an unofficial website

December 2007

31 December 2007


Central defender Ryan Shotton (right) has rejoined Altrincham on a further loan from Stoke City. Ryan, whose initial three-month loan ended on 15th December could not rejoin till 1st January 2008 and he now now stays at Moss Lane till the end of the season.

Also, today, Altrincham FC have signed two other loan players. They are utility player Ryan Toulson who arrives on a season-long loan from Halifax Town. The Halifax website which also describes him as a striker says that Ryan (dob 18/11/85), a "locally born player had become a permanent fixture in the right back position this season but Chris Wilder is eager to make changes to his defence". He has made 16(+3) appearances for the Shaymen this season.

The other signing, on a 93-day loan to April 2nd 2008 (not a month's loan as the club originally announced) is from Macclesfield Town. He is left-back James Jennings (dob 2/9/87) who made 5 starts and 7 sub appearances for Macc. His only first-team appearance this season was an outing as a used sub. He is 5ft 10ins tall and weighs 12st 2lbs. According to the Macclesfield Town website, "JJ initially attended Manchester Citys academy, but after he was released at 15 he joined Macclesfield's Centre of Excellence where he played for the Under 16s team before becoming an apprentice at the Moss Rose. At the beginning of the 2006/07 season JJ was offered a contract by Brian Horton, he is hoping to make an impression and become a regular in the side".

A Championship-club striker whom Graham Heathcote had hoped to sign will not now be coming to Moss Lane as he has been recalled to his club's matchday squad.

The squad numbers of the new players are given below in a complete list of the current Altrincham FC squad. Tom Bailey's number has been changed from 14 to 26 but fellow youth team member, Dominic Lillie, named in the Cheshire Senior Cup squad in November does not have a squad number.

  • 1. Stuart COBURN
  • 2. Steve ASPINALL
  • 3. Gary SCOTT
  • 4. Karl MUNROE
  • 5. Darren TINSON
  • 6. Jake SEDGEMORE
  • 7. Robbie LAWTON
  • 8. Val OWEN
  • 9. Colin LITTLE
  • 10.  
  • 11. Warren PEYTON
  • 12. Joe O'NEILL
  • 13. Richard ACTON
  • 14. Tom CAHILL (loan)
  • 15. Chris LANE
  • 16. Ryan SHOTTON (loan)
  • 17.  
  • 18. Pat McFADDEN
  • 19. Chris SENIOR
  • 20. Danny BROWNE
  • 21.  
  • 22. Carlos LOGAN
  • 23. Ryan TOULSON (loan)
  • 24. James JENNINGS (loan)
  • 25. Liam KING (loan)
  • 26. Tom BAILEY
  • Dominic LILLIE

    By way of a taster for the end of year statistical review, which will appear here shortly, below is the list of most individual appearances for Altrincham FC in the calendar year 2007:
  • 50 by Robbie Lawton (right), 44 being in league games
  • 47(+2) by Warren Peyton, 40(+2) being in league games
  • 43(+2) by Colin Little, 36(+2) being in league games
  • 40 by Stuart Coburn, 35 being in league games
  • 38(+10) by Joe O'Neill, 33(+8) being in league games
  • 30(+12) by Chris Senior, 24(+12) being in league games


    IC Cheshire reports on our next opponents Northwich Vics. It says that for Saturday's defeat at Rushden, manager Dino Maamria "made several changes from the side that won easily at Altrincham, restoring Natt Kerr to the defence and Mike Carr to midfield. Adam Morning was given his first start and Jake Speight returned from his long injury lay with an eager appearance from the sub’s bench... Vics: Tynan; Rusk, Kerr, Welch, Brown; Williams, Wilson (Byrne 77), Carr, Morning; Farquharson (Speight 63), Akins".


    Rod Thornley was on the mark again for Witton at the weekend. Our neighbours Trafford sadly went out of the FA Vase at Consett on Saturday. Managed by former Alty man Ged Kielty, Trafford had former Alty Youth keeper Tom Read in goal, whilst Wes Wilkinson and Simon Woodford were other ex-Robins in the team. Former Alty Youth Dion Depiaza was a used sub.. Other old boys were in action at the weekend in the UniBond League where Curzon Ashton met FC United. NL Daily reports that "a loose ball by Curzon's Chris Curley [ex-Alty youth] inside his own 18 yard area fell to Aaron Burns [ex-Alty trialist] who forced keeper David Carnell into a save... [ex-Alty] Jamie Baguley wasted a free kick from a good position, driving the ball straight at Carnell". With FC leading 1-0 "Curzon conceded a corner on their left which was driven in by Jamie Baguley. The home defence failed to deal with the danger and this time Nugent turned goal poacher, knocking the ball into the back of the net from 8 yards".


    New Year's Day
  • Through the Years from Howard Watts.
  • Aldershot T. v Woking
  • Burton A. v Stafford R.
  • Crawley T. v Oxford U.
  • Droylsden v York C.
  • Ebbsfleet U. v Grays A.
  • Halifax T. v Farsley C.
  • Histon v Cambridge U.
  • Kidderminster H. v Forest Green R.
  • Northwich V. v Altrincham
  • Stevenage B. v Rushden & D.
  • Torquay U. v Exeter C.
  • Weymouth v Salisbury C.


    Our opponents Oxford United are the subject of a report in the Oxford Mail which says, "United boss Darren Patterson says Gary Twigg's departure will release some useful money in the January transfer window. Former Airdrie striker Twigg returned to Scotland at the weekend for family reasons... Patterson is understood to have lined up two or three players to come in next month... Priorities for the U's boss are surely a striker with an established goalscoring record and a creative midfielder... 'We can't keep anybody who's not happy, family-wise' he said [of Twigg], 'He couldn't settle and has had a lot of bad luck with injury... It releases a bit of money, yes. I'm working hard to see what we can do on that front... The chairman's been very positive in backing me in what I'm doing, so we'll see what happens'... Patterson preferred to look at the positives of another excellent defensive display rather than dwell on the team's difficulties in finding the net. They have managed just 30 goals in 30 matches this season".

    Meanwhile, "Recalled centre back Mickey Corcoran believes the U's can build on their back-to-back shut-outs, even though there was some disappointment that they couldn't make it a perfect Christmas by beating Kidderminster. 'It's always good to keep a clean sheet and that's two in two for us now', he said.... Corcoran only got his chance because Luke Foster was serving a one-match ban, and the Ulsterman may have to drop back down to the bench again at Crawley tomorrow with Foster available again".

    Saturday, January 5th:

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

    Monday, January 7th

  • Torquay U. v Burton A

    Tuesday, January 8th

  • Altrincham v Kidderminster H
  • Oxford U. v Weymouth

    30 December 2007


    Altrincham manager Graham Heathcote has today (Sunday) announced the release of midfielder Gareth Whalley. Gareth, who joined Alty at the start of the season had made 10 starts and 6 substitute appearances for Altrincham. His availability was limited by a series of injuries and illness and currently he is unfit with an ankle problem which could rule him out of action for some time. In these circumstances, Graham has reluctantly released him as he strives to turn around the club's fortunes on the field. Altrincham FC thanks Gareth for his services and wishes him well for his future career.

    Indeed, it has been a very busy festive season for the Altrincham manager as he has confirmed that he hopes to have five new players available on New Year's Day. Two are already signed, as has been previously announced. They are two loan players from Rotherham United - Liam King (defender/midfielder) and Tom Cahill (striker). The other three are a central defender, a utility player and a left-back whose names will be released as the arrangements are confirmed. However, the appearance of these three players is subject to the registration paperwork being completed by the authorities in time. Graham also indicated that more player movements could be expected in January.

    The Alty boss also confirmed that he will be meeting chairman Geoff Goodwin next weekend to discuss "the big picture" at the football club.


    Alty captain Darren Tinson told the NL Paper after yesterday's game, "I certainly think we have to bring in new players to get us out of this position. We have a small squad and the players that have gone haven't been replaced. I'm really disappointed to lose 5-1. We certainly played against a good side today but I think the scoreline flattered them. We had plenty of the ball in the final third but some mistakes by us and good finishing won it for them".


    Alty's former Reserves' manager Neil Brown has taken a further two players with Alty connctions to Abbey Hey, where he is now manager. They are Steve Downes, who kept goal for Alty in some of our pre-season friendlies this year, and former Alty Reserves' captain Keith Wedge.

    Bullsnews reports that "Chester have circulated the names of five players to free up funds for new signings. {ex-Alty man] Phil Bolland, Sean Hessey, Ashley Westwood, Kevin Sandwith, and Dean Bennett have all been told their futures lie elsewhere. Bolland has trained with Wrexham, while Hessey, Westwood, and Bennett have all been out on loan in the first half of the season. Sandwith has featured for the first team only once in two months. Chester have had a £50,000 offer for Vauxhall Motors striker Paul Taylor rejected. The former Man City trainee has scored 15 times in 22 games in the Conference North this season".

    29 December 2007


    Altrincham's away game at Torquay United has been rearranged for Tuesday 26th February at 7.45pm. Four days later Alty go down the M5 to Devon again to play at Exeter City.


    This was not quite the one-sided contest that the final score suggests, though there was a difference in class between the sides epitomised by costly individual mistakes by Altrincham players and clinical finishing from their Stevenage counterparts.

    Match report here.

    Right: Darren Tinson was a worthy Man of the Match for Altrincham against Stevenage and he is seen here receiving his award from Brian Flynn.

  • League table
  • Alty line-ups
  • Alty player statistics

  • ALTRINCHAM 1 Stevenage B 5
  • Cambridge U 0 Burton A 0
  • Exeter C 2 Histon 1
  • Farsley C 1 Crawley T 5
  • Forest Green R 3 Droylsden 2
  • Grays A 2 Aldershot T 1
  • Oxford U 0 Kidderminster H 0
  • Rushden & D 1 Northwich V 0
  • Salisbury C 1 Halifax T 0
  • Stafford R 0 Ebbsfleet U 1
  • Woking 0 Torquay U 1
  • York C 2 Weymouth 0


    George Heslop has kindly provided current details of the Altrincham FC Youth Team player statistics for this season as well as a North West Youth Alliance Premier Division results grid. Both can be found in the Youth Pages.


    According to the Manchester Evening News, "Under-fire Altrincham boss Graham Heathcote (left) will hold crisis talks with chairman Geoff Goodwin early in the New Year after being hit by the loss of his assistant, Dalton Steele (right). Ex-Droyslden chief Steele has quit... in the wake of Alty losing their home Boxing Day basement battle with neighbours Northwich... Heathcote, who described the defeat by Vics as 'my lowest point of the season so far', says he will soldier on alone for the time being. But he will discuss his own position with Goodwin when the latter returns from holiday in just over a week. 'Dalton was very frustrated, as I am, and it might be best that I, too, step aside to make way for a fresh face' said Heathcote... 'My priority is to get players in during the January transfer window. But it may be that a simpler solution would be for me to go and allow the club to bring in a new manager with a different approach'".


    The BBC says that for Saturday's game at Moss Lane manager "Peter Taylor will be hoping that his Stevenage side continue their decent run of form. Taylor has no new injury worries but strikers Tes Bramble and Oliver Allen are still sidelined and Mitchell Cole is struggling with an ankle injury". Alty, of course, will be without the suspended Chris Senior and the injured Val Owen. Karl Munroe, who limped off on Saturday, should be fit.

    Stevenage Borough "travel to Altrincham this Saturday afternoon looking to extend their recent league unbeaten run to four games. A draw at Nene Park on Boxing Day allowed Cambridge to leapfrog Borough into third in the Blue Square Premier, but with the U’s facing a tricky game versus Burton Albion it is an ideal opportunity for Peter Taylor’s men to take all three points at struggling Altrincham and maybe return to third position. Borough have not been at their best recently away from Broadhall Way, indeed a win in Cheshire on Saturday would only be Peter Taylor’s second away win as Borough manager. However with players finally making their way back from injury and concentration now firmly on promotion to the Football League their form will undoubtedly improve, hopefully starting this weekend. Graham Heathcote’s Altrincham are certainly struggling for form this season. Just three victories from twenty two games have left them struggling for their Blue Square Premier survival, and even their Boxing Day clash against fellow basement boys Northwich saw them slump to a 2-1 defeat. Assistant manager Dalton Steele resigned following that game... Recent injuries and suspensions mean that Altrincham are down to just fourteen fit first-team players for this game... A red card for Chris Senior for violent conduct rules him out suspended. Former York striker Joe O’Neill is likely to start with youth team product Tom Bailey an alternative possibility. Val Owen (injury) and Richard Acton (illness) miss out. With no fresh injury worries, Peter Taylor could start with the same eleven that began at Rushden on Boxing Day. Junior Lewis and Stuart Lewis made returns from injury during that game and will be looking to start once more, however both Barry Fuller and Anthony Stokes will both be hoping for a recall after missing out at Nene Park".


    One of Alty's two new loan signings is Tom Cahill. In June Chorley Online said that "A former Euxton Villa starlet is set for the big time after turning down the lure of America to sign a professional deal with League Two newcomers Rotherham United. 20-year old midfielder Tom Cahill - who impressed with the Runshaw Hall Lane club while still at high school - has signed for the Millers after ending a spell with UniBond League side Matlock Town. The Lancastrian had been playing in the north Midlands during his time at Sheffield University, where he was studying for a law degree. Upon completion of his university days, Cahill had looked set to move to the USA to start a soccer scholarship, but the Millmoor club moved quickly to sign him up after he impressed on trial in their reserves' 4-0 victory over Scunthorpe at the end of last season.

    Tom hails from Euxton and was schooled in Leyland at St Mary's High School and Runshaw College, where he was a member of their successful Football Academy. He played for Villa for several years before deciding to play with Matlock during the University term, and made a name for himself this season when he scored a stunning winner against Histon in the 2nd Qualifying Round of the FA Cup.

    He joins a growing list of local soccer stars, including Everton legend David Unsworth - another ex-Euxton Villa player - and 80s star Paul Mariner... Matlock won't receive a fee for the youngster as Rotherham were aware of his plans to head to America, but they have been able to negotiate a 10% sell-on clause and a guarantee of future pre-season friendlies and preferential loan agreements. Town's joint boss Phil Brown was full of praise for his departing star, telling the UniBond League web site: 'He's done a good job for us including getting a memorable winner in the FA Cup at Histon. He's a good lad, we're all delighted for him and hope there's a big future for him in the full time game. Rotherham must obviously think a lot of him to offer him a two-year deal”. His new boss will be Mark Robins; 'He's got a good touch and his work ethic will help him make the grade in the Football League. His attitude is different class and from what I've seen of the lad, he has all the attributes required. He's turned down a scholarship in America so the lad obviously has something about him'".

    As for his fellow loanee, Wikipedia reports that "Liam King (December 31, 1987 in Rotherham, England)... can play in either central midfield or defensive roles". The BBC adds that "Altrincham are to strengthen their squad with the loan signings of Rotherham duo Tom Cahill and Liam King. The pair will join the Robins for a month from the start of January. Defender King, 20, has played a handful of senior games for Rotherham, while striker Cahill, 20, has made one substitute's appearance this season".


    Altrincham are away to Oxford United on Saturday 5th January 2008. STAR is running a supporters' coach, details of which are here. All fans intending to use the coach must book in advance; this can be done at the ground on matchdays or by ringing the Club on 928-1045. Tickets for the game can be bought from the club shop, in advance and at a discount, at today's match with Stevenage.

    Meanwhile, the Oxford Mail believes that "Oxford United's management may just have had an eye on protecting teenager James Clarke against Kidderminster today because of what happened on his debut. The young right back crashed to the ground after a collision with Harriers striker James Constable in the league game at Aggborough... The referee sent off Constable, to the fury of home fans, but video replays showed he did nothing wrong... Nevertheless, there was a lot of ill-feeling between the two teams, and boss Darren Patterson may just have been thinking about this when he rested Clarke this week... Patterson said: 'It wasn't aggro at their place, it was just bad refereeing'".


    From IC Surrey we learn that "Football Club boss Azwar Majeed has been warned he could face a life sentence over the alleged non-payment of taxes. Majeed, the owner of Crawley Town FC, was in the dock at Westminster Magistrates' Court last Friday accused of non-payment of a massive amount of taxes. The 31-year-old businessman frowned as Judge Quentin Purdey said: 'This is potentially life imprisonment if convicted. That is the gravity of the matter'. Majeed did not enter a plea as he appeared in court wearing stonewashed jeans and a blue bomber jacket. He appeared under his full name of Mohammed Azwar Majeed and under his Hove address. The court heard from Christian Andrew of the Metropolitan Police's money laundering investigative team. Mr Andrew said: 'He has been under investigation since October last year'. Majeed stands accused of "cheating the Public Revenue" from April 1, 2003, to March 30, 200... Majeed was bailed to reap-pear before the court on April 2 next year. His bail conditions included the surrender of his passport, his residence at his Hove address, and avoiding applying for travel documents without informing the authorities. Apart from the town football club, Azwar Majeed and his older brother Chas, own establishments in Crawley town centre including the Ja Ja Bar and Rococo hairdresser's. They also own The Gentleman's Turf and The Piano Bar. Those convicted of money laundering can face having their earnings confiscated under the Proceeds of Crime Act".

    Also at Crawley, The Argus tells us that "Crawley boss Steve Evans is hoping the proposed club takeover will allow him to compete with the Conference big-spenders. Evans revealed this week that an unnamed party has come forward with a deal to buy the club and are set to take charge by the end of January. Reds have suffered financial problems for the last two years and have one of the lowest playing budgets of all the full-time sides in non-league's top flight... He has spoken to the potential new owners... 'They said they are looking to upgrade the playing squad and to support myself and (assistant) Paul (Raynor). They are committed to that but you have to bear in mind that I have only had a 25 minute conversation. They are people who want a football club to progress so that can only be good for Crawley... People talking about ownership and the board will not unsettle me... The only way it will affect me is if they suddenly say I can compete with the top half in terms of budget and we can then have some activity'".

    A "Race row has erupted after the Boxing Day clash between Cambridge United and Histon FC, the Cambridge News can reveal. Allegations have been made that a racist remark was hurled by a Histon player at U's striker Leo Fortune-West... The 36-year-old was the target of the alleged slur, according to the Cambridge club and referee Nick Kinseley. The official's match report contains the accusation and has prompted an investigation by the Football Association. The incident marred the match, which drew a crowd of 7,125 - the biggest league gate at the Cambridge ground for seven years... Now the two clubs - which enforce a zero-tolerance policy on racism and fully support the Kick Racism out of Football campaign - have launched inquiries into the allegations. Cambridge United's general manager Heather Wilkanowski told the News: 'I can confirm that there was an incident which is in the referee's report to the FA. Because of that, it is inappropriate for the club to comment except to say that we have a zero-tolerance policy on any racial abuse on the park or off it... but I can say that it was directed at Leo Fortune-West. He has specifically requested that no further action be taken but it is now in the hands of the FA. Histon will have to make its own report. As far as any criminal action goes, that will only happen if a member of the public reports the incident to police'.

    Cambridge United manager Jimmy Quinn said: 'I'll be very disappointed if it has happened because there's no room in football for racism. If it has, the lad could be in a lot of trouble... Histon FC chairman, Gareth Baldwin, vowed that a full investigation would be launched and if found guilty, the player would face serious repercussions... The News spoke to the Histon player involved, who cannot be named for legal reasons. He admitted he had directed abuse at the striker but strenuously denied it was racist. He said: 'I can definitely tell you I have not said anything like that. I did call him something else. I am quite unhappy about this'. An FA spokesman said: "We now write to the clubs and await their response. It could then go to a disciplinary panel and the player could face a ban"'.

    But that is not all, as "Steve Fallon has blasted Cambridge United for poking fun at his Histon players in the official programme for the derby clash... The Stutes boss... was left unimpressed by the spoof player-profile pieces printed for his squad... He said: 'I just thought it was disrespectful and didn't find it funny at all. Their players are at the same level as us, so I don't understand the need for something like this. Our lads had heard about it before the game and had a bit of a laugh, but I just found it very disappointing. You just don't do that'. The profiles, written by contributor Neil Cole, began by suggesting Histon had not sent much information to the U's for inclusion in the programme. They went on to mock, among other things, Antonio Murray's goal ratio and Adie Cambridge's looks, they suggested that Matt Langston arrived at Histon after taking the wrong turn off the A14 because of a 'dodgy, market-bought sat-nav', and urged Mat Mitchel-King to 'make your mind up' as he has been on the books at United, Cambridge City and Histon. The entry for winger Nathaniel Knight-Percival said: 'Sounds like he could be useful with a sword, especially if damsels in distress need saving'. Ironically, one of the most civil entries was for Fallon himself, in tribute to his playing service for the club, for whom he played more than 400 times. But Fallon said: 'Comments like that are fine in a fanzine or on a messageboard, but not in an official club programme'... He added: 'They were sent the same pen-pics as every other club are, but what they did just shows how much we must get up their noses. They have got no right to be like that, because we're only six points behind them in the league'. The Histon boss was also left unamused by the fact that many of his players were not allowed to park at the Abbey Stadium before the game. He said: 'Some of our players had to park in the street and weren't allowed in. We wouldn't stoop to their level. We do everything we can to accommodate the visiting club, their officials, players and fans and the media'".

    Droylsden chief Dave Pace has insisted he is still the manager at the Butcher’s Arms after a day of rumour and counter-rumour last week" according to the Tameside Advertiser. "Having brought in ex-Stalybridge Celtic boss Phil Wilson and Gary Bauress, there were stories that Pace had stepped aside as manager and reverted to his role as chairman. However, Pace has said that the pair have been brought in purely as replacements for departing duo Wayne Richardson and Steve Mungall. He said: 'Gary is coming in for Wayne and Phil’s doing the same for Steve. To be quite honest, we needed a bit of a shake-up for the January (transfer) window. Phil and Gary weren’t in work, so it’s for our mutual benefit but how long it’s going to last, I don’t know... At the end of the day, the buck stops with me and I need everything I can to get out of the situation we’re in'... As previously reported, central defender Adam Dugdale is on his way while Terry Fearns and Steve Daly have been made available for transfer. Pace added: 'I’m looking for players up front and another centre-half. There’s been initial enquiries about Terry and Steve but nothing concrete. Terry wants to try and prove himself, so we’ll wait and see. He did tremendously in the FA Trophy tie and showed that effort and willingness to win. I don’t want anyone to go but it’s not about personalities, it’s about performances and the table doesn’t lie'".

    Rushden & Diamonds "will be hoping the new year sparks a successful second half of the season in a repeat of last term. At the midway stage of the campaign 12 months ago Diamonds were only just above the relegation zone on 23 points. They finished in mid-table with 62 points after Garry Hill took over from Graham Westley and rebuilt the squad again. Now Diamonds are [again] stuck in the bottom half of the Blue Square Premier" reports the Northants Evening Telegraph.

    This is Staffs claims that "Stafford Rangers are resigned to losing defender Luke Potter, who has been recalled by Barnsley. Potter's loan ran out against Burton on Boxing Day and a bid by caretaker bosses Neil Grayson and Kevin Street to extend it was rejected by the Championship outfit. Together with midfielder Chris Flynn's four-match suspension, it throws Rangers' team plans for the game against Ebbsfleet... Grayson said: 'It leaves us without a left- sided defender, so it will be a case of shuffling the pack... We're just hoping that Jimi Sangare will be available... Street added: 'This is an opportunity for us to give players on the fringe of the first team a chance to show what they can do'. The duo may also have to call up a couple of youth-teamers to supplement the squad. Grayson says morale in the camp is still high".

    "Teenage York City striker Alex Rhodes has joined Bridlington Town on loan for a month" states This is York. "The 18-year-old striker, who is a regular for City Reserves, has made two senior appearances as a substitute this season".

    28 December 2007


    Altrincham FC have signed, on one-month loans, two players from Rotherham United. They are central defender Liam King, who played against Alty in a pre-season friendly for the Millers and striker Tom Cahill. Liam, who is 5ft 9ins tall was born at Rainworth on 3 December 1987 and made four starts for the first-team and two substitute appearances last season. Tom was formerly at Matlock Town.

    Altrincham are also hoping to sign a further three players when the transfer window reopens. None of the new signings can play until January 1st at the earliest.


    Tickets for the Oxford United v Altrincham match will be on sale in the Robins' Shop at Moss Lane before kick off tomorrow (Saturday).


    Radcliffe Borough report that "following on from the news regarding top Premiership referee Mark Halsey appearing in a question & answer session with former League and Premier League referee David Allison... from the Conference, Altrincham manager Graham Heathcote and from League Division Two, Accrington Stanley manager John Coleman will also be guests on the evening. David Murgatroyd said, 'Both Graham and John are delighted to attend and pose some of their own questions as current managers to Mark and David and will also be available to answer questions regarding managing in the Conference and League and knowing both of them I am sure there will be a few stories to tell, we are grateful to both John and Graham for agreeing to attend and it looks like it will be a good night'. The event is to help raise funds for the club and will take place in the ‘Boro’ club function room on Thursday 24th January starting at 7.30pm. The cost of attending is only £2.50 and will include some hot pot’ on the evening and all funds raised will help the playing side of the club... It is open to all football supporters wanting to ask questions they want to be clarified by one of the top referees in the country and to quiz two managers from the League and Conference league. To ensure you have a seat on the night book or reserve your place in advance – 90 places available – by contacting Dave Murgatroyd at any of the club’s home games or ring him at the club on 0161-724-8346 Monday – Friday (except Tuesday) 9.30am – 2.30pm".


    The FA confirms that for "Altrincham FC Christopher Senior... suspended from all football until the Club have completed 3 first team matches for a sending off in a match played on 26/12/2007. Chris is seen (right) walking off after seeing the red card whilst Luke Horrocks is given his marching orders by referee Richardson.

    IC Cheshire says that "Vics picked up three invaluable points, but more importantly scored a psychological edge over their neighbours and relegation rivals on Boxing Day. The message is that Vics are improving rapidly, while Alty appear to be stuck in a rut. But between them they produced a derby reminiscent of some memorable clashes of old, with commitment from both desperate sides being obvious. So much so that passion ran over into bad temper in the 78th minute and Alty’s Chris Senior lifted a fist to Northwich’s Luke Horrocks who responded with a butt and both were deservedly red carded... The second half contained a period of intense Altrincham pressure but Welch and Mike Carr, moved to centre back in the absence of the suspended Natt Kerr and Josh Wilson, stood firm".


    Courtesy of George Heslop, playing statistics of Altrincham Youth players for this season are now in the Youth Pages.


    Our next opponents Stevenage Borough report that "In a busy Christmas period there's been no rest for Boro manager Peter Taylor with the first of his new signings expected over the weekend. A left back and an experienced central defender, both from Football League clubs, have already agreed terms and are expected to sign by Monday 31st December, in order to be available for selection for the home game against Rushden on New Year's Day. Chairman Phil Wallace said 'Peter's been working round the clock to strengthen the squad where he feels we most need it. His priority is to sign an experienced striker but that won't happen until after the window opens. We've spoken to several but I doubt anything will happen until the end of next week now. In his search for strikers he's come across some promising players in other positions and it's possible we may also strenghten in 2 or 3 other areas next week to give us every possible chance of making a bid for the top spot over the next few months. We also expect to have a few players back in training next week with Tes Bramble, Mitchell Cole, Ally John, Olly Allen, Laurie Wilson and Jerome Anderson all making good progress. The New Year's Day game is massive for us - even more so if we can get a result at Alty this Saturday - so we're asking all our fans to spread the word and help make New Year's Day a bumper crowd'.

    From Rushden & Diamonds we learn that on Boxing Day the Diamonds "were held to a stalemate by high-flying Stevenage in a match devoid of entertaining football for long periods... Stevenage manager Peter Taylor reverted to the majority of the players that had featured prior to the Setanta Trophy defeat at Woking, playing a 4-5-1 formation with Steve Morison up front". For Rushden "There was some decent link up play between Burgess and Osano at times, but too often these moves resulted in a high-ball to the diminutive strikers who were easily out-jumped by the tall Stevenage defenders... Boxing Day games often attract a number of occasional visitors to Nene Park, but few of them will feel they have been missing much when they reflect on the football on show in the first hour... and perhaps a goalless draw summed up the afternoon, and was a fair result in the end". The Northants Evening Telegraph adds, "This stalemate says so much about the lack of real quality in the top flight of non-League football... Stevenage looked more capable of putting together a series of passes while Diamonds had twice as many attempts on goal without posing a huge threat inside the penalty box... There was plenty of effort in a hard-fought battle. But where was the quality?".

    The BBC confirms that "York City have appointed Colin Walker as their new manager on a permanent basis. City's former assistant boss has been given the manager's job after a successful spell as caretaker since the sacking of Billy McEwan in November. Former Barnsley and New Zealand striker Walker, 49, has guided York to five wins and a draw in his first six games. 'The players always looked fantastic on paper. Now we are seeing them playing as a true team', said York's director of communications Sophie McGill. 'We think that's down to Colin Walker over the last few weeks'".

    "Burton Albion boss Nigel Clough said he hopes to add a new striker to his squad in the January transfer window... 'We still think we need another striker', Clough told BBC Radio Derby. 'There will be periods when they get tired, out of form or take a knock, so it would be nice to have someone as back-up, or even on loan for a month'".

    "Crawley boss Steve Evans has revealed a club takeover should be completed by the end of January" according to the Argus. "New investors have agreed to tie-up a deal to buy the Broadfield Stadium outfit from Chas and Azwar Majeed when they return to the country in three weeks... The news will be welcomed by the majority of supporters following a series of off-field problems during the Majeed's reign. Crawley refuse to reveal who the new owners are or details about the deal but Evans said: 'My understanding is the deal is done. There are a number of things officially which need to be done and that will take a little period of time and my understanding is that the people concerned with buying the club are not back in the country until the third week of January. I have already got a date in my diary where I have to go and present my vision for the rest of the season and the next two or three years... All I know about them from my conversation is that they are football people and they want to support and invest in the team. They want Crawley to be progressive as a club on and off the pitch but as we know talk is cheap and people have to deliver. The club was close to agreeing a deal six to eight weeks ago with another party but they didn't have the money. When I was told who they (the new owners) were, I knew they would certainly have the money'. Evans is hoping for an injection of finance from the new owners to strengthen his small squad during the transfer window, particularly in attack... Evans said [after defeat by Oxford]: 'We smashed them and tore them apart. I counted four clear-cut chances in the second half but we don't have a predator to put them away... There have not been many times this season where I have blamed the referee but I thought he was very biased towards the home team. I've used those words carefully and if there is anyone who wants to dispute that, they can write to me and we can meet in a neutral venue and watch the video of the referee's decisions'".

    And further clarification comes from Crawley Town itself in a statement stating that it "wishes to clear up inaccurate reporting in recent press with regards to the ownership of the Football Club. Former Chairman, Mr Mohammed Azwar Majeed, has been portrayed as the owner of Crawley Town Football Club and as a Board we wish to stress this is totally inaccurate. Crawley Town Football Clue is solely owned by SA Restaurants limited, a company [in] which Mr Majeed has no involvement whatsoever. The directors are currently in discussions with a potential new proprietor with the view of a takeover of the Football Club. Talks will continue early in the New Year and until talks have progressed further the Board will not be making any further statements at this time. As a Board we hope this clears up the matter once and for all".

    However Bullsnews intriguingly adds that "Darlington have axed Chief Executive Jon Sotnick to reduce costs. The former Boston chairman had been rumoured to be behind the bidding for Crawley, where he would reunite with Steve Evans, but a statement from the Quakers states that Sotnick will continue work for their Chairman at another of his companies".

    Farsley Celtic tells us that "manager John Deacey was delighted with his team's competitive attitude after they collected their first win in eight league games. He said: 'We competed in all areas and deserved the win. We had to make three substitutions through injuries but the lads who came on did very well'. Meanwhile Halifax Town boss Chris Wilder gave his side a roasting. He complained: 'It was a massively disappointing result for myself and all our supporters. I learned a lot about my players today. They have let the football club down and have certainly let me down. I have been at the club for quite a long time and there are still a lot of things that need to be sorted out off the pitch. On the pitch we have had highs and lows and this is possibly the lowest result and feeling I have had in nigh on six years in charge. There are people out there who have been given enough chances to deliver and they have not done so. I have a year left on my contract and I will take action. I have worked very hard for the club and there have been times when I could have chucked it all in, but I haven't. I have proved myself as a manager in this league and if I have to prove myself again by ripping this side up and putting another one together I will do because that performance was a million miles away from what I demand'... Halifax should have reduced the [3-0] deficit in the 77th minute when Jon Shaw was brought down inside the box but the Shaymen's own [ex-Alty man] Steve Torpey shot too close toTom Morgan" from the spot.

    The Halifax Courier adds that "There were calls for Chris Wilder to quit after the Shaymen crashed 3-0 at Throstle Nest in the first-ever meeting between the sides at this level. But he said, 'I am big enough and strong enough to take the abuse that is thrown my way... I have been in this game since I was 16 and I am not going to let a few people drive me out. I could easily walk away but I am not walking away from anything... There were players out there who could not handle the pressure I put them under... The players have had chances to do it week in, week out, and they have proved they cannot do it. If they cannot do it, they have to come out of the team and leave the club... Yet again our Achilles heel has been defending set pieces'".

    We learn from This is Glos that "Jim Harvey looks set to step up his interest in Swindon Town centre-back Chris Blackburn after branding Forest Green's Boxing Day defending 'atrocious'. Rovers had to come from behind twice to grab a 2-2 draw with Kidderminster Harriers at the New Lawn, and it is clear Harvey has run out of patience with a lack of clean sheets from his play-off chasers. Blackburn, who played under the Ulsterman at Morecambe and is struggling to nail down a first-team place at Swindon, is now almost certain to be sounded out over a January loan move... The Rovers boss said: 'Some of our defending was atrocious, and I suppose it's becoming a habit for us. We've conceded far, far too many goals. I thought we were getting a little bit better, and we've done a lot of work on it, but now it's looking like individuals are just not coming up to scratch. If we can't improve on the training field then we may have to go and get different people in, because it's hurting us... It's very difficult when you can't keep a clean sheet'. Harvey said his side paid for a lack of match fitness in midfield, with Alex Lawless, Simon Clist and Lee Dodgson all returning from recent injury lay-offs"

    Alty's next away game is at Oxford on January 5th where "United boss Darren Patterson's decision to give Phil Trainer a breather paid off handsomely against Crawley" claims the Oxford Mail. "The midfielder struck United's first goal in 607 minutes with a terrific left-footed drive for his fourth goal of the campaign and, like keeper Billy Turley, he too had just returned to the side. Patterson said: 'The effort and commitment from everyone was fantastic... It's a big win, not only for the points, but for morale and confidence'".

    On the South Coast, This is Weymouth tells us that the Terras' "boss Jason Tindall has revealed the reasons behind goalkeeper Jon Stewart's shock departure from the club... The 30-year-old told Echosport: 'I think Jon was missing London a little bit and finding it difficult here in terms of the intensity of training that we demand from the players. It is quite tough and maybe he struggled a bit to keep up with it. I think he may have a few family problems as well that he wants to sort out and is missing home. It means Jason Matthews is our only keeper at the moment so we are now looking to bring someone in. We have already identified one or two targets and hopefully we will have one in by January'".

    27 December 2007


    SAM reports that "Graham Heathcote was left considering his future after watching his side slump to an abysmal 2-1 Boxing Day defeat against bitter rivals Northwich. The Alty boss is feeling the heat after a run of five straight defeats has left the Robins five points adrift in the battle for Blue Square Premier survival and out of all major cup competitions. Assistant manager Dalton Steele has already stepped down in the aftermath of the derby disaster. And with the future at Moss Lane now extremely unclear, Heathcote was a man of few words after the final whistle. 'I can't change all the players so I'll just have to look at something I can change', he said. The full extent of the repercussions from the 2-1 defeat to Vics will become clear later this week but Alty are back in action in just three days' time when they welcome Stevenage to Moss Lane".

    In SAM's match report Connor Murphy writes, "A 2-1 defeat at home to bitter rivals Northwich was a new nadir for the Robins and the hurt will continue to linger for a long time yet... This performance lacked energy, creativity and, worst of all, guts. Few of those representing the home team even deserved to wear the badge - they certainly didn't seem to do so with any pride... One shining light, however, was Robbie Lawton. The stocky Scouser certainly didn't have his best game in an Alty shirt but his commitment to the cause was truly admirable. Lawton left no blade of grass uncovered, no opposition player unchallenged and although there were others who could claim they gave it their all, he was the ultimate example of what derby games should encompass. It is this attitude upon which any Alty revival must be based".

    But things are on the up in mid-Cheshire as the Northwich Guardian reports. "Dino Maamria believes Vics' derby success puts them ahead of Alty in the race to avoid relegation. 'This game was about more than just the three points', he said after seeing his side beat their bitter rivals 2-1. 'I could have stood here and played it down as just one game but to beat Altrincham and pick up our first away win of the season is a fantastic gift for the fans... I'm over the moon with a win', he told the Guardian. 'But I've told the players that they can improve their performance a lot on what we saw today. I think we wasted chances to put the game beyond them and then defensively we gifted them too many openings... We moved the ball from back to front quickly to put their two central defenders under immediate pressure. I just feel that they are a bit static at the back at times and we could exploit that... We will stay up', he promised. 'But there is still an awful lot of work to do and we can't get carried away. I still intend to make changes when the transfer window opens next week'".


    The STAR Christmas Raffle was drawn on Boxing Day and the main prize winners were:
  • 1st prize: Naming of the Golf Road - S.Leighton
  • 2nd prize: Weekend for two at the Knighton Hotel - Jill Mitchell
  • 3rd prize: Table for 4 in the Gill Oates Sponsors' Lounge on matchday - Terry Surridge

    STAR asks that all winners please contact the club (928-1045) to arrange to pick up their prize.


    Details of the STAR supporters' coach to the New Year's Day match at Northwich Victoria are on the Away Travel page.


    As year-end approaches it is appropriate to look back at some of the arrivals and departures at Moss Lane this year. The three most recent names to appear in Altrincham first-team squads are the following members of the club's youth team, run by George Heslop, Tony Spilsbury and Gareth Thomas. Altrincham FC Youth are currently top of the NW Youth Alliance League's Premier Division.

  • Tom BAILEY (d.o.b. 19 August 1990) - Tom is a striker whose debut in the first-team squad was for the Cheshire Senior Cup match against Runcorn Linnets on 13 November 2007. He then was named in the squad for the Setanta Shield match at Nuneaton on 22 December 2007. Tom received his Cheshire County FA cap for ten appearances in December 2007 and his Alty squad number is 14.

    Photos L to R: Tom Bailey, Danny Browne, Dominic Lillie .

  • Danny BROWNE (d.o.b. 6 February 1990) - A tall central midfielder, Danny is also a player who has won Cheshire FA representative honours. Like Tom Bailey he is in his second season as a regular for Altrincham FC Youth. Danny was named in the first-team squad for the Setanta Shield match at Nuneaton on 22 December 2007 and was involved in the Boxing Day warm-up against Northwich though not in the named sixteen for the game. He has squad number 20.

  • Dominic LILLIE (d.o.b. 29 September 1989) - Dominic, a former Manchester United youngster, is a member of the Altrincham Youth team. He was named in the first-team squad for the Cheshire Senior Cup match against Runcorn Linnets.

    Since the end of last season, 15 players have moved on.

  • Peter BAND - left in the summer for Hyde United of Blue Square North, where he is still playing.
  • Matthew BERKELEY - released during 2007, now playing for Workington in Blue Square North
  • Justin BOWLER - released at end of 2006-07 season and has since disappeared off the radar.
  • Steve BUSHELL - returned to Halifax Town.
  • Lewis CHALMERS - moved to Aldershot Town and has continued to feature for England's "C" team.
  • Sean CLANCY - moved on to Burscough.
  • Cavell COO - departed for Witton Albion.
  • James DEAN - returned to Bury after a loan at Altrincham, and now on loan at Stalybridge.
  • Colin POTTS - recently released from Moss Lane.
  • Stephen ROSE - not currently playing competitive football.
  • Russell SAUNDERS - returned to Wigan Athletic from where he had come, on loan, to keep goal for Alty. Injured on his debut at Moss Lane.
  • Andy SCOTT - moved to Hyde United and then on loan to Radcliffe Borough after being released by Alty last close season.
  • Ryan SHOTTON - returned to Stoke City after completion of three-month loan.
  • Gary TALBOT - briefly played for Leek Town after being released by Altrincham.
  • Rod THORNLEY - moved to Witton Albion.
    26 December 2007


    Altrincham FC has confirmed that assistant manager Dalton Steele resigned after today's defeat by Northwich Victoria. Dalton became Graham Heathcote's assistant, from October 2003 but left at the end of November 2004, before returning to the same role from mid-May 2004. With Graham, Dalton oversaw Alty's recovery from a struggling position in the UniBond League to promotion from Nationwide North back to the Conference in 2005, via the play-offs. All at Moss Lane wish him well and thank him for his service to the club.


    Above: Chris Senior celebrates his goal.

    Altrincham's poor home form continued, despite a perfect start when Chris Senior scored a goal little more than two minutes after kick off after a long ball forward was helped into his path by an opponent. But, ultimately, Vics were good value for their win, levelling after 17 minutes when Little undid his own good interception by giving the ball away which led to Akins firing a shot at goal which Stuart Coburn was unable to hold. When Steve Aspinall, who played in central midfield with Gary Scott, was harshly penalised on the edge of the box, Brown drove a low freekick past the wall into the bottom corner to Coburn's right to give the Vics a half-time lead (42 mins). Alty created little in the way of goalscoring chances in the second period but the game had a sting in the tail when Alty's Senior and Vics' former Woodley winger Horrocks were sent off for violent conduct after going head to head. Colin Little almost rescued Alty when his fine turn and shot came back off the bar but the Vics rode out the closing stages and so closed the gap on their Cheshire rivals to just two points. Match report here.

  • League table.
  • Alty line-ups & bookings.
  • Alty player statistics.


    Boxing Day

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


    From Alty supporter Mick Taylor comes this picture of Elvis Presley, a.k.a. former Alty striker Marcus Hallows, in action at The Roebuck in Altrincham last week.


    NL Daily tells us that "When the transfer window opens in January it looks increasingly likely that Bedford Town`s Ben Farrell will move to Cambridge United. The central midfield general with the British Gas Business Southern League Premier Division club has had an outstanding season which started with the preseason games. It was reported that Milton Keynes Dons, against whom Farrell (pictured) played in pre-season, had been watching him but Farrell denied any knowledge of their interest in mid-November. Farrell showed real character breaking into the first-team at the New Eyrie after virtually missing the entire 2004/05 and 2005/06 seasons with a foot injury. Last season he made fewer than 20 league starts and was on the bench just as often as he played but this season he has missed just one game through suspension. It was likely that Farrell impressed Cambridge United in the match arranged by Bedford chairman David Howell as part of the deal involving the Eagles` former defender Gavin Hoyte's move last summer to the Abbey Stadium".

    Next Saturday (29th), Alty entertain Stevenage Borough. Going into their Boxing Day match "Stevenage duo Stuart Lewis and Junior Lewis could return after injury. But Lawrie Wilson, Ollie Allen, Tes Bramble, Mark Molesley and Mitchell Cole are all definitely sidelined for Boro".

    Meanwhile "Stafford players Kevin Street and Neil Grayson will again take charge of the team against Burton. .. Fred Murray (knee) is unlikely to play while Nathan Smith (hamstring) is still absent from the side"..

    25 December 2007


    A Happy Christmas and New Year to all visitors to the website. Altrincham's games over Christmas and New Year are:
  • Boxing Day: Northwich Victoria (Home 3pm)
  • Saturday, December 29th: Stevenage Borough (Home 3pm)
  • New Year's Day: Northwich Victoria (Away 3pm)


    Last Saturday Altrincham conceded two goals in six minutes. It was the twelfth time this season they have conceded two (or more goals) in a ten-minute (or shorter) spell in games. The occurrences were against Exeter (66+69 minutes and 90 & 90+2), Forest Green (47 & 50), York (45+1 & 50), Oxford (86 & 90+4), Cambridge (17 & 21), Rushden (36 & 45), Salisbury (88 & 90), Ebbsfleet (29,35 & 37) and in Cup matches against Millwall (53 & 61), York (56 & 64) and Nuneaton (86 & 90+2).


    Alty's Boxing Day record is generally good as Howard Watts's Through the Years record shows. According to the BBC "Altrincham have a trio of injury concerns ahead of their local derby against Northwich. Defender Karl Munroe (Achilles) is struggling, while midfielder Gareth Whalley and goalkeeper Richard Acton (below left) are both suffering with illness. Lee Steele faces a late fitness test on his hamstring ahead of Northwich's trip to Altrincham. Josh Wilson and Matt Kerr serve their one-match bans against Alty but Richard Battersby is back from a ban".

    From the Northwich Guardian we read that "Vics will do whatever it takes to beat bitter rivals Altrincham on Boxing Day. Manager Dino Maamria said he cared about points, not pretty football, when it came to facing the Robins both home and away in the next 10 days. 'I'm only interested in winning', he told the Guardian this week. 'If it's going to be a battle then we can do that because we are capable of rolling our sleeves up and fighting for each other. As long as we get the three points that's good enough for me... I don't feel under any pressure whatsoever. Pressure doesn't bother me one little bit. I know how big a game it is and how much it means to our fans. Well it's important to the team as well. I'm not going to play it down and say it's just like any other match because clearly the supporters feel is much more than that with local pride at stake'. Vics went down without a whimper at Moss Lane a year ago, humiliated 3-0 by 10-man Alty after Colin Little was sent off early in the first half. But Maamria reckons revenge is a word he won't be using. 'What is in the past is in the past', he said. 'The Northwich team has changed massively since then and I'm only interested in what we will do not what we didn't do last season'. The make-up of his starting line-up will be in doubt until the very last minute with Michael Welch (ankle) and Lee Steele (hamstring) facing a race to be ready in time... Natt Kerr and Josh Wilson will both be banned for Wednesday's game. Better news is that striker Jake Speight is ready to return to first team action, while Michael Byrne impressed as a second half sub in last week's FA Trophy exit at Vauxhall Motors... Vics (from): Connett (GK), Tynan (GK), Battersby, Rusk, Strong, Birch, Brown, Maylett, Danny Williams, Carr, Johnson, Byrne, Maamria, Morning, Horrocks, Steele, Akins, Farquharson, Speight Doubtful: Welch (ankle) Injured: Allan (leg).

    Dino Maamria will be forced to perform some surgery on his preferred line up as Natt Kerr and Josh Wilson miss out through suspension. He has been sweating on the fitness of Lee Steele (hamstring) and Michael Welch (ankle) all week but both should pass late fitness tests to play. Richard Battersby returns from a one-match ban and should play at right back with Simon Rusk set for a switch to midfield alongside Michael Carr. Greg Strong should take Kerr's spot. Michael Byrne is pushing for a starting shirt after impressing at Vauxhall but Maamria may opt for Danny Williams instead if he doubts Byrne's ability to last 90 minutes.

    Alty boss Graham Heathcote is also facing a selection headache... Karl Munroe is a huge doubt due to an Achilles problem, so Heathcote is likely to use Chris Lane alongside Darren Tinson at the heart of his defence. He should have lively winger Carlos Logan back after he too missed the match at the weekend" [Oh no, he didn't!]


    The BBC says that "Crawley Town manager Steve Evans has revealed that the club will hold takeover talks in January. 'It looks likely we could have new owners at the club in the early part of 2008', Evans told the club website. 'General manager Barry Munn and myself have been requested to attend a meeting with the prospective owners in January. I have already forwarded to them, as requested, my plans for player movement both in and out of Crawley Town in the forthcoming January transfer window'. Club owners Chas and Azwar Majeed had accepted a deal to sell the club to London-based Britannia Sports Management in September 2006, but the deal fell through".

    Crawley Town website adds that "Steve Evans has cited the fesitive period as crucial to his team's chances of having a successful season as well revealing the club has received a takeover approach... Town comfortably despatched high flying, Eastbourne Borough, on Saturday in the Setanta Shield, despite Evans making numerous changes to the line-up which allowed a number of fringe players to get some valuable game time... Evans speaking exclusively on Christmas Eve said: “2008 will bring us all many challenges as we continue to try and take Crawley Town Football Club forward. 'It looks likely we could also have new owners at the football club in the early part of 2008. General Manager, Barry Munn, and myself have already been requested to attend a meeting with the new prospective owners in January. We have both been asked to present to them our vision for not only this season but the next three years. I have already forwarded to them as requested my plans for player movement both in and out of Crawley Town in the forthcoming January transfer window. As sometimes happens in these circumstances the directors, Barry Munn and myself have signed confidentiality papers and we would ask that this is respected as I can say now it will certainly be honoured. From the telephone call I had with the new prospective owners they came across with a passion for the game and I know Barry Munn has got a similar view when he spoke with them. However I have to concentrate on the present and that is Oxford United on Boxing Day. It will be a really tough afternoon but we are in excellent form, have everyone available for selection and a team spirit that is brilliant. We have so much to look forward to in 2008 including the FA Trophy and Setanta Shield, two competitions that we have progressed in during the last ten days'".

    Bullsnews says that "Peterboro have transfer listed goalkeeper Shwan Jalal at his request. The former Woking keeper has started only 11 games in the last 12 months since his big money move from the Conference".

    From Blue Square Football we learn that "Histon have made a bid for an unnamed forward, with a view to signing the striker during next month's transfer window. The Stutes are in need of more attacking options as star striker Cliff Akurang looks set to join Coca-Cola League Two outfit Barnet. The 26-year-old has passed a medical at the London club and will move for an undisclosed fee in January. The loss of Akurang will come as a massive blow to the club, but it is believed that the unnamed forward being chased by the Stutes will be more than capable of filling Akurang's boots".

    "Boss Chris Wilder will hold a head count at training today [Monday] as Town prepare for the Boxing Day trip to Farsley Celtic" says the Halifax Courier. "A bug has swept through the squad with half-a-dozen players laid low and the manager is hoping that the worst has past ahead of the Throstle Nest derby. 'We are training today so we will have a look at it', said Wilder. 'But there were half a dozen who on another day would not have played at Histon on Saturday. We lost Lewis Killeen, Steve Bushell, Alex Bailey and Matt Doughty before the game and Nicky Gray just after half time all to the bug that's gone round the club. Lewis was named as one of just four subs, but there was no way he was going to go on. With the other injuries and suspensions there was a massive chunk missing from our squad".

    From The Comet is news that "Stevenage Boro chairman Phil Wallace hopes his Christmas wish will come true in 2008 - League football at Broadhall Way. Wallace said: 'I can assure our fans that we will do everything we can to win promotion. If we need fresh players to strengthen our squad and provide competition for places, then we will get them in January. We have already got several names on a list and we have been encouraged by the desire and enthusiasm of quality players that want to come to Stevenage and help us win promotion... We have been lucky that we have only had one league game in the last month, so perhaps that is a good sign for our promotion ambitions because, make no mistake, that is all we care about this season. That is why Peter Taylor's here and that is why the board will dig deep to strengthen our squad for him in January. I know from last season's experience that the last thing I would ever want is get to the late stages of the Trophy if we have aspirations of promotion, so perhaps going out is a blessing in disguise... This club is going places and the players that want to be part of that will prosper... We will only achieve our goal if we have players who want to add a promotion to their CV above all else and are willing to lay it on the line to achieve it. That is all Peter and I talk about every week - who really wants it... But from now on every game will be a cup final, every point will be crucial and the support of our fans for everyone in the club, right through until the end of the season, will be hugely influential'. Boro lost their third cup tie in a week in going out of the Setanta Shield at old rivals Woking on Saturday - ending any interest in cup competitions for another season".

    "Borough chairman Phil Wallace spoke to Webnews after going out of all three cups in six weeks, saying: 'Frankly, I’m not surprised. With a squad of 23 senior players, three of whom are on loan from other clubs and seven that are long-term injuries, we have found it very hard to settle the squad, especially after the events in October. We also have a closed transfer window and three or four players out of contract this May who have turned down improved offers to stay with us another season. That does not leave much left for the manager to go to war with".

    24 December 2007


    Above: Admirably, Alty's Steve Aspinall keeps his mind on the game as he runs past the distraction of the welcoming cheerleaders, in their festive Santa hats, at Nuneaton on Saturday.


    George Heslop's match report on last Sunday's fine semi-final win at Crewe in the Cheshire County FA District Youth Challenge Cup is now in the Youth Pages. Altrincham now meet The Wirral in the final on a date and at a venue to be announced. The game is likely to take place in March 2008. Alty will be defending the trophy which they have won for the last two seasons.

    Pictured, right, is Altrincham Youth's central midfielder Danny Browne, who became the third Alty Youth player to be named in a first-team squad this season when he was on the bench at Nuneaton last Saturday. The other two youth team players in question are Tom Bailey and Dominic Lillie who were in the squad for the Cheshire Senior Cup match against Runcorn Linnets recently.


    The Non-League Paper has an interesting interview with Alty chairman Geoff Goodwin (left) in which it says "Goodwin and his manager Graham Heathcote have remained fiercely loyal to Alty's part-time roots but admitted that the once-mighty club will never be able to compete at Non-League's top table unless they join the pro ranks. ... 'A lot of people chase the dream and burst the bubble but we can't do that at Altrincham' said Goodwin. 'We've got to be sensible - maybe go 50-50 [full v part-time] or something like that. It's definitely coming because we've got no debt any more. We've got money in the bank and we've made a profit for the last few years. We've been [back] in the Conference for three years now and it's moved on so much.... To think you can survive as a part-time club these days is pie in the sky. We can be the best of the bottom five but that's it. But you've got to grow slowly and I'm pretty bitter about all the teams who go into receivership. It's too easy for clubs to go ducking and diving, lose ten points and have a good laugh at everyone before carrying on again. The problem is they don't budget properly... All logic goes out the window. If you go into administration it means you've made a right mess and ruined people's lives. Coach drivers, the people who do the programmes, players and their families, they all suffer yet all the FA do is deduct 10 points... teams wait until they've got enough points... and go into administration so they don't have to pay their debts. It's a joke and I blame the FA compliance people. They see the [financial] returns of the club every month so why aren't they doing something about it? The FA should demote them three leagues and they wouldn't do it then'.

    Goodwin also admitted he would be willing to sell up.... 'I'd consider it if someone put enough money in to sustain the club for a minimum of five years. If someone came to me and said "here's £100,00 for the year", I'd tell them to forget it. I love football and I've been sucked in here. It'll be very hard to leave but at the same time I know it's very difficult being part-time in a full-time league'".


    There is a very interesting use of the word "we" in the following quotes from Ryan Shotton (right), which say a lot about his commitment during his loan spell at Altrincham. "Ryan Shotton is now a fully paid-up member of the Wide Awake Club.It was often said - and admitted by Shotton himself - that his concentration could waver in the closing stages of game. But the 19-year-old defender believes he has enjoyed an eye-opening experience on loan at Altrincham over the past three months to brush up that slight lapse in his game" reports the Stoke Sentinel. "The Fenton-born defender is now back at the Britannia until January when he could well return to the Blue Square Premier League for a second spell. 'At the moment I haven't spoken to Tony Pulis', he said, 'but it should be a good opportunity for me to go back, so hopefully I can do that. I certainly enjoyed my time on loan there and it has definitely improved my game. There's a good bunch of lads at Altrincham and they made me feel right at home. There's a lot of young lads there, but I think I was the youngest'.

    After a recent diet of youth and reserve-team matches, he was clearly ready for the do-or-die approach of the relegation scrap into which he was plunged when first moving to Moss Lane in September. 'Yes, I think it was the competition of battling for three points every game that was the big difference', said the ever-expanding central defender. 'We were in the relegation area (and still are), so we had a fight on in every game we played. I think that has helped me because I haven't experienced that before. Playing against strong strikers also helps bring you on physically, making you realise you have to build yourself up and adapt. But there are also some very good players and teams that like to play football. It's a good all-round experience and I only missed two games while I was there because of injury."

    But it was his concentration, he conceded, which benefited most from his trip into the top tier of non-league football. 'I knew I needed to improve on it. I was playing against players who would compete right past the 90 minutes and I had to keep concentrating to handle that. Any slip-up in the 86th or 89th minute could cost you the game... It also improves your positional sense having players and balls coming at you from different angles, while I've learned to communicate better by simply saying a few sharp words to get the point across quickly.. Although we're still in the bottom four, results have gone quite well since I've been there. Our position has improved a bit because we were only two points off the team fifth from bottom when I left'"... His long-term aspirations rightly centre on the Britannia Stadium. 'I definitely want to stay here, and keep on pushing myself and improving. And if I get my chance, hopefully I'll take it. If I can keep impressing, it's a case of when the manager thinks I'm ready'.


    Marx Maddox started for Leigh RMI but Kieran Lugsden and Rick Chetcuti were on the bench on Saturday. Kyle Wilson scored the winner for Witton, for whom Rod Thornley played, yesterday. Mario Daniel played for Rossendale United.
    23 December 2007


    Due to a family illness, the website update may be a little limited this Christmas but, hopefully, will continue in some form on a daily basis throughout.


    Altrincham Youth's match this afternoon against second-placed Woodley Sports was postponed. The next scheduled youth team game is on 6 January, away at Morecambe. On Saturday, at Nuneaton, two of the youth team were on the first-team bench. They were striker Tom Bailey and midfielder Danny Browne. Both have been regulars in George Heslop's youth team for the last two seasons and both are Cheshire County FA players.

    Right: It wasn't just Carlos Logan who was brought down to earth yesterday but all of Altrincham's team will have been disappointed to have let victory slip from their hands at Nuneaton Borough.


    Congratulations go to Warren Peyton, as his next Game is his 100th appearance for Altrincham. He has started 96 times and been a used-sub three times since joining the club in November 2005. Warren has also scored five goals. Not only has Warren (left) fitted in an amazing number of games in a short time, he has taken time out to build a new turnstile block at Moss Lane so has truly left a permanent mark on the Altrincham Football Club.


    The Northwich Guardian. says that "Lee Steele should be fit for next week's derby day duel with Altrincham. The Vics' front man limped off after hurting his hamstring in the act of scoring his side's goal in their 2-1 FA Trophy reverse at Vauxhall Motors. But manager Dino Maamria has delivered some good news in time for Christmas. 'Lee should play against Altrincham', he said. 'He tweaked his left hamstring in the second half and immediately asked to be substituted which was the right thing to do. He came to see physio Gary Thompson [a familiar name to Alty fans] earlier this week and we're relieved there's no serious damage'. Steele, 34, has netted four goals in his past five games for Vics to make him the in-form forward in Maamria's stretched squad. His partnership with loanee Lucas Akins has been a feature of the team's improved form of late too. The former Chester man, who began his career at the Drill Field, spent six weeks on the sidelines earlier this term after tearing the same muscle in the home defeat to York City. He returned in October and has been a regular since, taking over as Vics' main marksman".

    However, Saturday was "a day to forget for both Vics and Alty in the Setanta Shield, although for contrasting reasons. Dino Maamria's men missed out on playing Barrow due to a frozen pitch at Holker Street, while Alty conceded twice in the closing minutes to lose 2-1 at Blue Square North Nuneaton. Northwich are left counting the cost of their postponement as it rules defensive lynchpin Natt Kerr and midfielder Josh Wilson out of the derby through suspension. Meanwhile the Robins are forced to call up youth teamers Tom Bailey and Danny Browne to their first team squad, which included only 13 fit players for the trip to Boro".

    "John Deacey is hoping a new sense of stability at Farsley Celtic will help him and assistant Neil Parsley [ex-Alty] steer the Celts clear of relegation trouble. The newly-appointed Farsley boss said: 'I am pleased to get the job but more delighted that all the speculation is over. It has been an uncertain time for everyone at the club and I'm sure that has been at the back of the minds of the players. They know where they stand now and I think that is reflected in that I get treated with more respect. Not that I didn't get their respect, or full backing for that matter, during the last month, but the decision by the directors has put everyone's mind at rest and settled any nagging doubts. It has given me the chance to confirm Neil as my number two. He has a lot of knowledge and many contacts in the game. Hopefully some of those will help us out on the scouting side, maybe even come in on the coaching side in some capacity. We are building a backroom staff as well as a playing squad'. The Celts have not been in the best of form since Lee Sinnott departed for Port Vale but Deacey has got the nod to succeed him after chairman Andy Firbank said the board were mesmerised by his interview. Deacey, originally brought to the club by former boss Martin Haresign, beat off some tough competition to land the role. Former pros Paul Warhurst, Chris Kiwomya and Paul Nixon were all believed to have applied for the Throstle Nest post", claims the Telegraph & Argus.

    This is South Devon says that "Torquay United are to lobby the Conference to be given more notice of future fixture changes after yet another key home game was moved to a Monday night to satisfy the demands of Setanta TV coverage. Following the recent news that the Gulls' vital match against promotion rivals Burton Albion will be played on Monday, January 7, United have been told that the visit of Histon to Plainmoor has now been put back from Saturday, January 26, to Monday, January 28 (7.45pm). Apart from anything else, it means that Plainmoor will not have staged a Saturday afternoon match from December 1 until February 9, when Kidderminster Harriers come to town. Both the Burton and Histon matches will be broadcast live by satellite channel Setanta Sports. They will be the sixth and seventh United games to carry live TV coverage - eight if you add the Yeovil Town FA Cup win on BBC last month. There is increasing concern among leading Blue Square Premier clubs about the impact of Setanta's demands, for it is now clear that the Dublin-based channel plans to concentrate on the promotion race for the rest of the season. 'I will approach Dennis Strudwick (Conference general manager) in the New Year to see if we can get earlier notice of any future changes', said United chief executive Colin Lee. 'For us to receive a fax on Thursday evening, instructing us that the Histon game will now be on the 29th - well, it's notice of a sort, but you would think that by now they would have worked out their fixture changes to the end of the season. We understand the frustration of our supporters. We don't really want to be here on a Monday night. As a club, we want to play on a Saturday, and I'm sure that every single supporter feels the same way. "But we are locked into a contract with the Conference, and they have a contract with Setanta, and we can't say "We won't play".

    United chairman Alex Rowe is frustrated on personal and public fronts.After the Burton change, Rowe had moved a short holiday and rescheduled an important business meeting to the week beginning January 28. 'This has really mucked me about, but I'm no different to any of our supporters', said Rowe. 'Setanta may be fantastic profile for the Conference, but in terms of the way the fixtures are being moved around it's highly unsatisfactory. The numbers of people watching games involving the lower teams, with all due respect, can't be great, so they're bound to concentrate on the top sides'. Lee admitted that, with only £5,000 being paid by Setanta to the home club for each live game, United are losing money. 'If less people come through the gate, our revenue inside the ground is affected', he said. 'And everything else, like match sponsorship and executive boxes, is more difficult to sell for a midweek game. Premier League games are being moved about in the same way, but they get massive compensation. We get £5,000, which doesn't really cover the cost loss. I was talking to the Aldershot chairman the other day, and he's not at all happy - one of their gates was massively affected by having to move for Setanta earlier in the season'". Altrincham have yet to have a live home match on Setanta.

    22 December 2007


    Altrincham threw this game away in the last few minutes with Boro' substitute Brian Quailey netting in the 86th and 92nd minutes. Despite gradually getting on top in the first half it was not until the 48th minute that Chris Senior fired Altrincham ahead, from Jake Sedgemore's fine pass. Alty then looked fairly comfortable till Quailey hammered a shot from 25 yards past a seemingly wrong-footed Coburn, with four minutes left. With the ball in the net, the goalkeeper held his head in his hands in despair. Nuneaton then penned Alty back and when Lane and Aspinall went for the same ball on the Alty right, it broke for Franklin who miscued a drive at goal but his effort turned into a perfect low cross for Quailey to convert (90+2 mins). Had Lane's header not come back out off the bar when Alty led 1-0, it might have been a different story but the visitors paid for not turning their dominance into goals. Match report here.

  • Alty Cup Line-Ups
  • Alty Player Statistics
  • Howard Watts's Through the Years for 22 December.

  • Droylsden v Farsley C. POSTPONED
  • Barrow v Northwich V. POSTPONED
  • Burton A. 2 Tamworth 1
  • Cambridge U. 0 Rushden & D. 1 (played Friday)
  • Hinckley U. 1 Kidderminster H. 2
  • Histon 1 Halifax T. 2
  • Nuneaton B. 2 ALTRINCHAM 1
  • Stafford R 0 York C 2 a.e.t.
  • South
  • Aldershot T. 1 Oxford U. 0
  • Eastbourne B. 1 Crawley T. 2
  • Exeter C. 2 Ebbsfleet U. 3 a.e.t. (played Friday)
  • Hampton & R. 0 Forest Green R. 1
  • St Albans C. 2 Torquay U. 0
  • Salisbury C. 1 Weymouth 2
  • Welling v Grays A. POSTPONED
  • Woking 2 Stevenage B. 0
  • Round 5 Draw:

  • Droylsden or Farsley v Burton A.
  • Nuneaton B. v Halifax T.
  • York V. v Barrow or Northwich V.
  • Kidderminster H. v Rushden & D
  • St Albans C v Aldershot T.
  • Weymouth v Ebbsfleet U.
  • Woking v Forest Green Crawley v Welling or Grays


    Altrincham could prompt a row at Nuneaton today (Saturday) if the game goes to extra time at Liberty Way. The Heartland Evening News says that "Nuneaton Rugby Club chairman Dave Warden has launched a scathing attack on Liberty Way ground-sharing partners Nuneaton Borough over a potential fiasco. Warden has claimed Nuns [the rugby club] are 'doing the thinking for the football club because they can't do it for themselves' as a row over kick-off times erupted. Both teams have games on the same day for the third time this season. Boro's Setanta Shield tie against Altrincham kicks-off at 1pm and the Nuns meet Cambridge in National League Two with a 3.30pm start. But with Boro having to settle their cup match on the day, the prospect of extra-time and penalties looms large. Should that be the case then it is inconceivable for the pitch to be cleared for 3.30pm. Even if the game ends at the scheduled 2.45pm finish the ground has to be re-marked and the posts replaced. The situation has prompted Warden to slam his football counterparts over a potential problem he was unaware of until a colleague read about it in the Evening News.

    He said: 'There's been a breakdown in communication between the football club and the people they are playing. We we were under the impression that because it was a cup game it would go to a replay in Altrincham if it was a draw. The football club haven't got the decency to tell us otherwise. We were unaware of the kick-off time until the Evening News told us. We asked one of the major shareholders (of the football club) to confirm to us that there would be no replay and he did. He was livid about the whole situation and couldn't apologise enough. If it goes to extra-time then we could all be left with egg on our faces. We agreed to change the time to 3.30pm last week. It seems we are doing the thinking for the football club because they can't do it for themselves'.

    Nuneaton Borough chairman Roger Stanford told Evening News Sport he sympathised with the Nuns' position but the Boro kick-off time was as early as it could be. He said: 'I was unaware that they did not know about the replay situation. I sympathise with the rugby club over their position. We've done our best to accommodate Altrincham and they agreed to a 1pm kick-off. I don't think it could have been made earlier. There are benefits and negatives to ground sharing and the situation with cup draws at home is probably the biggest hindrance. However, I think the benefits far outweigh the negatives.When we found out about the draw we notified Nuns straight away. It's a summation, but I imagine we have done our best to make sure they don't have to change the day of their game. Last time we had an early kick-off they started at 4pm and perhaps we assumed that would be the case again'".

    IC Coventry reminds us that "The last time Altrincham came to Nuneaton was in a Nationwide North play-off semi-final at Manor Park and ended in a penalty shoot-out defeat for unlucky Boro. Tomorrow The Robins are back in town and at Liberty Way for a Setanta Cup (1pm kick off), last 32 tie that will certainly provide a significant test for Kevin Wilkin's boys at a time when a win would certainly renew self-belief within the team.... Wilkin is pleased to have a day away from league action and see how his men deal with their higher league visitors. 'It's always good to pit your wits against opposition from higher levels', said Wilkin. 'Altrincham are not having the best of times in the Premier so we might be catching them when they are a bit vulnerable. However, they will look at us and see our most recent results and think exactly the same. But whatever the case it's an opportunity for the lads to get a positive performance under their belts while also going through to the last 16 of a competition which could be lucrative if we can get some momentum going'. On the team front, Simon Travis (ankle) and Mark Noon (back) remain sidelined as Wilkin strives for a pre-Christmas bonus. 'This is the only cup competition we are in so we want to go as far as we can, so I will field a side I think most capable of getting us through'. Wilkin is expected to continue with his 3-5-2 attacking formation despite coming away from Blyth and Hyde without troubling the scorers and that has to be a worry.Both Andy Brown and on-loan Jordan Stepien have worked hard without any luck where it matters so whether the Boro chief will opt for changes with Brian Quailey and Danny Williams, who has missed training for the past fortnight, the men awaiting recalls.Boro (from): Acton, Oddy, Moore, McIlwain, Cowan, Franklin, Collins, Curtis, Palmer, Brown, Stepien, Pritchard, Quailey, Williams, Burgess, Edmond".

    As well as the Conference North Play-Off game, the two sides have met in two other cup competions in the last decade. In the FA Trophy 3Q in 1997-98 Alty won 2-0 at Nuneaton, whilst in 2001-02 at Moss Lane, there was role reversal of today's game. Then, Nuneaton were struggling in the Conference whilst Alty were the underdogs from the UniBond League. But, with Stuart Coburn inspired in goal, Alty won 3-0 with two goals from Rod Thornley (one a penalty, seen left) and one from Kevin Hulme.


    "Alty manager Graham Heathcote says he's really looking forward to the derby day clashes with Vics" according to the Northwich Guardian. "'Playing them twice over the Christmas period will create a real cup tie atmosphere', he told the Sale and Altrincham Messenger. 'I'm really looking forward to it'. Heathcote has called on Robins' fans to help his team overcome their bitter rivals. A gate of 2,330 turned out to see the clash at Moss Lane on Boxing Day last year. 'We need all the fans to turn out and give us their support because they will be two big games', he added".


    NL Daily says that "Histon have received an offer for Cliff Akurang described by chairman Gareth Baldwin as 'something you have to listen to' from Coca-Cola League Two Barnet. Early in the week the club received an enquiry from Barnet and after a number of discussions, received a written offer which the club view as acceptable so have given England `C` manager Paul Fairclough permission to talk to Akurang and his advisers. Akurang joined the Stutes from Dagenham & Redbridge in the summer with Histon beating off a number of other clubs to secure the striker's signature on a two-year contract...[Manager Steve] Fallon spoke... 'There is no done deal yet as we have to put a couple of things in place to enable Cliff to move on but the first part of the process has been completed by the club agreeing a fee for the player. We are looking to bring in at least two new players in the transfer window and the funds from this will enable us to do just that. With everything related to the playing staff, it`s my call on who comes and who goes and in Cliff`s case it`s an opportunity the lad has been waiting for. So when Barnet agreed to our valuation you have to give the player the chance to progress. Nobody should take this as a signal we lack ambition, we don`t. It`s just good business and a chance to help a good player get into the Football League, now. Our fans can rest assured we will be working very hard to bring in our targets during the transfer window to make sure we can sustain our push for the play-offs'.

    Chairman Gareth Baldwin said, 'It`s refreshing to deal with people who have integrity and share the values we do. Barnet’s chairman has been very patient and extremely professional as we have worked through the details of the potential deal. It’s entirely down to Steve Fallon who comes and who stays... He is a manager who helps players progress as well as achieving success for his club so no one should fear us selling Cliff because Steve and John Beck know exactly what they are doing and the steps we need to take to continue our improvement. We are now going after our targeted players very hard so subject to securing them and everything going as Cliff wants with Barnet there is a possibility we could complete the transfer very soon'”, he told the Histon website.

    The Cambridge Evening News adds that "The striker joined the club for £5,000 in the summer from Dagenham & Redbridge and the Stutes will make a significant profit if the attacker switches to the Coca-Cola League Two outfit in next month's transfer window.Akurang has averaged one goal every two games this term, with 10 strikes from 20 appearances. But the front man has suffered a dip in form in recent weeks and Histon manager Steve Fallon has often expressed his disappointment with Akurang's displays and urged him to be more clinical. And with chairman Gareth Baldwin revealing Histon have made an offer for a Blue Square Premier player this week, the club may be keen to cash in on the forward. Meanwhile, the Stutes will announce the biggest financial deal in their history next week when they unveil a new director. Baldwin said the successful businessman, who is expected to be formally welcomed to the club on Monday, will be bringing huge financial clout to the Glass World. The mega deal will surpass the one struck with Royston-based waste water consultancy firm JK Environmentals in the summer and could exceed £250,000. And the Stutes' supremo is overjoyed to have secured the mystery man's talents and believes he will help them continue their rise up the footballing ladder. Baldwin said: 'It will be the biggest deal we've done in the club's history and it's mind-blowing. It will mean we can support ourselves financially and not rely purely on our attendances. The new director comes with a huge pedigree and is another step towards our aim of having 12 directors on the board'".

    Commenting on the arrival of former Southport and Barrow boss Phil Wilson and of Gary Bauress as coaches at Droylsden, chairman Dave Pace told NL Daily, "We have to make sure we are ready for a big push in January and these are two good additions which suit both parties"...Pace also plans to bring in a number of new players during the transfer window".

    There are many ways of celebrating at Christmas. Aldershot Town report that "Chairs kept being added to accommodate the crowds filling Holy Trinity Church on Thursday evening for 'the Shots' 8th Annual Carol Service. Gary Waddock, his family, together with a full array of players were present. The Bagshot Concert Band gave hearty support to the singing of the carols and singers from the Aldershot New Testament Church of God rendered songs in their inimitable style". Meanwhile at Cambridge United there is a "Fund-raising Soul Night - 'Souled Up' is the idea of U's fans Alan Marshall and Gary Atyes... Sharing a love of soul music and both promoters of successful soul events during the 80s and early 90s, they decided to join forces to promote a money spinning top class Soul gig for the CUFC promotion fund... The event is already creating a buzz around town, as being the hottest ticket to have this Christmas!".Meanwhile Cambridge United report that Robbie Willmott has signed his first professional contract today, committing his future to the club to 2009. Robbie, who only turned 17 in March and was the youngest member of last year's youth team, is an exciting prospect who can play on either flank or in a withdrawn central striking role".

    From Blue Square Football we learn that "Halifax Town manager Chris Wilder has told defender Greg Young that he will be placed on the transfer list when the January transfer window opens. Young joins fellow centre back Cortez Belle on the transfer list as Wilder looks to free up some wages. 'Greg has struggled since he came back from his injury', Wilder told the Halifax Courier. 'He did well to get back but I don't think it has helped him that none of the centre backs have hit any consistency. It is an area I need to improve on and I cannot beat about the bush, holding on and waiting for them to come good'".

    The Crawley Observer reports that "Reds' boss Steve Evans said the ground share with Horsham could help Crawley's finances... He said Horsham would have minimal use of Broadfield Stadium but the move is still being discussed at board level. He added that he will field a weaker team against Eastbourne Borough with games over the festive period more of a priority. Guy Madjo is unlikely to make a return to the club next month but a final decision will be made by Cheltenham Town on January 20".

    "Boss John Deacey says Farsley Celtic fans can expect to see an 'improved' Dominic Krief after signing the midfielder following their FA Trophy victory over Gateshead. Krief is ruled out of tomorrow's Setanta Shield match at Droylsden but will be eligible to make his second debut for Celtic in the Blue Square Premier showdown against Halifax Town at Throstle Nest on Boxing Day" claims Farsley Today."It is the second time Farsley have captured the former Leeds United midfielder,who first arrived at Throstle Nest exactly two years ago and played in their UniBond League Premier Division play-off final victory over North Ferriby United. Deacey said: 'We signed him last night and it is a good addition to the squad. We need a strong squad to get us out of the situation we are in and he will help give us that. t will give us good legs in the centre of midfield, he has done well for Guiseley this year, he has scored a few goals and hopefully he can add to the tally. He has been here before and he did well, but he has matured now as a player and dropping back down to the UniBond League has done him a lot of good. He is fit, he is enthusiastic which is what you need, and he is at the right age now at 24. I think we will see an improved player. He will be playing in a league which will suit him better, it will give him the chance to pass the ball around as it is not as hurly burly in the Conference. You get the chance to put your foot on the ball'".

    Krief actually started last season in Conference North with Farsley but switched to Stalybridge Celtic last November when he teamed up again with his former Harrogate Town boss John Reed. He dropped into the UniBond League with Bradford Park Avenue in March before moving on to Guiseley in the summer. But Krief,who is currently serving a four-match ban, became unsettled at Nethermoor and was released by new Guiseley boss Steve Kittrick on Tuesday evening. After considering his options, he decided to sign for Farsley and was able to do so prior to the opening of the transfer window in January as he was free agent. Krief completes his ban tomorrow, while Farsley will also be without centre-back Ryan Crossley who has a slight back strain... 'I will be using the squad', Deacey said. 'You have to look at the big picture and at the end of the day we want to stay in the Conference this season. I am sure Droylsden will approach it the same way we are, because they have a heavy Christmas programme as well. Whoever plays, we are expecting a very tough game, as it always is down there. They are an attack-minded side, and they're good going forward. The manager is attack-minded. If we score two goals he'll be looking for three and he will throw another two strikers on because that's his philosophy. But it does leave them open at the back and we have to try and exploit the weaknesses'".

    This is Glos says that "Forest Green boss Jim Harvey could dip into the January loan market to bolster his side's promotion challenge. Rovers' supporters are purring over the club's transformation from relegation fodder to play-off hopefuls this term, and Harvey believes a settled squad has been a key factor in their success. But he is not ruling out making temporary additions to his 22-man party, with Swindon Town defender Chris Blackburn a possible target. Harvey signed centre-half Blackburn while in charge of Morecambe, and the 24-year-old could be on the market after making only three League One starts since joining the Robins last summer. Harvey said: 'I've said before that I'm happy with the balance of the squad, and certainly we've got enough depth at the moment because everyone is fit and healthy. But I wouldn't rule anything out in January because you never know when problems could arise, plus we've not used up any of our loans this season'. Blue Square Premier clubs are entitled to make eight loan signings in any season, yet Harvey has so far resisted the temptation to bring new faces in".

    From the Kidderminster Shuttle comes the news that "Kidderminster Harriers confirmed this morning that they had rejected a takeover bid. Chairman Barry Norgrove said that the People's Club had made an official approach but the six directors of the Aggborough club had unanimously rejected it. He told the Shuttle/Times & News: 'I did my homework on the set-up of the People's Club and I personally felt that it was not in the best interests of Kidderminster Harriers. But all the directors needed to be consulted because there may have been some support for the move. Yesterday was the first time we could all get together and discuss it and we have unanimously rejected the bid. We had some worries about what it would mean to the club. We currently have myself and Neil Savory who are local people and have long-standing family links with the club and it was felt that this was important. The directors believed it was better to continue as we are. We are looking for a push into the play-offs in the New Year and will be considering strengthening the squad in the January transfer window'. The People's Club is a new phenomenon which is aiming to find 40,000 football fans to sign up and generate £1 million to buy a club by the end of the season. Harriers was known to be on its top ten list of targets".

    21 December 2007


    Gavin Rathbone of GR Photography has produced an Altrincham FC 2008 calendar, the first copies of which will be available in the Robins' Shop from Boxing Day. Gavin writes, "I have put together a calendar again for the club, this year it has 12 different photos from the last 3 years showing some of the key highlights such as the play-off final, 3-0 (v Northwich) last Boxing Day, and Chris Senior's goal against Millwall". Price and other details will be posted here when confirmed.


    Altrincham are away at Nuneaton Borough this Saturday in the Setanta Shield. IC Coventry says that "Nuneaton Borough are coming home for Christmas - and aiming to boost their play-off hopes. Borough host Altrincham in the fourth round of the Setanta Shield at Liberty Way on Saturday and then four of their next five games in Blue Square North are at home. That is welcome news for Borough boss Kevin Wilkin after back to back defeats at Blyth and Hyde and he says his side have to learn from those setbacks. 'It's good to be back at home', he said. 'We hope to attract some good crowds and we need to bounce back. But we aren't taking anything for granted just because we are at home. We've learned in the last two games that we have to be on our mettle in every game. There are good teams in this league and they will punish us if we don't perform'... Borough are still sixth having put their difficult start to the season behind them".

    Meanwhile, "Former Coventry City midfielder Mark Noon continues to be frustrated by his back problems that have kept him out virtually all season. The Nuneaton Borough ace underwent surgery on a double prolapsed disc in the spring and though he battled his way to fitness and came on as substitute in the Setanta Shield win over AFC Telford earlier this month, he's again on the treatment table. And Noon's worries are also manager Kevin Wilkin's, who believes if the player could overcome the nagging injury it would provide a massive boost for the team. 'Mark is among the best midfielders in the league and you miss that quality of player', said Wilkin....'He's been told to rest up again although we hope to get him to see his consultant soon and see where he goes from there... so we must get on with it without him', added Wilkin, who will also be missing Simon Travis until after Christmas. He has a gash on his ankle".

    On Saturday, in Round 4, the 24 BSP clubs join the 8 survivors from the regional divisions in Round Four of the competition. Prize money is £2,500 to Round Four winners. The competition winners earn £12,000 for success in the final, which will be in April. The Setanta Shield Fifth Round draw is expected to take place live on Setanta TV after the televised Burton Albion v Tamworth game which starts at 5.15pm this Saturday.


    Unconfirmed fixtures from the BSP to be televised by Setanta are as follows:
  • Mon Jan 7th: Torquay U. v Burton A.
  • Sun Jan 20th: Exeter C. v Oxford U. k.o.7.15pm
  • Thu Jan 24th: Farsley C. v Stevenage B.
  • Mon Jan 28th: Torquay U. v Histon

    Once again, Altrincham are conspicuous by their absence which is more than can be said for some of the names above. It is to be hoped that the Farsley match draws more spectators than the total of ninety-two hardy souls who attended the Throstle Nest this week to watch the FA Trophy replay against Gateshead.


    Crawley's newspapers have often had cause to wash their local football club's dirty linen in public but now, in contrast, the Sussex press has turned its attention to a local laundry run (allegedly) by one of the club's owners. The Crawley Observer reports: "Crawley owner in hot water. Azwar Majeed, owner of Blue Square Premier side Crawley Town, is to appear in court this week after an investigation by the Metropolitan Police. The 31-year-old has been called to court to face allegations of money laundering and tax evasion for the past four years. Majeed owns two companies, SA Leisure and SA Retail, but the Lamborghini-driving entrepreneur has also been involved in two companies which have gone bust in the last two years. A spokesman from the Metropolitan Police told the Crawley Observer: 'Following an investigation by officers from the Metropolitan Police's Money Laundering Investigation Team, Mohammed Azwar Majeed, a businessman, of Dyke Road Avenue, Hove, Sussex, has been bailed to appear before the City of Westminster Magistrates' Court, Horseferry Road, London, SW1 charged with cheating the Public Revenue between 1 April 2003 - 30 March 2007".

    The Argus adds that "A former football club chairman is being prosecuted over claims he ran up a massive unpaid tax bill. Azwar Majeed is due to appear in court later this week accused of cheating the taxman after a Scotland Yard investigation. Majeed, the former chairman of Crawley Town FC and the owner of several businesses, bars and restaurants in Brighton, Worthing and Crawley, is accused of failing to declare income tax, national insurance and capital gains tax in some of his companies. While police and HM Revenue and Customs have not revealed the amount the 31-year-old is accused of owing, Mr Majeed himself told The Argus detectives have accused him of dodging £50 million due in tax. He is accused of 'dishonestly failing to account properly or at all' for the tax due 'in respect of income derived from trade and capital gains' between April 2003 and March 2007. The charge is that he did not give notice to tax officials that he was liable for income tax or capital gains tax for that period and failed to submit any tax returns.

    Mr Majeed... said Metropolitan Police officers started an investigation into his finances after discovering half a million pounds in one of his safe deposit boxes at the end of 2006. Mr Majeed, who turns 32 tomorrow, said: 'I am not really very bothered about it. They just found me with lots of tax and presumed I had done something wrong'. Majeed and his brother Chas Majeed came under the media spotlight after they put Crawley Town Football Club into voluntary administration last year because they owed money to a number of creditors including Crawley Borough Council, the Inland Revenue and former players.A year ago they were taken to the Royal Courts of Justice in London over an unpaid corporation tax bill of £206,000... The Majeeds also own businesses in Crawley, Worthing and Brighton, including Platinum Ignition which hires out top end cars and private yachts and bars such as the recently relaunched The Gentleman's Turf, formerly Ja Vu, in North Street, Brighton".

    On the field, The Argus says that "Neil Jenkins insists he has no axe to grind with Crawley ahead of his first clash with his former club. The Eastbourne Borough defender comes face to face with his old employers for the first time since his acrimonious exit 18 months ago in the Setanta Shield on Saturday. Jenkins was one of a number of players who walked out of the Broadfield Stadium in 2006 after the club went into administration with debts of £1.4m. The former Wimbledon and Southend full-back did not get paid for two months and only recently collected the money he was owed by Reds owners Chas and Azwar Majeed. Jenkins described the club as 'a joke' when he quit Crawley to join Borough last July but says that gaining revenge is the last thing on his mind ahead of tomorrow's fourth round clash at Priory Lane. He said: 'It's well documented that I didn't enjoy my last six months at Crawley and the way the players were treated was awful. I was getting married that year and it is pretty difficult to plan a wedding when you haven't been paid but every time I had an opportunity to leave I was prevented from going. But that is all water under the bridge now. It is hard to hold a grudge against a club when there is nobody left there who was there during my time. I blame the manager, John Hollins, for a lot of what happened to me. He mucked me about a lot but he has gone now and the only player who I know who is still at the club is Lee Blackburn. Of course there is always a bit of added spice when you play one of your old clubs but really it is just another game. I'm more interested in playing again after being injured for a couple of weeks'".

    From the BBC "Cambridge United duo Lee Boylan and Danny Potter have signed new contracts to keep them at the Abbey Stadium. Goalkeeper Potter, 28, has agreed a one-year extension to his current deal to stay with the U's until June 2010. Meanwhile, they have taken up their option of a further 12-month deal for striker Boylan, 29, who has now signed up until the end of next season. Boss Jimmy Quinn has also offered new contracts to a further five players, including defender Mark Albrighton".

    However, the Cambridge News reports that "Lee Power says that Cambridge United are looking to off-load contract rebel Michael Morrison in the January transfer window - but only if the price is right. The 19-year-old defender's current deal runs out at the end of the season and his refusal to sign a new contract last summer, then again over the past few weeks, has led to him being dropped to the bench by U's boss Jimmy Quinn. And U's chairman Power believes a parting of the ways is the best scenario for both sides and he will let Morrison go for the right fee - or go to tribunal if necessary. Power said: 'To be honest I don't think this is a position anyone at the club or Michael wants to be in... The only amicable ending is to listen to offers for the right money or go to a tribunal, but we won't be letting him go on the cheap. 'We brought Michael Morrison through the club from when he was young and he has played a lot of games for us. So, it would be different to the situation we found ourselves in with Robbie Simpson over the summer. I think it will be best for both parties if he found another club because we've offered him a fantastic deal and he's turned it down. But fair play to him, I've played the game and we don't want to stop someone progressing. We've just got to do what's best for Cambridge United Football Club'. Power is yet to receive any concrete offers for the player, who has been at the Abbey Stadium club since he was a boy, and the chairman has warned want-away Morrison he will continue to back his manager's decision to exclude the centre-half from his current team selection. The U's supremo added: 'If the transfer window closes in January and he hasn't found a new club, he could be in for a long season'. Meanwhile, with the returns to fitness of Danny Brown and Mark Albrighton, Jimmy Quinn has decided to let attacking midfielder Darryl Knights return to Yeovil after his two-month loan spell with United came to an end this week".

    York City "Minstermen are proud to present 'An Audience With Frank Sidebottom' at York City Social Club on Friday, 11th April 2008. The Timperley superstar will be on stage at 8:30pm, and doors will be open from 7:30pm. Tickets will cost only £10 (£8 for members of York Minstermen) and can be bought from the Club Shop at Bootham Crescent and from all York Minstermen events." Alty fans will recall that Mr Sidebottom was also on the bill at York when Alty played their away game there last season.

    Exeter City report "Yet more good news from the Cat & Fiddle [training ground] this morning as defender Matt Taylor has agreed an extended contract until 2010. This follows hot on the heels [of] the news that George Friend has also extended his deal by two years. Boss Paul Tisdale was naturally delighted by this latest news, 'Matt has been excellent for us this year, barely putting a foot wrong. He was untried at this level but looks like he has been playing there for ever'".

    20 December 2007


    Altrincham FC have today announced that they have released Colin Potts (right). Colin (29) originally joined Altrincham in August, 2004 and his form on the right-wing was an important factor in Altrincham achieving promotion to the Conference National at the end of that season. Last season Colin left Altrincham to seek more regular football, having made just seven starts and four appearances from the bench in 2006-07 but he returned to the club for 2007-08 season. He was used almost exclusively as a substitute this season and made 1 cup-match start and 13 Blue Square Premier appearances from the bench before succumbing to a knee problem which requires an operation. In all, Colin made 82+38 appearances for Altrincham and scored 13 goals. A popular player with the supporters, Colin goes with the best wishes of all at Moss Lane.


    "As at 18th December, Darren Gregory, Altrincham Safety Officer, is pleased to announce that a further nine stewards have completed the NVQ level 2 course in spectator control and all the other stewards who had already gained the qualification have renewed it for another three years. I would like to thank all the stewards for giving up their free time to gain this qualification and also send a special thanks to Tony Dunkerley and Telford College for their excellent continued support". Altrincham FC would like to add its congratulations to the stewards for their hard work on matchdays and for their commitment to achieving the NVQ award.


    Alty's match at Nuneaton is a 1pm kick off on Saturday as the Liberty Way ground is required by its other tenants, the Nuneaton Rugby club for a match on the same day. Nuneaton Rugby Club itself announces "kick off time changes - Nuns v Cambridge this Saturday kicks off at 3:30pm". This timing could provide an interesting afternoon for all concerned. If Alty's game goes to extra time and penalties, because Setanta Shield matches are played to a finish without a replay, the football could extend beyond 3.30pm. Given that rugby posts will have to be set up by 3.30pm for the Nuns game, Alty may find themselves attempting drop-goals rather than spot-kicks to decide the game.


    Above Gavin Rathbone's view of Warren Peyton and Ryan Shotton, with Darren Tinson in the background, in the match against York City last week. More of Gavin's excellent images can be viewed on his GR Photography website.

    The Sale & Altrincham Messenger says that "evolution rather than revolution will be the key as Alty look to turn around their so far disappointing campaign. Robins boss Graham Heathcote is planning changes in the January transfer window but insists there will be no massive overhaul at Moss Lane. Heathcote remains confident his team are close to being competitive in the Blue Square Premier and will merely be looking to finetune the current formula. But there will still be some difficult decisions as well. Reinforcements will be brought in - loan agreements are close to being reached over a young striker at a Championship club and a midfielder at another League club - but that means letting a couple of the current squad go.

    Heathcote told SAM Sport: 'We have to look at improving the squad in January and maybe look at improving other areas as well. Fresh ideas in the coaching can only be helpful. We've got a team that's very close to the level it needs to be at. We just need the icing on the cake and that's not easy to get. I have had lots of conversations about players. Due to the financial situation, I've been looking at a couple of loan deals with League clubs but there's other irons in the fire as well. Clubs at this level will be looking to move players out to move other players in and we can look at that as well. One of the decisions we have to make over the next few weeks is which players we have to move on, which is something I never like to do'...

    He said: 'I'm looking forward to the Setanta Shield but I have to make sure that the likes of Asa [Steve Aspinall], Gareth Whalley and Carlos Logan get some football. That's my priority this weekend. I'm not trying anything new. I just want to get some football into their legs. We've got five games in 15 days now so I'll need to use the whole squad and these guys haven't had many games recently. I want to get everybody a 90-minute run-out. I'm really looking forward to our derby games though. I'm delighted that Northwich have survived and it's vital for football in Cheshire that we keep these games alive. Playing them twice over the Christmas period it will create a real cup tie atmosphere. We need all the fans to turn out and give us their support because they will be two big games'".


    Alty Director and commercial manager Barry Pond has provided an updated list of Matchday Sponsors.


    FA Trophy 1Replay:
  • Farsley C. 4 Gateshead 1


    Kentish Football says that "Delighted Tonbridge Angels manager Tommy Warrilow, 43, admitted tonight’s giant killing will 'go down as one of the best days in the club’s history'. The heroic Warrilow warriors produced a famous giant killing act as they dumped full-time Blue Square Premier outfit Oxford United out of the FA Carlsberg Trophy at a passion filled Betterview Longmead Stadium... Oxford United, a cub that were playing the likes of Manchester United, Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur in the 1980s, lacked fight. They must now be at their lowest ebb in their history, especially as only 57 fans bothered to make the two-hour trip to watch their players’ come off second best. Remember that Tonbridge Angels were without five players and only had 12 recognised first-team players at their disposal.

    Victory was more the sweeter as the Angels finished the game with just nine players on the pitch, as midfielder Scott Kinch and hero Hamid Barr both saw red inside stoppage time, with their team-mates hanging on. But Tonbridge Angels’ grit, pride and determination was worth it in the end, as Barr’s twelve and most vital goal of the season sealed victory on the half-hour mark... Warrilow wasn’t happy losing two players inside stoppage time... 'I am so pleased, so delighted for all the lads but unfortunately the ending sort of took the icing off for us a little bit... Second half, it was like to Alamo back there', admitted a delighted Warrilow afterwards... 'But I’ve got to mention I haven’t seen a referee like that in my thirty years of football! I thought he was an absolute disgrace tonight and I don’t mind going on record saying that... Oxford United are a massive club, with all the set-up and the stigma [??] and we’ve got another clean sheet tonight... They’re a great club, I’m not disrespecting Oxford but I thought over the two games we can’t just turn round and say we were lucky. I thought we deserved the win".

    The Droylsden Forum has a posting which says that Dave Pace "spoke to me at 6-45pm tonight (Wednesday) to ask if I would put the record right and tell you all that Phil Wilson and Gary Bauress are replacing Steven Wayne as back room staff. Dave Pace is still Manager. Read the Manchester Evening News on Friday for more information". Phil Wilson, a former Alty player, but most recently manager of Barrow, has worked in tandem with Gary Bauress, for many years, with Bauress initially being Wilson's team captain at various clubs.

    From the BBC comes news that "Stevenage boss Peter Taylor wants to add a handful of new faces to his squad as soon as the transfer window opens. Chairman Phil Wallace confirmed to Borough's website that Taylor has been in contact with a number of clubs about prospective new signings. He said: 'The problem with our side has been the same for a couple of seasons. We need to bring in a few experienced players to put it right. Three of the four players we've targeted are with League clubs'".

    "Bolton defender Mark Ellis has extended his loan stay at Torquay United until the end of the season. The 19-year-old joined the Gulls in September and will now be with Paul Buckle's side for the remainder of their promotion challenge. Plymouth-born Ellis has so far started nine games for the Blue Square Premier side, scoring twice. His loan spell was due to expire after Torquay's Setanta Shield tie against St Albans City on Saturday", states the BBC which adds that "Six months into his revival mission at Torquay United, manager Paul Buckle has paused to take stock... 'If you have got anything about you as a player, coach or manager, you do assess how things are going. I have said to the players that they are a new group and the club is building but we have fast-tracked it so far and we need to keep raising the bar and trying to move forward'... The former Torquay midfielder started off with just four players but with new owners on board recruited 18 new faces to put together a squad.... 'It was a terrible feeling to go out of the League but the good to come out of it was the consortium and the staff and the players the club has now and the fans have really responded'. Average crowds are up at Plainmoor, where Torquay have won eight of their ten league games and where they also knocked Yeovil Town out of the FA Cup before losing to Brighton... He said: 'When the club asked me to take over and told me what they were looking for, the target was mid-table. That was a realistic target because of the state the club was in. It wanted to get back on its feet and wanted a team to compete. In the first half of the season I think we have done more than that and now it's about whether we are happy with that and we just coast, or do we step forward and better ourselves'".

    "Town's FA Trophy tie with Leamington might have gone ahead [on Tuesday] night had the Blue Square Premier clash with Exeter not been played on December 8. That is the view of groundsman Graham Osbourne who said that the damage done to the pitch by the clash with the Grecians will affect games for many weeks to come" reports the Halifax Courier. "Torrential rain in the 24 hours up to kick off in the Halifax-Exeter game meant the Shay was close to being waterlogged when the sides played... 'We lost a lot of grass during that match and it will have an effect on every match we play here through the winter. After the game we had to have the pitch verti-drained to let the water get away. It was covered on the Tuesday after the match but froze straight away and when there is water hanging on the surface it is susceptible to freezing... The covers only work down to about minus three degrees'he said... In front of the South Stand, 'that area can be two degrees cooler than the north end of the stadium' said Osbourne. 'It does not get any sun on it for the best part of three months of the year... One suggestion we had was that we should turn the floodlights on because that would warm the area up', he said. 'But they are 100 yards away from the pitch. And we had one person bring down a patio heater to thaw out the pitch. We thanked him for that and asked if he had another 600 to do the whole pitch!'" reports the BBC.

    IC Cheshire reports that "Vics swear their fortunes will continue to rise despite an FA Trophy nightmare against Vauxhall Motors on Saturday. On top of the shock 2-1 defeat, Natt Kerr was sent off, two goals were controversially disallowed for offside and star striker Lee Steele added to the fans’ fears when he limped off after scoring their only goal... Manager Dino Maamria... said: 'I won’t let it have an effect on our season – we’re stronger and bigger than that. It’s just disappointing. We have been making great progress lately and our work rate has been the biggest thing in my team for the last few weeks. We took it for granted on Saturday and that’s a lesson, but it’s not like we didn’t give it any importance... If you had asked me what was more important before the game – possibly getting to Wembley or staying up this season – I would have said staying in the division. If you ask me now I say the same thing' ...One benefactor from the problems could be loan-signing Nick Farquharson, who may now get a rare chance to extend his career at Vics thanks to Steele’s injury.The striker only suffered a hamstring twinge and should be back for the following game against Altrincham, but that gives Farquharson a one-game window to prove his worth before his loan is reviewed. It expires in the first week in January and Maamria said: 'Nick has been enjoying his football and been getting on well with the rest of the squad. But it’s not down just to me'".

    "Rushden & Diamonds manager Garry Hill pleaded guilty today to common assault" according to The Northants Evening Telegraph.. "The charge of actual bodily harm was dropped and Hill pleaded guilty to the lesser charge. He was fined £1,500 and ordered to pay compnsation of £1,000. The case was brought after Hill assulted Tommy Widdrington, coach of Salisbury Town, after the full-time whistle had blown".

    19 December 2007


    This is Staffs says that "Teenage Stoke defender Ryan Shotton is ready to return to a non-league relegation battle in the new year ... if Tony Pulis lets him. The 19-year-old centre half has returned to the Britannia this week after a three-month attachment to Altrincham in the nether regions of the Blue Square Premier. But Altrincham manager Graham Heathcote wants the Fenton-born youngster back ASAP - which would be in the January transfer window.

    'At the moment I haven't really spoken to Tony Pulis', says Shotton, 'but it should be a good opportunity for me to go back. Hopefully I can do that. I certainly enjoyed my time on loan there and it has definitely improved my game'. Shotton has yet to win his senior spurs at Stoke, but missed just two games through injury at Altrincham after enjoying his longest spell in senior football. His sights remain firmly fixed on a long-term career with Stoke, however, after rising through the Academy ranks... 'I definitely want to stay here and keep on pushing myself and improving. If I get my chance, hopefully I'll take it'".

    Ryan played for Stoke City Reserves on Monday night against Coventry at the Ricoh Arena. Although City lost 2-0 Ryan reportedly did well against Dele Adebola in the first half and Kevin Kyle in the second half.


    Tuesday 18th: FA Trophy 1 results-
  • Alfreton T. 1 Southport 0
  • Guiseley 1 Kidderminster H. 2
  • Halifax T. v Leamington POSTPONED
  • Hucknall 0 Tamworth 1
  • Tonbridge 1 Oxford U. 0


    The Northwich Guardian states that "Josh Wilson will miss Saturday's Setanta Shield clash through suspension. The midfielder picked up his fifth booking of the campaign at Vauxhall last weekend and joins Natt Kerr on the banned list for the trip to Barrow. He was handed a one-match ban by the FA... It leaves Dino Maamria with a selection headache in defence as Michael Welch is struggling to be fit in time to play. 'Greg Strong is Vics only fully fit defender, while Mark Birch could finally earn a recall after recovering from a bout of tendonitis in his achilles". It is also confirmed that VIcs "can keep Natt Kerr and Lucas Akins for another month. The pair agreed to extend their loan stays yesterday, Monday, after Dino Maamria spent the day on the phone talking to their managers. Both will wear green until January 22. 'It's a massive boost for us' he told the Guardian last night. 'Both have made a tremendous impact since they came to the club and I wanted them to be a part of things for a little longer yet'. Kerr, 20, has been a revelation at the heart of Vics' defence since switching from Rotherham United, helping his side keep three successive clean sheets before Saturday's FA Trophy exit. He spoilt his copybook slightly by picking up a red card at Vauxhall, but Maamria is certain to call him back for the Boxing Day derby duel with Altrincham. Meanwhile front runner Akins, 18, has struck up an instant rapport with Lee Steele after signing temporarily from Huddersfield Town... Vics' other loanee, Nick Farquharson, is due to stay until the second week of January".

    "Striker Darryl Knights has returned to Yeovil following two months on loan at Cambridge United. Knights, 19, scored twice for the U's, whose manager Jimmy Quinn now has a number of players back from injury" says the BBC.

    "Exeter City have invited striker Jamie Mudge to train with them in the New Year. The 24-year-old was a surprise inclusion in the Grecians' reserve squad for last Wednesday`s 2-0 defeat to Plymouth Argyle after being invited along by director of football Steve Perryman... Manager Paul Tisdale made no promises but said: 'Jamie is a player we know about, he is local to the club and he has been at the club before'... After turning his back on professional terms at City in 2002, Mudge scored more than 120 goals in five seasons with Tiverton Town, including 33 in 2004/05... Mudge has been playing for Dawlish Town in the Toolstation Western League since leaving Ladysmead earlier this season" confirms This is Exeter.

    From The Cambridge News we learn that "Jimmy Quinn has cried foul after Cambridge United drew Mid-Anglia rivals Histon in the FA Trophy for the second time in two seasons. United's boss has questioned the second-round draw, a repeat of last season's first-round match which Histon won 5-0. Quinn fumed: 'I want to know who makes the draws because it seems like a fix to me. It's not just our tie with Histon, I see a lot of the other Conference teams are playing each other in the second round. They are all tough ties at this stage, it's just uncanny it's Histon again for us. We've got the Setanta Shield against Rushden on Friday and if we win that, we'll probably get Histon again'. According to the FA, the Trophy draw is made with the same numbered balls used for the FA Cup. It was made, behind closed doors at Soho Square... However, Quinn believes a representative from each club involved should witness the draw to avoid any conspiracy theories. He added: 'When they make the draw there should be an official from every club present to stop people like me complaining. But it's happened now and we've just got to get on with it. On the flip side, at least we don't have to travel far, but if you're going to win the Trophy, you have to play teams like Histon'... The Trophy tie on January 12 will be the final part of a United v Histon trilogy which will be staged over 17 days. They play the first game of their Blue Square Premier double-header at the Abbey on Boxing Day and then go to the Glass World Stadium for the return on New Year's Day".

    But "Steve Fallon is relishing the prospect of Histon and Cambridge United locking horns for the third time in less than three weeks when they meet in the FA Trophy next month. The Stutes' manager... cannot wait to welcome Jimmy Quinn's men to the Glass World Stadium in the second round on January 12. And while his opposite number is getting hot under the collar about the draw, the Histon boss is delighted with the pairing, and believes it may help his club attract new supporters. Fallon said: 'It's a fantastic draw for us. I'm very, very pleased with it... Derby games are always big games when anything can happen. I think all three games against them will be highly charged... If we can put on a good show, then we might find we've got another 400-500 fans coming along to watch us. There will be people coming to these games who haven't been coming regularly and it's a good chance for us to get some of those stay-away fans back'... Histon chairman Gareth Baldwin echoed Fallon's sentiments... The Stutes' supremo said: 'I'm delighted and I think the people of Cambridge are in for a footballing treat, and there'll be fire and passion in all three games. We're about five per cent down on where we wanted to be in terms of home attendances in the league, so hopefully we'll get a sell-out for the Trophy game'".

    Halifax Town "boss Chris Wilder says it was the right decision to call off Town's FA Trophy first round clash against Leamington for a second time yesterday" according to the Halifax Courier. "Having been frozen off at the weekend, the sides had hoped to meet at the Shay on Tuesday night. But the continuing freezing temperatures meant there was no chance of the Shay pitch recovering in time to stage the match. And a decision to postpone again was made... more than 24 hours before kick off. 'Players want to play and I don't like missing games', said Wilder. 'But looking at that pitch it was clearly unplayable.We would have liked to have got the game in, but on the plus side, we might be able to call on a couple of players not available at the moment. Hopefully we will have Adam Quinn and Danny Forrest back and Andy Campbell somewhere near'. he sides will try again on Tuesday, January 8 - four days before the date for the second round where Blue Square South side Bishop's Stortford lie in wait."

    From This is South Devon we learn that "Torquay United are poised to agree a new extended contract with manager Paul Buckle.The promotion-chasing Gulls want to tie their promising team boss down for a longer-term agreement - it's thought to be a three-year deal - to give the Plainmoor club's rebuilding strategy some key stability. Buckle, who was 37 on Sunday, refused to confirm or deny the talks, and chief executive Colin Lee declined to comment ahead of a formal announcement. But United want to tie up the new agreement before they head into a Christmas/New Year programme which includes two local derbies against Buckle's old club Exeter City. There has been some speculation that one or two League Two clubs might be interested in trying to lure Buckle, who moved from Exeter to take over United six months ago, away from Plainmoor. But I understand that he is committed to the business of trying to lead United to promotion this season".

    18 December 2007


    Right: Ryan Shotton rises above his opponent in last Saturday's game.

    Contrary to expectations, Setanta Sports TV has decided NOT to televise the Altrincham v York City match scheduled for January 19th. It had been expected that the game would be shifted to Thursday 17th - indeed three new TV gantries have appeared at Moss Lane, lending credence to this plan. But now it appears that the prospect of FA Trophy replays, which could involve York City, have erased the game from the schedules. This is the second time an Alty home game has dropped out of the schedules, the match against Cambridge United game being the first victim Altrincham remain one of only a handful of BSP clubs not to have had a televised home game from Setanta yet this season. Meanwhile, York City, who defeated Alty in Round One, drew a home tie against Grays Athletic in yesterday's Round Two draw:

    FAT 2 games to be played on January 12th:

  • Vauxhall M. v Burton A.
  • Woking v Aldershot T.
  • Tonbridge Angels v AFC Wimbledon
  • Droylsden v Cambridge C.
  • Weymouth v Kidderminster H.
  • Gateshead / Farsley C. v Alfreton T.
  • Rushden & Diamonds v Exeter City
  • Dorchester T. v Ebbsfleet U.
  • Histon v Cambridge U.
  • Braintree T. v Workington
  • Bishop`s Stortford v Halifax T. / Leamington
  • Newport C. v Torquay U.
  • Stafford R. v Forest Green R.
  • Crawley T. v Eastleigh
  • York C. v Grays A.
  • Blyth Spartans AFC v Tamworth


    After Saturday's match This is York states that "York City caretaker manager Colin Walker is hoping to receive the best Christmas present of his life after his latest victory in temporary charge. With Saturday's 3-1 FA Trophy triumph at Altrincham, Walker further strengthened his claim to be appointed on a permanent basis having won three of his first four games during an unbeaten start to management since taking over from the sacked Billy McEwan. Walker's latest success also equalled a club record of five consecutive away wins, emulating the achievements of the famous 1954/55 Happy Wanderers' team and Denis Smith's all-conquering 1983/84 fourth division champions.A victory over struggling Setanta Shield hosts Stafford Rangers on Saturday will rewrite club history and a delighted Walker said: 'We will be going for that next weekend.I love what I'm doing and it's a great honour to be in charge at the moment and hopefully things will get better. I just work day by day and if anything else happens, then even better. It could be the best Christmas present I have ever had'... He said: 'In the four games I have been charge, I felt we played some of our best football against Altrincham. Chris Beardsley and Nicky Wroe came on and did the business with the third goal. With people like them as subs, as well as the likes of Darren Craddock, Richard Brodie and Ross Greenwood waiting in the wings, it's a great club to be at. I am big on everybody being together to achieve more and it's a massive team effort from the players, the coaches, the physio and the supporters. We are a nice, big, happy family at the moment... They had us watched and put somebody on Martyn Woolford but that made space for both our wing-backs and I thought they exploited it really well'".


    Rod Thornley played for Witton, Peter Wright for Fleetwood, whilst former Reserve John Maloney and striker Anthony Hargreaves both scored for Flixton last weekend. Alex Hay netted for Cammell Laird, his 17th goal of the season whilst former Alty Youth Stuart Cooke was sent off for Connah's Quay Nomads.


    A book for your Christmas list is Paul Harrison's FA Cup giant killers which has just been published at £12.99 for an illustrated 128-page volume, published by Stadia.


    The Manchester Evening News reports that"Droylsden boss Dave Pace is set to press ahead with sweeping changes... He is now preparing to clear the decks to make way for a planned glut of signings in the January transfer window, which will begin with the capure of ex-Crewe defender Adam Dugdale. First to go is second-choice keeper Phil Senior, while off-key strikers Terry Fearns and Steve Daly have each been transfer-listed. Pace has also axed coaches Steve Mungall and Wayne Richardson who he intends to replace with a pair who are no strangers to local non-League fans...' I'll do whatever is necessary to keep us up' said the Bloods' chief... If we could achieve [the Trophy final] and also stay up, what at the moment looks like a disastrous season would turn into the best we've ever had'".

    NL Daily reports that "St Albans City have signed striker Daniel Chillingworth on a month`s loan [from Cambridge United]. The 26-year-old, who is in his second spell with the U's, recently returned to training after having an ankle operation earlier this season. Chillingworth, who returned to the Abbey Stadium last January after a spell with Rushden & Diamonds, will join City until January 12th to build up his match fitness". But "Paul Carden's hopes of a permanent move to Cambridge United have been dealt a major blow" claims the Cambridge Evening News. Manager Jimmy Quinn has made little secret of his wish to bring the combative midfielder to the Abbey following the end of his loan spell from Accrington next month... But following talks with Stanley, the League Two outfit have said they are likely to need Carden back when his temporary deal ends on New Year's Day. Quinn said: John (Coleman, Accrington boss) has said he thinks that [former Alty midfielder] Ian Craney might be heading to Peterborough and he might not have enough midfield players, so he's uncertain if Paul can stay with us any longer than the loan period. Paul wants to come because he doesn't particularly like it at Accrington, mainly because he isn't in the team and has only played a cameo role from the bench. He has said this is the best club he has been at for a while with the team spirit, but he has a contract with Accrington so they've got to do what's right for them first and foremost, and we just have to hope something can happen. But Quinn has warned Michael Morrison to try to find another club when the transfer window opens next month or risk being left on the sidelines for the rest of the season. It follows the England C international's decision to reject a new deal last week and the sudden rise of Josh Coulson, who put pen to paper on a contract to keep him at the Abbey until 2010 on Thursday. Quinn said: 'I know Michael well enough to know he'll give everything he has got while he's here if he does play, but I've got to give Josh experience because he's going to be here for another couple of years. Michael has got to get on to his agent and get himself sorted out in the transfer window because between now and the end of the season is a long time not to be playing regularly. It's a chance Michael has to take if he doesn't go because if people see he hasn't played for a while they may change their opinion on him'".

    From This is Exeter we learn that "Exeter City boss Paul Tisdale hopes to keep Jamie Mackie at St James's Park - despite mounting speculation the striker is a target for a number of Football League clubs. The frontman enhanced his growing reputation with his eighth goal in his last nine games as City booked their place in the second round of the FA Trophy thanks to a comprehensive 3-0 win over Salisbury City... The 22-year-old is tied to St James's Park until the end of the campaign and the City boss wants Mackie to help lead the club to promotion out of the Blue Square Premier before he considers moving on".

    Meanwhile "Vics must wait to find out how bad Lee Steele's latest setback is" says the Northwich Guardian. "The 34-year-old tweaked his left hamstring in the act of scoring his side's momentary leveller at Vauxhall. He limped off straight after the restart. 'Lee felt his hamstring and asked to come off straight away," said manager Dino Maamria. We are hoping it's not too serious but it's too early to tell just yet'. Steele netted his third goal in four games to get Vics back into the game... It leaves Northwich supporters praying for a swift recovery by their star striker with two derby day duels with Altrincham over the festive period. Steele spent six weeks on the sidelines earlier this term after tearing the same muscle in the home defeat to York City". However, "Michael Byrne was back in action for Vics [on] Saturday. The midfielder has been out since the beginning of October with a knee injury but came on as a second half sub in his team's 2-1 FA Trophy defeat. Byrne has spent two weeks at Lilleshall to speed up his recovery... 'Michael Byrne's performance was the only positive I can take from today', " said Dino Maamria afterwards. 'It's great to have him back and I thought he was magnificent when he came on. He's someone who gets on the ball and makes things happen with his creativity'. Maamria explained that he replaced skipper Carr due to his off-colour display. He told the Guardian. 'He's played an awful lot of games for us this season, more than anyone else, and I don't think he's been himself in recent weeks'. And "Natt Kerr will miss Saturday's Setanta Shield tie through suspension. The Vics' loanee was sent off after picking up two yellow cards during the weekend FA Trophy defeat at Vauxhall Motors. The FA today handed him a one-match ban. Kerr, 20, was booked for scything down Vauxhall star man Paul Taylor before later seeing yellow for a second time after getting involved in a scuffle sparked by Danny Williams's foul on the diminutive striker. Kerr's one-month stint at the Marston's Arena is due to end on Saturday, although Dino Maamria has said he intends to bid to extend that stay into the New Year. If he succeeds, then Vics fans will be praying that the weekend trip to Cumbria isn't wrecked by the weather or Kerr would be forced to sit out the Boxing Day derby duel with Altrincham instead".

    The Oxford Mail tells us that "Several Oxford United players have been told their careers are on the line after another big embarrassment for the club on Saturday. The U's were held 0-0 at home by Tonbridge Angels in the FA Trophy and boss Darren Patterson branded the performance of the midfielders and forwards 'a disgrace'. He said: 'As far as I'm concerned, there's a lot of players who have three weeks to save their Oxford United careers'... The Oxford players are among the best paid in the Conference, but they looked no more capable than the Angels, who are semi-pro with most of them picking up £150-£200 a week. Patterson said he thought some in the United camp who didn't do the business should donate their wages to charity. 'This club is not only set up League-wise, there's League's wages going out of this football club', he said.'If I was one of the midfielders or front players - Danny Rose apart - I would be embarrassed to take my money this week. I would be donating it to some form of charity. I'm not going to name any individuals, as a collective group it simply wasn't good enough... Preparation-wise from my staff is first class', he added. 'It's second to none, up to Championship level, I would say. Perhaps it's too good for these players, perhaps it's too easy... Training's done with a tempo, everything's done properly... but yet again I've been let down. We didn't look up for it, which is unbelievable. But it's something we will put right, it's as simple as that.We talk about the players we want, it's the player's attitude that has to be right - every single day. We've not got enough winners in there. Winners are consistent every day, winners want to do better every day, winners want to improve and give it all every day. And unfortunately, there's not enough of them in my dressing room at this moment in time'... The players may have been hoping for a day off yesterday, but that was cancelled by the angry U's boss, who called them in for extra training. Goalkeeper Billy Turley misses the replay because of suspension... United have to decide whether to play teenager Sam Warrell between the sticks or look elsewhere for an experienced keeper".

    And "The likelihood of striker Gary Twigg leaving Oxford United in the January transfer window has increased with widespread speculation that he is looking to move back to his native Scotland. Manager Darren Patterson declined to comment on the rumours... 'Gary will definitely be here until January 1 and I know he will be as committed as ever in that time', Patterson said. Twigg joined the U's last summer from Scottish first division side Airdrie, where he was top scorer last season... Patterson has identified players he wants to bring in next month, and it seems certain some will be leaving, but much depends on the budget he is given and is able to work with".

    The BBC says that "Oxford United defenders Luke Foster and James Clarke have signed new contracts at the Kassam Stadium. Foster, 22, who joined the U's from Stalybridge last season, has agreed a 12-month extension to his contract. After recovering from a leg fracture sustained in April, Foster has played 15 times for Oxford this season. Meanwhile, Clarke, 18, has been given his first professional contract after forcing his way in to the first-team and has signed a deal until June 2010".

    The Ebbsfleet Forum has an article from which says that "Nine days before Christmas and still a little patience is required until all the fun and games can begin. We’d planned to post a due diligence update article last week, however, while the final touches are being put to the deal, the wise men thought it prudent to hold off. The good news is, the process is going well thus far, and, although no one can predict the future, we are hopeful that the deal can be completed, if not by Christmas, then shortly thereafter. Over the last 10 days, foundations continue to be laid for what will be an exciting six weeks on the website. You wait for a vote and then three come along at once.

    Firstly, members will get to decide whether to accept or decline the takeover of Ebbsfleet United... Should members decide to purchase the club, attention will turn to the pitch. We’ll be taking control mid-season, during the all-important January transfer window, so it will be up to members to give the green light to any plans the coaching staff have already made. All EUFC player contracts all run out in April, so it’s possible that Liam Daish will want to secure a number of the current players until April 2009. He may also wish to bring in some fresh faces, ones that he and his scouts have been looking at during the first half of the season.

    Another members’ vote in the coming weeks will be whether or not to accept a new kit deal for the club... Again, the rush is on because January is a key month for team kit and merchandise. To enable football clubs to have stock ready for July/August, typically, decisions have to be made in January... If members decide to go with this manufacturer, a secondary vote will be held to choose the design of the kit.

    We must also begin the process of forming our Trust Board. Once due diligence is out of the way, The Legal Team will write an article on how these elections will work... Personally, I hope that our Board includes a member of the Fleet Trust and one of the previous owners. Having spoken to the various parties at EUFC, it’s clear that they all have the very best interests of their club at heart. So being able to unite them makes enormous sense to me, and can only benefit the football club".

    Meanwhile, the NL paper reports that "Kidderminster could be set to follow Ebbsfleet in being run by a fans' website after chairman Barry Norgrove said he will discuss the possibility of selling to The at aboard meeting this Thursday. is another version of Apparently, Kidermninster are on the PeoplesClub's shortlistt, not least because of their central location in England."

    17 December 2007


    After Saturday's Trophy defeat, Graham Heathcote told the NL paper, "I don't think the players fully understand but they have missed out on a competition that ends at Wembley. We were up for it and played well for an hour. Then we went and shot ourselves in the foot by giving away two sloppy goals. I'm not concerned about the third as we were playing four up front. But we clearly were not good enough and whether that is down to part-time against full-time, I don't know. York deserved the win and we will just have to see what we can pick up in the January [transfer] window".


    Writing in Saturday's Robins' Review manager Graham Heathcote paid tribute to central defender Ryan Shotton (right). "Today may be Ryan Shotton's last game - I hope not, but we will see. He has been a superb addition to our squad, a great lad and he is going to be a really good player. If we can't sort any deal out with Stoke for a long-term loan, we would like to wish him well in his career. You have worn the Alty shirt with pride and that's all we ask and something you you don't always get with loan players or even permanent players for that matter. Good luck, Ryan". Ryan has proved a hugely popular figure with Altrincham's supporters, too, and they will join Graham in hoping that we have not seen the last of him in an Altrincham shirt this season.


    Congratulations to Alty club doctor, Dr Richard Parris and his wife, Liz, on the birth of their daughter Abigail recently.


    Alty physio Sean Riley (left) writes in Saturday's Robins' Review that "On the injury front, I am still waiting for Val (Owen)'s scan results to be sent to me so that I can make arrangements for him to see our consultant, so the correct course of treatment can be started... The result of Steve Aspinall's scan show a small piece of cartilage floating around inside his right knee. This is the reason why his knee has become swollen on several occasions for no apparent reason. At the moment his knee is normal and he is able to play. If this continues, I will schedule surgery for the end of the seasoen. However, if the cartilage causes further irritation during this season, he may need surgery before the end of April. Colin Potts is waiting for a date to go into hospital for an arthroscopy. This where the surgeon puts a small camera into Colin's knee and, once the problem has ben identified, minor surgery will be carried out to rectify the problem".


    Altrincham FC announces that "Work has commenced on the new toilet block / catering facility at the Golf Road End. The contract should be completed within 16-18 weeks and thus should be available by the end of the season, providing much needed facilities for the home supporters. The majority of the cost of the project has been supplied by a Football Foundation grant but the residual money required has not in any way impinged on the playing budget which has recently been enhanced by the Board of Directors. Success on the field remains our number one priority".


    Don't forget to get your tickets for the Oxford v Altrincham game on January 5th. They can be bought at a discount from the club offices during normal working hours. Please ring 928-1045 if you have any queries.


    Following the same format of last year's sponsored walk, Jimmy Wagg the Radio Manchester presenter and Altrincham FC director Andrew Shaw will be leading any volunteers who wish to undertake a fund-raising walk from Altrincham to Droylsden for the match on Tuesday 5th February. The walk is approximately 16 miles and, once again, proceeds from the walk will be split between Altrincham FC and the Autistic Society. Anyone interested in the walk should contact the club for a sponsorship form. Likewise, if you simply want to sponsor a walker, please ring the club on 928-1045 or by e-mail.


    Altrincham have two home games (both at 3pm) over Christmas, on Boxing Day (v Northwich Vics) and on December 29th (v Stevenage Borough). On each date, for just £25 you can be wined and dined in the Gill Oates Sponsors' Lounge at Moss Lane. Please contact Barry Pond.


    Matty Berkeley scored twice for Workington in their win at Leigh on Saturday. Kieran Lugsden and former Alty reserve Rick Chetcuti played for Leigh in the same game. Gary Williams has joined Woodley Sports from Chorley.
    16 December 2007


    Altrincham FC Youth reached the Cheshire County FA District Youth Cup Final today, defeating Crewe and District 1-0, away in the semi-final. The only goal was scored by Dominic Lillie. Altrincham now meet The Wirral in the final. The Wirral, who stand between Altrincham and a third successive triumph in this competition, defeated Alty 2-1 in the qualifying league for the semi-finals, so will provide stiff opposition. The final is likely to be a floodlit match in March with the toss of a coin deciding which team is at home. Congratulations are due both to the players and to the management team of George Heslop, Tony Spilsbury and Gareth Thomas.


    Saturday night's Altrincham FC Christmas Celebration Dinner and Party at the Cresta Court Hotel was an excellent occasion for which organizer Karen Rowley and her team are deserving of many thanks. Alty manager Graham Heathcote compered the evening in his inimitable style with virtually every member of the squad being the target of tongue in cheek comments during the evening! All of the squad were there with their wives and girlfriends, with the exception of the indisposed Val Owen who, nevertheless, generously sent a signed Jimmy White snooker cue as one of the items for auction. Indeed, the auction was a great success with the star item being a signed Carlos Tévez Manchester United shirt which went for £1,000, with a Thierry Henry Barcelona shirt also raising several hundred pounds. A signed Manchester City shirt obtained by Danny Heathcote also raised a good sum whilst a montage of photos of Colin Little and a framed football boot from the Alty striker also raised funds for the club. Both the food and the table service of the staff at the Cresta Court was excellent and the evening closed with the more agile guests taking to the dance floor. 22 raffle prizes were also drawn with Ryan Shotton being perhaps the most disappointed winner - he won a make-up set! Including the players and backroom staff, well over 150 guests were present including fans and sponsors, to whom the club is very grateful for their continuing support.


    Peter Hennerley's collection at Moss Lane for the British Legion Poppy Appeal in November raised £216-72. He would like to thank all those who contributed so generously.


  • Match report here.


    Those who attended Saturday's game at Moss Lane will have seen that three new TV gantries have been erected at the ground, two on the Popular Side and one at the Carole Nash & Family End. These are in preparation for the expected telvising by Setanta Sports TV of Alty's home Blue Square Premier Match against York City. That game, currently scheduled for Saturday 19th January is now likely to be moved to Thursday 17th January to accommodate the TV schedules.


    As previously reported, Altrincham's Setanta Shield match at Nuneaton Borough next Saturday is a 1pm kick-off. As a result of this change, the schedule for the STAR supporters' coach has also been brought forward by two hours, wiith the vehicle now setting off from The Vine in Sale at 9.10am. Full details are here.
    15 December 2007


    Altrincham could have no complaints at the outcome of this FA Trophy game. Playing a new 3-1-4-1-1 formatioon with Gary Scott in front of the back line, Alty started brightly but it was York who had the better first-half chances, one of which saw them hit the post after 13 minutes. But, after a goalless first half, Farrell fired York ahead with a low drive in the 56th minute. Lloyd made it 2-0 eight minutes later when he drilled home a shot after Coburn had beaten the ball out well from Farrell's well-struck effort. Colin Little volleyed Alty back into the game in the 74th minute from Peyton's freekick from the right and briefly the Robins looked like they might retrieve something from the game. But substitute Nicky Wroe wrapped the game up in the 87th minute with a low drive from the edge of the box. Report to follow.

    Right: Alty deployed Gary Scott in front of a back-line Ryan Shotton, Darren Tinson and Chris Lane against York.

    ALTRINCHAM: 1. Stuart COBURN; 15. Chris LANE, 5. Darren TINSON (capt), 16. Ryan SHOTTON; 3. Gary SCOTT; 12. Joe O'NEILL, 7. Robbie LAWTON, 6. Jake SEDGEMORE, 11. Warren PEYTON; 9. Colin LITTLE, 12. Chris SENIOR. Subs: 2. Steve ASPINALL, 13. Richard ACTON, 18. Pat McFADDEN, 21. Gareth WHALLEY, 22. Carlos LOGAN.

    YORK CITY: 1. Tom EVANS; 23. Ben PURKISS, 5. David McGURK, 6. Daniel PARSLOW, 24. Anthony LLOYD, 8. Emanuel PANTHER, 11. Martyn WOOLFORD, 4. Stuart ELLIOTT, 25. Darren KELLY; 10. Craig FARRELL, 7. Onome SODJE. Subs: 2. Darren CRADDOCK, 12. Chris BEARDSLEY, 13. Josh MIMMS, 16. Richard BRODIE, 22. Nicky WROE.

  • Alty player statistics
  • Alty cup match line-ups


    Alty's next two matches are cup games:

    FA Trophy Round 1, 15th December 2007
    £4,000 for each winning team:
  • AFC Telford U. 1 Blyth Spartans 2
  • Alfreton T. v Southport POSTPONED
  • ALTRINCHAM 1 York C. 3
  • Bamber B. 2 Rushden & D. 3
  • Bishop's Stortford 8 Canvey Island 0
  • Cambridge C. 3 Kettering T. 2
  • Cambridge U. 5 King's Lynn 0
  • Colwyn Bay 1 Burton A. 2
  • Crawley T. 1 Bromley 0
  • Dorchester T. 2 Stevenage B. 1
  • Droylsden 2 Redditch U. 1
  • Eastleigh 1 Bognor Regis T. 0
  • Ebbsfleet U. 4 Carshalton A. 1
  • Exeter C. 3 Salisbury C. 0
  • Gateshead 1 Farsley C. 1
  • Gloucester C. 0 Braintree T. 2
  • Grays A. 3 Lewes 0
  • Guiseley v Kidderminster H. POSTPONED
  • Halifax T. v Leamington POSTPONED
  • Hayes & Yeading U. v Aldershot T.
  • Hemel Hempstead 0 Woking 1
  • Histon 5 Retford U. 2
  • Hucknall T. v Tamworth POSTPONED
  • Leigh RMI 1 Workington 3
  • Maidenhead U. 0 AFC Wimbledon 2
  • Newport C. 3 Bath C. 0
  • Oxford U. 0 Tonbridge A. 0
  • Stafford R. 3 Ossett T. 1
  • Sutton U. 1 Forest Green R. 4
  • Torquay U. 1 Bashley 0
  • Vauxhall M. 2 Northwich V. `1
  • Wealdstone 0 Weymouth 1 (played Friday)

    In Friday's Manchester Evening News, in advance of today's clash with York City, Graham Heathcote said "As long as I'm in football, I hope I'll never lose my desire to step out at Wembley and that the same can be said of my players. It's about making my players want to live the dream. I was lucky enough to get to Wembley twice in my playing days and I'd love to repeat the experience as a manager". The MEN confirms that "Alty will again be without injured trio Val Owen, Colin Potts and Gareth Whalley... The tie also marks the possible farewell appearamce of defender Ryan Shotton, who's set to leave Alty to return to Stoke after a succesful three-month loan stint with the Robins".


    Right: "Be Proud", the sign seen by the players as they leave the home dressing room at Moss Lane to go onto the pitch.

    Alty host York City today (Saturday) in the FA Trophy, Round 1 at Moss Lane. Howard Watts's Through the Years records for 15 December are This is York claims that "Former York City striker Joe O'Neill is likely to play on the right wing against his old team-mates in tomorrow's FA Trophy clash at Altrincham. O'Neill, 25, has only scored twice this season with his last goal coming at KitKat Crescent three-and-a-half months ago when his late header earned the Robins a 2-2 Blue Square Premier draw. Since then, he has been switched to the flank and has failed to net in 13 matches with ex-Scarborough striker Chris Senior joining the experienced Colin Little in attack. O'Neill is also filling in for injured wide man Colin Potts, who was sidelined by a knee injury in October. Midfielders Val Owen (foot) and Gareth Whalley (leg) will also be absentees for the Moss Lane meeting and manager Graham Heathcote has stressed the need for reinforcements when the transfer window reopens on January 1 with his squad down to 16 fit players. Senior is the side's leading marksman with six goals, but only second-bottom Droylsden have conceded more times at home in the Blue Square Premier than Heathcote's men. Alty have shipped 24 goals during 11 fixtures in front of their own fans and their record of eight home defeats is the worst in the division. The Cheshire team have won just one of their nine league matches since the end of September - a 3-2 home victory over Weymouth last month... City have made only one previous cup visit to Moss Lane and that was almost 26 years ago. In 1981/2, the clubs were paired in the second round of the FA Cup. After a 0-0 draw at Bootham Crescent, fourth division City went down 4-3 in the replay".

    This is York also says that "City caretaker manager Colin Walker has dismissed all talk of Wembley and club records in his preparation for tomorrow's FA Trophy trip to Altrincham... The Minstermen will also equal a club record of five straight away victories if they win their first round tie at Moss Lane... City have won two and drawn one of the three matches since Walker took temporary charge, but never tasted victory in three previous Trophy campaigns and the former reserve coach said: 'We've not mentioned Wembley once this week. For me, it's continuity that I'm interested in. "Our preparation has been the same as it would be for a league game, but this is the competition you look to make progress in... We've not really spoken about records either. I'm just looking for a positive result and, if the record comes, then fantastic. If we have to bring them back to York we will do, but we are looking to win the game'. Broken leg victim Mark Robinson is the only absentee for Walker ahead of tomorrow's game. The left wing-back will have an operation to fit a plate in his fibula today and is expected to be sidelined for ten to 12 weeks. Walker admitted his unavailability could lead to a change of tactics with the more defensively-minded Anthony Lloyd the most likely replacement. The City caretaker chief added: 'We've had a little look at one or two things in training and Mark's misfortune will give somebody else a chance, but I will sleep on whether it's in the wing-back system or 4-4-2'".

    Walker is also anticipating a tougher challenge than Altrincham's 21st-placed league standing suggests... 'I watched them against Aldershot in the season and they were the best side for most of the game but lost. We also had them watched in their last match against Histon when it was a similar story. They have quick strikers in Colin Little and Chris Senior, so we will have to be wary of them but we're concentrating on what we will do'... Walker added: "Joe [O'Neill] was fantastic to work with and gave you 100% all the time. He had a great touch but would admit himself that he's not blessed with pace. His work-rate was terrific though and we all remember him for his hat-trick against Southport but if he's playing on the right wing he might not be a threat'. If a replay is required, it will be staged at KitKat Crescent on Tuesday.

    Altrincham (probable): Coburn, Lane, Tinson, Shotton, Scott, O'Neill, Lawton, Sedgemore, Peyton, Senior, Little. Subs: Aspinall, Acton, McFadden, Logan, Munroe.

    York City (probable): Evans, Parslow, Kelly, McGurk, Lloyd, Wroe, Panther, Elliott, Woolford, Farrell, Sodje. Subs: Mimms, Purkiss, Greenwood, Brayson, Beardsley."

    The same source adds that "York City will be trying to progress beyond the FA Trophy first round stage... The visitors have a dire record in the competition so far after going out at the first round stage in each of the last three seasons... But Colin Walker's side approach the tie full of confidence, and with the added prospect of achieving a club record equalling fifth successive away victory after their recent triumphs at Woking (3-0), Farsley Celtic (4-1), Weymouth (2-1) and Ebbsfleet United (2-1). This impressive sequence followed a battling 1-1 draw at Oxford United, and another win at Grays Athletic (2-0), which leaves the visitors unbeaten on their travels since a 2-0 defeat at current Blue Square Premier leaders Aldershot Town in mid-September. Meanwhile, York have also convincingly triumphed on their last two visits to Moss Lane. Neal Bishop, Steve Bowey, Richard Brodie and Martyn Woolford were on target in a 4-0 success last term, while Clayton Donaldson (2) and Andy Bishop set up a 3-0 win the previous season".


    The Burton Mail previews Albions' game with Colwyn Bay in which "Bay could give debuts to [ex-Alty] midfielder Mike Garrity, who has been recruited from Vauxhall Motors... But a more familiar foe will be Bay's player-coach Mark Quayle [another ex-Alty man], who played against Albion for Scarborough and Chester in the Conference".


    From the Crawley Observer we learn that "Jamie Lovegrove has returned [to Crawley Town] from his loan move to Margate to fill up an 18 man squad as the team go into the festive period".

    Farsley Today tells us that "John Deacey will hit the road to Wembley tomorrow in bouyant mood after being handed the Farsley Celtic manager's job last night [Thursday]. Deacey, who has held the role on a caretaker basis since Lee Sinnott moved onwards and upwards to Port Vale at the start of last month, was confirmed as the permanent successor when Celtic concluded their interviews at Throstle Nest. Chairman, Andy Firbank, said: 'We had a board meeting last night to consider all applications and also left John Deacey until last to do his presentation to the board. We wanted to know what he felt needed to be done to ensurewe achieve our main priority of retaining our status in the football conference this season and to that end he had the best business plan of all the candidates. He put forward a very professional plan for when the transfer market opens in January, he has already identified all of his targets and there will be comings and goings. 'It was a unanimous decision by the board, who felt the best way to progress the club was to make John Deacey manager'. The former number two, who helped Sinnott lead Farsley to three promotions in four seasons, beat off strong competition from the likes of former Lincoln boss Jon Schofield and ex-Guiseley manager Bobby Davison to get the nod from those in charge of the purse strings at Throstle Nest. Deacey admitted he was 'chuffed to bits' at the appointment and has now set his sights on victory at UniBond League side Gateshead in the first round of the FA Trophy tomorrow... Deacey said: 'We want a decent run in the Trophy and we have got a good chance of that. We have played most of the teams in our division and I don't think there is anything that really scares us. All the other teams in it are below us league-wise so we have as much chance of winning it as anyone. And a Wembley day out would be fantastic for both the club and the players. It's the only chance a lot of our lads will get to go toWembley – unless they are going there to watch' ... They may have failed to win in Deacey's six league games in caretaker charge, but the performance in a battling 2-1 home defeat to much-fancied Torquay last time out showed they are a match for anyone in the Blue Square Premier. 'Speaking to their manager after the game he said it was the hardest win they have picked up all season', said Deacey... Young left-back Ryan Serrant was one of the star performers against Torquay but he will miss tomorrow's match. He is cup-tied after playing in the competition while on-loan at Ossett Town earlier in the season. German-born winger Roy Stamer is also unavailable".

    Elsewhere in Yorkshire, the Halifax Courier says that "Town boss Chris Wilder is set to name an all-new central defensive partnership for tomorrow's FA Trophy first round clash with Leamington at the Shay. Rob Scott and Jake Wright will be the men handed the responsibility of steadying the ship after last weekend's three-goal defeat at the hands of Exeter City, replacing Cortez Belle and Greg Young. Young will have to hope for a place on the bench while Belle is suspended for the game but was almost certain to have lost his place in any case. 'I will make changes - I have to', said Wilder. 'We have given comical goals all season and that was epitomised last Saturday. We need a solid platform to work from and it has been difficult to find. The bottom line is players have to produce performances to stay in the team.. I have to play players who are confident and possibly that is where Rob and Jake come into that. They have both played centre half in their careers. We have enough attacking players in the team, but we need to be tight at the back'".

    The Northwich Guardian reports that "Dario Gradi has warned Vics to use his player or risk losing him. Crewe Alexandra front runner Nick Farquharson has managed only half an hour as a second half sub at Stafford since switching to the Marston's Arena on loan. And Gradi isn't happy. 'He has hardly played', he told Alex's official website... 'The whole point of him going out on loan was to play. We might look to recall him'. The teenager's loan spell is due to run out in the first week of January, but Gradi is not ruling out an early recall. He says 19-year-old Farquharson, who spent a spell on loan at Vics' neighbours Witton Albion last season, is also unhappy. It seems the fine form of fellow loanee Lucas Akins has left Vics boss Dino Maamria with little choice but to stick with a winning formula. He may be tempted to shuffle his pack in the next fortnight as he prepares his team for two crunch derby clashes with Altrincham over Christmas"

    From the Oxford Mail we learn that "James Clarke is set to be rewarded for his meteoric progress at Oxford United with the offer of a pro contract. The 18-year-old youth-team player, who hails from Aylesbury, was given his chance in the first team four matches ago - and grabbed it with both hands. And he has gone on to show great maturity for his age. U's boss Darren Patterson said he was hoping to meet James, and his father, last night with the view to offering the young right back a pro contract. It would mean an instant increase to the trainee's wages, which are believed to be around £45 a week! 'Yes, we'll be bumping it up to £47.50, and £50 for the second year, and £52.50 for the third on a three-year deal', chuckled Patterson, tongue-in-cheek. 'Seriously, though, the lad has done ever so well. That can be measured by the fact that when Paddy Collins was here, on loan from Darlington, and had played well in his first two games, James would have been in ahead of him, had Paddy not been injured, because he had done better'. Yet while there was delight for Clarke, there was heartache for David Malloy, who has been told by United that he can go, and uncertainty - yet a big incentive - for two others, Danny Rose and Ben Weedon. Both Rose and Weedon have been offered one-month contracts to show what they can do... Former Manchester United reserve-team captain Rose has not performed to the levels of last season and needs to show he can handle the physical demands of the Conference".

    The BBC says that "Teenager Josh Coulson has extended his contract with Cambridge United to 2010. The 18-year-old defender, who made his first start for the club on 6 December against Kidderminster, signed his first professional contract in the summer. 'It would mean the world to me to have success here', the boyhood U's fan told the club's official website. 'When I was a youngster I watched from the stands and I've seen some of the bad times, and it would be brilliant to be part of the good times'"

    "Blue Square Premier side Torquay United will have to battle with a host of Football League clubs for the signature of on-loan striker Chris Zebroski" claims * Match void as Chadderton disbanded mid-season. "Zebroski has put in a number of eye-catching performances for the Gulls this season with Yeovil, Swindon Town, Doncaster and Bristol Rovers all thought to be tracking his progress. The 21-year-old's loan deal with Torquay expires at the end of the season, but his contract with Millwall will also expire around the same time. New Millwall boss Kenny Jackett won't be able to recall Zebroski and as a result, could be forced to cash in when the January transfer window re-opens next month. 'Chris is playing really well at the moment, so it is understandable League clubs are looking at him', Zebroski's agent Dean Sheehan of Definitive told 'He is enjoying the promotion push with Torquay, and their faith in him has been rewarded with some great goals and great performances'".

    14 December 2007


    Alty Youth striker Tom Bailey has been awarded his Cheshire County FA cap. Caps are only awarded after ten appearances for the County FA youth team so this is a prestigious award. Tom is seen, right, receiving his Player of the Year award for last season from Graham Heathcote.


    Altrincham travel to Oxford United on 5 January and as usual Oxford offer a discount for tickets bought in advance via Altrincham FC. Advanced purchase tickets are £16 for adults (all-seated). Under 16s and over-65s are £10, students with an NUS card are £12.50 and under-7s are free. On matchday the prices rise to £18 for adults, £14 students, £11 for concessionaries and £11 for under-7s too. Tickets are available for purchase from the Altrincham FC club office during normal working hours.


    The Heartland Evenng News has a column saying "We were beaten 1-0 by Blyth Spartans, a result that was a massive disappointment to all the boys. We'd been on a great run and it's a shame we couldn't have carried that on for longer... Coming out of the tunnel after the break was the worst part because it was so cold. George (Ademola Bankole) came in and made a great save in the second half after struggling a bit in the first, but we didn't really test their keeper enough to say we were worth three points. We were grateful to George for coming in but we'll be glad when Acco (Darren Acton) is back. It is nice to have a settled squad and he is a key part of that...We'll be missing Simon Travis... for the rest of the next month. He got an ankle injury against Hyde after being the victim of a very late tackle... It's a massive blow to us because he gives us a lot down the right hand side. What it does do though is give Rob Oddy an opportunity to show what a good player he is... We've been drawn against Blue Square Premier side Altrincham in the fourth round of the Setanta Shield. It's at Liberty Way and any home draw is a good one. We've had some real ding dongs with them down the years. They beat us in the play-off semi-finals and since then they've consolidated themselves in the Blue Square Premier. But this is a winnable draw for us. They are a good side with good players but we have that too and we are in good form. I saw them play in the FA Cup on Match of the Day and they did really well. We'll have to look out for them but I'm sure the boys will be confident"


    This is York reports that "The Football Foundation have indicated that York City will not incur financial penalties despite a delay in the formal identification of a site for the club's new stadium. City officials had hoped to make a statement before the New Year concerning relocation but the Minstermen are subject to confidentiality clauses. Communications and community director Sophie McGill has, however, confirmed the Football Foundation are satisfied with the progress the club are making in the matter. Under the terms of the £2million Football Foundation loan the Minstermen received to regain ownership of KitKat Crescent from Bootham Crescent Holdings in 2003, the club were required to identify a site for a new stadium before the end of this year to avoid incurring financial penalties. But McGill has praised the organisation for their patience and understanding. She told The Press: 'They are comfortable with the current status of our plans and are pleased with the progress we have made. We realise supporters are keen to know the plans for the new stadium are advancing well and I can confirm that good progress is being made behind the scenes and that the York City directors continue to work hard to ensure we have a new stadium in place by 2015 at the latest. Although we expected to make an announcement regarding the identification of a site for the new stadium before the end of the year, unfortunately we are unable to do so as the other parties we are working with have insisted plans remain confidential at this stage'.

    As previously reported by The Press, land owned by Nestlé on Wigginton Road would appear to be the most practical and likely venue for a new stadium with the York Central and British Sugar sites still subject to time constraints. McGill also reiterated the financial importance of leaving the club's 75-year-old home 'as soon as possible'. She added: 'At present, we continue to have the burden of around £140,000 in loan interest to pay to the Football Foundation each year so it is in the best interests of York City that we move to a new stadium as soon as possible. Not only will a move release this financial burden but a new stadium will present us with greater commercial opportunities, which will increase our revenue and, in turn, provide us with an enhanced playing budget to further our football ambitions'"

    The Oxford Mail confirms that "Goalkeeper Billy Turley was one of six United players to pick up a yellow card at Southend Oxford United boss Darren Patterson says he will clamp down on any player who shows a lack of discipline after a catalogue of cards in their FA Cup replay defeat at Southend... Clubs who have five players yellow-carded in one game are fined £750 by the Football Association, and the accumulation of bookings is also leading to suspensions. Billy Turley, who was cautioned for bringing down Dean Morgan, which earned Southend their first penalty, has now collected five yellow cards. He is suspended for the Setanta Shield fourth-round tie at Aldershot on December 22, unless the FA Trophy tie against Tonbridge Angels on Saturday goes to a replay, which would be next Tuesday. Oxford did not have a single player red-carded under Jim Smith this season. Yet they have had a player sent off in each of the first three league games under Patterson - Rob Duffy, Carl Pettefer and Alex Jeannin - although all three seemed harsh decisions... Patterson was not over-concerned about Turley's forthcoming suspension, but he is alarmed by some unprofessional or unnecessary bookings. 'If Billy is going to miss a game, the Setanta Shield is the one we'd want him to miss, I've got to be honest with you', he said. 'The only negative thing - and it's not a big one - is that there's a little bit of indiscipline coming in with some of the bookings and I'm going to come down very heavily on them'".

    Dino Maamria "is already talking to players he hopes to sign in the transfer window", claims the Northwich Guardian. "'I know who I want', he said. 'I have spoken to some players and their clubs and there are others I will be phoning in the next couple of weeks. We need to act fast to get them in'. Maamria says no part of his squad will be untouched by a revamp, with two defenders, a midfielder and a striker on his wishlist. With the return of Jake Speight, Michael Byrne and Jonny Allan on the horizon it could be a very different Vics team that takes on the challenge of surviving in the Blue Square Premier. Maamria also intends to keep loan trio Natt Kerr, Lucas Akins and Nick Farquharson should their clubs agree. 'I'd love to have them here until the end of the season', he said. 'But of course that decision is out of my hands so we'll have to wait and see. That's why I need a Plan B so we're not left short of numbers'".

    Farsley Today states that "Farsley Celtic are facing their toughest opponents yet – town hall planning chiefs. The non-leaguers have landed in hot water with Leeds City Council in a row over pitchside camera gantries at Throstle Nest. Council bosses say Farsley did not get planning permission for the structures, which went up ahead of their televised game against York City in November. The local authority has served an enforcement notice on the club, which gives it 14 days from January 8 to remove the gantries. If Celtic fail to comply with the notice and do not launch an appeal they could be prosecuted. News of the move was today greeted with relief by residents in Farsley's Turbary Avenue. They are particularly unhappy about the location of one of the gantries, which overlooks a number of homes. One householder, who asked not to be named, said: 'To say it's a blot on the landscape is an understatement. The thing's about 20 feet high – I feel like I've got Stalag 17 in my backyard'. The residents' complaints have been supported by Coun Andrew Carter, Conservative member for Calverley and Farsley and leader of the city council. He said: 'Farsley Celtic have had a wonderfully successful time and we are all delighted about that. They have not acted like good neighbours here at all, though'. Farsley Celtic chairman, Andy Firbank, said that as far as the club was concerned, the gantries did not need planning permission because they were not fixed to the ground. He said Celtic tried hard to maintain good relations with their neighbours, pointing out they recently held a meeting with residents to discuss proposals for development work at Throstle Nest".

    As This is Exeter reports, "Exeter City could be handed an unexpected cash boost in the new year after former defender Danny Woodards was linked with a move to the Premiership.The former Chelsea trainee was sold to League One side Crewe Alexandra for £30,000 almost a year ago with a 20 per cent sell on clause added into the deal. Now it has emerged that Premiership strugglers Sunderland are tracking the talented full-back with boss Roy Keane making a number of trips to watch Woodards in action. City sporting director Julian Tagg admits he is not surprised by the top flight interest in Woodards and hopes City can cash in should he make the step up in the new year. 'As players progress through their careers usually the first step is not the final step and when they make that next one it is nice that the club can profit from that', Tagg said".

    According to The Argus, "Manager Steve Evans insists Crawley will never pay 'ridiculous' wages again. Reds have released winger Tony Scully, who was the highest paid player at the club. The former Manchester City, QPR and Crystal Palace wideman had his contract cancelled by mutual consent after a long spell on the sidelines with a knee injury. The Irishman arrived at Broadfield Stadium from Notts County in 2005 at a time when Crawley were paying big money following their switch to full-time football. Scully was believed to be receiving a salary of around £1,200 a week, double the average wage of a typical Conference player, and was one of five players who stayed at the club when it was plunged into a financial crisis last year. Evans said: 'Tony was a great player when fit but he was on big money and that is not the road the club can go down. There was a time when players were getting paid ridiculous amounts but they have gone. You have to ask "are you getting value for money"? With my manager's hat on I wanted to keep Tony but looking at the budget, I decided that we could do without him. That is the way we have to be so the club can be in a stronger position in the future'. Scully is the second player in a week to be released following the departure of striker Berlin Nlome-Ndebi. Evans is now planning to bring in new additions when the transfer window opens next month. He said: 'Now Scully has gone we can afford to sign two or three players in January to make us stronger and bring our squad up to the number I want it to be'".

    13 December 2007


    Altrincham's Setanta Shield match at Nuneaton Borough on 22 December is to be a 1pm kick off as the local rugby club have a game on the same pitch scheduled for that afternoon. Confirmation of the revised STAR supporters' coach times will follow later.


    The Cheshire Senior Cup semi-final game at home to Vauxhall Motors has been moved to Tuesday 5 February from the preceding Tuesday (Jan. 29th). This now produces a clash with the Setanta Shield Round 5, should we progress to that stage, as that is also set for 5th February.


    SAM says that "Graham Heathcote believes his players should have nothing to fear as they kick off their quest to reach Wembley's hallowed turf on Saturday. York are the visitors to Moss Lane in the FA Trophy First Round and the Alty boss believes his side have every chance of going all the way in the prestigious cup competition. The Robins have done it three times in the past, even taking home the silverware in both 1978 and 1986.

    Having played on that first triumphant side, Heathcote is well-versed in the club's Trophy history and believes it is every bit as special as the FA Cup. He told SAM Sport: 'I was really enthusiastic in training on Tuesday and I said to my players that I didn't know whether I actually felt it more than them. The FA Trophy is a great competition and this club has a proud history in it. We can't meet anyone in the Trophy of a better standard than the teams we're meeting week in, week out and there's no non-league club out there that we should be fearing. If we can perform to the best of our ability in the FA Trophy, we’re capable of going all the way. We've given a good game to everyone we've played in this league and if we can perform to the best of our ability in the Trophy, we're capable of going all the way'.

    Despite his positive attitude, Heathcote is under no illusions about the difficulty of Saturday's First round tie against York. The Minstermen have won four games in a row away from home and haven't lost in their last six... 'York will want this as much as we do', said Heathcote. 'There will be no questions about their hunger because they've been on a good run recently and they will just be focussed on making sure they continue that. Once you get over the first hurdle in cup competitions, you get a feel for it. So I believe if we do win on Saturday we can go on a run, but it won't be easy'.

    With the January transfer window fast approaching, Heathcote has also begun his search for reinforcements. The priority is attempting to secure on-loan Stoke defender Ryan Shotton (right) until the end of the season. Alty are waiting to get approval from the FA that they can turn the short-term loan into a season-long deal before approaching Stoke again. But should he return to his club, it could leave Alty with just 15 fit first team players. Both Colin Potts (knee) and Val Owen (foot) are still struggling with long-term problems and Gareth Whalley suffered a recurrence of his muscle strain. Heathcote added: 'At the moment I'm just putting together a list of players who could be possible targets. We will have to bring in reinforcements because we are really struggling for numbers at the moment'".


    There is still no confirmation of when Altrincham will have to travel to Torquay United after last Sunday's postponement. Chances that it might be played on Saturday 5th January disappeared with Tuesday night's FA Cup replays which, had they gone differently, would have freed Alty and the Gulls to meet on Third Round Day, Saturday 5th January. So it looks like it will be a Tuesday night visit to Devon for Alty's supporters, many of whom went on a fruitless trip down the M6 and M5 last Sunday before the game was postponed.

    And the kick off time for the Setanta Shield game at Nuneaton on 22 December is also still unresolved. Because Nuneaton Borough groundshare with the local rugby club, who have a game at 3pm on that date, it is likely that Alty's game will kick off around lunchtime that day.

    Meanwhile we are reasonably sure that Alty will host York City this Saturday (15th) at 3pm. Howard Watts's Through the Years information shows how Alty have fared in previous years on that date.


    The Crawley Observer tells us that the "Reds' big earner Tony Scully has been let go by Crawley Town in order to keep club finances stable. It is reported that the Irish winger was one of the 'big earners' at the club and had to be let go to save money. The club also revealed that he has received medical advice telling Scully the commute to Crawley from Cambridgeshire every day was not helping him to recover from a serious knee injury".

    IC Cheshire says that "Dino Maamria publicly signed a contract with Northwich Vics on Saturday and immediately set about performing miracles. The popular 33-year-old former striker, who used to torment Vics' defences whichever club he found himself with, is the club’s 54th manager in 50 years and their 10th since the turn of the millennium. But he now has 18 months to turn Vics into a power once more – and just over four months to make sure they don’t go down. 'Now we can put this club back where it belongs', said Maamria. 'I am going to save Northwich from relegation and prove everyone wrong. A lot of people had written us off'. And well they might. When he took over, Vics had had more managers this season than they had won points... In just 13 games he has turned losers into winners and stood up to three players who were undermining his leadership. Vics have now picked up seven points from the last nine and, although still bottom, they only trail Droylsden on goal difference and are only seven more points from the safety position.

    Jim Rushe said: 'We were determined to keep Dino. Once the takeover was done everything else had to wait. He has done extremely well and that is why we got him to sign out on the pitch'. Much may depend on who Maamria is able to sign – and move on – during the January transfer window, which coincides with the loan periods of Natt Farr, Lucas Akins and Nick Farquarson all expiring. Akins’ impressive form has helped keep Farquarson on the bench and that has not pleased Crewe Alex manager Dario Gradi who said yesterday: 'He was supposed to be playing at Northwich – the manager said he would be playing – but he isn’t. We have to look at getting him back and getting him out (on loan) somewhere else'"

    The same site reports that "A new era at Northwich Vics began on Wednesday when the takeover led by Mancunian Jim Rushe was completed. Northwich-based businessman Nick Bone, fellow company director Paul Stevenson and new chairman Ian Campbell will sit alongside Rushe on the new board... The announcement ended three turbulent years under Mike Connett... Debts threatened the club with extinction after they spiralled to an estimated £600,000, debt two-thirds of which was owed in taxes. Vics looked doomed when Rushe and his colleagues appeared on the scene eight weeks ago. He said: 'It is nobody’s fault it has taken this long, but I’m happy with the deal'. Details are not being made public, but settling the debts is the main price of acquiring the club. A nominal sum to complete the purchase was handed to Mr Connett, who continues to own the stadium and catering rights through his company Beaconet. The new owners have signed a 25-year lease at an annual rent of £25,000, though Vics will finish this season free of charge. Mr Bone, who lives at Great Budworth, and Mr Stevenson are both directors of Encia, a brownfield regeneration company, who have agreed a £25,000 a year sponsorship deal.... Mr Rushe said: 'We can’t do anything about the past. Some clubs are run successfully and within their means and we will learn from them. Northwich is expanding and needs entertainment. Why shouldn’t that be Northwich Vics? Marketing people will be involved and we will bring in professionals where they can do a job. Ours will be a community club and one run transparently. We are ambitious. We are confident of staying in the league and going higher, but it will be one step at a time'".

    Elsewhere, the Northwich Guardian states "Jim Rushe says stability is his sole short-term aim for Northwich Victoria... 'The club haven't even got any headed paper to write to anybody', he said. 'We are literally starting from zero. But the good thing about that is we can achieve an awful lot in a short space of time'. Indeed, Rushe and fellow consortium member Nick Bone told supporters that they had sold £6,000 worth of pitch-side advertising in the past few days alone. 'And we've got another 70 to go at yet!' quipped Bone. 'It just gives you a flavour of what we have inherited'. The pair took time to outline their vision for Vics to fans at the Floatel at an open meeting hosted by Northwich Victoria Supporters' Trust.:

  • On how Vics make money on matchdays: "Beaconet have food and beverage rights at the ground," said Rushe. "We have everything else, which includes pitch-side advertising boards, admission money, car parking fees, programme sales and hiring out the corporate boxes. "We have not signed a 25-year lease and committed to paying off £500,000 worth of debt for it to be short haul. We have got to stay here now and we want to - I've got two sons behind me yet so you could be stuck with us for longer than you think".

    The new owners covered various topics:'

  • On owning the Marston's Arena: "We would be interested in buying it from Mike Connett," said Bone. "That's our dream but of course it depends on if the current owner wants to sell it or if someone else decides he has to."
  • On paying off the club's debt: "We haven't agreed to something we can't afford," said Rushe... Bone told the audience that Vics would be paying no interest on the cash owed to the taxman. "We're committed to paying the cash off for a number of years," added Rushe. "Of course not going into administration means we will get our share of sponsorship money and other bonuses that will help us in the short term."
  • On creating a Vics brand: Bone confirmed that some of the best marketing staff from Encia Group are already working for the club without pay to boost its image in the town. ... we are looking at a few things already. For example, the possibility of running a free bus from the town centre to the ground on match day. Another is to approach Vale Royal Borough Council with a view to having some sort of signage or boards around the borough to advertise games and raise awareness of what is happening here... "Our immediate focus is stabilising the club and everybody's efforts are targeted towards servicing the massive debts we have. Once we get the club going forward, hopefully with one or two new players in January, then we can look at shares. I'd love everybody in Northwich to be a shareholder if it was possible. I'm not here saying this is mine now and we'll do it my way. On the contrary it's our club and we need to find the best way to take it forward"... "We are all volunteers," said Bone. "There won't be anybody on the board drawing a salary and we're looking for people with a range of skills to join us, be they accountants, lawyers or whatever.".

    From the Northants Evening Telegraph we read that "Rushden and Diamonds' manager Garry Hill was too unwell to travel to Salisbury Magistrates Court today to answer to a charge of actual bodily harm. The court was told by Hill's legal team in London that Hill had a kidney stone problem and had been treated at Harley Street. Magistrate Simon Chichton adjourned the case until Wednesday, December 19. The charge relates to an incident after the final whistle of Diamonds' Blue Square Conference Premier game with Salisbury City on September 8 in which Hill clashed with Whites' coach Tommy Widdrington. Hill, 48, of Runwell, Wickford in Essex, has already been punished by the FA for the incident with a two-week managerial ban and a 10-game touchline ban. No plea to the charge has been entered".

    Woking say that "David Taylor has heaped praise on Woking FC’s football technical director Colin Lippiatt — and believes the former Cards’ manager can help shape the club’s future. The Woking chairman has handed out additional responsibilities to Lippiatt, as the new ground rules at Kingfield are set, and has total trust in him being able to cope with what is fast becoming a burgeoning portfolio. 'Colin approached me and asked me to give him extra responsibilities under the football umbrella and I was delighted to do so, along with extra accountability', said Taylor. 'Colin’s knowledge of football at this level is second to none and he now has an opportunity to help shape our future. I have total trust in him to deliver, as I have for all the directors. He loves football and it would be madness for me not to tap into that and give him the responsibilities he now has'. As well as a liaison for the management team of Frank Gray and Gerry Murphy, Lippiatt oversees the football academy, including the integration of girls’ football within the next two years. The club are currently in discussions with Merrist Wood College and Woking College regarding this aspect. At present there are two under-18 and two under-19 teams, with the girls being an expansion of that, while Lippiatt has been handed responsibility for the Woking Ladies' team as well. In addition, he is to work closely with Chris Sexton and Jane Spong on the community side of the club, with a view to implementing fresh ideas and attracting sponsors, as well as assisting in the work they do for the centre of excellence and in the school environment. On top of that considerable list of tasks, he has been earmarked as the boardroom representative for Woking Supporters’ Club meetings".

    12 December 2007


    Wednesday 12th December
  • Farsley C. 1 Torquay U. 2
  • League table.

    Friday 14th December
    FA Trophy 1:

  • Wealdstone v Weymouth


    Grahame Rowley, vice-chairman of Altrincham FC, asks if any supporters would kindly donate any unwanted gifts or bottles to put in the raffle for Saturday night (15th) at the Christmas Dinner. Donors are asked either to bring items to the club or to e-mail him and he will then arrange collection from you.


    News of our Trophy opponents comes from This is York. It says that "York City's Martyn Woolford is not missing being a "wide boy. Woolford's switch from the left flank to a more central role behind two strikers has been a key factor in the Minstermen recording two wins and a draw during caretaker manager Colin Walker's first three games in charge. And, despite playing most of his career on the left flank, Woolford is revelling in his new position. The 22-year-old midfielder said: 'I enjoy it in there. At times, like the second half against Ebbsfleet, it's hard to get on the ball and you just have to graft but in the first half, when I saw a lot of possession, I felt quite comfortable in the position. You can always create things going forward and it gives me a licence to go wherever I want. It's a bit of a change and a different role for me. I played up front for Frickley sometimes, but not in that position behind the front two. I've played most of my career on the left wing, but I still get the chance to get at players and take them on, which is a big part of my game'. Woolford also feels his new position could help him reach the goal target of 15 he set for himself in pre-season'... City enter the FA Trophy and Setanta Shield over the next two weekends with respective trips to Altrincham and Stafford Rangers, and Woolford believes the club should be targeting progress in both competitions, adding: 'After the disappointment of going out of the FA Cup as we did against Havant, it would be nice to get a Cup run going. Hopefully, we will do if we take our form of the last couple of weeks into the games because it would do the club some good as well'".

    FA CUP

    Tuesday 11th December
    FA Cup 2 Replays:
  • Southend U. 3 Oxford U. 0 - so Alty now travel to Oxford on 5 January, the date of Round 3.
  • Barnet 1 Burton A. 0

    and a shock result:

  • Chasetown 1 Port Vale 0

    The FA says that it has "launched a promotion to encourage parents to introduce their children to the magic and excitement of the FA Cup – for just £1 a ticket. Next month’s Third Round of The FA Cup sponsored by E.ON will see The FA launch the ‘One FA Cup’ promotion, a brand new ticket initiative, giving adults the chance to purchase a £1 children’s ticket to support either home or away clubs for one of six specially chosen fixtures. The ‘One FA Cup’ promotion, which is funded by The FA will take place at the following fixtures:

  • Blackburn Rovers v Coventry City
  • Plymouth Argyle v Hull City
  • Bolton Wanderers v Sheffield United
  • Sunderland v Wigan Athletic
  • Huddersfield Town v Birmingham City
  • Wolverhampton Wanderers v Cambridge United

    FA Chief Executive Brian Barwick commented: 'This is the first time we’ve done something like this and we are pleased to be able to do it. The Third Round of The FA Cup, with lower league and non-League teams aiming to upset teams from the top end of the game, has a unique and special place in the football calendar. The FA Cup is a competition that every season creates great drama and excitement. Viewing figures on television and match attendances are strong and we want to build on that by giving as many families, and especially children, the chance to experience the magic of the tournament live'....The matches were chosen to encompass a mix of teams from different leagues and geographical locations, giving as many families all over the country the chance to go and watch live football on what is one of the most exciting weekends of the domestic football season".


    Altrincham's Setanta Shield match at Nuneaton 22 December is likely to have its kick-off time changed. Borough share their Liberty Way ground with the local rugby union club and they have a game at 3pm that day. Heartland Evening News reports that "Gavin Cowan believes Nuneaton Borough's close knit dressing room will be the key to the team bouncing back in their Blue Square North promotion charge. The centre-half admits Saturday's trip to Hyde will be a massive test, but he is confident Boro will make an immediate recovery from the 1-0 weekend defeat to Blyth Spartans. The 26-year-old said: 'I think next week is a test of how far we've come. It is a real challenge and we know we need to bounce back from a defeat quickly. But we've got a real close knit dressing room, the spirit is superb. We are like a little family so we are expecting to get back on it and all the lads will pick each other up so we can do well next week'. The former Shrewsbury Town defender told Evening News Sport he felt Boro deserved to extend their unbeaten league run to 12 games after substitute Andy Johnson scored a delightful 84th minute goal to win Saturday's game for the Spartans. He said: 'It was a difficult game in terrible conditions. We gave a whole hearted performance and we felt we deserved a point... We would like to think we are a footballing side, so it clearly had an effect... We were comfortable at the back as we are most games. We felt it was always going to take something special to beat us and unfortunately that happened'. Cowan was full of praise for Nuneaton's travelling support after a coach load of fans made the 420-mile round trip to Northumberland. 'The backing from the fans was phenomenal again. I was amazed how many fans we bought when I came out. It's a long old journey and all the lads appreciate it', he said".


    NL Daily reports that former Altrincham "Left winger Blake Norton has left UniBond League Division One North club Wakefield and has joined Blue Square North side Harrogate Town. Having been educated at North Cestrian School in Altrincham, Norton arrived at Moss Lane by a circuitous route. He signed for Altrincham in March 2006 from Worksop Town following the elimination of the Tigers from the FA Trophy, having originally joined Worksop in August 2004 from Rossendale United"

    And Radcliffe Borough "have lost another of their players due to work relocation with influential midfielder Scott Wilson moving to Dubai. The 27-year-old, who has been missing with a broken hand, informed the club that he leaves at Christmas to take up his new post which could see him absent from the country for the next twelve-eighteen months".


    This is South Devon claims that "Torquay United are keen for Bolton Wanderers to make a decision this week on the Plainmoor future of promising loan defender Mark Ellis. Nineteen-year-old Ellis' current spell with the Gulls runs out on Christmas Day.At the moment he is not available for the Blue Square Premier derby against his first club Exeter City 24 hours later on Boxing Day. Kingsbridge-born Ellis has made nine appearances for United this season, scoring two goals. But he was replaced by fit-again club skipper Steve Woods for the recent FA Cup-tie against Brighton & Hove Albion. 'I want to keep Mark, he's done very well for us and I think this is the best place for him to be at the moment', said Gulls' boss Paul Buckle. 'But Steve Woods is a quality player and my captain, and there's no way I could afford to keep him out of the team and then just expect him to come back on Boxing Day. I explained the situation to Mark, and he understood it... If Mark does have to go back, then I will need to go and get another centre-half in to cover us. So I need to know what Bolton want to do with him as soon as possible'... Buckle has no injury worries in the wake of Sunday's postponement against Altrincham".

    This is Weymouth informs us that "Defender Neil Young has been recalled by struggling AFC Bournemouth. The 34-year-old, who only signed a two-month extension to his loan deal at the Terras last week, was asked to return to Dean Court by Cherries' manager Kevin Bond yesterday".

    11 December 2007


    The referee for Saturday's Alty v York City FA Trophy tie is Mr Gary Sutton. Meanwhile, The FA confirms that for "York City FC Adam Boyes [is] suspended from all first team football until the Club have completed 2 first team matches for a Sending Off in a match played on 01/12/2007". And from the BBC we hear that "York City defender Mark Robinson is facing up to three months out of action with a broken leg. The former Hartlepool and Stockport full-back, 26, broke his fibula making a tackle at Ebbsfleet on Saturday. 'He'll see a specialist in the next few days and he's gutted that he won't be able to play for some time to come', boss Colin Walker told the York Press. 'We're disappointed to lose him because he's brought balance to the left-hand side with the system we play'" .

    This is York confirms that "York City left-wing back Mark Robinson could be sidelined for three months after breaking a bone in his leg during Saturday's 2-1 victory at Ebbsfleet United. Robinson travelled back with the team after Saturday's game but hospital scans on his return home revealed damage to his fibula... Caretaker boss Colin Walker... pointed out that another player may now be given a chance to impress with Anthony Lloyd the most likely candidate for a recall. Walker said: 'He [Robinson] will see a specialist in York within the next few days and he's gutted that he won't be able to play for some time to come. We're also obviously disappointed to lose him because he's brought balance to the left-hand side with the system we play'". At Ebbsfleet, Walker said, "The players were absolutely terrific and I'm proud of every one of them'... Walker made three changes to the side that started last weekend's 1-1 home draw with Crawley Town. Midfielder Stuart Elliott was recalled for Nicky Wroe, Ben Purkiss came in for Darren Craddock at right-wing back and Sodje replaced Paul Brayson - a decision that Walker gave the greatest consideration. He said: 'Coming back to his old club, Onome was the first name on the sheet but I didn't make the final decision - who he would replace - until the morning of the game. I talked to all the players and they are obviously not happy about being left out but they are still part of a winning squad'. Walker also paid tribute to City's 161 travelling fans, many of whom braved appalling weather on an open terrace... Walker remains unbeaten in three games since his promotion to caretaker boss and added: 'I think we would have been happy with seven points out of nine when I started and I'm pleased with the way things are going. The players are working so hard and I can't do any more'. Saturday's result also represented a fourth successive away win for the Minstermen, which is one short of the club record shared by Denis Smith's record-breaking 1983-84 division four championship-winning side and the 1955 Happy Wanderers team, who reached the FA Cup semi-finals. A win at Altrincham on Saturday in the FA Trophy would, therefore, see the current team join them in the history books. Walker smiled at the prospect and enthused: 'It would be nice to have on my CV'".


    This is South Devon says that "Gulls' boss Paul Buckle backed referee Andy Halliday's decision to call off Torquay United's Blue Square Premier game against Altrincham, calling it a 'no-brainer'. And Buckle insisted that he's not worried about the seven-point gap which currently separates BSP leaders Aldershot from second-placed United, even though Torquay have two games in hand. 'I've got a fully-fit squad, the lads trained brilliantly towards the end of last week and we want to play games - no doubt about that', said Buckle. 'Hopefully we'll be on at Farsley on Wednesday. But I didn't want this game to become a lottery and run the risk of wrecking the pitch for the rest of the season. The club has spent £6,000 on the goalmouths this year, and they could have been ruined. I have no fears about my players adapting to heavy conditions, but there were puddles on the pitch. I told the referee that, if the game went ahead, I hoped he would be brave enough to call it off after half-an-hour if the conditions were too bad. We also had a forecast of 50mph winds. I just wanted commonsense to prevail, and common sense said that we don't have to take any risks. The right decision was to call it off. It was a no-brainer... It wasn't a case of saying we had to play and get the gap back to four points - that would have been the wrong decision for the wrong reason... And I don't think that supporters really want to pay good money to come and see an important match turn into a lottery'. Plymouth Argyle's groundsman Colin Wheatcroft turned up to offer his help to United's groundsman Mark Burd before the match referee, London-based army officer Andy Halliday, made his inspection at 8.45am. The kick-off was scheduled for 2pm, but it didn't take long for Mr. Halliday to make his decision. The Babbacombe End half of the ground was just about playable, but the Ellacombe End wasn't.

    Chief executive Colin Lee reported: 'The safety of the players and, with the winds that were forecast, the safety of supporters both played a major part in the decision. We took advice on the forecast, and it was impossible to say whether the weather in Plymouth first thing, which was horrendous, would definitely hit us or not. What I can say is that last season the game would have been called off on Saturday. It just goes to show how much the pitch has improved with Mark Burd working on it that there was still a chance that we might play'. Altrincham's team and officials stayed in Exeter on Saturday night, and they were happy to await notification of the postponement before heading back to Greater Manchester". Some Alty supporters were less happy that the decision was not taken on the Saturday as many of them made the trip, with the supporters' coach, for example, getting as far as the M5 in Gloucestershire before turning back - a six-hour round trip .


    News of a couple of ex-Alty reserves (Colin McAllister and James Marsden) comes from NL Daily but I am reliably informed that the reference, below, to James Marsden joining Warrington from Abbey Hey is not correct.

    NL Daily reports that "Since walking out on the club [Leek Town] just over a week ago, [Paul] Moore has suffered three straight defeats at Warrington Town. Warrington, who have conceded no fewer than fifteen goals in those three appearances, have now lost each of their last five league games without scoring. Moore is desperately looking to attract players to stop the rot and his squad now has a distinctive Leek Town flavour about it. Ex-Leek midfielder Colin McAllister is already installed at Cantilever Park and he is now joined by striker Carl Rendell, whilst Moore has appointed former Blues’ coach Mike Walsh as his assistant. Moore has also snapped up... midfielder James Marsden from Abbey Hey". And Chorley boss Gerry Luczka "revealed UniBond rivals Lancaster want to sign [former Alty Youth and reserve] Lee Shillito".


    NL Daily tells us that "Gary Waddock, manager of high-flyers Aldershot Town, has added to his squad by signing two players on permanent deals until the end of the season. Former Watford youth product Joel Grant is the first to agree terms. Grant is equally at home as a striker or playing wide and had been on a short-term contract after spending sometime on loan last season. Also agreeing terms is defender Nathan Koo-Boothe. The former MK Dons and Kettering Town centre back has played a number of reserve team games over recent weeks. Waddock said: 'This is good news for the club. Joel has quality and has done extremely well since he has been here and I am pleased that he will be here for the longer term this season and Nathan will add strength to the squad'".

    "Having allowed back-up goalkeeper Jonty Venter to leave Blue Square South club Basingstoke Town, manager Francis Vines has moved to sign former Oxford United number one Chris Tardif", who kept goal for Oxford United against Altrincham this season, according to NL Daily.

    Grays Athletic "have signed Tom Cruse on a non contract basis, Tom has returned to The Rec following a spell with East Thurrock United reserves".

    10 December 2007


    Altrincham ClubCall's Brian Flynn has sent the website the adjacent photo, which was taken mid-morning on Sunday at Torquay when, Brian says, the pitch looked to be playable. However, an inspection at 9am resulted in the postponement of the game and, as a result, many Alty fans endured at least six hours of Sunday on the motorway after finding the game had been called off whilst on their way to Torquay. Many others had travelled down for the weekend - to no avail.


    This website tries not to be too self-indulgent in praising Altrincham FC but given the financial shambles occurring in so many so-called "professional" football clubs at present, it is making an exception today to sing the praises of our own club's Board. And it is timely that Lisa Jones's new DVD "Part-time and Proud of It: the Altrincham FC Story" has just been released (available at the Robins' Shop for just £7.50). The DVD contains nearly an hour's footage which includes interviews with many of the well-known figures around Moss Lane both current and past. There are many clubs who would be well advised to listen to what Graham Heathcote, Geoff Goodwin and Grahame Rowley have to say in the DVD about the financial lunacy of many football-club chairmen. As Geoff says in the DVD, the main thing he has learnt as a football club chairman is that many other chairmen simply do not understand that "2+2=4" and so their clubs spend more than they earn. Likewise, vice-chairman Grahame Rowley, another successful businessman, points out in the DVD how common sense seems to go out of the door when supposedly hard-nosed businessmen get involved with football.

    And you have to look no further than the superb Hereford unofficial site Bullsnews to see what the Alty Board is talking about. Here are just four brief case studies from today's Bullsnews:

    1. "Chester City are facing Administration without the financial support of Stephen Vaughan. The top-seven contenders will drop out of the play-off picture and into the bottom half of the table if they enter Administration, which could come within the next few days if alternative financial support is not forthcoming. A post by former director Paul Baker, who is also the club's major sponsor, on supporter's forum Devachat suggested that the club was unviable and that Vaughan would neither be selling his shares nor writing off the debt owed to the club. The post was quickly removed by the moderators. Further mystery about Vaughan's decision to quit comes with the club holding a minute's silence at their recent home match with MK Dons for Colin Smith, described over the tannoy as the club's main benefactor. Smith was, until he was gunned down two weeks ago, responsible for the bulk of the cocaine flowing through Merseyside. The Liverpool Echo described Smith as a the head of a drugs empire: 'His empire, built on cocaine, is said to have washed billions of pounds through the city, courting business from international drug cartels'.
    2. "League One strugglers Luton Town are losing £500,000 a month, according to Chairman David Pinkney. In a lengthy article in the Daily Mail, Pinkney accuses the FA of allowing the situation to get out of control - and of concealing the true nature of the club's finances from him when he took over the club seven months ago. He accuses the FA of knowing about the dodgy payments the club, and several directors, have been charged with 18 months ago following an audit of the club, and failing to inform Pinkney of the missing money that is claimed to run into millions. Even Club Secretary Cherry Newbury went to the FA with a dossier of evidence, which she claims was ignored. Pinkney also claims that one of the charges, against an un-named director, is false as the person was not a director of the club at the date specified in the charge. He also confirms that Administration was sought by the club after former manager Mike Newell brought action for wrongful dismissal - to the tune of £3.3million".
    3. "Swindon Town are facing Receivership according to director Bob Holt. The Willis family have been major shareholders at the club for many years, but are refusing to plough more money into the unviable club. A Portuguese company agreed a takeover some months ago, but disappeared when monies were expected. Local businessman Andrew Fitton has since come forward with a bid, but withdrew on Thursday citing 'unacceptable conditions' to the sale. The club are £5million in debt, with Holt telling the Swindon Advertiser: 'We have reached the point now where there is insufficient funds to keep trading. We will be seeking additional funds. We have to talk to our creditors and if they lose patience, they lose patience and one could not blame them. Any creditor is at liberty to take legal action whenever they feel like it'... The club are understood to be so insolvent that Administration is not an option, and the club could enter insolvency proceedings within days if a deal cannot be reached".
    4. "Bournemouth are considering Administration. The League One relegation candidates are £4million in debt and are said to be so broke that they cannot afford to sack manager Kevin Bond. The Cherries are in talks with potential investors, but have been losing money consistently for most of their history. Entering Administration would leave the club with just three points, 16 short of safety".

    After reading these tales of woe, Altrincham FC supporters should be delighted that, although their part-time club is struggling to survive on the pitch week by week in the Blue Square Premier, they have financial stability and honorable, sensible people running their club. Altrincham's Board not only refused to take the easy way out of their club's inherited debt by going into administration and fobbing off creditors with a small fraction of what they were owed but also showed the sort of people they are by dipping into their own pockets this Sunday to absorb the costs of their supporters' abortive trip to Torquay.

    In short, Lisa's DVD should be required viewing for all football club chairmen and Bullsnews should be required reading for the same people. To get your copy of the DVD, visit the shop on matchdays or contact the Club offices at other times (928-1045).


    Alty groundsman Neil Brown is also the manager of Vodkat (NW Counties) League club Abbey Hey and the NWCFL reports the real reason why he may have been lured to the Gorton-based club. "Anyone who fancies a tough of glamour along with their Vodkat League football should keep an eye out on events at Abbey Hey over the next few weeks. A forthcoming Vodkat League Division One match at the Abbey Stadium will have the added attraction of having a very glamorous match sponsor, and one that will undoubtedly attract the attention of all the male spectators in attendance. Jodie Lewis, a glamour model, has agreed to sponsor one of Abbey Hey’s future games and as part of the sponsorship deal all spectators attending the game will be able to be photographed with her at the ground before the game".


    Former Alty left-back Chris Adams has joined Trafford from Ashton United.


    In NL Today Alty chairman Geoff Goodwin says, "'There's no one shouting at Graham Heathcote'... The Altrincham manager may be the subject of many rants on internet fans' forums, but Goodwin is insistent that Graham Heathcote still has the full support of the Board.... 'We're not as bad as we were three years ago when we joined this league', he said, 'We're in a a false position... I'm proud of these lads and we'll just have to be the best of the five at the bottom... We need to take our chances up front. We need to be more clinical, we need a younger Colin Little up front. We need a younger Colin playing alongside our older Colin'".

    Meanwhile, The NL Paper has a profile of Graham Heathcote by Tony Williams in which Tony concludes, "Graham wears his heart on his sleeve but he has battled bravely to uphold the traditions of a great non-League club and he certainly deserves a few of the breaks to go his way in the second half of the season".


    Kendal supporter Ian Crocksell writes in NL Today, "Kendal Town have found themselves flirting with the relegation zone and I can put a date to the day when our problems started; Starurday, October 27th, 2007. That was the day we met Altrincham in the FA Cup. .. We lost 1-0, no shame in that against a Blue Square Premier club. However, before the Alty visit we had been on a decent run...Since then, we've suffered a slump and not won a game... Before the Altrincham game we were confident and discussing who would be drawn against us in the First Round Proper. After that, it seemed that our self-esteem went down". It doesn't seem to have been much better for Alty either as they have won just once in the league since then!


    The NL Paper has an interview with Chris Senior, in which he says "four of the bottom five will be relegated this season". He went on, 'We've not lost our confidence but the goals we need are just not coming.We need to start picking up points as soon as possible. The league is very strong from top to bottom... Weymouth are six from bottom but I think they have a bit too much quality to be dragged into the mix. It's all about us trying to finish top of our group because there is a little bit of a gap forming now'". As for his Goal of the Month contender against Millwall, Chris said, "It was a bit of a one in a million goal. We have tried it in games before and it has gone wrong'".


    Blue Square Football confirms that "Stafford Rangers chairman Jon Downing has charged caretaker duo Neil Grayson and Kevin Street with the task of saving the club's Blue Square Premier status. The pair were asked to take charge of team affairs following Phil Robinson's departure after five years at the helm last week... Several candidates have shown their interest in the job but Downing insists the current duo will have their own part to play in the fate of the club this season. Downing told the Express and Star: "I'm always an optimist, but I am also a realist and I am well aware of the situation we are in. 'The best thing for the club is to finish at least fifth from bottom, we'll retain our place in the Blue Square Premier and live to fight another day. Neil and Kevin know that we have to set our goals to finish top of the mini-league of five clubs that's developing at the bottom of the division. Then we'll have a chance to sit down next year, look at where we went wrong and improve things. Phil was a smashing bloke and we respected his professionalism and loyalty and we were sad to see him go. The injuries we've had this season read like a bad luck script and the financial situation we've had was only temporary, caused by the lack of home fixtures. It was like trying to run a shop when you have to close the shop and I would like to thank the supporters for their understanding - it's been a difficult year so far and we are doing our best for the club. Kevin and Neil have done an excellent job taking it on at short notice. We went to watch them training on Tuesday and the spirit among the players is very very good. We're very lucky to have them with us - they are both very experienced and well respected by all the players. Neil is really fired up to get some wins under our belts and Kevin has some new ideas to work with. It's early days, so let's see what happens.We'll probably go two-three weeks and if it's not looking good we'll review it, but if the lads work hard we may decide to extend it'".
    9 December 2007


    The Altrincham supporters' coach was turned back at Strensham, near Gloucester, this morning when news came through that the game at Torquay had been postponed. Despite torrential rain in recent days and a severe weather forecast for more rain and damaging winds this afternoon, no decision was made on the fixture before the team set off yesterday afternoon and the supporters took to the road well before dawn this morning. Having wasted six hours or more on today's fruitless journey, everyone now faces a further trek to Torquay, probably on a Tuesday night in the depths of winter.

    But the one piece of good news for the supporters was that, through the generosity of Vice-Chairman Grahame Rowley and board members Andrew Shaw and David Burns, combined with Chairman Geoff Goodwin's adjustment of the coach-hire fee, all of those travelling on the STAR supporters' coach were reimbursed their fares. All the passengers would like to thank the Board for their very generous gesture.

  • Howard Watts's Through the Years records for 9 December are here.


    Barring any FA Trophy replay after this Saturday's game at home to York City, Altrincham's next away trip is to another new stadium, Nuneaton Borough's Liberty Way ground for a Setanta Shield Round Four match on Saturday 22 December. STAR is running a supporters' coach and the times and fares for this are here.


    Details and a booking form for the Sportsman's Dinner, featuring referee Graham Poll as the speaker, on Thursday 13th March 2008 at the Cresta Court Hotel, Altrincham are here.


    Lisa Jones has been a regular presence at Moss Lane over the last year as she has been compiling an excellent DVD about Altrincham FC as part of her university studies. The end-product, entitled "Part-time and Proud of It: the Altrincham FC Story" is available at the Robins' Shop for just £7.50. It contains nearly an hours footage which includes interviews with many of the well-known figures around Moss Lane both current and past. To get your copy, visit the shop on matchdays or contact the Club offices at other times (928-1045).


    The heavy rain on Saturday led to two of neighbours (Trafford and Salford City) having their FA Vase matches postponed on Saturday but Whitley Bay trounced Flixton 6-0.

    In the Conference North, our Setanta Shield opponents Nuneaton Borough lost 1-0 at Blyth Spartans.


    The Saturday Manchester Evening News has a letter from Bob Philipson who writes, "Are there any ex-players who played for the Park Avenue or Cock of the North teams from 1957-62 in the Saturday & Sunday South Manchester & Wythenshawe leagues, who would like a reunion?". The letter lists a number of ex-players including "Bernard Taylor (ex-Altrincham manager). I would also like to hear from their relatives who have memories from those days".


    Kidderminster Harriers' "Chairman, Vice Chairman and Solicitor, met with the Senior FA Director of Discipline at the FA Headquarters in Soho Square on Friday, to discuss the red card given to James Constable during the game with Oxford United. The club felt that the present rules concerning appeals did not allow enough time to obtain enhanced images, particularly at a lower level. Although expressing sympathy with the club and James Constable's position, the current rules do not allow for the FA's original decision to be revoked. In the light of our concerns, the FA stated that they would revisit the rules for future seasons. The Club remains adamant that James did not elbow the Oxford player and has conclusive video evidence. Accordingly, in the light of this ongoing injustice, the Club is considering its legal position and will be meeting with its Solicitors, Onside Law next week. We would like to clarify the situation with fans regarding the Worcestershire Senior Cup Match on Tuesday against Stourport Swifts (7:30pm); we have been informed by the FA that whilst James Constable is not allowed to play in this game, it will not form part of his three-match ban". As FA suspensions are normally couched in terms of a player being suspended until his club has "completed x first-team games", this would suggest that Alty's Chris Lane was not actually eligible for the CSC match against Runcorn Linnets. Lane did not play in that game because it was believed to be the first of his three-game ban and only later did it emerge that his ban did not count as one of his three-match suspension in County FA competitions.

    The Gravesend Reporter says, "A curse on Setanta Sports as their inconvenient Thursday night football meant I spent Saturday afternoon getting a haircut and passing pleasantries with a scissors-wielding maniac. This cut-happy chappy interrogated me about "that Gravesend website thingy takeover malarkey" (sic) and occupying the rest of my spare time, in the absence of football, was the perceived madhouse otherwise known as the MyFC internet forums. Yes, I have sold my soul to the saviours of the Fleet/devils incarnate (delete as applicable) and coughed up my £35 to see what hot topics are being discussed by my new 24,000-strong brethren. Indeed, there are a few weird and wonderful suggestions. One that amused me no end was the notion we should sign Ray Parlour, Carlos Alberta - a Brazilian playing for Gremio's third team - or 'more African or American players', forgetting all about the small matter of the work permit pitfalls and the total impossibility of the Fleet nabbing a bloke with enough international caps to secure one. And, as worrying as this seems on the surface, I comfort myself with the knowledge that on the Fleet forum alone, we get our fair share of oddballs among, perhaps, 75-100 regulars. So, with 24,000, the fruitcake count is naturally going to be that fair bit higher.

    MyFC likes to brandish this 'wisdom of crowds' psychology that claims the decisions of crowds are often better than the choices of single members of a group... But I have noticed that for every one ridiculous idiot or statement on their website, there are four or five sensible members who have a more considered approach to matters at Stonebridge Road... Certainly, those members who are in favour of a cautious beginning to MyFC's direct involvement in running the club until they have a better knowledge of the manager, players and league are the ones who I hope end up swaying the majority of their fellows when it comes to picking the team and making plans. Many are in favour, as am I, of running with Liam Daish's team recommendations. How MyFC actually operates this 'pick the team' business is the yardstick by which the experiment will stand or fall. Having advertised the entire project as 'own the club, pick the team', they have to be seen by their members to be allowing this and other proposals for the sake of renewed membership".

    8 December 2007


    Saturday 8th

  • Aldershot T. 4 Stafford R. 3
  • Burton A. 1 Forest Green R. 1
  • Crawley T. v Grays A. POSTPONED
  • Droylsden 1 Rushden & D. 4
  • Ebbsfleet U. 1 York C. 2
  • Halifax T. 0 Exeter C. 3
  • Histon Woking LATE
  • Northwich V. 1 Oxford U. 0
  • Stevenage B. 3 Salisbury C. 1
  • Weymouth v Farsley C. POSTPONED


    Despite torrential rain in Torquay today and a "Severe Weather Warning" for the area tomorrow because of strong winds, a decision on whether the Torquay United v Altrincham match will go ahead this Sunday will not be taken till tomorrow morning.

    The Torquay United website says "Torquay United groundsman Mark Burd gave us an update this morning on the Plainmoor pitch - 'I will inspect the pitch early tomorrow morning (Sunday) and even if there is some surface water we will work on it; I will still give the match every chance of going ahead. The forecast isn't good but you never know, a good strong wind may blow the rain clouds over us quickly. I was able to get the mower on the pitch yesterday so it was perfectly playable then.'"

    The Torquay site continues, "Altrincham are the visitors to Plainmoor on Sunday and one thing we can all do is tear up the league table and not bother to check on the respective positions of the two teams, well we will have a quick glance before we throw it in the bin. The match will probably be played in tough weather conditions and no side is going to come to Plainmoor and lie down in front of the Gulls on a wet pitch! Three wins all season doesn't point to a team that should trouble a Torquay team that has only lost three league games so far but Altrincham can see some light at the end of the tunnel, there is a small gap between themselves and the teams below them and they aren't a million miles away from catching sides directly above them so any points they can get away from home are going to be priceless and hard fought for.

    Torquay supporters may well be able to welcome Chris Zebroski back in to the starting eleven after his suspension and his inclusion would bolster a side that played well without him but couldn't score against Brighton. Tony Bedeau is fully fit after returning for twenty minutes last week which leaves boss Paul Buckle with plenty of positive decisions to make. This will be the last league match at Plainmoor before the New Years Day visit of Exeter City and it is vital that United keep up the pressure on Aldershot at the top of the Blue Square Premier...

    Altrincham's away form hasn't been the best but they haven't conceded many goals; 17 in 10 games is nothing to be ashamed of but they may well decide that they have to come and score at Plainmoor to get anything from the game. Their problem has been scoring, Chris Senior and Colin Little are both on 5 league goals for the season but after them the rest of the squad are struggling to contribute, 13 goals between them is putting a lot of pressure on their defence. Their only away win this season came back in September when a late winner gave them the points at Crawley, they have scored more than one away goal in three matches but have not won any of them, drawing all three. Colin Potts and Val Owen are both out injured which leaves boss Graham Heathcote with a squad of seventeen left for selection.


  • United from: Rice; Robertson, Todd, Woods, Nicholson, Zebroski, Mansell, Hargreaves, Stevens, Sills, Phillips, Rayner, Benyon, Bedeau, Hill, Hockley, Welsh, Laird, Ellis.
  • Altrincham - from: Coburn; Saunders, Sedgemore, Clancy, Acton, Coo, Dean, Lawton, Little, Lane, Munroe, Peyton, O'Neill, Senior, Thornley, Whalley, Scott, Logan".

    As Alty fans will know, Coo left the club several months ago and Dean, a loanee, went several weeks ago, whilst Rod Thornley has been at Witton for a couple of months! Saunders played half a game for us on loan and is no longer at Moss Lane whilst Clancy also departed several months ago!


    The BSP Player of the Month for November is former Alty youngster Lewis Chalmers (right), now at Aldershot Town. Another graduate of the NW Youth Alliance League, in which Lewis played for Altrincham's Youth team, is Droylsden's Chris Denham (ex-Prestwich Heys) who was fourth in the same Player of the Month vote.


    Altrincham Youth's match against Bootle this Sunday has been postponed due to a waterlogged pitch.


    The successful "Meet the New Recruits" evening last Saturday, featuring Chris Lane, Chris Senior, Darren Tinson and Sean Riley raised an excellent £950 for the Football Club. Many thanks are due to the "new recruits" and to all those who supported the event - and especially, compere Brian Flynn and catering organizer Karen Rowley.


    Altrincham FC are offering half-season tickets covering the matches from Boxing Day (inclusive) to the end of the season.
  • Seating Main/Family Stand Adults - £105
  • Seating Main/Family Stand Concessions (Aged 14-16 and OAPs) - £45
  • Terraces – Adults - £85
  • Terraces – Concessions (Aged 14-16 and OAPs) - £40
  • Children under 14 - £20.

    Please visit the club office to obtain your ticket during normal weekday working hours or ring on 928-1045.


    If you have ordered a shirt from the Club Shop please collect it from the club offices or shop as soon as possible.


    Altrincham, weather permitting, travel to Torquay on Sunday. This is South Devon reports that "Plans for a £750,000 state-of-the-art training complex for Torquay United are back in the melting pot after an unsuccessful bid for a prime site in Kingsteignton. Gulls' director and well-known Torbay businessman Tony Carter has revealed he wanted to transform the former Teignbridge Bowling Centre into a new training base, strengthening links with the community at the same time. United already use part of the racecourse land for training. But Teignbridge Council has decided to sell the building to Newton Abbot Racecourse instead, insisting it was 'the best value for money'. Now a disappointed Mr Carter said: 'I feel like I have wasted my time'... Mr Carter's plans included indoor and outdoor training facilities for United's professional footballers and developing links with the community, especially through the club's current Football in the Community youth programme... Mr Carter emphasised the scheme was his idea and not a Torquay United venture, although the club today backed him. Chief executive Colin Lee said: 'It was something Mr Carter brought to the table and like any football club, we are always looking to improve our facilities. It would have been nice to move onto the site but we understood if it wasn't successful then there would be no indoor facility for us'... The club recently equipped a gym at the racecourse for the rehabilitation of injured players. They had hoped to move the gym into the former bowls club building and expand it into a 'commercial operation' open to the public".


    Alty are away to Nuneaton Borough in the Setanta Shield on 22 December. The Heartland Evening News says that "Borough manager Kevin Wilkin is facing a possible touchline ban for his part in a mass brawl against AFC Telford United. Wilkin was sent to the stands after he and Bucks defender Asa Charlton sparked a scuffle that saw players, substitutes and coaches row in front of the home dug out at Liberty Way on Tuesday night. Boro won the Setanta Shield third round tie 4-2 after extra time with Danny Williams and Jordan Stepien scoring either side of a Brian Quailey brace. Referee Anthony Horton recorded the 103rd minute brawl in his match report, which has now been submitted to the FA. Nuneaton will find out next week if there will be any repercussions for the boss from the incident. Wilkin could face a ban from the dugout, a fine or no action at all. He told Evening News Sport the incident was 'handbags' and the result was the most important aspect of the night. He said: 'The ball bounced up as it came off the pitch, I've grabbed it and their player ran aggressively at me. I maybe held on to the ball a bit too long but it was handbags really. I never raised my hands or anything like that. I might have held onto the ball but the guy (Charlton) reacted in a vicious nature and I didn't like it'.

    Boro's players, most notably Quailey and Carl Palmer, piled into the melee to defend their manager. 'We are a close bunch. We've tried to build up a team spirit. They look after me like they would any of their team mates and they are decent, honest boys who want to look after their own. I'd best not comment about the referee's performance because I'll get myself in trouble'," Wilkin added. His opposite number at Telford Rob Smith branded the referee a disgrace, adding that he thought his side were by far the better of the two and Nuneaton 'could have the cup'".

    IC Coventry adds that "Nuneaton Borough's 'good luck charm' Jordan Stepien has had his loan period extended. The 19-year-old Bury Town striker will stay with Boro for at least another month - and manager Kevin Wilkin says: ''That's terrific news'. Stepien made his debut for the Liberty Way club in the 1-0 Blue Square North win over Hyde on November 4. Since then, Boro have won four more league games on the trot to move into the top six and earn Wilkin a Manager of the Month award. Stepien's arrival has proved a telling factor in Boro's surge of form and confidence. The fleet-footed front runner has found the net twice in the five league wins and was also on target in this week's Setanta Cup extra time victory against AFC Telford. 'His presence in the side has certainly given us a lift and has taken a lot of the pressure of fellow striker Andy Brown... He has a lot of talent but is still learning. I am sure this loan spell with us will do him a lot of good - as well as being a boost to us - and I can see him going on to play at a decent level'. Stepien scored the final goal in Tuesday's 4-2 result over Telford. The visitors led 2-1 until Boro won a penalty in the dying seconds. Substitute Brian Quailey coolly converted the spot kick and then notched again in the extra period - when Wilkin was ordered by the referee to leave the dugout and sit in the stands. 'I held onto the ball when it went into touch to take up some time. But it was nothing really and I will just have to wait and see if I receive any further punishment', said the Boro boss. 'The game was a bit dour and we needed the luck of a late penalty. It was not a vintage performance but another excellent result'. Boro have only tasted defeat twice in the last five weeks - in away replays against Chasetown in the FA Cup and Workington in the Trophy".


    Confirmation comes from Burton Albion that "The Brewers have been drawn at home to local rivals Tamworth with the game due to be played at the Pirelli Stadium on Saturday 22nd December. The game has been chosen by Setanta for live coverage and will kick off at 5.15pm. The competition is regionalised up to the semi-final stages". Alty's game at Nuneaton is on the Saturday at 3pm.

    From This is Glos we learn that "Jim Harvey has urged Forest Green followers to 'stay humble' following the club's FA Cup heroics. The Rovers boss was staggered by the level of away support at Swindon Town last Saturday, when nearly 1,700 fans braved the storms to cheer the Blue Square Premier side to an agonising 3-2 defeat. Harvey's men get back to league action with a trip to play-off rivals Burton Albion tomorrow, and he is calling on supporters to keep their feet on their ground. 'I can't praise our fans highly enough for the noise they made at Swindon - they were absolutely terrific', he said. 'When I arrived at the ground and saw them all getting drenched in that open end I really felt for them, but they sang their hearts out and I want to thank them for that. Now it's important they don't start getting arrogant and remember there's an awfully long way to go before we can start saying it's a successful season. Yes, we've done well in the FA Cup and shown up a couple of League sides, but pride comes before a fall in this game. That's what happened when I was at Morecambe, when we won a few games and all of a sudden there were supporters getting too full of themselves. I don't want that to happen here - we've all got to stay humble'".

    This is Exeter reports that "Exeter City boss Paul Tisdale has struck a deal to sign Weston-super-Mare midfielder Ryan Harley. The 22-year-old is set to sign for the rest of the season in an incentive-based deal. Harley has impressed since arriving on trial more than two weeks ago and Tisdale has moved to snap up the youngster. A deal has been agreed following several rounds of talks and it is hoped Harley will put pen to paper in the coming days. Tisdale said: 'It looks like we have agreed a contract for him and he will be starting with us today. It is not signed yet, but hopefully that will happen soon. It is an incentive-based contract for the season and hopefully he will stay a lot longer'.

    In the Crawley Observer we learn that "Reds' boss Steve Evans says Crawley will go for the playoff places if they get within eight points of them after Christmas.He added that there will be money to spend on wages to bring in four new players in January if they are in sight of the playoffs. Evans also hinted that there is possibility that Guy Madjo could return in the new year". Madjo is currently at Cheltenham.

    Histon have big ideas. Chairman "Gareth Baldwin welcomed everyone to the Red Gate Stand and expressed the club's gratitude to the Cambridgeshire FA for choosing to site their headquarters at the ground and to their commitment to Histon FC. Gareth explained that due to the wage cap clubs are only allowed to spend at most 60% of their turnover on players' wages. To put our budget in perspective with other BSP clubs, he mentioned that our budget is a fifth of Stevenage's, a sixth of Torquay's and a quarter of Forest Green's. Being one of only four fully part time teams in the league is tough and can make it hard to compete, borne out by the fact that the other three are currently in the bottom four places. There is a requirement to send payroll details and bank statements and so on as evidence that the wage cap is not exceeded and the penalties for flouting the rules are administered usually as points deductions. As the amount a club can spend on players is proportional to revenue then the club are looking to increase revenue by having more facilities on site.

    Gareth explained that the club's current five year plan encompasses many ground improvements. The ground is currently on track to be compliant for promotion to the Football League. No substantial work needs to be done to gain entry to League 2, although in order to stay at that level work would need to be done to: Install electronic turnstile counters, so that the safety officer would know how many people are in each area of the ground at any time. Install CCTV everywhere round the ground. Other ground improvements involve: Moving the shelters from each end to the ground to the far side and installing seats in them to enable seating all along the far side. Building a 1600 seat stand at the away end (Bridge Road/Railway end) including toilets, bar, food outlet and conference facilities which will provide extra revenue. A new covered terrace at the home end (recreation ground end). A new stand including a restaurant to be built to the left of the main stand (as seen from the pitch). These improvements all depend on funds and progress and need to be sustainable. There is a small gym being installed on site in January which will be available for physio use as well as some commercial use. Lights will be present on the entrance road for every game until permanent ones are installed by end of January. Gareth thanked Peter Betson for the loan which has enabled the completion of the work to improve the pitch and its drainage, credit was also given to Trevor Ball as he is an exceptional groundsman".

    7 December 2007


    In the Sale and Altrincham Messenger, Graham Heathcote says he will not go defensive against Torquay on Sunday; they have scored 52 goals in 20 games this season whilst Alty have conceded the third highest total of goals in the league, 41. Graham said, "They are a strong side and are full of ambition. They want to get back on the Football League, so it's going to be very tough... We're going to have to go there and score if we're going to get anything from the game. People have acussed us of being negative at time this season but I've never been negative in my tactics. Sometimes we have to sit back if a good team forces us back but I would never send a team out just to defend. We have to set our stall out to combat the better teams in this league but we can't be naive like we were in the first season back in the Conference when we were on the end of some big defeats". Colin Potts and Val Owen are the only players ruled out through injury, leaving 17 players from whom the 16-man squad can be selected.

    Meanwhile, Torquay United, have a new supporters' trust website.

    And This is South Devon tells us that "The Children's Hospice South-West will be holding their annual half-time collection during Sunday's Blue Square Premier clash against Altrincham at Plainmoor. Former Gulls goalkeeper Bill Hayes will be leading a team of 12 collectors during the interval, and is hoping for a similar response from fans to that received in past years. Hayes, who played for United in the 1950s and now works with the Torquay & Newton Abbot District Support Group of the Children's Hospice South-West, said: 'The supporters have always been very generous in the past and we're always very grateful'". Needless to say travelling Alty supporters will be delighted to support this excellent cause as well.


    The BBC confirms that "The future of Northwich Victoria has been secured due to a takeover of the Blue Square Premier club. A consortium has completed a deal with former owner Mike Connett and agreed terms with creditors, including HM Revenue and Customs... 'A new era for football in this town starts today and I can't wait to take Northwich forward', consortium leader Jim Rushe told the Northwich Guardian. A winding up order brought by the revenue over an unpaid tax bill of over £350,000 will not now be heard with a repayment schedule in place".

    "Salisbury's player-coach Tommy Widdrington has returned to work after an internal disciplinary inquiry. Widdrington was suspended by the club on full pay after City's return from a training break in Spain last month. A club statement said: 'No charges have been brought against Tommy and everyone at the club looks forward to working with him towards continued success'. Widdrington,36, joined Salisbury in 2005 and helped them to promotion to the Blue Square Premier last season" says the BBC.

    "Stevenage Borough boss Peter Taylor has strengthened his squad with the capture of former Rushden and Diamonds and Crawley Town winger Tyrone Berry. The 20-year-old joins Boro as a free agent following a recent trial spell with Wycombe Wanderers. Chairman Phil Wallace told his club's website: 'Peter heard Tyrone hadn't signed at Wycombe and moved quickly to bring him to Stevenage. Tyrone can really do the business from either side if he's on song'" . states the BBC.

    IC Cheshire says that "The Northwich Vics takeover has been completed at last. The deal was struck on Wednesday, which means the club is now being run by Jim Rushe, Nick Bone and Ian Campbell and that the era of Mike Connett is at an end. Rushe and Bone have been the driving forces being the takeover, while Campbell will be the new chairman, a role he undertook at Woodley Sports. No details of the takeover have been released but nearly all the negotiations have been with the Inaldn Revenue, who were owed an estimated £400,000. The outright sale of the club means the team is not deducted points. Rushe said: 'I am delighted. Our very first job is to secure the services of the manager, Dino Maamria. He’s only been temporary, but we fully expect him to take the job perfectly. He is confident of avoiding relegation and it is our job now to support him in any way we can. We are not setting our targets too high - we know we can stay up.’ Rushe also said Vics would live within their means and that is meant [=means?] attracting new fans and new backers".

    Meanwhile, the Northwich Guardian prints a Vics' statement. It reads: "After many weeks of negotiationsNorthwich Victoria Football Club (2004) Limited was purchased by a consortium headed by Jim Rushe. Further documents were also signed relating to a 25-year lease to play at the Marston's Arena and a five-year shirt sponsorship deal with Encia Group Ltd. The deal marks the culmination of a great deal of hard work carried out by Jim Rushe and his team and has resulted in the football club avoiding administration and the penalties that go with it. The agreements that have been finalised with the football club's creditors now allow the Vics to have a sustainable future going forward. The new management team now intend to focus all their efforts on building a squad that can stay in the Blue Square Premier this season. Under the leadership of Dino Maamria the team can continue to build on their improved performances and results over the last few weeks. Furthermore, the club plan to increase revenues by introducing new sponsorship and club functions. This will assist in the generation of funds to facilitate advancement of the football club. To this end the club will rely on the support of the local community and businesses to aid development and future growth. The club's alliance with Encia Group Ltd, a UK leader in brownfield and regeneration solutions, will ensure a guaranteed income stream in the form of a shirt sponsorship deal. Encia have pledged their time and support and will be greatly involved in raising money. The consortium would like to thank the supporters club, supporters trust and all the fans for standing by them and hope that going forward all groups can pull together to ensure the club will go from strength to strength".

    From the Oxford Mail comes news that "Oxford United club captain Phil Gilchrist has announced his retirement from the professional game due to injury. Phil Gilchrist , 34, is in his second spell at United having re-joined them in 2006 following his release from Rotherham. But the centre half has been troubled by a persistent knee injury for the last nine months and has decided the time is right to hang up his boots. 'It's been a hard decision, one of the toughest of my life', said Gilchrist. 'Every footballer wants to play for as long as possible, but it's got to the stage where the injury is restricting what I can do on the pitch and then causing problems for a few days after'. Gilchrist made more than 250 appearances for United".

    "Curtis Woodhouse boosted both his professional boxing career and Rushden & Diamonds boss Garry Hill with a whirlwind win in Sheffield last night" reports The Northants Evening Telegraph. Woodhouse made it four wins out of four and recorded his first stoppage by blasting out Craig Tombs in just 117 seconds at the Don Valley Stadium. The 27-year-old came through the brief battle unscathed and declared himself fit for Diamonds' trip to Droylsden on Saturday. Woodhouse missed the 3-2 defeat at home to Histon on Tuesday night because he was preparing for the clash with Tombs. And after his latest light-middleweight boxing success he said: 'I'll have a few beers, take a day off, then go back to training and, hopefully, play on Saturday. I haven't got a mark on me and my boxing training obviously keeps me fit so there's no reason why I shouldn't play on Saturday. I'm grateful to Rushden & Diamonds for allowing me the chance to pursue my boxing career and I feel as though I'm coming on in leaps and bounds'".

    From the Woking News & Mail we read that "Geoff Chapple and Martin Tyler are among those who have been approached to take on ambassadorial roles at Woking Football Club. The former Woking boss, together with the Sky Sports’ commentator, are the kind of high-profile names who will have the doors of Kingfield thrown open to them, as new chairman David Taylor sets about addressing 'key issues' in his first weeks at the helm. Taylor, who was officially installed on December 1, is also working hard with the supporters’ club to raise finance to help Frank Gray in the January transfer window. With regard to welcoming old faces back into the club, Taylor said: 'I want to extend an open invitation to anyone who has supported, played for, or helped Woking FC in the past. They will always be welcome at Woking FC whoever they are. I have identified some high-profile people and have asked the fans for their views on who should be asked to be ambassadors. The same names keep coming up and I have already had informal discussions with the likes of Geoff and Martin and I hope to progress those discussions'”.

    Rushden & Diamonds manager Garry Hill says "People say that, Christmas, New Year, a lot comes out of it. We've got to turn around, irrespective of where we are at the moment and get as many points as we can get out of the remaining 25 games. I'm disappointed of where we are at the moment, I look at some of the players we've fetched to the club; Challinor, Burgess coming back, Simeon Jackson signing a 3 year deal, Craig McAllister, I feel we've fetched, and we are fetching in good players here, at the moment there are no excuses, and there certainly would never be a hiding place for myself, we are underachieving, from my position I am very disappointed to the players and all the way down, we've got to do better... I've got to turn around and say that I believe that the players that have come to the club are good players, we've had to cut the numbers as you know but I'm not going down that route as an excuse, we've not got a big squad but we have got some good players who have come in. When you look at the wide boys at the back, Curtis Osano and Dean Howell, and Andy Burgess and Marcus Kelly in midfield they're as quick and as good as any in this division, we have got Simeon Jackson up front, the second highest scorer in the league, we've now got Craig McAllister with us, a player who people have seen his quality in the home and away games, and will say he's added to our squad in terms of hold up play... We have got a good squad. But at the end of the day its all about results, and were not getting enough results... You've got two choices, you can roll over, and that's no good to anybody, or come through it".

    "The way the goals have been conceded has been disappointing, Paul Bastock has come back in, no disrespect to Paul Bastock but he's picked the ball out the back of the net so many times he probably can't believe it, even though they've not all been totally down to him by any means. Paul Nicholls at the present time is not 100% fit, at the end of the day they've got to turn around and be strong as goalkeepers... If it means me turning round and changing one or two things, then we will, but we are restricted until January, but we've got to really dig deep now, I wouldn't say I'm panicking, and I won't panic, but the penny has dropped. We are not good enough week in week out, we've shown with our performances against certain teams, that we can get results, but were not consistent enough at the moment... We've got 15 goals over the last 4 home games, that's good, that is very good!... I can't ask for a manager to have better facilities here, I know there have been financial restraint here, but I knew that when I came to the football club, the chairman has been different class... Histon, they've came here and played a good game plan, working very hard. They don't play much football but they get the ball from the back to the front quickly, they've got a lad who throws the ball in well, that pens you in there and condenses the game, with the conditions the way they are it doesn't make it easy. All credit to Steve Fallon and John Beck, they're getting their team working very hard, all credit to Histon; they are doing very well at the moment.

    We go to Droylsden on Saturday who had a fine 5-3 win against Forest Green two weeks ago, they beat Oxford at home 3-1 recently so they are all tough games, you don't get any easy games in the Conference, we all know that and we've got to make sure that we dig deep.

    The only people at the end of the day, certainly between now and January, who are going to turn around and stop the rot are the players on the field of play, with the support of the squad, and the management team working together. We are the only ones. So its no good any players or anyone in the management side, and certainly that won't be the case, making excuses or looking for them, you cant do that. Now I've had some strong words to say here tonight, some very honest ones, certainly everyone who knows me knows I'm a very honest person whatever the case will be, and whatever they think about certain things away from football, but I'd say we've got to work hard now and its got to be better"

    Histon FC "is delighted to announce the opening of their new stand, sponsored by local software company Red Gate Software, Cambridge Evening News' 'Business of the Year'. The new Red Gate stand offers Histon FC's home support an additional 400 premium seats as part of a new development that also houses the Cambridgeshire FA headquarters. The stand will be officially opened when Histon play host to Woking in their Blue Square Premiership match on Saturday 8th December, giving fans the first opportunity to experience the excellent match day atmosphere and enhanced views of all the action the Red Gate Stand will offer. Club Chairman, Gareth Baldwin, expressed the club’s satisfaction at securing a lucrative three-year contract for the stand, and also ensuring the right partner for Histon FC. 'We have been delighted at the interest Cambridgeshire businesses have shown in sponsoring the new stand, but I feel that in Red Gate Software we have partnered with a business that shares our club's values, ambition and vision'. Neil Davidson, Red Gate CEO, agreed: 'We’re excited about the opportunity to partner with a club that is really going places. Red Gate employees have been enjoying the atmosphere at the games at the Glass World Stadium and we already have a bunch of regular Histon supporters'. Neil went on to state, 'While Red Gate are very proud to invest in a sponsorship and put our name to the new stand, my hope is that in 5 years time the Red Gate Stand will be flattened to make way for bigger and better facilities to reflect the amazing growth that we know Histon are capable of achieving as they continue to progress up the leagues'".

    6 December 2007


    The draw for Round 4 of the Setanta Shield pits Altrincham against Nuneaton Borough -away- on the weekend of Saturday 22nd and Sunday 23rd December. The sides last met in the Conference North promotion play offs in 2005.


  • Kidderminster H. 1 Cambridge U. 0


    There are yet more road works planned for Altrincham, with SAM announcing that "United Utilities are warning motorists to expect disruption as they carry out sewage repairs in Altrincham from Monday (December 10). Moss Lane will be closed between Manor Road, Oakfield Road and Stamford New Road for up to three weeks. Town centre traffic will be diverted via Manor Road and Lloyd Street".


    This is South Devon says that "United have announced price cuts for the FA Trophy match against Bashley at Plainmoor on Saturday, December 15. The club will charge £10 for adults, £7 for senior citizens and students and £4 for under-16s for the game. A club statement read: 'This pricing structure has taken into account the run of home games the club is currently in and the costs that the supporters are incurring in the run-up to Christmas. We hope that they will appreciate this small gesture as a thank you for the magnificent support this season'".

    From IC Cheshire is a report that "After three weeks banished and transfer listed it seems no-one wants Northwich Vics stars Chris Williams, Kevin Townson and Paul Tait – and they don’t want anyone else either. The trio were seen as a disturbing influence by manager Dino Maamria and told to stay away from the Victoria Stadium. They have done that – and shown no signs of wanting to play again. They are being paid for nothing and could do so until the end of the season and their contracts. Maamria said: 'They are sitting on their backsides and picking up their money and that shows they are the kind of people who gave nothing to club in the first place. There has been the possibility of loans for all three but they are not interested. I have advised them they need to be playing, need to keep match fit. I don’t know what their game is. They have contracts and we have to honour them, but they should also behave in a professional way and if they had any pride they’d want to be playing. They were a problem for me and I wanted that problem out of the dressing room. Sadly for them, after circulating to all the Blue Square and UniBond League clubs that they were available, the only inquiry we have had was from Bradford Park Avenue for Chris Williams'.

    Maamria, meanwhile, is planning his January recruitment, which could be the key to Vics survival. They have got to make up a difference of 10 points on fifth from bottom Farsley Celtic and by the time the transfer window opens the loan periods of Nick Farquarharson, Luke Akins and Natt Kerr will be at an end... 'I have my targets,’ said Maamria. He also will soon have Jonny Allan and Mike Byrne back from long term injuries... '‘We need to improve our cutting edge. But we’ll have Jonny Allan back soon and that will be like having a new player.’

    Jim Rushe will update fans as to the progress of his consortium’s takeover bid for Vics at an open meeting of the Supporters Trust on Tuesday.. The Inland Revenue were granted a two-month adjournment of their winding up order on Wednesday to allow talks to be finalised".

    The Burton Mail says that "Top scorer Daryl Clare is hoping for a Christmas return to action for Burton Albion after undergoing an ankle operation yesterday. The 12-goal striker had keyhole surgery to remove bone fragments resulting from a heavy fall in a clash at Weymouth in August... Brewers' boss Nigel Clough said last night: "I'm still waiting for the surgeon's report on the extent of the damage, but hopefully it was a straight forward operation to clean out Daryl's ankle. 'If everything goes to plan, Daryl could be back in training in about 10 days and playing in two weeks. Ideally, we would like to give him half a game in the Setanta Shield the Saturday before Christmas, but the target is to have Daryl back in the side for the Boxing Day game at Stafford'".

    This is York claims that "former Crawley Town boss John Hollins, ex-Chester City chief Mark Wright and Neil Redfearn, who resigned as manager of Northwich Victoria in September, are among those to have approached the club [for the vacant manager's job]. Denis Smith, who guided City to their record-breaking highest points tally of 101 points in 1984, is not believed to have declared an interest in the position despite being without a job since his sacking at Wrexham in January 2007.

    McGill maintained that caretaker manager Colin Walker will have the opportunity to press his claims for the job in the run-up to Christmas, placing great significance on the Minstermen's next three games for the former reserve team coach. City travel to Ebbsfleet United in the Blue Square Premier on Saturday before visiting Altrincham in the FA Trophy the following weekend. The KitKat Crescent club then have a Setanta Shield tie scheduled for the last Saturday before Christmas... About the club's managerial situation, McGill said: 'The board is monitoring the team's performance under Colin Walker at the moment. We were delighted with the win at Weymouth and we also felt the result against Crawley was promising as it was important not to lose that game because reversing our home form has been a real battle. Our position, as a board, is that we have now had around 50 serious applications for the job and we are analysing each one as it comes in. We are having a full board meeting shortly where we will sit down and discuss the way forward but the aim is to have a permanent manager in place - be that Colin Walker, one of the applicants or somebody else - before the transfer window opens on January 1. Ideally, we will be making an announcement prior to Christmas'".

    According to the Kidderminster Shuttle "Harriers' officials are to meet FA chiefs this Friday in an attempt to prove suspended striker James Constable's innocence. A delegation from Harriers, which includes chairman Barry Norgrove, vice-chairman Neil Savery and solicitor Oliver Hunt from Onside Law, will meet with representatives from football's governing body at Soho Square to discuss Constable's sending off against Oxford United last week. Constable was shown a straight red card for an alleged foul on defender James Clarke, but despite video evidence which called his guilt into question the FA rejected the club's appeal. But a concerted effort by Norgrove forced the FA to consider the video evidence again and agree to sit down with the club to discuss the matter. 'Normally the FA don't talk to anybody so it's strange that they have been so quick to see us. I think it's a victory that we have this meeting', said Norgrove. Currently it is impossible to overturn a decision by the FA's appeals panel. Norgrove is hoping to force a change in the rules that will allow incorrectly turned down appeals to be looked at again. The club also wants the FA extend the period between a player's sending off and the start of his ban in order to give clubs more time to gather evidence for the appeal. At the moment a suspended player will serve his suspension in the next possible match. Harriers are also set to demand compensation for the cost of the fight to prove that Constable was incorrectly sent off, which would include £300 for the original appeal, £200 to have a courier deliver a digitally enhanced version of the footage to the FA, as well as other costs. 'We feel we have prepared a strong case and are confident we can get the right outcome from the meeting', said the chairman....'It was clear to me and anyone who watched the video and it is ridiculous that his suspension wasn't cancelled. We only have a small squad and the loss of a key player like James has a big effect on us. We will speak to our solicitor before the meeting but we do feel we have a case. The FA have made an error about James' sending off and we have spent a lot of money for a club of our size fighting the decision so far. It's only right that the FA compensate us for our efforts'".

    And finally, where else but the Crawley Observer which reveals that "Crawley Town Football Club have refused to reveal the new identity of the club's mascot Reggie The Red. Last week Shane Rowland quit playing the mascot after three happy years at the club, but Reds bosses are keeping tightlipped about who will be pulling on the Reggie suit for Saturday's game against Grays. A club spokesman confirmed that Reggie will be at this weekend's home game but said they would prefer to keep the mascot's identity a secret". Rocky Robin was not available for comment.

    5 December 2007


  • Rushden & D. 2 Histon 3 - Histon are now in the play-off positions.
  • League table


    In SAM we read that "Alty seem determined not to do themselves any favours. Too often this season, it's been the same old story. Sharp football and a battling spirit get them into a promising position, only for basic errors to quickly shatter their fragile dreams. It doesn't seem to matter which player is at fault - it's an epidemic spreading throughout the entire squad. Against Histon it was the turn of Carlos Logan (right). With the Robins piling pressure on the visitors' goal and the scores still level at 1-1, the winger's suicidal backpass 16 minutes from time handed Histon a neatly giftwrapped Christmas present at the start of the advent season. From that point on, they seemed resigned to their fate."

    It was made all the more painful by the fact that Alty had done so well to recover from a poor first half in which they had fallen behind to a 33rd minute goal from Cliff Akurang. Chris Lane had levelled the scores with a stunning strike on the hour mark and the hosts had looked dead certs to go on and claim victory... For the most part, it was a scrappy encounter. Histon have surpassed all expectations this season due to a pragmatic yet unattractive style of football, so this was never likely to be a classic.

    A rare delicate touch from that human wrecking ball, Robbie Lawton, also saw him come close, chipping narrowly over the bar from the right channel. When the opening goal finally did come, it was in farcical circumstances. When Kennedy played in Wright down the right flank, he was a good two or three yards offside. But the hapless officials failed to spot it, he crossed to the far post and Akurang capitalised on some ridiculously slack defending to head home...

    But the entire game hinged on two incidents within three minutes of each other. First Little failed to convert a header from point blank range on 65 minutes, his tame effort saved by Naisbitt, and then Logan was introduced to the fray. From the minute the winger replaced Joe O'Neill, it completely unbalanced the home side. Logan wandered round in a world of his own for much of his 22 minutes on the pitch, so his catastrophic error hardly came as a surprise. His awful backpass never looked like reaching Coburn and Wright stole in to round the keeper and slot home. If he has any ambitions of playing in the league again, he'll have to rediscover the passion and pride that got him there in the first place. That blow completely knocked the wind out of Alty and they seemed powerless to stop the inevitable".


    Alty's next opponents, Torquay United will house the Altrincham fans in the Carlsberg Popside and Sparkworld Away End. The club website is adamant that "All those requiring concessionary prices will need to furnish proof of eligibility". Prices are :
  • Adults £14
  • Seniors/Students £11 (students require valid card)
  • Under 16s £5 (proof of age required)
  • All other areas £15, £12 and £5.

    From This is South Devon we learn that "Torquay United manager Paul Buckle believes that the forthcoming Christmas period will be a severe test for his promotion-chasing side, and is hoping that a few days away from the training ground now will work wonders come the end of the month. Buckle has given his squad several days off ahead of Sunday's clash against Altrincham at Plainmoor, and believes that the players will reap the rewards of a breather when the always-hectic festive schedule begins shortly. Following Sunday's match, the Gulls entertain Bashley in the FA Trophy on December 15 and then enter the Setanta Shield on December 22 before the big Devon derby at Exeter City on Boxing Day. United then travel to Woking three days later before hosting Exeter on New Year's Day...

    The Gulls boss said: 'The players will be having a few days off now. It's something we've had planned for a few weeks. They'll be having a few days off for rest, Christmas bits and spending time with their families. It's a chance for the players to get away from here for a few days and go back to their homes and have some time off. We've got a busy schedule coming up and they're going to need it. We've got Altrincham on Sunday, then we're into the Christmas programme, which is going to be busy. It's a case of forward thinking and it makes sense. The players can be with their wives and girlfriends and it will do them the world of good to have a few days off. They need it mentally and physically. We all came together in July and the players have put in a lot of hard work. We've got a hectic period coming up, and there'll be no going home then, they'll get the time now. I don't want players asking me for time off over this period coming up. They'll be in every day over the Christmas period, including Christmas Day, and the players will be geared up for the games. That's the way I want to do it'... Buckle added: 'We're looking towards Altrincham now and we've got a fully fit squad to work with'".


    On December 22nd Alty take part in the Setanta Shield Fourth Round, where they and the other BSP clubs are joined by four teams each from Blue Square North and South. There are no replays, so games go to extra time and penalties. The draw for Round 4 is believed to be regional. On Monday Hinckley disposed of Kettering Town in the Northern Section. the remaining ties in Round 3 in the North took place last night and finished as follows:
  • Nuneaton B. 4 AFC Telford U. 2
  • Southport 2 Barrow 3
  • Tamworth 3 Harrogate T. 1


    The latest NW Youth Alliance Premier Division table, with Altrincham FC Youth at the top, is here.


    The Northwich Guardian tells us that "Vics' takeover is all done bar the signing. Jim Rushe spent [Monday?] morning at HM Revenue and Customs' offices in Liverpool going through last-minute details. 'I've had a hectic day but to be honest the negotiations were finished on Friday', he said. 'What we've been waiting for since then is for Mike Connett to get his side of things sorted so the share can be transferred from Northwich Victoria Football Club (2004) Limited to us. But that's not happened as quickly as we would have liked'. He stopped short of an official announcement before the Guardian went to press today, Tuesday, but Rushe said is confident the club will belong to his consortium in time for the weekend visit of Oxford United. He promised to issue a statement once his solicitors gave him the go-ahead. That could be to fans at tonight's official supporters' club meeting, but is more likely to be tomorrow or Thursday.

    The details of the consortium's deal with HM Revenue and Customs will not be made public, but the Guardian has learned that following an initial down payment the club must meet strict monthly deadlines from January. They will not pay Connett anything to play at the Victoria Stadium until the start of next season. For now Rushe admitted he was relieved to finally see an end in sight. 'I know how frustrating it has been for everybody', he said... 'I understand that is why people have grown suspicious and they're right to ask questions but rest assured we've always had the best interests of the club at heart. I'm 99.9 per cent certain that we're there now but can't commit to a definite answer just yet'.

    He said his first task once the takeover is complete will be to thrash out a deal with Dino Maamria... 'We need to get him tied down to a deal as quickly as possible', said Rushe. 'Dino has been tremendous since he took over and you only have to watch on of his training sessions to see what a good coach he is. We want him as manager'"

    The Blue Square Football site says that "Strugglers Stafford Rangers have appointed veteran striker Neil Grayson as caretaker manager following the recent departure of Phil Robinson. Stafford parted ways with manager Robinson last week and 43-year-old Grayson will take temporary charge along with fellow senior player Kevin Street. Grayson told the club's official website: 'It was a big shock yesterday when I heard the news that Phil Robinson was leaving. I was asked to take over as manager temporarily for a couple of weeks to see how things go. As one of senior pros I couldn't turn it down. After my first taste of management, my brain is starting to settle down a bit. I enjoyed it and it was different for me as I was playing and possibly more difficult for Kevin on the sidelines having to watch. I want to keep playing as long as I can and if I can combine that with management then I'll consider it. Hopefully both jobs will go well together'. He added: 'A draw against Northwich was a fair result.. Scott Loach in his final game for us pulled off a couple of blinding saves... We have half a season left and will try and build on today and work our way out of the situation we are in'".

    Another caretaker regime continues at York. "Hartlepool manager Danny Wilson has stated his belief that York City's caretaker duo Colin Walker and Eric Winstanley can make the step up to full-time management. Walker and Winstanley worked on Wilson's coaching staff at Barnsley when they were in the Premiership for the 1997/98 season... [Wilson] told the York Press: 'They are a couple of lads who have worked together over a massive period of time - probably 20-odd years in total - so they understand each other and have a professional outlook. They are very good friends which makes things easier and both want to play the same way so, in that respect, it can't fail. It should work very well and I think they would make fantastic appointments'".

    4 December 2007


    STAR is running a supporters' coach on Sunday for our game against Torquay United. To book your seats please ring the club on 928-1045. It's an awful long way to drive to Devon, so why not relax on the Go Goodwins executive coach instead?

    Sunday's referee for Torquay v Altrincham is Mr Andrew I. Halliday.


    Manager George Heslop would like to thank Ian Senior's company Sensport Kits for their generous sponsorship of the Altrincham FC Youth team kit. Ian has donated 17 outfield sets of kit and a goalkeeper's kit. The sponsored kit includes numbered shorts as well as shirts and a kit bag. Last Sunday the new shirts made their debut (see picture below) but the black, numbered shorts have yet to be worn. Many Alty fans will remember that Ian, a fireman by profession, kept goal for Alty on a number ofoccasions before starting up his sportswear business. He is also the supplier of the replica kits sold in the Robins' Shop at Moss Lane.

    Altrincham FC Youth are currently top of the NW Youth Alliance Premier Division.


    Altrincham FC's ground and Manchester Phoenix ice hockey club's Silver Blades Ice Dome are half a mile apart on Moss Lane, Altrincham and the two clubs have launched a joint promotion whereby, as a supporter of Altrincham FC, you can get discounted entry to ice hockey matches. Application details are here.


    Saturday, 15th December 2007: CHRISTMAS CELEBRATION DINNER

    A Christmas Celebration Dinner at the Cresta Court Hotel, Altrincham - tickets £45.

    Monday, 31st December 2007: NEW YEAR'S EVE PARTY

    DJ "Rafo" is the host of the free New Year's Eve Party at Moss Lane. Tickets must be obtained in advance from the club. Please bring along a dish of food for the buffet; a list of suitable items to bring will be available when you collect your ticket.

    Thursday, 13th March 2008: SEEING RED - A SPORTSMAN'S DINNER

    The guest speaker will be former top referee, Graham Poll, at the Cresta Court Hotel, Altrincham. Also performing will be comedian Jed Stone and the M.C. will be Radio Manchester's Jimmy Wagg. Tickets are £55 and can be obtained from Karen Rowley by e-mail or by ringing the club on 928-1045.


    The AGM of STAR, the Altrincham FC supporters' trust will be at Moss Lane on 21 January.


    Those who support Alty from afar may be interested to see that the former Red Robin Club, a.k.a. Chequers night club, has now been totally demolished. In this picture, which was taken from the pavement on Moss Lane on Saturday, you can see into the football ground where the retaining wall at the Carole Nash & Family (Hale) End has been temporarily removed. Housing and flats will be erected on the cleared space in the near future. In its heyday the social club hosted many famous pop stars of the 1960s such as Billy Fury and Karl Denver as well as wrestling and other forms of entertainment.


    On last Saturday's game, the Cambridge Evening News says that "Steve Fallon was delighted with Danny Wright and Cliff Akurang after the strike duo fired Histon to a 2-1 win at Altrincham. The Stutes' boss felt his front pairing, who have come together due to the absence of the ill Antonio Murray, were a constant thorn in the Robins' side at Moss Lane... But the manager believes there is still room for improvement and thought Akurang showed the casual side to his game when he nonchalantly shot over from close range in the closing stages. Fallon said: 'Danny and Cliff are a good pair as they're both strong and quite quick and they always looked like they could cause a threat. 'Cliff hung well in the air and scored with a great header and Danny did well to pick up the ball and the score the winner, which I thought we deserved. But we missed one or two chances and Cliff should have been more ruthless with another header. And he swung at a shot near the end where he hit it hoping he might score, rather than thinking he would score'. Fallon was impressed with his defence for standing up to Altrincham's aerial threat. 'Altrincham had a good spell when they scored and we had to defend well and I thought we did that', he said".

    "Great managers can turn one point into three by making a perfectly-timed tactical substitution. And Histon got back to winning ways and completed the league double over Altrincham thanks to the arrival on the field of Carlos Logan. But it was not Stutes' boss Steve Fallon who made the match-turning switch. It was his opposite number, Graham Heathcote, who watched in disbelief as striker Logan's horrendous back-pass presented Danny Wright with the easiest of chances to seal a hard-fought victory in the 74th minute of a poor contest. The visitors began brightly... Referee Mr Collin then awarded a litany of free-kicks against Fallon's men for numerous petty offences and the hosts began to force their way into the match... The game descended into a scrap as more fussy officiating prevented either side from finding their rhythm... Wright broke the offside trap on the right flank and his inch-perfect cross picked out Cliff Akurang in the box and the forward rose magnificently to head the ball past Stuart Coburn from six yards... Heathcote's charges came out for the second half with renewed purpose and Histon found themselves cut asunder twice, worryingly by regulation long balls. Senior put Little clean through and the front man blasted his shot wide from just inside the area, before Mat Mitchel-King failed to deal with a hoof from the goalkeeper and Senior's low drive was cleared to safety at the last moment by Matt Langston. The Stutes could not withstand the pressure for long and Jake Sedgemore found Colin Lane [not to be confused with Chris Little] in acres of space on the right and the full-back unleashed a powerful shot, which flew past Naisbitt into the corner of the net... But the introduction of Logan after 69 minutes swung the match the visitors' way. John Kennedy's crossfield pass was brilliantly intercepted by the attacker and the danger seemed to have passed. However, Logan misjudged the weight on his back-pass and sold Coburn short, allowing Wright to nip in, round the keeper and roll the ball into the empty net. Moments later, the former Dereham man almost had a carbon copy-goal, but Coburn was off his line sharply to clear off his toes after Shotton had given the keeper another hospital ball. And, in what proved to be a farcical six minute-spell, substitute Patrick Ada almost scored a disastrous own goal after chesting the ball back to the stranded Naisbitt. The Cameroon defender was a relieved man when the goalie scurried back and clawed the ball off the line in the nick of time. Langston and Mitchel-King coped well with the aerial bombardment which ensued in the closing stages, and it was Histon who should have added to their tally".


    From the BBC we learn that "Bournemouth defender Neil Young will spend a second month on loan at Weymouth. The Cherries will retain a 24-hour recall clause on the 34-year-old, who has made five appearances for Weymouth since joining them last month... Weymouth are managed by Young's former Cherries team-mate Jason Tindall".

    The NL Daily reports that "Tamworth signed three players ahead of Saturday`s win over bottom-markers Leigh RMI. Manager Gary Mills brought in veteran midfielder David Oldfield, who has commanded transfer fees totalling £900,000 during his career which has taken in the likes of Manchester City and Leicester City. Born in Australia, the player has been with Stafford this season, making a dozen appearances in Blue Square Premier. And another familiar face has been at the Tamworth training ground. Central defender Simon Weaver who was with the Lambs last season, went through a light session, having had a run out with York City reserves. He has been in discussions with Mills". Oldfield was, till recently, the assistant manager of Stafford Rangers.

    3 December 2007


    A report on the Altrincham FC Youth team win against Salford City is now in the Youth section of the website.


    Altrincham manager Graham Heathcote has been handed a three-match ban and a £250 fine for his dismissal from the touchline at Salisbury earlier this season. The ban is immediate.


    There is now a report on the defeat by Histon, here.

    After yesterday's defeat by Histon, Alty manager Graham Heathcote told the NL Paper, "If the first goal wasn't offside, I don't know what is offside. It was as clear and as blatant as I have ever seen. Things like that are often the difference between a side going for the play offs and a side fighting relegation. And then something daft happens in the second half to lose us the game. But if we are one of the worst teams in the league, this must be an extremely good league. We play some extremely good football and we had enough chances to win. If we had taken our chances all our other problems would become irrelevant. The goal changed the game. You can't legislate for some of the goals conceded and, as we've proved with the second goal, we often do harm to ourselves. Mistakes keep on costing us. But I've got to keep belief in myself. I've also got to keep belief in my players. I think we're playing football the right way. It's just that the results won't come"

    From Histon we learn that "Histon travelled to the north-west for this return fixture with Altrincham... The Stutes were hoping for a win to complete the double over the Cheshire side. The match at the Glass World four weeks previously was won by Histon by the only goal of the game and the Stutes felt they should have won the game more convincingly. Due to illness in the squad, Histon were only able to name three substitutes on the bench. Central defender goal machine (3 goals in last two games), Matt Langston, kept his place alongside Mat Mitchel-King which meant that it was an unchanged side from the one that drew at home with Exeter City the previous week. Patrick Ada, Jamie Barker and Robbie Nightingale were on the bench and again the Stutes were without Antonio Murray.

    Histon had the greater share of the play in the 1st half with a mixture of long-ball and passing. With the home strikers short in stature they relied on space and pace but were in the main well marshalled by the visitors back four. Danny Wright set up Cliff Akurang for the first, to score with a header back to where the keeper came from. Reports afterwards suggested he was a couple of yards offside - but that was cancelled out later in the 2nd half with a perfectly good goal for Wright being ruled out.

    In the 2nd half the home team started the better and the Stutes began to allow them too much space - culminating in a well taken goal from the right side of the area that flashed past Danny Naisbitt. After that it was pretty even until we were gifted our winner with Wright being on the ball to beat the keeper in the tackle before slotting it in the net. Akurang should have settled it later and the visitors had a nervy moment when Pat Ada chested the ball back to Naisbitt a bit too firmly. A valuable three points for the Stutes, their first double of the season, which keeps the team in seventh place and in touch with the play off places".


    The UniBond League reports that Alty's Pat McFadden (right) has shifted his UniBond registration from Leek Town to Radcliffe Borough. Pat has previously played games on loan at Boro whilst also being in Alty's first-team squad.


    Lisa Jones has been a regular presence at Moss Lane over the last year as she has been compiling a DVD about Altrincham FC as part of her university studies. The end-product, entitled "Part-time and proud of it: the Altrincham FC story" is available at the Robins' Shop for just £7.50. It contains nearly an hours footage which includes interviews with many of the well-known figures around Moss Lane both current and past. To get your copy, visit the shop on matchdays or contact the Club offices at other times (928-1045)


    The winners of the November Friends of Altrincham FC monthly draw received their prizes from Alty's Steve Aspinall on the pitch last Saturday. They were:
  • 1st: 33 Graham Muir
  • 2nd: 60 Richard Allen
  • 3rd: 64 Dave Tracey

    Click the above link to join the Friends and help the football club.


    Pictured above with Rocky Robin are two groups of young guests who attended the Altrincham v Histon game. They are the Beechfield United junior football team (rear) and the Worthington Primary School from Sale.


    STAR announces that "Tickets for the STAR Christmas Raffle can picked up or purchased from the STAR counter in the club shop [on matchdays].
  • First Prize - Have the famous Golf Road End named after you
  • Second Prize - A weekend B & B for 2 at the Knighton Hotel
  • Third Prize - A table for 4 in the Sponsors Lounge for a home game of your choice plus a signed ball".


    Altrincham enter the Setanta Shield league cup in round four on 22 December. The draw is apparently on Thursday December 6th live on Setanta TV before the Kidderminster v Cambridge United game. It is believed that Round Four is drawn on a regional basis.


    Alty groundsman and Abbey Hey manager Neil Brown has a tough job to turn around the form of his new club. They lost 5-2 on Saturday but former Alty Reserve Danny Heffernan scored one of the goals. Ged Kielty, manager of Trafford, has now taken his side to the top of the Vodkat Division One and has also lifted the manager of the month award for the second successive month. Jim Vince, manager of Witton, is another ex-Alty player with a table-topping team.


    Right: Alty chairman Geoff Goodwin (left) presents Paul Roberts of Altrincham FC Juniors with a cheque for £2,000 as part of the funds raised from the recent charity football match organised to benefit both the McGrath Foundation and Altrincham FC. £20,000 went to the McGrath Foundation, £17,000 to Altrincham FC, £2,000 to Altrincham FC Juniors and £1,000 to Altrincham FC Youth team.


    In Sunday's FA Cup draw, for Round 3, the BSP clubs drew the following opposition:
  • Oxford Utd/Southend v Dagenham & Redbridge - Alty are due to play Oxford the same weekend
  • Swindon v Burton Albion/Barnet
  • Wolves v Cambridge U.

    Stafford Rangers confirm that "As a result of ongoing discussions the board of directors at Blue Square Premier club Stafford Rangers announced that Phil Robinson left his post as manager by mutual consent, with immediate effect. The board`s statement reads: 'We are sad to see him go and Stafford Rangers Football Club wishes to thank Phil for all his hard work, professionalism and loyalty over the year. We wish him and his family all the very best for the future. As difficult as this is we have to now move on and find a replacement for Phil at the earliest opportunity. A caretaker coach will be appointed and the situation will be monitored over the next few weeks whilst we look for a replacement. We will continue to use any spare cash we have in pursuit of strengthening the team. We have an extremely difficult task ahead of us both on and off the pitch but are determined to try and maintain our position in the Blue Square Premier.

    We need to get behind Shooter (Wayne Daniel) and all the players who have worked so hard for us this season - they need as much support as we can give them. We know that our supporters will want to wish Phil well and thank him for the major part he played in the club’s progress over the past few seasons".

    Phil Robinson stated: “Sadly and inevitably, but with the mutual consent of the Board, I have decided to leave my post as manager of Stafford Rangers FC. During the recent weeks, as a result of the club’s well-publicised financial position, I have had numerous discussions with the Board. They understand my ambitions and I their difficulties. I thank the Board for their support during my period as manager and wish them and the club good luck for the future. It was with great pride that I took over the manager’s role some five and a half years ago, during which period I have been delighted to guide the club from the Dr Martens League to where we are today in the second season of the Blue Square Premier, the top flight of non-league football. I will leave with great memories of not only our promotions, which included the nerve-racking play-off victory at Burton, but also our FA Cup and FA Trophy runs. During this period the club as a whole has grown and I am immensely proud of our local players and my involvement in the development of the thriving youth and junior set-ups that the club now boasts. I have worked tirelessly to bring success to Stafford Rangers but the time is now right for me to leave. I am desperately sad to leave the players behind and ask all Rangers fans to get behind them for the rest of the season, as they need you all. Perhaps on some future occasion I may well join you on the terraces cheering on my hometown team, supporting the lads and any future manager. I conclusion, I ask the fans for their understanding in what was an incredibly decision for me, but more importantly I want to thank them for their loyal support. They have made me feel so immensely proud to manage their team. It would give me great pleasure, perhaps some time in the future, to do so again should circumstances allow".

    Torquay United report that "boss Paul Buckle gave his views on Saturday's 2-0 defeat to Brighton - 'I am absolutely delighted with the performance, the difference today was probably Nicky Forster. Two opportunities and two goals, he showed why he has played at that level and higher today. I think we were value for money today and we tested them... The biggest surprise for me today is the fact we haven't scored a goal. The players gave everything today, we attacked from minute one to minute ninety four'".

    The website adds that "Over 4000 supporters were treated to a full blooded cup tie which could have gone either way but for the finishing of Brighton forward Nicky Forster. Gulls fans were able to see the return to first team action of skipper Steve Woods and striker Lee Phillips, along with Tony Bedeau taking a seat on the bench. Chris Zebroski was suspended and Mark Ellis missed out on selection this time around... A defeat but another good performance from the United team, it is no disgrace to lose in such a manner to a team two leagues above you and, without sounding like the Chris Hargreaves appreciation society, the United midfielder put in yet another fine performance and was rightly judged as Torquay's man of the match".

    The contenders for the BSP Player of the Month include ex-Alty man Lewis Chalmers in the shortlist:

  • Lewis Chalmers (Aldershot Town)- "Lewis was a key figure during the month which saw The Shots head to the top of the Blue Square Premier table. Lewis became Aldershot boss Gary Waddock's first signing back in the summer after nearly 100 appearances for Altrincham earlier in his career. He is also part of the in-form England non-league set up under Paul Fairclough".
  • Simeon Jackson (Rushden & Diamonds)
  • Simon Heslop (Halifax Town)
  • Chris Denham (Droylsden)
  • Craig Dobson (Stevenage Borough)

    The Droylsden Forum says that "The following players have now officially left the club - Andy Smith, Alex Gibson, Luke Pritchard, Andy Robertson".

    The BBC says that "Torquay boss Paul Buckle says his team will now set their sights on returning to League Two after their FA Cup exit. 'It's good that we have had that sort of examination. It will stand us in good stead for what's to come', he said after the 2-1 defeat by Brighton. 'It's a cliche to say we can now concentrate on getting promoted but that's what this season is all about'". Brighton boss Dean Wilkins said: 'They are a very good side. I can't see them playing in Blue Square next season'". 2 December 2007


  • Salisbury C. 0 Aldershot T. 4


    Above: Alty keep the ball out in the first half but, in the process, keeper Andrew Jones injured his hand.

    Alty Youth's good run continued with a 3-1 home win over Salford City this afternoon. Though the rain held off for most of the game, conditions were difficult with a heavy pitch and gusty wind. Despite losing keeper Andrew Jones at the interval, goals from Tom Bailey (2) and Charlie Weir saw them home. Report to follow.


    Left: The New Recruits: Darren Tinson, compere Brian Flynn, Sean Riley (hidden), Chris Lane (receiving a text from Gary Scott) and Chris Senior

    Altrincham FC held its annual "New Recruits" event on Saturday evening at which the guests were three of this season's new players; Chris Lane, Chris Senior and Darren Tinson, along with physio Sean Riley who has returned to the club after a spell away. Jake Sedgemore, who had been expected to attend as the fourth new player was unable to do so due to a work-related commitment. The evening was expertly compered by Brian Flynn as the customary M.C. for this event, Graham Heathcote was otherwise engaged. All of the new recruits came across as committed to the cause of Altrincham FC and determined to get us out of our current league predicament.

    Chris Lane revealed that outside football he works at a College on The Wirral, where he helps to rehabilitate youngsters with ASBOs and similar problems back into the community through sport. Chris Senior is following a masseur's course, recommended by former Alty striker and Manchester United masseur Rod Thornley. For his part, Darren is a chartered physio at an orthopedic hospital in Oswestry. How all of them fit time in to train and play football to such a high standard is a testimony to their dedication. Likewise, physio Sean Riley works at a private hospital in Lancaster as well as running a clinic at Myerscough College.

    Discussion ranged over such topics as the players' reasons for joining Altrincham, their views on the Ebbsfleet takeover, and the team's performance in the game that afternoon. Honest opinions were expressed about team and individual failings. Chris Lane felt that no opponents had "taken us to the cleaners this season" and Darren added that "We've undone ourselves, really". All were confident that the club could climb the table. Match officials were discussed, prompted by the "offside" goal against Altrincham in Saturday's game and video technology for key decisions was an innovation supported by all the panel except Chris Senior who thought it would spoil the flow of the game to stop it to await decisions. Chris had however set his own video to record Match of the Day as it was likely that his goal against Millwall would feature in "Goal of the Month"!

    Pre-match superstitions were another area discussed. Asked what lessons they had learned at previous clubs, Chris Senior said that the ability to make a cool reflection on games a day or two after they had been played was something he learned at Halifax, whilst Chris Lane praised the personalised training plans used at Southport. For Sean Riley, post-match cool-down procedures were something he wished to get introduced consistently at Alty. Darren Tinson stressed the need to focus on one's own team's ability and not to allow yourself to be overawed by the reputation of opponents.

    After a brief interruption when Gary Scott texted Chris Lane to tell him that if the New Recruits panel members were asked "Who was the best player they had ever played with", the answer they should give would be "Scotty", there was an auction of some tickets for the Manchester United game this Saturday when Alty have no match. Diehard Manchester City man and Alty Director, Andrew Shaw (right) was the man who won this auction, claiming that the tickets were not for himself but for relatives, though few believed him! The auction of photos of the New Recruits was won by Grahame Rowley. Winner of the raffle was Lisa Jones, whose excellent DVD Part-Time & Proud of It: the Altrincham FC Story" has just been released and can be bought in the Club shop for just £7.50. It can not go unrecorded that the winner of one of the minor raffle prizes, a box of after-shave lotion, was none other than our Youth Team manager, licensee, matchday secretary and bingo-caller, George Heslop, a man who has always had the aroma of greatness about him.

    Many thanks are due to all those who organised the event and provided the event and especially the excellent chicken dinner, cooked by Karen Rowley, whilst Sarah, Dan and Mike proved themselves very efficient waiters.


    There is now a report on the defeat by Histon, here.


    Stafford Rangers' manager Phil Roninson has left the club by mutual consent after five years in charge. More on this to follow.
    1 December 2007


    Right: Chris Lane scored his first goal for Alty today; here he is seen against Histon with Robbie Lawton, Jake Sedgemore and Warren Peyton in the background.

    A controversial linesman's decision gave Histon their first goal and then, after Alty had got themsleves level with a well-struck shot from Chris Lane, home substitute Carlos Logan gifted the Cambridgeshire side the winner when he made a good interception but sloppily played the ball back towards his own goal where Wright latched onto it and rounded goalkeeper Coburn to score. The visitors went ahead in the 33rd minute when linesman Akers flag stayed down with Wright looking well offside on the Histon right. His cross found an unmarked Akurang, who headed past Coburn. Alty managed to raise their game as the second half developed and Chris Lane thumped an equaliser home from right of goal after a good surge forward by Lawton and a nice lay-off from Little (60 mins). But just as Alty looked the more likely winners, Logan's lack of concentration saw him play an aimless ball back towards his own goal and Wright went on to score with 15 minutes left. Ada's chest past his own keeper was the nearest to an Alty equaliser. In a game which never set the pulse racing, the visitors' solid defence, efficient teamwork and an, at times, physical approach saw them emerge with the three points. Report to follow

  • Alty player stats
  • Alty line-ups

    BSP Fixtures:

    Saturday 1 December

  • Altrincham 1 Histon 2
  • Stafford R. 0 Northwich V. 0
  • York C. 1 Crawley T. 1
  • Through The Years from Howard Watts.

    FA Cup 2

  • Oxford U. 0 Southend U. 0
  • Swindon T. 3 Forest Green R. 2
  • Cambridge U. 1 Weymouth 0
  • Torquay U. 0 Brighton & Hove A. 2
  • Dagenham & R. 3 Kidderminster H. 1
  • Bristol R.. 5 Rushden & D. 1
  • Burton A. 1 Barnet 1
  • Bury 1 Exeter C. 0


    Right : Lance Key, who kept goal for Alty in 2000, is now the Histon goalkeeping coach and sub-keeper. He is seen here at Histon in the game against Alty earlier this season.

    Altrincham expect to have Ryan Shotton back from injury for today's game. The on-loan Stoke City defender has missed the last two games with a calf strain. Val Owen and Colin Potts remain out of contention due to injury. Alty boss Graham Heathcote told the Manchester Evening News, "Histon are a powerful side who play to their strengths. This is going to be another major test for us but the chance to climb out of the relegation places provides us with a tremendous incentive" as Farsley are without a game today.

    News from Histon is in the Cambridge Evening News which says that "Tough-tackling John Kennedy has been rewarded for a series of sparkling displays by being named the Stutes' News Player of the Month. The Histon midfield general was the best performer on the park in three of Histon's four games in November, with his most accomplished display coming in the FA Cup defeat at Notts County.. The 29 year old excelled as he covered every blade of grass and won numerous challenges at Meadow Lane in the first-round tie. And Kennedy shone as Histon defeated Altrincham 1-0 in the Blue Square Premier at the Glass World Stadium, as well as being at his battling best in the 3-1 defeat at Forest Green. Captain Adie Cambridge ran his midfield partner close for the monthly accolade and left-back Gareth Gwillim was also in the hunt after a series of solid displays".

    Meanwhile, "Strikers make their living being selfish. A team-mate may be in acres of space and the angle might be against them, but a clinical striker will shoot for goal and risk incurring the wrath of their colleagues in the hope of adding to their tally... But Histon front man Cliff Akurang breaks the mould and his manager is keen for him to cast off his shackles and become a predator on the pitch. Stutes' boss Steve Fallon believes the former Dagenham & Redbridge target man, who has scored twice in his last nine appearances, needs to leave his care-free image in the dressing room. And the 26 year old has the perfect opportunity to rediscover his goalscoring touch when Histon travel north to perennial strugglers Altrincham tomorrow (Saturday). Fallon said: 'It's up to Cliff to start sorting himself out. He's a bit laid back and sometimes I think he should be a bit more ruthless. He's a very laid back person off the pitch and we want him to have more of an edge in his play. He missed a few chances against Exeter on Saturday, and it would be nice to have someone on double figures. We're a little bit worried about him not taking a high enough percentage of his chances, but we're happy with his overall play. The way we play means we make opportunities for lots of people and you don't want to rely on just one person to get you goals'. Fallon's men defeated Altrincham, who have been handed a reprieve from relegation in each of the last two seasons due to financial irregularities at Scarborough and Boston United, at the Glass World Stadium earlier this month thanks to Danny Wright's first-half strike.

    The young forward will be given another chance to partner Akurang in attack as Antonio Murray, who has been suffering from a virus all week, is likely to start on the bench. And two-goal hero Matt Langston, who earned Histon a 2-2 draw with the Grecians at the weekend, will continue alongside Mat Mitchel-King in defence, with Patrick Ada rested once more. Fallon said: 'I thought we played very well when we beat them a few weeks back, and if it's the same sort of game then we can pick up the three points. But they're fighters and they're used to scrapping in the relegation places, and they're in with a shout of getting out of it this season. Antonio's had a virus and we'll look to have him on the bench, and Matt came in and took his chance and that gives us more time to make sure Patrick's 100 per cent right when we bring him back in'. Histon (possible): Naisbitt, Pope, Langston, Mitchel-King, Gwillim, Okay, Cambridge, J Kennedy, Knight-Percival, Akurang, Wright".


    Altrincham supporter Denis Holmes sent the website an e-mail yesterday but I am unable to respond to his message. Would he please contact me again by e-mail? Many thanks.


    Today's referee for the match against Histon is Mr J. Collin, who previously this season oversaw the Alty v Burton goalless draw in October.


    Graham Rowley writes that "Our very own Marcus Hallows will be appearing at the Old Roebuck in Altrincham on Sunday 23rd December in the evening. He has asked me to let you all know and hopefully a bunch of the Alty faithful will come along and see him perform. It'll be nice to see Marcus back in town again - enjoy a pint and see him 'strut his stuff'. Pictured, right, Marcus sings to Graham Heathcote's mother at the concert he gave for Alty in 2004.

    Trafford's Metro News has some local football news which includes a picture of former Reserve Levi Kennedy, who is turning out for Old Trafford FC. The club play in the Premier Division of the Lancs & Cheshire League, having won the First Division title last season. Also in the news is another ex-Alty reserve, John Maloney, playing for local side Lisbon St Anthony's in the Cheshire FA Sunday Cup recently.

    NL Daily reports that "Blue Square Premier [I think not!] club Boston United are making plans to become full-time again next summer, but captain Paul Ellender is unsure as to where that will leave him. The Pilgrims' double relegation from League Two to the Blue Square North, and subsequent financial troubles saw them become semi-professional ahead of the current season. However, boss Tommy Taylor has revealed that they are hoping to go back to full-time again, leaving Ellender pleased for the club, but wary over his future. 'It would be a big step again becoming full-time, and it would be great for the club if they could afford it', he said. 'If we were to go that way you have to look at it and see what is going to be best for you. I'll only cross that bridge when I get to it and can only say I'll see what happens over the next year'", he told the Sports Echo.


    Many Altrincham fans will be saddened to hear of the death of supporter Dave Corrigan, whose funeral was yesterday. Dave had had a brain tumour but used to be a regular at the front of the stand with his young family and he will be sadly missed. The Club's sincere condolences go to Dave and his family. Dave's name will be added to the Roll of Honour to be recited at Altrincham's home game against Stevenage Borough on 29 December. If you know of any other Altrincham FC supporters who have died in 2007, please let the club know (928-1045) so that they can also be honoured in this way.


    Blue Square Football announces that "Cambridge United boss Jimmy Quinn has won the Blue Square Premier 'Manager of the Month' award for November. Quinn’s team achieved a 100% record for the month including notable victories away at Torquay and Burton. Cambridge also progressed to the second round of the FA Cup, by beating current Blue Square Premier leaders Aldershot. The award is judged by a panel of experts including Setanta Blue Square Premier pundit Paul Parker".


    Tonight's Meet the New Recruits event looks set to be a well-attended occasion. The "new recruits" in attendance will include Chris Lane, Darren Tinson, Chris Senior and Jake Sedgemore.


    Altrincham FC will again by hosting a New Year's Party, free to all supporters. Although entry is free, to ensure there are no gatecrashers, tickets must be obtained in advance, from the club offices at Moss Lane. All guests are asked to bring a dish of food to the event at which Alty matchday announcer Steve "Rafo" Raftery, will be the DJ. Tickets will be available from Monday 10th December. Please ring 928-1045 for any further details that you may need.

    Former Stafford man "Robin Gibson completed his month loan period with Nantwich Town from Droylsden and has now linked up with Blue Square North outfit Leigh RMI".

    A statement has been issued by Kidderminster Harriers, saying that "The club submitted detailed representations on the Constable matter to the FA this morning, which in the club's views clearly exonerates James from the alleged elbow. Whilst the FA disciplinary department has expressed sympathy with both the club and James' position, the FA has indicated that their rules preclude any further appeal or formal submitting of additional evidence and, therefore, that they cannot overturn the decision. The FA has recognised the club's concerns however, and have agreed to a meeting to discuss the matter. A formal written response is awaited from the FA. In light of the FA's inability to reverse the decision and the club's belief that a clear injustice has taken place, the club will consider its position once the formal written response has been received".

    The Northwich Guardian states that "Vics have avoided being kicked off their practice pitch after agreeing a deal with the council. Dino Maamria's men spent time training at other venues earlier this month after the club failed to pay the bill at Moss Farm. It is not known how much they owe. 'I will be recommending that Northwich Victoria's proposal for dealing with this issue is accepted', said Chris Bottomley, head of leisure at Vale Royal Borough Council, which co-manages the Northwich sports complex with Cheshire County Council. 'This will however be subject to the council's normal procedures and, as would be expected and proper, we will firstly confirm our final decision to the club'. The borough council are just one of the creditors claiming they are owed cash by the debt-ridden club but, after talks with a consortium led by Jim Rushe, the players have been back at Moss Farm in the past fortnight. 'We are aware of the club's need to resolve this issue as quickly as possible and will be dealing with it promptly', added Mr Bottomley. He discussed Vics' debt to the council with members of Moss Farm's Joint Management Committee on Monday. The Guardian was at that meeting but is banned from reporting the discussion under the terms of the Local Government Act 1972, which prevents information relating to the financial or business affairs of a particular person being made public".

    Just 48 hours after playing Altrincham, Torquay have rearranged another game as Farsley Celtic "have announced that the game against Torquay United, originally scheduled for this Saturday has now been arranged for Tuesday 11th December kick off 7.45pm".

    From the Daily Echo we hear that "Nick Holmes is hoping Tommy Widdrington's Salisbury City future will be settled once and for all by the early part of next week. Ex-Saint Widdrington, the Whites' influential player-coach, has been suspended by the club for disciplinary reasons since the squad returned home from their mid-season break to Valencia just over two weeks ago. Internal investigations have been ongoing ever since and Holmes confirmed yesterday: 'There's nothing more to add at the moment, but hopefully something will happen in the early part of next week and we can thrash something out. It's been a very frustrating time for me and I've hated every minute of the last two weeks. But I have to say that during all the aggravation, Barry Blankley (assistant manager) has been excellent along with our goalkeeping coach Ian Harris. They've both mucked in, doing bits and pieces - in fact Ian's done almost full-time coaching. We've not looked any further forward than that'".

    As the Gravesend Reporter curiously states, "Maybe Fleet need a Bobby Davro to boost attendances. There are certain things that specific people will always bang on about. Once my grandparents hit 70, it was usually which of their contemporaries had contracted any one of a number of particular ailments. Or former Margate manager Chris Kinnear would always blame defeats on 'being a small club', even if they'd just lost to Leigh RMI or Cobham Colts U12s. For Fleet fans...well me, anyway...there's a morbid fascination with attendances to the extent that I have to physically restrain myself from writing about them every week by stabbing myself in the eye with a pen. I'd hoped, what with MyFC soon to be haemorrhaging filthy great wads of cash into our pockets, that gate numbers would no longer be of concern, but Saturday's Stafford game proved otherwise. Far from the threatened swamping of our favoured terrace spots by eager new internet Fleet fans, the various predictions of a sell-out, a 2,000-plus crowd or even a modest, but hearty, 1,300 didn't come close to fruition. It is early days still and, with the due diligence process underway, MyFC doesn't even own the club yet, but Saturday's crowd - no more than perhaps 150 above average and still probably less than a similar fixture would have attracted three or so years ago - was highly disappointing. And it was frustrating on two fronts; firstly, from our 'new owners' and secondly, as usual, from the local population.

    This is not to belittle the efforts of those MyFC members who did make the journey - one of whom even 'popped over' from the States for the game. Any new fans we get are welcome if they pay their money the same as everyone else, regardless of their motivations or reasons for being there. But out of 24,000 (and I fully accept that many of these might live outside the country or too far away), you would have thought enough interest had been generated to boost the crowd that little bit more. More frustrating, however, is the disinterest from around the town. I can't help thinking that had this MyFC phenomenon happened to a lot of our fellow Blue Square clubs, they'd have recorded a far bigger attendance increase from among their own community. It's not like Gravesend features on CNN, various Chinese and Russian TV networks or above Fiona Bruce's head on the BBC News for anything else these days, is it?" [An Alty fan tells me from Germany that Ebbsfleet were, however, featured in this week's Frankfurt newspapers in Germany]. "Honestly, more people will turn out to see the likes of Bobby Davro or some second-rate Aussie soap star in pantomime this festive season! In the light of such indifference, is it any wonder the Fleet's board approached MyFC? For all the money being pumped into the club to help it grow on the field, it still has to grow in kind off it. The mantra for Fleet fans is the same as ever - 'Bring a mate, spread the word' - because to succeed, the enthusiasm and current media-friendly lure of the club must be maintained. And empty stadiums won't do a thing to help that'".

    Meanwhile, "The Fleet Trust have pledged their full backing to Ebbsfleet United's proposed (MyFC) takeover, believing that the consequences of any opposition could ultimately spell disaster for their club. MyFC announced earlier this month that they had reached an agreement in principle to purchase a controlling 51 per cent stake in the Stonebridge Road outfit - a move that was initially met with hostility by the Fleet's original fanbase. But, with the club's financial future looking bleak without any extra investment, the Trust voted to "unanimously support" the buyout by the 20,000-strong internet consortium during their annual general meeting last week. 'They voted unanimously that we would put a statement out backing the proposal because they felt that there was no alternative. That's the way most people feel at the moment', the Trust's chairwoman Jessica McQueen explained. 'Only time will tell as to whether this is a good thing for the football club or not. I've no crystal ball; I cannot tell whether it's going to work because it's never been tried before. But, there seems to me very little option. Jason Botley has come out in Saturday's programme to say that the football club is "unsustainable" as it is, so that must mean that they cannot keep running it in the way that they are on the money they are getting. Something has to be done one way or the other. 'We should be optimistic. It's a brand new venture and we've got to try and be there at the beginning'. This latest initiative though has seemingly marginalised the club's loyal supporters on their very doorstep in favour of fresh-faced fans who are dotted all around the world. However, McQueen insists the Fleet's faithful followers have a vital part to play in the coming months. 'Those hardcore fans are still needed, more than ever possibly, to remind everybody of the roots of the club. It's still got its roots and that's what people must not forget', she continued. MyFC are reputedly keen to have a recognisable figurehead to represent the fans' view installed on the board of directors and McQueen has been strongly touted as a potential candidate. Is she up for swapping the club shop for the boardroom? 'Whoever gets invited on, it's just a huge privilege to be invited onto the board of directors of the club that you love. Let's hope they can bring added value to it', she added.