by Terry Rowley
These pages chronicle the playing legends of Altrincham Football Club. The texts have been kindly supplied by Terry Rowley, joint editor of the Robins' Review matchday programme. The profiles have previously appeared in the Robins' Review.
Although only at Moss Lane for one single season, Clive made a lasting impression. He will always be remembered at Moss Lane as a legend, if only for that goal against Chester, which was captured on film by the BBC Sportsnight cameras and subsequently went on to win the November Goal of the Month competition. (We assume most Robins will have this on videotape!). Clive started his career with Farsley Celtic and had spells at Doncaster Rovers, Bridlington Town, Swansea City (14 League games) and Swansea City (on loan, 4 league games) before arriving at Moss Lane pre-season for trials which led to him signing terms just prior to the start of the season. Gerry Quinn appointed him captain but it was to be a tempestuous relationship with Freeman unable or unwilling to conform with the defensive duties allotted him. He opened his scoring account with a relatively tame second half penalty equaliser again5t Witton Albion. But the first sign of his phenomenal shooting ability came with a 25-yard bullet in the defeat against Macdesfield in the Drinkwise Cup. He followed this with another long range effort against Sheffield F.C. in the F.A. Cup. In fact most of his goals came from 25 yards+ (the exceptions included 2 penalties). As for the goal that qualifies him as a "legend", we believe most Altrincham fans will need no reminding but just in case...the setting was Moss Lane, the occasion, the F.A. Cup 1st round replay against Chester. With a capacity crowd of 3,000 in the ground and thousands more witnessing the highlights on Sportsnight. Altrincham were leading 1-0 coming into injury time. Bradshaw ran down the right wing, towards the Golf Road end before pulling the ball back into the path of the oncoming Freeman. He ran on to it, hit it from at least 35 yards and the ball, travelling like a bullet, hit the back of the net a split second later. Freeman later admitted that he was so exhausted that, rather than run on, he quite literally just hit it.
Up until December he had scored 11 goals; he only scored 3 more all seaso. But all was not well in other dreas. He was dropped for the game against Welling for missing training and from then on relations between Captain and manager were soured. A deal transferring him to Bridlington Town fell through. To be fair to Clive, he had spent most of his career playing in midfield, but the manager expected him to take on defensive responsibilities and Clive simply could not or would not comply. The fans loved him but it was no surprise when, in spite of finishing as leading scorer with 14 goals, Freeman was released, ending up the following season at Doncaster and subsequently Emley and Bradford Park Avenue.
Currently (2002-03) he is player/assistant manager at UniBond Division One side Guiseley having formerly been the player/coach.
Footnote: By coincidence Alty were drawn against Guiseley in the FA Cup in 2002 and lost 1-2 in Yorkshire, with Freeman ironically playing at full-back for the victors, as seen above.
Nicky Daws is one of the Altrincham success stories, having made the transition from Non-League football to carve out a successful career in the Football League. He joined Altrincham from Flixton in October, 1987 as a 17-year-old and impressed the management with his performances in the reserves. These performances meant that he made his first-team debut in the Cheshire Senior Cup semi-final tie against Runcorn (a 1-4 defeat). He showed maturity way beyond his years and looked destined even then for much higher things. Nicky ended his first season by also scoring his first goal for the club in the last game of the season.
Over the next two seasons he worked at establishing himself in the first team. His attributes were (and indeed still are) consistency and hard work. Not only that, he was an excellent passer of the ball and during his League career has become known as a "dead ball" specialist. He also possesses a long throw. He is rarely injured or suspended, something that has served him well over the years, especially with Bury where he barely missed a game. For Altrincham he was ever-present during the 90/91 season when Altrincham came so close to regaining the Conference title.
Quiet and modest, Nicky became a fans' favourite and became known as Henry due to a passing resemblance to a character in the Australian "soap", Neighbours. It was also no surprise that league clubs would show an interest in Nicky and so it was that during the close season of 91/92, after making nearly 200 appearances and aged just 22, he joined League neighbours Bury along with centre-half Andy Reid in exchange for £10,000. He went on to spend 9 consistent seasons at Bury, eventually becoming club captain. In July 2001 he reluctantly left Gigg Lane, due to the club's desperate financial position and joined 1st Division Rotherham United, where he joined up with another former Robin, goalkeeper Mike Pollitt.
Mickey Moore came to Moss Lane in 1975 with a reputation for goals; with his blond hair and red boots he was instantly recognisable. He was a fast, tricky inside forward whose style of play was always going to be a crowd pleaser. In his two seasons at Moss Lane he topped the goal scoring charts for both seasons. Mickey’s career started with Preston North End, joining them in 1969 but failed to make the first team. In 1971 he moved to Southport where he spent two seasons playing 62(+21) league games and scoring 10 goals. He then dropped into the non-league, joining Great Harwood. After 2 seasons there he joined Altrincham, early in the 75/76 season, causing him to be cup tied for the League Cup having already played for Great Harwood. He was later to be joined by Great Harwood striking partner Dave Furnival. He made his debut in the 1-0 home win against Bangor City and scored his first goal for Altrincham two games later in the 1-1 away draw at Buxton. He also scored Altrincham's solitary goal in their 3-1 FA Cup 1st Round defeat at Halifax. He finished the season with 20 goals.
The following season, in a changing side, he still remained a consistent scorer and played in 3 of the 4 marathon FA Trophy semi-final games against Scarborough, scoring one penalty and more importantly missing one. He also notched a hat trick in the 7-1 away win at Worksop. After two seasons at Moss Lane he moved to Wigan Athletic, (then still in the NPL), before joining Port Vale for a brief spell in March 1978, (13 league games). He then rejoined Wigan the following season, in August 1978, on their election to the Football League and went on to play 57(+17) league games, scoring 12 league goals.
He moved on to play for Barrow and then had a spell in the United States with the Dallas Flames before winding down his careerwith Horwich RMI.