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Altrincham FC Archived News
June, 2007
 

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30 June 2007

NEW BADGE

Pictured left is the latest version of the AltrinchamFC enamel badge, kindly provided for the photo by Mike Ainsworth. The badges are available for just £2.50 from Mike either via the club or the Alty E-Bay Shop. All profits go to the club.

WORKING PARTIES

The Moss Lane working parties continue this weekend as the Club invites supporters to come and help spruce up the ground for the season ahead. There will be working parties both this Saturday and Sunday, starting around 10am. If you can, please notify the club in advance if you are coming so that they can plan the schedule of work to be done. Your help will be greatly appreciated.

TRAVEL PROBLEMS

Those travelling to Moss Lane from July to November will find roadworks complicating their route, especially if they are travelling from the north. SAM reports that phase two of the upgrade to the main road through Altrincham starts on 9 July. This will improve lighting, landscaping and paving on Stamford New Road and Railway Street. From 8 July there will be a southbound diversion betwen The Downs and Moss Lane with traffic directed, right, up Lloyd Street, Manor Road, Oakfield Road and Stockport Road. Northbound, Stamford New Road and Railway Street will remain open. The work goes on till 18 November.

Those heading to Altrincham FC who are following this diversion, should turn right from Oakfield Road into Moss Lane at the second set of traffic lights outside Tesco. The ground is half a mile further down Moss Lane on the left. (See map links here).

To add to the problems the Metrolink tram system to Altrincham is also undergoing major repairs. From 2 July to 27 August 2007 all services from Altrincham to Stretford will be withdrawn and from Friday 27 July the closures will extend from Altrincham to Trafford Bar. Replacement bus services will operate from Manchester St Peter's Square to Altrincham Interchange. One replacement service (numbered X4) will be direct to and from Manchester and will run every 10 minutes during the day seven days a week, and every 20 minutes in the latter part of the evening. The other replacement bus (numbered 500) will zig-zag between every closed station. It will run every ten minutes (every 15 in evenings). For full details see the Metrolink website. Alternatively, just catch the normal Arriva bus service 263 to and from Manchester Piccadilly bus station to Altrincham.

Meanwhile in the main shopping area of Altrincham, in George Street, the multi-storey carpark (accessed from High Street) is to be demolished and a new car park created in 2008. From 2 July 2007 the multi-storey will close, apart from the rooftop level and from 10 July that level will be accessed via a ramp off Post Office Street.

POTTS IMPRESSES

The Sale & Altrincham Messenger reports that "Graham Heathcote is delighted by the commitment shown by his squad after seeing a big turnout at two voluntary training sessions. The Robins' boss organised the sessions in order to ease players back before preseason officially starts on Saturday. And Thursday night's session saw 21 players turn up, including a couple of possible signings. Also among the number was Colin Potts (right), who is hoping to prove his fitness to Heathcote in order to earn a move back to Moss Lane. An announcement on the arrival of Alty's key midfield target has been delayed until Saturday at the earliest but the Alty manager will also be speaking to a winger on Sunday as he looks to add to his squad. The Alty manager said: 'We had 21 down at the second voluntary training session so I was pleased with that, it's a good start. The deal with our midfield target has not quite been completed yet but I'm still positive about it. I will be speaking to a wide man on Sunday but, to be fair, Colin Potts has also looked good in training so far. He's improved his fitness quite a bit'".

OLD BOY

The This is Lincs sebsite says that "Paul Mitchell wants to lure Boston United skipper Paul Ellender back to Gainsborough Trinity.Mitchell has already made contact with the 32-year-old defender and is monitoring his future with the Pilgrims, whose future continues to look bleak.Ellender spent four years at the Northolme in the mid 1990s before going on to represent Altrincham, Scarborough and Boston. 'I've been in touch with Paul (Ellender) to remind him where we are' said Mitchell. Ellender, who has not been paid for four months, is just one four players left at Boston, who are still the subject of takeover talks. The saga means Ellender is considering severing ties with the Pilgrims after six years at York Street and he is pondering a return to non-league football".

BLUE SQUARE CONFERENCE PREMIER NEWS

The BBC says that "Forest Green Rovers' boss Jim Harvey has snapped up former Hereford United striker Stuart Fleetwood as his first signing of the summer. Fleetwood, 21, has agreed a 12-month deal following his release by the Bulls at the end of last season. 'I am very hopeful that he and Danny Carey-Bertram will become a formidable strike force the new season', Harvey told his club's website. Fleetwood scored 11 times in 50 appearances for Hereford. He signed for the Bulls from Cardiff City but was troubled by illness last season and spent a loan spell at Accrington".

"Weymouth captain Trevor Challis and goalkeeper Jason Matthews have signed new one-year contracts, reports BBC Radio Solent. Defender Challis, 31, and 32-year-old Matthews will be key members of boss Jason Tindall's squad next season. Also, defender Ashley Vickers, 35, and midfielder Simon Weatherstone, 27, are also set to sign one-year extensions. Nick Crittenden, Anton Robinson, Stuart Beavon and Danny Phillips have already tied up new deals with the Terras".

"Crawley Town defender Ronnie Bull has agreed a new deal to stay at the club. The former Millwall and Grimsby Town full-back, 26, will be part of manager Steve Evans's new-look squad after agreeing terms for next season" says the BBC.

"Highly-rated forward Dean Bradshaw wants to 'nip in the bud rumours to the effect that he is not staying with Histon. Bradshaw has admitted receiving contact from one of his former coaches at Spanish side Real Betís about joining him at Rayo Vallecano, but says: 'I am totally committed to Histon... My first aim is to establish myself as a regular and help the club in non-League football`s top flight. So I want it known that I am committed to Histon for this season - anything else beyond that will just have to wait and see'" reports NL Daily.

This is Exeter says that "New signing Neil Saunders has revealed how a glowing reference from George Friend helped convince him to join Exeter City. The Team Bath skipper yesterday became Paul Tisdale's third summer signing when he penned a one-year deal at St James's Park. And the 24-year-old, who has just returned from a five-week trip to Bali, said: 'George Friend was on loan at Team Bath last year and he had nothing but good things to say about Exeter - he really sold it to me. I gave him a call before I signed and chatted about the club and having him in the squad is a bonus for me'. Saunders becomes the second summer arrival from the University of Bath following defender Matty Taylor's transfer earlier this month".

BLUE SQUARE NORTH

"Former Bradford City favourite Wayne Jacobs has rejoined the Bantams as assistant manager under new boss Stuart McCall. City have reached an agreement to pay compensation to Halifax Town, where Jacobs had been assisting Chris Wilder for the past two seasons", claims the BBC.who also report that relegated "Tamworth manager Gary Mills is close to signing defender Dominic Langdon after his release by Rushden & Diamonds. Langdon, 18, who can play in the centre of defence or at left-back, has agreed terms with the Lambs and is set to complete his move in the next few days".

NL Daily reports that "Nuneaton Borough's footballing journey could come to a tearful end at the town hall. If Nuneaton and Bedworth Borough councillors demand a payment of £580,000, the highest fee suggested to compensate the lifting of the covenant at Manor Park, the club will go into administration and its very existence will hang in the balance. The protracted debate regarding the covenant placed on the club's former home is likely to reach its conclusion on Friday night... Nuneaton Borough has submitted an offer to the council to pay £100,000 up front upon the release of the covenant, to be followed by £150,000, paid in £30,000 annual instalments over the next five years. This offer has been recommended by the council's officers, but even this agreement could jeopardise Boro's long-term future. A source from inside the club said: 'Our message is clear, we can give so much back to the town if the council just lifts this covenant... We estimate having a 3G pitch could help us generate £100,000 a year, and it will benefit the whole community, because there isn't another facility like it in the town at the moment'. Local rivals Hinckley United's Marston's Stadium complex boasts a state of the art 3G pitch which was partially funded by the Hinckley & Bosworth Borough Council... And insiders at Nuneaton Borough are hoping for the same kind of support, they added: 'There are examples up and down the country of how local borough councils have supported their football club, all we are asking is for ours to do the same... Since last November's public meeting, Borough has exploded into life within the local community, with dozens of schools benefiting from coaching sessions run by club secretary Graham Wilson, ex-striker Duane Darby and many other qualified coaches. Over thirty junior, women's and mens' teams will play in the distinctive blue and white stripes of the Borough next season, but only if financial security can be gained tomorrow tonight".

EURO ACTION

For those seeking pre-season European action within reach of Altrincham, the UEFA Cup First Qualifying Round draw has:
  • FC Haka (Finland) v Rhyl FC
  • Carmarthen Town v SK Brann (Norway)

    First leg: 19 July, second leg: 2 August.


    29 June 2007

    STEWARDS NEEDED

    Darren Gregory, chief steward at Moss Lane writes, "If anybody would like to become a steward for the forthcoming season, please e-mail the club or phone (tel 928-1045) or, alternatively, we are having a stewards' meeting and training session at Moss Lane on Saturday, 30th June, at 2pm. If interested please feel free to come along. Applicants must be over 18 years old.

    Also additional volunteers are required for the following on match days:

  • Car park
  • Turnstiles
  • Programme selling".

    FREE SEASON TICKETS

    The Sale & Altrincham Messenger is running a competition to win Junior (under-14s) season tickets. All you have to do is name the current Altrincham FC manager and send the answer on a postcard to Alty Competition, Messenger Newspapers, Brindley House, 25 Ashton Lane, Sale, M33 6TP. Entries must be received by 6th July and the two lucky winners will be drawn at random.

    UNBELIEVABLE

    Yesterday (see below) we reported on a rash of new signings at debt-ridden Crawley Town but still the club has not paid its debtors and is unbelievably aiming for another extension on repayment. We read in the Argus that Azwar Majeed, owner of Crawley Town Football Club, will have his home in central Brighton auctioned off to settle the £140,000 owed to creditors of the club. The flat, in North Street, was put on sale for £1.4 million but has failed to attract any interest from buyers. A statement released by Begbies Traynor, the administrators brought in to sort out the long-running financial crisis club, confirmed a consent order is being made to force the sale. Rob Sadler, from the firm said: 'Once the property is in my possession I will arrange for it to be placed in the next available auction for sale. The equity in the property should be sufficient to meet the arrangement's requirements'.

    The club had previously been set a deadline of June 30 to pay off the remainder of the cash it owes to former players, staff, HM Revenue and Customs and its landlord Crawley Borough Council. An agreement that 50p for every pound owed to creditors was reached last year under the terms of the agreement but has so far not been paid, despite assurances from the club that it would. The sale of the flat is seen by Begbies Traynor [who recently dealt with Scarborough in a much shorter time] as a last ditch method of ensuring the debts are paid and allowing the club to start this season in the Conference league. However that deadline is now likely to be extended. Mr Sadler said: 'A further sum of approximately £140,000 is required to pay the balance of the dividend due to creditors under the terms of the Company Voluntary Arrangement proposal. This sum is secured upon the residential property of Azwar Majeed. In order to effect the sale and distribution of the funds, I will be proposing a short extension of the arrangement. While creditors could object to this proposal it is unlikely that they will turn down the opportunity to receive the proceeds of Mr Majeed's property'... Azwar Majeed was unavailable for comment yesterday".

    OLD BOY

    Morecambe, promoted from the Conference last season, report that "Exerienced defender Danny Adams [has] signed a two-year contract. Adams joined the Shrimps on a short-term contract from Huddersfield earlier this year ... The left-back, who played under Sammy McIlroy at Macclesfield and Stockport, said... 'I think there is a real mutual respect between Sammy and I. I think he thinks I have always done a job for him and I have a huge respect for him as a manager and a person. It is a relationship that has worked well in the past and I think it will remain that way. We like to play football and that might surprise a few teams. Although I don’t think there is a great deal of difference between the Conference and Division 2 you do have to be mentally tougher. I think in the Conference there are certain games where you can get something without playing well, that isn’t the case in the League. The games will be tough week in week out and we will come up against players with more experience. Having said that I think we will surprise a few sides this year and I am looking forward to the challenge'".’

    OTHER BSCP NEWS

    NL Daily says that "Striker Jefferson Louis has become the latest player to join the ranks at Weymouth. The 6` 2” 28-year-old has signed a one-year contract and Terras' player boss Jason Tindall is delighted with the deal. Terras` chief executive Gary Calder said: 'Jefferson finished last season with Havant & Waterlooville. Before that he had spells with Yeading and Stevenage Borough and at the start of the 2005-06 campaign he was at Bristol Rovers. He has also played for Woking, Forest Green Rovers and Oxford United. 'Jason thinks Jefferson will be the fastest player at the club. He is a big, strong and quick lad and with Jason's way of getting the best out of players he should become a great asset for us'".

    "Tim Sills is the latest addition to Paul Buckle's squad" at Torquay United. "The 6ft 2in striker has signed a two year contract with the Gulls and will join the squad next week for training.... [But] striker Lee Thorpe has had his contract mutually terminated. Lee played 44 games for Torquay last season and scored 8 times".

    "Rob Smith, manager of Blue Square North club AFC Telford United, has completed his summer shopping spree with the signing of former Shrewsbury Town favourite Steve Jagielka. The 29-year-old has shaken hands on a move from Nationwide North champions Droylsden and will put pen-to-paper on a one-year contract at training on Thursday evening".

    "Oxford United defender Luke Foster has confirmed his place in manager Jim Smith's plans by signing a new twelve-month deal. Foster, 21, joined the U's from Blue Square North side Stalybridge Celtic in March and impressed enough to earn a longer stay".

    "Stevenage Borough confirm that they’ve agreed terms with defender Mark Arber to join on 1 August from Peterborough. The 29 year old centre half has made over 400 appearances in a Football League career spanning 9 years. Chairman Phil Wallace said 'Mark is a great signing for us. If there was one thing we possibly lacked at times last season, it was experience at the back. Mark has made over 400 appearances with Barnet, Oldham and Peterborough.... The search is now focused on a quality striker to add to the squad'".

    At Northwich Vics "Neil Redfearn has unveiled his new player coach as Kevin Sharp. The vastly experienced defender Sharp was born in Canada and has played for Leeds United, Wigan Athletic, Huddersfield and of late Hamilton Academicals".

    FromCambridge United we learn that "A date has been set for the transfer tribunal concerning Robbie Simpson. The 22-year-old striker is set to join Coventry City next week but the two clubs have failed to agree a transfer fee so a transfer tribunal will decide upon a compensation package on Monday 9th July... He will be out of contract at the end of this month and is expected to sign for Coventry City on July 1st, but because he is under the age of 24 and was offered a new contract by United the club is entitled to compensation".

    The Gravesend Reporter says that "Liam Daish has admitted he may struggle to re-sign Mark DeBolla after the midfielder made an unexpected U-turn in wanting to put pen-to-paper... DeBolla had previously rejected numerous contract offers, forcing the Ebbsfleet United boss to look elsewhere and bring in Woking's Neil Barrett. The former Grays player now appears willing to negotiate new terms, yet with Barrett already in place and a limited budget required to buy two new strikers, Daish insists it's now a question of priorities. 'Mark had turned down a number of contract offers and I was resigned to losing him', the Fleet boss explained. 'I then moved on and brought in Neil Barrett and now Mark has been in touch and wants to sign. Mark was my first choice but, for whatever reason, he did not want to sign and now he does. I've always wanted him but the timing and the budget restrictions have hampered that. I'm trying to juggle everything, but it's very difficult'. DeBolla could potentially have provided an alternative up front, where the Fleet are now short of options following Onome Sodje's decision to join York City last week... 'I think Onome's advisors decided it was best for him to go to York and I don't think it was his real choice that he went there', he revealed. 'Because of his work permit situation, we could not be seen to have Onome under contract which means someone else could come in and do exactly the same to York as they did to us with a seven-day approach'. The Fleet boss hopes to sign a new striker by the end of this week and is also hopeful of landing a winger-cum-frontman in due course".

    This is Weymouth states that "It appears Roy O'Brien's career at the Wessex Stadium is over. The defender has had no contact with the club since the end of last season. O'Brien said: 'I have not heard anything and I am quite disappointed about that. If they do not want me it would be nice of them to let me know but to be honest I am not too fussed now anyway as I have got a couple of other things lined up'".


    28 June 2007

    STARS AT MOSS LANE

    Altrincham chairman Geoff Goodwin has announced a major fundraising event to benefit both Altrincham FC and the McGrath Foundation, run by Jane McGrath and her husband the famous Australian test bowler, Glenn. As the the McGrath Foundation website explains, "Jane McGrath co-founded the McGrath Foundation with her husband Glenn after her initial recovery from breast cancer. Jane experienced first hand the shortage of breast care nurses in Australia during her treatment and became determined to help others in her situation. Today, the McGrath Foundation aims to raise funds to place more breast care nurses throughout the country while generating support and raising awareness of the cause". Alty fans will recall that our chairman Geoff Goodwin and his wife Suzanne have forged strong links with the Australian cricket team as Geoff's coach company Go Goodwins has been the official supplier of coach transport to the touring Australians, through his contract with the England Cricket Board.

    The event will be a football match on Sunday 30th September at 1pm at Moss Lane between a side which will include not only Glenn McGrath but also other cricketers including England's Darren Gough and Alec Stewart. The opposition will be a side featuring stars from Coronation Street and Hollyoaks. A number of the Aussie cricketers joined the Altrincham FC supporters' trust, STAR, when last in England and have kept in regular touch with Geoff and Suzanne from Down Under, where they follow the results of Alty. Glenn is seen, right, in his Alty shirt.

    Geoff and Suzanne hope that there will be a bumper turnout for the game for these two excellent causes. From the Football Club's point of view it is vitally important that such fundraisers are fully supported - and there can be few more enjoyable ways of raising money for the Club and the Foundation than watching stars of sport and TV live on the Moss Lane pitch. Provisional prices for the game are £5 for adults, £2 for concessionaries and just £10 for a family of two adults and two children. So, please put the date in your diary.

    Further details of the game and its participants will appear on the website in the near future.

    INS AND OUTS

    SAM confirms that "Altrincham have lost their battle to keep young star Lewis Chalmers at the club after he signed for Conference rivals Aldershot this week. Robins' boss Graham Heathcote had been keen to keep the 21-year-old at Moss Lane for at least another year... And Alty will not even receive any compensation for the midfielder, as he was only on non-contract terms with the club. Chalmers was one of the surprise packages of last season, gaining instant recognition for his hardworking and athletic performances on the left flank. The youngster even earned a call up to the England National Game XI, as well as touring with Middlesex Wanderers this summer, and Heathcote said his departure would be a blow to the club. Speaking exclusively to SAM Sport, he said: 'We wanted Lewis to stay at the club but it became pretty clear early doors that he was going to leave. He's still got a lot of work to do but he can become a very good player. He had a good season with us and when you do that it only alerts others of your ability. I had a long chat with (England National Game manager) Paul Fairclough about Lewis this summer and convinced him he was worthy of a place in the team. But maybe that has backfired on me now because it put him in the shop window. You can only be fair with your players though, that's what I have built my reputation on. I can't make him stay at Alty, I only want players who want to play here. I can completely understand why Lewis wants to leave because he wants to play professional football and it looks like he'll earn quadruple what he got here'. The impact of Chalmers' departure will be eased, however, by the arrival of Southport defender Chris Lane... And the Alty manager is also hoping to secure the signing of an experienced midfielder, who recently left one of their Conference rivals. Heathcote will meet the player on Thursday evening for final talks on a possible move. He said: 'I hope to have another player signed by Friday and he will be a good addition to the squad. I'm also after a goalscorer and a wide player, as well as a natural left back but these players are all very hard to come by. But it's still only June so I'm not going to rush into everything... I'm confident we can continue adding to our squad'".

    ALTY FC JUNIORS SEEK PLAYERS

    Paul Roberts, coordinator of the Altrincham FC Juniors would like to hear from "Any players interested in join our new Under 15’s for this coming season. Altrincham FC Junior is looking for further players to enhance its new under 15s Boys' team. There is also scope to take a couple of players at Boys' under-12s level. Our Girls' section would also like to find a goalkeeper to play for their under 13s. If you are interested please send in the player request form, which can be found on the Altrincham FC Juniors' pageand send it to the club.

    OLD BOY COMMANDS FEE

    NL DailyWorksop Town following his second spell with Division One side Stocksbridge Park Steels. A player who wears his heart on his sleeve, Hawes will play a major role in Worksop`s attempts to regain their place in the Blue Square North. He is an experienced player after spells at both Altrincham and Sheffield United where he was the youngest player to represent the Blades in the Premiership. Hawes has been bought for an undisclosed fee and has agreed personal terms.

    FA YOUTH CUP

    The dates for the FA Youth Cup Qualifying Competition have been announced and are on the Altrincham FC Youth Team Page.

    BSCP NEWS

    The Crawley Observer says that "Crawley Town manager Steve Evans has made his fifth signing since arriving at Broadfield Stadium - former Nottingham Forest and Doncaster Rovers striker Jon-Paul Pittman. Evans expects the forward to 'cause havoc'" in the Blue Square Conference Premier, having plied his trade in the Football League. The Reds' boss said: 'He's a goalscorer and is very talented. He played against us for Notts Forest at Boston last season in a pre-season friendly and ripped us apart. He is a two-footed ball player and I think fans will like him'".

    Though yet to pay their debts (due this week), Crawley Town seem to have no money problems at the moment as they are "delighted to announce the signings of all action midfielder Tyrone Thompson and star striker Guy Madjo for next season... Thompson, 25, joins from Halifax Town and was the main man in their midfield last season. He was instrumental when he helped his team fight from a goal down to take all three points against the Reds in April. Thompson became a crowd favourite at the Shay thanks to his robust tackling and all action displays... Cameroon-born Madjo, 23, joins us in West Sussex from Stafford Rangers with whom he spent the 2006-07 campaign... The player claimed a clean sweep of all the individual awards given out by the supporters, players and management... Reds’ assistant boss Paul Raynor said: 'Tyrone is someone I worked with as a youngster at Sheffield United and have continued to watch his career since leaving United... In fact we tried to sign the boy at Boston United... As for Guy Madjo, he is an outstanding talent with frightening pace who has a real eye for a goal... The lad had numerous clubs after his signature and quite rightly he has taken his time to make sure he joins the right club at the right time. It is a nice bonus for us considering the work the Gaffer has put into this over the last few weeks and when you also consider he could have been much more financially rewarded had he gone elsewhere. He also brings competition for the likes of Magno Vieira, J-P Pittman, and with the Gaffer locked in talks we could possibly have another two strikers on-board by early next week... I can assure our supporters we have a number of exciting trialists also joining us when the lads report back on Monday. We will look at those trialists with the view to signing them should they show the attributes we are looking for'".

    The BBC claims that "Halifax are set to sign former Fulham and Rotherham full-back Rob Scott. Scott has agreed a deal with the Shaymen after being released by Macclesfield at the end of last season. The 33-year-old will become the third new summer signing for Town boss Chris Wilder and will fill the gap left by Steve Haslam's move to Bury".

    "Weymouth pair Stuart Beavon and Danny Phillips have both signed new one-year contracts, reports BBC Radio Solent. Striker Beavon, 23, scored seven goals last season after signing from Didcot Town in January, and had been attracting attention from other clubs. Midfielder Phillips had arrived on a non-contract basis in February".

    BSCP newcomers "Histon have been boosted after the club secured a new three-year sponsorship deal with local businessman Tony Roach of JK Environmental. Roach, who will invest a six-figure sum into the club for the next three seasons, has also joined the board. 'The finance is obviously very welcome', Stutes chairman Gareth Baldwin told the club website. 'We will continue to build towards our target of having a stadium suitable for the Football League within two years'".

    "AFC Telford United are set to sign former Shrewsbury and Sheffield United midfielder Steve Jagielka from Droylsden" reports the BBC

    From This is Exeter we learn that "Julian Tagg insists Chris Todd's departure to Torquay United for £7,500 represents a good deal for Exeter City... In the last week City bosses have pocketed £25,000 in combined transfer fees from the sales of Lee Phillips and Todd... 'The negotiations were amiable', said Tagg. 'It is important that people know that £25,000 for two players who may or may not have fitted into our plans is exceptionally good business. I don't see many players in the Conference moving for money. If they go to higher league clubs then maybe, but it is not normal to command a transfer fee moving between clubs in the same league'... Tagg praised the impact City's director of football Steve Perryman... 'Steve (Perryman) has conducted the business and he has ensured that we have got considerably more than we may have expected. Without his involvement the figures would have been substantially less', Tagg said... 'Money is coming into the club and everyone is well aware that it is ring-fenced to be used on the playing side'".

    The Salisbury Journal says that "Salisbury City have completed the signing of Woking goalkeeper James Bittner. The 25-year-old, who becomes the club's sixth full-time professional player, is no stranger to the Raymond McEnhill Stadium. He made 24 appearances for City as a youngster during the ill-fated 2001/02 season, which ended with the Whites being relegated to the Eastern Division of the Southern League, prompting the restructuring of the club and the appointment of Nick Holmes as manager. Meanwhile, Bittner's career took him to AFC Bournemouth, Exeter City (42 appearances) and Torquay United from where he joined Woking in December last year... Salisbury player-coach Tommy Widdrington...explained that Bittner's arrival would increase the level of competition for the number one shirt, currently held by Ryan Clarke, who turned pro with the club earlier this summer... 'Ryan had an outstanding season for us, but if the situation arises where we have to put someone else straight in, we have to do so with 100% confidence'... As well as the two goalkeepers, City's professional ranks include strikers Matt Tubbs and Robbie Matthews, midfielder Mike Fowler and recent signing Liam Feeney... Fixtures for City's debut season in the top-flight of non-league football are now expected to be announced on Tuesday".

    Hot on the heels of signing Lewis Chalmers from Altrincham, Aldershot Town "Manager Gary Waddock has confirmed to 'The Shots' that he has completed the signing of 20 year old West Bromwich Albion striker Rob Elvins. Alvechurch born Elvins is 6 ft 2" and joined the Albion at the age of 12... Then-manager Bryan Robson promoted Rob to the first team squad with whom he trained regularly. Rob experienced first team football in a loan spell at Cheltenham Town and, more recently, York City where he featured for the Minstermen in a three month loan spell earlier this year".


    27 June 2007

    LEWIS WELCOMED AT ALDERSHOT

    Lewis Chalmers's last encounter with Aldershot in an Alty shirt was the final game of last season, when a 0-0 draw condemned Alty to a relegation place. Above, on the pitch at the end of that game, a prostrate Lewis Chalmers is comforted by an Aldershot player whilst, in the foreground, Alty boss Graham Heathcote exchanges views with the referee.

    From Aldershot Town we read that "Manager Gary Waddock has confirmed that 21 year old Lewis Chalmers has become his first signing for the club. Chalmers progressed through the youth ranks at Moss Rose [i.e. Moss Lane, Altrincham not Moss Rose, Macclesfield] and, in total, he made 96 appearances for the Cheshire club scoring six goals. He also possesses England National Game experience too. A delighted manager said, 'Lewis is a young lad who is a current England international and he wants to push on and succeed and he shares the ambitions as me. Lewis has played against Aldershot before and the biggest point that he made to me was how he noticed the support that the team get and how vocal and encouraging they are getting behind the players and that is a great credit to the Aldershot fans. He wants to play in a central midfield role and that is where he has featured for England. It is an important position. We have Ricky Newman who is an experienced pro added with the youth of Lewis and he will learn from Ricky. I said to Lewis also that I played in that position as did Martin Kuhl and hopefully we will be able to develop him as a player also. I am hoping to be in a position to relay more information pretty soon and give the fans more good news. Negotiations have been positive and players want to come and play for Aldershot Town. I said at the Fans Forum that I wanted to sign players of a younger age with quality and the signing of Lewis is testament to that'. A full interview with Lewis Chalmers is available on Shotsline- 09066 555 855- calls cost 60p per minute".

    OLD BOY

    After a long chase, Chester City "are pleased to announce that they have completed the deal to bring Kevin Ellison back to the club. The player has been signed for a substantial, but undisclosed fee from Tranmere Rovers and the deal was concluded this afternoon (Tuesday). A happy Ellison said 'I cannot wait for the pre-season training to commence.. The manager can do well here and obviously that's why I decided to come back'. City Manager Bobby Williamson explained that Ellison would certainly compliment his plans, Wiliamson said 'I don't like playing with full backs in the wide areas, I prefer out and out wingers who can bring chances, crosses and can take a goal as well, Kevin has done that in the past and hopefully he can get that break in front of goal'...Ellison signed a 3 year deal with the Blues".

    JUNIORS' LINKS

    Paul Roberts, coordinator of the new Altrincham FC Juniors venture has kindly supplied this website with links to the Football Association website pages which record the league table for each of the Juniors' teams. The FA pages also list forthcoming games. The Under 9s/10s webpage has yet to be announced whilst the girls' league is being reorganised but links for the girls' U12s, 13s and 15s.will follow shortly. The links have been added to this website's Altrincham FC Juniors' page.

    BLUE SQUARE CONFERENCE PREMIER NEWS

    The Thurrock Gazette says that "Grays Athletic have been forced to pay five months wages to convicted criminal and disgraced footballer Ashley Sestanovich. An FA disciplinary panel has ruled they must pay the cash to Sestanovich, a high-profile signing at the start of last season who eventually only played in one pre-season friendly for the club. Days after that he was arrested and charged with conspiracy to rob and in December last year found guilty. In April this year he got eight years in jail for his part in a raid in which 41-year-old father-of-one Thomas Fahey was murdered. The FA have ruled that Grays were in breach of FA regulations by terminating his contract prior to his conviction and they have been forced to pay him wages, believed to be in the region of £14,000. A Grays Athletic spokesman said: 'Mr Sestanovich had only played one game before being arrested in relation to an offence which happened prior to Mr Sestanovich joining us. When he was arrested Mr Sestanovich falsely stated to the club that he was being held on remand due to motoring offences. Once the full details of the offence were disclosed Mr Sestanovich was served with 14 days' notice of termination of his contract, which was cleared by the Football Conference. Mr Sestanovich appealed against this through the FA which ruled in his favour'. During the FA hearing Grays Athletic secretary, Phil O'Reilly, pointed out the current FA players contract does not cover disclosure of information, the panel agreed that this issue needs to be discussed further and debated on to ensure that no other club finds its self in a similar situation. However, Grays Athletic have been given until December 31, 2007 to pay the disputed part of his contract, which is approximately five months' salary. Sestanovich's football career included spells at Sheffield United, Manchester City and Nottingham Forest and he once acted as a body double for Arsenal captain Thierry Henry in a Nike advertisement. However his behaviour, on and off the field, regularly courted controversy and he slipped into the non-League game. Sestanovich, of Mandeville House, Notre Dame Estate, Clapham, joined a year after the bungled raid in which Mr Fahey was murdered by Sestanovich's co-conspirators, armed robbers Hallroy Reid and Damion Ennis. Ironically the aim of the robbers was to steal £11,000, less than the part Croatian and part Ghanaian footballer has got from Grays... Grays' spokesman added: 'Much as it sticks in our craw to have to pay a substantial amount of money to a convicted criminal who did nothing for this football club, we might have understood it better had we been asked to pay it to the family of the victim of this crime. Perhaps Mr Sestanovich might have a pang of conscience and do the decent thing and, if he is at all remorseful rather than greedy, ask us to do just that!'".

    There is more bad news for Grays Athletic as they "have released Midfielder Derek Duncan, Derek signed for Grays Athletic on 25th May 2007 even though he was under contract to Leyton Orient until 30th June, the club would have registered the player on 1st July 2007, however, during the interim period his agent had touted him around various clubs and an offer from Wycombe Wanderers was made. Both the Club and Justin Edinburgh felt it would be in the best interests of Grays Athletic and Duncan to release him from his contract rather than have a player who is discontent with his current position which was evident in phone conversations".

    Yorkpress states that "York City boss Billy McEwan has called on Setanta Sports to reveal how money will be distributed to Blue Square Premier clubs under the terms of their five-year agreement to televise matches. A figure of £2.8million was first banded about when the deal with the Irish broadcasters was announced last August. But that information has never been substantiated and details on how the money will be shared between the Blue Square Conference, formerly the Coinference, and its member clubs have not been forthcoming either... He said: 'You always get an official figure quoted in the Premier League's negotiations with Sky and information on how it will be distributed, but Setanta won't divulge what the deal is. We need to know. The club officials were not told at the AGM but I've got a meeting with Setanta next month and I will be wanting to find out then'. McEwan has also insisted he will resist any plans to fit him with a microphone during games. Setanta are hoping to loosely base their coverage on the manner in which NFL American football is televised. The Irish broadcasters are planning to issue both managers with microphones during their coverage of games. They are also hoping to screen pre-match team talks from the dressing-room and hold interviews with players immediately after their substitutions as part of its coverage. A bemused McEwan said of the plans which were revealed at the Conference annual meeting: 'They want to be different to Sky but they've got no chance with microphones on the manager. I will be voting against that. As a manager, you need your own privacy and I don't think the viewers will want to be listening to what's being shouted on the touchline'... The annual meeting also revealed provisional plans for the Setanta Shield, which will be contested between the 68 Blue Square Premier, North and South sides next season. City are due to enter the competition in the fourth round... Matches are due to be played on Tuesday nights although televised ties will be switched to Thursday evenings. Early indications also suggest that the competition will not be regionalised". However, the Football Conference reports that "Stalybridge Celtic have signed former York City defender James Dudgeon after his contract expired with the Minstermen. The 26-year-old moves to Bower Fold along with midfielder Terry Barwick, who joins from Northwich Victoria".

    There is also an arrival at Northwich Victoria where "Manager Neil Redfern swooped to sign striker Jake Speight, 21 from Bury. Jake's former clubs have been Sheffield United and Scarborough. 'Jake has great pace which will give the attack a different dimension', said Neil".

    From the Football Conference, we learn that "Halifax defender Adam Quinn has signed a new two-year deal at the Shay and is set to extend his stay further as the club's longest serving player. The 25-year-old England non-league international has started more than 150 games since joining from Sheffield Wednesday in 2002. 'A Conference club made a good offer and he's had an offer from a League team but I'm happy he is staying', boss Chris Wilder told the Halifax Courier".

    More activity in Devon is reported by Torquay United who "have signed Chris Todd from Exeter City and Tony Bedeau has returned to the club after his spell with Walsall. Chris has signed a 3-year contract and Tony a 1-year deal".

    At another south-coast club, Weymouth confirm that "player-boss Jason Tindall has secured the services of five more players. Nick Crittenden and Anton Robinson finished last season with the Terras and have committed themselves to the club for another year. Portuguese midfielder Sido Jombarti and Swindon Town pair Scott Doe and Jonathan Stewart have also penned 12-month contracts. The Robins' duo will complete their moves to the Wessex Stadium on July 1 after their current deals at the County Ground expire on Saturday. Speaking exclusively to Echosport from his hotel room in America, Tindall said: 'Critts did exceptionally well for me after I took over in January. He is a great player with incredible stamina and I am delighted that we have managed to keep hold of him. The way he finished last season was excellent. He scored three goals in five games at one stage and it was a pity for him that the campaign ended when it did. I expect more of the same from him next season. As for Anton, he also did very well. He has a fantastic physique and he offers me a lot in a few positions on the pitch'... Jombarti appeared several times for Weymouth Reserves last season and clearly impressed. Tindall said: 'He is very young and is a Patrick Vieira-type in terms of his physique and build. He is very combative and loves a tackle'.. Doe is a 19-year-old defender who can play at centre-back or right-back while Stewart is an 18-year-old keeper... He said: 'I am delighted with the signings we have made so far and there should be more later this week'".

    The Burton Mail says that "Albion midfielder Chris Hall has joined Gainsborough Trinity in a surprise move. Hall, who missed most of last season because of a knee injury, had vowed to fight for a new contract with the Brewers... Albion manager Nigel Clough told Mail Sport: 'The last time we spoke to Chris he was still keen to come back and give it another go with us. But I think the uncertainty over his fitness has finally persuaded him to take his chance with a club where he is more likely to get regular football. Chris lives in Lincoln and playing for Gainsborough will mean a lot less travelling for him... It is doubtful whether he would have been able to join in training at the intense level we expect in the first two weeks of pre-season... I certainly wouldn't rule out the possibility of him having another part to play at some stage in the future'. Hall is the fifth member of last season's squad to leave the Pirelli Stadium this summer. Defenders Darren Tinson and Terry Henshaw have signed for Altrincham and Alfreton Town respectively, while midfielder Paul Carden made the switch to Accrington Stanley. Injury-plagued striker Steve Scoffham is still trying to find a new club after being released in May and Clough is still waiting to hear from midfielder Andy Ducros, who was offered only short-term deal


    26 June 2007

    LEWIS OFF TO SHOTS

    21 year-old Alty midfielder Lewis Chalmers (right) has left Moss Lane for a full-time contract at Aldershot Town, our Blue Square Conference Premier rivals next season.

    Lewis graduated to the first team after starting with Altrincham FC Youth team for whom he made his debut in the last match of 2002/03 season. He went on to captain that side on occasions. After being a regular for the Reserves in 2004-05, Lewis was an unused sub in the FA Trophy match at Gainsborough on 27 November 2004 and made his full first-team debut on 28 March 2005 against Hinckley. By the end of 2004-05 he had become a regular member of the first-team squad. Lewis injured his ankle in mid-September 2005 at Woodley Sports but returned to fitness and started several games in the Conference in 2005-06. Lewis is also a useful centre-back where his heading is a great asset, as it is at set pieces. He also possesses a prodigious long-throw. From early 2006 he figured mainly as a substitute before establishing himself as a regular starter when Val Owen was suspended in September and was rewarded with a call-up to the National Game XI squad in November 2006. His first-team appearances for Alty totalled 63(+33) and he scored 6 goals

    LIGHTS ON

    Altrincham FC has now received the go-ahead from Trafford MBC to erect new floodlights at Moss Lane. It is expected that these will be in place for the start of the new season.

    FRIENDLY OFF

    Altrincham's pre-season friendly at Curzon Ashton on 16 July has been postponed at Curzon's request.

    FIXTURES

    The Football Conference announces that "The Blue Square Premier, Blue Square North and Blue Square South fixtures for season 2007/20080 will be released at 10am on Tuesday 3 July".

    OLD BOYS

    Former Alty Youth and first-team striker, 21 year-old Steve Lunt has joined Glossop North End, whilst former Alty defender Mark Ogley is reported to have joined Stocksbridge Park Steels as coach.

    Chester City report that they "will be meeting with Tranmere Rovers midfielder Kevin Ellison and his advisers in order that personal terms can be agreed to bring the former City midfielder back to Chester City. Tranmere and the Blues have agreed a transfer fee for the player on Friday and personal terms are the next stage of the process to bring the 28 year old to City. City chairman Stephen Vaughan said 'The deal with Tranmere has been agreed, so we will now move on to the next stage of the process, which is agreeing a financial package with Kevin and his agent'.

    NL Daily "Warrington Town have made their third signing of the close season after striker Neil Smith agreed to make the switch to Cantilever Park. Like defensive captures Liam Coyne [ex-Alty Youth] and Tony Dunne, Smith has previously played for Leigh RMI - the former club of Warrington's new assistant-manager Andy Nelson - at Conference level".

    NW NEWS

    The BBC says that "Milton Keynes Dons have unveiled former Macclesfield boss Paul Ince as their new manager at a news conference. Ince, who took over at the Silkmen in October, resigned from his position with the Moss Rose club on Sunday... Ince's assistant Ray Mathias and fitness coach Duncan Russell have also quit Moss Rose... He said: 'My heart has said stay but my head has been telling me to go to MK Dons. This has been a tremendously difficult decision for me. It feels like the decision Thierry Henry has had to make regarding going to Barcelona. They have significantly more resources for me to work with and as I am ambitious to make it to the very top, I think I have to go for it. I will always remember my time at Macclesfield - this was where I started my managerial career - and I hope our supporters will understand why I am moving on. We came here last October to do a job - to keep Macclesfield in the Football League - and we did it'.

    BSCP NEWS

    The Northwich Guardian confirms that "Paul Brayson and Stuart Elliott have signed for York City. The former Vics' duo tied up their transfer to KitKat Crescent at lunchtime today, Monday, despite new Northwich boss Neil Redfearn saying he wanted them to stay. 'We would like to have had them here', he told the Guardian. 'But this was a situation that was already advanced before I took over'". Brayson, 29, joins fellow frontline newboys Onome Sodje and Chris Beardsley at York as the Minstermen bolster a part of their squad weakened by Clayton Donaldson's departure to Hibernian".

    This is South Devon states that "Torquay United manager Paul Buckle still wants to sign players in all three departments before he feels that his fast-growing squad is ready to mount a Blue Square Premier promotion challenge. 'I'm looking for another centre-half - it's such a critical position - two wide players and another striker' says Buckle.The Devon soccer grapevine continues to link Buckle with a third return to his old club Exeter City for Grecians' centre-back Chris Todd, after the signings of former City players Martin Rice and Lee Phillips. And it wouldn't be a huge shock if former Gulls stalwart Tony Bedeau jumps at the chance of a return to Plainmoor, after a frustrating year at just-promoted Walsall. Bedeau, 28, has another year left on his contract at the Bescot Stadium, but the Saddlers would let him go... The arrival of striker Phillips brought Buckle's squad up to 13 players. 'Twenty would be great, but 18 would be nice to start with', said the Gulls' boss... Having seen goalkeeper Rice and the even more popular Phillips move to their local rivals, City supporters are not best pleased already... But Buckle insists: 'I am not interested in harming Exeter City Football Club. That's not what I'm about. And I'm not a good enough manager, nowhere near good enough yet, to be worrying about other teams'".

    SCARBOROUGH RE-BORN

    From the BBC we learn that "Scarborough Football Club, which went bust last week, is to be reborn under the name Scarborough Athletic. The Seadog Trust, a supporters' group which will run the club, was meeting Northern Counties East League officials to finalise the arrangement on Monday. They were meeting at Bridlington Town's Queensgate ground, which the new club hopes to share in the 2007/2008 season. Trust chairman Simon Cope said: 'This is the start of the next chapter in the history of football in Scarborough'. The former Football League club was wound up at Leeds High Court last Wednesday in the face of mounting debts which included £820,000 owed to the Inland Revenue. Mr Cope said: 'All of us at Seadog Trust would like to express their thanks to Ian Scobbie [club chairman] for his efforts to save Scarborough FC...but we feel that a new club owned by fans is the best, if not only way forward'... He said the trust was now focusing on creating a team for the 2007/2008 season and had drawn up a shortlist of managerial candidates who would be contacted 'over the coming days'".
    25 June 2007

    SEASON'S REVIEW

    Above: Alty's biggest away win last season was at St Albans City. Here Alty and their fans celebrate the second goal, scored by Colin Little.

    A little later than usual, not least due to the late change in Altrincham's league status which occurred after the end of the season, there is now a brief statistical review of 2006-07 season here. Although Alty finished in a relegation place, many of the indicators such as games won, goals scored, defensive record goal difference and match attendances showed improvements in 2006-07 compared with the previous season.

    BLUE SQUARE CONFERENCE PREMIER NEWS

    As already reported, our BSCP neighbours Droylsden have already signed ex-Robin, Ged Murphy from Stafford Rangers, but another Rangers' player, winger Robin Gibson has also now signed for The Bloods. Also arriving at the Butcher's Arms are former Northwich goalkeeper Phil Senior and Mark Hotte, the former Scarborough and York City defender.

    Farsley Celtic chairman Andy Firbank has told the Non-League Paper "We will not be going into the league to make the numbers up... We are now a big club in a small village in massive city. In Leeds there is Leeds United, who are two leagues above us and then there is Farsley Celtic in the Conference... We averaged 450 (spectators) in the league last season and , if we are true to form, we would expect about 1,000 next season. Four years ago we were being watched by crowds of 75 at a push, so that's quite a success!...Some of our players won't be available all the time because of their jobs, so we are looking at having a big squad. We are being inundated with players who want to play for us".


    24 June 2007

    MOSS LANE IMPROVEMENTS

    Moss Lane was a busy scene today as a team of volunteers worked on various jobs around the ground, including gardening, painting, sweeping and the removal of the demolished panels of the old shed at the Golf Road End behind the shop. Meanwhile, on the pitch a small tractor was delivering the twice-yearly weed-killing treatment.to the grass, which has grwon well since the earlier re-seeding and drainage works. There will be a further supporters' working party convening tomorrow at the ground from 10am. So if you can, please come along and help with the many jobs that need doing before the season starts.

    Altrincham FC is very grateful to be awarded help with the painting of the ground from the Dulux Decorator Centres' 'Colouring the Community Project'. Under this scheme, Altrincham FC will receive a generous free allocation of decorating materials and, just as importantly, they receive the services of staff from the Dulux Decorator Centre headquarters in West Timperley, Altrincham for the day.

    So, on Friday, a team from Dulux Decorator Centres will be on hand at Moss Lane to carry out painting and decorating work. On the list of jobs is decorating the Gill Oates Sponsors' Lounge as well as work on areas which may include the dressing rooms, referees' room, turnstiles, press boxes, dug outs and gates. They have kindly offered to provide lunch, free of charge, to any Altrincham FC volunteers who can spare the time to come and help. So, if you have just finished exams or are otherwise free on Friday (29th) please come along to Moss Lane. If you need more details, please contact the club on 928-1045.

    Other developments to the fabric of Moss Lane include work on installing the new floodlights, which is expected to start soon, and the ladies toilets in the bar are to be upgraded during close season with a further toilet being added.

    NEWS OF SCOTTY

    The Sale & Altrincham Messenger brings news that "Gary Scott (right) will stay at Altrincham next season after it was revealed his hernia problem is not as serious as was first feared. The long-serving full back saw a specialist on Thursday after suffering severe discomfort towards the end of last season. And it was discovered that Scott merely needs repair work done on a previous procedure rather than a full hernia operation. He is set to go under the knife on Wednesday and should be back in action before the start of the new season. The 29-year-old has already had two operations on his problematic hernia but it is hoped this latest procedure will see an end to his worries"

    YOUTH GAMES

    George Heslop has confirmed the Altrincham FC Youth Team's pre-season games. These are listed below and also in the Youth Team section of this website.

  • Sunday 8 July at 4pm at Blessed Thomas Holford, versus Ashton Town Youth
  • Sunday 15 July at 10am at Salford City Sports Complex (Lyttleton Road, Salford); Manchester County FA v Altrincham FC Youth
  • Saturday 21 July at 12 noon at Blessed Thomas Holford School, Altrincham; Altrincham FC Youth v Dearborn United Youth (Michigan, USA). After the match the visitors from the USA will be guests of Altrincham FC at the first-team friendly against Rotherham United at Moss Lane (3pm).
  • Wednesday 25 July to Saturday 28 July at the University of Manchester Playing Fields at Northenden, Altrincham will take part in the Umbro International Tournament
  • Sunday 5 August at 2pm away to Congleton Town (venue to be announced).
  • Sunday 12 August at a time TBA against opponents to be confirmed at Wythenshawe Town FC
  • Sunday 19 August league season commences

    Youth team training starts on Sunday 1 July and continues every Tuesday and Thursday thereafter.

    OLD BOYS

    The NW Evening Mail reports that "Big target man Peter Thomson has signed for Blue Square North club Barrow. The 6` 3” striker becomes Bluebirds` manager Phil Wilson’s fourth new summer recruit... Wilson has twice previously managed Manchester-based Thomson, who will be 30 next week, at Southport and Lancaster City. Thomson was released by Altrincham in March after making just three starts in an injury-affected eight-month spell at Moss Lane... Before Altrincham, he had a two-year spell at Stafford Rangers, helping them to the Nationwide North title in 2005/06. 'Tommo is just the type of striker we need and have been looking for since early in the New Year', said Wilson. 'He is a strong, attacking striker, who will get us a good quota of goals. He had a bad time at Alty with injury but that’s all behind him now and he is fully fit. He has been working with a personal trainer and a sprint coach and he is determined to get his reputation back on track. He has the potential to be a big favourite with the fans. If they get behind him and back him he will thrive on that. I enquired about him last season and because of that he has agreed to come to us over other clubs. There are not many target men about. I’ve had Peter twice and know the plusses and minuses with him. We always get the best out of him and we think we can do that again at Barrow'". Barrow confirm that Thomson has "signed a deal for next season at Holker Street".

    ON THIS DAY

    Every now and then a glance back to this website's news from the same date in past years can make us realise how Altrincham FC has moved on...

  • From 24 June 2000

    INS AND OUTS? The Pink has confirmed (24/6/00) that Mark Ward is pursuing Leigh RMI's right-winger, Steve Jones who was the Player of the Year at Hilton Park last season. Ward hopes to pair Jones with Kevin Ellison but any move awaits the return from holiday of the Leigh Chairman. As reported below, Ward is also still pursuing Lancaster's Jamie Udall, but he faces competition from Morecambe and others. However, Ward has acquired an Everton reserve striker, Mark Quayle, on pre-season trial. Leigh's reserve goalkeeper, Mark O'Connor is also a possible arrival at Moss Lane as his present employers are seeking to sign Bamber Bridge's keeper, Craig Dootson. Mick Morrell has signed for Leigh and Chris Timons is expected to do so, to join ex-Alty midfielder, Ged Kielty. Whilst Kevin Ellison remains at Alty despite some interest from Chester City, Northwich Vics have made an approach for centre-back Gary Talbot. Surprisingly, Keith Russell has not jumped at the offer from Hednesford to sign him and still has not yet agreed terms with the Pitmen. North-West Trains side Salford City are hoping to sign two ex-Alty players, Darren Lyons and Neill Hardy both of whom have been released by Morecambe in the last few months, although it is surprising, particularly in Hardy's case, that the players in question are prepared to drop several leagues. Southport have made a player-exchange offer for Danny Adams, but this has been rebuffed.

  • From 24 June 2001

    ALTY CHASE SERTORI? According to the NLP, Altrincham are one of the clubs pursuing Cheltenham Town's released utility man, Mark Sertori. However, Nuneaton Borough are believed to have made a bid for him. Manchester-born Mark, aged 33, formerly played League football for Stockport, Wrexham, Lincoln and Bury. The same paper also reports on Alty's link to a proposed new stadium in Stretford and records the signing of Jeremy Illingworth, with Bernard Taylor saying, "He is a box-to-box player, a strong boy. But he has played upfront, in midfield and even as a sweeper. We will make good use of him". Elsewhere in the paper Kevin Ellison is described as "the pick of the bunch" in an article on future stars. Mark Harris describes Kevin as "a lovely lad. You can never stand in a player's way once they want to progress and we were delighted to be able to facilitate that for him". Ex-Alty man Tony Hemmings has cost Chester City £3,500. The payment, to Ilkeston Town, had been delayed by a wrangle after Hemmings left Chester for Carlisle. Hemmings had joined Ilkeston after being released from Moss Lane.

  • From 24 June 2003

    As Altrincham prepare for 2003/04, above is a picture of the squad as it warmed-up before the first pre-season game of last season, on 17 July 2002 against Tranmere Rovers. Those seen above are: Mike Turner, Peter Mellor, Derek Ward, Rod Thornley, Chris Adams, Gary Scott, Neil Ryan, Danny Frost, Ian Craney, Stephen Rose, Gary Talbot, Mark Maddox, Andy McDonald and Danny Murphy. Other unpictured participants in that game, who are not now playing for Alty, include Eric Nixon, who kept goal for the Robins, Ryan Hevicon and Stuart Locke.

    BSCP NEWS

    Each season, once the fixtures have been issued, there seems to be an immediate wave of changes to dates or kick-off times caused by clashes with England international matches - on the dubious assumption that most non-league fans are desperate to watch Steve McLaren's team live on TV. Already League clubs are beginning to switch match dates due to these clashes so the following dates should be borne in mind when the Blue Square Conference Premier fixtures come out next week. For Altrincham all of these dates are also likely to be ones on which striker Rod Thornley will be missing on masseur duties with the England team. According to the FA the following games are planned:
  • Saturday 8.9. 07 England v Israel
  • Wednesday12.9.07 England v Russia
  • Saturday 13.10.07 England v Estonia
  • Wednesday 17.10.07 Russia v England
  • Wednesday 21.11.07 England v Croatia

    From Aldershot Town we read that "[Gary Waddock] is hoping to operate on a squad of 18 players but added that although the current squad has 12 players Ryan Scott will not be available at the start of the new campaign due to his broken leg sustained [in the last match of last season] at Altrincham. He is hoping for positive news next week".

    The BBC is promoting a new non-league internet radio show for 2007-08. It describes it as a "brand new football show dedicated to Non League Football. You will be able to hear the show every Monday night from 9pm. With the biggest guests in Non League football every week, plus a look at your club, the latest gossip and players to look out for, the Non League show will be THE place for fans of everyone from Chelmsford City to Leamington FC. But it won't be anything without you, we need your stories, your fans of the week and more importantly we need you to pick up the phone, log-on and get in touch. From August 2007 you'll be able to call the show live on 020 7 22 4 2000, text 07786 200 949 and email nonleague@bbc.co.uk every Monday from 9pm, but you can get in touch before then. Send us a guide to your club, a fan of the week, or even preview the coming season, just email nonleague@bbc.co.uk See you in August".


    23 June 2007

    OPPONENTS' NAME CHANGE

    As previously announced Altrincham have a charity game at Moss Lane on Sunday 15th July (2pm) in aid of the Christie Hospital and Francis House charities. There is no entrance fee but supporters are encouraged to make a donation to the charities at the game. The opponents for Altrincham have now changed their name from Holdsworth to East Levenshulme FC. Supporters may remember that the same two sides met at the Levenshulme club's ground last summer in aid of the same charities. The match is being organised at the Alty end by groundsman Neil Brown and all supporters are urged to come along and support these good causes.

    COMINGS & GOINGS

    SAM confirms that "Defender Chris Lane has pitched up at Moss Lane after signing from relegated Southport. The 28-year-old right back, who made 33 Conference appearances for the Sandgrounders last season, agreed terms with Graham Heathcote on Thursday night. And with almost 10 years of experience in non-league's top flight, the Robins boss is confident Lane can strengthen his defence. Heathcote told SAM Sport: 'I'm really pleased to sign Chris. He's a strong and tenacious defender and he's still only 28. Any good team must be built on a strong defence so with the two signings I have made so far, Chris and Darren Tinson, I think we're well on our way to that. We're edging our way towards a strong squad. It's not about bringing in big names, it's about putting together a strong squad. If we do that, it's then up to the players to fight it out for a shirt'. Heathcote has also made an offer to a midfielder who was a first team regular for one of Alty's Conference rivals last season. Now he must play the waiting game with the player, who is keen to go part-time to accomodate his full-time job. Also linked with a possible move to Moss Lane is former Alty favourite Colin Potts (left). The winger left Alty in December last year after struggling for fitness and spent the remainder of last season at Conference North side Barrow. But after working hard to get himself back into shape, Potts is keen for a return to the club where he made more than 100 appearances. He was one of 18 players to take part in a voluntary preseason training session on Thursday, although he is just one of a host of players Heathcote will be taking a look at over the coming weeks. Two players unlikely to return to Alty, however, are Kieran Lugsden (right) and Eddie Hussin. Heathcote had been keen to speak to Hussin about taking part in preseason training but that possibility was ruled out after the midfielder accepted a role as player/coach at Marine. Meanwhile, Lugsden looks set to stay at Leigh RMI, where he spent last season on loan".

    OLD BOYS

    Lincolnshire's Sports Echo confirms that ex-Alty defender "Paul Ellender has admitted his time at Boston United might be at an end. After not being paid for four months, the influential skipper has informed his agent to start making enquiries. 'I've just come back from holiday' said Ellender. '"It gave me the time to think about it and it was a hard decision to come to, but I know I need to move on'. Ellender is just one of four players who remain at the troubled York Street club... With the prolonged takeover by Standing Along Ltd also looking less likely to go ahead, Ellender felt it was time to call an end on over six years at York Street. 'I have been through thick and thin with the club', said Ellender. 'I have gone up from the Conference with them and enjoyed my time in the League as well. However, the way this has all come to an end is just terrible - it's horrible'".

    At Ashton United "Great news for Robins fans is the return of an old favourite in the shape of experienced campaigner Chris Adams (right). ‘Ace’ left Ashton for a second spell at Altrincham in 2001 and has been a consistent performer at Moss Lane in Conference North & Conference National for much of that period. Danny's other signing also featured briefly for him briefly at Trafford last season as he recovered from injury. Wes Wilkinson is the former Nantwich flyer who earned himself a pro contract with Oldham Athletic and has also featured with Leigh RMI after starting his career with Altrincham's youth team".

    Meanwhile, news of three ex-Altrincham players comes from Radcliffe Borough "have signed and agreed to re-sign the following players... Scott Wilson... [and] Lee Hendley... [But] Chris Downey has moved to Ashton United".

    Marine report that Welsh club, The "New Saints have beaten several clubs to capture the signature of striker Ronnie 'The Rocket' Morgan, who was placed on the transfer list at his own request last week by Cammell Laird... Saints' boss [and ex-Alty striker] Ken McKenna has spent three years tracking the 26-year-old, who has scored an amazing 180 goals in the four years since Lairds left the West Cheshire League... 'I have always felt Ronnie was capable of playing at a higher level and once he decided to leave Lairds I just had to go for him', said McKenna, who believes he can continue to score goals in the Welsh Premier". TNS are one of Alty's pre-season opponents so Robins' fans will have a chance to see the new signing.

    BSCP NEWS

    Despite their relegation, the BBC confirms that money is not a problem at Torquay where " manager Paul Buckle has returned to former club Exeter City to sign striker Lee Phillips. The Gulls have paid their Blue Square Premier rivals £17,500 for the 26-year-old, who has agreed a three-year deal at Plainmoor. 'He is a proven goalscorer and will be a big hit. This is a major signing', Buckle told the club website... Buckle, who left Exeter to take charge at neighbours Torquay at the start of June, is also believed to have lodged a bid for City defender and captain Chris Todd".

    "Kidderminster Harriers manager Mark Yates has signed defender Paul Bignot from Crewe Alexandra. The 21-year-old came through Crewe's youth system and had a brief loan spell at Aggborough last season. 'He's an exceptional defender and I'm sure he'll be a great asset for us', Yates told the club's website". The BBC also reports that "Histon boss Steve Fallon has made left-back Gareth Gwillim his seventh new signing of the summer. Gwillim, 24, joins from Bishops Stortford...''"He is a player who offers everything as a full-back and we feel we can now look forward to the new season with a highly competitive squad'" said Fallon.

    From The Cambridge Evening News we hear that "David Bridges is close to a move to a Blue Square Conference outfit following the end of his second spell with Cambridge United. The 24-year-old midfielder, who came through the youth ranks at the Abbey, said he was considering offers from four clubs and hoped to put pen to paper with one of them before pre-season training starts next month. Bridges, who left United in 2004 before returning the following year after spells with top Latvian side Riga and Histon, said he would not comment on those chasing his signature after a planned move fell through following his release by Jimmy Quinn. He said: 'People move on and that's what I've got to do. I've got a house now and bills to pay, so it's got to be what's financially the best option for me. We've spoken to a few clubs and I think I'll have something sorted out come July 2. There are one or two clubs that are close by and a couple more where I wouldn't necessarily have to relocate, but I'd have to travel far'".

    NW NEWS

    Our neighbours and pre-season opponents Trafford FC announce that "The North West Counties Football League is pleased to announce that next season the League will be sponsored by InterContinental Brands Ltd. Under the agreement the League will be known as "The Vodkat League" with InterContinental Brands Ltd also sponsoring the League Challenge Cup to be known as "The Vodkat Cup". There are now 38 semi-professional clubs in the NWCFL, stretching from Cumbria in the North, to Silsden in the East and Staffordshire in the South".
    22 June 2007

    ALTY SIGN CHRIS LANE

    Altrincham FC have signed former Southport right-back Chris Lane on non-contract terms. Chris was born in Liverpool on 24th May 1979 and began his career, under the YTS Scheme, at Everton. In three years with the Toffees, he made 17 appearances for the reserve team. From Everton he moved, in 1998, to Hereford United in summer 1998 and made 57(+8) appearances for them. Southport's Mark Wright then acquired him for a fee of £12,000 in January 2001. After Southport had been relegated from the Conference in 2003, he moved up the coast to Morecambe in May, making his debut at Christie Park in August, 2003. The Shrimps released him in January 2004 and he next joined Leigh RMI, for two appearances, before moving on to Chester City in February 2004 as they went on to win the Conference title that season. He then went back to Leigh RMI in June 2004, making 40 appearances in 2004-05 before returning to Haig Avenue in May 2005, where he made 67(+4) appearances and was voted Port's Player of the Year last season. Welcome to Moss Lane!

    WORKING PARTIES

    The Moss Lane working parties continue this weekend as the Club invites supporters to come and help spruce up the ground for the season ahead. There will be working parties both this Saturday and Sunday, starting around 10am. If you can, please notify the club in advance if your are coming so that they can plan the schedule of work to be done. Your help will be greatly appreciated. There will be a further weekend of work at Moss Lane the following weekend too.

    ORDER YOUR COPY NOW

    From the Non-League Newsdesk, comes the following:

    The Cherry Red Non-League Newsdesk Annual 2007 is scheduled to be published on Monday July 30th. This year's Annual is bigger and better ­ yet still the same price! This is the eighth edition of a summer best seller, now widely regarded as the definitive pre-season guide to non-League football. With the national league system rapidly evolving since the start of the revolutionary shake-up of 2004, this Annual faithfully records all the drama of an eventful 12 months. To cater for this and other expansions in coverage, the Annual is now 320 pages - an increase of 16 pages from last year for no extra cost... The Annual carries exhaustive statistical details from 2006-07, and new season directories for over 70 leagues including an expansion of the coverage of Welsh competitions, and tables from many other leagues. In all around 500 tables are included and over 9,000 teams are covered. All these teams are fully indexed. Also listed are round-by-round results and attendances of FA Cup, Trophy and Vase ties and details of their Welsh equivalents, and the results of all county senior, and many regional, cup finals. All this gen is crammed into a handily sized 320 page A5 book, priced just £9.95. And, better still, postage & packing is free. Ordering details here.

    BSCP NEWS

    The Woking News and Mail says that "Chris Ingram lit the fuse on a 10-month time bomb this week as he issued a stark warning to councillors and the people of Woking by saying: 'Back my development plans or watch the town’s football club tumble into the Ryman League'. The Cards’ owner will place Woking Football Club into administration at the end of the coming season, next April. That is unless planning permission is granted to build banqueting/conference facilities, flats, or other potential revenue schemes at Kingfield Stadium — or a new buyer takes control. Without permission to build — and in the absence of an alternative backer — the club will be finished as a full-time professional outfit, with Ingram finally coming to the end of his tether having ploughed in excess of £3m into the club since saving it from oblivion in 2001. Councillors meet with Ingram at the end of next month for a crucial preliminary discussion on the club’s proposals, even though no application has yet been submitted. If formal backing is not given at that time, the writing is on the wall for The Cards who continue to run with annual losses of around £500,000 — with Ingram footing the bill in addition to his shareholding commitment. 'It’s serious and the club is at a crossroads', he exclusively told News and Mail Sport. 'The situation has drifted and I’ve allowed myself to prop it up because of the development plans. I saved the club six years ago and in 2004 I gave it three years' notice that the tap would go off if the club hadn’t become financially viable. That’s something I’ve always wanted, for the club to get away from reliance on one sponsor. Because the league has become so competitive just to survive, that hasn’t happened. So I have signed up for another season of financial support but if the plans aren’t agreed it can only be hoped a buyer comes forward. Otherwise the situation is not remotely sustainable and the club will go into administration on the last day of next season, drop two leagues, and start the following season with a 10-point deduction... Although I’ve slightly reduced the budget for next season, I’ve spent more money in the past 12 months than ever. Just developing the plans has cost me £500,000 and it hasn’t ended yet. I think I’ve been more than generous, given what has happened to other clubs. A lot of the money I’ve put in has gone in as loans but if the whole thing folds then that’s irrelevant... I have had two potential buyers knock on my door but they turned out to be property developers in disguise... Hhaving later done all the checks on them it turned out they were asset strippers who could have looked at the club’s recent record, acted as a bully, and kicked everyone out of the ground. I wasn’t prepared to let that happen. Of course the council have a charge over Kingfield because of the Leslie Gosden Stand... “I’ve taken a huge gamble on the basis we will get the best deal for the club. Now the council and the town have to ask ‘do we want a football club with a future and ambition?’ Or do they want it to go the same way as Guildford City and many others since?'... Ingram has shown his personal commitment to the borough in other ways. The Lightbox will open in September with a first class collection of his art and sculpture, loaned free of charge... Chief executive of the council, Ray Morgan... commented: 'The council policy has been, since the early 1990s when it invested more than £1.6m in improved facilities at the club and committed itself to further enhancements should it get to the Football League... The report, which will discuss the future of the site, will be considered by the executive at its meeting on July 26'".

    The BBC confirms that "England non-league international defender Kevin Nicholson has joined Torquay United after turning down a new contract offer at Forest Green Rovers. Nicholson, who had also been linked with a move to Barnet, had spent 12 months at Forest Green and started 44 league games last season. The left-back had previous spells with Notts County and Scarborough. Nicholson, 26, is the seventh summer signing as boss Paul Buckle rebuilds for life in non-league football".

    At another ex-League club, the Cambridge Evening News says that "Adam Davies will be ready for action when Cambridge United return to pre-season training next month after almost a year out following an horrific knee injury. The 20-year-old defender, below, tore his anterior cruciate ligaments in the 2-0 defeat at Dagenham & Redbridge last August... It was the second major blow to Davies' fledgling career - he was knocked out and suffered a fit following a head injury in the 2-0 home win over Exeter in April last year. But physio Greg Reid believed the Wales under-21 international had coped remarkably well... He said: 'It's been a tough old time for Adam, but he has done extremely well and shown a heck of a lot of mental strength and toughness. I think ultimately he'll be better for having gone through this when he gets back to playing again. With both Adam and Stephen Smith, who had a knee operation after the season finished... They've gone on holiday and as long as neither of them falls down a flight of stairs, they should be fine for the start of pre-season'. Reid added Courtney Pitt would also be fit for United's return after recovering from a groin operation".

    "Steve Fallon has promised all his Histon players - new and old - a clean slate ahead of their return to pre-season training tonight at the Glass World Stadium. It is just eight weeks since the Stutes were presented with the Conference South title... But Histon boss Fallon, chairman Gareth Baldwin and first-team coach John Beck have worked round the clock, following yet another history-making campaign for the village club, to secure the capture of six new signings. And tonight Craig Pope, Danny Naisbitt, Mark Osborn, Patrick Ada, Dean Bradshaw and Cliff Akurang, who have all chosen to ply their trade with Histon, will get to train with their new team-mates for the first time. The Stutes squad will be weighed and measured before going into a light training session to ease them back into things ahead of being put through their paces at a heavier session when the real work begins next Tuesday night... The boss said: "We are desperate to get them all back and just get started ready for the new season. We've got quite a few new additions and they need to get to know everyone and learn how we play, and we need to get to know them, too... Every single player is starting from fresh. They know it is going to be a fight to earn a place in the team'".

    From This is Exeter we learn that "Torquay United have tabled bids to take Exeter City skipper Chris Todd and striker Lee Phillips to Plainmoor. The Gulls, managed by former Exeter assistant manager Paul Buckle, have made firm bids for both contracted players... 'I have made bids for Lee Phillips and for Chris Todd', said Buckle, who took over at Plainmoor last month. 'I don't know what the outcome will be. I made the bids at the end of last week and negotiations are ongoing... Paul Tisdale and I respect each other and things will be done correctly. The fact that it is Paul Buckle and Torquay United down the road will be a big deal for some people but not for us. I am the manager of Torquay and I am looking to put a squad together and they are two good players'. Both players have a year remaining on their City contracts and while the move for Phillips comes as little surprise after weeks of speculation - the suggestion of Todd leaving will come as more of a shock to City fans. The Welsh defender has been at St James's Park since 2003 and was made club captain at the start of last season... The centre back admitted he could be tempted by the right offer. He said: 'This is the time of the year where clubs start making decisions on who they are going to sign for next season. But until I have got something in front of me I will take it as it comes. I am still an Exeter City player until I hear any different. I am letting my agent deal with it and he will let me know what is going on'. Phillips is understood to be keen on linking up with Buckle for the third time in his career. He and Buckle worked together at Weymouth... Since taking charge at Plainmoor Buckle has signed former City keeper Martin Rice, Paul Hinshelwood from Brighton, Elliot Benyon from Bristol City and Chris Hargreaves from Oxford United. Lee Mansell and Chris Robertson have been retained. Meanwhile, Tisdale's quest to replace Buckle [as assistant boss at Exeter] continues with City's sporting director Julian Tagg admitting several approaches have already been made".

    The Halifax Courier states that "Tyrone Thompson is a potential target for Town's rivals York City. The midfielder became a free agent earlier this month when he failed to respond to the Shaymen's offer of a new contract. And Halifax revealed that the 26-year-old had also declined a new deal when he was offered one in January. City boss Billy McEwan has been busy in the transfer market already this summer... He has already brought in Chris Beardsley from Rushden & Diamonds, Gravesend & Northfleet striker Onome Sodje and former Torquay United left-back Mark Robinson. And he is set to sign Paul Brayson and former Shayman Stuart Elliot from Northwich Victoria. Now he has declared an interest in Thompson who has also been linked with a potential move to Rushden & Diamonds".

    Last season's hard times seem to be over on the South Coast. "Former Weymouth chairman Martyn Harrison has made a statement regarding his departure from the Wessex Stadium" says This is Weymouth. "The hotelier has sold his company's majority shareholding in the Terras to Mel Bush and has cleared the club's debts. He said: 'I felt it was incumbent on me to ensure the loans and debts were cleared to give the new owner every possibility of success in the future... I want to thank the staff, players, supporters and sponsors who have been here for the club through thick and thin especially over these past few exciting years". Meanwhile "Former Southampton trainee Kyle Critchell has become Weymouth manager Jason Tindall's first pre-season signing. He penned a two-year deal at a Press conference to announce new owner Mel Bush's arrival. Chief executive Gary Calder said: 'Jason is away in America at the moment but I am in constant contact with him and the players we want to sign and we hope to have some more news over the next few days... We will be searching everywhere for players and that includes Europe. Our net for players will be very big but it is also important that the ones we get in have the right mentality'... Critchell, who turned away interest from Torquay United, Dagenham & Redbridge, Brentford, Shrewsbury Town and Colchester United, was born in Weymouth... He said: 'It is brilliant to be here. One of the main reasons I have come back to Weymouth is because my sister is ill but the other thing is that there is huge potential at the club'".


    21 June 2007

    NAME CHANGE

    The FA has decreed that the league in which Altrincham will play next season is to be known as the Blue Square Conference Premier. Meanwhile the Football Conference itself says that "Following the release of the Premier and Football League fixtures the Football Conference are now able to commence fixture preparations for Blue Square Premier, Blue Square North and Blue Square South. It is anticipated that the fixtures for all three Blue Square competitions will be released at the end of June. The draw for the Setanta Shield will also be issued following the fixtures release".

    OLD BOY

    "Following the arrival of defender Stuart Howson from Barrow, Gerry Luczka, manager of UniBond League Division One North club Chorley, has further strengthened his squad with two more signings. Arriving from relegated Mossley is 23-year-old winger Lee Shillito, while midfielder James Holden joins from Premier Division Ashton United. Shillito is a speedy right winger who signed for Mossley from Nationwide North side Leigh RMI where he earned a reputation as a direct and skilful goal provider. He was previously with Altrincham, where he graduated through their youth team, and Trafford".

    VIVA ALTRINCHAM!

    20 Minutos is a free newspaper available in many Spanish cities including Valladolid where your correspondent was last week. Its website even keeps track, in a detailed if slightly eccentric way, of the performances of Altrincham FC and the other teams in what it strangely terms the Premier (League Two)!

    BLUE SQUARE CONFERENCE PREMIER (BSCP) NEWS

    The Halifax Courier reports that "Steve Bushell (right) has admitted the chance to return to full-time football with Halifax Town came as a complete surprise. The 34-year-old midfielder will be back at the Shay next season 12 months after leaving the club to join Altrincham.... 'It came right out of the blue', said Bushell. 'I missed the original call and phoned the manager back. He asked whether I wanted to come back to Halifax and I had no hesitation in saying yes. It is a big chance for me and I am determined to make the most of it'...Now he is relishing the opportunity to get back to being a full-time player after a season with Altrincham's part-time squad. 'At the time, I thought it was the way to go', said Bushell. 'In the end, it wasn't.Don't get me wrong, I had a great time at Altrincham and the manager has been great to me. I know that I did not play as well last season as I know I can and there were times when I was playing when I had no right to be in the team. I have always been my own worst critic, and I found the change from training every day to twice a week difficult to adjust to. I am already working on my fitness levels. I feel refreshed and am raring to go.. The lads were sound in my previous spell at Halifax and I don't see that changing' he said".

    Hereford's Bullsnews says that "Andy Ferrell has signed a one year deal at Kidderminster Harriers, following his release from the Bulls.The competitive midfielder fell out of favour at Edgar Street, and joined the Harriers on loan in March but played just once due to injury... Manager Mark Yates told their official site: 'Andy is a player I admire. We managed to get him on-loan last season but unfortunately he pulled a stomach muscle early on - but even with his injury, his attitude around the place was great. That convinced me even more that he was the kind of player I want and he'll bring experience and ability to the squad'". Meanwhile, "Former Bull, Chris Hargreaves has joined Torquay United for their first ever Conference campaign. The 35 year old has played over 500 games in his career, including over 100 at Edgar Street. He is the fourth signing at Plainmoor since their relegation, three of which are under 21".

    "Dagenham & Redbridge boss John Still has raided Blue Square Premier club Ebbsfleet United to clinch the signature of defender Ross Smith. Smith left Stonebridge Road at the end of last season after failing to agree a new contract with Liam Daish and has now penned a one-year deal with the Daggers. The 26-year-old Canadian makes the switch to Victoria Road having spent the past two years playing for Ebbsfleet in the Conference... The left-sided defender was released in the summer as manager Liam Daish said that he couldn't wait any longer for the player to commit his future to the club. Daish had been trying to negotiate a new deal with Smith since the beginning of February, although the player was delaying talks as he had his heart set on making a career for himself in the Football League" says the Football Conference.

    From Confguide we learn that "York City manager Billy McEwan is poised to make two more new signings... Former Newcastle United duo Paul Brayson and Stuart Elliot have verbally agreed deals with the Minstermen and McEwan is just waiting on the duo to return from their respective holidays. Striker Brayson had a trial at KitKat Crescent in the summer of 2004 but failed to earn a contract from then manager Chris Brass. The 29-year-old has since been a regular scorer for Northwich Victoria and finished as their leading marksman last season with 12 goals. Brayson previously fired the club to an immediate return to the Nationwide Conference after claiming 32 goals in 51 appearances in Conference North. Vics' skipper and midfielder Elliott (29) similarly began his career at St James's Park, and has also represented Plymouth Argyle, Darlington, Carlisle United and Exeter City. 'They are coming into the club', McEwan told The Press. 'It's just a matter of rubberstamping their moves and we are waiting for them to return from holiday to sign their contracts'. McEwan has also admitted that he could make a move for Tyrone Thompson after the free agent turned down a deal at Halifax Town... York City have completed their third signing inside the last twenty-four hours with the capture of former Mansfield Town striker Chris Beardsley. The 23-year-old frontman started his career as a trainee at Mansfield five years ago, before having brief spells at Doncaster Rovers and Kidderminster Harriers... [He] signed an eighteen-month contract with Rushden & Diamonds in January 2007 following a successful loan period".

    "Ebbsfleet have made their second summer signing with the capture of former Woking midfielder Neil Barrett. Manager Liam Daish is a keen admirer of the 25-year-old and has brought him to Stonebridge Road on a free 'Neil made a big impact during his time at Woking', Daish told the club's official website. 'Glenn Cockerill rated him very highly, and Frank Gray wanted him to go back for pre-season this summer, so we have done well to bring him to the club. He will bring a physical presence to our midfield and is capable of getting his name on the scoresheet'" states Confguide

    In Devon, NL Daily confirms that "Paul Buckle, manager of Torquay United, has added to his new-look squad with the signings of experienced midfielder Chris Hargreaves and defender Chris Robertson. Robertson, 21, has agreed a permanent deal with the Gulls after finishing last season at Plainmoor on loan from Sheffield United. Ex-Plymouth, Northampton and Hull midfielder Hargreaves (pictured) joins Torquay after leaving league rivals Oxford United at the end of last season".

    "Combative midfielder Josh Simpson has rejoined Blue Square South club Cambridge City following a year with Premier neighbours United. Simpson was one of three young players – Michael Gash and Robbie Simpson were the others - who left Milton Road for the Abbey a year ago" says NL Daily.

    In another university city, "Oxford United are set to receive a boost when Luke Foster signs a new contract with the club this week. The former Sheffield Wednesday and Lincoln City player, who impressed greatly in a short spell with United at the end of last season, will put pen-to-paper on a two-year deal. U's boss Jim Smith... said: 'The lad's agreed the contract. He was due to do it on Tuesday, but he broke down en route!'. The 21-year-old defender had been a revelation at the Kassam Stadium after breaking into the side following his move in March from Stalybridge Celtic... But he then missed the crunch play-off semi final games against Exeter City after injuring his leg badly in the final league game at York City. X-rays revealed he had two undisplaced fractures in his fibula and he would also have missed the play-off final, had United won through to Wembley. The injury is expected to heal fully by next season and Smith said he was pleased with the capture... The Bald Eagle is understood to have concluded two or three other deals, with new signings likely to be announced later this month... 'There's plenty that's happened, but we don't want to release it yet', he said. 'We're hoping in the next few weeks to be able to do so'", he told the Oxford Mail.

    "John Hulse, manager of Principality Welsh Premier club Rhyl, has signed another midfielder with English Pyramid experience from east Manchester-based Nationwide North champions Droyslden. Jimmy Kelly, 34, will renew acquaintance with two other ex-Bloods at Belle Vue in striker and recently-appointed club coach Dave Cameron and recent acquisition Carl Ruffer."

    From This is Weymouth comes confirmation that "Pop promoter Mel Bush is set to be confirmed as the new owner of Weymouth Football Club... Bush, who is manager Jason Tindall's father-in-law, agreed an offer with chairman Martyn Harrison last week and over the weekend was just waiting for the hotelier to put pen-to-paper. Harrison is believed to have signed off the deal yesterday. Speaking exclusively to Echosport from his hotel room in America, Tindall said: 'I have always said that I am not too bothered who takes over as long as they have the best interests of the team and the club at heart and are not just out to use the club for their own financial gain. Out of all the people who have shown an interest in taking over the club I know, Mel Bush is the best person for it. You do not achieve what he has achieved and get the respect he has got in his industry by being a clown. He is a good businessman, I have had a long chat with him and he seems very positive about giving Weymouth Football Club long-term stability and success for the whole town'. The past month has been very frustrating for Tindall who until now has not been able to offer any contracts to last season's players or draft in any new acquisitions. He added: "I have been losing possible new signings who I wanted to bring in by the day... but they could not wait forever. Over the past couple of weeks I have lost five players who were prepared to come to Weymouth, three of which have now signed for League clubs and a couple of others who have signed for Blue Square Premier clubs which is a shame. However, there are still three or four other very good players who I believe can come in and do well for us. And I am hoping to announce a couple of new signings over the next few days. As for the players who ended last season with us, they have all said they want to stay here and they already know what I am about and hopefully we can sign them on soon... There is now some light at the end of the tunnel'".

    Scarborough may have gine under but life goes on at Crawley where the Argus says that "Crawley Town boss Steve Evans insists he is not involved with the club's finances. Evans is working with a restricted budget after it was reduced to allow Reds to pay off their long-standing debts... He confirmed four new signings at a fans' forum on Monday, three of whom were playing in the Football League last season, and is in negotiations with more players. But it has led to speculation as to how Crawley can afford to sign big names after two seasons of financial problems. There has been speculation that a big factor in Evans' appointment was that he would bring in investment. But Evans said: 'I do not come in with investment. I work with the budgets I'm given. I have not been paid for four months so I have no money to give. Nor does my family. My father died when he was 56, my brother drives a bus in Glasgow and my other brother works for British Rail. I have asked for assurances about the budgets and I am happy with what I have got to work with'. Co-owner Chas Majeed insists the club's finances are stable. He admits he and his brother Azwar have learnt some harsh lessons during two traumatic years in charge but believes they are now getting it right. Representatives from the Majeed's company, SA Group, were due to meet with administrators yesterday to thrash out the final re-payment of their £500,000 debts. Majeed said:'We admit we did not know about how to run a football club but that is in the past and we have learnt how to do it now. We know what budget to give and what we can and can't do. We have paid a lot of money to keep the club going. My brother has mortgaged his house and we now want supporters to get behind us'. Evans also revealed details about his infamous court case during his time at Boston and has urged fans not to hold it against him. He was suspended from football for 20 months in 2002 and given a one-year suspended prison sentence last year after pleading guilty to tax offences. He said: 'I took the case to the top QC in the country and he said that I was not guilty and I should fight it... I did not have a choice in the matter, I had to think about my family so I pleaded guilty'... 'We are also in discussions with a Premiership team about them coming here in the week of August 4 and another Championship club'".

    The Burton Mail says that "Albion will have to widen their search for a midfield player after missing out on Notts County's Dan Martin... as a possible replacement for Paul Carden... Martin was due to join the Brewers for a pre-season trial, but has been snapped up by Mansfield Town... Clough has bolstered his midfield department by signing Irishman John McGrath from relegated neighbours Tamworth. But Carden's unexpected departure has left a hole in Albion's squad.. He signed for Accrington after deciding he needed a club nearer to his Liverpool home for family reasons. With Andy Ducros unlikely to accept Clough's offer of a short-term deal, the Brewers boss will almost certainly try to draft in a midfield recruit when Albion report back for training next month. Meanwhile, Albion are still awaiting news of the fate of goalkeeper Kevin Poole. Despite the fact he will celebrate his 44th birthday next season, the former Premiership veteran remains Clough's preferred choice for the keeper's jersey next season... However, Poole - an academy coach with Birmingham City last season - is awaiting the outcome of his application for a full-time post with another Premiership club... One possibility is that he will make a renewed attempt to secure the services of Crewe Alexandra's Stuart Tomlinson".


    20 June 2007

    SEADOGS GO UNDER

    The BBC reports that "Scarborough Football Club has gone out of business with debts of £2.5m. The former Football League club was wound up at Leeds High Court at a hearing on Wednesday morning. Boro hoped the local council would lift a covenant on their McCain Stadium so it could be sold for residential use to cover debts and finance a new ground. But the judge hearing the case felt a rescue package was unlikely in the face of mounting debts which include a sum of £820,000 owed to the Inland Revenue...

    A statement from Scarborough read: 'While it is sad to see the demise of a club with a proud history of 128 years, the club's finances have for a number of years been in a very poor state and the company has been in and out of various insolvency proceedings. Recently the club has been trying to sell the McCain Stadium for development to fund a move to an out of town purpose built stadium. However, this move has been fraught with difficulties. Despite the support of Scarborough Borough Council and the company's creditors, the club simply ran out of time. The company's total debt amounts to £2.5m. Rob Sadler and Mike Saville of Begbies Traynor have been appointed joint liquidators of the company and will now be liaising with Council to agree the disposal of the stadium in order to achieve the best return to the creditors. Whilst it is disappointing to see any club go out of business, the making of the winding-up order at this time allows the newly constituted supporters' trust an opportunity to reform and apply for membership of the North East Counties League. Hopefully this will ensure football for Scarborough in the coming season'".

    The official website at Scarborough says, "The Scarborough Football Club Limited has today (20/06/2007) been wound up at the High Court of Justice in Leeds. This web site remains in private ownership, and as such will remain online. However, no further press releases will be issued via this site until such a time as a new club has been formed. The site owner understands that discussions are ongoing between two interested parties - former Chairman Ian Scobbie and fans organisation The Seadog Trust. In the interests of remaining neutral, the decision has been taken not to allow any further statements from either party to be published on this site. Both parties are urged to discuss the best way forward for a football club in Scarborough, and ensure that only one application put forward to both the North Riding FA and Northern Counties East League. R.I.P. Scarborough Football Club 1879-2007".

    The Scarborough Evening News says that "Scarborough Football Club have folded after a judge ordered its parent company to be wound up... The decision comes despite moves by Boro chairman Ian Scobbie to hammer out a deal to clear the debts by selling the McCain Stadium for development and moving to a new ground. Judge Greenwood last granted the club a seven day adjournment in the winding proceedings to secure the deal, but said today he could not give the club any more time. He said: 'On every occasion, hopes have been raised and rescue plans have been put in place. These rescue attempts have failed. The time has come, regrettably for the football club, for me to make a decision. The various rescue attempts have failed and I wind Scarborough Football Club up... There is nothing in my view to suggest that a fourth CVA would be approved, or even successful'... Two applications have been made for a newly formed Scarborough football team to play next season in the Northern Counties East League, three divisions lower than the Unibond. One is for 'Scarborough Athletic', which has been formed by the supporter-led Seadogs Trust. The other is for 'AFC Scarborough', which has been set up by Mr Scobbie. League bosses have said they will only accept one application from a Scarborough club - and if both apply, neither will be given a place. The two clubs have until Sunday to provide a united application and are meeting to discuss the issue tomorrow".

    It was Scarborough's financial situation which led to Altrincham's reprieve from relegation after the points deduction of 2005-06. All at Moss Lane will be sorry to see the demise of a club against whom Altrincham have a long history of rivalry, going back to Northern Premier League days.

    PUT YOUR SHIRT ON ALTY

    Prices for Altrincham FC replica shirts this season will be £33 for adults and £26 for children's sizes. Please contact the club by phone (928-1045) or visit the E-bay shop or send an e-mail to place an order.

    BLUE SQUARE PREMIER NEWS

    The BBC says that "York City boss Billy McEwan has completed the signings of striker Onome Sodje and left-back Mark Robinson. Sodje, 18, joins the Minstermen from Blue Square Premier rivals Ebbsfleet United after turning down a new contract offer from the Kent club. The former Charlton Athletic youngster scored nine times last season, including a goal against York. Robinson, 25, was a free agent after leaving Torquay following spells with Stockport, Hartlepool and Hereford".

    The Cambridge Evening News states that "Alan Lewer has ruled out the possibility of bringing Dean Moxey to Cambridge United. The Exeter player, who can play at left-back or left midfield, had talks with the United No 2 over a move to the Abbey. Lewer is believed to have become interested in Moxey while assistant to John Hollins at Crawley last season after good reports from player Scott Hiley, a former Exeter player-coach. A compensation fee required by the Grecians if their former youth product moves on could have been a stumbling block for United anyway. But Lewer said.. as they have left-backs Stephen Reed and Jordan Collins, and winger Courtney Pitt already on the books, ' There's no chance of Dean coming here at the moment because we've got those positions filled,' said Lewer, who hoped United would be able to make another new signing this week with a striker, a keeper and possibly another midfielder among the targets. Moxey's future with the Grecians remains unclear after the out-of-contract defender went on holiday last week without being able to agree a new deal at St James' Park. But he has been given the assurances he wanted from Exeter boss Paul Tisdale that the Nationwide Conference play-off losers would not be signing another left-back after the departure of Billy Jones to Crewe for £50,000... Tisdale said: "Dean has to decide whether he wants that challenge or whether he wants to go elsewhere'".

    The Halifax Courier reports that "Steve Haslam has made a shock U-turn by quitting Halifax Town for League One Bury. And Shay boss Chris Wilder is powerless to prevent the move which comes less than a month after the 27-year-old had indicated he was ready to sign a new contract with Town. 'Steve signed an acceptance form and returned it to us', said Wilder. 'Then I received a phone call saying that Bury had contacted him and he wanted to go and speak to them. If people give me their word I expect them to stick to it, so it's disappointing but there is nothing I can do about it... I am not in a position where I can force a player to stop with the club. He is over 24 and not under contract after the end of the month'. Haslam made 92 Conference starts for the Shaymen after being released by Sheffield Wednesday in the summer of 2004... 'Steve has been a good lad to work with and has done all right for us', said Wilder. 'But there are players out there and I am sure we will replace him. We also have Ryan Toulson who I am expecting to kick on next season. I understand that the supporters want to know who we are signing and want to see players coming in', he said. 'But they will have to be a little patient... realistically, we are still not in a position where all of a sudden we can go and sign anyone'".

    This is South Devon says that "New Torquay United boss Paul Buckle is ready to go back to his old club Exeter City in an effort to prise away more of the Grecians' top stars...Buckle would not comment specifically on his latest targets, but he has already signed goalkeeper Martin Rice from City and I understand that he is in talks with Exeter about at least one and possibly two more players. It would be no great surprise if one turns out to be City striker Lee Phillips, who has been linked with a move to Plainmoor already. Phillips, 26, has a year of his current contract left at Exeter... Buckle is also busy on several other fronts. He expects to hear within the next 24 hours whether young centre-half Chris Robertson will accept the terms offered to him and re-sign for the Gulls... Former Barnet, Peterborough and Oldham defender Mark Arber, 29, is another target. He finished last season on loan at Conference champions Dagenham & Redbridge. Buckle has had exploratory talks with two free agent midfielders - veteran ex-Hull, WBA, Hereford, Plymouth, Northampton, Brentford and Oxford man Chris Hargreaves, 35, and former Sheffield United, Huddersfield, Scarborough and Halifax midfielder Tyrone Thompson, 26. The Gulls' boss has admitted his interest in former Aldershot striker Roscoe D'Sane, who scored 21 goals for Ryman League Premier AFC Wimbledon last season. United are also being linked with 20-year-old Darren Mullings, a midfielder just released by Buckle's old Plainmoor teammate Paul Trollope at Bristol Rovers... Before the weekend United signed young ex-Bristol City striker Elliott Benyon and 19-year-old right-back Paul Hinshelwood from Brighton & Hove Albion, bringing his signed-up squad to nine players. A left-back is now high on Buckle's to-do list, and he is close to filling that gap too. Some Gulls fans have been speculating on the possibility of long-serving ex-United striker Tony Bedeau returning after an ill-fated year at Walsall... And Mark Robinson, the former Hartlepool and Stockport left-back who played the second half of last season for Torquay, has just signed for Blue Square Premier rivals York City. Robinson hails from Teesside and he had been looking for a move closer to home".


    19 June 2007

    VICS' NEW BOSS

    Northwich Victoria report that they have "appointed Neil Redfearn as manager. Neil (41) brings an impressive 25-year record of achievement to the Club having played at all levels of the game including Bolton Wanderers, Charlton Athletic and Barnsley. His appointment comes at the end of an intense two weeks of interviews by Vics Chairman Mike Connett and John Bond, former Manchester City supremo, who has also recently been appointed as football consultant to the Club. A shortlist of seven interviewees was jointly drawn up from over 30 applicants.

    'From the start Neil impressed us with both his professionalism and experience' says Connett, 'And that impression was reinforced the more we spoke to him. We believe he's just the kind of coach that Vics need at this stage of the team's development, with the emphasis on Premier League -style ball possession. We want to get away from the kind of knock and run tactics that we've seen in the past. We also need to get into the play-offs of the Blue Square Premier. Neil is the man who is going to do it for us on both counts'. At the Victoria Stadium, Neil will be guided by John Bond.

    'It's going to be an interesting combination and effective one too', says Connett, 'With Neil giving the players a level of tactical guidance that the've never before known at the Club and John overseeing the whole process. It's great news for both the team and the fans and something I believe will herald a whole new era of success for the Club'".

    Redfearn also has non-league managerial experience with Scarborough in 2005-06.

    GOAL VALUE

    Last Saturday the Manchester Evening News ran a feature derived from Fool UK showing "the cost of a season ticket compared to how many goals their team scores" at home. It concluded that to watch Manchester City at home last season would have typically cost a supporter £46.75 for every Blues' goal scored! In contrast Blackburn topped the Premier League charts with a home-side goal for every £11.25, whilst Man. Utd were third with a cost of £14.25. For the record, a £170 season ticket at Moss Lane last season would have equated to just £6.07 per Alty goal. With season ticket prices held at last season's prices that is another good reason to get your Altrincham season ticket now. And don't forget tickets are discounted by £10 till 30 June - they also admit you free of charge to all the home pre-season friendlies, which are listed here. The Blue Square Premier season starts on August 11th but it is still not clear when fixtures will be issued.

    OLD BOYS

    NL Daily says that after his departure from Stalybridge Celtic, "John Reed, the new manager of UniBond League Premier Division newcomers Buxton has drafted in former Swansea City defender Clive Freeman [pictured right playing for Guiseley against Alty in 2002] to be assistant-manager at the Silverlands. Forty-four-year-old Freeman's playing career saw him play for the likes of Doncaster Rovers and Altrincham, where he famously won the BBC `Match of the Day`s goal of the month award for an effort against Chester City in the FA Cup. He has also had stints with Yorkshire sides Farsley Celtic, Emley, Bridlington Town, Bradford Park Avenue and Guiseley, where he ended up as number two before moving back to Park Avenue in a similar role under previous boss Phil Sharpe [also ex-Alty]"... Former Northwich Victoria boss Steve Burr has recently taken charge of Stalybridge... [where former Vics'] striker James Dean has followed Burr to Celtic".

    BLUE SQUARE PREMIER NEWS

    From Manchester City we learn that "Throughout June, the Manchester City Experience is celebrating last season's achievements of Droylsden F.C. 'The Bloods' are the closest local team to City’s stadium and gained a fantastic league and cup double by winning the Conference North Championship and the Manchester Premier Cup. Droylsden will now play in the Conference National for the first time in their history and attempt to break into the football league. City and Droylsden have always had a mutual affinity; East Manchester and the Tameside area has always traditionally been where City have drawn much of their support. In the 1930s “The Bloods” became the Blues' nursery club and City’s “A” team played their matches at Droylsden's Butcher's Arms Ground. In 1973 Malcolm Allison’s team of stars were invited to play a special match marking Droylsden’s new floodlights where (the then England manager) Don Revie was guest of honour. In the 90s, both teams played a match to raise money for the redevelopment of The Butcher's Arms after fire had devastated the ground. The 'Our closest neighbours' display is located in Manchester City’s museum and includes both the trophies that The Bloods won this season, along with other Droylsden and City- related artefacts".

    This is Weymouth claims that "Pop promoter Mel Bush is on the brink of completing a takeover deal for Weymouth Football Club after former chairman Ian Ridley withdrew his offer. Bush, who is the father-in-law of Terras' boss Jason Tindall, has been in intense negotiations with the club's current owner Martyn Harrison over the past week and is now just waiting for the hotelier to put pen to paper. Mr Bush said today: 'It is down to Martyn now. Everything is in place and it is just waiting for him to sign'... Mr Bush, who revealed details of his bid on the Terras' supporters' forum, added: 'The only reason I did that was because there were so many false statements and mistruths being said and I wanted to let everyone know that an offer is there... I do not know what the hold-up is but what I do know is that for the sake of the club it needs to be sorted. There are a lot of concerned people in Weymouth and my concerns are the same... My intentions are to fully establish Weymouth Football Club and make it a club that reflects well on the town. With the Olympics coming and all the interest Weymouth is generating and the fact property prices are going up, the whole atmosphere proves that pending success is on the way'. Under Bush's deal the club will retain all its assets, including the ownership of the Wessex Stadium which at one point was very much in doubt... It is understood that Jason Tindall is on red alert to return from a break in America once the deal is finalised. Mr Tindall, has so far been unable to sign any of his players for the forthcoming campaign and with pre-season training scheduled to start early next month time is clearly against him".

    Chris Porter, who kept goal for York City through the 2005-06 season, has joined Bishop Auckland. Meanwhile, the BBC says that "York City boss Billy McEwan is set to make Northwich striker Paul Brayson, 29, his first summer signing". However, The Northwich Guardian reports that "Vics have delayed the naming of their new boss to replace Steve Burr. The club were scheduled to make an announcement this morning, but now say this will be delayed until tomorrow morning, Tuesday".

    From This is Exeter we read that "Former City striker Christian Roberts is set for a return to St James's Park after the Grecians announced they will be playing his current club, Swindon Town, in pre-season.The lightning-quick Welshman scored 18 goals for Exeter in two seasons with the club before moving to Bristol City in 2002. Swindon will visit St James's Park on August 4 (3pm) - the the club's ninth and final pre-season fixture". Also, "Ask anyone at Exeter City about George Friend and they will tell you he has a bright future. The 19-year-old is about to start the second year of his first professional contract with the club and it could just be the biggest year of his life. A natural athlete with a sweet left foot, Friend is hoping to fill the void created by the departure of Billy Jones to Crewe Alexandra. Manager Paul Tisdale gave him the perfect incentive to return for pre-season training with a spring in his step by revealing in Echo Sport on Saturday that he does not plan to sign a new left-back. That creates a straight race for the position between Friend and fellow City youth product Dean Moxey".

    This is Glos says that "Jimmy Harvey has hit out at Barnet manager Paul Fairclough over his attempts to prise full-back Kevin Nicholson away from Forest Green. Nicholson has had talks with Barnet, but Harvey is unhappy that Fairclough may have used his position as manager of the England semi-professional side to influence Nicholson... He is the only one of the 16 out-of-contract players who has rejected the chance to stay at Rovers. 'We'll have to see where Kevin wants to go, and I have no problem with him wanting to go elsewhere', said Harvey. 'But a month ago, Paul Fairclough phoned me to ask about full-backs. I sang Kevin's praises and he took him to Scotland. He came back, and has said he is not signing his new contract as he is talking to Barnet. If he has been tapped up by Paul, then I am disappointed. I recommended Kevin for a call-up, and if that time away was used to get him to Barnet, then it's totally out of order'. York are also unhappy with Fairclough after Barnet signed England international Neal Bishop. Responding, Fairclough said: 'When any quality players become available in the League or Conference, Barnet have to be interested. I don't see why Barnet should be disadvantaged because I am the England manager'".

    From Yorkshire, the Halifax Courier comes news that "Town boss Chris Wilder has admitted that Martin McIntosh, who signed for Mansfield at the weekend, was on his list of potential summer signings... 'I wanted to bring him in before the FA Trophy tie at Kidderminster', said Wilder. 'We were one of the clubs in the frame for him following his release by Huddersfield'".

    Crawley Town report that "Four players have committed themselves to the Reds for the new season and include a goalkeeper, two defenders and a striker. Much sought-after goalkeeper Ashley Bayes joins from Grays Athletic, outstanding young defender Jamie Stevens joins from Evans’ sformer club Boston United, centre-back Bradley Thomas from Yeovil Town and they are joined by Brazilian goalscoring striker Magno Vieira who counts Carlisle United and Barnet among his former clubs".

    NORTH WEST NEWS

    The UniBond League announces that it "has concluded Heads of Agreement with Invision Ltd to sell the rights to broadcast highlights and live matches in a six-figure, three-year deal, it was announced at the league's AGM in Blackpool... The tie-up follows last season's successful roll-out of UniBond TV, a pay-to-view broadband TV service which was operated by Invision... The new agreement will see the broadband TV become free to view, with the re-named NPL TV website being linked to all member clubs' websites as well as the league's own site, opening up the service to an estimated 200,000 potential users. NPL TV will feature highlights of one UniBond league match every week, in addition with up to two midweek games shown 'live' each month for a subscription fee of £3.95 per match... UniBond football will also be seen in Pubs & Clubs throughout the league's catchment area, as CEO Duncan Bayley explains. 'One of our clubs carried out a 3 month pilot scheme last season to test the effect on match attendances of broadcasting matches live into local pubs. In fact, doing so helped the club to re-kindle the interest of some lapsed supporters, whilst raising the profile of the club and league'... Invision has also agreed a deal with the league to provide website templates to member clubs which will include the option to view highlights from their home and away games, as League IT Manager Alan Allcock explains. 'Although every member club has a website, some have very little editorial and often not updated for several weeks. This is understandable as these type of websites were created by an enthusiastic volunteer who soon realises that once up and running there is a labour of love keeping it regularly updated. This new offer to clubs will allow them to have an official website which will be regularly updated from the centre with results and news relating to the club'"
    18 June 2007

    DARREN'S SURPRISE

    Following his recent holiday in Tobago, Alty's new signing Darren Tinson told the NL Paper, "In truth, I couldn't believe it when I heard Alty were staying up.. When I got back, I was in a local pub in Nantwich with some friends when one of the lads told me the news. I didn't have a clue about it. I fell as though I've won promotion before the season's even started! It's a massive bonus for me and my new club that we are staying in the Blue Square Premier...I spoke to a few clubs before I went on holiday. I was really impressed with Altrincham's persistence. It's always nice to feel wanted and Alty made the effort. I signed on Wednesday... because I want to carry on playing at the highest possible level. But it wouldn't have been a massive problem to me to have stepped down to Blue Square North... I have started a full-time job as a physiotherapist and I needed to go to a club that just trains in the evenings. Altrincham are a part-time club and that fits in well for me. I have been qualified as a physio for a few years and, at 37, I'm making the transition from football to another profession... This will probably be my last season at this level. I've signed a one-year deal and am delighted to be turning out in the top division... the manager Graham Heathcote may have missed out on a few players because he was expecting to be in the Blue Square North but I'm sure he'll bring the right players in. from what I saw, I don't think they were that far off from being a good side last year and with a few new faces we should certainly hold our own".

    GEOFF'S VIEW

    Referring to Alty's reprieve from relegation, chairman Geoff Goodwin told the NL paper, "We've got a lifeline and this time we'll make a few changes and put ourselves in aposition to stay up. We'll be OK, I'm sure of that... We have got to change gear and this is a massive reshuffle for us. It's come as a bit of a shock and we don'y have long to get ready. We only run the club on what we get and I'll have to work even harder to raise money. We'll do a few extra fundraising dinners and I'll sponsor the shirts myself. There needs to be a big reality check at this club. OK, we're getting good money from Setanta but so is every club in the division. We're the cheapest club to watch in the division and may have to put our prices up. Fans may question this but they have to ask whether or not they want to be in the Premier... Last season we could have said, 'Let's increase the budget by a couple of grand per week to stay in the division. We may have finished above the drop zone by doing that, but if you go down that route, sooner or later you will find yourself in debt... This year we'll look at a minimum of 60 points". The NLP quotes Geoff as saying of Boston's demise, "The Conference have handled this situation in the right manner. I take my hat off to John Moules. He has a really difficult job and I've sympathy for him in that respect. Every year there is a twist. That's not fair on the Conference and it's not a reflection of how they operate".

    OPPONENTS STRENGTHEN

    One of Alty's pre-season games is against Kidsgrove Athletic and NL Daily reports that "Kidsgrove Athletic have surprisingly re-signed Craig Lovatt from Blue Square Premier neighbours Stafford Rangers. The midfielder was a member of the Kidsgrove team that won the North West Counties League in 2001/02 before moving to Stafford when they were in the Southern Premier. Lovatt helped Rangers gain promotion from Nationwide North and was a regular in last season's Conference National side. In his five seasons at Marston Road he made almost 300 appearances and scored twenty-seven goals and was voted directors' player of the season at the club's presentation evening last Sunday. Kidsgrove manager Peter Ward said: 'Craig is a specialist in a holding role and is an organiser. He has experience and has always impressed me'. With the arrival of Steve Pope and Dave Woodvine from AFC Telford United, former Leek Town striker Phil Hadland, goalkeeper James Coates and now Lovatt, Ward is building quite a formidable squad at Hollinwood Road".

    BLUE SQUARE PREMIER NEWS

    The Halifax Courier reports that Shaymen boss Chris Wilder "has hailed the return of a 'big player' after bringing Steve Bushell back to the Shay following a 12-month absence... He will be back for the start of the new campaign after returning from a season at Altrincham and Wilder is delighted. 'In my five years as manager of the club he has been one of the biggest players we have had - on and off the pitch', said Wilder. 'And we missed him last season. From the leadership point of view we missed a player of Steve's stature... You need someone who can get on the ball and spot a pass. Steve fits the criteria we are looking for. He is still very fit and wants another crack at full time football. I put the question to him and the reaction to the question was exactly what I thought it would be. It is an opportunity for him and I am sure he will take it. Wilder added that he had not wanted Bushell to leave in the first place and had offered him a contract for the 2006-07 campaign. We offered Steve a contract last summer, but he had made up his mind before the start of the play-offs that he was going to go', said Wilder. 'It was just circumstances but we kept tabs on the situation and we saw how well he did in a difficult season for Altrincham'".

    The BBC reports from Torquay United that "The Gulls had a nightmare season with four chairmen, four managers and 44 players, which ended in relegation. Now, the club has been taken over by a group of local businessmen. Until a few days ago Daryl Batten was general manager of Torquay's Grand Hotel. Now he is General Manager of Torquay United and he has big plans for new revenue streams. 'This club is about to flourish under sponsorship because it is so undernourished', he says. 'We're talking to people at the moment who are very happy to come and look at us because they wouldn't have done under the ownership of Mike Bateson over the last 18 years'. Mr Batten is so confident of the money-making potential at the club that he does not expect the amount it makes to fall significantly following relegation. 'I think if we can get some wins under our belt we can actually increase the turnover and not see a slump in profit', he says".

    Meanwhile, "Recently appointed Woking boss Frank Gray insists he has nothing to prove on his return to management in the Blue Square Premier. Gray was named as Glenn Cockerill's successor at Kingfield in May - six months after losing his job with league rivals Grays Athletic... 'We felt we did an okay job there. The club was just three points off a play-off spot when we left', Gray told BBC Sport. 'They did not finish there, so we have nothing to prove to anybody'.. [At Woking] 'It's a good challenge, there are good people here and we want to move the club forward and progress'. Fifteen players have left since the end of last season with seven new faces arriving to add to the retention of key players like defender Tom Hutchinson, winger Goma Lambu and exciting young forward Giuseppe Sole. 'We targeted players and we have got more of less the ones we wanted, which is good... We have got some younger and hungrier players who are looking to do well'... Gray returned to former club Farnborough to sign three players in Michael Charles, Matt Pattison and Jay Gasson and all of his acquisitions to date have come from teams lower down the non-league pyramid".

    Confguide reports that "Tristram Whitman has signed for Farsley Celtic". Whitman almost joined Alty a year or so ago.

    Torquay United "have signed Elliot Benyon from Bristol City and Paul Hinshelwood from Brighton and Hove Albion. Elliot has signed a 2 year contract and Paul a 1 year deal. Both players stated their desire to play for Paul Buckle and consider Torquay the perfect place to make a name for themselves. They were both impressed by the positive approach shown by the new regime at United... Elliot is 19 years old and has an excellent scoring record in a relatively short career in reserve football and on loan with St Albans City and Crawley Town. Paul is 19 years old and signed professional terms at the start of last season after being a trainee with Brighton. He is considered a hard tackling defender and is the brother of Adam who was a team mate at Brighton. Some of you may remember Paul's father of the same name who starred for Crystal Palace in the late seventies and early eighties".

    The transition from Conference to League football is a major upheaval. The BBC says that "Steve Thompson has only been managing director of Dagenham & Redbridge Football Club since 5 April... Before that, Dagenham & Redbridge was a members' club, but it has just been promoted to the Football League, whose rules say that it has to be incorporated. 'The only real change is that they gave me the fancy title of managing director as opposed to financial secretary', he says... Both the teams that have been promoted to League Two this year - Dagenham & Redbridge, and Morecambe - already have almost entirely professional playing staffs, like most teams in the Conference... The really new challenges are off the pitch... Mr Thompson, predicts that turnover will go up between 25 and 30% to about £1.75m...., 'Now there's more people coming in than just our hardcore supporters and they quite rightly expect to be able to access the club shop on non-match days and be able to buy tickets in advance online', he says. 'That then can't be staffed by volunteers because it needs to be a more permanent and structured environment and that's where we need to get in extra staff... I always budget to be knocked out in the first round of every cup competition that we go into'". However , "Live Sky TV coverage of a League Two game is worth £30,000 to the home team. If Dagenham qualifies for the second round of the Carling Cup and the match is screened live, then the team will receive £100,000".

    BLUE SQUARE NORTH NEWS

    Boston United report that "supporters turned out in force on Sunday morning as Barrie Pierpoint and John Blackwell hosted a 'public meeting' at York Street. Pierpoint and Blackwell oversaw proceedings, with around 800 people in attendance, as the duo outlined the current situation at the club and how the Pilgrims could progress in the future. Both men declared themselves happy with the meeting, with around 500 feedback forms filled in, which will be analysed in the coming days".

    OLD RIVALS GO UNDER

    One of Alty's former Alliance/Conference rivals and fellow FA Trophy finalists in 1982, Enfield, have gone into liquidation after four years of being in receivership. A new club Essex (1893) FC has been formed and will play in the Essex Senior League. Like Altrincham, Enfield twice won non-league's top-flight division without ever gaining promotion to the Football League.
    17 June 2007

    CUP DATES

    Dates for the 2007/08 FA Cup are as follows. Altrincham will enter at the 4th Qualifying Round:
  • 4QR: 27 October, prize money £10,000
  • 1st Round: 10 November, £16,000
  • 2nd: 1 December, £24,000
  • 3rd: 5 January, £40,000

    As for the FA Trophy, Alty enter at the 1st Round Proper:

  • 1st: 15 December 2007, prize money £4,000
  • 2nd:12 January, £5,000
  • 3rd: 2 February, £6,000
  • 4th: 23 February, £7,000
  • Semis: 8/15 March, £16,000
  • Final: 10 May, £50,000

    BLUE SQUARE PREMIER NEWS

    The Gravesend Reporter says that "Ebbsfleet United chairman Jason Botley believes the biggest beneficiaries of last Friday's lucrative sponsorship tie-up with Eurostar could be the borough's residents. The Stonebridge Road club signed a three-year deal with their new sponsor that is the biggest in the club's history and one of the largest in non-league football... 'Both organisations are absolutely committed to putting Ebbsfleet on the map and the regeneration project is key to that' said Botley. 'We are absolutely committed to try and make this club the heart of the local community. The club has made giant strides in terms of moving its community initiativesforward; we've obtained the full FA Charter Standard Club Award and we've got a very vibrant youth and ladies' section. We're also very excited about the fact that we have a new educational initiative that we'll be launching later on this year, called 'Playing for Success''... The deal supplants the one-year agreement with Austrian Airlines and Botley believes it marks an important moment in the club's history. 'We believe it to be one of the most significant partnerships in non-league football and it really is a momentous milestone for Ebbsfleet United FC as we move forward over the next 10 to 20 years'. Eurostar chief executive Richard Brown insists... 'It's a major commitment from us. It's three years and we think it's one of the largest sponsorship agreements for any non league club', he said".

    From the Thurrock Gazette we hear that "Popular Grays Athletic midfielder Stuart Thurgood has extended his contract with the club by a further two years, ending speculation that he might be about to join up with former boss Mark Stimson at Stevenage.. He appears to have been impressed by the raft of new signings made by current Blues boss Justin Edinburgh. Edinburgh is also currently in talks with centre half Jamie Stuart with a view to extending his contract by two years".

    The Kidderminster Shuttle says that "Harriers' boss Mark Yates and assistant Neil Howarth have signed two-year contracts... The management duo agreed a deal with Harriers chairman Barry Norgrove on Friday after months of hard work behind the scenes by all three parties". Meanwhile, "Harriers' Wembley marksman James Constable is recovering well after having a hernia operation".

    This is South Devon reports that "Afc wimbledon striker Roscoe Dsane could be the next new face at Torquay United after the London club revealed that the Gulls had enquired about his services. Former Aldershot star Dsane, 26, hit 21 goals for the Dons in the Ryman League Premier Division last season, and team manager Terry Brown is desperate to keep hold of him. However, Dsane could be keen to prove himself at Conference level again having shone during an impressive spell with the Shots three years ago. The former England non-league international hit 30 goals in 57 Conference appearances before a serious knee injury forced him out of the game for a year... The Dons' manager said: 'One of the teams in for him is Torquay. Making a decision like that is life-changing because you are talking about moving miles away from home. Roscoe has got lots of offers on the table and is keeping his options open, which I understand'. Dsane has claimed that he will make a decision by the end of the week".

    Further up the south coast, This is Weymouth states that "Terras'' boss Jason Tindall says he is unable to confirm the signatures of Swindon youngsters Jonathan Stewart and Scott Doe until the club's future is determined. Swindon youth team manager David Byrne was reported to have confirmed the goal-keeper and centre half had joined Weymouth after they were released by Robins' boss Paul Sturrock. Tindall revealed: 'We have spoken to two players from Swindon but we have got to wait to see what happens'. Fans are still waiting to hear news of a takeover bid for the Wessex Stadium outfit which is expected soon".

    The BBC confirms that "Farsley Celtic have made defender Mark Jackson their first signing since their promotion to the Blue Square Premier. Former Scunthorpe defender Jackson arrives at the Throstle Nest after leaving Rochdale at the end of last season, after 18-months at Spotland. Jackson, 29, has started over 200 League games in a career which began at Leeds and took in Kidderminster"

    At another promoted club, Salisbury City, the BBC says that the club have "made keeper Ryan Clarke their fifth full-time professional player. Clarke follows Matt Tubbs, Mike Fowler, Robbie Matthews and new signing Liam Feeney in agreeing full-time terms. The 25-year-old kept 22 clean sheets in 56 league and cup appearances in his first season with the Whites after joining last summer. Player-coach Tommy Widdrington said: 'He had a great first season and I'm pleased he's agreed to come full-time'".

    From This is United we learn that "Fears of possible fixture congestion for Oxford United and the other leading non-League clubs have been allayed after they learned how the third cup competition will work. For the first time next season, Conference clubs will take part in a new Setanta Shield, in addition to the FA Cup, FA Carlsberg Trophy and playing 46 league games in the Blue Square Premier. For many clubs it has been a concern how they would fit all the matches in, but United secretary and general manager Mick Brown says it should be manageable. 'It's going to be called the Setanta Shield'... said Brown... 'As a Premier team we don't come in until the fourth round proper. The competition starts in October, so we probably won't come in until the New Year when relatively few non-League teams are still involved in both the FA Cup and FA Trophy. There are rules to ensure that clubs play their strongest teams, by making sure they have a mimumum percentage of the team they had put out the previous Saturday'... The U's have already announced they will have a smaller senior squad than last term, and have pulled out of the Pontin's Holidays Combination reserve-team league. Conference clubs had been hoping to learn at the league's AGM how much money they would receive from both Setanta, who will be showing 79 live games each season, and Blue Square, but specific details were in scant supply... 'We will learn these at the league's first board meeting in the middle of July', said Brown..'Matches (shown by Setanta) will be primarily on Tuesdays and Thursdays... We were told that the Setanta deal and the Blue Square sponsorship is much better than the previous deals with Nationwide and Sky, but they didn't go into any detail'".

    Grays Athletic "have signed 23yr old Midfielder, Charley Hearn on a 1 year contract from Fisher Athletic. Charley started as a trainee with Millwall before moving to Northampton Town on loan, before moving to Fisher Athletic".

    Conference South's Havant & Waterlooville says that following the recent Conference AGM "One significant change is that John Moules is no longer in charge of the Conference itself, which will now be run by Dennis Strudwick. Long term fans will remember Mr Strudwick as the man in charge of the Southern League, and as he will now be in charge of manually compiling the fixture list it isn’t expected to appear until the start of July. This may also mean a change in the arrangement of some fixtures. Fans will remember Mr Strudwick’s preference for matching Christmas and Easter games as opposed to Christmas and New Year... Big news for all clubs is the resurrection of the league cup in the form of the ‘Setanta Shield’. This competition will see early rounds divided regionally between the Blue Square North and South before clubs from the Blue Square Premier enter. Prize money for this competition will be significant... The competition is also assured of being a tough one, a rule has been put in place that clubs must field a side that contains at least 10 players of the 16 that participated in the league game prior to each cup tie... A new rule has also been introduced to put an end to what has become known as ‘tactical insolvency’. Clubs will continue to be penalised 10 points for entering administration, but the rule now states that if this happens after the last Thursday in March, the deduction will come from the following season’s points total. It is hoped this will prevent clubs declaring insolvency prematurely to avoid starting the next season 10 points down".

    At Droylsden, former Alty midfielder Ged Murphy (right) has returned to the Butcher's Arms after playing for Stafford Rangers last season. Meanhile. "General Match Day Admission Prices for 2007/08 season will be as follows: Adults - £12, Senior Citizens - £8, 14 to 18 year olds - £8 , Under 14s - Free. There will be no additional charge to sit down".

    York City "captain, Emmanuel Panther... was offered new terms at the end of the season and [has now] accepted a deal to stay with the Minstermen for another year. Panther commented, 'I’m really delighted to have signed this new deal to commit myself to the Club for another season. We achieved great things last season and I really want to progress further and try to gain promotion to the Football League'".

    From the Conference we read that "Exeter City are determined to hang onto the services of Lee Phillips despite reports that Torquay are interested in him. The former Plymouth Argyle star was unhappy at playing a rotation role last season, but remains under contract with the Grecians until the end of the next campaign... Manager Paul Tisdale told thisisexeter.co.uk: 'I am totally happy for Lee to play for Exeter for another season, if not longer. If any club is interested in any of our players who are under contract, then they are entitled to make an offer... Lee is under contract and is a very good player. I started him in the last two games of the season, so let's not think that I don't rate the guy. He played extremely well in the last two games and at the moment he has got the shirt. We have had no offers for him at all'".

    OLD BOYS

    NL Daily says that "UniBond League Division One North club Mossley have appointed former Ashton United boss Gerry Quinn as their new manager... Quinn has had success at all his clubs most notably taking Emley to the FA Vase Final and gaining successive promotions with Ashton United from the UniBond Division One to the Conference North. He also had successful spells as manager at Altrincham and Ossett Albion and has recently has been in charge at Northern Counties East League outfit Liversedge".

    BLUE SQUARE NORTH NEWS

    NL Daily says that "Stalybridge Celtic have announced that, as expected, Dave Moss has been appointed as assistant-manager to new boss Steve Burr. Moss was, of course, with Burr in a similar role at Northwich Vixctoria... Burr has also announced his first two signings of the summer, with midfielder [Altrincham-based] Andrew Smart joining, having been released by Macclesfield Town, and defender Simon Garner making the move from UniBond League side Clitheroe". Smart had a loan spell under Burr at Northwich last season.

    The BBC reports that "Boston United chief executive Barrie Pierpoint is standing down so that he can push ahead with plans to rescue the troubled club. He was originally brought in by a mystery consortium ahead of an anticipated takeover. But with talks apparently deadlocked after six months of negotiations, Mr Pierpoint has quit so that he can develop an alternative rescue package... Pierpoint has linked up with the Pilgrims' long-serving general manager John Blackwell to try to form a consortium to rescue the club. They said their plan would be a safeguard if the Leeds-based Standing Alone group fails in its bid to buy Boston from current owners Lavaflow. A public meeting will be held at the club's York Street ground on Sunday at 1130 BST when Mr Pierpoint will give fans more details... Meanwhile the Standing Alone consortium has insisted it still hopes to take over the club. A spokesman said: 'Any suggestion that the talks have collapsed is incorrect'... Standing Alone 'remains committed, at this stage, to gaining control of the football club and keeping it alive'".


    16 June 2007

    PLEASE HELP

    Outside Altrincham's Moss Lane ground, currently, are the two posters pictured above. Please do help the club both by purchasing your season tickets and by volunteering for this weekend's Working Party at Moss Lane on Saturday and Sunday from 10am. Please ring the club (928-1045) or e-mail Karen or Grahame Rowley in advance so that they can plan the days. If the weather is wet there are undercover jobs to be done. The working parties will also convene for the next two weekends.

    Please note that adult, concessionary and junior season tickets attract a £10 discount if bought by 30 June 2007.

    YOUTH TEAM AWARDS

    In the Noel White Suite on Friday night, the Altrincham FC Youth team received their end of season awards. Manager George Heslop briefly summarised the season before announcing the three awards of Clubman of the Year, Manager's Player of the Year and Players' Player of the Year to, respectively, Alex Murphy, Tom Bailey and Marcus Baxby. Altrincham's first-team boss Graham Heathcote made the above presentations, stating that like George, he had not expected his first-team to win anything last season but, unlike the youth team, the first team had fulfilled his expectations!

    George revealed that he had not expected this year's squad to win anything in 2006-07 so he was delighted to be proved wrong when, representing the Altrincham and District FA, the lads had won the Cheshire County FA District Youth Cup. In fact, it was the first time in the competitions history that Altrincham FA had lifted the Cup in successive years. Norman Sherriff was a very welcome guest and, on behalf of the Altrincham & District FA, he presented the team with their District Cup medals.

    Finally, captain Tom Barclay, with Jim Vince senior made presentations to Hannah, the youth team physio and to Jenny Heslop, who worked hard to keep the kit in pristine condition throughout the season, and your website correspondent was taken aback to receive a welcome gift of a pen with which to make next season's match reports! A presentation was also made by the club to Julieann Gresty and Hannah who had assisted the District side with their physiotherapy skills.

    Above: Alex Murphy, Clubman of the Year, with Graham Heathcote.

    Above: Tom Bailey, Manager George Heslop's Player of the Year.

    Above: Marcus Baxby, the Players' Player of the Year

    Above: Tom Barclay receives his medal from Norman Sherriff

    George Heslop revelaed that for 2007-08 he would be emulating the first team in having three training sessions a week, starting from 1st July and that he had already arranged three full games in pre-season against the Manchester County FA, Ashton Town and Congleton Town youth sides. In addition the Altrincham Youth side would again take part in the international youth tournament held at Manchester University's playing fields and would also host a friendly against a USA touring side. Through this pre-season schedule George and his assistant Tony Spilsbury would reduce the 92 applicants for the youth team to a reasonable-sized squad for 2007-08 season.

    FAREWELLS

    Altrincham FC has seen three players leave in the last fortnight. As announced yesterday, Steve Bushell has left the club to return to Halifax Town, from whom he signed for Altrincham for the 2006-07 season, following an earlier loan spell in the previous season. Steve is thus returning to full-time football after a season of part-time action at Moss Lane. His Alty career saw him make 43 starts and 1 sub appearance for the Robins. He scored one goal for the club. SAM confirms that "Altrincham captain Steve Bushell has left Moss Lane to return to former club Halifax. The 34-year-old midfielder had originally been expected to remain at Alty after making a verbal commitment to manager Graham Heathcote. But when Halifax came in with the offer of a full-time professional contract, Bushell found it too good to refuse. Heathcote told SAM Sport: 'It's a massive blow for us because I don't think we've seen the best of Steve and I know what he's capable of. Sometimes the adjustment from full-time football to having to work as well as play can be difficult and I think that's what he found out. He's been offered a full-time deal at Halifax so I can completely understand him taking it'... In a season disrupted by a string of injuries, he failed to recreate his best form for the Robins and endured a largely frustrating campaign. His return to Halifax, however, will be greeted by jubilation at the Shay, where he remains a hugely popular character".

    The reinstatement of Altrincham at the national level of non-league football has been bad news for the long-serving centre-back Gary Talbot (right) who had been invited to stay at the club for 2007-08 when it looked as if the Robins would be playing in the Blue Square North next season. Gary, who is 37 later this year, made 263(+18) appearances for the club and scored 19 goals, his career encompassing two spells at Moss Lane. He originally signed for Alty towards the end of the 1998/99 season from Winsford United but was sold by Alty to Northwich for a fee of £2,500 on 25 January, 2001 in the wake of Alty's financial rescue package, announced that week. He became the Vics' captain but was released and re-joined Altrincham for the 2002-03 season when he was a regular first-teamer and occasional captain. A calf injury in September 2006 led to his making only limited appearances (10+12) last season but he retained his phenomenal heading ability to the end of his Alty career.

    The third departure was that of Andy Scott, who was only signed in late January 2007. Andy can play in a variety of other positions including left-back and in midfield. He had been at Kidsgrove Athletic since the start of the 2006-07 season but, before that, enjoyed success at a number of clubs, including Leigh RMI, Stalybridge Celtic (from 1999), Southport (from January 2002), and Lancaster City (from June 2003) - the last three clubs all being under the management of Phil Wilson. A former youth international, Andy had spells with Blackburn Rovers, Cardiff City and Rochdale as a youngster. He made his debut on 27 January 2007 and his career appearances for Alty totalled 6 (+1).

    Altrincham FC wishes all three players success in their future careers.

    INJURY NEWS

    Gary Scott sees a specialist next Thursday and it is hoped that he will come up with answers to the player's injury problems. Despite having had both a double-hernia and single-hernia operations in the last two years, Gary has been suffering discomfort.

    OLD BOYS

    The BBC reports that Chester City have upped their bid for former Alty left-winger Kevin Ellison after their first approach was refused by Kevin's club, Tranmere Rovers.

    GROUND WORKS

    Altrincham FC hope to gain Trafford Metropolitan Borough Council approval for their new floodlights by the end of this month and, if so, would complete their installation in time for the beginning of the season. The new toilet and catering block will go before a Council planning committee in August and, if approved, would be built between September and the end of the current year.

    BLUE SQUARE PREMIER NEWS

    "Alan Lewer believes Cambridge United may have to wait until a fee is agreed for Robbie Simpson before they can add a new striker to the squad for next season. Last season's top scorer is due to sign for Coventry on July 1 with a compensation fee set to be decided at a tribunal as the clubs are well apart in their valuation of Simpson.Lewer, United's assistant manager, said finding someone to fill Simpson's place would be tough and he felt it may be better to wait and see what cash the club received before making a move for a proven marksman. Lewer said: 'We're still looking for another striker, but it's a difficult one because of the Robbie situation... Robbie got 17 goals and anyone who gets that amount of goals is going to be hard to replace'... But Lewer said he felt United already had two quality frontmen in their line-up for next term - new signings Lee Boylan, who scored more than 170 goals in five years at Canvey Island, and Scott Rendell, Crawley's top scorer with 13 goals last season. He said: 'I think we're looking at a 20-goal man in Lee Boylan because his record is more than one in every two games. I'm sure he'll want to get his goal-scoring boots back on this year because he has had a couple of seasons where he hasn't settled. Scott Rendell has got a lot of potential but he's only 20, so he's really still a baby'".

    Meanwhile, "Mark Albrighton believes he can bounce straight back into League football with Cambridge United after signing a one-year deal... The experienced 31-year-old centre-half moved to the Abbey after having his contract with crisis club Boston torn up by mutual consent following their demotion to the Blue Square Northern. And he is no stranger to assistant-manager Alan Lewer, having been signed for £15,000 by the then Telford boss from his first club Atherstone eight years ago".

    At Crawley Town "Midfielder Steve Evans has agreed a deal to remain at the Broadfield next season. Evans was fall of praise for his name-sake when the official website caught up with the former Wales u21 international. Evans said, 'It was good to hear the club go for someone with a proven track record. He has good experience of the Conference and has already taken Boston into the League. I think we can push on next season and build on some of the things we did last year... With a bit more luck, some new additions and the influence of the new manager we can hopefully have a really good season'. Evans will be joined at the Broadfield Stadium next season by fellow midfielders Lee Blackburn, Tony Scully and Dannie Bulman, and defenders Ben Judge and David Woozley".

    Ebbsfleet United say that "With the impending likely departure of one MacDonald, Liam Daish has swelled the Fleet ranks with another, Gary MacDonald, from Woking. The 27-year old tough-tackling central defender, who played under Liam Daish at Havant & Waterlooville in 2000-01, has league experience with Peterborough United (21 games) and has also played for Stevenage. Chukki Eribenne, Sam Mott and George Purcell have all signed new deals with the club. Talks are still ongoing with Mark DeBolla and Onome Sodje about extending their stay at Stonebridge Road.However, heading in the other direction are popular defender Ross Smith, midfielder Jon Keeling and PASE graduate Mike McKenna. Smith’s contract talks have been delayed for four months, and Liam Daish has instead opted to sign Woking’s Gary MacDonald. This brings to an end two fine seasons at the Fleet for the Canadian, who is believed to be seeking a place in the Football League. Meanwhile Jon Keeling is reunited with former manager Jeff King, after he accepted a more lucrative offer at Ryman Premier side Chelmsford City".

    Grays Athletic have released Defender, Gavin Cowan, by mutual consent".

    At Kidderminster Harriers, "Assistant Manager Neil Howarth has confirmed to the official website that defender Jonny Harkness has now put pen-to-paper on the one-year deal... Harriers have finally made their first summer plunge into the transfer market with the acquisition of striker Justin Richards from League Two side Peterborough United".

    "Salisbury City striker Robbie Matthews has become the fourth player to agree full-time professional terms with the Blue Square Premier newcomers. Matthews, 25, follows Matt Tubbs, Mike Fowler and new signing Liam Feeney in stepping up from the part-time ranks" claims the BBC. "'I'm delighted he's taken the plunge to go full-time with us', Whites' player-coach Tommy Widdrington told the Salisbury Journal. 'We all know what a big part he played in the club's success last season'".

    "Weymouth look poised to complete a deal to bring in new owners. The Terras' chairman Martyn Harrison has been in talks with prospective buyers and expects a new deal to be completed very soon...Harrison told the Dorset Echo, 'I'll not be taking an active role with the club. But I'll carry on supporting the Terras and hope the club can go from strength to strength'" states the BBC.

    "Torquay United boss Paul Buckle has added to his backroom staff with the appointment of former Oxford reserve team coach Shaun North. North, who also previously worked at Portsmouth and alongside Buckle at Weymouth, takes on a coaching role in the new-look set-up at Plainmoor". The BBC adds that "Long-serving midfielder/defender Matt Hockley has agreed a new deal. The 25-year-old has made over 200 appearances for the Gulls since coming through the club's youth scheme".

    Still in Devon, "Exeter City boss Paul Tisdale has stepped up his summer recruitment drive with the capture of goalkeeper Andy Marriott and defender Matt Taylor. Marriott, 36, joins the Grecians from Boston United... The former Barnsley and Torquay keeper had the remaining 12 months of his contract at York Street cancelled. Central defender Taylor, 25, a former FA Trophy winner with Burscough, has signed from Team Bath" according to the BBC.

    "Halifax Town boss Chris Wilder has made winger Daryl Taylor his first new signing of the summer. Taylor has agreed a two-year deal at the Shay after leaving Conference side Tamworth... 'I didn't think we had enough pace in the side once Andy Campbell was injured and Daryl has exceptional pace', Wilder told the Halifax Courier. Taylor, 22, who can also play as a central striker, has also had spells with Walsall and Bury" states the BBC.

    "Stevenage Borough defender Luke Oliver has agreed a new contract to extend his stay at Broadhall Way. Oliver, who joined Boro from Yeovil in January 2006, has put pen to paper on a two-year deal. The towering 24-year-old former Woking centre-back was also used as a striker on occasions by the FA Trophy winners last season. That underlined Boro's striking problem and manager Mark Stimson is continuing his efforts to solve it" says the BBC.

    Southport "Chairman and Blue Square Conference Vice Chairman Charles Clapham has, along with John Moules, been elected onto the FA. Both Blue Square Chief Executive John Moules and Blue Square Vice Chairman Charles Clapham take their FA positions following the Burns report and FA restructuring. It is the first time the Conference have had FA representation".

    York City report that "Despite being offered a new contract by the Club, midfielder Neal Bishop has left York City to sign for North London side Barnet F.C. The 25 year old was signed by Barnet manager Paul Fairclough, who also coaches the England National side in which Bishop featured earlier in the month. Commenting on the move, Communications & Community Director, Sophie McGill said, “During the last conversation the Club had with Neal Bishop, the player stated it was his intention to sign for York City Football Club. We do not know the full details as Neal Bishop has not had the courtesy to contact any Club personnel to make us aware of the circumstances prior to today’s news. It is disappointing when a player cannot be straight and honest with you, but sadly this happens all too frequently in the Football Industry. Since the end of the season, Billy McEwan has been speaking to a lot of players with the prospect of them signing for York City. The hard work continues behind the scenes and hopefully soon we will be in a position to announce these new additions to the squad'”.

    The Northwich Guardian says that "Northwich Victoria are hoping to name a new manager this week. Mike Connett has hired former Manchester City boss John Bond to help him find the right man, who could be in place as soon as Monday. Seven hopefuls have been interviewed to far". But, "Vics' two England internationals have asked to be transfer listed. Former boss Steve Burr told Kieran Charnock and Michael Carr they could leave if he failed to take Northwich to the top of the league, according to chairman Mike Connett. 'He filled their head with magic and promises he could not keep', Connett told Vics' fans on Thursday. He said he had agreed to put the pair on the transfer list but, because they each have a year to run on their contracts, clubs will have to pay the right price. 'I don't want them to end up playing against us', said Connett. 'However I've always said I would never stand in any player's way if they were given the chance to play in the Football League. So unless someone makes what I consider to be a decent offer, then they'll be staying here'. Charnock, 22, and 23-year-old Carr made more than 100 appearances between them last season... Connett says that to date nobody has asked him to name his price for the duo. 'I'd love them to stay', he added".

    The Football Conference confirms that "Northwich Victoria... have received more than thirty applications for the manager's job, including former Chester City chief Mark Wright, ex-Liverpool midfielder Jason McAteer and Brian Horton."

    From Aldershot's News and Mail we read that "Aldershot assistant manager Martin Kuhl has admitted that the club have been priced out of a move to re-sign former fans’ favourite Tim Sills. The 27-year-old Hereford striker admitted last week that he would welcome a return to The Rec and with the club confirming their interest, a deal appeared to be on the cards. However, with rivals Stevenage and Rushden and Diamonds also interested in the Romsey-born forward, Kuhl revealed that any transfer now looks unlikely. 'Unless the wage demands are sorted out, any deal for Tim is dead I’m afraid', he said. 'I have been told that he is going somewhere else now and while we were interested in bringing him back, we can’t afford his wages. We would like to speak to him but we are so far away from each other in terms of wages that it is not something that’s going to happen at the moment. Tim is a very good player and I’m sure there are a few clubs after him but we can’t afford what he wants'”.

    Meanwhile, The Northants Evening Telegraph confirms that "Rushden & Diamonds have set their sights on striker Tim Sills. The 27-year-old looks ready to follow central defender Phil Gulliver on a free transfer from Hereford United – despite still being under contract for next season at the Coca-Cola League Two club. Diamonds' boss Garry Hill – currently on a family break – has already admitted that he wants to bring in a more experienced forward to partner Simeon Jackson, Michael Rankine or Lee Tomlin up front. They seem to be favourites to secure Sills' signature after Blue Square Premier rivals Aldershot Town pulled out of a deal. Stevenage Borough are thought to be in a head-to-head battle with Diamonds – although the Hertfordshire club have conceded defeat over a possible transfer... Stevenage chairman Phil Wallace added: 'We've been unsuccessful in our attempt to sign a striker from a League Two club but we'll continue to look around'... If a deal is done, he would become Hill's sixth new signing and link up again with Gulliver".

    The Crawley Observer says that"New Crawley Town boss Steve Evans is hoping to have new signings in the bag by the end of the week. Evans, who was installed as boss two weeks ago, has been working hard over the weekend, talking to six players, who he believes will get the fans excited.He told Observer Sport: 'It's a busy time at the moment and we have spoken to five or six players and hopefully they will be interested in what we have to offer. It's not a case of having to outbid anyone for these players, it's about selling the club to them and showing them we have ambition'".


    15 June 2007

    YOUTH NIGHT

    Tonight at Moss Lane (7.30pm) is the annual Youth Team Presentation Night in the Noel White Suite.

    BUSHELL BACK TO SHAY

    As reported here earlier, Alty captain Steve Bushell has left Moss Lane after one season at the club. Steve has rejoined his former club Halifax Town, where he will be on a full-time contract. The Halifax Courier confirms that "Steve Bushell is to make a dramatic return to the Shay just 12 months after leaving Town. The 34-year-old midfielder has signed a one year contract with Halifax having spent last season with Conference rivals Altrincham".

    GREAT VALUE AT MOSS LANE

    Altrincham FC have announced that, following their reprieve from relegation, they have reviewed their admission prices for next season. Match-day admission prices will rise by £2, whilst concessionary prices are increased by £1. But the rate for under-14s remains at just £2. However, all season ticket prices remain unaltered. And now that we are back in the national division the season tickets provide entry to 23 home league matches instead of the 21 that we had expected to play in the Blue Square Northern division. So it will now cost just less than £7.40 to watch each Blue Square Premier league match at Moss Lane if you are the owner of an adult terrace season ticket!. In summary:

    Turnstile Prices 2007-08

  • Standing - Adults £12; Concessions / Juniors (14-16yrs) £7
  • Seating - Adults £14; Concessions / Juniors (14-16yrs) £8
  • Under 14s - £2

    Season Ticket Prices 2007-08

  • Standing - Adults £170; Concessions / Juniors (14-16yrs) £80
  • Seating - Adults £210; Concessions / Juniors (14-16yrs) £90
  • Under 14s - £35

    If a Concessions / Junior or Adult season ticket is purchased before June 30th a £10 discount on the above prices can be applied.

    PLAYERS BACK NEXT WEEK

    Graham Heathcote and Dalton Steele will be starting the players' pre-season training in earnest on Saturday 30th June, but two voluntary training sessions are being held, before then, on Thursday 21st and 28th June.

    CHANGE OF PHYSIO

    Altrincham FC regret to announce the departure of physio Andy Hosgood, who has left the club due to work commitments. The club is very grateful for Andy's services and wish him well in his career. To replace Andy, Altrincham FC is delighted to welcome back former Moss Lane physio Sean Riley who has agreed to re-join us from Kendal Town.

    ANOTHER FRIENDLY

    A further pre-season friendly has been arranged, on Saturday 7th July, versus Old Gregorians. This will be played at Platt Lane, Manchester with a 12 noon kick-off. Admission prices for all pre-season games at Moss Lane will remain at £5 and £2 as previously, but as usual there will be free admission to season ticket holders to these games - yet another great reason to get a season ticket! All of the pre-season games are listed here.

    FRIENDS' WINNER

    Steve Foster, coordinator of the Friends of Altrincham FC scheme, announces that "the May draw has been performed and the winners are:-
  • No.40 - David Mardon £100
  • No.56 - Graham Jackett £35
  • No.47 - Terry Surridge £15

    As the Club has no contact details for the winner, David Mardon, would he please contact Karen Rowley at the club on 928 1045 or e-mail Steve Foster. Please do consider joining the Friends Scheme, to help the club and to give your self the chance of winning a £100 prize and or one of the two runner-up prizes.

    WORKING PARTIES

    Vice-chairman Grahame Rowley writes:

    "Now that our place in the Blue Square Premier has been confirmed, we need to get the ground looking ship shape for the new season. With this in mind, we have set up the first few working weekends. The dates are as follows: -

  • 16th & 17th June
  • 3rd & 24th June
  • 30th June & 1st July

    Any help would be greatly appreciated. So that we can allocate jobs, it would be useful if you could let us know in advance as to which days you will be able to turn up. Please email me or ring the club on 0161-928-1045".

    The Club is reliant on volunteers to help with tidying up the ground for the new season and hopes that everyone who can possibly do so will come along and lend a hand with jobs which include painting and minor maintenance.

    "GREAT ESCAPE"

    For the second year running Altrincham have been spared relegation - though last year's situation only came about because of the 18 points deducted for the James Robinson registration affair. The Sale & Altrincham Messenger's Connor Murphy writes: "Altrincham FC chairman Geoff Goodwin hailed his club's 'great escape' after they were saved from relegation for the second year running... Their escape came as a result of the ongoing problems at beleaguered Boston United, who were demoted to the Conference North on financial grounds... Chairman Geoff Goodwin believes the latest decision provides vindication for the ethical way in which the Moss Lane club has been run since recovering from the verge of bankruptcy five years ago. He told SAM Sport: 'It's the great escape. I do feel sorry for Boston but that's football isn't it? It's justice for us because we have aimed to do the right thing at this club, rather than running it into debt to chase the dream. I had set my mind for a season in the Blue Square North so this has come as a massive shock. You just don't expect a reprieve second time around. Fair play to the Conference for doing the right thing though. I'm sure there will be a few more clubs following behind Boston unless people change the way they are run. What's the point in having a budget you can't afford? This club is on its way back to where it used to be'... Not only will the Moss Lane faithful continue to enjoy top non-league football, the club will also benefit from the Conference's bumper new television and sponsorship deal". But Geoff cautioned, "We have to remember that we didn't get survival on the pitch this year so there is a lot of work ahead of us to make sure we don't have to worry about any of this next time. This league is very tough for part-time clubs. Last time all the part-time clubs were in the bottom five and I'm sure it will be a similar situation again. We can't get carried away with ourselves. Everyone needs to stay focussed and get behind the team so we can build on this".

    Last Monday, "Altrincham manager Graham Heathcote was delighted after his side were reinstated into the Blue Square Premier at the expense of Boston... 'We have had a reprieve, we are in it and we have to move on and organise for being in it', Heathcote told BBC Sport. ' I am delighted as a club and we have to take this opportunity... My first thoughts were for the Boston fans. They are the ones that suffer and I feel sorry for them. Our joy is tempered with sadness for Boston and the people there that I know. Having been through difficult situations ourselves I know what they are going through'. After six weeks of planning for life in Blue Square North, Heathcote must now readjust his sights to produce a team capable of finishing better than fourth from bottom in the Premier... 'The pleasing thing to me has been the loyalty of the players. For them to say they are staying is fantastic', said the Robins boss... 'We have to improve on last year. I think 51 points was quite a good achievement but it was still not good enough. We were a bottom four side so we will have to look to improve, although at this level it is difficult. There are a lot of finances involved, which make it difficult to compete. The same problems still exist. If people think it will be any easier they will be wrong'".

    The Conference website reports that "Boston United chairman Jim Rodwell has explained the reasons for the former league club's demotion to Blue Square North. 'I think that it is important for people to understand why the Conference have taken the decision to demote Boston into their northern division', Rodwell told the Lincolnshire Echo. 'Having met with representatives of all three bodies governing Boston United on May 31st, it soon became clear that the football club was between a rock and a hard place. The issue revolves around the payment of football creditors. Football creditors are players, other clubs and governing bodies who are owed money by the football club. It is a matter of policy of the Football League and Football Association that all football creditors must be paid 100 pence in the pound to enable them to regain their share, which is suspended at the time of entering into a company voluntary arrangement (CVA). Boston United and its prospective new owners, Standing Alone Limited, were always fully aware of this and fully intended to pay back football creditors in full to enable the club to play in the highest division possible. This was demonstrated in the first draft proposal of the CVA, which included proposals for all football creditors to be paid in full. However, this was unacceptable to HMRC (HM Revenue & Customs). The Inland Revenue insisted that they would only support Boston United's CVA proposal if all creditors, including football creditors, accepted the same level of repayment. If football creditors were paid outside the CVA, HMRC made it quite clear that they would have issued winding-up proceedings against Boston United immediately, forcing the club into liquidation. This effectively left Boston United with no alternative but to admit defeat in paying football creditors in full. It was expressed to myself at the meeting with the football authorities that in the experience of the people in the room, it was the hardest line ever taken by HMRC in dealings with a football club. The Conference were then forced into making a very difficult decision in which level to place Boston United. By demoting the club to Blue Square North, it was the minimum demotion they could have handed out, without contravening the footballing insolvency policy. One factor which weighed heavily in the club's favour was the understanding of the authorities that it was the full intention of Boston United to pay football creditors in full, if it had been at all possible. It is clearly with regret that we find ourselves relegated, not on the pitch, but for other reasons. However, it was a choice of having a football club in Blue Square North or no club at all. I expect the takeover by Standing Alone Limited to be completed in the next couple of days, which will enable the football club to restructure and hopefully prosper on the pitch'".

    INS AND OUTS

    Altrincham FC have confirmed that Steve Bushell (right), Gary Talbot (left) and Andy Scott have left the club; more on this later on Friday. They join Peter Band who has elected to join Hyde United as players leaving Moss Lane. Justin Bowler's contract has ended and will not be renewed. Bushell has joined another Blue Square Premier club who will announce his signing later today (Friday) whilst Bowler's future is not known.

    As SAM says, "Defensive duo Gary Talbot and Andy Scott have become the first victims of Alty's summer clearout following their relegation reprieve. The pair had already committed themselves to a season in the Blue Square North with the Robins. But when the club was reinstated to the Blue Square Premier at Saturday's Conference AGM, manager Graham Heathcote's plans changed and they have now made way for a host of new arrivals. Darren Tinson has already arrived at Moss Lane and Heathcote has targeted at least five more new faces before the start of the season. Of the players departing, it is Gary Talbot who will be most sorely missed by Alty fans. The 36-year-old, known as 'Steakhead' by his teammates, made 281 appearances in more than five years for the club. Renowned for his prodigious heading ability and no-nonsense style, Talbot became a key figure in the Alty defence, forming a formidable partnership alongside fellow Liverpudlian Mark Maddox. But his appearances last season were limited by injury and Heathcote decided now was the time for him to move on. He told SAM Sport: 'Gary's not staying with us simply because we're in the National again. He's been a fantastic ambassador for this club over the years and a fantastic example of someone who's looked after himself to play football. It's a real shame that he's got to go but Gary himself admitted that the pace of the game at this level was probably too much for him now'. Meanwhile, Scott leaves after just five months at Moss Lane. He was brought in as defensive cover midway through last season and made seven appearances for the club, playing at left back and in centre midfield".

    The arrival of centre-back Darren Tinson at Moss Lane has been confirmed by vice-chairman Grahame Rowley. SAM adds that "The Robins had been in hot pursuit of the experienced defender since it became clear he was leaving Burton and now they've got their man... It ends almost two weeks of speculation after the 37-year-old's possible switch became embroiled in controversy. The club announced his arrival on June 2, only for the player to claim he had not made any firm decision on his future. But Tinson has now agreed to come to Moss Lane, leaving manager Graham Heathcote delighted. He told SAM Sport: 'He was my first summer target and that would've been whether Bandy was going or not. As soon as we found out Darren wanted to go part-time we did all we could to bring him here. I do believe he will improve our side. He has been successful at league and at Conference level and only a year ago he was playing at Old Trafford with Burton. He's always been a player you don't want to play against because he's very tough to get past and he'll be a great addition to the defence'".

    SAM's Connor Murphy also writes that "Gary Scott should learn his Alty fate within the next week. The popular full back has yet to be signed up... due to concerns over an ongoing hernia problem. Scott originally had an operation on the injury in summer 2005 but the problem resurfaced last season, limiting him to just 29 appearances. But the 29-year-old saw a specialist this week and will soon have a clearer picture on his future. Assistant manager Dalton Steele told SAM Sport: 'Scotty's gone to see a consultant so in a week we should know if he'll be alright for the new season. We want to help the players who have given us great service and Scotty's definitely one of them. But it's going to be difficult next season and we can't afford to carry anyone'".


    10 June 2007

    ALTRINCHAM REPRIEVED

    Boston United have been demoted to Blue Square North so Altrincham will play in the Blue Square Premier (national) division next season. Apologies for brevity but this is being updated from Spain!
    4 June 2007

    FEET UP

    This website's daily updates will not be made over the next week or so, though there may be intermittent postings during that period. Apologies for any incovenience caused.

    "ALTY THE BEST"

    The NL Paper has an excellent four-page feature on Altrincham, which the author, Tony Williams, describes as "the best club never to reach the Football league" since the introduction of the Alliance. After referring to how they won the Alliance twice and were then deprived of League status by the iniquitous re-election voting process, Tony concludes, "They deserve better luck in future". The four pages, liberally illustrated with images for some of Alty's finest moments, chronicle their Cup exploits against the likes of Tottenham Hotspur, Everton and Liverpool.

    SUBTLE LEWIS

    In its review of the recent Four Nations Tournament, Alty's Lewis Chalmers scores six out of ten for his showing for the National Game XI. "The midfielder can be pleased with his subtle contribution. Came on late against Wales and had 90 minutes action in the win oover Scotland".

    DANNY'S WEDDING

    Former Altrincham left-back Danny Adams got married in Ashton-on-Mersey last Friday and, according to the NL Paper, his mother (Stephanie) obtained a copy of the photo of Danny's well publicised tackle on his manager Sammy McIlroy after the promotion play-off to illustrate the best man's speech. Stephanie said that Danny's brother Simon "thought it would be a good idea to show a few examples of Danny's character. He's a bit of a prankster". After the wedding, Danny and wife Claire flew off to Dubai, followed by a visit to The Maldives and, finally, a stay at the couple's apartment in Spain. Danny has come a long way since he used to ride a postman's bike round Altrincham, just seven years ago.

    BLUE SQUARE NORTH NEWS

    According to the NL Paper, Northwich chairman Mike Connett turned up at the press conference to announce former Vics' boss Steve Burr's appointment as manager of Stalybridge Celtic. "Connett tured up in an attempt to reclaim Burr's club car".But Burr had parked it away from Bower Fold and, in any case, is still owed money by the Vics, according to a Celtic spokesman. So Connett left empty handed.

    The Lancashire Telegraph reports that "Gareth Seddon admits he could have only dreamed that he would one day get a second chance at his career as a professional footballer. But this summer may prompt a bidding war between Conference and League Two clubs for the former Bury hotshot's signature after he was cleared of a medical condition that threatened to completely rob him of the only livelihood he had ever wanted. After taking a three-year break from the rigours of full-time training, the aimiable 27-year-old has made a full recovery from spondyloarthropathy - a strain of arthritis which affects the immune system and causes inflammation in joints. Now, on the back of a string of impressive performances for Nationwide Conference side Hyde United led to an England National Game XI cap in their Four Nations Tournament win last week, he is eager to pick up where he left off and make an incredible Football League return. 'This season's been good because it's the first one I've played properly for a couple of years',said Burnley-born Seddon, whose two goals in two games for England's non-league side took his tally for the season to 40 - a personal best. 'I was going to go back to the Conference full-time at the start of the season, but then I thought I would be better off going to Hyde, staying part-time and easing my way back into it and see how I am. Morecambe had made enquiries about me, but then they had a change of manager and that got put on hold. But I couldn't wait around any longer... so I signed for Hyde'. Morecambe may renew their interest in Seddon this summer, while a number of other league and Conference clubs... scouted him while he was on duty with Paul Fairclough's England side last week. 'It would have to be a good deal for me to go into the Conference, but to go back into the Football League is a totally different appeal', he said. 'Hyde would understand that, but I think it would have to be a good deal for them too'... Spondyloarthropathy was diagnosed in January 2005 following numerous tests and investigations. Gambling and drinking numbed the pain of no longer being able to sustain the formidable goalscoring reputation he had garnered at Bury and that he hoped would flourish at new club Rushden and Diamonds. He had recovered from a back injury that had kept him sidelined for an entire season with the Shakers to finish top scorer the following term... Doctors advised him that the only chance he stood of ever ridding himself of the condition that plagued him was to quit as a professional... 'I went for blood tests last March and they said the condition had completely gone from my system', he beamed... And he had no hesitation in cancelling a holiday to Marbella when the England call-up came... 'And out of all the squad, they voted me player of the tournament, which was great. I have a tattoo that says always believe in yourself' in Latin', he said".

    Despite interest from Scarborough who are seeking a new manager, Blyth Spartans' boss Harry Dunn has indicated that he will not be leaving Croft Park.

    BLUE SQUARE PREMIER NEWS

    At Crawley, newly installed manager Steve Evans admists that "The only way I can win fans over is with results... In two years we must show we can challenge for the Conference... People need to remember I got Boston promoted three divisions into the Football league. I know how it's done". However, the Supporters' Trust spokesman Anthony Weller replied, "We have appointed a cheat. The owners are sticking two fingers up at us. What we want to know is who made this decision and why we shouldtrust him". But the new Crawley chairman Victor Marley retorted, "The negativity will disappear as soon as we begin to win matches....Steve deserves a second chance. You can't keep crucifying the man for a mistake he made seven years ago".

    The Argus reports that "Former Crawley favourite Ernie Cooksey wants to reunite with boss Steve Evans at Broadfield Stadium. Cooksey was part of the Boston United side relegated from the Football League under Evans on the final day of last season. The 26-year-old joined the Lincolnshire club during the January transfer window from Rochdale. He... spent a successful season with Reds four years ago, before securing a move to Oldham to launch his League career... He said: 'I really enjoyed my time at Crawley and, although I know at lot has changed there since my time, I would definitely like to come back and play for them. I don't know the ins and outs of what has been going on there but I still talk to (defender) Ben Judge and look out for their results. I am quite settled in Manchester with my girlfriend now but if I was going to move back down to London, then Crawley would be the perfect club to play for'... Cooksey describes the Glaswegian [Evans] as 'volatile' but believes he can bring success to Reds... He said: 'The style of football he plays is at a very high tempo and is very direct. It is in-your-face stuff and if he can get the right players, it can be very effective, especially at Conference level'... Evans only has six players currently on contract and says he wants to work with a squad of 18... The new management team are planning to take the players on a five-day training camp during pre-season to help team bonding. [Asistant manager] Raynor said: 'It is something we have always done at Boston and we want to do it again. It will be paid for by a new sponsor who is coming on board and will be a good way for Steve and I to really get to know the lads. It will be a specialist training centre and will really improve the players' fitness'".

    The BBC says that "Former Grimsby defender John McDermott has applied for the managerial vacancy at Boston United... McDermott, 38, retired this summer after making a record-breaking 646 league appearances for the Mariners. 'There's nothing to lose', the veteran told Grimsby's website. 'I may not have any experience but I have my coaching badges up to UEFA 'A' and am keen to stay in football. Hopefully my application will be seriously considered. People like Paul Ince have shown you can go in and do it, so why can't I?'".

    "Halifax Town have agreed new contracts with striker Lewis Killeen and [ex-Alty] winger Steve Torpey. Killeen, 24, and 25-year-old Torpey will both be returning to the Conference club for next season. Boss Chris Wilder has already tied Andy Campbell, Matt Doughty and Lewis Killeen to new contracts" says the BBC.


    3 June 2007

    GROWTH AT ALTY

    Right: Under the guidance of groundsman Neil Brown, the grass is growing very well at Moss Lane after the summer treatment to the pitch.

    ALTY'S BOND

    This week's Metro News has an article on Altrincham FC presumably written just before David Burns joined the board. In the article, Alty chairman Geoff Goodwin says of the Altrincham board, "We do it for the love. We haven't got a lot of money and until someone with a lot of money comes in, Conference National is a dream. You're living in dreamland if you think you can survive in that league on a part-time basis". Manager Graham Heathcote agreed; "It is a difficult league for part-time clubs financially and physically but you have to aim to get out of the league you are in. We have to aim to be in the Conference National and, once in, see how far up we can progress as a part-time team". Graham added that "The nucleus of the squad is sticking together and, having been unfortunate to go down on 51 points, I hope there will be determination to come back. None of them is on contract and them staying deserves an awful lot of applause. We've built a bond over the last three, four, five years. They've had better offers to go and play elsewhere, often in the lower leagues, but they've stayed loyal. That's admirable". The Metro refers to the "community relationship that the club are keen to foster. Recent developments include Hale Barns United becoming Altrincham FC Juniors and the Moss Lane outfit providing football for children from five upwards.... Altrincham have worked for years to clear the club's historic debt and unlike teams that go into receivership in an attempt to solve their financial problems, are determined to live within their means. Goodwin said, 'We paid everyone back and we didn't even create that debt. We are where we said we'd be five years ago, playing North Conference football and debt free. Sometimes you have take a step back to take a step forward'. This season Heathcote is operating on a budget lower than in 1998, so could an investor be the answer? 'We are surrounded by an affluent area but no one is prepared to come and take the club on yet' Goodwin added. 'I wish somebody would come along and invest. I'd like to see this great club go places'".

    BLUE SQUARE NORTH NEWS

    Alfreton Town made their fifth signing of the week with the arrival of Kyle McFadzean, son of former Reds favourite John who scored 80 goals [for Alfreton] in 188 appearances. Kyle was released by Sheffield United. The new signings, as reported on the CN Forum, at Alfreton this season are James Lindley - Harrogate Town (Keeper), Brian Cusworth - Parkgate (Striker), Matt Outram - Parkgate (Midfield), David Cockerill - Stcksbridge P.S. (Midfield), Kyle McFadzean - Sheffield Utd (Defender).

    Meanwhile Kettering Town have signed Jon Brady from Cambridge United.

    IC Birmingham says that "Oxford United and Burton Albion are believed to be tracking out-of-contract Moor Green midfielder Phil Trainer... Moors spokesman Nigel Collins said: 'I understand both clubs have been in touch with Phil but nothing has been agreed yet'... His career was transformed after joining Moor Green. Unable to establish himself in the side at Tamworth, Trainer has also had spells with Halesowen Town and Crewe Alexandra. However, his prospects took off after linking up with Moors manager Bob Faulkner... Loyal Lee Collins has agreed to stay with the new-look Moors next season. Collins had become a target for rivals Worcester City. But the central defender has agreed to remain... Manager Bob Faulkner has now secured the bulk of last season's side. He has handed young midfield player Junior English a new contract and is also in talks to try to keep his former Leyton Orient player Dave Morrison".

    IC Sefton reports that "With Port star Carl Baker poised to pick up his second England National XI cap tonight in Finland, manager Peter Davenport has been inundated with enquiries... [After] his recall to the England squad by Paul Fairclough... the Haig Avenue hot-shot is on a number of managers’ summer shopping lists. Peter Davenport said: 'Of course I want to see Carl here at Haig Avenue in August. We have had a great deal of interest in the last couple of weeks including two Football League clubs. Interest from the Blue Square Premier has also been high. However, and Carl knows this, I am still waiting for an offer that is acceptable to Southport Football Club. If and when Carl moves it has to be right for all parties. That is all I can say at the moment. I am expecting some concrete offers on the table in the next few days and we will consider them. Carl is on contract with us next season and I am not rushing the process'”.

    Hucknall Today reports that "a third former player has made a surprising return to Hucknall Town as manager Andy Legg continues to bring in new blood. Ex-fans' favourite Danny Mayman is on his way back to Watnall Road from Conference top-flight side Northwich Victoria where he has spent the last two-and-a-half years. The news will be a further boost to Legg, who returned from his holidays this week to hear that young striker Liam Hearn had also put pen to paper to a new contract, while influential midfielder Laurie Wilson is expected to re-sign too. Mayman (28) joins Alistair Asher and Chris Timons on the growing list of former Yellows players who have re-joined the club as Legg shapes his squad for next season... Meanwhile it is still unknown whether defender Tony Gallimore will follow Mayman from Northwich to Town. The 35-year-old was on loan at Watnall Road for half of last season and had spoken about making his move permanent. Legg is keen to sign him on a permanent deal and also plans more talks with fellow defender Liam Powell and skipper Paul Dempsey when they return from their holidays".

    BLUE SQUARE PREMIER NEWS

    The bbc "Torquay have confirmed Exeter assistant boss Paul Buckle will lead the side's bid to escape the Conference. The 36-year-old, who played for the Gulls between 1994 and 1995, replaces sacked former boss Leroy Rosenior... And chief executive Colin Lee believes Buckle can lead the Gulls to success. '(He is) someone who shares our core beliefs' Lee told their official site".

    This is Lincs says that "The takeover of Boston United must go through next week or it never will, chief executive Barrie Pierpoint has warned. Standing Alone Limited's acquisition of the debt-ridden club moved a step closer this week following positive talks with the game's authorities. Pilgrims chairman Jim Rodwell and Standing Alone met with the Football Association, Football League and Nationwide Conference... 'I've had a brief chat with them (Standing Alone) and they were happy with the outcome', Pierpoint told the Echo yesterday. 'I'll be speaking with them again over the weekend. The authorities wanted to know that things like finance will be in place for next season and everyone came away happy. There are still a few things that need tidying up, like payment to football creditors. Then, finally, Standing Alone need to purchase Lavaflow's shares. Things should be finalised next week. They have to be because we are getting to the stage where deadlines need to be met.'... Standing Alone and Lavaflow are still yet to agree on a price for the shares. Pierpoint admits the club cannot even think about installing ex-manager Steve Evans' successor until the takeover is rubber-stamped. But he did reveal the number of applications had soared to around a dozen. One is from former United player and assistant manager Neil Redfearn... Pilgrims' captain Paul Ellender has already championed the cause of his former team-mate. 'I would be absolutely delighted if Neil got the job', said the long-serving defender... The Nationwide Conference would not confirm whether Boston will take their place in the renamed Blue Square Premier League next season. The league will release a statement next week".

    Confguide says that "Rushden & Diamonds boss Garry Hill has further strengthened his squad with the capture of midfielder Martin Foster and defender James Krause. Foster, a 29 year old midfielder, started his career at Leeds United... In July 2004 he signed for Halifax Town, where he again played over 100 matches, scoring 10 goals in the process. On transfer deadline day in January he signed on loan at Oxford United until the end of the season and played a part in Oxford's playoff push. Krause, a 20 year old defender, who can play at left-back or centre-back, has represented England at Under-17 level".

    LEWIS AND ENGLAND "C"

    This is United reports that "Oxford United duo Eddie Anaclet and Yemi Odubade have withdrawn from the England National Game XI squad for tonight's friendly international with Finland Under 21 in Valkeakoski. Neither player travelled, with Anaclet still troubled by his left knee, which he jarred during the Conference play-off semi-final second leg against Exeter City... There are several different players named to face Finland than those who played in the Four Nations Tournament, with the England camp having to take account of players' holidays following the ten-month football season. There are first call-ups this evening for two players currently outside the Conference National – Adam Bartlett, the highly-rated Blyth Spartans goalkeeper, and Leon Soloman, the Welling United fullback... Tonight's game will be the final time the side play under the National Game banner as they change their name to England C from the start of next season. England National Game XI: (v Finland U21): Cronin (Ebbsfleet Utd), Bartlett (Blyth Spartans), Foster (Dagenham), Quinn (Halifax), Morrison (Cambridge Utd), Soloman (Welling Utd), Ashton (Rushden), Baker (Southport), Chalmers (Altrincham), Southam (Dagenham), Cole (Stevenage), Morison (Stevenage), Sole (Woking), Molesley (Stevenage), Harrad (Burton Albion), Grant (Aldershot)."
    2 June 2007

    ALTY SIGN DARREN TINSON

    Altrincham FC are delighted to anounce the signing of experienced centre-back Darren Tinson, who was at Burton Albion last season. Darren has also played against us for Shrewsbury Town. Darren has played for several Cheshire clubs having been at Northwich Victoria before moving to Macclesfield Town for £10,000 in February 1996. He was part of the Macc side which gained promotion to the Football League and played 263 league, 29 cup and 5 other games for them, scoring 4 times in the process. He then moved on a free transfer to Shrewsbury Town where he made 90(+2) appearances in all competitions and again won promotion to the League before joining Burton Albion from 1 August 2005. He made 80(+2) appearances for the Brewers. Speaking of his arrival at Moss Lane, Altrincham assistant manager Dalton Steele said, "Darren's a winner. He's proved that. We know what we are getting with Darren; I have known him for years". With Peter Band having left Moss Lane for Hyde United, Darren fils the vacancy at centre-back.

    UNITED AT MOSS LANE

    Altrincham's friendly against Kidsgrove Athletic has been moved from Wednesday 18th July to Thursday 26th July, as The Robins will now have a home friendly agianst a Manchester United XI on the 18th (at 7.30pm). Don't forget that if you buy an Alty season ticket, you get free entry to the friendlies at Moss Lane.
  • Season ticket details
  • Pre-season Friendlies 2007

    OLD BOYS

    "Midfield stalwart Eddie Hussin (right), who returned to Marine towards the end of last season, has agreed to stay with the Mariners as player-coach... Marine manager Alvin McDonald added: 'I am delighted, as all Marine fans will be, that Eddie Hussin has accepted his new position as player-coach and this gives him his first opportunity in a coaching role at senior level'". Eddie, who was a major factor in Altrincham's promotion ot Conference National in 2005, was then sidelined for a year by a cruciate injury. Though he recovered to make three substitute appearances in the Conference last season, he went to Leigh and then Marine to regain fitness. All at Moss Lane will wish him well in his new role. Eddie made 51(+5) appearances for Altrincham and scored 5 times, including a Hand of God effort against Droylsden and The Goal That Never Was against Alfreton.

    BLUE SQUARE NORTH NEWS

    The Shropshire Star says that "AFC Telford United defender Indy Khela is on course to be fit for the start of the Blue Square Northern campaign after surgery to fix his dislocated shoulder... He has had torn ligaments re-attached to the joint in his left shoulder, which he dislocated in the 2-2 draw with Fleetwood in April". "Fleetwood Town have announced the signing of striker Steve Foster. Despite being AFC Telford United's leading goalscorer in the UniBond Premier last season with eighteen goals, Foster was surprisingly released... The prolific striker had attracted interest from Fleetwood prior to his record £5,000 transfer from Radcliffe Borough to Telford... Chairman Andy Pilley expressed his delight at Foster's capture. 'This signing is a real coup'... Foster, who lives in Manchester, has signed a two-year contract at Highbury" reports NL Daily.

    From Cumbria's NW Evening Mail we read that "Holker Street skipper Paul Jones has set his side a big target for next season. The Barrow AFC captain was one of few players to emerge from last season’s disastrous campaign with any credit. And the central defensive rock — who celebrates his 29th birthday on Sunday...said: 'We should get into the play-offs. It’s been proved this year that once you get in the play-offs, anyone has got a chance to get to the final and go up'... Jones, who was on non-contract terms last season, has yet to be offered a new deal with AFC, with manager Phil Wilson refusing to discuss the status of any players... He added: 'I want to stay, I like the club. Certain players have got a bit older and should be better, we definitely need another striker because we never scored enough goals... but we had a good defensive record... We just need a couple of experienced signings. But there’s nothing in the league. You look at Farsley, they’ve gone up and there was nothing in it, there’s just a very fine line... Even in the Droylsden game there was nothing between the sides and they won the league. Kettering, we could have beaten at home, even the top sides haven’t given us a beating. The line’s very fine, so hopefully we will get a good start and the confidence can take us forward from there'".

    < a href="http://www.harrogatetoday.co.uk">Harrogate Today says that "20 year-old striker Lee Whittington looks set to be Harrogate Town's first summer signing with defender Chris Timons and 'keeper James Lindley heading through the exit door. Reports from Scarborough suggested a deal had been tied up with Whittington this week although the club could not confirm this on Wednesday. Definitely leaving the club is central-defender [and ex-Alty captain] Chris Timons who has returned to Hucknall Town and possibily ‘keeper James Lindley who was in talks with Alfreton Town. Assistant boss Lee Philpott says... 'The idea is that the players that leave only leave because we allow them to. We replace them with better players, that’s the idea. We’re hoping to bring another two, three or four players which will be a spread of different positions'. Pacy striker Whittington came through the youth system at Rotherham United... Philpott also explained the departure of Timons and seemingly Lindley. '(With Chris) it was a bit of everything and obviously Hucknall is right on his doorstep', said Philpott. 'He’s had some good times at Hucknall and it was just a bit of everything. It suited both parties and we’ve got a couple of people we’re looking at as replacements. It’s a similar scenario with James Lindley, he was looking at somewhere on his doorstep but we’ve got another goalkeeper lined up'”.

    "Last week, it seemed that Southport’s newest acquisition was set to confirmed as Conall Murtagh, a highly-rated midfield player from Rhyl, after reports from North Wales said the Northern Ireland Under-21 international had agreed terms with the Sandgrounders. says Southport GB. "But those claims were then retracted by last season’s Welsh Premier runners-up, and in a bizarre twist of events, it was today reported that Murtagh is to make the shorter switch to Wrexham, of League Two, amid suggestions that Southport have agreed to ‘tear-up the contract.’ The Sandgrounders have remained tight-lipped on the player from the outset, but the strange scenario is outlined by the North Wales Daily Post: ‘Last week, Murtagh joined Conference North club Southport, but the Sandgrounders have now agreed to tear-up the contract to allow the former Rhyl and Connah’s Quay Nomads midfielder to resurrect his professional career with the Dragons'... Aged 21, he has been described as a player who is ‘certain to be a star of the future in league and International football'". Murtagh had a spell with Altrincham Reserves a year ago. "Meanwhile, Ciaran Donnelly and Sean Paterson, who both spent a spell on loan with Southport last season, have been released by Blackpool".

    Murtagh's move is confirmed by NL Daily which says that "Northern Ireland under-21 international, Conall Murtagh, from Rosetta in South Belfast - a former Crusaders star - has won a two-year contract with Wrexham. It is a gilt-edged opportunity for Murtagh (pictured), who spent two years at Hearts, before going to the University in Manchester to study Biomedical Sciences. During his first two years in Manchester, he has played semi-professionally in the Welsh Premier League, playing in the UEFA Cup and coming second in the league with top side, Rhyl. 'This is a fantastic opportunity that I never saw coming. I am so lucky to be joining a wonderful club and I am delighted to be returning to professional football', said Murtagh. Murtagh, 21, who still has a year to complete at university with full support from Wrexham.. and received a number of accolades at the end of the season including being the youngest of ten Welsh Premier players nominated for the 2007 Player of the Year Awards... 'This is only the start and I have a lot of very hard work to do before I get anywhere near what I want to achieve in football'. said Murtagh".

    A report on Vauxhall Motors from IC Cheshire says that "Defender Joe McMahon, [ex-Alty] midfielder Mike Garrity and keeper Sean Lake are the first three players retained by the Motormen for next season".

    Kettering Town "Are delighted to announce the signing of 21 year old midfielder Callum Lloyd today. Nottingham-born Lloyd came through the ranks at Mansfield Town, and scored four goals in 41 appearances for the League Two club".

    At Alfreton Town "Nicky Law has made his fourth signing in a week with the capture of talented left-sided midfielder David Cockerill who has been on contract with Stocksbridge Park Steels for the past two seasons. He began his career at Sheffield Wednesday".

    The forum at Solihull Moors has a statement which says that "Exactly 8 years to the day after taking over Damson Park, Solihull Borough will merge with Moor Green to become Solihull Moors on June 1st. The ground will remain in the ownership of Solihull Borough with the new club taking out a long lease which has been approved by both Leagues and the F.A. The Borough will resign from the Southern League and the new club will take the place of Moor Green in the Conference North. The new Board will consist of ten Directors... The Manager of Solihull Moors will be Bob Faulkner who has yet to agree the make up of the remainder of his management team. 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. Season Tickets will be, Adults £162, Concession £72".

    Tamworth have "signed Chris Waldrum on a year's contract following his displays in the youth team last season. Chris has shown the way for all members of the youth set up here at Tamworth, if you work hard and listen you can earn the rewards. All of last year's youth team have been invited to attend pre-season, and the chance to play in the new reserve side that will complete in The Central Conference League. The management duo of Gary Mills and Darron Gee are hopeful that even more of last season's youth team may do enough pre-season to earn a contract with the club. With Marcus Ebdon the new Youth Development Officer at Tamworth F.C. it's exciting times for the youth players at the club".

    BLUE SQUARE NATIONAL NEWS

    "Exeter City boss Paul Tisdale admits he is monitoring Weymouth forward Stuart Beavon but insists he has no immediate plans to sign him" according to the BBC. "Beavon, 23, is without a contract for next season. 'Stuart is a player we looked at in January when he was banging in goals for Didcot in the Southern League', Tisdale told the Express & Echo. 'He was going to come here on trial but signed for Weymouth before his trial. He is a player we are aware of'".

    Confguide says that "Forest Green Rovers will be receiving £47,500 as part of their original deal which took striker Kayode Odejayi to Cheltenham Town in 2003. It was confirmed today that the Robins have now completed the sale of the player to Championship club Barnsley for £200,000 and Rovers receive 25% of the sale, over the £10,000 that the Robins paid Forest Green... Secretary Colin Peake who was part of the Rovers tribunal team when the deal was thrashed out back in 2003, commented: 'We had faith in Kay that he would go on to play in a higher standard of football and he still has youth on his side to make it into the Premiership if he puts his mind to it'".


    1 June 2007

    FORMER LEAGUE CHIEF EXECUTIVE JOINS ALTY'S BOARD

    The Sale & Altrincham Mesenger reports that "Altrincham have announced the arrival of a big name in football, although not one the fans might expect. The club have appointed former Football League chief executive David Burns as the latest member of the Moss Lane board. Burns, who was instrumental in securing the League's £95 million deal with BSkyB in 2002, has taken up an official role after acting as an advisor to the board for the past year. The Hale resident brings with him considerable experience, having also helped to set up the Crown Prosecution Service in the early 1980s, and vice chairman Grahame Rowley (left) said his appointment represented another step forward for the club. 'David originally came to us to give us advice on football matters', said Rowley. 'But towards the end of last season, he was spending more and more time at the club. So we were only too happy to welcome him onto the board because his experience and contacts will be very helpful. We had needed to lighten the load on the existing board members for a while, which is why we expanded the board last year and why we have now welcomed David to the club. Myself, Geoff (Goodwin) and Andrew (Shaw) found that after five years running the club you get to a stage where you get very tired. The arrival of new faces is vital for the progression of the football club. Not only does it bring in new ideas but it gives the existing board members a burst of life as well. You know that you can hand something over to someone and it will be done, whereas in the past you felt like you had to do everything yourself. We can see a clear vision for the future now'".

    BLUE SQUARE NORTH NEWS

    The Tamworth Herald says that "Marcus Ebdon has been appointed Youth Development Officer at The Lamb... Ebdon said: 'I'm delighted to have been asked back to Tamworth because I enjoyed my time here before. There have not been as many young players making the breakthrough to the Tamworth first team as the club might have wished over recent years. Hopefully, I can use my experience to help bring some of the talent through to the reserves and, ultimately, the first team... The other good thing is that I get to work with Gary Mills and Darron Gee again. I feel I can learn a lot off them in the next couple of years. I managed Alfreton for a while after they left and that whetted my appetite to manage in the future'. Ebdon added that he has not ruled out playing for the first team next season. 'I am still registered as a player and will keep myself fit in case I am needed at some point during the season', he added". Meanwhile, "Tamworth new boy Tony Thorpe this week insisted: 'I still have plenty to offer' as he set himself a twin target of 20 goals and automatic promotion. The 33-year-old former Bristol City and Fulham striker has found goals hard to come by in recent spells at Colchester, Stevenage and Grimsby... 'Personally speaking, I know I still have the ability to score goals in the Football League', Thorpe told Herald Sport. 'I could have pushed for a move to a club at a higher level. But I feel this is the right time to step down a couple of divisions and I'm relishing the chance to play for Tamworth. I have had to do a lot of travelling in the last couple of years and that means I haven't done myself justice. I have a lovely family and having moved back to Leicester will help me and there will be less travelling is great too... I might be 33 but I feel great in myself, have kept myself in shape and will get a good pre-season behind me'".

    From the Shropshire Star we learn that "Goalkeeper Ryan Young believes his summer return to AFC Telford United could give him the chance to fulfil all his football ambitions. Young has already been told he will be first choice ‘keeper next season after agreeing to join the Bucks for a second time. The lively custodian has signed a one-year contract after his switch from Hednesford - and while he believes it will take time to consolidate in the Blue Square Northern, he is confident the potential exists to progress further".

    And This is Lincs claims that "Former Boston United assistant manager Neil Redfearn has confirmed he has applied for the vacant manager's position at the York Street club... 'I have spoken to people at the club through my agent but now it is down to the club', said Redfearn. Boston United chairman Jim Rodwell is meeting today with officials from the Football League, Football Association and the Blue Square Premier League, in an effort to resolve the club's future". But "Francis Green is close to sealing his escape from Boston United after attracting interest from Walsall and Macclesfield. The former Lincoln City forward is due to hold talks with the clubs...'After not being paid for three months, Boston are in breach of contract, so I'm looking elsewhere', he told the Echo... Technically, Green still has a year left on his Boston contract, but admits it is worth nothing after playing without pay since February. It is believed Standing Alone Limited, the consortium on the verge of seizing control of the club, do intend to meet the unpaid wages of players and staff in full... 'The club needs sorting out - and soon', he declared. 'If the current situation carries on, there won't be any players left. I'm not the only one looking to leave'. Green admitted Steve Evans' departure as manager did not come as a shock... 'To be honest, I don't know why he didn't go earlier, like at the end of last season'". However former Altrincham defender and "Pilgrims' skipper Paul Ellender admits the club's players are awaiting the outcome of today's crisis talks with baited breath... 'Something has got to come of this meeting', declared Ellender. 'Things have dragged on long enough. The club have still not been in touch, but that doesn't surprise me any more'. Boston fans will also have an eye on the outcome of a Leeds United creditors' meeting tomorrow, when property tycoon Simon Morris will hope to take control of the Elland Road club. Morris' company, SR Morris Group, is behind Standing Alone. Morris is battling with current Leeds chairman Ken Bates to assume control of the club".

    From Boston Today we learn that Steve Evans feels his resignation 'is a relief, to be honest. It has become more and more stressful over the past two weeks. The staff haven't been paid for three months and not a day was going by when I was not having to deal with my players, who are going through financial turmoil. I really fear there won't be a Boston United in the Conference next season... I'd like to be remembered as the man who took Boston United to the Football League and nearly helped them perform a miracle on the final day of the season', Evans added"

    "Mark Cooper insists he will focus completely on management at Kettering Town – even though he will register himself as a player" according to the Northants Evening Telegraph. "The new Poppies boss enjoyed a playing role with Hinckley United in the second half of last season... And the 38-year-old hasn't ruled out the possibility of playing during the new Blue Square North campaign. He said: 'I will register myself as a player simply because we will have a small squad. I will definitely play in the reserve games and in others if I need to. But my main focus will be on managing and coaching. Most people will know that I played at the same level last season and I could probably still do a job. But I was brought here to manage the team and that is what I will concentrate on'. Cooper, meanwhile, is hoping he will get some definite answers in the next week from some of the Poppies' out-of- contract players... Former Northampton Town defender Tommy Jaszczun has become Cooper's first signing. But any new faces may not arrive until the end of next month. 'I may well wait until the end of June to do my business', he added. 'It's silly season at the moment. Players are asking for silly money and I am not going to get involved in that'".

    Meanwhile NL Daily says that "Kettering Town have announced that Gianfranco Zola has confirmed that he will play for them in their A-Line pre-season tournament on Sunday, July 15th 2007. Kettering`s managing director Kevin Meikle said: 'This is a fantastic coup for the club. He was voted Chelsea's best ever player, and is currently the Italian under-21 manager and we sure our supporters are looking forward to him pulling on a Poppies' shirt'. Meikle added: 'We can also confirm that Christian Karembeu – a two-time Champions League winner with Real Madrid and European Championship and World Cup winner with France - will be joining Zola. We will confirm other names shortly, although six other internationals have provisionally confirmed their availability for this date.

    At Nuneaton Borough "Rob Oddy has agreed to stay". He was the manager's player of the year last season.

    Following Droylsden's promotion to the Blue Square National, it is believed that Tameside Council is donating £60,000 to the Bloods as they are now the highest placed club in the Council's area. This means a reduction in Council funding for other Tameside clubs, Stalybridge Celtic and Hyde United.

    BLUE SQUARE NATIONAL NEWS

    From the BBC we learn that promoted "Morecambe boss Sammy McIlroy has released three players. The Shrimps have allowed defender Danny Meadowcroft, midfielder Jonathan Smith and forward Thomas Pickersgill to leave Christie Park. Meadowcroft, who also played under McIlroy at Stockport, joined Morecambe from Mossley in the summer of 2006. Smith has been with the club since 2005 without playing a Conference game, while Pickersgill was a graduate of the Shrimps' academy".

    "Woking have signed central defender Paul Lorraine from Ryman Premier Division side AFC Wimbledon. The 23-year-old, who moves on a free transfer, has signed a two-year deal and becomes the Kingfield club's fourth summer signing. Cards manager Frank Gray told BBC Southern Counties Radio: 'He's got decent pace and first and foremost he is a defender - that's something I feel we need'. Gray has already signed Yeading duo Marvin Morgan and Bradley Quamina, and Sutton's Matt Gray".

    Conference champions "Dagenham & Redbridge have made their second signing of the summer by bringing in Crawley defender Magnus Okuonghae, reports BBC Essex. Okuonghae started his career with Fulham before moving on to Rushden & Diamonds, Aldershot Town, St Albans City and Crawley Town. The Nigeria-born 21-year-old has been capped by the England National Game XI". He scored a memorable own goal for Altrincham last season.

    N W NEWS

    The UniBond League announces that its "member clubs [have] agreed to support the recommendation of their Management Committee to accept the decision of the FA Leagues Committee for the League to operate with North and South Divisions each of 18 clubs for season 2007-2008.. Within the next few years the aim is for two Divisions of 22 clubs for parity with the Isthmian and Southern Leagues... The main concerns expressed by clubs related to the progress to two Divisions of 20 clubs for season 2008-2009 and whilst no assurances could be given Mr Walden gave a firm indication that he expected this to be achieved. The matter of a league fixture programme of only 34 games within an 18 club Division was also a major cause of concern and this was discussed at length. In an effort to resolve the problem a vote was taken and the clubs overwhelmingly agreed to a 42 game league season which would be achieved by the addition of a further 8 matches (4 at home and 4 away). These additional fixtures are to be integrated into the fixture schedule when compiled prior to the start of the season. Mr Walden endorsed his support of this process and indicated he expected it would receive the approval of the Leagues Committee". In other words some teams will play each other three times during the season whilst playing other clubs only twice so teams will have had a different fixture list from each other. It is believed the extra 8 games will be selected for each team on the basis of geography - i.e. the additional games will be against teams nearby so it becomes something of a lottery whether a club gets 8 additional difficult matches or 8 easier ones.

    UniBond First North will comprise: Bamber Bridge, Bradford Park Avenue, Bridlington Town, Chorley, Clitheroe, Curzon Ashton, FC United of Manchester, Garforth Town, Harrogate Railway, Lancaster City, Mossley, Newcastle Blue Star, Ossett Albion, Radcliffe Borough, Rossendale United, Skelmersdale United, Wakefield, Woodley Sports

    UniBond First South will comprise: Alsager Town, Belper Town, Brigg Town, Cammell Laird, Carlton Town, Colwyn Bay, Goole, Grantham Town, Gresley Rovers, Kidsgrove Athletic, Nantwich Town, Quorn, Retford United, Sheffield, Shepshed Dynamo, Spalding United, Stocksbridge PS, Warrington Town.

    The League's decision to go for a North-South split rather than an East-West divide means that clubs such as Colwyn Bay, will face lengthy cross-country journeys to the likes of Brigg, Goole and Spalding, which will also add significantly to the affected clubs' travel bills - as well as the costs for their supporters.


    For earlier news, click here

    Copyright: ©
    Compiled by John Laidlar