Altrincham Football Club News Archive
20 to 26 May, 2004

26 May 2004


Alty manager Graham Heathcote surveys the recently seeded pitch at Moss Lane. This is one of several pictures on Alan Johnson's photosite which show the extensive pitch-works now going on at Moss Lane.


Ken McKenna is one of the Robins' Review's 'Alty Legends' but he is also one of the 'Telford Heroes', a team of ex-players which beat SkyOne's Harchester United 3-1 in a recent fundraiser for the impoverished Conference club. "Over 1,600 people witnessed some of Telford's finest ever players... with Ken McKenna's superb opening header worth the admission price alone" says the club website. Geoff Hurst and Gordon Banks were guests at the game. (Thanks to Mark Eckersall for help with the above).

And, Welsh Premier reports that the "Total Network Solutions’ boss Ken McKenna is to remain in charge... There had been speculation about the manager's position following the club's failure to secure a trophy in the last campaign... Since taking over the reins in 2001, former Altrincham and Runcorn striker McKenna has led Saints to three runners-up places. Their season gets under way again on 19 July with a UEFA Cup Preliminary Round tie".

"Meanwhile, Alan Morgan - who was on loan at Altrincham between spells at Tranmere and Doncaster Rovers - is the new manager of another Welsh Premier side, NEWI Cefn Druids. His career took him to Morecambe and Porthmadog, before joining Druids earlier this year as a player", reports Andrew Lincoln the Webmaster of TNS's Saints-Alive! website.

Another Alty old boy, Dave Gardner, had less good news this week when Manchester United announced that they would limit their dealings with the Elite Sports Agency, run by Dave and Sir Alex Ferguson's son, Jason.


Harrogate Town have done some thorough research on travelling distances in Conference North. According to their figures, Barrow (5,997 miles) will have the most travelling to do whilst "Altrincham will clock up the least number of miles (2,720)... Altrincham have the most local derbies, 8 matches with 1-way trips of less than 50 miles".

Nationwide confirms that "Tamworth wing-back Rob Warner has left the club to join Conference South[???] side Worcester City... Warner made 37 Conference appearances this season, but has now opted to move to St George's Lane".


Alty meet Trafford in a pre-season game on 20 July. Trafford FC boss Danny Johnson says "I have already been dealt two major blows when both Andy Lundy and Michael Ogden confirmed that they will be away on holiday for the first two weeks of the season. This isn't ideal preparation". Lundy signed UniBond forms for Altrinncham last season but never played for The Robins. Trafford will field an under-21 third-string team next season as Johnson says "I have over 40 lads at training on a Thursday evening and with most of the players 21 or under it makes perfect sense to have an Under 21's team with the majority of this team forming our youth team which will be entering the FA Youth Cup".
25 May 2004


Accrington Stanley have made an improved offer for Altrincham captain, Ian Craney after an earlier offer was turned down by the Moss Lane Board. However, the new bid, which is is still below the club's valuation of the 21 year-old England semi-pro international midfielder, is being considered by the Board. Craney is believed to be keen to join the full-time game and recently had two games for Tranmere Rovers' reserves.

Manager Graham Heathcote has spoken to the rest of the squad and is hopeful that all of them will remain at Moss Lane. A new signing is expected during the next week after verbal agreement was reached with the player in question.


Altrincham have arranged two more pre-season friendlies.
  • Wednesday 4 August, away to Old Altrinchamians ("Old Alts") at Crossford Bridge, Sale, 7pm. Old Alts finished second last season in the first division of the Air Miles Manchester League.
  • Tuesday 10 August, home to a Stockport County XI, 7.30pm.

    All nine friendlies arranged, to date, are listed here.


    With the demise of Margate and the problems at Telford, no one yet knows for sure which 22 teams will be in Conference North when it kicks off this August but last season we started in the UniBond Premier with an away match at Alfreton Town on 16 August. Above, in that match, Chris Adams clears the ball past an aerial Tony Hemmings, himself a former Alty player - albeit briefly. Mark Maddox, who later in the game fractured his heel and was sent off, looks on.


    Worksop Town have announced that "Mr Ronnie Glavin has been appointed as the new manager of Worksop Town Football Club following the resignation of Steve Ludlam today. The Worksop Town Board of Directors wish to place on record the good work Steve Ludlam has done for the club and in particular in securing a place in next seasons Conference North League. The Board wish him all the best for the future. Ronnie Glavin's appointment takes place with immediate effect". Glavin was manager of Emley when they almost got promotion to the Conference in 2001 but left to take up a job at Barnsley.

    NL Daily says that "Redditch United manager Rod Brown has "brought in experienced defender Andy Penny from Hinckley United and he has now added highly-rated left-sided player Rob Taylor from Southern League Western Division neighbours Stourport Swifts... Taylor was previously with Travel Factory Midland Alliance side Ludlow Town before switching to Stourport, where he attracted interest from Conference National outfit Hereford United. Reds' assistant-manager Gary Whild said: "We’ve made no secret of the fact we’re looking to bring in three or four new faces. We haven’t released anyone as such, but we find these things have a habit of sorting themselves out".

    This is Worcs says that "Worcester City are set to announce their first signing of the summer at St George's Lane tonight [Monday]. Manager John Barton, who has targeted five new faces to boost his squad, is due to complete the deal for the Nationwide Conference player later today".

    Other moves:

  • Nathan Lamey (Halesowen T. to Hinckley U.)
  • Craig Norman (Kettering T. to Nuneaton B.)


  • Phil Denney (Ashton U. to Radcliffe B.)

    Also, Radcliffe keeper Danny Hurst has "finally signed a new two-year deal with the club after long talks with the manager [Kevin Glendon] who explained: 'There was no disagreements between Danny and myself, he just wanted to see if any interest was shown from other clubs higher up the Pyramid'". As for signing Phil Denney, Glendon added, "I wanted Phil last season, but Ashton wanted a fee for him, but he has now come to the end of his contract and I am pleased he is joining us."


    Alex Hay has joined Rushden and Diamonds after being released by Tranmere Rovers. Goalkeeper Andy Dibble has been given a short contract at Wrexham as he seeks to regain fitness after breaking his arm.
    24 May 2004


    In yesterday's Pink, Alty manager Graham Heathcote comments on the re-appointment of Dalton Steele as his assistant manager.. "In all honesty, Dalton has never really been away", says Graham, "But I'm delighted he's agreed to offically come back... I've known for a while he'd be returning as my number two but we agreed that, over the last couple of months of the season, we'd be better served if he concentrated on providing me with in-depth reports on future opponents... I'll be glad to have him back at my side next season because no way can one person do this job unaided. I never wanted him to go in the first place".


    The Pink reports that Alty captain Ian Craney (right) "has his heart set on becoming a professional footballer" but Graham said, Accrington haven't offered us anywhere near what we'd want for a player of Ian's age (21) and talent and, while I understand his desire to go full-time, he's going to have to exercise a little patience on that score. Tranmere were sufficiently impressed by Ian to want him back there pre-season and there's also another league club waiting in the wings. I'm convinced a league club will eventually take Ian. There must be a lot of exceptional players in the league if one doesn't, because he's absolutely outstanding in my view". The article says that Graham is "aware, too, that several of the players who helped the Robins achieve promotion to Conference North have been approached but he remains 'hopeful' all will stay".


    Barrow Forum reports that last Thursday the Wrexham chairman Mark Guterman resigned and sold out to his former business partner Alex Hamilton "a former solicitor now turned property consultant from Hale Barns, Manchester". Mr Hamilton announced on Friday that Wrexham "may have to move away from The Racecourse". The Wrexham Evening Leader reports that the club has debts of over £500,000 owing to the Inland Revenue.


    Altrincham aren't the only club re-seeding their pitch: "Harrogate Town urgently require a pitch for pre-season training which commences on June 24 and will continue for 6 weeks. The Wetherby Road pitch is being re-seeded and Town need somewhere to prepare for Conference North. Managing Director Nigel Pleasants said: 'If there's a school or local side who can help us out over the summer we'd be really grateful. If we can't find anywhere, it could mean we'll be doing our pre-season training on the Stray'".

    The Bradford PA website says that manager Carl Shutt is employing "his old mate" Ian Roscrow as his assistant. Both were at Sheffield Wednesday but Roscrow added that he had spent "several [seasons] at Boston United before going abroad in New Zealand... [before] spells with Gainsborough Trinity, Grantham and Buxton... I have known Carl from school age, since we were 12-year- olds... There is no need for a major overhaul of the squad because I have been well impressed with what I have seen at Bradford".

    Meanwhile, BPA become the latest club to raise its admission prices for 2004-05, with adult (presumably stand) prices up to £9.


    Alty's bogey team, Wakefield and Emley, is advertising for a new manager in the NL Paper. The club ended the season jointly managed by players Paul David and Ray Dennis.
    23 May 2004


    A successful Altrincham Youth Team Presentation Night was held last night at Moss Lane. Before the event the lads lined-up for the above photo, to mark their double success in the NWYA Premier league and Cup in 2003-04.

    Line up: Back row - George Heslop (manager), Kieran Lugsden, Paul Lewis, Lewis Chalmers, Steve Lunt, Barry George, Tom Read, Joe Connor, Josh Collins, Kelvin Lugsden, Neil Thomason (coach). Front row - Adam Ball, Andy Thorpe, Danny Grimshaw, Alex Frost (capt.), Stuart Cook, Adam Douthwaite, Matt Tooth and Stevie Taylor.

    The event was very efficiently organised by Steve Lunt's sister, Jo Ryan, with family and colleagues. Some ninety people attended in the Noel White Suite. These included Alty chairman, Geoff Goodwin, director Grahame Rowley and first-team boss Graham Heathcote. Special thanks and an award were also made to the Stonemason's Arms, the Timperley pub which had raised £1,000 for the youth team over the past year. This was accepted by former Altrincham defender Mal Bailey, who played a large part in the fundraising.

    Left-back Matt Tooth won both the Jackie Swindells Trophy, donated by STAR, the Altrincham supporters' trust and the Players' Player of the Year award. Matt is seen, right, with master of ceremonies and STAR chairperson, Brian Flynn.

    More pictures are on the Youth Page.


    This is Lincs reports that at Lincoln City "left-sided player Kevin Ellison - who has been on loan from Stockport since March - has been offered a one-year deal. Kevin is out of contract [at County] in the summer. He wants to stay with us and asked to extend his loan here for the play-off games when he could have gone to China on tour with Stockport, said Imps' manager Keith Alexander. He added, "But it's coming down to money. Chester have also made him an offer and they have more money to give him than we do".

    Kevin, the ex-Alty winger, was involved in Lincoln's failed play-offs from Division 3. The Stockport message board states: "According to Lincoln fans, at the end of their playoff aggregate defeat at Huddersfield the other night, Kevin Ellison lay flat on his back with disappointment after the final whistle. At this point, there was also a Huddersfield pitch invasion and he and another player, Alan Marriott were assaulted by Terriers' fans. Ellison, after being kicked/stamped on whilst laying down, immediately got up, chased the Huddersfield fan to the halfway line and 'tw*tted him'. Nice one Psycho".


    After the recent donation to the club of a 1939 Altrincham FC medal by Mr Jim Newton, Alty programme editor Terry Rowley has now acquired two more historic medals, which belonged to ex-player Herbert Blackshaw (above). Herbert went on to manage Wisbech Town in East Anglia in 1946 and he sadly died there c.1976. The medals are a 1934 Cheshire Senior Cup medal (left) and a 1936 Cheshire County League runners-up medal (right). Pictures courtesy of Terry Rowley.


    Alty fans greet their own keeper Stuart Coburn with chants of "England's Number One" but next season we will be able to measure him against Worcester City's Danny McDonnell who made his debut for the England National Game XI on Thursday in a 2-0 defeat by Wales. However, a shoulder problem is likely to keep him out of the England v Iraq game at Macclesfield Town next Thursday.
    22 May 2004


    Alty goalkeeper Stuart Coburn has successfully undergone a hernia operation this week. He should be fit for the start of the season. Stuart is seen above celebrating his Player of the Year award from Altrincham's junior supporters who, along with everyone else at Moss Lane, will wish Stuart a rapid recovery.


    Grass has now been sown on the newly drained and levelled Moss Lane pitch and Alan Johnson's photosite has the pictures to prove it.


    In Friday's MEN reports on a charity football tournament in aid of UNICEF which was won by the Elite Sports Agency team. "David Beckham's best mate Dave Gardner (right) was playing for them", says the paper.


    Altrincham won the UniBond Premier section of the Wirral Programme Society annual awards; it now emerges that Marine were second (164pts) and Whitby third (151pts). Alty scored 186 points.


    Confguide states that "Margate have opted for demotion to the Conference South - which should mean a reprieve from relegation for Leigh RMI... Members of the club voted to "accept demotion to the Conference South and return to Hartsdown Park in a reduced facility stadium" rather than "appeal against the decision taken by the Football Conference not to allow extended groundshare with Dover Athletic FC... Ratification of Margate's move should be a formality at the Conference AGM on 5th June and this would save Leigh RMI from relegation from the Conference. It would also affect Kettering Town - they would take Leigh's place in Conference North, while Margate take Kettering's position in Conference South". The Conference future of Telford United still remains unclear.

    At Worksop Town, "Diminutive winger Matty Caudwell is one of five out of contract squad members who have been offered reduced deals. Others who Ludlam is hoping will sign are Joe Taylor, Alex Callery, Steve Hawes and Ryan Ludlam, but Ludlam has released the experienced trio of defender Darren Bradshaw, striker Darren Roberts and goalkeeper Dave McCarthy. And Worksop could also lose captain Mark Haran as an offer from rivals Harrogate Town was considered at a board meeting earlier this week. 'I have spoken to the players concerned and offered them new contracts', said Ludlam. 'For some it is a vast reduction and for others the difference is not so great. Obviously I hope Matty Caudwell and Steve Hawes, who were fantastic for us last season, do sign for us. But they are also talking to other clubs'", the manager told Worksop Today.


    This is Bolton says "Kevin Glendon, manager of Radcliffe Borough, is hoping to add goalkeeper Danny Hurst's signature to that of the seven players who have already re-signed" despite some interest from Accrington Stanley. "Glendon is also waiting to hear if striker Steve Foster has accepted the same two-year contract as Hurst... The Boro manager is also targeting Rossendale United's former Lancaster City striker Brian Welch and former Manchester City, Oldham and Bury defender, Steve Redmond" formerly at Leigh RMI.


    "Chester boss Mark Wright has signed the club chairman's son and namesake, Stephen Vaughan, from Liverpool". Wright said, "He will be treated just like any other young player in the squad and will be selected on merit" according to Confguide.
    21 May 2004


    Altrincham will host a Blackburn Rovers XI in a pre-season friendly at 7.45pm on Friday 6th August at Moss Lane. A full list of friendlies is here.

    FA CUP

    Altrincham have been advised that along with the rest of Conference North, they will enter the FA Cup in the 2nd qualifying round on 2 October, with the 3rd qualifying round being a fortnight later.


    It is believed that the Conference North fixtures are to be released on 24 June but with so much uncertainty about who will be in the Division, this remains to be seen. Christmas will be a busy time with games on Boxing Day (a Sunday), 28 December and New Year's Day. As in the UniBond there will be home and away fixtures against a single neighbouring club in the Christmas period but, as yet, there is no confirmation whether club preferences for Christmas opposition have been met. The season-proper ends on 30 April, with play-offs to follow.


    The Alty Youth team did the double this season winning the NWYA Premier Division and the Premier Cup. So, why not come along and show your support for George Heslop and Niel Thomason's team at their Presentation Night and Buffet on 22 May at Moss Lane? Tickets are available via Jo Ryan. They cost £5 and include a buffet and disco. The event is in the Noel White Suite from 7.30pm.


    There is as yet no news to report on players arriving at or departing from Moss Lane.


    Goalkeeper Ben Williams, who played six games on loan to Altrincham last season has been released by Manchester United. Ben is seen right, saving from Mattie Hughes in a pre-season game for United against Alty last July. He finished last season on loan at Crewe.

    NL Daily reports that former Alty player Nigel Gleghorn (41) has left his manager's post at Nantwich Town to take up the vacancy at Newcastle Town in Staffordshire.


    "The 2004/05 constitution of the North West Counties League has been announced, but has still to be ratified at the AGM in June", says NL Daily. Clitheroe, Mossley, Woodley Sports and Warrington Town have all moved from the NWCL to the UniBond League whilst Colne, Maine Road, Formby and Great Harwood Town are promoted from NWC Division 2. Into Div. 2 come Cammell Laird (W. Cheshire League), Silsden FC (W. Yorkshire Premier League who play at Keighley Rugby League ground) and New Mills (from the Manchester League).


    NL Daily reports that Exeter City were the overall winners of the Wirral Programme Society awards for 2003-04. Second were Hoddesdon Town (Spartan South Midlands) and joint third were Northwood and Wealdstone (both Ryman League). Alty were the top-placed UniBond club, at 24th.
    20 May 2004

    £15,000 FROM BALL

    According to SAM Altrincham's "end of season gala ball has made more than £15,000". Director Grahame Rowley said "The age range at the dinner was one of the most promising sights. Alty fans aged between 20 and 80 were there... It was a great night and served to further illustrate the great spirit here at Altrincham FC". 16 players also attended.


    As reported earlier (below), Altrincham's programme, the Robins' Review, has won the UniBond Premier Division award in the annual Wirral Programme Society awards, for the fourth year running. Co-editor Grahame Rowley told SAM, "We could have gone down the road of making it a bit cheaper to produce, but Altrincham is a professional club and, if you are going to take on a project, you have to go into it in a professional manner".


    If you signed up to sponsor Altrincham's goalscoring last season then please don't forget to send in your cheque, (made payable to STAR). It can be sent to the club at Moss Lane, Altrincham WA15 8AP for the attention of Jon Stack. Altrincham netted 75 league and cup goals in 2003-04.


    IC Cheshire says that "Northwich Vics may be on the verge of a takeover". Chairman Dave said: "'The situation is delicate but, yes, we are in discussions and negotiations with someone. Nothing's been decided, but the party does see a leisure business opportunity rather than simply a football club'. Northwich are moving to a nine-acre site in Wincham. The land has a canal frontage, which the club had earmarked for a possible marina, giving it a regular income away from football... Northwich have spent two seasons at Witton, losing more than £450,000 in the process... Mr Stone said: 'There were problems with a public footpath on the site and then the foundations of the main stand had to be redesigned and we have never caught up'".

    The same site says that The Northwich Chronicle "has fielded a series of angry phone calls from Vics' fans as speculation about the future of the club also grew". Stone said "Vics will play between 5 and 10 home matches at Witton, at a cost of up to £7,000 and further damage to their fundraising". But Vics are still hopeful that the possible demise of Margate and Telford will allow them to stay in the Conference National division. "Telford need a massive rescue operation to be completed by the Conference AGM on June 6, but there is none in the offing. Supporters have formed a trust but no backers willing to take on the club's debts and huge wage bill have emerged. The local paper, the Shropshire Star, says: 'It is looking grim'". What is more, if Darlington go bust and Carlisle stay in the League, Northwich Victoria could have another lifeline.

    Hinckley United "have signed a stadium sponsorship deal with Wolverhampton & Dudley Breweries which will see their new ground called The Marstons Stadium. The Brewery have paid what Regional Sales Manager Bob Leatherland called a "substantial six figure sum" to secure the naming rights with the money spread at £25,000 per year, over a ten year period". The company already sponsors Derby County, Walsall and Warwickshire County Cricket Club.

    "Hinckley United said goodbye to Dave Sadler, for the second time, as he joined Cambridge City. Dave has always had trouble with travel due to work, home and university commitments and when Hinckley were confirmed as founder members of the Conference North, this would become increasingly more difficult. As a result Dave has decided to join Cambridge City, who themselves qualified for Conference South... Another long standing player to leave is defender Andy Penny. He has moved to Redditch United after they made him a substantial offer, that Hinckley could not match. [The club] has also released midfielder Shaun Murray after only one season at the club, and although still with the club Brad Piercewright will be abroad in Australia up until November. Gavin Stone, thankfully, has decided to re-sign and will be staying with us, so we do still have one defender! To replace the departed striker DT has signed Nathan Lamey from Halesowen".

    Stalybridge Celtic gate prices will be the same as at Moss Lane next season - £9 for seating and £8 to stand. However, season tickets will be dearer at the Bower Fold than Moss Lane at £162 and £144 for sitting and standing respectively. Former Alty centre-back Terry Bowker is one of the retained players at Stalybridge, along with Bonsall, Caldecott, Denham, German, Hayward, Parr and new signing Paul Sykes. Dootson, Eastwood, and Keeling are expected to stay as well.

    "Tigers' manager Steve Ludlam has informed the Worksop web-site that he has released Darren Bradshaw, Darren Roberts and Dave McCarthy".


    Hyde United, report that "With the likelihood of Manchester City Reserves playing at Sports City Athletic Stadium next season, we have reacted quickly and are to host Manchester United's Pontin's League fixtures at Ewen Fields next season". But United's full reserve side remain at Moss Lane for next season. Also, "Dale Johnson has signed a two year contract with the Tigers after impressing so much in his short time with the club"- Johnson is a team-mate of Alty Youth's Alex Frost, Matt Tooth and Lewis Chalmers in the Manchester Schools U-19 side.

    IC Chester says that "Witton Albion have increased the team budget for next season by 25%.Chairman Mike Worthington said: 'It is the budget our manager [ex-Alty man] John Davison asked for, which he believes will enable him to make a positive challenge for promotion to Conference North". Worthington also "praised the efforts of finance director Mark Harris", the former acting chairman of Altrincham.