ALTRINCHAM FC ARCHIVED NEWS for January, 2008

Altrincham FC Archived News
January, 2008

31 January 2008

RESULT


BSP:
  • ALTRINCHAM 2 Woking 2 .

    VITAL FORTNIGHT

    Graham Heathcote has told SAM that he "is confident his side won't wilt under the glare of the television cameras on Thursday. The Robins' vital clash against Woking is the first Moss Lane game to be screened live on Setanta Sports... Heathcote insists the only thing on his players' minds will be the three points on offer. 'I have no fears because the games on TV and neither should the players', said the Alty boss. 'Our focus will will be on getting the three points, it's as simple as that. We have 18 games left now. Eight of them are against top sides but the other 10 are games we should be looking to get something from. Thursday's game falls into that category, although we still have to be wary that they are a full time team. They don't score many but they don't concede many either so we will probably have to bide our time and take our chances when they come'. The visit of Woking kicks off a run of four games against opposition from the bottom half of the table, including clashes with fellow strugglers Droylsden and Farsley. And Heathcote knows it is a two-week spell that will go a long way to deciding their fate come the end of the season.

    He said: 'What's going to be key now is putting together three or four wins on the bounce. If we can do that it will change the picture dramatically. This current batch of games is the best chance we have to achieve that. "Our performance level has increased since New Year's Day but everyone is improving their team so they will all be thinking they have a good chance of staying up. There's an intriguing battle going on at the bottom of the table where you have a a group of mainly part-time teams battling it out to stay in this division. There's still 18 games left and that's a lot of football so anything can happen'".

    As for defeat at Cambridge, Graham said "It was a really difficult one to take because it was one of those games you know you should've got something out of. We stayed in the game right until the end and it loked like we'd got a point when we equalised late on... We didn't have the luck but you get those games throughout the season, we just need to come back from it".

    Amongst these league games, Alty will play their Cheshire Senior Cup semi-final against Vauxhall Motors at Moss Lane, next Tuesday (February 5th). The other semi-final is between Nantwich and Cammell Laird, which will be played on the same night, after being postponed last Tuesday.

    GET YOUR DVDs

    A DVD of the Altrincham v Liverpool match in the FA Cup in 1981 is now available for £8 from the club (928-1045) or via the E-Bay Shop (see banner above for link).

    ON THE CARDS, TONIGHT

    The away end should be sparsely populated tonight (Thursday) as Woking report that "Only a handful of Cards' fans will be able to travel to Moss Lane on Thursday night for this match, but don’t worry: it’s being televised on Setanta! So, head for the Cardinals’ Bar at Kingfield and settle down with a nice bottle or two of Cardinals’ Gold to watch the game in comfort! Altrincham are putting up their familiar fight against relegation and have just managed to edge out of the bottom four for the first time this season. Manager Graham Heathcote has been busy strengthening his part-time squad in the transfer window, so the Cards will have a tough battle on their hands if they are to maintain their good record against teams below them...

    Cards fans can see distinct signs that Frank Gray’s young side is on an upward path... In particular, the new front pairing of Jason Norville and the rejuvenated Marvin Morgan (who has scored in three games in succession) are looking lively... Back to the more mundane matter of Altrincham away (sorry, Robins fans)! With no injury worries and no suspensions, Frank can be expected to play the same side that began against Crawley Town on Saturday, although if he wanted to tighten things up a bit he could restore Adam Green to the starting line-up in place of Gez Sole. Tom Hutchinson and Bradley Quamina picked up their fifth yellow cards on Saturday but their one-match suspension won’t kick in until the Setanta Shield game at home against Forest Green Rovers next Monday evening... Alty’s prize asset, however, is striker Colin Little: without his goals in recent seasons the Robins would have been dead and buried... We have won all four games played against Altrincham since they were promoted"

    The Woking site quote manager Frank Gray on the decision to play Gez Sole rather than Adam Green against Crawley last Saturday 'I thought it went OK. For that particular game, at home, I wanted to increase our attacking options', he said... He confirmed that he had gone into the referee’s dressing room at half-time to ask him about a couple of decisions. He explained that this is perfectly normal and that it would have been open to Steve Evans to do the same rather than going on the pitch... Frank confirmed that there had been no further movement in the transfer window and said that he wasn't expecting anything to happen before it closed. There is good news on the injury front, with Matt Ruby passed fit to play and no one on the treatment table, so Frank has the full squad to choose from for tomorrow night’s trip to Altrincham. Frank is expecting it to be a tough encounter. 'Altrincham have had some better results recently and only lost narrowly at Cambridge', Frank said. 'We need to try to put them on the back foot'".

    FIXTURES

    Thursday 31st
    BSP:

  • ALTRINCHAM 2 Woking 2

    BSP NEWS

    According to This is Weymouth, "Weymouth owner Malcolm Curtis has warned fans that if the club is relegated from the Blue Square Premier this season there will not be a business left at the Wessex Stadium... The property developer admitted that is the main reason behind Jason Tindall's sacking and the instalment of new boss John Hollins MBE.. Curtis said: 'It was clear at Christmas that we were in for a bit of a slog in the league. And while we gave Jason Tindall every piece of support we also had to explore other avenues just in case, hoping we would not have to carry it forward. We have been down the bottom of the form table for the past two months and have claimed just one win and a draw in our last ten league games. If we carry on that way then we will not be playing football in this league and will not have a business. I have got a responsibility to the staff, the players and the community to make sure that does not happen. But it has been a very difficult decision to make. Jason is a lovely lad and he came into the job under difficult circumstances but in the end time was ticking too fast before he could start putting results together... It takes time to bring the right man in. I believe he is here now'... Hollins said: 'Wherever I have been I like to solve problems and I enjoy a challenge. Three or four of the clubs I have gone into have been in difficult positions and here it is up to me to try and get these players more enthusiastic, more driven, and believing they can get out of the position we are in... There is a great opportunity here to move things up and I would like to think I have the experience and qualities to do that... When asked whether he has any new players lined up, Hollins added: 'We are only a couple of days off the deadline and I have only just got my feet under the table but I am trying to assess things as quickly as I can'... Hollins refused to reveal the length of the contract he has signed... He said: 'That is my business really. I am here to do a job to develop a football club'... Curtis revealed the playing budget Hollins has to work with will remain the same but will be reviewed again at the end of the season"

    The BBC says that "Brighton have signed their second new striker during the January transfer window by bringing in Aldershot striker Jonny Dixon for £56,000. The 24-year-old ex-Wycombe Wanderers front man will sign a two-and-a-half year deal, subject to a medical... Aldershot manager Gary Waddock... told BBC Southern Counties Radio: 'Of course it's a blow. We've lost a talented player. It gives a chance to someone else either inside the club or outside'. Waddock has also ended all speculation about a move for Woking defender Tom Hutchinson, admitting: ''ve got no interest in him, good player as he is'. As for the loss of Dixon, Aldershot chairman John McGinty says the club win on two fronts. 'His contract would have ended in June, and he could have walked away', said McGinty. 'And it's unfair to block the lad's progress to League One'. Waddock also confirmed that funds from the deal will be made available if required. 'Time is against us a bit', he said. 'But I don't blame Brighton for that. Danny Hilton has put himself in the frame, and we've still got leading scorer John Grant'".

    However, "Gillingham boss Mark Stimson insists he will not increase his offer for Rushden & Diamonds' striker Simeon Jackson. The Gills have already put in a bid for the 20-year-old, who has scored 18 goals this season. Stimson said: 'We keep getting calls that they want more money but we haven't got any more money'. Stimson has told BBC Radio Kent he wants to sign two new strikers before Thursday night's transfer deadline... 'They are probably thinking that if we lose another game we'll go mad and offer that little bit more', said Stimson. 'But we can't. We've got a budget to play with and I've always said it's no good shopping in Harrods if you've got Asda money and that's what we have'. Meanwhile Stimson has also quashed rumours that he wants to bring striker Steve Morison to Priestfield from his former club Stevenage Borough. Stimson has already signed four of his old players from Stevenage - Adam Miller, John Nutter and this week's two latest additions, Barry Fuller and Stuart Lewis".

    "Doncaster Rovers have recruited Lee Butler from Halifax Town as their new goalkeeping coach" according to the BBC.

    Blue Square Football says that "Dorchester Town have completed the signing of goalkeeper Martin Horsell and Salisbury midfielder Danny Clay".

    York City "striker, Paul Brayson, and midfielder, Chas Wrigley, have been released from their contracts by mutual consent and will be leaving the Club. Paul and Chas were not set to be part of Colin Walker’s plans moving forward".

    At Torquay United "Chief Executive Colin Lee is pleased to announce that Danny Stevens has signed a new two and a half year contract with the club".

    Leaving Stafford Rangers is "midfielder Steve Hopkinson who has joined Unibond League side Leek Town on loan".

    This is Exeter reports that "The Grecians announced yesterday that - after more than a year of investigation by commercial property consultants Drivers Jonas - they are looking to stay at their historic home for the foreseeable future. The initial report Drivers Jonas produced recommended that a ground-share with Exeter Chiefs or building a new stadium in Pinhoe would both be preferable to staying at the Park. But the club and the consultants have since carried out additional research that City's commercial director Paul Morrish thinks proves that they should stay put". On the pitch "Paul Tisdale showered praise on his Exeter City players after they became the first side to win at Cambridge United's Abbey Stadium this season".

    According to the Northwich Guardian, "Former Vics' forward Paul Brayson is a free agent after York City released him from his contract today, Wednesday. The Guardian has learned that the Geordie striker would love a return to Northwich, for whom he netted 18 times last term, if he was asked. And, with Lee Steele struggling for fitness and Lucas Akins due to return to Huddersfield Town shortly, Dino Maamria may just be in the market for another front runner. The 30-year-old has no shortage of suitors, including Blyth Spartans and Gateshead, but they can't offer him top flight non-league football. Indeed he is believed to have turned down a loan move to Gateshead in the past week. 'Paul was not set to be part of manager Colin Walker's plans moving forward and has therefore been released... City boss Walker told the York Press: 'He wants to play first-team football. He does not want to be sat on the bench or playing in the reserves, so hopefully he can get a new club'".

    Heading out of Northwich is Paul Tait who "has severed ties with Northwich Victoria. The 33-year-old striker agreed to cancel his contract at the Marston's Arena [on] Monday. He has not joined another club. 'I'm glad it's finally sorted', Vics' boss Dino Maamria told the Guardian. 'It's been dragging on for a long time, too long in fact'... Tait was transfer listed along with Kevin Townson and Chris Williams following a row with Maamria after Vics' FA Cup defeat at Oxford in November. He has stayed away from the club at Maamria's request since... Bizarrely he remains the team's top scorer so far this season with five goals".

    This is South devon believes that "Torquay United will try to persuade Southampton to let them keep on-loan goalkeeper Michael Poke. But Gulls' boss Paul Buckle is worried that Saints' managerial situation could complicate matters... Poke appears to be third-choice at St. Mary's, behind Kelvin Davis and Bartosz Bialkowski. But Saints recently lost manager George Burley, who agreed to Poke's initial one-month loan at Plainmoor, to the Scotland job... 'I don't think it's a surprise that we'd like to keep him for longer', said Buckle. 'It's just our luck that the manager should change at Southampton at this moment. A new man may want to have a look at all the players first-hand'... Ideally, United may want to keep Poke, who has another 18 months left on his Saints contract, until the end of the season. But they would settle for extending the loan for a second month... Buckle is still chasing another signing before the January Transfer Window closes... There's a chance that United, who now have 22 players on their books, might let one out on loan".


    30 January 2008

    LOANS AND FITNESS

    The loans to Altrincham of Liam King and Tom Cahill from Rotherham United have both been extended to 1st March inclusive. However, Tom remains sidelined by injury for tomorrow's game. The other injury doubts are Darren Tinson and Greg Young who both limped off last Saturday. Greg is likely to be fit but Darren is reported to be "struggling" to be so.

    KIDS GO FREE

    SAM says that "Alty are hoping to bring a youthful look to Moss Lane on Thursday night. Under 14s are being given free admission to Thursday night's Blue Square Premier game against Woking, kick off 7.45pm. The club are hoping to attract a bumper crowd to Moss Lane despite the Thursday evening kick off, with the game being televised live on cable television channel Setanta Sports. It will be the first time Alty have welcomed the cameras to Moss Lane as part of the Blue Square Premier television deal signed last summer...To take advantage of the offer on Thursday, children under 14 simply need to pick up one of the free admission vouchers which will be handed out outside Moss Lane prior to kick off".

    ALTY FAN RETIRES

    On behalf of Altrincham FC, chairman Geoff Goodwin has sent his best wishes to Altrincham FC supporter, shareholder - and Australian cricketer - Adam Gilchrist on hs retirement from Test cricket. Geoff says, "Adam is a true gentleman who has time for everybody. He's also football mad and, hopefully, we can get him to Moss Lane again sometime in the future". Alty fans will remember that the entire Australian cricket squad watched a friendly against Bangor City at Moss Lane in 2005 and that Adam's team-mate Glenn McGrath captained a football team in a charity match at Moss Lane in 2007. Geoff's ties with the Aussies stem from his driving the England & Wales Cricket Board's team coach, from the Go Goodwins fleet for the tourists during their last visit to England.

    Tuesday's Daily Telegraph says of Adam that "Gilchrist is, quite simply, the most exciting batsman in world cricket". He holds the record for the fastest century in Ashes history - just 57 balls were needed for Adam to reach three figures at Perth in 2006. He is, as the paper states "the greatest wicketkeeper-batsman in the history of the game... perhaps only W.G. Grace himself has ever torn into opening attacks like him, right from the start". Adam will continue to play 20/20 cricket but once he fully retires, he knows that "Popeye" Goodwin and Altrincham FC will always give him a warm welcome if he comes down to Moss Lane.

    Meanwhile, Geoff's England Cricket Board coach was put to good use last weekend, taking Havant & Waterlooville from Hampshire to their match at Anfield against Liverpool.

    OLD BOY

    Bullsnews confirms that "Wrexham have lodged a five figure bid for Chester [and former Alty] winger Kevin Ellison (right). Chester have acknowledged the bid and will issue a response - a reaction that has caused concern amongst their fans. Ellison took some prising away from Tranmere last summer, and he is their current top scorer."

    RESULTS

    Monday 28th

  • Torquay U. 1 Histon 0

    Tuesday 29th
    BSP:

  • Aldershot T. 1 Oxford U. 0
  • Burton A. 2 Rushden & Diamonds 1
  • Cambridge U. 0 Exeter C. 1
  • League table
    FAT 2 replays:
  • Alfreton T. 0 Farsley C. 2
  • Halifax T. 4 Bishop's Stortford 1

    ALTERNATIVES

    Altrincham fans looking for a local game next Saturday might consider the following options:
  • Ashton U. v Marine - a game that could feature Steve Aspinall, Ben Deegan and Eddie Hussin.
  • Nantwich T. v Shepshed D.
  • Woodley v Clitheroe
  • Stalybridge C. v Nuneaton B.
  • Flixton v St Helens T.
  • Salford C. v Bacup

    BSP NEWS

    Whilst Altrincham FC, once again, at its forthcoming AGM will announce that the club has achieved a modest profit on its last year's trading, it is a very different picture at Cambridge United where, after their boardroom turmoil, the Cambridge Evening News reveals that the club is still budgeting for significant six-figure losses. The paper reports that "Norman Gautrey has unveiled his three-year masterplan to bring the good times back to Cambridge United. By 2011-12, the chief executive told shareholders at United's annual meeting last night that he wants to see the club playing in League One in their own ground with average crowds of more than 5,000. Gautrey's 10-point agenda for success includes:
  • Winning promotion to the Coca-Cola League by 2010.
  • Securing the freehold of the ground by 2010.
  • Gaining new stadium planning permission by 2012.
  • Landing a long-term investor by 2010.
  • Achieving a break-even financial position by 2010.
  • Developing three players per year from the youth team for the first team.
  • Forming a management team of local business people to actively promote the club and generate £100,000 this year.
  • Increasing commercial revenue from £140,000 to £350,000 a year by 2010.

    Gautrey said he felt all the targets on his business plan were realistic in the timescale he had set out. And he estimated United's net losses would drop from more than £541,000 last season down to between £300,000 and £350,000 by May this year as the club starts to get back on an even keel...He said: 'We're non-profitable and we've been short-term decision makers. Decisions have been made based on short-term cash needs and we've thrown money away as a result because we've always been desperate. We need to change that. It's not easy to do, but we've got to take a long-term decision, which is what this plan is about. We've all got to pull together and put behind us what happened last week and move onwards and upwards... By 2011-2012, my overall vision is for the club to be at the forefront of the community and regarded as a business that delivers unrivalled standards of performance on and off the field'. Meanwhile, business development director George Rolls said he was hopeful of finding a major firm to sponsor the Abbey. He said: "We've got a couple of offers on the table already that would potentially be very good for the club'".

    The BBC adds that "Cambridge United have appointed Philip Law as the new chairman of the Blue Square Premier club. Law replaces Lee Power who resigned from the position last week after being in the role since August 2006. 'It's not something I coveted. I a tremendous privilege and I'm massively delighted but it was completely unexpected', Law told the club website. Fans'-elected director Brian Attmore is named vice-chairman and director Jonny Hon has stepped down from the board'.

    From the BBC we hear that "Crawley Town defender Ronnie Bull has left the club after being told he is not part of their future plans. The 27-year-old joined in January 2007, making 44 appearances and scoring twice, but he has not started in their last two Blue Square Premier matches. Bull's departure means only two of manager Steve Evans' regular starting line-up were at the club before his appointment in May".

    "Forest Green have had a £15,000 bid for Crawley Town's 25-year-old captain Tyrone Thompson rejected. The midfielder, who joined the [Sussex] side in the summer from Halifax Town, has played 31 times this season, scoring two goals. Crawley manager Steve Evans confirmed that he had spoken to Forest Green boss Jim Harvey on Tuesday morning. 'It did not meet my valuation, I cannot speculate if the offer will be increased', he told his club's website. 'I told Tyrone this morning of the offer and that it had been refused. He told me he wants to stay and be a part of what we are trying to achieve'" states the BBC.

    The Terras confirm that "The Board of Weymouth Football Club is delighted to announce the appointment of John Hollins, MBE, as the Manager of Weymouth Football Club... Chairman, Malcolm Curtis, said: 'After speaking to numerous candidates [though news of Jason Tindall's sacking only emerged 24 hours earlier] , John was absolutely our first-choice for the post. His appointment is tremendous in every way for the club - not only does he bring us experience, professionalism and a passion for the game, but he's also a great ambassador, not only for our club, but the game as a whole. Myself and the Board were well aware that there was a lot of other interest in John'... John Hollins said: 'I've been patiently waiting for the right job and the chance to take over at Weymouth was too tempting a challenge for me to turn down'".

    NL Daily says that "Forest Green Rovers has announced that striker Mark Beesley has moved to promotion rivals Cambridge United for an undisclosed fee allied to further conditional agreements, one of which means he is not eligible to play against Rovers for the rest of this season. The transfer, which went through in the space of an hour, means that he will be available to play against Exeter City on Tuesday evening, the second time he will have faced the Grecians in 72 hours. Manager Jim Harvey had thwarted several attempts from Jimmy Quinn, to keep the 27-year-old at the New Lawn but an offer which will see him tied to the Abbey Stadium until 2010, was destined to go through when the player made it known that he wished to take up this opportunity at this stage in his career. Beesley was part of the country’s most prolific striking duo, when alongside Stuart Fleeetwood, who himself only last week turned down a £200,000 move to Crewe Alexandra. They had bagged a staggering total of forty-three goals between them this season".

    Meanwhile, "Jim Harvey, manager of Rovers, is weighing up a move for former Bristol City and Bournemouth left back Callum Hart. The 22-year-old is a free agent after being released by Rovers' league rivals Weymouth.. Harvey is also hoping to secure Swindon Town defender Chris Blackburn on loan and could look to bring in temporary goalkeeping cover after Ryan Robinson sustained a back injury at the weekend. Harvey said: 'If we want to be ambitious and push hard for the play-offs then perhaps we need another one or two players, but we'll see what happens this week. I've got my mind on quite a few but trying to get them in could be another problem. I'm fairly confident with the squad that we have, who've done extremely well and are still very much in the hunt, but if we were to add something then it could well give us a fresh impetus. I'll talk to the board and we'll see how we can get on'" reports This is Glos.

    "Much-travelled Jefferson Louis has probably played his last game for Maidenhead United" according to NL Daily. He expects to sign for Football League strugglers Mansfield Town, where he has been on trial... Louis started his career with Thame United and then had spells with Chesham United, Forest Green Rovers, Woking, Oxford United and Stevenage Borough... Louis spent the opening part of the 2006/07 season with Eastleigh but... he then had a spell with Weymouth that ended at the beginning of January when the Terras` former boss Jason Tindall vowed Louis would never play for them whilst he was in charge".

    "Cambridge Unitedhave received a bid for leading scorer Scott Rendell from an unnamed Football League club. The offer was rejected by the Board of Directors. Scott, 21, joined the club on a free transfer from Crawley Town last summer and has scored 17 goals in the Blue Square Premier and 22 in all competitions so far this season". However, This is Staffs says that "Cambridge United have scotched rumours linking leading scorer Scott Rendell with Crewe. New Us' chairman Phil Law has revealed a bid tabled for 20-goal Rendell, which he rejected yesterday, was from League Two Rochdale",

    "Exeter City Football Club are delighted to announce that midfielder Liam Sercombe has signed a two-year extension to his current contract".

    Grays Athletic "have announced that John Yems has left the club by mutual consent, Chairman, Mick Woodward, would like to thank John for stepping into the Head Coach position and for all the time and effort he has given during his time with the club". Yems was previously caretaker at Craw;ey Town.


    29 January 2008

    KIDS GO FREE

    All under-14s will be admitted free to this Thursday's match at Moss Lane against Woking, k.o. 7.45pm. To obtain free entry please obtain a free pass from the distributors who will be near the juniors' turnstiles.

    DINE IN STYLE AT MOSS LANE

    Because of the move of Saturday's game against Woking to this Thursday (31st) to allow it to be televised, the normal Sponsors' Lounge arrangements at Moss Lane have had to be shelved. As a result there is a ONE-OFF offer to supporters to dine in the Gill Oates Lounge at Moss Lane before the game on Thursday for just £10. If you wish to take advantage of this bargain offer, please contact the club before noon on Wednesday (30th). Food will be served on Thursday from 6.30pm and smart casual wear is the only requirement on diners who wish to take up the offer. To book your place, please ring the club on 928-1045 or book by e-mail.

    THURSDAY'S REF

    Mr C L Pawson is the referee for Thursday's game at Moss Lane against Woking. He has previously officated for Altrincham games on several occasions, including:
  • Altrincham 3 Droylsden 2 on Saturday, 22 September, 2007
  • Altrincham 2 Rushden & D. 1 on Saturday, 6 January, 2007
  • Altrincham 1 Exeter C. 4 on Saturday, 11 August, 2007
  • Altrincham 2 Tamworth 0 on Saturday, 23 September 2006
  • Bradford PA 1 Altrincham 1 on Saturday, 22 November, 2003

    And for Alty's record on this date:

  • Through the Years from Howard Watts for January 31st, which reminds us that Thursday is the anniversary of Alty's FA Trophy win at Weymouth in 2004.

    AWAY SUPPORT

    Altrincham face two long trips to Devon (Torquay and Exeter) in a five -day period in February. STAR Travel Coordinator Tom Jacobs writes on the Alty Fans' Forum- "For the away game to Torquay on a bleak Tuesday in February we are hoping to run a coach. I am coming here with a plea to all supporters who are going to Torquay to try and travel on the supporters' coach.

    The aim of the supporters' coaches is to get as many fans as possible to games and break even at the end of the season. It is not possible for it to lose money and this money would have to be found from somewhere and the travel club must be self sufficient. In terms of our home support our away support is amongst the best in the league on a percentage basis and is very much appreciated by the players and management. This was evident at Cambridge when players and fans alike applauded each other to a man (or woman!) after our battling performance.

    We currently have 15 people on the coach and this is a tremendous number to start off with as it is a ridiculous journey (496 mile round trip) for a Tuesday evening. This same 15 and more will then spend another large sum of money getting to Exeter on the Saturday. If we manage to run the coach then Geoff Goodwin has kindly offered to reduce the price by £100 which is a start. So firstly we need people to travel with us....

    If anyone would like to travel on the coach the travel details are here. The current price is £35 this may increase or decrease by a few pounds, dependent on numbers.

    I believe that the people travelling down are representing the club as well as the fans who can't make it and should be applauded and helped to do so if they can show such commitment. Many of the fans booked on the coach do not have alternative ways to get there and some could miss their first game in years if no coach runs. With this in mind, STAR would like to ask if anyone would consider making a donation towards the cost of the coach to ensure it can run. Maybe the entrance fee you would have spent if you had gone or any amount would be a help. We appreciate that this is an unusual request but there is no harm in asking.

    If you can help, you can pass your pledge your money on the Forum or by private message and I'll arrange to collect it from you or tell you where to send it".

    NEXT OPPONENTS

    Our opponents this Thursday, Woking held a "very successful and positive fans’ forum at Kingfield last Thursday evening... There must have been getting on for 100 fans present and there was a really good turn-out too from the Directors and Club officials...The panel comprised David Taylor (Chairman, DT), Colin Lippiatt (Football Technical Director, CL), Jon Davies (Communications Director, JD), Frank Gray (Manager, FG) and Jay Gasson (defender)". Points raised included the view that the Cards "didn’t score enough goals" but were "very strong defensively". It was confirmed that "Torquay [had] bid for Marvin Morgan" and that "going to 4-4-2 has made a difference". Already the "same playing budget [has been] agreed by Chris Ingram for next season". The management believes that Woking players are in the "top three fitness-wise in league". Club Chairman, David Taylor confirmed that as regards Kingfield, "The Club now is in negotiations with the preferred developer.... planning approval would be expected in the autumn of this year. Ground clearance could then start at the beginning of 2009 with the new stand and all its facilities being available towards the end of 2009". Woking say that their "Club (unlike some others!) is run completely above board". Commercial plans, which already incllude their own-brand beer may be developed "to market [the] idea of bottles showing club players’ portraits". It was also revealed that Woking "don’t carry out medicals at this level; insurance against injury would be too expensive". The Cards also believe that "reserve leagues not strong enough to make it worth having a reserve side, problem of players who reach end of Academy, plan to farm them out to other sides to gain experience, need to continue ‘conveyor belt’, planning Girls’ Academy, Woking Ladies now integral part of Club".

    In their most recent game "the Cards turned in a lively and committed performance against a skilful Crawley side... The display confirmed recent signs that this Woking side is improving as Frank Gray’s young charges gain confidence and experience at this level. The only change from the line-up at Weymouth a week before was that Giuseppe Sole started on the left of midfield in place of Adam Green. Matt Gray kept the right-back slot but was given a torrid time by the pacy, tricky Mustapha Carayol... The Morgan/Norville partnership up front continues to look promising – the rejuvenated Marvin had an outstanding second half in particular – and the central defensive pairing of the immaculate Tom Hutchinson and Jay Gasson looks as good as any in this league. Gez Sole worked hard and gave us more of an attacking edge, although Goma Lambu’s impact was blunted by his defensive duties: we could still do with a specialist right back!".

    It does not sound as if Woking are expecting many of their fans to travel to Altrincham on Thursday as the club reminds its fans, "Don’t forget to head down to Kingfield on Thursday evening for the televised Altrincham v Woking game. The Cardinals’ Bar opens at 7pm, with kick-off at 7.45pm. Draught Stella and draught Guinness at £2 a pint!".

    THE TWO GRAHAMS

    On the BBC site is an interview with Alty's new assistant manager, Graham Barrow. "The last time Graham Barrow was at Altrincham, he was a non-league national champion. Now, almost 30 years on, he is back at Moss Lane with his focus at the other end of the table. Much has changed in the intervening period, but Barrow is delighted to be working again with a club that were champions of what was then called the Alliance Premier League - now the Blue Square Premier - in 1980 and 1981. He told BBC Sport: 'I thought we were going to get into the Football League but at the time it was the voting system. The first time we lost to Rochdale by one vote, and the next time we were miles away. I then got the chance to go to Wigan but this is still a good club in every sense and this is an opportunity to help give it a lift'.

    Right: Standing in front of an appropriate hoarding before the recent York City game, Graham Barrow oversees the pre-match warm-up.

    Barrow was 27 when he forced his way into League football, but he still found time to play over 500 games for Wigan and then Chester City as an effective and popular midfield man. His later games came in a player-manager's role at Chester and Barrow also went on to manage Wigan, Rochdale, Chester again, and Bury with a promotion and a Conference League Cup punctuating the hard toil of the north-west's less-heralded managerial circuit... After a spell of scouting he was the man former Altrincham team-mate Graham Heathcote called to help him try and win the Robins' latest relegation battle. 'We weren't bosom buddies but we played in the same team and we have kept in touch. I have worked around this area and we have always been on the phone', said Barrow... 'Graham has had to carry this club for the last few years. and through his work it is on a sound financial base. I was happy to help him... You miss that more than anything, the training ground and particularly the dressing room. That nervous feeling you get on a Saturday morning, whether you are a manager, assistant manager, coach or player. You get a real kick out of it'.

    Barrow's arrival coincided with an improvement in results which has seen Altrincham climb out of the bottom four, although he is taking none of the credit. 'It's not down to me. He (Heathcote) did something about it and got some players in to shake up the dressing room a bit', he said. 'I help him on the training ground and my role is to talk straight with him in the office and then when we walk out be 100% behind him....If we carry on with our recent progress we might do better than that but we don't want to be greedy. Looking at the fixtures, February could be a big month for us'... added Barrow, who will be helping prepare Altrincham to play both Droylsden and Farsley in the space of four potentially vital days...

    When you look at it now, it (the Blue Square Premier) is so close to the Football League. Certainly the top half would hold its own in the Football League, there are that many ex-League players in it', he said. '"The biggest thing is that we are part-time playing against full-time teams and I would be a liar if I said that sometimes it doesn't show. But everything else the club does is as good as any League club in the country and we are trying to bridge the gap. The main aim this year is to stay up, and then who knows?'".

    ALTERNATIVE CAREER

    As well as being Alty manager Graham Heathcote is also an accomplished compere as he has shown at many of the Club's social events. And now he is helping out at our nieghbours, Trafford FC, where he is a Vice-President. Trafford have announced that "On Friday 1st February 2008 we have the next in our long line of Sportsmen's Evenings when Leeds United Assistant Manager Dave Bassett is our guest speaker along with comedian Mickey Newsome, and the Dinner will be compered by manager of Altrincham FC Graham Heathcote. The Dinner is to be held at the Chef Peking Restaurant in Urmston. Tickets are £30 please contact David Law on 07787 524587".

    STAYING POSITIVE

    Last Saturday, "Altrincham manager Graham Heathcote" according to Cambridge United's website "changed his formation to combat United's 3-5-2 system and his goalkeeper Stuart Coburn kept the U's at bay almost single-handedly for most of the game, making a string of vital saves, and he felt they were unlucky not to get a point from the game. 'I thought the lads had done enough to get something out of this game over the 90 minutes', he said afterwards. 'Our keeper has made some good saves but so has Danny Potter, as well as us hitting the underside of the bar. So although we've lost, we've got to take the positives. We came and tried to be positive, to take the game to Cambridge and be organised, and from what I've seen today and recent results we are on the right lines. If we can perform consistently, like we are doing at the moment, against Kidderminster, York and again today we'll give ourselves a chance to get out of the situation we find ourselves in. My lads have worked very hard and I find myself sorry for them today. This is a tough place to come and we've done ourselves credit, but it's one of those games where you think you've done well but thanks to a shot that took two deflections we leave with nothing. But that's the way it goes when you are at the bottom and hopefully as we've had nothing like that go for us so far this season it may change in our favour in the remaining games. We also lost two centre halves during the game and that hasn't helped people, but at the end of the day Cambridge have won and congratulations on that, but we can take a lot of positives out of our performances and just keep trying to move forward. Our fans will travel home knowing that the players have given their all and that's all I ask. It's possible to be proud in defeat and we are that today. The last four or five games we haven't looked like a side in the bottom four but it's the early season form that has put us in the position. It's now about being positive. We find ourselves in a mini-league of about six teams and our task is to finish at the top of it and if we do that we'll be safe... I don't look at the top of the table - I've got a lot on my plate in our position. But saying that, York's current run and what I saw from them in our 2-2 draw makes them a very dark horse that will need to be avoided if they slip into the play-offs".

    And Cambridge United explain how they brought in new faces to the Abbey Stadium. "The curtain is coming down on the Happy New Year Promotion Fund. The initiative has been a great success, raising just over £20,000. This figure has been matched by the Board and allowed the Manager the luxury of a £41,000 investment in new players. It should be explained that this sum has to include items such as transfer fees, relocation costs and the extra wage bill. Had the fund not raised this amount, we would not be watching the likes of Wayne Hatswell, Paul Carden, Lee McEvilly and Ben Farrell. Each of these players has already shown their worth and the expectation is that they will play a big part in the promotion push. Jimmy Quinn commented, 'It is fantastic that the fans have shown their commitment to the Club and raised such a lot of money. It is a great endorsement of the playing squad and my management team and I am sure the new lads will make a difference'. The donations have ranged from four-figure sums to small change. Junior U's, some as young as four, have given pocket money, whilst their mums and dads have all dug deep. Every penny collected will be put to good use.

    The Gaffer continued, 'There are no easy games and you need strength in depth. You cannot expect the same eleven to produce the goods week in, week out'. Fans' Elected Director, Brian Attmore... is delighted with the outcome...'We have seen the quality of Paul Carden and in Ben Farrell we have acquired a young man with huge potential',he said. 'Lee McEvilly is a strong player... and in Wayne Hatswell we have a proven defender'".

    BSP NEWS

    This is Weymouth claims that "Weymouth have sacked manager Jason Tindall and are set to name former Chelsea legend [and ex-Crawley boss] John Hollins as the Terras' new boss. The club say they have no comment to make at this stage but an announcement is expected".

    The BBC says that "Teenage Crawley defender Jamie Stevens has been handed a three-day trial by Ipswich. The 18-year-old only joined the Reds in the summer after leaving relegated Boston United to link up again with his former manager Steve Evans. Crawley have described interest in Stevens during this month's transfer window as 'intense'".

    "Striker Marvin Robinson has left Oxford United by mutual consent. The 27-year-old joined Oxford last season from Macclesfield but was hampered by injury and went on loan to Cambridge United in September 2007. Robinson was involved in a car accident in October 2007 and is still recovering from the injuries he sustained. Oxford boss Darren Patterson said: 'We are sorry for what has happened to Marvin. We hope he recovers and is able to resume his career'. Robinson scored three goals in 30 appearances for United but he started just 12 games".

    The exodus from Stevenage to Kent continues as "Gillingham have completed the signings of defender Barry Fuller, 23, and midfielder Stuart Lewis, 20, from Stevenage Borough for undisclosed fees. The pair have signed deals that take them to the end of the 2010 season. 'Both are good players and will enhance our playing squad', said Gills [and ex-Boro] boss Mark Stimson".

    Arriving at Broadhall Way is "20 year old Sammy Moore from championship side Ipswich Town... The energetic midfielder was given a professional contract by Ipswich after being released by Chelsea and was a member of their FA Youth cup winning side. He has appeared on loan for Brentford this season and has chosen Boro even though Ipswich had interest from 2 league clubs. Phil Wallace said 'Peter didn't hang around replacing Stuart Lewis. Sammy is a very similar player... I think the fans will love his energy, determination and commitment and we're looking forward to seeing him in a Boro shirt". he told the Stevenage Borough site.

    According to This is York "City captain Manny Panther will not be leaving the club before the transfer window closes on Thursday. The Press understands that a clutch of Blue Square Premier promotion contenders are interested in securing the 23-year-old midfielder's services... Panther will be out of contract this summer and free to leave KitKat Crescent under the Bosman ruling, but he has no plans to jump ship at this moment in time. He told the Press: 'I definitely know I will be here this time next week. I've not heard of any interest myself and I am happy at York. I want to win something for the club and I'm not going to walk away when things are going so well. The longer our run goes on, the better and the happier I am'". But "York City striker Chris Beardsley has signed for Blue Square North leaders Kettering Town. Beardsley has signed a permanent deal with Kettering after a successful one-month loan spell. Although the striker has moved on a free transfer, City have secured a sell-on clause. Meanwhile, goalkeeper Josh Mimms has signed for City until the end of the season and striker Alex Rhodes has joined Whitby Town on loan".

    The Cambridge Evening News claims that "Robbie Nightingale has decided to stay and fight for his place at Histon after rejecting a loan move to Nuneaton Borough... Erkan Okay is now manager Steve Fallon's first choice on the right wing and Nightingale has had to be happy with a place on the bench and reserve-team football... Fallon said: 'Nuneaton have enquired about taking Robbie on loan, but he feels he's close to getting into our side and he wants to be part of this club'... Meanwhile, goalkeeper Mark Osborn has turned his loan spell at Halesowen into a permanent deal. The shot-stopper, who arrived at the Glass World from Kettering in the summer, lost his place to Danny Naisbitt at the end of September and has not featured since".


    28 January 2008

    ANOTHER BSP MANAGER GOES

    "Weymouth manager Jason Tindall has been sacked after just one year in the job, reports BBC Radio Solent. "The Terras lost 3-2 at Rushden and Diamonds on Saturday, and lie 19th in the Blue Square Premier table, five points off the relegation zone. Tindall became player-manager in January 2007, guiding the club to a mid-table finish last term. However, this season the Dorset club have struggled, recording just three home wins. The club will release a statement later on Monday".

    REPORTS

    Alty lost 2-1 at Cambridge United on Saturday.

    Match report here.

    Alty Youth drew 2-2 on Sunday against Daisy Hill

    Match report here.

    BOOK YOUR SEAT NOW!

    Altrincham are playing away at Torquay United on Tuesday 26th February at 7.45pm. STAR is planning to run a supporters' coach to this match but would be very grateful for early indications of the numbers wishing to use the service. Remember that the coach will get you there and back, in comfort, for early Wednesday morning whereas public transport probably will require an overnight stay with the cost and time that that entails. And to drive to Torquay and back in your own car hardly bears thinking about unless you want to take a couple of days off work. Tom Jacobs, the STAR Travel Coordinator is hopeful that sufficient numbers will wish to travel and has provisionally indicated a return price of £35 for the trip. So if you would like to come and watch the resurgent Altrincham team at a new venue, Torquay's Plainmoor Stadium, and to travel in the friendly company of like-minded supporters, just ring 928-1045 as soon as possible. The coach will leave The Vine at 12.30pm, The Hare and Hounds at 12.40pm, Station House at 12.45pm and Moss Lane at 12.50pm.

    NEIL'S JOBS

    Most of the staff at Altrincham FC, including the players, have more than one job. One such man, who has three varied occupations is Neil Brown (right), the former Altrincham FC reserves manager. Not only is Neil still the groundsman at Moss Lane, where he is currently planning his latest mowing design for the Setanta TV cameras who are covering Alty's game with Woking this Thursday, but he is also a coach driver for his cousin and Alty chairman Geoff Goodwin, and the manager of Vodkat NW Counties club Abbey Hey FC! Neil celebrated his first win as manager of the Gorton (Manchester) side on Saturday, a result which lifted them level with two other clubs at the bottom of that league. The NW Counties football league has a feature on Neil which includes the following...

    "New Abbey Hey boss Neil Brown... took over in early December... 'In the three years before this season, I was Altrincham’s reserve team manager', he explained. 'Pre season I went to Leek Town in the Unibond Premier League as assistant to Paul Ogden. He took ill during one of the games, so I stepped into the breach and took over as manager. However, there were various things going on behind the scenes that I wasn’t happy with, so after just five games I resigned... When the Abbey Hey manager’s job came up I was immediately interested... In the first two games I was in charge, I just went with the existing squad to have a look at them, but it was obvious that I needed to bring new players in... I’ve not had to get rid of any players, any who have left did so of their own accord. The players I’ve brought in so far are lads who played for me in Altrincham Reserves. I know them, they are all young lads, and they are good quality players who like playing football, but so far we’ve been let down by silly mistakes. Our keeper Steve Downs was with me at Altrincham and he trains with their first team so when I needed a keeper I spoke to Graham Heathcote about him. As he wasn’t getting a game with them Graham agreed to let him come to us. He’s not the biggest but he’s quality... He’s made a difference to us and we are a bit tighter at the back now... Some people in my position might make excuses that if you bring a few new players in like we have, all of whom are young, it will take them time to find their feet and gel as a team. But I’m not interested in doing that because I know they are good players who can do a job for us... I’ve managed to bring in a sponsor, Go Goodwins Coaches which is owned by my cousin, and that has given us some money. We’ve used it for new playing kit, tracksuits, training kit and in the dressing room we provide Lucozade, sugar sweets and other food and drink before the game, just little things to make everything a bit more professional and organised... We are improving but we are not improving enough... I feel we have enough quality to get out of trouble. Next year, if we keep this group of players together and get a good pre season, I know these players are good enough to play against the top five teams in this league. Right now though, they’ve got to settle in quickly".

    On Saturday, Danny Heffernan scored as Abbey Hey beat St Helens Town 4-2.

    OLD BOYS

    Chris Adams has now left Ashton United and joined Trafford for whom he was sent off on Saturday for an alleged head butt. And Steve Lunt scored for Glossop North End on Saturday.

    BSP NEWS

    The BBC says that "Kidderminster Harriers' manager Mark Yates has apologised to supporters after his side's 1-0 defeat at the Blue Square Premier's bottom team Droylsden. Jody Banim's early goal secured what was only the Bloods' third win at that level in their history. And Yates told BBC Hereford and Worcester: 'You can't defend that as it was unacceptable'. He added: 'I apologise to the supporters who made the trip as they expected better and so did I'."

    "Torquay United have completed the signings of Swindon duo Steve Adams and Kaid Mohamed as well as Accrington striker Roscoe D'Sane. Midfielder Adams, 27, has signed a two-and-a-half year deal after snubbing a new short-term Swindon contract. Adams preferred the long-term security of Torquay's contract offer. Forward Mohamed, 23, has signed on loan for a month. And 27-year-old former Southend and Aldershot frontman D'Sane joins for the rest of the season for an undisclosed fee from Stanley"


    27 January 2008

    YOUTH TEAM DRAW

    Altrincham Youth were held to a 2-2 draw by bottom-placed Daisy Hill, who arrived at the BTH ground with just three points from their 13 games this season. Chris Francis put Alty ahead from Jack Kimber's freekick (36 mins) but five minutes later Jake Leigh-Watson's header dropped under the bar for an own goal from a freekick taken 55 yards out by Daisy Hill's Eaton. Gardner smashed home a 20-yarder, following a corner, to give the visitors a 2-1 lead after 57 minutes but Tom Bailey got the equalizer eleven minutes from the end, after an excellent possession-winning tackle and pass from Danny Browne.

    CAMBRIDGE VIEWS

    In today's NL Today, Cambridge boss Jimmy Quinn says, "I think we deserved the win overall but Altrincham played well and made it really difficult for us". Alty boss Graham Heathcote added, "We did more than enough to earn a point and we are on the right lines now to get ourselves out of trouble. We showed great character and played a lot of good football after falling behind".

    Altrincham fans were housed in the terace rather than the South Stand at the Abbey yesterday and Cambridge United's website explains why. "Junior U's and their parents are reminded that the league match against Altrincham at the Abbey Stadium... has been designated a 'Junior' South Stand Initiative fixture, and all current members of the Junior U's are invited to attend the game free of charge in the South Stand... In addition to all Junior U's being invited to attend the match free of charge, each member will be eligible to bring along three friends (under 16s) to accompany them to the match, introducing them to their local family football club free of charge... and almost 1,000 applications for tickets have been received so far. The application forms also enable parents/adults to accompany Junior U's and their friends in the South Stand at the discounted cost of just £10, as well as providing the facility for existing Junior and Adult season ticket holders to request transfer into the South Stand for this match at no cost".

    Meanwhile, on the pitch "Jimmy Quinn made one change to the side that won 5-0 at home to Droylsden on Tuesday night, restoring Mark Convery to the centre of midfield in place of the injured Danny Brown (ankle)... Cheered on by over 1,000 Junior U's and their friends and families in the South Stand, United started brightly". Later Alty's "their offside trap was sprung again when United took the lead in the 23rd minute. The flag stayed down as Scott Rendell scampered down the right and then picked out Lee McEvilly in the middle of the area, and he struck a low finish into the bottom far corner... McEvilly and defender Ryan Shotton had clashed repeatedly throughout the half and on 32 the striker was flattened off the ball, protesting afterwards to the referee, and he was involved again three minutes later when he rounded Altrincham captain Darren Tinson and was pulled down a yard outside the area... Half-time summary from match commentator Mark Johnson: 'An entertaining half between two well-matched sides. United have scored the goal, they could have had more but Altrincham look a threat going forward themselves'...

    Altrincham were far from out of this game... Lawton crashing a scorching shot off the underside of the bar, which was clutched gratefully by Potter... but then United were made to pay when Altrincham scored. It came from a counterattacking move down the right, Joe O'Neill rarely getting the better of Morrison to release Colin Little behind the defence, and as Potter came off his line Little rounded the keeper to calmly place a low shot from the centre of the area... It was Mark Convery who finally beat Coburn, although it took a deflection to make sure. The midfielder's 22-yard shot was aimed inside the far post but diverted off both Shotton and Lane and flew inside the near post, giving the previously unbeatable goalkeeper no chance as he tried to change direction... After five minutes of added time the final whistle signalled a hard-earned three points for United ".

    Elsewhere the site adds that "Cambridge United continued their return to winning ways... this time against Altrincham whose performance belied their fifth-from-bottom position in the table... 'We played some really good football today but we came up against an inspired keeper', acknowledged U's boss. 'I thought we were only going to get a point out of it but we had a little bit of luck in the end. We've been encouraging Mark Convery to shoot and he pulled the trigger and it took a deflection, and I think that was the only thing that was going to beat them today... Last year that would have been a game that we'd probably have drawn or lost. You can see the difference, and the difference here is the supporters. I can't believe what I'm hearing and seeing - they're sticking behind the team right until the last minute'... Quinn credits the Robins' keeper [Stuart Coburn] for setting up a tense finale: 'I think if we'd have got that second goal their heads would have dropped and we'd have got a few more, but all credit to Altrincham. I thought they competed and the lad O'Neill came on at the end and caused problems with his runs, they competed in the midfield and they put a man on Courtney in the hole so you'd have to say Graham (Heathcote) has done well with his tactics, but I thought that on overall play we did enough to win it... Whereas last year it all used to go quiet, the fans are still sticking behind the team and as a player that gives you a massive boost. That second goal was sucked into the net by the fans behind the goal".

    COLIN'S BELIEF

    In the NL Today paper there is an interview with Colin Little (right) in advance of Thursday's televised game against Woking. He says of this season,"We've not been good enough. The game at home to Northwich was the perfect example. We were doing well and coasting and then conceded two goals, letting ourselves and the fans down". But things are on the up, "The manager made a few changes. Some left, new lads came in and we were all playing for our places. There is a positive feel about the place now and for the first time in ages we all look forward to going to training and playing matches. If we carry on our good form then the likes of Halifax, Weymouth, Rushden and Woking will all sit up and take note. I'm surprised to see Woking struggling actually. They are a big club with a strong fan base. I thought they would be up there challenging for honours... Psychology plays a big part and our poor record could play on our minds if we concede an early goal [to Woking]. But the way we have been playing in recent weeks fills me with belief".

    BSP NEWS

    Reports from Woking v Crawley, confirmed in the Sunday press, say that Crawley boss Steve Evans had to be sent to the stands once more after protesting that too much added time had been played in the first half, during which period The Cards scored.

    ASA AND BEN AT ASHTON

    The UniBond League says that Steve Aspinall (left) has signed League forms for Ashton United, as has former Alty Youth and Reserve, Ben Deegan, who has joined from Flixton. Ashton boss Danny Johnson said "I have brought in Steve Aspinall from Altrincham this week and I am sure he will bring lots of experience and quality to the back four. He has played nearly 200 times for Altrincham over the past 4 years so his experience will be vital at a time when we are looking to improve defensively...'Steve will start on Saturday in what I believe is a must win game for us'". A poster on Ashton's forum said of United's 1-1 draw with Stamford: "Debut for Steve Aspinall on loan from Altrincham at right back, looked steady until substituted near the end. Also a debut for Ben Deegan upfront, given the last few minutes as a sub and looked a handful".

    Altrincham have no match next Saturday so a good alternative for Robins' fans is the Ashton United v Marine match on that day. As well as Chris Adams, Steve Aspinall and Ben Deegan, Marine have popular ex-Alty captain Eddie Hussin on their books.

    OLD BOYS

    Carl Furlong scored for Cammell Laird in their 5-1 defeat at Nantwich yesterday.

    NL Daily says that "Fleetwood Town edged out Ilkeston Town... Nathan Pond gave Fleetwood the lead 3 minutes before half time at Highbury but recent signing Chris Timons [ex-Alty captain] pulled the Reds level with 17 minutes to go". Meanwhile "Witton were held to a 2-2 draw at Hednesford Town, who were indebted to an 86th minute own goal from Liam Brownhill [ex-Alty trialist] after Ross Dyer had given them a 44th minute lead. [Ex-Alty striker]Rod Thornley grabbed two for Albion on 45 and 63 minutes". Elsewhere "a goal right on half time by Terry Bowker earned Buxton their win" whilst in their game Stalybridge Celtic"managed a second through the on-loan James Dean", formerly also an Alty loanee. Former Alty Youth keeper Tom Read was sent off yesterday, playing for Trafford.


    26 January 2008

    CAMBRIDGE UTD 2 ALTRINCHAM 1

    Above: Alty celebrate their goal as the referee dramatically points to the centre spot.

    In terms of pressure, Cambridge probably deserved to win but Altrincham were unlucky to be beaten by one offside goal and an own goal, which came just five minutes from the end. Alty's bad luck also saw Robbie Lawton's shot come out off the underside of the bar and both their centre-halves, Darren Tinson and Greg Young, taken off injured. After the physical McEvilly had put Cambridge ahead in the 22nd minute from a pass by the offside Rendell, Stuart Coburn kept Alty in the game with several excellent saves. Nine minutes from time, O'Neill's good work allowed Little to jink round keeper Potter to level the scores before Convery's speculative shot hit Lane and was diverted past Coburn (85 mins).

    Match report here.

  • League table
  • Player statistics
  • League line-ups

    SATURDAY GAMES

    Saturday 26th

    Howard Watts's record of Alty games, Through the Years, is now on the site for Saturday (26th January).

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

    GRAHAM ON GRAHAM

    "Graham Barrow knows a thing or two about professional football" says SAM. "During a career that has spanned more than 30 years, he has played for and managed no less than five different Football League clubs. In comparison, some might see his latest club as a step backwards but Barrow insists that's far from the truth. The former Alty player has returned to the club as assistant to Graham Heathcote and said he has been impressed with what he has seen so far. He told SAM Sport: 'I've been really impressed with the set-up since I arrived back at the club. The only word to describe it is ultra-professional. Everybody from the board down gives as much as they can to make sure everything's right. Every excuse is taken away from the players for not performing to the best of their abilities and that's all you can ask. It's not a bad dressing room and there's certainly ability in there, they're just a little bit short of confidence at times. Hopefully we can keep on boosting that confidence and keep improving'". Speaking of the two-goal lead lost to York last week, Graham added, "We are not overly delighted to have conceded but we were in the game for long enough against a decent side".

    "And Barrow believes Robins' boss Heathcote deserves to take much of the credit for his team's turnaround despite recently coming in for some criticism from fans. He said: 'I was disappointed by the reaction of some fans (to poor results this season) but having been a manager, it doesn't surprise me in today's game. Often people don't even know the full facts when they criticise managers but you just have to be big enough to take it on the chin and get on with your job. Graham's big enough to take the criticism and he's not laid down, he's gone out and done something about it. A lot of credit has to go to him for that. But that said, I've not just come here to say yes Graham. He's a very strong character but I have my own ideas as well. You don't survive in football by being pig-headed and Graham's certainly not. He takes any advice I give him on board... I'm delighted to be back here because it's probably come at the right time for me. I have put in for one or two jobs but it's getting tougher and tougher with the standard of candidates out there, so i was delighted when Graham gave me this chance'".

    CAMBRIDGE'S TACTICS

    Cambridge United report that "There are question marks over the fitness of three members of the squad. Striker Lee Boylan has missed the last two games with a hamstring strain but Quinn was hopefully he would be able to train before the end of this week, while defender Mark Peters was included among the subs on Tuesday but he is still 'feeling' his knee so he will be assessed before the game. A new concern is captain Danny Brown, with an ankle injury: 'He took a knock on his ankle and he's rated doubtful for Saturday', revealed Quinn... Paul Carden and Leo Fortune-West are still suspended following their sendings off at Histon in the FA Trophy...

    Quinn included Courtney Pitt behind the front two on Tuesday and he may continue with that formation tomorrow: 'I'll look at it but Altrincham will pose a different threat; they've got different types of players. I thought overall Courtney did well on Tuesday, although I would like to see him get more shots away'... Quinn was also pleased to see Rendell score his first hat-trick, and loanee Lee McEvilly get off the mark with his first goal for the club...

    Quinn expects the Robins to present a sterner test than Droylsden did on Tuesday, but he believes Tuesday's 5-0 win provided a big boost to the players' confidence following four defeats... 'Altrincham will have looked at our home record and they might come here and pack the midfield and play one up front and try and nick something. Droylsden only played one up front the other day... our plan was to get as many shots away and as many crosses into the box as we could and we did that. It's important that we try to entertain the fans and that involves chances and shots around the box, whether it's Altrincham or anybody else'...

    Commented Quinn, 'I know they've brought five or six young lads from League clubs, and one or two of them are particularly good and they've got a lad with a long throw that causes problems, so they've got a better team this time around than they did earlier in the season. They have 22 points compared to Droylsden's ten so you'd have to say they'll be better opposition than Droylsden, but we're at home and it's all about what we do... Altrincham will want to keep it tight and try to frustrate our fans and hope that our fans get on our backs, but our fans have been brilliant'".

    CAMBRIDGE UPHEAVAL

    There is more news off the pitch at today's opponents than on it as Cambridge United FC Chief Executive Norman Gautrey, "Further to comments made via the local media by former Chairman Lee Power, has issued the following statement:

    I was surprised and disappointed when the Chairman [Lee Power] discussed his intentions with me prior to the Droylsden game on Tuesday night. It was quite clear during our meeting that he had been fed incorrect information from within the club as well as being unable to provide me with some information that I had requested of him. It is a concern of mine that at Cambridge United, like many football clubs, there is far too much rumour mongering.

    Lee is a successful businessman away from football and his time is always at a premium. My role has been to manage many of the functions that a full time Chairman might otherwise deal with. Invariably there have been occasions when I have had to take the lead on certain issues. An example of this was the new contracts for the manager and his assistant, and I was as delighted as everyone else when these were finalised. I have spoken to Jimmy [Quinn] this morning, obviously concerned that our good working relationship (except when he beats me on the golf course!) has been tarnished; thankfully it has not... I have a good relationship with the players as I see them on a day to day basis and they have been tremendous with me, although I generally try to stay out of team affairs.

    During my discussion with the Chairman I offered to resign, so as to facilitate a situation whereby he felt able to remain at the Club. This offer was declined. I have been a supporter of this football club since 1971 and always will be. Should the board wish me to stay on I will do so. However we need to dramatically improve our off field activities if we are to get them to the standards that I would expect... Finally, I personally would like to thank Lee Power for all the work that he has done for this Football Club. He may not have been around much during my time at the Club, but he did stick by the manager in our darkest hour and this has reaped dividends. I would like to clarify my position in terms of ambition at the Club. I made it very clear upon my appointment that I do not wish to be on the Board. I have held senior roles at multi-million pound companies and my time with Cambridge United is a labour of love, not a rung on the career ladder".

    However, amidst this upheaval United's "Stephen Smith has joined Cambridge City on a one month loan".

    BSP NEWS

    Blue Square Football reports that "Oxford United have completed the signing of Morecambe left back Michael Howard on a month's loan while forward Rob Duffy has joined Wrexham on a month-long loan deal. The Birkenhead-born defender has been a consistent performer for Morecambe and was part of the team that won promotion to the Football League. He was also voted 'player of the year' by the Christie Park faithful in the same season but has struggled to hold down a regular berth this campaign [-his place was taken by Danny Adams]. The 29 year old is likely to go straight into the side... He made over 350 first-team appearances [for Swansea City].

    Meanwhile the same source says that "Aldershot pair Louie Soares and Anthony Straker have received the highest call-up an international footballer could wish for. The duo have been asked to represent Barbados for a World Cup qualifier next month. The youngsters will miss up to two fixtures for their club, but Shots boss Gary Waddock insists he would never hold back a player who has been called up to play for his country".

    NL Daily says that ex-Alty striker "Ken McKenna, manager of The New Saints, has boosted his strike force with the acquisition of frontman Kevin Townson from Blue Square Premier strugglers Northwich Victoria".

    The Manchester Evening News reports that "Droylsden boss Dave Pace is set to make sweeping changes to his playing staff... He could field as many as five new signings [on Saturday]... Pace is almost certain to give debuts to Wrexham pair Conall Murtagh and Levi Mackin and is also hoping to tie up deals with Chester duo Paul Rutherford and Chris Holroyd plus Halifax's Darryn Stamp. He has already snapped up Adam Dugdale, Luke Morgan, Sean Taylforth and Ian Wood but it isn't likely to end there as he's also planning further reinforcements... Pace said, 'I'm doing my utmost to get us out of this mess and it's clear to me that more heads have to roll. Everyone has written us off but people should never underestimate Dave Pace'". Droylsden later stated that "Robbie Talbot and Gavin Salmon have gone on month loan to Leigh RMI [and] Danny Ellis signed on loan till end of season from Stockport County".

    Kidderminster Harriers have "completed the signing of Oxford United left-back Alex Jeannin on loan until the end of the season. The 30 year-old arrives at Aggborough in time to go straight into the squad for tomorrow's league match at Droylsden". At the same time "Justin Richards has left Aggborough to join Oxford United on loan until the season's end. Richards, who joined Harriers in the summer... The former Peterborough United man has started 25 games in a red shirt this season, scoring seven goals... 'After going out of the FA Trophy we just felt that we needed to freshen up the squad a little bit and players coming in means that one or two need to go out', boss Mark Yates [said]. 'There has been a little bit of interest in Justin and he's not been playing a lot here lately so it's a deal that suits everyone."

    "Northwich Victoria have released Jake Johnson" claims the Northwich Guardian. "The former Leek CSOB midfielder managed just one substitute appearance in the league this season. He joined the club on non-contract terms in the summer after impressing former boss Neil Redfearn. His departure means Dino Maamria's promised clearout is gathering pace, with Simon Rusk, Richard Battersby, Chris Williams, Kevin Townson and Adam Morning all leaving the Marston's Arena in the past few days". Meanwhile, "Vics have called in a favour to solve their keeper crisis. Blackpool custodian Lewis Edge could go straight into the starting line up for tomorrow's crunch clash with Halifax. He has signed on a month-long loan. Scott Tynan faces a scan on his knee today to discover the extent of the damage done during Tuesday's Setanta Shield game at Barrow... Tynan's understudy Ben Connett is also struggling with a sprained wrist picked up during the warm up at Burton last weekend". And confirmation of one player's destination comes with a report that "Witton have swooped to sign Adam Morning from neighbours Northwich". Later the Guardian added that "Vics have continued their clearout by parting company with Chris Williams. The 22-year-old midfielder signed for UniBond Division One North outifit Bradford Park Avenue".


    25 January 2008

    HOME ON SUNDAY

    Altrincham Youth team's fixture this Sunday, away to Daisy Hill, has now been moved to Blessed Thomas Holford, Altrincham, kick off 2pm.

    TEAM NEWS

    Altrincham's on-loan striker Tom Cahill (pictured right by Gavin Rathbone) is unlikely to play tomorrow against Cambridge United after suffering a thigh strain in the match against York last week. The club has confirmed that both he and Liam King's one-month loans from Rotherham United do run up to and including 31st January and, therefore, both players, if fit, are available for selection for the match against Woking that night. Meanwhile, the BBC says that "Cambridge striker Lee Boylan (hamstring) and midfielder Danny Brown (ankle) are set to be sidelined for the tie with struggling Altrincham. Mark Peters is available after shaking off a knee injury but Paul Carden and Leo Fortune-West are suspended". Apart from Cahill and the long-term absentee, Val Owen, "manager Graham Heathcote has no other injury worries" adds the BBC.

    GRAHAM'S ADVICE

    As Havant & Waterlooville prepare for their match at Liverpool, the Manchester Metro News quotes Graham Heathcote, who played for Altrincham in a 3rd Round FA Cup tie at Anfield in 1981, as saying "The key was to be calm; nobody got carried away. I just hope the Havant lads enjoy the occasion as much as we did in 1981".

    7 YOUTHS IN COUNTY SQUAD

    No fewer than seven of the Altrincham FC Youth team are in the 18-strong Cheshire FA Youth squad for the Northern Counties Youth Cup match on Saturday (26th, 2pm) away to Durham County FA Youth at Durham City's ground. The players are Alex Murphy, Chris Francis, Danny Browne, Dominic Lillie, Sam Madeley, Tom Bailey and new signing Matthew Nee. Only once before has manager George Heslop had more players in the County squad. Congratulations to all concerned.

    SATURDAY'S OPPONENTS

    There is more on the recent off-the-field events at our next opponents, Cambridge United, in the Cambridge News, which cliams that "Lee Power had an angry row with Norman Gautrey minutes before handing in his resignation as Cambridge United chairman. Power arrived at the Abbey Stadium fully intending to quit the board at a hastily-arranged gathering of directors before Tuesday's 5-0 thrashing of basement boys Droylsden. But just before the meeting, Power was involved in a heated exchange with the United chief executive. It is believed the pair had a difference of opinion over a number of issues involving the running of the club.Power then shocked directors, who had no inkling of his decision, by announcing his departure. Gautrey, who is due to begin 35 days leave of absence from the club next week, is understood to have then verbally offered his resignation before leaving the ground for a pre-arranged engagement. When contacted by the News just after he had left the Abbey, Gautrey refused to say whether he had quit or not - unless we revealed who had provided us with the information. We refused to name our sources... It is now thought Gautrey has decided to resume the role following his break... It is not known if Gautrey will be present at the AGM. A board meeting is set to be held before the AGM to discuss who will become United's new chairman. In the meantime, fans' director Brian Attmore is expected to step into the breach to fill the void left by Power's shock exit... Meanwhile, a statement from United's board last night said: 'We have a great chance of finishing the season on a high note and need every bit of support and encouragement from all quarters'".

    BSP NEWS

    On 5th January, Altrincham lost heavily at Oxford, thanks largely to their new strike force of Rob Duffy and Craig McAllister. McAllister has since been sidelined by an injury, incurred in the next game, and now we learn that Oxford United manager Darren Patterson "has been busy all week trying to make changes to the squad, and today saw the first part of that with Rob Duffy joining Wrexham on a month's loan. Darren believes he has people lined up to replace the Welsh striker, hopefully before the weekend. 'It's like for like really at the moment. If we get a player out we can get one in. Hopefully we can get someone in up front now because we are woefully short in that position. I think the only fit striker is Alex Fisher so I'm hopeful we can bring in at least one, if not two players tomorrow. Having to deal in the transfer market is new territory for Darren, but is something he's enjoying doing... 'Wheeling and dealing isn't something we've been spoken to about on any course I've done! It's just par for the course. If you want to get players in, and very few clubs have the chequebook to just bring in players, then you have to make calls, try and make things happen and use your common sense. A lot of it is sums. Luckily I was alright at maths at school so I'm OK!'.... We need to win a game, simple as that. Having bodies back from suspension will really help us and I'm trying to bring in others who are winners, leaders. That will help. We just need a proper performance and a result'".

    NL Daily says that "Plymouth Argyle have signed Exeter City`s leading scorer Jamie Mackie after weeks of speculation linking the striker to the Pilgrims. The initial fee of £145,000 will rise with add-ons depending on appearances and international call-ups. 'I'm absolutely delighted. I'm over the moon with the move. I can't wait', said Mackie. Mackie has scored fourteen goals this season... The Grecians agreed to let Mackie go after the 21-year-old requested a transfer... 'A lot of people helped me there. It was a brilliant club for me. It's helped me develop my game to get me back to this level, so I leave thanking them a lot', he said. Plymouth manager Paul Sturrock says Mackie is one for the future, 'I'm not expecting him to come charging into the team but if you talk to Jamie he's going to be playing next Saturday and that's the kind of attitude I want to bring to this side', he said".

    The takeover saga continues at The Shay where Halifax Town have issued a "Joint Statement. The Business Consortium and Board of Halifax Town Supporters Trust recognise - and indeed share - the degree of frustration currently being experienced by the Club's valued supporters in achieving the successful takeover of Halifax Town. All fair-minded followers of the Club will however appreciate that it is fundamentally essential for the future stability and structured development of the Club that all historical business issues are professionally and thoroughly resolved prior to any formal takeover announcement...

    Work in this respect continues and may we assure you again of our absolute determination to clear the remaining admittedly particularly difficult hurdles, specific details of which cannot understandably be brought into the public domain... It is to be hoped that, the developed East Stand should also realise significant income streams that have not previously been available to the Football Club... Over the last 13-14 months, financial support for the footballing side of the business has been excellent, the squad is gradually being strengthened, if necessary transfer fees have been paid, short and long term loans have been supported. The season is at a very important stage, we would ask you to get 100% behind the manager and his players, for the whole 90 minutes of each game...

    Over the last few months - and with no security whatsoever - the investment made by the Business Consortium in Halifax Town AFC has been at a significantly high level. It is a reasonable assumption that the Club would not have survived without it, and it also represents an unequivocal endorsement of the Business Consortium's commitment to Halifax Town AFC... Further large sums are also needed in the short term, to continue the ongoing survival of the Club".


    24 January 2008

    FIXTURES

    Thursday 24th

  • BSP:Farsley C. 0 Stevenage B. 0
  • League table

    JAY GOES UP A GEAR

    Jay Goodwin, son of the Altrincham FC chairman and owner of Go Goodwins Coaches, Geoff Goodwin, has been offered a prestigious contract by Zipkart, the go-karting organization that gave Formula One stars Lewis Hamilton and David Coulthard their first taste of success. Geoff and his wife Suzanne have dedicated a lot of time and funding to supporting Jay's karting and they have now seen a reward for all that effort. All at Altrincham FC wish Jay every success in his future career on four wheels. For more on Jay's karting achievements the Crashnet and Driver DB sites. Coincidentally, it is also reported by the press that "Lewis Hamilton has shot into sport’s super-rich list after signing a five-year contract believed to be worth around £10m — a huge hike from the £300,000 basic salary he earned in his debut season last year" - perhaps Geoff and Jay can persuade Lewis to become an Alty supporter!

    YORK'S VIEW

    Right: Alty captain Darren Tinson marshals the defence in the game against York. The photograph is by Paul Roberts, who should also have been credited with the picture of Stuart Coburn posted below, yesterday. Apologies to Paul for wrongly crediting that photo to his "boss" Gavin Rathbone.

    York City now have a match report on their draw at Moss Lane last Saturday. "Setting out for Altrincham, news filtered through that games at Macclesfield, Bury, Rochdale and Accrington were all off. Would Altrincham survive the downpours affecting the rest of the Manchester metropolitan area? Eventually, yes it would, but it was a close run thing, with the bounce and run of the ball proving untrustworthy. For the fourth game running, City had to come from behind to get something out of the game and preserve the unbeaten run. And again, there were opportunities to have won the game, meaning it was difficult to tell whether it was a point gained or two lost... With five minutes of the first half remaining, an aimless ball found itself at Little's feet. He turned Danny Parslow inside-out on the edge of the box and almost tripped over the ball before scuffing a shot beyond the wrong-footed Evans to open the scoring... With the City defence statuesque and Evans rooted to his line, the ball fell to Little who lashed a volley into the roof of the net for 2-0.... [before] Altrincham somehow held out for their second 2-2 draw with City this season. 'I've got to be happy with a draw, but there's a touch of anger in there too' was Colin Walker's summary. 'If it was a boxing match, then it would have been stopped in the first half. We were poor in the final third, but we had an ace up our sleeve and that was Martyn Woolford'. Credit where it's due to Altrincham though, they worked hard to get themselves into pole position and did just about enough to hang on at the end. 'They give most teams a game' said the City supremo, 'but we played some terrific football in the second half - some of the best since I've been here'".

    BSP NEWS

    From IC Cheshire comes confirmation that "Northwich Vics' manager Dino Maamria brought his signings up to 10 in three weeks and declared he can’t wait for the turmoil to end. His latest signings are defenders Cortez Belle from Halifax Town and Danny Meadowcroft, from Ossett Town, midfielder Matthew Crowell (Wrexham) and winger Jamie Mullan (Rochdale)... Out goes the versatile Richard Battersby (left). Maamria said: 'Richard has got a new job and could not meet our training schedule, while we could not afford a full-time contract for him. [He has now joined Altrincham, of course]. There are no offers yet for transfer listed midfielder Mike Carr nor any moves to find other clubs by Chris Williams, Paul Tait and Kevin Townson, who continue to be paid in full during their absence. It is dead money and swells the already over-budget wage bill, which Maamria is expected to trim with further departures. Mike Byrne, another hero from two years ago, is another likely to leave. The Vics' boss said: 'There have been so many comings and goings and I will be glad when it comes to an end. I just want to focus on games and getting the points we need. I am delighted with all my signings and I hope the fans come along to see just how high quality they are'". In Tuesday's Setanta Shield match, Vics won 2-0 at Barrow, with Aaron Burns one of the scorers, though Barrow claimed his effort was offside.

    The BBC says that "Members of fans' website MyFootballClub have approved the takeover of Ebbsfleet United. More than 18,000 members cast their votes in the past week on the £635,000 takeover, with 95.8% deciding on the purchase of the Kent club. Fleet manager Liam Daish was backed by the same percentage of members to carry out any plans he has for the January transfer window. MyFootballClub has 27,278 members who had until Wednesday to cast their vote. The first "internet" team selection is scheduled for March. 'It's a wonderful opportunity for the club', said Brian Kilcullen, who will take over as interim chairman from club chairman Jason Botley... Daish's contract will be extended by a year to the end of the 2008/09 season as part of the deal and the Ebbsfleet boss backed the buyout. '"This will enable us to carry on at this level', Daish told BBC Radio Kent. 'I don't envisage getting £20,000 for a player, but I hope to be able to get a couple of bodies in and secure the players who are here already. Barring John Akinde everybody's contract is up at the end of the season. It will secure the services of these players and help them to push on to the next level'. But Daish urged members not to treat team selection as a computer game. 'They're dealing with a bunch of players whose livelihoods are at stake. They support their families with what they earn here, they don't earn anything else', he added. 'As long as everyone takes it as seriously as the players, and I and the coaching staff do, then I don't see any problem'". "Liam Daish cannot wait to sign the new contract he's been promised as part of the MyFootballClub takeover prior to opening talks with his players" claims the Gravesend Reporter. "'I have not signed it yet - it's all being put in place', the 39-year-old confirmed. 'I've spoken to the new owners about securing existing players' contracts, opening negotiations with them and I've already put feelers out to certain players. Yesterday's vote simply could not happen quickly enough as far as I'm concerned and, now, I can start tying things together player-wise and give our supporters great news about rewarding good players that have done well with longer contracts'... A number of current fans and shareholders have grown increasingly disenchanted with the Fleet's foray into web ownership, believing they have not considered their views before making such a groundbreaking judgement. The name change, from Gravesend and Northfleet to the more commercially-viable Ebbsfleet United earlier this year, left many hardcore followers infuriated at not being consulted over another key facet of their club's history and identity".

    The Cambridge United unofficial site comments on how "Lee Power shocked the Cambridge United fanbase tonight by revealing he had resigned before [last night's] game against Droylsden. In a blast at the boardroom, he claims people undermining his decisions persuaded him to hand in his resignation this afternoon... He refused to go into particular detail about who these detractors were, although the only recently appointed board members have been George Rolls as a director and Norman Gautrey as Chief Executive. Lee made clear that he'd tried to speak to the clubs main benefactor Paul Barry about 'certain individuals that needed to be addressed' but Paul was overseas at his home in Seattle. Power also disclosed he'd let Jimmy Quinn know of his decision that afternoon and Quinn was said to be upset with the news... It is unclear who will now takeover the stewardship at the Abbey Stadium, although 'Fans Director' Brian Attmore has filled that role in a temporary fashion previously".

    Meanwhile the official Cambridge United site says following Power's resignation , "There was some concern among supporters that manager Jimmy Quinn might consider his position. However the U's boss told cambridgeunited.com this morning that he's staying, while also paying tribute to the outgoing chairman. 'I would personally like to thank Lee Power for all the help and support he gave me in his time here. He's been the best chairman I've ever had', said Quinn. 'There were three or four times last season where I felt like packing it in because of results but he saw the bigger picture and he wouldn't let me do that, and that's all credit to him... He's made the decision to go but I can tell the fans and the players and everybody connected to the club that I love my job and I love Cambridge United and I want to finish the job off... We have some nice people on the Board and it's all about making the right decision and putting the right people in charge now so that they can go forward together''".

    The Cambridge Evening News reports that "Lee Power rode into the Abbey as a potential knight in shining armour when Cambridge United were at one of the lowest ebbs in their history in August 2006. Just a year after coming out of administration, the club was racked with more than £100,000 of losses from the ill-fated Abbey Aid concerts while running losses ran at £400,000. Meanwhile, the boardroom was falling apart with chairman Terry Baker and finance director Nick Pomery both quitting as a result of the fall-out from Abbey Aid, while vice-chairman John Howard was ousted by his colleagues due to the perceived conflict of interest between his ownership of United's ground and role as a director. Power was brought in as a new broom and immediately announced £600,000 would be stumped up to cover the cost of renting the Abbey for three years while cash would be provided for two new strikers prior to the 2006-07 campaign... By last January, Power admitted the club was still being crippled by heavy running losses, not helped by the rent commitments to Howard's firm Bideawhile nor poor home gates as United continued to struggle.... Warned the club could go bust if changes were not made to United's constitution, Power oversaw, among other issues, the lifting of the 20 per cent cap on shareholdings at an extraordinary general meeting last March. It prompted vice-chairman Johnny Hon, major shareholder Paul Barry and American businessman Adrian Hanauer, soon to become a director, to pledge an injection of £600,000 into the club over two years. On the pitch, United avoided the drop on the final day of the season... Cash was splashed to help Quinn put together the squad he felt was needed to get the club back into the Coca-Cola League while there was a unity behind the scenes that had rarely been seen in recent times... New faces appeared behind the scenes with United taking on their first chief executive for three years in Norman Gautrey last October and introducing George Rolls to the board as business development director". The News adds that "Power resigned at a board meeting just two hours before the U's 5-0 demolition of lowly Blue Square Premier outfit Droylsden...It is believed chief executive Norman Gautrey also walked out following the meeting. However, he refused to comment. The turmoil could not have come at a more awkward time for United. The club's annual meeting is in five days and because Power is in charge of transfers, it may cause problems for Quinn in making moves in or out of the Abbey before next week's deadline. But Power said 'I've just had enough', he said. 'I won't name names, but there are certain individuals who have come in lately to the football club who want to do this and that and are undermining things. You can see by the results we've had over the last couple of weeks that it's affecting everyone. It's been going on for the last month to six weeks. Either people can come in here and do things the way I want to do it or there's no reason me being here. So that's why I've chucked it in'"... Power runs a successful publishing company after a professional football career that took in many clubs including Norwich City".

    And the official site adds that "Droylsden manager Dave Pace was generous in defeat after seeing his side beaten 5-0 at the Abbey Stadium.. It was the Bloods' second 5-0 defeat in four days, following their trip to Stevenage on Saturday, but he felt there was no comparison between the two games and praised 'fantastic' Cambridge United. 'Everyone in the dressing room is down', he admitted. 'It could be said that against Stevenage we were unlucky to lose 5-0, but tonight we were battered by a very good side from start to finish. We deserved what we got - absolutely nothing. The one plus point is that it can't get any worse! Putting my name to that result tonight was embarrassing, and I'm better than that. That performance didn't reflect anything like we can play, but I'm not taking anything away from Cambridge - they were fantastic from start to finish'". Wrexham report that "Droylsden must be looking forward to including Wrexham midfield pair Conall Murtagh and Levi Mackin in their ranks for the weekend home game against Kidderminster Harriers, after suffering a 5-0 loss to Cambridge United... The Bloods have reached agreement with Brian Little to take the duo on an initial month's loan from this Friday". Murtagh played for Altrincham Reserves a couple of years ago.

    Surprising news comes from NL Daily that "Forest Green Rovers have announced that Stuart Fleetwood has turned down a move to Crewe Alexandra and in the process committed himself totally to help Rovers reach the play-offs... The 21-year-old striker, after visiting Gresty Road and discussing personal terms with Crewe, has made the decision to remain at the New Lawn, after considering all his options, with his family and his agent". Manager Jim Harvey stated: “Whilst neither the board nor myself, would ever stand in the way of any player progressing up the football ladder and that on this occasion we may have missed out on a massive windfall, it shows how genuine Stuart is and knowing the lad as I do, I know his word is his bond". Fleetwood himself added “It is a decision I have reached along with my family. Everyone at Rovers has made us so welcome from the Boardroom to the supporters on the terraces. My mother in particular has a genuine affection for the club and everyone she meets each match day. The club is now part of my family as well and I am committed with my team mates to making this the best ever season that the club have experienced in their history. Obviously I have been kept informed by the club of all the interest shown and I can honestly state that even if any other clubs come in with a late bid before the transfer window closes, I am not interested. The summer may be a different matter [when he is out of contract] but I owe a debt of gratitude to the gaffer". And Kent Online admits that "Gillingham's hopes of luring hot-shot Stuart Fleetwood to the club have failed. The 21-year-old striker was a transfer target for Gillingham manager Mark Stimson but League 1 rivals Crewe looked all set to bag the player after winning the bidding war. But Fleetwood turned down the move to Gresty Road last night and insisted he now wants to stay put in a bid to help his current club Forest Green Rovers gain promotion".

    Farsley Today says that "Leeds United have given Farsley Celtic's relegation battle a helping hand by allowing promising young midfielder Scott Gardner to join their neighbours on loan. The 19-year-old England age group international has penned an initial one-month deal at Throstle Nest". And according to NL Daily, "Farsley Celtic have signed two new defenders in Georges Santos and Scott Gardner. Luxembourg-born Gardner has signed from Leeds United on an initial month`s loan. He has made one appearance for Leeds....Santos, 37, is a permanent signing from FA Trophy opponents Alfreton Town. He is a defender but two weeks ago played as a striker against Celtic. Santos has bags of Football League experience, most notably for Tranmere Rovers, West Brom and Sheffield United"

    Rushden & Diamonds "have signed 21 year-old Dale Roberts, on an initial month long loan from Nottingham Forest, who will report on Thursday... The 6' 3" promising young Goalkeeper is a product of the Forest youth system and has been a regular on the first team bench for Forest during their current 2007/08 campaign. Dale also spent last season on loan at Alfreton Town, where he made 47 appearances. 'Dale is highly rated at the City Ground, with first choice keeper, Paul Smith commenting 'I'm not planning on relinquishing my place in the side but I reckon Dale would more than cope if he got the opportunity to play in our first team'".

    According to IC Surrey "New signing Kevin James has admitted he has a battle on his hands to break into the Crawley Town side.James, who signed for the Reds last week from Woking... made his debut against Rushden last Saturday coming on as a second half substitute... and admitted afterwards he will find it tough to warrant a starting place against Woking... 'I'd already spoken to the gaffer and it was nice to get on and get a taste of it. But they are playing well at the moment and I'm going have to work hard to get into the team', he said. The striker, who lives in Lewisham, south London, also revealed Crawley's location and Woking's financial state had influenced him in choosing to move to Sussex in favour of Oxford or Histon, who were also reported to be interested in signing him. 'Woking were not in a position [to offer a contract] as they are struggling a bit with money', said James. 'I was going to leave them earlier but they managed to find some money to pay me towards the end of my contract there. I've been at Crawley all week and it has been decent. The set-up is good and in non-league football you can't ask for a better stadium'. Another influential factor in his move to Crawley was a chance to work again with manager Steve Evans, who he played under at Boston United. 'The simple fact is I have worked with him before, he knows what I'm about and I know what he's about', James added... The Crawley manager has been speaking to Huddersfield Town, of League One, about signing one of their players but no deal had been reached at the time of going to press. The discussions with Huddersfield also led to the Yorkshire club coming down to train at the Broadfield Stadium last week, ahead of their game at Brighton. 'We won't bring in anyone else this week', said Evans. 'We need to have players in on the Monday as we get ready for Saturday's game. There are a couple we have had discussions with but nothing will happen until next week'. Crawley have also been allowed to extend the loans of MK Dons pair Kieron Murphy and Mustapha Carayol until the end of the season. The Reds are paying £100 per week towards the duo's wages, with the League Two club paying the rest and Evans said it was a good deal for Crawley... 'We have to make sure the numbers (on wages) balance and now we have got every big earner out of the football club', he said.


    23 January 2008

    MORE ON NEXT OPPONENTS

    Alty travel to Cambridge on Saturday. The Cambridge United website has posted the following announcement on their chairman's resignation (see also further down the page). "Chairman Lee Power has tendered his resignation from the board of Cambridge United Football Club. He announced his decision prior to tonight's match at home to Droylsden, which finished in a 5-0 win for the U's, and the board of Cambridge United has issued the following statement: 'We were very sad to hear of Lee's decision to go. He has worked very hard and the club has definitely moved on a tremendous amount from where it was 18 months ago when he joined us. We feel the club is moving in the right direction, both on and off the field, and Lee brought a tremendous amount of experience and hard work towards building towards a brighter future. We will all miss him very much and we wish him well. The Board will discuss the position of Chairman at a Board meeting on Monday'".

    Also, "Cambridge United returned to winning ways with an emphatic 5-0 win against bottom club Droylsden. Scott Rendell was the star of the show with a hat-trick to take his league tally to 17 and his total in all competitions to 22, but Rob Wolleaston produced another of his special thunderbolts and Lee McEvilly got off the mark on his home debut, while new signing Ben Farrell came off the bench to make a promising first appearance. Assistant manager Alan Lewer [said], 'I thought we played some great stuff tonight... So let's hope that's given us a little bit of a gap now going into the play-off places, which is always nice, and we have to cement that again on Saturday' [against Altrincham]'... Lewer felt that Droylsden couldn't deal with United's front three - Rendell and McEvilly with Courtney Pitt playing just behind them - and added, 'Willy (Wordsworth, Chief Scout [who recently tipped Alty for relegation in the non-league press]) watched them last weekend and he said that if we got at their back line we had every chance... That's what happened and the rest is history... Every team has a blip and this is not an easy league, but if we go and win the next three or four games - and I believe Aldershot have got to play all the top sides in the next month - and if we look after ourselves, then I think we've got every chance of being promoted'. On tonight's sudden resignation of Chairman Lee Power, the U's assistant manager commented briefly, 'I'm shocked. I don't know anything about it so I can't comment about it''".

    CHAIRMAN GOES AT CAMBRIDGE

    Our next opponents, Cambridge United, ended their four-game run of defeats with a 5 -0 home win over Droylsden last night. But Radio Cambridgeshire reports that United chairman Lee Power resigned as chairman after the match. He says he handed in his resignation to the Board on Tuesday night saying "I'm going to move on". He added, "I've been undermined on one or two things. The atmosphere behind the scenes has changed in the last couple of weeks". Power added that "There hasn't been much unity on the Board...People have come out of the woodwork over the last month... I'm just not prepared to continue".

    Before the Bloods' game, the club website said "It's the first of four successive home games as first bottom club Droylsden and fifth-from-bottom Altrincham come to town, then play-off chasing Exeter and second-placed Stevenage... Lee Boylan definitely misses out due to the hamstring strain he suffered at Histon a week ago, although he may be fit to play by Saturday when Altrincham are the visitors". Chairman Lee Power added, "If anyone ever wanted to understand why we all do what we do, as Chairman, supporters or players, it was encompassed in the game at Wolves. That's why we all want to be in football. We had 4,000 fans there, the support was unbelievable, and when Scott Rendell put us in front that's the feeling why you go to football. You wait for that feeling all year. The lads did fantastically well and we were really unfortunate not to come away with a draw. No disrespect to the Blue Square Premier clubs, but we want to be going to places like Molineux every week and that's why we're all working hard to try to achieve that goal of getting back into the Football League."

    United report, too, that "Ben Farrell joined Cambridge United from Bedford Town last week but had to sit on the sidelines for both games - cup-tied for the FA Trophy match and suspended for the league match at Grays - so this evening's match at home to Droylsden is his first chance to make his debut in amber and black. The 21-year-old midfielder has signed a deal to the end of this season with the club having the option of another year, and no transfer fee is involved because he was on non-contract terms with The Eagles this season... 'I'm really pleased to sign and I'm very impressed with the club, especially the ground and the pitch, and the coaching staff seem nice'", he said.

    YORK GAME IN PERSPECTIVE

    Right: Paul Roberts's camera catches Stuart Coburn in action against York City last Saturday.

    The Sale & Altrincham Messenger says that "Graham Heathcote was delighted with a point against York City, even though his side threw away a two-goal second half lead... But the Alty boss believes the fact that Alty even took a point against a team who had won their previous seven games away from home showed the extent of their recent transformation. 'I hope people aren't disappointed with a draw against York because that's their 11th game unbeaten so I hope people take the positives out of it', said Heathcote. 'The positives for me were that we were very competitive and we got ourselves two good goals against a decent side. Four weeks ago they beat us reasonably comfortably. On Saturday we dug in and got a point'".

    LOCAL NEWS

    "A murder investigation has been launched after a promising footballer was shot in a takeaway" reports SAM. "Halton McCollin, 20, of Seymour Grove, Old Trafford, died this morning (Monday). He had been fighting for his life since Saturday night, when he was shot in the China Gardens takeaway on Chester Road, Stretford. The former pupil of Didsbury's Parrs Wood High School, worked for Norwich Union and played semi-professional for Flixton FC... His father said: 'He was sport mad. He was always either watching or playing football, and was totally loyal to his team and coach. I am just devastated that he's gone'... Superintendent John Graves said, 'His footballing career had every chance of flourishing as Flixton was a good springboard for youngsters to get interest from bigger clubs".

    FA CUP GLORIES

    Both the Birmingham City v Altrincham FA Cup game of 1986 and the 1991 Liverpool v Altrincham FA Cup match are now available to order from the Altrincham FC club shop or from the Ebay shop via the following links:
  • Birmingham game
  • Liverpool game

    THIS WEEK

    Sunday 20th
  • BSP: Exeter C. 2 Oxford United 0
  • League table

    Monday 21st

  • FAT: Alfreton T v Farsley Celtic POSTPONED

    Tuesday 22nd

  • BSP: Cambridge U. 5 Droylsden 0
  • FAT: Grays A. 1 York C. 4
  • FAT: Halifax T. v Bishop's Stortford POSTPONED
  • FAT: Kidderminster H. 2 Weymouth 2, 0-3 on penalties

    BSP NEWS

    The BBC says that Grays Athletic now look likely to stay at Bridge Road for a further season following a delay to their proposed ground move. They planned to leave the Recreation Ground this summer but are set to stay while they pursue plans for a new home. Chairman Mick Woodward said: 'Things are not progressing as fast as we would have wished with the new ground... We have reviewed the costs of a ground share and this would incur a large amount of finance to ensure that the ground we shared with met the Conference League standards. Therefore the likelihood is that we will remain at The New Recreation Ground for another season. We are negotiating the lease at present and there is an increase of rent to be taken into consideration. I am confident that things will start going according to plan and I hope that the fans will support the club with these decisions'".

    Mewanwhile, "Crawley Town are keeping MK Dons duo Kieran Murphy and Mustapha Carayol on loan for the rest of this season. Irish under-21 defender Murphy and winger Carayol had initially arrived on a month long deals, with Carayol scoring on his debut against Aldershot".

    "Aldershot manager Gary Waddock has backed his young side to rise to the increasing pressure of the title race. Saturday's home defeat by Forest Green saw their lead at the top of the Blue Square Premier reduced to six points... Waddock told BBC SCR: 'The side have got us this far, and deserve the chance to finish the job. It's not good on the nerves, but that's the way it is'. Waddock also rejected the suggestion that the team needs a new centre-half... Left-back Antony Straker admits the club are aware of the closing pack. 'When you're at the top you've got to keep your sights on where you want to be, and not worry about who's behind you. If you keep collecting your points, you'll get there'. Straker is enjoying the tough task of replacing club captain Darren Barnard. 'I'm really enjoying it. The crowd get behind you. They have their moans and groans when we're not doing well but they're fine when we're flying'".

    "Former Oxford United captain Chris Hargreaves says his old club will come right - but it will take time. Hargreaves left the club at the end of last season and joined Torquay... He said: 'Darren needs time to change this around. I think it's over for Oxford for this season, the important time for him will be in the summer'... It's a fantastic club with fantastic supporters who have a real passion. You might worry about some clubs in Oxford's position, but I don't fear for them. It will get the good times back. Unfortunately now Oxford fans are going to have to suffer. But there's a good man at the helm and I am sure he can turn it around'".


    22 January 2008

    NEXT OPPONENTS

    The Cambridge News says that "Jimmy Quinn believes his players can quickly rediscover their form despite Cambridge United suffering their fourth successive defeat with a 2-1 loss at Grays on Saturday... He said: 'The way we've been playing in the last couple of games, the confidence drops a little bit when something like their equaliser happens... We've got good players here and a couple of new faces in, and it's no good criticising or picking fault with things that aren't there. 'Tomorrow (Tuesday, at home to Droylsden) is an opportunity to put that right and hopefully get a few goals to win the game... At half-time, we said we needed to keep it tight and make sure we're destructive and stop them playing. But the ball went in the air, there was a scramble and the ball has gone in after 30 seconds. It defies belief'... Lee Boylan was ruled out after suffering a hamstring injury before the game".

    Meanwhile the Cambridge United quotes Grays' manager Justin Edinburgh after the game. "I thought we were value for our win today... It was a tough game on a very heavy pitch that would have taken enough out of them without losing the two lads to red cards... I told the three strikers that we should have had at least two goals by half-time". Indeed, "Edinburgh revealed that he changed his side's formation for this game to counter United's wingbacks. 'When we played at Cambridge we were a little bit out-muscled and out-fought, particularly in midfield', he said. 'So we played a 4-3-3 because we thought that, although we could get exposed by the wing-backs, we could cope with that threat, particularly as Courtney Pitt wasn't in the starting eleven. He's one of the best attacking players in this league and will always pose a threat, so to see him on the bench justified the tactics we took into the game... Although there's a disappointment in the lack of cutting edge with the strikers, I have to praise how they closed Cambridge's defence down from the first whistle. They had little time on the ball and the threat of the quality from back to front was fairly nullified, leaving McEvilly and Rendell with little to. That's saying nothing against the ability of Cambridge because that was down to Grays Athletic's work rate today. Saying that, I expect Cambridge to be in the top five at the end of the season," concluded Edinburgh, "and hopefully if we can continue to perform like we have today we'll have another shot at them in the play-offs."

    "Michael Standing's double strike saw Grays take another high-flying scalp at the New Rec" reports the Thurrock Gazette. "Grays remain undefeated at home since October 9 and it is easy to see why. They don't panic, they keep going and are always looking for the chance to score... Cambridge have had a real dip in form since they beat Torquay and Aldershot back to back in November. They came into this game on the back of being dumped out of the FA Trophy by local rivals Histon... They were as muted as their bench and with four changes and two debuts, at times they looked like strangers... Cambridge attacked in flourishes. Newcomer from Accrington Stanley Lee McEvilly pulled players out of position and Stephen Reed used the free space on the left well but... Cambridge boss Jimmy Quinn was in sombre mood after the game. He said: 'I'm disappointed for everyone especially the fans but we will keep our heads up and go into four home games determined to halt this slide'".

    The referee for Saturday's game at Cambridge is Mr R. Fletcher

    STAR

    At last night's STAR AGM meeting, chaired by Brian Flynn, a board comprising Brian, Steve Raftery, Dawn Abbott and Paul Daine was elected by a large majority. By a similar margin of 52 for and 3 against, the accounts for the last two completed years were approved. Likewise the STAR members approved a motion proposed by Altrincham FC director Andrew Shaw and vice-chairman Grahame Rowley. This proposed that STAR accept an offer of £1 a share for 2,500 of STAR's shares in the Football Club. STAR will retain 529 shares. Andrew Shaw confirmed that the money for the shares would find its way back to the Football Club

    As well as the end of season Race Night, STAR is also organizing representation in the Altrincham Festival and is also hoping to organize an event to celebrate the 30th anniversary of Alty's first triumph in the FA Trophy in 1978, Brian Flynn indicated that the STAR board had been considering mothballing the Trust and operating a supporters' association instead. Current membership of STAR is 169. There was some discussion of the relative merits of discount fares for STAR members on the supporters' coaches before Grahame Rowley expressed his and the other members' gratitude for the STAR board's hard work.

    KEYRING

    Pictured, right, is the latest piece of Altrincham FC merchandise. Devised by Sarah Rowley it is a see-through plastic keyring into which you can have inserted a photo of the current Altrincham FC player of your choice. The version shown, right, depicts Chris Senior. The reverse of the keyring is inscribed "The Robins". For just £2 you can order yours by e-mailing the club.

    BSP NEWS

    This is York tells us that "York City boss Colin Walker revealed the Minstermen have always had striking ambitions for Martyn Woolford. Walker rolled the dice with City 2-0 down to Altrincham at Moss Lane and put the former Frickley Athletic player up front with Richard Brodie. And the 22-year-old did not disappoint his manager - striking twice in three second half minutes to secure City a point from Moss Lane, and extend Walker's unbeaten start as Minstermen manager to 11 matches. That had not looked likely following goals either side of the break from substitute Colin Little, but Walker, pictured, said he had always been aware of Woolford's forward potential. 'Martyn Woolford had been tracked by York City for a while before he came to us and some of the positions he played were up front, off the front as well as left winger', he said. 'We've tried to introduce left wing back to him, but we always knew centre-forward was in there and when you are two down you do try and do a little bit of jiggery-pokery. I thought he and Richard Brodie did really well. We had a little bit of an ace up our sleeves'...

    Walker said he was disappointed City had not beaten Blue Square Premier strugglers Altrincham but added that, following events during the match, he had to be happy with a point. He also praised skipper Manny Panther's second-half display... Walker added: 'The plan to play three in midfield was to allow Manny to get forward. I just didn't think he timed his runs well enough in the first half. But, in the second period, I thought he was excellent... The two runs he made for the two goals were absolutely outstanding. He might not shout a lot on the pitch, but he certainly leads by example. I thought he was awesome in the second half'".

    This is Staffs states that "Crewe's torturous pursuit of marksman Stuart Fleetwood could be over after they had an improved bid accepted by Forest Green Rovers. The non-league outfit turned down an initial £175,000 offer for the 30-goal marksman. However, they finally agreed a package over the weekend which, with appearance-related cash, could take the deal over the £200,000 mark. Crewe are now discussing personal terms with the 21-year-old, although the move is unlikely to be sealed in time for him to make his debut at Swansea tomorrow". According to This is Glos adds that "Stuart Fleetwood will decide whether to join Crewe Alexandra on Wednesday. The 21-year-old is travelling back to Gloucester this evening after he and his agent discussed terms with the League One side".

    The Northants Evening Telegraph claims that "Rushden & Diamonds are holding out for more money before selling star striker Simeon Jackson. Chairman Keith Cousins is considering a bid – believed to be around £125,000 – from Gillingham who have officially joined the race to sign the 20-year-old hotshot. Jackson, who has scored 16 goals this season, was previously among the youth ranks at the Kent club where former Stevenage Borough boss Mark Stimson... confirmed: 'We've put a bid in for him... At the moment they're just saying they want more money. We're not going to give any more. We have put our bid in and just want an answer from them'... But the Gills face plenty of competition with League Two high-fliers Peterborough United still one of the favourites to clinch a deal. It is thought Northampton Town may show an interest after Andy Kirk's exit to Yeovil Town and the sale of Brad Johnson to Leeds United... Jackson has already been watched by Crystal Palace manager Neil Warnock while Colchester United, Nottingham Forest, Crewe Alexandra and Milton Keynes Dons are also reportedly keen on the Canadian youth international".

    According to This is Exeter, "Exeter City have given the clearest indication yet that they are ready to sell Jamie Mackie after the wantaway striker was absent from St James's Park [on Monday] night. The 22-year-old was supposed to be picking up his Blue Square Premier player-of-the-month award ahead of the Grecians' thoroughly convincing 2-0 win over a lacklustre Oxford United side. But after stunning club bosses by handing in a transfer request before the FA Trophy defeat at Rushden & Diamonds last week - and then outlining his desire to join Championship club and Devon rivals Plymouth Argyle - Mackie was left out of the squad. The 14-goal hitman has been the subject of two bids from the Pilgrims and has also attracted interest from Cheltenham Town, Bristol City and Bristol Rovers. So far the club have snubbed all offers, but last night's omission suggests they are likely to cash in on their prized asset. Argyle remain favourites to clinch his signature".


    21 January 2008

    RECOUNT

    The attendance at Saturday's game at home to York City has been revised. A gate of 1,210 was originally announced. This has now been revised to 1,610 with 548 of those being in the away end.

    GAME OFF

    The scheduled under-15s' game between Manchester United and WBA to be played at Moss Lane this Wednesday, has now been cancelled.

    STAR EVENTS

    The Altrincham FC supporters' trust, STAR, holds its AGM at Moss Lane tonight (Monday 21st). Doors open in the Noel White Suite at 7.30pm for an 8pm start.

    STAR is organizing its annual Race Night in the Noel White Suite on Sunday, 27th April. Please contact Brian Flynn or Mike Ainsworth if you would like to sponsor a race or horses.

    NEXT GAME

    For once, Alty travel to an away game with better recent form than their opponents. The Robins have taken 7 points from their last four games, whilst Cambridge United report that on Saturday they "lost their second league game of the new year and a fourth consecutive defeat in all, and manager Jimmy Quinn bemoaned his side's decision-making". The United boss said, "We gave away a couple of bad goals and I thought we should have had a blatant penalty; the referee bottled it a little bit. But we didn't really get playing until we went 2-1 behind... We had a couple of new players in today and that game will have done them good because it was their first time playing with the lads... I said before the game that we need to get something out of the game to go into four home games... We just made the wrong decisions, and instead of shooting we could have laid it off to somebody... But we'll turn it around and Tuesday's an opportunity to get back on track [v Droylsden]. We just need a win to get us going again... We've got a great opportunity to do that with the home games coming up... The way we've been playing in the last couple of games, if you concede a goal the confidence goes a little bit". The club website continues "Expectations will be high before the next two homes games, when the visitors are bottom club Droylsden and fifth-from-bottom club Altrincham, and Quinn expects his men to get the promotion challenge back on track".

    BARRY RETIRING

    Altrincham FC has announced that "With effect from the end of the season, Mr Barry Pond (right) is to step down as the club's commercial manager after more then ten years' voluntary work. We are therefore looking for a replacement. If anyone is interested in taking on the role of Commercial Manager of the Football Club, could they please contact the Club on 0161 928-1045 or e-mail for details"

    BSP NEWS

    Graham Westley, former manager of Rushden and Stevenage Borough, writes of Northwich Vics' boss Dino Maamria in the NL Paper, "With the signings that he has been making, Dino has strengthened his hand. He has been unwilling to take prisoners as the press headlines have told us in recent weeks. I sincerely hope Dino avoids relegation. He is working morning, noon and night to ensure that he does. And, if he does, I will be surprised if Northwich aren't a top-ten side next season. He has a good football brain and he is good enough to get them there."

    From the BBC we learn that "Gillingham boss Mark Stimson has admitted they are trying to sign Grays' defender Jon Ashton - but are waiting to hear back from the non-league club. 'Grays won today (Saturday) but are still in the FA Trophy and could get into the play-offs', Stimson... 'So they don't want to lose one of their best players. We have to be patient and cannot force it, but he is somebody I would love to add to our squad as he is a winner'. The Gills signed another Grays player, striker Dennis Oli, for an undisclosed fee last week".

    Altrincham's next home game is the televised match against Woking on Thursday January 31st. This is Weymouth tells us that "Woking staged a smash and grab win at the Wessex Stadium to stretch Weymouth's winless home run in the Blue Square Premier to five games. The Terras were far the better side for much of the contest but they paid the price for not taking their chances".


    20 January 2008

    ALTY HALT YORK'S RUN

    A measure of Alty's performance yesterday comes from This is York, which says that "Two goals in two minutes from Martyn Woolford salvaged a point for York City as they drew 2-2 at Altrincham... The draw extended manager Colin Walker's unbeaten start in the KitKat Crescent hot-seat to 11 matches. However, the share-all ended a sequence of seven consecutive away wins for the Minstermen".

    SAM's Connor Murphy writes of Saturday's game, "Alty highlighted the extent of their recent transformation after drawing 2-2 with an impressive York side on Saturday. Just over a month ago, Alty had meekly capitulated to York 3-1 in the FA Trophy but this team is the same only in name... This has been a genuine transformation - one that has given them renewed hope of escaping relegation. Maybe they should have taken all three points after going 2-0 up through a Colin Little double but this was a result that would not have been possible just weeks ago... Containment was Alty's first priority and they stuck to that task extremely well, setting up two rigid banks of four that denied the visitors any space in and around the penalty area. York, on the other hand, seemed to be treating the game as they would a training session, neatly passing the ball around but lacking any kind of thrust or ambition... A moment of magic gave Alty the lead four minutes before the break. There seemed to be no threat as Liam King's hopeful punt forward looped off a York player towards the edge of the area but Little beautifully controlled the ball, taking both opposition centre halves out of play before placing his shot into the bottom corner of the net... A superb free kick from Ryan Toulson caught the Minstermen completely flat-footed at the back and Little darted in to ram the ball home inside the six-yard box. But from that point on, it was all York. Manager Colin Walker made what seemed like a puzzling change when he brought on defender Anthony Lloyd for striker Sodje. But it turned out to be a masterstroke. With Woolford pushed up front and the midfield encouraged to get forward at every opportunity, wave after wave of York attacks crashed against the home defence".

    In the NL Paper, Graham Heathcote said, "Strangely, I'm happy to be disappointed. The performance today just shows the progress made by us since the FA Trophy defeat. We've come a long way in a short time. It gives us great hope for the remaining 19 games... We work hard on set pieces and I'm glad that one worked out for Colin Little's second. These goals have done Colin the world of good. It was a good batle and York made it hard for us. But I'm really pleased with our defensive performance apart from that mad five minutes" when York scored twice.

    Altrincham v York City match report here.

    KOP THIS

    From Saturday's "Robins' Review":

    Liverpool v Altrincham, FA Cup, 3rd Round 1981- the game in which Graham Heathcote scored a penalty at the Kop End, though as Gary Scott told us recently, the Alty manager never talks about it!: "A video of the game has been uncovered and has now been transposed onto DVD. If anyone is interested in obtaining a copy, please e-mail Grahame Rowley for pricing and further details".

    And to be fair to Graham, in the NL Today newspaper, Graham is interviewed about Alty's game at Liverpool in the context of Havant's impending visit to Merseyside - and he doesn't mention the penalty once! Graham said, "People didn't believe we had a chance going to Liverpool but the players and management team didn't buy into all that. I think with the sort of FA Cup run Havant are on now that they will start to believe, like we did. We didn't go as no-hopers. Although the task is enormous they can't go in with that attitude. The crowd is not an issue... A crowd can't actually win or lose the match. Of course, it is a place for cool heads and they mustn't let the occasion run away with them".

    OLD BOYS

    The UniBond League announces that "Former England Youth international Kyle Wilson has made a quick switch to Fleetwood Town from fellow title challengers Witton Albion whom he only joined in December from Barrow when his father and former Stalybridge Celtic, Leek Town and Northwich Victoria manager Phil Wilson parted company with the Bluebirds. Wilson’s promising career was cut short by a cruciate ligament injury and the 22 year old forward had spells at Altrincham and Wrexham after leaving Crewe Alexandra before linking up with his father at Barrow". The same source reveals that Carl Furlong has left Northwich Victoria for Cammell Laird.

    Abbey Hey boss and former Alty Reserves' manager Neil Brown has registered the following former Alty Reserves' players at his new club: Kwame Barnett, Craig Ellison, Rico Richards. Atherton LR have signed Paul Tilley.

    From NL Daily we learn that "Rossendale United continued their good recent run with a 2-1 win at Bridlington Town, courtesy of a Mario Sergio-Daniel double".

    NEXT GAME

    Alty's next game is away at Cambridge United on Saturday.

    "Accrington Stanley`s striker Lee McEvilly has put pen-to-paper with Cambridge United on a loan until the end of the season and he goes straight into the squad to face Grays Athletic on Saturday. The 25-year-old striker started his career at Burscough and moved to Rochdale in December 2001 for £20,000, making 95 appearances for them and scoring 27 goals. He also became the club's first full international when he was capped for Northern Ireland. McEvilly moved to Stanley in May 2004, having had a loan spell with the Reds in the previous season. He played for Stanley before moving to Wrexham in the summer of 2005. He played 55 times for Wrexham in his two seasons there before returning to Stanley in July 2007... Meanwhile, leaving the club on loan is defender Gavin Hoyte, who joins Hinckley United on a three month loan, although a 24-hour recall clause comes into effect after the first twenty-eight days. The loan spell [follows]... Thursday`s arrival of defender Wayne Hatswell" reports NL Daily.

    Cambridge United report that they "slithered to a fourth consecutive defeat after squandering the lead in the Grays mud. Scott Rendell fired the U's ahead midway through the first half with a well-taken goal from United's best move of the match, but moves of any quality were few and far between as Lee McEvilly and Wayne Hatswell worked hard on debut to little effect. Michael Standing smuggled an equaliser over the line seconds after the restart, and the same player's thunderbolt won the match 20 minutes from time. With a run of home games to come United [including Alty next Saturday] are in desperate need of a morale-boosting result of any kind. Man of the Match Mark Albrighton - another solid effort in the centre of defence. Honourable mentions for Lee McEvilly who worked hard but tired a bit, Scott Rendell who looked better for his goal, and Stephen Reed who was dangerous down the left."

    FEATURED CLUB

    Saturday's visitors to Moss Lane under the Featured Club scheme were Broadheath Central JFC (above) and they saw a very entertaining game which will hopefully inspire them to return again.

    BSP NEWS

    Droylsden's Danny Warner has joined Hyde United.

    NL Daily confirms that "Defender Craig Richards has become the fourth player from Salisbury City to go out on loan during the transfer window in a bid to get more first team action under his belt. Richards has joined Brackley Town for a month". Meanwhile, "Grays Athletic have signed MK Dons' striker Scott Taylor until the end of the season. Taylor has a wealth of experience. He has been at several clubs since starting his career at Staines Town, including the likes of Plymouth Argyle, Blackpool, Tranmere, Bolton Wanderers, Millwall, Stockport County and Brentford. Taylor effectively replaces... striker Gavin Grant, who has returned to his parent club Millwall, despite originally agreeing to a season-long loan spell with Grays. However, Jack Obersetller has extended his loan at The Rec until the end of the season". and also "Droylsden then lost Steve Halford to a red card for deliberate handball. "

    Blue Square Football says that "Crawley Town have received a major boost with the news that MK Dons youngsters Kieran Murphy and Mustapha Carayol have been allowed to extend their loan deals at the club. Republic of Ireland under-21 international Murphy, 20, initially joined in November and has impressed with some strong defensive displays. Carayol, 18, has been utilised predominantly as a substitute in his eight appearances for The Red Devils since he joined the Blue Square Premier club at the end of October".

    "Danny Meadowcroft and Michael Roddy were among the substitutes at Burton. They are the latest new recruits to Vics' survival fight at the bottom of the Blue Square Premier" reports the Northwich Guardian. "'We have four quality centre backs now Danny is here'" said Dino Maamria. 'Our problem at the start of the season was that we were really short in that area but now we have competition for places and that can only be healthy'". "Meadowcroft, 22, joins Vics from Ossett Town. Before that he spent a spell at Bradford Park Avenue after leaving Morecambe in the summer. Meanwhile former Bolton Wanderers scholar and Republic of Ireland U19s international Michael Roddy arrives to bolster Vics in midfield. He left League Two Lincoln City after manager Peter Jackson decided not to renew his short-term contract". Neverthless Vics shipped four goals yesterday and "Dino Maamria blamed a sloppy start for Vics' humbling at Burton. His players were in disarray during the opening stages, allowing Aaron Webster to nick the game's first goal... 'You need to start matches on the front foot and we didn't. There were a lot of young lads out there new to this league and they were caught out'. Maamria stressed he thought the 4-1 scoreline was harsh, preferring to take only positives away from the Pirelli Stadium. The clinical finishing of Aaron Burns is top of that list. 'His was a fantastic goal', Maamria told the Guardian.'He is going to score a lot of goals for Northwich at this level - he's got great touch and I just thought his finish was fantastic'. He picked on Cortez Belle as another who impressed on his debut before admitting there was much still to do on the training ground. 'We are struggling without Ryan Brown', he admitted. 'I've tried Michael Bowler there today and to be fair he struggled a bit. It's hurting us because players are having to play out of their natural position... I'm not too upset tonight because I know we will bounce back'".


    19 January 2008

    YET ANOTHER POSTPONEMENT

    Sunday's cup match between Altrincham FC Youth and Ashton Athletic has been postponed due to a waterlogged pitch. If Alty play next week, it will be six weeks since they played their last game due to weather problems.

    ALTRINCHAM 2 YORK CITY 2

    Alty Man of the Match, Robbie Lawton traps the ball during the game against York.

    Against an in-form York City, Alty were ultimately happy with a point but having led 2-0 at the hour-mark it all went wrong as two goals were conceded in as many minutes.

    Match report here.

  • Alty line-ups
  • Alty player stats

    Saturday 19th January

  • Through the Years by Howard Watts.
  • Aldershot T. 0 Forest Green R. 1
  • ALTRINCHAM 2 York C. 2
  • Burton A. 4 Northwich V. 1
  • Crawley T. 4 Rushden & D. 1
  • Halifax T. v Stafford R. POSTPONED
  • Histon v Ebbsfleet U. POSTPONED
  • Kidderminster H. 2 Farsley C. 1
  • Salisbury C.0 Torquay U. 0
  • Stevenage B. 5 Droylsden 0
  • Weymouth 0 Woking 1

    FROM VICS TO ROBINS

    Above: Richard Battersby has turned his back on Northwich to join Altrincham. He is seen here on Boxing Day 2007 playing for the Vics against Alty. The man on the ball for Vics is Simon Rusk who may well be playing for York tomorrow against his former team-mate (see below).

    The Sale and Altrincham Messenger confirms that "Alty have made their seventh signing of the January transfer window after capturing full back Richard Battersby from bitter rivals Northwich. The Vics fans' favourite fell victim to manager Dino Maamria's overhaul at the Victoria Stadium, paving the way for him to cross the divide... How he will fit into the team remains to be seen, with Chris Lane a consistently solid performer at right back this season, but the 28-year-old can also play in midfield... It became clear Battersby was on his way out of Vics after he posted a farewell message on a Northwich supporters' internet message board. 'After recent discussions with Dino, it's clear that it's in my best interest to leave the club', he said. 'I shall look forward to returning to the Victoria Stadium as an opposing player'. Battersby was a key player in the Northwich side which romped to the Conference North title in 2006 and was also a regular starter as the club secured a midtable finish in the Conference last season. He made more than 100 appearances for Vics after joining from Radcliffe Borough in 2005".

    SATURDAY'S GAME

    The BBC confirms that "Altrincham are without midfielder Val Owen (foot), while centre-back Darren Tinson is a slight doubt with flu. Otherwise manager Graham Heathcote has a fully fit squad to choose from as he seeks to steer his side clear of relegation trouble. York's top scorer Craig Farrell is rated as 50-50 for the trip to Moss Lane but midfielder Manny Panther has shaken off a slight hamstring pull. Newly signed from Northwich, Simon Rusk is pushing for his first league start".

    OLD BOY

    I am indebted to Robert Dickinson from Australia for the following from the A-League. site where there is a full interview with James Robinson. It starts, "James Robinson is enjoying life in sunny Perth After battling on the fringes of the Melbourne Victory squad last season, more game time has given James Robinson a new-found sense of confidence since moving to Perth. While he concedes it has been a disappointing season for Perth Glory, Robinson remains in a buoyant mood with plenty to play for in the final rounds". Perth are currently bottom of the league so James says, "I just wish we could be winning every week! The basics are there and form is something that can be turned around... Before the season had started I got an injury which kept me out of the Pre-Season Cup". Asked about his goall for Melbourne against Adelaide in last season's Major Semi-Final, James said "It was fantastic and an absolutely amazing highlight for me personally.... What we did, and the way we did it and the Grand Final 6-0 win. I don't think that will ever be repeated again. It was brilliant and I will always have that with me but hopefully there are a lot more highlights like that still to come".

    BSP NEWS

    The NL Daily says that "Rushden & Diamonds defender Wayne Hatswell has signed for rivals Cambridge United for an undisclosed fee. Hatswell started his career at Forest Green Rovers, with spells at Oxford United, Chester City and Kidderminster Harriers... This season the 32-year-old defender has made twenty-two league appearances, scoring three goals for Diamonds... Diamonds manager Garry Hill commented: 'I was approached by Cambridge who requested permission to speak to Wayne and who were prepared to pay a substantial five-figure transfer fee to acquire the services of the player. Wayne was given permission to speak to Cambridge and what with the deal he has been offered, coupled with the amount time of left on his contract at Rushden, I wasn’t in a position to compete with that and therefore the club have allowed him to move on'".

    And another player could soon leave Nene Park as NL Daily adds that "Rushden & Diamonds' top scorer Simeon Jackson continues to be at the centre of transfer speculation. He has been strongly linked with a six-figure switch to neighbours Peterborough United but Gillingham also confirmed they have made a bid. Jackson had a spell with the Kent club as a youngster before moving to Nene Park where he recently made his 100th first-team appearance... Meanwhile, teenage midfielder Alex Bolt is also back after a loan spell at Rugby Town".

    "Torquay United`s goalkeeper Simon Rayner has joined Blue Square North side Boston United on loan until the end of the season with a view to a permanent move. Rayner, 24, who moved to Torquay from Lincoln City last summer following a spell on loan last season, has been out of the Gulls' side since November... Boston recently attempted to re-sign former favourite and appearance record holder Paul Bastock from Rushden & Diamonds, but with that deal falling through, the deal for Rayner was ideally timed for manager Tommy Taylor".

    Bullsnews that at Hereford United "The signing of Carshalton winger Jack MacLeod has been confirmed. The teenager has signed a deal until the end of the season... MacLeod is a former Millwall trainee with experience in the Conference with Crawley".

    From the BBC comes news that Accrington "Stanley striker Lee McEvilly, 25, has completed his loan move to Cambridge United, where he will stay until the end of the season"

    The BBC says that "Stevenage Borough manager Peter Taylor has swooped to secure the services of winger Wayne O'Sullivan from Rymans League side Hendon. The 23-year-old has agreed a two-and-a-half-year deal at Broadhall Way... O'Sullivan had also caught the eye of several scouts by scoring 18 goals in 31 appearances for Hendon this season. According to Stevenage, the player was also a target for a League Two side".


    18 January 2008

    ALTY SIGN BATTERSBY

    Altrincham FC have signed former Northwich Victoria defender Richard Battersby. Richard, born on 12 September 1979, joined Vics in 2005, having previously been at Radcliffe Borough. He will have squad number 17 and is available for tomorrow's game.

    GRAHAM AND THE DANGER ZONE

    In advance of Saturday's game against York City, The Manchester Evening News quotes Graham Heathcote as saying "I always fancy us to give anyone a game at our place and that still stands in spite of our problems at home this season. And there could be no bigger incentive for us to beat York in that only a victory is guaranteed to keep us out of the relegation zone. We've worked hard to drag ourselves to the top of the mini-league of relegation candidates and another win would keep us clear of the danger zone".

    BEADLE CHOOSES YORK

    Alty take on the Minstermen at Moss Lane on Saturday and "York City new signing Jimmy Beadle has turned his back on 'soft' Scandinavian football to return to the cut and thrust of Conference life" according to This is York. "Beadle, 19, has come back to England after playing first in the Swedish fourth division and then for Norwegian outfit Steinkjer FK. The former Scarborough centre-back made the decision after finding the northern European game did not suit his physical approach to football... Beadle said: 'I received a call from somebody at the FA asking me if I wanted to go to Sweden and it was either that or go and work on a building site in the summer, so I went out there but I didn't like it. I was getting sent off all the time and suspended a lot. It's really soft over there and, while it probably made me a better player technically, it did not suit me. I like to tackle and win headers but I just ended up getting booked a lot. The standard in Sweden wasn't the best but it was better in Norway. I was playing for a team that were just two leagues below Rosenborg but, while the lifestyle was good in the summer, it got a bit cold towards the end in Norway. It was very expensive as well. I had a two-year contract in Norway but I had an agreement that if the club did not stay up I could leave and we were bottom of the league so I went'. Beadle has since trained with Farsley Celtic, Northwich, Altrincham and Welsh team TNS but hung out for a contract offer from the Minstermen, who he contacted for a trial having previously worked under Colin Walker's current assistant Eric Winstanley at Scarborough... Beadle broke into Scarborough's first team along with current Barnsley striker Michael Coulson at the age of 16 when the club were still in the Conference and the new City signing admits his former team-mate's exploits in the Championship help drive him on...'York are going forward as a club and that will help me go forward. I just want to establish myself in the first team... I'm mainly a centre-half but I played sweeper a lot in Norway and have played right-back and centre-midfield, as well as centre-forward last season at Scarborough and, as long as I'm playing, I'm happy'". Accrington Stanley say that "Lee McEvilly is set to leave Stanley on loan and is travelling South to discuss personal terms with Cambridge United. If he agrees to sign, the striker will join Paul Carden who is also on loan at The Abbey Stadium from Stanley. McEvilly has made no secret of he fact he wants first team football having just completed a successful loan spell at Rochdale". And "Cambridge United have completed the signing of Bedford Town midfielder Ben Farrell on a deal which runs until the end of the season. The Blue Square Premier side have the option of another year. There is no transfer fee for the 21-year-old because he was on non-contract terms with the Eagles. Cambridge boss Jimmy Quinn said: 'He's the right age, he's big and strong".

    BSP NEWS

    From the BBC we learn that "Gillingham have completed the signing of Grays Athletic striker Dennis Oli on a two-and-a-half year deal for an undisclosed fee. Gills' boss Mark Stimson recruited the 23-year-old on loan in November. Grays will also receive a 50% sell-on fee if the former QPR forward is sold in the future. Stimson told the club website: 'It is great to get him on a permanent deal because he is at the right age and we feel he'll develop into a fine player'">

    "Stevenage Borough have signed 20-year old Clark Masters on loan until the end of the season. The 6ft 3in goalkeeper made his Football League debut for Brentford against Blackpool in the first game of the 2006-2007 season... Masters spent a period on loan at Slough Town in the 2005-6 season. Masters joined AFC Wimbledon in a one-month loan deal early in 2007. He played five games for the Dons... He embarked on another loan spell, this time with Welling United at the start of the 2007-08 season. He joined Southend United in the January transfer window and was immediately loaned out to Stevenage Borough". and also "Wayne O'Sullivan has today signed a 2 year deal with Stevenage after being pursued by a League Two club. The 23 year old forward, who also plays wide left or right, was signed from Hendon where he's been playing on a non contract basis this season, scoring 16 goals in 25 league games. Wayne started his career at Arsenal and Exeter and has been training with Boro this week, impressing manager Peter Taylor."

    The Cambridge News reports that "A dejected Jimmy Quinn, who will be without Paul Carden and Leo Fortune-West for three games following their dismissals last night, said Histon deserved to win and offered an apology to United fans for a poor display. He said: 'I have to say sorry because that wasn't my team out there. We got caught up in their way of playing and it was men against boys. The lads let themselves down and Histon were better than us in every department'" added the Cambridge boss.

    IC Surrey says that "Crazed football hooligans swinging planks of wood staged a 50-man brawl around Crawley train station while women and children screamed in terror. Thugs following Hampshire's Eastleigh FC battled 'fans' claiming to support Crawley Town FC in streets around the station before the mayhem spilled onto the railway tracks. Dozens of police officers rushed to the station on Saturday afternoon and made four arrests - all Eastleigh FC fans - while train operators shut down the rail network to prevent serious injuries. David Malone, managing director of Eastleigh FC, said: "We know nothing about it.... Who is to say they were Eastleigh fans? We have never had any trouble like this'. Crawley Town FC chairman Vic Marley was quick to defend the club's family reputation. He said: 'I don't know the circumstances of this but we always fully support the police. If something happens outside of the stadium it is often beyond our control... This is a club that is part of the community and opportunities to bring families to games is one of our prime considerations'".

    Meanwhile the Crawley Observer adds that "After taking over the role of chairman at Crawley Town in the summer, Vic Marley already has reason to believe there is plenty to be happy about this season. He has been at the club as a director since the mid-1990s following a spell as director at Wimbledon FC during their glory years. After retiring from working in the city as a broker for many years, Vic was able to take more time supporting the the club and last summer he accepted the position of chairman".

    In Kent, the Gravesend Reporter says that "Ebbsfleet United director Brian Kilcullen heralded the beginning of an 'exciting new era' as the MyFootballClub.co.uk takeover edged a step closer this week... MyFC members now have seven days to give the deal the green light and, provided they vote in favour of it, three weeks' notice will then be sent out to the club's current shareholders announcing the date of an Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM) - likely to be sometime around mid-February... Said Kilcullen, 'We felt the club needed a fresh impetus and we're confident they can take the club a bit further... We envisaged it would take as long as it has'... Kilcullen now faces a more limited role at the club".

    Another boardroom change is reported by This is Exeter which says that "Exeter City will today announce that senior commercial manager Pat Chambers has stepped down from her position. Chambers was appointed last September on a £50,000-a-year salary to head up all City's revenue-generating activities. But the club say she has left to return to the north east for health reasons. Chambers arrived at the club with a big reputation, having worked as business development manager for Sporting-ID, a firm dedicated to the creation, development and global distribution of professional player and replica team kit identity". Meanwhile, "Exeter City have turned down a second Plymouth Argyle bid for Jamie Mackie.The latest offer fell some way short of City's valuation of their prized asset and was instantly rebuffed. Now the Pilgrims are deciding whether or not to table a third bid to land the 14-goal striker".

    Still on the subject of transfers, This is Glos says that "Crewe Alexandra have submitted a 'take it or leave it' offer to Forest Green after growing tired of the Stuart Fleetwood saga. The Cheshire club have already failed with a £175,000 bid for Fleetwood, and are reluctant stump up any more cash up front... Crewe have already publicly criticised 'amateurish' Rovers for failing to respond to their first offer, and it is clear their patience has now run out. A statement on their official website last night read: 'Frustratingly, Crewe Alexandra Football Club have still not heard if our bid for a non-league striker (Fleetwood) has proved successful or not. The club involved (Forest Green) did categorically inform us that they would be contacting either our first team manager Steve Holland or club chairman John Bowler with a response one way or another this morning, but once again they have failed to communicate'. Crewe assistant manager Neil Baker [said] 'We've made an appearance-related adjustment offer which we feel represents what the player is worth. But we're not prepared to get involved in an auction'. Rovers' boss Jim Harvey [said] 'I'm working on the basis that Stuart will be available [on Saturday] and I expect that to be the case'".

    "Scott Tynan has pledged his future to Northwich Victoria" states the Northwich Guardian. "The shot-stopper signed an 18-month contract after traning today, Thursday, so ending a week of speculation around his future. 'This is the deal we really wanted to get sorted', Vics' boss Dino Maamria told the Guardian. 'Scott has always told me he wanted to say if we could agree the right terms, finally we have'. Tynan, 24, has been Maamria's first choice as keeper since switching to Vics in October. He orginally agreed non contract terms and went without pay during his first six weeks at the club... '"What's great is he's still a young guy too and is exactly the type of player I want to build the team around'" said the manager.

    "Soon after Scott Tynan signed his new contract, manager Dino Maamria had a further announcement to make on Lucas Akins and Nat Kerr. 'They want to carry on playing here', he said. Teenage front runner Akins will play in green for a third month after Huddersfield Town boss Andy Ritchie gave his blessing yesterday, Wednesday. The 18-year-old has made eight appearances for Vics in his two-month stay, scoring a precious goal in the away day derby win at Altrincham. Meanwhile fellow loanee Nat Kerr will be a part of Vics' backline until the end of the season after his boss at Rotherham, Mark Robins, agreed Kerr could continue his development in his native north west. 'It's more great news', said Maamria... Kerr, 20, has played seven games for Vics, picking up three yellow cards and a red in that time. But his combative style is one Maamria likes".


    17 January 2008

    ALTY HONOURED

    Before the home game against Farsley Celtic on Tuesday, 12th February, Altrincham FC will be presented with an award as the most successful North West Non-League club over the period of the publication of the Non-League Directory. The Directory's founder, Tony Williams will present the award and it is hoped that former Liverpool legend Roger Hunt may also attend. Also present will be a number of former Alty stars representing the last thirty years or so. The presentation event will be in the Noel White Suite from around 6,30pm and everyone is welcome.

    UNITED AT MOSS LANE

    Manchester United Under-15s will play WBA Under-15s at Moss Lane on Wednesday 23rd January, at 7pm. Entry is free.

    TEE OFF

    Graham Heathcote is arranging a Golf Day for the benefit of Altrincham FC. Teams of up to four are invited to participate. The entry fee is £300 per team (+VAT) and, as usual, there will be prizes and a meal after the event. Plese ring the club (928-1045) to register your interest.

    GRAHAM AND REFS

    As previously announced:

    Radcliffe Borough have confirmed that they are holding an evening with "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".

    Tickets are now also available from the club offices at Moss Lane.

    A "BUZZ" AT MOSS LANE

    Right: Graham Barrow and Graham Heathcote in the Alty team of 1980-81 - an era of dodgy moustaches! BACK: P. Warburton (coach), B. Whitbread, F. Towers, G. Barrow, J. Connaughton, J. Owens, J. Johnson, J. Evans (physio). FRONT: J. Rogers, B. Howard, J. King (capt), A. Sanders (manager), J. Davison, S. Allan, G. Heathcote. At least seven of these players have subsequently become managers.

    The Sale & Altrincham Messenger reports that "Graham Heathcote has warned his players that the task ahead will only get harder as they look to avoid relegation from the Blue Square Premier. The Robins have made a strong start to 2008, winning two of their three games so far to lift them above Farsley Celtic and out of the drop zone. Bolstered by the arrival of five new signings, as well as the return of on-loan Stoke defender Ryan Shotton, they have looked like a different side, playing with a newfound verve and resilience. The fact that their two victories - against Northwich and Kidderminster - have both come after falling behind only serves to underline that point... 'It's the second half of the season now and the teams looking to get into the play-offs will really start to kick on', said the Alty boss. 'The strong clubs will get even stronger, while the ones around us will be adding to their squads as well. It's going to get much harder but there's 20 games to go and still everything to play for. We just have to stay positive and keep a freshness about us and we'll stand a good chance'.

    Heathcote believes the new faces in his playing squad, as well as the arrival of Graham Barrow as assistant manager have been vital in getting rid of the losing mentality that had begun to infect the team... He said: 'Graham Barrow has great knowledge of the game and great experience and he fits right into the category of what I wanted to bring to the club. He's got involved in training straight away and has brought fresh ideas and systems to the team. Before the new year I think the players had begun to feel a bit sorry for themselves because we were losing so often. We've been on a poor run for three years now and some of the players have been here all that time, so it does become difficult to lift yourself. It became very clear that I had to make changes because the results weren't good enough but now there's a real buzz about the place'... The Robins boss hopes to bring in more new arrivals to strenghten his squad before the transfer window closes at the end of January".

    NEXT VISITORS

    Altrincham's next game is at home to York City on Saturday and This is York reports that "boss Colin Walker believes the decision to postpone yesterday's FA Trophy replay at Grays Athletic might prove 'a blessing in disguise'. The Minstermen could have been without key trio Craig Farrell, Martyn Woolford and Manny Panther for the second round clash and the lunchtime announcement also aborted what was already promising to become a nightmare southbound journey. Instead, City will enjoy a second day of rest before focusing on Saturday's Blue Square Premier trip to Altrincham... Walker said: 'There was always a chance of it being off with the weather we've been having and we were already two hours behind schedule with traffic problems when we were told it had been called off at Blyth services.

    We wouldn't have got to our hotel until 3.30pm at the earliest instead of 1.30pm and then we would have had to decide whether we could have had our pre-match meal or not. There were a lot of problems. We were due to leave at 9am but the coach could not get to KitKat Crescent on time because there was a problem on Boroughbridge Road. Some of our lads from the north-east were also late because the A1 was closed and there was always the danger that we might have had more problems later on. The postponement might prove a blessing in disguise because it will give Martyn Woolford more time to recover from his illness and Manny Panther also had a slight hamstring problem so he can now rest, while Craig Farrell wasn't going to make the game anyway'".

    NEXT HOSTS WILL HAVE TWO BANNED

    Altrincham's next away game, on 16 January, is at Cambridge United who lost 2-0 to Histon last night in an FA Trophy replay. "Unfortunate to be trailing by a late goal at half-time, United were deflated by Histon's second goal soon after the break and lost their way and their heads to finish with nine men.... With ten minutes remaining and tempers fraying, Paul Carden was warned after his foul on Okay and Dan Gleeson collected United's second booking for impeding Barker as he threatened to break away. Steve Fallon sent on Robbie Nightingale for John Kennedy in the 84th minute, and seconds after walking onto the pitch he made a late challenge on Carden, who reacted with a clip round the back of Nightingale's head. The Histon man was shown a yellow card but Carden received a straight red for violent conduct... It got even worse four minutes later when Fortune-West made a very late challenge on Okay. Like Carden he was shown a straight red card and like Carden he will now miss the next three games [ v. Grays, Droylsden and Altrincham]... The final whistle was greeted with disappointed boos by the United fans as their side slid to a third straight defeat".

    BSP NEWS

    The BBC tells us that "Members of fans' website MyFootballClub are being given the chance to vote on the takeover of Ebbsfleet United. Over 27,000 members can cast their votes over the next seven days on the club's £635,000 takeover and over 50% must consent for it to go through. MyFootballClub creator Will Brooks said: 'We are confident of an overwhelming 'yes' vote'... 'It's a wonderful opportunity for the club', said Brian Kilcullen, who will take over as interim chairman from club chairman Jason Botley should the takeover be finalised... [Manager Liam] Daish's contract will be extended by a year to the end of the 2008/09 season as part of the deal and the Ebbsfleet boss backed the buyout... Daish told BBC Radio Kent 'I don't envisage getting £20,000 for a player, but I hope to be able to get a couple of bodies in and secure the players who are here already. Barring John Akinde everybody's contract is up at the end of the season. It will secure the services of these players and help them to push on to the next level'... But Daish urged members not to treat team selection as a computer game. 'They're dealing with a bunch of players whose livelihoods are at stake. They support their families with what they earn here, they don't earn anything else. As long as everyone takes it as seriously as the players, and I and the coaching staff do, then I don't see any problem'".

    Meanwhile, "Forest Green striker Stuart Fleetwood would consider a transfer to a League One club, according to the player's agent Riley Taggert. Rovers have already rejected bids from Crewe, Gillingham and Cheltenham, while both Plymouth and Charlton have also been linked with a move for the player. 'Stuart is not holding out for any particular club', said Taggert. 'Should he be given permission to talk to someone in League One, he would certainly do that'... A £175,000 bid for the Wales Under-21 striker from Crewe Alexandra was rejected on Tuesday".

    And also from the BBC, "Exeter City midfielder Matt Gill has stepped down from his role as captain. The 27 year-old, who is midway through a two-year contract with the club, says he wants to concentrate on his own game. Gill was sent off late in Exeter's Conference play-off final defeat by Morecambe last May for headbutting Shrimpers' Craig Stanley. And Grecians manager Paul Tisdale has yet to comment on who might replace the former Peterborough player".

    From the Woking News and Mail we learn that "Frank Gray is still coming to terms with the 'bitter disappointment' of losing to rivals Aldershot Town for a third time in the space of three weeks — but keen to take the positives of a superb performance from his players... 'I’m pleased to see the back of Aldershot — although there’s still the Setanta Shield', joked the Cards’ boss, who is adamant his players deserved something from all three clashes against The Shots. 'It was our best performance for a while on Saturday and it will have shown the players they are capable of doing it, which is more important', he said.... Gray hopes to sign another player this week, but Cards' football technical director Colin Lippiatt has confirmed the six players placed on the transfer list at Oxford, including Tom Hutchinson's brother Eddie, are out of Woking's price range".

    According to The Northwich Guardian, "Dino Maamria has captured the three men he said he wanted for Saturday. Vics sealed deals for Cortez Belle, Matthew Crowell and Jamie Mullan... Belle is perhaps the most recognisable of the three. The 24-year-old central defender was released by Halifax Town on Monday and has agreed terms up to the end of the season. Next in is midfielder Crowell, 23, who arrives from League Two strugglers Wrexham. A Welsh U21 international, he began his career at Southampton before switching to the Racecourse Ground in 2003. He has made almost 100 appearances for the club since then. Last up is teenage winger Jamie Mullan who was released from a short-term deal at Rochdale this week. He came through the youth ranks at Manchester United, along with fellow Vics' front runner Aaron Burns, before he was released by Alex Ferguson last summer".

    Elsewhere, IC Cheshire claims that "Northwich Vics are anticipating offers for wantaway former skipper Mike Carr this week... Director Jim Rushe said: 'According to sources we can expect some interest this week'. Vics don’t want to lose Carr, who asked for a transfer in the summer and again a fortnight ago. His contract has until the end of the season to run and that enables Vics to ask for a fee, albeit limited".

    "Crawley Town have completed the signing of former Woking, Nottingham Forest and Gillingham winger Kevin James. James, 28, had been a free agent after turning down an offer to stay with Woking at the start of January. He has now signed a deal running until the end of the season... According to Crawley, they beat off competition from rivals Oxford and Weymouth to persuade James to join them. James, who played under Red Devils boss Steve Evans during a loan spell at Boston three years ago, started 18 Blue Square Premier games for Woking earlier this season" according to the BBC.

    The Halifax Courier says that "Town confirmed that Simon Heslop's loan from Barnsley has been extended to the end of the season... Heslop's initial three month loan ended at midnight on Tuesday". Off the field, Halifax Town reports that "Calderdale Council has submitted plans to redevelop the Shay Stadium's East Stand.... The plans... are for a four storey stand. The ground floor will be home to team and officials' changing facilities and also include a supporter's bar and café, gymnasium,community space for various groups and organisations and concourses for fans at both ends with associated refreshment facilities... For spectators the stand will provide for a seated capacity of 3500... Calderdale Council agreed to complete the East Stand earlier this year including provision of shell space for the banqueting suite and community facilities to be funded by the Shay Stadium Trust. It is hoped that this will guarantee the sustainable economic future of the stadium and will turn the Shay into a venue that is used seven days a week, as opposed to just half a day. Councillor David Kirton [said] 'The council will recoup the money it puts into the development by restructuring the lease once the stadium is completed and selling off surplus parts of the site.Subject to the planning application being approved work would begin in June next year with a view to completing in December'".

    Torquay United "goalkeeper Simon Rayner has today joined Boston United on loan for the remainder of the season with a view to a permanent move in the summer. Chief Executive Colin Lee told us -'This will give the boy a chance to play first team football. Considering Simon put in a transfer request we feel this is the best scenario for both parties'".

    "Midfielder Seb Hamilton has been released" by Stafford Rangers, "after making seven league and cup appearances. He joined Stafford earlier in the season from Romulus".

    The BBC says that "Plymouth have made an increased offer for Exeter City striker Jamie Mackie. The Pilgrims' were knocked back last week when they tabled their first bid of £80,000 for the 21-year-old forward, who has notched 14 goals this season. Mackie is out of contract at the end of the season and Grecians director of football Steve Perryman says the latest offer has not been rejected outright. 'We're not excited about it. We haven't turned it down yet. It's on the table but that's as far as it goes', he said".


    16 January 2008

    SELL OUT

    Altrincham FC director David Burns has announced that the Sportsman's Dinner on 13th March at which top referee Graham Poll is the guest speaker is now sold out. Congratulations are due to all concerned for making this event such a success.

    BSP NEWS

    Surprising news comes from Oxford United where "Manager Darren Patterson has told six players that they can find other clubs Carl Pettefer, Eddie Hutchinson, Alex Jeannin, Rob Duffy, Michael Corcoran and Matt Day have all had talks with the United boss and been told that their names will be circulated to other clubs. Darren said: 'I spoke to everyone face to face and put the situation as clearly as I could to them. I need to generate funds to bring in new players and to strengthen the squad. I have been delighted with the two new players who have come in this month, but feel I need to bring in five or six more and I can't do that within the wage cap at the moment. The players now know they are playing for their future. They have until January 31 when the window closes to either show other clubs what they can do or prove to us that they want to be part of what we are trying to build here. They are in the shop window but it doesn't mean they have all played their last game for Oxford United. They are professionals and very well paid to play for this club and I would expect them to give their all in every game. They understand, there were no screaming matches or arguments, and there is no bitterness. At the same time we will all continue to work hard on the training ground to get things right and continue to look at players we would like to bring in to strengthen the squad'".

    And there is also an unexpected threatened clearout at Stevenage Borough as "Borough have today notified Football League clubs that Craig Dobson, Ronnie Henry and Alan Julian are all available for transfer. This brings the number of players made available to seven with Paul Hakim, Damian Batt, Jamie Eames and Tyrone Sealey already on the list. Chairman Phil Wallace said: 'Craig, Ronnie and Alan have all been offered new, improved contracts and declined. Craig and Alan have said they want to keep their options open until May, but it does not work like that. If they think the grass may be greener then we will make it easy for them by inviting other clubs to buy them in the transfer window. Then they will know a bit more about their options. Ronnie is slightly different in that he has said he wants to stay, but so far we cannot agree terms. We are about to sign a new goalkeeper, we have recently added three new defenders with another quality centre half playing tomorrow, we have ample options in wide areas within the existing squad and we've still got one or two more keen to come. So we are happy to put them on the list if they perhaps do not see their futures with us right now. This does not mean they will not be included in future games. The Manager has made it clear to each of them that he will select the best 16 players for each game, but he has a lot to pick from now so I guess he will have one eye on his squad for next season as well as picking teams to win matches over the next three to four months'. Borough manager Peter Taylor said: 'The two week break has been good for us. We have brought some good quality players in, we have several players back from injury and the team spirit is good, so it is all about focus now. We are here to win promotion and I want the players I pick to be totally focused on the job in hand'".

    A club on the up is Histon whose site reports that on "Saturday delegates from the Football Conference and Football League visited the Glass World Stadium to Grade the Stadium. The club was given permission to play in the Blue Square Premier this season on their B grade with a view to completing work before the 31st March 2008. The work included upgrading the floodlights from their 140 Lux, providing new toilet facilities, additional turnstiles, additional seating and a Police control room. On Saturday the delegation were able to view the impressive new facilities which in the words of the delegation have been completed to a high standard. The club addressed the floodlights by replacing the old lights with a brand new system, their £50,000 investment now providing an average Lux value of 400. Setanta TV require clubs to have a minimum average Lux value of 350 to film live games.

    The impressive new Cambridgeshire FA Headquarters provide two more of the required facilities with ladies and gents toilets and a new kitchen now available to fans in the lower part of the Red Gate Stand. The 400 seats in the Red Gate Stand now provide the Glass World Stadium with 1,000 seats which is double the number required to achieve the A Grade that would allow the club to partake in the play offs should they qualify at the end of this season. The club has also installed a further 3 turnstiles which provide fans with nine turnstiles, the minimum number required for the A Grade is eight. The NEW Police control room situated above the away section of the ground provides excellent views of the stadium and was equally well received.

    Chairman Gareth Baldwin spoke of the visit 'When we were walking round it was pleasing to realise just how much has been done already... The away end is now our major priority for us which was highlighted by the New Year's Day game. Whilst the average number of visiting fans is about 250 if we play Cambridge United next season we must have better facilities for the visiting fans because we know they have the capability of bringing 1600+ fans'... Baldwin confirmed 'We will receive our A Grade certificate by the end of January. Whilst we have a long way to go with the games left to play it definitely provides the manager and team with a boost to know that if they can finish in a play off spot that the club will be allowed to compete In the play offs'".

    Halifax Town "have confirmed that defender Cortez Belle has departed the Shay and is set to join Northwich Victoria. The 24 year old, who has previously played for Chester City and Merthyr, made 18 appearances for the Shaymen since joining last summer".

    "Crawley Town have signed former Nottingham Forest player Kevin James" according to the Crawley Observer "The 28-year-old player agreed terms with the club on Tuesday morning after completing a medical. Reds' boss Steve Evans wasted no time in signing James who was released by Woking early in January after failing to agree a new contract. James previously signed for Steve Evans and assistant manager Paul Raynor while they were at Boston".

    Farsley Today says that "Chairman Andy Firbank has... overseen a stunning transformation in the Celts that has seen them emerge from UniBond League First Division also-rans into one of the top 24 non-league clubs in the country in the space of four seasons and he has no intentions of letting it go to waste... In an exclusive interview with Yorkshire Sport, Firbank refused to contemplate the prospect of relegation... And he said Celts supporters can expect new boss John Deacey to make some 'exciting' signings before the transfer window closes on January 31. Firbank said: 'We have no intentions of dropping out of this level of football this season and whatever it takes to stay up, we will do it. We are very pleased with what John Deacey has done so far, and with that in mind we have backed him further to go out and enhance his playing staff. We expect to make some exciting signings before the end of this month. We have worked extremely hard over the last four years to get the club in this position and we have learnt a lot in the Blue Square Premier this year. We have no intentions of letting this club go backwards. With that in mind I am not hinting at major signings before the end of the season, I am saying as an absolute fact we will be making some before the end of the month'... But they slipped into the fourth and final relegation slot on Tuesday night when Altrincham moved a point above them... It was enough to persuade Celtic to step up their transfer activity. Boss Deacey, who had already snapped up midfielder Craig Bentham from Bradford City and defender Mark Lawlor from Blackpool, was closing in on more loan signings yesterday with two Leeds United youngsters and Hull City keeper Curtis Aspden the targets. They will join ex-Scarborough and York centre-back Mark Hotte and striker Steve Torpey – who made his move to Celtic permanent this month – at Throstle Nest before the heavyweights arrive.

    Work is also going on off the field, with a plan currently lodged with Leeds City Council which would see Throstle Nest developed to Football League standards if approved. And Farsley are still seriously considering changing their name at the end of the season, with FC Leeds and Leeds City among the possible options. Firbank said: 'We have gone the furthest we have ever gone in the FA Trophy, we are still in the Setanta Shield and we have our next live television game coming up against Stevenage Borough later this month. These are exciting times for the club, you're not in any way looking at doom and gloom at Farsley Celtic. We're looking at the next stage, moving the club up and developing the brand further. We have still not put to bed the fact we may well end up with a name change at the end of the season. We are looking at all the aspects and the implications of that at the moment. My personal favourite is Farsley Celtic Leeds which would be abbreviated to FC Leeds. It is nothing to do with FC United – anyone who knows me knows my views on Manchester football. We still believe as a board of directors that there is a massive opportunity for a second Football League club in Leeds and we are working very hard to make that us. We are one step away from it and we intend to take that step. But the first priority is to stay in the Blue Square Premier'".

    "Vics expect Scott Tynan to sign a new deal in the next 48 hours" states the Northwich Guardian. "Dino Maamria told the Guardian that he hoped to complete the deal shortly after spending most of Monday talking to the keeper. 'We're really close now', he said. 'His performances have been fantastic since he came here and of course we want him to stay'. Maamria admitted he was less impressed with reading about Tynan's frustration in the Non League Paper and nonleague today on Sunday. The 24-year-old custodian was quoted as saying he would look elsewhere if Vics could not come up with an offer he was happy with. He has been on non-contract terms at the Marston's Arena since signing in October. 'I understand where Scott is coming from', added Maamria. 'We're working flat out to reach an agreement'".

    This is Staffs says that "Crewe have submitted a bid for a new strike target ... while branding Forest Green Rovers 'amateurish' for the way they have handled their interest in non-league hotshot Stuart Fleetwood. Crewe coach Steve Holland was expecting to hear today whether the offer - which could be for Bury frontman Andy Bishop or Stevenage's Steve Morison - has been successful. Holland was forced to turn his attentions elsewhere after Forest Green failed to respond to Crewe's £175,000 bid for the Blue Square Premier's top scorer. Reports in Gloucestershire suggest Forest Green rejected the offer over the weekend, but Holland stressed after last night's 1-0 defeat by Leeds that he was still in the dark. 'To have heard nothing after we were told we would is really frustrating and amateurish', he said. 'We're bitterly disappointed with the way this has been handled. We've made a competitive and significant bid and we were told we'd be informed on Friday if it had been accepted... But we can't be sitting around waiting while we're missing out on other targets... I'm expecting a decision on Tuesday morning about the new bid, but we're not going to panic'".

    RESULT

    Wednesday 16th January
    FA Trophy 2
  • Histon 2 Cambridge U. 0
    15 January 2008

    MATCH OFF

    Tonight's match between Altrincham and Thailand has been postponed due to the heavy and sustained rainfall over recent days.

    Tuesday 15th January
    Friendly

  • ALTRINCHAM v Thailand POSTPONED

    FA Trophy 2 Replays

  • Kidderminster H. v Weymouth POSTPONED
  • Alfreton T. v Farsley C. POSTPONED
  • Workington 1 Braintree T. 2
  • Halifax Town v Bishop's Stortford POSTPONED
  • Grays A. v York C. POSTPONED

    WALKING TO DROYLSDEN

    Don't forget that in the run-up to the away game at Droylsden, which is on Saturday 9th February, there will be a Sponsored Walk to Droylsden on Tuesday 5th February. Following the same format as last year's successful walk to Northwich, Radio Manchester's Jimmy Wagg and Altrincham FC director, Andrew Shaw, will be heading any volunteers who wish to join them to take a walk from Altrincham to Droylsden. The walk is approximately 16 miles and once again proceeds from the walk will be split between Altrincham Football Club and the Autistic Society. Anyone interested in walking should contact the club for a sponsor form. If you don’t fancy the walk but would like to sponsor one of the walkers don’t hesitate to contact the club on 0161-928-1045 or by e-mail.

    REFEREE

    Coincidentally, just after entertaining Kidderminster at Moss Lane, the referee for next Saturday's game at home to York City is Mr P. Quinn who oversaw the Alty v Kiddy match last January.

    TROPHY DRAW

    FAT 3 - ties to be played on Saturday, 2 February
  • Ebbsfleet United v Weymouth/Kidderminster Harriers
  • Burton Albion v Histon/Cambridge United
  • Aldershot Town v Braintree Town/Workington
  • Farsley Celtic/Alfreton Town v York City/Grays Athletic
  • Stafford Rangers v Tamworth
  • Crawley Town v Droylsden
  • AFC Wimbledon v Torquay United
  • Bishop's Stortford/Halifax Town v Rushden & Diamonds

    BSP NEWS

    The BBC says that "Ebbsfleet United boss Liam Daish has said it is still not clear what his role will be when the club is bought by fans' website myfootballclub. The takeover is now expected in mid-January, and promises the website's members a say in team selection. Daish said: 'If anyone can see what we've done here in the last three years, I'd hope they'd respect that'".

    "Gillingham boss Mark Stimson has made midfielder Stuart Thurgood's move from Grays Athletic permanent. The 26-year-old had joined the Gills on loan in November, but is now contracted until the summer of 2009" claims the BBC.

    Bullsnews reports that "Crewe are set to turn their attention away from Stuart Fleetwood, with a £150,000 bid for Stevenage striker Steve Morison. Their £175,000 offer for Fleetwood appears to have been rejected with Norwich and Charlton circling the striker. Bury are expected to confirm the signing of Stafford midfielder Sami Mawene this week. The Frenchman was on a short term contract with Rangers and wanted a League return" - but today Bury sacked their management team, Chris Casper and Keith Alexander.

    As well as Alty v Woking being televised by Setanta Sports on Thursday 31st January, The Cards are also being shown live on the same channel at home to FGR on Monday, February 4th. Woking boss Frank Gray has spoken about his side's Trophy defeat by Aldershot Town. 'I am very disappointed by the result', said Frank. 'We played well for three-quarters of the game and were the better side but then we made two defensive mistakes'... Frank acknowledged that [goalkeeper] Nick Gindre’s action in rashly bringing down Johnny Dixon for the penalty which put the Shots 3-2 up was not the first time he’d conceded a penalty in this fashion. 'Nick is relatively inexperienced for a keeper at this level', commented Frank. 'We’ve spoken about it and Nick knows he has to improve his decision-taking in these situations. The important thing is that he must learn from what has happened... Nick knows that, in Ross Worner, we’ve got a very promising and improving young keeper in reserve, so he’ll need to be on his toes'. Frank said that he was delighted with Jason Norville’s debut... 'He came and trained with us last week and we saw that he was sharp, although he’s not as fit as the rest of the squad and will need to catch up... The problem perhaps is that he’s come back from injuries too early and then made things worse. That’s one of the reasons I took him off on Saturday. He may not even play a full game next time'... Frank confirmed that Matt Ruby was still two weeks away from a return to action".

    Halifax Town "have signed 27 year old Brian O'Callaghan from Irish side Cork City. O'Callaghan, 6ft 1, can play at right back, centrehalf or midfield and had recently been offered a one year deal by Sligo Rovers. He started his career in South Yorkshire with Barnsley, making over 90 appearances before being released. He had a trial at Crewe before joining Notts County in 2005 and joined Cork the following year. Chris Wilder may have to wait for O'Callaghan services as he will need International clearance before he can play for the Shaymen. Halifax Town has confirmed that they have circulated striker Darryn Stamp's name for a permanent deal away from the Shay. Stamp joined the Shaymen from Stevenage Borough in January 2007. He has struggled with injury and has scored 5 goals in 33 league appeances".

    We learn from Kidderminster Harriers" that "Manager Mark Yates has announced that he has handed youngster Michael McGrath an 18-month contract extension. After joining from Redditch United towards the end of the 2005/06 season... The midfielder has 20 appearances to his name this season, and two goals".

    According to the Salisbury Journal. "Salisbury City midfielders Luke Prince and Jamie Barron have gone out on short-term loans. Prince joins Blue Square South promotion-hopefuls Bath City, while Barron is heading to BGB Southern Division One (South & West) outfit Farnborough Town".


    14 January 2008

    ALTY TV COVERAGE ON THE CARDS

    Altrincham's BSP home match against Woking, scheduled for Saturday, 2nd February, will now be played on Thursday, January 31st at 7,45pm and will be televised live by Setanta TV.

    KARL RELEASED

    Altrincham manager Graham Heathcote has released centre-back Karl Munroe (right). 28 year-old Karl signed for Alty on 24 July 2005 and he established himself as a regular starter in 2006-07. However, a red card in the eighth game of this season, against Oxford, meant that he lost his starting place. With the arrival on loan of both Greg Young and Ryan Shotton, Graham now has more options in central defence and, with a limited budget available, he has taken the decision to release Karl. During his time at the club Karl made 71 starts and 15 appearances from the bench and scored 2 goals. Altrincham FC thanks Karl for his services and wishes him well for the future.

    READER'S RIPOSTE

    In Sunday's NL Paper a reader called Steve Cumber writes: "Some weeks ago the NLP gave space to the chairman of Altrincham to moan and groan about how everyone was against his club, they didn't have any money and how the Conference should give special help to its part-time members. Then lo and behold, I open last week's NLP to find the manager of Altrincham whinging about the transfer window and how it was unfair on smaller clubs and infringed people's human rights! The transfer window is there to help smaller clubs by preventing their richer brethren from dashing out all through the season, buying their way out of trouble. It also forces managers to actually manger the players they have, as well as to bring on youngsters. Having been saved from relegation two seasons running by the misfortune of others, Altrincham would do well to concentrate on not making it third time lucky rather than inflicting their constant bleating on an uninterested world. Of course, if life is so hard then maybe they should do as their form suggests and drop down to a lower league and give their place in the Conference to a club prepared to face up to the challenge with a smile".

    OLD BOY

    Viewers of ITV's The Championship on Sunday morning will have seen Chester City's former Alty man Kevin Ellison lay out the referee with a ball from his powerful left foot. Kevin then cheekily signalled to the bench for the hapless official to be substituted.

    CONFIDENT YORK

    Alty's next opponents York City are in confident mood according to the NL paper which claims that "Manager Colin Walker says York can maintain their unbeaten run until the end of the season... York haven't lost since November... 'We are ten games undefeated and the team spirit is excellent. [On Saturday], we performed well with a squad down to its bare bones and there is no reason why we can't keep it up'" the manager said. The Minstermen's next test is a replay in the FA Trophy at Grays this Tuesday.

    ALTY IN NEW BOOK

    "Manchester, a Football History" is a book by Gary James, to be published by James Ward in May 2008 (ISBN: 978-0-9558127-0-5) at £21.95. The press release for this book says that "well-known Mancunian author Gary James’s latest book is now available to pre-order. The book will be published to coincide with the UEFA Cup final, being staged at the City of Manchester Stadium, in May 2008 and to mark the 400th anniversary of football being banned in Manchester (that’s right, football was banned in Manchester in 1608!). The book provides the stories of Manchester’s greatest footballing achievements, while also answering questions such as: Why did football in Manchester develop the way it did? How do the Manchester sides compare in terms of local support, trophy success, and so on. Manchester – A Football History will prove to be the definitive story of football in the Manchester region.

    Following the success of his Channel M series on the same subject, writer and football historian Gary James’s latest book details the story of Mancunian football from the Middle Ages through to the modern day. The book reveals many new and interesting stories and also tries to spell out many significant events that have shaped the region’s football development. Manchester – A Football History focuses on the League/former League sides of Bury, City, United, Oldham, Rochdale, Stockport and Stalybridge Celtic, but also takes a look at all the local clubs who have at some point in their history attempted to join the League... Manchester – A Football History will contain over 200,000 words on more than 500 pages (size 248x174mm) with photographs throughout.

    Hyde born Gary James has been working on this book for over a decade: 'Mancunian football has always been a passion of mine, however I’ve always been surprised to find that the full history has only ever been considered from the angle of individual clubs'.

    "Manchester – A Football History" is available to pre-order for the discounted price of £20 (including UK p&p). For that subscribers will receive a personally signed copy of the book, despatched in May before the book appears in the shops, and will also have the opportunity to have their name, the name of their favourite Manchester region side and the name of their favourite player included in the special subscribers’ list. All subscriber editions must be ordered before 9th February 2008. To order please send a cheque for £20 made payable to James Ward and post, together with the information detailed below to the publishers: James Ward, PO Box 822, Halifax, West Yorkshire, HX1 9FX

    Please include with every order: Your £20 (£30 non-UK) cheque made payable to James Ward; your full name & delivery address; the name to be included in the subscriber’s list (if different); the name of your favourite football team (for example Hyde United) and your favourite all-time player (for example Billy Meredith). For more information email: info@manchesterfootball.org or write to: James Ward, PO Box 822, Halifax, West Yorkshire, HX1 9FX"

    In an e-mail to Alty vice-chairman Grahame Rowley, Gary says "As with the TV series I did with Channel M, it covers the full story of football in the region (although I exclude Wigan and Bolton and concentrate more on the other boroughs of Greater Manchester). Naturally Altrincham are featured in the book, particularly the election battles of the 70s/80s and the go ahead spirit of the 60s, and I'm sure fans will be happy with the way the club comes across".


    13 January 2008

    OLD BOYS

    Former Alty captain, Chris Timons, has rejoined Ilkeston Town from Hucknall Town. The NW Counties Football League has news relating to several ex-Alty players. "Winsford United have signed forward Lee Thompson from Warrington Town. Told he was out of consideration by new Warrington manager Paul Moore, Thompson immediately contacted Blues manager Joe Gibiliru to ask if he could sign for the club. The 23 year old has figured regularly this season for the UniBond Division One South club". And joining Ramsbottom United is former Alty reserve defender Colin McAllister, whilst Squires Gate have signed Sean Smith". Meanwhile Steve Lunt scored for Glossop NE on Saturday.

    NL Daily says that on Saturday in the Trophy, "Workington drew 1-1 with Matt Berkeley equalising Chris Sullivan's early 4th minute opener for Braintree on the half-hour mark". Also, Gary Roberts, manager of Blue Square South club Cambridge City, has signed goalkeeper Ashley Timms on non-contract terms. The 6ft 4in stopper is eligible for the FA Trophy tie at Droylsden on Saturday. Well-travelled Timms's former clubs include [Altrincham,] Manchester City and Bolton Wanderers and he has had trials this season with Norwich City and Fulham as well as spells with Stalybridge Celtic, Barrow and, most recently, Tamworth".

    BSP NEWS

    Blue Square Football confirms that "Shrewsbury Town have completed the signing of Cameroon striker Guy Madjo from Crawley Town for £20,000. The 23-year-old, who began his career with Bristol City before spells with Forest Green Rovers, Stafford Rangers and Crawley Town, has signed a two-and-a-half year deal. Shrews' boss Gary Peters told the club's official website: 'He's scored a lot of goals in the Blue Square Premier and his record is a goal in just over every two games... I think he's well worth the chance. He's very solid, physical and he'll be a tough fellow to handle for centre-backs because of his pace. He was withdrawn from his loan [at Cheltenham] and we've paid £20,000, which is a good deal when you look at the money Conference teams are asking".

    "Woking have snapped up Wycombe Wanderers' defender Lewis Christon on a month's loan deal. The 18-year-old goes straight into the squad for this weekend's FA Trophy clash with league leaders Aldershot, along with fellow new recruit Jason Norville. Cards manager Frank Gray signed Christon earlier in the week after news broke of Matt Ruby's injury and Paul Lorraine's suspension".


    12 January 2008

    ANOTHER POSTPONEMENT

    Sunday's league match between Altrincham FC Youth and Leigh RMI Youth has been postponed due to a waterlogged pitch. It will now be five weeks between Altrincham's last game and their next fixture, the Open Cup Quarter Final on Sunday, 20th January against Ashton Athletic "A" at 2pm, at Wythenshawe Town FC .

    FINAL DATE

    The final of the Cheshire County FA's District Youth Cup between the Altrincham & District FA and The Wirral will take place on Sunday 9th March at Vauxhall Motors' Rivacre Park ground. It was the fifth time that Alty Youth boss George Heslop has seen himself or his represntative lose the toss for choice of venue for the final. Altrincham are the holders of the trophy, having won it for the last two seasons.

    STEVEN STARS

    Altrincham FC Youth midfielder Steven Crane netted a penalty and laid on another of the goals as Manchester County FA overcame East Yorkshire 3-0 today.

    RESULTS

    Right: Tom Cahill, Alty's loan striker from Rotherham United, pictured against Kidderminster last Tuesday by Gavin Rathbone of GR Photography.

    Saturday 12th January

    Altrincham had no fixture. A local alternative in the Vodkat (NW Counties) League was Ged Kielty's Trafford v Squires Gate, which the home side won 2-0. Players with Alty connections for Trafford included ex-Alty Youth goalkeeper Tom Read former Alty reserve Scott Metcalfe and the Trafford captain was Simon Woodford. Their used subs included Wes Wilkinson and an unused sub was Dion Deipiaza.

    BSP

  • Salisbury C. 3 Oxford U. 1
  • League Table

    FA Trophy 2

  • Vauxhall M. 1 Burton A. 4
  • Woking 2 Aldershot T. 4
  • Tonbridge A. v AFC Wimbledon
  • Droylsden 1 Cambridge C. 0
  • Weymouth 0 Kidderminster H. 0
  • Farsley C. 1 Alfreton T. 1
  • Rushden & D. 3 Exeter C. 0
  • Dorchester T. 0 Ebbsfleet U. 2
  • Histon v Cambridge U. POSTPONED to Wednesday 16th.
  • Braintree T. 1 Workington 1
  • Bishop's Stortford 2 Halifax Town 2
  • Newport C. 1 Torquay U. 2
  • Stafford R. 2 Forest Green R. 1
  • Crawley T. 2 Eastleigh 1
  • York C. 1 Grays A. 1
  • Blyth Spartans 0 Tamworth 1

    GRAHAM ON RADIO

    On Radio Manchester on Friday evening, Graham Heathcote was interviewed. He talked about how the appointment of Graham Barrow as his assistant would help to "freshen things up". Graham also explained how he had instigated the recent meeting wuth the Board to give them the opportunity to change the manager during the January transfer window. But, he explained, the board had unanimously supported him both for the present and, should we be relegated, to bring the club back up again. He said that he was pleased to have a break this weekend after 5 games in 15 days and is looking forward to a "smashing game" this Tuesday at home to the Thailand national team.

    THAI MATCH GOES AHEAD

    FA approval has now been secured for the match at Moss Lane next Tuesday between Altrincham and the Thailand national team, which is to kick off at 7pm. Entry is just £5 (£2 for concessionaries). Season tickets are not valid for this game. Thai Football says that "Thailand will train with Manchester City for two weeks as part of their preparations for the World Cup qualification. Worawi Makudi, president of the Football Association of Thailand (FAT), said 29 players had been named to the World Cup squad who would have to report to the training camp next Monday. The team will go to train with Manchester City for two weeks, likely to be from January 10-25. While in Manchester, Thailand will be supervised by City coach Sven-Goran Eriksson, Worawi said. ''The training will be like that for professionals and Eriksson will help look after the team', he said. Thailand are grouped with Japan, Bahrain and Oman in the first group stage, or last 20 teams, of Asia's qualification for the 2010 World Cup. The Thais will begin their campaign against Japan in Tokyo on February 6. The top two teams in each of the five groups advance to the final qualifying stage, or the last 10 teams. Thailand coach Chanvit Phalajivin will fly to Japan from Manchester to watch Japan play against Chile and Bosnia in the Kirin Cup later this month".

    The Thais include Crystal Palace striker Teeratep Winothai. The Thai website adds that "Football was introduced to Thailand long before it was in several Asian countries and the Football Association of Thailand (FAT) celebrated its 90th anniversary last week. The FAT was established 14 years before the first World Cup was staged in 1930. After nearly a century, Thailand are still waiting for their first appearance at the World Cup finals... FAT bosses are dreaming that Thailand will be a participant at the 2010 tournament... We have two football leagues - the Thailand Premier League and the Provincial League (Pro League) - but both are not very strong... Their 2010 World Cup target is not likely to be reached. They should set a more realistic aim and come up with long-term development projects instead of trumpeting intangible dreams".

    BSP NEWS

    "Droylsden have signed Bradford City midfielder Luke Morgan and forward Sean Taylforth on a month's loan" says the BBC. "Morgan, 19, has not played for City's first team but Taylforth, 18, has made two appearances for Stuart McCall's side this season in cup games".

    "Welsh Premier side Llanelli have signed Stephen Evans on an 18-month deal after Crawley Town let the midfielder leave. Caerphilly-born Evans, 27, has been limited to just half-a-dozen Blue Square Premier appearances this season" according to the BBC.

    "Southend have signed Brentford goalkeeper Clark Masters on a free transfer - then immediately sent him on loan to Stevenage Borough. The 20-year-old has signed a two-and-a-half-year contract at Roots Hall, but will spend the rest of the season on loan at Broadhall Way. Masters had made just 16 first-team appearances for Brentford", states the BBC.

    "Halifax Town have made their second loan signing in two days by capturing Nottingham Forest defender Tom Sharpe on a month's loan. The teenager has played reserve-team football at Forest, but is still awaiting his senior debut. He spent a recent spell on loan at Bury without playing a first-team game. His arrival at The Shay follows that of versatile left-sided player Craig Nelthorpe from Doncaster on Thursday, also on a month's loan" says the BBC.

    "Woking have signed Wycombe defender Lewis Christon on a month's loan, reports BBC Southern Counties Radio. Christon, 18, goes into the squad for Saturday's FA Trophy game with Aldershot, along with striker Jason Norville who joined earlier this week. Boss Frank Gray moved for Christon after losing Matt Ruby to injury and Paul Lorraine to suspension. Fellow defenders Tom Hutchinson and Jay Gasson are also both one yellow card away from a one-match suspension".

    Bullsnews tells us that "Cheltenham have opted not to sign Crawley striker Guy Madjo permanently after his loan spell. Crawley have confirmed that another club is interested in a permanent deal after Madjo started just two games in seven weeks at Whaddon Road".

    "Blue Square Premier surprise package Histon hope to lure striker Jack Midson from Blue Square South side Bishop`s Stortford in a £10,000 deal. The Stutes, who signed Stortford skipper Gareth Gwillim in the summer, have identified Midson as their prime target as they try and secure a play-off spot this season. Steve Fallon`s side have been the surprise package in the Blue Square Premier this season after winning the Nationwide South last term. They are currently on the fringe of the play-off places and chairman Gareth Baldwin said the club is aiming to bring in two or three new faces to boost the squad. He said: 'We hope Martin Hayes will allow him to progress and come to us'. Midson, 24, is the sole striker interesting Histon after the club dropped their interest in Woking forward Marvin Morgan, who has had a £100,000 price tag put on his head. Baldwin said he has had Midson watched four times this season. Histon assistant boss John Beck was tipped off about Midson by former Stortford player John Still, now manager at Dagenham & Redbridge which is where the forward started his career. Midson, who can also play in midfield, scored fourteen goals as Blues reached the play-offs for the first time in their history last season. He has scored eleven times this campaign but missed several weeks with a fractured wrist. However, it is his ability to set up goals which has impressed. Baldwin said: 'We see Jack Midson as a striker. He would come straight into the frontline'. Midson, who works as a tennis coach in Harrow, Middlesex, joined Stortford in 2005 after a spell with neighbours Stevenage Borough. Blues' boss Martin Hayes said: 'We had a phone call from Histon. We are not going to decide anything until the FA Trophy has gone. We will have to see if it suits us or the player. Saturday is an important game and we do not want to disrupt the side with anything'" says the Herts & Essex Observer.

    From NL Daily we learn that "Johnson Hippolyte, manager of Blue Square South club Maidenhead United, has signed striker Jefferson Louis on a short-term deal. Louis made his name in the Football League with Oxford United. He spent the first half of this season with Weymouth, scoring eight times, but left at the turn of the year following a disagreement with Terras' player-manager Jason Tindall".

    "Former Derby County and Middlesbrough star Malcolm Christie will not be throwing his weight behind Burton Albion's Blue Square Premier promotion push. Burton boss Nigel Clough has spoken to the 28-year-old striker, who is currently looking for a club as he attempts to salvage his injury-ravaged career. But Christie has revealed he expects to make a comeback higher up the ladder. Clough said: 'Malcolm has been in talks with quite a few clubs. He's got a little injury niggle at the moment, but he expects to be joining a Football League club in a couple of weeks' time. It was always going to be a long shot from our point of view, especially as Malcolm has a young family and lives in the north east. But it was worth the trouble to track him down, and I think he appreciated me calling and offering him the chance to come and do a bit of training and play a few games with us'. Christie, 28, was released by Middlesbrough at the end of last season after a nightmare run of injuries that included two broken legs and a fractured foot" reports the Burton Mail.

    Kent Online tells us that "Ebbsfleet will receive more than £30,000 following the sale of former striker Liam Hatch because of a sell-on clause when he joined Barnet. Hatch, who joined Barnet from Fleet for £23,000 in July 2003, completed his £150,000 move to Peterborough on New Year’s Day. As part of the deal Fleet were due to receive 25 per cent of any future profit, a clause triggered by Hatch’s move. Ebbsfleet secretary Roly Edwards said: 'These things do tend to come out of the blue when you least expect it. It’s very good at this moment in time. It’s a drop in the ocean and we’re obviously hoping for bigger things from the MyFootballClub takeover'".

    This is Exeter says that "Exeter City have been dealt a cash boost after Western League side Truro City shelled out £10,000 for Dean Stamp. Stamp, a City youth product, was originally farmed out on loan to the Cornish side to give some match practice, but the move has now become permanent. City have first option on Stamp should they wish to re-sign the youngster and are entitled to a 50 per cent sell-on clause if he moves on to another club".

    "Rushden & Diamonds' manager Garry Hill has delivered a damning verdict on his side's chances of achieving success this season by claiming: 'We aren't good enough'. Despite being touted as one of the favourites for promotion at the start of the season, Rushden have under-performed. They are currently marooned in 16th place in the Blue Square Premier - 14 points adrift of the play-off places... 'We are not good enough and we are not consistent enough' said Hill. 'I am not saying that as kidology. At the end of the day the table doesn't lie and we have drawn too many games and not won enough. We can't turn around and try and make excuses. We always knew this was going to be a messy year for us in respect of the financial restrictions which have been imposed on the club after they came out of the Football League. So it was always going to be tough, probably a bit tougher than we anticipated, but at the end of the day it is a case of working hard the best way we can over the second half of the season. I know what the play-offs are like and we are not good enough for those. I know this league and we are some way short at the moment. It is now a case of planning for the future. It is probably the first time in my career that I have found myself in this position'. The bleak picture is a far cry from the euphoria that greeted Hill's arrival at Nene Park after he was hailed as the manager who would steer the club back into the Football League... 'Last Saturday we had eight players who were under the age of 21', said Hill. 'I thought we would be able to move on and turn around a bit quicker'... And they are poised to lose the services of Simeon Jackson, who is at the centre of a bidding war. 'Simeon could well be gone by tomorrow', admitted Hill. 'We are very close to doing business with one or two clubs, which I feel has distracted his mind. There is far too much as far as finances are involved to be able to risk him at this current time'.

    This is Exeter continues, "Exeter City have snubbed an approach from rivals Rushden & Diamonds to sign striker Richard Logan. Rushden boss Garry Hill, who used to manage Logan at Weymouth, made a tentative enquiry to see if City were willing to off-load their 12-goal frontman. Grecians' boss Tisdale admitted 'There are a few clubs that have enquired about him', Tisdale declared. 'hey are entitled to enquire and I am entitled to say I want to keep him'".

    Farsley Today says that "Boss John Deacey was unmoved after seeing his Farsley Celtic side slip into the Blue Square Premier relegation zone in midweek... on Tuesday night when Altrincham leap-frogged Farsley by a point, pushing Deacey's men into the fourth and final relegation slot, following a surprise 2-1 win over Kidderminster Harriers... He said: 'It doesn't make any difference at all. I've never been interested in what other teams do and what the table looks like all season, and we will just get on with things. Altrincham may be above us, but we will have a game in hand on them now. I stand by what I have believed all along and that's the head-to-heads between the teams at the bottom are going to be important, that's what will ultimately decide things. And I am just trying to put a team together which will be ready to tackle those games. I am using the transfer window to strengthen the squad and we will need a couple of games to get them to gel. The Setanta Shield and the FA Trophy are ideal competitions for us at this moment in time and I am just hoping our game at Droylsden can go ahead on Tuesday'".

    According to This is Glos "Cameroonian striker Guy Madjo has ended his loan spell at Cheltenham Town. The striker has returned to Crawley Town as the opportunity of a permanent move to another club has emerged. Madjo made two starts and three substitute appearance in his six week stay at Whaddon Road but failed to find the net. 'Steve (Evans, Crawley manager) contacted me to say that they had received a firm offer for the player and would there be a possibility of us letting his loan come to a close early', said Keith Downing. 'Having considered everything we were not prepared to sign the player permanently so we were happy for him to continue his football elsewhere. Guy is a tremendous lad with a great work ethic and we wish him well in his future career'".

    This is Weymouth says that "Weymouth have captured West Ham United youngster Bondz Ngala on loan until the end of the season. The centre back, who is renowned for his pace and strength, will go straight into the squad for tomorrow's FA Trophy second round tie against Kidderminster Harriers... Ngala is the fifth player to arrive at the Wessex Stadium this month, following the recent acquisitions of David Roberts, Adam Gross, Michael Malcolm and Wilfried Domoraud".

    "York City midfielder Phil Turnbull is in line to make his long-awaited debut for the club tomorrow" says This is York. "Turnbull, 21, has been sidelined from first-team duty since dislocating his shoulder during a pre-season friendly at Frickley Athletic in July. But the former Hartlepool play-maker, who celebrated his 21st birthday on Monday, has been promoted to Colin Walker's 16-man squad for the FA Trophy last-32 home clash against Grays Athletic... Turnbull's chance could also come at the expense of Ross Greenwood, who has picked up a hamstring injury. The City career of ex-Manchester United trainee Greenwood has been restricted to just six matches since his arrival at KitKat Crescent in the summer of 2006 with injury, illness and suspension because of handball all contriving against him... The Minstermen have, however, avoided any discussions about pending court cases during training. Grays' defender Jamie Stuart is awaiting trial on February 20 after pleading not guilty to charges of grievous bodily harm during an incident in the September league meeting between the two clubs that left City striker Chris Beardsley with a broken jaw. Stuart is likely to receive a hostile reception from the KitKat Crescent faithful if he plays, as is expected, but retribution has not entered Walker's mind. He said: 'We haven't mentioned that at all. It's just another football match and Chris Beardsley is doing ever so well on loan at Kettering'".

    And, finally, the Northwich Guardian says that "A dedicated fan missed his team's match after being locked in a car park for five hours. Norman Bradley and three other pensioners who support Buxton had driven to their game against Witton Albion and parked outside the ground of neighbours Northwich Victoria by mistake. They were stranded when a member of staff at Vics failed to spot them and locked the gates... Vics' players and supporters had left their cars there before heading to an away match in Northamptonshire. After learning that they took two sets of keys to the gates, Mr Bradley dialled 999... Mr Bradley told the Guardian he had offered to break the lock and pay landowner Mike Connett for a new one only to be warned by the police he faced arrest for criminal damage if he did. 'It's ridiculous isn't it?' he said. 'So I walked around the back of the stadium and discovered a bridge over the river to Witton's ground. The weather was awful and I had to scramble over a 10-foot mound of mud to get to the other side - that's not easy when you're in your 70s'. He arrived there in time to see the game's closing stages before heading back to his car... He has written to Mr Connett to complain".


    11 January 2008

    MESSAGE FROM THE CHAIRMAN

    The following is a message from Geoff Goodwin to all supporters of Altrincham Football Club.

    In recent days I have been quite upset by some of the comments placed on the Fans Forum, particularly those relating to the perceived response of the Altrincham Football Club Board to the verbal altercation between the manager & a supporter during Tuesday’s victory over Kidderminster Harriers. Whatever that response is or isn’t, we will not be releasing a statement as it would be wholly inappropriate to do so & therefore to request an official statement regarding this subject is not helpful.

    We have got a lot to feel positive about at present. Six points out of nine represents a superb start to the year…..a lot better than we could realistically have expected & we are out of the relegation zone for the first time this season. As I have been on holiday, Tuesday was my first chance to see the new players that we have got & I was really impressed. The announcement on Wednesday that we have brought Graham Barrow in as Assistant Manager is a real coup for us……..this represents a very high quality appointment in my view.

    Both Graham Heathcote & I really do appreciate the support that is given by you the Alty fans. Your support at Moss Lane & away from home has been incredible, particularly as during the first half of the season we have just not been good enough in too many matches. There will always be dissenters of course, you only have to listen to the 606 programme on Five Live to hear Arsenal, Manchester United, Chelsea & Liverpool fans slagging off their team & manager after a poor performance but some individuals do not seem to give either the team or the manager a chance. I have heard criticisms inside the first minute of games at Moss Lane this season & I cannot see how that helps anyone…I really can’t.

    You may disagree with the team selection, tactics, pattern of play or anything else but the responsibility for keeping Altrincham Football Club in the Blue Square Premier sits firmly with the manager & each member of the Board is 100% of the opinion that Graham Heathcote is the best man for the job at this time & I am convinced that he will keep Altrincham Football Club out of the relegation zone come April 26th.

    The vast majority of our fans are right behind the team & the Board really do appreciate this, particularly throughout the difficult times & hopefully we can now push on with everyone’s backing.

    Yours Sincerely
    Geoff

    Chairman Geoff Goodwin has also invited anyone who wishes to discuss the direction of the club with him or manager Graham Heathcote to do so, face to face, on Tuesday evening at the match against the Thailand national team.

    BOARD BACKS GRAHAM

    SAM reports that "A special board meeting was held on Tuesday to discuss Graham Heathcote's position after he had come in for some strong criticism from fans in recent weeks. But chairman Geoff Goodwin insisted there had never been any doubt in his mind that he was the right man to save Alty from the drop. He said: 'Nothing changes. Graham is the manager, he's got the backing of the board and only time will tell, but I'm confident we'll survive. Even if we did go down, I believe he would be the best man to take us right back up again. The most positive thing is that everyone in the boardroom wants the same thing. Graham will look for a number two now and we will announce an appointiment in due course. [Graham Barrow was later announced as the new assistant to Graham]. There was never any question in my mind that he should stay as manager. Sometimes he just feels as if he is pushing uphill because of the part-time situation but he will do all he can to make sure we stay in the Blue Square Premier'.

    Goodwin also said that turning the club full-time professional in a bid to help it to compete at Blue Square Premier level was not a realistic possibility. 'We will never go full-time because we would need at least another 1,000 fans through the gates for every game and still then we would be one of the poorest full-time clubs in the league. It's just not feasible for the club. If an investor comes in and it's what's best for the club then we will welcome them on board. But if they are only going to come for five minutes and leave this club in a mess then we're obviously not interested'".

    CALENDARS AVAILABLE NOW

    Gavin Rathbone's Altrincham FC 2008 full-colour calendar is available from the Club Shop on match days or via the club offices on 928-1045. It features 12 photos from games over the last three years and is great value at £6.99.

    OLD BOY

    "Stalybridge Celtic has announced the re-signing on loan of striker James Dean. Dean joins Celtic until the end of the season after an earlier loan spell was cut short when Bury recalled the young forward just before Christmas. He will be available for selection for the clash with Harrogate Town on Saturday and adds a physical presence to a Celtic attack that has scored twenty goals in the last six league games" reports NL Daily. Dean had a brief spell on loan at Alty earlier this season.

    KIDDY DISAPPOINTED AT ALTY

    From the Kidderminster Shuttle we learn that "Midfield maestro Russ Penn has urged his Kidderminster Harriers team-mates to find their killer instinct and kick-start their promotion campaign in the Blue Square Premier. Harriers suffered a setback in their bid to secure a top-five place on Tuesday night, when two late [??] goals condemned them to a 2-1 defeat to struggling Altrincham at Moss Lane. It was a result that ended Harriers' seven-game unbeaten run and left the team 11th in the table... In recent weeks Harriers have thrown away leads against Forest Green Rovers and York City. 'We are all disappointed not to beat Altrincham', said the captain. '"We didn't play well and the bad weather evened things up, but there are no excuses for this result. For some reason we have been very inconsistent this season. It's great to play well against the good sides but we need to be putting away the weaker teams as well... If we had won a few more games we have drawn recently we'd have been right up there'. Harriers manager Mark Yates though is looking to strengthen his squad before Saturday's FA Carlsberg Trophy clash at Weymouth, after watching his side capitulate against Altrincham... The Harriers' boss has already secured Chester City midfielder Dean Bennett on-loan at the end of last week... Yates may be looking for a new centreback to strengthen his squad after allowing Jon Munday to go on a month's loan to Worcester City".

    BSP NEWS

    NL Daily tells us that "Curtis Aspden has joined Farsley Celtic on a month`s loan from Hull City. Aspden took his place on the senior Tigers bench for the first time at Luton Town in February 2006 after second-choice keeper Sergio Leite injured his arm in a midweek East Riding Senior Cup game at North Ferriby United. Following a loan spell at the old Scarborough club and a fairly successful time between the sticks for the reserves in 2006/07, Aspden signed a new one-year deal with the Tigers. The start of the 2007/08 season saw Aspden join Blue Square North side Harrogate Town on loan, and then to Harrogate`s rivals Boston United, where his term has only just ended".

    "York City has, this morning, signed central defender, Jimmy Beadle. Jimmy is 19 yrs of age and started his career as a youth trainee at Scarborough Football Club. More recently, Jimmy has been playing for Steinkjer FK in Norway until his release in October 2007. Jimmy has been training with the York City squad and featured in the Minstermen reserve side against Darlington reserves on Tuesday night. City defender, Carl Jones’ loan period at Gateshead has been extended by a further month".

    Oxford United "have been handed a big boost with the news that skipper Barry Quinn and keeper Billy Turley have agreed new deals with the club. Quinn has made 170 appearances for the U's since joining from Coventry in the summer of 2004 and has been in outstanding form this season at the heart of the defence. The Republic of Ireland international has agreed a new deal which takes him to the end of the 2008/9 season.Turley has made 117 starts for the club and is one of the great characters in the game. The former Rushden keeper has signed for a further two years at the club".

    Kidderminster Harriers "defender Jonny Harkness has joined team-mate Jon Munday at Worcester after a loan deal was agreed this afternoon. Munday made the switch to St. George's Lane last week and made his debut in their weekend win over Hinckley and a deal has today been agreed for left-back Harkness to join ahead of their game against Nuneaton Borough. Harkness was boss Mark Yates' first signing as manager of the club back in January 2006, making an instant impact with his set-piece ability. Although a regular in the side last season, Harkness has found first-team football difficult to come by as of late, with just 17 starts and two goals to his name this term. "Jonny needs games and this is a fantastic opportunity for him to play regularly," boss Mark Yates told harriers.co.uk. "As with Jon Munday's loan, it's good for us as we can keep a close eye on his progress." Harkness will remain with the Blue Square North side for a month."

    "Grays Athletic have signed goalkeeper David Button on a month's loan from Tottenham Hotspur"

    "Financially-stricken Luton Town, who are in administration, have sold two of their star players and let three others leave the club, reports BBC 3CR.... Lewis Emanuel and Ed Asafu-Adjaye have gone on loan to Lincoln and Salisbury respectively... Asafu-Adjaye, 21, is a first-year professional who has not yet appeared for the Hatters' first team, although he has been an unused substitute. He has also spent time on loan at non-league side Walton & Hersham".

    This is Exeter says that "Cambridge United, Oxford and Rushden & Diamonds are believed to be eyeing up a move for out-of-favour Exeter City striker Richard Logan. Despite scoring 12 league goals in 15 starts, Logan has found himself warming the bench with manager Paul Tisdale keeping faith with summer signing Steve Basham, who has scored five goals this season... The striker is thought to be settled in Exeter and keen to stay at the club and fight for his place. The 26-year-old moved his family to the city from his home in Dorset after Tisdale made it a pre-condition of offering him a new contract at the end of last season. That deal expires in the summer and it is understood the club are yet to offer him fresh terms. Cambridge are keen to pair Logan up-front with top scorer Scott Rendell, with manager Jimmy Quinn admitting: 'I know Richard Logan as we were at Peterborough together and he is a good player. We have not got any funds but if something could be done on a free then who knows?' However, Cambridge could well face stiff competition should they make a move for the striker. Prior to Saturday's 4-0 win over Altrincham, Oxford United had scored a paltry three goals in 10 games and manager Darren Patterson is keen to sign a frontman... Patterson's striker shortage intensified this week when new signing Craig McAllister was ruled out for six weeks with a hamstring injury. Rushden are also thought to be keen on Logan with manager Garry Hill eager to add more firepower to his squad... However, one player who could be on his way out of Nene Park is former Exeter City favourite Jon Challinor. The attacking midfielder has been left on the bench in recent weeks and is thought to be a target for long-term admirers Grays Athletic with Woking, Crawley and Torquay United also keeping tabs on the situation".

    Meanwhile "Matt Taylor has handed Paul Tisdale an injury boost after undergoing surgery on his damaged knee.It was feared that the defender suffered a season-ending injury at Torquay United on New Year's Day after falling awkwardly and twisting his right knee. But a specialist diagnosed cartilage damage and Taylor went under the surgeon's knife on Monday... and is in course to return to full training in three weeks. That could put him back into contention for the home clash against Farsley Celtic on February 2. 'The operation was as straightforward as it could be," said Taylor. 'They took about half the cartilage out because it was damaged. There were no major complications, but you never know with injuries like these so it is a case of just taking it one day at a time'... Taylor's absence means that Jon Richardson and Danny Seaborne are the only other two recognised centre-halves at the club".

    The Gravesend Reporter says that "Brian Kilcullen has stressed Liam Daish's spending plans for Ebbsfleet United throughout this month's transfer window will not be adversely affected by their protracted buyout, writes Alex Leach. The Stonebridge Road club announced on November 13 that the MyFootballClub website, an internet consortium of over 20,000 fans, had agreed in principle to purchase a majority shareholding in the Blue Square Premier outfit. However, nearly two months have passed since then and with the takeover still subject to a dragging due diligence process, Kilcullen and his fellow directors are prepared to bankroll any transfers as a short-term measure. 'There's no way the EGM (where club shareholders are set to finally agree the move) would be held before the end of the month', the director explained. 'We would then just take a commercial view that - if we need to do something in the transfer window and we know for sure that the monies would come back following the takeover - the current directors can always help out in the interim period. The intention is that Liam can work in the transfer window if he so wishes. We would only do that though if we were 99.9 per cent certain that the deal was going to go through and therefore the money can be repaid by the new owners'. Kilcullen did however cast doubt upon whether this upcoming website windfall, a reputed £700,000, would allow Daish the opportunity to splash the cash. 'It may well be the case of getting players in and signing contracts for them but, of course, you only pay those contracts every month'", he said. "Daish is set to have a meeting with Kilcullen today to discuss such pressing concerns as his transfer kitty and the overall direction of the club during this transitional period towards a new regime... 'We've got a squad of the right age and ability and there will be a few clubs in the league who would like to swap squads with us', the head coach said. 'We've done very well, we're progressing and even if they came to me and said: "here's a pot full of money", I'm not looking to make wholesale changes'".

    However, according to Kent Online "Will Brooks, the man behind the history-making takeover of Ebbsfleet United, says the deal will be completed before the end of the January transfer window to give Liam Daish funds to buy new players... He said: 'It will be completed in time for the January window, we are very close to sealing the deal. The whole process has gone relatively quickly and it is only two months after the offer was agreed in principle – if you were buying a house it could take a lot longer. But completion by the end of January is not absolutely crucial, it is not as if Liam (Daish) has a list of players he wants to spend half a million on and can only do so in the transfer window'. Daish has recently extended the contract of striker John Akinde... Brooks said: 'In the Blue Square Premier you have loan signings and free transfers which can be done outside the transfer window. There is no need to rush and I think Liam already has in mind the players he wants to keep and how he wants to take the team forward, and MyFootballClub coming in doesn’t change any of that'".

    "Cambridge United have been thwarted in their bid to sign striker Chris Zebroski from Millwall" claims the Cambridge News. "Chairman Lee Power said last night he had agreed a 'sizeable' fee with the League One side to bring the 21-year-old hitman to the Abbey to boost Jimmy Quinn's forward line. But Zebroski, who came through the youth ranks at Swindon Town and turned professional at Plymouth before joining Millwall two years ago, has rejected the move. He is currently on a season-long loan with United's play-off rivals Torquay and has scored 12 league goals this term in the Gulls' push to second in the table. Power said: 'We bid for Zebroski and had a fee agreed with Millwall, but we've spoken to the lad's agent and he said he has already got a League club that's going to take him in the summer. It was a sizeable fee that we were ready to pay for him, but he won't be coming. There is absolutely nothing else at all happening at the moment, but we'll keep looking'. Meanwhile, the FA is still weighing up whether any action should be taken over the allegations of racial abuse being hurled at Leo Fortune-West by a Histon player, who cannot be named for legal reasons... With the local rivals meeting for a third time in quick succession in the second round of the FA Trophy at the Glass World Stadium on Saturday, an FA spokesman said he did not expect there to be any outcome into the probe before the game".


    10 January 2008

    MORE TO COME?

    Left: It is clear why referee Metcalfe took the players off for 15 minutes on Tuesday night as this picture by Gavin Rathbone of Alty's Ryan Toulson and Kidderminster's Blackwood and Bevan shows. More of Gavin's superb pictures are on his GR Photography website.

    After Tuesday's win, Graham Heathcote told SAM's Connor Murphy, "'I'm not bothered about the table right now. I'm bothered about our application, endeavour and determination - that's all I would wish for and I'm sure that's all our supporters would wish for. The players gave us exactly what we asked from them. But you can't go overboard. We've got a bit of a rest now before the York game and it's all about whether we can build on this. There's still a huge job ahead of us but we just have to do all we can to stay in this division'. Heathcote also admitted he was still hard at work in a bid to further improve his squad before the January transfer window closes. Six players have already arrived since the start of the month, five on loan, while Gareth Whalley has been released. And although there are unlikely to be any more departures, Heathcote is still hoping to add more strength in depth. He said: 'There's room to bring more players in and I will do if the right people are available. There will be movement before the end of the transfer window and more players will come into the market so we'll just have to see. It's unlikely any more will be leaving though'".

    After the win over Kidderminster, the Sale & Altrincham Messenger states that "Tonight Alty really did look like they had turned the corner... They never stopped working throughout the entire 90 minutes and that alone meant they were good value for the victory. Kiddy will probably feel they threw this one away though. They looked comfortable and in charge at 1-0 before some slack defending and two well-taken goals turned the game on its head. It's important Alty build on this now. They've got 10 days to prepare for their next game - at home to York on Saturday January 19 - which will give Heathcote plenty of time to hone tactics and bed in the new boys".

    YATES'S WHINE LODGE

    "Kidderminster Harriers manager Mark Yates was unhappy with his side's 2-1 defeat at Altrincham having 'thrown away' a one-goal lead. All three goals came in the second half after the first 45 minutes was interrupted by a thunderstorm. 'I'd like to apologise to the supporters because it should have been a comfortable 1-0 win', Yates told BBC Hereford & Worcester. 'The weather is no excuse, we've taken the lead and thrown it away again. We gave two ridiculous goals away, particularly the first one', the Harriers' boss added. 'We've only got to clear our lines, they're not causing us any problems and we've been the architects of our own downfall. A few harsh words have been said in the dressing room because it's happened too many times. The conditions were awful and that is when you see games out and you win 1-0 and we didn't do that today'".

    And the Kidderminster Harriers site adds that "Harriers lost out on another huge chance to make up more ground on the BSP play-off places as their unbeaten run was ended at Altrincham. After a severe storm... the first half was a disjointed affair... Harriers took the lead on 56 minutes as Altrincham were made to pay the price for poor defending. Failing to clear their lines, the ball fell to sub Justin Richards, who set up in-form striker Iyseden Christie, who finished well past the goalkeeper for his sixth goal of the season. But it was sloppy defending and poor concentration that saw the hosts get back in it with two goals, the first coming on 64 minutes. After Senior had been brought down in the area for what looked like it could be a penalty, the visitors were so relieved at the decision not being given that they lost track of James Jennings, who skipped past his man and shipped in a great cross for Tom Cahill to finish from close-range. With just 14 minutes left the home side took the lead - Harriers again completely switched-off, this time as Altrincham took a quick free-kick and raced forward to slide the ball into the box, where it eventually fell to the feet of Warren Peyton who drilled home past Bevan". It goes on "Furious Manager Mark Yates has blasted his side for throwing away three points at Altrincham in the Blue Square Premier last night. After going a goal ahead thanks to Iyseden Christie's strike and being largely in control at Moss Lane, two extremely sloppy goals saw the hosts storm ahead.. The Manager was left to apologise to the 70 or so Harriers fans who braved the conditions to make the midweek trip. 'Altrincham weren't causing us any problems whatsoever and we caused by our own by making some mistakes', Yates said, after the game".

    The unofficial Harriers Online reports that "Not for the first time the Harriers failed to beat a team that are struggling near the foot of the table and in doing... We started the game with a full complement of players after the four missing from the York game returned from suspension. .. The home side had an appeal for a penalty turned down when Senior claimed that he had been pushed by Kenna in the area but we all know that Sir Jeff doesn't do that kind of thing and Senior probably had a senior moment. A minute later and they were awarded a free kick that was taken quickly by Jennings and, with the Harriers defenders still sorting themselves out, Tom Cahill got onto the end of it and slotted the ball past Scott Bevan... Ryan Toulson, on loan from Halifax, sent in a cross that Cahill easily collected and just as easily sent it past the Harriers keeper for their winning goal"

    Meanwhile, the Kidderminster Shuttle concludes that the "Harriers paid the price for poor defending as they allowed a lead to slip away at Moss Lane... The waterlogged pitch made it hard for both teams to string passes together, so Altrincham reverted to innacurate long balls to try and catch out centrebacks Creighton and Hurren. The flow of the game wasn't helped by an over-fussy referee, who blew up at the first opportunity. Harriers continued to be the stronger side and confirmed their superiority in 56th minute when Iyseden Christie scored after the home side failed to clear their lines. But the visitors allowed Altrincham to level the scores in the 69th minute when Thomas Cahill turned in James Jennings' cross. Seven minutes later Harriers' defence failed to clear from a quickly taken free-kick and Wayne [Warren] Peyton lashed in Altrincham's second".

    ALTY DIRECTOR CHILLS OUT

    A report on the Alty Fans' Forum says that "Chill Factore, the new indoor ski and leisure facility at Trafford Park has appointed David Burns as chief executive. The private equity-backed group behind the venture spent £31m on the Manchester operation and plans to roll out the concept around Europe. A well-respected leisure industry executive, and a director of Altrincham Football Club, Burns’ CV includes board level positions at Airtours, when it was doing well, and from 2000 to 2002 he was chief executive of the Football League. He most recently was managing director of Travelsphere Group, which he took through a buyout and eventual sale to private equity group Electra. Chill Factore was started by entrepreneurs Peter Moore, David Sterland and Andrew Lockerbie and is backed by Bridges Community Ventures".

    INTERNATIONAL ANGLES

    Ebbsfleet may have its international "myclub" fans (see below) but Alty is not backward in its international connections either. Firstly we have Alty supporter Howard Watts's Through the Years data, sent to the website every month from North America and then Terry Rowley's BSP attendance statistics despatched to us from Egypt, where he works - and from where helps brother Grahame to produce the Altrincham matchday programme, The Robins' Review - no wonder it is an oasis of quality in the football pyramid! And also on the international front, the full Thailand national football team will be playing Alty next Tuesday at Moss Lane (7pm). See below for further details...

    DIVERSION

    Some non-football news from SAM for Alty fans "Four bus services [and the STAR supporters' coach!] which travel to Altrincham via Timperley are being diverted for 12 weeks due to road works. Stockport Road is now closed between the Brooklands Road roundabout and Thorley Lane, to traffic travelling into Altrincham... Bus services will be diverted along Shaftesbury Avenue and Thorley Lane.Buses travelling out of Altrincham are not affected".

    Details of STAR's supporters' coach to Cambridge on 26 January are here

    BSP NEWS

    The BBC reports that "Oxford will be without new striker Craig McAllister for between four and six weeks following his hamstring injury in the 1-0 defeat by Weymouth. The 27-year-old Scot limped off after half an hour of Tuesday's home defeat. McAllister had marked his Oxford debut with a goal in Saturday's impressive 4-0 win over Altrincham following his switch from Grays Athletic. Oxford boss Darren Patterson hopes to sign another striker in the window to help turn the U's season around". Meanwhile "Weymouth player-boss Jason Tindall has vowed to strengthen his squad further during the January transfer window. The club have signed Adam Gross, Michael Malcolm, David Roberts and Wilfried Domoraud so far this month... He told BBC Radio Solent: 'We want to be winning games week in, week out and performing well. To do that we need to strengthen the squad'.

    "Cheltenham Town are the latest club to take an interest in Exeter City's top scorer Jamie Mackie. But Town chairman Paul Baker has told BBC Radio Devon that he will not pay over the odds for the 22-year-old. 'We don't want to be paying inflated prices for players just because clubs are demanding it', he said. 'Mackie, who has scored in 11 of his last 12 Blue Square Premier games has been attracting the attention of a number of Football League clubs. '(They have had) a number of bids from a number of Football League clubs, including Plymouth. Our knowledge is that all the bids have been turned down so we're just sitting tight at the moment', Baker added... Meanwhile Exeter City have given goalkeeper Paul Jones a new contract, believed to keep him at St James Park for another three years".

    NL Daily says that "Boston United look set to finally land long-term target and former Pilgrims 'legend' Paul Bastock by the weekend. Manager Tommy Taylor attempted to sign the 37-year old goalkeeper from Rushden & Diamonds in November, but the move fell through when the Northamptonshire club failed to sign a replacement. Bastock played over 600 games for the Pilgrims and was part of Steve Evans' side that was promoted to the Football League in 2002. 'We should have Paul in by Saturday' said the Pilgrims' boss, to the Sports Echo.

    "Exeter City's assistant-manager Russell Osman has put an end to the uncertainty over his future by agreeing to stay at St James`s Park until the end of the season. The former Bristol City, Bristol Rovers and Cardiff City manager took up the role on a temporary basis at the beginning of November, initially until a long-term replacement was found... 'I am sure there will be one or two other players who clubs are interested in apart from Jamie [Mackie]', he said. 'The support has been tremendous. It is important that they do get behind the team, especially through January when there might be a few new faces coming in'", he told This is Exeter. Mackie has been voted December's BSP Player of the Month.

    Blue Square Football say that "Rushden & Diamonds and Tamworth have agreed the transfer of Martin Foster, with the deal set to be finalised on Thursday. The midfielder has struggled to find a settled place in the Diamonds side, and with a baby and young family, he has struggled with the traveling involved from his family home in Sheffield... The former Leeds United player has had spells at Oxford United and Halifax Town amongst other teams, making 23 appearances in the 2007/08 season for Diamonds".

    "Luis Cumbers has returned to [Gillingham] following his loan with Grays Athletic".

    From Ebbsfleet United comes news that "United defender Phil Starkey is to feature for Tonbridge Angels as part of a month-long loan deal. The former Crystal Palace youth player, who came to Stonebridge Road in the summer following a successful trial, has played twice for the Fleet this season but found chances to cement a place hard to come by".

    The Cambridge News tells us that "Histon have dumped their interest in Marvin Morgan after Woking slapped a staggering £100,000 price tag on the striker's head. The Stutes made a cash offer for the former Yeading hitman last week as manager Steve Fallon attempts to increase his attacking options during the transfer window. But chairman Gareth Baldwin has baulked at the new asking price and has resigned himself to missing out on the pacey 24 year old for the second time - Histon tried to sign him in February. He said: 'Woking have had a lot of offers for Marvin and now they want £100,000 for him, and we haven't got that to spend on any player. I've spoken to their chairman, who I get on very well with, and they want to keep him. He's their player and I can totally understand where they're coming from'. Histon hope to complete the signing of a Bishop's Stortford player on Monday and will have scouts watching four Blue Square Premier targets at the weekend. And... Baldwin said: 'We've made an approach for a player in the Southern League and we'll have scouts watching four Conference players who have been recommended to us at games this weekend'".

    http://icsurreyonline.icnetwork.co.uk/crawley/tm_headline=football-manager-laughs-off-rumours-he-is-to-buy-reds%26method=full%26objectid=20305140%26siteid=50101-name_page.html "CrawleyTown FC first team manager Steve Evans has strenuously denied rumours he is plotting to buy the club with former business contacts. Speculation was rife around Broadfield Stadium after the self-proclaimed 'biggest name in non-league football' revealed the Reds had received a takeover approach and that he would be meeting with unidentified businessmen in January. Rumours that Evans himself was involved in the bid were fuelled after his former chairman at previous club Boston United, Jon Sotnick, quit his footballing role over the festive period. Mr Sotnick was chief executive of Darlington FC - but left the post 'by mutual consent' on December 27. A member of Crawley Town FC's supporters' trust also told the News he had heard that a close business associate of Mr Evans, Michael Chinn of firm Staffsmart UK, was eyeing the club. The names of Mr Sotnick and Mr Chinn also appeared in connection with the bid in comments on a supporters' website. But Mr Evans... told the Crawley News: 'These rumours are hilarious and these people spreading this stuff need to get a life. They need to get out of their bedrooms and stop spending so much time on the internet. The party who are looking to buy have no previous connections with me whatsoever. I'd also like to make it clear I'm not investing myself. The interested parties are different faces genuinely interested in the club. The fact is I'm the biggest name in non-league football and so these kinds of daft rumours will always circulate'. The News previously reported in August 2007 that a company called Crawley Town Promotions had been set up in Boston. Evans told the News at the time: 'I don't have a clue about that company. I've never heard of it'. Crawley Town is owned at present by SA Restaurants Limited".

    The Gravesend Reporter says that "Football fanatics from Germany, Denmark and even America cheered on the Fleet as a deal by MyFootballClub to buy the club was expected any day. Ebbsfleet United's historic deal, which could see 35,000 fans buy out the club with a £35 annual subscription, came alive on Saturday. Felix Ney, from Berlin in Germany, and Benjamin Bild, from Copenhagen, Denmark jetted in to watch the 4-1 mauling of Conference outfit Weymouth. Freelance journalist Mr Ney said: 'This is the start of something amazing and so special. I flew here from Germany to watch the game on New Year's Day and this game today (Sat) and it has been phenomenal. I feel like I have already been welcomed in to the family and if this deal goes ahead, which I believe will be any day now, I see it as my duty, my obligation to take it seriously wherever I am'. Speaking in a thick German accent, he added: 'This is going to be a great success. I don't think it really matters where the fans are from... This is a global effort that is being co-ordinated around the world. Many local fans may doubt our passion, our history but we do not want to replace them we want to work with them' ... Danish literature student Benjamin Bild, 20, who lives in Copenhagen, Denmark... shouted from the stand: 'it is democracy working at its best in a sport that has become so removed from the fans it was invented for. Ebbsfleet should be very proud of this, everyone associated with the club will have a place in history if this goes ahead. There is nothing bigger in football at the moment and there is not likely to be anything bigger for years'... But while most fans will doubt the need for a major injection of money in to the club, the decision has alienated many loyal die-hard fans. Hundreds feel the club will be overtaken by internet geeks, bloggers who are using their beloved club as a global internet project from hundreds of miles away, people who will rarely stump up the cash to boost attendance and gate receipts because they live in a different country. And still reeling from the name change just last year from the historic Gravesend and Northfleet FC to Ebbsfleet United many feel the club has sold out". For the record, the crowd at Ebbsfleet v Weymouth was 952.

    "Dino Maamria has turned the January transfer window into a revolving door" according to IC Cheshire. "His 'out with the old, in with the new' policy for New Year gave five players their debuts in the same match and was quickly followed by a sixth signing, while a seventh may be imminent. Last in is Lincoln City’s 19-year-old midfielder Michael Robby, a former Bolton Wanderers apprentice. Next in may be former Mossley and Morecambe centre-back Danny Meadowcroft, 22, in whom Maamria is keenly interested. Simon Rusk, signed by Vics from Boston United, in the summer has left to join York City and Mike Carr is poised to leave... but Vics have had no offers yet for the popular midfielder. His departure would leave only Mike Byrne and Richard Battersby from their 2006 Conference North championship side.... There is no move yet for any of the banished trio – Chris Williams, Paul Tait and Kevin Townson, all of whom are big earners and have been accused by Maamria of 'sitting on their contracts'. The PFA may become involved after Williams complained in a Sunday paper he had not been paid for two months. Vics' director Jim Rushe said: 'What he said was untrue. He has been paid every penny, some of it in advance'. Townson is on trial at League of Wales club TNS; Tait and Williams have shunned Leigh RMI".

    The Oxford Mail says that "Oxford United boss Darren Patterson voiced his frustration last night as many of his players reverted to type. After the exhilarating 4-0 win over Altrincham last Saturday, it was back to the U's of so much of this season as they struggled to find a way to goal. Their 1-0 defeat by 19th-placed Weymouth at the Kassam Stadium was the first league defeat at home under the new manager, and is a massive setback to hopes that they might be able to mount a late challenge for a play-off place. Patterson said he felt some of the team had got carried away by last weekend's outstanding display. And after new striker Craig McAllister hobbled off with a hamstring injury inside half an hour, the rest of the team again failed to deliver. 'You saw the headlines about not getting carried away. We stressed that with the players, but I think several of them did get carried away with how well we played on Saturday and felt they could turn up and stroll the game', Patterson said... He added: 'The start of the game was horrendous. It looked as if we were going to play and compete, in that order. Everything we'd talked about, like the tempo, was wrong and it was very disappointing that we started that way... We put three, even four up front in the second half, and we didn't look like causing Weymouth any trouble. I was very disappointed in that'".

    "Torquay United are anxiously awaiting the results of a scan on Lee Phillips's left knee today before knowing how long the former Plymouth Argyle and Exeter City striker will be out of the Gulls' side" claims This is South Devon. "Phillips was helped off after only 14 minutes of Monday night's 2-1 home defeat by Burton Albion.And that followed a training ground injury to right-back Lee Mansell on the morning of the match. Mansell is expected to be sidelined for three weeks with a hamstring tear. And physio Damien Davey quickly pulled a few strings to book Phillips in for a hospital MRI scan in Plymouth early today. 'Lee's knee is very tender at the moment, so we need to see exactly what the problem is before we take it from there', said Davey. Manager Paul Buckle commented: 'Lee Mansell was injured with the very last kick of training, and then we lost Lee Phillips early in the match'".

    And from This is York we learn that "York City striker Richard Brodie was an injury casualty in last night's 2-1 reserve victory over Darlington. Brodie fell awkwardly on his ankle and left KitKat Crescent on crutches. The extent of the damage will be assessed... Second year apprentice Matthew Johnson scored both City goals after replacing Brodie while new signing Simon Rusk impressed, as did trialists Jimmy Beadle and Mike Synnott, who will both continue training with the club and play in the next reserve game".


    9 January 2008

    ALTY'S INTERNATIONAL THAI

    Subject to FA approval, Altrincham FC will be playing a game against the full Thai international football team at Moss Lane next Tuesday night at 7pm. The Thais are on a tour of the country. Entry will be £5 (£2 for concessionaries and juniors). A commemorative team sheet will be produced, costing 50 pence.

    GRAHAM BARROW IS NEW ASSISTANT MANAGER

    Above: Graham Barrow (right) with John King - photo by Terry Rowley

    Altrincham FC are pleased to announce that Graham Barrow has joined the club as Assistant Manager, following the recent resignation of Dalton Steele. For Terry Rowley's profile of Graham click here. Graham was, of course, a celebrated player at Altrincham making a total of 79 appearances in 1979/80 and 1980/81 seasons. He has recently been scouting for Millwall but has extensive managerial experience at clubs which include Chester, Rochdale, Bury and Wigan Athletic and has many contacts in football who can only be helpful to Altrincham.

    CAMBRIDGE TRIP

    Details of the STAR supporters' coach to Cambridge United on 26 January are on the Away Travel page.

    ALTRINCHAM 2 KIDDERMINSTER HARRIERS 1

    In a match whose first-half was played in unbelievable weather - torrential rain, strong winds, almighty claps of thunder and massive flashes of lightning which were too close to the pitch for comfort - Alty finally got out of the relegation zone for the first time this season.

    Report here.

    Right: James Jennings receives his Man of the Match award from Paul Daine of Premium Collections, the match sponsors.

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

    BEFOREHAND

    Before last night's match SAM reported that"Strike duo Colin Little and Chris Senior will both return for Alty in tonight's game against Kidderminster. Little missed out on the 4-0 defeat at Oxford through illness, while top scorer Senior has been serving a three-match suspension... Both are expected to be included in the matchday squad, although they will battle it out for a starting spot with loan signing Tom Cahill. Steve Aspinall is also back to full fitness after recovering from the knee injury which kept him out of the trip to the Kassam Stadium. Only Karl Munroe (virus) and long-term injury worry Val Owen (foot) will be unavailable for the Robins.

    Manager Graham Heathcote believes the next two weeks will prove to be a crucial point in Alty's season. After the visit of Kidderminster, they have 10 days free before their next Blue Square Premier game against York, giving the Robins boss plenty of time to knit together his much-changed squad... Heathcote told SAM Sport: 'We need to get through tonight's game, which is going to be tough, and then we have four or five training sessions to drill the new players and sort out our systems. I may even look at changing our systems. We've got two big, young centre halves in Greg Young and Ryan Shotton and maybe that means we can try something new'".

    The Kidderminster Shuttle said before th game that Harriers' boss "Mark Yates has the happy problem of a full strength squad to pick from... The Aggborough gaffer welcomes back James Constable, Justin Richards, Andy Ferrell and Russ Penn after the quartet missed Saturday's draw at York because of one-match suspensions. Yates has no injury problems so it means he has a number of selection dilemmas for tonight's clash at Moss Lane... Matthew Barnes-Homer may pay the price for several missed chances on Saturday and be replaced by top scorer Constable".

    OLD BOY

    NL Daily tells us that "Caernarfon Town`s central defender James Glendenning signed for one of his former clubs, UniBond League Division One South Colwyn Bay, in time to make his debut in Saturday's 1-0 UniBond President's Cup defeat at Ossett Albion. Glendenning, who also counted Droyslden, St Helens Town, Ashton United, Altrincham and Kendal Town among his former clubs, signed for the Canaries from Cammell Laird in August 2006 and had scored three goals from twenty-three Welsh Premier appearances for The Oval outfit".

    BSP NEWS

    From the Northwich Guardian. comes confirmation that "Colin Walker went to Neil Redfearn for advice on signing Simon Rusk. The York boss knew for former Vics' manager from their time at Barnsley together. 'I know Redders well and he was one of a number of people I spoke to regarding Simon's personality', he told the York Press. 'It does not matter how much ability you have got if you are a bad type but again all the character reports on him were favourable'. Rusk will play for the Minstermen's reserve team tonight in their clash with Darlington. Alongside him in the line-up will be another former Vics star, Paul Brayson".

    "Joining Farsley on a month`s loan from Coca-Cola Championship side Blackpool is 19-year-old midfielder Matt Lawlor. Lawlor, who can also play at the back, is yet to make his League debut for the Tangerines, but has appeared for the first-team in the Carling Cup. He joins fellow loan signing midfielder Craig Bentham, 22, from Bradford City and defender Mark Hotte, 29, newcomers to Throstle Nest in recent days" says the NL Daily.

    NL Daily also tells us that "Bangor City's reserve keeper Dave Roberts has left Farrar Road without playing a Principality Welsh Premiergame to join Weymouth. Roberts, who has joined the Terras on non-contract terms, won two FA Youth Cup winners` medals with Liverpool in 2006 and 2007 but was surprisingly released from Anfield and joined the Citizens last summer. He was an unused substitute on Saturday in Weymouth's 4-1 defeat at Ebbsfleet United".

    Blue Square Foootball says that "Rushden & Diamonds will be able to call upon Lee Hales for another month as the club have agreed an extension with West Ham. The 18-year-old loanee featured in Garry Hill's side over the festive period and impressed enough to earn a longer stay at Nene Park. The young midfielder has been touted as a hot prospect and has featured for the London club's reserve team. He is also capped for England at Under-16".


    8 January 2008

    RESULT

    Monday, January 7th
  • Torquay U. 1 Burton A. 2

    TUESDAY GAMES

  • Howard Watts's Through the Years

    BSP

  • ALTRINCHAM 2 Kidderminster H. 1
  • Oxford U. 0 Weymouth 1

    FA Trophy 1R

  • Halifax T. 2 Leamington 1

    Setanta Shield 4

  • Barrow v Northwich V. POSTPONED
  • Droylsden v Farsley C. POSTPONED

    TOM HITS FIVE

    Alty Youth striker Tom Bailey and midfielder Danny Browne played in the Greater Manchester Colleges side which trounced West Yorkshire 5-1 this week to progress to the semi-finals of the English Colleges' Cup where they meet North Yorkshire. And all five goals were scored by Tom, with one of them laid on by Danny. Both Tom and Danny have appeared on the Alty first-team bench this season.

    TRANSFORMATION

    Right: At a very wet Oxford last Saturday, Alty's transformation was underlined by the fact that just four of the players who started the game were at Moss Lane at the end of last season. They were Stuart Coburn, Warren Peyton, Robbie Lawton and Pat McFadden. Seen, right, are four of the new faces comprising the back four - James Jennings, Darren Tinson, Ryan Shotton and Chris Lane.

    OXFORD HAPPY

    Last Saturday, "Oxford United manager Darren Patterson saw new signings Craig McAllister and Adam Murray revitalise the U's, who chalked up their biggest win for nearly a season and a half in hammering Altrincham 4-0. It was United's best performance of the Blue Square campaign by some way, and they played some exhilarating football at times, with wingers Joel Ledgister and Yemi Odubade creating havoc on the flanks... Patterson said: 'I'm delighted with that. If we can continue in that vein in 2008 we'll be very pleased... The two new boys made a big difference, but I thought the rest of the lads added to that', Patterson said. 'They're both technically good players, but McAllister links the ball well, which is very important. You can get no patterns of play if the ball keeps coming back. We held the ball up in the opposition half an awful lot and it made it easier for midfield runs, and easier for us to keep the ball and get wide players in the game... There's one thing not in doubt, Robert Duffy's a fantastic penalty taker. He's proved that... Signings will not be judged on one game. I made a good start before when two new signings (Matt Green and Ashley Barnes) scored on their debut against Kidderminster. These will be judged long-term... The performance was good, with some super football... We're still trying to bring players in, but I'm pleased for those players there because they've taken a lot of flak, and quite rightly so - some of it from me - but I've never got away from the fact that they're an honest bunch'".

    BSP NEWS

    "Steve Fallon, manager of Histon, has agreed to let Chris Dillon leave on a free transfer. Histon signed Dillon from Hitchin Town for a small fee last April but injury and the form of Danny Wright, Cliff Akurang and Antonio Murray have meant a lack of opportunity in the first-team. The player has also been out on loan at Hemel Hempstead Town and is currently playing in Histon`s reserve team. Fallon said: 'Chris is a decent lad who just wants to play at the highest level possible. I have spoken with the chairman and feel it's only fair to let Chris find another club and get his career back on course. It`s disappointing for both Chris and us that its not worked out, sadly in football sometimes its just not meant to be'. Meanwhile, Fallon is hopeful that one of his three targets will be arriving during the next few days. '“We are making good progress with one of our targets and remain hopeful that he will be with us during the week of January 14th... I have been bombarded with phone calls from agents pushing players our way as I am sure are other managers in the top half of the table but we will not sign players for the sake of it... I expect us to bring in at least two players in the window and also expect two or three to be on their way, as with everything we have to balance the books'", he told the Histon site.

    NL Daily tells us that "Striker Calum Willock has turned down a new contract with Port Vale to sign for Stevenage Borough. Willock departs Vale Park after five months, despite the fact that former Farsley Celtic boss Lee Sinnott, now in charge of the Valiants, was keen to keep him. But the deciding factor was Willock`s desire to be nearer his family in the south. The 6` 1” striker started his career at Fulham before joining Peterborough United. He was then signed by Brentford on the last day of the 2006 transfer window as a replacement for DJ Campbell for a fee of £50,000. He was a regular in the Bees` team in the 2006/7 season but after the signing of Neil Shipperley, Willock dropped to the bench and was released in May whereupon he joined Vale, intially on trial. Willock has represented Saint Kitts & Nevis at international level".

    The < ahref="http://news.bbc.co.uk">BBC says that "Salisbury boss Nick Holmes was furious after assistant boss Tommy Widdrington was barred by the hosts from attending the goalless draw at Rushden. Widdrington was headbutted by Rushden boss Garry Hill at the end of the 1-1 draw between the sides in September. Holmes told BBC Radio Wiltshire: 'I'm extremely disappointed you can't bring your coach to a game. The fax we got told us implicitly if he was on the coach he would be evicted or not allowed to leave the coach. There didn't seem much point bringing him there if that was the way it was going to be. The lads were disappointed and it probably gave them more to fight for... It was a great battle, I thought we did ever so well with 10 men for over an hour and we even had the occasional chance to score ourselves...Even I said "well done" at the end'".

    "Striker Steve Torpey [not the ex-Alty one] is expected to join Farsley Celtic on a permanent basis. Torpey, who has been on loan at Farsley since November, has had the remaining six months of his contract at Sincil Bank [Lincoln City] cancelled by mutual consent. The 37-year-old joined Lincoln last summer but started just eight games. Farsley have also strengthened their squad with the loan signing of Bradford City midfielder Craig Bentham, 22, and ex-Oldham defender Mark Hotte... Torpey, 37, recently completed a two-month loan spell with non-League side Farsley Celtic" says the BBC.

    "Southampton goalkeeper Michael Poke has joined promotion challengers Torquay on a month's loan... Poke, 22, is yet to make a senior appearance for the Saints but played while on loan with Woking last season" reports the BBC.

    "Despite peppering shots at goal throughout the game in the old salt-mining town of Northwich on Saturday, Aldershot Town eventually had to dig deep to hang on to three points. Joel Byrom’s fine left-footed volley with 15 minutes to go brought Northwich Victoria back into the game but the Shots held on for a 2-1 win... Kirk Hudson — with an exquisite finish — and Joel Grant, in rather less beautiful fashion, scored the goals, either side of half-time, but.. the Shots should have been many goals to the good, with John Grant and Lewis Chalmers especially wasteful".

    Farsley Today says that "Veteran striker Steve Torpey believes Farsley Celtic should take a leaf out of Scunthorpe United's book as they battle to establish themselves in the Blue Square Premier. The defeat against Histon means Celtic remain just two points above the relegation zone and with a record that read five wins, five draws and 15 defeats from 25 matches. But Torpey, who is hoping to make his stay at Throstle Nest permanent when his loan deal expires tonight, believes it's a quick glance at the goals for and against columns that provides the more telling information... They had wracked up 26 goals before this weekend – but had let in 47 at the other end. And Torpey believes the Iron mentality, which saw Scunthorpe keep 26 clean sheets on their way to the Coca-Cola League One title last time around, should be adopted at Throstle Nest. Torpey said: 'It's hard to explain the inconsistency but maybe sometimes we go all out to win when we should be more defensive. Maybe we are too attack minded... Good teams are built on tight defences. If you can stop goals you are always likely to score one or two...I came from Scunthorpe last year and defensively we had a good team'... Tightening his defence will be one of the priorities for new boss John Deacey... He has already bolstered his defence with former Scarborough and York defender Mark Hotte... Combative midfielder Craig Bentham, 22, has been snapped up on a month's loan from Bradford City, and the Celts are in negotiations with several Yorkshire Football League clubs regarding further loan deals". Torpey added, "It's been a bit different coming from the professional ranks to a part-time basis but it is really good at Farsley and I am really enjoying it. I think we will do okay this season. There are a few issues that need to be sorted but it is a great bunch of lads here. We have some good players and have a good variety of youth and experience. I think it needs a bit of fine tweaking, but I think we will be okay. We just need to build on the gap we have opened between ourselves and the bottom four and get a couple of wins. Weymouth are getting dragged into it now as well. They are within three points of us and they will be looking over their shoulders. But we're not even thinking about relegation, we are thinking about moving upwards. There is still half the season to play and we know what we have to do".

    "Cheltenham Town chairman Paul Baker has confirmed that transfer bids for Jamie Mackie and Stuart Fleetwood have failed. Speaking on the Cheltenham Town official website Baker said; "We put in what we considered to be good offers for the two players but they were declined on the basis that they did not match their clubs' valuations," Forest Green Rovers striker Fleetwood has made national headlines this season, scoring 30 goals in 31 games, whilst Exeter City star Mackie has hit a similar rich vein of form netting nine times in his last ten games. Cheltenham made an increased offer for Fleetwood in January, after seeing a £100,000 offer turned down in November. The former Newent Schoolboy has attracted interest from a number of other clubs, notably Gillingham and Carlisle. Sources at Exeter say that an initial £50,000 fee was offered for Mackie, with subsequent appearance related payments taking near to the six figure mark".

    From the Oxford Mail we learn that "Oxford United hope to tie-up the signing of midfielder Gavin Strachan today. Reports suggest the 31-year-old Peterborough man has been offered an 18-month deal, with a coaching role included. Rumours also suggest United are keen to bring former striker Chris Zebroski back to the Kassam Stadium".

    "Football Director Phil Ledger has this afternoon confirmed that Woking Football Club have signed 24 year-old striker Jason Norville for the rest of this season on a player's contract. Jason has previously played for both Watford and Barnet". The website continues "I asked Frank Gray if he would clarify the position on the offer made for Marvin Morgan, since there had been so many rumours. 'Yes, Histon made a bid but it had so many clauses attached to it that it would have taken a long time, if ever, for the Club to have received the £20,000 involved. In any case, and more importantly, the offer didn’t meet our valuation of Marvin; and he didn’t want to leave Woking – he’s happy here and wouldn’t have wanted to revert to part-time football. I am glad that he’s staying but he realises that he needs to score a few more goals and he wants to prove himself here... Colin Lippiatt has this confirmed that Kevin James has left Woking Football Club with immediate effect".

    Stafford Rangers "Midfielder Samy Mawene has left the club after making 11 league and cup appearences. He is likely to join either a League One or League Two side".

    Kidderminster Harriers reported yesterday that ""West Bromwich Albion's reserve side are in action at Aggborough tonight as they entertain Nottingham Forest... Forest meanwhile will give a run out to... highly-rated Vauxhall Motors striker Paul Taylor".

    More vandalism is reported by Halifax Town who "have confirmed that the Club Offices were burgled on Saturday night as Town's players travelled back from their Blue Square Premier match at Woking. The incident was the second in two weeks at The Shay. General Manager Angie Firth told the official site, It has caused lots of damage. We do not have a lot too take but what they have taken has caused us problems and distress".

    And, finally, Grays Athletic "have signed midfielder, Colin Daniel on 1 month's loan from Crewe Alexandra, 19 year old Colin joined Crewe from Northern Premier League side Eastwood Town".


    7 January 2008

    NEXT OPPONENTS

    Alty meet Kidderminster on Tuesday night at Moss Lane. The Harriers met York last Saturday and "Following today's 2-2 draw at York City, Kidderminster Manager Mark Yates was 'proud' of his players for extending their unbeaten run to seven matches... 'We're disappointed that, being 2-0 up away from home, we didn't win the game', said Yates. 'But credit to York [Alty's next home opponents after Kiddy] - you can see why they're on such a great run; they've got tremendous spirit and some excellent players'... The seven game unbeaten run now gives Harriers the chance to look up the league table towards the play-off places that still remain the aim... He added: 'We're confident; what we're doing at the moment is letting teams know that we're going to work hard to get whatever points we can. If anyone wants to get points off us then they're going to have to work extremely hard'".

    BSP NEWS

    In the NL Paper, Northwich's new signing, former Manchester United reserve Aaron Burns, says that he turned down a trial at Portsmouth to join the Vics. He adds, "Droylsden and Altrincham were quite interested, too, but I just think the set up is a little more professional here. Northwich train three mornings a week as opposed to two evenings a week at other clubs". For more on Northwich's professionalism, see Vics' midfielder Chris Williams's comments in yesterday's news, below...

    Meanwhile NL Daily confirms another departure from Northwich. "Simon Rusk has played his last game for Northwich Victoria and is expected to sign for Blue Square Premier rivals Weymouth on Monday. 'Simon is moving on', said boss Dino Maamria. 'His wages are high and once we had an offer from another club I agreed that he could move on'. Rusk did turn up at the Marston's Arena for Saturday's 2-1 defeat to league leaders Aldershot Town but Maamria did not include him in the squad. 'I felt it was inappropriate', he added. Rusk, 26, was one of Neil Redfearn's first signings when he switched to Vics from Boston United last summer. Ironically he fell out with Redfearn following Vics' 5-0 thrashing at Aldershot in September, after which he was transfer-listed. He spent a month on loan at Rushden & Diamonds before returning when Maamria took over as temporary manager from Paul Warhurst. He has been a regular since then, either as a central midfielder or right back, putting in a string of impressive performances. His departure leaves Maamria with the task of restructuring his midfield after Michael Carr handed in a transfer request last Wednesday. Maamria also revealed that Greg Strong had been made available for transfer, joining exiled trio Chris Williams, Kevin Townson and Paul Tait on the unwanted list".

    Forst Green Rovers are not happy as spokesman Colin Peake says, "I can confirm that at 12noon on Friday we only had 11 fit players out of our 22 player squad and out of those 11, this included 2 keepers and Lorcan Sheehan who is not playing for us at this time. We actually only had one fit out and out defender. An application was made under Conference Rule 8.10 for the match to be postponed and Grays Athletic were informed of the application. At 3.00pm the Conference declared that we could not call it off. The whole subject of this rule will now be discussed at a Conference meeting on 24th January, because even the Chairman of the Conference agrees that the rule is outdated and how it is currently written is not in line with government legislation, over the issue of medical certificates and self certification. You try getting each of the 11 players involved to obtain from their own doctor a medical certificate within 3 hours when most were ill in bed and the advice being issued not to go to surgeries for the fear of spreading bugs. Added to that the Conference seem to have forgotten that a doctor is not required any longer to meet such requests until a patient has been sick for 7 days. Therefore they are demanding players try to obtain something which they cannot legally seek. The Conference applied the rule as it is writtten for 2007/08 and unfortunately we had to get on with it and get people out of their sick bed. The Conference also offered to extend the registration time limit for any new players until 9pm - 6 hours longer than under normal rule - but we declined because we felt other clubs would not be happy that was done without consultation to those other clubs and anyway, where do you find at least three suitable defenders on a Friday afternoon. Therefore we had to put out a squad which under normal circumstances included five/six players who would not have been considered because they were not fully fit. Full credit to those who went out and gave it a go. Obviously the rain which came down in torrents for a good hour and half before kick off did not help the normal slick passing we like and it is quite easy to point fingers. We are all good from the stands/terraces". FGR lost 2-1.


    6 January 2008

    GRAHAM CALLS FOR END OF TRANSFER WINDOW

    Alty boss Graham Heathcote has written an article in the NL Paper on the "draconian way the transfer window impinges on human rights. Football is becoming a world of its own in this respect... I don't see how we can sit silently back and accept what is clearly a full-on restriction of trade. Freedom of speech has already been taken out of football. I've been fined enough times by the FA merely for giving my views to appreciate that. So, in football, we have both a restriction on trade and restrictions on freedom of speech... I genuinely believe this is a matter that human rights' organizations should look into... If you're a player who's not playing and not wanted at your club, you're reduced to sitting on the sidelines and inevitably, your career suffers... People in football used to moan about players who would just sit on their contract picking up their money. So why introduce a rule that encourages players to do exactly that? At least, in the past, a club could have off-loaded the player. Now, a player with that attitude is completely safe and secure in his spongeing outside the month of January,

    The window also encourages clubs to overspend. At the start of a season a club cannot predict how many injuries they will suffer prior to January, so they sign more players than they want... I'm not in a position to do that at Altrincham and neither are the managers at other part-time clubs in the Blue Square Premier. So, while the more affluent clubs in the league end up with even bigger squads, clubs like Altrincham have to stay with squads that are much smaller... It makes my job a lot harder than when I was free to bring in players when I suffered injuries... it puts even more distance between the full-time and the part-time clubs... The only way round the window is by signing players on 'emergency loan' deals and that is being made into a complete mockery... These days clubs sign players outside the window on an emergency loan basis even when it clearly isn't an emergency and then sign them permanantly as soon as the opportunity to do so arises. The transfer window is of no benefit to anyone. All it does is cause problems and abuse a basic human right. It should be scrapped at every level of football".

    BSP NEWS

    Northwich Vics' boss Dino Maamria "has been reported to the Professional Footballers' Association by three players he axed" reports the NL Paper. "They claim they have been frozen out and have not been paid the wages they are due. Midfielder Chris Williams said, 'He's trying to wreck my career'. He accused Maamria of banning him from the training ground and failing to pay him for eight weeks. Williams said, 'It all stemmed from the Oxford match. The next day we all had to go into his office individually and he asked me what I wanted to do in January. I said I was happy at Northwich ... but if a bigger club came in, I'd like to speak to them. I went in on Tuesday and he hauled me into the office and gave me a load of verbal abuse for not wanting to sign a new contract. He said. 'stay away from the club or you're sacked'... That was eight weeks ago.SInce then Williams insists he hasn't seen a penny of his pay'". Williams continued "He told me 'The only way you'll go is down and I'll make sure of it'".

    Maamria responded, saying, "Chris wasn't pulling his weight... His agent rang me before Christmas and said he wanted to train with Altrincham but we had them Boxing Day and New Year's Day so I obviously couldn't let him go there. He also mentioned Droylsden... I heard nothing more. I'm not trying to stop him playing'" As for Michael Carr's transfer request, Maamria said,"This is a chance for Michael to play in the League so we won't stand in his way. Hopefully, Chester will come back with a firm offer this week".

    GRAHAM PHILOSOPHICAL

    In Sunday's NL Paper, Graham Heathcote said of the defeat at Oxford, "We were second best and just have to put it to bed. I've got a lot of new players in since January 1st. There were aspects of our game that were poor but I'm not going to slaughter the players. They've just come together. We've had literally one hour on the training field and our 'cup finals' are against the teams around us".

    Oxford United were understandably exultant after their own wretched form recently. "United started 2008 slightly later than the rest of the world, rediscovering their goal touch in fine style with a convincing home win over Altrincham. New signing Craig McAllister bagged a debut goal, Rob Duffy two more, and a there was a first for youngster Alex Fisher as United secured a well deserved three points. New players, new system, with Matt Day coming in at right back in a four man defence and Mickey Corcoran alongside new captain Luke Foster, Odubade and Ledgister on the wing, Murray and Trainer in central midfeld and McAllister and Duffy up front. It livened things up immeasurably, with Murray at the heart of everything, McAllister mobile and hungry and the whole team playing with more tempo and belief... A crowd of under 4,000, but an electric atmosphere and smiles all round".

    OLD BOYS

    The UniBond Safe Hands award for the First Division North went to former Alty keeper Ryan McMahon (Skelmersdale Utd). Old-boy goalscorers yesterday included, Terry Bowker (Buxton) and Rod Thornley who netted a brace for Witton Albion.
    5 January 2008

    OXFORD UNITED 4 ALTRINCHAM 0

    After falling behind after 22 minutes and then conceding a second goal from a penalty just before the interval, Altrincham were comprehensively outplayed in the second half. Oxford debutant McAllister got the first after Darren Tinson had failed to cut out an aerial ball up the middle and the penalty came when Yemi Odubade went down with his customary ease under Coburn's challenge. Duffy converted the penalty. Oxford dominated the second half, with Duffy hooking in number three (54 mins) and Fisher adding a fourth, nine minutes from the end.

    Match report here.

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

    Saturday, January 5th

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

    NEW FACES ON BOTH SIDES

    The Sale & Altrincham Messenger confirms that "Alty [will] be bolstered by the signing of Halifax Town defender Greg Young for tomorrow's trip to the Kassam Stadium. Young becomes the club's sixth signing since the opening of the January transfer window and should go straight into the squad for the game at Oxford. But the Robins could be without both Colin Little (right) and Karl Munroe, who have been suffering with a virus all week, while Steve Aspinall tweaked ligaments in his knee during Thursday night's training session. Long-term injury casualty Val Owen (foot) and suspended striker Chris Senior are also sidelined.

    Oxford have added two new faces to their squad ahead of the game, as they look to record only their second win in nine games. Striker Craig McAllister has joined from Grays in a bid to add more firepower up front, as the goal-shy Us have failed to score in eight of their past 10 games and have mustered just three goals during that time... Also moving to the Kassam Stadium is Macclesfield midfielder Adam Murray, who will be well known to Oxford director and former manager Jim Smith from their time together at Derby".

    "If Darren Patterson gets his wish, Oxford United could have up to three new signings ready to make their debuts against Altrincham on Saturday" claims the Oxford Mail. "The U's boss has been working hard this week to bring in the players he knows the squad needs to turn United from mid-table mediocrity into potential play-off chasers. It goes without saying that a striker who has a record of scoring goals is likely to be high on his priority list, along with a creative midfielder. Patterson would not say last night who his targets are, but he is hopeful that at least a couple of them will be arriving in Oxfordshire this morning, possibly to train with the team if terms can be agreed and then sign on the dotted line in time. It's believed the potential new signings include permanent and loan targets, and some have Football League experience and some Conference experience. 'We're in negotiations for three players and we're very hopeful that they'll be signed and available for Saturday', Patterson said. 'I think it would give everyone a boost if we could bring in some new signings - not just a boost for the fans, but it would be a boost for the players here as well. I'm trying to bring players in that can handle playing for Oxford United. By that, I mean that they're able to deal with the massive expectations there are on this club. We're seen as this big club at this level, that should be miles clear at the top of the table, that should be winning games 5-0, and all that brings extra pressure. Perhaps we also need to change perspectives, though. I was asked by one of the media about us giving an opposition team a spanking, and the goals flying in. Let me say this . . . I'll be quite happy to win 1-0 tomorrow. We won 3-1 up there, but Altrincham will be a tough game. And our record against teams in and around the bottom of the table is not good'.

    It was much earlier in the season that I strongly criticised Marvin Robinson when nothing went right for him in the home game against Aldershot. In hindsight, maybe that was unfair. Even he hasn't had the misery in front of goal that the current striking duo have faced. Yemi Odubade has not scored in his last 11 appearances, and Rob Duffy hasn't found the net in his last eight, which, because of his broken arm, means last season's top scorer hasn't netted since September!... 'I'm not happy with the amount of chances we're creating',Patterson stressed. 'It's a collective responsibility to score goals, not just the strikers. We need to be better from wide, from central and from set-pieces. We've got one of the best deliverers of set-pieces in this league, I believe, in Alex Jeannin, so we should be doing better from them'. It's an interesting poser whether the U's will play Jeannin on Saturday. The Frenchman has a clause in his contract that stipulates he is entited to an extra year on his contract once he has made 25 league appearances this season, and Saturday would be his 25th".

    Oxford United say that "Adam Murray and Craig McAllister go straight into the squad having signed for The U's today. Murray is likely to go straight into the heart of the midfield with McAllister up front. Barry Quinn is suspended for one game, meaning that Michael Corcoran will deputise. Joel Ledgister may well revert to his right wing berth after playing up front at Crawley."

    More recently the Northants Evening Telegraph confirms that "Craig McAllister has left Rushden & Diamonds to join Blue Square Conference Premier rivals Oxford United. The 27-year-old striker signed on loan at Diamonds from Grays Athletic in October 2007 and returned after brief recall with a view to signing permanently when the January transfer window opened.Oxford recently experessed an interest and, with a baby on the way, he has decided to join the U's to be closer to his family home in Southampton". The BBC adds that "Oxford could hand debuts to midfielder Adam Murray and striker Craig McAllister for the Altrincham game. United will be without suspended Barry Quinn, while Danny Rose is a doubt with a hamstring injury and Eddie Anaclet's shoulder injury should rule him out. Altrincham will be without suspended striker Chris Senior when they travel to Oxford. Tom Cahill will continue in attack but midfielder Val Owen remains sidelined with a foot injury".

    REFEREES

    The referee for the Oxford United v Altrincham game on Saturday is Mr A. M. Turner whilst the man in charge the following Tuesday at home to Kidderminster Harriers is Mr R. L. Metcalfe whose previous Alty matches include the game against Stafford Rangers at Moss Lane on New Year's Day 2005, which he had to abandon after 27 minutes due to a waterlogged pitch.

    FRIENDS' DRAW

    Steve Foster announces that the winners of the Friends of Altrincham FC monthly draw were:
  • 1st No. 51. Mrs M Warrington (£100)
  • 2nd No. 55. Dalton Steele (£35)
  • 3rd No. 39. Lori Flynn (£15)

    Follow the above link to read how to join the Friends and help the club.

    OLD BOY

    Accrington Stanley confirm that former Alty midfielder "Ian Craney has signed a permanent deal bringing him back to Accrington Stanley from Swansea on a three and half year contract in a deal worth a record £85,000. The 25 year old midfielder left the Fraser Eagle Stadium to sign for League One side Swansea last season. He had a successful first year in Wales but came back to Accrington on loan in September this year after having limited opportunitites in the first team. Since his return he has been a key figure in the Stanley side. Speaking after signing this morning Ian said 'I'm delighted to be back here at Accrington, I have great memories from the Conference winning season and it's been fantastic coming back on loan these last few months. Accrington Stanley is a terrific club with a great manager and is well set up behind the scenes. The club has big ambitions and I look forward to achieving more success here in the future'. Chairman Eric Whalley added 'Ian is a quality player in every sense of the word. There were other options available to him but throughout our conversations this week he has made it perfectly clear that this is where he wants to play his football. The fee is the highest that this club has ever paid for a player, however I would like to think that this is an indication of our commitment not only to survive in the Football League, but to push on and take the club further'". Craney moved to Swansea City for £150,000 with half the fee coming to Altrincham.

    BSP NEWS

    From the BBC we learn that "Torquay manager Paul Buckle has signed a new two-and-a-half-year contract. Buckle, who was a Torquay player between 1994 and 1996, took over as manager at Plainmoor following the sacking of Leroy Rosenior last June".

    Contrary to yesterday's reports "Birmingham City goalkeeper Adam Legzdins, 21, will now be staying at Halifax after agreeing a loan extension to the end of the season." claims the BBC.

    "Chester City midfielder Dean Bennett has joined Kidderminster Harriers on loan until the end of the season for his third spell at the club. Earlier this season the 30-year-old, who played more than 200 games for Harriers between 1999 and 2004, spent three months on loan at Aggborough.... Said manager Mark Yates, 'He's getting better and better and we're glad to have him back'".

    "Stevenage have completed the free transfer signings of Stafford's Fred Murray and Millwall's Peter Vincenti. Murray, a 25-year-old left-back joins after previous spells with Northampton Town and Cambridge United. Vincenti, 21, is a Jersey-born midfielder or striker and Millwall were his first professional club. Meanwhile, Adam Miller and John Nutter have joined Gillingham for undisclosed fees, while Santos Gaia has gone to Grays Athletic on a free transfer" states the BBC which adds that "Grays Athletic have signed midfielders Santos Gaia and Ian Selley on free transfers from Stevenage and Lewes. The experienced duo have both signed short-term contracts to stay with the club for the rest of the season. Meanwhile James Lawson (Chelmsford City) and Craig McAllister (Oxford) have left on free transfers.

    "Adam Gross has joined Weymouth on a month's loan, while Karl Murray, Mark Marshall and Charley Hearn have been added to the transfer list" says the BBC

    According to This is Staffs "Stafford Rangers are hunting for reinforcements following the shock departure of defender Fred Murray - to tomorrow's opponents, Stevenage. Murray's deal at Marston Road ran out on January 1 and the 25-year-old former Northampton player has opted to move. His departure leaves Rangers without a recognised left-back on the books and right-back Richard Sutton will be suspended from tomorrow's game under the five yellow cards rule. But Rangers have been given a boost with midfielder Sami Mawene, below, signing on for another month. Caretaker bosses Neil Grayson and Kevin Street have identified several possible targets during the transfer window. They have already taken on board Damian Jarrett, a 21-year-old utility player, previously with Tamworth, but a defender and a midfielder are their priorities. 'We are trying to get a couple of players in for tomorrow, but nothing has transpired yet', said secretary and financial director Mike Hughes. 'We are looking at full signings and loans, whichever is the best option, although we are still restricted by finances'". Indeed, Stafford Rangers later added that "Stafford Rangers have added more names to the squad. 20-year-old Crewe left back Ryan Lynch has arrived on an initial one-month loan and midfielder Matt Hazley, also aged 20, has been signed following his release by Stoke City".

    From the Cambridge News we learn that "Steve Fallon has been thwarted in his attempts to sign Marvin Morgan for a second time after Woking rejected Histon's cash offer for the striker. The Stutes' manager has been keeping tabs on the 24 year old following three impressive displays against his side for Wealdstone and Yeading in recent seasons. Morgan spurned Histon's advances last February after deciding to stay at Yeading in the hope of attracting interest from a League club, before joining the Cards in the summer... The boss has not given up hope of resurrecting the deal, but with Torquay rumoured to be interested in the attacker, he may have to turn his attentions to another target. Fallon said: 'We feel they're asking for silly money for Marvin that we can't afford at this moment. We've been quoted as selling Cliff Akurang for £50,000, but we haven't got that type of money to spend on a player. He's a very similar player to Cliff and did very well for Yeading against us last year and we thought we had a good chance of getting him... Strikers go through spells of scoring and not scoring and, even though he's not quite hit the heights this season, we're still interested in signing him as he's a very good player'... The Stutes are still waiting to hear back from Bishop's Stortford after they made an approach for one of the Blue Square South outfit's players this week. And with Fallon desperate to strengthen his squad, the boss was quick to dismiss reports linking a number of his players with a move to Cambridge United. U's manager Jimmy Quinn told the News yesterday that he felt Adrian Cambridge, John Kennedy and Danny Wright could all do a job for him at the Abbey Stadium. But Fallon said: 'We've had contact through the papers, but nothing over the phone and I don't think for one minute that he'll follow it up. But he's right - we have got some good players'".

    "Michael Bowler has become Dino Maamria's latest signing" according to the Northwich Guardian. "The former Stockport County defender agreed non-contract terms with the Vics' boss yesterday, Thursday... 'Michael can strengthen the team in a number of areas', Maamria told the Guardian. 'He was used a lot at right back by Jim Gannon but he can also operate as a central midfielder'. Glossop-born Bowler, who spent a spell on loan with Witton Albion last season, was released by County before Christmas after graduating through the youth ranks... before going on to make 17 first team appearances".

    NL Daily says that " Worcester City have signed teenage defender Jon Munday on a month`s loan from Kidderminster Harriers. The 19-year-old centre back started his career as a trainee at Queens Park Rangers before joining Harriers last August".

    Blue Square Football tells us that "Crawley Town have clinched the permanent services of left-back Paul Watson from league rivals Rushden & Diamonds. Watson joined Crawley on a loan deal in October last year and the deal has been made permanent after the defender put pen-to-paper on a contract on Friday. He started his career as a trainee at Gillingham and has gone on to play for Fulham, Brentford, Brighton, Coventry and Woking".


    4 January 2008

    YOUTH MATCH OFF

    Morecambe Youth have called off Sunday's game against Altrincham Youth due to the state of their pitch.

    ALTY SIGN DEFENDER

    Altrincham FC have signed 6ft 3inch central defender Greg Young from Halifax Town, who will become number 10 in the first-team squad. Greg has been signed till the end of the season after being released by the Shaymen. Halifax Town say that "Young's move to Altrincham follows Ryan Toulson, who joined the Robins on loan this week until the end of the season... Town boss Chris Wilder told Young he could leave the Shay in December along with fellow centre-half Cortez Belle as he plans to turn the side's fortunes around. He has made 13 starts (and a sub appearance) for the Shaymen this season. His last appearance was in the 3-0 defeat to local neighbours Farsley Celtic on Boxing Day". Greg, born on 25 April 1983, has previously been with Grimsby Town, Northwich Victoria and Alfreton Town. Other ex-Shaymen at Moss Lane include Colin Little, Chris Senior, Val Owen and Karl Munroe.

    OPPONENTS SIGN TWO

    Tomorrow's opponents, Oxford United, "have strengtened their squad by bringing in midfielder Adam Murray from Macclesfield Town. Adam, 26,began his career as a trainee with Derby County, turning professional in August 1998... He gradually established himself in Derby's first team, and played regularly in their Championship side, but by the start of the 2003-04 season was out of favour and joined Kidderminster Harriers on loan... He left Derby in November 2003, joining Notts County and then rejoined Kidderminster Harriers and was a regular in their side until the end of the season. In June 2004, he joined Mansfield Town where he was a vital part of the team until his move to Carlisle United in March 2005, where he played in Paul Simpson's side's play-off team that won promotion back to the Football League. At the start of 2006/7 he moved on to Torquay United for £10,000". And "United have made their second signing of the day, with striker Craig McAllister arriving from Grays Athletic. The 27 year old Scottish striker started his career at Basingstoke in the Ryman League... A later move to Stevenage Borough emerged, with a loan spell at Gravesend and Northfleet. However McAllister struggled for starts with the Boro, and moved to Woking in the summer of 2005. Craig impressed during his time at Woking, scoring 16 goals in the 2005/06 season and 18 goals last season, which earned interest from a number of Blue Square Premier sides. McAllister eventually signed for Grays Athletic in May 2007 but things didn't work out at Grays, meaning a loan spell at Rushden".

    RYAN RISES TO THE CHALLENGE

    Above Gavin Rathbone's picture captures Ryan Shotton and the Northwich defence. More of Gavin's excellent match photos are on his website.

    WALKING FOR GOOD CAUSES

    Don't forget that in the run-up to the away game at Droylsden, which is on Saturday 9th February, there will be a Sponsored Walk to Droylsden on Tuesday 5th February. Following the same format as last year's successful walk to Northwich, Radio Manchester's Jimmy Wagg and Altrincham FC director, Andrew Shaw, will be heading any volunteers who wish to join them to take a walk from Altrincham to Droylsden. The walk is approximately 16 miles and once again proceeds from the walk will be split between Altrincham Football Club and the Autistic Society. Anyone interested in walking should contact the club for a sponsor form. If you don’t fancy the walk but would like to sponsor one of the walkers don’t hesitate to contact the club on 0161-928-1045 or by e-mail.

    KEEPIE UPPIE

    Blue Square announce a “Keepie Uppie Championship” throughout the Blue Square leagues:

    What is it?
    “Play it Square” is an exciting new half time keepie uppie challenge for fans of all Blue Square Premier, North and South clubs.

  • When?
    The competition will run throughout the season. It will provide regular entertainment for fans at half-time and could see your club winning £20,000
  • The Challenge?
    To do as many Keepie Uppies as possible with a square ball (as provided)
  • The prizes?
    The chance to kick for and win £100,000 at the Play-off final at Wembley. If the winner is from your club – the club also gets £20,000. Each club awards a pair of 2008/09 season tickets to the winning fan that has scored the most keepie uppies by the end of the season. A match by match prize of a free £25 bet goes to each winner.
  • How to Play?
    Four fans will be invited to take part at each game from the New Year till the end of the season. Anyone interested in taking part should contact the club by e-mail or on 928-1045 where your name will be noted and entered into a draw. Should you be one of the lucky winners you will be notified of your success and given further details. Each winner will have 3 attempts to do as many “keepie uppies” as possible with the square ball provided. He/she may use their feet, knees, chest, shoulders and head. Please note – you must be over 18 in order to compete.

    NEXT HOME GAME

    Next Tuesday, Alty host Kidderminster Harriers, where the Kidderminster Shuttle tell us that "manager Mark Yates has called on his players to keep their unbeaten run going when they take on resurgent York City away on Saturday. His Aggborough troops are on a high after beating Forest Green Rovers 1-0 on New Year's day, which stretched their unbeaten run to six matches... 'We've picked up five points over Christmas and extended our unbeaten run to six games, so we go into the rest of the season with a lot of confidence and self belief', said the manager... While Yates is eager to see his side keep up their good form he will have to shuffle his pack for Saturday's trip to KitKat Crescent. Strikers James Constable and Justin Richards and midfielders Andy Ferrell and Russ Penn miss the game with one-match suspensions after picking up five bookings apiece. The Harriers manager will have captain Stuart Whitehead to call upon if needed... 'The players are all determined to keep our run going. It also means we'll have four fresh faces for our trip to Altrincham'... Yates also hinted he might bring in several new faces. Midfielder Dean Bennett, who enjoyed a three-month loan from Chester City earlier in the season, is believed to be high on his wanted list".

    NL Daily says that "Kidderminster Harriers are bracing themselves for a bid for hot-shot James Constable after no less than SIXTEEN Football League scouts - including West Bromwich Albion and Crystal Palace - turned up to watch the New Year`s Day clash with Forest Green Rovers. With the Blue Square Premier's two star strikers, Constable and 30-goal hit-man Stuart Fleetwood, on show in Harriers 1-0 victory over the Gloucestershire side, scouts from across the country flocked to Aggborough. With Forest Green chairman Colin Gardner placing a minimum of £250,000 price tag on his former Wales under-21 international, attentions may turn to Constable... He is contracted to the Aggborough outfit until the end of next season, and while there have been no formal approaches for the 23-year-old, Harriers' chairman Barry Norgrove says 'There have been a number enquires about James over the past couple of months but nothing concrete. We haven't placed a price tag on James because there has not been anything formal, but we would like six figures. On New Year`s Day there were sixteen scouts at the match... They probably weren't all there for James, but I have heard clubs in London are talking about him'" reports the Worcester News.

    BSP NEWS

    From The Northwich Guardian reports that "Michael Carr has asked to leave Northwich Victoria. He handed in a written transfer request after training yesterday, Wednesday, in a bid to find a new club before the end of the month. 'The player wants a new challenge', agent Ethan Taylor told the Guardian. 'There hasn't been any bust ups or anything like that, he just feels the time has come for him to move on'. Taylor, who also represents a number of Carr's teammates at the Marston Arena, added that he hoped to meet Jim Rushe either today or tomorrow for further talks. Former England C international Carr, 24, was handed the captain's armband by Dino Maamria when the Tunisian took temporary charge of team affairs at the end of September. He is under contract until the end of the current campaign, with Vics expected to request a sizeable fee for their prize asset. 'I hope the club support him in his decision', said Taylor. 'He's been thinking about this for some time but wanted to wait until the consortium had taken over before finding out what their plans were both for him and the club. That meeting hasn't happened yet but Michael still feels it is the right choice to make at this time'. The Guardian is still waiting to find out if the club have accepted Carr's request". The Guardian also reports that "Dino Maamria has added swooped to sign another attacker. The Vics boss has fought off competition from a host of clubs to capture FC United of Manchester front runner Aaron Burns. He has signed an 18-month deal at the Marston's Arena. 'This is a huge capture for us', Maamria told the Guardian. 'I have been after him from the moment I took over as manager but have been forced to wait for the transfer window. He has an eye for goal and I'm convinced he will get a hatful for us'. Burns was released by the Rebels this week and becomes the fourth attacker to sign for the Blue Square Premier club this week". Burns was about to sign for Altrincham last year but "He has been unable to play for a club at a higher level until the transfer window opened on New Year's Day. Burns, 20, has been training with Northwich for the past fortnight and also had a trial for the club when Paul Warhurst was in temporary charge back in September. 'Paul decided not to take a chance on him', added Maamria. 'But I was desperate to get his number from day one and am delighted to have him here at last'... Keith Barker, Cayne Hanley and Joel Byrom are all available for selection along with Huddersfield Town loanee Lucas Akins".

    Farsley Celtic are reported to have signed the much-travelled Mark Hotte as well as Craig Bentham, the latter on a month's loan from Bradford City.

    The Burton Mail tells us that "Burton Albion could give former Derby County and Middlesbrough star Malcolm Christie the chance to revive his injury-ravaged career. The 28-year-old striker is currently without a club after failing to clinch a deal with Hull City earlier this season. And Brewers' boss Nigel Clough confirmed last night he would like to open tentative talks with Christie to discuss the possibility of him returning to action at the Pirelli Stadium. Clough told Mail Sport: 'We've made no secret of the fact that we would like to bring in another striker - and Malcolm's name has popped up in the last few days. We're not sure what his circumstances are at the moment, so it's very early days in terms of a possible approach... We've not had any contact with him and, first and foremost, we would need to establish whether he intends to resume his career'... His big break came in 1998 when he joined Derby from Nuneaton for £50,000. Christie scored 30 times in 90 League starts for the Rams before moving to Middlesbrough in a £1.5m deal in January, 2003. However, he suffered a catalogue of serious injuries on Teeside, including two broken legs and a broken foot, and made only 49 appearances in more than four years".

    From the Cambridge News we read that "Paul Carden could be heading back to Cambridge United in time for Saturday's FA Cup trip to Wolverhampton Wanderers. The combative midfielder was called back from his loan deal at the Abbey by Accrington two weeks ago. But Carden, 28, has not featured in the three matches since his return to Stanley and with [ex-Alty man] Ian Craney expected to re-sign with the Lancashire club, they look set to allow the midfielder to return to United... [Manager, Jimmy Quinn said, 'John had said he wanted Paul to go back and play a part, so I find it strange that he hasn't been involved. Paul is a good lad who I know wants to come back'... Quinn said he also felt there were several Histon players who could do a job for United following their displays in the two festive local derbies with the final act to come in the FA Trophy... He said: 'We're interested in some of their players because they've got some good lads down there, but a lot of teams will also be looking at them. Adie Cambridge is a terrific player. I know he has got a long throw, but he also wins the second balls and the lads at the back are very strong. John Kennedy in midfield did very well against us and I also like the look of the boy (Danny) Wright up front, who is a good honest player'. But United could be out of luck in their rumoured bid to bring in Mark Beesley from Forest Green with the 12-goal striker believed to be close to signing a new deal with Rovers".

    Meanwhile "Histon have made a cash offer for a Blue Square Premier striker as they attempt to replace top scorer Cliff Akurang. The Stutes sold Akurang for a five-figure fee to Barnet after just seven months at the Glass World Stadium... And chairman Gareth Baldwin revealed... 'We've now made official bids for two players - one from Woking and one from Bishop's Stortford. We're stepping up our endeavours to make sure we can sign them as quickly as possible'. Fallon has expressed his desire to add a frontman and a midfielder to his squad... The boss has seen his side score just two goals in their last four league outings".

    "Manager Steve Evans insists Crawley should not be ruled out as Conference play-off contenders" according to The Argus. "Evans reckons his side can make a late charge for a top five spot in the second half of the season... Evans is hoping to strengthen his squad ahead of the long trip to Manchester [Droylsden] with the signings of two players today. Evans has also extended the loans of Mustapha Carayol and Kieran Murphy for another month and is trying to strike a deal with MK Dons boss Paul Ince to keep them until the end of the season". Also, according to the Crawley Observer"Steve Evans says he is close to signing a player in the Conference along with a player in League Two. The Reds boss would not reveal who the players are until the deals are wrapped up. He added that he has not spoken to the club's owners since they lost the appeal against the six point deduction in October, but he did say the prospective new owners have agreed a fee to buy the club".

    "Plymouth Argyle last night refused to rule out reports linking the Championship club with a move to sign Exeter City striker Jamie Mackie.It is understood that the Pilgrims have tabled a cash bid to capture the in-form frontman" states This is Exeter. "Plymouth boss Paul Sturrock has admitted that there are still 'two or three positions' that need strengthening... and speculation is rife that he has identified Mackie, who has scored 14 goals for City this season, as one of his prime targets".

    "A dispute between Farsley Celtic and planning chiefs has gone into extra time" according to Farsley Today. "The Yorkshire Evening Post reported last month how the club had been told to take down pitchside camera gantries at its Throstle Nest ground. Leeds City Council claims Farsley failed to get planning permission for the gantries, which went up before a televised game against York City in November... The club had 14 days from January 8 to get rid of the structures ; dubbed 'Stalag Farsley' by local residents. However, Celtic have launched an appeal against the notice. They argue that the gantries - which are about 20ft tall - did not need permission because they are not fixed to the ground. The removal demand has been suspended pending the outcome of the appeal, which will be decided by the Government's Planning Inspectorate. That in turn means live TV coverage of Farsley's game at home to Stevenage Borough on January 24 should go ahead as scheduled. News of the appeal was today greeted with dismay 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 on the road".

    Still in Yorkshire, the Halifax Courier confirms that "Keeper Adam Legzdins's loan at the Shay has ended and he looks set to return to Birmingham City. The 21-year-old stopper arrived at the Shay for his second spell on loan at the beginning of October and made his debut in the 2-2 draw with Burton".

    This is Weymouth claims that "Jason Tindall has responded to calls for his head by saying he is a fighter who will 'never quit'. The 30-year-old was bombarded with criticism from fans following his side's woeful 3-0 New Year's Day defeat to Salisbury... He said: 'I've never quit anything in my life especially not in football. I'm a fighter and I'll keep on working hard to prove anyone wrong who doubts me. I'm no fool and I never thought being a manager was going to be easy, or that we would win game after game. It's a long process with what we are trying to achieve, and I'm sure I'll come out on top but I'll never quit. Had Jimmy Quinn quit at Cambridge United last year they may not be in the position they are now, and I doubt Dagenham & Redbridge would be in League Two had John Still resigned the previous season when they were going through a bad patch'. Meanwhile Tindall confirmed Jefferson Louis looks set to leave the club following the striker's refusal to take a place on the bench against Salisbury. The Terras' chief also revealed that defender Callum Hart, who joined the Wessex Stadium outfit in November, has been released. Tindall said: 'Callum has left the club because certain problems have resulted in him not being able to commit to the club fully... "We are currently in the process of speaking to Jefferson about him moving on. We simply can't have anyone disrupting the squad, it's like a bad apple in a fruit bowl and you can't allow it to spread. Up until the Salisbury game he's been fantastic, but he let himself down, and often in life you only get one chance'... Tindall is hoping to add to the loan signing of Yeovil striker Wilfried Domoraud and bring in fresh blood... He added: 'I'm hoping that we can get three of four in to freshen the place up, however, we may have to release one or two to free up some money. Whoever we get will have to be someone who can improve the team and have a certain character and mental strength about them because right now we don't have enough players who posses that quality. One thing we won't do though, is panic buy'".

    Stafford Rangers say that "Defender Fred Murray, who has been out injured since mid-November, has left Stafford Rangers and is expected to join Stevenage Borough".

    Setanta Sports have announced more televised fixtures in the Blue Square Premier. Yet again, Altrincham do not figure.

  • Thursday, 31 January - game depends on FA Trophy outcome
  • Monday, 4 February - Setanta Shield Round 5 - game depends on FA Trophy outcome
  • Saturday 9 February - Cambridge United v Stevenage Borough
  • Sunday 10 February - Forest Green Rovers v Crawley Town
  • Tuesday 12 February - Weymouth v Torquay United
  • Thursday 14 February, Crawley Town v Ebbsfleet United
  • Saturday 16 February - game to be confirmed

    Stalybridge Celtic announce "the signing of central defender Garry Burke. Garry arrives at the Fold from Tameside neighbours Droylsden".


    3 January 2008

    ONLY TWO JAMES JENNINGS

    Both James Jennings (Macclesfield) and Ryan Shotton (Stoke City) have not only come on loan to Altrincham from 1 January 2008 but have also signed new contracts with their employers. Indeed, Ryan's loan was so close to the deadline because his contract renewal at the Britannia Stadium had to be processed by the football administrators before he could be loaned out to us.

    James is actually the second "James Jennings" to play for Alty in the last seven years. His namesake, a midfielder, played for Altrincham in pre-season of 2001-02. Indeed, in a brief stay, he had the distinction of playing and scoring for our youth team and of also playing for the reserves.

    GRAHAM'S FUTURE

    "Graham Heathcote insists his future at the club is still under discussion despite Alty's 2-1 triumph over bitter rivals Northwich on New Year's Day... Despite ending a six-game losing streak to restore hope at the club, the Alty boss remained adamant that scheduled talks with the board over his role at Moss Lane will still go ahead. Speaking exclusively to the Sale & Altrincham Messenger, Heathcote said: '(Victory over Northwich) is just the start. It was a typical derby game and I was pleased with the attitude shown by all the players. But I will still sit down with (chairman) Geoff Goodwin and the board when he gets back from holiday this weekend to discuss where we go next. It's been a really tough Christmas and I've found it hard to deal with some of the derogatory remarks being made by fans over the last couple of weeks. It hurts and I don't think you ever learn how to deal with that. But, for now, I'm just getting on with doing the job and putting together a group of players who can keep us in this league. Five players have come in already but there will be more arrivals and more departures. We've all been working really hard to change things and I have to thank (club secretary) Derek Wilshaw for basically giving up his Christmas to complete all the paperwork for the new signings in time to get them playing on Tuesday'".

    STAND CLOSED AT CAMBRIDGE

    The Cambridge United programme editor has posted the following on the Alty Fans' Forum. "A slight change for you guys when you travel down [to the Cambridge United v Alty game on 26th January]. Instead of being in the usual 1,800 all-seater stand behind the goal, you wll be put in the South Habbin terrace, which is the stretch of terracing to the left of the South Stand, for those who have been there before. The reason for this is because the game has been selected as a 'Junior U's South Stand Initiative' - an aim to attract more children and families to the Abbey Stadium. You'll be glad to know you'll only have to pay £12 in rather than the £15 to sit down. Of course, should we beat Wolves on Saturday then the above game will be moved and things will change..... but that's not going to happen".

    Right: The view from Cambridge United's South Stand in October 2006, showing the Habbin terrace, at an evening game which Alty drew 2-2 at the Abbey Stadium.

    REINFORCEMENTS FOR OXFORD

    Oxford United confirm that "Ashley Barnes has returned to Plymouth Argyle. The young striker's loan ended yesterday after the game at Crawley and... Barry Quinn will miss Saturday's home game against Altrincham. Quinn was shown a straight red card in the second half of the game at Crawley yesterday, conceding a penalty in the process, and the punishment for a straight red is a one game ban with immediate effect... [But] Boss Darren Patterson has been a busy man over the last 48 hours as the transfer window has opened... 'I have spoken to just about every club in the country trying to bring in the right type of players. It's never easy because everyone is looking at the same time, but we think we are close to bringing in one or two new faces. We have had to prioritise because of the wage cap. Obviously I won't name names but we have made enquiries about a number of proven goalscorers at this level and above. We have also looked at improving other areas, not just up front. We won't sign players just for the sake of it, they have to have the hunger to do well at this club, and they have to be able to handle playing for Oxford United. There are such high expectations when you play here, there's a certain pressure, and we need players who thrive on that and want to be winners.I have watched an awful lot of matches this season and know the players I want to bring in. I spent most of this morning talking to players who have a good pedigree, and who I know will improve us as a team. Hopefully we can make things happen before the weekend, but if it takes a little longer to get the right man then we'll have to be patient'".

    Details of the STAR supporters' coach to Oxford are here. Alty use Go Goodwins luxury coaches (as seen at the top of the page) in contrast to the self-proclaimed Northwich Vics' Tour Bus seen at the Victoria Stadium on Tuesday!

    VICS RE-GROUP

    The Northwich Victoria Supporters' Trust site has a match report on Alty's win on New Year's Day. It says that "Vics may have deservedly won the three points at Altrincham on Boxing Day and today as the score line was the same the points most certainly belonged with Altrincham who by far and away were the better and more eager side... in a game that Vics players, management and supporters will quickly want to forget. Altrincham introduced no less than FIVE new players into their starting line-up but you wouldn't have thought so as they immediately took the game to Vics and had it not been for some outstanding saves by Scot Tynan the visitors could quite easily have enjoyed a commanding half time lead. Three of Alty's new boys were causing Vics trouble - Jennings, Toulson and particularly Shotton who looked assured all afternoon and possessed an extremely long throw that created difficulties for Vics' defenders.... Altrincham did look quite good going forward and played the ball around with some real purpose.... After Speight went down injured and as he had to be stretchered off it left Vics with only nine men... However, football being the funny old game that it is, Altrincham seemed a little clueless in their efforts to break down the Vics barriers. They were a much better side against eleven opponents!... Now manager, Maamria will surely have to be wheeling and dealing - like Heathcote has done - in the transfer window to improve Vics' chances of avoiding relegation".

    And Maamria has done just that according to the Northwich Guardian which tells us that "Vics have made three new signings to boost their goal-shy attack. Dino Maamria revealed to the Guardian that Keith Barker, Joel Byrom and Cayne Hanley [ex-Alty trialist and later at FCUM] had put pen to paper after today's derby day defeat to Altrincham. 'We are short of goals', he said. 'Nobody in this division has scored fewer times than we have and it's something I wanted to sort out quickly now I have the chance'... First through the door at the Marston's Arena is 21-year-old Joel Byrom, an attacking midfielder from Clitheroe. 'He can get goals from the centre of the park', Maamria told the Guardian. 'Joel is technically gifted and is someone I am familiar with from my time working with Burnley's youth team'. Joining Byrom in the squad for Saturday is striker Keith Barker. He has switched from Irish side St Patrick's Athletic but before that had come through the youth ranks at Blackburn Rovers. 'Keith is exactly the type of striker I have been after', said Maamria. 'He is 6ft 3ins and so gives us a real physical presence in attack that I feel has been missing these past few weeks. He has been capped for England at U18s and U19s level so is clearly somebody with talent'. FC United of Manchester front- runner Hanley completes the surgery to Maamria's forward line... he is another that the Vics boss knows from working at Turf Moor. 'These three represent the future of this football club', added Maamria. 'But I also believe they will make a huge difference here and now. That's always been my strategy - to get young, hungry players in the team that want to fight to keep this team in the Blue Square Premier'. Maamria admitted that there would be a number of departures in the coming days with transfer-listed trio Chris Williams, Paul Tait and Kevin Townson all needing to find a club. Meanwhile Mark Birch has also ended his loan stay at Vics and returned to Gretna".

    NEW BOYS AND OLD BOYS

    Above: Pending some better pictures of Alty's new loan players, here are some grainy shots of them before their debuts at Northwich. L. to R: Ryan Toulson (from Halifax) and Liam King (from Rotherham); Pat McFadden with James Jennings (from Macclesfield); Warren Peyton and Darren Tinson flank Tom Cahill (from Rotherham).

    FC United have announced that they "have released Aaron Burns. Aaron signed for FC United in October after being released from Cardiff and being unable to play for a club at a higher level than the UniBond league until the transfer window opened. While at FC United Aaron put in 14 appearances and scored 8 goals. Karl said of Aaron 'We would like to thank Aaron for his endeavours and wish him all the best in the future, wherever that may be'. Burns played briefly for Altrincham Reserves last season and was lined up to join Alty this season but was prevented from doing so by registration rules.

    .

    BSP NEWS

    After allowing Ryan Toulson to move to Moss Lane on loan, Halifax Town have now announced that former Alty captain "Steve Bushell has been released and has joined Blue Square North side Hyde United. The 35 year old joins The Tigers and will link up with former Town players Chris Brass & Gerry Harrison. Bushell rejoined the Shaymen from Altrincham in the summer but has made only 8 starts in 14 league appearances since his return". And the BBC adds that "Halifax Town have completed a double signing from Barnsley snapping up young duo Thomas Harban and Nathan Joynes. The pair, both 22, have spent the last six months on loan at Bradford before moving on free transfers to Halifax. Striker Joynes came through Barnsley's youth set-up playing once for the first-team before loan spells with Boston, Halifax and Bradford. Full-back Harban was a youth product but never played for the first-team and had loans at Tamworth and Bradford". Joynes had a loan spell at Halifax last season during which he scored against Altrincham.

    Torquay United "Boss Paul Buckle has made his first signing of the transfer window. Bolton player Leslie Thompson has joined the Gulls on a one month loan, Leslie, 19, has been on loan recently at Stockport County and will bring plenty of pace and skill to the squad;he can play wide midfield or behind the front two. Leslie is also a team mate of United defender Mark Ellis... Ishmael Welsh has been recalled by Yeovil Town at the end of his loan period". Also, "Torquay Chief Executive Colin Lee has called a press conference for Friday 4th January" but is not saying what it is about.

    From the BBC we learn that "Grays Athletic have signed midfielder Neil McCafferty from League of Ireland side Derry City. The 23-year-old has agreed a deal until the end of the season... Derry-born McCafferty started his career at Charlton Athletic before spending the 2005/06 season with Rushden and Diamonds. He started 25 games for the Diamonds and also spent time at Cambridge United before signing for Derry in 2006".

    Not surprisngly "York City boss Colin Walker has been named the Blue Square Premier manager of the month for December. York collected ten points from four league games and also progressed in the FA Trophy and Setanta Shield".

    "Ebbsfleet United's teenage striker John Akinde has agreed a new deal at Stonebridge Road... up until the end of next season after breaking into the first-team in recent weeks. Akinde scored twice over the holiday period to take his tally to four in seven games since making his senior debut in November" says the BBC.

    The following players have been shortlisted for the Blue Square Premier December “Player of the Month” award:

  • John Grant - Aldershot Town
  • Wayne Hatswell - Rushden & Diamonds
  • Jamie Mackie - Exeter City
  • Mark Peters - Cambridge United
  • Martyn Woolford - York City To vote, click here.
    2 January 2008

    NORTHWICH VICTORIA 1 ALTRINCHAM 2

    RIGHT: James Jennings defends against the industrial backdrop of the Victoria Stadium.

    In an incident packed game, which Northwich ended with just 8 men after two players were sent off and one of their substitutes was stretchered off, Alty gained revenge for their Boxing Day defeat at Moss Lane. But it took a very late goal by Joe O'Neill, which Vics tried to claim had been cleared off the line, to secure the points. Alty fielded all five loan signings and they made an impact, especially in the first half, but the half-time score was goalless. However, Vics went ahead just three minutes into the second half, when Welch headed home Akins's excellent cross from the left. After Wilson's dismissal for a dreadful tackle on Lawton (53 mins). Ryan Shotton levelled in the 55th minute poking Chris Lane's ball into the net. Having used all their subs before the hour mark, Vics were reduced to 9 men when Speight was stretchered off but Alty then laboured to break down the opposition until O'Neill's 87th minute winner. Vics went down to eight men when Brown lunged at O'Neill and was dismissed (90+4 mins).

    Match report here

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

    VICS' VERDICT

    The Northwich Guardian reports that after yesterday's defeat by Altrincham, "Dino Maamria was furious with his team at full time. Vics had two players sent off - they have picked up five red cards in as many matches - to leave the Tunisian with much to ponder as Alty snatched a late winner to win a dramatic derby. 'It's a lack of discipline and that's not good enough', was his verdict. Josh Wilson and Ryan Brown both received red cards for reckless lunges on luckless Robbie Lawton, but Maamria said both decisions were correct. 'I have no argument', he said. 'The ball was there to be won for Josh but his was a poor tackle - it was high and he caught their player. Ryan is another one who was silly. We are where we are due to players losing their head instead of keeping cool. I can accept people getting sent off for challenges but not ones like that'.

    Despite their numerical disadvantage - Vics went down to nine men when Jake Speight left the pitch on a stretcher then eight once Brown was ordered off - Maamria insisted he still thought his team could have rescued a point. 'It's so annoying', he said. 'I didn't think we played too well in the first half and there were too many people out there who did not rise to the occasion... I thought we did really well for the first 15 minutes of the second half and deserved to take the lead'. Wilson's dismissal forced Maamria to reshuffle but he admitted he was surprised that Alty exterted so little pressure. 'They didn't seem to know what to do playing against 10 and then nine men', he said. 'We were organised and comfortable until a bit of disattention cost us on their second goal'".

    And the same source adds, "Jake Speight will find out later this week how long he faces on the sidelines. The livewire striker left the pitch on a stretcher midway through the second half of Vics' 2-1 derby defeat after falling awkwardly. His left knee gave way as his foot touched the ground following an aerial challenge. 'It's too early too tell how bad it is', said Dino Maamria after the final whistle... He tore ligaments in his knee during a pre-season friendly in July and, after an aborted comeback the following month, he underwent surgery to correct the problem. Fellow front runner Lee Steele limped off in the first half, to be replaced by Speight, after once more tweaking his left hamstring... 'I felt it go as I tried to change direction quickly', he told the Guardian after the game".

    "Alty just love ambushing their neighbours" continues the Guardian. "Last year their last minute leveller left Vics sick and they repeated the trick to return to Manchester with a precious three points. The hosts have only themselves to blame for a desperate defeat... They have now picked up five red cards in as many matches and, worryingly, not a single sending off can be blamed on a bad ref... They nearly pulled off a miraculous draw, but that would have been as much down to Alty's ineptitude as heroic defending. The Robins appeared clueless as to how to break down nine-man Northwich and only when they reverted to type and launched a long, high ball into the box did they get their reward... Alty, boasting five fresh faces after a busy Christmas lending players off other clubs, were a team transformed from their Boxing Day no-show before the break... [Later,] Maamria had used all his substitutes to leave Vics with nine players for the final quarter. Bizarrely it was the most comfortable period of the game for his back four. Alty, suddenly asked to take the initiative with their strength in numbers, struggled to craft any openings. But, as time ticked by Lane launched another high cross into the box that Shotton converted into an assist for O'Neill".

    NEXT UP

    The Oxford Mail reports on our nexct opponents. "Witney wonder Jamie Cook came back to haunt his old club Oxford United with a brilliant goal to bring the U's New Year's heartache. Cook, who a year ago was playing for Hellenic League side Witney United after trying his luck as a professional golfer, teed the ball up 40 yards out and then hit a glorious five-iron-like drive over United keeper Billy Turley. It was the first of Cook's two goals in a couple of minutes as Crawley Town beat Darren Patterson's team 2-0... To cap a dire start to 2008 for 'Patto', he has now lost his skipper Barry Quinn for Saturday's home match against Altrincham because the defender saw red for a professional foul on Jon-Paul Pittman, which brought Cook his second goal from the penalty spot... Patterson hopes to make a couple of signings in the next few days to bolster his side for Altrincham's visit to the Kassam Stadium. He said: 'The first 20 minutes we looked leggy and were disappointed with how we'd played, but we got back in and were delighted to be level at half-time... We don't look like scoring, I've got to be honest, and we're not full of confidence on the bench when the team does go forward. Our passing of the ball has got to be so much better and our ball retention isn't good enough. We must do that better. It's impossible to keep on keeping clean sheets, as we have been doing. We have to score some goals'".

    OLD BOY

    On New Year's Day, Leigh lost 2-1 at Workington - the RMI scorer was Kieran Lugsden.


    1 January 2008

    NEW YEAR'S DAY GAMES

    New Year's Day

    There was not a single draw today...

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

    NEW YEAR AND OLD YEAR

    Altrincham FC sends New Year greetings to all its supporters and to the staff and volunteers at the club. Your help and support has been much appreciated over the past year.

    The website's annual statistical Review of the Year is now here. Amaze your friends with fascinating facts!.

    DIFFERENT FACES

    Altrincham with five loan signings will certainly have a different face from the side which lost to Northwich on Boxing Day and the Vics, too, are likely to make changes as the Northwich Guardian reports. It says, "Vics' momentum stalled at Rushden on Saturday making a second win in seven days against their bitter rivals [Altrincham] a must... [Dino Maamria] once more faces a selection dilemma with his starting line up likely to feature a number of changes from the one that outplayed Alty on Boxing Day. Richard Battersby will be hoping for a recall while Lee Steele could finally return in attack in place of misfiring Nick Farquharson. Jake Speight is also on standby. Michael Byrne is challenging Josh Wilson for a start in midfield, while Adam Morning should continue on the left in place of the banned Luke Horrocks... Graham Heathcote has been a busy man though, drafting in no fewer than five fresh faces for tomorrow's return match. All five are loan signings with the return of Stoke City starlet Ryan Shotton a real boost for the Robins' beleaguered backline. They leaked five against Stevenage on Saturday so he should come straight in to the starting line-up... He should be joined in the matchday squad by Rotherham United pair Tom Cahill and Liam King plus Halifax Town defender Ryan Toulson and Macclesfield Town full back James Jennings"

    SAM'S VERDICT

    The Sale & Altrincham Messenger reports on the Stevenage game, stating that "Moss Lane was gripped by an unshakeable gloom as Alty lost their sixth straight game on Saturday. After the Boxing Day debacle against Northwich it seemed things couldn't get any worse - but they did. Their confidence completely shot and with the weight of recent failures seemingly weighing heavy upon them, the Robins slumped to a depressing 5-1 defeat to a largely unimpressive Stevenage side. Typically, bad luck did play its part. When Tyrone Berry scored to put the visitors 2-1 up in first half injury time, he was so clearly offside a bat flying overhead might have spotted it. But for some reason the linesman didn't... Despite that dose of poor fortune, however, Alty only really had themselves to blame. They failed to build on a decent enough first half display and instead played like a group of individuals scared for their futures...

    Manager Graham Heathcote has a monumental task on his hands if he is to restore confidence and belief to his team. After the midweek derby defeat fans voted with their feet and only 763 passed through the turnstiles... Just 10 minutes in, the visitors sliced straight through the Alty defence and Tyrone Berry slid the ball through to Steve Morison, who rifled his shot into the corner of the net. Rather than collapse, however, for the next half hour the Robins actually looked something like the team that had showed much early season promise, despite their depleted resources... Eager young striker Pat McFadden was involved in a couple of the Robins' best chances. First, he fired narrowly wide of the post after pouncing on a defensive mix-up, although a touch more composure may have seen him score. Then, he raced onto a superb through ball from Darren Tinson to whip a dangerous cross into the box that strikepartner Colin Little just failed to reach... but right on the stroke of half time... Steve Morison intercepted Karl Munroe's reckless pass across the face of his own goal and although Stuart Coburn saved well, the Stevenage striker picked up the rebound and fed Berry. Although clearly offside, with just Munroe between him and the goal, the linesman's flag stayed down and Berry was allowed to give his side the lead".

    BORO'S VERDICT

    The website of Stevenage Borough also has an account of Saturday's game in which Borough "inflicted a tenth home defeat of the season on Altrincham at a wet and windy Moss Road [i.e. Lane]. In truth the scoreline was slightly flattering to Borough, but Taylor had every right to be pleased with his second away victory... Taylor made one change from the goalless Boxing Day draw at Rushden & Diamonds with Tyrone Berry replacing John Martin, allowing Daryl McMahon to move to a more central position... Steve Morison fired home from 12 yards... but with the chances going begging Altrincham grew into the match and drew level, albeit in slightly fortuitous circumstances; the unfortunate John White, playing the last match in his current loan spell, heading a swerving cross from Jake Sedgemore past Alan Julian. Playing into the teeth of driving rain and a biting gale, Borough would have been satisfied with parity at the interval, but they managed to snatch the lead moments before the break as Altrincham’s defensive woes, that have blighted their season, reappeared. When Karl Munroe played a wayward pass across the edge of his penalty area Morison nipped in. His first effort was saved by Stuart Coburn, but his second shot was tapped home by Berry lurking at the far post, and in a seemingly offside position. After the break it was one-way traffic with the tireless Morison leading the Altrincham rearguard a merry dance. He was instrumental in Borough’s vital third goal, heading a cross from White back into the path of Stuart Lewis whose low drive from the edge of the area gave Coburn no chance. The home side continued to huff and puff but never really troubled the Borough back four and as the game crept to its inevitable conclusion, a double strike from Borough – a low skimming free kick from McMahon, and a well deserved solo effort from Morison – gave the scoreline a rosy glow. There will be tougher tests ahead for Borough".

    BSP NEWS

    From our opponents next Saturday we learn that Oxford United have signed a new ""Young defender Ben Weedon. [He] has signed non contract terms with the club... Luke Bennett... has had his scholarship further extended until the end of the season. Luke was extremely unfortunate to suffer a second knee injury in pre-season... United welcome Luke Foster back into the squad as they travel to Crawley on New Year's Day. Foster missed the draw with Kidderminster while he served a one game ban but is available once again, leaving Darren Patterson with an interesting choice to make. Foster has been in fine form alongside Barry Quinn in recent weeks, but Mickey Corcoran played his part in another clean sheet on Saturday... Danny Rose may return to the squad after his hamstring problems, but Eddie Anaclet is still unavailable due to a shoulder problem".

    In Essex, Grays Athletic "have released Mark Marshall on one month's loan to Blue Square South‘s Eastleigh FC".

    The BBC tells us that "Gillingham have tabled an offer for Forest Green striker Stuart Fleetwood. Rovers are braced for a flood of interest in the 30-goal striker in the transfer window and Gillingham are the first club to move for the 21-year-old. 'We are interested in signing Stuart and have made a second offer. We'll have to see what develops now', confirmed Gills' boss Mark Stimson. Gillingham previously tried to take Fleetwood on loan in November but could face competition for the Welshman. The Kent club's bid is believed to be 'significantly higher' than the £100,000 Cheltenham offered in November. Rovers' manager Jim Harvey has also denied speculation linking Fleetwood's fellow forward Mark Beesley with a move to Cambridge United. The 27-year has scored 12 goals this term and Harvey said: 'I've spoken to Mark about a contract and he'd be happy to sign again. I wouldn't anticipate too much movement in January'".

    York City "striker Chris Beardsley has joined Blue Square North side Kettering Town on a month's loan".

    Stevenage Borough say that manager "Peter Taylor has wasted no time in strengthening the Borough squad by announcing two new arrivals who will join the club when the transfer window opens at midnight tonight... Joining Borough from Chester City is Ashley Westwood, a 31-year-old defender with a good pedigree, and the reputation as a creative centre back. The Bridgnorth born defender started his career as a trainee at Manchester United... before Crewe boss Dario Gradi paid £40,000 to take him to Gresty Road... He moved to Bradford City for £150,000... Another defender, 19-year-old Scott Laird, arrives from Plymouth Argyle, initially on a one-month loan deal".

    "Crawley boss Steve Evans is set to strengthen his squad in the transfer window, regardless of whether the proposed takeover takes place", claims The Argus. "Evans has drawn up two lists of targets he wants to bring in during January, one based on his current playing budget and the other on new investment he would receive if the proposed new owners buy the club. An undisclosed party is lose to sealing a deal to take over at Broadfield Stadium at the end of the coming month and is reportedly keen to give Evans funds to spend. Evans said: 'There is money there now to bring in players but we tend to shop in a different area from what a lot of other clubs shop because we can't afford big wages... and there will be one or two leaving us based on what we have now. Myself and (assistant) Paul (Raynor) have also put a list together because the new perspective owners have said that if your budget was increased by X, what would you do? We have put that plan across. They are very keen that myself and Paul are a big part of what they are trying to do but we don't really know them so there is a lot of talking to be done if and when the takeover happens... We need to bring fresh players into the football club. We have got 17 but when we have two or three out, you can see how detrimental it is. We literally have no one else at the club other than a 42-year-old assistant manager to go on the bench. When I looked at the match programme against Farsley, they had 24 or 25 players in the squad. We would love that but we know our product has to be affordable, despite my ambitions as a manager. When you have won the Conference, and I am the only manager in the league to have won it, it is hard to say you are part of a three year plan. We have to stick to it, that's the future and we will see what the end of January, beginning of February, brings with the new ownership'".

    This is Staffs tells us that "Midfielder Sami Mawene's contract is due to expire after the Burton match, leaving Grayson and Street to do some negotiating with him. Grayson said: 'We want Sami to stay, but he is only on a month-by-month contract and there are other clubs interested in him. He has done brilliantly for us'. Street added they were hoping to bring in a couple of reinforcements of their own during the transfer window".

    Weymouth's chairman Malcolm Curtis has issued a long statement in which he writes "2007 has been a year of great change and instability for the club but I believe we start the New Year in a good position, with a much clearer goal of where we want to get to in the next 12 months... But, and this is a big but, we have only just started on a very long journey which needs to see the club achieve success both on and off the pitch. On the pitch, the aim is of course to remain in the Conference, win every game and achieve the highest possible league position at the end of this season and into the next one. Off the pitch, we must achieve financial stability for the club and this means it must be able to stand on its own two feet and at least break even if not achieve a small profit. You will see changes over the coming 12 months but I sincerely promise you that the aim of the board is simple: to win every game and deliver excellent customer value whilst enabling the business to achieve financial stability and ultimately financial independence.

    Please bear these three points in mind when reading the rest of this update, there are and will not be any hidden agendas... I am aware that rumours over the future of the club appear to be rife at the moment... There NEVER has been nor are there any future plans to implement a partnership or merger with Dorchester FC... Yes I have and continue to believe that there should be less rivalry between the two clubs both on and off the pitch and by joining forces we should be able to help promote football as a whole within South Dorset and our local communities... The current site on the Wessex stadium does not provide the facilities or income which it needs to, not in 2007 or moving forwards. If we stay on the Wessex site we need to spend some serious money updating our facilities or we could look outside our current location for future solutions... The Wessex is both our biggest asset and one of our biggest liabilities...

    The brand of WFC is a financial asset of the club i.e. it has a financial value... Weymouth Football Club/The Terras has a very fragmented brand across the whole business and everywhere you look the brand is interpreted in a different way, whether that's in print , web or external use, there is no real theme running throughout . This makes it very difficult to "buy into" …… we would like to create an identity that represents what Weymouth FC means to EVERYONE. A refreshed brand will also help rebuild that feeling of togetherness that we all feel is missing. We have instructed an external professional to help us review the brand of WFC and to come up with suggestions for future strategies to help us maximise its value and to create consistency and continuity across the whole business... There is no plan to change the core colours of Weymouth FC that would be madness! However, where, how and when the core colours are used is a very much up for debate. We need to use them in the most effective way for the many different audiences that we face-off to. Flexibility to adapt the core colours to particular audiences is the aim, from the kid's kits to match day kits; we need to recognise that one size fits all may not be the most effective way forward. For the same reason we are looking at modernising the logo to make it more appealing to ALL. A fresh modern look with a new motto will hopefully represent everything we want WFC to represent going forward - recognising that we need to move with the times...

    We now have a full and comprehensive set of management accounts that completely bring to light the trading performance so far this year. Other than to say we are in a loss situation and the losses are at the higher end of our expectations, I don't think I can say much more... There are however some immediate decisions which we have taken and which will affect the users of the club which I would like to update you on:... We have taken the decision to 'out-source' the running of the bar facilities to a specialist 3rd party... running bars is not part of our core business and we believe that it is best handled by a specialist... The match day programmes have also been fully reviewed and it has become transparent that current printing and production costs mean that each edition does not cover its costs and this is another area which we need to address as a matter of urgency... We have made the decision to make a small increase in the programme price of 50 pence per programme (i.e. now £2.50 per programme).