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27 May 2020

ALTY OLD BOYS

Sunday's Non-League Paper had pieces on two former Alty players.

Alex Meechan made 11(+17) appearances for Altrincham in 2008-09; he scored three times in that spell.

Born in Plymouth, Alex started his professional career at Swindon Town in 1997. He moved to Bristol City for 1998-99 season but City loaned him to Forest Green Rovers in August 2000. He later signed for FGR (1 January 2001) following a month's loan at Yeovil Town. Dagenham & Redbridge bought him in 2003 and later loaned him to FGR whom he joined permanently in February 2004. He had three months with Leigh RMI at the start of 2004-05 and then went to Halifax Town in November 2004, until the end of July 2005 when he returned to FGR. In January 2007 he started a six-month stay at Chester City before spending three months with York City (July-October 2007). He made 191 league appearances for FGR and netted 46 times.

Alex made his Alty league debut, scoring at Woking on 9 August 2008 and, when selected for Altrincham, he figured mostly on the right-wing. After a period on the sidelines, Alex went on a month's loan to Stalybridge Celtic at the end of January 2009. He returned from loan and was a used sub in the Cheshire Senior Cup Final win on 23 March but had his contract cancelled by mutual consent and joined Stalybridge Celtic.

The NLP records that "He turned out for no fewer than 19 different clubs as a player, now ambitious Alex Meechan is ready to hit the road again, plotting his next move on the managerial ladder.

Playmaker Meechan made his name in an 18-year playing career which started at Swindon Town and took him up and down the country...

Last summer Meechan was handed the permnanent job at Stafford Rangers... However, a misfiring and injury-hit campaign saw the famous club rooted to the foot of the table when football was abruptly halted in March and, a matter of weeks later, the managerial axe fell".

Meechan said, "Football has only ever been my life and I guess you could say I have always been frantically chasing a dream. I have always travelled. When I was a young boy I'd make the draining journey from my home on the south-west coast to Norwich to play every single wekend...

"A huge advanatage is that I played under so many managers and learned so much... I have crossed paths with some superb managers and some horrendous ones and have used those experiences to refine my own coaching methods".

Elsewhere, the NLP has a feature on North Ferriby United which includes the views of their captain Liam King [right] who spent time at Altrincham on loan from Rotherham United with effect from 1 January 2008. He had made four league starts and two substitute appearances for Rotherham the previous season and he made his Alty debut in central midfield at Northwich on New Year's Day, 2008.

His initial one-month loan was subsequently lengthed to a second month after making a good impression for the Robins for whom he made seventten appearances, all of them in the first eleven.

Liam tells the NLP about Ferriby's run to Wembley where they lifted the FA Trophy against Wrexham. In an earlier round King, as captain, had to take a penalty as no one else would and he scored. He says "What nobody knew, including manager Billy Heath, was that I'd only ever taken two penalties before and missed them both!... From that day onwards I couldn't miss a penalty".

VANARAMA NATIONAL LEAGUE NORTH NEWS

According to the BetVictor NPL, "Morpeth Town have signed attacking midfielder Andrew Johnson from Spennymoor.

Johnson, 32, was formerly captain at Northern League Ashington and helped Spennymoor gain promotion from the Northern Premier League in his first season.

He told the club’s official website 'I had a brilliant four seasons at Spennymoor but felt I needed a new challenge.

'There are a lot of similarities between Spennymoor and Morpeth as both are trying to progress through the leagues and that’s something I want to be part of. On a personal note, I live local and the move will be of benefit to my family life. I see Morpeth as a very similar club to when I first joined Spennymoor; a club on the up. It’s a great time to join'...

The Highwaymen enjoyed a fine first season in the Premier Division, and though [they] weren’t in the play-off places due to having a number of games in hand, they did have the third-best points average in the division when the season was brought to a premature end".

Elsewhere in the North-East, Darlington "announce that midfielder Joe Wheatley has accepted terms for the new season.

Joe, who will be starting his fourth full season with us, gained a huge amount of exposure for himself and the club when he scored that memorable equaliser at Walsall in the FA Cup first round in November last year.

In total, Joe has made 89 appearances for us, scoring three goals".

The NL Paper reports that "Gateshead chairman Neil Pinkerton has been 'overwhelmed' by a new fundraising initiative launched by the club’s supporters over the weekend... The Heed Army sprung in to action with a new funding page to help boost next season’s playing budget for their management team of Mike Williamson and Ian Watson.

The ‘Gateshead FC Budget Booster’ officially went live on Sunday evening with an initial target of raising £10,000 while offering several rewards for anyone willing to donate to the fund. By 9am on Monday, more than £3,500 had already been raised.

Heed chairman Pinkerton hailed the initiative as 'essential' in a statement on Tuesday as they look to move into the next chapter under the ownership of a supporter-led consortium.

He said 'The football club has been overwhelmed and the support that has come in through this fans initiative is fantastic.. The impact the supporters are having on morale and the finances is going to directly benefit Mike (Williamson)and Ian (Watson).

'We have come a long way since March and the income that we budgeted for was significant in the latter part of the season, so we have had to adjust our forecasting and budgeting accordingly. That overlaps into pre-season, so this initiative set up by the supporters is essential. Everyone at the club, Mike (Williamson) and Ian (Watson), myself and the board are so appreciative of their hard work.

'The fans will get to see directly how they have impacted the club by what is produced on the pitch next season. This perfectly highlights the strong bond between supporters and the football club'".

At King's Lynn Town, "Striker Michael Gash has become the latest member of last season's squad to agree a Walks return for next season.

The 33 year-old forward has played a big part of the success achieved over the past few season's and will be forever remembered for his extra time winner at Warrington in the 'super play off final' just over a year ago. Gash joined The Walks set up in July 2017 following a career that has seen action at clubs such as York City, Kidderminster, Cambridge United and Barnet and has found the back of the net 36 times in his three season's with Lynn...

The club's director of football Rob Back said ' With Michael it's not only about the goals he bring's to the team it's all the other aspects like the hold up play, the tracking back and the general nuisance he causes to the opposition. He must be a real pain to play against not only with his size but the skill and know how he has. The football management were all keen to get him back to King's Lynn for next season and to say we are all very pleased Michael has agreed to come back would be an understatement'".


26 May 2020

ON THIS DAY: 26 May

26 May 2019: SHAUN AND MAX SIGN ON

On 26 May 2019, it was reported that "Shaun Densmore and midfielder Max Harrop have both signed up for next season at the J. Davidson Stadium.

For Shaun, now aged 30, another thirteen appearances will take him to 400 games in the Altrincham shirt since he joined, initially on a month's contract on 12 September 2008. At that time, Shaun, a former Everton Academy Player of the Year, had just been released by the Toffees. He made his Alty debut on 16th September 2008 and on 13 October 2008 he signed on for the rest of 2008-09 season. In his 387 appearances to date, Shaun has netted 28 goals.

26 year-old Max Harrop (left) joined Alty on the eve of the opening game of the 2017-18 season. His career had begun with Liverpool FC's Academy, before he moved to Bury, where he made his Football League debut in March 2011. At the end of that year he went on loan to Blyth Spartans. After returning to Gigg Lane, another loan followed, at Hinckley United. After he had been released by Bury, he joined Nantwich Town in the summer of 2013. However, he left for Ashton United in March 2015 but, at the start of the following campaign, he was at Ramsbottom United. However, he then rejoined Nantwich in 2016".

26 May 2016: NEIL ADDS WIDTH TO ALTY WITH TWO NEW SIGNINGS

Altrincham FC announced that "Neil Young has added width to his new-look Altrincham squad by signing two highly-rated young wingers in Billy Hasler-Cregg and Jamie Menagh.

Burnley-born Hasler-Cregg, 19, has arrived from Rochdale, while 22-year old Liverpudlian Menagh has linked up with Young for a third time after previously playing for him at Chester and Stockport County...

Hasler-Cregg was one of only three Academy graduates to be offered 12-month professional contracts at Rochdale last summer, after benefitting from training with the first team throughout the 2014-15 season. During that campaign, he was among the substitutes for the FA Cup first-round replay at home to Northampton and League One fixture against Doncaster... Hasler-Cregg marked his first seven games on loan to Droylsden last season with three goals, five assists and two man-of-the-match awards and became a top target for Young once the recently-appointed Alty manager heard of his availability.

Menagh (right) was snapped up by then-Chester boss Young from Prescot Cables in October, 2013 and could hardly have made a more impressive start, scoring twice on his full debut in a 3-3 draw with Lincoln City and following up with a dramatic stoppage-time winner in the live BT Sport game against FC Halifax.

He started out in central midfield but switched to the right flank and was described in the Chester Chronicle's sports pages as being a 'direct and energetic' winger. He left Chester in January, 2015 and joined forces with Young again at Stockport nearly 12 months later...

Young's latest double signing follows the capture of keeper Andrew Dawber, midfielders Charlie Joyce and David Lynch and centre-back Tom Hannigan, as well as news that James Lawrie and Damian Reeves have accepted new terms for next season. Former Clitheroe manager Simon Garner has also been added to the backroom staff".

26 May 2010: GREG'S FAREWELL

"Altrincham supporters were very sorry to hear that Greg Young (right) had joined Chris Senior in leaving Altrincham this summer as he,too, was offered full-time football and much nearer to his Doncaster home, too. Greg has sent an open letter to the website which we are pleased to reproduce below...

'I know Chrissy [Senior] has set the trend, however it was always my intention, should I have left the club, to publicly thank everyone associated with it. I think the fact that we have both felt the need to write demonstrates the feelings we hold for Alty.

The last few weeks have been very difficult for me because I have had much to consider. On the one hand is my genuine affection for Alty and everyone associated with the club, on the other is a desire to return to full time football whilst I still have some good years of my career left.

Also from a practical point of view York is much nearer to my home in Doncaster, which is an advantage.

Altrincham Football Club will always hold a place in my heart, as I know it will for my parents who have become big fans. This is no doubt down to the welcoming and friendly atmosphere, which pervades the club at all levels, and the fantastic way it is run. I’ve enjoyed being part of the best part-time club in the country for which I have the utmost respect'"

26 May 2003: ROBINS' REVIEW

"The Altrincham FC matchday programme, The Robins' Review, has won the UniBond Premier section of the prestigious Wirral Programme Club's Non-League Programme Survey for 2002-03. This is its third successive win in the UniBond Premier section of this competition. The Alty programme is jointly edited by Grahame Rowley, a Director of the Club, and his brother Terry, who spends most of the year working in the Middle East or North Africa but nevertheless shares the editorial role from afar. The overall UniBond winners were First Division champions Alfreton Town (160pts), just one point ahead of Altrincham. In a North-West clean-sweep, the runners-up in the Premier were Vauxhall Motors, followed by Stalybridge Celtic".

VANARAMA NATIONAL LEAGUE NORTH NEWS

Kidderminster Harriers "confirm that Ashley Chambers is to leave the club at the end of his current contract.

The 30-year-old has spent the last two seasons at Aggborough Stadium, and has scored 27 goals in a little under 80 appearances.

Manager Russ Penn has continued discussions with the striker this week and confirmed that the club will not be offering a new contract.

Russ explained 'Chambo has been a great servant for the club over the past two seasons. I’ve only got good things to say about him. However, having weighed up all the factors, I feel it suits all parties for him to have a fresh start, and for us to move in another direction.

'He’s a model professional and everyone at the club wishes him nothing but the best for the future.'”

However, at Darlington "Defender Louis Laing has agreed to new terms at the club.

Louis, who signed during the summer after leaving Blyth Spartans, established himself in the middle of defence last season, and made 38 appearances"

And Darlington add that "Last season's top scorer, Adam Campbell, has committed his future to the club by agreeing new terms!

Former Newcastle striker Adam, who signed for us last summer, scored 16 goals last season in league and cup, and had scored in three successive games before the season was prematurely ended. He also scored in the FA Cup win at Trafford".

According to the Telegraph & Argus, "Defender Mitch Lund has become Bradford (Park Avenue)'s third player to sign on for the 2020/21 season.

The 23-year-old, who can play across the back four, has put pen-to-paper to a one-year deal with an option for a second. He follows in the footsteps of forward Lewis Knight and new goalkeeper Dan Atkinson as Mark Bower begins to put his squad together.

Lund was a regular last season, featuring 30 times, especially excelling when Liam Hughes' departure left a void in the centre of defence. The former Doncaster Rovers and Morecambe Town player... told the club's website 'I am looking forward to stepping out on the pitch for this great club... It is a credit to the club that at this uncertain time they are in such a positive position off the field, securing a strong playing squad for next season as well as signing the gaffa (Bower) and Bosh for another 3 years..

. 'It will give me immense pride to represent this club once more'".

The Shropshire Star reports that "Midfielder Adam Walker has asked AFC Telford United fans to 'stick with us' throughout the uncertainty caused by the coronavirus pandemic...

Experienced midfielder Walker, who was a big hit in his first season at the New Buck's Head, taking home two end of season awards, admits the lack of football has been a 'big gap' in everybody's lives... 'In non-league we haven't got the powers of the TV rights and sponsorships,' Walker told BBC Radio 1. 'Non-league does rely on people coming through the gates and watching us play. We want the supporters to stick with us and hopefully start the new season with a football club there'.

He added... 'On the Saturday, as you usually do, you would say bye to your team-mates and that you'd see them on Tuesday and then this happened. It's been a big gap in everyone's lives really'...

Chairman Andy Pryce admitted that it has been a financial 'struggle' for the club, who are in the awkward position of trying to assemble a first-team squad without knowledge of when next season will take place. Pryce added negotiations with sponsors has been 'difficult, though the Bucks have sealed a new one-year deal with North Stand sponsor Hamer Leisure Ltd, a Telford-based static caravan business".


25 May 2020

ON THIS DAY: 25 May

Exactly a year ago today, 25 May 2019, it was reported here that striker Tom Peers [right] had returned to Altrincham whilst goalkeeper Elliot Wynne had been released in what Altrincham manager Phil Parkinson described as "the toughest of decisions".

Tom Peers (d.o.b. 23 October, 1995) first joined Altrincham in summer 2017 and went on to make 30(+29) Altrincham appearances, in which he scored 14 goals. Although his Altrincham appearances in 2017/18 were more often from the bench than from kick-off, by mid-November 2017 he had participated in more Altrincham games than any other member of the squad and had weighed in with some important goals. 2018-19 also saw him primarily deployed as a substitute and on 1 November it was announced that he had opted to move to FC United in the hope of more consistent game time. Ironically he left Moss Lane whilst top of the chart for goals scored per minutes played in 2018/19 season!

At that point he had made 30 starts and 29 further appearances from the bench, scoring 14 goals.

He netted five times for FCUM but the club was relegated from the National League North. Nevertheless, Tom ended the season at FCUM but rejoined Altrincham in late May 2019.

Tom scored a number of important goals in 2019-20 season and added 16(+17) appearances to his record, netting eight goals. Twice he netted the only goal of the match at Bootham Crescent to dismiss York City from both the FA Cup and FA Trophy. Overall he has now made 46 starts and 46 substitute appearances and scored 22 goals for the club.

Born in Warrington, Tom initially came through the Chester FC youth system (2013-16), at which club he made 3(+21) first-team appearances under manager Neil Young. He then went on loan to 1874 Northwich FC and, in January 2015, he started a month's loan at Marine.

In December 2015 he went on a month's loan to Salford City, with a similar loan stay at Hednesford Town following that. In 2016 he briefly joined Hednesford before a summer 2016 move to AFC Telford United. However, he soon moved on to Warrington Town (Sept. 2016) and then Droylsden (Dec. 2016 to Feb. 2017). At that point he joined Nantwich Town before following manager Phil Parkinson to Altrincham in summer 2017.

Goalkeeper Elliot Wynne (21), [left], impressed boss Phil Parkinson in a pre-season friendly when playing for Abbey Hey and he joined Alty in late July 2018. Elliot won his place as first-choice keeper in late August 2018 but gave way to Tony Thompson in October. On 4 January 2019, it was announced that Elliot had gone on a month's loan to Trafford FC and this was extended before he returned to Moss Lane in early March 2019. He made ten Altrincham appearances.

He subsequently faced Altrincham for Farsley Celtic.

ALTY OLD BOY

Histon FC have held a Q & A with their manager and former Alty loanee goalkeeper, Lance Key.

"Lance [right, seen at Rushden before playing for Alty at Nene Park in 2000] started his career at Histon before signing for Sheffield Wednesday in 1990 for a fee of £10,000. Six years with the Owls were followed by spells at Oldham Athletic, Oxford United, Lincoln City, Hartlepool United, Rochdale, Dundee United, Sheffield United, Northwich Victoria, Altrincham and Kingstonian before returning to Histon in September 2004. That is some road trip!

For those too young to remember, Lance was a member of the Histon team that won the Southern League and Conference South championships in 2005 and 2007 respectively. He has since been employed at Rushden and Diamonds and Royston Town as goalkeeping coach and is currently the proprietor of the Hop Bind in Cottenham (directly opposite the Curry Palace) where they serve a lovely pint of ale".

The article goes on to report "Lance’s verdict on the class of 2019/20" at Histon.

Lance Key was drafted into Altrincham in 1999-2000 season following injuries to Stuart Coburn and his replacement Dean Greygoose. He was unable to halt Alty's end of season collapse which saw them relegated from the Football Conference to the UniBond Northern Premier League. He made 15 Conference appearances for Altrincham.

LOCAL NEWS

Our neighbours, Trafford FC write that "On behalf of everyone at the club, a heartfelt 'thank you' goes out to our amazing friends who have so generously donated to our Just Giving fundraiser. We’re genuinely overwhelmed to have already smashed our original target of £5k which we only dared to dream we’d achieve.

Every single penny will help our little club to survive this current crisis; that’s why we’re keeping the page open for those who would still like to donate. Please keep sharing our page, the more we can raise, the better our chances of being here for our 30th anniversary!"

Meanwhile, NL Daily confirms that "Seven out-of-contract Stockport County players will be leaving the club.

Dan Cowan, Frank Mulhern, Ian Ormson, Connor Dimaio. Szymon Czubik, Tyler Garrett and Liam McAlinden will not be offered new deals. County say they have taken up the option to extend the contracts for a further year of youngsters Festus Arthur and Jordan Downing.

‘Constructive and ongoing talks’ have been had with Ash Palmer, Ben Hinchliffe and Adam Thomas regarding new contracts and ‘It has been agreed to extend the current contractual terms of the players on a rolling basis, until such time as there is clarity on next season.’ County have decided to continue the contracts on a similar extension basis of Sam Minihan, Paul Turnbull, Nyal Bell, Sam Walker and Elliot Osborne, while Darren Stephenson’s contract will be contined until he has returned to full fitness following his serious injury last pre-season which required surgery in the spring of this year'".

VANARAMA NATIONAL LEAGUE NORTH NEWS

According to NL Daily, "Darlington manager Alun Armstrong has agreed to extend his contract at the club for a further three years.

The former Darlo striker returned to the club this time last year after a three-year spell in charge at Blyth Spartans. The club reached the first round of the FA Cup for the first time since 2010 and were six points outside the play-offs in the National League North at the time of the season suspension.

Armstrong... told the club website 'The deal gives me the stability and the opportunity to plan properly as a group to try and get this club back where it belongs, in the Football League'".

Also, Darlington "announce that central defender Alex Storey has agreed new terms for the 2020-21 season! Former Sunderland youngster Alex joined us from Sunderland RCA in September... Since then, he has made 26 appearances, scoring once and became a valuable member of our squad.

Darlington "Sean Reid has signed for us for another season. Sean signed for us from Morpeth in December, and made his debut in the 1-0 away win at York just before Christmas.

He has made a total of 13 appearances for us, scoring twice, and has proved that he can play in different positions."

According to the Northern Premier League "Witton Albion have signed full-back Isaac Baldwin from Farsley Celtic.

Baldwin, 23, made 21 appearances for Witton last season on loan, having previously helped Farsley to promotion to National League North".

The Telegraph & Argus reports that "Life as a goalkeeper can often be a struggle. The pressure that comes with the position is unlike any other, with you knowing that one slip up can cost you a place in the team for months on end.

New Bradford (Park Avenue) stopper Dan Atkinson has found it hard to stamp down a regular spot at the clubs he has represented.

'You have always got to be on it and you can’t afford to make mistakes,' he said. 'As you get older, you get used to that pressure and you don’t think about it as much.'

The 24-year-old’s experience is second to none. He worked his way through the ranks at Leeds United for over 10 years, and even earned himself a spot at Under-16 and Under-17 level for England... 'I loved it being at Leeds,' Atkinson said. 'I had some good times... If I had my time again, I would have gone out on loan and gained some experience early... I always look back and have very fond memories of my England days... One game we came up against Timo Werner. He is in the news at the moment being linked with Liverpool.'

But who stood out to him the most?

'Ruben Loftus Cheek. He dominated at every age, even on the international stage, so it was a pleasure playing with him. He had the size, stature and football skills. He was the whole package.'

When Leeds let Atkinson go in 2015, current Avenue managerial pair Mark Bower and Danny Boshell quickly snapped him up for then-National League side Guiseley... Atkinson got his first team bow when a future Bradford keeper fell ill.

He said 'It was a blessing in disguise (getting released by Leeds). I was excited to get out there and play some professional football in a proper league and get that experience. I got a bit of luck. (Steve) Drench [now at Alty] went down with tonsillitis and that gave me a game. I played well and kept the shirt for a couple of months'...

'The season after was a bit of a struggle. I was going to be Bower’s number one for that season. He got the sack after five matches and a new manager came in and brought his own goalkeeper and that was me done for the season. It is difficult at times when things change so quickly.'

A couple of years out of the game followed, but now Atkinson is back... He said 'I have been coaching the academy keepers at Leeds, which has been a brilliant experience. I joined in with a few sessions there to keep sharp with their group of young players and I can’t wait to get back to it... I think I stepped down from Guiseley before I should have. It gave me the hunger back, which is good... I sent Bower a good luck message when he signed back up at Avenue. I absolutely loved playing under him at Guiseley.

'There are not many people I would have come back to play for but Bows was definitely one. It was a big part of me coming to play again'".

RE-STRUCTURING

The Leader Live says that "Wrexham haven’t been involved in discussions regarding a potential restructuring of the National League.

Reports emerged last week that some chairmen at League Two and National League level have held preliminary discussions regarding a ‘radical restructuring’ of the divisions. The plans, which are reportedly at a tentative stage, would see League Two and the National League merge on a regional basis, turning them into League Two North and League Two South.

That would mean having five divisions in English football’s Premier League and EFL pyramid for the first time, helping save money on travelling costs, while boosting attendances through an increased number of derby matches.

Wrexham insist they have not been involved in any of the rumoured discussions...

'We have not been a party to any of these discussions, if any have actually taken place. For this idea to come to fruition it would require League Two clubs to accept a reduced share of TV money and this seems unlikely at this point.'"


24 May, 2020

END OF SEASON AWARDS

Altrincham FC has announced how to vote for the prizewinners in the End of Season awards.

The award categories are Player of the Season, Young Player of the Season (aged 25 and under), Goal of the Season, Players' Player of the Season and Clubman of the Season.

ROB ESTEVA INTERVIEWED

Recently returned Altrincham FC director, Rob Esteva, has been interviewed by the Club's press and media officer, Brian Flynn, and the fourteen-minute videod discussion can be found on the official Altrincham FC website.

LATEST ALTY GAME

Following our recent piece on previous Alty games which have been played deep into the month of May, I am grateful to Terry Rowley who confirms that actually "The latest competitive match played was on May 21 in 1947, a 2-0 defeat against Chester Reserves in the Cheshire County League". For the record, Chester Reserves had lost 4-0 at league leaders Wellington, 48 hours before playing Altrincham.

The adjacent match report from 1947 was found in the Cheshire Observer, confirming this not only as the latest date in a season on which Alty have played a league match but also as the latest date in a season on which they have lost a competitive match! Altrincham finished tenth that season, which was the first to be completed in the Cheshire County League after World War Two.

By coincidence it was a match against Chester FC which was the first of Altrincham's home fixtures in 2020 to be postponed because of Corona virus.

VANARAMA NATIONAL LEAGUE NORTH NEWS

Darlington "announce that winger Jarrett Rivers has agreed a new contract.

Jarrett joined the club last summer from Blyth following the appointment of manager Alun Armstrong, and last season was a real handful on the wing.

Jarrett made 41 appearances for us last season, scoring three times."

And Darlington also "announce that striker Jamie Holmes has agreed new terms.

Jamie, who started his career at Newcastle, joined us from Blyth last summer after Alun was appointed as manager, and looked set to be a regular starter.

However, he injured his anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in the second game of the season, and was ruled out for the rest of the season. Happily, he is now well on the road to recovery, so hopefully we'll see Jamie at his best next season!"

At Gateshead the "Chairman looks forward to a brighter future.

It was on this day last year that a supporter-led consortium officially completed their takeover of Gateshead Football Club. The days and weeks running up to the conclusion of the deal were fraught with worry and concern that the club could go out of business.

But now, twelve months on, Gateshead chairman Neil Pinkerton wants to look to a brighter future... The club’s first season under supporter-led ownership may well have been curtailed by the coronavirus epidemic, but that can’t take the shine off a season of progress at the International Stadium.

Under new manager Mike Williamson, and with a squad that has developed throughout the campaign, the Heed were well-placed to challenge for a National League North play-off place in the closing weeks of the season.

Progress has been made off the pitch too as the club continues to work hard in the local community, the academy is showing signs of producing talented local players and the commercial side of the club continues to evolve.

As he assessed his first year as chairman of the club he has supported throughout his life, Pinkerton insisted that... 'It’s now a case of having a vision of what we can achieve with the resources we have. We have great staff at the club, a loyal fanbase and it’s now about how we make the club sustainable for the future'...

He continued 'We have the International Stadium, which is a great facility, and we have the college, so we have a good foundation to build on. We have had lots of feedback from people that have come back and said what a different feel there is at the club.

'That’s the volunteers that run the matchday, the people that experience hospitality, the businesses that are getting involved once again and other potential sponsors. We are in a decent position, but obviously without any income in the near future, you have to start looking and thinking we need decisions from the authorities... but as a club, we are also moving on together.'”


23 May 2011

ALTY OLD BOY

The BetVictor Northern Premier League reports that "Stafford Rangers have announced Jody Banim as the club’s new first team manager.

Banim, 42, [pictured in his Alty days, right] left Ashton United last November after three years in charge having previously helped them to promotion to National League North.

He said 'Stafford Rangers are a massive football club and our objective is clear. We want, and will bring back, the glory days and we are proud to be part of the Boro. We have seen, during lockdown, the passion and the enthusiasm that fans have shown in supporting so magnificently the "Stand Together" campaign and we want to be part of it.'

Banim has extensive experience at this level and beyond, playing for the likes of Altrincham, Accrington Stanley and Burton Albion during his playing days.

He will be joined by Boro favourite Matt Hill, who takes the role as assistant manager.

Stafford Director of Football, Andy Fearn, said 'Jody just impressed us from the start with his enthusiasm and knowledge of the game, at our level and above. We believe he is the right man at the right time. He has demonstrated in his management career an ability to rise to challenges and we welcome him on our journey.'”

Altrincham signed striker Jody Banim on a month's loan from Burton Albion on 27 January 2009. He was already well known at Moss Lane, having been based for several years in the North West and even having a brief spell as a trialist at Altrincham in 1997. He started out as a youngster with Manchester United and was a trainee at Old Trafford in 1995/96 season before being released and joining Trafford FC. A brief trial at Altrincham in 1997 followed but he moved on to Flixton in 1998. In 2001 he joined Radcliffe Borough where he made 125 appearances and scored a phenomenal 97 goals, netting in 14 successive matches in one spell.

In December 2003, his performances prompted a move for £20,000 to Shrewsbury Town who were in the Conference at that time. After 9+(8) games for the Shrews in their promotion season, he joined Accrington Stanley and Droylsden before arriving at Stalybridge Celtic in 2005. He rejoined Radcliffe in March 2006 on loan before rejoining Stalybridge and then Droylsden, again, in August 2007 for their promotion into the Conference. From February to April 2004 he was on loan at Torquay United where he made 3(+5) appearances without scoring. In May 2008 he joined Burton Albion. Jody made his Alty debut as a sub against York on 27 January, 2009. At the end of his loan spell he returned to Burton who soon released him. Jody then rejoined Droylsden. Career appearances for Altrincham: 2+1, 1 goal.

VANARAMA NATIONAL LEAGUE NORTH NEWS

Alfreton Town "are delighted to confirm that the club raised a wonderful figure of £1068.20 in memory of Sinbad [Jordan Sinnott], with the proceeds going to his family.

Jordan tragically passed away on the evening of the 25th January following an incident which saw the former Reds midfielder suffer life threatening injuries, which he was unable to recover from, in the early hours in Retford Town centre.

With a global viral campaign which saw thousands of shirts donated in Jordan’s memory from non-league, the Premier League and abroad, Sinbad’s funeral at Bradford City’s Valley Parade on the 4th March, saw all of these shirts displayed, including one sent by the Reds.

In addition to this, ATFC raised the figure above through collections at fixtures in the aftermath of Jordan’s death including games against Gloucester and Gateshead. The many donations the club also received were massively appreciated, including the donations obtained from Gateshead supporters and ATFC Social Club.

The Reds are extremely proud to have raised £1068.20 and we thank all who contributed to make this fantastic sum. Jordan will always be in our hearts and we send all of our love to his family."

The Lynn News confirms that "Two more of King's Lynn Town's playing squad have signed new deals.

Right-sided midfielder Ryan Hawkins and goalkeeper Alex Street have both agreed terms for another season.

The news comes hot on the heels earlier in the week that defender Aaron Jones is also West Norfolk bound for another spell after agreeing a fresh deal."

Kidderminster Harriers "announce that Keith Lowe has signed a new contract with the club.

The influential and popular defender returned to Aggborough to start a third spell back in January.

In total, he’s amassed more than 130 starts as a Harrier, and has now penned terms to remain here for next season.

Manager Russ Penn said 'Our fans know that Keith’s professionalism and experience speaks for itself, so this is great news for us. He’ll again be a massive player for us this season and will be a leader on the pitch, but we’ve also agreed that he’ll take on an extra role as a club ambassador as well...

' 'He’s the ideal person to try and keep all of that knitted together, whether it be with player appearances, interviews or input on social media.

'We’re proud of what we’re building as a team and a club and want Keith to be a massive part of all of it.'”


22 May 2020

ALTY LATEST!

Altrincham's FA Trophy win, chronicled here on its anniversary on 17 May, was probably the latest competitive game to be played by an Altrincham team in the month of May.

However, I am grateful to Alty supporter Barry Pikesley for informing me that his records suggest that the latest date in a season on which Altrincham have played a meaningful game appears to have been in 1982. On 19 May 1982 Alty played Wigan Athletic and the teamsheet is shown (right),courtesy of Barry.

It is believed that this game was one of a couple of testimonial matches played on behalf of John Davison, Jeff Johnson and Graham Heathcote. It followed an Alty v 'All Star XI' match played at Moss Lane just two days previously.

According to a Wigan Athletic statistical website, the outcome was a 3-2 win to The Latics with former Alty man Graham Barrow one of the Wigan scorers. The Altrincham scorers are not recorded.

If that is the latest game in any season played by Altrincham, perhaps the latest goal scored by Altrincham in a regular ninety-minute match was the "floodlit-failure game" at Grays Athletic on Tuesday, 6 December 2005. Altrincham secured a draw thanks to a Kieran Lugsden goal in added time as the clock approached 10.30pm.

There have been later goals in cup matches in which extra time and penalties have been required. Perhaps the record-holder in that respect was the FA Cup replay at Moss Lane against Luton Town in 2008 which The Hatters won 4-2 on penalties after both the original tie at Kenilworth Road and the replay had ended goalless.

That FA Cup 1st Round replay played on Tuesday, 18 November 2008, was also delayed by a floodlight failure. Kick off was delayed by more than 35 minutes, so the game did not finally end till after 11pm.

Altrincham paid a heavy price for three penalty misses; one in normal time and two in a shoot-out, against a Luton side which played for 52 minutes with ten men. The Hatters could count themselves very fortunate to have progressed in a game dominated by the defences.

The defining moment arrived in the 68th minute when Chris Senior was bundled over in the box and Luton's substitute Davis was sent off as he was the last man. However, Warren Peyton underhit his penalty and former Stockport keeper Conrad Logan saved the effort. Alty dominated the rest of the game but laboured to break down the 10-men of Luton and the game went to a penalty shoot out. Matt Doughty and Alex Meechan converted for the Robins but both Marc McGregor and Robbie Lawton saw their spot-kicks saved by Logan to hand Luton a 4-2 win on penalties.

The financial loss to Altrincham of the £20,000 prize money was compounded by Luton's refusal to play this match on a Thursday when £37,000 would have been paid to each club in television fees for a live transmission.

LAWRENCE'S INTERVIEW

The recent interview by NL Daily's Chris Brookes with Altrincham FC director, Lawrence Looney, has now appeared in FC Business magazine's latest issue, (on page 42).

ENDING THE SEASON

The BBC reports that "Clubs will still be promoted and relegated from the three divisions of the English Football League if seasons are ended amid the coronavirus crisis. Play-offs will also be played, but with no more than four teams.

The EFL has confirmed that 51% of Championship, League One and League Two clubs need to agree for the campaign in each division to be curtailed. This could pave the way for the League One season to be cancelled, with teams currently split over a resolution. Talks last week stalled after at least six clubs in the third tier, including Sunderland, Portsmouth and Ipswich Town, said they wanted to continue the season.

With only 23 teams now in that division, following Bury's expulsion by the EFL, any vote is certain to be decisive either way. If the season is brought to an early conclusion, using the unweighted points-per-game system proposed by the EFL eighth-placed Wycombe Wanderers would move into the play-offs at the expense of Peterborough United - another of the sides determined to carry on playing.

The new regulations still have to be voted on by all 71 EFL clubs before they can be implemented.

While League One could follow League Two in being curtailed, the Championship is hoping to resume in June alongside the Premier League.... Clubs voted to end the League Two campaign immediately on 15 May, also proposing that no team should be relegated to the National League.

However, with the EFL including relegation in its framework for curtailing a season early, Stevenage would go down from League Two as it stands. Swindon, Crewe and Plymouth would be automatically promoted to League One.

'In the event a divisional decision is made to curtail the 2019-20 season, the EFL board is recommending that the League adopts the original framework with the amendments as identified, as there is a strong desire to remain as faithful as possible to the regulations and ensure there is consistency in the approach adopted across the EFL in all divisions,' EFL chairman Rick Parry said.

'The board has always acknowledged that a single solution to satisfy all clubs would always be hard to find, but we are at the point now where strong, definitive action is need for the good of the League and its members.'"

VANARAMA NATIONAL LEAGUE NORTH NEWS

The Eastern Daily Press says that "King’s Lynn Town have received a promotion boost today after the Football League published its draft plans to end the season.

The EFL says if the leagues are unfinished it wants placings to be determined on unweighted points per game, promotion and relegation to be retained and the play-offs to be played, but only to include four teams... It looks like a boost for Lynn, who are second in National League North, two points behind York with two games in hand. League two last week proposed no relegation, which would have meant one less space for the National League promotion hopefuls and, by extension, from the North and South divisions.

That promotion door now looks to be back open, as long as clubs agree on the EFL proposals. The EFL... recommended framework [includes]... Final divisional placings should be determined on unweighted points per game (if required). Promotion and relegation should be retained. Play-Offs should be played in all circumstances but should not be extended (beyond four teams). If a scenario arises whereby the Play-Offs cannot be played, the EFL Board will determine the appropriate course of action.

The Board considers that the majority required to curtail the 2019/20 season in any division should be 51%. Determining whether or not to curtail the season is a decision for each division to take".

Nuneaton Borough report that "Club Secretary Mark Grimes has spoken in depth with Chairman Jimmy Ginnelly...

We can confirm Jack Byrne has left the club as a number of National League clubs have already spoken to him about next season. We believe that Telford are one of the clubs interested and that Jack wants to make the step up and play at National League level"...

And former Alty defender, "Right-back Curtis Obeng has this week also left the club after his two-year contract ended. Curtis played most of last season out on loan at Ashton United and Grantham Town and we would like to thank him for the last two seasons with the club.

It is expected that Curtis will find a new club closer to his Manchester base."

Gloucester City "announce that versatile player Alex Hainault has committed to the club for the 2020-21 season.

On signing for another season Alex Hainault had the following to say. 'I’m really happy to be staying with Gloucester City! Can’t say how excited and motivated I am for another year at this club'...

Club Co-Chairman Alex Petheram went on to add, 'Like I said to the fans last week, if players from last season want to sign for next season on the same terms, with the agreement of a season start date that yet can’t be confirmed, then we’re delighted to have them at the Club. Alex is someone that’s very liked around the club, he has a great attitude and we’re delighted he’s staying!

“I know fans are keen for more signings, but currently I can’t see anymore happening any time soon. Before James was placed on furlough he gave me a list of names he was keen to get in. Steve and I are now speaking to these players and we’ll be ready to hopefully put pen to paper on a number once the season start date is known, or at least once we’re comfortable to do so.'.

However, "After a number of discussions this afternoon we can confirm that forward Zack Kotwica will be leaving the club... On leaving the club Zack Kotwica had the following message, 'I have really enjoyed my time at the club and want to say thank you to the loyal supporters that have stuck with me during the good times and the bad times'...

And also, "defender Spencer Hamilton will be leaving the club. Hamilton made his debut for the club in 2014 and has since gone on to make over 140 appearances for the club across a number of positions in the back line.... On leaving the club Hamilton had the following to say 'It has been an honor and a privilege playing for my home town for 6 and a half years and I have enjoyed every minute of it. I am gutted to be leaving and this has been a very tough decision for me, but I unfortunately do not see my immediate future at the club'".

In the Hartlepool Mail we learn that "Hartlepool United legend Michael Nelson... has twice come close to landing the manager’s job at Victoria Park.

The current Blyth Spartans boss, who made over 300 appearances for Pools between 2003 and 2009, revealed he’s been interviewed three times in total for the manager’s position at his former club... After retiring from playing at the turn of the year, Nelson had a brief spell as assistant manager at League Two side Stevenage before being appointed as caretaker at National League North outfit Blyth Spartans. Earlier this month, he was handed his first permanent manager’s position at Croft Park".

In the Bermudan Royal Gazette we read that "Bermuda goalkeeper Dale Eve has been signed on a permanent deal by Spennymoor Town.

The 25-year-old, who starred during Bermuda’s run in the Concacaf Gold Cup and Nations League last year, made a lasting impression, despite playing in only one league match, a convincing 4-0 defeat of Hereford. He also impressed in the Durham Challenge Cup.

'I’m pleased to re-sign with the Moors,' Eve, whose terms were undisclosed, told the club’s official website. 'For me, playing football isn’t just a job. I look at all the time and energy I’m going to put in at a club and I want to feel comfortable about where I sign. The Spennymoor family did that for me. I felt like it was an environment that I could really grow and showcase my potential.'

Eve began the 2019-20 season at Robin Hood before returning to England to relaunch a professional career that had previous stops at Derby County, Stoke City and Forest Green Rovers.

He added 'The manager [Jason Ainsley] as well as the team have welcomed me and made me feel like a part of the family. I’m looking forward to what next season will bring for us.'

Ainsley said 'Dale was exceptional when he came into training and had to be patient to get his first league start. He is a very big presence in and around his 18-yard box and showed in the Hereford game that he has all the attributes and qualities to play a lot higher. We are delighted that he has signed for us despite competition from other clubs.'".

With Darlington having two Bermudan players last season, the North-East is proving a recurrent attraction to players from the island.


21 May 2020

ALTRINCHAM'S 2019-20 SEASON AWARDS

Altrincham FC have reported that "During the week, Altrincham Football Club will announce details of the '2019/20 Season Awards' including the following:-

Right: Joint top-scorer Jordan Hulme and Elliot Durrell, with four goals in four appearances, are likely to figure in the Goal of the Season awards, mentioned below.

To get the ball rolling, the nominations for 'Goal of the Season' have been selected and Alty TV's video compilation of the 22 nominations, which has been expertly put together by Mark Bennett, can be viewed here. The standard is very high, with Robins' fans being treated to many magnificent goals.

COMMUNITY UPDATE

Altrincham FC Press and Media Officer, John Edwards, reports that "Altrincham’s footballing fortunes have been on the up and up over the last few seasons, and it is a trend that is very much mirrored by the club’s community section.

While Phil Parkinson’s team regularly attracts healthy gates of well over 1,000 through the turnstiles at The J.Davidson Stadium, the numbers benefitting from our community set-up’s sterling efforts are also well into four figures on a weekly basis.

It has been one of the success stories of recent times, since the Community Sports Hall was opened five years ago, but, like any enterprise, it has not been immune from the effects of Covid-19.

The community section’s wide variety of services and activities ranges from hosting adult participants to visiting local schools and attracts a customer base that embraces all ages, from toddlers to grown-ups, as well as parents and carers young and old.

Naturally enough, in this prolonged period of uncertainty, both the club and the community section have received requests for information about current and future community activities.

It was felt, therefore, that this would be an opportune moment to provide an update, firstly to give everyone an idea of what the community side of the club does under normal circumstances, but also how the coronavirus pandemic is affecting the business.

We caught up with one of the Community Co Directors to find out a bit more….

AFC Community Company Q&A

What is the scope of activities supported by the Community Company?

Prior to the current difficulties everyone is experiencing, we were very busy, although the number of activities varies with school term times. When schools are open, we coach around 800 children each week. We also coach children in non-school related sessions, approximately 200 each week.

Left: The Community Sports Hall under construction in 2014.

Add on around 150 attendees for various classes in the Community Sports Hall, and 30 who enjoy activities for people with disabilities, and we are quite busy. We also hold a variety of ‘events’ in the CSH, including birthday parties for children and adults, dinners, business gatherings, etc.

How is the lockdown affecting the Community Company?

We have effectively paused trading for the time being. We have, however, been able to provide free use of the CSH to the NHS (with assistance from volunteers).

What is the impact on staff?

All of the Community Company’s staff are furloughed, although we do hope to be able to start some planning work shortly, when some staff may restart work

What is the effect on the Community Company’s finances?

At present, we have no regular income, as there are no classes in the CSH, no coaching in schools and no other events taking place. The loss of events is damaging to the finances of the Community Company, but it clearly affects the Football Club to a much greater degree.

We do, however, still have ongoing financial commitments that we have to fulfill.

The Community Company does have cash reserves, but some of these are classed as reserved funding, because the money has been received from grants and conditional payments, so has to be used for specific activities.

We have applied for a Covid-19-related grant that will hopefully help. We are also hoping to launch a fundraiser, supported by Barclays Bank, that should raise some funds to further reduce our income drop.

Of course, as a charity, we are always grateful for any donations but particularly so at times such as these. Equally, we would be happy to chat to anyone who would like to sponsor one of our activities, or one of our coaches. Please get in touch by e-mail if you would like to discuss options.

What funding do the Community Company normally receive to support community activities?

We receive funding from the Premier League to enable us to provide support for schools via the Premier League Primary Stars scheme. We are very proud to be one of only five clubs at our level that are allowed to participate in the scheme.

Right: The Community Sports Hall at the J. Davidson Stadium.

We also receive funding annually via the National League Trust (supported by the Premier League and the Professional Footballers Association) for a range of projects that we wish to support locally. In the year ending 28th February 2020, we were supported by them in efforts to increase participation in football at all ages, irrespective of gender, race, religion, including:

We are extremely grateful to the football authorities for this support. The funding is invaluable as it enables us to establish these sporting activities, and, when they are sustainable, we can focus on new projects.

So, presumably, funding has ceased at present?

No, we actually received funding for the six months from March 1st, just before we went into lockdown. This is the ‘reserved funding’ mentioned earlier.

The activities covered by this funding are scheduled for the next 12 months and will relate to girls and women, these are mainly but not exclusively football-related, including:

Hopefully these will be able to restart in the not-too-distant future.

So what is the future for the Community Company?

We feel that the long-term future is extremely positive. The relationship between the Community Company and the Football Club Board is excellent, and we believe that we will work together to improve the prospects for both organisations as well as overcoming the present difficulties presented by the lockdown.

The short-term future, however, is totally dependent on the Government instructions we receive regarding the lockdown. We will continually review each of our projects to assess when it is totally safe to restart them, and, as necessary, adapt each of the activities in the most appropriate way at the time.

Some activities will clearly be possible earlier than others. For example, we may be able to provide some activities for children over the next 2-3 months, but events in the CSH may not be possible this year.

As with all businesses, we will ensure that we adapt to the circumstances, and we will endeavour to publicise developments as and when they happen.

VANARAMA NATIONAL LEAGUE NORTH NEWS

At King's Lynn Town "Following on from last week's news that both Chris Smith and Sonny Carey had agreed deals to remain at the club we are pleased to announce today that defender Aaron Jones has now also agreed terms for the 2020/21 season.

The Yarmouth born former Ipswich Town youth player joined the Linnets in 2018 after returning from playing in the United States, signing a two year contract. The popular 26 year-old has been a regular for Town ever since, playing mostly in a full-back position, making 71 appearances and scoring twice.

Speaking on the announcement the club's director of football Rob Back said 'It goes without saying that Ian (Culverhouse), Paul (Bastock) and myself are delighted that Aaron has agreed to return to the football club. He is a great asset for us and we are all looking forward to working with him again when we can... We are all of the opinion that we have to make plans for next season and that is why we felt it important that we got Aaron on board and ready to go when the time arrives'".

At Spennymoor Town, the Moors "have swooped to land their first new signing of the summer, securing the services of goalscorer Stephen Thompson from Darlington.

The 31 year-old attacker can operate across the front line and has been a thorn in the side of Jason Ainsley’s men for many years during contests with The Quakers. Thompson’s sublime technique and eye for goal saw him achieve the all-time scoring record at Darlington, equalling Alan Walsh’s 30 year-old record with a winning penalty against The Moors on Boxing Day 2019...

Having started his career in the youth set-up at Middlesbrough, Thompson made the move to Football League side Port Vale for the 2008/09 season. Just over one year later he had short spells with Conference North side Telford and Northern Premier League Division One club Durham City.

Thompson joined Darlington in 2012 and has never looked back... Moors' boss Jason Ainsley... said 'Stephen is a player I have admired for a long period of time... He can not only create chances for others, but can win a game on his own. He can play in a number of positions at the top end of the pitch, which is beneficial to us and, after speaking to him, he is really energised'...

Thompson... said, 'This club is looking to go in one direction. All you have to do is take a look around the place and see what has been done here over the last few years by the Chief Executive and the Manager. I know there has been interest in the past and Spennymoor is a club I have admired. After speaking to the Manager and the Chief Exec, I immediately felt wanted, which helped me make my decision.

'There was also a very similar offer on the table from Darlington, but I felt that the time was right to move to on. It was a footballing decision and I want to see what I can accomplish with Spennymoor'".


20 May 2020

ON THIS DAY: 20 May

On 20 May 1986, thirty-four years ago today, Alty were shocked by the resignation of [manager] John King, just 72 hours after guiding his team to an FA Trophy win at Wembley over Runcorn.

King had succeeded the successful managership of Tony Sanders (1976-84) but the following eight years saw no manager establish himself at Moss Lane, with John himself being the longest serving (1989-91) before his third coming in 1994.

The managerial sequence was as follows...

VANARAMA NATIONAL LEAGUE NORTH NEWS

According to NL Daily "Spennymoor Town striker Gavin Cogdon has announced his retirement.

Cogdon, who was on target when Moors won the 2013 FA Vase final at Wembley, returned to the club last summer after winning two promotions and scoring 132 goals in his previous spell...

Cogdon, 37, has now brought the curtain down on his playing days, and he tweeted 'It’s Over. Just a message to thank everyone who has been part of the memories. You can’t do nothing well in life without good people around you'".

And Spennymoor Town add that "Two of Spennymoor Town’s greatest figures will bring their playing days with the club to a close this summer, but it is not the end of their story in Spennymoor.

Defender Chris Mason will not be signing a new playing contract with the club, whilst striker Gavin Cogdon has decided to retire from competitive football. But both players are prominent figures in the North East’s fitness and wellbeing industry and will now be using their expertise to benefit the club in new ways.

The duo are two of the club’s most successful players of the last 11 years... Brad Groves, Chief Executive, said... 'Such has been their influence, we are creating new roles within the club for each of them. These will involve work with the first team as well as the ladies’ team and our flourishing academy set up at Spennymoor Town Youth FC.

'The superb condition they have both kept themselves in throughout their careers is testament to the knowledge and dedication they possess. This, combined with their leadership skills and influence within the squad, meant we did not want to lose them from our set-up'...

Jason Ainsley, First Team Manager, has expressed his admiration for both players, [saying]... 'With a very heavy heart we have decided not offer Chris Mason a new deal. Mase has been with this football club for 11 years and has been instrumental in where we are today. He has been a model professional and always a leader amongst the players and beyond across the entire club...

'He had the strength and character to come back stronger and more determined after a year out with a cruciate injury, which shows just what type of lad he is... Mr Groves has agreed for Chris to have a testimonial game at The Brewery Field to honour his long-standing service'...

'Gavin has announced his retirement and it is only fitting after what he has done for this football club that he is remembered... Despite a few years away from the club, Brad and I brought him back at the start of last season as we knew he would be an asset both on and off the field. I am the first to admit that Gavin didn’t get the game time he wished for'". The Chester Standard reports that "Anthony Johnson insists it’s 'vitally important' that Chester are able to keep a hybrid model in some shape or form next season...

Stuart Murphy’s attempted takeover bid has come and gone for the Blues, who are sticking with the fans-owned model that has been in operation since they reformed since 2010. The Blues, like most if not all, clubs in the country, will have to cut their cloth accordingly going forward... Johnson and Bernard Morley helped install a hybrid for the 2019/20 campaign, which means an increased number of contact hours with players at the club...

Johnson said 'Going back to the hybrid model, it’s vitally important we try to find a way of maintaining that in some guise. If you’ve got talented young quality players coming out of a full-time academy, which is what we’ve got, into a part-time model, it’s a totally different world.

'That full-time training and development they’ve been exposed to is taken away from them. They are training two or three hours a week as opposed to the eight to 10 hours they are going to need. That’s absolutely vital from 17 to 21. If you go to Premier League, Championship, League One or League Two they have under-23 football. They have five or six years...

'Because we don’t have an under-23 system at our level, or at our club, these players are being judged on what they do either in training, in matches or out on-loan. It’s not fair on players because some end up slipping through the net. We are absolutely desperate to find a way of ensuring we can keep the quality of players coming through the academy, and players like Jamie Morgan, Brad Jackson, Joel Taylor, Anthony Dudley, George Glendon, etc that are coming to the club, can see there is a real professional output from us'...

Johnson is pleased the fans are able to have an input on shaping the future of the club, but he’s also keen to point out that he and Morley have been ticking a lot of boxes during their two seasons at Chester. He continued 'From a football perspective, I hope it doesn’t get lost that the stuff in there is the stuff we’ve been doing for the last 18 months.

'I think this is a massively, massively important thing.... The hybrid model that we put in place last season allowed us to have a higher portion of players coming through out of the academy and training with the first team four days a week, being exposed to first team training and then first team football, whether out on-loan. Those things we’ve been talking about, we’ve already done.

'Planning for the longer term future, seven or eight players are contracted for next season and the average age is 23. Alright we’ve had Danny Livesey, Simon Grand, Gary Stopforth, Gary Roberts, but you need that core of experience around younger players, that’s how they get better... For us to have a group of players whose average age is 23 and the oldest is Kevin Roberts at 30, is brilliant and one we want to work with.'”

Also from Chester FC we learn that "Work is now well underway on the annual pitch renovations at the Deva Stadium, thanks to the generous support from our incredible fans at this difficult time.

Almost £4,000 was raised from the E-Matchdays last month and these funds have enabled the Club and groundsman Mike Barrow to ensure our pitch remains in top condition for when football returns.... Work on the playing surface has been able to start earlier than normal with the expert assistance of our friends at Duncan Ross Ltd, one of the UK’s leading contractors working in sportsturf, land drainage, fine turf, landscaping, agriculture and greenspace.

Mike and his team of volunteers scarified the pitch last week in three directions to rip out any of the weaker grass in preparation for the work.

On Monday the pitch was spread with 70 tonnes of sand which was drag-matted to level out the surface and then seeded four ways with the Club grateful to our friends at Dandy’s for providing a fantastic deal on the grass seed.

It is expected that, with the forecasted [sic] good weather and temperatures set to remain, along with some natural rain or sprinklers, signs of growth will be seen in 7-10 days. Then, in around 5-6 weeks, the pitch will be cut regularly and returned to its usual excellent condition ready for whenever football resumes.

Jeff Banks, director of Fan Engagement [said]... 'We have always been proud of the surface at the Deva Stadium'".

In the Shropshire Star we learn that "Gavin Cowan has been encouraged by early signs as he goes about assembling his AFC Telford United squad for the 2020/21 season. The Bucks' chief has spent the past few weeks in talks with existing players and transfer targets...

And, with the club set to reveal its retain list in the coming days, Cowan is confident in the way talks are heading... 'The early signs are very positive,' Cowan said. 'I’m a winner, I’m not entering this to finish a point above the relegation zone, or mid-table. I’m not in it to finish a goal outside of the play-offs like we did in my first year.

'It’s great that people see that as success, but my success is in achieving the ultimate goal.' Telford have three players under contract for next season – defensive duo Shane Sutton and Ross White and striker Aaron Williams."

At Gateshead, "Captain Scott Barrow believes that the club can be proud of what has been achieved this season.

There were contrasting emotions at the International Stadium last summer as the joy and relief that met the supporter-led takeover of the club was tempered by the sadness that the Heed’s eleven-year stay in non-league’s top tier was brought to an end. The rebuilding process was quickly set in motion as Mike Williamson was named as player-manager...

Barrow was one of a number of players to commit to remaining with the club, despite the demotion into the National League North. But there were a host of new faces as Williamson ventured into the transfer market to add the likes of Alex Nicholson, Liam Agnew and Connor Oliver to his squad. A new look Heed side lost just one of the first ten league fixtures and progressed into the first round of the FA Cup... An impressive run of form after Christmas took Gateshead into contention for a play-off position before the coronavirus epidemic...

He said 'I am very proud of what we have done this year... This year was very different because we didn’t even know if we would have a club this time last year... There’s people like myself, JJ O’Donnell and Elliott Forbes that would do anything for the club and we have all stuck together as a strong unit on and off the pitch.

'The signings that have come in last summer and throughout the season have bought into what we have and that’s very special... We are a positive bunch and although we had a slow start to the season where we couldn’t win a game, we got into our stride and we could have been five points behind York if we had won our games in hand... I still think it’s been a positive year for the club as a whole.'”


19 May 2020

IAN'S AUCTIONS

Sunday's NL Paper has a piece on Altrincham's lockdown fundraising which, it reports, has raised £30,000. The income has come from supporters "paying entry fees to watch re-runs of glory games, former star Duncan Watmore dipping into his own pocket and online auctions".

The article states that "Ian Senior [right], whose company SKkits supplies Alty's shirts... also got in on the act. Running daily auctions of pieces of kit, Senior, the club's former goalkeeping coach, [had] collected through the years, it all added up to £1,500 to throw into the pot".

Ian said "Duncan Watmore put £750 in. I've got lots of odd pieces of kits, samples, shorts, shirts, rain jackets, so I thought I'd do an auction.

"It started in the first week of April. I run it every day until 10pm on twitter, Facebook and the club's forum...

"We had a Peter Band shirt, a well-known figure at the club from when he was playing a few years ago. There were six or seven bidders chasing that, including Pete! Lo and behold, he won it at the death with less than a minute to go.

"Grahame Rowley, the chairman, donated some bits, Neil Faulkner, one of the directors, and legendary goalkeeper Stuart Coburn [did too]...

"We've thrown it all in the pot. It's been great fun and kept me busy!"

ALTY IN THE PICTURE

In the first of a new series entitled "My Favourite Non-League Picture" in the Non-League Paper, Eastbourne Borough supporter and photographer David Bauckham chose an image of Alty supporters in the Golf Road end during the home match against the Sussex team in 2011. Eastbourne had already been relegated that season but, as re-lived on this website on its recent ninth anniversary, the game was the final fixture of the 2010-11 season and a win for Alty would have kept them in the national division of the Conference.

Right: Marc Joseph makes a fine tackle on Eastbourne's Pacquette in the game described below.

But Alty went 3-0 down by half-time, only to recover to 3-3 and then lose in the dying minutes, 3-4.

David, who has published several books of photographs with non-League themes, explained that the photo that he chose and which the NLP reproduces, came about when "With so much at stake, I guessed Altrincham would come out with all guns blazing...

With that in mind, rather than go pitchside, I decided to position myself in amongst the home fans behind the goal Alty were attacking and focus my camera on them. Sure enough, in the opening minutes, they went close from a corner and I captured the fans' reaction. "What I especially like about this image is not only the contrasting emotions of the two fans in the foreground but also that the image as a whole is remarkably well-composed. There is also a random inflatable banana in the background!"

It was ironic that it should be Eastbourne who applied the coup de grace to Altrincham that day as it had been Alty who had deprived the Sussex club promotion to the Conference's National division in 2005 when the Robins beat Eastbourne 2-1 at Stoke in the North v South promotion play-off.

RASHFORD TRAINS AT ALTRINCHAM

According to the Manchester Evening News, "Marcus Rashford trained with a member of Manchester United staff at Altrincham's Moss Lane ground on Sunday ahead of his return to Carrington next week.

Rashford took part in ball work at the non-league ground before heading to Carrington to check-in to United's training facility and undergo a COVID-19 test, with the squad set to return to training there early next week in small groups. Rashford's friend and former teammate Ro-Shaun Williams, now at League One Shrewsbury Town, was also training at Moss Lane.

The forward hasn't played since January 15 after suffering a double stress fracture to his back, but he has stepped up his return to fitness in recent weeks and is set to play a part if the Premier League season resumes. Rashford has been at Carrington twice a week over the last fortnight to undergo additional treatment on his back".

VANARAMA NATIONAL LEAGUE NORTH NEWS

"Seven Spennymoor Town players have agreed new contracts with the club, ready for the 2020/21 season.

Jason Ainsley, the Management Team, the Chief Executive and the Managing Director met recently to agree the direction for the playing squad for next season and have now set about implementing their strategy.

That began with seven of last season’s squad agreeing new deals over the course of the last week, with further work ongoing. The squad eventually finished last season sixth in the National League North, which would have been enough to clinch a spot in the play-offs had the global coronavirus pandemic not stepped in to bring an early end to the campaign.

New deals agreed: Robert Ramshaw, Carl Magnay Mark Anderson James Curtis Jamie Chandler Nathan Buddle Ben Mckenna.

Top scorer Glen Taylor and winger Ryan Hall are under contract with the club for at least another 12 months until May 2021 and will automatically be part of the squad for 2020/21.

Jason Ainsley was quick to praise the players’ decision making and look forward to the next campaign. He said 'We’ve got a great group of lads at this football club and a special atmosphere in the changing room. The players signing new contracts so quickly shows how enjoyable the environment is for a footballer to be here.

'Whenever the new season starts, we have individuals who possess the quality, the commitment and the application to achieve something already within this group of players. We will be ready and I can’t wait to see what we can accomplish. There is a lot more work to be done on the squad over the coming days and weeks to build a team that will thrill the supporters and deliver an enjoyable and competitive season.'”

Elsewhere, Bradford (Park Avenue) who seemed to have been reprieved from virtually certain relegation "announce that we have secured the signing of Dan Atkinson for the 20/21 season. The 24 year old goalkeeper began his development at the Leeds United Academy, where he made appearances for England U16s and England U17s, before moving to Guiseley. At Guiseley Dan played under our current management duo of Mark and Danny and made 18 appearances for Guiseley in the National League, challenging Steven Drench for the number 1 jersey during his 2 seasons with the club.

Dan Atkinson said, 'I am really excited to be joining BPA and joining back up and playing under Mark and Danny. I really enjoyed my time playing under them and I am looking forward to the brand of football that they want to play here'...

Mark Bower stated, 'He is a modern, young goalkeeper with bags of potential, but also good experience having played a number of games at National league level. Having worked with him in the past, I know Dan will compliment the team well with his goalkeeping qualities and confidence with the ball at his feet'".


18 May 2020

RASHFORD TRAINS AT ALTRINCHAM

According to the Manchester Evening News, "Marcus Rashford trained with a member of Manchester United staff at Altrincham's Moss Lane ground on Sunday ahead of his return to Carrington next week.

Rashford took part in ball work at the non-league ground before heading to Carrington to check-in to United's training facility and undergo a COVID-19 test, with the squad set to return to training there early next week in small groups. Rashford's friend and former teammate Ro-Shaun Williams, now at League One Shrewsbury Town, was also training at Moss Lane.

The forward hasn't played since January 15 after suffering a double stress fracture to his back, but he has stepped up his return to fitness in recent weeks and is set to play a part if the Premier League season resumes. Rashford has been at Carrington twice a week over the last fortnight to undergo additional treatment on his back".

ON THIS DAY: 18 May

Below is a selection of news items which appeared on this website on today's date, 18 May, in previous years:

VANARAMA NATIONAL LEAGUE NORTH NEWS

Norfolk's Pink'un reports that "Young midfielder Alfie Payne has revealed he will be leaving Norwich City when his contract expires this summer, having spent the season on loan in non-league at King’s Lynn Town.

The 20-year-old is a Canaries fan, born in Norwich, who used to be a season ticket holder at Carrow Road... He subsequently signed a professional deal... but didn’t make a senior appearance.

'After 12 years with the club this chapter of my life has come to an end,' Payne wrote on Instagram...

Payne scored three goals in 25 games as Lynn chased promotion from National League North although 11 of those appearances were from the bench, with the Linnets still waiting to hear how the final table will be settled".

At Farsley Celtic "After three seasons at Farsley, Nathan Cartman is set to leave the club this summer.

The ex-Harrogate Railway man initially joined the Celt Army on loan from Darlington in 2017, before making the move permanent in the same year.

Cartman was an integral part of the squad in each of the last three seasons, scoring 45 goals in 128 appearances, including 18 goals in our 2018/19 title winning campaign. The forward was a favourite with the Farsley supporters and in the dressing room, and alongside his goalscoring exploits was known for his creative play and outstanding work rate.

In our first season back at step two, Cartman made 37 appearances in total, 14 of which were from the bench, scoring eight goals...

Farsley Celtic Manager Adam Lakeland commented 'It’s always a sad day to see such a popular player leave your football club. Carts has been superb for us, particularly in his first two seasons. He scored on his ‘loan’ debut against Coalville in my first game at the club and then when we sold [ex-Alty striker] James Walshaw to Scarborough we brought Carts back permanently and he scored again on his ‘official’ debut away at Stafford, which is still one of my favourite goals so far as Farsley Celtic manager.

'The biggest compliment I can give him is that when he came in, he improved us as a team. We had to change the way we played when he came in permanently, but we improved as a team, made the playoffs, and the following season he was equally superb when we won promotion. Above all he is a great person, honest, humble and hardworking... He will have clubs lining up for his services I’m sure.'

Nathan Cartman also gave his thoughts on his departure, saying... 'I’ve had three unbelievable seasons, reaching the playoffs in the first year, going one better by winning the league in the second season, and then consolidating our status in the National League North this season...

'I have decided to move on for a new challenge, the people who know me will know I just want to play football week in, week out. I want to earn the contract given to me by playing games regularly, so that means it’s time move on'".



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Alty Files Website Index

The following pages, which initially replicate those pages with the same web addresses which formed part of the official Club website, will be re-branded from 2018 as part of this new unofficial Alty Files site.

A/Z Site Index to The Alty Files at www.altrinchamfc.co.uk