A to Z of Altrincham Football Club

By Terry Rowley

Part Two - H to L

Part One, A to G is here


Hat Tricks -

  • Most in a career, 18 Jackie Swindells
  • Most hat tricks in a season (Team) 10 1926/27
  • Most in a season individual 6 (Jackie Swindells 65/66, Stewart Littlewood 34/35 & Cliff Stanton 26/27)
  • On debut.11 players Phillip Pritchard 51/52, Horridge 31/32, Taylor 28/29, Nixon 33/34, Burgess 30/31, George Johnson 63/64, Arthur Monks 60/61, Cliff Stanton 26/27, Don Weston and Richard Best 08/09.

    Heathcote Graham - Associated with the club, man and boy, Altrincham current first team manager and club secretary. Started with the Altrincham youth team and went on to play 528 games and score 147 goals in a career that stretched from 1971/72 to 1984/85 (with a short spell at Northwich over the 75/76-76/77 seasons (28 games 4 goals). Dogged by back problems, a final season at Witton Albion in 85/86 saw the end of his playing career at the age of 31. He was offered his first managerial post as assistant to John King at Runcorn, returning to Altrincham as King’s assistant in September 1988 and staying till August 1991, only to return again in February 1994 and has since been involved with the club to the present day as Secretary and coach, (with the occasional sabbatical!) and latterly as manager since 14th October 2002. Graham’s brother Alan also played for the club, scoring 14 goals in 25 games.

    Healy Charity Cup - also known as The Manchester & Salford Charity Cup. This was a short lived trophy competition donated by Mr William Healey (Chairman of Newton Heath) to raise funds for local charities. It was first played for in 1897 and included the senior sides in the Manchester area. It was first won by Newton Heath (Manchester United) in 1897 in front of 6,000 spectators, when they beat Manchester City 5-2 at Hyde Road. The trophy was then won the following two seasons by Manchester City in 1898 & 1899. Altrincham first entered the competition in 1907 when the trophy was beginning to loose its appeal. Altrincham won the 1908/09 trophy but the final wasn’t played till November the following season and that ended Altrincham’s interest in the competition.

    Heathens- or ‘Old Heathens’ - Altrincham’s original ‘nickname’, though this name was common to any side that contained Heath in its name, like Newton Heath (Manchester United) and Small Heath (Birmingham) who were also know as the ‘Heathens’

    Helme, James Albert ‘Jack’ – Altrincham forward who was born in and played for Altrincham firstly in the Lancashire Combination in 1913/14, after signing from Oldham Athletic and then post war in the Cheshire County League from 1919/20-23/24 & 1926/27-1928/29. Offered terms by Stoke City in 1920/21 but after four games and one goal decided to remain an amateur, due to the travelling, one of only nine players to score over 100 goals for the club.

    History making - Altrincham v Barnet 1st League game outside football League to be televised 30th March 1991.

    Hughes, John - Welsh under 23 International and former Blackpool striker, Hughes famously scored the Altrincham goal at Goodison Park which brought Altrincham a replay against Everton at Old Trafford. A forward who was pure class, in his brief spell at Moss Lane he scored 45 goals in 83 games for Altrincham.

    Hulme FC - Broadheath’s first ever opponents played in the Manchester League on the 16th September 1893. The result set the tone for the rest of the season with Broadheath losing 7-0 and losing 15 of the 20 games played that season, finishing bottom of the table.

    Hundred, Goals - Only nine players have scored 100 goals or more for Altrincham. Jackie Swindells tops this very exclusive list, followed by Jeff Johnson, Graham Heathcote, Jack Helme, Walter Jones, John Rogers, Johnny Worth, Stewart Littlewood and Fred Birtles.


    Iceland - Altrincham’s connections with Iceland include former manager Tony Sanders (manager Vikinghor) and former players, Steve Fleet (Manager Akranes & I.B. Vestmann), Stewart Hammill (IFK Mariehamn) and Mark Ward (Valur Rejkjavik).

    ICI Alkali - Altrincham have played ICI Alkali 5 times, twice in the FA Cup in 1933 (1-1 at home and 1-0 winners away in the replay and three times in the Cheshire Senior Cup in 1954 (away won 4-3), and again in 1961 (drawing 0-0 away and winning the replay 3-0 at home).

    Iddon, Richard - was a former Manchester United and New Brighton inside forward who joined Altrincham as centre forward from Horwich RMI half way through the 1932/33 season. He had previously helping Lancaster City win the Lancashire Combination in 1929/30 by scoring 37 goals. He scored 18 times in his first season, (including 2 hat tricks) in just over 20 games but injury meant a late start to the 33/34 season. Never the less when fit he showed he still had the touch by scoring a further 18 goals, including the highlight of his Altrincham career, the only goal in the Cheshire Senior Cup Final against Congleton Town at played at Edgerly Park Stockport, in front of 5671 spectators.

    Inter League Cup - A short-lived experiment between The Cheshire County League and the Lancashire Combination League, which lasted just two seasons (1961/62 & 1962/63). Both Leagues shelved their own cup competitions to implement an inter-league cup competition. In 1961/62 Altrincham beat Fleetwood in the first round, Bacup Borough in the second round and Witton Albion in the third round (after a replay), only to be knocked out by Marine in the 4th round. The following season Altrincham were knocked out in the first round by Ashton United.

    Intermediate Cup- Manchester Intermediate Cup - Altrincham briefly entered the first team in this competition during the mid 1960’s. Their best performance coming in 1963/64 when they reached the semi-finals where they lost 3-2 to Mossley

    Internationals - Altrincham have had at least twenty full internationals turn out for them over the years including, Tommy Banks (6 Caps), Colin McDonald (8 caps), Albert Quixall (5 caps), Alex Stepney (1 cap), Ernie Taylor (1 cap), Billy Felton (1 cap) and Tommy Mort (3 caps) for England, Fionan Fagan (8 caps), Mick Smyth (1 cap), Ron Healy (2 caps) for Eire, Brian Irvine (8 caps), Bill Gowdy (6 caps) and Paul Williams (1 cap) for Northern Ireland, Andy Dibble (3 caps) and Jack Newnes (1 cap)for Wales, Lee Ramoon for the Cayman Isles, Stan Ackerley (28 caps) and Jason Van Blerk (33 caps) for Australia, Sammy Ayorinde for Nigeria and most recently Lutel James (1 cap) for St Kitts and Nevis In addition Joe Kennedy was awarded 3 England ‘B’ caps and Eric Westward 1 ‘B’ Cap. Clarence Hilditch was also awarded a ‘cap’ in a ‘Victory’ International against Wales in 1919, as was Charlie Mitten in 1946 against Scotland.

    Ireland- - Through the years Altrincham have had a number of players who have played for Irish clubs at some point in their career, amongst whom are: Greg Challender -Finns Harp, Fionan 'Paddy' Fagan-Transport (Dublin), Marcus Hallows-Sligo Rovers and St Patrick's, Mick Hayde-Linfield, Brian Irvine-Linfield, Tommy Henderson-Cork Hibernians, Tommy Heron - Portadown, Len White - Sligo Rovers, Gary Hulmes- Sligo Rovers, Tony Kelly-Sligo Rovers, Jack Mills - Distillary, Mick Smyth - Shamrock Rovers, Ernie Taylor- Derry City, Geoff Tonge- Ballemena, Bill Gowdy- Ards & Linfield, Noel McPharlane -Waterford, Dave Martindale - Glentoran, MR Muir- Bangor and Frank Ryder - Ards.

    Irlam, James - Bird-dealer by trade and left-half for Altrincham lived in Cross Street, Ashton-on-Mersey. Played for Altrincham between 1906/07-09/10

    Iro, Lawrence - A full back that played 38 games for Altrincham in two spells (1981/82-82/83 & 1987/88-88/89) in the Alliance Premier League.

    Irvine, Brian - Northern Irish International goalkeeper who played 12 games for Altrincham early in the 1966/67 season.

    Isherwood, Roy - Former Blackburn Rovers winger who came to Altrincham in 1963 from Southern League Chelmsford, scoring 8 goals in 31 games

    Isle of Man - Altrincham forward, John Cannell was born and raised in Laxey on the Isle of Man. Played for Altrincham from 1912/13 to 1914/15, after spending the 1911/12 season at Bury.


    Jackson, David and Peter - Possibly unique in football terms in that they were twins, who played for the same sides (and at the same time) for most of their playing career. Born in Stoke in January 1937, both signed for Wrexham in July 1954 and from then on they moved together, next to Marine in February 1955, then Bradford City in March and where they stayed till the end of the 1960/61 season. They then both joined Tranmere Rovers in July 1961. It was here that they first separated with David moving to Halifax Town, whilst Peter remained at Tranmere. In the summer of 1965 they joined up again at Frickley. A year later David moved to Altrincham but by the end of the 66/67 season his twin brother had joined him at Moss Lane. Both moved on to Hyde United by the end the following season.

    Jackson, William (Billy) - A forward born in Farnworth who started his career with post war Altrincham in the newly formed Cheshire County League before going on to join Darwen and from there pursued a varied football beginning with Sunderland in 24/25, Leeds United 25/26-26/27,West Ham 27/28, Chelsea 27/28-30/31, Leicester City 31/32 Ashford Town (loan 1932), Bristol Rovers 32/33-33/34, Cardiff City 34/35 and Watford 34/35 before finishing his career back in the non league with Chorley (1935) and Netherfield (1936). He died in Blackpool November 1974. His brother Robert had been on Bury's books joined Altrincham from Darwen as a centre forward after being their leading scorer in the Lancashire Combination the previous season.

    Johnson, Jeff - An all-time Altrincham legend who never gave less than 100% wherever he played in the side (he wore every shirt number from 2 to 11 during his time at Moss Lane). Signed from Hyde United, initially as a centre forward, (Jeff scored on debut in a 4-1 win over Gainsborough Trinity on 4th December 1976) but eventually moved into midfield and then into the back four, as he got older. Playing 504 games for Altrincham between 1976/77 & 1987/88, Jeff scored 147 goals for the Robin’s. Jeff started at Dukinfield Town before moving to Hyde United picking up the player of the season award in the two full seasons there. He had trials at Stockport County (scoring 5 times on his debut for the reserves) but nothing came of it and he returned to Hyde before Altrincham stepped in. At Altrincham he won every senior honour available, including semi-professional international honours. Played in all three of Altrincham’s FA Trophy Wembley appearances and was part of two Alliance Premier League championship sides. Jeff played his last game for Altrincham at right back against Runcorn in the second leg of the Cheshire Senior Cup on the 29th March 1988. Having been appointed assistant manager to Tommy Docherty in September 1987 he took over as caretaker manger in February 1988 (whilst still playing) and was appointed manager in April 1988 till his dismissal in September 1988. His brother Steve, a Hyde United legend, also joined Altrincham, late in his career.

    Jones - at least 25 players named Jones have turned out for the Robins throughout their history.

    Jones, Walter - Popular, multi-talented sportsman who was equally adept at cricket, soccer, rugby (both codes) and crown green bowls. Walter had played Rugby Union and soccer prior to joining the Royal Navy but on de-mobilisation from the Royal Navy in 1947 he immediately joined Rochdale AFC, as an amateur and went on to play two games for the first team, scoring twice, also scoring 29 goals for Rochdale's reserve side, including 3 hat tricks in what was not even a full season. Wishing to remain an amateur, he joined Altrincham for the 47/48 season and continued to work in the foreign section of Barclay's Bank in central Manchester. Walter scored 141 goals in only 210 games for Altrincham before leaving the club and the code to sign up for Rochdale Hornets and play Rugby League, making his league debut a month after leaving Moss Lane in October 1952, a 14-12 win over Castleford. Later in his career he moved into the second row and went on to play a total of 104 first team games for Hornets scoring 31 tries. He was even considered good enough to be selected as reserve for the Lancashire County squad during the 54/55 season. Not content with his efforts on the football field, during the soccer 'close' season Jones, an outstanding fielder, was also captaining Rochdale CC in the Central Lancashire League, leading Rochdale to their first league title in 21 years in 1948 and later a member of the side that won the Wood Cup in 1952 after being finalists in 1951.

    Junior Cup - Altrincham entered both the Manchester and Cheshire Junior Cup’s in the mid 1890’s till the middle of the first decade of the 20th century. The Junior or Amateur Cups were basically organised for amateur teams so that when Altrincham became semi-professional they could only enter their reserve side in these competitions.


    Kapler, Konrad - Born in Tychy, Poland and a schoolboy international he came to Britain with the Polish forces during the Second World War where he was spotted and signed by Glasgow Celtic whilst playing for Forres Mechanics. His two seasons at Glasgow Celtic (47/48-48/49) were unsuccessful, playing just 7 first team games, so he moved south and joined Rochdale in May 1949 but once again he failed to establish himself playing just 4 games in his one season at Spotland. After brief spells at Morecambe and Congleton he joined Altrincham for the start of the 1951/52 season Altrincham and for the next 6 seasons was a near ever present playing over 250 games predominately on the left wing. He joined Stalybridge Celtic for the 57/58 season and subsequently Mossley for the 58/59season. He died in Rochdale on the 23rd October 1991.

    Keepers - Altrincham has used 98 goalkeepers in first team matches since the resumption of football after World War Two. 19 of those listed made just a single appearance, furthermore only 13 keepers have made over 100 appearances for the club. The most keepers used in a season (that we can find), post-war is 6. Peter Eales also has the highest proportion of clean sheets to games played of any keeper (40%), of those that have played 100 games or more.

    Kelly, Harold - A free scoring forward who was surprisingly released (along with Jack Helme) half way through the 23/24 season after scoring 16 goals (and 38 the previous season) and went on to enjoy a prolific career at Macclesfield Town.

    Kennedy, Joe - Centre half who joined Altrincham on release from the army and had prior to the army played for Workington. Controversially found it hard to make it into the struggling Altrincham first team, a bone of contention with the board for reserve team coach Arthur Gale. Eventually, Joe made his one and only first team appearance in a 2-4 defeat away at Winsford, before WBA paid £750 for his services. They were not so reticent in playing him and he made his first team debut in April 1949 in the second division against Luton and kept his place for the last 8 games of the season and scored the goal (one of only four in his career) against Leicester which gained WBA promotion to the first division. He went on to make 397 first team appearances for WBA between 1948/49-1960/61. Unfortunate to play in the Billy Wright era he was often regarded as the best non-capped centre half in the country and although occasionally selected as Wright’s reserve for the full England side his highest international honour was to captain the England ‘B’ side on 3 occasions. In 1961 he joined Chester for one final season in the football league before retiring.

    Kick off - Until recently we have associated Saturday afternoon football with a 3pm kick-off, though this has changed in recent years with games kicking off at midday and 1pm. Prior to the installation of floodlights at Moss Lane the traditional time for kick-off was 2:15pm. Earlier in their history when Altrincham sometimes played two games in a day; morning kick-offs were not unusual.

    Kin - Altrincham have often been called a’ family club’ and over the years the club have turned out a large number of players from the same family. On the staff inn2005-06 there were Kyle Wilson (currently on loan from Crewe Alexandria) and Steve Aspinall, whose fathers, Phil and John, both turned out for the club, but they are by no means the first. Going back into the sixties, player-manger Charlie Mitten’s son turned out for the club. Ater he had left another famous father/son combination was future Liverpool manager Joe Fagan, who turned out for the club in the mid fifties and his son Mick played in the seventies. Just after the First World War, Ernest Bracegirdle played for Altrincham for a couple of years and his son (also called Ernest) played one season in 1931/32. Going even further back George Clarke played for Broadheath and Altrincham up until 1908, eventually becoming trainer and his son played in 1925/26. Added to this, no fewer than 28 pairs of brothers have turned out for the club. (The list is probably not complete) and on one occasion Altrincham played 3 pairs of brothers in an FA Cup tie against St Helen’s recreation on October 14th 1911. Altrincham have also had an uncle and nephew play for the side. Larry and Michael Garrity. Even today there are families who can claim long term connections with the club, such as the Gallimores and the Thorpes. David Thorpe is the third generation of his family to be connected with the club, his father, Jack was for many years the groundsman at Moss Lane and before that his father (also called Jack) played for the club from 1906/07 to 1909/10. That’s nearly 100 years of association!

    King, John - Legendary player, captain and manager, who started his career rather modestly at Everton as a schoolboy and then Shrewsbury as a junior before dropping into non league circles with Kirkby Town. He was snapped up by Wigan Athletic where over the next 5 seasons he started to make a name for himself as a tough tackling midfield player and over 4 ½ seasons collected a NPL winners and runners up medal and played at Wembley in a FAT final (losing 2-1 to Scarborough). Northwich Victoria signed King for the 76/77 season and in November 1977 John found himself in temporary charge of the team but refused to play in a Staffordshire Senior Cup match leaving the board little option but to accept Altrincham’s offer of £2,250 and so the legend began. King’s debut was an inauspicious 0-1 defeat away at Worksop but by the season's end he had led the side to an FA Trophy final win over Leatherhead. From then on the honours just rolled in, an NPL runners up spot, followed by back to back championships in the newly formed Alliance Premier League in 79/80 and 80/81. King’s final game for the Robins was fittingly at Wembley in 1982 when he picked up another losers medal in the 0-1 defeat to Enfield. By the summer of 1983 he was installed as manager at South Liverpool before taking over at Altrincham in January 1984 only to become the first player to later manage a side in the FA Trophy when Altrincham beat Runcorn in May 1986. Days later King sensationally quit and joined Runcorn as Manager with Runcorn manager, John Williams making the reverse move. Two years later he was back in the hot seat at Altrincham before controversially leaving again in August 1991. After a spell at Bury as Assistant Manager, he returned for his final and probably most needed spell as Altrincham manager in February 1994, when he was instrumental in saving the club from extinction with just hours left on the clock. John finally left the club


    Lancashire Combination - Altrincham joined the Lancashire Combination League for the 1911/12 season. They started in the second division and were promoted in their first season after finishing second on goal difference. They then played in the first division for 3 seasons until The First World War closed down regular football and the Lancashire Combination became a regionalised, amateur competition. Altrincham played in this competition until February 1917 when they took over Mersey Athletic's fixtures in the Manchester Amateur League and played the 1917/18 season in this competition only to leave half way through the 1918/19 season when the Lancashire combination was re-formed and played the second half of the season in that competition. Altrincham finally left at the start of 1919/20 season and helped form the newly created Cheshire County League.

    Lancashire League - Altrincham Reserves first joined this competition for one season in 1975/76, they then re-joined for 4 seasons between 1979/80 and 1982/83, they then re-entered the competition between 1999/00 and 01/02 and again in season 04/05 after a further two season break.

    Leagues - Altrincham have played in The Manchester League (1893-1911), The Lancashire Combination (see above), The Cheshire County League (1919-1968), The Northern Premier League (1968-1979 & 1997-1999 & 2001-2005), The Alliance Premier League 1979-1996 & 1999/2000 & currently 2005/06).

    Lee, Richard - One of the club's original founding fathers, Dick filled numerous roles as player, secretary, committee member, director and later became Mayor of Altrincham.

    Length of pitch - In the 1907/08 season, Altrincham were drawn at home in the 1st qualifying round of the FA Cup against Stalybridge Rovers but they refused to play the game at Pollitt's Field as the pitch was less than the FA stipulated minimum length of 110 yards. (Altrincham's Pitch was measured at 106 1/2 yards). So the game switched to Rovers, Crookbottom ground and Altrincham lost 4-0.

    Limited Company 1921 - Altrincham were formed as a Limited Company in 1921.

    Littlewood, Stewert - Altrincham’s first and possibly only player to rival Jack Swindells as a goal scorer for Altrincham. Born in 1905 at Treeton near Rotherham, Littlewood had a varied football career before arriving at Moss Lane. He started with Holmewood Mission and Hardwick Colliery before joining Chesterfield as an amateur in January 1924, where he managed 5 Midland League games before injury finished his season.

    He then joined Matlock Town during the 1924 close season and then had spells at Sheffield Wednesday, Luton Town and Alfreton Town before signing for Port Vale in November 1926, making his debut at Clapton Orient and scoring twice in a 2-1 win (with a further goal disallowed!) and was promptly dropped for the next match! He appeared sporadically the following season but scored 7 goals in 7 games and in October 1928 he was ‘rested’ for the rest of the season after scoring 9 goals in 10 games. Unable to regain his place he moved to Oldham Athletic in January 1929 for £1,300 and Albert Pyneger. Here his talents were appreciated as he scored 48 goals in just 81 matches before returning to Port Vale in March 1931 for £1, 550.

    Once again though he was in and out of the side, (more out than in!) but still managed 17 goals in 36 games during his second spell with the ‘Valients’. He then moved to Bournemouth & Boscombe in July 1933 and in his final Football League season scored 13 goals in 20 games. He arrived at Moss Lane during the summer of 1934, still plagued by injury but announced himself with a debut goal in the seasons opener, a 1-1 draw away to Witton Albion. He finished the season with over 50 goals including 7 in one FA Cup tie, and twice registering 4 goals in a match, as well as two ‘hat tricks’.

    The following two seasons he scored 27 goals and 24 goals but injuries had taken their toll and he was missing more and more games and was released at the end of the 1936/37 season and briefly joined Northwich Victoria before injury brought retirement. In three seasons at Moss Lane he had scored over 100 goals at a rate close to a goal a game and featured in consecutive 2nd place in Cheshire County League.

    M to R here