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February, 2009

28 February 2009


Stevenage would have counted themselves fortunate had they taken just one point from this match but for them to take all three, with a goal deep into stoppage time, was very hard on Altrincham.


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

    Saturday 28th

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


    It is hoped to provide some updates from this afternoon's match between Altrincham and Stevenage Borough on the:
  • Matchday Update Page.

    Before today's match Stevenage Borough report that "Stevenage Borough face a tricky trip to Altrincham this Saturday afternoon... Securing the three points on Tuesday night gave Borough their longest winning streak in fifteen years...

    Over the years Altrincham have generally found themselves amidst a battle for survival at this stage of the season, but their lofty and seemingly safe position of 13th is testament to the excellent job that Graham Heathcote has managed this season. Whilst other teams have struggled, both on and off the pitch, Alty have been quietly picking up points and claiming some decent scalps, with Cambridge, Oxford and Mansfield amongst their victims. Although unlikely to gatecrash the playoffs, Altrincham’s experienced squad will be looking to push on and ensure that, in this unpredictable league, they really are safe from relegation sooner rather than later... Both Ronnie Henry and Darren Murphy are major doubts for this game for Stevenage after injuries in midweek against Woking. Lawrie Wilson and Jon Ashton are expected to take their places... with Michael Bostwick moving into midfield. Chris Day’s recent illness could see him miss out again with Ashley Bayes likely to make his third consecutive start in between the sticks".

    "As is quite common for teams at this level, Altrincham have yet to lose a league game in which they have scored the first goal (15 games, 11 wins, 4 draws) but have won only once from the 15 in which they have conceded the opening goal". For Borough, "Both Scott Laird and Ronnie Henry are currently on four bookings for this season".


    There is a wide range of matches on Setanta in March:
  • 2nd March - Histon v Cambridge Utd
  • 24th March - Histon v Stevenage Boro.
  • 30th March - Woking v Cambridge Utd.


    The Comet says that Stevenage Borough "make the long trip north looking to beat an Altrincham side that hasn't lost at home since Burton Albion won there in late December. Graham Westley's side make the journey buoyed by their 1-0 win against Woking and will be hoping to extend their 16-match unbeaten run. Last Meeting - Boro ran out comfortable 3-0 winners when Altrincham visited The Lamex Stadium in September. Steve Morison scored twice, including a late penalty, either side of a Mitchell Cole strike as Boro recorded back-to-back wins for the first time this season.

    Traditional strugglers, Altrincham have surprised many this season and find themselves occupying 13th place in the Blue Square Premier table. The Robins have only lost twice since the turn of the year away at Oxford United and Torquay United... Colin Little has forged a reputation as one of the League's top marksmen finishing with 21 goals last season and attracting the attention of clubs higher up the football pyramid but, despite this interest, Little has remained loyal to the Robins. The pint-sized Senior has worked his way into manager Graham Heathcote's plans and has rewarded him with goals in several key games... Greg Young has become a key component in the Robins' defence since his switch from Halifax Town last January. The 6ft 3ins defender has played all but one of Altrincham's Blue Square Premier games and will be charged with marking Boro hotshot Morison on Saturday".

    ON A RUN

    A message on the Stevenage Borough forum summarises the current record of our next opponents. Since 6th December 2008, it says "That's 15 unbeaten. 11 wins and 4 draws. 8 wins on the trot. 37 goals scored, 8 conceded. 8 clean sheets. Morison has scored 14 of those 37 goals".


    Former Altrincham reserves' keeper Craig Ellison has joined Flixton, whilst ex-Youth winger Charlie Weir has signed for Leek CSOB.


    Last week's visitors to Moss Lane, Woking "announce the signing of Micah Hyde and the extension of Oli Bozanic's loan, both until the end of the season. Micah Hyde is a midfield player who began his career at Cambridge, where he turned out nearly 100 times before moving to Watford.... He next moved to Burnley (over 100 appearances) and finally spent almost two years at Peterborough before being released in late 2008. Micah has also represented Jamaica a number of times at international level. Manager Phil Gilchrist told us 'Micah is an experienced central midfield player of the type we have been looking for'". Hyde's wages are reportedly being paid by one of Woking's directors.

    QPR tell us that "Midfielder Chris Arthur has joined Rushden & Diamonds on a one month loan deal... Arthur enjoyed a similar spell on loan at Kettering Town earlier in the season".

    According to the Dorset Echo "Weymouth boss Alan Lewer will 'look at everything' before making a decision on his line-up for [the] clash at York City. The Terras held a behind-closed doors trial game last night in a bid to strengthen their side for the 600-mile round trip, following last Saturday’s 9-0 mauling against Rushden & Diamonds when the club was forced to field the majority of their under-18s' team. Players from all over the country took part in the match at the Wessex Stadium but Lewer is keeping his cards very close to his chest. He said: 'We had a behind-closed-doors trial game last night and I am currently looking at everything but one thing is for sure and that is tomorrow’s match is going to be another massive test'...

    Last week, the Terras were offered players from Peterborough United and Leicester City, who would join on loan for nothing to help the club out, but it appears even that possibility is off the agenda for now. Lewer added: 'Clubs will not let any players come to us while we are playing kids. And while there are no experienced pros around the place it is going to be hard to get people in'...Several of the senior players that became free agents on Monday have captured moves to other clubs. Lewer said: 'Kevin Sandwith has signed for Oxford United, Santos Gaia has gone to Crawley Town, Ryan Williams has signed for Mansfield Town and Chris McPhee has gone to Kiddermin-ster Harriers. As for the rest of the lads, Scott Doe is still talking to Dagenham & Redbridge, James Coutts is talking to Rushden & Diamonds, Woking are interested in Stephen Reed, and Sam Cutler is talking to Cambridge United but will go to Macclesfield Town at the end of the season. Cameron Mawer has nothing lined up at the moment while Lee Phillips is talking to three clubs including Stevenage Borough and Kidderminster. I think the other one is Chester City'.

    Behind-the-scenes the club’s directors are still holding talks with a mystery investor from Devon. Chief executive Gary Calder told Echosport last night: 'We have been holding ongoing talks with a potential investor and hopefully we will be in a position to make an announcement on Monday'”.

    In fact, the Oxford Mail confirms that "Oxford United are set to sign Weymouth left back Kevin Sandwith – but it is likely to happen on the basis of a player going out as well. Sandwith, a 30-year-old, will be in the squad for United's televised home game against Torquay United on Saturday evening after completing the paperwork on a deal until the end of the season... There is speculation linking teenage right back James Clarke with a possible move. He is reported to have spoken to League Two clubs Grimsby, Luton and AFC Bournemouth, while league rivals Forest Green Rovers, Mansfield Town and Woking are keeping tabs on him. But it could also be another of the fringe players who moves on". Manager Chris Wilder said “I took him out of Doncaster reserves and he played for me for a year, was excellent, and we sold him to Carlisle". However, "Wilder stressed that Sandwith's arrival doesn't mean regular left-back Chris Carruthers is on his way out".

    From Mansfield Town we learn that "Manager David Holdsworth has signed ex-Weymouth winger Ryan Williams on an 18-month contract following a successful trial... The 30 year old returns to Field Mill following a 12 year absence, having started his career with us in 1995, staying for two years before moving on to Tranmere Rovers. The 5ft 5in winger went on to play for Chesterfield, Hull City, Bristol Rovers, Forest Green Rovers (loan), Aldershot and more recently Weymouth".

    However, earlier This is Nottingham reports that "Mansfield are unlikely to bring in any more players until they trim their existing wage bill, manager David Holdsworth confirmed today. The Stags boss targeted a loan striker from a Football League club earlier in the week with Louis Briscoe (back) already out and Rob Duffy (calf)... But with the possibility of winger Ryan Williams signing, should he impress in his trial, Holdsworth's budget is stretched to its limit. 'I don't think anything is going to happen before the weekend and we need to get players out on loan first', he said. 'I understand that we are top heavy'". Meanwhile, "Scott Gardner is progressing well after a thigh injury and could be available as soon as next weekend's clash with Lewes".

    The Football Conference has issued a statement about Crawley's points deduction which reduced the club's punishment to just one point. "The Board of the Football Conference recognises that the appeals process has worked. All parties have had a fair hearing from the three man independent commission. The appeal boards decision to uphold the deduction of a point and apply fines as per the original process confirms that the Conference commission applied the rules correctly. The Conference board has no issue with the final decision and is committed to and believes fully in the appeals process. Football Conference Chairman, Brian Lee comments: 'Additional to the findings of the appeal process this morning I can confirm that the structural and administration review at the Football Conference headquarters is progressing well under the direction of the review sub-committee. I am confident that we will have a final report and recommendations for the board before the end of this current season'.

    "The England 'C' team's international tie against Belgium in May is set to be hosted at Oxford United's Kassam Stadium... The 2-2 draw in Italy last year sealed qualification for the International Challenge Trophy final by the non-league representative side" says Blue Square Football.

    And "Oxford United’s financial future was offered a boost last night after the club brokered a key deal with controversial former chairman and stadium owner Firoz Kassam... Mr Kassam – who left the Us in 2006 – has agreed with the club a 50/50 split for advertising and match-day food and drink sales. Fans avoided kiosks at the stadium and there was a reduction in the number of advertising boards around the pitch because the money went to Mr Kassam’s Firoka business. Club chairman Kelvin Thomas said: 'One of my focuses when I first came in as chairman was to develop the relationship between the club and Firoka. 'This agreement is the logical next step for the football gives us the opportunity to continue building our relationship with Firoka with the medium and long-term goal of owning the stadium ourselves'".

    Dean Saunders continues to add to his Wrexham squad by "agreeing terms with ex-Man Utd, Blackburn and Forest defender John Curtis. The former England U21 & B international has been non-contract with Worcester City of late... Still only 30, John has been looking to get back into the full-time game. He said, 'Dean's a long standing friend... I've had trials at places like Preston, Hull City and Notts County, so it's nice to just back with a team'... Nuneaton-born John attended the FA National School of Excellence at Lilleshall before joining Manchester United in 1995 as a trainee... John made his first-team debut in a 7-0 win over Barnsley on 25th October 1997, going on to made a total of 13 appearances for United as well as 28 for Barnsley, where he was on loan during the 1999-2000 season. In the summer of 2000, Graham Souness signed him to Blackburn Rovers for £1,500,000 and he was an ever-present in the 2000-01 season with Rovers gaining promotion to the Premier League... John then had spells with Leicester City, Portsmouth and Preston North End (on loan) before joining Nottingham Forest... A free transfer to Queens Park Rangers followed, before he joined up with old friend Richard Dryden at Worcester City in January 2009, seeking a return to the professional game".

    There is no list yet on Setanta's site but individual televised games are being mentioned on BSP clubs' websites. For example, Kettering Town say that their game at home to Oxford United on 19th March will be screened live on Setanta". Altrincham have yet to have a home match screened this season.

    "20-year old left sided Scunthorpe United winger / striker, Peter Winn, has joined Barrow on emergency loan for 1 month... Although also eligible, Lee Steele on loan from Northwich, will not feature as it transpires that a verbal agreement was made between the player and parent club before agreeing to him being loaned out. The Barrow management team have allowed Steele to keep his word, despite the agreement not being made between the two clubs".

    The Argus says that "Striker Sam Gargan has had his loan spell at Eastbourne Borough brought to an end. Gargan was supposed to complete his month at Priory Lane after tomorrow's trip to Kidderminster with Borough hoping to extend the deal for a further month. However, [Brighton & Hove] Albion caretaker boss Dean White decided to recall the 20-year-old on Friday afternoon as the Seagulls are struggling for numbers".

    27 February 2009


    Altrincham will now travel to Ebbsfleet United on Tuesday 31st March at 7.45pm. The game has had to be moved because of Ebbsfleet's involvement in the FA Trophy semi-finals on the original date.


    Crawley Town Football Club have today appeared before an FA Appeal Board in relation to a Football Conference decision to deduct them 4 points for fielding an unregistered player earlier in the season. The Football Club's appeal was headed by Barrister Adam Lewis and attended by Chairman Vic Marley, Directors Susan Carter, Steve Mansell and Barry Munn.

    The appeal case lasted over 4 hours as both Crawley Town Football Club and The Football Conference presented their evidence to the 3 man FA Appeal board. Crawley Town Football Club are delighted to announce that the FA Appeal board have upheld the appeal so therefore only 1 point will be deducted from the current points total thus ensuring the Reds are very much part of The Blue Square Premier Conference playoff race.

    A full statement will be issued by The Chairman Vic Marley later this afternoon but speaking within minutes of the decision, clearly delighted he said from the steps of Soho Square, The FA Headquarters; 'We are all delighted that justice has prevailed. We were given a full and fair hearing. At this stage I must thank our barrister Adam Lewis for presenting our case which we knew from the outset was strong. I will now take time to reflect on this decision, speak with my fellow board members, take advice once again from Adam Lewis and then issue a full statement in due course. That will in turn educate our supporters, players and staff who after all are the most important people in all of this'".


    On behalf of the Board, Altrincham FC vice-chairman Grahame Rowley writes:

    It is with regret that Altrincham Football Club has to announce that they have had to make Lisa Jones, their Commercial Executive, redundant as from the end of March 2009. The credit crunch has hit the club hard like most other clubs in this league and if they are to finish the season within budget they will have to make savings wherever possible. This is not the first and will not be the last cost cutting measure that will have to take place.

    The Football Club would like to thank Lisa for all the hard work that she has put into the job over the last 9 months and wish her all the best in her future career. We hope to still see Lisa down at Moss Lane cheering on The Robins.


    Altrincham FC joint press officer, John Edwards writes:

    Graham Heathcote is hoping referee Ian Smedley keeps his cards in his pocket against Stevenage on Saturday - for Altrincham's players, at least. Several Alty players are just one booking away from a suspension - Greg Young (right) among them - but will have the slate wiped clean, if they can avoid a caution against the Blue Square Conference's form team at Moss Lane.

    'This is the last Saturday for picking up a ban for five bookings,' said Heathcote. 'After that, we are in the clear for the rest of the season, unless someone goes daft and gets into double figures, or something like that. We've got three or four who are just one booking away, so we'll have to hope we come through the game unscathed, from a disciplinary point of view'.

    The Alty boss at least has ready-made cover for Young, should the dependable Alty centre-back be unfortunate enough to have his name taken, after the arrival of Michael Welch on loan from Northwich. 'I've seen a few mentions of Michael being able to play here and there, but I can tell you he is 100 per cent a centre-half,' he said. 'He went up front after going on as a late substitute against Woking purely because of the circumstances. We simply weren't getting the ball in attacking areas towards the end and had to try and do something about it. It also meant we had another six-foot-plus presence to help out at corners, and considering he has not had a lot of football recently, Ithought he did well'.

    Richard Acton makes way for Stuart Coburn's return from suspension, with Heathcote leading the acclaim for his heroics in the 1-0 win over Woking. 'Accie was absolutely fantastic,' he said. 'He made an early save from a one-on-one that seemed to settle him down, and by the end, there was a case for saying he had done more than anyone to earn us the points. He was always going to be standing in for just the one game, but he will be staying with us. Everyone is happy about that, because he's a good lad to have around the place'.

    Chris Denham (left) trained this week, after shaking off an ankle knock, and is expected to be available".


    In the Sale & Altrincham Messenger, Graham Heathcote says "I haven't been happy with our general play in the past three games and it's just as well we've been right defensively or we wouldn't have picked up so many points. There seems to be an air of panic when we've got the ball and I can't understand that, for the life of me. If we are like that against Stevanage, we are going to be in for a difficult afternoon because they are playing with the confidence you would expect of a team unbeaten in 16 games. we need to relax a bit more and get back to the form, on our own pitch, that we were showing against the likes of Oxford, Mansfield and Wrexham".

    Referring to last Saturday, Graham added, "Some people seemd a bit worried about Accie (goalkeeper, Richard Acton) having to step in but I always felt the situation was made for him. When he is fully focused, he is a very good keeper and he was absolutely fantastic".


    News of our next opponents, Steveanage Borough, comes from The Comet. "Ronnie Henry and Darren Murphy are major doubts for Saturday's trip to Altrincham after both hobbled off in Boro's win against Woking on Tuesday. Henry is likely to be out for at least a week with a dead leg while Murphy had to be replaced in the first half putting his participation in doubt for the long trip north on Saturday... [Manager Graham] Westley told The Comet: 'Ronnie's got a muscle injury - it's not as acute as a knee problem. I think he will be out for about a week to 10 days... It's the same for Darren but hopefully it won't be as bad as we're thinking down there at the moment'. Henry's problem allowed Jon Ashton to come on and make his debut following his January move from Grays and the 25-year-old slotted in at the heart of the defence seamlessly alongside Mark Roberts...

    Westley warned his side they face a tough task against Altrincham at the weekend but added the fillip of going for 10 consecutive wins should see them through. 'Any time you travel north then you know what you're going to get', he said. 'They are a hardworking side and they've got some good talent in their team. They have improved a lot this year compared to last. They came here earlier this season and I thought they were unfortunate to go away defeated 3-0. We're not underestimating the challenge at all. They won at home last weekend against Woking so you could so we are matched at the moment in terms of recent results. We'll go up there determined to bring three points back again. It's vital we keep winning. It would be great to make it 10 wins on the bounce. We've got lots to play for and we're ready'".


    The BBC reports that "Youngsters from all over England have turned up at troubled Blue Square Premier side Weymouth in a bid to get a game this Saturday against York. The cash-strapped club fielded a youth team against Rushden last week after most of the first-team squad left - and are looking for a team to face York. 'One player's come down from QPR, one from Brighton and one from Hitchin', coach Tim Davis told BBC South Today. Talks are continuing to save the Terras, who lost 9-0 against Rushden. Former Torquay youth team player Matt Hayward said: 'I thought it's a good opportunity to get some first-team football. I didn't get the chance at Torquay so I saw this opportunity and thought I'd grab it with both hands'. Former Terras' striker Martin Underhay, now advising at the club, said: 'It's hard for them to come to terms with playing for Weymouth's first team in the first place but to go straight into a Conference game from youth level is practically impossible'".

    Meanwhile, the Dorset Echo says that "Nine local businessmen have had their offer of a rescue package to save Weymouth FC rejected for the time being by the club’s board of directors... whilst the procedure of due diligence is undertaken on a potential new investor from Devon who has been holding talks with chief executive Gary Calder. The group... has since released the following statement: 'We got together as a group of local businessmen when it became obvious that the football club needed assistance and we put together a proposal for the football club which we believed would have secured its future... We are also Weymouth FC supporters and it was our full intention that the future of Weymouth FC would rest in the hands of the true supporters and the local community. We were also prepared to invest money and our time free of charge. However, as we understand it, our offer has been rejected by the board in favour of another offer'...

    Calder told Echosport 'The situation is quite clear. The board have to take into consideration all offers on the table and make the right decision for the club going forward... We want to make sure that the club does not get into the situation it is now ever again and we will need the help of the local business community to ensure that is the case'... Meanwhile, Echosport contacted the Football Conference League to ask whether any clubs had complained about the Terras fielding a youth team in their fixture against Rushden & Diamonds last Saturday. They responded by saying: 'It is a club matter and we are currently awaiting further information from the club regarding its operational position'”.

    Salisbury City have "signed young goalkeeper Grant Porter on Football Conference forms. Porter has appeared regularly for the reserves... It has now been decided that Jonathan Davies's loan at AFC Totton will be extended, but will be on a month-to-month basis until the end of the season".

    Another departure from Weymouth is confirmed by Kidderminster Harriers who "announce the signing of former Weymouth midfielder Chris McPhee. McPhee... signs on at Aggborough as a free agent on a deal until the end of the season. With 30 league games and seven goals already under his belt this term, the former Torquay United player was a big part of the Weymouth side and was hailed as a major coup for the club when they signed him in the summer - McPhee turning down the advances of many Football League sides to join up with the side then managed by John Hollins. That came on the back of a fantastic season last season for him at Ebbsfleet United". Manager Mark Yates added, "It's a short-term deal until the end of the season with a view to us having a look at one another for next year".

    This is Local London reports that "Ebbsfleet United, the club owned by its fans, is struggling to attract enough shareholders to raise its budget for next season... The Stonebridge Road outfit had set itself a target of getting 12,000 renewal subscriptions by last Thursday, but its chairman said only 10,000 had been secured so far. Former Conference chief executive John Moules said: 'Realistically, we need between 15,000 and 16,000 subscribers to raise the running costs for next season, which are around £500,000 to £600,000. February 19 was when the first year members’ subscriptions became renewable, and we had hoped to have 12,000 by then, but we are still a couple of thousand short... We expect to reach between 15,000 and 16,000 before the new season begins in August'. However, if the club fails to get enough subscriptions to meet its running costs, it may have to be sold". In similar vein, Kent Online has an audio interview with the Fleet CEO, David Davis. It adds that John Moules said: 'We have always been planning and hoping to get 12,000 initially... From the 32,000 people who initially signed up, our target [by next season] has always been somewhere between 15,000 and 16,000'. The club are due to hold a board meeting on Wednesday at Stonebridge Road.

    In Sussex, the Argus tells us that Crawley Town have "signed midfielder Gavin Hurren and defender Santos Gaia until the end of the season. Midfielder Hurren, 23, started the campaign with Mansfield before joining Conference north outfit Kings Lynn last month. The former Kidderminster schemer was targetted by boss Steve Evans in the summer but opted for the Stags when they made him a better financial offer. Brazil-born Gaia, 30, has joined from crisis club Weymouth. The central defender made 119 Football League appearances for Exeter before spells at Grays, Stevenage and Halifax".

    "Alan Marriott today predicted Mansfield Town would finish their Blue Square Premier campaign season strongly – because so many players are vying to be part of the club's future", he told This is Nottingham. "The Stags' first choice goalkeeper is one of those already under contract for next season along with the likes of Scott Garner, Jonathan D'Laryea and Louis Briscoe. But a raft of other players – especially those brought in by ex-boss Billy McEwan – are on one-year deals that run out in the summer. Players in that category include Adie Moses, Michael Blackwood, Alan O'Hare, Alex Jeannin, Mark Stallard, Matt Somner, Gary Silk and Aaron O'Connor... 'A few years ago there were three and four-year contracts around and people were not having to worry about their futures'," he said.'Clubs can't afford to do that anymore. There are a lot of players out of contract here in the summer, but players can often thrive in that situation because they want to show they deserve to be part of the future... There are 14 games to go, and even if we finish in mid-table there is still a lot to play for because there are bills to be paid'".

    The Oxford Mail interviews Oxford United chairman Kelvin Thomas. Asked about Oxford's Kassam Stadium , he said "The licence agreement here is for 25 years, and a 25-year option. If we decided that we did not want to play here, we would still be liable to pay the rent, so there would be no benefit in moving". Thomas added "The football club has a financial shortfall this season... We are in a better place now than when I took over as chairman... I would not say that the club is in ‘deep financial straits’, but we are certainly in a financially-challenging position... It would be very difficult to try and attract players and commercial partners if we stated exactly how much we were losing each week". He refused to reveal the club's wage bill... Firoz [Kassam] has been very flexible and now allows us to pay monthly rather than quarterly. This has helped us with our cash flow".

    Asked, "Have you talked to Sir Richard Branson about buying the stadium and renaming it the Virgin Stadium?", the chairman replied, "Yes, the club have spoken to Richard Branson, but he has unfortunately confirmed that he did not want to invest in a football club – at this time". Meanwhile, he said, "The club has converted its overdraft facility into a loan with the bank".

    As for manager Chris Wilder, Mr Davis said "The encouraging thing is that Chris has already shown everyone what he can do within a certain budget. He certainly has a very realistic idea of what players are worth in this league. I see the budget reducing naturally next season". Questioned about the refusal to hold a fans' forum, he said, "What I do not want to do is sit at the front of a room, be asked lots of good questions by supporters and be unable to give a proper answer to them – that is of no benefit to them or me".

    26 February 2009


    Alex Meechan is returning to Moss Lane from his loan to Stalybridge Celtic but will not be available for Alty until after this Saturday. Meanwhile, goalkeeper Richard Acton (right) is to remain available for Altrincham for the remainder of this season. Richard kept goal for the Robins last week in the absence of the suspended Stuart Coburn. Striker Jody Banim is also set to return to his parent club, Burton Albion, following the end of his one-month loan period this Saturday. Jody has a hip injury so is not available for Altrincham against Stevenage. Jody made two starts and one appearance from the bench and scored one goal for Altrincham.


    Details of the supporters' transport to Kettering (3rd March) and Grays (7th) are on the Away Travel page.


    Vice-chairman Grahame Rowley writes,

    "As you may be aware, we are holding a Sportsman's Evening on Thursday 26th March at the Cresta Court Hotel, with guest speaker Mickey Thomas. The evening will also consist of a 5 course meal, a comedian, auction and raffle and with Graham Heathcote as MC. At present we do not have sufficient numbers for this event and we need your help... If you would like to attend or know of anyone who would, please contact myself or Karen at the club or on 07720-606897. Tickets are priced at £45 each. This is a vital fundraiser for the Football Club, raising money needed to sustain our current Blue Square Premier campaign and ensure a successful future. Thanks, Grahame Rowley".


    Whilst many BSP clubs are reporting substantial deficits running into hundreds of thousands of pounds, Altrincham FC's losses are also on a large scale. The club reports that it has lost 126 pounds so far this season, which may not sound like a body-blow, but when weighed against pre-Christmas figures, the scale of loss is dramatic - almost 10% on some of its major assets, as the results of the recent Sponsored Slim at Altrincham FC reveal.

  • Darren Gregory - lost 16 pounds
  • Mark Eckersall - lost 20 pounds
  • Grahame Rowley - lost 19 pounds
  • Graham Heathcote - lost 14 pounds
  • Lewis Needham - lost 16 pounds
  • Brian Flynn - lost 8 pounds
  • Neil Faulkner - lost 12 pounds
  • Paul Daine - lost 9 pounds
  • Dave Johnson - lost 12 pounds

    Altogether, this is a loss of 9 stone (126 pounds). In fact, the associated sponsorship will have raised a significant four-figure cash sum for the football club and all concerned are to be congratulated for their self-denial. Having bumped into the slim-line Neil Faulkner on Tuesday evening at the local parade of shops in Sale, I can confirm that he, for one, is still resisting the lure of food as he successfully walked past an inviting Italian take-away and a Chinese chip shop without a backwards glance. Though whether his supermarket carrier bag contained sticks of celery or chocolate cakes, I couldn't tell!

    The greatest percentage of body weight lost was achieved by Alty vice-chairman Grahame Rowley with a 9% loss. Grahame says "Congratulations to everyone who took part in the 2009 Sponsored Slim - now the aim must be to keep this weight off!".


    Midfielder Jordan Hadfield (right, courtesy of Gavin Rathbone) has returned to Macclesfield Town and, in fact, played for 63 minutes last night for the Silkmen against Port Vale. In his one-month loan spell Jordan started one game and was a used substitute on three occasions. Altrincham FC wishes him good luck for his future career and thanks him for his efforts on the club's behalf.


    Spare a thought for Altrincham FC commercial executive, Lisa Jones, as the many fixture changes this season have wrought havoc on the matchday sponsorship arrangements at Moss Lane. When games are switched from one date to another the original sponsors quite often cannot attend on the new date and Lisa and coleague Barry Pond have to start all over again. Lisa's latest Matchday Sponsors list shows you where there are still gaps - so if you can help by sponsoring a game or a matchball, please contact Lisa on (0161) 928-1045.


    Manchester United Reserves' remaining fixtures at Moss Lane are as follows. All kick off at 7pm.
  • Thu. 26 Feb. v Manchester City Res.
  • Thu. 5 Mar. v Middlesbrough Res.
  • Thu. 19 Mar. v Hull City Res.
  • Thu. 16 Apr. v Everton Res.
  • Thu. 23 Apr. v Newcastle United Res.
  • Wed. 29 Apr. v SUnderland Res.


    News of Altrincham's opponents on Saturday, Stevenage Borough, comes from The Comet, "Manager Graham Westley saluted Lee Boylan's moment of quality after the former Cambridge man's second half strike sealed three valuable points against Woking last night... Westley told The Comet, 'We know that in our side there is always a Boylan who can come and nick something out of nothing. There is a (Steve) Morison who can open teams up with his pace in behind. There's a Mitchell (Cole) who can do something with a flash of inspiration. All over the park there are goals in our side. We're always going to make chances... [Woking] put in a solid, resilient defensive shape out there and tried to pin our full backs back and make it difficult in the middle of the park'... The three points kept up the club's charge for a play-offs and Westley has targeted the runners-up spot with Burton Albion all but promoted at the top of the table".


    At the bottom of League Two, Bournemouth have all but caught Grimsby Town to escape the second relegation place. Given Bournemouth's form is much better than Grimsby's (the Dorset club had a 17-point deduction), the current favourites to join the BSP next season are the Lincolnshire side and Luton Town. The Hatters now have 6 points, after starting on minus 30. With approximately a third of the season left, they would not gather enough points to escape relegation if they amassed them at the same rate as they have done so far this season. Sitting just above Grimsby are former Conference clubs Barnet and Chester City. Darlington yesterday announced they were going into administration but their ten-point penalty will leave them safely in mid-table.


    An article that appeared in the Hinckley United programme recently, written by the Knitters' Chairman throws some light on trabsfer embargoes in the Conference and also reveals a sensible approach to cash-flow problems. He wrote "All member clubs of the Football Conference have to report their finances on a quarterly basis to the league and if you have any debt to the Inland Revenue or VAT then the league apply an embargo. At that time there were nine clubs with outstanding monies and we explained to the Conference why our debt was there and that we were in discussions with the Inland Revenue as to what we were going to do... All creditors and players will be paid up to date. We will not be borrowing money against the stadium and we hope to have the debt to the Revenue paid within 14 days".

    The chairman interestingly reveals that as part of their cost-cutting "We’ve saved an awful amount on rates for example, the clubs on Tameside (Hyde, Droylsden, Stalybridge, Curzon Ashton) don’t pay any rates and, having spoken to all other clubs in our league, we were paying the highest rates and after three years discussing this with the council, we’ve now knocked £10,000 a year off our rates bill and they’ve also given us a rebate. We have saved a huge amount of money on the printers in the office... To put it in perspective, at Middlefield Lane [former ground] our turnover was around £175,000 a year on a £10,000 overdraft facility. We are now turning over £800,000 a year on the same overdraft and this has been discussed with the bank, but no bank is willing to increase an overdraft with a football club at the moment but this does affect our cash flow... When the embargo does get lifted, don’t expect a flurry of transfer activity – there’s no money... If players come in, others will have to go first... Looking longer term, I think players generally are in for a massive reality check in the summer, and I think it applies to players from League One and below, every year wages have increased, but I think most clubs will be cutting their wage bill in the summer... There is absolutely no long-term concern over the future of the football club. We have a short-term finance problem".


    The Manchester Evening News has a feature on Glossop North End, who have reached the FA Vase quarter finals and play Marske United at home this Saturday. MEN's pen portraits feature three ex-Alty players, all graduates of our youth team. They are 18 year-old goalkeeper Stefan Fielding, who kept goal in the first three rounds of the Vase; 22 year-old Kelvin Lugsden, twin brother of Witton Albion's Kieran. Glossop manager Steve Young says of central defender Kelvin that he is "nicknamed 'Permatan' because of all the time he spends on a sun bed!". The third ex-Alty man is striker Tom Bailey (right) who last summer was involved in Alty's first-team pre-season. Young says of Tom, 19, that he "joined us from Curzon earlier this season and is proving to be a good acquisition. very quick over 10 yards and a good link-up player. He has settled in well even though he has been largely confined to the bench, but his time will come".

    Current Alty squad member Danny Heffernan scored again for Abbey Hey in their 1-1 draw with Silsden on Tuesday night. Also on the mark, was Stone Dominoes' Stuart Schueber, in a 1-1 draw at Leek CSOB. Chris Timons played for relegation-threatened Hucknall Town but they lost at home to Redditch United. Former Alty Youth Ryan Stewart turned out for Congleton Town against AFC Fylde the same night. Alty's Alex Meechan, on loan at Stalybridge, scored Celtic's goal as they lost 1-2 to Gateshead.

    News of an ex-Altrincham player comes from Crawley Town who tell us that "Aldershot Town have re-called Reds loanee Lewis Chalmers as they themselves face an injury crisis. Chalmers has been a key part of the Reds midfield in the absence of the injured Thomas Pinault but he has today returned to his parent club. Reds' boss Steve Evans said; 'Lewis has been excellent for us... I have no doubt he will go back to Aldershot Town and do very well for them. He is a talented boy, a real winner and he will be a loss to us'. Team boss Evans hinted that a short term replacement could be brought in this week".


    Altrincham played at Newcastle Blue Star this season in the FA Cup and the UniBond League reports that "Blue Star would like to express our disappointment that this season has seen so many games fall foul to cancellation... This season has seen 5 to date and one game switched to the away ground. The club have called in experts who have advised the club that the playing surface has contracted a disease to the grass which is causing massive irrigation problems... The club have been proactive in respect of this... even going to the extent of attempting to rearrange our last fixture against Woodley Sports at Garforth Town, 96 miles away".


    The Northants Evening Telegraph reports that "Keith Cousins admits the long-term future of Rushden & Diamonds faces 'a massive blow' if the youth set-up is forced into closure this summer. The whole programme for centre of excellence players has been put into jeopardy... particularly since Cousins was left alone to provide funds following director Lee Power's resignation. The system has already produced the likes of David Bell – currently at Championship club Coventry City – and current first-team stars Andy Burgess, Marcus Kelly, Sam Smith and Jake Beecroft. Diamonds chairman Cousins said: 'If we don't get financial support for the club in other ways then that's going to be one of many things to be lost... I will have to review all aspects and make difficult decisions. That would mean nobody else coming through the system... Very few of the clubs in our league have a youth scheme such as ours. Our under-18s are on top of the table against Football League clubs this season. But the fact is we've got to get this club in to an even better financial state than we're in at the moment... Since Power went, the obligation has fallen onto myself. Unless we can attract additional income then the club's future is open for discussion'".

    The NET also reports on Kettering's 0-0 with Northwich on Tuesday saying "Another goalless draw... This was, to put it bluntly, awful. And, on this performance, it is perhaps fair to say that talk of Kettering Town reaching the Blue Square Premier play-offs was slightly premature... It was lowly Northwich Victoria who looked the more likely to nick a goal... The [Vics'] team was under new management with former Worcester City boss Andy Preece taking temporary charge... Kettering sorely missed the magic and hard work of Andre Boucaud in the centre of the pitch... A third clean sheet in four games is certainly a positive. But on the attacking front, [manager] Cooper will still be thoroughly frustrated."

    From the other side, the Nortwhich Guardian says that "Caretaker manager Andy Preece hailed the passion of his players after they held play-off hopefuls Kettering. The former Bury boss – assisted by Andy Morrison – guided Vics to a first clean sheet since October as they pinched a point off the Poppies. 'It’s not a bad start is it?' he said. 'It would have been nice to win the game but the lads were clearly happy at the end and I’ll take that. I can’t say we deserved to win but we definitely deserved a point', said Preece. 'Our backs weren’t to the wall and we created as much as they did to be honest'... Preece and Morrison met the players for the first time this morning after answering owner Jim Rushe’s call to look after the team following Steve King’s departure on Saturday. It’s an offer the ex-Worcester City management team were happy to take. 'The lads have responded superbly considering the situation they find themselves in off the pitch', said Preece. 'I couldn’t be more pleased with the way the players have reacted... They’ve listened to what we’ve told them'... The exodus of half a dozen players since King’s exit left Preece short on numbers, and he recalled Jonny Allan, Aaron Burns and Ryan Brown to the starting line-up... It’s obvious the squad is short on numbers and we could do with a couple of players to help out but I can’t ask any more of the players than what they’ve given today'".

    The Dorset Echo says that "A consortium of local businessmen will find out today whether their offer of a rescue package has been accepted by the Weymouth FC board. The group were expecting an answer last night but after discussions with the club’s financial director Ian Winsor they agreed to extend the deadline into today. It is also understood that Gary Calder has been holding talks with a mystery investor from Devon but the Terras’ chief executive has refused to confirm or deny whether any such meetings have taken place. He said: 'I cannot comment at the moment about any of the negotiations that are ongoing but what I can say is that the board is working tirelessly and it is important that we make the right decision for the club going forward. We have got to make sure everything that is done is in the best interests of Weymouth FC and we hope to have some news in the next 24 to 48 hours'. Meanwhile, there has also been speculation concerning a third offer from former chairman Ian Ridley but the newspaper columnist has since poured scorn on such talk. He said: 'What I told Ian Winsor is that if it came to the club being liquidated I would be willing to do something to help because I do not want to see the club fold but I have not made an offer'... The Terras are due to make the long journey to York City on Saturday and it is still unclear whether they will have to field their youth side once again".

    25 February 2009


    Following the postponement of our game at Ebbsfleet United on Saturday 21 March (see below), the home match with Forest Green Rovers has now been moved to that date from Tuesday 31 March. Kick off will be at 3pm. There is no new date for the Ebbsfleet match yet.


    The Northwich Guardian reports on Vics 0-0 draw with Kettering on Tuesday night as "Ryan Brown kicked off the line in stoppage time to seal Vics' first shutout since October. In truth a Poppies winner would have robbed the hosts, who were worth a share of the spoils... Caretaker management duo Andy Preece and Andy Morrison achieved something their predecessor Steve King did not - guiding their backline to a clean sheet". The attendance at the newly opened Marston's Arena was just 479.


    Late yesterday (Tuesday) The Football Conference confirmed that all of the BSP fixtures on the final day of this season will be moved to Sunday 26th April (from the day before) and will kick off at 4pm. That fixture for Altrincham is away at Cambridge United. Setanta Sports will televise one of the games on that date.


    Just over £1,000 was raised at Saturday's New Recruits Evening - the Club would like to thank everyone who attended the event as well as the players, management and backroom staff who answered questions during the evening.


    The FA says that "The draw has been made for the Semi-Final of The FA Trophy, with only Stevenage Borough and York City definitely through. Stevenage will host the winner of the Ebbsfleet United v Wrexham Fourth Round replay in the first leg on 14 March. York City will have to travel to either AFC Telford United or Southport on the same day. Both Fourth Round replays will take place on 24 February.

    The full Semi-Final line-up: first leg - 3pm, Saturday 14 March 2009

  • Stevenage Borough v Ebbsfleet United
  • AFC Telford United v York City

    Second leg - 3pm, Saturday 21 March 2009

    Because Altrincham were set to visit Ebbsfleet on 21st March, that game will now have to be moved to a midweek trip. If it is to be a Tuesday game, 17th March looks a possibility as Ebbsfleet have a game on 24th March; Alty have a fixture on Tuesday 31 March and both teams play on Tuesdays 7 April and 21 April, whilst the intervening week is Easter week, with games on the Monday 13th.


    Steve Foster of TASC reports that the recycling of used mobile phones has recahed 62 so far and has raised about £500! If you have any old mobiles to be recycled plese contact Steve c/o the club.


    The referee for Saturday's game against Stevenage Borough at Moss Lane is Mr I. Smedley and next Tuesday, at Kettering, it will be Mr R. J. West.

    Mr Smedley has handled several previous Altrincham games including:

    Right: Captain, Gary Talbot (left), intercedes in behalf of Mark Maddox (right) but referee Smedley nevertheless books the the Altrincham no.4 at Gainsborough in April 2005.

  • KETTERING TOWN 0 ALTRINCHAM 1 Nationwide North, 19 February, 2005
  • GAINSBOROUGH TRINITY 0 ALTRINCHAM 1, Nationwide, 2 April, 2005
  • ALTRINCHAM 0 MORECAMBE 2, Nationwide Conference, 10 October 2006

    Mr West also has reffed Alty before including:

  • ALTRINCHAM 1 CAMBRIDGE UNITED, Blue Square Premier, 22 November 2008
  • ALTRINCHAM 3 HALIFAX TOWN 3, Blue Square Premier, 4 March 2008
  • WHITBY TOWN 2 ALTRINCHAM 3, UniBond League Premier Division, 17 April, 2004
  • KENDAL TOWN 0 ALTRINCHAM 1, FA Cup 4th Qualifying Round match, 27 October, 2007


    Weymouth FC state that "The future of Weymouth Football Club is finally set to be decided in the next few days. It is believed that talks are ongoing between a group of local businessmen and the club to see if an agreement can be reached. With all the senior players set to leave the Terras also face a relegation battle even if they do survive going into administration. They would have to rely on teenagers and emergency loan signings to see them through to the end of the season... Terras' fixture secretary Pete Saxby claims the future of the club lies in the fans running the club on a voluntary basis. He said: 'A lot of fans have asked me to investigate the possibility of this club becoming owned by the fans who could then elect a rolling board through an election. I told them that I would put a business plan together and would look at options to see where we could play. My guess would be that we could afford to play in the British Gas Business League. Everything would be done by the fans, who would participate in the day to day running of the club as volunteers and have a big say in its decisions. We would fulfil the club's fixtures for the rest of this season and after speaking to the chairman of the Conference, who was here today, we could then take voluntary relegation to a level we could afford, which would give us the chance to rebuild the foundations of the club'".

    The Hendon and Finchley Times says that "Wingate & Finchley are looking for a new boss after Michael Stone this week joined Rushden & Diamonds as assistant manager. Stone, who was appointed manager of the Blues in September 2007, leaves the club in a good position, with the Ryman League Division One North play-offs in sight".

    "Colin Lee, chief executive of Torquay United, has called on the league's governing body to act quickly with regards to the situation at Weymouth" states Blue Square Football. "Lee is afraid that the league will become 'a mockery' if more results like the 9-0 victory for Rushden & Diamonds over the weekend are able to continue. Lee told This Is South Devon: 'I am sure virtually every other club...will have already contacted the Board. We all entered into a competition at the start of the season on a level playing-field. What's happened at Weymouth has made a mockery of that. Knowing (league chairman) Brian Lee quite well, I assume that he and the board are trying to do something about the situation, and I would expect that. It's a very unfortunate situation at Weymouth, but that doesn't change the fact that Rushden, for a start, have got nine goals in their favour, which was achieved under a big disadvantage to everyone else. It has to be addressed as quickly as possible. I am not interested in our results against Weymouth, as much as the need to sort this situation out for the good of the competition as a whole. If it's zero points for everyone against Weymouth, then so be it".

    NL Daily tells us that "Celebrity psychic Dean 'Midas' Maynard is known around the country for changing the fortunes of many football clubs and celebrities and today he has come forward to offer his help to beleagured Weymouth. Dean (or Midas as he is better known) has an idea which he hopes will raise tonnes of cash for the club and may hopefully also attract an investor. Maynard said: 'I really want to do all I can for Weymouth and it's supporters, to see any club like this is heartbreaking for a true football fan like myself. What I want to do is attract donations and sponsors for me to play - even if it`s only for a few minutes - in Weymouth's last home game of the season against Ebbsfleet United. I know it could raise a fortune so I hope Weymouth will allow it to happen'... Thirty-six-year-old Maynard has in his time played for Reading schoolboys and youth, he has also had trials with Oxford United (who were in the Football League at the time) Walsall and he has played for various non-League sides around the country".

    The BBC confirms that "Woking have agreed terms to sign goalkeeper Danny Knowles. The deal is subject to his release from troubled Weymouth, and FA clearance, Knowles being among a host of players exiting the cash-strapped Dorset side. Knowles, 23, will be the fifth keeper to represent the The Cards in the Blue Square Premier this season. Ross Worner started the season, Lenny Pidgeley then took over before Nick Gindre. And the latest, on-loan Simon Eastwood has returned to Huddersfield". Eastwood's last game was at Moss Lane last Saturday.

    According to the Argus "Lewes have agreed to extend the loans of Guy Butters and Shaun Wilkinson. Havant and Waterlooville are happy for the pair to stay at the Dripping Pan for a second month".

    From Kent Online we learn that "Ebbsfleet have been left thousands short of hitting their initial MyFootballClub renewals target of 12,000. The deadline for renewals passed last Thursday although people can sign up at any time via the website. Chairman John Moules said: 'As far as I understand we are nearing 10,000 renewals. We have always been planning and hoping to get 12,000 initially. People will carry on joining and renewing over the next few months. We’re looking at 12,000 as a first target. At the moment we are some way towards that. “Obviously we’d like as many as possible but realistically from the 32,000 people who initially signed up, our target has always been somewhere between 15,000 and 16,000'.

    The club are due to hold a board meeting on Wednesday at Stonebridge Road. Mr Moules said: 'We have got the first figures coming through so we are going to sit down and make some serious decisions'. Selling the club is an option but Mr Moules is hoping they can avoid this. He explained: 'I am always the optimist and never the pessimist and I’d like us to be in a position where we don’t have to consider that. The model has been fantastic and I think that members and owners deserve another year'”.

    This is Glos tells us that "Forest Green forward Les Afful must undergo a knee operation and will not play again this season. The 25-year-old twisted his knee at the end of the 2-2 draw with Histon earlier this month, and a scan has shown a tear in his posterior cruciate ligament... Manager Jim Harvey is reeling from the loss of the versatile Liverpudlian. 'We'll have to send Les to the surgeon, which will rule him out for six to nine months', said Harvey. 'It was such an innocuous incident. There was no challenge, he just turned awkwardly and felt his knee pop'... Harvey pulled no punches in his post-match assessment of Saturday's 4-0 drubbing at Stevenage Borough in the FA Trophy, questioning his players' 'guts and character'... Harvey said: 'Saturday's performance surprised me, as we had been playing well for the best part of January and February and fancied ourselves to get a result... It's vital we regroup for a very tough and important game at Torquay. 'They don't play a terrific amount of football but are very workmanlike and a real threat from set-pieces, so we have to be up for it'".

    The Northants Evening Telegraph says that "The Football Association has launched an inquiry after fans netted about £1 million from betting on their own team's defeat. Struggling non-league Weymouth FC had to field its youth team against Rushden and Diamonds on Saturday after members of the first team went on strike over fears about medical insurance cover... 'We are investigating unusual betting patterns around the game', an FA spokesman said...Totesport was one of the first to suspended betting on Saturday morning after 'smelling a rat'. Spokesman George Primarolo said: 'The £1 million figure is about right. It has been taken off the bookies but there's nothing untoward or suspicious about it. People have got wind of the team news before the bookies have. This sort of thing happens in the lower leagues from time to time'".

    "Mark Cooper will let everyone outside of the Kettering Town dressing room talk about his team being Blue Square Premier play-off contenders. The Poppies head to troubled Northwich Victoria tonight (Tuesday) as they look to make up some more ground on the top five... 'Our results over the last week seem to have got everyone outside of the dressing-room talking about the play-offs', he said. 'That's not the case for us. We are boring in the fact that we take each game as it comes and that's the right way to do it'". However, earlier the same paper reported "Mark Cooper believes another win at Northwich Victoria will have other clubs looking at Kettering Town as Blue Square Premier play-off contenders... 'Everyone was talking about consolidation in the first season and we have just about done that. We are ahead of schedule thanks to a lot of hard work', the Poppies boss said.'We won't get in the play-offs just by beating sides at the bottom'".

    Mansfield Town "have handed a trial to former winger Ryan Williams following his departure from cash-strapped Weymouth... Stags' boss David Holdsworth has stepped in to give him the chance to prove his worth at Field Mill. Williams came through the ranks at the Stags as a teenager before moving to Tranmere for £70,000 in 1997. He went on to play for Chesterfield, Hull, Bristol Rovers and Aldershot before signing for Weymouth for the start of this season".

    From Stevenage, The Comet reports that "Goalkeeper Ashley Bayes believes he took his chance with both hands against Forest Green and it is now up to Chris Day to fight his way back into the team. Bayes was thrust back into the first team fold when Day was struck down with a stomach upset and responded with a polished display keeping Rovers at bay on several occasions to preserve Boro's third clean sheet in a row... 'I've sat on the bench for a long time but I've kept my head up', he told The Comet. 'I've been waiting a long time for this. I've not been used to sitting on the bench in the past. The gaffer has been great - I get on with him really well and he has given me my chance and hopefully I can stay in there... I love it here and I'm so delighted to get a game and hopefully I can get a few more under my belt now.'".

    The Dorset Echo reports that Weymouth's neighbours Dorchester Town "have been charged by the Football Association for failure to pay players the terms of their contracts. The charge, an alleged breach of FA rule E1(F), relates to the 30 per cent pay cut introduced by chairman Eddie Mitchell last month... It is understood that a points deduction is highly unlikely should the club be found guilty". Meanwhile, the Echo reports that ”Team captain Kevin Sandwith and club skipper Ryan Williams are understood to be attracting the interest of Oxford United and Mansfield Town respectively, while there are several teams chasing the services of Chris McPhee with Kidderminster Harriers believed to be the front runners. Scott Doe is also being linked with a move to Dagenham & Redbridge and there are a host of clubs eyeing up striker Lee Phillips. Of the other departing players, James Coutts is talking to Galway, Sam Cutler is close to signing for Macclesfield Town, Santos Gaia is on the verge of a switch to Salisbury City and keeper Danny Knowles is expected to move to Woking. Jordan Collins’ future is not clear either. The 20-year-old captained the Terras on Saturday and is on loan at the Wessex Stadium until the end of the season but there is a possibility that his parent club Cambridge United could recall him due to Weymouth’s circumstances".

    According to The Press "York City must push the FA Trophy to the back of their minds ahead of three massive Blue Square Premier matches, insists manager Martin Foyle... 'It’s a good draw, especially being away in the first leg and we have got to be happy', said Foyle. 'But Telford and Southport will be saying the same. Both will be a challenge and Telford have a budget way above ours. They have been spending big to have a go at it and they have also done well in the Setanta Shield and it will be interesting to see whether Southport can beat them at home tonight'". But Foyle is "focused solely on picking up league points at present. A number of his squad are sitting on four bookings, including Mark Greaves, Daniel McBreen, Christian Smith and Mark Robinson, and Foyle said he may shuffle the pack over the next couple of games to ensure his players can avoid further censure ahead of a March 1 cut-off point. He added: 'I’ve got six on four bookings and one on nine. We can’t afford to be minus players. All the players on four bookings get cleared on March 1 and it’s about how I protect that'”.

    From Salisbury City we learn that "The Whites have decided not to extend the loan of Danny Spence from Reading FC". As for Jonathan Davies, the Whites report that "It is expected that before Saturday's games Davies' loan to AFC Totton will have been extended until the end of the season".

    Another arrival is reported by Grays Athletic who "have completed the loan signing of Tony Dinning, Tony is a very experienced midfielder who joined Chester City in 2007. Signed on one month's loan with Grays Athletic". Dinning was also at Stockport County.

    Barrow report that "Bradford City have recalled Luke Sharry from loan and Louis Horne from work experience due to increasing injuries at Valley Parade".

    24 February 2009


    Tuesday 24th
  • Crawley T. 5 Lewes 1
  • Grays A. 0 Cambridge U. 1
  • Histon 2 Barrow 0
  • Northwich V. 0 Kettering T. 0
  • Rushden & D. 2 York C. 0
  • Stevenage B. 1 Woking 0
  • Torquay U. 3 Forest Green R. 3
  • League table

    FAT 4 replays

    Tuesday 24th

  • Ebbsfleet U. 3 Wrexham 1
  • Southport 0 AFC Telford U. 1


    Right: Chris Senior and Greg Young celebrate Alty's goal against Woking - just one of the many excellent images from Gavin Rathbone of GR Photography.


    Further developments at Northwich are reported by the local Guardian which says that "Half a dozen players have asked to follow Steve King out of the exit door at the Marston’s Arena. The six – Jay Conroy, Dean Lodge, Dean McDonald, Owen Price, Steve Robinson and Stuart Robinson – are all likely to have their wish granted. None will face Kettering tomorrow, Tuesday. Steve Robinson and Lodge are under contract, leaving them to negotiate their impending departures with owner Jim Rushe. Rushe, who doubles up as manager of Cheshire League Division One title chasers Woodley, is likely to be on the bench for the visit of the Poppies. He has been busy off the pitch leading a team of supporters in getting the ground ready to host the match, meaning the players have had the day off with nobody on hand to take training. Paul Barratt has been recalled from a loan stay at Fleetwood Town, and he joins Jonny Allan, Aaron Burns and Ryan Brown in the squad to face Mark Cooper’s play-off hopefuls".

    Crawley Town "Chairman Vic Marley... would like a Reds fan to produce a league table for the monies each club has made from appearances on Setanta TV this season given the following criteria:

  • First home live TV match = £8,000.00
  • Every subsequent home TV match = £13,000.00
  • All away matches = £2,000.00

    Marley said; 'There appears a total inbalance in the numbers with some clubs being given embarrassing riches compared to others... Some clubs have been given a huge advantage but being a small club we should know what to expect!!'". Altrincham are yet to have a live TV home game this season.

    The Woking Evening News and Mail says that "Woking boss Phil Gilchrist could benefit from the fallout at crisis-torn Weymouth, having enquired about players to bolster his squad... It is understood that keeper Danny Knowles, midfielder Stephen Reed and former Peterborough midfielder Micah Hyde are in Gilchrist’s sights. With Huddersfield keeper Simon Eastwood understood to have left Kingfield and returned to Yorkshire following his successful stint at Woking, Gilchrist is desperate for another man between the sticks, with only Ross Worner available. Knowles, the experienced ex-Grays Athletic stopper, would fit the bill... as Gilchrist looks to bring in quality players to stop an alarming slide following three successive 1-0 defeats, including Saturday's reverse at Altrincham. Weymouth’s predicament means that they are likely to go into administration and be docked 10 points, as well as struggling to win another game this season as they cannot afford players. Against that scenario, Woking could realistically be looking to avoid just the final relegation place, with Lewes and Northwich all but down".

    Left: Michael Welch leaves the field with Robbie Lawton, after the Northwich loanee had become the 28th player to be named in a league game squad for Altrincham and the 26th actually to appear this season.

    NL Daily says that "Grays Athletic have signed striker Ludovic Quistin and midfielder Lewis Dark on non-contact terms. Quistin has had spells with numerous clubs, including Weston-super-Mare, Halesowen Town, Tamworth, King's Lynn and, more recently Fisher Athletic, has represented Guadeloupe. The 24-year-old is also the cousin of Arsenal captain William Gallas. Midfielder Dark, 19, began his career as a trainee with Brentford, for whom he made three appearances, and has also had spells with Crawley Town and Lewes".

    From Blue Square Football we learn that "Oxford United have made both midfielder Joe Burnell and defender James Clarke available for transfer... Burnell was brought to the club by former U's manager Darren Patterson in the summer and still has one year remaining on his contract. Clarke's deal will expire in the summer... Wilder told the club's official website: 'The simple truth is that I have other ideas and other plans and sadly neither Joe or James really fit into those'"

    The Oxford Mail says that "Chris Wilder hopes to make one last signing as Oxford United... The U’s boss wants to bring in a left-sided defender, because there are still doubts over whether Shane Killock will be fit to return to his best after his hamstring trouble. Weymouth's Kevin Sandwith is one who has been linked with Oxford, in the midst of the crisis at Wessex Stadium".

    Bournemouth's Daily Echo reports that "Around £1 million is believed to have changed hands as punters placed massive bets on non-league football club Weymouth losing a match at the weekend. With Weymouth forced to field a side made up almost entirely of youth team players, punters began to wager large amounts on Rushden and Diamonds winning. More than £680,000 was traded on a Rushden victory on the Betfair exchange alone... Some bookmakers suspended betting... One punter claimed that he and his friends won tens of thousands of pounds. He said: 'As soon as word began leaking out on Friday night that it might be the entire youth team playing, we began putting on bets. We put on money at all the local bookmakers and then started driving to all the surrounding towns to get more bets on. We then began ringing friends around the country to get them to put on money for us. Even as the price began shortening we kept putting on thousands because there was no way a team of 17-year-olds were going to win that game'. Terras fan Keith Avant, 30, said he had placed £100 on Rushden although he found it difficult to bet against his team. He said: 'I put £100 on and got £237 back'... Simon Clare, PR director for Coral, said: 'Normally £30,000-40,000 would be paid on a match like this across the whole industry but we paid out in the region of £100,000 and we are 20 per cent of the industry'... Steve Palmer, deputy sports editor at the Racing Post said: 'Non-league football is one of the few sports where punters can get an edge on the bookmakers. They can have superior knowledge and the bookmakers can get caught with their trousers down'”.

    The BBC adds that "Weymouth boss Alan Lewer has revealed the players are ready to quit the club on Monday... Lewer, who has backed his players, told BBC Radio Solent: "Unless the players are paid by midnight on Monday then they are gone'... After Saturday's defeat he said he would not leave the club in the mire and would try to bring players in. Chief executive Gary Calder is also quitting the Terras... Woking manager Phil Gilchrist says the plight of fellow Blue Square Premier side Weymouth should be investigated... Gilchrist told BBC Southern Counties Radio: 'The League is going to have to look into this, it has changed the playing field. You cannot field an Under-18 team in the game. Maybe there is a situation that is not [manager] Alan Lewer's fault, but something has to be done because we had two hard games against Weymouth. From now on in, if things stay the way they are, Weymouth won't be the hard game for everybody else that they were for us'".

    The Dorset Echo says that "Jordan Collins, Scott Dixon and Jordan Vincent were the only three players that started for Weymouth at the weekend with any first-team experience so it was no surprise they took a battering... Lewer said: 'We knew that was coming. No one expected us to get anything out of the game but you cannot knock the kids for what they have done. However, as I told the people at the club it will not help their education into football... If we carry on and fulfil the season with a side like that then we are going to get some hidings... It will knock their confidence 100 per cent but I also think certain players enjoyed the experience... Kevin Sandwith and James Coutts came in to watch but I thought that was the wrong decision so I sent them away. I did not think it would be fair for the players playing or the fans to have them in the stand. The senior players have been 100 per cent magnificent over the past couple of months and I understand why they decided not to play. With most of them moving to new clubs the last thing they wanted to do was get injured and be out for another month without any money. Nine of the first-team squad have got clubs to go to already and they will sign for them tomorrow after being given special dispensation from the authorities. Two others are talking to clubs and three of them are negotiating with League clubs. They are also allowed to sign for teams at the same level... I have said to the business people that want to take over and the board that I won’t leave the club in the lurch but decisions have to be made. All the first-team players will become free agents at midnight today and we can only bring in seven loan players of which five can be on the pitch at any one time so as you can see something needs to be done and quick'...

    Meanwhile, Terras’ fixture secretary Pete Saxby has assured fans that the league will not enforce any sanctions on the club should they continue to field their youth team. He said: 'As long as we are fulfilling our fixtures and everyone is registered properly then the league cannot step in'">

    The Echo adds,"Jordan Collins has admitted that sending the majority of the club’s Under-18 team out to face Rushden & Diamonds on Saturday was “unfair. The 20-year-old, who captained Weymouth in the 9-0 mauling, does sympathise with the club’s current plight but insists urgent action needs to be taken to ensure that such a result is just a one-off. Collins said: 'We were playing against very experienced players who earn good money and to expect 16-year-olds to go in and compete against the likes of Rob Wolleaston, who was once at Chelsea, was always going to be a big ask'... Collins and Scott Dixon were the only first-team members to agree to turn out for the Terras with the rest of the senior squad choosing not to play due to the club’s lack of private medical insurance cover".

    23 February 2009


  • Match report here.

    Woking's official photographer has his Altrincham photos here. There is also a very fair match report on the club website. It says - "So, another frustrating 1-0 defeat for the Cards. But the frustration was rather different from recent games for this was a match in which our display – mainly in the second half – merited at least a point. Once again, though, we failed to find the net... The Cards started brightly after the break and went on to dominate proceedings... There was some encouragement in the performance of a very young side". Woking's next game is against Stevenage Borough on Tuesday, whilst Alty entertain Borough on Saturday.


    After a recent revival in their fortunes, Altrincham FC Youth put in a disappointing performance to lose 4-0 today (Sunday) away to FC United in the Neil Thomason Memorial Cup competition. There is a match report and photo in the Youth section.


    The final weigh-in for the Slim4alty contestants took place on Saturday, with more than a stone being lost by some of them. In all more than nine stone is believed to have been shed. Although the sponsorship money is not yet finalised, it is expected to amount to a significant four-figure sum. The Club is grateful to the contestants for their self-sacrifices and to the sponsors for their generosity.


    Altrincham's Shaun Densmore is interviewed in the NL Paper about becoming an England C international last week. The article refers to Shaun's father Peter, who also played for Alty as "a tigerish and committed full-back, the scaffolder is a bona fide Moss Lane legend... "When I was a kid, I can't remember him being a footballer because I was too young. But it's good because he knows the game... and I know it's worth listening to what he tells me"".

    Whilst Shaun was at Everton, Shaun says that he "was told by the coaches I was close to breaking through" into the first team. He added, after leaving Goodison, "I went to Bradford City in pre-season and got an injury which messed everything up. I missed two months of the summer and my dad asked Altrincham manager Graham Heathcote, who he used to play with, if I could go and train and get my fitness back. I went to Alty, played a couple of friendlies and a cup game and that's when they offered me the chance to stay. I was made up... Hopefully, if I keep doing well I'll get another crack at the League. I'm only 20, so there's plenty of time. Besides, if we can add to our squad and build on what we've done this year, then maybe we can go for promotion". As for playing for England, he said, "My dad loved this team. he played for them twice". The NLP adds that in his debut in Malta, Shaun "grasped his chance. From right-back, he was a ball of energy, fizzing forward at every oportunity, steaming into tackles and visibly impressing [manager] Fairclough. Shaun even scored a goal and said "That'll shut my dad up. He might have played for England, but he never scored"!.


    Altrincham FC has received the following e-mail from John Hunt about the campaign to play England C v Belgium at Wembley:

    Dear Sir or Madam

    I am a Barnet fan, who is one of a small number, who travel overseas to follow the England C team. England C recently qualified for the final of the international trophy which is due to be contested on home turf. It is not often England reach the final of a tournament, and we are campaigning for this match to be played at Wembley Stadium. We have set up a facebook group to assess the appetite for this. As it will be a big cost to the FA of staging the game, we suggest that it be played as a double header with a scheduled full England match, ladies match or schoolboy game. It would give the opportunity for fans of more teams to visit Wembley and cheer on their players, and complement the FA Trophy and Vase matches as a one off game. It would be a fine way of promoting grassroots football and our national game.

    Many of your clubs will be represented in the game. I would be greatful if appropriate, you could mention this campaign on your website / messageboard or in your programme. It would be nice if as many players , supporters and official can join the campaign at the url below. Wishing you all the best with the rest of the season.

    John Hunt - Facebook John Paul Patrick Hunt


    Peter Band scored 1 for New Mills, as they won away at Ramsbottom 3-0. Bangor City had former Alty defender Dave Swanick sent off in a 2-1 defeat at Port Talbot Town.


    The NL Paper reports that the last day of the BSP season has been moved from Saturday 25th April to Sunday 26th and that all matches will kick off at 4pm. So this affects Altrincham's away game at Cambridge United. One BSP match will be televised live that day.

    Several dozen Northwich fans helped to clear up Northwich Vics' Marston's Arena which had been in the possession of Mike Connett's Beaconet company until its recent financial troubles. One of the volunteers wrote on the Vics forum that the "worst thing was picking up hundreds of glass pint pots and wine glasses etc, that had been ruthlessly dumped next to the main stand including broken ones all over the floor on a tarpaulin. All cleaned up now though".

    Northwich's ex-manager Steve King has written an extensive piece in the NL Paper. Having joined the Vics as manager in November 2008, "It was only when I was involved week-in, week-out, that I realised how deep rooted the problems were. It has now reached the stage where I found it impossible to work under such circumstances... At the time of writing the players are owed nearly three months' wages... I have had players coming to me in tears, worried they are going to lose the roof over their heads or telling me they cannot come into training because they simply do not have the money to put petrol in their cars...

    It came to light that a number of League clubs from whom I planned to borrow players were still owed money from loan deals under the previous regime [to Jim Rushe's], and were unprepared to help us out. It was not just one or two clubs either... the club owed money to a lot of the League clubs in the area, in some cases nearly two years overdue. Even when the money owed to Morecambe was paid to enable me to bring in... Michael Twiss, I found out that a transfer embargo had been placed on the club... I was also in talks with Daryl Clare's representative before... His concerns about the club's financial situation scuppered that option... When you put it together with my time at Lewes, it is perhaps not surprising that I have been approached by a publisher to write a book about the highs and lows of being a non-League manager".

    Talking of Daryl Clare... Blue Square Football says that "Mansfield Town chairman Andy Perry has responded to rumours claiming that Rushden & Diamonds striker Daryl Clare is on the verge of joining the Stags... Perry told Stagsnet on Sunday: 'Clare has not signed for us and there will not be an announcement Monday. R&D and Clare are in dispute over unpaid wages. This was resolved at a hearing on Friday and R&D won. Clare must now go back to R&D and resume training or he will be in breach of contract. R&D do not want him, but will only release him from his contract if £10,000 is paid for him. They are prepared to pay the player and sit on this registration until the end of the season'. Mansfield manager David Holdsworth will have to cast his sights elsewhere as he looks to bolster his goal-shy attack".

    According to Bullsnews report that Hereford United's "Bradley Hudson-Odoi has gone on trial with Grays Athletic... He hasn't featured for the Bulls since November... He is on trial for a week with a view to a loan for the rest of the season".

    The BBC confirms that "Ebbsfleet United midfielder Craig Stone faces surgery after suffering a broken leg in his side's 0-0 draw with Wrexham in the FA Trophy quarter-finals. Stone was stretchered off during the first half of the game. Fleet manager Liam Daish told BBC Radio Kent: 'It's a big loss for sounds like a bad break'. The 20-year-old joined Ebbsfleet from Gillingham over the summer and has made 26 appearances for the club this season".

    22 February 2009


    Details of the Altrincham FC supporters' travel to Kettering (3rd March) and Grays (7th March), organised by TASC, are on the Away Travel page.


    Altrincham recorded their seventh 1-0 win of the season but were put under a lot of second-half pressure by a rugged Woking side.

  • Match report here.

    In the NL Paper, Dave Stringer writes that Woking may look back on this game as "one where three points were thrown away...[but Alty's] stand-in keeper Richard Acton , playing his first game in almost a year, was quite brilliant throughout. Woking manager Phil Gilchrist said, 'We definitely deserved something. There were no positives from the first half where I thought we were awful. But I gave the players a right rollicking and they did respond. We were camped in their half for much of the second half".

    Graham Heathcote has clarified that he is not talking to the paper but confirms that other employees of the Football Club are free to make their own decisions about talking to the press.


    On a day when Weymouth fielded a youth team which lost 0-9 at home to Rushden, in his programme notes Graham Heathcote wrote:

    "The discussion re other clubs' finances and predicaments carries on and I can't help but think back to our last game game of last season at Weymouth. We needed a win to survive and clearly the side they were able to put out should not have been there because, if you don't pay your tax and NI plus other creditors, then clearly you can't afford the players you are putting on the pitch and that is wrong. Whilst their problems have come to a head this season, clearly last season must have had a major impact on the situation. But who would have spared a thought for the team or teams that got relegated doing things right? Answer, no one. We're all supposed to feel sorry for the club in trouble. Well, not me. It is a form of cheating which is why the Conference is right to try and act. I hope they are successful. For too long, too many clubs have been allowed to get away with financial mis-management to the detriment of other innocent clubs and I've no doubt many a manager has built himself over the years an unjust reputation for being successful, when, in fact, he should not have had the calibre of player out on the park because they couldn't afford them".


    Right: Graham Heathcote banters with Dale Johnson (back to camera) at the Meet the New Recruits event. Also seen are Matt Doughty, kitman Dave Mitten and assistant manager Graham Barrow. Shaun Densmore is hidden behind Dale.

    Saturday evening witnessed another in the successful series of Meet the New Recruits nights at Moss Lane. The player guests were Shaun Densmore, Dale Johnson and Matt Doughty, whilst assistant manager Graham Barrow and kitman Dave Mitten were also on the top table with compere Graham Heathcote. Fellow kitman, Daniel Heathcote, was also in attendance. As usual Graham H. directed plenty of banter at his players not least at their inability to implement the management's set-piece routines earlier in the day!

    Questions from the supporters who made up the audience produced a lot of interesting discussion. At one point, the players were asked to identify their most influential team-mate. Despite referring to Colin Little's "constant moaning", Dale Johnson thought he could learn a lot from the leading scorer's ability to put away chances. Shaun Densmore felt that when Anthony Danylyk and Robbie Lawton were "ratting" in midfield the Alty side was at its best, whilst Matt Doughty believed that Greg Young had grown tremendously in confidence since his move from Halifax to Moss Lane. The players and assistant manager were also uniform in their admiration of the professionalism of the football club at Moss Lane which compared favourably with some league clubs they had experienced.

    From the audience, Sean Riley, the Alty physio, explained how some players coming to Altrincham from supposedly full time clubs were less fit than Alty's part-timers. Graham Heathcote put forward his conviction that when players come to the Blue Square Premier from the reserve sides of league and even premiership clubs, they are not actually taking a step down but a step upwards. This is because they are playing competitive football week in and week out. Sean alluded to one ex-Alty player, formerly with a Premiership club, who could not remember the last time he had played a full competitive game.

    Matt was revealed as a player whom Graham Heathcote had admired for several seasons before arriving here; Matt had almost joined Alty earlier than he did as he had plans to become a plumber and go part-time with his football. In fact, Matt is now a restoration technician, dealing with the aftermath of floods and fires. Dale works outside football as a CCTV installer. Both admitted they have little time to do any additional fitness work outside the two training sessions a week at Moss Lane. Shaun, however, has taken to doing some additional gym work.

    Of Dale, Graham said he had as much ability as anyone who has been at the club in the last decade. Matt, he believed, is one of the best left-backs in the BSP, whilst Shaun's recent England "C" cap confirmed his exceptional ability. Shaun's good week continued when he won both the first and second prizes in the evening's raffle but he very sportingly did not take the best prizes, opting instead for a car pennant and a cuddly toy!

    Graham Barrow gave some interesting insights from his managerial experience and, not surprisingly, agreed that former Alty captain and manager John King was the most intimidating player he had ever played against! Kitmen Dave Mitten and Dan Heathcote were both rightly praised for their dedication not least because both are currently carrying leg injuries which means that both are limping badly yet are still carrying out their duties to the full.

    The questions and answers were preceded by an excellent meal provided by the culinary skills of Dave Johnson and served with great efficiency by members of the Rowley and Lewis families with bar service provided by Mike Ford and Daniel Jones and the hardworking Jenny Heslop and Helen. Following the meal, a brief auction of memorabilia raised some important revenue for the club.

    Altrincham FC and those who attended are extremely grateful to the management, players and other club staff for giving their time and being willing to subject themselves not only to the questions and answers but also to the banter of Graham Heathcote who yet again revealed himself to be an expert compere.


    Those part-time Altrincham players who travel from Yorkshire and other distant parts - Greg Young, for example, travels from Doncaster after his work to train on two evenings a week at Moss Lane - will be bemused by the following report about their full-time counterparts from Bullsnews. "Ken Bates' penny-pinching at Leeds United has reached a new depth. After putting the club into Administration to avoid their debts the millionaire Monaco resident has now sent Huddersfield their hotel bill for last Saturday's derby match - claiming the noon kick-off necessitated an overnight stay.

    Huddersfield have laughed the bill off, with the two club grounds just 16 miles and 25 minutes apart. Town CEO Nigel Glibbens told their official site: 'Leeds have told us that the 12.00 kick off 'necessitated' an overnight stay because their players 'would have been leaving home at an unreasonable hour in terms of match preparation time' and therefore under Football League Regulations we should pay. Leeds's claim is as sad as it is laughable, but cannot be dismissed as they intend to deduct the cash from what they owe us from match ticket sales. We are awaiting further assistance from the Football League. The behaviour of Leeds is clearly against both the letter of the regulations and more importantly the spirit of the game and does nothing for Leeds's reputation at all'. Leeds have retaliated, claiming that Huddersfield illegally used match footage taken by the club in the reverse fixture and that the Terriers wanted to charge the Whites £5,000 to video last Saturday's match. Leeds say the hotel bill is £1,100 and claim they did not go to print about the actions of the Terriers as they considered the matters to be 'private'. The Football League regulation that Leeds are claiming under states: 24.6 Should a kick-off at 12.00 noon or earlier necessitate the Away Club incurring overnight hotel expenses, the Away Club shall be entitled to claim the hotel expenses incurred (at the rate as determined by the Executive from time to time, per person per night for a party not exceeding twenty in number) against the gross gate, any dispute to be determined by the Executive".

    21 February 2009


    The Northwich Guardian confirms the news that "Steve King has resigned as manager as Northwich Victoria. The former Lewes boss quit the troubled Blue Square Premier outfit this morning following a meeting with owner Jim Rushe. It ends a tough three months at the helm. 'We spoke and Steve felt it was the right moment for him to call it a day', Rushe told the Guardian. 'He has found circumstances increasingly difficult over the past few weeks, which is why I have decided to accept his resignation'. Assistant manager Justin Skinner has also left the club.

    It leaves Vics searching for their fourth manager of a campaign that looked likely to bring success after Dino Maamria guided them to a Great Escape at the end of last term. He was fired following a four-week suspension in November, during which first team coach Mike Marsh had guided the team to two wins and a draw in his five-match spell as caretaker boss... King, who led Lewes to the Blue Square South title last term, returned six points from a possible 42 during his 14-match...

    The now former Vics' boss told the Guardian he felt he had no choice but to leave the job after just 109 days in charge. 'I’m gutted', he said today, Saturday. 'I didn’t want my time here to come to and end like this but I believe resigning is the correct thing to do right now... A number of things have happened here over the past few weeks that have made it virtually impossible to carry on. I will never go public on what they were because I want to keep my dignity and I also respect the difficult time the club is going through both on and off the pitch right now'...

    The players are owed more than two months’ pay, while the club only returned to their home ground yesterday, Friday, after being locked out for more than four weeks by former landlord Mike Connett. As a result they have played six successive away days. Their last game in front of their own supporters was a Boxing Day defeat against bitter rivals Altrincham...

    'It’s been unbelievable here since the day I arrived', he said... He picked up letters of support from the club shop yesterday before talking to fans at the ground later the same afternoon. 'The majority of fans have been fantastic to me', he said'".

    Meanwhile Weymouth lost 0-9 at home to Rushden, having fielded a team made up of youth players after the first-team walked out. They had not been paid and would not have been insured had they played.


  • Altrincham 1 Woking 0
  • Barrow 1 Grays A. 1
  • Crawley T. 0 Salisbury C. 3
  • Histon 3 Eastbourne B. 3
  • Kettering T. 2 Torquay U. 1
  • Lewes 0 Cambridge U. 2
  • Oxford U 1 Mansfield T. 0
  • Weymouth 0 Rushden & D. 9 (NINE) - Weymouth played a weak side after a players' walk-out.
  • Through the Years from Howard Watts.

  • Alty player stats
  • Alty line-ups

    FAT 4

  • Wrexham 0 Ebbsfleet U. 0
  • Stevenage B. 4 Forest Green R. 0
  • AFC Telford U. 2 Southport 2
  • York C 2 Havant & Waterlooville 0


    The Dorset Echo has the latest on the troubles at Weymouth where "Boss Alan Lewer has seen his squad obliterated ahead of this afternoon’s clash with Rushden & Diamonds at the Wessex Stadium. The majority of his first-team stars collected their belongings and left the Terras yesterday after they were told that the future of the troubled club was still no closer to being resolved. The players have not been paid for going on seven weeks and many of them have gone off to finalise deals with other sides ahead of Monday’s 14-day payment notice deadline, which will see them all become free agents. Lewer is still hopeful that some of his senior men will turn out today but without the full private medical insurance cover it seems certain that many of them will not want to take the risk.

    Lewer said: 'The players are not sure what they want to do and I won’t know anything until 1pm. They are not sure whether they want to play or not. We have not been able to train this week although we did do a session yesterday with what we had. We have had to get the youth lads all on standby just in case'... Team captain Kevin Sandwith refused to shed any further light on which players would be available this afternoon... He said: 'Everyone is gutted and to be honest it is hard to know what to say at the moment... Unfortunately now it looks like the squad is going to break up. We are no further towards getting paid and it appears that on Monday we will all become free agents'".

    Striker Lee Phillips, who only joined the Terras in January, did not attend yesterday’s meeting due to a virus. The 28-year-old is suspended for this afternoon’s clash... He said: 'I think the gaffer told the players that they can all go and only a few are playing this afternoon... My agent has already been speaking to a few teams but really I do not want to go anywhere. However, I have not been paid for two months and I need money so now it is all about doing what is best for me. Since I have been here we have only lost one game yet we have not been getting paid so the lads have been fantastic and there is no way anyone can fault them'...

    Lewer has held talks with contacts at Leicester City and Peterborough United this week to see if they can help the Terras in their hour of need and Posh director of football Barry Fry has already offered him three players, who could join on loan free of charge. It is unclear whether the Weymouth boss has managed to get any new blood in at such short notice but chief executive Gary Calder has moved to assure fans that action has been taken in-order to field the strongest team possible. Calder said: 'It is understandable why some of them do not want to play. They need to protect their livelihoods and if they are going to new clubs on Tuesday they do not want to risk getting injured'”.


    The final Slim4Alty weigh-in takes place tomorrow at 5pm in the Sponsors' Lounge at Moss Lane, whilst at 7.30pm the Meet the New Recruits event starts in the same location.


    Woking have made a second signing before their match at Moss Lane. "Woking FC are pleased to announce the loan signing, for one month, of Fulham left back, Joe Anderson. Joe is aged 19 and has appeared a number of times for Fulham Reserves. Manager Phil Gilchrist told us 'Joe is a left-sided player, which is something we badly need at the moment. Following the injury to Danny Bunce, Colin Miles has had to play there and it's not his natural position. Joe is a left back and therefore will be able to give us much-needed cover in that area. He goes straight into the squad for the Altrincham game tomorrow'.... We can also confirm that the signing of Kelvin Bossman has been completed."

    The BBC says that "Altrincham keeper Stuart Coburn is banned after accumulating five yellow cards so Richard Acton could start. Striker Colin Little has recovered from his hamstring injury but midfielder Shaun Densmore faces a late test. French defender Abdou El Kholti is suspended for Woking, who give a late fitness test to Colin Miles (groin). Tom Hutchinson, Danny Bunce and Joe Magunda are still out, Goma Lambu is unlikely to feature due to a hamstring injury but Oliver Bozanic could return".


    Runcorn FC Linnets have signed former Alty left-back/midfielder Barry Shuttleworth. Ironically, Barry was the man who scored the goal against the Linnets' forerunners, Runcorn FC Halton, which secured Altrincham's place in the Conference North in 2004. He is seen, right, after his Man of the Match performance in that game.


    The UniBond League says that "An absolutely fabulous book has been produced by Cheshire based photographer Terry Gorman titled Non-League Football Grounds of Liverpool & Manchester. The book is simply 'what it says on the tin' consisting of 250 photographs of Non-League Grounds throughout the Liverpool and Manchester area covering all levels of non-league football. Alongside each photograph the section has excellent editorial on the history and location of the ground. Most of the photographs are Terry's own work but some have been submitted for publication by the clubs and will bound to bring back memories for the seasoned campaigners who have been around our level of the game for a good number of years.

    In addition to the current grounds, a section titled 'Gone but Not Forgotten' shows several grounds that were well established venues on the non-league fixture lists around the area. Horwich RMI's Grundy Hill, South Liverpool's Holly Park, Prestwich Heyes Grimshaws are just a few in this fascinating section. Originally Terry was planning to publish a book which was to cover the whole of Lancashire but soon realised that there were so many grounds deserving inclusion that to split into two volumes was a better idea. Terry is now hard at work preparing what will certainly be, for readers of the first volume, a 'cannot wait for' publication.

    The book has a cover price of £14.50 and has been described by someone who has read the book 'A quirky but absolutely fascinating review of some really interesting places!'. As an offer to visitors to the Official UniBond League website by just mentioning our name Terry will not charge for any postage or packing when ordered direct from him at :-


    Weymouth "would like to thank fans for their continued patience and support in what are clearly difficult and trying times for all concerned. The recent share appeal was extremely well supported by fans but the amount raised was not, in itself, sufficient to sustain the club due to its current level of debt. The club has ring-fenced the monies and they will not be spent until such time that a positive outcome can be found for the club. No shares have yet been issued. The board of Weymouth FC continue to vigorously search for a solution to the severe financial situation that it is facing.

    There remains uncertainty over which players will be available for the Terras match against Rushden and Diamonds because players are being allowed to leave the club if they have found themselves employment elsewhere. Admission prices will therefore be reduced to: Adults £10, Concessions £5 and Children £1.

    "York City have signed defender Shaun Pejic from rivals Wrexham on a free transfer. The 26-year-old was released by the Robins at the of January and is eligible for Saturday's FA Trophy tie with Havant & Waterlooville... The centre-half was with Wrexham for nine years and made more than 150 appearances in the Football League" says the BBC.

    The FA at last has a match report on last Tuesday's England C match in Malta in which Alty's Shaun Densmore played the full 90 minutes. "An inexperienced England C squad pulled off an impressive 4-0 victory over the Malta Under-21 side on a pleasant evening in Paola... leaving an opportunity for those making the trip to Malta to catch his eye for the ICT Final against Belgium in May". When 3-0 up "The English side were playing some excellent football with intelligent one and two touch passes and it was from one of their moves that the fourth goal was scored in the late stages. A ten pass movement was finished well by Altrincham’s Shaun Densmore, who netted from close range following a fine cross from Ishmael Welsh". England C: Dale Roberts (Rushden & Diamonds) (Steve Arnold, Grays Athletic, 46), Shaun Densmore (Altrincham), Sean Newton (Droylsden), Michael Byron (Droylsden), Nicky Wroe (Torquay United), Martin Riley (Kidderminster Harriers) (Scott Doe, Weymouth, 46), Lee Tomlin (Rushden & Diamonds), Lewis McMahon (Gainsborough Trinity) (Tom Shaw, Tamworth, 46), Paul Clayton (Alfreton Town), Jason Walker (Barrow) (Adam Boyes, York City, 46), Paul Brown (Barrow) (Ishmael Welsh, Grays Athletic, 46)".

    Northwich "Owner Jim Rushe called the Northwich Guardian on his way to pick up the keys after receivers Deloitte Touche agreed to let the club back into the Marston’s Arena. They have been locked out for 37 days. 'It's great news', he said. 'Now the hard work starts to get the ground ready for next week'. He hopes to call on a small army of volunteers to make the stadium safe to host a football match... On Monday an inspector from Cheshire Trading Standards will decide whether to lift a prohibition order that has been in place for more than a month.

    Rushe added: 'We’ll be busy over the next 48 hours that’s for sure'. Nobody knows what state former chairman and landlord Mike Connett, made bankrupt for a second time earlier this month, has left the club’s home in. The locks on the green gates have been changed, meaning he can not now return without an appointment with the club. Deloitte Touche has issued Vics a temporary Licence to Occupy, for which the club will pay a weekly rent to run the site. The arrangement will cease once Rushe’s consortium is confirmed as new owners of the stadium. The Guardian has asked the finance experts to comment and is waiting for their reply. They wanted a guarantee from Rushe that his consortium has the £1.5m required to buy back the ground. A London-based lender, from whom he hopes to secure a bridging loan to make up a shortfall in funding pledged by his group, penned a letter backing his application this week.Club solicitor Howard Roberts has told the Guardian that Rushe’s consortium has exchanged contracts with the receivers. He hopes the deal can be now completed quickly. Kettering are due at the Marston's Arena on Tuesday".

    Meanwhile Northwich Vics report a "Statement from Telford: Northwich debt cleared. AFC Telford United have received payment of all outstanding monies in relation to the FA Cup tie with Northwich Victoria. Peter Grimes and Paul Stockton from Vics Supporters Trsut delivered a cheque. The money had been raised by supporters' fundraising activities. Bucks' Chairman, Lee Carter, said 'Receiving the money from the Vics Trust was not the most satisfying experience I have ever encountered particularly bearing in mind our background. It is a very honourable gesture that we certainly will not forget... I absolutely apologise for having to bring what should have been a private matter out into the open, however, I still feel that we had no choice. The silence from Jim Rushe is still deafening'".

    From The Argus, Lewes manager "Kevin Keehan admits it is difficult to focus on football matters while uncertainty continues to cloud the club’s future. A self-imposed deadline for investors to come up with money to save the club has passed with nothing happening. Managing director Martin Elliott now says it could be another two weeks before a decision is made on whether the financially stricken club can avoid going into administration. There is a winding-up order from Portakabin in the second week of March by which time Elliott and his Board need to resolve this long-running saga once and for all. The club has been up for sale since November and while this has been happening fortunes on the pitch have been suffering. The Rooks have lost their last nine games in Blue Square premier and are almost certain to go down.

    Manager Keehan was forced to send on-loan strikers Elliott Charles and Kieron St Aimie back to Barnet last week because of the club's financial position and is left with a threadbare squad... Keehan said: 'I can only do what I can do. I am trying to deal with the playing side and trying to help with the other side as well... I have to make the best of what I have and accept the grief that goes with it'.

    Elliott said: 'We are still talking so we will limp on for the time being. It will come to a head. There is a chunk of money that has to go out in the second week of March so it has to be resolved by then. At this time there is no good news and no bad news. We are still talking to the same people. It could rumble on for another couple of weeks before we decide what we are going to do'... There are people interested in investing in the club but I understand some are reluctant to use their money purely to pay off existing debts. Mark Henderson, managing director of shirt sponsors Magic Man, has been trying his best to help save the club... He said: 'I can’t see any other route than administration. At this late stage there is no real benefit in throwing money into a big, black hole. What I do believe is there is still sufficient interest out there that people will buy the club very quickly out of administration'.

    In football terms, administration may not be the worst news for the club. It would result in a ten-point deduction, which is almost academic as the Rooks are 15 points from safety and are resigned to going down anyway because of ground issues. A large chunk of their debts would be wiped out which may allow the club to move forward'".

    The Sussex Express adds that "Rooks' chief Martin Elliott this week spoke to the Express to say he was 'disappointed' with the 'prevarication' of individuals with whom he was speaking. He said, 'It's all very disappointing... But it's going to go on into next week now... We hope to be able to provide people with some positive news next week'".

    News of another troubled southern club comes from the Dorset Echo, which says that "Amalagamation and a possible ground-share between Dorchester Town and Weymouth were discussed in a meeting attended by Eddie Mitchell and Gary Calder. Weymouth chief executive Calder met with county town chairman Mitchell... Property developer Mitchell has never shied away from the issue of a merger between the two clubs and, with Weymouth’s own existence hanging in the balance, the controversial topic has been brought up once more... Mitchell said: 'I met with Gary, he’s a very nice chap and we had a long chat. I listened to his problems and he listened to mine. We discussed amalgamation, ground-sharing and ways to get our own clubs on a sound financial footing long-term. We’ve got things to offer each other. It takes a brave person to amalgamate clubs with such rivalry but I’m brave enough and I think Gary is too. I think it could work but I’ve said that from day one. It’s not something I’ve got my heart set on but we can’t survive at this level with just 400 supporters every week. If we had 800 supporters we’d be able to sustain this level, buy better players, everyone would be happy and there’d be no need to mention any of this. It’s hard to get it through to the people of both Weymouth and Dorchester that it’s not necessarily up to the people at the helm. Every club at this level, even the likes of Havant & Waterlooville who earned a lot of money last season, are in trouble and struggling. I said to Gary that if he has no where else to go he can give me a buzz and we’ll have a chat again. I don’t wish Weymouth any hardship and I hope they survive as they are'.

    Calder meanwhile, said: 'What I will say is that the only thing that was discussed was in the best interests of saving Weymouth Football Club. That was all it was about'”.

    However, "Boss Alan Lewer and his assistant Marcus Browning have insisted they will not leave Weymouth 'in the lurch' in terms of first-team operations. Lewer told the Press after last Saturday’s 3-0 defeat against Stevenage Borough that he would step down as manager after Saturday’s clash against Rushden & Diamonds unless local businesses came forward and pledged money to help keep the troubled club afloat. However, despite such a substantial investment looking far from forthcoming, it appears Lewer has adopted a change of tact even though he has already lost top-scorer Stuart Beavon to Wycombe Wanderers and could see several more of his unpaid stars leave in the next few days...

    Lewer said: 'I am sure there will be more departures over the next few days as there are a lot of clubs interested but I want to make one thing clear and that is Marcus and I will not leave the club in the lurch. The fans do not deserve that and if it means us remaining in charge through Saturday and next week we will do everything we can to bring together a team for the following game but we will not become youth team managers... I have already spoken to Barry Fry at Peterborough United, and I have also been in contact with Leicester City, so there are people within the game who will help us try and get over the situation. Marcus and I have not been paid either but if it means we have got to travel around the country to get players we will do that. However, the situation can only go on for so long because we all need to be paid to keep the wolves from the door'.

    The first-team squad has not trained this week and over the last two days have been holding meetings with Lewer and Browning, along with chief executive Gary Calder. Lewer added: “The lads wanted a few answers... There is only so long that can go on as they all have families to look after and responsibilities... but I cannot see any of them walking away ahead of tomorrow’s game unless they have got something else concrete lined up'".

    "Justin Edinburgh is set to stay in charge of Rushden & Diamonds until at least the end of this season" states the Northants Evening Telegraph. "Chairman Keith Cousins initially gave Edinburgh 'the next few weeks' to stake his claim as the long-term successor to Garry Hill... Cousins admitted: 'There is every expectation that Justin will be here until the end of the season. I've known him for 10 years and, while I was sorry to see Garry go, I think Justin is a quality replacement'... Edinburgh added: 'There wasn't quite the right chemistry between the manager [Garry Hill] and players for whatever reason. The expectations at the start of the season were for this team to get into the play-offs or earn automatic promotion. Some players weren't able to handle those expectations. Maybe that filtered down from the manager because of a fear factor... Now my job is to make them go out and play without fear'... Cousins, meanwhile, revealed that Diamonds' youth scheme is unlikely to continue next season because of financial constraints. He said: 'It needs a six-figure cost and we can't afford to keep it going if we are not getting support and commitment'".


    Pitchero says "The board of Merthyr Tydfil are pleased to announce that the club's future has in the short-term been secured, after an amazing public response. "Agreements have been reached with the club's major creditors who are happy to work with us and it is our commitment to fully repay these debts. The water supply has been reconnected in Strikers and the electricity remains intact, therefore Saturday's home match against Corby Town and Tuesday night's home fixture against Evesham United are both scheduled to go ahead as planned".

    The Manchester Evening News reports that "FC United ace Jerome Wright is at the centre of a transfer scramble, with two League clubs believed to be in the chase. The winger, voted the supporters’ player of the year last season, played and scored on trial for York’s reserves in a clash with Grimsby this week. York are believed to be readying a bid for Wright – one of six FC players contracted to the club – but they face competition... The Rebels are still awaiting news of top scorer [and ex-Alty player] Kyle Wilson’s knee injury". Another ex-Robin, Carlos Roca, is still with the club.

    The Non-League Daily says that "Long-serving defender Scott Bartlett has asked to be released in view of a new job involving additional travelling, which would make it very difficult for him to continue with Blue Square Premier club Salisbury City".

    The Northwich Guardian confirms that Vics' "Former first team captain Michael Welch has joined Altrincham on a month-long loan. The 27-year-old leaves the Marston’s Arena after making just eight league starts in a campaign interrupted by injury and loss of form. 'He needs games, it’s that simple', said manager Steve King. 'I’ve gone with Mat Bailey and Steve Robinson at the back over the past few weeks because I feel they have been in the best form... It’s only right that Michael gets a chance to play some football elsewhere'. Fan favourite Welch was a key player in Vics’ successful fight to avoid relegation from the Blue Square Premier last term, scoring four goals along the way. But injury prevented him pinning down a regular spot under King’s predecessor Dino Maamria, a situation he has been unable to change since the former Lewes boss assumed control in November. And Welch’s may not be the only departure after King revealed to the Guardian that two other ‘high earners’ are pondering moves away from the Blue Square Premier outfit for the remainder of the campaign. 'They have decisions to make', he said. 'It’s up to them what they do next'”.

    "Ebbsfleet United have released midfielder Jamie Hand following a request by the player. Midfielder Hand, who scored in the Fleet's recent abandoned fixture against Burton Albion and played a total of 29 games, asked to be released from his contract for personal reasons. The club's Chief Executive David Davis commented, 'We felt we could not deny Jamie's request and have agreed with him that the reasons will remain confidential'. But the club have moved swiftly to fill the void left by Hand's departure, and former Grays Athletic midfielder John Martin joins the Fleet on loan until the end of the season... from Stevenage Borough".

    Crawley Town report that "Chairman Vic Marley has spoken of his delight at the written correspondence received from The Football Association. Since April 2008 Crawley Town Football Club have been subject to a number of visits from The Football Association finance regulation department. This activity is the same applied to all football clubs post administration and covers all the financial areas and general management procedures within the football club itself.

    Marley was clearly delighted with the reports contents and speaking exclusively to the official website said; 'These inspections have been many and very detailed... It gives me great pleasure to report to our supporters that we have received a very credible [creditable?] report with the football club being credited for good governance... The report we have received is excellent but we also have an ongoing action plan that will help us make further progress. When Prospect Estates Holdings took control of this football club in April 2008 our due diligence for a number of reasons, which I do not want to go into at this stage, did not show fully the amount of debts we were to inherit. That is an issue we are looking at addressing now and it would be fair to say it presented us with a few added headaches along the way. However, I am glad to confirm that we have now got these firmly established and largely under control thanks both to the incremental funding and prudent management we have put in place. For the record I can confirm that to date Prospect Estates Holdings have invested close on £300,000 which has in return given us a basis for stability...

    We have a manager in Steve Evans who works with us unconditionally and by selling players like Jon-Paul Pittman it obviously helps the finances although at times I understand it must be difficult for him to accept".

    20 February 2009


    Alty statistician Terry Rowley confirms that Alty defender Chris Lane (right) will make his 350th Conference appearance if he is involved in Saturday's game against Woking. He is believed to be the player with the most Conference matches under his belt who is still playing at that level. Chris has, so far, made 54+8 Conference appearances for Altrincham. At 29 years of age, Chris has many years of football ahead of him in which to add to his magnificent achievement.


    Today is the last chance to get your ticket to the Meet the New Recruits evening at Moss Lane on Saturday (7.30pm). The player-guests at the event will be Alty's new England C international Shaun Densmore, son of former Alty "legend" Peter; assistant manager Graham Barrow; defender Matt Doughty, and striker Dale Johnson. Compered by Graham Heathcote and with a two-course menu featuring chef Dave Johnson's home made meat and potato pie, the tickets are great value at £15. Please e-mail or phone Grahame Rowley on 07720 606897 as soon as you can today (Friday) to get your ticket. Some fifty tickets have already been sold so there are not many left!

    With the two Grahams able to give first-hand accounts of Alty over many years and Shaun freshly back from England duty there should be a wide ranging post-meal discussion with something to interest fans old and new. And Matt and Dale will no doubt have plenty to tell everyone about their experiences at Moss Lane and their former clubs. These events are always great entertainment so don't miss out!

    Meanwhile Barrow's NW Evening Mail has a report and pictures from the recent England C international in Malta, including one of Shaun Densmore. The report says that "The last goal, which saw right-back Densmore arrive late at the back post to finish off a flowing 10-pass move, illustrated just why this side is so good and why players used to the hustle and bustle of the non-league Conference divisions are so desperate to play in it. With places up for grabs in May’s International Challenge Trophy final against Belgium, Fairclough admitted he had been given food for thought".


    Alty squad member Danny Heffernan's fine performances for Abbey Hey continued on Tuesday as he netted twice in a 3-1 away win at Colne. The third goal came from ex-Alty striker Lee Hendley.


    Altrincham goalkeeper Stuart Coburn is suspended this Saturday and with understudy Andy Ralph having recently emigrated to Australia, Alty will recall Richard Acton (left) between the posts. Richard, 29, re-joined Altrincham on 7 November 2008, having left at the end of the 2007-08 campaign. A self-employed car salesman Richard combines his business career with his football. As a youngster, he was at Manchester City (released 1998) before moving to Hyde United and Runcorn. Alty first signed him in early September 2002 and he remained first-choice keeper till he badly injured his shoulder at Harrogate (31/8/03) and he did not return to action till 6 January 2004 because, in the interim, Stuart Coburn had returned to the club to re-claim the no.1 jersey.

    He signed UniBond forms with Woodley Sports in August 2004 before joining Bangor City but returned to Alty once more in February 2005. He made his Conference debut and started only his second league game in three years in September 2006, but he kept three clean sheets in his first five matches. However, after eight Conference games (including just one defeat) and one match in the FA Cup, he could count himself unlucky to be dropped in favour of Stuart Coburn in early November 2006. In 2007-08 he made 10 starts but has not played for Alty this season. His last league game for the Robins was the home game with Crawley on 11 March 2008.

    In SAM, Graham Heathcote "insisted he had no qualms about pitching Richard in [against Woking] after putting him through his paces in training on Tuesday night. 'I watched him carefully for two hours and I am very comfortable about playing him', said the Alty boss. 'He is the sort of lad you can turn to for a one-off like this and know he is capable of performing as you would want. He is no stranger to playing at this level and he is so laid back I am sure he won't be fazed by it'".

    SAM adds that "Colin Little is available again after a hamstring injury and Chris Denham is also hopeful of being passed fit".


    Right: Alty celebrate their win at Kingfield last August.

    Woking "are pleased to announce that we expect to complete the signing tomorrow of Reading FC Academy forward Kelvin Bossman on Work Experience terms for the remainder of the season. This is subject to final agreement with Reading FC. It is hoped that formalities will be completed in time for Kelvin to join the squad for Saturday’s game at Altrincham and be available for selection. Kelvin is a 6’, 18 year old forward, who played for Ghana in the U/17 World Cup in 2007".

    Woking boss Phil Gilchrist told BBC Southern Counties Radio: "He's a big, strong, mobile centre-forward. He has looked good in training and has fitted in really well". Bossman played for Ghana in the Under-17 World Cup in 2007.

    The Cards' website says "In previous seasons we’ve always fancied our chances against Altrincham, who seem to have struggled against – and been saved from – relegation for as long as one can remember. This year the tables are turned. The Robins sit comfortably in 15th place, six points clear of the next-placed team, Ebbsfleet United, who head the pack of clubs desperately trying to escape the relegation places. The Cards, following their defeat at Salisbury and Forest Green Rovers’ victory over Northwich Victoria the following evening, are now only one point ahead of Barrow, who have three games in hand, and three points ahead of Grays Athletic, who have four games in hand. (They play each other on Saturday.) So, a result at Moss Lane – even if it is against the odds – would be a huge boost.

    The Cards are expected to be without Tom Hutchinson, Danny Bunce, Joe Magunda and Delano Sam-Yorke through injury. Colin Miles, who missed Tuesday’s game, may also not be fit enough to play. Abdou El Kholti will be absent too following his red card. Cards fans will be hoping that Oliver Bozanic will have recovered from the illness which prevented his appearing at Salisbury".

    Alty won the opening game of this season at Woking but have not won against the Cards at Moss Lane since returning to the Conference in 2005:

  • 2005-06: Altrincham 0 Woking 4
  • 2006-07: Altrincham 2 Woking 3
  • 2007-08: Altrincham 2 Woking 2


    In the Sale & Altrincham Messenger Graham Heathcote "defended his decision to use Jody Banim as a lone striker at Plainmoor [last Saturday]... 'It's always the same if you change your system. if you win, you are a genius, if you lose, you are an idiot', he said. 'The fact is Torquay were always going to come flying out of the traps after losing their previous home game and we had to try and cope with that. The disappointment is that we went behind to a corner. We had worked hard on that in training and knew the area they would be delivered to but we lost our man. That's why we went in [at half-time] 1-0 down, when we really had to weather the storm, and it had nothing to do with systems'".


    Altrincham enjoyed six seasons with Merthyr Tydfil in the Conference before the Welsh club went down in 1996. Sadly, now Merthyr Tydfil Football Club Official Supporters' Club "appeals to the people of Merthyr, Wales, and any supporter of football to save our football club. To keep the club playing at the current level in the English Southern League, the club must raise £50,000 by Friday morning (20th February 2009) 9am. The current Merthyr Tydfil Football Club has a long and illustrious history, stretching back to 1945, and this season is the centenary of 100 years of football at the historic Penydarren Park ground".


    The Northwich Guardian says that "Lee Steele has ended his career-long link with Northwich Victoria. The 35-year-old fans’ favourite will join fellow strugglers Barrow on-loan until the end of the season... [He is] out of contract in the summer... 'I’m gutted to see him go', manager Steve King told the Guardian. 'For me he still had a role to play here but Lee feels the time is right for him to move on and I can’t stand in his way'. Steele, one of the highest earners at the Marston’s Arena, is the first player to break ranks for financial reasons. Like his teammates, he is owed more than two months’ pay. King added: 'Lee has exercised his right to leave, something he is perfectly entitled to do in the current situation'".

    The Northwich Vics' supporters' trust reports that two of its officials "went to Telford and Paul gave a cheque to Lee Carter at AFC Telford United for the amount which completely clears the debt owed to them from the FA Cup ties".

    The Northants Evening Telegraph says that "Keith Cousins has revealed that applications for the manager's job at Rushden & Diamonds have already gone past the half-century mark. But the chairman is still backing caretaker-boss Justin Edinburgh for at least the 'next few weeks' while all other options are considered over Garry Hill's long-term replacement. Cousins said: 'The position remains with Justin and I will stand by him until such time as we don't think it's right for him... We're going to give a chance to Justin and see how it goes'... Edinburgh remains the favourite to become Diamonds' next permanent boss despite plenty of competition. Fans' favourites Paul Hall and Duane Darby want to join forces as a management team at Nene Park while former Diamonds striker Kevin Wilkin – currently in charge at Nuneaton Town – has also been linked with the role. Former Liverpool and West Ham United defender Julian Dicks has declared his interest with Southport's Liam Watson believed to be a top target... Cousins also disclosed that the future of striker Daryl Clare should be settled following an arbitration hearing tomorrow".

    Weymouth confirm that striker "Stuart Beavon has signed on loan for Wycombe Wanderers... The 24-year-old will sign for Peter Taylor's side on a permanent basis once his loan deal expires in the summer. Blues' boss Peter Taylor told 'He's like an old-fashioned inside forward'. Beavon comes from a real football family. His grandfather Cyril was a pro' with Wolves and Oxford United and his father Stuart senior began at Tottenham and then joined Reading, playing nearly 400 games for our Berkshire neighbours... He scored 26 goals in 77 starts for Weymouth".

    Off the field, the Dorset Echo said yesterday that "Dorchester Town chairman Eddie Mitchell is set to attend a meeting today to discuss ways in which he and the Magpies could help struggling rivals Weymouth. Property developer Mitchell has spoken about the possibility of a merger or ground share between the two clubs in the past and it would seem he is interested in helping to prevent the Terras, who are in desperate need of investment, from going under. He said: 'It’s not my desire to amalgamate the clubs but in order to save a club that could be lost I don’t mind being unpopular. The way forward for both clubs is to have something in common to reduce overheads, however, because it makes sense it doesn’t mean it’s going to happen'” .

    Thursday's Guardian says that "Today is the day of reckoning for the world's only football club owned by an online community. On 19 February 2008 Ebbsfleet United was purchased by but a year on the majority of the site's 32,000 annual memberships are up for renewal and there is no disguising that what started as an online deluge has been reduced to a cyber trickle. The creator and operator of the website admits the club's future is in doubt unless 3,000 people subscribe today. 'I would like to see 4-5,000', said Will Brooks. "I would expect a couple of hundred every day for the next 10 days after that and then I think we're in a relatively strong position – we've got a foundation and some breathing space. But, if it's less than 3,000 today, we've got some decisions to make'.

    Brooks had already convinced 20,000 people to pay £35 for the prospect of football club ownership before Ebbsfleet were identified last year and the majority of the 18,112 members who voted on the choice of club backed the £635,000 purchase. Membership peaked at 32,000... But voter turn-out has been steadily declining and last month, when given the opportunity to decide whether they should be allowed to pick the team (a major selling point when the idea of online ownership was introduced by Brooks), only 492 votes were cast... This apathy has lead Brooks to temper his optimism: 'Technically, yes, the club's bank account is at zero, which is probably something not a lot of football clubs have. But that is totally relying now on the members'.

    Ebbsfleet's chief executive, David Davis, said the club's operating budget is secure until the end of the season but admitted 'We won't know realistically until the end of the month exactly what revenue we've got to depend on'... Ebbsfleet could become a boutique web-owned club, asking more of its owners but ensuring that those involved are committed and like-minded".

    According to the Oxford Mail "The FA say they are investigating the performance of referee Steve Cummins at last Saturday’s Oxford United v Barrow game. The official gave two yellow cards to Barrow’s Nat Kerr without sending him off. Although he later claimed that he booked Marcus Holness the second time, not Kerr, video replays and a photograph used in the Oxford Mail on Monday show that it was Kerr who was cautioned. An FA spokesman said: 'We are investigating it. That might take the form of looking through his report, speaking to other officials or even viewing a DVD of the match'”.

    From the Salisbury Journal comes news that "Whatever Salisbury City boss Nick Holmes prescribed for his players after last Saturday’s abject display at home to Histon had the desired effect, because it was a positive and thoroughly rejuvenated Whites team that overcame Woking on Tuesday night... Although Wilfred Domaraud, who netted for Woking on their last visit to the Ray Mac, looked a constant threat, he was well marshalled".

    19 February 2009


    Wednesday 18th
  • Forest Green R. 3 Northwich V. 0
  • League Table


    At Moss Lane you may have stood or sat next to the man who has now reached the top position in English football as the FA confirms "the appointment of Ian Watmore as Chief Executive... Mr Watmore, 50,... is expected to take up the position at The FA in June. Watmore joins The FA from his post as Permanent Secretary for the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills. Prior to this he was Head of the Prime Minister's Delivery Unit in Number 10, and previously in the Cabinet Office as Government Chief Information Officer. He joined the Civil Service after 24 years in the IT industry in 2004 from Accenture, where he was UK Managing Director. He holds a degree in mathematics and management studies from Trinity College, Cambridge...

    He is on the Board of the English Institute for Sport, a Lottery and Sport England funded body focused on helping to prepare high performance athletes for the Olympics and other major sporting events. He is married with four sons and is a lifelong Arsenal supporter. He now lives in the North West and watches Altrincham in the Conference when he is not watching his sons playing in the Cheshire/South Manchester leagues".

    Mr Watmore is not the first Altrincham supporter to reach the higher echelons of the FA. Former Alty chairman Noel White was chairman of the FA International Committee until 2006.


    Altrincham host Woking on Saturday. The unofficial Woking site says that on Tuesday "Charlie Griffin’s 48th minute free kick was enough for Salisbury City to overcome the Cards as they failed to score and lost by the one goal for the second time in a week. The only changes to the starting eleven that lost against Kettering Town were Paul Lorraine in replacing an injured Colin Miles and Liam Marum in for the absent Oliver Bozanic... The home side were dominating the play but Woking managed to get to half time unscathed... However, it didn’t take long before the home side took the lead after the restart. Ademeno looked to have got clear but was taken down by El Kholti and as the last man he was immediately dismissed by the referee. Just to make matters worse, the resulting free kick was smashed into the bottom corner by ex-Card Griffin. There was to be no fightback from the visitors and in the end they were lucky to keep the scoreline down to just 1-0... The defeat leaves the Cards just three points from the drop zone with teams below them having games in hand.

    Woking (3-5-2): Simon Eastwood: Michael Kamara, Paul Lorraine, Patrice Konan: Joel Ledgister, Bradley Quamina (Charlie Moone 73), Liam Marum (Paolo Vernazza 57), Matt Pattison, Abdou El Kholti: Rob Elvins, Wilfried Domoraud. Subs Not Used: Ross Worner, Phil Gilchrist, Daniel Sintin. Booked: Ledgister, Konan, Lorraine".


    Wikipedia tells us that Alty's new loan signing from Northwich. Michael Welch was born on January 11, 1982 in Crewe, though he is a former Republic of Ireland youth international. He is a 6ft 3inch defender who started out with Barnsley before making 124 appearances and scoring seven times for Macclesfield Town (2001-05). 64 appearances and 6 goals followed at Accrington Stanley (2005-07) - including the goal that beat Alty 1-0 in August 2005 at Moss Lane. By the start of this season he had made 56 appearances for the Vics, scoring three times since joining them in 2007. His squad number at Altrincham will be 18- formerly the number of Lee Elam who is, of course, now at Northwich.

    Whilst at Macc, his tem mates included former Alty player Karl Munroe and current striker Colin Little. He told the Manchester Evening News in 2004, "Karl Munroe and I have been forming a partnership. I enjoy playing with Karl and we train together as much as possible... I always like to do a little bit extra on my free kicks... I take the longer range kicks, while Danny Whitaker, Matthew Tipton and Colin Little will share those from closer range". At Accrington, Michael was a team-mate of Ian Craney.


    The FA reports on "Malta Under-21 0-4 England C" on Tuesday. Alty's Shaun Densmore was a scorer despite reports to the contrary in some media. "England C picked up a comfortable victory over Malta Under-21s on Tuesday evening, with a somewhat experimental team named by Paul Fairclough. Goals from Paul Brown, Lee Tomlin, Shaun Densmore and Sean Newton were enough to secure victory ahead of their International Challenge Trophy game with Belgium in May".


    NL Daily reports that "Speculation is mounting that hot-shot striker Richard Pacquette will leave Blue Square South club Maidenhead United later this week. Pacquette, who has scored sixteen goals in only twenty-six games this season, is expected to sign for Histon".
    18 February 2009


    Altrincham FC have signed Northwich Victoria midfielder Michael Welch on loan for a one month period.


    Altrincham FC midfielder Shaun Densmore has emulated his father by playing for the international semi-pro sidein England C's 4-0 win in Malta on Tuesday night. Initially he was credited with the fourth goal but this now seems to be in dispute.


    Altrincham FC Youth won 1-0 at New Mills on Sunday. New Mills have a photo gallery of the match here. The latest league table is here.

    Next Sunday the youth team are away in the Neil Thomason Memorial Trophy Quarter Finals, which will go to extra time and penalties if need be. The ties are:

  • FC United v Altrincham - 1.30pm at St Brides Fields, Shrewsbury St., Old Trafford
  • Marine A v Stalybridge Celtic A
  • Salford City v Woodley Sports
  • Glossop NE v Nantwich Town


    News of Alty's next opponents, Woking comes from their website, before last night's loss at Salisbury in which Abdou el-Kholti was dismissed for a professional foul. "Woking come off the back of a sequence of four successive home games with two wins (against Ebbsfleet United and Northwich Victoria) and two defeats (at the hands of Eastbourne United and Kettering Town): a smaller points haul than Phil Gilchrist would have hoped for. They now face three successive away games, of which the most crucial and the most winnable is Tuesday night’s game, before another sequence of four home games – which look tougher than those they have just played.

    There seems next to no chance of seeing any of the injured Tom Hutchinson, Danny Bunce, Paolo Vernazza, Goma Lambu, Delano Sam-Yorke and Joe Magunda: all missing on Saturday. Paul Lorraine was also an unexpected absentee but might not be fit enough to return before the trip to Altrincham next Saturday. Colin Miles picked up an injury against Kettering but insisted on playing on but must be considered doubtful for Tuesday night. Phil Gilchrist has suggested he might need to take the field himself. The alternative is to turn to youth team central defenders, Joe McNerney or Dan Sintin".

    The Cards team at Salisbury was Eastwood, Lorraine, Konan, Ledgister, Quamina, Kamara, el-Kholti, Pattison, Domoraud, Marum, Elvins. Vernazza was a used sub.


    As an ex-employee of the Manchester Ship Canal Company and Port of Manchester Authority, Alty manager Graham Heathcote will be interested to read in the Sale & Altrincham Messenger that the "go-ahead has been given for a new museum documenting the history of the Manchester Ship Canal. Trafford’s planning committee approved the plans which will see the museum built on Barton Dock Road in what is currently an Argos distribution depot".


    Although one or two clubs have jumped the gun with an announcement, the Blue Square Premier is yet to confirm whether they will change the date and/or time of the final matchday of the season, currently scheduled for Saturday, April 25th.


    When Altrincham meet Nantwich Town in the Cheshire Senior Cup final on March 23rd, they will have to conform with the FA rules that only those players who were eligible to play in the semi-final can play in the final itself. So, loan player Jordan Hadfield would not be available.


    Oxford Utd v Mansfield Town in the BSP is now being played on Saturday instead of next Tuesday because Oxford's scheduled Saturday opponents, York City have to play their FA trophy game at home to Havant & Waterlooville that day. This is because FA games take precedence over league matches. Oxford will now have to rearrange their BSP game with York.

    The Daily Mail reports on Ebbsfleet's dilemma, as the "People's club sweat on loyalty of the 30,000 owners who paid £35. Buying into a football club lifts the average fan on to a plain of excitement which others can only dream about. Selling your stake is usually an action undertaken by the disillusioned or the destitute. For the 30,000 owners of Ebbsfleet United, this Thursday is decision time - whether to re-invest in an experiment in collective ownership... There is no cost attached to walking away. And the price of renewing membership for another year of Blue Square Conference fixtures, FA Trophy runs and voting on everything from club scarves to coach travel is a mere £35. Twelve months ago, the slogan of 'Own the club, pick the team' lured internet fans from around the globe into an investment through The option of selecting the players to be sent out by team manager Liam Daish has yet to come to pass although, if results were to take a turn for the worse and relegation become a possibility for a side who have resided in mid-table all season, the supporters may finally choose to invoke their privilege.

    Chief executive David Davis admitted: 'The fans vote on who selects the team every week. So far they have always voted to allow Liam to do it. But if the majority said they wanted to pick the team, that's what would happen'... Daish said: 'I'd be lying if I said I didn't still have doubts about the fans picking the team. But they appear to be football-minded in the way they see that it's a serious business with people's livelihoods at stake and they haven't meddled'.

    Thursday is the day on which the innovation can be judged, the day when the number of members who saw a gimmick of which they wanted to be a part but who have been seduced into a longer-term commitment can be quantified. The club will view 15,000 renewals as success. They expect anything between 8,000 and 16,000. Translate it into revenue and we are talking £280,000-£560,000 that the club on the Kent stretch of the Thames estuary would not otherwise have at their disposal. Last year's membership paid off a £500,000 debt. This year's can be used to improve their Stonebridge Road ground and Daish's squad...

    A third of MyFootballClub's members live outside the UK. From 3,000 in the United States to single figure representations in Vietnam, Belize, Jordan, Madagascar, Pakistan and Djibouti... The budget for players' total wages was capped at £10,000 per week, green was chosen as the colour of the club's third kit and the price of 2009 desktop calendars was set at £4. The most significant vote came in August when 7,400 members voted in favour of striker John Akinde being sold to Bristol City in a £150,000 deal which could rise to £275,000 with a 20 per cent sell-on clause.

    It is all proof that self-interest can be subjugated in favour of the greater good... the club has 30,000 owners... Home matches are often graced by foreign owners coming to check out their club. Free admission to a recent match against Swindon Supermarine drew a crowd of 3,750, while the club's usual travelling support of 20 or 30 fans has been swollen to 200 for matches in the Manchester area, there being a keen northwest membership contingent. Charmingly, members can also represent the club in the boardroom for a day. At York in December, two lady owners from Newcastle took up the honour".

    According to an informed source on the Ebbsfleet forum, "As of 19 Feb 2008, we had 27687 members. All of those are due to renew by 19 Feb 2009. To date, 3933 of them have done so. 4331 members have joined since the purchase on 19 Feb '08... From this, the number of members we will have on Feb 19 (if no one else renews or joins) is 8264".

    Soccer Lens reports that "To make Ebbsfleet sustainable over the next year, the hierarchy has said they need around 15,000 to renew (although this isn’t clear if this includes members who signed up for more than one year or post-Feb 19th 2008 members). Whichever way you look at it, there’s going to be a shortfall of anywhere between 5,000 and 11,000 members... A bank balance for the Stonebridge Road club is somewhat difficult to find but the general consensus appears to be that the club isn’t that healthy and needs extra money. The club has enough cash-flow to keep going but there is a deficit.

    A rough estimate of the club’s annual losses stands at around £800,000, with the wage bill being around £150,000. Working on an rough assumption that MyFC will have around 9,000 members after February 19th, 5,000 of which will be paying their £35 for another year, that means MyFC’s total income from membership renewal will be around £175,000, which will be just enough to cover the wage bill and a bit more".

    News of another signing at Wrexham comes with the announcement of "the loan signing of current Wales international Andrew Crofts... His most recent appearance being as substitute against Poland last week in Portugal. Out of contract with Gillingham at the end of this season, Andrew has already been on loan at Peterborough in December and January, who were keen to keep him. Still aged only 24, he has made nearly 200 senior appearances for the Kent club, scoring 17 goals. An aggressive midfield player... he took over as team captain in the 2007-08 campaign. Dean Saunders said: 'This boy could end up playing in the Premiership one day... This is a major coup for the club and shows the ambition of both the Chairman and myself in trying to get Wrexham promoted out of this league... He really is doing us a big favour'".

    This is Nottingham reports that "Former Notts County player Stef Frost is set to play for Mansfield Town`s reserve side... The Nottingham-born 19-year-old, who can play on either wing, has seen his progress at Meadow Lane hampered by a broken leg. Now Frost has the chance to impress Stags` boss David Holdsworth... Former Macclesfield and Oxford United player Levi Reid is also likely to be given another chance".

    After Alty keeper Andy Ralph's departure to Australia [not New Zealand as previously advised], Blue Square Football tells us that "Newly formed Australian outfit North Queensland Fury FC have announced the signing of 31-year-old striker Daniel McBreen from York City" where he joins "Liverpool legend Robbie Fowler and [will] fight for a first-team place alongside the Englishman in the club's debut season... McBreen originally joined the Minstermen on a month's loan from Scunthorpe United in August 2007... The forward made 26 first-team appearances this season, scoring four goals in the process". McBreen is Australian by birth.

    17 February 2009


    Alty boss Graham Heathcote has confirmed that Stuart Coburn (right) will be suspended for this Saturday's game against Woking.

    Saturday's referee at Moss Lane for the game against Woking is Mr D. Handley.


    Tuesday 17th
  • Burton A. 2 Wrexham 1
  • Mansfield T. 0 Kettering T. 0
  • Salisbury C. 1 Woking 0
  • Kidderminster H. 1 Cambridge U. 3


    The Visitor says that "Left sided defender, Danny Adams, has signed a one-year extension to his contract that will see him stay with The Shrimps until the end of next season. Adams, who was man of the match in Saturday's game at home to Chester, won the club's Player of the Year trophy last season and has been a consistent performer again this term." Morecambe won 3-1. Another Alty old boy, Adam Yates played for Morecambe whilst Kevin Ellison was in Chester's side.


    Sean Riley, Altrincham FC physiotherapist, writes:

    Following Saturday's game at Torquay, there are no new injuries to report. Colin Little stepped up his rehabilitation, towards the end of last week, and should hopefully be back in training on Tuesday evening. His return was set for this coming Saturday, and at the moment that still remains the case. Chris Denham is still struggling to recover from his ankle injury, but hopefully he can step up his rehabilitation through this week. It is vitally important given the size of our squad that we don't bring players back too soon following injury; this only increases the risk of re-injury and depletes our squad further.


    According to This is South Devon, "Simple hard work lay at the heart of the football which swept Altrincham aside at Plainmoor, insisted Gulls boss Paul Buckle. You can talk all about tactics and permutations, but they are nothing without enthusiasm and endeavour... We were easily the better team, and the only disappointment is conceding a goal at the end... It should have been more than 1-0 at half-time. We blew Altrincham away really. We passed them off the pitch at times. That's when we're at our best, moving the ball quickly. I thought Nicky Wroe ran the show. He and Chris Hargreaves outgunned their two in midfield'".

    "The obvious thing was to play (Mustapha) Carayol and (Danny) Stevens after Tuesday, and they deserved to play," said Buckle. "The work rate of our front two really set the scene. Lee Hodges hasn't done anything wrong. But I decided to leave him out because I knew they would play only one up front and, as soon as I knew he was fit, we needed Steve Woods' passing as much as possible. It was right for Robertson to do a man-marking job on (Jody) Banim, and that would leave Woods spare for anything over the top. Woods's distribution is the best of any centre-half in this division. They were all calls that I had to make, and we hopefully got them right".

    This is South Devon adds that Torquay United "beat Altrincham more easily than the scoreline suggests... Tim Sills and Elliot Benyon delivered the goals to reward an afternoon of relentless pressure. And if the Gulls, fuelled by a classy display from England-bound Nicky Wroe, had won by four or five goals, Altrincham could hardly have complained... The visitors, without injured leading scorer Colin Little, had lined up 5-4-1, with defender Chris Lane occasionally turning it into 4-1-4-1. Former United striker Jody Banim was left to fend for himself up front. Chris Robertson was given the job of man-marking him, freeing up the fit-again Steve Woods for a 'libero' role at the back. Banim got no change out of Robertson. And, with only Robbie Lawton really threatening to break from Altrincham's midfield, Woods and his full-backs Lee Mansell and Kevin Nicholson enjoyed themselves on the ball...

    When they had snatched a 1-1 draw at Plainmoor last season, Altrincham manager Graham Heathcote had deliberately not changed a defensive formation, content to keep the score at 0-1 and hope for something to turn up. It did, with a late penalty which denied United two vital points. This time Heathcote had seen enough by the interval, and he reshuffled his side with two substitutions for the second half. On went big striker Dale Johnson and left winger Chris Senior, and 5-4-1 became 4-4-2. It made no difference...

    Benyon looked second favourite to beat Coburn to a Hargreaves through-ball, but he came up with a burst of pace which got him there first and the diving Coburn took his legs from under him. Nobody in the Altrincham camp complained with any conviction as referee Matt McLaughlin booked Coburn... Heathcote sent on midfielder Jordan Hadfield for Banim on the hour, pushing centre-half Greg Young up front with Johnson. But that made no difference either. United continued on their merry way".

    At 3-0 "It really was one-way traffic at that stage... Having been completely outplayed, Altrincham snatched a consolation goal six minutes from time... Former Rochdale left-back Matt Doughty unleashed a terrific left-foot volley, over his shoulder and United goalie Scott Bevan from 15 yards and into the roof of the net…3-1. It was at least some reward for the 38 Robins supporters standing behind the goal [and 20 more in the stand]".


  • FAT: Havant & W. 2 Crawley 0


    The Dorset Echo says that "Alan Lewer will step down as manager of Weymouth unless a potential new investor can save the club by the end of this week... Chief executive Gary Calder has denied reports that he too was leaving. He said: 'I have not resigned despite some reports but I will be making a decision on my future later this week. I am committed to trying to save this football club at this moment in time'... [Lewer] also declared that a last-minute takeover approach for the ailing club would keep him at the Wessex Stadium. Lewer though, feels such a scenario is unlikely to occur and believes that his unpaid players, who can walk away as free agents next Monday, will also be heading for the exit door... He said: 'I told the club before the game that I will leave next Saturday. It’s nothing to do with a fall out or anything like that, the club can’t afford to do what they’re doing. So unless they get 10 businessmen in with £10,000 apiece this week I will be leaving the club next Saturday. There will probably be five or six players going as well, maybe more, because the creditors have got to be paid before us. If these pros walk away, the club will have to play the youth team, that’s how it is. It’s very disappointing as we have a team that is probably three players away from a play-off position. I think that everything that has been going on around the club has come to a head.

    The players have been magnificent, Weymouth has got to have a football club which we all know and appreciate and they’ve got to go where they can afford to go, whether that’s two leagues down or three leagues down. As long as the club remains, that’s the most important thing. The fans have been fantastic and they showed their rallying call in the week by raising a few grand which will help the club stay alive but unless 10 businessmen come in by the end of week then that’s it for me... I’ve loved every minute of it, I love living in the area and hopefully there’ll be someone out there that may want to take me. I’ve got nothing to go to but the club can’t afford to keep me because I haven’t been paid. The club can’t afford to keep Gary Calder or Marcus Browning either because they haven’t been paid, so at the end of this week unless 10 businessmen come in with £10,000 apiece the club won’t be in this league'".

    However, "Fans pledged more than £30,000 in a day in a bid to save Weymouth Football Club... deep in debt and losing £9,000 a week... Streams of supporters young and old arrived to buy the 50p shares". Ian White, supporters' club chairman, said “We know many businesses are interested but they just need a little bit of encouragement, a little push"... Premiership and Championship clubs – including Manchester United – have been contacted to see if collections for the Terras can be arranged at their grounds... The Terras' Trust has pledged to buy £5,000 worth of shares in Weymouth Football Club to help keep the struggling outfit afloat".

    The Argus says that "Eastbourne Borough chairman Len Smith has called for the FA to intervene to avoid a repeat of the 'ridiculous' decision to call off Saturday’s Sussex derby against Crawley. Referee Nick Kinseley infuriated Smith and the groundstaff at Priory Lane when he took the decision to postpone the match a full three hours before kick-off. Kinseley was concerned about a small strip of pitch in the shade of the main stand but refused to give it more time to thaw with temperatures well above freezing. It was the second week in a row Borough have been angered by a referee’s decision to postpone a game when they judged the pitch to be playable.

    Smith said: 'It was incredible. He turned up with the attitude that he didn’t want the game to be played and he was not going to listen to anyone. He didn’t even put on his boots to test the pitch, decided he was going to call it off and then jumped straight into his car and left. He had obviously forgotten his wife’s Valentine’s card! It was such a small area he was concerned about and it was thawing so if he had left it for another hour or so it wouldn’t have been a problem. He said he didn’t want to upset people by calling it off late but it was a local derby so it was not as if the opposition were travelling far. It is so frustrating. Last week at Altrincham it was arguable even though we thought it was okay to play but there was no argument about the pitch on Saturday. We didn’t even consider it would be called off. We were dumbfounded when he made the decision and it does make you wonder where football is going.

    I think the FA has got to do something about it because referees are obviously too worried about being sued if something goes wrong that they are calling games off for the smallest things... The FA must give them some reassurance so they make sensible decisions'. Borough spent £3,500 on hotel bills and travel to Altrincham last week and are counting the cost of missing out on a big crowd against the Reds.

    Smith added: 'We were expecting a big crowd, had spent a lot on catering and programmes and had six people working on the pitch to make sure it was okay. It's left us probably £5,000 out of pocket because the game will be in midweek now and we won’t get as many people turn up'".

    Elsewhere in Sussex, "Lewes enter arguably the most important week of their season with one final call for help. Mark Henderson, managing director of shirt sponsors Magic Man, was a key figure in trying to drum up interest after the club was put up for sale in November amid mounting debts... Its future will be decided at the end of this week...

    He said “I think the chances of [the club] staying out of administration are extremely thin. If there is anyone out there who is interested then just get in contact”.

    Meanwhile, manager Kevin Keehan is "already working with just 50% of the budget from last season and he had to make further cuts to his squad last week by not renewing the loan deals of Barnet strikers Elliott Charles and Kieron St Aimie. The Rooks boss wanted to keep the pair... He will spend this week trying to strengthen his squad with loans from clubs who will pay all or the majority of a player’s wages... Shaun Wilkinson’s one-month loan spell from Havant and Waterlooville will now expire without him being able to play again. Wilkinson is serving a three-match ban following his red card at Oxford".

    Accprding to This is Nottingham "Mansfield Town loan signing Tomi Ameobi is to return to Doncaster Rovers following the end of his one-month spell at Field Mill".

    The Oxford Mail reports that "Cheshire referee Steve Cummins had an absolute nightmare at the Kassam Stadium on Saturday as he showed the yellow card to Barrow right back [and former Alty trialist] Natt Kerr (right) twice - but let him stay on the pitch... The ref... showed Kerr the yellow card, but the player then ran back 20 yards into a group of players. Mr Cummins hadn't made a note of the No 3's number, and went looking for the player he'd booked as United's players complained that there should now be a red card. Cue lengthy discussions between the ref and one of his assistants, but when he returned to start play again, he again ignored the fact that he'd twice yellow-carded Kerr, and told United to get on with the free-kick. A few minutes later, during the break, the ref was telling everyone he had in fact booked the No 27, Marcus Holness, but video replays showed he clearly hadn't". Alty fans will recall that Mr Cummins is the referee who sent off Witton Albion's Brian Pritchard at Moss Lane for tackling a streaker in the Cheshire Senior Cup Final in 2004.

    In Kent, Ebbsfleet United are looking for 12-15,000 myfootballclub renewals to keep them afloat. So far 6,000 have reportedly done so.

    Rushden & Diamonds report that "Daniel Broadbent's loan at Rushden & Diamonds expired over the weekend, and the striker has returned to Huddersfield Town".

    At Mansfield Town "Following a hearing at FA Headquarters in Soho, London, we are pleased to announce that we have been exonerated in relation to an alleged breach of rules concerning striker Aaron O'Connor".

    16 February 2009


    The Cheshire Senior Cup final between Nantwich Town and Altrincham will be played at Witton Albion FC on Monday 23rd March at 7.45pm. This is a repeat of last year's final, which the Dabbers won after a penalty shoot out.

    The Crewe Chronicle says that in the UniBond Premier "Nantwich Town are within three points of Premier Division leaders Eastwood Town after a superb win at the weekend. The Dabbers notched a 1-0 success at Cammell Laird... Nantwich are now the UniBond division's form team and - with a seven point cushion - their original target of a play-off position must be the least they require [hope for?] now".


    Altrincham's next opponents are Woking whose website says that, after losing 1-0 to Kettering on Saturday "I spoke to [manager] Phil Gilchrist and Oli Bozanic after the game. Phil told me “We started well, had some good chances and were disappointed not to take one as I’d asked the boys to hit them early in the game... Unfortunately, with all the injuries we’ve got, I didn’t have a lot of scope to change things. Some of my senior players are out injured and my most senior player was also injured but was out on the pitch and refused to come off, though I can’t knock him for that. We’re down to the bare bones and have got to get some players back sooner rather than later".

    On loan midfielder Oli Bozanic agreed, "It’s a very difficult situation with all the injuries... Heads were a little down at first in the dressing room but... we know we have to just move on". Before meeting Alty, the Cards are away at Salisbury on Tuesday night.


    Left: As Torquay boss Paul Buckle explains below, the Gulls kept Alty from feeding lone striker Jody Banim. Here three Torquay players queue up to prevent Alty midfielder Warren Peyton (foreground) from getting the ball to the on-loan forward (background).

    Torquay United "boss Paul Buckle was delighted with the 3-1 victory over Altrincham: 'We had lost the last two games so under difficult circumstances the players showed their worth today, we haven't panicked and we have won the game easily. We were the better team and we played some fantastic football, the only isappointment was conceding a goal... Elliot [Benyon] has come in and taken his chance and that is what I'm looking for... I was confident that Carlisle and Dsane, after the rollicking I gave them, would respond and they did. I decided to leave Lee Hodges out for tactical reasons because I knew they (Altrincham) would come and stick one up top and Chris Robertson is more than capable of a man-marking job with Steve Woods doing the covering job. Steve's use of the ball is vital when a team is dropping off in front of you and overall we got it right today... You can do all the tactics you want, you can play different formations but if you haven't got the enthusiasm and the desire you won't win. We had that against Altrincham, everybody wanted the ball and we played some good passing football'".


    After their home defeat by Northwich Victoria, the Kidderminster Harriers website reports that "An angry Andy Ferrell has admitted that the better team won at Aggborough on Saturday as Northwich came from behind to secure a 2-1 victory... Their first win since October - boss Steve King's first success since taking charge of the club". Midfielder Ferrell said, "For a team at the bottom of the league, we gave them far too many chances - in the first half they had two or three really good chances and Barts was a lot busier than he has been in the first half of a game all season... We've dropped four points to them now and that's not good enough...We should have gone on and scored two or three goals and in the second half we had a lot of good opportunities... The stats might say that we had five good shots in the second half and they had just the one, but they put theirs away and that's what matters".

    Meanwhile manager "Mark Yates insisted following today's defeat to Northwich that his side can't afford to be too down, with the visit of Cambridge coming quickly ahead... Yates said: 'We're massively disappointed... Credit to Northwich, they had nothing to lose and came and gave it a right go. We just didn't take our chances when they came along, and lacked a bit of urgency and tempo". The Harriers have taken just three points from 18 against the bottom six teams.

    From the other side, The Northwich Guardian says that Vics' manager Steve King said, “'I’m a little bit speechless to be honest', he said. 'We’ve beaten arguably the best home side in this division and go home worthy winners in my opinion. We perhaps rode a our luck for once but I’ll take that because it’s long overdue. Yet again we’ve done it the hard way', said King. 'Mat Bailey has made a mistake to gift them the lead and you’re left thinking "here we go again"... Dean [McDonald, ex-Rushden and Gillingham] has come in today and shown some sublime bits of skill,” said King... 'He’s been razor sharp in training all week and we felt we just had to unleash him today'... In the Dorset Echo, "Former Weymouth Football Club chairman Malcolm Curtis hit back at claims levelled against him at a fans’ meeting. He flatly rejected claims by chief executive Gary Calder at what was billed a ‘do or die’ meeting for the ailing club that he refused to accept an offer for the land surrounding the club. At the meeting Mr Calder criticised the former chairman for his part in the transfer of the land surrounding the Wessex Stadium to Wessex Park Ltd – a company also owned by Mr Curtis. Mr Curtis said: 'Mr Calder publicly called me a fraud and told the audience that he had asked the fraud squad to investigate me. All I would say to that is I would welcome any investigation from the police or any other organisation because it would bring such innuendo to a close once and for all. What he forgets is that throughout the process of the land transfer, he was involved in all the negotiations and acted, in all but name, as a director of the football club. He always voted in favour of the transfer and not once did he question the legality of the transaction, nor that it was anything but in the best interests of the club. He supported it all the way, as did the Supporters’ Trust representative on the board. Five respected law firms at different times have reviewed the documents and all have agreed that it is perfectly legal. The Terras' Trust in particular had the paperwork examined by Supporters’ Direct’s lawyers and they too agreed that everything was above board... A valuation was carried out by one of the country’s most respected land valuers, GVA Grimley, on behalf of a bank', he added. '£550,000 was their valuation. That’s what it was valued at and that’s what I paid. Permission was then sought from shareholders and 84 per cent of those who replied were in favour. In real terms there were 17 shareholders who replied, not counting myself as majority shareholder, 15 of whom assented, with just two against. What gets overlooked here is that if I, or someone else, had not invested in the club at that time it would have gone bust, it is as simple as that... The land was the club’s only asset'".

    At the recent fans' forum, supporters were told "that the club was £300,000 in debt, something Mr Curtis again disputes. He explained: 'I’m amazed that he quoted £300,000, especially considering I’m owed more than £220,000 in loans which, despite the venomous attacks upon me, I have not pressed for repayment. It’s not money I want to lose and if the club goes into administration then I will be its biggest creditor. But obviously if the right people come along I remain willing to talk to them about this and make arrangements to suit the club because I am as concerned about the future of the club as any other fan, regardless of what people think'. And so far as the meeting with prospective buyers Colin Hill and Lee Power, Mr Curtis denies Mr Calders' claim that an offer was made. “This is particularly disingenuous because of his claim that such an offer included promises to clear the club’s debts and make a payment of £100,000 must have seemed attractive to all listening. Again no such offer was made" says Curtis, adding “I don’t know why the players haven’t been paid when I understand there was money available in the club... Why have costs not been cut? Why have preferential payments been made to some people and not others?”.

    Mr Curtis also commented on the new share issue; “I had put together... a shares disposal package which Mr Calder had been supposed to approach a number of leading shareholders about, before Christmas. The public launch had been earmarked for Boxing Day but this did not happen... What Weymouth FC have is a great offer on the table. If they continue in business they have the option of a £7m stadium being built and all the investment and business opportunities that go with it. I am still committed to delivering the stadium".

    "Dean Saunders, manager of Wrexham, has bolstered his squad with the addition of speedy winger Jamie McCluskey, whilst planning to sign even more players for the final 10 weeks of the season" reports Blue Square Football. Saunders told Wales Online, "We will be going out in every game to score goals and beat teams. If people come to watch us, they will enjoy what they are seeing... We have a lot of young players here who are still learning the game and they need the support... We are going to need all the players we have at the moment and I'm looking to bring in more as well". The report adds that "McCluskey will struggle to break into the first-team, but Saunders predicts 'If he does well, we will give him a new deal next season'".

    "The time for talking is over when it comes to the future of Lewes Football Club" states the Sussex Express. "The Dripping Pan outfit has been up for sale since November... while directors have searched for potential investors willing to either take over the club completely or pool resources in a share option of upto £100,000... An effective deadline has been set for next week... Either a new board of directors is set up with new cash and fresh blood at the club – or Lewes FC faces going into administration.

    Rooks' chief executive Martin Elliott told Express Sport, "We have been talking to a number of interested parties we are expecting to invest in the club or help the club out in some way. "It is time for those pledges of support to be turned into solid pledges, which will go into a user account that we have set up... If pledges don't turn into sufficient hard cash, then there is no alternative but to go into administration... We're not going to let this rumble on any longer. The board have to make a decision. We have taken advice regarding administration. Instead of the six of us putting in £50,000, we need, say, 20 people, putting in £100,000. We need some new blood at the club".

    Still in Sussex, Two players are out of the running at Ebbsfleet United as the club reports that "George Purcell joins Ramsgate on loan [and] Peter Hawkins extends loan at Maidstone United".

    15 February 2009


    Northwich today recorded their first league win under Steve King's managership and lifted them off the bottom of the BSP.

  • Kidderminster H. 1 Northwich V. 2


    This site's match report is here.

    Left: Altrincham line up at Plainmoor. Left to right we see, McGregor, Danylyk, Lane, Young, Smith, Banim, Peyton, Densmore, Doughty, Coburn and Lawton.

    After beating Altrincham, Torquay United report that "United got back on the bike this afternoon after a couple of recent falls and produced a very professional performance with three goals against Altrincham at Plainmoor... Elliot Benyon was preferred to Iyseden Christie as Sills' strike partner and in a surprise Steve Woods was passed fit and came in at the expense of Lee Hodges who dropped to the bench. This was a tactical move as Bucks had guessed that Altrincham would play one forward which gave Chris Robertson the chance of a man-marking role with Woods acting as the spare man... Altrincham were not offering much in the way of attacking intent even though ex-Gull Jody Banim was showing some good technical ability but a lack of pace from the visitors was making their job very difficult... During the second quarter of the match the Gulls had chances to double their lead but Sills, Dsane and Nicholson were either denied by Coburn or slightly off target...

    As the break approached it was almost a disappointment that the Gulls weren't further ahead and whatever tactical plan Altrincham had it must have had more than a 'keep the score down' base to it otherwise there was no point in turning up!... To their credit, Altrincham changed their formation and brought on two attack minded substitutes to try and change the flow of the match. It was a commendable attempt to wrestle the initiative back off the Gulls but, as it turned out, it was too little too late...

    A through ball from Chris Hargreaves looked to be hit slightly too hard for Elliot to reach and Coburn looked favourite in the visitor's goal to claim the ball but Benyon quickly went up a gear over a matter of yards and inside the area got a toe to the ball which gave Coburn no chance to react and all he could do was collide with the United player and concede a penalty. The rest was a formality; Tim Sills calmly stepped up and sent Coburn the wrong way and United were two up and coasting.

    Altrincham tried again to change the pattern of the game, even sticking one of their centre backs up front but, if anything, United were more dominant and almost became a little too relaxed at times. If the Altrincham defence, and their goalkeeper in particular, had learned anything from the events leading up to the penalty award they didn't show it. A great piece of vision by Wroe in a central position released the ball into open play behind the visitor's defence and heading toward Coburn in goal but again Benyon's pace and determination got him to the bounce of the ball at the same time as the Altrincham 'keeper. The ball was not in the hands of Coburn when Benyon stuck a foot in, deflected the ball away and looked up before calmly sliding the ball past Coburn and into an empty net from an angle.

    The final score was now anyone's guess and more decent football created more chances for the Gulls and on any other day Tim Sills will have expected to score a hat-trick. The fact that the fourth goal came from the visitors was a surprise but it didn't take the gloss of a welcome win. Six minutes from time a [freekick] for Altrincham was headed half clear by Chris Robertson but it fell to Doughty who hit an excellent volley that flew past Scott Bevan and gave the 38 away supporters something to cheer".


    Matthew McNeil netted for Stockport County, whilst Ian Craney was in action for Huddersfield. Former Altrincham reserve Richard Chetcuti has joined Rod Thornley, Stephen Rose, Pat McFadden and Alex Frost at Ashton United. Frost scored on Saturday as did Terry Bowker for Buxton. Two former reserves were also on the mark - Griff Jones for Radcliffe Borough and , Ashley Stott for FC Halifax.


    The Northwich Guardian reports that "Northwich Victoria hope to be back at home in the next few days. The players entered a fourth week locked out of the Marston’s Arena on Wednesday, at the same time former chairman Mike Connett gave up the keys. Now club owner Jim Rushe is confident he can open the gates again.

    'Friday was a good day', he said. 'I spoke at great length to Deloitte Touche and they have agreed to let us back in while a deal to purchase the ground is completed'. The finance experts want a guarantee from Rushe that his consortium has the £1.5m required to buy back the club’s stadium. A London-based lender, from whom he hopes to secure a bridging loan to make up a shortfall in funding pledged by his group, has agreed to pen a letter backing his application. 'That should happen in the early part of next week, meaning that the stadium can be made ready for the next home game', said Rushe.

    Deloitte will then issue Vics a Licence to Occupy, for which the club will pay a weekly rent to run the site. The arrangement will cease once Rushe’s consortium is confirmed as new owners of the stadium. In a further boost, Marston’s Brewery says it too wants to back his bid. 'They have expressed an intention to continue a working relationship with the football club', added Rushe. 'They will contribute a sizable financial sum subject to certain criteria being met – it’s a big boost'.

    Marston’s, granted naming rights to the Victoria Stadium last year by Connett, is owed £150,000 by his firm Beaconet Limited. The club’s ex-chairman borrowed the six-figure sum shortly after buying the nine-acre plot in 2004. But his firm was liquidated at London’s High Court last month, leaving the brewery likely to miss out. Rushe’s consortium has exchanged contracts with Deloitte with a view to a sale being completed quickly. Club solicitor Howard Roberts this week told the Guardian he was happy with the paperwork, leaving Rushe to concentrate on finding the extra cash.

    The ground remains closed and a prohibition order made by Cheshire Trading Standards last month stays in place. Kettering Town are due to be Vics’ guests on February 24, a game Rushe now believes will be played at the Marston’s Arena.... He said, 'I’ve not been making alternative arrangements because I think that match will take place where it should do, which is right there'”

    There is less positive news at another troubled club as the Dorset Echo reports that "Weymouth boss Alan Lewer says next Saturday's home game with Rushden & Diamonds will be his last at the helm... Lewer insists that unless a takeover happens this week then the clash with Rushden will be his final match in charge. Lewer confirmed his decision following the Terras' 3-0 defeat at home to Stevenage Borough" on Saturday. .

    14 February 2009


    Right: Tim Sills (second player from left in a yellow shirt) scores the opener from a corner from the left; the ball is in the right hand side of the net.

    Altrincham's 4-1-4-1 formation, with Jody Banim deployed as a lone striker, was no match in the first half for a resurgent Torquay side, smarting from two recent defeats. But it took a goal owing more to poor defending by Altrincham than skill from Torquay for the Gulls to take the lead in the 19th minute. It came from Sills's weak downward header from a corner on the left. Alty improved after the interval when Senior and Johnson signalled Alty's attacking intent, replacing midfielders Peyton and Danylyk. But hopes of a revival were undone by the referee who awarded a penalty when Coburn went down at the feet of Benyon and Sills converted from the spot (53 mins). To make it worse, Coburn was booked for the challenge, his fifth yellow of the season. Hadfield then replaced Banim before Torquay made it 3-0 in the 75th minute. Again the referee gave Torquay the benefit of the doubt as he allowed Benyon to kick the ball out of Coburn's hands as he gathered a low ball and the Gulls' man of the match rolled the ball into the empty net. Altrincham gained some consolation with the best goal of the game, a fine left-foot volley from Doughty six minutes from the end but they could have no complaints at the outcome against an impressive Torquay side.


  • Alty Player Stats
  • Alty Line-Ups


    BSP Games - Sat. 14th
  • Cambridge U. v Mansfield T. POSTPONED
  • Eastbourne B. v Crawley T. POSTPONED
  • Kidderminster H. v Northwich V.SUNDAY
  • Oxford U. 3 Barrow 0
  • Rushden & D. v Lewes POSTPONED
  • Salisbury C. 0 Histon 4
  • Torquay U. 3 ALTRINCHAM 1
  • Weymouth 0 Stevenage B. 3
  • Woking 0 Kettering T. 1
  • Wrexham 3 Grays A. 2
  • York C. v Forest Green R. POSTPONED
  • Howard Watts's Through The Years

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

    "The Torquay United squad are bursting to get back onto the pitch this weekend and put the last two disappointing results behind them. Only Steve Woods is unavailable with his sore knee so virtually all options are open to Bucks as the team look to get back to winning ways. The second half against Weymouth but for a goal or two was a pretty purposeful forty five minutes and most of the team that finished the match can reasonably expect to find a place in the starting line-up. Altrincham manager Graham Heathcote has warned his side of a possible backlash at Plainmoor after Tuesday night. Heathcote will be working his players through a tactical plan that may well be a defensive reaction to an aggressively attacking approach from the Gulls; maybe we shouldn't disappoint him! They will be missing the ever impressive Colin Little which would affect most Blue Square Premier teams but recent results and a healthy league position (only 9 points behind United) point to the fact that they certainly aren't lambs to the slaughter.

    Within the United squad a loss of confidence seems to be the word whispered around but that can soon be rectified with an early goal and most of all a win. The support for the team on Tuesday night was positive in the main and that must continue; that isn't meant to sound like an order that must be obeyed, more of a request! For the players to feel and hear a strong vocal support cannot possibly have an adverse affect on them and right now some of them need you, this current season is a long, long way off being sorted and a couple of bad, or good, results don't necessarily set the pattern for the remaining two and a half months of the season".

    This is South Devon has a preview in which it says the "Altrincham player to watch [is] Stuart Coburn... the 'senior' pro in Altrincham's dressing-room... Many Torquay United fans trace the Gulls' failure to win promotion last season to the night in February when they dropped two key points to a lowly Altrincham in a 1-1 draw at Plainmoor. United lost their next three league matches to let leaders Aldershot go clear, and nothing was quite the same again for the Gulls. Chris Zebroski gave United a 44th minute lead a year ago, but Graham Heathcote's team kept the deficit to one goal until a controversial penalty in the 72nd minute when Gulls defender Mark Ellis was adjudged to have fouled Joe O'Neill. Warren Peyton converted the penalty, and Altrincham held on for a point. Seven members of Alty's squad that night, including O'Neill, Peyton and busy goalkeeper Stuart Coburn, are still around now...

    A Freeman of the borough, Heathcote combined the roles of manager, since 2002, and secretary until only a couple of years ago. Every year he wheels and deals cleverly to keep his beloved club afloat, seldom more effectively than this season, when the club looks like avoiding its almost annual battle against relegation...The defence this season has been boosted by the arrival from Port Vale last summer of experienced centre-back Mark McGregor (Wrexham, Burnley, Blackpool). McGregor, 31, is partnering 6ft 3in tall Greg Young (Grimsby, Halifax), with former Liverpool Academy youngster James Smith and the reliable Chris Lane (Everton, Hereford, Southport, Morecambe) at full-back.

    Heathcote recently added former Stockport, Macclesfield and MK Dons youngster Jordan Hadfield to his midfield. Also in there are two regulars in recent seasons, Chris Senior (Scarborough, Halifax) and Robbie Lawton, with former Chester, Rochdale and Halifax man Matt Doughty on the left wing... Heathcote has taken former Gulls forward Jody Banim on loan... And his partner of late has been big targetman Dale Johnson, who made his name locally with Hyde and Droylsden. Little, who spent seven years as a big favourite at Crewe before spells with Macclesfield and Halifax, has scored nine goals so far this season... Also pressing for places are striker O'Neill (Preston, York), fourth season midfielder Peyton, ex-Droylsden winger Chris Denham, ex-Stoke and Leek Town midfielder Anthony Danylyk and defender Shaun Densmore".

    Meanwhile Torquay boss "Paul Buckle has told his Torquay United side to prove that Tuesday night's poor first half was a one-off when Altrincham visit Plainmoor... Buckle said his squad's response in training this week has been fantastic... 'We have to be at it for 90 minutes', said the boss. 'Right from the first whistle we need to go after them and get on the front foot... If we're at the top of our game then we'll take some stopping...

    Central defender Steve Woods missed the midweek game with a sore knee... 'It's a total mystery', added Buckle...'We're looking into it'".


    . The BBC says that "The owners of Weymouth Football Club have revealed plans to issue a million shares to help save the club after the collapse of takeover talks this week. Around 400 fans turned out at the Wessex Stadium to hear last night's announcement. Chief Executive Gary Calder told BBC Solent: 'The talking's got to stop, if they don't we'll have to make a tough decision early next week'. The players have not been paid in 2009 and the club owes around £300,000. A million shares, worth fifty pence each, will now be sold in an effort to raise funds. If the move is unsuccessful the club could face administration or liquidation".

    To the above, the Dorset Echo adds that at the meeting "Chief Executive Gary Calder revealed the club was losing £9,000 a week and owed almost £300,000... Mr Calder admitted that the proposed take over deal from potential investors Colin Hill and Lee Power had fallen apart after their bid to buy the land around the stadium was turned down by owners Malcolm Curtis and Ernie Battey... Mr Calder told the crowd that he was present at the meeting between Mr Lee and Mr Hill and landowners Mr Curtis and Mr Battey, from Morgan Sindall Investments Ltd. He said: 'The two men (Lee and Power) and their lawyer sat with Malcolm Curtis and Ernie Battey at Morgan Sindall’s offices on Monday afternoon. They put in a proposal to them to repay every penny that they had paid for the land surrounding the stadium. On top of that they would make the club debt free and also put £100,000 into the club’s account. That offer was turned down'.

    Mr Calder claimed that in the meeting Mr Curtis and Mr Battey wanted ‘significantly more’ than the £500,000 they were offered for the land... Several fans also spoke up for the club’s players, who have been unpaid for six-weeks and issued their notice on Monday. This means they could become free agents and walk away from the club if they are not paid... Weymouth boss Alan Lewer has admitted that his players are in the 'shop window' ... 'All the lads want to do is keep performing'", he asserted.

    An attendee at the fans' meeting told the Terras Talk forum, "We are currently £149,000 in debt, a further £96,000 is owed to the inland revenue, a further £6,600 is owed for players rent, a further £38,849 is owed as player wages, a further £1,740 is owed to Julia's house... Average player wage per week: £471. Currently losing £9,000 per week. £1,300 is the cost of staging a home match. £6,500 is the average revenue from home matches. It would take £89,650 to pay the players wages until the end of the season".

    NL Daily says that "Strike pair Elliott Charles and Kieron St Aimie have left strugglers Lewes.The duo have returned to Barnet after their one-month loan deals with the Rooks came to an end. Manager Kevin Keehan was hoping to keep the pair but has been unable to due to the club's current financial position... Keehan has, however, allowed Chamal Fenelon to extend his loan at Sussex County League neighbours Whitehawk to a second month".

    The Argus says that "Lewes have told potential investors to come up with the cash by the end of next week or the club could go into administration. Managing director Martin Elliott... has warned administration is a realistic option if he fails to get a commitment from interested parties in the next few days... Elliott saved the Rooks from a similar financial predicament nine years ago and his board has since funded the club’s remarkable rise from Ryman division three to the top-flight of non-league football... Elliott said: 'We want to get this resolved in a matter of days so that the new board or management group can start making plans for next season. If it doesn’t happen then administration is still a possibility... We have a good club here. We have a great ground, great hard core support, good facilities and a nominal rent. We have a great education and community side and a great under-18s team and coaching staff. There are a lot of positives. We have been talking to a lot of people. We are looking for ten-plus but if it was nearer 20 that would be an awful lot better.... The majority see the sense of avoiding the administration route. I have to accept there is an argument under certain circumstances that it could be considered as a better way of going about it but it is not an argument I subscribe to. Others have seen it as a way to wipe the slate clean and have used that route but I feel it creates problems'”.

    According to the Northwich Guardian "Steve King will seek a replacement for Karl Murray after the on-loan midfielder returned to Bromley. The former Woking regular starred five times in his second temporary stay at Northwich, but did not impress enough to earn an extension. 'We had a mixed bag from him to be fair', said King. 'I’m hoping to borrow somebody else next week to cover for Joel [Byrom] and Matty [Crowell] in the centre of the pitch'".

    Grays Athletic "have signed Southend United centre forward, James Lindie. James was originally with Potters Bar Town before joining Southend United. He made his U18 debut with The Shrimpers in the 2004/05 season... He has had a loan spell with Spanish club C D Jávea. James joins Grays on one month's loan".

    From The Argus, we learn that "Eastbourne Borough boss Garry Wilson has yet to get the better of fellow Scot Steve Evans in two meetings against Crawley... It was the same outcome when they crossed swords on the pitch rather than the dugout. Both had decent careers in the Scottish Leagues during the 1980s. Wilson played for Queen’s Park and Stranraer while Evans had spells with Clyde, Albion Rovers, Hamilton, St Johnstone and Ayr United before their careers were both cut short by injury... Evans, who played in midfield or up front, got his fair share including 28 in 76 games for Albion Rovers".

    Evans said: 'People might see Garry as a quiet guy but when we played them in December he was probably more vocal than me. Mind you, he speaks very posh! Don’t let anyone kid you – Garry came from an upmarket Glasgow council estate, mine was a lot worse!”

    "York City’s incredible 13-12 penalty shoot-out victory over Kidderminster has set a new English record" claims The Press. "According to FA sources, no two teams have converted the first 25 spot-kicks in a cup tie in this country. The Minstermen and Kidderminster will, therefore, take their place in the history books but still fell short of UEFA’s European record. That honour belongs to Galatasaray and Genclerbirligi, whose players hit the target 33 times before their Turkish Cup quarter-final tie was concluded. Tunbridge Wells and Littlehampton claim the longest shoot-out for a first-class match in this country when 40 penalties settled their FA Cup preliminary round replay 16-15. But in that match some players missed their kicks before the sudden death stage".

    13 February 2009


    The 87th AGM of Altrincham Association Football Club was held in the Gill Oates Sponsors' Lounge on Wednesday 11 January 2009. The event was tinged with sadness at the recent death of director David Burns, in whose memory a minute's silence was observed. Thanks were also expressed to Carole Hassan, who had resigned as a director during the year in question, due to her other commitments.

    Chairman Geoff Goodwin (right) was unable to attend the AGM but, after the formalities of opening the meeting had been completed by company secretary, George Heslop, vice-chairman Grahame Rowley addressed the twenty or so shareholders present, who included former Altrincham and Liverpool chairman Noel White and former Altrincham director, Len Rosenfeld.

    Grahame acknowledged that the financial results for the year to 31 May 2008 were excellent. They revealed a large profit on the year. However, this superb outcome was because of the one-off benefit of the sale of the car park and the receipt of a grant for ground works. As Noel White later pointed out, without these exceptional items, there would have been a loss of around £30K on operations. This theme tied in with Grahame Rowley's message that, although much had been achieved in the past six years in turning round a very poor financial situation into one which had allowed a sixth-successive profit to be announced, the danger now was complacency. Grahame underlined that the Club still faced very difficult trading circumstances.

    During the year in question much had been achieved off the field including construction of the catering block, a new turnstile block and the installation of the new floodlights. The Board was congratulated by the shareholders for its prudent financial management.

    When the representative of the chartered accountants Milner, Boardman Ltd confirmed that the club had no bank overdraft or loans, Len Rosenfeld suggested that this was possibly unique at Conference level. The Milner Boardman representative said that, having done some investigation of this subject, it would not surprise him if this were the case.

    The Board of the Football Club was confirmed as comprising Geoff Goodwin (chairman), Grahame Rowley (vice-chairman), Andrew Shaw, Barry Pond, Derek Wilshaw and Paul Daine.

    Above, left to right: Grahame Rowley; Andrew Shaw (foreground), Derek Wilshaw (background); Barry Pond; Paul Daine.

    After the business had been closed, Graham Heathcote fielded questions about the playing side of the club. He underlined that it had been a good season to date with the policy of having a smaller but better quality squad paying off. Graham paid tribute to the commitment of his players and assistant manager Graham Barrow as well as the support team of kitmen, physio, goalkeeping trainer and others throughout the club. He reminded the meeting that some of the players travelled appreciable distances for training, but always turned up. He was also appreciative of being able to have a four-day pre-season session with the squad at Mottram Hall Hotel which, he felt, had allowed the squad to start the season in good physical condition.

    The Alty manager (left) reiterated his view that the BSP should be a part-time league, an opinion supported by the dire financial straits of some of the full-time clubs. Graham also answered questions about the late postponement of last Saturday's game against Eastbourne and expressed the view that fear of litigation was making officials err on the side of caution in postponing games.

    Graham also reiterated his view that operating without a reserve side was a correct route to follow. He felt that the competitiveness of the reserve league was poor and that players were better served by getting action on loan in competitive matches with other clubs. The loan system also allowed him to bring players in as needed.

    Graham returned to the subject of his present squad and how they were not the best rewarded financially in the league, particularly as regards bonuses, but he was delighted with how they had performed.

    Andrew Shaw responded to a query about the impact on Setanta TV of the loss of one of their Premiership packages. He confirmed that the Setanta coverage of the BSP was only in year two of a five-year deal. Derek Wilshaw reminded everyone that the Club had lost almost £60K this year through the non-televising of matches planned to be broadcast (v. Northwich, v Luton and v Burton).

    Barry Pond explained how the club needed to find £15,000 to upgrade the electrical supply to the ground and that he was actively seeking sponsorship for this purpose.

    So, another good year had been noted but the ever-increasing demands of competing at national level against clubs prepared to spend large sums of money meant that the club continues to need to maximize its income and for everyone to rally round and support its fundraising activities.


    Thu. 12th
  • Ebbsfleet U. 1 Burton Albion 0, match abandoned in second half because of snow.


    John Edwards, Altrincham FC joint press officer has spoken to the Alty manager... "Graham Heathcote has joined in the condemnation of last Saturday's late postponment at Moss Lane and called for radical new measures to try and guard against any repeat. The Altrincham manager was as dismayed as anyone by match official Tony Harrington's decision to call off the game with Eastbourne Borough shortly before kick-off but believes more could be done to ease the pressure on referees.

    'It was a classic case of one man going against the wishes of everyone else, and I can tell you now there will be games played in April on pitches every bit as hard as the area that was causing concern,' he said. 'Once you get near the end of the season, referees are told to get the games played. 'This one could and should have been played. In the referee's own words, the vast majority of the pitch was in excellent condition, and even the area he was bothered about, near the main stand, was firm but playable. You had two managers and 40 players at the ground that afternoon who all felt the pitch was OK. You have to ask yourself whether those lads would have expressed that view if they actually felt they would be putting themselves in any danger. Of course they wouldn't. It strikes me that, in this day and age, referees may be concerned that if they give the go-ahead and a player gets injured, it could lead to legal action. That could explain last Saturday's decision, and it is something that needs addressing.

    The reality is you can get injured in any game under any conditions. You can fall over and hurt yourself on the most perfect surface, so perhaps we should put in place a system that safeguards referees from any comeback. Maybe, in circumstances like last Saturday, both teams could sign a waiver before kick-off absolving the referee of any blame if there is an injury. 'It must be worth exploring, at least, because it was heartbreaking to look out on to that pitch and think no game was being played. Mr.Harrington didn't take much notice of what we thought, and when the Eastbourne lads arrived, they were astonished. You are in the hands of officials, unfortunately, and I firmly believe this one got it wrong'.

    There were unwanted financial implications for both clubs, as Heathcote explained. 'I would say we lost around £5,000 between us, because of that decision', he said. 'Eastbourne had travelling costs and overnight accomodation, and we had things in place, like catering and sponsorship. It's an awful lot of money to write off at the best of times, but in the current climate, it is even harder to take'.

    Greg Young and Dale Johnson should both be fit for Saturday's trip to Torquay, but Chris Denham and Anthony Danylyk face late tests. Colin Little is expected to return from hamstring trouble at home to Woking seven days later".


    Robert Bate is a well known steward on matchdays at Moss Lane and also a regular at Altrincham's away matches. The Sale & Altrincham Messengerreports that "A dad has recovered his lost wallet full of cash, credit cards and family photos – thanks to the honesty of a paper deliverer and a Timperley newsagent. Craig Goold lost his wallet when he and his partner, Beverley Robinson, travelled to Timperley from their home in Leamington, to visit Beverley’s parents. Craig feared he would never see his valuables again – but fortunately the wallet was found by paper deliverer Robert Bate on Sunday morning. He handed it in at the Mini Market shop on Park Road that he delivers for. And Messenger reunited Craig with his wallet after he emailed the paper about losing it, and a reader then told the newsdesk about Robert finding a wallet. Tractor company manager Craig, aged 45, said: 'I am over the moon. It is just great that someone handed it in. It is so heartwarming when something like this happens. I will reward Robert'. He said the wallet contained ‘irreplaceable’ photos of his children Jack, 17, and Lara, 14, growing up. Minesh Vaiwala, who owns the Mini Market with his brother Vijay, also praised Robert, who has been delivering his papers for eight years: 'He is very honest and reliable'".


    Altrincham travel to Torquay this Saturday where This is South Devon tells us that "Plainmoor groundsman Mark Burd and his staff must take a pat on the back for producing the pitch in such good condition for Tuesday night's game against Weymouth. The previous afternoon, with standing water in many areas, you would have got long odds-against the match being played... The recently married Burd, who commutes from Tiverton every day, and his team were straight out on it again after the final whistle, putting back divots and lifting gouges. In some ways, getting the surface flat again for Altrincham on Saturday may be a tougher task".

    Torquay United manager Paul Buckle remains confident that the Gulls will rediscover their goal-touch... 'We will come through this spell, when we're not putting the ball in the back of the net, I'm sure of that', said Buckle as United picked themselves up from Tuesday's shock 2-0 home defeat by Weymouth... 'Wingers are on the pitch to run at people and get crosses into the box, and we didn't do that in the first half' [against Weymouth this week], said the Gulls' boss.... 'I will tell the players the truth, in no uncertain terms'... The Weymouth game also cost Gulls skipper Chris Hargreaves a one-match suspension, for his fifth booking of the season. Hargreaves will miss the trip to Kettering Town next weekend, but he will be available for this Saturday's match at home to Altrincham".


    The minutes of the latest meeting of committee of The Altrincham FC Supporters' Club, compiled by Dawn Abbott, are here.


    Rumours abound on the Northwich Vics forum, even including one that former stadium owner Mike Connett is attempting to buy back the Marston's Arena. But the Northwich Guardian says that "The taxman will ask a judge to make former Northwich Victoria chairman Mike Connett bankrupt next week. The Guardian has learned that the club’s ex-landlord is due in London’s High Court on Tuesday after allegedly failing to pay instalments on a six-figure personal debt claimed by HM Revenue and Customs. That sum is believed to be close to £200,000. The taxman issued a petition against him last November, according to public records at the Land Registry. The Guardian has seen a document, obtained under the Land Charges Act 1972, confirming that Vics’ former owner is subject to bankruptcy proceedings. Court records also show that he agreed in June 2007 to pay off the money in instalments following a hearing at Crewe County Court... Last month Connett’s firm, Beaconet Limited, was wound up after failing to pay back a £60,000 bank loan. That company had acted as Vics’ landlord, charging £1,000 a week for the past year... He was due to meet an official receiver appointed to oversee Beaconet’s liquidation yesterday, Wednesday. It is expected he will be asked to hand over the keys to the stadium he once described as his ‘pension fund’".

    "York City reached the quarter-finals of the FA Trophy after an epic 13-12 penalty shoot-out victory over Kidderminster Harriers" reports the BBC. "Daniel McBreen fired City into a 74th-minute lead, before Justin Richards levelled five minutes later to force a goalless period of extra-time. The first 25 penalties in the shoot-out were all scored but Richards saw his second attempt saved by Michael Ingham. York will play Havant & Waterlooville or Crawley in the last eight".

    The NL Daily reports that "Southern League Division One South & West promotion-chasers AFC Totton have pulled off something of a coup by signing vastly experienced defender Matt Robinson from Salisbury City. Robinson lost his place in the Whites' starting line-up this season after taking a job with the Police force, which meant he was unavailable for some matches".

    "Some red faces have been saved by the withdrawal of Oxford United`s Lewis Haldane from the England `C` squad after it was discovered he has already played for Wales at under-21 level! The 23-year-old, on a season-long loan at the Kassam Stadium from Bristol Rovers, was in the squad to face Malta under-21s. A Football Association spokesman said: 'Haldane's inclusion in the England `C` squad for the Malta was as a result of an administrative error'. His Oxford team-mate, winger Craig Nelthorpe, is on standby for next Tuesday's game". Alty's Shaun Densmore is also in the squad. Shaun will emulate his father Peter, a former Altrincham player who was capped by the England semi-pro side.

    Blue Square Football confirms that "Weymouth's financial troubles have worsened following the collapse of takeover talks with prospective investors. The Terras' CEO Gary Calder confirmed that talks with former Cambridge United chairman Lee Power and former Rushden chairman Colin Hill had broken down. Calder said that negotiations had collapsed following an offer for the land surrounding the Wessex Stadium being refused by land-owners Morgan Sindall Investments Ltd, a company part-owned by former chairman Malcolm Curtis. He told BBC Radio Solent: 'At this moment I can't see that this will be taken forward, so we have to look at every option. Various people from local businesses have come in and spoken to me and we are still looking, but at this moment in time the Colin Hill and Lee Power scenario is dead in the water'". Rumour has it that Hill and Power have turned their attention to AFC Bournemouth.

    Meanwhile, the Dorset Echo says that "Former Weymouth director Dave Higson has sent out a rallying call to the town to turn out in force for tonight’s crisis meeting [Thursday] at the Wessex Stadium... With the first-team squad having issued a 14-day payment notice on Monday, which could see them walk away for free, the Terras have had to send out an SOS signal in the hope that the local community will pull together and help the club out of its current plight. Higson said: 'It is vital that those who can attend do attend. Instead of just sitting there criticising from afar people need to come along and listen to what is said and try to help come up with some ideas to solve the problem'. This evening’s meeting has been called by chief executive Gary Calder, director Mark Golsby, Weymouth Supporters’ Club chairman Ian White and club community officer Tim Davis, and is open to all. Higson added: 'This is a last-ditch effort to try and convince the people of Weymouth to start helping the club'".

    Histon Football Club "has announced major plans to improve their drainage after suffering a number of postponements due to wet weather. Chairman Gareth Baldwin [said]: 'When our fixture was postponed on Saturday 24th January and was the only Blue Square Premier fixture to fall due to wet weather you have to look at why. I think it's unacceptable for a club at this level of football to be calling off fixtures due to rain... We have a very heavy clay surface which has historically caused problems year on year, however we addressed the problem nearly three seasons ago by installing a drainage system but with the new stands and buildings the system is no longer man enough for the job so we will be carrying out extensive works this May to replace our system... The archaic infrastructure has continued to thrown up many challenges and this is one that needs urgent attention and will be dealt with... Having spent £50,000 on the drainage and irrigation system 3 years ago, our directors hoped we had fixed the problem - but then we go and build the county FA head quarters and new stands and the water coming onto the playing surface quadruples, but its just another challenge that progress throws up'".

    From The Crawley Observer confirms that "The FA will hold the hearing for Crawley Town's appeal against their points deduction on Friday, February 27".

    "The news that Setanta Sports had lost one of their two live Premier League coverage contracts, in the new TV deal which will come into force for the 2010-2011 season, must have sent a chill down the spines of league officials and club representatives throughout the Football Conference... It was the Premier League foothold, secured from Sky two years ago, which allowed Setanta to fill several of its 'slots' with coverage of Blue Square Premier matches. That deal, which gives home clubs £13,000 and away clubs £2,000 each time their games are covered live, runs for the rest of this season and next. The way that TV demands keep forcing changes in fixture lists may be a pain in the butt for supporters, but Setanta's cash and the exposure is, in the final analysis, good news for the clubs... If Setanta's regular exposure of the BSP is slashed or, even worse, burned all together, what will Blue Square themselves think about that? The Conference Board must be looking fearfully down the double-barrelled shotgun of a reduction in their television AND sponsorship income... Sky themselves could be interested, and Disney-owned US network ESPN would like to break into the European soccer market sooner rather than later" says This is South Devon.

    12 February 2009


    The Sale & Altrincham Messenger reports that "Graham Heathcote has warned his Altrincham players to be ready for a backlash from Torquay, after their promotion hopes were dented by a shock home defeat by Weymouth on Tuesday night. Alty head for the English Riviera on Saturday and can be sure of a hot reception after Torquay blew their chance of moving into second place, behind runaway leaders Burton Albion, after losing 2-0 to their south coast rivals.

    The upset lifted Weymouth ahead of Alty in the table, but Heathcote was more concerned about the task facing his side at Plainmoor as Torquay bid to bounce back. 'That didn't do us any favours', said the Alty boss. 'I am going to have to think long and hard about how we approach the game, because it is going to be more difficult than ever for us now. The one thing you can be sure about is that a side fighting for a play-off place is going to come up with a reaction to losing at home like that. We have got to make sure we are ready for it. We have worked on a few things in training and will work on a few more before we set off on Friday. I fully expect a response from the Torquay players, and I just hope ours are ready for that and able to meet the challenge'.

    On the injury front, Dale Johnson trained, and is expected to be fit, as did Greg Young. Anthony Danylyk, who did some training after a dead leg, and Chris Denham, who was unable to join in after having stitches removed from a long-standing eye injury, face late tests. Colin Little is on course for a possible return from hamstring trouble at home to Woking a week on Saturday". [However, on Wednesday night at Moss Lane, the manager said that he expected Colin to miss the game.]

    SAM adds that "Heathcote has joined in the widespread condemnation of referee Tony Harrington's late decision to call off last Saturday’s home game with Eastbourne. 'It was a classic case of one man going against the wishes of everyone else', he said. It was heartbreaking to look at that pitch and think you weren't being allowed to play on it'".


    Altrincham FC Youth team's game this Sunday is away at New Mills.


    252 225 This is Nottingham says that "Hucknall Town squeezed into the quarter-finals of the Notts FA Senior Cup with a 1-0 win at Dunkirk... A long throw by Niall O'Brien was back-headed by Chris Timons into the path of Theo Smith who deflected the ball past his own keeper Dave Langsdale".

    In the League, Tranmere Rovers "moved to within three points of the play-off places with a 1-0 victory over in-form Colchester United on Tuesday night... Ryan Shotton's 50th-minute header was enough for Rovers to earn three precious points".

    Former Altrincham youth teamer Dominic Lillie (right) scored for Abbey Hey this week as they drew 2-2 with Atherton Collieries. Pat McFadden has reportedly signed for Ashton United. NL Daily says that a "hat trick from John Toner kept The New Saints in third place in the Principality Welsh Premier in a 4-1 win at Prestatyn Town on Tuesday night".

    The UniBond Premier League says that "Marine have announced that it is to cut the players' weekly wage budget by 25% with immediate effect. An accumulation of reduced gate receipts and early exits from national cup competitions have been compounded by falling bar incomes from its membership. This is the first time Marine Football Club, under manager Alvin McDonald, has implemented such a sizable cut to its wages budget mid season and is necessary to help meet the Club's banking commitments through to the end of May". An ex-Robin at the Crosby club is Adam Farley.


    Alty travel to Plainmoor on Saturday where "Torquay manager Paul Buckle is frustrated at his side's lack of goals after their 2-0 defeat to Weymouth. Buckle's men have failed to score in three of their last five games and once again failed to hit the net on Tuesday. 'It's frustrating', admitted Buckle to BBC Radio Devon after the defeat to their nearest rivals at Plainmoor. 'Tim Sills is a top striker at our level. Iyesden Christie, Matt Green and Elliot Benyon are the guys brought in to score the goals and they will'. Torquay missed a host of chances to equalise after Ryan Williams had given the Terras the lead in first-half stoppage time. Buckle added: 'I trust the forwards I've got and I trust the players I've got. I feel that if we can get the first goal in a game we'll always push on, in the last few games we created the chances, we just haven't scored the goals. We need to put one away to then push forward, but all the time that we're not putting the ball in the back of the net, and especially if we're letting one in on the counter-attack, it puts you under pressure... I thought Iyesden was great. He brought people into play, he was intelligent and he'll only get better for us', said Buckle.

    This is South Devon adds that it was "The Gulls' fourth home defeat of the season at Plainmoor. The Terras – their players have not been paid for several weeks – punished a punchless first-half display by United when winger Ryan Williams gave them the lead just before the interval. And, despite a much-improved display of second-half attacking, United were caught out on the break when Weymouth's leading scorer Stuart Beavon ended the contest with his 15th goal of the season... It was no surprise when manager Paul Buckle took off both his starting wingers, Wayne Carlisle and Roscoe Dsane, at half-time. The introduction of Danny Stevens and Mustapha Carayol sparked United into life in the second half... Christie started in place of Tyrone Thompson and Wayne Carlisle for Steve Adams, from the team beaten at Southport in the FA Trophy ten days ago. And Chris Robertson was recalled in central defence for Steve Woods, who was not risked because of a sore knee... Three minutes from time the Terras administered the coup de grace. They turned desperate defence into counter attack with a run by Williams, a touch and pass by Coutts and there was Beavon to fire low past Bevan's right hand from 16 yards… 2-0. Hundreds of Gulls fans headed straight for the exits. And if it hadn't been for a last-ditch tackle by Nicholson, Beavon would have made it 3-0 in stoppage time".

    Torquay United themselves say that "Chances were created, chances were missed, some neat, crisp attacking football was produced at times, chances were missed, Weymouth scored a couple of goals on the break, chances were missed. There is a common theme surrounding quite a few of Torquay United's matches recently and it is ultimately the most important factor in football: scoring goals... In recent matches the Gulls have created enough chances to win a dozen games but this seems to be one of those spells which isn't really any individual's fault but it needs to be rectified sooner rather than later".

    From the other side, the Dorset Echo reports that "Stuart Beavon... has explained why the Weymouth squad issued a 14-day payment notice to the club on Monday, which at the end of it could see them walk away as free agents. The 24-year-old, who had a proposed move to AFC Bournemouth halted by potential new owners Colin Hill and Lee Power in the closing stages of last month’s transfer window, said: 'It is a very difficult time because no one knows what is going on. But one thing is for sure and that is we have all got to earn money and the longer it goes on the more concerning it becomes. We have now gone six weeks without being paid and that is why we have had to take such action to protect our futures. Everyone is 100 per cent committed and always will be but all the uncertainty and the fact we have not been paid does make it hard to get up for a game. With what has happened over the past few weeks it is also hard for me personally as well but all I can do is just keep getting on with it in the hope that something will happen soon. And hopefully it will happen this week because the boys just cannot go on and on'.

    It is rumoured that the players played without full insurance last night but Beavon could not confirm that. He added: 'I am not too sure to be fair. I don’t know what the craic is regarding that situation but it is obviously something that the club needs to make sure is done'...

    Boss Alan Lewer was delighted. He said: 'If we can get a result at home against Stevenage on Saturday we could find ourselves only four points off the play-offs'".

    But off the field, things are less happy as "Weymouth FC officials will hold a do-or-die meeting on Thursday night at the Wessex Stadium in a last chance saloon bid to save the ailing club... Chief executive Gary Calder, director Mark Golsby, community officer Tim Davis and Weymouth Supporters’ Club chairman Ian White have organised a forum in the hope that fans, shareholders, local businesses and the wider community will turn out in force to offer their ideas and support... The Terras have been searching for new investors ever since former majority shareholder Malcolm Curtis resigned as chairman and handed his shares over to Make It So Ltd, a holding company whose directors are Mr Calder, Mr Golsby and club accountant Ian Winsor. And it seems that the Terras’ officials are still blaming Mr Curtis for the club’s plight. Mr Calder said: 'The club is in a situation where it has 15 players who have issued a 14-day payment notice and will walk away in 12 days if they are unpaid. And that is why we have arranged tomorrow night’s meeting because this really is crunch time'.

    Mr White then added: 'As Malcolm Curtis stated in yesterday’s Dorset Echo he is now just another man on the street but how he can look himself in the mirror each morning I do not know. The fact no one at the club has been paid is a frightening situation and we all now need to get together to ensure the club survives'. Mr Golsby, who is also the vice-chairman of the Terras Trust, added: “Tomorrow’s meeting is... about everyone coming together in a bid to take action to save WFC'".

    Malcolm Curtis and Ernie Battey own the land around the stadium and the latter said, “I cannot be responsible for the football club because I have no investment in it but the land we own can have a good outcome with the development of an income-generating stadium for the town worth between seven and eight million pounds".

    The BBC reports that "Crawley Town have completed the signing of former Cheltenham Town utility player Ben Gill. The 21-year-old has joined after a successful trial period... 'Ben has signed until the end of the season', said assistant manager Paul Raynor. 'He can play at right-back, in the middle of the park or out wide so he's very versatile'. Gill joins Crawley after being released by Cheltenham in January".

    "Barrow joint-manager Dave Bayliss has said the Blue Square Premier strugglers are hopeful of signing a striker and defender on loan. He told BBC Radio Cumbria: 'We've got lads from some Championship clubs from down South wanting to come up here. Because we are part-time, it's difficult for players to come up such a long distance from Championship clubs to only train once a week but we are trying to work around that and see what the best situation is... We've had the backing of the chairman and the board who've been great', Bayliss said. 'They have said 'wait until the right player comes along and then you can get them'. We told Paul Tait and Nick Rogan that we are going to bring in another forward. We always said that we wanted four strikers at the club. We are also looking at a left-sided defender with Carlos Logan suspended for the game at Oxford this weekend. That will only happen if the right player comes along'...

    After Morecambe striker Wayne Curtis was recalled from his loan spell at Holker Street last month, 'We are looking at loan deals until the end of the season so we have no further disruptions', he said. 'People don't realise just how tough it is to get players. People are in the same boat as us because they also have thin squads. That's why we are looking more at Championship squads because they can afford to lose one or two players where the League One and Two clubs usually want a recall on their players after a month'. Bayliss has also revealed that defender Lee Woodyatt is close to a return to action. The 25-year-old suffered a break of the tibia and fibia as well as a dislocated ankle during a pre-season friendly at Kendal Town.

    'We had just seven players training with us last Thursday night. You just can't do anything with that few players', Bayliss said. Six or seven of the lads have been carrying knocks anyway so maybe the rest has been good for them'".

    The Argus reports that "Crawley's FA Trophy fourth round tie at Havant & Waterlooville has been postponed for a fourth time... The game has been re-arranged for next Monday (February 16)".

    Further south in Sussex " Chairman Len Smith says Eastbourne Borough are likely to follow the example of Blue Square Ppremier leaders Burton Albion next season. Borough are currently one of the few completely part-time clubs in non-league’s top flight, having ruled out the possibility of turning full-time following their promotion last season. Smith insists the club is still not in a position to become fully professional next season despite a promising start to life in Blue Square premier with crowds up by 58% at Priory Lane and the team sitting comfortably just above mid-table. However, he has hinted the club are considering copying the model followed by the likes of Burton, Histon and Salisbury by having a combination of full-time and part-time players on their books... Smith said: 'I can’t see us going full-time next season but we could certainly have a mixture of full-time and part-time players. It is not ideal as the perfect situation would be to have everybody full-time but teams like Burton and Histon seem to be able to make it work. We are not in a position financially to go full-time at the moment and with the current financial situation I expect there will be a lot of clubs going the other way. The other consideration is that some players have good jobs that they don’t want to give up so having a mixture means we can keep hold of them and add some full-time players if the right ones become available'.

    Part-time clubs have historically struggled in Blue Square Premier but Borough, together with Altrincham, appear to be bucking the trend this season...Boss Garry Wilson and Nick Greenwood realise that staying part-time is not a realistic option if they are to achieve their long-term goal of consolidating the club’s position in non-league’s top flight. The pair had a number of talks with Salisbury counterparts Tommy Widdrington and Nick Holmes in the summer where the logistics of having a mixed squad were discussed.. The importance of full-time players has been highlighted by the impact made by Danny Brown, Ashley Barnes and Dan Smith in recent months. Smith added: 'Our main concern at the moment is making sure we stay up this year and only once we have achieved that can we plan properly for next year. We are looking comfortable at the moment but we won’t take anything for granted as there is still a long way to go and a lot can happen. I think everybody connected with Eastbourne Borough has thoroughly enjoyed the experience of playing at this level. “What is pleasing is that we have adapted very quickly to the step up and the fans have come out to support us in good numbers... We seem to be holding our own quite nicely'” reports the Argus.

    But "Eastbourne Borough face a hectic final month of the season after their postponed match at Altrincham on Saturday was rearranged for Tuesday April 7. Borough were furious the game was called off by referee Tony Harrington less than two hours before kick off due to a small area of the pitch being deemed frozen. It means Borough will now play four games in the space of nine days with Weymouth coming to Priory Lane the Saturday before, a trip to Cambridge on the weekend after and the visit of Grays on Easter Monday."

    According to the Northants Evening Telegraph "Garry Hill walked out on Rushden & Diamonds by conceding: 'I'm dearly sorry things haven't worked out for us'. He resigned as manager after Monday night's 3-0 defeat at Burton Albion with Justin Edinburgh taking over as caretaker-boss alongside player-coach Chris Hope... After nearly two years in charge, Hill reflected: 'I've never quit before – but I think the time was right. I had a good innings. I felt we were going forward and I was hopeful we could take the club in the right direction. Slowly but surely over the last two or three months, though, the goalposts moved on certain things which left me disappointed and frustrated. I'm trying to be professional about it. But it became very hard for myself. You don't have to be a scientist to see how many players have departed – that's part and parcel of football. Things have happened behind the scenes which have upset me. I'm feeling disappointed and down... I feel they have got young players like Dale Roberts, Curtis Osano, Sam Smith, Lee Tomlin and Jake Beecroft who will be assets on the pitch... I gave it my best shot. For the first time as a manager I haven't delivered what I was hoping to do. I've been successful at every other club. At times Diamonds were going in the right direction then all of a sudden the wheels came off again... Now I need a break and the last thing on my mind is football'".

    From The Mid-Cheshire Chronicle we hear that "Northwich Vics are still shut out of their Marston’s Arena ground which remains unsold. The stadium has been locked for about a month now... Former chairman Mike Connett, who still technically owns the ground despite his firm Beaconet being wound up two weeks ago, is still present at the stadium stopping those at the club he had previously banned, including Vics owner Jim Rushe, from entering the premises. Rushe, who is the lead figure of a consortium of local businessmen attempting to buy the ground, says he is 'frustrated' with the situation... Last week, Connett was placed under supervision at the stadium by staff representing fixed-charge receivers Deloitte.

    Rushe says all that stands between his consortium and buying the Marston’s Arena is for a lending company in London to agree to loan him the £1.5m needed to complete the purchase. It’s not like I am asking for money to buy a car or a house, it’s £1.5m so it’s just a case of jumping through hoops, doing everything they ask of us and hopefully it will all come right in the end... Companies are wary of lending to football clubs so they ask for much more information than usual which is why it’s taking so long".

    Vics’ next home fixture is on Tuesday, February 24 against Kettering Town by which time Rushe will hope to have bought the ground or else Vics would have to play at either Witton, Chester City or Macclesfield Town... Manager Steve King says that the financial situation at the club is not helping the team’s cause as he is unable to bring in the players he wants. He said: 'I have had players lined up and ready to sign but my hands are pretty much tied. They were players that would really make a difference'”.

    The Guardian also reports that "Vics’ beleaguered boss Steve King said: “We are just not getting any luck at the moment. I now know what it feels like to be the manager of one of those sides at the bottom of the league... King is expecting to be able to select from a fully-fit squad and was buoyed this week by the return of Joel Byrom after a long period out with injury... The match the New Lawn will be Vics’ seventh consecutive away match, including the ‘home’ fixture with Histon played at Altrincham".

    11 February 2009


    Altrincham midfielder Shaun Densmore, who was named in the contingency squad for the England C team (formerly the semi-pro side), has been promoted to the main squad and is travelling to Malta for the international this week.


    Tue. 10th

  • Histon v Mansfield T. OFF
  • Kettering T. v Oxford U. OFF
  • Stevenage v Forest Green OFF
  • Torquay 0 Weymouth 2
  • League table.


    Manchester United Reserves play Bolton Wanderers Reserves at Moss Lane on Thursday at 7pm.


    Altrincham FC holds its AGM tonight (Wednesday) at 7pm at Moss Lane. As usual, this meeting is open to shareholders only.


    Tue. 10th
  • Barrow v AFC Telford OFF


    Wed. 11th
  • Havant & W. v Crawley


    Interesting news comes from the South coast as the Dorset Echo reports that "The deepening crisis at Weymouth Football Club has suffered another major setback with the first-team squad issuing a 14-day payment notice at the end of which they could become free agents. The players, who still have not received their wages for January, held a meeting with Terras’ officials yesterday after taking advice from the Professional Footballers’ Association. Weymouth chief executive Gary Calder said: 'The players have given the club 14 days’ notice whereby if they do not get paid in that time then the club will have to release them as free agents. This has all come from the fact that just prior to Christmas the club was left high and dry in regards to the debt not being paid'...

    Millionaire businessman Colin Hill and former Cambridge United chairman Lee Power took a look at the accounts at the Blue Square Premier outfit last week. Echosport understands that the duo met with former majority shareholder Malcolm Curtis and Ernie Battey, chairman of Morgan Sindall Investments Ltd, yesterday. It is believed that lawyers were also present at the meeting and that negotiations are still ongoing. When quizzed about the meeting last night, Curtis said: 'No comment. But what I can say is that I no longer have any involvement with WFC at all. Morgan Sindall Investments Ltd through Wessex Delivery Partnership LLP own the land surrounding the Wessex Stadium of which I am a minority shareholder whose job is to try and deliver the development of the new stadium. That is my day job and as far as the football club is concerned I am now just another man on the street'. Meanwhile, Power was unavailable for comment".

    Before Tuesday's game at Torquay, the Terras' boss Alan Lewer said, "We are light on the ground in terms of players. We have the side that has been playing with the exception of Anton Robinson of course, and we have also lost Sam Cutler for four to five weeks with ankle ligament and tendon damage. With Pierre Joseph-Dubois also out it means we will have Jordan Collins, Scott Dixon, Ollie Tribe, Jordan Vincent and Marcus Browning on the bench, although Marcus is also a bit of a doubt as well'".

    The Echo adds that "Weymouth FC officials will hold a do-or-die meeting on Thursday night at the Wessex Stadium in a last chance saloon bid to save the ailing club... Chief executive Gary Calder, director Mark Golsby, community officer Tim Davis and Weymouth Supporters’ Club chairman Ian White have organised a forum in the hope that fans, shareholders, local businesses and the wider community will turn out in force to offer their ideas and support... In another twist to the ongoing saga, Mr Calder has claimed that potential new investors Colin Hill and Lee Power have had an offer of £500,000 for the land surrounding the Wessex Stadium turned down by Wessex Delivery Partnership LLP. It is believed that Mr Hill and Mr Power held talks with Mr Curtis and Ernie Battey, chairman of Morgan Sindall Investments Ltd, on Monday but Mr Power has refuted the suggestion while Mr Curtis and Mr Battey have refused to comment".

    Whilst Colin Hill attempts to buy Weymouth, his brother has left his job at Rushden as "Rushden & Diamonds confirm that Garry Hill has resigned as First Team Manager at Nene Park following the 3-0 defeat away at Burton Albion last night [Monday]. Chairman, Keith Cousins, commented 'It is with deep regret that I have accepted Garry's resignation. His commitment to this Football Club during his stay here has been unconditional. He has showed true professionalism and integrity throughout, always acting in the best interests of the Club. Garry leaves with immediate effect and to further demonstrate his honesty he has waived his right to any further remuneration, which he would ordinarily be entitled to under the terms of his contract. It is a very sad day at Nene Park and what's even more disappointing is that this is a victory for the "boo boy" supporters and a loss to the Club. The players must assume responsibility for the recent performances and you cannot hide from the fact that they are plainly underachieving. I will be addressing this with all the players this week'. Justin Edinburgh has been appointed Caretaker Manager".

    Whilst Colin Hill is a link between Rushden and Weymouth, having been on the board at the Diamond as well as being the manager's brother, Michael Chinn is a link between Steve Evans the Crawley boss and Rushden as the NL Daily reports. "King's Lynn's former director Michael Chinn resigned from the board because he refused to bankroll the Blue Square North club any longer. The Lincolnshire-based business-man quit last week after pumping what he estimated was £180,000 into the Norfolk outfit during his two-year spell. However, Chinn - now linked with a potential takeover at Rushden & Diamonds - revealed he will still support the club financially for the remainder of Lynn's current league campaign. 'For the next three months I will do £10,000 a month just so the club can carry on as it has been doing', he said. 'By the end of the season I think you would be looking at something in the region of £180,000 since I first went in... I don't want them saying whatever might happen to the club in the future was down to Michael Chinn. I wrote off money that Crawley owed me to bring in Brad Thomas this season on loan along with all the other bits and pieces but I've had to take a massive pay cut with my own three businesses... I had every intention of taking the football club over but when I looked into it further I didn't think it was something in my remit. The economics of the club need to be looked out... I have been approached by three or four other clubs, one to buy outright, and for what I invested in Lynn I could've probably been involved in the Football League somewhere'" he told the Eastern Daily Press.

    On a day dominated by news from the south, the Woking News & Mail says that "Aldershot Town striker Rob Elvins, 22, has become Woking’s seventh loan player this term having signed for The Cards until the end of the season. The 6ft 2in striker has made 14 Football League appearances this term for The Shots, scoring twice, but has failed to hit the net since October 4. He follows Lennie Pidgeley, Carl Pentney, Joe Magunda, Daniel Spence, Tom Denton, Simon Eastwood and Oliver Bozanic as men brought in to aid an ailing team this season at Kingfield".

    And even a bit of news from nearer to home has a southern ending as Northwich Vics report that Karl Murray has returned to Bromley at the end of his loan period.

    10 February 2009


    Two revised fixtures for your diary:
  • Tue.3.3.09 Kettering Town away, 7.45pm
  • Tue.7.4.09 Eastbourne Borough home, 7.45pm


    Altrincham FC vice-chairman Grahame Rowley writes:

    The club is holding a Sportsman's dinner on Thursday 26th March at the Cresta Court Hotel, Altrincham with Mickey Thomas being the main speaker. Mickey played over 600 league games for Man Utd, Everton, Wrexham and several other clubs. He won 51 caps for wales and has had an interesting time in life since hanging up his boots. He now works on radio for Key 103 and Piccadilly 1152 as a football analyst as well as appearing regularly on MUTV. An interesting night is guaranteed for all.

    This event will be compered by our very own Graham Heathcote and will consist of a four-course meal followed by an auction and raffle. Along with Mickey you will also be entertained by a guest comedian.

    The corresponding event last year was organised for us by one of our Directors, David Burns, who very sadly lost his battle with cancer on January 2nd this year. Thus it has been decided that a donation from the proceeds of this event will be given to Macmillan Cancer Support in his memory.

    If you would like to purchase a table/tickets, the price is £450 + VAT for a table of 10. Please print off the booking form now and return it to Karen Rowley at the club. .


    The Altrincham Supporters' Club chairman Brian Flynn writes:

    We're just a Fiver Short!!!

    The TASC New Year Draw has raised a total of £1995.20 to date.Whilst this is a fantastic effort, we are still £4.80 below our objective of £2,000 worth of ticket sales.If there is any ticket sales money that hasn't been submitted yet, please can you let us have it as soon as possible by dropping it off at Altrincham Football Club or calling Brian Flynn on 07860 561011.


    The Argus reports that "Eastbourne Borough boss Garry Wilson has called for an urgent review of how pitch inspections are carried out as the club counts the cost of their postponed match at Altrincham on Saturday. Referee Tony Harrington ruled the Moss Lane pitch was unplayable less than two hours before kick-off despite it passing an initial inspection at 10am.

    Borough had stayed in a hotel in the area overnight and were just five minutes from the ground when they were told the match was not going ahead. Only two Blue Square Premier games survived the weather and with forecasts warning of freezing overnight temperatures Wilson believes a decision should have been made earlier. He said: 'I think the Conference have got to take a look at the way games are called off. On Friday the forecast was for temperatures to drop to minus six overnight so there was always going to be the possibility it was going to be off. If the game had been called off on Friday we could have saved the cost of a hotel and coach hire and the players wouldn't have had to take time off work. Now they will have to take another day off when the game is rearranged in midweek. It's probably cost the club in the region of £3,500 and these things have got to be taken into consideration'.

    Harrington's decision came in for criticism from both clubs and after testing out the pitch himself Wilson admits he was baffled as to why it was not allowed to go ahead. He added: 'Looking at the pitch you could have got away with playing a game on it. We have definitely played on harder pitches in the summer so I don't see why it is any different in the winter. The referee should also have given us the chance to get to the ground before he made a decision so we could have had an input'.

    Harrington was concerned about one section of the pitch which was in the shade of the main stand but although it was firm it was certainly not solid. But the PE teacher from Cleveland defended his decision and insisted player safety had to be put first He said: 'Unfortunately 75% of the pitch was totally playable but the area underneath the stand was frozen. I went out on the pitch with my boots on and the first thing that happened was that I fell over. It was not a case of whether it was going to get worse, I made my judgement on what it was like at the time'. There was an angry reaction from the 25 Borough fans who made the 260-mile trip to Moss Lane only to have to turn straight round again.

    Damian Karchinski said: 'We got a call at 10am to say the game was definitely on so to get all the way to the ground and then find out it was off is very frustrating. The conditions didn't get any worse after the first inspection and if anything they got better. The groundstaff seemed amazed it was postponed and their supporters said it was far worse in midweek when they played so I can't understand it'".


    Mon. 9th
  • Burton A. 3 Rushden & D. 0
  • Kidderminster H. v Cambridge U. OFF


    News of changed fixture arrangements comes from Kettering Town. "Due to the severe weather and the hazardous conditions in and around the ground, the early decision has been made to postpone tomorrow's fixture against Oxford United. The Club would like to thank all for their co-operation in trying to get this fixture on over the last few days, but unfortunately we have been beaten by the weather.

    The Club can also confirm that we have re-arranged our away fixture against Mansfield Town for next Tuesday, 17th February 19:45 kick-off. This week was originally planned for no fixtures due to the England C match against Malta. Howevere due to the nature of that game the Conference have now allowed Clubs to play midweek. This will leave us with the 3rd March free to arrange another of our outstanding fixtures, this will be publicised when known, however we can confirm we will be looking to play at home. Looking further ahead to the last day of the season, due to Setanta televising a fixture which will be publicised in due course, the kick-off against Kidderminster will not be 3pm due to televising constraints, and again, when confirmed this will be publicised."


    "Michael Bowler has left Kidderminster Harriers after the remainder of his contract was cancelled by mutual consent".

    Forest Green Rovers "announce that they have signed until the end of the season 21 year old midfielder Paul Lloyd who left Morecambe by mutual consent during the transfer window. Paul was a player who Manager Jim Harvey knows well from the time the player spent at Morecambe's academy and in fact tried to sign him some 18 months ago but the player agreed to sign his first full time professional contract at Morecambe as they won promotion to the Football League from the Football Conference. Unfortunately the player received an injury which prevented him from being involved in their first year in Division Two and as a consequence found it difficult to secure a starting berth with the Shrimpers. Feeling that his career needed a kick start he agreed to cancel his contract and look for a new opportunity which he has now found with his old manager Jim Harvey... It has since been discovered that Paul is still signed for Workington and therefore not available for the Stevenage match".

    News of an ex-Alty man, who was at our last home game against Northwich Victoria, comes from Crawley Town who "confirm that midfielder Lewis Chalmers has extended his loan from Aldershot Town for another month".

    According to the Northants Evening Telegraph "Former Rushden & Diamonds manager Paul Hart has been placed in caretaker control at Portsmouth".

    From the Dorset Echo, we learn that "Weymouth player-coach Marcus Browning has once again heaped praise on the club’s players for the way they continue to ride the storm at the Wessex Stadium. The staff at the Terras have still not been paid and with no conclusion in sight regarding the ongoing takeover talks involving millionaire businessmen Colin Hill and Lee Power it has become very hard to keep the squad motivated... He said: 'It has been very difficult. We don’t even know whether we are still going to be in a job tomorrow, next week, or next month. We have also been getting good news and then been left feeling deflated when we realise that another setback has occurred with the negotiations... The lads have been fantastic in the way they have remained so patient and kept working on the job at hand... Some of the lads are staying in a bungalow at the moment that has not even got any heating. To expect them to endure that and then turn up to training with smiles on their faces is very difficult yet they still do that and put in the work that we ask of them'.

    Browning went on to add: 'Alan Lewer and I are just trying to keep the players’ spirits up at the moment but that is the hardest thing to do when you do not know what is happening... We don’t know if or when we are going to get paid'".

    9 February 2009


    One match to escape the postponements at the weekend was Altrincham FC Youth's game on the all-weather pitch at Woodley Sports. Alty won 3-2.


    Steve Foster of The Altrincham Supporters' Club writes:

    "A few weeks ago, TASC launched the appeal for supporters to donate used mobile phones to the club. We have already got 23 mobile phones in from supporters, but we want more! We have set ourselves a target of 100 mobiles before the end of the season. The 23 phones we currently have will raise a current total of over £80. Can you help? If you, your family or any friends have any spare mobiles which are not being used, please donate them to the appeal. Please have a search and bring in any old phones you have around, whether working or not. It doesn't matter how old they are either (chargers not needed). Phones can be brought to a match or brought into the offices any day of the week. As with all TASC fund raising appeals, all money raised will go straight to the football club.

    If you are local, please bring any old phones you have to the ground on any match day or to the office during normal working hours on any working day. If you are not able to get to the ground, phones can be posted to the club at the usual address (see below).

    TASC will continue to update the number of mobiles on an ongoing basis to help show the progress to our target.

    TASC, C/O Altrincham Football Club, Moss Lane, Altrincham, Cheshire, WA15 8AP

    This is a great way of making money out of otherwise useless items".


    The winners of the monthly draw for the Friends of Altrincham FC are
  • 1st No. 60 - Tessa Jones
  • 2nd No. 5 - Grahame Rowley
  • 3rd No. 18 - Brian Topping

    Please do consider joining the Friends scheme, which raises vital money for the Club.


    Ronnie Ellis is the latest addition to the Alty Legends, written by Terry Rowley.

    In this week's 'Dream Team' in the NL Paper, selected by former Histon striker Erkan Okay, the one-time Alty loan-keeper Lance Key is selected. Okay writes, "Lance Key, or 'lunchbox' for obvious reasons, was still a class keeper when he was coming towards the end of his career with us at Histon. He had good reflexes, was a great shot-stopper and [was] a fantastic leader. His hairstyle and gear are absolutely horrendous, though!"


    The NL Paper quotes the would-be joint-owner of Weymouth, Lee Power, as saying, "I've got to be totally honest and say we are absolutely no clearer and no further down the line than we were last week... Things just haven't moved on" in the negotiations to take over the Terras. Current Weymouth chief executive, Gary Calder "believes the deal could rest on former chairman Malcolm Curtis's willingness to arrange a meeting with the pair [Power and Colin Hill, who are seeking to acquire the club]. Meanwhile Weymouth player Lee Phillips has confirmed that the players have not yet been paid for last month. The striker said that manager Alan Lewer "has told any player stuggling to pay their bills that he will personally help... I don't regret coming to the club despite all this. We just need a saviour".

    Northwich Victoria supporters are walking 103 miles to Barrow. "It is hoped that this event will raise £3,000 to pay off the Telford bill [i.e. the unpaid share of gate receipts from the clubs' trophy match last year], any additional will go to Jacob's Charity".

    Grays Athletic "have signed goalkeeper, Rob Beckwith on non-contract. Rob made his debut for Luton Town, and produced a man of the match display in a 2-2 draw with Bristol City. In his last season at Luton he joined Chesterfield on loan before being released. He tried his luck overseas before returning for a spell at Hitchin Town and then Barnet... He starred as the Bees beat Swindon Town on penalties in an FA Cup third round replay, saving the penalty that won the shootout for Barnet. In the next season he was given the number 1 shirt, but lost his place".

    During Saturday's win at Lewes, Wrexham manager Dean Saunders "and keeper Gavin Ward had a 30-second fisrt-half bust-up that left the bemused Wrexham players open-mouthed. The row erupted after Ward refused to follow the Wales assistant manager's instructions for his goalkick delivery. Suanders wanted his keeper to aim for towering frontman Jefferson Louis but, with the striker having a nightmare game, Ward ignored the boss's wishes. Furious Ward rushed out of his box and Saunders came to the edge of his technical area to exchange insults". After the match Saunders played down the row, saying that the keeper had "apologised and we'll move on", reported Sunday's NL Paper.


    As ever, Bullsnews has its ear to the ground and reports that our Cheshire neighbours "Stockport County need to pay off a £450,000 tax bill 'within months' according to their Chairman. Explaining the reasons behind Managing Director Mark Maguire's sudden departure, Chairman Martin Reid revealed that Maguire quit over a conflict of interest after he told the board that only a takeover would solve their crisis - and that he would be assembling the finances required to do it himself.

    Before Christmas the board were told the club needed £1 million pumped into it in the first half of 2009, with January's £500,000 from the sales of Anthony Pilkington and Jimmy McNulty going directly to the tax bill and £450,000 still owed to HMRC. The debts have built up over the last three years, with the club also operating over-budget this season.

    Last season's play-off win wasn't the money-pot it was originally believed to be. The club reckons it ended up with just £20,000 of the £940,000 in ticket sales and TV rights, with the game costing £400,000 to stage and the Football League taking another £270,000. Player bonuses meant their split of the remaining £270,000 was tiny.

    It is understood Maguire is not the only bidder on the horizon, with an Irish consortium also eyeing up the club. One thing is likely, however. If neither party finds the money to rescue the club they are likely to enter Administration before the end of the season with further player sales impossible"

    8 February 2009


    In Sunday's NL Paper, we read that "On-loan Altrincham striker Jody Banim is targeting a goal-filled month at Moss Lane to force his way into Burton's promotion push... The former Droylsden forward moved to the Pirelli Stadium in the summer but has seen his opportunities limited... After scoring on his full debut for Altrincham following his loan move last month, Banim insists he can still play his part in Burton's charge towards the Football League... 'I've got no complaints that I've not been in the [Albion] team', Banim said. 'I lost my place because of injury and once I was fit I couldn't force my way in... When Altrincham came in for me I jumped at the chance of playing games because I'm not a good watcher. Hopefully the goal against Northwich will be the start of a run for me. But I'm still a Burton player and I want to prove my worth before the end of the season. I'm sure my time at Altrincham will help me do that. They are having a really good season and I believe I can help them move further up the table'".


    Former Altrincham Youth player Dion Depeiaza has rejoined Trafford from Salford City. Danny Heffernan and one of manager Neil Brown's sons scored in Abbey Hey's fine 3-1 win at Formby on Saturday.


    Before yesterday's postponement, the Mid Cheshire Chronicle said that "Northwich Vics' match against Ebbsfleet United has been moved to Kent as the gates to the Marston’s Arena are still locked. Despite the ground’s owner Mike Connett being wound up last Wednesday, Vics have been unable to gain temporary ownership of the ground from administrators Deloitte. Vics owner Jim Rushe told the Chronicle that the success of his consortium’s £1.5m bid for the Wincham stadium hinged on whether he is granted a loan to fund the acquisition. 'Not a single thing has changed', he said. 'We are just waiting for the powers that be to tell us whether or not we have got the loan'... Vics are also considering offers from League Two neighbours Macclesfield Town and Chester City to host their [games] should the sale not go through soon... Deloitte, fixed-charge receivers orchestrating the sale of the ground, confirmed that they were still in talks with the football club and that they were supervising Connett, who is still in attendance and is yet to unlock the gates. Deloitte could not yet confirm whether Vics would be able to play at the ground or whether the sale would be completed in the near future".

    According to the Argus "Lewes manager Kevin Keehan is hopeful of keeping on-loan Barnet pair Kieron St Aimie and Elliott Charles. The two strikers impressed up front as the Rooks went down 2-0 at home to Wrexham. Saturday's game marked the end of their one-month loan arrangements at the Dripping Pan but Keehan said: '(Barnet boss) Ian Hendon is happy for them to stay. I have briefly spoken to them both and the likelihood is they will'... Lewes matched Wrexham for long periods before conceding twice in the final 22 minutes to suffer a ninth successive Blue Square premier defeat. Keehan said: 'There wasn't a gulf in class between the sides. Danny (Cullip) struggled through the whole game and Michael (Standing) wasn't 100% but they gave it their all and we worried them. We had three good chances before they scored and if we had taken one of those it is a different game'” .

    From the Dorset Echo we learn that "Chief executive Gary Calder has committed his future to Weymouth Football Club insisting that he is 'not about to leave a sinking ship'. Calder has been linked with a move to Cambridge United... Takeover negotiations with millionaire businessmen Colin Hill and Lee Power are still ongoing and it seems Calder is very much part of their future plans... Calder said: 'I can assure people I will be working at Weymouth Football Club for nothing to make sure the club is going forward. A role was offered to me but I am not leaving. And even though no one has been paid I am not about to leave a sinking ship and hope to be here for the rest of the season and the next one if possible'.

    Hill and Power have spent the majority of the week looking at the Terras’ accounts and it appears more talks are needed before they make a final decision on any investment. Calder added: 'There will be more talks over the weekend going into the early part of next week'. Hill and Power are particularly keen to talk with former majority shareholder Malcolm Curtis, who yesterday refused to comment on whether any contact had been made. Curtis said: 'It has nothing to do with me. My job is to deliver the new community income-generating stadium which I am still very much committed to. I had three meetings this week about it and things are looking better all the time'".


    The major prize winners in the TASC New Year Prize Draw were:
  • Flat Screen 22" TV/DVD Player : "Crispy" (0161 905 XXXX)
  • Weekend for Two at The Knighton Hotel, Wales - Pete Warburton
  • Signed & Framed Shane Warne item from the 2005 Ashes Series - Darren Eccles (Focus Pharmacy)
  • Vouchers for Two People at Chill Factor-e - Dave Tracey
  • Anglesey Caravan Weekend - Paul (The Orange Tree, Altrincham)
  • Dinner for Two People at The Cresta Court Hotel, Altrincham - Andy Ralph
  • A Round of Golf at The De Vere Carden Park Hotel, near Chester - Karen Foster
  • Champagne & Wine Set - Ray Sant (01743 XXXXXXX)
  • Wine, Chocolate & Toffees - Mellow (01257 XXXXXX)
  • Cuddly Teddies - Peter Warburton

    The Altrincham Supporters' Club chairman Brian Flynn reports, "We believe that we have just achieved our objective of selling £2,000 worth of tickets. Many thanks to everyone who bought and sold tickets, particularly Gareth Thomas for all his hard work over the last few months".


    The Argus reports that "Referee Tony Harrington's decision to postpone Eastbourne Borough's match at Altrincham has been criticised. An initial inspection at 10am confirmed the pitch at Moss Lane was playable only for Harrington to call the Blue Square premier match off when he arrived just after 1pm. Harrington was concerned about one section of the pitch which was in the shade of the main stand although there was definitely some give in the surface. More than 20 Borough fans had made the long trip to Manchester while the squad had stayed in a hotel overnight.

    Borough assistant manager Nick Greenwood said: 'We are very disappointed. We were only five minutes away from the ground when the referee made the decision and we thought he could have waited until we got here so we could have taken part in the process'".


    In advance of Altrincham's game at Wrexham on Easter Monday (April 13th,3pm), Altrincham FC director Andrew Shaw is arranging the annual sponsored walk. This time, it will cover the 50 miles to the Racecourse Ground, to be completed in three separate stages. These will be on Wednesday, April 1st (20 miles), Monday 6th (20 miles) and Monday 13th (10 miles). If you would like to take part in any or all of the stages and raise funds for the Club, please ring 928-1045 for further details and a sponsorship form. Any walker who raises in excess of £100 will also gain free entry to the game at Wrexham as well as a lift home. Transport back to Altrincham will also be provided for the two earlier stages of the walk.


    Following last Sunday's 3-2 defeat away to Marine B in the Open Cup, Altrincham FC Youth travel to Woodley Sports today (Sunday 8th) for a league match.


    Yesterday's late postponement of Altrincham's game left spectators securing the area for alternative games. One such match also gave the opportunity to visit a new ground. That was the fixture between Leigh Genesis (formerly Horwich RMI and Leigh RMI) and Hednesford Town in the UniBond Premier. The game was played at Genesis's impressive brand-new stadium at the Leigh Sports Village, which is situated a mile or so nearer to the East Lancs Road than the old ground at Hilton Park. The new venue, like the old one, is shared with the Leigh Centurions rugby league team. Indeed, the pitch was very confusingly marked with both rugby and football markings for this game. With 344 spectators, around double Leigh's normal gate at Hilton Park, the matchday programmes had sold out half an hour before kick off. The ground has extensive parking and, inside has three all-seater stands and one terrace, all with cantilever roofs which give an excellent view. So, next time Alty are without a game, consider this as a local alternative. In the match on Saturday, (pictured above), Leigh lost 3-1. 7 February 2009


  • Altrincham v Eastbourne B. OFF
  • Barrow v Torquay U. OFF
  • Burton A. v Rushden & D. OFF
  • Ebbsfleet U. v Northwich V. OFF (Switched from Northwich owing to the Vics' ground being unavailable)
  • Grays A. v Crawley T. OFF
  • Histon v Weymouth OFF
  • Kettering T. v Oxford U. OFF
  • Lewes 0 Wrexham 2
  • Mansfield T. 1 York C. 0
  • Salisbury C. v Woking OFF
  • Stevenage B. v Forest Green R. OFF
  • League table
  • Through the Years by Howard Watts


    Referee Harrington called off the match against Eastbourne today barely two hours before kick off. Earlier, an inspection by a local referee had declared the match as on. Mr Harrington believed the area in front of the main stand was dangerous, to the surprise of the club. Mr Harrington was twice in charge at Moss Lane earlier this season, too. He officiated in the defeat by Southport in the FA Trophy as well as in the home game with Salisbury City.


    Before Eastbourne travelled up to Altrincham, the The Argus reported that "Manager Garry Wilson insists he still has unfinished business at Eastbourne Borough as he approaches a decade in charge at Priory Lane. The ambition which convinced Borough chairman Len Smith to give him the job ten years ago is still burning bright within the 45-year-old. Wilson has led Borough to four promotions since he took over in February 1999 and together with assistant Nick Greenwood – who has been at Priory Lane for nearly 12 years – has guided the club from the Sussex County League to the brink of the Football League.Now the Borough boss has set his sights on a place in League Two before he decides it is time to bring his remarkable reign to an end.

    Wilson said: 'When I first came to the club I made a statement about reaching the Conference in ten years but it was always a bit of a pipe dream so to achieve it is great. I just had a feeling the club could go places. I got a sense there was a lot of potential and all it needed was an injection of professionalism and experience to realise it. I always said I wanted the club to become a name in the non-league game. I thought we weren’t really taken seriously for a long time but that is not the case anymore. Now we are in the Conference our first aim is to consolidate but the long-term strategy has got to be to win promotion. It will probably take a number of years before we are in a position to challenge but my view is there is no point being in any division if your goal is not to achieve success'...

    He was still smarting from being controversially sacked by Hastings Town owner Mark Gardiner when Borough asked him to fill the manager’s role left vacant by Steve Richardson... There was little sign of the success to come as it took six more games before he sealed his first win, a 1-0 victory over East Preston, but the club has not looked back since. They won the Country League title the next season and three more promotions have followed despite Wilson having to stick to a sensible budget...

    'There is no doubt the partnership between Nick (Greenwood) and myself has played a big part', he explained.... 'There is also a great backroom staff at the club. Ray Tuppen (physio) was the first person I brought in from Hastings and Dean Lightwood (goalkeeping coach) arrived soon after and has been there ever since. The success has been down to everybody involved in the club, not just me. People like Len Smith, Mike Spooner (chief executive) and the rest of the committee have also been there the whole time and have provided great support. That kind of stability is a big factor as it means you can keep building rather than having to start again all the time'...

    He said: 'I would definitely like to be a full-time manager. I would relish and enjoy the opportunity but after ten years I am not sure whether that would be the right thing for me... Combining work and being manager is tiring, no doubt about it. This year in particular has been hard so I can’t see myself continuing for another ten years'".

    As for the players "Sam Gargan is hoping to salvage his Brighton & Hove Albion career by hitting the goal trail at Eastbourne Borough. Gargan made his Borough debut as a late substitute in the 2-1 defeat by Mansfield last weekend and is in line to start at Altrincham... The 20-year-old striker is out of contract with the Seagulls in the summer and knows time is running out to prove he is worth a new deal. Gargan said: 'I saw what Ashley Barnes [whose loan period ended last week] achieved when he was here and hopefully I can do something similar. He has got in the Plymouth squad since coming to Eastbourne on loan and if I can score a few goals and play well then maybe I can break into the Albion squad... I have got a point to prove but I’ve shown I can score goals at Lewes this season so my aim is to do the same for Eastbourne'.

    Neil Jenkins completes a two-game ban tomorrow and with Jay Lovett also unavailable it means Danny Brown is likely to fill in at left-back. Andy Atkin is fit despite crashing a truck on Wednesday while skipper Paul Armstrong will be in the squad for the first time since December 27 after recovering from a serious head injury. New signing Jacob Mingle is expected to be on the bench alongside Simon Johnson who is available again after England Schools duty".

    The Argus believes the teams will be "Altrincham: Coburn, Lane, McGregor, Densmore, Smith, Hadfield, Lawton, Doughty, Banim, Senior, Peyton. Subs from: O'Neill, Ralph, Denham, Danylyk, Little, Young. Eastbourne: Hook, Austin, Baker, Pullan, Brown, Smith, Wormull, Smart, M Crabb, Atkin, Gargan. Subs from: Armstrong, Jordan, Harding, N Crabb, Mingle, Xano".


    Alty's joint press officer, John Edwards writes:

    Moss Lane will bid farewell to Andy Ralph on Saturday as the Altrincham keeper makes his last appearance on the bench before emigrating to New Zealand. The 25-year old will again be understudy to Stuart Coburn for the visit of in-form Eastbourne Borough but will then pack his bags for a fresh start Down Under after less than a season as an Alty player. A popular member of the squad, Andy's Alty highlight came last November at Kenilworth Road, when he kept a clean sheet against Luton in the FA Cup, and his departure has left manager Graham Heathcote pondering whether he may need to sign another keeper.

    'Andy has done well for us, and we could hardly have asked any more of him than a clean sheet when he stepped in at Luton,' said the Alty boss. 'Stuart was injured but had to settle for a place on the bench for a while after recovering, so that tells you the job Andy did. 'I will be sorry to see him go, but he's got a good job lined up in New Zealand and will play a bit of football out there as well, so good luck to him. We could bring another keeper in, but it's not essential, because Richard Acton is signed up and will be getting involved'.

    Of more immediate concern to Heathcote is an injury list that is showing no sign of easing. He was hoping for a clearer picture of the prospects for Greg Young (knee), Dale Johnson (groin), Anthony Danylyk (dead leg) and Chris Denham (ankle) after Thursday's training but will now leave any decision until the last minute. 'At the moment, I really don't know who is going to make it, if any of them,' he said. 'The players will report at 12.45 on the day of the game, and we will have to see how they are then. It is a worry, because we were already thin on the ground, without any more withdrawals. Colin Little isn't ready yet, either, so the numbers really are getting dangerously low'".

    Andy made 10(+1) appearances for Altrincham after joining the club last summer.


    Altrincham FC chairman Geoff Goodwin and his wife Suzanne have more reasons to be proud Of their son, Jay, as it is reported that, "Jay Goodwin has sent out a further warning to prove just how serious he is about his British Championship challenge this year - by linking up with arguably the finest touring car driver the world over. Having only made the step-up from the entry cadet level last summer, Jay has already firmly established himself as a leading contender in the Mini Max class - despite being just 11, when some of his competitors are as old as 15 or 16. Now he aims to take a further step still on his road to karting glory after signing up to Andy Priaulx Performance Management (APPM), an apprenticeship scheme for young drivers set up by the hugely successful three-time World Touring Car Champion".

    Jay commented "They will teach me all about the sub-conscious side of things, my mindset out on the track, and how when you are driving you have to let your brain go into auto-pilot".

    The article continues, "There is no better driver that Jay could wish to emulate or learn from, and Priaulx's story - going from a penniless, struggling existence living in a caravan within the grounds of Silverstone to the most admired tin-top driver around the globe - is without doubt an inspirational one... The St Ambrose College pupil acknowledged. 'My main ambition at the moment is just to get into touring cars'... John Pratt, Priaulx's long-time driver coach and right-hand man [said] 'Andy is very keen to get involved with helping karters. In the transition from karting into cars, drivers can sometimes encounter a lot of problems'... To keep up-to-date with Jay's latest career news and progress, please visit: P1R"


    The NW Counties Football League reports that Alty squad member Danny Heffernan is starring week in, week out for his home club Abbey Hey, managed by Alty groundsman and former reserves' boss, Neil Brown. - "It may not be widely known that at the end of every first team game played in the League and in League Cup competitions, the two teams involved each nominate the opposition man of the match. These nominations are recorded on the official team sheet submitted to the league ...The man of the match nominations are tallied up over the course of the season, and are used to decide the League Player of the Year awards which are awarded to the most nominated player... The heavy administration procedures surrounding the tallying up of the nominations have been eased somewhat this season, as the League has begun to use a new computer system to control areas such as player registrations and a range of other information such as match details. The man of the match nominations are also entered, which means that by the press of a button, a table showing the most nominated player can be produced. With many clubs having played less than or around just half of their scheduled league fixtures, there are still plenty of opportunities for players to receive nominations for man of the match, but the top ten “most nominated players” up to and including 31st January 2009 is as follows." 1st: Daniel Heffernan (left) of Abbey Hey - played 23, 9 nominations.

    Also Pat McFadden, who has recently left Vauxhall Motors, has signed forms with Abbey Hey, as he looks for a new club.


    Bad news for Setanta as the BBC reports that "More than 80% of live televised Premier League games will appear on BSkyB after the broadcaster snatched some of the TV rights from rival Setanta. The broadcasters have each won one of the two remaining packages of UK broadcast rights for 2010 to 2013. The deal takes the total generated from selling the rights to £1.782bn - about 5% more than the current deal... At present, Setanta has rights to two of the six packages. Under the package it has retained, Setanta will show games kicking off late on Saturday afternoon... Half of all broadcast revenue raised is split equally among all 20 Premier League clubs. A further 25% is distributed depending on how many televised games a club appears in. The remaining funds are awarded based on where a club finishes in the league table, with higher ranking sides getting bigger payouts... Last week, the BBC retained the rights to broadcast Premier League highlights up to the end of the 2012-13 season".
    6 February 2009


    As of today (Friday) the pitch at Moss Lane is playable, ahead of tomorrow's game with Eastbourne Borough. However, the situation will be kept under review, given the cold weather forecast for tonight. Any further developments will be posted here.


    In the Sale and Altrincham Messenger, "Graham Heathcote saluted his battling Altrincham side for defying a growing injury crisis to take the honours in Tuesday night's derby with Northwich... The Alty manager revealed that two of his five substitutes could not have been used due to injury and Greg Young (left) should have come off in the first half after suffering suspected knee-ligament damage in an early tackle. Despite being stretched to the limit and being forced to give a first start to both recent loan signings, Jordan Hadfield and Jody Banim, Heathcote saw his spirited side complete the double over their Cheshire rivals...

    'Greg jarred his knee and if we'd had another six-foot plus centre-back, we would have brought him off' said Heathcote. 'But Northwich had a real danger at set pieces in Matty Bailey, so we asked him to dig deep and he did a fantastic job to stay out there. That was so important and he did as much as anyone to get us the points. It may have been a disjointed performance overall but we defended well and have reached 40 points which is a big psychological plus'.

    Heathcote has growing concerns for Saturday's visit of in-form Eastbourne with Young, Dale Johnson (right), Chris Denham and Anthony Danylyk all doubtful. 'Dale came off early in the second half because his groin tightened up. It was either that or risk losing him for three or four weeks. Denham's ankle didn't feel right before the game and Danylyk failed a fitness test. They were both on the bench but couldn't have gone on. We are decimated and I won't know about the fitness of those four until the end of the week. We are in a a very difficult situation and, depending how they go, we could be struggling for numbers on Saturday'" said the Alty boss.


    Woking confirm that "The Blue Square Premier League have asked all clubs playing at home this Saturday, 7 February, to inspect their pitches at around 3pm tomorrow, Friday, so that early notice can be given if games have no chance of going ahead. We will, of course, publish the result of the inspection at Salisbury as soon as we have it".

    Alty have previously played Saturday's visitors, Eastbourne Borough, twice. Alty beat the Sussex side 2-1 at Stoke to win the only-ever play-off between sides from Conference North and South in 2005. But "The Sports", so called because the club originated as Langney Sports, gained revenge with a 1-0 win at their Priory Lane ground earlier this season. The well-run Sussex club gave Altrincham fans a good welcome on their visit and they will be made very welcome when they come to Moss Lane. After a rocky start to their first season at national level, Borough have had an excellent run recently and sit two points above Alty in 9th place.


    From The Argus we learn that "Eastbourne Borough skipper Paul Armstrong has been given the all clear to make a surprise return to action this weekend following a serious head injury. Armstrong suffered a blood clot on the brain in an incident outside a pub following Borough’s game against Crawley on December 27. The midfielder was expected to be ruled out until the return visit of former club Crawley next Saturday at the earliest but his comeback has been brought forward. The 30-year-old was given the green light to resume light training two weeks ago and has now been cleared to feature in the squad for this weekend’s trip to Altrincham after Assistant manager Nick Greenwood said: 'Paul had a check up this week and has been given a clean bill of health. We were optimistic he would be able available this weekend but obviously with the nature of the injury had to wait until the specialist was completely happy. Paul is the club captain and has been one of our most consistent players over the years so it is a big boost to have him back. It might be asking too much for him to start the match after being out for so long but he will definitely be in the squad'”

    However, "It is a crying shame that the burning issue among Eastbourne Borough supporters this week was not the club’s lofty league position or their transfer window signings but crowd trouble at Priory Lane. The debate on Borough’s unofficial fans’ forum was raging about whether the club should segregate supporters in the future following the unpleasant scenes during Saturday’s clash with Mansfield. Although there were no injuries and the small minority of trouble-makers were well contained by the stewards it was a warning of what Borough can expect now they are hosting so-called bigger clubs on a regular basis. Borough understandably pride themselves on being a welcoming, family club and chairman Len Smith insists the policy of non-segregation will continue... There has been no problem up until this season with visiting teams rarely bringing more than a coachload of supporters but that has all changed now Borough are in non-league’s top flight. York, Cambridge, Torquay and Mansfield all brought large followings and although there have been few issues until Saturday it just takes a handful of idiots to spoil it for everyone else... Some long, hard thinking about whether a change in policy is required".


    The Dorest Echo reports that "Chief executive Gary Calder has revealed that the future of Weymouth Football Club still 'hangs in the balance'. Potential new owners Colin Hill and Lee Power have spent the past two days at the Wessex Stadium and are now in London with their lawyers finalising their due diligence. The millionaires are also trying to schedule a meeting with the Terras’ former majority shareholder Malcolm Curtis and Morgan Sindall Investments Ltd with a view to discussing the land that surrounds the Wessex Stadium, which is currently in the hands of Wessex Delivery Partnership LLP...If Hill and Power decide not to invest in the Terras the likelihood is that the club will immediately go into administration".

    A million pound investment in the cash-strapped club is at stake as Mr Calder confirms On the Weymouth Forum. "I would like to give everybody an update on the visit of Colin Hill and Lee Power. Both guys have been at the football club for the last two days and have now gone back to London to their lawyers to go through the information they have gained on their visit. Both Colin and Lee very much want to try and save the football club but a lot depends on a meeting they are due to have with Malcolm Curtis and Ernie Batty in the next 24/48 hours. The investment they will have to make into the football club would be a minimum of an initial seven figure sum, so I am sure you all understand why it is taking longer than anticipated".

    "Dean Saunders, manager of Wrexham, has not ruled out the possibility of offering defender Aurelien Collin a deal with the Dragons" says NL Daily. "The 22-year-old Frenchman has been on trial with Wrexham recently and is due to return for talks with Saunders. Collin joined Gretna from Spanish La Liga club Mallorca in August 2007, signing a two year contract with the club, but he only made 19 appearances before he was released... Trials at Championship clubs Blackpool, Preston North End and Wolves failed to lead to a permanent deal being offered, and Collin signed a one-year contract at Greek Premier League side Panserraikos... 'Aurelien has been here a few days training and I will have a word with him when he comes back', said Saunders. 'It is not 100 per cent he will sign, but we will have to see what we can do'... Clubs will be able to sign free agents and loan players from the start of next week until the March deadline.Saunders has reduced the size of his squad by cancelling the contracts of centre backs Steve Evans and Shaun Pejic by mutual consent, and is short of defensive cover after allowing Gareth Evans to leave the club last month, while Nat Brown is on loan at Macclesfield until the end of the season.

    'I had too many of them and I want quality not quantity', said Saunders. 'I might have a few coming in on trial this week if the weather is better... The boys have been doing well', said Saunders. 'They have not lost for ages so that makes it more and more difficult for me to improve things. We can do better, especially after watching the Northwich Victoria game. Northwich never had a shot at goal but scored from three set-pieces. The defending was shocking but we will put it right'" he told the Evening Leader

    The Crawley Observer reports that "Steve Evans insists the sale of top scorer Jon-Paul Pittman to Wycombe Wanderers for an undisclosed fee does not mean he has thrown in the towel in Crawley's title race. The Crawley boss completed a flurry of January activity with the acquisition of strikers Robbie Matthews and Jon Shaw, the permanent signing of Mikey Malcolm, bringing in Lewis Chalmers on loan plus the letting go of Steve Fletcher and Pittman to Football League clubs...[Pittman] has joined the League 2 leaders for an undisclosed fee which the Observer understands is £50,000, plus incentives for appearances and a sell-on fee of 20 percent... Some fans think letting him go means Crawley have given up on their chase for honours, preferring to take their profit. Evans blasted: ' Fans who think this are very much mistaken. It is easy sitting in bedrooms at home playing Championship Manager. We are definitely not throwing the towel in. The only towel I'll throw is the one to wipe the sweat off my forehead because of hard work. We've done some financial business and have put some money in the coffers. We knew JP was probably going to go and Jon Shaw has already been brought in as a replacement, he works extremely hard and his goalscoring record is tremendous'".

    Torquay United "are offering you the opportunity to send your loved one a message in the official Altrincham match day programme on Saturday 14th February 2009. The package includes;

  • A personalised message to your loved one in the match day programme (Max twenty words)
  • Complimentary copy of the match day programme
  • All inclusive for £10.00 + Vat. Deadline for messages is 4.00pm Tuesday 11th February".

    Grays Athletic "are pleased to announce that the shareholders of Grays Athletic Football Club 1982 Ltd have voted in favour of changing the Memorandum & Articles of Association to allow the change of the distribution of shares of the company. Existing share holders will have the right of first option of purchasing new shares in the company. Following 28 days the option will be open to all supporters of GAFC. The new share value will be 10 GBP per share with no singular person being allowed to hold more than 20% of shares in the company. The shareholders also voted to allow the general sale of shares at 10 GBP per share, totalling a maximum of 250,000 GBP".

    Burton Albion announce that Martin Butler, a "former Walsall and Cambridge United striker is set to become the first addition to Roy McFarland's title-chasing squad. The 34 year-old striker is a free agent after leaving Grimsby Town earlier this season due to commuting problems from his Worcestershire home to Blundell Park. Martin has played for Roy McFarland during his time at Cambridge United and has scored over 120 league goals during his career and once cost Reading £750,000".

    5 February 2009


    Thursday 5th Feb:
  • Burton A. v Rushden & Diamonds POSTPONED - now rescheduled for Saturday 7th.


    Above: Jody Banim celebrates his goal against Northwich Victoria on Tuesday night. The photo is one of many excellent images by Gavin Rathbone and more are on his GR Photography website.

  • Match report here.

    In the Northwich Guardian we read that "Vics were worthy of more from their derby duel with Altrincham, according to manager Steve King... 'I wish somebody would take this spell off us', he said. 'We must be the unluckiest team in the world right now being stuck on this run'. His team had chances to level, particularly through former Alty wide man Lee Elam... [But] only a brilliant save from Ryan Clarke prevented the hosts doubling their tally late on. 'I thought we did better in the second half', said King. 'We played a bit more and I can’t believe we didn’t score a goal but a combination of bad choices and poor finishing cost us. I’m proud of the players – they gave me a response after Saturday because that was an unacceptable performance. I’ve told them they can hold their head high'.

    It was a mixed night for the Vics keeper after he dropped Matt Doughty’s set piece to allow Banim to score on the goalline. King added: 'When Clarkey dropped the free kick I thought ‘here we go again. I felt so sorry for him. He’s made a mistake, he knows that, but later pulled out a save from the top drawer to stop them getting a second goal'. King has now gone 12 matches without a win since taking over from Dino Maamria in November, losing nine... 'When you’re at the bottom it feels like everything is going against you and that’s happened again tonight', he said. 'I’m tired of saying the same thing after each game. Graham [Heathcote] apologised to me at full time because he knew they didn’t deserve to win the game'".

    Elsewhere the paper says "Vics, literally, handed Alty a derby double for the season. Keeper Ryan Clarke’s first half howler, dropping Matt Doughty’s set piece at the feet of a grateful Jody Banim, cost his side a point. It summed up a drab derby. Neither side mustered any moments to remember either side of the game’s only goal as Vics, for all their pressure after the break, rarely forced Stuart Coburn to make save. When they did he was ready. Steve King’s men, winless since October, lacked the confidence and the cunning to open up Alty’s resolute rearguard. Former Robin Lee Elam fluffed their best chances, scuffing a feeble shot straight at Coburn before half time when it seemed easier to score. He arrowed a firmer effort straight at the hosts’ custodian in the closing stages then, with his clearest sight of goal, chose to pass to Lee Steele rather than shoot... But the hosts kept the door shut for a second time against Vics this term, chalking up six points from the team’s two meetings to leave a 34-point gulf between the pair". It's actually only 24 points as Vics have 16 and Alty 40.


    Former Altrincham striker Pat McFadden (right), who made 40 first-team appearances for the Robins before his departure last season, has left Vauxhall Motors by mutual consent, after finding his first-team opportunities limited at the in-form Blue Square North club. Pat, a graduate of the Altrincham reserves set-up, hit 30 goals in a season for Neil Brown's team to force his way into the Robins' first-team squad. Hopefully he will soon be back in goal-scoring action.


    Bullsnews confirms that "A robbery took place at Stockport County's Edgeley Park yesterday morning. Most of the takings from the game against Hereford last Saturday and from the [Sale Sharks'] rugby match the previous evening were reported to have been taken. The robbery took place at 8.50am when three masked men charged into the ticket office and forced staff to empty the safe... Police confirmed the robbers netted a five figure sum".


    The woking News & Mail reports that "Chris Ingram has ploughed an additional sum of money, which he described as a 'fairly substantial amount', into Woking FC’s coffers to ensure the club can get through to May debt-free. The Cards’ owner is determined to leave the football arm of the club owing nothing when he stops funding the losses at the end of this season - and has eased any financial-related concerns the club had of getting through the campaign unscathed. Dwindling attendances, a lack of cup runs, and a reduction in money being spent generally at the club has meant extra funding being needed to plug the unexpected black hole that emerged. Defeats in the early stages of the FA Cup and the FA Trophy, as well as the Setanta Shield loss, have not helped, prompting Ingram to dip into his own pocket once again. Cards' finance director James Aughterson admitted there was a need for Ingram to intervene with a further, hefty handout because of the recent economic downturn, which has bitten harder and faster than anybody could have imagined".

    The NL Daily says that "In an interview with the Northants Evening Telegraph, Keith Cousins, chairman of Blue Square Premier club Rushden & Diamonds, commented on the current situation at Nene Park, saying he is becoming disillusioned at the negativity coming from certain fans – and if the right person were to come in, with the club's best interests at heart, who could do a better job, he would consider selling. 'Too many people have got too many things to say - and none of it is positive. This shows a lack of respect or appreciation for all the hard work and money that has been invested in the club over the last two years. So if someone out there thinks they can take over then please come and buy it off me. I'm not prepared for our staff - hard-working people like Garry Hill, Justin Edinborough, Simon Parsell, Helen Thompson, Rachel Roberts and Matt Wild - to be unfairly criticised by a small section of our fans who just do not appreciate their efforts and devotion to the club. Everyone works incredibly hard to maintain the club and its facilities and they should be applauded not criticised. This club was saved from extinction two years ago and it was £1.5m in debt when I took over. The financial structure of the club is now sound and we continue to improve income opportunities to the betterment of the club and its facilities. But I will sell now if that's right for the club with someone else coming in with the club's interests at heart... I'm fed up with people giving stick to the manager because Garry is so passionate about this club and works tirelessly to achieve success. We showed a lot of ambition at the start of this season by spending money on new signings. But it hasn't worked out and some players haven't performed. People have suggested that's because they can't play for Garry. That had nothing to do with it. I believe certain players thought they didn't need to prove themselves once they arrived here... We now have a very young squad, who are becoming nervous of playing at home for fear of more criticism. Just how do the fans think this is going to help the team?'"

    Meanwhile "Anton Robinson agreed to take a sizeable financial hit to ensure his move from Weymouth to League Two neighbours AFC Bournemouth went through at the 11th hour. The Terras` midfielder joined Salisbury City winger Liam Feeney in finalising personal terms on a permanent beat-the-transfer-deadline signing. But while Feeney’s deal was relatively straightforward, Robinson was left to ponder the prospect of being left significantly out of pocket by his move. The 22-year-old was asked to write off his past six weeks’ wages when a waiver arrived for him to sign just minutes before the window was due to close. And although signing the document would leave Robinson facing short-term financial hardship, he agreed to ensure the paperwork went through on time. Bournemouth-based Robinson arrives just days after Weymouth’s prospective new owners Colin Hill and Lee Power blocked his proposed move to Dean Court. But after the two clubs renegotiated over the weekend, a deal was agreed for him to sign a two-and-a-half year contract for a nominal fee, the same terms as Feeney, states the BOurnemouth Echo.

    The BBC reports on our next opponents, saying "Eastbourne Borough have signed transfer-listed Horsham midfielder Jacob Mingle for a nominal fee. The 23-year-old is at Borough until the end of the current campaign, with a contract option to stay on for next season. Horsham's Player of the Year in 2007/08 began his career at Charlton Athletic".

    4 February 2009


    Altrincham completed their first double of the season with this narrow win over Northwich.

  • Match report here.

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

    The Northwich Guardian says that "A howler from keeper Ryan Clarke gifted Alty the points from a drab derby. He dropped Matt Doughty's first half free kick at the feet of Jody Banim, who could barely believe his luck as he gleefully tapped the ball over the line. Former Robin, Lee Elam wasted the visitors best chance before the break, shooting weakly at Stuart Coburn [when] it seemed easier to score. Vics were the better side after the interval in a match devoid of any real quality. Elam again wasted the visitors' best openings, firing straight at Coburn when well placed in the box then trying to square to Lee Steele when he should have shot at goal. Alty, jeered by their own fans for an abject display, were happy to take the points". Not sure where the last comment came from, as any jeering seemed to be directed at the visitors from where I was positioned.


    Though he missed last night's win over Northwich through suspension, Alty's midfielder Shaun Densmore has reasons to be happy today. He has been called up to the "Contingency Squad" for the England C squad, (the former semi-pro side), for their match against Malta on February 17th.

    20 year-old Shaun, son of Altrincham FC player Peter Densmore, joined Alty in September 2008. Shaun is a former Everton Academy Player of the Year, who was released by the Toffees in summer 2008. After trials with Bradford City he joined Altrincham and made his debut in the Cheshire Senior Cup on 16th September 2008. After completing his initial month's contract at Altrincham, on 13 October 2008 Shaun signed on for the rest of 2008-09 season, having impressed in a run of seven unbeaten games in the side.


    Saturday's ref for Altrincham v Eastbourne is Mr T Harrington


    SAM says that "Alty FC has generously donated £5,000 to two charities from funds raised by the Community Shield. A total of £2,500 was given to the Pictor School Parents, Staff and Friends Association, in Timperley, and the other half was made out to the Children’s Adventure Farm Trust (CAFT) in Cheshire. Each year The Football Association distributes money raised by the Community Shield match. The distribution committee invites all 124 competing clubs to donate to a maximum of three charities. CAFT provides free holidays for disabled, terminally ill or disadvantaged children. The donation from Alty will see about 360 children enjoying a CAFT break.

    Fundraiser Helen Crowther said: 'We are delighted that Altrincham FC decided they would like to support the adventure farm with this amazing donation. It means so much to us when local individuals and groups support our work, we feel honoured that Altrincham FC have decided to help us help children in desperate need. We do not receive any statutory funding, so donations such as this from Altrincham FC are essential in ensuring we can offer these opportunities to so many children in desperate need'.The parents, staff and friends who make up the Pictor School Association, a charitable organisation, help Pictor Special School raise money for events that benefit both children and parents. Recent endeavours included a new playground for those at key stage two level. The money from the club will be spent on a residential trip for some of the older pupils next summer.

    In the past Alty has helped the school by giving pupils football coaching and donating goalposts. Headteacher, Jane Spruce, said: 'We were really grateful with the donation. The club has been very supportive and we’re pleased that we have such good links with them'.


    The BBC say that "Salisbury City manager Nick Holmes has strengthened his squad with three deadline day loan signings. Torquay defenders Chris Todd and Michael Brough have joined for a month and will add experience to the squad. Meanwhile Southend forward Charles Ademeno has signed until the end of the season having spent a month in Wiltshire before Christmas. Holmes also sold winger Liam Feeney to League Two Bournemouth for an undisclosed fee... and the deal includes a sell-on clause... With the signings of Todd and Brough, Holmes has boosted his defensive options which had been depleted by the departure of Dave Winfield back to Aldershot following a month at the Raymond McEnhill Stadium. Jimmy Sangare could miss the rest of the season with a facial injury and Tim Bond had already moved to Sutton United. Todd has been sidelined since November after being diagnosed with leukaemia and the move will give him the chance to gain much needed match fitness. Brough has only made one appearance for Torquay since signing from Forest Green Rovers last summer. Holmes has brought Ademeno back to south Wiltshire after he made six appearances for Salisbury at the end of 2008".

    "Dave Bayliss was left frustrated during the January transfer window. Barrow joint-boss Dave Bayliss has said he could use the emergency loan window after failing to add to his squad before the transfer deadline. 'We spoke to players over the weekend and we are still waiting for answers', Bayliss told BBC Radio Cumbria. 'But we can use the emergency window when that kicks in next week so it would be nice to get some lads in to cover the injuries and suspensions'. The Bluebirds are refusing to reveal the identity of their targets. Bayliss added: 'Obviously being a non-league, part-time team it's harder for us to attract players but we've had contact with a few Football League players and we'll see what happens'. The Bluebirds were dealt a blow after Wayne Curtis was recalled by his parent club Morecambe, following a one-month loan stay at Holker Street.

    "Torquay United Chief Executive Colin Lee has been informed by the Football Conference that they have reluctantly postponed Tuesday night's match against Weymouth as coach companies in the Weymouth area have concerns for the travelling conditions that they would have to negotiate getting to and from Torquay. The pitch at Plainmoor passed an inspection earlier today and is perfectly playable but apparent weather forecasts for later in the day are deemed unsafe for coach travel from the Dorset area. We apologise for stating earlier that the match was still going ahead but since that time circumstances out of the control of Torquay United have forced the postponement".

    NL Daily says that "Kettering Town have signed young defender Luke Potter from Barnsley on a month`s loan. An Academy graduate, Potter is tipped for a huge future at Oakwell. He ended the 2006/07 campaign on a high by making his full first-team debut at West Brom".

    Crawley Town "are pleased to confirm that manager Steve Evans will have NO action taken following his removal from the technical area at Ebbsfleet United last Tuesday evening. Chairman Vic Marley said; 'I am pleased The Football Association has made the correct decision. Steve Evans was a victim of his reputation on this occasion. Unfortunately accompanied to that he is a very high profile manager for the level of football we play at. The referee got it badly wrong. I would also like to thank those concerned at Ebbsfleet United Football Club for coming forward to help clarify what actually happened'".

    The Salisbury Journal confirms that "Liam Feeney has completed a transfer-deadline day move to AFC Bournemouth for an undisclosed fee. Feeney had a brief loan spell with Southend United earlier this season after a move to Dagenham & Redbridge collapsed. Whites' cash crisis meant they had to temporarily off-load some of its top earners such as Feeney to ease its wage bill... Manager Nick Holmes said: 'We're sad to lose Liam as he's been part of our move through the league. It's been difficult for him - he's been pushed from pillar to post during the last few months. But he goes with our blessing and we wish him every success in the future'... Feeney joined City from Hayes prior to the start of their debut Blue Square Premier season and was among the first full-time players at the club. He has signed a two-and-a-half year contract with the Cherries. Bournemouth were also expecting to land Weymouth's Anton Robinson prior to the close of the transfer window".

    The BBC reports that "Defender Shane Killock has made his loan stay at Oxford a permanent move after being released by Huddersfield. The 19-year-old, who initially joined the U's on loan for a month, has agreed a contract until the end of the season".

    3 February 2009


    Tuesday 3rd Feb:

  • Altrincham 1 Northwich V. 0
  • Forest Green R. 2 Histon 2
  • Torquay U. v Weymouth POSTPONED
  • Woking v Kidderminster H. POSTPONED - FA Trophy replay for Kidderminster
  • Howard Watts's Through The Years.

    Setanta Shield

  • Barrow 3 Southport 1


    Tuesday 3rd Feb:

  • Havant & W v Crawley T. POSTPONED
  • Replay: York C. v Kidderminster H. POSTPONED


    Before Tuesday's match, the Northwich Guardian reported that "Vics are desperate for the points against bitter rivals Altrincham. Steve King is still searching for his first win after 11 matches at the helm, a run that appeared set to end last Tuesday before Wrexham’s late leveller. Saturday’s 4-1 humbling at Woking was a step back. Ryan Brown is back from a ban to face the Robins, meaning Jamie Stevens could switch to the centre of the defence. Mat Bailey is an alternative to Darryn Stamp or Lee Steele to partner Damian Reeves in attack. Joel Byrom, a surprise sub at Kingfield, is likely to start from there once more, while Simon Grand (ankle) and Scott Tynan (knee) are long-term absentees. Ex-Alty winger Lee Elam returns to Moss Lane for the first time since his move to Northwich last month. Opponents Alty are missing star midfielder Shaun Densmore through suspension, so Warren Peyton and on-loan Jordan Hadfield stand by. With leading scorers Chris Senior and Colin Little both suffering with hamstring problems, then newcomer Jody Banim may find room in attack alongside Dale Johnson and Joe O’Neill. Greg Young, matchwinner at the Marston’s Arena on Boxing Day, will hope to repeat the trick tonight".

    Altrincham are hoping that Chris Denham and Anthony Danylyk will have recovered from knocks.


    Altrincham FC have confirmed that tonight's game against Northwich Victoria will definitely go ahead as planned (k.o. 7.45pm), following a precautionary pitch inspection at 1.30 this afternoon. So please come along and help to create a great atmosphere for this Cheshire derby!

    For those away from the area, it is hoped to provide some updates during the match at the Matchday Update link.


    Tom Jacobs, TASC's away travel coordinator, asks that supporters book as soon as possible for the supporters' coach to Torquay United on February 14th "by calling the club (928-1045) or by signing up at the game tonight against Northwich or versus Eastbourne on Saturday. A decision will be made whether the coach runs by the end of the Eastbourne game. There will be a minimum requirement of people to run this coach so please only book if you are sure to be going to the game". Details of the trip are on the Away Travel page.


    Although Altrincham FC only came into existence as a name in 1903, the club was actually just a continuation of Broadheath FC, founded in 1891. Altrincham FC historian Terry Rowley reports that he "has had some interesting confirmation of Broadheath FC playing fixtures prior to the formation of the Manchester League. The earliest date I have is December 31st 1892. So we now know that Broadheath were playing under under that name in 1892. The opposition were St Bride's and the match was played at Broadheath".


    For Saturday's game at home to Eastbourne Borough, "The Sports" will have Neil Jenkins suspended.


    By all accounts, Alex Meechan (right) had an impressive debut for Stalybridge Celtic on Saturday, where he has gone on loan from Altrincham.


    News of tonight's opponents comes from the Northwich Guardian, which confirms that "Michael Jones will spend the rest of the season on loan at Rhyl. The Vics' shot stopper joined the Lilywhites on a month-long deal at the start of the transfer window but his deal was extended on Friday. He will now stay there until the end of July, when his contract at the Marston's Arena is due to expire. Jones, 21, made just six starts in league and cup for Northwich since signing as cover for Scott Tynan in the summer".


    Harrogate Town against whom we played in the UniBond and Conference North, announce that "Neil Aspin, manager of Harrogate Town, revealed after Saturday's match against Stalybridge Celtic that the entire playing squad has been transfer-listed. Aspin said: 'I've spoken to the players after the game. We know it's a difficult time and they've all been informed that they are available for transfer. Let's see what happens over the next few weeks. Everyone will be placed on the transfer list. Let's wait and see if we get any offers for players and if they will be accepted. It's quite possible that there will be changes over the next few weeks. Decisions like that will be out of my hands. There are players that I wouldn't want to leave the club. But, in this difficult time that decision might be taken away from me... With the finances at the club we won't be able to replace like with like. My job is to stabilize the club and I'll work with which ever players I have available. It's not going to be possible to go on with the current state of circumstances where you have one person, the chairman, who is putting money into the club. That can't continue'"


    The BBC reports that "The transfer window has closed except for deals where clubs can prove the weather has impacted on their ability to finish a deal".

    "Wrexham boss Dean Saunders has terminated the contracts of defensive stalwarts Steve Evans and Shaun Pejic. Welsh international defender Evans has only been a bit-part players under Saunders's regime while Pejic has played just one game this season. Meanwhile, Liverpool trainee Ryan Flynn and teenage Cardiff City striker Jon Brown have extended their loan deals until the end of the season. Wrexham's Shaun Whalley has been sent on loan to Southport for the season".

    The draw for the FA Trophy quarter finals, to be played on Saturday, 21 February is:

  • Wrexham v Ebbsfleet United
  • Stevenage Borough v Forest Green Rovers
  • AFC Telford United v Southport
  • Kidderminster Harriers/York City v Havant & Waterlooville/Crawley Town

    Should Ebbsfleet beat Wrexham, Alty's away BSP game at the Kent club will be postponed on Saturday 21 March, when one of the two-legs of the FAT semi-final takes place.

    From the Football Conference we learn that "England C manager Paul Fairclough has named an experimental squad for the friendly fixture against Malta U21s later this month. Commenting on his selection, Fairclough told 'The fixture offers a great opportunity to blood a new generation of young players. With the final of the International Challenge Trophy against Belgium scheduled for May, the match against Malta will give previously uncapped players an opportunity to stake a claim for a place in the final'," he continued.... 'I am excited about the prospect of meeting up with this entirely new squad and am very confident that they will all seize the moment. The game against Malta cannot fail to have a real edge to it as these Young Lions look to mark my card'".


  • Dale Roberts, Rushden & Diamonds
  • Steven Arnold, Grays Athletic
  • Michael, Byron Droylsden
  • Sean Newton, Droylsden
  • Martin Riley, Kidderminster Harriers
  • Scott Doe, Weymouth
  • Ben Purkiss, York City
  • Lewis McMahon, Gainsborough Trinity
  • Tom Shaw, Tamworth
  • Nicky Wroe, Torquay United
  • Lee Tomlin, Rushden & Diamonds
  • Lewis Haldane, Oxford United
  • Ishmael Welsh, Grays Athletic
  • Paul Clayton, Alfreton Town
  • Liam Hearn, Alfreton Town
  • Jason Walker, Barrow

    Six of the 16-man squad are from outside the BSP.

    "Wycombe have completed the signing of Jon-Paul Pittman from Crawley Town for an undisclosed fee. The 24-year-old former Aston Villa striker has scored 10 goals for the Red Devils this season and will link up with the League Two leaders ahead of the January transfer window deadline. Manager Peter Taylor told his club's official website: 'I would like to thank Crawley boss Steve Evans for aiding the boy's career and helping with the move. I am excited to have him here. He's a very, very quick player and has had a nice grounding at Aston Villa and then Nottingham Forest'... Steve Evans told his club's official website: 'Everyone at Crawley Town Football Club is disappointed that JP is leaving but he is a terrific kid and we all wish him every success. He came here at a low time for him in football and we have helped re-build his confidence... In my opinion he will do very well at Wycombe Wanderers and I have no doubt he will get goals... Peter Taylor has tried to sign the boy before but on this occasion he was able to meet our valuation'" reports Blue Square Football.

    "Torquay United have completed the signing of forward Iyseden Christie from Stevenage Borough. The nomadic striker has played for eight different clubs during his career, with his most successful spell coming for Mansfield Town between 2002 and 2004. The 32-year-old brings with him a wealth of experience... Gulls' boss Paul Buckle told the club's official website: 'I'm delighted, we are getting a player with a wealth of experience and his record speaks for itself. He has scored goals everywhere he has been and, like Tim Sills, his knowledge and ability can only be a positive for the team'... Christie added: 'Once I knew the club were interested in me it didn't take long to make my mind up... I've been brought here for my experience and my scoring record, Paul knows enough about me to know what I can do and players of my age (32) are still in the game because they are doing a good job'".

    The BBC adds that "Torquay United have signed striker Iyseden Christie on a contract until the end of the season, following his release by Stevenage. The 32-year-old, who had been on loan at Kettering this season, could be at the centre of a legal battle between Borough and the Poppies. Borough say Town signed a deal to sign Christie for a five-figure fee, before reducing their wage offer to him. Stevenage are now considering legal action against Kettering. Christie joined Stevenage in June 2008, but has been on loan at Kettering Town since September, making 19 appearances and scoring six goals. Torquay will be Christie's 10th club having begun his career as a trainee at Coventry City in 1995. He has played in over 400 matches and scored 112 goals".

    A href="">Blue Square Football states that "York City manager Martin Foyle is scouring the transfer market in the hope of signing a new defender before Tuesday night's FA Trophy replay with Kidderminster Harriers. Foyle has a selection crisis on his hands with defender Ben Purkiss, David McGurk, Darren Kelly and Mark Greaves all on the sidelines. 'I don't think Ben (Purkiss) will play tomorrow night because his stomach is sore',Foyle told The Press".

    "Cambridge United have terminated the contract of defender Gavin Hoyte by mutual consent" and "Will assess striker Scott Rendell after he missed Sunday's 2-1 win over Rushden and Diamonds with a wrist injury". Cambridge boss Gary Brabin told BBC Radio Cambridgeshire: "It's a suspected broken wrist".

    The BBC says that "On-loan Salisbury defender Dave Winfield has returned to Aldershot. The news is a blow to the Whites, who thought that the clubs had agreed an extension to keep the 20-year-old".

    Cambridge United themselves add that they have "parted company with defender Gavin Hoyte and winger Felino Jardim today and Gary Brabin has explained that he did not want to stand in the way of either player... The players are now free agents and can join new clubs even after the transfer window closes at 5pm today".

    "Histon were last night conducting some late business in a bid to pull off some signings before the transfer window slams shut this afternoon", according to the Cambridge News. "Stutes' chairman Gareth Baldwin confirmed the club were in talks to bring in another striker and a right-winger... 'It would be nice to have these players, but it's not a necessity', he said. 'With the number of games we've got left it would help us if we could get a couple more players for the weeks ahead. We're going to be busy'. Despite the financial downturn, Baldwin said Histon would be looking to sign the players - one from League Two and one from the Blue Square Premier - on permanent deals rather than loan signings... 'It's a competitive market at the moment', said Baldwin. 'A lot of people are looking at loan deals, but we want to bring in players on deals until the end of the season with an option for another year'. Both players are under 23, a factor Baldwin felt was important in bringing in new recruits. 'We want guys who are young and hungry rather than journeymen who don't have the same desire'. With Damian Reeves and Robbie Nightingale having left the club in January, Histon are not expecting any other permanent departures, though they were looking to set up a loan deal for one other player, to a Blue Square Premier club".

    Oxford United "have completed the signing of midfielder Simon Clist from Forest Green Rovers for a nominal fee. 27 year old Simon started out at Bristol City and made 87 appearances... before a short loan spell at Torquay United. A permanent move to Barnet followed, where he made 67 starts, but he will also be familiar to many United fans as a key midfielder for Forest Green over the last three seasons, making over 100 starts. The five foot nine central midfielder has agreed a two and a half year deal with the U's...

    Manager Chris Wilder told us: 'Simon is a player I have admired for a long time. He is a left footed central midfielder who creates things and passes the ball well. He has been involved with a team that got out of this league, is local to Oxford, and he covers us in a couple of other positions as well. I know a lot about him, have seen him dominate games at this level and I think he is a great signing for the football club'". Chairman Kelvin Thomas added: 'We have always said to Chris that we would support him as much as possible but that he would be working within the current budget, which he has done to great effect with the players going out... We are also pleased to confirm that James Constable will be with us until the end of the season and that talks have begun with Shrewsbury Town to try to extend James's deal with us. In all likelihood that will not be finalised until the summer'".

    The Dorset Echo says that "Weymouth chief executive Gary Calder says he will wait until the end of this week to make a decision on his future. There has been growing speculation linking Calder with a move to Cambridge United. When asked if he could be making the switch to the Abbey Stadium, Calder said: 'This is a big, big week for Weymouth Football Club, and the club’s bigger than Gary Calder. I’m trying to look after the welfare of the club right now but at the end of the week a decision will be made on the future of WFC and my own future. Nothing has been sorted'. Meanwhile, Calder has confirmed that no members of the Terras’ squad will be sold prior to today’s transfer window deadline of 5pm. At the start of the month it looked certain that the Terras would lose several of their top stars but with potential new investors expected to takeover the club this week manager Alan Lewer is expected to retain his personnel. Stuart Beavon and Anton Robinson were close to agreeing deals with AFC Bournemouth last Thursday but the moves were blocked by multi-millionaire Colin Hill and former Cambridge United chairman Lee Power, who will carry out due diligence at the Wessex Stadium over the next three days. Calder said: 'The potential new owners have made it clear that they want to retain all their top assets so no one is expected to move on before today’s deadline'”.

    Rushden & Diamonds "have agreed an extension on the loan signing of Ipswich Town's Kurt Robinson. This will see him remain at Nene Park on loan until the end of the season".

    The Blue Square Premier manager of the month for for January is Stevenage's Graham Westley and the player of the month is Scott Garner (Mansfield Town). There is now a commentator's nightmare at Mansfield who have a Scott Garner and a Scott Gardner, as from This is Nottingham we learn that "Mansfield have completed the double signing of defenders Gianluca Havern and Scott Gardner until the end of the season. Havern, 20, has been on trial at Field Mill for the past three weeks. Gardner, also 20, began his career at Leeds United and had a short loan spell at Farsley Celtic at the start of last year". Gardner played against Alty for the Yorkshire side at Moss Lane last season.

    Another slightly puzzling statement has been issued by Grays Athletic's Chief Executive Officer. "Being aware of certain issues that supporters and onlookers at GAFC are concerned about, I thought it better to inform you all that The Chairman, Mick Woodward, has no intention of leaving the club, as suggested, on 26th April 2009. This date has been mentioned because that is when The Chairman and I will finally look at the direction in which the club can move forward being the season's end. Both Mick and I think it will be in The Blue Square Premiere but the underlying factor in wherever we start next season will be on a budget that the club can afford and that is what we have been working on over the past weeks, which although looks damning, must be seen as a good business strategy for the long term future of the club. The club has publicly admitted that it has made serious, or rather, no decisions on generating interest in raising attendances after its most successful period of its history. This must now be put aside and positives put to the forefront in an effort to resurrect good feelings and a return of fans to watch good football which is our trade mark".

    Kidderminster Harriers "have completed the deadline day signing of former Morecambe central midfielder Michael Carr. Carr, 24, is vastly experienced in non-league football after spending the best part of four seasons with Northwich Victoria, for whom he made close to 100 appearances. He began his career with Macclesfield but turned out just 11 times before leaving for the Vics in 2004... His efforts for them led to his move up into the Football League with the Shrimps. Before leaving the Victoria Stadium he was a regular in the England C set-up... He spent time with Northwich again on loan last season, and featured for Morecambe on 13 occasions this term before recently agreeing his release by mutual consent from the League Two side... He will stay with the club until the end of the season".

    2 February 2009


    Right: Shaun Densmore is suspended for Tuesday's game against Northwich after picking up five league bookings. Here he is seen by Gavin Rathbone's camera in the pouring rain, against York City last week. The GR Photography website has more of Gavin's Alty images.

    Altrincham entertain Northwich Victoria this Tuesday in a match postponed from New Year's Day, due to bad weather. Regarding our visitors, the NL Paper says that "Administrators Deloitte & Touche have said the club cannot go back [to the Marston's Arnea] until the ground is sold. [Vics' chairman, Jim] Rushe had had a £1.5m bid accepted but is waiting while a bridging loan is finalised and the stadium valued". Rushe said "I'm very hopeful the sale will go through... owning the stadium and the revenue that goes with it would put the club in its best position for years". However, the NLP adds that "The situation has gained new urgency after a 25-year lease, allowing Northwich to play at the stadium was challenged by the administrators. Vics signed a successor agreement with Beaconet, [which was Mike Connett's company which owned the ground till it went into administration], meaning that whoever bought the ground would be obliged to let Vics remain as tenants. Because the firm went out of business, the ground is technically owned by no one and Deloitte have declared the lease void. 'Our legal people are working on it', added Rushe. Northwich will play next Saturday's scheduled home clash with Ebbsfleet at Stonebridge Road", the Fleet's ground.

    The Vics' Supporters' Trust reports that "Steve King warned of a Woking backlash before the 380-mile round trip to Surrey. His prior concern was well and truly justified as the Cards banished all memories of a midweek thumping at the hands of Eastbourne... Despite making just one change - Matt Bailey (left) in for injured skipper Simon Grand - Vics were a mere shadow of the side that scored three in Tuesday night's thrilling encounter at Wrexham... Whatever King said to the players at half-time seemed to work as Vics started the second period the brighter... Lee Steele's cross from the right touchline was met superbly by Bailey on 56 minutes, who looped his header up and over Eastwood into the bottom left corner to put Vics back in the game... King reverted to 4-3-3, bringing on Michael Welch for Aspin and moving Bailey upfield into an attacking role... It is now 14 games without a win for King, who will be hoping for a much-needed change of fortune away at Altrincham on Tuesday night". The Northwich side was: Clarke, Aspin (Welch 82), Steve Robinson, Stevens, Bailey, Lodge, Murray, Crowell, Elam, Reeves, Steele. Subs not used: Price, McDonald, Conroy, Byrom. Booked: Elam , Lodge, Welch. MOTM: Matt Bailey - Another stunning header and kept fighting to the end. Attendance: 1,092 (32 Vics)".

    Arriving in March, 2004 Matt Bailey was a factor in Altrincham qualifying for the new Conference North. In all he made 6(+7) appearances for Altrincham, scoring three goals.

    Meanwhile, a useful new Northwich Vics' blog has been set up.


    News of several ex-Alty players comes from Wales as NL Daily reports that "Welsh Cup holders Bangor City progressed to the last eight after beating Principality Welsh Premier leaders Rhyl 4-2 in a penalty shoot-out at Farrar Road on Saturday. Despite being reduced to ten-men after just 15 minutes following the dismissal of skipper Marc Limbert, the Citizens took the lead". After Rhyl had levelled, a penalty shoot-out followed wuth former Alty Youth winger "Stuart Cook hitting the decider" to win the game. Elsewhere, Matthew Berkeley scored for TNS as they lost in the Cup 2-3 at home to Carmarthen Town".


    The nominations for January's Blue Square Premier Awards, to be announced between 1.20pm and 1.45pm on Setanta Sports News tomorrow are as follows:

    Manager of the Month

  • Garry Wilson – Eastbourne Borough
  • Graham Westley – Stevenage Borough
  • Chris Wilder – Oxford United
  • David Holdsworth – Mansfield Town

    Player of the Month

  • Steve Morison – Stevenage Borough
  • Mitchell Cole – Stevenage Borough
  • Scott Garner – Mansfield Town
  • Adam Murray – Oxford United
  • Ashley Barnes – Eastbourne Borough
  • Stuart Beavon – Weymouth
    1 February 2009


    Sunday 1st February

  • Oxford U. 2 Lewes 1
  • Rushden & D. 1 Cambridge U. 2


    Altrincham FC announce that there will be 'An Evening of Clairvoyance' on Wednesday 18th February at Moss Lane, with international medium Yvonne, as seen on Channel 4 TV. The evening will be held in the Noel White Suite with a 7.30 for 8pm start. Tickets are just £6 each for the night and there will be two hour-long sessions with a short interval in between. Nibbles will be provided and the bar will be available for the whole evening. There will be a raffle as well, and all the profits from the evening will be donated to Altrincham FC Juniors. Contact the Club (928-1045) for tickets.


    After last Tuesday's draw at Moss Lane, York City have now put up a report on their website which says that "Richard Brodie recovered his composure after seeing his first half penalty saved to secure a point for City away at Altrincham with a second half strike".


    Runcorn Linnets have signed defender Neil Murphy. Danny Heffernan of Abbey Hey, still in the Alty squad as well, scored a penalty for the Gorton side as they lost 1-3 at home to Bacup Borough. Tom Cahill scored the winner for Ilkeston Town against Ashton United. Steve Aspinall was a scorer as his Colwyn Bay side beat Mossley 6-1. Ex-Alty reserve Ashley Stott got 2 for FC Halifax Town. Soilhull Moors' Jake Sedgemore scored but his side lost 2-1 to Fleetwood. Returning from injury, Matty McNeil netted for Stockport who won 4-1 over Hereford on Saturday. Karl Munroe was left on the bench as Hyde United lost at home to Redditch United. <


    Tuesday 3rd Feb:

  • Barrow v Southport


    NL Daily says that "Kettering Town produced their poorest performance under Mark Cooper as they went out of the FA Trophy to AFC Telford United on Saturday. Danny Carey-Bertram's 23rd minute goal was enough to end the Poppies' Wembley hopes as they went down without a fight at the A-Line Arena... Now they are facing the prospect of a near-impossible schedule to try to force their way into the Blue Square Premier play-offs".

    Barrow report that "Following Southport's 3-0 victory at home to Torquay United in the FA Trophy, it is confirmed that the Setanta Shield Match versus Southport will go ahead at Holker Street on Tuesday 3rd February". Meanwhile, Barrow "striker Chris Thompson has joined Leigh Genesis on a month's loan".

    At Burton Albion "Roy McFarland has today agreed with Rotherham United that winger Jamie Yates will remain on loan with the Brewers until the end of the current season".

    More moves are reported by Grays Athletic where ""Striker, Wesley Thomas, has returned to his parent club, Dagenham & Redbridge. Grays Athletic have signed Barnet FC, central midfielder, Joe Tabiri, on one month's loan... He has recently been on loan with Lewes FC... He can also play as a right-back".

    Oxford United "will have a new face in their squad as they take on Lewes [today, Sunday] following the signing of Craig Farrell from York City".

    Rushden & Diamonds state that "Reports in Dorset have suggested that Rushden & Diamonds Chairman Keith Cousins would be joining Lee Power and Colin Hill in potentially investing in Weymouth Football Club, where Garry Hill was previously in charge. [Cousins said,]'That's completely untrue. Colin and Lee are just friends of mine who are looking to buy another club because Weymouth are in an appalling financial state. By association, someone has assumed I'm going there as well. However I can assure everybody that I'm not involved and legally I wouldn't be entitled to do so anyway due to my ownership of Rushden & Diamonds. The purchase of Weymouth Football Club has nothing to do with me. Lee Power and Colin Hill are frustrated at the moment because they don't own a football club. That should change next week. From my point of view I'm frustrated that our team has not performed well - even though we've got good players. But I will always back the manager. Garry is staying here for as long as I am'.

    Manager, Garry Hill was asked about the takeover at Weymouth. 'I don't know anything about it - even though my brother is involved! The first I heard about this was from talking to former Weymouth player-manager Jason Tindall just before Thursday night's game between Cambridge United and Oxford United... I'm the manager here and I'm not getting involved at Weymouth again'".

    From Woking who beat our next opponents, Northwich Victoria, 4-1, on Saturday, we read "Being Woking, the victory wasn’t as straightforward as the scoreline might suggest, with the Cards nearly letting the Vics back into the game in the second half... It was worrying... to see the Vics winning headers from two early corners... It soon became apparent that the Northwich defence was pretty shaky. A horrible mis-kick from the Vics' keeper, Ryan Clarke, produced the first of a host of corners... and then a defender mis-directed a back header to give away another... The Cards went in at half-time to an unaccustomed 2-0 lead ... but the Vics started to get back into the game... [and] went straight up the other end and scored, with the giant defender Matt Bailey looping a header home just under the bar... The Vics came very close to equalising in the 69th minute... This was a very welcome win against, it must be admitted, the weakest BSP side we’ve seen this season".