Altrincham Football Club News Archive
9 to 14 January, 2004

14 January 2004


Our Trophy opponents Weymouth have signed defender Robbie Pethick on a one-month loan deal from Brighton & Hove Albion. "The move sees the 33-year-old return to the club who sold him to Portsmouth in a big-money deal back in 1993. More recently, the ex-Bristol Rovers man helped the Seagulls win back-to-back Division 3 and 2 championships between 2000 and 2003 but he has been frozen out at the Withdean Stadium since the arrival of new boss Mark McGee in November". Manager Steve Claridge also "revealed talks are at an 'advanced stage' with a number of other transfer targets... One man who could soon be a Weymouth player is former Portsmouth and Spurs striker Rory Allen. The 26-year-old dramatically quit the game last year ... He underwent eight operations on his ankles and knees after becoming Pompey's then record signing in a £1 million switch from Spurs in 1999. But Allen, who played under Claridge at Portsmouth, wants to return to the game and has called his former manager asking for a trial".


The Trophy match against Weymouth on 31 January will be the 25th meeting betwen the sides. Weymouth enjoyed 10 seasons in the Alliance/Gola League/Conference (1979-1989) and so played against Altrincham 20 times in the league. They also met us in the FA Trophy (76/77), when Alty won 2-1 in a Moss Lane replay after a 0-0 draw, and in the Bob Lord Trophy (81/82) when Alty lost both legs of the semi final, 2-4 at home and 0-1 away. So, overall, at Moss Lane Altrincham won 9, drew 1 and lost 2 (F23 A13), and away they won 2, drew 5 and lost 5 (F7 A10).

The match on 20 September 1986 in the Conference saw current Terras' manager Steve Claridge listed as no.9 in the programme and he was described there by editor Paul Brady as follows: "Signed from AFC Bournemouth in December 1985 for a substantial fee, Steve is an exciting centre-forward who finished last season with over 20 goals to his credit. Previously an apprentice with Portsmouth. Steve looks destined for a great future in the game". The same programme recalls a clash between the two teams in 1980:

One game stands out above the rest as far as the Robins’ meetings with the Terras are concerned, namely the first Alliance Premier League clash at Moss Lane on Saturday March 1st, 1980. It was billed as Match of the Day, and with good reason, as the Dorset side topped the table and Alty lay just two paints behind with two games in hand. The visitors’ away record was second to none and they showed why after just five minutes as Anniello Iannone put them in front. It was vital for the Robins to strike back quickly and Barry Whitbread obliged three minutes later. This goal brough him level with John Rogers at the top of the Alty goalscorers’ list and he proceeded to take the lead in that particular race with two more in two minutes mid-way through the half, although the left-foot drive which put the Robins 3-1 up was deflected - unwittingly - by visiting defender Paul Arnold. Alty held on to their lead and might have extended it on a couple of occasions, but Weymouth played their part in an excellent game and John Connaughton’s League debut was marked by some magnificent saves. Iannone's second goal, two minutes from time, caused hearts to flutter more than somewhat in the large crowd, but the Robins survived to take over the top spot on goal difference.


Altrincham: Connaughton; Allan, Davison, Bailey, Owens, King, Barrow, Whitbread, Johnson, Rogers, Howard. Sub - Heathcote.

Weymouth: Chalk; Lawrence, Byrne, Arnold, Merrick, Roberts, McCafferty, Paterson, Iannone, Dove, Johnston. Sub. Dyer.

Referee: Alex Hamil (Wolverhampton) Att. 2,285.

Since then, games at Moss Lane have always been close, although not always as exciting. One remarkable occasion was the game in September 1981 - not so much because of the football, which was eminently forgettable, as the conditions; heavy rain, before and during the match, left the pitch looking more like a lake in parts! A goalless draw was almost inevitable.

Visits to Dorset have not always been memorable for the football, or the results, but for the social side, which has in recent years provided a number of supporters with a good deal of fun!

One of Claridge's team-mates in the Terras' side of 1985/86 was former Alty forward, Colin Chesters who was struggling with injury that season. A more recent striker to move from Moss Lane to Weymouth was former Manchester United youngster Marc Whiteman (right), who played 3(+3)games for Altrincham but never scored. Ironically, Whiteman left Weymouth in 2003 to join Lewes, whom the Terras beat 8-5 to set up the current draw against Altrincham.


This site has been re-indexed this week so the search box for current news (near the foot of this page) and for the site archive (i.e items from last week and beyond) should retrieve whatever you may be looking for, be it Jackie Swindells from the 1960s or Mark Maddox from the current side. The archive search box is at the foot of the above linked page.


  • FAT3: Telford U. 2 Alfreton T. 0
    13 January 2004


    The club yesterday received a welcome boost from SAFE, the former Altrincham supporters' association. The former commitee of SAFE announced that £560, which was kept back for unforeseen expenses when SAFE disbanded itself in August 2003, have now been donated to the club. This is to enable the team to stay over in Weymouth prior to the FA Trophy game on 31 January. The club is very grateful for this donation and, following on from SAFE's final act of providing the funding for the club's registration fee for the new Alliance League, it has once again thanked everyone who had helped SAFE during its 8-year existence. Please do not forget that fundraising for the club continues through the activities of STAR, the supporters' trust at Altrincham. On the STAR website can be found all the latest news of its events and initiatives.


    This is Weymouth reports on Weymouth's 8-5 win at Lewes on Saturday. Steve Claridge, "the Terras' player-boss, insists changes are on the way... He said: 'Our defending was utterly disgraceful and nothing more than a shambles... as a team we were very, very poor defensively'. Claridge now starts a three-match ban after being sent off on New Year's Day but "hopes to tie up deals for a couple of new players before Saturday's home league clash with Hednesford Town... All being well, I'm pretty certain we have will have some fresh blood in the next few days. Defence is obviously an area that needs boosting" but one defender, Scott Dennis will be out for a month with a torn hamstring and "young midfielder John Lamb, who also limped off in Sussex, will have an x-ray to discover the extent of a toe injury". Claridge observed, "We are truly down to the bare bones at the moment and need a few new players to boost the squad as a matter of urgency".

    Pictured above right, the programme of a previous late-January trip to Weymouth, in 1985. Alty lost 2-1, despite a goal from Graham Bennett, in front of a crowd of 935. The programme reported the recent sale of Andy Townsend to Southampton and look where he is now! Alty's side was: Dance, Constantine, Davison, Edwards, Cuddy, Gardner, Anderson, Conning, Ellis, Bennett, Fagan, Sub: Johnson. There will be more on another encounter with Weymouth, here tomorrow...


    Manchester United Youth meet Manchester City Youth tonight (Tuesday) at Old Trafford (7.30pm). United Youth normally play FA Youth Cup matches at Altrincham but this tie has been switched to accommodate an expected large gate.


    The Trophy 3rd Round replay between Stalybridge Celtic and Leigh RMI has been postponed pending a hearing on 16 January to determine if RMI's keeper on Saturday was eligible to play. Alty fans will recall that when Stalybridge themselves fielded an ineligible player against the Robins in 1999/2000, the game had to be replayed. The Leigh keeper, Seb Rowe, had been playing in the USA and may allegedly not have had full international clearance. Leigh's first-choice keeper, Gary Kelly, who displaced our own Stuart Coburn at RMI, has a broken thumb and his deputy is ineligible.


    IC Cheshire reports on Saturday's Trophy game at Moss Lane. Runcorn "were beaten for the third time in a week after conceding an early goal, missing opportunities to level and narrowly failing in a late rally to turn around a one-goal deficit. Runcorn were the dominant force in the first half".


    The FA Trophy once again prompted a record day on this website with 822 visitors to the home page, according to Nedstat. This beats the previous record of 722 on 23 January 2003, the day after Alty's Trophy win over Kettering last season.


    Altrincham travel to Crosby to play Marine next Saturday for a league game. Supporters' coach details are on the Travel Page. Yesterday "Marine moved comfortably into the 4th round of the FA Trophy with a deserved victory over a poor Northwich Victoria side", according to their website.
    12 January 2004


    Altrincham have been drawn away at Weymouth (known as The Terras after their terracotta and blue kit) in Round 4 of the FA Trophy. Weymouth, top of the Dr Martens, won 8-5 in the Trophy at Lewes on Saturday and are led by Steve Claridge. The sides have met once before in the FAT, with Alty winning 2-1 at Moss Lane in a quarter-final replay in 1976-77 after a goalless draw at Weymouth. Alty met Weymouth regularly in the Conference until the Terras were relegated in 1989: Alty won 3-1 away that season. Since 1987 the Terras have played at the Wessex Stadium on the outskirts of the town - 251 miles from Altrincham. The game is on Saturday 31 January, which means Alty's league match that day against Wakefield & Emley is postponed.

  • Shrewsbury T v Hucknall T
  • Dorchester T/Margate v Worksop T
  • Marlow v Tamworth
  • Forest Green Rovers v Barnet
  • Leigh RMI/Stalybridge Celtic v Marine
  • Hornchurch v Stevenage Borough
  • Halifax T v Staines T
  • Weymouth v Altrincham
  • Blyth Spartans v Aldershot T
  • Maidenhead Utd v Wealdstone
  • Telford Utd/Alfreton T v Gravesend & Northfleet/Weston-super-Mare
  • Stafford Rangers v Canvey Island
  • Hednesford T v Worthing
  • Dagenham & Redbridge/Crawley T v Hayes/Arlesey T
  • King's Lynn v Exeter C
  • Burton Albion v Kettering T/Woking


    In Saturday's Robins' Review programme, Alty Director Grahame Rowley announced that "We have come to an agreement with the Customs & Excise with regard to our outstanding VAT debt. This will be structured over the next two and a half years with a bulk payment being made immediately, followed by another payment at the end of March and then monthly instalments until June 2006. Now that we have this agreement in place we must ensure that we do not renege on it and therefore it is essential to keep the fundraising going. A meeting has also been arranged with the Inland Revenue for January 20th with regard to the income tax shortfall and, hopefully, a similar payment plan can be agreed". Graham goes on to thank STAR, the supporters' trust, for its recent £3,400 player sponsorship package. To help the cause, why not attend the "(Almost) Famous Five" hot-pot/curry night at which five of its players will comprise a forum in the Sponsors' Lounge at Moss Lane on Saturday, February 7th? It starts at 7.30pm for 8pm, after the away game at Ashton United. The five will include Mark Maddox and Rod Thornley. Tickets, available from the club, are £15 and include a choice of a curry or hot pot supper.


    Alty Youth went top of the NWYA Premier Division on Sunday with a fine 1-0 win in adverse conditions at Ulverston against Barrow Youth. Captain Alex Frost (right) hit the winner from the spot. See the Youth Page for more on this.


    The Marine site has an interesting statistical analysis of previous games with Altrincham in the UniBond League. Marine currently lie 12th, one place ahead of Altrincham with one more point from the same number of games but have won just once in their last six league games. However, Marine have played only 11 at home this season out of 25 matches.

    Howard Watts's data on previous matches on 17 January is on the Through the Years page.


    The 48th Alty Legend, Derek Halliwell, has been added to the website here, courtesy of Terry Rowley.


    Frickley's "leading goalscorer Lee Morris may be going on trial to Chesterfield this coming week, although this has not been finalised as yet", says their site

    Whitby Forum reports that the club's links with Hartlepool may lead to the signing on loan of Andy Appleby, an attacking player.

    11 January 2004


    Above: Peter Band (no.4) scores the opener. It was a dull afternoon, so apologies for the quality of the photo!

  • Match report here.
  • Alty line-up here.

    Altrincham won £4,000 by winning their Trophy match yesterday. The prize for Round 4 is £5,000. The Runcorn site rightly says of yesterday's game that after Alty went one-up "For the remainder of the first half Runcorn looked the stronger team, but were unable to capitalise on their superiority. The second half was a different matter, and Altrincham looked more of a match, which culminated in a second goal after 70 minutes".


    The Pink has an interview with Graham Heathcote. The paper says that he wants to get to "his 60-point 'promotion' target" as soon as possible. "Starting with Saturday's trip to Marine, the Robins have 13 UniBond premier division fixtures scheduled between now and the end of March with all but three against sides presently beneath or immediately above them in the table... so seven wins from those games would take them to within striking distance of Heathcote's goal, even if they were to lose the other six". Graham said: "We've got some massive games coming up but if we can do well over the next two and a half months, as I believe we're capable of, then we could go into April free of the pressure a lot of clubs will be under by that stage. If that's not the case then so be it but my view is that we might as well take the bull by the horns now than have to do it later". The article adds that "Rod Thornley is recovering well from the knee op he had just before Christmas and could be nearing full fitness by the end of the month".


    Danny Adams (Macc) was sent off for violent conduct, ("a nasty late lunge" according to The Pink) yesterday. Kevin Ellison was a sub (Stockport) whilst Mario Daniel was subbed by another ex-Alty man, Ged Kielty for Leigh RMI. Gareth Strange played for Atherton LR, whilst former Alty Youth player Wes Wilkinson scored a penalty for Nantwich Town after manager Nigel Gleghorn had also scored. Morecambe have offered £5,000 for Michael Twiss (Chester), who had pre-season trials with Altrincham three years ago. Phil Bolland scored Chester's goal in their Trophy defeat by Halifax. Chris Timons netted for Gainsborough.


    Yesterday's STAR bucket collection raised £121.08 for the club. Congratulations to all involved.


    NL Daily say that "Spennymoor United have secured the services of striker, Justin Perry from Welsh Premier side Total Network Solutions on a month's loan. The experienced 31-year-old signed for TNS from Rhyl in November 2001 where he earned the reputation of a great goalscorer from long range, as well as in the 18 yard box... Stephen Hutt has also re-signed but ... The Moors have released former Darlington and Hartlepool midfielder Jon Cullen, who scored a hat-trick of penalties in a game earlier in the season".


  • Tony Uberschar (Morecambe to Kendal T.)
  • Mark Thornley (Lancaster C. to Kendal T.)
    10 January 2004


    FA Trophy 3

  • ALTRINCHAM 2 Runcorn FC Halton 1
  • Blyth S. 1 Barrow 0
  • Burscough 0 Tamworth 1
  • Guiseley 0 Worksop T. 2
  • Hucknall T. 1 Bradford PA 0
  • Leigh RMI 1 Stalybridge C. 1
  • Marine 1 Northwich V. 0
  • Telford U. v Alfreton T. OFF


    Altrincham dropped to 13th today as Lancaster went above us.

  • Ashton U. 1 Droylsden 1
  • Gainsborough T. 6 Radcliffe B. 2
  • Lancaster C. 1 Frickley A. 1
  • Southport 1 Wakefield & Emley 1
  • Spennymoor U. 1 Harrogate T. 5
  • Vauxhall M. 1 Whitby T. 1


    A profile of Les Campbell, an Alty star of the 1960s, has been added to the Alty Legends, courtesy of Terry Rowley.

    This is Weymouth reports that "Ryman League Division One South club Lewes's striker Marc Whiteman [ex-Alty] is relishing the prospect of facing former club Weymouth in the FA Trophy this weekend. The Jersey-born frontman spent a frustrating season at the Wessex Stadium under former manager Geoff Butler and quit the club last April when told his contract would not be renewed. The disillusioned 20-year-old, who netted four times for the Terras, then joined the Sussex-based outfit and has played a big part in his side moving towards the top of Division One South... Whiteman, recently recovered after a two-month knee injury lay-off, has notched ten goals this term".


    Worksop Town report that "On return from the Altrincham away game on St Valentine's Day... the club are holding a St Valentine's Dinner and Dance commencing at 1900 hours. Tickets, priced £25, will include a five course meal and music for dancing".

    On the UniBond site "Stan Strickland, Burscough’s Press officer said, 'I've said before that I believe that 'pound for pound' we must rank as one of the successful clubs in the country. Three promotions and the FA Trophy on gates of just over 200, no bar profits from a social club and a community of only 8,000 people makes for a pretty impressive record. On top of that we have the most successful youth set-up below the Nationwide League. Since 1995 37 players have come through from our youth side to play in the first team and no other semi-pro club can match our FA Youth Cup record over recent seasons. Liverpool have just gained a 2-0 win at Yeovil just as we did last season. It would be interesting to compare the money spent by each club to achieve the same result. Things are gradually improving on the pitch. We have only lost two of our last ten games".

    Burscough have "added 21 year old keeper Michael Bingham from Hednesford Town to their squad. Bingham has League experience with Mansfield Town... Burscough also strongly believe that in centre back and captain Steve McNulty they have unearthed a gem. Steve was with Liverpool Reserves last season and was brought to the club by Mike Marsh. Radcliffe have had a £5,000 offer turned down and Vauxhall have made enquiries".

    Blyth Spartans "Supporters' Club reported a successful season so far in the shop and also running buses. Substantial donations have been made to the football club and kit purchased for the team".

    After the recent social club fire at Spennymoor FC, owner Barry Motram told the Northern Echo, "We had a meeting with the supporters last week, and the response has been fantastic. They came up with some really good fund raising ideas. I'm really encouraged by that, because it shows how much they care for the club. Some supporters have also volunteered to clear up the debris from the fire, and the club is grateful for that. We intend to start rebuilding the clubhouse next week... We were worried about the future of the club after the fire happened, but now the future isn't in any doubt... In the meantime, we're using the stand as a bar, because we've got a licence for that".

    Southport's Earl Davis "has been offered a further 1 month extension to his trial at Swansea... [and] Liam McGuire has gone on a month's loan to Prescot Cables" reports the seasiders' website.


  • Michael Stuart (Aberystwyth to Marine)
  • David Felgate (Chorley to Radcliffe B.)
  • Mark Robinson (Hartlepool U. loan extended to Spennymoor U.


    NL Daily reports that "Chester City have revealed that they are currently losing £65,000 a month. Chairman Stephen Vaughan said "Our financial losses are too high and we have to act collectively now. The easy option would be to cut expenditure and settle for mid-table mediocrity but, to give our manager the best chance of challenging for promotion, money is the key".
    9 January 2004


    The last instalment of Terry Rowley's profiles of Altrincham's pre-World-War 2 players who progressed to Football League clubs is here.


    Alty entertain Runcorn on Saturday. Referring to their defeat on Tuesday at Leek, Runcorn manager Chris Lightfoot told IC Cheshire, "We made a few changes with Saturday [v. Alty] in mind and it showed, especially in the first half". The article adds that doing so "may turn out to be a blessing in disguise as it leaves Runcorn fresher for Saturday's FA Trophy tie at arch rivals Altrincham. Lightfoot has no new injury worries but he does have selection concerns as midfielder Barry Hogan is suspended while striker Carl Rendell is cup-tied. While Lightfoot hasn't finalised his lineup, he has confirmed [ex-Alty] midfielder Mike Garrity's return to the squad after a two-game absence through illness... Lightfoot may yet opt to name himself as a substitute with Kevin Leadbetter and Ged Courtney starting in attack". Lightfoot added "Boots (Courtney) and Carl Rendell did well up front on Saturday with Leady (Leadbetter) just behind them, and we were catching Hucknall on the break. With the pace of the three of them, we will cause teams trouble". However, "With Hogan's ban, Dominic Morley's return to full fitness is particularly timely". Lightfoot added: "Altrincham are not too much further up the league than us and it has all the makings of a tight game. They are a decent side but it will be a nice pitch so hopefully the lads will be up for it. This is the non-league equivalent of the FA Cup and carries a bit of prestige... It would be nice to see the lads go out there with a couple of hundred [Runcorn] supporters there. It would give us a bit of a lift". The winners on Saturday will earn £4,000.


    IC Cheshire quotes Vauxhall manager Owen Brown after their win on tuesday night at Moss Lane, which was his "first success against UniBond Premier opposition...since he arrived nine weeks ago and was the team's first away triumph since a 2-1 verdict at Radcliffe on September 20". Brown said: "'Altrincham are a good side and were unbeaten in their last 14 matches [??] but once again we gave away a festive gift of a goal but my missus took the Christmas decorations down today so hopefully that's the end of the presents". The article continues, "Although Altrincham's Moss Lane ground was sparsely populated - the fans turn up in their greatest numbers when Manchester United reserves are in town - two interested spectators spotted in the crowd were ex-Vauxhall manager Alvin McDonald - out of work since getting the axe at Northwich last month, and his former assistant, Peter Carroll".


    Whitby Today reports that "Whitby Town's poor record against Altrincham continued at the Moss Lane ground on Saturday when the Blues could have come away with an even heavier defeat than 4-0".


    "Vandals have badly damaged Northwich Victoria Football Club's pitch, which could cost the club thousands in repairs", reports IC Cheshire. "Motorcyclists used the club's newly laid pitch at Wincham as a playground, riding their bikes across it churning up the turf as they did so... Dave Thomas, club secretary said: 'It is devastating. I just don't think that they know how much money and hard work has gone into this new ground... The pitch was looking so good and now we will have to repair it all, which could cost the club thousands'. More than two thirds of the pitch has been damaged in the incident, which is believed to have taken place last weekend... The new Victoria Stadium, which replaces the old Drill Field ground, should be completed in March and this latest incident is not expected to delay work although it has made the project more expensive for the club". Our commiserations go to the club.


    The Harrogate Town site confirms that "Andy Parton will return to Scunthorpe United next week, at the end of his month's loan spell with Harrogate Town. Scunthorpe had agreed to a one month extension of his loan, but an injury crisis has forced manager Brian Laws to recall the striker".