Altrincham Football Club News Archive
14 to 19 May, 2004

19 May 2004


The Altrincham FC Gala Ball "went better than all our expectations", says club director, Grahame Rowley. 350 people attended the centenary event held last weekend in Manchester United's Old Trafford stadium. Thanks are due to everyone who supported or/and helped to organise the event.

But after this glittering fundraising occasion it will soon be back to reality for Altrincham supporters this summer as the club turns its mind to the round of summer "housekeeping" jobs that need to be done to keep the Moss Lane ground looking neat and tidy for next season. "Working parties" of volunteers will be arranged over the coming weeks to help with these tasks and detials of these will appear on the website when received.


The 1939 medal donated to Altrincham FC recently by Mr Jim Newton (see News for 15 May) has now been identified as belonging originally to the donor's uncle, Mr Thomas Garner. Jim believes that "he did play for Altrincham around 1939 as a goalkeeper, probably before joining the RAF".


Dickie Landon, joint leading scorer for Alty in their last season in the Conference (99-00) is still knocking in the goals. He scored a typically "late winner" as a substitute for Stockport County as they won 3-2 against Xinjiang this week on their tour of China. The Stockport site describes the goal as a "superb 20-yard effort that whistled into the bottom corner". Dickie is now County's kit man.


Worksop Town goalkeeper, Dave McCarthy (left), on loan for a period at Altrincham last season, has revealed on his club's Forum that he has been released by The Tigers.

"Redditch United, still recovering from the shock of being elevated into the Conference North after winning the Dr Martens League Western Division championship, are looking at the list of released players from Third Division neighbours Kidderminster Harriers in an attempt to strengthen their squad", says NL Daily. "Redditch boss Rod Brown has targeted several Harriers’ players, most notably Mark Yates, Sean Parrish and Matt Gadsby as the Reds embark on what they expect to be a hard season... 'I think we’ll get by for the first dozen or so games on pure adrenalin, but after that we’ll begin to get found out... Expectations are high and it will be great to play at former Football League sides like Southport and Barrow, but it won’t be great if we’re not in there challenging!'" said the manager.

Worcester City manager John Barton "guided his side to fifth in the Dr Martens Premier Division but their dip in results during the run-in has persuaded him that fresh additions are vital to take the club to the next level" according to This is Worcs. Barton added, "If we can bring in five players I believe we would have an excellent opportunity of reaching that next level... The reason we need five players is that we've squeezed nearly every drop out of the players and it's now down to a trickle. We need fresh blood because who knows what that next level of opposition is going to provide for us". Barton "has already spoken to six players, Football League players among them, who have actually phoned him to offer their services".

18 May 2004


The Altrincham FC matchday programme, the Robins' Review (right) has won the prestigious Wirral Programme Society award for the best programme in the UniBond Premier Division - for the fourth year in a row! What's more, the programme was placed a very creditable 24th in the national non-league programme awards. Congratulations, once again, to the editors, Terry and Grahame Rowley. The awards are all the more deserving as the editors are both busy men. Terry carries out most of his editing role from North Africa, where he works for much of the year, whilst his brother Grahame is a Director and one of the hard-working three-man Board of Altrincham FC as well as a practicising pharmacist.


Confguide reports that "The Conference has entered a three-year deal for free internet broadcasting of games. A deal with In The Box Media is a rights and production agreement to publish 300 Conference football matches free via broadband. This service will be available at ... The matches will be available on a "free to air basis" with the costs of operation planned to be met through advertising and sponsorship. The intention is that fans will be able to receive free footage of the matches over broadband shortly after the final whistle of each game. And a selection of live coverage will also be streamed".

IC Cheshire reports that Northwich's failure to complete the Victoria Stadium before November 2004 is due to "lack of funds to complete the construction, shortages of materials and insufficient time to give necessary assurances... It is expected that Sir Alex Ferguson, who has agreed to help perform the official ground-opening ceremony, will now lead a Manchester United XI in late October rather than early August as originally planned".

"Hinckley United has finished its most successful ever season with a second trophy... with the development of its new stadium matching the progress being made on the pitch" reports The Hinckley Times. "Dean Thomas's men rounded off their campaign with victory over Oadby Town in the Westerby Cup final... having won the Rolleston Charity Cup the previous week". Thomas said: "At the start of the season we set out to win the Westerby Cup and finish in the top 13, so to win the cup and finish sixth is probably better than anyone thought". Speaking of Conf. North, Thomas added "I think it will be an intriguing league, it’s made up mainly of new teams for us and I think it will be quite exciting". The article adds that "Thomas is hoping to wrap up all player negotiations within the next seven to 10 days". The manager said, "I'm going to be speaking to a forward player and a midfielder as well so we'll see how that goes, but really I want everything to be sorted out as soon as possible". NL Daily also reports that "Striker Dave Sadler has joined Cambridge City on a one-year deal from Hinckley United. Sadler is The Knitters' all-time leading goalscorer".

On This is Worcester City, "manager John Barton admitted his decision to release Darren Middleton was tinged with regret for the loss of a special talent... But Middleton's exit now leaves Barton with a gap to fill in his squad and with the next challenge of the Conference North, many people are interested in the type of players City's boss is hoping to bring in. 'A lot of people have asked me about that. I've seen sides in the northern divisions that have had more than a strong physical presence but equally I've seen sides in the north that have been steeped in a lot of skill. But whether in the north or south I believe you need people on the pitch with a physical presence. The pitch is a battlefield and you have to look after yourself as best as you can. Those attributes, whether north or south, are what you are looking for in your players though traditionally those physical aspects are more consistently displayed in northern divisions'".

Eastwood Town's goalkeeper Danny Bryant has been the subject of interest from Hucknall Town". But ex-Alty "winger Michael Reynolds has been retained, and although there are reports of him moving on, [the Notinghamshire club] says these reports are not true". This is Staffs reports Hucknall's interest in another player, as Kidsgrove Athletic hope that "a windfall could be on its way with the sale of contracted midfielder Ryan Baker to Hucknall Town for a four-figure fee".

NL Daily says that "Long-serving captain Craig Norman has turned down a new deal with Conference South (North?)-bound Kettering Town. After nine years at Rockingham Road, the 29-year-old defender is now set to link up with former Rushden & Diamonds manager Roger Ashby at Nuneaton Borough. Norman rejected manager Kevin Wilson's offer of a player-coach role next season... 'I wasn't able to accept what was offered. It was just too much of a cut'", he said.

Southport report that boss "Liam Watson has secured the last piece in his new Port squad's jigsaw puzzle signing left-sided defender Jerome Fitzgerald from Accrington. Experienced and highly rated Fitzgerald could not take up John Coleman's offer of a full time contract as he is studying for a law degree at present".

NL Daily also reports that "Striker Dave Sadler has joined Cambridge City on a one-year deal from Conference North outfit Hinckley United. Sadler is The Knitters' all-time leading goalscorer".


It is not just Conference North clubs whose gate prices are rising this season, UniBond Premier side "Burscough have announced... adults' admission will rise from £6 to £7 to bring in line with many other clubs in the UniBond Premier Division... [but] the charge for juniors under 16 is actually reduced from £3 to £2. The good news is that the cost of a season ticket will not rise, staying at £100".
17 May 2004


Details are emerging of how the newly restructed non-league pyramid set-up will work. According to The Pink, three clubs will be relegated from the Conference National. They will be replaced by the champions of Conference North and South plus the winners of a play-off between a team from Conference North and one from Conference South. This play-off will between the winners of earlier play-offs between the 2nd to 5th finishers in both Conf. North and South.

The bottom three clubs in both the Conf. North and South will be relegated to the three leagues below, i.e. the Northern Premier (UniBond), Southern Premier (Dr Martens) or Isthmian Premier (Ryman) Leagues.

The winners of the UniBond Northern Premier will be promoted to Conference North as will the winners of a play-off involving the 2nd to 5th placed clubs.

The teams comprising the Conference North and South and the Northern Premier League (NPL) Premier Division are listed here.

The new NPL First Division will include several clubs new to the League with teams joining existing UniBond First teams from the NW Counties, Dr Martens, Northern Counties East, United Counties and the East Midlands Alliance leagues. The full line-up will be Belper Town, Brigg Town, Chorley, Clitheroe, Colwyn Bay, Eastwood Town, Gresley Rovers, Ilkeston Town, Kendal Town, Kidsgrove Athletic, Mossley, North Ferriby United, Ossett Albion, Ossett Town, Rocester, Rossendale United, Shepshed Dynamo, Spalding United, Stocksbridge PS, Warrington Town, Willenhall Town and Woodley Sports.

Shrewsbury Town regained their league status yesterday when they beat Aldershot Town 3-0 in a penalty shoot in the Play-Off Final.


Kevin Ellison played in Lincoln City's Division Three play-off first-leg defeat on Saturday. The Pink reports that former Alty boss, Gerry Quinn, has accepted a new one-year contract as he aims to get Ashton United into Conference North, after they lost out in last season's play-offs. Dean Greygoose's Sudbury Town lost the FA Vase Final 0-2 to Winchester City yesterday. The Pink has an article on Wes Wilkinson, the former Alty Youth, who has signed for Oldham Athletic. It says that Wes is Nantwich Town's "second striker in two years to leave for a full-time career after Matthew Bailey signed for Stockport in November 2002". Bailey, of course, was a successful loan player from Stockport at Altrincham last season.


Trafford, who host Altrincham in a pre-season friendly on 20 July, have another friendly lined up on 11 August when Manchester City are sending a team to Shawe View. Alty's friendlies, to date, are listed here.
16 May 2004


Two of the Alty Youth team, Alex Frost and Lewis Chalmers are pictured in today's Pink with the Gtr Manchester Schools under-19 side which won the England Schools' County FA Premier League Trophy.


NL Daily reports that "The full FA Council ratified the restructuring decisions made by their National League Systems committee on Friday... It seems likely now that Margate will not be members of the Nationwide Conference next season and will take their place in the Conference South, therefore handing a lifeline to Leigh RMI and meaning Kettering will, after all, switch to the North in place of Leigh. Margate asked the Conference for permission to groundshare with Dover Athletic for another season... but this was rejected. Margate now have 14 days to appeal against that decision... The National League Systems committee will sit again at the end of the 2004/05 season to decide which clubs will gain promotion to the newly-formed divisions... Clubs eligible for promotion will go into a ‘pool’ from where their destination will be determined by the committee".

WorksopToday says that "Paul Sykes, Worksop Town’s triple player of the year, has joined Stalybridge Celtic as the Tigers cannot afford to keep him at Sandy Lane... A severe cut in [manager Steve] Ludlam's wage budget means that high earner Sykes... has been allowed to sign for the Bower Fold side for a fee around the £5,000 mark... 'Finances are now dictating who can and can't stay at the club', Ludlam said. 'I am in a nightmare situation that means we will probably have to let two or three more influential players leave in order to balance the books. It's soul destroying but I understand the club's stance'... Ludlam is still keeping his cards close to his chest over precisely which players will be staying at the club... 'I can tell you that of the 10 players who are out of contract only five of those have been asked to sign further contracts, three of which are vastly reduced deals. Of the ten players I currently have on contract almost certainly five of those will have to be placed on the transfer list to reduce the wage bill'", said Ludlam.

NL Daily states that "Kettering Town manager Kevin Wilson has started his summer shake-up by releasing six players and also making his first signing in preparation... Youngsters Delroy Gordon, Brian Hardie, Michael McKenzie, Michael Boyle-Chong and goalkeeper Willie Gourlay have all been freed along with midfielder Ian King. But Wilson swooped to snap up 24-year-old former Peterborough United winger Daniel French from his former club Bedford Town. At the same time ten of the Poppies squad which finished the Ryman League Premier Division season have agreed new deals with Brett Solkhon, Rob Gould, Craig McIlwain, Scott McCafferty, Darren Lynch, Chris Difante, Liam Carson, John Hore, Aaran Cavill and Lewis Reid all deciding to stay... Long-serving defender Craig Norman has been offered terms, which includes a player-coach role, along with last season's top scorer Paul Fewings and player-of-the-year award winners Richard Graham and Wayne Diuk. Wilson is also due to offer Martin Matthews and Jason Turner new deals... 'The Paul Fewings and Richard Graham situation depends somewhat on whether we go north or south. Going north will add a lot of time on their journeys from the London area'" said the manager.

Harrogate Town reports that "Harrogate Town believe they have captured the signature of Hull City striker Clayton Donaldson on a season-long loan... Donaldson... hit six goals in nine games on loan two seasons ago... [Manager John] Reed confirmed the club are also hoping to conclude deals for Hucknall Town’s former Leeds and Rotherham goalkeeper Paul Pettinger and Halifax Town’s ex-Oldham centre-half Shaun Garnett... Reed also revealed the club had a made a cash offer for Matlock Town striker Danny Holland and have made tentative inquiries about Witton Albion's Mike Moseley... However, Reed revealed Town have parted company with club stalwarts Neil Aspin and Robbie Whellans... while James Turley looks likely to leave the club with Barrow or Hucknall the likely destination".

"Barrow are back in the hunt to sign wide midfielder Colin Potts from rivals Stalybridge Celtic". Barrow boss Lee Turnbull said: "I have made enquiries about Colin Potts to Stalybridge... I think they would want a fee for him". But "Turnbull [is] in no position to make a cash bid... Midfield is an area Turnbull is desperate to strengthen after releasing both Steve Gaughan and Ian Arnold, while Lee Warren is to turn his attentions to purely being assistant-manager. That’s why he’s also moved to sign Ian Kilford, a former Wigan Athletic player who’s just been released by Scunthorpe United", says the NW Evening Mail.

From Hucknall Today comes news that "Fingers are being crossed at Hucknall Town amid fears that key players will NOT sign new contracts to stay at the club for next season. The contracts of ex-Football League quartet Jon McCarthy, Roy Hunter, Barry Miller and Dean Barrick are up for renewal this summer... But manager Steve Burr might have to offer them less money for next season's challenge in the Conference North because of restrictions in his budget. 'Some of the players might be looking for more money than they were getting but we won't be able to do it'", said Burr. "The reason for the restrictions is the need to spend about £400,000 on upgrading Town's ground, so that if they win the title again, they will be able to take their rightful place in the main Nationwide Conference... The decisions of McCarthy, Hunter, Miller and Barrick will also determine the uncertain Watnall Road futures of players like skipper Craig Gaunt, goalkeeper Paul Pettinger, midfielders Leon McSweeney, Chris Davies and Carl Adams and defenders Karl Colley and Simon Brown, plus potential targets as new signings. 'Our main targets might have to be young players at the cheaper end of the market who are released by Football League clubs',' warned Burr... Only seven players are guaranteed to remain at Watnall Road for the 2004/05 campaign. For Gary Ricketts, Danny Bacon, Alistair Asher, Andy Todd, Danny Mayman, Nathan Winder and Mark Ward have another year to run on their contracts... Town need to increase their ground-capacity to 4,000... They are hoping for a grant from the Football Foundation of at least £150,000 but would need to find £250,000 off their own bat".

15 May 2004


Details of Altrincham season tickets and an application form are here. If you order before 30 June, there is a £10 discount on adult season tickets and £5 on junior/concessionary tickets. Buying a season ticket for the stand (£145) will save you £53 over the season if you come to all 22 league home matches (22x£9=£198) - and you also get to see the pre-season friendlies at Moss Lane free of charge.


Courtesy of George Heslop, the final NWYA Premier Division league table is now in the Youth section. It makes pleasant reading as it shows Altrincham Youth as champions by an 11-point margin.

In fact, the Alty Youth team did the double this season winning the NWYA Premier Division and the Premier Cup. This was despite supplying players such as Steve Lunt and Kieran Lugsden to the first team on a regular basis. So, why not come along and show your support for George Heslop and Neil Thomason's team at the Youth Team Presentation Night on 22 May at 7.30pm in the Noel White Suite at Moss Lane? Tickets (£5 incl. buffet and disco) are available via Jo Ryan.


Altrincham FC recently received a kind donation of a 1939 Altrincham FC medal from Jim Newton, grandson of its original owner, John Arthur Garner. Altrincham club historian Terry Rowley, recently back in the UK from his work abroad, has now inspected the medal and supplies some fascinating information about it. Terry writes that he is "now certain that the medal presented to the club is from the 1939 medal competition held at Moss Lane. The final was between Barrington Rovers & Newtown Lads". He adds that "a similar competition was held in 1940 with 18 clubs entered at five shillings an entry and Altrincham FC were the hosts. In fact, in 1940 Altrincham made the princely sum of £5 (much needed) from the competition. Put in context they took £4 19s in the match against Witton in early January and for the away match at Wigan their cut of the gate was 7s 6d. Running costs at that time were estimated by the board as between £6 and £7 a week".


Northwich Vics have admitted that their new ground will not be ready for the start of the season. "Following a stadium progress meeting on 12th May Vics have requested permission from the Football Conference to play home games at Witton Albion FC until 6th November 2004... A programme assessment reveals that November 2004 is a realistic date taking into account all construction needs and safety arrangements for spectators... The club are disappointed at having to ask permission to delay our opening match until November, however, it is possible that we could improve on the 6th November date but we had to make a realistic decision before seeking permission from the Football Conference to play a number of our fixtures at Witton Albion".


Southport's signings continue with Kevin Lynch following Terry Fearns from Vauxhall Motors to Haif Avenue. The Southport site reports that "Manager Liam Watson believes the signing will add strength in depth to the squad for the new term. Watson expects to sign a fifth player to add to Terry Fearns, Farrell Kilbane, Dominic Morley and Lynch in the latter half of the upcoming weekend".

NL Daily says that "John Barton, manager of Conference North-bound club Worcester City, has announced that David Foy and Darren Middleton will not be offered new terms by the following a meeting with the players at St George’s Lane". Foy has been suffering from injuries and illness whilst Middleton "has not done it as consistently as we would like... Now he's got a settled career outside of football and now needs a clean start". NL Daily adds that "Foy is being linked with rivals Moor Green and Hinckley United".

14 May 2004


Right: The 20/20 End turnstiles at Moss Lane.

From the Board of Altrincham FC:

The Board of Altrincham FC met on Monday 1st May and have decided to raise admission prices for next season by £1 for adults and 50p for children/OAPs. In order to operate in the new Nationwide Conference North, we will need to strengthen the squad and it was with this in mind that the increases were felt necessary. Season tickets have been increased by £10 for adults and £5 for children/OAPs. However, for anybody taking out a season ticket before 30th June, they will be held at last year's prices.

Many thanks for your continued support,

Alty FC Board.

So this means:

  • Turnstile Prices - Standing: Adults £8, Juniors and Concessionaries £5.
  • Turnstile Prices - Sitting: Adults £9, Juniors and Concessionaries £6.
  • Season tickets - Sitting: Adults £145; Standing: Adults £125.
  • Season tickets: Sitting (Juniors and OAP) £65; Standing £60 for OAPS and £45 for juniors.

    I hope to be able to give information on special offers for juniors in the near future and will then update the Season Ticket page fully for 2004-05.


    Manager Graham Heathcote has told SAM that "I've spoken to a few players and it's going to be one of those wait and see things. A player's demands at this time of year can be greatly increased compared to July/August time. We're not up with the best of payers and that is evident in the talks I've held. It's just one of those things we have to live with".


    If Leigh and Northwich do join Conf. North (i.e. if they are not reprieved by events at either Margate or Telford), Altrincham's travelling supporters' mileage next season will be reduced. This is because:
  • there are 22 clubs in the new league but 23 in the old UniBond Premier.
  • the three UniBond clubs furthest from Altrincham - Blyth, Spennymoor and Whitby - failed to qualify for the new set-up.

    Barrow (210.6 miles return), Worcester (204.8) and Hinckley (191) become the three longest trips next season. There will be eight return trips from Moss Lane of less than 100 miles in length (in ascending order, Northwich, Droylsden, Leigh, Stalybridge, Runcorn, Vauxhall, Southport and Stafford). Last season, the round trips to Alty's away league games totalled 2668.6 miles if the AA is to be believed, whilst the projected journeys next season total 2255 miles, a cut of 413.6 miles. If, however, Leigh and/or The Vics are reprieved then the transfer of Kettering and another club could reduce the saved mileage.


    This is Worcs quotes Redditch United manager Rod Brown: "On the playing front I've got five or six targets which will hopefully mean four or five new players into the squad next season predominantly from the National Conference. I'm talking to three players from Telford United. All players I have talked to are National Conference standard or one league below. We've all raised the bar this year and it will have to be raised quite dramatically again next season. We'll just have to wait and see if we can stay in that league knowing it's going to be very difficult".

    In the Tameside Advertiser there is a piece on how Droylsden have won four trophies this season and how manager Dave Pace "could not resist a quick dig at arch-rivals Stalybridge Celtic. He said: 'It’s been just unbelievable. We are by far and away the top team in Tameside and Manchester at our level - it's the best achievement in 114 years of football in the area. Stalybridge were driving around in an open top bus and they only won three trophies, so I have yet to say what our celebrations will be'". He added, "I will be bringing in one or two players - I don't want to start speculating about who, but some will come in and I will be letting a few go. The council have approached me to move into the [new]stadium [with Curzon Ashton], but I have got nothing further to say on the matter".

    On Lancaster Today, "Farrell Kilbane confirmed that he was moving to Southport this week, but he has told Lancaster fans that he is sad to be leaving... He said: 'I am sad to be going, it was all amicable, I left on good terms. It will be a nice change, a fresh start and a new challenge. The opportunity was there to move to Southport and I had to take it. I will still miss it at Lancaster though, I had a great five years here'... City boss Phil Wilson [added]: 'Farrell has been a good servant for the club and I wish him all the best. I am looking to strengthen the squad in all departments and have spoken to a number of players already and I hope we can start tying up a few players in the near future'".

    From IC Cheshire comes news that "Although disappointed to lose the UniBond Premier League's most prolific striker [Terry Fearns], Vauxhall manager Owen Brown remains defiant about his side's chances next season. 'We might not be able to bring in a direct replacement straight away but we'll find ways of plugging the gap and we'll still finish above Southport next season'", he said. "Terry was offered improved terms by Vauxhall and we did our best to keep him, but Southport have made him a fantastic offer", added Brown. "Chairman Alan Bartlam praised Fearns's contribution but remains puzzled by the fact that the player, who went on a trial spell with Hull City last season, scoring twice in a reserve match, had not joined a club in a higher division". Fearns scored 36, 38 and 37 goals in his three seasons at Rivacre Park. But "Vauxhall have managed to get Fearns's 30-goal strike-partner Peter Cumiskey to sign a new two-year deal alongside left-back Wayne McDermott".