Altrincham Football Club News Archive
20 to 29 December, 2003

29 December 2003

REVIEW OF YEAR 2003- Part 2

  • Click here.


    The Pink had an end of year review which says that "Slowly, but surely, the Robins seem to be finding their wings notably since Heathcote pulled off probably his greatest-ever transfer coup by persuading then Leigh boss Mark Patterson to let him have keeper Stuart Coburn back for nothing. Alty will, though, have to improve on their current points-to-games ratio if they're to avoid the lottery of the play-offs...At least Altrincham have given themselves a platform from which to launch an Alliance assault and, providing they steer clear of major injury problems, they appear to stand a decent chance of qualifying automatically".


    Former Alty players in action over the last few days included Paul Ellender (conceded a penalty for Boston Utd), Matty McNeil (sent off for Hyde Utd), Rob Matthews (scored for Mossley), Lee Thompson (scored for Skelmersdale United) and Danny McGoona (used sub for Caernarfon).
    28 December 2003


    Altrincham's attendance on Boxing Day was their highest of the season, as was also the case in 7 other of the games played in the UniBond Premier that day. The average gate at Moss Lane is now higher than last season's. The STAR bucket collection raised an excellent £100.10, thanks to the efforts of the volunteer-collectors and the generous contributors.


    Neil Dewar is the 46th of Terry Rowley's Alty playing "legends" to be added to this site here. As a footnote to the profile also reproduced is a pen picture of Neil from an Alty programme of 1965.


    The BBC reports that the Spennymoor United "is facing financial ruin after a Christmas Day fire destroyed its club house", which sadly was not insured. The club owner said "I had tried companies that I know from other business to get them to insure it as a football club. The only thing we had was liability for spectators and the players. But they were reluctant to insure it as a football venue", whilst Club Secretary Brian Boughen added, "This has been devastating... I spent a long time with the police and the fire investigators and they came to the conclusion that it was not started as a result of arson. The fire started at or near to the fruit machine, probably with a discarded cigarette. It is tragic for the club but it was an accident", reports the Spennymoor site. Only the exterior walls of the building remain. All at Altrincham send their commiserations to the Moors.
    27 December 2003


  • Ashton U. 3 Radcliffe B. 3

    REVIEW OF 2003 - Part One

  • Click <"revu0304.htm">here


    According to the MEN, Droylsden "weren't among the UniBond League's nine Conference applicants named in August, and so appeared to stand no chance of being allowed up. But Droylsden boss Dave Pace is now anxious that they should be promoted if they win the league, and so has asked the Conference if that's still possible. And the Conference, who have passed Droylsden's Butcher's Arms ground fit for their new regional feeder division, the Northern Alliance, have responded by telling Pace they're prepared to discuss his request, even though he has made it nearly four months late".


    Jamie Phoenix and Wes Wilkinson scored for Nantwich yesterday.
    26 December 2003


    Match report here

    Pictured, left, is Stuart Wright and, right, Steve Aspinall, with his Man of the Match champagne.

    Other Boxing Day scores:

  • Bradford PA 2 Harrogate T. 3
  • Burscough 3 Vauxhall M. 1
  • Droylsden 1 Runcorn FC Halton 2
  • Hucknall T. 3 Alfreton T. 3
  • Lancaster C. 0 Barrow 3
  • Marine 1 Southport 1
  • W. & Emley 0 Frickley A. 2
  • Whitby T. 1 Spennymoor U. 0
  • Worksop T. 0 Gainsborough T. 0


    On Boxing Day 2002, at home to Droylsden, Alty wished their fans a Merry Christmas. Seen left to right were: 1. Richard ACTON, 2. Gary SCOTT, 3. Barry SHUTTLEWORTH, 4. Mark MADDOX (capt.), 5. Chris ADAMS, 6. Stephen ROSE, 7. Danny MURPHY, 8. Ian CRANEY, 9. Peter BAND, 10. Dave GARDNER, 11. Sean SMITH. Subs: 12. Jason GALLAGHER, 14. Andy McDONALD, 15. Andy TUNNICLIFFE. Only 6 of the 15 above (Scott, Shuttleworth, Adams, Rose, Craney and Band) were involved this Boxing Day.

    25 December 2003


    Happy Christmas Day to everyone who visits this website!


    Mark Maddox will play tomorrow despite not being able to train recently and new Alty loan signing David Holt, from Stockport County, is expected to play some part in the proceedings, after impressing in training.


    Harrogate Town hope to re-sign defender Chris Hudson, who has just spent 18 months in Norway after helping Harrogate win the UniBond first Division in 2002. Manager John "Reed has been looking for extra defensive cover after it emerged last week the James Riordan is likely to miss the rest of the season. Attention has turned to Hudson, after Barrow rejected a move for Mark Hume".

    From the same source, Harrogate Town chairman Bill Fotherby says "'We are trying to get together with the rugby union club who have a very large ground and it would be good to get together with them'. However, rugby club chairman Frank Carter doesn't believe there is enough space at Claro Road, 'the reason Harrogate rugby club is wanting to relocate is because we haven't got sufficient space to expand even our junior development... so adding a football club with all its requirements would be impossible'".

    "Young centre half James Connolly has signed a new contract through to May 2005", reports the Marine website. Club chairman Paul Leary said, "He is a firm favourite with the fans and I know that they will be as equally pleased. James has shown tremendous ability since his arrival and he is a key member of our future plans as we bid for entry into the new Conference North".

    24 December 2003


    SAM quotes Graham Heathcote at the season's half-way point: "We've got ourselves mid-table and that won't be good enough. We need to improve in the second half of the season and I firmly believe that we have the players to do that. The supporters have been great and I offer a big thanks for that. Their appreciation of the team's effort is clear and vice versa - the team have reciprocated with appreciation of their own... but make no mistake - there is a lot of hard work to be done between now and April 26".


    IC Liverpool states that "Southport urgently need a winning run and a change in their Unibond fortunes, starting at Marine on Boxing Day... Southport are bottom of the UniBond form table and sit precariously in 12th position, a massive 24 points behind leaders Droylsden... Liam Watson, looking for a first Unibond win since October 25 at Frickley, making it one win in the last 11 matches, hopes to have Macclesfield front man Neil Robinson in the squad". After defeat by Guiseley, Watson said, "Too many of our players thought they just had to turn up... I have made a number of changes and intend to bring in more new faces to strengthen the squad and add competition. It is taking time to get it right but we are nearly there".

    The Daily Telegraph had an interview with Droylsden's Dave Pace yesterday in which he admitted "I was a bit of a rogue in my younger days, drinking and what have you... The place was horrific when I got here. I have gone through hell and back to get it where it is at the moment". "I pump almost every penny I've got into the club," he added.

    IC Cheshire reports on Dominic Morley's continued recovery after falling from scaffolding. The Linnets' boss Chris Lightfoot "was disappointed to see Saturday's Chairman's Cup tie at Leek fall foul of the weather. 'It would have given me the chance to give Dom another run-out and Chris Tamm would have started,' he explained. Ex-Caernarfon midfield man Tamm hasn't figured since joining... Meanwhile, ex-Everton and Tranmere utility man Tony Thomas has been released so he can try to find the games he needs to get fit after coming out of retirement".

    Also, "The Linnets Independent Supporters' Trust have announced that they will be holding another open meeting... Martin Fallon, acting Press Officer for the Linnets Trust, said: 'We feel that because the Linnets Trust is open to all supporters, it would be better to outline what we have come up with and see whether the working group's view of the Trust is the same as other supporters... Meanwhile, due to the proximity of Altrincham, Runcorn will not be running supporters' coaches to Altrincham for the FA Trophy third-round encounter on January 10. The Linnets' official website reports, however, there has been a suggestion the coach company run by Altrincham's chairman may provide transport for Runcorn fans if there is sufficient demand".

    Worksop Town's site quotes manager Steve Ludlam on the visit of former manager Paul Mitchell's Gainsborough side. "I think Mitch will come here with something to prove because everyone wants to get one over on the club they used to play with or manage... But I will be treating this just like any other game and that's the approach I will expect from my squad". The report adds "Meanwhile, striker Darren Roberts (Belper) and Richard Peacock (Buxton) are poised to leave before the New Year. But Ludlam is not expecting to bring in any new blood until Aaron Wilford's loan period expires in mid-January".


    IC Cheshire confirms that the argument over the Cheshire Senior Cup semi-finals continues as "Nantwich have given notice they intend to counter-appeal" against the decision to throw them out of the Cup for fielding an unregistered player against Congleton Town.
    23 December 2003


    Macclesfield Town striker Neil Robinson is to join Southport on a month's loan. Robinson hit 43 goals for Prescot Cables during 2001/02 but is returning after a period out, injured.

    The Harrogate Town site "reports that 32-year-old defender Shaun Smith is being linked with a move to Harrogate Town from Hull City".

    This is Bradford reports that, on Saturday, Bradford PA used "trialist Nick Heinemann - the versatile defender who has been released by Halifax Town but is also having trials with Cardiff City".

    "Burscough have turned down a five figure offer -£5,000 with 'add-ons'- from Radcliffe Borough for skipper Steve McNulty", reports the Burscough Linnets Online site.

    The Spennymoor United site confirms that "Tony Lee has added another Hartlepool United player on loan at The Brewery Field. Striker, 21 year old Jermaine Easter joins Hartlepool team mate Mark Robinson as Lee aims to stop Moors' slide in the table... Easter played at least 20 first team games for Hartlepool last season... Craig Rand... has left the club to play for Thornaby in the Albany Northern League, where he joins former team mates David Goodchild, Nicky Mohan and lately Chris Lynch".

    22 December 2003


    Altrincham have a home draw in the UniBond League Challenge Cup against Hucknall Town if they can beat Vauxhall Motors on 6 January.

    UniBond League Challenge Cup

  • Bishop Auckland/Prescot C. v Burscough
  • Whitby T. v Witton A./Droylsden
  • Matlock T./N. Ferriby U. v Guiseley
  • ALTRINCHAM/Vauxhall M. v Hucknall T.

    UniBond League President's Cup

  • Belper T./Marine v Worksop T.
  • Bridlington T. v Alfreton T./Harrogate T.
  • Workington v Lancaster C.
  • Ashton U. v Barrow

    UniBond League Chairman's Cup

  • Hyde U. v Wakefield & Emley
  • Stocksbridge PS v Gainsborough T.
  • Leek T./Runcorn FC Halton v Farsley C.
  • Blyth S. v Kidsgrove A.

    Ties to be played Saturday 24th January


    Howard Watts's Through the Years data reveal that Altrincham have played 68 previous games on Boxing Day but have never previously met Stalybridge Celtic, our opponents this year, on that date. We did, however, play their Reserves at Moss Lane on Boxing Day in 1921 and won 4-2.


    Another 10 of Terry Rowley's profiles of Pre-War Alty Players have been added to the site. They include Manchester United's only ever player-manager.


    In the Barrow programme notes for Saturday's game against Bradford PA, the Barrow manager Lee Turnbull wrote of their game against us at Holker Street: "I was very disappointed in the negative way Altrincham played. We were going for a win but while they had a gale-force wind at their backs and we had the rain driving into our faces, they were quite happy to get ten men behind the ball. They had got their equaliser and it seemed that was all they had come for. Bish was virtually a spectator in the second half. I did not like the arrogance about the Altrincham approach. Perhaps it reflected the attitude of their manager".


    Burscough's FA Trophy match against Tamworth, which is a repeat of last season's Final, sees the Lancashire club having "200 tickets printed for the FA Trophy tie on Saturday 10th January so that ticket-holders can avoid queues to pay at the turnstiles on the day of the game... Admission will be £7 with concessions at £5 (seniors) and £4 (juniors)", reports the club website.
    21 December 2003


    The Directors, Management and Playing Staff of Altrincham would like to wish all their supporters and sponsors a Very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. The above message has also appeared in today's NL Paper.


    Alty have a Christmas/New Year double with Stalybridge Celtic - at Moss Lane on Boxing Day and at the Bower Fold on New Year's Day. Celtic lost yesterday 3-4 at home to Ashton United in the UniBond President's Cup, to continue their run of poor home form - no wins in their last nine home games. Amongst the crowd were Alty manager Graham Heathcote and Droylsden boss Dave Pace as well as world boxing champion Ricky Hatton. Although ex-Robins, Terry Bowker and Darren Royle, were not in their respective team's squads, Celtic named former Alty keeper Ian Senior as one of their subs and he should have been called into action when Celtic keeper Bowling brought down Miller outside his penalty area but he escaped with just a yellow card. Ben Thornley, brother of Alty's Rod, was not in Celtic's squad and is believed to have been released after just 6 games.


    The NLP quotes Graham Heathcote after Rod Thornley's operation found some unexpected damage to his meniscus; "Rod had been complaining about pain in the back of his knee but the problem didn't show up on his scan. At least he knows now that wasn't all in his mind".

    In the Pink Graham Heathcote says "As far as I can see it, the [current] top seven clubs are all virtually sure to go up and so ourselves and the rest are chasing six places" in the new Conference feeder division for next season. "Despite his anxiety, Heathcote insists he's enjoying this, the most crucial and nerve-wracking season in the history of the non-league Pyramid... The Robins' problem remains turning draws into wins", writes Tony Glennon. Graham said, "I'd like to think we could now go on the sort of run which would avoid us being part of any scramble come the end of the season but I wouldn't want to raise our supporters' hopes by saying I'm hanging my hat on that happening. But providing we go on performing as we have been doing, I'm confident as any manager could be in our situation, that we'll be okay"


    Teenage goalkeeper Ashley Timms, who has turned out for both Altrincham's first-team and youth team this season, played for Atherton LR yesterday in the NW Counties League, against Mossley, who fielded ex-Robin, Rob Matthews, who scored against his former team-mate.


    In the Conference, Mark Quayle missed a penalty against Northwich, whilst Ged Kielty was a used sub for Leigh. Tony Sullivan did better, netting from the spot for Lancaster City. Jeremy Illingworth played for Guiseley, who won at Southport. Former Alty keeper Ryan McMahon played for St Helens Town, whilst striker Anthony Hargreaves was in Flixton's team against Blackpool Mechanics.


    "Phil Sharpe, manager of Frickley Athletic, has signed two more players ahead of Saturday's President's Cup trip to First Division Workington on Saturday", according to the club's website. They are Chris MacFarlane from Harrogate Town and midfielder Sean Singh after a very brief stay at Ossett Town; he was previously at Barrow.

    Worksop report that "Both Gavin Smith and Darren Roberts have had their loans extended at Bradford PA and Belper respectively, while Adam Muller has returned to the club". The Tigers remain in a dilemma having been turned down for a grant by the Football Foundation until they gain promotion to the Conference but unable to qualify for the Conference until their ground is improved! Meanwhile Whitby have raised £45,000 towards a new stand and they hope to get planning permission for it on 5 January.

    The Port Pie confirms that "Burnley central-defender Earl Davis has agreed terms with Southport to bring him back to Haig Avenue", but unconfirmed reports say that Davis also has a trial at Swansea City in January. Transfers:

  • Paul Haddow (Southport to Lancaster C.)
  • Josh Mitten (Curzon Ashton to Radcliffe B.)
  • Earl Davis (Burnley to Southport)
  • Jermaine Easter (Hartlepool U. loan to Spennymoor U.)

    Radcliffe Borough "Manager Kevin Glendon has brought forward the comeback game for Jason Astley, originally planned for the 6th January". "The 30 year-old right-back will appear on the team sheet for the first time in 3 years and will be hoping he takes part sometime in the game. Glendon confirmed ‘Obviously I will have to see how the game is going, but if the chance arises I will have no hesitation in putting Jason on’".


    According to the NL Paper, millionaire Victor Gladwish has become a new factor in the proposed restructuring of non-league for next season. He is negotiating to take over the Dr Martens (Southern) League and allow clubs in the Ryman (Isthmian) League to join his Southern League as a means of avoiding the current Isthmian embargo on restructuring. "I want to see non-league progress", he said.
    20 December 2003


    Today's match against Vauxhall Motors at Moss Lane has been postponed due to waterlogged goalmouths. The game will now be on Tuesday 6 January at 7.45pm.

    UniBond Challenge Cup Round 3

  • Altrincham v Vauxhall Motors OFF
  • Bishop Auckland v Prescot C. OFF
  • Burscough 4 Spennymoor U. 2
  • Hucknall T. 2 Lincoln U. 1
  • Matlock T. v North Ferriby U. OFF
  • Southport 2 Guiseley 3
  • Whitby T. 6 Radcliffe B. 2
  • Witton A. v Droylsden OFF

    President's Cup Round 1

  • Alfreton T. v Harrogate T. OFF
  • Barrow 3 Bradford PA 1
  • Belper Town v Marine OFF
  • Bridlington T. 3 Rossendale U. 1
  • Chorley 1 Lancaster C. 2
  • Ossett T. 0 Worksop Town 6
  • Stalybridge C. 3 Ashton U. 4 aet
  • Workington 3 Frickley 1

    Chairman's Cup 1st Round

  • Colwyn Bay 2 Kidsgrove A. 2 Kidsgrove won on pens 6-5
  • Farsley C. 2 Bamber Bridge 1
  • Hyde U. 4 Kendal T. 2
  • Leek T. v Runcorn FC Halton OFF
  • Wakefield & Emley 3 Gateshead 2 aet
  • Blyth Spartans, Gainsborough T. and Stocksbridge PS have byes.


    Alty's loan signing yesterday from Stockport County, striker David Holt, was born in Gorton on 18 November 1984 and made one first-team appearance for the Hatters in 2001-02. He was given a professional contract in October 2002 after he had netted 6 times in 9 games for the County reserve and alliance teams.


    Today's opponents, Vauxhall Motors, "have been reported to the Football Association for 'failing to properly marshal a match'", according to IC Cheshire. "Referee Paul Graham claims he and his two assistants had punches thrown at them by visiting Worksop fans at the end of Saturday's 1-1 draw... Vauxhall FC chairman Alan Bartlam said: 'The referee told us that he and both of his assistants had been punched by away supporters, and because our stewards had not been able to properly marshal them, both clubs would be reported. Everybody I've spoken to from our club says that they didn't see any such incident and I certainly didn't'". "Worksop Town secretary Keith Ilett said: 'It's a storm in a teacup and the referee is just trying to cover up his awful performance'". However, "Vauxhall boss Owen Brown was disappointed not to pick up his first league win after having two late penalty appeals turned down... We're pleased with the way the lads battled and even though Worksop are a top six side and we're currently in the bottom four, there wasn't much between us'".


    Alty travel to Stalybridge on New Year's Day and the Tameside Advertiser, reporting on their last game says that "Not so long ago, Bower Fold was something of a fortress for the Blues but unfortunately that no longer applies as two wins in the last 13 home games adequately testifies".


    NL Daily reports that Tony Hesketh is back with Kendal Town, the club where he really made his name as a manager. Hesketh managed the Cumbrians, then known as Netherfield, before embarking on a lengthy spell with Premier Division side Lancaster City. He left the Giant Axe last year to become assistant-manager to Mike Walsh at Southport but, after a short stint as caretaker boss at Haig Avenue, departed once Liam Watson arrived as the new 'Port player-manager last month. Hesketh has been brought in, initially on a temporary basis, to cover for the departure of assistant-manager Phil Brown, who left recently".

    This is Lancashire reports that "Lancaster City are... offering a cut-price deal to spectators who want to take in a trio of home matches within eight days at the turn of the year. Successive home games against Wakefield and Emley, Colne and Frickley Athletic on January 3, 6 and 10 respectively, can all be watched for a £10 one-off payment... Commercial manager Les Taylor said, "Since the euphoria surrounding the FA Cup clash against Cambridge United gates have declined dramatically. We, therefore, thought that these three matches in quick succession provided an ideal opportunity to make the offer of saving spectators' money while encouraging more support".

    Meanwhile Lancaster manager Phil Wilson "revealed he believes his new-look City squad is 'getting there' with regard to his ambition to finish the season in the top half of the Unibond table - especially at home where the results are improving. But he wants to see better performances from the team away from the Giant Axe. He was encouraged by a battling 0- 0 draw against Altrincham at their Moss Lane stronghold on Tuesday night... And Wilson has enquired about bringing winger Peter Thomson to City from Southport, but says he cannot at this stage agree terms with the player who is on a Conference contract with the Sandgrounders. Meanwhile, City favourite Paul Haddow is back at the club after his short and unsuccessful spell at Haig Avenue".

    "Barrow AFC fans all over the UK will soon be able to keep in touch with what’s happening at their favourite football club with the launch of Bluebirds News", says the NW Evening Mail. "Subscribers to the newsletter will also receive a copy of the Evening Mail every Monday during the season to give them in depth coverage of key weekend encounters".

    Harrogate Today says that "Town boss John Reed... who publicly criticised his side after bowing out of the West Riding Cup at the hands of Ossett Town last week, has been scouring the transfer market... Reed said, "'A few players were getting comfortable and we have been too soft as a team recently, so I felt it was the right time to bring in some new blood... We are expecting big things from Robert (Pell) because he leads the line well and can upset defenders - much in the mould of Neil Campbell at Barrow. But apart from being big and powerful he has two lovely feet'. Also coming into the squad is Scunthorpe United midfielder Andy Parton... on a month's loan... Reed believes the 20-year-old, who made eight Football League appearances last season for the Iron will be a valuable addition... Reed, though, has been frustrated in his efforts to bring in a centre-half, with Mark Hume of Barrow top of his hit list. He added: 'Mark is a player we have been looking at but Barrow are unwilling to release him, and although we have offered money, they have turned it down flat, so we will keep on looking'".


  • Wayne Bullimore (Stalybridge Celtic to Belper T.)
  • Christopher Fawcus (Maltby Main to Frickley A.)


    Lancaster Today has a match report on Tuesday's game at Moss Lane, saying "A share of the points was always going to be the most likely outcome as Alty had drawn 11 out of their previous 21 league games. And they kept that form on Tuesday, although they will feel they should have won the game. A chance for Marcus Hallows with just three minutes gone should have been taken and young substitute Stephen Lunt will wonder how he did not score in the second half with the goal gaping. But those were the only times in the the whole 90 minutes when City were seriously under threat". It also reports that "Wilson has one less striker in his squad after Michael Yates left Giant Axe for Witton Albion".