Altrincham Football Club News Archive
29 July to 7 August 2003

7 August 2003


Alty's tenth and last pre-season game is on Saturday (9th) at home to a Blackburn Rovers XI. Of Alty's 17-man squad when they met Blackburn last pre-season, only 8 remain at Moss Lane. The Alty team in a 2-2 draw on 1st August 2002 was: 1.Nick STEPHENS, 2.Neil RYAN, 3.Gary SCOTT, 4.Peter BAND, 5.Gary TALBOT, 6. Andy McDONALD, 7.Danny MURPHY, 8.Ian CRANEY, 9.Brian McILROY, 10.Rod THORNLEY (capt.), 11.Ryan HEVICON. Subs: 12.Neil MURPHY, 13.Chris WILLIAMS (gk), 14.Stuart LOCKE, 15.Chris YOUNG, 16.Danny FROST, 17.Vernum ROWLAND, 18.Chris ADAMS, 19.Simon WOODFORD.

Alty hope to have Rod Thornley back for this game after his tour of the USA and Portugal with Manchester United.


The Alfreton Town site reports that "Neil Grayston limped out the Reds 4-1 win at Staveley MW on Tuesday evening to give the management team some concern". Town host Altrincham in the opening game of the season on 16 August. NL Daily states that "Mark Blount is set to become the Reds' [Alfreton's] seventh new signing of the close season after agreeing a move from Nationwide Conference club Burton Albion, while Carl Bradshaw has agreed a new deal which keeps him at North Street for the next two years". Blount (29) joins from Burton Albion. "At half-time during the recent Leicester City game, the club were presented with a cheque for £2,500 from Alfreton Town Council, who have further cemented their excellent relations with the club by agreeing a new £10,000 sponsorship deal over the next four years".

The Harrogate Town site says that "York City's player-manager Chris Brass has confirmed that he wants to sign midfielder Dave Merris from neighbours Harrogate Town... The ex-Rotherham United trainee joined Harrogate in 1999 from Guiseley. He is one of the longest serving members of Town's squad, and is also part of the coaching team at Wetherby Road, holding a UEFA 'B' badge". He also scored against Alty last season!

The website of Bradford PA confirms that "Goalkeeper Michael Jones tonight signed UniBond forms for Avenue. Michael, who is 18 next month, hails from Doncaster and will continue to play for Rossington Main in the N. Counties East League when not required by Avenue".

Ex-Alty striker Neill Hardy scored as his Radcliffe side lost 3-2 at Curzon Ashton.

Stalybridge Celtic report that "Jerome Fitzgerald has been selected for the British Universities' squad which leaves next Monday for the World University Games in Daegu, South Korea... Fitzgerald will miss the first three weeks of the UniBond season".

"Wakefield and Emley midfielder Mark Wilson is at the centre of the controversy which has cost Steve Dyson his job as Brighouse Town manager... It's believed some squad members were unhappy with Dyson's policy of bringing in higher-level players for particular matches. Midfielder Wilson turned out for last season's championship decider against Silsden", says IC Huddersfield.

6 August 2003


Alty fans will be delighted to hear that Rob Matthews has signed with Altrincham FC on non-contract terms after a series of impressive pre-season performances - not only at football but also at cricket! Rob, 32, hit 18 goals for Mossley last season but before then made more than 250 Football League appearances for various clubs including Bury and Stockport County. Along with Steve Aspinall, Rob is one of Alty's two new signings this summer.


Another excellent performance, which improved as the game went on, saw Altrincham take a deserved draw from a young Bradford City side.

Match report here. For a report from the Bradford camp, see here.


Today's Stockport Express carries an interview with Kevin Ellison, the former Alty winger. Amongst other things Kevin comments on his image. "I like the relationship I have with the fans", he said. " When they're all screaming 'Psycho' at me, you can see it's giving their right-back something to think about... and that can help during the game".


The Non-League Daily reports that "Hucknall Town have beaten off opposition from a number of other clubs, including Nationwide Conference newcomers Tamworth for the signature of midfielder Roy Hunter. The 29-year-old Middlesbrough-born Hunter started his career with West Brom and then spent seven years with Northampton, where he was skipper".


"It will be a new-look Kidsgrove Athletic that take the field for the opening ...fixture of the season", states the Non-League Daily. "Manager Bernard Taylor, the former boss of Altrincham, has completed a summer overhaul at Clough Hall, with the latest arrival being midfielder Stuart Quinn, a former Liverpool FA Youth Cup winner, who has also had spells with Southport, Leigh RMI, Altrincham and Droyslden. Quinn joins goalkeepers Danny Alcock and Farai Jackson, signed from Stoke City and Ashford Town (Middx) respectively, defenders Colin Flood (Trafford) and Craig Malbon (Crewe), forward James Slomka (Taunton Town) and Rhodri Giggs , brother of Ryan, from Salford City. Meanwhile, ex-British Universities' skipper Tim Alexander from Total Network Solutions, strikers Ryan Baker (Rhyl) and Leighton McGiven (Aberystwyth Town, midfielder Karl Robinson and defender Tony Draper (Oswestry Town) have all arrived via the JT Hughes Mitsubishi Welsh Premier".
5 August 2003


Lancaster Today confirms that "Experienced former Blackpool midfielder and forward Tony Sullivan, formerly of Stalybridge and Southport, became the latest player to join the Phil Wilson revolution at Giant Axe after impressing during recent warm-up games". Like Alty, Lancaster are unbeaten in the pre-season. Following their draw at Halesowen, "We had a bit of male bonding in the form of a night out in Preston in which all the players got to know each other better over a few drinks", said manager Phil Wilson on the Lancaster website.

"Marine boss Roly Howard is optimistic about an important season ahead for the Crosby club", says IC Liverpool. "As Britain's longest-serving manager prepared for his 32nd season in the College Road hot seat, Howard insisted: 'We have got to feel optimistic'... Howard is looking for a successful goals return from new signing Steve Whitehall, the vastly experienced 36-year-old striker who joined from UniBond neighbours Southport earlier this month".

IC Newcastle reports that "Former Gateshead skipper Gareth McAlindon admitted today that a move to Blyth Spartans is 'very close'... And the former Newcastle United midfield man said: 'I would expect a deal to go through some time this week'."

According to This is Lincs "Trialist Ryan Ford, a former Manchester United trainee and Ilkeston Town full-back, will get the chance to earn himself a deal with [Gainsborough] Trinity after impressing against the Imps [Lincoln City]... Former Emley midfielder Chris Hurst has finally signed a new one-year deal with the Blues". Still at the Northolme are ex-Alty men Chris Timons and Lee Ellington.

Spennymoor United have "added more signings to the squad... they are : Max Applegarth, a 19 year old midfielder from Middleton in Teesdale, previously with Willington, Adam Gilroy an 18 year old midfielder from Darlington who previously played junior football and Craig Rand, a 21 year old defender with Unibond experience with last club, Stocksbridge Park Steels and has been with Sheffield Wednesday, from Newton Aycliffe. Nick Richardson has now been released, Nick will take up the player/manager post at Ossett Town".

4 August 2003


As England crashed to South Africa in the Test Match, Altrincham FC beat an Urmston Cricket Club side by 16 runs yesterday afternoon.

Left: Umpire George Heslop looks on as Rob Matthews (in sunhat) faces the Urmston bowling.

Altrincham FC took to the cricket field today in a game with Urmston Cricket Club and maintained their unbeaten record in pre-season friendlies (football or cricket!) with a 16-run victory. The footballers secured a first innings lead by scoring 110-7 and then dismissing their opponents for 99. Charles Heathcote started the game with a brisk 25 runs, whilst Richard Acton, his opening partner reached a more sedate 10. Rob Matthews scored a stylish 24 whilst Alty chairman Geoff Goodwin, who sponsors Urmston CC, hit 3 runs. Dalton Steele played a cameo innings, being caught for just one run. Ian Craney showed some previously unsuspected ability as a batsman with an aggressive 18, whilst Steve Aspinall made 4. The innings ended with manager Graham Heathcote and acting captain Mark Maddox at the wicket, scoring 7 and 2 not out respectively. Both Chris Adams and Kurt Edginton, an accomplished local cricketer as well as Alty's reserve goalkeeper, did not bat as the designated 20 overs had been completed.

Each team member had to bowl two overs and Craney and Matthews were Alty's opening strike force. Chris Adams, a newcomer to cricket, gave a creditable performance behind the stumps- once he had been told where to stand. He was to round off the Urmston first innings with a neat stumping. After bowling a beamer as his first ball, chairman Geoff Goodwin soon settled into a length and he broke the Urmston opening partnership. Good fielding by Rob Matthews prompted two run outs whilst Adams took a good catch of a steepling skier. Kurt Edginton secured an lbw with the help of some expert umpiring from George Heslop, which Chris Adams greeted with the comment, "Good decision, son" to George! Kurt Edginton produced a good bit of fielding to run out another Urmston man, and also took an excellent catch on the boundary, whilst Steve Aspinall clean bowled an opponent and Mark Maddox sent down some useful deliveries. Charles Heathcote secured the last wicket with the assistance of Adams's stumping.

The second innings (also of 20 overs) ended with Alty 16 runs ahead. An excellent afternoon's entertainment was marred however, by a bad injury to Alty assistant manager Dalton Steele who damaged tendons whilst attempting a run in the second innings. Dalton had an operation on the tendons earlier this year and may now be sidelined once again if an operation is necessary. Everyone at Moss Lane wishes him a speedy recovery.

The match was watched by a respectable number of Alty fans and by a number of non-participating players including Neil Ryan, Paul Robertson and Danny Murphy. Also in the crowd was former Alty defender Danny Adams.


Ashton United lost 2-1 at home to Chorley at the weekend. Gerry Quinn has revamped his squad during the summer and as when he managed Altrincham, many of the newcomers come from Gerry's Yorkshire homeland. A new striker is soon expected to join five other newcomers at the club, who are Dean Johnson, Martin Allison, James Brook, Andy Thackeray and Andy Wilson.

Hucknall Town report that the club has "recently released Clint Marcelle. Poor off pitch discipline being cited by boss Steve Burr as the reason for his departure". Also released is Radcliffe's Will Archer, according to the Boro' website.


Former Alty boss Bernard Taylor has signed Stuart Quinn to his Kidsgrove Athletic side. Quinn, a former Liverpool FC FA Youth Cup winner, was a Mark Ward signing at Moss Lane in 2000-01 but left the club early that season after a difference of opinion with the management.
3 August 2003


Altrincham secured another encouraging win yesterday at Mossley, their sixth away win in succession in pre-season games. Match report here.


Mark Quayle turned out for his new club, Scarborough, yesterday. The Non-League Paper carries an interview with former Man. Utd youth player, Marc Whiteman, who made 6 appearances for Alty in 2001-02. He has just joined Sussex side Lewes and says "When you're down in the dumps and it's all going badly you start thinking if it's really worth it. That's what it's been like for the last two years".


The NLP reports that Chester's Dave Cameron has turned down a move to Droylsden. Adam Reed, a 28-year old defender has become the "third player released by Darlington this summer to have appeared in Harrogate Town's pre-season". The Town site also reports that "Darlington have signed ex-Harrogate Town striker Glen Robson", who has played for Blyth for the last couple of seasons. Blyth, playing under an FA warning for their disciplinary record, had Richard Forster sent off in a friendly yesterday. Former Hucknall and Barnsley player Clint Marcelle turned out for Stevenage last week.
2 August 2003


According to the Blyth Spartans' website, after "a disciplinary meeting... The club will be fined £2,500 [by the FA], which is half of the suspended fine imposed three seasons ago. The remainder of the suspended fine will continue to be suspended and the position will be reviewed again in December 2003".

Frickley's site reports that "Following Mark Hancock's decision to take over as manager at AFC Barnsley, Phil Sharpe has appointed Gary Hatto as player/coach... Mark wants to part with the club on good terms and may well still be playing for the club in the first couple of matches with the likes of Steve Robinson and Duncan Richards missing games through suspension".

Lancaster City have "signed ex-Liverpool and England U-19 International Neil Prince". Ex-Alty man Tony Sullivan scored in City's 3-0 win over Clitheroe this week. Manager Phil Wilson has also eplained that City "are training in Preston firstly because the training facilities are top class... I am sorry that the fans who used to watch training up at Lancaster and cannot travel are dissapointed but it is important that we have good facilities".

"It has been announced today that Andy Payton has left Stalybridge Celtic", according to the club website. "After a chat with manager Dave Miller, Andy decided that it was in his and the club's best interests for him to 'hang up his boots'".

Worksop Town yesterday "announced that they had now officially signed Neil Glasser on a two year contract and he will no doubt start his official debut against his former club Burton Albion tomorrow". Also, Worksop Town FC have altered their first two league home fixtures of the season against Wakefield & Emley and Harrogate Town to away fixtures. Presumably this is because building work is not finished.

Hyde United Have signed "Lee Prior, full back, formerly with Waterloo Dock and Anthony Kielthy a 19 year-old centre-half who was with Stockport County last season and made some first team appearances".

The NW Evening Mail says that Barrow boss Lee Turnbull is "targeting former Rochdale man Michael Oliver, a player he believes would be the best midfielder in the UniBond. Oliver, 28 tomorrow, is a personal friend of Barrow AFC's boss and will play in Saturday's friendly at home to Darlington (kick-off 3pm)... Oliver may be the ideal replacement for Steve Housham, who could still be sold to Gainsborough Trinty if they match Turnbull's valuation of the player".

Southport met a Man. City XI recently and used a number of trialists including Danny Stone a centre back formerly at Notts County and ex-Burnley apprentice 'keeper, James Salisbury. "Mike Walsh is awaiting international clearance for former Port Vale left back Paul Byrne who has been with Barry Town", according to IC Liverpool.

"Harrogate Town will use their next two home friendlies against Accrington Stanley tomorrow and Nottingham Forest on Tuesday to decide whether to sign up trialist Mark Ford", the ex-Leeds and Burnley player. Town have Scott Bonsall (leg) and Michael Ord (knee) on the injured list, according to Harrogate Today.


Leigh RMI have signed Ian Martin, who "has played in all of RMI's pre-season games and will provide back-up for regular goalkeeper Stuart Coburn, who impressed hugely in his first season at RMI last term after he signed from Altrincham around a year ago" says the Leigh website. RMI have also signed "former Northwich Victoria striker David McNiven", who was linked in some quarters with Alty in the summer.

1 August 2003


Alty travel to Mossley this Saturday but Mossleyweb reports that "Mossley AFC and team manager Ally Pickering have today (Wednesday) parted company! The official club statement is that the parting is by mutual consent and that Jason Beckford has been appointed Caretaker Manager until further notice".

Pickering briefly played for Altrincham three years ago. The trip to Mossley will be the second successive Saturday game for Alty against a team who have just lost their manager. Last week it was St Helens Town, where John Davison (another ex-Alty player) had recently left.

Mossley lost 0-3 to Macclesfield Town on Wednesday in Beckford's first game in charge. Alty last met Mossley in the 0-3 cup defeat by Danny Murphy and his then colleagues at Moss Lane on 30 September 2000.


Altrincham gained a hard-earned 1-0 win over West Cheshire League side Cammell Laird at Rock Ferry last night.

Match report here.


Both Rod Thornley and Dave Gardner are due back at Altrincham next week. Rod is in the USA, working with Manchester United, whilst Dave has been on his honeymoon. However, Gary Scott is on the injured list, with what is understood to be a groin problem.


Alty travel to Alfreton Town on 16 August for the opening league game of the season. NL Daily reports that Alfreton's pre-season "victories over Football League neighbours Mansfield Town and Chesterfield in the Derbyshire Centenary Cup have resulted in the club - and players - being inundated with enquiries with regards to the status of some of the squad". Chairman Wayne Bradley said, "We aren't going to let our stars be prised away... Several people on the UniBond circuit have already labelled us amongst the favourites to go on and join the elite in the Conference North. We have only just been promoted, but it is fair to say at this point that we will have a new challenge... Former England centre-half and new Chesterfield boss Roy McFarland acknowledged to us just how professional the club clearly is and that our professionalism both on and off the field is the reason they were a beaten team at the end of a very good evening for us".


Former Alty reserve striker Jason Anthony scored one of Abbey Hey's goals in a 2-3 defeat by Manchester United's under-19s on Wednesday.
31 July 2003


Mossleyweb reports that "Mossley have signed former England schoolboy international Jamie Almond who has recently been released by Manchester City. The 19 year old winger was signed by City for a record fee for a schoolboy when he arrived from Scarborough as a fifteen year old. Almond, who has recently had trials for Bradford City, was signed following an impressive debut against Radcliffe on Saturday... Meanwhile ex Manchester City, Curzon Ashton and Hyde United wing back Clive Brown (brother of Manchester United's Wes) and ex Blackpool midfielder Gavinlee Ellison are still awaiting their debuts due to injury".


Kevin Ellison scored one and made another in Stockport County's 3-1 away win over Halifax Town yesterday.

NL Daily reports that "The long-running saga of striker Mark Quayle's move away from relegated Nuneaton Borough has finally been resolves as has been sold to Nationwide Conference side, Scarborough". Quayle played for Alty at the start of 2000-01.


The official Worksop site states that "Mr Howard Raymond [chairman] confirmed yesterday (28 July) that planning application for the stands had been forwarded to the relevant authority and he does not envisage any major problems concerning the application".

Harrogate gave a debut last Tuesday to "ex-Leeds United midfielder Mark Ford... The 27-year old, Pontefract-born player, began his career at Elland Road as a trainee. He moved up through the junior ranks and earned two England under-21 international caps... After making over 40 first-team appearances for Leeds, Ford was sold by George Graham to Burnley for £250,000... Last season, Ford had a loan spell with Leigh RMI", reports the club's website

According to the Tameside Advertiser "Hyde United boss Steve Waywell is ready for the challenge of steering the Tigers out of the UniBond First Division this season. "Someone’s got to win it so why can’t it be us?" he said. The paper adds, "Following a defeat to Manchester City’s youth team, they have shown some impressive form in defeating Ashton United 3-1 before coming down to earth with a 5-1 loss against Worksop on Monday night. Waywell believes that the score flattered Worksop as his side led 1-0 for an hour". The Advertiser also reports on Droylsden's 0-2 defeat by Chester City in which ex-Alty men James Glendenning and Leroy Chambers played for the Bloods.

This is Runcorn confirms that Runcorn boss "Liam Watson has brought former Runcorn FC player, Danny Salt, back to the club on trial.. The 26-year-old wingback, who left to join St Helens Town in 2000, is expected to feature in this week's round of pre-season friendlies... Watson is still looking to strengthen his squad before the start of the new season though and is said to have his eye on several players in the Unibond League"

30 July 2003


Altrincham put in another good pre-season performance to earn a well-deserved draw against a young and skilful Crewe side.

Match report here.


The Altrincham supporters' trust, STAR, holds its AGM on 31 October and is seeking volunteers to join its Board. Board members must be 18 years old and able to attend meetings which take place at least 4 times a calendar year, usually in a local pub before or after home matches. If you are interested please visit the STAR site.
29 July 2003


Mossleyweb has full directions to Seel Park where Alty play on Saturday (3pm). The same site reports that "Defender Steve Sheil has had his 35 day ban quashed from his sending off against Nantwich late last season after being found 'not guilty' at a Manchester County FA appeal hearing... Meanwhile, Mossley are to give a trial to former Kidsgrove and Alsager goalkeeper Martin Bellamy who has recently moved to live in the area. Russ Headley returns to the squad on Saturday after missing the opening two games through holidays although Alan Bailey will miss the next couple of games due to business commitments".


IC Newcastle reports that "Gateshead are on the verge of losing their battle to keep skipper Gareth McAlindon. The former Newcastle United midfielder is having talks with Blyth boss Paul Baker and could sign for the Spartans in time to play in Friday night's friendly against Annan".

Lancaster City boss Phil Wilson has confirmed that he has signed Tony Sullivan from Altrincham as well as Phil Clarkeson (midfielder) and Kevin Welsby (keeper). "I am hoping to agree terms with two other players this week", adds Wilson.

Ex-Alty striker "Matty McNeil should be fit enough to play in some of the latter pre-season games following his injury from last season", reports the Runcorn official site.

Whitby's Aron Wilford "has signed a 1-year contract with York City, subject to a medical", according to their forum.


The former Isthmian Fans' site has now expanded itself to include coverage of the Dr Martens League and Unibond League. The site has been renamed Non League Fans and is well worth visiting, here.

Footytalk is a new site which describes itself as "dedicated to bringing online fans together, providing links to fans forums and other football resources. We provide info from the Premiership down to non-league", including the UniBond League.