Altrincham Football Club News Archive
18 to 25 June 2003

25 June 2003


Joining manager Graham Heathcote and chairman Geoff Goodwin on Saturday night's STAR Forum panel at Moss Lane will be Peter Band (right) and an as yet unconfirmed second member of the playing staff. The event starts at 6.45pm, following a STAR open meeting at 6pm. For full details of Saturday's centenary celebrations, please see the STAR website.


"Barrow chairman Brian Keen has backed the introduction of wage caps and penalties for clubs entering administration", according to the NW Evening Mail. The Conference has introduced a wages' limit of 65 per cent of turnover on all clubs and a penalty of 12 docked points if a club goes into administration. "I think that the salary demands of players and agents... have been far too high for the turnover of the clubs", said Keen, before adding that at Barrow, "We've been under constraints that have put a forced break on us, and that hasn't been a bad thing. We have learnt an awful lot, we are very tight and getting tighter with our money. Our spending constraints will be tight because we owe this to the owners of the club, who are the supporters. It's not in their interests or the club's interests to try and completely buy success when we can't afford it. We will run Barrow within the limits of our cash flow". These are views that will be endorsed at Moss Lane.

Vauxhall Motors' manager Alvin McDonald has told IC Cheshire that "For the past five seasons, Vauxhall has had a tremendous run of success. We have moved from the West Cheshire up to the UniBond Premier and had a tremendous FA Cup run, but we still can't get the crowds through the door. It would be difficult to compete at the next level financially and that is a major stumbling block for us," he said. "We would need 400 people to come along and we are still way below that, with our average home gate around the 240 average this past season." McDonald added that "although Vauxhall [the car firm] help the club, they do not have a similar relationship as the likes of Juventus have with Fiat. They give us tremendous help, but they do not pay for everything from a bottomless pit of money," he said.

Gateshead, who hope to bounce back up to the Premier Division, have received "a boost with the news that utility man Paul Thompson and full-back David Morgan - both targets for Durham City - have decided to stay at the International Stadium", according to IC Newcastle.

24 June 2003


As Altrincham prepare for 2003/04, above is a picture of the squad as it warmed-up before the first pre-season game of last season, on 17 July against Tranmere Rovers. Those seen above are: Mike Turner, Peter Mellor, Derek Ward, Rod Thornley, Chris Adams, Gary Scott, Neil Ryan, Danny Frost, Ian Craney, Stephen Rose, Gary Talbot, Mark Maddox, Andy McDonald and Danny Murphy. Italicised names indicate players no longer at Moss Lane. Other unpictured participants in that game, who are not now playing for Alty, include Eric Nixon, who kept goal for the Robins, Ryan Hevicon and Stuart Locke.


This is a reminder that STAR is running working weekends at the Club on 28th/29th June, 5/6th July, 12/13th July starting at 10.30am on each day. STAR indicates that "There will be all sorts of jobs for people to do. Geoff Goodwin is donating a table of 10 at the centenary dinner, to be held on September 21st, to those supporters who turn up on at least 3 out of these days. Their names will be drawn from a hat to see who gets the tickets".


This site's Past Players' Section has been updated with contemporary profiles of the 1990/91 Altrincham side which so nearly won promotion to the League.
23 June 2003


Relegated Hyde United, whom we meet in the UniBond Challenge Cup on 20 October have signed midfielder Anthony Callaghan from Mossley and utility man Glynn Barker from Stalybridge. Manager Steve Waywell "is delighted with his new signings and is still in negotiations to bring other players to Hyde", according to the Hyde website. In fact, Waywell has now also signed former Manchester Utd (and briefly Alty) midfielder, Robert Trees. The Southport Fans' site states that "Mike Walsh has placed Kevin Welsby on the transfer list as he doesn't see the point of having such a high quality keeper in the reserves".

As previously reported Whitby Town's Turnbull Ground has been passed for UniBond Premier action next season after upgrading work to the stand and turnstiles. However, "these are only temporary measures until the new stand in built. The Stand appeal total is getting nearer to the target and we are 60% of the way there".

Leigh RMI report that striker and former Leigh player Marcus Hallows has re-signed after a spell at Stalybridge whilst ex-Alty players Stuart Coburn and Ged Kielty remain as contracted players for the Railwaymen for 2003/04.

Our neighbours Trafford FC have won the final of the Manchester section of the FA's nationwide competition for five-a-side teams with a squad which comprised several ex-Alty youth players, including Dale Newbrook, Richard Smith, Ben Ashmole and Ian Taylor. Trafford won the final 6-1 against Maine Road and now enter the regional finals.

22 June 2003


Unconfirmed reports in the NLP say that "Altrincham have expressed interest" in Stalybridge's young transfer-listed striker Chris Denham. Chris was formerly at Prestwich Heys, Stand Athletic and, on loan, at Bamber Bridge.


The Metro News has a substantial article on Altrincham entitled "Trafford's other club is 100" - a reference to Manchester United who also play in the Borough. It marks the centenary of Altrincham FC and, with the help of Terry Rowley, traces the clubs's emergence in 1903 from Broadheath FC, founded in 1891 following a merger of the Rigby Road Memorial Club and the strikingly named "Grapplers" team. The article also includes an interview with current manager Graham Heathcote who is asked about the goal he scored at Anfield in the FA Cup match with Liverpool in 1981. Graham also says that "This club is stabilising on and off the field. All of last season's players have indicated that they want to stay... We will get the club back on an even keel before we start to spend money". The article is accompanied by a large picture of Dave Gardner and a smaller one of the cup tie at Anfield.

For details of events to mark the centenary, see the STAR supporters' trust website and click the link above for information about the Centenary Dinner.


Yesterday, the FA approved the restructuring of the non-league pyramid. This means that in 2004/05, 44 clubs drawn from the current 67 clubs in the Premier Divisions of the UniBond, Ryman and Dr Martens Leagues will go into two new Conference feeder divisions called Conference North and South. This will become the new sixth level of English Football counting downwards from the Premiership. The rump of the existing sixth-level, (The Northern Premier (UniBond) League, The Ryman and The Dr Martens), bolstered by clubs promoted from the next tier, e.g The UniBond Division One, will become level seven from 2004/05. The precise criteria for selection for Conference North and South remain unclear at present but will include such factors as the clubs' community involvement and level of ground facilities as well as their league position in 2003/04.


The FA also approved the cut of £2 million in FA Cup prize money for all rounds up to Round Three. However, they did agree to increase the FA Trophy prize pot by £600,000. In the Non-League Paper Tony Woodley, chairman of Vauxhall Motors, who becomes General Secertary of the Transport & General Workers' Union in October, described the Cup cuts as "outrageous" and vowed that, "When I start my new role it will be to remind the Government and the Prime Minister that they have a responsibility to act here...It is about 'the haves' wanting more - in industrial terms it is corporate greed". This is a reference to the fact that prize money has not been cut for the rounds of the FA Cup involving Premier and Division One teams.
21 June 2003


Welsh side TNS, managed by ex-Alty striker Ken McKenna, have drawn Manchester City in the UEFA Cup qualifying round. City are at home on 14 August and the away leg, at Wrexham, will be on 28 August. City's goalkeeper for the ties is likely to be David Seaman, who will recall playing against non-league opposition previously as he kept goal for Birmingham City when Alty beat the Midlanders 2-1 at St Andrews in the FA Cup in 1986.


Lancaster Today reports that new "Lancaster City boss Phil Wilson has made his first big-name signing of the summer - bringing in the hugely experienced Gary Bauress as new club captain and coach. Bauress has captained three sides to the Northern Premier League championship, twice leading Stalybridge Celtic to the title under the leadership of Wilson as Celtic manager in 1991/92 and 2000/2001, and he followed Wilson to Leek Town where he captained the Staffordshire side to the title in 1996/1997. He has also had a spell at Barrow and was part of the side that won the championship in 1999/2000. But the arrival of Bauress has coincided with the departure of last season's club captain, Andy Fensome, who has retired from playing ... The Blues' boss has also said he has 'agreed terms' with another player with extensive Conference and NPL experience and was looking to bring in at least another three players before the start of the season. But it is believed that Paul Sparrow may be following Andy Whittaker down the coast to Southport, to link up with ex-Lancaster boss Tony Hesketh, with a player-swop deal being rumoured [involving]... ex-City star striker Peter Thomson, who was bought by Wilson when he was manager at Southport".

Gainsborough Trinity chairman John Reames has spoken to This is Lincs about the FA's cut of Cup prize money. "When you hear the FA lost £5m on computer systems, we are the ones who are made to pay for it. We are easy targets because they know we need the FA Cup", he said.

However, This is Nottingham reports the other side of the coin: "Last year, Hucknall Town reached the fourth qualifying round and earned £20,000 but, should they reach the same stage this season, they will receive £10,000. However, Burscough, who won the FA Trophy and received £12,000, will get £50,000 if they make a successful defence".

Harrogate Today states that "Town chairman Bill Fotherby has confirmed that progress is being made regarding a site for the club's ground and academy. Fotherby has received a number of offers of land from local farmers". Harrogate's pre-season friendlies include visits by teams from Hull City, Manchester City, Nottingham Forest and Leeds United.

20 June 2003


Courtesy of Youth team manager George Heslop, the final NWYA Premier Division league table has been added to the Youth Section of this site, along with the season's youth team player appearance statistics.


Ashton United report that former-Alty boss and current Ashton manager Gerry Quinn "has lined up six new players... two of them have a wealth of Nationwide League experience... one of them will cause a huge stir of interest amongst our supporters, one of them is a well-known Unibond League player, and the remaining two are players he has unearthed in the Yorkshire minor leagues". However, Town's Peter Carty "has been given a 112 day (16 weeks!) suspension by the Manchester County F.A. for a serious Sunday football offence last season". Ashton's defender Lee Connor will miss 4 weeks of pre-season due to damaged knee ligaments.

"Following a change of heart goalkeeper Craig Dootson has elected not to sign for Accrington Stanley and he will instead be staying at Bower Fold", says the Stalybridge site, which also reports that "Chris Denham has been placed on the transfer list at his own request... after being unable to secure a guarantee of a starting place in next season's line-up. Last season he made 51 appearances (the vast majority from the sub's bench) and scored 12 goals". The Tameside Advertiser quotes striker Andy Payton talking about his move to Celtic: "It’s what I’m looking for and hopefully my experience will rub off on a few of the lads at the club. They want to get promotion, they finished last season off very well and I think they have got a good chance". Manager Dave Miller added, "He’s moved to Middlesbrough for £750,000, to Celtic for £800,000 and wherever he’s gone he’s scored goals - 80 goals in 132 games for Burnley as well. Accrington Stanley had been sniffing around but he expressed to me he had no wish to go there".

IC Liverpool says that Burscough manager Shaun Teale "claims he is being stabbed in the back by people within the club. He has attacked rumour mongers who have falsely linked him with other managerial positions and says the 'mole' within Victoria Park needs to be sorted out immediately". Teale said that he "has had only one phone call from any of the Burscough officials since lifting the Trophy, still has no idea of his budget for the 2003-04 season and is therefore unable to speak to new players he has lined up". A club statement issued following a meeting at Victoria Park with Teale on Tuesday said: "We remain very disappointed that Shaun chose to publicly make such derogatory remarks about club officials only days before a scheduled meeting to discuss plans for next season. However, following a very frank exchange of views, all the issues have now been satisfactorily resolved and Shaun will be continuing as manager of Burscough FC next season". Burscough's central defender Joe Taylor is going on a pre-season European tour with Yeovil after impressing the new League side when Burscough knocked them out of the Trophy.

Hucknall Today says that "Fuming manager Phil Starbuck flew out to Florida for a family holiday this week, insisting that Hucknall Town had not seen the last of him. Stunned by his sacking, Starbuck has lodged an appeal to be heard by the club's full committee. The hearing is unlikely to take place until early August but the former Nottingham Forest man is determined to pursue it... "I deserve better treatment after everything I have done for the club", he asserted... Town have offered him a financial settlement, in respect of the remaining season on his contract, but he has rejected it and if he opts to take his case to an employment tribunal, there are fears that the wrangle could drag on into the new Unibond season, which begins on August 16. For that reason, new boss Steve Burr has been initially named Director of Football, rather than Manager, with Peter Wragg as Assistant Director... Wragg is currently employed at Manchester United by Premiership Promotions".

IC Cheshire says that Vauxhall FC's "prestigious pre-season friendly against neighbours Chester City has been switched from Rivacre Park to the Deva Stadium in an attempt to attract a larger crowd".

The Runcorn Weekly News reports that The Linnets have signed amateur striker Steve Daly, who had been on trial at Wigan Athletic, and manager Liam Watson is competing with Prescot Cables for "Accrington's winger Russell Payne, who has turned down a new two-year contract... because of work commitments... Watson revealed Daly had turned down Accrington, Stalybridge and Marine to put pen to paper". Runcorn's ex-Alty striker Matty McNeil is now "returning from injury".


Another ex-Alty striker, Marc Lloyd-Williams, has signed for Aberystwyth Town from Bangor City. He will therefore miss the exotic Inter-Toto Cup match between Bangor and 1922 Gloria of Transylvania, at Rhyl this Saturday.

19 June 2003


Two more pre-season games have been arranged, as follows:
  • Wed. 23 July at 7.30pm, away at Abbey Hey.
  • Sun. 20 July at 2pm, away at West Didsbury & Chorlton, who play at Brookburn Road, Chorlton.

    There are now 10 pre-season games, which will give Graham Heathcote and Dalton Steele the opportunity to run their eye over last season's regulars as well as some of last season's youth team and any trialists who may emerge by then. Full list of games here.


    Right: Gary Scott in action on our last visit to Ewen Fields, a 2-0 win on 15 March 2003.

    The draw for the 1st Round of the UniBond Challenge Cup has been made and Alty are away to Hyde United.

    Mon. 20 October

  • Hyde U. v Altrincham

    Tue. 21 October

  • Ashton U. v Leek T.
  • Bamber Bridge v Lancaster C.
  • Burscough v Colwyn Bay
  • Guiseley v Wakefield & Emley
  • Lincoln U. v Gainsborough T.
  • Marine v Runcorn FC Halton
  • Ossett T. v Farsley C.
  • Rossendale U. v Kendal T.
  • Stocksbridge PS v Frickley A.
  • Workington v Gateshead

    Wed 22 October

  • Bishop Auckland v Blyth Spartans
  • Kidsgrove A. v Matlock T.

    All ties will be played to a result with extra time and penalties if required. The other 19 UniBond clubs will join the 13 winners of the above ties for the in Round 2, to be played in w/c 17 November.


    STAR reports that "Working weekends at the Club are being run on 28th/29th June, 5/6th July, 12/13 July starting at 10.30am on each day. There will be all sorts of jobs for people to do. Geoff Goodwin is donating a table of 10 at the centenary dinner, to be held on September 21st, to those supporters who turn up on at least 3 out of these days. Their names will be drawn from a hat to see who gets the tickets".


    After the sacking of Phil Starbuck, Hucknall Town have appointed former Macclesfield Town player and Nuneaton Borough manager Steve Burr as their Director of Football. Burr yesterday turned down an offer to be Director of Football at Conference side Tamworth. "All matters relating to football at Hucknall will be the responsibility of the new Director of Football, including administration and commercial activities". Reports say that he will be assisted at Hucknall by former Macclesfield manager Peter Wragg.

    This is Lincs states that "Gainsborough Trinity manager Paul Mitchell has condemned the money being offered by fellow UniBond Premier Division clubs to attract players as 'ridiculous'... Last week Mitchell found himself the victim... as his bid to sign defender Grant Brown was scuppered by big spending Premier Division newcomers Alfreton Town. 'In Grant's case, the wages he was offered by Alfreton would be nearly as much as what he or anybody would get at a league club... I've found a lot of players in the UniBond Premier who are looking for a move and who are good players, are being offered ridiculous money... I do think Conference Two has made a difference to how they are thinking for this coming season. It is important clubs do qualify especially in financial terms, because to be left out would be a disaster'".

    But Alfreton chairman Wayne Bradley is unrepentant; "I have made the gambles that the player quality will go up, so then will the costs of that side of the club’s operation. I hope I am gambling with a good degree of confidence... Our fans can look forward to seeing some cracking football. We will be sticking with our attacking brand and the fans can once again make a difference". The club website goes on to say that season-ticket sales "are already up 39% compared with the corresponding period 12 months ago and that they have also sold 64% of last year’s final total already". Chairman Bradley added: "I am appealing for people throughout the area to come and have a look at the county’s highest ranking club. I am totally confident we can build on last year’s total and I am requesting an average of 500 per game for next season’s home league games". Last season’s average gate was 388 compared with the 2001/02 total of 277. The club's previous seasons in the Premier saw an average of 250 in 1996/7 and 203 the following year, when they were relegated.

    This is Runcorn confirms that "Debbie Quaile, secretary of Runcorn FC Halton, has become the first woman to be elected to the Unibond League management committee".

    IC Newcastle reports that Blyth Spartans are attempting to fill the gaps created by a player exodus to Whitley Bay and Durham City by approaching Gateshead's Gareth McAlindon. Relegated Gateshead's manager Derek Bell will be joined by his brother Alan next season; Alan will run the Reserves.


    Our Cheshire neighbours Northwich Victoria have been awarded £500,000 by the Football Foundation towards the cost of building their new Victoria Stadium at Wincham. It is the foundation's largest-ever grant to a non-league club.
    18 June 2003


    IC Cheshire quotes Ray Steele, the Chairman of our friendly opposition on July 31, Cammell Laird of Birkenhead, who "insists that the club will bounce back next season after the North West Counties League decided not to invite them to join. The decision ends months of wrangling, which has seen Laird's initial application for promotion rejected and the FA reject their appeal... Steele believes that Laird's will be in an even better position to do well if they manage to get promoted to the North West Counties in 12 months' time: 'We'll do our best to win the West Cheshire League and the County Cup. We're also in the Northern Counties competition and if we have a good run in the FA Vase, no one can ignore us. We'll also have another eight or nine months to tidy the ground up a bit'". Laird's finished third last season in the West Cheshire League Division One, which was won by Vauxhall Motors Reserves.


    The NW Evening Mail quotes Barrow boss Lee Turnbull: "The PFA release lists are out and I'm working my way through them. But I'm not prepared to dive in and sign three or four players because I think the squad is strong enough to mount a challenge. There's one or two players that interest me, but I'm probably going to wait until pre-season training starts". Barrow's raffle yesterday to win shirt sponsorship for 2003-04 was won by the Barrow Community Regeneration Company.

    The balance of power is shifting in the North East with yet more players opting for Northern League clubs in preference to UniBond Premier teams. IC Newcastle reports that, after losing a posse of players to John Charlton's Whitley Bay, Blyth have now lost striker Glen Robson to Durham City, who also hope to sign Gateshead's utility player Paul Thompson and full-back David Morgan. However, "Robson, sent off five times last season, has landed a job in London so he is unlikely to be available on a regular basis". Durham also aim to sign former Spennymoor assistant player-manager Jason Ainsley as well as winger Steve Stewart from Blyth to join ex-Blyth defenders John Hutton and Justin Keegan and goalkeeper Paul Gilmore at City.

    IC Cheshire quotes Vauxhall Motors boss Alvin Mcdonald on the recent speculation that he was to manage Northwich Victoria. "It's the first time I've been linked to another job since I been at Rivacre Park and I think the recognition that Vauxhalls have come such a long way in such a short time, is long overdue. "We haven't had the credit we deserve for what we have achieved, two successive promotions, UniBond Premier Division runners-up at the first time of asking, defeating QPR in the FA Cup last November. It's a remarkable achievement for this club and yes, it is nice that that has been recognised elsewhere". As for the Motormen, he said, "I've spoken to a number of players and invariably they say at this time of the year 'I'm interested' but never put pen to paper, as they want to keep their options open. Some players are still talking silly money, £200 or £300 per week, but with so many players been released by Football League clubs, there will be a domino effect... Hopefully, we'll pick up one or two along the way, but experience tells me not to panic," he added. "Just like last year, some clubs are throwing money at it, because with the Conference North likely to start in August next year, they want to make certain they are in the top 10. Worksop and Harrogate are just two clubs that fall into that category - it is going to be very competitive and probably the hardest yet in our time in the UniBond Premier".