an unofficial website

May, 2015

31 May 2015


The Express & Star reports that "Hednesford Town have signed goalkeeper Dave Parton (right) from Conference Premier Altrincham, with a view to him taking the number one shirt left by Dan Crane...

Parton, 22, was signed by from Newcastle Town by Alty last season following their promotion into the top tier of non-league football. He played 15 times for the Robins, finishing the season as their number one. Crane departed the Pitmen recently, after 269 appearances that spanned five years".


England U20s 2-1 Ivory Coast The FA reports on "a 2-1 win against Ivory Coast in England [under-20s]’s second game of the tournament... It was a deserved victory for Aidy Boothroyd’s side, who remain unbeaten in ten games this season...

It was a lively start from the Young Lions and they took the lead after just 10 minutes, when Duncan Watmore smartly turned and slipped a pass behind the Ivory Coast defence for Akpom. He kept his nerve, controlled the ball to set himself up for a side-footed finish into the bottom corner to put England ahead...

With half-time just five minutes away, Robinson dug out a cross from the left which was met on the volley by the impressive Watmore to produce a smart stop from Axel Kacou. Another early goal in the second half doubled England’s advantage, when Grimes picked out Robinson for the Villa youngster to drill a low shot home".


The Braintree & Witham Times reports that "Braintree Town manager Danny Cowley expects to bring in another goalkeeper after Nick Hamann signed for the Iron’s rivals, Woking. The 27-year-old German-born keeper won’t be returning for a third season with the Iron and Cowley admits... 'We had conversations with Nick but weren’t in a position to offer him anything and he’s taken up an offer at Woking', he said.

'It was a difficult decision, as I agree with Brian Clough and think the goalkeeper is the most important signing that you’ll make as a manager. It can earn you more points than probably any other player so it’s an important one for us. Nathan McDonald will come back and he will have an opportunity in pre-season. We know Nathan from his Southend days and I watched him for Braintree under Rod Stringer but we will be be bringing someone else in as well'".

30 May 2015


Paul Fay, manager of Altrincham FC's under-17s writes that, together with George Heslop, manager of the under-18s, he has "set dates up for trials for the two Altrincham FC youth teams. The U17s' trials are on 20th June at Partington Sports Village, Chapel Lane M31 4ES. The under-18s' trial is on 27th June at the same venue. Applicants are asked to contact Paul (phone 07921 813241) or George (phone 07939 890503) in advance of the trials".

Last season the under-18s won the NW Youth Alliance Premier Division and the under-17s were winners of the Cheshire County FA District Youth Cup.


Altrincham FC chairman, Grahame Rowley, writes:

"Altrincham FC Community Sports recently opened a new Community Sports Hall at Moss Lane Altrincham and already it's been a huge success, holding a variety of events and classes for people of all ages.

However there is still a shortfall to cover the build costs and, with this in mind, we are launching a fascinating fundraiser which everyone can get involved with - a 24 hour marathon 5-a-side game within the Hall, played with a sponge ball.

Starting at 8pm on Saturday, 1st August, following our pre-season game with Port Vale, two teams of five will play for half an hour and then be immediately replaced by a further two teams and so on till we get to 8pm on Sunday.

In order for this to work we will need 480 players to take part in this marathon, with some teams playing at unsocial hours but, with a Club boasting 50+ junior sides, a ladies' side, two youth teams, three BTEC sides, a Development Squad, a supporters' team and 1200+ supporters, we must be able to rally the troops and make this happen. We're even going to invite our latest recruits - the Mini Kickers - to take part!

Everyone who plays needs either to raise sponsorship or just pay £10 per half hour played (you can play more than half an hour if you wish). Age is no barrier; in fact, the bigger the age-range covered the better as it just goes to show this new facility is for everyone, not just athletes.

Each team will be photographed before playing and a montage of all 480 players will be displayed in the corridors of the CSH for all to see. If you're interested in taking part please register your interest and your preferred time of playing by either phoning / emailing me. Sponsorship forms will be available to be collected / emailed out as from Monday 1st June.

Make this an event that we're all proud of - just like our new Community Sports Hall! I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Grahame Rowley, tel 07720-606897 or e-mail".


The Sunderland Echo reports that "Sunderland youngster Duncan Watmore has been named as Barclays Under-21 Premier League player of the year. Watmore was chosen by the Premier League Club Support Managers following an impressive 11 goals in 18 Barclays U21 Premier League matches this season.

Watmore has also been named in Sunderland’s first team squad on two occasions this season after being selected for matches against Manchester United and West Ham United. He is currently away with England U20s, and scored in a 3-3 draw against Morocco yesterday.

Watmore beat off competition from Chelsea striker Dominic Solanke-Mitchell, Liverpool winger Harry Wilson, Arsenal’s Daniel Crowley, Southampton prodigy Ryan Seager and Fulham youngster Ange Freddy Plaumain, who were all shortlisted".


The BBC says that "Grimsby Town have signed Cambridge United forward Nathan Arnold on a one-year deal, while midfielders Scott Brown and Craig Clay and defender Shaun Pearson have signed new contracts. Arnold, 27, spent the whole of 2014-15 on loan at Blundell Park, scoring six goals in 35 appearances. Brown, 30, and Clay, 23, have signed new one-year deals.

Pearson, 26, has signed a new two-year contract after making 146 league appearances over the last four seasons."

Elsewhere, "Welling United have signed midfielder Ricky Wellard following his exit from Sutton United. The 27-year-old, who has previously had spells with AFC Wimbledon, Cambridge United and Salisbury, has agreed a one-year contract. Meanwhile, goalkeeper Michael McEntegart and winger Reece Harris have signed new deals with the Wings. McEntegart featured twice for Welling last season, while Harris scored one goal in 15 league appearances."

And "New Newport County manager Terry Butcher has made his first signings since taking over the Exiles. Welsh goalkeeper Rhys Taylor, 25, and defender Scott Barrow, 26, have both signed from Macclesfield. Striker Lenell John-Lewis, 26, joins County from Grimsby Town on a two-year deal. All three players have been excited by our plans and about the type of players we are planning to bring in,' said Butcher.

Fifteen players have left the club since Butcher took over as manager in April. The former England captain says talks are 'progressing to an advanced [stage?]' with other targets and he hopes to announce a couple more additions next week... Butcher told the County website, 'I watched Lenell play [at Wembley]... he's a player who has been impressive all season, he's scored a good number of goals and has great energy levels. He works hard, is strong on the ball and can lead the line well. He gets goals and that's what we're after, and he makes goals for other players, I'm really excited by him'.

Former Wales Under-21 Taylor, who started his career in Chelsea's youth side, kept 18 clean sheets in 46 matches for Macclesfield last season. Butcher hopes the Neath-born goalkeeper will provide strong competition for former Peterborough shot stopper Joe Day... Fellow Welshman Barrow has also left the Silkmen for Newport".

Meanwhile, "Kidderminster Harriers' midfielder Jack Byrne has left the Conference club after rejecting a new contract. Byrne, 25, scored 28 goals in 164 appearances for Kidderminster after signing from Redditch United in 2010. He is now set to sign for Solihull Moors, who finished 12th in the Conference North in 2014-15. 'We'd have loved to have kept hold of him and made a good offer to try and ensure that happened', manager Gary Whild told the club's website".

According to the Football Conference "FC Halifax Town and England C international Matty Pearson has left the club and joined Accrington Stanley. The former Rochdale midfielder is the latest player to leave the Shaymen and ply his trade in the Football League following the likes of Jamie Vardy, Lee Gregory, Dan Gardner and Liam Hogan in making the step up. Pearson joined the Shaymen originally on loan but made the move permanent two summers ago and was a popular member of the team with the fans for his style of play."

From the Football Conference we learn that "FC Halifax Town midfielder Lois Maynard has joined new rivals Tranmere Rovers. He joins Tranmere along with former FC Halifax defender Liam Hogan... Maynard, who has previously played for Winsford United, joined the Shaymen in the summer of 2013...

Hogan is a 26-year-old defender who has Football League experience having spent the last two seasons with Fleetwood Town, making twenty-four appearances for the Lancashire club."

Also Cheltenham Town "have signed former Oldham Athletic forward Amari Morgan-Smith on a one year contract. The 26-year-old becomes Robins' boss Gary Johnson's fourth new recruit of the close season, following Aaron Downes, Jack Munns and Kyle Storer.

Morgan-Smith started his career at Stockport County and has since turned out for Ilkeston Town, Luton Town, Macclesfield Town and Kidderminster Harrier... Wolverhampton-born Morgan-Smith spent last season at League One Oldham, where he played under Johnson's son Lee."

Kent club Bromley report that "The Club are delighted to announce the signing of defender Sean Francis. The commanding central defender joins from Dover Athletic where he made 24 appearances... Sean previously spent three years at Bishops Stortford making over 100 appearances in both the Conference North and South.

On signing for the Club the defender said, 'We have a strong squad and we have a great chance of doing well next season. I was impressed with the manager and the vision of the future'".

Bulls' News reports that "Chris Bush has signed for Lincoln City FC on a one year deal after leaving Welling. The 22 year-old full back scored 4 times in 33 games for the Wings, and was sent off twice. He previously had a loan spell at Sincil Bank during his time with Gateshead. Josh Gowling has signed a two year deal at Grimsby. The 31 year old joined the club in March for a short loan spell from Kidderminster".

It adds that "Torquay chairman Bill Phillips has described the club as being on 'life support'. The current board have given Commercial Manager Dean Edwards and a group of businessmen until June 4th to deposit funds into the club's account ahead of the Conference AGM to be able to prove to the competition that they have the funds to be able to complete next season".

29 May 2015


Congratulations go to former Altrincham winger, Duncan Watmore, who scored on his debut for England Under-20s on Thursday, against Morocco in Toulon. The game ended three-all.


According to the BBC, "FC Halifax have signed Notts County winger Elliott Whitehouse. The 21-year-old was released by the relegated League One side after making seven appearances in his one season at Meadow Lane. He is the third player to join Conference club Halifax this week.

The former Sheffield United trainee joins midfielders Sam Walker and Josh MacDonald, signed from Curzon Ashton and Marske United respectively, in committing to the Shaymen".

At Lincoln City, "We are pleased to announce that left-sided defender Chris Bush has signed an initial one-year contract with the Imps. Bush, who spent a month with City on loan from Gateshead in January 2013, returns to Sincil Bank having spent last season with Welling United.

A former Brentford trainee, the 22-year-old gained experience in loan spells at Salisbury City, Woking, Wimbledon and Thurrock before joining Wimbledon on a permanent basis in June 2011. He subsequently moved north to Gateshead and later joined Hereford United before linking up with Welling."

And Lincoln City add that "Jack Muldoon has become Chris Moyses' latest acquisition, with the forward signing an initial one-year contract following his release by Rochdale. The 26-year-old was a youth team player at home town club Scunthorpe United before impressing in the lower leagues for the likes of Brigg Town, Sheffield FC, Glapwell, Alfreton Town, Stocksbridge Park Steels, North Ferriby United and Worksop Town.

A superb 2013/14 season, which saw him score 21 league goals for Worksop, attracted interest from Football League clubs and he subsequently made the move to Rochdale on a one-year deal... but having struggled to break into the first team at Spotland, was loaned out to FC Halifax Town during the second half of last season, scoring twice in eight starts for the Shaymen."

Get Surrey says that an "Excited Joey Jones has revealed he turned down two rival bids before confirming his allegiance to Woking. The versatile Cards' star was delighted to put pen to paper on a fresh one-year deal on Wednesday (May 27) and to be tasked with filling the considerable boots of departed midfielder Josh Payne.

'There were a few Conference clubs that wanted me,' said the 21-year-old, who originally signed last summer following an impressive loan spell. 'Cheltenham were one because I was with [manager] Gary Johnson at Yeovil, and Dover wanted me as well. Oxford United have been watching me for a while but didn't put any offers in and I always said if I couldn't get anywhere in the League I would stay at Woking. They are a good club and they've done well for me and I feel I can push on with them and become a key player'...

The former Leicester City and Yeovil Town youngster agrees that a poor pre-Christmas was a big factor in missing the play-offs, along with a nightmarish Easter. 'I was talking to [director] Geoff Chapple yesterday (Wednesday) and we're still a bit disappointed we let it go, because we were second at one point. That Welling game [2-2 at home] and then losing to Dover [1-0 away] killed us a bit.'

Having featured impressively in various defensive positions and midfield last term, Jones says his role has been more clearly defined following discussions with manager Garry Hill. 'The gaffer always knew I wanted to play centre midfield and he has told me that's where I will play next season and effectively taking Josh's role deeper in midfield. I'm looking forward to it'.

Payne left for Conference rivals Eastleigh last week with Hill swift to add an 'engine room' replacement in AFC Telford's former Luton, Mansfield Town and St Albans City player Godfrey Poku. Also drafted in was Braintree Town goalkeeper Nick Hamann, who will vie for the gloves with current first-choice Jake Cole...

Quality players such as Kevin Betsy, Adam Newton and John Nutter have retired, Payne has left, while centre-back Joe McNerney has his heart set on a switch to the Football League. But Hill has already thrashed out new deals with Cole, Scott Rendell, skipper Mark Ricketts, John Goddard, Murtagh plus Giuseppe Sole, and Jones insisted, 'We probably need one or two more players but I still think the squad is very strong'".

From the Leader Live comes news that "Manager Gary Mills insists new signing Cameron Belford will be his number one goalkeeper next season. The 26-year-old has left Swindon Town to join Wrexham and yesterday penned a one-year deal along with returning midfielder Lee Fowler.

And Mills said Belford will be ahead of Andy Coughlin, who has been offered a new contract, in the pecking order if the former Tranmere man decides to stay at The Racecourse. 'Cameron is a keeper I have tried to sign a couple of times and haven’t done', said Mills. 'He was offered another deal at Swindon and staying with them was another option for him but he has decided to come and play at Wrexham and I am happy he wants to be our goalkeeper. I have spoken to Andy and I have brought Cameron in as my first choice. I don’t see the point in me bringing someone else in that I think is on the same level.

It is a massive position. People might say it is a little bit unfair on Andy,. I am not here to be fair. I am here to do a job. I don’t mean that to sound arrogant. If you have got players that you know are good players and you can go and get them, then you go and do that. I have done that with Cameron, I think he is an excellent goalkeeper. He is an organiser, a good talker, which is massive at this level so I am just delighted to have him.”

28 May 2015


As a reminder of how the Community Sports Hall has transformed the site of the former Robins' Shop, below are three images showing the site before, during and after the building of the Hall, within the J. Davidson Stadium.

From this...

via this...

to this!


Phil Taylor's report on the Altrincham FC Ladies' excellent performance against the Isle of Man Ladies' representative team is here.


Neil Faulkner advises us that "It is with great sadness that I have to inform you that, on Tuesday 26th May, Michael Hepworth sadly passed away, after a short illness. A keen Altrincham FC supporter since the 1960s, Michael was regularly seen at home games up until quite recently, with his family. He loved to stand on the Popular Side for many decades but more recently was seen sitting in the Family Stand. Michael formed Robinson's Preservation in 1956 and was a well respected figure in the industry for his wealth of knowledge and his honesty.

As well as the many hours that he spent running Robinson's, he found time to train as a minister and the Rev'd Michael Hepworth served the Church of England for many years in the Altrincham area. Our thoughts and prayers are very much with his wife Alma and his children, Louise, Nigel and Rachael and his grandchildren and other family members at this difficult time".


Speaking after the news that Richie Bentley Catering, Altrincham FC's official caterer, had achieved a maximum "five" rating in Trafford MBC's food hygiene ratings, Richie said, "It's a great boost for new and existing fans and customers including the many great community groups, who are taking advantage of our new Community Sports Hall with its much improved facilities. In the Hall we can now cater for weddings, sportsman's dinners, filming for TV ads, children's groups and parties". To make an enquiry or a booking, please e-mail or ring the Club on 0161 928-1045.


An Altrincham player from last season is the subject of a report from Southport who say that "Paul Carden has been hard at work, confirming on Tuesday evening he has made four new signings and has re-engaged on contracts five players; Paul Rutherford, Louis Almond, Paul Smith, Connor McCarthy and Matty Challoner.

The new faces include experienced ex-Accrington Stanley, Fleetwood and Rochdale player Peter Cavanagh who joins from Altrincham. Cavanagh will be Paul Carden's player-coach as his first step into a management role.

Also with considerable Football League experience is six-foot-one midfielder Andy Wright, who joins from Morecambe having also played for Scunthorpe, Grimsby and in the USA. Following a spell at Ayr United former Bolton Wanderers and Hyde left back Adam Blakeman moves back closer to his Burscough base, Adam is the younger brother of ex-Port players, Chris and Liam Blakeman.

Nineteen year-old striker Jamie Allen has signed from Fleetwood, having already achieved Football League appearances and will compete upfront with the mightily impressive end of season find, Connor McCarthy, who is now a contracted 'Port player. Also back at the Merseyrail Community Stadium are Paul Rutherford, who gave 100 per cent throughout last season, Players' Player of the Year Paul Smith and the now Conference battle hardened Matty Challoner, who will be aiming to make the right back position his for the season. Louis Almond also has earned a contract, having initially joined the squad in the run-in...

With key players Luke Foster and Richard Brodie agreeing terms early in the close season, along with Charlie Joyce, Paul Carden has now got the basis of his squad in place, with an experienced goalkeeper a priority along with further additions to come in through the summer close season and early in pre-season."

Confirmation comes from the Football Conference to the effect that "Gateshead have announced that local business owners Richard and Julie Bennett have acquired the total shareholding of chairman Graham Wood. Commenting on the change of ownership, Wood said, 'Since I announced my intention to seek a new owner at the beginning of the month, vice-chairman and chief executive, Brian Waites and I have been busy considering offers from far and wide.

However, it wasn’t until last week that we first discussed the possibility of Richard and Julie, the owners of Consett-based company Derwentside Environmental Testing Services (DETS), taking over the club. DETS has been sponsoring Gateshead for the last two years, the entire Bennett family come to our games and their enthusiasm for the club is quite apparent. I can truly say that Richard and Julie are my idea of the perfect successors. They are both local, Richard is from Newcastle and Julie from Gateshead, are very successful business people and possess the ambition and the means to continue with the objective of returning Gateshead to the Football League.

We all recognise the benefit of a seamless transition and consequently I have agreed to remain as Chairman until such time as Richard feels ready to take over the role. Julie, who is the finance director of DETS, will take over that position at the club. Brian Waites will continue in his existing role.

Naturally, we realise that the transition has put us a couple of weeks behind in appointing a new manager but we can now move forward on that front and focus totally on preparing for the new season and another promotion push'.

Commenting on behalf of the new owners, Richard Bennett said, 'We’re delighted to have been given the opportunity to take over the club and we’ll be looking to build on the solid foundation which Graham Wood, Brian Waites and the support staff have created over the past nine years. We are thrilled that both Graham and Brian have agreed to stay on to help push this great club forward, commencing with another promotion challenge next season. We can’t wait to get started. For everyone at the club it’s business as usual and the appointment of a new manager is top priority'".

Meanwhile "FC Halifax Town have announced the signing of former Middlesbrough youngster Josh MacDonald. He is a midfielder who has been plying his trade with Ebac Northern League First Division champions Marske United for the last couple of seasons. He can also play right winger [and is a player] with an eye for goal, with 13 goals last season and 9 in the 2013/14 season. MacDonald is the second player to put pen-to-paper for manager Neil Aspin, following Dan Maguire’s signing from Blyth Spartans".

According to the Shropshire Star, "Welsh Premier side Airbus have signed up prolific AFC Telford United striker Tony Gray. The 31-year-old hitman netted 20 times in all competitions for the Bucks last season and had been out of contract this summer...

Gray said, 'I'm made up. I had a few options but, weighing them all up, Airbus was the best for me. I had a decent season and scored a few, so I thought there'd be interest, but Airbus showed the most interest and they wanted me the most'. The move sees him re-united with former Chester team mates Matty McGinn, ex-Telford, and Ashley Williams."

27 May 2015


Congratulations go to Altrincham FC official caterer, Richie Bentley, who has scored a maximum five rating in Trafford MBC's food hygiene ratings. Details are here.


Altrincham FC Patrons' Club

Altrincham FC is again running its Patrons' Club. Chairman Grahame Rowley writes:

"It doesn’t seem a few weeks since I wrote this letter last season, but what a first season we have had in the Vanarama Conference. We’re now asking for people to join the 2015-16 Patrons' Scheme.

For the bargain sum of £50, your name will appear throughout the season 2015-16 in the matchday programme for every home game and on the club’s official website as a Patron of the Football Club.

In August, every Patron will be entered into a prize draw with the winner being match sponsor for an appointed game along with 9 guests. Second prize will be hospitality for 5 people and third prize hospitality for 3 people in the Sponsor Lounge; the value of the 1st prize is £550.

If you are interested in becoming a Patron again this season or joining for the first time please forward a cheque payable to “Altrincham FC” for £50 for the attention of Grahame Rowley.

If you require further information, please speak to me on 07720-606897 or e-mail me.

We need your support even more for the forthcoming season, as we look to 'push on' in the Conference National, so please help the club through the close season by joining up today.

Thank you.

Grahame Rowley, Chairman.


NL Pitchero reports that "Barnsley have signed centre-back Marc Roberts from FC Halifax Town. Roberts was widely expected to move on at the end of the campaign, with the 24-year-old`s contract expiring.

Roberts made ninety-three appearances for FC Halifax, the England C defender cutting his teeth in non-League football with Wakefield, Worksop Town and Buxton before joining Halifax in the summer of 2013. His form last season also saw him lift the Shaymen’s player of the season as well as the official website’s player accolade."

More comes from Football League World, which says that "Barnsley boss Lee Johnson has added to his defensive options with the signing of Marc Roberts on a three-year deal, the club have confirmed. Roberts is Barnsley-born and joins from Halifax Town...

He said, ‘I am happy to get it sorted and I can’t wait to get going now. It is a dream come true to play for my hometown club'... The commanding central defender... actually attracted interest from the Championship. Roberts continued, ‘The gaffer here is great and I am looking forward to working under him. I had a conversation with him and it tipped it in Barnsley’s favour'".

Off the field, Bulls' News reports that "Halifax have issued a winding up petition against Northwich Victoria. The notice has been published in the London Gazette having been issued on May 20th. No announcement has yet been made by either club over the petition. Northwich Victoria have carried on despite a series of financial issues that stretch back ten years. A large proportion of their fanbase quit the club in 2012 to set up their own side after owner Jim Rushe relocated the homeless club to Stafford, although the Vics currently play at Witton Albion's Wincham Park - just 500 yards from the Victoria Stadium home ground they were evicted from in 2012.

The new Northwich 1874 club play in Step 5 of the NLS, one below the Vics, averaging just over 300 attendances in the league to the Vics' 116."

The London Gazette states that In the Matter of THE NORTHWICH VICTORIA FOOTBALL CLUB 2007 LIMITED... in the Matter of the Insolvency Act 1986, a Petition to wind up the above-named Company of 16 Berry Lane, Longridge, Preston, PR3 3JA presented on 21 April 2015 by F C HALIFAX TOWN LTD, The Shay Stadium, Shay Syke, Halifax, West Yorkshire, HX1 2YS, claiming to be a Creditor of the Company, will be heard at Leeds District Registry, Leeds Combined Court Centre, The Courthouse, 1 Oxford Row, Leeds, LS1 3BG on 9 June 2015, at 10:30 hours".

Elsewhere, "Craig Disley is the first player to put pen-to-paper on a new deal with Grimsby Town. The skipper, who will be in his fifth season with the Mariners, was one of a dozen players who were offered new deals by Paul Hurst. Speaking after signing a one-year deal, he said, 'It was an easy decision to make. Once I got the chance to stay again this year, it was just a matter of getting things sorted and signed as soon as possible'.

And now Disley is hoping that some of the players who have been offered new deals will follow his lead. He said, 'The lads have been offered contracts and I am sure that there will be a couple that have bits and bobs to look at in different places. I am hoping that we can keep the core of the squad together. If we do that we are going to have a really good chance,” he added.

According to the BBC, "Torquay United's board are now considering three different offers to take over the Conference club, which has been up for sale since January. A consortium of 10 local businessmen, headed by the club's commercial manager Dean Edwards, is one of the three and has submitted a six-figure bid.

'They've made a bid. We're waiting for the money to arrive in our account,' acting chairman Bill Phillips said. 'But at the same time we have at least two other interested parties'.

The bidding process began after lottery-winning former owner Thea Bristow sold her 80% stake to the current board last week. Edwards, 53, played more than 100 games for the Gulls between 1988 and 1991... 'I saw the scary situation we were in and I felt we had to do something to keep the club alive,' he told BBC Sport.

'If some multi-millionaires do step out of the shadows we'll step aside, if it's in the best interests of the club and the community. But, if we're successful, we'll try and run the club at a level it's comfortable with to give enough support to bring us back to a position where we should be... I'm awaiting contact... to see if the board are going to accept'".

26 May 2015


According to the Football Conference "Stalybridge Celtic have announced the signing of goalkeeper Tony McMillan... He joined Southport in July 2008 along with the then Burscough manager Liam Watson and a number of players and was a regular for the Sandgrounders, making over 200 appearances before being released in March 2013 and joined Altrincham until the end of the 2012/13 season when he was released".


The Football Conference reports that "FC Halifax Town have confirmed the signing of former Newcastle United youngster and Blyth Spartans striker Danny Maguire. Maguire, 22, a self-employed plumber, scored 31 goals in fifty-six games for Spartans last season... He has previously played for Seaton Delava. His time with Blyth has seen him win the Supporters' Club player of the season for the last three years, picked for the England C representative side, leading goalscorer for Blyth for the last two seasons and part of the Evo-Stik Northern Premier League Premier Division team of the year in 2014.

Blyth reached the Third Round of the FA Cup... and, in that run, Maguire score[d] 5 goals against Darlington 1883, Skelmersdale United and Altrincham."

From Woking we learn that "Woking have announced the signings on one-year contracts of goalkeeper Nick Hamann and midfielder Godfrey Poku. Nick started his career in England at Chelsea, aged 16, as a first-year scholar. He has spent the past two seasons at Braintree Town, making over 70 appearances in the Vanarama Conference. Godfrey began his career at St Albans City in 2009, moving to Luton Town in January 2010, with loan spells back at St Albans City and Southport. He joined Mansfield Town in 2012, before signing for AFC Telford United at the start of the 2014/15 season."

And Braintree Town confirm that "goalkeeper Nick Hamann will not be back at Braintree Town next season. After two campaigns with the Iron, the German-born former Chelsea trainee has signed for their rivals Woking. Hamann was offered the chance to return to the Miles Smith Stadium for a third year by new manager Danny Cowley, but he opted not to take that option up.

The 27-year-old made 76 appearances in his two seasons at Braintree and helped them keep 14 clean sheets last year. Braintree do have former England C keeper Nathan McDonald coming back, though, following his season-long loan at Enfield Town and Braintree Academy coach Carl Pentney, who made two first-team appearances at the end of last season, has been asked back for Iron pre-season training".

NL Daily says that "Gloucester City have announced the signing of former Kidderminster Harriers goalkeeper Jasbir Singh on a permanent deal. Singh, 25, enjoyed a successful loan spell with the Tigers last season, and played a vital part in the club`s Conference North survival."

NL Pitchero reports that "Thea Bristow has transferred 80% of her Plainmoor Limited shareholding, which controls Torquay United, over to a group of existing Torquay Directors for a pound.

Thea said: "It is a bitter sweet day for me. I have transferred the majority of my shares and it has closed the chapter of my ownership of the club. I certainly have had mixed emotions throughout this whole process, but know that it is the right decision for me and my family. 'I look back and hopefully Paul [her late husband] and I made a bit of a difference. There have been some great times and some not so great times but, overall, whatever decisions we made, they were always in the best interests of the club.

One thing I do know is that, whenever I come to the ground, I am always so proud of seeing Bristow’s Bench and the lasting legacy to both Paul and the club. I, like any fan, can’t wait to see us back in the Football League and look forward to cheering the team onto that... For me, knowing I had to move on, this route has given me the chance to pass my shares onto people who know and care for the club, especially in time for any Conference deadlines.

The Directors have assured me that they will continue speaking to the TUST and other consortiums for further investment or help, plus that they have the capability to run the club next season. I am sure they will announce their plans more formally over the coming weeks... Thank you for all the support and kind wishes during my time as chairman."

Meanwhile the Torquay Herald Express says that "A group of local businessman, led by the club's own commercial manager Dean Edwards, has tabled a firm offer to take over Torquay United.

Former owner Thea Bristow last week passed 80 per cent of her shares in Plainmoor Ltd, United's holding company, to a group of directors led by 'acting chairman' Bill Phillips, and it is that controlling interest which Edwards' group is trying to acquire. Former United striker Edwards, 53, said, 'We have made an offer to take control of the club. Our 'due diligence' should be completed later this week and, if all parties are happy with negotiations, we would like to take control within a couple of weeks.

It would be my wish that the current United board will help us with a smooth takeover, in order to get the best possible start for next season'. Edwards's consortium is believed to have raised a sizeable six-figure fund to invest in the club, and they are hoping to attract more money from other interested parties in the foreseeable future. The Torquay United Supporters' Trust (or TUST as they are known), which is not directly involved in the latest bid, has said that it now favours a local takeover of United, over an outside group gaining control at Plainmoor".

25 May 2015


Phil Taylor advises that in their international friendly, "Despite taking the lead twice, Alty Ladies were ultimately defeated 5-2 by the Isle of Man representative side on Saturday. The Alty goals were scored by Megan Pickering and Elina Parker. To give a little context, the Isle of Man Ladies train three times per week and three of their players are registered with WSL clubs". Phil will kindly be providing a match report in the near future.
23 May 2015


Courtesy of Terry Rowley, the profiles of five more Altrincham "legends" have been added to the website. These have previously appeared in the Robins' Review. The players in question are Walter BALDWIN, Pat CONNELLY, John CLACHER, Albert BARNETT and Ralph "Eddie" CHESTERS and they can be found here. As usual they provide a fascinating insight into Alty's past; one of the five even came down from Scotland by motorbike to play for Altrincham!


The FA reports that "Aidy Boothroyd has named his England Under-20s squad that will travel to the Toulon Festival in France... The 20-man squad... includes Liverpool’s Jordon Ibe and Manchester United striker James Wilson. The Young Lions will compete in Group B of the 43rd annual competition in the south of France, alongside China, Ivory Coast, Mexico and Morocco, so will play a minimum of four more games at the competition.

Players born on or after 1 January 1993 are eligible. And with Costa Rica, France, Netherlands, Qatar and USA making up Group A, there is the potential of a fifth match with a third-place play-off and final taking place to complete the tournament... Boothroyd was able to select players born from 1 January 1993 for the trip too, as the competition’s age limit has been opened up further from its traditional U20 format in order to accommodate national squads in their preparation for the 2016 Olympic Games.

  • Goalkeepers: Christian Walton (Brighton), Jordan Pickford (Sunderland)
  • Defenders: Dominic Iorfa (Wolves), Moses Odubajo (Brentford), Baily Cargill (AFC Bournemouth), Kortney Hause (Wolves), Isaac Hayden (Arsenal)
  • Midfielders: Harrison Reed (Southampton), Jack Stephens (Swindon Town, on loan from Southampton), Jamie Hanson (Derby County), Lewis Baker (Chelsea), Matty Grimes (Swansea), Jordon Ibe (Liverpool), Duncan Watmore (Sunderland), John Swift (Swindon Town, on loan from Chelsea)
  • Forwards: Demarai Gray (Birmingham), James Wilson (Manchester United), Callum Robinson (Aston Villa), Chuba Akpom (Arsenal), Rolando Aarons (Newcastle)


According to the BBC, "Midfielder Joe Clarke has left Wrexham by mutual consent after four years with the Conference club... The 26-year-old's departure follows talks with new boss Gary Mills.

'We came to the conclusion that, with other clubs starting to fill up their squads for next season, it's best if I started looking at what was available elsewhere', said Clarke. 'Naturally I'm disappointed not to be part of a squad that I'm sure will have a successful season for Wrexham next year,but this happens in football and I understand that'".

Elsewhere, "Welling United have signed Tashan Adeyinka on a one-year contract, while Zach Fagan has agreed new terms with the Conference club. Forward Adeyinka, 23, joined the Wings on a short-term deal from Maidenhead in March and scored one goal in three league appearances. Centre-back Fagan, 20, featured 33 times as the Wings avoided relegation on the final day of the season".

According to the Football Conference, "Danny Cowley, the new manager of Braintree Town, has continued his pre-season squad building with four players signing contracts for next season. Re-signing for 2015/16 are skipper Kenny Davis together with strikers Jordan Cox and Sean Marks.

Cowley has also signed striker Michael Cheek from Chelmsford City, where the 23-year old made sixty-six appearances and scored 32 goals for the Conference South side, having previously played for neighbours Heybridge Swifts".

Meanwhile, Tranmere Rovers report that "Midfielder Jay Harris has agreed to join Tranmere Rovers on a one-year deal, subject to a medical. The 28-year old has been a regular in the heart of the Wrexham midfield for the last five years, making 197 appearances and scoring 18 goals... He began his career with Everton... before moving on play in the Football League with both Accrington Stanley and Chester City...

Manager Gary Brabin said, 'I’m really pleased to be able to bring Jay to the club. He is a player I have tried to sign in the past, so I know a lot about him. He is a local lad who has arguably been one of the best midfielders in the Conference in recent years. He has shown great hunger and desire to come to Tranmere, kick on in his career and be a part of what we’re doing at the Club'".

At Guiseley "With eleven weeks until the start of the 2015-16 season, Mark Bower has already begun the task of assembling a squad for our debut campaign in the Vanarama National League. Today we asked the manager for a statement on the current news of who may be staying and going from the promotion-winning squad.

'Andy Holdsworth has left the club to take up a full time role in Barnsley’s Academy... Oli Johnson, Jake Lawlor and Liam Dickinson are under contract for next season. Danny Lowe, Ryan Toulson, Danny Hall and Adam Boyes have all agreed deals so far. Offers have been made to Steven Drench, Danny Ellis, Ben Parker, Gavin Rothery, Wayne Brooksby and Nicky Boshell, which they’re currently considering. I’ve also invited Jack Stockdill and Jordan Hendrie back for pre-season.

Steve Dickinson has been offered a new role as our goalkeeping coach, and will remain registered as a player too. Alex Johnson and Kyle Harrison have also departed and again we thank them for their efforts and wish them good luck. The Management Team have held talks with various potential signings in the search for quality players to improve the squad from last season and we’ll be meeting more in the coming days and weeks'".

Boreham Wood "are delighted to announce that the majority of our loyal and successful squad that won the Conference South promotion final, have once again signed contracts to remain with the club...

James Russell, Ben Nunn, Callum Reynolds, Josh Hill, Ricky Shakes, Graeme Montgomery, Sam Cox, Scott Thomas and Matty Whichelow will, it's hoped' continue both theirs and the club's progress... The good news continues, as the Woods management team of Ian Allinson, Luke Garrard, Mario Noto and James Courtnage are also all on board and with the club's clinical lead, Megan Reid, and her assistant Kate Simmons also signing up, it's clear that the whole club is totally committed to next season's National League challenge..

Chairman Danny Hunter said “'winning the promotion final was an amazing experience for us all but that triumph must be the catalyst for us to look to the future and not be the reason why we rest on our laurels and become lazy or complacent. To be one-season-wonders, after 67 years of trying to get there, would be nothing but abject failure. I cannot emphasise enough that we are going into a predominantly full-time National league with a predominantly part-time squad. I know the pundits will write us off as relegation fodder but we are more than used to that'.

Hunter continued, 'We have looked to nail down the majority of our present squad but we’ll supplement that with five or six experienced quality signings from the National League. We don’t want big time Charlies, we don’t want journeymen, we want hungry, talented players with good characters, to supplement our squad and our team spirit and, in truth, the phone has not stopped. I’m so thankful that not one of our players or management team has been remotely greedy with me in their contract negotiations. The loyalty, camaraderie and friendships that have been so pivotal, and so carefully built, over the last 4 or 5 seasons, [are] still, I’m glad to say, alive and kicking and, in truth, that has really helped the signing process.

We know we have a monumental task in front of us to stay up but that’s a challenge we’ll all relish. Our support and Town were simply incredible in the promotion final and if we can build on that support, then further progress both on and off the field is at the very least possible. I can’t thank the Town enough for its support and it seems the early bird season ticket offer has been well received and broken all pre purchased season ticket records already and were still in May. We want to give the Town a national club, playing national football and these initial signings mean that we’ll be competitive but it’s just the start', Hunter concluded."


The next update of this website will be on Monday...
22 May 2015


Phil Taylor has kindly provided a match report on the Ladies' midweek win over Egerton, which secured second place in the league table to underline another successful season. The report is here and an image from the game is shown above.


The Sale & Altrincham Messenger reports that "Altrincham Under-14s girls beat Wythenshawe 3-1 in the Division A league cup final last week. Wythenshawe took the lead after five minutes and dominated possession for most of the first half. But the U14s got back into it when Maddy McKay scored an equaliser just before the break. Maddy Moryusseff put Altrincham ahead in the 50th minute and she doubled her tally with 18 minutes left on the clock.

Moryusseff won the Girl of the Match award. Meanwhile, the u14s are currently top of the South Manchester U15s' League with only Wythenshawe able to beat them, with two games in hand. On the same day, the U15s defeated Bury 1-0 in the Division B final. "


The Football Conference says that "Martin Drury, the new manager of Bradford Park Avenue, has made his first signing with striker James Walshaw joining from neighbours and league rivals Harrogate Town... Before scoring 12 goals in twenty-six starts last season for Harrogate, he helped Altrincham to promotion with an incredible 29 league goals.

The 31-year-old is probably best known, however, for his time at Guiseley AFC. He moved to Nethermoor in 2008, and in three years scored 67 goals in 114 games, winning the Northern Premier League and the Northern Premier League Cup along the way. In one Conference North season he bagged 32 league goals, earning himself a move away.

Walshaw’s career began at Ossett Town where he started as he meant to go on; scoring goals. He quickly earned himself a move to then Conference North side Farsley Celtic, where he scored 8 goals in sixteen appearances before they were liquidated and he left for Guiseley.

Following his impressive spell at Guiseley, the 6`2” striker joined Darlington but, again, financial troubles stood in his way and he found himself loaned out to FC Halifax Town. The Shaymen tried to sign him permanently after a productive loan spell but the forward opted to rejoin Guiseley, where he scored 10 times as they reached the Conference North play-offs. Guiseley didn’t offer him a new deal and he left then for Altrincham where he scored 32 times in all competitions and beat his old side in the play-off final to secure promotion to the Conference.

Harrogate snapped him up and, despite it not all going to plan, Walshaw still finished as the club’s top scorer with his commendable tally of 12... He becomes Avenue’s first signing of the summer and is a real statement of intent from the new management team of Drury and Jamie Price, who got in early to seal the signature of a very sought-after player."


According to the Football Conference, "Kidderminster Harriers have wrapped up a deal to secure the services of in-form goal-getter Gurjit Singh for the 2015/16 season after his brief spell at Aggborough at the back end of last term. The 24-year-old has agreed a deal for the upcoming campaign having trained with the club for the final months of 2014/15, while continuing to play his football at Midland League outfit Tipton Town.

Singh actually started that season with West Midlands (Regional) Leaguers Smethwick Rangers and, after rifling in 20 goals for them in the first half of the campaign, he moved to Tipton where he continued to find the back of the net. Thirteen goals in fourteen games to finish things off ensured the player ended the campaign in red hot form... Said Harriers'` manager Gary Whild, 'He's another one who is a very exciting prospect and if he's able to catch the drift of full-time football, which isn't always easy, he's going to be one to really keep an eye on'...

Harriers have also agreed a deal to sign former Aggborough youth team player Jordon Jones on a contract for the new season. The versatile youngster, who can play anywhere along the right-hand side, has just rounded off a hugely impressive season with Evo-Stik League Southern Premier Division neighbours Redditch United."

From NL Daily we learn that "Defender Ritchie Sutton has today agreed to join Tranmere Rovers on a two-year deal. The 29-year old has spent the last four years with Mansfield Town... He made 38 appearances for the Stags in League Two last season and picked up a number of supporters’ clubs Player of the Season awards.

He began his career with Crewe Alexandra and has also had a spell with Port Vale... Manager Gary Brabin said, 'He’s a no-nonsense type of defender who takes pride in keeping clean sheets. He’s an honest lad, who defends first and foremost'".

At Eastleigh, "Manager Richard Hill has concluded deals with three more players of the existing squad... Nineteen year-old goalkeeper Lewis Noice, who is a product of the Eastleigh F C youth system, has signed a further one-year deal. Having spent the latter end of last season on loan at Hellenic League side Abingdon United. Lewis has seven appearances to his name though he has only made one league appearance for Eastleigh so far.

The versatile Will Evans has also penned a new one year deal. Will spent most of last season as a full back or central defender will be commencing his third campaign at The Silverlake Stadium and has so far appeared 78 times and scored two goals.

The third, latest signature is that of Jai Reason following an impressive season... Jai originally signed in May 2012 from Braintree Town and has been leading goalscorer for two out of the three seasons whilst at Eastleigh. Up to the end

Still in the same county, Get Hampshire tells us that "New boss Barry Smith is ready to make loan stars Jim Stevenson and Sean McGinty his two first signings at Aldershot Town, as he says goodbye to the playing staff’s longest-serving member.

The Scot says he is 'very close' to adding midfielder Stevenson and defender McGinty to his evolving squad after both became instant hits with the Shots' faithful during loan spells in the second half of last season... after the club said farewell to first-team coach Matt Gray on Monday after four years at the club.

Since arriving from Eastleigh in June 2011, Gray, 33, [has] worked under both Dean Holdsworth and Andy Scott before becoming assistant to caretaker boss Barker in January. Smith, though, insists the parting of ways was amicable, saying, 'I sat down with Matt and we mutually agreed that it was in the best interests for both himself and the club to leave. We both understood where each other were coming from. Both Chris and myself are very hands-on coaches and we are looking forward to working with our new squad from July 1'...

Smith has also revealed he has had “'positive talks' with both goalkeeper Phil Smith and winger Tristan Plummer, while contract offers made to Brett Williams, Sam Hatton, Damon Lathrope and Dan Thomas are still awaiting reply. 'The contracts have been offered but, if they decide they’ll hang on and I then sign somebody else, then that contract will be off the table,' Smith confirmed. 'We’re being fair to them, by giving them time to think about it, but we’re not going to hang about and wait, and end up signing players at the very last minute. I want to try to get a settled squad as soon as possible.'

On Stevenson and McGinty, newly-released by Luton and Rochdale respectively, he added... 'I’m quite confident they will be at the club next season'”.

From the Principality, Wrexham report that "Wrexham boss Gary Mills has captured the signatures of two more players... first in [as reported yesterday] was former York City and Macclesfield Town winger Adriano Moke... Adriano took in his new surrounding and remarked, 'I can’t believe this is happening and I’ll just buzzing to be joining Wrexham. I told my brother I was coming here and he couldn’t believe it either. I’ve played for the gaffer before, I know what he wants and I know that he will be successful here.'

Then Dominic Vose... the former Fulham and West Ham United youth player [signed], had a short spell with Totting and Mitcham before joining Colchester United. From there it was a switch to Welling United earlier this season."

At Lincoln City, we learn that "John Schofield has today been appointed as York City's new assistant manager. Schofield had been at Sincil Bank in a voluntary coaching capacity since the turn of the year and returns to the Football League as number two to Russ Wilcox... Schofield has been player, head of youth, first team coach and manager with the Imps over the year...

'Whilst I would have loved to have stayed at Sincil Bank, the chance of a full-time role in the Football League was too much for me to turn down'" said Schofield.

In the Wharfedale Observer we learn that "Guiseley boss Mark Bower is aiming to keep the bulk of his squad together as he waits to hear back from a number of his promotion-winning players...

The Lions will remain a part-time operation and face a stern task to compete with the likes of Tranmere Rovers... The Lions' manager said, 'We’re looking to keep the majority of players. Given that we’ve gone up, it’s a bit of a different ask in terms of commitment in time and the extra travel involved. It might not suit one or two of the players we’ve got, so we’ve been talking to them this week and seeing what solutions we can come to.

But I’ve made offers to players and they are considering those, so we’re just finalising that at the moment. We’re a fortnight behind everyone else because our season went on two weeks longer because of reaching the play-off final. There is lots of stuff going on and it has been manic behind the scenes'...

Bower is also seeking to add to his backroom staff... He added, [former Alty man] 'Danny Boshell is my assistant and, obviously, a player as well, so we will be looking to keep him for next season and Martin Stringfellow as well. What we are looking to do is probably just increase the numbers in the coaching staff, with a goalkeeping coach and possibly someone else as well. We don’t have too many people sat on the bench with my assistant being on the pitch, so we are looking to strengthen in that area'".

At another promoted club, Bromley report that "Manager Mark Goldberg today confirmed the signings of Lee Minshull and Max Porter. The pair arrive from League Two side Newport County".

21 May 2015


Altrincham FC confirms that midfielder Greg Wilkinson (right) has been released. The Club thanks Greg for his services and, not least, the all-important goal which secured play-off victory and promotion back to the national level of the Conference in 2014.

In 2014-15 Greg made only one start and 10 substitute appearances for Altrincham and then went on loan to Stockport County.


The Football Conference tells us that "Curzon Ashton have made two early new signings. [Former Alty Youth captain] Alex Frost has left Ramsbottom United to move to the Tameside Stadium. A reliable right-back who can also cover at centre-half, he became a firm favourite in five seasons at Ashton United where he made over 200 appearances. He was on the books of Rochdale and Burnley as a youth and served Altrincham, Rossendale United, Team Bath and Cirencester Town on loan before joining Ashton".


The Football Conference says that "Lincoln City have announced the signing of experienced striker Liam Hearn on an initial one-year contract. Hearn, 29, began his career in the Central Midlands League with Santos FC before becoming a regular goalscorer for Hucknall Town. Moving on to Eastwood Town, Chasetown and Quorn, Hearn blasted in a staggering 67 goals for Bulwell outfit Scots Grey in 2007/08, prompting interest from Alfreton Town boss Nicky Law who took him to the Impact Arena in 2008.

After netting 40 goals in his first two seasons with Alfreton, plus earning a cap for England C, his impressive tally of 31 from thirty-eight appearances in all competitions during 2010/11 saw him secure a move to Grimsby Town. His form in front of goal continued during his first campaign at Blundell Park, with the Nottingham-born striker racking up 25 goals in all competitions by January before finishing the season with 29 goals in fifty-one appearances, scooping the Mariners' supporters' player of the year award in the process.

Injuries have since plagued Hearn with a ruptured Achilles in August 2012 and cruciate ligament damage during a match against Barnet in November 2013 restricting him to just twenty-three games during the following two seasons. He left Grimsby by mutual consent in March 2014 before linking up with Mansfield Town following a successful trial at Field Mill... Hearn suffered another injury... ruling him out of action until March.

'Liam is a quality player and he's a quality signing,' said manager Chris Moyses. 'Yes, he's had a few injury problems in recent times but these are behind him now... He comes with a clean bill of health as shown with the offer of a new contract at Mansfield but he's turned that down to join us. For me to be able to bring him to Sincil Bank is a real coup for the Football Club'".

The Conference adds that "Following the earlier signing of Sean Newton from rivals Lincoln City, new Wrexham manager Gary Mills has brought in Javan Vidal after a season spent at Tamworth under former Dragons' boss Andy Morrell. The 26-year-old attacking full-back was a former England under-19 and under-20 international, who started his career at Manchester City... He did play once for the Blues, in the Worthington Cup... but had to make do with loan spell at Grimsby Town, Aberdeen, Derby County and Chesterfield to gain first-team experience.

Released by City in 2012, he a short spell with Greek club Panetolikos but returned home to sign for Stockport County and Rochdale. Last summer he joined Tamworth...

Also, Mills has confirmed the release of striker Andy Bishop.. He signed a two-year deal in the summer of 2013. In around 100 appearances, he scored just over 25 goals".

Meanwhile, "Paul Hurst, manager of Grimsby Town, met with his players throughout today and told them whether or not they would be in his plans for next season. Hurst has released eight players and offered terms to twelve, while four other are already contracted for 2015/16.

Caine Winfarrah, Paul Walker, Ellis Humble, Nick Draper, Ross Hannah, Pat McLaughlin, Paul Bignot and Hamish Watson have all been released. Players offered terms are Shaun Pearson, Jack Mackreth, Lenell John Lewis, Carl Magnay, Jon Paul Pittman, Nathan Arnold, Scott Brown, Craig Clay, Gregor Robertson, Craig Disley, Josh Gowling and Toto Nsiala. Players currently under contract are goalkeeper James McKeown, Josh Sunter, Callum Bastock and Josh Venney.

Hurst is yet to speak to Christian Jolley".

Later news on this comes from Grimsby Town to the effect that "Paul Hurst has now spoken to Christan Jolley and the Town boss has confirmed that the forward will not be returning to the club next season. Jolley joined Town in January and he was hoping to reproduce the form that saw him become one of the Conference’s most lethal players earlier in his career".

We learn from the Daily Post that "Adriano Moke has signed for Wrexham FC after turning down a new deal at Macclesfield Town. The 25-year-old winger was snapped up by manager Gary Mills despite having been offered new terms [by] Silkmen manager John Askey.

He made 31 appearances and scored three goals last season... He has previously played under Mills at York City and also spent a year at Cambridge... Moke said, 'Looking forward to working forward to my old gaffer, big things to happen'”.

And Boreham Wood tell us that they "are absolutely delighted to announce that our young talismanic striker Lee Angol, Who it must be remembered was unearthed by our manager Ian Allinson after watching him play in a Wycombe Wanderers development squad, has now won the very prestigious, Non-League Paper’s Young Player of the Year award..

20 year-old Angol spent the latter part of last season on loan with us here at ‘the Wood’. Lee was then released by Wycombe at the conclusion of the 2013/14 season but wasn’t a free agent for long, as Boreham Wood Chairman Danny Hunter moved quickly to agree a deal with Lee and Luton Town's manager John Still regarding the talented striker's signature.

Wood manager Ian Allinson always believed that Lee could be the difference between a good season and a great season and how right he was. That piece of business and the subsequent signing of his partner in crime and best friend Junior Morais was, according to our gaffer, 'The jigsaw piece that was pivotal to the historic season we’ve had in gaining promotion to the Conference National League'.

For the record, Lee Angol netted 24 league goals in 39 league games and another 6 goals in all cup competitions. However, to then follow that up with two further goals in the play-offs, including the opener in the promotion final, simply made it a season never to forget".

20 May 2015


Richie Bentley, Altrincham FC's official caterer informs us that "There was a hugely successful Alty Juniors' football festival on Sunday with almost a thousand people descending on the ground for a feast of football and catering from myself, Dawn and Simon.

It was a fantastic event, organised by Graham Houghton and Stuart Buchan, and the rest of the Junior set up. The event defied the weather warning and stayed clear all day and there were also some superb performances from our Altrincham junior sides".


The Football Conference says that "The President of the Football Conference, Bill King, has decided to retire at the end of the season. Bill, who was chairman of the Conference for 17 years, became President in 2007. He originally joined the competition when chairman of Runcorn and he later served as chairman of Altrincham. In a long football career Bill, who is a current Life Member, has been a stalwart of the game at our level and we wish him well in his retirement".


Promoted Bromley report that "Manager Mark Goldberg is delighted to confirm that the following players are contracted ahead of the forthcoming season:

Adam Birchall, Alan Julian, Ali Fuseini, Anthony Cook, Ben May, Jack Holland, Jamie Slabber, Joe Anderson, Louis Dennis, Moses Ademola, Pierre Joseph-Dubois, Reece Prestedge, Rob Swaine, Ugo Udoji

Talks are on going with members of last season's squad along with some exciting new additions and an update will be provided next Tuesday."

According to the Football Conference, "Aldershot Town first-team coach Matt Gray has left the club by mutual consent at the end of his contract. The 33-year-old, who joined the club from Eastleigh in June 2011, served under both Dean Holdsworth and Andy Scott before becoming assistant to caretaker-manager Chris Barker in January 2015.

Manager Barry Smith said of the former Arsenal, Tottenham Hotspur and Hayes player, 'I would like to thank Matt for his work, not just in my first few weeks in the job but in his four seasons with Aldershot Town. Both Chris and myself are very hands-on coaches and we are looking forward to working with our new squad from July 1st'”.

Elsewhere, "Forward Kieron St Aimie has penned a new deal to stay with Welling United for the coming season. The well-travelled former Queens Park Rangers player signed for the Wings in June 2014 after being with Chelmsford City the previous season.

He has also had spells of varying lengths with Barnet, Thurrock, Hitchin Town, Maidenhead United, Lewes, AFC Hornchurch, Kettering Town, Tamworth, AFC Telford United and Whitehawk".

The Halifax Courier says that "Blyth Spartans have confirmed that striker Dan Maguire is in talks with FC Halifax Town but are unhappy with the way the possible transfer has been handled.

The 22-year-old forward scored twice in Blyth’s 4-1 win over Altrincham in this season’s FA Cup and has 65 goals in 132 games for the club, including 31 in 56 games last season. Maguire was named Blyth Supporters’ Club Player of the Season in 2013, 2014 and 2015, won the Players’ Player of the Year in 2013 and has been the club’s leading scorer in the past two seasons.

He also played for the England C side last year and was named in last year’s EvoStik Northern Premier Division Team of the Year.

A statement on the Blyth Spartans website said, 'The club can confirm that striker Dan Maguire is in talks with Vanarama Conference club FC Halifax Town. The club would like to go on record to express our displeasure at the way the potential move has been handled and will be making no further comment other than to confirm whether the transfer goes through or not'".

In Devon, "Talks with a prospective new owner of Torquay United have now broken down. Managing director Bill Phillips explains, 'While this news came as a set-back, this is not time for doom and gloom as talks with other interested parties have already re-opened, including a lengthy meeting at the Launa Windows Stadium over the weekend.

The incredible generosity of Thea Bristow has left Torquay United in a healthy position for new people to move this club forward and the hard work of finding fresh investment is well under way. We would also like to take this opportunity to thank an anonymous donation from a Torquay United supporter. While we are unable to name the person involved, we are extremely grateful for the generosity.

As a Football Conference club, we have so much in our favour, starting with a fantastic stadium to rival almost every other club at this level, as well as the construction of a new link road to the town making a visit to Torquay more comfortable than ever.

Above all else, we have a superbly loyal, committed and passionate fanbase, who continue to show wonderful support to the team through what has been a difficult couple of seasons. Just to see the amazing numbers that travel the length of the country to follow the Gulls gives everyone great heart.

We owe it to these supporters and the staff at the football club to do everything possible to find the right person or group to take us to the next stage.

It has been a time of painful uncertainty for everyone connected to Torquay United and the criticism of poor communication has been levelled at the club. This is something we accept and apologise for, although there have been circumstances beyond our control in certain situations.

Many of you will have seen media reports and quotes over the last fortnight suggesting the unveiling of new owners was imminent. While this was true at the time, the fragile nature of such negotiations dictated our reluctance to publish such reports until the deal was signed and sealed.

It has now transpired that the predictions of imminent success were misguided but Torquay United must also concede, as we move forward to the next step in negotiations, that regular updates from the club are what our supporters expect, but in all such discussions, there has to be a degree of confidentiality.

Now that this initial ownership bid has broken down, we move on to the other groups on a healthy list of interested parties, but there is also still room for fresh bidders to enter the fray, and we invite people to contact the club if they fit into this category.

In the meantime, the remaining Board members must get back to the business of preparing a football club for the new season and that means finally getting our season-tickets on sale, and securing a full schedule for the pre-season campaign.

Despite all that is happening in the background, manager Chris Hargreaves and his coaching staff have been working extremely hard over the last few weeks, identifying targets, talking to players and agents, with the sole focus of building a competitive squad for the new season'".

Also, "Torquay United`s young goalkeeper Daniel Lavercombe is spending a week on trial with Liverpool.

'We're not talking about a permanent move for Dan, at least not yet,' said Torquay manager manager Chris Hargreaves. 'Liverpool have had him watched and like him, and they have asked us if they can have a closer look at him. It's a win-win situation for us; the worst that can happen is that Dan gets more good experience, a bit of Liverpool rubs off on him and he comes back to us the better for it.'

News of a former Torquay player comes from NL Pitchero, which tells us that "Chris Todd has been named as the man to take the role of assistant-manager to Richard Hill at Eastleigh for next season. Todd had the role of coach added to his belt last season and now takes the role vacated by the Craig McAllister.

Having originally joined the club in January 2013 from Forest Green Rovers, Todd will be putting his wealth of experience with learned during his playing career with Swansea City, Drogheda United, Exeter City, Torquay United, Salisbury City, Hereford United and Newport County into this new role.

Meanwhile, following the earlier arrival of Josh Payne from league rivals Woking, Eastleigh have announced that three players have pledged their futures to the Spitfires. Ben Strevens and Yemi Odubade have both signed deals for the 2015/16 season, whilst Michael Green has signed a two-year deal".

The BBC tells us that "Sunderland striker Danny Graham has donated £2,690 to help fund an operation that could save the career of a non-league footballer.

Gateshead midfielder JJ O'Donnell, 23, is suffering from Sesamoiditis, a condition which causes inflammation in the bones under his toes. After an online appeal he has reached the £7,000 needed for surgery which could help him resume his career...

O'Donnell, who has never met Graham, tweeted, 'Three weeks ago I was totally lost and hopeless. I'll forever be in great debt and appreciate every single penny. I'm not singling Danny out as, without everybody, I'd not have reached my target, but a donation like that has left me speechless.

Premier League players take a lot of stick about being role models but this shows just how much of a role model someone can be."

From Chronicle Live comes news that "Gateshead chairman Graham Wood and chief executive Brian Waites will hold crucial talks this week with potential new owners or investors from as far afield as America and France.

Wealthy businessmen from Texas and the south of France will fly in especially to discuss taking control of debt-free Conference Premier outfit Gateshead. There are also two local parties also involved and another from Norfolk, the important talks taking place on Tyneside on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday.

Wood said, 'There are five interested parties and it is very promising. Negotiations have taken place by telephone and these will continue in person this week. It is gratifying after all the time, effort and money I have put into Gateshead over the last nine years that there is such high calibre interest in taking over the club.

There has been local, national and international interest and it shows the goodwill we haver built up, and the standing of the club, that people are willing to fly in from other countries for talks. By next week they will have all the information they need. They can see the potential at the club, that we were close to getting back into the Football League, and can see a return on their investment.

We are at different stages with the five potential owners or investors, and the three days set aside for talks will enable us to move forward. When it is such a big decision it is not good to put time pressure on people, but with a new manager to be installed hopefully the sale of the club will go through before too long'...

Wood has put over £3 million into his hometown club and a budget of around £500,000-£600,000 will be required to mount another promotion push. Whoever takes over will have a head start in their first year as up to half of those costs should come from the sale of Marcus Maddison to Peterborough last season.

The Heed have already received £175,000 for the flying winger with another £125,000 guaranteed as part of the initial £250,000 deal. Another £50,000 will be heading to Tyneside when Maddison plays another ten games for the Posh, and another £50,000 on top of that when he plays a further 20 games.

With a strong commercial arm at Gateshead and sizeable sponsorship deals with Gateshead-based duo, Intu Metro Centre and Sevcon, Wood believes the club is an attractive proposition. 'The potential is certainly there for Gateshead to kick on,' insisted Wood.

'And if whoever takes over gets the club back into the Football League that will be worth another million... Ideally the situation will come to a satisfactory solution, with enough backing to maintain professional status, which is the aim, and then a new manager can be appointed, hopefully with a promotion budget'".

In Birkenhead, Tranmere Rovers confirm that "Midfielder Steven Jennings has agreed a new one year contract... The 30-year old returned to Prenton Park last October for his third spell at the Club...

Jennings started his career in the youth system at Rovers and spent six seasons in the first team squad before joining Motherwell... After a spell at Coventry City, Jennings returned to Rovers in 2013-14... He signed for Port Vale last summer before again rejoining the Club.

Steven said 'I want to help Tranmere get back in the league'",

Macclesfield Town say that "After the line-up for the 2015/16 Vanarama National League was confirmed following the promotional final win for Bristol Rovers at Wembley, Macclesfield Town can confirm that the fixtures for the new season will be released on July 1st.

Silkmen fans will be looking out for the derby games against Altrincham, as well as local games against Tranmere Rovers, Chester and Wrexham.

Macclesfield will also probably be hoping for some nice fixtures over Christmas, after facing Grimsby twice over the festive season last term, as well as making the trip to eventual promotion winners Bristol Rovers".

19 May 2015


Whilst Tranmere Rovers have worked out they will have more miles to cover in the National League next season than they did in fulfilling their fixtures in League Two last season, for Altrincham the new season brings a reduction of almost 500 miles in round-trip mileage to their 23 away games in 2015-16.

In 2014-15 Alty covered 6,260 miles all-told in the league; next season will see them travel 5,768 miles, a reduction of 492 miles. Dover remains our longest trip, 544 miles there and back, with the 35 mile round trip to Macclesfield being the shortest.


John Edwards, Altrincham FC joint Press and Media Officer, writes that "Lee Sinnott and his Altrincham players may be taking a well-earned break, after safeguarding their place in the Vanarama Conference, but there is no rest for the club's Ladies' squad, as they prepare to step on to the international stage this weekend.

Keith Edleston's side are cock-a-hoop at being selected as ideal opponents by the Isle of Man FA, as the Manx Ladies' team continue their build-up to next month's Island Games, a global tournament for small islands held every two years.

IoM bosses wrote to Edleston, asking whether he could pencil in a friendly ahead of the latest Games in Jersey, and the Alty Ladies manager was only too happy to oblige.

Fresh from a 3-1 win over Runcorn Linnets Ladies, Alty will take on their Isle of Man counterparts at Clay Lane in Timperley this Saturday, kick-off 3pm.

They are relishing the challenge, too, according to Edleston, who said, 'It's a massive honour for our team, and a coup for the club in general, to be asked to play in such a prestigious game. It has been a terrific season, full of great performances and excellent football, and we couldn't have wished for a better way of marking it than playing against an international team. We are looking forward to it immensely and hoping as many supporters as possible get down to the ground to cheer us on. It should be a great day.'"


The Altrincham FC Youth team (under-18s and under-17s) presentation night will now take place on Saturday 23 May and not Friday 29 May as originally arranged. It will take place in the Community Sports Hall at 7pm.


The Non-League Paper confirms earlier reports that former Alty Youth defender Sam Grimshaw (right, in 2012-13 season), now at Glossop North End, is heading to the United States "after Manchester United invited him on tour. The 21 year-old left-sided player... has been trialling with Manchester United U-21s. And next month he's headed Stateside ... for a pre-season tour that includes games against Barcelona and Paris St-Germain".

NL Pitchero reports that "Tom Baker, the recently-appointed manager of Trafford, relegated from the Evo-Stik Northern Premier League Premier Division, has named Chris Denham as his assistant. Thirty-two-year-old Denham has previously played for Altrincham, Stalybridge Celtic, Radcliffe Borough, Droylsden and Ashton United.

Baker said, 'Deciding on my number two was a more difficult decision than anticipated. Chris is someone I have known for several years now and a friend outside of football. His energy, enthusiasm and drive mirrored my own, which led to my decision. Like me he is young and hungry to succeed and to be as successful as he was in his playing career. He's been a top player over the years and I have no doubt he will be no different as a number two. He's someone I trust and I know that will fit right in at the football club'".


We learn from the NW Evening Mail that "Alex-Ray Harvey is close to signing a new one-year Barrow AFC deal. The creative midfielder says he is happy with fresh terms verbally put to him by Barrow boss Darren Edmondson on Thursday night. Harvey also said he needs to iron out a few minor issues, such as discovering the proposed contract’s start and end dates...

The deal could even be sealed as early as next week, while it is understood Edmondson may soon fly out to Texas to hold talks with club owner Paul Casson. Harvey said, 'It’s a good offer for both sides... I’ve wanted to sign straight away, that was always in my mind and it looks like it could be done really soon.'

Sports science student Harvey initially joined AFC on loan from Burnley in early 2012. He made 32 league appearances during Barrow’s 2014/15 Conference North title-winning season... Harvey added, 'I’m over the moon. In recent years it’s always kind of been sorted out (his contract situation) at the last minute. So for it to happen three or four weeks after the season has finished, it’s good... I can now relax, enjoy my summer and know that I’ve got something to look forward when the new season starts'".

The Yorkshire Evening Post tells us that "Guiseley may still be basking in the glow of a history-making first-ever promotion to the Conference Premier but the clock is already ticking regarding staying there.

The Lions were afforded the sweetest moment in their 106-year history when they went up to the non-league’s top tier for the first time ever amid delirious scenes at Chorley on Saturday after a stunning 3-2 win... According to chairman Phil of Nethermoor are ‘embarrassing’ and in need of a major revamp. He has acknowledged that the club face a major race against time to make a whole raft of improvements to ensure Nethermoor, whose capacity is 3,000, can stage Conference football beyond 2015-16.

Nethermoor has a B grade to stage Conference North football and following their promotion, they have been accepted into the Conference Premier. But by March 31, 2016, Guiseley must fulfil membership criteria for the Conference Premier and achieve an A grade status, when their capacity is likely to have to be extended to 4,000. To attain that in the space of under a year, Guiseley have a mountain of work to do, with their plans hinging on receiving planning permission from Leeds City Council.

Last October, the club submitted an application for a new two-storey clubhouse/community building with seats, new changing rooms and three new covered terraces and a new turnstile and toilets. All are vital to drag Nethermoor into the 21st Century, according to Rogerson, with he and the club desperate for the green light to kick-start their redevelopment.

He said, 'We have got a lot to do in trying to get the ground in order and we are up against a March deadline to get the improvements made, so we stay there. The pressure is on, in all sorts of directions. It is not just the community building plans; we need to get the ground improvements right. The portable cabins are leaking badly and we need to replace them and need to be seen as the semi-professional club we are. We have a few cabins and share a cricket club. The concept of having Grimsby or Bristol Rovers and Tranmere there is quite embarrassing.

There are areas of the ground that have not changed since the Yorkshire League days. They can be addressed if we have planning permission for everything and that is part of our masterplan. We would have to get an A grade by March 31. That is less than a year away and we haven’t got planning permission yet. So it’s not going to be easy and we are going to have to get new toilets in, increase the capacity and get another turnstile in as a minimum if we want to have a ground that the city, district and the county can be proud of.

There’s segregation issues and all the rest of the stuff that has to be done. People won’t come and watch if they just stand in the rain...'

He added, 'I am hoping we can get a panel decision in June or July.” There are grants available if we get planning permission. But you can’t apply for grants until you have them. We believe we have backers in terms of current directors who will make a sizeable contribution to it and what we want to do is also make the club sustainable. The concept of using a ground like ours for just 25 days a year is just ridiculous. It has got to be used by the community also for community activities. We really want to do these things and it is not just a ploy to gain planning permission. It is something that needs to be done for the district and Aireborough".

NL Daily says that "Grimsby Town boss Paul Hurst pledged to do all he can to keep his heart-broken squad together as they face up to their sixth season out of the Football League... A visibly emotional Hurst spoke of his pride of his players' efforts and, with uncertainty over some out-of-contract stars, spoke of his desire to keep the majority of his squad intact.

Speaking afterwards, he said, 'In the dressing room afterwards, there were a few tears and one or two who were obviously distraught. That, after 49 games, was an extremely cruel way to lose. I spoke with the players and told them how proud I am of their efforts this season, and that's not just the lads who took the field yesterday, that includes everyone, including those who haven't kicked a ball.

Had we had that squad all season, we might have won the league, some other clubs will say the same, but the truth of the matter is that we probably couldn't afford that squad for the full season. You have to work within your means. I'm not going to sit here and blame the budget, but it is nowhere near where people expect because of our history and attendances. We're still a non-league club and that's the bottom line today.

I think the players have proved what they're capable of over a long period of time. We can try to keep the squad together as much as possible, but one or two will move on to pastures new. There were some performances yesterday that lazy scouts will have picked up on and will do more digging on them. We can only do what we can, but I would certainly like to keep the majority of the squad together'".

More comes from the Grimsby Telegraph which reports that "Carl Magnay says it's 'imperative' that Grimsby Town keep together their band of brothers after yesterday's Conference Play-Off final disappointment. Magnay is himself one of a number of players who are now out of contract...

'It is vital we try and keep this squad together,' he told the Telegraph. 'It's good that people have picked up on the good team spirit and squad morale over recent months. I feel that we as a squad are so close. We've got a chat group on our phones of the whole squad and we always throw banter at each other on it. We've become closer as a unit so that has to be imperative over the summer; the number one priority has to be keeping the nucleus of this squad together going into next season but we will get results, guaranteed'...

He continued, 'I didn't expect our fans to be out-sung today [at Wembley] and they weren't. We as Grimsby footballers are spoilt rotten because we have an amazing following. I think at this level of football, to have the support we have is incredible. It didn't surprise me yesterday that even when they were outnumbered two to one, they were superb. It's not a biased view, but out on the pitch all we would hear was "Grimsby Town". The vocal backing made us want to run those extra yards and fly into those challenges. I'm just so sorry we couldn't do it for them.

I genuinely thought right until the last minute that we would do it. I didn't want the final whistle because I felt we were going to score and that something was going to happen'".

From the Halifax Courier we learn that "FC Halifax Town striker Richard Peniket has undergone surgery on his knee injury. The forward, who scored 12 goals in 41 games last season, injured his anterior cruciate ligament during Town’s 0-0 draw at Altrincham in March. Peniket was operated on at the Yorkshire Clinic by surgeon Steve Bollen, who has previously worked with Paul Gascoigne and Michael Owen. It is hoped Peniket will be fit in seven or eight months."

The Lincolnshire Echo reports that "The Lincoln City retained list probably told us more than we realised when it was announced. Aside from the debatable decision not to offer Ben Tomlinson, the team's top scorer,a contract, it was the sheer number of players shown the door that stood out.

The manager, Chris Moyses, has pulled together the starting point of his squad, but the jettisoning of a large number of players tells me he must have a few set to come in... Nobody would wipe the slate clean like that without having players already set to join... He said he knew where the strengths and weaknesses of the squad were and it seems that Tony Diagne and Jordan Burrow are in that latter category...

The departure of Tomlinson was, without doubt, the big talking point... Two seasons in a row he was top scorer and Moyses has decided there will be no deal...

One player I know a few Imps fans will be hoping returns to Sincil Bank is Lee Beevers. The club tried to sign him on loan during January and he was released by Mansfield the other week".

Elsewhere, "Triumphant Boreham Wood boss Ian Allinson knows he will need to add experience to his squad for the National League but revealed preparations had yet to begin prior to Wood’s play-off final win" reports the Boreham Wood Times... "Allinson heads into the unknown having never managed higher than the Conference South previously. And it will be a similar scenario for much of his squad, with Ben Herd, Sam Cox and Ricky Shakes among a handful of players at the club who have played as high as the Football League previously.

'We are in a position where we know we can take our stance in the league and then see how it goes,' stated Allinson. 'We have always said if we go up we will have to take a look at it because it will be totally new to myself and a lot of the players here. We might have to look at bringing three of four players in with more experience but that will only happen over the next few weeks and months as we go into August...

If we were in the Conference South things would be different to the Conference. It is going to be a challenge for us but it is something I will relish, I know the chairman will relish and the players will relish it too'".

The same source adds that "Combative midfielder Sam Cox believes Boreham Wood will be able to hold their own in the Conference next season, especially if the club follow through on their plan of turning professional... He said, 'There is a lot of talent in this group and we have quite a few lads in the team already who have Football League experience. People like Matty Whichelow, Junior Morais and Lee Angol have all played at a higher level. So I believe, 100 per cent, that we can do well next season. It will be a challenge but I am in no doubt that we have enough...

The plan was for the club to turn professional if we were able to achieve promotion this season. That is what I want; I want to be playing professional football again. It has always been my aim. The chairman is taking everyone away for a few days to celebrate in Spain but when we get back I’ll sit down with the club and discuss my future'...

Cox, who started his career at Tottenham Hotspur and still does coaching work with the club, says he rarely gets nervous before matches but admits there were a few butterflies before Saturday’s contest....

'All season we believed we could win the title. From that very first pre-season game... Obviously we missed out on the title to Bromley by a couple of points, which was disappointing, but we’ve achieved what we wanted which was promotion.' Cox was once again named Boreham Wood’s Player of the Season; it is the third time in four years he has won the award. While impressing for Wood he has continued to work with Tottenham’s Academy and the Premier League club’s foundation.

The 24-year-old believes he will always have a place at Spurs even if Wood do turn professional this summer. He explained, 'Tottenham have always been great with me. I will always be at Tottenham in some fashion, even if it is doing coaching in the evenings. But my playing career has to come first and they understand that. I want to play professionally again and hopefully that will be with Boreham Wood next season in the Conference'".

We read in the Gloucestershire Echo that "Cheltenham Town chairman Paul Baker believes the feelgood factor is returning to the club despite relegation from the Football League...

Manager Gary Johnson's decision to commit himself to the club for two seasons was a huge fillip and he has already been busy in the transfer market, signing central defender Aaron Downes and midfielders Jack Munns and Kyle Storer on one-year deals.

The club have already sold more than 200 season tickets and Baker said, 'There's a good feeling at Whaddon Road and among supporters with the appointments of Gary Johnson and Russell Milton and already some exciting new players have committed to joining the club all keen to help Cheltenham bounce back at the first attempt. The feedback from fans is that you support your team, not the league it plays in.

We enjoyed some fantastic success and big attendances too in the Conference before, let's see if we can replicate that again. And behind the scenes a huge amount of work is going on to ensure we engage better with fans with forums, social events and an open day being planned in conjunction with The Trust.

We are also working at improving the match day experience with a major refurbishment of the social club, thanks to the 500 Club, and a general tidy up of the stadium. And with the help again of the 500 club we are investing in new equipment to improve the playing surface, reflecting Gary's desire to play attractive entertaining football next season.

There's a lot going on, we still need more volunteers to help the club during the week and on match days so if you would like to get involved please get in touch with the club... To help the club hit the magic 1,000 season ticket sales target they have announced 10 cash prizes of £100 which will be drawn on Friday, May 22 – so every application that the club have received by 2pm on that day will be entered into the draw – and 10 season ticket holders will each receive £100 cash".

18 May 2015


Courtesy of Phil Taylor we have a match report on last week's 3-1 win by Altrincham Ladies against Runcorn Linnets Ladies. It can be found here. The image above, courtesy of Keith Edleston, shows the match in progress.


Altrincham FC Ladies' manager, Keithe Edleston, writes "I am now going to enjoy the peace and quiet that is 'close season'; it's time to sit back and recharge the batteries .....Oh no, it isn't! On Saturday, 23rd May we are taking on the Isle of Man Women's national team in a friendly, before they set off to compete in the 2015 Island Games. This is a massive honour for our team to be asked and a bit of a coup for the Football Club in general to be asked to play in such a prestigious game. We are playing at Clay Lane with a 3pm K.O. Please come down to cheer us on".

Pictured right is a special pennant which Keith has had made for the match.


There is an excellent compilation of Duncan Watmore's outstanding moments for Sunderland, here.


The composition of the new National League was decided on Sunday afternoon when Bristol Rovers won the promotion play-off at Wembley in front of 47,000 spectators. The outcome secured The Gas's place in League Two and left Grimsby Town in the same division as Altrincham. On the BT Sport coverage of the game, Rovers' boss Darrell Clarke singled out his team's defeat at Altrincham as the stimulus to the club turning around its fortunes.

The BBC reports that "Bristol Rovers beat Grimsby Town on penalties... The Mariners went ahead inside the opening two minutes at Wembley thanks to Lenell John-Lewis' bundled finish. Bristol Rovers forward Ellis Harrison then slammed home an equaliser.

And, after a goalless second half and extra-time period, Lee Mansell scored the winning penalty after Jon-Paul Pittman blazed his spot-kick over. It means Bristol Rovers, relegated from the fourth tier for the first time in 94 years only 12 months ago, are the first side to bounce straight back up from the Conference since 2005.

Under 37-year-old manager Darrell Clarke, they had recovered from picking up just one point from their first three matches of this campaign to launch a genuine title challenge, only losing out to champions Barnet on the final day of the season...

By contrast, Grimsby have been a non-league side since their relegation in 2010, and defeat by the Pirates marks their third successive play-off failure. Paul Hurst's team had got off to a flying start in front of a Conference record crowd of 47,029 fans, going ahead after Nathan Arnold's driving run into the penalty area allowed John-Lewis to force the ball over the line at the second attempt.

The Mariners continued to press and Rovers goalkeeper Will Puddy survived a major scare when handling Ollie Palmer's shot outside the area, escaping with only a yellow card. But Harrison, recalled after missing the semi-final second leg through suspension, lashed the ball in to restore parity after Grimsby had failed to clear Jake Gosling's corner...

After Rovers' boss Clarke had opted to change goalkeepers for the shootout, bringing Steve Mildenhall on to face his former club, the first five penalties were then all successful. But Pittman blasted his effort over the crossbar and, after a further two spot-kicks were converted, Mansell fired into the top corner to send Rovers back up to the Football League at the first time of asking."

After the game, the Bristol Rovers stated that "Nick Higgs is confident Bristol Rovers will return to the Football League in far better shape than they left it a year ago... Chairman Higgs... insists the club is in an altogether better place 12 months on from the darkest day in its history.

He told the Bristol Post, 'I've said it for weeks now – there is a fantastic spirit within this club, both on the pitch and among the backroom staff. We have a good budget for next season and it does not stop here. We will look to go again and challenge in League Two. We have come through this challenge, now let's come through the next one. Absolutely we are going back stronger and, with a few additions, we can do well again next year. We've only lost one game in the last 32 in the Conference and that momentum will be crucial going into next season.

We will take that into League Two and our aim will be to push on, not just consolidate. Forward momentum is massively important and so is team spirit; those are two things we have in abundance at the minute'. Around 30,000 Rovers fans made the journey to Wembley...

'I'm elated but relieved at the same time,' added Higgs. 'Extra-time and penalties are not good for your heart. Winning here is a welcome respite from the pressure we are under at the moment and it's great for the fans. You just have to look at their faces to see what it means to them... The support we have received has been unheard of previously at this level and we've beaten just about every record this season... It is very difficult to do what we have done and fair play to Darrell and the team,' commented Higgs. 'I know it is easy to say, but I always had faith in Darrell. He put a good squad together and, thankfully, it has all turned out right in the end'".

From the other side, the Grimsby Telegraph says that "Grimsby Town director John Fenty said the Mariners will regroup and come back next season... A visibly emotional Mr Fenty said, 'It is a cruel way to lose. I would like to thank our fans, who have been amazing. I'm so very sorry we've not made it to the Football League... Going out on penalties is so painful, particularly after playing so well and looking the stronger team for 120 mins'...

Town goalkeeper James McKeown added, 'It just does not get any worse. It's just awful. I felt I should have saved one of the penalties. To go through this all again and not win is terrible. But we must go again. We have no choice. It will be a long summer'".

Grimsby Town have a match report on the game.

In the Halifax Courier we read that "Former Town captain Mark Bower and his ex-Shaymen at Guiseley are relishing the prospect of a return to their old club after sealing promotion to the Conference.

Danny Lowe and [ex-Alty defender] Ryan Toulson both started while Alex Johnson was an unused substitute as The Lions produced a sensational comeback to beat [ex-Alty loanee] James Dean’s Chorley 3-2 having trailed 2-0 at half-time. Bower said the former Halifax men had played their part in the club’s promotion, and is now looking forward to a reunion next season.

He said... 'Danny and Ryan both played the majority of the games and we used their experience of promotion in the past. And their leadership qualities have been a big plus for us'...

The former Bradford defender [Bower] has proved an inspired appointment at Nethermoor and achieved promotion in his first full season in charge. 'I started in the job in September last year and the aim that season was consolidation,' he reflected. 'Then, this season, promotion was the target... Thankfully we got enough of our better players available when it mattered.'

Bower is now looking to the likes of previous play-off winners Altrincham and Halifax for inspiration. 'We want to be competitive in that league,' he said. 'Teams that have gone up through the play-offs in the last couple of seasons have done well. Getting in the play-offs was a remarkable achievement for Halifax'...

Bower praised the job Neil Aspin has done at Halifax... He added... 'I think getting in the play-offs raised expectations higher than they ever should have been. Even this season, some of the teams they finished above have got much bigger budgets'".

According to the Chronicle Live, "Gateshead FC's JJ O'Donnell needs cash for surgery and two young Heed fans have launched a fundraising campaign for their hero. A footballer who needs costly surgery to save his career has seen two young fans come to the rescue.

Gateshead FC’s JJ O’Donnell was struck down with rare injury sesamoidtis, requiring surgery leaving him with a 50/50 chance of kicking a ball again. The ailment means the talented midfielder has inflammation in the bones under his toes- causing intense pain whenever he puts pressure on it.

But Heed fans Lee Calder, 16, and Sam Jupp, 13, who say JJ is their favourite player, launched an online campaign to raise the funds needed to rescue their hero’s career. Lee said, 'I go to every home game and help out around the ground selling programmes, I also try and get to as many away games as I can. JJ is my favourite player, he got us to Wembley. I saw how much his operation would cost and thought we, as fans, could do more to help...

At Gateshead, you can talk to the players and they talk to you, there’s a real sense of family.'

After exhausting all avenues, doctors have told 23-year-old JJ he needs surgery if he has any hope of kicking a ball again. Only two other sportsmen have gone under the knife for this procedure before- both American football players- with one playing again and the other not... O'Donnell said, 'This operation is the last roll of the dice for me. Playing football is everything to me. It’s all I have known since I was seven. It’s my life. Football is a good lifestyle, a privileged lifestyle but for me it’s my life. I live, breath and sleep football'...

London-born JJ played for Luton Town before signing for the Tyneside club and has been bowled over by the footballing culture. He said, 'Football is huge in the North East, it’s unbelievable and the people are incredible- there’s no place like it. Gateshead have been outstanding, they paid for all of my treatment up until this. I appreciate massively the cost of football for fans, it’s gone up. It’s expensive to get to places. The support I’ve had has been nothing short of astonishing, it’s helping me to achieve my dream of playing again.'

JJ is hoping to get the procedure done as quickly as possible, so the operation will need to be done privately."

The Chronicle Live also reports an article by Steve Brown, saying "It has been a hell of a season in non-league football for everyone and everything except my pre-season predictions... Graham Wood effectively put Gateshead up for sale, and North Shields won the FA Vase.

And there was me, kicking off this marvellous and riveting non-league football season predicting promotion for the Heed and a first year in seven that passed without a Northern League club in the Vase final. So, yes, I was wrong...

First, the Heed. Let’s begin with the good news. Great start, the FA Cup third round. Crowds up, the coffers further swelled by the sale of Marcus Maddison. But though they could hardly stand in his way, to what extent did his move to Peterborough United cost the club a play-off place, at least? Even without him, I reckon Gary Mills was surprised by how far short his side fell.

Add in [owner] Wood’s decision, made around Christmas, to opt out and it’s no wonder [manager] Mills did likewise, jumping the gun to Wrexham. These are intriguing, somewhat disconcerting times. Wood cannot be faulted for his commitment nor blamed for ending it, and will not leave them in the lurch. But at present, in limbo, it’s difficult to predict what lies ahead..."

Meanwhile, Gateshead have two interviews about their U-18 and U-19 policies which provide food for thought.

At the other end of the country, Hampshire club Aldershot Town is a report that "Over the last couple of months you may be aware that we held discussion forums with supporters before several home games. The forums were set up as an opportunity for constructive and open discussion between the Board and supporters, so we could hear the good, the bad and the ugly about being a Shots supporter, and seek ideas and suggestions for how we can work together to improve the Club going forward.

Firstly, we would like to say a big thanks to the supporters who attended the sessions for the passionate and constructive discussions, and also the offers of practical support that have been received since. For those of you who did not get the opportunity to attend, we plan to run more of these sessions next season and will let you know how you can get involved over the next few weeks...

During the forums a number of you said that you did not feel that the Club had a clear objective about its football ambitions and, after a difficult couple of years on the pitch, it had become difficult to envisage anything beyond survival.

In early April we issued an update explaining that, like supporters, we want to see the Club progress back to the Football League, but must ensure that it’s achieved in a financially sustainable way. There are no magic-wands in football and, as we have all witnessed this year, there have been several teams in the Vanarama Conference building costly squads well beyond the means of the crowds that they attract but still not achieving promotion. On 27 April we announced Barry Smith’s appointment and approach next season with real enthusiasm and a clear aim. We want to be pushing for the Play-Offs, playing entertaining and attacking football, but that will take a lot of skill and hard work from all concerned at the Club. As Barry mentioned in his first interview, we need supporters right behind us to build a great atmosphere where his new-look squad can thrive.

Following the discussions we are currently working on a number of initiatives to improve communication, including:

Fans Forums: Following the success of these initial sessions, we are going to continue to invite supporters to attend small-group forums throughout the season... We are planning to establish an e-mail database of supporters so we can publish a weekly supporters’ newsletter, looking ahead to matches with team news, injury updates, etc...

From the start of next season we will publish a monthly update from the Board covering off-field progress and developments, and feedback on topics discussed at the fans' forums. We explained during the recent forums that we need fans to appreciate that it is not always possible to share updates on sensitive information...

We are working hard behind the scenes to re-establish some half-time fun for next season… more on this soon!"

Finally, NL Pitchero has a useful listing of pre-season friendlies.

17 May 2015


According to the Football Conference, "England C manager, Paul Fairclough has announced a squad to face the Republic of Ireland under-21 in a friendly to be played in Galway on Monday, June 1st. The squad will consist of sixteen players and there remains a slot to be allocated for the trip. It was May 2010 that the sides last met in Waterford in an International Challenge Trophy fixture.

Fairclough stated, 'It will be terrific to renew acquaintances’ for the forthcoming encounter in Galway. We will, no doubt, face a very talented under-21 side which will be a mix of League of Ireland players together with those playing in England. This game provides me with an opportunity to plan for the forthcoming ICT games which will begin later in the year. Gone are the players who served us well over the last couple of years and I have selected a squad drawn from Step 1, 2, 3 and 4 of the National League System.

'I believe in giving young talented players an opportunity to represent their country, regardless of the level they are currently playing. There will be as many as ten players in the 16-man squad who will make their International debut'...


Calum KITSCHA (gk) Hayes & Yeading United, Andrew COUGHLIN (gk) Wrexham, Simeon AKINOLA Braintree Town, James BOLTON FC Halifax Town, Ben HENEGHAN Chester FC, Kingsley JAMES Chester FC, Matt PEARSON FC Halifax Town ,Sean RAGGETT Dover Athletic, Alex WOODYARD Concord Rangers, Jake GALLAGHER Welling United, Charlie GOODE Hendon, Callum CHETTLE Ilkeston FC, Aaron WILLIAMS Rushall Olympic, Louis MOULT Wrexham, Jarrett RIVERS Blyth Spartans (Blackpool)"

One of the England C Squad is the subject of another report from the Football Conference to the effect that "FC Halifax Town confirm that they have exercised the options on James Bolton and Jake Hibbs for the 2015/16 season. The Shaymen are delighted to welcome Bolton, their young/newcomer of 2014/15 season award winner at the annual awards dinner, back for another season.

Also staying is Jake Hibbs as he stakes his own claim for a starting place in the first-team midfield. Dominic Marie has also been invited to attend initial first-team training to try and secure a further contract with the Shaymen."

From the BBC we learn that "Torquay United adviser Kelvin Thomas has said the proposed takeover of the club has fallen through. Earlier this week Thomas admitted the prospective buyout had reached a critical stage.

'We got very close with this deal. However, there was a material change last week which we had no control over,' Thomas said in a statement. 'It has proved a difficult task trying to sell as the club hasn't been in the best condition for a few seasons now.'

Discussions with other interested parties have reopened and Thomas is continuing to help former chairwoman Thea Bristow sell the club. 'I'm pleased that Thea is now in the position where her open chequebook has been finally closed,' added Thomas. 'Even since stepping down she will have still put in over £200,000, which is a lot of money, especially when you know you're not involved.'

Former Oxford United chairman Thomas linked up with the Devon club in January and claimed it was not his intention to take over the Gulls himself, instead preferring local investors to run the Plainmoor side... 'I have told the current board that I will help in anyway, except financially of course, for next season's plans and have also offered my shareholding to them if that helps in their own separate talks,' Bristow said. 'It has proved rather more difficult than I certainly realised to give my shares away, but I think we will get there in the end'".

More on this comes from the Western Morning News which states that "Torquay United Supporters' Trust have said they are prepared to re-enter the bidding race to take over at Plainmoor, after negotiations with a still-unknown party fell through.

In a statement following the collapse of negotiations on Friday, TUST chairman Michael Goulbourne said there was concern for the Gulls, with the looming deadline of June 2, when the Conference AGM is held, fast approaching. But Goulbourne also reiterated support for a ‘second consortium’ who he met earlier this week, while not ruling out a bid for ownership by TUST themselves.

He said, 'Torquay United Supporters Trust is both concerned and disappointed following the news that the deal for the club has fallen through. We understand and appreciate that Kelvin Thomas has worked tirelessly in securing what is best for Torquay United. We are also hugely sympathetic towards Thea Bristow and the unfortunate position in which she finds herself. TUST is, of course, mindful of the overall timeframe as well as the significance of the approaching Conference AGM...

We are not aware of the extent to which there are ‘other interested parties’. TUST’s officers have, however, met with one group who are hopeful of mounting a bid for the club. We can vouch for their long-standing dedication and support for Torquay United. Finally, TUST wishes it to be known that it is fully-prepared to re-enter the bidding process either in its own right or in conjunction with other interested parties'".

The Halifax Courier says that "If a week is a long time in politics, then six years is bordering on a dynasty in football. That is the anniversary recently celebrated by Neil Aspin at FC Halifax Town...

Only four managers in the top five divisions of English football have been at their clubs longer than Aspin; Arsene Wenger at Arsenal, Paul Tisdale at Exeter, Nicky Law at Alfreton and Tony Burman at Dartford. Aspin admits there have been offers to prise him away from the Shay over the last 12 months, but is in no rush to up sticks.

'This year I’ve had a lot of interest and I’ve spoken to a couple of clubs. I always thought that would be what I wanted but, as it’s turned out, because I’ve had the chance to speak to a couple of clubs, I know it has to be the right club. When I first came to the club we had a plan and a strategy to go forward and that’s what you have to do. You’re not going to go from a non-league club to a big job so you have to go up another rung of the ladder. But you look up at the next league and the life expectancy is a year.

So after working in non-league for 11 years, I wouldn’t just throw it away to go anywhere just for the sake of being a League manager. There’s no point in doing that. You’re always ambitious and I’d like to think what I’ve done in my 11 years as manager will keep me involved in football... Without going into details, the clubs I’ve spoken to this year have struggled,' he says. 'And that’s with managers who are more experienced than me at that level... The fact there have been six or seven jobs that have come up this year I’ve been mentioned for shows I’ve been doing something right. But I know I need to get results next season...

Being successful only buys you so much time and people soon get fed-up with it. I have to make sure I get players who will do the job next season because if I don’t I’ll be under pressure... Staying anywhere for a number of years is getting more and more difficult so I would’ve been naive to think I was going to stay somewhere that long. I aimed to get the club back to where they were and that’s what we’ve done so I’m satisfied with that.

How long I end up staying at the club is out of my hands but what I always do is work hard and try to get a team the supporters can be proud of. I also do that in a way which balances the books... It’s getting harder to get the players to push you forward. If you look at the teams that have got promotion over the last few years from the Conference, they’ve all got million-plus budgets, which is never going to happen with Halifax. Even getting a part-time club into the play-offs is very rare.

That’s what you’re competing against. It doesn’t stop you hoping you can do it, otherwise none of us would bother... We did better than I thought we would last year (2013-14) and there was a time early in that season when we got to fifth and I said to Lee Nogan ‘this is as high as we can ever get’,” he recalls. 'I didn’t expect us to finish in the top five but we did. We topped the table this year and that will be very difficult for any manager who follows me to do. There is a part of me that thinks, with the way everything is stacked against us, this is as far as we can go in our present form. But I don’t like losing or being on a bad run like were at the end of the season so you’ve always got the drive to do better and that will never change, even if we have the lowest budget in the league.

I’ll always have that desire and passion to do well because the only thing about football you enjoy is if you win... There are a lot of teams who’ve come up from the Conference North and gone back down over the last few years,” he adds. That’s always the first thing we have to avoid. You must try and stay in the league first and once you’ve done that you try and push as far as you can... The first priority is to stay in the league....

It’s disappointing when you lose your players but when you see them going on to do well you do get a lot of satisfaction from it,' he says... 'I’m at the stage now where I’ve been here six years. Everybody gets stale. Supporters get fed-up with seeing the same faces. But what changes that is by getting some new personnel and they give me a spark and also the crowd sees new players and they get a spark and everything can pick up.'

The former Port Vale defender says the job of football management is all-consuming but that he wouldn’t want to be doing anything else. 'I don’t think you get much enjoyment out of football management,' he adds. 'I can’t say enjoyment and football manager in the same breath. It’s a very frustrating job... You take the job with you all the time... I wouldn’t say there’s that much enjoyment but I wouldn’t swap the job because it’s what I’ve always known... It’s like a drug and you get used to it'".


The Football Association's allocations of clubs from Step 1 to Step 4 have been issued here, A number of issues remain to be resolved, one being the Ryman League play-offs which were delayed until last Thursday. Also, the Vanarama Conference Promotion Final takes place today (Sunday) between Grimsby Town and Bristol Rovers.

In the new National League South, where they operated a team short last season following Salisbury City's demise, the number has been restored to 22 with Oxford City moving from last season's Vanarama Conference North. Our relegated opponents from last season have been allocated as expected; Alfreton Town, AFC Telford United and Nuneaton Town will be in the National's North division and Dartford will play in the South.

Phoenix clubs, Salisbury FC and Hereford FC have been awarded places at Step 5.


According to the Football Conference, "Former Chester FC boss Neil Young has been appointed as the new manager of Stockport County on a two-year contract. Forty-year-old Young has been tasked with leading the Hatters to promotion to the newly-named National League, having won the same title with Chester FC just two years ago...

Young said, 'It's a huge honour and a privilege to be appointed as manager of Stockport County. Having been here many times, particularly over the last 16 months, the size of the club and the incredible fan base makes this such an exciting opportunity to create something special. The Board of the club has an ambitious five-year plan which I will be working to deliver. A lot of changes will be made both in the short and long term as we work towards achieving our goals.

Recruitment is going to be absolutely key to our progression, as is value for money. We will be working with a very competitive budget for this league. Although quite a bit of the budget is already allocated to a number of contracted players, I am more than confident that we can bring the right players with the right attitude and mentality to be a success.

I have meticulously planned my football management career throughout the last ten years. I have never taken a job opportunity unless I believed I had the necessary experience and development to make a success of it and that is our intention here at Stockport County.'

Young is joined at Edgeley Park by assistant-manager Gary Jones, the former Nottingham Forest and Tranmere Rovers striker, and he'll be assisted by County legend Mike Flynn, who has been given a coaching role in Young's new-look backroom. Carl Garner, former Fleetwood Town non-League Scout joins as head of recruitment, as does [ex-Alty loanee] Alex Hay as part of the scouting team.

Young added, 'This staffing structure is something I believe to be vital in our development to progress and be successful. Recruitment, talent identification, and ensuring value for money in the playing staff is key'...

County Director Richard Park said, 'We received well over sixty high quality applications for this position and we have interviewed half a dozen top managers. The Board was unanimous that Neil Young was the outstanding candidate... His CV is littered with a decade of successive promotions and title wins throughout several levels of non-League football. To have achieved five promotions in his last six years as a manager is an incredible achievement'".

Hyde FC "are delighted to announce that supporters are proceeding with the purchase of the Club from owner John Manship. The Club will be incorporated into a Community Trust run by management team, and supervised by a Board of Trustees, both elected by the membership.

The Trust has agreed to pay £50,000 for the Club including the Social Club, and John Manship has agreed to write-off the loan he has provided to the Club over the past four years, which is now approaching £500,000.

'The supporters have always been amazing at Hyde', says John. 'And I really want to give them the chance to do their own thing. I have every confidence in them'".

The Manchester Evening news adds that at Hyde, "Gary Lowe has agreed to stay on for the club's return to non-League's third tier.... Fans are in the process of setting up a Supporters' Trust to take over the club after owner John Manship agreed to relinquish control. They have also applied to change the club name back to Hyde United".

16 May 2015


Congratulations go to Altrincham FC Ladies as Phil Taylor advises us that the Ladies were 4-1 winners in Wednesday night's fixture versus Egerton. The goals came from Emma Booth, Kathryn "Cyprus" McIntyre, Kate Bryan and a penalty from Aimee Gibson. In doing so, the runners up spot in the League was confirmed mathematically with one game still to play". Phil will provide a report on the game in the near future.


As previously announced, Altrincham have a home pre-season friendly on Tuesday, 14 July 2015. The opposition could not be named until the club in question had announced it to their supporters but it can now be confirmed that it will be Wigan Athletic who are the visitors to the J. Davidson Stadium on the above date. Kick off is, provisionally, at 7.45pm.

The full list of friendlies is here. And don't forget that valid season tickets confer free entry to ALL of the home pre-season friendlies at the J. Davidson Stadium.

In announcing their pre-season game with Altrincham Wigan Athletic tell us that "Latics’ players return to training on June 25 and will head to Spain for a week-long warm-weather training camp in early July, but no matches have been scheduled during this period. Latics then make the short trips to Vanarama Conference side Altrincham on Tuesday 14 July and the Merseyrail Community Stadium to face Southport on Saturday 18th July".


News of two ex-Alty players comes from the Football Conference, which reports that "AFC Telford United, relegated from the Vanarama Conference, have started re-building for the 2015/16 season with confirmation that Sean Clancy will remain at the club for next season. The popular 27-year-old has agreed a one-year deal. He has made seventy appearances for the Bucks since joining in 2013 and will also spearhead the club's scholarship scheme next season.

Centre-back Mat Bailey, 29, re-joins after earning good reviews for his performances with Nantwich Town last season. Bailey did feature for the Bucks during the championship-winning season but is now fully recovered from injury and is looking to make himself a permanent feature in the Bucks' back four."

Elsewhere "Wrexham have confirmed that full-back Neil Ashton has not been offered terms for the 2015/16 season. Ashton had been a constant in the Wrexham side for around five years and led the team out as skipper on many occasions.

Ashton said... 'Unfortunately my contract won't be renewed. I'm gutted we never achieved the ultimate goal of promotion but we had a good go!'"

We learn from the Stroud News & Journal that "Forest Green have made a double raid for Newport County AFC captain Darren Jones and Lincoln City striker Delano Sam-Yorke. Manager Ady Pennock opened talks with duo last week and both players have penned one-year deals after passing medicals at the New Lawn.

Jones, 31, rejoins Rovers after a seven-year absence. He was offered a new deal by boss Terry Butcher and was expected to see his career out with his hometown club... Jones has also played for Hereford United, Aldershot Town, Shrewsbury Town and AFC Wimbledon, before returning to his hometown club last summer.

Sam-Yorke,26, joined Lincoln City on a free transfer from Cambridge United in January and scored against Forest Green last season... Sam-Yorke started out in Woking’s youth team and made his first-team debut as a teenager under Colin Lippiatt in the final game of the 2007/08 season."

According to NL Pitchero "Eastleigh have announced the first new summer arrival of 2015 having agreed terms with former Woking midfielder Josh Payne on a one-year deal with the play-off semi-finalists. Twenty-four-year-old Basingstoke-born Payne began his career with Portsmouth, then Southampton before moving to West Ham United where he made two first-team appearances.

With loan spells at Cheltenham Town, Colchester United and Wycombe Wanderers, Payne took a permanent move to Doncaster Rovers before signing for Oxford United where he made a further 324 Football League appearances scoring one goal. After a spell at Aldershot Town he joined Woking where he has been for the past two seasons making ninety-four appearances scoring 13 goals. His form with Woking earned the player three England C caps and player of the season".


The NW Counties Football League reports that "The FA has confirmed that Stockport Town will be admitted to the NWCFL Division One for season 2015-16... The FA's decision to place Stockport Town in our League means that member clubs do not have a vote on the issue, a point clarified by the League Secretary at a recent meeting.

Stockport Town was officially formed in February 2014... They played several friendly games against current NWCFL clubs over the course of the past few months, and will play home games at the Stockport Sports Village, which of course was previously the venue used by Stockport Sports [formerly Woodley Sports] for their home games.

Speaking on behalf of Stockport Town, Chairman Seb Rowe said, 'After 18 months of hard work, we are absolutely delighted to be admitted to the NWCFL Division One next season'".

15 May 2015


Altrincham Reserves lost 4-1 to Irlam Town Reserves in the last league game of their season. However, congratulations go to the team as they picked up the trophy (above) for the Hallmark Security Cheshire Football League Division Two runners-up position. They will compete in League One next season, one step below the Premier Division. Image courtesy of Karen Rowley.


Altrincham FC is again running its Patrons' Club. Chairman Grahame Rowley writes:

"It doesn’t seem a few weeks since I wrote this letter last season, but what a first season we have had in the Vanarama Conference. We’re now asking for people to join the 2015-16 Patrons' Scheme.

For the bargain sum of £50, your name will appear throughout the season 2015-16 in the matchday programme for every home game and on the club’s official website as a Patron of the Football Club.

In August, every Patron will be entered into a prize draw with the winner being match sponsor for an appointed game along with 9 guests. Second prize will be hospitality for 5 people and third prize hospitality for 3 people in the Sponsor Lounge; the value of the 1st prize is £550.

If you are interested in becoming a Patron again this season or joining for the first time please forward a cheque payable to “Altrincham FC” for £50 for the attention of Grahame Rowley.

If you require further information, please speak to me on 07720-606897 or e-mail me.

We need your support even more for the forthcoming season, as we look to 'push on' in the Conference National, so please help the club through the close season by joining up today.

Thank you.

Grahame Rowley, Chairman.


The Chronicle Live reports that "Gateshead captain Ben Clark has paid tribute to outgoing chairman and owner Graham Wood but admits the club’s players are in limbo as they await further developments.

Wood has bankrolled hometown club Gateshead for the past nine years, overseeing successive promotions, a record third-placed finish in the Conference top flight and a first appearance at Wembley. An average four-figure crowd is another first for the current club, but tThe Heed are now at the crossroads after Wood’s bombshell on Friday that he has put the club up for sale.

The decision puts record-breaking manager Gary Mills’ decision to join Conference rivals Wrexham in a different light, Wood due to sever his links with the club by the end of June.

The current squad’s contracts finish at the end of June, and with a manager not to be appointed until a new chairman is in place, and a retained list unable to be issued, Clark admits these are worrying times for the players.

Clark said, 'The news on Friday came as a complete surprise and obviously these are difficult times for the players. It’s tough but, thankfully, we are contracted until the end of next month. The chairman has done great things at Gateshead. He invested a lot of money to try and get promotion last season having gone so close the previous year. Unfortunately it hasn’t happened. It’s disappointing we couldn’t fulfil his dream of getting Gateshead back into the Football League but it’s remarkable what he’s done for the club.

I have had a 16-year career in the professional game and my five years at Gateshead [are] right up there with my time at Sunderland and Hartlepool.'

The Heed are looking for a new investor, or investors, and have stated that there is already a ‘baseline of funding secure for next season.’ Many questions, however, remain unanswered. Will the club remain professional or return to the part-time ranks? That’s a decision pivotal to hopes of gaining promotion from football’s fifth tier.

With so many big-hitters in the Conference Premier, Bristol Rovers take on Grimsby Town in this Sunday’s play-off final, only full-time clubs now [seem to] gain promotion to the Football League. Gateshead will, undoubtedly, prefer to remain as a professional club but this will depend on funding, and a return to part-time status would see many players depart in the search of professional contracts.

'The young lads in the squad are panicking a bit due to the current uncertainty,' added Clark. 'We all want the situation resolved satisfactorily and for the club to kick on. We’re in limbo and it’s a difficult time. Hopefully a new owner will be found and a manager installed, but it’s a case of waiting to see what happens. There are a lot of good players at Gateshead and I’m sure other clubs will be interested in them. They are bound to be sniffing around, so the sooner the situation is sorted out the better.'

Gateshead should be an attractive proposition to interested parties. They are debt-free, one of the top clubs outside the Football League and are based in an 11,850 all-seater stadium, albeit not their own. Attendances have increased year-on-year under Wood’s tenure to average 1,179 last season. The portfolio is impressive, but the next few weeks will be crucial in determining the club’s immediate and future prospects".

At Lincoln City, they "are pleased to announce that Lee Beevers has signed a two-year contract with the Club following his release by Mansfield Town. Beevers, who made 175 appearances for the Imps in all competitions between 2005 and 2009, had been with Mansfield for the past couple of seasons... The former Welsh under-21 international initially joined the Imps loan from Boston United in February 2005 before the move was made permanent with the former Ipswich Town youngster joining for an undisclosed fee...

A successful 2006/07 campaign saw Beevers named as the supporters’ “Player of the Season” and he spent a further two years with the Imps before joining Colchester United. Injuries restricted his playing time in Essex, however, and he subsequently joined Mansfield after a year with Walsall."

And another player returning from Mansfield to Lincoln is the subject of the Lincolnshire Echo, which reports that "Lincoln City have signed former Mansfield Town striker Matt Rhead on a two-year deal... The 30-year-old began his career lower down the non-league game, playing for Kidsgrove Athletic, Nantwich Town, Congleton Town, Eastwood Town and Corby Town before earning a move to the full-time ranks with Mansfield in 2012, playing alongside ex-Imps Alan Marriott and Lee Beevers".

In the Redditch Advertiser we learn that "Kidderminster Harriers have signed secured their first new signing of the summer after bringing in midfielder Calvin Dinsley. The 24-year-old has had an excellent season at Redditch United, making the step up from Midlands Premier side Stourport Swifts comfortabtly.

Manager Gary Whild is scouring the lower levels of non-league looking for players with potential because of the club’s smaller budget. It is also believed that the Harriers boss is also interested in signing defender Jordan Jones. While also spending time with Cambridge United, the majority of Dinsley’s career has been based here in the Midlands, with spells at the likes of Evesham United and, most recently, Redditch United.

'Calvin is a player we've known about for quite some time and he's someone who has spent time working at the club back when he was studying and assisting our medical staff,' said Whild. 'So we already knew the inside track with him and the type of lad he is. He has a fantastic attitude as a player and he has progressed very quickly. "He's technically gifted and a very good passer of the ball, and without trying to put him in a bracket, he does remind me a bit of Jack Byrne when Jack first came here.

People should have no reservations about that because this club has proved what it can do it in terms of progressing young players'.

The manager also confirmed that the club have taken up options in the contracts of Ahmed Obeng, Jamie Spencer and Tyrone Williams. Whild also confirmed he’d have positive talks with forwards Danny Wright and Gurjit Singh. He added, 'We'd love to do something Danny if we can and, for his part, he's very keen to be here so we're positive on that front. We're hopeful that Gurj Singh is close to being a done deal too; he's been in with us at the back and of last season and we're looking forward to seeing how he continues to adjust to the full-time game'.

Harriers will also have young striker Reece Hales and Academy prospects George Forsyth, Jordan Harrison, Dan Sweeney and Nathan Millichamp in for pre-season training in July with a view to earning new deals. "

According to NL Pitchero "Woking have announced that Jake Cole, John Goddard, Keiran Murtagh, Scott Rendell, Mark Ricketts and Giuseppe Sole have all agreed terms with the club for the 2015/16 season."

14 May 2015


Hednesford Town announce that "Manager Rob Smith has this week made strides towards shaping his first team squad for next season with the arrival of three new faces. Striker Kyle Perry arrives from Altrincham while midfield pair Tim Sanders and Tom France have both signed up for next season after an impressive campaign for Newcastle Town.

Perry arrives at the club for his second spell with the Pitmen having made one appearance right at the start of the 2006/07 season before departing Keys Park despite impressing in pre-season. The big front man has since gone on to play in the Football League with Port Vale before being a regular goalscorer in the Conference Premier for both Tamworth and Altrincham".


The BBC tells us that "Wrexham midfielder Kyle Storer has joined Cheltenham Town on a one-year contract. The 28-year-old made 13 appearances for the Welsh side after arriving from Kidderminster in January. Storer, who has also played for Bedworth Town, Tamworth and Nuneaton, spent three and a half years at Aggborough, playing 141 times.

'When I met Kyle I realised how hungry he is to get into the Football League', said Robins' manager Gary Johnson. 'I've seen games he's played in and he's a leader. He's been captain at previous clubs and is a strong player and a big character so I am pleased he's signed with us.' Johnson is staying in charge of the Robins despite their relegation to the National League, the new name for the Conference."

Elsewhere, "New Braintree Town manager Danny Cowley has offered 18 members of their squad new contracts for next season. Captain Kenny Davis, Sean Marks, Matt Paine and Dan Sparkes are among those to have agreed terms. Simeon Akinola, Remy Clerima, Jordan Cox, Nathan McDonald and Charlie Strutton have also been kept on. Alan Massey and Ryan Peters left the club last week to sign for Maidenhead United, now managed by former Iron boss Alan Devonshire.

The Conference Premier side... have also kept youngsters Joe Maybanks and George Pullen on the books. Negotiations with Mitch Brundle, Sam Habergham and Chez Isaac are ongoing".

According to Stroud Life, "Tranmere Rovers have swooped for the services of James Norwood following his release by Forest Green. Norwood, the Nailsworth club’s all-time leading scorer in the Conference, was a free agent after spending four full seasons at the New Lawn.

Brabin said, 'He was someone I knew I wanted to bring to the club the day I became manager. He’s got a good scoring record in the Conference and I know he can get better. But he’s got more than goals to his game. He’s someone who will work his socks off up front and make life difficult for the opposition. “He had interest from League One and League Two clubs but he wanted to be a part of our plans here and I’m really pleased to be able to add him to my squad'”.

The Shropshire Star tells us that "AFC Telford United defender Neill Byrne has today been placed on the transfer list. The decision was made at a meeting held between manager Steve Kittrick, managing director Lee Carter, the player and his representative.

A club statement indicates Byrne has expressed a desire to play full-time football and chairman Ian Dosser said, 'We’ve listened to what Neill has had to say. We will be sorry to lose him, but have come to the conclusion to accept his request for a transfer, providing we can come to an agreeable position with any interested club'. Byrne was one of just two players contracted to the club for next season, along with striker Adam Farrell."

The Football Conference says that "Chester FC have announced that striker Tom Peers has agreed a deal with the club until the end of the 2015/16 season. Peers, who progressed through the club's youth set-up, is due to formally sign his deal during the week".

In the Halifax Courier we learn that "FC Halifax Town boss Neil Aspin has dismissed speculation linking him to the vacant positions at Gateshead and Stockport. The Shaymen manager was rumoured to have been interviewed for the Stockport post and was also among the bookies’ favourites for the Gateshead job...

He said, 'There’s going to be speculation because they both need managers. There has been speculation all year about various clubs but that’s all it is. I haven’t been interviewed for either of those jobs. I’ve got one year left on my contract at Halifax and it’s an important summer. There has to be a lot of changes made in terms of playing personnel. We’re in the process of doing that and I’m working hard to try and keep the club competitive'".

News of a former Conference manager comes from the BBC which tells us that "Chesterfield have appointed Dean Saunders as their new manager on a two-year contract following Paul Cook's departure for Portsmouth. Cook left the Spireites on Tuesday having guided them to the League One play-offs, where they lost to Preston.

Saunders, 50, ended the season in interim charge of Crawley but was unable to prevent them from being relegated to League Two. The ex-Wales international previously managed Wrexham, Doncaster and Wolves. Saunders told the club website, 'It is a great opportunity as this is a club on the rise, run by good people, and I am inheriting a very good team from Paul Cook'...

Crawley's relegation means Saunders has now suffered relegation in three of the last four seasons. He was in charge when Doncaster were relegated from the Championship in 2012 and suffered the same fate with Wolves the following year. He took charge of the Red Devils on an interim basis in December after John Gregory stepped down to undergo major open heart surgery. Saunders won eight of his 24 league games in charge but they suffered relegation on the last day of the season and Gregory then announced on Saturday that he would not be returning to the club. Saunders faces a difficult task in succeeding Cook after he guided Chesterfield to the League Two title and a sixth-placed finish in League One in his two full seasons in charge".


The FA announces that the dates for the 2015-16 FA cup competitions are as follows...

FA Cup:

  • Sat 15/08/15 - Extra-Preliminary Round
  • Sat 29/08/15 - Preliminary Round
  • Sat 12/09/15 - First Qualifying Round
  • Sat 26/09/15 - Second Qualifying Round
  • Sat 03/10/15 - Third Qualifying Round
  • Sat 24/10/15 - Fourth Qualifying Round - Altrincham enter at this stage.
  • Sat 07/11/15 - First Round
  • Sat 05/12/15 - Second Round
  • Sat 09/01/16 - Third Round
  • Sat 30/01/16 - Fourth Round
  • Sat 20/02/16 - Fifth Round
  • Sat 12/03/16 - Sixth Round
  • Sat/Sun - 23-& 24/4/16 Semi-Finals
  • Sat 21/05/16 - Final

"Three of The FA’s national competitions will be decided across one weekend, with both The FA Trophy and FA Vase taking place at Wembley as part of a pilot double-header on Sunday 22 May. Next year's FA Cup Final will take place on Saturday 21 May 2016. The traditional curtain-raiser for the season, The FA Community Shield, takes place on Sunday 2 August".

FA Trophy:

  • Sat 3 Oct FA Trophy Preliminary
  • Sat 31 Oct FA Trophy 1Q
  • Sat 14 Nov FA Trophy 2Q
  • Sat 28 Nov FA Trophy 3Q
  • Sat 12 Dec FA Trophy 1Proper
  • Sat 16 Jan FA Trophy 2P
  • Sat 6 Feb FA Trophy 3P
  • Sat 27 Feb FA Trophy 4P
  • Sat 12 Mar FA Trophy SF(1)
  • Sat 19 Mar FA Trophy SF(2)
  • Sun 22 May FA Trophy Final

FA Youth Cup

  • Mon 7 Sep FA Youth Cup P+
  • Mon 21 Sep FA Youth Cup 1Q+
  • Mon 5 Oct FA Youth Cup 2Q+
  • Mon 19 Oct FA Youth Cup 3Q+
  • Sat 7 Nov FA Youth Cup 1P*
  • Sat 21 Nov FA Youth Cup 2P*
  • Sat 19 Dec FA Youth Cup 3P*
  • Sat 16 Jan FA Youth Cup 4P*
  • Sat 6 Feb FA Youth Cup 5P*
  • Sat 27 Feb FA Youth Cup 6P*
  • Sat 19 Mar FA Youth Cup SF(1)*
  • Sat 9 Apr FA Youth Cup SF(2)

Other important dates include:

  • Wed 4 May Football Conference SF Play Offs to Sun 8 May
  • Sat 14 May National League North & South Promotion Finals
  • Sun 22 May FA Vase Final
  • Fri 10 June UEFA Euro 2016 commences
  • Sun 10 July UEFA Euro 2016 Final

13 May 2015


There will be a combined Presentation Evening for the Altrincham FC under-18 and under-17 football teams to celebrate their successful seasons. The under-18s won the NWYA Premier Division league title whilst the under-17s won the Cheshire County FA District Youth Cup as representatives of the Altrincham & District FA.

The presentation event will take place on Friday 29 May at 7pm in the Commmunity Sports Hall at the J. Davidson Stadium. As well as the players and their families, supporters are also very welcome to attend.

Youth manager George Heslop was delighted to see a good turn out of Altrincham supporters at the league title decider last Sunday and thanks everyone who attended. George has now won the NWYA Premier title five times (1999, 2001, 2004, 2010 and this season), whilst the District Cup has been won six times by Altrincham during his tenure, which is more than by any other club.


Joint Press and Media Officer, John Edwards, reports that "Lee Sinnott has bolstered Altrincham’s midfield for next season by capturing experienced former Republic of Ireland under-21 international Josh O’Keefe from Kidderminster.

After releasing Peter Cavanagh and Sean Williams at the end of last season, midfield was one of the priority areas for the Alty manager, and he was delighted to have attracted 26-year old O’Keefe to The J. Davidson Stadium.

‘He was at Hereford before Kidderminster, so he comes here with the right pedigree and experience, and the good thing is, he’s just approaching his prime years,’ said Sinnott. ‘He fits the bill in many ways, when you consider the players who left the club.

‘At 6ft 3in, and with an engine that gets him from box to box, I can see him being a valuable addition to the club. I know all about his history, and it includes having an eye for goal. Looking at areas we need to improve on, I’d say he ticks a lot of boxes.

‘I’m looking to bring in a couple of midfielders, and I’m delighted Josh is the first. He’s a big lad, and he’s also left footed, which stands out a bit for me. In a perfect scenario, you want your left-back, left centre-back and left central midfielder to be left footed. It provides a nice balance, and he will help in that respect.

‘If you look at his strengths, he has always scored goals, particularly in his time at Hereford [where he also took penalties] and he has good energy levels. You need players to be adaptable, to be able to fit into whatever system you want to use, and I don’t think Josh will have a problem with that.’

Alty have announced their pre-season programme and will face League opposition in Crewe and Port Vale, the latter visiting The J.Davidson the Saturday before the launch of the new campaign.

‘You always look for the right blend with pre-season friendlies, and I’m happy we have struck that,’ added Sinnott. ‘Port Vale will give us an idea of where we stand, and I’m sure everyone at the club will be looking forward to that one.’"

Josh was at Walsall before moving to Lincoln City. A loan spell with Southport followed before he joined Hereford United and then Kidderminster. Loan spells at AFC Telford United and Chester FC occupied the autumn/winter period of 2014.


He was a substitute at Wembley at the weekend but NL Daily confirms that "Glossop North End left back Sam Grimshaw is heading from Wembley to Wonderland and can hardly believe his luck writes NLD blogger Ken Gaunt

The defender, 21, will spend pre-season with his boyhood idols Manchester United in the hope of winning a contract. However Grimshaw is in the dark about joining Wayne Rooney and co on tour of America after his manager Chris Willcock suggested as much.

'I have not been told that', he said. 'All I know is I am doing a pre-season and playing some games after training with United for the past five weeks. It is a big opportunity of course and I have got to try and take the chance, as I have always been a fan of the club. They asked me to go in for a one-week trial and that was extended until the end of the season. Now they want me to go back in July. It’s brilliant'.

Grimshaw, a kids football coach by day in Stockport, came on after 69 minutes but could not prevent Glossop losing 2-1 after extra time to North Shields in the FA Vase final.

Willcock [who the NL Paper states is an ex-Alty player, too] said, 'Sam has been invited by Manchester United to go on tour of America which is a great coup for the club. Hopefully we can get a few quid for him that can go on the budget, which will be nice. He is a young man with really good qualities. He is still learning and being in and around a club of the stature of Manchester United can only help him develop'”.


The Football Conference says that "Conference North club AFC Fylde have signed Dominic Collins from Southport... The 24-year-old defender has played for Port for the past three seasons...

Collins began his career with Preston North End and had spells with Crawley Town, Chester FC and Hereford United before joining Southport. [Fylde boss, Dave] Challinor said, 'He’s spent the last three years playing in the Conference Premier and at 24, although young, has good experience'".

And back at Haig Avenue, "Southport have confirmed that manager Paul Carden has committed his future at the Merseyrail Community Stadium by signing a contract.

Chairman Charlie Clapham said, 'Already Paul has been building for next season with the re-signing of Richard Brodie and Luke Foster.'

Carden added, 'It is an honour to manage Southport Football Club, we all need to work hard and strive for success. Our supporters home and away have been superb and I am determined to put together a quality squad during the summer'".

Meanwhile, "Gary Johnson, manager of Cheltenham Town has made his first new signings. Defender Aaron Downes became the former Kettering Town and Yeovil Town boss`s first new signing of the summer. The 29-year-old Australian left new league rivals Torquay United at the end of the season after three years at Plainmoor... and spent time on loan at Bristol Rovers in 2012...

Former Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Jack Munns became new signing number two on a one-year deal. Twenty-one-year-old Munns has also been on the books of Leyton Orient and Charlton Athletic and he impressed Johnson during a recent trial match at Whaddon Road. "

There's something of an overlap with Alty's pre-season games at Chester as NL Daily tells us that "Chester FC have officially announced four pre-season matches... The Blues will host League One side Rochdale... Then, Steve Burr's side will visit Trafford... before facing Conference North outfit Hednesford at Keys Park... Chester will also be visiting Stalybridge Celtic".

Just across the border in the Principality, "Wrexham have released captain Dean Keates after nearly five years at the Conference club. The 36-year-old midfielder joined from Wycombe in August 2010 and has made more than 150 appearances for the Welsh side.

Keates, who criticised ex-boss Kevin Wilkin for outdated training methods, signed a one-year extension in May 2014 but has not been offered a new deal. However, Keates' fellow midfielder Jay Harris has been offered a new contract."

According to the BBC "Welling United defender Ben Jefford has signed a new one-year deal... The 20-year-old left-back made 29 league appearances for the Wings this season...

Jefford, who joined Welling from Port Vale last summer, also had a spell on loan at Conference South side Ebbsfleet earlier this year. He is the fourth player to sign a new deal at Park View Road this month. Sam Corne, Joey Taylor and Barney Williams extended their contracts with Welling last week. "

Football Economy tells us that "As Bristol Rovers prepare for a play-off final that could return them to the Football League after one season, they are also appearing in the High Court to sue Sainsbury's.

The supermarket chain was going to bulloze the Memorial Ground to build a supermarket. However, with the changes in the retail sector, they have pulled out of the scheme. They claim that it is because they are unhappy with conditions in the planning permission that restrict the number of trucks that can deliver at night.

The change of heart is seen as catastrophic to the club, putting it in a perilous financial position. The redevelopment is crucial to the club's hopes of building a new stadium next to the University of West of England campus on the northern fringes of Bristol. If the club wins the case, Sainsbury's could have to pay as much as £30m in damages."

12 May 2015


Altrincham have arranged a number of pre-season games with a couple more still to be confirmed. They are as follows:
  • Tuesday, 7th July Away: ABBEY HEY
  • Saturday, 11th July: Away BAMBER BRIDGE
  • Tuesday, 14th July: Home TBC
  • Saturday, 18th July: Away STALYBRIDGE CELTIC
  • Tuesday, 21st July: Away WITTON
  • Friday, 24th July: Home CREWE ALEXANDRA
  • Tuesday, 28th July: Away TRAFFORD
  • Saturday, 1st August: Home PORT VALE

As previously announced the new National League season commences on Saturday, 8th August.


Mike Ripley has excellent photos of the Altrincham v Chester Youth match in which Alty clinched the Premier Division title of the NW Youth Alliance. They can be viewed here.


We read in the Holker Street Newsletter that "Barrow's side for next season is beginning to fall into place with the news that the club have offered one-year deals to Aaran Taylor and Alex-Ray Harvey, but we will be saying goodbye to Andy Burns, Johnny Gorman, Karl Ledsham and [ex-Alty loanee] Sam Sheridan have been released. Of those players not on this list, the club held talks with Niall Cowperthwaite, Andy Haworth and Dan Pilkington on Thursday.

Darren Edmondson has been taking stock of the last twelve months, and spoke with the Mail regarding Barrow's return to the Conference Premier, and with regards to Paul Casson's comments that he anticipated Barrow to be in the running for a second promotion at the end of the 2015-16 season, he told us, 'You must have expectations that are high, but at the same time let's be realistic about it. We're a big football club, but just look at the two clubs that are coming down - Cheltenham and Tranmere - they are phenomenal clubs. So the League is getting better every season, but me and [ex-Alty man] Alex (Meechan, AFC assistant boss) are ambitious'".

The Newsletter adds that "The Mail tells us that, Barrow AFC director Jamie Reid is set to meet Manchester-based firm AFL Architects to discuss the ambitious Holker Street redevelopment. Items on the agenda could include discussing what grants may be available to the club and a potential timetable, relating to such vital issues as the design plan, which has yet to be finalised, and fan consultation."

In the NW Evening Mail we read that "It’s onwards and upwards says Barrow AFC's ambitious millionaire owner Paul Casson...

Casson, a millionaire who lives in Dallas but was brought up in Barrow, expects the Bluebirds to once again be fighting for promotion honours in non-league’s top-flight next season, following their 2014/15 Conference North title triumph. 'I expect us to be in the play-off conversation,' is how the Bluebirds owner put it...

Switching from a part-time training set-up to full-time will also be a crucial development as Barrow prepare to compete with the likes of relegated League Two duo Tranmere Rovers and Cheltenham Town, plus other Conference big guns next term... Casson says the move is essential. He points out the obvious benefits relating to improved fitness and affording the club’s management team more time to work with their players, who will be able to deal with long-distance journeys more comfortably without the hassle of also holding down a job outside football.

Altrincham are an example of a club that resisted the temptation of going full-time after earning Conference North promotion, via the play-offs, last year. The part-timers should be applauded for maintaining their Conference status this season with a 17th-placed finish, ending up 11 points clear of the drop zone. But Casson says part-time set-ups seriously struggle to compete on all fronts.

'It is almost impossible to do,' he said. 'It is impossible to compete for promotion, in the FA Cup, in the FA Trophy and in any other competition we might want to compete in as a part-time club, that’s impossible. You just basically survive... And I don’t think there is anything wrong with that, but you’re just surviving in mid-table... If you really are serious about getting out of it then it requires a proper effort.'...

The AFC chairman intends to have a new full-time CEO in place before the start of next season, with the successful candidate set to operate at Holker Street for at least part of the week/... 'Darren [Edmondson, manager] is full-time, Alex , assistant manager] is full time, here’s the whole aspect of the club; there’s the growth of the academy, etc...

I don’t know whether Brackley[?!] have a guy in that position (CEO), but Tranmere probably do or any of those guys'... Casson also indicated Barrow should continue to utilise young talent from the community by taking on more interns and work experience staff... Launching the club’s new kit for 2015/16 at a glitzy New Year’s Day bash inside London’s lavish Gherkin building also attracted national media coverage. Barrow will be aiming to make the most of their kit partnership with Ulverston-based St Mary’s Hospice next season...

'We’ll basically go into a much more aggressive marketing campaign in terms of raising the profile of the club through pretty much all of the outlets that are available to us,' Casson said... 'Barrow AFC is just going to become more a part of the community, that was always the plan. We were maybe a little reticent because we hadn’t really achieved anything yet, so we didn’t want to be way too over the top because I’m sure people would look at each other go ‘what have they done? But now we have done something, so watch out!'"

The Football Conference says that "Forest Green Rovers have confirmed that Jamie Day has been appointed as the club’s new assistant-manager. The 35-year-old joins the club as number two to Ady Pennock, having recently come to an end of a spell as player-manager at Conference South side Ebbsfleet United.

Once manager at Welling United, Day’s arrival at The New Lawn sees him rekindle a working relationship with Pennock with the two having previously worked together at the Wings with Pennock as manager, and Day in a playing role. Pennock has operated without an assistant since Dave Kevan’s departure to Football League side Notts County at the end of March, so Day’s arrival helps boost the coaching set-up ahead of the club’s 2015/16 campaign...

Day said, 'I’ve played under Ady as a player and hopefully now I’ll have a really good spell as a coach working alongside him. It’s something I’ve always wanted to do and I’m really looking forward to it. I’ve got the experience of managing to help Ady. I’ve worked as a coach before at youth level and as a number two, so it gives me another side of the game at a higher level to work with.'"

From NL Daily we learn that "Cheltenham Town have signed centre-half Aaron Downes following his release by Torquay United. The 29-year-old Australian left Plainmoor last month following a three-year stay, during which time he made 115 appearances, scoring 16 times. Downes joined the Gulls from Chesterfield, for whom he played 194 times in the Football League".

According to the BBC, "Boreham Wood manager Ian Allinson wants to add experience to his side following their promotion to the Conference... with a play-off final victory over Whitehawk.

'Once the season starts it may be a massive shock for us or we could hit it running,' the 57-year-old told BBC Three Counties Radio. 'We are quite a young side and we probably more experience in and players that are used to the league.' The former Colchester United and Arsenal winger admitted the pressure he felt his side were under to achieve promotion, having finished as runners-up to champions Bromley in the Conference South table.

'It's an amazing achievement from everybody, the chairman, the football club, myself, the players have put a tremendous amount of hard work in, not only this season, but over the last four or five years,' said Allinson, who has been in charge since 2008. 'We sat down on a couple of occasions and we said that if we did not do it this year, we didn't think we would do it for a while. We were going to lose players like Lee Angol (on loan from Luton) and it was important we had to get in a league where we could keep hold of five or six of our best players... The first thing is we have to try and avoid relegation (next season),' he added. 'If we finish fifth from bottom it would be a tremendous achievement, then we need to start to try and improve and see where it takes us'".

The Chester Chronicle has "A round-up of the latest news and player movements from the Vanarama Conference" which includes the following, all previously reported...


  • Aldershot Town: Shots' manager Barry Smith has offered contracts to Sean McGinty and Jim Stevenson after the duo impressed on loan at the Recreation Ground. Rochdale have released 21-year-old defender McGinty while 22-year-old midfielder Stevenson has left Luton Town.
  • Cheltenham Town: Ex-Torquay defender Aaron Downes has joined the relegated Robins, becoming manager Gary Johnson's first signing of the summer. Trevor Carson, Jack Deaman, Omari Sterling-James, Matt Taylor, Lee Vaughan and Jamal Lawrence have been transfer-listed, while Durrell Berry, Craig Braham-Barrett, Troy Brown, Danny Haynes, Mathieu Manset, Matt Richards, Matt Gould and Andy Haworth have been released.
  • Dover Athletic: Whites manager Chris Kinnear has signed commanding centre-back Jamie Grimes from Kidderminster Harriers.
  • Kidderminster Harriers: Jared Hodgkiss has committed to Harriers for next season... Aman Verma has also agreed terms on a new deal but fellow midfielder Jack Byrne has asked for time to consider his options. Heading through the exit door are Jamie Grimes, who has joined Dover, and keeper Jas Singh.
  • Lincoln City: Top scorer Ben Tomlinson and ex-Chester left-back Sean Newton head the list of names departing Sincil Bank. Jack Caprice, Todd Jordan, Arnaud Mendy and Delano Sam-York are also leaving. Imps boss Chris Moyses has offered new deals to Hamza Bencherif, Nat Brown, Tom Miller and Jon Nolan, but under-contract pair Jordan Burrow and Tony Diagne have been made available for transfer.
  • Southport: Captain Luke Foster has agreed to remain with the Sandgrounders.
  • Tranmere Rovers: Peter Brezovan, Adam Dugdale, Iain Hume, Kayode Odejayi, Rob Taylor, Josh Thompson and Owain Fon Williams are leaving Prenton Park following relegation. Rovers' boss Gary Brabin has offered star midfielder Max Power a new deal, although he has been linked with a move into the Football League.
  • Welling United: Right-back Barney Williams and midfielder Sam Corne have signed two-year contracts with the Wings. Manager Loui Fazakerley has rewarded left-back Joey Taylor for his progress with a 12-month deal.
  • Wrexham: New boss Gary Mills has released fringe squad members Theo Bailey-Jones, Nick Rushton, Anthony Stephens and Ross Weaver, but youngsters Andy Coughlin, Louis Gray, Connor Jennings, Jonathan Royle and Sean Smith have been offered deals. Last season's standout performer Manny Smith has agreed a new 12-month deal at the Racecourse. Ex-Chester pair Jay Harris and Neil Ashton are among those whose future have still to be resolved."

The Torquay Herald Express informs us that "The new Torquay United Supporters' Trust has launched a fresh 'fighting fund' call for what it calls 'significant donations' against a background of delays in talks over a takeover of the Plainmoor club. Negotiations between United owner Thea Bristow, her advisor Kelvin Thomas and a group of investors – they seemed close to agreement at the end of last week – appear to have stalled...

Fans fear what may happen if the talks end in failure, and TUST is launching a fund-raising drive to give it a chance to step in if that happens. In a letter to TUST members, chairman Michael Golbourne said, 'TUST would welcome particularly generous donations to the 'Forever Yellow' fund over the forthcoming weeks. Such contributions, beyond the normal standards of generosity, could make an enormous difference if we needed to take immediate positive action in the name of Torquay United'...

The Vanarama Football Conference, or National League, as it will be called next season, will require assurances early next month that its clubs' structures and finances are in place to fulfil their 2015-2016 fixtures. If there are doubts on those scores, the competition has in the past demanded a 'bond', as much as £250,000, as a guarantee. Former Oxford United chairman Thomas stressed that talks with the still-unnamed group of potential buyers are ongoing."

11 May 2015


With a 3-2 win over league leaders Chester, Altrincham leapfrogged the visitors at Clay Lane to secure the Premier Division title in the NW Youth Alliance League. Alty took the lead against the run of play just before the interval, with Arrowsmith the scorer. Likewise, Chester equalised after Alty had been the better side for the first twenty minutes of the second period (65 mins). But two late goals, from Dwyer (79 mins) and Davis (90+4 mins), put Alty in the driving seat. The referee inexplicably played nine minutes of added time and, in the sixth of those, Chester pulled back a goal.

Match reporthere.


Phil Taylor's match report on the Altrincham Ladies 1-0 win over Chester, last Sunday, is now here.

Right: Kate celebrates the goal against Chester. (Photo courtesy of Phil Taylor).


The Football Conference reports that "With manager Gary Mills only recently taking on his new role, Wrexham have taken a first step with regards to players out of contract this summer. Initially addressing the younger players, offers of re-employment have been made to goalkeeper Andy Coughlin, Louis Gray, Connor Jennings, Jonathan Royle and Sean Smith.

Those not offered terms and free to look for new clubs are Theo Bailey-Jones, Nick Rushton, Anthony Stephens and Ross Weaver. At present, the following players are contracted for 2015/16 goalkeeper Mark Carrington, Robbie Evans, Blaine Hudson, Manny Smith, Steve Tomassen, Luke Waterfall, Ross White and Wes York.

In addition, offers of first year professional contracts have been made to Iwan Cartwright, Jake Doran, Danny Reynolds, Aaron Simpson and Joe Williams."

At Kidderminster Harriers, "Boss Gary Whild has hailed the decision of Player of the Season Jared Hodgkiss to re-sign for Harriers as a 'massive boost' to the club... It was key news for Whild who praised the impact the 28 year-old has made in Worcester following his switch from Forest Green Rovers around a year ago.

He told the official website, 'Jas has turned out to be exactly what we thought when we signed him. He's had a great season and deservedly swept the board with the end of season awards. When we spoke about the new deal, which he knew was there, he was very excited and it was almost like he was signing for the first time'...

In a turbulent season, Hodgkiss appeared 47 times for Harriers in all competitions, scoring one league goal... Whild added, 'He's delighted that we could offer him the deal that was on the table and there was no hesitation'...

The manager also offered more detail on the futures of two other players who'd triggered similar clauses in their contracts following the conclusion of the season. Midfield pair Jack Byrne and Aman Verma both have new deals on the table and the boss stated that Byrne will be taking time to consider his options, while Verma had agreed to stay at Aggborough.

He added, 'Jack has a few things he wants to consider and is taking time to do that, as you might expect and as is understandable. Aman has come full circle in terms of being settled back in full-time football, which is something he'd wanted. Now I'm expecting him to kick on as he'll be a more important player for us'".


Trafford "are pleased to announce that 30 year-old former Chorley FC player is the new Club Manager. Previously with Barnsley, Altrincham, Gainsborough Trinity , Scarborough, Bradford Park Avenue, FC Halifax Town and Droylsden he was a ball playing midfielder who was a dead ball specialist. Last season Tom was forced to retire, after 17 months out, in February 2015.

Following a week of interviews involving some extremely high profile individuals, Baker was appointed to take over the reins from the recently departed Graham Heathcote. The Club Directors were tremendously impressed with his passion for the game, enthusiasm and extensive knowledge of the non-league scene. Baker enjoyed an illustrious playing career having signed for Barnsley in 2001. He then signed a full time contract with Scarborough in 2005 but left the club following a succession of injuries...

Tom Baker says, 'I'm proud to be the man selected to take the club forward and can't wait to get started'".

10 May 2015


Congratulations go to the Altrincham FC under-17 team which this weekend lifted the Cheshire County FA's District Youth Cup with a 3-1 win over The Wirral FA at Vauxhall Motors. Altrincham's scorers were Ashley Knowles, Dominic Newton and Joe Conway.


Neil Faulkner reminds us of the excellent fundraising efforts of Andrew Brannan on behalf of Altrincham Football Club and its Community Hall. Neil says, "The total that Andrew has raised is over £2000 now, from his JustGiving site and a contribution of £500 from his employer. What a fantastic effort!"

Andrew has explained his motivation...

"I chose to raise funds for the Community Hall for various reasons really but mainly because, since I've had an association with the club via my son playing for the AFC Tigers and going to matches over the last couple of years, I felt that the club genuinely wants to put something back into the local community.

For me 'community' and knowing what's going on immediately around where you live is very important. With the community hall project you have a tangible facility where you can see where the money is going and can actually see the benefits straightaway.

I ran the London marathon twice for another charity a few years ago and very much felt that I was part of a process rather than actually helping anyone, I was just a number.

In the Manchester marathon I had a bit of a nightmare because I usually hit 'the wall' at mile 16 and come back out if it again at mile 21... For some reason I never came back out it at all, so the last 10 miles I got a lot of cramp in my hamstrings and calves at one point I had 2 marshals working on a leg each to get me going again haha..!!). Saying that, I got a personal best of 4:33hr. I reckon I've got sub 4 hours in me so I am stepping up the training to achieve this.

What has particularly impressed me is how the people that I have spoken to at the club about this have actually said 'thank you', which is all that anyone wants, and makes you feel that the bit that you have done is actually valued, which is good enough for me.

Anyway I have put my name into the Ballot for the 2016 London Marathon and will find out in October whether I've managed to get a place or not or I may do the Manchester Marathon (or both... maybe!) and would be glad to raise funds for the club again.

Really nice bunch of people at the club, don't change what your doing; love it!

Cheers, Andrew Brannan".


In a dramatic Vanarama Conference North Promotion Final, Chorley gave away a two-goal lead to lose 3-2 at home to Guiseley, who have finally made it to the national level of the Conference after four previous play-off disappointments.

Chorley went ahead through Andrew Teague (5) and Paul Jarvis (23) before Adam Boyes (51), Liam Dickinson (73) and Nicky Boshell (78) responded for the Yorkshiremen, The gate at Victory Park was 3,418. Chorley's side included ex-Robins' loanee James Dean, whilst on the bench were Matthew Flynn and Aaron Burns. Guiseley also had some ex-Robins namely Ryan Toulson, Danny Hall and Danny Boshell.

In the Conference South it was Boreham Wood who gained promotion by beating Sussex club Whitehawk 2-1, after extra time.

9 May 2015


The Chester Chronicle tells us that "Top-of-the-table Blues face second-placed Altrincham in North West Youth Alliance Premier Division title decider... Chester FC Youth boss Calum McIntyre believes his players will rise to the challenge in this weekend’s North West Youth Alliance Premier Division title decider.

Chester are in pole position with one game remaining and head to nearest challengers Altrincham in a winner-takes-all showdown on Sunday (2.30pm). To even be in contention for the championships represents a fine achievement for the Blues, who made a slow start to the season before hitting form after Christmas with nine wins from 10 games.

McIntyre said, 'We’re in a fantastic position going in to Sunday. I think these are the sort of games that are great for our lads development, given the occasion. It’s a great way to end the season facing the team closest to you and I know our lads will relish this sort of opportunity'.

Chester are one of the youngest teams in the division and many of the players will be eligible for under-18s football again next season. The Blues started 2015 with four straight wins, scoring 17 times and conceding just once in the process... Several members of the squad have been invited to train with the first team and manager Steve Burr fielded a number of youth teamers in a behind closed doors game with Port Vale.

Sponsorship from Malthouse & Company and Rainbow Slush means the team will be travelling to Sunday’s game on the club’s first team coach.

'The form we’ve been in since the turn of the year is magnificent, we just have to do it one more time,' said McIntyre... 'We’re very confident ahead of Sunday. For such a young squad to show the character we have is huge and we are ready to try and finish the job on Sunday having done what we’ve done in the second part of the season. As long as I’ve been involved with the youth team at Chester, we’ve always risen to big occasions and I am sure Sunday will be no different. There is an excitement in the group and a real confidence too. We can’t wait'".


Saturday at 3pm is the time for the EvoStik premier play-offs to determine who is promoted to the National League...
  • Chorley v Guiseley
  • Boreham Wood v Whitehawk


Altrincham FC is again running its Patrons' Club. Chairman Grahame Rowley writes:

"It doesn’t seem a few weeks since I wrote this letter last season, but what a first season we have had in the Vanarama Conference. We’re now asking for people to join the 2015-16 Patrons' Scheme.

For the bargain sum of £50, your name will appear throughout the season 2015-16 in the matchday programme for every home game and on the club’s official website as a Patron of the Football Club.

In August, every Patron will be entered into a prize draw with the winner being match sponsor for an appointed game along with 9 guests. Second prize will be hospitality for 5 people and third prize hospitality for 3 people in the Sponsor Lounge; the value of the 1st prize is £550.

If you are interested in becoming a Patron again this season or joining for the first time please forward a cheque payable to “Altrincham FC” for £50 for the attention of Grahame Rowley.

If you require further information, please speak to me on 07720-606897 or e-mail me.

We need your support even more for the forthcoming season, as we look to 'push on' in the Conference National, so please help the club through the close season by joining up today.

Thank you.

Grahame Rowley, Chairman.

Grahame reports, "To date we have 50 people signed up, who are...
  1. James Regan
  2. Stan Riley
  3. Isabel Riley
  4. Adam Martell
  5. Alan Murray
  6. Thomas Murray
  7. Katie Murray
  8. John Laidlar
  9. Dana Laidlar
  10. Terry Surridge
  11. James Surridge
  12. Claire Allan
  13. Bob Allan
  14. John Rooke
  15. David Meadows
  16. Simon Ellis
  17. Matthew Wheeler
  18. Bryan Ford
  19. Dr Nigel Lord
  20. George Heslop
  21. Mike & Louise Alexander
  22. Neil Faulkner
  23. Celia Hodgkinson
  24. Dave Baldwin
  25. The Late Tom Baldwin
  26. Richard Parris
  27. Abi Parris
  28. Dan Parris
  29. May Davis
  30. Nigel Davis
  31. Jane Massey
  32. Denis Massey
  33. Sheila Crompton
  34. Neil Dawson
  35. Steve Foster
  36. Barry & Carol Pond
  37. Grahame Rowley
  38. Karen Rowley
  39. Chris Rowley
  40. Stacey Rowley
  41. Daisy Rowley
  42. Penny Rowley
  43. Dan Jones
  44. Sarah Rowley-Jones
  45. Robert Sharpe
  46. Martin Green
  47. John Green
  48. Peter Wragg
  49. Gillian Wragg
  50. John Skelhorn


Mark Maddox is the well deserved winner of the #MyProudMoment competition. Congratulations!


The Daily Mail reports that "Sunderland starlet Duncan Watmore scoops Barclays U21 Premier League Player of the Month award...

Duncan Watmore scored four goals in as many games for Sunderland in April to scoop the Barclays Under-21 Premier League Player of the Month award. The 21-year-old striker netted in wins against Southampton, Norwich and Tottenham as the Black Cats climbed to third in the table, and has been chosen ahead of all the players in Division 1 and 2 for the accolade based on his performance statistics.

What would you say is your style of play?

'I'm quite a direct player, I try to use my pace and run at the defenders. I can play on the wing, or as a striker so I look to use that as much as possible'.

You made your Sunderland debut a year ago - so what's the difference between training with the first team and training with the Under 21s?

'When you play at that standard you improve as a player naturally. It's very beneficial. Intensity, tempo; the pace of the game is a lot quicker, a lot sharper. For example, say you have a couple of seconds in U21s, you might only have half a second in the first team.

Who do you look up to in first team?

Well you've obviously got the John O'Sheas and the Wes Browns, they're class with you when you go over there. To be honest, all of them are very welcoming and are always willing to give you advce on how to improve. Catts [Lee Cattermole] is the same.

Best advice you can remember?

I quite like to run the ball but sometimes I do it in stupid situations. Game management and experience are important and they [first team players] know that part of the game so well. When to go, when to not, they improve your decision making.

Have you spoken to Dick Advocaat?

If I make the wrong decision he'll be telling me how I can improve. You pick up on how he runs the sessions and what he likes, you adapt to it.

What do you do to relax away from football?

I'm studying economics and business management at Newcastle University, so that degree takes up most of my time if I'm honest. I'm in my final year there.

That's different! What are the club like with that?

I get a bit of stick here and there but most of the time it's all good! They give me time off to do exams, so that's really helped...

Who would you tip to make it at Sunderland?

Jordan Pickford [goalkeeper]. He's been playing really well recently, kept a lot of clean sheets and his distribution is really good.

Best player you've ever played against?

Sterling or Januzaj for the U21s. Januzaj scored a hat-trick against us!

What would you be doing if you weren't a footballer?

Probably exactly the same as I'm doing now! Enjoying my degree. I did my first year at Manchester before I was signed [from Altrincham in 2013], so I'd still be there I imagine.

You've had your fair share of loans... what are your plans for next season?

Next year I want to break into the first team. It's a great club here, so that's my ideal play. Everyone here is desperate for us to stay up! We belong in the Premier League'".

Duncan's reaction is recorded on video.


The Football Conference confirms that "A non-League football double-header will be piloted at Wembley Stadium next season with both the FA Trophy and the FA Vase Finals taking place on Sunday, 22nd May 2016. It will be the first time ever that Wembley Stadium has hosted two FA national competition finals on the same day..

Tomorrow [Saturday] over 10,000 fans are expected at Wembley Stadium to see Glossop North End and North Shields battle it out for the Vase. The FA’s director of National Game, Kelly Simmons MBE, said, 'We’re lucky to have a fantastic non-League football culture in this country. Having both the FA Trophy and Vase finals on the same day will not only celebrate two great competitions but provide real value for money for fans and neutral supporters who want to be a part of an historical first for Wembley Stadium... We’ve always been committed to hosting the Finals at Wembley Stadium.

BT Sport has backed up that commitment by broadcasting this season’s FA Trophy Final live and will show highlights of Saturday’s Vase Final".


The Football Conference says that "Aarran Racine will line up as a Forest Green Rovers player for a fourth consecutive season with the defender having agreed a new one-year contract with the club... which now makes him the longest-serving member of the squad".

And "Wrexham`s first signing of the summer is Manny Smith, who has agreed a new one-year contract for 2015/16".

Elsewhere, "The Board has accepted the decision of Chris Moyses to stand down as a Director of Vanarama Conference club Lincoln City. Whilst he will continue to work closely with the chairman and the other members of the Board, Moyses' decision to stand down from the Board of Directors will allow him to concentrate fully on footballing matters in his role as first-team manager."

At Gateshead< "Chairman Graham Wood announces his intention to seek a new owner for Gateshead Football Club. On his decision, Wood comments, 'This has undoubtedly been one of the toughest decisions I have ever taken. However, having reached the age of 71, I feel it is an appropriate time to hand over ownership to a suitable individual or individuals who share my aspirations for the club.

When I became Chairman in 2006 I set a target of creating a self-sustaining business by the time I was 70, through the creation of a new stadium designed to provide additional income streams and/or by regaining membership of the Football League. The new stadium project is ongoing and we came agonisingly close to regaining League status in last year’s Play-Off Final at Wembley. However, it wasn’t to be, and ,despite having invested considerable time and money during the past nine years, I would be more than delighted if someone else came in and took the club past that final hurdle. I am a fan, first and foremost.

We have come a long way during those nine years. Attendances continue to grow substantially and we are attracting some of the region’s best blue chip companies and organisations as sponsors, partners and corporate guests. A new owner will not only inherit a debt-free club but also a base-line of funding which is secure for next season and with potential to increase further. So, the foundation has been well and truly set for a new owner to build upon and continue my dream of regaining Football League status for the town following an absence of fifty-five years.

I advised my fellow directors of my intention to retire several months ago... We have recently been holding discussions with a potential investor and planned to make an announcement at the end of the season. However, talks are still ongoing. I will continue in the role of Chairman until the end of June at the latest during which time I will be working extensively alongside Brian with the target of securing a new owner by the end of May...

Naturally, the appointment of a new manager will be delayed until a new owner is in place. Meanwhile, players’ contracts run until the 30th of June".

NL Daily reports that "Assistant-manager Alex Russell has left Southport. Russell is wishing to explore coaching opportunities abroad. Manager Paul Carden and the club have thanked Alex Russell for his part in maintaining their Conference national status this season".

Chester FC "can confirm the players leaving the Deva Stadium following the conclusion of the 2014/15 Vanarama Conference season... Players that have left the club at the end of their current contracts are:

  • Liam Blake
  • Matthew Brown
  • Kieran Charnock
  • Jamie Menagh
  • Gareth Roberts
  • Ibou Touray
  • Peter Winn

The TOrquay Herald Express says that "'Sale broker' Kelvin Thomas stresses that negotiations are still ongoing over a deal for Torquay United owner Thea Bristow to hand over control of the Plainmoor club, but he insisted that getting the right deal is more important than getting a quick one.

Former Oxford United chairman Thomas, the man advising Mrs Bristow, admitted, 'We had hoped to get some resolution by the end of this week, as I said earlier... There are obviously still conversations happening behind the scenes... Everybody is well aware that it's an uncertain time at the club, and it's very important that we get resolution quickly'...

Mrs Bristow agreed 'in principle' to a deal with one group of mystery investors several weeks ago, but it clear that further negotiations have now reached a critical stage... The delay has prompted one or two other contenders to begin jockeying for position. It is understood that some current directors are still interested in being involved in a future regime, while other groups of local fans, including TUST (Torquay United Supporters' Trust), are also in the wings."

8 May 2015


Above with Club Secretary Derek Wilshaw and chairman Grahame Rowley, we see four of Altrincham's players signing on for the 2015-16 season at the Football Club. They are, top row, Damian Reeves and Jake Moult and below them, James Lawrie and Nicky Clee. Nicky joined the club in July 2009, Damian in June 2010, James in August 2011 and Jake in August 2012.

As an aside, the photos show that Nicky Clee is left-footed but right-handed while James Lawrie is both left-footed and left-handed!


The Altrincham FC Goal Rush competition has been won by Chris Blackburn. Chris is asked to e-mail Grahame Rowley to arrange for the handover of his prize. The Club thanks all those supporters who participated. The final results are here.


The Football Conference reports that "Following discussions with members of his playing squad, Eastleigh manager Richard Hill has confirmed the names of the players who will be leaving or extending their stay with the Vanarama Conference club...

Players who are being released are Dean Beckwith, Deon Burton, Craig McAllister, Dan Spence, Craig Stanley, Harry Pell and Dan Walker.

Players who have been offered new contracts are Jai Reason, Ben Strevens, Yemi Odubade, Lewis Noice, Will Evans, Michael Green and Joe Partington.

Players already under contract for 2015/16 season are goalkeeper Ross Flitney, top scorer James Constable, Jack Midson, Paul Reid and Jamie Turley.

Hill has revealed that Chris Todd has been offered the role of assistant-manager/ first-team coach for the coming season and, at this time he is contemplating the offer before deciding where his future lies. Hill also said that several weeks back the experienced Brian Howard made him aware that at the end of the season he would not be extending his stay at Eastleigh as he was going to pursue other avenues and that, during the final few weeks of the season, he would try his upmost to see the club into the play-offs".

We learn from the Basildon Recorder that "Danny Cowley has vowed not to 'rip the heart out of Concord Rangers' as he was unveiled as Braintree Town’s new boss on Tuesday. The former "Beach Boys"' manager joined the Conference National side last week, after eight years in south Essex... While pleased with the current crop of Braintree players, he has not ruled out looking to his former club amid speculation he could be about to raid the Aspect Arena for some of his former charges.

'I won’t look to rip the heart out of Concord Rangers', he said. 'I don’t think that would be right. Having said that, if I feel that anyone can improve this football club, I’ll look to bring them in'...

He led the Beach Boys to three promotions in his eight years at the club, taking them into the Conference South where they secured a seventh-places finish this term. 'From my point of view, I look back at the success we had at Concord Rangers,' he said. 'I think the key to success is knowing how you achieved it. Once you know how you’ve achieved it, you can then replicate it. One of the cornerstones of our success was continuity. In eight years, we went from a Step Five club in the Essex Senior League, all the way through to a Conference South team. Three or four of the players were with us for the whole eight years and certainly in three or four seasons, we kept the group together. Player relationships on and off the pitch only grow through time and spirit and togetherness is something that’s key to a club like this.'

More news from the Football Conference is that "Goalkeeper Jasbir Singh as well as defender Jamie Grimes will be continuing their careers away from Kidderminster Harriers following the end of the recent season. As reported yesterday, Grimes, who made sixty-seven appearances, has moved on to league rivals Dover Athletic after signing a deal there earlier this week.

Shot-stopper Singh is also leaving following the end of his contract with the club, bringing to an end his second stay in Worcestershire. Harriers` manager Gary Whild said, 'It's particularly disappointing to lose Jamie to Dover but that is his decision'".

According to the Liverpool Echo "Tranmere Rovers have agreed to release seven players, all of whose contracts were scheduled to terminate at the end of the season.

They are goalkeepers Owain Fon Williams and Peter Brezovan, defenders Adam Dugdale, Josh Thompson and Rob Taylor and forwards Iain Hume and Kayode Odejayi. Fon Williams, 28, has been with Tranmere for four seasons, making 184 appearances. Brezovan was recruited this season and spent part of the campaign on loan at Southport. Centre-backs Dugdale and Thompson were signed on short term deals during the season, as was the versatile Taylor.

Odejayi joined Tranmere last summer and played 47 league and cup games, scoring eight goals. Hume returned for a second spall at Prenton Park in January, following a spell in the Indian Super League and made 11 appearances, most of them from the bench, without scoring.

Chairman Mark Palios said... 'Allowing them to leave early gives them the maximum time to consider what they want to do next, and we wish them all the best for the future'.

A new contract has been offered to Max Power, and Tranmere will be taking up one year contract options for first-year professionals Liam Davies and Sam Ramsbottom. Palios said... 'Max is a player who we believe has a very bright future in the game and we would like him to stay at the club as long as possible to help us regain our Football League status'. Tranmere have already announced that scholars Luke Pilling, Mitch Duggan, Evan Gumbs and Ben Jago have all been offered contracts for next year.

New manager Gary Brabin will be speaking to the remaining players during the course of the next two weeks to advise them whether they are likely to form part of his plans."

"We'll need a ton of goals if we are to bounce back immediately, [says] Cheltenham Town boss Gary Johnson" in the Gloucestershire Echo. "There are nearly 100 reasons why Gary Johnson wants to overhaul his Cheltenham Town squad... Johnson won the Football Conference with Yeovil Town back in 2003,– a season where his Glovers side scored precisely 100 goals over the course of 42 games...

And the Robins boss knows that a similar total will be required again... 'You have to score 96 goals in the Conference. if you are going to win promotion, so it's going to be a busy summer,' Johnson said. 'The club's target is to get immediate promotion back to the League. That's what the chairman has set out and I haven't come here to be mid-table in the Conference. That might happen, but it won't be for lack of trying but there are some good sides down there. We will be doing everything we can to get back into the League, and do it quickly as we feel that we are a Football League club.'

With all eight out of contract players released and a further six made available for transfer, Johnson is doing everything he can to overhaul his squad. He has already staged two trial games at Seasons in a bid to look at possible recruits... He has already identified a number of transfer targets... 'We have to try and catch the early bird if we can,' he said. 'If we can get three or four in pretty quickly, we can then have a look around for others. I won't mention names as others will start to get interested. I have to do my Inspector Clouseau bit, keep shtum and try to get some verbal commitment from players... I think it's important to do business early.

It's going to be a lot of work, a lot of phone calls and a lot of friends of mine having favours called in'.

While the playing budget has been cut, Johnson admitted that he will need to be savvy about how best to utilise the resources available to him. He is keen to operate with a squad of 20 first-team players next term and said that striking the right balance between expensive, experienced players and younger, cheaper ones will be crucial... Johnson said, 'We have to look to have as big a squad as possible but not look to do that at the expense of two or three marquee players. If you have players who are on decent money at the top end, you have to have some at the other end who aren't on much; that's how you work it. We have to look to operate with 20 players to see the season through and look for the loans to add to that as and when you need them.

We have some decent young players who are developing well. They are 18 or 19, they haven't had lots of experience, they are training with us and we'll see how they summer'".

7 May 2015


The NL Paper has published its "National Game Awards 2014-15 Shortlists... Now you need to cast your final vote and pick who you think should be at our annual awards lunch at Fulham’s Craven Cottage on Wednesday, May 20... You can vote by email, twitter or facebook using the hashtag #NGAvotes. Voting closes on Friday May 8 at midday...

Reusch Goalkeeper of the Year

  • Adam Nicklin (North Ferriby)
  • Dave Carnell (FC United)
  • Lee Worgan (Maidstone)
  • Stuart Coburn (Altrincham)
  • James McKeown (Grimsby)
  • Graham Stack (Barnet)


Altrincham FC is pleased to announce the signing of goalkeeper Tim Deasy (d.o.b. 1 October, 1985) from Northwich Victoria. Tim previously signed dual-registration Conference forms for Altrincham on 13 March 2014 whilst still playing for Northwich Victoria. However, he did not make an appearance for Altrincham before that season ended.

His career began at Macclesfield Town, where he made three first-team appearances before leaving in summer of 2006. From there, he signed for Stockport County but moved on on at the end of the 2006/07 season, without making a first-eleven appearance..

For 2007-08 he joined Barrow, where he gained promotion to the national level of the Football Conference. In all, he made 93 appearances for the Bluebirds before leaving Holker Street in summer 2010. He moved east to Gateshead, for whom he made 55 appearances before his release in April 2012. Next, came a spell with Bradford Park Avenue (19 appearances), a club he left at the end of the 2012-13 season. After that he joined Northwich Victoria.


Click on the image below for details of the Whit Fun Week at Altrincham FC...


Mike Ripley has images from the Altrincham FC Youth v Morecambe FC Youth match on Tuesday night, here.


Tickets for the Vanarama Conference Promotion Final go on general sale today, Thursday (7th). Details are here. Standard adult tickets are £36 plus booking fee and/or postage/collection fee.


Several more clubs have publicised their retained and released lists of players recently. They include Macclesfield Town who "can confirm that the following players have been offered new contracts for the 2015/16 season:
  • Rhys Taylor
  • Ritchie Branagan
  • Andy Halls
  • Dan Cowan
  • Scott Barrow
  • Thierry Audel
  • George Pilkington
  • Paul Turnbull
  • Paul Lewis
  • Danny Whitaker
  • Adriano Moke
  • Danny Rowe

The club continues to discuss options with some of the remaining 2014/15 squad and we would like to thank them all for their hard work and contribution to the football club during the season.

The following loan players have returned to their parent clubs and Macclesfield Town Football Club would like to thank them for their contribution to the club. We will continue to monitor the situation of each player with a view to some of them returning to the Moss Rose next season.

  • Alex Grant
  • Jack Sampson
  • Mike Phenix
  • Theo Bailey-Jones
  • Lee Bell"

According to the BBC "Relegated Conference side AFC Telford United have released nine players following their return to Conference North for next season. Boss Steve Kittrick, who finished the campaign with James Montgomery, 20, in goal, has released two keepers, Freddy Hall and Jonathan Hedge.

Midfielders Charlie Barnett, Kristian Platt, Jordan Deacey, winger Sean Cooke and utility man Andy Owens all go too. Defenders Steve Akrigg and Rod McDonald have also both been released. Talks are ongoing between with current players, including sought-after 19-goal top scorer Tony Gray, and their potential targets as the Bucks prepare for another season back in Conference North".

At another relegated club, the BBC says that "Nuneaton Town have appointed Kevin Wilson as their new manager. Wilson, 54, has left Ilkeston Town after leading them to the Northern Premier Division play-off final to take over at relegated Conference side Boro. 'Nuneaton had a difficult season and relegation is hard to take,' he said. 'But they have done well to stay in the top flight of non-league football for three seasons. Everyone knows how tough the Conference Premier is, but it's where clubs want to be'".

Higher up the table, "Forest Green Rovers goalkeeper Paul White has signed a new one-year contract with the Conference side. The 20-year-old, who spent time on loan at Gloucester City last season, has featured just once for Rovers, coming on as a second-half substitute against Wrexham in April 2014".

At Lincoln City the club has issued a "breakdown of those players still under permanent contract, those to whom new contracts have been offered and those who have been released:

Players under contract until the end of the 2016/17 season:

  • Paul Farman
  • Alan Power

Players under contract until the end of the 2015/16 season:

  • Jordan Burrow*
  • Tony Diagne*
  • Kegan Everington
  • Aidan Grant
  • Elliot Hodge
  • Conner Robinson
  • Alex Simmons
* made available for permanent transfer or season-long loan

Players out of contract who have been offered new terms for the 2015/16 season:

  • Hamza Bencherif
  • Nat Brown
  • Tom Miller
  • Jon Nolan

Players out of contract who will not be retained for the 2015/16 season:

  • Jake Caprice
  • Todd Jordan
  • Arnaud Mendy
  • Sean Newton
  • Delano Sam-Yorke
  • Ben Tomlinson

Scholars offered professional terms for the 2015/16 season: Andy Wright"

The Chester Chronicle says "Departing captain Matty Brown admits he’s ‘gutted’ to be leaving Chester FC. Blues' boss Steve Burr has not offered the centre-back a new contract meaning the 25-year-old is looking for a new club.

Injuries afflicted Brown’s season, including ruling him out of the final three games, although he still made 28 appearances, scoring three times. Ben Heneghan and Michael Kay are signed up for next term, and the manager could have a new centre-half in his sights with Nuneaton Town’s Gareth Dean among those on the market.

Although sad to be moving on, Brown insists he bears no hard feelings over his departure. 'I spoke to the gaffer and he just said he couldn’t offer me anything at the moment,' said Brown. 'He said he wanted to wait until June to see how the ankle goes and told me if something came up elsewhere then I should take it. If nothing comes of it then the gaffer’s told me I’m welcome to come back in for pre-season and that’s how it’s been left really. There’s no hard feelings and we’ve wished each other well.

I’ve said before, there’s nothing I’d want more than to stay at Chester and I’m gutted that I’m not but that’s football. Things change and you’ve just got to move on'.

Liverpool-born Brown first joined the club at the back end of the 2013-14 season on loan from Chesterfield. He completed a permanent switch to the Swansway Chester Stadium last summer after leaving the Spireites. He began the 2014-15 campaign as first choice but the team’s poor start led to him losing his place five games in'...

Brown has already received interest from other clubs but plans to take his time before deciding his next move.”

The Kidderminster Shuttle states that "Harriers' hopes of keeping Jamie Grimes have been dashed as the defender opted to sign for rivals Dover Athletic. Grimes, who was named the club’s young player of the year, was offered a new deal by the Aggborough outfit, although manager Gary Whild had said players would not be paid until July.

But he becomes the first signing of the summer for Chris Kinnear’s team".

From Birmingham Vital Football we learn that "Birmingham City could well be set to bring in Marc Roberts on a free transfer after his deal expired at FC Halifax Town. The Chester Chronicle are reporting that the defender is set for the Football League as he tries to better his career.

The 24 year old is well thought off at his current club and it has been revealed that Birmingham City attempted to buy him in January. The centreback is a tactical weapon as it is being reported he has a 'missile-like long throw' which is just the kind of thing Rowett was talking about when discussing how he would like to add to the squad.

The defender is a prominent player in the air and an organised leader vocally, it would appear he would be a good addition to partner Morrison at the back with the additional height, should be be able to make the step up...

This deal would also be a cheap one as he is coming from lower league, meaning his wage demands should be lower. Plus he is out of contract so there is no fee for him".

6 May 2015


With this win, Altrincham FC Youth ensured that next Sunday's final match of the season will decide the NWYA Premier Division title, when they entertain league leaders Chester at Hale Country Club (2.30pm). Alty go into that match a point behind Chester.

Alty were the better team for most of Tuesday's game against Morecambe at the J. Davidson Stadium. Having taken a 34th minute lead through Boris Melingui (right), who had a fine game, Altrincham then had to withstand a comeback from the visitors in the middle period of the second half. But two late goals from Shaun Arrowsmith settled the outcome.

Match report here.


In advance of next Sunday's final game of the NWYA Premier division season, Chester FC report that their "Youth Team prepare for Altrincham test. First versus second in end of season showdown

Chester FC’s Youth Team face a tricky test on Sunday when they take on second-placed Altrincham in the North West Youth Alliance Premier. The Youth Team have had a great run of form, winning nine of their last 10 games after Christmas. This came following a disappointing start to the season where they recorded only four wins in their opening seven games.

Despite that poor start, one of the wins was at home to Altrincham. Their fine run of form started, as the side scored 17 goals and conceded only once in the first four games of 2015. More recently they have beaten Witton Albion both home and away; winning 6-2 at the Deva Stadium. 15-year-old Tom Crawford scored twice, whilst goals from Kieran Evans, Matt Waters, Joe Herbert and Jamie Hayes was enough to give their side the all-important win.

The team are utilising the club’s transport for the game, which is kindly sponsored by Malthouse and Co. as well as Rainbow Slush, who have donated funds towards the cost.

Speaking ahead of the game, Youth Team manager Calum McIntyre said, 'We’re in a great position heading in to Sunday; top of the league going into the final game of the season. It’s a cup final in one way and ultimately the best side will finish on top of the pile, however going into the game having been one point better over 21 matches is great and we just have to do it one more time. It’s a perfect end to the season really to get to play the team closest to you and I know our lads will relish that sort of opportunity and occasion.'”

Calum continued, '“It’s huge for their development to get these sort of experiences under their belt and that’s what we’re here to do. The form we’ve been in since the turn of the year is magnificent, we just have to do it one more time. We’ve had to put a real run together to get where we are and we must be one of the youngest squads in the division, but these boys are up and ready for Sunday, we can’t wait.'

Calum added how the support from the Chester fans has been magnificent and hoped for support at their last game of the season. 'Hopefully we will have some support there for the lads at Altrincham. We get great support for home fixtures as well as Youth Cup games home and away, this will be no different and hopefully we can see some Chester fans at the game.'

The match is scheduled to take place at Hale Country Club and Spa [Clay Lane, WA15 7AF], which kicks-off at 14.30".


The Football Conference says that "Solihull Moors have confirmed that Kidderminster Harriers' pair, goalkeeper Danny Lewis and midfielder Callum Gittings, have both agreed with manager Marcus Bignot to join the Vanarama Conference North club for next season's campaign.

They both joined the Harriers five years ago... Lewis recently made his 200th appearance for Kidderminster, but will be no stranger to some Moors fans, having played for Moor Green back in the 2006/07 season before joining Redditch United where he stayed for three years before returning to Harriers as first choice in 2010, having originally signed for the club in 2004 when they were in League Two.

Gittings too has been a big part of the Harriers` success during his five seasons at the club where he has made over 175 appearances, scoring 20 times".

Meanwhile, there comes news of the former Braintree Town boss as "Vanarama Conference South club Maidenhead United have announced the appointment of Alan Devonshire as first-team manager. The decision marks a return to York Road for Devonshire, who enjoyed great success with the Magpies in his first senior managerial post over seven seasons which saw an historic promotion to the Ryman (Isthmian) League Premier Division, and the end of a twenty seven year silverware drought with wins in the Ryman (Isthmian) League Full Members Cup and four Berks & Bucks Senior Cup triumphs "

Another managerial appointment, this time in the National League, is reported by Tranmere Rovers. The Wirral side announces that Gary "Brabin appointed Tranmere manager... The 44-year-old ex-midfielder started his managerial career with Southport in 2008, achieving immediate success by guiding them into the play-offs, before joining Cambridge. At Cambridge he got the club to the play-off finals in his first season in charge before being voted Conference Manager of the Year in 2009.

The following season he joined Luton Town initially as Chief Scout, then as assistant manager and in 2011 was appointed manager following the departure of Richard Money. In his first year in charge at Luton, they achieved the play-off final, but were defeated on penalties. He left Luton the following season, with the Hatters just outside the play-off places with seven games to go.

In 2014 he re-joined Southport, but was tempted away by Everton FC in January 2015 to take up a coaching role in the Academy. We are grateful to Everton for allowing Gary to move across the river to further his career.

Tranmere Rovers chairman Mark Palios said, 'Gary was my main target for this role for a number of reasons, although I knew it would be very difficult to tempt him out of an Everton role he was clearly enjoying. Firstly, he is a manager with a strong win rate (over 48%) and a fantastic track record of getting his clubs into the Conference play-offs. He achieved this feat in all three of his full seasons as manager in the Conference, and left Luton when they were still in a very strong position. Importantly, the job requires a strong character and someone who knows what the weight of expectation of managing a larger club in the Conference feels like. Gary has done this at both Cambridge and Luton.

But he is not someone who relies on playing ugly football to win matches; he is a young progressive manager who has taken the time to study other successful managers both in this country and abroad and who is very keen to use the best that sports science can offer to ensure that players are at peak fitness and continue to develop throughout their careers.

Finally, he is a local man. Although that wasn’t a pre-requisite for the job, I do think it means he has both a natural affinity for, and understanding of, the area and, more importantly, what Tranmere Rovers means. He also has an excellent knowledge of local-born players at all levels and, through his role at Everton, the ability and respect to rebuild links with Everton which have proved so valuable in the past'.

Gary said, 'I have gone on record in the past as saying that the role I was doing at Everton was my dream job and I did not think that anything would tempt me into leaving there. I have had approaches from other Clubs and declined them, but the Tranmere job is special. The chance to lead one of the three famous old Merseyside clubs back to where it belongs in the League is a fantastic challenge that is hard to resist. The decision was also partly down to the Chairman; it is unusual to be able to work with a Chairman who is a football man through and through and Mark and I have a shared vision of what was needed to get the foundations right for the future.

I know that the Club and its fans are hurting right now because of relegation, but I am confident that we can restore the Club to its former glory and play some football that will put a smile back on the fans’ faces'.”

Mark Palios concluded, 'It was important not to be rushed into an appointment, as it is a critical decision to get right. But appointing Gary now means he will have time to shape a squad of his own over the summer and have a full pre-season to work with them. On Saturday we bowed out of the League for now. But the hard work of rebuilding began well before that. I am delighted that Gary has agreed to come on board and take on that role'".

5 May 2015


Speaking after this weekend's Beer Festival and a host of other activities in the Community Hall and on the pitch at the J. Davidson Stadium, Altrincham FC chairman Grahame Rowley exclaimed, "It's been a superb weekend. Thank you to everyone who helped out. It's been a fantastic success for Altrincham FC and the Altrincham FC Community Trust!"

The final day, Monday, witnessed a very busy Community Hall, where a range of children's activities were taking place whilst Richie Bentley, Jenny Heslop and colleagues kept everyone well-fed and watered. Out on the pitch there was coaching for the youngsters and over in the old bar area the Beer Festival barrels were being drained by thirsty drinkers.

Above, courtesy of Karen Rowley, we see all the children who had been with the entertainer, sitting up in the stand, with Rocky Robin.

Below, we see a view inside the Community Sports Hall, where a Bouncy Castle was just one of the many attractions.

A few photos of children, taken with Rocky Robin were left behind. If one of these was yours, please contact the club and send in a stamped addressed envelope.


Geoff Morris has provided the results for the May draw for the Friends of AFC.
  1. *104 Hilary Moore £100
  2. *53 Ruth Gallagher £50
  3. *27 Campbell McLay £35
  4. *43 Nigel Hennerley £15


Mark Bennett has produced an excellent memento of the successful 2014-15 season in the form of an 84-minute "Highlights" DVD. It features all 23 home games in the Vanarama Conference as well as the lone home tie in the FA Trophy. It can be obtained for just £10 by e-mailing Mark.


Alty Youth play Morecambe at the J. Davidson Stadium tonight (Tuesday) at 7pm. Altrincham need to win this match to close the gap to one point between them and the league leaders, Chester FC. If they win, Alty would then meet Chester at the Hale Spa & Country Club on Clay Lane on Sunday to decide the league title in the final match of the season.


Mike Ripley has excellent photos of the weekend's Reserves' and Ladies' matches at the J. Davidson Stadium:


The Warrington Guardian reports that "Warrington Town have signed former Football League striker Steven Gillespie.

The 29-year-old Liverpudlian, who has appeared for Bristol City, Cheltenham Town, Colchester United and Fleetwood Town, was one of five players released by Altrincham boss Lee Sinnott at the end of their Vanarama Conference campaign". Warrington finished the 2014-15 season ninth in the EvoStik Division One North.


According to the BBC, "Forest Green Rovers have released six players as manager Ady Pennock prepares to rebuild following the club's failure in the Conference play-offs.

Goalkeeper Sam Russell, midfielder Kieron Forbes, strikers James Norwood and Stuart Fleetwood and defenders Luke Oliver and Chris Stokes have all left. The players were told after Sunday's 3-0 Conference play-off semi-final aggregate defeat by Bristol Rovers.

Rovers had finished fifth in the table, the club's highest-ever placing. But Pennock is now looking for new faces to try and improve on that.

Norwood is perhaps the most notable departure, having scored 50 Conference goals in 170 games for the club since first arriving from Exeter City... in August 2010.

  • Players under contract for 2015-16 season: David Pipe, Charlie Clough, Dale Bennett, Sam Wedgbury, Marcus Kelly, Clovis Kamdjo, Steve Arnold, James Jennings, Kurtis Guthrie, Elliott Frear, Rob Sinclair, Jon Parkin, Anthony Barry, Danny Coles, James Marwood

  • Players offered new contracts: Tom Bender (six-month deal), Corby Moore (six-month deal), Aarran Racine, Paul White
  • Players released: Sam Russell, Chris Stokes, Luke Oliver, James Norwood, Stuart Fleetwood, Kieron Forbes

Fleetwood was a hit when he first signed from neighbours Hereford United in 2007, finishing as the Conference top scorer with 28 goals to earn a £200,000 move to Charlton Athletic. But, when he returned on loan from Eastleigh in January, he failed to find the net in 18 appearances.

Goalkeeper Russell, signed from Darlington in January 2012, played 144 Conference games for the club until losing his place in February to Steve Arnold. Left-back Stokes spent the final two month of this season on loan two levels higher with League One Coventry City, and helping them escape relegation on Sunday.

Fellow defender Kieron Forbes, who made 107 Conference appearances following his move from Wealdstone in August 2010, finished the season with Sutton United, having spent the first half of the season at Aldershot.

Midfielder Luke Oliver, signed from Bradford City in February 2014, had not figured for Rovers since January."

4 May 2015


Above: Shaun Arrowsmith is sandwiched between two opponents in Sunday's match. Also seen are James Campion (left), Rhain Davis (centre) and Alty captain, Laurence Taylor (background).

Alty Youth went down 2-0 to Curzon Ashton in Sunday's final of the NWYA Premier Division Neil Thomason Cup, held at Ashton Town. Match report here. The FA has details.


Altrincham FC Ladies are third in the league after they defeated Chester City by a score of 1-0 in Sunday's match at the J. Davidson Stadium. Phil Taylor informs us that "The goal came from a free kick taken by Elina Parker which, under pressure from Kate Bryan, the Chester keeper misjudged and allowed to creep into the net. Again, it was a good game with some excellent football being played".


Altrincham Reserves lost 1-0 to Wythenshawe Town Reserves in the league cup at the J. Davidson Stadium on Saturday. James Lobley's images from the game can be found here.


Former Alty captain Mark Maddox has reached the final ten contestants in the Team GB competition #MyProudMoment. Mark's efforts, chronicled as #100MilesWithMND, are in the running for the top award. You can vote for MArk here.

For more about Mark's inspirational fight against Motor Neurone Disease, see here.


In Sunday's second legs of the Promotion Play-Offs in the Vanarama Conference, the results were:
  • Bristol Rovers 2 Forest Green Rovers 0 (agg. 3-0)
  • Grimsby Town 3 Eastleigh 0 (agg. 5-1)

The Football Conference reports that "Bristol Rovers are through to the Vanarama Conference Promotion Final at Wembley on May 17th after beating neighbours Forest Green Rovers... In front of another terrific crowd of 10,563, the home side took a 24th minute lead with a fine strike from Chris Lines from 18 yards...

Taylor... made sure of a Wembley visit when he added the second on the day and third overall with a couple of minutes of normal time to play".

And "Bristol Rovers' opponents... will be Grimsby Town... Holding a 2-1 advantage from the first leg at the Silverlake Stadium on Thursday, a crowd of 6,286 at Blundell Park saw the home side run in three without response... 10 minutes before half-time, good work from Lenell John-Lewis led to Ollie Palmer firing home a left-footed effort past Ross Flitney in the Eastleigh goal. And then a minute before the break Grimsby virtually made the tie secure when they doubled their lead on the day with a neat finish by John-Lewis...

With 19 minutes remaining, Grimsby put the tie to bed when Palmer scored his second of the game, this time with his right foot".

The BBC reports that Forest Green boss Ady Pennock told BBC Radio Gloucestershire, "Fantastic season; I don't want anybody to be disappointed at all. The two games they (Bristol Rovers) deserved it, end of, but we've had a fantastic season and I think everybody should be very proud of what they've done... We've got to take on board what we've done this year and look forward to next year. We'll get there, we've had a really good season and we'll take it on the chin and move on."

And "Grimsby Town manager Paul Hurst told BBC Radio Humberside, 'A good day for the club. We know there's one more, absolutely massive game in front of us, which we know is going to be difficult. For the time being we'll enjoy this moment, and there's some planning for me to do. We've already got a skeleton plan in place but a few days rest and then really start the focus on that game'".

The Stroud Journal adds that "Pennock is refusing to dwell on the frustration of the play-off semi-final defeat... His side turned in an insipid performance... consigned the Nailsworth side to an 18th successive season of Conference football.

Pennock was most chipper in his post-match interview, he said... 'When you look at the set-up and the stadium Bristol Rovers are not really a Conference club, so fair play to them, and we’ve got to take it on the chin and move on. We didn’t play anywhere near as well as we can in either of the games, and maybe that was down to a little bit of pressure'".

The other defeated manager is the subject of a report from the Daily Echo, which says that "Eastleigh’s Vanarama Conference promotion dreams were crushed with a 3-0 defeat by Grimsby Town... After scoring decisive goals in both the home and away league wins over the Spitfires this term, ex-Havant & Waterlooville striker Ollie Palmer was once more Eastleigh’s tormentor as he netted a brace to consign them to a 5-1 aggregate defeat over the two-legged semi-final.

The Spitfires were by far the better team in the first-half, but in the end were undone by Palmer’s opener on 34 minutes... Eastleigh’s travelling band of 197 supporters sung [sang] heartily as they celebrated their club’s remarkable fourth-place finish in their first season in the highest echelon of non-league football".

Elsewhere, the Halifax Courier says that "Neil Aspin is set to embark on a summer shake-up at The Shay and is already in talks with possible new signings. The Town boss says the club’s poor form towards the end of the season, which saw them win only once in 15 games, has increased the need for reinforcements.

Two-thirds of the squad are out-of-contact in the summer, but Aspin has warned that even those contracted for next season may not survive the cull. 'There are more players needed than I thought a month ago,' Aspin said. 'We need to change a lot of personnel because, if you’ve got players who have to play above themselves to compete, you can only do that for so long. When you find you’re not getting the response then you need to make some changes. The last month has been disappointing and I haven’t enjoyed what I’ve seen.

There will be some players who are disappointed. They might find they were expecting to get offered something but don’t. Even if a player is contracted for next season is doesn’t mean their place isn’t in jeopardy... If a player doesn’t want to stay as far as I’m concerned he can leave and we’ll get somebody else in'.

Aspin revealed negotiations are already underway with transfer targets. 'You have to be (in negotiations now). There are players out there I’d like. You have players on your list who you need to be trying to get early doors and there are a few I’d like to get in as early as possible,' he said.

Aspin confirmed striker Richard Peniket is set to have an operation on his anterior cruciate ligament injury later this month but will then be out for around eight months. The Town boss admitted there were successes and failures among his new signings last season.

'Some have done OK, some have been disappointing,' he reflected. 'But they’ve all had a chance, which is the main thing. There’s nobody who can say they haven’t had a chance... Ideally you want to get a player who’s hungry, who wants to improve and better himself', he said. 'A young, hungry player is the type we need to find because it’s not just their desire but their cost and wages are a lot cheaper... We’re looking at all areas but we need goals. We’re struggling to score but everybody in the country is looking for goalscorers. We need goalscorers from wide areas as well.

We need to change things in midfield and we need to keep looking to strengthen at the back when Marc Roberts leaves'. Aspin would like to keep Roberts and Lois Maynard but admits both may be difficult to hang onto... Marc’s attitude has been first-class', Aspin said. 'He had the disappointment at the start of the season seeing a move to Barnsley fall through, which is on his doorstep... and then Birmingham were in for him, but that didn’t happen... Marc has never earned any money out of football, he doesn’t earn a lot of money at the club and he’s turned down a much better contract because he wants to try and test himself higher'...

'With the gates we’ve had there’s no way the budget could be increased so it’ll be similar', he said... 'There’s a huge disparity in that the big teams with massive budgets are way, way above. I know we have a problem because a lot of the clubs pay for 52 weeks and we only pay for 38 so, for a start, you’re 14 weeks short. That’s a difficult stumbling block. I don’t know all the other budgets but if there’s 24 teams in the league we’re going to be in the bottom half for our budget.'

He added, 'If you’ve got the same budget they’ve got to come in on similar wages so it’s not straightforward... There’ll be some who will be getting moves lined up and there’ll be some who want to stay'. Aspin admitted achieving promotion with a part-time club would be difficult... For us it’s probably like could a Hull City win the Premier League? Yes, they could, but it’s not likely to happen'".

3 May 2015


Alty Youth play Curzon Ashton Youth in the Neil Thomason Trophy final at Ashton Town today (Sunday 2pm). Spectators are very welcome.


In their league cup semi-final:
  • Altrincham FC Reserves 0 Wythenshawe Town 2

Earlier on the same pitch:

  • Manchester United u-18 1 Chelsea u-18 2


It will be either Guiseley or Chorley who compete with Altrincham in the Conference (National League) next season after Saturday's play-off second legs.
  • AFC Fylde 1 Guiseley 2 (gate 950, aggregate 1-3)
  • Boston United 2 Chorley 2 (gate 3,174, aggregate 2-2, Chorley win 5-4 on penalties)
So the Promotion Final on Saturday 9 May 2015 at 3.00pm is
  • Chorley v Guiseley

In Conference South the semi-final second leg results were

  • Basingstoke Town 0 Whitehawk 1 (aggregate 1-2)
  • Boreham Wood 2 Havant & Waterlooville 2 (aggregate 4-2)
So the Promotion Final on Saturday 9 May 2015 at 3.00pm is
  • Boreham Wood v Whitehawk

Boreham Wood is near Barnet and Whitehawk is east of Brighton in Sussex.

More on the play-offs comes from the Football Conference which says that "The Vanarama Conference North play-off final will be between Guiseley AFC and Chorley... Despite finishing some fifteen points in front of fifth-placed Guiseley in the regular season, the Coasters failed to win any of their games against the Lions this season. Trailing 1-0 from the first leg at Nethermoor on Wednesday, Richie Allen gave the home side a dream start when he headed past Steve Drench after just 20 seconds to level the tie on aggregate.

But [ex-Alty man] Danny Boshell equalised on the day 10 minutes before the break to restore Guiseley`s aggregate lead. And then 12 minutes into the second period skipper Andy Holdsworth made it 3-1 overall to take the Yorkshire side through.

The other semi-final at the Jakemans Stadium in front of a terrific crowd of 3,174 saw Chorley finally overcome hosts Boston United after a sudden-death penalty shoot-out. An astonishing overhead kick from Adam Roscoe deep into injury-time rescued the Magpies from defeat as the Pilgrims looked to be heading for a 2-1 win on the day and on aggregate following a goalless draw in the first leg at Victory Park on Wednesday.

But the home side will be kicking themselves for throwing away a 2-0 lead. They went ahead in the game and the tie with 2 minutes of the first half to go when... Scott Garner shovelled home the loose ball past Sam Ashton. And just 4 minutes into the second half... Kaine Felix prodded it home from close range.

But on 56 minutes... Chris Doyle fired home at the far post... And then, in what was some 6 minutes of injury-time at the end of normal time, Roscoe scored an incredible equaliser... It ended badly for goalscoring hero Roscoe when he was sent-off with 12 minutes to go after receiving a second yellow card.

But Chorley held on and it was to penalties. Boston keeper Max Stryjek and his counterpart Ashton pulled off a couple of saves each and when Ashton tipped [ex-Alty loanee] Carl Piergianni`s spot-kick onto the bar, it was down to sudden death. And, after Mark Ross scored for the Magpies, Rene Steer hit the bar with his effort to see Chorley through".

In the Boston Standard we read that "Boston United’s promotion dream is over... after a cruel 5-4 defeat to Chorley on penalties. United seemed to be destined to host old foes Guiseley in the Vanarama North’s play-off final after leading the Magpies with the four minutes of added time played.

But Chorley’s Adam Roscoe thumped home a last-gasp overhead kick to take the contest into extra time. And when it came to spot kicks, Chorley keeper Sam Ashton, despite an over-the-top celebration in the face of United defender Carl Piergianni after saving his strike, was the hero, pulling off a succession of saves to book his side’s place in the final.

Losing on penalties is cruel at the best of times, as United found out against Guiseley four years ago. But for the Pilgrims, they were beaten by a side who had never led them in four matches and 390 minutes of football. And spare a thought for United keeper Max Stryjek, never on the losing side in his 12 matches with the club, yet ending his Boston tenure in the cruelest of ways" As well as Pierguianni for Boston, Chorley's team included two ex-Alty players including Matty Flynn and former loanee James Dean.

NL Pitchero says that "Vanarama Conference South champions Bromley were surprised to learn that, despite previous announcements to the contrary, artificial pitches will not be allowed in the top division of the Vanarama National League for the forthcoming. The club understands that a rule change has recently been agreed by the football authorities that prevents ATPs from being used at Step 1 of the National Leagues System. As the Conference National League sits at the base of Step 1, should Bromley go ahead with their planned installation of a 3G pitch inside the stadium, they would not be able to take their rightful place in that division. Therefore the club will be competing on the traditional grass pitch for the forthcoming season.


Southport report that "Richard Brodie concluded contract talks this morning and has signed terms for next season. Paul Carden said, 'Richard is a big part of my plans and it was important we agreed the deal early as Richard has been attracting attention across the country'".

The BBC says that today (Sunday) "Grimsby Town take a 2-1 lead into the second leg of their Conference play-off semi-final with Eastleigh. The Mariners, in front in the tie thanks to two goals from Nathan Arnold, have no new injury concerns.

Eastleigh could recall striker Yemi Odubade to the starting line-up after he came off the bench in the first leg. Dean Beckwith and Brian Howard are also hoping to start the game, but Paul Reid is definitely out as he recovers from a broken rib.

Eastleigh manager Richard Hill told BBC Radio Solent, 'We are still in the tie. It was going to be tough and we have made it that little bit tougher. We didn't play as well as we could have done (in the first leg). It was quick, fast and a high tempo but I'm sure that was expected. The second leg is a cup tie now'".

Meanwhile, "Bristol Rovers are 1-0 up in the tie heading into the second leg of their Conference play-off semi-final with Forest Green... but the home side will be without Ellis Harrison in the second leg after his red card. Angelo Balanta or Nathan Blissett are possible replacements for Harrison. Forest Green midfielder David Pipe is expected to continue in an unfamiliar left-back role for the visitors. "

In the Western Daily Press, "Jamie Cureton says it is important that Bristol Rovers make the most of their chance to bounce back into the Football League at the first time of asking... Cureton, who scored over 70 goals for Rovers between 1996-2000... said, 'When Rovers went down last May I was in Bristol that night and I ran into a lot of fans who were absolutely gutted... but it has given them a chance to rebuild'".

In the first leg at FGR Cureton said that "Bristol Rovers were very good during the first half and will probably feel a bit hard done by not to have scored four or five goals... With a full house at The Mem you would have to fancy Rovers, but with only a goal in it you just never know so there is no room for complacency whatsoever'".

And from Grimsby Town we learn that "Christian Jolley returned to training this morning and could be fit to face Eastleigh in Sunday's play off semi final second leg. Carl Magnay and Ollie Palmer have also shaken off slight knocks and are both set to continue against The Spitfires.

That would mean that Town boss Paul Hurst would virtually have a full squad to choose from for the visit of Richard Hill's side... Paul Hurst said, 'Christian Jolley is going to train today or, at least, give it a go. Fingers crossed, Gregor Robertson aside, we have a fully fit squad... The lads got back late on Friday morning and it is not the time of the season where we need to be doing too much. We'll walk through a couple of points from the other night and then send them on their way. and get rested up for the game tomorrow.”

According to the Worcester News "Chairman Rod Brown has revealed that Kidderminster Harriers’ budget will be cut by more than half next season. Harriers have been forced to take drastic action following a 2014-15 campaign that saw them fail to pay players on time and let some of their high earners leave the club. The Aggborough club intend to put the emphasis on youth next term as well as unearthing some rough diamonds for the lower reaches of the non-league pyramid.

Brown said, 'The budget will be less than half what it is now but we intend to use the progressive youth academy, which we will further develop with Colin Gordon’s appointment, to become a successful blueprint for the league. Gary Whild’s track record of finding talent from lower down non-league is excellent. It’s going to be tough, but if we can sustain National League (formerly the Conference) football and remain within our financial commitments that will be a successful season'.

Football agent Colin Gordon, who will be the club’s football development director, is one of two new appointments to the board, along with lifelong fan Mike Morris, who will be responsible for the ground and maintenance. Gordon represents former England boss Steve McClaren, Arsenal forward Theo Walcott and Manchester United defender Phil Jones.

Kidderminster are also spending £40,000 on the Aggborough pitch, with Pershore-based Phil Day Sports Ltd due to start work on Monday, May 18. Brown, who stepped up from vice-chairman following the resignation of Ken Rae, said, 'The club had difficulties because of commercial decisions it had made previously, but we want to draw a line under them and move forward'".

Reports in the NW Evening Mail say that "Paul Casson expects Barrow AFC to be fighting for a second successive promotion next season. And the Bluebirds owner is even dreaming that they can break back into the Football League within the next two years... The AFC owner believes that with boss Darren Edmondson at the helm, and with other building blocks in place, there is no reason why the club can’t compete in the top half of the Conference table...and for a play-off spot.

The US-based Barrovian said, 'I think I have the right manager... I can’t imagine why not (referring to the club fighting for promotion again)... It’s hard to imagine how one would take a backward step'. He added, 'I expect us to be in the play-off conversation'...

Casson says the boss has been given a ‘preliminary idea’ of how big his cash pot will be... Casson believes the budget will be ‘pretty competitive’, saying 'I think he will do very well with that budget... I think we all want to be in the Football League in two years, don’t we?' he said...

Commenting on [the club's] support, Casson added, 'Just absolutely fantastic, salt of the earth, Barrovian blue, and showing all of the characteristics of the people that I thought I was coming back to. So all of those things just give you an unshakeable confidence, although I’m not exactly the least confident person you would meet anyway... So, yes, let’s go for it'".


In the EvoStik League, Premier Division Promotion Play Offs final at Curzon Ashton:
  • Curzon Ashton 1 Ilkeston FC 0 (The only goal came from ex-Alty player Simon Woodford. Att. 1,212)

First Division North Promotion play-off final at Bishop Auckland FC

  • Darlington 1883 2 Bamber Bridge 0 (Att. 1,876)

First Division South Promotion play-off final at Leek Town

  • Leek Town 0 Sutton Coldfield Town 2

Welsh Premier confirms that "Bala Town pipped Airbus to an automatic Europa League spot by drawing 1-1 at home with champions The New Saints... The point was sufficient to secure second spot... There was high drama in the bottom six when Rhyl were denied a certain place in the play-offs by two late Sam Hart goals for Bangor City... Gap Connah's Quay will now take their place in the play-offs after a remarkable recovery from the threat of relegation in the second phase of the season".

And Welsh Premier adds that "With Bala Town having secured their place in the Europa League as Welsh Premier runners-up, Airbus UK Broughton face an anxious wait for the outcome of Saturday's Welsh Cup final, which will also have an impact on Rhyl. If The New Saints win the treble when they face Newtown on Saturday, Airbus will automatically qualify for Europe as the third placed-finishers in the WPL... However, if the Robins lift the cup on Saturday they will qualify for the Europa League, which brings Rhyl into the equation as eighth-placed finishers".

2 May 2015


Chairman, Grahame Rowley tells us that "Altrincham FC will be competing in the Vanarama National League next season and have decided to keep season ticket and admission prices the same as last season as a thank you to our loyal fans. A season ticket also entitles you to free admission to our three home pre-season friendly matches at Moss Lane.

Please supply the Club with your email address, if you have one, as we are attempting to update people with information throughout the season.

TASC, our Supporters' Association, are also keen to extend their membership, which costs just £10 per year. Please consider joining and achieving TASC’s target of 200 members.

2015-16 season tickets:

  • Standing: Adults: £250 Concessions: £145
  • Seating: Adults: £290 Concessions: £155
  • Under 12s: £30
  • Aged 12-16 years: £60
  • TASC Membership: £10

Once again, there will be a £10 discount on all season tickets, except Junior ones, if purchased by 30th June.

Turnstile prices are also unaltered, as below...

  • Standing: Adults £14 Concessions £9
  • Seating: Adults £15 Concessions £10
  • Disabled with Helper: Combined price £14
  • 12-16 year olds: £5
  • Under 12: £2


When Altrincham FC Reserves play Wythenshawe Town on Saturday (3pm) at the J. Davidson Stadium, it will be the J.A. Walton Challenge Cup Semi-Final. Town are hoping to bring some support both for the game and the Beer Festival which takes place at the same time.

Before then at 11am on Saturday, Chelsea under-18s play at the J. Davidson Stadium against Manchester United under-18s.


The NW Counties Football League says that "Glossop North End clinched a league and cup double with a 2-0 win over Atherton Collieries in the final of the Men United Cup at the Tameside Stadium. Goals in each half saw Glossop through to victory and keep them on course for a unique treble, with the FA Vase final against North Shields at Wembley to come next Saturday...

Glossop North End: Greg Hall, Michael Bowler, Matthew Russell, Kelvin Lugsden (captain), Richard Gresty, Martin Parker, Sam Grimshaw, Sam Hind, Tom Bailey, Mark Reed, Eddie Moran. Substitutes: Sam Hare (for Sam Hind 65), Ben Richardson, Danny White (for Martin Parker 60), Chris Denham (for Mark Reed 84)."


In Friday evening's annual Altrincham FC Staff v Supporters' match at the J. Davidson Stadium, the Staff won 3-1. A goal in added time from Neil Tolson put a gloss on the result after a strong second-half performance has seen the Supporters come close to levelling the game. The Staff, who included experienced players in the form of Chris Adams and Sam Sheridan as well as Neil Tolson in their team, took a 2-0 first-half lead. But the Supporters deservedly pulled a goal back with 19 minutes remaining.

Above we see the two teams, after the game.


The beers and ciders available are:
  • Tatton Brewery – Stamford Bitter – Best Bitter 4.2% - Sponsored by Altrincham FC Development Squad. Stamford is a full bodied best bitter with a complex blend of hops, and a slightly dry finish.
  • The Lymm Brewing Company - Lymm Dam Strong Ale – 7.2% Sponsored by Odin Technology. English Strong Ale
  • Dunham Brewery – Honey Beer 4.3% - Sponsored by Altrincham FC Players. Duerr's Blossom Honey Beer is an award winning seasonal beer. Light, refreshing and bitter-sweet, made with lashings of Duerr's Blossom Honey.
  • Thwaites Brewery – Spring’s Sprung – Amber Ale 3.8% - Sponsored by One Stop Fencing. Refreshing amber ale, bursting with spicy and citrus hop characteristics.
  • Thwaites Brewery – Hoodie – 4.1% - Sponsored by Mark Embury. Golden - Hopped using Mount Hood to give a clean hopped character with herbal and grapefruit notes.
  • Hambleton Brewery -Taylor’s Tipple – 5% - Sponsored by The Flaggers. Copper - Rich malty and fruity hop nose, copper coloured with a balanced hop body and good hop linger.
  • Tatton Brewery – White Queen 4.2% - Sponsored by Sally Cooper. White Queen is a Belgian white Wheat beer and is spiced with coriander, Curacao orange peel, and cardamom. It’s a naturally cloudy wheat beer, a whiter shade of pale.
  • Brewsmith - Brewsmith Bitter - 3.9% - Sponsored by Barry and Carol Pond. A pale session bitter. Moderate bitterness, pronounced floral/citrus hop aromas.
  • Thwaites Brewery – TBC (Thwaites Best Cask) – 3.8% = Sponsored by GR Photography.
  • Amber Ale. A lovely fresh hop aroma with a balanced hop/malt flavour throughout.
  • Timothy Taylor – Landlord – Pale Ale 4.3% - Sponsored by The Old Roebuck. Refreshingly reliable, nationally renowned, this full drinking Pale Ale with a complex and hoppy aroma has real "Pulling Power"
  • Thwaites Brewery – Original Cask – 3.6% - Sponsored by SK Kits. A clean dry tasting and refreshing session bitter with a glowing amber appearance. Brewed using premium grade Maris Otter malt and a blend of traditional English Hops, including Goldings and Fuggles, to give a malty flavoured beer with a delicate dry finish.
  • Bank Top Brewery – Old Slapper – Premium Ale 4.2% - Sponsored by AFC Ladies. Note of grapefruit with pale cereal malts in the aroma and flavour. Good hop presence with a dry bitter aftertaste".
  • Brewsmith - Oatmeal Stout - 5.2% - Sponsored by Keith Edleston. A full bodied, richly textured stout. Balanced bitterness. Coffee, liquorish, blackcurrant and citrus aromas.
  • Thwaites Brewery – Wainwrights – Golden Ale 4.1% - Sponsored by The Sport Business. Wainwright is a refreshing golden ale with subtle sweetness and delicate citrus fruity overtones.
  • The Kite Brewery - Jemimas Pitchfork – Imperial Pale Ale 4.4% - Sponsored by Interactive Sports. A pale refreshing, crisp beer brewed with citra and eldorado hops giving a brilliant undertone of citrus, pear and melon.
  • Burscough Brewing Company - Priory Gold – 3.8% - Sponsored by Alan Murray. A golden session ale with a light body and moderate bitterness. The initial sweet, hoppy finish gives way to a fragrant citrus aroma with hints of pine and lemon.
  • Tatton Brewery – Tatton Ale 3.7% - Sponsored by Premium Collections. The beer has a full malty/toffee flavour for its gravity, balanced by a soft bitterness and hoppy, fruity taste and aroma.
  • Bank Top Brewery – Barley to Beer – Golden Ale 3.6% - Sponsored by Robinsons Preservation. A blend of English malt and European hops resulting in a pale bitter with a citrus lemon and herbal finish


  • Black Dragon sponsored by Ravenscroft & Co. Medium Dry, 7.2 abv. Renowned and award winning cider rich in colour, body and flavour with a fresh, fruity aroma. Contains sulphites.
  • Scrumpy sponsored by The AFC Players. Medium, 5.5 abv. Golden medium cider with a refreshing apple aroma. Smooth balanced flavour that has a fresh, crisp sharpness. Contains sulphites.
  • Two Trees Perry sponsored by MBL Perry, Medium, 4.5 abv. A pale, fruity perry with an aroma of fruit and a hint of honey on the palate. Contains sulphites.
  • Westons' Raspberry Twist sponsored by Steve Benyon Decorating. 4% vol. Westons' Raspberry Twist is a delicious fusion of refreshing cider with a twist of raspberry. Great for sunny days, this light, refreshing and fruity cider will delight the tastebuds and quench the thirst.

Altrincham FC official caterer, Richie Bentley will be providing a wide range of refreshments during the Beer Festival,as he details below...


  • Bacon/sausage baps, chips
  • Richie's curry eve
  • Cones of chips
  • Beef Madras
  • Chicken Tikka Masala
  • Sweet potato korma
  • Rice, chips. naan
  • Poppadums and dips

Sunday: Mexican food day - Quiz Night

  • Cheesy nachos and dips
  • Chicken, beef and veg fajitas
  • Spicy beef chilli / spicy rice
  • Chicken or roasst veg. quesadillas
  • Rice / chips / tortilla chips
  • Cool dips and salsas

Monday Fun Day

  • Fish goujons
  • Burgers
  • Chips
  • Chicken nuggets
  • Hot dogs

All served from the Community Sports Hall - hot drinks also available.


The Football Conference says that "The winner of the Vanarama Conference Manager of the Month award for April is Richard Hill of Eastleigh. On the announcement of the award Hill said, 'I am very pleased to have received this award especially at this time of the season when it is the business end and also the end of another historic season for Eastleigh Football Club and how far the club has come in the past year. I am not one for self-praise but in my two and a half years here Eastleigh have reached two play-off semi -finals and won a championship. I have a good experienced set of players who have to do the job on the pitch'.

The official award panel said, 'During the last month of the season there have been many clubs under pressure to achieve results and so a number of candidates came to the fore. The Spitfires’ performances shone through in April after coming from behind on a number of occasions under the astute leadership of Richard. Not only did Eastleigh get themselves into the Play-Off positions, despite only gaining promotion last season, importantly they stayed there. Richard’s efforts in getting the club to this position mean the accolade for April is well deserved'.

Vanarama are delighted to announce that the winner of the Vanarama Conference Player of the Month award for April is Mauro Vilhete of Barnet. On the announcement of the award Vilhete said... 'The whole team deserves praise, not just one player. I think we’ve all worked extremely hard. We managed to win the league and I could not be more grateful'".

Elsewhere the Conference confirms that "North Ferriby United have announced there will be no voluntary relegation and they'll stay in the Vanarama Conference North next season. The club said it like to reassure all concerned that North Ferriby United will continue in the Conference North. The FA Trophy winners were contemplating voluntary relegation after an uncertain future, and following the resignation of long-serving chairman Les Hare."

Dover Athletic tell us that "we are now able to announce our retained list for next season, clarifying which players are now under contract and those who we are yet to make a decision on... Our retained list is as follows:

  • Players already under contract: Ricky MODESTE, Richard ORLU, Stefan PAYNE, Andrew RAFFERTY, Sean RAGGETT, Tyrone STERLING, Tom WYNTER . Also under contract as option exercised for a further year Tom MURPHY
  • Players offered terms for next season: Liam BELLAMY, Nick DEVERDICS, Connor ESSAM, Sean FRANCIS, James POOLE, Mitch WALKER.
  • The management team remain in conversation with the remainder of the current squad with regards to plans for next season, and further news will be communicated once available."

Football Exclusives reports that "Whitehawk manager Steve King believes his side’s Conference South play-off semi final second leg against Basingstoke Town has the potential to be a thriller. The tie is finely poised at the halfway stage after the sides played out a 1-1 draw at the Enclosed Ground on Wednesday evening, with Whitehawk’s Jake Robinson cancelling out a Chris Flood opener".

According to Get Surrey, "Woking FC full-backs Adam Newton and John Nutter have called time on their careers, following the lead of fellow 'old head' Kevin Betsy. The pair made their announcements in the wake of Saturday’s gripping 3-2 Conference victory over FC Halifax Town...

At 34, Newton reckoned it was time to put family first and make way for a younger Kingfield generation to flourish. 'You get to a certain age and you can keep going for too long for the sake of it,' said the former West Ham and Peterborough star, who made 177 appearances for Woking after signing for manager Garry Hill in the summer of 2011 following his release by Luton Town.

Honest Newton, like Betsy and Nutter a consummate professional, admitted, 'I noticed a lot of faults in my own game and felt I wasn’t doing myself or the team justice, so it was time to call it a day... So that’s me retiring now. I’ve had four great years at Woking and they have all been progressive years'.

Newton, now a fully-fledged London cabbie, went on, 'I didn’t feel as sharp as some of the others in training, I can’t keep up with them. The likes of John Goddard, Josh Payne and Joey Jones are all exciting young players and I won’t ever become as good as them. It’s up to them to grow and up to the manager to help them; me sticking around like a piece of old furniture isn’t going to help. These lads are moving on at such a fast pace and I’m slowing down. The club needs to re-grow'.

He explained, 'I have two very young children, so I want to be around for them and my wife. It’s time to devote time to my family instead of chasing my own footballing dreams... I have enjoyed my career but I’m pleased to finish it in the way it has at Woking'...

Meanwhile, Nutter, who arrived at Kingfield in 2012 via Wycombe, Aldershot, Grays, Stevenage Borough and Gillingham... only featured seven times this season due to teaching commitments. Betsy, Newton and Nutter are unlikely to be the last to exit the club this summer, midfielder Payne and centre-back Joe McNerney both being linked with possible moves to Football League clubs.

McNerney, 25, confirmed he had turned down a contract offer from Hill to pursue his dream. He said, 'I’ve told him it’s make-or-break time in my career and he’s OK with that'".

1 May 2015


The Sale & Altrincham Messenger reports that "Lee Sinnott has wasted no time launching his plans for next season by issuing a retained list that includes two shock omissions.

Just 48 hours after bringing the curtain down on the 2014-15 Vanarama Conference campaign, the Altrincham manager sprang a surprise by naming experienced midfielders Peter Cavanagh and Sean Williams among five players who have been released.

Steven Gillespie pays the price for a disappointing debut season, while fellow-striker Kyle Perry and reserve keeper David Parton make up the list of players to leave.

Reflecting on Saturday’s 4-2 defeat at Braintree, Sinnott said, 'We played some nice football in the first half, but the crux of the problem was we defended poorly and gave away easy goals. Two came from crosses, one a misplaced back pass and another that was Keystone Cops, the way the ball got through. Since the Southport win, there’s been a sense of relief at being mathematically safe that has taken a bit out of our game.

But I don’t want to be too hard on the players, because they have put a lot in over the last nine months. I just told them to remember this game when they report back, because it illustrates what is needed in this league.

I would like to place on record my thanks to the fans who travelled down. They were in good voice and gave the players a wonderful send-off at the end, which was magnificent. The support we’ve had home and away is very much appreciated. Maybe we’ve left them tearing their hair out at times, but hopefully we’ve entertained them along the way and made them proud with some of our results.’

The J.Davidson will be a hive of activity this weekend, with the annual beer festival running from Friday to Monday. As an added attraction, the ground hosts Manchester United against Chelsea in an under-18 fixture on Saturday at 11am, followed by Alty Reserves kicking off at 3pm and a live band in the evening.

Alty Ladies have a 3pm kick-off on Sunday, while there is a family fun day on Monday from 12-6pm, complete with bouncy castle, tombola and cake and sweet stalls".


TASC's Steve Foster has revealed the range of ciders which will be available at this weekend's Beer Festival at the J. Davidson Stadium.

  • Black Dragon sponsored by Ravenscroft & Co. Medium Dry, 7.2 abv. Renowned and award winning cider rich in colour, body and flavour with a fresh, fruity aroma. Contains sulphites.
  • Scrumpy sponsored by The AFC Players. Medium, 5.5 abv. Golden medium cider with a refreshing apple aroma. Smooth balanced flavour that has a fresh, crisp sharpness. Contains sulphites.
  • Two Trees Perry sponsored by MBL Perry, Medium, 4.5 abv. A pale, fruity perry with an aroma of fruit and a hint of honey on the palate. Contains sulphites.
  • Westons' Raspberry Twist sponsored by Steve Benyon Decorating. 4% vol. Westons' Raspberry Twist is a delicious fusion of refreshing cider with a twist of raspberry. Great for sunny days, this light, refreshing and fruity cider will delight the tastebuds and quench the thirst.


Brain Flynn reports that "The Staff v Supporters game on Friday evening will be broadcast on Radio Robins. The commentators are Mike Reeves and Dec Cavanagh. You can listen to Radio Robins on the internet here.


Vanarama Conference Promotion Play-Off Semi- Final First Leg:
  • Eastleigh 1 Grimsby Town 2, Att. 3251


From Essex, Concord Rangers report that "Rangers' manager Danny Cowley has agreed to take the vacant manager’s position at Braintree Town. After eight incredibly successful years with the Canvey Island-based side, Cowley will take the reins at the Iron, who parted company with their manager Alan Devonshire earlier this month.

Danny’s younger brother and assistant manager Nicky Cowley will also make the switch from the Conference South side to the Conference National club. The former Hornchurch duo both joined Concord at the same time from Brentwood in June 2007, with Danny, who had retired from playing because of injury, coming in as No. 2 to Danny Scopes, and Nicky as a player. Danny, who has helped guide Concord to three promotions and six cups, said, 'Concord means everything to me and I leave with a heavy heart. But not many managers get to leave on a high, and that is what I am doing.

I just feel this is the right time for me to move on. I think I have been loyal to Concord but now I need to think about my own ambitions. I could not turn down this opportunity to test myself as a young manager'.

The role in the Conference National means Danny will have managed at every level up from Step 5 in non league football... The Beachboys were seventh in their debut Ryman Premier season and fourth the following year, when they won the play-offs... Last season they finished ninth in the Conference South and won the Essex Senior Cup and this year they went even closer to the play-offs by finishing seventh in the division. For the first time in their history they also reached the first round proper of the FA Cup, where they were beaten 1-0 in a replay by League Two Mansfield at the Aspect Arena.

Last week Concord retained the Essex Senior Cup with a 5-0 win over Billericay Town at Victoria Road.

Concord chairman Antony Smith said... 'I have nothing but good to say about these two lads and what they have achieved for our club'".

According to the Football Conference, "Southport and Paul Carden wish to confirm that, contrary to rumours regarding the manager's future... he has made a commitment to continue to be manager. Carden is actively speaking to players about signing for Southport in forthcoming 2015/16 season. He has indicated how excited he is to be taking on the building role this summer as a fully-fledged manager in the number one role."

Meanwhile at Macclesfield Town, "Club chairman Mark Blower said, 'To come so close to the Play-Offs and just miss out hurts...But Football is a never ending game and the hard work now starts to ensure that we can have another successful season next year.

The priority for the club is to keep as many of this group of players together as possible and we will be publishing the 'retained list' over the coming day...

On the financial front I am delighted to say that we will be able to go in to next season with a substantially bigger player budget than we started the 2014/15 season with. As supporters you have played a big part in this with your fantastic response to season tickets so far. Season ticket sales are set to comfortably exceed the number that we reached last year and, not only will this benefit the playing budget, but it is sure to give us the best possible chance of continuing our formidable record at the Moss Rose. We've set a target of 750 and we hope that we can achieve and even surpass this...

Away from the playing side of the club, the operational team at the club have met to discuss how we can improve next season, including the match-day experience for supporters... But it is also important that we focus on non match-day activities and make the most of the excellent facilities that we have on offer at the Moss Rose. The club will actively look to develop revenue in this area...

I am also delighted to announce that we have appointed a full time General Manager. Robert Stirling is returning to the club to take up the post and is starting in early May to support our fantastic team of volunteers. Of course a crucial part of keeping that momentum going in to next season, is retaining John as First-Team manager. He has understandably been linked with a number of other jobs, but I'm sure he feels the job is unfinished at the Moss Rose and he has rightly been offered an enhanced contract'".

Less happy news comes in the Western Morning News. "As if relegation was not bad enough, Torquay United also lost more than £5000,000 as they dropped out of the Football League in 2013-2014... The Gulls had a deficit of £542,724 for the year ended June 30, 2014.

That was more than double the previous year (£246,400), when the club picked up £570,000 from the transfer sales of players... There were no such boosts, or any cup runs, as United finished bottom of League Two, producing their fifth loss in seven years since the current regime, backed by outgoing chairman Thea Bristow and her late husband Paul, bought the club from former chairman Mike Bateson in 2007.

It is not United’s biggest deficit; they lost more in 2008-2009 (£711,714), when they last won promotion from the Conference, and in 2009-2010 (£681,430)... The latest figures also raise the total losses over those seven years to more than £2.1 million. And the season just finished is certain to show yet another deficit.

The latest balance-sheet shows that total turnover in 2013-2014 actually increased by £30,000 to £2,342,165. Yet the club still had to be supported by more than £100,000 in loans, many converted into donations, from directors. The figures will go before United’s next annual meeting, which is due to be held at Plainmoor on Thursday, May 28 (10am).

A new regime is expected to be in place by then. Mrs Bristow, who stood down as chairman recently after announcing that she was converting nearly £3 million of loans into debt-free shares, has agreed in principle to sell the club, and talks with an interested group are at an advanced stage. Notes to the latest balance-sheet confirm that until the end of the current season the club “is dependent on the support of its holding company, Plainmoor Ltd, and its directors to provide working capital as and when required”.

They add, 'For the 2015-2016 season, in addition to the continuing directors providing ongoing support, the club will be looking for new financial backing and is putting into place a strategic plan to manage costs to a level which will allow the club to operate on a commercial basis'. That would indicate that some members of the current board are ready to work with the new investors as the club tries to turn round its fortunes, on and off the pitch."

We learn from Get Hampshire that "Trio Mark Molesley, Andre McCollin and Josh Scott were all released within 24 hours of Barry Smith taking charge; now the new Shots' boss admits more may follow.

New Aldershot Town boss Barry Smith admits budget restrictions were behind the decision to show three players the door this week and warned that more may follow unless they accept a pay cut to stay on next season. The no-nonsense Scot made his mark within 24 hours of stepping into the Shots hot seat by announcing that FA Cup hero Mark Molesley, along with strike pair Andre McCollin and Josh Scott, will not be offered a new deal at the club...

Discussions [are] still on-going with several other first-team players who may have to accept a reduction in wages if they are to be retained for next season. In addition to Supporters’ Player of the Year Joe Oastler – who has already triggered an extension clause in his existing deal – contract offers have been made to 'five or six' players according to Smith, with a further three invited to return for pre-season training.

At the same time, the boss is monitoring the progress of several injured players such as Damon Lathrope, Jaydon Gibbs and Matt Saunders, who all ended the campaign on the treatment table.

'It’s been a hectic first two or three days', Smith said. 'As you start a new manager’s job you get a lot of calls from agents talking about players, so it’s been a case of trying to sift through the options and getting the best squad we can with the budget available. I’ve spoken to all the players and, at this time of year, you have to make tough decisions. This week has been no different. The budget has a massive influence on the decisions I’ve had to make and that’s something I can’t do anything about, I’m afraid. I knew what my budget was when I came here so nothing’s been sprung on me. It’s a budget I am happy with too.

We have made offers to several current players, about five or six, and we are waiting for them to respond. Some may have to take wage cuts for us to retain them and we also have to look at the players who are injured to see where we go from here. We are trying to bring the right players in for this football club and I’m sure we will but it’s still very early days. There have been a lot of names thrown at us but until they have signed on the dotted line nothing is for certain'...

Smith added, 'Mark Molesley has been a great servant to this club and it’s very difficult to let someone like that go. But, I’ve got to re-jig things around financially to work around the restrictions and that means making tough decisions to help move the club forward...

McCollin, meanwhile, joined the Shots from Kingstonian in October 2014 and scored four goals in his 29 games with the club... Former Dagenham and Redbridge striker Josh Scott joined Aldershot Town in January 2014 and scored seven goals in 45 appearances for the Shots... With McCollin and Scott gone and loan pair Ryan Jarvis and Giorgio Rasulo having returned to their parent clubs, top scorer Brett Williams is the only recognised striker currently at the club."

In the Express & Star we read that "Gary Whild insists he does not fear his big summer rebuilding job at Kidderminster Harriers. With just eight players contracted for next term, the manager knows he faces a stern challenge over the coming weeks to rebuild his squad on a significantly reduced budget...

'For me, it is similar to when I first came to the club as Steve Burr’s assistant in 2010,' he said... 'It does not worry me, I do not think it is a problem needing to recruit fresh players. We have shown we are quite capable of it'.

Harriers have Jared Hodgkiss, Aman Verma, Jack Byrne, Craig Reid, Keyon Reffell, Reece Styche, Luke Maxwell and Kennedy Digie on deals for next season. Offers have also been made to Jamie Grimes and Jordan Tunnicliffe with Whild expecting both to accept, though veterans Danny Lewis, Callum Gittings and Kevin Nicholson have all departed. <{P> 'I don’t think it came as much of a surprise,' said the manager. 'Danny is coming up to 33 shortly and has a young family who he wants to spend more time with. Callum is in a similar position... Kevin is based in Torquay and wants to find something closer to home... There is a commitment [that] the budget is going to be stable and that is the most important thing. The worst thing is what we have experienced his season when you are unable to meet the budget and unable to pay staff and players. There is now a real positivity about what is unfolding'".

Hampshire's Daily Echo reports that "Chairman Stewart Donald says all the talk about Eastleigh’s money 'belittles' Richard Hill’s masterful achievement in transforming the Spitfires into a national non-League force.

Donald has invested a large chunk of his personal wealth to provide Hill with the platform to lift the Spitfires from the lower reaches of the Conference South to the Vanarama Conference play-offs in three whirlwind seasons...

Donald said, 'People say it (Eastleigh’s success) is down to money, but that is 100 per cent not the case, it’s down to Richard. When you look at the league we came out of (the Conference South), there are a number of teams in there with as big a budget as Richard has had to work with and they haven’t achieved. Everyone goes on about our budget, but it’s not as big as people think and it belittles Richard’s achievement to suggest it’s all about the money.

Football is littered with teams with money who have not achieved. It’s a cheap shot to say Eastleigh are spending loads'.

When the Spitfires parted company with Hill’s predecessor Ian Baird in September 2012, they had just lost three successive league games despite an influx of pedigree players... It took Hill until January 2013 to remould the squad, dispensing with several ‘luxury’ high earners and fans’ favourites and surrounding himself with experienced, hard-working individuals who had been there and done it at Conference level and above.

The signing of ex-Gillingham goalkeeper Ross Flitney would prove pivotal to the success that followed. But the real turning point was the triple January arrival of defenders Dean Beckwith, Chris Todd and (Luton loanee) Alex Lacey who formed the backbone of the side that went on to reach the 2012/13 play-off semi-final against Dover.

Eastleigh memorably won the league outright the following season and more shrewd signings this term have ensured that they are the first club since Grays Athletic in 2006 to secure a Conference Premier play-off spot the year after promotion from the Conference South.

'Since we signed Chris Todd and Dean Beckwith we’ve not lost two league games in a row,' said Donald. 'To go two-and-a-half seasons without losing back-to-back league games is something special and there won’t be many teams who have done that. But this season has been littered with those sorts of statistics. For instance, we’ve just won nine out of 11 away games. It’s also the first season we’ve made the second round of the FA Cup'...

'We’re extremely lucky to have Richard. He must be on an awful lot of clubs’ radars when they’re looking for a new manager, but Richard loves it here,' he said. 'He’s professional, he’s got high standards and the biggest thing he said to me when he came here was that it was all about recruitment. If you don’t get the right players, it doesn’t matter what you do.. It’s not often we’ve signed a bad one'...

Hill is a shrewd operator too and, as many football agents have found to their cost, he stubbornly refuses to pay over the odds for players... 'Richard spends the money like it’s his own,' said Donald, left. 'He ekes out every last bit of the budget he’s got and spends it well. There are other managers out there who don’t work like that and they spend money more frivolously. Once you get to know Richard, he’s just a straight guy who tells you what he thinks. He has worked miracles for us and deserves huge credit.'...

'To me, this is a bonus season,' he said. 'I didn’t expect us to get into the play-offs. I hoped we could, but I didn’t expect it... There’s a clear defining line between myself and the supporters and Richard and the players,' he explained. 'For Richard and the players, this is an opportunity to drive home this year’s hard work on the pitch and they’re all focused to achieve'".