an unofficial website

May, 2016

31 May 2016


Tamworth "are pleased to welcome our latest new recruit, Stephan Morley, to the club. The left back, who spent last season at rivals Brackley Town, joins on a one year contract. The 29 year old will add valuable experience to our back line, having featured regularly for the likes of Corby Town and Leamington over the last few seasons.

Andy Morrell commented 'Steph is a player that we have monitored for a while, and he has actually been close to joining us in the past. He is a Leicester lad, and therefore fits our remit of trying to recruit more from the local area. He was great against us... and can also hopefully be a weapon for us in set piece situations'.

As well as Morley, midfielder Jed Davies and defender Louis Ezewele have pledged their respective futures to us for next season. On Davies, Morrell remarked, 'I think he can be a big player for us next season. He has had a taste of what it is like in this league now and now he needs to be driven to make it into the team and secure a place. He went out on loan to Chasetown and scored a few goals, which will have helped'...

Ezewele, who impressed in starts against Harrogate and Gloucester in the second half of the season, will again try and force his way into the team".

In the Worcester News we learn that "Winger Tristian Dunkley has joined Hednesford Town on a one-year deal after turning down an offer to stay at Worcester City. The move sees the 23-year-old, who made 63 appearances in a two-year spell at City, drop down a division... But Dunkley admitted he had taken advice from his brother Cheyenne, who used to play for the Pitmen, before making the switch.

'I spoke to my brother quite a bit about this offer and he told me that Hednesford are a good club and also a family one with people being very welcoming,' Dunkley said...

Worcester boss Carl Heeley refused to come back with an improved contract to try and keep Dunkley after he decided to reject his offer by text message. The former Loughborough University star sustained a season-ending shoulder injury in January, which required surgery. But Hednesford boss Liam McDonald described Dunkley’s arrival as a “real coup” for the club...

Meanwhile, former Worcester City player Ethan Moore has signed for Gloucester City."

Also from Worcester, NL Pitchero tells us that "Wayne Thomas has advised manager Carl Heeley that he will not be staying with Worcester City next season. Thomas, who was offered a deal by the club on an appearance basis, has decided to pursue alternative options.

Heeley said, 'Wayne Thomas has had a huge influence on the squad and been an integral part of some great memories over the past couple of seasons. I consider Wayne to be a friend and on behalf of everyone at the club I would like to wish him well and sincerely thank him for his massive contribution'.

Meanwhile, Romanian midfielder Marius Ologu has also been invited back for pre-season, where further discussions on his future will take place. Ologu joined City in January from Dudley Town, having previously played professionally for FC Caransebes in Romania’s second tier as well as Universitatea Craiova, Astra Ploiesti, CS Turnu Severin, ASA Targu Mures and National Sebis in his homeland."

The Lincolnshire Echo reports that "New signing James Reid turned down a full-time contract at Nuneaton to join Gainsborough Trinity. The former Nottingham Forest youngster was Dom Roma's fifth signing of the summer and joined Trinity after deciding to carry on playing football on a part-time basis.

Reid believed it was better for him personally to play part-time football with Gainsborough and carry on his day job as a financial broker. 'It is always nice to be offered full-time football but I'm quite happy with my job and playing football on a part-time basis for Gainsborough,' said Reid."

'If I was to go into full-time football it would have to be at a National League side or higher. It is always hard to turn down a contract like the one Nuneaton offered me, but I felt it was better for my future and career after football'.

During his time at Nuneaton the versatile midfielder was played in a number of positions but believes his new boss Roma and Trinity assistant manager Martin Foster will be able to use him to his best ability. 'I know Dom and Martin well, know the type of football they like to play and it suits my style of play,' said the 26-year-old. 'I'm quite a versatile player but I've been speaking to Dom about playing a more central role in midfield. I can play on the left or behind the striker as well though. Playing in the middle of the pitch will suit me as I like getting forward and creating goals for my team-mates'.

Gainsborough Trinity have remained in the National League North since its inception in 2004, but Reid believes they have to start the campaign aiming for promotion... 'If we are in the top ten around January or February then we have to aim for the play-offs but in this league you don't know a lot about the other teams until around ten games in'".

More locally, FC United of Manchester state that "Next season we look forward to welcoming FA Trophy Winners FC Halifax Town to Broadhurst Park for the first time, together with Kidderminster Harriers and Darlington 1883. Add those to local derbies against Altrincham, Curzon Ashton, Chorley, Salford City, Stalybridge Celtic and Stockport County, there’s going to be some big games and big crowds at Broadhurst Park.

In ensuring we continue to make admission prices as affordable as possible, as set out in our Manifesto, our pay on the gate prices for the 2016/17 season will remain at:

  • £9 Adults, £5 Concessions and £2 for under 18s.

We will once again be offering ‘Pay what you can afford’ season tickets. The minimum price of an adult season ticket is set at a very affordable £100. Our 'Pay what you can afford' scheme was introduced for the 2009/10 season, with the hope that those who can afford to do so will choose to pay more, subsidising those who pay less. In 2008/09, season tickets were priced at £140 each, but the following season, under the new scheme, we saw average prices paid rise to £160. Last season, of the 1,723 Adult Season Tickets sold, the average price paid per season ticket was £148.

In order to meet our financial targets, we would greatly appreciate it if supporters, who can afford it, add a donation to the minimum season ticket price. We are suggesting an average donation of £60, on top of the £100 ticket price so that we raise at least £160 from each ticket sold. This is equivalent to an entry price of £7.62 per match. Supporters who are able to pay more than £160 are encouraged to do so as every extra pound we raise is invested in the club and helps us to plan financially for the season ahead. If you want to pay the equivalent to the general admission prices, this works out at £189 for Adults.

Concession season tickets for over 60s/the unwaged will effectively be the same as the minimum price for all adults. Under-18 season tickets will remain at £21 equivalent to just £1 per match. Season Ticket and general admission prices at FC United are the same no matter whether you wish to stand up or sit down at matches and, as such seats are unreserved, giving everyone the opportunity to choose where they wish to watch the match from.

To maintain accessibility to FC United by keeping a good proportion of pay on the gate attendees, like last season we are limiting the number of season tickets sold to around 50% of our ground capacity. This means that we have 2,150 season tickets available to sell, so please order yours soon to avoid missing out. All existing season ticket holders will be guaranteed a ticket for the 2016/17 season provided that they renew before 30th June 2016. All season tickets last season were completely sold out.

Season ticket sales are extremely important to FC United. Revenue generated from Season Ticket sales equates to around half of the Club’s matchday income and this helps us better plan our finances for the coming year."

30 May 2016


Altrincham FC's Junior and Youth Football Development Team "is delighted to announce the youth team trials for Altrincham Football Club 2016/17 season. We are looking for players born between 31 August 1998 and 30 August 2001. Trials will be held on Sunday 12th June 2016.

Please register your interest by e-mail with the following information:

  • Name
  • Date of birth
  • Position
  • Previous experience
We will advise you on what time to attend. Please do NOT just arrive. We look forward to hearing from you".


the EvoStik League informs us that "Nantwich Town manager Phil Parkinson is tipping former Stoke City, Newcastle Town, Altrincham, Worcester City and Hednesford keeper Dave Parton to make his mark next season... Parkinson said, 'We believe Dave is the best in the area, which keeps within the vision and values of the club with recruiting the best in the Cheshire and North Staffordshire borders. Dave’s addition will make us stronger in the goalkeeper area, he is a big character, a fantastic shot stopper and will give us a big presence from set pieces.

'He never stops talking and this is a trait which will really benefit the back four. Most importantly, he’s a winner and someone that we have had our eye for a long time and we are delighted he has now agreed to join us... He added, ' haven’t brought Dave here to be nice and liked by all. Dave knows his remit and hopefully with our back four, he won’t have a lot to do. But we want someone to dominate the back four and six-yard box and we need our keeper to, now and again, make important saves in the bigger games. Consistency is what I am looking for... It’s something I have made Dave fully aware of and I am sure that he will make an important contribution'".

And Welsh Premier tells us that "GAP Connah's Quay have announced... new signings with Kevin Holsgrove [and others]... arriving at the Deeside Stadium. Holsgrove, 28, started his career at Everton before scoring 12 goals in the Welsh Premier from 39 (+14) appearances for Cefn Druids. He went on to play for Stockport County, Stalybridge Celtic and Halifax Town"... and Altrincham!


According to the Lincolnshire Echo, "Lincoln City have accepted a transfer request from striker Matt Rhead. The Imps' leading from the season just completed has informed new manager Danny Cowley that he wishes to leave Sincil Bank.

Barrow are leading the race to sign Rhead, who has a year left on his contract, and are believed to have offered the 31-year-old a substantial pay rise. Wrexham are also believed to be interested in the former Mansfield Town forward, although Cowley expects other clubs to enter the race to sign the player now his transfer status has been made public.

'We have accepted a request from Matt Rhead to go on the transfer list,' confirmed Cowley. 'We know it's not personal, it's just football. For us, it's very important that we have players that are fully committed and focused on Lincoln City. Regardless of what they have done for the club in the past, if they are not happy they will never play to their best, so we have accepted his request... He is a unique player,' said Cowley. 'There aren't many target men who can score more than 20 goals a season. For us to replace him it will obviously cost us a lot of money, so for any club that does want to sign him we will expect to be remunerated'...

Cowley held talks with Rhead last weekend and afterwards made it clear that the striker was part of his plans. It has subsequently come to light that Rhead submitted a transfer request two weeks before Cowley and his brother Nicky were appointed at Sincil Bank. That request was rejected by the club. But while Cowley is a fan of Rhead's, he has reluctantly agreed to accept his request.

'Matt Rhead was involved in 64 per cent of Lincoln City's goals last season,' added Cowley.. 'Of course we would like to continue that relationship and keep working with him, but circumstances change. We want players who are fully committed to the club... For Matt, at this time, he feels his future is not with us. That's his prerogative... He's just been offered a substantial increase to his wage which has turned his head. But if they are prepared to offer him a substantial increase in wages, they obviously value the player very highly...

'He's just had the best season of his career... so if he does move on, it will be on our terms... At the moment there are two clubs interested but I have a feeling that, now it's public, there'll be more interest because goalscoring target men don't grow on trees'".

The Worcester News tells us that "Influential centre-back Wayne Thomas has left Worcester City after receiving an alternative offer 'he probably didn’t expect'.

Manager Carl Heeley said he was keen to keep the 37-year-old who was offered a new deal by the club on 'an appearance basis'... Heeley said, 'I was honest with him about what I could offer, but I know he has got another option he probably didn’t expect'...

After a short spell coaching in America with New York Red Bulls, Thomas returned to City in October 2015 and went on to make 22 appearances. However, a succession of injury set-backs in the second half of last season did not help City’s cause... 'In an ideal world I would love to have everybody but the bottom line is we have to work within a budget and we need players who can be available for 40-plus games of the season', Heeley said. 'I have to look after the interests of the club and I also have to look after my own interests because I can’t run the risk of being short (of players) and having nowhere to go'...

Thomas’s centre-back partner Tom Sharpe has agreed to stay at City, while Heeley confirmed he was set to hold talks with defender Alex Gudger who has been away on holiday. Worcester have also invited Romanian attacking midfielder Marius Ologu back to pre-season where further discussion on his future will take place."

29 May 2016


News of a second ex-Altrincham player to join Guiseley comes with the Yorkshire club's "signing of versatile winger Nicky Clee..

Clee, 32, follows Michael Rankine to Nethermoor from Altrincham where he spent seven successful years and became a fans’ favourite during his time at Moss Lane... Lions' boss Mark Bower said, 'Nicky has come to us on an appearance based deal and turned down more security elsewhere for the chance to prove himself with us at National League level. He’s a very gifted footballer with a great left foot and can play in numerous positions. We’re pleased Nicky has decided to join us and we feel he will be a real asset to the team for the coming season'".

Guiseley also confirm "the contract renewal of young forward Luke Porritt, who enjoyed a fine pre-season in 2015 before being restricted to a peripheral role due to injuries and spending time on loan at Ossett Albion...

Bower remarked, 'Luke missed the last 4 months of the season through injury so we’re hopeful he’ll be fit for the start of pre-season and get a consistent run of games under his belt to push for a place in the first team and fulfil his potential'".

Also in West Yorkshire, FC Halifax Town "have confirmed that goalkeeper Jordan Porter has been released by the Club. He was understudy to Sam Johnson for most of the season, who returned to Port Vale this month following the expiry of his loan".

In his place, "FC Halifax Town have announced the signing of goalkeeper Steven Drench from local neighbours Guiseley... The 30 year old has made over 200 appearances for Guiseley in the last six years. He started his career at Blackburn Rovers and has had spells at Morecambe, Southport and Leigh Genesis."

News of another goalkeeper comes from Stockport County who report that "Not many goalkeepers have won a Goal of the Season Award but County's newest signing Ben Hinchliffe can boast that accolade alongside a long list of trophies, promotions and individual awards.Ben has been at AFC Fylde since 2012 and has enjoyed four successive Play-Off campaigns with the Coasters.

He will forever be a hero to the AFC Fylde fans, having scored the winning spot-kick in the 2014 Play-Off final penalty shootout against Ashton United which catapulted the Coasters into the Conference North. Ben, a lorry driver by trade, has been named the best keeper in his division for the last four seasons in a row, and also scored a 60-yard wonder goal in the Play-Off semi-final in 2013, which won Fylde's Goal of the Season award.

County boss James Gannon said, 'An experienced and very capable Conference North goalkeeper was required for this campaign. Over a number of years I've been an admirer of Ben's ability and in our recent game against Fylde, and every other opportunity we've had to see him, he's been excellent. Therefore, when he became a realistic target he quickly moved to the top of my list...

'Ben has... a real winning mentality, and we hope that focus, experience and consistency will help with the further development and progression of Ian Ormson. I feel confident that we now have two of the best goalkeepers in Step Two for next season'.

Ben said, 'It's great to join a good club coming from Fylde, who've gone full-time, so I was looking to move on, and obviously when I spoke to Jim I was excited and delighted to come to Edgeley Park... I want to be playing every week and enjoying my football, I've had other offers but I want to come here and play in front of good crowds every week, and I know some of the lads here already including Danny Lloyd from Fylde and Michael Clarke from Northwich.

'It's going to be a tough league this year, probably more so than in the last two years, with the likes of Halifax and Kidderminster coming down, there'll be some good grounds and some good crowds to play in front of... I'm sure we'll be challenging for promotion this year.'"

"Following the conclusion of last season, the manager’s situation at Bradford Park Avenue has remained unresolved... The board at Bradford Park Avenue wishes to inform supporters that... they are working hard on making an appointment.

Offers have been made and are being discussed, and supporters will be informed as soon as it is possible to do so".

According to the Football Conference, "Simon Weaver, manager of Harrogate Town, has added more experience to his squad with the signing of former Grimsby Town marksman John Paul Pittman.

Pittman, who turns 30 in October, began his career in Aston Villa's academy before moving to Nottingham Forest where he spent eight years. During this time, he enjoyed spells at Hartlepool United and Bury before eventually securing a move to Crawley Town in 2007.

Twenty-two goals in sixty-one appearances helped Pittman earn a five-figure move to Wycombe Wanderers... before moving to Oxford United and eventually back to Crawley on loan... Pittman joined Grimsby Town in July 2014...

On joining Harrogate, Pittman commented:... 'I just love everything I hear about the club'".

We learn that Gloucester City "have completed the double signing of striker Ethan Moore and full-back Keiran Thomas from Cinderford Town.

Moore, 23, had a prolific season for Town in their title-winning campaign last season, where he was top scorer notching an impressive 29 goals. He started his career with Southampton and moved to Aston Villa as a youngster. He has gone on to have spells with Cheltenham Town, Evesham and Worcester City, where he scored 13 goals in 15 appearances for the latter...

The Tigers have also swooped for right back Keiran Thomas, following the retirement of Mike Green. Thomas, 20, captained the Foresters to the title in the Southern League Division One South and West last season...

[Manager, Tim] Harris said 'Keiran is an attacking full back... As delighted as I am to sign Ethan and Keiran I am saddened to see what is happening to Cinderford Town at present. So, given the age and potential of both players, we have reached an agreement with Cinderford to ensure their contribution to the players’ development will be recognised if they progress to a higher standard'".

28 May 2016


"FC Halifax Town defender James Bolton has signed for Gateshead FC. The 22 year-old joined the Shaymen in January 2014 on loan from Macclesfield Town before joining permanently in the same summer under Neil Aspin, who is now the manager at Gateshead".

Also from FC Halifax Town we learn that "New incoming manager Billy Heath has revealed the lure of coming to The Shay was 'too big an opportunity to turn down', despite his old North Ferriby United side replacing Town in the National League...

He exclusively revealed to the official website, 'It was difficult, considering all of the success we had at North Ferriby but, once a club like Halifax shows an interest, a big football club in every way, then the decision was easy in the end. But I am leaving some really good people behind at Ferriby. It was just too big an opportunity to turn down, absolutely. It is a totally different entity at Halifax. Ferriby were known as a village club but we won big things there.

'Everybody looks to Wembley at our FA Trophy win in 2015 and this season in the play-offs to get promotion but we did also get promoted from the Evo-Stik Premier by winning the title. Myself and Mark Carroll (assistant) have had massive success in the four and a half years at Ferriby winning around eight trophies. It has been a really good time for us. Hopefully we can repeat that Halifax. Coming here was too much of a big opportunity to turn down'...

' 'The main thing about the win [by Halifax in the FA Trophy] at Wembley on Sunday is that I start at a club now on the up again. It is always very difficult when a club gets relegated because everyone is, quite rightly, very down. But that win has given an injection into everybody and hopefully that win is a sign of things to come and that we can get the Club back into the National League'...

'It’s a busy, busy time. We’re massively busy because we’re still waiting on answers for players who have got deals on the table. But it could be a big rebuilding job and there could be a big influx of players coming in. So it is an exciting time but we need to get going as quickly as we can. There are quite a few of the current squad that we do want to keep but people are moving on because they want to play in the National League and there’s nothing that we can do about that...

'Some of the players have already said they want to play in the National League with some players moving on already. What we have got to do is... build a squad with the right balance within it and make sure that the players, like all of my teams, work hard. Regardless of the quality players bring to the football pitch, they have got to work hard. That is the cornerstone of our success.

'We have had a long career myself and Mark. Before the Ferriby days we won things at all sorts of levels but the cornerstone was having players who wanted to work hard and who wanted to work hard for each other. That is always our starting point... When you have had success with a group of players you try and bring some players with you and that is something that we are obviously looking at. The players who have played for me for the last four and a half years understand how I work and understand what is expected...

'It’s a massively tough league and it is going to be even more so this year because of the teams that have come up as well as down... It doesn’t matter if you are a big football club or have a big support, you have to earn the right... There are a lot of good players out there. Watch this space'".

From the Daily Post we learn that "Lee Fowler insists his move to AFC Telford United is the ‘perfect fit’ after signing a one-year deal at the New Buck's Head. The 32-year-old midfielder was among 16 players allowed to leave Wrexham in the summer...

'I met with a few different people and spoke with different clubs,' said Fowler. 'But I met Rob (Smith, manager) and Larry (Chambers, assistant) and it seemed to be a perfect fit... Rob and Larry are old school, which is what I need in terms of the pre-season. Football-wise I had a good chat with them and they said they had spoken to Gary (Mills) and he had given me good reviews and about my character in the changing room and stuff.

'I like where they wanted me to play, which was in a more advanced position as well, that was perfect for me, to continue what I did towards the end of the season at Wrexham'...

'I am not looking to move on, I have gone there because it is a great club. I could have gone to other sides than Telford, but they have... signed some really good players, and I have had a look at their squad and I think they have a good side... I spoke to someone in Scotland, but the travel would have been too far, I did speak to a team down in London in this league [National League], but the same down there, financially it didn’t match up to make it worth my while.

'I spoke to quite a few Conference North clubs but, again, it was location-wise. There are some big clubs in that league, teams that finished in the play-offs and teams that will want to be getting promoted next season, but I felt this was ideal, just everything seemed to match for me'... Fowler admitted... he has been allowed to go through pre-season with the Dragons. He added, 'I spoke with Rob the other day and they said I could stay full-time which is what I need and that will only benefit myself and also Telford'".

At Gainsborough Trinity, Goalkeeper "Jan Budtz has left Trinity having failed to agree terms due to work commitments surrounding midweek games and training. He joins Buxton with our best wishes".

Meanwhile the Telegraph & Argus says that at Bradford Park Avenue, "The club turned to Darren Edmondson in mid-March and the former Terrier ultimately secured Bradford’s status in the sixth tier of English football... and finished 14th in the 22-strong division...

The board of directors were also relieved but they are considering their options over the close season and are yet to confirm who will be in the hot seat for the coming season".

According to the Shropshire Star, "Salford City are favourites to land star defender Curtis Tilt, although a deal from AFC Telford United is still on the table. The 24-year-old centre-half was one of Telford’s standout performers last season... but appears to have opted for a lucrative offer from rivals Salford.

The former Hednesford Town and Halesowen Town man followed boss Rob Smith and Larry Chambers from the Pitmen in the early stages of last season... Tilt was offered terms by the Bucks two weeks ago, but was said to be in talks with other clubs...

Smith has added two central defenders, Ben Bailey and Dan Preston, to his squad this summer."

NL Pitchero says that "New AFC Fylde signing Brendon Daniels insists the ambition of the club was the driving force behind his switch from league rivals Harrogate Town. The former Crewe Alexandra winger becomes the club’s second signing of the summer and joins the Coasters on a three-year deal.

Daniels finished last season as Player of the Year at Harrogate after netting 22 league goals as Town finished fourth. The 22-year-old admitted he was ‘buzzing’ as he signed his contract...

'The vision of the club and where they want to be is very impressive and I want to help them achieve their goals. I knew there was interest back in January when Fylde first put a bid in but I’ve had to wait until the end of the season for a deal to be done... I had offers from other clubs, but none of them were as appealing as what Fylde had to offer so it was a no-brainer for me really. Harrogate wanted me to stay but what I was told at Fylde was far more positive and exciting and they really sold it to me...

'The new stadium was of course a big draw for me and their ambition and plans over the next few years sounded like something I wanted to be involved with. I’ve seen all the plans for the new ground and it looks amazing. I can’t wait to be playing there... I’ve signed a three-year deal and I’d love to see the club reach the Football League in that time.'

Talking of his style of play, Daniels said, 'I like to play with a lot of flair and score goals wherever the manager plays me. I do like to play left-wing but I’m equally comfortable in the no. 10 role so I’m happy to play either of those positions...

'I was part-time last season at Harrogate and going full-time is only going to benefit me and get me fitter and sharper on the pitch. I was full-time at Crewe but this is the first time I’ve been back to that since. I made ten appearances for the first-team at Crewe and I’d love to be back playing League football again, but this time with Fylde'".

27 May 2016


Guiseley report that "We’re delighted to announce that Michael Rankine has become the Mark Bower’s first new signing of the summer.

Thirty-one year-old striker Rankine’s signing was completed on Wednesday, having agreed terms and successfully completed a medical. He re-joins former York City team-mates Adam Smith, Will Hatfield and Adam Boyes at Nethermoor.

Manager Bower told us today, 'Having met with Michael and spoken to him at length over the past couple of weeks, we’re confident he has the right character and qualities to help us improve on last season and we are delighted that he has chosen to join us over more lucrative offers elsewhere.

'He scored 16 goals last season at National League level [for Altrincham, 13 of which were in the league] and brings a wealth of experience, a real physical presence and the right mentality to be a leader both on and off the pitch'".

According to NL Pitchero, "Paul Cox, manager of Barrow AFC, was a happy man as he bolstered his fledgling squad with three more players. First to sign on the dotted line was winger Lindon Meikle, who has exercised his release clause with National League South outfit Alfreton Town allowing him to join a higher league club... Second to commit was impressive midfielder [ex-Alty loanee] Andy Parry, who joined Barrow from Luton Town in February after a successful loan spell.

Meanwhile, signing his fourth successive deal at Holker Street was Alex-Ray Harvey... All have signed one year deals with one-year appearance-based options."

In the North division, NL Pitchero tells us that "Harrogate Town have confirmed the arrival of winger Wayne Brooksby to The CNG Stadium. The 26-year-old has joined from North Ferriby United, where earlier this month, his goal in the play-off final helped the Villagers secure promotion.

Brooksby also tasted promotion as part of the Guiseley AFC squad in 2015... The speedy winger is renowned for his goalscoring ability and is certain to add proven creativity to Simon Weaver`s squad."

In the Halifax Courier we learn that "Town chairman David Bosomworth said the appointment of Billy Heath was made with the long-term future of the club in mind... Jim Harvey's departure was announced just two days after he guided Halifax to victory at Wembley against Grimsby.

Bosomworth did not want to comment on why Harvey’s contract had not been renewed...

'We would like to thank Jim and Tommy (Miller, former assistant manager) for all their efforts... They did their best to alleviate the position we were in. It’s a sad decision to make because Jim wanted the job, but we have done what we think is best for the long-term future of the club. We have thought about the situation going forward over the next two, three, four years with this appointment. Billy and Mark (Carroll, assistant manager) know this league and understand what it takes to get out of it.

'They’ve achieved two promotions at North Ferriby and two top-five finishes. And that was with one of the smallest budgets in that division, so they’ve shown they know how to work to a budget and get the maximum out of it'".

From the Worcester News we learn that "supporters' hopes of taking over the ownership of Worcester City could be realised this summer after a meeting to decide on the club’s future was called. City’s board has received a request by Worcester City FC Supporters’ Trust to vote on changing the constitution of the club.

The extraordinary general meeting (EGM) will give shareholders the chance to choose whether City should stay as a limited company or follow in the footsteps of Portsmouth, Exeter City and FC United of Manchester to become a fan-owned club. Chairman Anthony Hampson and his directors have until June 10 to set a date for the vote which is expected to be held in early July.

Trust director Rich Widdowson welcomed the news, as he believes a change in ownership model will keep City, who have about £530,000 left in the bank, alive...

'People need to be given a choice of which route they want to take,' he said. 'The Trust has a survival plan... The club will go out of existence (if it stays as it is) because it has lost all of its assets. We don’t mind who runs the club, but we have got a problem with how it is run, so things that have happened in the past can’t happen again, such as the club being signed into deals which don’t benefit it.'

The 'survival plan' includes an application to create a 4,100-capacity stadium for City, who have been in exile since 2013, at Perdiswell Park. The Trust say making City a Community Benefit Society (CBS) would help them raise capital for the new ground... Widdowson said he was unaware the club’s board had an alternative plan, but vice-chairman Colin Layland revealed there was a 'Plan B' which they were not prepared to make public until the stadium application had been heard by Worcester City Council...

Widdowson also claimed Hampson mentioned 'more than once' about the possibility of folding the club. Although Hampson failed to respond to the Worcester News, director Mike Davis insisted that was 'out of the question'...

Davis, who is also a club representative on the trust’s board, added, 'The Trust’s attitude is that there is no point in waiting (for a meeting) and there is no reason why we shouldn’t become a community-owned club. But at the moment we are a limited company with shareholders and for every share they have got, they have got a vote, so it is in their hands'".

According to the Lincolnshire Echo, "Dom Roma expects to add two more signings to his Gainsborough Trinity squad before the start of pre-season. The Trinity manager has already brought in six new faces to his squad...

'There should be two more signings within the next week or two and then that should be it until the start of pre-season, when we'll start getting some trialists in to have a look at,' said Roma. 'I am interested in bringing in another defender and a winger, then we will have a look at the squad we've got and at the trialists and make more decisions.'

Roma has brought in three attackers in the form of Jordan Thewlis, Jacob Hazel and Ashley Worsfold and three midfielders in Jake Scott, Alex Wiles and James Reid in the last month. All the players have experience playing in non-league football and are as young as 20.

'The new signings will bring youthful exuberance and energy to the team as well as a lot of pace,' said the Gainsborough boss. 'Even though they are young they have all had a lot of experience in non-league football, so it won't be their first season playing it'...

The latest signing was Jordan Thewlis... 'He is very direct, quick and is very clever when he's making runs forward,' said Roma...

At the start of the month a retained and released list was published... Only nine members of the Trinity squad were named on that list as discussions were continuing with other members of the squad. However, Roma says the club will make an announcement on those players in the coming weeks... Said the Trinity manager, 'We want our players to show us commitment and we haven't had that yet. We will sit down with them and a date will be set for them to decide their futures.'

Gainsborough have currently got 15 players registered for the 2016/17 campaign... One of the players released by Trinity, striker Marc Newsham, has joined Matlock Town."

We learn from the Worcester News that "Right-back Rhys Thompson is on his way to Worcester City, according to Chasetown manager Dave Stringer. The defender has made 45 appearances for Chasetown... But speaking to the Lichfield Mercury, Stringer revealed Thompson is set to make the step up to the Vanarama National League North with Worcester.

The capture of Thompson, which has yet to be confirmed by City, could be the second player manager Carl Heeley has brought to the club this summer following the return of centre-back Graham Hutchinson. Thompson has previously played for Leek Town, Kidsgrove Athletic, Hanley Town and Market Drayton Town.

Stringer also admitted George Washbourne looks set to join City’s Worcestershire rivals Kidderminster Harriers".

Also from the worcester News we learn that "Worcester City have received a big boost after 'unsung hero' Tom Sharpe agreed a one-year contract extension. Sharpe was one of City’s most consistent performers during the 2015/16 campaign, making 38 appearances at the heart of their defence.

The 27-year-old joined Worcester last summer...

Boss Carl Heeley said he was 'Absolutely delighted' to have someone of his experience on board for next season. 'Tom is a quiet lad, but he is experienced, he knows the league... You can rely on him as he does his job every week and never gets into trouble. He is one of those players that doesn’t get recognised, but they are the unsung heroes of the team and the ones that stop you from having a heart [attack?] on the touchline as a manager. He is also available for lots of games which is another positive'...

He joins Tyler Weir, Graham Hutchison, Lee Hughes, Kyle Perry, Danny Jackman, Connor Gater, Jamie Smith and Dean Waldron, who have already put pen to paper for the new campaign."

26 May 2016


Joint Press and Media Officer, John Edwards, writes that "Neil Young has added width to his new-look Altrincham squad by signing two highly-rated young wingers in Billy Hasler-Cregg and Jamie Menagh.

Burnley-born Hasler-Cregg, 19, has arrived from Rochdale, while 22-year old Liverpudlian Menagh has linked up with Young for a third time after previously playing for him at Chester and Stockport County.

'Billy is an exciting young wide player who can operate on either side and had great reviews from his time on loan at Droyslden last year,' said Alty boss Young. 'He has had a taste of non-League football and is keen to make the most of this opportunity.

'He's a lad who was identified and spoken to in the first week of being appointed at Altrincham. We are really looking forward to working with Billy, and I know he is looking forward to it immensely.

'Jamie is a player I took to Chester in the Conference not long after he left Blackpool, and he did really well there. I also took him to Stockport, though I only worked with him there for a couple of weeks. He can play anywhere across the middle, but particularly in wide areas. He's hard working, with a great set-piece delivery, and he also has a willingness to learn. At only 22, he has a hunger to do well and kick on.'

Hasler-Cregg was one of only three Academy graduates to be offered 12-month professional contracts at Rochdale last summer, after benefitting from training with the first team throughout the 2014-15 season. During that campaign, he was among the substitutes for the FA Cup first-round replay at home to Northampton and League One fixture against Doncaster, and at the end of it, he said:

'The coaching staff have been great with me, and I know I have improved a lot over the last couple of years. I have really enjoyed being involved with the first team and getting the experience of being among senior players. Being involved with pros has helped me greatly, and they have given me advice every step of the way.

'They demand a lot from you. They expect you to train the same way they do and have the same attitude. But they will always help if there is something you are struggling with. They have given me advice on how to be better as a player, and what the gaffer wants, and that has gone a long way towards helping me secure my first professional contract.'

Hasler-Cregg marked his first seven games on loan to Droylsden last season with three goals, five assists and two man-of-the-match awards and became a top target for Young once the recently-appointed Alty manager heard of his availability.

Menagh was snapped up by then-Chester boss Young from Prescot Cables in October, 2013 and could hardly have made a more impressive start, scoring twice on his full debut in a 3-3 draw with Lincoln City and following up with a dramatic stoppage-time winner in the live BT Sport game against FC Halifax.

He started out in central midfield but switched to the right flank and was described in the Chester Chronicle's sports pages as being a 'direct and energetic' winger. He left Chester in January, 2015 and joined forces with Young again at Stockport nearly 12 months later, though he might have been playing his trade at a higher level, but for a quirk of fate.

'I was at Blackpool from the age of about 15, and I turned professional with them,' he said. 'Then Stoke came in for me, so I went there and did well. I was meant to be signing a new two-year deal, but then the manager Tony Pulis and my coach Dave Kevan got sacked, and it all fell through.'

Young's latest double signing follows the capture of keeper Andrew Dawber, midfielders Charlie Joyce and David Lynch and centre-back Tom Hannigan, as well as news that James Lawrie and Damian Reeves have accepted new terms for next season. Former Clitheroe manager Simon Garner has also been added to the backroom staff".


The Manchester Evening News says that "The Football Association is investigating an end of season match involving Stalybridge Celtic. The probe centres on the team’s 5-0 home defeat by Boston United in the National League North. Boston clinched a play-off spot with the victory.

Earlier in the season Stalybridge had won 3-0 at Boston, the first time in their history they had won there. In their later defeat, in April, Stalybridge played three academy players. The FA is investigating after concerns the integrity of the competition could have been affected.

The match took place at Stalybridge’s Bower Fold ground on April 30. Celtic were mid-table but the visiting Pilgrims needed to win in order to pip Nuneaton United to a play-off place...

One element of the probe could be scrutiny of any illegal betting on the match.

The Boston United official website match report said, 'The Pilgrims were completely dominant and created in the region of 20 clear cut chances en route to a thumping victory'...

It is understood however that two of the three academy players fielded by Stalybridge Celtic are highly rated by the club. A spokesman for Boston United said, 'The allegations have come as a complete surprise and we have had no formal notification from the Football Association about this matter'...

Stalybridge deny any wrongdoing. A spokesman for Stalybridge said, 'We were shocked to hear of the allegations, which we categorically deny. We will obviously offer our full cooperation to the FA in the event of any investigation and have been advised by them to say no more at this stage.'

From the Boston Standard we learn that "Boston United are set to respond to suggestions that the Football Association are investigating their final game of the National League North season... The four changes to the Celtic side which beat Corby Town 3-0 in their previous match were Amour Lingouba, Dale Wright, Aaron Chalmers and John Shaw, who replaced Jack Higgins, Charlie Joyce, Steve Tames and Adam Farrell.

Higgins has since been sold to York City and it has been suggested that Joyce’s loan spell from Southport has already ended. Lingouba, who came through the club’s academy, was making his 11th appearance for Celtic, while Wright, Chalmers and Shaw were all established first teamers. Both Stalybridge and Boston are reported to refute the allegations...

Boston United chairman David Newton says... 'Yesterday we were contacted by the Daily Mail regarding an article they intended publishing in respect of "irregular betting patterns" surrounding Boston United’s last game of the season against Stalybridge Celtic... However, no formal [FA] investigation has been instigated'".

Stockport County tell us that the club "is proud to release the update to our Five-Year plan, 'Moving Forward', which sets out the club's ambitions up to 2020 and provides details of progress made during Year One.

There is still much to do to achieve our headline ambitions, which include returning County to the Football League, as well as measures to make the business stable and sustainable, whilst regaining ownership of Edgeley Park, but... we have entered Year Two in a healthy position.

Headline achievements include:

  • a huge reduction in debt
  • a transfer in ownership of our stadium
  • the return of a County legend to manage the team
The Plan will be used immediately as a consultation document to open dialogue with politicians, businesses and most importantly our supporters, to help drive the club forward and achieve our stated aims and ambitions.

County Director Richard Park said, 'We have achieved a great deal in the last 20 months: reducing debt, bringing badly-needed stability off the pitch, bringing good people in to assist with the operation of the club, bringing additional revenue into the club, bringing a string of former sponsors back into Edgeley Park, cutting costs, rebuilding relationships with the council, local companies and, of course, getting the ground in the ownership of the local authority. There is still more work to be done if we are to realise our overarching ambitions, but we have made significant progress as we seek to rebuild our football club.'"

According to the Shropshire Star, "AFC Telford United have been handed a summer boost as star attacker Josh Wilson has signed a deal to remain at the New Buck's Head. But two members of last season's squad, Mike Grogan and Izak Reid, have been released.

Merseyside attacking midfielder Wilson originally joined from high-fliers AFC Fylde in February... He finished the campaign with seven goals, level with forward Connor McCarthy...

Central defenders Dan Preston and Ben Bailey and utility man James Hurst are Telford's three new faces so far this summer. Wilson joins Darren Campion, Lucas Dawson, James Montgomery, Dwayne Samuels and Zak Lilly to commit for next season - while forward Dave Hibbert enters the second of a two year deal.

Grogan was signed by former boss Liam Watson in 2013 and was one of the club's longest-serving players. He endured a tough opening to last season, even spending time out on loan at Warrington Town. But the 27-year-old returned to the fold and put in some key performances as Smith's side secured their league on the penultimate weekend of the season.

Winger Reid, who was signed last summer by Steve Kittrick, put in a string of impressive performances earlier in the season before a serious injury saw the former Barrow man struggle to recapture any of his match sharpness. Skipper Jack Rea and defender Curtis Tilt remain in talks with the hierarchy and decisions over the duo are set to be made in the coming days".

At Salford City, "managers Anthony Johnson and Bernard Morley have agreed terms with three new signings, as well as extending deals for four players...

Arriving from AFC Fy[l]de is Brad Barnes who joined the Coasters from Chester in 2011. Brad had a spell in the Conference Premier with Southport before making the decision to sign for Chester who were then preparing for life in the Evo-Stik League's First Division North.... Brad is a tough-tackling midfielder who captained Fylde... and led the team to the National League North play-offs this season...

Manchester born forward Mike Phenix has agreed to make the move to Moor Lane from Southport. Mike started out with the Bolton Wanderers academy before moving into the non-league game with Hindsford. Spells at Droylsden and Skelmersdale United followed and in 2013 he moved to AFC Telford United.... Early in the 2014-2015 season Barnsley signed him for a transfer fee of £25,000. Loan spells at Macclesfield Town and Southport followed and after being released by the Tykes last season he signed on for the rest of the season with the Sandgrounders.

Solihull defender Michael Nottingham has also agreed to make the switch having been an integral part of the Moors' National League North title winning side this season. Born in Birmingham the 6' 4" defender can play at centre-back, right-back or right-wing back and also has a rather keen eye for goal... [Last season at Solihull] Michael picked up both the players' and supporters' player of the season awards...

The managers have also extended deals for a number of this season's promotion winning squad, with Steve Howson, Scott Burton, Steve O'Halloran and Richie Allen putting pen to paper this week. Negotiations are ongoing with others, so watch this space for more news. With Josh Hine, Jordan Hulme, John Johnston, Sam Livesey and Billy Priestley already committed to the club for 2016-2015 the squad is already taking shape.

So far it is has been confirmed that three players will be leaving Moor Lane.

{One is] striker Gareth Seddon... Also leaving is ex-Ramsbottom United central defender Michael Dawson who joined the Ammies in October 2015. Ongoing injury problems affected his time at Moor Lane but he made 13 appearances for the club,... The third confirmed departure is winger/forward Joe Mwasile [ex-Alty] who arrived at Moor Lane last summer and went on to make 35 appearances for the Ammies, with 24 of those made as a substitute".

From Kidderminster Harriers we learn that "Boss John Eustace says Harriers aren’t being rushed into any close-season decisions... After the end of the last campaign, the club made an offer to a small number of players to extend their stays...

As things stand, James McQuilkin and Keith Lowe are among those mulling over new terms...

'All of the lads we’ve spoken to understand that we only want people here who want to be part of things at Kidderminster... We’re speaking and meeting with players daily... We’ll end up with the players and characters that are right for us'".

A former Alty loanee is the subject of a report from NL Pitchero. It says that "Warrington Town have announced their first major signing for the forthcoming season. Joining the Premier Division new boys is experienced former FC Halifax Town and Chorley striker James Dean. The 30-year-old 6'3” centre forward and former kickboxing champion has signed from Chorley where he scored nearly 60 goals in 130 appearances."

25 May 2016


In addition to the two new signings today, (see above), here is a list of those players already committed to Altrincham FC for 2016-17 and those who have left since the end of last season.

2016-17 squad, to date: Andrew Dawber, Shaun Densmore, Tom Hannigan, Sam Heathcote, Charlie Joyce, David Lynch, Jake Moult, Simon Richman, James Lawrie, Damian Reeves.

Departed players: Stuart Coburn (retired), Tim Deasy (released), Scott Leather (opted to move to Chorley), Adam Griffin (released), Luca Havern (released), Tom Marshall (released), Ryan Crowther (released), Michael Rankine (opted to go elsewhere), Nicky Clee (released), George Bowerman (released), Josh O'Keefe (released).


North Ferriby United have now issued an "Official Club Statement. After another fantastic season for North Ferriby United culminating in promotion to The National League, the club has to announce that, after five extremely successful years, our manager Billy Heath and assistant (Bobby) Mark Carroll have decided to take up an offer with FC Halifax Town.

The club has experienced a fantastic few years with Billy and Bobby at the helm and the club would like to thank them for their tremendous work ethic and remarkable achievements during this period with North Ferriby United. North Ferriby United wish them every success in their new role at Halifax Town, a well established West Yorkshire club steeped in football history."

Meanwhile FC Halifax Town "has decided not to renew manager Jim Harvey's short term contract. It has not been possible to delay the announcement following the success on Sunday, due to the three-week extension to the playing season and the need to commence planning for the 2016-2017 campaign and player contract discussions.

We admire the efforts of Jim and Tommy Miller in what has been a difficult season trying to avoid relegation and the outstanding success of winning the FA Trophy...

The Club can confirm the appointment of Billy Heath and Mark Carroll on a two-year contract. After another fantastic season for North Ferriby United under the leadership of Billy and Mark, culminating in promotion to The National League. ... they've also secured two promotions, two other top five finishes and were also FA Trophy winners last season". [Reproduced as written].

Elsewhere, NL Pitchero says that "AFC Fylde's new man Steve Williams believes he can make history with the club following his switch from National League side Barrow AFC.

The towering centre-half spent last season with the Bluebirds, but turned down a new deal in favour of a move ‘back home’ with the Coasters...

'We originally had talks a couple of years ago before I signed for FC Halifax Town,' said the 29-year-old. 'So, joining the club has always been in the back of my mind. I am a local lad so it’s something that I’ve thought about for a while. I spoke to the manager again at the end of this season and it seemed like the right time to sign, especially with the club making a real effort to get out of the league. It’s something I aspire to and want to help the club achieve.

'I think the deal is a positive move for both parties. With my experience and the club’s ambition, we should be able to help each other reach those targets next season. I don’t see the move as dropping down a division. I fully believe that I’ll be back playing in the Conference next season with Fylde, so that drives me on. Yes, the club is in a league below but, in 12 months` time, I’ll be playing back at that level but with a club that’s on the up. I’m looking at the bigger picture rather than just this season.'

Williams already has plenty of Football League experience having made close on a century of appearances for Bradford City and is now hoping to guide the Coasters to that level playing the ‘proper way’.

'I played almost 100 League games for Bradford and that’s ultimately what I want to get back to. Living in the area gives me even more desire to get there with a local club. I’d love to make history with the club and help get them to that level. I’ve played in the Conference for a couple of years and it’s a very difficult league to get out of. There are a few clubs paying big money for players and they still struggle to get out but, hopefully, during my time with the club we can achieve that.

'Another pull for me was the style of play that the gaffer has instilled into the team. When I played against Fylde for Barrow in the FA Cup last season I thought they were the better footballing side and that really appealed to me. It’s about teaching the right philosophy and if we do go up then we will be one of the few teams that plays the proper way'...

The former Chorley defender will be looking to fill the void left by the departing Tom Hannigan [now with Alty], but he admits that doesn’t faze him. 'I don’t really see it that way, I just want to come here and do my job. I don’t see it as having to fill anyone’s shoes. I have enough confidence in my own ability to be the man in that position. Strong and commanding is something that’s stuck with me throughout my career. I’m a ball playing centre-half but having played in the Conference for a while I know football doesn’t always work like that and you have to be solid. Sometimes you have to play ugly and I have adapted to that side too.

'I want to become an all-round better player so it will be interesting to see how exactly the gaffer wants us to play next year. It always depends on the opposition and sometimes he might want us to be more robust but, either way, we will be doing everything to get ourselves promoted'".

The National League reports that "FC Halifax Town defender Hamza Bencherif has signed for Wrexham.

The 28-year-old joined the Shaymen last summer from Lincoln City on a one-year deal. Although he was born in Paris, Bencherif started his career with Nottingham Forest where he was loaned out to Lincoln City in October 2007... He was released by Forest at the end of the 2008/09 season and signed a one-year contract with Macclesfield Town... but a broken ankle he sustained in December ended his season.

Bencherif signed a one-year extension to his contract in May 2010, and scored 16 goals in forty-one League games during the 2010/11 campaign. He rejected a new contract offer from Macclesfield in June 2011 to sign a two-year deal with Notts County... He then signed a short-term deal with Plymouth Argyle... He was released in January 2014... and moved to Algerian side JS Kabylie on an eighteen-month contract.

In August 2014, Bencherif joined Lincoln City... After one season with Lincoln he joined FC Halifax".

At Harrogate Town, "The following players are no longer under contract and will not be with us next season: Harry Coates, Paul Clayton, Luke Foster, David McGurk, Andy McWilliams, Matt Bloomer, Jordan Thewlis (joined Gainsborough Trinity)...

We are delighted that the following players are all now under contract for the 2016/2017 season: Peter Crook, Lewis Turner, Danny Ellis, Luke Shiels, Joe Colbeck, Paul Thirwell, Lloyd Kerry, Warren Burrell, Jack Emmett, Tom Platt, Dominic Knowles, Simon Ainge.

Andy Gascgoine, Ryan Fallowfield and James Cadman have all been invited back to attend pre-season training. Louie Swain and Brendan Daniels remain in negotiation with the club."

At Hednesford Town "Gurjit Singh has agreed a one-year deal with the Pitmen. The striker, who has spent the last 14 months with Kidderminster Harriers, has been a consistent goalscorer...

He said, 'I rejected offers from the league above in order to come to the club.".

24 May 2016


From John Edwards, joint Press & Media Officer at Altrincham FC, we learn that manager "Neil Young is celebrating a double transfer breakthrough for Altrincham after beating a host of rival clubs to the signature of Fylde skipper Tom Hannigan and also landing tough-tackling midfielder David Lynch from Clitheroe.

New Alty boss Young pounced for Hannigan as soon as he heard Fylde’s decision to go full-time was at odds with the 27-year old centre-back’s work commitments.

He wasn’t alone in offering Hannigan a fresh start but was able to announce a major coup for his rebuilding programme at The J.Davidson Stadium after the highly-rated defender accepted the offer of a two-year deal to become the cornerstone of a new-look backline.

Reflecting on a hectic spell of transfer talks that ended with Hannigan and former Burnley, Workington and Clitheroe midfielder Lynch bolstering a reshaped, rapidly-expanding Alty squad, Young said:

‘David is a hard-working, tenacious midfielder who had an excellent season last season at Clitheroe. At 22, he fits the profile of what we are looking to do, and he is very keen to come in and do well.

‘Tom is a significant signing for us and is the type of experienced player we have been looking for to help the younger lads we have recruited and will continue to recruit.

‘Tom has captained AFC Fylde at this level for the last three years and only recently missed out on promotion. I know (Fylde manager) Dave Challinor was very keen to keep him, but due to a change in their status to full-time, combined with Tom’s work commitments, the chance arose to sign him.

‘I’m very happy that Tom has chosen us ahead of a number of other clubs to play his football for the next two seasons.’

Hannigan joined Fylde from Vauxhall Motors, where he not only skippered the side but was shortlisted for non-League Player of the Year at the North-West Football Awards in 2013".


Tom Hannigan (dob 11 April 1987), the captain of AFC Fylde, joined Altrincham on 23 May 2016. A central defender, Tom had joined AFC Fylde in summer 2014 from Vauxhall Motors who were then in Conference North. At the time, the Coasters' manager Dave Challinor said, "He will fit into our style, having played for a few years at a side that do play from the back. Defensively he’s very good and he will hopefully continue to get his fair share of goals at the other and he attacks the ball well and will be a threat at set pieces". In his first season with Fylde he was named "Manager’s Player of the Season". In his early career, Tom was with Notts County.

David Lynch (dob 1993), a left-sided central midfielder, joined Altrincham from Clitheroe on 23 May 2016. A former Burnley player, he had joined Clitheroe in summer 2014, when Simon Garner, who this week joined the Altrincham backroom staff, was manager at the Lancashire club. David was captain at Clitheroe and in 2010-11 had been Burnley's young Player of the Year for the 2010/11 season

Garner said, at the time, "He really impressed me. He’s got a really professional attitude... I know that he will train like he plays and he’ll be a voice in there... He will go higher so to get him down here, it’s a massive plus for the club... When asked what Clitheroe could expect from David Lynch, the central midfielder replied '100% commitment and energy levels up and down the pitch every single game. I’m not a big time Charlie or anything like that; I’ve got nothing about me to be like that. I just love playing football I’ll always give my best in every game and hopefully weigh in with a few goals'".

In 2013/14 David played for Workington but started out at Burnley. He has also played for Burscough.


Darren Gregory tells us that in last weekend's Finals, Altrincham FC Girls' teams won two of their three matches. The Wrens (under 12s) were their B League cup Winners (pictured) and the Chicks (under 16) were their B League cup Winners. The Skylarks (under 13s) lost their final, going down 2-1 to Stretford Vics. As Darren rightly says, "Overall it's been a excellent achievement to win six out of the seven Finals that Altrincham FC's junior girls were in".


The FA confirms that Altrincham FC's under-18s' team finished the season fifth in the NWYA Premier Division.


The Cheshire FA "Development Programme of the Year Finalists are:
  • Altrincham FC Community Sports
  • Cheshire Walking Football Group
  • Frodsham Women's Recreational Session

For the first time the winners of each award category will be formally announced at our Awards Evening... Cheshire FA's annual awards look to recognise and reward those involved in grassroots football across the county who make a real difference to how the game is played and developed... Our Awards Evening is taking place on June 3".


The Lytham & St Anne's Express confirms that "AFC Fylde are to operate as a full-time club from the start of the 2016-17 season. The Coasters narrowly missed out on a place in the National League following defeat in the Promotion Final at North Ferriby United nine days ago but decided, nonetheless, that going full time would be beneficial for the club to progress.

In addition, the management team of Dave Challinor and Colin Woodthorpe have been handed an extension to their current contracts by chairman David Haythornthwaite. Challinor believes the decision gives his squad a massive boost as they prepare to move into their new Mill Farm stadium.

Challinor said... 'Had we gone up, we would have definitely done it. Missing out on promotion put question marks over it, but it was quickly decided after the game that the infrastructure is now in place to make this step up. We won’t be training two or three days a week, we will be doing it properly. We are going into this with a professional mindset and we want the lads to take on the mentality of being full-time footballers, which ultimately gives us the best opportunity of getting out of what will be a very difficult division.

'We have been preparing for this transition for a while in terms of our recruitment. There will be some players that we would love to keep that will be leaving due to work commitments, but we can’t let that stop us doing what we want to do...

'Most of the teams in the league above are full-time and this will hopefully give us a head start if we are to be promoted next season. There are two or three clubs at this level who are already full-time and it gives you the scope to work with players on a regular basis... Lads sometimes have had tough days at work and that makes training in the evening difficult. This gives us a real advantage...

'Most people laughed when we said we were going to build a new ground but that’s now a reality and we continue to progress... We play in a different way to a lot of teams in this league and that sometimes makes it difficult to be successful, but I have a philosophy as a manager to play attractive football. It might be easier to lump the ball up but that’s not pleasing on the eye and ultimately doesn’t work in the long

Chairman David Haythornthwaite said, 'We knew we would have to make this move at some time in the future and with us moving into the new stadium in August it just seemed right to do it now. The cost implications are obvious and our wage bill will grow dramatically as we will now be paying 44 weeks as opposed to 38, but this is all part of putting the club on the best professional footing. It will also help us attract a better quality of player which is ultimately what we all 

'We need to get out of this division and I want to give Dave and Colin the best possible opportunity'". Fylde's average gate last season was 586.

Whilst by Monday mid-evening neither the FC Halifax Town nor the North Ferriby United websites had anything about their managerial changes, the BBC reported earlier in the day that "FC Halifax Town boss Jim Harvey has admitted he would love to stay at the club, despite them being expected to appoint a new manager. BBC Radio Humberside understands that North Ferriby United boss Billy Heath will take over in the next few days...

'I would love to bring this team back up and restore a little bit of pride in the town,' he told BBC Radio Leeds. 'That's a question (about his future) that you need to ask the Chairman and I couldn't elaborate any more than that. I would love the opportunity'.

Halifax had three managers at The Shay in 2015-16, with Neil Aspin sacked in September following just one win from 10 games. His replacement Darren Kelly was dismissed after 47 days while, under Harvey, the team were relegated from the National League but claimed victory on their first trip to Wembley. 'I wish I had [had] more time with them because we could get better still,' Harvey added.

'To come here and beat a team that has just gone into the Football League, and to beat them twice in the last couple of months, that's pretty massive'. Heath recently led North Ferriby into the National League by winning the National League North promotion final against AFC Fylde."

The Hull Daily Mail added that "North Ferriby United are set to start life in the National League with a new manager. Billy Heath, who guided the Villagers to the top division in non-league football just 10 days ago, is close to securing a deal to become the new manager of Halifax Town.

It's an end to a glorious era for the club located in a sleepy village in east Yorkshire with a population below 4,000. Heath, and his assistant Mark Carroll, are highly regarded in non-league football for achieving success never thought possible during their time in charge of Ferriby. Having signed a three year contract before Christmas, it seemed Ferriby were destined for more success over the coming years.

But this news will devastate the supporters who have watched the club transform in the space of four and a half years. The Villagers were facing relegation from the Evo-Stik Premier when John Anderson was replaced by Heath in October 2011. Since then, the club has gone from strength to strength, turning them from virtual unknown to one of the most envied clubs outside the Football League.

During their tenure in charge, Ferriby have won two promotions and the FA Trophy. The pair's stock has risen year after year making them hot property and were linked with the vacant job at National League side Lincoln City recently. Joining Halifax, in the division Heath guided Ferriby out of last season, is a major coup for the west Yorkshire side who beat Grimsby Town 1-0 on Sunday to win the FA Trophy.

Losing Heath and Carroll may just be the start of a mass exodus at the E-On Visual Media Stadium. One of the reasons for Ferriby's success in recent years has been the relationship between Heath and his players. They don't have the resources other clubs have, but the spirit generated by Heath has been priceless. With the smallest squad in the league, Heath has got the best out of the players because they have bought into his philosophy.

Heath has shown great faith by taking players with him wherever he goes. Adam Nicklin and Danny Clarke are two who have been signed by Heath at different clubs in the past. They could follow Heath to Halifax and other team-mates could follow them out the door. Skipper Liam King, striker Tom Denton and Ash Palmer could also make their way to the Shay Stadium. Halifax are due to confirm Heath as their new manager imminently leaving Ferriby searching for a new manager.

One possible candidate to take over could be Adam Bolder. Bolder hinted that he might be tempted to hang his boots up after helping Ferriby beat AFC Fylde 2-1 in the National League North play-off final. The 35-year-old, who has played league football for Hull City, Derby County, QPR and Millwall, could be seen as the perfect replacement. With his vast experience, North Ferriby would be a great opportunity for him to start his management career.

He will have great contacts, knows the players, is used to the club and has already helped with game preparations before at Ferriby."

According to the Worcester News, "Worcester City have begun the search to find a new goalkeeper to replace Solihull Moors-bound Nathan Vaughan. The 34-year-old stopper ended his two-year spell at the club after agreeing terms to join last season’s Vanarama National League North champions.

Manager Carl Heeley admitted it was a blow to lose Vaughan, who made more than 60 appearances since joining City from Kidderminster Harriers in 2014. But he insists he is confident of finding a player to fill his gloves ahead of the 2016-17 league campaign.

'Of course it has (left us with a hole to fill),' Heeley said. 'But when one person departs, the door opens for somebody else to come in. We have got irons in the fire, there have been constant discussions and we will replace Nathan'...

It is not the first time City have had to look to replace Vaughan as a new job at Jaguar Land Rover forced the former Evesham United stopper to depart the club last summer before a change in work commitments saw him return. 'We didn’t struggle to get a replacement (last summer) but I don’t think we looked seriously because I had a little bit of a suspicion that was not the end of Nathan’s association with the club,' Heeley added...

'We assured him that, whatever decision he made football-wise, he would not get any bad press from me because he has been brilliant and given us some fond memories. Once we have had that conversation with him, he was open with me and said he got an opportunity to join Solihull and wanted to have one last crack at the National League'".

ITV says that "A footballer who killed a brother and sister in a horror car smash has signed a contract to play for Stockport County FC. Former Manchester City youth player Courtney Meppen-Walter, 21, spent eight months behind bars after Kulwant Singh, 32, and his sister Ravel Kaur, 37, from Salford , died when the player’s car smashed into their Nissan Micra.

The defender was sentenced to 16 months by a judge after he admitted two counts of causing death by careless driving. Mrs Kaur’s two teenage sons were also injured.

Meppen-Walter, from Blackley , was said to have been speeding at nearly twice the 30mph limit when his Mercedes ploughed into Mr Singh’s car at the junction of Great Ducie Street and Sherborne Street, near Strangeways in Manchester , in September 2012. He was jailed in February 2013.

The player was originally released early in July 2013 but immediately recalled after it was realised he was freed in error. He remained behind bars until he served half of the sentence. Stockport County, who play in the National League North, announced the signing today.

Meppen-Walter is a former England youth international who played 17 times for his country and captained England at Under-18 level. After leaving Manchester City he signed for Carlisle United in November 2013 and spent two years at Brunton Park... He left Carlisle last year and joined Chorley following a brief spell at Ashton United.

County manager Jim Gannon said Meppen-Walter was ‘hungry to get his career going’ and said he has ‘matured greatly from his life and career experiences’.

He said, 'Courtney, similar to our previous signings, epitomises the qualities outlined in our recruitment profile. He is young but mature, proven at this level but with great potential. He has the strength, height and physical qualities to be competitive in his key positions. He also displays great technical quality for a big lad with a mainly defensive background. In terms of our overall squad profile Courtney, being mainly left footed, gives great balance and depth to our defence and midfield options'".

23 May 2016


On the same day that Manchester United sacked Louis van Gaal, after he had won the FA Cup, FA Trophy winners FC Halifax Town have replaced manager Jim Harvey by Billy Heath, manager of promoted North Ferriby United. More on this tonight...


John Edwards, joint Press & Media Officer at Altrincham FC, announces that manager "Neil Young has further bolstered his new-look Altrincham squad for next season after announcing that James Lawrie has agreed a deal to remain at The J.Davidson Stadium.

Former Northern Ireland international Lawrie’s versatility has been a constant theme of his time at Alty, with previous managers using him on either flank, in central midfield or in a more advanced number 10 role, just behind the main striker.

But in a policy decision that should prove popular with Lawrie and the vast majority of Alty supporters, Young has revealed his intention to use him in the position most feel is his most effective.

‘James is a player who, whenever I have been up against Altrincham, has always caused me problems, particularly when he plays in that number 10 role,’ he said. ‘That’s the position I will be looking to play him in.

‘He has shown great commitment to myself and the club, as with the other players I have offered deals to, to take quite a reduction in terms, and I look forward to working with him.’

Lawrie’s positive response follows that of Damian Reeves, in contrast to Scott Leather, who rejected new terms to join Chorley, and Michael Rankine, who is also expected to sign for another Conference club after saying ‘no’ to a deal at Alty".


On Sunday evening Altrincham FC's new management pairing of Neil Young and Gary Jones, along with chairman Grahame Rowley, answered questions from supporters at a Meet the Management session in the Community Sports Hall. Compered by Brian Flynn, the new management outlined the philosophy that they intend to apply at the Club. What follows is not an exhaustive report but, hopefully, it summarizes most of the key points covered during the evening.

Pictured above are Gary (left) and Neil (right) with the new 2016-17 Altrincham FC home shirt, supplied by SKkits.

Relegation necessarily means a reduced budget and the high wages being offered by certain other clubs in the National League North this summer meant that Neil and Gary were having to be realistic in building a squad. The Club cannot compete with the bankrolled clubs in the division who are offering players £750 a week or more so Neil will be putting together a team with a younger profile than previously, mostly 18-25 years old but with some more experienced heads and they will be making use of the loan system more heavily than has recently been the case at Moss Lane. Neil emphasised that he was keen to build a long-term structure at the club and not simply a quick-fix.

Neil underlined that he feels that having a good strike force is the most important aspect of a team and he is delighted that both Damian Reeves and James Lawrie have committed to remain at the Club. He explained that he sees James as a number ten, playing behind the front man/men. Neil felt that his spell at Stockport County was not as successful as it might have been due to a lack of good strikers, amongst other factors.

Asked about the addition of Simon Garner to the backroom staff, Neil said that although he would probably sign playing forms, Simon would not be a player/coach.

Explaining why so many of last year's squad had been released, Neil explained that he was dictated by "numbers and finance". In other words, he needed to build a squad of 18 or 19 players on a smaller budget than had operated last season.

Gary Jones was asked to introduce himself by outlining his background. He recounted how he had been a professional player for twenty years at Tranmere Rovers, Nottingham Forest and Grimsby Town before teaming up in management with Neil Young at Colwyn Bay. He and Neil had womn promotion there as well as three successive promotions with Chester FC.

Neil underlined how the community orientation and volunteer ethos at Chester was akin to that at Altrincham and he was keen to ensure that both the management and the players were accessible to the supporters.

Only six players remain from last season (Densmore, Richman, Heathcote, Moult, Reeves and Lawrie) so Neil and Gary are looking to "freshen things up" and bring in a number of young, "hungry" players. Goalkeeper Andrew Dawber has been brought in as the new number one but Neil admitted that releasing his predecessor, Tim Deasy, had been a very difficult decision. Andrew had a good pedigree, not least having spent 14 months under Tim Flowers's tutorship at Fulham. Neil said that the young players would make mistakes but that he would rather have that than older players who might be less energetic.

He would not fill his team with "big lumps" but, nevertheless, would ensure that his team were not bullied and would be able to "put their foot in" when needed to do so. Charlie Joyce, his first signing, was a player who would get the ball off the opposition and would not shirk a challenge.

Neil added that he had been impressed by what he had seen of the Altrincham Reserves and that he was also in discussions with other young players with a view to joining Altrincham.

At Stockport, Neil admitted that he had made mistakes with some of his signings but overall he had benefitted from the experience. The fact that a substantial portion of his budget was already committed to contracted players had limited his options at Edgeley Park.

Director and Commercial Manager, Barry Pond, delivered the good news that, as well as J Davidson renewing their sponsorship of the Club, Mornflake had also agreed to renew their shirt-back logo sponsorship. Tribute was later paid to Barry's tireless work on the commercial front.

Asked why Neil had been chosen as manager, Grahame Rowley quipped that "He was the cheapest" of the candidates. Grahame said that all four of the interviewed candidates had been of high calibre but that the interview panel had been unanimous in selecting Neil.

Gary and Neil were asked to name their best signings at previous clubs. For Gary these were strikers, Michael Wilde at Chester, ex-Grimsby man Nathan Jarman and Tony Gray now at Airbus but formerly with Southport. For Neil, Dave Challinor was a key signing at Colwyn Bay, George Horan was important at Chester and Anthony Sarcevic was his other choice. He had been bought for £3,000 from Crewe and sold on to Fleetwood for six figures.

Several supporters expressed their support for the new management's approach and looked forward to a new era at the J, Davidson Stadium. All in all it was a very positive evening.


Congratulations and thanks got to all ten runners who were raising funds for the Altrincham FC Community Sports Hall as they completed the Manchester 10km run on SUnday. Thanks are also due to all those who kindly sponsored them.


FA Vase Final:
  • Hereford FC 1 Morpeth Town 4

FA Trophy Final:

  • FC Halifax Town 1 Grimsby Town 0


The National League reports that "With respect to the 'Whole Game Solution' proposals to change the future structure of the professional game, The National League Chairman, Brian Barwick, has made the following statement,

'The National League is very concerned about the potential consequences of any potential adoption of the Football League’s "Whole Game Solution Discussion Paper". We strongly feel its attempt to re-shape the existing professional game structure has failed to take into consideration the effects of any change on football played below its proposed five divisions.

'We seriously believe it could be very damaging to the National League and its member clubs and will be determined to make that point very clear when we meet up with Football League officials to discuss their proposals. The National League is an ambitious and forward-thinking organisation as well as a well-established and well-loved competition and we will do everything possible to protect both its integrity and its commercial value'".

22 May 2016


Joint Press & media Officer at Altrincham, John Edwards, writes that "Altrincham have lost out in their efforts to re-sign Michael Rankine (right) but strengthened their backroom team with the acquisition of former Clitheroe manager Simon Garner.

Burly striker Rankine was one of four existing Alty players offered terms by new manager Neil Young, but, unlike fellow-frontrunner Damian Reeves, he has decided against accepting and is, instead, considering approaches from other clubs.

But Young was delighted to announced the arrival of Garner, an impressive midfielder with FC Halifax, FC United of Manchester and Chorley who made an immediate impact on his transition into management by moulding Clitheroe into Evo Stik Division One North promotion contenders in his first job.

'Michael Rankine has turned down the offer of a new contract, as he has received offers from other teams within the Conference,' said the Alty boss. 'Simon has had an excellent career at all levels of non-League football as a player and has also done a fantastic job as manager of Clitheroe.

'He is very well respected. He has just steered Clitheroe to one of their most successful ever seasons and will be a great addition to our backroom team.'"

Footnote: Michael Rankine joined Altrincham last summer and was the Club's leading scorer in 2015-16 season. In all competitions he made 34(+10) appearances and scored 16 goals, 13 of which came in the National League from 30(+9) appearances.


Don't forget that on Sunday evening "Following the England v Turkey friendly (kick off 5.15pm) there will be a Meet the Management Q&A session in the Community Sports Hall at Moss Lane. The bar will be open from 4.45pm and food will be available whilst the game will be shown on the multiple TV screens. Everyone is welcome".


The FA Trophy Final between FC Halifax Town and Grimsby Town takes place at Wembley on Sunday at 4.15pm. It is being broadcast live by BT Sport.


On the eve of Sunday's FA Trophy Final, the Yorkshire Post reported that "It has been a quite remarkable journey. A little under eight years after starting life in the humble surrounds of Colwyn Bay and Rossendale United, FC Halifax Town will walk out at Wembley.

Grimsby Town, newly-promoted to the Football League, await the Shaymen in the FA Trophy final and there will surely be few among the 10,000 visitors from Yorkshire prouder than chairman David Bosomworth. Along with fellow director Bobby Ham, the boyhood Bradford City fan rescued senior football in Calderdale after the old Halifax Town had been wound up amid ruinous debts in 2008.

Literally starting from scratch, the pair have overseen a rise that, even allowing for last month’s relegation from the National League, has restored a sense of pride to Halifax that had ebbed away during the long, slow death of the old club...

The club who spent 76 years in the Football League, step out at Wembley for the first time... The Halifax chairman told The Yorkshire Post... 'We are all still hurting at the moment following relegation'...

FC Halifax began life in the Northern Premier League Division One North, English football’s eighth tier... Halifax’s first competitive fixture... was a 3-0 home defeat to Bamber Bridge, while the opening weeks of the season also included losses to Lancaster City and Mossley.

'It was a big drop to go three leagues lower,' recalls Bosomworth... 'We hadn’t got a clue about the league, what wages you pay, who the players were or anything'...

Bosomworth’s involvement at The Shay came following a stint helping out at Valley Parade in 2004. Along with Ham, he joined a five-man steering committee to help the Bantams tip-toe through the minefield of a second administration...

'I hadn’t been involved with football before Bradford,' says the Halifax chairman.... 'It was very much initially a case of sitting in a dingy office and seeing what you can do to help. But then you grow into it... What Bradford gave me, though, was the taste. I wanted to have a go myself after that. Bobby felt the same so we came to Halifax... We wanted everyone to come to the ground and feel welcome. All the clubs, whoever they were, we looked after them'...

'Our objective remains to get in the Football League,' added Bosomworth. 'Relegation makes that harder, of course it does. But we have bounced back from adversity before and we will do it again... As much as the fans were disappointed... when a 1-1 draw on the final day was not enough to stave off relegation... There were a few ‘sack the board’ comments or whatever. But I think most realise we hurt every bit as much as the fans do. Maybe even more at times...

'We are proud of FC Halifax Town,' added Bosomworth. 'People have asked me in the past if we want to drop the "FC" but I don’t. Halifax Town AFC had its life and a lot of fans associate with that. It is their club. But FC Halifax is a new entity. We still represent the town, we still play in blue and white but this is a new club with ambitions to bring League football back to Halifax'".

The Yorkshire Post adds that "All eyes in the FC Halifax Town squad will be on Jim Harvey not once, but twice this weekend... Every member of the travelling party is desperate to play and there will, Harvey knows, be plenty of contrasting emotions when the team is read out. Before that, however, the Shaymen chief intends to inject a bit of fun into the preparations by handing a couple of players an opportunity to be at today’s FA Cup fFinal...

'The difficult thing for us ahead of the Trophy final is we can’t have a visit beforehand. So, what we have decided to do is hold a raffle among the players for a couple of tickets that we have for the Cup Final. It will be a bit of fun and I am sure the lads will be desperate to win when we draw those lots. I think it will bring a little bit of humour and a bit of fun to the build-up, which is what you often need before such a big game'" said HArvey.

"Town’s preparations began in earnest yesterday (Friday) when the squad travelled south. Training then took place in Milton Keynes, while last night a visit to the cinema was planned for the entire travelling party. Another training session is earmarked for today (Saturday), this time at Barnet’s Hive ground...

'We gave the lads a week off straight after the last game of the season,' said Harvey. 'Relegation was a big disappointment so it was important that we shut the door on it, and the lads had a bit of time on their own. Fatigue can catch up with you after a long season, too, so it was important they had a break. Since returning to training, the lads have done well and we had a practice game against Derby County Under-21s recently that was a great workout.

'It got us sharp again and I have seen a real bounce in training this week among the lads, suggesting to me they have left behind all that disappointment'...

A little over 45,000 tickets have been sold...

'We all know how dire things were early in the season. When I took over, the team looked dead and buried in terms of relegation. There had been just one clean sheet in 30 odd games and we were 10 points adrift... We now have the FA Trophy final and a win at Wembley will be absolutely marvellous in terms of taking us through the summer'".

Meanwhile, the BBC says that "After their loss to Grimsby in the National League promotion final, Forest Green Rovers owner Dale Vince says his club will win the division in 2016-17. He told BBC Points West it had been a 'great day' for the the Gloucestershire club".

Also from the BBC we learn that "The National League is "very concerned" about the Football League's proposed shake-up, says chairman Brian Barwick. The Football League wants to create an extra division with 20 teams in each from 2019-20, increasing the number of clubs from 92 to 100. Both the Football Association and Premier League back the proposal 'in principle'.

'The National League is very concerned about the potential consequences of any potential adoption,' said Barwick. 'We strongly feel its attempt to re-shape the existing professional game structure has failed to take into consideration the effects of any change on football played below its proposed five divisions. We seriously believe it could be very damaging to the National League and its member clubs and will be determined to make that point very clear when we meet up with Football League officials to discuss their proposals.

'The National League is an ambitious and forward-thinking organisation as well as a well-established and well-loved competition and we will do everything possible to protect both its integrity and its commercial value'...

BBC Sport has contacted the 18 clubs that were neither promoted nor relegated from the top-tier of English non-league football this season about the idea, with the responses ranging from 'simply awful' to 'long overdue'...

Barrow: 'Simply awful. This is clearly the proposal of someone completely out of touch with grassroots English football and in thrall of the elite clubs. A reduction of potential revenue through less games, a further diminution of the FA Cup to a midweek competition, and absolutely no perceived benefit to any club below the top half of the Championship. I had to check it wasn't 1 April,', said chairman Paul Casson.

Braintree Town: 'It introduces another tier between the Premier League and non-league football, effectively relegating all but the eight clubs that are invited to join the re-organised Football League. A better structure would be a reorganised Football League with the existing Championship and League One tiers fed by a League Two North and League Two South' said chairman Lee Harding...

Forest Green, 'The proposal sounds like a good idea. 20 teams per league, ending Tuesday night games. It makes perfect sense that the top eight teams from our league should be incorporated into the Football League if this goes ahead. In fact, given that below the National League all competitions become regional, the Football League should really think about adopting the National League now. They should also standardise the number of teams that are promoted and relegated between divisions,' said chairman Dale Vince....

Southport:'There's been no consultation with the National League board from the Football League. There's a lack of understanding of how the pyramid system will change; what happens to the others when the eight clubs go up?', said a club spokesperson...

Torquay United: 'I believe the lower leagues should be regionalised. Travelling the length of the country, like to Gateshead in front of paltry crowds is farcical,' said chairman Dave Phillips.

Woking: 'I personally think it is a fantastic proposal and long overdue, I am definitely in favour' said Woking football director Geoff Chapple".

The NW Evening Mail says that "Centre-back Steve Williams has left Holker Street after one season to join AFC Fylde.

The 29-year-old had been offered a new contract by Barrow boss Paul Cox earlier this month, but has instead chosen to join the ambitious National League North side... The former Halifax Town and Macclesfield man made 15 National League appearances for the Bluebirds during a one-year stay which was disrupted by injury.

He found himself below both Simon Grand and Danny Livesey in the pecking order for the two central defensive berths for much of his time working with Cox, but whereas Grand was released following the end of the season, the AFC boss had offered Williams a new deal.

Similar offers were made to Alex-Ray Harvey, Andy Parry and Elliot Newby, with Barrow yet to announce whether any of that trio have agreed terms. Cox had been hopeful of making more signings this week, but delays in the process mean those recruits are now not set to be confirmed until at least next week."

At Gainsborough Trinity, "Dominic Roma [has] made his sixth signing of the summer, capturing the signature of Jordan Thewlis to further bolster his attacking options. A regular member of the Harrogate side that reached the end of season play-offs... the winger, who is equally comfortable playing in a front three, grabbed seven goals in twenty starts...

The former Scunthorpe United youth-teamer, at only 23 years of age clearly has a point to prove, having failed to break into the Scunthorpe first team, and what better way to prove himself than getting amongst the action back at Trinity. Other experience for the versatile forward has been gleaned from spells at Goole, Scarborough Athletic, Brigg, Stocksbridge Park Steels, Matlock and Buxton".

We learn from the Evostik League that "Fans of Darlington, Salford City, Skelmersdale United and Rugby Town won't want to miss out on The Non-League Paper this Sunday after the quartet of EVO-STIK Northern Premier League clubs were honoured at the 2016 National Game Awards.

Darlington's Nathan Cartman... [was] at Chelsea's Stamford Bridge to collect their accolades, along with EVO-STIK NPL chairman Mark Harris who picked up Salford's award on behalf of the absent top flight's play-off winners...

Quakers' star Cartman beat off stiff competition from across the country to walk away with the SK Kits Steps 3 & 4 Player of Year accolade and... [he collected] his honour from the sponsor's owner, EVO-STIK NPL legend and current Altrincham goalkeeping coach Ian Senior."

21 May 2016


Judy Henson writes that "As many of you know, the Community Sports Hall (CSH) has been open for well over a year now and we have held many fundraising events to help with paying the final thousands off the total cost of the build. With that in mind, we have assembled a team of community/club representatives to run this year's Manchester 10km on Sunday 22nd May.

If you have a spare £1 and would like to make a donation, please follow this link and we would be extremely grateful for your support.

Runners include: Grahame Rowley (Chairman), Richie Bentley (Club Caterer), Stacey Rowley (CSH Manager), Judy Henson (Community Co-Ordinator), Alan Ainsley (Physio), Neil Tolson (Community Coach), Michael Ripley (Club Photographer), Phil Taylor (Community Coach), Steven Crane (BTEC/Youth team Coach), Steven Foster, Richard Parris, Richard Impey, Barry Woodyatt (Club Volunteers).

If you're in the city centre on Sunday, give us a wave and cheer! We will be the smiling bunch dressed in Alty's famous red and white stripes".

The runners are pictured above.

All monies raised via Mike's Just Giving page (link above) will be matched by Barclays Bank, up to £1000, so please pledge as much as you can!


As previously announced, "Following the England v Turkey friendly at Sunderland on Sunday May 22nd (kick off 5.15pm) there will be a Meet the Management Q&A session in the Community Sports Hall. The bar will be open from 4.45pm and food will be available whilst the game will be shown on the multiple TV screens. Everyone is welcome".


Altrincham FC has plenty of quality top soil, removed from the pitch at the J. Davidson Stadium this week. It is available for free collection - just bring your own spade and containers. The mound of soil (pictured, right), will be found behind the Popular Side in the car park, so just help yourself!


Macclesfield Town "are offering a unique chance for you to trial with the Football Club. The Silkmen are offering spaces in a trial game at the Club training ground on Friday 8th July. The match will be assessed by members of the Silkmen coaching staff with at least one stand-out player of the day given the chance to train with the first-team squad during pre-season.

Players in the game will be given a full video footage of the match for their own future use. Full playing kit will be provided and players will just need to arrive at the training ground with boots and shin pads. The game will kick-off at 6.30pm and any interested players should apply quickly to reserve their space in the game.

Players who want to apply for the game must be aged 16-38 and should email their footballing CV to First-Team Coach Byron Jenkins. Your CV will then be assessed and 22 players will be selected for the game. Players are asked to apply quickly for the game to help the Football Club process the expected large number of applicants."

From the Grimsby Telegraph we learn that "FC Halifax will have no problem getting motivated for Sunday's FA Trophy Final at Wembley. That's the message from Grimsby Town manager Paul Hurst...

But despite effectively being two leagues apart for this weekend's final... 'I'm expecting a massive effort from Halifax,' Hurst said. 'You'd think they'd be driven by, first of all, the disappointment of losing their National League status, particularly how it happened because they gave themselves a great chance after looking dead and buried in the early season. But also, I'm sure some of the Halifax players will be in the shop window, and that makes for a difficult game.

'You walk out of that tunnel and on to that pitch on Sunday, there's going to be a decent crowd in, you can't help but want to do well. Irrespective of the fact that we've achieved our main goal this season and Halifax have had a massive disappointment this season, I think on Sunday it's very much a one-off game. I think you could well see an entertaining game as well, as it was on Sunday for the Play-Off Final, instead of these cagey affairs which you sometimes get'...

There will be added interest in the final at Wembley following the sides' two meetings in the league this season. The Mariners came out on top in emphatic fashion at Blundell Park back in October with a 7-0 win... But they came unstuck in the return fixture at the Shay when Halifax got their revenge with a 4-2 victory...

'When they came here, in all fairness... they didn't look like they had much fight in them at all'...

But, after achieving their main goal of promotion and the celebrations that followed the victory over Forest Green, Hurst admits he may look to make some changes. 'I haven't had too much time yet to say which way I'll be going. People often say you shouldn't always let sentiment get in the way of things and wanting to go and win another game of football, but there's certainly a pull to play certain players in that game. That would then lead to people asking; is he playing his best side?...

'We've had some lads here that have stayed loyal when perhaps other opportunities have arisen, so there is an element of that in my mind. But I can guarantee the supporters 100 per cent that it'll be a team I put out that I think can win us the game'".

From the Lincolnshire Echo, we learn that "Dayle Southwell has admitted he may have played his last game for Boston United... The Pilgrims striker is attracting interest from clubs higher up the football pyramid after scoring 54 goals in the last two seasons. The former Grimsby Town striker is eager to return to the full-time game and looks likely to leave the Jakemans Stadium this summer...

Said Southwell, who has been called up to the England C squad for next month's match with Slovakia Under-21s in London, 'I said to Boston last summer that I'd give them another year, which is what I did. They've said if anything came up in a higher division in full-time football, which is my ambition, they wouldn't stand in my way. If anything comes up, I would want to move on. But if nothing comes up in the full-time game, Boston have said they would welcome me back. They've been really good about it'...

Southwell scored 30 goals last season and 24 this season, despite missing two monthswith a broken foot... 'This summer I've got to do what's best for myself. After the two seasons I've had, I think I've probably done enough to get back into full-time football... I'll see what offers come in during June and then weigh up the options. Having said that, I'm not ruling out staying at Boston... Boston would be entitled to compensation if he moved to an English club as he is under the age of 24."

NL Pitchero reports that "Gloucester City have confirmed a list of players that have committed to the club for the forthcoming Vanarama National League North season.

These players join Sam Avery and Jasbir Singh who have already signed with the club ahead of the 2016/17 campaign. Club captain midfielder Tom Webb, 31, has made over 640 appearances for City and was at the heart and soul of the midfield for most of last season. Calvin Dinsley, 25, signed for the Tigers from Kidderminster Harriers in November 2015 and quickly impressed fans with his calmness and ability on the ball.

Chris Knowles, 29, is a competitive midfielder who is a threat at set plays. He was signed midway through the 2014/15 campaign. Spencer Hamilton is a 21-year-old defender who signed for the Tigers in 2014 and impressed in pre-season...

Ed Williams, 20, originally signed for the Tigers on loan from Cheltenham Town when he was 18, before signing permanently after spells at Evesham United and Cirencester Town... and has been a stand out player last season.

Lewis Hall is a 20-year-old utility player who signed for the Tigers on loan from Bristol City during the 2014/15 campaign and was the joint top goalscorer last season... Joe Parker, now 21, was joint top goalscorer along with Hall in his first full campaign back with the Tigers since his release from Newport County which unfortunately was hampered by injury.

Luke Hopper, 27, signed for the Tigers from Swindon Supermarine in December 2015, where he made an impact as a pacey target man, who showed his lethal combination of strength and quickness".

According to NL Daily, "AFC Fylde have announced that First Team Manager Dave Challinor has been handed a further one-year extension to his contract, tying the 40-year-old to the club until 2018. Challinor has enjoyed a remarkable record since joining the club in 2011, winning 164 of his 262 games in charge, with his side scoring an incredible 554 goals along the way.

Despite suffering play-off heartbreak in the last two seasons there was never any doubt in Chairman David Haythornthwaite’s mind... Haythornthwaite said, 'Chally and I have always had a great working relationship from the very first time he set foot in the football club. He is professional in everything that he does and his communication at all times is first class. There will always be speculation regarding a manager’s position, especially at a club like ours where the expectations are so high. We know we made mistakes last season but we are all still learning and we will come back stronger. We had more injuries and suspensions last year than ever and this all contributed to us falling at the last hurdle.

'However we had a very productive meeting on the team coach coming back from North Ferriby after the game on Saturday and we are united in our aspirations to go one better next season. I don’t think there is a better manager in this division, or indeed the one above, so we are delighted to announce Dave’s contract extension'...

Challinor said, 'I have learnt an awful lot about myself over the last 12 months and I think I have improved as a manager'"

From Maidstone United we learn the costs of promotion as the club reports that "We have looked at where our running costs are going to increase: items such as greater stadium security and policing costs, greater travel costs and expenses linked to more matches played further afield. We also wish to increase the budget available to Jay for his playing squad to enable us to be as competitive as possible in the National League while continuing to manage the club as a solid and sustainable business. We aim to ensure that revenues exceed costs and that debt is not excessive in relation to recurrent revenues and asset value.

We know we face a major challenge in expanding the stadium. To put this into context we are still settling final matters relating to the expansion of the Conway main stand in the close season. Now we find ourselves victims of our success in having to increase capacity by 1,000 in order to meet the requirements of an A grading by the FA and the League.

Having said that we know that it makes sense for us to do this now as our attendances have been going up steadily since opening the Gallagher Stadium in 2012. There is every chance that we could fill the Gallagher Stadium with more than 3,000 on several occasions this season and it would be great to have the capacity to do so.

Building a new stand at the North End has to happen quickly in order to comply with League rules. We are doing all we can and hope that the result will satisfy the League and FA. We plan to apply for planning at the latest by the first week of June... During the building works, which could last about six months altogether, there will be some disruption to match day attendances. We may find the overall capacity is temporarily reduced to about 2,500. This is unavoidable...

How do we finance the new stand? Well cash-flow is very tight due to previous stadium projects. We have therefore tried to keep the cost down to a minimum. The new stand will be a simple terrace with railings but will have some flexible seating installed, principally for segregated matches. We will have to add entrances and exits, toilets and refreshment facilities. The current budget is between £600,000 and £750,000.

Remember we also have to budget for replacement of the 3G pitch for season 2017/18 which will cost some £150-200,000. We will be applying for grants from the Football Foundation but as we have already had some grant assistance previously these may be limited on this occasion. We plan to launch a supporter fund-raising scheme shortly... Yes, prices have had to go up, but by no more than we feel necessary in order for the club to survive and prosper at this level and also to enable us to help finance the expansion."

The National League "has received the discussion paper "A Whole Game Solution" from The Football League. The proposals outlined therein appear to have potentially fundamental implications for our competition, and as such, The National League will consider these carefully in consultation with our clubs and discuss the matter with the game's governing bodies at the earliest opportunity."

The proposals included expanding the Football League membership by eight clubs as an extra division is created.

20 May 2016


Pictured above, courtesy of Grahame Rowley, are two images of the work being done on the pitch at the J. Davidson Stadium under the guidance of hardworking groundsman, Neil Brown.


The Friends of AFC monthly draw was made at the J. Davidson Stadium this week and the winners were:
  • *103 Val Shaw £100
  • *79 Mark Eckersall £50
  • *20 Derek Wilshaw £35
  • *25 Allison Lewis £15


The National League reports that "One of the most eagerly-awaited occasions of the close season is the release of the new season's fixture list. Please be advised that the fixtures for 2016/17 across the Vanarama National Leagues are planned to be released on Wednesday, 6th July."


Manager Keith Edleston has kindly provided a brief report of the Altrincham FC Ladies' game, last Sunday, against the Bolton Wanderers Development Squad.

"The season ended with a friendly v Bolton Wanderers Development/1st team down at Mersey Valley last Sunday. With the sun shining it promised to be a good game and it was, with some entertaining football on show from both sides. The game ended with a 2-1 victory, the first goal being an unfortunate own goal but we are crediting it to debutant Jade Hesketh and the second was a well-struck shot from just inside the penalty box from Gail Simpson. All in all, it was a good performance to finish the season off with. Now it's time to recharge the batteries in readiness for pre-season, when we go again.

Thanks again for all your support and hope to see you all again down at Mersey Valley Sports Club next season".

Above, left Bliss Molyneux, right is Gail Simpson after scoring her goal. Images courtesy of Keith Edleston. Click on the images to enlarge them.


Jake Moult's fantastic goal at Colchester United in the FA Cup has reached the FA Emirates Cup top five goals of the 2015-16 season. It can be viewed again here.


Following their successes in three cup finals last weekend, Altrincham Junior Girls' teams have another three finals this weekend at Valley Road, (Flixton FC).

Saturday 21st May

  • Under 12s Wrens v Eastleigh Pearls, B League Cup, kick off 10 am
  • Under 16s Chicks v Reddish North End, B League Cup, kick off 2 pm
  • The Phoenix under-10 team are also due to play an exhibition match tba

Sunday 22nd May

  • Skylarks under 13s v Stretford Vics, Challenge Cup final, kick off 11.45am

Everyone is welcome to come and watch; admission is adults £3, children £1.


Former Altrincham goalkeepers are pictured, right, at the Non-League Awards event. Image courtesy of Ian Senior.


Altrincham will have several fixtures on artificial pitches next year after both Tamworth and, now, Harrogate Town, announced work on installing new surfaces over this summer. The Harrogate Advertiser confirms that "Harrogate Town have unveiled a ground-breaking switch to an artificial third generation pitch at their Wetherby Road ground.

Contractors move in on Monday to start work on ripping up the turf at the CNG Stadium with work expected to be finished in late July. The transformation is part of a £1million investment into community football project and will be funded by Town chairman Irving Weaver.

Town’s new ladies team and development squads will also play home games on the surface and other local teams will be able to hire out the facility. Town manager Simon Weaver said, 'This development is incredibly exciting. The CNG Stadium has really become a fortress for us, and now the playing surface will help us give the fans more of the dynamic, fast-paced football they’ve grown accustomed to. It also means we can regularly train at the ground, which will give us a real edge going into the new season'.

Town have also agreed a partnership with St John Fisher Catholic High School to build a separate 3G pitch over the summer and are awaiting approval from the Football Foundation. Managing director Garry Plant said, 'This is a monumental day, both for the football club and the local community. The development at St John Fisher will allow the club to play a much bigger part in the community.'

Since buying the club, chairman Irving Weaver has ploughed funds into improving the playing surface at the CNG Stadium. After levelling the traditional slope, additional drainage work has been undertaken over the last two off-seasons. However, Town had severe problems with the pitch three seasons ago when they had to play a number of ‘home’ matches at alternative grounds...

The grass will be replaced by a high-spec 3G pitch, tested to FIFA’s two-star standard. The National League Premier voted to approve 3G pitches in January allowing Town to be promoted should they win the league or play-offs next season. However, the Football League has yet to accept clubs with artificial surfaces".

The Nuneaton News has bad news as "Boro boss Kevin Wilson could be without one of his star midfielders when pre-season training starts next month. Tom Elliott, who signed from Worksop earlier this year, broke his ankle while out running on Wednesday night...

Wilson said, 'It looks like it is a break at this point. That could be six-eight weeks out for Tom if that is the case... There is never a good time for this type of injury. We just have to hope there are no complications and that he only misses the start of pre-season training and will be back as soon as he can after that'".

At Tamworth, "Hot on the heels of Paul Green extending his stay with us, Ross Dyer has followed suit, and committed his future to The Lambs for next season.

The Shropshire Star adds that "Dyer reached double figures in the goalscoring charts last season... The ex-Forest Green and Mansfield Town man strengthens the attacking options available to Andy Morrell and Mike Fowler ahead of the upcoming campaign, with Danny Newton and Greg Mills already on board."

Also in the Shropshire Star we learn that "AFC Telford boss Rob Smith is confident defender Darren Campion will commit his future to the club. Campion was a regular in the Bucks starting line-up last season, making 34 appearances in National League North.

The 28-year-old full-back is known to be a good character in the dressing room and someone who Smith and assistant Larry Chambers can rely upon... Smith, who is soon expected to meet with Campion for talks over a new deal, said: “I haven’t actually met and sat down with Camps yet... I don’t think there will be any problems there.'

So far, there are seven players signed on at the New Buck's Head for next season. Goalkeeper James Montgomery, full-back Dwayne Samuels and midfielder Lucas Dawson have all committed for another year. Former Shrewsbury Town striker Dave Hibbert’s current deal runs for another year. Ex-Hednesford captain Ben Bailey, Albion academy product James Hurst and former Tamworth defender Dan Preston are new arrivals.

Smith is looking to have a fairly tight squad next season, after 48 players were fielded for the Bucks last term. He said, 'I think I have got about seven or eight signed and I’m looking to bring in around 18 players in total. We are speaking to players... but it is just a case of being a bit patient, at the moment.'

The likes of Curtis Tilt, skipper Jack Rea and Josh Wilson are understood to have been offered fresh terms, but agreements are yet to be made. Another player who is set to return to the fold next season though is long-term absentee Paul McCone. The 24-year-old former Hednesford defender damaged his knee last November and underwent anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction in February. Smith regularly speaks to McCone and is hoping to have him back in the fold by the autumn."

From Stockport County we learn that "defender Scott Duxbury is back at Edgeley Park just nine months after leaving the Hatters... Scott has been reunited with James Gannon having enjoyed an incredible season under the manager at Northwich Vics...

Scott said, 'County is a second home to me, from the management through to the volunteers and, even though I left nine months ago ,people have kept in touch with me and they're all really good friends, so I'm buzzing to be honest. County is like my second family and I was so pleased to get the call from Jim, to get another opportunity under him is fantastic for me. I left originally because I knew I wasn't going to be playing under Neil Young but, at my age, I just wanted to get back enjoying football, so Jim took me to Northwich and now to come full circle again is overwhelming."

Scott initially joined the Vics on a month-long loan deal last August, before agreeing to take the brave decision to tear up his contract in order to sign a season-long deal with James Gannon's side...

James said, 'I was extremely impressed with Scott's initial season as an 18-year-old playing in the Conference North and he's had great experience for such a young player with over 100 senior games already...

Scott said, 'I believe we can push for the Play Offs at least, or even the title. We'll have a really strong squad, he's bringing in some quality players and hopefully we can get playing in the way he wants and win the league at the end of the season... This week I've started working on my own because I want to push myself and be as strong as I can at the start of the season. Jim is a great coach and a great manager, and I will put everything into it this year, because I love this club and want the best for this club'".

NL Pitchero says that "FA Trophy finalists FC Halifax Town have announced that defender Scott McManus has signed a new two-year deal with the club relegated from the Vanarama National League. McManus, 26, is the longest-serving player with the Shaymen, having joined... in the summer of 2011. The popular full-back started his career with Prestwich Heys and has also had spells with Curzon Ashton, Crewe Alexandra and FC United of Manchester".

And, finally... Metro News reports that "Players at Britain's only vegan football club have been caught eating meat. The pair, from Forest Green Rovers, were rumbled when they popped into Greggs in Stroud, Glucestershire, for pizza".

19 May 2016


Join Press and Media Officer at Altrincham FC, John Edwards, adbvises us that "Neil Young has taken another significant step towards shaping the sort of squad he wants for next season after Damian Reeves agreed to extend his stay at The J.Davidson Stadium.

The prolific frontrunner, a huge favourite among Altrincham supporters after his spectacular goalscoring exploits in recent years, accepted the offer of new terms on Wednesday, following talks with Young.

There was mistaking the new Alty manager's delight at securing Reeves' services for another season, at least, as he said: 'Damian's goalscoring record over the years speaks for itself, and we are very happy that he has bought into what we are looking to do and has agreed a new contract.

'He gives us the added continuity we are looking for, and his experience will also help the younger players that we are bringing to the football club. Goalscorers are at a premium, even more so at this level, and Damian is certainly one of those.'

The major boost of hanging on to Reeves comes hot on the heels of keeper Andrew Dawber arriving from Fulham under-21s and midfielder Charlie Joyce signing from Southport. Young is hoping for an answer shortly from the other players he wants to retain from last season, James Lawrie and Michael Rankine".


Former Altrincham FC player Chris Lynch (31), who most recently has been captain of Salford City, is leaving the club to work in Australia.


Chorley "are delighted to announce the signing of Altrincham defender Scott Leather. The 24-year-old has been with Altrincham since July 2012 and has made close to 180 appearances for the Moss Lane club.

Formerly with Preston North End and Crewe, Scott is a massive signing for the club and turned down an offer from incoming Alty manager Neil Young to remain a Robin, opting to become a Magpie instead!"

Chorley FC adds that "Defender Scott Leather... will join fellow new signing Adam Blakeman, Matt Challoner and Sefton Gonzalez at training when the players return for pre-season in June.All the players from last season’s squad have been invited back for the new season.

So far only Mark Ross and [ex-Alty loanee] James Dean ha[ve] informed the club that they will not be returning. Ross has agreed to join Stockport County while Dean looks likely to drop into the Evo-Stik Premier Division...

Back to today’s new signing, Scott started his career in Crewe Alexandra’s renown[ed] youth system before switching to Preston North End at the age of 17. He spent three seasons at Deepdale making two league appearances as well as playing many times at Victory Park in their academy side...

In total he has played 179 times for Altrincham, scoring 7 goals and picked up the clubs Young Player of the Year award for his performances last season".

The Worcester News says that "Manager Carl Heeley admits he had 'no doubts' veteran striker Lee Hughes would extend his stay at Worcester City for next season.

Hughes, who turns 40 on Sunday, joined Danny Jackman, [ex-Alty man] Kyle Perry, Connor Gater, Tyler Weir, Dean Waldron and Jamie Smith in agreeing a new deal at the Vanarama National League North outfit.

Last summer, the former West Bromwich Albion player was training with League One side Port Vale before a deal failed to materialise and City came calling in September. Despite his advancing years, the 39-year-old’s ability to find the back of the net proved crucial to Worcester’s survival bid as he scored 18 goals in 34 appearances to steer them to safety.

Heeley admitted Hughes, who joined Coventry City for £5million in 2001, would not be able to play ever match, but when selected, he insisted the experienced frontman would make a big difference... 'The deal we have agreed with him works for both parties,' Heeley said...

'He plays enough games and is available enough times to score goals, so you would be foolish not to take him. The most important thing is that he wanted to stay at the club'...

Hughes’s fellow former top flight forward Deon Burton called time on his career on the closing day of the season after netting nine goals.But Heeley believes Perry, who arrived at Worcester from Hednesford Town in March, would provide his side with another scoring threat.

The 30-year-old struck once in eight appearances and Heeley said he was delighted to get the 6ft 4in marksman on board ahead of their move to Bromsgrove Sporting’s Victoria Ground.

'Me and (assistant manager) John Snape know Bromsgrove well and we know how to play on it, so Kyle will be vitally important to us,' Heeley said. 'You need goal-scorers and he is a proven goal-scorer, so we are pleased to keep him'...

Following 'positive' talks on Monday with most of City’s squad, Heeley managed to get Hughes, Perry, Jackman, Gater, Waldron and Smith to commit their futures to the club".

More on the club comes from the National League to the effect that... "An offer has also been made to Tristan Dunkley, who has requested a couple of days for deliberation... Discussions with individuals will continue over the next couple of weeks.

'Discussions are ongoing with a number of new recruits that we'd like to bring to the club too.' said manager Carl Heeley. 'I don't want to keep having to re-build the squad every summer, so keeping the core of the team and building around that with new players that compliment will keep us moving forward'".

Off the field, the Evesham Journal adds that "Worcester City's hopes of a stadium at Perdiswell could lie in tatters, after the council's new Labour leadership agreed a Green Party demand to hunt for another site.

In return for allowing Labour to take control of Worcester City Council, the Greens have hatched a deal to explore 'alternative' locations. The dramatic development will see the council fund the costs of a brand new planning application elsewhere, confining the Perdiswell dream to the dustbin.

Worcester Green Party, which holds 'kingmaker' status at the Guildhall, says it 'Does not favour the football ground being sited at Perdiswell' and used that tactic as a crucial part of its negotiations which swept Labour to power. The group holds the balance of power despite having just two of the 35 councillors...

It comes despite Worcester Labour Party making the club's Perdiswell bid a centrepiece election pledge, with its leader Councillor Adrian Gregson a strong long-term backer of the project...

A new cross-party working group will now be set up including one Tory, one Labour and one Green councillor, alongside a club representative and council managing director Sheena Ramsey, to hunt for alternatives...

But club bosses say they fear the latest twist in the long-running saga could lead to fresh delay. Worcester City FC vice-chairman Colin Layland said, 'We are quite happy to talk, but we needed something done yesterday, so to speak... What other sites are there?'...

Petitions both for and against the Perdiswell stadium bid have attracted 1,000 names each."

Elsewhere, the National League reports that "Defender Ryan Ellison has signed a new contract to keep him at Stockport County for next season, despite not playing a single game in his favoured position. The versatile centre-half ended the campaign strongly as a holding midfielder following an injury to player of the year Lewis Montrose... P> Older brother Kevin was a fans' favourite as a striker at Edgeley Park, and Ryan also started out as a front man, but still feels his best position is in the heart of defence. P> He said, 'I do feel it's my best position. I played right-back in my first game and scored, of course, and then moved to centre midfield, but as long as I'm playing I'm happy. It'll be a lot bigger for me next season, because we're looking to get promoted, so I need to break into the team and keep my place. Jim has brought in some very good signings and there are some strong, physical lads coming in, so competition will be fierce.'

Ellison, 19, joined the Hatters last August after leaving Oldham Athletic and went on to make fifteen appearances for the first-team.

Under previous manager Neil Young, Ellison struggled to make the match day squad on a regular basis, and ended up joining Witton Albion on loan at the end of last year in order to get some game time...

County boss James Gannon said, 'I think Ryan has earned a new contract through his contribution to the team and squad over the course of the season. He had played a significant part in Neil Young's squad prior to going out on loan to Witton Albion. He played out of Wincham Park for three months and contributed significantly to that team's improved form over the winter. It was whilst at Witton I was able to see his contribution as a central defender first hand'".

From Bradford Park Avenue we learn that "Avenue defender and captain Simon Ainge has today joined rivals Harrogate Town. The centre-back spent 18 months at the Horsfall Stadium, notably playing a key role in the club’s survival...

The 28-year-old captained the team for the vast majority of his appearances, of which he made over 50 in total... Ainge, formerly of Bradford City, Guiseley and FC Halifax Town, moves to Harrogate on a one-year deal, linking up with his former central defensive partner at Guiseley, Danny Ellis."

According to the shropshire Star, "Boss Rob Smith believes new signing James Hurst could prove a major coup for AFC Telford United.

The 24-year-old utility man is a product of West Bromwich Albion’s academy and most recently played for Guiseley in the National League, on loan from Torquay United. Capable of playing at full-back, on the wing or behind the striker, Hurst has had two loan spells at Shrewsbury Town and played for Birmingham, Crawley and Northampton...

Smith, who worked with Hurst when in charge of Hednesford Town, said, 'I brought him over from Iceland to Hednesford and had him for a year before we sold him to Torquay. He was quite a big coup for us at Hednesford and I think he is at a higher level than National League North to be honest'...

Hurst is the Bucks’ third new signing, following the arrival of defenders Dan Preston and Ben Bailey at the New Bucks Head from Tamworth and Hednesford Town respectively. As well as sealing the deal with Hurst, the Bucks have tied down midfielder Lucas Dawson for another year.

The 22-year-old was one of Smith’s first signings, joining as a free agent last season after a spell at Nuneaton Town, and played a big role in the great escape".

NL Pitchero reports that "The England C squad for the International Challenge Trophy qualifier against Slovakia under-21s has been announced. Manager Paul Fairclough has named a sixteen-man squad for the game which will be played at Sutton United’s Gander Green Lane stadium on Sunday, 5th June at 2pm.

Admission is free for all supporters. The squad is:

Brandon Hall (Ebbsfleet United), Jamie Butler (Hemel Hempstead Town), Sam Habergham (Braintree Town), James Bolton (FC Halifax Town), Ben Heneghan (Chester FC), Sean Raggett (Dover Athletic), Jack Holland (Bromley), Jake Gallagher (Aldershot Town), Alex Woodyard (Braintree Town), Dan Wishart (Sutton United), Jon Leesley (Alfreton Town), John Goddard (Swindon Town), Elliott Whitehouse (Nuneaton Town), Dayle Southwell (Boston United), Omar Bogle (Grimsby Town), Jordan Williams (Barrow AFC).

A nine-man Contingency Squad has also been named:

Peter Crook (Harrogate Town), Chez Isaac (Braintree Town), Brandon Daniels (Harrogate Town), Dion Charles (AFC Fylde), Scott Leather ([ex-] Altrincham), Daniel Sweeney (Maidstone United), Daniel Johnson (Gateshead), Sam Jones (Alfreton Town), Jack Paxman (Maidstone United)."

18 May 2016


John Edwards, Altrincham FC's joint Press and Media Officer, tells us that "Neil Young has made his second signing as Altrincham manager after snapping up goalkeeper Andrew Dawber from Fulham's under-21 squad.

The Wigan-born 21-year old put pen to paper following talks with Young on Tuesday afternoon and arrives at The J.Davidson Stadium with some pedigree after being on Manchester United's radar during the 2012-13 season.

After working his way through the ranks at Accrington Stanley, he was closely monitored by United and frequently invited to train at their Carrington complex under the watchful eye of goalkeeping coach Eric Steele.

James Beattie, manager of Accrington at the time, gave Dawber the go-ahead to spend time with United, and said: 'Andrew has great potential, and Eric Steele absolutely loves him. He was going in once a week a while ago, but he seems to be in there all the time now.

'He needs to be playing games, of course, but training in that environment will only give him a better mental approach and belief.'

Prior to his United experience, Dawber progressed through Accrington's Centre of Excellence before joining their Academy in 2011 and making his senior debut in circumstances that suggested his career path may one day point in the direction of Moss Lane. It was a Football League Trophy tie in September, 2012 that ended in a 2-0 defeat against Morecambe, with the goals coming from none other than former Alty duo Jack Redshaw and Kevin Ellison!

Despite the scoreline, Dawber was voted man of the match for a string of outstanding saves that denied Morecambe a more emphatic victory margin and earned him glowing praise from manager Paul Cook.

'There were one or two bright spots for us,' said Cook. 'Not least the way Andrew made the most of his opportunity. I thought the kid was brilliant.'

On leaving Accrington at the end of the 2014-15 season, after six senior appearances, Dawber joined Fulham on a one-year deal and had a loan spell at Aldershot, as well as playing for the Craven Cottage club's under-21 team.

After following midfielder Charlie Joyce into the J.Davidson Stadium, he's eager to recapture the form that took United's eye and believes he can do it by establishing himself as Alty's new number one.

Reflecting on his latest capture, Young said, 'Andrew is someone I tried to sign for Stockport last year, but he went to Fulham instead, so I'm delighted to have got him at the second attempt. He fits the profile of player we believe can take Altrincham forward, and hopefully he will develop as expected and be a fantastic goalkeeper for this football club. His age reflects our thinking in the way we want to build things here. Talks have taken place with a number of other targets and will continue.'"


The Northern Echo tells us that "Darlington 1883 have completed the long-awaited signing of Liam Marrs, two years after Martin Gray first made an attempt to bring him to the club. The right-back signed a two-year deal with Darlington after requesting to join from fellow National League North club Boston United.

In 2014 Marrs played in a friendly for Quakers... but the former Sunderland youngster eventually opted to play two divisions higher with Boston. Back-to-back promotions since then, however, have seen Quakers reach Boston’s level and now the 23-year-old has become one of five new arrivals with goalkeeper Mark Bell returning to the club yesterday from Spennmoor.

Gray said, 'He came to me which was great. He rang me and said he wanted to play for us. He’s shown a great commitment to Boston, travelling down there from Cramlington on a Thursday for training and for matches. He’s been the manager’s player of the year for the last two seasons down there, so he’s coming to us with a good background...

I did try to sign him two years ago but he wanted to play at a higher level, which was fair enough'...

Marrs and Bell’s arrivals follows that of Jordan Watson, Lewis Nightingale and Arran Wearmouth, while the only exits so far are Graeme Armstrong and goalkeeper Jim Provett, who did not play in the league for Quakers. Bell replaces Provett as Quakers’ goalkeeping coach and will be back up to Peter Jameson. Provett’s kitman duties will taken on by Bradley Blythe and Gary Smith. Gray is looking to add one more player to the squad, understood to be a striker".

We learn from the National League that "Tamworth have confirmed the signing of pacey attacker Greg Mills from former rivals Corby Town. Lambs' boss Andy Morrell is hoping the former Derby County winger can fill the goalscoring void left by the departing Elliott Durrell.

Mills scored 19 goals in all competitions for Corby this past season".

At Southport, "Andy Bishop has signed former Northern Ireland Under 21 striker James Gray. Gray... said, 'I am very excited in signing James Gray. He is a goal scorer with a potentially big future ahead of him. He is a major signing for us and I believe we can develop him. I've known James for sometime and together we can really progress'...

The former Middlesbrough youth player has wide ranging experience for a 23 year old having played for Darlington, Accrington Stanley, Kettering , Northampton and last season Wrexham".

The National League reports that "Stalybridge Celtic have announced that Jack Higgins has signed for York City for an undisclosed fee. Higgins was only with Celtic for one season, but made a huge impact both in defence and attack. He also had a fantastic attitude that will carry him far in life.

Higgins had been a stalwart in the back four for Ashton United, not only becoming their player of the year for 2015, but also voted the best centre-back of the year in the Evo-Stik Northern Premier League. He started out at Crewe Alexandra and has also played for Boston United, Rushden & Diamonds, Rossendale United and Clitheroe.

Whilst at Diamonds he was frequently sent out on loan, playing for Daventry Town, Billericay Town and Hemel Hemsptead Town. Celtic`s Rob Gorski said, 'When I was approached, I told York that we were not interested in selling Jack but, firstly, they increased their bid and also it is a really wonderful opportunity for Jack to create a career as a full time footballer... We shall be playing York City on Saturday, 16th July in a pre-season friendly'".

In the National League, "Barrow AFC have announced the signing of experienced striker Ross Hannah from league rivals Chester FC. Hannah, who turned 30 on Saturday, joins the Bluebirds after turning down a deal to stay at Chester where he scored 23 goals in forty-two games last season... Hannah joins Barrow on a two-year contract".

And the National League also tells us that "Defender Manny Smith has become Neil Aspin’s second permanent signing as Gateshead boss, agreeing a two-year deal. Like winger Wes York, who joined the Tynesiders on Thursday, Smith was released by league rivals Wrexham a fortnight ago...

He signed for Wrexham after two years at Notts County, and, impressively, played every single minute of the Dragons’ 2014/15 campaign. The 27-year-old almost repeated the feat last time out, missing just two games".

17 May 2016


The National League reports that "Boston United manager Dennis Greene has offered terms of re-engagement to Joe Burgess, Kaine Felix, Zak Mills, Dayle Southwell and Fabian Spiess. The one-year option on Jay Rollins's contract has been exercised, meaning he is automatically contracted for next season alongside Lewis Hilliard and Cameron Johnson.

Lincoln City loanee Nat Brown has been offered a permanent contract by the Pilgrims. Discussions are continuing with Scott Garner, Mark Jones, Richard Jones, Malachi Lavelle-Moore, Liam Marrs and Grant Roberts.

Ryan Robbins and John Sands have been released without offer, while Carl Piergianni is taking a break from football to embark on a year of travelling".

Elsewhere, the National League tells us that "Courtney Wildin has become Boston United’s first summer signing. The 20-year-old left-back began on the books of Aston Villa before moving to Sheffield Wednesday’s youth ranks. He has also spent a spell on loan with Lincoln City".

We learn from the Gloucester Citizen that "Forest Green Rovers will not be renewing the contracts of seven players following their promotion final heartache with club captain David Pipe the headline departure.

Pipe is joined by James Jennings, Clovis Kamdjo, Delano Sam-Yorke, Brett Williams, Lenny Pidgeley and Dale Eve in leaving the club. Meanwhile, new boss Mark Cooper has decided to exercise options in the contracts of winger Elliott Frear, player of the year Charlie Clough, midfielder Rob Sinclair and striker Kurtis Guthrie.

The club is in negotiations with first-team captain Aarran Racine, goalkeeper Steve Arnold, defender Dale Bennett and midfielders Sam Wedgbury, Darren Carter and Marcus Kelly. Keanu Marsh-Brown, Jon Parkin, Jonny Maxted, Kieffer Moore, Ben Jefford, Anthony Jeffrey, Louis McGrory and academy graduate Joe Stokes are have a year remaining on their existing deals".

In Cumbria, "Barrow AFC have announced their first two signings of the summer which evidence their recently-installed nationwide scouting network", claims the National League. "Both are signed from lower leagues where they have massively impressed and in both cases other National League clubs or above were also chasing their signatures.

Richard Bennett, 25, a six-foot plus striker who joins after earning high praise for his performances at Northwich Victoria, where he played alongside Jordan Williams. He has signed a two-year deal. The other signing announced today is 6’5” central defender Moussa Diarra, 26, who won promotion to the National League South with Hampton & Richmond Borough last season.

Diarra joined the Beavers from Hemel Hempstead Town permanently in July 2015... He originally came to the UK from France in 2011, joining St Albans City before signing for the Tudors...

Meanwhile, Cox expects to wrap up a third capture with the signature of a striker proven at National League level".

We also learn from the NL Daily that "North Ferriby United striker Tom Denton feels team spirit has taken the side to the National League... Denton said 'It is a great feeling, I thought we started slow but we deserved it, we took our chance when it came and then took it from there.'

Denton gained praise for holding the ball up and using his height to his advantage something he was happy about, 'You have to do that when you are a lone striker it is a hard job at times but I really enjoy it and you get the reward of helping the team members out... This is why you play football, for promotions and cup finals, this is actually the first time I have gone up as a player...

There are some big teams involved for next season the likes of Lincoln, York but we will show everyone what we are made of'".

16 May 2016


As reported yesterday, the Altrincham FC Goirls' teams had won through to three cup finals and, as Darren Gregory reports, "What a day. three Altrincham FC Girls' teams were in Cup Finals and they won all three. Some achievement! First the Finches won 1-0 after extra time, then the Skylarks won 6-1, after being a goal down. Then the day finished off with a 2-0 win for the Eagles".

Pictured, above, are the SKylarks and , below, the Eagles, courtesy of Darren Gregory.

"The Eagles also did the double by winning the under 14s' Challenge cup, less than 24 hours of winning the A League Cup".

Below are The Finches, courtesy of Darren Gregory.


Last week, Altrincham Juniors U17 Youth team, Phoenix, won the Timperley and District League Cup. Dave Johnson tells us that "The game was played at Cheadle Heath in very warm conditions. Opposition were Broadheath Central Youth U17 Hawks. The final score was 2-1 to Alty after a goalless first half. The game was played in a good spirit with quality football from both sides. The team can be seen above with the trophy".


In their final game of the season, Altrincham FC Youth lost 2-6 at home to Curzon Ashton on Sunday. With other teams yet to complete their fixtures, Altrincham are fourth in the NWYA Premier, but could drop to fifth, if Ashton Athletic catch them.


Manager Kevin Wilson has reflected on last season at Nuneaton Town. "So, it was not to be. We did not do enough to get into the play offs. I do not have any regrets about the year since I was appointed as Boro manager, as I do not think one can live with regrets. I try to take the positives out of situations. But, of course, there were disappointments...

We failed to get into the play offs as a result of 42 games, not just one, so I cannot point the finger at one thing that was to blame for us missing out. We have ended up with one of the best defensive records in the league, but we did not score nearly enough goals...

It was frustrating we were not able to replace Aaron Williams and Callum Chettle as quickly as I had hoped. Aaron was always going to be a big miss as he was our leading scorer, and Callum was a great footballer with a great burst of pace... We had Tom Elliott lined up to come in as soon as Callum left, but that hit snags beyond my control and did not happen as soon as I would have liked... which is where the academy should come in.

I held an induction evening for 26 young players on Tuesday night. They are joining us straight from school. Some of them have been with pro clubs, others have come through grassroots football, but all of them have real potential...

I have also been able to talk to the majority of our players about next season. David Morgan, Tom Elliot, Joe Ironside, Elliott Whitehouse, Kristian Scott and Sam Warburton were already contracted for next season, so they will all be staying. The club has excercised the option to extend the contracts of James Clifton, Joe Maguire, Shane Byrne, Jordan Keane and Zeus de la Paz, so they too will all stay at Liberty Way.

I have offered deals for next season to Jack Lane, Cieron Keane, Lathaniel Rowe Turner, Billy Daniels and Vamara Sanogo... I have spoken to a few players who I think will be good for us, but they have to come within our budget and our philosophy and also be able to train every day and fit into what we do...

We have also had the takeover talk, which has been a bit unsettling, but I have to carry on doing my job and preparing for next season. Among the changes for next season will be the size of the pitch. It will get smaller. Probably a yard off each side widthwise and we may even bring it in slightly at the ends".

At Gainsborough Trinity, "Following the release of Darryn Stamp, Marc Newsham and Craig Reid in the end of season shake up, manager Dominic Roma has moved quickly to secure the signature of the highly sought-after striker, Jacob Hazel. 23 year old front man, Hazel, signs for Trinity after a prolific season in front of goal for Frickley Athletic... where he netted 23 times including 19 times in the league... Prior to banging in the goals for Frickley, Jacob spent a season at Mickleover Sports...

Jacob is looking forward to linking up with captain elect, Nathan Jarman and Ashley Worsfold (an earlier summer signing from Buxton), in a fearsome looking front line... Having come through the youth ranks at Chesterfield and making a couple of appearances, Hazel is an ambitious front man, who would relish the opportunity to play in the professional game once again... Capped by St Kitts & Nevis, Hazel brings an international flavour to the Martin & Co Arena".

The BBC reports on Sunday's play-off which Grimsby Town won 2-1, against Forest Green Rovers. "Two quick-fire Omar Bogle goals just before half-time gave Grimsby control. Forest Green fought back after the break and Keanu Marsh-Brown's superb goal reduced their deficit after Jon Parkin had missed from six yards.

But Grimsby, playing in the play-offs for a fourth consecutive year, struck a late third through Nathan Arnold... Forest Green introduced substitute Parkin at half-time and the 34-year-old former Preston striker's presence changed the game. Parkin could only hit the side netting from Forest Green's best chance, inside the six-yard box...

But Forest Green, who had finished nine points above Grimsby in the league table, could not find an equaliser despite a spirited fightback... Having finished in their highest-ever league position in second, they were led at Wembley by caretaker boss Scott Bartlett, while next season's manager, Mark Cooper, offered guidance from the dugout. But the Nailsworth club, who had hoped to make their home town the smallest settlement to ever host a Football League club, saw their promotion hopes dashed in the play-offs for the second year running...

The promoted Mariners return to Wembley on 22 May for the FA Trophy final against FC Halifax.

Grimsby boss Paul Hurst told BBC Radio Humberside, 'I'm quite relaxed. I feel quite calm. It's a fantastic achievement... We want to make sure that we're a Football League club for a long time to come and, if possible, see if we can move the club even further forward.'

Forest Green Rovers' striker Jon Parkin told BBC Radio Gloucestershire, 'It was just a mad five minutes in the first half that put us on the back foot... They took their chances, we didn't'".


Welsh Premier tells us that "Llandudno have been granted an emergency loan from Conwy council to fund their Europa League campaign. The club will receive around 200,000 Euros after qualifying for the competition's first qualifying round but are not due to receive the cash until December.

In return for an interest-free loan of £30,000, the local authority will feature as sponsors on the club's new away European kit. The club said costs include flights to Geneva for the draw, medical testing of players, hire of a home leg venue and hospitality for visiting team officials and delegates.

Council officers had recommended the authority approve the request, on condition that, 'Llandudno Football Club work with officers from Conwy council to maximise opportunities to promote the area in support of the local economy'".

15 May 2016


John Edwards, joint Press Officer at Altrincham FC reports that "Scott Leather’s Altrincham career has come to an end after he rejected a new deal at The J.Davidson Stadium and decided on a fresh start with another club.

The versatile defender was one of four non-contract players manager Neil Young wanted to retain from last season’s squad, along with James Lawrie, Damian Reeves and Michael Rankine.

The other three are still deliberating, but Leather has told the Alty boss he will be leaving after deciding his future lies elsewhere.

‘Of course it is disappointing, but I understand people will get better offers,’ said Young. ‘Scott informed me he was moving on, and I believe he has accepted an offer from another club.

‘All I’ll say about that is I only want people here who are fully committed to what we are trying to do to make Altrincham as successful as possible.

‘From day one, the search has been on for the right players who can take us forward, and if Scott’s departure suggests a need for another defender, I’d say we were actively looking, anyway.

‘The others who have been made offers know I need an answer in the next few days. By the end of next week, at the very latest, I need to know where we stand, so we can get on with putting together the strongest possible squad.’" After recruiting midfielder Charlie Joyce from Southport, Young is hopeful of signing a new keeper in the next 24 hours. Any news will be reported here, on the club’s official website, as soon as it happens".

Scott made 155(+24) appearances and scored seven times for Altrincham, his local club, over four seasons.


The following message from Tim Deasy has been relayed to the website by Brian Flynn, Altrincham FC's joint Press & Media Officer...

"Some players have said their goodbyes when leaving the club on facebook and twitter. I don't do social media, but I wanted to say thank you to a few people who have made my time at Altrincham Football Club a very happy one.

Firstly, Ian Senior, who brought me to the club. I have known Ian for years and nearly signed on a number of previous occasions but, for a number of reasons, it didn't happen. When I signed last summer, I was quite daunted by the prospect of playing for Alty, but I was pleased with the way I settled in and very proud to win both the Supporters' and Players' Player of The Year Awards.

I have also known Stuart Coburn for a long time and he's a top lad and has been a big help to me during my year at the club. I was genuinely gutted when he made the decision to retire and tried to talk him out of it, but as you know, his mind was made up.

Alan Ainsley has been a massive help to me during my time here. At training, we would generally be the first to arrive and the last to leave as I was a regular on his treatment table. Not being a young keeper, I had quite a lot of aches, pains and strains and Al was always there to help, particularly when I suffered a tear in my thigh towards the end of the season, going over and above the call of duty with home visits and intensive treatment sessions lasting up to 90 minutes.

I really want to say a massive thank you to all the Alty fans who welcomed me to the club and gave me huge personal support during the season and that meant a lot to me. I was really gutted when I found out that I wasn't being offered terms for next season and whilst offers have already come in, I am considering retiring from football, particularly with two young daughters, Niamh (3) and baby Aria who was born on Tuesday.

Whilst I knew that I wasn't going to be the next Stuart Coburn, I did hope to stay at Alty for a number of years and whilst I'm sad that is not going to happen, I will look back at my season with the club with a lot of personal satisfaction and as one of the happiest times of my career".


In addition to North Ferriby United winning promotion to the National League on Saturday with an extra-time win over AFC Fylde, three other Yorkshire sides won their play-off games this weekend. It started on Friday with Sheffield wednesday beating Brighton, followed by Hull City's 3-0 win at Derby County. Then the team that Alty knocked out of the FA Cup, Barnsley, deservedly thumped Walsall 3-0 at Oakwell. The second legs of the Football League and Championship ties have still to be played.

In the National League South, Maidstone United beat Ebbsfleet after extra time.


Barrow's Holker Street Newsletter reports that "As Ben Tomlinson has been released by Barnet, he's looking for a new club, and whilst he had a year left on his contract, the player would be available on a free transfer, so bearing in mind he spent the final three months of the season at Holker Street, how willing would he be to signing on the dotted line for Barrow, assuming Paul Cox is interested of course? Well, Tomlinson told the Evening Mail, 'I need to find a club and I really, really did enjoy my time at Barrow. It's a possibility, but I don't really know what is going to happen yet. There are people I need to sit down with and have conversations with before anything happens. We (he and Paul Cox) briefly spoke (after the end of the season) and he thanked me for my time at Barrow and I thanked him as well for taking me. Before I signed for Barrow, I wasn't playing great. I am a good player, but form is temporary and he took me when I wasn't at my best. Towards the end, I was playing much better and I thanked him for that - and vice-versa. That's where we are and I'm sure we'll have a conversation at some point.'

Paul Cox has shared his thoughts over releasing Barrow's captain, Simon Grand with the Evening Mail, telling us, 'It was a really tough decision in the end and it was based on all the factors which need to be considered in terms of moving on - finance, age, budget, all these things came into play. For me, it's not very nice telling anybody that they are not going to be offered a contract for next season. When you get somebody like Grandy who, since I have been at the club, has been an absolutely model professional and who I have grown quite close to, it is probably the most distressing part of being a manager. You're telling someone who you personally like that you're not going to be offering them a deal.'

As for the decision to release the trio of Brad Carroll, Danny Eccles and Alex Newby, Paul Cox tells us, 'It's not about it not being right for Barrow. I had to make a decision and I spoke to all the lads in depth about their futures. It would have been very easy for me just to reinstate these boys and give them another year's contract only to sit in the stands. I made the decision on Elliot because I think he has the chance of being in and around our first team next year with the progression he has made. I didn't think the other three had...

'At this minute in time, I will probably be the most hated man in Barrow, but I'm hoping that when the dust settles, I can give them the help to establish themselves in somebody's first team and get them another club...

As for how many players he expects Barrow will need next season, Paul Cox told the Mail: "I think you're looking at the 20, 22 to 24 mark. Twenty-two would be ideal, and twenty is not unquestionable. It's about having the quality in depth for the squad, rather than having a massive squad and carrying players who are not realistically going to affect the 11".


The proposed make-up of the various steps of the Non-League Pyramid for 2016-17 is here.
14 May 2016


Keith Edleston, manager of the Altrincham FC Ladies, tells us that "This Sunday 15th May we welcome down to Mersey Valley, the Bolton Wanderers Development Team in a friendly game to end our season, ko is 2pm and all are welcome. The club will be open for drink and food as usual from 12 noon. We would love to see as many supporters as possible to cheer the girls on".


In Essex, "Danny Cowley has resigned as manager of Braintree Town and is expected to take up the vacant post at National League rivals Lincoln City, reports BBC Essex. The 36-year-old led part-time Braintree to the play-offs in his first season in charge, where they lost to Grimsby. The resignation of Cowley, who has combined his Iron job with work as a PE teacher, has been followed by that of his assistant and brother Nicky.

Lincoln are without a boss after Chris Moyses left at the end of the season...

Braintree chairman Lee Harding told BBC Essex, 'Being fair to Danny and Nick, if they think this is the right opportunity for them going forward, we understand and support it. This is not about what they're doing as their hobby, this will be their full-time job and, if they decide the package they're being offered is worthwhile giving up what they do in their day job, then it's a big step for them and I hope they get it right.

'With the news that broke earlier in the week, we've already had people calling asking us to think of them which is nice. We will advertise the post and I would imagine we'll have a lot of applications. It's no surprise the Cowley brothers have caught the attention of other clubs after three promotions with Concord and a stunning third-place finish with Braintree on one of the National League's smallest budgets. The slight surprise is it being Lincoln who've managed to snare them. Other clubs were rumoured to be interested with Tranmere and Notts County in the frame.

'But it's Lincoln who showed the courage of their convictions and put money on the table. It's a risk for the brothers with Lincoln's budget by no means the biggest and they're now at a club with higher expectations. But, knowing the amount of detail they go into and hard work they put in, I would expect them to be a success'".

At Kidderminster Harriers, "The Football Association have confirmed that Harriers will play their football in the Vanarama National League North in 2016/17.

Following our relegation, action in the North had seemed the most likely outcome but the news was finally rubber-stamped on Thursday. While play-off action coming soon prevents the confirmation of the full divisional line-up just yet, we can at least tell you that among our opposition next season will be:

AFC Telford United, Altrincham, Boston United, Brackley Town, Chorley, Curzon Ashton, Darlington 1883, FC Halifax Town, FC United of Manchester, Gainsborough Trinity, Gloucester City, Harrogate Town, Nuneaton Town, Salford City, Stalybridge Celtic, Stockport County, Tamworth, Worcester City.

Meanwhile, Stockport County "have signed 22-year-old winger Adam Thomas from Hednesford Town. The six-foot-four wide man[!] spent 12 years in Everton’s Academy alongside the likes of England star Ross Barkley before joining Stoke City for a three-year spell. P> He scored six goals for Hednesford last season and scooped five out of seven awards at their end-of-season presentations.

Adam, who lives in Prenton on the Wirral, said, 'I like to play wide midfield, down either side, but I prefer playing down the right, getting high and wide. I like to isolate the full-back, get one-v-one and then either cut inside to link up or go down the outside and look to put the ball in.

'I’m always looking to get as far forward as I can to have a chance of scoring and that’s worked well for me this season, getting in at the back post; three of my goals this season have been headers in that position. The others came from being in and around the box, alert to knock downs'.

But Adam... broke his collarbone on Day One in a clash with Stalybridge Celtic... Adam said, 'Despite the injury, I returned to action and went on to play 30 games and was consistently in the team, I didn’t miss a match. The North can be quite physical but I came back quickly, less than ten weeks after the injury, and got brought down for a penalty after just two minutes, landing on my collarbone again, but it was fine!'

County boss James Gannon said, 'Adam is another player who fits our profile perfectly, he’s powerful, pacy, athletic and scored a decent number of goals last season. I’m also mindful that he’s scored goals against some of the better teams in our league such as Solihull and Chorley. He’s got great pedigree'...

Adam said, 'Under-21s is nice football but it lacks tempo, which gets you nowhere. The National League North is proper football; it’s so much more competitive, so I believe it’s a step up, not the other way round.'

Away from football, Adam is preparing to start a degree in physiotherapy at Salford University in the autumn. He said... 'I get assistance from the Professional Footballers Association, so it’s great to be able to take the degree and it’ll keep me involved in sport in the future, which is where I want to be'...

He said, 'I’ve been really impressed speaking to the manager, I got a really good feel for the place, it’s a very well-run club with massive support and there is a really good vibe around Edgeley Park at the minute. The club is going places and I want to be a part of that'".

According to the Chorley Citizen, "Chorley remain determined to keep hold of star striker Darren Stephenson despite serious interest in the 23-year-old. So far the Magpies have rejected a bid from York City for last season's top goalscorer, but it is understood several League Two clubs are keeping tabs on Stephenson.

He struck 18 times for Matt Jansen's side last season as they finished seventh in the National League North and it is believed he is now keen to be given the chance to speak to clubs in the Football League or National League as he targets a full-time move.

But Magpies chairman Ken Wright said... 'The biggest plus for us so far is that we've still got Darren Stephenson, despite interest from a number of clubs', he said... 'He can't go anywhere unless someone comes with an offer we can't refuse. We've always said to Darren that if it's a League offer that meets our valuation we won't stand in his way, he's a good player and why nobody has taken a chance on him I don't know.

'He's got what the modern game desires, pace, power and he can score goals. Year on year he's performed for us and scored goals. We did have an offer from York City which didn't meet our valuation, that's only [one] league above us though, it's not Football League'...

Focus now turns to next season, although Wright admits... 'We've got to look forward to a very competitive league next season with Altrincham and Kidderminster coming down and Salford City and Darlington coming up. All of a sudden it has a northern taste to it, which it should have'".

The BBC reports that "Forest Green Rovers will join the Football League for the first time in their history if they can overcome Grimsby Town in Sunday's National League promotion final...

BBC Sport looks at... things you may not be aware of about the non-league outfit, founded in 1889... If Forest Green do triumph at Wembley on Sunday, one Football League record will be broken. The Gloucestershire town of Nailsworth, where Rovers are based, would become the smallest settlement to ever host a Football League club. With a population of just 5,794, Nailsworth is home to around double the crowd that attended the second leg of Rovers' 2-1 aggregate play-off semi-final win over Dover at The New Lawn.

Last July, Forest Green unveiled plans for a new stadium within an 'Eco Park', to be ready later this decade. Owner Dale Vince ambitiously and confidently declared that Forest Green 'will be' a Football League club by the time they eventually move in. The plans for an all-seater stadium and a 100-acre sports and green technology centre - all next to junction 13 of the M5 - have impressed supporters...

But their existing ground is hardly a menace to the environment... For example, in December 2012, the club won an award for growing a pitch without using chemicals. The 'organic' playing surface, spread with cow manure, is thought to be the first in the world. The surface was criticised by former manager Ady Pennock this season. But with solar panels powering the electricity at The New Lawn and the club even using a solar-powered lawn mower to trim the grass, Vince has gone all-out in his aim to be the greenest club on the planet..

Vince has introduced vegan-only food for supporters. But the players themselves are banned from eating red meat and dietary habits have been known to be a factor during recruitment. Then, add all the above to a philosophy of 'Moneyball', using statistics to determine which players to sign, and you have one very unique football club...

On Monday, former Swindon Town manager Mark Cooper was announced as Forest Green's boss for next season after leaving Notts County. In departing Meadow Lane after just 10 matches, Cooper may have left the oldest club in the Football League to join its newest member".

13 May 2016


Darren Gregory kindly informs us that "On Saturday 3rd May, Altrincham Junior Girls' team are in Cup Final action at Flixton FC. First up are the Finches Under-13s in the B League Cup; kick off is at 1.30pm. Next it's the Skylarks Under 13s in the A League Cup Final, kick off is at 3.15pm. Finishing the day are the Eagles Under-14s in their A League Cup Final, kick off is at 5pm. The Eagles also play on Sunday in the Challenge Cup Final, which kicks off at 12pm.

If anyone would like to come and watch there is a £3 admission fee for adults".


Hednesford Town "Football Club can sadly confirm that Ben Bailey has departed Keys Park after almost a decade with the club. The popular centre-half, who skippered the side last season, played a total of 335 times for the Pitmen after breaking into the first team squad during the 2007/08 campaign.

Bailey today confirmed that his future lies away from a club that will always hold a special place in his heart."

The reason why he has left becomes clear as, the Shropshire Star tells us that "AFC Telford United have completed their second new signing of the summer as defender Ben Bailey joins from Hednesford.

The 25-year-old defender... becomes the second player, and second central defender, through the door at the New Buck's Head following yesterday's signing of Dan Preston. John Cofie's release earlier today made him the ninth squad member to depart the club this summer, while Dwayne Samuels and James Montgomery have been retained.

Another central defender, Curtis Tilt, has been offered a deal for next season and is currently considering [it], as is 17-year-old youngster Zak Lilly."

News of a former Altrincham player comes from the Worcester News, which tells us that "Rejuvenated striker Kyle Perry hopes to have earned a new deal at Worcester City after enjoying his short spell at the club. Since arriving in March, the 6ft 4in front man featured eight times, scoring once and making two assists to help keep City in Vanarama National League North.

Perry says he has relished being at a club who play for the 'right reasons' after his 'ugly experience' at relegated Hednesford Town. And the 30-year-old has vowed to hit the ground running with City next season if offered a new contract by manager Carl Heeley. 'I have only been here a short time, but I can see they are doing things for the right reasons, instead of the wrong reasons, and that is something I want to be a part of,' he said.

'I have been at a few places where it has not been about the football,which is a real head stretcher. It was an ugly experience (at Hednesford) and I was not enjoying it. It was not the right place for me. But Carl (Heeley) and Matt (Gardiner) brought me in. They have let me know what they wanted from me and it has been fantastic.

'I have been trying to get to know the lads and show them what I am about and earn a deal for next season. I want to get in the mix and enjoy it again. I don’t want to start pre-season with a brand new squad as it’s tough to get out of the blocks so, hopefully, it will be positive for me and for Worcester and we can build going forward'...

'There is a great set of lads at City, with bags of experience and young lads who want to listen and that’s refreshing to have those kind of players around you,' he ed... 'I am champing at the bit and I want to show them what I can do (next season), so we will see what happens (in the summer)'".

The Lincolnshire Echo reports that "As the dust settled on another play-off defeat for Boston United, only those with hearts of stone would not have felt a pang of emotion as the players thanked the travelling fans after the final whistle at North Ferriby... It felt like the end of an era.

[Ex-Alty loanee] Carl Piergianni, United's rock at the heart of defence for the last three seasons, is leaving to travel the world. It would be no surprise if star striker Dayle Southwell followed him out of the club. His journey should take him to the Football League...

Defender Zak Mills and winger Kaine Felix could also be snapped up... both are capable of playing higher. So Dennis Greene could have a rebuilding job on his hands this summer... He will need to replace key players if Boston are to be in the promotion race again next season...

Admittedly, the Pilgrims have had bad luck with injuries, but there have been a few too many off-days for Boston to feel they deserved to win promotion. Too often, against the top sides in the division, Boston have fallen short, losing three times to North Ferriby and twice to both Fylde and Solihull (one in the FA Trophy).

They have also failed to defeat Harrogate at two attempts. And despite beating Nuneaton home and away, the Pilgrims needed Boro's three-point deduction to get into the play-offs in the first place. In short, Boston have been good enough on their day, but not over the course of the season.

There is a school of thought that the club is not ready for promotion... The budget is not among the top six in National League North. With four relegation spots, it would have been a tall order for United to survive in the league above next season... The Pilgrims will be in a much better position to push for it when they move to their new stadium in around 18 months' time.

They won't have the handicap of paying around £80,000 in rent, it will be a facility for the whole community which will be open and making money for the club seven days a week...

Manager Greene... is not every fan's cup of tea, but you cannot argue with his record in his three full seasons in charge – sixth, third and fifth. He didn't do himself any favours by not satisfactorily filling the goalkeeper and left-back positions last summer which led to dropped points early in the season.

But he deserves credit for hauling the team out of two slumps and into the play-offs again. Greene, with a new contract in the bag, has proved he is the right man to take the club forward."

According to NL Pitchero, "John Snape has been appointed assistant-manager at Worcester City after stepping into the role for the final two games of the season. The former City player has been first-team coach since July 2013 and manager Carl Heeley said he 'deserved' the promotion... following Matt Gardiner’s decision to leave his position as joint-boss to become head of coaching at Kidderminster Harriers.

City are also looking to bring in a first-team coach to work alongside Snape and Heeley who agreed to take sole charge of the Blue & Whites for the 2016/17 campaign. Heeley described his new assistant... 'There is an honesty about him that is sometimes difficult to find and he will be a great asset to the club'... Heeley also revealed he had 'three or four' candidates join his coaching team and did not rule out adding a player/coach...

'You need two people (to work with) as it is difficult to get out and watch games and do all the many tasks that require doing'" said Heeley.

12 May 2016


As previously announced, "Following the England v Turkey friendly at Sunderland on Sunday May 22nd (kick off 5.15pm) there will be a Meet the Management Q&A session in the Community Sports Hall. The bar will be open from 4.45pm and food will be available whilst the game will be shown on the multiple TV screens. Everyone is welcome".


Altrincham FC are pleased to confirm the following friendly dates; more fixtures are likely to be arranged in the pre-season period and these will be announced here, once confirmed.
  1. Sat. 9.7.16 3pm Away Leek Town
  2. Sat. 16.7.16 3pm Home CHESTER FC
  3. Tue. 19.7.16 7.45pm Away Trafford
  4. Tue. 26.7.16 7.45pm Home CREWE ALEXANDRA
  5. Fri. 29.7.16 7.45pm Home BURNLEY XI

As usual, entry to these games is free for holders of current Altrincham FC Season tickets (for 2016-17).


The prices for season tickets and for turnstile admission to the league games to be played at the J. Davidson Stadium during the 2016-17 season will remain unaltered from those which applied in 2015-16. These are as follows...

Season Tickets:

  • Standing: Adults £250 Concessions £145
  • Seating: Adults £290 Concessions £155
  • 12-16 year olds: £60
  • Under 12s: £30

Gate Prices:

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

The concessionary ages are currently, for females 60 and over, for males 65 and over.


As you can see from the adjacent images, the pitch at the J. Davidson Stadium has been prepared for the insertion of a water-sprinkler system before groundman Neil Brown commences the annual pitch renovation over the coming weeks. The sprinkler installation has been undertaken thanks to a grant from the Football Foundation.


AFC Telford United they "have released popular midfielder Sean Clancy. Sean joined the Bucks in 2013 as Liam Watson's first signing, and has since made over 130 appearances for the club." He was the club's longest-serving player.

Meanwhile "AFC Telford United are delighted to announce the signing of central defender Dan Preston. Preston, who made 70 appearances for the Bucks between 2010 and 2014, returns to the Buck's Head after two seasons with Tamworth, featuring in a Lambs' defence that conceded the fewest goals in the National League North last season. The 24 year old has joined on a one-year deal."

From the Worcester News "Sam Minihan says he has yet to commit to Worcester City next season after revealing he will be moving back to Rochdale.

The full-back has been a key figure for City this campaign, making 44 appearances, and he scooped the players’ player and young player of the season awards.

Although Minihan left Loughborough University FC to join Worcester last year, he remained in the town to finish studying a degree in Sports Science.

But the 22-year-old said he was set to graduate this summer and keen to return to his home town of Rochdale, which may hamper City’s hopes of keeping him...

'I travelled there and back through pre-season, which is a seven-hour round trip, so it is a long way. But City was a club worth doing it for as I have absolutely loved my time here'...

Minihan came through Rochdale’s academy set-up and made his first-team debut in April 2012. He also had a spell at Droylsden before joining Loughborough in 2013 and beginning his university course.

Since arriving at City, Minihan has put his stamp on the number two shirt and he insisted the club’s coaching staff have been key to his development".

According to NL Pitchero, "Boston United manager Dennis Greene has been awarded a new two-year contract by the club.

The 51-year-old, who has guided the Pilgrims to sixth, third and fifth in his three full seasons as United manager, has overseen a second successive play-off campaign following another year packed full of excitement and goals.

United have won thirty-nine and drawn twelve of their sixty-three home matches during the course of the last three seasons and Greene is currently finalising his retained list...

United chairman David Newton said, 'It has been another exciting season and, once we had a fully-fit squad, we went on a great run to secure a second successive play-off position. Everybody is obviously disappointed with the outcome in the play-offs... Dennis has done a great job on a limited budget, so he has been rewarded with a two-year extension to his contract. He is therefore looking forward to developing the squad over the summer months and ultimately being the first manager to lead the team out at the new Jakemans Community Stadium.

'We want to give Dennis the best possible opportunity budget-wise, so we have reluctantly increased ticket prices slightly, which in turn will allow us to increase the playing budget next season. Prices have not increased during our nine years at the club, so I hope that fans will understand that costs have increased significantly over that time and there is a need to try to get extra money into the playing budget. We also still need to encourage younger fans into the club, so there has been no increase for under-16s'.

Greene added, 'We will assemble the best squad possible and give everything in what will arguably be the toughest-ever National League North next season'".

We learn from NL Pitchero that "Former Fleetwood Town and FC Halifax Town striker Jamie Vardy has officially launched his V9 Academy and vowed to give non-League players the chance to follow in his footsteps. The forward wants to offer those outside the Football League professional coaching to repeat his stunning success...

Vardy signed for Leicester from Fleetwood for £1 million in 2012, having played for Halifax and Stocksbridge Park Steels after being released by Sheffield Wednesday at 16... He said, 'I don’t think anyone can be told if they’re good enough at 15 or 16, when you still have so many years to grow and develop. That was my reason, probably hundreds were told the same and had to drop down as well. Hopefully we can find them, get them to the academy and get them through...

'We will give them Premier League-standard training and coaching, we can give them a chance to make the step up'. Applications are being taken for the academy from this month with the first intake of forty-two players due at the Etihad Academy Campus in Manchester next summer, where free week-long residential courses will be held. Players must be involved at levels five to nine in the football Pyramid and the academy will look at players from 17 up to 33 years old.

Vardy, who will part-fund the academy himself with the plan for it to become self-sufficient, added, 'You never forget your non-League days, turning up to away dressing rooms and getting changed in a Portakabin, one shower for whole squad, which was freezing after 10 minutes so you had to make sure to be the first one in. Whether it’s a low or high, the roots you come from keep you grounded...

'I moved to Fleetwood on the last day of the window. I turned up looking forward to being in the squad and then Micky Mellon called me into his office and said I was starting. I managed to put in a man-of-the-match performance and end up with three staples in my head, from a York centre-half’s teeth going into it'".

According to NL Daily "Chorley manager Matt Jansen has already begun the process of strengthening the squad with three new signings...

Arriving from Southport are defensive duo Adam Blakeman and Matt Challoner while striker Sefton Gonzalez has joined from Clitheroe".

Relegated Welling United have confirmed "their retained list... Mark Goldberg has retained the services of forward George Porter and left back Joey Taylor. Sam Corne and Barney Williams are each contracted already for next season".

From Kidderminster Harriers we learn that "Boss John Eustace has insisted next season’s squad must be ready for the battle ahead... The most likely outcome is that The Reds will start the season in the National League North, a division packed competitive and ambitious clubs...

The Aggborough gaffer is confident his side will represent a scalp for some sides in 2016/17, and says it’ll be down to those players wearing the shirt to deal with it. Eustace said, 'All I will say is that the players who we bring in to Kidderminster will improve the team and be good people on and off the pitch; good, honest people. Hopefully we can progress nicely next year. This is a fantastic club and it will be the biggest in the league next year, I’m pretty sure about that.

'The players who come in and those that are here will have to expect to be targeted a little bit, but be mentally strong and ready for a battle'".

S 11 May 2016


We are grateful to Judy Henson for the following press release about the FA Girls' Football Week in which Altrincham FC participated recently.

"This April, Altrincham Football Club ‘In The Community’ decided to take part in the national ‘FA Girls Football Week’ (GFW). The FA announced this year that they would run two GFWs in 2016, the second one coming up in October, with a view to raising the profile and awareness of football opportunities for young girls.

The Football Club already boasts a junior section with over 50 boys' and girls' teams, aged from 6 years old to adult open age level. The Junior Girls train every Wednesday at The Grammar, Altrincham between 6pm-8pm. Altrincham FC Community Sports Hall also run weekly football coaching sessions for children aged 2-5 years old.

AFC began the GFW on Saturday 23rd April, as Altrincham FC played their last home fixture in the ‘National League’ against Welling United. Throughout the weeks prior to this fixture, AFC delivered over 500 free match tickets to girls under 14 years old, in local primary and secondary schools, along with the usual 250+ ‘under 12’ tickets that get handed out fortnightly for every home fixture.

The day proved a great success, with the first team winning 5-0 and 1,400 fans turning up to the J.Davidson stadium. AFC Junior Girls teams provided entertainment and assistance throughout the afternoon. There was a pre-match display by the under-7 and under-8 teams participating in a game on the pitch, ball co-ordinators, fund raising, mascots and an information stall.

Above: Altrincham FC Ladies and Girls, during the FA Girls' Football Week at the J. Davidson Stadium.

On Sunday 24th April, Altrincham FC Ladies played their last home fixture against Liverpool Community Ladies, in the North West Regional Women’s League, at Mersey Valley. Once again, the AFC Junior Girls' teams provided pre-match entertainment with a friendly fixture against Didsbury. This was a great opportunity for the young girls to impress the ladies' teams with their skills, but also to be mascots for the day and show the pathway from junior level to adult open age. The AFC Ladies won the game 6-0 and secured another season in the NWRWL, after gaining promotion last year.

In addition to the regular weekly coaching in local primary schools and at the AFC Community Sports Hall, Altrincham FC ‘In the Community’ provided an additional five hours of free coaching to over 150 girls throughout primary schools in the local area. These fun sessions were a great way for coaches to provide a ‘taster’ class for those girls who may not have previously taken an interest in the sport or have had the opportunity to play.

The week finished with the AFC Ladies' team making their way over to the Isle of Man for a tournament against their national FA representative teams. The IOM FA invited AFC Ladies and Chester City Ladies over for the event. Altrincham lost narrowly 3-2 against the IOM First team on day one, then won 3-1 against the youth team on day two. The weekend was a great success and, due to the commitment and attitude of the team, they have since been invited back for a second visit this Summer.

Above: Altrincham FC Ladies pictured during their recent visit to the Isle of Man.

Overall, The FA ‘Girls Football Week’ proved a national success, with events running across the country. Altrincham Football Club and AFC Juniors put an incredible amount of preparation and effort into co-ordinating the week of activities, which proved to be hugely beneficial for schools, football teams and most importantly, young girls in the local area.


Following Trafford's confirmation yesterday of a pre-season friendly at Shawe View, our Cheshire neighbours (on 19 July) Chester FC have stated that "Chester FC can today announce their first pre-season friendlies for the 2016/17 season. Jon McCarthy’s men will kick off the schedule with an away trip to Sandbach United on Saturday 9th July. The week after (Saturday, 16th July), the Blues face a trip to play Altrincham, managed by former boss Neil Young".


With Altrincham FC Director Paul Daine the current chair of the Altrincham and Sale Chamber of Commerce, the Chamber and Altrincham FC are running a joint Golf Day (details adjacent) to which all Altrincham supporters and their friends are invited. To book your place just e-mail your details to Anne Jardine, at the Chamber; you will be very welcome.


Altrincham's new manager, Neil Young, was a studio guest of Jimmy Wagg on the 'Manchester Sports' programme on BBC Radio Manchester on Tuesday night.


The BBC reports that "Captain Simon Grand will leave Barrow as eight players fail to have their contracts renewed. Grand leaves along with club hero Jason Walker, both aged 32, teenage defender Brad Carroll and 17-year-old goalkeeper Dan Eccles. Midfielders Mo Fafana, 28, Dan Pilkington, 25, [ex-Alty midfielder] Paddy Lacey, 23, and Alex Newby, 20, also exit.

Four players have been offered contract renewals, including Newby's brother, 20-year-old Elliot. Fellow midfielders Alex Ray Harvey, 26, Andy Parry, 24 and 17-year-old defender Steve Williams make up the quartet who have been offered a new deal following an 11th-placed finish in the National League...

Barrow have also said that talks are on-going to renew the contract of striker Andy Cook, 25, who scored 24 goals in 45 appearances for The Bluebirds this season, despite his willingness to pursue a career in the Football League. BBC Cumbria Sport understands that Barrow have offered to make the talisman, and third highest goalscorer in the National League this season, the highest paid player in the club's history."

Having just exited the play-offs, "Braintree Town manager Danny Cowley is set to speak to National League rivals Lincoln City about becoming Imps boss" according to the BBC. Chris Moyses stepped down as manager at Sincil Bank after finishing the season 13th in non-league's top tier.

Full-time Lincoln made an official approach for 36-year-old Cowley, who is also a PE teacher, on Monday. But Cowley said he is 'not in a position to make an intelligent decision' yet, after Sunday's play-off semi-final defeat by Grimsby. He told BBC Essex, 'For me, you can't make intelligent decisions without having all the information in front of you so... the plan is, at some stage, to speak to Lincoln. From what I've been told, there's other clubs that have been interested'.

Former Concord manager Cowley, whose brother Nicky is his assistant at the Iron, said it would be 'Very, very difficult"' to leave Braintree after leading them to third in the table in his first season in charge. But, having spent his whole managerial career in part-time football, Cowley is interested by the chance of taking over at a club that was in the Football League as recently as 2011.

'Nicky and I are ambitious,' he said. 'As a manager, you want to challenge yourselves [sic] at the highest level you can and to be able to do that in full-time football would be a real challenge for us. We've only ever worked in part-time football so, for us, to take our model into a full-time environment would be something we'd like to do. I've got to say I've got a fantastic job and I know Nicky feels the same. We teach at a brilliant school, it's got fantastic pupils and it would be very, very difficult for me to leave that role'".

Chesterfield Club Call confirms that "League One Chesterfield have signed forward Kristian Dennis, who scored 22 goals in 39 National League games for Macclesfield this season. The 26-year-old, who was on loan at Macclesfield, where he also started his career, was a free agent after his Stockport contract expired. He told Chesterfield's official website, 'I'm buzzing and, hopefully, I can repay the faith shown in me. I believe in my own ability and anything can happen if someone believes in you.'"

At Guiseley, "With little over a week gone since the dramatic end to the 2015-16 season, manager Mark Bower has already begun assembling a squad for our second campaign in the Vanarama National League...

Three players are already under contract for the 2016-17 season. Experienced first team members Jake Lawlor and Adam Lockwood return, alongside Academy prospect Will Wells. The club is currently discussing terms with Will Hatfield, Dan Atkinson, Danny Lowe, Oli Johnson, Adam Boyes, Luke Porritt, Steven Drench, Adam Smith and Rob Atkinson.

A number of players have been released by the club, including [ex-Alty defender] Ryan Toulson, Ben Parker, Gavin Rothery, [ex-Alty defender] Danny Hall, Liam Dickinson, Nicky Boshell, Oliver Norburn and James Hurst...

Following a recent meeting between the Board and Mark Bower, a list of player targets for next season has been drawn up and discussions with targets have already begun. In line with club policy, signings will be announced when they have been completed."

We learn from the Football Conference that "Jake Scott is the latest man to sign on the dotted line for Gainsborough Trinity, having agreed terms with new boss Dominic Roma at the weekend. The former Barnsley midfield prospect has had National League North experience in the form of a loan spell at Guiseley AFC earlier in his fledgling career and time at Bradford Park Avenue in the second half of the season just gone.

The 21-year-old describes himself as 'a combative ball- winning midfielder and I’m not afraid to put my foot in, or do the dirty work. I also have a good range of passing and have a lot of energy to get around the pitch.'

Scott will be a good addition to the squad and has benefited with a mature head on his shoulders after he made the decision earlier on in his career to drop down the divisions in order to play regular football at Worksop Town, where he impressed enough to be given the captaincy, prior to his move back up the leagues, when he impressed former Trinity full-back Martin Drury."

According to the Shropshire Star, "Jordan Wynter, Kyle Brownhill, Josh Brizell, Johnny Gorman, [ex-Alty midfielder] Greg Wilkinson and Reece Simpson have left the club, as the Bucks' boss clears the decks for a promotion assault next season. Smith has meetings planned with the rest of his squad this week to tell them whether they feature in his plans and more departures are expected.

Smith said, 'I’ve got 15 or 16 meetings set up this week with various players, so things will be happening every day.'

The release of left-back Brownhill, who played second fiddle to Darren Campion, is perhaps the only real surprise. The others, all signed by former boss Steve Kittrick apart from latest signing Simpson, have barely featured. Smith said, 'We haven’t made Kyle an offer and, in fairness, he wanted to look for a new club for regular football which we’ve got no problem with at all... Jordan has gone back down to live in London so he was never on the radar to sign again, and Reece travelled in with him and Johnny, Greg and Josh had their contracts cancelled.'

Gorman, who had a loan spell at Colwyn Bay in March, and Wilkinson, who turned down several moves before FC Halifax pulled out of a deal to sign him, were banished from the squad in February. Brizell ended up on loan at Glossop North End. Smith continued, 'At the moment, everyone has a clean slate. We’ve only got Dave Hibbert on contract, so everyone else is in negotiations'...

Smith intends to run with a small squad again like he did at the end of this season. He said, 'I want a squad of 18, no more. But that will give us an opportunity to potentially bring in youth teamers as the year goes on'".

Following yesterday's accusations from Chorley, Stockport County "Football Club, and our manager James Gannon, deny any allegations of illegally approaching players. We will be contacting the League ourselves in the morning to raise our concerns and will seek further clarification over the reported comments by Matt Jansen and Chorley Football Club."

The EvoStik League reports that "Darlington once held a reputation for having a well established, successful Football League team but, after relegation and money misery, fans of the EVO-STIK Northern Premier League champions were stripped of their club, writes David Joynes.

But soon came Darlington 1883, a club hoping to return them to the Football League and they now look to be well on their way after successive promotions. After winning the EVO-STIK NPL's Premier Division championship last month, the Quakers are moving on to the National League North...

Firstly, thanks must be given to manager Martin Gray for building the long-term success they’ve been enjoying. However, they must realise that it’s only going to get tougher and that he might struggle at times as he and his team continue to find their feet at new levels. Saying that, the former Sunderland player has English Premier League and Football League experience and plenty of Non-League coaching experience, so he’s the man to continue their success and make their dreams come true...

The club must use its success to both attract lesser-known players and big-time players that have Football League experience. A model lower-league club is St Neots Town who've had recent success by signing ex-Football League players".

10 May 2016


According to the BBC, "Eastleigh have confirmed they will not be renewing the contracts of eight first-team players. The Spitfires, who reached the FA Cup third round this season, missed out on a place in the promotion play-offs.

Lee Cook, Josh Payne, Lewis Noice, Paul Reid, Kaid Mohamed, Jack Midson, Will Evans and Matt Fanimo have all been released by the Hampshire club.

New deals, however, have been offered to Andy Drury, Jamie Turley, Ben Strevens and Yemi Odubade."

In the North, "Boston United manager Dennis Greene has said it would be "crazy" to make drastic changes for next season... Greene, who has a year left on his contract, told BBC Radio Lincolnshire, 'The group is good enough. We just need to add one or two more to it. Most of this group have been with us for two years and we have had two play-off campaigns.'

Greene, who first took over as Pilgrims boss in March 2013, added, 'It would be crazy to get rid of them all. We just need to add one or two more and maybe have a better season with regard injuries. The team that finished the season in the last seven or eight games, that was pretty much unchanged, could challenge for the top slot'".

Surprising news of an ex-Alty loanee comes from the Lincolnshire Echo to the effect that "Carl Piergianni has bid an emotional farewell to Boston United, but has not ruled out returning to the club in the future. The central defender is dropping out of football to go travelling around Asia and Australia and may even settle in the latter.

But if he returns to England one day, he would love to return to the Pilgrims, where he has spent three successful seasons... 'Obviously it depends on where the club is at and if I'm still good enough after a year or two', said Piergianni, who started Sunday's play-off semi-final defeat at North Ferriby wearing a protective mask after suffering a broken nose in the first leg.

'Whatever happens, the club is always going to be in my heart. I don't know where I'm going to end up, but if I end up coming back to this country and settling down again, Boston will be the first number I call. The last three years have been the best of my career. I've played the best football of my life and everyone around the club has been so good to me'.

Pilgrims boss Dennis Greene says... 'He's been a magnificent servant for us... and if he returns to this country we'll get him back involved... Look at him on Sunday, he threw the mask off and carried on playing'... Piergianni is now planning for his next adventure and says playing football will take a back seat for at least the next year. 'The main thing is that I really want to see the world', he said. 'It's something I've always wanted to do. I'll stay in shape and, if I happen to be settled in Australia, I might look at playing, but at the moment I just want a bit of a break and to see the world while I'm still young'".

Forest Green Rovers have confirmed that they "have appointed Mark Cooper as their new Young for the 2016-17 season. Interim manager Scott Bartlett will remain in charge this week and will lead Forest Green against Grimsby Town in the play off final at Wembley on Sunday, with the former Swindon Town boss providing valuable assistance with his experience of taking the Robins to the home of football in the League One play offs last year.

Cooper was appointed Notts County boss in March until the end of the season where he hit his points target and was offered the role permanently, however the 47-year-old declined the post in favour of joining Forest Green. Forest Green Rovers chairman Dale Vince said, 'This is a very exciting appointment for the club and the start of the next phase of our development. Mark is a talented manager with a great track record, an adherent of Total Football and has FGR in his blood, being a former captain of the club.

'Mark and Scotty know each other well and we’ll see a strong link between our first team and academy as a result'...

Cooper said, 'I’m excited to be joining a club with a clear aim and strategy on where it wants to go and how it wants to get there. There are not many opportunities to join a club that has that foresight; a lot of clubs are run day to day and don’t plan for the future. These clubs may be bigger clubs in stature but this is a big club in the way it is looking forward'...

Scott Bartlett said, 'Mark is someone I look up to and someone I am very happy to work with. I visited Swindon last season to watch and learn from Mark, and it’s not every manager who invites you into their office to share their experience'...

Former midfielder Mark Cooper played over 450 times during a career that took in 17 clubs including Exeter City, Birmingham City, Fulham, Hartlepool and Tamworth, scoring 115 league goals... During his one season at Forest Green Rovers in 2001-02... he was club captain and named Supporters' Player of the Year, after scoring 18 goals from midfield. After leaving Rovers, Cooper moved to Tamworth where he had a five-year spell, eventually becoming player-manager in 2004-05. After a successful move to manage Kettering Town during which time they won the Conference North title in 2007-08, Cooper had a short spell in charge of Peterborough United during the 2009-10 season.

Cooper had further spells managing Darlington and AFC Telford in the Conference National, before taking the role of assistant manager at League One Swindon Town in January 2013 and was eventually appointed manager for the 2013-14 season... He parted company with Swindon in October 2015 and took over the job at Notts County in March 2016."

From NL Daily we learn that "Stockport County defender Chris Smalley has signed a new contract with the club for 2016/17. The 25-year-old centre-back joins striker John Marsden in committing to the Hatters for another season, having joined the club in December.

County boss James Gannon said, 'Chris signing is another positive step in our team building as he's been our most consistent defender since I arrived back at the club. I worked previously with Chris at Northwich Victoria and he was a very strong performer at right back... At both Northwich and County Chris has taken key coaching tactics from training and applied them well in matches'...

Smalley, a former Myerscough student, joined the Hatters in December from crisis-hit Kendal Town... The former Clitheroe and Northwich man went on to make seventeen league appearances last season and was one of the club's most consistent performers.

Gannon added, 'Like John Marsden, Chris reminds us of the quality within the Evo-Stik Northern Premier League level and they've both given us the confidence to recruit from that level again to supplement the strong core group of National League North players we are looking to retain and recruit. Chris now joins Lewis Montrose, Glenn Rule, John Marsden and Ian Ormson who have all played a significant part in the successes of the second part of this season and we trust in them to continue improving as players'".

In the Lancashire Evening Post we read that "Defender Mark Ross has left Chorley to join fellow National League North outfit Stockport County and Magpies boss Matt Jansen has slammed County for the alleged ‘unprofessional’ manner in which they secured Ross’s signature. Jansen is disappointed to see Ross, who played every minute for Chorley in the 2015-16 season, leave the club and wished him all the best for the future.

But the Chorley boss is fuming with Ross’s new club, County, and their manager James Gannon for how they allegedly coaxed the 27-year-old right-back away from Victory Park. Jansen claims County illegally approached Ross when he was still under contract at Chorley three months ago and also alleged that County have made illegal approaches for three other players. The former Blackburn Rovers striker says he has never known anything like it during his long football career after County allegedly also ‘illegally’ tried to lure goalkeeper Sam Ashton, striker James Dean and full-back Courtney Meppen-Walter away from Victory Park without approaching the club or Jansen.

And he says the club have put an official complaint into the league about County’s alleged behaviour. He said, 'They have tapped Mark up illegally and now Courtney is not responding to us as well. They have tapped up James Dean, they have been tapping up our players two or three months ago when they were still under contract. We are very sorry to lose Mark and we have put an official complaint in. They have acted unprofessionally and I am very disappointed. They have tapped up Sam Ashton and he said "no", his loyalty was to Chorley.

'Our chairman Ken Wright is getting involved and the manner in which they have acted is so disappointing. When we want to sign a player we always put seven days on them and we always approach the club or the manager. Stockport have not done that with us and they should be punished. The way that Stockport have acted makes me angrier and [more] frustrated than I have ever been. For their manager to do this with three or possibly more of our players is a disgrace in my opinion.

'I have no problems with Mark, we are obviously disappointed he has decided to leave but he gave his all for the club and he wants a new challenge... but something needs to be done about the manner in which Stockport are trying to poach our players. It is not right and I hope the league investigate this'".

Meanwhile, at Gainsborough Trinity, "boss, Dominic Roma has bolstered his attacking options ahead of the 2016/17 season with the acquisition of Ashley Worsfold from Buxton. The former Alfreton and Harrogate hitman, began his career at Sheffield Wednesday before moving into the non-league game at Goole, and then on to a spell at Parkgate where he scored regularly, attracting the attention of clubs higher up the pyramid.

An injury halted the now 25 year old's progress after he had netted 16 goals for Harrogate in the 2013/14 season... A broken leg kept him out of the side until the New Year of the 14/15 season, yet despite being offered the chance to return for pre-season training the following year, Ashley opted for a move to Buxton, where he was once again amongst the goals...

Roma was obviously delighted to announce the signing saying, 'Ash is a powerful front runner, who has a great work ethic and an eye for goal'".

Over at AFC Telford United the club "can confirm Kyle Brownhill has been released by the club".

And over at Tamworth, we learn that "The installation work for our new state of the art 3G Football Turf pitch began this morning. Phase one involves as topsoil strip, and is expected to last around a week. When completed, Tamworth FC will have one of the premier playing surfaces in the UK".

The Wetherby News reports that "Distraught Harrogate Town boss Simon Weaver urged his fallen troops to return stronger next season after the club's promotion ambitions went up in smoke on Sunday. Town missed out on an historic place in Saturday's National League North shootout after failing to overturn a 1-0 deficit against AFC Fylde in Sunday's reverse leg...

Weaver said, 'I'm really disappointed... but we have to breathe it in and go again. We have to do things better again next season. Learn from where it went wrong. It's not a case of ripping it up and starting all over again. We have proven we can win a lot of games... We have to hunt that promotion down again.'

The Wetherby Roaders secured a club record high fourth place finish in the first year of the rebranded National League North, winning exactly half of their matches...

'The lads are devastated,' said Weaver... 'We have just come up short in front of goal more than anything'".


The Chester Chronicle states that "chester FC Youth have been crowned North West Youth Alliance (NWYA) Premier Division champions. The young Blues pipped Ashton Athletic to the prize after goals from Coery Scarisbrick and Nathan Brown ensured a 2-1 success at reigning champions Altrincham on Thursday.

The triumph at Alty was made all the more sweet after the Blues were forced to watch on last season as Altrincham won the title, but they were able to reverse the roles this time around.

Youth team manager Calum McIntyre told, 'Champions, and what a way to do it! Altrincham made it really difficult for us but we’ve done enough to get over the line'...

Manchester United star Marcus Rashford was an interested onlooker from the sidelines, with McIntyre hoping his young charges made an impression on the United ace... The Blues were, though, stymied in their attempts to make it back-to-back trophy successes after they were beaten 3-1 by AFC Fylde in the NWYA Premier Division Cup final at West Didsbury & Chorlton."

9 May 2016


Right: Sam Heathcote is congratulated by Harry Cain and Boris Melingui after opening the scoring on Saturday for Altrincham Reserves. Photo courtesy of Mike Ripley who has more images here.

Next season the Reserves will compete in the The Hallmark Security Cheshire Football League Premier Division, having won promotion with Saturday's win over Middlewich Town.


As reported yesterday, manager Neil Young's first signing for Altrincham is midfielder Charlie Joyce. Charlie, (d.o.b. 3.10.1993, in Liverpool), was on Southport's books but since February 2016 he had been on loan to Stalybridge Celtic, where he made 17 appearances. Charlie had joined Southport from Morecambe under-18s in July 2012 and subsequently made 39(+23) appearances for the Sandgrounders, scoring three goals.


In advance of our Club's official announcement as regards pre-season games, Trafford say that ""Another Pre-Season Friendly [has been] confirmed as Altrincham will visit Shawe View on Tuesday 19th July ko 7.45pm"


The National League has announced its Manager and Player of the Month Awards for April 2016. The National League Manager of the Month was Danny Cowley, Braintree Town FC. "Danny Cowley’s appointment at Braintree Town at the start of the season was an inspired yet calculated decision after the success he enjoyed elsewhere in Essex, with Concord Rangers. Danny has shown self-belief and taken his squad into the Vanarama National League play-off semi-finals,with four straight wins to end the regular season".

In the North division, Manager of the Month was Dennis Greene, Boston United FC and Player of the Month was Sam Hornby, Brackley Town FC who as "Their on loan goalkeeper Sam Hornby has been instrumental in their determination not to go down... Already recognised by his manager and the rest of the players with two club awards, it is fitting that this additional one for the 20 year old will only raise his profile with his parent club Burton Albion".

The awards for Cowley and Green proved the kiss of death in Sunday's play-offs! See below for details....

Vanarama National League playoff semi-final second leg: Braintree Town 0-2 Grimsby Town, a.e.t., att. 3,102 (Grimsby win 2-1 on aggregate and meet Forest Green Rovers in nest weekend's Final at Wembley).

Vanarama National League North playoff semi-finals second legs:

  • AFC Fylde 1-1 Harrogate Town (agg 2-1) att 1384
  • North Ferriby United 3-0 Boston United (agg 3-2) att 2027

Ex-Alty loanee Liam King opened the scoring for NFU from the penalty spot.

The final is on Saturday, 14 May: North Ferriby United v AFC Fylde.

Vanarama National League South playoff semi-finals second legs:

  • Ebbsfleet 1-2 Whitehawk (agg 3-3) att 1492
  • Maidstone United 1-0 Truro City (agg 3-0) att 2508
  • Saturday 14 May is the date for the Final, Ebbsfleet United v Maidstone United.

    The Boston Standard reports that "Dennis Greene admits his Boston United side ‘never got going’ in their play-off semi-final second leg but he believes North Ferriby’s victory was aided by three big officiating decisions. The Pilgrims saw a 2-0 first-leg lead slip to a 3-2 aggregate defeat on Church Road this afternoon...

    After watching the BBC’s match footage he said, 'I’ve just seen the penalty decision on the video with Look North and it’s never a penalty. The referee’s really given them a kickstart there, he gives them the belief it can be their day. The second, I thought, was a foul on the keeper and the third Nat Brown’s down with a head injury. The man in the middle had a part to play in all three and not one decision went our way, it was difficult to take.'

    However, Greene also admitted that the Villagers bossed the game and were worthy winners on the day. He continued, 'On the whole, they were the better side today by far. They scored three, albeit handed on a plate by the officiating'".

    Before the game, the Lincolnshire Echo told us that "Carl Piergianni has been passed fit to play as Boston United aim to protect a 2-0 lead in the second leg of their play-off semi-final at North Ferriby United. The centre-back suffered a broken nose and cuts in a sickening accidental collision with team-mate Scott Garner during Wednesday's first leg... Garner will also play after suffering a cut to the head which required hospital treatment on Wednesday night".

    Back in the Boston Standard we learn that "For the third time in five years, Boston United’s promotion dreams ended with a heartbreaking, gutwrenching play-off semi-final second leg... Five years to the day that the Pilgrims were knocked out by penalties on Guiseley, their season once again ended as plucky also-rans.

    So close. So flipping damn close. But again, not quite.... Most of the team were on the Jakemans Stadium turf 12 months ago as another penalty shoot-out saw Chorley progress at their expense. The Boston camp have reasons to feel hard done by. They can point to the penalty decision which allowed Ferriby to force their way back into the tie after just 11 minutes. They could argue that Tom Denton, who won that spot kick, should not have been playing after a couple of unpunished wild elbows in the first leg.

    And, of course, the rules state that play should have been stopped in the build up to the hosts’ third due to Nat Brown’s head injury. But in the cold light of day, the fact of the matter was that Boston crossed the Humber with a 2-0 advantage and let that slip, conceding three while Ferriby defended exceptionally...

    There was a whiff of controversy around the first, the Villagers awarded a penalty after Denton and [ex-Alty loanee] Carl Piergianni, taking to the pitch with a protective mask after breaking his nose in Wednesday’s first leg, fell to the floor in a tangled heap. Although Denton’s arm was wrapped around the Boston defender’s shoulder, referee Andrew Miller believed the Boston man was the main perpetrator and pointed to the spot...

    Last year’s FA Trophy winners now look forward to another final, while the Pilgrims are stuck reading from the same old frustrating script".

    And from the other semi-final losers we read in the Wetherby News that "Harrogate Town missed out on a historic play-off final after drawing their second leg 1-1 at AFC Fylde. Having lost the opening leg 1-0 on Wednesday, Sam Finley gave Town a mountain to climb with an 11th minute wonderstrike.

    Dom Knowles gave Town a lifeline after slotting home at the back post four minutes later... Danny Rowe, Fylde's hero from midweek, saw a late penalty sensationally stopped by Peter Crook but it mattered little for the hosts as they held on for victory over the two legs".

    8 May 2016


    Joint Press and Media Officer at Altrincham, John Edwards, writes that "Neil Young has made his first signing as Altrincham manager after confirming the capture of midfielder Charlie Joyce from Southport.

    When Southport visited The J.Davidson Stadium just over a month ago, Joyce was described, in the visitors' pen pics section of the Robins Review match programme, as being an 'ultra-fit, committed midfielder' who 'forged his way into the manager's thinking in 2014-15', and Young clearly believes those qualities can help him make a favourable impression in the Vanarama National League North next season.

    'Charlie fits the profile of the type of player we are looking to add to the squad to bolster it for the new campaign,' he said. 'He's an energetic, hard-working midfield player with over 60 games under his belt in the Conference at only 22 years of age.'

    Liverpool-born Joyce joined Southport from Morecambe nearly four years ago, after a successful trial at Haig Avenue, and is expected to be followed by more new arrivals in the coming weeks, as a revamped Alty squad begins to take shape".


    Above: Alty Reserves celebrate promotion as they are photographed by Mike Ripley.

    Altrincham Reserves secured promotion to the top level of the Hallmark Security Cheshire League with this ultimately comfortable 4-0 win over third-placed Middlewich Town on Saturday afternoon at the J. Davidson Stadium. Despite dominating the match throughout, Alty only led 2-0 with two minutes of normal time remaining, before a pair of late strikes secured a more accurate reflection of the balance of play.

    Watched by new first-team manager Neil Young and his assistant, Gary Jones, centre-back Sam Heathcote netted the opener after 30 minutes when he headed home a corner. Two minutes later Harry Cain doubled the lead with a good shot from left of goal.

    Boris Melingui got the goal his Man of the Match performance justified in the 89th minute before Connor Sutton completed the scoring a minute later. Sadly the afternoon was marred by an injury to Rhain Davis which saw him helped off the pitch before energing from the dressing room on crutches before the end of the game.

    ALTRINCHAM FC RESERVES (Red & white striped shirts, black shirts and white socks). 1. Callum WILLIAMS, 2. Tom CLARKE, 3. Tom WESTALL, 4. Laurence TAYLOR, 5. Sam HEATHCOTE, 6. Will FOSTER, 7. Joey FAUX, 8. Rhain DAVIS, 9. Boris MELINGUI, 10. Joel SWIFT (capt), 11. Harry CAIN. Subs: 12. Marcus DIBBLE, 14. Ryan BARRY, 15. Adam SAVILL, 16. Max POUNCEY, 17. Connor SUTTON


    For details, see poster...


    NL Pitchero reports that "Chester FC have announced that Jon McCarthy has been appointed as manager on a one-year deal, with the option of a further year.

    McCarthy, who led the club to three wins in four games whilst in a temporary managerial position, has agreed the deal to be with the club until at least the end of the 2016/17 season.

    McCarthy said, 'To be given the job, it’s an honour. Everybody has got behind me; all the staff and the Board and also the fans. It’s given me a lot of belief to put together an application. The way that people have taken on board what we have been trying to do and believed in it has been great. What you’ll get from me is the hardest working Manager in the National League!'

    Former Northern Ireland International McCarthy has been with the club since January 2014 when he joined as first-team coach alongside Steve Burr. He then became the CEO of the club's Community Trust in June 2014...

    City Fans United chairman Simon Olorenshaw commented, 'I am delighted with the appointment of Jon McCarthy as manager. Of all the candidates, not only was he the most enthusiastic and passionate about the three key foundations of our club - first-team, youth and community - but he also showed a tactical awareness that we believe is the right match for the club going forward'".

    News of a rival club next season comes from NL Pitchero as it states that "Curzon Ashton announced a new era for the club with the employment of a CEO. Natalie Atkinson has taken on the exciting role and the club are proud to announce another female taking on such an important role in the game of football.

    Natalie is a highly experienced sport/leisure practitioner who started her career in sport volunteering at her local athletics club and quickly progressed. Having completed a sport science degree at the University of Sunderland, Natalie moved on to manage an Active Sports Athletics Programme at Salford Council before entering into work with NGBs in which she has now accumulated over fifteen years’ experience working on and as part of key development programmes...

    Her subsequent role as football development manager at the FA involved leading the implementation of the National Game Strategy with particular focus on the relationship with local authorities. With the FA she successfully secured investment of over £10 million in to new 3G pitches, as well improving relationships between Premier League clubs and local grassroots community facilities to secure investment...

    In 2015 Natalie was asked to become a Director of Curzon Ashton Football Club... and subsequently the role as CEO...

    Curzon also announced that Harry Galloway, has decided that it is time to step down from the chairman’s post after holding the position for twenty years. He... will remain on the Board of Directors. Harry Twamley [who] is the founder member of the club will become the new chairman. Wayne Salkeld will be the new vice-chairman...

    There will also be some new additions on the Board of Directors with two members of the Juniors' Committee becoming Directors of the club, these being Paul Jolleys and Donna Hamilton."

    Elsewhere, "Tyler Weir is the first player to commit his future to Worcester City for the 2016/17 season... City manager Carl Heeley said, 'He's a down to earth lad and we're extremely happy to have him on board for the next campaign'...

    The City full-back and longest-serving player in the current squad has stated his happiness at renewing his contract, 'The club stood by me throughout my ban and I'm hugely thankful for that'".

    Back in the national division, "After a lengthy session talking to all professionals, with none of them in contract for the new season Gary Mills, manager of Wrexham, has offered the following new contracts: Mark Carrington, Rob Evans, Jamal Fyfield, Simon Heslop and Connor Jennings (pictured), while Sean Newton had already accepted a new deal.

    Kayden Jackson was offered terms but has turned down his offer.

    Players released are Cameron Belford, Louis Briscoe, Iwan Cartwright, Jake Doran, skipper Lee Fowler, James Gray, Blaine Hudson, Adriano Moke, Danny Reynolds, Jonathan Royle, Aaron Simpson, Manny Smith, Javan Vidal, Ross White, Joe Williams and Wes York.

    In addition, the club is speaking with Rhys Taylor with regard to next season.

    'Some fans will be disappointed about some of those released, but we have thought long and hard about the list,' said Mills.

    'I spoke with a new player this morning and hoping to hear shortly if he is coming to us. We will also be speaking with Rhys Taylor about next season, but he is still a Newport player at the moment'".

    At Gainsborough Trinity, "Manager Dominic Roma today announced his released list...

    Released: Darryn Stamp, Charlie Binns, Jamie Yates, Jonathan D’Laryea, Craig Reid, Marc Newsham

    Retained for 2016/17: Jonathan Hedge (Goalkeeper), Nathan Jarman (Forward), Adam Quinn (Defender), Matty Wilson (Utility),

    Dialogue is on-going with other members of the players that finished the season with club".

    7 May 2016


    Above: The teams of Staff and Supporters mingle after the award of the trophies.

    The annual Altrincham FC Staff v Supporters' fixture produced the biggest margin of victory for many a year as the Supporters thrashed the Staff 8-2 at the J. Davidson Stadium.

    Despite fielding Stuart Coburn in goal for his farewell apearance between the sticks at Moss Lane, the Supporters went ahead after 10 minutes and doubled their lead two minutes later, both goals being scored by Stu Lamont.

    The Staff got back into the game when Neil Tolson was brought down on right edge of the box and a penalty was awarded. Matt Doughty stepped up to score from the spot (21 mins).

    But the Supporters restored their two-goal margin as Niall Flynn lashed in a shot to convert a low cross from the right after 31 minutes. Showing he had lost none of his competitiveness, Chris Adams was twice lectured by the referee.

    As the first half went into added time Neil Tolson had an excellent cut-in from the left but his fine shot went into the side netting. Neil went close again moments later as his close range header, from Doughty's cross, came back off the crossbar. The Súpporters went to the other end where Lamont completed a first-half hat-trick as he again got round Coburn to make it 4-1.

    With the job of the Staff's technical director Luke Pickering hanging by a thread, the second half got under way with Halfpenny replacing Coburn in goal. But good work from Thorley laid on a goal for the Supporters' no.14 after 56 minutes and two minutes later it was 6-1 as Niall Flynn scored his second, from twenty yards.

    The Staff side included two members of the thriving Ladies' team, Gail Simpson and Georgia Plant, who performed well, but it was the Supporters who dominated the game.

    The Supporters', whose tactics had been masterminded by management duo Andrew Nash and Mike Ripley, showed the benefit of fielding a team of regular team-mates against the Staff's makeshift squad as they now made it 7-1, as Lamont scored again despite the keeper getting his hand to the ball (73 mins).

    Alty photographer Gavin Rathbone pulled one back for the Staff will a well-taken "snap shot", from a Tolson nod-on, before Wayne Thorley completed the scoring for the Supporters in the 90th minute.

    STAFF: 1. Stuart Coburn, 2. Alan Ainsley (capt), 3. Steve Foster, 4. Chris Adams, 5. Grahame Rowley, 6. steve Crane, 7. Phil Jones, 8. Neil Tolson, 20. Paul Halfpenny, 10. Matt Doughty, 11. Richie Bentley. Subs included: Gail Simpson, Georgia Plant, 9. Chris Rowley, 20. Luke Pickering.

    SUPPORTERS: 1. Matt Gibson, 2. Tom Jacobs, 3. Jack Jolly, 4. Leighton Wright, 5. Jack Marshall, 6. Tom Parks, 7. Lewis Senny, 8. Duncan Laryea (capt), 9. Callum Black, 10. Stu Lamont, 11. Ashley Hayes. Subs: James Maguire, Matt Pemberton, 9* Wayne Thorley, Jonny Redgrave, 19 Niall Flynn.


    On Thursday, Alty Youth lost 1-2 at home to champions elect Chester FC.


    The Altrincham FC Beer Festival continues today (Saturday). And on the pitch, Alty Reserves play Middlewich Town at 3pm on the J Davidson Stadium pitch in the Hallmark Cheshire League.


    Torquay United "are delighted to announce that Kevin Nicholson has signed a 3 year contract to remain as player-manager with the club. Kevin will also have an increased budget to work with next season. Assistant manager Robbie Herrera and physio Gareth Law are also set to stay as part of Kevin’s backroom staff.

    The club can confirm that TUFC remains under the control of the present owners but we remain hopeful that a positive statement regarding prospective new owners will be made by the end of May...

    'I am delighted to confirm that Kevin and his team will be staying with the club. Their hard work saw the club come back from what seemed impossible odds', said chairman David Phillips... CEO Stephen Breed has left the club after the position of chief executive was made redundant due to restructuring".

    At Tamworth "Danny Newton put pen to paper on a new deal to keep him at Tamworth Football Club for the 2016/17 season. Newton joins James Belshaw, Ellis Deeney, Andy Burns, and Stephen Tomassen, who have already signed on for next season... Talks are ongoing with several other members of the current squad, and we have now also identified our top transfer targets from other clubs. We will make further announcements in due course.

    Meanwhile, the Tamworth Herald tells us that "The end of an era has been signalled at Tamworth Football Club as diggers have been tearing up its iconic grass to make way for the new 3G pitch. Fans have been flocking forward to bag themselves a grassy souvenir of the club... The team hopes that that through installing the new pitch, which can be used every day, it will make the ground a community hub.

    George Delves, general manager at Tamworth FC... said, 'Last season we had 23 games on the pitch for the first team but, by having the new pitch, it will mean the ground we can have football on here 365 days a year. We want to make the football club at the heart of the community so all teams across the town, men, women, boys, girls, senior citizens or disabled groups can come and use the facility. The fans have backed the move, we are sad to see the grass go and, in an ideal world, it would be great to have a separate 3G pitch to the ground which could be the community hub. We are landlocked here and with Tamworth so heavily developed, this was the only viable option'...

    Work on constructing the 3G pitch at the Lamb Ground is expected to last up to nine weeks, with a projected completion date of July 15... The club will be open until 8pm tonight for fans to claim their piece of the pitch for a small donation".

    The Football Conference confirms that "Aldershot Town have announced the return of Gary Waddock as first-team manager on a rolling contract... [He] leaves his role as assistant first-team coach at Barnet...

    'It’s a situation I never thought I’d be in but I’m delighted to be here', said Waddock. 'It’s a nice feeling. I like to assemble squads that I would like to watch. I’ve missed the people here and I’ve missed the supporters; the atmosphere they created at home games was amazing and I loved that. We have to be able to give them something to cheer about and we’re going to try our best to get this place rocking again'.

    Chairman Shahid Azeem said, 'I would again like to thank Barry Smith for his hard work at the club, and equally for the honourable way in which he conducted himself throughout the season. Now we look to the future, with the club united behind our manager'...

    Having taken The Shots into the Football League in his first season, Aldershot Town finished fifteenth in League Two and had risen to sixth when, after two-and-half-years at the EBB Stadium, Waddock was appointed manager of Wycombe Wanderers, in October 2009. He led the Chairboys to promotion back into League One in 2011. Following a spell as head of coaching at MK Dons, Waddock was appointed head coach at Oxford United and, in 2014, assistant-manager and then caretaker-manager at Portsmouth. He joined Barnet last year".

    And the Football Conference adds that "Assistant-manager Chris Barker has left Aldershot Town after three seasons... The 36-year-old made 87 appearances since joining The Shots on the eve of the 2013/14 season, and was also caretaker-manager for the final fifteen games of 2014/15 as he helped the club retain their status... He was then appointed as Barry Smith’s assistant in April 2015".

    At Kingfield, "Woking FC Director Rosemary Johnson was elected as chairman of Woking Football Club. Rosemary was vice-chairman of Woking Supporters Club, chairman and founder member of the Trust and is a shareholder. Rosemary and her family have been supporters of Woking for over 40 years and they are season ticket holders.

    In her professional life Rosemary works for the Citizens Advice Bureau supporting elderly and vulnerable people... Meanwhile, following the news of Derek Powell’s resignation, we are delighted to announce that Geoff Chapple will take up the post of Football Secretary with immediate effect. Chapple will combine this role with his Director of Football duties", reports the Football Confernce

    At Kidderminster Harriers "Harriers are able to confirm some changes in the make-up of the club’s Board of Directors. Colin Gordon is to assume the role of Chairman of Kidderminster Harriers, while Rod Brown becomes Vice Chairman...

    Rod Brown stated, 'At the end of the season I approached Colin about this matter. It allows us to both serve the club in the most appropriate way. Colin’s time this season has been almost dominated by football and team affairs and, with an exciting new management team in place; it’s a natural progression that Colin is able to focus on other areas. To my mind the most sensible thing is for him to become Chairman as, quite simply, he will have the capacity to be at the club on an almost full-time basis. That hasn’t been possible for him in that regard until now'.

    Rod reiterated that he remains very much a member of the Board, adding, 'Me no longer being in the role of Chairman doesn’t mean I’m stepping aside or going anyway... Knowing it will be very tough next season, we’re well equipped to be competitive and really have a go at being a force'".

    Still at Aggborough, the Football Conference reports that "Kidderminster Harriers can confirm that they have offered new contracts to five players. The club already has Elton Ngwatala, Ousmane Fane, Arthur Gnahoua (pictured), Zaine Francis-Angol, Tyrone Williams, Kennedy Digie, and Ben Clarke on contracts for 2016/17. Also tied up for the forthcoming term will be Jordan Tunnicliffe, Dan Sweeney, George Forsyth, Nathan Millichamp, George Taylor and James Hancocks after they had one-year options in their current deals exercised.

    Defender Jared Hodgkiss has also triggered an appearance-based clause in his deal and has been offered terms for the campaign ahead. Additionally, offers have been made for next season to striker Evan Garnett, defender Keith Lowe, midfielder James McQuilkin and winger Omari Patrick.

    The club will not be extending the deals at Aggborough of keeper Dean Snedker, Jordan Jones, Gurjit Singh, Reece Hales, Jono Brown, Aman Verma and Lathaniel Rowe-Turner. Kelvin Langmead and Ben Whitfield, meanwhile, return to their parent clubs Ebbsfleet United and AFC Bournemouth respectively".

    6 May 2016


    TASC's Steve Foster advises that "Stuart Coburn did not get the chance to say a proper 'Farewell' by getting back into the first team after his serious injury. However, he will be donning the gloves for one last appearance in an Alty shirt at Moss Lane tonight, where he will be playing in the Staff V Supporters game (k.o. 7.30pm).

    Stuart would love for there to be as many people there so that he can say thanks to everyone for their support over the many years and, hopefully, everyone will be able to join him for a pint afterwards!"


    John Edwards, joint Press & Media Officer at Altrincham FC, writes that new manager "Neil Young has begun the decision-making process needed to shape a new-look Altrincham squad by announcing that nine players from last season have left the club.

    After deliberating over targets he wants to bring in and a need to balance the books, Alty's recently-appointed manager has confirmed the departures of Ryan Crowther, Tom Marshall, Adam Griffin, Luca Havern, Tim Deasy, Josh O'Keefe, Jordan Sinnott, George Bowerman and Nicky Clee (right).

    'I've spoken to each one of them individually, with the exception of George Bowerman, who has been left two messages,' he said. 'I think they appreciated that, but I wouldn't have it any other way. These lads have done fantastically well for the club over the last few years and deserved to hear the reasons for my decision in person.

    'Whenever a new manager comes in, he always has a tough call to make about keeping some people and not others. We need to add players to what was a fairly small squad last season, but to do that on what will obviously be a reduced budget, we have to free up some money.

    'That has now been done, but I can tell you it entailed some very difficult decisions. When I spoke to the lads who are leaving, I thanked them for the job they've done, and I want to place on record the club's appreciation for all they did in their time with us.'

    Meetings are planned with the four other remaining players - Damian Reeves, Scott Leather, Michael Rankine and James Lawrie (left) - to see if agreement can be reached about staying at The J.Davidson Stadium, while Young confirmed he is closing in on a list of potential new signings.

    'We have sounded out one or two, and the first signing could be imminent, if all goes well' he said. 'We have to be absolutely sure they are players who can take us forward, but plans are in place.'"


    Steve Foster of TASC announces the remaining brews and their sponsors for the Beer Festival at the J. Davidson Stadium, which starts today... And ciders will also be available...

    In addition to the Beer Festival at the J Davidson Stadium from Friday to Sunday (see poster), there will also be football on the pitch.


    Paul Salt writes that "TASC are pleased to announce that they will be launching their 'Euro 2016 Treble Chance Competition', at this weekend's Altrincham FC Beer Festival. The entry fee is just £5.00 per entry and 3 cash prizes of £100.00 (First Prize), £50.00 (Second Prize) and £25.00 (Booby Prize) are on offer to two lucky winners (and one loser !)

    The concept is simple. Each entrant is nominated 3 competing teams, drawn on a random basis from the 24 teams taking part in this Summer's UEFA Euro 2016 Championship, which takes place in France from 10th June to 10th July.

    The winner and runner up will be the persons whose 3 teams have the highest and second highest total of goals scored in the qualifying Group Stages. (In the event of a tie, the teams conceding the least aggregate number of goals in the same qualifying Group will be determined as the winner.)

    In addition there will be a 'Booby Prize' for the person whose 3 selected teams score the least number of goals in the qualifying games. (In the event of a tie, the winner will be the person whose 3 teams concede the greatest number of goals!)

    Entries will be accepted at the Beer Festival and up to the first qualifying game which takes place on 10th June. Regular updates will be posted on the club website and Fans' Forum throughout the period of the qualifying rounds.

    This is the main fund raising event over the summer months and we hope that as many people as possible will enter in to the spirit of the competition and take part to provide much needed income during the close season".


    National Semi-Final, First Leg:


    The Kidderminster Shuttle reports that "Matt Gardiner has said he and new manager John Eustace have hit the ground running after joining Kidderminster Harriers. Gardiner's move from Worcester City to take up his head of coaching role at Aggborough was completed on Tuesday night.

    The former Torquay, Redditch United and Bromsgrove Rovers defender met Eustace when they watched the relegated side end the season with a 4-3 win at Southport... Fans will be expecting the Reds to bounce back immediately from their relegation and Gardiner’s experience of the division will be a useful asset for Eustace.

    'I really enjoyed my time at Worcester City, it’s been a great club to work for but the chance to get into full-time was something I have dreamed of', said Gardiner, who is currently working three months' notice before officially taking over the role on July 1. 'John’s definitely his own man and will do things his way. He has a clear idea of how he wants to play and it’s my job is to support John and make sure there’s a common thread connecting the first team and the academy. He’s new to the National North but he’s already done his homework.

    'The National North is going to have Darlington and Salford in it next season and already has the likes of Brackley and Stockport in it, so there’s going to be a lot of well-resourced clubs. But we’re going to be doing everything we can to make sure we have a good season'.

    The duo were set to be watching the National North play-off semi-finals this week. The pair are currently assessing what players from the current squad will be kept although the likes of Ousmane Fane, Arthur Gnahoua, Elton Ngwatala, Tyrone Williams and Zaine Franics-Angol are already contracted for next year.

    Gardiner added, 'Carl Heeley and I worked very hard at Worcester and I like to think I added some value with the players I helped to find. I have a network of contacts and I will be helping to find the kind of players John wants to bring into the club. The hard work has already started for next season'.

    Meanwhile, season tickets sales have stared briskly, despite the club’s relegation. Aggborough is also hosting the FA Women’s Premier League Cup final between Cardiff City and Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday (2pm ko). Meanwhile, departing on-loan Bournemouth attacker Ben Whitfield has said a fond farewell to the club. The forward, who was was joint top scorer with six goals and also provided nine assists, was a shining light in a depressing campaign".

    And the background on Gardiner's change of club comes from the Tamworth Herald, which tells us that "Andy Morrell and Mike Fowler will meet with the Tamworth FC squad tonight (Thursday)... The Lambs so far have James Belshaw, Andy Burns, Steve Tomassen and Ellis Deeney signed up for next season. Now Morrell will talk to the remainder with Danny Newton and Curtis Strong among those he is hoping will remain.

    'The lads all have time slots for tonight,' said Morrell. 'We will get them in and have a discussion on where we want to take things next season. I don't think, as a group, we are that far away and I think we will be offering a lot of the lads the opportunity to stay. Hopefully they will agree to that and it will make the summer a bit easier.'

    Meanwhile, Morrell admitted his side's 1-0 defeat to Brackley had been a frustrating way to end the campaign. Brackley's win secured their status in the National North on a dramatic final day which saw Lowestoft relegated".

    NL Pitchero states that "Carl Heeley, manager of Vanarama National League North club Worcester City, has spoken for the first time publicly about his assistant Matt Gardiner's departure to former landlords Kidderminster Harriers. Gardiner was appointed as number two to new Harriers` boss John Eustace earlier this week.

    Heeley said, 'After the last couple of seasons' cup exploits, both Matt and I had decisions to make about our aspirations in the game. Whether we wanted to go full-time, or continue part-time. It's a certainty that I won't go full-time, but Matt has always made no secret of the fact he wanted to pursue a full-time career in football. The timing of Kidderminster's approach wasn't great from a Worcester City perspective, but they had to appease their own supporters under mounting pressure. I guess that's just how they decided to deal with it. I'm disappointed but I'm not going to dwell on it.

    'Matt has been an incredible asset for the football club. He worked extremely hard and is hugely meticulous with his planning. We've had some great times, great results and great experiences together at the helm of Worcester City and nobody can take that away from us. As players do, staff move on. We will always remain great friends'".

    According to the Nuneaton News, "Nuneaton Town have announced their early season squad list for the new season, with four players saying goodbye to Liberty Way this month.

    James Reid, Tyrrell Waite, Ryan Smith and Nathan Hicks will all not be offered new deals for the upcoming campaign, with boss Kevin Wilson admitting it was the hardest choice a manager can make.

    He said, 'This is something you do not like to do as a manager. These are players you get to know as people as well as what they can do on the pitch. It is a tough thing to do but we have made the choices we feel benefit the club, and/or the player moving forward'.

    Tom Elliott, David Morgan, Joe Ironside, Kieran Scott, Sam Warburton and Elliott Whitehouse are all already under contract for the new season while the club have exercised the right to extend the contracts of James Clifton, Joe Maguire, Shane Byrne, Zeus De La Paz and Jordan Keane so they to will all stay at Liberty Way for the upcoming campaign. New deals have been offered Cieron Keane, Jack Lane, Lathaniel Rowe-Turner, Vamara Sanogo and Billy Daniels with the club waiting to hear if those deals will be accepted or not."

    5 May 2016


    During his press conference on Tuesday, Altrincham FC's new manager, Neil Young, spoke of his connections with the club and outlined his managerial background.

    Neil includes Ken McKenna, Harry Wiggins, Steve Aspinall and Paul Rowlands amongst the former Robins that he has worked with or knows well.

    Also, having worked for several years at Chester FC, Neil pointed out that he is comfortable with the volunteer culture to be found at Altrincham. Chairman Grahame Rowley added that he felt that the footballing ethos of Neil matched that of the Club.

    As a player, Neil had started out with Tranmere Rovers but a knee injury had led to his being released. During a subsequent spell playing for Welsh side Conwy United, with Ken McKenna, Neil experienced European football when the club played in the Intertoto Cup.

    Soon after moving on to Droylsden, he suffered the first of what was to become a recurrent series of shoulder dislocations, which effectively ended his playing career. Aged 24, after tasting management with Wirral Sunday league side Queen's Park, he became West Lancashire club Poulton Victoria's youngest manager.

    Neil then became assistant manager at Rhyl where he again experienced international football as the Welsh club went out to a club managed by Roy Hodgson! From there Neil moved back to Merseyside at Cammell Laird, where a league title was won. Next came a successful spell with Colwyn Bay before his move to the newly formed Chester FC where he enjoyed three promotions, ending in the Football Conference.

    A subsequent spell at Stockport County was less successful but there were off-field complications and Neil feels he left the club in a better state to the one he had found on arrival.

    Since 2008 his managerial partner has been Gary Jones, who has a wealth of experience, which includes playing for Tranmere Rovers, Nottingham Forest and Grimsby Town.

    As for his attitude towards Alty's reserves and youth teams, Neil said he was a "great believer in giving young players a chance but only if they are good enough or going to be good enough, However, he does not want to give young players ""false hope" by promoting them too soon. "I like to have 3 or 4 young lads in the first-team training sessions", he declared.

    Neil also said that he liked his teams to be comfortable playing two or three formations dependent on the type of opposition. That included having an abiity to "mix it", if necessary against the more physical teams.

    He was also well aware that Alty would be fishing in the same recruitment pool as not only local clubs such as FCUM, Salford City and Curzon Ashton, but also others from further afield who look for players in this area, such as FC Halifax Town, AFC Fylde and Harrogate Town.


    Steve Foster of TASC says that "Over the next few days we are going to announce the beers and ciders that will be available at the Beer Festival. We are pleased to announce that the first group of sponsors, breweries and beers is:-


    In addition to the Beer Festival at the J Davidson Stadium from Friday to Sunday (see poster), there will also be football on the pitch.


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

    "We’re now asking for people to join the 2016-17 Patrons' Scheme.

    For the bargain sum of £50, your name will appear throughout the season 2016-17 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, so please help the club through the close season by joining up today.

    Thank you.

    Grahame Rowley, Chairman.

    For the 2016-17 season, the Club thanks the following people who have signed up ...

    1. Terry Surridge
    2. James Surridge
    3. Libby Swindells
    4. Geoff Swindells
    5. Paul Daine
    6. Robbie Sharpe
    7. Patrick Sharpe
    8. Claire Allan
    9. Bob Allan
    10. Neil Faulkner
    11. Barry Pond
    12. Nigel Collins
    13. Bryan Ford
    14. Nigel Bunce
    15. Mark Alton
    16. Richard Parris
    17. Abi Parris
    18. Dan Parris
    19. Alan Murray
    20. Katie Murray
    21. Thomas Murray
    22. John Laidlar
    23. Dana Laidlar
    24. David Slack
    25. John Rooke
    26. Isaac Rooke
    27. Ian Senior
    28. Richie Bentley
    29. Paul Brady
    30. Rev Brian Chantler
    31. Matthew Wheeler
    32. David Meadows
    33. Harold Smith
    34. Steven Foster
    35. Grahame Rowley
    36. Karen Rowley
    37. Chris Rowley
    38. Stacey Rowley
    39. Daisy Rowley
    40. Penny Rowley
    41. Dan Jones
    42. Sarah Rowley-Jones
    43. Chloe Rowley-Jones
    44. May Davis
    45. Nigel Davis
    46. Dr NP Lord
    47. Sheila Crompton
    48. John Skelhorn
    49. Geoff Morrison
    50. Mark Embury and Alice Embury


    Wednesday 4 May.

    National Semi-Final, First Leg:

    North Semi-Final, First Leg.

    South Semi-Final, First Leg.


    According to the NL Paper "FC Halifax Town are still targeting a return to the Football League despite their heartbreaking relegation from the National League on Saturday... Despite Saturday’s disappointment, Jim Harvey’s side still have a trip to Wembley to look forward to as they face Grimsby Town in the FA Trophy final on Sunday, May 22...

    A club statement read, 'Saturday, April 30 has come and gone, our hope for a positive result in the last game of the 2015-16 campaign ultimately wasn’t to be. We must however remember we still have a historic trip to Wembley to look forward to, 105 years in the making. We’re all hurting at the moment as no-one wants relegation, particularly in a game where nearly three thousand attended, the majority to cheer on the Shaymen. The board and everyone directly involved with the club would really like to thank all the fans for your continued loyalty and support.

    'Throughout the summer we’ll continue to build on our solid foundations. Our objective remains returning to the Football League and as a club we’ll be continuing to establish ourselves for success. Returning to the National League is our immediate ambition. The National North is no walk in the park, however with the right recipe, we believe our ambition can be achieved. There will be some very attractive fixtures in the forthcoming season and new venues to visit'.”

    More comes in the Yorkshire Post where we learn that "FC Halifax Town chairman David Bosomworth admits the shifting of this year’s FA Trophy final means the club may only break even financially on the Wembley trip... Around 35,000 tickets have been sold for a non-League showpiece double-header that also includes the FA Vase final between Hereford and Morpeth Town.

    Unlike opponents Grimsby who are in play-offs action tomorrow night versus Braintree Town and then again on Sunday, Halifax are in the unusual position of having no game for more than three weeks ahead of their first visit to Wembley. In terms of player preparation, it is hardly ideal, but a gap that is down to the Trophy final being put back from March to late May also has huge ramifications for the Yorkshire club’s finances.

    As a part-time club, Halifax’s commitment to paying the players ended after the final game of the season last Saturday... Now, however, Halifax must find the money to cover an extra three weeks of remunerating the entire squad – a substantial five-figure sum. Throw in the cost of travel to London plus a two-night stay for the players and the Shaymen are facing a hefty financial outlay for the club’s big day.

    'Right now, things are raw because of relegation,' said Bosomworth. 'But getting to Wembley is still a big achievement and we do want FC Halifax Town to do itself justice on what will be a great day out. The big problem for a club like ourselves comes from the final now being late in May rather than March. A full-time club pays 52 weeks of wages but, in our case, we stopped paying our players after Saturday’s final day of the league season.

    'Now, though, those contracts automatically extend until the final game, just like they did when we were in the play-offs (in 2014). It means everyone is still under contract and eligible to play (at Wembley). What it also means is we have to continue, in whatever guise, to cover the cost. It is quite an expensive commitment.

    'Obviously, we are delighted for the town and the fans that we have a trip to Wembley to look forward to. It will be magical. But what we also have to face as a club is that getting to Wembley will be, in financial terms, nothing like getting to the FA Cup first or second round. That is where the money is, such as when we drew Bradford City (in 2014).

    'The FA Trophy final won’t be anything like that. If I am honest, we would probably expect to break even on Wembley when everything is factored in.' FC Halifax have sold a little over 8,000 tickets for the Wembley final and will, along with the other three finalists, receive a percentage of the gate receipts.

    Just how much this will amount to, however, is hard to ascertain due to the hugely competitive pricing that sees adult tickets start at £12.50 and £1 for juniors. Prize money of £50,000 for the Trophy winners and half that amount for the runners-up is up for grabs, while the Shaymen are benefiting from increased merchandising with sales of the new 2016-17 shirt – which will be worn at Wembley – having already exceeded this term’s.

    The flipside is the increased wage bill with an illustration of how Halifax are having to juggle finances being how the club is still weighing up whether to kit the squad out in new suits. The outlay is around £3,000-£4,000, which is why a sponsor is being sought.

    'My view is these lads may never get this chance again,' said Bosomworth... 'FC Halifax Town might not, either, so we want to make it special'".

    Bosomworth admits to having felt 'very, very low' on Saturday night after relegation had been confirmed... 'Relegation hurts,' said Bosomworth.'But sport is sport. Look at what Burnley did this week; we have to strive to do the same. We need players who have the heart. Ability is one thing but you have to have the heart and be up for the fight. If you are away from home on a Tuesday night, you need the players with the right mentality, and to not be thinking, "‘I don’t want to be here". All the players have to be here for the right reason – and proud to pull on the blue shirt of Halifax.'”

    From NL Pitchero we learn that "Jim Gannon, manager of Stockport County, has decided not to retain or offer further contracts to no less than fourteen players at Edgeley Park. Sean O'Hanlon, Paul Connolly, Gareth Roberts, Danny Morton, Matthew Todd, Tom Field, Wade Joyce, Joe Garvin, Jamie Menagh, Sam Grimshaw, Obi Anoruo, Richard Brodie, Micah Evans and Kevin Holsgrove have all been told they won`t be staying with the Hatters.

    Gannon said, 'It is never a nice experience telling players that their time at the club has come to an end, but out of respect to them all I wanted to do it as early as possible to allow them to make plans for 2016/17. I also want to thank all of them for their efforts since I returned to the club, particularly those involved in our successful Cheshire Senior Cup campaign.'

    Meanwhile, the club has offered terms to Chris Smalley for next season and the manager is due to have talks with Danny Hurst, Ryan Ellison and Kay Odejayi over the coming weeks. The club will also be announcing a number of new signings this month, with several new players having already agreed terms and signed pre-contracts for next season.

    Gannon added, 'As expected we are looking to improve the team for next season. We have been good but are aspiring to be better, and move towards a great season. Going forward our main recruitment will be based around strong National League North players who have experience of playing consistently well at this level and a track record of personal or team success. We have highlighted relatively young but mature players, with good athleticism and ability for their positions.

    'We want to put together a squad of players capable of forming a competitive team for promotion. In that regard we need players proven and ready for this level. But we are also mindful of building over the next season and the next, and the next again. That means players with growth and possible potential to play National and even full time in the future. Ultimately that is the journey we want to club to go on. We are hopeful that if the recruitment is right now that we can create a stability within the squad that will see them perform this season and grow each season."

    Also from NL Pitchero we learn that "Following hot on the heels of the appointment of Martin Foster as his assistant-manager, Dominic Roma, player-manager of Vanarama National League North club Gainsborough Trinity, has made his first signing on the playing side, moving quickly to snap up the signature of a highly-rated Rotherham United youngster Alex Wiles.

    Wiles is a 20-year-old central midfielder who earned a two-year pro-contract at his home-town club Rotherham... Wiles has spent the last year gaining valuable experience in the mens` game, appearing for Buxton where he had first impressed in the reserves. Capable of scoring spectacular goals, Roma said this of his capture, 'I am sure supporters will enjoy watching his all-action performances in the middle of the park'".

    4 May 2016


    New Altrincham FC manager, Neil Young, met the press on Tuesday at the J. Davidson Stadium.

    Joint Press & Media Officer, Brian Flynn, conducted the first audio interview with the new manager.

    And John Edwards, joint Press & Media Officer reports on the press conference with the new man in charge at Moss Lane...

    "Neil Young has hit the ground running as Altrincham's new manager after revealing he has already identified the players he wants to keep and sounded out prospective new signings.

    Appointed on Sunday, along with assistant-manager Gary Jones, barely 24 hours after a final-day 3-0 defeat at Braintree, the former Chester boss has wasted no time formulating plans for a squad capable of challenging for promotion.

    He wants to keep 'four or five' of the current squad, on top of contracted quartet Shaun Densmore, Jake Moult, Simon Richman and Sam Heathcote, and has already begun the process of trying to attract up to 10 new faces to The J.Davidson Stadium.

    Speaking at a press conference at the ground, Young said: 'There are four or five we will be offering terms to, and I have already spoken to two of them and arranged to meet them later this week or at the weekend. Incomings depends on the answers I get from the boys we're talking to, but there could be up to 10, because I envisage a squad of 18 or 19 senior players, ideally, with the option of then using the loan market, if need be, or any good youngsters coming through.

    'I met with Gary yesterday, and we drew up a full list of names. You've got to be realistic and accept there will be competition for a lot of them, but we will make them our best offer and stress we want them here.

    'It's part and parcel of life that players want the best deal they can get, but I would like to think that if there's not much in it, the name Altrincham Football Club and what we are trying to do here might sway things our way.

    'Signings may be a little way down the line, because I want to get it right, rather than dive in with both feet and get it wrong, but we have already been active.

    Right: Neil Young, image courtesy of Gavin Rathbone.

    'We have made contact with three players. It's important to register an interest, because we don't want them signing for someone else without speaking to us first. We've done that, so they know we're interested in them.

    'Leaders are becoming increasingly scarce. They seem to be in short supply these days, compared to bygone years, but we need to find them. I'm not necessarily talking about up-and-at-'em, in-your-face types, but players with the strength of character and inbuilt leadership qualities to ensure jobs are being done out in the middle. You need those in your dressing room.

    'We will be looking to sign that sort - a couple, in fact - but that's not to say there aren't elements of that already here. I know Jake Moult quite well, and he doesn't exactly shirk anything. The same goes for Scott Leather. It's a question of getting the right ingredients, and we've got to try and find a couple of that calibre to take us forward, the sort who will make sure questions are being asked out on the pitch and people are accepting responsibility.'

    A new-look Alty squad can expect to start work under Young a couple of weeks before their first pre-season friendly.

    'I usually like to start back at the end of June, then go Saturday, Tuesday, Thursday right through to the start of the season,' he said. 'I think the first pre-season friendly is pencilled in for July 9 or 10, so two weeks before that sounds about right. We will try and arrange a programme that will stand us in good stead for the challenge we'll face in the Conference North. In other words, teams who play in a similar way to what we'll come up against in the league.

    'You can get dragged into playing too many footballing sides, if you like, then when it comes to the real deal, it's a different challenge altogether. We've got to get the balance right, so we're not ill-prepared, come August. I don't want to make any rash forecasts, but what I do want, between now and the start of next season, is to ensure we have a competitive, committed football team the supporters can rely on to put a shift in every single game.'"

    And, fellow Press & Media Officer, Brian Flynn, advises that "The monthly TASC meeting takes place on Tuesday night (May 3rd) at 7.30pm. The venue is The Old Roebuck 42 Victoria Street, Altrincham, Cheshire, WA14 1ET. All Altrincham supporters are welcome to attend".


    Altrincham Youth's scheduled match against AFC Fylde did not take place and Fylde have been awarded a walkover. The two sides met in the reverse fixture last night (Tuesday). And Fylde won 4-1.

    Meanwhile, the Chester Chronicle reports that "Chester FC Youth could be just one win away from securing the North West Youth Alliance Premier Division title. The young Blues will be crowned champions if they win at Altrincham on Thursday and second placed Ashton Athletic fail to beat Curzon Ashton.

    Calum McIntyre’s side were forced to watch on last season as Altrincham pipped them to the title but they have the chance to right that wrong [sic] this week. Thursday marks the start of a busy fortnight for the Blues, who will be going for glory on three fronts, with a NWYA Premier Division Cup final against AFC Fylde on Sunday and a NWYA Open Cup final at home to Ashton Athletic on Sunday, May 15 (2.30pm) at the Lookers Vauxhall Stadium.

    'It could be a really, really big night for us,' said McIntyre, whose side won 6-0 at home to Salford on Sunday... Altrincham are obviously the reigning champions so it would be an even bigger bonus to go and win the league at their place. We obviously missed out last season on the final day with a really young squad, it is pretty much the same group of players and they are chomping at the bit to put that right.

    'We have never even got a point at Altrincham in the league, as things seem to go against us there, so we’re going to need to be at our best to get the job done'".


    As previously reported, Alrtincham Reserves won 6-2 on Saturday away, against Egerton. The scorers included Max Pouncey (2), Joel Swift and Boris Melingui. A draw or win on Saturday in the final fixture, at home to Middlewich Town, will ensure a second successive promotion within the Hallmark Cheshire League. The match is on the J Davidson Stadium pitch at 3pm, during the Beer Festival so please come along and help them reach their target.


    Relegation may have cast a blight on the last few days, so come along and cheer yourself up at the Altrincham FC Beer Festival this weekend. Details are adjacent...


    Phil Taylor has reported on the Fans' Forum that "Altrincham FC Ladies have returned from the Isle of Man having finished as Runners Up. Our first fixture against the Isle of Man full representative side ended in a narrow 3-2 defeat, although, given another five or ten minutes, a draw might well have been achieved.

    On Sunday, the Ladies came back from conceding an early goal to run out 3-1 Winners. The quality of the football played by the Ladies was superb and I would venture to suggest that the fixture between ourselves and the Isle of Man 'first' team was one of the best games I have seen in a long time. The togetherness and spirit of the squad bodes very very well for the future of ladies' football at Altrincham


    The BBC tells us that "Gateshead have released nine players, including long-serving defender James Curtis. Curtis, 34, made 596 appearances for the Heed after joining from Northern League side Washington FC in 2003. South Africa international and former Newcastle player Matty Pattison, 29, has also been released.

    Forward Danny Johnson, 23, winger Josh Gillies, 25, and midfielders Gus Mafuta, 20, and Paddy McLaughlin, 25, have been offered new contracts."

    In the Nuneaton News we learn that "Nuneaton Town missed out on a play-off spot by just one point. Chris Philpotts takes a look at where it all went wrong...

    Christmas Day 2015... Nuneaton were top of the pile in the Vanarama National League North... Nuneaton would take three points just once in the next six outings. It would take them until the final week of the season before they won back-to-back games in the league again. So where did it all go wrong for the Boro? How did a side that seemed destined for the title at one stage...

    Why was it Solihull and their collection of Nuneaton stars past and not Kevin Wilson and the Boro present who went on to lift the title?...

    The most obvious [reason] of all is the three-point deduction handed down in March... But the points were taken away in March, the Boro still had plenty of time to rectify that mistake once they were gone.... It is on the pitch then where the difference was made... The departures of Aaron Williams and Callum Chettle obviously made a difference on that front... In-fact until the on-off signing of Tom Elliott was completed in March the Boro never really found a way to play without Chettle...

    When the going got tough the football did not get going. Instead the Boro became almost one dimensional... the safe ball replaced the dynamic one time after time. The young team simply seemed to lose confidence and without an experienced back-bone to lean on, found it hard to get it back again... They obviously have the basis of a talented squad and in the likes of Shane Byrne, Tom Elliott, James Clifton, Cieron Keane, Jordan Keane, Joe Maguire and David Morgan have young players who all look like having bright futures...

    Maybe the addition of some more experience, a goalscorer is a must, but they are only small tweaks. Not a major overhaul".

    According to the Daily Mail, "Teddy Sheringham is the leading contender to become Aldershot Town’s next manager... to replace Barry Smith.

    The current incumbent will leave the non-League outfit later this summer when his contract expires. And chairman Shahid Azeem wants Sheringham to take control next season. Sheringham has been out of work since leaving Stevenage in February...

    The ex-Tottenham and Manchester United forward won just seven of his 33 matches in charge of the club, drawing 10 and losing 16".

    From the Northern Echo we learn that "Graeme Armstrong believes leaving Darlington on a high is the best time to call it a day after making a shock decision to quit Quakers. The striker was a fans’ favourite, scoring 39 goals during two seasons in which the club twice won promotion, but he has turned down the offer of a new deal.

    He has not agreed a move to another club yet, but Armstrong says not being a regular in Martin Gray’s team during the middle of the season influenced his decision. He finished the campaign in Gray’s first-choice XI, contributing 13 goals to the team’s Northern Premier League title-win...

    'It was my greatest night in football', said Armstrong, yet for six months he barely started a game and with increased work commitments also a factor he feels now is the right time to go. Armstrong said, 'It’s not a decision I’ve taken lightly. I’d been speaking to my partner and a few of the lads about the decision, because it was a big one... Martin tried to persuade me to stay, but we have a good understanding and I think he respects my decision.

    'It’s been something I’ve been thinking about for a few months with me not playing through the middle of the season, you don’t feel part of it. Martin offered me a new contract, but I didn’t want the emotion of the Whitby game and getting promoted change what I thought was the right decision for me... I didn’t enjoy sitting watching games. That’s natural, I want to be playing all the time. With the players Martin could bring to the club I could potentially be a bit-part player again next year'.

    Newcastle-based Armstrong is a school teacher in Hexham, and he added, 'The other thing is the commitment to travelling and my job. I’d be happy to stay and fight for my place, but I probably wouldn’t be able to give the commitment to the club and what Darlington expect. It probably wouldn’t be fair on them and not fair on me either. It’s called the National League North but it’s not an entirely northern division. You’ve got Gloucester and Worcester teams in there. I think that would be too much for me to commit all my time and effort to at this stage of my career'.

    Armstrong will be 33 by the time next season kicks-off, though he will not be short of admirers".

    From the Lincolnshire Echo we learn that "Richard Kane has given the clearest indication yet that there could be a mass exodus of players at Gainsborough Trinity. The Blues' chairman revealed he felt bitterly disappointed at how the season had ended for Trinity... Kane admitted to feeling 'physically sick' as it appeared his side would be drawn into a relegation battle...

    'It is a massive weight off my shoulders, but I can't express how disappointed I am,' said Kane. 'The season has come to a really disappointing climax. I think we were okay up until Christmas time. I was standing out there in the last 15 minutes and I knew Brackley were winning and we were right down there in the mix. I felt physically sick. I couldn't stand to speak with anyone, people were trying to talk to me and I couldn't face them. I just wanted them to leave me alone. To top it all off I had a bird do something on me as well'...

    The Tamworth Herald says that "Tamworth boss Andy Morrell admitted his side's 1-0 defeat to Brackley had been a frustrating way to end the campaign... Brackley's narrow win secured their status in the National North on a dramatic final day which saw Lowestoft relegated...

    'It is very frustrating,' he said... 'When they got in front after the break, I felt we panicked a little bit and went longer rather than playing and dragging them out of position... I am pleased for Kev Wilkin [the Brackley manager] but I would have rather have sent them down to be quite honest. I didn't want them celebrating in front of us because I knew that wouldn't be nice and that's what has happened'...

    One positive, Tamworth ended the season with was the best defensive record in the league and Morrell wants to use that to push on... He sai, 'We just need something that is going to get us goals, a pattern of play that we understand to get us goals when things are tight... I think we have had a half decent season... I think we have proved as a team and a squad we are good enough to compete in the league. With a couple of additions, we will be right at it and give ourselves a good chance next year'".

    3 May 2016


    Not content with riding more than 210 miles on his bike, with Dan Martell, to Braintree on Saturday, Mike Ripley also was on duty as matchday photographer and his images of the match are here. One of his images, of Josh Ginnelly in action at Braintree is adjacent.

    Mike and Dan raised more than £2,000 for their sponsored charities, Prostate Cancer UK and the Altrincham FC Community Sports Hall, which was a magnificent effort.


    News of one of Alty's opponents next season comes from the Worcester News which tells us that "Manager Carl Heeley has vowed to continue in sole charge of Worcester City and prepare his side for an 'even tougher' Vanarama National League North next season.

    After more than five years in the hot-seat, Heeley decided to share his management duties with Matt Gardiner at the start of this season in a bid to 'lighten the workload'. But, with Gardiner now poised to join Kidderminster Harriers as Head of Coaching, Heeley has returned to the role he accepted in January 2010.

    With coach John Snape stepping up as assistant, the 47-year-old led the team for their final two games as they finished the campaign in 17th place. Although Heeley was recently appointed onto City’s board and has a busy full-time job away from the football club, he said he was keen to keep hold of the reins as they move to ground-share with Bromsgrove Sporting.

    'It has been a tough few weeks but, that said, you always look at the positives and I like to say that I always enjoy it,' said Heeley, who played more than 500 games for Worcester and captained the team. 'I think if you are playing you can affect it a little bit more, so it is easier but, as a manager, sometimes you expect everyone to have great performances and it doesn’t work like that. But I still keep smiling.

    'I will have a few weeks off, recharge the batteries and then get back to it, preparing for next season. I brought Matt into the frame to give him an opportunity and to help lighten the workload. But things happen and Matt has made no secret of the fact he has a desire to go full-time and he goes with our best wishes... But we move on and I will continue in sole charge'...

    City ended the season just two points ahead of third-from-bottom Lowestoft Town, who were relegated along with Hednesford Town and Corby Town. Darlington 1883 and Salford City have been promoted from the Evo-Stik Northern Premier Division, while demoted Halifax Town, Altrincham and Kidderminster will join Worcester in National North.

    Heeley said he would be working hard to strengthen his playing squad for the 2016-17 campaign. 'The division is going to get even tougher and we need everybody pulling in the right direction,' he said. 'Our supporters have been magnificent as they continued to travel to Kidderminster from Worcester and I am sure they will do the same at Bromsgrove, so they are going to be a big help. We want to be competitive and try to improve year-on-year. But it gets ever difficult in a really competitive league with the sides that keep coming up and it is going to be no exception with Darlington and Salford moving into the division next year.'"

    The Football Conference tells us that "Dominic Roma, who was appointed as the new permanent player-manager of Gainsborough Trinity over the weekend, has appointed Martin Foster as his assistant. Now 38, Foster played for the likes of Leeds United, Greenock Morton and Doncaster Rovers. He has a wealth of experience at National League level, including successful spells with the sadly now defunct Rushden & Diamonds, Halifax Town, Tamworth and Forest Green Rovers. He has also coached at Hull United and managed at Matlock Town."

    From the Shropshire Star we read about AFC Telford United. "The 2015-16 campaign finally drew to a conclusion as the Bucks fell to a 2-1 defeat at Chorley following a late penalty decision. Fortunately for Smith’s men it mattered little as they had secured their National League North safety in a dramatic season a week before against Worcester City.

    But rather than take a deserved break, the New Bucks Head chief revealed that for him and assistant boss Larry Chambers, the real work is just starting. Smith faces a hectic summer of negotiating with every player in the squad apart from Dave Hibbert out of contract, and Connor McCarthy (Southport) and Graham Hutchison (FC Halifax) due to return to their parent clubs.

    'The big work starts pretty much now,' said Smith. 'We’ve got to meet with all of the players individually. We’ve got to tell them what we want to do with them, give some of them offers and some of them not. We drew up a list of potential targets in the car on Saturday and the next four or five weeks will be the hardest for me and Larry. We’ll be out every night of the week speaking to players. Once we’ve done that, maybe we’ll have a bit of a holiday, but the hard work starts now'".

    From NL Pitchero we learn that "Alfreton Town manager Nicky Law felt his side fully deserved their last day of the season win at North Ferriby United, who finished as runners-up in the Vanarama National League North. The victory extended the Reds' unbeaten away run in 2016 to thirteen games without defeat in all competitions but, bizarrely, it was the first time Law's side had won away for him on the last day during his nine-season reign.

    It was the first time Alfreton had won away on the final day of the season since April 28th 2007...

    'l thought we were the better side. We knew what we were coming into, we knew it was going to be a physical game. They've shown why they are where they are in the league and we've probably shown how we could have been in that position,' reflected Law. 'Too often though we've fallen down on the basics, whereas a side like North Ferriby you know what they're going to do and they keep on doing it. We, too many times this year, haven't done that.

    'As l've just said to the players they've shown you what it takes to be a team at the top and that's what we've got to come back next year and do.'

    Law also had praise for goalscorer Sam Smith. He said, 'He's been absolutely smashed from pillar to post, he's had little or no protection from the referee, he's split his eye open, he's kept going back for more and he's given as good as he's got and I thought that was a really good performance... Last Tuesday we won on penalties... Belper Town snapped into everything and played like they haven't all year, but we got the win. Then we've gone to North Ferriby and... Ferriby were going into the play-offs and I wanted to make sure we went out there and gave them what they didn't want. It was that sort of game. We matched them physically and I thought we were the better side".


    As previously reported the Altrincham FC Ladies have spent the weekend playing on the Isle of Man from where the Isle of Man FA reported last week that the "IOMFA Senior Women and U23 IOMFA Development Squads will face North-West competitors in the Regency Travel Spring Cup which will be held over the first May Bank Holiday Weekend. The four ladies teams will be coming together to play fixtures at the Bowl on Saturday 30th April and Sunday 1st May. Come along and show your support the island ladies' teams as they compete for the Spring Cup.

    Following the success of the U18s' Player Development Centre team this year, Coach Sam Caine will be bringing together a development side combining his U18’s team with a select few not yet in the island set up to see what the younger island women’s representative side can do in fixtures".

    Fixtures: Saturday 30th April:

    Sunday 1st May:

    2 May 2016


    "Altrincham chairman Grahame Rowley has brought forward the announcement of a new manager, in order to give him the maximum time to stamp his mark on the club's fortunes. Here, joint Press and Media Officer, John Edwards, speaks to Rowley and the new man at the helm, Neil Young.

    Altrincham have appointed a manager with an enviable list of contacts and proven record for winning promotion after announcing Neil Young as successor to Lee Sinnott at The J.Davidson Stadium.

    A statement was initially scheduled for Monday, but following the bodyblow of relegation from the Vanarama National League, chairman Grahame Rowley stepped up the selection process and completed it within 24 hours of a bitterly-disappointing 3-0 defeat at Braintree.

    Eager to draw a line under recent events and herald a new era in Alty's fortunes, Rowley relayed his decision to the three unsuccessful candidates on a four-man shortlist, including caretaker-manager Neil Tolson, and confirmed ex-Chester boss Young as the new man in charge.

    Young's assistant will be former Tranmere, Nottingham Forest and Grimsby forward Gary Jones, and he made it clear he will waste no time shaping a squad capable of challenging for an instant return to non-League football's top tier. 'The work starts today,' said Young, who steered Cammell Laird and Colwyn Bay to promotion before reeling off three successive championships with Chester. 'The challenge is to find the right players to take this club forward, and coming into the position this early gives me the opportunity to recruit the ones we need.

    'With Halifax going down and Salford coming up, it's going to be an incredibly tough league next season, particularly from the point of view of recruiting in the Manchester area. It will probably be the most competitive league for a long time, but I love a challenge and can't wait to get stuck in.

    'I played against Altrincham numerous times [as a manager] and it was always a ding-dong battle. They were always great games, as they were when I faced Alty as Chester manager. This is a special place, a special club with a fantastic fan base, and I feel really honoured to be placed in charge of the team.

    'There are decisions that have to be made, and I want to get on with them, because we have to give ourselves the best chance of going into the season with a squad equipped to go straight back up. That has to be within the structure of the budget, and I want to make informed decisions about the players already here.

    'All but four of them are out of contract, so I need to form opinions pretty quickly. I've seen several Altrincham games this season and I watched yesterday's game on television, and while there was a lot of disappointment surrounding it, there are lads here with a lot of Conference North and Conference National experience who can form the basis of a good squad.

    'Some people might expect me to come in and rip everything up, but I'll look carefully at the budget and the players we've got over the next couple of days before deciding the way forward. Those decisions will be made, though. I've got good contacts in the game, both in the professional and semi-professional ranks, and I do think it's important to have the right characters in the dressing room.

    'We may find there are seven or eight clubs chasing those type of players, but I won't be wasting any time trying to bring them to Altrincham. This is a really exciting opportunity for me and Gary, and we can't wait to get started.'

    Rowley reflected on a traumatic experience, on a personal level, at Braintree, following verbal attacks by some supporters, and outlined the qualities that gave Young the edge over the other three frontrunners for the job.

    'It was an awful day for the club and for me personally,' he said. 'Some of the things that were said were not on. My wife was in tears, because she thought I was going to lamp someone but I've gone past those days. Even so, it was hurtful, and my car was the quietest it has ever been on the way home.

    'It was just a horrible day, one of the worst of my life. Neil Tolson suffered abuse that was totally out of order. We were all upset, and I can understand some anger, but perhaps it should have been vented on the players, not the manager. He was being pilloried over the line-up, but would anyone seriously have changed a team that had just won 5-0?

    'It was such a dreadful day, I decided I may as well get all the bad stuff out of the way, so I saw Neil and Matt Doughty afterwards and told them they hadn't got the job. It wasn't the easiest thing I've had to do.

    'But it was important to act decisively and quickly, and that's why I'm announcing Neil Young as our new manager at the earliest opportunity. He came across as being very professional in his approach, and it soon became clear he was someone who could take us forward. His attention to detail shone through when he spoke about what he wanted from players and creating the right atmosphere in the dressing room. He stressed he wanted personalities in there, not just good players but characters.

    'He wants players he can depend on, ones who will die for the club, and it was clear he does a lot of research into who fits the bill and who doesn't. His record speaks for itself as well; five promotions in six years is no mean feat.

    'It was the end of an era yesterday, but it's the start of a new one today, with a new man at the helm. I feel positive about the future.'"


    Alty's final game of the season saw two loan players in their starting eleven, in the shape of Josh Ginnelly and Marcus Holness. The end of the season now means their return to their parent clubs, Burnley and Tranmere Rovers respectively. Loan players can be something of a gamble but, in both these cases, the loanees have had a significant positive impact on the club. Indeed, Josh even won the Altrincham FC Goal of the Season competition and his commitment to the club's cause earned him many accolades from the Altrincham supporters.

    And Marcus's commitment led him to suffer a three-match ban near the end of the season!

    All at Altrincham FC wish them both well in their future careers.


    News comes from our fellow sufferers of relegation last Saturday as FC Halifax Town reports that "Town failed to survive the dreaded drop as they drew 1-1 with Macclesfield in the final home game of the season. A dejected Jim Harvey spoke to Shaymen Player....

    'It's a very sad day. The boys are very despondent and the changing room is like a morgue. For me they deserved more. The attitude and the character and the effort that they put in today to try and stay at this level has been, I couldn't ask for any more. It didn't happen. We had the opportunities again today, which has happened quite a lot over recent weeks. We created good chances but haven't had that ability to put the ball in the net.

    'Right up to the last minute where Kev Roberts appears at the far post with a free header which unfortunately hits the post. Fine margins but, unfortunately, we perhaps gave ourselves too much to do. Great to get to the final day and give ourselves a chance after the start that I had. We had a lot of catching up to do... Unfortunately, we've just fallen a little bit short'.

    Harvey said that, despite just missing out on survival, the side put in a fantastic effort just to get to the position they were in come the final day of the season. 'If that would have been offered to me I would have taken it. I would have accepted that. They have put a terrific effort in and, although they are all very despondent at the moment, and they will be for a few days to come, they really put a real effort in. The reward is that they have a trip to Wembley. It won't be the same now having being relegated but still, this is football and it's not life or death. We'll go and hide and lick our wounds for a few days and we'll come out again and pick up and go again and prepare for next year'".

    According to the Holker Street Newsletter, Barrow's owner "Paul Casson will be tootling across the Atlantic on Casson Airways to see his charges take on Wrexham at Holker Street this weekend in what is the last game of the season, and he took a break from making his sandwiches to talk to the Evening Mail about his plans for Barrow AFC. 'The journey so far has been interesting, and not without a few missteps. In two years, though, we have gone from a mid-table club in one League to a mid-table team in the League above. When you put it that way, it doesn't quite seem such a mountain to climb. So, then, in two years why should we not be talking about being a mid-table team in yet another League above and, from there, who knows where?

    I personally cannot wait for August to roll around, but I will have to be content in celebrating our progress on Saturday while I'm waiting."

    Meanwhile, the Braintree & Witham Times informs us that "Manager Danny Cowley admitted that even he was shocked to see his Braintree Town team finish third in the Vanarama National League table... With Dover Athletic and also Grimsby, who the Iron now face over two legs in the play-off semi-finals, both stumbling on the final day, it allowed Braintree to surpass even what their boss thought possible.

    He said, 'We finished third in the division. Not many things shock me in football but I can’t believe actually that we’ve done as well as we have done. That’s not underestimating what we have. We know what we are and we felt when we first came here that we could add value and be successful but the players and their level of determination and commitment game-in game-out has been phenomenal. I can’t tell you how proud I am of that group'.

    It was a thoroughly professional job by the Iron on the final day of a long and arduous campaign, with a Michael Cheek brace and a Mitch Brundle strike seeing them comfortably home against Altrincham, who were relegated by the result...

    He added, 'We’re pleased to have got over the line; it has been a long week, as you can imagine... We had a really good start. We wanted an aggressive mindset and wanted to get on the front foot... I was pleased to get off to a good start and I think the goal settled us down. We were good value...

    'People may think we do better against the bigger, better and more high-profile teams but we showed that when the pressure is on us and we may be favourites, as most people saw us, we can still cope with it and play to the level that we do'".


    Altrincham FC Reserves won 6-2 at Egerton Sports on Saturday.


    The National League confirms "the semi-final series of matches [i.e. promotion play-offs] to take place as shown by date and kick-off. Please carefully note the kick-off times listed, which may vary from those expected, this being due to television schedules and policing requests. Each semi-final in the Vanarama National will be screened live by BT Sport.

    Promotion Final: Sunday 15th May at Wembley Stadium 4.00pm kick off.


    Promotion Final: Saturday 14th May 3.00pm on the ground of the club finishing [the higher] in the League.

    VANARAMA SOUTH - Play Off Semi Finals;

    Promotion Final: Saturday 14th May 3.00pm kick off on the ground of the club finishing [the higher] in the League.


    Sat 30th Apr 2016

    By way of comparison, the gates on Saturday in the Vanarama National League North were:

    1 May 2016


    Following the match, caretaker boss Neil Tolson told the NL Paper, "It's an awful day for the club. We've just not turned up. I think there are people inthat dressing room who are going to wke up tomorow with lots and lots of regrets. That's the frustrating thing.

    "Braintree were better than us in every single department today. But if they were better than us, and we we had given it a go, it would probably have been an easier pill to swallow. We've not shown anything that we've shown in recent weeks.

    "It's over 46 games. We needed a minor miracle and we didn't give ourselves a chance of that happening. That's been the disappointing thing".


    Michael Rankine clears the ball as referee Ollie Yates awards the visitors a freekick in their own box at Braintree on Saturday.

    Altrincham suffered their fourth relegation from the top flight of non-League football since 1997 when they were comprehensively beaten by a Braintree Town side which secured a deserved place in the promotion play offs with this victory.

    Braintree took a 17th minute lead when the impressive Akinola miscued a shot across goal and Cheek was on hand to convert from close range at the back post. Cheek made it 2-0 three minutes before the break when he converted a cross, following a fine run by Brundle.

    Brundle added the third when he converted a cross after Akinola had got to the byline. The Iron finished third from top and Altrincham, third from bottom - and the gap was evident.

    Match report here.


    Saturday, 30 April, kick off at 5.30pm...

    Braintree Town now meet Grimsby Town in the play-offs, whilst FGR play Dover Athletic.


    Brian Flynn advises that "The second 'Football Buster' game has now been completed and we have two winners: Ian Rosendaal & Nigel Davis (also a winner in the first game!). A screenshot of the final result is above. Each winner has won £17.60 and I will be in touch with both Ian and Nigel to arrange payout. As it is so close to the end of the season and it is unlikely that another game would be completed in May, the next game will start in August, when the new season starts".