Altrincham Football Club News Archive
26 June to 9 July 2003

9 July 2003


The FA Youth Cup draw has been made and in the Preliminary Round Altrincham Youth will be away to Radcliffe Borough in a tie to be completed by 30 August 2003. The draw has also been made for the next three Rounds; please see the Youth Page for full details.


SAM reports on Altrincham FC's small profit in 2002-03 and says that "chairman Geoff Goodwin reckons everyone at the club deserves a pat on the back. 'This time last year I really thought there was no chance for the club without selling the ground. These days, we have posted a very small profit, the centenary dinner will help us with the historic debt and we have a good squad of young players led by one of the best managers in non-league football. All this makes for a nice feeling at the club - there's a sense that there is light at the end of the tunnel and we are heading in the right direction'".

SAM also quotes manager Graham Heathcote after the first training session with the players for 2003-04; "'I was delighted with them last night', he said, before adding, 'I have seen players come back in all sorts of conditions but the fitness level of all 24 players who trained was magnificent'. The players were weighed before last season's final match at Frickley and weighed again last night and according to Heathcote, the differences were well within acceptable levels. 'Some had put on weight but I would not be surprised if that was muscle, given that many of them have been involved in the summer weight training programme'".


Manchester-born striker Carl Alford has signed for Gainsborough Trinity after leaving Nuneaton Borough.


The UniBond League has confirmed that Ian Banks is the new manager of Wakefield & Emley following the move of Ronnie Glavin to Barnsley. Banks formerly played for Emley and played 500 League games for clubs such as Barnsley, Leicester City, Huddersfield Town. Bradford City, West Brom, Rotherham United and Darlington. He joined Emley in 1995/96 as player-coach and was later Assistant Manager at Bradford City
8 July 2003


Altrincham F.C. has announced that they have signed Stephen Aspinall, who, while currently a free agent, has played for Vauxhall Motors for the last two seasons. Aspinall, who is 27 years old, plays in central midfield and has 10 years experience of the non-league game. Manager Graham Heathcote was "delighted to have signed" a player whom the club had been "keeping tabs on" since his availability became known. He also said that Aspinall's presence in midfield will give greater flexibility in squad formation, with Stephen Rose in particular able to fill positions both in defence and midfield.

Steve has played for several other North West clubs including Runcorn, whom he joined from Bamber Bridge in December 2001, Chorley, Winsford and Macclesfield Town.

7 July 2003


The draw for the first round of the F.A. Trophy has been made and Altrincham have been drawn away at either Gateshead or Kendal Town. The full draw can be found on the F.A. site.
3 July 2003


Altrincham FC today announced that Chris Denham, the Stalybridge striker, will not be joining the club. The player has opted to join Runcorn FC Halton instead. However, Graham Heathcote is still hopeful of signing a midfield player before the new season.
30 June 2003


BBC Sport reports that Wakefield & Emley boss "Ronnie Glavin has been named as the new first-team coach [of Barnsley] under the Icelandic boss, Gudjon Thordarson... Glavin made 215 appearances for Barnsley between 1979 and 1983, scoring 92 goals". Eight of last season's UniBond Premier clubs have replaced their managers since the last month of 2002-03 season, (Barrow, Burscough, Colwyn Bay, Gainsborough, Hucknall, Lancaster, Wakefield & Emley and Worksop). Promoted Spennymoor also changed their manager during the close season.

New Burscough boss Mike Marsh has told IC Liverpool, "I had a phone call on Saturday to ask if I would be interested in taking over because Shaun Teale was leaving the club. I said I would be and after a meeting on Saturday I agreed to take the job... This is an unexpected chance for me, but I am delighted by it to be honest and excited by the challenge of managing Burscough... Burscough's ground being just five or 10 minutes from my house, this is a perfect move for me". He added that "I was offered the position at Burscough last year but turned it down because I couldn't play and have an assistant manager".

The UniBond League has announced that "Harrogate Town have signed 34 year old midfielder Mark Atkins from Shrewsbury Town, Mark previously played with Blackburn Rovers in their Premiership winning team in 1995. Mark will be helping newly promoted Assistant Manager/Head Coach Neil Aspin with the Club coaching duties also supported by the capable Dave Merris".

IC Newcastle states that "Former England non-league international defender Kenny Cramman has quit as assistant manager of Unibond League First Division club Gateshead. Cramman has told boss Derek Bell he wants a new challenge".


Altrincham FC would like to record its sincere thanks to the following who assisted with the "sprucing up" of Moss Lane last weekend. They were:

Saturday - Bob Peters, Steve Foster, Mark Murray, Pete Hughes, Joanna Maxwell, Hugh Cooper, Grahame Rowley, Sarah Rowley, Chris Rowley, Karen Rowley,

Sunday - Grahame Rowley, Sarah Rowley, Joanna Maxwell, Hugh Cooper

Please do come down and lend a hand over the next two weekends when there will be further ground-work sessions each Saturday and Sunday from 10-30am.

Pictured, right, are a newly painted gate and fencework, with a "Keep Off" sign on the pitch to protect it. A lot of work has also been done on the pitch in the close season with the kind help of Manchester United, whose Reserves will again play at Moss Lane in 2003/04.


Harrogate Town's unofficial site reports that Craig Elliott has left for North Ferriby United. He was leading scorer for Town in 2000-01 but missed all of last season due to injury. The site adds "We understand that Town's transfer target 'who won a Premiership Championship medal with Blackburn Rovers' is almost certain to sign for the club. We believe that the player made nearly 40 appearances for a football league club last season, taking his career total to over 500".

Other moves reported by the UniBond League include:

  • James Mitchell (Sheffield W. to Gainsborough T.)
  • Carl Smith (Worksop Town to Gainsborough T.)
  • Adam Valente (Maltby Main to Gainsborough T.)
  • Ian Johnson (Skelmersdale U. to Marine)

    Wakefield & Emley manager Ronnie Galvin may be joining Barnsley as assistant manager to Icelander Gudjon Thordarson, the former Stoke City boss. Barnsley has recently been taken over by an Icelandic consortium in conjunction with Kenny Moyes, brother of Everton manager, David.

    29 June 2003


    Last night's STAR centenary celebrations (to mark the naming of the club as Altrincham FC in 1903) included an Open Meeting and a Fans' Forum, for which the panel comprised manager Graham Heathcote, chairman Geoff Goodwin and players Peter Band and Mark Maddox. The audience was told how STAR is pressing on with a number of fundraising ventures whilst the Forum gave Alty fans some genuine cause for optimism. Although the club's financial problems are far from solved, the Club made a modest profit last season for the first time in many years and there is confidence that the VAT and Inland Revenue debts inherited by the current Board will be settled by the end of 2003. For more on STAR's plans; the financial situation; why Mark Maddox jumped up five steps of the stand in one go; a probable new signing next week; Peter Band's fine performance in the Manchester Fun Run; the prospects for Alty's injured players and other news, please see this site's fuller report here. Seen right is the Forum panel of Mark Maddox, Graham Heathcote, Geoff Goodwin and Peter Band.


    Brian Welch is the latest Lancaster City player to follow former boss Tony Hesketh to Southport.

    In today's Non-League Paper there are pictures of Alty's Rod Thornley doing a celebratory cartwheel and of former striker Ken McKenna previewing his team TNS's UEFA clash with Manchester City.

    The Ryman League is still hesitating about accepting the proposals for a Conference North and South but the UniBond and Dr Martens Leagues are reportedly ready to carry on without the Ryman if necessary. However, Whitby Town's chairman Graham Mauser "is considering pulling the club out (of the UniBond) altogether and returning to the Northern League. He made his threat after considering what he fears could be mountainous costs in the Conference North". Mr Mauser said, "Our transport bill now is £10,000 a year but with midweek matches at places like Bedford it would be madness".

    There are four UniBond players in the British Universities' squad for the World University Games in Korea. They are Burscough's Joe Taylor and Kris McHale, Marine's Neil Black and Ashton's Phil Denney.

    28 June 2003


    Burscough "have announced that with regret they have parted company with player-manager Shaun Teale. The statement from the club said: 'This was a genuinely difficult decision to take reached after long and careful discussion but the Board felt that it was the right decision in order to secure the stability of the club. In recent weeks the Board have become increasingly concerned regarding statements that have been made about the club, some in the national and local press, regarding Shaun's position and the management and future of the club. Following reflection, the outcome is that the Board consider that the interests of the club would be best served by the appointment of a new manager. Shaun's contribution during the past twelve months has been tremendous, his performances on the pitch have been colossal. We would like to sincerely thank Shaun for all his hard work during his time with us, he leaves with our grateful thanks and we wish him every success as he pursues his career in football. The Board will be working hard towards the appointment of a new manager as soon as possible and we anticipate no shortage of interested candidates. We ask all our supporters for their patience during the coming weeks. We are confident that the club has a bright future, our preparations for the new season are going well and we are developing exciting and ambitious plans for the continued growth of the club during the next three years.'"

    A press statement from Stan Strickland, who resigned as Secretary of Burscough a few days ago, states that "Mike Marsh will be the new first team manager... and assistant manager is ex-Manchester City and West Ham midfielder Ian Bishop... Mike was in our thoughts for the manager’s position at the beginning of last season, and this is an excellent appointment. After Shaun Teale’s departure we acted very quickly to bring Mike and Ian to the club, we are absolutely delighted that they have agreed to join us next season". Marsh had only recently joined the managerial team at Nuneaton Borough.


    From today's Daily Telegraph General Knowledge Crossword: clue 29 across - Town of Greater Manchester whose football team is known as The Robins (10 letters)...


    Don't forget the Working Weekend at Moss Lane, which starts at 10.30am both tomorrow and on Sunday, where volunteers are needed to help to smarten up the ground for the new season. There are further Working Weekends next weekend and the one after. There is also an open meeting for all supporters at Moss Lane at 6pm tomorrow, followed by STAR's centenary celebrations which include a forum, a quiz, a hot pot/chilli supper and a disco. On the forum panel will be Graham Heathcote, Geoff Goodiwn, Peter Band and another player. For further details see the STAR web site (link above).


    Further researches into the early days of Altrincham FC by Terry Rowley, joint editor of The Robins' Review, confirm that "Altrincham played in black and red up until 1904 when, in a home match with Tonge, they unveiled their new kit of scarlet jerseys and sky blue knickers" - Terry adds that by 'knickers', "I think they mean shorts!!" He has also confirmed that Altrincham's nickname was the Heathens or Old Heathens, which is probably an abbreviation of Broadheath, the club's former name (from 1891 to 1903).


    According to The Southport Visiter, "Southport FC's Secretary Ken Hilton reported a 20 per cent increase in sales from the opening night of last season", despite relegation. "Regular supporters are attracted by the 22 home match offer, plus free entry to Everton reserve matches scheduled for Haig Avenue". Southport have lost midfielder Steve Jones who has joined former boss Phil Wilson at Lancaster City, where he joins Andy Scott, John Robertson and Gary Bauress who have recently made the same journey from Haig Avenue.

    Harrogate Today confirms that Town boss John Reed "has already successfully concluded talks with three new players but as UniBond forms have not been signed yet, he is reluctant to name his new charges". Reed also said, "We've had a meeting with a player who won a Premiership Championship medal with Blackburn Rovers and we'll see what comes of that... We went into the UniBond Premier as unknown quantities and we had two horrible spells of form. If we hadn't have had those dips, we'd certainly have been in the top two... We are also going to be organised and have no fears. We are going to be the hardest working team off the ball and also the fittest one".

    27 June 2003


    Altrincham kick off the season at Alfreton Town on 16 August, followed by home matches against Marine (19th) and Frickley (23rd). The full Altrincham fixtures are here.

    Alty's blank league Saturdays are on 20 September and 6 March.

    The dates of the various cup competitions are as follows:

  • 27/9 FA Cup 2nd Qualifying Round -FAC2Q
  • 11/10 FAC3Q
  • 21/10 UniBond League Challenge Cup (ULCC) Round 1
  • 25/10 FAC4Q
  • 1/11 FA Trophy (FAT) Round 1
  • 8/11 FAC1
  • 18/11 ULCC2
  • 29/11 FAT2
  • 6/12 FAC2
  • 20/12 UniBond President's and Chairman's Cups
  • 10/1/04 FAT3
  • 24/1 UniBond cups QF
  • 31/1 FAT4
  • 14/2 FAT5
  • 28/2 FAT6
  • 6/3 UniBond cups SF
  • 27/3 FAT semi-final 1
  • 3/4 FAT s-f 2


    Alty have been linked in press reports to Stalybridge's transfer-listed striker Chris Denham, but the player "is in the [Runcorn] Linnets' sights according to IC Cheshire which says that Runcorn "Player-manager Liam Watson will have talks this Saturday with the 20-year-old... The Linnets' manager said: 'Chris reminds me an awful lot of myself when I was younger and I think I can probably help him to become a better forward'... Radcliffe and Hyde have are also interested but it could be a choice between Altrincham and Runcorn. Stalybridge...will let the player move on a free but want 50% of any future transfer - a condition Watson is willing to meet".


    "Duncan Bayley, chief executive of the UniBond League, tells the Leeds Evening Post that non-league clubs "'now have more to play for than ever', following the FA's ratification of a new pyramid structure from 2004/2005. Speaking of the UniBond League, he said "Whilst not all clubs want to go into the Conference, a Conference North Division has a different appeal while First Division clubs will be battling to make up numbers in the Premier Division. They are going to be fighting like hell right to the last kick of the season. We have to follow the wishes of our leading clubs and when 19 out of 23 Premier Division clubs applied to go into the Conference when they had to pay £2,000 up front it sent out a message. But I think these moves will make the game at this level stronger".

    "Stan Strickland, secretary of Burscough Football Club for the past 11 years, sensationally resigned on Monday night", reports the Southport Advertiser. "It is the earthquake which follows a series of tremors as winning the FA Trophy at Villa Park continues to create upheaval within the club... Strickland told the Advertiser on Tuesday: "The atmosphere has soured and it is a damn shame." The article continues, "It is clear that from the moment player manager Shaun Teale opted to stay behind in Birmingham for a family party rather than return to Burscough with the team for the post- match celebrations with supporters on the Sunday night, the boat started rocking... But then Teale's decision to air grievances over being 'stabbed in the back' by people within the club, lack of any budget for 2003-04, and being kept in the dark as manager despite an offer coming in for one of his Trophy-winning team further inflamed feelings".

    Worksop Today reports that The Tigers have increased ticket prices for home games from £6 to £7. Chairman Neil Hood said "This is the first increase in two years and I think £7 is very good value for the standard of football that Worksop fans can expect to see at Sandy Lane. Also, with the expectation of joining the Nationwide Conference, ticket prices will be subject to a minimum fee of £10 should we gain promotion". Worksop have 11 pre-season games planned, the latest being at Sheffield FC and Leek Town. "Prices for the home friendlies against Burton, Mansfield and Grantham will be reduced to £3 for adults".

    Gateshead's website says that "Durham City this week failed in their attempt to lure Paul Thompson and David Morgan away from the International Stadium as they along with Ben Catanach committed themselves to another season with Gateshead. Steven Harrison has put pen to paper on a new one year deal to help the club in its attempt to bounce back into the Unibond League Premier Division".

    26 June 2003


    Today is the official centenary of the formation of Altrincham FC as, on 26 June 1903, Broadheath FC changed its name to Altrincham FC at a meeting in the town's now defunct Forrester's Arms. As well as the Club's forthcoming prestigious Centenary Dinner in September (see link above for details), the supporters' trust, STAR, is organising a celebratory event at Moss Lane this Saturday (28 June). This will kick off with an Open Meeting at 6pm followed by a Fans' Forum with chairman Geoff Goodwin and manager/secretary Graham Heathcote, as well as one or two of the players, in attendance. Following this, there is a quiz, food (hot pot/ chilli/ sandwiches) and a disco. Admission to the centenary events is £5 (Adults), £3 (Children) plus £1 for quiz entrants. For more details, see the STAR website (link above).

    During its 100 years the Club has recorded many fine achievements and, indeed, 20 years ago Altrincham was acknowledged as the country's leading non-league side. It was the arrival of Noel White and Peter Swales onto the Board in the early 1960s which had turned the Club into a success story and a Cheshire League title and FA Cup successes soon followed in that decade. Indeed, the Robins went on to create an FA Cup record of which to be very proud, reaching the 3rd Round Proper, or further, on eight occasions. FA Cup victories over Football League teams include the last recorded away victory by a non-League club at a First Division (now Premiership) ground (Birmingham City in 1986) when David Seaman, no less, was the opposition's goalkeeper. There were also notable FA Cup draws gained away at Everton and Tottenham Hotspur as well as an honourable defeat at Anfield. Altrincham have also appeared in three FA Trophy Finals at Wembley (1978, 1982 and 1986), winning on two occasions.

    On the League front, the Club was denied its deserved elevation to the Football League by the iniquitous re-election system to Division Four. In fact, in 1980, Altrincham missed out on election to the League by just one vote. The Club was a founder-member of The Alliance (now The Conference) and won that league in its first two seasons (1979/80 and 80/81). They were only relegated from the Conference in 1996/97. Winning the UniBond Northern Premier League championship in 1998/99, was the Club's last major honour and this earned the Robins a return to the Conference which, sadly, was only to last for one season.

    Despite this relegation back to regional football after a history of national success, any disappointment is outweighed by the fact that the Club still exists after the serious financial crises of recent years brought it more than once to the brink of closure. Now that the Club is being run within its means, it is to be hoped that its inherited debts can be gradually whittled away and that a secure future lies ahead.

    Above: Mike Farrelly nets the winner in the 1986 Trophy Final.

    For more on the origins of the club, see Terry Rowley's brief history and for the establishment of a ground for the Club at Pollitt's Field in Altrincham in 1903, please click here. Details of past players, league and cup records and other historical information can be found in this site's Archive Index.


    There was a feature on Altrincham FC's centenary on BBC North West TV news this morning. This is likely to be repeated in the lunchtime regional news (c.1-30pm) and in NW Tonight from 6-30pm. The item included recent archive film of Alty players doing night-time training at Moss Lane.


    The Evening News speculated last night that Alty's Dave Gardner (right) and his Hollyoaks fiancée Davinia Taylor, (both of whom are pictured in the paper), are likely candidates to buy the luxury £1.7 million house in Nether Alderley which is soon to be vacated by Manchester United's David Beckham. When he is not playing for Altrincham, Dave is a successful sports agent, in partnership with Sir Alex Ferguson's son, Jason.


    Two of next season's UniBond First Division teams will be promoted straight into the new Conference North rather than back into the UniBond Premier for 2004/05 and Hyde United aim to be one of them, according to the Tameside Advertiser. In other words the top two in the First may have a clearer route to the new feeder division than the lower mid-table clubs in the Premier Division. Hyde United boss Steve Waywell said, "All I know is if we finish in the top two, we will go in the Conference next season. As far as I’m concerned, it’s a good thing because the Conference is the place to be". Dave Miller, the Stalybridge Celtic boss is also happy with the new arrangements: "It just shows the forward-thinking of the Conference and I suppose there will be more money coming in through revenue and sponsorship". The Advertiser also states that "A slightly less enthusiastic thumbs-up came from the Droylsden supremo Dave Pace. Although pleased that the leagues would be regionalised, he was more preoccupied about finishing work on a stand required to keep the Bloods in the top flight. Pace claimed: "I haven’t got an opinion on it, what will happen will happen. Without the Football Foundation’s help we wouldn’t have been in the league - they forked out £120,000 and I’ve had to shove in £50,000 of my own. I’ve got to stress a big thank you to Lord Pendry and the Football Foundation otherwise we wouldn’t have been in the Premier League".

    This is Runcorn confirms that Runcorn FC Halton and Mid-Cheshire side Mond Rangers FC "will be able to swap players throughout the new season... All non-contract players with the UniBond Premier League side will be made available to Mond coach, John Crompton, while Rangers' players will have the opportunity to progress and eventually turn out for Liam Watson's Linnets team. The move will be a major boost to both teams, especially Runcorn, who had to rely heavily on young talent last season to help ease its cash crisis". Runcorn are also setting up an under-18 side.


    IC Cheshire reports that "The good news ... for Northwich Vics just keeps coming. Just before the campaign ended, they sold striker Gregg Blundell for £15,000 to Doncaster Rovers - and when they were promoted, another £10,000 became due under a clause in the transfer. Shortly afterwards, they picked up another £15,000 as their cut of the play-offs money and only last week they heard the Football Foundation had given them the maximum £400,000 grant towards their new ground, Victoria Park, plus a bonus £100,000 in relocation expenses. Now they are celebrating a record shirt sponsorship deal with Britannia Carpets, run by former Vics' director Dave Price. It is worth a little more than £40,000 over three years... While Vics lost money in their first tenancy season at Wincham Park and expect to do so again, their losses may well be offset by another £25,000 windfall. The source is Leyton Orient - it will only take ex-Green Gary Fletcher to make two more first-team appearances for Orient to pull the strings in the contract that gives them an additional £25,000 to the £50,000 they received two years ago".