Altrincham Football Club News Archive
17 to 24 February 2004

24 Feb. 2004


  • Alfreton T. v Gainsborough T. OFF due to floodlight damage
  • Blyth S. 1 Frickley A. 3
  • Lancaster C. 4 Burscough 0
  • Marine v Barrow OFF Barrow held up in a motorway jam
  • Radcliffe B. 1 Runcorn FC Halton 2
  • Wakefield & Emley 0 Whitby T. 3
  • Worksop T. 2 Stalybridge C. 1


    The Spennymoor website has a match report on Alty's defeat last Saturday. It ends: "As in recent matches opposing fans have generously donated toward the rebuilding fund of the Social Club, Altrincham fans were no exception. Many thanks to the fans who donated and in particular to the golden goal winner. The club and supporters of Spennymoor United are deeply appreciative of the gestures received".


    A match report on Alty Youth's match at Marine is now in the Youth section, as are the new fixtures for the NWYA League and cups.


    Alty travel to Blyth next Saturday. IC Newcastle reports that "Ground developments at Blyth Spartans' Croft Park will see the club eligible for membership to the new Conference North next season... As long as 500 seats are added to the main stand and two additional turnstiles are installed by April 1st, it will meet the required criteria. Spartans' general manager Ian Evans said: "This is potentially the biggest change in the history of the club and the ground improvements are key to this". Blyth manager Paul Baker "has brought in two new boys in Lee George and John Curran to join Blyth's squad. George has joined after being on First Division Sunderland's books".


    Danny Adams (right) has been transfer-listed by Macclesfield Town at his own request after rejecting a contract said to be worth £100,000 over 30 months. Manager John Askey said, "I am very sorry to lose him. He has been a very good player for Macc but he obviously wants to go".


    Gainsborough Trinity, whom we meet in March, have "signed four youngsters to add to their rather thin squad. 19-year-old Chris Dickman and 17-year-old Martin Drury have signed on contract terms from Doncaster Rovers. Manager Paul Mitchell has also signed Canadian under-20 international goalkeeper Thomas Lindley on work experience from Sheffield United along with university student Andy Jennings, who has previous experience with Luton, Bishop's Stortford, Swindon Supermarine and Maidenhead United, where he remains registered", says NL Daily.

    NL Daily also reports that "Burscough's team that defeated Bradford Park Avenue last Saturday contained only two players over the age of 21". The second oldest player, Ryan Bowen (28) "has already qualified for a testimonial match [on] April 30th when the current side will take on a team comprising ex-Burscough players selected by the player and former Linnets'keeper Paul Blasberry. Meanwhile, Burscough have signed Chris Haw, the 22-year-old son of former Southport and Marine goal poacher Steve Haw, whose most prolific season came in 1992/93 when he netted 44 goals for Southport". Haw also played at Moss Lane.

    Again from NL Daily: "Hucknall Town have run in to goalkeeping trouble... They sold number one Stuart Nelson to Brentford for a £20,000 fee and took Conference side Tamworth's James Lindley on loan to replace him. Tamworth, however, recalled Lindley last Friday, leaving manager Steve Burr with a problem he solved by turning to much-travelled custodian Paul Pettinger... He has appeared previously in the UniBond League with Gainsborough Trinity but more recently has been playing for Kettering Town".

    "Bradford Park Avenue have transfer listed leading goalscorer Steve Oleksewycz... A fee will be required for the contract player", reports the UniBond site, which also says that "The outcome of the [Isthmian League] Arbitration [case] is expected to be announced by the begining of next week".

    23 Feb. 2004


  • Droylsden 3 Bradford PA 0


    Match Report and more pictures

    Above: The brawl as a result of which Gary Talbot (no.5) was sent off. Chris Adams lies injured as physio Gary Thompson tries to get to him.


    To complete a bad weekend for Altrincham, the Youth team lost 3-1 at Marine on Sunday. Pending details from George Heslop, the excellent Marine website has a match report.


    For reasons that are not yet clear, Alty mascot Rocky Robin did not compete in the Pancake Race being held in Manchester on Sunday. The winner was Oldham Athletic's Chaddy the Owl.


    Ashton, who play at Moss Lane tomorrow, like Alty have 40 pts from 29 games but have a negative goal difference of 19, compared with Alty's +13. Also like us, Ashton manager Gerry Quinn has an injury-hit squad with Dyson, Miller, Johnson, Smith and Fleury all sidelined before or during last Saturday's game.


    Title-chasing "Barrow football players have been asked to take a 20% pay cut, due to a financial crisis at the club. Chairman Brian Keen and Manager Lee Turnbull broke the news to the team after their 2-0 win against Radcliffe Borough. The cut also affects Mr Turnbull, who said that everyone at the club is disappointed, but he is backing the board's decision, which he says was unavoidable. The Barrow boss hinted that some players might leave the club if they could get a better deal elsewhere... The crisis has come about following an unexpected payment to the FA following the club coming out of liquidation, together with essential ground repairs, and purchase of equipment. The club is also suffering from a loss of 400 members, who would have paid £10 each to the club". But Turnbull "has dismissed reports that striker Neil Campbell has agreed a move to Harrogate" reports the club website

    "Chris Beardsley has returned to Mansfield following his one month loan spell" at Worksop Town. Also, Worksop have signed on a non-contract basis, Mark Shaw, from Retford United. Dave McCarthy [who was on loan at Alty earlier this season] goes in hospital on Tuesday for a cartlidge operation on his left knee and will be out for approximately 3 weeks. Ian Bowling will take his place... and [ex-Alty captain] Steve Hawes [is] suspended for the game next Saturday". The club website also reports that the local MP officially opened the 1861 Bar & Restaurant last Thursday.

    The Frickley site reports that "centre-half Paul Marquis has decided to retire from playing due to work commitments".


  • Phil Bayliss (Lancaster C. to Rossendale U.)
  • Steve Nicholson (Wakefield & Emley to Farsley C.)
  • Nigel Henstock (Wakefield & Emley to Gateshead)
    22 Feb. 2004


    The FA arbitration panel has so far "failed to reach a decision on next season's restructuring" says the NLP, "but the NLP believes a verdict will be reached by Thursday".


    Today's Pink has an interview with Graham Heathcote on his hopes of reaching the new Alliance next season. Graham "firmly believes the Alliance will represent a significant step-up from the UniBond in terms of quality and will more closely resemble the type of football played in the Conference... April's going to be fantastic in terms of tension and excitement but I just don't want to be part of it!", he said. The article also reveals that "Gary Scott has told Heathcote he could be out for weeks for personal reasons".


    The match reports on Alty's game yesterday in both the Pink and NLP curiously fail to make any mention of the sending off of Gary Talbot and the preceding incident.


    In action yesterday were Mario Daniel (Leigh), Paul Ellender (Boston), Andy Dibble and Paul Edwards (Wrexham), Terry Bowker (Radcliffe), Chris Timons (Gainsboro'), Tony Sullivan (Lancaster), Adam Farley (Droylsden). In the Vase both Michael Reynolds (Eastwood T.) and Dean Greygoose (Sudbury) played whilst Anthony Hargreaves scored for Flixton
    21 Feb. 2004


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


    Radcliffe Borough report that "Midfield player Danny Hooper (right) has been allowed to leave the club after discussions with the manager, the former Stalybridge Celtic and Altrincham player is leaving due to work commitments." Borough also report that "The recent loan deal with Stalybridge Celtic’s Terry Bowker is to end after next Saturday’s game at Barrow. The 23 year old centre back is to return to the Bower Fold outfit on Monday 26th February". But UniBond League reports that the loan to Boro has been extended.


    The Vauxhall website has a match report on Tuesday's game against Altrincham. It says that "Steve Aspinall... came back to haunt Motors with an excellent display in midfield for the hosts". It sportingly ends: "Well played Steve for a terrific performance and a great goal that was fully deserved". The NLP reports that Motors' scorer, Terry Fearns had just returned from a trial game for Hull City reserves, in which he netted twice.


    The NW Evening Mail says that Barrow's "money worries were highlighted earlier this week when manager Lee Turnbull was unable to offer a lump sum cash payment to sign Morecambe striker Wayne Curtis. Yesterday, [Chairman] Keen chose not to disclose the exact extent of the situation, but said more income was needed and that some cost cutting would be necessary".

    Also having money problems are Runcorn FC Halton. IC Cheshire says "Chairman Dr Dave Robertson admits, with just one home game so far in 2004, financial pressures have been even bigger than normal. He said: 'It's just a financial nightmare at the moment, trying to make ends meet. I hope there will be a good turnout for Saturday... When you know clubs are spending four or five times as much on their team as you in your own league, there's a great difficulty. But we don't quit', he added. 'There is no financial reward for getting in Conference North. 'But there may be new benefits from greater sponsorship opportunities through greater exposure and, perhaps, although this is yet to be shown, a higher level of competition. I don't think the cost in terms of travelling would be any greater, but this is going to be seen as a league above the Northern Premier (UniBond) and if we don't make it, we will effectively be relegated... But we make the most we can of what we've got and that's all I've ever tried to do with the club'".

    Today, Blyth, whom we meet next week have "New boys Lee George and John Curran join [their] squad... But suspension rules out former Blackburn midfield man Graham Fenton... Croft Park boss Paul Baker said: 'Graham was brilliant on Wednesday night when he had one of his best games since he joined us'. Defender Michael Laws is available again", states IC Newcastle.

    Referring to his touchline ban, Gainsborough boss Paul Mitchell told This is Lincs, "'All I did was go onto the pitch to shake the referee's hand AFTER the final whistle... I might be passionate about the game, but I am not stupid. People who said I have broken my ban are wrong' ... Mitchell's alleged misdemeanour has overshadowed the new arrival of Craig Drewery. The 17-year-old is set to make his debut against Harrogate tomorrow and joins former Doncaster team-mate Chris Dickman in the Blues' travelling squad".

    Southport boss Liam Watson "decided boldly this week not to stand in the way of veteran striker Lee Ashcroft following an offer by Northwich Victoria... A deal between the two has been drawn up but a final decision has yet to be made by the Vics' board". Watson explained, "The emphasis has to be on younger players who can take the club forward". Also, "Liam Watson has been working hard to strengthen his squad this week bringing back striker Neil Robinson for a second loan spell from Macclesfield and imposing centre back Earl Davis has also returned after a trial at Bury... Liam Watson said this week it is his intent to construct a squad of 19 players for the 2004-05 campaign".

    Radcliffe Borough have signed the older brother of the club's promising young striker Steve Foster. John Foster the 30-year old former Manchester City and England U-21 player has agreed to play for the club whilst he awaits the outcome of his application to join the police force".

    "Celtic have today announced the signing of Colin Potts from Conference strugglers Northwich Victoria", says the Stalybridge site. Confguide says the fee was £3,000.

    Other transfers:

  • Lee George (Sunderland > Blyth S.)
  • David Eaton (Stafford R. > Burscough)
  • Christopher Dickman (Doncaster R.> Gainsborough T.)
  • Martin Drury (Doncaster R. > Gainsborough T.)
  • Paul Pettinger (Kettering T. > Hucknall T.)
  • Kris Bowler(Wakefield & Emley > Matlock T.)
    20 Feb. 2004


    Kieran Lugsden (left) with 25 goals and Steve Lunt with 20 lead the Alty Youth scoring charts. For the updated Youth Team goalscoring and appearance statistics, courtesy of George Heslop, see the Youth section.


    Manchester United and Liverpool Reserves drew 1-1 before a large crowd to Moss Lane last night. Amongst those playing were United's Solskjaer, Djemba-Djemba, Wes Brown, David Bellion and Kieran Richardson. Liverpool fielded Traore, Biscan, Diao, Danny Murphy, Baros and Diouf. Bellion put United ahead (37) before Murphy levelled from the spot (59).


    The Ellesmere Port Pioneer reports how on Tuesday "Former Motorman Steve Aspinall halted Vauxhall's revival of recent weeks at Moss Lane as he set up the first two Altrincham goals before firing in a spectacular third of his own. Manager Owen Brown said: 'We're disappointed with a capital D. Our first half performance was as good as any since I've been at the club. But Altrincham stopped us playing after the break and we were never as fluent. We had a lot of play after their second, but their third was a real wonder goal'".


    The Times On Line says that the announcement of the ruling of the "three-man FA arbitration panel" on non-league restructuring may be today - or it may be later! "The Isthmian League wants to retain the status quo of three feeder leagues... The Isthmian League’s unhappiness is not just about a new tier being imposed above it. It is also aggrieved that, in the new system, it will have only one of its lower leagues feeding into step three... None of this has stopped all 24 of the Isthmian premier clubs applying to join the new Conference divisions and the league has been forced to say that it will not take sanctions against any of those clubs... The Conference, for its part, believes it has a mandate to expand... and it receives strong support from the Southern League and the Northern Premier League". Meanwhile, there appears to be some confusion as to whether a team finishing second in the UniBond would be promoted to the Conference this season if the champions were ineligible.


    Marine's manager Roly Howard (68) is to retire at the end of next season, which will be his 33rd as the club's manager! "In that time he has won 5 League titles (3 Cheshire & 2 Northern Premier); 3 NPL League cups; 4 Lancashire Trophy; 8 Liverpool Senior Cup; twice semi finalists FA Trophy; one FA Cup 3rd round appearance; two 2nd round and four 1st round in addition to countless runners-up league and cup achievements. Howard also managed the Northern Premier League representative side for 16 years to 1996". Chairman Paul Leary said "Roly wanted to do one more season and the committee is in full agreement with his wish and he will provide valuable help and guidance in finding a successor during that transitional season". Also retiring are "assistant manager for over 25 years Roger Patience and physio John Bradshaw".

    NL Daily reports on Alfreton's 6th defeat in 7 games last Tuesday. "Town have also failed to find the net in six of the last seven games. Manager Lloyd said, "'We are well overdue a rub of the green and a little bit of luck coming our way'. With his squad already thin on the ground, striker Mick Goddard went for a scan on an injured knee on Wednesday of this week, and he will also be without the services of Mick Godber soon due to suspension". The manager added, "I am trying hard to get one or two faces in to take some of the strain off everyone and freshen things up".

    19 Feb.2004.


    After last Saturday's game against Shrewsbury, SAM quotes Graham Heathcote - "We've closed the so-called gap between Conference and UniBond today, without a shadow of dount". Captain Ian Craney added, "The lads gave a good account of themselves and you have to take the positives out of it. We need to crack on and attack the league now because that's the important one.. If we crack on and react in the right way then I think we can get in the top six. What we can take from that performance today is the fact that we can match anyone in this league".


    Alvin McDonald, who had an unhappy spell at Northwich after leaving Vauxhall Motors is still out of a managerial post, reports IC Cheshire. He said: "'I accepted voluntary redundancy from British Gas and went full time at Vauxhall and then Northwich, which was for three years in all, so after that time in football it is difficult to walk back into a normal job, especially being 53. So I am sitting in the house every day and waiting for the telephone to ring and a job offer to manage again to come in.... I just want to get back as soon as I can." McDonald added he has been going to local games most Saturdays to keep his eye in and do some general scouting of players, with his thanks going to Southport, Burscough, Altrincham and Stalybridge in particular for their invitations'".

    This is Lincs says that "Paul Mitchell, manager of Gainsborough Trinity, insists striking duo Lee Ellington [ex-Alty] and Gareth Grant are not for sale after rebuffing an approach for the pair... 'The club in question [believed to be Stalybridge] phoned me last week and asked how much we wanted for the pair and if they were available to talk to', said Mitchell... It is believed Trinity would listen to offers of more than £20,000 each for Ellington and Grant". Mitchell added, "What we have here and what we have achieved is excellent. It is especially pleasing considering teams around us have been spending £80,000 to £250,000 more than us on players and budgets".

    Our sympathy goes to Frickley Athletic whose attempts to get their local community behind them have been commendable but who "discovered that sometime on Sunday night the ground had been broken into, with turnstile doors being broken, turnstile windows smashed, advertising hoardings broken and left on the pitch along with bricks and smashed pieces of guttering".

    Burscough have signed David Eaton a 22 year-old striker, who started at Everton before making 24 first team appearances for Macclesfield last season.

    Barrow "boss Lee Turnbull has failed in his bid to sign Wayne Curtis. Turnbull had hoped to keep the Morecambe striker after a three-month loan period with the club. But the board at the Nationwide Conference outfit rejected Barrow AFC’s offer last night... 'We offered them a dripping tap type of payment because we are not in a position to offer a lump sum'", Turnbull told the NW Evening Mail.

    After Saturday's league defeat Bradford PA "fans were unhappy and some showed the level of their frustrations at the final whistle... Manager Trevor Storton attempted to speak to a small group after the game but was shouted down". Storton told This is Bradford, "Some of the players have to take a long look at themselves after Saturday".

    This is Lincs reports that "Gainsborough Trinity manager Paul Mitchell is anxiously awaiting the referee's match report after last night's...defeat to Southport. Mitchell, who is currently serving a six-match touchline ban, went on to the field and helped restrain goalkeeper Jamie Holmshaw who was furious about a last-minute penalty which sent the Blues crashing to defeat". It was Trinity's first defeat at home since August.

    The hearing about the Isthmian league's objections to the restructuring of non-league football is due to be completed today.

    18 Feb. 2004


    Marcus Hallows signed today for Altrincham on non-contract terms. Marcus has been at Moss Lane, on loan from Chorley, for the last three months. In that time he has made a good impression with the Moss Lane faithful. So far he has played 13(+1) games for Alty and scored 5 goals, including one last night. He is seen, right, signing on for someone else last Saturday!



    Match report here.

    Below left, Ged Kielty and, right, Mark Maddox leave the pitch last night.


  • Wakefield & Emley 1 Blyth S. 2


    The STAR bucket collection on Tuesday night raised £67.51. The club would like to thank all collectors and contributors. Altrincham now lie 4th in the league form table over the last six games behind Hucknall, Barrow and Southport.


    Leigh RMI manager Phil Starbuck said of their recent game against Stevenage, "I was very pleased with Mario Daniel who we have worked hard with in training. He was hungry to play and he did not disappoint." The Leigh forum also states that Ged Kielty had been transfer-listed by Leigh prior to joining Altrincham this week.
    17 Feb. 2004


  • ALTRINCHAM 3 Vauxhall M. 1
  • Gainsboro. T. 1 Southport 2
  • Harrogate T. 1 Alfreton T. 0

    FAT 5 Replay

  • Canvey I. 4 Stalybridge C. 0


    Graham Heathcote has had some good news and some bad news in the last 24 hours. On the negative side:
  • Niell Hardy is likely to be out for several weeks with strained knee ligaments.
  • Rod Thornley is unavailable tonight due to his England FA duties as masseur which have taken him to Portugal.
  • Gary Scott is unavailable.
  • David Holt is being taken back by Stockport County so cannot extend his loan period at Moss Lane. He made 5+4 appearances and scored once for Alty.

    But there is some good news!

  • Alty have re-signed midfielder Ged Kielty from Leigh RMI. Ged was at Alty. Now 27, Ged originally joined Altrincham in January 1999 from Barrow, having previously played at Manchester City, York City and Southport, but in March 2000 he left for Leigh RMI. He becomes the ninth player in the 2003-04 squad to have returned for a second spell at Moss Lane; Coburn, Adams, Maddox, Shuttleworth, Talbot, Gardner, Robertson and Hardy are the other eight who have been away and come back.
  • Graham Heathcote is "99% certain" that Marcus Hallows will sign for Altrincham tomorrow, from Chorley, from whom he has been on loan for the last three months.


    As Alty's form improves, early-season frontrunners, Alfreton Town have hit a relatively barren spell. Harrogate play Alfreton tonight and the Yorkshire club's website reports that Alfreton have not scored a goal or taken a point from their last three games. Alfreton's last away win was on 28 October.


    On Saturday, Alty travel to Spennymoor. The Durham club's website reports on the Moors's second 6-0 defeat of the season, last Saturday at Lancaster. "Following the disappointment at losing on penalties last Tuesday in The Durham Challenge Cup Semi Final [it] marks another low point of the season".


    There is an interesting first-time visitor's impression, here, of Moss Lane from the home game against Marine early this season


    Hucknall Town's "Millionaire chairman Brian Holmes revealed... 'It is now more than likely that we will stay at, and improve, Watnall Road, rather than move to a new stadium'", reports Hucknall Today. The chairman added "This is because of a change of heart concerning Ashfield District Council's wish to grant planning permission for housing on the land. If the land was no longer needed for housing, its asking price would plummet, making it affordable for the club". The report continues, "Holmes is prepared to spend the necessary money - thought to be more than £300,000 - to upgrade the ground". Mr Holmes believes that to buy the ground from its owners, Bolsover Properties, would cost £2.5 million.

    Closer to our own situation are Frickley Athletic, who are producing an excellent Newsletter, The Frickley Flyer, which is reproduced on their website. It underlines the ways in which supporters can help their club. "To highlight what a difference a few extra people helping out can make the Committee are extremely thankful of the efforts of John Longbottom, Jack Broome and Jim Pickin who, to date, have pushed around 7,000 leaflets through letterboxes in South Elmsall and surrounding areas to advertise the club. On top of this they have also distributed around 50 extra match advertising posters and distributed advertising car-stickers. We are in no doubt that this campaign was instrumental in us attracting an extra 50 or so people than we would normally have expected to last Saturday’s game against Vauxhall Motors. This may not sound a lot but those 50 people brought in almost an extra £200 in gate money which over a full season would equate to around £4,000 on League matches alone, or around £100 per week extra on the playing budget".