an unofficial website

March, 2008

31 March 2008


The Board of Altrincham FC has issued the following statement regarding events after the final whistle on Saturday:

"Following the incident that occurred at the end of the game on Saturday the Club have sent a letter to Torquay United Football Club to apologise for their part in the matter. The game was equally important for both clubs and emotions were running high. The Club do not condone this type of incident and hope that it does not sour the good relations that we have generated between the clubs this season. The Board of Altrincham Football Club are undertaking investigations into the causes and appropriate action will be taken once concluded".

Whilst some of the exchanges at the end of Saturday's game were over-heated, it was good to see that as the incident ended, Ryan Shotton and a Torquay player (neither of whom was involved in the matter) were setting a much better example as they shook hands amicably on the pitch (seen in background, above).


Monday 31st March
  • Forest Green R. v Burton A.

    Tuesday 1st April

  • Droylsden v Torquay U.
  • Grays A. v Stafford R.
  • Histon v Northwich Victoria
  • Kidderminster H. v Ebbsfleet U.
  • Stevenage B. v York C.

  • Cheshire Senior Cup Final: ALTRINCHAM v Nantwich Town (at Witton Albion FC)
  • Howard Watts's Through the Years

    Wednesday 2nd April

  • Exeter C. v Droylsden

    Thursday 3rd April

  • Setanta Shield Final: Aldershot T. v Rushden & D.

    Saturday 5th April

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


    Above: Alty leave the field at half-time against Torquay last Saturday. L to R: Darren Tinson, Stuart Coburn, Greg Tansey, Ryan Shotton, Greg Young, Paul Turnbull, Ryan Lynch, Val Owen, Warren Peyton, with Graham Barrow and physio Sean Riley in the foreground, backs to camera.

    Torquay United report that manager "Paul Buckle has recalled Tony Bedeau from his loan spell at fellow Blue Square Premier side Weymouth. Tony, who scored for Weymouth yesterday, has joined up with the United squad in the north west in preparation for the Droylsden game on Tuesday".

    30 March 2008


    With four of Alty's five remaining league games away from Moss Lane, the club's league fate will be decided on the road, so support from Altrincham fans will be vital. After the Cheshire Senior Cup Final on Tuesday, Alty have away games at Kidderminster, Burton, Ebbsfleet and Weymouth. Details of the STAR supporters' coach to the next three away matches are on the Away Travel page.


    Alty Youth's match at Morecambe today has been called off because the pitch is waterlogged.


    According to the NL Paper, "Alty boss Graham Heathcote blasted the attitude of the Blue Square big boys Torquay after his side held the high-flyers to a draw.... Heathcote said, 'Maybe they think we should just lie down but the game's there for both sides to play. Some teams think it is just about them because they are at the top of the league'. Torquay boss Paul Buckle was quick to play the incident [after the final whistle] down. He said, 'I think there's been a scuffle but I don't think anyone has been hurt. It's a passionate game but we don't want to see that and I thought the ref dealt with it. Nobody was sent off so that's the end of the matter'". Graham added, "'We gave them a good game today. They are a good, powerful side. We set out to frustrate, compete and take our chance when it came. We organised ourselves and we competed. We've given a sloppy goal away because we should have cleared our lines. But then we have come back really well. We set out a system to get something from the game'. Buckle added, 'We had enough chances and corners to have won the game safely and I couldn't see where an Altrincham were going to get a goal from. Credit to them, they got the draw they wanted'".

    Torquay United report that "Torquay were held to a draw by Altrincham in a match that, considering the conditions, had some decent chances with the Gulls forcing nearly twenty corners [15 according to the NL Paper] but were pegged back after taking the lead through Kevin Hill. Terrible weather conditions met the United team and supporters at Altrincham, strong winds and rain were going to test players and supporters alike in an afternoon fit for ducks... wearing waterproof clothing!... Altrincham had much the better of the first half, with the wind behind them, and forced United on to the back foot. Lone striker Colin Little came close twice in the first five minutes... United were struggling to get a foothold in the game which was mainly due to the weather conditions rather than the opposition! ... The second half began with no improvement in the weather but United were straight on the front foot. Kevin Hill was quick to chip the ball over the 'keeper and the presence of Tinson was not enough to stop the ball going in... On 65 minutes, United couldn't clear their lines and substitute O'Neill crossed from the right and Little controlled the ball before slotting home from 12 yards giving Rayner no chance. United produced a strong response with a brace of shots from Hill and Hargreaves as the conditions on the pitch became almost unplayable in places with a lot of surface water... The final stages were almost end to end football as United threw on Elliott Benyon in an attempt to secure a win... The final whistle brought a confrontation on the pitch involving most of the coaching and playing staff of both teams that was eventually calmed down by the officials... Gulls' boss Paul Buckle gave his thoughts after the 1-1 draw... 'We had enough chances and corners to win the match. I couldn't see where a goal was coming from for Altrincham. Credit to Altrincham though, they got their equalizer but I was pleased with the performance, we had a right go'".


    News from our CSC Final opponents this Tuesday; "Nantwich Town who say that "There has been late transfer activity... with Christopher Clements arriving on work experience from Crewe Alexandra until the end of season, whilst Thomas Birch has signed for ‘The Dabbers’ from Blue Square North AFC Telford United. 18 year old Clements, an attacking midfielder, is in his second year as a scholar at Gresty Road. Christopher joined Crewe Alexandra at 12 years of age and to date, has scored 11 goals whilst featuring in the under 18’s side, including a brace against Premiership club Middlesborough earlier this season... Meanwhile, Nick Farquharson has agreed to join Blue Square North club Nuneaton Borough until the end of season. Despite Nantwich official’s attempt to persuade him to remain on loan at The Weaver Stadium until the end of season, the desire to play at a higher level has taken him to the Warwickshire club... The disappointment of Nick’s departure was hardly tempered earlier today by the news that Alsager Town utility player Dave Whittaker has decided against a move to Nantwich Town... Despite showing interest during talks held earlier today, the very experienced UniBond league player then had a change of heart and has elected to remain with his current club". Nantwich reached the final by winning three away matches at Hyde United 2-0, Northwich Vics 1-0 and Cammell Laird 2-1.

    The Crewe Chronicle adds that "Nantwich Town stand on the verge of recording a Cheshire Senior Cup hat-trick. Having entered the competition 110 times, they could register a third victory on Tuesday night. Here, former club president Michael Chatwin ooks back on the Dabbers’ record in the competition. Nantwich Town have a long and proud record in the Cheshire Senior Cup, having first entered the competition in the club’s inaugural season of 1884-85. In all, they have entered the competition 110 times but despite all those attempts, the Dabbers have won the competition just twice – in 1933 and 1976... Though Town have been losing finalists a further five times, the club has made it through to the semi-finals on a further 10 occasions... There is a good omen for Tuesday night. This is our 10th match against Altrincham since the war and Nantwich have won just once – on the way to winning the Cheshire Senior Cup in 1976!".

    "Dabbers' boss Steve Davis [said of the CSC Final]...'We’re looking forward to it. It is certainly the biggest occasion for the club since the Vase final, and we could take 400-500 supporters there. “It has generated a lot of interest and there is a buzz amongst the fans. It is a break from the league and a nice, one-off day out for everybody. It is an opportunity to win a trophy we haven’t had our hands on for 30-odd years and we will be fully focussed on doing so'.. Altrincham are fighting to beat the drop from the Conference and could rest some players for the final. But as they ply their trade several standards above the Dabbers, they will provide a stern test... Despite being underdogs, Davis thinks they can win it. He added: 'We have done really well to get to the final against opposition from higher leagues... I will see who’s fit and available and pick the best team I can. I know Altrincham have watched us twice so they are obviously taking it seriously. We’ve watched them once and will do so again, so it should be a tight game'".


    Winger Carlos Logan has joined Flixton after a brief flirtation with Drogheda United. Both James Dean and Steve Torpey (twice) scored for Stalybridge Celtic as they beat Solihull Moors 4-0 and Jamie Baguley scored for FC United. Former reserve Cabbar Bagdagi scored for Chroley and ex-Alty captain Mark Maddox played for Vauxhall Motors. Former Alty keeper Andy Moore has moved from Trafford to Ashton United.


    Setanta TV is covering the following matches in the next fortnight:
  • Mon 31st March, 7.45pm - Forest Green Rovers v Burton Albion
  • Sat 5th April, 5.15pm - Stevenage Borough v Exeter City
  • Tue15th April, 7.45pm - Exeter City v Aldershot Town


    Mansfield may still be in League Two but there is a connection between their plight and York City as Bullsnews reports: "April Fools Day Come Early? That was the reaction of Radio 5live's pundits to the news that John Batchelor wants to change [Mansfield Town's] name to Harchester United. They cast Batchelor as a pantomine baddie intent on playing a cruel joke on Mansfield Town, after Batchelor himself told them they 'only had two fans' and that he was budgeting the club for zero attendance next season. He even went so far as to announce a mobile number live on air on a local Mansfield radio station for fans to ask him questions, noting his disappointment to 5live that he 'only got six calls'... He admitted asset-stripping as many companies as he'd 'saved' from a total of around 30, making a six-figure sum from York City - and acknowledged that a larger six-figure sum had gone missing from a deal at York to give a housebuilder first option on the Bootham Crescent site. Chairman James Derry quit the club yesterday, his position untenable after a third failed bid for the Stags. Batchelor claimed Derry's consortium was stringing the deal along, waiting for the result of their relegation battle before confirming investment. With £500,000 needed up front as working capital - the club would be bought debt free for £1 - and with a £4million option to buy Field Mill they apparently baulked at the whopping rent current owner Keith Haslam wants for the ground. [Rent of] £275,000 a year, nearly £5,300 a week, would be reduced to £175,000 if they dropped into the Conference. Most Conference sides would fold at the proposition of paying such a huge rent. Cambridge pay around £200,000 a year for their Abbey Stadium, and lose heavily each season as a result. Rotherham blame their current problems on their huge rent. With such a figure hanging over Mansfield they can only follow the route of Rotherham and Cambridge - to sink further into the mire, lurching from financial crisis to financial crisis until they eventually free themselves from the burden and give owner Keith Haslam the £4million he demands, either by buying the site or bankrupting the club."
    29 March 2008


    Above: Alty played 4-1-4-1 in the first half, with Val Owen sitting between the back-line and midfield, as shown in the picture. Behind Val are, from left-back to right-back, Lynch, Young, Tinson and Shotton, whilst in the midfield we see Peyton, Turnbull, Tansey and Lawton.

    Alty fielded both their new loan signings (Turnbull and Tansey) and they were joined in midfield by Val Owen, making his first start since November. The Robins emerged with a deserved point against promotion-chasing Torquay thanks to Colin Little's 19th BSP goal of the season. Altrincham more than matched United in the first half but after the break the Gulls upped their game, despite rain which was, at times, torrential. They took the lead in the 56th minute when Hill's lob over Coburn from the left was turned against his own bar and into the net by the retreating Alty captain Darren Tinson. But Alty then brought on Joe O'Neill to assist lone-striker Little and within five minutes of the substitution the equalizer came. Little netted from 10 yards after debutant Turnbull's effort had been blocked. In the closing stages Alty might have snatched the points but the action continued after the final whistle. With the players leaving the pitch, the two "benches" becames involved in a protracted brawl in front of the Carole Nash Main Stand before order was finally restored.

  • Match report here.

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

    Saturday, March 29th

  • ALTRINCHAM 1 Torquay U. 1
  • Cambridge U. 0 Kidderminster H. 3
  • Exeter C 1 Halifax T. 0
  • Farsley C 4 Weymouth 2
  • Grays A. 2 Crawley T. 1
  • Oxford U 0 Northwich V. 1
  • Rushden & D. 0 Droylsden 0
  • Stafford R 1 Aldershot T. 2
  • Woking 3 Histon 3
  • York C 0 Ebbsfleet U. 1
  • Howard Watts's Through the Years


    Altrincham go into today's game with selection decisions to be made. Two new loan signings arrived this week from Stockport County, Paul Turnbull and Greg Tansey, and earlier loan-signing Liam King is battling against the injury he picked up on Monday.

    Our opponents, Torquay United. report that "Paul Buckle and his squad head for the North West for their next two games, the second match is against Droylsden next Tuesday but they will first take on Altrincham on Saturday... Jody Banim will miss both games due to suspension but otherwise it is just Steve Woods who is on the treatment table and Tony Bedeau who is on loan at Weymouth who are missing from the squad... Altrincham are in a precarious position, no team has played more games than the forty they have chalked up so far in the Blue Square Premier and although they are clear of the relegation places at the moment, all the teams above and below them have games in hand - United are running four games behind Alty. With only six games left the match on Saturday is most definitely a cup final for the home team, they dare not pick up something from the game; their run in is tough and they finish the season with a home game against Weymouth. Recently their home form has been positive too, just one defeat in the last eight matches at Moss Lane is better than many teams above". [Alty's last 8 home games are W3 D4 L1].

    "Veteran striker Colin Little (right) has been the major reason they are still in with a good chance of surviving; 19 goals for the season and 7 in the last six games have been priceless... He has topped the Alty scoring charts for the last three years and has already scored more goals this season than the next four players added together, he has scored 13 goals since the start of the year and all of their last five! The downside for Altrincham has been defensively, 42 goals have been conceded at home in 21 games and 73 in all. United from - Rayner; Mansell, Todd, Ellis, Nicholson, Stevens, Adams, Hargreaves, Zebroski, Sills, Phillips, Rice (gk), Robertson, Hockley, Mullings, Hill, Hinshelwood, Dsane, Benyon".

    This is South Devon reports that "First team coach Shaun North insists that Torquay United are 'ready to go' as the Gulls brace themselves for the 10-match run-in... United now face two away matches in the North West, beginning with tomorrow's clash at struggling Altrincham (3pm).With an appearance at Wembley in the FA Trophy Final already in the bag, United are fully focused on securing a place in the play-offs, at least... North said: 'The players have had a couple of days off. We've just had a busy schedule over the Easter period and now have an even more hectic period coming up over the next few weeks... All the players are fine, they're all ready for this upcoming period. It's only Steve Woods who is out for now - that's our only problem... To be honest, Altrincham defended very well against us at Plainmoor and were dangerous on the counter-attack. We'll be aware of that threat on Saturday. We had lots of the ball in the home match but just couldn't score the goals, then got caught on the counter-attack, and lost two points in the end'.... United will also be without on-loan forward Jody Banim tomorrow... Goalkeeper Simon Rayner is set to start his third match on the trot having been recalled from a loan spell at Boston last week. The Canadian stopper has kept two clean sheets in his first two matches back at Plainmoor... There was no last-minute transfer activity at Plainmoor during yesterday's final loan transfer deadline day".


    Fleetwood Town have "signed midfielder Colin Potts on a non-contract basis. Potts has been brought in by manager Tony Greenwood to strengthen the squad for the promotion run-in. Colin is a right-sided midfielder who was released by Conference side Altrincham in December 2007. Colin's appearances for Altrincham were 82 (+38), scoring 13 goals".


    Our CSC Final opponents "Nantwich are hoping to give their promotion push a massive boost by retaining match-winner Nick Farquharson" according to This is Staffs. "The young striker returned to Crewe in midweek after a successful two-month loan spell with the Dabbers, whose head coach Steve Davis has been in further talks with Crewe counterpart Steve Holland. Davis said: 'Nick needs to discuss his situation at Crewe and I respect that... I am waiting to hear from his representative, but it could be a last-minute thing'. Farquharson, aged 19, has scored nine goals in his short time with Nantwich... Nantwich will check the fitness of goalkeeper Lee Jones, while Hungarian Gyorgy Kiss is struggling with a back injury". Meanwhile "Alsager Town have been boosted by Dave Whittaker's decision to remain with the club. Whittaker had been targeted by Nantwich, who wanted him as a centre-half even though he is Alsager's leading scorer with 18".


    "Burton Albion have been told they must play in the final of the Birmingham Senior Cup just 24 hours before a crucial league game [against Altrincham]" reports tha Burton Mail "Albion's offer of a showpiece tie against Birmingham City at the Pirelli Stadium has been thrown out by county officials. Instead, they have been told they must travel to St Andrew's on Monday, April 7, after the venue was decided on the toss of a coin. The tie will be played the day before the Brewers host Altrincham in a Blue Square Premier clash crucial to their hopes of securing a place in the promotion play-offs. Brewers' chairman Ben Robinson described the ruling as 'ludicrous'... He said: 'The Senior Cup final falls directly between Grays at home on the Saturday and the Altrincham game on the Tuesday. We can't expect people to play three times in four days with so much at stake in terms of us trying to reach the play-offs. Unfortunately, it will be the Senior Cup final that suffers because we are not going to jeopardise our league ambitions'. Clough revealed that Albion had offered to host the final tie on Saturday when he would have been able to field a strong side. He said: 'We don't play again in the league until Monday at Forest Green. That means we would have been happy to field a decent side on Saturday and make the final something of an occasion that might have attracted a fair crowd. Unfortunately, that wasn't acceptable to Birmingham City or the county FA and, on top of everything, they have now imposed a date on us. At least it will be lovely for some of our young lads like Ollie Hancock and Tom Liversage to get the chance to play at a Premiership ground'. Robinson said: 'St Andrew's obviously appeals more to the county FA from a prestige point of view'. Birmingham FA secretary Mike Penwick said: "Burton did offer to play the game on Saturday, but that was not feasible because Birmingham City will be playing in the Premiership which obviously takes precedence".

    The BBC reports on a former owner of York City. "Mansfield are currently second from bottom in the Football League A man bidding to buy Mansfield Town is planning to rename the club Harchester United after the former Sky series The Dream Team, the BBC has learnt. John Batchelor, former owner of York City, submitted a bid to majority shareholder Keith Haslam on Wednesday. Producers of the Sky series confirmed Mr Batchelor had made an approach to use the name. It is understood the racing car enthusiast also plans to use actors from the television series at the club. Mr Batchelor said: 'Football supporters in general have to understand that if they want professional football in their town, they have to accept it has to be done on a commercial basis. Harchester is more promotable than Mansfield. That's not any form of insult to Mansfield at all because it's a club with a long tradition but it's just a fact of life. One club has been on the television for 10 years and the other one hasn't'". [But hasn't one team has won a few competitive football matches and the other hasn't?] "The businessman changed York City's name to York City Soccer Club when he was at Bootham Crescent to attract American interest".

    "Northwich Victoria boss Dino Maamria beat the transfer deadline to land Accrington Stanley duo Mark Roberts and David Brown on loan" says the BBC. "Both have agreed month-long deals to help the Vics' relegation fight. Defender Roberts, 24, returns to the Marston Arena where he ended last season after signing from Crewe. Former Hull striker Brown, 29, has spent three years at Accrington and also has Conference experience from spells at Hereford and Telford".

    "Kidderminster Harriers have clinched the services of Plymouth Argyle's Jake Moult on a loan basis until the end of the season" according to Blue Square Football. "The 19-year-old is yet to make his debut for the Championship outfit... As the Harriers are in comfortable position in the middle of the table, boss Mark Yates will welcome the young midfielder to the squad when the side travel to Cambridge United on Saturday".

    "League sponsors Blue Square have paid out customers who have backed Aldershot to be Champions of the Blue Square Premier. The Shots are 15 points clear with 8 games remaining after sweeping all before them this season. Gary Waddock's side recorded only their third drawn game of the season despite being down to ten-men away at Droylsden and that was the cue for Blue Square to already declare them winners. Spokesman Alan Alger said: 'We've had to wave the white flag and give Aldershot backers their well deserved winnings. We've been thoroughly impressed with them all season and think now is the right time to act, especially as they didn't lose even with ten-men. This also acts as a challenge to the chasing clubs to make us payout twice, which will end up costing us anywhere up to £100,000', Blue Square have also paid customers their winnings for any bets on runaway Blue Square North leaders Kettering Town".

    NL Daily says that "Guiseley... have an excellent addition to their squad for the trip to Fleetwood Town after signing Lee Crooks. The former Bradford City midfielder was linked with Guiseley`s neighbours Farsley Celtic earlier in the month but has decided to join the Nethermoor men instead" claims the Telegraph & Argus.

    No comment is necessary on news that Stevenage Borough have "completed yesterday the emergency loan signing of Anthony Mason. The 19 year old highly regarded striker has been with Plymouth Argyle".

    Stafford Rangers "have signed midfielder Jonathan Loukes just before Thursday's 5pm deadline. The 19-year-old Sheffield born player, previously with Barnsley, Weymouth and Selby Town, has been allocated the 'number 43' shirt. Departure front: Tom Ingram has joined Southern League Brackley Town while Liam Hughes has returned to Wolves at the end of his spell on loan".

    Salisbury City report that "On-loan defender Ed Asafu-Adjaye has been recalled by Luton Town. The young centre-half, who made an immediate impression at the club since arriving at the Ray Mac in January, was in the City line-up for last night's 1-0 win against Stevenage Borough - his 14th appearance for the Blue Square Premier outfit... Meanwhile, City's Ollie Barnes is heading to Team Bath on-loan for the rest of the season".

    Crawley Town "announces the departures of Dominic Shimmin and Kevin James from the club. Both players have agreed their releases from the club and leave the Broadfield Stadium with immediate affect. Shimmin endured a frustrating period since joining the club from Queens Park Rangers at the start of February. Injuries restricted the defender to just two starts for the club. James joined the club during the January transfer window from league rivals Woking...making in total 13 appearances for the club, scoring twice".

    In Crawley's 0-4 home defeat "Kidderminster Harriers took full advantage of a shambolic first-half performance... Played out in front of the lowest ever crowd for a Conference match at the Broadfield, the Reds crashed to their heaviest defeat in the same competition at home; certainly a night of forgetting firsts! Only 595 turned out to watch an embarrassing first-half display... The defence was non-existing and at the other end the finishing was woeful... Tired & lethargic, Steve Evans’s young troops looked like a side with the world on their shoulders at times. With his threat [thread?] bare squad the luxury of resting some of his players is not one afforded to Evans".

    "Crawley Town have vowed to take action against any fans guilty of racism. Kevin James has left the club amid claims he was subjected to racial abuse by Crawley fans against Aldershot. 'Crawley are sad to report during a match with Aldershot, a member of our own playing staff was subjected to racial abuse', said a club statement. 'Anyone found racially abusing fans, players or others will be reported to the police and banned not only from our ground, but all stadiums in England... Manager Steve Evans told BBC Southern Counties Radio: 'Kevin felt it would be better for him if he went somewhere else. He's been pretty upset. Supporters will give players stick but there is no place in society for one or two comments allegedly aimed at Kevin'".

    "Crawley manager Steve Evans locked his players in the changing room for over an hour following a humiliating defeat against Kidderminster. Evans gave his side the hairdryer treatment after witnessing a first-half horror show at Broadfield Stadium. Reds conceded four goals inside the first 45 minutes to suffer their third defeat in a week. The performance will go down as the worst of the season so far and the boos which [rang] around the ground at the final whistle illustrated what the disgruntled fans felt of it. Reds did not have the ideal preparation for the game following the shock departure before kick-off of midfielder Kevin James... Evans softened the blow of James' exit by bringing in winger Ryan Hall from Crystal Palace on loan until the end of the season... The 20-year-old was not signed in time to be included last night, though, forcing Evans to name every player he had on his books to make up the 16-man squad, including his assistant Paul Raynor" according to the Argus.

    And in the Argus Horsham FC claim that talks on a proposed ground-share at Broadfield Stadium "have ceased following unviable financial demands sought by Crawley Town not previously brought to our attention".

    The Aldershot News & Mail states that "It was pretty grim up north for Aldershot fans on Thursday evening at Droylsden but at least Gary Waddock's side took something from the game, in a lively 2-2 draw... On the night, Droylsden dominated the first half... Scott Davies was then handed a straight red card for the third time this season, for another dangerous tackle, and is now likely to miss five games for his indescretion. If that's the case, he will finish the season having missed at least 12 matches through suspension... Perhaps the best news of the night for Aldershot was the unexpected return to the squad of leading-scorer John Grant, who came on for the last 25 minutes". "Rewind a year and one would have had long odds on Terry Baker ever returning to the Cambridge United boardroom" claims the Cambridge Evening News. "Baker quit as chairman and left the board in 2006 after just four months at the helm, following the fall-out of the Abbey Aid concert debacle that lost the club almost £100,000. And, at last year's annual meeting, he called on Paul Barry to stand down as a director after the major shareholder put forward his plans to change the club's constitution. Barry's proposals, which included the lifting of the 20 per cent limit on individual shareholdings, were given the green light at an extraordinary general meeting a year ago and the rest is history - just as it seemed Baker would be. So when Baker rejoined the board on Wednesday, it came as a big surprise to many. But the semi-retired businessman, who is founder and former chairman of the Over-based home electronics wholesaler BEAM Group, said he had made up with Barry and was relishing working with him and the rest of the directors. Baker's remit will see him take charge of all matters related to the Abbey and its management, maintenance and operation. He said his priorities included trying to find permanent training facilities - one of Jimmy Quinn's bugbears ever since his arrival - and slashing the cost of policing and stewarding on matchdays.

    'When you go to other clubs at this level or League Two, we're paying well over the odds', said Baker. 'I think it's historic. You can take it right back to when we had this hooligan element, but I don't think there's any evidence of that any more. When we go away, we're the best supported team and the fans behave themselves beautifully, so we've got to try to tighten things up... There's a potential income stream for the club if we can make use of the facilities during the rest of the week... Clubs which move to new stadia have improved their level of support', he said. 'We've got another factor with our home games, because since Newmarket Road was turned into a shopping centre, all the traffic is compressed into one lane and on matchdays it can be quite torturous getting out of the ground. In the long term, there isn't the infrastructure in terms of transport to make it viable here, so we need to find a brand new ground accessible to the main traffic routes'". ,P> "Histon have turned down two advances from fellow Blue Square Premier clubs for striker Danny Wright this week. The Stutes' frontman has banged in 15 goals in all competitions this term and already attracted interest from Conference sides in the January transfer window. But Histon manager Steve Fallon says 'We've had two clubs in for Danny Wright this week, but we want him to stay here. It was a bit disrespectful from the clubs who came in, [I] think they could offer him more. There is no benefit from a move for the club or him. He is developing and the fact we've had a few clubs come in for him shows he's set the Conference alight'" he told the Cambridge Evening News.

    "Liam Daish has spoken of his delight that Ebbsfleet United's star midfielder Stacy Long has agreed terms on a new long-term contract at Stonebridge Road" reports the Gravesend Reporter. "Long, who currently leads the Club's scoring charts with an impressive 11 strikes so far this term, will now remain at the Fleet until the end of the 2008/2009 season. He joins striker John Akinde and England 'C' goalkeeper Lance Cronin in the list of players who have recently committed their futures beyond this campaign... The MyFC web team have revealed that the level of interest in the team selector - the database that allows members to pick what team they want for the following match - has been very low with only 1.5% of members using the facility. As a result, they are considering revising the initiative before potentially re-launching it next season".

    This is Exeter reports that "Chris Wilder admits he faces a massive task to lift his disillusioned players after Halifax Town were plunged into a relegation battle following a 10-point deduction. For the second time in the last six years, the crisis-torn Shaymen have been placed into administration in the wake of mounting financial problems. So just as they were eyeing up a comfortable mid-table finish, and the luxury of playing the remainder of the season without any pressure, the Yorkshire club face a scrap for survival. The bombshell news clearly took its toll on the players last weekend when they slumped to a 2-0 defeat at rock-bottom Droylsden... 'Two weeks ago we sat in mid-table and now we have been dealt this blow', he told Echo Sport. 'There is nothing we have done to deserve this but to all intents and purposes this is the only route the club could take to ensure it can move forward. The unfortunate part of it all is that we have gone from maybe finishing the season with a target of a top half finish to one where we face a battle to stay in this league. It has undoubtedly rocked the players because we have gone from being second or third in the form table to losing three games on the bounce'... [against Exeter] 'We will obviously be classed as underdogs going into Saturday's game... It is possibly a game we can relax in. It is a decent environment, a good atmosphere and one of those games you look forward to in our league. There is always a decent crowd, a good playing surface and we are going to a proper football club... You look at the teams we have played this season and Exeter were excellent at our place', he said. "I think Aldershot have won it and there are five teams fighting for the four play-off places'".

    From Farsley Today we read that "Farsley Celtic's hopes of boosting their ranks suffered an 11th-hour hitch when a loan move for Huddersfield Town midfielder Matty Young fell through.The 22-year-old, who has made nine appearances for the Terriers this season, five from the bench, was expected to sign until the end of the season. Farsley boss John Deacey said: 'It fell through at the last minute. I spent the whole afternoon messing around and I am totally peeved off with it to be honest'".

    "Steve Bull is expecting to add a midfielder to his Stafford Rangers squad for tomorrow's game against Aldershot. Bull was today in contract talks with the player, who has recently returned from the United States. 'He came along to the trial game we had recently and was head and shoulders above the rest', said Bull. 'This is a signing for next season, although he will be eligible to play (against Aldershot) and the rest of the season. I have spoken to him and sorted out terms, but you're never sure until they actually sign on the dotted line'. Striker Liam Hughes, meanwhile, has returned to Wolves at the end of an unsuccessful month's loan with the Marston Road club".

    "Weymouth boss John Hollins reckons victory for his side at Farsley Celtic on Saturday could be 'psychologically decisive' in the race for Blue Square Premier survival" says The Dorset Echo. "The Terras... have lost just once in their last six games. That run of form has moved them into 18th spot, three points above the Little Celts who sit fourth bottom. Hollins said: 'The whole squad is bubbling and buzzing, and all of a sudden it is like a big cloud has been lifted but we cannot think that is it. We have got to do it all over again and not just tomorrow but for the rest of the season... There is no point in thinking if we win two more then hopefully that should be enough. We drew 0-0 with Farsley a couple of weeks ago and I am expecting another tough encounter tomorrow but there is no doubt that if we do manage to beat them, psychologically it could prove decisive. At this stage I think we need five more wins to make sure of staying up and that is not going to be easy. Farsley have suffered two defeats on the spin and someone is going to pay for that but it is not going to be us'... Cambridge United midfielder Mark Convery has signed a loan deal until the end of the season and will be in the Terras' squad for tomorrow. Hollins said: "with Paolo struggling with a groin and Marcus with an Achilles it gives us the cover that we need. Both Paolo and Marcus's injuries are horrible. They are the types you can rest and rest but then when you return, they can easily flare up again... [also out are] Trevor Challis, who has a calf strain, and Jake Hyde, who has twisted an ankle... It has been confirmed that Chris Blackburn, Matt Bailey and Tony Bedeau have extended their stays at the Wessex Stadium until the end of the campaign, although Bedeau is on a 24-hour call back. Keeper David Roberts is also expected to stay with the Terras despite being recently linked with a move to Southport".

    "York City Colin Walker believes he could still deliver success next season if he has to operate with an 18-man squad. The Minstermen's board have indicated cost-cutting measures are likely at KitKat Crescent for the 2008/2009 campaign" claims This is York."Reducing Walker's playing staff appears an inevitable consequence after six-figure losses over the last financial year... He said: 'There will be more players staying than going, but I'm actually in favour of reduced numbers because I'd rather work with quality than quantity. You can also work more on team work and individual work. I inherited 27 players, which was far too many. The squad's down to 21 now and that means, with injuries, it gives the opportunity for the likes of our youth-team players Andy McWilliams, Liam Shepherd and Adam Boyes to get on the bench and in the team. Eighteen quality senior players is also a number you could work with. If that's the case next season then we can have a little go irrespective of how much money we have to spend'. Walker added that he was already targeting signings to strengthen his squad in the summer.... Walker said: 'Hopefully we can keep the majority of this season's squad and add some. If part-time players, who choose to be part-time, are still good enough to be with us then we have no problems with that... At the moment, I want to win nine out of nine games and see where that takes us. If the time is right then some of the younger lads might get a game'".

    28 March 2008


    A week on Sunday, Non-League Today will feature a female Altrincham supporter sporting the club's playing kit as part of an ongoing series in the weekly newspaper. It took just a couple of hours from Jenny Heslop's appeal for a supporter to model the kit before a volunteer came forward. To see who it is, purchase your copy of the NL Today a week on Sunday!


    Right: Paul Roberts of GR Photography captures Chris Senior and Joe O'Neill challenging the Stafford keeper Danny Alcock, with Colin Little in the background.

    The Sale & Altrincham Messengerquotes Graham Heathcote - 'In our dressing room we have far from given up hope that we can stay in this division. You only have to look at the game against Aldershot to see that. The next six games are about grinding out the results we need. I have looked at where we can pick up points in our remaining fixtures and, as it stands, we are coming up a bit short so, somewhere along the line, we'll have to pick up a shock result. But that type of result always does happen. All the other teams involved in the battle have more resources available to them and are able to prepare better for games. We can't generate the funds to match that. The only way we'd be able to properly compete is if someone invested heavily in the club. Both myself and [chairman] Geoff [Goodwin] have come in for criticism but often people don't fully understand the difficulties we face in running this club'". But next week Alty also have the Cheshire Senior Cup Final to contest, against Nantwich Town. Graham said "It's a chance to go and enjoy a cup final and it would be good to put a trophy in the cabinet. We need our strong away support to show up and get behind the team".


    The annual Altrincham FC Staff v Supporters football match will take place at Moss Lane on Friday 2nd May at 7.30pm. Grahame Rowley writes: "Now in it’s 4th year, the staff are determined to win the trophy this year. With the addition of Graham Barrow to the management side we could even see the two Grahams re-united in their midfield roles. Again, an event not to be missed either as a player or as a supporter. For those who wish to compete, the cost will be £30 per player which includes a trophy and a buffet following the game. Please contact Grahame Rowley for further details – 07720-606897 or by e-mail".

    For the Supporters' team, please contact Mark Eckersall by e-mail. Mark has stated that preference will given to people who are regular supporters if we have large numbers. It’s a supporter’s game and peoples loyalty should be rewarded".


    Altrincham FC has commissioned an "End of Season DVD" of all the goals scored by the team throughout this season. Priced at just £12 it’s a bargain for all true Alty fans. Pre orders are essential so please contact Campbell McLay in the club shop or Grahame Rowley on 07720-606897 or by e-mail.


    News of Alty's opponents on Saturday comes from This is South Devon which says that "Following its first-ever flight to a game in the UK, the FA Trophy Semi-Final Second Leg at York City, Torquay United's first-team squad is staying in the North-West for four nights this weekend to cover the away league matches at Altrincham on Saturday and Droylsden next Tuesday night. And they're doing it with the help of an old friendship which has been revived by the new Plainmoor board.Although he was born in Yorkshire, John Jarvis spent much of his early life in Torbay where he met and became friends with former United chairman the late Tony Boyce. Jarvis is a remarkable man...One of his first 'jobs' was as a beach photographer in the Bay, but he eventually moved into the hotel and catering business, becoming a commis chef at London's Berkeley Hotel in the early 1960s. He joined the Rank Organisation, where he worked for ten years, before transferring to the Ladbroke Group in 1975. Within three years he was chairman of its hotels, holidays and entertainment division. Jarvis, 64, has remained an exiled Torquay fan throughout his career, and it was his enduring friendship with Tony Boyce which prompted a shirt sponsorship for United in the early 1980s. Jarvis eventually became chairman and chief executive of Ladbrokes before taking a brave and bold step in 1990, leaving to set up his own group Jarvis Hotels. He has since built the organisation into one of the UK's premier independent hotel chains... Jarvis is once again helping the Gulls by allowing the team to stay in his hotels across the country at highly advantageous rates. Which brings us back to how they can afford to stay away for four nights this weekend".

    And "Torquay United manager Paul Buckle has more to celebrate than a maximum six points over Easter - he's just passed the second highest coaching qualification in international football. Buckle, 37, used his own Gulls' squad to put on a coaching session and pass the final practical exam of his UEFA 'A' Licence at Plainmoor yesterday. 'I'm absolutely delighted', said Buckle afterwards. 'It started last summer when I went to Northern Ireland for a week to do two practical tests. I passed those, and then did a theory exam during the season. Yesterday was the last practical exam'... Only the UEFA 'Pro' Licence is rated higher than the 'A' qualification"


    The Burton Mail reports that "Albion boss Nigel Clough has ruled a move for former Gresley Rovers goal ace Aaron O'Connor as 'highly unlikely'. With the loan transfer window about to close, speculation has been rife on websites linking Albion with the Grays Athletic striker... The Brewers' boss admitted an approach had been made to Grays 10 days ago. However, talks broke down and Clough instead secured Matty Williams on loan from Tamworth... Clough told Mail Sport: 'He said he was interested in coming to us, then he wasn't and eventually his agent got involved. The whole thing dragged on past the date we wanted to bring someone in, so we looked elsewhere and eventually signed Matty Williams'".

    From the Tameside Advertiser we learn that "Dave Pace remains hopeful that his Droylsden squad can defy the odds and escape relegation from Blue Square Premier. Despite beating Halifax Town 2-0 at the Butcher’s Arms on Monday, the Bloods lie 17 points from safety and with an inferior goal difference to their rivals. Nevertheless, Pace believes his side’s improved performances of late can act as a springboard for the Bloods ahead of a hectic final five weeks which sees them playing 11 games. He said: 'There’s still 33 points to play for which is a hell of a lot. We’ve gone on 10-game unbeaten runs before, so who’s to say we can’t do it again because if we do, we’re out of trouble. The backlog of games has come about because our game against Torquay was postponed with them being in the Trophy, as was the case with Aldershot, while Exeter got called off which was the first time in 20 years according to someone down there. That’s the way it’s going at the moment but it’s something you have to take on the chin...There’s a massive difference in the wage structure [compared with full-time clubs] which is something I’m working as hard as I can to balance by bringing in loan players. You can see the difference but I’m just hoping it’s not too late'".

    The Gravesend Reporter claims that "Fleet fans have the chance of entering the record books with the highest ever attendance at a FA Trophy final at Wembley. Ebbsfleet United have been given an initial allocation of 15,214 tickets for the final on May 10 against Torquay United, but Fleet bosses expect the final ticket sales could be double that number. In the club's first ever trip to Wembley, the team will use the England dressing room... Chairman Brian Kilcullen said the FA will allocate more tickets for the game due to high demand, and hopes the number of Torquay and Ebbsfleet fans will top last years record breaking figure of 53,262 for Stevenage Borough against Kidderminster Harriers... Will Brooks, the creator of MyFootballClub, added: 'I hope as many as 5000 tickets can be sold to MyFC members. It is a phenomenal achievement and fully deserved, and while I can't take anything away from the players and the manager, I hope that MyFC has played their part. I have been supporting Fulham since 1976, and have never been to Wembley with them, and it's amazing to think that just six weeks after the takeover, Ebbsfleet got to Wembley'".

    "Changes to the playing staff at Grays continued today with news that, after a personal request, Jack Obersteller has been allowed to return to Wycombe Wanderers", confirms the Grays Athletic confirm that they have "signed Fisher Athletic striker, Jeff Goulding, on loan until the end of the season with an option to sign a full contract, Jeff is a current England C squad member who has recently been linked with several League 1 clubs... Also joining The Blues on Work Experience is 19 year old 6ft 3in Centre-Half Mark Haines from Northampton Town".

    Farsley Today says that "Farsley Celtic have signed 22-year-old midfielder Matthew Young on loan from Huddersfield Town until the end of the season".

    The Kidderminster Shuttle says that "Cheltenham defender Michael Wylde has signed on-loan at Kidderminster Harriers until the end of the season. The 21-year-old will be available for Harriers' trip to Cambridge United on Saturday after missing the deadline for tonight's league clash at Crawley. The 6ft 2in Birmingham born defender, who can also play at left-back, will take the pressure off Harriers' only recognised centrebacks Mark Creighton and Gavin Hurren. He rose through Cheltenham's youth and reserve ranks but has yet to play for the first team after being hit by a spate of injuries, including a broken jaw and a hamstring problem".

    York City have "signed former Burton Albion midfielder Chris Hall on loan until the end of the season" states This is York. "The 26-year-old signed from Gainsborough Trinity ahead of the 5pm loan deadline. The left-sided midfielder-cum-forward had three seasons at Burton, making 63 appearances". Meanwhile "City's hopes of moving to their 'preferred site' for a new stadium have ground to a halt....City managing director Jason McGill was careful not to disclose the identity of City's 'preferred site' but it is believed land at the nearby Nestlé factory has been considered the most desirable new home for more than a year... He said: 'We have one preferred site but that has almost ground to a halt, which is frustrating and annoying. We were hoping to make an announcement at Christmas but I fear the club has been used as a political football and used as a lever to achieve other things... It's difficult to negotiate with a hung council'... City have, though, grown more amenable to the prospect of groundsharing with their rugby league neighbours at a new stadium with McGill saying: 'We've seen it work in other places and we may now have to look down that route as well. If we do, the council are also more likely to get involved'. With the cost of staying at their current Bootham Crescent home amounting to almost £200,000 in Football Foundation loan repayments and ongoing maintenance, McGill also warned expectations of the club's potential may have to be lower in forthcoming seasons with the need to preserve its existence paramount. He said: 'We might have to limp along for the next four or five years until we get a new stadium. That might mean being a mid-table Conference team because we have to look at the whole structure of the club'.

    Stevenage Borough "added the first of two or three expected new signings when 22-year-old Scott Mitchell was signed from Peterborough United on loan. Scott has appeared for Livingstone in the Scottish League Division One this season and joined Peterborough in January. He is equally comfortable at right back and in central midfield. Borough's search for a striker continues and, with Ollie Allen suffering a recurrence of a knee injury in the reserve team match and Calum Willock still not available, the desire to sign a forward before the deadline ends is even stronger. Borough have had moves for three Conference forwards rejected this week, but are still hopeful of completing a signing before the deadline".

    27 March 2008


    Thursday, March 27th
  • Crawley T. 0 Kidderminster H. 4
  • Droylsden 2 Aldershot T. 2
  • Salisbury C. 1 Stevenage B. 0

  • Setanta Shield SF Rushden & D. 1 Halfax T. 0


    On deadline day Altrincham FC have completed the loan signings of two Stockport County midfielders. They are

  • Greg Tansey: Greg is a 6ft 1inch Merseysider who broke into County's first team with three appearances at the end of last season. Born on 1/11/1988, Greg came through the ranks at Edgeley Park. A midfielder, he was a member of County's Under-18 which won the Football League Youth Alliance League Cup and was invited by Liverpool to go on a tour to Italy but he returned to Stockport to pursue his career. Tansey has made 16 appearances in total for the League Two side. Greg assumes the no.14 shirt vacated by Tom Cahill and will stay at Moss Lane till the end of the season.

  • Paul Turnbull: Born on 23/1/89, Paul is a midfielder from Handforth. After joining County at the age of 11, Paul made his first-team debut for County as a 16 year-old near the end of the 2004-05 season, the youngest player ever to appear for the club's first team. Turnbull made 22 appearances for County before suffering a knee injury in January. Paul Turnbull becomes the new no.21 at Altrincham, a number formerly used by Gareth Whalley. Paul's loan ends on 23rd April.

    Meanwhile, Rotherham United midfielder Liam King is set to return to the Millers on April 2nd as his loan period reaches its end then. He is likely to be fit for selection on Saturday after being injured last Monday and he is also eligible for the CSC Final next Tuesday.


    In the wake of a series of reports this week of football clubs reneging on their debts and putting creditors into financial difficulty, whilst still somehow finding money to offer their players and officials generous contracts, Alty chairman Geoff Goodwin said today, "It's honest people's lives that are being ruined by this sort of behaviour towards creditors. The authorities don't do enough to punish the offending clubs. Added to that we have players mouthing off to referees frpm the Premiership downwards. It's all symptomatic of a lack of discipline and respect throughout the game. I love it at Altrincham FC, it's a lovely club and the people are great, but it is this wider aspect of football that really gets me down. I am really sick inside about what goes on and if I leave the football world, that will be the reason why. Dave Pace and Graham Heathcote are dead right to say that the punishments for financial irregularities are not severe enough".


    As is now an annual event, Gary Warrington is organizing the voting for the "Internet Fans Player of the Season 07/08". Voting ends on Monday 7th April 2008 and you can cast your vote by visiting The winner will be announced at the Race Night & Player of The Year Presentation at Moss Lane on the evening of Saturday, April 12th, 2008.


    Martin Wright, brother of Alty steward Gary "The Skipper" Wright, whose death last weekend was marked by a minute's applause at Moss Lane on Monday has written to the Alty Fans' Forum as follows:

    I would like to thank everyone for their kind words and I'd like to thank Darren [Gregory] and Steve [Murray] for coming round to see me and my mum and sharing some funny stories and memories of Gary. He was a colourful character with a colourful vocabulary. It makes me really happy to know he had real friends at the club as footy was his life. I hadn't seen him for three years as I now live in New Zealand so coming back under these circumstances is really hard for me. He will be missed by a lot of people especially my mum, sister and I. All we can do in this time of sorrow and shock is to remember the good things and smile. GOOD BYE BRO .......Martin"


    According to The BBC "Lewis Chalmers (right) is positive Aldershot will not falter as they close in on the Blue Square Premier crown. Aldershot lead the table by 14 points and will be five wins from the title if they can beat Droyslden on Thursday. Chalmers told BBC Southern Counties Radio: 'It is up to our rivals to catch us. But if we keep winning they cannot catch us, so just bring on Droylsden. They know they are going back down. They'll be playing for pride and trying to take three points off the leaders'. Midfielder Chalmers, who was manager Gary Waddock's first signing in the summer, scored one of his three goals when the sides met earlier in the season and is looking forward to a return to his native north-west. 'I'm looking forward to seeing some of the family and I think there will at least fifty of my mates in the Aldershot end cheering us on' he added.

    The Northwich Guardian says that "Witton Albion have signed Rod Thornley's brother. Former Manchester United winger Ben signed before Easter Monday's home reverse against Fleetwood Town... 'I just wanted a bit of extra cover for the remaining games', said Albion boss Jim Vince. 'Ben will need to do a bit of work to get fully match fit but he's there if we need to call on him'. Thornley, 32, was most recently at Salford City. Before that he spent a season with Bacup Borough in the same division. He began his career at Manchester United in the early 1990s, making nine league appearances before going on to play more than 100 matches for Huddersfield Town. His younger brother Rod has been a revelation since switching to Wincham Park from Blue Square Premier club Altrincham".


    Right: Who was the mystery player warming up at Moss Lane before the Stafford game? The No.23 on the far side of his tracksuit-bottoms was a bit of a giveaway.

    Not for the first time Crawley Town dominates the BSP news, with the first three stories below...

    1. Taken for a ride?

    This is Crawley reports how a "furious coach driver claims to have been 'cheated' out of thousands of pounds by Crawley Town Football Club. Darren Meekings, the owner of D & K Coaches, says he is owed a whopping £13,000 by the club for the transport service with which he has provided them this season. The father-of-three set up his coach hire company last year but now says that Crawley owe it so much money that it has almost ruined his business. His claims come a week after it was revealed that the club face being wound up if they do not pay tax debts to HM Revenue and Customs.

    Despite the sum of money that Meekings believes he is due, he claimed that Crawley Town had cut its ties with his company after a disagreement ahead of a midweek game at Altrincham. The players had to drive up to the evening match because the club did not pay a part of the debt upfront, Meekings claims. In the Altrincham match report on Crawley's website the club cited 'late travel problems' as the reason. But an incensed Meekings has decided to speak out so fans know his version of the story.

    'They have not paid me and I was very close to losing the business over it', he said. 'There was no problem with the coach. I asked them for a minimum of £3,000 of the £13,000 they owe me and they came up with £1,200. I feel cheated. I knew what they were playing at. But we couldn't even afford to go shopping the other day and the owners of Crawley are driving round in £100,000 cars'. Meekings set up his Seaford-based business last year after previously working as a driver for Hallmark Coaches in Charlwood. He is a regular driver for local sports teams, having driven Lewes, Eastbourne Borough and Grays football clubs and the Sussex County Cricket team, as well as taking Horsham to their FA Cup replay at Swansea this season.

    Meekings, who has three "football-mad" young sons, was booked to take the Crawley squad up to Cheshire to face Altrincham two weeks ago, part of an £18,000 season-long contract to cater for the Reds' travel to away league matches. According to the coach driver, that price included a £9,000 discount and D & K arranged with the club for the money to be paid in £2,000 instalments over nine months. But Meekings claims he has not received payments for the last five months making him £13,000 out of pocket, and matters came to a head on March 11 when he went to collect the Crawley team from the Broadfield Stadium for the long trip north.

    He says he forewarned the club via e-mail several times that he expected £3,000 of the debt to be paid to him before he drove the team to Altrincham. But when he arrived at the ground he says he was handed just £1,200 in cash and told that the club had no other money to give him at the time. 'I don't want to be doing this but at some point you have to draw the line', said Meekings. 'I e-mailed them on Friday and said I wanted the money. I thought: 'I'm being given the runaround here. I sent another e-mail on Monday and said unless a payment of £3,000 is received before the match I wouldn't be able to take them. They knew the score but obviously thought I would be a soft touch. They were due to depart at 1pm so I got there at 11.30am and they gave me £1,200 in cash. I asked where the rest of it was and they said: "We can't get it, we have not got any more money". The thing is I've got a young family and I'm really struggling now. But like everyone else I have been cheated by Crawley Town'.

    Meekings added he felt 'gutted' at leaving the players stranded and even offered them a lift to the railway station, but said he had finally had enough of not being paid. 'I felt upset and uptight that I had let them down but up until now I have had a good relationship with [the club]. But it's not my problem', he said. Crawley Town were given a chance to respond to the figures quoted by Mr Meekings. A spokesman for the Reds said the club would not comment, adding: 'We do not discuss our business affairs through the media'".

    2. "Everyone wants to blame Crawley".

    "Horsham's proposed ground share with Crawley Town at the Broadfield Stadium is off - and the Reds are to blame. That is the opinion of Crawley Borough Council, who own the ground" according to The Argus. "Horsham have to quit Queen Street at the end of the season after selling the ground to developers. But hopes of moving into Broadfield Stadium from next season while a new stadium is built at Holbrook have been scuppered. A council spokesperson said: 'The ground share isn't happening. We are frustrated with Crawley Town Football Club's approach to the ground share negotiations between Crawley Borough Council, Horsham Football Club and the Ryman League. We were making good progress towards signing an agreement last week before Crawley Town FC made unreasonable demands of Horsham FC. Crawley Council has done its best to broker an agreement since negotiations began last year. A sharing arrangement would have benefited all parties'. However Steve Evans, manager of Blue Square premier side Crawley, hit back. He said: 'Everyone wants to blame Crawley Town Football Club for everything. Now our own council wants to blame us for something. I would have thought their senior interest would be Crawley Town. What have they to do with Horsham? It's a strange statement. It is my own view and not shared by anyone else at my club as far as I know but Horsham have come unstuck. When I look at how close Horsham have let this run to the deadline with the Ryman League it beggars belief. As manager, I wouldn't want to share with the pitch as poor as it is. Crawley Borough Council should have worked harder on it. We need to have a good surface. I'm sure Dean Wilkins (the Brighton & Hove Albion manager) wouldn't like his pitch not being the best. I've not been involved in any discussions (concerning the ground share) but the Conference have a TV deal with Setanta that doesn't allow for back-to-back games. More importantly, what happens if Setanta want to switch a Saturday game to a Tuesday when Horsham are playing? We cannot run the risk that the Conference cuts us out of the TV deal. But I wish Horsham well. I've got a lot of time for the people there'". Crawley Council own the Broadfield Stadium.

    3. 'I've been victimised'

    The Argus also has the following; "'I've been victimised', says Crawley boss. Crawley boss Steve Evans believes he is being victimised by referees and has accused the FA of not condemning abuse of his family. Evans was sent to the stand for the sixth time this season during Monday's 1-0 home defeat against Aldershot after exchanging insults with opposition assistant boss Martin Kuhl. It came less than 48 hours after he was dismissed from the dug-out in Saturday's 1-0 reverse at Burton Albion. Evans claims his latest dismissal came after his wife and children were abused by Kuhl, who was also sent to the stand... Kuhl was reported to the FA earlier in the season for punching Crawley assistant Paul Raynor. Evans reckons his reputation as a hot-head on the touchline has made him a target for officials and opposition coaches. He said: 'It is victimisation and it seems people have got it in for me. I have been subject to the vilest comments and nothing is being done about it. I'm the one who has been sent to the stand and got into trouble. There is no doubt there are rules for other people and rules for us. The referees are waiting to pounce and send me into the stand. People wind you up and call you rubbish all the time, I don't mind that because it is part of the game. They can even get personal, it doesn't bother me. But when they say things about my wife and kids, that is unacceptable. My family have twice had to leave the ground this season because of personal abuse aimed at them. Am I as a man meant to just stand there and accept that? I have never endured such vile comments as I have this season and something has to be done. At Burton there were supporters smashing my family and I was told by the fourth official that it was part of the game and I should accept it. When the fourth official refused to intervene and I had put up with it for 70 minutes, I couldn't stand any more and that is when I reacted and I went off. Nothing is being done about those people and I would say that people at Soho Square are condoning people abusing my wife and kids. They are condoning the actions of others who say derogatory comments to my family. People have found a weakness in Steve Evans. They have seen that I have stood up to most things but I can't accept this. Opposition benches have seen what's happened and they talk about it and exploit it. They have seen a chink in my armour and I have to try and bolt it shut'".

    And there is trouble at another southern BSP club... The Aldershot News & Mail reports that "Scuffles involving football fans which followed Woking's Easter Monday game have been blamed on supporters of their local rivals Aldershot. Four police cars and the helicopter were called to The Sovereigns pub, in Guildford Road, Woking, just after 5pm... It was Aldershot fans travelling back from their early kick-off at Crawley Town who were accused of causing the trouble... Woking supporters believe that the Aldershot fans, who were said to be in their late teens, had been to watch the game in Crawley before stopping off on their way home... Shots chairman John McGinty had travelled to Woking's Kingfield Stadium after his side's match on Monday... 'We can’t be responsible for what people do in their private time', he said. 'We can’t be held responsible for people going into pubs. We live in a free country and people are allowed to walk around. Whatever happens in the street can’t be blamed on Woking or Aldershot. We condemn every bit of it'".

    "Farsley Celtic hopes to secure its future with the £1.36 million it would receive from [a] developer" claims Farsley Today. The club wants permission for Bellway Homes to build on a former cricket pitch so it can use the proceeds to redevelop the clubhouse, main stand, sports hall, outer pitches and car park area. Last month Leeds West Plans Panel said it did not like the scheme and was prepared to refuse it... At its latest meeting the panel confirmed the refusal, despite receiving a 428-signature petition supporting the plan. But planning officer Martin Sellens said he was quite prepared to have further talks with the club to try to find an acceptable scheme... Coun Campbell said: 'The panel members are clear that they cannot accept this current proposal, but they are not averse to looking at other options'... But Couns David Morton (Lib Dem, Headingley) and Mick Coulson (Lab, Pudsey) said they doubted a solution could be found. The club says it wants to develop what is simply unused land and has the support of Sport England".

    "Darren Patterson is looking for his Oxford United team to carry on their winning streak - and not stop at three!" according to the Oxford Mail... "The first challenge comes against Northwich Victoria this Saturday, and then, if they manage that, at another side battling to beat the drop, Weymouth... In the last three games, the U's have convincingly outplayed their opponents... Patterson said: 'Since we've got the new players in, I think the performance level has been consistent. It was just five minutes against Burton when we gave two soft goals away. But that happens'... Only twice before in the past decade have United reeled off four successive league victories - in August and February last season. Five straight league wins hasn't been achieved since the club's last promotion season, in 1995-6. However, Northwich, fighting for their lives to avoid the drop, have already beaten the U's this season, 1-0 in Cheshire, and they hammered Altrincham 4-0 last Saturday [oh no they didn't, it was Farsley]. Midfielder Phil Trainer said: 'Northwich will be another tricky game. They'll come here and will get 11 men behind the ball. It's a case of breaking them down, getting that first goal and taking it from there'".

    According to This is York "York City boss Colin Walker apologised to the club's supporters after a Setanta Sports shocker last night. The Minstermen drew 1-1 with relegation-threatened Northwich at KitKat Crescent, but Walker felt his side were fortunate to get a point from the televised encounter. .. The City chief made the... team aware of his thoughts after locking the dressing room door to hold a 45-minute inquest following the final whistle. On his re-emergence, Walker said: 'I can only apologise to our supporters and promise I will do something about it so it will not happen again. The players have let themselves down, the staff down, the football club down and certainly the fans down. I asked for our supporters to keep coming to games, but that was absolutely dreadful. People must have been switching Setanta off because we were shocking. The players have got to accept criticism even if some don't do that very well. I'm man enough to take it on the chin and deserved every little bit I got at the end of the match, as did the players... The only positives were Richard Brodie was outstanding and we didn't get beaten. Sodje also worked hard, but the rest of them were totally unacceptable'".

    Meanwhile, "York City managing director Jason McGill has called for supporters to exert pressure on the local authority to speed up the move to a new stadium... McGill also described the club's annual £200,000 outgoings as a 'constant struggle' which 'cannot be funded without changes to the framework of the football club'. Majority shareholder McGill, did not elaborate on what such changes would entail but a smaller first-team squad, wage budget and the possible disbandment of the reserve side now seem inevitable next season. City pay almost £140,000 a year as part of the £2 million Football Foundation loan acquired to buy back Bootham Crescent from previous directors Douglas Craig, Barry Swallow and Colin Webb. McGill also estimates that £60,000 is needed every year for the maintenance and upkeep of the current ground, but added that some of the club's financial concerns would be alleviated if some assurances can be given over relocation. In a plea to fans, he said: 'Please help us lobby and exert pressure on local council representatives to publicly advocate, champion, endorse and fully co-operate with York City to provide a superior community stadium for the people of York. The major stakeholders and decision makers in the city must now decide once and for all if a professional club is viewed as an important asset for the local community. As a board, we are acutely disappointed by the lack of progress in determining the club's new stadium ambitions... The cost of preserving this (Football League) structure is excessive and unachievable with the club's current income streams'".

    At another ex-League club, Cambridge United "Mark Convery has joined Blue Square Premier strugglers Weymouth on loan for the rest of the season. The 26-year-old was substituted during the home defeat by Crawley last Tuesday and was not included in the sixteen men on duty for the last two matches, and with Stephen Reed and Danny Brown making their respective comeback appearances on Monday and Ben Farrell expected to return to training by the end of this week, his opportunities would be increasingly limited. Convery joined last summer on a two-year contract after being released by York City, but the first half of his season was interrupted by injuries and he has struggled to hold down a first team place on a regular basis since then."

    "Reading goalkeeper Alex McCarthy has signed for Cambridge United on work experience and will be in goal for Saturday's match at home to Kidderminster Harriers. The 18-year-old scholar has progressed through the youth ranks at Reading.... Saturday will not be McCarthy's Blue Square Premier debut; he was drafted in to play one game for Woking in an injury crisis earlier this season".

    The Cambridge News says that Jimmy "Quinn said he may try to get another striker in before tomorrow (Thursday, 27 March)'s loan deadline to add some height to the frontline, while ruling out trying to bring back Leo Fortune-West from his temporary deal with York. He said: 'I'm having a look at a few, but nothing is jumping out at the moment'. Meanwhile, Mark Convery has rejected a loan move to Blue Square South promotion-chasers Lewes".

    Alty were spared a threatened drumming demo on their visit to St James Park but Exeter City "are already renowned for having some of the most vociferous supporters in the Blue Square Premiership, but an exciting new project looks set to crank up decibel levels at St James's Park to even greater heights. The Football Club and Supporters' Trust has teamed up with Devon's community music organisation, Wren Music, to create a whole new way for young people to support the team on match days. Drumming Up Support will see youngsters, aged from 10 to 18, form a squad to develop a drumming group to play during matches. And the club's Director of Football, Steve Perryman MBE, is convinced it can only help the Grecians achieve success on the pitch. "Whilst managing in Japan, I witnessed the positive effect a band - and especially the drumming section - could have in terms of stirring up people's passion and enthusiasm in support of the team," said Steve. "They helped create such a club spirit that it drove us towards our first-ever championship. "From a playing perspective, noise at games can be absolutely vital in inspiring a performance, while silence can have quite the opposite effect. "Drumming Up Support is sure to mean more music and more noise and I'm all for it'. The project will be launched at the match between Exeter City and Halifax Town on Saturday, March 29th, with a drumming demonstration from Wren Musicians just before kick-off. All who would like to join the drummers can then come along to open workshop sessions... No musical experience is needed and there will be no music reading involved".

    "Grays Athletic midfielder, Jamie Day, has joined Blue Square South‘s Havant & Waterlooville until the end of the season".

    They won't concern Altrincham but the Blue Square Premier Play-Offs will be as follows:

  • Semi Final 1, 2 legs, Thursday 1 May and Monday 5 May
  • Semi Final 2, 2 legs, Friday 2 May and Tuesday 6 May
  • Final, Sunday 18 May at Wembley.
    26 March 2008


    Altrincham FC and The Salvation Army would like to thank everyone who contributed to the total of 120 Easter eggs donated to the Families in Crisis appeal at Monday's game at Moss Lane. The Salvation Army was thrilled with the outcome which far exceeded its expectations. Children were admitted free on donation of an egg but many adults also brought eggs as well as paying their entry fee. The eggs were collected from the Club on Tuesday for distribution to needy families.


    The referee for Saturday's home game against Torquay United is Mr A. R. Hendley, who has previously officiated Altrincham games which include:
  • ALTRINCHAM (0) 0 YORK CITY (3) 3 on Tuesday, 4 April 2006
  • ALTRINCHAM (0) 1 SCARBOROUGH (0) 1on Tuesday, 20 September 2005. P> The FA reports that Torquay United will have former Droylsden striker "Jody Banim suspended from all first team football until the Club has completed two first team matches", so he will not be playing against Altrincham.

    From Torquay United we learn that "Kaid Mohamed and Mikkel Andersen have today left United and returned to Swindon Town and Reading respectively. Mikkel made three appearances for the Gulls in his loan spell while Kaid scored two goals in his spell with the club".


    SAM reports on Monday's win over Stafford. "Graham Heathcote's troops approached the game knowing it was one they simply could not afford to lose, but it actually turned out to be one they could not fail to win. Stafford were utterly abysmal, already resigned to their dismal fate. The Robins, on the other hand, were not exactly inspiring but at least showed superior class and hunger throughout... Employing a 4-3-3 formation, with Colin Little and Chris Senior supporting targetman Joe O'Neill from wide, they attacked with menace and purpose... Stafford, meanwhile, looked absolutely toothless up front... Alty eased off somewhat after the first goal and earned the wrath of their manager for doing so... If the first half had been a somewhat tame affair, the second was downright tedious... Alty seemed happy enough to sit on their two-goal lead. It meant the emphasis was on Stafford to carve open their defence but the visitors were attempting to do it with the equivalent of a nail file rather than a butcher's knife... This may have been a well-deserved and crucial win for the Robins but tougher tests lie ahead".

    Stafford Rangers say that "A first-half double from Altrincham leading scorer Colin Little proved crucial in the Easter Monday clash at Moss Lane between two old rivals. Injuries to Neil Grayson and Kevin Street forced manager Steve Bull MBE to make two changes to the starting line-up with Marco Adaggio and Ross Draper both recalled. Ryan Lynch, who made four appearances for Stafford back in January, started for the home side". The report's statistics were:

  • On target Altrincham 4 Stafford 5
  • Off target Altrincham 6 Stafford 8
  • Corners Altrincham 4 Stafford 8
  • Offside Altrincham 5 Stafford 4
  • Fouls Altrincham 15 Stafford 14
  • Yellow cards Altrincham 1 (Scott) Stafford 2 (Arnolin, Draper)

    "Stafford Rangers manager Steve bull has admitted that his side are not likely to beat the drop" according to Blue Square Football "but has stressed they will fight to maintain their Blue Square Premier status nonetheless. The Rangers are yet to record a victory under their new manager and have slipped further into relegation mire following Easter Monday's defeat at Altrincham. 'Realistically, everyone thinks we're down, but we won't be waving the white flag until it's mathematically certain', Bull told the Express & Star. 'I still want to give the Stafford supporters something good to watch and come here to shout about'. Bull is already looking to make some changes to his playing staff and has been scouring the market for possible additions ahead of Saturday's crunch clash against league leaders Aldershot Town. 'I need players for next season and some of the lads here aren't doing it', he added. 'There will hopefully be some players coming in and others leaving'. Speaking on Monday's disappointing defeat, Bull was critical of the poor showing but revealed that he was not coming down too hard on his players. 'I said to the players before they kicked a ball yesterday that this is the game that will keep us in the league. Fourteen points is a long way to get back. The players know that as well and they are as disappointed as I am. I said to the players that I could be horrible and get them in to training tonight', he added. 'But I'll let them have a rest and see what they can do on Saturday'".

    "Stafford Rangers slipped nearer to their inevitable relegation following a 2-0 defeat at Altrincham" claims This is Staffs. "Steve Bull found little to be positive about from his side's below-par performance at Moss Lane. 'They were poor and we were poorer', was the verdict of the Wolves legend, who is still waiting for his first win as manager. 'There was nothing to get encouraged about. I thought on Saturday (against Torquay) they did well, passed the ball well, but today they left it all on the bus. We lost it in the first half. We didn't compete with anything. It was just hard for the lads as they looked very lethargic as if they couldn't cope with two games in three days'... There was no argument about Altrincham being the better side but, like Stafford, they struggled to create decent goalscoring opportunities... During the last half hour, Altrincham appeared content to defend their lead and allowed Stafford to threaten... Aldershot, 14 points clear at the top, visit Marston Road on Saturday and could secure the title with a victory".


    Details of the next three STAR supporters' coaches to Altrincham FC away games are now on the Away Travel page. All fans intending to use the coach must book in advance; this can be done at Moss Lane on matchdays or by ringing the Club on 928-1045. The games are:
  • Tuesday 1 April v Nantwich Town (CSC Final)
  • Saturday 5 April v Kidderminster Harriers
  • Tuesday 8 April v Burton Albion


    Ryan Shotton's brother Liam has been impressing recently. NL Daily says that ""next-to-bottom Kidsgrove Athletic had an emphatic 5-1 success over Alsager Town in which Liam Shotton netted a hat trick". A poster on the Kidsgrove forum added, "This lad is good, I saw him play against us in 2006 in the pre-season, he's big, strong, good in the air and on the floor and he can sprint."


    Bullsnews relates bad news for Tom Cahill and Liam King - "Rotherham's administrator will ask all staff and players to accept a wage deferral in order for the club to finish the season. Finances are so poor at Millmoor that the move is necessary to keep the club trading".


    "Crawley assistant boss Paul Raynor said he and manager Steve Evans are not concerned about being sent to the stands twice over Easter" according to the BBC. "Raynor and Evans repeated Saturday's dismissals at Burton by being banished yet again in the 1-0 defeat to Aldershot on Monday. 'It's ridiculous, it really is', Raynor told BBC Southern Counties Radio. 'Maybe there's a directive to clamp down on people shouting onto the field, and showing a bit of passion'. It is the sixth time this season that Evans has been sent to the stands. Raynor added: 'The Crawley fans would have been pleased with the performance and the Aldershot fans would have been thrilled with the result. It's a shame we have to talk about referees and people in stands'".

    "Burton Albion manager Nigel Clough was delighted with Matthew Williams' goalscoring debut in the 1-0 victory at Farsley Celtic on Easter Monday. Striker Williams has joined on loan until the end of the season from Tamworth. And the 26-year-old former Manchester United youth product impressed Clough with his all-round contribution. 'His overall play was very good, he looked lively and was the best striker we had', Clough told BBC Radio Derby... 'It's been a struggle over the two games but we dug in defensively and that's been the basis for the six points', Clough added.

    "Oxford United will attempt to make striker Matt Green's loan move from Cardiff a permanent one. Green scored the winner against rivals Stevenage - his sixth goal for Oxford - giving the U's a third win in nine days. Oxford boss Darren Patterson told BBC Radio Oxford: 'I have had a preliminary chat with the boy. We know we will face competition to sign him permanently, but I had competition to sign him on loan'".

    NL Daily reports that "Jimmy Quinn, manager of Cambridge United, has decided to extend Jack Jeffrey's loan from West Ham United by a further month. With the bad ankle injury to Lee McEvilly, Quinn has decided to keep the 18-year-old Scottish forward at Abbey Stadium for another month. Jeffrey found his chances limited the first few weeks of his stay, with the form of Lee Boylan and Lee McEvilly restricting him to cameo appearances from the substitute bench, but recent poor form and injuries led to Jeffery getting a good half hour against Crawley on Tuesday night, in which he mightily impressed".

    Blue Square Football says that "Halifax Town manager Chris Wilder is considering recalling striker Darryn Stamp from his loan spell at Northwich Victoria after a number of ill-timed injuries. Frontman Andy Campbell is the latest casualty on the Halifax treatment table after suffering a leg injury in Monday's 2-0 defeat at Droylsden. Nathan Joynes and Jon Shaw are both receiving treatment for the respective injuries and wilder could be tempted to bring Stamp back to the Shay Stadium. 'It is something that was discussed two weeks ago when we were put in the current position', Wilder told Halifax Today. 'It was always going to be the case that we might have to bring him back'".

    "Farsley Celtic manager John Deacey believes his side can beat relegation this season despite dropping into the bottom four on Monday. Deacey's side failed to collect any points from their two Easter fixtures and have subsequently slipped into the dreaded relegation zone. Celtic battled valiantly against Nigel Clough's high-flying Brewers and were unfortunate to in a game that produced just one goal. Amjad Iqbal's mistake gifted the ball to Burton's striker Matt Williams and the on-loan marksman went on to fire his side ahead. 'Amjad has been a model of consistency this season and it was a shame that it happened to him', Deacey told the Yorkshire Evening Post. 'I was happy with our performance but we have to be more lethal in the opposition's box. I've said before that I think it will go to the wire and I still believe that. We will survive'" reports Blue Square Football

    "A debut goal for loan signing Matty Williams clinched a precious but barely-deserved victory for Burton Albion on their first-ever visit to Throstle Nest" according to the Burton Mail. "he 25-year-old striker struck after 14 minutes... But it was a far from convincing display against relegation strugglers Farsley Celtic... And they needed a stroke of good fortune in the dying minutes when home striker Simeon Bambrook was denied the equaliser by the woodwork. With skipper Darren Stride failing to recover from a hamstring injury, Albion made four changes from the side that scraped a 1-0 win over Crawley Town... Wingers Marc Goodfellow and Keith Gilroy both dropped to the bench to make way for Shaun Harrad and Aaron Webster to give Albion a more competitive edge in the wide midfield positions. And manager Nigel Clough made the most of his new attacking option by giving Williams his first start alongside top scorer Daryl Clare. The quaintly-named Throstle Nest was an unglamorous reminder of Albion's UniBond League days, with two sides of the ground amounting to nothing more than a ribbon of uncovered standing area".

    The Burton Mail also refers to how "Albion's play-off hopes have been given a massive boost after a dream set of Easter Monday results... as promotion rivals Exeter City, Stevenage Borough and Forest Green Rovers all suffered costly defeats... Manager Nigel Clough told Mail Sport: 'This time last year we blew it in terms of the play-offs by losing to York and Southport. There are still eight games to go, but hopefully the results this weekend will be the springboard for us go on to achieve our ambitions... It's been a struggle over the two games but we've dug in defensively and managed to keep two clean sheets. That's been the basis of our six points because we were far from our best, especially in the second half. Some of the decisions we made on the ball were very, very poor indeed. I thought Farsley were a bit unlucky in the second half... Not only did Matty get us the winning goal, but his overall play was also very good... Williams said: 'I came here to play football and it's fantastic I've got the winning goal on my debut'".

    From This is Glos, we read that "Jim Harvey was as bewildered as the spectators inside Plainmoor after Stuart Fleetwood was controversially sent off in Forest Green's 1-0 defeat to Torquay United.Rovers' top scorer saw red in the 27th minute for reacting to an apparent head-butt by Gulls' defender Mark Ellis. Referee Dave Phillips took the decision on the advice of his assistant David Martin, but Harvey remained in the dark afterwards as to exactly what his player had been accused of. 'Apparently their fella (Ellis) has pretended to throw a head-butt at Stuart and he has had to back out of it', said Harvey. 'It was just a bit of grappling I think in the box, and I've no idea where the red card has come from. It's such a shame that in the latter stages of the season, when there are two teams playing who have a chance of getting into the play-offs, you get officials making decisions that confuse everybody. Nobody was sure what had happened, and it killed the game'... Torquay's winner came from the penalty spot... Scorer Roscoe D'Sane later missed a second spot-kick... 'I know their manager (Paul Buckle) has been very complimentary about his squad and their attitude, but we were head and shoulders above them', Quinn said... 'I didn't feel Torquay knew how to cope with us, and long balls into the box and set-pieces were really all they could muster'".

    On the contrary, the Torquay boss Paul Buckle thought "We had enough very good opportunities to win two or three games" according to This is South Devon. "It was one of those days when we just couldn't take a second chance... And when you miss as many chances as we did today, football has a habit of hitting you with a sucker punch. It happened to us against Altrincham (1-1) a few weeks ago, but this time we stayed solid as a group and we were good enough to keep a clean-sheet". Buckle "praised the Gulls' fans in a 3,000-plus crowd [at FGR], saying: 'They were frustrated, like I was and the players were, but they didn't go over the top. They backed us, which was important because the players can feel it when the crowd gets frustrated'".

    The Halifax Courier says that "Boss Chris Wilder brushed aside calls from a section of the travelling Halifax support at Droylsden for him to resign... The final whistle yesterday brought an angry reaction from some supporters calling for the manager's head. 'People have to fire bullets at someone and they will fire them at me', said Wilder. 'I have told the players I will take it on the chin all day long because I know it will turn round and I know this club will stay in this league. It will then move forward, whether with me or not and on today's opinion people don't want it to be with me. But I will be here until the end of the season and I will make sure this club stays in the league... The players know we are there for them. If it is just us doing it to the end of the season, then it is just us and I don't mind that. I imagine a lot of the supporters will have gone away after the game and completely given up on us', he said. "'There are still nine games to go... I have had decent times at this football club and I don't get carried away when people are patting me on the back in the same way I don't get carried away when they are shouting for me to go... It has not been the best few days for the football club', he said".

    The Kidderminster Shuttle says that "Harriers' manager Mark Yates admits he'll be working hard to bring new players into Aggborough on-loan before Thursday's deadline... Harriers are a little light in central defence after the departure of Luke Jones back to Shrewsbury Town... Yates said: 'It has been quiet over the weekend because it's Easter but I'll be on the phone tomorrow morning with one or two things we are waiting on. We have a couple players we'd like to bring in... We're not as bad as our league position makes out', said the manager. 'When we put in a decent performance, work hard and compete for first and second balls it gives us the conviction to play some good football... Our last three home performances have been pretty decent. We've tried to get the ball down and play... I thought Gavin Hurren produced one of his best performances in defence for some time and many of the squad will be happy with their contribution'" against Rushden.

    This is Weymouth quotes Terras' boss John Hollins after their win over Exeter. "It was a tough game and they are a very good side. They are really well organised and we knew we had to stop them by being big and strong... We were again without a few players today but our pack is a good one now and we shuffled it about and the performance we put in was excellent. You only have to look at James Coutts and how much stronger and quicker he is now looking. He is also showing more belief in himself and it is the same with Anton Robinson... Defensively the back five were again fantastic today'... Commenting on Malcolm, Hollins said: 'Michael was a constant threat and could have had a hat-trick... The lads are now becoming more and more confident but on Saturday at Farsley Celtic it will be a different proposition again'".

    25 March 2008


  • York C. 1 Northwich V. 1


    Prices for the STAR supporters' coach for the Cheshire Senior Cup Final on Tuesday 1st April at Witton Albion have now been reduced as follows:
  • Adults will now pay £5.
  • Concessionaries and junior supporters will pay £4.

    So, it now makes even more sense to leave the car behind and use the coach as you will save your fuel and running costs as well as avoid the £3 parking charge being applied at Wincham Park for private cars. Full details of the coach trip are on the Away Travel page.


    A minute's applause before the kick off to Monday's game against Stafford Rangers was a fitting tribute to Gary Wright ("The Skipper"), the Altrincham FC steward and supporter, home and away, who died on Saturday morning after a fall at home the previous weekend. A collection was also held which raised around £500 from which will be purchased a suitable floral tribute to Gary for his funeral, the date of which has yet to be set. Any remaining money may be used for a small permanent tribute to Gary at Moss Lane. Above is pictured Gary's steward's jacket and some flowers which were placed on the touchline at Moss Lane before kick off on Monday.


    Right: Monday saw Val Owen's return to action after a four-month injury lay-off which included a knee operation. Here we see (l. to r.) Chris Lane, Warren Peyton, Robbie Lawton, Val Owen and Gary Scott in second-half action against Stafford Rangers.

    Colin Little's two goals on Monday take his tally to 21 for the season, 18 of which have come in 28(+5) appearances in the Blue Square Premier. Indeed, he has scored eight goals in his last seven BSP games. It was a less fortunate game for Chris Senior who had a tooth knocked out by a challenge from Stafford Rangers' defender Richard Sutton. Alty moved up two places to 19th but Halifax Town and Farsley Celtic are only two points behind and have three and two games in hand, respectively.


    Alty groundsman Neil Brown, who is also the Abbey Hey manager in the Vodkat League Division One was celebrating a fine 5-2 away win on Monday against fifth-placed Glossop North End, for whom former Alty striker Steve Lunt played the full game. Former Alty reserves Danny Heffernan and Astley Mulholland were on the scoresheet for the Gorton side. Neil took over at Abbey Hey with them bottom of the league but he has now lifted them to fourth place off the bottom. Another ex-Alty reserve, Scott Metcalf scored for Trafford as they continued their run for the championship in the same division with a 2-1 win over Flixton. Also on Monday Terry Bowker (Buxton) and Alex Hay (Cammell Laird) were scorers.

    From Hereford, Bullsnews tells us that "One of the Bulls' targets in the January transfer window, Chester winger Kevin Ellison, is still in demand. Wrexham have had a fresh bid for the former Tranmere man rejected according to the Daily Post. Ellison missed yesterday's win over Darlington, and the future of the top scorer at the Deva has been in constant doubt since several clubs made bids in January.Ellison had agreed a move to Stockport in February before the deal failed amidst conflicting reports. Chester sources claimed the player decided the deal wasn't right, while Stockport claimed that monies were owed by Chester to the player that weren't forthcoming. Bury and Wrexham had bids rejected before the Hatters' move, and interest from the Bulls was revealed in the press".


    In a week's time (April 1st), Altrincham meet Nantwich Town in the Cheshire Senior Cup Final at Wincham Park. Admission is £8 for adults and £3 for concessionaries. For those travelling by car there is a £3 charge to park at the ground. So, why not take the STAR supporters' coach instead? Details of the trip are here.

    NL Daily reports that "The healthy long standing relationship between Nantwich Town andneighbours Crewe Alexandra has resulted in the Railwaymen consenting to the loan signing of Junior Brown. Brown, a 19-year-old first year professional at Gresty Road, is a naturally left-footed player who is equally at home in a wide midfield role or in a striker's role. He experienced UniBond league football earlier this season during a loan spell with Kidsgrove Athletic. The 5` 8” player possesses lightning quick pace and joins fellow Crewe loanee Nick Farquharson at The Weaver Stadium at a time when Nantwich are striving for promotion. The loan period is for a month... In a further development, Nantwich have served a seven-day notice of approach to league rivals Alsager Town for permission to speak with former Leek Town striker Dave Whittaker. Another former Crewe player, Whittaker has extensive experience of UniBond Football both as a striker or as a central defender">

    But Nantiwch Town later reported that "Junior Brown has had a change of heart and decided to stay at Crewe. We respect Junior's decision... and would be delighted if he decided to join us some time in the future".

    24 March 2008


    Above: Colin Little, off picture to the left, nets Alty's first goal.

    This was a vital win for Altrincham but after securing a 2-0 lead by the interval they withdrew O'Neill and Senior during the second half in favour of Scott and Lane, which allowed Rangers to come more into the game. But the visitors looked a poor side and rarely threatened to score. After King had forced a fine save from Alcock inside the first minute, Alty should have taken a lead in the second minute but O'Neill missed the target horribly from six yards. However, Colin Little continued his rich vein of scoring by putting Alty ahead as the game went into the 14th minute with a header following a Stafford half-clearance. Alty's leading scorer then netted his 21st goal of the season (18 in the BSP) three minutes before the interval when he converted O'Neill's pass from close range to make it 2-0. Though O'Neill hit the bar with a fine effort in the second half, Alty failed to improve their goal diffference but moved up two places in the table thanks to defeats for Halifax Town and Farsley Celtic.

    Match report here.

  • Alty player stats
  • Alty line-ups & bookings


    Right: Ryan Shotton takes a throw-in at Aldershot last Saturday.

    It's another vital game for Altrincham on Monday against one of the only three teams beneath us in the table. The sides drew 1-1 at Marston Road back in August with Robbie Lawton the Alty scorer. The Alty line-up that day was: 13. Richard Acton; 15. Chris Lane, 14. Stephen Rose, 5. Darren Tinson (capt), 2. Steve Aspinall; 7. Robert Lawton, 8. Val Owen, 6. Jake Sedgemore; 21. Gareth Whalley, 11. Warren Peyton; 19. Chris Senior. Subs: 1 Stuart Coburn, 4. Karl Munroe, 12. Joe O'Neill, 17. Colin Potts, 18. Pat McFadden. Only five of Alty's starters that day started last Saturday's game at Aldershot (Lane, Tinson, Lawton, Peyton, Senior). In the corresponding Moss Lane fixture last season Alty lost 1-0 in bizarre circumstances, with Rangers scoring when Chris Senior was made to leave the pitch for carrying his boot which had come off his foot.

    Easter Monday, March 24th

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

  • Through the Years by Howard Watts.


    A collection is being held at Monday's game against Stafford to buy flowers for the funeral of Altrincham supporter Gary Wright, known to all at Moss Lane as "The Skipper". Gary, who was in his 47th year, died on Saturday morning after a fall at home seven days earlier. Mark Eckersall is organizing a floral tribute and he will be pleased to receive donations either personally or via The Robins' Shop, where there will be a collection box. Any personal condolence cards can be left in the Shop with Louise Gregory.


    Aldershot Town reports on a "dogged victory against relegation threatened Altrincham. You have to credit the Shots. At times they played as poorly as they have done all season but they dug in... Scott Davies was the hero on the goal scoring stakes but goalkeeper Nikki Bull made the save of the season to keep his side in the match at 1-1 early in the second half... Altrincham have a firm belief that they have the capability of staying in the Blue Square Premier and if this performance was anything to go by you have to back their confidence although matches are running out for Graham Heathcote's side... Just past the hour goalkeeper Bull made an outstanding save. Robbie Lawton guided the ball in from the right hand side and Senior from inside the six yard box stuck powerfully goal bounds. It looked a certain goal only for Bull to somehow force away. The shots goalkeeper was already committed but he was able to change his direction to force his body onto the ball. It was inspiring stuff. The popular Bull parried Senior's 20 yards shot minutes later and gathered the rebound with Peyton pouncing.... Altrincham, who managed a point at Torquay United recently, will feel aggrieved that they did not get something out of the game".


    Our neighbours Trafford, under Ged Kielty's managership, have lost just one league match this season but have suffered a blow with an injury to another former Alty player. The Trafford site says that "Wez Wilkinson underwent an operation on Monday 25th February to hopefully clear up a long standing knee complaint. Wez had half his knee cap removed and a tear to his cartilage repaired, so that will be the last we will see of him on the pitch this season. Wez has been excellent for us this season". Also out for the rest of the season is former Robins' midfielder Sean Smith".


    Right: Alty captain Jack Kimber keeps close to his opponent, whilst centre-backs Alex Murphy and Jake Leigh-Watson await developments behind them.

    Altrincham Youth went out of the Open Cup this afternoon after a penalty shoot out. Tom Bailey had put Alty ahead early in the second half before Curzon levelled to take the game to extra time. With the score still 1-1 after that period, the penalty shoot out was won 4-2 by Curzon Ashton. Report in Youth section.


    Blue Square Football says that "Halifax Town manager Chris Wilder has applauded the enthusiasm and loyalty of the club's fans over the last five seasons. Wilder told the Yorkshire Evening Post: 'I have been critical of certain sections of the supporters in the past because if things aren't challenged it is taken as normal behaviour. But over the last five years I would say our home record must be as good as anyone else's and the fans must take great satisfaction in that'. With the club in danger of relegation from the Blue Square Premier, Wilder is adamant that the players need support more than ever. Attendances had been sliding steadily, even before the club was put into administration and Wilder said: 'There has been a lot of pessimism around with people not knowing what was going on. At least now all that is out in the open and it is cards on the table time'. Businessman David Bosomworth and his consortium have invested £200,000 over the last 14 months but have been unable to buy out key shareholders or hold off old creditors, and decided that making a fresh start offered the best course of action". At Torquay UnitedStafford Rangers says "Manager Steve Bull MBE was generally pleased with the performance [on Saturday against Torquay] even though Rangers suffered defeat to second-half goals scored by Tim Sills and Roscoe D'Sane. 'I've criticised them on just two things', said Bull speaking after the game. 'Before we went out I said "make sure you mark up when the corners come in" and I've had a go for the player being asleep on the line for the second goal. I've given them all the best vibes. In the first half they played some decent football. They showed me what they can do and I think it is a shame that the result went the way it did'. The Rangers starting line-up showed four changes. Neil Grayson and new signing Nick Wellecombe were paired in attack and both Alex Gibson and Chris Flynn returned in midfield... Bull was forced to make his first substitution in the 17th minute when Marco Adaggio came on for Grayson who suffered a back injury... Wellecombe enjoyed an encouraging debut and wasn't too far away with an overhead kick". Torquay brought 342 fans out of a gate of 905.

    Ebbsfleet United "confirm the signing of Brentford defender Darius Charles on loan until the end of the season. Ealing-born Charles began his career as a trainee at Brentford in 2004 and signed professional forms in 2006. He started life as a central defender though was converted to a left-back under Terry Butcher at Brentford and can also play left midfield".

    23 March 2008


    Altrincham FC physio Sean Riley has confirmed that "We sustained no injuries yesterday, and with the likelihood of a return [to the squad] for Val Owen (right) tomorrow we can boast a fully fit squad ahead of the Stafford game". Val's last appearance before his knee operation was away at Farsley Celtic on 20 November 2007.


    The match report on the Shots' Forum describes Aldershot as giving "a disjointed performance, against an Altrincham side who fought hard for the entire 90 minutes. In fact, only a world class save, from a Chris Senior effort, by Nikki Bull secured the Shots all 3 points... [With the score 1-1,] Chris Senior, who had a trial with the Shots a couple of seasons ago, struck a powerful half volley, which looked for all the world as if it was heading for the net, until Bull threw himself to his left to complete a stunning save".

    After Alty's 13th defeat by a single-goal margin in the league this season, at Aldershot, Graham Heathcote told the NL Paper, "We've come away from places like Torquay, Stevenage and, now, Aldershot and shown we can play. But it's not performances against the top sides that matter, it's the games against the middle and bottom sides where you've got to do it and we haven't. That's our inconsistency. If we'd played as well as we did today against some of the sides we've lost to, we quite simply wouldn't have lost. But that's why we're at the bottom and they're at the top'".


    The NLP says "Grays were given the right to appeal against the FA's decision to make the club pay £14,000 wages to jailed midfielder Ashley Sestanovich by Wednesday or face suspension from all football. Chairman Mick Woodward has told The NLP that a host of benefactors have pledged to pay the money, including Geoff Goodwin, the chairman of Altrincham, whose legal fees were paid by Woodward when fighting their 18-point deduction in 2006". Woodward added that "Geoff Goodwin has kindly put in £2,000. Any money left over... will go to Tommy Fahey's family, the victims of this whole situation". Mr Fahey was shot dead in a robbery in which Sestanovich was involved.

    Droylsden boss Dave Pace has "called for football chiefs to show no mercy to clubs like Halifax who go into administration... Pace, who has personally invested £4.2 million in the Bloods believes the Shaymen have got off lightly ... 'The 10-point penalty is a joke... the clubs should be relegated. I could very easily have paid the majority of my squad £2,000 a week, got to 55 points and then said I didn't have enough money, taken the ten-point penalty and stayed in the league. But I don't do things like that. I work all hours to run this club properly and always will do but perhaps I'm too honest... What has happened over the last couple of years does not make the Conference look very good... If we were flying at the top of the table I would still be saying these things. Maybe I'm just not as clever as the people who manipulate the rules for their own benefit'".

    As Dave Pace joins Graham Heathcote in calling for relegation for clubs going into administration, Blue Square Football says that "Blue Square Premier chiefs have confirmed that Halifax Town will be docked 10 points for entering administration. The ruling was confirmed at a league board meeting this week and it leaves the Shaymen just one point above the dreaded relegation zone... Halifax officials had earlier announced that the club had been placed in the hands of administrators Rod Sadler and Peter Sargent. This is the second time in the space of six years that the club has gone into administration and the club's supporters will be hoping for another happy ending". Whether there will be a happy ending for the creditors is less likely.

    The NL Daily tells us that "Burton Albion have boosted their squad for Easter and the run-in by signing forward Matty Williams on loan from neighbours Tamworth for the rest of the season. Williams, 26, is a former Manchester United youth product who has also been with Notts County. He scored for Tamworth against the Brewers in the FA Cup tie at the Pirelli Stadium earlier this season".


    "Workington`s [ex-Alty] striker Matt Berkeley was thrilled when he received a call-up for the World Cup qualifier between his native St Kitts & Nevis and Belize earlier in the week" says NL Daily. "However, due to a shortage of funds available to the St Kitts FA, it looks like he will be unable to make the trip after all. He was due to fly out via Antigua on Sunday to join up with the rest of the squad for Wednesday`s crucial game... His agent, Ethan Taylor, told nonleaguedaily: 'If I personally had the funds available I`d be delighted to subsidise the travel, but as a relatively small agency, it`s not something we could arrange at such short notice'".
    22 March 2008


    Altrincham fans travelling to Aldershot were in sombre mood, after learning as their coach set off from Altrincham, of the untimely death of Gary Wright, known to all at the club as "The Skipper". Just 7 days previously, Gary had been on the supporters' coach to Grays but on that Saturday evening he had fallen downstairs at home and suffered brain damage from which he did not recover. With his trademark cap, festooned with enamel football badges, it was Gary who often took up the collection from passengers on the supporters' coach for the drivers' "tip". The condolences of everyone connected with Altrincham FC go to Gary's family and friends; he will be missed as a dedicated Altrincham supporter, a steward at home games and as a man who followed the club through thick and thin, home and away.

    Gary is pictured, right, on the terraces at Grays, doing what he loved best - watching Altrincham FC with his friends.


    In conditions that varied from torrential hail and sleet to bright sunshine, Alty gave a good account of themselves against the runaway league leaders. Fielding a more attacking formation than last week, with Little and Senior on the flanks supporting O'Neill, Altrincham created four very good chances but were unable to convert them. And it took a superbly hit freekick by Davies from 22 yards to beat the Robins (67 mins). Earlier, Altrincham had stunned the Shots by taking the lead in the 14th minute when Shotton's long throw was diverted to Little, whose low shot found the bottom corner of the net. Nine minutes later Charles converted Mendes's cross from the right to level the scores. Referee Hopkins did Alty few favours, booking five of the visitors in a game of few serious fouls.

    Match report here.

    Above: Conditions were poor at Aldershot, with sleet and snow showers.


    Don't forget that, for Easter Monday's match at home to Stafford Rangers, all under-14s will be admitted free if they bring along a "proper" Easter egg (i.e. not a small "Cadbury's creme egg" or similar) for donation to the Salvation Army's "Families in Crisis" programme. The Salvation Army will then distribute the donated eggs to needy children.


  • Aldershot T. 2 ALTRINCHAM 1
  • Burton A. 1 Crawley T. 0
  • Cambridge U. 0 Weymouth 0
  • Exeter C. 1 Kidderminster H. 0
  • Halifax T. 0 Oxford U. 3
  • Northwich V. 4 Farsley C. 0
  • Rushden & D. 1York C. 1
  • Stafford R. 0 Torquay U. 2


    According to This is Staffs "Stafford Rangers boss Steve Bull is hoping to make his first permanent signing ahead of tomorrow's game against Torquay at Marston Road. Bull is in negotiations with a young striker - thought to be Newcastle Town's Nick Wellecomme - and wants to clinch a deal in time for him to join the squad to face the Gulls. 'I've been trying all week to recruit players to try to help us stop up, but the situation we're in has made it very difficult', said Bull. 'We've got some massive games coming up and we're going to have to rely on the current squad. We have to stick with them and I've told them they're fighting for their places for next year'... On Monday, Rangers have a relegation six-pointer at Altrincham. 'We're not looking further ahead than the one game. We've got to focus on Torquay - you never know, we seem to do well against the top teams and rubbish against the teams down the bottom', said Bull. Midfielder Chris Flynn is expected to be passed fit to play after taking a nasty bang in the face in last week's home defeat by Oxford, but striker Del Olaoye has been sidelined for at least a further week and defender Alex Gibson is again a doubt".


    Barry Pond's updated list of Moss Lane matchday sponsors' is here.


    From This is Exeter we learn that "Exeter City's playing budget will not be affected by revelations the club is £300,000 in the red, according to finance director Steve Williams.Figures released by the club this week exposed the common belief the club was debt-free as a fallacy... Williams and the club's board have drawn up a five-year plan to help drag the club back into the black and he says the resources available to manager Paul Tisdale will be unaffected in the interim. However, given that both last season's and this season's budgets were based on City having 3,500-plus crowds, a good FA Cup run and reaching the play-offs, the amount of cash available to the manager is unlikely to be significantly increased by unplanned windfalls such as transfer fees. Those will instead continue to be used to service debt and make up the shortfall should revenue not reach expected levels. To maintain the current level of spending on the team, which the club says is now close to the the Conference maximum cap, City plan to continue to grow their commercial and sponsorship revenues and lessen their reliance on the team's success and selling players. Williams said: 'To maintain success on the park since the CVA, the club has been setting an annual expenditure budget that can only be met if we achieve successes - the FA Cup and the play-offs - or if we make profits on players. This means that we work hard to break even each year and it is only on special occasions that there is anything spare to repay old debts. It is part of our business plan to supply the finances to support a successful team and over the last few years there have been various types of financial success from this. By and large over a three year period these playing successes, along with transfer fees, have allowed the club to make a little profit, but until the old debt is paid off that profit is spoken for. From now on, we have to set targets to change this and over the coming years we expect to close the gap to break even on an ordinary league season and use a proportion of any 'success money' or transfer fees to reduce old deficits. We are now trying to be less reliant on the financial consequences of success and transfer fees without undermining the playing budget and have set our stall out for the next three years with this in mind. The playing budget is set at the start of the year in line with our budgeting and if any monies - for example a transfer fee - comes in, then it goes into the overall pot.

    Since the adoption of the club's V10 plan in January 2006 and a reshuffle in the club's management structure, it has been widely reported the club made a small profit last season and club officials are anticipating a similar scenario this term - particularly if City clinch a play-off spot. But it should be remembered that in that time the club has received a whopping £410,000 in transfer fees"

    The Halifax Courier reported on Friday that "Town were still waiting for confirmation today of the 10-point deduction for entering administration.But boss Chris Wilder is already plotting an escape route from the relegation scrap they will find themselves in when the points are docked. The Shaymen entertain Oxford United tomorrow and make the short trip across the Pennines to Droylsden on Monday afternoon. And Wilder is looking for a maximum haul from the two Easter double header. 'Two wins would enable us to take a massive jump now and not have to rely on games later in the season', he said"

    The Argus says that "Crawley manager Steve Evans insists his contract extension has not changed his aim to reach the Football League within two years. Evans signed a new deal to keep him at Broadfield Stadium until 2011 this week after holding talks with an unnamed consortium who are set to complete a takeover of the club... in the next few weeks... Evans said: "I spoke with the new owners who are coming in and they made it clear they wanted me to be around and that has given me a lot of comfort. 'I have shown my commitment by moving my family down to the area and it is nice for the club to show theirs towards me. It shows people can see we are getting it right. I have spoken about a three-year plan and that is still the target. But you should always have a contingency and this is what the contract gives me. If next season doesn't go to plan and we finish 18th then it would be foolish of me to talk about being champions the following season. But I don't envisage that happening. With a bit more investment from the new owners, I am confident we can be competing for the play-offs'".

    This is South Devon reports that "Torquay united have recalled goalkeeper Simon Rayner after two months on loan at Boston United. The Canadian stopper had originally been loaned to the Blue Square North side until the end of the season... United have used both Martin Rice and Mikkel Andersen (on loan from Reading) in recent weeks, since Michael Poke was recalled from his loan spell by Southampton in mid-February. But Rayner has been in good form for Boston and gives boss Paul Buckle another option as the Gulls head into their final 12 league games of the season".


    Our old rivals in the UniBond and NPL, Bradford PA have ambitious plans according to the Telegraph & Argus. BPA's manager is Dave Cameron and "Chief executive Bob Blackburn feels his confidence in the 32-year-old has been vindicated. Blackburn has seen enough already for him to start preparations for Avenue's pre-season tour to Spain. The club's owner had dangled the carrot of a trip abroad for some training in the sun and a few friendly fixtures earlier in the season. The proviso was that the tour would only go ahead if Avenue won promotion from the UniBond Division One North... 'I have confirmed our first pre-season game and it will be at Marbella FC in early June', said the chief executive, speaking from his Spanish villa. 'At first I did say that we would only do it if we went up but the players have tried so hard and Dave has worked so well that we will make the trip... The plan is to bring the squad out here around early June for one or two weeks... A pal of a property developer who I do a lot of deals with through my company has just bought Marbella FC and us coming over here to play against them has made one or two sit up and take notice. Instead of us going around knocking on doors and introducing ourselves as Bradford Park Avenue we are having people chasing us now'".
    21 March 2008


  • Forest Green R. 2 Woking 1
  • Salisbury C. 3 Histon 3
  • Stevenage B. 3 Ebbsfleet U. 1


    Alty groundsman and Abbey Hey manager Neil Brown is featured tonight on Channel M's Football Show betwen 7pm and 8pm.

    In his Abbey Hey manager's role, Neil has just signed former Alty left-back Chris Adams.


    The Sale & Altrincham Messenger reports that "Graham Heathcote insists he would step aside if his board decided to pursue a different direction at the club. Heathcote has come under increased pressure in recent week after a string of disappointing results thrust his side into the relegation zone. Weymouth's draw at Northwich on Tuesday saw them leapfrog Alty into 20th place on goal difference. Some fans have called for a change at the top...

    He told SAM Sport: 'I'm not afraid to be told my time's up and if that's what the board wanted then I would be happy with that. I like to give people all the options available and that's what I did on Monday when I met the chairman. I don't want people to think I'm just sat here while the team are struggling for a third year running doing absolutely nothing. I've gone to the board and told them the possibilities. At the end of the season we'll do the same again, I'll sit down with the board and we'll analyse where this football club is going and what needs to be done. But the board want me to continue so, for the moment, I'm trying to put this all aside and focus on the eight games left. I would ask fans to put aside any feelings about me and put any adrenaline they have and any passion they have into the remaining eight games of football to help these lads keep us in the division'.

    After back-to-back league defeats, Heathcote is calling on his players to show the passion required to come out on top in the relegation battle. The Robins manager has no doubts about his squad's ability but believes they need to show more fight as the teams at the bottom begin a desperate scrap to stay in the Blue Square Premier. 'It's difficult for the players because a lot of them have only been together for less than a season', he added. 'We don't have the likes of Mark Maddox, Gary Talbot and Chris Adams at the club any more, guys who would give their all for the club. It's been a massive transition over the past year. It won't be lack of passion from the management, board or fans that will take the club down but we need the same from the players. Everyone needs to give their all to try and keep us in this league. You can go to Torquay and get a result but it means nothing if you go to Grays and play like we did first half. We need to be much more consistent'.

    Heathcote also joined his chairman Geoff Goodwin in hitting out at the owners who put their club's future at risk in the pursuit of short-term success. 'In football and in our league over the past three or four years there have been clubs gaining false positions on the back of over-spending', he added. 'More and more clubs are going into administration and it doesn't seem right. You can have a better football team but the day might come when you can lose your club. We will continue as we are and keep turning a profit every year but nothing is being done about this situation'".

    SAM adds that "Goodwin is convinced Heathcote is still the right man for the job. Speaking exclusively to SAM Sport, he said: 'Graham came to me and told me if the club wanted to make a change that we should do it now to try and get us out of trouble. But the board are still right behind him and we are still confident we can avoid relegation. We want a manager who loves this club and Graham is completely dedicated. The work he does goes way above and beyond his role as first team manager. Graham is an honest man and he's feeling it at the moment because he knows it's not working. Everyone is entitled to their opinion about the situation but we have to look at the positives and look at what he brings to the bigger picture. We are making a profit and doing the best we can on the budget we have available to us, there's no point going out and spending money we don't have. There aren't a lot of clubs in the whole of football who live within their means and we keep on seeing more and more get into trouble. There's a 10-point penalty for teams who go into administration but I think we should be awarded 10 points for trying to do things the right way'".


    Gavin Rathbone, Alty's official photographer, informs the website that "Altrincham FC Under-12 Girls team are doing a sponsored bag pack at Sainsbury's in Sale on Good Friday. The team will be there between 10am-12pm raising money for the junior department.


    Jay Goodwin, son of the Alty chairman Geoff continues to go from strength to strength in his karting career. And you can now catch up with the young man's latest karting successes on his website. Jay is pictured right at the supporters v staff game in 2005 where he attempted to get his father taken off the pitch by displaying the substitute's card.


    Alty old boy Lewis Chalmers has spoken to the Aldershot News and Mail ahead of Saturday's clash with his former club. "With a ten-point lead at the top and just 11 games to play, with games in hand on most of their closest rivals, the Shots could conceivably have the title all but wrapped up by the end of the week.... Altrincham, in the relegation zone on goal difference after Weymouth’s comeback at Northwich on Tuesday, will be fighting for their Premier status and the three other games are all away from home... Aldershot’s combative midfielder Lewis Chalmers is certainly not fazed by the rush of games — quite the contrary. 'The more games we have, the better the results we can get', said Chalmers this week. 'We want to try and get as many points on the board and win the league as soon as possible'.But Chalmers and the Shots are focused right now solely on Altrincham... 'It’s pretty much a new team since I was at Altrincham, but I still speak regularly to the few that are left', said Chalmers. 'They will be fighting for their lives as they’ve played a few more games than other teams down there. But it’s just as massive for us. We want to try and make that gap at the top even bigger... Losing on Saturday [in the Trophy semi] was one of the worst feelings I’ve had. I don’t want to feel like that again. It was a kick in the teeth and for all of us possibly a once in a lifetime opportunity, to play at Wembley, gone'".

    Chalmers, Nikki Bull, Ben Harding and Anthony Charles were all rested in midweek whilst "Two players now back in full training are Ryan Scott and Ryan Williams, who have both recovered from serious injury... Waddock does have Anthony Charles available after suspension against Altrincham and he may well come in for Dave Winfield, with Rob Gier possibly replacing Dean Smith at right back. In midfield, Waddock looks set to have to choose two from Scott Davies, Kirk Hudson and Joel Grant, assuming both Chalmers and Ben Harding start".


    From the Mid-Sussex Times we learn that "Club bosses have remained tight-lipped about the identity of the new owners of Crawley Town... But the Observer understands the buyers are the same unnamed group who were linked with the Reds at Christmas. Speaking on Wednesday morning, manager Steve Evans again insisted he had 'never worked with' the potential owners but said the consortium were 'demanding' he stayed in charge. Yet despite Evans' protestations, website pundits are naming Boston money-men Jon Sotnick and Michael Chinn as the most likely investors in the club. The Reds' manager worked with Staffordshire businessman Sotnick at The Pilgrims. And Evans was also employed by Sotnick's recruitment company while he served a 20-month football ban in 2003. Reds' manager Evans was later brought back to Boston by Sotnick in 2004 after the businessman took the club over via a holding company – Lavaflow Ltd. Sotnick himself left Boston in 2006 and became chief executive at Darlington. He left the Quakers over Christmas – the same time as Crawley town bosses first announced the club was to be sold.

    But fans' Crawley and Boston football forums have pointed to Evans's new three-year contract as a clue to the involvement of another Boston backer, Michael Chinn. Chinn, a marketing director at Staffsmart Ltd, was personally praised by Evans, after the company paid a five-figure sum for Town's pre-season training camp in August 2007. Chairman Vic Marley refused to comment on the possibility that Staffordshire businessmen were involved with the consortium".

    "Northwich Victoria manager Dino Maamria believes he can still lead his side to a great escape in the Blue Square Premier" according to the BBC. "Northwich had taken just one point from their first nine games prior to the departure of Neil Redfearn as boss... Faced with the threat of administration, Northwich finally secured their first league win at the end of November. But with Maamria's appointment made permanent, and new owners in place at the Marston Arena, things have since looked up... 'There's every chance. We are third in the form league and if we can maintain that until the end of the season I am still confident we can stay up, no question' he told BBC Sport. 'This season altogether we have used over 40 players but if you look at the team against Weymouth in our last match there were only two players who have been here all season. That's a massive change... We are where we are and we have to deal with it. We have some teams looking over their shoulders and the opposition is a lot more worried when they play us than they were a few months ago'... Northwich have lost just one of their last eight games... This is a big week for us and if we get seven points out of nine I would have taken that'. After Farsley, the Vics then face three successive away games and three of their last four matches are against sides likely to be in the play-off frame. But they are at least within catchable distance of four other clubs now that Halifax Town are facing a 10-point deduction to join Weymouth, Farsley and Altrincham in the mix. Ironically, the signing of striker Darryn Stamp from Halifax has given Northwich an extra edge up front in his partnership with fellow former Chester striker Lee Steele, who has hit a hot streak of seven goals in five games over the last month".

    Alty have connections with Rotherham United thorugh former player Nicky Daws, who is on the coaching staff, and current midfielder, Liam King, who is on loan from The Millers. Bullsnews tells us that "Rotherham have seen youth coach Mick Priest, groundsman Bill Corby, and Customer Service manager Carol Rockett leave the club. Priest left for 'personal reasons' while the other two are being made redundant by Administators. Corby is a three time Groundsman of the Year at the Football League awards. The Administrator has revealed that the club has a £1.1million playing budget set on 4,500 average gates. Their average is currently 4,287".

    Bullsnews reports that "Viewing figures suggest that 150,000 people watched the Torquay-Aldershot match on Setanta recently"

    Histon report that "keeper Danny Naisbitt has just signed a year long extension to his contract".

    Halifax Town reports on their Administrators meeting with supporters at which the "Administrators explained that the (post CVA) total owed to creditors of Halifax Town FC is approximately £1,100,000. This consists of: HM Revenue & Customs - £250,000, General Traders - £50,000, Loans - £800,000". It was also noted that an "Advertisement offering the Club for sale is to appear in the Financial Times newspaper on Tuesday 25th March, with expressions of interest to be submitted (up to 2 weeks later). Offers to be submitted (1 week later). Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA) to be published (1 week later). Meeting to approve CVA (2 weeks later). The whole process will take around 6 to 7 weeks if everything goes smoothly... Subject to approval, it is likely that a new Company will be formed by whoever purchases the Club... There are no footballing creditors, which reduces the likelihood of problems with HM Revenue & Customs or the Football Association. There is no reason to assume the Football Conference will administer penalties other than the standard ten point deduction. The cost of running the Club while in administration, and the Administrator's costs have been underwritten by the consortium interested in purchasing the Club. This means there is no need to terminate the employment of any staff, although new contracts cannot be signed until the process is complete.The two supporters organisations represented at the meeting wish to place on record that they share the confidence of the Administrators that the Football Club will emerge at the end of this process in a financially healthy state & in a position to view the future in a positive light". The views of the creditors are not known.

    "Crawley Town director Phil Jarman has spoken out about the takeover of Crawley Town" says the Crawley Observer. "The local hairdresser joined the board of directors at the start of the season and says there are a number of businessmen who will be investing in the club saying it is set for exciting times. He remained tightlipped on who the new investors are but assured fans that the winding up order will definitely be paid".

    "We have been trying to bring in a striker to help for the last 10 matches" Burton boss Nigel Clough told BBC Radio Derby. "We only have the three recognised strikers in Shaun Harrad, Jake Edwards and Daryl Clare and I wouldn't say any of them are in sparkling form at the moment so a fresh face just might help". The transfer deadline is Thursday March 27.

    The Cambridge Evening News says that "Jimmy Quinn is considering putting his faith in youth for Cambridge United's home clash with Weymouth on Saturday. Quinn was delighted with the displays of second-half substitutes Jordan Collins, Robbie Willmott and Jack Jeffery in Tuesday's 2-1 reverse at Crawley. He believed the teenage trio all made a big difference following their arrivals, despite being unable to stop United from slumping to a defeat... 'On Tuesday's performance, certainly, without a shadow of a doubt, I'd have no qualms about putting any of them in', said Quinn. 'Without mentioning any names, some of the senior players put in performances that weren't good enough for me or the club. I certainly haven't got any favourites, and they got a good roasting after the game. They've got to deal with it and that's what character is all about and they've got to show that and bounce back on Saturday. Weymouth aren't playing badly and they're fighting for their lives, so that's not going to be an easy one at all'. United are offering season tickets for 2008-09 at the same price as this year between now and April 25. The club expects to increase their season ticket and admission fees next season for the first time in four years due to the rising cost of staging matches. But as a gesture to supporters, they are giving them a chance to buy their season tickets at the current rate".

    The Gravesend Reporter reports that "Brian Kilcullen insists that the success story Ebbsfleet United have enjoyed both on and off the pitch this season will bolster their plans for a new stadium. Last weekend's FA Trophy semi-final victory over Aldershot completed their spectacular progression to May's Wembley showpiece... 'When people recognise how much potential we've got - as our visit to Wembley will show - that can only help in terms of getting support from the public sector and working with people commercially', he said. 'I've got a meeting with the quantities surveyor to go through the first estimate of what the [new] stadium might cost so, from that point of view, it's progressing', he continued. 'There's one particular site we prefer that we're working out the costings for, but there's no guarantee that we'll get that, so we'll have to wait and see. It's a good location for the fans, it's in the borough... It's a bit of a dream for anyone to have their club go to Wembley and, especially at our level of football, it's not something that comes along very often. We're all on a bit of a high still'".

    "Exeter City's finance director Steve Williams has reassured concerned fans after bombshell new figures blew apart the notion the club is debt-free" states This is Exeter. "Williams has been conducting an in-depth review of the St James's Park accounts since his appointment 15 months ago. And the bottom line, which is sure to come as a shock to City fans, is that the club is operating with a deficit of £300,000. The general understanding had been that City's estimated £1m debt had been wiped out by the profits from two lucrative FA Cup ties with Manchester United back in January 2005. Dave Treharne, then chairman at St James's Park, declared in September 2005: 'We're a club with no debts but we're also going to be a club, as far as we can see, with no money'. Williams believes certain comments made at the time unwittingly misled fans. He said: 'Unfortunately, the messages that got into the press about finances over the years have stressed the commercial and financial successes that have been achieved and they have not shown the full picture'".

    The Kiddemrinster Shuttle says that the "Harriers' ability to bring in new players next season will be severely restricted because of falling attendances in the Blue Square Premier, according to chairman Barry Norgrove. Manager Mark Yates's playing budget is set to be slashed after the club's average crowd at Aggborough had fallen to its lowest in nearly a decade. Harriers had originally budgeted for an average of 2,000 fans at home games in the league but after a bright start the number of supporters coming through the gates has plummeted to 1,556. Yates was given a sizeable amount of money to build on the momentum generated by the run to the FA Carlsberg Trophy Final last May and stage a bid for the promotion play-offs. However, as the team has struggled for consistency the fans have ebbed away and left the club with a financial black hole. 'Last season we budgeted to get average crowds of 2,000 but we've only had that once at the start of the season', said the chairman. 'We really went for it in the summer and gave the manager a big budget for players. It was probably the biggest we have had since Jan Molby was at the club. But the crowds are getting smaller and unless they improve drastically near the end of the season, or the board puts more money into the club, then the manager will have less money to spend next summer'".

    In response the "Harriers have reduced ticket prices for the home clash against Ebbsfleet United, on Tuesday April 1... There will be a reduction of £3 to all admission prices, while fans aged under-16 will be admitted into the North Terrace for just £1, which is a reduction of £4. The junior reduction will remain in place for the home games against Altrincham, Histon and Burton Albion".

    This is South Devon reports that "Gulls' boss Paul Buckle has warned the whole of his squad that they will be needed as the campaign reaches its climax. Torquay United face two games in three days over Easter - Stafford Rangers away on Saturday and Forest Green Rovers at home on Monday. And there are at least two games a week from then until the end of the season [including Alty next Saturday]. 'The team will change, there's no doubt about that', said Buckle. 'The whole squad will be used. They all know that... A lot of teams may be telling themselves that it's March and it's been a long season, but it's a short step from there to feeling tired', he said. 'The way I look at it, we're in one cup final and near the top of the league'".

    "Chris Ingram will reduce his input in to Woking FC by £50,000 next season but crucially the players’ budget will remain the same" according to the Woking News and Mail. "And the Cards’ owner is considering a plan to introduce a share scheme in the football club (Woking FC Ltd) in a similar way to the share scheme already in place in the holdings company (Woking FC Holdings Ltd), of which Ingram has the majority. Still chairman of the holdings company, Ingram announced the news at the annual meeting of Woking FC (Holdings) Ltd — having agreed to fund the club for at least another season pending the redevelopment of Kingfield. Although the financial input from Ingram will be less, in line with the reductions he has made over the past two or three years, it is understood the playing budget will not be affected".

    20 March 2008


  • Grays A. 3 Droylsden 1


    Altrincham FC chairman rang the website last night to send his best wishes to Altrincham FC steward and long-time supporter, Gary Wright, known to all at Moss Lane as "The Skipper". But, sadly, the news about Gary is not good. After a fall at home, he is reported to have had an emergency operation on Monday to release the pressure off his brain but this has left him in a critical condition. Everyone who knows The Skipper will wish him a full and speedy recovery despite this latest disappointing development..


    Gavin Rathbone, Alty's official photographer, informs the website that "Altrincham FC Under-12 Girls team are doing a sponsored bag pack at Sainsbury's in Sale on Good Friday. The team will be there between 10am-12pm raising money for the junior department. There is space for other teams to get involved up to 6pm". Please say "hello" to them if you are visiting Sainsbury's! There is space for other Altrincham FC junior teams to be involved and if they are interested they should contact Rick on 07903 458692


    This week Rossendale United beat Bamber Bridge, 4-2 and Mario Daniel scored one of the goals. In the Manchester Premier Cup Radcliffe Borough defeated FC United of Manchester but Chris Baguley netted FC's goal.

    Bullsnews reports that "Former Bulls loanee Matt Bailey has joined Weymouth on loan from Crewe. The giant now-defender started for Crewe for the first time in his three years at the club in their loss to Oldham in the FA Cup but his contract is up at the end of the season and the 22 year old is expected to be released. He played six games as a striker for the Bulls in the 2005/06 season, scoring once". Matt also had a spell on loan at Alty in 2004-05.


    Once again there are interesting developments at Crawley where, on the same day, we read of the manager's new 3-year contract, a winding-up order, and mysterious new owners for the club...

    Crawley Town FC "is delighted to announce Steve Evans has signed an extension to his contract through to July, 2011. Chairman Victor Marley announced the news...and praised Evans for his outstanding contribution to the club since his appointment in May 2007. Marley said: 'Steve Evans has done a sterling job and it would be fair to say he has helped us make big progress this season. He has streamlined budgets, moved out players who were not cost effective for Crawley Town Football Club, and he has put together a very young squad, who with this season's experience behind them, will prove to be exciting next term. With our manager signing this contract, we have some much needed continuity, and on behalf of everyone at the club we wish Steve every success'. Speaking exclusively to, Evans added: 'Obviously I am delighted that both the correct[??] board of directors and our new prospective owners made it clear they wanted me to commit longer than next season. Next season I have made it clear that I want us to challenge for a play-off place. This year has been a huge learning curve for everyone, and if we can learn from that, it can only be to our advantage... I have a huge job ahead of me, but those that know me will be aware, I have a burning desire to make our objectives both short and long term happen'".

    Meanwhile The Argus reports that "Crawley manager Steve Evans has dismissed fears surrounding a winding up order served on the club and insists any unpaid debts will soon be settled. Reds are due in the High Court on May 14 after being issued with a winding up notice from Revenue and Customs... Evans said 'I do not think it will go to the High Court, the cheque is raised and ready to go... I was told about it last Thursday and was informed the funds were being moved across to pay it so I have not given it a second thought... I've got no issues of concern myself'. Crawley beat Cambrige United 2-1 at Broadfield Stadium on Tuesday... Evans said: 'We were a joy to watch at times and our commitment and tempo was outstanding'".

    And The BBC tells us that "The sale of Crawley Town has been signed but no details are being released about the new owners. The new consortium has completed the majority of its due diligence and the formalities should be completed by the end of the current season. Chairman Vic Marley told BBC Southern Counties Radio: 'The new owners want to make a big impact when its all sorted... You don't want any announcement that will give you bad luck'. Marley did confirm that the completion of the sale will see the departure of the Majeed family as owners... Marley added: 'Its a diverse group, a little bit of local and a little bit of not... The plan is to take us forward into the Football League. There will be some investment, yes. But only on a prudent basis. You only have to look around you and see the problems at Rotherham and Halifax'. Marley has also assured fans that a new winding up petition against the club will be paid before the hearing takes place. 'It's all in hand', he said. 'You don't pay a bill you don't think is right. Our accounts department have been in talks with HMRC and we are now putting the funds in place to pay it. I'm aware fans have had enough of the financial instability. We are all looking forward to putting all those frustrations behind, and taking the club on'".

    Yet more from Crawley Town, where "The board of Crawley Town Football Club has released a statement with regards to a takeover for the club which has been agreed..."The club are delighted to announce that sale particulars have been agreed and heads of terms have been signed... and it is expected the formalities will be completed prior to the end of the football season. It is expected the new owners will be presented to the Crawley Town fans as soon as the contracts for the sale have been exchanged. Chairman Victor Marley commented: “The new owners have obviously identified the massive potential our Football Club has. I look forward to working with and for them and it hopefully will now give us the platform to make a challenge for promotion to the Football League".

    A winding up petition has been served by HMRC on the club, which is due to be heard in court on May 14th. Marley was keen to re-assure Crawley Town fans the matter was in hand. He added: 'I can confirm that we have received the documentation involved. The due sum was not paid because of a discrepancy in the numbers but we have now been satisfied they are indeed correct. Monies have now been allocated to pay the outstanding amount and those due sums will be with HMRC in due course. This season more than any other we have ensured we have operated a tight ship, and when our accounts team believe there is a discrepancy in the numbers, they are right to raise this as an issue, but as far as we are concerned this matter is now resolved'".

    The Aldershot News & Mail From the Burton Mail "Two goals in three second-half minutes saw Burton Albion's long drawn out Setanta Shield run come to a miserable end last night as they went down 3-1 at Halifax Town. The Brewers were second best throughout... Manager Nigel Clough may spend his 42nd birthday today considering the dreadful performances of all of his defenders, particularly full-backs Tony James and Paul Hurst... Clough, who played in the previous round at Droylsden, was not in the 16 and Aaron Webster played in an unfamiliar central midfield position. The home side named just four of the players that started against Forest Green on Saturday as they made their intentions clear with a 10-point deduction looming for going into administration".

    According toThe Cambridge Evening News "Jimmy Quinn has admitted Cambridge United's 2-1 defeat at Crawley last night could have been the final nail in the coffin of their title hopes... He said: 'I'm not one for conceding anything, so I'm not ruling it out yet, but it's going to be very difficult to pip them for the league now. If we play like we did last night, it's whether or not we make it into the play-offs, because we've got to show a bit of character now. We got beaten up by a team of kids and I've played the game long enough to know that shouldn't happen. I've seen people jumping out of tackles and being half-hearted and we got too involved in trying to get free kicks off the referee rather than be stronger on the ball. That was disappointing for me... We were too happy to turn around and see if the referee would protect us, and it wasn't happening. The attitude was wrong. It's all about coming to places like Crawley and grinding out results and being resilient, but they were more aggressive than us all over the park. I was disappointed with some of the older players. I don't suffer fools and that performance isn't good enough. If I wasn't giving them all the relevant information on Crawley, I'd hold my hands up, but they had it all and I'm just wondering how good we are at taking things on board... Our clearances, distribution and headers were all wrong'".

    "Paul Tisdale has turned to technology in a bid to give Exeter City's play-off dream a timely boost" claims This is Exeter. "The City boss puts together weekly TV sessions with the entire squad at St James's Park to try to improve players' performances. Tisdale picks a theme such as defending and attacking set-pieces, movement in the box or team shape.He then uses a series of clips from City games and general footage to reinforce the way he wants his team to play. Tisdale also uses the DVD clips to demonstrate good and bad things players have done in games to ensure they learn lessons".

    This is Glos reports that "Barring a miracle, Forest Green can kiss any lingering play-off hopes goodbye after this damaging defeat.York's killer second goal by Mark Robinson came five minutes before half-time and stemmed from a gaffe by his namesake Ryan in the Forest Green goal, who will be sweating on his place again for the Good Friday clash with Woking".

    "Creditors are owed over £100,000 by Halifax Town Football Club which is now facing another long-term deal to pay off debts" states The Halifax Courier. "All options to save the Shaymen are being considered by administrators who are now running the club. It is likely another creditors' voluntary arrangement will be sought in which an offer will be made to pay off a percentage of debts. The club has been struggling to pay a CVA imposed in 2002 because of earlier financial problems. It is costing the club around £4,000 a month. That is likely to be scrapped and become part of the new CVA, says Peter Sargent, of administrators Begbies Traynor. A consortium hoping to take over the club has been grappling with its with financial woes, and the club was again thrown into turmoil when ex- chairman Ray Moreland petitioned for the club to be wound up over an £8,000 debt. 'That was the straw that broke the camel's back', said Mr Sargent. 'Other creditors could have joined in and that could have tipped the club over the edge'. Going into administration has given the club legal fence protection from creditors. It was facing liquidation and would not have been able to fulfil its fixtures. 'The club will continue to trade and as far as I am aware there is no intention to sell players',said Mr Sargent, who said debts ran into six figures. The club will be advertised for sale next Tuesday... Mr Sargent said creditors' support was crucial and any new CVA proposal would have to be better than the present deal" for a meeting."

    "Harriers have demanded a face-to-face meeting with officials from Wembley and the FA to finally resolve the wrangle which has prevented them from receiving the money from last May's FA Trophy Final" claims the Kidderminster Shuttle. "The club has joined forces with Trophy winners Stevenage Borough after Harriers chairman Barry Norgrove had a meeting with opposite number Phil Wallace... Both feel that the amount which Wembley wants the clubs to pay for the final's hospitality expenses is excessive. Until the disagreement is settled the 10-month wait for their slice of cash from the finals' tickets sales, which was watched by a 53,000 strong crowd, will go on".

    IC Cheshire says that Northwich "Vics threw away a two goal lead against their relegation rivals, at the Marston’s Arena on Tuesday... It was Weymouth who climbed out of the bottom four... Lee Steele and Darryn Stamp put Vics into a two goal lead. The partnership forged by Northwich’s two most experienced players may yet save them".

    From the other side, This is Weymouth "Weymouth boss John Hollins reckons last night's incredible comeback at Northwich Victoria proves his men possess the character to achieve Blue Square Premier survival... Hollins said: 'It was pretty dull stuff before a mistake by us saw two of our defenders go for the same ball allowing one of their guys to go through and open the scoring. They then got a second so I made a couple of changes and went three up front, and once we scored one we could have gone on to win it although they had a couple more chances as well. I think that is a really vital point and I think it is where we are going to start. It has taken us above Altrincham and we need to continue showing that same fight and character'.. Hollins's plans were soon in tatters when Paolo Vernazza was forced to withdraw after 20 minutes and replaced by Nick Crittenden, who also had to come off midway through the second half... Hollins also hinted that he could be close to bringing in another new face".

    This is South Devon says that "Wembley opponents Ebbsfleet United may take a controversial step against Torquay United in the FA Carlsberg Trophy Final - and let their manager pick the team! It had been expected that the near-30,000 internet website members of MyFootballClub, which bought Ebbsfleet in January, would be selecting the side by the Trophy Final on Saturday, May 10. That was one of the historic new 'perks' on offer for MyFC shareholders. Since MyFC bought a 75 per cent stake in Ebbsfleet in January, the Kent club has been in an 'acclimatisation period' in which major decisions have continued to be made by the staff and manager Liam Daish. That period is due to run out at the end of this month, when team selection will pass to an online vote. But now website creator Will Brooks has cast doubt on whether that process will be used ahead of the biggest game in the Fleet's history... 'I do not want to say Yes or No at the moment. MyFC will be issuing a statement about it in the near future'" said Brooks. "Another key question is how many of Fleet's internet 'owners' will vote with their feet on May 10 and actually buy tickets for the Trophy Final? Ebbsfleet's average league gates have stubbornly hovered around the 1,000 mark, yet 30 times that many have bought into the club."

    "Grays Athletic goalkeeper, Danny Knowles, has been released on loan to Fisher Athletic until the end of the season. Joining Grays Athletic on non contract is ex Arlesey Town goalkeeper Jake Whincup".

    19 March 2008


    Richard Holland, manager of the Altrincham FC Tigers under-9s team is organizing the inaugural Altrincham FC Juniors Football festival at Altrincham's Moss Lane ground on 3rd and 4th May 2008. This festival is open to the following age groups (based on 2007/08 age groups):
  • Mixed U7 and U8s
  • Boys U9, U10, U11 and U12s
  • Girls U13 and U15s

    For more details, see the flyer. To enter one or more teams, please complete and return the entry form. For more information, please send an e-mail.


    Of relevance to Alty's on-loan midfielder Liam King is news from the BBC that "Rotherham United have entered administration for the second time in 18 months. BBC Radio Sheffield understands the club have been denied another extension to their notice of intent to go into administration by the courts... It means the Millers will be hit with a 10-point penalty, moving them from seventh to 11th, six points off the play-offs with just eight games to go".


    "Footballers are starring in an advert to improve people's prospects and inspire them to learn. Witton Albion players have made the advert with the Zone in Northwich, Vale Royal Borough Council's learning centre, as part of a campaign to reach people who left school without realising their potential. Mark Peers, winger for Witton Albion, said: 'It's important to have a good education because I won't always be playing football and will need something to fall back on. I'm currently studying sports therapy part time at college and want to go into that when I finish playing football. Updating skills and qualifications is very important - I encourage people to go to the council's learning centres and find out about available courses'. The advert, set to be broadcast in local pubs during transmission of Witton Albion's matches, features striker Rod Thornley, midfield players Steve Brodie, Dave MacPherson and Rob Lloyd, defender Cavell Coo and coach Nigel Deeley. It was inspired by footballer Wayne Rooney who did not see the need to take any GCSEs as a teenage prodigy at Everton but hopes to pass GCSEs in English and maths this summer. A variety of new courses will start after Easter and the Zone, based at Northwich railway station, offers a range of free training opportunities and support in improving skills and updating qualifications" reports the Northwich Guardian.


    Crawley Town confirm that "Loan players Ollie Allen and Josh Dutton-Black have both returned to their respective clubs. Allen (Stevenage Borough) and Dutton-Black (Southampton) joined together in one month loan deals which expired following the match with Northwich Victoria this past Saturday... Manager Steve Evans commented: 'We felt Josh and Ollie gave us an extra dimension and they were good additions to the squad. We were under instruction from both clubs that the lads had to go back and become a part of their plans for the remainder of the season. On the other side of the coin I have to make sure we give our current players significant opportunity to earn new contracts for next season. There are already players on my list who I wish to keep but the likes of James Krause and Pierre Joseph-Dubois for example are currently still on the fence in my mind'".

    Forest Green Rovers have a new official website. "The new look, 200 page site is set to rival that of any clubs’ in the Barclays Premiership. [It] has been developed by Bristol-based firm Publicity Matters to amply reflect the first-rate facilities available at the Blue Square Premier club’s £3million home stadium. The site contains facts, figures and information on Rovers’ First and Reserve sides, as well as one of the most comprehensive ‘club history’ sections of any team in the English football pyramid. The website also features online ticketing capabilities for home matches and events – a first for the non-league club. ... Forest Green Rovers F.C.’s Chairman, Colin Gardner MBE, is excited by the developments: 'I am delighted with the new website, and I hope our fans will enjoy what the team have created'".

    On the field, FGR report that "Yeovil Town and Forest Green Rovers have... concluded the paperwork to extend the loan of Ishmael Welsh at the New Lawn until the end of the season. Pacy winger ‘Ish' joined Rovers on an initial one month loan on 15 February".

    At Grays Athletic "Chairman Mick Woodward has confirmed that we will be staying at The Recreation Ground next season and that planning permission for the new ground will be being submitted soon, an open meeting will be scheduled so all plans can be seen, the date of this meeting will be publicised on the website once it has been finalised".

    "Joel Ledgister has extended his loan at Hayes and Yeading until the end of the season" report Oxford United. "The former Southend youngster joined the U's in the summer and has made nine starts, but is currently on the transfer list".

    "The loan of Tommy Smith has been extended until the end of the season including the Play Off Final" states the website of Stevenage Borough.

    Before defeat at Crawley last night, the Cambridge Evening News reported that "Jimmy Quinn will have to think again about what tactics Cambridge United employ at Crawley to deal with the gaps in his forward line left by Lee McEvilly and Magno Vieira. McEvilly is nursing a broken ankle and ligament damage after he landed badly in Saturday's 1-0 win over Woking, while Brazilian forward Vieira will not be allowed to face parent club the Red Devils as part of the loan agreement between the two sides. So Quinn... is now left with only two senior front men in Lee Boylan and Mark Beesley... He will resist the temptation to bring Leo Fortune-West back from his loan spell at York City. The boss said: 'We'll have to change our gameplan a little, but that's because there's no point knocking the ball high to smaller strikers, but that shouldn't be a problem. We've got Mark Beesley and Lee Boylan, who are more than capable of causing teams problems. Then we've got the young lads Jack Jeffery and Robbie Willmott, who I wouldn't have a problem throwing in'".

    Meanwhile, The Argus says that "Crawley striker Magno Vieira is hoping to earn a contract with tomorrow's (Tues) opponents. Vieira is on loan until the end of the season at Cambridge United... The Brazilian, who is unable to play due to the terms of his temporary deal... was allowed to leave Crawley two weeks ago after struggling to hold down a starting place. The 23-year-old started just 18 games and scored 12 goals, including two consecutive hat-tricks, following a summer move from Barnet. Reds' boss Steve Evans has not ruled out keeping Vieira next season but the frontman sees his future elsewhere. He said: 'I want to score goals at Cambridge and, hopefully, I can secure myself another contract. I'm looking forward to playing for a team that has such good support, like Cambridge'. Reds turned down an approach from Cambridge for Vieira earlier this season but opted to let the former Wigan striker go after going out of the FA Trophy and Setanta Shield. Vieira said: 'I found out Cambridge were interested in me but Crawley would not allow me to go at the time because we were in the cups and everything, which I can understand. But I couldn't turn United down again. The chance to be involved in the play-offs and get promotion back into the league is a big plus'".

    According to the Oxford Mail "Yemi Odubade may have played his last game for Oxford United. Last year's supporters' player-of-the-year was left out of the 16-man squad that won 1-0 at Stafford Rangers on Saturday after being transfer-listed by boss Darren Patterson. And Patterson says it would be better for all concerned if Odubade found another club - not least because, as one of United's highest wage-earners, he could probably get two players in to replace the former Eastbourne Borough striker. But if the 23-year-old, who signed a new two-year contract with Oxford last summer, isn't snapped up, maybe it will give him a 'kick up the backside' to get back into the team, says the boss... Patterson said: 'The confidence has gone with Yemi, but I'm a big believer that you make your own confidence. You can say your confidence is low, but that's a cop-out. I've got a good relationship with the boy, and I think the best thing for him and us is that we go our separate ways. Financially as well, I think people should know he's drawing a massive amount of my budget [rumoured to be four figures a week], and obviously he's here next year. I need to look at it every way. If he goes, I might be able to get some more bodies in from now until the end of the season to hopefully improve us. I need to get people in and, in all fairness, I've got to look at the bigger earners here'". And "Oxford United boss Darren Patterson has allowed Ben Weedon and Matt Taylor to join Cirencester Town on work experience. The teenage pair have recently completed similar short-term deals at Abingdon United and both featured in Saturday's 3-0 home defeat to Marlow" according to the BBC.

    This is Weymouth quotes Terras' manager John Hollins "''We can take a lot of positives out of Sunday but we have got to start taking points. I am not interested in sympathy. According to Burton's manager Nigel Clough, we battered them but that does not do me any good. Instead it has to make us double our efforts and make sure we start getting results. We have got to get three points tonight against Northwich and we will'". They drew 2-2. "Beating the Vics will be no easy task as they are on a fine run of form having picked up three wins and a draw in their last four games. During that spell they have also netted 11 goals with experienced forward Lee Steele grabbing six of them.... Hollins added: 'We cannot worry about anybody else. All that matters is that we come home with the three points'... Magnus Okuonghae is injured and Marcus Browning is a major doubt while Nick Crittenden could return after missing the Burton game through illness.... 'Football is not an easy game but I believe we are now made of the right stuff to get out of the situation we are in'" said the manager.

    18 March 2008


    Tuesday 18th
  • Crawley T. 2 Cambridge U. 1
  • Forest Green R. 1 York C. 2
  • Histon 3 Ebbsfleet U. 2
  • Northwich V. 2 Weymouth 2
    Setanta Shield 6R
  • Halfax T. 3 Burton A. 1
    Setanta Shield SF
  • Aldershot T. 2 Woking 2, Aldershot won 4-3 on penalties.


    The annual Altrincham FC v Altrincham FC Supporters game will be at Moss Lane on Friday 2nd May, at a time to be announced.


    A well-known figure on the terraces at Altrincham's home and away games is Alty steward Gary Wright, better known as "The Skipper". Sadly, Gary is reported be in hospital with a serious head injury, after having a fall at home over the weekend. All his friends at Moss Lane wish him a speedy recovery.


    Above: Stuart Coburn retrieves the ball for a goalkick on Saturday at Grays, where there are no ballboys/girls. Alty's fans look on from behind the goal.

    The next two referees to officiate at Altrincham matches are:

  • Saturday 22nd v Aldershot Town (A): Mr J D A Hopkins.

    Mr Hopkins reffed Alty's televised match at Stevenage on Monday, 26 November, 2007 when Borough won 2-1.

  • Monday 24th v Stafford Rangers (H) Mr D. Richardson

    Mr Richardson officiated at Altrincham 1 Aldershot Town 2 on 1 September, 2007; at the home defeat by Northwich last Boxing Day when Chris Senior was sent off and in the 2-2 draw at Moss Lane against Gravesend and Northfleet on 8 April 2006.

    The Aldershot News & Mail reports that "The likes of Bury and Grimsby may not have quite the footballing resonance of Wembley but, provided Aldershot Town can gain promotion to League Two and its plethora of northern outposts next season, then this failure to reach the home of football will quickly be forgiven, if hard to forget... There is no hiding from the fact that losing to Ebbsfleet over two legs was an opportunity missed; perhaps, even, a chance in a lifetime spurned. But, while the FA Trophy final in May would have been one of the greatest days out that the town — not just the club — had ever seen, it would have been a one-off event all the same; promotion to the Football League is of far greater importance for the long-term future of the club. So now, perversely, the job is to ensure the fans and players do not have to make a different trip to Wembley this season — for the play-off final. The Shots, ten points clear at the top of the Blue Square Premier, with a game in hand over Cambridge United, are in pole position to clinch the one automatic promotion".

    Manager Gary Waddock "'We can use this defeat to bounce back, as a motivational tool, so that we don’t feel like this come the end of the league campaign'. Some of the Aldershot players were close to tears at the final whistle but perhaps Louie Soares felt the worst, after a glaring miss in the 25th minute... Anyone who saw Soares miss as many as five chances from similar positions in the Hampshire Cup exit to Basingstoke last month should have known what was coming: a weak shot and a fairly comfortable save. When it comes to shooting, Soares’ confidence is shot. With Scott Davies ill, Waddock had surprisingly favoured Soares to Joel Grant and moved Kirk Hudson to wide left... Ebbsfleet made it hard for us', said Waddock. 'They know we can open up teams with the way we play, so they sat deeper and deeper and made it harder and harder for us to break them down. All credit to them'... Kirk Hudson’s pace was well contained by Ebbsfleet too and perhaps, with Soares picked ahead of Grant, the Shots would have been better served with Soares on the left and Hudson on the right, which had proved effective in the second half at Ebbsfleet the week before. And Hylton struggled against Ebbsfleet’s rugged and canny centre halves... Not that Ebbsfleet were content with all-out defence. They were always looking to break forward.. But Anthony Straker and Shots' substitutes Grant and Scott Donnelly played key roles too... Ebbsfleet celebrated in style, on and off the pitch. They were Gene Kelly, singing in the rain, while the Shots were the Everly Brothers, crying in the rain.".


    The BBC says that "Grays Athletic are to appeal against the Football Association's decision to make them pay £14,000 in unpaid wages to jailed ex-player Ashley Sestanovich. The club have confirmed they will lodge an appeal before the 1700 GMT deadline on Wednesday. The announcement follows a meeting between the club's chairman Mick Woodward and the FA at Soho Square. The club have also said that until the appeal ruling is made, all fixtures will be fulfilled as planned".

    From This is Exeter comes news that "Exeter City may be forced to play two games in 48 hours between now and the end of the season after their game with Droyslden was called off because of a waterlogged pitch.The Bloods have still got 13 league games to play and are struggling to agree a date with City bosses as to when Saturday's contest will be replayed. One possibility is to stage the game tomorrow night, but Droylsden are not keen because they travel to Grays Athletic on Thursday night. Other than that there are no other vacant Tuesday nights.. but it looks increasingly likely that the game will be played on a Thursday'... Club secretary Sally Cook said. 'They don't want to come down this week because they have got Grays on Thursday. So we are looking at it. There are not a lot of options because when we can play they can't. It might have to be a Thursday later in the season and we don't really want that. We couldn't agree on anything on Saturday so we will go back and think about it and come up with a couple of dates each and try and sort it out'. Saturday's match was postponed after a two o'clock pitch inspection concluded that the game should not go ahead for safety reasons... Head groundsman Clive Pring said, 'It was just one of those things - we tried as hard as we could, but the rain was coming down faster than we could clear the pitch. It started raining about nine in the morning and was constant all morning, although not particularly heavy. But a heavy downpour at about 1.30 finished it off. I walked the pitch with the referee about one o'clock and he was confident we would get it on but the rain just got heavier and heavier... This is the first one that has been cancelled since I have been here'". Droylsden now report that the game's new date is Thursday 3 April.

    "Jim Harvey feels Forest Green have pulled off a coup by persuading on-loan winger Ishmael Welsh to see out the season at the New Lawn" states This is Glos . "The Yeovil Town man was recalled to Harvey's starting line-up for Saturday's 2-0 victory over Halifax Town, having agreed to extend his initial one-month spell. 'Ishmael is very, very quick and talented, plus he can get in behind defenders and create opportunities', said Harvey... Rovers host York City tomorrow night before Woking make the trip to Nailsworth on Good Friday - a worryingly packed schedule for New Lawn groundsman Matt Rainey. Downpours prior to kick-off had left Saturday's game in some doubt, but Harvey feels the heavy surface could actually work in his side's favour over the coming days. 'The dampness took a lot of the bobbles out of the pitch and made the ball sit down, which made it easier for us to play', he said".

    "'We don't want your money – just your full support'. That was the message to fans today from Halifax Town general manager Angie Firth in the wake of the club being put into administration" reports the Halifax Courier... What Town needs right now, according to Mrs Firth, is the backing for the players to help move away from the Blue Square Premier drop zone, despite the impending 10-point deduction. 'We all want a successful Halifax Town and the team and club need a massive show of support', she said. 'The last two gates have been below 1,000 and while there have been a couple of disappointing results at home, the games against York and Torquay were really entertaining... We have six home games left and it would be great to have the 2,515 who attended the final home game of last season against Stevenage to turn up. The passion that day was fantastic and it would be great to have that show of support to the end of this season...It is tough. But I have always thought this was the best job in the world'.. The administration order was confirmed in a court hearing late on Friday which put administrators Begbies Traynor in charge. As a result, a winding up order brought by former Town chairman Ray Moreland will not take place. The 10 points deduction is expected to be confirmed before Town's home game with Oxford United on Saturday".

    According to NL Daily "Raymond Moreland, the former club chairman and director of Halifax Town and creditor petitioning for Halifax Town Association Football Club Limited to be wound up, has agreed to allow the club to enter into administration without waiting for notice. The High Court in Leeds therefore appointed Peter Sargent and Rob Sadler from business rescue, recovery and restructuring specialists Begbies Traynor, at 2.25pm on Friday, 14th March. The administrators will now be taking immediate steps to advertise the company for sale, although the Halifax Town Association Football Club consortium that applied for the administration order to protect the club has already made an expression of interest. As such, Begbies Traynor requests that any other interested parties should now makes themselves known to the administrators.

    Peter Sargent, partner of Begbies Traynor, said: “Mr Moreland was entitled to five days notice of the administration hearing. However, he has kindly allowed the club to move the process forward faster. Whilst the club is in administration, the consortium has guaranteed to cover these costs and the club’s running expenses. Without that commitment, Halifax Town FC would have gone out of business'. Begbies Traynor will be running the club on a day to day basis in the meantime and establishing whether there are any other parties interested in buying the club. Begbies Traynor will also arrange to meet with the supporters’ club and the Halifax Town Supporters Trust to explain the strategy for the club to the fans"

    The Oxford Mail reports that "Oxford United will launch an investigation into why their team bus arrived so late at Stafford. Despite leaving in plenty of time, at 11am from Oxford, it took more than three hours to get to the Marston Road ground. There was a small hold-up en route, but the coach also ended up going round and round the town of Stafford, with the driver struggling to find the ground. United arrived just before 2.15pm, just in time to hand the teamsheet in to the referee, but it added to the stress levels of all concerned. Said boss Darren Patterson: 'The lads were under pressure anyway and they weren't helped by our bus company taking us 20 times around the middle of Stafford. I don't know how that happened, but it was unprofessional so I'm not happy about it'. The coach driver said the directions he had been given from the club were not accurate. Phil Trainer, who was at the back of the bus, eventually came to the rescue, having played at the ground a number of times, although - according to his teammates - by then they had already done several tours of the town!". Getting lost in a coach is one problem that another club, Crawley Town, don't have since they took to travelling by private car to away matches.

    From This is Staffs we learn that "Rangers lurched a step closer to the Blue Square Premier relegation abyss after crashing to their 12th home league defeat. Just as in the last Marston Road match - Steve Bull's first officially in charge - the visitors, in this case Oxford, were rarely put to the test. The difference was in the size of the crowd. Just about half the number that turned out for the Farsley fanfare, saw Oxford win 1-0. The scoreline flattered Rangers, as manager Bull candidly admitted. Goalkeeper Danny Alcock kept the scoreline respectable to earn a deserved man-of-the-match award... Rangers' own marksmen, and there were four of them who had a go, had nothing to offer, by contrast. But then, their team-mates did not provide many opportunities. Marco Adaggio and Liam Hughes started, but by half-time Bully was calling on veteran Neil Grayson and Nathan Smith to spice things up. In fact, Rangers' best moments came from Sami Mawene and Richie Sutton.. 'We're just not good enough',said Bull. 'We can't play, can't pass and you just can't keep conceding early. Oxford were a poor side and we were poorer. The service to the strikers has been lacking for the last couple of weeks and I thought the two young lads (Marco Adaggio and Liam Hughes) would give us a bit of sprite up there. It never happened. In fact, if it wasn't for Danny (Alcock) in goal, it could have been four or five. I feel sorry for the supporters here at the moment, that we can't give them something to cheer about, but it'll come. I'm giving the players a chance to say they can play for this club. I haven't seen much yet. In the meantime, we're going to have a re-think and another reshuffle'".

    The Dorset Echo says that "Weymouth boss John Hollins has declared that his side must become 'more positive' in front of goal if they are to stand any chance of beating the drop. Hollins said: 'I am absolutely gutted because we could and should have been 3-0 up at half-time if it had not been for a sloppy penalty from Franklin and a bad miss from Anton. Anton really should have taken more responsibility and gone past the keeper and stuck it in when he was put clean through. He said he heard a shout and that is why he tried to square it but in those types of situations you cannot listen for things like that because the call could have been made by anybody. We ended up going in one up and after the break we still created chances with Anton going through again and James Coutts having a couple at the far post. Coutts also put over a great ball for Michael Malcolm when we were 2-1 down but somehow he missed the opportunity. In our last three games we have created a lot of chances and you can see things are starting to change and improve but we have got to be more positive when those opportunities come along. We are now looking like a side that is capable of scoring goals but we have got to start getting two or three in a game rather than just one. It was a definite foul on Scott Doe for their second goal. Their guy was pulling him down but the referee did not give it'... Instead of travelling back the fourth-bottom Terras are staying up north in a hotel to prepare for tomorrow's crucial clash Northwich Victoria, who lie just six points below them".

    "With the council planning meeting scheduled for Thursday 20th March, Farsley Celtic chairman Andy Firbank has appealed for a final time for the online petition to be signed. 'We shall be forwarding the petition to council members in time for next week's hearing' Firbank commented. 'I would like to take the oppurtunity of thanking all of you who signed - I shall be making a further announcement through the usual channels after the hearing'".

    Stevenage Borough "chairman, Phil Wallace, returned from two months working in the USA to watch his first game of 2008 and told Webnews: 'It was an entertaining game... but a bit weird seeing seven players for the first time in March and I can see how difficult it's been for the fans to get through the past three months. Supporting a club goes hand in hand with a sense of ownership of the decisions and familiarity with the players and it's hard when things are taken out of your hands and you have to start all over again. But nobody should underestimate what we've had to put up with in the past three months. However, watching the team perform on Thursday night I really felt we're on our way and will get better and better each game... Promotion will be won by the in form team in the play offs - not the in form team in February. Whilst I was in the States, Borough was a daily part of my life as I talked to Peter daily and concluded each of the player transactions we've made. It seemed like as soon as we thought we'd settled it down something else would come up so I can't wait for the transfer deadline on 27th March. Looking at our squad now I think Peter has made some good additions in the past month - some for now, some for the future - and we want to add a few more to strengthen before the deadline. A strong, hustling, bustling striker is top of our list, as it's now been confirmed that Tes Bramble needs another operation and will definately not play again this season. I wouldn't be surprised to see our midfield and full back positions strengthened by Peter either. To be in third position after the events we've been through is remarkable. Apart from the problems with our players being approached by League clubs, we've had some long-term injuries the like of which I've not seen for years. We signed Mark Molesley and Tes Bramble, for example, expecting them to play a big part in our season and they've started just 9 games between them... I'm looking forward to the run in with great excitement and a lot of confidence. As I've said before - the book's been written, everything happens for a reason and we just have to wait for the story to unfold. But we won't rest up, we won't be complacent and we won't stop believing in our team and the players'".

    17 March 2008


    For Easter Monday's match at home to Stafford Rangers, all under-14s will be admitted free if they bring along a "proper" Easter egg (i.e. not a small "Cadbury's creme egg" or similar) for donation to the Salvation Army's "Families in Crisis" programme. The Salvation Army will then distribute the donated eggs to needy children.


    Saturday, 3rd May 2008: - The End of Season Ball will be held at the Cresta Court from 7.30pm and will feature a champagne reception, four-course dinner and dancing to the resident DJ's music. All of the Altrincham FC squad and amangement are expected to be in attendance. Tickets and further details are available from Karen Rowley at the club (tel. 928-1045 or by e-mail).


    Altrincham FC's Football in the Community programme is running an Easter Fun Week - a five-day football course from Monday 31 March to Friday 4th April. The course, at Moss Lane, is open to all playing abilities between the ages of 5 and 12 (school years 1 to 7).

    The course runs from 10am to 3.15pm (registration is from 9.30am daily) and the cost for the full week is just £55, with a discount applying for any brothers and sisters who register.

    The week's activities will include

  • Skill awards for each age group, to be made at 3pm each day.
  • Meeting the manager of Altrincham FC, Graham Heathcote.
  • A group photo for each player.
  • A presentation of awards on Friday to each player, (parents are welcome).
  • A Scheme run by experienced Altrincham FC Community Coaching Team.

    For an application form or further details, please contact Chris Bullock, either on (0161) 962 2369 or by e-mail. Alternatively you can e-mail Altrincham FC.


    If you want to live in the luxury accommodation now being built on the former Altrincham FC car park, look at the Arley Homes website. The development is called "The Court Yard, Hale" and is described as "A select gated development of twelve townhouses and two apartments, within walking distance of Hale Village. The development is set out in a courtyard arrangement, a layout which ensures that residents will enjoy peace, quiet and privacy in discreet surroundings that are entirely in keeping with the prestigious nature of Hale and its environs".


    The Thurrock Gazette reports that "Grays fans seeking clarification of chairman Mike Woodward's announcement about the club's immediate future have been told the club have found a backer prepared to pay the wages of convicted footballer Ashley Sestanovich. Grays were recently ordered to pay Sestanovich around £14,000 in wages which the FA ruled the club owed him. The club had sacked the player in pre-season after learning he despite the fact that he was on trial for conspiracy to rob, a charge of which he was later found guilty and sentenced to eight years in jail. Grays lost an appeal against the FA's ruling and received further costs and a £500 fine and were given 14 days to pay, a deadline which expires next week. Failure to pay means the club will be suspended... At Saturday's game against Altrincham a statement from Woodward was read out, saying that regardless of any decision reached on Monday Grays Athletic will still function as normal from that day on"

    At Halifax Town, "Peter Sargeant, a partner of Begbies Traynor, said they would run the club on a day to day basis and now be advertising Halifax Town for sale, although the consortium that applied for the administration order had already made an expression of interest. He also confirmed that Ray Moreland, a former Town chairman, that had petitioned for the club to be wound up, had agreed to allow the club to enter into administration without waiting for notice. As a result a court hearing due to be held today would not take place. A High Court hearing to agree the administation order is scheduled for March 26".

    From the Northwich Guardian we learn that "Dino Maamria switched to three at the back to combat Crawley.The Vics boss said he wanted his team to have more presence' in the centre of the pitch after conceding 10 goals in the past four matches. Skipper Michael Welch was joined by Cortez Belle and Danny Meadowcoft in a green defensive barrier. 'I felt that we had enough pace and height at the back with three defenders to cope with their two strikers', said Maamria. 'I've got some decent centre backs at the football club and I thought today that was the best way to use them'. It was a tactic that worked. The visitors did not relent from their one rule - play early, high diagonal passes down the sides of the Vics' defence. But, with woeful accuracy, it left Jon-Paul Pittman and Kevin James with too much to do... 'Certainly I felt like we have been a bit lightweight in the middle of the park recently', added Maamria. 'We were compact in there today with an extra player but during the first half the team were a big negative. I put Byrney inside and he gave us a bit more creativity in there'. It was a shrewd switch by the manager and he was rewarded with one of Byrne's better performances".

    16 March 2008


  • Burton A. 2 Weymouth 1


    In today's NL Today it claims that Grays "produced possibly their best 45 minutes of the season as their passing and movement put Altrincham to the sword... Graham Heathcote's men could hardly get a kick in the first half...A disappointed Heathcote said, 'We have to face facts and realise losses like that will see us relegated. I'm seeing the chairman on Monday and we'll take it for there. In the NL Paper it says "Altrincham were dire in the first half... and only came to life in the final ten minutes. But that was too little, too late... 'Our performance in the first half wasn't good enough', said Heathcote. 'I thought it was always going to be a 1-0 but the manner of the defeat wasn't good. We were sloppy and didn't have enough about us to threaten and that's why we're down at the bottom. We improved after the break and had enough of the game to snatch a point but it wasn't to be. We've got eight games left and it's up to us to get ourselves out of trouble'

    The Grays Forum has a posting from the matchday announcer "Can I just clarify what the chairman [Mick Woodward] asked me to announce at today's game. He will meet with members of the FA on Monday. His main aim is to reach a level of common sense and put this awful situation [with Ashley Sestanovich] behind us. Regardless of any decision reached on Monday, Grays Athletic will still function as normal from that day on. That is to say in the worst case scenario if the club loses its appeal there are private parties who are prepared to pay the fine . The chairman hopes for a reasonable conclusion and re-states his earlier statement that the club or himself will not come forward with the money. This is not an official club statement, I have posted this before rumour and gossip takes hold and I am merely reporting what MW said to me".

    In NL Today the winner of the "Face in the Crowd" photo competition is Altrincham supporter Laurence Howarth, who is pictured at the Grays match. Laurence is one half of the "Gus & Laurence" comedy team who have achieved success with their comedy-writing talents, which has included a series on BBC national radio. Based in the South-East, Laurence is a regular on the terraces at Alty's away games.


    Former Alty youth and reserve, Ben Deegan, scored for Ashton United yesterday. Kyle Wilson has gone to Skelmersdale United from Fleetwood. The much-travelled Anthony Hargreaves has left Flixton for Runcorn Linnets and former Alty Youth Rico Colulo has joined Neil Brown's Abbey Hey.
    15 March 2008


    The Thurrock Gazette reports that "Before the game, Chairman and Boss Mick Woodward announced that whatever happens next week at the FA, football would remain at the New Rec for the rest of the season. As if to underline the fact, the team produced the best 45 minutes of fluid passing football that fans have witnessed all season... Grays for all their play weren't really producing out and out chances but Aaron O'Connor corrected that in the 36th minute when another superb cross from the left by Marlon Patterson was volleyed home first time by O'Connor six yard out on the right. It was no more than Grays deserved and watching Altrincham trudge back one questioned their ability to lift themselves... Altrincham produced a final wave. Only a miraculous series of blocks in a packed penalty area by Captain Jamie Stuart kept Altrincham out.... After the game, Grays coach Gary Phillips praised his team performance. He said: 'The first half was the perfect example of transferring the practice drill onto the competitive field. We did tire, especially Stuart Thurgood but we held on and gained our fourth clean sheet in five games'. Altrincham boss Graham Heathcote was in sombre mood. He said: 'We didn't show enough hunger and desire out there today. It s a real struggle at the bottom. We have to face facts and realise that losses like that will see us relegated. I'm seeing the chairman on Monday and we will take it from there'".


    Alty Youth's away game at Morecambe on Sunday has been postponed.


    Above: Alty in action at Grays, as the local residents enjoy the view.

    It took Altrincham till the 92nd minute to record a shot on goal, but then they almost scored twice. But before their late flurry, they had rarely threatened. Grays scored the only goal of a scrappy game in the 36th minute when, O'Connor, the liveliest player on the pitch hooked home Patterson's cross from the right from six yards. Coburn got his hands to the ball but could not keep it out. Alty sent Ryan Shotton up front after conceding the goal. But Alty were kept in their own half for much of the second half, until they threw men forward at the very end, with Greg Young forcing a fine save in injury time after Colin Little had had the ball taken off his boot as he was about to drive a close-range shot at goal in the last minute of normal time.

    Match report here

  • Alty player stats

    Saturday 15th

  • Cambridge U. 1 Woking 0
  • Exeter C. v Droylsden POSTPONED
  • Forest Green R. 2 Halifax T. 0
  • Grays A. 1 Altrincham 0
  • Histon 2 Rushden & D. 1
  • Northwich V. 2 Crawley T. 0
  • Salisbury C. 1 Farsley C. 1
  • Stafford R. 0 Oxford U. 1

    FAT SF2

  • York C. 1 Torquay U. 0 (Agg 1-2)
  • Aldershot T. 1 Ebbsfleet U. 1(agg. 4-2)


    Altrincham FC catering manager, Keith Davey, is appealing to any supporters who may have the following items in good working order but available for disposal:
  • Deep freezer, preferably front-door opening but top-opener also welcome.
  • Good sized electric cooker and oven
  • Electric "baine Marie"

    If you can help with any of the above items, please contact Keith Davey on the Club number at 0161 928-1045 or call in at the Club offices and leave details of the item(s) in question and your name, address and contact details. On behalf of Altrincham FC, Keith would like to thank, in advance, anyone who can help.


    Saturday's opponents, Grays Athletic announce that "defender, Santos Gaia has been released on loan until the end of the season to Halifax Town. Coming into The Recreation Ground is Gillingham midfielder Barry Cogan on a month's loan, Barry will be available for selection for the fixture against Altrincham". Gillingham Meanwhile, the Thurrock Gazette forecasts that "Grays will face a battle against a determined Altrincham at the New Rec on Saturday. Altrincham have huffed and puffed their way out of the relegation zone. They have only won two of their last eight games but have wrung out respectable draws against Torquay and Halifax and an impressive victory against Forest Green. When they lose, it is usually by the odd goal in a dogged struggle. Grays may meet a team who will want to stop them playing and may well park the proverbial bus in front of the goal (be warned it may get clamped!). They are expected to put five across the middle in an effort to frustrate the Blues.

    Grays are taking each game at a time and not drawing any conclusions beyond what they see over that particular ninety minutes. The players will be playing for next season's contracts, although by the looks of their faces against Kidderminster, a chorus of 'Please Release Me' might be forthcoming. Management will need to sell the club to some of the players. Simon Downer, Jon Ashton, Andy Sambrook will need an offer that this is a club going places. Against Burton, there were many plus points. Neil McCafferty, for the first time, looked like a player who given time to develop his game could carve out a niche in midfield. Scott Taylor looked like a genuine leader in the team. He has a calm assurance and also outstanding close control. Jamie Taylor puts a shift in. If only he could unlock his goal drought. Jamie Day, once again showed himself to be a genuine grafter. It will be a shame not to see [injured goalkeeper] Ross Flitney again this season... Stuart Thurgood is back on loan for the rest of the season... He has struggled to make the grade at Gillingham but if truth be told he had been struggling to do the same at Grays earlier in the season... Management report that everyone is available for selection".

    As for the Sestanovich affair, "Grays management meet with the FA on Monday at 12pm. The FA have been very direct. Speaking to the Gazette, a spokesman said: 'I don't know why they feel the need to air this all in public. The meeting, requested by Grays Athletic, is not a forum for negotiation. The decision was not made by us but by an independent investigative unit. The facts are quite clear and the facts remain'. Many hope that the money is paid, the club moves on and plans for the next season. They will need to work on bringing the fans back. Five minutes before kick off there were less than 200 in the ground. The PA announcer, Mike Jones was tempted to announce the crowd to the players but thought better of it".


    This is Glos has an article by Jim Harvey which included the following. "The results we've achieved with an inexperienced squad have been excellent. We'd have been sitting pretty in the play-offs had we beaten Stafford and Altrincham last Saturday, both games we should have won. We watched the video of Altrincham yesterday because it's important we learn to deal with teams who are set up purely to defend". The same source adds that "Harvey would like to keep the bulk of his Forest Green squad together next season, even if they miss out on the play-offs... 'The boys have worked extremely hard and learnt an awful lot this season, and I would think they will come back stronger again next year', said Harvey. 'We've got a young bunch and the experiences will stand them in good stead, even if we don't manage to go up. If we could keep most of them together, and bring in maybe three or four extras, than I would hope we could take another step forward'... Of the current Rovers' crop, only goalkeeper Ryan Robinson is under contract for next season. Harvey will surely be powerless to prevent the departure of 32-goal striker Stuart Fleetwood to the Football League, while impressive left-back Anthony Tonkin is rumoured to be on more than one rival club's wish list. The majority on the books can expect to be offered new terms, although wingers Lee Dodgson and Paul Stonehouse and striker Danny Carey-Bertram may have some convincing to do in the closing weeks of the campaign... 'Without singling anybody out, we've made too many silly and unnecessary mistakes', he said".


    Numerous fixture changes have been announced for Altrincham FC Youth and the revised list is in the Youth section.


    NL Daily reports that "The New Saints, the current Principality Welsh Premier champions, have appointed a new management team of Dr Andy Cale and current Academy Director Mike Davies. The new management team will start work straight away, following the club`s mutually agreed decision with Ken McKenna and Gary Brabin to step down with immediate effect".


    Alty still have hardworking Rotherham United midfielder Liam King on loan and Bullsnews reports that Rotherham are "to go to court on Monday to seek an extension of their Notice to appoint an Administrator. They believe they will dodge the points drop for entering Administration after the March 27th deadline imposed by the Football League to prevent already relegated clubs from taking the hit without any effect. An article in the Yorkshire Post today suggests the club will try and dodge the points drop this season in an attempt to secure promotion, however the tactic is expected to be blocked by the Football League. When they changed the rules to prevent the likes of Leeds and Boston taking last-minute Administration after they had been relegated, the Football League inserted several clauses into the new rules - one of which gives the League the right to impose the penalty when it decides. Prior to March 27th the penalty is automatically applied, but after the deadline the League will decide whether it will impose the penalty in the current season or the season following".

    Not far away "Halifax Town have applied for Administration with a winding up order due to be heard on Monday. The winding up order, brought by a former Chairman for a four figure sum, has now been postponed. Begbies Traynor have stepped in as the Administrators with former Crawley finance watcher Rob Sadler one of those placed in charge of the club. The Administration hearing will take place on March 26th".

    More news comes from the Halifax Courier which confirms that "Halifax Town will go into administration for the second time in six years on March 26. But the consortium, led by David Bosomworth and Bobby Ham, that has been keeping the club afloat for the past 14 months is ready to make an offer to the administrator. The Shaymen now face a mandatory Football Association punishment of a 10-point deduction which will leave them one point above the Blue Square Premier drop zone... But Courier Sport understands the decision to seek administration now rather than wait and take the football punishment next season was made amid fears that they could be handed a 25-point ban in the summer.... Begbies Traynor has agreed to act as administrators and issued a statement... It said that consortium had taken the decision as they felt there was 'no end in sight to resolving the outstanding issues' in their bid to take control at the Shay. In a statement released by the potential administrators, it said 'The consortium has agreed to provide sufficient funds to pay the costs of the administration and all the ongoing trading debts of the club both prior to and during an administration to ensure the club's survival'".

    "Town last went into administration at the end of the 2001-02 campaign when they were heading towards relegation from the Football League and have been saddled with heavy debts ever since. Earlier this campaign, the consortium paid a six-figure sum to stave off a winding up order issued against the club by the Inland Revenue".

    Another perspective comes from the Halifax Town Supporters' Trust. The Trusts says that yesterday it "received a phone call from Mr David Bosomworth, member of the Business Consortium looking to buy Halifax Town Football Club. Mr Bosomworth advised us of the consortium's decision to take the company into Administration and the rationale behind such a course of action. Whilst we were unaware that the consortium was going to go down this route, we have been kept reasonably aware of the historical debts and issues... It is fair to say that irresponsible claims have been made against the club which have left the future of Halifax Town Football Club dangerously vulnerable. Not only will Administration protect the club from such further claims, it will ensure the club can move forward free of the historical noose around its neck. We believe this decision has been made in the best interests of Halifax Town. Whilst it does mean that with the impending punishment – 10 point deduction – the club is thrown into a relegation battle, with the full support of each and every supporter of Halifax Town the club can continue its recent good form and move away from the relegation zone... We do think however now is the time for the Consortium to call a meeting – open to all supporters – and lay out their future plans for the club and the sequence of events which led to this morning’s decision".

    "Barrow have signed much-travelled striker Paul Tait on non-contract terms. The 33-year-old former Crewe, Bristol Rovers and Rochdale forward has not played since a bust-up at Northwich Victoria in early February", says NL Daily.

    Stevenage Borough say that "The loan of right-winger Gavin Grant from Millwall has been extended until the end of the season. In the six matches that Grant has featured in since arriving at Broadhall Way he has found the net four times... Also young goalkeeper James Russell has returned to Canvey island on loan".

    "Midfielder Samy Mawene has rejoined Stafford Rangers after a short spell with Bury. Defender Alan Dodd has also rejoined Rangers having made 56 appearances in his previous spell at Marston Road".

    From the Cambridge News we learn that Histon manager Steve Fallon "will have his scouts keeping their beady eyes on several potential new signings this weekend... Fallon said: 'We can't afford to buy players from league clubs or bring in full-time players from the Conference, so we've got to find players from the lower leagues. We've got a long-term plan at the club and we want to find another Danny Wright or Jack Midson, who can come in and do a good job for us'".

    The Argus tells us that "Horsham still hope to groundshare at Crawley Town from next season.... {as the] Hornets have called for talks to be re-opened... Secretary John Lines said: 'I am arranging a meeting with the Crawley Borough Council, Crawley Town and the Ryman League, hopefully to thrash out one final clause that has held us up.. it wouldn't take much more than good will on all sides to get it sorted out'... Reds' chairman Vic Marley said: 'Our position didn't change from day one but the Ryman League wanted to run the show. Any agreement would have to be in the best interests of Crawley Town Football Club'".

    "They may be almost 20 points from safety, but don't expect Droylsden boss Dave Pace to throw in the towel just yet" claims This is Exeter. "The Greater Manchester side have won just three games all season... Droyslden are effectively doomed... 'I am not thinking along those lines', said Pace ahead of his side's trip to Exeter tomorrow. 'Until you knock me out, I won't admit anything.... With 13 games to go I won't allow us to give up, so we have just got to hope for the best. We have been used to winning, winning, winning in the last few seasons and we came up to this league full of confidence. But there are no excuses as to where we find ourselves... We are a part-tine club in a full-time league, but you won't hear me groan about it. We know where we are, it is where we want to be and I would rather get beaten three or four nil by a team of Exeter's calibre than be top of Conference North. So no excuses from us. Exeter is a fantastic place to play, all the lads are looking forward to it and hopefully we can come back with something'. Droylsden's battle against relegation was hardly helped when Torquay United swooped to sign leading goalscorer Jody Banim on loan until the end of the season. 'We have got a policy at our club that we don't stand in the way of any other club', said Pace. 'I don't want to go on about it, but I will be fired up for that one when they come up to our place'".

    "Steve Bull is hoping tomorrow's Blue Square Premier clash against Oxford will provide a springboard for a late surge to save Stafford skins" reports This is Staffs. "Bull said: 'We just need a win to give the lads a bit of encouragement and a base to work from'... Bull insists no-one at the club is giving up on Rangers making a dramatic escape and he has appealed to the Marston Road fans to get behind the team. 'It's obviously better that we do stop up rather than go down and have to fight our way back up. It is getting harder by the week, but there is still a chance', he said.Rangers' injury problems have eased a little this week with both Marco Adaggio and Matt Hazley reporting fit, but Bull won't be able to call on striker Del Olaoye or midfielder Chris Flynn, who are both injured".

    14 March 2008


    "Halifax Town Association Football Club has filed notice of an administration following the failure of its bid to complete the purchase of shares held within the club. Peter Sargent and Rob Sadler from business rescue, recovery and restructuring specialists Begbies Traynor, have consented to act as administrators to ensure the longer term survival of the club and protect it from creditors.

    The filing... means the petition due to be heard on Monday 17 March, after former club chairman and director, Raymond Moreland, issued a winding-up petition will now not take place. Whilst the £7,944.86 sum owed to Mr Moreland is a relatively small, the debt has resulted in other short term financial demands being placed on the club, with the consortium being left with no alternative but to file for a notice of administration to protect the club. The consortium has previously provided substantial financial support and time to the club and has ensured its survival since January 2007.

    The consortium has expressed its disappointment that the acquisition has been unable to proceed as planned due to a number of historical trading issues and the company's structure.The decision was reluctantly taken that no purpose was served in providing further funds with no end in sight to resolving the outstanding issues.

    The consortium has agreed to provide sufficient funds to pay the costs of the administration and all the ongoing trading debts of the club both prior to and during an administration to ensure the club's survival.

    On the assumption that the court makes an order for administration, which is to take place on 26 March 2008, Begbies Traynor would advertise Halifax Town AFC Limited for sale. However, an expression of interest in acquiring the business assets and goodwill has already been made to the proposed administrators by the consortium.The consortium has made it clear that it has filed for administration to protect the club and that, if successful in acquiring the club, it wishes to introduce new initiatives designed to take the club forward with the aim of regaining Football League status.

    Peter Sargent, partner of Begbies Traynor, comments, 'It is clearly very disappointing for all concerned with the club that the presentation of the winding up petition has meant that action has had to be taken to protect it in the short term. It is likely that the making of an administration order on 26 March 2008 will result in a 10 point . Now is the time for the fans of Halifax Town and the people of Calderdale generally to support the club. Until the court hearing takes place, it is very much business as usual for the club'".

    A ten-point deduction would leave Halifax one point ahead of Altrincham but with three games in hand.


    Altrincham hope to have goalkeeper Stuart Coburn fit for the game at Grays tomorrow but otherwise have no injury problems. Physio Sean Riley is also guiding Val Owen through a structured programme of rehabilitation after his long lay-off and the midfielder should soon be available for selection.

    For those travelling to Essex on Saturday, Phil Taylor reports on the Fans' Forum that he has "just had a call from the Safety Officer at Grays. Away supporters will be granted access to the Clubhouse but, as this is at the opposite end of the ground to the away area/turnstile this will only be before the match and you will have to come out of the Club to enter the ground. There is a terraced area available together with a small seated area for 'more senior' travellers and the disabled. Should it rain a covered area may be made available. Have a good trip".

    Grays Athletic "have signing Gillingham midfielder, Stuart Thurgood, on loan until the end of the season, Stu will be available for Saturday‘s fixture against Altrincham". Thurgood left Grays for Gillingham so is returning to his old stamping ground.. In addition, "Grays Athletic midfielder, Charley Hearn, has been loaned out to Ebbesfleet until the end of the season".

    "The Football Association insists Grays will be suspended from football if they do not pay a jailed ex-player unpaid wages of £14,000 by Wednesday. Grays' chairman Mick Woodward had hoped the FA would overturn their decision regarding Ashley Sestanovich on Monday. But an FA statement to BBC Essex read: 'The meeting with Grays on Monday will not be a negotiation of the order. Their failure to comply has given the FA no choice but to suspend them from all football from next Wednesday'. Grays were told to pay-up after sacking the midfielder before his conviction for conspiracy to rob. An FA disciplinary hearing ruled they were in breach of the game's regulations"


    Thursday 13th
  • Stevenage 2 Kidderminster H. 1

  • Setanta Shield Halifax T. v Burton A. POSTPONED


    Altrincham FC and FA youth manager George Heslop and midfielder Danny Browne have particular cause to celebrate the third-successive triumph of the Altrincham and District FA youth team in the Cheshire County FA's District Youth Cup last Sunday. George became the first manager to win the trophy in three successive seasons whilst Danny was the first Alty player to be involved in three successive District Cup finals. Congratulations to them both, as well as to the rest of the team and the coaches.

    Meanwhile, the Altrincham FC youth team is set to play a league match away at Morecambe this Sunday.


    There are still some squares left for sponsorship on the Moss Lane pitch as part of the Ideas4Alty initiative. This scheme brings much needed funds for the club so please do consider joining in.


    Many thanks go to Altrincham FC director David Burns who organised a highly successful Sportmans' Dinner last night at the Cresta Court Hotel, Altrincham. Well over 200 people attended the event, called "Seeing Red", of which the highlight was an after-dinner talk by top referee Graham Poll. Graham humorously recalled some of the ups and downs of refereeing matches involving 22 millionaires (i.e. the players at Premier League level). One notable story involved a Man. Utd v Arsenal game where the hardest part was getting the two teams to come out of the dressing room and go onto the pitch. Graham also had tales to tell of reffing matches from the World Cup to the FA Vase. Graham had good things to say about David Beckham who was very supportive of the now retired referee after his "three-cards" gaffe at the World Cup. The event included an auction of sporting memorabilia and other items which Graham Heathcote conducted in his customary highly entertaining way. The evening was expertly compered by Radio Manchester's Jimmy Wagg.


    SAM says that "Graham Heathcote hit out at Blue Square Premier officials after his side's survival hopes were severely dented by a 3-2 defeat to Crawley on Tuesday night. In the end, the Robins were well beaten but the game hinged on the sending off of Joe O'Neill on the stroke of half time. When the Alty striker challenged for a high ball with Jamie Stevens it appeared to be innocuous enough but the referee had other ideas and gave him his marching orders for a second bookable offence. At that point, Alty were still level at 0-0 but, playing the entire second half with 10 men, they were simply unable to cope... 'You can say what you want but teams will probably not decide who stays up and who goes down, you're in the hands of a given individual's decisions', the Alty boss told SAM Sport. 'On Saturday the other team had two sent off and today it's gone the other way and that decided the game. It decided the game on Saturday and it decided the game today. It's not about the game of football, it's about officials sending players off. It's too easy to get sent off these days and it's affecting games dramatically. The referee said Joe led with his arm, which I really can't believe. He's refused to discuss any of his decisions with me and if an official refuses to discuss his decisions that says it all about his performance, although the assessor will probably give him 99 out of 100'".

    "Crawley manager Steve Evans believes his team could have made life much easier for themselves despite winning 3-2 at Alty on Tuesday... He added, 'First half we found it difficult. The wind didn't suit us and we weren't able to pass the ball around. But we knew they would continue to play a high line after the break... Some of the passing was fantastic. We moved the ball round and switched play really well'".


    Although Alty have just lost Tom Cahill back to Rotherham, according to the Burton Mail "Manager Nigel Clough is hoping to retain the services of loan signing Paul Hurst for the run-in to Burton Albion's glory-hunting campaign. Clough had feared the experienced Rotherham United full back might be recalled to Millmoor to assist the League Two club's own promotion quest... Clough told Mail Sport: 'It's a good piece of news we weren't expecting because we thought Paul might have to go back, but [Rotherham boss] Mark Robins rang to say he'd had a change of heart. We're delighted because Paul hasn't had a bad game for us. It's been lovely to have a player of his reliability and experience in the squad at a time when the games are coming thick and fast'".

    Oxford United "Boss Darren Patterson has made changes as he shakes up his squad. Yemi Odubade and Joel Ledgister have been transfer listed, winger Ryan Semple has been released and young striker Alex Fisher recalled into the squad. Darren told us: 'I had a long chat with Yemi yesterday and we both decided it would be in his best interests to circulate his name. He's a smashing lad and it was tough because he loves living around here and being at the club. But I think he's in that 'comfort zone' and needs a new challenge. If going on the list gives him that little bit of extra spark for us then that's great, but maybe his future lies elsewhere. We'll see which clubs come in for him. Joel hasn't really done it for us this season and we have offered him a free transfer. With Ryan it was simply a case of him being on non-contract terms so we could take a longer look at him and he didn't need to go round playing trial matches for other clubs. We gave him a chance in the first team, he played for the reserves on Tuesday, and he's been there in training every day and it hasn't quite happened...Alex Fisher went out to Brackley, scored and was Man of the Match, then came back and scored twice for the reserves. He's looked very sharp all week and has been buzzing so we have called him back". And Patterson told BBC Radio Oxford: "There might be someone coming in before Saturday, it's something we've looked at, but at the moment we'll go with what we've got". Reports that Odubade is available at a "knock-down" price await confirmation.

    The Cambridge News says that "A gesture of good-will has meant Histon supporters will not be out of pocket after their match at Salisbury was brought forward to Good Friday. Steve Fallon's side were scheduled to travel to Wiltshire a week on Saturday but their opponents asked to play the game a day earlier in the hope of a bigger attendance. Histon chairman Gareth Baldwin originally turned down the request as the Stutes' Supporters' Club had booked a coach at a reduced rate and would have had to pay £250 to reschedule it. But Salisbury have agreed to reimburse the club, so Baldwin was only too happy to switch the fixture, which will kick off at 3pm. He said: 'Salisbury believe they will get an extra 500 people through the turnstiles, but we had to say no initially as our fans come first. But there's a strong bond between the two clubs as we've come up through the leagues together and played them quite a few times in recent years. It was a great gesture for them to pay the £250 to our supporters' club and we were happy to move it. And it will give us an extra day's recovery before we play Grays on Easter Monday'. Supporters' Club secretary Jenny Wells said although some fans will now miss the match, the rearrangement made sense. 'A few of the fans who had booked to travel now can't make it, but there are others who can come along as they were working on the Saturday. We've got one coach and 24 fans were booked up at the last count. But we're expecting between 35 and 40 supporters to travel with us'".

    In the Northwich Guardian we read that "Dino Maamria has warned his players to have no regrets as their season enters a critical period. Vics face three home matches in the next 10 days... 'The time is now', said Maamria. 'We know we have to pick up points from these matches to close the gap at the bottom, so we need three big performances'. They host Crawley Town at the weekend before entertaining direct rivals Weymouth next Tuesday. Another foe, Farsley Celtic, visit Wincham a week on Saturday. Maamria 'We've got a hectic schedule coming up. Knowing that, we've made sure we've used our time well this week and I've seen the response from the players that I am looking for'... Maamria should be able to call on front pair Lee Steele and Darryn Stamp this weekend... Danny Willams is also in with a fighting chance of returning to the team after recovering from a sore Achillles. Midfielder Michael Carr will not play any part though. Maamria's message to his side is simple. 'We must work, work, work', he said. 'When we do that we get results... I was disappointed on Saturday because the players felt things would happen for them without putting the same effort in - they've seen what happens if you do that'".

    This is South Devon says that "Whatever happens on the pitch this season, the transformation of Torquay United off it continues... Chief executive Colin Lee revealed this week that, despite relegation from the Football League and the upheaval of the sale of the club last summer, United's finances have been moved up several gears.The 2006-2007 balance sheet shows a record £470,000 loss on the chaotic, disastrous last season, most of it under ill-fated chairman Chris Roberts. But Lee reports that over the course of this season - the figures will be announced in next year's report - United have managed to drive turnover up spectacularly. 'I am very proud of the fact that by the end of this season, we will have increased our turnover by somewhere near £500,000. Any football club that can do that in the current financial climate is going in the right direction'. Last season United's turnover fell from just over £1.56 million to £1.4 million. And, after losing £11,600 under former chairman Mike Bateson in 2005-2006, the club ended up with the whopping £470,000 deficit last season. 'We got relegated and the club was virtually in freefall', said Lee... Of course, United do not yet know whether they will be playing in the Football League or the Blue Square Premier next season. It makes a difference of around £130,000 - the League 'parachute' payment the Gulls received after relegation".

    "Striker Jake Hyde is confident that his month's loan at Weymouth will be extended until the end of the season" says This is Weymouth. "The Swindon Town youngster has started the Terras' last three games... Hyde said 'I am enjoying playing up front with Stuart Beavon. He works extremely hard and is a fantastic player to partner. "Being down here is very different to what I am used to but I am really enjoying it. I am getting a bit of experience and that is what my manager at Swindon told me to do... I am pretty sure I will remain here until the end of the season'".

    But "Weymouth chairman Malcolm Curtis has again played down suggestions of irregularities over the transfer of land at the Wessex Stadium to his company Wessex Park Limited. Following a statement released to the Press an unnamed group has instructed solicitors and accountants to investigate the deal... Curtis told Echosport: 'I'm 100 per cent confident that we've acted within the law. People are again trying to knock plans to make Weymouth Football Club sustainable so it's very disappointing indeed. If people want to challenge me in a court of law then fine, I'm not daft enough to have not sought sufficient advice before going ahead with the deal... All it does is damage Weymouth FC. I've said in the Echo before that bickering only prevents people from wanting to get involved with the club and it's very frustrating. As a club we are trying to change big time. We've changed the business model, some of the players and even the manager so we were going to upset some people along the way'. "Concerned" The unhappy group is believed to consist of ex-directors, majority shareholders and sponsors... The group are expected to issue a statement shortly, once they've met with their accountants and solicitors".

    HAl;ifax Town report that "Councillors have given the thumbs up to proposals to transform the Shay Stadium... after designs were approved by members of Calderdale Council's Planning Committee. Calderdale Council is working in partnership with the Shay Stadium Trust to complete the unfinished East Stand. A contractor is due to be chosen next month and work will now begin on site in June. The stand should be completed by the end of this year".

    13 March 2008


    Altrincham's on-loan striker Tom Cahill has been recalled by Rotherham United. Tom made 6(+5) appearances whilst at Moss Lane and scored once. All at Altrincham wish him well for the future. His Rotherham team-mate, Liam King, remains on loan at Moss Lane.


    Above, Altrincham Youth team manager George Heslop (left) and assistant Tony Spilsbury received an award from Tom Cahill before Tuesday's match. With Gareth Thomas, George and Tony had overseen the Youth team's third successive triumph in the Cheshire County FA's District Youth Cup final last Sunday.


    The FA confirms that for "Altrincham FC Joseph O'Neill [from] 11/03/2008 is suspended from all first team football until the Club have completed 1 first team match for a Sending Off in a match played on 11/03/2008". So, he misses the Grays match this Saturday.


    Above, Chris Lane has made a difference since getting back into the starting eleven in recent games. Here Gavin Rathbone's camera catches him in action against Crawley.


    In the Sale & Altrincham Messenger Connor Murphy writes after the Crawley game "Full time. I feel like I've had my heart ripped clean from my chest. When you follow a team so closely it's impossible not to make an emotional investment in them and on nights like this that means utter dejection... After a defeat like this, you seriously worry about Alty's chances of survival and considering the result hinged on a questionable - and that's being kind - refereeing decision, it's enough to drive you to despair... In the Blue Square Premier too often we see incompetent, whistle-happy referees ruin games and that's certainly been the case tonight. So thanks Mr Procter-Green, you've made my night".

    "Crawley Town boss Steve Evans insists his team are not far off returning to their best form after Tuesday's 3-2 victory at Altrincham. Evans told BBC Southern Counties Radio: 'Their assistant manager Graham Barrow says we are the best passing side they've seen here all season. We dominated Stevenage for an hour. Exeter nicked a point. Salisbury had one effort on goal. We're doing OK'".

    The Sussex newspaper, The Argus tells us that "Crawley claimed all three points from a tough battle against ten-man Altrincham - but did it the hard way... A silly error from Ashley Bayes allowed Colin Little to drag the home side back into it. But a wonder goal from Thomas Pinault sealed the points before Little added a consolation in injury time.. Crawley manager Steve Evans said: 'I thought it was a game we should have won 3-0. Ashley Bayes made an error to let them back into the game at 2-0, which is unlike him because he was solid tonight... We passed the ball around really well at times and we deserved the three points'. The first half was an extremely cagey affair, with barely a shot on goal from either side. Altrincham came closest with striker Joe O'Neill making a real nuisance of himself. The hard-working frontman tested Bayes with a well struck volley just three minutes in and was again denied by the Reds keeper on the half-hour mark after receiving a cut back from Liam King six yards out... After O'Neill went up for a challenge with Jamie Stevens, the referee decided he had led with his elbow and produced a second yellow card for the Altrincham striker. Even with the man advantage, the Reds laboured to break down their hosts straight after the break but it mattered little, as they took the lead with their first shot on target"

    Crawley Town "celebrated the winning feeling for the first time in six games with a hard fought victory at Altrincham... Referee Mr. Procter-Green was subject to a hail of abuse while leaving the field for half-time from aggrieved home fans that were angry with his decision to send-off Joe O’Neill just moments earlier. The protests against O’Neill’s sending-off though were simply unfounded. After being penalized for persistent tangling with Brad Thomas from set-pieces, O’Neill recklessly clattered into Jamie Stevens, leaving the youngster flattened on the Moss Lawn turf. The decision undeniably played a bearing on the final result but credit should go to for the professional manner in which the visitors dispatched the relegation strugglers. Crawley passed the ball around impressively in the second-half to tire the part-time opposition before picking them off with three well taken goals.. The team, were also forced to travel to Moss Lane in cars, with late travel problems earlier in the day playing havoc with preparations. The home side edged a scrappy first-half... The dismissal of O’Neill opened up the contest as more entertaining affair."


    The BBC says that"Grays Athletic goalkeeper Ross Flitney will miss the rest of the season after fracturing a bone in his wrist. The 23-year-old was injured during the team's goalless draw with Burton Albion on Tuesday. He was replaced in goal for the rest of the Blue Square Premier clash by Nicky Eyre, who recently returned to the club from a loan spell at St Albans. Flitney joined the south Essex side from Barnet in June 2007".

    "Exeter City are set to sign Grays Athletic striker Ben Watson on loan until the end of the season. Grecians manager Paul Tisdale has been searching for an extra forward since Adam Stansfield was sidelined with an ankle injury against Altrincham. Watson, 22, has played for the England National Game XI and has scored five goals for Grays this season. City are down to just two fit recognised strikers, Richard Logan and Steve Basham."

    The Burton Mail says that "Burton Albion crept back into a play-off spot last night [Tuesday].. A goalless stalemate against Grays Athleticwas enough... Manager Nigel Clough said: 'I'm not too disappointed with a point because this is a difficult place to come and get a result'... Despite the absence of defensive general Tony James with a throat infection, Albion showed their battling qualities... Clough said: 'The conditions dictated the manner of the match tonight and the way we had to play. It wasn't York or Oxford on a lovely surface. It was blustery and bobbly and we just had to put the ball into certain areas and get after the thing'... Albion had to show their battling qualities to pick up a valuable point... Skipper Darren Stride was called up to deputise at the heart of the defence, while there was the expected recall to left-back for Aaron Webster, who missed a month of league action because of knee injury. Paul Hurst was given a new role on the left side of midfield, meaning there was no place in the starting line-up for winger Keith Gilroy... Albion named goalkeeper coach Martin Taylor among their substitutes after revealing that loanee Stuart Tomlinson will miss the rest of the season after undergoing surgery on the knee he damaged in last week's Setanta Shield win at Droylsden. Grays included former Gresley Rovers striker Aaron O'Connor in an unfamiliar role on the right of a five-man midfield, with Jamie Taylor operating as a lone striker... It was hardly gripping stuff, with both teams engaged in a dour long-ball battle that provided little excitement for the sparce crowd... Referee Andy Halliday had to be replaced by fourth official Rob Atkin after being taken ill [during the game]".

    At Grays "A lacklustre match played out in difficult conditions did little to warm up the meagre crowd of 496" reports the Thurrock Gazette. But "chairman-cum-manager Mike Woodward was in upbeat mood afterwards saying: 'I think we deserved the three points and I'm delighted the with performance of the players who stepped in today. We are cutting out cloth and trying to make the most as we prepare for next season'... Woodward and his coaching team rang the changes, both in formation and faces. They started Scott Taylor, Aaron O'Connor and Neil McCafferty and switched to a 4-5-1 formation, packing the midfield... They lost keeper Ross Flitney in the seventh minute when he was taken out of the game after bravely coming out to meet a robust challenge from Burton striker Jake Edwards. Nicky Eyre, who has only recently returned to the New Rec, replaced him... Grays: Ross Flitney (Nicky Eyre 7), Andy Sambrook, Adam Gross, Jamie Stuart, Simon Downer, Aaron O'Connor, Jamie Taylor, Jamie Day (Charley Hearn 60), Marlon Patersson, Neil McCafferty, Scott Taylor. Subs not used: Santos Gaia, Danny Kedwell, Cam Mawer. Meanwhile Grays have announced that the Football Association have requested a meeting with with the club next Monday, March 17 to try and resolve the current situation regarding wages owed to Ashley Sestanovich. Woodward says he hopes that common sense will prevail with this meeting and assures fans that Grays Athletic Football Club will never die".

    Grays Athletic sayof the Burton game that "Often a goal-less draw can be boring with no redeeming features but on this occasion there are positives that can be taken from this game. Against a background of being deprived of the services of Jon Ashton and Michael Standing, arguably our best two players recently... the Blues played with gusto and purpose. Their cause was not helped in the 10th minute by a 'careless' challenge by Burton‘s Jake Edwards which saw Ross Flitney having to leave the field with a suspected fractured wrist. His replacement, Nicky Eyre proved an able deputy... The only negative aspect of the game was the chronic lack of confidence in front of goal; if we can remedy that problem, we end the season with a respectable mid-table finish".


    According to Farsley Today "Midfielder Andy Watson was the victim of a harsh sending off as Farsley once again displayed their fighting spirit in a hard-fought contest at the Wessex Stadium. The former Doncaster Rovers man was shown red after blocking off Weymouth striker Stuart Beavon in the 64th minute, but the incident warranted nothing more than a caution. It was one of a number of strange decisions by referee David Phillips on an evening that also saw a total of seven bookings. Despite the game's edgy nature, Farsley boss John Deacey was satisfied with the result, which has not only kept his side above the Terras in the fight to avoid relegation, but also moved them above fellow strugglers Altrincham... He said: 'We looked a couple of yards short in certain departments in the first half but I gave the lads a bit of a roasting at half time and we came out and created the better chances. Even after we had a man sent off we continued to take the game to them and we had two one-on-ones where we should have scored. A point apiece was a fair result and with Altrincham losing it keeps things tight at the bottom. We have shown a lot of fighting spirit recently but we have got to keep working because it looks like it could all go down to the wire'".

    From This is Weymouth we learn that "Honours were even in last night's tense relegation scrap at the Wessex Stadium... despite Farsley being reduced to ten men midway through the second half. Former Terra Andy Watson was the player that took the walk of shame but he was very unfortunate even though he intentionally blocked off Stuart Beavon in an off-the-ball incident with a shoulder charge... Weymouth boss John Hollins named the same line up and bench that started Saturday's 1-0 win over Stevenage Borough with loan pair Magnus Okuonghae and Chris Blackburn continuing at the centre of the defence and Hyde partnering Stuart Beavon up front. Once again club captain Simon Weatherstone had to be content with watching from the main stand while Marcus Browning remains sidelined with an Achilles problem".

    Aldershot Town report that on Tuesday "Lewis Chalmers returned from injury ... The second goal on 32 minutes was initiated by Chalmers in the middle of the park. He won a ball that he had no right to win and set Straker free on the left hand side. A pacy delivery was met by Hudson who fired home from 12 yards with his left foot...Boss Waddock said afterwards, 'We changed the side around from Saturday and we said to the players a number of weeks ago that we will rest players at certain stages due to the high number of matches that we ae involved in'">


    NL Daily reports some common sense from Barrow. "Brian Keen, chairman of Blue Square North club Barrow, has been left bitterly disappointed by the last two attendances at Holker Street. And he feels it is time Football Association chiefs stopped ignoring the plight of clubs at non-League and grassroots level... Only 775 saw the 1-0 win over Boston – when live televised Champions League football provided competition – while 812 braved the gales on Saturday... 'On Tuesday we were up against the Champions League. I`ve talked to other non-League chairmen about this and we cannot compete with live television and Sky... There must be some ideas where non-League clubs can be compensated or fixtures allowed to be switched to another night. The FA can spend £20m on bringing in an Italian and his entourage but have not got to forget the game at non-League and grassroots'", he told the NW Evening Mail


    Celtic got off to a flying start when Steve Torpey scored twice for Stalybridge Celtic on Tuesday night.
    12 March 2008


    Referee Mr S Procter-Green determined the outcome of this match when he dismissed Alty's Joe O'Neill a minute before the interval for two offences which at best could be called trivial.

    Match report here.


    The BBC says that "Aldershot must continue their treble-chasing campaign without top scorer John Grant until at least April. The 21-goal striker damaged ankle ligaments in their FA Trophy victory against Tamworth in February". And also, "Striker Kirk Hudson has signed a new contract to keep him at Aldershot until the end of the 2009/10 season. Hudson, 21, has scored 23 goals in his 80 appearances for the Blue Square Premier outfit". Meanwhile former Alty midfielder is out of action for Aldershot with ankle ligament damage after being stretchered off last week.

    From the Burton Mail we learn that "Aaron Webster could make his first Blue Square Premier appearance in a month tonight as Burton Albion try to strengthen their play-off hopes by recording their second away win in four days. The 27-year-old full-back's return to fitness after a knee injury may result in winger Keith Gilroy dropping to the bench for the trip to Grays Athletic... Manager Nigel Clough hinted last night that he may take a 'horses for courses' approach by preferring Webster's extra defensive qualities against hosts renowned for their direct approach. Clough said: 'Keith played extremely well at Oxford and produced probably his best away performance since he joined the club. But it was more like a home game for him because we had so much possession he was able to run and run at the full-back - and it ended up with the lad (Jamie Clarke) getting sent off. Grays will be a much different game, though. They'll be up and at us, which means it might be very useful to have a player with Aaron's qualities in the team. You never know quite what to expect from them... We're not expecting the pitch to be as good for a start, which means we may have to adapt how we play, and Grays are usually quite direct in their approach... Grays may not score a lot of goals but they don't concede many either, which means they are not an easy side to beat'".

    The Halifax Courier says that "Craig Nelthorpe's loan spell at Halifax Town has been ended by Doncaster Rovers, who have recalled the winger".

    According to This is South Devon "The chance to clinch a trip to Wembley has nudged Torquay United to fly to this weekend's FA Carlsberg Trophy Semi Final Second Leg at York City. It's the first time that the Gulls have ever flown to a match in the UK. They will let the plane take the strain from Exeter to Leeds-Bradford airport on Friday morning. Paul Buckle's squad will be collected by their regular team coach, work out at Leeds United's training ground in the afternoon, stay overnight at Leeds, travel on to York on Saturday morning, try to follow up their 2-0 first leg victory against the Minstermen and then come home by coach on Saturday night. United's chief executive Colin Lee revealed that flying to Leeds will cost the club around £2,000. But he explained, 'With us also playing at Halifax tonight, we thought through all the options. We thought about staying up in Yorkshire, but it's very easy to get bored hanging around a hotel for days on end. We decided to get the preparation for Halifax right, by travelling up there yesterday, and then come home. And to avoid another long coach trip on Friday, we decided to take the flying option. They are two such important games for us, and the priority is to get the preparation as right as we can for both of them'".

    United's game at Rushden & Diamonds, which had itself been rearranged, has been moved again - from next Tuesday, March 18, to Thursday, April 17. And that will mean United having to play four league games in eight days!... It's all because of the televised Setanta Shield. The Conference have ruled that the televised Shield - Rushden are booked for a Northern Semi-Final appearance next Wednesday against the winners of this Thursday night's tie between Halifax and Burton - takes preference over the League in the later stages of the competition. It does, of course, mean that Halifax are playing four times in eight days this week. Lee commented: 'I have never been involved in a league where you are forced to play Saturday, Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday'".

    Crawley Town "Chairman Victor Marley has released a statement... 'Crawley Town Football Club, Horsham Football Club and Crawley Borough Council have held protracted and detailed conversations regarding a proposed ground sharing arrangement for season 2008/9 at the Broadfield Stadium. I can confirm that due to complications concerning match scheduling with the Ryman League, discussions have now ceased and Horsham Football Club are pursuing further options elsewhere'".

    11 March 2008


    There is conflicting evidence on some of the BSP club websites about fixtures this week, so there may be some changes from those listed below.

    Monday 10th

  • York C. 3 Exeter C. 2

    Tuesday 11th

  • Aldershot T. 3 Histon 1
  • Altrincham 2 Crawley T. 3
  • Ebbsfleet U. 0 Rushden & D. 3
  • Grays A. 0 Burton A. 0
  • Halifax T. 3 Torquay U. 2
  • Weymouth 0 Farsley C. 0


    The Crawley Observer reports that "Jamie Cook has been given a 50/50 chance of playing by Reds manager Steve Evans for Crawley's away match against Altrincham. The former Oxford player was substituted at half time on Saturday after sustaining a dead leg in last Tuesday's match against Exeter. Lee Blackburn will miss out again tonight with a hip injury. Reds boss Steve Evans said: 'We have two tough games against Altrincham and Northwich this week who are both battling for survival in the Conference. Altrincham beat Forest Green on Saturday and I spoke to Jim Harvey who said they deserved to win, they played the better football and made the better chances. The weather conditions are expected to be awful as well so we know how difficult it is going to be'".


    Spectators are advised that there are currently road works on Moss Lane immediately outside the Altrincham FC ground, adjacent to the new building works on the former car park. A temporary traffic-light control system is in operation as the carriageway in the direction heading away from the town centre is closed for a short stretch. This will affect both traffic flow and street-parking tonight so please allow an extra few minutes because of this.


    Above: Altrincham celebrate their first away win of this season at Crawley on 29th September 2007. Warren Peyton's goal won the game, 1-0, with Guy Madjo missing a penalty for the Sussex side. Madjo has now moved on to League football.

    Altrincham entertain Crawley Town tonight (Tuesday). The BBC confirms that "Altrincham striker Chris Senior is pushing for a return after sitting an examination and could partner top scorer Colin Little in attack. Midfielder Robbie Lawton has a slight knock so Jake Sedgemore could have his first taste of domestic action since suffering a back injury in December. Crawley's Jamie Cook has failed to recover from a dead leg so Tyrone Thompson or Thomas Pinault could play. Lee Blackburn has also been forced out with a reoccurrence of his hip injury".


    The referee at Grays on Saturday is Mr Guy Stretton. Chris Senior will remember him very well. On 27 March 2007 at Moss Lane, Mr Stretton was the man who stopped play and made Chris leave the pitch because his boot had come off and he had picked it up. In the confusion, with Senior off the pitch, play restarted and Stafford immediately took advantage to score the only goal of the game. Mr Stretton also officiated at York CIty 1 Altrincham 0 on Bonfire Night 2006 as well as in Stafford's 1-0 win over Alty at Marston Road on 15 August 2006.

    The Argus confims that "Top scorer Jamie Cook is a major doubt for Crawley's trip to relegation battlers Altrincham... Cook, who has netted 18 goals this season, aggravated a dead leg during Saturday's 1-1 draw with Salisbury. Midfielder Lee Blackburn is also sidelined with a thigh injury, while striker Pierre Joseph-Dubois has been named in the squad after being dropped".

    Our next away opponents, Grays Athletic are embroiled in an argument with the FA and on the Grays Forum is an e-mail from the FA sent to a Grays' supporter about the issue. It said "This is a long and complex case concerning a contract dispute between the club and the player. An independent Appeal Committee of the League (Football Conference) met in November 2006 to consider this matter. This committee contained a representative from each of The FA, PFA and the League. The League Appeals Committee found against the club because when the club purported to terminate the player's contract in July 2006, they decided that, at that time, there was no evidence of a serious breach of misconduct but that it was a lesser breach which should have resulted in a fine of two weeks wages. Subsequent to that hearing it became a more serious matter enabling the club to terminate the contract but they did not do so as they refused to accept the decision of the League Appeals Committee.

    Having ignored the decision of the League Appeals Committee, The FA issued disciplinary charges against Grays Athletic FC. Grays Athletic FC admitted this charge at a Commission hearing in June 2007 and were ordered to pay the amount due to the player from the commencement of his contract until the point where it became clear that he was going to be unable to fulfil it. Grays Athletic FC were ordered to pay this by the end of December 2007. The club chose not to appeal that decision.

    When the club failed to comply with that order The FA was left with no choice but to charge the club again. The club once again admitted the charge and a Commission ordered that they make the payment within 14 days or be suspended from all football".

    But more curious still is this piece... "An anxious and demoralised Grays Athletic slumped to defeat against an industrious Kidderminster Harriers on Saturday" claims the Thurrock Gazette. "From early on, Grays' midfield seemed to be struggling with their roles. The plan had been for Andy Sambrook to play the anchor, Michael Standing and Ben Watson to create and Jamie Taylor and Marlon Patterson to provide width. However, Jamie Taylor seemed to have no concept of the responsibilities of a right sided midfielder. As last week with Aaron O'Connor, the coaching staff set about trying to coach a performance from him... The visitors' coaching staff rang the changes and Jamie Taylor moved up front... It took the experienced Andy Sambrook to turn to the bench, hold his palms up as if to ask: 'What are we doing?'. The players continued to scramble in the dark. Danny Kedwell worked extremely hard up front, keeping to his brief to keep three defenders busy... Confusion reigned. All four coaches continued to shout order after order after order but Grays were drowning in a sea of instruction and advice. In the 40th minute, Aaron O'Connor who had been dropped after an ineffective display on the right side against Torquay was suddenly reinstated. Ben Watson was taken off and made it very clear how he felt. Jon Ashton came off at half time as Sambrook returned to defence and Jamie Day went into midfield. Day brought solidity to the midfield... Patterson started to look jittery and treated the ball like a grenade, making mistake after mistake. He looked at the bench like four teachers peering over your shoulder in an exam. Grays' timing started to go awol. Mistimed tackles by Kedwell and Day brought yellow cards and if the passing wasn't bad enough, the shooting was abysmal. Special mention has to got to O'Connor's effort on the hour mark which should have earned three points but only in Rugby... When referee Mr Cummins blew the final whistle, the players - in contrast to last week's triumph - looked totally depressed. The management staff attempted to have a post-mortem on the pitch after the game but Simon Downer, an astute and proud professional was obviously having none of it and as he walked away and made his feelings quite clear to Neil Smith.

    After the game, boss Mike Woodward reflected on his first defeat [as manager]. He said: 'A bad day at the office... I'm not making excuses but a sickness bug has decimated the team. That's why Jon Ashton had to go off. But the midfield looked naive... I'll ring the changes on Tuesday'... The players clearly looked very, very unhappy. The younger ones looked cowed and the stronger more experienced ones clearly want a clearer line of communication. There is no doubt that the four coaches mean well...

    Tim O'Shea has never been a manager and although his advice was gold-dust last week, this week he cut a distant and mute figure. The other three stand or fall together but his body language conveys the feeling of either a man passing though or an intense aloofness that could have set the players on edge and alienated them. At the same time, before the match, he spoke to each player individually with great warmth. Time will tell for Tim.

    The cupboard, even after 37 players used this season look bare and they are trying their best with what is available. Credit to Woodward. He is not barking orders like a demonic despot but rather trying to rule by committee. His heart is in the right place. There is nothing worse than being at work and loathing every minute. This is the way it appeared for some today. Perhaps the arcane tactics and intense exhortations need to stop and the simple message of express yourself, enjoy your football and love the ball could pay dividends while everyone searches for a longer term solution. Otherwise there could be a serious falling out on the pitch and it would be a tragedy were many of these players, especially the outstanding defenders, to take their trade elsewhere".


    This is Glos reports that "Absolutely nothing went right for an off-colour Forest Green, who were unfortunate to play more than 20 minutes with nine men, but will rue their lack of verve at Moss Lane. Rovers had goalkeeper Terry Burton dismissed for a crude body-check on Colin Little at the end of the first half, while two harsh yellow cards for John Hardiker after the break rendered their task nigh on impossible. But they could have few complaints at being beaten by substitute Richard Battersby's 87th minute strike, having been ponderous all afternoon... The visiting supporters were largely subjected to pedestrian fare. A decent playing surface meant there was no excuse for it, and Harvey's frustration was evident on the sidelines as passes were repeatedly misplaced and over-hit". As a result "boss Jim Harvey has all but given up on reaching the play-offs... Harvey was less than enamoured with the performance of referee Jake Collin. But he was equally critical of his players... 'I didn't feel we got out of the traps or start with any pace or commitment, and the way they (Altrincham) were set up meant they were going to allow us half the pitch', said Harvey. 'We should have taken advantage of it, got the ball forward early and won the knock-downs to play in the attacking third. But we were very slow, and trying to get the message across to the boys for them to understand was painful. If we'd kept 11 players on the pitch it was a game that I'm sure we would have won, but as individuals we didn't play with any pace or real purpose... Terry [Burton] wasn't the last man because Jamie Pitman was yards deeper and there was another fella in behind him, so for me it was a little bit harsh', Harvey said".

    The two FGR players (Burton and Hardiker) sent off at Moss Lane have each received one-match bans.


    NL Daily reports that "The board of directors of Woodley Sports have parted company with manager Chris Willcock and his assistants by mutual consent. Former Altrincham, Mossley and Leigh RMI player Willcock, 38, who has also managed Salford City and Winsford United, was appointed by Sports in May 2007. However, he leaves with the club occupying second-bottom spot, seven points in front of Radcliffe Borough, who possess four games in hand.".


    From Blue Square Football we learn that "Rushden & Diamonds have handed a new contract to youth team striker Sam Smith which will keep him at Nene Park until 2010. The second-year scholar has scored 11 goals for the youth team this season and has been handed squad number 28 for the remainder of this season".

    The BBC claims that "Farsley Celtic's plans to sell off some of their land will go before Leeds City Council on 20 March. The club hope to sell the land to developers to generate much-needed cash for their own ground improvements. The original plan to upgrade Throstle Nest was rejected last month, despite a submitted report recommending approval. The new version would involve the building of 26 houses and 31 flats and it would enable Farsley to extend their main stand along one touchline. The clubhouse, sports hall and junior pitches would also be upgraded, while the car park would also be extended. The council's sport and recreation officer and Sport England have both backed the application"

    The FA reports that Aldershot Town's Anthony Charles "is suspended from 15 March from all first team football until the Club have completed 2 first team matches". Alty play Aldershot on 22 March.

    According to the Burton Mail "Two-goal hero Keith Gilroy believes Burton Albion's promotion push is back on track... Gilroy told Mail Sport: 'Everybody has a blip in the season, and hopefully ours is over now. We'll be going to Grays looking for nothing less than another win...I'm delighted to be having a little run in the team to show people what I can do, and to get two goals as well is brilliant... Definitely at the moment our pitch is not helping us'... Assistant manager Gary Crosby said: 'Our performances have not been as bad as the results have suggested. We've just been through a spell where we couldn't score'".

    From the Cambridge News comes news that "Steve Fallon has admitted that the play-offs might be a step too far for his players this season. Histon lost for the sixth time at home and for a second time in a week in a 3-1 defeat to Halifax Town on Saturday... He said: 'It's going to take a miracle run-in for us to make the play-offs now. Maybe it's time to look at one or two things for next season and see what we can do. We know where we're going to strengthen'".

    At Farsley, Cambridge United boss Jimmy "Quinn felt the wet and windy weather did not help United's cause... He said: 'It's Farsley's home pitch and they just seemed to cope better with the conditions. We weren't at the races and although we got the goal just after half time, instead of fighting tooth and nail to keep what we had, we didn't do the job well enough. I thought one or two lads were off the pace, and that may be down to the number of games we've had'".

    Meanwhile, Farsley Today goes so far as to say that "Farsley Celtic's off-field battle could be just as important as those left to fight on the pitch this season in the quest to secure a long term future in the Blue Square Premier. That's the verdict of chairman Andy Firbank as Celtic's attempt to sell off part of their land for housing which in turn would pay for the upgrade of Throstle Nest enters extra-time. The scheme was rejected by Leeds City Council's west plans panel last month... Firbank said: 'The bottom line is we can't continue to operate at this level without changing the infrastructure of the club. The facilities on a busy match-day are stretched beyond the limit, they are now at breaking point. We need to do something to expand the facilities and make the match-day experience more pleasant for everyone. If we can't develop we can only go one way because we are struggling to cater for the football requirements of the success story that is Farsley Celtic. We have got to improve. To do that we need money and the only way to get that is to sell part of the ground. That would generate better facilities, better car parking, and would enable us to keep the momentum going and go forward.. If we stop now we will go backwards. That's the reality of the situation'.

    Firbank has been more than happy with Celtic's crowds this season, which are averaging out at more than 760... But the average is the second-lowest in the division and if Celtic... are to compete at the business end of the table in the future, they are going to have to improve on that... If their latest plan, which would involve the building of 26 houses and 31 flats by Bellway Homes, gets the go-ahead, it would enable them to extend the main stand all along one touchline, redevelop the club house, sports hall and junior pitches, and significantly improve car parking. The move would also benefit the local community, and the 23 boys and girls teams under Celtic'swing... 'The match-day would be a more pleasant experience for everyone and in that instance they would be more likely to come back', added Firbank. 'We are really happy with the way the crowd has developed this season. It's the biggest growth in the Conference and over the last four years I would say we are one of the biggest success stories in football in general if you take things on a percentage basis'...

    Firbank is happy he and his board made the right decision when they opted to promote John Deacey from assistant to manager... 'It's fair to say we currently have the best team we have ever had at Farsley Celtic', said Firbank. 'The passion in the dressing room is immense at the moment... We are confident we made the right choice when we made John manager and that we have the right players in place to keep us at this level of football with a view to building on it next season...We are absolutely adamant that there is room in Leeds for two football clubs of League status and we thoroughly intend to be that second club. The rest of them talk about it, but we get on with it and we want that to continue'".

    "Weymouth manager John Hollins believes his side will soon start climbing the table if they continue to perform like they did in Saturday's 1-0 win over high-flying Stevenage Borough... The experienced boss said: 'Both Altrincham and Farsley won but I do not worry about what others do. If we play like we did today for the rest of the season then the crowds will start coming back and we will start moving up the table'" reports This is Weymouth..

    Bullsnews tells us that "Mansfield are consulting with their prospective new owners over a permanent manager, but expect to have someone in place by the weekend with the takeover due to be completed shortly after. Favourite for the job Billy McEwan [the ex-boss of York] has told the local press that he wants the challenge".

    10 March 2008


    Altrincham FC have signed on loan left-back Ryan Lynch from Crewe Alexandra. Ryan, 21, replaces James Jennings who was recalled to Macclesfield Town recently. Ryan is with us till 9 April in the first instance but the loan is renewable. He will have squad number 4 and is available for Tuesday's game. Ryan is 5ft 11inches tall and was born in Solihull. He started his career in The Midlands, at Coventry City, and went on loan to Tamworth before being released by Coventry at the end of last season. He signed a one-year deal at Crewe in summer 2007 and played twice on loan for Stafford Rangers early in 2008..


    The referee for Tuesday's match at Moss Lane against Crawley Town is Mr S Procter-Green, who officiated at the Robins' 1-0 defeat at Rushden three weeks ago (February 16th).

    Howard Watts's records, Through the Years, are now on the site for Tuesday's date, 11 March.


    Altrincham chairman Geoff Goodwin has supported Grays chairman Mick Woodward who is refusing to pay £14,000 to former player Ashley Sestanovich who was gaoled recently for conspiracy to rob, in an incident which ended in a murder. Woodward cancelled the player's contract before his trial but this has been deemed illegal The NL paper says that "Goodwin blasted Soho Square officials as 'muppets' who are 'sending out the message that a footballer can do anything they want in society and their club will still pay them'". Sestanovich allegedly told Grays he was only being charged with motoring offences. Geoff added, "It's disgusting. Why should you have to pay someone who is inside and can't do his job? It wouldn't happen in any other industry. the FA needs to take a look at itself because it is a joke from where I am standing and everybody knows they've got it wrong but they are so pig-headed they won't admit it".
    9 March 2008


    Above: The Altrincham & District FA team with the District Cup. Back row, left to right: Gareth Thomas, Tony Spilsbury, Charlie Weir, Declan Wakefield, Ben Oliver, Danny Browne, Lee Berrill, George Heslop. Third row: Alex Murphy, Gavin O'Connor, Daniel Killilea. Second row: Chris Francis, Andrew Jones, Sam Madeley, Dominic Lillie, Jake Leigh-Watson. Front row: Jack Kimber, Tom Bailey.

    Altrincham & District FA Youth team today won the Cheshire County FA District Cup Final for the third successive season. They beat the Wirral FA at Vauxhall Motors FC by 2-1 with the goals coming from Gavin O'Connor and Dominic Lillie. All the Altrincham FA squad are Altrincham FC players and the management comprises George Heslop, Tony Spilsbury and Gareth Thomas.

    A match report and further photo are in the Youth section.


    After Saturday's game, Graham Heathcote told the NL Paper, "As far as I am concerned that was a job done. We set out to stifle the oponents and I am very pleased with the performance of my players". Jim Harvey was less happy, claiming "We would probably have won had we kept eleven players but in the end I feel that we have been mugged". Match statistics show that FGR had no shots on target in the 90 minutes.


    In the NL Paper there are contrasting opinions on the BSP relegation fight from two ex-managers. The former Weymouth boss Jason Tindall writes, "I think Altrincham will stay up through their experience of being in that position for the last couple of years. They've got the knack of peaking at the right time and and they've got players who know how to stay up by the skin of their teeth. They've got some new blood, they've got enough about them to pick up results at home and I fancy them to hang on like they did last year". But the former Conference manager Graham Westley says that "For me it is Weymouth and Northwich to escape, Altrincham and Farsley to slip" out of the division.


    The STAR supporters' coach details for the games at Grays (15th) and Aldershot (22nd) are now on the Away Travel page.


    Kieran Lugsden scored twice for Glossop NE yesterday and, elsewhere, Eddie Hussin netted once for Marine. Substitute James Dean scored for Stalybridge Celtic and Peter Band did so in Hyde's defeat by Burscough. On the move are defender Neil Murphy, from Kidsgrove Athletic to Kendal Town.


    Visitors at Moss Lane on Saturday under the Featured Club scheme were Timperley Athletic Junior FC and their manager Kevin Oldham (pictured above). They were in good voice as Alty beat Forest Green. Anyone interested in joining Athletic should see their excellent website


    News from yesterday of our next opponents comes from the Crawley Argus which says that "Assistant boss Paul Raynor praised Crawley's spirit as they grabbed an unlikely last minute equaliser. Reds looked to be heading for their sixth defeat in seven games... but Jon-Paul Pittman earned them a point when he was quickest to react after Salisbury keeper Ryan Clarke failed to hold Glenn Wilson's deflected shot. Raynor said: 'There is real spirit in the dressing room and that has to be commended. Salisbury are not an easy side to play against but we kept fighting to the end and got our reward'. Crawley were boosted by the return of goalkeeper Ashley Bayes following suspension, with on-loan Danny Knowles dropping to the bench. That was one of two changes to the side which drew 2-2 with Exeter on Tuesday, the other saw Tyrone Thompson return for the injured Lee Blackburn in midfield. Dominic Shimmin was on the bench despite having seven stitches in an eye wound and took the place of Magno Vieira, who had joined Cambridge United on loan for the rest of the season on Friday... Reds stuck with the same 3-5-2 formation which helped contribute to such an entertaining match on Tuesday but unfortunately it did not have the same effect this time... Evans decided to change things at half time with Mustapha Carayol replacing Jamie Cook, who was clearly still troubled by a dead leg which forced him off against Exeter".

    Farsley's Mark Hotte and Tristram Whitman have both signed UniBond league forms with Bradford PA.

    Aftre Northwich Vics were trounced 0-4 at home by Rushden in the Setanta Shield, "Dino Maamria slammed his side's dire defending following their exit" in the Northwich Guardian. "'It's ridiculous', he said. 'It's hard to take knowing we spent an hour on the training ground yesterday practising how to defend corners. We looked like we'd never defended or taken a set piece before. I don't think these players are strong enough mentally to cope with praise', he said. 'I told them they were terrific on Tuesday night after beating Droylsden and it appears some of them thought all they had to do was turn up today and it would happen for them. But you'll get nothing off Conference teams if you don't match their workrate'. So unhappy was the Vics manager with skipper Michael Welch that he hauled him off during the half time interval. Nat Kerr replaced him. 'The team lacked someone to boss them around today and that's why I was so disappointed with Michael Welch at half time', added Maamria. 'He had one of those days and that's why I chose to take him off. The atmosphere before the game was dead, there was nothing there," he said. It's down to the players to do something to get the fans behind them, they are paid to entertain those people who have come to here watch them and that has happened for the whole 90 minutes'"... Lee Steele missed today's game through injury... Fellow forward Darryn Stamp was cup tied".

    8 March 2008


    SAM reports that "Graham Heathcote praised his players for a job well done after they beat promotion-challengers Forest Green 1-0... He said: 'It was a job well done because I was pleased with the way we were disciplined first half. I think the first half display won us the game. Tuesday night we looked a very leggy so it was important that we kept up our energy levels for the whole game and I think the lads did exceptionally well doing that. Obviously the game changed on a couple of incidents but we were able to take advantage. At 3pm I said I'd settle for a 1-0 win from this game. That was a team that came after having won 6-0 so it was about stifling them, frustrating them and getting the result'... After setting out in a 4-5-1 formation to stifle Forest Green during the first half, Heathcote was worried the fans might get frustrated with a perceived lack of ambition. But the Moss Lane crowd got behind their team for the full 90 minutes and he believes they played a major part in the victory. 'It's very hard to go out and play like that at home and the crowd deserve credit for not getting on the players backs', he said. 'They could have seen it as negativity so fair play to them'".


    Above: Alty leave the pitch after the game. The players, left to right, are Darren Tinson, Richard Battersby, Warren Peyton, Carlos Roca, Greg Young, Colin Little, Joe O'Neill and Liam King.

    Match report here.


    Above: Gavin Rathbone of GR Photography keeps coming up with superb action photos from Moss Lane and one of his latest is this view of Stuart Coburn making a brilliant save from Halifax Town's Simon Heslop. Stuart deservedly lifted the Man of the Match award.


    Friday 7th

    FA Trophy Semi, 1st Leg

  • Torquay U. 2 York C. 0

    Saturday 8th

    FA Trophy Semi, 1st Leg

  • Ebbsfleet U. 3 Aldershot T. 1

    Setanta Shield SF Northern Section

  • Northwich Vics 0 Rushden & D. 4

    The winners will be at home to Halifax Town or Burton Albion who meet next Thursday. Setanta TV are scheduled to show the northern section final on Wednesday, March 19. The southern final between Aldershot Town and Woking is the previous evening. The final is set for Thursday, April 3.


  • Howard Watts's Through the Years
  • Altrincham 1 Forest Green R. 0
  • Crawley T. 1 Salisbury C. 1
  • Farsley C. 2 Cambridge U. 1
  • Histon 1 Halifax T. 3
  • Kidderminster H. 1 Grays A. 0
  • Oxford U. 0 Burton A. 3
  • Weymouth 1 Stevenage B. 0
  • Woking 2 Stafford R. 2


    This is Glos asserts that "Free from injury or distraction, Forest Green's thoroughbred forwards have hit top gear in time for a late play-off charge. That is the view of Rovers manager Jim Harvey, who saw both Stuart Fleetwood and Adriano Rigoglioso end lengthy goalscoring droughts in midweek. The duo will be in tandem again at Altrincham tomorrow, when Harvey will call for a repeat of the ruthless streak that saw Weymouth humiliated 6-0 on their own turf. Rigoglioso was the star of the second half, breaking his duck for a stop-start campaign with a magnificent hat-trick. Fleetwood's earlier brace at the Wessex Stadium had taken his season's tally to 32, all the more impressive given that he had failed to find the net in his previous 11 matches". Jim Harvey said of Rigoglioso "On a decent surface he showed the quality he has". Rovers are "seven points adrift of the play-off zone. Tomorrow's meeting with Graham Heathcote's relegation battlers provides an ideal opportunity to keep up the momentum, but Harvey is wary of over-confidence. He said: 'I'm glad we got through (at Weymouth) with only one or two wee niggles. There's not much to pick between the top and the bottom in this league and, as I've said before, it's very much about us. If our boys turn up, they're prepared mentally and they take ownership of the performance then we know they can turn out quality'... Squad: T. Burton, D. Jones, J. Hardiker, C. Giles, M. Preece, A. Tonkin, A. Lawless, J. Pitman, M. Brough, S. Clist, J. Smith, L. Afful, L. Dodgson, P. Stonehouse, I. Welsh, A. Rigoglioso, S. Fleetwood, D. Carey-Bertram, R. Robinson. Altrincham have perked up in recent weeks and will not be the soft touch that Weymouth were. Nonetheless, the visitors will have too much guile and pace in midfield and attack - Rovers win".

    As those who attended the Meet the New Recruits Meeting some time ago will recall, for Saturday's game "Altrincham manager Graham Heathcote is unable to select Chris Senior because of work commitments, so Tom Cahill is likely to start against Forest Green". Chris actually has an exam to take on Saturday. The BBC adds that "On-loan Ryan Toulson will be available again after sitting out the midweek match against parent club Halifax. Forest Green manager Jim Harvey is unlikely to make many changes after the 6-0 thrashing of Weymouth on Tuesday. Ishmael Welsh is pushing for a starting place and Adriano Rigoglioso is likely to partner Stuart Fleetwood up front".

    "Forest Green Rovers manager Jim Harvey has told BBC Radio Gloucestershire that he wants his players to carry their good work at Weymouth into the match against Altrincham. 'We put our best players in and everybody was on their game', he said. 'There's still an awful lot for us to play for. To pick something up at Altrincham would be another massive boost for us. They are a tough side. Just like us, they'll be fighting for every point that's available. Apparently their pitch is very nice and if it is a good surface it'll help us produce the form we need to'". Rumours that groundsman Neil Brown was giving it a good raking this afternoon have not been confirmed.

    But Rovers should not forget that Alty have their own in-form striker in the shape of Colin Little who has scored seven goals in his last eight matches, in two of which he has only been a substitute.


    "Crawley Town boss Steve Evans has predicted a play-off challenge for the Reds next season... He told BBC Southern Counties Radio: 'I can tell the Crawley fans now. Get the kettle on. Next season, we're going to be in there. I know it could be a big statement, but I believe it. Evans feels the club, that nearly folded in the past two seasons, need a period of stability. 'Providing nothing changes behind the scenes like someone takes away the budget, and we keep the bulk of the players we have now, we will challenge'".

    But the Crawley Observer reports that "Plans for Crawley Town to share the Broadfield Stadium with Horsham have fallen through. The Hornets have been hit with a double blow this week in their search for a ground for the next campaign. Negotiations with Crawley Town and Crawley Council have fallen through about the possibility of groundsharing at the Broadfield Stadium next season". Given that it was reported last year that the Football Club had not paid its rent to the Council for a considerable period, there are some rather surprising comments from Horsham Secretary John Lines, who revealed: 'Our negotiations with Crawley Council were never intended to come out to the public and unfortunately they've moved the goal posts so we are upset all round. Crawley Council are currently negotiating a new lease with Crawley Town Football Club to run the entire stadium. Currently, they lease it and Crawley Council provide all the maintenance but they are in the process of handing that over to Crawley Town Football Club. They have said that they cannot play matches on consecutive days and came up with a clause that whilst we will use our best endeavour we cannot guarantee that matches can be played on consecutive days, unfortunately our league cannot accept it... We still have to vacate [our current ground] on the 8th May" as the ground is to be built upon."

    The attendance at the Butcher's Arms on Wednesday evening for the Setanta Shield match between Droylsden and Burton was just 172. They were privileged to see manager Nigel Clough play the entire 90 minutes. Can we expect Graham Heathcote to turn out for Alty shortly?

    "Steve Bull faces a mammoth task to lift morale for Stafford Rangers' visit to Woking" according to This is Staffs. "His team suffered their worst mauling of the season at Kidderminster on Tuesday, leaving Bull baffled as to why a mini-revival has been nipped in the bud. 'It was a very, very bad performance, but I had my say after the game and we have to look ahead to going down to Woking and getting a result there', said Bull. 'I have to get them motivated again. There's some of the lads who want to play for the club and for the club to do well and I'm getting a response off them. I want to get them working for the club'. The Rangers' boss is still on the lookout for new recruits, but may have to wait until after tomorrow's match. He has arranged a private practice game for next Tuesday night to which a number of trialists have been invited. 'I'm going to have to bide my time with signings, it's going to be hard to attract players to Stafford with the situation we're in, but hopefully, with my contacts, I can get a few loan players in'".

    This is Weymouth tells us that "It has been confirmed that goalkeeper Jason Matthews has left Weymouth and joined Blue Square South side Eastleigh... who earlier this week also snapped up defender Ashley Vickers from the Terras".

    Woking say that manager Frank Gray "is currently in contract talks with Adam Green and Goma Lambu, whose respective one-year deals expire in May. Four others – Giuseppe Sole, Jerome Maledon, Matt Ruby and Danny Bunce – are all subject to the Bosman ruling, with Gray keen to retain their registrations for another season. Meanwhile, the futures of recent additions Damian Batt and Jason Norville remain in the balance. Right-back Batt and striker Norville are tied to the Cards until the end of this season, and Gray said: 'They haven’t been here for that long, so we will keep looking at them to see if they are the right ones for us – we are in no rush. We need to add three or four [players] but it depends what happens with Damian and Jason. If they don’t sign we will be looking for a right-back and a striker'. As for left-sided player Green and right-winger Lambu, the Kingfield chief explained: 'We wouldn’t be talking to either of them if we didn’t want to keep them, but it’s a case of what we can afford to pay and whether they accept our offers'. A budget cut last summer forced newly-arrived Gray to spend wisely on younger, cheaper talent. And he is expecting his spending power to be little different next season. 'I think the club are anticipating that if the development of the ground goes ahead as planned then that’s when they will look at it differently', he explained. Chairman David Taylor said budgets had been discussed at board level, adding: 'My aim is to retain as many of the existing squad as possible. I would like the budget to be the same next year but it has yet to be finalised'".

    7 March 2008


    As reported below, (in the BSP News section), Grays Athletic have been given until 19 March, or face what the Essex press calls a "suspension from all football", to pay £14K to a former player who was not paid wages by the club whilst awaiting trial on serious charges. The Grays chairman, Mick Woodward has issued the following statement:

    I am bitterly disappointed in The FA's judgment; all they seem to want to do is take money from football clubs.

    We are being forced to pay approx £14k to a player who only had 3 training sessions and 20 minutes in a pre-season friendly due to his involvement in a heinous crime which saw a young father shot in cold blood, unfortunately my principles will not allow me to pay this money from either my own pocket or from the clubs and the directors are of the same opinion, I feel sorry for the supporters of this club but I hope that you will back me on this decision.

    The club currently has a counter claim going through the County Courts and an offer was made to The FA that they hold the money owed until such time that the case is bought to conclusion; however, they refused to even consider this and demanded that the money is paid directly to Mr Sestanovich.

    If there is any person, player or team that may have benefited from Grays Athletic maybe they would be willing to offer to pay this money on behalf of the club, then they can do this anonymously or make contact with the club.

    If any person has any opinions on this matter then please let the club know.

    Mike Woodward


    The Sale & Altrincham Messenger says that "Alty's 3-3 draw with Halifax will probably be seen as an opportunity missed. Three times the Robins came from behind... That in itself was a laudable achievement, an example of this team's sheer persistence and strength of character. But the lingering emotion at Moss Lane was one of disappointment, both among the exhausted players and the equally exhausted crowd... Their winless run has now been extended to five games and the pressure will only continue to build. Employing a new 3-4-3 formation, Alty looked uncomfortable from the start against Halifax. None of the back three seemed aware of their roles and it was this kind of 'to me, to you' defending that handed Halifax the lead within five minutes... The Robins could even have won the game if the man in the middle hadn't ignored the most blatant penalty of the night. Halifax keeper Adam Legzdins seemed to pin Senior to the ground after he had knocked the ball past him but the clueless official gave nothing".

    From the other side, the < href="">Halifax Town site reports that "Manager Chris Wilder was left to rue the naivety of his side's play in the 3-3 draw at Altrincham. He said after the game, "I thought we went for the win tonight and our play was decent at times. We were very naive with our defending. Just after halftime, we were in control of the game. We said they would come at us and have a good blow at it and we didn't deal with a long throw. We got ourselves back in front through really good play and instead of being professional and a little bit streetwise and taking the sting our of the game we have left the back door open again. They have taken advantage of that. I think the final result could have been 8-3 or 8-4 to us tonight. We [could] have been 3-0 up before they even had a sniff at goal... Whatever was said in the dressing rooms at half time seemed to fire up Altrincham and they flew out of the blocks pinning Town back".


    In the light of yesterday's piece on Bill Speakman's attendance at the Torquay v Altrincham match, Ian Harwood has located on the Pathe website a short film of Bill's mother at home in Moss Place, Altrincham. "The house was between the Bridge pub (opposite Tesco) and that little slope that runs down to the back of the ice rink. I guess that at that time it ran into the goods/coal yard behind the station. Not many years previously of course coal trains were still running along Moss Lane from where the ATS tyre depot is to the gas works (up to 1959 I think)".


    Irish club Drogheda United report that "The Drogs had their final workout before Saturday's League opener with Shamrock Rovers with a 1-0 win over Stockport County at United Park this afternoon with trialist Carlos Logan featuring on the left-hand side in attack".


    Altrincham FC Youth team make up the Altrincham & District FA Youth team in Sunday's Cheshire County FA District Youth Cup final at Vauxhall Motors, Rivacre Park, kick off at 1pm. Alty are the holders and are going for a third successive win in the competition.


    Setanta Shield Rd 5
  • Droylsden 0 Burton Albion 2


    Terry Rowley's BSP attendance data has been updated, here.


    Right: Gavin Rathbone's picture of Alty midfielder Liam King shows him typically getting stuck in against Halifax Town.


    The Matchday Sponsors list has been updated, courtesy of Barry Pond.


    Altrincham FC's Football in the Community programme is running an Easter Fun Week - a five-day football course from Monday 31 March to Friday 4th April. The course, at Moss Lane, is open to all playing abilities between the ages of 5 and 12 (school years 1 to 7).

    The course runs from 10am to 3.15pm (registration is from 9.30am daily) and the cost for the full week is just £55, with a discount applying for any brothers and sisters who register.

    The week's activities will include

  • Skill awards for each age group, to be made at 3pm each day.
  • Meeting the manager of Altrincham FC, Graham Heathcote.
  • A group photo for each player.
  • A presentation of awards on Friday to each player, (parents are welcome).
  • A Scheme run by experienced Altrincham FC Community Coaching Team.

    For an application form or further details, please contact Chris Bullock, either on (0161) 962 2369 or by e-mail. Alternatively you can e-mail Altrincham FC.


    Cambridge United say that "Jimmy Quinn has moved to strengthen his squad again for the season's run in by signing Crawley forward Magno Vieira on loan for the rest of the season".

    The Burton Mail reported yesterday that "Nigel Clough sends a makeshift Burton Albion team into Setanta Shield action tonight. Albion visit Droylsden... and Clough is prepared to flout the competition rules to save key players for trips to Oxford United and Grays Athletic in the next six days. Clubs are required to field at least 10 of the 16 players used in their two previous league games but Albion's starting line-up at the Butcher's Arms will bear no resemblance to the side pushing for promotion. Clough plans to include himself and will also turn to the likes of youngsters Sam Hall, Tom Liversage and Ollie Hancock, as well Albion old boy Steve Scoffham. However, with skipper Darren Stride, Aaron Webster and Dave Farrell due to return after injury, Clough believes he is applying the spirit of the competition if not the law. And he believes Albion should still be good enough to defeat bottom club Droylsden for the third time this season... The Brewers boss said last night: 'We're getting as close as we can to meeting the rules of the competition without jeopardising players who have just played three times in eight days and have three more games in eight days, starting at Oxford on Saturday. It is unrealistic to expect us to be at full-strength at Droylsden, but that does not mean we are taking the competition lightly. The timing of the game has caught us out, but we still want to progress as far as we can. First of all, that means beating Droylsden and we'll do everything we can to do that, even if it means going to extra-time and penalties'".

    Farsley Today says that "Farsley Celtic have kicked off a campaign to save redevelopment proposals for their Throstle Nest ground from the scrapheap. An application from the non-league football club and Bellway Homes for permission to build 26 houses and 31 flats on part of the stadium site was rejected by councillors in Leeds last month... The Blue Square Premier side have launched a petition urging Leeds City Council to reconsider its decision... A report to last month's planning panel, however, said that despite their recent success on the pitch, their financial position remained difficult. The proposed redevelopment of Throstle Nest would help secure the club's long term future, added the report".

    On the pitch "Sent-off winger Rory Prendergast received no sympathy from Celts' manager John Deacey, who accused him of letting the side down. There was no disguising Deacey's anger as Celtic finished with nine men after the injury-time dismissal of defender Georges Santos for a second yellow card in a potentially damaging home defeat to Rushden & Diamonds. The experienced Prendergast was shown a straight red in the 29th minute for using foul and abusive language to referee Paul Curry when he felt Farsley should have had a penalty... Five minutes later, Celtic could easily have lost goalkeeper Curtis Aspden who pushed Jon Challinor to the ground in an off-the-ball incident. Aspden and Challinor were shown the yellow card, much to the Farsley keeper's relief in particular. Deacey said: 'Rory Prengergast knows he has let the team down. We were controlling the game completely but it was hard work from then on. We worked our socks off in all departments so I can be proud of them for that, but we had a great opportunity to get something out of the game and made it very difficult for ourselves'... The visitors forced nine corners to Farsley's none in the second half"

    According to This is Glos "Forest Green reignited their slim play-off hopes with a devastating display at the Wessex Stadium. The long wait came to an end for Blue Square Premier top scorer Stuart Fleetwood, who netted his 31st and 32nd goals of the season to end a barren run of 11 games. But his limelight was stolen by Adriano Rigoglioso, whose stunning treble in the second half made it Rovers' biggest win of 2007/08".

    The Thurrock Gazette says that "Grays Athletic football club are counting the cost of a failed appeal against being ordered to pay jailed former player Ashley Sestanovich £14,000. The football club were incensed when they were ordered to pay five months' wages to Sestanovich even though he was in jail awaiting trial for his involvement in a wages snatch and the death of Thomas Fahey in the summer of 2006. Sestanovich was eventually found guilty of conspiracy to rob and sentenced to eight years in prison. However, he called on the FA to back his case for payment and they ruled Grays should give him his wages up until the point at which he was convicted. Today Grays' appeal against the FA decision was heard but they were given 14 days to pay plus a further £500 fine and told to bear the costs of the hearing. If they don't pay up by March 19 they will be suspended from all football. Club spokesman Kevin Lamb said: 'Grays Athletic have strongly contested the payments to Mr Sestanovich. We have been involved in a counter claim against Mr Sestanovich and were instructed that this would be successful. The FA have not been sympathetic to the case even though the Football Conference were fully behind Grays Athletic's decision to terminate Mr Sestanovich's contract with the club once the gravity of the offence was know to them'... Sestanovich made just one appearance for Grays - in a friendly - and chairman Mike Woodward claims he lied to the club about the nature of his forthcoming court appearance when he signed for them. Sestanovich was sentenced to eight years in prison in April for conspiring to rob in a bungled raid which led to two other men being convicted of murder".

    According to The Mid-Cheshire Chronicle that when Droylsden met The Vics, the Manchester side "drew first blood, Mike Welch making a reckless tackle on former Vics man Jamie Maguire and Steve Daly scoring from the spot. With Darryn Stamp and Lee Steele forming an experienced attack, Vics were worthy of an equaliser before the break and both men missed chances. But all their worries melted away in the second half. Cortez Belle and Josh Wilson paved the way for Steele’s firmly driven first goal in 57 minutes. Joel Byrom’s 64th minute daisy cutter travelled unerringly to the bottom corner of the net from 25 yards and Steele claimed his second goal in the 75th minute, with the aid of a generous deflection from Karl Munroe", the former Alty centre-back.

    Another view comes from the Northwich Guardian which says that "Dino Maamria said Vics had played the waiting game to perfection to earn the points at Droylsden... [making it] a run of five matches without defeat on the road. 'Our performance was very very good tonight, nobody could argue with the result',said a delighted Maamria at full time... 'I told the players not to panic at half time even though we were behind', he said. 'It was obvious we got excited on Saturday when we went ahead but the difference tonight was that we were patient and didn't try to force the issue too much', he said... He did save some words of praise for debutant Darryn Stamp 'I thought he was terrific', added Maamria. 'He did some good build up work for us winning headers and considering he hasn't started a game for a while I though he did well... As for Joel [Byrom] I thought he was different class tonight. His strike was absolutely fantastic but that's what he does in training every day. We paid good money for him to come here [from Clitheroe] and get goals from midfield so I'm happy he's doing exactly that".

    According to This is Staffs, "Stafford Rangers' boss Steve Bull was left struggling to find any positives from the performance after last night's 6-0 Blue Square Premier defeat at Kidderminster. 'It was embarrassing, and the players know it as well', fumed Bull. 'They couldn't even pass the ball 10 yards. Djimi Sangare put himself about a bit at the back, but that was about it. I was struggling to pick two or three out of that lot for next year. If we are to go down, at least I want to go down fighting. I want to show the supporters that I can bring something to the club'".

    This is Weymouth believes that "If the Terras are to stay up they will certainly have to improve and quick. Rovers tore them apart... The Terras' boss [John Hollins] said: 'We started quite well and looked bright and sharp but then Fleetwood rolled Magnus Okuonghae, went through and stuck it away. I think Magnus fell over and it was a disappointing goal to concede so early... I said recently that things might have to get worse before they get better and perhaps tonight was a bit of a reality check for a few of them because overall it was embarrassing. We have only won four points since Christmas and that is not funny. I have been brought in to change that and I firmly believe that I can and will. The crowd can shout things at me all they want. I have had it before and I am made of tough stuff. Not much has defeated me in my life so far, and I do not give up easily. People need to stand up and be counted and I am still confident everything can be rectified but for us to do that we need passion, effort and drive. We will get that in there and we will survive'... To make matters even worse for Weymouth, Marcus Browning limped off in the second half of last night's clash making him a major doubt ahead of Saturday. Hollins added: 'Marcus played tonight because he wants to play but as you could see when he came off his Achilles is still giving him problems. He has basically run himself down'". The same paper adds that "Weymouth sank to new lows in front of a disconsolate home crowd. The Terras looked grossly short of confidence and belief ... But perhaps the most alarming aspect of the home side's debacle was the lack of leadership, spirit and passion in their ranks... There was no place in the squad for skipper Simon Weatherstone whose armband went to Marcus Browning... The home faithful, along with Terras officials, trudged away looking very disheartened at the end of the game and who could blame them? Hollins' men had performed woefully and if they are to remain in the Blue Square Premier next season they are going to have to raise their game ten-fold and do it quickly".

    FGR Press Officer (Colin Peake) reports that "It has been agreed by mutual consent that the contract of Ollie James is terminated and he is now a free agent. Ollie joined at the start of the season from Tranmere Rovers but due to the outstanding form of Darren Jones he has only made 7 appearances in the Blue Square Premier".

    The Dorset Echo tells us that "Dorchester Town have extended the loan deal of midfielder Danny Clay from neighbours Salisbury City by a further month".

    Blue Square Football says that "Farsley Celtic boss John Deacey is attempting to secure a Throstle Nest loan spell for Rochdale midfielder Lee Crooks,... the League Two veteran. The 30-year-old player featured a meagre 10 times for Dale this season and will be guaranteed increased playing time at the Conference club".

    "Assistant manager Paul Raynor says Jamie Cook and Lee Blackburn are struggling to be fit for Saturday's home clash against Salisbury" reports the Crawley Observer. "The pair picked up injuries during Crawley's 2 - 2 against Exeter on Tuesday night. However James Krause and Ashley Bayes will return to the squad following their suspensions".

    "Forest Green forward Adriano 'Celi' Rigoglioso believes ignoring the critics has been the key to his stunning return to form" claims This is Glos. "Rigoglioso smashed a hat-trick in the second half of Rovers' 6-0 demolition of Weymouth... his first goals of an injury-disrupted season. The former Liverpool trainee admits a lack of match practice has affected his form... Said Rigoglioso, "Scoring three goals will do me the world of good, and it was nice to get a bit of frustration out of my system'... and Rigoglioso is convinced a seven-point gap between his side and the top five can be bridged with 12 games left. He said: 'There's been a bit of unrest from the fans because there's a little gap between us and the play-offs, but we know ourselves that five or six wins on the bounce will put us right back in there. We've shown we can cut teams open and batter them, so the season's not over by any means'. Rigoglioso and company head to another struggling side in Altrincham this weekend".

    Aldershot Town "has confirmed that for the five remaining Blue Square Premier matches at the Recreation Ground this season all juniors under 16 will be admitted for just £1... After Monday evening's victory at Torquay United, witnessed by over 900 jubilant Shots supporters who travelled to Devon, goalkeeper Nikki Bull spoke passionately about the role that the supporters have played and can continue to play this season. He commented, 'The fans at Aldershot lost their football club in 1992 and had it taken away through no fault of their own. There are hundreds of people who have dedicated time, effort and finances to rebuild the club over the years. These people are so passionate and we as players and the management can give something back to the fans... The five matches where the "Kids For A Quid" scheme will operate [include] Sat 22 March v Altrincham".

    The Hyde United forum confirms that "196 appearances and 68 goals since joining Hyde United from Woodley Sports in 2004, Dale Johnson has left the club to join Droylsden until April 26th, allowing him to return to Ewen Fields for any possible playoff campaign. Coming the other way is Gareth Morris. He joins us from the Bloods on a permanent deal, beating off rumoured interest from Stalybridge Celtic".

    6 March 2008


    Although Ryan Shotton has accumulated five bookings, unlike James Jennings who likewise gathered five bookings recently, Ryan is not being banned - for two reasons, each of which may seem illogical. Firstly, players accumulating five bookings from 1 March simply get a warning letter and not a suspension; the "logic" is that the footballing authorities argue that if it has taken a player that long to reach five bookings he does not deserve punishment. Whether he has accumulated the five cards in five games or forty seems to be immaterial. This rule also means that sides who have played more league games than others at this arbitrary date in the season lose out in two ways. Firstly, because they have played more games they are more likely to have had players banned for picking up five cards. Secondly, they have a disadvantage against those teams which have played fewer games before the magic date as those teams are less likely to have suffered bookings and suspensions and, moreover, have more games to play in which they can accumulate cards without punishment more serios than a letter of warning. Players who have already served a ban for five cards but gather another five do get banned regardless of the date.

    The second reason why Ryan is not suspended is that one of his five bookings came in the Cheshire Senior Cup. Whilst the Cheshire FA can levy punishments against any club competing in their Cup which does not field a first eleven, the disciplinary authorities consider the CSC not be a first-team competition for BSP sides - though it is a first-team tournament for Blue Square North (and lower) sides! All this almost makes the January transfer window rules and those relating to "Emergency" loans look straightforward. And as for the offside rule....


    Right: Not a penalty, according to referee Mr West, as Chris Senior is held down by Halifax keeper Adam Legzdins on Tuesday night. This excellent photo is by Gavin Rathbone who has more on his GR Photography website.


    Some sad news from Cornwall about Altrincham's legendary goalscorer, Jackie Swindells, who is currently in the High-Dependency Unit of the Royal Cornwall Hospital, Truro, suffering from emphysema. Jackie, who will be 71 next month, retired to Cornwall last year. All at Moss Lane wish him a full and speedy recovery.


    The Sale and Altrincham Messenger's Connor Murphy writes, "Graham Heathcote praised his players' character after they came from behind no fewer than three times to claim a point against Halifax... But the Alty boss is keen not to place too much importance on any one game and remains confident his side can still avoid relegation. He told SAM Sport: 'I'm a little bit disappointed about the result but I think the players showed fantastic character to stay in the game when we didn't play well. We had a tough week last week with a couple of tough trips to the south coast and the players really had to dig deep to get the result on the back of that. Pre-Christmas that was a game we would've lost and my motto at the moment is if you can't take the three points, don't lose the one. There is no such thing as a must-win game. We have to go out to win every game we play home or away and it gets a bit tiresome when people start talking about must-win games'... Heathcote made a bold attempt to put his team on the front foot from the off, deploying a 3-4-3 formation... The back three all seemed unsure of their roles both indivdually and as a unit and Heathcote blames himself for the poor start. He said: 'I tried something different to start the game, in terms of tactics, and we were all over the shop. I thought we had a good chance of winning so I played three at the back and attempted to take the game to Halifax. But they exploited that and played some good football during the first 45 minutes. Everytime we open up to teams we concede goals, we can't seem to cope unless we play two banks of four'".

    The Halifax Courier reports on the draw at Moss Lane on Tuesday. "In an entertaining clash between two sides that showed great attacking intent, the Shaymen were in front three times only for Altrincham to hit back on each occasion. And while two of the Shaymen's goals came from the penalty spot, that should not detract from a performance in which they carved out enough opportunities to have been out of sight by the break... Boss Chris Wilder could be forgiven for experiencing a feeling of deja-vu... it brought back memories of the meeting between the sides at the Shay back in August when Town were in control only to be held 2-2. 'We have thrown away another winning opportunity', said Wilder. 'I am a realist but I feel that we are 15 to 20 points short of what we should have. It started with the home game against Altrincham in August when we were 2-0 up and it should have been three, four and five. It wasn't and they got back which set the tone for a naive season... Three should be enough to win a game away from home', said Wilder. 'Our play was decent at times, but the defending was very naive. Instead of being professional and streetwise we kept leaving the back door open and Altrincham took advantage. We should have been three up before they even had a sniff at goal. We have scored three and created another dozen chances. Altrincham's goals have not come from sustained pressure. They have a bit of pace and know-how and we had to concentrate. But they have scored when we have been on the attack'".


    Above: On Tuesday night Sale United JFC were the welcome visitors to Moss Lane for the Altrincham v Halifax Town game under the Featured Club scheme.


    One of Altrincham's most famous sons is Bill Speakman, who was born in Moss Lane and won the VC for gallantry in the 1950s. Grahame Rowley writes that Bill "used to live where the new Tesco superstore in Altrincham is now. He was awarded the Victoria Cross in the Korean War and was one of only two people to receive this award during that War. He lives in South Africa but has relatives in Paignton (Devon) and was over here visiting them when our match against Torquay United was played last week. He was invited to Plainmoor as a guest of Altrincham FC and had a wonderful evening at the game". Bill is pictured (centre), flanked by Alty directors, Andrew Shaw (left) and Derek Wilshaw (right).


    Blue Square Football says that "Halifax Town are waiting on the go-ahead to complete work on the Shay Stadium's East Stand. The Shay Stadium Trust's chief executive Geoff Butler has revealed that they are planning to make improvements to lighting, drainage, the car park layout and sound insulation. If the proposal is given the go-ahead, then Calderdale Council will reportedly spend more than £2 million on finishing the East Stand. 'I have been working on plans to get the stand completed for the past five years and we are now ready for the final push', Butler told the Evening Courier. 'Planning approval should ensure that the work gets under way in the summer and that it is completed by the end of the year'".

    "Recently appointed Stafford Rangers manager Steve Bull has vented his frustration after watching his side slump to a humiliating defeat in midweek. Stafford took on Kidderminster Harriers and they were handed a lesson in football by Mark Yates' side -a 6-0 defeat... 'It was embarrassing and the players know it', Bull told the Express & Star. 'I've only been managing for four games, but I think this was the worst performance I've ever seen'" reports Blue Square Football.

    NL Daily says that "Former Spurs and England Youth international keeper Nicky Eyre has returned to Grays Athletic on loan until the end of the season. Following his departure from Grays in August 2006, Eyre has been with Rushden & Diamonds, Dagenham & Redbridge and more recently St Albans City, who have just re-signed veteran keeper Paul Bastock. Earlier this week Grays` number two keeper Danny Knowles was loaned to rivals Crawley Town".

    According to the BBC "Ebbsfleet boss Liam Daish is furious one of the club's biggest games in years is starting at 1200 GMT because of police concerns about trouble. Daish says the club will lose money because the first leg of the FA Trophy semi-final against Aldershot has been brought forward from 1500 on Saturday. He told BBC Radio Kent: 'I can't understand it. Ebbsfleet v Aldershot - we should be able to deal with that. I don't see any other constabularies bringing their games forward. Why is it us? We'll probably lose a bit of money from it, it's not ideal but we'll get on with it'. Daish... has called on the supporters to 'give the shopping a miss and come and cheer on the Fleet'.

    The Burton Mail tells us that "Burton Albion stayed in touch with the leading pack in the race for promotion by halting their losing streak last night. However, the goalless stalemate against York City at KitKat Crescent was greeted with a mixed reaction by manager Nigel Clough... Albion's boss said: 'It was an excellent performance in a lot of ways but we just couldn't get the goal that would have won us the game. We created enough chances - certainly for an away side - with 20-odd efforts on goal, and we just needed a bit of quality to put the ball in the net'... And Clough pledged that Albion would work extra hard to try to end a barren spell which has seen them fire blanks in four of their last five games".

    From the Argys we learn that "On loan Lewes midfielder Charley Hearn has returned to Grays Athletic following the completion of his one-month loan spell at the Dripping Pan".

    And The Argus reports on our opponents next week: "Two goals from on-loan striker Ollie Allen earned Crawley a 2-2 draw at home to play-off chasing Exeter ... Crawley have conceded far too many goals during their recent abysmal run and boss Steve Evans responded by making three changes at the back. Goalkeeper Danny Knowles came in for his debut after arriving on emergency loan from Grays to replace the suspended Ashley Bayes. Bradley Thomas and Kieran Murphy also came in to a new-look back four but the changes did not have the desired effect as Reds fell behind... Allen, who was unable to play on Saturday because he is on loan from Stevenage, was brought in to replace Magno Vieira for his full debut... Evans was forced to make a change three minutes before the break as Tyrone Thompson replaced the clearly out of sorts Lee Blackburn and made another switch during the interval, Mustapha Carayol coming on in place of Cook. Crawley had to switch things around as a result with Carayol going to left back, Jamie Stevens moving into the centre and Dannie Bulman going to right midfield"

    5 March 2008


    All six goals on this 3-3 draw came from defensive errors rather than attacking skill, with Altrincham leading the way by conceding two penalties to Halifax's one. But, with the score at 3-3, the most obvious penalty of the night was not given, when Halifax keeper Legzdins virtually pinned Senior to the floor for several seconds after the striker had poked the ball past him.

    Match report here.

    Right: Carlos Roca made his first home appearance for Altrincham in the closing stages of the game against Halifax Town. Tuesday 4th March

  • ALTRINCHAM 3 Halifax T. 3
  • Crawley T. 2 Exeter City 2
  • Droylsden 1 Northwich V. 3
  • Ebbsfleet U. 2 Salisbury C. 1
  • Farsley C. 0 Rushden & D. 1
  • Histon 1 Stevenage B. 4
  • Kidderminster H. 6 Stafford R. 0
  • Oxford U. 1 Cambridge U. 2
  • Weymouth 0 Forest Green R. 6
  • York C. 0 Burton A. 0
  • Howard Watts's Through the Years data.


    Betweeen 7pm and 8pm this Friday, Channel M's Football Show includes a piece on a day in the life of Alty groundsman and Abbey Hey manager, Neil Brown.


    According to NL Daily "Rumours have begun to circulate that Chester City are lining-up The New Saints' boss Ken McKenna to take-over as their seventh manager in seven years. The struggling Blues sacked boss Bobby Williamson... McKenna`s right-hand man at TNS, Gary Brabin, is a former Chester skipper and is being tipped to fulfil the same role if McKenna is chosen by chairman Steven Vaughan. McKenna has already said he will leave TNS at the end of the season".

    Former Alty Reserve Rio Nelson made his debut for Barrow this week.


    Yesterday NL Daily said that "Weymouth have signed Swindon Town defender Chris Blackburn on loan until the end of the season. The 25-year-old goes straight into the Terras' squad for Tuesday night`s important clash with Forest Green Rovers at the Wessex Stadium. Blackburn won promotion to the Football League with Morecambe last May ".

    "Rushden & Diamonds have received confirmation that their bid to be included in the London 2012 Olympics Training Camp Guide has been successful, and the Diamonds Sports Complex at Nene Park will be included in the guide for National Olympic Committees for the Olympic sports of Archery, Fencing, Football, Judo, Table Tennis and Wrestling" reports NL Daily.

    Stevenage Borough say that "James Russell has been recalled from his loan at Canvey Island with immediate effect".

    Aldershot Town's Kirk Hudson has been voted the Blue Square Premier “Player of the Month” for February.

    Farsley Celtic say that "Following the disappointing decision last week your help is requested. In the first attempt we are launching a petition urging that our application is reconsidered". It copntinues, "Celtic chairman Andy Firbank calls upon supporters to assist in attempting to reverse the decision of Leeds City Council's planning committee by signing a petition asking for the decision to be reconsidered. Firbank and fellow director Paul Glover met with Celtic's ward councillor Andrew Carter in the aftermath of the recent decision and agreed that in the first instance a petition be signed showing the true extent of support for the proposed redevelopment. 'There were only a handful of objectors to the application', Firbank explains, 'although sadly even fewer in support from our own supporters'.... Firbank added 'Now is not the time for recriminations or personal attacks but to show the council that the people of Farsley, West Leeds and beyond want improved facilities on our site. The planned facilities will not simply benefit the club but the community at large and will be an asset to all"'.

    From This is Staff says that "Stafford Rangers boss Steve Bull is hunting for further reinforcements to bolster their Blue Square Premier survival bid... Bull said: 'I've been trying my hardest to get players in, but there is nothing doing at present, so I might try to fix up a game to see some trialists. It's been a case of welcome to the real world. We had a real kick in the teeth on Saturday, but I've told the players they've got to forget about Farsley and get on with the job. They were all gutted after the match and they all sat with their heads down in the dressing room. I think it was the occasion that got to them'... With three strikers already under treatment, Bull's injury worries worsened with former Stoke City youngster Matt Hazley almost certain to be missing. He limped off with an ankle injury five minutes into the Farsley game. After toying with a bold 3-5-2 formation at the weekend, Bull indicated he may have to go back to a tried and tested 4-4-2".

    4 March 2008


    Keith Davey is looking for approximately 3 people to help in the snack bars next season. Anyone who would be interested in helping should contact Keith on matchdays at his snack bar, or ring the club on 0161-928-1045 and Keith will contact you. Thanks from Keith Davey.


    Under the terms of his season-long loan from Halifax Town, Alty's Ryan Toulson will not be playing tonight against the Shaymen. But three other ex-Town players are available - Chris Senior, Greg Young and Joe O'Neill, whilst a fifth - Val Owen - is still sidelined by injury.

    However in today's Halifax Courier manager Chris Wilder says that "Ryan is there for half a season and it would not be right for me to dictate to Altrincham who he can and cannot play against," said Wilder." Also it mentions that "Chris Wilder looks set to keep faith with the side that finished Saturday's 2-1 win over Weymouth at the Shay for the trip to Altrincham tonight. And that means recalls to the starting line-up for Anthony Griffith in the heart of midfield and Lewis Killeen on the left."

    The Halifax Courier says that "Town boss Chris Wilder admitted the pressure was on to produce a second half performance against Weymouth at the Shay on Saturday. Without a win in the Blue Square Premier since January 1, the Shaymen found themselves trailing at the break... But second half goals from Andy Campbell and Simon Heslop - both of them beauties - secured a much-needed victory. 'Having not won for five or six games in the league the pressure was turned up in the second half', said Wilder. 'They gave it a real go, won tackles, won headers and played a lot higher up the pitch... That is two wins on the bounce, now we have to go to Altrincham and start from the first minute. It was a great result, but an indifferent performance, especially in the first half when we were poor... We didn't look like we wanted it enough', said Wilder... 'Anthony Griffith had been a bit quiet in the previous couple of games but he and Lewis Killeen gave us a little bit more tempo to the game. You hear bits and pieces about players are not playing for me but it's absolute nonsense... When Andy plays on people's shoulders he is a threat and gets in. But in the first half he wanted to link the play up. We changed that in the second half with Jon Shaw linking it up and Andy running off the back of the centre halves. He got in numerous times'... Town suffered a setback on the morning of the game when Adam Quinn felt a slight pain in his troublesome Achilles. He was replaced in the starting line-up by Jake Wright who settled in well alongside Tom Clarke after the defence had suffered a collective nervy start to the game. Saturday's crowd of just 971 was the lowest for a league game at the Shay since since 883 watched Town lose 1-0 to Forest Green Rovers in March 2004".

    Halifax Town report that "Darryn Stamp has joined Northwich Victoria on loan until the end of the season. Stamp, 29, joined The Shaymen from Stevenage Borough in January 2007 and has made 34 league appearances scoring 5 goals".

    Tonight's referee is Mr R. J. West who officiated when Alty won 1-0 at Kendal Town in this season's FA Cup on 27th October 2007.


    Altrincham could face a familiar face in the Cheshire Senior Cup Final after "Nantwich handed a debut to goalkeeper Craig Ellison... and also gave an outing as substitute to latest signing Omar Mahmood, an Egyptian under-19 international formerly with Port Vale". Ellison was Alty Reserves' keeper two seasons ago". The Dabbers' line-up was Ellison, A Taylor, Donnelly, Smith, P Taylor, Parkinson, Carter, Blackhurst, Kinsey, Farquharson, Griggs. Subs: Dicker, Beasley, Mahmood.


    This Saturday's referee for the home game against Forest Green Rovers is Mr J. Collin. He also refereed:
  • ALTRINCHAM (0) 1 HISTON (1) 2 on Saturday, 1 December, 2007
  • ALTRINCHAM (0) 0 BURTON ALBION (0) 0 on Tuesday, 9 October, 2007 at 7.45pm
  • ALTRINCHAM (2) 2 STEVENAGE BOROUGH (0) 1 on Saturday, 12 August 2006, at 3pm
  • ALTRINCHAM (0) 0 TAMWORTH (0) 0 FA Trophy First Round match, on Saturday, 16 December 2006


    This is Exeter tell us that "While others falter around them, Exeter City's play-off assault continues to gather momentum as they stretched their unbeaten run to nine league games. Goals from Adam Stansfield and Matt Gill fired the home side into a two-goal lead before Colin Little came off the bench to claim a consolation effort for the visitors... For the last three games they have gone in at half-time with a two-goal advantage, only to let the opposition back into the game, setting up a nervous final few minutes. Again City produced a slick first half display which exposed the flaws in Altrincham's bid to contain their high-flying hosts by deploying a 4-1-4-1 formation. But Paul Tisdale's men took their collective foot off the gas after the break, passing up the opportunity to pile further misery on their relegation-haunted guests... The side has got a real balance to it and having tasted just four defeats all season, no team is harder to beat than Tisdale's charges... 'I thought we were very good indeed at the weekend', said the City boss. 'My only criticism was that we didn't finish them off because we had the chances to do so. Three or four nil would have been a fair result, but it's a win and overall the performance was excellent'... To their credit Altrincham came to play football, although their passing game never looked like threatening a well-organised City side... Predictably Altrincham went for bust and switched their formation to a 3-4-3 with leading goalscorer Little entering the fray after overcoming a bout of illness... Little ensured an edgy final few minutes when he swapped passed with Cahill before planting the ball into the bottom corner". Stansfield is believed to have suffered a sprained ankle.


    The Crawley Observer confirms that "Chas Majeed reckons his brother was 'due to go in' after Azwar was caged for perverting the course of justice. Speaking to the Observer after former Crawley boss Azwar was sentenced to 11 months in jail. Chas explained: 'He was expecting it you know. He knew he was going to jail. He was due to go in'. Porsche-driving Azwar admitted last year that he persuaded Danny Ullah to complete a community services punishment – after he was charged with assault. Appearing at Hove Crown Court today, Azwar was told by the judge that he couldn't 'buy' his way out of jail. Azwar Majeed was sentenced to 11 months, Danny Ullah was sentenced to three months".

    Blue Square Football says that "Rushden & Diamonds have given permission for young striker Lawrence Lambley to join Bromsgrove Rovers on loan".

    Our opponents next week, Crawley Town, "have signed goalkeeper Danny Knowles on an emergency seven-day loan to cover the suspension of Ashley Bayes. The Red Devils will face Exeter City on Tuesday evening and would have been forced to play midfielder Dannie Bulman between the sticks with no replacement shot-stopper available. Bayes was sent-off during Crawley's 3-1 defeat at Stevenage Borough on Saturday... Knowles joined Crawley in pre-season and following appearances against Brighton & Hove Albion and Millwall, he went on to join Grays Athletic".

    "Stafford Rangers' manager Steve Bull believes that pressure and expectation affected his team's performance during Saturday's disappointing loss to Farsley Celtic... 'I think they left their spirit in the dressing room', Bull told the Express & Star. 'I told them all the attention is going to be about me today - some were shellshocked and couldn't cope with it. They picked themselves up for two games and I thought, if they do it today, great. It never happened'".

    Alty's next away game (on the Ides of March) is in Essex where the Thurrock Gazette reports that "Grays Athletic have taken West Ham Scholar, Robbie Blackwell, on work experience. Blackwell is a promising left back who has been with The Hammers' Academy since 2005, he has recently been on work experience with Colchester United and played in their reserve game against Northampton Town alongside ex-Hammer, Teddy Sheringham".

    According to This is Glos. "Forest Green chairman Colin Gardner has promised lessons will be learned after angry Oxford United fans were left without seats at the New Lawn on Saturday.Some late arrivals to the Main Stand were forced to watch the goalless draw from the gangways and steps, with the South Stand full to capacity with away fans and the half-empty Western Terrace allocated to home fans only... Gardner denied the club had miscalculated the size of the away following or the number of stewards required, but admitted mistakes may have been made. There were 816 Oxford supporters and 800-odd seats for them, so there shouldn't have been a problem," said Gardner. 'We consulted with the police and felt that by keeping the (Oxford) supporters seated, we would be able to control them... Don't forget, we didn't have the South Stand last year, so why would we need to have them in the full length of the terrace as well when we contain them in the Main Stand?'... Tempers threatened to boil over, with one fan ejected from the home section for holding up a shirt of Oxford's hated rivals Swindon Town. Gardner said: 'It doesn't help when some so called supporters of Forest Green were waving Swindon shirts at them'... Manager Jim Harvey admitted a bumpy pitch and strong wind were huge factors. He said: 'It's not excuses, but the conditions were very difficult for our style of play and had to be taken into consideration'".

    "Forest Green were diligent but toothless on an afternoon that threatened to turn really nasty. There was more of a spectacle in the Main Stand than on the pitch, as an organisational gaffe resulted in angry Oxford fans spilling onto the gangways due to a shortage of seats. Quite why some could not have been accommodated in the near-empty Western Terrace, as they were in the corresponding fixture last season, is anybody's guess... For Rovers, there was an overdue start for Terry Burton in goal as Ryan Robinson paid the price for recent errors and missed out even on a place on the bench... A depleted Rovers can consider this a point gained, but a run of four games without a win means the late charge needs to start now".

    "Shrewsbury defender Luke Jones has extended his loan stay at Harriers for another month", says the Kidderminster Shuttle "but midfielder Matthew Bailey returns to Wolverhampton Wanderers after failing to impress. Jones, 20, is eligible to play for Harriers until Tuesday, April 1".

    This is Staffs reports that "Stafford Rangers' big Marston Road welcome for new boss Steve Bull turned sour as the club was plunged deeper into relegation trouble. The biggest crowd of the season saw Rangers freeze in this most important of relegation battles, enabling Farsley to walk away with three precious points. Perhaps it was the media attention, perhaps the pre-match razzmatazz that included the parading of a live bull on the pitch, perhaps the realisation by the players that they have got something to aim for and that big things were expected of them... An injury to Matt Hazley after only eight minutes did throw a spanner into the works for Bull's bold 3-5-2 formation, which included full debuts for Keenan Meakin-Richards, Courtney Shaw and Liam Hughes, the promising young Wolves goal scorer who has come on loan... Kevin Street, now confirmed as Bull's right-hand man for the time being, could not kick-start a Rangers' recovery... This wasn't a great advertisement to put before potential new customers: they'll want to see more purpose, better passing, more goalmouth incident. In short, more entertainment... Bull said he decided to go with a 3-5-2 formation to try to get more balls into the box, but with hindsight it was not a good move. He added: 'I know now we haven't got the players to do the job. I've got big enough shoulders and I'll take it'".

    This is Weymouth reports that the Terras' manager "John Hollins was critical of referee P Quinn's performance after Saturday's 2-1 defeat at Halifax Town. The Terras, who are now in the bottom four, had a goal disallowed and also saw Scott Doe sent off for a professional foul when he seemed to get a boot on the ball... Bristol City loanee [goalkeeper] Stephen Henderson, who was one of three players making their debuts for the Terras. Hollins said: 'We battered them with crosses and shots but every time the ball got blocked in their box it seemed to fall to one of their players... I thought we played really well. We got ourselves into a good position but unfortunately we could not hold on to it or go on to kill the game off'. When asked about Quinn's performance, Hollins went on to add: 'He was appalling today'... As well as Henderson, fellow loanees Tony Bedeau from Torquay United and Moses Swaibu from Crystal Palace also made their first outings for the Terras. Hollins said: 'Tony started up front with Stuart and I thought going forward we looked dangerous... There is no doubt that we have the ammunition to give teams problems".

    3 March 2008


    Monday 3rd March
  • Torquay United 1 Aldershot Town 2 - Lewis Chalmers was stretchered off near the end.


    There is a STAR general knowledge Quiz Night at Moss Lane tonight, Monday, March 3rd in the Noel White Suite at 8pm. Everyone is welcome.


    Altrincham have been in some awkward positions in the league this season, as this picture taken before the Exeter game last Saturday shows. Hopefully the final 12 games of the season will see them emerge in a comfortable one. Of these twelve remaining games, six are at home and six away. However, the next three games are all at home inside an eight-day period, versus Halifax Town (4th), Forest Green (8th) and Crawley Town (11th). There will then be nine games to play, six of which will be away. Indeed, four of the last five games will be away from Moss Lane, so support on the road will be vital, starting at Grays a week on Saturday. STAR will be running a coach as usual to this game; details will be on the website when announced.


    Above: Gavin O'Connor salutes his first goal against FCUM on Sunday as Sam Madeley (10) makes sure that the ball has crossed the line.

    Altrincham Youth progressed to the semi-finals of the Neil Thomason Memorial Cup with a convincing 4-0 win over FC United of Manchester yesterday at Wythenshawe Town. Gavin O'Connor scored two with Danny Browne and Tom Bailey scoring the other goals. There is a match report in the Youth section.

    Come and see the Youth team represent the Altrincham & District FA as they contest the Cheshire County FA District Youth Cup final next Sunday. The game is against The Wirral FA and is a 1pm kick off at Vauxhall Motors, Rivacre Park. Note that kick off is at 1pm. Alty have won this trophy for the last two years and on each occasion all of the FA players were from Altrincham FC Youth team.

    2 March 2008


    Ashley Timms has signed for Salford City. Ged Kielty's Trafford beat Salford City 2-0 at Salford to stay top of the Vodkat League One, with ex-Alty youth Dion Depeiaza scoring one. Former Alty captain Steve Hawes scored for Sheffield FC.

    Mark Maddox had a debut to forget for Vauxhall Motors, after leaving Leigh RMI. The Motors lost 0-6 at home to Kettering and "Mad Dog" was sent off.. Ben Deegan was the NL Paper's "Star Man" for Ashton United yesterday, playing part of the game in defence after an injury to another player.. Chris Baguley scored for Flixton. Tony Hemmings turned out for Gresley Rovers and Karl Munroe played for Droylsden.


    A gusty wind did not help this game to provide much entertainment but with Alty barely mustering a shot on target, Exeter deserved the points. Two goals in eight first-half minutes decided the game. Stansfield got the better of Young to net the first (25 mins) then Gill turned in Carlisle's cross from the right (33 mins). With Exeter playing into the wind in the second half, they were less of a threat. Despite three attacking substitutions by Graham Heathcote it was not until the second minute of second-half added-time that, one of the subs, Colin Little, scored a well-taken goal.

    Match report here.

    Right: Ryan Shotton in action at Exeter.

    1 March 2008


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


    Alty travel to Exeter today (Saturday) and before the game the two managers have expressed admiration for each other's side...

    This is Exeter reports confirmation that "Altrincham have been handed a selection boost ahead of their trip to St James's Park after striker Colin Little recovered from illness.The leading goalscorer, who has netted 10 times this season, was absent from Tuesday's night's 1-1 draw with Torquay United.. 'I think Colin will be available', said Heathcote. 'He wasn't right on Monday and and so there was no way he could play on Tuesday. He has been a big player for us in the last three or four years because he is our main goalscorer. He struggled a bit in the first half of the season, but then he had a good run of scoring five goals in six games'. While Little has fended off the attentions of higher league clubs to remain with the Cheshire outfit, Heathcote says his side's battle against relegation is not about individuals, but a collective will to succeed... 'If we are going to get results at this level of football then everyone is going to have to contribute', he said. 'While the top teams have got individuals who can win them games, we have to be collectively on song if we are going to win these games. We were resolute at Torquay and we did our jobs and that is what we will try to do when we come to Exeter'... Heathcote is refusing to predict the required points needed to beat the drop this term... 'There is too much at stake for everybody now. Of course there is from day one, but it sort of hits home as the season runs out of games and there is that emphasis now. I would rather have the pressure of trying to get into top spot than battling against relegation any time. Unfortunately one thing we can say is that we're are used to this situation because we have been [in] it for the last three years. We had 51 points last season and still ended up in the bottom four - crazy! If I could predict football I would speaking to you from Barbados. We have to draw on our experience and try and set out our game plan accordingly'.

    Left: Robbie Lawton and Steve Bushell in action on Alty's last visit to St James Park in a game which got under way in a thunderstorm. Robbie put Alty ahead after 90 seconds but a Challinor goal five minutes from time sealed a 2-1 win for the Grecians. The Alty side that day (19/8/06) was 1. Stuart COBURN, 2. Steve ASPINALL, 4. Peter BAND, 5. Gary TALBOT, 3. Gary SCOTT, 7. Robbie LAWTON, 6. Steve BUSHELL, 8. Val OWEN, 11. Warren PEYTON, 9. Colin LITTLE, 12. Joe O'NEILL. Subs: 10. Rod THORNLEY, 14. Lewis CHALMERS, 15. Justin BOWLER, 17. Karl MUNROE, 20. Stephen ROSE. Of the 11 Alty starters that day, only Coburn, Peyton and Lawton started at Torquay last Tuesday. Exeter beat Alty 4-1 at Moss Lane earlier this season.

    That game-plan could be a carbon copy of the system that frustrated Paul Buckle's promotion-chasing side on Tuesday night. Heathcote makes no excuses for deploying a defensively-minded 4-5-1 formation, claiming that is the only way his side are going to match teams towards the top of the table. 'No one would have predicted that we would get something at Torquay', he said... 'We had to defend well at Torquay but we are not naive enough to think that we are going to go to these teams and out-play them. We wouldn't be in the bottom five if we were going to do that. So you have to have a game-plan and that's what we do. The mentality of some teams will be that we mustn't lose points to Altrincham and that puts pressure on'...

    Heathcote is a big admirer of the Grecians and reckons there is no way that they will under-estimate his side.'Exeter are a professionally-run outfit and they will treat us with respect. In the first game of the season we were in it for an hour and then they overpowered us', he said. 'There is no way they will treat us lightly because they are too professional for that. We are all looking forward to coming down to St James's Park because it is wonderful stadium, with a wonderful pitch and there are worse things in life than playing there. We can't wait'".

    Equally upbeat was Graham's opposite number. "Exeter City boss Paul Tisdale surveyed his side's eight-game unbeaten run and declared: 'Let's go another eight games without defeat'. The Grecians were last beaten in the league on New Year's Day, when Torquay United became one of only four sides to overcome Tisdale's men in the Blue Square Premier. Since then they have harvested 18 points out of a possible 24 and have hauled themselves into the play-off places for the first time since the end of August. And should the Grecians overcome struggling Altrincham tomorrow and Cambridge United and Stevenage both lose, then Tisdale's men would climb to third in the table. City stumbled to a 2-1 win over Farsley Celtic last time out... Although Altrincham are in a similar predicament to Farsley, Tisdale is expecting a completely different challenge. 'They are in similar circumstances to Farsley in that they are battling for their lives towards the bottom of the table', he said. 'But they play a very different style to Farsley. They play some very good football and their goal at the park last season was one of the best team goals we conceded at home last year. That gives you some indication of the way they try and play football and it will be similar again. I have seen them play on television a few times and we saw them against Torquay on Tuesday night. They have got a manager who likes his team to play football and based on what we saw on Tuesday night they can deal with the long ball up to the striker and can cope with the aerial battle. They are probably a better side than their position suggests and they can play if you give them time. There is a familiar type of feeling to the game in that people will be expecting us to win, but I see it as another test for the players.

    It didn't quite happen for us last weekend against Farsley, although we got the three points... We were disjointed... 'You just have to accept that and make sure that we get a response tomorrow'". As for a play-off spot, he said, "I don't know how many points will be needed to be honest... I don't want to set any targets, I just want to make sure we keep pushing towards those play-offs". This is Exeter continues, "Tisdale has no new injury worries to concern him heading into tomorrow's contest. Indeed the City boss may decide to name the same side that edged past Farsley Celtic last time out. One tough decision he will have to make will be who partners Adam Stansfield up front. Richard Logan has started the last two games, while Steve Basham is pushing for a recall after being dropped from the side. Tisdale was remaining tight-lipped over who will get the nod... 'There is a healthy competition there, but that is not to say they couldn't play together. I am also looking forward to seeing Lee Elam in that position. He has done really well in training up there, but I haven't had the chance to use him yet'".

    Meanwhile "Adam Stansfield believes Exeter City have got enough firepower in their ranks to secure promotion this season.Jamie Mackie's departure to Plymouth Argyle has left the Grecians with three frontmen on the books in the shape of Richard Logan, Steve Basham and Stansfield himself... Stansfield has been the biggest beneficiary of Mackie's exit by being handed a regular place in the side... 'With the three of us we have got more than enough', said Stansfield".

    Exeter City report that "Matt Taylor, who is currently starring at both ends of the pitch for City, is the third City player this season to be shortlisted for the Blue Square Premier Player of the Month, after the successes of Richard Logan and Jamie Mackie."


    According to the website of Macclesfield Town, "One of the first decisions taken by new Silkmen boss Keith Alexander has been to recall James Jennings from his loan spell with Altrincham. The defender appeared nine times [ten actually!] for the Robins during his spell at Moss Lane and is in contention for a place in the team on Saturday. 'I was keen to have a closer look at JJ', explained manager Keith Alexander. "He's got some useful games under his belt whilst out on loan and I know he was keen to get back and do whatever he can to help us over the next twelve games'".


    Apparently the popular STAR Player of the Year/Race Night event has been moved from its originally advertised date of Sunday 27th April to Saturday 12th April. More details of this event will follow in due course.


    The website has been informed by its hosting service that "migration of your hosting platform...will be performed between 03/03/2008 and 04/03/2008, from 11pm to 5am. During this period, your website / server will be temporarily unavailable for approx. 15 minutes. This migration has been planned to take place around midnight in order to avoid undermining your site's services". So if anyone experiences any difficulties in accessing this site around midnight on Monday, that is the explanation.


    Nantwich Town face Altrincham in the CSC Final on April 1st but NL Daily reports that "At a UniBond League Cups’ Committee personal hearing on Thursday, Nantwich Town were disqualified from the President's Cup due to playing an ineligible player - Josh Hancock - in their quarter final tie against FC United of Manchester last Monday. This decision means that FC United are reinstated in to the Presidents` Cup and will play away to Goole AFC in the semi final on Saturday, 8th March."


    Of particular interest to Manchester-area supporters is the news that "Torquay United have made a surprise transfer move by signing Droylsden's leading scorer Jody Banim on loan to the end of the season. Banim, 29, has scored ten goals for relegation-haunted Droylsden, who are bottom of the Blue Square Premier, after helping them to the BS North title last season. United have also switched their FA Trophy Semi-Final First Leg against York City to next Friday night, March 7, at Plainmoor because of a stewarding clash with Devon Championship neighbours Plymouth Argyle" reports This is South Devon which also tells us that "Torquay United striker Tony Bedeau is set to join rivals Weymouth on a one-month loan deal. The move was being finalised by the two clubs last night (Thursday), and is set to expire on March 29. Bedeau, 28, has struggled to force his way into manager Paul Buckle's first team this season, and has made 12 starts, coming off the bench nine times. The versatile performer re-joined United last summer after a year at Walsall, before which he had enjoyed 11 seasons at Plainmoor".

    Confirmation comes from The Terras who report that "Weymouth manager John Hollins has added two more faces to his squad ahead of tomorrow's clash at Halifax Town. The Terras' boss landed Crystal Palace defender Moses Swaibu earlier this week on a month's loan and has followed it up with similar deals for Bristol City keeper Stephen Henderson and Torquay United forward Tony Bedeau. Striker Gavin McCallum has also left the club for Blue Square South outfit Havant & Waterlooville. Hollins said: 'Both Henderson and Bedeau have signed for a month although Bristol City do have a 24-hour call back on Henderson which is a chance we just have to take... I thought we were beginning to weather the storm but we are still not scoring goals and we are letting them in as well, and that is why I feel we need a fresh approach with some new voices. The only thing we can play for now is points and points are what we are going to get, starting at Halifax tomorrow. The defeat at Woking in the Setanta Shield on Tuesday was disappointing but I was relatively pleased with Anton Robinson and Paolo Vernazza. They really moved the ball well at times and we need to keep that going and get our wingers going more. Nick Crittenden did okay on Tuesday but he is still coming back from a couple of months out and is getting stronger. Jack Compton is the same although at Woking he was not up to the standard he wants or what I want'... Long-term absentee Lewis Ironside has been joined on the sidelines by midfielder Sido Jombarti but Ashley Vickers is now back available. Marcus Browning is a doubt".

    The BBC says that "Chester City have sent midfielder Stephen Vaughan and defender Sean Newton out on loan to Droylsden. The pair will initially join the struggling Manchester side for a month with a view to a possible extension. Vaughan, 23, has just returned from injury, while 19-year-old Newton, has already been on loan this season at Southport. Vaughan re-signed for Chester earlier this month after leaving Boston".

    Alty entertain Halifax Town next Tuesday night. The Halifax Courier believes that "Andy Campbell and Danny Forrest are set to make their long awaited returns to the Town starting line-up for tomorrow's crucial clash with Weymouth at the Shay. Campbell has not started a league game since Town's 1-1 draw at home to Rushden & Diamonds in September while Forrest last featured in a league game in October... But manager Chris Wilder has confirmed that both Campbell, who was out with an Achilles problem, and Forrest, who had an ankle injury, will face the Terras. 'They are ready', said Wilder. 'Andy Campbell might have been thrown in last week, but we went with Nathan Joynes. Over the last two seasons he has been out for the best part of eight months, but he has come off the bench a couple of times and the timing is right now... Danny has been out on loan, which was right for him at that time, but both will start tomorrow'. With Forrest playing wide on the right and Craig Nelthorpe wide on the left, Wilder will have to choose who out of Tom Kearney, Simon Heslop and Anthony Griffith will start in central midfield. 'It will be two from three in there', he said... There will be no changes at the back with the defence that has kept successive clean sheets on duty again. 'Keeping the same back four for a third successive game is a massive plus', said Wilder. 'Last weekend against Stafford it was a test of concentration against a side that didn't want to come out and play. It was more of a direct test at Nuneaton and they handled both superbly well'".

    From Blue Square Football comes news that "Cambridge United boss Jimmy Quinn has won the Blue Square Premier 'Manager of the Month' award for the month of February. Quinn's side remained unbeaten as they negotiated a number of tricky fixtures throughout the period... Quinn is the first manager this season to pick up a second monthly award, after scooping the November prize".

    "Rushden & Diamonds have secured the signing of 21-year-old striker Conal Platt on loan from rivals Weymouth until the end of the season. Platt started his career at Preston, featuring in their successful schoolboy team, earning himself a move to Liverpool... Platt could not break into the first-team and was released in 2006, joining AFC Bournemouth. During his time at Bournemouth, Platt had loan spells at Morecambe and Weymouth, who he joined permanently in May 2007. Platt, who can play both as a forward and a winger and has earned caps for the Republic of Ireland under-19s and the English Schools national sides, joins Diamonds on loan until the end of the season" according to Blue Square Football

    The Crawley Observer advises us that "Paul Watson has left Crawley Town to join Havant and Waterlooville on loan. Assistant manager Paul Raynor revealed this news. The left back made 16 appearances for Crawley Town since joining from Rushden and Diamonds in September. Raynor also reveals that confidence has been knocked after the two quarter-final defeats to Torquay and Aldershot, but his side are looking to bounce back against Stevenage".

    "Salisbury City midfielder Danny Clay's loan spell at Dorchester Town has been extended by a month" asserts The Salibury Journal "Reserve team striker Nicolas Eastham, who was recently on loan with Calne Town, has also joined Clay at the Magpies for a one month loan, starting Saturday, March 1".

    This is Staffs reports that "Steve Bull has signed his first new recruit for Stafford Rangers ahead of tomorrow's crunch relegation battle with Farsley. The new Marston Road boss has gone back to his old club Wolverhampton Wanderers to take highly-rated young striker Liam Hughes on loan. The 18-year-old has bagged a dozen goals for Wolves reserves this season and joins Rangers just as they are experiencing a forward-line crisis. Three of the club's four goal-getters - Nathan Smith, Marco Adaggio and Del Olaoye - were injured this week, leaving only veteran Neil Grayson to face Histon on Tuesday. 'We have Liam initially for a month and we'll see how it goes after that', said the Rangers' manager. 'It's no use moaning that we haven't got this or that, we'll have to compensate with what we've got and there are some good utility players here'... The new manager will be backed by the club's biggest crowd of the season and the razzamatazz surrounding his first game officially in charge is expected to create a real big-match atmosphere. 'There's going to be a lot of coverage, but I'm going to take the pressure off the players by being in the limelight. All I want them to do is go out and play and fight for everything', said Bull. 'It was absolutely brilliant the way they came back at Histon - one of the best comeback games I have seen'... After a four-match unbeaten run, hopes are rising that Bull can pull off a great escape and keep Rangers in the Blue Square Premier".