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 Altrincham Football Club 
Players of 1983-84


Based on profiles in Frickley Athletic v Altrincham programme, 19 November 1983.


  • TONY SANDERS (MANAGER). Has led the Club through the most successful period in its 80 year history since joining Altrincham on a full time basis in March 1976. Under his guidance the 'Robins' have twice been to Wembley in the F.A. Challenge Trophy, winning in 1978 and losing there in 1982 and were Northern Premier League runners up in 1979, before winning the Alliance Premier League Championship in both 1980 and 1981.

    Further success for Sanders and his team has come in the Alliance Premier League Cup in which Altrincham were Finalists in 1980 and Winners in 1981, as well as in the F.A. Cup where the 'Robins' reached the Third Round Proper in a record four successive seasons between 1979 and 1982 and have a host of Football League Clubs among their victims.

    Sanders began his managerial career with a season at New Brighton in 1968 and has been a fully qualified F.A. coach since 1969. He joined Skelmersd,ale United as Assistant Manager and helped them to an F.A. Amateur Cup victory at Wembley in 1971. He became Altrincham's Assistant Manager the following season but then went to Iceland to spend two years as Manager of First Division side, Vikinghur and joined Bangor City as Assistant Manager before returning to Moss Lane.

  • STANLEY ALLAN (DEFENDER AND PLAYER COACH). A former captain of the Club who joined Altrincham from Skelmersdale United in 1972 after starting his career with Kirkby Town. Allan has won both an F.A. Amateur Cup winner's medal, for Skelmersdale United v Dagenham in 1971 and an F.A. Trophy winner's medal, for Altrincham v Leatherhead in 1978 and is one of only three players to hold both medals. He took up a new player-coach role during the last close season.
  • GARETH SMITH (GOALKEEPER). A 21 year old local player who spent four years with Manchester United where he had reached the Central League side before chosing to join his home town club during 1981-1982 season. He took over in the Altrincham first team in February last season and quickly made a good impression.
  • DAVID CONSTANTINE (FULL BACK). Began his career in the Cheshire League with Hyde United before moving into the Football League with Bury who paid 6,500 for his services. He made 70 League appearances, scoring twice, whilst at Gigg Lane before joining Altrincham on a free transfer in the summer of 1982.
  • RODGER KENYON (CENTRAL DEFENDER). Blackpool born Kenyon made his name with Everton where he made 267 First Division appearances, scoring six goals, before moving on for a successful spell in American football with Vancouver Whitecaps. He had a short spell with his home club on returing to this Country, before joining the 'Robins' in October 1982 and soon taking over as team captain.
  • PAUL CUDDY (DEFENDER). A 24 year old who joined Altrincham from Chorley in October 1981. He played for a number of Lancashire clubs before joining Rochdale where he stayed for two years, making one Fourth Division appearance and then moving on to Huddersfield Town and Bolton Wanderers. He spent two and a half seasons with Chorley in the Cheshire League and then rapidly established himself in the Altrincham defence after making his debut in February 1982 and went on to star at Wembley later that season.
  • PHIL GARDNER (MIDFIELD). A 21 year old Liverpool born player who is now in his 4th year at Liverpool University. He joined Everton from school and played in their youth and 'A' teams before joining Altrincham in October 1981 and quickly gaining a First Team place. His first goal for the Club came in the 1981-1982 Cheshire Senior Cup final against Runcorn and proved to be the matchwinner.
  • JOHN DAVISON (FULL BACK OR MIDFIELD). Has now played for the England Semi Professional International team at left back on 14 occasions, scoring 4 goals, neither of which total has been beaten by any other player in the five year history ofrepresentative soccer at this level. Davison first joined the 'Robins' from Burnley in the 1971-1972 season and had a short spell with Bangor City five years later before returning to Moss Lane. He also played representative football for the British Universities and the Northern Premier League.
  • PAUL CRUICKSHANK (MIDFIELD). Oldham born Cruickshank began his career with Blackpool but never broke into their first team before joining Bury where he made his Football League debut during the 1979-1980 season. He had made more than 80 league appearances before he broke a leg in November oflast season, an injury that prevented him from playing again before he joined Altrincham in the last close season.
  • PHIL DERBYSHIRE (MIDFIELD). A 24 year old midfield player who made a big impression in the Northern Premier League with Mossley in recent years. His pace and skill impressed England Semi Professional International Team Manager, Keith Wright, enough for Derbyshire to be the only Northern PremIer League player to be included in the England squad for last summer's Four Nations Tournament in which he made his International debut as substitute against Scotland. Joined Altrincham later in the close season.
  • GRAHAM HEATHCOTE (MIDFIELD). A talented and creative midfield player with an eye for the spectacular goal who has regularly finished high in the Club's scoring charts. He first joined Altrincham as a 16 year old and has been at Moss Lane for twelve years apart from a short spell at neighbouring Northwich Victoria in 1976.
  • JEFF JOHNSON (MIDFIELD OR STRIKER). Johnson joined Altrincham from Hyde United in 1976 after playing Fourth Division football for Stockport County earlier that year. Originally a striker he moved into a midfield role in the 1979-1980 season and the change proved so successful that he has represented England in the last three International Semi Professional Touraments. Johnson was chosen as Altrincham's 'Player of the Year' by supporters' in both 1977-1978 and 1979-1980 and has now made nine International appearances, scoring twice.
  • DON PAGE (STRIKER). A pacy teenage striker who was spotted in the Altrincham Sunday League and went on to play in the Altrincham reserve side last season. He played in the closing three Alliance Premier League games of the campaign, scoring once, when his impressive displays earned him a place in the First Team squad.
  • LEO SKEETE (STRIKER). A prolific marksman throughout his career which started in the Cheshire League with Ellesmere Port Town and Burscough before he moved into the Football League with Rochdale where he scored 13 goals in 40 appearances. In January 1975 Skeete joined Mossley and broke the Club's post war scoring record with 45 goals in 1976-1977. Twice Mossley's 'Player ofthe Year', he skippered the side in the 1979-1980 F.A. Trophy final and was a member of their two Northern Premier League Championship winning sides. Joined Runcorn early in 1982 in time to play an important role in their run-in to the Alliance Premier League Championship. Joined Altrincham in the 1983 close season.
  • RONALD ELLIS (STRIKER). Began his career in the Cheshire County League with Burscough and then Winsford United before moving into the Alliance with Runcorn. EIlis signed for the 'Robins' towards the end of last season and an impresive series of displays earned him a permanent place in the 'Robins' squad.
  • GRAHAM BENNETT (STRIKER). Cardiff born Bennett broke the Northern Premier League's individual scoring record with 41 goals, plus 12 in other competitions in 1981-1982 when playing for Bangor City who comfortably clinched the League title. He joined the 'Robins' in the following close season after starting his career in the Southern League with Barry Town and then moving on to Bridgend Town where he scored 92 goals in 3 and a half seasons and won a Southern League Division One North Championship medal. He finished last season as the 'Robins' top scorer with 21 goals in 34 full appearances.


    Since its formation in 1903, Altrincham Football Club has been a founder member of the Cheshire County League in 1919, the Northern Premier League in 1968 and the Alliance Premier League in 1979.

    Successes in each of the Cheshire League Cup, (1933 and 1951)and in the Cheshire Senior Cup, (1906 and 1935) were the only honours the club had to show by the early 1960's, although the 1930's was a prosperous period at Moss Lane, with only goal average denying them a first ever Cheshire League Championship in 1935 when they were pipped by Wigan Athletic.

    However by 1961 the closure of the Club seemed imminent after they had slumped to 21st place in the Cheshire League. At this time local businessmen Noel White and Peter Swales moved in to revitalise the Club. Altrincham successfully applied for re-election to the Cheshire League and quickly revived local interest in the team by signing star names such as Irish International Paddy Fagan, who was player manager, English Internationals Ernie Taylor and Tommy Banks.

    Ian Greaves from Manchester United, who later went on to a successful career in Football League management and former England goalkeeper Colin McDonald were two more well known figures to join the Moss Lane set-up.

    Success on the playing field was not immediate but soon followed with the appointment as manager of Freddie Pye, later a Director of the' Robins', and chairman of both Wigan Athletic and Stockport County and now a Director of Manchester City. The Cheshire League Cup was won in 1964 and the 'Robins' took their first ever Cheshire League Championship in 1966 with a record 73 points and only two defeats in 42 games. In the same season striker Jackie Swindells scored an amazing 82 goals in League and Cup games and Altrincham played through the F.A. Cup qualifying rounds to reach the Third Round Proper for the first time where they lost 0-5 at Molineaux against Wolverhampton Wanderers.

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