Altrincham Football Club News Archive
27 January to 2 February 2004

2 February 2004


Altrincham will charge their normal gate prices for the Trophy tie against Shrewsbury. These prices are listed on the Club & Ground page, where directions to Moss Lane for visiting fans can also be found. If there is a replay this will be on Tuesday, 17 February and the prices at Gay Meadow will be £14 (seated) and £12 (terraces). Prices for concessionaries at Shrewsbury will be £9 and £7 respectively.


Altrincham will be at home to Conference side Shrewsbury Town in Round 5 of the FA Trophy on 14 February. Familiar names at Shrewsbury are manager Jimmy Quinn, the former Northwich Vics' boss, and Jody Banim, who recently moved from Radcliffe to Shrewsbury. However, Banim is cup-tied so will not play against us. Alty manager Graham Heathcote and the club as a whole are looking forward to a big day at Moss Lane but currently attention is on getting "feet back on the ground" for Saturday's important league game at Ashton United.

Players to have turned out for both Shrewsbury and Alty include John King, Mark Sertori and goalkeeper Tim Clarke.

The prize money on offer will be £6,000 for the winners of each tie.



Match report here.

Above: Alty salute their strong force of travelling supporters at the end of the game.

Below: Second-half action at the Wessex Stadium, clearly showing Alty's 4-4-2 formation.



Alan Johnson's photos of the Weymouth game capture the excitement of the day; they are on his Alty photosite.


Two very happy overseas Altrincham supporters after yesterday's results are Terry Rowley (North Africa) and Howard Watts (North America). Both gentlemen have kindly supplied updates to this site's UniBond Attendances and Through the Years pages, respectively, for which I am very grateful.


The UniBond Club of the Month Premier Division award for January has gone to Harrogate Town. "The Wetherby Road side enjoyed a 100% record in their four games during the month".


  • Dean Jones (Belper T. to Bradford PA)
  • Ben Morley (Telford U. to Gainsborough T.)
  • Chris Newton (Farsley C. to Gainsborough T.)
  • Ben Sherwood (Harrogate T. to North Ferriby U.)
  • Scott Bonsall (Harrogate T. on loan to Rossendale U.)
  • Richard Townsend (Marine to Rossendale U.)
    1 February 2004


  • Alty Line-Up
  • Alty Player Statistics
  • Alty's FA Trophy record
  • UniBond Premier table

    For the Weymouth match report, see above...


    After the 500-mile round trip to Weymouth, Alty travel the short distance to Ashton United next Saturday. For the STAR supporters' coach details, click here. Once again travel will be organised by Mark Eckersall who must be especially thanked for all the effort that he put in to get supporters to Weymouth. Not only did he organise the coach but he also acted as broker for lifts to the game by car and without his hard work, fewer Alty fans would have been at the match. Thanks are also due to Go Goodwins and their two excellent drivers who got us safely there and back in very poor driving conditions.


    The NLP picks up on goalkeeper Ashley Timms's goal for Atherton LR recently. Ashley has played for both Alty's first- and youth-team this season but scored from a corner for Atherton LR last week. Ashley told the paper, "I ran up for a corner and everyone was telling me to get back. But I waited around the penalty spot and whacked it in the top corner first time". LR's manager said Ashley is "daft as a brush" and Ashley agreed that "It was a bit stupid because I'd had such a nightmare" - his side lost 6-5! During the game, Timms was being watched by representatives of Stockport County, Bury and Oldham Athletic.


    Stuart Nelson, Hucknall's goalkeeper, has been sold to Brentford for £10,000 - a club record for Hucknall.


    Mattie Hughes has joined Mossley; see their excellent website for Mossleymore. Danny McGoona was a sub for Caernarfon who lost 7-1 yesterday! The Pink has an interview with Danny Adams, currently suspended, and keen to get an improved contract offer from Macclesfield Town. Kevin Ellison was an unused sub for Stockport County.


    The following message has come from Altrincham FC:

    "The Directors, Management and Players would like to thank everyone who travelled to Weymouth, in the atrocious weather, for their fantastic support. You were a credit to the club."Last night Graham Heathcote also thanked the supporters in a phonecall to the supporters' coach, whilst on Radio 5 Live a member of the 'London Alty' was interviewed and gave the club some welcome publicity. The Alty turnout at the Wessex Stadium was magnificent as even the Weymouth website stated in its headline - "Out-Sung, Out-scored, Out The Cup". Alty are also the front-page lead in today's NL Paper.


    FA Trophy 4
  • Blyth S. v Aldershot T. OFF
  • Margate v Worksop T. OFF
  • Shrewsbury T. 2 Hucknall T. 1
  • Stalybridge C. 1 Marine 1
  • Weymouth 0 Altrincham 2

    Premier Division

  • Alfreton T. v Harrogate T. OFF
  • Bradford PA v Wakefield & Emley OFF
  • Burscough 3 Frickley A. 1
  • Droylsden v Lancaster C. OFF
  • Gainsborough T. 2 Whitby T. 2
  • Runcorn FC Halton v Barrow OFF
  • Spennymoor U. v Ashton U. OFF
  • Vauxhall M. 3 Southport 2
    31 January 2004


    In Friday's Daily Telegraph, Graham Heathcote said, "Winning the FA Trophy should be motivation enough for any player. I don't like it when people say the Trophy is insignificant. It is the trophy to win in non-League. We're 11th in the UniBond. We are fighting to stay in the top 13 but playing at Villa Park in the final and winning £50,000 makes the Trophy the big prize".

    "There's no reason why we should feel overawed", Graham told the MEN on Friday and on BBC GMR he added: "Everyone is fit" but the recently injured Rod Thornley, Mark Maddox and Barry Shuttleworth are, nevertheless, doubts as regards the starting line-up. On the same programme Steve Claridge said he had not seen Altrincham play due to fixture clashes with Weymouth's games.

    NL Daily describes "Weymouth v Altrincham - a tie that evokes memories of the early days of the Alliance Premier League when the likes of big Anni Iannone was battling it out with John Owens and John Davison... If Claridge is not too pre-occupied with promotion, then I cannot see anything other than a Weymouth win. Key men: Weymouth - Steve Claridge... Altrincham - Stuart Coburn (goalkeeper who could be in for a busy afternoon)".

    However, the Weymouth site says that "Steve Claridge admits he is facing a selection poser against Altrincham tomorrow - whether to pick himself. The Weymouth player-boss is available for the FA Trophy fourth round tie at the Wessex Stadium after serving a three-match suspension. But after watching his side chalk up a trio of wins without him, Claridge is unsure whether to split up strike partners Lee Phillips and Stewart Yetton.


    Frickley report that "Manager Phil Sharpe has signed 3 more players prior to Saturday's trip to Burscough. Goalkeeper Marc Shackleton has joined on work experience from Barnsley... Also signing is Dominique Krief from Leeds United and Patrick Needham. Krief is a 20 year old midfielder who has played several times for Leeds Reserves this season whilst Needham is a prolific scorer for the Blues' U18s".

    Marine report that "We have released Richie [Townsend] from his Unibond contract and he has signed for Rossendale... Behind the move is an agreement in writing that if/when Richie returns to full fitness and can play at our level, Rossendale will release him back to Marine".

    This is Bradford says "Bradford Park Avenue... could be parading a new signing as basement side Wakefield & Emley head for Horsfall Stadium. After several weeks of searching for a central defender, an arrival is imminent and the player should be signed in time to make the squad. The urgency increased recently when it became apparent that James Stansfield would have to go under the surgeon's knife".

    This is Nottingham quotes Hucknall Town chairman Brian Holmes on their visit to Shrewsbury. "I have looked at the list of their players and... the question I would ask is how many of their players we would swap for ours? In all honesty, there are probably only one or two... They are only 17 places or so above us in the Pyramid. That is not a lot. And I think you have to say we should be quietly confident. We are a good side and should have some good support. Several coaches are travelling to Gay Meadow and around 500 fans will be there". The report adds "The tie could earn them more than £20,000. 'Our turnover at the moment is around £500,000 a year', said Holmes. "We have assembled a good squad and are doing things the right way. We probably have one of the biggest sponsorship deals in non-league, we have a new social club and we have decent support too, with gates of over 1,000 for some games. But, at the same time, our overheads are very small. We have a steward, a groundsman and a commercial manager. Everything else is run by volunteers".

    Lancaster boss Phil Wilson "described City's first half performance against Radcliffe on Tuesday as a 'disgrace', but said the second 45 minutes proved what they were capable of. 'We are out of all the cups now, they are out of the way, but we've said to the players that every game in the league should be like a cup final to us because we are still in a position to get into Conference North and that's what we've got to do... We will be looking to bring people in, see if we can't shake things up a bit'", says Lancaster Today.

    30 January 2004


    This is Weymouth states that"Graham Heathcote insists his side can topple Weymouth in the FA Trophy this weekend. The Robins' manager believes his mid-table Unibond Premier Division side can forget their indifferent league form and cause a shock in the fourth round tie at the Wessex Stadium. Heathcote hopes the Cheshire club can repeat the feats of north western rivals Burscough, who won last year's FA Trophy despite a poor league season under former Terra, Shaun Teale". The article also quotes SAM's Mike Crockett who said: "The Weymouth game has really captured the imagination up here... It's expected that at least 200 fans, but probably nearer 250, will travel down, whichshows how important this is to everyone... It's going to be tough forAltrincham but they'll certainly give it a go and who knows will happen".

    The betting expert in today's NLP says "I also like Altrincham at 9-2... I fancy this [tie] may throw up a surprise, as Weymouth... will have half a mind on the league". Although Steve Claridge is pictured on the front-page holding the Trophy and says, "I want to win everything", he will have to make changes to his line-up as some of his recent signings are cup-tied, the NLP adds.


    The date for the CheshireSenior Cup Final at Moss Lane has been settled according to the UniBond League. It will be on Wednesday 24 March when Woodley Sports meet either Witton Albion or Congleton Town.


    IC Sefton reports that "Burscough FC has £18,000 available to tempt ex-Liverpool and England striker Stan Collymore to Victoria Park... That will be on an initial agreement to play three homes games at £6,000 per game. 'I am convinced we will get him. It could be later this season or it could be next', said new director Chris Lloyd who is masterminding negotiations. 'Stan is not in a position to join us right at this moment in time because of his other obligations... He has closed the doors on other clubs, but with us he has left the door wide open. Because he knows the club is moving on, he has asked to be kept fully informed of where we are going and the immediate development of the club. That is with a view to a face-to-face meeting late in March with Stan and his agent. It is all very encouraging as far as I am concerned. I am sure there are more than 3,000 people in this area who would like to see Stan Collymore play again'... And he disclosed that, apart from the money on offer to Collymore, there is additional cash for other new players".

    According to IC Cheshire Vauxhall's "Owen Brown is poised to end his long search for new defensivetalent by snapping up two Crewe Alexandra starlets on loan deals thisweek. Centre-back Mark Roberts, 20, and full-back Tom Betts, 21, are bothjoining the Motormen on month-long deals but their stays could be extended until the end of the season if all goes well". Also, "Vauxhall are waiting on international clearance to play their new Norwegian recruit, Bjørn Tore Mevastaül. The 27-year-old midfielder is currently based in Liverpool".

    "Vauxhall FC chairman Alan Bartlam has announced that he still believes manager Owen Brown is the right man to revive his struggling side's fortunes. Mr Bartlam's defiant statement, on behalf of the entire Rivacre Park committee, came after Saturday's home League Cup home defeat to Hucknall Town... He said: 'We remain convinced that Owen is the right manager to lead Vauxhall into the Conference North next season.There is no denying that his current record makes pretty woeful reading but no-one can convince us that we are not on the verge of a renaissance and a swift rise up the table'... Meanwhile, the club have released details on the FA probe into an alleged incident reported by the referee after last month's game at home to Worksop...but Vauxhall have since been cleared fully on the two charges of 'not providing adequate stewarding in the tunnel area' and 'failing to control their players'".

    ICCheshire also reports that Runcorn boss Chris Lightfoot "has had to abandonhis revived bid to sign Northwich Victoria forward Nicky Young on loan butis negotiating one-month deals with Vics for two other players - one a striker and the other centre-half... The manager said his latest signing, midfieldman Neil Larkin, didn't look out of place on his debut at Spennymoor on Saturday, despite the step-up from Mid-Cheshire League football".

    UniBond side Worksop Town's game against Margate in the Trophy could be the Coneference club's last match. "Margate have called a Press Conference for 1pm prior to the game, to inform the media if they have been able to raise a financial package to save the club from extinction. Monday 2 Feb is D-Day for the club and answers should be given to the FA by that date", says the Tigers' website.

    "As most people know, Whitby desperately need a new stand to replace the dangerous one they have at present", reports its website. "Not only is it an eyesore but the League has deemed it MUST be replaced or the club will sufferrelegation. It now appears that the residents next to the ground, namely those on the seaward end, are not only against the stand for whateverreasons but are getting together a petition... We urge you all to PLEASE write in favour of the new stand, stating the good the club does for the local community... The planning committee, club & residents meet this coming MONDAY so time is of the essence".

    NL Daily reports that at Alfreton "The movement of Neil Grayston to Bradford Park Avenue has taken some money off the wage budget which was a little bit over but we can now look at bringing somebody else in. The Reds have also secured two more of the talented under-19s squad on contract with striker Rob Cam andmidfielder Adam Tyler the latest to sign". Spokesman Dave Rushbury said:"We are very lucky to have a budding crop of shining youngsters and now have six of them on contracts. We have given these lads an incentive to get into the first team and also given the manager the brief that these lads are to be brought on in the next 12 months". Also, "Alfreton are setto receive the next instalment of the Ryan France transfer. The Reds are due another £10,000 after France recently clocked up his 15th appearance since joining Hull City".

    29 January 2004


    SAM has spoken to Weymouth's Steve Claridge who said "I remember matches against Altrincham from back in the days when I was first at Weymouth - they hold a lot of good memories for me. Both clubs were probably among the top five non-league sides in the country at the time. It's going to be a great cup tie between two teams who used to be at a higher level than they are now. Altrincham's record this season shows that they can be hard to beat, but we are at homeand we are going quite well at the moment". Referring to Claridge's 25 goals this season, Alty manager Graham Heathcote said, "We've got more than Steve Claridge to worry about. While he will take a lot of the spotlight, he has got strength throughout his team. But, having said that, so have I. I've got a bunch of good players here as well. I don't think anyone has turned us over willy-nilly this season - it's been more a case of us underperforming". SAM adds that "Some estimates put the strength of Alty's travelling support at more than 250. Rod Thornley, Mark Maddox and Barry Shuttleworth are all still doubtful for the match. They were subject to fitness tests earlier this week". For more follow the above link to SAM.


    Sir Alex Ferguson has told the MEN that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer "'will get a game next week when we play Aston Villa [Reserves] at home. He'll definitely be okay for then'. The reserves play Villa at Altrincham's Moss Lane on February 5".


    Last night's Bradford PA v Alfreton league game was postponed.


    There will be a "Non League Managers' Bash and Curry Night" on Wednesday, 25 February at Witton Albion's Wincham Park Social Club (7pm for 7.30 start). Managers who will be speaking on the evening include Alty's Graham Heathcote, as well as Jimmy Quinn (Shrewsbury), Nigel Gleghorn (Nantwich manager and ex-Alty player), John Davison (Witton Albion manager and ex-Alty player) and Steve Waywell (Hyde Utd). Entry to this function will be by ticket only. Tickets cost £10, from Graham Edgeley on 01606-41549, or mobile 07834-813533.


    Confguide reports that Margate "look certain to miss the deadline for having a Conference-standard ground, so face expulsion from the competition this summer. But the BBC reports that Conference chief executive John Moules says it is 'highly probable' that they will be permitted to enter the new Southern 'Alliance' feeder competition".


    This is Tameside quotesStalybridge manager Dave Miller - "The last time we were beaten in league football was in December... It’s a healthy situation to have our players coming back from injury and getting their fitness levels up, and it’s reflecting in the results". Miller has released defender Lee Todd and "has put bids in for Gainsborough Trinity pair Gareth Grant and Lee Ellington [ex-Alty]" and "Vics' boss Shaun Teale has promised to keep Miller informed as to [Colin] Potts’s future".

    Courtesy of Burscough's Press Liaison Officer, Stan Strickland, comes a chart from their club programme showing UniBond Premier attendances as a ratio of local population. On this basis, Burscough FC is the best supported club with 3.28% (275) of the town's population of 8,389 constituting their average home gate. Frickley and Stalybridge lie 2nd and 3rd whilst Altrincham FC lies 10th in the chart with 1.48% (595) of the town's population of 40,000 attending home league games. Bottom are Bradford PA with 0.12% of their population of 289,000 attending the Horsfall Stadium. The attendance figures used are those supplied to this site (here) by Terry Rowley.

    28 January 2004


    Alty's next opponents, Weymouth, are now adding to their backroom staff as well as their playing squad. "Former Havant and Waterlooville joint boss Mick Jenkins has joined Weymouth's coaching staff. Jenkins was sacked by the Hawks earlier this month after more than six years at West Leigh Park. But Claridge has offered his close friend, a team-mate at Portsmouth when he started his career, a coaching role with the Dr Martens Premier Division leaders. He said: 'He'll give some extra experience on the bench and his knowledge of this level and the Conference is second to none... We've needed someone else on the bench ever since Neil McNab left us at the start of the season, especially because I'm mostly playing out on the pitch. That makes it difficult sometimes to see the bigger picture of what is happening so Mick will help on that side of things'... Meanwhile, Claridge said Weymouth are waiting to hear a response to their undisclosed bid for Hawks' midfielder Shaun Wilkinson, thought to be in the region of £3,000", reports their website.


    UniBond Cheshire Senior Cup Semi Final

  • Witton A. 1 Congleton T. 1, replay Feb. 3rd.


    Leek Town have lost Crewe loan signing Mark Roberts after Dario Gradi decided he needed to play at a higher level. So, "as a result [Gradi] has loaned him out to UniBond Premier Division strugglers Vauxhall Motors".

    Spennymoor United "club physiotherapist Peter Carey and sports therapist, Mark Gibbons are making themselves available to treat members of the public... Each session will last for approximately 45 mins and will cost £20.00, with a percentage going toward the new club house rebuilding fund".

    27 January 2004


    Without a first-team game, Altrincham held a behind-closed-doors 45-minute match to keep the squad in shape last weekend. Rod Thornley (left) participated but it remains to be seen whether he will be fit to play a part in the Weymouth game.

    The excellent Weymouth website quotes player-manager Steve Claridge: "The priority this season has always been the league but things have gone better than I thought they would when I took the job in the summer... The cup competitions are great from a prestige point of view and we'll be going all out to win both of them". The site adds: "Claridge admits the recent arrivals at the Wessex Stadium have come at the right time. 'It was really important to bring Robbie Pethick, Graeme Power and Stewart Yetton in when we did and we probably need a couple more just to make sure we are okay... The win [on Saturday] makes it 3 victories in a row during my 3-match suspension and that has been really pleasing... I'm looking forward to getting my boots on again next Saturday... I've been delighted with the signings so far but we still need a couple more bodies to ensure our squad is strong enough during the run-in'".

    The Wessex Stadium turnstiles will open on Saturday at 1pm and prices will be:

  • Adults £7.50 plus £1 for the Stand.
  • Concessionaries £4.50 plus 50p. for the Stand.


    Alty striker Marcus Hallows combines his football with a career as an Elvis Presley impersonator and he has provisionally agreed to put on a show at Moss Lane in the Spring. Before then he will be performing as Elvis at Stalybridge Celtic on St Valentine's Day, along with a Frank Sinatra impersonator (not believed to be one of his Alty team-mates!).


    The updated NWYA league table shows Altrincham Youth still in top place.


    The Marine site has pictures of Alty's game at Rossett Park last week.


    The UniBond League Cup Semi-Final Draws are:

    Challenge Cup

  • Droylsden v Bishop Auckland
  • Hucknall T. v Matlock T.

    President's Cup

  • Marine v Barrow
  • Workington v Harrogate T.

    Chairman's Cup

  • Hyde U. v Kidsgrove A.
  • Leek T. v Gainsborough T.

    Games to be played on Saturday, March 6.

    Ex-Lancaster City boss Tony Hesketh has today taken over as caretaker-manager of Kendal Town.

    Hucknall Town have signed midfielder Chris Davies (19) from Lincoln City.