Altrincham Football Club News Archive
10 to 18 May 2003

18 May 2003


Congratulations to our UniBond rivals Burscough, who beat Tamworth 2-1 today to lift the FA Trophy.


A very successful Altrincham Youth Team presentation night was held last night in a packed Noel White Suite at Moss Lane. Above, Youth Team manager George Heslop, coach Neil Thomason, club chairman Geoff Goodwin and Youth team captain Paul Glynn pose with the Cheshire FA Youth District Cup won by the Altrincham & District FA side which was entirely made up of Altrincham FC players. A fuller report of this event is on the Youth Page.


Altrincham's pre-season friendlies will give fans a chance to see a wide range of opposition. The visitors to Moss Lane will include a Manchester United team (on 19 July), whilst other home fixtures will include games against Blackburn Rovers, Crewe Alexandra and Chester City. It is also hoped to have a match against Bradford City who, like Alty, celebrate their centenary in 2003-04. Don't forget you can see the friendly games free if you buy a 2003-04 season ticket; details above.

There will also be away games at Woodley Sports, Cammell Laird and Mossley, with a possible further game at St Helens Town. Dates for all of the pre-season matches should be announced next week and will appear here.

Whilst our League visitors may be familiar, our non-league opposition may be less so. Woodley Sports (near Stockport), of the NW Counties League, are now managed by Tony Hancock, who till recently managed Abbey Hey, who have been pre-season opponents of Alty in recent years. Alty beat Woodley 8-1 in the CSC two years ago, with Lee Poland hitting four before he moved onto another possible pre-season opponent, St Helens Town. Mossley are another NWCL side and they knocked us out of the FA Cup in 2000-01 and were the club from whom we signed Danny Murphy. Cammell Laird, based at Rock Ferry, Birkenhead, finished 3rd in the West Cheshire League last season and were the club where Carl Furlong first made a mark. Chester City, from the Conference, hope to have signed former Alty striker Mark Quayle by the start of 2003-04.


The Pink's review of last season says of Alty: "At one stage relegation beckoned but back came Graham Heathcote to steady the ship and steer her to calmer waters". For next season it says, the pros for Alty include "the unity which has returned to Moss Lane", whilst the cons are "the ongoing cash problems". It describes the future as "positive, providing the work already put in to stabilize the club can be continued".


Droylsden have offered Chester City £20,000 for Jimmy Kelly and Dave Cameron, though both players are also being sought by Accrington and Hereford respectively.


Graham Barrow is being linked with the managerial vacancy at Shrewsbury Town, now in the Conference. The Pink's review of last season gives "aggressive winger" Kevin Ellison (Stockport) 6 out of 10. Danny Adams (Macclesfield) also rates a six out of ten. Danny is described as "a joy to watch on the ball......He makes up for his lolloping gait with intelligence and a bite in the tackle".
17 May 2003


According to the Gainsborough Trinity official site, ex-Alty striker Lee Ellington has "finally ended speculation surrounding his future at the Northolme by putting pen-to-paper on a new two-year contract. Indeed, Ellington has signed the original deal which he turned down last month for financial reasons". This is despite the club having no manager at present.

Southport report that they have signed striker Andy Whitaker (35) from Lancaster City. He follows his former manager Tony Hesketh to the Haig Avenue side.

Worksop Town have denied rumours that former League player, Don Goodman (now at Doncaster Rovers) has signed for the club. As at Moss Lane, Worksop manager Steve Ludlam has also confirmed "there will be no reserve side or under-19s next season". Amongst the reasons were "the standard of the pitches and leagues they were playing in. Cost also came into the equation, but it was felt overall the Club would fare well with an under-18s side". Worksop have made yet more signings, namely 37 year-old goalkeeper Ian Bowling and defender Mark Haran have who were both at Kettering Town, when Alty knocked them out of the Trophy last season. Haran turned down bids from Accrington Stanley and Gainsborough Trinity.


Back L to R: James Carty, Steve Lunt, Joel Ekolongeni, Michael Bailey, Barry George, Greg Byrne, Richard Harrison, Josh Collins, Alex Frost. Front: Stevie Taylor, Paul Nelson, Luke Killeen, Jon McEvoy, Paul Glynn, Adam Douthwaite, Mark Griffiths.

The Alty Youth Team Presentation Night will be at Moss Lane tonight (17 May) at 7.30pm. Entry is just £3 and includes a disco. Four members of the Youth squad played in the first team last season and first-team manager Graham Heathcote has already said that he will be giving youth a chance again next season.

16 May 2003


The Ormskirk Advertiser reveals that Burscough are "preparing for a 6pm departure tonight (Thursday) for a three night stay in the Midlands" before the FA Trophy Final on Sunday. "Burscough are believed to be on £500 a man to bring the silverware back to Victoria Park" says the report and the club "is already on a winner with around £16,000 collected from the FA Trophy pool and an estimated £10,000 from their share of the gate at Yeovil".

Lancaster Today reports that Lancaster City's leading scorer "Andy Whittaker, says he's been 'left in limbo' by the resignation of Lancaster City boss Tony Hesketh - and says he wouldn't rule out a return to Southport to link up with his former manager. The 31-goal marksman, who is out of contract at City, has urged Lancaster to replace Hesketh quickly so that he and other players can determine their futures. 'If Southport did call me then I would speak to them, I had some good times there and it would be tempting to go back'", said Whittaker. "I've always said I wanted to finish my career at Lancaster but I also want to go out all guns blazing", he added. "Ex-City skipper Kenny Mayers, now with Stalybridge Celtic, said this week he'd love to to try his hand at management, and would be seriously looking at the Giant Axe vacancy. 'I am interested, it would be great to go back to Lancaster but I'd need a few assurances about things like the pitch - it really wasn't very good when we played there a few weeks ago', said Mayers". The same paper says "In the running for the post is already at least one experienced ex-professional looking to make his first step into management and a successful Northern Premier League manager". Commercial manager Cora Patel added "The current financial position is better than it has been in years, we are in the black and the money is under control and we are not borrowing money to stay afloat".

This is Worksop says "The Worksop board have laid down their expectations for next season - a UniBond Premier Division title win. New signing Paul Sykes from Harrogate "feels Harrogate, Vauxhall Motors, Barrow and Stalybridge, who all finished inside the top six, will be the teams to challenge Worksop for the title next season".

15 May 2003


SAM has further information on the decision of all of the Altrincham squad to stay at Moss Lane for next season. "Some have said that they could get better offers elsewhere, and some have said they have been presented with better offers, but everyone is staying", manager Graham Heathcote told the paper. "'Budget-wise, things are still very tight and will continue to be, but the fact that everyone is going on the retained list is a massive shot in the arm, because stability is key to the progress we want to make'. Heathcote also confirmed that during the pre-season programme, the door to the senior squad would be open for the youth team, and he will be monitoring their progress. He also revealed that the club are looking at the possibility of farming out youth team players to North West Counties clubs, in order to play more regular football".


Graham Heathcote is actively arranging a number of pre-season friendlies and these are likely to include games with a number of League and even Premiership clubs. When confirmed, the dates and opposition will be listed here. One non-league team we have played for the last couple of pre-seasons, Abbey Hey, have just lost their manager, Tony Hancock, who has returned to Woodley Sports. Pictured right is Stephen Rose during the 1-1 draw at Abbey Hey on 20 July 2002.


Harrogate Town's season tickets will cost £125 for Adults, and £75 for Senior Citizens/Juniors and "admission prices will be going up again next season to £7 for Adults and £4 for Senior Citizens/Juniors. New for next season will be the Junior Hotspurs Club. Supporters under the age of 16 can join the club for just £25 and receive... admission to 22 UniBond Premier League Matches for just £1 per game" plus other benefits.


IC Cheshire reports that Chester City are "trying to sign striker Mark Quayle on a permanent basis". The same site has an interview with former Alty player Nigel Gleghorn, now boss of Nantwich Town. It also refers to ex-Alty youth striker "Wes Wilkinson, a Gleghorn recruit last summer, [who] finished top scorer with 20 goals in all competitions and has also attracted Nationwide League attention" from Crewe.


The NLP reports that "Newly-promoted ... Alfreton Town have made their first major capture of the close season with recently-departed Chesterfield manager Dave Rushbury joining the Reds as Director of Football".

UniBond champions Accrington Stanley hope to sign 36-year-old Burnley midfielder Paul Cook and at the Crown Ground "a company have been employed to level and re-seed the pitch ready for next season".

Promoted Spennymoor United won "the Non-League Award at the North-East Football Awards hosted by... Tyne Tees Television. Team captain and assistant manager Jason Ainsley ... was awarded Spennymoor's Supporters' Player of the Year, the club's Player of the Year, and the Players' Player of the Year awards".

Gateshead's chairman "has promised an increase in resources next season . He said: "The budget was relatively low last season, but the new one should enable us to compete at First Division level and next season is an extremely important one for the club".

14 May 2003


Altrincham FC season tickets for 2003/04 are now on sale. If you renew before 30 June there is no price increase. After that date, there is a small increase on adult tickets only. The reduced prices for children's tickets will apply again next season and a second child will get a free season ticket when an adult seat-ticket in the Blue Cannon Family Stand is bought. Season tickets remain great value for the club's 22 home league games plus pre-season friendlies. If you buy a season ticket before 30 June it will only cost you the equivalent of £4.77 (standing) and £5.68 (seated) per league game.

Full details and an application form are here.


Admission prices at Moss Lane for next season will be £7 for adults on the terraces and £8 for stand seats. Otherwise, prices for concessionaries and juniors are unaltered. This is the first rise in prices since we were in the Conference.

  • Turnstile Prices - Standing: Adults £7, Juniors and Concessionaries £4-50
  • Turnstile Prices - Sitting: Adults £8, Juniors and Concessionaries £5-50

    The "Kids Go Free" scheme, run in conjunction with the Sale & Altrincham Messenger is expected to continue.


    In 1984/85, Alty finished fifth in the Gola League (Conference), behind champions Wealdstone. That was one of the seasons when 3 points were gained for an away win but only 2 for a home victory. Profiles of the Alty players of that season are now here. Altrincham's full league record over the years is here.


    Although Altrincham FC still has some significant financial worries, the town of Altrincham has today come out as the sixth wealthiest place in England and Wales in a Barclays Bank survey where income and cost of living are taken into account. Our Cheshire neighbours Macclesfield, who also struggle financially on the lowest gates in Division 3, are fifth whilst Tatton (Knutsford, Wilmslow) are top.


    Radio Cumbria says that "New Barrow manager Lee Turnbull expects to make his second signing in the space of a week... Turnbull has agreed a deal for North Ferriby's prolific young forward Gavin Knight. The move follows the signing of another striker, Neil Campbell from Scarborough, last week. Knight has attracted substantial interest due to his scoring feats in the Unibond First Division last season and will prove a great addition to the side, according to the Bluebirds' boss." Knight who was injured in the recent play-off game at Radcliffe is now fit again.
    13 May 2003


    Gainsborough Trinity manager Phil Stant has become the fourth UniBond Premier manager to leave his job since the end of the season. This is Lincs says that Stant "informed chairman John Reames of his shock decision in a heart to heart meeting and cited 'other commitments' as his sole reason for departing. 'I just felt it was the right thing to do', said a downbeat Stant. Bolton-born Stant was the only manager in four years to complete a full season at the Northolme and enjoyed a successful campaign, reaching the fifth round of the FA Trophy, securing a mid-table league finish and winning the County Cup... Chairman John Reames said: 'He has a full-time job and found it hard to devote the time to his work at Gainsborough'".

    Worksop Town have signed former Scottish International Don Goodman from Doncaster Rovers. He is their third signing in a week, following Kevin Davies from Telford and Paul Sykes from Harrogate Town.


    The Football Conference is considering introducing wage capping. At The Conference AGM, in Blackpool in June, clubs will consider a plan "to limit spending to a set amount plus a percentage of the individual club's income. Strong penalties, possibly including points deductions, would be intended to deter overspending", according to Confguide.
    12 May 2003


    A directory of former players is gradually being built up and this starts with pen pictures of the players of 1995/96 season, here. Alty finished 12th that season, in which the low point was a week in February in which Guiseley dumped Alty out of the FAT 4-0 and Morecambe beat us 7-0 in the Conference, having earlier beaten us 6-4 in the Spalding Trophy in December, 1995. However, after the Club had almost ceased to exist in summer 1995 the mid-table finish was a good achievement - all the more so, given the Robins' relegation the following season.

    The webpages which record the 2002-03 season are gradually being moved across to the Archive section of this site, where you will find details of the last three and a half seasons and historical records. In the interim, as the pages are moved, one or two of the links within the archive may not be functional for a few days.

    11 May 2003


    In The Pink, Graham Heathcote confirms that, having spoken to all his players, "to a man, the lads have expressed a desire to stay and that's a massive boost both for myself and Altrincham FC. I know other clubs have offered several of them big money, so it's fantastic that they should still want to be with us. It proves we must be doing something right because it's not finances that are keeping them here, that's for sure. The lads are now starting to think that this is their club and that's something I've long wanted to achieve because it means they'll go that extra mile for us". The article also says that "though Heathcote knows full well that cash will again be tight next season, he's neverthless optimistic of making the two or three quality signings he feels could turn Alty into a potential title force".

    Speaking today, Graham confirmed that, in all, 20 players had been retained though, in the case of one or two of the injured players, this was subject to their getting fit for the start of the season. Fourteen of the squad have volunteered to join Terry Surridge's weights-training programme which starts tomorrow and continues for six weeks. Terry, a long-time Altrincham fan and worker for the club, is a British national weightlifting coach.


    Former Alty keeper Dean Greygoose's team, AFC Sudbury, lost yesterday's FA Vase Final 1-2 to Brigg Town at West Ham. Barrow midfielder Steve Housham, guesting for Brigg, scored their first goal. Another former Robin had better luck; Tim Ryan was in the Doncaster Rovers' side which won the Conference play-off against Dagenham. Mark Sertori, now at Hyde, "plans to retire", says The Pink.


    Alfreton Town report that leading scorer Mick Godber "should be totally fit for the start of the new campaign after undergoing an operation on his long-standing groin/pelvic problem".

    Worksop's official site says that the club has signed defender Paul Sykes on "a two year deal... after gaining a free transfer from Harrogate Town".

    Talks were held yesterday, according to the NLP about expanding the Conference to 24 clubs for next season (03-04). "What was made clear... was that any extension would not guarantee the survival of Southport and Nuneaton as Conference sides... They could feasibly decide to promote another [two?] of the feeder league clubs". How on earth they would choose them remains to be seen!


    IC Cheshire reports that Northwich Vics have gained £10,000 from Doncaster Rovers as a consequence of winning today's Conference play-off. The money is part of the transfer fee for striker Gregg Blundell. A further "£25,000 awaits Vics as Gary Fletcher closes in on his 20th first team appearance at Leyton Orient", according to the same source.
    10 May 2003


    If you signed up to sponsor Altrincham's goals last season, please remember to pay your pledged sum as soon as possible to the address at the top of this page. Altrincham scored 69 goals in league and cup matches in 2002-03.


    Next week should see confirmation of some of Altrincham's pre-season friendlies, as well as details of season ticket arrangements for 2003-04. A number of Premiership and League clubs are likely to figure amongst the pre-season fixtures.


    In this week's Sale & Altrincham Messenger, Alty manager Graham Heathcote says "SAM has worked hand in hand with the club this season, which is perfect because we all have the same aim. The paper is one of our main avenues to the supporters and the help they have given us, especially with the Kids Go Free vouchers, has been great because it's all about generating interest in the football club".


    This is Runcorn reports that Runcorn FC Halton have "dispelled rumours the team is to move away from its Widnes venue during the close season. It follows weeks of rumblings that the cash-strapped club was in arrears with its rent to the council and could be forced to find a new home. But Linnets' secretary Debbie Quaile told World Sport: "The rent is all paid and we have an agreement to play at the stadium for 10 years. There are currently plans to develop our role in the community and the council are aware of them. We also have further plans for education days around matches. It is important we play at the stadium as it is an integral part of those plans".

    The Runcorn Weekly News says that manager "Liam Watson is pondering his on-the-field future due to a persistent problem with the knee which forced him out of full-time football a decade ago... Watson's assistant [and ex-Alty man], Neil Whalley, has already retired because of knee trouble and although Whalley has made intermittent comebacks in emergencies this season, Watson said his right-hand man will not be turning out again".

    The Southport Visiter suggests that Lancaster City's former Southport striker, Andy Whittaker, may follow his manager Tony Hesketh back to Haig Avenue. "Whether the veteran Whittaker returns to a squad that [Port manager Mike] Walsh is determined will have the fire power to blast their Unibond opponents apart, is largely in Hesketh's hands", says the paper. Port have now decided not to release striker Steve Whitehall, provided he gets fit over the summer.


    Following relegation from the Conference this season, Kettering Town were given the choice of Dr Martens, which they only left in 2002, or Ryman League football and have, suprisingly, opted for the latter. It will be the first time they have ever played in that league. Nuneaton Borough will go into the Dr Martens League and Southport join us in the UniBond. IC Cheshire states that "work on Northwich Victoria's ambitious new ground project on Wincham Industrial Estate...cannot be started until Vale Royal Borough Council consider a formal planning application on May 20... The club now hopes April 1, 2004, will be the completion date. Meanwhile, the Drill Field ground on which the club have played continuously since 1874 is fast disappearing. All seats have gone, barriers are being removed and fencing dismantled. The large Daneside Bank stand, only four years old, will shortly be demolished, moved to Wincham and stored until ready for re-erection".


    Boston United have now offered former Alty favourite Paul Ellender a new contract, following local newspaper reports that he was to be released.