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CURRENT NEWS IN FULL


22 May 2015

LADIES' 4-1 WIN OVER EGERTON

Phil Taylor has kindly provided a match report on the Ladies' midweek win over Egerton, which secured second place in the league table to underline another successful season. The report is here and an image from the game is shown above.

ALTY GIRLS' SUCCESSES

The Sale & Altrincham Messenger reports that "Altrincham Under-14s girls beat Wythenshawe 3-1 in the Division A league cup final last week. Wythenshawe took the lead after five minutes and dominated possession for most of the first half. But the U14s got back into it when Maddy McKay scored an equaliser just before the break. Maddy Moryusseff put Altrincham ahead in the 50th minute and she doubled her tally with 18 minutes left on the clock.

Moryusseff won the Girl of the Match award. Meanwhile, the u14s are currently top of the South Manchester U15s' League with only Wythenshawe able to beat them, with two games in hand. On the same day, the U15s defeated Bury 1-0 in the Division B final. "

OLD BOY

The Football Conference says that "Martin Drury, the new manager of Bradford Park Avenue, has made his first signing with striker James Walshaw joining from neighbours and league rivals Harrogate Town... Before scoring 12 goals in twenty-six starts last season for Harrogate, he helped Altrincham to promotion with an incredible 29 league goals.

The 31-year-old is probably best known, however, for his time at Guiseley AFC. He moved to Nethermoor in 2008, and in three years scored 67 goals in 114 games, winning the Northern Premier League and the Northern Premier League Cup along the way. In one Conference North season he bagged 32 league goals, earning himself a move away.

Walshaw’s career began at Ossett Town where he started as he meant to go on; scoring goals. He quickly earned himself a move to then Conference North side Farsley Celtic, where he scored 8 goals in sixteen appearances before they were liquidated and he left for Guiseley.

Following his impressive spell at Guiseley, the 6`2” striker joined Darlington but, again, financial troubles stood in his way and he found himself loaned out to FC Halifax Town. The Shaymen tried to sign him permanently after a productive loan spell but the forward opted to rejoin Guiseley, where he scored 10 times as they reached the Conference North play-offs. Guiseley didn’t offer him a new deal and he left then for Altrincham where he scored 32 times in all competitions and beat his old side in the play-off final to secure promotion to the Conference.

Harrogate snapped him up and, despite it not all going to plan, Walshaw still finished as the club’s top scorer with his commendable tally of 12... He becomes Avenue’s first signing of the summer and is a real statement of intent from the new management team of Drury and Jamie Price, who got in early to seal the signature of a very sought-after player."

VANARAMA CONFERENCE NEWS

According to the Football Conference, "Kidderminster Harriers have wrapped up a deal to secure the services of in-form goal-getter Gurjit Singh for the 2015/16 season after his brief spell at Aggborough at the back end of last term. The 24-year-old has agreed a deal for the upcoming campaign having trained with the club for the final months of 2014/15, while continuing to play his football at Midland League outfit Tipton Town.

Singh actually started that season with West Midlands (Regional) Leaguers Smethwick Rangers and, after rifling in 20 goals for them in the first half of the campaign, he moved to Tipton where he continued to find the back of the net. Thirteen goals in fourteen games to finish things off ensured the player ended the campaign in red hot form... Said Harriers'` manager Gary Whild, 'He's another one who is a very exciting prospect and if he's able to catch the drift of full-time football, which isn't always easy, he's going to be one to really keep an eye on'...

Harriers have also agreed a deal to sign former Aggborough youth team player Jordon Jones on a contract for the new season. The versatile youngster, who can play anywhere along the right-hand side, has just rounded off a hugely impressive season with Evo-Stik League Southern Premier Division neighbours Redditch United."

From NL Daily we learn that "Defender Ritchie Sutton has today agreed to join Tranmere Rovers on a two-year deal. The 29-year old has spent the last four years with Mansfield Town... He made 38 appearances for the Stags in League Two last season and picked up a number of supporters’ clubs Player of the Season awards.

He began his career with Crewe Alexandra and has also had a spell with Port Vale... Manager Gary Brabin said, 'He’s a no-nonsense type of defender who takes pride in keeping clean sheets. He’s an honest lad, who defends first and foremost'".

At Eastleigh, "Manager Richard Hill has concluded deals with three more players of the existing squad... Nineteen year-old goalkeeper Lewis Noice, who is a product of the Eastleigh F C youth system, has signed a further one-year deal. Having spent the latter end of last season on loan at Hellenic League side Abingdon United. Lewis has seven appearances to his name though he has only made one league appearance for Eastleigh so far.

The versatile Will Evans has also penned a new one year deal. Will spent most of last season as a full back or central defender will be commencing his third campaign at The Silverlake Stadium and has so far appeared 78 times and scored two goals.

The third, latest signature is that of Jai Reason following an impressive season... Jai originally signed in May 2012 from Braintree Town and has been leading goalscorer for two out of the three seasons whilst at Eastleigh. Up to the end

Still in the same county, Get Hampshire tells us that "New boss Barry Smith is ready to make loan stars Jim Stevenson and Sean McGinty his two first signings at Aldershot Town, as he says goodbye to the playing staff’s longest-serving member.

The Scot says he is 'very close' to adding midfielder Stevenson and defender McGinty to his evolving squad after both became instant hits with the Shots' faithful during loan spells in the second half of last season... after the club said farewell to first-team coach Matt Gray on Monday after four years at the club.

Since arriving from Eastleigh in June 2011, Gray, 33, [has] worked under both Dean Holdsworth and Andy Scott before becoming assistant to caretaker boss Barker in January. Smith, though, insists the parting of ways was amicable, saying, 'I sat down with Matt and we mutually agreed that it was in the best interests for both himself and the club to leave. We both understood where each other were coming from. Both Chris and myself are very hands-on coaches and we are looking forward to working with our new squad from July 1'...

Smith has also revealed he has had “'positive talks' with both goalkeeper Phil Smith and winger Tristan Plummer, while contract offers made to Brett Williams, Sam Hatton, Damon Lathrope and Dan Thomas are still awaiting reply. 'The contracts have been offered but, if they decide they’ll hang on and I then sign somebody else, then that contract will be off the table,' Smith confirmed. 'We’re being fair to them, by giving them time to think about it, but we’re not going to hang about and wait, and end up signing players at the very last minute. I want to try to get a settled squad as soon as possible.'

On Stevenson and McGinty, newly-released by Luton and Rochdale respectively, he added... 'I’m quite confident they will be at the club next season'”.

From the Principality, Wrexham report that "Wrexham boss Gary Mills has captured the signatures of two more players... first in [as reported yesterday] was former York City and Macclesfield Town winger Adriano Moke... Adriano took in his new surrounding and remarked, 'I can’t believe this is happening and I’ll just buzzing to be joining Wrexham. I told my brother I was coming here and he couldn’t believe it either. I’ve played for the gaffer before, I know what he wants and I know that he will be successful here.'

Then Dominic Vose... the former Fulham and West Ham United youth player [signed], had a short spell with Totting and Mitcham before joining Colchester United. From there it was a switch to Welling United earlier this season."

At Lincoln City, we learn that "John Schofield has today been appointed as York City's new assistant manager. Schofield had been at Sincil Bank in a voluntary coaching capacity since the turn of the year and returns to the Football League as number two to Russ Wilcox... Schofield has been player, head of youth, first team coach and manager with the Imps over the year...

'Whilst I would have loved to have stayed at Sincil Bank, the chance of a full-time role in the Football League was too much for me to turn down'" said Schofield.

In the Wharfedale Observer we learn that "Guiseley boss Mark Bower is aiming to keep the bulk of his squad together as he waits to hear back from a number of his promotion-winning players...

The Lions will remain a part-time operation and face a stern task to compete with the likes of Tranmere Rovers... The Lions' manager said, 'We’re looking to keep the majority of players. Given that we’ve gone up, it’s a bit of a different ask in terms of commitment in time and the extra travel involved. It might not suit one or two of the players we’ve got, so we’ve been talking to them this week and seeing what solutions we can come to.

But I’ve made offers to players and they are considering those, so we’re just finalising that at the moment. We’re a fortnight behind everyone else because our season went on two weeks longer because of reaching the play-off final. There is lots of stuff going on and it has been manic behind the scenes'...

Bower is also seeking to add to his backroom staff... He added, [former Alty man] 'Danny Boshell is my assistant and, obviously, a player as well, so we will be looking to keep him for next season and Martin Stringfellow as well. What we are looking to do is probably just increase the numbers in the coaching staff, with a goalkeeping coach and possibly someone else as well. We don’t have too many people sat on the bench with my assistant being on the pitch, so we are looking to strengthen in that area'".

At another promoted club, Bromley report that "Manager Mark Goldberg today confirmed the signings of Lee Minshull and Max Porter. The pair arrive from League Two side Newport County".


21 May 2015

GET YOUR SEASON TICKET DISCOUNT

Season Tickets:

  • Standing: Adults £250 Concessions £145
  • Seating: Adults £290 Concessions £155
  • 12-16 year olds: £60
  • Under 12s: £30

Gate Prices:

  • Standing: Adults £14 Concessions £9
  • Seating: Adults £15 Concessions £10
  • Disabled with Helper: Combined price £14
  • 12-16 year olds: £5
  • Under 12: £2

A £10 discount applies to adult (not junior) season tickets purchased before 30 June 2015. And valid season tickets confer free entry to ALL of the home pre-season friendlies at the J. Davidson Stadium.

The concessionary ages are currently, for females 60 and over, for males 65 and over.

GREG WILKINSON RELEASED

Altrincham FC confirms that midfielder Greg Wilkinson (right) has been released. The Club thanks Greg for his services and, not least, the all-important goal which secured play-off victory and promotion back to the national level of the Conference in 2014.

In 2014-15 Greg made only one start and 10 substitute appearances for Altrincham and then went on loan to Stockport County.

OLD BOY

The Football Conference tells us that "Curzon Ashton have made two early new signings. [Former Alty Youth captain] Alex Frost has left Ramsbottom United to move to the Tameside Stadium. A reliable right-back who can also cover at centre-half, he became a firm favourite in five seasons at Ashton United where he made over 200 appearances. He was on the books of Rochdale and Burnley as a youth and served Altrincham, Rossendale United, Team Bath and Cirencester Town on loan before joining Ashton".

VANARAMA CONFERENCE NEWS

The Football Conference says that "Lincoln City have announced the signing of experienced striker Liam Hearn on an initial one-year contract. Hearn, 29, began his career in the Central Midlands League with Santos FC before becoming a regular goalscorer for Hucknall Town. Moving on to Eastwood Town, Chasetown and Quorn, Hearn blasted in a staggering 67 goals for Bulwell outfit Scots Grey in 2007/08, prompting interest from Alfreton Town boss Nicky Law who took him to the Impact Arena in 2008.

After netting 40 goals in his first two seasons with Alfreton, plus earning a cap for England C, his impressive tally of 31 from thirty-eight appearances in all competitions during 2010/11 saw him secure a move to Grimsby Town. His form in front of goal continued during his first campaign at Blundell Park, with the Nottingham-born striker racking up 25 goals in all competitions by January before finishing the season with 29 goals in fifty-one appearances, scooping the Mariners' supporters' player of the year award in the process.

Injuries have since plagued Hearn with a ruptured Achilles in August 2012 and cruciate ligament damage during a match against Barnet in November 2013 restricting him to just twenty-three games during the following two seasons. He left Grimsby by mutual consent in March 2014 before linking up with Mansfield Town following a successful trial at Field Mill... Hearn suffered another injury... ruling him out of action until March.

'Liam is a quality player and he's a quality signing,' said manager Chris Moyses. 'Yes, he's had a few injury problems in recent times but these are behind him now... He comes with a clean bill of health as shown with the offer of a new contract at Mansfield but he's turned that down to join us. For me to be able to bring him to Sincil Bank is a real coup for the Football Club'".

The Conference adds that "Following the earlier signing of Sean Newton from rivals Lincoln City, new Wrexham manager Gary Mills has brought in Javan Vidal after a season spent at Tamworth under former Dragons' boss Andy Morrell. The 26-year-old attacking full-back was a former England under-19 and under-20 international, who started his career at Manchester City... He did play once for the Blues, in the Worthington Cup... but had to make do with loan spell at Grimsby Town, Aberdeen, Derby County and Chesterfield to gain first-team experience.

Released by City in 2012, he a short spell with Greek club Panetolikos but returned home to sign for Stockport County and Rochdale. Last summer he joined Tamworth...

Also, Mills has confirmed the release of striker Andy Bishop.. He signed a two-year deal in the summer of 2013. In around 100 appearances, he scored just over 25 goals".

Meanwhile, "Paul Hurst, manager of Grimsby Town, met with his players throughout today and told them whether or not they would be in his plans for next season. Hurst has released eight players and offered terms to twelve, while four other are already contracted for 2015/16.

Caine Winfarrah, Paul Walker, Ellis Humble, Nick Draper, Ross Hannah, Pat McLaughlin, Paul Bignot and Hamish Watson have all been released. Players offered terms are Shaun Pearson, Jack Mackreth, Lenell John Lewis, Carl Magnay, Jon Paul Pittman, Nathan Arnold, Scott Brown, Craig Clay, Gregor Robertson, Craig Disley, Josh Gowling and Toto Nsiala. Players currently under contract are goalkeeper James McKeown, Josh Sunter, Callum Bastock and Josh Venney.

Hurst is yet to speak to Christian Jolley".

Later news on this comes from Grimsby Town to the effect that "Paul Hurst has now spoken to Christan Jolley and the Town boss has confirmed that the forward will not be returning to the club next season. Jolley joined Town in January and he was hoping to reproduce the form that saw him become one of the Conference’s most lethal players earlier in his career".

We learn from the Daily Post that "Adriano Moke has signed for Wrexham FC after turning down a new deal at Macclesfield Town. The 25-year-old winger was snapped up by manager Gary Mills despite having been offered new terms [by] Silkmen manager John Askey.

He made 31 appearances and scored three goals last season... He has previously played under Mills at York City and also spent a year at Cambridge... Moke said, 'Looking forward to working forward to my old gaffer, big things to happen'”.

And Boreham Wood tell us that they "are absolutely delighted to announce that our young talismanic striker Lee Angol, Who it must be remembered was unearthed by our manager Ian Allinson after watching him play in a Wycombe Wanderers development squad, has now won the very prestigious, Non-League Paper’s Young Player of the Year award..

20 year-old Angol spent the latter part of last season on loan with us here at ‘the Wood’. Lee was then released by Wycombe at the conclusion of the 2013/14 season but wasn’t a free agent for long, as Boreham Wood Chairman Danny Hunter moved quickly to agree a deal with Lee and Luton Town's manager John Still regarding the talented striker's signature.

Wood manager Ian Allinson always believed that Lee could be the difference between a good season and a great season and how right he was. That piece of business and the subsequent signing of his partner in crime and best friend Junior Morais was, according to our gaffer, 'The jigsaw piece that was pivotal to the historic season we’ve had in gaining promotion to the Conference National League'.

For the record, Lee Angol netted 24 league goals in 39 league games and another 6 goals in all cup competitions. However, to then follow that up with two further goals in the play-offs, including the opener in the promotion final, simply made it a season never to forget".


20 May 2015

SUCCESSFUL JUNIORS' FESTIVAL

Richie Bentley, Altrincham FC's official caterer informs us that "There was a hugely successful Alty Juniors' football festival on Sunday with almost a thousand people descending on the ground for a feast of football and catering from myself, Dawn and Simon.

It was a fantastic event, organised by Graham Houghton and Stuart Buchan, and the rest of the Junior set up. The event defied the weather warning and stayed clear all day and there were also some superb performances from our Altrincham junior sides".

BILL KING TO RETIRE

The Football Conference says that "The President of the Football Conference, Bill King, has decided to retire at the end of the season. Bill, who was chairman of the Conference for 17 years, became President in 2007. He originally joined the competition when chairman of Runcorn and he later served as chairman of Altrincham. In a long football career Bill, who is a current Life Member, has been a stalwart of the game at our level and we wish him well in his retirement".

VANARAMA CONFERENCE NEWS

Promoted Bromley report that "Manager Mark Goldberg is delighted to confirm that the following players are contracted ahead of the forthcoming season:

Adam Birchall, Alan Julian, Ali Fuseini, Anthony Cook, Ben May, Jack Holland, Jamie Slabber, Joe Anderson, Louis Dennis, Moses Ademola, Pierre Joseph-Dubois, Reece Prestedge, Rob Swaine, Ugo Udoji

Talks are on going with members of last season's squad along with some exciting new additions and an update will be provided next Tuesday."

According to the Football Conference, "Aldershot Town first-team coach Matt Gray has left the club by mutual consent at the end of his contract. The 33-year-old, who joined the club from Eastleigh in June 2011, served under both Dean Holdsworth and Andy Scott before becoming assistant to caretaker-manager Chris Barker in January 2015.

Manager Barry Smith said of the former Arsenal, Tottenham Hotspur and Hayes player, 'I would like to thank Matt for his work, not just in my first few weeks in the job but in his four seasons with Aldershot Town. Both Chris and myself are very hands-on coaches and we are looking forward to working with our new squad from July 1st'”.

Elsewhere, "Forward Kieron St Aimie has penned a new deal to stay with Welling United for the coming season. The well-travelled former Queens Park Rangers player signed for the Wings in June 2014 after being with Chelmsford City the previous season.

He has also had spells of varying lengths with Barnet, Thurrock, Hitchin Town, Maidenhead United, Lewes, AFC Hornchurch, Kettering Town, Tamworth, AFC Telford United and Whitehawk".

The Halifax Courier says that "Blyth Spartans have confirmed that striker Dan Maguire is in talks with FC Halifax Town but are unhappy with the way the possible transfer has been handled.

The 22-year-old forward scored twice in Blyth’s 4-1 win over Altrincham in this season’s FA Cup and has 65 goals in 132 games for the club, including 31 in 56 games last season. Maguire was named Blyth Supporters’ Club Player of the Season in 2013, 2014 and 2015, won the Players’ Player of the Year in 2013 and has been the club’s leading scorer in the past two seasons.

He also played for the England C side last year and was named in last year’s EvoStik Northern Premier Division Team of the Year.

A statement on the Blyth Spartans website said, 'The club can confirm that striker Dan Maguire is in talks with Vanarama Conference club FC Halifax Town. The club would like to go on record to express our displeasure at the way the potential move has been handled and will be making no further comment other than to confirm whether the transfer goes through or not'".

In Devon, "Talks with a prospective new owner of Torquay United have now broken down. Managing director Bill Phillips explains, 'While this news came as a set-back, this is not time for doom and gloom as talks with other interested parties have already re-opened, including a lengthy meeting at the Launa Windows Stadium over the weekend.

The incredible generosity of Thea Bristow has left Torquay United in a healthy position for new people to move this club forward and the hard work of finding fresh investment is well under way. We would also like to take this opportunity to thank an anonymous donation from a Torquay United supporter. While we are unable to name the person involved, we are extremely grateful for the generosity.

As a Football Conference club, we have so much in our favour, starting with a fantastic stadium to rival almost every other club at this level, as well as the construction of a new link road to the town making a visit to Torquay more comfortable than ever.

Above all else, we have a superbly loyal, committed and passionate fanbase, who continue to show wonderful support to the team through what has been a difficult couple of seasons. Just to see the amazing numbers that travel the length of the country to follow the Gulls gives everyone great heart.

We owe it to these supporters and the staff at the football club to do everything possible to find the right person or group to take us to the next stage.

It has been a time of painful uncertainty for everyone connected to Torquay United and the criticism of poor communication has been levelled at the club. This is something we accept and apologise for, although there have been circumstances beyond our control in certain situations.

Many of you will have seen media reports and quotes over the last fortnight suggesting the unveiling of new owners was imminent. While this was true at the time, the fragile nature of such negotiations dictated our reluctance to publish such reports until the deal was signed and sealed.

It has now transpired that the predictions of imminent success were misguided but Torquay United must also concede, as we move forward to the next step in negotiations, that regular updates from the club are what our supporters expect, but in all such discussions, there has to be a degree of confidentiality.

Now that this initial ownership bid has broken down, we move on to the other groups on a healthy list of interested parties, but there is also still room for fresh bidders to enter the fray, and we invite people to contact the club if they fit into this category.

In the meantime, the remaining Board members must get back to the business of preparing a football club for the new season and that means finally getting our season-tickets on sale, and securing a full schedule for the pre-season campaign.

Despite all that is happening in the background, manager Chris Hargreaves and his coaching staff have been working extremely hard over the last few weeks, identifying targets, talking to players and agents, with the sole focus of building a competitive squad for the new season'".

Also, "Torquay United`s young goalkeeper Daniel Lavercombe is spending a week on trial with Liverpool.

'We're not talking about a permanent move for Dan, at least not yet,' said Torquay manager manager Chris Hargreaves. 'Liverpool have had him watched and like him, and they have asked us if they can have a closer look at him. It's a win-win situation for us; the worst that can happen is that Dan gets more good experience, a bit of Liverpool rubs off on him and he comes back to us the better for it.'

News of a former Torquay player comes from NL Pitchero, which tells us that "Chris Todd has been named as the man to take the role of assistant-manager to Richard Hill at Eastleigh for next season. Todd had the role of coach added to his belt last season and now takes the role vacated by the Craig McAllister.

Having originally joined the club in January 2013 from Forest Green Rovers, Todd will be putting his wealth of experience with learned during his playing career with Swansea City, Drogheda United, Exeter City, Torquay United, Salisbury City, Hereford United and Newport County into this new role.

Meanwhile, following the earlier arrival of Josh Payne from league rivals Woking, Eastleigh have announced that three players have pledged their futures to the Spitfires. Ben Strevens and Yemi Odubade have both signed deals for the 2015/16 season, whilst Michael Green has signed a two-year deal".

The BBC tells us that "Sunderland striker Danny Graham has donated £2,690 to help fund an operation that could save the career of a non-league footballer.

Gateshead midfielder JJ O'Donnell, 23, is suffering from Sesamoiditis, a condition which causes inflammation in the bones under his toes. After an online appeal he has reached the £7,000 needed for surgery which could help him resume his career...

O'Donnell, who has never met Graham, tweeted, 'Three weeks ago I was totally lost and hopeless. I'll forever be in great debt and appreciate every single penny. I'm not singling Danny out as, without everybody, I'd not have reached my target, but a donation like that has left me speechless.

Premier League players take a lot of stick about being role models but this shows just how much of a role model someone can be."

From Chronicle Live comes news that "Gateshead chairman Graham Wood and chief executive Brian Waites will hold crucial talks this week with potential new owners or investors from as far afield as America and France.

Wealthy businessmen from Texas and the south of France will fly in especially to discuss taking control of debt-free Conference Premier outfit Gateshead. There are also two local parties also involved and another from Norfolk, the important talks taking place on Tyneside on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday.

Wood said, 'There are five interested parties and it is very promising. Negotiations have taken place by telephone and these will continue in person this week. It is gratifying after all the time, effort and money I have put into Gateshead over the last nine years that there is such high calibre interest in taking over the club.

There has been local, national and international interest and it shows the goodwill we haver built up, and the standing of the club, that people are willing to fly in from other countries for talks. By next week they will have all the information they need. They can see the potential at the club, that we were close to getting back into the Football League, and can see a return on their investment.

We are at different stages with the five potential owners or investors, and the three days set aside for talks will enable us to move forward. When it is such a big decision it is not good to put time pressure on people, but with a new manager to be installed hopefully the sale of the club will go through before too long'...

Wood has put over £3 million into his hometown club and a budget of around £500,000-£600,000 will be required to mount another promotion push. Whoever takes over will have a head start in their first year as up to half of those costs should come from the sale of Marcus Maddison to Peterborough last season.

The Heed have already received £175,000 for the flying winger with another £125,000 guaranteed as part of the initial £250,000 deal. Another £50,000 will be heading to Tyneside when Maddison plays another ten games for the Posh, and another £50,000 on top of that when he plays a further 20 games.

With a strong commercial arm at Gateshead and sizeable sponsorship deals with Gateshead-based duo, Intu Metro Centre and Sevcon, Wood believes the club is an attractive proposition. 'The potential is certainly there for Gateshead to kick on,' insisted Wood.

'And if whoever takes over gets the club back into the Football League that will be worth another million... Ideally the situation will come to a satisfactory solution, with enough backing to maintain professional status, which is the aim, and then a new manager can be appointed, hopefully with a promotion budget'".

In Birkenhead, Tranmere Rovers confirm that "Midfielder Steven Jennings has agreed a new one year contract... The 30-year old returned to Prenton Park last October for his third spell at the Club...

Jennings started his career in the youth system at Rovers and spent six seasons in the first team squad before joining Motherwell... After a spell at Coventry City, Jennings returned to Rovers in 2013-14... He signed for Port Vale last summer before again rejoining the Club.

Steven said 'I want to help Tranmere get back in the league'",

Macclesfield Town say that "After the line-up for the 2015/16 Vanarama National League was confirmed following the promotional final win for Bristol Rovers at Wembley, Macclesfield Town can confirm that the fixtures for the new season will be released on July 1st.

Silkmen fans will be looking out for the derby games against Altrincham, as well as local games against Tranmere Rovers, Chester and Wrexham.

Macclesfield will also probably be hoping for some nice fixtures over Christmas, after facing Grimsby twice over the festive season last term, as well as making the trip to eventual promotion winners Bristol Rovers".


19 May 2015

492 MILES FEWER!

Whilst Tranmere Rovers have worked out they will have more miles to cover in the National League next season than they did in fulfilling their fixtures in League Two last season, for Altrincham the new season brings a reduction of almost 500 miles in round-trip mileage to their 23 away games in 2015-16.

In 2014-15 Alty covered 6,260 miles all-told in the league; next season will see them travel 5,768 miles, a reduction of 492 miles. Dover remains our longest trip, 544 miles there and back, with the 35 mile round trip to Macclesfield being the shortest.

LADIES' BIG GAME

John Edwards, Altrincham FC joint Press and Media Officer, writes that "Lee Sinnott and his Altrincham players may be taking a well-earned break, after safeguarding their place in the Vanarama Conference, but there is no rest for the club's Ladies' squad, as they prepare to step on to the international stage this weekend.

Keith Edleston's side are cock-a-hoop at being selected as ideal opponents by the Isle of Man FA, as the Manx Ladies' team continue their build-up to next month's Island Games, a global tournament for small islands held every two years.

IoM bosses wrote to Edleston, asking whether he could pencil in a friendly ahead of the latest Games in Jersey, and the Alty Ladies manager was only too happy to oblige.

Fresh from a 3-1 win over Runcorn Linnets Ladies, Alty will take on their Isle of Man counterparts at Clay Lane in Timperley this Saturday, kick-off 3pm.

They are relishing the challenge, too, according to Edleston, who said, 'It's a massive honour for our team, and a coup for the club in general, to be asked to play in such a prestigious game. It has been a terrific season, full of great performances and excellent football, and we couldn't have wished for a better way of marking it than playing against an international team. We are looking forward to it immensely and hoping as many supporters as possible get down to the ground to cheer us on. It should be a great day.'"

YOUTH NIGHT

The Altrincham FC Youth team (under-18s and under-17s) presentation night will now take place on Saturday 23 May and not Friday 29 May as originally arranged. It will take place in the Community Sports Hall at 7pm.

OLD BOYS

The Non-League Paper confirms earlier reports that former Alty Youth defender Sam Grimshaw (right, in 2012-13 season), now at Glossop North End, is heading to the United States "after Manchester United invited him on tour. The 21 year-old left-sided player... has been trialling with Manchester United U-21s. And next month he's headed Stateside ... for a pre-season tour that includes games against Barcelona and Paris St-Germain".

NL Pitchero reports that "Tom Baker, the recently-appointed manager of Trafford, relegated from the Evo-Stik Northern Premier League Premier Division, has named Chris Denham as his assistant. Thirty-two-year-old Denham has previously played for Altrincham, Stalybridge Celtic, Radcliffe Borough, Droylsden and Ashton United.

Baker said, 'Deciding on my number two was a more difficult decision than anticipated. Chris is someone I have known for several years now and a friend outside of football. His energy, enthusiasm and drive mirrored my own, which led to my decision. Like me he is young and hungry to succeed and to be as successful as he was in his playing career. He's been a top player over the years and I have no doubt he will be no different as a number two. He's someone I trust and I know that will fit right in at the football club'".

VANARAMA CONFERENCE NEWS

We learn from the NW Evening Mail that "Alex-Ray Harvey is close to signing a new one-year Barrow AFC deal. The creative midfielder says he is happy with fresh terms verbally put to him by Barrow boss Darren Edmondson on Thursday night. Harvey also said he needs to iron out a few minor issues, such as discovering the proposed contract’s start and end dates...

The deal could even be sealed as early as next week, while it is understood Edmondson may soon fly out to Texas to hold talks with club owner Paul Casson. Harvey said, 'It’s a good offer for both sides... I’ve wanted to sign straight away, that was always in my mind and it looks like it could be done really soon.'

Sports science student Harvey initially joined AFC on loan from Burnley in early 2012. He made 32 league appearances during Barrow’s 2014/15 Conference North title-winning season... Harvey added, 'I’m over the moon. In recent years it’s always kind of been sorted out (his contract situation) at the last minute. So for it to happen three or four weeks after the season has finished, it’s good... I can now relax, enjoy my summer and know that I’ve got something to look forward when the new season starts'".

The Yorkshire Evening Post tells us that "Guiseley may still be basking in the glow of a history-making first-ever promotion to the Conference Premier but the clock is already ticking regarding staying there.

The Lions were afforded the sweetest moment in their 106-year history when they went up to the non-league’s top tier for the first time ever amid delirious scenes at Chorley on Saturday after a stunning 3-2 win... According to chairman Phil Rogerson...parts of Nethermoor are ‘embarrassing’ and in need of a major revamp. He has acknowledged that the club face a major race against time to make a whole raft of improvements to ensure Nethermoor, whose capacity is 3,000, can stage Conference football beyond 2015-16.

Nethermoor has a B grade to stage Conference North football and following their promotion, they have been accepted into the Conference Premier. But by March 31, 2016, Guiseley must fulfil membership criteria for the Conference Premier and achieve an A grade status, when their capacity is likely to have to be extended to 4,000. To attain that in the space of under a year, Guiseley have a mountain of work to do, with their plans hinging on receiving planning permission from Leeds City Council.

Last October, the club submitted an application for a new two-storey clubhouse/community building with seats, new changing rooms and three new covered terraces and a new turnstile and toilets. All are vital to drag Nethermoor into the 21st Century, according to Rogerson, with he and the club desperate for the green light to kick-start their redevelopment.

He said, 'We have got a lot to do in trying to get the ground in order and we are up against a March deadline to get the improvements made, so we stay there. The pressure is on, in all sorts of directions. It is not just the community building plans; we need to get the ground improvements right. The portable cabins are leaking badly and we need to replace them and need to be seen as the semi-professional club we are. We have a few cabins and share a cricket club. The concept of having Grimsby or Bristol Rovers and Tranmere there is quite embarrassing.

There are areas of the ground that have not changed since the Yorkshire League days. They can be addressed if we have planning permission for everything and that is part of our masterplan. We would have to get an A grade by March 31. That is less than a year away and we haven’t got planning permission yet. So it’s not going to be easy and we are going to have to get new toilets in, increase the capacity and get another turnstile in as a minimum if we want to have a ground that the city, district and the county can be proud of.

There’s segregation issues and all the rest of the stuff that has to be done. People won’t come and watch if they just stand in the rain...'

He added, 'I am hoping we can get a panel decision in June or July.” There are grants available if we get planning permission. But you can’t apply for grants until you have them. We believe we have backers in terms of current directors who will make a sizeable contribution to it and what we want to do is also make the club sustainable. The concept of using a ground like ours for just 25 days a year is just ridiculous. It has got to be used by the community also for community activities. We really want to do these things and it is not just a ploy to gain planning permission. It is something that needs to be done for the district and Aireborough".

NL Daily says that "Grimsby Town boss Paul Hurst pledged to do all he can to keep his heart-broken squad together as they face up to their sixth season out of the Football League... A visibly emotional Hurst spoke of his pride of his players' efforts and, with uncertainty over some out-of-contract stars, spoke of his desire to keep the majority of his squad intact.

Speaking afterwards, he said, 'In the dressing room afterwards, there were a few tears and one or two who were obviously distraught. That, after 49 games, was an extremely cruel way to lose. I spoke with the players and told them how proud I am of their efforts this season, and that's not just the lads who took the field yesterday, that includes everyone, including those who haven't kicked a ball.

Had we had that squad all season, we might have won the league, some other clubs will say the same, but the truth of the matter is that we probably couldn't afford that squad for the full season. You have to work within your means. I'm not going to sit here and blame the budget, but it is nowhere near where people expect because of our history and attendances. We're still a non-league club and that's the bottom line today.

I think the players have proved what they're capable of over a long period of time. We can try to keep the squad together as much as possible, but one or two will move on to pastures new. There were some performances yesterday that lazy scouts will have picked up on and will do more digging on them. We can only do what we can, but I would certainly like to keep the majority of the squad together'".

More comes from the Grimsby Telegraph which reports that "Carl Magnay says it's 'imperative' that Grimsby Town keep together their band of brothers after yesterday's Conference Play-Off final disappointment. Magnay is himself one of a number of players who are now out of contract...

'It is vital we try and keep this squad together,' he told the Telegraph. 'It's good that people have picked up on the good team spirit and squad morale over recent months. I feel that we as a squad are so close. We've got a chat group on our phones of the whole squad and we always throw banter at each other on it. We've become closer as a unit so that has to be imperative over the summer; the number one priority has to be keeping the nucleus of this squad together going into next season but we will get results, guaranteed'...

He continued, 'I didn't expect our fans to be out-sung today [at Wembley] and they weren't. We as Grimsby footballers are spoilt rotten because we have an amazing following. I think at this level of football, to have the support we have is incredible. It didn't surprise me yesterday that even when they were outnumbered two to one, they were superb. It's not a biased view, but out on the pitch all we would hear was "Grimsby Town". The vocal backing made us want to run those extra yards and fly into those challenges. I'm just so sorry we couldn't do it for them.

I genuinely thought right until the last minute that we would do it. I didn't want the final whistle because I felt we were going to score and that something was going to happen'".

From the Halifax Courier we learn that "FC Halifax Town striker Richard Peniket has undergone surgery on his knee injury. The forward, who scored 12 goals in 41 games last season, injured his anterior cruciate ligament during Town’s 0-0 draw at Altrincham in March. Peniket was operated on at the Yorkshire Clinic by surgeon Steve Bollen, who has previously worked with Paul Gascoigne and Michael Owen. It is hoped Peniket will be fit in seven or eight months."

The Lincolnshire Echo reports that "The Lincoln City retained list probably told us more than we realised when it was announced. Aside from the debatable decision not to offer Ben Tomlinson, the team's top scorer,a contract, it was the sheer number of players shown the door that stood out.

The manager, Chris Moyses, has pulled together the starting point of his squad, but the jettisoning of a large number of players tells me he must have a few set to come in... Nobody would wipe the slate clean like that without having players already set to join... He said he knew where the strengths and weaknesses of the squad were and it seems that Tony Diagne and Jordan Burrow are in that latter category...

The departure of Tomlinson was, without doubt, the big talking point... Two seasons in a row he was top scorer and Moyses has decided there will be no deal...

One player I know a few Imps fans will be hoping returns to Sincil Bank is Lee Beevers. The club tried to sign him on loan during January and he was released by Mansfield the other week".

Elsewhere, "Triumphant Boreham Wood boss Ian Allinson knows he will need to add experience to his squad for the National League but revealed preparations had yet to begin prior to Wood’s play-off final win" reports the Boreham Wood Times... "Allinson heads into the unknown having never managed higher than the Conference South previously. And it will be a similar scenario for much of his squad, with Ben Herd, Sam Cox and Ricky Shakes among a handful of players at the club who have played as high as the Football League previously.

'We are in a position where we know we can take our stance in the league and then see how it goes,' stated Allinson. 'We have always said if we go up we will have to take a look at it because it will be totally new to myself and a lot of the players here. We might have to look at bringing three of four players in with more experience but that will only happen over the next few weeks and months as we go into August...

If we were in the Conference South things would be different to the Conference. It is going to be a challenge for us but it is something I will relish, I know the chairman will relish and the players will relish it too'".

The same source adds that "Combative midfielder Sam Cox believes Boreham Wood will be able to hold their own in the Conference next season, especially if the club follow through on their plan of turning professional... He said, 'There is a lot of talent in this group and we have quite a few lads in the team already who have Football League experience. People like Matty Whichelow, Junior Morais and Lee Angol have all played at a higher level. So I believe, 100 per cent, that we can do well next season. It will be a challenge but I am in no doubt that we have enough...

The plan was for the club to turn professional if we were able to achieve promotion this season. That is what I want; I want to be playing professional football again. It has always been my aim. The chairman is taking everyone away for a few days to celebrate in Spain but when we get back I’ll sit down with the club and discuss my future'...

Cox, who started his career at Tottenham Hotspur and still does coaching work with the club, says he rarely gets nervous before matches but admits there were a few butterflies before Saturday’s contest....

'All season we believed we could win the title. From that very first pre-season game... Obviously we missed out on the title to Bromley by a couple of points, which was disappointing, but we’ve achieved what we wanted which was promotion.' Cox was once again named Boreham Wood’s Player of the Season; it is the third time in four years he has won the award. While impressing for Wood he has continued to work with Tottenham’s Academy and the Premier League club’s foundation.

The 24-year-old believes he will always have a place at Spurs even if Wood do turn professional this summer. He explained, 'Tottenham have always been great with me. I will always be at Tottenham in some fashion, even if it is doing coaching in the evenings. But my playing career has to come first and they understand that. I want to play professionally again and hopefully that will be with Boreham Wood next season in the Conference'".

We read in the Gloucestershire Echo that "Cheltenham Town chairman Paul Baker believes the feelgood factor is returning to the club despite relegation from the Football League...

Manager Gary Johnson's decision to commit himself to the club for two seasons was a huge fillip and he has already been busy in the transfer market, signing central defender Aaron Downes and midfielders Jack Munns and Kyle Storer on one-year deals.

The club have already sold more than 200 season tickets and Baker said, 'There's a good feeling at Whaddon Road and among supporters with the appointments of Gary Johnson and Russell Milton and already some exciting new players have committed to joining the club all keen to help Cheltenham bounce back at the first attempt. The feedback from fans is that you support your team, not the league it plays in.

We enjoyed some fantastic success and big attendances too in the Conference before, let's see if we can replicate that again. And behind the scenes a huge amount of work is going on to ensure we engage better with fans with forums, social events and an open day being planned in conjunction with The Trust.

We are also working at improving the match day experience with a major refurbishment of the social club, thanks to the 500 Club, and a general tidy up of the stadium. And with the help again of the 500 club we are investing in new equipment to improve the playing surface, reflecting Gary's desire to play attractive entertaining football next season.

There's a lot going on, we still need more volunteers to help the club during the week and on match days so if you would like to get involved please get in touch with the club... To help the club hit the magic 1,000 season ticket sales target they have announced 10 cash prizes of £100 which will be drawn on Friday, May 22 – so every application that the club have received by 2pm on that day will be entered into the draw – and 10 season ticket holders will each receive £100 cash".


18 May 2015

REPORT ON LADIES' WIN

Courtesy of Phil Taylor we have a match report on last week's 3-1 win by Altrincham Ladies against Runcorn Linnets Ladies. It can be found here. The image above, courtesy of Keith Edleston, shows the match in progress.

ALTY LADIES' INTERNATIONAL GAME

Altrincham FC Ladies' manager, Keithe Edleston, writes "I am now going to enjoy the peace and quiet that is 'close season'; it's time to sit back and recharge the batteries .....Oh no, it isn't! On Saturday, 23rd May we are taking on the Isle of Man Women's national team in a friendly, before they set off to compete in the 2015 Island Games. This is a massive honour for our team to be asked and a bit of a coup for the Football Club in general to be asked to play in such a prestigious game. We are playing at Clay Lane with a 3pm K.O. Please come down to cheer us on".

Pictured right is a special pennant which Keith has had made for the match.

OLD BOY

There is an excellent compilation of Duncan Watmore's outstanding moments for Sunderland, here.

VANARAMA CONFERENCE NEWS

The composition of the new National League was decided on Sunday afternoon when Bristol Rovers won the promotion play-off at Wembley in front of 47,000 spectators. The outcome secured The Gas's place in League Two and left Grimsby Town in the same division as Altrincham. On the BT Sport coverage of the game, Rovers' boss Darrell Clarke singled out his team's defeat at Altrincham as the stimulus to the club turning around its fortunes.

The BBC reports that "Bristol Rovers beat Grimsby Town on penalties... The Mariners went ahead inside the opening two minutes at Wembley thanks to Lenell John-Lewis' bundled finish. Bristol Rovers forward Ellis Harrison then slammed home an equaliser.

And, after a goalless second half and extra-time period, Lee Mansell scored the winning penalty after Jon-Paul Pittman blazed his spot-kick over. It means Bristol Rovers, relegated from the fourth tier for the first time in 94 years only 12 months ago, are the first side to bounce straight back up from the Conference since 2005.

Under 37-year-old manager Darrell Clarke, they had recovered from picking up just one point from their first three matches of this campaign to launch a genuine title challenge, only losing out to champions Barnet on the final day of the season...

By contrast, Grimsby have been a non-league side since their relegation in 2010, and defeat by the Pirates marks their third successive play-off failure. Paul Hurst's team had got off to a flying start in front of a Conference record crowd of 47,029 fans, going ahead after Nathan Arnold's driving run into the penalty area allowed John-Lewis to force the ball over the line at the second attempt.

The Mariners continued to press and Rovers goalkeeper Will Puddy survived a major scare when handling Ollie Palmer's shot outside the area, escaping with only a yellow card. But Harrison, recalled after missing the semi-final second leg through suspension, lashed the ball in to restore parity after Grimsby had failed to clear Jake Gosling's corner...

After Rovers' boss Clarke had opted to change goalkeepers for the shootout, bringing Steve Mildenhall on to face his former club, the first five penalties were then all successful. But Pittman blasted his effort over the crossbar and, after a further two spot-kicks were converted, Mansell fired into the top corner to send Rovers back up to the Football League at the first time of asking."

After the game, the Bristol Rovers stated that "Nick Higgs is confident Bristol Rovers will return to the Football League in far better shape than they left it a year ago... Chairman Higgs... insists the club is in an altogether better place 12 months on from the darkest day in its history.

He told the Bristol Post, 'I've said it for weeks now – there is a fantastic spirit within this club, both on the pitch and among the backroom staff. We have a good budget for next season and it does not stop here. We will look to go again and challenge in League Two. We have come through this challenge, now let's come through the next one. Absolutely we are going back stronger and, with a few additions, we can do well again next year. We've only lost one game in the last 32 in the Conference and that momentum will be crucial going into next season.

We will take that into League Two and our aim will be to push on, not just consolidate. Forward momentum is massively important and so is team spirit; those are two things we have in abundance at the minute'. Around 30,000 Rovers fans made the journey to Wembley...

'I'm elated but relieved at the same time,' added Higgs. 'Extra-time and penalties are not good for your heart. Winning here is a welcome respite from the pressure we are under at the moment and it's great for the fans. You just have to look at their faces to see what it means to them... The support we have received has been unheard of previously at this level and we've beaten just about every record this season... It is very difficult to do what we have done and fair play to Darrell and the team,' commented Higgs. 'I know it is easy to say, but I always had faith in Darrell. He put a good squad together and, thankfully, it has all turned out right in the end'".

From the other side, the Grimsby Telegraph says that "Grimsby Town director John Fenty said the Mariners will regroup and come back next season... A visibly emotional Mr Fenty said, 'It is a cruel way to lose. I would like to thank our fans, who have been amazing. I'm so very sorry we've not made it to the Football League... Going out on penalties is so painful, particularly after playing so well and looking the stronger team for 120 mins'...

Town goalkeeper James McKeown added, 'It just does not get any worse. It's just awful. I felt I should have saved one of the penalties. To go through this all again and not win is terrible. But we must go again. We have no choice. It will be a long summer'".

Grimsby Town have a match report on the game.

In the Halifax Courier we read that "Former Town captain Mark Bower and his ex-Shaymen at Guiseley are relishing the prospect of a return to their old club after sealing promotion to the Conference.

Danny Lowe and [ex-Alty defender] Ryan Toulson both started while Alex Johnson was an unused substitute as The Lions produced a sensational comeback to beat [ex-Alty loanee] James Dean’s Chorley 3-2 having trailed 2-0 at half-time. Bower said the former Halifax men had played their part in the club’s promotion, and is now looking forward to a reunion next season.

He said... 'Danny and Ryan both played the majority of the games and we used their experience of promotion in the past. And their leadership qualities have been a big plus for us'...

The former Bradford defender [Bower] has proved an inspired appointment at Nethermoor and achieved promotion in his first full season in charge. 'I started in the job in September last year and the aim that season was consolidation,' he reflected. 'Then, this season, promotion was the target... Thankfully we got enough of our better players available when it mattered.'

Bower is now looking to the likes of previous play-off winners Altrincham and Halifax for inspiration. 'We want to be competitive in that league,' he said. 'Teams that have gone up through the play-offs in the last couple of seasons have done well. Getting in the play-offs was a remarkable achievement for Halifax'...

Bower praised the job Neil Aspin has done at Halifax... He added... 'I think getting in the play-offs raised expectations higher than they ever should have been. Even this season, some of the teams they finished above have got much bigger budgets'".

According to the Chronicle Live, "Gateshead FC's JJ O'Donnell needs cash for surgery and two young Heed fans have launched a fundraising campaign for their hero. A footballer who needs costly surgery to save his career has seen two young fans come to the rescue.

Gateshead FC’s JJ O’Donnell was struck down with rare injury sesamoidtis, requiring surgery leaving him with a 50/50 chance of kicking a ball again. The ailment means the talented midfielder has inflammation in the bones under his toes- causing intense pain whenever he puts pressure on it.

But Heed fans Lee Calder, 16, and Sam Jupp, 13, who say JJ is their favourite player, launched an online campaign to raise the funds needed to rescue their hero’s career. Lee said, 'I go to every home game and help out around the ground selling programmes, I also try and get to as many away games as I can. JJ is my favourite player, he got us to Wembley. I saw how much his operation would cost and thought we, as fans, could do more to help...

At Gateshead, you can talk to the players and they talk to you, there’s a real sense of family.'

After exhausting all avenues, doctors have told 23-year-old JJ he needs surgery if he has any hope of kicking a ball again. Only two other sportsmen have gone under the knife for this procedure before- both American football players- with one playing again and the other not... O'Donnell said, 'This operation is the last roll of the dice for me. Playing football is everything to me. It’s all I have known since I was seven. It’s my life. Football is a good lifestyle, a privileged lifestyle but for me it’s my life. I live, breath and sleep football'...

London-born JJ played for Luton Town before signing for the Tyneside club and has been bowled over by the footballing culture. He said, 'Football is huge in the North East, it’s unbelievable and the people are incredible- there’s no place like it. Gateshead have been outstanding, they paid for all of my treatment up until this. I appreciate massively the cost of football for fans, it’s gone up. It’s expensive to get to places. The support I’ve had has been nothing short of astonishing, it’s helping me to achieve my dream of playing again.'

JJ is hoping to get the procedure done as quickly as possible, so the operation will need to be done privately."

The Chronicle Live also reports an article by Steve Brown, saying "It has been a hell of a season in non-league football for everyone and everything except my pre-season predictions... Graham Wood effectively put Gateshead up for sale, and North Shields won the FA Vase.

And there was me, kicking off this marvellous and riveting non-league football season predicting promotion for the Heed and a first year in seven that passed without a Northern League club in the Vase final. So, yes, I was wrong...

First, the Heed. Let’s begin with the good news. Great start, the FA Cup third round. Crowds up, the coffers further swelled by the sale of Marcus Maddison. But though they could hardly stand in his way, to what extent did his move to Peterborough United cost the club a play-off place, at least? Even without him, I reckon Gary Mills was surprised by how far short his side fell.

Add in [owner] Wood’s decision, made around Christmas, to opt out and it’s no wonder [manager] Mills did likewise, jumping the gun to Wrexham. These are intriguing, somewhat disconcerting times. Wood cannot be faulted for his commitment nor blamed for ending it, and will not leave them in the lurch. But at present, in limbo, it’s difficult to predict what lies ahead..."

Meanwhile, Gateshead have two interviews about their U-18 and U-19 policies which provide food for thought.

At the other end of the country, Hampshire club Aldershot Town is a report that "Over the last couple of months you may be aware that we held discussion forums with supporters before several home games. The forums were set up as an opportunity for constructive and open discussion between the Board and supporters, so we could hear the good, the bad and the ugly about being a Shots supporter, and seek ideas and suggestions for how we can work together to improve the Club going forward.

Firstly, we would like to say a big thanks to the supporters who attended the sessions for the passionate and constructive discussions, and also the offers of practical support that have been received since. For those of you who did not get the opportunity to attend, we plan to run more of these sessions next season and will let you know how you can get involved over the next few weeks...

During the forums a number of you said that you did not feel that the Club had a clear objective about its football ambitions and, after a difficult couple of years on the pitch, it had become difficult to envisage anything beyond survival.

In early April we issued an update explaining that, like supporters, we want to see the Club progress back to the Football League, but must ensure that it’s achieved in a financially sustainable way. There are no magic-wands in football and, as we have all witnessed this year, there have been several teams in the Vanarama Conference building costly squads well beyond the means of the crowds that they attract but still not achieving promotion. On 27 April we announced Barry Smith’s appointment and approach next season with real enthusiasm and a clear aim. We want to be pushing for the Play-Offs, playing entertaining and attacking football, but that will take a lot of skill and hard work from all concerned at the Club. As Barry mentioned in his first interview, we need supporters right behind us to build a great atmosphere where his new-look squad can thrive.

Following the discussions we are currently working on a number of initiatives to improve communication, including:

Fans Forums: Following the success of these initial sessions, we are going to continue to invite supporters to attend small-group forums throughout the season... We are planning to establish an e-mail database of supporters so we can publish a weekly supporters’ newsletter, looking ahead to matches with team news, injury updates, etc...

From the start of next season we will publish a monthly update from the Board covering off-field progress and developments, and feedback on topics discussed at the fans' forums. We explained during the recent forums that we need fans to appreciate that it is not always possible to share updates on sensitive information...

We are working hard behind the scenes to re-establish some half-time fun for next season… more on this soon!"

Finally, NL Pitchero has a useful listing of pre-season friendlies.


17 May 2015

VANARAMA CONFERENCE NEWS

According to the Football Conference, "England C manager, Paul Fairclough has announced a squad to face the Republic of Ireland under-21 in a friendly to be played in Galway on Monday, June 1st. The squad will consist of sixteen players and there remains a slot to be allocated for the trip. It was May 2010 that the sides last met in Waterford in an International Challenge Trophy fixture.

Fairclough stated, 'It will be terrific to renew acquaintances’ for the forthcoming encounter in Galway. We will, no doubt, face a very talented under-21 side which will be a mix of League of Ireland players together with those playing in England. This game provides me with an opportunity to plan for the forthcoming ICT games which will begin later in the year. Gone are the players who served us well over the last couple of years and I have selected a squad drawn from Step 1, 2, 3 and 4 of the National League System.

'I believe in giving young talented players an opportunity to represent their country, regardless of the level they are currently playing. There will be as many as ten players in the 16-man squad who will make their International debut'...

Squad:

Calum KITSCHA (gk) Hayes & Yeading United, Andrew COUGHLIN (gk) Wrexham, Simeon AKINOLA Braintree Town, James BOLTON FC Halifax Town, Ben HENEGHAN Chester FC, Kingsley JAMES Chester FC, Matt PEARSON FC Halifax Town ,Sean RAGGETT Dover Athletic, Alex WOODYARD Concord Rangers, Jake GALLAGHER Welling United, Charlie GOODE Hendon, Callum CHETTLE Ilkeston FC, Aaron WILLIAMS Rushall Olympic, Louis MOULT Wrexham, Jarrett RIVERS Blyth Spartans (Blackpool)"

One of the England C Squad is the subject of another report from the Football Conference to the effect that "FC Halifax Town confirm that they have exercised the options on James Bolton and Jake Hibbs for the 2015/16 season. The Shaymen are delighted to welcome Bolton, their young/newcomer of 2014/15 season award winner at the annual awards dinner, back for another season.

Also staying is Jake Hibbs as he stakes his own claim for a starting place in the first-team midfield. Dominic Marie has also been invited to attend initial first-team training to try and secure a further contract with the Shaymen."

From the BBC we learn that "Torquay United adviser Kelvin Thomas has said the proposed takeover of the club has fallen through. Earlier this week Thomas admitted the prospective buyout had reached a critical stage.

'We got very close with this deal. However, there was a material change last week which we had no control over,' Thomas said in a statement. 'It has proved a difficult task trying to sell as the club hasn't been in the best condition for a few seasons now.'

Discussions with other interested parties have reopened and Thomas is continuing to help former chairwoman Thea Bristow sell the club. 'I'm pleased that Thea is now in the position where her open chequebook has been finally closed,' added Thomas. 'Even since stepping down she will have still put in over £200,000, which is a lot of money, especially when you know you're not involved.'

Former Oxford United chairman Thomas linked up with the Devon club in January and claimed it was not his intention to take over the Gulls himself, instead preferring local investors to run the Plainmoor side... 'I have told the current board that I will help in anyway, except financially of course, for next season's plans and have also offered my shareholding to them if that helps in their own separate talks,' Bristow said. 'It has proved rather more difficult than I certainly realised to give my shares away, but I think we will get there in the end'".

More on this comes from the Western Morning News which states that "Torquay United Supporters' Trust have said they are prepared to re-enter the bidding race to take over at Plainmoor, after negotiations with a still-unknown party fell through.

In a statement following the collapse of negotiations on Friday, TUST chairman Michael Goulbourne said there was concern for the Gulls, with the looming deadline of June 2, when the Conference AGM is held, fast approaching. But Goulbourne also reiterated support for a ‘second consortium’ who he met earlier this week, while not ruling out a bid for ownership by TUST themselves.

He said, 'Torquay United Supporters Trust is both concerned and disappointed following the news that the deal for the club has fallen through. We understand and appreciate that Kelvin Thomas has worked tirelessly in securing what is best for Torquay United. We are also hugely sympathetic towards Thea Bristow and the unfortunate position in which she finds herself. TUST is, of course, mindful of the overall timeframe as well as the significance of the approaching Conference AGM...

We are not aware of the extent to which there are ‘other interested parties’. TUST’s officers have, however, met with one group who are hopeful of mounting a bid for the club. We can vouch for their long-standing dedication and support for Torquay United. Finally, TUST wishes it to be known that it is fully-prepared to re-enter the bidding process either in its own right or in conjunction with other interested parties'".

The Halifax Courier says that "If a week is a long time in politics, then six years is bordering on a dynasty in football. That is the anniversary recently celebrated by Neil Aspin at FC Halifax Town...

Only four managers in the top five divisions of English football have been at their clubs longer than Aspin; Arsene Wenger at Arsenal, Paul Tisdale at Exeter, Nicky Law at Alfreton and Tony Burman at Dartford. Aspin admits there have been offers to prise him away from the Shay over the last 12 months, but is in no rush to up sticks.

'This year I’ve had a lot of interest and I’ve spoken to a couple of clubs. I always thought that would be what I wanted but, as it’s turned out, because I’ve had the chance to speak to a couple of clubs, I know it has to be the right club. When I first came to the club we had a plan and a strategy to go forward and that’s what you have to do. You’re not going to go from a non-league club to a big job so you have to go up another rung of the ladder. But you look up at the next league and the life expectancy is a year.

So after working in non-league for 11 years, I wouldn’t just throw it away to go anywhere just for the sake of being a League manager. There’s no point in doing that. You’re always ambitious and I’d like to think what I’ve done in my 11 years as manager will keep me involved in football... Without going into details, the clubs I’ve spoken to this year have struggled,' he says. 'And that’s with managers who are more experienced than me at that level... The fact there have been six or seven jobs that have come up this year I’ve been mentioned for shows I’ve been doing something right. But I know I need to get results next season...

Being successful only buys you so much time and people soon get fed-up with it. I have to make sure I get players who will do the job next season because if I don’t I’ll be under pressure... Staying anywhere for a number of years is getting more and more difficult so I would’ve been naive to think I was going to stay somewhere that long. I aimed to get the club back to where they were and that’s what we’ve done so I’m satisfied with that.

How long I end up staying at the club is out of my hands but what I always do is work hard and try to get a team the supporters can be proud of. I also do that in a way which balances the books... It’s getting harder to get the players to push you forward. If you look at the teams that have got promotion over the last few years from the Conference, they’ve all got million-plus budgets, which is never going to happen with Halifax. Even getting a part-time club into the play-offs is very rare.

That’s what you’re competing against. It doesn’t stop you hoping you can do it, otherwise none of us would bother... We did better than I thought we would last year (2013-14) and there was a time early in that season when we got to fifth and I said to Lee Nogan ‘this is as high as we can ever get’,” he recalls. 'I didn’t expect us to finish in the top five but we did. We topped the table this year and that will be very difficult for any manager who follows me to do. There is a part of me that thinks, with the way everything is stacked against us, this is as far as we can go in our present form. But I don’t like losing or being on a bad run like were at the end of the season so you’ve always got the drive to do better and that will never change, even if we have the lowest budget in the league.

I’ll always have that desire and passion to do well because the only thing about football you enjoy is if you win... There are a lot of teams who’ve come up from the Conference North and gone back down over the last few years,” he adds. That’s always the first thing we have to avoid. You must try and stay in the league first and once you’ve done that you try and push as far as you can... The first priority is to stay in the league....

It’s disappointing when you lose your players but when you see them going on to do well you do get a lot of satisfaction from it,' he says... 'I’m at the stage now where I’ve been here six years. Everybody gets stale. Supporters get fed-up with seeing the same faces. But what changes that is by getting some new personnel and they give me a spark and also the crowd sees new players and they get a spark and everything can pick up.'

The former Port Vale defender says the job of football management is all-consuming but that he wouldn’t want to be doing anything else. 'I don’t think you get much enjoyment out of football management,' he adds. 'I can’t say enjoyment and football manager in the same breath. It’s a very frustrating job... You take the job with you all the time... I wouldn’t say there’s that much enjoyment but I wouldn’t swap the job because it’s what I’ve always known... It’s like a drug and you get used to it'".

LEAGUE ALLOCATIONS

The Football Association's allocations of clubs from Step 1 to Step 4 have been issued here, A number of issues remain to be resolved, one being the Ryman League play-offs which were delayed until last Thursday. Also, the Vanarama Conference Promotion Final takes place today (Sunday) between Grimsby Town and Bristol Rovers.

In the new National League South, where they operated a team short last season following Salisbury City's demise, the number has been restored to 22 with Oxford City moving from last season's Vanarama Conference North. Our relegated opponents from last season have been allocated as expected; Alfreton Town, AFC Telford United and Nuneaton Town will be in the National's North division and Dartford will play in the South.

Phoenix clubs, Salisbury FC and Hereford FC have been awarded places at Step 5.

NW NEWS

According to the Football Conference, "Former Chester FC boss Neil Young has been appointed as the new manager of Stockport County on a two-year contract. Forty-year-old Young has been tasked with leading the Hatters to promotion to the newly-named National League, having won the same title with Chester FC just two years ago...

Young said, 'It's a huge honour and a privilege to be appointed as manager of Stockport County. Having been here many times, particularly over the last 16 months, the size of the club and the incredible fan base makes this such an exciting opportunity to create something special. The Board of the club has an ambitious five-year plan which I will be working to deliver. A lot of changes will be made both in the short and long term as we work towards achieving our goals.

Recruitment is going to be absolutely key to our progression, as is value for money. We will be working with a very competitive budget for this league. Although quite a bit of the budget is already allocated to a number of contracted players, I am more than confident that we can bring the right players with the right attitude and mentality to be a success.

I have meticulously planned my football management career throughout the last ten years. I have never taken a job opportunity unless I believed I had the necessary experience and development to make a success of it and that is our intention here at Stockport County.'

Young is joined at Edgeley Park by assistant-manager Gary Jones, the former Nottingham Forest and Tranmere Rovers striker, and he'll be assisted by County legend Mike Flynn, who has been given a coaching role in Young's new-look backroom. Carl Garner, former Fleetwood Town non-League Scout joins as head of recruitment, as does [ex-Alty loanee] Alex Hay as part of the scouting team.

Young added, 'This staffing structure is something I believe to be vital in our development to progress and be successful. Recruitment, talent identification, and ensuring value for money in the playing staff is key'...

County Director Richard Park said, 'We received well over sixty high quality applications for this position and we have interviewed half a dozen top managers. The Board was unanimous that Neil Young was the outstanding candidate... His CV is littered with a decade of successive promotions and title wins throughout several levels of non-League football. To have achieved five promotions in his last six years as a manager is an incredible achievement'".

Hyde FC "are delighted to announce that supporters are proceeding with the purchase of the Club from owner John Manship. The Club will be incorporated into a Community Trust run by management team, and supervised by a Board of Trustees, both elected by the membership.

The Trust has agreed to pay £50,000 for the Club including the Social Club, and John Manship has agreed to write-off the loan he has provided to the Club over the past four years, which is now approaching £500,000.

'The supporters have always been amazing at Hyde', says John. 'And I really want to give them the chance to do their own thing. I have every confidence in them'".

The Manchester Evening news adds that at Hyde, "Gary Lowe has agreed to stay on for the club's return to non-League's third tier.... Fans are in the process of setting up a Supporters' Trust to take over the club after owner John Manship agreed to relinquish control. They have also applied to change the club name back to Hyde United".



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