Altrincham Football Club News Archive
15 to 21 January, 2004

21 January 2004


Mark Eckersall, coordinator of the STAR supporters' coach travel scheme, writes:

STAR advise that the coach to Weymouth is now fully booked, which is extremely pleasing, 11 days before the game. Whilst no seats are currently available, supporters are still asked to call the club (928-1045) if they wish to travel. Please leave your details with the club and you will be contacted in the event of any cancellations. Supporters who have already booked but find they are unable to attend MUST contact the club as soon as possible as they may otherwise be stopping other people from travelling.

Due to the costs involved in a trip of this distance it is not viable to arrange a second coach which would not be filled, although STAR are confident that, mostly due to the high number of supporters travelling down for the weekend, there will not be too many people who cannot get there. Supporters who have spare seats in cars etc should contact Mark Eckersall, STAR's Travel Secretary, via the club. Should it be needed, Mark will be happy to put people in contact with one and other to ensure our support at Weymouth is as large as possible. STAR would like to thank all fans who have supported the coaches on this trip and others throughout the season.

See the Away Travel page for details of the coach to Weymouth.


Altrincham FC issued the following statement last night:

As previously advised, Andrew Shaw [director] and Graham Heathcote [secretary/manager] today met with a representative from the Inland Revenue. A very constructive meeting took place with regard to the club's outstanding Income Tax bill and it was agreed that a further meeting would take place in April/May.

The Board would like to stress that all current Income Tax and VAT payments have been made on time over the last 18 months and they are making every effort to erode the inherited debts, as and when possible.

The Board, Altrincham Football Club.


Last night, our Trophy opponents Weymouth entertained Bath City in a league cup match. This is Dorset reported beforehand that "David Laws is set for a dramatic return to the Wessex Stadium tonight. The Terras' goal-scoring legend will turn out for his former club against Bath City... Laws, who quit Weymouth for Portland United at the end of his testimonial season last May, has answered an SOS call from player-boss Steve Claridge. 'We are a bit short on numbers at the moment', explained Claridge, 'and I'm really grateful that Lawsy has agreed to help out'... The return of Laws is sure to attract a big crowd this evening although Claridge stressed it's a 'one-off' affair... Meanwhile, Claridge is set to give a number of his fringe players a run out in tonight's last-16 tie. That could mean starts for midfielders Mark Robinson and Kevin Gill. And one man likely to line up for Bath is Scott Partridge who completed a move to the Romans from the Wessex Stadium a fortnight ago. Claridge explained: 'Scott left because he wanted first team football and that is what he will get at Bath'".

Footnote: Weymouth beat Bath City last night 2-0 and Laws scored.


Burscough report that they "have made an audacious attempt to try and entice former Liverpool and England striker Stan Collymore out of retirement. Press Liaison Officer Stan Strickland said, "We have backers who are prepared to put together an attractive package to try and bring a high profile player to the club who will fit in with manager Derek Goulding's plans to strengthen the squad, attract publicity, and hopefully generate more revenue for the club through the turnstiles. On Friday I... had a lengthy telephone conversation with the player's agent, Simon Kennedy. He has agreed to put our proposals to Collymore and asked us to submit them in writing, which we have now done... Mr. Kennedy is trying to convince him that he might come to regret stopping playing at 32 while we have put forward the case that part-time football might fit in better with his media commitments". Collymore has previous non-league experience at Stafford Rangers.


This is Cheshire reports on Vauxhall's "two midweek signings, keeper Tim Dittmer who used to be on Liverpool's books and midfielder Steve Porter [ex-Alty] signed from Droylsden". Manager Owen Brown said "I thought Tim in goal did well... And I thought little Stevie Porter was exactly the same. He was a little hesitant in the first 20 minutes or so, but as he grew into the match, and got to know the lads game, I thought he did well".
20 January 2004


  • Woodley S. 4 Stalybridge C. 2
  • Witton A. v Congleton T. OFF


    Our Trophy opponents "Weymouth have signed former Exeter City defender Graeme Power (26)... released by... rivals Tiverton Town... after a row over pay". Manager Steve Claridge said "Graeme will play against Bath on Tuesday and if he impresses we'll take things from there. We're light in most departments at the moment and with all the games coming up it is vital we have plenty of cover in all positions", reports This is Dorset.


    IC Crosby has a match report on Alty's game at Marine. Marine keeper "McCormick got the man of the match accolade".


    The Burscough site reports on their upcoming fixture with Skelmersdale United, who will play "new goal scoring sensation Lee Thompson (right), who has scored in each of the last 4 games". Lee is the former Altrincham Youth Team player who also appeared in 1(+5) games for Altrincham's first-team in 2001-02. His former youth team-mate, Mario Daniel, was a sub for Leigh RMI on Saturday.

    Another old boy is now at Radcliffe Borough; "Arriving on loan from Stalybridge Celtic is 22-year-old central defender Terry Bowker, the former Bolton Wanderers, Altrincham and Bamber Bridge captain is initially coming on a month's loan with manager Glendon explaining, 'The month's loan gives Terry an opportunity to play first team football after losing his place recently after being a regular for Stalybridge since the beginning of the season'". And, "Glendon has also signed 23-year-old former Manchester United and Bolton Wanderers striker Paul Wheatcroft. The former England schoolboy international joins the club from Leigh R.M.I".


    IC Ormskirk reports that Burscough "Press Liaison Officer, Stan Strickland, has written to Burscough Parish Council asking for the feat to be acknowledged on the road signs into the village. He has suggested: 'Burscough FA Trophy winners 2003' as a possible inscription... 'For a community the size of Burscough to win such a major cup competition was little short of miraculous and it was described by Daily Telegraph sports journalist Ricky George as 'one of the greatest achievements in the history of British football', Strickland says in a letter to parish council clerk Mr C. Gill".

    "Troubled Gainsborough Trinity manager Paul Mitchell admits he is seriously concerned over his squad's size and strength following Saturday's defeat at Barrow. The issue was brought to the fore by Mitchell... as once again he confirmed his side cannot compete with the UniBond Premier Division elite". Mitchell told This is Lincs "If you look at what Barrow had on their bench, compared to what we had on ours, there is no comparison... If my starting 11 is hampered by injury or suspension, or it is not firing on all cylinders, I have nothing in reserve to make a decent change and keep the momentum".

    19 January 2004


    NL Daily reports the dates for the UniBond League play-offs. In these, the 14th- to 20th-placed clubs in the Premier Division will play with the champions of the UniBond First to determine the 14th club to go into the new Conference feeder division for 2004-05, along with the top 13 finishers in the Premier Division. The play-offs start on 27 April, with the semis on 1 May and the final play-off on Monday, 3 May. "It is understood that the play-offs in the Rymans and Dr Martens Leagues will go ahead a week later".


    NW Counties side "St Helens Town have withdrawn their application for promotion to the UniBond League should they finish in a high enough position at the end of the season". The club has also "parted company with manager Paul Lodge... Former goalkeeper Joe Palidino has been elected on to the Saints board after agreeing to put a substantial sum of money in to the club". Joe was 'keeper for Altrincham a decade ago as well as being an accomplished boxer.

    Wes Wilkinson (20), who played for Altrincham Youth in 2000-01 and 2001-02, has "signed for Stafford Rangers [of the Dr Martens Premier Division] for a four-figure fee plus staggered payments on appearances and a 40% sell-on clause", according to the NW Counties League website. Wes was Nantwich Town's leading scorer last season in the NW Counties League and has again been scoring for the Dabbers this season. He is pictured (above) in the double-winning 2001-02 Alty Youth side. Wes is fifth from the right on the back row; third from right on the front row is Vernum Rowland who played for Alty's first team before he, too, went to Nantwich Town. Picture courtesy of Danny Claffey.

    James Robinson, loaned to Alty last season by Crewe, scored his first senior goal on Saturday in Alex's 4-6 defeat at Ipswich.


    Match Report here.


    The Non-League Paper launches a Friday edition this week which will cost £1. This is in addition to the existing Sunday issue which costs £1.20.


    The Through the Years data has been updated for our next game on 31 January, courtesy of Howard Watts.
    18 January 2004


    Alty Youth beat Prestwich Heys 4-0 today in the NWYA Premier Cup with goals from Tooth, Lunt, Frost (penalty) and Ball. There is a match report on the Youth Page.


    Details of the STAR supporters' coach to Weymouth on 31 January for the FA Trophy match are on the Travel Page, along with a map of the Wessex Stadium location. The coach will be one of Go Goodwins newest executive coaches with full washroom facilities and TV/Video on board. Please book as soon as possible with the club (928-1045) as places are going fast!

    Also, don't forget the Robins' Club Shop sale, where you can get your kit for the Weymouth trip: details here.

    Without their suspended player-manager, Steve Claridge, Weymouth beat Hednesford 2-0 yesterday in front of nearly 1,500 fans at the Wessex Stadium. Robbie Pethick, on loan from Brighton, scored on his debut for the Terras. Another home debutant was Stewart Yetton (ex-Plymouth Argyle). In the NL Paper Yeovil boss Gary Johnson says of Weymouth, that they are "looking for a Conference place. Who's to say they can't do that and win the Trophy as well"?


    Yesterday, old boys Paul Ellender (Boston), Danny Adams (Macc), Mike Pollitt (Rotherham), Paul Edwards & Andy Dibble (both Wrexham) turned out yesterday in the League, whilst Kevin Ellison was an unused sub for Stockport County. Adam Farley (Droylsden) limped off, whilst Anthony Hargreaves (Flixton) scored. Also in the NW Counties, Gareth Strange (Atherton LR) scored and Ryan McMahon kept goal (Prescot Cables). Michael Reynolds played for Eastwood Town in the NCEL.


    Nantwich Town have been expelled from the Cheshire Senior Cup semi-finals following their fielding of an ineligible player. So, Congleton will now travel to Witton, whilst Woodley Sports entertain Stalybridge Celtic.


    Droylsden have completed the signing of Chester City's David Cameron following his release from the Deva Stadium. Cameron has been on loan at Droylsden until now.

    Frickley Athletic "have issued a statement categorically denying reports in some of today's local press which indicate that unless Lee Morris is sold before the end of the month the club will have its assets seized by the Inland Revenue. A report in this week's South Yorkshire Times states that the club needs to sell Morris before the end of January in order to pay off a £12,500 tax bill. This is totally inaccurate. The club's outstanding tax debt stands lower than the £12,500 which is quoted and the club definitely do not need to sell Lee Morris in order to pay this off".

    "Tony Lee... follows up last week's signing of TNS striker Justin Perry with midfielder Simon Colligan from Wolviston and central defender Michael Gough from Jarrow Roofing. Also signed, on a month's loan from Scarborough, is yet another goalkeeper, Gareth Downey", reports the Spennymoor website

    Worksop Town "have been approached by the FA to host the England U17 side in an International Tournament due to be held in March".

    SKY TV

    The NLP reports that the Football Supporters' Federation is "hoping to persuade Sky to allow grassroots clubs to receive live match coverage at a fraction of the normal cost". Their aim is to allow non-league clubs to show live Sky TV games at a cheap rate so that fans can combine watching a televised game with watching a non-league match in non-league clubhouses.

    17 January 2004


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


    IC Newcastle report that Gateshead are "still interested in signing Queen of the South defender Paul Talbot, but he is thought to be on his way to Spennymoor".

    This is Lincs report that today "Rob O'Brien plays his last game for [Gainsborough] after spending a month on-loan from Doncaster Rovers.

    Hucknall Today says that "plans to bring in veteran defender Terry Angus have been shelved by Hucknall Town manager Steve Burr. Angus (38)... was due to move from Burr's previous club, Nuneaton Borough. But now the Town chief has decided that other departments, most notably midfield, need strengthening first. And he has been holding talks this week with Sheffield United boss Neil Warnock and Burton Albion manager Nigel Clough about bringing someone in". But "on-loan striker Paul Moore... again had the manager fuming last weekend [after he cried off their last game with tonsillitis]... 'I have not been happy with Paul since he decided to go back to Telford of his own accord just before Christmas', blasted Burr. 'He came back but has really annoyed me and the sooner his loan spell ends, the better. He has totally let the club down and the players down... But sometimes players seem to think football owes them a living and they get a rude awakening when the penny finally drops'".

    The MEN confirms that the Conference will not accept Droylsden were they to win the UniBond League.

    "Kevin Leadbetter signed a two and a half year contract" with Southport on Thursday according to their website. And "Negotiations continue with right winger Colin Potts who is available from Northwich Victoria. Potts only signed for the Vics two months ago from Stalybridge for £5,000 but does not feature in Shaun Teale's plans. The Bower Fold club are also eager to re-sign the ex-Rochdale, Chorley , Lancaster and Morecambe 25 year old winger".


  • Michael Gough (Jarrow Roofing to Spennymoor U.)
  • Timothy Dittmar (Liverpool to Vauxhall M.)


    From our Trophy opponents comes news that "Steve Claridge, player-manager of Weymouth, has rubbished speculation linking sweeper Steve Tully with a big-money move away from the Wessex Stadium". Claridge said, "I wouldn't be surprised if he becomes a top player in years to come and at just 23-years-old, he has his best years in front of him. But he is our player and that is the way I want it to stay". "Meanwhile, Claridge said former Portsmouth striker Rory Allen's move to the Wessex Stadium has been put on ice... 'I'd be delighted to offer him a chance but until I hear from him there is nothing I can do... I'm working flat out on trying to bring four or five new players to the club and ideally I'd like to have them here before the weekend'", he told This is Weymouth.
    16 January 2004


    The Stalybridge Celtic site confirms that "Leigh RMI have been expelled from the FA Trophy", so Celtic now proceed to Round 4 against Marine. RMI had fielded a goalkeeper without international clearance after their two first-choice number ones had been injured and cup-tied respectively.


    Altrincham have extended the loan contract with Stockport County for striker David Holt by another month and both he and recent signing Chris Downey can expect to be involved in tomorrow's game at Marine. However, Mark Maddox is still struggling with an ear infection and Barry Shuttleworth is doubtful too.


    Vauxhall Motors have signed former Alty left-back Steve Porter (right) from Droylsden.

    Earlier this week Runcorn FC Halton chairman Dr David Robertson, told This is Runcorn, "Losing in the FA Trophy [at Altrincham] has no significance with regard to the position of Kevin [Leadbetter] at the club", but today Runcorn announced "Kevin Leadbetter has been transferred to Southport for an undisclosed fee. Issues surrounding the registrations of former Runcorn FC Halton manager Liam Watson and his assistant Neil Whalley, (ex-Alty), have also been resolved and they too have been transferred to Southport". This means that Watson and Whalley can now play for Southport, where they took over as manager and assistant after leaving Runcorn.


    SAM quotes Graham Heathcote on the Trophy draw against Weymouth. He said, "There is a great rivalry between the two clubs dating back to the Conference days and it has the makings of a great cup tie. The distance is considerable but that's what the Trophy is about".


    Macclesfield are "to appeal against Danny Adams's red card at Boston", says the Manchester Evening News after Silkmen manager John Askey changed his mind about a tackle he orignally called "rash and silly". The article also states that Adams (left) is "said to be unhappy at the Board's renewed offer" of a new contract. Adams's former team-mate at Alty, Kevin Ellison is also in the MEN: "Kevin Ellison is a [Stockport] player who looked to be heading out on loan but Sammy McIlroy insists he remains bery much part of his plans".

    Former Alty man and Nantwich boss Nigel Gleghorn is preparing for the Vase which he told IC Cheshire "could be our best chance of winning something this season". The article adds "Nantwich will be without 21-goal leading scorer Wes Wilkinson [ex-Alty youth] who is serving a one-match suspension, while Vernum Rowland [ex-Alty youth and first-teams] could miss the rest of the season after breaking an ankle".

    There is plenty of national press coverage this week of Mark Quayle, scorer of the Scarborough goal which earned an FA Cup tie against Chelsea. Quayle played four games for Alty in 2000/01.


    IC Cheshire reports on Vauxhall Motors, "Still seven points adrift of a league placing that would secure a place in Conference Two, [Owen] Brown's task remains an uphill struggle". Brown said "The win at Altrincham put a bit of a spring back into our step as they're a big name in non-league football and were on a good run. Getting the team back on track is like teaching a child to walk and the more confident we get, the bigger the steps we will take... To be honest, I came in very cold and I'd only seen them play once throughout the season before I applied for the job". On the player front, Vauxhall "Midfielder Hugh McAuley has joined Nuneaton and right back Derek Ward [ex-Alty] has been released". The Vauxhall site now has a report on the game against Altrincham the week before last.

    Whitby Town "have signed up two Hartlepool United youth team players in time for Saturday's UniBond game with Runcorn. Andrew Appleby and Darren Craddock, a striker and central defender, have joined on work experience placement".

    IC Sefton reports that "After the most successful year playing-wise in their 57-year history, Burscough Football Club lost £1,294. This, despite making around £80,000 in prize-money and TV receipts from the FA Trophy competition which they won by beating Tamworth at Villa Park. The deficit was mainly due to a massive increase in players' wages and salaries at Victoria Park, £99,866 [compared] with £39,947 the season before. And because of large-scale administration costs in staging the final, the rewards from Villa Park itself were paltry, £19,625 from a gate totalling £158,037. The Villa cash returns were described by shareholder David Hardisty as "very unfair, totally wrong, almost corrupt," at the third annual shareholders' meeting". Director of Football Rod Cottam said: "We had a lot of highly-paid contract players last year but we have moved them on one way or another. It is a miracle we don't have an overdraft in my opinion".

    This is Worksop says that "striker Chris Beardsley is the latest loanee who will attempt to solve Tigers' goalscoring problems. The Mansfield Town youngster, 20, signed for Worksop this week on a month-long deal". Beardsley "turned down a move to Conference side Northwich Victoria in favour of Worksop". Manager Steve Ludlam said that in their Trophy win over Guiseley "I thought Macca (Dave McCarthy) was outstanding". McCarthy regained his first-team place after a spell on loan at Altrincham this season.

    Hucknall Today reports that "Terry Angus, who made more than 300 Football League appearances for Fulham and Northampton Town, is 38 next Wednesday. And by then, Town manager Steve Burr hopes to have his name signed on the dotted line for the rest of the Unibond League, Premier Division campaign. Angus is currently with Nuneaton Borough... 'I would like to bring Terry to the club and he wants to sign'", said Burr.

    Lancaster Today says that City manager Phil Wilson "was non-committal about Chris Lane's chances of joining City, despite confirming that the defender released by Morecambe has been training with Lancaster. 'Chris has been down training with us but really we're just helping him out with his fitness. At the moment he wants to go to another Conference club, we are just doing him a favour letting him work with us. If he doesn't get fixed up with a Conference side that's something different, but we'll have to wait and see what happens'".


    "Northwich Victoria reckon they could beat off relegation from the Nationwide Conference - even if they finish in a relegation spot", according to IC Cheshire. "there are developments off the pitch which may do what the team cannot and save the club from its first ever relegation. Most significantly are the cases of Margate and the clubs chasing the UniBond League title". "If Margate finish outside the bottom three and are expelled one less club will be relegated. None of the major contenders for the UniBond League title have grounds up to Conference standard... If no-one comes up that is one less club to be relegated. Already it is possible only one club will go down... What's more there are doubts over the futures of Exeter City (financial) and Farnborough Town (ground) and Carlisle United are talking about applying to the Scottish League if they finish bottom of Division Three. All that could leave the Conference short of clubs and could reprieve even its 22nd-placed member".
    15 January 2004


    Alty Manager and Club Secretary, Graham Heathcote, has announced that:

    "With immediate effect there will be a sale of stock from the Club Shop and now is a good time, with the Weymouth match uppermost in all our minds, for people to buy items to wear on the trip to the South Coast. The items for sale are as follows:

  • Replica Shirts - reduced to £22.00
  • Fleeces - £20.00
  • Windcheaters - £20.00
  • Polo Shirts - £10.00
  • Sweatshirts - £14.00
  • T- Shirts - £ 6.50

    Not all sizes are available and it's first come first served as no more stock of these items will be ordered".

    As we do not have a home game now until February, you will from today be able to buy your goods at the ground on any weekday except Monday and Wednesday (pm). Alternatively, you can phone the club office (0161-928-1045) and order goods that way and arrange to pick them up at a convenient date.

    Right: Ian Craney and Peter Band 'model' the centenary kit; now available at reduced prices!

    See the Robins' Shop page for details of all the club's merchandise.


    There are a few tickets left for the "(Almost) Famous Five" hot-pot/curry night at which five Altrincham players will make up 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 are £15 and include a choice of a curry or hot pot supper. They are available from the club (928-1045) or by e-mailing Graheme Rowley, here.


    The Altrincham supporters' trust, STAR, will be running a Player of the Year evening, combined with a Race Night on Saturday, 24 April at 7pm in the Noel White Suite. This will follow the successful formula introduced last season by SAFE, the former supporters' association at Moss Lane. For more on this and other activities, see the STAR website.


    Our opponents on Saturday, Marine have announced that their December 'Player of the Month' is Eddie Hussin. "A presentation will be made prior to the match against Altrincham", reports the club website. Meanwhile "In a specially arranged friendly to test some of [Marine's] first team's fitness the Youth team met the First team at Rossett Park. Richie Townsend opened the scoring in the first half. In the 2nd half goals from Larry Millar; Kevin Gibbons and Neil Rimmer gave the Youth team a 3-1 victory".


    The Worksop site says that the club is "in the process of signing 20 year old striker Chris Beardsley from Mansfield Town on a month's loan". Altrincham play the Tigers on 14 February so may encounter him.

    TNS of the League of Wales report that they have "made a move to bolster their squad by targeting young midfielder Barry Hogan from Runcorn FC Halton. Boss Ken McKenna, a former Runcorn [and Alty] player himself, has served seven days' notice of approach on the 19-year-old", who is a former Manchester City trainee.

    Ceefax reports that Stuart Nelson, Hucknall's goalkeeper, has gone on trial to Brentford.