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.
Altrincham's current Reserve team coach Paul Cuddy has had a long association with football in many roles and in particularly with Altrincham F.C. He began his career when he signed for Rochdale from junior football in August, 1977. However he made only one substitute first team appearance for Rochdale and was released in May, 1978. He moved on to Huddersfield and Bolton Wanderers before settling at non-league Chorley, where he rapidly established a reputation at centre-half.
He joined Altrincham towards the end of the 1981-82 season as manager Tony Sanders sought to rebuild his ageing double championship-winning side. Paul made his Altrincham debut as a substitute in the home Cheshire Senior Cup tie against Winsford, going on to finish the season with a Cheshire Senior Cup winner's medal and an a FA Trophy finalist's medal at Wembley. He later returned to Wembley in 1986 and picked up a winner's medal as Altrincham beat Runcorn 1-0. The following season he added a Cheshire Senior Cup finalist's medal to his collection.
A sound, tall, commanding centre-half he became the backbone of the Altrincham team of the eighties with his performances earning him national honours; he was capped three times for the England Semi-Pro team then managed by Howard Wilkinson. Surprisingly though for a defender who liked to get up with the attack he only scored once in his 344 games for the Robins (in a 1-3 home defeat by Macclesfield in 1987-88).
After leaving Moss Lane he played for Witton Albion, Chorley and Horwich RMI before joining struggling Mossley in March 1995, along with ex-Chorley boss Glenn Buckley. Despite their best efforts Mossley were relegated. Buckley left to coach in the USA but Cuddy was asked to stay on and work with Kevan Keelan for Mossley's first season in the North West Counties League. However things didn't work out and Cuddy joined Fleetwood as a player in October 1995. He later had a spell with Ramsbottom United and later still joined Nantwich Town as manager.
|Paul Cuddy's games|
|Season||League||FA Cup||Lg Cup||CSC||FAT|
Ricky Harris had two spells at Moss Lane, the first being a very brief one but the second stretched over seven seasons. Originally signed from Ashton United by Jeff Johnson in 1988, as a striker, Ricky was allowed to leave Moss Lane and signed for Hyde United when John King took over at Moss Lane. He moved on to Runcorn and then back to Hyde United. Gerry Quinn re-signed him for Altrincham for £2,000 prior to the start of the 1992-93 season, by which time he had been converted to an attacking midfield role. Nicknamed 'Bomber' he was to prove one of the best headers of a ball seen at Moss Lane in the modern era. Not only that, he had good feet and the ability to leave his 'foot in' when required. He was versatile and could play at centre-back or up-front but his best work was done in midfield.
But for a series of injuries that dogged him throughout his career (and indeed could have finished it on a couple of occasions) 'Bomber' could probably have gone a lot further with his footballing career. His presence in an Altrincham shirt gave the team an aerial weapon either in attack or defence. He was an excellent 'clubman' who was popular on the terraces for his combative style and rapport with the fans. His last season was one to savour and saw Altrincham return to the Conference as UniBond Premier League champions. Ricky's season didn't start till November due to injury but the 11 goals he scored went a long way to helping the Robins secure promotion. The crucial goals against Stalybridge and Hyde at Moss Lane, the spectacular diving header (one of a brace) at Gainsborough and most of all the winner at Gateshead, with the Ryan Giggs like celebration that followed it, were all high points.
Unfortunately Ricky was not retained for the following season in the Conference, moving instead to Leigh RMI where he won promotion from the UniBond Premier League for the second season running.
Injury continues to dog his career and earlier this season (2001-02) 'Bomber' was loaned out to UniBond 1st Division Rossendale United to regain fitness and as part of a cost cutting exercise at Leigh. This move was made permanent but not for long as Ally Pickering persuaded him to join Mossley.
Stan is another of that select group of players who will always be associated with Altrincham's glory days as a player. He joined Altrincham in the summer of 1972 from Skelmersdale at the age of 26 and had already a winner's medal, having won an Amateur Cup winner's medal at Wembley with Skelmersdale.
Over the next ten seasons he played in over 600 first team games and made the right-back position his own in the Altrincham line-up. A born winner, he was gritty and tenacious, tackled hard and read the game well but was prone to flashes of temper.
He made a piece of history when he played at Wembley in the 1978 FA Trophy final where he became the first player to win both an FA Amateur Cup and FA Trophy medal. He went on to play just as consistently in the early years of the Alliance Premier League, winning a Championship medal in 1979/80 and the league and league cup double the following season.
He eventually moved onto the coaching staff at Altrincham, first under Tony Sanders, followed by John King and finally under John Williams. He moved on into management with Witton and Accrington Stanley before returning for what would be a disastrous spell back at Altrincham in season 1991/92 which saw the previous season's nearly successful Conference side dismantled and almost resulted in the Robin's being relegated. This eventually saw Allan sacked at Easter, after a particularly humiliating defeat at Witton Albion. He is credited with 'finding' Kevin Ellison and selling him to Altrincham, whilst manager at Conwy and then had a spell assisting Bernard Taylor as unofficial coach during our one season back in the Conference (1999-2000) after Graham Heathcote resigned as coach.
The less said about Stan's time in management and coaching at Moss Lane the better. What Stan should be remembered for is not his career in management but for his role as one of the best right-backs this club has ever fielded and the essential part he played along with John Davison, John Owens in making Altrincham such a hard team to break down.