match-day. The tickets, in Wembley Stadium Area 506, were acquired via Kidderminster Harriers so don't come in your Stevenage gear! Grahame asks people to pay him for their tickets and coach fares as soon as possible. He is happy to receive cash (but not by post) or cheques (made payable to Grahame Rowley). The ticket prices are - adults £20, children under-16 £10 and the coach fare is £20 per person.
SEND RYAN A MESSAGEAldershot's Ryan Scott sadly broke his leg in the closing stages of Saturday's match against Altrincham. Alty vice-chairman Grahame Rowley has received a message from Alty fan Anthony Wright, as follows: Aldershot's Ryan Scott is currently in Wythenshawe Hospital awaiting an operation on his broken leg. My mum who works in the Hospital Pharmacy spoke to him on his ward today and he seems to be in good spirits ahead of the op. which seems to be due to take place on Thursday. Following on from the Aldershot fans' touching gesture of applauding our players at the end of Saturdays match, I was just wondering if anyone from the club had any messages of support for Ryan Scott that, if necessary, I can give my mum to take to Ryan Scott on his ward? If so please let me know. Please e-mail your messages to Grahame Rowley for transmission to Anthony.
For its part the Altrincham FC website would like to wish Ryan a full and speedy recovery and to express the hope that he will be back in action as soon as possible in the new season.
MOSS LANE GATESTerry Rowley has supplied the website with the final Conference National attendance statistics for 2006-07 i.e. excluding the play-offs. As previously reported the Moss Lane average gate was the highest since 1990-91. The following related links may also be of interest:
N.W. NEWSIn last night's UniBond Premier play-off semi-final at Telford, the NL Daily says that "A crowd of 2,657 were at the New Bucks Head to see AFC Telford United go through to Saturday`s UniBond League Premier Division play-off final after a controversial victory over Marine on Tuesday night. The game turned as a result of two highly controversial penalty decisions. With just 14 minutes remaining, [ex-Alty captain] Eddie Hussin seemed to tangle with a Telford player. After some delay the referee gave a penalty and Lee Moore scored from the spot. Then, with 10 minutes to go, Moore went over in the box with James Dever in attendance who appeared to be just jockeying the striker. But to everyone’s amazement – including the Telford players - the referee pointed to the spot and Moore again converted. Telford will travel to Wincham Park for the final after Witton Albion finally overcame Matlock Town after extra-time 4-2 in Tuesday`s other semi final".
Meanwhile "The UniBond League Division One play-off final will between favourites Cammell Laird and Eastwood Town following Tuesday`s semi finals. Laird booked their place in the play-off final – and a chance of an amazing fourth consecutive promotion - with a hard-fought victory over Colwyn Bay at Kirklands. Ronnie Morgan gave the hosts the lead after 11 minutes, but Paul Williams equalised just before the hour-mark for Bay. Jamie McGuire restored Laird`s lead with 11 minutes remaining only for [ex-Alty striker] Mark Quayle to pull Bay back on level terms again with less than a minute of normal time to go. However, Michael Cole ensured Lairds progressed to the final on Saturday at Kirklands with the winner timed at 95 minutes! Eastwood are through after beating Bradford Park Avenue 3-0 at Coronation Park".
CRAWLEY PAYING UP?The Crawley Forum. had a posting "from 'Crawley News', that "Roger Gerrad of the Conference revealed that a letter has since been received from a firm of solicitors representing Crawley Town asking for 'clearance' to extend the CVA deadline until the end of May. A decision relating to this request had not been reached by Conference directors at the time of going to press. A Crawley Town club source confirmed that a letter had been sent to ask for more time to complete the repayments, and explained: 'In the middle of this the Conference decided that any club which goes into administration can only be in it for that season. If they are not out of it by the start of the next season they would kick them out, but this rule hasn't actually been passed. Scarborough have been in administration for three seasons but they are not going down because of that - they just don't have enough points'. The source added the club was confident the debt would all be repaid if the extension was granted by the end of May. 'It's not just a matter of chucking out the money', said the source.'They have to work out all the VAT and the creditors have to be given notice of everything'".
However, Crawley Town themselves report that "The Board of Crawley Town FC would like to tell our supporters that despite these rumours, settling the CVA, and securing our Conference status [have] always been the main focus for the Board of the club. The Directors and staff at the club are currently working hard with Begbies Traynor to clear up any disputes over payments before receiving a final figure of the full amount owed, and once received, a cash amount will be lodged with the administrators early next week, before the Friday, 11th May deadline. The Board of Crawley Town Football Club are in contact with the Football Association and the Conference Board and are fully aware of the actions that will be imposed on the club if the CVA deadline is not met by Friday, 11th May. Funds are in place, and we are pleased that owner Azwar Majeed has not had to sell the property which was to be auctioned by the administrations [administrators?]. It has been a difficult season for everyone involved in the club, including staff, players and fans, but after the tremendous efforts in sustaining league status, the Directors at Crawley Town are dedicated to ensuring the completion of the CVA, guaranteeing our status in the Blue Square Premier League".
CONFERENCE NEWSThe BBC reports that "Gravesend and Northfleet have changed their name to Ebbsfleet United. Club chairman Jason Botley says they have made the change to try to tap into the regeneration of the area - and fans groups have backed the decision. Botley told BBC Radio Kent: 'It is with a view to looking at the area and the development of the club longer term. With the influx of new housing and business and the development of the Ebbsfleet area this is the catalyst for us to move forward and upwards'. Gravesham MP Adam Holloway has backed the decision to change the club's name... 'You have to put it in context of the future of the club and the plans that are there are pretty amazing. They've got some great plans for a new stadium with more capacity. It's not a done deal yet but I think they're soon going to show some pretty impressive plans. I'm sure some supporters would like to keep the traditional name, but times change. It'll always be the same club even if it's got a different name'".
From relegated Torquay there is news that "owner Mike Bateson is hoping to sell the relegated Football League side to someone from the area... He said: 'I am still talking to people and ideally I would like to do a deal with someone locally. But if it has to be someone from out of town, then needs must. There is at least one local consortium active at the moment'".
Tamworth report that "captain Adie Smith will stay at the club next season, despite their relegation from the Conference. The 33-year-old has signed a contract that will keep him with the Lambs until the end of next season. 'I'm pleased to be staying because I love it here and I still have a lot to offer', Smith told the club's website. 'Nothing would give me greater satisfaction than leading the club straight back into the top flight of the Conference'.
"Rushden and Diamonds defender Wayne Hatswell has signed a new one-year deal... Hatswell has started 50 games under five managers at Rushden since signing from Kidderminster in January 2006. The 32-year-old confirms his place in Garry Hill's squad for next season and follows midfielder Curtis Woodhouse in agreeing new terms" states the BBC.
There has been a clearout in Essex where Grays Athletic report that ""Grays Retained players and players who have been offered a new contract are as follows, Andy Sambrook, Jamie Stuart, Simon Downer, Stuart Thurgood, Dennis Oli, Aaron O‘Connor,,Anthony Tonkin, John Martin, Tom Kemp, Matt Bodkin, Cam Mawer, Danny Knowles". Meanwhile, "Tom Williamson, Jay Smith, Glenn Poole, Abdu El Kholiti & Gavin Cowan are all having talks with the manager. Grays Athletic today released the following players as there contract will expire at the end of the week: Ashley Bayes, Anthony Barness, Ashley Nicholls, Pierre Joseph Dubois, Dean Howell, Chukkie Erribenne, Mark Wright, John Turner, Djoumin Sangare. Players who were on loan, and have now returned to their parent club.- Leroy Griffiths, Alex Rhodes, Ben Harding".
A poster on Confguide statess that "Cambridge release six... Andy Duncan, David Bridges, Paul Crichton, Wayne Purser, Michael Gash and Jon Brady have all been released. Assistant manager Steve Castle has left the club to take up a more lucrative role outside the Conference...Also, 21 year old defender Aidan Collins has sadly had to retire due to his persistent knee injuries".
2 May 2007
GUTTED - BUT POSITIVEThe Sale & Altrincham Messenger reports that "Graham Heathcote said the people of Altrincham could be proud of their football team despite their relegation from the Conference... He told SAM Sport: 'I'm absolutely gutted, that goes without saying. But the players were absolutely magnificent both against Aldershot and throughout the season and I couldn't have asked for more from them... We created chances but we just didn't put them away... I genuinely believe we are a better team than last year. I know there will be people who will want to have a pop right now but once it all calms down I'll just start working on making sure we improve again next year. That's all you can ask of a football club, that it makes a progression each year'. With all four of the league's part-time teams finding themselves in the Conference's bottom five, however, Heathcote believes it has become almost impossible for those teams to survive in the division. 'It's an extremely difficult league for part-time teams from a physical aspect. We got 10 more points than last year and still didn't stay up and the other three part-time teams were all down near the bottom with us. Particularly the number of games towards the end of the season is difficult to cope with and our players ended up exhausted.But this is a full-time league now and that's how the Conference want it so it's just something you have to learn to cope with'".
However, Altrincham "received a massive boost after the disappointment of relegation, when chairman Geoff Goodwin reversed his decision to step down...saying: 'Relegation will be a godsend, it will be the making of the club. We are taking a step back to take a step forward. It is a new horizon. There are a lot of positives - we are debt free, have a good pitch and a good set of players. We had expected we would need 50 points to survive - unfortunately, although we got 51, it was not enough. It was inevitable that we would get relegated eventually because if you are not full time you will not survive in that league (Conference National). If we had stayed in the Conference I would not have wanted to stay on. One of the main reasons I was stepping down is I can't give the club what it needs in the Conference - a massive input of money. I would rather see Conference North football with us winning every week'... Promotion to the Conference National in 2005 had arrived before the club was ready to thrive. But the now debt-free Robins would be in a far stronger position to survive when they next win promotion'".
CONFERENCE NEWSThe Crawley Argus quotes the Crawley Town owner; "Mr Majeed said: 'We have not received any approaches or spoken to anyone about buying the club. It's all just a load of rumours and kids talking. It's rubbish'. The club has also claimed it is likely to be debt-free within days after the final cash payments are made to creditors. Revenue and Customs and Crawley Borough Council are among those still owed money, thought to be about £300,000 by Crawley Town Football Club. A spokesman for administrators Begbies Traynor was unable to confirm the payment plan. But Chas Majeed insisted the outstanding money would be paid 'within days', and that the sale of the brothers' other businesses was covering the cost. The brothers sold their Barcena bar in Burgess Hill last December and are also understood to have sold other premises to cover the debt. But a flat in Brighton valued at more than £1 million, owned by Azwar Majeed, is not being sold. The pair's bar in central Brighton reopened earlier this month after refurbishment and has changed its name from Saqqara to JaVu. It is also not being sold. The football club secured continued income on Saturday with the 0-0 draw against Kidderminster Harriers, which averted the threat of relegation. But playing staff at Crawley Town Football Club remain on tenterhooks after the Majeed brothers confirmed no decisions would be taken about extending playing contracts until next week at the earliest".
The newspaper adds, "Caretaker boss Dave Woozley has urged Crawley's owners to secure the futures of the management and players as soon as possible now Conference safety is assured... The entire squad, apart from Tony Scully, are now free agents, while Woozley and fellow joint caretaker managers Ben Judge and John Yems are theoretically no longer in charge as they were only handed the reigns until the end of the campaign. Crawley cannot offer new contracts until the club's debt, known as the CVA, is paid off. The deadline for payment to creditors was widely believed to be today but general manager Barry Munn claimed after Saturday's game that it was May 12. Woozley said: 'I don't know what is happening but we hope we are going to sit down and talk about it soon. The club have been waiting until we are safe to offer contracts because realistically if we had gone down, they would not have been able to offer the same deals... It would be nice to reward the lads with deals but at the moment we don't know what is happening with the management, let alone the players... I, 100 per cent, want to stay. I am getting married in the summer and this is a local club for me so I would love to commit myself. I think the rest of the players feel the same'".
The BBC says that "Aldershot Town caretaker boss Martin Kuhl is on the shortlist of candidates to be interviewed for the vacant manager's job at the Recreation Ground. He stepped up from first-team coach to take temporary charge after Terry Brown ended his five-year spell as manager at the end of March. Kuhl is among a number of people who will be interviewed this week. Keith Alexander, Graham Westley and Frank Gray have all been reported to be among the candidates for the job".
"Rushden & Diamonds have released six players but secured the future of midfielder Curtis Woodhouse. Dave Savage, Gary Mills, Chris Beardsley, Jason Goodliffe, Danny Williams and Scott Tynan have not been offered new deals by boss Garry Hill. But Woodhouse has signed for two years after resuming his football career following a spell in pro boxing", says the BBC.
NL Daily says that "Goalkeeper Ryan Harrison will be leaving Forest Green Rovers this summer after failing to impress boss Jim Harvey. Twenty-year-old Harrison has made only four competitive appearances this season - conceding eleven goals - and is the only Rovers player to have already been told he has no future at the club. Harvey said: 'I've spoken to most of the boys and they've all got a good idea who I want to keep... Harvey has already said he would like to keep the bulk of the squad together, although Bristol City loanee Shaun Lamb is another expected to move on. With a tight budget at the New Lawn, it could be that the squad will have to be trimmed further if any new faces are to be added during the close season".
Southport have issued a press release, headed, "FULL TIME SANDGROUNDERS MAINTAIN AMBITION - PORT LOOKING TO ACHIEVE BOUNCEBACKABILITY. Southport Football Club announced on Tuesday that they will be retaining full time playing status next season. This is a highly ambitious decision at Haig Avenue and shows the club's determination to be highly competitive as they kick off next season. Manager Peter Davenport finished the season with an impressive run of performances and the former Manchester United and Nottingham Forest star has now been given the go ahead to build his full time squad for the Blue Square North next season. Davenport’s last Conference home match saw a record home league attendance at Haig Avenue in 33 years and with that amount of enthusiasm in the town the hope is there will be a winning habit at Haig Avenue next season.
Chairman Charlie Clapham and Vice Chairman Sam Shrouder have given the go ahead to be full time for a second season and the intention is to return to the Blue Square Premier as quickly as possible. Supporters in the town will be impressed by the clubs decision to start the season as possibly the only Blue Square North club operating as a full time club. Kettering Town are currently full time and are now in the play offs aiming to achieve Blue Square Premier status.
Chairman Charlie Clapham stated “ Following what has been a very difficult transitional season from Part Time to Full Time to reverse this after one season could be seen as a negative policy, the manager believes that to remain Full Time gives the club the best chance of regaining our National status at the earliest opportunity, the club will operate on an affordable budget which the manager is fully supportive of. We believe our supporters will see our course of action as being very positive laying down our marker that we must get back in the National division as a priority”
Confguide says that "Cambridge United chairman Lee Power remains optimistic that striker Robbie Simpson will sign a new contract... The contract which he has been offered, should the 22-year-old decide to sign, would make him the highest paid player at the club. Power told BBC Radio Cambridgeshire: 'We see Robbie as a very big asset that is going to get even better with full-time coaching. We want to keep him for another year. We have made him a fantastic financial offer and I think he will stay'" .
York City "manager Billy McEwan has been made Nationwide Conference Manager of the Month for April".
WITTON WINIn an entertaining UniBond Premier League play-off semi-final at Wincham Park, which went to extra time, Witton, managed by former Alty player Jim Vince, triumphed 4-2 and will now meet AFC Telford in the final on Saturday after the Shropshire side defeated Eddie Hussin's Marine 2-0.
YOUTH FINAL AT MOSS LANEAltrincham FC will now play their Neil Thomason Trophy final against Morecambe at Moss Lane on Sunday 6th May, k.o. 2pm. This is a change of date as the game was originally scheduled for next Tuesday at Salford City FC. However, the charity match scheduled to be played at Moss Lane on Sunday has now been cancelled, allowing the youth game to be switched. Entry will be just £2 (£1 for concessionaries) so please lend your support as the youth team tries to bring some silverware to the Club. The Neil Thomason Trophy is named after the former Alty Youth coach who sadly died at a young age a couple of years ago and is therefore a prize which Altrincham FC is very keen to win.
PRICES FROZENAltrincham FC announce that:
Following a Board meeting this morning the club have decided to freeze admission and season ticket prices for the forthcoming season. Along with the present pricing policy the club are to introduce an under-14s' season ticket for the bargain price of £35. Thus admission for season 2007-08 will be as follows:
Season Ticket Prices
If a Concessions / Junior or Adult season ticket is purchased before June 30th a £10 discount on the above prices can be applied.
1 May 2007
AFTER THE GAME
One of the fifteen chances that got away last Saturday was this volley from Colin Little in the opening stages which cleared the bar.
The Manchester Evening News quotes Graham Heathcote as saying after Saturday's match, "The fact we've gone down after being competitive throughout underlines just how hard it is for part-time clubs to survive in this division. But we've cleared our debts and will hope to bounce straight back although we will continue with our policy of only paying out what we can afford". Former Hereford star Ricky George reported on the draw with Aldershot for the Daily Telegraph. He wrote of the "touching display of goodwill at Altrincham where travelling Aldershot supporters had chanted 'Alty'... Altrincham players strained every sinew to preserve their Conference status but to no avail". His article ended with a quote from the Alty boss: "'We've made progress this season. We have picked up 10 more points [from 4 more games] but have still got relegated', Heathcote said sardonically. 'I don't think four down is a good idea but we knew that at the start of the season. This is a club based on volunteers. It's those people I feel sorry for'".
In the aftermath of relegation last Saturday, SAM says "They showed heart, passion and pride but ultimately, it all counted for nothing... It could easily have been so different... a single goal would have fulfilled their dream of survival. But while the players' attitude was spot on, they were crucially found wanting elsewhere. Alty lacked precision and composure... Chances came and went and it soon became clear to everyone inside Moss Lane that it was going to be one of those days.... Wthin the first 10 minutes they had three clear chances to grab [a goal]. . Alty still had a major chance to win the game in the last minute of normal time. Of all the people you would want the deciding chance to fall to, Little is the man. But when Bull made a complete mess of a backpass, the super striker sent his shot wide of the open net - it would have been easier to score".
Pictured right is Man of the Match Robbie Lawton after Saturday's game, receiving his award from Paul Daine of Premium Collections and STAR. Robbie was Alty's only ever-present this season.
MOSS LANE BUSYOn Sunday, the Altrincham & District Football Association Sunday Senior Cup Final was held at Moss Lane. The exotically named Lisbon St Anthony's (or Lisbon SA as they now style themselves) took on Jackson's Boat, with the Boatmen winning 2-1 after extra time in a match which witnessed three red cards. There was a large number of current and ex-Altrincham FC faces in the respective squads. For Boat there were former youth goalkeeper Barrie George, midfielder Nehru McKenzie and former Reserves Chris Curley and Adie Marchant. On the other side, Lisbon included current Alty Reserves Ben Deegan and John Maloney and former players Anthony Hargreaves, Anthony Cummings and Jason Donnelly.
As well as the above match, the Manchester Jewish Soccer league held a match at Moss Lane on Sunday, and on Monday Hale Barns U-17s took on Irlam in a local cup final. Coming up are:
STUART ON THE MENDGood news from Altrincham FC about injured goalkeeper Stuart Coburn. Stuart was released from hospital at 11pm on Saturday night and even though the medics did not really get to the root of Stu's back problem, he is fit enough now to be subjected to a course of therapy from Alty physio Andy Hosgood. These will concentrate on strengthening "England's No.1"'s stomach and back muscles.
WEMBLEY TICKETSFor those booked on the Altrincham FC coach trip to Wembley, it is hoped that the match tickets will be booked today. In the meantime, the success of the trip means that the coach price is likely to be reduced from the advertised £25 to £20. The saving will probably just about buy a programme or a cup of tea at Wembley but not both!
GOAL SPONSORSHIPDon't forget to pay STAR your goal sponsorship money. STAR's Jon Stack will be making an announcement about this shortly. Alty's one goal in their last four matches will have saved donors a few bob!
DAVE TO MOVE ON?Dave Stringer, whose excellent match reports on Altrincham home games in the NL Paper have been a feature of the last five years, is sadly likely to be moving on from the Moss Lane press box. Dave has told the website that "I can truly say after a long number of years in football that has seen me as coach, referee, Chairman and Secretary (Kidsgrove Athletic), Director (Leek Town) and finally working for the media that I have not come across a club as welcoming as yours. It is not only me who says that as I have spoken to a number of people who work for the Press Association and they are disappointed that Moss Lane will not be one of their ports of call in 2007-08". If Dave is no longer assigned by the Press Association to cover Alty games, we look forward to reading his reports from elsewhere - so long as it isn't Northwich!
Altrincham FC have also received many other messages of encouragement after their relegation and one of those came from Bullsnews, the best Conference website last season and now doing a great job with Hereford United in League Two. if you ever want to know what is going on behind the scenes at League Two/Conference National level, you will find it on Bullsnews.
The last club to visit Moss Lane under the Featured Clubs scheme, whereby member clubs of the Timperley & District Junior Football League have been guests of Altrincham FC, were South Manchester JFC, who came to the Aldershot game on Saturday. Pictured above, with some Alty regulars, are some of the visitors in the Family Stand before kick-off. The scheme will continue next season.
CHESHIRE NEWSThe BBC confirms that "Chester boss Mark Wright and assistant [former Alty player] Graham Barrow have left the club. Wright parted company with Chester in August 2004 but returned for a second spell as manager in February 2006 and led them to League Two safety. Barrow was appointed as Wright's number two in May 2006, Barrow had previously been in charge at the Deva Stadium on two previous occasions".
Tonight (Tuesday) sees our Cheshire neighbours Witton Albion take on Matlock Town at Wincham Park (7.45pm) in the UniBond Premier play-off semi-final.
CHANGE OF TACKThe Altrincham FC website will gradually shift emphasis - again- after all, this is our sixth change of league in a decade, discounting the two changes during the last summer close season alone! Until the end of the season we will cover the National play-offs and those in the Northern division of the Conference, and report news from both divisions. Over the summer the emphasis will naturally move to Conference North or the Blue Square Northern as we must now call it. But just as we have tried to keep readers in touch with events at most levels of non-league football in the Manchester area, we will continue to do so in 2007-08 with stories from the Conference National (Blue Square Premier), UniBond and North West Counties leagues as well as Alty's own division. The annual statistical review of the season will follow in th near future.
CONFERENCE NEWS"'Gravesend & Northfleet boss Liam Daish says he has no intention of leaving the Conference club'. Daish has been linked with the vacant manager's jobs at Woking and Aldershot after Fleet finished seventh - outside of the play-off spots. He told BBC Radio Kent: 'I want the club to progress and we need to go forward because I have targets. We have built something this year and I want to add to it, I don't want to take it apart'".
As relegation into the Conference remains unclear for another week, Boston United captained by former alty defender Paul Ellender are in crisis. ""Assistant manager Paul Raynor revealed the frustration and huge disappointment that Boston United could not hold a training session today, in what is the most important week in the club's history. However, Raynor added that he fully 'understood' that players had no money to finance travel to training. Given the fact that the players and staff have not been paid for around 12 weeks, by the time they travel to Wrexham, the assistant boss was also extremely sympathetic to the squad's plight. Raynor went on to confirm that it looked likely that the Pilgrims would be without both Paul Ellender and Colin Cryan, as well as David Galbraith, for Saturday's survival clash against Wrexham at the Racecourse Ground. He told bufc.co.uk: 'We will do everything in our power to get those players fit, but with no physiotherapist at the club, a situation that has now existed for over four months, it will be very difficult. Not many outside of the game have an idea of the testing and severe circumstances the manager has had to work with during the course of this season. Should we be without Colin and Paul, along with David Galbraith who came off injured on Saturday, we would go into the game with only eight fit professionals at our disposal'... Raynor added: 'Our own supporters keep telling us that they themselves would not be turning up at work had they had to go for so long without any pay, so at least they recognise what the Gaffer has achieved in motivating the players and staff to still be here, as we all fight to keep this club in the Football League. A number of the youth team players have already been told that they will not be part of Boston United next season, but now given our lack of players, the Gaffer has had no option but to tell some of them this morning that they will now be travelling to Wrexham on Saturday and it looks like some of them will have to be thrown in at the deep end. We all know it is a nightmare situation to deal with, especially given the importance of Saturday's match, but we go there with a chance, because that is what football is all about. Sometimes the biggest underdogs do achieve and why not us? We expect to have the lads back in for training later in the week and at least we can have a 'four-a-side' as we prepare for the biggest game in the club's history. That sounds funny when you say it quickly, but I am afraid it is the reality of the situation here. Wrexham will start long odds-on favourites and no-one around the country will give us any chance of being in the Football League come 5.00pm on Saturday, so we will have to produce an outstanding team performance to prove them wrong... If Steve Evans can lead us all to a win on Saturday at Wrexham, it will indeed be a remarkable achievement for everyone at Boston United. Given the extremity of the conditions and circumstances we have had to work through over the course of this season, everyone at Boston United should be applauded for taking this to the last day'".
Before last Saturday's game Northwich Guardian reported that Altrincham-based midfielder "Andrew Smart will play no part at Woking today after his loan spell ended. The defender returned to Maccesfield Town yesterday, Friday, after making 19 starts for Steve Burr's men in league and cup since signing in January. His contract with the Silkmen is due for renewal in the summer, and Vics will wait until the outcome of those talks before deciding whether to make a move for the 21-year-old".
From the Burton Mail we learn that "Nigel Clough is already planning his next bid to lead Burton Albion to promotion glory. Albion missed out on a place in the Conference play-offs on Saturday... But an upbeat Clough hailed Albion's sixth-place finish as a 'great achievement'... The Brewers' boss revealed he is close to a deal to keep 18-goal top scorer Daryl Clare at the club. And he has lined up the 'three or four quality signings' he believes he needs to put Albion among next season's promotion contenders. He told Mail Sport: 'We never had a Plan B for the Football League, because it's always been odds-on that we would be in the Conference next season. Putting a squad together for the League would have been a nice problem, but we have already identified our targets and we'll be pursuing them'... Clough hopes to retain the majority of his current squad, with Lee Bell the only departee so far. The player signed from Crewe Alexandra in the January transfer window has been deemed surplus to requirements after failing to hold down a regular place. The Brewers' boss said: 'He'll probably go and find himself a League club and make us all look daft, but it hasn't quite worked out for him or for us... Last year we finished ninth and this time we've taken it on to finish three points off the play-offs, which is a great achievement'... Clough's priority will also be to secure the services of skipper Darren Stride, midfield general Carden and top scorer Clare, as well as finding a replacement for goalkeeper Kevin Poole, who is expected to take up a full-time coaching post with a Premiership club.".
One of several troubled Conference clubs is Halifax Town and Halifax Today even claims that "Town boss Chris Wilder could be two weeks away from quitting the club if there is no movement on potential new investment. Speaking in the aftermath of Saturday's 2-1 win over Stevenage which secured Conference status at the Shay, Wilder said he was excited about the future. But he admitted that everything now hinged on a quick resolution to the on-going negotiations between a consortium of West Yorkshire businessmen and former chairman Geoff Ralph. 'I can't last the summer', said Wilder, 'I can't last two weeks if I am honest. Something has to happen because I want to do my job properly. I am excited about it and if I am part of it, that would be brilliant. Then I can be judged off a level playing field. I have been hoping that things will happen for a long time now. I am left in the lurch in terms of attracting players, even down to kit and pre-season friendlies. It needs to happen as soon as possible. A decision has to be made quickly for me, for the players, for my staff, but most importantly for the supporters.They have had enough of being spun around. They are not mugs and deserve a lot more. You cannot keep expecting the supporters to turn up for meetings and be asked to do their bit again... We have had to show a lot of character over the past few weeks'".
FOR EARLIER NEWS, CLICK HERE