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2 to 11 February, 2003

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11 February 2003

MIDWEEK GAMES

Tuesday, 11th
  • Premier Division: Blyth S. 2 Whitby T. 3
  • FAT 4: Worksop T. 2 Hayes 3
  • FAT 4 replay: Vauxhall M. 0 Windsor & Eton 3

    RECORD EQUALLED

    Saturday's 4-7 score between Burton and Telford equalled the Conference record aggregate of 11 goals in a game, which Altrincham hold. In fact, Altrincham have twice been involved in 11-goal games in the Conference - 7-4 v Nuneaton in 1985/86 and 9-2 v Merthyr Tydfil in 1990/91.

    UNITED RESERVES

    Man. Utd Reserves lost 0-2 to Liverpool Res. at Moss Lane last night. Both goals came from Neil Mellor in the first half, though United did strike the woodwork twice in that period. Neil is the son of Ian Mellor, the former Manchester City player, who lives in Altrincham, in Grove Lane, Timperley. Also in the Liverpool side were keeper Pegguy Arphexad, Djimi Traore, Igor Biscan, Markus Babbel and Bruno Cheyrou.

    CROWDS

    The updated UniBond attendance chart is here, thanks to Terry Rowley. More than 10,000 spectators have now watched Alty home games this season.

    NEXT AND LAST OPPONENTS

    IC Newcastle has a brief match report of last Saturday's win over Blyth but also refers to our next opponents' (Gateshead), as follows. "Gateshead boss Derek Bell heaved a sigh of relief today and declared: 'I reckon we are now safe from relegation'. The Tynesiders, in grave danger when Bell took over only a few months ago, are now 13 points clear of the play-off zone... Bell insisted: 'We will win more games than we lose. It is now a question of seeing how far we can go up the Premier Division of the Unibond League'. He was talking after a 'gutsy and thoroughly professional performance' brought a 1-0 win at Gainsborough, where goalkeeper Jon Kennedy saved a last-minute penalty...Paul Thompson scored in the 52nd minute to take Gateshead's record to five wins in seven league matches". By comparison, Alty have lost just one of their last 10 league games, so it will be a clash of in-form teams.

    Blyth's Glen Robson, sent off four times this season (including against Alty at Croft Park) and also booked at Moss Lane on Saturday, has now been suspended for four games. Blyth's FA Cup team from 25 years ago, who reached a 5th Round replay, will be reunited at St James Park, where they will watch Newcastle v. Chelsea on 1st March.


    10 February 2003

    ALTRINCHAM 3 BLYTH SPARTANS 2

    Match report here.

    YOUTH TABLE

    Alty Youth play in the NWYA Premier Division and their updated league table, as at 8 February, is in the Youth section of this site.

    GATESHEAD

    Alty play at Gateshead on 15 February and all of the Robins' previous games on that calendar date are recorded here.

    Altrincham won the home fixture against Gateshead this season, 4-0, but the return match is likely to be a much more closely contested affair, as the informative Gateshead unofficial website indicates: "Gateshead have moved up the table to 16th now after their good start to the year... With most of the players playing their best at the minute, spirits are high. The defensive partnership of Ben Cattanach and Rob Jones is looking good, especially with Jon Kennedy in goal, who has kept three clean sheets in his seven appearances. The addition of Michael Dickinson to the squad permenantly [after being on loan from Carlisle] has to be a good thing. Paul Thompson scoring from midfield once more and Gareth McAlindon captaining the side makes the team look solid. And I haven't mentioned Dave Colvin on the left wing yet! Gateshead will have to play at their best over the next three matches and hope to get the best results possible. It's going to be tough but we all have faith in everyone at the club again, which hasn't been there for a while". Before they meet us, Gateshead have a League Cup game at home to Alfreton this Wednesday.

    Pictured above, Peter Band goes topless to celebrate his goal on his Alty debut against Gateshead on August Bank Holiday Monday. Peter will be suspended for this Saturday's return fixture.

    BUCKET

    SAFE collected an excellent £111.05 in their half-time bucket collection on Saturday.

    OLD BOYS

    Former Alty centre-back Mark Sertori, now at Hyde, is making his presence felt according to the Hyde website. At the weekend they won 3-0 against Southport Reserves and compared with recent league defeats, "an obvious change was the amount of vocal inter player encouragement, something that has been missing for some time, with Mark Sertori being the main instigator". Chuku Otutu, a regular in last season's Alty Reserves has become yet another ex-Robin in Trafford's first team, where he was joined on Saturday by Ryan McMahon, Gareth Strange, Ryan Hevicon and substitute Paul Tilley, the former Alty Youth captain.
    9 February 2003

    DISCIPLINE

    The NLP has a feature on Blyth's fear that they will be hit for a £10,000 fine because of their poor disciplinary record this season. They have had 11 red and 39 yellow cards. The same article reveals that Alty are the next worst offenders in the Division with 6 reds and 43 yellows.

    CRANEY HONOUR

    In the Pink Alty boss Graham Heathcote says of Ian Craney's inclusion in the England semi-pro squad, "Ian fully deserves his international call-up, which is a testimony not only to his efforts but also to those of his team-mates here at Moss Lane over the last few months. I'm delighted for him...We'd never stand in the way of a player representing his country. It's both a matter of individual recognition and an honour".

    MONDAY AT MOSS LANE

    Tomorrow, (10th Feb.), Manchester United Reserves take on Liverpool Reserves in a league match, kick-off 7pm. As ever, if anyone can help as a steward or gatesperson for this fixture, the club would be grateful to hear from them on 0161 928-1045.

    OLD BOYS

    Former Alty players who scored yesterday included Neill Hardy and Dickie Landon (two) for Radcliffe Borough, Leroy Chambers for Droylsden and Jeremy Illingworth for Stocksbridge. Adam Farley and James Glendenning were with Chambers in the Bloods' side.

    NEW BOOK

    The Ultimate Book of Non-League Players 2002-03 by Steve Whitney is a new 500 page directory comprising pen-pics of more than 8,000 non-league players. Published by Baltic, its ISBN is 0-9544091-0-8 and it costs £9.99. Baltic can be contacted on 0191-442-4001. The book is uptodate enough to include such as Adewale Ajetunmobi as an Alty player.

    Alty's Steve Lunt and Stephen Rose will be pleased to read in the book that their Christian name is the "No 1 most popular name for a footballer today, [with] 6% of all the players in the book [being called Stephen, even though]... this name did not appear in the Top Ten of most popular names given to baby boys born in either 1974 or 1984". Not many people know that.


    8 February 2003

    ON THE ROAD

    Click the Away Travel link above for details of the SAFE supporters' coaches to Gateshead (15 Feb.) and Whitby Town (22nd Feb.).

    SATURDAY SCORES

    Alty are now 11th in the table. The Alty line-up is here and the season's statistics are here. Alty have now lost just 1 league game in their last 10. Results:
  • Accrington S. 3 Harrogate T. 2
  • ALTRINCHAM 3 Blyth S. 2
  • Barrow 2 Frickley A. 1
  • Bradford PA 1 Ashton U. 1
  • Droylsden 2 Colwyn Bay 1
  • Gainsborough T. 0 Gateshead 1
  • Lancaster C. 1 Hucknall T. 2
  • Stalybridge C. 1 Burscough 0
  • Whitby T. 1 Vauxhall M. 2
  • Worksop T. 2 Marine 1

    BLYTH SIGNING

    Blyth Spartans yesterday signed Whitley Bay midfielder Gary Innes and he is expected to figure in today's game at Altrincham. However, Spartans' manager, Paul Baker has failed to persuade Ian Bogie to leave Bedlington for Croft Park. Spartans have Tony Skedd available again following the completion of a ban. For news of Alty's squad, see below (5 Feb. news).

    STRANGE MOVES

    Gareth Strange, who played 10(+2) games for Altrincham last season, has moved from Atherton LR to join a larger number of ex-Alty players at Trafford.

    SUPPORTER SURVEY

    On Saturday 8th February, STAR, the Altrincham Supporters' Trust will be conducting a survey of supporters before the game against Blyth Spartans. The survey will take the form of a questionnaire which will be distributed after entry at each turnstile, and it will seek supporters' views on a wide variety of interesting and important issues involving the Club. The survey has the backing of the Club and will provide very useful information for both the Club and the Trust to allow them to plan for the future with a substantial survey of supporters' views in mind. Also being distributed will be a form which asks supporters to record their name and address details if they wish to receive further information about STAR, the Supporters' Trust. STAR will then be able to contact you directly with details of membership and of the official Launch of the Trust, which is set for 2pm at the Cresta Court Hotel on Sunday 9th March.

    We would encourage all supporters to complete the survey and fill in their contact details on the STAR form, and return the forms to the collection boxes provided. For those supporters who are unable to attend the game but would like to receive and complete the survey, please send your contact details to Jon Stack.

    The STAR Constitution is now on Alan Johnson's website.

    UNIBOND NEWS

    Burscough have signed young striker Mark Byrne from Stockport County where he played five League games for the first-team. Gateshead, whom we meet next week, report that "manager Derek Bell expects striker Michael Dickinson to sign a contract" with the club after a loan spell from Carlisle. Wakefield and Emley have had to postpone their UniBond League clash with Runcorn today as Wakefield Trinity are using the stadium for a televised rugby match instead. The Tameside Advertiser confirms that Dave Pace is no longer involved in a bid for Tranmere Rovers. Pace said: "We put a bid in, but heard no answer back from them". Press reports say that "Gainsborough Trinity are due to hold talks with the local council in an attempt to improve training facilities in the town. Boss Phil Stant, chairman John Reames and secretary Frank Nicholson are hoping their discussions with members of West Lindsey District council will help improve floodlit pitches in the area. The club has decided to act because, due to the lack of facilities, Trinity's part-time players are being forced to use the Northolme as a training base. As a result, the pitch resembles a ploughed field". Manager Phil Stant will play all three of his new signings today; Gareth Grant, and Lincoln City duo Mark Camm (on loan) and goalkeeper Paul Pettinger. Hucknall manager Phil Starbuck, who feared his career had been ended by a ligament injury, is set to return before the end of the season. Hucknall Today also reports that "new signing Roger Willis (35)... has decided to retire from the game after only one appearance in a Town shirt. The former Barnet, Southend United and Birmingham City frontman joined the club last month after being released last summer by Chesterfield to end a Football League career of 320 appearances and 54 goals. But he has been plagued by a back-injury and was also devastated by the death of his grandfather three weeks ago". Hucknall's Tony Battersby (27) has signed for Rushden and Diamonds. Whitby striker Stefan Zoll, who reportedly moved to Goole Town a few days ago, has now signed for Farsley Celtic.
    7 February 2003

    UNIBOND CUP DRAWS

    The games are on 8 March:

    Challenge Cup

  • Gateshead or Alfreton T. v Rossendale U.
  • Ossett Town v Marine
    President's Cup
  • Runcorn FC Halton v Stalybridge C.
  • Ashton U. v Wakefield & Emley or Kidsgrove A.
    Chairman's Cup
  • Droylsden or Witton A. v Bamber B. or Kendal T.
  • Hucknall T. v Blyth S.

    UNIBOND NEWS

    Colwyn Bay report that ex-Alty striker "Carl Furlong will return from his four match ban next Saturday...at home to Frickley Athletic". Worksop have gained permission to add a floor to their clubhouse; work starts on 28 April. Gainsborough have allowed both Danny Sloane and Anthony Tansley to return to Sheffield United after a loan spell during which neither has established himself in the team. However, Trinity are signing Paul Pettinger, a goalkeeper from Lincoln City. Gainsborough are also giving a trial to Bradford City's Gareth Grant, a midfielder and have signed Antony Elding, a young striker,on a month's loan from Boston United, with a view to a permanent move. Trinity's John Reed is expected to join old Matlock Town on a month's loan.

    At Barrow's AGM, on Thursday it was announced that the Club had made a profit of £22,493 in their last financial year after a loss of £16,282 in the previous year. There are plans to improve the Holker Street ground but this cannot start until the club are out of liquidation, when grants can be sought. Blyth Spartans manager Paul Baker "has fined a number of players for disciplinary issues" according to the minutes of the club's latest management meeting. Burscough are launching a "Friends of Burscough AFC" group. Andrew Windross has joined Whitby Town from Guisborough Town.

    ALTY MOVE UP

    Despite not playing a league match recently, Altrincham have moved up to 3rd in the UniBond Premier form guide, based on the last 8 games. Top are Stalybridge, followed by Barrow.

    CRANEY CALL-UP

    Further to yesterday's news that Ian Craney had been called up to the England national semi-professional squad of 16 for their game at Ostend in Belgium next Tuesday, one of the other squad members will be ex-Alty goalkeeper, Lance Key, now at Kingstonian. The squad is entirely from outside the Conference as clubs in that division have not been permitted to release their players. Manager Paul Fairclough said, "The players now have a fantastic opportunity to not only represent their country and wear the Three Lions, but also potentially put themselves in the frame for the Four Nations Tournament in May which last year attracted many league scouts". The only other UniBond player involved is Runcorn's Mike Tomlinson. Alty fans will also recognise another name in the squad - Fiston Manuella, Aylesbury's goalscorer against us last Saturday.
    6 February 2003

    CRANEY FOR ENGLAND

    Ian Craney, Alty's 20 year-old midfielder, along with Runcorn FC Halton’s Mike Tomlinson, has been called up to play for the England National Game Board squad (effectively the international semi-professional side) to take on Belgium next week.

    UNITED GAMES

    416 hardy souls braved the icy weather at Moss Lane last night to see Manchester United beat Sheffield United 4-3 on penalties (when the match ended at 1-1 after extra time) to reach the 6th Round Proper of the FA Youth Cup. They now have a home tie against the winners of the match between Tranmere and Port Vale. This home tie will be played at Moss Lane, but no date has yet been fixed.

    UNIBOND NEWS

    Bradford report that young midfielder Phil Lindley has gone on a month's loan to Frickley Athletic. Gateshead striker Michael Dickinson, who was on loan from Carlisle United, has agreed to sign a contract that will keep him at the International Stadium at least until the end of the season. The Gateshead chairman said "Things are certainly looking a lot brighter for us than they were a few months ago."
    5 February 2003

    TONIGHT'S MATCH

    Tonight's FA Youth Cup match between Manchester United Youth and Sheffield United Youth, which is being played at Moss Lane, is definitely ON. Kick-off is at 7p.m.

    PHYSIO REPORT

    After picking up injuries on Saturday against Aylesbury, both Barry Shuttleworth and Gary Scott have a "good chance" of playing against Blyth Spartans this coming Saturday (8th Feb.), according to manager Graham Heathcote. Danny Murphy, however, is definitely out and Rod Thornley is "struggling" and may need a further 7 days before returning. Long-term absentee Neil Ryan is now hopeful of being fit to play against Gateshead on the 15th.

    OUR NEXT OPPONENTS

    Blyth Spartans, whom we meet on Saturday, are expecting to be fined £10,000 by the FA for their poor disciplinary record. According to IC Newcastle, "Spartans have already been told that they would have to find £5,000 if their poor disciplinary record did not improve. But that is now in line to be doubled following the dismissal of striker Glen Robson who was booked twice near the end of Saturday's 1-0 home win over Unibond League Premier Division rival Lancaster". Alty fans will remember that Robson was also sent off against Alty at Croft Park on 31 August. Manager Paul Baker said: "I'll be calling Robson in for a real dressing down. The players are well aware of the fact that our potential fine could be doubled, leaving us with a bill of £10,000. It is clearly an extremely worrying situation for everybody at the club". In fact, Blyth have had 11 players sent off this season but Altrincham are the second worst offenders with six players dismissed this season. The Spartans will be without winger Steve Stewart at Altrincham on Saturday as he is suspended.

    Pictured, right, Andy McDonald in action at Blyth in August, with Andy Tunnicliffe and Chris Young looking on.

    UNIBOND NEWS

    Hucknall's former Notts County striker Tony Battersby "is unlikely to become a permanent signing despite turning out for Hucknall Town last Saturday. Battersby (27) was snapped up by Town... only days after being released by Third Division Boston United... However, Battersby was training with Third Division high-fliers Rushden and Diamonds this week with a view to signing for them", says Hucknall Today. Hucknall also hoped to sign Stocksbridge Park Steels' 19-year-old striker James Tevendale but there are "rumours that he is to join another, unnamed, club".
    4 February 2003

    UNIBOND TEAMS' RESULTS

  • FAT 4: Windsor & Eton 1 Vauxhall M. 1
  • Worksop T. v Hayes OFF
  • FAT 4 Replays: Burscough 2 Alfreton T. 0
  • Hendon 0 Wakefield & Emley 1 AET
  • UniBond Premier: Whitby T. v Barrow OFF

    CALLING FORMER PLAYERS & OFFICIALS

    If you are a former player, manager or official of Altrincham FC, then STAR, the Altrincham Supporters' Trust, would dearly like to contact you to invite you to the Launch of the Trust on Sunday 9th March at 2pm, (doors open 1pm). This will be at the Cresta Court Hotel in Altrincham. If you would like STAR to get in touch with you, please e-mail your name, address and contact details to Jon Stack.

    GOODWIN ON BOX

    Alty chairman Geoff Goodwin featured on BBC TV's NW Tonight programme last night in a feature on non-league football. He was interviewed about his curious dual role as Club Chairman and Altrincham FC team-bus driver. He was filmed behind the wheel, with several players on board, outside Moss Lane. Geoff, the owner of Go Goodwins Coaches, told the interviewer that he has instructed the Alty players not to pass adverse comments about his driving as he, for his part, has to put up with watching them playing football!

    ELLENDER STILL OUT

    Paul Ellender, the former Alty centre-back, is nearly fit again at Boston United after suffering medial ligament damage in November.

    UNIBOND NEWS

    Hyde have extended the loan of Stephen Gunby from Bury for a further month. Lancaster City have allowed Graeme Atkinson to join Tamworth, league leaders in the Dr Martens League. Junior Bent's work commitments have led to his release by the Dolly Blues, whilst Phil Brown has gone on loan to Bamber Bridge. Gateshead, whom we meet on 15 February, are re-signing former Newcastle United full-back John Watson but midfielder Lewis Tait is out for some time with medial ligament damage incurred last Saturday. Whitby have lost their French striker Stefan Zoll to Goole Town, following a 15% wage cut at Whitby. Whitby's fundraising events include a concert by pop group Showaddywaddy. Harrogate Town's Dylan Kerr, previously at Gateshead, has moved to East Stirling after scoring twice in a trial game against QPR at Hampden Park. Arriving at Harrogate on loan is Eastwood Town's Marc Smith and midfielder Michael Ord has returned to the club from a spell playing in Perth, Australia.
    3 February 2003

    TROPHY DRAW

    Alty's victors on Saturday, Aylesbury, have a home tie in the FAT5 draw:
  • Scarborough/Dover A. v Forest Green R.
  • Margate v Tamworth
  • Farnborough T. v Halifax T.
  • Yeovil T v Northwich Victoria
  • Aylesbury U. v Windsor & Eton/Vauxhall M.
  • Gloucester C./Woking v Dagenham & Redbridge/Southport
  • Alfreton T./Burscough v Wakefield & Emley/Hendon
  • Havant & Waterlooville v Worksop T./Hayes

    ALTRINCHAM 0 AYLESBURY UTD 1

    Match report here.

    Above: Chris Adams clears from Kezie Ibe in Saturday's game.

    YOUTH SNOWED OFF!

    Hail and snow, blown on an icy, strong wind forced the abandonment of Alty Youth's game on Sunday afternoon. An illustrated report on the 56 minutes of play against league leaders Kingsley United is on the Youth Page. Seen above, is Kingsley's goal, scored after 4 minutes. The Alty side last played a full game on 15 December, so will have had at least an 8-week weather-enforced break if they manage to play next Sunday!

    STAR MEETING

    A brief report of Saturday's STAR (Supporters' Trust) meeting is here.

    FINAL AT MOSS LANE

    The Cheshire Senior Cup Final will be staged at Moss Lane this year. It will take place on 25 March and will be between Northwich Victoria and the winners of the Crewe v Tranmere semi-final. Crewe were the side who knocked Alty out of the competition this season.

    WELL DONE

    Congratulations and thanks are due to the SAFE bucket collectors and the donors who have now raised £2,172 pounds for the Club with their half-time collections.

    OLD BOYS

    Trafford FC , on Saturday, had 7 players in their 14-man first-team squad who had been at Altrincham in the last two years. They were keeper Ryan McMahon, former Youth teamers Ian Taylor, Lee Shillito, Mario Daniel and Paul Tilley, and strikers Anthony Hargreaves and Ryan Hevicon.

    UNIBOND NEWS

    Gainsborough have applied for a grant from the Football Stadia Improvement Fund "for major renovations to the playing surface at Northolme. The major proposed works will include significant improvements to the drainage of the pitch and the installation of an irrigation system to assist the summer grass growth". Trinity's loaned keeper Ben Scott has returned to Sheffield United but a replacement is to be signed soon. Phil Brown has moved from Lancaster City to Bamber Bridge.
    2 February 2003

    SPONSOR

    You will note that the sponsor of the "altrinchamfc.com" domain name used by this site has changed as is reflected in the new banner ad, at the top of this page. AardvarkSport.net replaces the Dedicated Partnership as the sponsor but it is still Paul Johnson, a longtime Altrincham fan, to whom I am grateful for the domain name. Please click on the link here or above and explore the Aardvark sports search-engine site.

    GOAL RUSH

    The fundraising Goal Rush competition is to be run again during March; the prize is £100. So please sign up as soon as possible and by 1 March at the latest - details are here. All proceeds are for the benefit of the Club.

    UNIBOND NEWS

    The UniBond site reports that "Whitby Town are the latest UniBond League club to feel the financial squeeze being suffered by many clubs at an even higher level of the game. Whitby’s players, however, have rallied to the club’s cause and have unanimously agreed to take a 15% pay cut. Chairman Graham Manser said "On behalf of the club I would like to thank the players for this gesture. They are a good squad and nice lads. We are all pulling as one".

    Transfers:

  • Richard Byrne (Lincoln C. to Worksop T.)
  • Neil Critchley (Hyde U. to Trafford)
  • Michael Ord Sorrento (Australia to Harrogate T.)
  • Martin Regan (Farsley C. to Frickley A.)
  • Marc Smith (Eastwood T. to Harrogate T. on loan)

    OLD BOYS

    Mike Pollitt, Rotherham's ex-Alty keeper was sent off yesterday whilst Kevin Ellison laid on a goal for Stockport for the second week running. Neill Hardy netted for Radcliffe Borough. The Pink has an article on Phil Wilson, who recently left Southport's manager's job; it refers to his career which included playing at Altrincham. Mike Turner scored a hat-trick for Salford City, whilst Stuart Terry played for Connah's Quay. Rico Richards has moved to Trafford from Flixton. Adam Farley, James Glendenning and Leroy Chambers all played in Droylsden's win yesterday. Tony Hemmings was sent off for Ilkeston yesterday whilst both Dave Swanick and debutant Mark Sertori played for Hyde. Chris Timons was allegedly at fault for one of the goals scored by Forest Green against Gainsborough.

    CONFERENCE

    Despite the FA deferring the plans for new Conference feeder leagues, the Conference has written to the 63 clubs which expressed an interest asking for a £1,000 payment as a statement of intent.