Altrincham Football Club News Archive
7 to 12 December, 2003

12 December 2003


Alty travel to Barrow on Saturday (13 December).

The NW Evening Mail states that Barrow manager "Lee Turnbull hopes victory at home to Altrincham on Saturday will spark a run of six wins in six. The Bluebirds chief wants a maximum points haul over the festive period to trigger his team’s title quest". Also "Turnbull has issued a firm 'hands off' warning to rival clubs hoping to tempt his players from Holker Street. The Bluebirds boss revealed that three of his strikers had been targeted by fellow Unibond Premier sides. Turnbull said he had received interest in Neil Campbell, Michael Rankine and Gavin Knight... He said: 'We've turned them down'".


The UniBond League reports that "Henkel Consumer Adhesives has announced it will sponsor the UniBond League for a further 12 months from next July. The deal extends UniBond’s funding of the competition to June 2005 - which will cover the eleventh year of partnership with the Northern Premier League. Over the years, UniBond has now injected well over £1 million into the game through its sponsorship... Henkel’s manufacturing base in Winsford, Cheshire".

"Alfreton Town’s management team have agreed contract deals with four more of their talented young players", acccording to their website. They are midfielders Anthony Tansley (19), Steve Woolley (18) and Adam Tyler (18) plus striker Mark Ashton (18). Director of Football Dave Rushbury explained, "We are delighted these four see their futures with us and their signatures will give us a far healthier outlook from the youth aspect... We have a schedule of progression to keep and whether the first team win, draw or lose, the supporting structure plan is still steadily progressing on".

Burscough's unofficial site comments that "The latest news from the club concerning Shaun Teale`s appointment as Northwich Victoria manager makes interesting reading. It appears that the club are not aware of this development on an official level,so if it is indeed true then the club hopes Shaun will sign his release before starting work with Northwich". Also, Burscough have released Michael Knowles, Russell Payne, Paul Howarth and Adam Lucas.

Meanwhile Nationwide Football confirm that "Northwich Victoria have appointed Shaun Teale as caretaker manager following the sacking of Alvin McDonald, with a permanent deal likely to follow".

According to Lancaster Today. "City old boy Paul Haddow is one of several players boss Phil Wilson is currently looking at as he moves to strengthen City's league challenge. Haddow has been training with the Lancaster squad after being released by Southport following a period of illness. The versatile midfielder was a popular figure at Giant Axe during a four year spell at the club after being released by Blackpool... And Wilson says he is still keen to bring in more players, with a couple of others also working with the first team and a slim chance that at least one new face could be included in the squad to face Runcorn or Altrincham in the next week".

Former Vauxhall boss Alvin McDonald "has told IC Cheshire of his anger at being sacked as manager of Northwich Victoria after just 11 games in charge... He said: 'I was only given 11 games and probably got sacked on six results. I feel like I have been kicked in the teeth... I'm not bitter, just very disappointed and angry'. He quit to join the Vics and fulfil an ambition to manage at Conference level, but is now regretting not signing a contract. He added: 'If I had been on a contract maybe they would have given me until the end of the season... Probably my best chance of working in the Conference again is to take a side up from the Unibond".

IC Cheshire also reports that Runcorn's "Kevin Leadbetter has rejected a move to Stalybridge... 'We mentioned it to Kevin but he didn't want to go and I'd rather he stayed anyway'", said manager Chris Lightfoot. However, Stalybridge have signed Ian Monk from Leigh RMI.

11 December 2003


Jason van Blerk (left), the left-back who played 2+1 games for Altrincham earlier this season before being released, has now moved on from Colwyn Bay. He has signed up with Australian Soccer League side Wollongong Wolves of Figtree, NSW. "Jason was immediately greeted at [Sydney] airport by a possie of cameramen eager to talk to the former Socceroo who had 33 caps for his country under his belt. Jason arrived at the club at approximately 4pm this afternoon and immediately participated in local press conferences with the Wollongong Media as well as National Press" according to the Wolves website. "The Wolves were the first team to be proactively taking part in the ASA's vision in bringing high profile players back to our domestic league whilst they have still got plenty to offer", the site added.


SAM reports that Rod Thornley's operation, hopefully taking place on Monday, is a "bone scraping to relieve patellar tendonitis". The paper adds Rod's comment: "Things are poor at the moment. Everyone can see the problems I'm suffering out there and no one is more disappointed than I am. Hopefully this op will take care of everything". It adds, "Rod himself is aiming for an early February comeback" as recovery normally takes eight weeks.


Saturday's trip to Barrow (211 miles return) is our longest league trip so far this season but we have already gone longer distances for two cup matches - at Gateshead (315 miles) and at Workington (286 miles). At 344 miles the return journey to Blyth is the longest league round-trip in prospect this season but if we progress in the Trophy we may visit more far-flung parts of the country. After the Barrow trip, Altrincham's 15 away games will (according to the AA) have involved 1,901 miles of travelling so far this season. By the end of the season we will have travelled at least 3,400 miles.

Don't forget that every mile can be travelled in safety and comfort - (not to mention excellent company!) - on the STAR supporters' coach, provided by Go Goodwins. The away coach journeys are priced to break even rather than make a profit so using the supporters' coach is also an economical way of getting to away games. For details of the trip to Barrow, see the Away Travel page.


Following his fractured cheekbone, Kevin Ellison was making his comeback yesterday afternoon in Stockport County's reserve game at Blackpool.

Substitute Rob Matthews scored for Mossley on Tuesday and Mario Daniel played the last 6 minutes, too. Tony Sullivan scored a goal for Lancaster against Marine on Tuesday and Neil Murphy made his comeback from injury as a sub for Marine in the same game.


IC Cheshire reports on our neighbours Northwich Victoria and their managerial vacancy: "Shaun Teale looks the likeliest candidate as the former Aston Villa and Tranmere defender took training after McDonald's departure". A Vics spokesman said, "We have only won two games all season and we are heading for disaster. The players were not responding to his [Alvin McDonalds's] management... It will be devastating if we go down, not least because there are no guarantees yet the North and South Alliances will happen. It could be straight into the UniBond League". The reports adds that "Privately, sources at the club were alarmed at McDonald's attitude that he could do [no] more. A dressing room rift between the newcomers and the established players, who saw themselves as the whipping boys, had developed".


The website of Harrogate Town says that "BBC North Yorkshire reports that Harrogate RUFC manager Graham Siswick believes his club and Harrogate Town AFC should join forces to solve both clubs' ground problems. The rugby club face the prospect of being homeless in 2009... Their proposed move to Killinghall was rejected by a Government Inspector last week. Harrogate Town have ambitions for a new football league standard stadium".

UniBond leading scorer Jody Banim's debut for his new club Shrewsbury Town saw him victim of a red-carded tackle in a 0-0 draw with Telford.

10 December 2003


The match report on This is Lancs says Radcliffe "Borough contributed to their own downfall with some woeful defending against Altrincham at Moss Lane on Saturday... Borough spurned a couple of good chances but Altrincham controlled the game".


Confguide confirms that at our neighbours, Northwich Victoria, "Alvin McDonald has been sacked as manager after just two months in charge. He joined the club in October after leaving his post at Vauxhall Motors... Unconfirmed rumour suggests that a replacement is lined-up already, and will be announced in a day or two".

Beforehand, IC Cheshire reported that "Vics have suffered six league defeats under McDonald and picked up five points from the three other games, one point less than the first nine games under Steve Davis. McDonald said: 'I don't know the answer. I am trying everything I know and hoping it comes off'".


This is Lincs reports that "Scunthorpe United target Ben Purkiss insists he is not the only player at Gainsborough Trinity who has had the scouts flocking to the Northolme... Strikers Lee Ellington [once at Altrincham] and Gareth Grant have also been linked with a move further up the football ladder... Supporters at the Northolme feel it is only a matter of time before strike pair Grant (23) and Ellington (23) will be the subject of a firm transfer bid from Nationwide League clubs... Ellington is especially prolific and has bagged more than 20 goals every season in the past four years. Already Grant and Ellington, who have league experience with Bradford and Hull City respectively, have bagged 26 goals between them this season".

Worksop Town report that they "have signed 21 year-old, 6' 4" striker Aron Wilford from York City. Wilford has played seven times for York this season and scored twice. His previous clubs were Whitby, where he was leading goalscorer, and Scarborough".

Radcliffe Borough say that "striker Chris Denham will be out of action for another few weeks after aggravating an injury in the 4-1 defeat at Altrincham" and that "Borough are still in negotiations with Southport defender Neil Whitworth, the club hope to complete the signing in time for Saturday's fixture but would like to deny the comment made in this weeks issue of the Non League Paper stating Whitworth had signed for the club".

9 December 203


  • Ashton U. 2 Stalybridge C. 1
  • Lancaster C. 3 Marine 1
  • League Table

    Graham Heathcote reports that Rod Thornley should have had a knee operation today but it has had to be deferred because he suffered a cut on the knee last Saturday. If an operation slot can be found for next Monday the surgery will take place then, which would rule Rod out of the Barrow game this Saturday. However, if the operation has to be held over till January, Rod will play at Barrow.

    Definitely missing against his former club, Barrow, is skipper Mark Maddox, who is suspended for one game after amassing five bookings.

    Other injury doubts concern Niell Hardy and Steve Aspinall, who both hopefully will be fit for Saturday's game.

    SO FAR

    Altrincham have used 31 players this season, of whom 29 have played in the League and 25 in cup matches. 13 players have scored in league games but just 3 (Band, Hardy, Welton) in cup games. Overall, Ian Craney is leading scorer with 5 of Alty's 33 goals, followed by Niell Hardy and Rod Thornley on 4. Alty have kept 8 clean sheets in 26 games and also failed to score on 8 occasions.

    8 players (Hooper, Hughes, McCarthy, Matthews, Robertson, Ryan, van Blerk and Williams) who have played this season have already moved on or gone back to the club which loaned them to us. 5 goalkeepers have been used (Acton, Timms, Williams, McCarthy and Coburn) plus left-back Chris Adams, who played 50 minutes when Acton was injured. Adams, Band and Craney are the only players to start all 26 games to date. 4 of this season's youth team have played for the first XI, (Lunt, Timms and the two Lugsdens).

    Alty's best run in all competitions so far is their current one of 10 games without defeat (7W and 3D), which includes 6 league games. The biggest gate at Moss Lane was 711 (v Southport in the FAT), followed by 701 (v Harrogate in the UPL) and away it was 702 at Southport. The smallest home gate was 235 v Stalybridge in the CSC and, away, it was 222 at Gateshead in the Trophy.


    NL Daily reports that Whitby Town held "a sponsored Fish and Chip Supper with all participants having to wear replica football shirts" and and "raised £700 for the club’s New Complex Appeal Fun... The next effort is a Xmas Banquet with all 400 places sold out months ago".

    Blyth Spartans manager "Paul Baker has arranged a friendly game at South Shields on Saturday, 20 December. This game is intended for Paul to look at a number of trialists in a similar format to the game against H.M.S. Blyth. It is unlikely that any first team players will be included".

    IC Newcastle adds that "Blyth are already sweating on the fitness of winger Wayne Phillips for Saturday's trip to Alfreton. Phillips, still waiting to hear whether Darlington will pursue their interest in him, has a hamstring injury... 'It may be just a tweak, but if it's more than that, Wayne could be out for a while'", said Paul Baker.

    This is Lincs states that "Manager Paul Mitchell is unsure about his own future at Gainsborough Trinity after close friend Pete Rinkcavage made his exit from the Northolme. Rinkcavage left his assistant's role to take up his first manager's job at Stocksbridge Park Steels on Friday. His departure severed an 11-year working partnership between himself and Mitchell, who had been together for successful spells at Worksop and Alfreton Town... There is no doubt Mitchell's job is safe, but the Blues' record of five managers in as many years will force him to seek assurances from chairman Pat Lobley". Mitchell said "I could be next, you never know. Everybody knows when you put the manager's name on the door at Gainsborough it is in chalk! Who knows? I will go and sit down with the chairman, Pat, and vice-chairman, Richard, and see where we go from here".

    8 December 2003


    In the Sunday Pink there is more on Dalton Steele's departure last week as Assistant Manager of Altrincham. Dalton said, "I've thoroughly enjoyed my time at Altrincham. Everyone there, from the chairman down, has been brilliant with me, but now I feel it's time to do something different... Certainly, no one was pushing me. I thank Graham [Heathcote] for taking me to Moss Lane...He and I remain firm friends". The paper adds, "Heathcote admits Steele's decision has taken him by surprise... The Alty boss says he may, in time, look for a replacement, but he appears to be in no rush". Graham added, "It was totally his decision and there's certainly no animosity between us... I'm sure he's capable of taking charge somewhere else and doing a very good job, if that's the direction he chooses".


    Altrincham went up to 13th with this entertaining win. Man of the Match, Ian Craney is seen below leaving the pitch with his champagne award.

    Match report here.

  • Alty Line-Up
  • Alty Player Stats


    Radcliffe's site has a match report on Saturday's defeat at Moss Lane. It starts, "The Boro’s first game without Jody Banim, only aided the doubting Thomases who claimed that Radcliffe were a one man team. Radcliffe looked devoid of any way of penetrating the Altrincham back line until Dave Luker got Radcliffe’s consolation in the dying minutes".

    The Southport Visiter reports on the previous week's game at Moss Lane against Southport. Manager Liam Watson said, "To be perfectly honest I could not see us equalising once Altrincham took the lead. I said to the players at half time that I didn't think they had the character and the heart to go out and make a game of it. Their central back two [Talbot and Maddox] dominated, winning everything in the air and if the ball got past them our player didn't. Unfortunately if you go down our middle our biggest challenge was against each other, our two centre halves fighting for the ball trying to head it. I knew this was round the corner, I didn't come into the job with my eyes closed. I knew it was a big job. For me our season has got to start on Saturday, December 13, against Bradford Park Avenue. We need to push on now. I've been looking at players and now without the Trophy we can make signings. We can sort out Southport Football Club, we need a better squad, better team spirit and produce a lot better performances for the fans".


    As Manchester United Youth have drawn Manchester City Youth in the FA Youth Cup, the tie is likely to be switched from Moss Lane, the usual venue for United Youth Cup games, to Old Trafford though this is yet to be confirmed.


    Several old boys appeared on TV in the FA Cup highlights over the weekend. They included Danny Adams (Macc.) and Alex Hay (Tranmere). In the UniBond, Leroy Chambers, Steve Porter, Adam Farley and Carl Furlong (sub) played for Droylsden. Chris Timons (Gainsboro.), Terry Bowker (Stalybridge sub), Tony Sullivan (Lancaster sub), Darren Royle (Ashton), Steve Hawes (Worksop) and Paul Robertson (Vauxhall) all also played yesterday, whilst Matt McNeil netted for Hyde. In the NWCL, Jamie Phoenix played for Nantwich. Ryan Hevicon and Darren Lyons scored again for East Manchester. Elsewhere, former Coventry reserve and Alty striker Andy Lovelock has now joined Racing Club Warwick of the Dr Martens Western Division and, in Wales, Danny McGoona turned out for Caernarfon.

    The NW Counties League reports that "Nantwich Town manager Nigel Gleghorn has been awarded the Manager of the Month [award] for November. However, work commitments have taken Ally Pickering away from Woodley Sports.

    Abbey Hey have signed Robert Trees, who was briefly at Moss Lane in 2000, whilst former Alty reserve Chuku Otutu has been released by Trafford. In fact, our neighbours Trafford have used 55 players this season - after using 68 last campaign!


    The Barrow website reveals that past encounters with Altrincham have resulted as follows: played 24, 5 wins to Barrow, 8 to Alty and 11 draws, with Alty scoring 38 and Barrow 31. As both sides have drawn 11 league games this season, it would take a brave person to forecast a win for either side this Saturday. Over the last six league games, Alty lie 3rd in the form table whilst Barrow are 11th.


    Southport's ex-Man. Utd defender, Neil Whitworth, has joined Radcliffe Borough.

    Frickley's website says that manager "Phil Sharpe has added two more players to his squad with the signing of Scott Brough on a month's loan from Barrow and Dale Rimmington from NCEL side Goole AFC. 20-year-old Brough is a midfielder who has played 14 times for Barrow in the UniBond League since signing from Scunthorpe United in March".

    Spennymoor report that "Tony Lee has signed 21 year old goalkeeper Ashley Connor on loan from Harrogate Town. Ashley who lives at Huddersfield, is the 5th keeper to feature for Moors this season... He replaces Martin Kearney who began a 35 day suspension on 1 December. [Another Moors' keeper] Steve Tierney, meanwhile has had to return to Horden CW due to work commitments. Jonathan Milroy has been released, and has returned to West Auckland... Chris Lynch, meanwhile has joined... Thornaby."


    The Ashton United ground share with Curzon Ashton at a new stadium is reported to be subject, amongst other things, to agreement about ensuring the future of Ashton's Hurst Cross social club.
    7 December 2003


    Details of the STAR supporters' coach to Barrow next Saturday (13th) are here.


    Friday's Karaoke evening, attended by some 55 people, raised £211 for the Club, whilst the STAR half-time bucket collection raised £116.72 yesterday. Many thanks to all concerned with these great efforts.

    Coming events:

  • 14 December: Christmas Fair (see right). Michael Cockayne, a regular at Moss Lane, has written "Derby County, the Clough Years". The book is published by Manchester's Parrswood Press and its ISBN is 1 903158 44 3. It has 240 pages and 80 photos and costs £14.95. Michael will be signing and selling copies of his book at the Christmas Fair. £5 for each sale at the Fair will be donated to Altrincham FC. All royalties are being donated to the Renal Unit at Manchester Royal Infirmary, so please support this excellent venture - and help Alty at the same time.
  • 16 (v. Lancaster C.), 20 (v. Vauxhall M.) and 26 December (v. Stalybridge C.): Christmas Hospitality Offer. £20 per game for free match ticket and programme, hot & cold buffet and complimentary drinks in the Sponsors' Lounge. Contact the club office for details.
  • 7 February after the Ashton away game, it is hoped to have a Hot Pot/ Curry evening at Moss Lane with a players' forum.


    All at Moss Lane express their condolences to the family of Doug Jones, who played inside right in the late 1950s for Altrincham and who sadly died on the 8 November.


  • Alfreton T. 1 Frickley A. 2
  • Altrincham 4 Radcliffe B. 1
  • Barrow 2 Spennymoor U. 0
  • Blyth Spartans 1 Gainsborough T. 1
  • Droylsden 1 Ashton U. 2
  • Marine 2 Harrogate T. 2
  • Runcorn FC Halton 2 Worksop T. 3
  • Stalybridge C. 1 Burscough 1
  • Vauxhall M. 1 Hucknall T. 3
  • Wakefield & Emley 0 Bradford PA 1
  • Whitby T. 2 Lancaster C. 1


    A Barrow press release states that during the five years of the club's liquidation, "Barrow AFC Limited has paid to the liquidator sums totalling approximately £400,000 towards the debts incurred by the old Club. This includes the cost of acquiring the ground, rent of £400 per week during four playing seasons and contributions required by the Unibond League towards the overall debts. These moneys have come from the supporters and in particular the two fund raising groups, The Survival Fund and Raise the Roof...It is understood that the level of indebtedness of the old Club was such that the liquidator will not be making any payment to the general creditors of that Club and consequently there is no value to be returned to holders of shares in the company".

    Only hours after scotching rumours that he and manager Paul Mitchell were to move from Gainsborough Trinity back to Worksop Town, "Peter Rinkcavage has landed the vacant managerial position at First Division Stocksbridge PS recently vacated by Wayne Biggins. His appointment breaks up what has been a very successful long standing managerial partnership with current Gainsborough Trinity boss Paul Mitchell. The pair spent seven successful years together at Worksop Town earning promotion to the Premier Division at their first attempt...This season the 34 year old Rinkcavage has helped Mitchell steer Trinity to one of their best campaigns in several seasons", reports the UniBond League.


  • Marc Riches (Whitby T. to B. Auckland)
  • Scott Brough (Barrow to Frickley A.)
  • Dale Rimmington (Goole to Frickley A.)
  • Leon McSweeney (Leicester City to Hucknall T.)
  • Adam Sollitt (Scarborough on 1 month loan to Hucknall T.)
  • Jamie Milligan (Droylsden to Hyde U.)
  • Sean Singh (Barrow to Ossett T.)
  • Ashley Connor (Harrogate T. to Spennymoor U.)
  • Ian Bowling (Worksop T. to Stalybridge C.)