Altrincham Football Club News Archive
8 to 14 August, 2003

14 August 2003


Ian Craney, Jason Gallagher, Gary Talbot, Andy Tunnicliffe and Peter Band line up for their portraits at last Tuesday's photo-call at Moss Lane.


Graham Heathcote has confirmed that, although it had been believed last season that Mattie Hughes would miss the first game of this season because of a suspension picked up whilst playing for his previous club, the ban does not in fact start till 25 August. His one-week ban means that he cannot play in the away games at Droylsden (25th) and Harrogate Town (30th). He is available for selection for the first three games (Alfreton Town, Marine and Frickley) but the nose injury that he picked up against Blackburn last Saturday rules him out for at least the first of those games.


Altrincham expect to have a full squad to choose from on Saturday at Alfreton except for Mattie Hughes and the long-term injured - Danny Murphy and Sean Smith. Those travelling from Alty will be glad to know that Alfreton's ground at North Street has a recently extended and licensed bar (The Reds' Bar), which has Sky TV.

Alfreton's planned friendly on Tuesday was postponed so, like us, they go into Saturday's match without a midweek game. The Alfreton website reports that the club "can't wait for this Saturday's opener at home to Altrincham... The mood in the camp is excellent and the management team are confident that with the players we have brought together, over the period of the season, the squad will be a real force in the division...With Neil Grayston expected to have fully recovered from an ankle injury... the only absentees for Saturday's opener are defender Carl Bradshaw who will miss the first three games of the campaign through suspension and striker Mick Godber, who is finding his way back to full fitness".


The Playing Squad page has been updated with new pictures of each of this year's first-team squad. Manager Graham Heathcote was also caught by the camera (right) at Tuesday's photocall at Moss Lane.


The MEN has a sizeable article on Ken McKenna, as his TNS side prepare to face Manchester City. Ken's Alty past is reprised including his dismissal against Wycombe near the end of the 90-91 season when his resulting suspension was a major factor, along with fixture congestion, in Alty's losing the Conference title which had seemed theirs for the taking. Graham Heathcote is quoted as saying, Ken "was desperate to win every game and that's a quality he has taken with him into management. I've no fears for him against City".


Whitby Town, like Alty, have taken to the cricket pitch - perhaps we could have a Roses Match? Whitby Today reports on the club's "Gala Day fund-raiser with a players versus officials cricket match at the Turnbull Ground. The players, led by manager Harry Dunn, beat the officials, captained by chairman Graham Manser, by just six runs. The game was followed by a barbecue and £60 was raised for the club's New Complex Appeal, bringing the total to £38,736.23".

Former Alty boss Gerry Quinn has signed eight new players this summer. The latest are Brendan Aspinall (28), a centre-back from Ossett Town. He will also be team physio; Philip Cooney (24), a midfielder from Skelmersdale United. He was at Ashton last season before moving to Trafford; and Andy Wearden (27), a defender from Curzon Ashton.

Radcliffe Borough have signed "Rochdale Sunday league player Davey Luker". But Boro' have released striker Will Archer.

From the official site at Southport comes news that "defenders Danny Stone and Neil Whitworth both agreed to sign up as contracted players for the season ahead while Lee Clitheroe also agreed non contract terms... The Sandgrounders are 7-2 favourites with Ladbrokes to bounce straight back into the Nationwide Conference".

The Stalybridge site says that Celtic expect to sign both Paul Gedman and Matty Woods before Saturday, but ex-Alty defender Terry Bowker is suspended for the club's first two games of the season.

The UniBondsite says that in the latest transfers "The biggest surprise is highly rated Burscough 'keeper Matt Taylor's decision to sign for Rossendale United who have also signed striker Wes Kinney from Runcorn FC Halton. Bradford Park Avenue have completed the signing of Wakefield & Emley's Ryan Crossley after a summer of wrangling. The two clubs agreed a fee rather than go to a tribunal over the player".

NL Daily quotes Spennymoor boss Alex Mathie as saying, "We'll never have a better chance of promotion to the Conference, and I want us to take it. I'd be very disappointed if we failed".

In their quest to bounce back from relegation, Gateshead "have agreed terms with former Burnley midfield man Mark Rasmussen", reports, IC Newcastle.

13 August 2003


The 2003-04 team photos were taken last night (Tuesday) in the new centenary shirts, sponsored by Go Goodwins coaches. For a different team photo (800x600), click here. To use as "wallpaper", once the image is opened, right-click and choose the "set as wallpaper" option.

Line-Up: Back - Mark Maddox, Gary Talbot, Peter Band, Richard Acton, Jason Gallagher, Stephen Lunt, Stephen Rose. Middle- Charles Heathcote (backroom staff), Steve Aspinall, Neil Ryan, Chris Adams, Rob Matthews, Paul Robertson, Barry Shuttleworth, Gary Thompson (physio). Front- Gary Scott, Ian Craney, Rod Thornley, Graham Heathcote (manager), Andy Tunnicliffe, Dave Gardner. As well as the long-term injured Danny Murphy and Sean Smith, also missing from the photo are Mattie Hughes, who was injured on Saturday and unable to attend and Assistant Manager Dalton Steele, who is also injured.


Alty Youth hit nine on Sunday... for a brief match report, see the Youth Page.


Adewale Ajetunmobi, who figured briefly at Moss Lane last season, has joined Droylsden from Vauxhall Motors. Other new faces at Droylsden, whom we meet on August Bank Holiday, include Michael Reynolds from Wakefield & Emley, Michael O'Brien returning from Chester City, Ian Dawes from Calgary Storm, Nigel Evans returning from Mossley and the much travelled Adie Mike from Lincoln City.

Other moves:

  • Brian Butler (Lancaster C. to Bamber Bridge)
  • James Cotterill (Scunthorpe U. to Barrow)
  • Mark Atkinson (Sunderland to Blyth S.)
  • Gareth McAlindon (Gateshead to Blyth S.)
  • Anthony Woodhouse (Spennymoor U. to Blyth S.)
  • Roy Hunter (Oxford U. to Hucknall T.)
  • Dene Whittall-Williams (Lancaster C. to Kendal T.)
  • Spencer Garry (Tranmere R. to Lancaster C.)
  • Darren Brookes (Alfreton T. to Stocksbridge PS)


    Barrow have an injury crisis with strikers Michael Rankine and Neil Campbell, as well as midfielder Sean Singh all out, injured, for Saturday's game at Droylsden. "Michael suffered whiplash in a car crash at the weekend while Neil has a badly bruised ankle, while Sean has tonsilitis," manager Lee Turnbull told BBC Radio Cumbria.

    The Blyth site reports that Viz is "issuing a special edition of the comic next week which will feature the Spartans on the cover... and copies will be given away to the first 100 adults coming through the gates" at Croft Park.

    The Frickley website confirms that the club has signed "Lee Pugh (a defender or midfielder from Brodsworth Welfare), Paul Hurrell (a forward who was a trainee at Sheffield United) and Chris Kamara (a midfielder who was a trainee at Leeds United) - the nephew of the former Bradford City manager of the same name".

    12 August 2003


    Right, another excellent picture supplied by Andy Boyers. This shows Ian Craney in action v. Crewe recently. Click image to enlarge it.


    The UniBond League says that "Whitby Town have signed Darlington midfielder Paul Campbell, who was on loan for a spell at the Turnbull last season... Whitby have also signed Brian Linighan from Worksop Town".

    This is Nottingham reports that "Gary Ricketts, playing his first 90 minutes since returning from a serious knee injury, turned in a man-of-the-match performance for Hucknall as they completed their pre-season build-up with an excellent win at Bromsgrove Rovers".

    "Marine have submitted their application to the Conference Alliance this week", reports IC Liverpool. "Further development of Rossett Park has taken place over the summer with new perimeter fencing and dressing rooms being added. This is the third phase of re-development that has taken place at Marine since 1996, costing £320,000".

    IC Liverpool also says that "Burscough have signed midfielder Hughie McAuley, 27, from Kidderminster. Manager Mike Marsh... is this week also hoping to sign left-sided midfielder Martin Crowther who has been training at Accrington Stanley since being released by Everton... 'There is now competition for every position on the pitch. I have lost six players and taken six on board'", said Marsh. Since Marsh spoke he has lost Peter Wright to Southport.

    Hucknall Town's manager "is looking at two more to add to his squad before Saturday's league opener... Impressing in Hucknall's pre-season friendly win against Bromsgrove Rovers on Saturday were Nathan Winder and former Northern Ireland international, Jon McCarthy", a former York, Port Vale and Birmingham City winger", according to a club spokesman.

    Recent transfers include:

  • Adam Ackroyd (Wakefield & Emley to Ossett T.)
  • Max Applegarth (Willington to Spennymoor U.)
  • Graeme Atkinson (Lancaster C. to Spennymoor U.)
  • Brian Butler (Lancaster C. to Bamber Bridge)
  • Kieron Charnock (Southport to Northwich V.)
  • Chris Edge (Colwyn Bay to Vauxhall M.)
  • Steve Johnson (Alfreton T. to Stocksbridge PS)
  • Andy Murphy (Southport to Runcorn FC Halton)

    Lancaster Today have new sponsors, after marketing firm "LA Serve agreed a £7,000 deal with the club". The company has "also managed to secure funding from Lancaster University... Part of the funding will pay for a postgraduate marketing student to spend four weeks in the City office helping promote the club". City have signed Neil Prince "a former Liverpool trainee who has also played for England at youth level". Manager Phil WIlson praised the Giant Axe pitch, saying "We need a good pitch because we have got a lot of players who can play good football".

    The Bay website confirms that Colwyn Bay's quest to regain their UniBond Premier status has been hit by fears that both James McIlvogue and Deiniol Graham are unlikely to play for the Bay "in the near future. 'It’s nothing to do with football, it’s a purely financial thing. There’s nothing I can do about that'", said manager Jimmy Mullen.

    11 August 2003


    I am grateful to Alty supporter and student of photography, Andy Boyers, who has sent the website this fine action picture of Peter Band in the pre-season game against Crewe Alexandra. (Click image to enlarge it)


    Alty kick off the new season at Alfreton Town next Saturday. In Alfreton's latest friendly, a win at Belper, former Alty man Tony Hemmings converted a penalty. The game also saw the return from an operation of the club's striker Mick Godber, reports the Town website. Before they entertain us Alfreton have another friendly, against Sutton Town of the Central Midlands League, on Tuesday.


    Before last Saturday's game, against Blackburn, SAFE members voted to wind up the Altrincham supporters' association and concentrate their efforts on supporting the new supporters' trust, STAR (see below for details). After the same game, STAR held an open meeting.

    The meeting confirmed that STAR now has 179 members which, as a proportion of the average home gate, is better than at many larger clubs. STAR's latest initiative is the Star4Alty programme whereby anyone who orders goods or services from a number of major retail companies earns income for STAR and, therefore, the club.

    The STAR AGM will be on Friday 31 October and applications are still welcome for the board of STAR. Raffle tickets for the annual draw will be distributed shortly.

    A decision on whether to incorporate the name of SAFE in the STAR away-travel organisation was deferred for wider consultation.

    Fuller details of this meeting will appear on the STAR site, where details of Shop4Alty can also be found. All Altrincham fans are encouraged to join STAR as it builds on the fundraising work done by SAFE since 1995.

    10 August 2003


    SAFE, the Altrincham supporters' club voted itself out of existence yesterday so that all fans could unite behind STAR, the new Altrincham supporters' trust. Details of SAFE's final AGM are here.

    SAFE was set up in 1995 to Save Altrincham's Football Existence and it has done just that.

    Right, SAFE's Mark Eckersall (left) presents Alty Director, Grahame Rowley, with a cheque for nearly £1,500 at half-time yesterday. The money is to pay for Altrincham's registration with the Conference for potential promotion to either the Conference or Conference North in 2003-04. Picture kindly provided by Alan Johnson from his photo-site.


    Altrincham ended their 9-game unbeaten run against an impressive Rovers' side on a sultry Saturday afternoon at Moss Lane. Report here.


    Travel to Altrincham away games will be run by STAR for 2003-04; the Travel Co-Ordinator will continue to be Mark Eckersall who has performed this role so well for a number of years. As Carsville, who had provided coaches for several years, have now been absorbed by another company, it has been decided that supporters will be carried in future by Go Goodwins Coaches, the company run by Alty chairman Geoff Goodwin. Geoff has kindly agreed to provide coaches at a discounted rate and supporters can be assured that they will be able to travel in comfort to away games this season. The coaches aim to arrive at away grounds an hour before kick-off and leave immediately after the match. Coaches are alcohol free so provide a good environment for everyone, from children to senior citizens. Last season saw an age range of passengers from toddlers to 80-plus. So, why not try out the service and avoid the bother and cost of using your own car or having to find your own route by road or rail?

    A final decision on the name of the away travel service for Altrincham supporters was deferred at yesterday's STAR meeting.


    The Pink tips Alty for a top-eight finish. It adds, "there are even those, Hyde boss Steve Waywell among them, tipping Alty as title dark horses".


    Ally Pickering is taking legal advice after rumours surfaced that his dismissal as manager of Mossley was connected to irregularities with the players' wages, according to the NLP and The Pink. "I have to clear my name," said the one-time Alty midfielder.

    Dickie Landon was on the mark for Radcliffe in their 4-3 win at Eastwood Town on Friday. Tony Sullivan hit the post for Lancaster yesterday, whilst Ged Kielty was man of the match for Leigh in the Conference despite being transfer-listed in the summer. Stuart Coburn is pictured in the NLP conceding Dagenham's goal in a 2-1 win by RMI. Mark Quayle made his Conference debut for Scarborough whilst Danny Adams played as usual for Macclesfield Town, against Paul Ellender (Boston), and Kevin Ellison turned out for defeated Stockport County.


    Southport's official site reports that the club has signed Peter Wright from Burscough. "Peter, a Preston based striker (21), has league experience with Halifax Town and scored two goals in last season's FA Trophy against Yeovil Town".
    9 August 2003


    Ex-Alty midfielder Scott Wilson (now at Rossendale United) has suffered an unusual misfortune: he "hasn't played since the Bacup Borough friendly in July after undergoing a back operation to remove an ingrowing hair", says This is Lancashire.


    A Bradford PA side, including 6 trialists, drew 1-1 at Guiseley this week. One of them, Stephen Olekswycz (ex-Frickley) has signed for the club". Meanwhile the Frickley site reports that "Popular centre half/forward Antony Jackson has put pen to paper on a 2-year contract. Also, the club have sent in their application for the new Conference North and are now endeavouring to explore avenues for ground improvements to be able to gain Westfield Lane the Conference 'B' grade which is required for Conference North by April 2005".

    The Runcorn FC Halton forum site states that there will be "a public meeting regarding Runcorn FC - Mission Possible... 14 August 2003". Mission Possible is a scheme being devised by some Linnets' fans to promote a move back to Runcorn from their current Widnes base.

    The Southport site says that the club is "talking to ex-Manchester United and Exeter City central defender Neil Whitworth... The hopes of Shaun Teale rejoining the Sandgrounders are diminishing... Teale remains in a contract wrangle with Burscough relating to his playing contract despite being sacked by the Linnets... Mike Walsh is still looking to strengthen his squad and is aiming to complete negotiations with a striker this weekend." Southport will be sponsored next season by Palace Products, who manufacture paints and preservatives.

    "Paul Rigby has announced his decision to part company with Lancaster City FC after failing to persuade new manager Phil Wilson he is worthy of a permanent place in his team", says This is Lancashire.

    Wakefield & Emley's Andy Lee has joined Aberystwyth Town, whilst Chris Senior, who was at the club last season is expected to join Scarborough.

    The UniBond League reports that "the man of many Leagues, Barrow's Anthony Hall, on the move again. He has joined Whitby Town due to a change in employment making it impractical to play for Barrow. Hall made single appearances in the Football League for both Tranmere Rovers and Hartlepool United, played in the Scottish League with East Fife and Berwick Rangers, appeared in the Irish League with Ballymena United before moving south to play in the League of Ireland with Waterford. Then it was the Conference and UniBond League with Gateshead before his move to Barrow in 2000... Lancaster City have signed Stockport County junior Ryan Elderton".

    8 August 2003


    I am grateful once again to Howard Watts for supplying the Through the Years data. Let's hope it is not an omen that Alty have never won an NPL game on 16 August, the date we play at Alfreton Town.


    Alty Youth beat Trafford Reserves 1-0 last night. See the Youth page for more on this.


    Nine UniBond clubs have so far applied for promotion to the Conference should they win the UniBond title this campaign. They are Altrincham, Barrow, Gainsborough Trinity, Lancaster City, Runcorn FC Halton, Southport, Stalybridge Celtic, Vauxhall Motors and Worksop Town.


    The UniBond site also reports Rob Matthews's arrival at Moss Lane, and refers to how he gained "back to back promotions with Bury in addition to serving Hull City, Notts County, Stockport County and Blackpool".

    Vauxhall Motors have lost skipper Phil Brazier to Northwich Victoria, Steve Aspinall to Altrincham, Matt Haddrell to Macclesfield Town and Danny Collins to Chester City. The Motors' "major summer signing has been central defender Chris Whelan, whose job has brought him back to Merseyside after a five-year spell down south in which he played for... Kingstonian... Other new signings at Vauxhall include ex-Shrewsbury Town YTS player Neil McCann... former Marine, Southport and Kendal Town midfielder Anton Lally, who has joined from Colwyn Bay, and ex-Tranmere, TNS and Connah's Quay Nomads' Chris Edge", says IC Cheshire.

    Hucknall manager Steve Burr explained his release of Clint Marcelle by saying, "Clint is the kind of player where we have to accommodate a pattern of play to suit him. With younger forwards coming through, like Danny Bacon and James Tevendale, I thought it was in his best interests to find another club". Burr added, "His timekeeping has not been the best, for three pre-season friendlies, he has turned up 15 minutes late... I might be making a mistake in letting him go but everyone has to be committed to the football club". Burr has signed Roy Hunter (29), a midfielder, who had 7 years at Northampton Town. Burr has also secured a month's loan of Tamworth's Mark Sale, "We will have a look at him for a month and make sure he is 100% fit", Burr told Hucknall Today.

    The UniBond League reports "a couple of unusual moves involving Spennymoor United. Leaving the 'Moors' is the vastly experienced Nick Richardson whom they signed earlier in the close season from Harrogate Town. He leaves for Ossett Town without ever kicking a ball in a competitive match for the 'Moors'... Joining the 'Moors' is another very experienced former full time pro Graeme Atkinson who still retains his Preston base! Atkinson signed for Lancaster City after over 300 appearances for the likes of Rochdale, Hull City, Preston North End, Scunthorpe and Scarborough. Moors' manager Alex Mathie, a former Scottish Youth international, has also registered himself as a player".

    Southport have signed Danny Stone who had some first-team games at Notts County.

    Droylsden's sponsors for 2003-04 will be the trade union, Amicus. Gary Owen of Amicus said, "By supporting a local football team, we intend to be able to increase our membership base and spread the word about the benefits of joining Amicus".


    Former Alty defender Dave Swanick has left Hyde United and joined Rossendale Utd, whilst Craig Skelton, who was briefly at Alty in 1999-2000 has rejoined Whitby Town from Billingham Town. Other moves:
  • Liam Blakeman (St Helens Town to Burscough)
  • Mark Brennan (Accrington S. to Burscough)
  • Ian Brunskill (Droylsden to Burscough)
  • Hugh McAuley (Kidderminster H. to Burscough)
  • Martin Crowder (Everton to Burscough)
  • Michael Jameson (Guisborough T. to Whitby T.)
  • Steve Johnson (Darlington RA to Whitby T.)
  • Scott Nicholson (Tow Law Town to Whitby T.)