an unofficial website

August 2007

31 August 2007


Friday 31 August
  • Weymouth 2 Cambridge U. 2
  • League Table


    Although Rod Thornley will be turning out for Witton Albion tomorow, he will only be doing so to maintain his fitness after deciding to leave Moss Lane because of his limited opportunities in the first team. Rod will then be away on England masseur duty for two weeks during which time he will consider his options for the future as regards a new club.


    Rod Thornley has left Altrincham FC. All at Altrincham FC wish him the best for the future and thank him for his excellent service to the club both on and off the pitch. In addition to his footballing role, Rod was very helpful in raising funds for Altrincham. He combined his playing for the Robins with working as a masseur both for Manchester United and the England international set-up.

    Rod was signed from Congleton Town in March, 2001 and went on to hit 20 goals in his first 20 games in 2001-02, ending the season with 31 goals. He became team captain for 2002-03 season and although he missed quite a few games through injury and had to have an operation in December 2002, he still finished the season as top-scorer. He missed much of pre-season 0f 03-04 due to his work commitments and, though hampered by a knee problem, played on till succumbing to another operation in December, 2003. After a brief return, Rod had a further knee operation in April, 2004. In 2005-06 he initially struggled to regain full fitness and played only an intermittent role in the Conference until Christmas, 2005. Indeed in 2005, he briefly went on loan at Radcliffe Borough but came back and re-established himself as a fairly regular starter for Alty alongside Colin Little. In early 2006-07 he was initially on the bench but then started games after Colin Little was injured before reverting to a role which varied between being a substitute and a starter of games. However, he remained the club's leading overall scorer until his departure today, having netted 79 times in 183+43 appearances.

    Altrincham FC are also welcoming two new players...

  • Carlos Logan

    Carlos (d.o.b. 7.11.1985, height 5ft 10ins, weight 12st 6lbs), who will have squad number 22 is a wide-left player who was at Darlington. He is hoping to stay in the League but is currently without a club. Carlos started as a trainee at Manchester City before a loan spell with Chesterfield, then a move to Darlington and finally a loan to Bradford City. He has 36(+19) league appearances under his belt.

  • Sean Clancy

    Sean (d.o.b 16.9.1987, Liverpool) is a left-back who played for Southport last season, Sean turned out recently for Alty Reserves. Before Southport, he played for Blackpool. He will become player no.23 in the squad. He played six times for Southport last season and in the fortnight before joining Alty, he turned out for Bury and Shrewsbury Reserves.


    Alty's next opponents are Aldershot Town who visit Moss Lane this Saturday (3pm).

    On the NL Today website is Dave Stringer's preview of the match. This includes interesting quotes from the managers. Aldershot boss Gary Waddock says, that despite defeat by Crawley 'I’ve told the players that if we build on our performance then we’ll be fine'. Not that he anticipates an easy match against the winless Robins though – a game that sees Lewis Chalmers return to his old stomping ground. Waddock insists, 'There’ll be no complacency in my team. We will prepare properly as I expect a tough game. All games are tough in this league'. One plus point for Waddock is that there were no further injuries to add to the long-term absentees Ryan Williams and Ryan Scott. With Dean Smith recently undergoing cartilage surgery and Ricky Newman some way from fitness, Waddock would have been forgiven for looking to strengthen his team. But he says 'I’m satisfied with my squad'...

    In contrast, Robins’ Manager Graham Heathcote (left) will be working to bring players in... Heathcote says 'Some of the players have been with me for five years and questions have to be asked. I was hoping that these questions wouldn’t be posed for another twelve months but maybe the time has come. I will be looking at players in general for a number of positions. But there are always obstacles to signing players especially financial'. Additions to the squad appear imperative. With Colin Little suspended, Matty Berkeley away with St Kitts and Gary Scott having tweaked knee ligaments Heathcote will be anxious that Val Owen’s X-ray will not show permanent damage. In addition Cavell Coo has left the club in search of regular action. But the Alty Manager remains upbeat: 'Football is all about confidence and you lose that when you don’t win. We’ve never been behind at half-time so we can’t be a million miles away. All teams will have a sticky patch. It’s just that ours has come at the beginning of the season. I’m not interested in the word pressure. Pressure is what the family [of the shot schoolboy] in Liverpool is under. What I have is football problems and I will deal with those problems'".

    The Aldershot News & Mail says that "After slumping to a second disappointing home defeat of the season, Aldershot boss Gary Waddock admitted that defensive slip-ups are costing his side... 'Keeping clean sheets is something that we haven’t done and that’s one thing that I spoke to the players about after today’s game',Waddock said. 'I couldn't have asked any more of the players. They gave it their all. We played very well'... Defender Anthony Charles was equally disappointed with the result... 'It’s our third home game and our second defeat and it’s not really good enough', the big defender admitted... Gary Waddock however refused to point the finger at his misfiring strikers. 'I’m not worried. It's good that the midfielders have chipped in', he said.'At some stage the front lads will chip in too. We’re not just relying on the front players. It’s a team effort to score goals and keep clean sheets'. Anthony Charles...[added]. 'We’ve looked at how many goals we’ve conceded this season and it’s far too many.... I just don't think that it was our day'. Following the often colourful antics of both the Crawley management staff and players, many supporters went away from the Recreation Ground feeling that gamesmanship had played a part in the defeat. Charles however refused to use that as an excuse. 'They’re winning one-nil away from home so they’re not going to be in a rush', he said. 'If any of the boys get injured they’re going to take their time to walk off the pitch as slowly as they can. The gamesmanship’s not the best but you do what you can'. Positive even in defeat, Waddock is now looking forward to the next game away at Altrincham on Saturday. He said: “We’ll march on and hopefully get three points from the game on Saturday'”.


    Thursday 30 August
  • York C. 2 Rushden & D. 3


    A report on the youth team win at Bootle is in the Youth section


    I am grateful to Angus Loughran (Statto) for pointing out that the Champions' League draw has been kind to Altrincham as the inaugural match under the new Moss Lane floodlights (v. Cambridge Utd) on September 18th could have clashed with a home match for Manchester United in that competition. Fortunately, United will be playing away to Sporting Lisbon rather than playing the home leg that week.


    NL Daily reports that in the recent Barrow v Southport match "the visitors were given a lifeline on 82 minutes when Barrow's Chris Butler received a straight red card for a punchat Liam Blakeman", whereas the Southport GB claims that "Butler head-butted Blakeman". Butler, a left-back, made his debut for Alty at Gravesend in November 2005 where he played for 58 minutes before being substituted. He then left Alty for Vauxhall Motors.


    "The Football Conference's chief executive John Moules has left his position with immediate effect, reports BBC ... Moules ... denied that his decision had anything to do with a recent petition from Tamworth, who were relegated from the Conference National last season, for him to step down over various issues, including Crawley Town's survival in the Conference".

    Blue Square says that "Lee Sinnott, manager of Farsley Celtic, has completed the capture of midfielder Chris Billy following his release by league rivals Halifax Town. The 34-year-old signed for the Shaymen in January and went on to make 10 starts and three substitute appearances. However, Billy was told by Halifax manager Chris Wilder that he was surplus to requirements just before the start of the new season. The Huddersfield-born midfielder started his career as a trainee with the Terriers, making over 120 appearances during a four-year spell. He has also gone on to play for Plymouth, Notts County, Bury and Carlisle United".

    "Michael Hyem is being tipped by Jimmy Quinn to make his mark for Cambridge United after his match-turning appearance on Monday. The 18-year-old midfielder came off the bench for a six-minute cameo appearance against Ebbsfleet and rattled the crossbar with a venomous drive from distance, before Scott Rendell headed home the rebound to earn the U's a 1-1 draw. And the United manager, who revealed captain Danny Brown has not broken a bone in his foot as was first feared, believes the former youth team skipper has what it takes to cement his place in the squad. Quinn said: 'Josh Coulson is also doing well for us, and I think we've got a nice balance of youth and experience in the squad'". And, according to the Cambridge Evening News "Quinn does not expect to be welcoming any new faces to the Abbey before the transfer window closes at midnight on Friday after his enquiries into two players did not come to fruition. He said: 'It's too early for clubs to be letting people go, so it's all gone a bit quiet...We've got a good spirit in the squad and sometimes bringing in new faces can upset that spirit. I was concerned that we could get past the deadline and pick up a few injuries. But I think we're strong enough'".

    From This is Exeter we learn that "Exeter City have enquired about extending Bristol City midfielder Frankie Artus's loan spell for a further month... Following the news Andy Taylor's injury is more serious than first thought, City boss Paul Tisdale has contacted the Robins in a bid to retain him... The City manager said: 'I have spoken to Gary Johnson about extending Frankie's loan for another month and he was very positive about the idea'".

    Along the coast. This is South Devon says that "Torquay United's drive to attract new supporters to Plainmoor will continue with a thousand free tickets for students on offer for Saturday's home game against Stafford Rangers. With bottom of the table Stafford expected to bring only around a hundred fans, leaders United are reserving Plainmoor's Sparkworld Away Stand for students who take up their latest offer. It's open to youngsters who have just completed their GCSEs, have left Secondary School or are in Further Education. They have until 1.30pm on Saturday to take some valid form of student ID to the United offices and pick up their tickets... Unbeaten United have pulled in 4,000 and 3,000 gates for their first two home matches, and a club spokesman said: 'We want to do all we can to fill up the ground and also attract new supporters'".

    In Surrey, Woking report that "Michael Charles has stunned Woking by asking for his contract to be ripped up.The Cards' striker, who joined from Farnborough in the summer, has opted for a return to part-time football and to concentrate on his studies. 'He asked to see Frank Gray this morning and wanted to be released from his contract', said football technical director, Colin Lippiatt. 'It came out of the blue'. The club have agreed to the player's request and he has left the club, with Basingstoke said to be a possible destination... 'It leaves us in a difficult position', added Lippiatt. In the meantime, two players have become available on loan at Stevenage Borough, one of them former Woking defender Luke Oliver, the other, Damian Batt, Lippiatt's player at St Albans last season".

    Stevenage Borough say that "Promising 19-year-old, Alistair John, is expected to sign for Borough. Chairman, Phil Wallace said: "Mark has been very impressed by Ally and, although our internal budget is close to its limit, we just can't pass up exciting young talent of this quality. He's fast, strong and can excite crowds, which is just what we want at Borough. Mark spoke about him earlier in the year and we waited in the wings whilst he trialled at a couple of League clubs. He can play on either side and his contribution to our season could be significant if he's able to show the determination required to fulfill his potential. We have one more target in our sights and then we're done until January. Whether that will happen before Friday night I don't know'". Meanwhile, "Central defender, Luke Oliver, and full back, Damian Batt, have been circulated to clubs as being available for loan, along with some of Borough's youngsters. Mark Stimson said: 'Both players are an integral part of our squad, but they needs competitive matches to retain match fitness and we simply don't have enough games to do that. It's better that they go out on loan, get some games under their belt and come back raring to go'".

    30 August 2007


    The Football Conference has issued the following statement, indicating that its CEO, John Moules has left, for geographical reasons:

    "The Football Conference and its Chief Executive Officer John Moules have agreed to go their separate ways following the finalisation of two major commercial contracts. The competition's offices have now also been relocated to Birmingham after deals with Setanta and Blue Square were confirmed.

    Brian Lee, Chairman of The Football Conference said: "We are extremely grateful to John for his many years of loyal service. 'We fully understand his ties with the South-East which make relocation to Birmingham impractical and in view of the fact that we now have two major long-term commercial agreements in place the marketing opportunities for the Competition, for which John assumed responsibility, will be limited. We have parted on the best of terms and we wish John every success for the future'.

    John Moules added: 'I have thoroughly enjoyed all my years at the helm of the administration of The Football Conference and although I am sad to go I feel that I am leaving the Competition in its healthiest ever state both from commercial and footballing perspectives. I have realised that it is simply not possible for me to serve the best interests of The Conference unless I can be at the heart of things in The Midlands and that is not possible for me. Having played a significant role in the delivery of both Setanta and Blue Square I believe that it is time for me to move on and seek new challenges. The Football Conference has been my life for many years and it is now time to focus on my own family and future. I am grateful to The Conference for the opportunities it has afforded me and am sure that it will go from strength to strength'.

    The Competition has no plans for the immediate appointment of any replacement and is confident that its new office in Birmingham will thrive and develop in the capable hands of Dennis Strudwick, its General Manager".

    Mr Strudwick was previously Secretary of The Southern Football League (the some-time Dr Martens League), based in Worcester, for 25 years. He was appointed as General Manager of the Conference from 4th June, 2007.


    The winners of August's Friends of Altrincham FC Monthly Draw were as follows:
  • 1st No 61 - Gareth Thomas
  • 2nd No 43 - Nigel Hennerley
  • 3rd No 1 - Simon Ellis

    Why not join the scheme yourself and help the club whilst having the chance to win a monthly prize? Details are here.


    When Pat McFadden (right) came on, 12 minutes from the end at Stafford, it meant that all 21 of Alty's first-team squad had been used by the end of game five of the current campaign. With Cavell Coo having now left for Witton, Colin Little suspended and both Gary Scott and Val Owen injured, the 16-man squad for the Aldershot game will come from just 17 available players.


    The Northwich Guardian says that "Jim Vince reckons Cavell Coo could be his best signing yet. The former Altrincham full back switched to Witton on Saturday after calling the Albion boss to ask for a move. He signed a one-year deal before making his debut at Kendal on Monday. 'It's a fantastic addition for us', Vince told the Guardian... 'I've been trying to get him since he left Crewe, so to finally have him on board is great for the club'. Coo, 20, is likely to line up at right back, but Vince says he can play anywhere in defence or midfield. He made one appearance for Graham Heathcote's men - as a substitute against Halifax Town - and figured for Witton's UniBond Premier Division rivals Leek Town in pre season. 'I think he's good enough to play in the football league', said Vince. 'But he's realised he needs to be getting regular football to give himself a chance and Witton can help him out with that'".

    The Cambridge Evening News says that "Lance Key may be donning the No 1 jersey for Bury Town now, but the Histon goalkeeping coach still believes he can do a job for the Stutes' first team in the Blue Square Premier if they want him. The 39-year-old veteran keeper, who can list Sheffield Wednesday and Dundee United [and Altrincham, on loan] among his former clubs, turned out for [Bury Town] for the first time on Monday, but they lost 4-1 at Arlesey Town. Key, who played an instrumental part in Histon's climb into the non-League's top flight, knows if he is to get an SOS from Stutes' boss Steve Fallon, he needs to be fit enough. The stopper said: 'I have always been up front about Bury Town. My stepson, Lee Smith, plays there and I obviously know the director of football, Trevor Collins, from his Histon days, so there is a connection. At the tender age of 39 I still believe I can do the job, but the opportunity to coach at Histon and play at Bury is right for me, although I would have loved one more year in their first team. I am happy and still feel part of the club. I am the go-between for the players and the manager, and will be on call whenever they need me'. Key said: 'The club know I want to carry on playing at Histon this season, but with the signings of Danny and Mark, I have taken a back seat. They are both very good goalkeepers... this year will be all about survival'".


    Alty will face some new signings when they travel to York next Tuesday as NL Daily says that "York City have signed former Barnsley midfielder Nicky Wroe and Irishman Darren Kelly. Wroe agreed a deal with the Minstermen after playing for their reserves in a 2-1 defeat at Darlington on Tuesday. The 21-year-old made over fifty appearances for Barnsley before being released at the end of last season and also spent a spell on loan at Bury. Wroe then played one game for Hamilton Academicals in a Scottish Challenge Cup tie earlier this month but did not stay on at New Douglas Park. Meanwhile, York have also signed Derry City central defender Darren Kelly... Kelly had been on trial at Kilmarnock and had been linked with other clubs... The 28-year-old had been in his third spell with Derry, having also been on the books of... Carlisle United, who bought him for £100,000 in 2002.... Scottish clubs Gretna, Dundee United and Inverness Caledonian Thistle had also made enquiries... Gretna were not prepared to pay the reported £50,000 fee being demanded by Derry". York City confirm the signing of Kelly. "The Club confirmed a five figure fee was paid for the 28 year old defender as part of the deal for him to join the Minstermen. As well as playing for Derry City and featuring in their European side last season, Darren also previously played for Carlisle United and joined them in October 2002 for a fee of £100,000... The 6ft 1 inch defender also played for the Northern Ireland Under 21 International side... Darren is very pleased to be joining the Club and already has a connection with the area as his girlfriend hails from Sheriff Hutton near York." Those with Setanta TV have a chance to see him before he faces Alty as he "will be available for selection for tonight’s game against Rushden and Diamonds".

    Halifax Town "have issued a short statement following the Halifax Courier article. 'The Club is fully aware of the winding up petition and has the matter in hand. The Club requests that all fans and friends, including shareholders, former Directors and supporters organisations get fully behind the Club, Manager, Players and Staff as the takeover by the Consortium enters its finals stages.It is the Club's intention to ensure this takeover is completed prior to the date of the winding up petition. Subject to completion of the deal and a 75% shareholding being achieved, funds have been secured that would allow immediate settlement of the monies owed to the Crown. Angie Firth, General Manager'".

    The Football Conference says that "Exeter City have suffered a major blow with news that Andy Taylor faces a lengthy spell on the sidelines after fracturing his leg. The midfielder picked up the injury on the opening day of the season [at Altrincham], although the initial prognosis claimed that the injury was not too serious. However, fresh scans have revealed that the 24-year-old had suffered a stress fracture of the tibia - which will rule him out for around six weeks. The Grecians' manager Paul Tisdale told the club's website: 'I'm afraid it is not good news. He has a stress fracture of the tibula which is usually an eight week injury. He has already missed three weeks so it looks like it could be another five or six weeks out for him, it's another big blow, I can't believe the luck we have had in that area of the field'".

    Blue Square says that "Droylsden [are] keen on Chester players. City have not named the players which have attracted Droylsden's interest but Ashley Westwood, Sean Hessey, Phil Bolland, Dean Bennett and Simon Marples are all yet to make an impact for Bobby Williamson's side so far this season. And Chester chairman Vaughan confirmed: 'It is no secret that we have a close relationship with Droylsden, and they have spoken to us enquiring about taking two or three of our players either on a temporary basis or permanently'".

    "Nigel Clough will this week renew his efforts to strengthen his injury-ravaged Burton Albion squad before the transfer window slams shut... [He has] holes left by injuries to defensive trio Darren Stride, Ryan Austin and Tony James and the versatile Andy Corbett... Clough tried all last week to make temporary signings and knows time is running out because emergency loans are not permitted for seven days after the closure of the transfer window. He said: 'The fact you cannot make an emergency loan signing for seven days from Friday is a strange contradiction in terms, but they are the rules and we have to abide by them. We have an array of players in mind and, with a bit of luck, we'll have a couple on board by the time we go to Crawley on Saturday'. Albion... had only 12 fully fit senior players available for the visit of Farsley Celtic" claims the Burton Mail.

    29 August 2007


    The first STAR Quiz Night will be held on Monday 3rd September (not Thursday 6th, as previously announced) in the Noel White Suite from 8pm. Everyone is welcome.


    In last Sunday's Non League Today (the new newspaper), Colin Little (left) reacts to Graham Heathcote's statement the previous week that he might consider his future at Moss Lane. "'I think he's entitled to blow his gasket after 37 years', said Little who claimed his team were 'lucky' not to be beaten by a mammoth scoreline at the New Lawn (Forest Green). ' Graham (right) has the players's backing - that's an understatement. He had a set-to with a supporter in the first game of the season... How can you criticise a man like that after he has devoted near enough his entire life to the club? There is nobody that works harder... Some fans get a bit above themselves at times. And when they do, it's Graham's nature to say things back... I know I speak for the rest of the team, I am desperate for him to stay and take us forward. But it's up to us to take some of that pressure off and help him out... We're all taking a bit longer to gel than everyone would have hoped for. There are some good new players here and we're not playing how we can. We know we can do better'". Colin continued about Graham, 'He is the reason I'm here and I know a lot of players turned down big-money contracts elsewhere because of Graham. They came for him and I'd be concerned, massively concerned, if he did see through his threat to leave. I'm not even sure I'd stay if he goes. That's how important he is and what he means to everyone here... He is Altrincham Football Club, I can't emphasize that enough... I can't see another manager coming in and turning it round. he has done every job here. he has been a player, a captain, a secretary, a manager - I think even the tea-boy! How do you go about replacing someone who is irreplaceable?"


    The STAR bucket collection at the Grays Athletic game raised £63.65. As ever the club is very grateful to collectors and donors alike.


    There is still time to support Graham Jackett as he raises funds for Altrincham FC by running a half-marathon. Ian Rosendaal of the Ideas4Alty website informs us that long-standing Alty supporter Graham Jackett has entered the Macclesfield half marathon to be run on 30th September. Graham writes "I am now 58 and have supported Alty for over 50 years and spent many happy and occasionally unhappy hours in Macc. I wonder if supporters and friends of the club would be prepared to sponsor me with all money going to the club?". Ian adds that "This is a fantastic opportunity to raise much needed funds for the football club and I hope that lots of people will show their support for his fantastic efforts. Anyone wishing to sponsor Graham can send an e-mail indicating the amount they would like to sponsor him for".


    When Oxford United visit Moss Lane on September 8th, it is one of those days when neither Manchester United or Manchester City, our nearby Premiership clubs, has a Saturday afternoon game at home. So, as a one-off initiative to introduce their fans to non-league football, Altrincham FC is offering anyone who produces a valid United or City season ticket entry to the game for just £5. .


    The Northwich Guardian reports on how Witton Albion won at the weekend. "Albion... handed a debut to former Crewe Alexandra full back Cavell Coo" who had joined Altrincham this summer but made just one substitute appearance for The Robins.


    Altrincham's next opponents at Moss Lane (on Saturday 1st) are Aldershot Town. Ironically last year's matchday programme for Aldershot's visit showed Lewis Chalmers who, of course, is now a Shots' player. The Shots report that "Despite watching his side defeated by Crawley Town on Bank Holiday Monday manager Gary Waddock was upbeat... The former Eire international said, 'I have praised them for their performance and I said to them well done. What else could they have done today ? Nikki Bull has made one save in the first half and picked the ball out of the net in the second. It just tells you the amount of possession that we had and we were camped in their half. We do need to be more ruthless in front of goal and we have the players to do that. This is a problem that we have had in recent games. To rectify this we need to keep getting in there, be brave and eventually it will come. We will march on and we are already looking forward to Saturday's trip to Altrincham'... The game was played at a quick tempo although lacking in composure at times... Chalmers hit the bar from a header... Shots' boss Waddock concluded, 'It was smash and grab if you like but they were camped in their half for much of the game and we didn't break them down... but we put in a performance and I couldn't have asked for any more from the players'".

    When Aldershot last visited Altrincham, on the final day of last season, they seemed to have condemned Alty to relegation by securing a goalless draw. The sides that day were:

  • ALTRINCHAM: 1. Stuart COBURN; 2. Steve ASPINALL, 17. Karl MUNROE, 4. Peter BAND, 3. Gary SCOTT; 7. Robbie LAWTON, 6. Steve BUSHELL (capt), 14. Lewis CHALMERS, 11. Warren PEYTON; 9. Colin LITTLE, 10. Rod THORNLEY. Subs: 5. Gary TALBOT, 13. Richard ACTON (gk), 18. Pat McFADDEN, 20. Stephen ROSE, 22. Andy SCOTT.
  • ALDERSHOT TOWN: 1. Nikki BULL; 2. Dean SMITH, 19. David WINFIELD, 5. Rhys DAY, 3. Darren BARNARD (capt); 15. Ryan SCOTT, 7. Mark MOLESLEY, 4. Ricky NEWMAN, 11. Ryan WILLIAMS; 9. John GRANT, 10. Marcus GAYLE. Subs: 17. Kirk HUDSON, 18. Phil ANDERSON, 12. Louie SOARES, 31. Mikhael JAIMEZ-RUIZ, 36. Jonny DIXON.

    Just three of Alty's line-up for that game (Aspinall, Lawton and Peyton) were in the Robins' starting line-up last Monday at Stafford.

    The unofficial Shotsweb says that "The Shots somehow succumbed to their second home defeat of the season against a typically solid and robust Crawley Town... A lack-lustre display, which twice had Waddock warning his team that they were 'too relaxed', was punished just seven minutes into the second half... ATFC: Bull; Gier (Soares 71), Day, Charles, Straker; Hudson, Chalmers, Davies, Harding; Grant, Dixon. Subs not used: Winfield, Jaimez-Ruiz, Hylton, Elvins".


    The referee for Saturday's game is D. Richardson, and next Tuesday, at York is D. Webb. Mr Richardson oversaw the Alty v Gravesend match at Moss Lane towards the end of the 2005-06 season, when he gave a penalty against Stuart Coburn in a 2-2 draw.


    Right: The new floodlights being installed at Moss Lane can be lowered to the ground for maintenance. This picture shows one of the new sets of lights being installed last Saturday. By Tuesday lunchtime, the only two of the original 1966 pylons which were left standing were those in front of the Carole Nash Stand.


    Whilst to Altrincham, Exeter City appear a relatively well-off club, This is Exeter reports that even they need to maximize their fundraising. "Exeter City manager Paul Tisdale has thrown his support behind the club's latest fundraising venture.The 'City Foundation' was unveiled at yesterday's game with Weymouth and Tisdale believes the venture will prove a huge success. The Foundation invites 2,000 fans to join at a cost of £10 a month and weekly and monthly draws offer top prizes of £100 and £1,000... with a proportion of the money raised going to youth development, squad strengthening and improving facilities'". Tisdale added, "The fact that the money is coming to the youth development side gives us an added boost, especially as the likes of former youth players Dean Moxey, Danny Seaborne and George Friend have been so prominent recently. 'George epitomises what Exeter City is about and we desperately need to keep producing homegrown talent'", he said. Grecians Sporting Director Julian Tagg added: "We've lost well over £60,000 of funding from the Football League for our youth set-up in the last 12 months so anything that helps fund that side of the club can only benefit us in the long run... With a limited membership of just 2,000, the odds of winning are considerably better than a lot of similar draws or lotteries. Members will also get a 10% discount at selected Exeter stores. Also, those who sign up before Christmas will have the price of next year's (08/09) season ticket frozen. This also means that if fans continue to participate with the City Foundation for each consecutive year thereafter, their ticket price will effectively remain frozen at this year's price".

    Don't forget that Altrincham has a similar monthly draw scheme called the Friends of Altrincham FC; follow the link to sign up, please!

    From the Yorkshire Evening Post we learn that "Troubled Halifax Town boss Chris Wilder again refused to speak to the media despite a comprehensive 3-0 victory over Droylsden... Rob Scott, Matt Doughty, Darryn Stamp and Tom Kearney were all dropped following the weekend game while Wilder took the captain's armband off Adam Quinn and gave it to [ex-Alty man] Steve Bushell. Assistant boss Peter Atherton, who stood in for Wilder at the post-match press conference said: 'It is certainly a happier dressing room and it is nice to talk about the football instead of what's going on behind the scenes'". But the Halifax Courier has a headline, "Halifax Town Football Club could be shut down next week. HM Revenue and Customs has brought a winding-up petition against the club which will be heard on Wednesday, September 5. The taxman is a creditor of the club and presented its petition some time ago. Club director Geoff Ralph revealed to the Courier recently that action had been delayed temporarily pending a takeover deal. But so far that deal has failed to materialise and the action has plunged the club further into crisis. The petition will be heard at the Royal Courts of Justice, London... Should Town go into administration, under Football Conference rules they would automatically face a 10-point deduction, even if a saviour was to then emerge".

    "Grays' unbeaten start to the season came to an end on Monday when they went down in disappointing style to newly promoted Histon. The visitors... were methodical, well-drilled and based their game on getting the ball forward as quickly as possible. But they certainly were not pretty to watch. It was a shame then that a lacklustre Grays side resorted to similar long ball tactics in a bid to wrestle back the game after they had gone behind... Boss Justin Edinburgh said afterwards, 'They made it difficult for us and we lacked the initiative in possession of the ball to break them down. There was not much in the game at all. We just didn't show enough guile and in the end ran out of ideas... Histon's notorious set-pieces posed the most threat" says the Thurrock Gazette

    "Neil Redfearn reckons he could be without Lee Steele for six weeks. The Vics boss told the Northwich Guardian he fears the worst after his star signing limped off during yesterday's 1-0 defeat to York City. 'It looks like a tear again'," he said. 'If that's the case then it's a massive blow for us because I brought him here to get our goals'... The 33-year-old was recovering from the injury when he agreed a switch from Chester City earlier this month... Steele is not Redfearn's only worry.Brad Maylett went off with slight concussion... while Michael Byrne was ruled out with a thigh strain. Redfearn hopes to have both of them back in time for the weekend trip to Farsley Celtic".


    The Sale & Altrincham Messenger says of Alty's draw at Stafford that "There was a certain inevitability about this result. The sombre atmosphere at Marston Road said it all and with both teams desperate not to lose, a draw was always on the cards. Even when Alty surged ahead through a 15th minute Robbie Lawton goal, they never seemed entirely convinced of their own ability... It wasn't all bad though. Not only will the draw suit Alty more than it does their opponents, it is also an improvement on the dire 1-0 defeat suffered at Marston Road last season... Angry with his side's meek display in their 1-0 defeat to Grays, manager Graham Heathcote rang the changes at Stafford... With Colin Little suspended, Alty adapted a robust 4-5-1 formation, with playmaker Gareth Whalley fitting in just behind lone striker Senior. And although it took them a while to adapt, the changes soon began to reap dividends.... Unfortunately, Alty failed to build on their lead and were soon pegged back as slack defending once more proved to be their undoing. Richard Acton failed to come out to collect Richie Sutton's long ball into the area and with Rose hopelessly outpaced by Adaggio, he could only stick a foot out and bring the striker down. Taking the spot kick himself, Adaggio confidently sent Acton the wrong way to score. After that goalscoring chances - and indeed moments of excitement - were few and far between".

    Meanwhile, This is Staffs says that "Stafford Rangers have broken their duck in the Blue Square Premier - thanks to teenager Marco Adaggio. On his full debut for the club, Adaggio not only earned a first half spot-kick, but also put it away with confidence to level the scores in this tense bottom-of-the-table battle with Altrincham. Rangers still share last place with Northwich and Altrincham [not so, we have two points!] as a result of this Marston Road draw... With a goal apiece and both teams desperate for the points, the scene was set for an entertaining duel, which ultimately failed to materialise... the end product was a stalemate with hardly any clear cut chances... Rangers' manager Phil Robinson said after the game: 'It is a step in the right direction... At times we played well and passed the ball well, at others, we tried to and it just didn't quite come off.... we have a lot of positives to take from this game'".


    Local lad Danny Higginbotham has moved from Stoke City to Sunderland for £3 million this week.
    28 August 2007


    Times and fares for the STAR supporters' coach to the match at York City on Tuesday, 4th September are here.
    27 August 2007


    Above on a dull afternoon, Lawton nets for Alty

    Despite taking the lead and having most of the second-half play, Alty had to settle for a point in a generally uninspiring game. Alty went ahead after 15 minutes when a good turn in midfield by Whalley led to Senior getting in a shot from left of goal which was parried out to Lawton who netted from close range. But Alty gifted Rangers an equaliser when Rose was outpaced by Adaggio who was chasing a hopeful punt forward. With goalkeeper Acton staying on his line, Rose brought down his opponent to concede a penalty, which Adaggio converted comfortably (20 mins). With Potts on at the interval, Alty looked the more likely to score but their closest effort was Sedgemore's superb freekick, which Alcock saved equally well. Match report here.

    Above: Adaggio beats Acton from the spot.

  • Alty Line-Ups and Bookings
  • Alty Player Statistics

    Monday 27th

  • Aldershot T. 0 Crawley T. 1
  • Burton A. 1 Farsley C. 0
  • Cambridge U. 1v Ebbsfleet U. 1
  • Exeter C. 0 Weymouth 0
  • Forest Green R. 2 Torquay U. 2
  • Grays A. 0 Histon 1
  • Halifax T. 3 Droylsden 0
  • Northwich V. 0 York C. 1
  • Rushden & D. 0 Kidderminster H. 1
  • Salisbury C. 2 Woking 1
  • Stafford R. 1 ALTRINCHAM 1
  • Stevenage B. 0 Oxford U. 0


    Altrincham Youth went to the top of the NW Youth Alliance League table on Sunday after a 3-2 win at Bootle. Report to follow.


    Altrincham travel to Stafford today looking, like their hosts, for their first win of the season and, ideally, their first clean sheet. Rangers have lost all four games to date whilst Alty have fared little better, picking up a single point.

    Stafford won the corresponding game last August 1-0, with a goal by Guy Madjo, who has since moved on. Indeed, Rangers have seen a lot of changes in personnel since last summer. When Alty went to Marston Road last season their line up was:

  • 1. Dean WILLIAMS, 26. Richie SUTTON, 5. Wayne DANIEL(capt), 30. Liam MURRAY, 3. Nathan TALBOTT; 7. Lee DOWNES, 8. Kevin STREET, 27. Ged MURPHY, 11. Robin GIBSON; 9. Neil GRAYSON, 12. Guy MADJO. Subs: 6. Craig LOVATT, 16. Brian QUAILEY, 17. Danny ALCOCK (gk), 18. Dolapo OLAOYE, 28. David OLDFIELD.

    The only Rangers' starters from that match in 2006, who are still at the club, are Sutton, Talbott, Daniel, Street, Grayson whilst substitutes Alcock, Oldfield and Olaoye also remain.

    Altrincham have seen slightly fewer departures from their line-up last year at Marston Road:

  • 1. Stuart COBURN, 2. Steve ASPINALL, 4. Peter BAND, 5. Gary TALBOT, 3. Gary SCOTT, 7. Robbie LAWTON, 6. Steve BUSHELL, 8. Val OWEN, 11. Warren PEYTON, 9. Colin LITTLE, 12. Joe O'NEILL. Subs: 14. Lewis CHALMERS, 17. Karl MUNROE, 18. Pat McFADDEN, 19. Lee HENDLEY, 20. Stephen ROSE

    For Altrincham, only Band, Talbot and Bushell have left from the starting eleven that day whilst Chalmers and Hendley have moved on from the substitutes' bench to other clubs. Colin Little will miss today's game through suspension after seeing a red card for violent conduct on Saturday and with Gary Scott limping off soon after half-time, manager Graham Heathcote has some tricky decisions to make with his selection today.

    Stafford Rangers report that "Frederick Murray, known as 'Fred', went straight into the starting line-up in Saturday's game at Oxford United, having completed his move to Stafford Rangers the day before. Born in Clonmel, Republic of Ireland, 25-year-old Fred became his career at Blackburn Rovers before making his Football League debut on loan at Cambridge United. His move to Cambridge became a permanent one in March 2002 and he made a total of 88 Football League appearances for the Abbey Stadium club. He moved to Northampton Town in summer 2004 but his progress was hampered by injury and illness. Fred made a further 38 League appearances for Northampton prior to his release back in May. Commenting on Fred's debut, Rangers boss Phil Robinson said: 'It was an excellent debut'".


    A number of social and fundraising events have been arranged:
  • Monday 3rd September: STAR Quiz Night in the Noel White Suite from 8pm
  • Sunday 30th September: Geoff and Suzanne Goodwin have arranged a celebrity football match at Moss Lane featuring Test cricket stars such as Glenn McGrath and Alec Stewart and in the evening there is a fundraising dinner for the benefit of the McGrath Foundation and Altrincham FC - details and tickets from the club (928-1045).
  • Saturday 6th October: Meet the New Recruits after the Rushden & Diamonds match at Moss Lane. Tickets £15 (includes meal). Altrincham's new signings for 2007-8 will be guests of honour and will answer any questions thrown at them!
  • October - precise dare t.b.a: STAR Race Night
  • Saturday 15th December: Christmas Celebration Dinner at the Cresta Court Hotel, Altrincham - tickets £45 with 10% discount if bought befoe 31 October

    A list of the club's fundraising and social events is here.


    The UniBond Press Release says that Gareth Thomas has moved from Trafford to Warrington Town. Gareth is also currently assisting youth-team manager George Heslop with the Altrincham Youth team's coaching, alongside Tony Spilsbury.


    Crawley Town "can confirm the departure of centre-back David Woozley from the club. The former Crystal Palace, Torquay United and Oxford defender has decided to pursue a career away from football. Signed in August 2005, Woozley was excellent throughout last season, making more appearances than any other player, 49 in total scoring 4 goals. Woozley was rewarded for his contribution when he was voted the 2006/07 Clubman of the Year". More details come fromt the Argus which says that "Dave Woozley has quit Crawley to join the fire service. The big defender has decided to cancel his contract and change career after being told he could leave Broadfield Stadium by manager Steve Evans. The 27-year-old was joint caretaker boss last season and signed a new one-year deal in May. He was one of Crawley's most experienced players, having played for Crystal Palace, Torquay and Oxford United. He said: 'I'm disappointed to be leaving Crawley now because I've had such a good time at the club. But being in the fire service is something I have always wanted to do and the chance does not always come around. I have no bitterness towards anyone at the club and I will be returning to the Broadfield to watch games because I have a lot of friends there'... He was frozen out by Evans before the season started and was not included in the squad for the first four games. Evans said: 'Dave is a smashing bloke and has conducted himself properly from the first day I sat down with him'".
    26 August 2007


    After yesterday's defeat, Graham Heathcote speaking of Colin Little's red card, told the NL Paper, "That sending-off just about sums up the frustration in our dressing room. That comes about because of poor results. We looked competitive today but we lacked quality in the final third, despite some good possession... We just aren't a threat attacking wide and I have some difficult decisions to make...I've been making hard decisions all the time I've been here. I'm not going to stop now". Match report link below...


    Radcliffe Borough have "announced they have signed defenders Barrie Keeling from Stalybridge Celtic and Andy Scott the former Altrincham and Hyde United defender on loan for a month to help cover their defensive crisis which has cost them both of the opening games...The club also announced they have agreed to let Lee Hendley...[and two others] move to Flixton on loan to get some much needed match play which the management team feel they require".

    Wes Wilkinson scored for Trafford yesterday as did Mark Quayle who netted twice for Colwyn Bay. Anthony Hargreaves was on the mark for FCUM. Gary Talbot and current Alty player Pat McFadden both played for Leek Town whilst former Youth and Reserves' player Lee Shillito turned out for Chorley.


    Blue Square says that "Blue Square Premier club Ebbsfleet United have completed the signing of 30-year-old South African defender Warren Goodhind on a free transfer. The former Barnet trainee has been looking for a club since leaving Rochdale by mutual consent in January and spent time on trial with Dagenham & Redbridge in pre-season 'Warren can play at right back or centre half', Ebbsfleet manager Liam Daish told the club's official website. '"Injuries to Gary MacDonald and Mark Ricketts have created problems with both of these positions so Warren's arrival will present me with more options within the squad'. Goodhind signed for Cambridge United for a fee of £80,000 in October, 2001 and moved to Rochdale on a free transfer four years later. He made 12 appearances for Dale and spent a short time on loan with Oxford United towards the end of last season".


    Above: Richard Acton saves Kedwell's penalty.

    Match report here.

  • League Table
  • Alty Line-Ups and Bookings
  • Alty Player Statistics
    25 August 2007


    Right: From foreground to background, Whalley, Owen and Lawton compete in the Alty midfield on Saturday.

  • ALTRINCHAM 0 Grays A. 1
  • Crawley T. 2 Northwich V. 1
  • Droylsden 2 Exeter C. 3
  • Ebbsfleet U. 1 Halifax T. 0
  • Farsley C. 2 Salisbury C. 2
  • Oxford U. 2 Stafford R. 1
  • Torquay U. 3 Rushden & D. 2
  • Woking 0 Cambridge U. 0


    There's some dubious information from the BBC which says that "Altrincham boss Graham Heathcote will hand Warren Peyton an immediate recall after the left-back came through a midweek reserve match unscathed. That means Steve Aspinall will revert back to his preferred centre-back position [!!], while Karl Munroe is also in contention after serving a suspension. Grays' manager Justin Edinburgh will have midfielder Karl Murray (ban) back. However, Simon Downer and Stuart Thurgood miss the trip with ankle and foot injuries respectively".

    Grays Athletic have a new fans' website which says that "Millwall striker Gavin Grant has returned to The Rec [Grays] on a season-long loan deal. Grant, who was with the Blues for a short spell last season scored 4 goals in 10 appearances.He will join the squad as part of a very strong attacking force, which includes other recent signings Danny Kedwell, Ben Watson & Craig McAllister as well as Aaron O’Connor. The striker maybe available for selection for tomorrow's match away at Altrincham".

    The site also has a match preview of the game at Altrincham. "Following a comprehensive victory over Kidderminster last weekend, Grays will be keen to continue their unbeaten run, and visit an Altrincham side that is yet to win this season. Altrincham finished last season just one point behind Grays, and found themselves relegated to the Conference North (I won’t be using the sponsored names on this site), however, following the demise of Boston United, Altrincham were given a reprieve and continue their latest spell in the Conference. The home side started this season with a 4-1 defeat at home to Exeter City, a 2-2 draw away at Halifax and most recently 3-1 away defeat at the hands of Forest Green Rovers... Saturday will see the fourth meeting between the two clubs at Moss Lane"

    The website also interviewed two Altrincham fans Gareth Thomas and& Anthony Wright. In a wide-ranging chat, Gareth and Anthony were asked about Grays' chairman Mick Woodward who helped Alty with legal support when we were deducted 18 points in 2006 and Gareth said, "The main thing was that someone was prepared to stand up for us at a time when people were ganging up on us, and regardless of what people might say there was some very disappointing conduct by certain clubs / officials at the time. I’m led to believe that MW isn’t everyone’s cup of tea but you can only take people as you see them and when he and his friends have been here they’ve been humble and very good people. MW and indeed Grays in general will always be very welcome here at Moss Lane". Anthony added "If you asked an Alty fan to pick another side that they would like to see do well, I’m sure that they would pick Grays. Not just because of Mick’s actions, but also the hospitality shown to us when we played at Grays in our first season up. The flood lights failed delaying kick-off, and our fans were invited into the social club and provided with tea & biscuits. A fantastic gesture".


    The referees for Altrincham's weekend matches are:
  • v Grays Ath. on Saturday: R. Merchant. He previously oversaw Altrincham's 4-1 win over Farsley Celtic in the FA Cup on 2 October, 2004.
  • v Stafford Rangers on Monday: D. H. Coote from Nottinghamshire who has been an assistant referee in League One this season.


    As previously indicated here, and now confirmed by the Salisbury Journal "City's Blue match at home to Altrincham on Saturday, October 13, will kick off at 1pm (subject to league confirmation)and not 3pm as previously scheduled to avoid clashing with England's televised Euro 2008 qualifier against Estonia. Whites' home match with Rushden & Diamonds on Saturday, September 8 remains a 3pm kick off despite England's Euro 2008 qualifier with Israel later that afternoon". So it will be a very early start for Alty fans travelling down to Wiltshire; quite why the Estonia match prompts change and the Isreal match does not, is unclear.


    Altrincham FC Youth team's FA Youth Cup qualifying match away to Woodley Sports has now been set for Thursday 27th September at 7.30pm. Admission will be £2.00 for adults and £1.00 for OAPs and children.


    There was a celebrity at Alty Youth's match against FC United last Thursday at Wythenshawe Town. Watching much of the game was Blackburn Rovers' goalkeeper Brad Friedel. Brad is a family friend of Alty Youth striker Sam Madeley. Previous footballing celebrities to have watched Alty Youth at Wythenshawe include Bryan Robson.


    The Argus reports that "A football club boss faces jail after getting a substitute to carry out his community service. Azwar Majeed, the Porsche-driving owner of Crawley Town Football Club, sent a lackie to carry out the 60 hours of unpaid work he got for an assault. Danny Ullah, 29, one of Majeed's staff, spent his time pottering around gardens and clearing weeds under the eye of probation officers while the football club boss had his feet up. The two men agreed to the con after Majeed, 31, from Dyke Road, Brighton, was sentenced to do the work in June 2005. Faced with the prospect of running his numerous businesses, which include the bar Ja Vu in North Street, Brighton and Ja Ja Bar, Crawley, along with the football club, Majeed and Ullah swapped identities and Majeed gave the court Ullah's address.

    By the time the deception came to light, Ullah, 29, from Seaview Avenue, Peacehaven, had carried out seven sessions - almost all of the 60 hours of unpaid work. Yesterday at Hove Crown Court both men were warned they faced jail sentences after admitting perverting the course of justice. The court heard Majeed was sentenced to 60 hours community service after he was convicted of common assault in June 2005. The deception was not discovered until September 2005. Jeffrey Lamb, defending Majeed, told the court his client was currently subject to another community service order. Majeed was given 90 hours for punching and smashing the jaw of 18-year-old Martin Grainger outside a chip shop in Worthing in September 2005.

    He has still to complete 76 hours of the work but the order has been suspended because of injuries he suffered when he crashed his yellow Porsche 911 on the A23 at Pyecombe in January. Judge Cedric Joseph adjourned sentence until September 21. He told the defendants: 'The overwhelming probability is a custodial sentence'. The two men were released on bail. Majeed and his brother Chas have variously hit the headlines for their running of Crawley Town Football Club, which has suffered major financial troubles for the last three seasons.

    The Majeed brothers were also in hot water after a mass brawl outside Ja Vu bar, then called Saqqara. Police closed the bar and criticised its management shortly afterwards... Azwar Majeed refused to comment yesterday".


    The Northants Evening Telegraph says that "James Krause has left Rushden & Diamonds. The defender was signed by Garry Hill over the summer from Ipswich Town but failed to make an impact... He has joined Blue Square Conference North [does the Telegraph know something we don't?] rivals Crawley Town on a free transfer".

    From the Cambridge Evening News we learn that "Jimmy Quinn believes the best is yet to come from Leo Fortune-West following his hat-trick in Tuesday's 5-1 win at home to Farsley... Fortune-West heads the league's goal-scoring charts with four goals...He said: 'Rushden had other ideas on how they wanted to play and were trying to get rid of him, so Leo hasn't had a lot of games and was just lacking a bit of match sharpness... I think in a few more games he'll get sharper and even though he's 36, he's still a fit lad... He isn't going to run channels but he unsettles players'. Quinn also praised Alan Lewer for his contribution towards United's table-topping start to the season.Lewer came in as Quinn's assistant in May... Quinn said: 'Alan has been a breath of fresh air and he's invaluable to me. He has been brilliant and he has got a good way with the players, laughing and joking with them'".

    Nearby Histon "could be without their main striker Antonio Murray for almost a month with a knee injury. The pacey frontman came off after just 34 minutes in the goalless draw at Halifax last weekend, shortly after he slipped on the greasy surface at the Shay Stadium. Murray, who moved to Histon from Scottish Premier League side Hibernian last August, has been having treatment all week... Stutes' boss Steve Fallon said: 'Antonio's strained his ligaments and could be out for up to three weeks'... So Fallon will throw Cliff Akurang straight into the mix up front to cover for the injured Murray now that the former Dagenham & Redbridge striker has completed his three-game ban... The Stutes manager added: 'Cliff is very keen... he looks hungry in training... with Cliff and Nathaniel Knight-Percival back in the team for Friday, we will have two out of our three pacey players available again'".

    More off-field news from the Halifax Courier which says that "Town director Geoff Ralph has defended his integrity following criticism from David Bosomworth who is leading a proposed takeover of the club. Mr Bosomworth spoke out after months of silence when his name was revealed in the Courier and Mr Ralph expressed his dismay in the newspaper over continued delays. Mr Ralph said Mr Bosomworth's statement caused him considerable concern and included several attacks on his integrity. 'Mr Bosomworth asserts matters could have been resolved in seven to 10 days. This amazes me', he said... Mr Ralph told the Courier this week the football club could fold within days because it was at risk of being liquidated. And today he revealed the contents of a letter sent by his solicitor to Mr Bosomworth's lawyer on July 23... [which said] 'I will summarise what I understand to be the current position and the outstanding issues between our respective clients:

  • 1. Mr Ralph is the only director of the club yet currently exercises no control over the club's affairs.
  • 2. The club is being administered on a day to day basis by a 'General Manager' who is acting on Mr Bosomworth's instructions.
  • 3. Mr Bosomworth has control over most business transactions affecting the club including player contracts.
  • 4. Mr Bosomworth will not formalise his control over the club unless he is in possession of a significant shareholding. It is believed that he also seeks some accommodation over outstanding directors' loans including settlement of a loan made by him, to the club, subject to a personal guarantee by Mr Ralph. It is believed that Mr Bosomworth is claiming this outstanding sum, approximately £24,000, from Mr Ralph.

    In simple terms, I am instructed by Mr Ralph that he will be able to deliver a majority shareholding to your client and deal with the loan issues, subject to Mr Bosomworth making a clear declaration, in writing, that he will take over the club and, specifically, arrange for the discharge of the CVA".

    "Northwich Victoria season ticket holders will be admitted free to Manchester United’s Barclays’ Premier Reserve League North home games at the Victoria Stadium. The offer starts with the visit of Everton on Thursday, August 30. Normal admission prices are £5 for adults and £2 for under-16s" reports IC Cheshire.

    The same source adds that Northwich manager "Neil Redfearn admits he has huge problems in the Blue Square Premier after this comprehensive defeat by a superior Torquay side at the Victoria Stadium. With only one point from three games, his hastily re-built side will continue to struggle unless he can instil some heart and fight as well as bringing in some sorely-needed reinforcements. Redfearn said: 'We were too easily beaten. I can accept honest mistakes, but lack of fight and spirit is just not on. I have some work to do before our next match on Saturday at Crawley'".

    24 August 2007


  • Histon 1 Aldershot T. 2
  • Kidderminster H. 0 Stevenage B. 2
  • York C. 0 Forest Green R. 2


    The Sale & Altrincham Messenger now includes the weekly STAR column on its website. Also in SAM we learn that "Graham Heathcote has started work this week on sorting out the defensive errors that have scuppered their start to the season... 'We're trying to rectify the problems such as not shutting the opposition down, especially in our own penalty area', he said. The Altrincham manager received a boost recently when the outcome of the fans' forum was to get behind him. Despite letting his feelings known to a minority of supporters... As Graham explained: 'It's all about how fast we can move forward, but obviously it's difficult to compete financially with a lot of the teams in the league. Imagine if we had to pay the volunteers at Moss Lane'".


    Highlights of Altrincham reserves' game against their counterparts from Stockport County, played last Tuesday, are being shown on The Great Manchester Football Show which is on Channel M on Friday at midnight and again on Saturday at 11.30 am.


    Altrincham Youth came from behind to beat FC United of Manchster Youth 2-1 at Wythenshawe Town on Thursday evening. After Sam Madeley's second penalty in successive games had equalised FCUM's opener, Chris Francis netted the winner.

    Match report in Youth section..


    Ian Rosendaal of Ideas4Alty writes: "On Saturday 8th September Altrincham host Oxford United in what should be one of our biggest gates of the season. As this fixture also falls on an international weekend this means neither United or City playing at home and with England's game kicking off at 5pm this gives us a massive opportunity to attract a lot of floating support. As a one-off the club is offering the following:
  • Any Manchester United or Manchester City season ticket holders can come to the Oxford game for just £5. A similar idea was tried with England ticket holders last season and it worked a treat. Like last season, anybody wishing to take up the offer must either send their details to the club by email or ring the club (0161 928-1045) in advance..

    In addition to this, the England game will be shown live in the Noel White Suite at 5pm with all fans welcome to stay and enjoy a few drinks in our bar. We hope to see as many faces at Moss Lane as possible to get behind the lads and enjoy what should be a great occasion. Please spread the word about this offer".


    For those with a love of the exotic, Vietnam Net reports that "The V-League's Dong Thap on Tuesday discharged English striker Jamie Phoenix (left) only three days before the national championship. Head of the team Le Ngoc Chuc said Phoenix was released for breaking team rules and causing conflict between players. According to Chuc, the team managers had lost patience with the English player after giving him numerous warnings. Phoenix signed a contract with Dong Thap in June a few days before the second leg of V-League. Prior to his release, he played only 25 minutes of the scoreless match against Halida Thanh Hoa on June 16. With the departure of Phoenix, Dong Thap now have four foreigners in their lineup". Alty fans will recall that Phoenix joined Altrincham in late September 2002. After a brief substitute's appearance, he was sent off in the next game, on his full debut, against Kendal Town in the FA Cup on 28 September and was released immediately. He later surfaced at Stafford Rangers.


    Northwich chairman "Mike Connett wants to make a space for supporters to gather on match days. He plans to convert former restaurants at the Victoria Stadium, closed since May, into a sports bar and diner for fans. It should be open by the end of next month. 'I had three buyers who all wanted to do the same thing', he told the Northwich Guardian. 'So I thought if that's the way people see that space being used I might as well do it myself. It will be open for our supporters to use during the week and on match days'. Two eateries, one Italian-themed the other Spanish, opened in autumn last year only to close in May after Connett claimed he had proven there was a market for them in the area. It's not the only change the Vics chairman plans to make. Work on changing the old Herriots Bar into a Chinese restaurant, to be operated by China Red, is also imminent according to Connett. 'Development is now all systems go', he wrote in his programme notes before Saturday's clash with Torquay United. That includes work on all weather pitches and a marina, with a Christmas completion date pencilled in for both projects".

    And exactly as they did when Alty and Witton asked to defer their Cheshire Senior Cup match by a week to avoid a clash with league fixtures, "The Cheshire County FA have rejected Vics' request to move their derby date with Winsford United. The pair wanted to move their UniBond Cheshire Senior Cup first round tie back seven days to Tuesday, October 2, to avoid clashes with key league matches. But FA rules say county competitions should take priority. As a result the game will now take place at the Victoria Stadium on the original date of Tuesday, September 25, kick off 7.45pm". As a consequence of the CCFA's inflexibility, Alty fans now face a night crossing over the Pennines in late November to play at Farsley, when moving the CSC match back seven days would have allowed the trip to take place in September.

    The Blue Square site says that "Crawley Town have been dealt a blow with news that defender Bradley Thomas suffered a broken fibula in Wednesday night's friendly with Tottenham Hotspur...The former Yeovil man was due to undergo an operation on Wednesday past". Bad news too for Cambridge United where striker Dan Chillingowrth is reportedly sidelined for two months by injury.

    From the Gravesend Reporter comes news that "Liam Daish hopes to sign another defender to alleviate the lack of options he has in an injury-hit Ebbsfleet United rearguard... 'I'm still in need of a defender and hopefully I'll be able to get something done on Thursday', Daish revealed. "I'm obviously without Gary MacDonald and Mark Ricketts' injury is not progressing as successfully as I had hoped. We need to strengthen at the back'... Despite their current defensive frailties though, the Stonebridge Road club picked up their second win in three games with a 1-0 victory at Rushden... 'It was a very good, deserved result and to go to Rushden and come away with the three points was very satisfying', the Fleet boss explained. 'Scott (Tynan) made some good saves but, on the flip side, we also had chances to go 2-0 or 3-0 up... [A] player who caught the eye was debutant Michael Bostwick, who filled in for the crocked Neil Barrett in the midfield anchorman role, and Daish hopes to cut a more long-term deal with his latest recruit... Danny Slatter is stepping up his recuperation from his groin injury, but James Smith (suspension) is definitely out of this Saturday's encounter".

    More from the Halifax Courier on troubled Halifax Town: "Town's players are doing their best not to let off-field wrangles affect their build up to Saturday's trip to Ebbsfleet United. The Shaymen go to Kent looking for their first win of the season with the future of the club under a cloud and manager Chris Wilder wants his players fully focused on the job in hand. 'We have to stick together', said Wilder. 'The way we will be approaching the next game is to keep our heads down, working hard and concentrating on the footballing side of the job... I see the players Monday to Friday and they are fit and organised' said Wilder. 'The decision making at the moment is not the best and they just need to get a little bit more out. If we do that we are not a million miles away from kicking on. We might need a spark from somewhere, something to happen, but at the moment it is a bit of a struggle'. While Ebbsfleet have picked up a couple of wins... [and] keeper Lance Cronin and midfielder Danny Slatter, who have yet to feature this season, have both resumed full training".

    The Kidderminster Shuttle states that the "Harriers won't be lacking motivation when they tackle Stevenage Boro at Aggborough in Friday night's clash... The memories of Harriers' 3-2 defeat to Borough in the FA Carlsberg Trophy Final in May are still etched into the club's psyche ... But the need to bounce back strongly from Saturday's 5-1 defeat away at Grays Athletic has further enhanced Harriers' need to bag all three points... 'Saturday's performance was unacceptable', said the manager Mark Yates. 'The players know that it wasn't good enough. We've had one bad performance and haven't started the season as we would have wanted, but I believe we're a good team that is capable of challenging at the top. This is a game we need to win. I'm looking for a much-improved performance from the team... There's a lot of history between us and Stevenage and this game is even more important because of what happened at Wembley'".

    23 August 2007


    Thursday 23rd
  • Weymouth 1 Burton A. 2. Weymouth played with 10 men for more than half the game.


    The second round of the Cheshire Senior Cup pits the winners of the Witton v Altrincham tie away at Warrington Town or at Wincham Park again to meet Runcorn Linnets.
  • Cheadle Town/Congleton Town v Cammell Laird
  • Northwich Victoria/Winsford United v Hyde United/Nantwich Town
  • Stalybridge Celtic/Woodley Sports v Vauxhall Motors/Alsager Town
  • Warrington Town/Runcorn Linnets v Witton Albion/ALTRINCHAM


    The Youth team's league fixtures for August and September are now available via the Youth Page. Tonight Alty Youth are at home to FC United of Manchester Youth at Wythenshawe Town k.o. 6.30pm


    Supporters travelling to Moss Lane from Manchester by Metrolink tram will be pleased to hear that "The Altrincham Metrolink line reopens next Tuesday - and passengers will be able to benefit from discounted tickets... Return tickets will be up to 10 per cent cheaper. Work has been taking place throughout the summer to replace nearly 20 miles of worn-out track, as part of a £100 million project to improve the network. The Altrincham line has been closed up to Cornbrook since the end of July. The Bury line is also currently closed up to Manchester Victoria and is due to reopen in mid-September" reports the Sale & Altrincham Messenger.


    Stockport Vital Football reports that on Tuesday "Stockport County reserves suffered a defeat in their first friendly this season at non-league side Altrincham. County sent a strong team to Moss Lane, with Adam Proudlock, Dominic Blizzard and Anthony Pilkington all starting - players that should be involved on Saturday... [but] County's reserves team got their season off to a disappointing start".


    The Northwich Guardian says that Marine "were once more blown away by Witton Albion's attacking armoury... Skipper Eddie Hussin's sending off capped a miserable night for the Mariners". And another ex-Robin had a bad night as "Peers was scythed down by Adam Farley seven minutes later to earn Witton a spot kick, which the winger himself converted... Hussin then headed for an early bath after a hack at [Liam] Brownhill" - himself an ex-Alty trialist last summer.

    Former Alty Youth player Deon Depeiaza scored for Trafford on Tuesday as they beat Bacup 3-1.

    This is Staffs confirms that Pat McFadden again played for Leek Town in a controversial game against Ashton United on Tuesday whilst former Alty player Gary Talbot also started and former reserves' captain James Marsden was on the bench . "Furious Leek Town officials are set to report Cheshire referee Andrew Hutchinson to the FA after...Ashton were awarded a controversial late least one and a half minutes over the three allotted for added time. The club was also unhappy that manager Paul Ogden had been sent flying in the technical area 15 seconds from the end of stoppage time when opposing manager Danny Johnson raced in to retrieve the ball... Pat McFadden came close in the 16th minute... and Gary Talbot powered a header over as Leek piled on the pressure". Ashton included Chris Adams at left-back.


    The Halifax Courier reports that "The man leading the consortium hoping to take over Halifax Town Football Club has broken his silence. After months of working behind the scenes David Bosomworth has posted a lengthy statement on the club's website. It includes the following whch gives interesting insights to the club's situation:

    "For those genuine supporters of Halifax Town, I am sorry you have suffered a torturous period of time waiting for the conclusion of this takeover. You are not alone! There were reasons for the preservation of anonymity regarding this transaction, which prior to the articles of Brian Coates in the Halifax Courier had been preserved by those in the know, in the interests of the Club... The damage done to the Football Club and the possible completion of the transaction, following the numerous articles from Mr Coates, despite being asked by the General Manager not to do so, could well have.. compromised a deal that was making progress".

    The long statement is not altogether clear in places but it appears to say that the consortium has already provided separate loans of £107,000 and £19,000 to club director Geoff Ralph and "Further financial support has been given. The transfer fee for the signing of Darryn Stamp from Stevenage, wages for Greg Strong, the transfer fee for signing Daryl Taylor from Tamworth, the avoidance of compulsory purchase of the Club KIA Sedona, the pre-season Scotland trip, gym equipment, loan of minibuses, meals for Season Ticket Holders, programmes and numerous activities behind the scenes....We have stated to those closely involved, if there are other buyers or benefactors who seek to get involved, if there is a wish, we will stand down.. Not including the two specific early loans (above), the actual invested figure in 2007, is approaching £200,000. This is on top of the circa £15,000 raised by fans... Should we leave or others seek to come in, we seek nothing in return, we will donate the loan to the Club and be pleased the Club has survived during the second half of last season... For us to complete the process, due to the high level of cash required, we need to secure a 75% share of the issued shareholding, hence amongst others, was the request to the Supporter's Trust to give up their shares... There is a gap between income and expenditure, which is primarily due to wages. Initially, we would take a two year view and at the end of this period, assess in detail the progress or otherwise... [The consortium aims] to take the Club out of CVA as soon as possible - once the takeover is completed... For those unsure, the original home of Halifax Town is now owned by the Council and is not an asset for development potential, outside their ownership... The Shay is shared with Halifax RLFC. The ground is of no interest to the Consortium, except in the fact that the development/completion of the East Stand (so far funded through Football Grants, with a further £300,000 to come, subject to discussion and completion) is carried out... The team has enjoyed an excellent pre-season. An excellent set of pre-season of fixtures. A five-day trip to Scotland, staying in a pleasant hotel, round of golf and two competitive matches. Acquisition of additional gym weights and exercise equipment. New training gear etc. Also, a three strong management team, plus physiotherapist and the re-appointment of a fitness coach. In addition to a number of current players signed up on extended deals in January, we concluded amongst others the signings of Lewis Killeen, Andy Campbell, Matt Doughty and Adam Quinn, the latter who was on the verge of joining Morecambe. In addition, so far we have signed a number of Chris Wilder's targets Daryl Taylor, Rob Scott, Steve Bushell, Cortez Belle and only recently Anthony Griffith, on a full season long loan. Currently, with the transfer window only open until the end of August, the Club may still seeking 2 if not 3 players... Let us get on with the job of concluding this takeover. Let us hope that not too much damage has been done. If anyone asks for public comment on the Club again, out of respect for the name of Halifax Town AFC, the employees and the fans, please say 'no comment'. Perhaps then, Mr Coates and the Halifax Courier can move on! No further comment will be made until the successful conclusion of the deal or otherwise, from the Consortium".

    "Kidderminster Harriers boss Mark Yates had the players doing extra training on Sunday after the side lost badly to Grays Athletic on Saturday reports the Football Conference. "Harriers players felt a tongue lashing from the boss after the game and then had to do extra work the following day after the 5-1 defeat. Yates told the Express and Star: 'We were defensively poor. We talked about building a platform to work on from the back but we won nothing. We lost our headers, tackles - everything. The players knew I was not happy. We now have to stick together and put it right. I do not think there's anything drastically wrong but any more performances like that and there will be'".

    "Assistant manager Alan Lewer was delighted Cambridge's performance in the 5-1 win against Farsley Celtic. 'On Monday we didn't think the game would be on, so you have to give credit to the players who went out there', he told BBC Radio Cambridgeshire. 'On Monday afternoon eight of the players were at the doctors with sickness and diarrhoea. So we'd have been happy to win this game 1-0. With five goals, I don't think we can be disappointed with the performance'".

    From the other side, theYorkshire Evening Post says that "Farsley Celtic grabbed a goal and got on top of the game for a spell in the second half of last night's savaging at high-flying Cambridge, but manager Lee Sinnott was in no mood to grasp at any straws. 'We got off to a catastrophic start', he admitted. 'We made too many basic mistakes and if you do that at this level you get punished. It was better after the break, and there were things I was very pleased with, but if you are 3-0 down in the first half an hour the game is as good as over'... During the pummelling which followed however there were times when Farsley looked a frail outfit, a league away from Cambridge's level... Just to make things even worse centre-back Mark Jackson was stretchered off with a leg injury... To their credit Celtic, playing into driving rain, showed plenty of spirit after the break... Unfortunately for Celtic and their 40 or so travelling fans the shock served only to snap Cambridge out of a spell in which they were looking too cocky and complacent... Celtic's part-timers looked out on their feet as Fortune-West completed his hat-trick in the 80th minute".

    "Ebbsfleet United midfielder Neil Barrett is facing a further six weeks on the sidelines as he recovers from an ankle injury. Barrett sustained ligament damage in his second game for Fleet after signing this summer from Woking. Good news for Fleet boss Liam Daish is that goalkeeper Lance Cronin and midfielder Danny Slatter have both resumed full training", says the BBC, which adds that "Salisbury striker Paul Sales is to set to join his former club Eastleigh for an undisclosed fee. The 33-year-old forward has struggled to force his way into the team at the start of the Whites' campaign".

    And some football news from the Crawley Argus; "Crawley Town had defender Bradley Thomas stretchered off as they lost 3-2 in a friendly against a Tottenham XI. Pierre Joseph-Dubois scored twice for the Reds".

    From This is South Devon we learn that "Torquay United could still turn Ishmael Welsh's loan signing from Yeovil Town into a permanent deal. Chief executive Colin Lee [said]... 'We can't take the risk of going over the Conference salary cap, but a permanent deal is more or less agreed, if we can do it'. The two clubs have agreed a so far undisclosed transfer fee, which includes sell-on clauses, and Welsh, 19, would be happy to do the deal. The current agreement is for a season-long loan, but United have until August 31 to upgrade it... Lee explained that United's salary-cap is fixed. 'My understanding is that, even if we got Manchester United in the Cup as Exeter did a few years ago, that income wouldn't count for this season', he said. The Conference has always been quick to punish clubs which break the "cap" with points deductions".

    22 August 2007


    Above: Adam Walker, far right, after scoring in pre-season this summer against Gregorians.

    The BBC reports that "Chester City are set to sign former Altrincham youngster Adam Walker. Walker did not figure in the league for Altrincham after coming through their youth set-up but impressed City boss Bobby Williamson in a trial spell. 'The lad has shown up well in training and he gives us options in the wide midfield positions', Williamson told the Liverpool Echo. Chester want to sign players before the transfer window closes but must release players to stay within the salary cap".


    Altrincham Reserves recorded a deserved win over a strong Stockport County Reserves' side on Tuesday evening. Just four members of Alty's team started this match who had also started last Saturday's game:

    Match report here.


    The staging of the Trafford FC v FC United FA Cup match at Moss Lane, at the request of Trafford, has been approved by the footballing authorities. The game is scheduled for a 3pm kick off on Sunday 2nd September.


    Hot on the heels of the news reported here yesterday of the switch of Alty's away game to Farsley Celtic and of the likely switch of the match at Torquay because the Gulls cannot steward the game on Saturday 8th December due to a clash with Plymouth Argyle's home fixture the same day, comes news of another likely fixture change. Alty are due to play Salisbury City on Saturday 13th October but the Wiltshire club wants to move the match due to the England v Estonia international that day. Altrincham have not accepted an offer to play the game on the Friday night and it now looks likely to be shifted to a lunchtime kick off on the original Saturday date.


    Right: The first new floodlight pylon has now been installed at Moss Lane, and a second floodlight pole, minus lights, is also in place on the Popular Side. Work is scheduled to be finished in good time for the first night match at Moss Lane against Cambridge United on 18th September.


    Monday 20th
  • Exeter C. 1 York C. 1

    Tuesday 21st

  • Cambridge U. 5 Farsley C. 1


    Our next opponents "Grays Athletic have parted company with midfielder Abdou El-Kholti. The 26-year-old, who has not figured in Justin Edinburgh's plans this season, has had his contract terminated by mutual consent. El-Kholti joined Grays from Weymouth in January... and played half-a-dozen Conference games. Meanwhile, Edinburgh has also allowed striker Matt Bodkin, 20, to join Ryman League side Dartford on a month's loan".


    "Leek Town could hand local youngster Ollie Edwards his UniBond Premier League debut at home to Ashton United tonight (Tuesday)" says This is Staffs. "The former Leek Town Youth star has been earmarked to replace newcomer Rod Thornley, who is on duty as masseur with the England squad.... Pat McFadden (hamstring) is a slight doubt as Ogden expects a decent game against Ashton".


    The Halifax Courier has worrying if difficult to fathom news that "Halifax Town could fold in a matter of days. That's according to club director Geoff Ralph, who has finally broken his silence. In a statement exclusively to the Courier, Mr Ralph said that a month ago, through lawyers on both sides, he offered a consortium any help it required to complete a takeover deal – but had not received a reply. Anticipating the take-over, Town's accountant had persuaded its biggest creditor – the Inland Revenue – to defer demands for unpaid tax. But unless the club hears back soon, Mr Ralph said it was likely steps to put Town into liquidation would start the first week in September.

    Mr Ralph said: 'This fact is known to the consortium and I can say, without fear of contradiction, that I have done everything I can to make the deal happen, including significant personal financial losses. I have received considerable support from Chris Yewdall, the club's accountant... Mr Ralph says he would consider other offers to take over Town. 'I am still hoping the deal can be done but as time drags on I cannot pretend I am optimistic. If anyone else came in with an offer I would have no alternative but to embrace them on behalf of the club. I am sorry to be the bearer of bad tidings but I could not face the fans if the club had gone under and I'd said nothing'">

    Meanwhile, "Halifax Town Supporters' Club is asking fans to throw coins on to the pitch – in a roundabout way. They want fans to give enough 10p pieces to go round the edge of the pitch at The Shay. David Neatby, club treasurer, said it was roughly 360 yards, which would raise about £1,400 to pump into the club. He got the idea when researching the history of the supporters' club. 'They held something similar in 1930-31, not long after forming – it was a mile of pennies and I thought that sounded like an excellent idea. Everyone can give 10p without much hardship can't they?'.

    And the Blue Square Football site says that "Alfreton Town have secured the services of defender Greg Young on a month's loan from Halifax Town. The 24-year-old has been allowed to join Alfreton as part of his rehabilitation following a serious knee injury which kept him sidelined since January".

    From the Cambridge Evening News we read last night that "Jimmy Quinn is keeping his fingers crossed a mystery bug does not decimate his squad ahead of Cambridge United's home clash against Farsley tonight. Six players - Lee Boylan, Courtney Pitt, Rob Wolleaston, Dan Gleeson, Darren Quinton and Jordan Collins - were due to see the club doctor last night after complaining they felt ill when they arrived for training yesterday (Monday, 20 August). Last week Wolleaston missed the 2-1 win at York with a virus and captain Danny Brown was ruled out of last Thursday's victory... by an ear infection... Quinn said last week several players had also turned up for training with sore throats. He believed at the time that the problem could have stemmed from players' failure to clean their water bottles properly, and banned their use in training in favour of a barrel of water with players drinking from paper cups. But Quinn said yesterday (Monday): 'It may be they just feel a bit under the weather and they'll be given a couple of paracetamol and be able to get through the game...The last thing I want to do is call a game off, but if enough go down with it we might have to do that'".

    21 August 2007


    Ian Rosendaal of the Ideas4Alty website informs us that long-standing Alty supporter Graham Jackett has entered the Macclesfield half marathon to be run on 30th September. Graham writes "I am now 58 and have supported Alty for over 50 years and spent many happy and occasionally unhappy hours in Macc. I wonder if supporters and friends of the club would be prepared to sponsor me with all money going to the club?". Ian adds that "This is a fantastic opportunity to raise much needed funds for the football club and I hope that lots of people will show their support for his fantastic efforts. Anyone wishing to sponsor Graham can send an e-mail stating how much they would like to sponsor him for.


    At Monday night's Fans' Forum at Moss Lane, the panel comprised (left to right in adjacent picture), Derek Wilshaw, Graham Heathcote, Geoff Goodwin, David Burns and Grahame Rowley. The meeting had been billed as a "clear the air" event after manager Graham Heathcote had taken exception to criticism from a very small minority at the home game with Exeter City. In that respect this meeting served its purpose as it showed that the mindless comments shouted at Graham were not shared by fans in general.

    Once the meeting moved off this topic it became more interesting as Graham explained the realities of competing as a part-time club in a largely full-time league. The Alty boss referred to several players who would have joined us this summer but for better offers from elsewhere. Graham singled out as an exception to this rule, Alty's Gareth Whalley who had rejected bigger offers to join us because he liked what he had heard about the club.

    Graham spoke interestingly about how we had lost Lewis Chalmers to a bigger club and how that could happen again to young players at the club. The manager also ranged over topics which included team formations, the need for concentration for ninety minutes and he also revealed that last summer he himself had turned down the assistant manager's post at a fulltime club. He had opted to stay with Alty despite the fact that his budget now is still below that the club had ten years ago.

    Asked about the impending Trafford FC v FC United FA Cup match, which Trafford have asked to be played at Moss Lane following a police ban on holding the game at their own Shawe View ground, it was stated that discussions were ongoing.

    Regarding the resignation of Alty Reserves from the Lancashire League, Graham indicated that he felt the pattern of playing friendly games against stronger opposition was the right way to go. He pointed to the recent game with Bradford City as evidence of this.

    The Alty boss is a great advocate of the Setanta TV deal which he feels brings exposure as well as cash to clubs at our level. He is more than ready to fit in with the demands of TV such as cameras in the dressing room.

    Regarding fixtures the panel discussed the Torquay match which cannot now be played on the original date as Torquay and Plymouth play on the same day and use the same stewards. The reason why clubs are allowed to move fixtures because they don't have their own stewards yet can afford full-time players was raised from the floor - the same situation applies at Burton Albion who move fixtures frequently for the same reason. Torquay had wanted Alty to travel to Devon for a Friday night game but Alty had refused and the issue is likely to go to arbitration, with Sunday being Alty's preferred outcome. Likewise the Cheshire FA had refused the request of Alty and Witton to move their CSC tie back by a week to avoid league fixture clashes and so now Alty must travel to Farsley on Tuesday 20 November.


    Times and fares for the STAR coach to Stafford Rangers are on the Away Travel page.


    This is Glos reports on FGR v Alty. "With their team still playing in fits and starts, this was as close to a routine win as Forest Green supporters could hope for. Rovers ought to have run the show at the New Lawn, particularly after Lee Dodgson's fourth-minute cross had been diverted into his own net by visiting defender Karl Munroe. Yet they took their eye off the ball in slapdash fashion, only to cap a storming start to the second half with nerve-settling goals from Simon Clist and the excellent Dodgson".


    The Bromsgrove Advertiser says that "Striker Keith Russell is set to make his stay at Bromsgrove Rovers permanent. The former Blackpool, Chesterfield and Hednesford Town [and Altrincham] man has impressed while on trial with Rovers during pre-season, after manager Rod Brown offered him the chance to try and revive his playing career. Russell retired from football four years ago through injury, but decided to attempt a comeback... He has caught the eyes of the fans and coaching staff at the Victoria Ground with a string of excellent performances, which were capped by his first goal for the club against Stoke City last week. The move, which was set to be finalised last night, will see yet more competition for places in Rovers' strike force, with Nathan Lamey, Jermaine Clarke, Gary Hay and Neil Davis already vying for starting roles in Saturday's trip to Bedford Town. Despite reported interest from other clubs, Russell said he had his heart set on playing for Rovers. 'I've absolutely fanatically enjoyed it here', he said. 'It has opened my eyes and helped me rediscover my hunger again'.... Russell said the spirit in the Greens' camp was the best he had ever experienced during his time in football... 'I have never met a better bunch of people and I have been a footballer for a long time'... Boss Brown believes said, 'He brings a lot to the table. He has experience and he is a good character'".

    NL Daily says that "Enfield Town`s first choice goalkeeper, Jerome John, is leaving Goldsdown Road to become full-time goalkeeping coach at West Ham United... John joined Town at the start of the 2006/07 season from Tonbridge Angels... He started his career with West Ham, and apart from a spell with Altrincham, he has always played for clubs in the London area".


    Blue Square Football reports that "A number of disgruntled clubs led by Tamworth chairman Robert Andrews are reportedly looking to oust the Conference management team, citing mismanagement issues. Andrews has accused Conference chief executive John Moules of mishandling the investigations into Crawley Town's well documented financial situation. The Red Devils were allowed to continue in the top flight of the Conference this season despite going into administration, meaning that Tamworth were relegated to the Blue Square North. And Andrews has now also written to all 68 clubs in the Conference to drum up support, as he looks to have Moules and the rest of the management committee removed from power. 'There was a situation everybody knew about running all last season and it wasn't picked up until five days before the start of this on', Andrews told the Sunday Mirror. ''We should still be in the top division. But it isn't just to do with our own problems over getting relegated, there are broader issues. I feel that this is now a very professional League but it still has an amateur administration. For instance, they settled the new sponsorship deal back in March and we've only this week been told how much cash each club gets. I think there is a groundswell of support for change'. However, Moules was quick to point out that neither he nor the rest of the management committee were involved in the investigation of Crawley's books. He said: 'Once again Tamworth and Mr Andrews have got matters completely wrong. We had an independent committee who dealt with matters regarding Crawley including our lawyers. I was not party to any of the decisions and nor were any officers of the Conference. If Mr Andrews says he has no confidence in me he should get his facts straight before he points fingers'".

    From This is South Devon we hear that "With Torquay United leading 2-0 at half-time at the Victoria Stadium - it could easily have been four or five - one local scribe turned to a pressbox colleague and said: 'This is men against boys. If we're not careful, this could end up embarrassing'... United had a hard week - three games in six days, including more than 800 miles on the road - and it showed a little as they drew breath in the second half on Saturday. Their game is founded on hard work, a high tempo and pressing opponents all over the pitch. But Vics' groundsman Joe Biddle has to accommodate Manchester United Reserves, as well as his own club's teams, and he had deliberately not cut the grass too tight, to try and preserve it for the months ahead. It proved a strength-sapping surface, and that told in that second half".

    The Salisbury Journal reports that City "will not be running a supporters' coach to Yorkshire on Saturday for Salisbury City's match at fellow newcomers Farsley Celtic. Not enough interest has been indicated to convince the club it should confirm the booking of the coach. A club spokesman said: 'We only had 16 people wanting to travel, which clearly isn't enough to justify running a 50-seater coach. We'll take each away game on a match-by-match basis and if there is sufficient interest in running a coach to Histon for the match on Saturday, September 1, then we will'".

    Confguide says that "Rushden & Diamonds have revealed that defender Tom Bonner is leaving Nene Park after having his contract cancelled by mutual consent...Bonner started only one competitive game for Rushden & Diamonds".

    "Jimmy Quinn could dip back into the transfer market to boost his ailing Cambridge United squad", claims the Cambridge Evening News. "Injuries have already hit United hard with striker Dan Chillingworth and midfielder Mark Convery both ruled out for several weeks with ankle and hamstring problems respectively. The retirement of Wales under-21 international defender Adam Davies last week following the failure of a cruciate knee ligament graft has also dealt Quinn a permanent blow to his squad... The manager said: 'I've asked the chairman for £10million, but it went dead on the other end of the line... I don't want to get to the end of August when the transfer window closes and find that we're a player short because we've only got a small squad'".

    "Steve Fallon admits his Histon side did not show much adventure as they ground out a 0-0 draw at Halifax. The Stutes looked nervous at the start of each half before they settled down... Histon boss Fallon said: 'We had to defend because we didn't have too much going forward.. but in the second half, our quality was not good enough'. The away side's attacking options were further limited by the early loss of Antonio Murray. Playing on the right wing, he picked up a knee injury after 28 minutes and, despite trying to play on, had to come off six minutes later. Fallon added: 'To be fair, we lacked pace and couldn't do anything up front, especially after Antonio came off, but it is was a brilliant point, although we know there is room for improvement'" says the Cambridge Evening News.

    From Thurrock Gazette we learn that "Danny Kedwell led the onslaught as Grays blitzed Kidderminster to notch an impressive first win of the season. Kedwell, Blues' high-profile summer recruit from Welling United, bagged a first-half hat-trick... Not since the glory days of Grays' first season in the Conference has the team shown so much attacking verve... Kidderminster were undone by the combined prowess of the Blues' attack. James Lawson and Dennis Oli, both making their first starts of the season, impressed on the flanks and Watson - though being withdrawn with a bruised foot after 30 minutes - also showed enough... Boss Justin Edinburgh said. 'From the goalkeeper right through to the subs that came on everyone contributed... I think today you have seen why we chased him [Kedwell] for so long. I took him off early against Woking in midweek and we have a bit of a dispute. But I knew he would respond like that'... Grays Athletic: Flitney, Sambrook, Ashton, Stuart, Cooksey (Day 64), Lawson, Murray, Hearn, Oli (Marshall 46), Watson (O'Connor 29), Kedwell".

    "Stafford Rangers manager Phil Robinson called for more ruthless finishing after Rangers' third straight defeat plunged them to the bottom of the table... Robinson said: '"It is very frustrating. We created some good chances in the game - again - and their goal just summed it all up. We need to put our chances away, but what's also hurting us at the moment is three key players - Nathan Talbott, Kevin Street and Del Olaoye - are absent and that has left us unbalanced'" says This is Staffs

    20 August 2007


    On the Trafford FC website, Trafford manager and former Alty midfielder Ged Kielty writes "Everyone associated with the club must be happy with the draw for the next round of the FA Cup. In case you are unaware, we are to play against FC United on 2nd September 2007 ( the day after my birthday) at Moss Lane (home to Altrincham FC). It has been decided to play the game at Moss Lane to maximise the profits that can be made from the game. This decision has the full backing of myself... It will be FC's first ever game in the FA Cup so it has the potential to be a real money spinner for the club, so do all you can to publicise the game".

    However, as yet, this arrangement to use Moss Lane remains unconfirmed.

    Right: As Jake Sedgemore's freekick is taken, Munroe, Tinson and Little are all being held or obstructed by their markers at Forest Green on Saturday.


    I am pleased to report that Howard Watts will once again be sending his Through the Years data from across the Atlantic to appear on the Altrincham FC website Thruyears. His records for Alty's next match-day, 25th August, are here.


    Darren Gregory, the Chief Steward at Moss Lane writes on the Alty Fans' Forum:

    "New season new pleas; we have seem to have lost a few stewards during the close season as they have other commitments. If anybody is interested in becoming a matchday steward please contact me on the Forum or contact the club on 0161-928-1045. You must be over 18. We are also running the NVQ level 2 course again this year for all stewards who haven't gained the qualification yet and any new members of the team. Thank you".


    The NL Paper reports that "Manager Graham Heathcote's future at Altrincham is apparently secure despite last week's outburst... This week Heathcote said, 'Nothing I said after the Exeter match was said in the heat of the moment. I was as calm as calm can be'. Chairman Geoff Goodwin said, 'There's no chance of Graham leaving. We've cleared the air and he is fine. Initially I thought he might be whinging at the board but he's explained he was just making the point that another manager would be asking for more money' [for the playing budget]. Goodwin says much of Heathcote's displeasure was directed at a portion of the Alty fans who expect the club to finish in the top half. 'When someone shouts at him, he doesn't take too well to it'"added the chairman.


    Lewis Chalmers scored his first goal for Aldershot Town yesterday and the following ex-Alty players also all scored on Saturday. Jamie Almond (Abbey Hey), John Maloney (Flixton), Peter Wright (Kendal), Barry Shuttleworth (Padiham), Alex Hay (Cammell Laird) and Andy MacDonald (Cheadle Town).

    Gary Talbot played for Leek Town on Saturday as did current Alty players Rod Thornley and and Pat McFadden. Steve Hawes scored for his new club Worksop Town against Eddie Hussin's Marine.

    Recent transfers recorded by the UniBond League include the following which affect ex-Alty players from the first-team, reserves or youth team.

  • James MARSDEN from Bangor City to Leek Town
  • Steven MOORE (who was a trialist at Alty this summer) from Curzon Ashton to Chorley
  • Lee SHILLITO from Leigh RMI to Chorley
  • Christopher BAGULEY (who was a trialist at Alty this summer) from Oldham Athletic to FCUM
  • Anthony HARGREAVES from Flixton to FCUM
  • Dale NEWBROOK from Trafford to FCUM
  • Ryan McMAHON from Prescot Cables to Skelmersdale U.
  • Leon GRANDISON from Flixton to Woodley Sports
  • Ryan STEWART from Winsford United to Woodley Sports
  • Darren ROYLE from Ashton Utd to Mossley
    19 August 2007


  • Burton A. 1 Oxford U. 2


    Above: Danny Browne, hidden behind Chris Francis (11) nets Alty's first.

    Altrincham started their league campaign with a hard-fought draw against Curzon Ashton, who twice led. Alty were disrupted by three first-half substitutions to defenders, all of whom had to be substituted by the 39th minute. Curzon took the lead after 19 minutes but Alty levelled through Browne's header from a Lilley corner after 64 minutes. Six minutes from the end the Tamesiders went ahead again only for Declan Wakefield to equalise from close range after a shot from Madeley had been deflected (87 mins). Match report in the Youth section.


    In the NL Paper, Graham Heathcote says, "I thought we played very well in the first half but you can't concede the goals we conceded [even] at Sunday league level... The start of the second half killed the game. A 3-1 scoreline away from home is too tough to come back from".

    FGR boss Jim Harvey was not happy either, saying "There wasn't an awful lot about the performance that pleased me... We got sucked into playing their style which is pretty much a long-ball game and quite competitive. That's not our style, not the style I want here... When you look at the chances we made... I don't think some of our boys showed enough attitude to take those chances".

    The Paper's statistics confirm that Alty had just one shot on target (O'Neill's goal) in the 90 minutes and that the game's first goal was indeed an own goal by Karl Munroe, who becomes the first player to score at each end this season.


    Above: The ball is in the net as the scorer, Joe O'Neill (fourth Alty player from left) runs to thank the provider, Gareth Whalley (far right).

    Match report here.

  • Alty Line-Ups and Bookings
  • Alty Player Statistics


  • Aldershot T. 3 Droylsden 1
  • Forest Green R. 3 ALTRINCHAM 1
  • Grays A. 5 Kidderminster H. 1
  • Halifax T. 0 Histon 0
  • Northwich V. 1 Torquay U. 3
  • Rushden & Diamonds 0 Ebbsfleet U. 1
  • Salisbury C. 4 Crawley T. 1
  • Stafford R. 0 Woking 1
  • Stevenage B. 3 Weymouth 0

    18 August 2007


    Altrincham apparently have everyone fit for the game at Forest Green after both Warren Peyton and Gary Scott got some action on Thursday for the Reserves following their injuries. But Robbie Lawton is suspended and Rod Thornley is unavailable due to work commitments with Manchester United. Indeed This is Staffs says that "Leek's relationship with Altrincham has spawned another signing this week in striker Rod Thornley, who is a masseur at Manchester United and is involved in the England set-up.Thornley was a prolific scorer for Congleton Town before moving to Altrincham via Witton Albion and could start in Leek's new-look attack". Rod's work allows him to play within the North/Midlands but time does not allow him to travel to Gloucestershire.

    The BBC says that "Forest Green boss Jim Harvey will have a virtually unchanged squad for his side's clash with Altrincham. The only new face is John Hardiker, back after a three-match suspension, with Mark Beesley (groin) out injured. Altrincham boss Graham Heathcote is waiting on the fitness of a handful of players before deciding his squad. Warren Peyton and Gary Scott are both close to a return following recent injuries, but Robbie Lawton is ruled out because of a one-match suspension". FGR themselves add that "Several of Rovers players will be carrying slight knocks. The good news is that defender John Hardiker returns after serving his three match suspension and Adriano Rigoglioso looks set for a return to the team after injury."

    The Blue Square site has Altrincham supporter "Statto"'s smiling face above the odds for Saturday for Forest Green Rovers v Altrincham TOWN!

    From This is Glos confirms that "Adriano Rigoglioso could be back in the Forest Green ranks when Altrincham visit the New Lawn. The 28-year-old forward has had to sit out Rovers' rollercoaster start to the campaign with a badly bruised calf... Having missed the final two months of last season with knee ligament damage, frustration is building inside the Liverpool-born talisman. He explained: "There's bruising inside my calf muscle and the doctor has told me I have to wait for it to dissolve. It's really frustrating because it's basically a minor injury, but it takes time to heal and I'm still only at three-quarter pace... There's a chance I could be on the bench (against Altrincham), but I've got to be careful'....Rigoglioso believes Rovers must adopt a 'win at all costs' approach against tomorrow's part-time opponents... 'Losers don't get anywhere in football and we want to be challenging for a play-off place all season. Hard luck stories won't wash at our club any more because we're better than that, so for me the Altrincham game is win at all costs'... The return of John Hardiker after suspension should shore up the Rovers backline, but it is another defender who has caught Rigoglioso's eye in the opening two matches. 'For me, Darren Jones could go on and on to a much higher level if he believes in himself'. said the frontman".

    Our last visit to the New Lawn resembled Alty's game last Tuesday at Halifax in that the Robins came back from 0-2 to draw 2-2. This is Glos reminds us that "Altrincham manager Graham Heathcote has been sent to the stands on each of his side's last two visits to Forest Green"!


    A match report on Altrincham Reserves' win over a Bradford City team is here.

    For next Tuesday's Reserves' friendly against a Stockport County reserve side, the entrance price will be £2 for adults and £1 for concessionaries, whilst season ticket holders get in free. Once again kick off will be 6.45pm so that the absence of the floodlights is not felt.


    Altrincham FC's match away at Farsley Celtic on 25th September has had to be postponed due to a clash with the Cheshire Senior Cup, which takes precedence over the Blue Square Premier. The game is likely to be deferred till November. However, Northwich "have been drawn at home in the Unibond Senior Cup 1st round v Winsford United on Tues 25th September but we are due to play Kidderminster Harriers at home that night and so have asked for the cup match to be put back to the 2nd of October".


    The Blackpool Gazette reports that "Fallen star Mark Ward is planning a comeback in Blackpool Sunday soccer - courtesy of Kirkham prison. The former England Under-21 and Premiership idol is serving an eight-year sentence there but could make his debut in the Blackpool and Fylde Alliance this weekend while on home leave. He aims to pull on his boots again at the age of 44 after signing for the Ward Heating team, which includes several officers from Kirkham. Ward Heating, who tackle Marshall Court Sandpiper in Poulton, hope the midfielder will boost their flying start in division two A. Ward, from Huyton, hit the heights in a career which took him from Northwich Victoria to Oldham, West Ham, Manchester City, Everton and Birmingham but he fell on hard times after slipping into obscurity with Altrincham. [How dare they say that!].


    From the BBC comes a premature report that "Droylsden have signed winger Carlos Roca from rivals Northwich Victoria. Roca, 22, joined the Bloods after having the remainder of his contract with Northwich terminated. The former Carlisle United player, who made 84 appearances for the Vics, was transfer-listed earlier this summer". But Stalybridge claim that "Celtic have today announced the signing of midfielder Carlos Roca. Carlos (22), known to his teammates as Rocky, joins us having been released by Northwich Victoria and goes straight into the squad for tomorrow's trip to Gainsborough. Manager Steve Burr is delighted with his latest capture. 'Rocky has the one thing that can make a difference at this level, and that's pace. His attitude while he was with me at Northwich was excellent and I'm pleased to have him on board'".

    "Paul Buckle, manager of Torquay United, made his sixteenth senior signing of the summer in young Yeovil Town winger Ishmael Welsh ahead of Tuesday night`s fine 3-0 win against Aldershot ... United would like to sign him permanently as soon as possible. It is understood that the two clubs have already agreed a fee, so far undisclosed, for the former West Ham United starlet, who is keen to move to Torquay. United have until the current transfer window closes on August 31st to complete a deal, but they are currently reassessing their budget situation, primarily to avoid breaking the Conference's strict salary-capping rules, before proceeding with a full purchase" says NL Daily..

    This is South Devon adds that "Buckle revealed that he ticked off young winger Danny Stevens for getting booked after his brilliant first senior goal in the 3-0 win at Aldershot Town. 'Danny certainly scored a great goal, but I wasn't happy with him taking his shirt off and getting a needless booking', said Buckle. 'I'm afraid I lost my head a little bit after the goal, and the gaffer did give me some stick', confirmed Stevens". Buckle added, "Overall we deserved the win.... Simon Rayner was being sick at half-time - I'm not sure why - but he had a great game for us... I thought our fans were superb tonight. I thought it was the Aldershot fans singing my name, they were so loud'. Aldershot manager Gary Waddock said: 'When you play Torquay, you're on the back foot because of their style of play'".

    From the Halifax Courier we read that "Steve Bushell's return to Halifax may not have yielded the results he would have liked, but he is enjoying his budding partnership with Tom Kearney. The duo... lined up again against Altrincham on Tuesday... 'It has been great playing alongside Tom in the opening two matches', he said... But despite building a 2-0 lead early on, they were held to a 2-2 draw by their trans Pennine rivals. 'It was very disappointing', said Bushell. 'When you go 2-0 up and have the opposition the rack you are looking to finish the game off in the first half. They had a couple of chances and scored two goals. We dominated the game and their keeper made some great saves, but we have to accept that and get on with it. They got back in it and got themselves a draw out of it... But if we want to be where we want to be in the league we have to be winning every home game'".

    "Grays' manager Justin Edinburgh called on his creative players to show more bravery, but was still pleased with the overall performance of his team after Wednesday's amazing 1-1 draw with Woking. He said: 'I think we did enough to win the game but Woking came here with a plan, worked hard at it and defended well. We had plenty of chances... and I think they got three off the line.. I thought we controlled the game well but we let outselves down in the final third... This is still a new team, coming together... and I'm happy that we are improving. We are still unbeaten'... Edinburgh expressed praise for Woking boss Frank Gray for his decision to let Grays score after the controversial opening goal late in the game when Mark Pattison put the ball in an unguarded net after an injury break, but he blamed referee Ian Cooper for the incident. 'During the game, he'd run and dropped the ball with a player from the team who were gaining possession, then he goes and give it the other way at the end so we were caught off guard'. Edinburgh also expressed sympathy and best wishes for midfielder Stuart Thurgood who went to hospital lafter coming off just after half time with what could be a broken foot. "Stuart's had some really bad luck but we hope that this is just bruising and not a break and that he will be back in contention soon', said the boss" reports the Thurrock Gazette.

    The Northwich Guardian reports that "Mike Connett says he will appeal against a tribunal's decision to set a £4,000 fee for Mark Roberts.The Vics' chairman said in his programme notes for Tuesday's match against Droylsden that he would fight for all non league football clubs, not just his own. 'It's a derisory figure', he wrote. 'I am sure non league clubs are fed up of seeing their best players snatched away from them by Football League clubs who are only willing to pay pittance'. Last week a three-man panel, chaired by UniBond League chief executive Duncan Bayley, said Stanley should pay £4,000 compensation for the 23-year-old defender they signed in June. The trio threw out the Lancashire club's argument that Vics had not filed paperwork on time with the game's governing body. 'Let me state quite categorically that we as a club followed every proper procedure to keep Mark and our administration was spot on', added Connett".

    In Hertfordshire, The Comet says that "two Stevenage Boro players face spells on the sidelines... Mitchell Cole and Tes Bramble were both forced off during Tuesday night's 2-1 home win over Histon. Flying winger Cole faces a scan today (Thursday) on suspected ankle ligament damage. New striker Bramble followed him off minutes later with a thigh strain. Boro boss Mark Stimson said: 'It's disappointing to lose both players after going through pre-season without any major injuries. It could be a few weeks with Mitchell... "It does give the likes of Paul Hakim and Daryl McMahon a chance to come in. Histon, like Crawley, tried to spoil the game. It was back to John Beck in his Cambridge United days. It's a better start for us than last year and that's what we were aiming for'... Former Hitchin striker Chris Dillon scored the Histon equaliser and he is a player much admired by the current Boro boss".

    From the Oxford Mail we learn that "Oxford United boss Jim Smith said his team got what they deserved as they crashed to a last-minute defeat at Cambridge. Leading at the interval through Gary Twigg's second goal in two games, the U's conceded early in the second half and then in the fourth minute of stoppage time, Lee Boylan spun and fired home... Smith said: '"I'm not very happy with either of the goals.We got what we deserved. Cambridge had a little bit more desire to win the game... In the dressing room the lads are a bit down, as you can understand. It took a long time to lose last year. Here we've lost our first one away, but it could be a blessing in disguise because last season it took us a while to recover when we did eventually get beaten... I'm disappointed with the performance, it was a scrappy game.. We didn't keep the ball, we didn't hold it up well in attack and then we kept giving away free-kicks at the end. All through, we gave the ball away too cheaply'. Smith changed his striking duo, Twigg and Rob Duffy, fairly early in the game. And he said afterwards: 'The first striking pair were too lethargic. That's why I brought on Marvin (Robinson) and then Yemi (Odubade), to get more pace to the game. Everything was a battle out there, but that's the way Cambridge play'.. The U's boss was angry that Cambridge centre back Mark Albrighton escaped with a telling-off when he kicked out at Marvin Robinson in the second half. 'I can't believe the ref didn't even book him', Smith said. 'That could have changed the game if he'd been sent off'".

    Elsewhere in the Mail, "Jim Smith says he can't understand why Oxford United are being forced to play twice in less than three days. The U's manager knows his side will be at a disadvantage at Burton Albion on Sunday afternoon because they played at Cambridge [on Thursday] , while Burton have had an extra two days' rest. 'What I can't understand, because the following week is a free week, is why we can't play Monday night or Tuesday', he said. 'I can understand Burton thinking they'll obviously get a bigger gate on the Sunday and that one or two less days for us. But it's one of the requirements of this television deal with Setanta that you have to go along with what they want. We could have played Monday night. I think the league should have made teams go through the fixtures they were unhappy with and go back to them (Setanta). But they haven't... The league's argument is that we play on a Bank Holiday Monday, which is also twice in three days, and have done for years, but that's a one-off, whereas now you could probably have six of those in a year'. Ironically, after their game against Oxford last night, Cambridge have managed to get their match at home to Farsley Celtic put back. They were due to play tomorrow, then it was moved to Sunday. But now it has been moved back further, to next Tuesday, because they can't get a doctor to be on call on the Sunday!".

    "Ebbsfleet United have signed 19 year old former Millwall defender Michael Bostwick. Fleet boss Liam Daish has drafted Bostwick into his squad following the loss through injury of Gary MacDonald and Neil Barrett in the opening two games of the season. Bostwick had two spells on loan in the Conference with Crawley Town before being signed by Graham Westley for Rushden & Diamonds in the January transfer window this year. Bostwick left Nene Park at the end of last season after the arrival of Gary Hill as manager. 'In the space of four days we have lost two key players',said Daish. 'This gives an opportunity for other players in the squad to step up and claim a place in the starting line up but we needed to bring in someone new because another serious injury would leave us stretched. Michael made 24 appearances for Crawley in the Conference so he knows what this league is about, and he also scored a couple of goals. He can provide cover at the back but he can also do a job in midfield, so he is the ideal player for us to sign right now'".

    "Burton Albion boss Nigel Clough is to step up his search for a defensive recruit after receiving bad news about the injury to new signing Tony James", says the Burton Mail. "Clough has been trying all week to bring in a loan signing but does not expect any joy before Sunday's Pirelli Stadium clash with title favourites Oxford United... But he will continue his efforts next week after being told that James' injury is worse than expected. The summer recruit from Weymouth suffered knee ligament damage after being clattered in an accidental collision only 45 seconds into his debut at Histon... The Brewers boss told Mail Sport: 'It looks as though he's nicked the ligament on the inside of his knee and we're now thinking in terms of him being out of the side for up to six weeks'".

    "Salisbury City have taken Bristol Rovers midfielder Andy Sandell on loan for a month" reports the Salisbury Journal. "The 23-year-old, who made more than 30 appearances for The Pirates last season, may well feature for the Whites in tomorrow's game at home to Crawley Town. City boss Nick Holmes said: 'Andy's an excellent young wide player who we've had our eye on for a while. He was with Bath City the season we won the Southern League'".

    17 August 2007


    Alty travel to Forest Green on Saturday. Entry prices at The New Lawn for this Saturday are the same as at Moss Lane for adults:
  • Seating: (Adults / Concessions / Juniors U-16) £14.00 / £10.00 / £7.00
  • Standing: £12.00 / £8.00 / £5.00


    Above: The pitch looks magnificent, the sun is shining, as the Reserves' game kicks off at Moss Lane - but where have the floodlight pylons gone? The four on the Popular Side have now been removed, preparatory to installation of new state of the art lights at the ground over the next week or two.

    In last night's Reserves' friendly against Bradford City Reserves, Altrincham won 3-1 thanks to goals by Aaron Burns, Stephen Rose and Matty Berkeley. As well as Gary Scott and Warren Peyton who were returning from injury and several players who had recently warmed the subs bench, Alty fielded several trialists; goalkeeper Stephen Downes (who played in the pre-season game at Trafford), former Blackpool, Southport and Burscough left-back Sean Clancy, 19 year-old striker Aaron Burns, released this summer by Manchester United Reserves, after signing from Wythenshawe Amateurs and then apparently playing in Iceland recently, midfielder Oliver Osbaldeston from Manchester Grammar School and Crewe Alexandra Academy, who played at Moss Lane last season in the Independent Schools International, and a midfielder called Dempsey - (Callum perhaps?).


    This is a message for George Heslop, Alty Matchday Secretary who risks losing his experienced turnstile operatives if he cannot match the state of the art equipment, pay and "perks" offered by rival BSP clubs such as Aldershot Town who "urgently require extra Turnstile Operatives. Basic duties, for example on a Saturday Matchday, are to report at 1.15pm ready to open turnstile for 1.30pm. Turnstiles will gradually close from 3.10pm and there will then be a further requirement to reconcile cash taken before paying into the Office. By 3:30pm you should be clear and then able to watch the match. All turnstiles at the High Street end are fully mechanised and computer controlled. A good rate of pay is offered along with other perks. Experience of handling cash and working speedily under pressure would be an advantage".


    The Sale & Altrincham Messenger reports that "Graham Heathcote believes Tuesday's remarkable comeback at Halifax was just what his side needed after their opening day disappointment... He told SAM Sport: 'After Saturday's result - I still say it wasn't a poor performance - to go 2-0 down after 20 minutes at Halifax was a horror show really. But now we know that we have character in our dressing room. They've shown that in abundance, they came back well and gave Halifax a good game. Second half we didn't threaten much but, from the position we were in at 8.10pm, to perform like we did for the following hour is tremendous credit to the players. If they give that kind of spirit and effort every week, one - I know the fans will accept that and two - we'll get some results on our travels. It's a tough place to go and we've got what I think will prove to be a decent point during the course of the season. I said to the players before the game there's no reason to not have confidence. You've got to look beyond the result against Exeter and forget the shenanigans. They played well for 60 minutes. If you go and play like that, but for longer, and we'll be OK this season, never mind at Halifax. We went away from home and we played some decent football. We controlled the ball quite well and we didn't just wham, bam it, so that's what we've got to build on'". Graham feels that when Alty have plenty of possession Chris Senior is a better bet up front than Joe O'Neill but when we don't enjoy a lot of the ball, Joe is the better bet... "Nothing against Joe's performance on Saturday but I thought if we were going to have that extra possession in the first half, we needed that extra pace [of Chris] up front and it worked quite well. Colin took his goal really well too, which will do his confidence the world of good".

    Meanwhile "Karl Munroe believes his side's remarkable comeback at Halifax was a clear statement of intent... He said: 'It's always hard coming to Halifax, they're a full time side and they play good football... After Saturday, losing the game 4-1, and then straight away going down 2-0 it gave us a mountain to climb... I'm confident we can push on now. If we can play like that against the good sides there's no reason why we can't'... Despite conceding six goals in two games, Munroe is relatively pleased with how Alty's defence has performed so far... He added: 'It was hard to judge the ball early on at Halifax because it had been raining all day and the pitch was nice and greasy. And during the first half the pitch dug up so it was hard to judge the bounce as well. But I thought we dealt with it well second half... We always have a good game against Forest Green and there's no reason why we can't go there and pick up three points'".


    Alty striker Ben Deegan has now hit five goals in two games whilst playing for Vodkat League club Flixton. His two goals in midweek against Glossop NE were added to his hat-trick last Saturday.


    "Two more Connah`s Quay Nomads have followed former manager Neville Powell to rivals Bangor City... Defenders Gary Lovell and [ex-Alty man] Dave Swanick swell the number of Powell`s ex-Connah's Quay players at Farrar Road to six, following in the footsteps of keeper Paul Smith, midfielders Craig Hutchinson and [ex-Alty winger] Marc Limbert, and striker Tommy Mutton".


    From The Tameside Advertiser we learn that "Dave Pace was left with mixed emotions after his Droylsden team marked their maiden Blue Square Premier match with a 0-0 draw against visitors Salisbury City.Pride that his team battled to earn a point despite playing 85 minutes with 10 men was offset by his fury at midfielder Gareth Morris for putting them in that situation... He said: 'That was inexcusable, what can you do? It’s gone now and I can punish him – he gets another chance if he accepts it or he’s on the list if he doesn’t. He was upset about it afterwards but so was I, I thought Salisbury were there for the taking... I’m not one for holding grudges... He’s either got to grow up fast or he’ll be on his way. Apart from that, it was an absolutely fantastic performance. I had to play 4-3-2 rather than go 4-4-1 which was a bit brave but the tactics we’d worked on went out of the window... Give us six to eight games and let us play the likes of Aldershot and Exeter City and we’ll know where we are'".

    The BBC reports that "Woking boss Frank Gray admits he did not need to think twice about handing Grays Athletic an equalising goal in their 1-1 draw on Wednesday evening. Woking led when Matt Pattison inadvertently put his attempted pass into the net following an injury break. Gray ordered his side to allow Grays' Ben Watson to score from the restart. 'I didn't consider anything else but letting Grays score. It was the right thing to do in the circumstances', Gray told the Thurrock Gazette. 'If I hadn't done it I don't think I would have lived with it and I would hope that it's something that everyone who is right-thinking in football would do'... Meanwhile, Grays manager Justin Edinburgh has his fingers crossed that midfielder Stuart Thurgood's foot injury is not too serious after he was taken to hospital. Edinburgh said: 'Stuart's had some really bad luck but we hope that this is just bruising and not a break and that he will be back in contention soon'". Flitney later conceded and saved a penalty.

    NL Daily confirms that "Gary Waddock, manager of Aldershot Town, has seen his squad depleted by a batch of injuries. Influential winger Ryan Williams requires an operation on his knee and will miss the remainder of the season. The news is a major blow to Aldershot after Williams contributed fourteen goals and many assists last season... Midfielder Ryan Scott , who suffered a broken leg on the last day of last season at Altrincham, has also been hit by news that after a further operation on his injury he is also unlikely to play any further part in this campaign. The bad news continues for Waddock (pictured) with young right back Dean Smith requiring a knee operation that will keep him out for four-six weeks. On a brighter note, experienced midfielder Ricky Newman could be back in action within the next two weeks after also undergoing knee surgery".

    The Oxford Mail reports that "Jim Smith admits he's less than enamoured by the likely television crew intrusion as Oxford United make their Setanta debut at Cambridge United tonight (Thursday)... 'I went to a meeting about this television deal, where there was all this talk about cameras in the dressing room and everything you can imagine', says Smith. 'Apparently in the north they had hundreds of questions, but in the south there weren't any questions because we said we'd like it all written down in front of us so that we can study it . . . and here we are with the season started and nothing's arrived. At live matches, they want to come to the hotel, and listen to the team talk, put cameras in the dressing room - but without sound - they want to talk to the subs as you take them off, they want to talk to him, and to him and to me . . . it's too much. They want mikes on us as well. The return for what they want isn't enough'... Neither the Conference nor Setanta have been prepared to say how much clubs receive from the TV deal... It's understood the appearance fee for being selected for a live game isn't much more than Sky offered last season, though the away team gets slightly more. However, clubs have received £50,000 up front and that's why they jumped at it. Smith said: 'For Thursday night games at home, when we won't get as big a gate as for a Saturday, we could lose money'".

    The Gravesend Reporter says that "Liam Daish has urged his threadbare squad to pull together in the wake of the injury jinx that has blighted Ebbsfleet United's start to the new season... The Fleet boss has lost new signings Neil Barrett and Gary MacDonald to long-term injuries and James Smith to a three-match suspension, while ailments and knocks have limited the involvement of Lance Cronin, Paul McCarthy, Mark Ricketts and Danny Slatter....Daish admitted. 'It does not help me or the club, but it gives opportunities to other players in the squad to make a statement... All of the players who feel they should be playing in the first-team, well now is their chance. I'm expecting them to come in, fill the void and stake their claims. I believe I'm a strong character and I need strong characters around me now. It's a time in which we've got to be galvanised, pull together and pull through. It's no good feeling sorry for ourselves'. Daish had hoped to snap up a new defender after losing MacDonald, McCarthy, Ricketts and Smith... However, the likely prolonged absence of Barrett means he may also be in the market for a new midfielder... 'I'm going to be asking the board, the players and those coming back off the treatment table to help me through this mini injury crisis', he added. 'If they cannot do that, then I'm not scared to go out and generate my own income'".

    This is Exeter says that "Jon Richardson is ready to answer an SOS to ease Exeter City's deepening injury problems ahead of Monday night's televised clash against York City. Paul Tisdale's selection problems intensified on Tuesday night when the club's only two fit central midfield players suffered injuries in the 2-0 win over Crawley Town. City youth product Liam Sercombe, who was handed his debut on the opening day of the season, was knocked unconscious and Tisdale fears he may be sidelined for three weeks. And to pour salt into the wounds, Frankie Artus, who was drafted in as emergency cover from Bristol City on a one-month loan, sustained a foot injury. The double injury blow will certainly cause a headache for Tisdale, who will be without the services of the suspended Matt Gill and the injured Neil Saunders for the Setanta Sports showdown. While Bertie Cozic is on the mend, his lack of match fitness will probably mean Monday will come a week too soon for the Frenchman".

    16 August 2007


    Thursday 16th August
  • Cambridge U. 2 Oxford U. 1 - a last-minute winner.


    Altrincham Reserves take on a Bradford City Reserve and youth side tonight at Moss Lane - and entry is free. Kick off is at 6.45pm as the floodlights are currently out of action.


    Right - Darren Tinson and Joe O'Neill celebrate with goalscorer Karl Munroe in Saturday's match against Exeter City. More of Gavin Rathbone's excellent photos are on his GR Photography website.


    The FA has confirmed that "Altrincham FC's Robert Lawton [is] suspended from all first team football until the Club have completed 1 first team match for a Sending Off in a match played on 14/08/2007". So he misses the trip to FGR on Saturday - the first match Robbie will have missed since joining Alty last summer. He had started 52 consecutive league and cup matches for The Robins.

    A week on Saturday Alty host Grays Athletic for whom the FA confirm that Karl Murray [from] "21/08/2007 to 01/09/2007 is suspended from all football until the Club have completed 3 first team matches for a Sending Off in a match played on 07/08/2007".


    The Sale & Altrincham Messenger reports that "Alty boss Graham Heathcote insists he is not handing down any ultimatums despite suggesting pressure from fans could force him to quit... 'I have great support from a lot of people at this club and at times it seems as if I'm having a pop at everybody', he said this week. 'But I'm not. I'm having a pop at the people who are questioning where this club is going, who are questioning what I earn and criticising tactics and players. I am quite happy to discuss anything with fans face to face but there is no point in shouting abuse from the sidelines. I have a 10-year-old son so I have got to the stage where I have to be careful about what kind of thing he hears at games. I want to build a club that he can be proud to support in 10 years time so he doesn't need to see people hurling abuse at his dad or me reacting to that. It was disappointing that I had supporters questioning what I earn. I can guarantee them that not only do I earn less than the figures they were throwing around, but that whatever I do earn, I put in a lot of time and effort for it. There's two ways to manage a football club. One is to be selfish and the other is to work in conjunction with the board. I'm happy to keep on working with my board. They let me know what I am able to do and I trust them. But we are working with limited resources so it's difficult at times and I need all the encouragement I can get, not the slagging off I got on Saturday'. He added: 'I wouldn't knock any of the players after Saturday. We didn't have enough quality going forward in the second half and we knocked too many long balls upfield but for 60 minutes we played very well. Once they got two goals in three minutes, it completely changed my train of thought. We went from a position where we would have been able to sit in and defend our lead to one where we had to go out and chase a result. We had to go for a goal and that opened us up to be picked off. I believe, in time, that this team will prove to be a better team than last season and that's all I can ask for... Maybe we have inadvertently raised hopes by announcing that we had raised the wage budget this season. But people have got to realise that a third of that rise went automatically to the existing players because I couldn't bring in new players on more money and not pay them a fair wage. I bet my bottom dollar that we are still in the bottom two or three in this league in terms of budget. So we have to stay realistic. We just can't compete with a lot of the teams in this league'".


    SAM writes that at Halifax on Tuesday, "When the Robins went 2-0 down within 22 minutes, it seemed the doubters had been absolutely spot on. But Alty showed incredible strength of character to launch a surprise revival". Of course, there is a contrasting view from the Halifax Courier which says: "What ought to have been a routine first home win of the season ended in massive frustration as the Town defence imploded at the end of the first half. The Shaymen were cruising serenely towards their first three-point haul of the campaign thanks to an Andy Campbell double inside the opening quarter. And they had further chances during that time to extend their advantage against an Altrincham side that still looked shellshocked following the 4-1 home defeat at the weekend. But an inability to cope with long hopeful balls down the middle of the field gifted the visitors a lifeline and they grabbed it with both hands... The collapse was unexpected as Altrincham had shown little ambition before their fightback. And they showed even less in the second period as they clung on to what they had, with more than a little help from keeper Stuart Coburn who ensured there was no way back for Town...Altrincham got one back in the 33rd minute when a long ball forward cleared Belle, was allowed to bounce by Adam Quinn and Little struck from the edge of the area. Three minutes later the Town defence was unable to deal with another long ball and Mawson instinctively handled outside his area as he tried to clear. The keeper escaped with a yellow card, but Jake Sedgemore punished him further by firing the resulting free kick into the back of the net".

    'It is a game we should have won and we have not got the result we wanted' said manager Chris Wilder. 'But for the majority of the game we dominated and it is five minutes of madness that has killed us... I am massively disappointed in their goals because we have gifted them to them and handed Altrincham a massive hand to get back into the game. It was two individual errors from Adam Quinn who has been rock solid for us in pre-season and the whole time he has been here. He will have to learn from that and get on with it. Daryl Taylor was instrumental in the opening 25 minutes. He was absolutely torturing their left back [Steve Aspinall] and creating all sorts of mayhem. Then he got a whack on his ankle and had to come off. That disrupted us, but we ought to have been able to cope... We are killing ourselves..In the two games [this season] teams have not worked hard against us to score goals. It should have been 2-0 at half time and go from there. But Altrincham were given a sniff and you can see what happens after that'".

    However "Antony Griffith was not included in the Town squad last night after getting embroiled in red tape. The Blue Square Premier no longer allow half season loan deals which meant Town had to renegotiate with Doncaster who have agreed to let him come to Halifax for the whole campaign".


    Forest Green Rovers "are off and running in the Blue Square Premier after surviving a fright night at the New Lawn. Jim Harvey's hosts raced into a 3-0 lead inside half an hour with goals of improving quality from Simon Clist, Danny Carey-Bertram and Stuart Fleetwood. However, just as they did in the corresponding fixture last season, Weymouth hit back twice as the wheels threatened to well and truly come off. Harvey rang the changes after Saturday's defeat at Oxford, handing first starts of the season to Chris Giles, Les Afful, Lee Dodgson and Carey-Bertram in a bold 4-4-2 formation. Defensive duo Olly James and Darren Jones had to settle for places on the bench due to minor niggles, while forwards Mark Beesley (groin) and Adriano Rigoglioso (calf) missed out altogether... The introduction of Jones for Giles proved key as he repeated his display of calm authority at the Kassam Stadium and settled his troops down. Rovers were slap-dash in possession... Forest Green: R. Robinson; A. Lawless, M. Preece, C. Giles (D. Jones 50), A. Tonkin; L. Afful, M. Brough, S. Clist, L. Dodgson (P. Stonehouse 50); D. Carey-Bertram (O. James 59), S. Fleetwood; Subs not used: C. Davis, T. Burton".

    "Jim Harvey admitted his Forest Green side are still a long way from the finished article, despite last night's 3-2 win over Weymouth", says This is Glos. Harvey added: "We were nice and aggressive in the first half and our attitude was a lot better than it was on Saturday, so that was encouraging... but we allowed things to get very stretched, lost control in midfield and let them (Weymouth) onto our back four, so we've got to learn how to shut games down... When you consider our captain Michael Brough is probably our most experienced player at 26 then it shows what a young side we have". The report goes on, "Forest Green tore their visitors to shreds with incisive passing and clinical finishing in the opening half-hour, and Harvey was especially pleased with the fledgling strike partnership of Fleetwood and Carey-Bertram... [Harvey added] "We kept making mistakes and making life difficult for ourselves, but in the last 20 minutes I was starting to feel more comfortable with things... If we can follow up with three points on Saturday (against Altrincham) it will represent a really good start for us".


    Wes Wilkinson scored for Trafford on Tuesday against Congleton Town and Jamie Baguley netted for Salford City as did a player called Poland (?Lee) for Formby,


    Off the pitch at The Shay, the Halifax Courier claims that it "has listened to fans – and today we name the businessmen hoping to take over Halifax Town Football Club. Our website has been inundated with supporters wanting an end to the secrecy surrounding their club after yesterday's story regarding the mystery businessmen. We can reveal David Bosomworth is the man leading the takeover team which has already started financing the club. Mr Bosomworth is a motor dealer who has Sandal BMW, Wakefield, which has supplied a car for manager Chris Wilder. He has so far declined to give the Courier a statement... Mr Bosomworth had responsibility for youth development at Bradford City. He is supported at the Shay by Bobby Ham, a former professional footballer with a background in construction, and strongly tipped to become chairman of Town. Both men have been directors of Bradford City Football Club. Mr Ham, 65, a former striker, played football for Bradford City and Bradford Park Avenue and won a third division championship medal with Preston North End. He used to run the former Bradford Dukes speedway team until 1997 where he was a co-promoter with his brother, Alan. The identity of the third man is less certain. One name mentioned is current Bradford City director Steve Longbottom".

    "Cambridge United have been fined £3,000 by the FA for their poor disciplinary record last season. The club has also been given an additional £3,000 suspended fine... after the U's received nine red cards and 86 cautions last season. Cambridge boss Jimmy Quinn had hoped for just a warning after allowing all those players sent off last season to leave the club" reports the BBC.

    The Aldershot Town site has a trailer for a video interview which says that "Manager Gary Waddock talks exclusively to 'The Shots' confirming that winger Ryan Williams will be out for the whole of the 2007/08 season. The boss also updates supporters on the situation regarding Ryan Scott and Ricky Newman".

    "Cambridge United have been dealt a double blow" says the Cambridge Evening News. "Adam Davies has been forced to quit the game and Mark Convery has picked up an injury that will keep him out for several weeks...Wales under-21 international Davies...missed virtually all season after tearing cruciate ligaments last August and, in only the second game of his comeback he suffered ligament and cartilage damage in the same knee... Meanwhile, it has emerged Convery tore his hamstring in Saturday's 2-1 victory at York... But Quinn is likely to have Rob Wolleaston back in the reckoning for the Oxford game to fill the hole left by Convery. Wolleaston missed the York clash because of illness".

    "Stoke City defender/midfielder Matthew Hazley has joined Stafford Rangers on a one-month loan and made his debut in [Tuesday's] game with Kidderminster. Aged 19 and from Northern Ireland, Matt has made one first-team appearances for The Potters and impressed in their Reserves. 'Matthew is a player I’ve watched during pre-season for Stoke and I thought had a good debut', commented manager Phil Robinson."

    Northwich Guardian reports on the "derby" between Vics and Droylsden on Tuesday in which "Challenged by Droylsden's defiance, Vics contrived to surrender a two-goal lead in a game they should have sewn up by the break... Offensive opulence sat uneasily with defensive distraction, yet after 20 minutes few would have predicted such sentences would be written at full time. Inspired by the brilliance of Chris Williams, who oozed menace all night, Neil Redfearn's men dazzled Droylsden early on... The catalyst for the Bloods' comeback was a fair slice of fortune. Ged Murphy's drilled cross grazed Mark Birch's pate and fizzed past Andy Murphy to give them a lifeline. Attendance: 821" The gate was wrongly reported in some of the national press as 1,851.

    After the game manager Neil Redfearn felt that "Dreadful defending cost his team dear against Droylsden... 'We should never have found ourselves in the position we did', Redfearn told the Guardian after the game. To concede three poor goals like that simply isn't good enough... I won't hesitate to make changes if I don't think they're doing the job. I told the players in no uncertain terms what I thought... I need to know who is with me and who is going to go under when things aren't going our way... But in the end it's a point gained because we've rescued a game we were losing'".

    Tuesday was a night of comebacks, as both Alty and Droylden got draws after trailing by two goals, but the best comeback of all is reported in the Burton Mail. "Albion last night produced one of the greatest comebacks in their history to grab a sensational victory... Trailing 3-1 and down to 10 men after defender Aaron Webster had been red carded, the Brewers scored three times in the last nine minutes to record a remarkable 4-3 victory over York City... Manager Nigel Clough described the fight back as the most amazing he had experienced in 25 years in the game. He said: 'I've never seen anything quite like it... You talk about formations, systems and tactics but all that rubbish goes out the window when you find yourselves in our position. It's all about character'... Clough revealed he and his coaching staff decided to go for broke even when McGrath pulled Albion level at 3-3 near the end of normal time. He said: 'Usually we go 4-4-1 with 10 men, but we decided to go three at the back so we could keep two up front and it paid dividends. At 3-3, we did consider going to four at the back, but he had a little chat on the bench and thought 'what the hell... The York lads are absolutely despondent'".

    This is Exeter says that "Exeter City maintained their 100% start to the campaign with a comfortable 2-0 victory over Crawley Town... This was a professional job done on a poor Crawley side.. Captain for the night [was] George Friend... The decision to hand a youngster with only a handful of league starts the armband may have raised one or two eyebrows but also gave a clear indication of the esteem he is held in at St James's Park".

    From This is York "York City manager Billy McEwan lamented his side's 'dire' defending after watching them throw away a 3-1 lead to lose against ten-man Burton Albion last night... Defensive jitters, especially from crosses into their penalty box, haunted City throughout last night's match... A disappointed McEwan said: 'I feel for the fans because I cannot believe we have capitulated like that against ten men. A lot of young players have had a harsh lesson and I was disappointed with all the goals we conceded... There can be no excuses for the way we defended. It was dire. It's not a nice experience but we've got two new players in our back four and we've got to get back on to the training ground and work hard at it because there's no magic formula and most of it wasn't rocket science. It was all about looking, seeing who's spare and picking them up'. City 'keeper Tom Evans was at fault for Burton's second goal and his form is being placed under greater scrutiny following mistakes in his last three competitive matches...McEwan said: 'Tom was disappointed with some of the goals, as the whole team will be... It could have been six or seven at both ends and we should have been 6-1 up before they scored their second goal'".

    15 August 2007


    Wednesday 15th August
  • Aldershot T. 0 Torquay U. 3
  • Grays A. 1 Woking 1

    The top two in the BSP are now Devon clubs...


    The Alty Reserves' match at Moss Lane this Thursday against a Bradford City XI will now kick off at 6.45pm. This is because the floodlights are being dismantled at Moss Lane prior to installation of the new lights and the club wants to be sure the game finishes in daylight. Admission is free for this match.


    Above: Chris Lane takes a throw-in against the backdrop of The Shay's still unfinished stand.

    Altrincham deservedly gained their first point of the season in a game packed with incident.

    Match report here.

  • Alty Player Statistics
  • Alty Line-Ups and Bookings

    Alty now have five players who have played for Halifax Town; Colin Little, Karl Munroe, Gareth Whalley (who was at The Shay on loan), Val Owen and Chris Senior. Karl, Val and Chris are seen, right.

    Tuesday 14th August

  • Burton A. 4 York C. 3
  • Exeter C. 2 Crawley T. 0
  • Forest Green R. 3 Weymouth 2
  • Halifax T. 2 ALTRINCHAM 2
  • Northwich V. 3 Droylsden 3
  • Rushden & D. 1 Farsley C. 0
  • Salisbury C. 2 Ebbsfleet U. 1
  • Stafford R. 1 Kidderminster H. 3
  • Stevenage B. 2 Histon 1


    Altrincham travel to Nailsworth next Saturday so those attending should note the following on the FGR website. "All supporters (both home and away) need to be aware that the A46 between Painswick/Pitchcombe and Stroud (Stratford Road) is closed to to a landslide and there is no official information from Gloucestershire County Highways when it will re-open. This should not cause too many problems but those who may use this link into Stroud need to arrange an alternative route".


    The Halifax Courier reports that "Halifax Town fans have snubbed the secret consortium wanting to take over the club – because they refuse to reveal their identities or plans. In an embarrassing rebuff for the mystery trio of businessmen, Halifax Town Supporters Trust has rejected a request to hand over its shareholding.... The move comes more than four months after the club's accountant Chris Yewdall stood in front of a meeting of fans and said a verbal agreement for the takeover had been struck and would be completed formally within 24 hours. Now Town has started a new season with its future still uncertain – and the businessmen still working in secret... The Courier is aware who the consortium's main players are, but last week stepped back from naming them after an appeal made in the club's name by general manager Angie Firth. She insisted the potential deal was still on, but that the consortium could withdraw if identified. Trust member David Butterick was among those who voted against the consortium... The trust is the third biggest shareholder but its shares are only of nominal value.Mr Butterick said, 'It seems weird to me but unless, and until, there is commercial activity at the Shay we will just carry on from crisis to crisis because we don't take enough money on the turnstiles'". Another Trust member said, "With more details they might vote in favour, but certainly not without strings". Meanwhile "former chairman Geoff Ralph has had to remortgage his home to pay off football debts. 'I invested a substantial amount and do not expect to receive any of it back', he said. 'In my view this should all have been resolved months ago. All I want to do is turn up and sign the relevant papers'".

    This is Glos says that "Forest Green defender Chris Giles insists manager Jim Harvey is right to expect more from his squad this season. Harvey tore into the players after Saturday's 1-0 defeat at Oxford United... 'It was a sickening way to lose our first game of the season, but to be honest we were more frustrated with how we played', said Giles. 'We didn't feel Oxford were playing anywhere near their best either, so it made it even harder to take that we came away with nothing. The gaffer was right to have a go because he expects us to achieve things and has set high standards. Even when we were winning games last year and in pre-season he was always demanding more from us, so I wasn't surprised he was so unhappy on Saturday'. A nagging hip injury forced Giles to watch events at the Kassam Stadium from the bench, but he is now back in full training and hopes to win a place tonight. 'Preecey and Jonah played pretty well on Saturday so it won't be easy to get back in, but I'm just pleased the injury is feeling better', he said".

    NL Daily says that "Ritchie Hanlon, manager of St Albans City, has signed striker Jerome Anderson on a month's loan from neighbours Stevenage Borough. Eighteen-year-old Anderson (pictured) scored thirty-three goals in Oxford United's championship-winning youth team but was not offered a contract". This is confirmed by , "Stevenage Borough has put out on loan for a month Jerome Anderson (to St Albans) and Jack Bradshaw (Tiptree United ). This will give both players valuable match practice whilst we only have one Reserve game".

    Ebbsfleet United "strikers John Akinde and Luke Coleman have joined Margate on loan with a view to gaining more first-team experience... with no definite loan period stated, but with the Fleet able to recall the players within 24 hours after the initial loan month has been completed as is usual with most loan deals".

    From This is South Devon we learn that "Torquay United are believed to be chasing young Yeovil Town winger Ishmael Welsh. Welsh, 19, started his career with West Ham United's academy, before signing a two-year contract with the Glovers last summer. He made 21 appearances for Yeovil as they reached the League One Play-Off Final last season, plus another nine on loan with Weymouth [including one against Altrincham]... United are not pursuing either of their recent trialists, James Nash or John Hastings, who have both left the club",

    14 August 2007


    "Warren Peyton is once again Alty's only injury worry ahead of tonight's trip to Halifax Town" states the Sale & Altrincham Messenger. This is "due to ligament damage suffered during pre-season. And he will be out for at least another week, meaning he is also likely to miss Saturday's trip to Forest Green Rovers". However, "Manager Graham Heathcote has Cavell Coo available, however, after the former Crewe defender got 90 minutes under his belt on loan at Leek Town on Saturday. Coo missed training last week due to work commitments but could come in for Steve Aspinall at left back. Heathcote said: 'We don't have much time to prepare for Tuesday's game because we don't have any training sessions before it. But it's just about rest. The players need to rest up as much as they can after a hard game against Exeter. I was happy with the performance for 60 minutes on Saturday and I can only see there being one change to the starting line-up".

    The Yorkshire Evening Post reports that "Halifax Town boss Chris Wilder is seeking back-to-back home wins to erase the impact of an opening-day defeat at Weymouth. The Shaymen face likely strugglers Altrincham tonight and Histon on Saturday in the wake of the weekend's 2-1 reverse... Wilder said 'Everyone would like to win their opening fixture but that wasn't to be and now we have two home games to get us back on track'. Halifax midfielder Steve Bushell will come up against the club he played for last season this evening. Wilder has also strengthened his midfield this week, signing Antony Griffith on a long-term loan deal from Doncaster Rovers... Wilder needed another central midfielder after Chris Billy was transfer-listed and with former Leeds player Nicky Gray needing to sort out a back problem.... 'The home form was solid last year and if we could have picked up more points away we would have been okay', said Wilder... Striker Darryn Stamp (back) is doubtful for tonight but keeper Craig Mawson, who suffered a blow to the head on Saturday, should continue. Halifax Town (from): Mawson, Scott, Belle, Quinn, Doughty, Forrest, Bushell, Kearney, Killeen, Stamp, Campbell, Fry, Griffith, Toulson, Taylor, Torpey, Wright, Butler".


    Everyone is welcome at a Fans' Forum at Altrincham FC (Noel White Suite) to be held on Monday 20th August at 7.30pm. Graham Heathcote and chairman Geoff Goodwin will be amongst the club officials in attendance.


    One of Altrincham's summer signings, striker Matthew Berkeley, has been called up for the St Kitts under-23 side as it prepares for the Olympic Football tournament in 2008. This means that Matthew will be unavailable for Altrincham from Sunday 19th August till 13th September.


    Work started today on the new floodlights at Moss Lane. As the plans now envisage the removal of the existing lights at an earlier stage than originally planned, it means that the forthcoming Reserves' games at Moss Lane (this week and next week) may have to have an earlier kick off time than announced. Once this is decided, details will appear here. The Popular Side lights will be the first to go; work started on this this morning. And demolition work at the derelict Chequers nightclub in the club carpark starts in October.


    The BBC claims that "Altrincham will be unchanged despite going down 4-1 to Exeter in the opening game of the season. Midfielder Warren Peyton is sidelined for another week".

    Meanwhile the The Halifax Courier reports that "Town boss Chris Wilder has strengthened his squad by signing Antony Griffith on a long term loan from Doncaster Rovers. The 20-year-old midfielder, who had 20 games on loan at Stafford Rangers last season, will be at the Shay until the New Year. Griffith has made six appearances for Doncaster Rovers' senior side and played four games on loan at Darlington at the end of 2006".

    And although the Shaymen "returned north point-less after their 2-1 opening day defeat at Weymouth, there were positives for boss Chris Wilder to work on... They were condemned to a fourth successive opening day defeat when Anton Robinson bagged the winner with three minutes remaining. New signing Cortez Belle was one of the outstanding performers for Halifax and Wilder was clearly delighted with the centre back's efforts. 'He is aggressive and strong and he's an athlete. I thought he was excellent. I thought Rob Scott calmed us down at the back and Steve Bushell gave us experience in midfield' said Wilder, 'We had decent play and decent chances and if you look at the stats it was a tight game... We need to do the fundamentals better because we have really gifted them their second goal'... Kearney's goal was his first for Town since arriving last September and Wilder is hoping that it is the first of many from the centre of midfield. 'We have been encouraging the players to have a go at goal', he said. 'They know that they have jobs to do as midfielders and one of them is to chip in with goals'... Goalkeeper Craig Mawson suffered a knock early in the game in a clash with Stuart Beavon - a challenge for which the Town keeper was booked. And Darryn Stamp was unable to finish the game after suffering a back injury when he fell awkwardly in the second half. 'Craig Mawson got a big bang on the head and did well to get through the game', said Wilder. 'Darryn Stamp picked up an injury as well'... Wilder will be hoping that the injuries are not serious enough to prevent either player from playing against Altrincham at the Shay tomorrow as he continues the job of filling vacancies in his small squad. 'We need to make sure we don't get too down on ourselves... It is important we pick ourselves up tomorrow and Saturday... I know we still need to strengthen, but the bones are there'".


    Altrincham FC is very grateful to all its matchday sponsors - and is always pleased to welcome more. The current list of sponsors is here, courtesy of Barry Pond, who can be contacted by e-mail.


    Alty travel to Nailsworth on Saturday where This is Glos states that "Jim Harvey has raised the bar for what constitutes an acceptable display by his Forest Green players. That much was clear from his angry reaction to their 1-0 defeat at Oxford... 'I could have asked an awful lot more. I think they (the players) were way below par', said the Rovers boss.... 'We lacked conviction and too many of the players didn't perform to the level I was expecting, so I'm very disappointed... We've lost the game because we didn't take our opportunities and see the game through in a professional manner... In too many cases the problems were to do with attitude'. Weymouth visit the New Lawn for Rovers' opening home league fixture [today], when Harvey should be able to call on Chris Giles, Adriano Rigoglioso and Danny Carey-Bertram after injuries ruled them out on Saturday. 'If we play like that then everybody's place will be under threat', he said. 'The closest anyone came to producing what I wanted were Jones and Preece in defence. We were a little bit better in the second half... It shouldn't take 45 minutes and a rollocking from me to get them into the right mode, and even then most of then were still way short of what they can produce'".


    Don't be alarmed by the next couple of sentences from NL Daily; read on and all will become clear. "Paul Ogden, manager of UniBond League Premier Division club Leek Town, has moved to strengthen his squad with the signing of three players... Signing for the club over the last few days have been Ashley Hill, 19, a midfielder from TNS... Ogden has also landed former Crewe Alexandra defender Cavell Coo, 20, from Blue Square Premier side Altrincham. In addition, Altrincham defender Gary Scott has also played for Leek in a pre-season friendly after recovering from a hernia operation during the summer. Ogden [an ex-Alty player himself] has forged a relationship with Alty manager Graham Heathcote and, as a result, Leek can include Pat McFadden, Coo and Scott in their squad when they are not required by them. Meanwhile, Ogden has been running the rule over young keeper Craig Ellison, who has played previously with Alty’s reserves but more recently he spent last season playing with the youth and reserve teams at Crewe. Ogden, who recently released five triallists, has now arranged for [more ex-Alty Reserves,] defender Paul Monaghan, midfielder John Maloney and striker Ben Deegan to join Flixton and Trafford on loan whilst retaining the UniBond registrations of all three". This is Staffs has a report on Leek's "unconvincing draw at home to Alsager Town on Saturday" in a friendly. Blues' boss Paul Ogden unveiled two new signings in Cavell Coo, from Altrincham, and Ashley Hill from Welsh Premier League side New Saints... Leek made the perfect start, with [Alty's] Pat McFadden finding the back of the net direct from a free-kick close to the corner flag with just three minutes on the clock... Early in the second half the referee invited Alsager's Neil Edwards to spend some time in the 'sin bin' after a late challenge on McFadden". Leek included five current or ex-Alty players in their squad for the game - Coo, Talbot, McFadden, McAllister and Ellison.


    "Steve Wilkes, manager of Vodkat League Division Two club Padiham... has bolstered his squad with a string of new signings... [amongst whom] former Stockport forward David Holt (left) and Winsford United striker Gareth Baker have joined". Holt (22) joined Alty in December 2003, on loan from Stockport County but County recalled him in mid-February 2004. However, he returned to Alty for 2004-05 pre-season but after failing to break into the side, left for Woodley Sports in September 2004. In 6(+4) appearances for Altrincham, he scored 1 goal.

    The Shots say that on Saturday "The boss made his first substitution in charge of the club when Lewis Chalmers made way for Kirk Hudson. The hard working midfielder had been spoken to at length by the referee just seconds before the switch and, already on a yellow card, it was a sensible move to withdraw the former Altrincham player"

    This is Staffs reports how "Newcastle Town twice came from behind to earn a point from an incident-packed Division One clash against Bacup Borough, which produced four goals, 13 bookings and a sending-off...But it had become a game full of niggles, with 13 players finding their names in the referee's book and Newcastle substitute Stuart Scheuber [ex-Alty midfielder under Mark Ward's regime] was dismissed for violent conduct near the end".


    "Exeter City sent out an early warning to the rest of the Blue Square Premier League after blowing Altrincham away thanks to a late goal blitz" states This is Exeter somewhat exaggeratedly.... "Not even a first half opener from Robins defender Karl Munroe could derail their determination to start the season with a bang" before admitting that "while Saturday's scoreline somewhat flattered City, their late flourish will certainly boost confidence... Tisdale deployed an ambitious 3-4-3 formation and, for half an hour, his side lacked ideas and creativity in the humble surroundings of Moss Lane. But two goals in the space of three frenzied minutes midway through the second half turned the game on its head before their attacking flair and superior fitness levels led to a two-goal injury time salvo. Tisdale, though, dismissed suggestions that he performed a miraculous half-time team talk to spark this turnaround in fortunes. 'There were five players making their debuts today and, of those, four hadn't played at this level before', said the City chief. 'So we knew the first half an hour would be a bit of an eye opener for one or two of them. We were disappointed with the goal we conceded and we told them to settle down at half-time and the goals would come... It was a good win, although the scoreline flattered the game a little bit. They were in it for a lot longer than the scoreline suggests'. Let's not get carried away, as this win was achieved against an Altrincham side who did their best to re-enact the worst of last season's defensive frailties that sentenced them to relegation - only for them to get a reprieve following Boston's demotion to Blue Square North due to financial irregularities... Tisdale added: 'If we play to plan, there are going to be easy pickings at the end of games this season'".


    Like Altrincham, another Blue Square Premier club which is not prepared to eat humble pie is Farsley Celtic. The Yorkshire Evening Post asks "Is there a doctor in the house? That's the plea from Farsley Celtic chairman Andy Firbank as the club seek to resolve a fixture row with Cambridge United. Farsley were due to visit the former Football League outfit next Saturday but the match is being rescheduled as Cambridge are involved in a live game against Oxford United on Thursday evening. Farsley agreed to put the match back 24 hours to Sunday, but Cambridge want to delay it until the Tuesday night – August 21. Firbank said: 'It's a bit of a strange one. We couldn't agree a date because they wanted to play on the Tuesday for whatever reason and we wanted to play on the Sunday. The matter has been to a league committee who decided it should be the Sunday and we thought that was that. But now Cambridge have come back and said they can't get a doctor on that Sunday. We've offered to take ours but they said it's got to be a doctor who has been on the safety course for a crowd doctor at Lilleshall. We would like to hear from any doctors who are qualified and have done that course who wouldn't mind a trip to Cambridge next Sunday'.... Meanwhile, manager Lee Sinnott had a message for his players as they prepare to face Cambridge, Rushden & Diamonds, Oxford United and any other former Football League side who may expect to ride roughshod over his Blue Square Premier new boys this season. Sinnott said: 'Reputations are formed by what has happened in the past, but that's history and I only deal in what is here and now which is obviously the present. And I'm not concerned about what size ground they have got, how many fans they have got, what their team bus is like or whether their pies are better than ours. It's all about how good the teams are and we've got to be better than them on the day. We are not going to these places for a day out, we're going for three points'".

    "Over 200 Stafford Rangers fans made the trip to Farsley making up about 25% of the total attendance (205 out of 825 according to official counts)" reports the Rangers' . "Manager Phil Robinson appreciated the support and said: 'It is a long way and an awkward place to get to. It was a fantastic turnout".

    From the Oxford Mail we learn that "19-year-old Danny Rose who was on loan at Oxford United last year has signed for the U's. Rose was released by Manchester United at the beginning of the summer and seemed to be heading for Bristol Rovers but that deal fell through and Jim Smith swooped. The teenager had been the reserve team captain at Man U but was deemed surplus to requirements despite turning in a number of dazzling displays for the U's last year". However, "Former U's midfielder Andy Burgess has used his column in a national newspaper to attack Jim Smith and his style of management. Burgess, who moved suddenly to Rushden and Diamonds last week, said that Smith is negative towards his players during team talks. He went on to claim that United would not have been relegated if Smith had not been appointed and that Darren Patterson would have made a better manager".

    "Canny Scot Billy McEwan says he won't break the bank to bolster the ranks at York City. McEwan is still on the look-out for new signings but is determined to provide value for money for a club that almost went out of business four years ago. 'I have got a budget and there is a little bit of money there but you have got to be prudent and make sure it's right', said the Minstermen boss. And McEwan admits that wage demands had proved a stumbling block in his search for an experienced central defender... He said: 'I have spoken to plenty but they don't want to come out of the League into the Conference or they are asking for fortunes. I will only pay what I think a player is worth. Some managers in our league have an open cheque book and are signing players for what I call stupid money. But other clubs throwing money about have not had the trouble that we had. The club has come out of the wilderness. It is unrecognisable to the shambles it was in 2003 and we are trying to get success on the pitch and get the club back on its feet'. McEwan is also keen to strengthen his midfield and was expected to sign teenage goalkeeper Carl Pentney on a short-term deal from Leicester City... to provide cover for Tom Evans. Meanwhile, York have signed central defender Carl Jones".

    Promoted "Salisbury City have added two more players to its first team squad", states the Salisbury Journal "Youth team star Nick Eastham and former Southampton apprentice Craig Richards have signed on the dotted line and [been] handed squad numbers 26 and 27 respectively. Eastham has risen through the ranks at the Old Sarum club and... already has two goals in his two first team appearances to his name - both goals coming in last season's Wiltshire Premier Shield... Defender Richards has been training at the Ray Mac throughout the summer... The 20-year-old holds the distinction of being the first player to score a hat-trick at Southampton's St Mary's Stadium - netting three in a schoolboys' game... Despite being a defender, he was a regular goalscorer for Saints' Academy, bagging nine in 20 matches during the 2003/04 campaign".

    This is South Devon repots that "Gulls' boss Paul Buckle described Torquay United's fans as 'absolutely fantastic" - and admitted that he had given his players a half-time rocket during last night's 0-0 draw at Plainmoor.... Buckle said: 'We didn't stamp ourselves on the game as I wanted in the first half, and I told the players in no uncertain terms at half-time. No, I can't repeat what I said!... It was a real eye opener of what we can expect in the Conference this season. I don't think we deserved to win the game, but hopefully the fans will go home and think 'Didn't we have a real go in the second half?'... United chief executive Colin Lee added, 'I was delighted with the crowd. It gives everyone involved at the club - consortium, management and players - a huge lift'. Grays' manager Justin Edinburgh said: 'It's a real up-and-at-'em atmosphere at Torquay, and it was a very difficult opening game for us'".

    Also on the south-west coast "Weymouth boss Jason Tindall was delighted with his side's 2-1 opening day victory over Halifax Town... Tindall said: "We have a winning mentality bred us in now. We showed that in pre-season and we showed it again this afternoon but we must not get too carried away because we will soon get shot down... We now have two difficult away trips to Forest Green Rovers on Tuesday and Stevenage Borough next Saturday". The report adds that "Simon Weatherstone captained the Terras for the first time and put on a fine performance at the back and there was also a glowing display by new-signing Paolo Vernazza... Defender Trevor Challis was among the players who missed out on a place in the Terras' matchday squad and Tindall admits leaving certain people in the stands was very difficult. He told This is Weymouth 'When you look at the players that were not involved today it shows the strength and depth we have'... A crowd of 1,612 watched the game and Tindall was delighted with the turnout... 'They are like a 12th man to us'".

    13 August 2007


    Altrincham Reserves have arranged a game at Moss Lane a week on Tuesday (August 21st at 7.30pm) against Stockport County. Before that, this Thursday, 16th at 7.30pm, the Reserves play a Bradford City side.


    The first live Setanta TV game from the BSP was an entertaining but goalless encounter:
  • Torquay U. 0 Grays A. 0


    Above: Sam Madeley (left) nets from the spot..

    In Sunday's youth team friendly against Park View, a team from Liverpool or which Mark Maddox is a coach, the visitors had three men sent off before half-time yet emerged with a deserved 3--3 result. Match report in Youth section.


    Altrincham travel to Halifax Town on Tuesday night. The Shaymen, like Alty, lost their opening game on Saturday, in their case going down 2-1 at Weymouth. Manager Chris Wilder told the NL Paper afterwards, "We are massively disappointed that we didn't get a point... We gifted them the winning goal. If we don't start picking up points away we will have to think about a change of personnel". Still playing for Halifax is ex-Alty winger Steve Torpey and former Robins' captain Steve Bushell, whilst Alty employ several ex-Halifax players including Colin Little, Karl Munroe, Gareth Whalley (who was at The Shay on loan), Val Owen and Chris Senior.


    A fuller version of the comments made by Alty manager Graham heathcote after Saturday's defeat by Exeter City appear in SAM, which reports that "Graham Heathcote has warned that unrealistic expectations could drive him away from the club.The Robins boss came under fire from certain sections of the Moss Lane crowd during his side's 4-1 opening day defeat to Exeter. Alty had led 1-0 at half time but visibly lagged after the break, sparking a remarkable collapse against their promotion-chasing opponents. And Heathcote was angry at some of the criticism both he and his players received, claiming supporters needed to keep their ambitions in check. He said: 'People's expectations at this club now are getting ridiculous, it's as simple as that. People are talking about doing this and doing that. I just get frustrated with the ignorance of people who think we can make an impact in this league. It's a real difficult situation and today highlighted that. Now if people feel that because we have increased our wage budget that we can be more than competitive in this league, they need to look at the other wage bills in this league... I'm listening to people's expectations that are unrealistic and I don't know if I can cope with that for another nine months... Those expectations might drive me away".

    During the game, Graham was clearly angered by comments from a person or persons in the Golf Road End, but these did not seem to be representative of the view of the overwhelming majority of Alty supporters who recognise the financial constraints which have to apply at the club.

    SAM also says that "Heathcote is also frustrated by the lack of finance at his disposal after a summer in which he missed out on several playing targets to bigger offers from other Blue Square Premier clubs... He added: 'This club lives within its means and it makes life very difficult... I've given as much as I can give for this club in the last five years. We've gone from £700,000 in debt with a quagmire of a pitch to having no debt and a good pitch, all at my own expense. No other manager at any other club who has no feeling for that club would do that. They'd look after their own end and they'd say I need this and I need that and they'd badger their chairman until they got it. I want do as well as the next man but the club have made a decision to move forward on ground development. Maybe I need to be a bit more selfish or perhaps I need to be at another club to be more selfish. But I honestly think the players did fine today. I'm stood here after a reasonable performance and we've been whacked 4-1. They played well but then we got picked off and it could have been five or six at the end. 4-1 looks like a drubbing but I know it wasn't and you have to see beyond results sometimes".

    SAM adds that "the Robins simply crumbled in the second half, conceding four goals to hand the visitors an extremely flattering 4-1 win. And it was all too much for the Moss Lane crowd, with one disgruntled fan even aiming a few choice words at Robins boss Graham Heathcote towards the end of the match.... There were still some positives to take from the game - all of them coming from the opening 45 minutes when Alty looked organised in defence, while possessing the right mix of passion and guile in midfield... Alty always had the edge early on... Exeter's quality and fitness began to show and... they finally equalised in the 66th minute... It was harsh on the Robins but hardly the end of the world. Encouraging performances from Tinson, Lane and Owen, as well as glimpses of class from Whalley, provide hope and there will, undoubtedly, be better to come".


    Former Alty Reserve Rio Nelson, who played against us this pre-season for Gregorians, is "hoping to inspire young people in his neighbourhood by starring for St Vincent in their Olympic qualifiers" reports the NL Daily, but he needs to raise £2,500 to make the trip to the Caribbean. Rio (22), from Moss Side, is now playing for one of the Atherton teams in the NW Counties League. He said, "Most of my friends are either in prison or in gangs and four or five have even died. So that's why I'm trying to stress the importance of me going over there because where I'm living is just gun crime and drugs... If I can get over there and come back and tell the kids, 'Look I could have been easily involved but I chose to go the right way... I want to give back to my community". You can help Rio by e-mailing him.
    12 August 2007


    In Saturday's matchday programme, Alty boss Graham Heathcote wrote, "Thank God it's over - pre-season that is. I have found myself totally bored with the pre-season games. You know that you are asking players to do things, to get themselves up for the game, and you know they are never going to really be switched on 100%...But hey! That's all gone. I am really up for this first game of the new season...{But] just being in this league does present us as a club with lots of problems and a whole lot of hard work. Whilst we have improved our own budget because of income from Setanta, to really push on it will take more. We have income from other areas earmarked for ground development but let's not forget the requirement to be good enough on the pitch. That has to be one of our main priorities... Exeter at home, a big crowd, good atmosphere, expectations high. It's good to be back".

    But after the game the NL Paper says that it left "Altrincham manager Graham Heathcote pondering whether to quit... Graham Heathcote was distraught at the final whistle. He said, 'Perhaps I might just have to walk away. Perhaps they need to look for someone else. I'm going home absolutely shattered after games. Paul Tisdale's preparation for today's game was to have a nice meal at a hotel. My preparation was cleaning out the dressing rooms and watering the pitch. There are people at this club whose expectations are far too high. Some people even think we can challenge for promotion. We have increased our budget but what's not taken into account is so has everyone else and I'm working on the smallest amount in the league. I haven't paid any money for a player for my five years here [as manager]. What's worse is that what money there is seems to be ring-fenced for ground improvements and new floodlights. I think I should start to be more selfish and demand money for the playing side. We competed well for 70 minutes but eventually blew up. That scoreline looks like a drubbing but we played better than a 4-1 defeat. What it does show is that if we play three up against full-time teams we can easily be picked off as we tire in the second half".

    Match report here.


    Work on installing the new Moss Lane floodlights starts this coming week and should be complete before the game against Cambridge United on 18 September.


    Altrincham FC has fixed Saturday, 15th December as the date for its Christmas Party at the Cresta Court Hotel. Ticket details are available from Karen or Sarah Rowley on 07850-964751.


    The NL Paper's Dream Team this week is selected by new Alty defender Chris Lane. The only Robins' player in his selection is Chris himself as "I never give less than 100%. I'm good at defending and I'm always willing to overlap!".


    After playing recently for Leek Town, several ex-Altrincham FC Reserves have moved on to Flixton. On Saturday Ben Deegan hit a hat-trick for the Valley Road club whilst John Maloney and Andy Keogh have also joined the NW Counties club, though all will are potentially still available for Altrincham. Meanwhile, former Alty striker Steve Lunt scored for Glossop North End.

    Lewis Chalmers was substituted after 68 minutes on his debut for Aldershot Town yesterday.

    Alty's recent signing Cavell Coo (right) was not in the squad yesterday after having to miss training last week. Cavell is trying to build a career in the world of insurance to sit alongside his footballing activites. And the young ex-Crewe player had to spend last week on a training course which kept him away from Moss Lane.


    The NLP quotes Crawley boss, Steve Evans, as saying "The six-point penalty is just another obstacle we have to overcome... Perhaps one or two people are upset that we stayed up last season and have managed to free ourselves from the CVA. Maybe that wasn't in the script. If we were [aranoid we could start assuming all sorts of things". As the NLP reminds us, the deduction was "imposed because the Red Devils exceeded annual playing budget regulations during the 2006-07 season". Had the deduction applied last season, when the offences occurred, Crawley would have been relegated.
    11 August 2007


    The final score conceals the fact that until the final quarter of the game Alty led Exeter. But two Exeter goals in three minutes turned the game midway through the second half...

    Match report here.

  • Alty Line-Up
  • Alty Player Statistics

    Right: Robbie Lawton battles for possession against Exeter.

    Saturday 11th August

  • ALTRINCHAM 1 Exeter C. 4
  • Crawley T. 2 Stevenage B. 1
  • Droylsden 0 Salisbury C. 0
  • Ebbsfleet U. 2 Northwich V. 1
  • Farsley C. 1 Stafford R. 0
  • Histon 2 Burton A. 2
  • Kidderminster H. 1 Aldershot T. 2
  • Oxford U. 1 Forest Green R. 0
  • Weymouth 2 Halifax T. 1
  • Woking 1 Rushden & D. 1
  • York C. 1 Cambridge U. 2


    At today's BSP match against Exeter, copies of the Blue Square Pemier's Official Guide to the 2007-08 Seson will be distributed. It has a page on each club, its fixtures, a brief summary of its record last season and Angus "Statto" Loughran's betting odds. Statto, who has voiced support for Altrincham in the media in the past, opines, "The Robins will do well to steer clear of a third successive bottom four spot... Other clubs' problems may not save them this time". Alty actually finished three places above the drop in 2006, with only the absurd 18-point deduction for the Robinson affair putting them in the relegation frame and, as Graham Heathcote points out below, if you don't break the financial rules you are more likely to end in the bottom four than those who do. Blue Square's bets for relegation are Farsley (evens favourites), Stafford, Altrincham and Crawley Town whilst Statto himself names only three for the drop, Farsley, Stafford and Salisbury. The Blue Square "Sack Race" for the first manager to be sacked is very ill-informed, placing Graham Heathcote as joint favourite with Phil Robinson of Stafford to be the first bosses to be ousted. The betting experts seem to be ignorant of the fact that clubs with limited budgets do not hire and fire good managers in the whimsical way that happens higher up the financial tree.


    This is Exeter says that "You might have thought that Altrincham boss Graham Heathcote would have fixed all his attentions on avoiding relegation this season. Granted a stay of execution by Boston's demotion to Blue Square North, the Cheshire club are back in the top tier of the non-league ranks despite finishing in the drop zone. For the part-time outfit, surely preserving their Blue Square Premier status must be the major challenge this season. Not so for Heathcote because the Alty manager has set one target and it involves proving the bookies wrong. Heathcote was incensed to discover that he was being touted as joint-favourite with Stafford manager Phil Robinson to be the first to get the sack this season. And the bookies' action has really fired him up for the new campaign as he aims to spring a shock on the opening day by putting Exeter City to the sword. 'My main focus this year is trying to prove those people wrong who have got me down as 9/1 to get the sack', snapped Heathcote. 'It is not nice to look at when they have got you down as joint-favourite to get the sack, especially as I have been here since 1971. I am not sure how much homework they put into these things but there will be a personal motivation for me to prove them wrong. It is a psychological thing. I look at it and it annoys me. I don't want to be the first one sacked and, for that matter, I don't want to be sacked at all'... Heathcote added: 'People keep saying that we got a lucky reprieve. Well I don't buy into that at all. As far as I am concerned we got 51 legitimate points last year and I believe we are the beneficiaries of good housekeeping'". Referring to new signing Gareth Whalley, Graham said "If it works out, this is one of the biggest signings ever for the club," said the Robins boss. "He's still only 33 so he should have at least a couple of years left in him and his pedigree's there for all to see. Hopefully he will help us to keep the ball better this year because he's a classy midfielder and a good passer of the ball". The article goes on, "The Robins slumped to a double defeat at the hands of the Grecians last season, although Heathcote insists, 'We have given Exeter some good games over the last three years. It is always tough when part-time sides such as ourselves play against full-time sides'".

    "The likelihood is that City's starting line-up will not differ too much from the side that started last week's pre-season game against Swindon Town. If that is the case, Jamie Mackie, Richard Logan and Adam Stansfield would line up in a three-man strikeforce, with Andy Taylor and either Frankie Artus or Liam Sercombe sitting in front of a back three of Matt Taylor, Rob Edwards and George Friend. Dean Moxey and Steve Tully are expected to be deployed as wing backs and Andy Marriott and Paul Jones will battle it out for the keeper's jersey. Lee Elam and Steve Basham both stepped up their comeback bids with run-outs against Team Bath earlier this week and could be on the bench.... Neil Saunders, Wayne Carlisle, Danny Seaborne and Bertie Cozic are all sidelined, although the French midfielder took part in his first training session this week as he battles back from a stomach injury. 'I am looking forward to the start of the season but the injuries are a real hindrance', said manager Paul Tisdale. 'When it comes to the start of the season there is a real edge to the games. There is definitely going to be that edge come 3pm on Saturday afternoon and the players will be ready for that... I think it is a case of whoever you play on the opening day it is going to be a difficult game...every side in the league has got that feel-good factor. Every side has new players and has every reason to be optimistic. That normally brings about a sense of confidence in sides at this stage of the season. I don't think you can read into how they did last year as having any relevance on tomorrow's game. I certainly don't think they are going to be pushovers. On the contrary, I think they will be revitalised and they have Gareth Whalley, who is a really good passer of the ball' ... City have secured the non-contract services of former Bristol City youth defender Shaun Lamb. The centre half, who can also play as a left-back or a midfielder, will spend a month at the Cat & Fiddle training ground... Another new face at the Cat & Fiddle is Mangotsfield United midfielder Ellis Wilmot who will help out this week and next".


    Following the recent death of striker Bert Lister, we learn of the death of one of his 1960s' contemporaries, Wilf Hall (right). The Macclesfield Express has an obituary which includes the following. "It is with tremendous sadness that Macclesfield Town Football Club announces the death of one of the Silkmen’s greatest ever goalkeepers, Wilf Hall, following a brave battle against cancer. Wilf joined the Silkmen from Ipswich Town and made his debut against Buxton on August 24, 1963. He spent nine years at the Moss Rose as a goalkeeper, the latter years as understudy to John Cooke. He was never booked in his whole footballing career, and even managed to stay out of an infamous 20-man brawl when we played Altrincham one time. Wilf’s love and support of Macclesfield Town was constant for more than 40 years. After putting down his goalkeeping gloves, he undertook almost every role at the club at some point including trainer, groundsman, reserves coach, director, programme seller and gateman. Over the past few years, Wilf could always be found, in his position of commissionnaire, either in the McIlroy Suite, or at the players and directors entrance in the Silk FM Stand. He started his career with Stoke City and at the age of 17, made his Football League debut in a 1-0 win over Charlton Athletic; the famous Sam Bartram was in goal for the opposition. Then came a move to Ipswich Town for £4,700 in a deal which enabled Stoke City to buy back Stanley Matthews from Blackpool for £2,500 of the proceeds. Wilf won a First Division Championship medal with Ipswich Town in 1961-62 under the management of the great Alf Ramsey, before moving to the Silkmen. Wilf’s contribution to the Silkmen over the past 44 years has been immeasurable and very much appreciated". Wilf, who was 72, was Alty goalkeeper during the 1967-68 season. The Club's condolences go to Wilf's family and friends.


    The Sale & Altrincham Messenger's excellent coverage of Alty continues, courtesy of Sports Editor, Connor Murphy. "Messenger is providing live text commentary from selected Robins' games throughout the campaign, meaning you can follow them all the way in their quest for Blue Square Premier survival. The coverage begins with Saturday's home game against promotion candidates Exeter City. We'll bring you the latest team news and build-up from Moss Lane before kick off. Then keep up to date with all the goals and flashpoints as they happen throughout the game. After the game read a full match report and reaction from manager Graham Heathcote. So log on to this season to follow what promises to be another exciting campaign for the Robins".


    SAM reports that during his 15-year professional career Gareth Whalley, Alty's latest signing, (left) "has become something of a lucky charm. Alty's latest arrival has enjoyed promotion with every club he has played for - a total of six promotions with five different teams. Whalley even played a major role in one of modern football's true fairytale stories, helping Bradford City reach English football's top flight for the first time in 77 years back in 1999... He said of Altrincham: 'It's going to be a different challenge and probably one of my most difficult, especially as Altrincham are a part-time team playing in a full-time league. But I wouldn't have joined the club if I didn't think we could do well. I had full-time offers from League clubs and other clubs in the Blue Square Premier but I was impressed with what I saw at Altrincham. Colin Little (who Whalley played with at Crewe) told me good things about the club and when I met the manager, his ambitions impressed me. He wants Altrincham to keep improving but he wants to do it while playing good football, so hopefully I can help make that happen... I've not been at the club long but I can see we have some good players. It's important that we start games well, get hold of the ball and and start to dominate a bit more, rather than letting ourselves get under pressure. I believe I can help do that and the fact that I have played with Colin before will make it easier for me. It always takes time to bed in at a new club and obviously, I'm a bit short of fitness at the moment... I had a frustrating time last season and, with this probably being my last couple of seasons, I just want to get out there playing again'". He added that "I'm happy to move to part-time football. I've not got a job at the moment so I'll spend a lot of time in the gym. But I'm trying to set up a business abroad over the next couple of years so now I'll have the time to do that. I'll be travelling abroad to look at property sometime in the near future and I'll need time to learn a different language so this will be ideal. We also wanted to move back to the Manchester area because it's important that we let the kids get settled. The move should be good for me".


    From This is Staffs we learn that "Leek manager Paul Ogden admits he is not entirely happy with the way his new-look squad has been taking shape, but is hoping to hang on to Gary Scott. The full-back, who has played Conference football for Altrincham, played at Norton in midweek".


    The BBC says that "Crawley Town have exited their Company Voluntary Arrangement after completing the payments owed to their creditors. Creditors have been paid 50p in the pound from total debts of around £1.4m and Blue Square Premier officials have lifted the club's transfer embargo. Town will also appeal against the six-point penalty and suspended £10,000 fine imposed on them this week. All 13 summer signings are now eligible to face Stevenage Borough in the first game of the season on Saturday. Town completed moves for winger Jamie Cook, defender Curtis Ouja and striker Pierre-Joseph Du Bois on Friday. The club was docked six points and handed the suspended fine on Tuesday over financial irregularities".

    But the saga took a further turn with more accusations from Crawley levelled at the Conference. The Crawley Town FC website says that "On Monday 6th August officials from Crawley Town attended a meeting with representatives of the Blue Square Premier League and their solicitors. The purpose of the meeting was to ascertain whether or not the club had bought the game in to disrepute. As outlined in a letter, from their solicitors which was received by the club on Friday 3rd August.

    Crawley Town Football Club did not expect to be charged or punished at this meeting. The club considers the methods used by the committee in such hearings to be unjust, and that, should evidence have been discovered that suggested Crawley Town Football Club was at fault, Crawley Town Football Club should have been charged, and a formal hearing organised for a later date and presided over by individuals who are wholly impartial. Crawley Town Football Club wishes to clarify it is not calling in to question the integrity of the presiding members.

    The members of the Blue Square Premier League decided that Crawley Town Football Club had bought the game in to disrepute, by breaking the ‘APB rules’... Crawley Town Football Club has considered the decision closely, and after seeking advice, has decided to appeal against the decision, and will submit a formal written appeal with in the next few days".

    And then the Club added to its accusations in another statement on Friday afternoon:

    It is the opinion of Crawley Town Football Club that there are individuals, some local and some national that are working behind the scenes to hinder, delay and cause as much disruption to this Football Club as possible.

    Since the meeting with the Blue Square Premier League, we have become aware that certain information regarding conversations between the Football Club and the Blue Square Premier Board members has been made public. Our investigations has led us to believe that a number of points raised during the meeting appeared to have been sourced from individuals who believe they had information which was detrimental to those running Crawley Town Football Club and particular and the owners of said club. For the sake of clarity, the points raised by those individuals were out of date, deliberately misleading and made with one aim and that was to cause further troubles for the Football Club.

    The Directors suspect another example of these individuals causing trouble and giving a delay to the settlement of the CVA, adds to the actions of former players, who despite repeated written and verbal requests failed to provide vital information needed by the CVA Supervisor to complete the exit. Had this information been supplied earlier by those individuals Crawley Town Football Club would have completed the CVA arrangement some two months ago.

    The opinions and actions of these people have subjected the Football Club to needless suspicion and only serve to further negatively portray the club in front of the people that direct and operate the Blue Square Premier League.

    Whilst we appreciate that the time taken to complete the CVA has caused frustration to a number of people, most importantly our supporters, the Football Club’s Directors has remained committed to ensuring that the CVA was completed in the quickest possible time frame. We can assure everyone that Crawley Town Football Club has utilised every available resource to ensure so and delighted that it has been concluded.

    We ask that the fans be rest assured that should Crawley Town Football Club lose the appeal in relation to a six point deduction imposed by the Blue Square Premier League, the Directors will continue to support and promote the Football Club.

    The Directors and staff of the club wish to thank all its fans, far and near, for their patience, and sincerely hopes that we can all look forward to a more prosperous and united future.

    Now we seek to secure our news headlines are made from what happens on the pitch and not off it! Our new manager and players deserve your full support and we all wish them every success for the new season, which as we all know kicks off tomorrow at 3pm.

    Accusations against the Conference's fixture arrangements come from Crawley as The Argus reports that "Crawley boss Steve Evans has urged his side to upset Conference chiefs by winning against Stevenage. Evans feels Reds were hard done by after they were hit with a six-point deduction by the league for financial irregularities five days before the big kick-off. He accused them of having an agenda and is confident the FA will throw out the penalty once Crawley lodge an appeal... He said: 'I'm not considering the six points because I think what the Conference have done is wrong. I don't think it is a coincidence that we have been given one of the toughest starts to the season and then on the eve of it we are deducted six points'. [For other conspiracy theorists, note that Altrincham played Stevenage in the opening game of both of the last two seasons]. We have to make sure we make them (Conference chiefs) chew on their sausages a bit harder on Sunday morning by beating Stevenage. If we can do that there will be one or two people around the country who would not be very happy I'm sure... Beating Stevenage would be a great result because they have been spending bundles. I see them along with Torquay as the favourites for the championship. Money is usually an indicator in how a team will do and they will be up there but we have a decent squad of players and will be ready'...Evans has added to his squad with the loan signing of defender Curtis Ujah from Yeovil... for an initial three months. His signing means last season's joint caretaker boss Dave Woozley is further down the pecking order... Reds are also set to sign former Reading and Grays striker Pierre Joseph-Dubois on a short term deal after he impressed in a behind-closed-doors game... Evans said: 'He was not treated very well at Grays, so he has come from a situation he did not particularly enjoy... He is set to put pen to paper on a short-term deal'... Reds will be without two key players for tomorrow's clash. Midfielder Thomas Pinault is suspended... [and] winger Tony Scully is also unlikely to feature after suffering a knee injury".

    Meanwhile, IC Surrey says that "Tyrone Thompson, the 25-year-old recent midfield signing from Halifax Town will be handed the skipper's arm-band by boss Steve Evans before Saturday's opener against Stevenage Borough at the Broadfield Stadium. And Thompson believes that it is the sense of camaraderie that Evans instills traditionally among his players that could be the secret to the Reds' flourishing campaign under new management. Thompson should know what he is talking about as well as he is just moving into new surroundings near the Crawley ground with team-mate, striker Magno Silva Vieira, as his new house-mate, while fellow Reds' defenders Bradley Thomas and Jamie Stevens are also living in the same block of flats. The personable Thompson said: 'It certainly helps with the settling in process at a new club that so many players are living close together. After all, I have been living in and out of a hotel for the last month which has obviously been a difficult adjustment for me. But the togetherness at this club is different class and competition for places is intense. Certainly, no player gets above themselves and the positive effect that the gaffer has on the players is obvious. The gaffer gains respect as he is straight up and down the line with players and no one is guaranteed a place in the team. We have looked sharp so far in pre-season and the gaffer and Paul have been trying to instill strong footballing principles into us, making it clear how they like the game to be played... We have a very fit squad who train intensely, with everybody pulling in the right direction'... Thompson began his career with boyhood favourites Sheffield Utd where he was under the guidance of Raynor... before spending the past two seasons with Halifax, being promoted from vice-captain to skipper last season at the Shay. Thompson said: 'The gaffer has trusted me with the captain's armband so far for friendlies and it would just fill me with pride to lead the team out hopefully on Saturday'"


    The season may be upon us but the signings continue as the BBC reports that "York have completed the signing of Leicester goalkeeper Carl Pentney on a one-month loan deal. The 18-year-old was part of the under-18 squad that won the FA Premier League title last season". And "Burton Albion have received a boost ahead of the new season with the news that goalkeeper Kevin Poole will play for the Brewers this season. The 44-year-old had hoped to secure a coaching role at a Premiership club but narrowly missed out. He signed for the Brewers just two days before the start of last season".

    This is South Devon has a piece on Torquay's opponents, Grays Athletic, a game to be shown live on Setanta Sports 1 on Sunday. "Grays Athletic went down the same road as Torquay United last season. Except that the Blues finally managed to avoid relegation under former Spurs and Portsmouth defender Justin Edinburgh. There were inevitable departures, including leading performers like former Torquay goalie Ashley Bayes and forwards John Martin, Lee Boylan and Chukkie Eribenne... Key midfield recruits are former Oldham and Rochdale player Ernie Cooksey from Boston, ex-Shrewsbury and Woking favourite Karl Murray, the busy Charlie Hearn from Fisher Athletic and Jamie Day from Welling. And for goals Edinburgh has turned to Woking's leading scorer last season, Craig McAllister, Mark Marshall from Carshalton, ex-Brighton trainee Ben Watson, who has hit 36 goals over the past two seasons for Bognor Regis, and Danny Kedwell, Welling's top marksman last year with 23 goals. Aaron O'Connor, a striker with a bit of pace, and winger Dennis Oli are also around from last season... In defence, Ross Flitney and Adam Gross have both arrived from Barnet, Flitney to compete with Danny Knowles in goal.. Murray, who got himself sent off in a friendly against Spurs this week, and Gross are likely to be suspended and Thurgood and Downer are both struggling with injuries".

    "Stafford Rangers will kick-off their new campaign at Farsley Celtic tomorrow with a new-look line-up. Apart from the defence, manager Phil Robinson has been forced to rebuild his team following a stream of departures during the summer. But replacements have been hard to find and Rangers have also been dealt a couple of injury body blows even before a ball has been kicked in anger. Missing from tomorrow's squad will be full-back Nathan Talbott, sidelined with a hip problem, and striker Nathan Smith, whose return has been put back following a motorcycle accident more than a year ago. With less than 72 hours to the big kick-off, Robinson made six new signings, including 19-year-old striker Marco Adaggio. The former Shrewsbury apprentice - and all the others - will be in the squad for the opener against Celtic. They will be joined by defender Djoumin Sangare and former Crewe midfielder Chris Flynn, the other Rangers new boys, along with the manager himself and assistant Dave Oldfield. Midfielder Kevin Street, who missed half of last season with an ankle fracture, has been battling with a calf strain, but should be fit, as will striker Del Olaoye" says This is Staffs.

    The Northants Evening Telegraph confirms that "Rushden & Diamonds have signed Ryan Semple on loan. A 22-year-old midfielder from Northern Ireland, Semple has signed from Lincoln City - initially for one month. He started as a trainee at Peterborough United and made 17 starts for the Posh scoring three times".

    Alty travel to Forest Green Rovers a week today. This is Glos lists their squad for this week's game as comprising: R. Robinson, A. Lawless, O. James, D. Jones, C. Giles, M. Preece, A. Tonkin, J. Pitman, M. Brough, S. Clist, J. Smith, L. Afful, L. Dodgson, P. Stonehouse, M. Beesley, A. Rigoglioso, D. Carey-Bertram, S. Fleetwood, C. Davis, T. Burton. "Injury news: Centre-half Chris Giles and forward Adriano Rigoglioso are Rovers' biggest doubts with hip and calf injuries respectively. Both will undergo late fitness tests. Winger Lee Dodgson and last season's Kassam hero Danny Carey-Bertram have shaken off minor knocks. Defender John Hardiker is absent as he begins a three-match ban".

    10 August 2007


    Alty photographer Gavin Rathbone has produced fifty fifty A4 posters and ten A3 posters to promote Altrincham home fixtures up to the end of November. These are available for anyone to take away and get displayed at their local shop/pub/club or even in your car window! The posters can be collected from the club offices from Saturday onwards.


    Alty play Exeter City this Saturday and according to This is Exeter, "Exeter City boss Paul Tisdale is happy with the form of his frontmen heading into the new season - and has refused to rule out unleashing a three-man strikeforce on Altrincham on Saturday. Adam Stansfield, Richard Logan and Jamie Mackie have impressed during pre-season and may all get the nod for the opening game of the Blue Square Premier season. Steve Basham, signed from Oxford United during the summer, is also gradually working his way back to full fitness, although it is doubtful whether he will start Saturday's encounter... 'Adam started the pre-season very sharply and has remained sharp all the way through," Tisdale said. 'Richard Logan has had a fantastic last couple of weeks - he scored three goals in three games against Port Vale, Southampton and Dorchester and I thought he was our best player against Southampton. He has really stepped up and played extremely well. And Jamie Mackie has been a thorn in the side of our opponents as well. Dean Stamp did really well against Truro City and, of course, we have got Steve Basham coming back bit by bit, so I am pretty pleased with how we are up front.. What I will do is let the season develop before having a clear idea on who to go with...and if I find a combination that works then I will fuel that and blow energy into it'... Tisdale has also challenged young striker Stamp to deliver the type of performance he produced at Truro City on a regular basis... 'He played against Truro, had a week off injured, came back and has been a bit hit and miss since then'... Paul Tisdale is keeping an eye on trialist defender Shaun Lamb after the former Bristol City player spent this week with Exeter".

    BBC adds that "Exeter have targeted Joe Gallen as a possible candidate to become assistant manager at the club. Gallen, 34, is currently working with the Grecians on a trial basis as he looks to complete his exit from QPR. The former Watford frontman had been in charge of the youth team at Loftus Road but was told by boss John Gregory in June he was no longer needed".


    In addition to the first-team squad who were at the recent "photo-shoot", the team management were also present and here we see manager Graham Heathcote (left) and assistant boss, Dalton Steele (right). Head and shoulders photos of the first-team squad are on the Squad page.


    Altrincham manager "Graham Heathcote insists ambitions are higher than ever at Alty, although the club won't break the bank in the quest for glory. The Robins have learnt the hard way that chasing the dream at all costs can only end in heartbreak, after they almost went out of business in 2002. And although the club's budget is more modest nowadays, competing as one of only five part-time teams in the Blue Square Premier, Heathcote said the aims remain the same. The Alty boss told SAM Sport, 'The challenge remains the same for part-time clubs in this division. Just to remain competitive is tough. But, despite that, the ambitions of the club get bigger and bigger each year. More and more emphasis is being put on financial clout in the Blue Square Premier and I know there's teams in the Football League who are amazed when they miss out on players to bigger offers from non-league teams. Long-term, what we are doing is the sensible way to go, but we have many shining examples of clubs who aren't doing that. It's a fine balance trying to compete in this league while not putting the club in jeopardy. We are still ambitious and we want to stay and compete in the Blue Square Premier'. Alty are operating with a higher playing budget than last season after finally clearing their historic Inland Revenue and VAT debts... Heathcote is looking for a significant improvement this season and... added: 'It annoys me when people say we needed a reprieve to stay in the league because we wouldn't have needed it if we had overspent by £3 million. We have a slightly bigger playing budget now but it is still small for this league. I try and do what I think is right and often that can work against me but I trust my board and we will continue to work within our means. The problem is that there isn't a level playing field. But clubs will continue to do what they do until the authorities take proper action. There are so many examples out there of clubs who don't conduct themselves properly but nothing is ever going to change'".

    By pure coincidence, the next story is a link to an interview with Conference chairman, Brian Lee, about Crawley Town, which makes interesting listening. Though quite why the Conference shows such patience after alleging that numerous previous promises have been broken is hard to fathom. The Football Conference's own website reports that "Crawley Town have undertaken to pay their creditors in the next 24 hours as part of the club's compliance with their Company Voluntary Agreement" though this seems to be based largely on the fact that "Rob Sadler, a representative of administrators Begbies Traynor told BBC Southern Counties Radio that he plans to send out the CVA completion certificate on Friday". The BBC adds that "the club still need to satisfy Blue Square Premier officials before their transfer embargo can be lifted. The club have made 10 summer signings who are not yet eligible to play" - which is not quite true. They cannot be signed but, according to Crawley, they can still apparently play, based on pre-signing agreements.


    There are allegedly only five part-time clubs (including Altrincham) in the BSP, but one of them at least is comfortably outbidding full-time Halifax Town for the services of David McNiven. The Halifax Courier confirms that "David McNiven has turned his back on a move to the Shay after receiving a better offer from Blue Square Premier rivals Stafford Rangers". Alty fans will recall that he did much the same a year ago in preferring Scarborough's money to Altrincham's. "The Morecambe striker - a long time target for Town boss Chris Wilder - had been expected to sign a deal with Town today, but he has now decided to switch to Marston Road where he spent a spell on loan last season. 'We made David an offer and shook hands on it', said Wilder. 'But Stafford have offered him more money than we ever could. It is a big disappointment but clearly the decision is not a football one and I am comfortable that I did everything I could to bring him to Halifax. We offered him a sensible remuneration within our wage structure. Even if we had pots of money we would not have offered him anywhere near what he is going to get. We only want players here who want to play 100% for the club - 99% is not enough". Meanwhile, "Wilder has told Chris Billy he can leave following the signing of former Hull midfielder Russell Fry, 21" according to the BBC. Also Stafford Rangers confirm that they "have signed goalkeeper Robert Duggan. The 20-year-old Dublin-born stopper is no stranger to Marston Road having spent three months on loan from Stoke City at the end of last season. He made 14 appearances and kept four clean sheets"

    "Veteran striker Leo-Fortune West has signed a one-year deal with Cambridge United after passing a medical. The 36-year-old front man left Rushden & Diamonds by mutual consent on Friday... 'It's great news, especially with Daniel Chillingworth being injured on Monday and out for several weeks', boss Jimmy Quinn told the club website. 'Leo is a good pro, he's fit and lean and he's looked after himself'. Meanwhile, Cambridge have failed to sign Barnet forward Liam Hatch" according to the BBC,

    Northwich Victoria announce that "Vics sign Dino Maamria. Maamria is a vastly experienced Tunisian Under 21 International striker who has scored in excess of one hundred Conference goals throughout his career... He started last season at Southport before being transferred to Rushden & Diamonds before being eventually loaned back to Southport where he finished off the season". Adding to this, the Northwich Guardian says that "Neil Redfearn could field a team of new recruits after making Dino Maamria his 11th signing of the summer. The former Southport striker agreed terms... so becoming the sixth striker in Vics' squad... Jake Speight (knee), Jonny Allan (broken leg) and Lee Steele (hamstring) are all out of that game injured, leaving the 33-year-old Tunisian to fight for a starting shirt with Paul Tait and Kevin Townson". Meanwhile "Accrington Stanley have paid [Vics] a meagre £4,000 for Mark Roberts. An FA tribunal set the fee at a hearing... on Tuesday. Roberts, 23, joined for Stanley last month despite Northwich claiming he had promised to sign for them. 'We are philosophical about it', Accrington boss John Coleman told the Accrington Observer after revealing the figure'... Vics had hoped for substantially more... New Vics boss Neil Redfearn had been left waiting for the former Crewe Alexandra stopper at the Victoria Stadium... only for the player not to show up... Now it appears Accrington have got the best of the deal".

    From the Burton Mail comes confirmation that "Kevin Poole will be Burton Albion's goalkeeper in their opening fixture of the season at newly-promoted Histon on Saturday. The veteran stopper is still awaiting the outcome of an interview for a full-time academy coaching post with a Premiership club. But he should be available to Albion for at least three games, allowing manager Nigel Clough to consider his options for a possible replacement. Poole has been waiting all summer for a decision on his job application. Clough said: 'The uncertainty is frustrating for Kevin and it's frustrating for us'".

    "Histon manager Steve Fallon has played down fears that Histon lynchpin Mat Mitchel-King will miss the start of the season after suffering a head injury against Barnet on Saturday" claims the Cambridge Evening News. "The central defender, who joined the Stutes from Mildenhall in January 2006, was substituted in the side's 4-0 friendly defeat... He was taken to hospital earlier this week after being sick on more than one occasion and it was believed he had suffered post-concussion syndrome. But Fallon... thinks the defender has a good chance of being in the starting line-up".

    "Droylsden chief Dave Pace admits he cannot wait for the new Blue Square Premier season to begin on Saturday" acording to the Tameside Advertiser. "Having taken the Bloods to the old Conference North title last season, Pace has spent the summer trying to assemble a squad capable of sustaining a place at the summit of non-league football. Salisbury City are the visitors to the Butcher’s Arms on Saturday... Pace said: 'I really wanted a home game and now we’ve got one, we’re going to go out and enjoy it. A successful season for us would be to win the title, simple as that. I’m going out to win it – I’m not saying we’re going to win it, but I can’t go in the changing room before the game and say to the lads that we’re going to finish 18th or 19th. You’ve got to remember that a few years ago, people would have laughed if I’d said we were going to win the title and get into the Conference, but we’re the ones doing the laughing now and will be when we achieve our next aim of going into the Football League. I’ve been adapting the squad so we’re not at too big a disadvantage against the full-timers. I’m trying to have an age cap of about 28 and they have to be in the right job – menial work rather than heavy duty'".

    There is also confidence at Stevenage Borough, where The Comet says that "Mark Stimson has reacted to comments made by former Boro boss Graham Westley about the size of his squad this season. Westley, writing in his weekly column in the Non-League Paper, said Stimson and Boro had invested heavily over the summer and that he would struggle to keep all members of his squad satisfied. But Stimson defended his actions after this week's addition of teenage goalkeeper James Russell took his current squad to 24 players. Russell, who spent last season at Chelsea, became Boro's eighth and final summer signing, all on free transfers. Stimson said: 'Five of our squad are kids with no intention of playing in the first team this season. You have to have a big squad in this league anyway... All the players will be involved at some point this season... The youngsters might be knocking on the door in a few months but not at the moment. They will possibly go out on loan... We've got a good, young enthusiastic group who are learning every week... I think it's one from 12 teams to win the league. Accrington and Dagenham have won the league in the last two seasons and that should give the players confidence. It doesn't have to be a club who were recently in the League... The first game is... at home to Histon on Tuesday night. Stimson said:'Histon will have some early momentum with them. I believe it is about us this season though... We're trying to play attractive football and the supporters appreciate what we are doing'".

    On the Dorset coast, This is Weymouth says that "Former Yeovil Town forward Gavin McCallum is expected to finalise a permanent deal with Weymouth in the next couple of days. The Canadian, who spent a spell on loan at Dorchester Town last term, has impressed Terras' boss Jason Tindall ... Tindall said: 'Gavin will be signing for us and hopefully that will happen in the next couple of days'... Tindall has also not given up hope of landing defender Joel Kitamirike while fellow trialist Boris Pesic has returned to Croatia. Tindall added: 'Boris is not training with us now but he might be coming back. As for Joel he is still here and I would like to bring him in but it is difficult at the moment in terms of money... Joel has Champions League experience with Chelsea and he would be a good signing but there are other offers on the table for him'... Tindall will also reveal the identity of his club captain in the next couple of days".

    9 August 2007


    This is Exeter says that "Exeter City boss Paul Tisdale is optimistic centre-back Matt Taylor will be fit for Saturday's Blue Square Premier curtain-raiser at Altrincham.The former Team Bath defender, signed by the Grecians during the summer, suffered an ankle injury in Saturday's 1-0 defeat against Swindon Town ... The injury prompted concern, given that Neil Saunders, Bertie Cozic, Danny Seaborne and Wayne Carlisle are all sidelined. But early indications are that Taylor has sprained his ankle and Tisdale is hopeful that nothing more serious will emerge over the coming days". The City boss said, "'We are hoping he will back for the weekend'... Taylor has slotted seamlessly into the City ranks and looks accomplished in the centre of a back four and, most recently, as part of a back three. Tisdale added: 'He has been an effective member of our side during the last month. He looks like he has been in the side for the last couple of years'.

    City will definitely be without several key players heading into the start of the new campaign. A scan has revealed that Saunders, who also signed from Team Bath over the summer and has impressed during pre-season, has suffered bruising to his knee and is at least a week away from returning to training. The injury... is expected to rule him out of the trip to Altrincham... Winger Carlisle will be another player absent from training this week as he continues to recover from a summer hernia operation [and]... The former Leyton Orient man will spend a further fortnight on the sidelines. And Cozic is another who will return to full training in around two weeks, while Tisdale will keep a close eye on Lee Elam, who played his first game at the weekend since suffering bone bruising. Defender Danny Seaborne will undergo a further scan on his leg today to try and assess the length of time he will be out of action. The City youth product fractured his right leg... and original forecasts said he would be out until around Christmas".


    Altrincham FC's Gary Scott (right) completed 90 minutes for Leek Town on Tuesday in a friendly game against Norton United. Gary came through the game well as he seeks to regain fitness after his summer operation. This is Staffs says that "Norton United turned in a spirited performance to come back from a three goal deficit to score twice at home to Leek Town last night". For Leek "Skipper Wayne Johnson and striker Darren Alexander made their first appearances of the summer, as did trialist Gary Scott and midfielder Anthony Maguire, as well as rookie keeper Craig Ellington [i.e. Ellison, the former Alty reserve], who spent last season at Crewe Alex". The line-up for Leek also included Gary Talbot, whilst former Moss Lane reserves Paul Monaghan and John Maloney were substitutes, along with another Alty loanee, Ben Deegan.

    Former Alty youth and reserve player Adam Walker, who has figured in Alty's pre-season games this summer, scored for Chester City as a trialist in a pre-season game earlier this week. Elsewhere, in another pre-season fixture, Curzon Ashton beat Bacup Borough 4-0 with Josh Mitten a scorer.


    The Argus reports remarkable accusations by the Crawley manager Steve Evans against fellow Blue Square Premier club officials. The Crawley Town "manager Steve Evans has accused the Conference of 'having an agenda' following their decision to hit Crawley with a six-point deduction. The Reds' boss says the club will appeal against the decision and believes it will be thrown out by the Football Association. Reds have been handed the penalty of a £10,000 suspended fine for financial irregularities following a meeting with Conference officials. They are believed to have been punished for discrepancies in their annual playing budget (APB), which is set by the league and based on their income. They have also failed to satisfy the league that they have paid off the remainder of their debt, known as the Company Voluntary Agreement (CVA), despite claiming last week they had settled the final instalment.

    Evans said: 'The whole thing smells to me. Everyone I have spoken to says the same, they want to punish Crawley because they don't like the club and the Majeed family. That is unfair on them, the club and the supporters. My understanding is that two of the three gentlemen on the commission who made the decision were from the boards of fellow Conference clubs. One was from Woking and the other Burton so it is not surprising that they want to deduct points from a club who may be potential play-off rivals. They clearly have an agenda and there now needs to be a siege mentality from everyone at Crawley. I am very confident the FA will throw out the decision for a number of reasons. There were several precedents set that are unheard of for any other club'.

    Evans insists it is business as usual for him and the rest of the team... The embargo preventing Reds from signing players on contract has been kept in place until the league are satisfied the CVA is paid off. It means the ten new arrivals over the summer remain on unsecured pre-contract agreements. Evans said: 'They all have pre-contract agreements but that is not a problem. The CVA has been paid off and will be confirmed before the season starts. We just need a signature from the supervisor who has not been in the office to do it. Nothing has changed for us. This is not an issue with team selection or what we have to work with. We will ignore the six points. If the FA uphold the appeal and say the points deduction stands than we will get on with it but until then we will not accept it. Every time I have sat down with the Majeed family [the club's owners], everything they have told me has happened so I am confident things will be sorted out. We are looking forward to Stevenage and if we can pick up three points against them, I think there will be a few unhappy people at the Conference'".

    The Argus adds that "It is the third time in three seasons Reds have suffered a points deduction for money problems. They had three points docked at the end of the 2005-06 season for exceeding their wage cap and they started last season with minus ten points as a punishment for going into administration. Chairman Vic Marley claims the latest charge is down to a 'technicality' and the club are contemplating appealing against the decision. But there is little sympathy from some fans who have grown tired of hearing excuses during the club's year-long financial struggle. Reds have repeatedly failed to meet deadlines to repay creditors despite giving assurances they would be paid. Supporters were even told at a forum in June that the debt had been paid off only to find out that more than £100,000 was still outstanding. A spokesman for the club's supporters trust, Devils Trust, said: 'It is a shambles. Once again the supporters have been let down with false promises and talk of new dawns. We keep being asked to move forward but how can we if we keep being lied to? People can accept financial trouble but to be constantly pedalled lies is unacceptable. The most disappointing thing is that it is all so predictable. I'm not surprised because I could see it coming. I do feel sorry for those who decided to take a leap of faith and believe what the Majeeds were doing. They have been let down again'. Chairman of the supporters' club Steve Leake said: 'It is another kick in the proverbials but I would ask for all fans to come together to try to help the club as much as they can. That does not mean you have to back the Majeed regime'".

    IC Surrey reports that "The damning verdict from the Football Conference...came just five days after the club triumphantly claimed it had finally paid-off the debts that had dogged its progress... But a more sombre Marley told the News yesterday: 'The Conference decision is heart-wrenching.We are extremely disappointed. We have 14 days to lodge an appeal and we are considering our options... It's a struggle to read the rulebook and see where this new punishment is coming from'. Mr Marley declined to explain the nature of the 'financial irregularities' the club were punished for. He said: 'As I understand it, this punishment is not linked to the Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA). All the money is in with [supervisors] Begbies Traynor'... The figure owed after the CVA was agreed with out-of-pocket creditors is understood to be in the region of £390,000... Club owner Chas Majeed said: 'We will definitely appeal this.We didn't see it coming and we don't understand what they mean by financial irregularities. We're used to battling to survive and we'll be OK'.

    Meanwhile the Crawley Town Forum reports that a company called Crawley Town Promotions has been set up some 200 miles away at 78 High Street, Boston, Lincolnshire. Boston is, of course, where new Crawley boss Steve Evans was previously based. The new company's directors are reportedly involved with Boston United as well.

    The Burton Mail inadvertently gives fuel to Steve Evans when it reports that "Burton Albion's Blue Square Premier rivals Crawley Town will start the season with a points deduction for the second year running... Albion chairman Ben Robinson was on the three-man panel that imposed the latest penalty on Crawley... Robinson told Mail Sport: 'In view of their problems, Crawley were happy with the outcome of the hearing. In a situation like this, we needed to take account of the fans of the club. Hopefully, these and other measures we have taken will ensure that Crawley fulfil their fixtures in the 2007/08 season. They currently have only five contract players, but they will be able to make up a team with non-contract players". An interesting sentence in the above quote is "We needed to take account of the fans of the club, who have done nothing wrong" which suggests a new criterion for meting out punishments which we heard nothing of when Alty were docked 18 points over the Robinson affair a year ago.


    And just when you thought there was some Blue Square News that did not involve the goings on at a certain Sussex club, along comes Essex's Thurrock Gazette with news of the sacked caretaker boss who saved Crawley from relegation last season. It says that "Grays Athletic have appointed ex-Crawley Town first team coach, John Yems as their new chief scout. Yems joined the backroom staff at Crawley in 2006, and following the departure of John Hollins in October, along with defenders Ben Judge and David Woozley had been in charge of first team affairs at the Broadfield Stadium".

    On Tuesday, Alty travel to The Shay where the Halifax Courier reports that "Town boss Chris Wilder has been handed a massive boost three days before the start of the Blue Square Premier season with news that Greg Young could be just a couple of weeks away from returning to action. Young has been sidelined since rupturing a cruciate knee ligament against Altrincham at the Shay on New Year's Day. And he had not been expected to be back until September at the earliest. Now he is closing in on a return and Wilder is hoping that the 24-year-old defender has a bit more luck having missed the start of last season following a shoulder reconstruction".

    "Former Chelsea youngster James Russell (19) has joined Stevenage Borough to provide competition for first-choice goalkeeper Alan Julian. The keeper came through the ranks at Chelsea before being released at the end of last season. The signing takes the squad to twenty-four players", says NL Daily.

    Stafford Rangers "manager Phil Robinson has further strengthened his squad with the addition of five new signings, all of whom have impressed during pre-season. Wolverhampton-born Ross Draper has played in various defence and midfield positions during pre-season. Aged 18, he has been released by Shrewsbury Town. Defender Tom Ingram was a member of Notts County's squad last season. He was born in Leicester and is aged 19. Twenty-four year old midfielder Ramon Singh Manak can list LA Galaxy amongst his previous clubs. Born in Coventry, he attended Malibu High School in California and played in the CIF Division V Championship team as well as club football for So Cal United. Ramon then played collegiate football with Cal Poly San Luis Obispo before joining UCLA in 2004. More recently he has featured for Midland Combination side Massey Ferguson. Tall defender/midfielder Greg Stones can boast UEFA Champions League experience having played for The New Saints against Finnish side MyPa-47 in last season's competition. Aged 25, Greg began his career with Poulton Victoria before joining Rhyl in 2004 for whom he made 58 appearences. Last summer he moved to The New Saints and scored 4 goals in 27 Welsh Premier League appearances. Completing the quintet is left-sided defender David Wood who was previously with Derby County. Aged 18, he was born in Birmingham. In addition, defender Jemiah Richards and midfielder Steve Hopkinson have agreed terms for the coming season. Phil Robinson intends to further enhance his squad with two or three further new recruits ... In addition to the five new signings announced earlier, Stafford Rangers have completed the signing of Málaga-born forward Marco Adaggio. The 19-year-old has also impressed during pre-season and his previous clubs are Shrewsbury Town, AFC Telford United and Bangor City".

    . The Cambridge Evening News confirms that "Dan Chillingworth will miss the first six weeks of Cambridge United's season after tearing his ankle ligaments. The 25-year-old striker limped off during Monday's 1-0 defeat at home to Leicester. But while it was initially feared he could have broken his ankle, it has emerged Chillingworth has torn a portion of the deltoid ligaments on the inside of the joint. Physio Greg Reid said the ankle was badly swollen and estimated he would be ruled out until late September".

    8 August 2007


    Ian Rosendaal, the creator of the Ideas4Alty website writes:

    "Red and White Day" - Part 2

    Following the enormous success of the "Red and White Day" against Aldershot at the end of last season which saw a bumper crowd of over 2,000 packed into Moss Lane, the same will be happening for the home game against Exeter City this coming Saturday. We want everyone to come along in their replica kits and bring their flags and scarves to really show their support for the team when they run out. Also, we are hoping some fans will bring along balloons and anything else that will show the players we're right behind them from the off. A repeat of the vocal support shown against Aldershot would be a massive fillip to the team and especially the new faces who have come into the side. Make sure all your friends and family are at Moss Lane to show their support!

    My Square - "Freeman Square" Auction

    The "My Square" scheme has been a great success so far and lots of the squares have now been sold. These will continue to be sold throughout the season until they are all gone. However, the special "Freeman Square" which is being auctioned off has only 10 days to go before the deadline closes for bids. Bidding currently stands at £30, but we are hoping to raise much more than that if possible. Please email any bids or enquiries to before 5pm on Friday 17th August.


    Altrincham host Exeter City this Saturday in the opening league game of a seson which looked like it would be in the Blue Square North, following their last-day relegation last season. But Boston's demise saved the day for Altrincham.

    Above: Lewis Chalmers receives congratulations after scoring against Exeter last season.

    The FA reveals that the referee for Alty v Exeter on Saturday is Craig Pawson whilst on Tuesday for our game at Halifax it is M. Brown.

    In the games refereed by Mr Pawson, Altrincham had enjoyed good results till last Easter when he oversaw our home defeat by Gravesend. Before that he reffed Alty's 2-0 win over Tamworth in 2006-07, an away 1-1 draw at Bradford PA on 22 November, 2003 and a goalless draw at home to Burscough on 3 September, 2002. In the last Alty v Exeter game the referee, Mr Oliver Langford, had a big say in the outcome. As this website reported on 31 March 2007, "For the second time in a week the outcome of a game at Moss Lane was decided against Altrincham by a refereeing decision. This time, with no one appealing and no threat to the Alty goal, referee Langford spotted a push from Munroe and awarded the Grecians a penalty. Jones calmly sent Coburn the wrong way to make it 2-1 (80 mins). Earlier, Altrincham had taken the lead on 19 minutes when Peyton's quickly taken freekick from half way was met by Chalmers's fine leap and his header looped over keeper Jones into the far corner of the net. In a game ruined as a spectacle by a gusty wind, Exeter levelled just after the break when Chalmers gave away possession and Stansfield got past Talbot to the right of goal before laying the ball inside for Logan to sidefoot home (50 mins). Things got worse for Alty who had to take off Bushell at half-time, then his replacement, Senior, appeared to twist an ankle and had to be carried off only ten minutes into the second period. Finally, Talbot also had to be replaced after 63 minutes as Alty rarely threatened the Exeter goal in the second half".

    The line-ups back in late March were:

    ALTRINCHAM: (Red & white striped shirts, black shorts and red socks). 1. Stuart COBURN, 17. Karl MUNROE, 4. Peter BAND, 5. Gary TALBOT, 11. Warren PEYTON; 7. Robbie LAWTON, 6. Steve BUSHELL, 22. Andy SCOTT, 14. Lewis CHALMERS; 9. Colin LITTLE, 12. Joe O'NEILL. Subs: 19. Chris SENIOR, 13. Richard ACTON (gk), 2. Steve ASPINALL, 18. Pat McFADDEN, 10. Rod THORNLEY.

    EXETER CITY: (All blue). 27. Paul JONES; 18. Steve TULLY, 15. Rob EDWARDS, 6. Chris TODD (capt), 3. Billy JONES; 10. Jon CHALLINOR, 4. Matt GILL, 14. Berti COZIC, 22. Lee ELAM; 20. Richard LOGAN, 9. Adam STANSFIELD. Subs: 1. Martin RICE (gk), 5. Danny SEABORNE, 7. Andy TAYLOR, 8. Jamie MACKIE, 11. Lee PHILLIPS.

    Five of Alty's starting line-up have left the club (Band, Talbot, Bushell, A. Scott and Chalmers), whilst Exeter have suffered the departure of two of their March starters, Chris Todd and Billy Jones. But this time around they also have a suspension and injury problems to contend with. This is Exeter reports that "Frankie Artus wants to cement his place in Exeter City's first team in a bid to boost his hopes of playing for Bristol City.The 18-year-old arrived at St James's Park on a month's loan at the weekend as City manager Paul Tisdale moved to strengthen his injury-hit squad. Artus has been on Bristol City's books since the age of seven and is widely regarded as one of the hottest young properties at the club... Robins' boss Gary Johnson recommended he drop down to the Blue Square Premier to get a taste of first team football... 'Gary Johnson said to me 'do you fancy going down there for a month?' and I thought it would be great to go and play some football', Artus told Echo Sport. 'It will be great to play in games that mean something - playing for points in a league rather than playing reserve team football... The hope is to get into the first team at Bristol City because myself and all my family are big Bristol City fans, so I want to play for them one day'... With Matt Gill suspended for the first three games of the season and fellow midfielders Wayne Carlisle, Neil Saunders and Bertie Cozic all injured, Artus will battle it out with Liam Sercombe for a central midfield spot alongside Andy Taylor on Saturday. 'Central midfield is my preferred position', he added".

    For Alty, Warren Peyton, Val Owen and Jake Sedgemore sat out the last friendly but it would be a surprise if all three were missing on Saturday. For 28 year-old Chris Lane, the match will mark both his Alty competitive debut, following his arrival from Southport, and his 300th Conference-level match, which makes him the most experienced player at that level in this season's Blue Square Premier. Apart from Sedgemore and Lane, other possible debutants for Altrincham number five. They are Darren Tinson, Gareth Whalley, Chris Senior (previously only a loan player at Alty), Cavell Coo and Matt Berkeley. The only other current player who was not at Moss Lane at the end of last season is Colin Potts who has rejoined for a second spell at Moss Lane.


    The BBC says that "Yeovil Town manager Russell Slade has confirmed his interest in signing Swansea City midfielder Ian Craney. '"He was someone who was on our list but we've made no official bid', Slade told the Western Daily Press. 'He's a very good player and why shouldn't I be interested in those sort of players?' Craney, who joined Swansea for £150,000 in January, has fallen down the pecking order since the summer arrival of Ferrie Bodde and Matthew Collins. The 25-year-old also faces competition from Owain Tudur Jones and Darren Way, who are recovering from injury. Swansea have already let Andy Oakes, Tommy Williams, Izzy Iriekpen, Bayo Akinfenwa, Pawel Abbott and Lee Trundle leave the club this summer".

    Anthony Hargreaves has joined FC United of Manchester. In Tuesday's friendly between Trafford and a Manchester City XI, ex-Alty youth striker Wes Wilkinson scored for the NW Counties' side.


    The Sale & Altrincham Messenger reports that "Alty brought down the curtain on their preseason campaign with a 1-1 draw against Welsh champions The New Saints... Perhaps more important than the score for the Moss Lane faithful was the appearance of Gareth Whalley in a red and white shirt. The high profile signing played a full 90 minutes and although he looked rusty on his playing return after a series of injury problems, he showed flashes of the brilliance that promise to make him a star for the Robins".


    The Football Conference says that "Crawley Town have suffered a massive blow ahead of the new campaign with the news that the club will start with a six-point penalty... after the Red Devils were charged with bringing the Blue Square League into disrepute. The charge is a result of financial irregularities at the Blue Square Premier club, despite the club declaring they were debt free on Sunday... The club has also been hit by a £10,000 suspended fine and a transfer embargo which will remain in place until confirmation of their CVA payment has been received".

    Mid-morning yesterday, the local Crawley paper, The Argus, said that "Reds were handed the penalty and a £10,000 suspended fine by league officials following a meeting yesterday. They have also been ordered to set up a £100,000 bank bond as a guarantee they will have the finances to complete next season. They have been punished for discrepancies in their annual playing budget (APB) and for failing to confirm they have paid off their remaining administration debt, known as a company's voluntary agreement (CVA). The embargo preventing the club from signing new players on contract will remain in place until the Conference are satisfied the CVA has been paid.... Chairman Vic Marley said: 'We have been charged with financial irregularities and have 14 days to appeal. We are now considering our options'".

    But, just an hour or two earlier The Argus printed the following about the Crawley manager. "Steve Evans insists a huge cloud has been lifted from above Broadfield Stadium after Crawley Town paid off the final installment of their £1.4m debt. The Reds boss admits he 'punched the air' in delight when he heard the news even though he never doubted the Creditors' Voluntary Agreement would be concluded before the season got underway... It means Crawley go into the first game of the season at home to Stevenage on Saturday with a clean slate for the first time since the club went into administration last summer. Evans said: 'It is great news and everyone is on a real high... The Majeeds may have had their critics but they have delivered everything they promised since I arrived and more. I never saw it as an issue otherwise I would not have come in the first place but it is weight off the club's shoulders. There has been a lot of doom and gloom about the place because of the CVA but there is no need for it anymore. I expected it to happen but I still punched the air when I heard. Now it means the embargoes get lifted and we can continue to strengthen the squad. I'm looking to bring in two or three more loan signings and now players will not be put off joining us because of the financial situation'. Evans hopes Curtis Ujah and David Blackmore will be among those loan signings... Defender Ujah has recently joined Yeovil Town after being released by Reading in the summer while goalkeeper Blackmore signed a new four-year deal at West Ham this summer. The Reds boss will also continue to monitor former Reading striker Pierre Joseph-Dubois who caught the eye... after being released by Grays in the summer... Evans was less impressed with the sending off of Thomas Pinault who will now miss the opening three matches of the season through suspension.... Tony Scully also picked up a knee injury [against Southend] and is doubtful for the opening game against Stevenage".


    From This is Glos we hear that "Forest Green chairman Colin Gardner has blasted 'ignorant' supporters for objecting to the groundshare agreement with Gloucester City... after the horrific flooding at Meadow Park. The move has not proved popular among certain fans, who are worried that additional fixtures will cause problems with the pitch, while some have accused Gardner - a former City chairman - of putting his old club's needs above their own. But Gardner said: 'I abstained from the vote... for obvious reasons, so the reaction from a section of our supporters astounds me. There are ignorant people logging onto the fans' forum and shouting their mouths off without knowing the facts. One person has even accused me of having shares in Gloucester City, which is a libellous comment and something I could sue for'... Neither Rovers or City have published details of the financial agreement between the two clubs, but it is understood the Blue Square Premier outfit will receive a deposit in excess of £10,000. Gardner said: 'Forest Green will come out of this arrangement in a healthy financial situation - that much I can say. Last season we struggled to hit our targets in terms of bar and food proceeds, but this year will be different. If people seriously think we can put out a high quality, attractive football team purely on gate receipts, then they're even worse than I thought. Gardner confirmed that Rovers manager Jim Harvey had not been consulted on the groundshare, but insisted he was not worried about the condition of the pitch... 'None of our (first team) fixtures will be affected. It's up to Gloucester City and the Southern League to move their games... I've got an MBE for helping people and I'm pleased Gloucester City's plight is being recognised'"

    NL Daily reports that "Rushden & Diamonds have signed goalkeeper Paul Nicholls following an impressive trial spell. Former Chelsea, Havant & Waterlooville, Chelmsford City and Heybridge Swifts keeper Nicholls, 26, has agreed a twelve-month deal at Nene Park after leaving Fisher Athletic". Meanwhile, "Midfield target Michael Standing can become a more effective playmaker for Oxford United than Andy Burgess. That is the view of U's boss Jim Smith following Burgess' free transfer back to his old club Rushden & Diamonds... Smith said: 'I think Michael will be more effective, in that he'll do it for longer periods. Burge had special skills when he wanted to do it. But he wasn't there enough, whereas Michael Standing, if he can do what we've seen already, will be doing it for sustained periods in games. Whatever we said about Burge, it was never for a sustained period that he was absolutely brilliant'. United did not receive a fee for the left-sided Burgess, whose ability had attracted interest from bigger clubs... 'You need a lot more than ability', Smith insisted. 'Ability is good, but it doesn't take you anywhere in the modern game unless you work hard and do it consistently. To be honest, it tells you everything where he's gone'"... United are now set to offer Standing a deal. And fellow trialist Arthur Gnohere looks likely to be offered a short-term contract. 'I don't want to get carried away with Michael... All I can give him is every credit for coming in from day one, no money, no expenses, nothing, to try to prove that he could be a good player for us... As a kid he was signed by Villa from Brighton... Maybe he didn't have the physique for the Premiership'... French defender Gnohere had a difficult first 15 minutes when he came on against Wycombe...'Arthur has literally come in from being injured for over eighteen months, to playing'" Smith told the Oxford Mail.

    York City "has today signed central defender, Carl Jones. Carl is 20 years of age and previously played for Harlepool United. Last season he played regularly in the Hartlepool reserve side and made one League appearance".

    Northwich Vics say that "Striker Lee Steele who, before he left to join Shrewsbury eight years ago, was a cult hero with the fans, has re-joined the club this morning on a two year deal from Chester City". And the Northwich Guardian confirms that "Lee Steele has returned to Northwich... 'He's the one I wanted to complete the squad', Vics' boss Neil Redfearn told the Guardian. Steele, 33, was released from Chester City yesterday, despite having one year left on his contract. Currently out injured with a hamstring strain, he is hoping to step up his rehabilitation later this week. Redfearn also announced the signings of teenage midfielders Josh Wilson and Jake Johnson on non contract terms for the coming campaign".

    The Halifax Town boss "Chris Wilder is set to sign defender Cortez Belle and striker David McNiven on deals subject to medicals. Belle, who has impressed in his two pre-season games for the Shaymen so far, will provide an extra body at the back with only Adam Quinn as the recognised centre-half available at the present time. The signing of David McNiven will be a boost to the Town boss as he has tried to bring in the proven goalscorer before, however due to his other committments with college hasn't been able to do the right deal for the club". McNiven turned down Altrincham in favour of Scarborough two seasons ago.

    "Martin Foster hopes to be back in action with Rushden & Diamonds soon after ending fears over a lengthy lay-off" according to the Northants Evening Telegraph. The midfielder thought he had broken his left foot in a challenge made just before Northampton Town's second goal...last weekend. Foster is still struggling to be fit for the opener at Woking on Saturday. But he should return later this month along with his former Oxford United team-mate Andy Burgess who is recovering from a knee operation. Foster recalled: 'I knew there was something wrong straight away and when I got inside there was just a big lump around my ankle... I went to hospital and, thankfully, the X-ray came back to show nothing was broken. There is only slight damage to tendons at the top of my foot and ankle. I'm told it usually takes two to three weeks'... Diamonds' boss Garry Hill... was given a big boost when central defender Phil Gulliver resumed training yesterday, less than 48 hours after being carried off on a stretcher...suffering from concussion".

    7 August 2007


    The BBC confirms that "Crawley have been docked six points ahead of the new season after being charged with bringing the Blue Square League into disrepute, reports BBC SCR. The charge relates to financial irregularities at the club, who have failed to confirm the payment of last season's Company Voluntary arrangement. Crawley had gone into administration in June 2006 with debts of nearly £1.4m. The club has also been given a £10,000 suspended fine and a transfer embargo still remains in place. That will not be lifted until payment of their Company Voluntary arrangement has been confirmed. Currently the club has only five eligible players - just four days before the new season kicks off".

    This comes just 72 hours after Crawley Town chairman Victor Marley told his club website "It has been a long road, but today that particular journey has ended. The monies are with the CVA supervisor, and he has at last told us the news we have all dreamed of... We have a number of people to thank and they amongst many have helped us every step of the way. My particular thanks go to the Blue Square Premier League’s heads, namely John Moules, Bill King and Brian Lee respectively who have been very supportive. But I must not forget the Majeed family who have paid every penny that they agreed too. A new season is upon us and we must now all look forward... It’s a great day for Crawley Town Football Club so let’s enjoy the moment".

    Crawley are set to kick off the season with a home game against Stevenage Borough this Saturday.


    On Thursday 16th August at 7.30pm, Altrincham Reserves will play their first game of the season against a Bradford City side comprising the League Two side's Reserves and Under-21 players. Details of admission will be announced in the near future.


    News of our first opponents comes from This is Exeter. "So what can we take out of Exeter City's 1-0 defeat to League One Swindon Town at St James's Park at the weekend?... Firstly, it would appear that City look far more ready for the start of the new season than Paul Sturrock's side - even though Michael Pook's 59th minute goal sealed an undeserved win for the visitors... The game also suggested manager Paul Tisdale will deploy a more attacking formation this season after unleashing a three-man strikeforce in the shape of Adam Stansfield, Richard Logan and Jamie Mackie... Yet Saturday's line-up suggested that Tisdale could be set to start the season by playing three centre-backs, two wing-backs, two holding midfielders and three up front. And, on the evidence of the weekend, who can blame him? With Jamie Mackie giving Swindon real problems down the left, Stansfield providing evidence of the threat he possesses down the right and Logan spearheading the attack down the middle, it looks an exciting prospect. Certainly the back three of Matt Taylor, Rob Edwards and George Friend looks a solid unit, with players capable of passing their way out of trouble instead of lumping the ball upfield. Fans also got a glimpse of new signing Frankie Artus, who was snapped up from Bristol City on a one-month loan. The 18-year-old central midfielder has been drafted in as emergency cover following injuries to Neil Saunders, Wayne Carlisle and Bertie Cozic, coupled with the fact that skipper Matt Gill has to serve a three-match suspension at the start of the campaign. And despite not having trained with his new teammates, the talented teenager showed no fear as he stroked the ball around with nonchalant ease after coming off the bench on the hour. Striker Steve Basham took a further step towards hitting peak fitness ahead of the new season by getting 25 minutes under his belt. And Liam Sercombe, who could well start the season in the engine room alongside Andy Taylor, was given another invaluable run-out. On the down side, defender Taylor suffered an ankle problem to add to City's injury concerns... Exeter City: Marriott, M Taylor, Edwards, Friend (Richardson, 73), Tully, Moxey, Sercombe (Artus, 60), A Taylor (Gill, 80), Mackie (Stamp, 86), Stansfield (Elam, 65), Logan (Basham, 65). Subs not used: Jones, Bye."

    This is Exeter adds that "Paul Tisdale says new signing Frankie Artus has an important role to play in the opening weeks of the season... The 18-year-old played 30 minutes against Swindon and is likely to be thrust straight into the squad for next weekend's league opener at Altrincham. 'He is going to be important in the first few weeks of the season', admitted Tisdale".

    The first fixtures of the new Blue Square Premier are below. According to the official Conference website Altrincham and Halifax Town have no game next Tuesday and the Cambridge U. v Oxford U. match is listed as on that same night rather than Thursday.

    Saturday 11th August

  • ALTRINCHAM v Exeter C.
  • Crawley T. v Stevenage B.
  • Droylsden v Salisbury C.
  • Ebbsfleet U. v Northwich V.
  • Farsley C. v Stafford R.
  • Histon v Burton A.
  • Kidderminster H. v Aldershot T.
  • Oxford U. v Forest Green R.
  • Weymouth v Halifax T.
  • Woking v Rushden & D.
  • York C. v Cambridge U.

    Sunday 12th August

  • Torquay U. v Grays A.

    Tuesday 14th August

  • Aldershot v Torquay U.
  • Burton A. v York C.
  • Exeter C. v Crawley T.
  • Forest Green R. v Weymouth
  • Halifax T. v ALTRINCHAM
  • Grays A. v Woking
  • Northwich V. v Droylsden
  • Rushden & D. v Farsley C.
  • Salisbury C. v Ebbsfleet U.
  • Stafford R. v Kidderminster H.
  • Stevenage B. v Histon

    Thursday 16th August

  • Cambridge U. v Oxford U.

    Above right: The existing floodlight pylons at Moss Lane won't be around for much longer. A completely new installation should be working in time for our first night game on 18th September.


    Links to the Altrincham FC Junior Girls' league tables have now been added to the links panel on the Altrincham FC Juniors' page. The girls' teams play in the South Manchester Girls' Football League.


    In the Manchester Evening News, Droylsden boss Dave Pace said, after the Bloods' 2-1 win at Stalybridge, "I'm confident we're in for a great season because we hardly gave them a kick".

    From NL Daily we learn that "Forest Green Rovers have offered a temporary ground-share option to neighbours Gloucester City after recent flooding problems at their Meadow Park ground. The directors of Gloucester City have agreed strict terms whereby Forest Green retain control of their stadium, especially in relation to decisions which may have to be taken in respect of the pitch and other issues associated with the use of the ground and having done so this will now allow them to play their league fixtures at The Lawn. The precise details of the contract are confidential... These include financial obligations and other conditions by which Gloucester have to abide... The groundshare contract is for a period of twelve months and will be kept under constant review by both clubs and the Blue Square Premier. The over-riding issue in this particular case is a club in dire circumstances, not of their own making, and in all probability, Forest Green were the only club within a reasonable distance who could assist, so on this occasion the club are more than willing to help another club under such circumstances... Forest Green wish to re-iterate that this groundshare partnership has been brought about by influences outside of the control of Gloucester... Whilst the contract is for twelve months, thereby complying with football regulations, it has been expressed by the board at Gloucester City that they will be striving to return to a home in Gloucester, if not Meadow Park, sooner, rather than later".

    At Cambridge United it was reported that "Veteran striker Leo Fortune-West will start against Leicester City in tonight's game. The 36-year-old was released from Rushden & Diamonds last Friday by mutual consent and attracted immediate interest from several clubs, but he trained with the U's squad this morning and will continue his trial... A vastly-experienced 6ft 4ins centre forward, who has cost four clubs a combined total of £400,000 in fees during his 13-year career, Fortune-West includes Rotherham, Brentford, Lincoln, Leyton Orient, Gillingham and Cardiff among the teams he has played for. He joined Rushden last summer after being released by Doncaster Rovers... and he spent the second half of last season on loan at Shrewsbury, scoring seven goals in ten starts and nine appearances from the bench... Meanwhile [manager] Quinn is hopeful that Lee Boylan will be available to play at York on Saturday. The in-form striker dislocated his shoulder at Bedford on Saturday but the joint is responding well to treatment and Quinn commented cautiously, 'He should be OK for Saturday'".

    From the Burton Mail we see that "Burton Albion boss Nigel Clough was disappointed that his side's six-match unbeaten run came to an end in their last pre-season fixture. Albion went down 2-1 to League One neighbours Walsall at the Pirelli Stadium, but Clough insisted: 'I didnt think there was an awful lot between the two teams, especially in the first half when we probably had the best of the play. We were disappointed with the two goals, both 50 to 60-yard balls over the top which we failed to deal with'... Despite losing central defenders Darren Stride and Ryan Austin to injuries, Clough now has no plans to bring in a player on loan as cover. Clough said: 'We've got no more injuries and will have Danny (Holmes) available after the first game, so I think we've got sufficient options without dipping into the loan market at the moment. Jon Shaw did very well for an hour or so as he did on Thursday night, so we could play him. Or we could as we did for the last half-hour (with Aaron Webster at centre half)'... Behind his back four, Clough still is still waiting to hear whether Kevin Poole will be his number one for the coming season - or whether he will be appointed to a full-time coaching role at a Premiership club. Clough said: 'Kevin is still waiting for a decision, so we're still in his hands'. Even if Poole does get the post, it does not commence until the start of next month, so that will give Clough a bit of breathing space to bring in an adequate replacement for the current player of the year".

    This is Weymouth says that "Terras' boss Jason Tindall was sent off as Weymouth lost their final pre-season game to Eastleigh on Saturday... The Weymouth manager was bemused by referee Justin Amey's decision. He said: 'He made some strange decisions which I didn't agree with, and then, with not long of the game to go he sent me off. I was surprised he felt the need to do it'".

    "York City boss Billy McEwan has been offered money to strengthen his team on the eve of the new season" claims This is York. "McEwan... said: 'I still want to bring other players in and my managing director has said if I want to go out and buy a player for decent money then the money is there. It's easy to spend though and it's got to be on the right players'... McEwan's summer-long search for a centre-back has so far proven fruitless, although the return to fitness of former Welsh under-21 international Danny Parslow could allay some of City's concerns in that department. Parslow has missed the whole of City's pre-season campaign with an ankle injury, but played 45 minutes for the youth team on Saturday morning. The City manager will also consider whether to offer trialist defenders Brian Dutton, Carl Jones and Luke Crosser contracts this week. He said: 'There aren't as many centre-backs available as there have been in previous years and I'm not the only manager in that position. Others have struggled to get them in'. Super-sub Onome Sodje scored his fifth pre-season goal against Chesterfield on Saturday, with Craig Farrell also on the scoresheet". McEwen added, "The supporters like Sodje and what he does, but he's only just turned 19. He's still got a lot to learn about the way I like my forwards to play, but he's a genuine boy who's good to work with. He's raw talent and a prospect like Richard Brodie, but they are both very inexperienced... We've brought in strikers with different attributes this season. They might not be as prolific as our previous strikers but Paul Brayson has got a good track record, Chris Beardsley's isn't bad and, although Craig Farrell's isn't terrific, he creates situations for us. They have all got different strengths. Richard Brodie's big, quick and left-sided, which is rare. He's strong and looks after himself. The little fellow (Sodje) is quick and the others can get hold of the ball. Beardsley is strong like a bull. Farrell is a good team player who can be red hot or a bit lazy at other times and we haven't even mentioned young Alex Rhodes, who has his own qualities".


    Leek Town, whose manager Paul Ogden is an ex-Alty player from 1966 and whose assistant is our own groundsman and former Reserves' manager, Neil Brown, once again included some Alty old boys and loanees in their game at Loughborough last Saturday, which they lost 5-2. The Leek line-up included: Ben Deegan, Gary Talbot, Pat McFadden and on the bench were Colin McAllister, Paul Monaghan and John Maloney who have all featured for Alty Reserves over the last couple of seasons.
    6 August 2007


    This summer Altrincham FC is replacing its floodlights and the derelict former Red Robin social club at the 20/20 End of the ground is set for demolition. By a curious coincidence both the floodlights and the social club were inaugurated within seven weeks of each other in 1966 and now meet their end in the same season.

    The first competitive floodlit match at Moss Lane was on Monday, 4th April 1966 in the Cheshire County league, when Alty hosted Witton Albion with a 7.30pm kick off, whilst the new lights are planned to be used in earnest for the first time on Tuesday, 18th September 2007 for the televised match against Cambridge United.

    Located in in the car park behind the away end of the ground, the once-thriving Red Robin social club at Altrincham FC was eventually sold into private hands as a fund raising move at a time of financial difficulty. For the last several years it has fallen into disuse and become an increasingly derelict eyesore. It was perhaps inevitable that the social club venture should end in an unhappy way as it was unwisely opened on an inauspicious date - Friday the 13th of May, 1966. The advert for the opening event indicated that "Gents" would be admitted for £1 and "Ladies" for 10 shillings. The entertainment on offer at the opening was "Cabaret and dancing to top names, bingo, film shows, guest evenings, etc.". Trafford MBC is currently considering a planning application which will see the site built upon for private dwellings.

    The Robins' Review for the match against Buxton on 26 February 1966 included the following illuminating article on the two new faciltities at Moss Lane:

    "Those of you who visited the ground last Saturday for the Cheshire Senior Cup tie with Lostock Gralam were, I am sure, surprised to see the eight towers to carry the new floodlighting had been installed.

    It occurred to me that you might be interested if I went a little more deeply into the scheme to settle all possible arguments and discussions.

    The speed with which the contractors have worked is all the more remarkable when I tell you that each of the towers is sixty feet high, and before they were erected, a concrete bed six feet deep was made to support each one. The secret strength in each tower is the design of the cross struts you see running up them and, should it be necessary, lamps can be quickly replaced by climbing up the special footholds.

    Each of the eight towers will carry eight lamps illuminated by tungsten iodine lights of 1,500 watts each. This will give the ground a total of 64 lamps which, for the electrically minded, means a total power of 96 kilowatts.

    The task of wiring the ground is due to start on Monday. This is a major part of the scheme entailing the cutting of channels to take the cables to all parts of the ground. It is estimated that more than 1,000 yards of wire will be needed, not only to connect the floodlighting, but the many amenity lights to guide you to your seats and to other parts of the ground.

    The contractors are working within their schedule and, providing the weather does not interfere, the whole project should be completed by the end of next month.

    Although I cannot promise anything definite at the moment, it is not beyond the bounds of possibility that a dual ceremony might be on hand.

    The Red Robin Club is rapidly taking shape and it could be that its Gala Opening could coincide with the completion of the floodlighting.

    Moss Lane certainly promises a "bright future".

    The Editor.

    1966 not only saw the installation of new floodlights and the opening of the Red Robin Club but also the lifting of the Cheshire County League championship. With the old lights and social club disappearing in 2007, can we achieve a similar treble by installing new lights, replacing the social club and lifting the Blue Square Premier title this season? Answers on a postcard please.


    In today's youth team trial match between two sides of prospective players for the coming season's Altrincham FC squad, the final score was 5-1 to the "Red" team over the "Yellows". Coach Tony Spilsbury managed the Reds whilst Stelios, a friend of Mark Maddox looked after the Yellows. Manager George Heslop watched the game from the other side of the pitch to assess the players before he names his final squad for the season. He will have some difficult choices to make. Until the latter stages the game had been evenly poised, with the Yellows' Paul Barry having equalised Daniel Killilea's 25th minute strike for the Reds. But four goals in the final 22 minutes, from Killelea, Cosgrave, Clare and Weir sealed the result. Report and pictures in Youth section.


    As reported on this website a few days ago, the average age of the Altrincham FC squad this season is 28. The NL Paper has now done a similar analysis of all the BSP sides' ages and discovered that only Burton Albion has an older average age for its squad than Altrincham. The Brewers' average is almost 29, though two goalkeepers aged 40 and 44 are important elements in that total. The youngest squad is Woking's at an average age of 21.81 years. Currently the Cards' oldest player is just 25. In contrast, Altrincham can boast the player with most Conference-level appearances to his name - that honour goes to right-back Chris Lane (right) who, if he plays against Exeter next Saturday, will be making his 300th Conference appearance. And his Alty team mate Darren Tinson is the fifth most experienced player with 246 appearances whilst Val Owen comes in at number ten with 197. But whilst they have three in the top ten for appearances, Alty have only one player in the top ten by age, that is 37 year-old Darren Tinson, who is joint ninth.


    Former Alty wingman Blake Norton is now with Droylsden, having left Worksop Town, whilst from a few years back, striker Keith Russell played at the weekend for Bromsgrove Rovers.


    Sunday's NL Paper has an extraordinary leading article on Crawley Town. It says "Crawley Town... have paid up their debts and are now free to operate as a club with a clear conscience... Chairman Victor Morley, in his delight, thanks the Conference big guns for their support, cheif exective John Moules, new chairman Brian Lee and immediate past chairman, Bill King. He is right to do do. They could have turned their backs on the club s problems mounted and left them to find their own way out. Marley has praise too for the Majeed brothers [the club's owners] who have paid off their debts as they agreed. The NLP has not always felt well disposed to the Majeeds... but we raise our collective hat to them now. They have done the right thing by the club at last".


    Non-League Today is a new rival to the Non-League Paper which is being launched in conjunction with the Non-League Daily website. The first issue is launched on Sunday August 12th and costs £1.50 at newsagents. It will also have a parallel digital edition available to subscribers at a cost of £10 for 12 weeks.

    The BBC says that "Bury have signed Northwich striker James Dean on a free transfer. Dean, who has signed a one-year deal at Gigg Lane, was transfer-listed by Northwich last month and recently played in a trial game for Halifax. He came on as a substitute for the Shakers in Saturday's 2-0 pre-season friendly victory over Barnsley. 'James is what you would call an old-fashioned centre-forward. He has power and pace, and an eye for goal', boss Chris Casper told Bury's website.

    5 August 2007


    Right: Stephen Rose in action against TNS in a picture kindly supplied by Andrew, webmaster of TNS's excellent Saints Alive website.

    Match report here.

    The excellent Saints Alive website has a report on Saturday's game between Altrincham and TNS. It says that "It took a little slice of luck to deny The New Saints a win at Moss Lane as they proved more than a match for Conference opponents Altrincham".


    Mike Healing of Altrincham FC's sponsorship team would like to invite all Altrincham supporters to sponsor a player for the coming season. To check if your choice is still available, please contact Mike at Moss Lane on 928-1045 or e-mail the Club. It costs £150 and at the end of the season you will receive the player's shirt, signed by him.

    And there are still squares available for sponsorship on the Moss Lane pitch. For details see the Ideas4Alty website.


    Yesterday's Altrincham FC Patrons' Club draw for free match sponsorship hospitality produced the following winners:
    1. Bob Allan
    2. Bryan Ford
    3. John Norbury

    The Club wishes to thank everyone who participated in the scheme , which raises vital funds for the Football Club.


    New mugs, expertly painted by Louise Gregory, who helps in the Club Shop, are available for just £6 from the Robins' Shop at Moss Lane. There are two types of mug, as can be seen from the adjacent photograph. Both mugs have the same design painted on them - each side of the mugs is shown in the picture.


    Alty's league opponents next week, Exeter City had a scout at Moss Lane on Saturday. Meanwhile back in Devon, "Bristol City's 18-year-old midfielder Frankie Artus has signed for Exeter City for one month. The youngster has yet to make his debut for the Ashton Gate side but is highly rated... With Matt Gill suspended for the first three league games, and the injuries to Bertie Cozic and Neil Saunders, City's midfield is short of cover and Artus is bound to feature in the first few games".

    From NL Daily we learn that "Tommy Cassidy, manager of Blue Square North club Workington, is hoping experienced striker Jon Newby will link up with his Borough Park squad. Newby, 28, is a free agent but on trial at Morecambe under Cassidy’s former Northern Ireland team-mate Sammy McIlroy... On Monday Newby partnered David McNiven in the Morecambe attack against the Reds and the pair impressed the Workington manager. Although McIlroy was prepared to allow McNiven to move on loan to the Reds, he looks to be heading to the Blue Square Premier with Halifax Town. Liverpool-born Newby, who made one senior appearance for the Anfield club, has made close on 200 Football League appearances – mainly for Bury – and last January moved from Wrexham to Southport. When Southport were relegated to Blue Square North he was released and has been on trial with Morecambe for the last few weeks".

    "Gary Waddock, manager of Aldershot Town, has named Rhys Day as the captain of the side for the 2007/08 season. Day joined the Shots last summer from Mansfield Town and has also had spells at Manchester City and Blackpool".


    "With a big friendly against Leeds United looming at Nethermoor on Monday, Terry Dolan, manager of UniBond League Premier Division club Guiseley, will use the game to start honing the finer points of his plan for the new season. 'We lost Scott McNiven to Farsley Celtic but he was the only regular first-teamer to move on. We have signed Aaron Wilford [former Alty trialist], a player I had with me when I managed York City, from Whiby Town and former Bradford Park Avenue, Farsley Celtic and Southport man Dominic Krief. They will be good signings for this club. Dominic is a very good midfield player and Aaron can play up front or at the back. I have brought him here primarily to play in defence but he is one of those great assets to a squad because he is a bit versatile'" says NL Daily .


    Alty had an FA Trophy tie and replay with Spalding United five years or so ago. But NL Daily now eports that "Chris Toynton, manager of UniBond League Division One South club Spalding United, has claimed council chiefs have given him a 'cock and bull story' after the Tulips were barred from using their home ground. The Unibond League outfit have been refused permission to use the Sir Halley Stewart Field during pre-season by landlords South Holland District Council (SHDC). Council officials have been carrying out reviews of the ground on a weekly basis and have so far blocked United from training or staging matches at the venue... Toynton said: "I have never experienced a crazy situation like this. It is nothing short of a cock and bull story coming from people who are probably not even qualified to make this sort of decision. We paid for the Lincs FA to come along and conduct a pitch inspection and their representative Peter Camm - who is a hugely respected official - said the pitch was in better condition than he had ever seen it. We definitely get the feeling the council don't like us... Not allowing us onto the ground is taking money from our pockets. When we played Posh the other year we made around £4,000 which is vital revenue for the year ahead. Grimsby had promised to bring a strong side and I am sure a lot of locals would have come out to catch a glimpse of their players and have a look at how our team is shaping up'. SHDC facilities manager Phil Perry says bad weather is the cause of the problem" according to Peterborough Today.


    The ever informative Bullsnews at Hereford reports on a press release issued by the Football League which, while it won't affect us directly, tells us something about the professional game today. There is a "'Fans of the Future' programme which was launched in September 2005. Its main aim is to 'encourage the next generation of supporters to watch live football at their local League club and provides a range of innovative ticketing initiatives for families and young fans'... The new 'Football League Family Charter Mark' represents a further step forward for The League in terms of recognising and sharing best practice in this area. Those clubs receiving the Charter Mark will have provided a genuine commitment to attracting and retaining family groups to their matches... This season the League intend to carry out more research - 'mystery fan exercises' - at every club.... The Football League sends a family to a club as they can sample the whole matchday experience and the FA says that 'These assessments will form part of the criteria used to determine whether clubs qualify for the Charter Mark. Clubs will also be assessed on whether their pricing policies are in line with the spirit of 'Fans of the Future', along with evidence that child protection and safety practices have been implemented. And there will be a 'Family Club of the Year' award".

    Meanwhile the Football League and Premier League have published a set of ground regulations which include the following:

  • Ground Regulation 3: No guarantees can be given by the Club that a Match will take place at a particular time or on a particular date and the Club reserves the right to reschedule the Match without notice and without any liability whatsoever.
  • Ground Regulation 5: All persons seeking entrance to the Ground acknowledge the Club's right to search any person entering the Ground and to refuse entry to or eject from the Ground any person refusing to submit to such a search.
  • Ground Regulation 6: The following articles must not be brought within the Ground - knives, fireworks, smoke canisters, air-horns, flares, weapons, dangerous or hazardous items, laser devices, bottles, glass vessels, cans, poles and any article that might be used as a weapon and/or compromise public safety. Any person in possession of such items will be refused entry to the Ground.
  • Ground Regulation 8: All persons entering the Ground may only occupy the seat allocated to them by their ticket and must not move from any one part of the Ground to another without the express permission or instruction of any steward, officer of the Club and/or any police officer.
  • Ground Regulation 9: Nobody may stand in any seating area whilst play is in progress.
  • Ground Regulation 11: Mobile telephones are permitted within the Ground, provided that they are used for personal and private use only.
  • Ground Regulation 12: Under the Sporting Events (Control of Alcohol etc) Act 1985, the following are offences for which a person can be arrested by a police officer and conviction could result in a Banning Order being made:.. Any individual who has entered any part of the Ground designated for the use of any group of supporters to which he does not belong may be ejected from the Ground either for the purposes of his own safety or for any other reason.
  • Ground Regulation 14: No person (other than a person who holds an appropriate licence) may bring into the Ground or use within the Ground any equipment, which is capable of recording or transmitting (by digital or other means) any audio, visual or audio-visual material or any information or data in relation to the Match or the Ground. Copyright in any unauthorised recording or transmission is assigned (by way of present assignment of future copyright pursuant to section 91 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988) to the Club".
    4 August 2007


    George Heslop, Altrincham FC youth-team manager and company secretary has deservedly been named Altrincham & District FA Volunteer of the Year in recognition of his tireless work at the football club and for the District FA side. Congratulations also go to five of his youth team players who have been selected for the Cheshire County FA's next match. They are Chris Francis, Dominic Lilley, Danny Browne, Alex Murphy and Tom Bailey.

    On Sunday at 2.30pm there is a trial match at Blessed Thomas Holford school, between sides managed by Alty's two coaches, Tony Spilsbury and Gareth Thomas. The game will be closely watched by manager George Heslop to help him determine his squad for the coming season.


    Whilst Matthew Berkeley and Cavell Coo may be new to Altrincham FC, one man at the club had a big hand in their development - Alty groundsman and former Reserves' manager Neil Brown. Both players, as youngsters, played under Neil at Fletcher Moss Junior FC in South Manchester. They both then went to Crewe Alexandra before their careers merged again at Moss Lane this summer. Cavell originally came as a young midfielder to Fletcher Moss but converted to centre-back to get a regular game. After three or four seasons playing in defence, Neil moved him up front where he scored some 60 goals in a season! So Alty's new acquisition is certainly versatile. As well as being at Fletcher Moss, Matty Berkeley was at Manchester United as a youngster and played with a recent Alty trialist Chris Baguley. Cavell was the first to move from Fletcher to Crewe and then Matty followed him on Neil's recommendation to the Cheshire club. Eventually Crewe lent him to Gretna where he was on the bench in the club's recent Scottish Cup semi-final.

    Another player at Altrincham who started out at Fletcher Moss is Warren Peyton, who was in the same junior team as Manchester United's Wes Brown..


    The Leek Town forum reports that Alty's Pat McFadden (right) "has indeed signed for both clubs [Alty and Leek Town] - he signed UniBond forms after the game against Denton. Oggy [the Leek manager] has an arrangement with Graham Heathcote regarding him".


    Today's opponents TNS report that "Pre-season friendlies don't often set the pulses racing, but for three members of The New Saints' entourage, tomorrow's trip to Moss Lane will be a nostalgic occasion. Saints' manager Ken McKenna is still a legend at Altrincham and is sure of a warm reception. In his first season with the club in 1990/1, he scored 33 goals in 56 appearances in all competitions and finished the season with the Robins' Player of the Year award, part of a side that went 28 games without defeat and scored in 10 consecutive games... His contribution to those memorable seasons has never been forgotten. John Toner will also be relishing a return to the club he once played for, although he is unlikely to figure following the injury sustained in the first leg of the Champions League. And the third member of the Moss Lane fan club? None other than yours truly, an Alty fan since his teenage days and witnessing the club's first-ever Cheshire League title win, when the legendary Jackie Swindells scored seven in an 8-1 victory at Chester's Sealand Road to lift the trophy. Football memories don't come much better than that!"


    This is Staffs reports that several ex-Alty players were involved in Leek Town's latest friendly. Leek "rested 17 of his squad, taking just 12 players including seven trialists, one of whom is only 15". But "Midway through the half Leek lost wing-back Ashley Brown [ex-Alty reserves] through injury... The Blues swept into the lead when Paul Monaghan [ex-Alty youth and reserves] found Oliver Edwards, and he delivered a cross into the box where John Maloney [ex-Alty Reserves] drove home". Also in the side was another ex Moss Lane Reserve, Colin McAllister.


    On the day that Leeds United were deducted 15 points for financial irregularities, Crawley Town "are delighted to announce that all monies due under the CVA have been paid... Chairman, Victor Marley, was obviously delighted with the news. Marley said: 'It has been a long road, but today that particular journey has ended. The monies are with the CVA supervisor, and he has at last told us the news we have all dreamed of. They have confirmed that the Football Association and the Blue Square Premier League will be written to today confirming the CVA has been concluded. It was a boost we all needed. We have a number of people to thank and they amongst many have helped us every step of the way. My particular thanks go to the Blue Square Premier League’s heads, namely John Moules, Bill King and Brian Lee respectively who have been very supportive. But I must not forget the Majeed family who have paid every penny that they agreed too. A new season is upon us and we must now all look forward. We have a top class manager in Steve Evans and a young team who give us hopes of a good season. My board of Directors will meet on Tuesday morning and by then I hope we can give our supporters more details. It’s a great day for Crawley Town Football Club so let’s enjoy the moment. The manager and his team are back here tomorrow for the match with Southend United and our only focus now is football'".

    SAM reports that "Altrincham have beaten off competition from bitter rivals Northwich to sign former Premiership star Gareth Whalley. The 33-year-old, who has amassed more than 350 league appearances throughout his career, put pen to paper on Thursday night. Whalley had looked set to join Northwich earlier this week after former Bradford teammate and current Vics manager Neil Redfearn offered him a deal at the Victoria Stadium. But the stylish midfielder opted to go to Alty instead, becoming manager Graham Heathcote's eighth summer signing... A graduate of the Crewe youth academy, Whalley went on to make almost 200 appearances for the Cheshire club before completing a £600,000 move to Bradford in July 1998. The midfielder was a regular in the Bradford side that sealed promotion to the Premiership the following season and then spent two years in English football's top flight".

    Graham Heathcote said, "He's still only 33 so he should have at least a couple of years left in him and his pedigree's there for all to see. Hopefully he will help us to keep the ball better this year because he's a classy midfielder and a good passer of the ball'. Heathcote has been made to work hard for Whalley's signature, having originally spoken to him after the opening preseason friendly against Bury. When Bury director of football Keith Alexander learned about his availability at that game, he invited Whalley for a trial at Gigg Lane. The midfielder's former Bradford teammate, and current Northwich manager, Neil Redfearn also attempted to sign him last week but Alty eventually won the race. 'I've had to be very patient to sign him because I first spoke to him after the Bury friendly', said Heathcote. 'He went down for a trial at Bury and for some reason that didn't work out so we made him an offer. Colin Little's been able to help with it because he played with Gareth at Crewe. He's been letting him know what this club's all about. Luckily for us, Gareth decided to go part-time and we're delighted he chose to come here because he had better offers to stay full-time. But I think he just wants to enjoy his football now and sees Alty as a place he can do that'".

    From Oxford United we learn that "Andy Burgess has been transferred to Rushden and Diamonds, the club he joined United from eighteen months ago. Burgess, who is currently recovering from a knee operation performed on Monday, was a key part of Diamond's rise up the leagues under Brian Talbot and made over 200 appearances for Rushden before joining United in January 2006. In total he made 46 starts plus 11 sub appearances for United, scoring seven times. No fee is involved in the transfer but there is a sell on clause and United would receive a percentage should Andy be sold by the Diamonds". The unoffoicial< href="">This is United adds that "Oxford United director and main financial backer Ian Lenagan has been named as the front-runner to buy Wigan Warriors Rugby League Club. The millionaire Harlequins boss was strongly linked in newspapers in the north-west yesterday after current owner Dave Whelan revealed he is considering selling the club".

    Meanwhile NL Daily says that "Neil Redfearn, manager of Northwich Victoria, has signed his third Vics` old boy. Redfearn has added defender Mark Birch from Scottish Premier newcomers Gretna on a one-year loan deal. Birch, 30, played two seasons at the Drill Field between 1998 and 2000. 'It's an area I've been wanting to strengthen', said Redfearn. 'Mark can play at full back or in the centre so I've added to my options in that area'. Birch signed for Vics from Stoke City in August 1998, making seventy-four appearances in league and cup before switching to Carlisle United for £10,000".

    From Confguide we see that "Rushden & Diamonds have been boosted with news that striker Simeon Jackson has signed a new contract. Despite interest from a number of clubs, the 20-year old put pen-to-paper on new deal at Nene Park which will keep him with Rushden until 2010. Jackson recently received a call-up to play for Canada in the recent U20 World Cup and was in red hot form last season, banging in 20 goals for his club. Manager Garry Hill is delighted... 'We now have Michael Rankine, Tom Shaw, Marcus Kelly, together with Simeon with bright futures ahead of them and it is extremely pleasing that they have all shown their loyalty and dedication to this Club under the management of myself and my coaching team'".

    Weymouth report that "Marcus Browning signed a one year contract with the club as player-coach. Marcus put pen to paper at Thursdays nights Fans Forum, which was broadcasted live on Radio Solent from the Wessex Stadium".

    Nearer to home, Stafford Rangers' "manager Phil Robinson has strengthened his squad with the signing of Chris Flynn. The 19-year-old midfielder has impressed during pre-season after being released by Crewe Alexandra. Flynn progressed through the junior and youth ranks at Crewe and made two appearances. Last season he had a spell on loan at Cambridge United, playing once in a 4-0 victory at Northwich Victoria".

    Rushden & Diamonds confirm that "Leo Fortune-West has today left Rushden & Diamonds FC by mutual consent. The 36 year old striker was signed by Paul Hart in the summer of 2006 after being released by Doncaster Rovers... Leo found his starting opportunities limited at Rushden & Diamonds, starting only twice, whilst coming off the bench ten times. Fortune-West spent loan spells at Torquay United and Shrewsbury during his time at Nene Park".

    Kidderminster Harriers report that "Setanta's Blue Square Premier Director Stephen Cook has admitted that in hindsight he should have picked Kidderminster Harriers for coverage during the channel's first batch of league games... Harriers [are] one of just three teams not selected for a single match. Harriers' manager Mark Yates broached the issue with BSP Director for Setanta Stephen Cook at the League Manager's meeting last week. 'I spoke to Stephen directly and just mentioned that supporters were asking us why we weren't selected for any games when the likes of Oxford and York had several. He admitted that in hindsight he wished he'd included us and every one of the league's teams for coverage, and just that they wanted to get things off strongly in terms of viewing figures and in fairness they've selected teams that attract large attendances so you can see why they've done it.. Cook told Yates that Harriers should 'definitely' receive at least coverage of one home match and one away match in the second batch of fixtures beginning in the middle of November, and possibly further games depending on the team's position". Yates aded, "It could also be a valuable form of revenue if the figures reported recently are correct. York and Oxford who feature heavily in the initial games have already gained an advantage in bringing in extra income".

    Grays Athletic" "have agreed by mutual consent to terminate Tom Williamson‘s contract".

    "Paul Tisdale has ended his interest in the clutch of triallists who have played for Exeter City during pre-season. Former Sporting Braga and Oliviera do Bairro striker Rui Braguinha has left St James's Park after featuring in several pre-season games" says This is Exeter. "Rui has left because he was not what we needed and we are not following up our interest in Ricky Shakes" said Tisdale. "At the moment none of the triallists have stepped forward, it's not that they are not good enough it is more to do with how they fit in to how we play... There are no more plans for any more to come down but if one falls in our lap that is worth looking at then we will do just that."

    The Yorkshire Evening Post says that "Farsley Celtic have suffered a triple whammy ahead of their inaugural Blue Square Premier campaign, with three players breaking fingers in the space of four days. Mark Wilberforce was ruled out for a month on Monday and he is now joined by fellow-stopper Tom Morgan who, like Wilberforce, sustained the injury in the warm-up at North Ferriby United on Saturday. It was initially thought Morgan's digit was just badly bruised but X-rays have now revealed a more serious injury. Midfielder Pat McGuire then broke his finger after falling awkwardly in Tuesday night's 4-1 defeat to Sheffield United at Throstle Nest. Boss Lee Sinnott said: 'Fortunately we haven't suffered any of the soft tissue injuries you can pick up at this time of year, but then this happens. Dealing with the goalkeeping position will now be Sinnott's top priority with Paul Cuss, who contested the number one slot with Morgan last season, seeing his involvement in pre-season curtailed by a heavy work-load. Sinnott will be sitting down with the ex-Huddersfield Town and Emley stopper to check on his availability, but he is also looking back at the market after signing Wilberforce from Scarborough this summer. 'I am actively looking for another keeper because Tom and Mark will be out for four to six weeks', confirmed the Celtic boss".

    At Woking "Defiant Frank Gray leapt to his squad’s defence amid accusations that it’s lightweight. The Woking boss saw his team lose for the third and fourth times in five pre-season friendlies last weekend. A powerful Havant & Waterlooville saw off the Cards 1-0... before Bognor Regis won by the same scoreline the next afternoon. But Gray reckons those worried by Woking’s lack of physicality, and results against lower league opponents, should not be alarmed... 'There will be physical games but I don’t think we’ll get bullied by too many teams', he insisted. 'Winning games doesn’t worry me at the moment. When I was at Grays last year we were losing pre-season games by two goals and I ended up with the manager of the month award and we were top of the league...We will try players in different positions over the next two friendlies. With a small squad we may have to adapt but I’m sure we will be competitive'... The Kingfield chief made Academy product David Shin his 17th senior squad member ahead of the Havant match. Shin, who can operate wide or up front, has signed non-contract terms as he plays by virtue of a student visa awaiting international clearance... [By Saturday] Gray will hope to have a back-up goalkeeper to Nick Gindre in the frame... and he has been encouraged by the return to fitness of defenders Jay Gasson, Adam Green and Tom Hutchinson."

    The BBC reports that "Mansfield have signed former Burton midfielder Lee Bell on a one-year contract, following a successful trial. Bell, 24, had joined the Brewers in January on a deal until the end of the season after leaving Crewe, and has now put pen to paper at Field Mill".

    3 August 2007


    After the three new signings reported below, Altrincham's numbered playing squad for 2007-08 comprises 21 players. 13 of these were with the club at the end of last season. Of the 8 newcomers, two - Colin Potts and Chris Senior - had been at Moss Lane for part of last season, though Chris was only on loan from Halifax Town. The six completely new faces are Darren Tinson, Jake Sedgemore, Chris Lane, Cavell Coo, Matthew Berkeley and Gareth Whalley. The average age of the squad is 28.

    Between them, the 21 players have made 1,689 starts for the club plus 178 substitute appearances and have scored 220 goals. Goalkeeper Stuart Coburn with 348 starts leads the way with appearances, followed by Gary Scott (245+26) and Rod Thornley (183+42). Others to have made 100 or more starts are Stephen Rose (150), Steve Aspinall (149), Colin Little (137) and Val Owen (100). The leading goalscorers are Rod Thornley (79) and Colin Little (68), followed by Steve Aspinall (20).


    Altrincham FC are proud to announce that they have been awarded "Charter Standard" by the Cheshire County FA. "The Charter Standard Scheme is a best practice guide that sets standards of coaching, administration and child protection for all clubs outside the Football League and Premier League. As a benchmark for quality, it will improve the playing experience for all" says the FA website.


    Thursday night witnessed the Altrincham FC annual team photo-shoot, when official pictures are taken of the new squad for use in the media. At the event, it was confirmed that Altrincham had signed two trialists in defender/midfielder Cavell Coo (left) and striker Matthew Berkeley (right). After the photos were taken, manager Graham Heathcote signed former Premiership midfielder Gareth Whalley, stating that it was a "Big signing for the club".

    Above, pictured on Thursday night in the new home kit is the Altrincham FC squad for 2007-08. BACK: Colin Potts, Joe O'Neill, Warren Peyton, Karl Munroe, Stephen Rose, Jake Sedgemore, Darren Tinson. CENTRE: Alan Ainsley (physio), Charles Heathcote (kitman), Val Owen, Robbie Lawton, Matthew Berkeley, Stuart Coburn, George Heslop (youth team manager, company secretary), Richard Acton, Cavell Coo, Chris Lane, Gareth Whalley, Graham Heathcote (manager), Dalton Steele (assistant manager). FRONT: Chris Senior, Pat McFadden, Colin Little, Grahame Rowley (vice-chairman), Geoff Goodwin (chairman), Barry Pond (commercial director), Rod Thornley, Gary Scott, Steve Aspinall.

    Gareth Whalley, who is pictured (right), was born in Manchester on 19 December 1973. He is 5ft 10ins tall and weighs 11st 8lbs. He was released by Swindon Town at the end of last season, having spent two years at the Wiltshire club. Gareth made 28 starts for Swindon whom he joined from Wigan Athletic on a free transfer after making 7(+1) league appearances in the Latics' promotion year to the Premiership. Prior to that he had two years at Cardiff City, making 33(+8) league appearances. In July 1998 he had moved from Crewe, where he had spent six years, to Bradford City in the Premier League for £600,000 and made 116(+17) appearances for the Bantams, before returning to Crewe on loan for a month in 2002 prior to his move to Cardiff. In all he has 341(+20) league appearances to his name. Gareth has been picked for the Republic of Ireland full squad on a number of occasions but has yet to win a cap.

    At Swindon he suffered a series of injuries culminating in an ankle problem before the start of the 2006/07 campaign. Swindon were promoted last season but Whalley was released. Before then he was loaned to Halifax Town and then after his release, he had trials with Bury this summer. Gareth has reportedly attracted recent interest, too, from Northwich Victoria but has wisely opted to come to Moss Lane instead!

    The two signed trialists are:

  • Manchester-born Cavell Coo (d.o.b. 7 August 1987, height 5ft 9ins, weight 11st 3lbs) joins Alty after his release by Crewe Alexandra. Cavell is a left-back or midfielder . He made one substitute appearance for Crewe, against Blackpool, in March 2007.
  • Matthew Berkeley, who is 20 today (d.o.b.Manchester, 3 August 1987), was released by Scottish Premier side Gretna. He spent some of last season on loan at Conference North club Workington, appearing nine times. He will be hugely popular at Moss Lane before he even plays a competitive game because he hit a hat-trick against the old foe, Northwich Victoria, in 2006 and added a fourth in the return fixture. There is even a video of him scoring against Vics on YouTube. He had joined Gretna on 3 October 2003 and was released by the club this summer. He made 1(+14) league appearances for them, scoring twice. He also played a Scottish Cup match for them and scored. This pre-season he has scored three times for Altrincham in firendlies. Matthew is an under-20 international for St Kitts and Nevis.

    The squad numbers for the coming season have now been finalised and can be found on the Squad Page.


    Our opponents on Saturday, TNS (The New Saints FC), must be unique in that they represent two towns, which are in different countries. In 2003 TNS of Llansantffraid-ym-Mechain in Powys, Wales, merged with Shropshire club Oswestry Town, eight miles away. Indeed the club badge incorporates a Welsh dragon and English lion. TNS originally stood for the club's sponsors, Total Network Solutions, the club having been known as Llansantffraid FC from 1959 until 1997. Total Network Solutions was taken over by British Telecom so TNS now stands for The New Saints, as The Saints was the club's former nickname. TNS are the reigning champions of the Welsh Premier League.

    As Alty fans will know, TNS are managed by former Alty striker Ken McKenna, who has enjoyed success with the club and taken them into Europe on several occasions. Ken joined the club in 1999 and became manager during the 2000-01 season. The Saints Alive website reports on the club's recent game in which "A late Gary Brabin goal saved The New Saints' faces at Greenfields as they were held 1-1 by Market Drayton". Brabin was formely with Halifax Town and Southport and is McKenna's assistant manager. The report adds that "A makeshift starting eleven struggled to contain the Midland Alliance outfit and offered little in the way of a cohesive threat going forward". Another ex-Alty man is TNS's leading scorer; he is John Toner, who hit 27 goals last season. John played for Alty in the late 1990s.


    SAM confirms that "Alty have completed a transfer Coo with the signing of a former Crewe defender. Cavell Coo (left) has been handed a deal after impressing during a trial spell at the club. And he will be joined at Moss Lane by another promising young talent, Matty Berkeley (right), who has also put pen to paper after leaving Gretna... Manager Graham Heathcote moved quickly to snap both up as he aims to bring a more youthful appearance to his squad". The paper adds that "Graham Heathcote has almost finalised his squad for the new season after completing the signing of Colin Potts this week.The popular winger originally left Alty in December last year in search of first team football and spent the second half of the season with Conference North side Barrow. But after working extensively on his fitness this summer, Potts earned himself a deal with some impressive performances in Alty's preseason friendlies. Three members of last season's squad, Gary Scott, Rod Thornley and Pat McFadden, also finally signed forms on Monday night... 'That will probably be it at the moment, although we are still looking for a left back and a striker', said the Alty boss. 'We're probably looking at using the loan scenario now if we want to improve our squad at any point during the season. Our squad's going to be made up of combinations of players, with some starting and some coming on as impact players and as long as the players can accept that, that's what our squad will be about. We'll fill positions with pairings, where different players have different attributes, it's as simple as that'".


    SAM reminds us that "One of Altrincham's most famous supporters will grace the hallowed Moss Lane turf on September 30. Australian cricketer Glenn McGrath is set to strut his stuff at the Robins' home ground in a charity match designed to raise money for the McGrath Foundation and the football club. The recently retired fast bowler began following Alty after becoming friends with chairman Geoff Goodwin during the 2005 Ashes, when the Go Goodwins coach firm owner personally drove him and his Australian teammates around the country. After taking in Alty's preseason friendly against Bangor prior to the Old Trafford Ashes Test, many of the Aussie players have followed the Robins from afar and McGrath had no hesitation in returning. Also taking part in the game will be McGrath's cricketing pals Darren Gough, Alec Stewart and Michael Bevan, along with former Manchester United stars Bryan Robson and Clayton Blackmore. The McGrath XI will take on a 'soap stars' team, containing familiar faces from Coronation Street, Emmerdale, Dream Team and Hollyoaks. After the game, McGrath and Gough will be the guest speakers at a dinner" Geoff Goodwin added, "We've formed a sort of alliance with the Australian cricket team and hopefully it's one that will last for some time yet because Shaun Tait is also a big follower of the club and he's part of the future of the [Aussie] team".


    NL Daily says that "Steve Waywell, manager of Blue Square North club Hyde United, has added two more impressive recruits to his squad". One of them is ex-Alty "defender Andy Scott... Left-sided defender Scott signed for Altrincham in late January 2007. He had been at Kidsgrove Athletic since the start of that season". Meanwhile, news of three players with Alty connections in a pre-season game at Barrow in which "neither Peter Thomson nor Kyle Wilson were able to find the back of the net. There was also a place on the bench for midfielder Chris Baguley, formerly with Oldham Athletic, another player Wilson is casting his eye over". Baguley was on trial at Alty till this week.


    The Football Conference says that "Forest Green Rovers have handed youngster Lorcan Sheenan a full-time contract having just turned 18 recently. Sheenan has come through the academy ranks and signed non contract registration forms at the team hotel in Lancaster on Wednesday night. He then took part in Rovers' boss Jim Harvey's Testimonial match which saw Championship Preston North End held to a 1 - 1 draw. Forest Green are targeting at least one more signing before the season kicks off and that position is back up goalkeeper to Ryan Robinson".

    The BBC reports that "Grays Athletic boss Justin Edinburgh has added two more players to his squad for the new season, reports BBC Essex. Former Southend United striker James Lawson has signed a one-year contract... The nineteen year-old had spells on loan with Bournemouth, Grimsby and Dagenham & Redbridge last season. Nineteen-year-old former Bournemouth youth team central defender Jack Haverson has also joined... on a one-year deal."

    "Burton Albion manager Nigel Clough has been dealt another injury blow... Centre-back Ryan Austin will miss the start of the season - and could be out for a month - after twisting his ankle against Gresley Rovers on Tuesday night" reports the Burton Mail. "He joins skipper Darren Stride (knee) on the sidelines, prompting Clough to consider a loan swoop as defensive cover. Clough told Mail Sport: 'Ryan went over on his ankle at Gresley and will definitely miss the start of the season. Nothing is broken but it will still be the best part of a month until he is back. It is a blow for us, because he is the same position as Darren Stride, so I may well get someone in on loan... It is a bit of a concern as, with Danny Holmes suspended for the opening game of the season, we are without three players already".

    The Northwich Guardian claims that "Chester City can't sign [Vics'] Carlos Roca because their existing players earn too much. The FA today told City they had broken salary rules, meaning manager Bobby Williamson must sell before he can buy. Until he does Roca will stay put. 'We have already addressed the situation by placing Lee Steele and Sean Hessey on the transfer list', chairman Stephen Vaughan told the club's official website. 'However we haven't had any firm offers for them'. Neil Redfearn told the Guardian earlier this week he wanted to sign former Vics forward Steele, 33, possibly in a player-plus-cash switch for Roca. He is unlikely to sign the player outright. 'Until we have made room in our allowable financial budget, we can't sign any new players', added Vaughan".

    2 August 2007


    Alty vice-chairman Grahame Rowley writes that the Club's Patrons' Scheme now has 92 members but he would like to see it reach 100 - or more - if possible. The scheme greatly helps the club's finances and you have a chance to win free match sponsorship and hospitality - details are here. There will be a draw for all Patrons to win the above prizes at the home game against Grays on August 25th.


    Trafford Borough Council is now in receipt of the following planning application for the car park at Moss Lane: "H/ARM/67567 Former Chequers nightclub, Moss Lane Altrincham . Erection of residential development comprising 12 townhouses and 2 flats over two detached garage blocks; formation of access road with new access to Moss Lane; erection of 2.5 metre high wall and fence along western boundary and erection of 2.5 metre wall and 1.8 metre high railings along Moss Lane frontage (Application for approval of reserved matters pursuant to outline planning permission H/LPA/OUT/62844). Applicant Arley Homes Ltd, The Old Rectory, Rectory Lane, Warrington, Cheshire WA2 8TD ".


    Alty entertain Exeter City a week on Saturday and This is Exeter claimed yesterday that "Paul Tisdale is likely to rest several of his first-team players when Exeter City travel to Yeading & Hayes for a pre-season friendly tonight. The Grecians have been hit by a number of injuries during pre-season and the City boss will not want to risk players picking up further knocks ... Danny Seaborne has been ruled out until Christmas with a fractured right leg following a strong tackle from Bodmin's ex-Tiverton player Steve Ovens... Bertie Cozic has been struggling with a stomach injury and is unlikely to feature until September, while Lee Elam, Wayne Carlisle, Jamie Mackie and Steve Basham are all recovering from injuries. Tisdale is more likely to use Saturday's home match against League One side Swindon Town to field the majority of the players who will start at Altrincham in the first game of the new Blue Square Premier season next weekend"


    When Alty played Trafford recently in pre-season, former Alty youth keeper Tom Reid was carried off whilst keeping goal for Trafford with a suspected borken leg. It is good to see that the injury was not as bad as that and Tom was keeping goal again for Trafford last Tuesday in a 2-1 win against FC United. Other ex-Robins in Trafford's side were Sean Smith, Mike Turner, Scott Metcalfe, Simon Woodford, Ben Ashmole, Wes Wilkinson and Dion Depeiaza. Wes Wilkinson scored one of Trafford's goals.

    In a recent friendly which ended, Curzon Ashton 1 Northwich Victoria 2, "Sub Josh Mitten halved his side's arrears with an accomplished lob".


    The website has received the following message from the Weymouth FC programme editor, Ian White. "I am really pleased you survived again, as I do enjoy our encounters. My reason for e-mailing is because I am running a competition that can benefit your club and is a lot of fun for your fans. I have been doing a Fantasy Non-League competition for some 9 years and my latest version has been running in the Non-League Paper for 2 seasons and it is about to start its 3rd season in a week or so. A new version of my competition is being launched this month on the internet. You stand the chance of winning some major cash prizes both at the end of the season and as a Manager of the Month and you can even win £100 for finishing bottom. I am this introducing this season the chance to run your own mini-league as well as playing in the main Fantasy league. For every fan from your club that enters the competition your club will receive £2. Please take a look at my website and see what you think".


    The Football Conference says that "Rushden & Diamonds have announced the signing of well-travelled defender Dean Howell on a one-year contract. The 26 year-old has featured in pre-season friendlies against Nottingham Forest, Ipswich and Luton Town and put pen-to-paper before Tuesday night's 3-2 win over Tottenham Hotspur XI. Howell is a natural wing-back who can also push forward to play in the left-wing position and he will link-up with Diamonds boss Garry Hill for a second time. He played under Hill during his spell at Weymouth before signing for Grays Athletic in January this year".

    "Chester chairman Stephen Vaughan has revealed that the club have made an enquiry for Northwich Victoria midfielder Carlos Roca. The 22-year-old joined the Blue Square Premier outfit from Oldham last season and has been watched by Chester boss Bobby Williamson. Northwich themselves have made an inquiry about Chester's transfer-listed striker Lee Steele and Vaughan is hoping that a package for Roca involving Steele can be agreed. 'Bobby Williamson has seen Roca on a couple of occasions and he is of the opinion that he would improve our existing squad', he told the Liverpool Daily Post. 'We are aware that another club is showing an interest in the player, so hopefully the packages that we offer to the player and Northwich will tip the scales our way'".

    The Conference also reports that "Torquay United have secured the loan services of Millwall forward Chris Zebroski until the end of the year... The 20-year-old has scored three goals in 15 starts since moving to the Lions last summer and spent time on loan at Oxford United last season. 'Chris played in the play off final for Oxford United against Exeter City at the end of last season', chief executive Colin Lee told the club's official website.... 'Chris done very well in his first game against Exeter earlier on in the season, I was actually there watching that game as well. Chris has come to us on loan, he is here until the January window. We will be looking at it again in the January window to make this a permanent move. We would have liked to have done that now, but Chris chose to come on loan in this period of uncertainty'".

    The Crawley Observer reports that "Crawley Town's pre-season training camp has been paid for by a sponsor. Staffsmart Ltd have put in a five-figure sum to allow Reds to enjoy state of the art conditions to sharpen their fitness and skills. Steve Evans said: 'I would like to thank their marketing dorector Michael Chinn for his superb support. Last year we (Boston Utd) shared the complex with Portsmouth and this year we are sharing it with a Dutch club from their Premiership. It's more about getting the lads to a level of fitness and sharpness'". Staffsmart's business reportedly includes supplying foreign labour to the agricultural industry and the company also sponsors Boston United, Boston Rugby Club and Boston Barracudas Speedway and Kings Lynn Football Club". Meanwhile the Crawley Argus reports that "Crawley are set to sign trialist striker Jamie Cook on a permanent basis.The 28-year-old former Oxford United and Boston frontman is expected to agree terms once Reds return from a four-day training camp this week. Cook...has impressed manager Steve Evans enough to make him his tenth summer signing. Evans said: 'I know him from his time at Boston and he was one of the fittest players we had'... Evans wants to further strengthen his squad before the Conference premier kick-off on August 11. But he says he will have to wait until the club's remaining debt is paid off to bring in more reinforcements. He said: 'I'm confident the CVA (club's debt) will be settled by the time we return from the training camp. When I then get the green light, we will probably be looking to bring in a couple of loan signings'".

    "Grays Athletic have completed the signing of midfielder Mark Marshall", reports BBC Essex. "Marshall left Carshalton Athletic at the end of last season and had a trial with Reading earlier in the summer. But the Royals did not follow up their interest and the 20-year-old has signed a one-year contact with Grays".

    The Burton Mail says that "Albion's hopes of securing the services of Crewe Alexandra goalkeeper Stuart Tomlinson in the event of Kevin Poole leaving the Pirelli Stadium appear to have suffered a blow... With first choice keeper Ben Williams [an ex-Alty loan player] suffering from a dead leg, Crewe technical director Dario Gradi has suggested Tomlinson will be staying at Gresty Road. He told the club's official website, 'We had considered letting Stuart go out on loan, but it looks as though he will be staying here to compete for the number one spot... I don't think there is too much to choose between him and Ben'... Clough, however, remains confident of replacing Poole should he need to and hinted they may take another of Crewe's keepers, with Owain fon Williams emerging as a possible signing. He said 'It may not be Stuart, but they have three keepers'".

    From the Cambridge News we learn that "Liam Hatch is wanted by Jimmy Quinn to complete Cambridge United's frontline. The Barnet striker, pictured, has emerged as the United manager's main target to add to his strikeforce for this season. Hatch, 25, started out with Gravesend & Northfleet before being signed by the Bees four years ago for £23,000. The 6ft 3in forward's goals helped fire Barnet to the Nationwide Conference title and into the Coca-Cola League in 2005. Quinn, who has previously expressed an interest in Hatch's club-mate Giuliano Grazioli, said: "I know all about Liam and he's a tremendous player. He'd be a good player for Cambridge United, but I know there are three or four other clubs after him as well. 'I'm interested in him, but there are a lot of things that come into play. I think Barnet would want a fee for him, so there's the question of how much he'd cost and also how much the lad wants for himself'".

    Halifax Town report that "Manager Chris Wilder will take a look at 19 year old defender Theo Streete in the pre-season match at Bradford Park Avenue... Streete, who is currently withDerby County, spent loan spells at Rotherham United and Doncaster Rovers last season making a total of 10 league appearances with 1 goal. WIlder is working on trying to get Cortez Belle signed up but no deal has been reached as yet".

    1 August 2007


    Courtesy of Altrincham FC Youth manager George Heslop, in the youth section, there are now brief reports on the semi-final and final of the international Umbro Tournament in which the club reached their group final for the first time and were only beaten there by a team whose average age was almost two years more than their own. George would like to thank his players, the coaching team of Tony Spilsbury, Gareth Thomas and Mark Maddox's coaching friend, Stelios, together with Chris Rowley for all their efforts during the three day competition.

    Congratulations go from all at Altrincham FC to George, his players and coaching staff for this magnificent achievement.

    The youth team are playing a trial match this Sunday at BTH at 2.30pm when two sides made up of next season's hopefuls will play each other. One side will be managed by Tony Spilsbury whilst fellow coach Gareth Thomas will manage the other side. Manager George Heslop will oversee proceedings and try to finalise his squad for the league season which starts on 19th August.


    Right: Darren Tinson and Karl Munroe were Alty's central defenders at Marine last Saturday.

    There were some interesting insights from Graham Heathcote in Monday's Robins' Review. The Alty manager wrote, "The level of fitness that we are going to require is quite high and everyone needs to be at that level in order to give us greater options. That often means playing formations [in pre-season] that you probably wouldn't in the actual season... Overall I have been quite happy with our fitness levels... Long term we will have the benefit of it... Over the next two weeks we will be looking to do sharper training... After tonight's game the squad will be finalised as much as it can be and I know we still need a couple of players. They may have to be loan players; we'll just have to see. For sure we will have to be aiming for 60 points and that's a big ask and it will take the use of a squad of players over the season. That's what the players will have to understand... The days of a player having to play all the time are gone. Our fitness levels have to be up to the required level for the whole 90 minutes, often twice a week.That's why it is so important to know how to play to a system and keep the ball".


    From IC Wirral we read that "Tranmere Rovers may yet have to pay a price for last night’s pre-season friendly victory over Altrincham at Moss Lane. A 63rd-minute goal by Craig Curran earned Tranmere a fifth victory in seven warm-up games this summer. But central midfielders John Mullin and Steve Jennings were forced out of the action either side of half-time after taking knocks in a contest marked by several sharp challenges... Ben Chorley, another player attempting to sharpen up his fitness following a recent lay-off, had better luck. The centre-back was a strong and steady influence alongside 17-year-old Ashton Taylor at the heart of the Rovers’ rearguard... Referee Anthony Taylor waved away Altrincham’s strong appeals for a penalty two minutes later when Cavell Coo went sprawling under a challenge from Michael Johnston".


    Alty kick off the new season a week on Saturday at home to Exeter City. From This is Exeter comes news that "Paul Tisdale admits Exeter City's search for a new assistant manager has taken longer than he would have like... Rumours have been rife that Garry Haylock was being lined up as a potential successor to Paul Buckle, who quit St James's Park to become the manager of Blue Square Premier rivals Torquay United at the end of last season. But it is understood that Haylock wanted to continue with the job of managing Yeading... 'We are speaking to a number of people and I have got to be honest, it has all been a lot slower than I would have liked', said Tisdale... 'But what I would say is that someone will be in place before the season starts. We have had some good applicants come in, but I have got to be perfectly happy about working with them. That is not just their personality, but taking into account what they can bring to the club... But I have got Steve Perryman alongside me as a confidant and an advisor and there are other people at the club who do really good things and I have to be careful I am not replicating other people's jobs... And then there are the senior players like Rob Edwards, Matt Gill, Andy Marriott and the way I run things, they are given responsibility to step forward'... Meanwhile, the City boss has spoken again of his disappointment with the injury to Danny Seaborne. The defender has been ruled out until Christmas with a fractured right leg following a horror tackle from Bodmin's ex-Tiverton player Steve Ovens in a pre-season friendly... Tisdale [has] pencilled in a September return for Bertie Cozic and looked forward to welcoming back the French midfielder. He said: 'Bertie has had surgery and it will be a month until he is ready to play games. So he will be back around mid-August,which will be good, he will be lacking in fitness of course so you are looking at a few weeks after that'".

    Alty's first away opponents are Halifax Town, where the Courier reports "Hitman Andy Campbell has vowed to pull out all the stops to fire Town to success... 'It's a really important year for me as a footballer and as a person', said Campbell... 'I picked up one or two niggles towards the end of last season as I hadn't trained for a few months because of the injury but I'm fully fit now and I just can't wait for the season to start...I've just got that little bit of spark back and that belief in Andy Campbell. That's what I need and I just want to kick on this year. If I can bang in 10, 15 or maybe more goals, then we will be winning football matches so it benefits both myself and the club'".


    Hereford's Bullsnews reports that "They may just have been relegated from League Two and had a change of ownership, but Torquay United look to be doing everything possible to keep their club alive and kicking. They don't want it to be nine years in the Conference as it was for Hereford United. This afternoon Soccer AM's Helen Chamberlain paid the club a visit. She's admits to being a Gulls fan and was pictured modelling a home top with a scarf bearing the slogan we'll be back... 'There just seems to be such an air of positivity around the club and I just can't wait for the new season... I think we are going to have an eye opener of a season!' said Chamberlain. Meanwhile striker Chris Zebroski has joined the Gulls from Millwall on loan until January. Zebroski had been on trial at Hereford. They have also signed Tim Sills, recently released by Hereford".

    "Chester are negotiating a player exchange with Northwich, sending striker Lee Steele to the Vics in exchange for midfielder Carlos Roca" says Bullsnews.

    The Burton Mail says that "Albion manager Nigel Clough is resigned to being without injured skipper Darren Stride for the start of the forthcoming campaign. Stride suffered a knee injury in an early pre-season friendly at Burscough, which has now been confirmed as ligament damage. The 31-year-old midfielder is expected to be out for at least a month - or longer. Clough told Mail Sport: 'We are counting him out of the start of the season. He could be fit by the end of August, or it could be longer... A bit of ligament has come away from the bone in his knee. It might heal naturally with a few weeks' rest, or alternatively it could require some injections or a small operation'".

    From the Yorkshire Evening Post we learn that "New Farsley Celtic signing Mark Wilberforce is set to miss the start of the season after fracturing a finger. The injury was sustained duiring the warm-up for Saturday's pre-season friendly at North Ferriby United when the former Scarborough stopper caught his fingers in the turf. Fellow-goalkeeper Tom Morgan also missed the match after injuring himself in similar circumstances, though his finger is just badly bruised. Morgan will have a fitness check before tonight's pre-season friendly against a Sheffield United XI at Throstle Nest, while boss Lee Sinnott will also check on the availability of Paul Cuss. But if neither can make it, Sinnott said defender Scott McNiven - who kept a clean sheet in the 3-0 win at Ferriby - will not be called on again. Sinnott said: 'Scott's asked if he'll be playing in goal, but we'll let him off. We will make a decision on Tom tomorrow, and I am not sure whether Paul Cuss is available. If he can't make it because of work commitments we do have a couple of goalkeepers in the Academy system who we can call on. It won't do them any harm to see how things operate in the first team. Mark went to the hospital yesterday and has been told it will be a three or four week job, so it's relatively straightforward. It's something we could do without but that's why we have a big squad. I am philosophical about these things'".

    "Defender Jon Munday became manager Mark Yates' sixth signing of the summer for Kidderminster Harriers" confirms the Kidderminster Shuttle. The 19-year-old impressed the manager with improving performances in friendlies... He signed a one-year contract with Harriers on Monday and will be aiming to keep the pressure on defenders Mark Creighton and Stuart Whitehead... Munday started as a trainee at Queens Park Rangers but was released... Assistant manager Neil Howarth said: 'He can play in a number of positions but his favoured one is in defence'. Harriers have released trialists Shane Paul, John Adams and Rob Pacey after they failed to impress over the last three games. But French attacking midfielder Amar Boukhalfa will continue to train with the squad and Yates is keeping his options open on him". Alty matchday announcer Steve Raftery will be pleased if they sign him!

    The Northants Evening Telegraph claims that "Kevin Hales isn't expecting Rushden & Diamonds to feel the full benefits of their summer schedule until the middle of this season... Diamonds have played six times over the last three weeks, including once at a training camp in Portugal. But assistant manager Hales believes all the hard work will eventually pay off over the next few months. He said: 'We have been concentrating on our fitness levels. We will get into a lot more ball work and different aspects like team shape as we go along. We worked really hard last week by training twice a day in the heat and most of the players got 90 minutes against Luton Town on Saturday. Pre-season training is always the most important part of the year. However you will probably not get the benefit until December or January'. Summer signing James Krause is set to return after a slight knee injury ruled him out at the weekend. Trialists Dean Howell and Kevin James should also feature again with Spurs fielding a mixture of first-team squad members, reserves and highly-rated youngsters" in a friendly game.

    At Oxford This is United reports that "United skipper Phil GIlchrist's hopes of being ready for the start of the campaign have been dashed. Gilchrist broke down in training yesterday as he continued to build-up his fitness following knee surgery in the summer... 'He won't be fit for the start of the season', said Jim Smith. 'He broke down in training and that's not a good sign. It's difficult to say what is wrong'... However, there is better news about fellow centre back Chris Willmott. The ex-Northampton defender, who had a knee operation earlier this year is set to play his first game since December when United visit Oxford City... Meanwhile, Smith was pleased with United's display in the 2-1 home defeat against Luton... He said: 'Matt Day was a big plus. He has done extremely well – I think he's been our best player in pre-season'. Smith said French defender Arthur Gnohere would be given another run out... 'He showed us things we know he has got'" said the Bald Eagle!