an unofficial website

August 2008

31 August 2008


There are some interesting comments from the manager of our next opponents, Histon, in the NL Paper. Steve Fallon told the paper, "We've got this stigma and when we play like that, just lumping balls into the box and hoping something will drop, we're not going to get rid of it". The NLP adds, "Histon's style has been, and still is, effective. It gets them points. But on this evidence, [Saturday's defeat by FGR], John Beck [assistant manager] has them programmed to play only one way. Jim Harvey, on the other hand, improvises. when Histon's big boys went up for corners and throws, he left three attackers on the halfway line. Ryan Robinson caught almost every one [of the throws] then repeatedly released them [the attackers] to break with a man over".


Above: Warren Peyton's 25-yard freekick has just crashed back off the underside of the crossbar, evading Dale Johnson.

The NL Paper reports that, on Saturday, Eastbourne's keeper and defence "worked hard to secure their first home win in the top flight... the heroic [goalkeeper] Hook made two brilliant saves to deny a spirited Altrincham. Afterwards manager Garry Wilson said, 'We have to thank Lee for his saves. We defended admirably.... I wouldn't say we were lucky. We never use the word 'lucky'... These are the types of games we need to win'. Meanwhile Altrincham manager Graham Heathcote and his coaching staff refused to comment".

In the NL Today paper, Borough's assistant manager Nick Greenwood said, "You could say we won ugly but there points is three points. We know we can play better but, at the moment, results are all that matter".

30 August 2008


Above: This shot from Chris Senior, in the second half, was blocked by keeper Hook.

Altrincham contrived to lose this game despite dominating the second half. Indeed, they were also more than holding their own before Armstrong scored the game's only goal in the 28th minute. An Alty attack broke down and Eastbourne quickly played the ball over the top of the Robins' defence to set Armstrong free, despite suspicions of offside. Alty keeper Coburn rushed out of his goal, then stopped, and the Sports' captain clipped a fine shot over him into the net. Alty had proved reluctant to shoot in the first half but had several decent second-half chances as they went forward time and again. Peyton was very unlucky to see a superbly struck freekick come back off the bar but the home defence held out, with home keeper Hook lifting the man of the match award. Match report here.

League Table


Right: Colin Little was a used sub for Saturday's game.

  • Barrow 1 Stevenage B. 3
  • Burton A. 5 Lewes 2
  • Crawley T. 5 Northwich V. 2
  • Eastbourne B. 1 ALTRINCHAM 0
  • Ebbsfleet U. 1 Oxford U. 1
  • Histon 0 Forest Green R. 1
  • Kettering T. 1 Woking 0
  • Kidderminster H. 2 Rushden & D. 1
  • Mansfield T. 1 Grays A. 0
  • Salisbury C. 1 Wrexham 4
  • Weymouth 2 Cambridge U. 2

    SAM reports that "Colin Little is a doubt ahead of Alty's trip to newly-promoted Eastbourne Borough. The striker has been struggling with a knock picked up in Monday's draw with Wrexham but manager Graham Heathcote is confident he should be fit to start. Last season's top scorer will undergo a fitness test prior to the game at Priory Lane... Eastbourne, however, have a couple of worries with Simon Wormull (hamstring) and Andy Atkin (calf) both ruled out. Matt Crabb is also suspended after beign sent off in Monday's 1-0 win over Grays. But midfielder Mo Harkin is back in action after missing Monday's game with severely blistered feet".

    Manager Graham Heathcote said, "We have to look to build on Monday's performance tomorrow. We were all very disappointed with the 4-0 defeat at Kidderminster but when you're reduced to 10 men it changes the course of a game. So we have to keep 11 men on the pitch first and foremost and not make any silly mistakes at the back. This is one of the games we will be looking at as a chance to pick up points".

    For Eastbourne, known as The Sports as they were formerly called Langney Sports, SAM's Connor Murphy picks out "Paul Armstrong, captain and midfield lynchpin. Armstrong has been a consistent performer since joining the Sports from Crawley in 2006. He is the creative hub of the team and much of their play goes through him. A good passer of the ball and also able to get forward and provide goals from midfield".

    The BBC confirms that "Eastbourne Borough will be without striker Andy Atkin (calf) and Simon Wormull for the game with Altrincham. Midfielder Matt Crabb serves a one match ban for his sending off against Grays Athletic". Meanwhile, "Eastbourne Borough manager Garry Wilson told BBC Southern Counties Radio: 'There'll be a number of games at home with teams that are going to be around the same area as us. Altrincham will be round about our group. These are the type of games where we are really desperate to get the points'".


    The BBC reports that "Tranmere Rovers have completed the singing of Stoke City defender Ryan Shotton on a one-month loan. The 19-year-old only made his debut for the Potters in their Carling Cup win over Cheltenham on Tuesday night. He spent [most] of last season on loan at Blue Square Premier side Altrincham where he scored five goals in 36 appearances. Shotton is expected to go straight into the Rovers squad for Saturday's match against Northampton".


    The BBC reports that "Thousands of football fans have approved a transfer of a player by voting on the internet. Members of (MFC), who own Ebbsfleet United, have backed the sale of a striker John Akinde for £140,000 to an unnamed club. Ebbsfleet's chief executive officer David Davis said: "82.3% of 7,452 members who voted said the club should accept the offer". Davis said, "We still cannot say which club or finer points of the deal as all the paperwork needs to be done". The website's "30,000 plus members had had 48 hours to decide whether the club sell the highly rated 19-year-old striker, who has played fewer than 20 games for Ebbsfleet. MFC's membership now stands at over 30,000 people, with members living in 122 countries".

    "Steve Fallon has challenged Damian Reeves to find his feet and kick-start his Histon career against Forest Green tomorrow" claims the Cambridge News. "The Stutes' boss thinks there is more to come from the former Farsley Celtic striker, who has failed to score in the Blue Square Premier since arriving at the Glass World Stadium in the summer. And with Danny Wright struggling to overcome an ankle injury, the manager wants Reeves to grab his opportunity and recapture the form which saw him net 15 times last season. Fallon said: 'We thought Danny had gone over on his ankle against Rushden on Monday, but there's a lot of bruising as well, so it might have been a kick. He's probably 50-50 to play, and we've said to Damian that he's got to break into our top two striking positions. 'When he gets one of the slots, he's got to do enough to keep it and he needs to knuckle down and take his chance'".

    The The Argus says that "Worthing will have talks with Eastbourne Borough about signing Andy Ballard. The defender played for the Rebels in last night’s prestige friendly against Arsenal and also had a run-out for them in pre-season".

    "Kevin Spencer has had his contract with Kettering Town cancelled by mutual consent" says the Northants Evening Telegraph. "The young defender made just one start and six substitute appearances in his time with the Poppies having been signed by Mark Cooper last summer.He suffered a broken ankle towards the end of last season".

    This is Nottingham reports that "There is no one in the Mansfield camp more focussed on beating Grays Athletic [on Saturday] than Billy McEwan... Since bringing in four players on the eve of the new season – Aaron O'Connor, Anthony Robinson, Tom Shaw and Luke Herriott – the Scotsman has maintained he wants to add three or four more names to his squad... 'It is difficult at the moment, I am still speaking to two or three players, and hopefully I will get in one or two before Monday',` said McEwan. 'But if I can't get them in permanently, I can use the loan system, as I have done before. There is a week after the deadline when you can't get players in except for an emergency, but after that you are okay again. It can be frustrating because you talk to managers at other clubs and they want to bring someone in before they will let someone else out'. England 'C' have this week unveiled their squad to play Bosnia-Hercegovina on September 16 in Sarajevo and Mansfield midfielders Jonathan D'Laryea and Nathan Arnold are in it... McEwan said: 'It is excellent to see the young lads gain recognition and it is good for the club, but it is not good for the manager. Personally, I would rather they stayed here with us because we are going to have to work as a group without two of our players. Anything can happen when players go abroad. They might get injured, be jet-lagged from the travelling or have their heads full of stuff from the different set-up – and it is a friendly'".

    "John Batchelor, the controversial former owner of York City, says he is not part of the consortium aiming to buy the Northwich Vics site at Wincham", reports IC Cheshire. "But the colourful figure has been involved in talks with Vics owner Jim Rushe and watched recent Northwich games... The sale, says Rushe, 'is no further advanced' than it was last week. He said then he had expected the deal to be completed within days. Batchelor took York into administration and is a hate figure among fans who reckon he allegedly made money from his association with the club. Supporters at Mansfield campaigned against him buying their club, whom he wanted to rename Harchester after the Sky TV football programme. In an interview with noted journalist David Conn, he admitted: 'I do asset strip'. Batchelor told the Chronicle: 'I am interested in getting back into football, but I have no involvement with the consortium'. Rushe said: 'When the names of the consortium are revealed John’s will not be among them. I have sole control of Northwich Vics and I will not sign up to anything where Vics will suffer'... Mike Connett is believed to be asking just over £3m for the nine acres he acquired from administrators Begbies Traynor for £250,000 five years ago. The plan is for the consortium to develop the land, while receiving rent from Vics, who in turn would take over the catering rights now owned by Connett. Eventually they could buy the stadium".

    It was a poorer tale at the Vics on Thursday as the Northwich Guardian says that "Micahel Barnes has left Northwich Victoria because the club could not offer him a deal. The former Manchester United winger did not want to stay at the Marston's Arena on non-contract terms, according to manager Dino Maamria. 'We were honest with Michael', he said. 'At the moment we are not in a position that allows us to offer any more deals'... Barnes, 19, made one substitute appearance at Burton earlier this month... Meanwhile Maamria told the Guardian there would be no new faces at the Marston's Arena before the transfer window closes at midnight on Monday. 'There is no money', he said. 'It's that simple - we can't afford to bring anybody in so I'm going with what I've got'. Full back Mike Aspin continues on non-contract terms after impressing on his first start at Grays. And Vics will need him while regular right back Richie Sutton battles to shrug off a groin strain. 'I'm hoping we can sort something out with Mike soon', added Maamria".

    Fewer than 24 hours later, on Friday, the Vics seemed to be flush again as the Guardian adds that "Vics are on the verge of signing Chester City midfielder Paul Rutherford. Manager Dino Maamria - who told the Guardian earlier this week he had no money to bring anybody else in - appears to have had a change of heart after meeting the 21-year-old Merseysider at the Marston's Arena yesterday for talks. He has been training with Northwich for a fortnight". But later on Friday the saga continued as the Northwich Guardian confirmed that Maamria "heads to Sussex tomorrow, Saturday, with his squad swelled by the addition of full-back Phil Marsh and Portuguese forward Martins Almeida - both signed on non-contract yesterday, Thursday. Chester midfielder Paul Rutherford will not be on the coach after his move to the Marston's Arena fell through today."Paul Rutherford will not be on the [Vics'] coach after his move to the Marston's Arena fell through today".

    And this is confirmed by the Vics' website which announces "the signing of two players; Phil Marsh ex Man United & Blackpool & Martins Almeida who played in many of the pre-season friendlies. Both are non-contract. Leaving the club is 20 year old midfielder Michael Barnes". The confusion continues as the site then reports that "Northwich are also in the market for Chester City midfielder Paul Rutherford, and a signing looks a real possibility".

    "Brian Little admits he is unconcerned about Wrexham’s away-day plight and has no fears ahead of tomorrow’s visit to Blue Square Premier leaders Salisbury" according to the Daily Post... 'We’ve only lost one game away so far', he said. 'We’ve conceded less goals than anyone else and are also one of the highest scorers. Maybe we could have picked up a couple more points away, and I would have liked us to have played better, but I am not concerned about playing away from home at all. Altrincham, as one of the nearest clubs to us, was probably a harder game for us than it will be for a lot of teams, but we went to Rushden and Diamonds who everyone said is going to be up there at the end and we came away with a draw and maybe should have had more. I think the only disappointment was York away and we have put that behind us now. We are still a very progressive side and people in this league obviously are very much aware of us'”.

    29 August 2008


    The Altrincham FC "Meet the New recruits Night" will be on Saturday 20th September, after the home game with Lewes. As usual a selection of the new players at Moss Lane will be the guests at the event, which will be accompanied by a chicken dinner. It will take place in the Gill Oates Sponsors' Lounge at the ground with a 7.30pm for 8pm start. Tickets are just £15 and can be booked at the club (928-1045) or by contacting Grahame Rowley by e-mail or by ringing him on 07720-606897. The players who will attend will be confirmed in the next few days. This will be a great opportunity to hear from the players themselves about their backgrounds, their current feelings about the season and their future plans as there will be a question and answer session during the evening. Everyone is welcome so please get your tickets as soon as possible to avoid disappointment.


    The official website at Wrexham has the heading "Alty Praise Travelling Supporters. While we didn't get the result we were looking for at Altrincham on Bank Holiday Monday, it was great to see so many Wrexham supporters take the opportunity to support the team at Moss Lane. Over 1,600 were in attendance and once again proved to be a great credit to the club, a point which was picked up on by officials of the host club in the following email we have just received from them:

    Dear Geraint,

    A quick email to say on behalf of Altrincham FC, a thank you to your club and supporters following the visit to Moss Lane on Monday. I am told it was our best league gate for 17 years. The behaviour of your supporters was excellent and the stewards did not even need to speak to anyone. Thanks also to Colin Edwards for organising some of your stewards to attend and assist our own staff. We look forward to meeting up again on Easter Monday.

    Kind regards,

    Derek Wilshaw, Secretary, Altrincham FC

    Despite the switch of kick-off time, which was at the request of the local police, officials at Altrincham FC had always looked to encourage Wrexham supporters to attend and those who used the seating areas were made more than welcome in their social club. It was a different experience to the ones we are more used to, especially where local derbies are involved".

    SATURDAY 30th

    Saturday's fixtures take Altrincham FC to its first new stadium of the season, Eastbourne Borough's Priory Lane. It has a segregated capacity of 5,000, including a Main Stand of 542 seats. In addition The Mick Green Stand houses is a covered terrace at the Priory Road end. The Peter Fountain Stand also has covered terracing at the River End goal. It has a clubhouse with two bars. For the trip to Sussex, Altrincham FC supporters' coach details are here. Please book by ringing the club on 928-1045.


    From Grays Athletic comes news that "Manager, Mick Woodward, has stated that he has the full backing of the Grays Athletic Chairman and whilst this support continues he will remain as manager of the football team, he stated that if there are people who believe that they are better placed to do the job they can speak directly to the Chairman who will gladly listen to their concerns. The Manager was reacting to certain comments that have been bought to his attention recently especially those made by a certain individual that has not attended a game for a considerable length of time still [who] sees fit to berate the players, the style of play and management". Mr Woodward is both the manager and chairman of Grays.

    Dual pricing appears to be in operation at Kettering Town who have announced that their "forthcoming fixture on Tuesday 2nd Sept against Stevenage Borough (1945 kick-off) is a PREMIUM fixture and ALL prices for entry will increase by £1. Entry fee will be as follows; Main Stand; Adults £16; Under 16s £5; Concession £12.00: Terrace; Adults £14; Under 16s £4; Concession £10. This coming Saturday's fixture against Woking is normal match day prices". As Woking are bottom and Stevenage second bottom, what price the visit of Salisbury United?

    Oxford United announce that "Midfielder Rob Davies and striker Michael Husbands have both left the U's. Former Wrexham and West Brom midfielder Davies was on an extended trial contract which expired at the end of August, and has been told he will not be offered a deal beyond that. Much travelled striker Husbands was with the club on non-contract forms. Davies made one start for the club, away at Barrow, while Husbands made two sub appearances. Boss Darren Patterson said: 'They weren't quite what we were looking for here'".

    The Cambridge News claims that "John Howard wants to see the colour of Cambridge United's money before he will consider doing a deal with them over the return of the Trade Recruitment Stadium. Director George Rolls told supporters at last Thursday's fans' forum the club had had a £4million bid to buy back their ground rejected by former United vice-chairman Howard's firm Bideawhile. After that meeting, chairman Phil Law refused to comment further on the offer United had made.

    Howard, who along with business partner Stephen Clark bought the then Abbey from the club for £1.92million four years ago, told the News last night they had not snubbed the bid. But he said Bideawhile would not mull over United's offer, which he claimed was made two months ago, until they had received concrete evidence the cash was in place to finance such a deal. 'The situation is this. The club did make us an offer, but part of the offer was that they were going to provide proof of funds shortly', said Howard, who quit the United board in 2006. 'That was two months ago and we haven't heard anything since. Anyone can say they want to buy anything, but only once we've received proof of funds will we take the offer seriously'... Howard said he did not know how United, who pay £200,000 annual rent, were planning to raise the cash... He said: 'We were dealing with the chairman Phil Law. They wrote to us, and made us an offer which we assumed was going to be kept confidential. Airing business in public isn't the way forward, in my opinion. When we have the proof of funds, we'll make a decision'... A £2.2million offer, backed by a loan from former vice-chairman Johnny Hon, was turned down three years ago".

    The Argus reports that "James Fraser has returned to Bristol Rovers following the completion of his one-month loan spell at Lewes... It was decided not to extend his stay with the Rooks".

    The NW Evening Mail says that Barrow's joint manager "Darren Sheridan was sent off during the reserve team game at Leigh Genesis last night. Sheridan – who was captaining the side – received his second booking following a tackle around the hour mark. Fellow boss Dave Bayliss, who along with Marc Ayres scored in the 2-1 win, felt the referee had over-reacted. He said: 'It was a bit embarrassing. He was a young referee and there was no banter. There was an assessor watching and maybe Darren was a bit of a scalp'. Bayliss added that, on the plus side, first-team forward players Chris Thompson, Paul Brown and Nick Rogan had played the full 90 ahead of Saturday’s home game with Stevenage".

    At Burton Albion "Nigel Clough is hoping to add to his squad with a loan move for Morecambe defender Adam Yates. The 25 year old made 44 appearances for the Shrimps in their debut season in league two and during his time in the Conference has also played for the England C squad". Yates was briefly at Altrincham last season.

    According to Cambridge United "United's appeal against Ben Farrell's sending-off against Kettering has been rejected... Ben's three-match suspension begins immediately".

    "Ebbsfleet United have received an offer from a Football League club to purchase striker John Akinde... The latest bid made on Wednesday 27 August is in excess of £140,000. Ebbsfleet United could also recieve further payments depending on performance plus a significant percentage of any sell-on should the player be transferred to another club... Over the next 48 hours, Liam Daish, the CEO and Chairman are seeking the opinion of the club’s owners, the MyFootballClub members, and any decision will be made public immediately".

    Confirmation comes from Kent Online which says that "Ebbsfleet striker John Akinde could end up playing in the Championship, according to one of the clubs chasing his signature. The Fleet have asked the 30,000 MyFootballClub members to decide whether to accept a bid in excess of £140,000 for Akinde. But his destination may not be Peterborough as the rumour mill has suggested. Reports there suggest that the 19-year-old has been talking to Bristol City with an eye to a move to Ashton Gate... Peterborough manager Darren Ferguson told The Evening Telegraph: 'I spoke to John and his father (Wednesday) to try and persuade them to sign for us so we will have to wait and see what happens. I'd be disappointed to lose out on John as we've been after him for a very long time. He would be a certainty to score goals at our level, but it was inevitable that other clubs would be interested in him'. Despite the speculation, Bristol City manager Gary Johnson said earlier this week that he is unlikely to dip into the transfer market before Monday's deadline... The 30,000 MyFootballClub members have until Friday to register their vote on Akinde's future."

    Meanwhile, as "football clubs around the country have been setting a sartorial tone with new kits for the new season, Ebbsfleet United are giving the elbow to 'the men in suits' that populate boardrooms. Ebbsfleet Chief Executive David Davis has implemented a 'smart casual' approach to boardroom attire as fans representatives are now being welcomed into the club's inner sanctum on match days. 'We want to get away from the idea that football club boardrooms are a leftover from the days of gentlemen's clubs', says Davis. 'We've given our boardroom a facelift in the close season and we want it to be a welcoming environment for our guests. Whilst male guests are welcome to wear business suits we are equally happy for our boardroom visitors to be in smart casual attire. I think we would draw the line at jeans, trainers or shorts though!'" reports the Ebbsfleet United website.

    The Kidderminster Shuttle says that "Securing the signature of defender Keith Lowe is one of Mark Yates’s top priorities according to the Kidderminster Harriers manager. Yates wants to sign the versatile 22-year-old, who made his debut in Saturday’s 4-0 win over Altrincham. The former Wolverhampton Wanderers player joined Harriers on a non-contract basis last Friday... With the deadline for signing players at midnight on Monday, Yates will also be trying to strengthen his squad and may also ship several players out on loan. 'I’m trying to keep Keith because he’s a good player and has played in the Championship', said Yates. 'When I was at Burnley we took him from Wolverhampton on loan and he was excellent. He’s a big solid defender but he can play, he's got quality... I have to speak to the chairman about new players and there are one or two things that may happen, but it might mean getting one or two out'.

    28 August 2008


    Right: Richard Battersby made his first start of the season last Monday but limped off injured.

    Thursday 28th

  • Torquay U. 1 York C. 1

  • League table.

    Altrincham remain 17th, ahead of Torquay on goals scored, with a game in hand.


    Altrincham's only previous encounter with our next opponents Eastbourne Borough was on 15th May 2005 in the one and only North v South Conference play-off final, at Stoke (pictured above). Alty won 2-1. Of the squads that day, Eastbourne included five of the same players in their squad last Monday. For our part, only Stuart Coburn and Colin Little were involved at Stoke and also played in our game last Monday, so it will be like two new teams playing each other this Saturday.

    The teams in 2005 were:

    ALTRINCHAM: 1. Stuart COBURN, 2. Steve ASPINALL, 3. Chris ADAMS, 4. Mark MADDOX, 5. Gary TALBOT, 6. Eddie HUSSIN (capt), 7. Colin POTTS, 8. Val OWEN, 9. Colin LITTLE, 10. Rod THORNLEY, 11. Gary SCOTT. Subs: 12. Lewis CHALMERS, 13. Richard ACTON, 14. George MELLING, 15. Kieran LUGSDEN, 16, Jonathan MITTEN.

    EASTBOURNE BOROUGH: 1. Lee HOOK, 2. Danny CHAPMAN, 3. Stuart TUCK, 4. Matt SMART, 5. Stuart PLAYFORD, 6. Ben AUSTIN, 7. Yemi ODUBADE, 8. Matt CRABB, 9. Scott RAMSAY, 10. Danny SIMMONDS, 11 Andy ATKIN. Subs: 12. Loui FAZAKERLY, 13 Dean LIGHTWOOD, 14. Ollie ROWLAND, 15. Danny WILLIAMS, 16. Darren SMITH.

    Full details of the Alty supporters' coach to the game on Saturday at Eastbourne are here.


    Right: Man of the Match, Mark McGregor is squashed by players from his former club, Wrexham, in this photo from Gavin Rathbone. Many more of Gavin's excellent photos are on his GR Photography website.

    "Alty boss Graham Heathcote believes his team must beat the bullies if they are to improve their form" according to SAM. "After an impressive preseason in which they won six of seven games, the Robins have so far struggled to transfer their form to the Blue Square Premier. And Heathcote believes that is due to the physical demands of non-league’s top flight. Alty are a relatively small side - with just six of their squad standing more than 6ft tall - and have often found themselves overpowered by bigger, stronger full-time outfits... He told SAM Sport: 'We’ve not had a bad start, picking up five points from five games, but we need to build on that now. We played really well in preseason and got some good results but now we are just having a few problems that we didn’t anticipate. The physical side of the game has now kicked in a bit and we have not handled it from either a defensive or an attacking point of view. We’ve been bullied a bit out there. But the reaction was superb on Monday. I always thought we would meet a strong physical challenge against Wrexham. We needed to be stronger in midfield, which meant I had to make sacrifices in other areas intially. But there were people out there on Monday who set their own standards but they need to maintain that. We need to raise our game against the teams lower down the table and if we do that we are more than capable of getting results... Hopefully we can settle down to defend properly and then integrate more of the players we bought to attack. If teams had been cutting us apart in our games then I could probably hack it a little bit. But they’re not, it’s just been sloppiness that has led to us conceding goals. We need to tighten up at the back because you can’t approach games in a kamikaze fashion. We defended well against Wrexham but if you can’t get yourself up for a game in front of 2,600 people then what game can you get yourself up for? We have to do the same in every game... The fact we got a result against Wrexham shows we should be able to cope with two games in four days. It’s about focus, the players might get tired but if they stay focused they’ll get a result'”.


    In the Carling Cup, Ryan Shotton made his first-team debut for Stoke City in the 89th minute in a 3-2 win over Cheltenham this week.


    The UniBond League reports that "This season sees a record number of UniBond League clubs entering the FA Youth Cup with 33 of the 63 member clubs participating. Exactly two thirds of them have received a bye into the First Qualifying Round and they are joined by Retford United who have been given a walk-over... The remaining ten clubs have to contest a Preliminary Round with the ties [including] –
  • CAMMELL LAIRD v Altrincham

    Cammell Laird, Chorley, Leigh Genesis, Wakefield and Willenhall Town are all making their debuts in the competition". the game is on Wednesday September 10th at 7,45pm. All support will be very welcome.


    From the BBC we learn that "Barrow joint-manager Dave Bayliss has revealed... 'We've had a number of enquiries about some of our lads', he told BBC Radio Cumbria. 'But we don't want to let anyone go... The enquiries have been about lads who are playing and lads who aren't playing at the moment'. Bayliss, meanwhile, is not ruling out the possibility of extending Paul Black's loan from Oldham Athletic. The 18-year-old has impressed in his two appearances so far after signing a one-month deal. 'We want to get a settled team and if that means extending Paul's loan then hopefully we can come to some sort of agreement... He's done OK but we expect a lot more.... I think he's playing at only 80% of what he can do so when he gets used to the level he will be a really good player'. Meanwhile defender Steve McNulty will face intensive treatment on his groin injury this week ahead of the visit of Stevenage on Saturday. 'With not being full-time it's difficult', Bayliss said. 'Ideally you like to get the player in the day after the injury to get attention but we can't do that'... Bayliss has also revealed that goalkeeper Tim Deasy played the full 90 minutes of Monday's 1-1 draw at York City with a fractured thumb. 'We knew about it after the Mansfield game but fair play to him, he wanted to play and I thought he was a different class'".

    The Burton Mail says that "Albion have reached an out-of-court settlement to resolve their dispute with pitch contractor Boughton Loam Ltd. The action relates to problems with the playing surface and the training pitch during Albion's first season at the Pirelli Stadium. A statement issued by chairman Ben Robinson said: 'At the beginning of August we were due to attend court in Nottingham in connection with our long-running dispute concerning the pitches at the Pirelli Stadium. However, the solicitors acting for Boughton Loam Ltd made an out-of-court settlement offer which, on consultation with our legal advisors, we have accepted'".

    According to the "Steve Fallon thinks Tyler Campbell will handle the pressure of facing Forest Green on Saturday if Histon's injury woes continue. The manager is sweating on the fitness of attackers Danny Wright, Antonio Murray and Jack Midson after they suffered injuries in Bank Holiday Monday's victory at Rushden.Midfielder Neil Andrews is also a major doubt... Fallon said: 'We've really got to hope our two strikers recover in time for Saturday. Antonio picked up a knock in the first minute when he went in to challenge the goalkeeper, and Danny turned his ankle... Neil could have done without another 90 minutes as his blisters are killing him at the moment, and Jack wanted to come off near the end as well. Tyler came on and he looked a little bit lightweight out there because people are very quick and strong in this league... The next time we need him I'm sure he'll be stronger and wiser'. Fallon has been thwarted in his attempts to bolster his midfield over the summer, with moves to sign Josh Simpson from Cambridge City and Cambridge United's Ben Farrell falling through. But the manager is content with his squad as the transfer window gets ready to close on September 1 and does not expect to make any additions. Fallon said: 'We've got no money, so people have got to go out if people are coming in - and we've got no plans for letting anyone leave at the moment'".

    The Northwich Guardian says that "Billy McEwan admitted he was relieved his side escape with a win against Northwich Victoria. The Mansfield boss feared the Stags had blown their unblemished home record after allowing the visitors to draw level at 2-2. Mark Stallard’s stoppage time winner spared the hosts’ blushes. 'We had chance after chance and I kept thinking "come on, get it in, and kill them off" but we just couldn’t do it', McEwan told the Mansfield Chad. 'All credit to Northwich, they battled on, got back in he game and made it difficult for us in the second half. We went through this against Kidderminster (Stags ran out 4-2 victors after leading 3-0) and it was something we spoke about at half time today. But it seems it may be a kink in the armoury of this squad of players for some reason'".

    Malcolm Curtis, the chairman of Weymouth writes "I am delighted to unveil our Vision Statement for a new facility in Weymouth - a sports stadium designed to benefit the whole community. Weymouth's role in the 2012 Olympics offers us a unique opportunity to create a lasting legacy of sporting excellence for the town... Our vision delivers the following [amongst other things]:

  • A location that people of all ages and from all walks of life will have access to.
  • A beacon project for Dorset in terms of sustainable and environmentally-responsible land development.
  • An Olympic legacy that Dorset can be justly proud of.

    This window of opportunity is limited and requires action NOW! I therefore invite you to support us in meeting the challenge of Weymouth delivering on its Olympic promise by taking the time to read the Vision Statement... Yours sincerely Malcolm Curtis". The new stadium plans are here

    Meanwhile the York Press reports that "Directors at York City FC are to carry out an investigation after up to 20 fans were involved in trouble at an away match. The football club said it would not jump the gun by taking action against any fans, but would carry out an inquiry to find out precisely what happened at Saturday’s game against Northwich Victoria, and who was involved. Cheshire Police have said ten to 20 City fans threw bottles over a wall into Northwich’s Marston’s Arena, and say a match steward was hit by a bottle inside the ground.

    But Sophie Hicks, City’s communications and community director, said 'No arrests were made, and we have not received any formal communication or report from the police. We have not received any report from Northwich either'... Mrs Hicks said she had thought beforehand there was a potential for trouble as a result of City’s former owner John Batchelor being in the ground, but she had not seen any trouble. Inspector Simon Newell of Cheshire Police, who was in charge of operations at the ground, told The Press yesterday that bottles were thrown into the ground and inside the ground by a coachload of fans, who had been drinking before the game. He said at least 20 officers were called to the ground, following reports of trouble, but it had stopped by the time they got there. He said two City fans had been ejected for being “unruly” but said they had not thrown bottles. Insp Newell said the City supporters’ coaches had been escorted back to the motorway after the match, and said Cheshire Police’s football liaison officer would speak to York City to try to prevent any repeat problems".

    Mr Batchelor is the man involved in a recent attempted takeover at Mansfield, where he wanted to rebrand the club as Harchester. He also had an unhappy spell at York City, hence the above comments from Sophie Hicks.

    27 August 2008


    Th FA confirms that Chris Lane's suspension for alleged handball was a one-match ban, so he should be available for Saturday's game. The referee who sent him off, Mr Simpson from Middlesex, was apparently officiating at his first match at Conference level.

    Alty travel to Eastbourne this Saturday where midfielder Matt Crabb will be missing as he has picked up a one-match ban for his dismissal on Monday. The referee for Saturday's game is Mr I. J. Cooper.


    Our next opponents, Eastbourne Borough report on a fine win at Grays on Monday."The 2 previous fixtures in the season had seen 3 goal deficits... Injury doubts for Andy Atkin and Allan Tait were groundless although Tait dropped to the bench; Mo Harkin unfortunately not fit to make the squad... Atkin [was] forced to leave the pitch injured after a 'rugby' tackle on 69 minutes, no card issued... As Boro cleared their lines the home side conceded a free-kick wide right. Matt Crabb delivered a wonderfully flighted ball into the box; Flitney didn't claim and Matt Smart's glancing header settled into the bottom corner; the 100+ Boro fans were jubilant... but Matt Crabb received his 2nd yellow challenging for a loose ball before Mr Fletcher called a halt to proceedings.". Eastbourne's side was: 1 Lee Hook 8 Paul Armstrong (C) 9 Andy Atkin 5 Ben Austin 2 Darren Baker 7 Pat Harding 3 Neil Jenkins 13 Jay Lovett 14 Jean-Michel Sigere 4 Matt Smart 6 Marc Pullan, Substitutes: 31 Darren Budd 15 Nathan Crabb for Atkin (69) 10 Allan Tait for Sigere (63) 11 Matt Crabb for Jenkins (73), 22 Chris Winterton.


    From the Sale & Altrincham Messenger we learn that "Pride was restored at Moss Lane as Alty snatched a point from Wrexham. Following their 4-0 thumping at Kidderminster on Saturday, a thick gloom had sat heavily upon the Robins. But the players showed renewed passion and focus for the visit of the Welsh promotion favourites and were good value for their point. Overall, the whole day was a positive experience, Wrexham bringing with them a huge army of fans to contribute to the biggest league crowd at Moss Lane in 17 years - 2,619. Anticipating an arduous afternoon, Graham Heathcote shuffled his pack to better cope with the Dragons' threat.

    Warren Peyton slotted in at left back, where he provided a steady presence, while Matt Doughty moved to left midfield and on the right flank, Richard Battersby and Alex Meechan replaced the suspended Chris Lane and [also] Chris Denham... Alty were honest and industrious, while Wrexham seemed to lack the class to distinguish them as championship challengers... The visitors got themselves back on level terms six minutes before the break - with a little help from the referee. The man in the middle allowed towering striker Jefferson Louis to get away with all manner of grappling and wrestling in his battles with Alty's two centre halves. Even when the striker shoved Mark McGregor in the chest as the pair tussled for the ball, a free kick was mystifyingly awarded to Wrexham. From the set piece Tom Kearney delivered an inviting ball into the box and when Coburn flapped at it, Louis rose to head into the empty net. But Alty had their fair share of luck... Greg Young survived a strong penalty shout from the visitors after he dived in on Shaun Whalley just inside the area, sending the striker flopping somewhat dramatically to the turf... Although Alty were marginally the better team, Wrexham had by far the best chance of the half... Heathcote's introduction of Dale Johnson and particularly Chris Denham ensured there were still a few uneasy moments to be endured by the visitors. The direct running approach of Denham seemed to have the Dragons' defence at sixes and sevens, completely unsure how to deal with his threat... Ultimately, a draw was justice".

    Photos of the Alty v Wrexham game are on:

  • Gavin Rathbone's GR Photography website
  • The Wrexham site.

    Wrexham report that "Big centre back Darran Kempson might have been one of three players singled out by Brian Little as having performed adequately at Altrincham, but he was far from satisfied with the afternoon's outcome. 'We'll get a lot of scraps like that this season', he said. 'It's a very disappointing result... We should have won the game. We created chances but we just didn't take them and it was a big disappointment all round really'".

    The winner of the Guess the Crowd on Monday was Mark Roberts who estimated the attendance at 2,624 - it was 2,619. The Golden Goal prize was won by a delighted Wrexham supporter.


    Altrincham are away at Histon on Tuesday 2nd September. The Cambridge News confirms that "Craig Pope has reversed his decision to quit football because of the support he has received from Histon and their fans. The 25-year-old right-back wanted to hang up his boots after he failed on appeal to overturn the FA's charge of using a word that may be deemed insulting by race or colour towards the then Cambridge United forward Leo Fortune-West last season. But the former Cambridge City defender has been talked into coming back to the Glass World Stadium. He said: 'I've had a lot of support from the chairman (Gareth Baldwin), the manager and all the fans at Histon Football Club. I was dead set on quitting the game because of what I thought was the injustice of how it went about, but everyone stuck by me and I know how much they want me at the club'. Pope... must now serve the remainder of a four-match ban". He should be available against Alty.

    "An eventful match resulted in">Histon winning at Nene Park for the second year running and the home side finishing with only 9 men on the pitch. Histon was forced to make two changes from the side that lined up against Burton Albion two days previously. Defender Erkan Okay picked up knee ligament damage in that game and was replaced by Jamie Barker and Nathaniel Knight-Percival was suspended... Barker came in at left back, Jack Midson started on the left with Robbie Nightingale coming in on the right of midfield. Summer signing Damien Reeves [from Farsley] was on the bench along with youngsters Ben Coker and Tyler Campbell... Just before half time Nightingale was knocked to the ground and there followed a bit of a brawl, the result of which was Tomlin was sent off and Woodhouse and Ada were cautioned. Shortly after half time the home side were down to 9 men after Woodhouse picked up his second yellow card. The Stutes responded by going two goals up with a Midson header from a Lanre Oyebanjo corner. Histon had brought on Coker and Campbell for their debuts and also brought on Damien Reeves... Histon: Naisbitt, Oyebanjo, Mitchel-King, Langston, Ada, Midson, Nightingale, Andrews, Barker (Coker 46), Murray (Reeves 55), Wright (Campbell 63). Subs Not Used: Key [Lance Key, the former Alty keeper] , Kennedy". The same paper reports on Histon's win at Rushden, "Histon were far from convincing for large spells of the match and will need to practise playing against nine men on the training pitch if they are to become more ruthless in the future.. The boss chose to bring the experienced heads of Robbie Nightingale and Jamie Barker into his starting line-up. Barker was at left-back and Nightingale on the right wing, with Fallon choosing to keep skipper Mat Mitchel-King in the centre of midfield... Steve Fallon felt the result was more important than his team's performance".


    The Northwich Guardian reports that on Monday "Hednesford inflicted a first league defeat on woeful Witton... Liam Coyne [ex-Alty Youth] and Gary Scott [ex-Alty first-team] were sent off in the second half... [the visitors'] sub Chad Sheppard scoring from the spot after Scott had tangled with Dyer in the box. The full back saw red, the same fate that awaited Coyne following his reckless lunge 20 minutes earlier... Witton never looked likely to rescue a point, Rod Thornley's smothered shot the closest they came"."

    Alty reserve Adam Brindle who reached Altrincham's first-team bench on several occasions in 2004/5 is now a central defender with Leek Town.


    "Grays Athletic have completed a deal for former Coventry City youth striker Craig Reid on a non-contract basis" report NL Daily. "Reid joined Tamworth on loan in 2005 before moving to Cheltenham Town... The 22-year-old is immediately available for the Gravelmen, featured in Monday's Blue Square Premier match against Eastbourne Borough as a substitute".

    "Oxford United boss Darren Patterson has ordered his players in for extra training after the dismal goalless draw against Woking... The U's were second best to the bottom team, and only escaped with a draw thanks to some fine saves from goalkeeper Jake Cole. It has been a bad start to the season for United, with successive away defeats, players getting sent-off through indiscipline, and a surprise home defeat by Weymouth... Patterson said he was at a loss to understand why his players should perform like that, especially when they had had more rest and recovery time since their last game than Woking, who played at the weekend. 'We're in for training', United's manager said straight after the match. 'I can't accept flat performances like that. It's the nature of the performance, that's why we're in. We can't let that go, and we've got to make sure we nip it in the bud very quickly. It was as flat as a pancake and we can't be like that. We're at home, we haven't won many games here, fans still came out in their numbers to support us today and that wasn't enough - for them or for me. It was pretty awful from start to finish, as bad a performance as I can remember. Where it came from, I don't know. Too many people looked leggy, one-paced, and for some reason or other, the options for the man in possession of the ball were awful. We went to just punting it, straight, and losing possession because when we were passing it there was no movement. Why we resorted to that, I have no idea, because we don't do that, we don't play like that and we don't train like that. I'm a bit perturbed why... It's the first time since I've been manager that I've ordered them back in next morning, but we need to get in and work hard on it'" he told the Oxford Mail.

    Cambridge United report that "Mark Cooper praised his defence for giving Kettering Town the platform to record their 2-0 win at the Trade Recruitment Stadium on Monday... Afterwards Cooper commented, 'I'm very pleased with our performance. We have some very good defenders - we've only conceded a goal a game before today - and to keep your forward line so quiet showed exactly how good they are... We were worried about the pace that your wide lads have and tried to get our wide players to tuck back in when you had possession of the ball, and luckily enough it worked for us... I thought the sending off was very harsh - in my day it may not even have been a booking but the referee was extremely quick to get the card out', he said. 'But I don't think it changed the result of the game. The key today - and whenever you go to any big club - is to make the fans quiet and get them frustrated, which we did'".

    At Crawley Town "Reds' Boss Steve Evans complained it was 2 points dropped after he watched his team take only a point at Stevenage Borough. Evans said; 'We are leaving Stevenage Borough disappointed because we deserved to win given the chances we created and the quality of our play. At times we passed them off the pitch... I leave here today looking forward to working with two new signings tomorrow, Chris Giles and Steve Fletcher. We have not seen Fletch but some forget Gilo has also only played 20 minutes of proper football and they are both now fit... I may also add to the squad in the next week or so and I am working on that now. I know who I want and discussions are under way'”.

    Meanwhile, Grays Athletic "have released Jon Munday and Joe Woolley".

    York City's "21 year old forward, Richard Brodie, has been included in the Under 23, England C squad of 16 players who will face Bosnia and Herzegovina on 16th September. The friendly game will be played in Sarajevo." The squad excludes Liam Brownhill who almost joined Altrincham but opted for Droylsden instead. It comprises: Lance Cronin (Ebbsfleet United), Adam Bartlett (Kidderminster Harriers), John Brayford (Burton Albion), Anton Robinson (Weymouth), Danny Gleeson (Cambridge United), Jonathan D'Laryea (Mansfield Town), Luke Foster (Oxford United), Carl Tremarco (Wrexham), James Smith (Ebbsfleet United), Russell Penn (Kidderminster Harriers), Jamie Stevens (Crawley Town), Richard rodie (York City), Luke Moore (Ebbsfleet United), Mitchell Cole (Stevenage Borough), Shaun Harrad (Burton Albion), Nathan Arnold (Mansfield Town).

    The Argus says that "Lewes are making progress. A 0-0 draw with FA Trophy winners Ebbsfleet not only ended a run of three straight defeats but also marked a significant step forward for the club... The overall performance certainly lacked the panache and fast-flowing football that Lewes played with last season but that is the way it is now. A crowd of 851 was a significant improvement on the previous home game but still a long way short of the 2,105 Eastbourne Borough attracted on Saturday... From a side thumped 3-0 and 4-1 by Crawley and Salisbury respectively Lewes now look like a team who can defend... Three of their next five matches – Woking and Altrincham away plus Barrow at home – are matches they should be looking to win if they want to stand any chance of surviving.... [Manager] Keehan said: 'It gives us a lift going into the next game... If we can go into games thinking we are not going to concede I think we have got players who can score. Two or three weeks ago Chamal (Fenelon) was a real concern for me. He wasn’t really fit enough or sharp enough and he was doing things I wasn’t happy with. We have worked on him and he has improved immensely. He is now a real thorn in the side of defenders'... Keehan made changes for the game including leaving out James Fraser, who could be on his way back to Bristol Rovers".

    Essex's Thurrock Gazette says that "an 89th minute winner by Eastbourne’s Matthew Smart saw Grays Athletic poor early results continue - and they missed their third penalty of the season to compound a miserable start... Thurgood assumed the spot-kick responsibility after two misses by Danny Kedwell recently but Thurgood couldn’t do any better as the keeper saved his hard shot... Eastbourne manager Garry Wilson said: 'We fought hard. We are only part-timers and new to the division, so it gives us great pleasure to take the three points'".

    "Billy McEwan admits Mansfield's defending is still a cause for concern", says This is Nottingham>. "The Stags scrambled to their third consecutive home victory by beating Northwich Victoria 3-2.. But it was not before they had squandered a two-goal half-time lead... 'We have been through this before at Kidderminster and it has proven to be a weak link, little chink in our armour, with this squad of players', said McEwan. 'As a team we have to defend better. We can't give goals away like we are because it just puts pressure on you... Whether we are 1-0 up or 2-0 up we don't have to take our foot off the pedal... There are no poor teams in this league... It is a fantastic record to have won all three home games so far and all credit to the players for their efforts'".

    According to Torquay United manager Paul Buckle refused to criticise his team after their third successive defeat, 1-0 to new Blue Square Premier leaders Salisbury City at Plainmoor yesterday, and insisted: 'The results will come if we keep playing like that'... They have now taken only four points out of the first 15 this season. But Buckle said: 'On another day we could easily have won by two or three goals, and they've won with their only shot on goal — that's how thin the line is... We were all over Salisbury. We just couldn't score... We will get back on the road of winning games... I can stomach a defeat if we give that sort of performance'. There were some boos from fans at the final whistle... Salisbury manager Nick Holmes admitted: 'Sometimes you know it's going to be your day. I thought we defended ever so well. Torquay had a lot of pressure, but we put our bodies in the way... We tightened up and became a little less expansive. We are never going to be the most entertaining of sides now, but we are effective. We had to do that'".

    The Daily Post says that "Brian Little admitted it was a case of two points dropped as a result of the 1-1 draw with Altrincham ... Little said: 'The start unsettled everyone and we never really gathered ourselves after that... When you go into games like this the important thing is to try and get the first goal and I felt if we did take the lead we might take it away. Credit to Altrincham, because they worked hard, but it was a poor goal to concede... But I always felt that once we got back into this game we were the only team that was going to win... We are in a division where we are looked upon as a team the opposition want to play and we are getting a reputation based on our two home wins'... Little kept his players in their Moss Lane dressing room for nearly 30 minutes after the final whistle and emerged to say: 'I was not very pleased with that performance and I’ve just said that to them in the dressing room'".

    26 August 2008


    Altrincham FC is planning a "New Recruits" evening at the end of September, at which the players who have joined the club this season will be the guests.

    A Bingo Evening, always a popular event, is planned at Moss Lane on Monday 24th November from 7pm.

    More details of both these events will be posted nearer the time of their occurrence.


    Right: Chris Senior feels the pinch from Steve Evans

    Altrincham took a well deserved point from Wrexham in front of a bumper crowd of 2,619 on a sunny lunchtime at Moss Lane.

  • Match report here
  • Alty Player Statistics - Assuming he plays each game until then, Stuart Coburn will make his 400th start for Altrincham at Stevenage in September.
  • Alty line-ups and bookings, 2008-09


    The official Wrexham site says that "Brian Little named an unchanged line-up for this trip to Altrincham... In the end, it was a frustrating visit to Moss Lane... A comedy of errors gave Altrincham the lead on six minutes when we first failed to cut out a cross, allowing several miss hit efforts in the middle before Chris Senior eventually got his head to a shot that was going wide and diverted it past Gavin Ward... The Welshmen continued to push forward, but were finding it hard to create clear cut chances against a packed defence of red shirts... A foul by McGregor on Louis, set up a free kick which brought the equaliser. Tom Kearney crossed from the left wing and although the keeper looked favourite, Jefferson Louis rose to meet the flight of the ball and score from about eight-yards on 38 minutes".

    The same paper adds "A draw was still not good enough for Brian Little or the 1,500 fans who travelled across from North Wales... 'We started poorly and have given a bad goal away', he said. 'Everyone was trying, but for me there was only Tom Kearney playing. I can't explain why we were as poor as we were, but he seemed to be the only one who was trying to put his foot on the ball and pass it around. Having said that, we got a couple of chances to have won the game and probably should had done so... Being the home side, they were always going to put a couple of balls in your box, which could cause you a few problems... I need to get into people's heads, but for some reason we are not playing away from home, they way we are at home... We are in a division, where for the moment, we are looked upon as a team that others like to play against. But the disappointing thing is that any reputation we might be gaining from our home performances, is not being taken on our travels... I have just had a conversation in the dressing room, about this being the same side that beat Oxford United only four days ago, So do I then have to pick a different team for away games? As far as I'm concerned, I can't have a situation where we have players doing it one week, but not the week after. There are no more instructions from us, other then get in amongst them, pass the ball, play good football and score a few goals! I can't wait forever for the same team that produces at home to do it on our travels. So we might well find that we have different personnel who can do it away from home and I might have to make changes... Today is a game that many people would have said we should have won... We are all bitterly disappointed'".


    Altrincham make the journey to Histon on Tuesday 2nd September and as usual there will be a supporters' coach running to that game. Details of this trip and next Saturday's journey to Eastbourne Borough are on the Away Travel page.


    Vauxhall Motors drew 1-1 with Stalybridge yesterday and had James Coates, the former Alty trialist in goal. Ben Deegan netted for Ashton United. From a few years earlier at Alty, Marc Lloyd Williams has rejoined Porthmadog from Rhyl.


    Blue Square Football reports that "Woking chairman David Taylor has jumped to the defence of the club's under-fire manager Kim Grant.... Despite the poor start, Taylor has insisted he is the man to blame for the situation, and claims that Grant's position remains secure for the time being. 'I take full responsibility. I took this decision. I made this situation, and I'll get us out of it', Taylor told BBC Southern Counties Radio... 'We always planned to review everything in September... I'm absolutely convinced with the players Kim's brought in we should not be where we are'" .

    NL Daily tells us that "Winger Daryl Taylor has joined Halesowen Town. The former Halifax Town, Tamworth and Walsall player spent pre-season with Kettering Town and featured in their first two games of the season".

    25 August 2008


    Monday 25th August

  • Altrincham 1 Wrexham 1
  • Burton A. 2 Kidderminster H. 2
  • Cambridge U. 0 Kettering T. 2
  • Forest Green R. 4 Weymouth 1
  • Grays A. 0 Eastbourne B. 1
  • Lewes 0 Ebbsfleet U. 0
  • Mansfield T. 3 Northwich V. 2
  • Oxford U. 0 Woking 0
  • Rushden & D. 1 Histon 2
  • Stevenage B. 1 Crawley T. 1
  • Torquay U. 0 Salisbury C. 1
  • York C. 1 Barrow 1

    40-YEAR GAP

    Altrincham welcome Wrexham to Moss Lane today (Monday, 12 noon).

    The last league match between an Alty and Wrexham side was in 1968 when Alty defeated Wrexham Reserves in the Cheshire County League, 3-1. The advent of the Northern Premier League put an end to this annual clash with the Dragons. Wrexham's keeper in the 1968 game was Gordon Livesey whom the programme tells us was well-known as a "cornet player in the Salvation Army Band". Seen, right, is the programme for that game.

    The last time Altrincham hosted Wrexham's first team was in the FA Cup in 1963 (left) when the game was abandoned with Wrexham leading 2-1 after 76 minutes, due to fog. "Highlights" of the match were shown on BBC TV. The game was replayed and ended goalless four days later before Alty lost 3-0 in the replay at the Racecourse Ground on 26 November 1963. For that game, Alty's squad included two FA Cup finalists of just five years earlier - Ian Greaves of Manchester United and John Higgins of Bolton Wanderers. as well as Gerry Harrison, a Daily Express reporter, who later became a BBC North West TV journalist. At that time, Wrexham were managed by Ken Barnes the former Manchester City legend and father of Peter Barnes, the England and City winger. The Dragons also had Clive Colbridge, who is also an Alty legend. Wrexham's key man was Arfon Griffiths who had been at Arsenal.

    Wrexham Supporters Trust have produced badges to celebrate their first league meetings with clubs in the BSP. All money raised by the Trust will be used to purchase equity in Wrexham Football Club and ensure its long term security. Wrexham's Trust say "The badges are gorgeous and are a nice memento of a (minor) historical fixture. Enjoy the game, cheers from Wrexham". Details are on E Bay.


    Today you can watch three local games at three different levels:
  • 12 noon: Altrincham v Wrexham - BS Premier
  • 3pm: Witton Albion v Hednesford T. - UniBond Premier
  • 7.45pm: Hyde Utd v Gainsborough T. - BS North


    The BBC confirms that "Altrincham will be without suspended defender Chris Lane but Colin Little and Dale Johnson have passed late fitness tests to start. Val Owen remains sidelined with a knee problem, while Lee Elam is carrying a knock and is a doubt. Wrexham defender Nat Brown is close to full fitness after a groin injury. He will hope for a start but may have to settle for a place on the bench if Steve Evans and Darran Kempson continue in central defence".

    Wrexham's Daily Post adds that "Striker Jefferson Louis is adamant the Dragons can still get even better... 'As the games go by you can actually see there is still a lot more to come from this side', Louis said. 'It’s quite a new side with a lot of new lads coming in over the summer and it was going to take a little bit of time, but the gaffer definitely knows what he’s doing... I think losing at York has made us realise what we did wrong and made us realise what mistakes we have to correct and I think we have done that' he added".


    Above, Alty captain Daniel Fradley in action against Lostock Rangers.

    Altrincham FC Youth beat Lostock Rangers under-19s on Sunday afternoon 2-1 in a friendly game. Report in the Youth section.


    The Kidderminster Shuttle reports that "Harriers bagged their first three points of the season in the Blue Square Premier by seeing off ten-men Altrincham at Aggborough... Creigton headed deftly into the back of the net. Despite the goal Harriers were struggling to get to grips in midfield and the game descended into a scrappy affair. The turning point came in the 33rd minute when Creighton's goal-bound shot was handled on the line by defender Chris Lane, who was shown a straight red card... As Altrincham battled back the game became bad tempered but two quality strikes secured an emphatic victory".


    The SAM reported at the end of last week that "The only absentee remains long-term injury casualty Val Owen, who is still on the comeback trail after a series of knee problems. But the outlook appears good for the veteran midfielder. Owen had a scan today, which gave him the all-clear on his problem knee and he will resume full training next week... Heathcote said that no decisions had yet been made on the trialists who played in Tuesday's friendly. Dave Challinor, Damien Allen and Shaun Densmore all played as Heathcote explores possible options to strenghten his squad. 'I've not made any decisions on the trialists yet', said Heathcote. 'I'll have to take another look at all of them and then we'll see what our options are'".


    In NL Today, chairman Geoff Goodwin responds to queries about Colin Little. "Let me make the situation crystal clear. Colin Little is Altrincham Football Club... Clubs are wasting their time if they think they are going to lure him away from us. He will tell them straight, I know this for a fact. He won't even consider going... he's so committed to this club that I went to Colin not so long ago and told him there was a chance we couldn't afford him for the next season. Do you know what he did? He laughed and just said, 'Of course, you can afford me. Just give me whatever you can; I don't mind'. This man is not money-motivated, pure and simple. He is staying here... he will be the league's top scorer this season, mark my words... when you have the quality of the players we've added like Lee Elam... I don't consider us a dead cert for the drop, whatsoever."


    Phil Taylor, former Altrincham FC Security Officer and now involved in the matchday preparations at Moss Lane, is also a referee. He informs the website that on Saturday "I was running the line in St Helens at Pilkington v Linotype/Cheadle Heath Nomads. Linotype/CHN, who incidentally lost 8-2 were captained by Steve Bushell, the ex-Halifax and Altrincham captain".

    For Trafford, playing against Harrogate Railway, Josh Mitten was sent off on Saturday.


    "Rushden & Diamonds have signed twenty five year old striker Leon Knight following his release by Wycombe Wanderers. Knight began his career at Chelsea and, after an impressive loan spell at Huddersfield Town, then made six-figure moves to Brighton and Hove Albion in 2003 and then Swansea City... The striker then spent a year at Milton Keynes before moving to Wycombe for the latter part of last season".
    24 August 2008


    Cayne Hanley, a former Alty trialist (2007) has moved to Woodley Sports from Northwich Victoria. Droylsden overcame Hyde United on Saturday with former Alty loan player James Dean putting Hyde ahead before ex-Alty trialist Aaron Burns levelled. The Bloods finally won 2-1. Former Alty reserves' captain Keith Wedge scored for Abbey Hey who lost 4-1 at home to Newcastle Town. Ben Deegan scored the winner for Ashton Utd 1-0 at Boston as did Jamie Baguley for FCUM who won 1-0 at Buxton. Ex-Alty youth and reserve Mark Drew got both goals as Witton Albion won 2-0 at North Ferriby


    The Kidderminster Harriers official site says that on Saturday "Skipper Mark Creighton got the rout underway in the first-half before Justin Richards made it four goals in as many games with the second from the penalty spot. Martin Brittain added a quality third before substitute Brian Smikle struck an early contender for Goal of the Season to round off the scoring. Mark Yates made sweeping changes before the game with no fewer than five new faces in the starting XI - Brittain was amongst those, replacing the departing Simon Russell in midfield, and it was the former Yeovil man's superb performance who helped the hosts on their way... Creighton must've fancied himself in front of goal as he took the ball down well and fired a shot that Coburn saved brilliantly - the defender quickly fired another shot towards goal that was blocked by the hand of Alty defender Chris Lane. Lane's stop was spotted by the referee who instantly awarded a penalty and sent off the former Southport player... The hosts thoroughly deserved to win today's game but the score line was harsh on Coburn, who was easily the visitor's best player. Ten minutes further on, he was again down quickly to pull off a smart save, this time at the feet of sub Darryl Knights... Possession : K58% A42%, Shots On Target : K6 A0, Fouls K16 A8".

    "Neil Howarth spoke of the strength of Harriers' squad this season following a first win of the season over Altrincham... The side brushed aside the challenge of Altrincham with a 4-0 success, and for Howarth the difference has been clear... 'There's been something about the lads this week', he said. 'Ever since the half-time team-talk at Mansfield they've changed as a group of players - they've changed from being in pre-season friendly mode to realising what it takes to win matches... I didn't necessarily think we'd win 4-0 but it was nice to get that score line'... Altrincham remained furious after the game over the referee's decision to send of Chris Lane for deliberate handball - Justin Richard's resulting penalty kick went on to put the hosts 2-0 up. Howarth added: 'Their bench was complaining that it wasn't a red card but the lad has stopped a goal with his hand on the line so the referee has been left with no decision. Justin is full of confidence at the moment - it was probably one of the best penalties I've ever seen, the 'keeper guessed the right way but it was firmly in the top corner'"

    Meanwhile the unofficial Harriers website said that "The Harriers got their overdue first win of the season today against a plucky Altrincham side that found themselves down to ten men after a controversial decision by yet another mediocre referee. With the Harriers already leading by a single Mark Creighton goal we had mounted another attack on Alty. With shots peppering the goal the ball seemingly struck Chris Lane on the chest and the ref gave a penalty after believing that it had struck him on the hand. Justin Richards easily converted it and from then on we took over the game completely... Alty were forced to re-group and their most dangerous player Colin Little was pulled back into midfield and could then only make the occasional forays towards goal".

    23 August 2008


    Above: Alty's Young, McGregor, Doughty and Lawton watch Kidderminster Harriers' Barnes-Homer try to reach an aerial ball.

    It was referee Simpson from Middlesex who determined the outcome of this game by adjudging Chris Lane to have deliberately handled the ball on the line after 33 minutes, when the defender had been hit on the body from point blank range by a Harriers shot.

    Match report here.

  • Alty player stats.
  • Alty line-ups and bookings.

    Saturday 23rd August

  • Barrow 2 Mansfield T. 1
  • Crawley T. 3 Torquay U. 1
  • Eastbourne B. 0 Cambridge U. 3
  • Ebbsfleet U. 4 Stevenage B. 0
  • Histon 4 Burton A. 3
  • Kettering T. 1 Rushden & D. 1
  • Kidderminster H. 4 Altrincham 0
  • Northwich V. 2 York C. 2
  • Salisbury C. 1 Grays A. 0
  • Weymouth 2 Lewes 0
  • Woking 0 Forest Green R. 1


    Before Saturday's clash at Aggborough, the Kidderminster Shuttle said that "Harriers are in desperate need to stop the rot after earning one point from their first three matches. But Altrincham will come to Aggborough full of confidence after a solid start to the season, where they have earned four points. Yates has kept faith with largely the same 11 that has failed to fire so far this campaign and may bring in Martin Brittain, Matthew Barnes-Homer and David McDermott after useful performances as substitutes. Left-back Lee Baker, who is at the club on-loan from West Bromwich Albion, is expected to have recovered from the knee injury, which has forced him out of the last two games".


    Kidderminster Harriers, Alty's opponents on Saturday announce "One in, One out for Harriers... Leaving Aggborough Stadium this evening is Simon Russell, who was the club's longest-serving player... The winger leaves Aggborough having made a total of 154 appearances, scoring 17 goals. Simon joins up with Colin Walker's York City side ahead of their game at Northwich tomorrow afternoon... Boss Mark Yates told 'We were trying to tie something up with him here but unfortunately Simon's not been able to get what he was looking for and he's disappointed we haven't been able to work things out. But we knew of interest from York City and we've agreed to let him to go back nearer to his home which is something he wanted'... Meanwhile, coming to Aggborough is former Wolverhampton Wanderers defender Keith Lowe. The 22 year-old penned non-contract terms with the club this afternoon and is available for an immediate debut... at home to Altrincham tomorrow. Lowe, who can operate at either full-back or centre-half, spent time with the club during pre-season and impressed... The player has spent his entire career at Championship and League One level, featuring for the likes of Wolves, Burnley and Port Vale".

    According to the BBC Kidderminster's "On-loan defender Lee Baker is likely to return after a swollen knee, while striker Matt Barnes-Homer and winger Martin Brittain could feature. Altrincham have doubts over strikers Colin Little and Dale Johnson, with both suffering from minor injuries. Winger Lee Elam is also doubtful with a knock and he is likely to be replaced by Alex Meechan".


    Right: Warren Peyton has yet to start a game this season but he made a difference last Saturday as a substitute. Here he is seen in that game by the lens of Gavin Rathbone of GR Photography.


    Former Altrincham youth and reserve striker Lee Shillito is now a Chorley midfielder who recently "came off the bench late on for his first competitive appearance since being injured in November".


    Altrincham entertain Wrexham this Monday at noon. The Dragons' website says that "Goals from Steve Evans and a late cracker from Jefferson Louis were enough to secure a valuable three points from Oxford United... In the main Brian Little was pleased with the outcome and the start that we have made to the season, 'I am pleased to have won. Credit to them, I think that they deserved some for their attitude in the second half when they were a man down; they had an aggressive game plan and they had an extra forward to what most teams, who would have gone 4-4-1. They had two forwards and they put us under pressure, we nearly paid the price and I don't know if we were lucky at the end but we've had the better chances and it was hard work, especially second half, I'm not saying that the Football League is different but the attitude of trying to get something out of the games in commendable. We've had some really tasty games already. I was pleased with the tempo that we started out with because I know that we made a massive mistake at York; we had a plan to go there and get behind the ball and try and break at them. To be honest it didn't work and it didn't seem to suit us. We could never get that out of out of mindset. We're trying to learn quickly but we played to our strengths, which is playing quick, getting at them and putting them under pressure, trying to get the ball off them in good areas... I think that we are being very direct in our play but when you have someone like Jeff there then sometimes you have to do that and mix it up'"


    At Histon "Following an outstanding full debut against York City on Saturday 18 year Old Lanre Oyebanjo has been offered and signed up to a two-year deal at the Glass World Stadium. The exciting ex-Brentford player has impressed during pre season and, following the departure of Craig Pope from the Stutes, made his full first team debut at York City in Saturday's one all draw".

    Grays Athletic announce that "Striker, Matt Bodkin, has joined Blue Square South side Eastleigh FC on loan until the end of January. Also Jamie Day has had his contract with Grays Athletic terminated by mutual consent".

    Crawley Town reported that "Co-owner and Director Phil Jarman reports that Friday evening's Sportsman's Dinner with guest speaker Barry Fry will be sold out... The Football Conference Chairman Mr Brian Lees is a special guest. Phil Jarman speaking on Thursday said; 'We are putting an infrastructure into this football club that has never been here before. We, as a board of directors, have invested over £400,000 into this venture since the beginning of April and at last we are starting to see light at the end of the tunnel... Like others around the board table I have to spend money at times to support something I love. Business in the commercial property market is static so like everyone I have to be personally prudent but I will invest monies when I have to'".

    According to the NW Evening Mail, "Barrow AFC have taken 18-year-old Oldham Athletic defender Paul Black on a month's loan... Black replaces former full-back Ryan Elderton who has been released by the club".

    IC Cheshire reports that "The sale of the Northwich Vics' ground to a four-man consortium is set to go through in the next few days. The stadium and all nine acres of land will pass from Mike Connett to Vics' owner Jim Rushe and three colleagues. Mr Rushe said: 'It is always difficult to say when a deal will go through, but contracts have been drawn up. We are almost there'. For Vics it will mean the end of their association with Mr Connett, a controversial and unpopular figure. He rescued the club from the receivers in 2004, eventually completed the Victoria Stadium and celebrated Northwich winning the Conference North title three years ago. But Vics would have folded less than a year ago had it not been for the intervention of football mad Manchester businessman Jim Rushe. He bought the club and others are investing in the land, but Mr Connett is still the landlord until the deal goes through.

    Mr Rushe said: 'Buying the land will make Vics more secure and will mean straight away there will be extra revenue streams for the club. I am solely concerned with the football side of things. The other three want to develop the land and that will enable the stadium to be sold to the football club, but we are a few years away from that'. Vics had debts of over £500,000 when Jim Rushe took over and he and others have been heavily subsidising the club since then".

    On the Vics' forum, a Supporters' Trust member writes, "The fact that the ground will still not be owned by the club is important, and should act as a reminder to us all that we need to protect our club in the future and be aware of what is happening and why. All the more the reason for fans to join together in the Trust as there is strength in numbers rather than individuals and it remains an aim of the Trust to own shares. If it does go wrong, and that doesn't just have to be for 'Connett' type reasons, the club will be kept alive albeit probably starting at a lower level. However, I believe this situation bears little resemblance to Connett's tenure... All the feedback from people dealing with the new owners seems to be positive. Jim Rushe, in particular, is very approachable and open". Another correspondent on the Forum says "Jim Rushe told us, at the Supporters' meeting last week, that a holding company would run the ground. Northwich Victoria FC (2004) is not in a position to raise the necessary funds to buy the Victoria Stadium at the present time, that is something for the future once the debts have been addressed. He did say that everything which raised money in the ground would benefit NVFC, so once the deal is done, get up there and buy your beer, bovril and pies!!!".

    But another club has been frustrated in its bid to buy back their ground claims the Cambridge News. "Cambridge United have had a £4million bid to buy back the Trade Recruitment Stadium turned down. Director George Rolls revealed the club had made the offer to ground owners Bideawhile at a fans' forum. Chairman Phil Law told supporters: 'We're still considering all options in terms of the ground position'. Law also fended off calls for him to stand down as chairman in a heated meeting, following a series of issues, prominent fans have been unhappy with his handling of in recent times. It came after the shock resignation of chief executive Norman Gautrey, announced just hours before the forum. But Law said 'We have a latent fanbase of 50,000 people but I know there may be several hundred fans who don't consider me worthy of the position. Mother Theresa had her detractors so if 200 people don't think I'm up to the job that still leaves 99 per cent who don't feel like that'. But Law said he was unhappy to see Gautrey, who took on his role last September, leave the club. Gautrey was unavailable for comment... but Law stated he left for personal reasons. Law said: 'He came in effectively as a volunteer and he's such a talented guy that he has turned around so many of the business and administration functions at the club. It's a huge loss to the club... To be fair, I don't think any of us ever saw it being a long-term appointment'... Meanwhile, Ben Farrell is likely to keep his place in the United line-up for tomorrow's trip to Eastbourne after replacing injured captain-assistant manager Paul Carden'"

    The same paper reports elsewhere that "Confusion surrounds the sudden departure of Norman Gautrey... Vice-Presidents' Club member Colin Proctor suggested during the meeting Gautrey had unspecified issues with Law being at the helm. Proctor said: 'I know Norman Gautrey didn't want to leave this club. I can't disclose why, but I have to say if Phil Law steps down as chairman now, Norman will rejoin the club tomorrow'... Law added United will not appoint a new chief executive, but he along with Cambridge-based directors Attmore, George Rolls and Terry Baker would take on extra duties at the club... Meanwhile, with regards to last week's on-off Ben Farrell loan deal, in which an agreement between United and Histon was over-ruled by Rolls at the eleventh hour, Law told fans he felt he had been made a scapegoat. He said: 'There was poor communication on my part and I hold my hands up to that. But I've been a victim of a smokescreen campaign launched by Histon because they'd had some bad news last week. I think I've been dragged in to cover for the Craig Pope story'".

    This is Nottingham says that Mansfield boss Billy "McEwan is pleased that his side have found the winning formula without yet finding top gear. I thought against Kidderminster we played like a new team. We didn't piece it together and it was a bit scrappy', said McEwan.'You don't win every game with pretty football, but we will play better than that this season and lose'".

    The Woking Evening News & Mail says that "Busy Kim Grant is now focusing his sights on two new strikers after snapping up former Chelsea goalkeeper Lenny Pidgeley this week. But the Woking head coach has refused to confirm speculation that his former Yeovil Town team-mate Abdoulai Demba is one of the targets. He commented: 'People will put two and two together because we played together at Yeovil but they will just have to wait and see. There are other strikers about and we’re making sure we bring in the right ones'... He insisted there was no immediate rush, neither of his targets being affected by the September 1 transfer deadline because they are not currently contracted to other clubs... With the Cards rock bottom of the table having lost their first three matches... Grant insisted his team’s position was not indicative of performances. 'They’ve been great', he said. 'We’ve been ahead against Torquay and Burton, who are favourites to make the play-offs. It’s individual mistakes that have let us down and if we stop those I don’t think we will have any problems at all... The fans aren’t stupid. They know the club is going through a transitional time and it took Aldershot time to adjust to a new regime with Gary Waddock. I’m not worried. I will make sure I get the foundations right and I believe we will do well this year'".

    At York, The Press says that "Colin Walker has missed out on bringing Morecambe midfielder Michael Twiss to KitKat Crescent. The City boss said he had tried to sign the 30-year-old, but was foiled when Twiss revealed he wanted to remain in the Lancashire area... Walker said: 'He was quite keen to come to York of the teams who were interested in him. York was the one he wanted to come to, but his personal situation has stopped that happening'". Around 2000, Twiss was an Altrincham pre-season trialist.

    "Micahel Ingham is set to make his debut between the sticks when York City travel to Northwich Victoria [on Saturday]. Manager Colin Walker has revealed the Northern Ireland international goalkeeper has finally shaken off the thigh injury which caused him to miss the start of the season... Said the Minstermen boss: 'He will be vying with Josh Mimms for that position. It is a boost for everybody. He’s a big name in the dressing-room and he commands respect. He will keep Josh on his toes'. Walker also revealed he was hoping to tie up two signings in the very near future – describing the prospective additions to his squad as 'very experienced players'. 'One of them [i.e. Russell from Kidderminster] is in our league and the other is in the league above', Walker added".

    22 August 2008


    Following the statement today by Woking FC's Operations Director, Peter Jordan, (see below), which blamed Altrincham fans for alleged "unsavoury behaviour" at the game two weeks ago, Alty chairman Geoff Goodwin (right) has responded by expressing his anger at these accusations. At the game on August 9th, Geoff suffered £4,000 of damage to his team coach which was hit by a brick as it moved from the nearby parking area to pick up the team at Kingfield after Alty had won the game. Geoff points out that he has refused to make a big issue of the "bricking", pointing out in press interviews that he did not blame the Woking fans. He believes the damage may well have been done by supporters of a larger club who did not have a match that day and went to Woking instead, intent on mischief. The Alty chairman also wishes to thank those Woking fans who have disowned their own club's accusations about Altrincham's supporters (see below). Geoff intends to contact the Woking chairman to discuss the matter and demand an apology.


    The following is not an official club statement.

    On the opening day of the season the Altrincham team coach was "bricked" as it moved to the ground to pick up the team. It is surprising therefore to read on the official Woking website that the Surrey club has proclaimed to the world that "Due to the unsavoury behaviour of some of the Altrincham fans at our last home fixture and due to general safety implications, the Club has decided to start segregation for most of the home games, starting with our match tomorrow. The Safety Officer will take a decision to open up the terraces to all fans on a match-by-match basis".

    Interestingly a whole raft of Woking fans have responded on their club's own forum with comments such as "Is this a joke? I guess the Alty fans stoned their own coach" and "The FGR fans are not a threat, given what I've read neither were the Alty fans - it was their coach that got stoned. Unfortunately, the Safety Officer prefers the path of least resistance rather than hoiking out our trouble makers and awarding them ground access bans" and "I'm not keen on the club portraying it as Alty causing the problems. Are we pretending that Woking (fans) weren't at fault?" and "I am sure it was our fans that tried to cause trouble. If there was any trouble with Alty fans then fair enough but from what I saw it's a bit unfair tarnishing them with our misdemeanors" and "It was OUR [fans] that caused/were trying to cause trouble that day... The Alty fans behaved themselves very well from what I saw and certainly the two I chatted to in the bar at half time were friendly guys. I'd like to apologise to any Alty fans reading this thread because the club are completely wrong to blame them".


    The list of Matchday Sponsors has been updated - the Club would like to thank everyone who has agreed to support them through sponsorship.


    The Football League and Championship clubs were removed from the Cheshire Senior Cup last season and the same has happened this year. Now the Cheshire County FA has set up a Cheshire Premier Cup for the five clubs in question, three of whom (Tranmere Rovers, Macclesfield Town and Chester City) have received byes into the semi-finals. So the only quarter-final is between Crewe Alexandra and Stockport County at Gresty Road on November 4th.


    Confirmation comes from the BBC that "Cambridge United's chief executive Norman Gautrey will leave his post in September after a year in the job. One of his roles has been to ensure the club's finances were stabilised. Since Gautrey arrived at the Abbey Stadium, Phil Law has replaced Lee Power as chairman and Gary Brabin took over as manager from Jimmy Quinn".


    Moss Lane groundsman and former Altrincham reserves' manager, Neil Brown, saw his Abbey Hey side go out of the FA Cup on Wednesday night in a replay at Flixton - and it was former Alty man Chris Downey who netted a hat-trick as the home side won 3-1 after extra time.


    The Cambridge Evening News reports that "Gareth Baldwin hopes Craig Pope will reverse his decision to quit the sport and be in Histon's squad for their match with Altrincham on September 2. The Stutes' chairman, speaking at an emergency fans' forum held at the Glass World Stadium last night, said the saga involving the defender would come to a conclusion by the end of the week. Pope was found guilty of using a word that may be deemed insulting by race or colour towards the then Cambridge United forward Leo Fortune-West last season by the FA Appeals Panel on August 13 and announced his immediate retirement. But Baldwin wants Pope, who was banned for four matches, to change his mind and will do his best to convince him to return to the club... Baldwin said: 'Craig will either sign a contract cancellation by the end of this week and never come back to the club as a Histon player, or he will come back into our squad. I will have to do my best sales job when I meet him to get him back and he will need a lot of support. If we can talk him into coming back then he will need our full support and it will probably endear him even more to our fans as it takes a tough character to come back from something like this'. Baldwin conceded that Pope would be the target for abuse from opposition fans if he returns to the club, but he believes the defender would go on to have a successful career".

    According to the NW Eevening Mail "Barrow AFC hope to boost the squad with a new signing ahead of the weekend. But they were keeping their cards close to their chest... With Mike Pearson suspended for Saturday’s home game with Mansfield, Barrow are short of cover for the back four. [Manager] Bayliss added: 'Me and Shez [joint-manager Sheridan] watched him last night and will be talking again to him today. We need to speak to the chairman but hopefully we could have him signed tonight in time for Saturday’s game'. In contrast to the defence, the Bluebirds will have their four recognised strikers available for selection for the first time this season. New signing Lee Hunt and the experienced Paul Tait started in the 2-1 defeat at Cambridge where Nick Rogan had his first run-out as sub, while Jason Walker has recovered from a bout of tonsilitis'".

    From the Burton Mail we learn that "Burton Albion are set to retain the services of teenager Matt Bailey until the end of the year.The 19-year-old's initial spell on loan from Wolverhampton Wanderers expired yesterday, and Albion are now looking to extend the deal until December 31. Albion boss Nigel Clough told Mail Sport: 'Wolves have agreed that Matt can stay with us... He has already showed that he gives us good cover in a couple of positions. Like a lot of clubs these days, Wolves don't run a reserve side so from their point of view it's ideal for him to be playing competitive football at a decent level'. Bailey made his debut in the left midfield slot on the opening day of the season... He was then switched to left-back at home to Northwich Victoria, only to miss the second half after suffering a broken nose... Clough said: 'Matt did a solid job for us in midfield at Salisbury and he certainly has a chance of being involved at Histon'. Winger Keith Gilroy is already a doubt for the trip to Cambridgeshire because of back and hamstring strains".

    The Argus says that "Danny Cullip will make his Lewes debut at Weymouth on Saturday. Manager Kevin Keehan has confirmed Cullip will be fit to play after missing the first three games of the season with a poisoned toe. Tom Lyons could also come into contention after scoring a hat-trick as Lewes Reserves beat Gillingham 3-1... on Wednesday".

    "Alan O'Hare is convinced Mansfield's attention to detail at set-pieces will prove crucial this season" says This is Nottingham. "The central defender and the rest of the Stags' squad have spent countless hours on the training ground working on dead-ball situations at both ends of the field... 'We have had a few weeks to work on the set-pieces. The manager has set his stall out and wants things done in a certain way', said O'Hare. 'We are even working on things like throw-ins that some clubs wouldn't work at. Set-pieces are important in every league, but especially in this one. We were a bit shaky in pre-season defensively from them and we have also conceded too many free-kicks in and around the box'... O'Hare, who was a trainee with Bolton and then plied his trade at Chesterfield, has been impressed by the standard in the Blue Square Premier. He is adamant the standard in the top half of the table is as high as in the Football League. 'I think the Conference is really a League Three now; Aldershot and Exeter have had decent starts since going up. We just can't expect to go up and if anything it's going to be more difficult'".

    Cambridge United report that "Gary Brabin has returned to his previous club Southport to sign goalkeeper Steven Drench on loan until the New Year. It is the second time Brabin has signed the 22-year-old, having signed him from Morecambe in June when he was still manager of Southport...The loan is to 1st January inclusive, and he will provide competition for Danny Potter".

    21 August 2008


    Wrexham played tonight so will enjoy three full days' rest before they meet Alty on Monday lunchtime, whilst Alty have an away trip on Saturday afternoon before the home game 45 hours later.

    Thursday 21st August

  • Wrexham 2 Oxford U. 0


    Travelling with Go Goodwins on the Altrincham FC supporters' coach not only provides you with a stress-free chauffered journey with fellow Alty fans, it is also a good value option for supporting the team. Even for the smallest private car, the A.A. motoring organization calculates the running costs at 40 pence a mile, (if you do 10,000 miles a year - or 61 pence a mile if you only clock up 5,000 miles a year). In contrast, the supporters' coach trip to Eastbourne Borough next week (a more than 500-mile round-trip at a maximum cost of £35 for an adult) will cost you less than 7 pence a mile. So even if you cram five people into your car, it's cheaper with Altrincham FC Supporters' Travel - and you don't have to worry about parking either, as the coach takes you door to door from Moss Lane! To book your seat follow the link to the Away Travel page. Details are there both for this Saturday's journey to Kidderminster and for the trip to Sussex next week.


    The NW Football Awards announce:

    Following the massive success of last year’s inaugural event, the Award winning Northwest Football Awards returns in 2008 to recognise the region’s sporting prowess. The prestigious panel of sporting experts will assemble once again to pick the cream of the footballing crop, however the Player of the Year Award will be adjudicated by the harshest of critics – you, the footballing public.

    Our one and only Colin Little is competing against Northwich Victoria’s Lee Steele for the Player of the Year award so lets get behind him and vote, vote and vote again! Log on to the North West Football Awards and Vote for Little now! The winner will be announced at the Northwest Football Awards, headlined sponsored by Bank of America on the 17th November 2008, Midland Hotel, Manchester.


    Don't forget that Suzanne Goodwin, wife of Altrincham FC Chairman, Geoff Goodwin has arranged a fundraising dinner and football match to raise funds for the McGrath cancer charity. Suzanne writes:

    Firstly, may we take this opportunity to thank you for your support last year at the Glenn McGrath Celeb Football Game & Dinner in September 2007, in which over £40K was raised ! As we are sure you are now aware, Jane McGrath died on Sunday 22nd June 2008 at the age of 42.

    We feel that this should not be the end of the fundraising but the beginning and we have set ourselves a mission to raise £100,000 over 5 years for the McGrath Foundation. We met Tracy Bevan yesterday, Jane's best friend and general manager of the McGrath Foundation, and she has agreed to support any future events for Jane's charity and has agreed to travel to the UK for the event this year.

    With this in mind, we have arranged a celeb charity football game on Sunday 28th September with a Questions and Answers session in the evening with Darren Gough. The game starts at 2pm at Moss Lane and is between an Altrincham XI (including England & Manchester United ex-captain Bryan Robson and cricketer Darren Gough) and an All Stars XI including stars of Coronation Street, Emmerdale and Hollyoaks. Please put this date in your diary and come along to support this good cause.

    Although we realise that times are hard at present, please email me if would would be able to support this event. Further information will be emailed as it becomes available".


    The Sale and Altrincham Messenger says that "Mark McGregor (left) is aiming to turn Wrexham fans’ fond memories of him to nightmares when his new team meet the Dragons on Bank Holiday Monday. The 31-year-old became a fan’s favourites at the Racecourse ground during a six-year spell there after graduating from the club’s youth set-up. But now his loyalties lie with Alty... He told SAM Sport: 'I had a throughly enjoyable time at Wrexham and have some really good memories. I always did my best for the team and we had some good times while I was there, both in the League and the FA Cup, so I think the fans still associate me with that time and that’s why I’m held in good regard. My time at Wrexham was probably the most important of my career. (Then manager) Brian Flynn and (coach) Joey Jones had a big impact on me... I’m really looking forward to the game. It’s a Bank Holiday, there’ll be a good crowd and we’ll all be bang up for it'... He added: 'Obviously there were a few down faces after the Kettering games and that shows we know we can do better... We limited them to very few chances and that will build some confidence, especially after going behind. I was really happy to score. I hadn't been going up for corners but with it being late I thought I might as well throw myself forward. Warren (Peyton) but a decent ball in and when their keeper lost it I just aimed to get a decent head on it... We are all still gelling as a team, so we just have to look forward to the next couple of games and keep making improvements... I’m sure we’re capable of going on a good run... Sometimes the early goal can kill you off but we showed we have the character to face these tests'”.


    Altrincham are away at Aggborough this Saturday from where the Kidderminster Shuttle says that "Harriers' manager Mark Yates has called on his players to meet the challenge of overcoming a disastrous start to the Blue Square Premier head on... after only picking up one point from their first three games... Saturday’s 4-2 loss to Mansfield was also the last straw for the manager, who is set to ring the changes for the Bank Holiday weekend league clashes at home to Altrincham on Saturday and away at Burton on Monday... 'I need the players to step up to the challenge we have and not back down' commented the manager. 'It’s too easy to let things happen when thing aren’t going your way and I’ve spoken to the lads about attacking problems to overcome them, rather than going down without a fight'. If Harriers are to stop the rot against Altrincham they must sharpen up in defence and avoid the mistakes which saw them slip 3-0 down by half-time at Mansfield. On-loan West Bromwich Albion left-back Lee Baker is set to have recovered from the knee problem which kept him out of Saturday’s loss in Nottinghamshire to bolster Harriers’ back four. 'We’ll go into the Altrincham game in good shape', said the manager. 'Some of our key players aren’t performing. But all we need is a win'... Yates may also wield the axe to under performing stars such as Darryl Knights and Russ Penn... 'Maybe I have made a few mistakes in my team selection and there will definitely be some changes to the side', said Yates. 'People like Martin Brittain and Matthew Barnes-Homer have done well when they have played so we’ll see for Saturday'. Meanwhile, the manager has not ruled out strengthening his squad before the end of the transfer window".


    A well known face helping out in the Sponsors' Lounge at Moss Lane every matchday is that of Mike Healing. But not many people know that Mike is also something of an expert on Rugby League - as well as having a background in athletics with Sale Harriers. Mike has written a book entitled Dreams to reality: a pivotal year in the history of Widnes Vikings, which covers life at the club, on and off the pitch, during the turbulent year of 2007 which saw the club miss out on a place in Super League and fall into Administration.

    Right: Mike Healing (in white shirt) is seen outside the Halton Stadium presenting copies of his book to Head Coach Steve McCormack and some of the players. Picture reproduced by kind permission of the Runcorn & Widnes World newspaper.

    The Runcorn and Widnes Weekly News interviewed Mike this summer and explains how "A chance encounter for sports fan Mike Healing turned into a love affair with Widnes Vikings. Six years ago, Mike and his wife Lynn had stayed overnight in her Widnes home town after a family party. The following day, they were invited along to a Vikings game at the then Halton Stadium and that unexpected visit was the start of a strong and lasting relationship. 'I was immediately hooked and have only missed one home game since then', explained Mike. Enthusiasm for his adopted club has now led the 57-year-old into print... And all this for a football fan from Watford, who coaches athletics and lives in the rugby union stronghold of Sale!"

    Mike said "I have lived there for 30 years, never more than a mile from Sale’s old ground before they moved to Stockport. I used to coach at Sale Harriers and a fellow coach used to go quite regularly to Sale. I always promised myself I’d go along but never made it. Now I’ve got my teeth into rugby league, I can’t abide rugby union although I have only ever watched it on the television. League to me is much better, faster and skilful. The more I went, the more I appreciated the game. Certainly, my disappointments with Watford – and their sad times this season – have been tempered by the fact rugby league and Widnes in particular has become my chief sporting preoccupation".

    The book describes "A season in which the team won the Northern Rail Cup and got to within 80 minutes of returning to Super League before Grand Final defeat to Castleford was blown apart when the club went into administration". Copies can be obtained from the publishers Trafford or at Waterstones in the Trafford Centre, or ordered through any book retailer quoting ISBN number 978-1-4251-5860-6. The price is £10.99.


    In the Unibond League Leigh Genesis beat Ashton United 3-1, with former Alty reserve Rick Chetcuti scoring. And Kieran Lugsden netted for Witton Albion in their 3-1 win at Prescot Cables.


    The Northwich Guardian tells us that "Dino Maamria wants his team to be more ruthless in front of goal. Vics crashed to a 2-1 defeat at Grays on Saturday... 'We had so many chances to win', Dino said. 'But the story of our season so far is that the opposition get one chance and they score from it... We didn’t do enough in the attacking third. We shouldn’t rely on our centre forwards to score our goals, wide players and midfielders need to help out. Joel Byrom will score goals for us from midfield, but we need a little bit more from the wide players, they need to score as well. In the last three games we have arguably created more chances than any other team but come away with three goals and one point'. Byrom has been struggling with a hernia problem and his operation has been brought forward to August 27. Dino said: 'We have two games before that and hopefully he will be able to play a part in one of them but he hasn’t done much in training this week'”.

    "Weymouth FC are pleased to announce that Richard Barnard has signed a contract until the end of the season. The goalkeeper, who has impressed in the Terras opening fixtures was drafted in after an injury to Danny Knowles".

    In the East Midlands, the Burton Mail says that "Summer signing Jake Buxton looks set to make his Burton Albion debut at Histon on Saturday. After completing a three-match suspension, the recruit from Mansfield Town played the full 90 minutes in a reserve team outing... Clough said: 'Jake is fit and available, which means he's a serious contender to start at Histon'. With skipper Darren Stride still being nursed through a knee injury, Buxton is an obvious candidate to shore up Albion's defence... Clough said: 'We've got a pretty good idea of the pressure that Histon will try to put us under from throw-ins and set plays. Unfortunately, our current centre-halves (Tony James and Ryan Austin) have not been particularly impressive in the last two games, which is an obvious concern. We're probably going to need someone like Jake in the side. Stridey has done a great job for us coming off the bench in the first three games, but I don't think there is a any way he can get through a full game at the moment'. Meanwhile, former Derby County forward Lee Morris took another step towards clinching an Albion contract with a hat-trick in Monday's Central Conference opener at Bromsgrove... The Brewers' boss is adamant, however, that Morris will not be rushed as he tries to rebuild his career after suffering a serious knee injury with Yeovil Town a year ago... Danny Holmes... is a doubt for the trip to Histon after colliding with an advertising board and hurting a knee, while winger Keith Gilroy is struggling with back and hamstring strains".

    In Sussex, the Argus tells us that "The man who got Chamal Fenelon’s career back on track believes Lewes will have a great player if they nurture him correctly. Fenelon scored his first Blue Square premier goal for the Rooks in Saturday’s 4-1 defeat at home to Salisbury. It marked the 25-year-old’s full debut for the club and was accompanied by a performance which offered plenty of encouragement... Fenelon’s troubled background has been well-documented. He served four years and eight months of a seven-year prison sentence for attempted murder before being released in June 2005. He had been about to launch a professional career at Millwall when he was convicted following a brawl in a Crawley street. When he came out of prison Fenelon played for a few County League sides before settling with division three Pease Pottage under manager Bob Laundon and sidekick Bob Booker, Albion’s reserve team boss... Fenelon played for Horsham (twice), Havant and Waterlooville and Chichester on loan before linking up with Lewes in the summer. Laundon, who is now manager of Seaford, said: 'When Cham came to me I helped him in a lot of ways. I explained to him he really needed to stay at a club for a whole season rather than continually falling out with people and jumping ship... I am really pleased he has now got an opportunity at Lewes. He is a raw talent, a great lad with a heart of gold'... Lewes manager Keehan is fully aware of what Fenelon is capable of... He said: 'Chamal gives us something different. He is big and strong but he can be frustrating as well. We are trying to get him to have a little more vision going backwards, just to lay it off. When I did my homework about him prior to signing him it was a question of everyone saying to me if you get him right he is a League player but the question is can you get him right?'... Fenelon said 'I knew 90 minutes would be hard work, especially at this level, because I hadn’t played 90 minutes since March'".

    "Mansfield chairman Andrew Perry today vowed to make money available to strengthen the Stags' squad later in the season – if they are in with a chance of promotion" claims This is Nottingham. "Manager Billy McEwan said on Saturday he still hopes to add three or four new faces to his squad... Perry confirmed there is still money in the pot for players to be brought to the club in the short-term... Said Perry, 'If you spend that much more, it doesn't always guarantee results. Billy is an old head at this level and in this league. He knows what a pound is worth and when players are not worth what they're asking. We will support Billy if everything is right. Billy hasn't used his budget up for players right now. If things go well on the pitch and we get to Christmas with a few tired legs, and we need strengthening to keep us up there, then we will look at things. If we are not going to go up or down, then we might see things differently'... Perry is enjoying the challenge of leading the Stags, along with fellow joint owners Andrew Saunders and Steve Middleton... 'Soon Andy, Steve and myself will be looking at he ground, and other things that will benefit the club'".

    Mansfield's Chad adds that "Billy McEwan has a goalkeeper, two defenders and a midfield player on his shopping list at the moment... He said: 'I know that we are still short. The transfer window is on 31st of the month but I can always use the loan system after that. I know where the players are and I have got to go and get them. I am still looking for a goalkeeper, a couple of defenders and possibly a midfielder. I feel we are okay up front at the moment'. One player who won't be joining him is former Halifax defender Adam Quinn who had been training with Stags but opted to join BSP rivals Crawley. 'We had been helping Adam get fit here so I was disappointed to get a call from him to say he was off to join Crawley before we had even talked about finance. But they had made him a huge offer which I wouldn't have given him, even if he was fit. They can pay much bigger money than we can so I won't lose any sleep over it'".

    The Evening Leader reports that "Chester City were last night given permission to speak to Wrexham striker Michael Proctor. The 27-year-old has not featured in The Reds starting line-up this season, and the club have told the player he can leave".

    20 August 2008


    Pictured are Alty trialists - Dave Challinor (left) and Veysel Satiroglu (right). A Google search on the latter name finds one Asik Veysel Satiroglu who was an early 20th-century "Turkish minstrel and highly regarded poet of the Turkish folk literature" - not the same person, I think!

    Match report here.


    The referee for Alty's game at Kidderminster on Saturday is Mr J. Simpson and on Monday, at home to Wrexham, it is Mr J. Collin. Jake Collin reffed the Alty home games against Worksop (2004), Tamworth and Stevenage (2006) and Burton and Histon in 2007.


    Grays Athletic "have signed Midfielder Stuart Thurgood on loan until the end of the season. Stuart left Grays Athletic in 2007 to join ex-Blues' manager Mark Stimson at Gillingham FC, he came back to the Blues on loan last season but has failed to secure a first team place at The Gills this season". This is confirmed by Kent Online which adds that "The Gills midfielder is out of contract next summer and the move effectively ends the 26-year-old’s Priestfield stint. Thurgood had been in talks for several weeks over a move away from Priestfield after manager Mark Stimson made it clear he was surplus to requirements... The tough-tackling player made 12 appearances for Gillingham".

    After defeat to Ebbsfleet, the website at Torquay United says that "boss Paul Buckle was making no excuses after watching his side slip to a disappointing 2-0 home defeat... 'I've got to be honest I don't think we did a lot right tonight. We needed to play the conditions as Ebbsfleet did, I felt their weight of pass was correct when they were against the wind while I thought ours was poor and we didn't deserve anything at all from the game. I'm not blaming the conditions at all, as a group of players they need to work games out, in these conditions it was never going to be a pretty match, it was a game where we would have to show some fight, win second balls, challenge, compete and I felt that Ebbsfleet won so many battles all over the field that's why they won the game... There was a lot of indecision in our game tonight and we didn't deserve anything. There are players who have been patient so far and now we have drawn one, won one and lost won and some of those players will get their chance. I thought the supporters stuck with us, they are entitled to moan at that and I have to agree with them, we were poor tonight and there is no getting away from it, that is not the standard we expect, it's one of the few times since I have been at the football club that I felt we have been really, really poor. I have to be big enough to take that on the chin, it's not great to have that shown on t.v. and the only place to put that right is on the training ground and that will start tomorrow morning'".

    Accoprding to the NW Evening Mail "Barrow AFC are set to run up a bill of around £50,000 in travel and accommodation in the Conference this season. Around a dozen overnight stops have been planned in a hectic schedule that involves an unprecedented total of over 11,000 miles in round trips... AFC chairman Brian Keen said 'We have come up with around a dozen overnights... It is important the players feel fresh before a game. We have been looking to do deals with hotels but, with petrol prices, we’re probably looking at £50,000 in travel and accommodation. It is a pity there isn’t something in the coffers where the Conference can help subsidise clubs in our position'. The incredulous [incredible] mileage – enough to get halfway round the world – has already been highlighted by the Evening Mail, while the Non-League paper this week focused on Barrow’s travels... means they will end the season as non-league football’s most travelled side. The 732-mile round-trip to Eastbourne and back is the longest in the league and will take well over 12 hours by road with journeys to Lewes, Weymouth and Torquay not far behind. Blyth Spartans face the most travelling time in Blue Square North with over 7,300 miles in round trips... A Football Conference spokeswoman today told the Evening Mail there was no policy to help clubs with travel. She said: 'Barrow do benefit from a system where money is pooled together by the clubs to meet referees' and officials’ travelling expenses'. Barrow AFC manager Dave Bayliss felt the overnight stay had given the team the best possible chance for the Cambridge game. He said: 'I know as a player that I used to enjoy the chance to relax and prepare for the game, to go for a walk on the Saturday morning and buy a paper'".

    After their draw at Moss Lane, the Northants Evening Telegraph states that "Craig Westcarr has rejoined Kettering Town - just two months after leaving... He opted to join Stevenage Borough instead of extending his stay at the A-Line Arena. However, after not featuring in any of Borough's squads so far he is ready to make a swift return. It is a move that has delighted Poppies boss Mark Cooper. He said: 'We are chuffed to bits to get Craig back and it adds a bit more quality to our squad'".

    The Press said yesterday that "Scouts will be out in force tonight as York City step up their recruitment drive. Minstermen staff will be out and about at a host of reserve team fixtures as manager Colin Walker looks to bolster his squad. The City boss is looking to bring in new faces after netting a six-figure fee for winger Martyn Woolford from Scunthorpe. Refusals from two players thwarted Walker’s bid to tie up deals ahead of Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Histon... Walker said: 'Everybody will be out watching games tonight. Hopefully, if something comes from that, we will bring somebody in. I won’t bring them in for the sake of it... But there is no desperate need to bring people in. The players have done really well so far. I’m looking for a wide player or maybe two – one for each side. We will be hoping to get one or two in and it helps that we have got a free week'".

    19 August 2008


    Alty's two loan players last season from Stockport County (Paul Turnbull, right, and Greg Tansey) are in the visitors' squad for tonight's match at Moss Lane...

    Stockport County announce that they "have named a strong squad for this evening's game against Altrincham. Anthony Pilkington, Leon McSweeney, Paul Turnbull, Michael Rose and Lloyd Rigby, substitutes against Leicester City on Saturday, are all included, to compliment Alan Lord's talented under-21 squad. County fans travelling to Moss Lane will also get the chance to see trialist goalkeeper Paul Imray who is expected to play part of the game. Kick-off time is 7.30pm with prices at £5 (adults) and £2 (concessions). County: Rigby, Imray; McSweeney, Tunnicliffe, Havern, Rose, Tansey, Turnbull, J Vincent, A Pilkington, M Mainwaring, Edwards, Green, D Pilkington, Pizzaci, Ennis, Halls, Jackson, Wilkie."


    Tonight, Tuesday, Alty host a Stockport County XI in a friendly (7.30pm). Entry is just £5 (£2 for concessionaries); the bar and snack bar will both be open.


    Accrington Stanley announce that "Midfielder Ian Craney (right) has signed for Coca Cola League One side Huddersfield Town for an undisclosed six figure fee. The 26 year old originally came to Accrington from Altrincham in 2004 for a fee of £17,500, making the move to Swansea for £150,000 in January, 2007 after helping Stanley back into the Football League. He returned to Accrington in January this year for a club record fee of £85,000... Stanley Chief Executive Robert Heys said 'It has always been the case that if another club comes in for one of our players with an offer that is right for both Accrington Stanley and the player then we will consider it. We rejected a couple of offers for Ian over the summer because they weren't what we were looking for, however every player has their price and Huddersfield were very keen to secure Ian's services. Some of the money will be used to make sure that the squad remains competitive this season, and the rest used to help balance the books in what is a tight year for the club, particularly as we have to finance the additional seats to keep us in the Football League'".

    One of Alty Youth's graduates Charlie Weir, who was involved in the first-team pre-season this summer turned out for Leek Town in UniBond League Division One South. And a player from several seasons back, Nehru McKenzie scored recently for Runcorn Linnets.


    The Club would like to thank all collectors and donors who gave over £1,000 through the half-time bucket collections last season. The collection on Saturday raised £47.68.


    From SAM we learn that "Alty boss Graham Heathcote believes his disappointment at Saturday's 1-1 draw with Kettering shows how far his side have come... He said: "I'm disappointed with a draw so that speaks volumes for us in terms of what we think we can do. "I don't know whether they started well or whether we started very sloppy but the penalty was very, very disappointing. We appeared lethargic at the start, maybe a bit jittery after Tuesday's four goals against. The lads are aware that I wasn't happy with the first half performance but credit to them for showing character in the second half. At the end of the day, their keeper made a fantastic double save that stopped us winning... We're sat here disappointed with a draw and hopefully that's a sign we've progressed. It's a game we could have won, there's no question about that. The return of one point out of two league games at home is not what I expected but you can analyse both games and we could easily have won them both. There's plusses to be taken but there's a lot of work still to be done, there's no question about that'... T he starting line-up included six players who only joined the club in the summer... He said there is still an element of working out what team and systems are best to allow Alty to achieve their goals. He added: 'Clearly there's situations we have to look at because in today's game we looked a bit overrun in midfield. You just have to keep sucking and seeing, as they say, and find a solid platform from which to play from... You can be over-adventurous with your wingplay but... we've got to find the right formula to attack with while not exposing ourselves defensively'".


    The winner of the Guess the Crowd competition last Saturday at Moss Lane was Neil Faulkner who guessed 1,058 - the crowd was 1,045.


    Alty's next league match is at Aggborough on Saturday from where The Kidderminster Shuttle quotes Harriers' manager Mark Yates after defeat at Mansfield, "Our defenders think they're in control and then all of a sudden something changes and we're not... The defence has to look at themselves and got to be better... People the club and myself normally hang their hat to perform on didn't do the basics... My defence has got to get back to keeping clean sheets and limiting people's chances, otherwise we're in for a tough season".


    Alty host Wrexham this coming Monday (12 noon) where last Sunday "Skipper Tom Kearney played a huge role in Wrexham's improved performance at Rushden but it was his decision to contest a drop ball which was to prove decisive! 'Their players were arguing that they wanted the ball back but we were in a good position so I thought "No, I want a proper drop ball!" We didn't want to give the ball back to them when we had it in their own half, and it paid off in the end"... Coming to Rushden and getting a one all draw is not a bad result. We're a much better footballing side than we showed at York... There's nothing to fear in this division... Realistically we should be pushing for promotion'".

    "Eight days and three matches into the Blue Square Premiership season, manager Brian Little reckons his Wrexham side will be among the contenders for honours in nine months time" claims the Daily Post... 'We went back to some basic work on the training ground yesterday to remind people what we are about and, to be fair, the lads responded today [Sunday]... We decided to put on some small, pacy players against them.. These four opening games are against the tougher sides in the division and the two away from home particularly so... Rushden’s manager told me that a lot of teams in their league will raise their game against us, particularly on television, and that was the case at York', he said... 'We’ve seen enough now in three games to know that if we are not at our best we’ll have a hard time but if we are at our best we’ll give anyone a good game.... While we are not top of the league there’s a long way to go and we have learned quite a lot... As time goes by I think there will be a group of eight or nine clubs that look stronger than the rest and the most important thing is for us to be among them. After a few years of struggling the signs are that we will be competitive this season'”.

    For their next match Stevenage Borough say that "Unavailable for the game will be Dave Bridges (foot) and John Martin (eye infection), whilst Mitchell Cole is expected to resume training this week. Meanwhile five of Stevenage Borough's young pros have gone out on loan to gain first-team match experience. Scott Balderson and Zak Burke have been loaned to Bognor Regis Town, George Brinkman to Arlseley Town, Eliot Buchanan to Boreham Wood and Jack Bradshaw to Maidenhead United".

    Ebbsfleet United "have drafted in experienced former England Under 19 international midfielder Jamie Hand on a non-contract basis. Twenty-four-year-old Hand began his career with Watford, making his league debut the old Division One in 2002 aged 17. He spent six seasons at Watford, clocking up 40 appearances, and also had two spells on loan at Oxford United, Huddersfield Town, Livingston, Peterborough United and Northampton Town. He was signed on a free transfer from Watford by Chester City in May 2006 and went on to play more than 40 times for them. Last season the hard-tackling midfielder was at Lincoln City, making 20 appearances, and from February 2008 he had a second spell at Oxford's Kassam Stadium, playing against the Fleet in the last game of the 2007-08 season".

    According to Bullsnews "The FA, Football League, and Premier League have agreed an extension to the transfer window - by one day. With both the August and January windows due to close on weekends - and presumably with no-one wanting to man their respective offices - the August transfer window will now close at midnight on Monday September 1st. A similar arrangement will also be made for the January window".

    "It is not time to panic but it is time for Lewes to wise up" says The Argus. "After three games in Blue Square premier they are third from bottom in the table with a minus-six goal difference... A crowd of 564 watched the first home Saturday fixture of the season, which is considerably down on last season’s average... The Rooks got a good draw at Kidderminster on the opening day and there was no shame in losing in midweek to Crawley, who looked a class outfit. But Salisbury, who looked no more than a mid-table side, are a team they should look to beat at home if they want to stand a chance of surviving. Skipper Danny Cullip missed his third game in a row on Saturday with a poisoned toe... Lewes are making progress but it is whether they can make it quick enough to avert a disastrous season that matters... Keehan said: 'Danny Cullip is so verbal and I don’t think we would have conceded the goals we did if he had been playing. He would have organised people. It is frustrating because before the season started my biggest concern was we would get beaten up by teams just putting balls into our box. We wanted a dominant centre- half which we got with Danny and then we lose him for the first three games... I feel for the fans because again most of them have been very supportive'".

    Nearby at Eastbourne, "Borough boss Garry Wilson admitted his side had only themselves to blame for letting the game slip away" last Saturday at Oxford. Wilson said: "It was very unlike us because defending is usually our strength. We were woeful at the back... Perhaps we should have regrouped when it was 3-3 and tried to keep what we had but instead we kept pushing on and left big gaps which they exploited. There are a lot of positives to take from our attacking play though. It is a big learning curve in this division and this shows our boys the level they have to aim for".

    "Jim Harvey will be happy to see his Forest Green side grind out more early-season results like Saturday's 1-0 win over Crawley Town... Boss Harvey admitted his new-look side have yet to reproduce last season's free-flowing football this term, but he is convinced the flair will come... 'At the moment it is more about results than performances'... Close-season signing Mangan had opened his Rovers account in the 2-1 home defeat to Salisbury City four days earlier, and his manager is pleased with the early impact of the young Liverpudlian" claims This is Glos.

    "Billy McEwan is urging Mansfield's fans to judge him and his side on how they do over the course of the season - not their opening games" states This is Nottingham. "The Stags have made a cracking start to their Blue Square Premier season and are second on goal difference... 'We know we have not made it by any stretch of the imagination. We have only played three games and there are another 43 to go', said McEwan. 'There is a lot of team bonding to be done but the early signs are encouraging... We are still short in the squad and we still need to bring three or four more players in. If we have a few injuries and suspensions, we are going to be down to the bare bones'".

    The Woking Evening News & Mail reports that "Millwall keeper Lenny Pidgeley is set to join Woking on loan in the next 24 hours and is likely to go straight into the starting line-up against Forest Green Rovers on Saturday. Boss Kenny Jackett has told the 24-year-old he is surplus to requirements and Woking boss Kim Grant has been quick to recruit the former Chelsea stopper. Pidgeley failed to land a contract at Motherwell last month... 'It will be a good thing for me to play there for a month', said Pidgeley on the South London Today website. Grant’s decision to recruit another keeper means that Nick Gindre’s future at Woking is in the balance, with Worner the number one choice in the opening three Woking matches. The Argentinian is likely to be loaned out — while Pidgeley is expecting to be thrown straight in at Kingfield this weekend". Pidgeley kept goal for Millwall against Altrincham in the FA Cup last season.

    18 August 2008


    Monday 18th
  • Torquay U. 0 Ebbsfleet U. 2
  • League Table 2008-09

    Tonight's result lifts Altrincham above Torquay United into tenth place, whilst Ebbsfleet remain behind Alty on goals scored.


    On Tuesday (7.30pm) at Moss Lane, Alty play a Stockport County reserve side in a friendly match to maintain squad fitness. Admission is £5 for adults and £2 for concessionaries.

    Alty's next league opponents Kidderminster Harriers report that "Mark Yates has demanded his players ensure that they get things right starting with a home fixture against Altrincham next weekend, after admitting to being 'shell-shocked' during the 4-2 defeat at Mansfield on Saturday. Harriers were thoroughly tormented and dominated by the Stags' experienced front pairing of Mark Stallard and Jason Lee and found themselves 3-0 down at the interval thanks to a catalogue of self-destructing errors. An angry Yates said after the eventual 4-2 defeat: 'The first-half defensive performance was poor, and that angers me even more because we've been working on that... My defenders have got to get back to keeping clean sheets and limiting people's chances, otherwise it's going to be a tough one. We gifted them three goals - they've got some very good players but no way on earth are they better than us and I'm bitterly disappointed - at half-time I was shell-shocked'... Even with the above in mind, Harriers should be applauded for their application in the second period - substitutes Martin Brittain, Matthew Barnes-Homer and David McDermott all impressed as the deficit was reduced to just a single goal before Aaron O'Connor's injury-time fourth for Mansfield... 'I had a few choice words with one or two at half-time - I wanted a reaction and I certainly got that -we were by far the better team in the second half', continued Yates... He added: 'Perhaps I picked the wrong team to start the game with? I'll have a good look at myself tonight and the players have got to look at themselves. We've just said in the dressing room that we've gifted teams eight points and our season started at 4:00pm this afternoon. A week and an hour late, but our season has started now and we've got to get it right'".

    Kidderminster's three games have seen twelve goals being scored, whilst Alty's have seen eleven - so perhaps a goalless draw is on the cards for Saturday?!


    Altrincham FC will be running its weekly "Saturday Morning Club" again next season. Children from Reception to Year 4 are welcome to join the existing group, who meet each Saturday morning at Blessed Thomas Holford all-weather playing pitches from 10am to 12 noon. If you are interested in joining and want further details, please contact Chris Bullock on 0161-962-2369. Pictured right is organizer, Chris Bullock with some of the Year One footballers.


    SAM says that "A valuable point earned but disappointment was the overriding feeling as Alty drew 1-1 with Kettering Town. It was the second time in five days the Robins had failed to beat a newly-promoted team at Moss Lane... After all the talk this week about eradicating errors, Alty proved old habits die hard. Just four minutes in Lawton made a reckless - and utterly needless - challenge on Alfie Potter inside the box, sliding in and getting nowhere near the ball as he brought him to the ground. Former Hyde striker Seddon stepped up and drilled the spot kick straight down the middle".

    Kettering Town have a match report from Saturday on their website. This site's report is here.


    Through The Years - Alty's record over the years by Howard Watts for next Saturday's match date.


    The following article by Brain Flynn is reproduced from last Tuesday's Robins' review matchday programme.

    STAR Mothballed- New Supporters' Group to be Launched

    At last week's Supporters' Trust AGM, STAR members voted unanimously to mothball the Trust & to launch a new supporters' group.

    These proposals by the acting STAR Board were made for the following reasons:-

    STAR has achieved a high level of success since its inauguration in March 2003, helping to raise the profile of Altrincham Football Club & providing financial funds in excess of £50,000 during the last six & a half years.The principles of Supporters' Trusts (which STAR signed up to by becoming a member of Supporters Direct,the umbrella organisation for Supporters' Trusts in the UK) are as relevant today as they were at that time.The acting STAR Board supports the premise of increased supporter involvement in supporting Altrincham Football Club in the achievement of its objectives.There have however been aspects of running a trust that have been difficult & frustrating. As an Industrial & Provident Society (IPS), STAR is bound by a number of bureaucratic processes (e.g. the requirement to produce audited annual financial accounts) that at times have made the achievement of STAR's prime objectives more difficult than they should have been.STAR is essentially run by a small group of volunteers & it is fair to say that over a period of time, that group has had to work increasingly hard to support the main objectives of STAR, whilst meeting the responsibilities of being an ISP.

    During the last couple of years, the STAR Board has discussed these issues, in conjunction with the Board of Altrincham Football Club & it has been the intention to make changes for the last eighteen months.We considered winding the Trust up, but discounted that on the basis of the cost involved. In addition, whilst the Football Club is currently in very good hands, with the achievements of the current Board being quite incredible, considering the parlous state of Altrincham Football Club when they took over & whilst the current need for a formal Supporters' Trust is low, that may not always be the case & there is a possibility that at some point in the future there will be a much greater need for a formalised Supporters' Trust......being realistic,this need would probably emanate from some sort of crisis, therefore we hope that point never comes.

    In recent months,it has become clear also, that there are a number of people who are keen to help the Football Club, who currently have little or no involvement.Ian Rosendaal,under the banner of Ideas4Alty, has collated a list of twenty six people who would be willing to help out in some way.It therefore seems appropriate for the way forward to be a less formalised supporters' group along the lines of a more traditional supporters' association, in many ways like STAR's predecessor, SAFE.

    Following the vote by STAR members to pursue this route,it is proposed that a meeting is convened in September to get a new supporters' group up & running.The process of setting this up will be handled by the acting STAR Board, all of whom are supportive of setting up this new organisation.

    We now have over thirty people who have registered their interest in making a contribution going forward & if you would like to add your name to this list,then please e-mail me at or telephone me on 07860 561011 or 0161 610 1193.

    I hope that this article clarifies the current situation regarding STAR & the future plans for Altrincham supporters to most effectively have involvement in & make a contribution to the future success of the Football Club........after all that is what it is all about isn't it?

    Kind Regards

    Brian Flynn, Acting Chairperson, STAR -The Supporters' Trust of Altrincham F.C.


    Both Pat McFadden and recent Alty trialist goalkeeper James Coates played for Vauxhall Motors on Saturday, whilst ex-Alty reserve Rio Nelson scored a "stunning goal" for the Motormen. Jake Sedgemore was substituted after 32 minutes playing for Solihull Moors. Ben Deegan turned out for Ashton United as did Stephen Rose and veteran keeper Dean Greygoose played for Bury Town in East Anglia. Winger Marc Limbert was in Bangor City's side at the weekend. And Liam King conceded a penalty whilst playing for Matlock Town versus FC United of Manchester. Former Alty trialist Aaron Burns has gone on a 3-month loan from Vics to Droylsden.


    The prize money for this season's FA Trophy has gone up as follows:
  • Round 1 - £4,000
  • Round 2 - £5,000
  • Round 3 - £6,000
  • Round 4 - £8,000

    Semi final winners get £16,000 whilst the losing finalists take home £25,000. The winner will receive £50,000.

    17 August 2008


  • Rushden & D. 1 Wrexham 1


    Altrincham manager Graham Heathcote has pointed out that a number quotes attributed to him in the press during the past week were not said by him. In particular, Graham did NOT say, as one newspaper reported after the Barrow game, that he "believes his side will be relegated unless they can improve at the back... 'You can have a good attacking side but you can’t go out and defend like that in this league and expect to survive, it just won’t happen'". Likewise after Saturday's game with Kettering Town, he states that he did not talk to either of the non-league papers which attributed quotes to him.


    Above - from Gavin Rathbone of GR Photography, we see the celebrations of Greg Young, Chris Senior and goalscorer Mark McGregor after the equalizer on Saturday.

  • Match report here.

  • Alty Player Stats 2008-09
  • Alty Line-Ups & Bookings 2008-09


    Altrincham have two away games coming up, at Kidderminster on Saturday 23rd and at Eastbourne Borough on August 30th. Come along and support the team and enjoy a relaxed trip on a Go Goodwins executive coach. Details are on the Away Travel page. Please ring the club( 928-1045) to book your seat.


    Altrincham FC entertain a Stockport County side at Moss Lane this Tuesday at 7.30pm. This is a friendly match organized to keep the squad fit against some good standard opposition. Entry is just £5, (£2 for concessionaries).


    Matt Berkeley has joined Leigh Genesis from Droylsden. Woodley Sports have signed 20 year old Nat Kerr who was an Alty trialist this summer and Luke Horrocks, another ex-Alty trialist is back playing for the same club. Stalybridge won 3-2 yesterday against Hucknall, with former Robins, Lee Ellington nd Steve Torpey, both scoring. For Vauxhall Motors, former Alty reserve Rio Nelson equalised on 66 minutes against Redditch on Saturday. For Witton Albion, former Alty reserve Mark Drew's corner was headed into the net by Rod Thornley, whilst Kieran Lugsden came on as sub for the last 5 minutes. Kelvin Lugsden, twin brother of Kieran, has joined Glossop North End according to the NW Counties Football League. Steve Aspinall got an injury-time penalty winner for Colwyn Bay on Saturday. Barry Shuttleworth has left Bamber Bridge for Clitheroe.


    The UniBond League says that "Leigh Genesis were expecting to be starting their new season in the UniBond Premier Division at a new stadium within the Leigh Sports Village complex. During July it was becoming obvious that the stadium would not be ready so the club accepted that they would start the season playing at their old home ground of Hilton Park. The old stadium which they shared with Leigh Centurions RLF had been used throughout the summer so continuing football should not have been a problem. It was only a week before the season when Leigh Genesis discovered that the pitch had not been maintained for football although played on regularly by the rugby club. What would have been the goalmouths were fronted by ruts and undulations with the centre circle more suitable for mud wrestling... The League accepted that the first two Leigh Genesis home games were to be played at Chorley’s Victory Park stadium. Leigh will in the meantime be looking at a more permanent home until their new stadium is ready in November. Of the alternatives the most suitable would be to get the Hilton Park pitch back to a football surface but Chairman Dominic Speakman has reservations on being able to secure the old Hilton Park from vandalism once the Centurions have played their last rugby game within the next few weeks... Leigh Genesis is yet another non-league club who have to strategically look at their operation as to the impact of vandalism... Only last week Guiseley had to watch a large part of their main stand destroyed by fire which early indications suggest was another act of mindless criminal activity".


    According to NL Daily "Manager John Relish has signed former Forest Green Rovers striker Danny Carey-Bertram in a bid to end Bath City's early-season goal drought in Blue Square South. The 24-year-old was released by the Blue Square Premier outfit in June,".

    Meanwhile "Rushden & Diamonds defender or midfield Michael Corcoran has signed a new contract with the club until the end of the 2009/10 season".

    Bullsnews says that "Crewe have agreed a six-figure fee with Hibernian for former York man Clayton Donaldson. The one time Conference top scorer has settled his contract issues with the Edinburgh club and expects to confirm a deal after the weekend".

    With three clubs rooted on a minus-number of points at the foot of League Two, "Bournemouth's takeover has been completed, with around £500,000 now due to creditors of the old company within the next two seasons. As a result of the takeover, nearly £350,000 of season ticket money will now be handed over to the new owners. The Administrators charged £405,373 for their sixth months running the club, at £182.50 an hour, but do not expect to be paid in full" says Bullsnews.

    16 August 2008


    Above: Dale Johnson chests the ball down against Kettering.

    After the seven-goal excitement at Moss Lane on Tuesday this was a hugely less entertaining spectacle. Alty got off to a poor start, surrendering the initiative from the kick off and falling behind when Robbie Lawton's foul gave the visitors a penalty, which former Hyde man Gareth Seddon converted in the sixth minute. Alty laboured for much of the next hour but the arrival of Warren Peyton as a substitute (65 minutes) helped Alty to capitalize on the territorial advantage and possession that they enjoyed in the second half. From his inswinging corner from the Alty right, keeper Harper, who had earlier made a stupendous double save from Little and Denham, fumbled the ball onto his own cross bar from where it dropped for McGregor to head his first goal for Alty with just six minutes left.


    Saturday 16th
  • Altrincham 1 Kettering T.
  • Burton A. 3 Woking 2
  • Cambridge U. 2 Barrow 1
  • Forest Green R. 1 Crawley T. 0
  • Grays A. 2 Northwich V. 1
  • Lewes 1 Salisbury C. 4
  • Mansfield T. 4 Kidderminster H. 2
  • Oxford U. 6 Eastbourne B. 3
  • Stevenage B. 1 Weymouth 1
  • York C. 1 Histon 1
  • Through the Years by Howard Watts.

    Right: Alex Meechan, who was surprisingly dropped today, in action against Barrow - More of Gavin's photos are on the GR Photography website.


    The BBC claims that "Midfielder Val Owen (knee) is the only definite absentee for Altrincham's home clash with Kettering. Boss Graham Heathcote could opt to bring in defender Richard Battersby while new signings Anthony Danylyk and Lee Elam could make their first starts. Defender Nicky Eaden is available after appendicitis as Kettering look to build on their unbeaten start. Nathan Smith misses out with a foot injury while Chris Beardsley challenges Jean-Paul Marna for a place up front".


    From the Kettering angle, the Northants Evening Telegraph says that "Mark Cooper believes Kettering Town's trip to Altrincham tomorrow is a 'dangerous' one for them. The Poppies head to Moss Lane on the back of two successive 1-1 draws against Forest Green Rovers and Grays Athletic... 'It may look like a good opportunity for us but they are normally the most dangerous games', he said. 'You can sometimes go into these games expecting to win and then come away with nothing. The only way we will get a result is if we go there and work as hard as we did at Grays and play as well as we did – but for longer spells... If you get results now against teams you think might be down at the bottom then it stops them from getting points. Altrincham have scored three past Barrow on Tuesday and conceded four so it shows you that they can score goals. But they also let a few in and that's something we will be looking at'.

    Cooper, meanwhile, has backed his strikers to start firing after defender John Dempster scored both their goals so far... 'We have created a lot of chances and maybe it just needs one to go in off the strikers' backsides to get them on a roll. But I am not too worried about it', Cooper added. 'With Nathan Smith injured we are a forward short and that is the area we will be looking at.'".

    The Kettering Website says that "The Poppies travel to play old adversaries Altrincham... The teams have met on thirty-eight occasions in the Conference with the Poppies record reading W 10 D 15 L 13. On their travels to the north-west the record reads W 3 D 8 L 8... With Altrincham having escaped relegation on a technicality and not for the first time, they will perhaps view the Poppies as one of their relegation rivals... Mark Cooper's team have shown with two points producing results against teams expected to finish in the top half that they can compete at this level... [Saturday] gives them a chance to get their first BSP win on the board".


    According to NL Daily Buxton have lost "influential skipper Terry Bowker, who broke two ribs in the pre-season game against Barnsley".


    York City reported yesterday "There has been a security incident at the Club regarding an envelope addressed to former Chairman, Douglas Craig, which was received today containing a suspect white powdery substance. The police were called to Kit Kat Crescent as a precaution and have been dealing with the matter. Despite this upheaval, the game tomorrow is set to continue and there are no further security issues envisaged. Sophie Hicks, Communications and community director said, 'We would like to reassure supporters from both York and Histon that the game tomorrow is not affected by today’s incident and is due to go ahead as normal'. Sophie Hicks added, 'When the envelope was received, our staff had to take precautions and inform the police. Clearly this is a very peculiar incident as the envelope was addressed to Douglas Craig, who has not been Chairman of the Club since 2002'".

    From Blue Square Football we learn that "Cambridge United have performed a u-turn on midfielder Ben Farrell's proposed loan move to rivals Histon. The promising Cambridge youngster penned the deal on Wednesday night but it was subsequently called off after meetings between Director of Football George Rolls and Histon chairman Gareth Baldwin. United supporters were fuming at the prospect of Farrell joining local rivals Histon, who could also turn out to be promotion rivals later in the season. Farrell will now resume training with Gary Brabin's squad and will be available for selection against Barrow on Tuesday". Meanwhile, The Cambridge Evening News says that "Cambridge United have been dealt a massive blow following the news that Andy Parkinson has been ruled out for the rest of the new campaign with a serious knee injury".

    Blue Square Football reported earlier that "Steve Fallon has decided to shake up his Histon squad early in the season by signing Ben Farrell on loan from Cambridge United while putting Patrick Ada on the transfer list... Ada, who arrived at the Glass World Stadium from Exeter City at the beginning of last season, has been told his future lies elsewhere. Histon boss Fallon said: 'We have been a long time admirer of Ben. We enquired about him when he went to United from Bedford and we have stayed in touch with Cambridge about the lad'... With Gareth Gwillim out injured for a month and Craig Pope announcing his shock decision to quit the club, the manager knows bringing in players has suddenly become a priority. But he is still prepared to let Ada go after the two spoke last night when the Cameroonian defender voiced his concerns about losing his place in the heart of Histon's defence to Matt Langston. Fallon added: 'Patrick does not see his future at Histon at the moment and as such we are circulating his name to see if there is any interest in him'".

    "Kevin Keehan is determined not to panic after Tuesday’s defeat to Crawley but knows his Lewes side need to start taking their chances" reports the Argus... Keehan said: 'Reading the reports from midweek, Eastbourne were under the cosh, struggled to get an opportunity, then nicked a goal and it changed the game. We had the chance to go 1-0 up and we didn’t take it. We have got to learn from that and take it into Saturday. We will always create chances but the big thing for us is acclimatisation. If you look at the Crawley boys on Tuesday, they have all played at this level or higher before. Our boys haven’t and we have got to get used to that extra pace and extra strength'. Keehan is still sweating on the fitness of skipper Danny Cullip, who has missed the first two games with a poisoned toe... The Lewes boss must decide whether to make changes tomorrow although his options are limited with a small squad. Zac Beda is still out with a groin injury, striker Tom Lyons warmed up with the players on Tuesday although he is yet to sign while the door has not been closed on former QPR and Dagenham striker Shabazz Baidoo".

    The Argus adds that "Eastbourne Borough boss Garry Wilson admits he would have loved to have brought Yemi Odubade back to Priory Lane last season. Odubade will line up against his old club for the first time since joining Oxford United in a £25,000 deal in January 2006 when Borough travel to the Kassam Stadium tomorrow... Wilson said: 'He is a great lad and was a big part of our success when he was here. We keep in touch and he comes to some of our games when he can which shows he still has a lot of affection for the club. I spoke to Yemi on an informal basis when he was on the transfer list at Oxford and he made it clear he wanted to stay in the Blue Square premier or go higher so that ruled us out at the time. Obviously we are at the same level now which changes things but Yemi is off the transfer list and is very happy at Oxford'".

    From Kent Online we learn that "Charlton have loaned striker Stuart Fleetwood to League 1 Cheltenham just months after signing him from Forest Green Rovers for £100,000... He moves to Whaddon Road for three months".

    "Billy McEwan insists he will not be swayed from playing passing football at Mansfield - because he believes that is the route to success" claims This is Mansfield. "Stags' fans saw on Tuesday night against Histon that some other teams in the Blue Square Premier will adopt a direct, physical strategy... 'Anyone who knows me or has seen my teams will know that I like to play the ball on the floor', said McEwan. 'Sometimes you have to shell it, but in general I want to entertain the fans. The reason I want to play the ball on the floor is because it is successful'... McEwan has been pleased how the club's supporters have backed his side in their first two games".

    "Vics have signed a second player on non-contract terms" states the Northwich Guardian. "Former Preston North End youngster Mike Aspin, a regular for Dino Maamria's men during their summer pre-season programme, follows Michael Barnes onto the club's books. 'I'm happy to give him a chance', Maamria told fans during a forum... He is a young player with a lot of potential'. Maamria insisted Aspin, most at home in a wide right position in defence or midfield, would be given the chance to earn a permanent deal in the coming weeks. 'We can't offer him anything just yet', he added. 'So that means both these players are turning out purely for their love and passion for the game right now'... The likelihood is that the Vics boss would have to trim his squad to make room for either".

    The Oxford Mail says that "Dozens of Eastbourne Borough fans missed their club's first-ever win at Conference National level at Stevenage on Tuesday night... the M25 was blocked solid and, knowing they wouldn't make kick-off, turned back. So only a very few made it to Broadhall Way, the others missing a shock 3-1 win for Borough in which striker Andy Atkin scored twice. Atkin, a big, physical player, was the Sports' 30-goal top scorer last season - picking up the supporters', manager's and players' player-of-the-year awards - and can prove a real handful... It was reportedly very much a "smash-and-grab" victory for Gary Wilson's team, because they did not have much of the ball and had only three chances - but took them all... Borough's strength is their defence... But Wilson has been shuffling the side a bit further forward. Last Saturday he started with Matt Crabb on the wing, and Mo Harkin was not even in the squad. But on Tuesday, Harkin played, and Crabb wasn't in the squad. With a small squad Wilson says he needs to do this to keep players fresh... Jean-Michel Sigere played up front with Atkin against Rushden... Hill [i.e. Wilson?] went so far as to say that he didn't really expect any points from the first three games, and any that they could pick up would be a bonus". Oxford boss Darren Patterson added, "Eastbourne are a big, strong side - we've had them watched - and it will be a tough game".

    According to the Daily Post "Wrexham manager Brian Little had no complaints following the 1-0 defeat at York City... Little said: 'Obviously I’m disappointed but I was pleased to get to 0-0 at half time... We needed to do more to win the game... I think York are a decent side and are very strong. They are not going to lose too many'".

    At Woking "Charlie Moon, aged 19, a former Academy player, has today signed on non-contract forms".

    15 August 2008


    ALTY v KETTERING: Alty's last league match against Kettering at Moss Lane (on Tuesday, 26 October, 2004) was very similar to last Tuesday's game against Barrow. Alty went 0-2 down,drew back to 2-2, went 2-3 down and finally drew 3-3 - unlike against Barrow! Just 603 spectators watched the Conference North match in which Alty included new signing Val Owen in their squad. The Robins' side was: 1. Stuart COBURN, 2. Steve ASPINALL, 3. Chris ADAMS, 4.Peter BAND (capt.), 5. Gary TALBOT, 6. Stephen ROSE, Colin POTTS, 8. Eddie HUSSIN, 9. Marcus HALLOWS , 10. Colin LITTLE, 11. Steve TORPEY. Subs: 12. Gary SCOTT, 14. Peter WRIGHT, 15. Rod THORNLEY, 16. Kieran LUGSDEN, 17. Val OWEN.


  • Alty Player Stats 2008-09
  • Alty Line-Ups & Bookings 2008-09
  • Altrincham FC Matchday Sponsors, 2008-09


    Peter Band scored for New Mills on Tuesday when they beat Congleton Town 4-3. And Ben Deegan scored as Ashton United defeated a Stockport County XI on Monday evening.


    The Cambridge News confirms that "Craig Pope has quit football after losing an appeal against a four-match ban. He was found guilty yesterday (Wednesday) of using a word that may be deemed insulting by race or colour towards then Cambridge United forward Leo Fortune-West last season. The Histon right-back then took the decision to walk away from the sport and his club... Pope said: 'I know that the charge against me is not right, I know what I said and what I did not say, so having gone through an agonising wait to clear my name to finally have this decision is devastating... I cannot play football knowing that people will say he said this or that and get called a racist. I have a life outside of football, which I enjoy, so I am not going to put myself in a position where I get branded for something I did not say'. The incident dates back to last Boxing Day when the Stutes played the U's at the Abbey Stadium... Histon boss Steve Fallon continues to support Pope and hopes he will change his mind and remain at the Glass World Stadium. 'I know that Craig did not say what is being alleged', said Fallon. 'I am not prepared to let him sacrifice his career over this, so will try to meet him, so we can put things in perspective'... Histon are expected to sign Cambridge United midfielder Ben Farrell on a six-month loan deal".

    According to NL Daily "Welsh Premier club Aberystwyth Town have signed quality young goalkeeper Dave Roberts from Weymouth. The 19-year-old has featured for the Seasiders in pre-season... Weymouth parted ways with Roberts after he made just one appearance for the club after joining from Bangor City in January 20082.

    "Lee Morris has taken another step along the road to recovery after turning out for Burton Albion in a behind-closed-doors friendly. The former Derby County forward played for 65 minutes against Crewe Alexandra at the League One club's training ground - almost a year to the day a serious knee injury wrecked his career with Yeovil Town. Morris is trying to win a deal with the Brewers, but has been hampered by thigh and calf strains. Manager Nigel Clough said: 'We lost the game 6-1 but at least Lee's appearance was a positive. That's the longest he's been on a football pitch in the 12 months since his injury... We're trying to build Lee up gradually - he'll join our next training session and then have a run out with the reserves'" he told the Burton Mail.

    The Northwich Guardian says that "Michael Barnes has agreed non-contract terms with Northwich Victoria. The former Manchester United winger, who came on as a second half substitute during the second half of Tuesday’s 1-1 draw with Burton Albion, penned a deal the day before. 'I thought he did well – we saw glimpses of what he can do', said Vics' boss Dino Maamria. 'We haven’t agreed anything with him yet but I wanted to sort something out so he could play some games for us. I’m hopeful we can agree a contract'... Barnes, 20, impressed Maamria while playing for Rochdale in a friendly at the Marston’s Arena month... He had turned out for Bristol City on a similar basis following his release from Old Trafford at the end of June". Meanwhile, "Joel Byrom faces a spell on the sidelines after being told he needs to have a hernia operation. The Vics' midfielder could be missing from as early as the beginning of next month to repair the damage. 'He’s going to be out for a few weeks', Dino Maamria told the Guardian. 'Joel been playing through pain, both against Cambridge and Burton, but when you have a player of his talent he has to play'... It’s a huge blow for the Tunisian, who has seen the 21-year-old blossom into his side’s outstanding player this summer. 'We are looking into the timing so Joel misses the least amount of games', he said... Maamria did not rule out a return to the transfer market to find a replacement, although he did admit Michael Byrne and Chris Flynn would be given an opportunity to stake a claim for a place. He added: “'For me Joel is probably the best player in the Blue Square Premier'".

    Grays Athletic "have added defender, Jon Munday, to their squad. John started as a trainee with QPR during 2005; in August 2007 he joined Kidderminster Harriers, [and] he has also had a loan spell with Worcester"


    Bullsnews has an interesting piece on football agents. It says that its local club, Hereford United "opted not to pay agents yet again over the course of the past season. The Football League report on their 72 member clubs shows 18 clubs did not pay agents fees in the 2007/8 season, with 14 of them in League Two. These included the Bulls, Peterboro, and Stockport. Transfer spending nearly doubled to £81.5million over the three divisions, but agents' fees were paid on just 14% of the value of transfers. In a total of 3,399 transfer and contract deals there were just 283 that involved paying an agent. Highest spenders were Leicester, who paid £1.6million to agents, while MK Dons were League Two's high spenders at £76,555. Darlington and Shrewsbury both spent over £30,000 on agents while the Bulls' 24 transfer and contract dealings were done for no fees. All three of the Administration clubs, Luton, Bournemouth, and Rotherham, spent money on agents with Luton's bill nearly £0.25million".
    14 August 2008


  • York C. 1 Wrexham 0

  • League table


    Gavin Rathbone's photo of Greg Young shows the appalling weather at Moss Lane on Tuesday night. More of Gavin's photos are on the GR Photography website.

    SAM accurately summarises the match on Tuesday. "Alty found their killer touch but committed defensive suicide to hand all three points to Barrow. After twice coming from behind to level the scores, bagging three goals in the process, the potency of their firepower is not in question. But the solidity of their defence most certainly is after they gifted Barrow a string of chances... Alty had started in confident mood, passing the ball around with ease and grace, dominating possession and keeping Barrow firmly penned inside their own half... Completely against the run of play, Matt Henney sent a through ball down the right flank and, from the by-line, Walker too easily cut inside the covering defenders and fired into the corner of the net... This league has a way of bringing you back down to earth with a bump. Alty player ratings: Coburn 6; Lane 5, McGregor 5, Young 6, Doughty 5; Denham 7, Street 6 (Danylyk 55, 7), Lawton 6, Meechan 5 (Elam 55, 7); Little 8, Johnson 6 (Senior 85). Subs not used: Ralph, O’Neill".

  • Alty Player Stats
  • Alty Line-Ups & Bookings

    From the other side, the BBC reports that "Barrow winger Matt Henney says there is more to come from the Bluebirds after Tuesday night's 4-3 win at Altrincham. The win saw Barrow go top of the Blue Square Premier. But Henney actually revealed that the performance had been criticised by Barrow's management team. 'It shows how far we've come', Henney told BBC Radio Cumbria. 'We've won, but we haven't defended too well and we've been told off. We don't normally concede goals like that and I'm sure we'll get better... We showed plenty of character and everyone dug in', said Henney. 'We were trying to get tight and defend but we couldn't and it was just an off night at the back. Even when it went to 2-2 and then to 3-3, we still knew we were going to win it. There is lots of belief in this team and in each other'".

    And the NW Evening Mail says that "Barrow AFC sit proudly looking down from the top of the Conference table after last night’s amazing 4-3 win at Altrincham... AFC joint manager Darren Sheridan said that while delighted with the result they were still disappointed by the performance. He said: 'I think it was because we set the standards in playing so well against Oxford. We didn’t get going at the start and I thought Altrincham were the better team for the first half. Second half we were okay and when we were cruising at 2-0 they were dead and buried. We should have been more relaxed at this stage, got the ball down but silly errors crept in. It was a sloppy goal that got them back in it, the two centre halves going for the same ball and Mike Pearson getting caught out. They’ve got another from a Tim Deasy mistake and we could easily have thrown it away. Me and Bayles are always looking for improvements, little bits here and there... At the end of the day it was a brilliant result, the end to end stuff would be great for the fans to watch'... Said Sheridan: 'Carlos didn’t get in the game at first and then came to life, got his confidence and whipped in a few balls... The grass was quite long and holding the water which made it a difficult surface for the players'".


    Alty play Vauxhall Motors in the Cheshire Senior Cup on 16th September and NL Daily says that "Striker Karl Noon has left Bangor City and completed a move to Blue Square North side Vauxhall Motors. The 21-year old scored two goals from just three starts, but eleven substitute appearances for the Citizens last year after he joined the Farrar Road side on-loan from Southport in January".


    Present at Tuesday's game at Moss Lane were Steve Aspinall (now at Colwyn Bay) and Danny Murphy, who now runs a restaurant in New York. Danny is facing an operation on the knee that caused him to retire from football. Colin Potts scored his side's only goal as Farsley beat Fleetwood 4-1 on Tuesday.


    "Oxford United manager Darren Patterson has said he is still looking to strengthen his squad" reports NL Daily. "Following their 1-0 home defeat to Weymouth on Tuesday the U's boss said although fresh faces are needed he will not be making any panic buys. 'It's a must now but I don't want to be one of those who dives in just for the sake of it, we'll be as patient as we can' Patterson told BBC Oxford".

    From the Burton Mail we learn that "Manager Nigel Clough admitted Burton Albion had a lucky escape... The Brewers salvaged their unbeaten start to the campaign with a 1-1 draw against Northwich Victoria. But they had to wait until the 83rd minute for substitute Aaron Webster to rescue a point after they had trailed to a first half goal by Darryn Stamp... The Brewers' boss said: 'After making such a good start to the season with the win at Salisbury, we expected the players to be raring to go in the first home game - but they weren't for some reason. We would have taken a point at any stage because we were extremely flat after Saturday's performance. Northwich played exceptionally well, caused us problems, and you could see their goal coming. We struggled all the way up the middle of the pitch. The two centre-halves didn't cope with their two strikers, especially Darryn Stamp in the air. The two midfielders didn't get close to anybody and the two strikers didn't hold the ball in the first half, which is their primary job. They're the reasons we had major problems for most of the game... but Shaun Harrad and Darren Stride livened us up... The good thing is that we have taken four points from the first two games, which would have taken before the season began... It was the nature of the performance against Northwich that was more disappointing than the result'... Clough hopes midfield general Michael Simpson shakes off a viral infection to make his first appearance of the season against the Cards. But a question mark hangs over on-loan Matt Bailey [not the ex-Alty man], who broke his nose in last night's contest".

    The Cambridge Evening News says that "Gary Brabin moved quickly to sign Chris Holroyd after suffering a double injury blow ahead of Cambridge United's 2-1 win at home to Kidderminster on Tuesday night. Striker Holroyd has been targeted by Brabin for some time... Holroyd, 21, has since been released by Chester and was snapped up by United last night on a one-year deal... Brabin said: 'I think he has been in a dilemma over the last few weeks'... Holroyd's arrival is tempered by the loss of wingers Andy Parkinson and Courtney Pitt to injury. Pitt was due to undergo a knee operation today after injuring it in pre-season and is expected to be out for up to three months. Parkinson also twisted his knee in training on Monday and had scans to assess the damage yesterday. But it is feared he could also be in for a long lay-off'".

    "Steve Fallon has urged his players to sharpen up inside the penalty area after Histon lost 1-0 at Mansfield in the Blue Square Premier last night. The Stutes' boss was pleased with his side's performance and felt they were much improved following Saturday's lacklustre display in the 1-1 draw with Torquay. But after seeing Jason Lee notch the winner and Nathaniel Knight-Percival miss a host of chances to equalise, the manager is confident they can get even better. Fallon said: 'I think all round we were much better than Saturday, but if I had one criticism it was that we weren't quite sharp enough in the box... We put some great crosses in to the back stick and Nathaniel's probably had about six or seven back-stick headers and on another day, one of them would have gone in... I thought we looked very fit, we were still flying right at the end and they were hanging on'", he told The Cambridge Evening News

    "Crawley Town have announced the signing of central defender Adam Quinn on a one year deal" reports Blue square Football. "The 25-year-old was a summer target for Reds boss Steve Evans and arrives at Broadfield Stadium in a deal believed be worth around £5000. Reds's Owner and Director Phil Jarman told the club's website: 'Adam Quinn was a key target for our manager in the summer... Steve Evans never gave up on it and his tenacity has prevailed with the boy Quinn signing for us. We have paid a small fee for the boy but that will come from my pocket so in essence it has cost the football club nothing. As a board member we may at times have to put our hands in our wallets and I will continue to do so. Adam Quinn is a quality signing that our supporters will take too in a big way. Steve Evans has worked hard on this especially given the boy had a number of options open to him'... Meanwhile, Evans has hinted that there could still be 'two more possible signings this week'".

    The Argus confirms that "Steve Evans is preparing to strengthen after Crawley belatedly got their season off the mark. The Reds bounced back from Saturday’s disappointing 1-0 defeat at home to York with a comfortable 3-0 win over new boys Lewes at the Dripping Pan. Evans revealed after the game he would have up to three new faces in his squad ahead of Saturday’s trip to Forest Green. Defender Adam Quinn, an England semi-pro international, has joined the club from Halifax... The Reds are also chasing one more permanent signing as well as a loan player from Crystal Palace. The signings will bolster a squad currently missing Steve Fletcher, Isaiah Rankin and Chris Giles through injury. Evans, sitting in the stand as he served the second game of a 12-match ban, said: 'At 3pm we had a new striker and a new centre half. Then at 4.45 we didn’t have a striker because he wanted a six-month deal instead of a three-week deal. With Adam Quinn a technical problem with the administration at Halifax stopped it going through at 4.55. Quinn, Fletcher, Rankin and Giles are massive players at Conference level and to be brutal we still came here and won rather easily'".

    Meanwhile "Lewes boss Kevin Keehan said: 'We didn’t really get going but you try to take something positive out of it... We defended quite well for 39 minutes and had the best chance until that time. They still had the lion’s share of the play in the second half but we had the more shots, not ones to frighten the goalkeeper but at least we had a go. We need to pass it better otherwise it will be a real uphill battle. To be fair we missed Danny Cullip tonight more than we did on Saturday'”.

    This is Glos tells us that "More shoddy defending from set-pieces made it a disappointing night for Forest Green in their first home game... Andy Mangan's first competitive strike in a black and white shirt was the only bright spot for Jim Harvey... Harvey made several tweaks to Saturday's team at Kettering, shifting Darren Jones from central defence to right-back in order to push Alex Lawless forward into his favoured midfield role... with Kaid Mohamed and Simon Clist asked to provide the main support to lone frontman Mangan". However, "New Forest Green skipper John Hardiker is confident he can lead the club to a new level this season... 'The new lads have settled in brilliantly and I would say the team spirit is better than it's ever been. We'll always compete with the top teams in this league, it's the lower teams we've had a bit of trouble with. I don't know why that is, but I'm sure we'll put that right this year and make the play-offs'".

    The Thurrock Gazette reports on Kettering's draw at Grays. "Talk before the game was the possibility of an onfield meeting between Town’s Chris Beardsley, who had his jaw broken by Grays’ Jamie Stuart when playing for York last season, an incident that means the Blues player faces a court date next month, but Beardsley remained on the bench all night".

    "Lee Harper was delighted to be the hero of the hour for Kettering Town as they claimed their second successive draw" says the Northants Evening Telegraph. "But the point was only preserved when Harper saved Danny Kedwell's penalty in the fourth minute of stoppage-time... Harper felt a point was the very least Kettering deserved as they created enough chances to claim their first win. But he insists there should be nothing for the Poppies to be scared of after two draws in a row".

    The same paper says that "Garry Hill hailed the character being displayed by Rushden & Diamonds to kick-start their season in style. They recorded a second successive victory by beating Ebbsfleet United 2-0... The Diamonds' boss said: 'We knew it was going to be a very hard game. They are the FA Trophy winners with a lot of young, mobile, quality players who came at us and could have been 2-0 up after five minutes. The tempo and quality which they played with was of the highest standard. As a manager you are saying to yourself 'are they going to slow up?... We found ourselves under a lot of pressure... No disrespect to the squad last year but they would have folded... While we are not playing well at the moment, it will take time when you consider there were a lot of changes over the summer'".

    Our next away opponents are the subject of the Kidderminster Shuttle. "A vistory is all that is needed to get winless Kidderminster Harriers on track in the new season, according to manager Mark Yates... after the draw with Lewes and a loss at Cambridge United on Tuesday. Despite a slow start to the new campaign, Yates believes there is no reason to worry... 'We’ve got to re-group. We’re not out of anything yet and we’ve got tremendous belief in the camp', said the manager... The form of playmaker Darryl Knights is crucial. The gifted 21-year-old has yet to hit the heights he displayed when on loan at Aggborough last season... Yates completed his squad building at the end of last week, signing trialist Mike Bowler on a one-year deal. Left-back Lee Baker joined Harriers on a month’s loan from West Bromwich Albion... Simon Russell and Dean Bennett also signed new deals with Harriers".

    This is Nottingham states that "Mansfield's players will be buoyed by the way they scrapped to a 1-0 victory over Histon... It was a far from vintage performance by the Stags... 'What will come from this result is confidence and belief' said manager Billy McEwan. 'The team was outstanding defensively... There was a lot of naivety there, but we stuck at it, were resilient and got there'".

    13 August 2008


    The Altrincham FC supporters' coach, operated by Go Goodwins Coaches will be making the journeys to Kidderminster (23rd August) and Eastbourne (30th August). Why not come along and support the team if you can; details are on the Away Travel page.


    Right: Alty's future lies somewhere over the rainbow which formed at Moss Lane on Tuesday night!

    Match report here


    Tuesday 12th

  • Altrincham 3 Barrow 4
  • Burton A. 1 Northwich V. 1
  • Cambridge U. 2 Kidderminster H. 1
  • Forest Green R. 1 Salisbury C. 2
  • Grays A. 1 Kettering T. 1
  • Lewes 0 Crawley T. 3
  • Mansfield T. 1 Histon 0
  • Oxford U. 0 Weymouth 1
  • Rushden & D. 2 Ebbsfleet U. 0
  • Stevenage B. 1 Eastbourne B. 3
  • Torquay U. 2 Woking 1
  • Through the Years by Howard Watts.
    12 August 2008


    In the Manchester Evening News, Graham Heathcote says "Some people might regard this match as a bit of a home banker but, having watched Barrow on Friday, I know it's going to be a really difficult game for us. Barrow also have the benefit of having had a day's more rest than us. Our confidence is high, but we need to be on our guard'".

    Alty's only fitness doubt, apart from Val Owen, is Dale Johnson but he is expected to be fit to play tonight.


    With the bookies nearly all betting on both Altrincham and Barrow to be relegated, it is good to see that whoever wins tonight's match could actually go top of the Blue Square Premier. Alty and Barrow last met at Moss Lane for a league match in Conference North on Tuesday, 28 September, 2004 when Alty went third in the table after defeating the Bluebirds 2-0 thanks to goals by Marcus Hallows and Steve Aspinall (penalty). Barrow's Heffernan was sent off for the handball which prompted the spot-kick. Alty did not have it all their own way as Barrow won the corner count ten-nil. Alty's Stuart Coburn (pictured right, by Gavin Rathbone) and Colin Little are the only two players still at Moss Lane who started in the 2004 game. Alty's team that evening was: 1. Stuart COBURN, 2. Stephen ASPINALL, 3. Chris ADAMS, 4. Peter BAND (capt.), 5. Gary TALBOT, 6. Stephen ROSE, 7. Colin POTTS, 8. Eddie HUSSIN, 9. Marcus HALLOWS, 10. Colin LITTLE, 11. Barry SHUTTLEWORTH. Subs: 12. Niell HARDY, 14. Ged KIELTY, 15. Kieran LUGSDEN, 16. Stuart WRIGHT, 17. Peter WRIGHT.

    But the last meeting at Moss Lane between the two sides came later that season (5th February 2005) when a Colin Little header in the fifth minute of injury time gave Alty a 1-0 win in the FA Trophy 4th Round, to extend the Robins' unbeaten run to 13 games. George Melling and Richard Norris making their home debuts both had good games, with Norris even wearing the captain's armband when Eddie Hussin limped off late in the game. Before kick-off Mark Maddox received a presentation from Alty director Grahame Rowley to mark his achieving 300 appearances for Altrincham the previous Tuesday. Sadly, the suspended Mark was unable to play against one of his former clubs. Alty's team was: 1. Stuart COBURN, 2. Steve ASPINALL, 3. Gary SCOTT, 4. George MELLING, 5. Gary TALBOT, 6. Eddie HUSSIN, 7. Richard NORRIS, 8. Val OWEN, 9. Colin LITTLE, 10. Rod THORNLEY, 11. Kieran LUGSDEN. Subs: 12 Marcus HALLOWS, 13. Richard ACTON (gk), 14. Sean SMITH, 15. Paul TILLEY, 16. Lewis CHALMERS.

    Barrow can be expected to include former Alty winger Carlos Logan in their squad tonight. After their 3-0 win over Oxford United last Friday, the Bluebirds have striker Nick Rogan doubtful with a groin injury, whilst former Stalybridge man Ashley Winn is suspended. It is expected that Andy Bond and Mark Boyd, who almost joined Altrincham a couple of years ago, will continue in midfield.


    The Sale & Altrincham Messenger reports that "Alty finally slayed their Woking demons after an impressive 2-1 opening day win at Kingfield. The Robins had lost five of the previous six meetings with the Surrey club - the other being a draw - but fully deserved the three points that got their campaign off to a flying start... For once, preseason optimism has translated to early reward".

    According to the Woking Evening News and Mail, "Kim Grant admitted his players were nervous in Woking’s disappointing opener against Altrincham on Saturday. His admission after his team’s 2-1 home defeat against the part-timers was surprising given he fielded experienced Conference campaigners like Paolo Vernazza, Colin Miles, Abdou El-Kholti and Joel Ledgister, as well as the likes of Tom Hutchinson, Danny Bunce and Liam Marum... 'I think they might have been nervous because of the expectation', said Grant. 'There were a lot of negatives from the first half but positives from the second when we had them on the back foot. I thought we had chances to win it in the end but we left ourselves open in going for a second goal and they nicked one because of an individual error. I will always try to win matches and that is likely to leave us slightly vulnerable at the back although we lost because of that individual mistake'. That misplaced pass came from Bunce, who gave the ball away as Altrincham took full advantage, Chris Lane sweeping a pass to striker Colin Little who twisted past Hutchinson before lifting his effort over keeper Ross Worner. The fact it came one minute into stoppage time left Woking deflated".


    A former Moss Lane resident who follows the club from his home in Lewes, Sussex, is Anthony Barnett, who contacted the website over the weekend. His father, Jack, had two trials with Manchester United and after moving to Sussex was captain of Shoreham FC. Anthony recalls watching games at Moss Lane around 1956 when "They had a white horse that used to eat the grass on the pitch and the horse was given the occasional bucket of beer at the end of some games"! And our groundsman, Neil Brown, doesn't even get a bottle, never mind a bucket of beer after he mows the pitch nowadays!


    Altrincham's first game in this season's FA Youth Cup will be on Wednesday September 10th at 7.45pm away to Cammell Laird.


    With Marcus Hallows's case going through the courts, the BBC confirms that "A former Manchester United player whose career was ended when he was injured in a tackle has been awarded more than £4.5m in compensation. Ben Collett, 23, broke his leg in a reserve game against Middlesbrough five years ago, at the age of 18. Boro player Gary Smith and his club admitted liability for the injury... Collett's right leg was broken in two places in the match in May 2003".

    Meanwhile "Manchester United have released six players after deciding to disband one of the club's reserve sides. Next season the club will have one reserve side and one youth team and boss Six Alex Ferguson conceded there were limited chances for the players. Defender Paul Tierney is the only one of the sextet to have had first-team experience, although Ramon Calliste has been a regular for Wales Under-21. Ben Collett, David Poole, Lee Lawrence and Steven Hogg have also been freed. Ferguson added he would be making more use of the loan system to help blood young players at Old Trafford... 'Next season, with only one reserve team, we are going to farm more players out', said Ferguson".


    The referees for Alty's next two games are:
  • Tuesday v Barrow: Mr S. J. Rushton
  • Saturday v Kettering Town: Mr B. Khatib - he was linesman for Altrincham v Kidderminster Harriers in January 2007.


    News of a former Altrincham goalkeeper comes from the Ellesmere Port Standard which tells us that "A Manchester goalkeeper is facing jail after admitting using sex images to blackmail a Premiership footballer. Ex-Manchester City trainee Ashley Timms (right), 22, demanded £15,000 from the Premiership star, who cannot be named for legal reasons. Timms, from Middleton, pleaded guilty at Manchester Crown Court to making a series of unwarranted demands, namely to publish images of a sexual nature, with menaces. Judge Andrew Gilbart warned Timms a prison sentence was inevitable. Timms was bailed until September 5 for sentencing at the same court.

    Wearing a dark suit, white shirt and black tie, and sporting a large diamond earring in each ear, Timms spoke only to confirm his name and to enter his guilty plea. He admitted blackmail between March 1 and April 3 this year. His head dropped and his face reddened as he was told he faces jail when he is sentenced next month. The Manchester-born goalkeeper is currently without a club, having flitted between sides since he was 17. He played for Manchester City's under-19 side and had spells at Altrincham, Atherton LR, Curzon Ashton, Mossley, Shrewsbury Town, Runcorn and Accrington Stanley. He also had trials at Norwich City, Bolton Wanderers, Fulham, Oldham and Macclesfield".


    News of two ex-BSP players comes from Kingstonian. And, secondly, "Barrie Stimpson, manager of Lancaster City, is set to add Lee Dodgson to his squad ahead of the new season. The former Morecambe and Forest Green Rovers forward is due to put pen-to-paper after impressing in last week's 4-1 victory at Kidsgrove Athletic". A third ex-Conference player is also on the move according to Kent Online which says that "Gillingham boss Mark Stimson will look to off-load players in a bid to free up some room in his transfer budget... and Stuart Thurgood’s name will also be circulated... Thurgood was in talks over a permanent move to fellow League 2 side Dagenham but the Essex side have gone cold on the deal. 'They haven’t got back to me so I’ll put his name out for loan', said Stimson. 'If any club come in they can take him on loan and that’s probably the next best thing'".

    This is Glos reported on Saturday that "Defender Kris Thomas has signed a contract with Forest Green Rovers. The 25-year-old Welshman has joined from Welsh Premier League club Carmarthen Town". Meanwhile, the Northants Evening Telegraph says of Alty's opponents this Saturday that "Kettering Town were denied a winning return to non-league football's top flight as Forest Green Rovers fought back for a deserved draw at the A-line arena. The Poppies made a blistering start and... took a deserved lead... but Forest Green gradually played themselves back into the game".

    Nearby club "Rushden & Diamonds kicked off the campaign with a hard-fought 1-0 win at Eastbourne Borough in heavy rain on the Sussex coast... Summer signings Alan Marriott, Gareth Jelleyman, Sagi Burton, Dean McDonald and Lee Phillips were all handed full league debuts for Diamonds".

    And NL Daily adds that "Kettering Town's new signing Darren Wrack believes they have made a solid start to the season... 'We started well and we could have found ourselves two or three up', he said".

    Altrincham's next away game on August 23rd is at Aggborough, where the Kidderminster Shuttle says that "Manager Mark Yates felt that some of his players weren't at their best as Harriers were held to a 1-1 draw by newly promoted Lewes... The manager said: 'One or two of my players weren't at their best - Darryl [Knights] has been outstanding in pre-season and he really does has a big influence on our game and things were bouncing off him that you don't expect. That summed us up - we couldn't quite find fourth or fifth gear and were stuck in second or third. I expect better from my two centre halves and Mike Bowler, they're experienced players and have played in the league. Mark Creighton is normally a dominant force in this division and they have to do things better and organise the team in front of them... It's a point more than we had at this point during the last two seasons', added the manager. 'I don't know what to make of it. We've got to be better and we certainly will be'" he concluded.

    "Billy McEwan believes there is much more to come from his Mansfield team once they have had time to gel" claims This is Nottingham. "McEwan declared himself 'delighted' to get a point after trailing by two goals against an established Conference side... We showed great resilience to get back into the game', said McEwan. 'When you think the players have only known each other for a few weeks, I'm delighted... when we got the combination play we opened them up a lot in the second half. I learned a lot from that game and so did the players, Every game that is played you learn. Every game we should be getting better... It is going to be a roller-coaster, but hopefully the players can gel into a very good side... I told them at half-time, no team of mine throws the towel in. I feel proud of them and I was proud of the supporters who cheered us on to a very good second-half performance'".

    The Northwich Guardian claims that "Vics went airborne in a bid to bring down Cambridge. It was an approach doomed to fail against the Us new defensive pairing of Phil Bolland and Wayne Hatswell. Darryn Stamp cut a frustrated figure in the face of their dominance... Playing deeper as Cambridge controlled possession, Vics’ backline hurried when they had it back and too many times their passes were inaccurate. Byrom, Vics’ creative heartbeat, was starved of meaningful time with the ball at his feet to make something happen".

    "Wrexham manager Brian Little confessed he was as relieved as he was pleased after watching his side eventually cruise to a 5-0 win against Stevenage Borough". The Daily Post adds that "The Dragons’ boss admitted the result was not a true reflection of a match in which the visitors proved to be more than stubborn opposition for 70 minutes... Little had few complaints about the manner in which referee David Coote handled the match, which was marred by the dismissals of Boro striker Steve Morison and home midfielder Levi Mackin, and said he had warned his players to be on their best behaviour... A bumper Racecourse crowd of 4,901 was far and away the biggest of the day in the Blue Square Premier".

    The Press reports that "York City boss Colin Walker heralded his side’s physical approach after outmuscling bully boys Crawley Town... The Minstermen secured a 1-0 victory courtesy of Craig Farrell’s second-half goal with the result representing revenge for the heaviest defeat of Walker’s managerial career – April’s 6-1 drubbing in last season’s corresponding fixture. Walker lamented his side’s failure to deal with Crawley’s direct and aggressive approach during that game, but was delighted by Saturday’s performance with summer signings Daniel McBreen, Mark Greaves and Artur Krysiak all helping add steel to the side. The City manager said: 'It was a fantastic team performance and the big players in our team really came to the party. We countered every physical challenge they gave us. We were the more physical and fitter team and thoroughly deserved the win. Crawley are renowned for being a big team but we were bigger than they were. Even though we have a bigger team, though, we won’t be compromising the way we play football'. Walker opted for a 4-5-1 formation with McBreen playing as the team’s lone striker and 21-year-old forward Richard Brodie playing out wide on the left".

    11 August 2008


    The charity football game to raise funds for the McGrath Foundation (the cancer charity set up by cricketer Glenn McGrath and his late wife) has been moved to 28th September at 2pm at Moss Lane. The game is between an Altrincham XI (including England & Manchester United ex-captain Bryan Robson and cricketer Darren Gough) and an All Stars XI including stars of Coronation Street, Emmerdale and Hollyoaks. Please put this date in your diary and come along to support this good cause.


    Altrincham FC have issued a press release giving the background to the choice of team captain this season:

    Graham Heathcote has marked the start of another Blue Square Premier campaign by naming Robbie Lawton as the team's new captain, ahead of today's opening fixture at Woking. After deliberating for some time over the claims of two or three candidates, Graham opted for Robbie as Darren Tinson's successor and broke the news to the players on Friday night. 'It was a difficult decision, because I had a few people in mind,' he said. 'I also had to take into account how the new emphasis on dealing with matters like dissent this season would impact on whoever was skipper. Now, referees are liable to summon the captain for a word, if someone steps out of line after already being warned. 'If that happened near the opposition area and, say, Stuart Coburn was our captain, it would hardly be ideal. He would have to run the length of the pitch to hear what the ref had to say, then leg it back a bit sharpish. Robbie contributes a lot on the pitch and has shown up well in our pre-season games. I think he'll make a good job of it'. Find out how Robbie plans to approach the role by reading his new captain's column in next Tuesday's match programme against Barrow.

    Ironically, Robbie was booked on Saturday!


    After the game on Saturday, Graham Heathcote told the NL Paper "We knew we could win it, even after their goal, especially when you have someone like Colin Little. Their goal was a really poor one to concede from our point of view because we shouldn't be conceding freekicks like that. It's a good start and three points is three points. We can make it an even better start if we can win against Barrow on Tuesday". Cards's boss Kim Grant claimed "We were playing for a win and they were playing for a draw. That will leave spaces at the back but that is how I am determined to play this season... We should have won it in the second half".

    There are some excellent photos from the game at Woking here, and also here. And YouTube has Colin Little's fine goal.

    Woking have a very fair match report which says that "Kim Grant’s first league game in charge of the Cards ended in disappointment as Altrincham took full advantage of a last minute defensive error to take all three points back to Cheshire. A much improved second-half performance seemed to have at least secured a point against a side expected to struggle again this season, only for the Cards to be hit with a sucker-punch from Colin Little right at the death".

    It adds, "For all the talk beforehand about Woking’s desire to play better football this season, it was the away side who seized the initiative, as they started the game in fine style, passing the ball around neatly and confidently. After only five minutes, their resourceful start appeared to have been rewarded, when that evergreen goal poacher, Colin Little, had ball in the Cards’ net, only for it to be disallowed for off-side... The Cards became increasingly nervous and uncoordinated as the half progressed and, with their confidence draining away, they struggled to make any real impression or put together an attack of any note. Altrincham, in contrast, had looked very comfortable and composed throughout... Looking at the next few matches, this was probably the one fixture that looked as though it might yield all three points, so to come away with nothing wasn’t the ideal start for Kim Grant and the team".

    Alty's line-ups and bookings record for 2008-09 is here


    As the new season gets under way new editions of annual publications are now appearing:
  • The Cherry Red Non-League Newsdesk 2008, by James Wright. 351 pages packed with details and league tables of more than 2,500 non-League clubs, including such names as Old Congs, Abba Athletic, Pendle Renegades and Dynamo Turbot - as well as the more familiar clubs of the Blue Square leagues. £10.95 - for details, see the NL Newsdesk website.
  • Sky Sports (formerly Rothmans) Football Yearbook 2008-2009, edited by Glenda and Jack Rollin: the "Bible of League and Conference football" is now published;cover price is £20 but some stockists currently have a £5 off deal. Contains 1056 pages. It is not immune to error; the Altrincham entry twice states that our biggest gate last season at Moss Lane was 4,154 for a Tuesday night fixture against Farsley! It was actually 1,154. Nevertheless, well worth purchasing.

    And coming soon is the 2009 edition of the Non-League Club Directory covering all Step 1 to 7 clubs in the non-League pyramid. For almost 1,200 pages, the price is £19.95. Copies will be available from the Robins' Shop; please contact Jenny Heslop or visit the club shop on matchdays to place your order.


    Steve Torpey scored one of Stalybridge Celtic's goals as they drew with AFC Telford on Saturday. Paul Ellender was in action for Alfreton against Hyde United. Karl Munroe played for Hyde United. Alty pre-season trialist Alex Morris has joined Stafford Rangers for whom he was on the bench yesterday. And fellow Moss Lane trialist, goalkeeper James Coates, has joined Vauxhall Motors.


    Above: Last Saturday saw Alty win at Woking. Here Alex Meechan, on the ground in yellow, has just opened the scoring, whilst Dale Johnson runs to the Alty supporters to the left of the goal. The ball is in the net, in front of the "G" in the advertising hoarding.

    10 August 2008


    Altrincham FC chairman Geoff Goodwin's executive team coach, used by the England and other Test-cricket teams, as well as by Alty, was damaged by bricks thrown at it as it was moved from the car park to the Kingfield ground after yesterday's win against Woking. Up to £4,000 of damage has been done.


    Above: Alty go to some of their supporters at the end of the game.

    Goals at the end of each half secured the three points for Altrincham. After having the better of the first half, Alty took the lead after 45 minutes when Dale Johnson's shot was beaten out by the Woking keeper, Worner, only for Alex Meechan to hook the rebound into the net. Meechan was one of six debutants in Alty's starting line-up and two more came on from the bench. In the second half Woking made a double switch and attacked Alty for sustained periods and levelled through Ledgister (66 mins) but in the first of the three added minutes at the end of the game Chris Lane found Colin Little in the Woking box. He expertly jinked past Tom Hutchinson before shooting the ball past Worner.

  • Match report here
  • League table
    9 August 2008


    Saturday, 9th August
  • Crawley T. 0 York City 1
  • Eastbourne B. 0 Rushden & D. 1
  • Ebbsfleet U. 2 Mansfield T. 2
  • Histon 1 Torquay U. 1
  • Kettering T. 1 Forest Green R. 1
  • Kidderminster H. 1 Lewes 1
  • Northwich V. 0 Cambridge U. 1
  • Salisbury C. 0 Burton A. 1
  • Weymouth 3 Grays A.1
  • Woking 1 ALTRINCHAM 2
  • Wrexham 5 Stevenage B. 0


    In a bumper provison for Alty fans, SAM reports that "Graham Heathcote has the luxury of a fully-fit squad to choose from as Alty kick off the new campaign at Woking. Kevin Street, Chris Denham (right) and Dale Johnson all shook off knocks and came through training unscathed on Thursday night. The Robins boss is without only Val Owen... and [he] will now undergo a scan next week... Heathcote told SAM Sport: 'We’ll see how Val is after he has had a scan. I would love him to get fit and if he does, he will be part of my plans.'...

    Woking have been a bogey team for Alty in recent years, the Robins losing five of their six games against the Cards in the past three seasons... 'We don’t have a good record there but football’s about ending those kinds of record', Graham added. 'We aren’t going with the same group of players we have done year in, year out so past results shouldn’t matter... We have to go out and play football and show the nerve to play in all situations. The first game of the season is always a nervy occasion and we have to deal with that. Any of the 18 players in the squad could go out there and start for us and we have different attributes but the lads have to go and prove themselves home and away... In the first game of the season there isn’t a side in the country that won’t be up for it and Woking will look at their record against us, as will most full-time teams, and will fancy their chances. We have to try and prove them wrong'. Heathcote has chosen a new club captain but the decision will only be announced to the players before the game tomorrow.


    SAM says that "Two days [before] the big kick off this time last year, Mark McGregor (right) was preparing for a tough campaign in League One as a professional with Port Vale... Now the centre half is preparing for a new phase in his career, as a part-timer with Blue Square Premier strugglers Alty. It would appear the 31-year-old’s career was in decline but that’s certainly not how he sees it... He told SAM Sport: 'Obviously as you get older you start to move down the leagues so it’s happened to me now and I’m looking forward to a new challenge. It’s been brilliant so far, I have played three games and had three training sessions and everyone at the club has been very welcoming. Being part-time shouldn’t cause any problems. The football side is pretty straightforward and the training doesn’t vary too much in that sense. We do possession, small matches, fitness, things like that. Once the season is going it shouldn’t be too hard to stay fit because we’ll be playing games on Tuesdays and Saturdays and then we’ll have training sessions as well. The full time clubs will have that extra time to work on tactics and formations but that’s just something we have to deal with and we’ll be as well prepared as we possibly can be. The season starts on Saturday and I can’t wait, I’ve been desperate to get playing again'.

    While playing for Alty, McGregor plans to take his FA coaching badges in order to prepare for a career on the sidelines... 'We have had a good preseason behind us and hopefully we can take that into the new campaign', he said. 'We know most of the other clubs have spent quite a bit of money putting teams together but we can only focus on ourselves and we’re confident in our ability. One of the first things Graham (Heathcote) said to me was that he’s got some better players in and is hoping we can have a better season. But only time can tell. We just want to try and get three points on the board in the first game and then we can build on that in the two home games we have next'...

    McGregor has become the subject of national news coverage since his move to Alty after he set up group on social networking website Facebook called ‘Help find Macca a football club’. Originally started as a joke, the group eventually attracted more than 150 members but the experienced defender insists it wasn’t the reason he signed for Alty. 'It was a bit of a joke with my mates back home', he laughed. 'But a couple of fans from clubs I played at joined the group and suddenly the number of members grew. I don’t think that was how Graham found me though, I don’t think football teams use Facebook when they’re recruiting. Originally, I had been on trial at Mansfield and they offered me a deal but the travelling is difficult since I’m living in Chester so when Graham approached me about coming to Altrincham I was keen to take a look. I played a trial game and they offered me a deal which I was happy to accept'”.


    SAM also has a squad review by Sports Editor, Connor Murphy:
  • Goalkeeper: This is one position where Alty haven’t had a problem for some time. Stuart Coburn is a talented and able number one in this league and one of the most underrated keepers in non-league football. Granted, there were times last season when he looked slightly more unsure than usual but injuries didn’t help in that respect... But with Andy Ralph now signed on to provide competition for Coburn it will provide the veteran with more incentive to produce his best form. Ralph has previous experience in the Conference with Northwich and was well thought of while at Vauxhall Motors, so will provide the most realistic challenge for the number one jersey in recent years.
  • Defence: Probably the weak link for Alty last season as they conceded 82 goals in 46 league games... The quality of the players available has undoubtedly improved, with former Football League players Mark McGregor and Matt Doughty coming in and Greg Young and Richard Battersby ready to start a full season with the club. Young was undoubtedly one of the Robins’ star performers in the second half of last season after joining from Halifax in January and with McGregor alongside him at the heart of the defence, Alty look to have a talented and dependable pairing. Doughty should be the solid natural left back the club have been after for some time... Lane and Battersby will compete for the right back slot... Lane is the more solid defender, while Battersby is comfortable on the ball and gets forward well down the right flank... Graham Heathcote has not ruled out the arrival of another defender at some point but a couple of injuries early in the campaign could cause serious problems.
  • Midfield: Alty appear to have a good mix of graft and craft in midfield... Now they are flush with options on the wing, having signed Lee Elam (left), Alex Meechan and Chris Denham. That trio will provide pace, invention and the ability to beat players and provide service into the box, while Warren Peyton and Robbie Lawton will supply a more sturdy presence when required... In the centre, the options aren’t quite as varied. Kevin Street has looked the part in preseason, a solid distributor who won’t shirk and challenge and reads the game extremely well, while Lawton is an energetic, hardworking midfield leader... It remains to be seen whether Anthony Danylyk can cut it at this level after the 25-year-old made a two-division jump to join Alty...
  • Up front: After a preseason in which they scored 18 goals in seven games, Alty will be confident they have sufficient firepower to keep them up. The jewel in their crown is Colin Little... As well as having an eye for goal, Little is skilful and possesses outstanding vision, allowing him to link up well with his fellow strikers...The arrival of Dale Johnson seems to have finally solved the [target-man] problem. The 23-year-old former Hyde striker seems to be the real deal. His form and body shape when holding the ball up is impeccable, he is neat and tidy on the ball and also has enough pace and ability to beat players one-on-one. Now all he needs to show is a finishing touch... Senior has been in outstanding form in preseason and quickly built a rapport with Johnson. Throw Denham and Joe O’Neill into the mix and again, Alty seem to have enough variety and ability to unlock any defence...

  • Overall: It is easy to get carried away after an impressive preseason but this Alty team really does seem better equipped to compete in the Blue Square Premier than any other in recent memory... At times last season the Robins appeared over-cautious, while Heathcote is rightly wary about going gung-ho, especially after watching Droylsden fail last year. Prediction: 18th".


    The BBC claims that "Woking have no injury concerns ahead with Giuseppe Sole returning from a hamstring problem. Colin Miles, Paolo Vernazza, Manny Williams, Joel Ledgister, Patrice Mondon-Konan, Abdou El Kholti and Adekunle Salau could all make debuts. Altrincham boss Graham Heathcote also has a fully-fit squad to choose from".


    From NL Daily we read that "Ahead of the new season`a kick-off on Saturday, Forest Green Rovers have announced that, following notification of international clearance from Principality Welsh Premier side Carmarthen Town for defender Chris Thomas, the 25-year-old Wales international has signed contract terms with the club. It is also announced that John Hardiker has been officially named as club captain for the season... One downside for the start of the season is that experienced defender Lee Molyneaux will miss the first two matches due to having to sit out a suspension imposed by the Football Association at the end of last season with his previous club. This was discovered when tried and tested administration procedures at the club alerted them to a possible suspension still being in force from the Southern League".

    Despite being one of the favourites now for the drop into the BSP, from Bournemouth "Striker Jo Kuffour says the squad are looking to react in exactly the same manner as last season as Cherries respond to a seventeen point deduction to start life in League Two. Galvanised last season and just one goal from a great escape, Kuffour says the same fighting spirit will help the club claw points back and climb the table".

    York City have lost one of their best players as Scunthorpe United report that "The Iron have completed the signing of York City midfielder Martyn Woolford for an undisclosed fee. The 22-year-old left-winger was one of the Minstermen's star assets and pens a three-year deal to sign for Scunthorpe. The former Frickley Athletic player scored 17 goals in all competitions for York last season, winning the Player of the Year award. He has also played as a forward during his spell at Kit Kat Crescent and represents a significant coup for manager Nigel Adkins".

    But "York City have signed 18-year-old goalkeeper Artur Krysiak from Coca-Cola Championship side Birmingham City on a one-month loan to cover for the injured Michael Ingham. Manager Colin Walker said: 'Michael Ingham will not be fit for Crawley Town. I've managed to bring Artur on loan today for a month... Krysiak's arrival means City's number two goal keeper Josh Mimms will miss out on a place in the starting line up for the opening game of the season. Walker said: 'I didn't enjoy telling Josh this morning. But I told him two weeks ago that I'd have a little look at him and see how it was. It's a difficult one, Crawley away, because Josh let six in there. It was my call. I just had to make a decision. That's what I get paid for. Whether it`s the right decision or the wrong decision only time will tell, but Josh has accepted it very well. He's obviously disappointed - which I like - but he's got to be big enough to accept his chance when it comes again'", reports NL Daily

    "Grays Athletic have signed experienced Dutchman Fabian Wilnis. The defender, who is 38 later this month, ended a nine-year association with Ipswich Town at the end of last season... having arrived from De Graafschap in 1999. He has also played for NAC Breda... He has joined Grays on a one-year contract, taking him up to the end of this season. Grays manager/chairman Mike Woodward said he was is very pleased with the signing, adding: 'With our aspirations of gaining promotion to the Football League this coming season Fabian's experience will be extremely valuable during the long campaign'" reports tha Thurrock Gazette

    The Northwich Guardian says that "Darryn Stamp will lead Vics’ attack against Cambridge after signing a one-year deal on Thursday. The former Halifax front man finally agreed terms with the Wincham club, much to the delight of manager Dino Maamria. 'I’ve got my man', he said... Stamp starred alongside Lee Steele in last night’s 3-2 friendly reverse against Manchester United Reserves, a partnership that Maamria hopes will continue to flourish after a month spent playing together last term... 'He made a huge difference last season', added Maamria... 'But I’m not just looking for Stampy to get goals, the way he holds the ball up and brings other players into the game is a huge asset to our attacking play'... The Vics' boss said he hoped to announce further good news when he finalises a deal with midfielder Michael Byrne"...

    Meanwhile "Vics' rebel Cortez Belle has found a new club. The towering stopper is set to sign for Step Three outfit Chippenham Town after spending the summer there. 'We’ve agreed a fee', Dino Maamria told the Guardian today, Friday. 'It’s undisclosed so I can’t tell you how much it’s worth but I will say it’s a good deal for the football club if everything goes through'. The 24-year-old played a starring role in Vics’ successful survival bid at the end of last term but, after failing to agree a new deal in the summer, did not report back for pre-season training at the beginning of July... [Chippenham boss, Adie] Mings is wary of the wages Belle... could expect. He said: 'It could be a problem, but hopefully it will not be'".

    According to Kent Online "Gillingham boss Mark Stimson added two players to his squad on the eve of the season. First, winger Tyrone Berry arrived on a one-month contract - and then Tottenham youngster Leigh Mills joined, initially on a one-month loan deal. Berry, 21, spent time at Stimson's former club Stevenage Borough last season - and has also had a spell with Rushden and Diamonds".

    The Salisbury Journal tells us that "Salisbury City have signed former Newport County striker Charlie Griffin on a non-contract basis... The well-travelled Bath-born player has previously been on the books of Swindon Town, Yeovil Town, Woking, Havant & Waterlooville, Chippenham Town, Forest Green Rovers and Wycombe Wanderers".

    8 August 2008


    Friday, 8th August
  • Barrow 3 Oxford U.0 Oxford played for 50 minutes with ten men but were poor throughout as Barrow gained a deserved win.


    The places for relegation into the BS Premier for 2009-10 look likely to include two out of the three clubs who have now received substantial points deductions. Following the 30 point deduction for Luton Town and the 17 point deduction for Rotherham United, the BBC confirms that "Bournemouth will have to accept a 17 point deduction in order to play in League Two next season. The Football League ruled that as the club has been unable to agree a Company Voluntary Arrangement they have not met their terms for exiting administration. Bournemouth, who have had a previous spell in administration, must accept the penalty by noon on Friday. And the League offer is also conditional on the club signing a waiver removing any right to appeal".


    Alty striker Colin Little appeared on Channel M, the local Manchester TV channel, on Thursday morning. He has been named the Manchester Evening News Sport/Channel M "Unsung Hero of 2008" award. This came as a result of his goalscoring exploits for Alty last season. He told the MEN, "I'm thrilled and honoured to have been chosen for this award and I'll be doing my best to keep rattling in the goals in the season ahead. It gets harder as you get older but we've signed some exciting players during the summer and optimism is running high. The likes of Chris Denham and Dale Johnson have really looked the part in our pre-season games and this is certainly the best squad Altrincham have had since I've been at the club. With lads like them around, I genuinely think I've got a chance of scoring at least as many as I did last season... We all know how hard it is for a part-time club like ourselves to compete in what is essentially a full-time division but there's a real buzz about the place at the moment and, hopefully, we can punch above our weight".

    Colin's award arose after he was nominated by Altrincham supporter Mike McDonnell (21) who has followed the Robins for four years. His nomination said that Colin's "neat control, quick thinking and deadly finishing caused havoc in opposing defences...for him to have finished third in the BSP scoring chart is a credit to a quality striker and dedicated professional. Keep it up, Col!".


    News of our opponents on Saturday comes from the Woking Evening News & Mail. "Skipper Tom Hutchinson is staying at Woking after the club this week fended off a bid from Cambridge United. It was understood that the Cards' Blue Square Premier rivals had a £20,000 offer accepted and it was up to the centre-half – who still has a year to run on his Kingfield contract – whether he stayed or left. Head coach Kim Grant had been defensive on the matter while director of football Colin Lippiatt denied any interest from the U’s... But chairman David Taylor confirmed on Monday: 'We have declined an offer from Cambridge – there is no way we are selling Tom... It was not £20,000. If someone offers us half-a-million pounds we would be mad not to think about it... I don’t want to barter with Cambridge through the papers – all our attention is on the Altrincham game'.

    Meanwhile, another incident deflected the focus away from football... Taylor insisted that confusion and misunderstandings had led to revelations leaking out that kit men Ron Rawlings and Malcolm Joblin had been sacked. It was believed that the pair – who have been loyal and popular Cards servants for many years – had been ordered out by head coach Kim Grant who allegedly blew his top because two players had been allowed in the kit room, against club policy. 'It’s not true that they were sacked', Taylor insisted. 'Kim thought Ron had resigned and Ron that he had been sacked. Kim, Phil (Gilchrist), Malcolm and Ron have had a long meeting in which all the issues raised have been sorted and they’ve made up'.

    Taylor said it was 'unfortunate' that the incident had been witnessed by supporters but went on: 'In every organisation I have ever known you get people with different points of view and what I encourage is for people to have it out in front of each other. An expression I use is you stab people in the stomach, not the back. We need open and honest conversation, but what happened was that it drifted out to the fans'.

    In a show of support for Rawlings and Joblin, Taylor revealed: 'Ron and Malcolm will be the kit men here when we are promoted to the Football League'. Determined Taylor, who has had a turbulent six months since taking over the chair from owner Chris Ingram, also scoffed at newspaper predictions for his club. 'I have read both the non-league papers who predict that we will be in relegation trouble – bring it on. Just you wait, I’m so excited. Of course, I don’t want to lose heavily to the likes of Brentford but these are just friendlies. We have a three-year plan and deliver we will'”.


    The 2008-09 pricelist of the Altrincham FC "Robins' Shop" is now available here. The shop is open on matchdays and orders can be phoned to the club on 928-1045. You can also visit the Ebay shop, to which there is a banner link above. Pictured left and right are the home and away kit for this season.


    SAM reminds us that "On Sunday, an Alty XI will take on East Levenshulme in a charity game, kicking off at 1pm. The game will raise money for both Francis House and Christie’s and will be the focal point of a family fun day, which starts at 11am. Alty’s team will include vice chairman Grahame Rowley, physio Alan Ainsley and sponsor Neil Faulkner, who has backed the event, while there may also be a cameo from manager Graham Heathcote, rolling back the years in midfield. The team could also contain a few familiar faces from the past. It all takes place at Slade Lane, Levenshulme".


    The BBC tells us that "Barrow AFC have completed the signing of former Manchester City and Darlington winger Carlos Logan. The 22-year-old has signed a one-year deal after impressing in the 2-1 friendly win over Accrington Stanley. Barrow beat off interest from two Football League clubs to sign the Manchester-based player who becomes the club's fifth summer signing. 'If he gets his head right, he can go on and play at a higher level', manager Dave Bayliss told BBC Radio Cumbria. Logan joins Lee Hunt, Ashley Winn, Mike Pearson and Aaron Taylor as new arrivals at Holker Street ahead of the new Blue Square Premier season". Barrow's first away game (August 12th) will bring Logan back to Moss Lane where he had a spell last season.

    Barrow co-manager Dave Bayliss said "'He's a young kid who's got a second chance with us and hopefully he can kick-start his career with Barrow. He's at a great age and like six or seven of the other lads in this squad he can go on and have good Football League careers'. Bayliss has indicated that there is unlikely to be any further additions in the coming weeks. 'I've had about ten phone calls off different players already today', he said. 'We'd love to have a squad of 24 players but our budget doesn't allow us to do that. If we bring two players in, it will mean two players going out'".

    The Bluebirds open their new campaign at home to Oxford United on Friday night and Bayliss believes the pressure will be off his team 'We are part-time so no-one expects anything from us' he said. Bayliss also believes the fact that many people have tipped his side to be fighting a relegation battle this season will work in their favour. 'Our players have all got ears to hear what's been said and eyes to read what's in the newspapers', he said. 'These lads don't need any extra motivation. They are fighters and when they hear or read people saying they are no good, it's going to spur them on. A lot of these 'big-time Charlie' teams who come down here to expect to roll us over are not going to get it easy at our place'".

    Meanwhile "Cambridge United have added their fourth new player in a week with 22-year-old Dutchman Felino Jardim signing on a one-year contract. His arrival follows that of defender Phil Bolland, midfielder Jon Challinor and striker Chris Jones. Jardim was released by top-flight Dutch side Sparta Rotterdam at the end of last season".

    According to Blue Square Football "Kidderminster Harriers have signed former Stockport defender Michael Bowler while West Bromwich Albion left-back Lee Baker has joined the club on a one-month loan deal. 20-year-old Bowler penned a one-year deal on Thursday after spending the whole of pre-season at Aggborough... Michael ended the campaign with Northwich Victoria... Baker, 19, will spend the next month at Aggborough... The deal, should all parties agree, can be extended at the end of August. The Redditch-born youngster joined the Baggies as a nine year-old, and has progressed through the ranks at the Hawthorns on the way to gaining a first professional contract... Barely a week later, disaster struck for Baker as he damaged the anterior cruciate ligament in his right leg in a training ground injury".

    "Torquay United are set to play a risky game between the sticks with the news that second choice goalkeeper Martin Rice is going further west. Torquay United manager Paul Buckle is set to take an almighty gamble with his second choice goalkeeper Martin Rice - by allowing him to play first team football elsewhere. The shock news will see Rice depart to Truro City - a side United beat 0-1 in a pre-season friendly at the weekend, their last before the season starts against Histon - on a season long loan deal. Torquay United have insisted the move will include a 24 hour recall clause and will not permit Truro City to play United's keeper in any of their FA Cup or FA Trophy matches this season. The philosophy behind the undoubted gamble is for Rice to be kept sharp should he be required for first team duties. New signing Lee Hodges will reportedly play emergency goalkeeper for first choice Michael Poke - a role he has completed once before for Plymouth Argyle versus Scunthorpe last term".

    The Cambridge News says that "Gareth Baldwin has underlined Histon's ambitions... by identifying the play-offs as the target for Steve Fallon's side. The Stutes' chairman has been one of the main driving forces behind the village club's rapid rise to the top of the non-League hierarchy, along with Fallon and, more recently, first-team coach John Beck... The Histon supremo said: 'The focus of what we want to achieve is to make the play-offs, because that is the next logical step... Pride often goes before a fall, so I don't like looking back at what we have achieved, I prefer to look forward to where we want the club to be in the next three to five years, and that is in the Football League... There is a reality that we're an established Conference team now, but the league has got harder and I think the games will be tougher this time around because we're not such a mystery... We aspire to make the play-offs, but if we don't make it this season it won't kill us, we will just try again the season afterwards'".

    "Grays Athletic FC’s hopes of a dream move to Blackshots appear to have hit a setback after Wednesday evening’s decision-making Thurrock Council cabinet" claims the Thurrock Gazette. "Asked to give support for a ‘sports hub’ at the North Grays site which has been earmarked as a new home for the football club, council officers appeared to backtrack from hopes of a speedy resolution. Planning chief Bill Newman was unable to give Council leader Terry Hipsey a timescale for completion of prospects for the site – and other councillors expressed the opinion that it wasn’t the right place for the development. Grays are due to quit their current home in Bridge Road, Grays, at the end of the current season... Cabinet member Ben Maney also had reservations, saying: 'I would really take some convincing that Blackshots could accommodate Gray Athletic FC. This is a bit of a pipe dream to be honest and I do hope, that when we come back to this site and are looking for funding, we do not have to surrender our green belt for housing'".

    In response Grays Athletic chairman Mike Woodward says that "It has been suggested that a new ground for Grays Athletic FC is a non event. For the record, this is the view of one or two Councillors... These are individuals who are obviously against change and more importantly against improving the sports/recreation facilities for YOU the residence [residents] of Thurrock. I would like to state that the majority of Council Members have indicated support for this relocation and from my contact with Councillor Newman (Head of Planning) the go ahead has been given for a feasibility study and a programme of work to make the new stadium a reality. Grays Athletic FC has become the envy of many and has brought much needed revenue to the businesses of Thurrock as well as recognition to the area for its success on the field"

    The Northants Evening Telegraph claims that "Garry Hill wants to sign another striker after Rushden & Diamonds sold Jon Challinor for £15,000. The midfielder moved to rivals Cambridge United yesterday, giving Hill more money to spend in his search for a forward following the horrific injury to Daryl Clare who is ruled out for eight weeks. The Diamonds boss revealed: 'I've already made inquiries to Football League clubs over buying a striker or signing one in a loan deal'... Hill explained: "I had a chat with him [Challinor] and then we had an inquiry from Cambridge. 'They made an offer and I looked at £15,000 as very good business. We've got Rob Wolleaston, Andy Burgess, Curtis Woodhouse, Scott Mitchell, Michael Corcoran and Jake Beecroft who can play in central midfield... I don't think Jon really wanted to go. To be honest it was me pushing it through because I feel we've got other options in midfield, out wide and up front. I'm wheeling and dealing to balance the books'".

    "David Galbraith has suffered a punctured lung and a broken rib just days before the start of Kettering Town's Blue Square Premier campaign. The left-sided player suffered the serious injuries during the first half of the Poppies' final pre-season outing at Rothwell Town on Tuesday night" confirms the Northants Evening Telegraph. 2It means he will miss the first two months of the season...Manager Mark Cooper said: 'He was really in the shake-up for Forest Green on Saturday but he has had some wretched luck with injuries. I am gutted for him and it is a huge blow for us because naturally left-sided players are in short supply at the moment... One of the biggest problems is that it leaves us short on the left side. We have got Owain Warlow in on loan and he will have a big role to play'. Cooper, meanwhile, has allowed youngsters Ashley Lawrence and Ryan Collis to join Atherstone Town on loan. The two players came through the under-18 ranks last season".

    Meanwhile "Exodus Geohaghon has completed a permanent move to Kettering Town. The giant defender had initially joined the Poppies on a one-month loan deal from Redditch United. But that has now been made permanent after the two clubs agreed an undisclosed fee. Poppies boss Mark Cooper said: 'The one word to describe Exodus is potential. He's very raw but he has a big physique and he's very quick. He can be a dominant player and adds something different to our defence... He also has a huge throw-in that will cause any team a problem'".

    This is Nottingham says that "Mansfield have secured their second signing is as many days after goalkeeper Paddy Gamble agreed to join from Forest on a half-season loan. With Jason White out with a knee injury, finding another shot stopper has been a top priority for manager Billy McEwan. Gamble - who spent much of last season on loan at Stalybridge Celtic - has featured for the Stags in several pre-season games. The 19-year-old missed out through illness in the Stags' 3-0 defeat at Boston last Saturday. But with emergency replacement Jamie Annerson from Sheffield United unavailable for loan, McEwan is thrilled to have secured the services of Gamble. The player will stay until Christmas initially but the deal could later be extended if both clubs wish". Said McEwan. 'I had him at my previous club (York) when he was younger. He is a big boy and will give us presence'... French left-back Alex Jeanin joined the Stags yesterday after being released by Oxford last season".

    The Northwich Guardian says that "Dino Maamria has handed himself and first team coach Mike Marsh a shirt for next season. The Vics boss will wear 18 like last term, while 39-year-old Marsh takes 28. Top scorer Lee Steele swaps 23 for nine... The full list, which does not yet include transfer targets Darryn Stamp or Michael Byrne, is as follows: 1 Scott Tynan; 2 Richie Sutton; 3 Ryan Brown; 4 Michael Welch; 5 Mark Roberts; 6 Matthew Crowell; 7 Jamie Mullan; 8 Joel Byrom; 9 Lee Steele; 10 Jonny Allan; 11 Paul Barratt; 12 Michael Jones; 13 Chris Flynn; 15 Mat Bailey; 18 Dino Maamria; 20 Aaron Burns; 23 Danny Williams; 28 Mike Marsh". Williams had a trial with Alty this summer.

    The Press reports that "York City’s unlucky summer signing Steven Hogg is set to miss the start of the season with shingles. The 22-year-old midfielder has contracted the virus ahead of Saturday’s curtain-raiser at Crawley Town... Hogg also missed City’s friendly matches with Barnsley and Middlesbrough due to a thigh injury... The former Manchester United trainee’s progress at previous clubs Gretna and Shrewsbury was dogged by a series of niggles and strains after growth spurts saw him develop a 6ft 3ins frame... Goalkeeper Michael Ingham, meanwhile, is still being monitored to see whether the thigh injury that caused him to miss the pre-season matches against Hartlepool and Sheffield,..will recover in time for Crawley."

    Mansfield Town says that "The Football Conference requests all Clubs to observe one minute's silence prior to Friday/Saturday's matches in memory of Ernie Cooksey, formerly a registered player of Grays Athletic Football Club".

    The Dripping Pan is one of Alty's new venues for 2008-09 and Lewes advise that "We would like to advise [away] supporters that the entrance to the away turnstile is in Ham Lane, approx 200m down Mountfield Road, with parking opposite in the Sussex Downs Car Park. Supporters' coaches to park in the college or in Mountfield Road next to ground, (parking ticket required)". And the Rooks' neighbours Eastbourne United have announced their entrance prices which are Adults £12.50, Concessions £8, Children £4".

    "Dean Pooley and Kezie Ibe have come through pre season trials to secure deals with Ebbsfleet United. Liam Daish has signed both players to complete his squad for the start of the new season. Twenty-one-year-old Pooley, born in Sidcup, began his career with Millwall before spending a period this year in the League of Ireland with Bohemians. Essentially a defender, 6' 1" Pooley scored two goals during the Fleet's West Country tour... Ibe, who also had a trial at Brentford this summer... was part of Chelmsford's Ryman Premier League-winning side last season and has also played for Yeovil, Exeter, Staines and Aylesbury. Both players have signed one-year contracts".

    7 August 2008


    Right: Joe O'Neill in action at Kingfield last season, where Alty lost 2-0.

    Woking write on their website "Hosting Altrincham at home on the opening day is perhaps a bit of a mixed blessing. For once we’re expected to win! But the Robins won’t be a pushover, whilst Cards fans still don’t know quite what to expect from their side after some very mixed performances in the pre-season friendlies. Looks like interesting times at the very least!

    The Cards have been boosted by the signing on Wednesday of Paolo Vernazza and Colin Miles, both of whom impressed in pre-season games but were already known quantities to Kim Grant, especially Miles, who was a team mate at Yeovil during their Conference-winning season... There is still a feeling that we’re lacking a consistent goalscorer up front and a physical presence... The other new signings look promising too. Patrice Konan is a real right back at last, mobile and loves getting forward when given the ‘go ahead’. Kunle – officially now Adekunle Salau, apparently... is still at the promising stage in midfield. But he’s making an enormous step-up from Peckham Town FC... Manny Williams looks really promising up front : an ideal quick, small front man with an eye for goal. Abdou El Kholti has a superb left-foot and can beat his man and get in excellent crosses. We probably haven’t seen the real Joel Ledgister yet. He is undoubtedly quick... but his crossing is variable. Delano Sam-Yorke is still very raw but runs powerfully... Add in a determined-looking Liam Marum, the ability of Matt Pattison to glide past players and the attacking instincts of Danny Bunce – not to mention the mercurial Gez Sole – and there is great capacity in this side to play some exciting football and to entertain. Let’s hope that Alty don’t stifle the life out of us!...

    We have an excellent record against Altrincham, having won five of our six encounters at this level [i.e. only those games since Alty were last promoted back to the Conference in 2005]. The exception was our televised game up there last year when... we were pegged back to a 2-2 draw".


    The two League Two clubs likely to drop into the BSP in 2009 could almost be determined before the 08-09 season kicks off as, on top of the 30 point deduction for Luton Town, Rotherham United have now been given a 17-point cut whilst AFC Bournemouth still wait to know what their punishment will be.

    The Bournemouth site reproduces a Football League Statement concerning "applications for membership of The League relating to Rotherham United and AFC Bournemouth. The Board also considered Rotherham United's request to play its matches at Don Valley Stadium, Sheffield... The Board considered an application from a company - Rotherham United (New Co.) - which has applied to join League 2 in place of the existing club, which is currently in administration. Rotherham United (Old Co.) has been unable to agree a Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA) with its creditors and as a consequence is unable to satisfy the normal conditions of The League's insolvency policy for exiting administration. The Board decided, however, that it was prepared to exercise its absolute discretion under the 'exceptional circumstances' provisions of its insolvency policy. Therefore, in accordance with recent precedent, the Board has made the following offer to Rotherham United (New Co.). Acceptance of the Board's offer is a pre-requisite to the exercise of that discretion:

  • 1. The club will be deducted 17 points for the 2008/09 season. This takes into account the fact that this is the club's second insolvency event in recent seasons.
  • 2. The club must provide a legal waiver indicating that it will not challenge or appeal this decision.
  • 3. The club must undertake to return to Rotherham within four years and provide an irrevocable bond of £750,000. This will be forfeited if the club fails to return within that timeframe, as will the club's membership of The Football League.
  • 4. The club must pay unsecured creditors the amount offered at the time of the CVA hearing.

    The Board's offer is subject to the club agreeing these conditions, and formal agreements being signed, by 12.00 noon on Friday.

    The Board also considered an application under the 'exceptional circumstances' provisions of its insolvency policy relating to AFC Bournemouth. However, the Board is not yet satisfied with the viability of the new company's proposals and consequently it has been asked to reflect further on its position. The Board will meet tomorrow to consider the matter again"


    The "Friends of Altrincham FC scheme is an important fundraiser for the Club; please do consider joining by following the link. The latest Friends' monthly draw for a £100 first prize produced the following winners: 1. John Browne no.21 2. Campbell McLay no.27 3. Peter and Judy Foster no.11


    Alty Youth team's league season will now start a week later than planned on 31st August.


    Our opponents on Saturday, Woking report that "Colin Lippiatt has this afternoon confirmed that both Matt Ruby and Matt Gray have left the club by mutual consent... and that defender Colin Miles has signed a one year contract... The 30 year old was previously with Yeovil. Colin will become Team Captain with Tom Hutchinson today named Club Captain. Colin Lippiatt has also confirmed the signing today of midfielder Paulo Vernazza on a one year contract. Paulo, aged 29, was formerly with Weymouth, Dagenham & Redbridge along with Watford".


    Altrincham FC joint press officer John Edwards writes:

    Colin Little (right) will have had to set his alarm clock a little earlier than usual today (Thusday) after receiving well-deserved recognition for his outstanding goalscoring record last season. Colin was a constant thorn in the side of even the most accomplished Blue Square Conference teams and was widely acknowledged by opposing defenders as one of the most dangerous strikers around. The acclaim wasn't confined to his peers, either, judging by an award that will be confirmed tomorrow morning. The veteran Alty frontrunner has won the prestigious Channel M-Manchester Evening News unsung hero of the season accolade after being nominated by one of his many admirers.

    Colin and the unnamed fan are both due at Channel M's city centre studios on Thursday (7th) morning to discuss an enduring goalscoring knack which, given the circumstances of last season's narrow escape from relegation, proved more than enough to win him the judges' approval. They were due on air at 7am on Channel M (Sky channel 203), according to the competition organisers.


    SAM confirms that "Alty supporters trust STAR has been mothballed by its members... STAR will now be replaced by a supporters' association, which fans believe will be more beneficial to the club... An open meeting will now be held in mid-September when the new supporters' association will be established. Acting STAR chairman Brian Flynn explained the decision. He said: 'When we set up the supporters’ trust it was the right thing to do because the club was in a bad state and could’ve gone out of business. But now the club is in a stronnger state financially and in terms of the people running it, so there is less need for a trust. Also, while the principles of a supporters’ trust are still good, trying to get supporters involved in the actual processes has become difficult and time consuming for a small group of people. It became increasingly difficult to get things done because of the process and bureaucracy involved in running a trust. We believe this move will allow us to better help the club'"


    "After years spent terrorising Alty defences, Lee Elam will finally use his considerable talents for the good of the club" writes SAM's Connor Murphy. "The 31-year-old winger completed a move to Moss Lane two weeks ago... Elam fielded offers from a host of other Blue Square Premier clubs throughout the summer and only joined Alty as the result of a chance phone call. Forest Green, Mansfield and Cambridge United were all among Elam’s admirers and he also turned down an offer from York City before putting in a call to Robins boss Graham Heathcote. 'A lot’s changed for me this summer', Elam told SAM Sport. 'I had offers from a lot of clubs down south but I made a late decision to move back up north. I looked at York but they already had their squad and the offer they made wasn’t quite right. So I got Graham’s number from someone, I gave him a ring and it all moved on from there. Going part-time was the major factor for me. It means I can keep on playing and enjoying my football but follow up my interest in coaching'.

    After moving back to part-time football - something he is used to after the time he spent at Southport between 1998 and 2002 - Elam is set to work with a friend at his football coaching school in Bradford. The Yorkshireman will also spend his spare time putting in work to maintain his fitness levels to make up for the lack of daily training sessions. He said: 'The set-up at Alty is good and I don’t think I’ll have a problem moving to part-time football. I’ve already done it in the past at Southport. I’m pretty fit anyway and if I just continue to look after myself I’ll be fine. I’m not quite match fit yet because I’ve had a pretty disrupted pre-season. I did a coaching course in July then moved back up north so I had a lot to think about. I only played two games with York so now it’s just about getting matches under my belt and getting back to the level I should be at... I’ll just do my usual things, play my normal game and hope to make an impact for the club. It’s a different feeling starting out as relegation favourites but it’s not too bad, it means there’s a lot less pressure. Everyone is expecting us not to do so well, so it’s up to us to go out there and prove them wrong'".


    Indeed, SAM is doing Alty proud as "sports editor Connor Murphy will perform a countdown to Saturday's game against Woking with a new article everyday this week". He starts off with Graham Heathcote reviewing the win over a Blackburn Rovers XI last Saturday. It was the Robins' sixth win in seven games this summer and, more importantly, one of their more impressive all-round performances". Graham said, 'I thought it was one of the best run-outs we had all preseason, against decent opposition. There had been nothing disastrous about our defending in the previous games, we just needed to tighten up a little more. Defence isn't just about the back four, it's about the entire team and we were just getting a little bit carried away at times, going forward from the wrong positions at the wrong times. But I was pleased with the way we performed against Blackburn, we defended well and kept possession well. Everybody has done well in preseason. they have all come in, trained hard and done everything I could have wished them to... The real test comes on Saturday when we start the season at Woking'"

    Graham added "We've still not decided on a new captain but there are a few candidates for the role. It's a role that will change a lot this season and we'll make a decision before Saturday's game against Woking". As Connor explains "This season Blue Square Premier captains will be expected to perform an on-pitch role not dissimilar from their rugby counterparts. They will be expected to keep up a continuous dialogue with the referee throughout the game and act as a representative for his teammates in all discussions with the man in the middle. Captains will also be responsible for the behaviour of their teammates - a move designed to try and eradicate dissent on the pitch. Heathcote added: 'It's interesting because I went to a meeting this week where they told managers that the captain's role is going to be much more important this season... Originally Stuart Coburn (right, pictured by Gavin Rathbone) was in my thoughts but we were told that wasn't an ideal situation if the player needed to be talking to the referee all the time. A lot of the time you want your captain to play from the heart and show aggression and leadership and while you still want that, you have to make sure they can remain controlled and composed throughout".


    Any Barrow fans heading for Altrincham next week from the north are advised to avoid the A56 between Sale and Altrincham. There are extensive roadworks on the already busy trunk road. You are best advised to get to Altrincham via the M60 and M56. A map is here.


    "Blue Square North new boys Fleetwood Town have announced that both Colin Potts and Ashley Dunn have signed contracts... Potts joined Town on a non-contract basis in March last season. Altrincham released Potts, who plays wide, in December 2007. Chairman Andy Pilley was pleased with the news: 'Colin is a very experienced, quality wide man who will no doubt create numerous goals over the course of the season. He can look after himself as well as being a skilful winger. These aren’t attributes always found in a wide player', he told the Fleetwood Town website.

    The Halifax Courier says that "Manchester-born striker Ashley Stott, [a former Alty reserve] has become FC Halifax Town boss Jim Vince's latest capture. The former Preston North End trainee, who bagged 30 goals for Welsh Premier League side Bangor City last term, jumped at the chance to return to England".


    Alty's second away game this season on August 23rd is at Aggborough, where the Kidderminster Shuttle reports that "Barry Norgrove believes Kidderminster Harriers face a challenging season off the pitch as the effects of the credit crunch continue to bite. The Aggborough chairman says a dip in season ticket sales is an indication that the club will have to ride the troubled waters being caused by the country’s difficult economic climate. He said: 'We try to work within our means. But the problem we have got is that season ticket sales are down, the state of the country at the moment and the credit crunch. It means it is going to be a difficult season for us. We know that, but we are trying to do as much as we possibly can for Kidderminster Harriers. I know there are other clubs spending loads of money on players. We haven’t got that sort of money, but hopefully we’ll have a reasonable side out there. You never know with youngsters. They can come through and there might be some good lads there who will star for us and push us up the table. With rising fuel costs our bills at the football club have gone up and wages have gone up, but we haven’t put our prices up so it’s difficult to make ends meet'".

    NL Daily says that "Rushden & Diamonds have sold midfielder Jon Challinor to rivals Cambridge United for £15,000. Challinor had one more year left on his contract... Twenty-seven-year old Challinor played forty-five league games for the club in the 2007/08 season, in a total of sixty-two matches, scoring eleven goals, after joining the Diamonds from Exeter City prior to the start of that season... Club secretary Matt Wild commented: 'Cambridge approached us with the offer to acquire to the services of the player on Monday and given the amount of time left on Jon’s contract at Nene Park coupled with the deal that Jon has been offered with Cambridge, the club have allowed Jon to move on'”.

    The Conference Forum says that "The Conference have issued a directive saying that all companies who wish to film a club's matches have to sign a copyright waiver giving said copyright directly to the club and not to the individual or company".

    Sutton United... will swoop to bring in former AFC Bournemouth and Weymouth favourite Chukki Eribenne this week" reports NL Daily

    Meanwhile, "Kettering Town have re-signed midfielder Andre Boucaud. 23 year-old Boucaud played for the Poppies under Morell Maison in the 2006/07 season before joining Wycombe Wanderers last season. Boucard joins defender Exodus Geohaghon, who has arrived on an initial one-month deal from Redditch United, and midfielders Alfie Potter – on loan from Peterborough – and Owain Warlow, also on loan from Lincoln City".

    "Anthony Robinson has dropped a bombshell on Worcester City by walking out - just days after signing. The 28-year-old striker agreed to become manager Richard Dryden’s seventh summer recruit last week but now looks set to join Mansfield Town. Robinson had only agreed non-contract terms at St George’s Lane and was named on the bench for the Stags’ 3-1 friendly defeat against Sheffield United last Monday, a match Dryden went to watch. The City boss, who has been unable to contact the former Kidderminster Harriers and Kettering Town player, is now looking for a replacement striker. 'I have been a little bit let down', Dryden said. 'I went to watch Mansfield versus Sheffield United and he was on the bench'" he told the Worcester News

    Also linked with Mansfield is Alex Jeannin. Oxford United confirm that "Jeannin has left the U's by mutual consent. The French left back has had his contract cancelled... The thirty year old joined the U's on a two year deal last summer from Hereford but spent the second half of last season at Kidderminster on loan. In total he made 29 starts for United scoring two goals". However, "United have strenghtened their squad ahead of the new season with two new faces. Striker Michael Husbands and winger Levi Reid have both impressed on trial in pre-season and have signed on an extended trial basis. Husbands was very highly rated as a youngster at Aston Villa and has had spells at Hereford, Southend, Bristol Rovers, Walsall, Port Vale and Macclesfield scoring five times in 15 starts at those clubs. Reid, 24, started his career at Port Vale before dropping down to Stafford where his pace and skills earned a move back into the Football League with Macclesfield, where he scored twice in 28 starts. Both players go straight into the United squad for the season opener at Barrow on Friday evening".

    Swansea City's "striker Chris Jones has joined Cambridge United on a half-season loan. The 18-year-old, who has made nine first-team appearances since making his debut in October 2006, will stay at The Trade Recruitment Stadium until January 2, 2009. Chris has just returned from international duty with Wales Under-19s".

    "Darren Quinton has signed a contract to the end of the season after a successful pre-season campaign that saw the 22-year-old return from the cruciate ligament injury that ruled him out from October 2007" at Cambridge United. Manager Gary Brabin told, "I didn't think it was fair to keep Quints on a month-to-month deal. He's worked really hard and shown enough quality and determination that I think he deserves to relax in the knowledge he has a contract for this season". Meanwhile copnfirmation comes that "Cambridge United have completed the £15,000 signing of Jon Challinor from Rushden & Diamonds. The goalscoring midfielder passed a medical this morning and has signed a two-year contract with the U's. 27-year-old Challinor is a versatile player who is effective in midfield, in the 'hole' behind the strikers, or up front, where he played for part of last season at Rushden... Manager Gary Brabin was delighted to secure his signature today: 'I've said I want to bring quality in and Jon is a player I've watched over the last few years', he confirmed. 'He's a goalscorer and I mainly want to play him in midfield, although I know he can play up front as well. He's got a little bit of everything', he added. 'He can play good football, which I want us to do as a team, but he's good at the competitive side of the game too and I want him to be competing for us in midfield'".

    Nearby, Histon have "signed young prospect Ben Coker, the youngster has completed pre season with the Stutes and Saturday signed non contract terms... with a view to earning a contract during the first half of the season. 'With budgets tight and a number players fighting for a place we have agreed terms with Ben so that he can work his way into the team and show us he can hold down a place and then get a contract', said the Histon boss.

    At Stevenge Borough "Midfielder David Bridges suffered a stress fracture of the foot in the game against Leyton Orient and is expected to be out for up to 6 weeks. Stevenage boss Graham Wesley has started to reduce the squad, with Jack Bradshaw out on loan to Maidenhead and Eliott Buchanan going to Boreham Wood on loan. Hendon have an interest in James Russell and George Brinkman, whilst Scott Balderson, Peter Vincenti and Luke Cole all travelled to Havant and Waterlooville today for loan talks. More players are expected to move on loan in the coming weeks in order to gain match fitness as the squad is trimmed to around 18-20 senior players".

    Torquay "United goalkeeper Martin Rice has today agreed in principle to join Truro City on loan. The details are still to be finalised but any further announcements will appear first on the Torquay website."

    "The Terras are pleased to annouce that striker Michael Malcom has signed terms for the new season".

    Wrexham "boss Brian Little is to give an extended opportunity to midfield trialist Christian Smith, by offering the player a deal until the end of the month. Without a club since his release from Scottish League Division 1 side Clyde, the former Port Vale youngster has been training with Wrexham for several weeks... A decision will though have to be made on his future before 31 August, to prevent him from becoming isolated by the transfer window shutting".

    "Weymouth chairman Malcolm Curtis has revealed he hopes to have the plans in place for the club's proposed new stadium by summer next year" reports the BBC. "Curtis detailed many of the stadium's new features at the BBC Radio Solent Weymouth Fans Forum held at the club. 'The new stadium is looking absolutely cracking', he said. 'It's completely eco-friendly. There's a community centre in it, there's five-a-side football pitches, and training facilities', Curtis added. 'We'll have a village hall, a creche, a cafeteria, and a shop. There's a lot of things for the whole community of Weymouth. Hopefully we'll be in a position where we can go forward with an application next spring or summer, if everyone gets behind it'".

    The FA confirms that "Crawley Town manager Steve Evans will serve a 12 match touchline ban at the start of the Football Conference season following two recent Appeal Board hearings. An Appeal Board on 21 July reduced a four match touchline ban imposed by a Regulatory Commission in April to two matches. A £1,000 fine remained in place. This sanction was issued for improper conduct during a match against Woking on 26 January.

    A second Appeal Board hearing on 22 July considered Mr Evans' appeal concerning four further improper conduct charges. These related to post-match media comments made following the Woking match and charges relating to conduct during matches against Northwich Victoria (15 March), Burton Albion (22 March) and Aldershot Town (24 March). At a Regulatory Commission hearing on 29 May, Evans was given a two month suspension from all football and football activity suspended until the end of the 2008-09 season. The Appeal Board upheld Mr Evans's appeal on the grounds that the sanction was excessive.

    Having considered all evidence placed before them, the Appeal Board varied the decision as follows:

  • (i) Mr Evans to receive a 20 match touch line ban, 10 of which are suspended until the end of the 2009-10 season, and will be invoked upon a proven breach of FA Rule E3 in addition to any subsequent punishment imposed
  • (ii) The 10 matches to be served shall commence after the two match suspension at the start of the Football Conference season 2008-09.

    The details of the touch line ban for these 10 matches are as follows:

  • (i) For a period of 120 minutes before and after home fixtures, and 90 minutes before and after away fixtures, Mr Evans is not permitted to have any direct contact with any members of his playing squad or replacements. During this time Mr Evans is not permitted to enter the dressing room/changing area
  • (ii) Mr Evans is not permitted to have any contact (direct or non-direct) with match officials on match days
  • (iii) Mr Evans is not permitted to enter the technical area and during each fixture must be seated in the directors’ box. If no directors’ box is available, Mr Evans must be seated as far away as reasonably possible from both the technical area and opposing supporters".

    The Crawley Observer reports that, in response, "The Reds' boss said: 'It will not affect my ability to do my job. The majority of my work is done during the week and we do the team talk at the pre-match meal well before kick-off'. He also added that it is the first time he has been given a full touchline ban in his 10-years of football management".

    Billy McEwan has spoken to This is Mansfield Town of "his frustration that goalkeeper Jason White will miss the opening of the new season. The former youth team player has played just 45 minutes of pre-season... He subsequently sustained a knee injury in the warm-up at Ilkeston and has not played since. But it is his other knee, a long-standing injury, which requires attention and has ruled him out for the beginning of the new campaign... Said manager McEwan, 'It is an injury he has had for three years and is one of those that keeps flaring up'... McEwan said: 'The players are on short-term deals that keeps them on their toes, so they have to play well if they want to stay. That's what it's all about - there has to be an end product from them. The players don't know each other and some have never seen each other before in their lives. On long-term contracts, some can sit on their backsides. If they do well they might get a longer contract. But they have to bear in mind we are running a tight ship'".

    This is South Devon claims that "Torquay United are believed to be considering a loan move for goalkeeper Martin Rice to Truro City. An announcement is expected in the next few days... United are thought to want a 24-hour recall clause, because they have only one other senior goalkeeper, on-loan Michael Poke, on their books. But a loan would allow Rice, 22, to get regular match-action rather than warming the Gulls' subs' bench, in case Poke has to drop out for any reason. Former Exeter City goalie Rice made 17 appearances for United last season, several of them in cup-ties, and he played in the FA Trophy Final at Wembley. Centre-half Brett Johnson won't be joining the Gulls — he signed a one-year contract with Brentford yesterday. The former Aldershot and Northampton Town defender... has supported the Bees since his boyhood".

    6 August 2008


    Those who attended the STAR AGM last night were treated to many fascinating insights from manager Graham Heathcote.

    Discussion started about the story that had reached Sky Sports News that Alty defender Mark McGregor had joined Alty after setting up a Facebook page to alert clubs to his availability after release by Wrexham. Alty press officer John Edwards was congratulated for getting the story aired nationally. But whilst Mark did set up the Facebook page, manager Graham Heathcote actually signed him through more conventional channels. Graham explained that Mark lives on The Wirral and therefore when he was offerd a contract by Mansfield he had to take travel costs into account. He chose instead to come to Alty as a part-timer as that represented a better return for him. The boss described him as "a good, steady player".

    Left: Alty vice-chairman Grahame Rowley, manager Graham Heathcote, STAR's Brian Flynn and dirctor Andrew Shaw at last night's STAR AGM.

    Asked if anyone else would be joining Alty before the season started, Graham said that if anyone did it would probably mean someone else leaving. He does, however, have a well-known former league player training with Alty at the moment.

    Graham revealed that he has arranged a friendly game on Tuesday 19th August at Moss Lane against a Stockport County team. A similar game was played last year with the intention of keeping all the squad fit. The Alty boss said he was "comfortable with the squad I've got". He recalled that they had been training since June 14th and paid tribute to chairman Geoff Goodwin and another sponsor who had allowed him to take the squad away to Mottram Hall for a few days. That had been a hard-working bonding session, the like of which the club had not been able to afford in recent years.

    Asked about Val Owen, Graham confirmed that the midfielder was still troubled by his leg injury, which is causing him pain. Val had been "very much a part" of the manager's plans as a holding midfielder this season but he will now talk to Val to assess the situation. Everyone else is fit for the game at Woking on Saturday except for Kevin Street. The midfielder is troubled by a neck problem picked up making a header in pre-season. However, Graham expects Kevin to be fit for Saturday. Talking of his squad Graham added, "I believe we've got better players in this season. We have improved possession of the ball by 50%". The manager also feels that Alty "have a more potent strike force".

    Questioned as to why Robbie Lawton (right) had been playing at right-back recently, Graham said that he had always felt that Robbie and Val Owen would make good right-backs. He "thought that Robbie did ever so well at right-back", pointing out that Robbie's facing the game more in that position had helped with distribution of the ball.

    Graham refuted suggestions that getting all eleven men back at corners was counter-productive. "If it's good enough for Man United it's good enough for me" he stated. Graham was adamant that by crowding the box it helped prevent opposition runners getting into the box and he insisted that our record of not conceding goals from corners was very good.

    As for Woking, Graham was sure that despite their pre-season they would produce all their best players on Saturday and would be tough opposition. "Last time we went there was a disaster", he reminded us.

    Graham confirmed that he had spoken with Ryan Shotton over the summer but the former loanee at Moss Lane was keen to get league action.

    New striker Dale Johnson (left) was praised by Graham. "He's going to be very good if he can stay fit" said the manager. Hyde played him on the right wing last season and that did not suit him. "He has the ability to hold the ball up as well as anyone at Alty for many year". Dale reminded Graham of former player Phil Smith in this respect.

    Turning to goalkeepers, Graham said he would use a second keeper on the bench for some games but not all. He praised new keeper Andy Ralph for coming with such a positive attitude and determination to push Stuart Coburn for his jersey.

    Graham was disappointed that some of the youth team players who had trained with the first team in the summer had elected to go for first-team football at much lower levels rather than having the patience to follow Graham's advice and be loaned out to clubs such as Abbey Hey, where Neil Brown would have developed them. One of them, Dominic Lillie was, however, following the recommended path.

    Asked about Carlos Logan who seems to be on the verge of joining Barrow, Graham said that the winger has ability but did not produce the end result for Alty. Citing Matt McNeil who did not establish himself at Alty but went on to a solid league career at Stockport, Graham said that sometimes players just clicked at one club - McNeil had found his niche when Phil Wilson had established him ion the Stalybridge side.

    Graham would not reveal who would be his team captain next season, saying he had a couple of candidates. Now that captains act as team spokesman, that effectively rules out a goalkeeper such as Stuart Coburn, who had been in Graham's thoughts. A captain now needs "to be an intellectual, so that narrows the field down quite a bit" quipped the Alty boss. He ended the meeting by emphasizing that he would be happy for any of the current 18 fit squad members to turn out against Woking on Saturday such was his confidence in them.


    Altrincham will be making their debut in this season's Setanta TV schedule at the end of September, when their visit to Rushden & Diamonds will be screened on Monday September 29th with a 7.45pm kick Off. The game was originally scheduled for the previous Saturday.


    Expertly chaired by Brian Flynn, Tuesday night's STAR AGM was an informative evening, followed by a question and answer session with manager Graham Heathcote. It was decided that STAR (the supporters' trust) would be "mothballed". The main reasons for the decision, which was approved unanimously by those members present, was the bureaucracy and cost of running a Trust. To wind the Trust up would cost thousands so the body will be kept ticking over; a STAR board will need to remain in existence and an AGM will have to be held. STAR will also retain its 359 shares in the Football Club. Currently STAR has 173 members and it intends to keep at least one share in the FC per person. Another advantage of not winding STAR up is that should the club ever fall on hard times, the trust would be in existence and could be revived.

    Representing the STAR board at the meeting, as well as Brian Flynn, were Paul Daine (also a director of the FC), Steve Raftery and Peter Lewis (membership secretary). Dawn Abbott (secretary) sent her apologies. Paul went through the STAR accounts which were appoved by the meeting.

    Ian Rosendaal of ideas4alty was thanked for having established the names of at least 26 people who would be willing to take part in a new supporters' association to replace STAR. Anyone else wishing to help was invited to contact Brian Flynn on 07860 561011 or by e-mail. There was then lengthy discussion of what the new body might do and about the continuation of travel to away games. This was felt to be vital and it was noted that some so called bigger clubs failed to run a coach to every away game as STAR had done throughout its existence. (Details of this Saturday's trip are on the Away Travel page).

    Brian also appealed to anyone who wished to help the club by taking on two of its Saturday Yankee rounds - this involves two hours work per fortnight and brings payment in the form of commission. The rounds are in Bowdon and Oldfield Brow and can be run separately or together. Please contact Jenny Heslop on 928-1045 or by e-mail if you can help. A meeting wil be held in mid-September to get the new association off the ground.


    The CSC match at home to Vauxhall Motors has been moved to September 16th to avoid a clash with Alty's match against Mansfield on 23rd, which was the original date for the game.


    "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. As a local football club, Witton Albion is committed to providing sports and recreational links with everyone with the objective of raising aspirations and the well being of the community [said] Mike Worthington, chairman of Witton Albion... The advert, set to be broadcast in local pubs during transmission of Witton Albion's matches, features striker Rod Thornley... defender Cavell Coo and coach Nigel Deeley" reports the Northwich Guardian. "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".


    The Sunday Mirror says, "Eat Your heart out Joey Barton. If you want to know what a real football ban's like, just ask Crawley manager Steve Evans. Evans, a serial offender, was sent from the dug-out six times last season. He was hauled in front of an FA commission for the first two incidents and received a four-match touchline ban. He went back to face the commission regarding the other four red cards and was lucky to escape with a suspended ban from all football until the start of next season. Evans appealed against the original four-match ban and had it reduced to two. On a roll, he decided to appeal against the suspended ban. And that was his big mistake. The FA replaced the suspended penalty with an immediate 10-game suspension. And they made it worse. They declared that the touchline ban means no contact with his players for two-and-a-half hours before games, at halftime and for 90 minutes afterwards. He also has a further 10-game ban suspended until next season - pending his good conduct. So if Evans maintains his normal standard of behaviour he'll end up suspended for 22 games. Now that's a real bad boy's ban".

    The Liberal Democrats may not have many seats so it is not surprising perhaps to learn that they are making a plea for more standing. Their conference at Bournemouth will debate the use of terracing at football matches. The Party's conference resolution says: "Standing in seating areas, and efforts to enforce the ban on it, is a significant cause of conflict between supporters, their clubs and the authorities. Safe standing areas operate safely and successfully at many European grounds, notably in Germany. Outside the top two divisions of English league football safe standing areas are permitted. There is no recent evidence to suggest that standing spectators are any less safe at football matches than those who are seated".

    The NW Evening Mail tells us that "Local hero Jason Walker has again been handed the number nine shirt for Barrow AFC – and is determined to keep his place in the side. But the 24-year-old Flookburgh striker, who has notched an impressive six goals pre-season, knows he faces strong competition during the Conference campaign from Nick Rogan, the experienced Paul Tait and new signing Lee Hunt. With last season’s leading scorer Rogan still sidelined through injury, Walker is set to continue his profitable partnership with Hunt against Oxford at Holker Street on Friday night. He says: 'I never expect to start, you have to earn your place and having more competition is good... I scored 15 last year and know I should have got more. The Conference is a lot harder league so 15 would be a reasonable target this season. Me and Lee have done well together in the friendlies but need to hold the ball up more'... Joint-manager Darren Sheridan says 'Nick (Rogan) is unlikely to be fit for Friday but Jason and Lee have been looking good'... Second string keeper Aaron Taylor... is set to miss up to three games in early September through suspension. The stopper... has 14 days of a 35-day county FA ban still to serve... New midfielder Ashley Winn, who joined Barrow from Stalybridge Celtic, is banned for the first three games of the season", which include the game at Moss Lane on August 12th.

    The Argus says that "Hastings United will not pursue their interest in Eastbourne Borough’s Sam Crabb, as the player does not drive. Hastings boss John Lambert said: 'It’s a real shame as he has done well but he doesn’t drive and getting him to training and games is going to be too much of a problem'. Meanwhile "Horsham are poised to swoop for Eastbourne Borough striker Evan Archibald" and "Lewes manager Kevin Keehan is delighted with latest signing James Fraser. The teenager made his debut in a 1-0 defeat to Havant and Waterlooville on Saturday after signing on a month’s loan from League One Bristol Rovers... Fraser is with Lewes for a month but that could be converted to three months".

    From Kent Online we learn that "Ebbsfleet manager Liam Daish has dismissed a report that the club have rejected a £100,000 offer from Millwall for youth scheme product John Akinde. All Daish would say was: 'I don’t know anything about this. I just want John to concentrate on getting fit'... Daish did confirm that he intends signing Kent-born former Millwall and Bohemians defender Dean Pooley. 'He can play anywhere across the back', Daish added".

    According to This is Nottingham "Mansfield Town may field some players for their first Conference game at Ebbsfleet on Saturday who are not on the club's books. Boss Billy McEwan says, 'It will be a Mansfield XI as much as a Mansfield Town', he said. 'We have managed to scrape a squad of players, but the players we have now we might not stick with all season'. Mansfield are in talks with goalkeeper Paddy Gamble - who did not play in the 3-0 defeat at Boston due to illness. Any deal the club may agree would be for a loan deal as the player is still on Forest's books. Left-sided player Alex Jeannin is another who is in negotiations following his release from Oxford. Midfielder Tom Shaw, Craig Nelthorpe and Aaron O'Connor may get the chance to further stake their claims for contracts at Matlock on Thursday night. But two players who will not be joining the club are experienced duo Paul Hurst and Mark McGregor [who]...has gone to Conference rivals Altrincham".

    The Chad says that "Full-back Paul Hurst has turned down the chance to play Blue Square Premier football with Mansfield Town this season and opted to join UniBond Premier neighbours Ilkeston Town instead. Formerly of Rotherham United, Hurst (33) featured in several recent pre-season friendlies but manager Billy McEwan said on Monday afternoon: 'He just phoned me up and told me he was going elsewhere and it was a bit of a blow. We made him a offer which I thought he might have taken. But obviously the money was not enough. He can go part-time at Ilkeston and get another job as well, and earn more than we can offer him. I couldn't offer him more. I have to be careful with the pennies as it's not like we only have to bring in one or two more players. We need to bring a lot in still'. McEwan was bemused by BBC reports that Mark McGregor had not been offered a deal at Mansfield and ended up touting for a club via internet social forum Facebook - which won him a deal at Conference rivals Altrincham. 'We did make Mark an offer – but not what he was looking for', said McEwan. 'It was also a risky one as he was travelling over from Cheshire [Wirral] which is a couple of hours' driving. I like my players to try to be as near the club as possible. He would have spent more time in the car then on the training ground, which is not ideal. But he did come along and show us what he could do and I did want him to stay'".

    We learn from the Salisbury Journal that "City boss Nick Holmes has confirmed that goalkeeper Ryan Clarke will now miss the start of the season due to the foot injury he suffered while on holiday.. He'll see a bone specialist and we'll take it from there'. Meanwhile, new signing Rob Sinclair, who is also ruled out of the start of the campaign due to a knee injury, has now had his plaster removed... Holmes also confirmed that the club had offered trialist Brian Dutton a one-year contract. The 23-year-old midfielder... has previously played for Weymouth".

    Burton ALbion say that they "have completed the transfer of former Mansfield Town skipper Jake Buxton. The 23 year old defender joins Albion on a free transfer after new Stags manager Billy McEwan agreed to release him... However he is suspended for the first three league games of the new season".

    "Courtney Pitt will miss the start of the season and could require an operation on the left knee injury he suffered...last week" says the Cambridge News.

    Kidderminster Harriers "confirm that they have concluded deals to sign four new players... Martin Riley, Martin Brittain, Sam Foley and David McDermott have all signed... The quartet have all spent the last month on trial with Harriers... McDermott, 20, joins having been released by Walsall at the end of last season... The attacking midfielder made 13 League One appearances for the Saddlers last term... Winger Brittain is another to arrive at Aggborough with real footballing pedigree, having come through the Youth ranks at Newcastle United before breaking into the first team. The 23 year-old has also featured for Ipswich, Yeovil and Walsall... Riley, 19, is a tall, commanding central defender who was handed a first team squad number with Wolverhampton Wanderers last term after coming up through the ranks at Molineux... He has England U20 honours and also spent time with Shrewsbury Town last season. Meanwhile, 21 year-old midfielder Foley joins after being released by League One outfit Cheltenham Town... Boss Mark Yates expects to add at least one or two more names to his squad shortly".

    5 August 2008


    Brian Flynn writes: "Graham Heathcote has kindly agreed to do a Supporters' Q. & A. session at the end of the STAR AGM tonight (Tuesday). As Graham will be coming from training, he will not be able to attend before 9.00pm, therefore the AGM will now start at 8.00pm rather than 7.30pm".


    Above: Anthony Danylyk scores the winner against Blackburn Rovers; another of Gavin Rathbone's excellent photos, to be found on his GR Photography website.

    The referee for Saturday's game at Woking is Mr S. Burt and for next Tuesday at home to Barrow it is Mr S.J.Rushton.


    The winners of Saturday's prize draw for the Altrincham FC Patrons were:
  • 1st: Jimmy McKiernan RIP (hospitality for 10 at an Alty game)
  • 2nd: Mike Garnett (hospitality for 5 at an Alty game)
  • 3rd: Thomas Birt (hospitality for 2 at an Alty game)

    You, too, are invited to join the Patrons and help the club's fundraising efforts.


    In Sunday's NL Today there are interviews with Kevin Street (left) and Graham Barrow. It says that after Alty's three successive reprieves from relegation, "It is not a surprise to see the Robins attempt to further encourage divine intervention by signing midfielder Kevin Street. The former Stafford player is a devout Christian and is nearing the end of a three-year degree in theology, after which he will become a religious education teacher... 'I don't pray for victory', he says. 'I don't think God wants to be involved in football like that really. He just sits back, watches and enjoys it like all other fans... I think we've got a stronger squad here than last year and we're looking to survive on merit this time not by default. There's a lot more experience in this Altrincham team. We already had players like Colin Little and Chris Lane but we've signed people like Chris Denham and Alex Meechan, plus Dale Johnson is very good up front... I think we can stay out of the relegation zone'". Referring to his joint caretaker-manager role at Stafford last season he said, "I think when me and Neil Grayson were in charge we hit our best form of the season. Then Steve Bull came in with new ideas and changed the team and formation. Things went downhill... But I will take things from last season". Kevin spoke of manager Graham Heathcote, "Graham is a good motivator, he's been very positive". he added "There's a good chance I'll get ordained as a priest eventually. But... I want to concentrate on playing football at the moment... Survival has got to be the aim for a part-time team like us".

    But Graham Barrow (right), Alty's assistant manager, is more confident, "Fitness is always thought of as an issue being part-timers but the lads here as fit as any I've seen in pre-season when I was in charge of a League side. We look a lot more comfortable in possession. You never know till the first proper game but, without putting anyone under too much pressure, I'd like to think we can aim to be halfway or above this season. We've got the flair players to win games. Last year we had the Conference's third highest goalscorer in colin Little, so we should be able to do better. Hopefully we can tighten up as a team and get more people behind the ball at the right times".

    Meanwhile Blue Square Football's Alan Alger joins the pundits tipping Alty for the drop. At the top he predicts:

  • 1st Torquay United
  • 2nd Stevenage Borough
  • 3rd Oxford United
  • 4th Wrexham
  • 5th Burton Albion

    And at the bottom:

  • 24th Lewes
  • 23rd Altrincham
  • 22nd Eastbourne Borough
  • 21st Woking


    The BBC picks up on the story that "Defender Mark McGregor is in debt to a social-networking website after joining Blue Square Premier side Altrincham... The 31-year-old set up a Facebook group called 'Help Find Macca A Football club'... The story reflects that of former Wycombe FA Cup hero Roy Essandoh, who responded to an appeal on Ceefax from Wycombe Wanderers for a striker in 2001. He signed a two-week contract with the club and scored the winning goal in their FA Cup quarter-final victory over Leicester City".


    This is Staffs reports on a friendly between Shrewsbury and Stoke City in which "The sight of a lithe Ryan Shotton and a powerful Nathaniel Wedderburn taking to the field in the second half was an encouraging reminder of the future, but of little consequence to the present as we now tip-toe to within a fortnight of the big kick-off". Ryan was a 62nd minute substitute.

    Witton Albion have now confirmed that "On Thursday evening we signed Kieran Lugsden... On Thursday night I released Phil Hadland from his trial spell with us". On Saturday Congleton Town met Witton and Albion included ex-Alty trialist goalkeeper James Coates as well as Gary Scott, Rod Thornley and Mark Drew, as well as another former Alty Youth player, Liam Coyne".


    The NW Evening Mail says that "Pacy left winger Carlos Logan could become the latest addition to Barrow AFC’s Conference squad. The 22-year-old former Football League player made an eye-catching trial debut in Saturday’s 2-1 win over Accrington Stanley at Holker Street... AFC joint manager Dave Bayliss says 'Carlos is something we have not had during our time here, an out and out left winger... Carlos, like quite a few talented young lads, has lost his way a little in the game and we were alerted to him by his agent. He has natural balance down the line and offers us something different but we need to look at his fitness level'".

    In Sussex The Argus tells us that "Garry Wilson admits he has no idea how Eastbourne Borough will fare in their debut season in the Blue Square premier after they completed their preparations with an uninspiring victory over Bromley at Priory Lane. A scrappy goal from Darren Baker in the 90th minute means Borough will go in to Saturday’s big kick-off in a more positive mood following a mixed set of pre-season results... Draws against two Ryman League sides and a defeat to Blue Square south outfit Havant and Waterlooville are hardly the ideal way to warm up for the biggest season in the club’s history... Wilson said: 'I haven’t got a clue how we will get on. We are going into the unknown somewhat and I think it will take about eight games before we have an idea of how we are going to cope'".

    A few miles away, "Kevin Keehan believes Lewes are as ready as they can be for their Blue Square Premier opener at Kidderminster on Saturday. The Rooks completed a decent pre-season with an unfortunate 1-0 defeat at home to Havant and Waterlooville... There is no doubt the season ahead will provide a huge challenge and finishing above one of the four relegation places would be a great achievement... The pre-season record reads three wins, a draw with [Brighton & Hove] Albion and two defeats and they are playing some decent football too. Keehan said: 'Choosing Havant for our last friendly was what I wanted to do because they are favourites for Conference south, they have spent a lot of money and have probably got a far bigger budget than us. It was going to be a test and if we hadn’t come out of it well I would have been concerned. I was very pleased with the performance'".

    Still in Sussex, the Crawley Observer reports that "Former Conference golden boot winner Giuliano Grazioli has not been offered a deal by Reds [Crawley Town]. The striker who helped Barnet gain promotion from the Conference into the Football League was not fit enough to catch the eye of Town manager Steve Evans".

    At some people's title favourites the Northants Evening Telegraph reports that "Garry Hill admits that being without the goal threat of Daryl Clare for up to eight weeks is a "massive blow" for Rushden & Diamonds. The striker had surgery yesterday to insert metal plates into his jaw, which was broken during Thursday's pre-season friendly against an Arsenal XI... Hill said: 'It was quite a bad break. This is a massive blow for the club to lose a 25-goal per season striker a week before the start of the league campaign... But these things happen in football. We have to move on now'... Clare's replacement alongside Lee Phillips in the Diamonds attack is likely to be Dean McDonald. He has scored five times – including a hat-trick on his debut – since joining from Inverness Caledonian Thistle". Alty play Rushden on 27th September.

    At Mansfield, The Chad says that "Billy McEwan was not overly concerned by the 3-0 friendly defeat at Boston United on Saturday afternoon. With several players unavailable, another patchwork Stags side had a good first half in which they failed to take their chances and were caught on a counter attack... A suicidal dribble across his own box by trialist Craig Nelthorpe led to a penalty kick which eased Boston towards their victory. McEwan said: 'I am obviously disappointed to lose the game but I thought that in the opening stages we had some good chances to score but didn't put them away. We had a lot of players missing and so I used this game to try one or two things out and experiment which I wouldn't do in a League game... In the first half hour we put a lot of balls into the box with no one on the end of them... We brought in young Nelthorpe from Doncaster who is a left sided player who I thought could play left back as well as left side midfield. But clearly he can't. What he did was inexplicable. He was obviously a round peg in a square hole and will learn from that. He is here for a while for us to look at him and I won't make decisions on one game. I also tried Alan O'Hare at left back but wanted to get him back into the centre. We are short at left back right now until I can get the Alex Jeannin deal tied up. But his agent is dealing with a big move involving Glasgow Rangers right now which is holding ours up. Paddy Gamble was very ill yesterday so thanks to Sheffield United for allowing Jamie Annerson to play for us. He played 45 minutes for United the night before which I watched and I thought he did very well for us. We did cause them problems up front but we lacked penetration coming from midfield or the flanks. And we have a lot of naivety in the squad. There is lots to work on and while I am concerned about today, I am not unduly concerned'".

    "The surprise appearance of former Aldershot and Northampton Town centre-half Brett Johnson in Friday's night's final pre-season game at Truro City has increased speculation surrounding Torquay United's current roster of central defenders" claims This is South Devon. "Johnson, 22, who made 18 appearances for Northampton's League One side before injury effectively ended his season in February, played for 75 minutes in United's 2-1 win at Treyew Road. The 6ft 1in tall defender gave a good account of himself, a fact confirmed by Buckle after the game. Johnson... started the match alongside Chris Todd. Over the last three years he has made 32 first-team appearances for the Cobblers, and had loan spells at Ebbsfleet and Grays... United already have six other players who either can play or have considerable experience at centre-back including Todd, Steve Woods, Mark Ellis, Michael Brough, Chris Hargreaves - who has been switched there from midfield in pre-season - and the transfer-listed Chris Robertson. Hargreaves sat out the Truro game with a back injury, but Robertson was missing altogether... Buckle said: 'We opened up a good side time and again. The goals will come'... New signing Nicky Wroe, who has been regular in pre-season, was only on the bench on Friday as Lee Hodges started in midfield. The team read (4-4-2): Poke; Mansell (Brough 46), Todd (Woods 46), Johnson (Ellis (75), Nicholson; Carlisle (Stevens 46), Thompson (Wroe 46), Hodges (Adams 46), Carayol; Benyon (Dsane 46), Sills (Green 46)".

    4 August 2008


    Woking lost a pre-season friendly 1-5 to Brentford recently and their match report said "Those Woking fans who came along to Kingfield this afternoon hoping – even expecting – to see something like the side which will line up in a week’s time against Altrincham were in for a big surprise. With a back four consisting of two Academy players, a trialist and a player who has been told he does not figure in Kim’s plans, one can only hope that the performance and result were no guide at all to how we will perform next Saturday. Those missing, presumably injured – which in itself is worrying at this stage of the pre-season – included Tom Hutchinson, Paul Lorraine, Danny Bunce, Gez Sole and Bradley Quamina. So, the Cards lined up with Nick Gindre in goal, a back four of Matt Gray, Dan Sintim, Colin Miles and Ashley Quashie-Pownall, with newly-signed Kunle just in front of them. Ahead were Joel Ledgister and Abdou El Kholti on the right and left flanks, Matt Pattison and Paolo Vernazza in midfield and Manny Williams as the lone striker".


    In the NL Paper, Justin Edinburgh, the ex-manager of Grays, says of Altrincham: "I thought they might've lost Chris Senior (right), who scored a lot of goals for them last season, so to keep him is a major plus and he'll be very important. They've also brought in Lee Elam, whose experience will be vital. But, for me, they just ship too many goals and you've got to ask how many reprieves can they have. Unfortunately, I've got them down for the drop".

    To answer Mr Edinburgh's question, Altrincham have only had reprieves because other teams, which subsequently were demoted, gained unfair advantage by spending money they did not have, leaving innocent creditors out of pocket. Had Altrincham done the same and employed more highly paid players, they might well not have needed any "reprieves".

    And NL Today also categorises Altrincham as a "relegation worry" in its forecast for the season, saying "New signing Lee Elam's performances will be crucial and Colin Little wil be hoping to weigh in with his 20-goals again". Lewes, Eastbourne and Barrow are the other tips for the drop.


    On Tuesday, there is the STAR (supporters' trust) Annual General Meeting (2007-8) and the launch of the new Altrincham Football Club Supporters' Association at 7.30pm in The Noel White Suite. The prime agenda items will be:- Presentation of STAR's 2007-8 accounts # Proposal to 'mothball' STAR & launch a new Supporters' Association which would be run by a committee rather than a more formal Board.

    Everyone is welcome to attend & the STAR Board encourages as many people as possible to be present on the night.

    After the meeting, Alty manager Graham Heathcote will be inviting questions from the audience on any aspect of the Club's on- or off-pitch activities.


    Accrington Stanley report in their Centre of Excellence Newsletter that "We are pleased to announce that all age groups (U9 - U16) will represent Accrington Stanley FC Centre of Excellence this term. An important announcement this week was the appointment of Centre of Excellence Manager Mark Maddox, who will also manage the Under 14 squad. Mark has extensive playing and coaching experience at the higher echelons of the non-league pyramid and will bring a wealth of experience with him".

    Former Alty Youth and Reserve, Ben Deegan, played for Ashton United on Saturday.


    According to the BBC Ex-Altrincham and "Former Manchester City and Darlington winger Carlos Logan is set to be offered a deal with Barrow. The 22-year-old trialist impressed during Saturday's 2-1 friendly win over Accrington Stanley at Holker Street. 'I was very impressed with him, he offers us something different', manager Dave Bayliss told BBC Radio Cumbria. 'We will have a chat with him and see where we go from here. Hopefully he will be involved against Oxford but that's up to him'... The player joined Altrincham following his release by Darlington in August 2007 but left Moss Lane in February of this year. 'He has a tremendous amount of energy and one thing he does is distract defenders', Bayliss added. 'At times Accrington were putting two players on him. You can see he has ability but he needs to work on his fitness. He's had a chance in the Football League so maybe he can see this as a second chance for him and he can rebuild his career with Barrow'".

    The Northwich Guardian tells us that "Vics will cash in if more fans follow their clash with the European champions next week. The club has called on supporters to turn out in force for their friendly with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s young guns [who are NOT the European champions] – despite their season starting less than 48 hours later. 'The prospect of a reasonable chunk of cash proved irresistible', said a statement on their official website. 'We should do our best to make this game a good one'. A good one, but a strange one.

    Vics will use the visitors’ changing room after losing a coin toss and, despite being less than enamoured with the timing of the fixture, manager Dino Maamria was philosophical about his side’s extra summer friendly. 'We need the money', he said. 'Obviously I have to be careful as we have a very important game against Cambridge on Saturday but all the squad will play a part'. He also knows that extra pounds could pay for players, allowing him to sign Michael Byrne and Darryn Stamp in time to face the Us. Former owner Mike Connett called the Guardian to say he was happy to split the gate receipts with Vics.

    'A big crowd means everybody wins', he said. His company, Beaconet, owns the stadium and will take match day expenses before halving what is left over. 'It’s taken a lot of work to get this game on', added Connett. 'But Manchester United wanted to play Northwich and I for one am delighted'.

    Vics are also savvy enough to know they must keep the Red Devils onside. Their statement continued: 'If the club does become a stakeholder in the stadium the financial benefits of hosting anything ???regular reserve matches will be considerable. Clubs are queuing up to host anything with Manchester United so we need to stay firmly alongside them'. It finished with a plea to Vics followers sceptical their attendance would benefit their team. 'Life is never perfect and we must remember that to see the horizon, we should avoid looking at our feet'. Northwich Victoria face Manchester United Reserves next Thursday, August 7... Admission is £10 for adults, while U12s and concessions will pay £5'".

    3 August 2008


  • Match report here.


    Alty supporter Bill Coop has kindly provided the adjacent photo of Mark Maddox talking to his AFC Liverpool side at half-time of the Under 19s Winners Final from the Umbro Tournament on Saturday. They conceded a goal in each half to lose 2-0, but Mark told Bill that some of his team are only 16 years of age, so they had done very well to reach the final. The game was refereed by Bill's son Andy, who was the fourth official at Moss Lane last Tuesday night for the visit of Bradford City.


    Altrincham Youth lost 4-5 on penalties to Wellingborough Town in the Umbro International Tournament, Plate section. The score had been goalless at the end of normal time.


    Blue Square Football confirms that "The signings of Matt Somner and Gary Silk complete the trio of former Notts County players joining Mansfield Town. Former Nottingham Forest Jason Lee had already put pen to paper after impressing during pre--season fixtures... 23-year-old right-back Silk has more than 100 League appearances under his belt while 25-year-old Matthew Somner is a versatile midfielder, who can play across the park."

    The same source adds that "Cambridge United have lost out in the race to sign Scott Guyett after a last-minute phone call from Bournemouth turned the former Yeovil Town defender's head. The 32-year-old was set to sign for the U's but changed his mind after speaking to Cherries'chief executive Alastair Saverimutto. Guyett told the Bournemouth Daily Echo: 'The Bournemouth thing came from nowhere really. I was due to sign for Cambridge and when Savi called me I was on my way there. They had offered me a three-year contract and I'd spoken to Russell Slade about it. We had a game on Wednesday night and... I received a call saying that Bournemouth wanted to speak to me... I did say that I was heading to Cambridge in the morning and if they wanted to do anything, it would have to be pretty quick. I was on the M25 when Savi phoned and he said that they wanted me down there and would I turn my car around. I said yes'".

    Meanwhile, "Cambridge United boss Gary Brabin is monitoring Ipswich Town's Billy Clarke with a view to a loan deal for the striker. The Irish U21 international is one of the five players transfer-listed by Town... and has attracted a lot of interest from League One sides. Brabin admitted 'He's one on a list we're monitoring, but it's nowhere near that stage at the moment'".

    Alty are at Woking next Saturday where the Cards "are pleased to announce that midfielder Ade Kunle Salau, who has been on trial with the Club, has signed a one-year contract. Kunle played for Peckham Town last season".

    The BBC says that Barrow "have handed a trial to former Manchester City and Darlington midfielder Carlos Logan. The 23-year-old spent last season at Altrincham before leaving Moss Lane in February". Logan played for Barrow on Saturday in a 2-1 win against Accrington Stanley in which Ian Craney scored for Stanley. Logan laid on a goal before going off with cramp.

    The Barrow AFC Independent Supporters' Club report that "The Supporters' Club have provisionally booked a bus for the away match at Lewes (700 miles round trip)" - and we thought we had some long journeys!. "The cost for the trip is likely to be £30 for members... Although we haven't got a definite departure time yet, it's likely to be around a 5.30am start from Barrow, give or take half an hour or so".

    2 August 2008


    A well-struck 20-yard shot by midfielder Anthony Danylyk secured this victory against a young Blackburn Rovers' reserve side. Rovers' first-team was on duty at Wolves today. But Alty had to survive two firm strikes against Stuart Coburn's uprights in the second half. Chris Denham limped off before half time whilst Dale Johnson, who warmed up and was named on the team sheet, took no part in the game. With Chris Senior also sitting out this game, injured, hopefully Alty will have more strikers at their disposal next week. Report to follow.

    ALTRINCHAM: 1. Stuart COBURN, 2. Robbie LAWTON (capt), 4. Chris LANE, 5. Mark McGREGOR 3. Matt DOUGHTY; 7. Alex MEECHAN, 6. Kevin STREET, 8. Anthony DANYLYK, 10. Lee ELAM; 11. Chris DENHAM, 9. Colin LITTLE. Subs: 10. Dale JOHNSON, 13. Andy RALPH, 14. Joe O'NEILL, 15. Richard BATTERSBY, 16. Warren PEYTON.

    Right: Anthony Danylyk and Robbie Lawton in action against Blackburn Rovers.


    Alty groundsman Neil Brown's Abbey Hey side, which include a number of ex-Alty Reserves, beat FC United of Manchester 3-1 today.


    Pictured above is Gavin Rathbone's official squad photo; you can purchase your copy and many other Alty images from his GR Photography website. Absent from the picture above were Richard Battersby, Warren Peyton and Val Owen. Those pictured are, left to right: BACK: Mark McGregor, Dale Johnson, Stuart Coburn, Andy Ralph, Greg Young, Chris Lane; MIDDLE: Danny Heathcote (kitman), Charles Heathcote (kitman), Joe O'Neill, Alex Meechan, Graham Heathcote (manager), Lee Elam, Robbie Lawton, Ian Senior (goalkeeping coach), Graham Bartrow (Assistant manager); FRONT: Anthony Danylyk, Kevin Street, Chris Denham, George Heslop (company secretary), Geoff Goodwin (chairman), Grahame Rowley (vice-chairman), Colin Little, Chris Senior, Matt Doughty.


    On Friday, Altrincham Youth's under-18s lost 2-1 to Leigh Genesis's under-19s and beat Hertfordshire side Cannon FC 4-0, to finish third in their group in the Umbro international tournament. This meant they progressed to the "Plate" section of the competition. There, today (Saturday), they play against Wellingborough Town at 10.30am. The winners of that game progress to the Plate final, later today with the opponents being either Manchester Youth (an amalgam of FCUM and MANCAT) or Poynton.

    The group stage was won by Stalybridge Celtic, who dropped only one point - against Altrincham, with Leigh Genesis second. Altrincham have done well to finish third in the group as they have ayounger side than their opponents.

    Amongst the spectators at Northenden on Friday was Alty striker Colin Little.


    Altrincham's final pre-season friendly takes place today (Saturday, 3pm) at Moss Lane against a Blackburn Rovers XI. The Lancashire side last visited Moss Lane in 2004 when Paul Dickov, Tugay and Alex Bruce were amongst their starters. Rovers won 3-1 that night, Gary Talbot being Alty's scorer. the previous year Rovers won 5-2 at Moss Lane when they included Alan Mahon in their team.

    SAM says that "Stuart Coburn will make a return to the Robins' starting line-up when they welcome a Blackburn Rovers XI... Alty's number one has seen opportunities limited in preseason so far, with manager Graham Heathcote preferring to test trialist duo James Coates and Andy Ralph - the latter eventually winning a deal at the club. As a result, Coburn has played only 90 minutes all summer but will be back between the sticks... The only absentees will be Greg Young, who required stitches in a split lip suffered against Stalybridge, and Chris Senior, who twisted his ankle against Bradford city in midweek. Both are being rested merely as a precautionary measure and should be fit for the trip to Woking.

    The good news is that Alex Meechan (right) is back to full fitness... Meanwhile, Blackburn are expected to bring mainly a second-string squad, with the first team travelling to Wolves. The most high profile name will likely be young Dutch striker Maceo Rigters, who rose to significance after finishing as top scorer in the 2007 European Under-21 Championships.

    Heathcote said: 'It's our final workout before the start of the season and we have to be looking at getting things right, tightening things up and keeping hold of the ball, which will be tough against a good team. We've spoken in training about what we need to do to improve defensively. Unfortunately we won't have Greg Young but we need to work on that tomorrow'".


    The STAR (supporters' trust) Annual General Meeting (2007-8) and the launch of the new Altrincham Football Club Supporters' Association takes place on Tuesday August 5th 2008 at 7.30pm in The Noel White Suite. The prime agenda items will be:-
  • Presentation of STAR's 2007-8 accounts
  • Proposal to 'mothball' STAR & launch a new Supporters' Association which would be run by a committee rather than a more formal Board.

    Everyone is welcome to attend & the STAR Board encourages as many people as possible to be present on the night.


    "Alty boss Graham Heathcote is not about to get carried away, even after watching his side record their fifth win in six preseason games" reports SAM. "The Robins beat a young Bradford City side 2-1 on Tuesday night thanks to goals from Kevin Street and Chris Denham... But while Heathcote’s side again impressed going forward, he is looking for slightly more balance in their approach. He told SAM Sport: 'There were some good aspects and some worrying aspects. They’re winning games of football which is always a good thing but as much as we’re pleased with aspects going forward, we’ve got to be more solid defensively. There have been encouraging signs that we can cause teams problems but that’s pointless if we come unstuck at the other end. We’ve got to work on making sure we’re tighter defensively but one without the other and it they’ll nullify each other. We’ve got better teams to play against than we’ve played so far but there are encouraging signs and there’s a lot we can still work on... We’ve got three training sessions left now before the start of the season to work on what we need to improve'.

    Heathcote started with Dale Johnson and Denham up front, with Lee Elam and Chris Senior getting forward from wide positions to effectively form a front four at times. It has been a case of mix and match throughout preseason up front and Heathcote hinted that may give an indication to his approach when the new season starts. 'Some of the players still have to improve their fitness levels, which is difficult because you’re trying to get everybody a fair share of games', he added. 'But what I do believe is as a combination of players we can be quite a potent force out there. We have a squad that’s capable of being competitive over 90 minutes and it will be a squad thing, I can’t think this will be a given 11 because we have players who are better with a bit of zip and sharpness about them playing in short bursts. We'll give an hour to somebody and an hour to somebody else to make sure everyone is fresh... You've got to see who gels with who and what problems you can cause with what'".


    The UniBond League's pre-season press release confirms that the league "is again sponsored by Henkel, the makers of UniBond products, for a record breaking fifteenth year. Two former Football League clubs Boston United and Halifax Town join the competition albeit the latter in a slightly different guise under the name FC Halifax Town... The two First Divisions have increased from the eighteen clubs in both Divisions last term to twenty-one in the North and twenty in the South. The newly promoted clubs are Glapwell from the Northern Counties East, Salford City and Trafford from the North West Counties, runaway Northern League champions Durham City and Loughborough Dynamo from the Midland Alliance. Moving sideways from the Southern League are Rushall Olympic and Willenhall Town... The League’s betting partners Corbett Sports have made Bradford Park Avenue 9/2 favourites to win the Premier Division title with Eastwood 5/1, Leigh Genesis 6/1 and Boston 7/1. The closest betting is in the First Division North with Halifax the 11/4 favourites".


    According to Blue Square Football "Mansfield Town have completed the signings of Alan O'Hare and Gavin Hurren. Both players had been on trial with the Stags during pre-season and both impressed manager Billy McEwan enough to earn a permanent stay at Field Mill. McEwan told the club's official website: 'We are now waiting for them to put pen to paper. Alan has made over 140 appearances for Chesterfield and brings a lot of experience to the side. He has shown that he has what it takes to do a good job for us this season, and with the training and coaching he will receive, I have no doubt that he can only improve further. Gavin will give the team 100% and he is a versatile player, which is very important'".

    Northwich Vics' "new-style plastic credit card size season tickets are now printed and ready for distribution... The cards are colour coded and most carry the holder's name and age group (ie child/youth/adult/concession). Family ticket holders are allocated two cards per family, so if mums and dads want to go to the ground later than the kids, there is an option to do so. All the paid for season tickets carry a unique barcode ready for the introduction of turnstile scanning technology. This is good for security and lost or stolen cards which will be re-issued for a small cost but with a new unique code. A special card has been produced for Juniors and 150 of these will be available for distribution by the club, free of charge. Vics' players will be allocated 2 special complementary cards each".

    "Rushden & Diamonds went down to their second defeat in quick succession as they were well beaten 0-2 by a skilful Arsenal XI, but it was not the result that caused Manager Hill the most concern, rather the injury sustained by Daryl Clare in the first quarter - a facial injury which required hospital treatment... and it was later discovered that the striker had suffered a serious looking jaw injury that required hospital treatment".

    Confirmation comes from the Northants Evening Telegraph which tells us that "Daryl Clare is set to miss the start of the season after suffering a suspected broken jaw... Diamonds' physiotherapist Simon Parsell took Clare back to hospital for a second X-ray which was required due to the swelling last night. But the prolific forward faces four to eight weeks on the sidelines... Manager Garry Hill said: 'We thought he might have broken his jaw. His teeth went to the back of his mouth and some were forced through... He had a header on goal and may have got an elbow... I thought some of our boys looked jaded and tired while others were not quite the way they have been. Whether it has taken too much out of them from strong, competitive games, I don't know'... Diamonds brought in Portuguese centre-half Paulo Monteiro for a trial along with Justyn Roberts".

    At Kettering Town, "Alfie Potter has completed a loan move which should initially see him with the Poppies until the end of December".

    From the Burton Mail we learn that "Manager Nigel Clough has refused to rule out former Derby County defender Marc Edworthy signing for Burton Albion on a short-term basis. The 35-year-old Mickleover-based player, who was released by the Rams, featured for the Brewers in last night's Bass Vase final... Said Clough: 'We are hoping he might come and do some training with us but tonight was really just to give him a game... We haven't talked about any sort of deals with him. He has had quite a bit of interest from League clubs - but you never know, we will see what happens'".

    "Oxford United were comfortable 3-0 winners at Milton on Thursday night, with Matt Taylor, Sam Deering and Eddie Hutchinson on target. Hutchinson and Alex Jeannin had returned after being released following their trial spells at Cambridge United and Mansfield respectively, and both played... Jake Cole and Chris Willmott played the full 90 minutes and the U's tried out two more trialists, one of them the right winger Diogo Andrade, a Portuguese youth international who has played at Bournemouth" states the Oxford Mail.

    1 August 2008


    Cambridge United report that "Phil Bolland is set to become Gary Brabin's third signing... A former team-mate and well-known to both Gary Brabin and Paul Carden, 31-year-old Bolland's professional career began at Altrincham before a move to Southport in 1997 and then into the Football League with Oxford United in 2001. He made a £15,000 switch to Chester City in 2002 and had four years there, playing alongside both Brabin and Carden at various times. A six-month spell at Peterborough United followed in the second half of the 2005/06 season, before he returned to Chester City in July 2006, winning the Conference alongside Paul Carden in 2004. No longer in the new manager's plans by January 2008, he joined struggling Wrexham on a free and made 18 appearances before being released on their relegation from the Football League, and is available on a free transfer".


    Pictures from the Alty team photo-shoot are below....

    A good number of supporters took up the offer of having their photos taken with the team by Alty photographer Gavin Rathbone, in the scheme organized by Lisa Jones, Alty's commercial executive.


    Altrincham Youth had a good day on Thursday in the Umbro international tournament. They beat Muswell Hill 3-0, thanks to goals by Kane Berkeley, Paul Cordock and Adam Alwill. They followed this with four excellent long-range goals, without reply, against Poynton. the scorers were Kane Berkeley, John Bennett, Paul Cordock and Ashley Fosbrooke. Today (Friday) Alty play Leigh Genesis and Cannon FC. Their results can be found here.


    Altrincham meet a Blackburn Rovers XI on Saturday, with the Premiership side having a game at Wolves on the same date. Rovers played Northwich on Tuesday and despite having Paul Robinson in goal and both Robbie Fowler and Benni McCarthy playing, they drew an attendance of just 425. "Paul Robinson made his Rovers debut as a select XI defeated Northwich Victoria 2-1 at the Marston's Arena on Wednesday evening... ROVERS: Robinson (sub Fielding 46 mins), Kane, Treacy, Khizanishvili (sub O'Keefe 77 mins), Winnard, Vogel, Derbyshire (sub Marshall 81 mins), Gallagher (sub Haworth 88 mins), Judge, Fowler (sub Hodge 64 mins), McCarthy (sub Doran 64 mins)".

    Meanwhile the Northwich Guardian says that "Vics will face Manchester United less than 48 hours before their season opener. The club confirmed last night that a visit from the Red Devils’ reserves would conclude their preparations for the forthcoming campaign... next Thursday, August 7, kick off 7.45pm, hours before Cambridge United come to town on the opening day of the Blue Square Premier campaign. 'This promises to be a great match and a big crowd is expected', said a note on Vics’ official website".

    However, now "with the season just 10 days away, Maamria... stressed the condition of his players was still uppermost in his mind. 'We can’t afford to lose anybody to injury', he said... Also "Vics have asked Woodley Sports to push their cup clash back seven days. Dino Maamria's men are due to face Ben Connett's new club in the first round of the UniBond Cheshire FA Senior Cup on September 23 - the same night Barrow are due in town for a Blue Square Premier clash. There are no league games scheduled for the following Tuesday, September 30, when Vics now hope to face the Stockport side. 'We've made the request so we'll just have to wait and see what they say', said general manager Dave Thomas". Alty have a similar CSC clash on that date when they should be playing Mansfield Town.

    According to The Mid-Cheshire Chronicle, "Northwich manager Dino Maamria claims his ambition is being thwarted by a lack of money and fears his slashed budget could cost the club on the pitch. With the new season only 10 days away Vics have a squad of just 16, and currently have only 13 fit players. Maamria says he has already missed out on three targets and is still no closer to wrapping up a permanent deal for striker Darryn Stamp. The former Halifax man scored three in six games to help Vics beat the drop last season and netted twice in their 3-1 win over a Wigan Athletic XI on Wednesday, firmly establishing himself as the manager’s top target. 'He’s been a different class', said Maamria. 'He made a huge difference last season when he came in and his contribution to the team is massive. He could be the difference between a very successful season and a bad one, and he’s the signature I’m fighting for'.

    'But I’ve been told I can’t sign anyone else. We’ve got 16 players and that’s it. We’re having a good pre-season but the league is different and 16 players isn’t enough – I want to continue building. I’m ambitious and I want to move forward. When I sat down with the board at the back end of last season we agreed a certain budget and I was working well within that budget. I had enough money to bring in four players but now I’ve been told I can’t bring any more in and I’m four players short'. Michael Byrne is yet to re-sign but Maamria said owner Jim Rushe and the board are making plans to fund a deal for the Wales non-league international.

    He said: 'They’re trying to raise some money and trying very hard. I can understand the financial problems but I’m not asking for a lot. What I’m asking for isn’t going to break the bank'. 'I’m doing my best but there’s no change', admitted Rushe. 'Every single sensible business is making cuts and we’ve made ours. Everybody is tightening their belts at the moment and for the good safeguarding of our football club we’re doing the same'".

    There is more cash around at York, as Blue Square Football reports that "Colin Walker, manager of York City, has been promised transfer funds to aid him in his search for a new goalkeeper. First-choice stopper Michael Ingham looks set to miss the start of the new campaign, throwing Walker into somewhat of a goalkeeping crisis. Josh Mimms filled in for Ingham during Wednesday's friendly against Hartlepool, and if Walker fails in his bid to sign a new keeper, the 18-year-old could be in line to start the new campaign in the Minstermen's goal".

    The BBC says that "Barrow have made ex-Oldham Athletic defender Mike Pearson their third summer signing. Pearson has impressed during his trial period with the Bluebirds and is set to fill the right-back position following Lee Woodyatt's double leg-break. 'We offered Mike terms last week but he just had a bit to think about'. co-boss Dave Bayliss told BBC Radio Cumbria. 'He's got big boots to fill because Lee was outstanding last season but Mike's come in and done well'. Pearson, 20, is a graduate of Oldham's youth set-up but only made one first-team appearance for the Boundary Park club, as substitute against Millwall in February 2007. The Welshman, who has represented his country at Under-15 and Under-16 level, joined Farsley Celtic on loan in October 2007, making seven starts for the Villagers... Barrow are also set to complete the signing of goalkeeper Aaron Taylor from Workington Reds following his trial with the club. Taylor was on the bench for Barrow's 3-1 friendly win against a strong Oldham side on Wednesday night. Striker Jason Walker scored two goals in each half while summer signing Lee Hunt was on target once again for his new side.

    The performance pleased manager Bayliss... 'That's the reaction we wanted' Bayliss said. 'It's been a bit lethargic and sloppy and me and [co-manager] Darren Sheridan let the players know that. They've come back with the exact reaction we thought they would'... Bayliss has also admitted difficulty in his attempts to bring in an experienced signing before the new season gets underway".

    "Weymouth are running the rule over trialist Andy Taylor and will make a decision on his future by the end of the week. The 25-year-old was shown the door at League Two outfit Exeter City at the end of last season after a spell as the Grecians' skipper. Taylor has been searching for a new club for the past two months, with Terras' boss John Hollins handing him a trial recently. And since his arrival at the Wessex Stadium he has impressed the coaching staff enough to warrant a contract, with the decision as to whether he is handed a deal now resting with Hollins".

    At Cambridge United say that manager "Gary Brabin could lose out on winger Felino Jardim after talks between the player's agent and the club broke down. 22-year-old Jardim had done enough during his pre-season trial to be offered a deal with Cambridge United, but talks with the Dutchman's agent have failed to reach agreement so far. Brabin revealed, 'Me and Felino are happy with things. He loves it here and I want him to sign, but without going into to'. Released by Sparta Rotterdam at the end of last season, the former Feyenoord and Holland Under-19 international is now reportedly on trial with Barnet, according to Dutch media reports. Trialists Eddie Hutchinson and Domaine Rouse have returned to Oxford and Bury after their respective trials and Brabin will not take his interest in those players any further".