NEWS ARCHIVE
July 2018


31 July 2018

GONE BUT NOT FORGOTTEN

Pictured, right, is the Altrincham supporters' flag which honours the club's iconic supporter Kenny Palin, who died earlier this year. "Zigger zagger", the words which appear on the flag, were Kenny's trademark chant at Alty games. At home matches now, the flag is one of an impressive array of supporters' flags which adorn the Golf Road End, at the J. Davidson Stadium, ensuring that Kenny is never forgotten.

FIRST OPPONENTS: LEAMINGTON

The 2018-19 season of Vanarama National league North kicks off on Saturday (4 August) with the following fixtures...
  • AFC Telford United v Southport
  • Alfreton Town v Kidderminster Harriers
  • Altrincham v Leamington
  • Ashton United v Nuneaton Borough
  • Boston United v Guiseley
  • Bradford Park Avenue v Brackley Town
  • Chester v Spennymoor Town
  • Chorley v York City
  • Darlington v Curzon Ashton
  • Hereford v Blyth Spartans
  • Stockport County v FC United of Manchester

For Altrincham, Saturday's match will evoke memories of when the Robins met Leamington at Moss Lane in an FA Trophy Round One tie, which ended 1-1 on 15 December 2015. Arguably, this original tie would have been decided in Alty's favour but for an effort by James Lawrie sticking in the soft pitch, as it was about to cross the line after evading goalkeeper Breeden, and a Jordan Sinnott effort which hit the post.

This drawn game prompted a replay which became a saga, with the game finally taking place a month later, after no fewer than five changes of date, including a postponement after the team and supporters had reached Leamington. Alty eventually won the replayed match 2-1, thanks to a brace from Michael Rankine, the first a penalty.

From the 16-man squad for the original tie at Altrincham, only Jake Moult and Simon Richman remain at Altrincham now.

Altrincham and Leamington last met in a league match at Moss Lane on Saturday, 4 January 2014 when Alty won 3-2 in a Skrill North Match, which was Danny Higginbotham's debut game for Altrincham and Damian Reeves's 150th start. Altrincham scored early in each half but then laboured for substantial periods of the game as Leamington deservedly got level. Higginbotham conceded a penalty to allow Leamington back into the game before Magunda made it 2-2. But an 85th-minute wonder goal by James Walshaw got the three points which lifted Altrincham into third place in the league table.

Above: Altrincham line up before kick off against Leamington in January, 2014. Left to right: Reeves, Moult, Richman, Griffin, Higginbotham, Clee, Marshall, Perry, Leather, Coburn and Havern.

Last season was Leamington's first back in the National League North after relegation in 2015 and they finished nineteenth in 2018, three points ahead of 20th-placed Gainsborough Trinity, who were relegated.

This Saturday, Leamington are likely to include Anthony Dwyer in their squad. He actually joined Alty earlier this summer only to be released by mutual agreement when travelling from the Midlands to Altrincham proved an issue.

Their line-up last week when they lost to a Birmingham City under-23 side was: Tony Breeden, Shay Nicholson (Junior English), James Bowen (Tom James), Jack Edwards, Joe Magunda, Kieran Morris (Connor Gudger), Chekaine Steele, Kieran Dunbar, Matt Stenson, Connor Taylor (Taylor Morrison), Anthony Dwyer. Sub not used: Brad Caswell.

Altrincham's first league clash with a Leamington side came in the inaugural season of the Alliance Premier League (1979-80) when AP Leamington were one of Alty's rivals. The AP in the club's name referred to Automotive Products, a Leamington-based automotive firm; hence the club's continuing nickname of "The Brakes". They were relegated in 1982 but won the Southern League Premier the following year only to be denied promotion on ground-grading criteria. In 1985 they were relegated to the Midland division from the Southern Premier. Following another relegation, they lost their ground and effectively folded at the end of 1987/88 season.

It was not until 2000 that the new Leamington FC rose from the ashes, competing in Division Two of the Midland Combination. Via the Midland Alliance they reached Division One Midlands of the Southern League. From 2009 they were in the Premier Division and in 2013-14 reached the Skrill (Conference) North. However, at the end of 2014–15 season they were relegated but in 2016-17 they won back their place in that division, where they now renew acquaintance with Altrincham.

MAIN STAND NAME

As announced recently on the official site of Altrincham FC, the main stand at the J. Davidson Stadium is now to be known as the 'FootyAccumulators.com Stand'. Accordingly, the former Carole Nash logo has now been replaced by the new sponsors' branding, as can be seen in the adjacent image.

VANARAMA NATIONAL LEAGUE NORTH

According to the Chester Chronicle, "There were a number of positives from Chester FC 's 4-2 home loss to Everton under-23s on Saturday, certainly in a hugely impressive first half. One such positive was the performance of trialist striker Mamadou Djabi, with Chester bosses Anthony Johnson and Bernard Morley allowed to run the rule over the 20-year-old Fleetwood Town man during the last three friendlies with a view to taking him on loan.

But with fellow trialist Deane Smalley also vying for a spot in the squad along with a third hopeful with Football League experience who has featured during pre-season, Morley admits that a decision needs to be made soon on who will add to a strikeforce that now contains Anthony Dudley, who netted on his Blues debut against the Toffees.

Djabi, who spent time on loan at Lancaster City last season, signed a new deal with the Cod Army earlier this year but Joey Barton's side are keen for him to get more first team experience during the coming campaign.

'I think it is wrong to make signings when you have not seen enough of them. Managers fail because they rely on others,' said Morley, speaking to the media after Saturday's defeat. 'Mama's a good player. We've seen 120 minutes of him. Is he the finished article? Probably not and we can't just go off one game. Fleetwood are pushing us to make a decision but we would keep all four if we could. I think we have got the balance and got a bit of everything in them four.

'It's going to be tough and we're going to have to make a decision in the next 48 hours on who we are keeping and who we are not, which won't be easy.

'I don't think they'll let Mama come out unless the thought is that we are going to play him. But nobody can be guaranteed a shirt, whether you're at Premier League or Unibond level. But I understand the reasoning in not letting him come out on loan if he is just going to be a squad player'...

Chester had held the lead at the break on Saturday thanks to Dudley's debut goal. But after being so impressive in the opening 45 minutes the wheels came off somewhat in the second half... after [ex-Alty loanee] Jon Moran had briefly restored parity just after the hour mark."

Bradford (Park Avenue) report on their "fascinating history. Whilst their story isn’t shared as widely as perhaps it should be, it provokes intrigue from anyone fortunate enough to stumble across a supporter or article that explains the story.

The club have been represented by the first-ever footballer to receive the Victoria Cross, Donald Simpson Bell, the ‘Clown Prince’ Len Shackleton and former England manager Ron Greenwood. They have been watched by crowds in excess of 20,000 many times, and a remarkable 82,771 turned up to watch a 1-1 draw with Manchester United in the 1948/49 campaign.

For a club as steeped in history as Bradford are, landmark dates and anniversaries of significance come around often. The beginning of the 2018/19 season, however, marks an unforgettable anniversary that symbolises the great strides that the club has made. Fourteen years after shareholders agreed to liquidate the company with debts of £57,652, the club was reformed and joined the West Riding County Amateur League. Although a Sunday side had been born out of the ashes of the original club, it disbanded when Bradford reformed, and business was resumed.

This marked a new era for the club, and despite having to move out of Bradford to find facilities, the club remained resolute and continued to operate. A move to the Horsfall Stadium was eventually made and progress continued. Despite suffering successive relegations in 2005 and 2006, the club bounced back with promotions in 2008 and 2012.

The 2018/19 season will be Bradford’s seventh since their return to what is now known as the National League North, and the future has never looked brighter. In a division swamped with full-time sides and sizable budgets, manager Mark Bower recently guided the club to a 7th place finish, allowing Bradford to compete in the play-offs for the first time since their promotion to the division.

Despite falling to a 1-0 defeat to Brackley Town in the semi-finals, the evident potential in Bower’s side has given supporters a reason for optimism. Season ticket prices remain great value for money and the club recently made the momentous decision to adopt a modern version of the club’s former badge, whilst reinstating brackets to the club’s name. The move was described by CEO Rob Stanley as a case of ‘stepping back to move forward’ and the change is symbolic of yet another new era for Bradford.

Bradford (Park Avenue) are no longer just a football club. Despite no longer being known as a ‘community football club’, they remain one in spirit. The Horsfall College of Sport is now in full operation, ensuring that young people in Bradford have opportunities to better themselves and forge bright futures. Some prospects have already featured in the first-team as teenagers but the club’s providing of educational opportunities ensures that those who don’t are not left behind. The ‘BPA in the Community’ scheme works in tandem with the College, sharing its ethos of being more than a football club and being at the heart of the community. The team has a constant presence in Bradford, giving as many young people in Bradford the opportunity to be a part of the club as possible.

Horsfall Stadium is called home but Bradford (Park Avenue) are wherever the city of Bradford and its young people need them to be. The club’s owner, Gareth Roberts, is keen to leave a legacy in Bradford and it is in the process of being established. Bradford (Park Avenue) are providing a football team, community team and College that the city can be proud of."

OLD BOYS

Droylsden remind us that former Alty midfielder Ged Murphy is now a Player / Coach at the Butcher's Arms. He is described as "A right sided midfielder or defender; he is a great motivator and strong character with a good knowledge of the game".

Another player for The Bloods is former Alty reserve Scott Metcalfe. Droylsden report that "Scott joined us mid-last season from Warrington Town; he is an attacking midfielder with bags of vision and a good engine; should fit in well with our style of football".


30 July 2018

"WE CAN DO WELL", SAYS PHIL

Following the undeserved defeat to Salford City, manager Phil Parkinson told the Non-League Paper, "First half, we played some great stuff amd their goal was against the run of play so we deserved our equalizer. We were great in possession which is the type of football we try and play but we need to improve when we don't have the ball".

The Alty manager added that his team "have already won a title together so they have the knowing of each other. It's a big jump with the fitness and size of some of the clubs in this league and, although we're not going to set ourselves silly targets, we can do well in this league".

THREE NEW SIGNINGS

Altrincham FC have announced that they have signed goalkeeper Elliot Wynne, midfielder Bay Downing and right-back Lloyd Bannister on a non-contract basis, following their impressive performances in pre-season matches and in training.

Here is some background information on the three players...

Elliot Wynne

Elliott, pictured right, in pre-season, previously impressed when playing against Altrincham whilst keeping goal for Abbey Hey in the Emirates FA Cup First Qualifying Round in 2017. He was also Lancaster City's keeper when Alty won 2-1 at The Giant Axe in the EvoStik Premier game on 7 April 2018. As a teenager (2012), Elliot was with Oldham Athletic before moving on to Rochdale.

From Spotland, he joined AFC Fylde and later he gained a junior scholarship at Fleetwood Town, from where he went on loan to Lancaster City and Glossop North End. Next he joined Gorton club, Abbey Hey, where he played in 2017-18 season.

Bay Downing (d.o.b. 16.5.1996)

Bay has played in the three most recent friendlies for Altrincham, operating primarily on the right wing. Born in Liverpool, Bay went to Millfield School before spending time in the USA where he played for Tampa Spartans (2015-17). His father is George Downing who Wikipedia describes as "a property magnate from Liverpool. He made his fortune in the property and construction sectors".

The Liverpool Echo adds that "A Liverpool student and promising entrepreneur has made it to the last 15 in a global competition to win $1m to help encourage entrepreneurs in the urban slums of India. Bay Downing, the 19-year-old son of Liverpool property developer George Downing, will use the funds to support viable propositions and address some of the most pressing issues in the poorer parts of Mumbai.

In 2016 Bay co-founded OptiMrkt with a team of passionate and dedicated student entrepreneurs. The business focuses on empowering entrepreneurs in developing nations through micro loans and supportive technology. OptiMrkt was recently ranked in the top 15 of more than 25,000 teams worldwide who competed in the largest student competition in the world, The Hult Prize.

The team, drawn from The University of Tampa, in Florida, has surpassed every Ivy League school, including Harvard, Yale, Stanford and many more. With this success they now have the chance to be one of the top six teams to reach the world finals and claim $1m in seed capital to start their business and make an instant impact.

If successful, OptiMrkt will present to more than 1,000 global leaders, including former US president Bill Clinton... OptiMrkt is currently targeting the slum of Dharavi, in Mumbai, where the founders lived for two weeks in January on a research study. They are focusing on the 20,000 capable entrepreneurs who hand-craft exceptionally high-quality products but who will continue to struggle to penetrate the right markets without external support.

As part of OptiMrkt’s plans, these entrepreneurs will be supported to build their businesses through micro-loans. Investors will be able to commit as little as $25 and co-own a small business while receiving real time returns on investment and updates on their businesses performance.

Discussing the project Bay Downing said 'These under-served communities are the most industrious places that we’ve ever experienced. We have seen an opportunity to bridge the gap and alleviate millions from poverty; with the $1m prize our vision will become a reality'".

Lloyd Bannister (do.b. 29.9.1996)

After a spell at Wigan Athletic, right-back Lloyd (right) played in Belgium (2016/17-2017/18) for Patro Eisden in Maasmechelen. He also played in the 2017 Caribbean Club Championships.

MORE ON BRENDON

The Stoke Sentinel reports on Alty's new loan signing saying that "Port Vale boss Neil Aspin says he is allowing Brendon Daniels to join Altrincham on loan so he can try to force his way into first-team plans at Vale Park.

The 24 year old forward played for Altrincham in their 1-2 defeat at home to Salford on Saturday ahead of a proposed one-month loan deal.

Daniels, from Smallthorne, signed a six-month deal with Vale this summer after signing on a free from Alfreton, but hasn't forced his way into contention for the first team.

Aspin said 'Brendon had an opportunity coming to this club where you have to take that opportunity. He didn't do himself any favours by... he didn't work hard enough before he came to the club so he was behind a lot of the players in terms of fitness. Now he has worked a lot harder and now he has got himself into a position where he is fitter. But because he wasn't going to start in the team, I felt it was better to maintain his fitness, that he went out and played some games.

'So, he will go there for a month and hopefully get six or seven games or whatever and it will do him good. Then he will come back with a chance of competing for a shirt.'

Daniels began his career at Crewe before spells at Chester, Tamworth, Harrogate and Alfreton.

Aspin added, 'If I take a player from non-league football I am confident he can always go back into non league football. That's why I don't think they are a gamble for a club. As a manager, it is some of your bigger signings that are ones where, if they don't work out, it is more problematic. Certainly with Brendon it won't do him any harm by going to play some football'".

AMMIES MATCH

John Edwards has published a match report on the narrow defeat to Salford City on the Altrincham FC official site

VANARAMA NATIONAL LEAGUE NORTH NEWS

Southport Football Club "are delighted to officially announce that Stefan Mueller has signed for the club for the 2018/19 season. The 22 year-old American has spent most of pre-season with the club after arriving in the country a month ago...

Born and raised in East Northport, New York, he spent last season in Germany with TB Uphusen. Prior to this he had four years at Temple University back in the USA, but has had two spells in English football, one with Fleetwood during this time.

Stefan, an athletic attacking left-back, has impressed during his time in Southport and is looking forward to the challenge ahead; 'It’s every players dream back in the States to play in English football at a high level'" he said.

"On his new signing, Liam Watson said 'Stefan has come back to the UK to prove himself after finishing his degree at Temple University. He was highly recommended by my former Manager from when I played out in the US, so we offered him the chance of a trial and we have been very impressed with his ability, the way he has settled into the squad and his desire to play for Southport.'”

Kidderminster Harriers report that "Neil MacFarlane hailed Saturday’s pre-season test at Solihull Moors as the 'perfect' way to lead into the start of the season this coming weekend. Harriers will head into the National League North opener at Alfreton Town on August 4th on the back of an impressive 3-0 win at the National League side...

The side were clinical in front of goal and did everything asked of them at the other end to secure a clean sheet. It left MacFarlane to reflect, 'It was the perfect game for us, leading up to Alfreton next week... It was a real football match which we’ll experience a lot in the league this season'".

From the Chester Standard, we learn that "Bernard Morley admits Chester have plenty to work on defensively ahead of next weekend’s league opener against Spennymoor Town. The Blues completed their pre-season programme with a 4-2 home defeat against David Unsworth’s Everton Under 23s side, blowing a 1-0 half-time lead which had come courtesy of new signing Anthony Dudley’s composed finish.

Chester’s defending left plenty to be desired in the second period though...

'I'm disappointed to concede four goals in a half of football,' joint-manager Morley said. 'People might say it's only pre-season and it's not realistic but it is to us, especially with only seven days until we kick off against Spennymoor. A little bit of a disappointing second half but overall there were some good things to take out of it. Defensively first half it didn't look like they could break us down at all and I think going forward we created a lot more going forward than we have the last four or five games...

'The message at half time was don't get complacent... Continue to do the right things, or at least try. But we didn't do that second half, we started to do what we wanted and made individual mistakes and went hiding. Nobody wanted the ball and we were forcing things, but it gives us something to work on next week'.

Goalkeeper Grant Shenton [ex-Trafford], who had looked shaky in the midweek draw with Morecambe, made two individual mistakes which both led to goals for the Toffees during their second-half blitz, but Morley refused to lay the blame squarely with the number one.

'Shents has dropped two and put them on a plate for the lad but I think as defenders we have got to follow everything in and anticipate that Shents might make that mistake, which he did,' Morley explained...

Morley expressed his delight at the performances of new signings Dudley and Danny Livesey, both brought in on season-long loan deals from Salford City. Centre-back Livesey – formerly with Carlisle and Wrexham, lined up alongside Steve Howson and Simon Grand in a back three, while Dudley bagged the opening goal on his debut...

He added... 'Anthony Dudley is someone we have been looking at closely for the last six or seven weeks. Did we think it was ever going to be doable? No... but it is important that we get the right person to complement Anthony... He's deadly in front of goal. I still feel at times he has got to be a lot more unselfish and gets shots off, but I'm probably nit picking at the wrong things here'".

Acording to the Telegraph & Argus, "Ben McKenna scored one and made one as Bradford (Park Avenue) ended their pre-season in style with a 2-0 home victory against Barrow...

Mark Bower's men, wearing their new home kit for the first time, were chasing the ball down well in the final third, but Avenue failed to capitalise on their opportunities. McKenna looked lively down the right wing and linked up well with new loan signing Jake Beesley from Salford City...

Avenue broke the deadlock via the in-form McKenna in the 79th minute... It was 2-0 six minutes later, and once again McKenna was involved as his pull-back was side-footed into the roof of the net by Horsfall College of Sport scholar Matthew Rowntree...

Bradford (Park Avenue): Drench (trialist 81), Toulson, Lowe, Spencer, Branson, Havern, McKenna, Boshell (Nowakowski 71), Beesley, Dawson (Rowntree 74), trialist (trialist 54). Substitutes not used: Ross, Ali "

Blyth Spartans' "left-back Ian Watson hopes to turn the disappointment of the Gateshead defeat into positives.. Son of manager Alun, and former Spartan, Luke Armstrong, scored a hat-trick to inflict a 3-1 loss on Blyth, ending their pre-season campaign with three wins, one draw and two defeats...

Watson believes the Heed game has highlighted possible improvements... 'Maybe we needed to communicate a little bit better on the pitch; we were perhaps a little bit quiet... It was a typical pre-season friendly really but you never want to lose, especially a week before the season starts.'

Dan Maguire drew Spartans level just after the break before Armstrong added to his first-half strike with goals in the 75th and 88th minute to complete his treble.

While Watson admitted Armstrong 'probably was the difference' on the day, the former Spennymoor Town man insists Blyth have similar quality... 'We’ve got a centre-forward [Maguire] who can do that as well. On his day, he can do just as well as what Luke has done today'...

Yesterday proved to be a bit more than your standard pre-season game for Watson given he works as a Strength and Conditioning Coach for Gateshead".

Closer to home, FC Halifax Town reports that "After the 2-1 defeat to Boston United yesterday, the official website caught up with FC Halifax Town’s goal scorer, Dayle Southwell...

'To be honest, I don’t think we were good enough. In the first half we were poor, and they dominated the game. In the second half we wanted to come out the traps quickly and they seemed to get on top again. So overall, it wasn’t what we’d have liked from the last pre-season game'...

'It’s hard to get the ball down and play when it’s thundering down like that... but we can’t use that as an excuse'.

After trailing 2-0 at halftime, Town responded well in the second half as they moved into another gear and began to turn the screw. They couldn’t quite find an equaliser but Dayle did manage to get one back for the home side... Yesterday’s match was the final game of pre-season. It’s been a rollercoaster ride for this new-look FC Halifax Town side".


29 July 2018 Timings and fares for the above journeys can be found here.

Above: On 11 September Alty return to Spennymoor. Here Altrincham are seen taking to the field at The Brewery Field on a previous visit, in February 2004. Alty lost the game 2-1 on what was their first visit to Spennymoor since they had won there 4-0 in 2000-01. The Alty side in 2004 was 1. Stuart COBURN, 2. Steve ASPINALL, 3. Chris ADAMS, 4. Mark MADDOX (capt.), 5. Gary TALBOT, 6. Stephen ROSE, 7. Ged KIELTY, 8. Ian CRANEY, 9. Marcus HALLOWS, 10. Peter BAND, 11. Stuart WRIGHT. Subs: 12. Barry SHUTTLEWORTH, 14. Stephen LUNT, 15. Rod THORNLEY.

ALTRINCHAM 1-2 SALFORD CITY

Altrincham were the better side for substantial periods of the game but succumbed to a headed own goal by James Jones 12 minutes from time. The Ammies had taken the lead just before the interval when Alty allowed their concentration to lapse immediately after a long injury stoppage; who scored was a mystery to any non-City fans as the visitors had fielded all their players in unnumbered shirts.

Alty levelled the score a couple of minutes after the break. Hancock's excellent shot was pushed onto the post by the keeper who was challenged by Hulme as he went to re-gather the ball and the Alty striker netted against his former team.

Both sides omitted several of their established players from their squads, with the injured Densmore, Poole, Peers and Hannigan the most notable home absentees. New loan signing Brendon Daniels made his debut and trialists Downing, Bannister and Wynne all came on during the second half.

Right: As well as joint-owner Phil Neville, Salford City were also represented by former Alty defender Robbie Williams who is now on the Ammies' coaching staff. Both men are seen, right, at Saturday's game. ,P> A match report will be found on the Altrincham FC official website.

BRENDON DANIELS

In advance of his Alty debut, Port Vale stated that they could "confirm that Brendon Daniels (right) has been given permission to play for Altrincham on Saturday afternoon as they host Salford City. The winger has joined the National League North club on trial ahead of a potential short-term loan deal, which would see the winger move to Moss Lane on a temporary basis".

ALTY'S EARLY START!

The 2018-19 league season starts on Saturday, 4 August 2018 when Altrincham host Leamington.

For many years Howard Watts, and more recently Mike Garnett, have kindly supplied the website with their "Through the Years" data, recording previous matches played by Altrincham on a particular date.

However, Howard and Mike's records indicate that 4 August is the earliest date on which Altrincham have ever played a competitive match and, hence, there are no historical records for that date.

The second fixture of 2018-19 is on Tuesday, 7 August 2018 and the records show just one previous Altrincham competitive match as having taken place on that calendar date. That was in 1999 when Alty played Stalybridge Celtic in the Peter Swales Memorial Trophy match at home to Stalybridge Celtic, which Altrincham won 2-0.

As most Alty fans will know, Peter Swales, with his business partner Noel White, was responsible for turning round the fortunes of Altrincham FC in the early 1960s. Well-known for their pioneering [music] record shop in Grafton Street, where the late Grafton Mall was later situated, both Swales and White went on to be come important figures in football administration, with Swales becoming chairman at Manchester City and White at Liverpool and at the FA.

The Peter Swales Memorial Trophy was played annually between the winners of the Northern Premier League (now the EvoStik Premier) and the winners of the NPL's cup competition. Alty had won the NPL in 1999 and hence they were the hosts for the match.

Alty receive the trophy and medals on 7 August 1999. Left to right: Brendan Burke, Danny Adams, Ged Kielty, Keith Russell, Stuart Coburn, Dickie Landon, Chris Timons, Tony Hemmings, Jason Gallager and Paul Ellender. Manager Bernard Taylor is in the blue shirt on the right of the photo, with Ballboys/girls Coordinator Ray Armstrong in front of him.

However, in the above photo, we not only see the players but also, in the background (left), a group of Barrow supporters who had come to the game with placards to protest at the plight of their club following the tenure of Stephen Vaughan as chairman of the Bluebirds.

As the Chester Chronicle explained "He [Vaughan] bought the Cumbrian side in early 1995... A new stand and promotion to the Conference came during his tenure and inflated wages and signing-on fees were paid to attract players...

Vaughan resigned from Barrow in November 1998 and withdrew his financial backing, citing ongoing investigations into his business dealings and particularly his acquisition of Holker Street, being scrutinised by HM Customs and Excise...

The withdrawal of Vaughan's finances, on which the Cumbrian side had come to rely on so heavily, saw Barrow go bust in January 1999 and teter on the brink of extinction.

As would be the case for a Vaughan-owned team 11 years down the line, Barrow were expelled from the Conference and left in the lurch when the UniBond League refused to accept them, leaving the Bluebirds no option but to apply to the North West Trains League. The FA waded in to the argument, though, and ordered the UniBond League to accept Barrow or face the prospect of not being recognised by the English game's governing body". The NPL had to give way.

The demonstrators at Altrincham were aiming their protest at the FA and the NPL officials who were presenting the Peter Swales Memorial Trophy.

When Alty travel to Spennymoor Town on 11 August, the record is as shown on the Through the Years page.

VANARAMA NATIONAL LEAGUE NORTH NEWS

The National League writes... "So how exactly do you go about improving on a season which saw your underdogs win the FA Trophy at the death and end it all one game away from promotion? Brackley Town manager Kevin Wilkin doesn’t know the precise answer to that...

'The quality of the league doesn’t relent,' he said. 'It continues to be very challenging and we know we’ve got to dust ourselves down after last season, take all the positives out of it and start again. What we did last season doesn’t really have a bearing on what we’re likely to do this season. We draw confidence from where we were and the standards and levels we set and if we can achieve those again, we give ourselves a really good chance of being competitive again.'

Brackley’s cause isn’t helped by key departures. Top scorer Aaron Williams has gone to the team who broke their heart last May in the National League North Promotion Final. Harrogate came calling, as did Solihull Moors for defender Alex Gudger, despite them thinking he was staying.

'We’ve lost a couple of big players,' he told the National League’s Oli Osborn. 'At the end of the season because we had quite a prominent season you think [we] could potentially be a whole lot worse, but we’ve bought in what we think could be decent players in time, players that we can work with and hopefully develop again. It’s about finding out about individual and how they mould and gel together and that’s obviously what pre-season is about.

'We wanted to try and bring more options to the squad if at all possible. Hopefully the signs are that we’ve done that. I don’t think we’re finished with all our business just yet, but we’ll continue to work at it and hopefully we can get a face or two in before the start of the season.'

That’s the problem with the National League North. You look at the fixture list and rarely see a Saturday or a Tuesday when you expect your team to get three points. First of all they visit Bradford (Park Avenue) AFC, before much changed Alfreton visit with their promotion specialist in charge. Darlington at St James Park come soon after.

'Bradford’s never been a happy hunting ground for us to kick-off at; traditionally we’ve never done well there so we know that’s going to be a real challenge... They’re a strong side and it’s a difficult place to go. Alfreton will be good this season. Billy (Heath) has got out of this league and he understands the level, he’s a good manager and he’s made a lot of good signings, people that he’s worked with a lot in the past. I expect Alfreton to have a far more prominent season than perhaps they did last season...

'It’s going to be equally as challenging if not more challenging than it was last year but we’ve got a good idea of where we need to be at'".

From the Star on Saturday, we learn that Chesterfield boss "Martin Allen said today’s defeat at Alfreton was a lesson for all his players, the ones both on the pitch and in the stand. He fielded a mixed team with plenty of youngsters, along with some first teamers and fringe players. They were beaten 2-0 by a strong looking Alfreton, who now reside just a division below the Spireites.

Allen wasn’t pleased with everything he saw in the game. 'It was a mixed team, we had a few 17-year-olds playing,' he said. 'I thought there were some good things to happen and quite a few not so good things to happen... 'They were bigger, stronger and dominant and fully deserved to win.'

Allen said... 'It was a good reminder how important it is to compete when you play football. Some of the first team squad have done well this afternoon and some of them have not done so well'...

He rested a lot of the players who shone in last week’s draw with Wigan at the Proact because he feels they’re ready to go and other, younger players need opportunities to impress. 'The young players have got to step up, they need these opportunities... We can be looking at some of these boys to the first team squad, we can be looking at some of them to go out on loan'...

Alfreton possessed a physical, experienced frontline and both of their targetmen, Tom Denton and Rickard Peniket got on the scoresheet. 'That’s what it’s like,' said Allen. 'If you don’t like it or can’t deal with it then you can’t win. You’re not going to play against teams like Paul Cook’s Wigan very often. Aldershot are like that, but generally, any game you have to compete first and foremost before you can play'".

LEAGUE FOOTBALL ON TV

The English Football League "has confirmed its partnership with Quest, the Discovery-owned free-to-air TV channel powered by Eurosport, to become the new home of football highlights for the Sky Bet Championship, Sky Bet League One, Sky Bet League Two, Carabao Cup and Checkatrade Trophy. The partnership between the EFL and Quest will guarantee accessible high quality, free-to-air coverage for football fans across the country.

Kicking off from the 2018/19 season, the four-year deal will see Quest provide 90 minutes of extensive match highlights, hosted by Colin Murray, in primetime at 9pm every Saturday night. Quest will also broadcast 10 hour-long highlights shows capturing all the action from every round of midweek fixtures. In addition, Quest will present eight hour-long highlights shows from the Carabao Cup and Checkatrade Trophy as part of the arrangement.

Quest is available in 27 million homes across Freeview, Freesat, Sky, Virgin Media and BT TV. With a monthly reach of 12.4 million, Quest is Discovery’s largest channel in the UK, and enjoyed its best ever first-quarter performance in 2018... Each show will feature every goal from every EFL fixture plus in-depth analysis from a selection of expert pundits, hosted by Colin Murray who has proved a popular figure on the existing EFL highlights show and now joins Quest for the 2018/19 season...

Where to find Quest:

  • Freeview – 37
  • Sky – 144
  • Virgin – 172
  • Freesat – 167

28 July 2018

SALFORD CITY VISIT

Altrincham's final pre-season game is on Saturday (28th) at the J. Davidson Stadium against Salford City. Like Alty, the Ammies were promoted last season and they will ply their trade in the Vanarama National this season.

Altrincham last hosted Salford City on Saturday, 12 November 2016 in the National League North, with the visitors emerging the 2-0 victors.

For that game,Alty manager Jim Harvey rang the changes, leaving senior players Jake Moult, Damian Reeves, Tim Deasy, Simon Richman and Alan Goodall on the bench as Altrincham started with only one player who had been at the club the previous season (James Lawrie). There were three league debutants for this match (Obeng, Lenighan and Morrison-Derbyshire) but the afternoon ended with another defeat and The Robins ended the day nine points from safety.

Since then City have become full-time.

Altrincham boast at least five former Salford players or loanees in the shape of Jordan Hulme, John Johnston, James Poole, Josh Hancock and Tom Peers. For their part, Salford's squad includes striker Jack Redshaw and defender Carl Piergianni (pictured right when at Moss Lane).

Carl Piergianni joined Altrincham FC on open-ended work experience on 31 December 2010. A local lad to Peterborough, he had been a regular in the Posh reserves in 2010-11, before making six appearances for Spalding United when on loan there. In 2010-11 he made 21 appearances for Altrincham and scored four times.

Jack Redshaw (left) joined Alty from Salford City on 13 October 2011. Previously he had been at Manchester City and Rochdale before he signed for Salford City in March, 2011, and scored almost as many goals as he made appearances for the rest of the season. He made his Alty debut as a used sub against Vauxhall Motors on 15 October 2011 and soon started scoring, bagging four goals in his first 8 appearances. Jack made such an impression at Alty that Morecambe came in and signed him on 22 January 2012. However, on 26 January it was agreed that Jack would return to Moss Lane for a one-month loan. After 3(+1) more games and a further goal, Jack finally left for the Shrimps after the fixture on 25 February 2012. In all, his Altrincham appearances amounted to 14(+5) matches and 9 goals.

This Saturday, Salford arrive under new management with former Fleetwood boss Graham Alexander having replaced the management due of Bernard Morley and Anthony Johnson, who are now managers of Chester FC. Alexander has signed a number of high profile players, notably Adam Rooney who had previously enjoyed more than four years in the Scottish Premier with Aberdeen.

In their most recent friendly, the Ammies won 1-0 at Kingfield against Woking who, this season, will be operating in the National League South, at the same level as Altrincham.

LOAN SIGNING FOR ALTRINCHAM

The official site of Altrincham FC has reported the loan signing of Brendon Daniels (24) from Port Vale.

By way of background, Brendon (born 24.9.1993 in Stoke-on-Trent) is a left-winger who started out at Crewe Alexandra in May 2011 before former Alty boss Neil Young signed him for Chester FC on a month's loan. Next came a brief spell at Gateshead before he joined Tamworth at the start of 2014-15 season, at the end of which he signed for Harrogate Town.

For the following season he joined AFC Fylde (May 2016) but, once more, he made a summer move, this time to Alfreton Town for 2017-18 season. In May 2018 he joined Port Vale, initially on a six-month contract.

Brendon was one of the scorers for Fylde when they beat Alty 6-0 on 16 August 2016, the game that prompted Neil Young's departure. He also featured in the return fixture at Fylde that season. More recently he was in the Alfreton Town side beaten by Alty in the FA Trophy on 25 November, 2017.

OPEN DAY REMINDER

Altrincham FC has issued a reminder that there is to be an "Open Day at Altrincham FC on Sunday 29th July 2018 from 12.30pm to 3pm.

The team photo will be taken at 12.30pm and you can win a chance to have your picture taken with the team.

Season tickets will be on sale in the Community Sports Hall and, as well, there will be a chance to join the Patrons' Scheme before the draw is made at 2.30pm for hospitality packages for the Leamington game on August 4th.

You can also join the Monthly Draw or the Bonus Ball fundraising schemes; the July Monthly Draw will take place during the afternoon.

Tickets for the Southport v Altrincham game on August 14th will also be on sale. Southport are operating cashless turnstiles this season. Finally, the bar will be open on Sunday for refreshments and a chance to socialize with the players".

NEW MAIN STAND SPONSORS

Altrincham Football Club have announced "a sponsorship deal with Footy Accumulators for the upcoming 2018/2019 season. The agreement will see Altrincham FC’s main stand at The J.Davidson Stadium being renamed the 'FootyAccumulators.com Stand'"

For more on the deal, follow the above link to the official Altrincham FC site.

By way of background, Footyaccumulators describe themselves on their website as the "No.1 Community For Football Accumulator Betting".

They go on to say "We are a football betting community that brings you news, match previews, recommended bets, bookmaker offers and entertainment throughout the football season. We operate on a number of different channels, not only do we have our website but we have a large social media presence both on Instagram, Facebook and particularly on Twitter. Footy Accumulators began in 2010 and has gone from strength to strength by building a community around football betting".

SBC News adds that "Non-league Altrincham FC has renamed its main stand the FootyAccumulators.com Stand in time for the new season, after striking a sponsorship deal with Manchester-based CheckdMedia... It’s the first time CheckdMedia has officially partnered with a football team and follows previous sponsorship deals with professional boxer Charlie Edwards...

Lee Struggles, www.CheckdMedia.com Owner and Marketing Director, said 'We have always been big supporters of non-league football and see this as a great opportunity to not only partner with a great community club but also work together to produce exclusive and original content for one of CheckdMedia’s brands.'"

VANARAMA NATIONAL LEAGUE NORTH NEWS

The Boston Standard reports that "Craig Elliott let Kabongo Tshimanga leave Boston United because he didn’t want to ‘kill’ the striker’s career. Because last season’s 15-goal forward was under 23, the Pilgrims had the right to retain his services this campaign.

But Elliott told The Standard that he wanted to move his squad in a different direction, and felt it would be unfair to string Tshimanga along. 'Supporters see it as "Craig’s released whoever it is",' he explained. 'But players come to you and say "Am I going to be part of your plans?" We had a conversation and I could never give anybody guarantees. He wanted guarantees he’d be my number nine this year and I just couldn’t do that... We all know he’s a talent and he’ll go on to do well.'

Focus has changed at the Jakemans Stadium this campaign, with Elliott opting to work with a smaller squad, but with the emphasis on everyone being in contention for a starting berth.

'I do want this year, if I’m signing somebody, that they’re going to be part of it, they’re going to be trusted,' he added. 'That’s what I need to do. I don’t want to kill people’s careers. I’m going for quality over quantity and it’s important that everybody here is a big part of my plans.'"

Meanwhile, at Kidderminster Harriers, "Neil Macfarlane has completed his second signing in the space of a matter of hours by snapping up former Chester and Dover striker Kane Richards. A former Derby youngster, most of Kane’s senior football was played at Chester where he spent three seasons playing out wide or up front, before spells with Dover and, towards the end of last season, AFC Telford United.

Kane has been with Harriers for much of pre-season and sign[s] a deal until the end of the season as he bids to nail down a place in the competitive strike ranks at Aggborough."


27 July 2018

PHIL'S RECRUITMENT PLANS

Altrincham FC Press & Media Officer John Edwards's latest article for inclusion in the Sale and Altrincham Messenger is now on the Altrincham FC official site, as Phil Parkinson shapes his squad for the new campaign.

John Edwards's interview with Phil, following the Trafford FC friendly, is also on the Altrincham FC official site.

VANARAMA NATIONAL LEAGUE NORTH NEWS

The first visitors of the season to Altrincham will be Leamington who report that the "Brakes were given their usual tough test by Birmingham City’s Under-23 side, slipping to their first defeat of pre-season after taking an early lead.

With Paul Holleran away on holiday Martyn Naylor took charge for this game, and while there were plenty of positives to be gleaned from it he will also have seen areas for improvement.

Matt Stenson has certainly hit the ground running in a Brakes shirt, the summer signing from Barwell notching his fifth goal in friendly matches as early as the second minute, driving into the bottom corner from close range... following Chekaine Steele’s right-wing cross.

Kieran Morris acrobatically hooked a shot over the bar from an offside position as Leamington had the better of the opening half hour. James Bowen, making his first appearance since joining the club, also looked lively and showed particular willingness to drive forward when able to.

The recently signed [ex-Alty signing] Anthony Dwyer and Steele both looked useful on the wings, the former delivering a fine cross from the left which just eluded Stenson in front of goal.

Tony Breeden saved a low shot from Tommy Anderson as the young Blues began to settle into the game before half time, and they were level when Cameron McGilp cut the ball back from touch on the left for Francis Amartey to crash a smart volley inside the post...

Morris displayed his expertise with the long throw in, a weapon which will prove useful during the season...

The visitors hit the front on 54 minutes, Geraldo Bajrami’s fine ball out to Ollie McCoy on the right, who drove into the box and provided a fine low ball across goal which was finished off by Amartey at the far post.

Brakes were not as fluid as they had been in the first half but continued to show flashes of what they were capable of, Dwyer whipping in a free kick that Edwards met with his head... Tom James almost fashioned the unlikeliest of equalisers...

Leamington: Tony Breeden, Shay Nicholson (12 Junior English), James Bowen (Tom James), Jack Edwards, Joe Magunda, Kieran Morris (Connor Gudger), Chekaine Steele, Kieran Dunbar, Matt Stenson, Connor Taylor (Taylor Morrison), Anthony Dwyer. Sub not used: Brad Caswell".

Bradford (Park Avenue) manager "Mark Bower has secured the services of Salford City’s forward Jake Beesley on a season-long loan. Beesley who is the son of ex-Sheffield United and Leeds United centre-back Paul Beesley, joined Salford in June 2017 and made 23 appearances last season before going on loan to fellow National League North side Boston United. Beesley has spent most of his career at Chesterfield where he made his league debut in November 2016 against Fleetwood Town."

The Telegraph & Argus adds that "Bradford (Park Avenue) manager Mark Bower was left bemused after his side failed to convert their dominance into goals in their 2-0 defeat to Huddersfield Town Academy in the Yorkshire Rose Cup.

However his forward line has been boosted by the signing of striker Jake Beesley from National League side Salford City...

Another former Leeds player has also joined the club this week. Chris Dawson, 23, played in midfield for the Elland Road side and has also featured for Rotherham United at Championship level.

Injuries have hampered his career progress so far, but a string of outstanding displays as an Avenue trialist in pre-season persuaded the club to take him on full-time.

Dawson made his debut as a permanent signing against Huddersfield and Bower struggled to comprehend his side's defeat, saying 'We had so much of the ball in their half so it's very frustrating that we haven't scored. We had the likes of Mark Ross, Nicky Clee, Oli Johnson and Shane Killock not available tonight though and they should be OK for the start of the season. We are a little bit short up front with losing Adam Boyes too but I'm still a bit disappointed with the performance, and we'll need to do better against a strong National League side in Barrow on Saturday.'

Bower wants to use that clash as a barometer for their league season, saying 'I don't think there's much to choose between Barrow and a lot of the teams in our division. It will be a good test for us to find out exactly where we are'".

The National League tells us that "Southport manager Liam Watson knows there may be 'no Salford City' in the National League North next season...

The Port’s excellent pre-season has seen encouragement heighten ahead of the new campaign. On Tuesday night they drew 1-1 with League One Accrington Stanley. That followed Saturday’s excellent 3-0 win over Barrow.

Watson returns to AFC Telford United on the opening day of the season and he doesn’t expect to make any more new signings.

'We look fit, especially going into the latter stages of games,' Watson said to the club’s audio service. 'It’s a tough league which many will think they can win. If you get two points a game you are going to be there or thereabouts next season. We do have attacking options which is really encouraging. There’d always work to do leading up to the first day of the season. They have worked hard. They’ve all done days on the track and time in the sand dunes.

'It’s not just Telford, it’s three tough games bang bang bang; all the squad will be used. That’s it now, the squad’s in place. We’ve got great competition for places now and everyone is fighting for their spot.'"

Chester FC "are delighted to announce a double loan swoop from National League side Salford City". They report that "Defender Danny Livesey and striker Anthony Dudley arrive at the Swansway Chester Stadium on deals until the end of the season.

21-year-old Dudley scored 11 goals in 37 National League North appearances last term... He came through the youth ranks at Bolton and then Bury... Anthony has also had successful National League loan spells with Guiseley and Macclesfield before a permanent switch to Salford last summer, playing an integral part in Salford promotion campaign.

33-year-old Livesey adds further experience to an already promising defensive line up... He’s won the National League North before and this season will be pushing for his 3rd promotion from this level in the last 4 years with Salford last season and also Barrow in 2015, where he lined up alongside fellow Blue Simon Grand. Danny amassed almost 300 appearances for Carlisle United between 2004 and 2014.

Joint Manager Anthony Johnson was thrilled to complete the double signing, and he said, 'We’ve had both players on our radar as soon as we came to Chester. For us it was a game of wait and see as we knew Salford City have their own ‘irons in the fire’ and we didn’t want to commit to other things when we knew these deals could potentially come off. Anthony’s goals to starts ratio is as good as anyone’s and he scored some massive goals for us last season. Quick, strong, direct, [he] can play with his back to goal and work in behind defenders and has a fantastic strike on him.

'Danny is another very experienced player who has only ever known playing in teams that compete at the top end of leagues... These are both huge statements of intent for us, we’re extremely delighted to welcome them both to Chester Football Club'".

In addition, "Chester Football Club are pleased to announce the signing of teenage goalkeeper Theo Roberts".

Our neighbours, Stockport County report that "The Hatters turned in an impressive attacking display at Warrington... Matty Warburton, together with summer signings Connor Dimaio, Frank Mulhern and [ex-Alty loanee] Nyal Bell, converted four excellent strikes in the course of a 4-1 victory against ‘The Wire’ that, following two friendly defeats (including, most recently, one by the same score) at Edgeley Park, ensured a 100 per cent winning record away from home for the Hatters in pre-season.

County took to the field at Cantilever Park showing five changes from the line-up in SK3 against Everton’s Under-23s three days earlier. Dimaio, who had been unavailable since the opening friendly match at Halifax due to a bereavement, trialist Kallum Mantack and goalkeeper Ian Ormson were handed their first starts of the month, while Adam Thomas and Bell also featured, within a 4-4-2 formation, from the outset. Ben Hinchliffe, Scott Duxbury, Sam Minihan, Darren Stephenson and Sam Walker, having made way, were all named among the substitutes...

The Hatters took an early, if slightly unexpected, lead. Warburton... gave the home goalkeeper no chance with a low drive from 25 yards that flew into the bottom-left corner... Just after the first half’s midway-point, County’s lead was doubled, as Bell, who had also been involved in the build-up to Warburton’s opener, nodded down for Dimaio to half-volley home.

Only a minute passed before that advantage was halved...

Former County [and Alty] striker, Josh Amis, who replaced Brodie on the hour, went close... as he glanced a header against the bar, from a corner on the right. The Hatters hit back... Then, with 13 minutes remaining, they extended their lead when Mulhern raced on to Ormson’s long clearance and buried his shot in the bottom left.

And one minute from the end, Bell added his name to the scoresheet with another well-taken goal...

Team: Ormson, Cowan, Mantack (Duxbury, 83), Turnbull (Capt.) (Walker, 46), Palmer (Downing, 46), Smalley, Thomas (Minihan, 83), Dimaio, Mulhern (Stephenson, 79), Warburton, Bell. Unused Sub: Hinchliffe".

Over at York City "Centre-back Joe Tait has become... City's eighth new signing of the summer. Tait, 28, has impressed on trial... Born in Middlesbrough, Tait started his career at Hartlepool United but moved to the USA in 2009... He spent two years playing 'college soccer' before joining the professional ranks with the Dayton Dutch Lions and Major League Soccer outfit Philadelphia Union.

Tait returned to his native north-east in September 2012, playing under City manager Martin Gray as Darlington 1883 won the Northern Football League Division One title. He joined Conference side Gateshead in May 2013 but returned to Darlington midway through the 2013-14 season on loan.

After being released by Gateshead in summer 2014, Tait joined Spennymoor Town and helped the club win back-to-back promotions to National League North. He made over 100 appearances and scored 31 goals for the Moors but rejected the offer of a new contract this summer.

City manager Martin Gray said, 'I had Joe for a few years when I was manager of Darlington and gained promotions with him. He's someone I really trust as a person and he's gone on to do very well at this level for Spennymoor Town. He is a natural leader and very, very vocal,' Gray added. 'He's a really strong individual and, as a character, he brings an awful lot. We need leaders, winners, personalities and - with the players we have brought in this summer - we have got a lot of that now.'"


26 July 2018

OPEN DAY REMINDER

Altrincham FC has issued a reminder that there is to be an "Open Day at Altrincham FC on Sunday 29th July 2018 from 12.30pm to 3pm.

The team photo will be taken at 12.30pm and you can win a chance to have your picture taken with the team.

Season tickets will be on sale in the Community Sports Hall and, as well, there will be a chance to join the Patrons' Scheme before the draw is made at 2.30pm for hospitality packages for the Leamington game on August 4th.

You can also join the Monthly Draw or the Bonus Ball fundraising schemes; the July Monthly Draw will take place during the afternoon.

Tickets for the Southport v Altrincham game on August 14th will also be on sale. Southport are operating cashless turnstiles this season. Finally, the bar will be open on Sunday for refreshments and a chance to socialize with the players".

For details of the cashless turnstiles system, visit the Southport website.

Above: On their last league visit to Haig Avenue, Alty lost 3-0 to Southport in August 2015.

TRAFFORD VIEWS

Altrincham FC's official site has a match report on the game at Trafford on Tuesday night, "a victory that makes it played six, won five, lost one in a positive pre-season programme that culminates with an eagerly-anticipated home game against Salford on Saturday, kick-off 3pm."

For their part, Trafford report that their "centre back Sam Egerton suffered a suspected broken ankle and faces a lengthy spell on the side-lines as his team fell to a 2-1 defeat at the hands of a slick Altrincham side.

The visitors were on top in the early stages... In the 21st minute disaster struck when Egerton was off balance when challenging John Johnson, fell awkwardly and was taken to hospital for an x-ray... The visitors took the lead when Jordan Hulme chested in from close range after good work by Johnson.

Alty were in control once again at the start of the second half but Trafford manager Tom Baker made a number of substitutions that appeared to breathe greater fire, urgency and pace into his side. And, with virtually his first touch, Chris Palmer curled a glorious shot into the opposite top corner from the right to make it 1-1.

Trafford’s joy was to be short-lived, however, and after carelessly conceding possession in midfield, Altrincham substitute Sean Williams strode forward and unleashed a low drive from 20 yards that deflected past James Coates.

Mark Derbyshire then saw his goalbound header cleared off the line but the visitors finished the stronger with Josh Hancock chipping wide, with just Coates to beat, and John Johnson whistling a drive past the upright from 20 yards".

ALTY'S SUMMER SIGNING TO PLAY AGAINST US!

Altrincham open their new league season with a home match against Leamington on Saturday, 4 August and The Brakes report that a player who joined Alty this summer will now be playing against The Robins in that match!

The explanation comes from Leamington, as their boss "Paul Holleran has announced that he has been able to add both Checkaine Steele and Anthony Dwyer (right) to his squad as Brakes enter the final week of pre season.

Steele has featured in all four of Leamington’s friendly fixtures so far and has been heavily involved in both creating and scoring goals in the two wins and two draws... while Dwyer was introduced in the 3-0 win at The Oval, scoring the opening goal, and has also impressed.

‘We have reached agreeement with both Chekaine and Anthony and both have been added to the squad,’ said the manager.

Checkaine was a good player at this level for Worcester City a couple of seasons ago and has good experience but he has had a few setbacks with injuries. However he has been with us since the beginning of pre season and is fully fit and raring to go, which is evident with the impact he has made in our games so far.'

The 21 year-old signed for AFC Telford United last summer after spending the 2016/17 campaign with Worcester following his release from Port Vale but left without making an appearance as he was plagued by injury problems, moving on to Hednesford Town before spending the second half of the season at Sutton Coldfield Town.

‘Anthony was a player that we enquired about last season. He became available in the last couple of weeks, so we’ve been able to take a look at him in the last two games and he has done well. Both lads bring something different to the squad and will give us more strength in depth.’

Anthony also started last season with Telford... He followed a similar path to Steele in moving on to Hednesford in March before signing for Altrincham in the close season, but a change in his personal circumstances saw him leave the newly promoted club, and Holleran made his move. The 21 year old came through the ranks at Mansfield Town and has also played for Stafford Rangers, Matlock Town and Ilkeston.

The manager also explained why Liam Canavan has not been seen during pre-season. ‘The reason Liam has not been involved at all during pre-season is that he has been relocated with his job, and is down near Bournemouth at the moment. This is something we will have to work with as we go along, but he will not be involved with us for the foreseeable future.’"

VANARAMA NATIONAL LEAGUE NORTH NEWS

The Chester Standard reports that "Anthony Johnson says it was 'hard to tell who the League Two side was', after seeing his enterprising Chester team hold Morecambe to a 2-2 pre-season draw.

The Blues twice fell behind to goals from Andrew Fleming and Jason Oswell but levelled up firstly through Steve Howson’s first-half header and later with Gary Roberts’s 87th minute penalty.

There are plenty of positives to take from Chester’s past two performances against Football League opposition, following last weekend’s 1-0 defeat to Bury, with the Blues beginning to display the work-rate, hunger and organisation which have become synonymous with joint-managers Bernard Morley and Johnson.

'Towards the end of the game, you wouldn’t know who the League Two side was', Johnson said. 'I’m not talking fitness, I’m talking organisation, what we look like with and without the ball. I’m pleased with the performance and I was very pleased with the performance on Saturday as well. Competing with two League Two sides and looking the part is obviously pleasing but the main job is keeping our feet on the ground because there’s always that case that the team lower down the pyramid competes that little bit more.

'The way we played and the way we applied ourselves was well above where we are in the pyramid. We’re probably well ahead of where I thought we would be at this stage of pre-season. There’s still a few little things, like Steve (Howson) going to ground for the penalty, but overall pretty pleased.'

Chester’s lack of a cutting edge cost them at times, but overall, they set were set up to soak up pressure before countering quickly and directly, something Johnson was keen to stress post-match.

'We don’t keep the ball for the sake of it,' he explained. 'We keep the ball to go forward and try to create stuff. When we got it out wide and got crosses into the box, I thought we were the better team by a long stretch for parts of the game. How often do you see it where you miss at one end and they go up the other end and score? Yes, he might have dived but they got the goal because of Steve’s original mistake on halfway. But his performance was 10 out of 10, outstanding. As a back three, what a performance over the two games.'

Johnson moved to allay fears over the muscle injury sustained by skipper Scott Burton after just 12 minutes, who is likely to miss Saturday's final warm-up match against Everton Under 23s... 'It’s in our head a bit because maybe it was avoidable,' Johnson added... 'Hopefully it is nothing too serious, not a tear, just a bit of tightness. Hopefully it’s not too serious. Sometimes if you think it’s not serious, they end up being serious. It’s disappointing as we thought we’d start those two (Burton and Stopforth) because Robbo has had a lot of minutes lately, but when he came on he was outstanding.'

Off the pitch, Chester FC "announce that Secretary Tony Allan will be leaving the club to take up a similar position at FC Halifax Town. Tony returned for his third spell as Club Secretary at the Swansway Chester Stadium back in 2015. He had spells in 2002 until 2010 previously, as well as during the 90s".

Across the Pennines, Bradford (Park Avenue) "confirm the signing of 23-year-old midfielder Chris Dawson, subject to FA approval. Dawson joins having represented Bradford as a trialist during pre-season and impressing Mark Bower with a string of outstanding displays...

He began his career with Leeds United and was handed his debut by Neil Warnock in April 2013, being named in the starting eleven for a Championship clash with Derby County. During his time with Leeds, he was capped by Wales at under-21 level and likened to the legendary Johnny Giles by Whites boss Warnock.

Injuries hindered his progress at Elland Road and led to his release in January 2016. He was snapped up by Rotherham United, but found first-team opportunities limited and had to join Norwegian side Viking FK on loan in order to play first-team football. The midfielder left the Millers at the end of the 2016/17 season before spending a prolonged period on the sidelines with an anterior cruciate ligament injury. He then spent the second half of the 2017/18 campaign with Scarborough Athletic as he looked to regain match fitness."

Still in Yorkshire, the Telegraph & Argus says that "Guiseley claimed their second Football League scalp of pre-season with a fine win over Championship side Bolton at Nethermoor... Former Bradford City boss Phil Parkinson named former Bantams [and ex-Alty keeper] Ben Williams [seen, right, when on loan at Alty in 2003-04 season] and Stephen Darby in a line-up which also included experienced players Mark Little, Adam Le Fondre, Will Buckley and new signing Pawel Olkowski.

The Lions, who included four of their new signings in the starting line-up, survived an early scare... Midfieldman Alex Purver pressed his claims for a place in Guiseley’s starting line-up when the campaign gets underway at Boston on Saturday week, with a fine goal. He dispossessed Olkowski in the sixth minute before advancing and placing a 20-yard shot beyond keeper Williams who is currently on trial with Bolton...

Guiseley looked confident and attacked with purpose whenever the opportunity arose. Full back Cliff Moyo linked up with the attack well and Williams had be alert to cut out a dangerous cross as Kayode Odejayi closed in. The home side’s bright play was rewarded again when the pacy Curtis Morrison found the net from a cross by Niall Heaton who had been on the books at Bradford City when Parkinson was in charge at Valley Parade.

It looks as if the new management team of Marcus Bignot and Russ O’Neill have assembled a squad with a desire to attack which will certainly win the approval of the Nethermoor faithful after the soporific fare on offer during last season’s National League relegation.

Goalkeeper Joe Green proved his worth when he saved a pacy free-kick from former Newcastle player Ameobi...

The Lions found themselves under pressure again at the start of the second period... Guiseley were having to dig in as they were unable to find the fluency which marked their earlier play. Corners and set-pieces were causing problems but still the Lions managed to keep their goal intact...

The home resistance was finally broken in the 67th minute when Hall stabbed home a loose ball from close range... Bradford-born striker Clayton Donaldson, a summer signing from Sheffield United and experienced defender David Wheater were among a number of experienced personnel introduced by Bolton in the second half. It said much for the character of the new-look Guiseley side that they stood up to the test and made victory safe with a late goal.

Guiseley were awarded a penalty which Reece Thompson fired past Williams after Vela upended a Guiseley trialist...

Guiseley: Green, Moyo, Purver, Heaton, Halls, Flowers, Hatfield, James, Odejayi, A Trialist Morrison. Subs: Lazenby, Worsnop, Smith, Thornton, Clayton, Thompson, Gomersal, Hussain, Paley, 3 Trialists "

And, further east, Lincolnshire Live tells us that "Craig Elliott issued a blunt warning to the under-performing members of his squad following Boston United’s 4-1 defeat to Lincoln City. The Pilgrims boss is unhappy with the form of some of his new signings and is ready make changes. Elliott admitted some players could even be moved out of the club before the season opener against Guiseley on August 4.

'I’m not happy with certain players if I’m being totally honest,' said Elliott. 'I’ve expected more from certain players. You’ve got to go with your gut. There’s no point waiting for September or October to make those decisions, you’ve got to make them now. That’s why you have friendlies like this, to see where you can improve.'

The Pilgrims took an early lead through Jonathan Wafula. Bruno Andrade soon equalised for the Imps, but United completed well with their League Two opponents for the first hour before the Imps ran away with the game with goals from Shay McCartan, Harry Anderson and Andrade.

'In the first half there were a lot of positives',added Elliott. 'But in the second half it was difficult to take any positives. I always expected Lincoln to come on strong. They have a lot of power and ultimately won the game, but it was the manner of it that disappointed me. There’s three or four players who needed to find somewhere else to play because they’re not for me at the minute. When your gut is telling you that certain players are not up to standard, then it’s better they play elsewhere. I don’t want to mess any players about, it’s got to be done...

'It’s been in training and in the last couple of friendlies. My gut is telling me certain things and, as a manager, you’ve got to act on that. I’d be foolish to bury my head in the sand. You could use excuses and say it’s only pre-season and that it’ll come together, but it doesn’t happen like that. Football isn’t about luck, it’s about hard work, combinations and chemistry. At the moment there are certain bits that I’m not happy with'".

Tranmere Rovers report that "It was victory at Victory Park, [Chorley], for Rovers as a Connor Jennings's goal in the second half was enough for a 1-0 win. It was a slow start to the game by both sides...

Chorley had their first bit of action in the Rovers half. Louis Almond forced a good stop by new loan signing Shamal George before McNulty cleared the danger. On the 14th minute, a quick Chorley counter attack resulted in the striker squeezing a shot underneath George from the edge of the box however Ellis was round well to cover his team mate on the line.

Rovers’ main source of joy was coming down the left...

Tranmere made an array of substitutions at half time... The deadlock was finally broken in the 69th minute. Smith drove into the opposition half and cleverly picked out Jennings inside the box in acres of space. He calmly slotted past the keeper to put Rovers ahead

Chorley were still posing a threat up front as they pumped crosses into the Tranmere box".


25 July 2018

TRAFFORD 1-2 ALTRINCHAM

In their penultimate pre-season friendly on Tuesday night, Altrincham narrowly overcame their near neighbours Trafford thanks to goals by Jordan Hulme and Sean Williams. In a well-contested game, Altrincham took the lead shortly before the interval when Jordan Hulme converted a nod back from the back post by trialist Bay Downing, from Connor Hampson's fine cross from the left.

But the hosts drew level after 65 minutes when Palmer drove home an excellent shot from the edge of the box. With both sides making numerous second-half changes, Altrincham settled the match twelve minutes fromtime when Sean Williams's deflected shot found the back of the net.

Altrincham included three trialists in their squad. In addition to Downing and Bannister, who had played for Alty previously in pre-season, goalkeeper Elliot Wynne (right) shared second-half goalkeeping duties with Andrew Jones. Wynne had previously impressed against Altrincham when keeping goal for Abbey Hey in the Emirates FA Cup First Qualifying Round in 2017.

ALTRINCHAM: Thompson, Bannister, Hampson, Hannigan, Goulding, Moult, Johnston, Harrop, Hulme, Hancock, Downing. Subs: White, J. Jones, Williams, A. Jones, E. Wynne.

Altrincham complete their pre-season with a home match against Salford City on Saturday (3pm).

MILLER AND ROKKA MOVE ON

The Altrincham FC official website announces that both Sean Miller and Elliot Rokka have been released from their pre-season trials.

Sean joined Alty in early June 2016 from Connah’s Quay Nomads, as one of manager Neil Young's signings. A speedy winger, he had earlier been in Chester's youth system, when Neil Young was manager there. At Connah's Quay he was Players’ Player of the Year and Supporters’ Player of the Year as well as being top scorer. He was also named Welsh Premier League Young Player of the Year in 2015.

He missed most of 2016-17 pre-season through injury, making his first appearance in a friendly against Witton Albion on 1 August 2016 and made his Altrincham competitive debut as a substitute on 9 August 2016 at FC Halifax Town.

Despite suffering a couple of injuries, Sean made a very positive impression at Altrincham, with 10 goals in 19(+5) appearances up to the point where he signed an extended contract on 14 January 2017. But he then missed several months of the rest of the season through injury. Nevertheless, he finished as leading scorer for the club, despite not figuring in any of the final 22 matches of the league season.

In 2016-17 he made just three starts and ten appearances from the bench as he recovered fitness and he spent part of the season on loan at Colne and then at Trafford. In all, Sean made 22(+15) appearances for Altrincham, scoring 11 goals

Elliot Rokka (aged 22) played in the first five pre-season games of 2018, scoring once (at Kidsgrove). Elliot (pictured above, right) is a Warrington-born winger, who started out at Manchester United. He joined Tranmere Rovers last summer after three years at Radcliffe Borough, where he had won the Evo-Stik League Young Player of the Season award. After a season playing for Rio Maior in Portugal, he joined Macclesfield Town.

VANARAMA NATIONAL LEAGUE NORTH NEWS

NL Today reports that "Striker Adam Boyes has joined Spennymoor Town ahead of the 2018/19 season. Avenue beat a number of clubs to the signature of the 27-year-old last summer, as he joined on a two-year deal following his release by Guiseley AFC.

The forward had netted 101 goals in 335 matches at National League and National League North level prior to his move to the Horsfall Stadium but is also well-known for his hold-up play and all-round work rate.

Upon joining Avenue, Boyes linked up again once more with manager Mark Bower, who managed him as Guiseley achieved promotion to the National League, the striker netting 24 goals in the promotion-winning campaign. Starting his career at York City, the front man earned a six-figure move to then-Championship side Scunthorpe United as a teenager.

Spells with Kidderminster Harriers, Barrow AFC and Gateshead followed before Bower took Boyes to Guiseley in January 2013... He was also a member of the York squad that played in the FA Trophy Final that year.

Boyes told https://spennymoortownfc.co.uk, 'The negotiations have been going on for a long time, so I can’t wait to get started. As soon as I spoke to Jason I knew Spennymoor was the club for me as I know a few of the lads already here and it’s an ambitious club that wants to go up through the leagues. The past few years I’ve been on my own up front so hopefully me and Glen Taylor, who has scored a lot of goals over the years, can form a good partnership together. I will always work hard and play with passion for the shirt, and hopefully I can keep up my record of scoring goals'".

From NL Daily we learn that "Ashton United have announced the signing of midfielder Bohan Dixon. The 6’4 midfielder signs for the Robins having previously played for Stockport County during the 2017/18 campaign. Dixon started his career at Kingsley United and spent spells at other clubs before eventually being spotted by Accrington Stanley.

He made ten league appearances for the Lancashire based side before moving back down to non-League, this time with a permanent move to Lincoln City in 2013. Since then he has played for numerous clubs including Stalybridge Celtic, Northwich Victoria, Salford City and AFC Fylde. He won league titles with the latter two clubs in the list and was a virtual ever-present in AFC Fylde’s romp to the National League North Title in 2016/17.

Regarding this signing Jody Banim had the following to say 'I’m delighted to sign Bohan, he has a wealth of experience in this league and once he improves his sharpness and fitness, he’ll be a real asset to the club. It’s also a real coup for us as a football club to attract players of the calibre of Bohan. It shows how far we’ve come in a short space of time.'"

TELEVISED GAMES

The Vanarama National League has announced that "a further three games have been selected for live broadcast on BT Sport 1 and BT Sport 4K UHD.

  • AFC Fylde v Harrogate Town, Monday August 27th, 5.15pm KO
  • Havant & Waterlooville v Aldershot Town, Wednesday 5th September, 7.45pm KO
  • Ebbsfleet United v Gateshead, Saturday 8th September, 5.15pm KO

24 July 2018

ALTY AT TRAFFORD

Altrincham travel the short distance to Shawe View to take on Trafford FC tonight (Tuesday). As previously reported Trafford convincingly beat our National League North rivals Ashton United 3-0 on Saturday so it should be a competitive game. The match will also afford Alty supporters the opportunity to see several ex-Moss Laners who are on former Alty reserve and Trafford manager Tom Baker's books at Trafford. They include Alty youth team graduates Harry Sheridan and Darius Palma, former first-team players Laurence Taylor, Aaron Burns and James Coates, as well as Tom Schofield (a former trialist at Moss Lane).

CREWE MATCH

The Altrincham FC official site has a match report on the game against Crewe, last Friday.

OLD BOY BORIS JOINS BRECHIN

The Hallmark Security League reports that "The former Sandbach United striker Boris Melingui [pictured right in his Altrincham days] is the latest player to step up from our league into the senior ranks, after signing a semi-professional contract with Brechin City in the Scottish Football League One.

After impressing in pre-season trials for Brechin, the French national, who played for Sandbach in both the 2016/17 and 2017/18 campaigns as well as appearing for Leek Town was offered a contract. He made a good start to his career at Glebe Park, scoring in the 17th minute of his new side's BetFred Cup tie at Stirling Albion, helping Brechin to a 2-1 win and their first competitive victory for a year in their first game of the season.

Sandbach United's Mike Senior said, 'I remember when the manager Andy Hockenhull brought Boris into the team a few years ago and he was a bit of an unknown quantity, having originally come to the UK for trials with Stoke City. But it was through a different connection that he ended up at Sandbach United and at the time we were starting to get a bit of a notice as a club that can connect and move players higher on the football pyramid. Boris has a fantastic work ethic and is a quiet and unassuming player who gives 110% every game. He became an instant hit with the staff and players at the club and the fans, who made up a song especially for him. We first heard it on an away trip to Holker Old Boys for a league visit, due to his dogged determination to win and fair play.

'Not the tallest striker in the league, he had great presence and could be a real handful as can be seen in his playing record of 22 games, 14 goals and 7 MoM awards and could change a game in the blink of an eye.... Of course after the first season it was already clear that he had the ability to step up and arrangements were made to get him in at Leek Town for higher level football where he dual registered for 2017/18, and the rest became history as he moved upwards'".

Footnote: Boris was a member of the Altrincham FC Youth team in 2014/15 and later played for the reserves. He made a substitute appearance in the Cheshire Senior Cup match against Crewe Alexandra in February 2016.

CREWE'S VIEWS

Crewe Alexandra report that manager "David Artell was delighted to see his Crewe Alexandra enter a new gear against Altrincham in our latest pre-season game...

Artell told the club’s official website, 'We scored three really good goals inside 20 minutes and were certainly more ruthless than we have been... We looked a threat every time we attacked in the first half and we could have scored more. It was really pleasing to see because we played some good stuff but there is no one getting carried away... We took our foot off the gas in the second half and we have spoken about that to them but I thought we were far more dynamic at Altrincham.'

Crewe also report that "David Artell says that some of the first-team were given time to recover from some knocks and strains and that is why they didn’t feature at Altrincham. The likes of Shaun Miller, James Jones, George Ray and Lewis Reilly were all not involved after given time to recuperate...

David explained, 'Not everyone was involved against Altrincham. Some of them needed a rest. It was just a precaution and you tend to get knocks and muscle strains at this stage of the pre-season'".

VANARAMA NATIONAL LEAGUE NORTH NEWS

The Chester Chronicle reports that "Chester FC's... bosses Anthony Johnson and Bernard Morley are well aware of the need to add a striker to their ranks...

Chester had been close to securing the services of a forward from a National League club towards the end of last week but have found their efforts to get the deal over the line frustrated... 'We thought we were close with one but then we were told that they may be a fee involved and that has changed things,' said Johnson. 'We know what we have left in the budget and we have to be smart with how we spend it and it may be a case of playing the waiting game. We aren't going to be signing players for the sake of it. There are a lot of strikers out there but it is a case of signing the right player who can make a difference and fits in with how we want to play here.

'It's a busy couple of days ahead for me and Bernard and we'll be spending a lot of time on the phone and trying to see what options we have. But there is no panic about the situation and we have some great options in the final third. You look at the likes of Matty Hughes, Dan Mooney, George Green and Craig Mahon, all creative players that carry a threat. Then there is young Lloyd (Marsh-Hughes) who has been superb in pre-season. We know we need to address the situation and we are in the process of doing so. We have to make sure the signings we make are the right ones, though.'

One striker who Chester continue to run the rule over is former Plymouth Argyle and Oldham Athletic forward Deane Smalley, with the 29-year-old having pleased the managers since coming in on trial at the beginning of pre-season. He and the trialist striker from a League One side who featured as a second half substitute against Bury will both get another run out when the Blues play host to Morecambe at the Swansway Chester Stadium on Tuesday night".

We read in the Shields Gazette that "South Shields continued their preparations for the new season with an impressive performance in a 2-2 draw with Blyth Spartans on Saturday. The teams could not be separated at Mariners' Park as National League North outfit Blyth came from two goals down in the first half to take a share of the spoils.

Shields joint managers Lee Picton and Graham Fenton were left to reflect on a great deal of positives... It was Spartans who came out of the blocks the quicker, though, with Dan Maguire finding the net within a minute. Fortunately for the Mariners, the flag was up for offside.

Shields broke the deadlock in the ninth minute... Former Shields loanee Pete Jameson did a terrific job in the Blyth goal to keep his side’s deficit at one, clawing away a Craig Baxter cross before denying a trialist... He could do nothing to prevent the hosts doubling their lead on 20 minutes, though, as the pressure paid off...

Blyth pulled one back in the 33rd minute when the prolific Maguire was played in on goal and made no mistake as he slotted past Liam Connell... Spartans got back on level terms a minute into first half stoppage time when a Connell parry fell to the feet of Michael Liddle, who blasted the ball into the net".

According to Lincolnshire Live, "Boston United boss Craig Elliott says he is looking to build key relationships with managers at higher-league clubs. Elliott was grateful to Chesterfield boss Martin Allen for passing on some pearls of wisdom following the 1-1 draw between the Pilgrims and the Spireites earlier this month.

The United boss is also looking forward to meeting up with the Cowleys when Lincoln City visit the Jakemans Stadium for a friendly (Tuesday)...

'I’m looking forward to meeting the Cowleys,' he said. 'This is the reason for these sorts of friendlies. I had a really good 20-minute chat with Martin Allen after the Chesterfield game. He’s a really engaging character and I’ve got a lot of respect for what he’s done in the game. He gave me some really good bits of advice. I can’t speak highly enough of him. Hopefully, they like what they see at Boston because, you never know, we might need each other somewhere down the line. It’s important that we make a good impression on each other.'

Meanwhile, Elliott is pleased with the wave of optimism surrounding the club ahead of the new season. Following a strong end to last season and some impressive summer signings, there is genuine belief among fans that the Pilgrims can challenge for promotion...

'It’s a fine balance because you want to raise expectation levels,' he said. 'People need to stay realistic too because it’s a tough league which includes some big teams who have also been making some good signings. But you want people to feel excited. I certainly do, like I do every pre-season. As long as people’s expectations are realistic, that’s fine.'"

The Boston Standard adds that "A target man is top of Boston United’s shopping list. Manager Craig Elliott admitted he needed more muscle in attack after watching his side’s 3-2 County Cup defeat to Lincoln United. 'I’ve always felt we needed a bit of a physical presence up front, so that’s ongoing but that’s an area we need to improve on,' he said.

Trialists Jack Vann and Lamin Colley will not be offered Boston United deals, although Harry Middleton, Sam Topliss and Gary McSheffrey remain on the club’s radar. 'They’ve gone, we’ve sorted them out last week,' Elliott said. 'I’m not sure where they’ve ended up.'”

At Chorley, "Chief Executive Officer Dave Riche has stepped down from his role at Chorley FC with immediate effect after guiding the off-field business of the Club throughout the 2017-18 season. Riche took the position at Victory Park in the summer of 2017 as the operational leader of non-footballing activities at the Club".


23 July 2018

NEXT GAME

On Tuesday, Altrincham travel to play their neighbours Trafford at Shawe View (7.45pm).

Admission prices are adults £5, concessionaries £3 and "U23s" £1

Above: Alty at Trafford in 2017 pre-season; left to right Jake Moult, Josh Hancock, Jordan Hulme and Sam Sheridan

The sides met on August 5th 2017 when Alty lost 1-0 at Shawe View in a pre-season game marred by what proved to be a serious injury to John Disney.

TRAFFORD: 1. Grant Shenton, 2. Ally Brown, 3. Declan Rydings, 4. Chris Palmer (c), 5. Josh Granite, 6. Paul Linwood, 7. Brian Summerskill, 8. Scott Sephton, 9. Ashley Woods, 10. Andy Keogh, 11. Jack Dorney. Subs: 12. Kingsley Williams, 14. Sean Yeldrem, 15. Steve Mason, 16. Rio Ahmadi, 17. Pauli Loukola.

ALTRINCHAM: 1. Tim DEASY, 2. John DISNEY, 3 Shaun DENSMORE, 4. Chris LYNCH, 5. Ben HARRISON, 6. Jake MOULT (c), 7. John JOHNSTON, 8. Sam SHERIDAN, 9. Josh AMIS, 10. Josh HANCOCK, 11. Jordan HULME. Subs 12. Tom HANNIGAN, 14. Laurence TAYLOR, 15. Simon RICHMAN, 16. Tom PEERS, 17. James POOLE, 18. Lewis SHORT, 20. Tony THOMPSON.

The teams that day were much different from 2018's squads. Not one of the Trafford squad in 2017 was involved in their most recent match, against Ashton United, last Saturday. As for Alty, seven of their squad (Deasy, Disney, Lynch, Sheridan, Amis, Taylor and Short) are no longer with the club.

OLD BOYS

Theo Bailey-Jones, who finished last season with Altrincham has joined Stafford Rangers.

VANARAMA NATIONAL LEAGUE NORTH NEWS

NL Today reports that "AFC Telford United have signed Jud Ellis from Market Drayton Town.

The local 23-year-old has been part of the Bucks' squad since pre-season and has impressed the management team enough to earn himself a deal at the club for the 2018/19 season.

Ellis started at Shrewsbury Town and remained in their academy until the age of 23 before being released where he then joined Kidderminster Harriers for two years on their education programme.

He also had spells at Stafford Rangers and Hallmark Security Leaguers Ellesmere Rangers before making the step up to Market Drayton...

Gavin Cowan told http://www.telfordunited.com, 'Jud is a player who was recommended to us from a trusted colleague who was adamant we needed to give the lad an opportunity. Jud has played well below his capabilities over the last few seasons and has somehow slipped through the net. I believe has the mentality, belief, and ability to push for a place in our team and its something he fully deserves following pre-season. He’s local and that’s important to me as he has the attachment already, so I look forward to seeing him take his opportunity'”.

Moving down the west coast is Josh Langley who has moved from AFC Fylde to Southport.

The National League reports that "Jody Banim accepts Saturday’s pre-season no-show at Trafford has him worried. The Ashton United boss watched his side fall to a 3-0 defeat against the Step 4 club on a day the newly-promoted side will want to forget...

Banim didn’t hold back as he told Ashton United TV some players won’t be back for the final 13 days before the new campaign kicks off. 'It wasn’t up to scratch, it was awful,' said the manager.

'Defensively we looked poor and that [we] would concede a lot of goals. There are plenty of questions but not many answers. A lot of players maybe played themselves out of contention, it was very disappointing. After results like that it can make you want to go out and look for more players, but what it can’t do is that we don’t rush into anything. I’ll go away and think.

'But there will be players leaving because of it. It’s nowhere near good enough... No disrespect for Trafford but they are a team two leagues below us and they deservedly won the game,' he said. 'It is a bit of a concern right now. We are going to be coming up against teams much stronger than Trafford so we’ve got some big decisions to make.'”

Also from the National League we learn that "Pascal Chimbonda pulled on his boots for Blyth Spartans on Saturday afternoon. But supporters have been told not to get too excited about seeing the former Tottenham player on their teamsheet.

Spartans played ambitions South Shields in their latest pre-season warm up match this weekend. It was an exciting game which ended 2-2... 'We repeat, Chimbonda is only with the club to keep up his fitness' said the club.

Nuneaton Borough report on their defeat by Chesterfield "in [a] convincing pre-season win at Liberty Way. Both sides named mixed sides of youth, trialists and experienced pro players in their teams, with Boro' playing their third official pre-season game with an overhauled squad, that included starts for [ex-Alty man] Curtis Obeng, Devon Kelly-Evans and Port Vale loan signings Mike Calveley and and Dior Angus.

A slow start for Boro' meant Chesterfield struck early, with striker Lewis Walker, who fired into the net after cutting in from the left and blasting past Ross Etheridge with 3 minutes played. The Spireites pounced once again moments later to double their lead through Lee Shaw after Etheridge spilled the ball from a Chesterfield corner kick.

With nine minutes played Chesterfield found the net again from a set-piece, this time Sam Muggleton's specialist long throw caught out the Boro defence with Jamie Sharman able to powerfully head the ball to make it 0-3...

Chesterfield got their fourth goal of the game through Ify Ofoegbu on 74 minutes, with the Nigerian being picked out in the box by Joe Rowley, the midfielder smashed beyond Mayebi... Youngster Luke Rawson took advantage of a long ball over the Boro' defence, bringing it down and calmly slotting around Mayebi to make it 0-5. Boro' created a couple of chances in the second half but couldn't find the net and it finished 0-5.

Looking for improvement and a reaction, Nicky Eaden's men travel to Coalville Town on Tuesday".

According to the Telegraph & Argus, "Both Guiseley sides, who were a mixture of first-teamers and Academy players, tasted defeat for the first time this season in a double dose of Saturday afternoon action.

Gateshead triumphed 2-1 at Nethermoor, while Northern League West Auckland won by the only goal of the game at Durham Road.

Rowan Liburd scored for the second successive weekend to put the Lions ahead early in the second half but the Heed were level shortly after when Jo Green hauled down Steven Rigg. Although keeper Green dived to his right to palm away the resulting spot-kick, Lewis Maloney was on hand to tuck away the rebound for the part-timers.

Green was again at full stretch to save Luke Armstrong's initial effort but the Gateshead front man found space to place a shot into the opposite corner and put his side ahead...

The focus now turns to home games against Bolton Wanderers tomorrow and Leeds United on Thursday...

Meanwhile, it has been confirmed that winger Lee Molyneux has left the Lions to join Barrow where he joins up with former Lions John Rooney, Connor Brown and Raul Correia. Molyneux joined Guiseley at the start of last season but was loaned out to Chorley for the latter part of the campaign."

From Bradford (PA) we learn that "An injury to Horsfall College of Sport scholar Lewis Johnson brought a premature end to Bradford’s sixth pre-season friendly.

James Bicknell’s Campion provided the opposition for what was a close-fought yet good-natured encounter until the abandonment...

Spencer fired Bradford into the lead with a long-range effort that rattled the post before nestling in the bottom corner. Campion were rallied by the opener and replied instantly, drawing level thanks to a chipped effort from Hurles-Brook...

Hurles-Brook forced Bradford’s newly-introduced trialist stopper to scramble across and save his thunderous effort early on in the second-half...

Mark Bower’s side did eventually regain their lead, as scholar Ross Boyle accelerated down the right flank before pulling back to a trialist, who steered past Declan Lambton...

With nine minutes remaining on the clock, a collision between Lewis Johnson and Jason Davis left the former on the ground. After receiving treatment for a lengthy period, the referee abandoned the game. After visiting Bradford Royal Infirmary, it was confirmed that the young defender had suffered ‘significant’ ankle ligament damage...

Bradford (Park Avenue): Trialist (Trialist 45′), Boyle, Ridley, Spencer, Nowakowski, Branson (L. Johnson 45′), Trialist (Boshell 61′), Trialist (Ali 74′), Trialist (Trialist 61′), Trialist (Botwood 74′), Trialist (Rowntree 61′)."


22 July 2018

PARKY'S VIEWS

The Altrincham FC official site has a video interview of Phil Parkinson by Brian Flynn, following the Crewe game.

CREWE'S CONTROL

Crewe Alexandra say that "Results do not count too much in pre-season but performances do and Crewe Alexandra certainly stepped up a level in defeating Altrincham 3-0. Crewe set a high tempo early on and finely taken goals from Perry Ng, Jordan Bowery and Ryan Wintle saw us race into a 3-0 lead before 20 minutes had elapsed.

The first goal arrived in the 5th minute after Charlie Kirk has applied enough pressure to force a cheap corner from our former Academy defender Andy White. Pickering took it from the left hand side and after the ball fell invitingly to Ng, he showed great technique to get it over it and dispatch it past Tony Thompson for the opener.

Crewe continued to play some fantastic two-touch football and Altrincham found it difficult to live with the tempo we had quite clearly set. Crewe moved the ball freely and with real intent to get in behind and on more than one occasion we just needed to collect the final ball to be in on goal....

It was no surprise that a second goal arrived after just 13 minutes. Eddie Nolan stepped out of defence to intercept and set us on another attack. Kirk, who was once again lively on the night, provided the overlapping Pickering with an inviting pass and his cross found the head of Bowery. The Altrincham keeper was a bit unfortunate that after getting a strong hand on it, he couldn’t quite keep it out and it looped into the net...

The third goal arrived inside 20 minutes, with Kirk again providing a tantalising low cross across the box that Wintle gleefully guided home for 3-0 from close range. It was a wonderfully crafted goal...

Altrincham’s winger John Johnston was the biggest threat to the Crewe defence...

The tempo was not as high as the beginning of the first half and it was Altrincham forcing the first meaningful save of the second period... Crewe had to defend a lot more crosses entering our box and it was proving more of a defensive workout in the second 45 minutes"

NEXT OPPONENTS MEET NEXT SEASON'S RIVALS

On Saturday, Trafford FC, who host Altrincham at Shawe View next Tuesday, played Ashton United, who will compete against Altrincham next season in the Vanarama National League North. Added relevance to this pre-season fixture was that it featured no fewer than eleven players who had previously worn the Alty colours.

And in a turn-up for the form guide, it was the club who will play next season in the newly formed EvoStik NPL Division One West club who secured a comfortable 3-0 win against their higher-ranked guests from Tameside. After a goalless first half, Trafford made numerous changes and even appeared in a completely different kit for the final 45 minutes. As they had not named any of their substitutes on the teamsheet and did not annnouce any of the scorers, it is difficult to say who actually scored for them though new signing Matthew Crothers from Curzon Ashton was identifiable as the man who got the final goal.

For Alty supporters, the following former Robins seen on the pitch were:

  • For Trafford, first half: Harry Sheridan [pictured right, during the game], Darius Palma, Tom Schofield (a former trialist at Moss Lane) and Aaron Burns.
  • For Trafford, second half: James Coates, Laurence Taylor
  • For Ashton United, first half: Mark Lees, Aaron Chalmers (former trialist), Sam Sheridan, Liam Tomsett (former loanee)
  • For Ashton United, second half: Josh Ollerenshaw

The line-ups as per the team sheet were:

TRAFFORD: 1. Ed Wilczynski [the former Shaw Lane keeper], 2. Harry Sheridan, 3. Darius Palma, 4. Sam Egerton, 5. Lee Wilshaw, 6. Keil O'Brien, 7. Andrew Langford, 8. Tom Schofield (c), 9. Aaron Burns, 10. Mark Derbyshire, 11. Paul Williams. No subs named.

ASHTON UNITED: 1. Harry Turner, 2. Mark Lees (c), 3. Unnamed on teamsheet, 4. Aaron Chalmers, 5. Matthew Regan, 6. Mathias Bakara, 7. Sam Sheridan, 8. Christian Campbell, 9. Bohan Dixon [whose former clubs include Northwich Victoria, Salford City, Stalybridge Celtic, AFC Fylde, FC Halifax Town and Stockport County], 10. Liam Tomsett, 20. Nic Evangelinos. Subs: 13. Josh Ollerenshaw, 14. Connor McCarthy, 15. Casatan Anghel, 16. Kyle Jacobs, 17. Scott Sephton, 18. Oliver Crowley, 19. Trialist.

On Sunday the NL Paper erroneously recorded the result as "Trafford 3 Altrincham 0"!

NEXT VISITORS: SALFORD CITY

Altrincham's next guests at the J. Davidson Stadium, on Saturday 28 July are Salford City. They won their most recent pre-seasn game 1-0 away at Woking and Non-League Today reports that manager Graham Alexander gave a video interview afterwards.

Sport Bible claims that "No non-league football club has ever had as much focus on it as Salford City but that might soon not be the case, only because the way they're going they could soon be a League Two side.

In the early rounds of the FA Cup there's nothing the BBC like more than putting on a Salford City game live on television and that's because the non league club are one of the biggest stories around... In the past four seasons they have been promoted three times and last season's promotion meant that next term they'll be playing in the National League...

Clearly the Neville brothers, Nicky Butt, Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes and majority shareholder Peter Lim are pretty desperate to make it to the Football League and their transfer activity suggests so.

This [week] Salford confirmed the signing of striker Adam Rooney from Aberdeen. The club finished second in the SPFL last season, are due to play Burnley in the Europa League and Rooney played with them in Europe for two games last season.

Above: Salford City's Moor Lane stadium at the time of Alty's last visit in April 2017. Both John Johnston and Jordan Hulme were in the Ammies' squad for that match.

It's an absolutely massive move for The Ammies, and a big drop for Rooney, and continues an incredible summer of transfers where they have been signing players previously playing in the Football League.

Danny Lloyd has already signed from League One Peterborough United. Last season the Posh finished ninth and Lloyd played 31 league games, with the 26 year old scoring eight goals.

Fleetwood Town defender Nathan Pond started 27 League One games last season and has also dropped down two divisions along with fellow former Cod Army player Chris Neal.

After playing in 42 of Bristol Rovers 46 league games last season Rory Gaffney has also taken the two division drop to move to Salford.

Danny Whitehead has also moved from Macclesfield but the fellow north west side are also in the National League.

The move for Rooney, said to be for £300,000, has raised questions from many about the finances in the SPFL if they're being outbid by a non-league side, albeit not any normal non league team".

In response, Balls say that "Gary Neville was embroiled in a Twitter row owner with Accrington Stanley owner Andy Holt after the latter accused Neville of trying to 'steal' a place in the EFL following Salford City's signing of Irish striker Adam Rooney from Aberdeen... with the forward reported to be on £4,000 a week in the fifth tier of English football.

I didn't take long for Neville to respond, accusing Holt of wanting 'a franchise league where the established can’t be challenged'".

And 442 adds that "The Class of '92-owned Salford City aren't messing around, having brought Aberdeen's prolific scorer to the National League... Despite the 30-year-old's switch to the fifth tier of English football, he's expected to receive an increased wage of £4,000 per week according to the Evening Express...

Rooney scored 88 goals during his time at Aberdeen, who have finished second in the Scottish Premiership for the last four seasons. However, the Irish striker was limited to just 22 appearances in the 2017/18 campaign."

VANARAMA NATIONAL LEAGUE NEWS

Bradford (Park Avenue), "26-year-old defender Conor Branson has become the club’s fourth new addition of the summer. The centre-back, who can also operate in central midfield, has featured as a trialist in all of Bradford’s pre-season friendlies and impressed Mark Bower enough to earn a permanent deal.

He began his career with Barnsley, captaining the club’s under-18 side and eventually earning a professional contract in 2010... He was released by the Tykes in November 2011. A brief spell in non-league football with Guiseley followed and Branson also spent time with the Nike Academy before moving to the United States. After arriving in America, he joined the Charleston Golden Eagles and shone enough to be named the Mountain East Conference’s ‘Defensive Player of the Year’ in 2014 and 2015. After leaving Charleston, he enjoyed trial spells with MLS sides DC United and Columbus Crew before being snapped up by the Pittsburgh Riverhounds.

Branson left Pittsburgh after making 14 appearances to re-join the Charleston Golden Eagles as a coach, before continuing his coaching education with Marshall University during the 2017 season. He now holds a UEFA ‘B’ Licence. He was described by former Barnsley coach [and ex-Alty player] Nick Daws as ‘a leader, talker and organiser’ and his leadership qualities will make him a key figure in the dressing room as well on the pitch".

Newport County report that they "secured their first victory of the pre-season schedule with a comfortable 2-0 success away at Hereford FC. It was goals in either half that did the damage on the day for County, Antoine Semenyo marking his first start for the club with a goal when converting a penalty two minutes before half-time. The victory was completed with the final play of the match at Edgar Street, Padraig Amond refusing to give up on a long ball before rounding Martin Horsell and passing into an empty net...

Despite dominating the first-half proceedings in terms of possession and territory, County were in-fact on the back foot for the first ten minutes... From there, it was realistically all County pressure until the half-time whistle... The pressure had to eventually tell from a County perspective... and they finally broke the deadlock just two minutes before the break...

Hereford certainly weren’t going to go down without a fight... and their best chance came with 13 minutes remaining... Following that chance, Hereford continued to pile forward in search of an equaliser, but they were left exposed at the back, and County took full advantage with the last play of the game. Padraig Amond taught a lesson to all upcoming strikers that no ball is ever a lost cause, the Irishman chasing down a long-ball from Dolan, rounding the goalkeeper and passing into the empty net."

Meanwhile towards the other geographical end of the division the Northern Echo reports that "Luke James netted to give Hartlepool United a 1-0 win at Spennymoor Town. The striker, back at Pools after signing last week when his contract at Forest Green Rovers was cut short, turned in from close range, the only goal of a competitive game...

Moors chief Jason Ainsley gave new keeper Matthew Gould a run-out from the off... Rob Ramshaw bounced a volley wide for Moors, who were getting most of their success down their right hand side... Moors did have the ball in the net on 64 minutes, a low angled finish from Stephen Brogan beating Loach, but the effort was flagged offside...

SPENNYMOOR TOWN: Gould; Williams, Brogan, Chandler (Atkinson 80), Thackray, Curtis, Hall (Anderson 63), Henry (Hibbs 46), Taylor, Ramshaw, Foley (Johnson 63). Subs: Johnson, Trialist A , Trialist B, Trialist C, Trialist D.".

From Derbyshire, the Star tells us that "Chesterfield registered a 5-0 win over Nuneaton this afternoon in their latest pre-season friendly...

Spireites: Joe Anyon, Brandon Howard, A. Trialist, Jordan Sinnott, Laurence Maguire, Jamie Sharman, Ify Ofoegbu, Joe Rowley (c), [ex-Grantham] Lee Shaw, A. Trialist, Charlie Wakefield. Subs: George Smith, [ex-Macc] Shwan Jalal, [ex-Alty loanee] Sam Wedgbury, Alex Render, Brandon Bradbury, Luke Rawson."

From Barrow we learn that "Two stunning strikes and a penalty were the difference between the two sides at Haig Avenue, [Southport]... Barrow got off to a slow start and soon paid the price for it... the referee pointing to the spot with no hesitation. Elliot Osbourne stepped up and slotted it into the bottom right hand corner...

Southport then doubled their lead... Dan Jones gave away a free kick on the edge of the area and Jordan Richards stepped up to whip a brilliant strike into the top left-hand corner... The Port sealed the win with ten minutes to go, and they did so in style. Midfielder Nathan Lowe picked the ball up around 25 yards out, he took aim and arrowed a shot into the top right-hand corner. Full Time: Southport 3-0 Barrow".

FC United of Manchester "announce that Luke Ashworth, Liam Dickinson and Jack Bannister have all signed ahead of the new season. Centre-back Ashworth returns for his second spell at the club, after spending last season at Stalybridge Celtic, where he played over 50 games for the club and was a mainstay in their backline.

Experienced striker Liam Dickinson, who also played a key part at Stalybridge Celtic last season as their top goal scorer, has also come on board to add more depth to our forward line. Winger Jack Bannister, who was on trial during the summer, has impressed during his short time at the club and looks set to be another strong addition to the squad.

A delighted Tom Greaves spoke on his latest arrivals, 'Liam will bring something completely different to the other forwards at the club and is the type of striker that FC have been lacking in recent years, he’s got plenty of experience in the football league and has scored and made goals for others wherever he has played. His ability to get hold of the ball and bring others into play is superb and he will be another great attacking option for us'".


21 July 2018

ALTRINCHAM 0-3 CREWE ALEXANDRA

Altrincham surrendered their unbeaten pre-season run against a Crewe Alexandra side which started the game impressively. Disappointing defending led to Alty conceding twice in the opening ten minutes. The first goal came after an unnecessarily conceded corner which was not cleared and Ng netted. The second goal arrived from a Pickering cross and a Bowery header, which Thompson could only parry back towards his own goal where Harrison was unable to hook the ball clear despite his best efforts.

Crewe went 3-0 up in the 16th minute when a Kirk cross was converted by Wintle.

Above: Phil Parkinson gives instructions to Alty's two trialist substitutes, Bay Downing and Lloyd Bannister, before they joined the game during the second half against Crewe.

Altrincham gradually got into the game and, despite the disruption of making eight second-half substitutes, they threatened the visitors' goal on several occasions, not least when a Peers header smacked against the bar.

For more on the game see the official site.

Next up for Altrincham is Tuesday night's trip to Shawe View to play Trafford FC.

VANARAMA NATIONAL LEAGUE NORTH NEWS

From the National League we learn that "Chester could mean business next season if their latest signing is anything to go by....

On Friday morning they gave their supporters a pre-weekend lift by announcing the signing of Simon Grand... The 34-year-old was a key part in the AFC Fylde side who earned a top seven finish last season in their first year in the top flight. A former Barrow and Salford centre-back, Grand scored in their play-off eliminator against Boreham Wood.

Joint managers Anthony Johnson and Bernard Morley hope the signing will bring added security to their backline".

Meanwhile, Chester FC confirm "the signing of experienced defender Simon Grand... He had arrived at the Coasters in the summer of 2017 from Salford City, as this move sees him link up with Anthony Johnson and Bernard Morley once more. Grand has also had spells at Barrow, AFC Telford and Southport in recent years, and has an excellent goal record for a defensive player. The centre back has a wealth of experience, also playing for the likes of Rochdale, Carlisle, Grimsby, Northwich Victoria and Fleetwood."

Also, from the National League comes news that "York City manager Martin Gray won’t rule out further additions before the start of the season. But the Minstermen boss is delighted with the squad he’s put together...

York drew 1-1 with a youthful Leeds United on Thursday night. That result came on the back of an impressive 1-0 win over Bradford City. Gray says only fine-tuning is needed now...

'We’re always looking, you have to,' said the manager when quizzed about any more signings. 'But competition for places is very good at the moment. We’ve very happy with the squad and you look at the bench and it’s already looking strong. We’ve still got work to do but what you see is some nice little partnerships starting to build and we’ve got to keep working on that. I’m happy with how we’re looking.'

The 1-1 draw with a talented Leeds side offered plenty of encouragement. 'We kept our discipline and we kept our shape,' Gray told York’s video player. 'We created three or four fantastic chances. We didn’t get beat and that’s important. The hard-to-beat mentality is always crucial'".

The Shropshire Star reports that "Sheridan Martinez feels 'a lot fitter and sharper' as he bids to keep hold of AFC Telford United's No.1 shirt for the start of the campaign. Martinez returned to the New Bucks Head earlier this summer following a spell last term in which he did not play a competitive minute.

The Bucks are on the hunt for another shot-stopper but the 25-year-old has started all of the Bucks' pre-season games... 'I'm feeling really good, pre-season has gone really well,' said Martinez, who has also been at Solihull Moors... 'I feel a lot fitter and sharper. I've just got to build on my fitness, keep going, get the games in, and hopefully come the start of the season I'll be ready; fit and sharp.'

Jono Brown and Callum Preston have also featured between the sticks for Telford in pre-season, and the club are also believed to weighing up a move for another young goalkeeper. But Martinez has a strong working relationship with Bucks boss Gavin Cowan and goalkeeping coach Darren Acton, having worked with them both at Solihull too. On being the club's go-to goalkeeper, he said 'Of course, that's my main aim this season. That's the reason I came back... When called upon, I've felt good'...

Martinez is impressed by the squad Cowan has got together. He played with Darryl Knights and Theo Street at Solihull and knows skipper Shane Sutton and midfielders Jon Royle and Henry Cowans, among others, well from his first Telford stint. 'The squad is really good, everyone gets on,' added Martinez".

In the Boston Standard is news that manager "Craig Elliott is tipping Spencer Harris and Ashley Jackson to make successful step ups to the National League North. But after giving a number of players, such as Brad Abbott, the chance to prove themselves at a higher level last season, Elliott believes he has unearthed two more gems.

'He’s a young, fit lad who’s good at getting around the park,' he said of Harris. 'He’s good in both boxes and brave, the type of player I like to get in. I hope he can improve himself because he did very well for me in two years at Shaw Lane. It’s a step up for him and he’s got to work hard and be consistent, and show that. But I think the fans will like him.'

Jackson can play anywhere down the left, but Elliott has brought him in to challenge Jordan Gough for the left-back role. He added, 'His best position is left back. I brought him in for that. I think’s it’s time he made the move up to this level to show what he can do'".

OLD BOY

Up at Darlington we read that ex-Alty striker "Chris Senior returns to Darlo for the Legends game! Chris Senior, the striker who scored that unforgettable dramatic winner for Quakers in the 2011 FA Trophy final, has agreed to play in the Marathonbet Non-League Challenge Legends game on Sunday 29th July. Every Darlo fan will always remember the moment when the ball hit the back of the net against Mansfield that day, and now Chris has agreed to put his boots on again for the match...

'I’m really looking forward to it,' he said. 'My eyes lit up when I realised who else will be on the field. It will be great to see the Darlo fans again as well. It’s also a chance for my son to see me play football in the flesh!'".


20 July 2018

BEFORE THE CREWE GAME

In advance of tonight's fixture, Crewe Alexandra reported that "David Artell has been pleased with the intensity of the work his players are getting through as they prepare for the big kick off on 4th August. Crewe Alexandra continue their pre-season preparations with a friendly at Altrincham this evening.

The players have already got through a 10km run at Delamere Forest this time last week, a friendly at Barrow 24 hours later and virtually all of them got 90 minutes during our double header at Kidsgrove and Bala. That was soon followed up with a training day at Liverpool’s Academy with our former coach Neil Critchley and his Under-23s.

The Crewe boss has been pleased with the work load his players have got through thus far.

Ahead of our trip to Altrincham, he stated, 'The players have worked hard. We have done a lot of short and sharp work and the intensity has been good. We are getting sharper each day. Pre-season is hard work. It isn’t all about running them into the ground and they have had some down time and rest as well. That is just as important... They are getting into the stride now. The physical work and loading has been good and they are very fit.'"

Tonight's game will be covered by Radio Robins and social media

OPEN DAY

Altrincham FC reports that "On Sunday, July 29th, supporters are invited to socialise with the players and coaching staff and have photographs taken with them. The official team picture will be taken during an event that will run from 12.30pm until 3pm [at the J. Davidson Stadium].

Phil Parkinson said "The lads will be out in force on the 29th, as will my management team, so it would be great to see as many there as possible for a really good get-together. It is something we believe in... This will be a proper opportunity for people to speak to them face to face, find out what goes on and what they think about things and perhaps have a photo with them".

TRIALISTS

Altrincham FC confirms that Phil Parkinson has released trialist goalkeepers Matthew Johnson and Callum Roberts who fetaured in the first three friendlies of the season. He added that "I’m very aware that we have AJ [Andrew Jones], who did well in that role last season. If he had come back a bit stronger this summer, I probably wouldn’t be trying so many keepers but he is really beginning to put a shift in, so he could yet be the one who fills that role. I am going to wait to find the right one".

Referring to the two outfield trialists who featured against Macclesfield, Phil explained "I’ve got three full-backs, once Shaun Densmore is fit, so I’m not really going to be bringing another one in. There again, if something happened in that department, Lloyd {Bannister] would be first on the list for someone to bring in. We are really just helping the young lad out for now. Bay [Downing] is someone we have spoken to other people about. I think he was at Macc, and he has come and asked for some minutes to show what he can do. We will review how that goes".

VANARAMA NATIONAL LEAGUE NORTH NEWS

According to the Northwich Guardian "There is work, and running, to do for Witton Albion. That’s the verdict of manager Carl Macauley after watching his side succumb to Southport in their first pre-season friendly on Tuesday. A 3-0 defeat reflected a difference between the two teams on the field.

'Southport have more training sessions under their belt, and had played at the weekend, and they showed the strength in depth that they have with the substitutes they sent on... It’s true that we gave away silly goals, and against opposition of that quality there is no chance of not being punished', he said.

Jason Gilchrist skipped around debutant goalkeeper Greg Hall to open the scoring in less than 30 seconds...The striker was alert again to double the visitors’ lead shortly before the interval... He steered the ball quickly to Gilchrist, who sent the ball into an unguarded goal with the custodian out of position.

And Bauress was involved in Southport’s third when his cross was deflected by a defender into substitute Jack Sampson’s path and he forced a loose ball into the net".

At Bradford (Park Avenue) "Bradford City emerged victorious in the Bradford derby thanks to an 89th-minute winner from striker Tom Clare. It was the Bantams that then lifted the Tom Banks Memorial Trophy, just over a year after suffering a 3-0 defeat at the Horsfall Stadium in the 2017 showpiece.

The hosts started brightly, and an early corner was forced when [ex-Alty defender] Ryan Toulson’s cross was steered wide of the post by Shay McCartan...

The Bradford (PA) pressure was eventually rewarded, as Toulson floated a cross in from the right that was bundled in at the back-post by a trialist... Danny Lowe advanced down the left before pulling back to [ex-Alty man] Nicky Clee, who found McKenna, but the latter’s shot was held by the goalkeeper...

A more potent City side emerged from the dressing room for the second-half, despite just one change being made... A City trialist found the top corner with a sensational piledriver of a strike from 30-yards out. Bradford (PA) then squandered an opportunity to take the lead after a trialist latched on to a Danny Boshell pass...

The National League North side were eventually punished for not being ruthless in front of goal, as Tom Clare raced on to a lofted pass before steering into the bottom corner and sealing victory...

Bradford (PA): Drench, Toulson, Lowe, Wroe, Killock, Havern, McKenna, Trialist, Trialist, Trialist, Clee. Substitutes: L. Johnson, Trialist, Nowakowski, Spencer, Trialist, Trialist, Trialist, Trialist".

Still in Yorkshire, Guiseley "confirm winger Lee Molyneux has left the club to join Barrow where he joins up with former Lions players John Rooney, Connor Brown and Raul Correia. Molyneux joined The Lions at the start of the 2017-18 season but was loaned out to Chorley for the latter part of the season."

YOUTH NEWS

Chorley report that "Chorley FC under-18s head into the 2018/19 North West Youth Alliance Premier Division campaign with a new man at the helm. Declan Williams, an experienced UEFA B licence coach who's worked across the football spectrum in the UK and aboard, has stepped up from a successful spell with our under-16s. Last season's manager Ben Howard joins The Magpies' Development Squad.

Joining Dec in the revamped management setup is former Development Squad coach Dale Boydell. Taking the role of assistant manager, the former semi-pro and army skipper will fulfil the position while completing his UEFA B license.

Dave Livesey is the third member of the team, moving up with Dec from the under-16s side. A professional during a short spell at Burnley in his younger days, Dave brings a huge amount of experience to the role of coach.

'We are looking forward to our season with the new under-18s squad,' Dec told chorleyfc.com. 'There are around 40 players to look at for our upcoming season, so the expansion of our management team was a necessity. We can't wait to see what all the lads are capable of.'"


19 July 2018

ALTRINCHAM 1 MACCLESFIELD TOWN 0

Altrincham FC has a match report on Tuesday's win over Macclesfield Town and Altrincham manager Phil Parkinson comments on the game on the Altrincham FC website.

"We were second best", said Macclesfield manager Mark Yates of his team after Tuesday's defeat against Altrincham in a video interview with the Macclesfield Town website.

FRIENDLY OPPONENTS: CREWE ALEXANDRA

On Friday evening, Alty entertain Crewe Alexandra at the J. Davidson Stadium. Coincidentally both Alty and Crewe have met Kidsgrove Athletic this summer and Crewe Alexandra report that they "came from behind to defeat Kidsgrove Athletic 2-1 thanks to a goal in each half from Ollie Finney and Shaun Miller...

It was a bit of a surprise when Kidsgrove took the lead on 39 minutes when Walker was adjudged to have pushed his man over. It came from nothing and no threat. The Kidsgrove number 9 Chris Budrys stepped up but saw his straight penalty saved superbly well only to see the striker race in to tap home the rebound. Richards was unlucky to concede.

Crewe’s response was almost immediate. Ollie Finney equalised within two minutes after unleashing an unstoppable shot from just over 20 yards out... Crewe took the lead for the first time on 54 minutes. Shaun Miller raced on to a fantastic searching ball from Ainley and the striker kept his composure to round Burzynski to score his first goal of the pre-season... A good run out for the Alex saw us win 2-1 and there looked no injury concerns.

Crewe at Kidsgrove: Richards, Johnson, Abedisi, Ray, Walker, Miller, Porter, Green, Finney, Jones, Ainley

In the other friendly at Bala Town, Crewe lost 1-0 thanks to a goal from Sean Smith in the second half. Jordan Bowery had a first half penalty saved.

Crewe at Bala: Garratt, Hunt, Nolan, Sass-Davies, Pickering, Wintle, Lundstram, Lowery, Kirk, Bowery, Nicholls"

FRIENDLY OPPONENTS: TRAFFORD FC

Next Tuesday, Altrincham travel to Shawe View to play our neighbours Trafford FC in a pre-season game (7.45pm). In their last outing Trafford beat Chorley, after falling behind to the Magpies. Trafford equalised moments later and eventually won the match 2-1.

Trafford fielded two different teams in each half...

FIRST HALF: James Coates [pictured, left] , Ally Brown, Hafeez Hamzet, Sam Egerton, Anthony Brown (c), Keil O'Brien, Andy Langford, Paul Williams, Matty Bryan, Ash Woods, Declan Rydings.

SECOND HALF: James Coates, Harry Sheridan, Darius Palma, Chris Palmer (c), Lee Wilshaw, Ross Davidson, Laurence Taylor, Tom Schofield, Aaron Burns, Mark Derbyshire, Matty Crothers.

SCORERS: Trafford 2 (Declan Rydings 42, Aaron Burns 73). Chorley (Andy Teague 41)"

Trafford secured a morale boosting 2-1 victory over Conference North outfit Chorley in an entertaining pre-season friendly at Shawe View on Tuesday night... In the 41st minute the deadlock was broken when, following an almighty goalmouth scramble, an attempted clearance struck home keeper James Coates on the back of the head and the ball trickled over the line.

However, within a minute Trafford levelled when Ally Brown floated a great cross to the back post and Declan Rydings flung himself forward to head past Cameron Belford.

The second half saw both sides making numerous changes with Trafford manager Tom Baker replacing all ten outfield players in the 62nd minute. And the hosts appeared to play with greater fluency and control, star striker Aaron Burns notching the winner in the 73rd minute when he coolly slotted the ball past Belford following a fine cross by Laurence Taylor...

Trafford are in action once again at Shawe View on Saturday when they entertain Ashton United, kick off 3 p.m. and then on Tuesday night Altrincham are the visitors for a game kicking off at 7-45 p.m."

Chorley added that "The Magpies took a 2-1 defeat at Trafford on the chin as a number of squad members played their first full 90 minutes of pre-season... The Manager [said], 'You never want to lose a game, but we won't lose sleep over the result'...

Line-up (3-5-2): Belford; Anson (Doyle, 67'), Teague (c), Meppen-Walter; Hine (Challoner, 67'), Cottrell, Wilson (A.Newby, 61'), Irwin, Blakeman (Lenehan, 67'); Carver (E.Newby, 61'), Almond (Fletcher, 61').

Who's missing? Josh O'Keefe, Stephen Jordan & Josh Gregory were scheduled absentees, while Scott Leather and Dale Whitham were non-playing spectators".

VANARAMA NATIONAL LEAGUE NORTH NEWS

According to the Shropshire Star "AFC Telford boss Gavin Cowan is set for talks with [ex-Alty keeper] Callum Preston (right) and Andy Wycherley as he completes his goalkeeping ranks. Both shot-stoppers have been on trial this summer. Preston has played two 45 minutes for the Bucks and Wycherley played the second half of Tuesday’s 1-0 defeat at Barwell.

Cowan wants another goalkeeper to add to his Telford squad to compete with Sheridan Martinez for the No.1 spot.

'Callum has played two 45s now so I’ll be having talks with him in the next couple of days,' said Cowan... Preston, from Stafford but a former cricketer in Welshpool where he grew up, is formerly of Birmingham’s youth team and briefly played in League One with Crawley. Cowan added, 'It will only be one keeper. Cal and Andy are trying to make an impression but we’re open'.

Wycherley, from Telford, left The New Saints this summer. The highly-rated 20-year-old... was unable to see out a clean sheet on his Bucks bow as Cowan’s men conceded a goal shortly after half-time on a tough playing surface in Leicestershire...

While frustrated not to win the game against lower-ranked Barwell... Cowan added 'It was not the result we wanted but I was really happy with the first half performance. It was difficult for the players with a bobbly pitch, which was not ideal'...

Full-back Tyler Little, who has been an ever-present throughout the summer for Cowan’s men, again featured. There also a place in the starting XI for former skipper Jack Rea and striker Matthew Barnes-Homer as the Bucks' boss continues to help them with fitness. The boss continued, 'They’ve been coming and getting game time and will be happy with 60 minutes and if somebody came to watch them they’d be very impressed, I’m sure.'"


18 July 2018

ALTRINCHAM 1 MACCLESFIELD TOWN 0

An early goal by Tom Peers, who scored after a Jordan Hulme effort had been blocked, gave Altrincham a deserved 1-0 win over their Cheshire opponents in Tuesday night's friendly. Alty almost doubled their lead in the second half when a Sean Miller strike struck the crossbar.

Next up for Alty is another home friendly, on Friday, against a Crewe Alexandra XI (7.45pm).

CSC DATES

The Cheshire County FA has announced dates for its Senior Cup competition for the 2018/19 season:
  • Prelim Round, by week ending 3rd NOVEMBER 2018, week commencing 29/10/18
  • 1st Round by w/e 12th JANUARY 2019, w/c 07/01/19
  • 2nd Round by w/e 9th FEBRUARY 2019, w/c 04/02/19
  • SEMI FINAL by w/e 9th MARCH 2019, w/c 04/03/19
  • FINAL April / May

VANARAMA NATIONAL LEAGUE NORTH NEWS

Boston United "have added two more signings to their ever-expanding squad... Midfielder Grant Roberts (27) has sealed a return to The Jakemans Stadium following a near two-year injury lay-off with a knee injury, having played in two play-off campaigns with the Pilgrims in 2015 and 2016.

Striker Andre Johnson (22), meanwhile, has linked up with United after spending last season with rivals Alfreton Town. He scored in the Pilgrims' opening pre-season friendlies against Basford United and Tadcaster Albion."

At Bradford (Park Avenue) "The club can confirm that recent signing Danny East suffered a ruptured Achilles in training last Tuesday. Alongside Sport Rehabilitator Tally Clayton, he attended Leeds General Infirmary before undergoing surgery to reattach the tendon at Spire Hospital in Leeds last Thursday.

The surgery was successful and Danny is now recovering well at home. Although a major setback for Danny, who has been plagued by injuries in the past, he remains positive and will be an integral part of the dressing room throughout the season. He is aiming to return for the second half of the National League North campaign.

On a more positive note, the club are delighted to welcome Danny to the Horsfall College of Sport as a coach, where he will look to pass his vast experience and knowledge on to the scholars. The former Hull City and Portsmouth defender will work closely with the blossoming Academy, which has already enabled four scholars to make first-team appearances in pre-season".

Closer to home, Chester Football Club "are delighted to announce the signing of attacking player George Green for an undisclosed fee from Nuneaton."

And NL Pitchero confirms that "Midfielder George Green has joined rivals Chester for an undisclosed fee. Green, who arrived at the Boro' earlier this year, after a spell in Norway, became a fan favourite almost immediately. In fifteen appearances Green found the net twice".

VANARAMA NATIONAL LEAGUE NEWS

News of a player who appeared against Alty last season comes from the National League, which reports that "Martin Allen thinks Lee Shaw can step up from packing boxes to scoring inside them.

Chesterfield secured the signing of [the] 24-year-old Grantham Town striker, who [has] found the net more than 50 times in the past two years. He had been in trial at Lincoln City but Chesterfield won the duel and he becomes the striker Allen has been chasing all summer long.

The Spireites boss [said]... 'We have signed a 24-year-old centre-forward called Lee Shaw, who this morning was in a factory at 6am to pack boxes,' he wrote. 'He has signed a two-year deal with a one-year option, subject to the paperwork going through. We chose a hungry, young man, on his way up, rather than a seen it, done it, bought the t-shirt type, who would have been just coming here to pick up his last pay packet and cruise in third gear.

'He’s got an excellent goal ratio, a great attitude and he’s chosen us ahead of a decent Football League club. We’ve got a player who matches our desire and drive to be successful in the future and not gloat about his past.'"


17 July 2018

BEFORE THE GAME: ALTRINCHAM v MACCLESFIELD TOWN

Macclesfield Town announce that they "make the short journey over to Moss Lane tonight, as we face local rivals Altrincham in our second pre-season friendly. Mark Yates's side will be full of confidence after a resounding 5 – 1 victory over Ashton United on Saturday, yet the EvoStik Premier League champions will provide a stern test as we continue our EFL preparations.

Despite the fact that the match is billed as a friendly encounter, there is little doubt that both sides will be looking to emerge from the local derby victorious and, as such, a large and vociferous away following is expected to make the journey.

As far as team news goes, Yates has stated that he will rotate his squad and will more than likely employ those who finished the game at Ashton from the start this evening...

Shaun Densmore and James Poole will miss out for Altrincham after picking up injuries, whilst the home side have announced that two trialists will be in their squad".

Against Ashton the Silkmen fielded the following line-ups...

  • Starting XI: Trialist (Trialist), Welch-Hayes, Kelleher, Grimes, Fitzpatrick, Trialist, Whitaker, Trialist, Stephens, Smith, Marsh.
  • Macclesfield Town XI after 60 mins: Trialist, Trialist, Hodgkiss, Lowe, Trialist, Arthur, Trialist, Lloyd, Evans, Wilson, Blissett

Before their visit to Altrincham, Macclesfield Town reported on their 5-1 win at Ashton United saying "A brace from Harry Smith was added to by strikes from Danny Whitaker, Nathan Blissett and an unnamed trialist, as Mark Yates’s side produced a clinical display in the sweltering July heat..

Despite being a friendly encounter, the opening exchanges exemplified the fact that Macc would be treating the game in the same manner as their loyal fans have been accustomed to and with just 3 minutes on the clock, some nimble footwork from Tyrone Marsh saw him create space on the edge of the area yet his effort has miraculously charged down by Robins skipper [ex-Alty defender] Mark Lees...

Ben Stephens then warmed the gloves of [ex-Alty keeper] Josh Ollerenshaw in the Ashton goal with a wicked attempt from the edge of the area and by this point the League Two side were controlling the game with confidence and conviction. The breakthrough came on 7 minutes when Marsh burst through the Ashton ranks, before playing an innovative ball through for Harry Smith to fire in the opener from eight yards out.

Danny Whitaker was orchestrating the midfield sublimely and his phenomenal workrate was rewarded on 19 minutes when a routine back pass to Ollerenshaw was chased down by our midfield maestro and he bravely blocked the ensuing clearance to send the ball flying into the empty net...

Fiacre Kelleher and Jamie Grimes commanded the backline with consummate professionalism and this was complemented perfectly by the tenacious David Fitzpatrick and Miles Welch-Hayes on the flanks... [A] free kick saw a trialist hit a ferocious drive around the Ashton wall which nestled into the left hand corner of the goal...

Macc began to lay siege on the Ashton goal as they looked for goal number four. This duly came five minutes before the interval, as Stephens' tantalising cross from the left was expertly glanced home by Smith from ten yards out...

A last-gasp clearing header from [ex-Alty midfielder] Sam Sheridan denied Kelleher what would surely have been goal number five... With the exception of the trialist ‘keeper brought on at half time, Yates rotated his entire squad on the hour mark as the ten outfield players who had started the game marched off...

Macc had made it five when Scott Wilson seized on a defensive mistake within the Ashton ranks, before rounding Ollerenshaw and unselfishly squaring the ball for Nathan Blissett who hammered home from close range. Three minutes later the visitors pulled a goal back... It proved to be a resounding performance from Mark Yates’ side and one which elicits copious amounts of optimism for the journey ahead.

Ashton United: Ollerenshaw, Stachini, Lees, Sheridan, Sephton, Evangelinos, Tomsett. Subs: Dale, Woodford. (all other players trialists)."

ALTRINCHAM v MACCLESFIELD TOWN

Altrincham's first home friendly of pre-season is tonight (Tuesday) at 7.45pm and the opponents are Macclesfield Town, newly re-promoted to League Two. A measure of the task facing us is that the Silkmen defeated our fellow promotion-team Ashton United, 5-1 at Hurst Cross at the weekend.

With John Askey having left after winning promotion, Macc's manager is now Mark Yates, assisted by Neil Howarth and Danny Whitaker. As well as the management, familiar faces in the Silkmen's playing squad include ex-Kidderminster defender Jared Hodgkiss, midfielder Elliott Durrell and former Forest Green forward Tyrone Marsh.

The match will be covered, as usual, by Radio Robins and social media.

PRE-SEASON GAMES

Altrincham's remaining pre-season games after the visit of Macclesfield Town are:

  • Fri. 20.7.18 7.45pm H CREWE ALEXANDRA XI
  • Tue. 24.7.18 7.45pm A Trafford
  • Sat. 28.7.18 3pm H SALFORD CITY

If you have a 2018-19 Altrincham FC season ticket, don't forget to show it at the turnstiles to secure free entry to each of the pre-season games at the J. Davidson Stadium. The new league season kicks off on Saturday, 4 August when Leamington visit Altrincham (3pm).

VANARAMA NATIONAL LEAGUE NORTH NEWS

According to NL Daily "Bradford (Park Avenue) have registered coaching duo Danny Boshell and Ryan Toulson [both ex-Alty] as players ahead of the 2018/19 season. The pair will continue to combine roles in the dugout with duties on the pitch and take the number of confirmed squad members to 15 for the season ahead.

37-year-old Boshell was Mark Bower’s assistant during their time together at Guiseley, and the pair assembled a team that gained promotion to the National League in 2015. 32-year-old Toulson was a part of that side, and has also represented F.C. Halifax Town, Harrogate Town and Gainsborough Trinity."

The National League has a "club by club" guide to the new season.

OLD BOYS

NL Daily reports that former Alty player "Astley Mulholland will continue to sit out Barrow AFC’s pre-season games with a hamstring problem. The striker, signed from Colwyn Bay in May, has yet to feature for Ian Evatt’s side, and missed Saturday’s game with Crewe at Holker Street.

'Astley has got a bit of a hamstring problem, and he’s probably still a couple of weeks away,' said Evatt. 'That basically comes down to him coming from a few leagues below. He wasn’t used to the intense levels of training and the fitness levels. He needs time to adapt.'"


16 July 2018

NEXT UP: MACCLESFIELD TOWN

Two promoted teams meet at the J. Davidson Stadium on Tuesday (7.45pm) when Altrincham entertain Macclesfield Town at the J. Davidson Stadium. And the Silkmen played Alty's fellow promotees, Ashton United, on Saturday. The Tameside club's report is headed "Rampant Macc give Robins a headache" and it goes on to say that "Ashton’s second friendly of the season saw them take on last season’s National League champions in the shape of Macclesfield Town. The visitors were first to show... Tyrone Marsh’s pass split the defence putting Smith clear and he squeezed his effort home despite the efforts of an Ashton defender on the line.

With 20 minutes gone Sam Sheridan gave Josh Ollerenshaw a difficult back pass to deal with and Danny Whittaker charged down the keeper’s attempted clearance to register the second... Later Scott Sephton fouled Whittaker just outside the D and Rose curled a low effort into the corner. 6 minutes before the break and Smith glanced home Ben Stephens‘ cross to make it 4-0.

Into the second period and after Town had replaced all 10 of their outfield players two of the trialists combined to provide the fifth goal after a mistake in the home defence. The Robins pulled one back as Nic Evangelinos’s shot took a slight deflection after good work by one of Ashton’s trialists and the same player then volleyed wide after showing good control.

Ashton Utd: Ollerenshaw, Stachini, Lees, Sheridan, Sephton, Evangelinos, Tomsett. Subs: Dale, Woodford, (all other players trialists)".

OLD BOYS

Nantwich Town report that "The Dabbers picked up their first win of pre-season on Saturday afternoon thanks to first Nantwich goals from Joe Malkin and James Lawrie either side of half-time to ensure a 2-1 victory over Newcastle Town at the Lyme Valley Stadium.

Malkin put the Dabbers in front after 27 minutes, slamming home a loose ball in front of goal, before Newcastle equalised seven minutes after the break... With Nantwich looking the more dangerous side in the second half, a piece of brilliance won it as Danny Glover picked out Lawrie over the top of the Newcastle defence who then unleashed a venomous volley into the right-hand corner.

Manager Dave Cooke made several changes to the line-up from Tuesday’s defeat against Salford City, with James Hawkins starting in goal and the likes of Declan O’Riordan, Ryan Allcock, Joe Malkin and Harry Cain all starting".

VANARAMA NATIONAL LEAGUE NORTH NEWS

According to the Chester Standard, "Anthony Johnson warned some Chester players [that they] need to ‘buck their ideas up’ despite recording a second pre-season win at Runcorn Linnets.

Goals from Steve Howson, John Pritchard, an own goal and a brace from Chester’s trialist striker secured a 5-3 victory over the Evo-Stik West outfit, but joint-manager Johnson admitted he’d ‘torn strips’ off his players at half-time having grown increasingly frustrated with the amount of chances Runcorn were gifted.

The Blues lacked rhythm and the new-look squad certainly have work to do before their National League North opener against Spennymoor on August 4, with Johnson and Bernard Morley looking to bring in a handful of new signings this week, with a former Football League midfielder expected to be announced in the next 48 hours.

'There were more negatives than positives,' Johnson said. 'There were a few positives... I said last week that I wasn't going to be over critical, but we’ve just tore [sic] strips of some of them in there. We said at half-time that’s potentially your back five going into the new season. No scholars or first year pros but one of the goals we gave away was awful and we gave them so many chances. We’ve continued to pour goals in the second-half too, so there is a lot of work to do.

'We've won 5-3 with a couple of well-worked goals and some good stuff early on. However, some of the sloppyness that lead to chances needs to be ironed out. It was almost a free hit for them but I said to them at half time, sorry, but I am going to have to judge them a little bit earlier here after that first-half. One or two of them are under no illusions as to where they stand and what they need to do to be in the team in three weeks.

'There will be players coming in. Not players coming in to pad the squad out but players for the starting 11. They need to buck their ideas up and some players now know that. We’ve spoken to them individually and as a group. However, we’ve not done any work with them technically and tactically in their three weeks. It’s all been physical work and we’ve said to the lads, go and enjoy it, go and play, get your minutes. There’s no identity of how we’re going to play (yet) so now is the time to nail that down, starting with Llandudno. You will start to see how we look like with or without the ball.'

Johnson was delighted with the efforts of his trialist striker who bagged a brace and rattled the upright with a second-half header. The forward has considerable Football League experience and a deal could be done between now and the start of the campaign... Johnson added, 'He is a big strapping targetman that understands the game and is an intelligent player. We are seeing the graft that he has been putting in. It was a decent performance from him. We asked him to earn a deal and he is doing that the right way. He is doing OK'".

Across the Pennines, the Telegraph & Argus reports that "Bradford (Park Avenue) clinched the Donald Bell Trophy with a 15-0 home win over the Yorkshire Regiment in energy-sapping heat. Avenue boss Mark Bower once again assessed a number of trialists, as well as giving valuable game time to a string of first-team players.

Ten changes were made at half-time, with goalkeeper Steven Drench being the only player to complete 90 minutes. The scoring was opened after just three minutes in bizarre fashion. Two trialists rattled the woodwork in the space of ten seconds before the ball cannoned in off a third trialist.

With Ben McKenna looking lively, Avenue soon had a second as keeper Brandon Greaves palmed an Adam Nowakowski header into the path of Luca Havern, who hammered the ball home....

With fresh legs, Avenue were even more ruthless in the second half, with a trialist making it 6-0 barely a minute after the restart... The rampant hosts hit double figures on the hour when a trialist ran beyond the Regiment's backline after a superb through ball from Danny Boshell before rounding the goalkeeper and passing into an open net. Johnson then teed up a trialist for number 11 before leaving the pitch as Avenue played with ten men for the remaining 25 minutes.

Being a man short didn't make any difference, however, as trialists scored three of the final four goals, with Killock bundling home the 15th and final goal".

Alfreton Town "gave a good account of themselves when they entertained League Two Morecambe FC at the lmpact Arena on Friday night in the second of their pre-season friendlies. The Shrimps had stepped into the breach at short notice after Scunthorpe United had cried off from the original fixture, setting up the first meeting between the clubs since Alfreton's shock 1-0 FA Cup win on the coast back in 1984, when Morecambe were an established Northern Premier League side and the Reds were plying their trade in the Northern Counties [East] League.

It was a lively encounter, marred only by torrential yet much-needed rain during the entire second half, Alfreton enjoying a 2-1 interval lead before succumbing to a rather soft 87th minute decider [2-3]...

The Reds, playing in blue for the second time at home this pre-season, were level by the 32nd minute though when Luke Shiels headed home a King free-kick from the edge of the six-yard box, then a sublime Tom Denton header from virtually the same spot eight minutes later edged Alfreton in front from a James Clifton ball into the area. Numerous changes afflicted the second half, notably with both sides changing their keepers, the Reds' Tom Nicholson catching the eye with a double save from Alex Kenyon and Lamin Jagne on 69 minutes, then two minutes later his replacement counterpart Barry Roche tipping over a stinging drive from Alfreton's Declan Bacon.

Morecambe had drawn level ten minutes after the break... their winner coming after Nicholson's parry from Jagne had left Carlos Mendes Gomes free to ram home the loose ball.

ALFRETON: Durrant; Clifton, Wilde, Platt, Riley, Shiels, Bateson, Peniket, Johnson, Denton, King. Subs: Nicholson; Clackstone, Hotte, Chettle, Bacon, Lane plus three un-named trialists".

Southport Football Club "are pleased to announce that midfield maestro, David Morgan has put pen to paper and signed a contract extension with the club to May 2020. Turning 24 recently, David has so far made 24 (+2) appearances, scoring twice in the process since signing for the Port last September".

From Bulls' News we hear that "Hereford have four preseason friendlies left to play, with three of those against League Two and Premier League opponents...

After this Tuesday's game at Evesham United, Newport County, Forest Green Rovers and a Cardiff City XI will visit Edgar Street for the three friendlies on home turf.

'Those three games, we maybe might have less of the ball than what we normally have,' said Beadle. 'It'll give us a chance to work on our shape, work on different types of shape and how we try and nullify teams that are going to try and come to us in the next season that have got big players, big squads and play differently to what we do. Some of the lower-graded teams want us to go there because we are well-supported so we try and cherry-pick to a degree. We want to find nice pitches to play on and there's not many around at the moment with the weather that everyone's having.

'We build up towards our first game of the season by playing teams that are probably going to be probably more like what we'll come up against when the season starts.'

For the visit of a Cardiff City XI on Saturday July 28th, Hereford manager Pete Beadle admitted he had no idea what sort of the side the Premier League new-boys would bring, but hoped for a number of big names... 'They've got two games on that day so we're hoping they'll split and go half and half but we don't know. We're just happy they're coming... Hopefully we might be able to give them a bit more of a test than we did last year'".

At Alty's first opponents of the forthcoming season, Leamington report that the "Brakes fought out a score draw with a young Derby County side on a sweltering afternoon at the Phillips 66 Community Stadium. Paul Holleran was only able to name two of his summer acquisitions in his squad, striker Matt Stenson making his first appearance while goalkeeper Brad Caswell was an unused substitute.

The game started in a near 30 degree temperature with Brakes first to show... Following a good turn in the box, Checkaine Steele was brought down and referee Sarah Garratt pointed to the penalty spot. Stenson struck the ball hard and low to the keeper’s right and although he dived the correct way, there was too much pace on the shot to put Brakes ahead with 38 minutes played...

Plenty of substitutions were made... Derby levelled on 66 minutes following a fine left wing move... Both sides attacked in turn but neither keeper had to make saves as both defences held firm and the game was largely played in midfield.

Leamington: 1, Tony Breeden; 2, Junior English (14 Joe Magunda); 3, Connor Gudger (17 Tom James); 4, Joe Clarke; 5 Jamie Hood; 6, James Mace; 7, Kieran Dunbar; 8, Callum Gittings; 9, Matt Stenson (16 Shay Nicholson); 10, Chekaine Steele (12 Ryan Harkin); 11, Ahmed Obeng (15 Taylor Morrison). Sub not used: Brad Caswell".


15 July 2018

ISLE OF MAN XI 0 ALTRINCHAM 6

3-0 up inside twenty minutes, Altrincham ran out 6-0 winners in Douglas against an Isle of Man XI. Jordan Hulme hit a hat-trick with other goals from Sean Miller, Tom Peers and trialist Elliot Rokka.

Alty's next game is at home on Tuesday against Macclesfield Town (7.45pm).

GET YOUR SEASON TICKET!

As previously announced the following admission prices at the J Davidson Stadium will apply for next season:
  • Adults £13
  • Concessions £10
  • Juniors (12-16) £5
  • Under 12s £1

Season tickets will be priced as follows:

  • Adults £220
  • Concessions £170
  • Juniors (12-16) £50
  • Under 12s £20

VANARAMA NATIONAL LEAGUE NORTH NEWS

Boston United "have taken their summer transfer business into double figures by capturing in-demand striker Adam Marriott. The 27-year-old has put pen-to-paper on an initial one-year deal at The Jakemans Stadium after plundering 31 goals for Southern Premier League side Royston Town last season.

It came a season after his exploits as a Lincoln City player where he helped the Red Imps to the National League title and the quarter-finals of the Emirates FA Cup."

Morecambe report that "The Shrimps came from behind to claim their second victory in a week winning 3-2 at the Impact Arena, [Alfreton].

The Shrimps went ahead in the 20th minute... Alfreton countered with pace and Aaron Wildig took a foul on the right side of the defensive third. The resulting free kick was whipped into the penalty area and headed past Mark Halstead for Alfreton to equalise.

Alfreton went ahead after 39 minutes after a long throw... headed home by the 6’7” Tom Denton to make it 2-1 to the home side going into half time.

The Shrimps fought back after the break and went level on 54 minutes when... Campbell slotted home from 6 yards to take his goal tally for the week to 3.

Morecambe pushed for a winner and after a missed penalty by new loanee Liam Mandeville, the 21 year old made amends when he broke the Alfreton lines and squared the ball to Lamin Jagne who’s effort was well saved but fell to Carlos Mendes Gomes who made no mistake and won it for the Shrimps in the 89th minute."

Chorley report that "Unfortunately, the glorious weather has thrown a spanner in the works for game two of pre-season, with Saturday’s friendly against Blackburn switched to AFC Darwen due to Victory Park’s new pitch requiring extra attention...

Monday night’s opening 5-0 victory at Euxton Villa was a good starting point heading into our weekend fixture against... Blackburn Rovers XI/development squad/under-23s...

'We're looking forward to testing ourselves against a good, technical side,' manager Jamie Vermiglio enthused... 'We'll have a few extra bodies involved again like at Euxton. Some are just looking at gaining fitness, others trying to impress. We'll use the next few games to make some final judgements, but they'll have to perform very well to convince us, especially because of how strong our squad already is'".

Nuneaton Borough "are delighted to announce the resigning of goalkeeper Ross Etheridge... After his release by Doncaster Rovers, Etheridge joined the Boro' on a deal until the end of the 2017/18 season. After taking over between the sticks for Dean Lyness, Etheridge never relinquished the number one shirt, making 13 appearances.

Nuneaton lost just twice with Ross in goal as he kept four clean sheets and grew in confidence as the season progressed".

Still at Nuneaton Borough, "Dior Angus and Michael Calveley will make their Boro' debuts tomorrow as the loan pair have received special dispensation to turnout at Liberty Way against Coventry City. Parent club, Port Vale, have approached the Football League for permission to loan the duo to the Boro' on a longer term basis but have taken this temporary measure whilst they await clarification on the deal.

Dior is a 24 year-old forward from Coventry and the son of Boro' legend Terry. In six matches on loan with Tamworth last season, Angus netted three times. The hard-working forward has also had spells with division rivals Leamington and Kidderminster Harriers but secured a permanent deal with the Valiants after an impressive run with Redditch United that saw him score 17 times.

Michael Calveley is a 19 year-old midfielder that came through the youth ranks at Port Vale. So far he has made three appearances for the Valiants and has had a loan spell with Leek Town".

Elsewhere, York City "host Bradford City on Saturday afternoon... It will be the third game in eight days for the Minstermen who won 2-1 at Shildon AFC last weekend before losing at home in midweek to League One side Barnsley.

Manager Martin Gray is hoping to welcome back new signings Jordan Burrow (calf) and Macaulay Langstaff (illness) who both missed Tuesday night's game. Defender Kallum Griffiths (ankle) has resumed training after missing the first two friendlies but defender Tom Allan (knee) remains a doubt".


14 July 2018

ISLE OF MAN MATCH

Altrincham FC adds that "Altrincham’s pre-season travels take them across the sea... to the Isle of Man as we face an Isle of Man XI on Saturday afternoon at 5pm at The Bowl in Douglas...

Phil Parkinson will field a more experienced team for this match as more of his first team squad are available with only Shaun Densmore, Ben Harrison, James Poole and Tony Thompson unable to participate here".

Radio Robins will be covering the match from the the Isle of Man.

PATRONS REACH 185

The Altrincham FC Patrons' scheme for 2018-19 has now reached 185 members. If you have not yet joined, why not do so now and help the Club? Details of the scheme are here.

VANARAMA NATIONAL LEAGUE NORTH NEWS

The Chester Chromicle confirms that "Jordan Archer has left Chester FC for a move to the Football League with Bury on a two-year deal. The League Two side beat off competition from the likes of Salford City, Southport, Chesterfield and Boston United for the 24-year-old's signature after he had made clear his desire to remain in full-time football, with Chester reverting back to part-time for this season...

The fee Bury have paid for the services of Archer is undisclosed but 'substantial' and Chester have also inserted a sell-on clause into the deal for the striker who netted four times in 19 games after arriving from Stourbridge in October last year".

The National League reports that "With some big names in the Vanarama National League North this season, promotion is set to be hotly contested by a number of clubs...

Can Hereford continue their promotion streak? Can Chester’s new joint managers bring their winning formula to their new club?...

With ex-Salford City pair Anthony Johnson and Bernard Morley dropping back into the National League North with Chester this season, it gives them the chance to reignite their battle with Darlington. The Quakers battled with the duo for promotion during their time at Salford and Tommy Wright’s side will look to thwart their promotion plans once again as they look to improve on last seasons mid-table finish.

Darlington will also be coming up against another familiar face in the opposing dugout this season when ex-manager Martin Gray returns to Blackwell Meadows on Boxing Day with his Minstermen.

Marcus Bignot will also face his former employers this season. His Chester side dropped into the division under his stewardship and he now makes a fresh start as joint manager of Guiseley who themselves suffered relegation last time out.

Rivalries aren’t always solely about bragging rights. For Stockport and Altrincham this season, promotion could also be on the line when they come up against each other".

Ashton United entertain Macclesfield Town on Saturday, before the Silkmen travel to the J. Davidson Stadium on Tuesday evening.

Ashton report that "Having made six signings on Tuesday, manager Jody Banim will once again be hoping that the new squad members, alongside the returnees, will be able to get a good run out against the Sky Bet League Two Side. To recap, the six new signings are; Darren Thornton, Matt Regan, Curtis Jones, Zack Dale, Oliver Crowley and Scott Sephton. In addition to this, many of the Play-Off winning side remain in the squad including the likes of Liam Tomsett, David Carnell and Aaron Chalmers...

The one to watch for this game [v. Macc] is young attacking midfielder Koby Arthur. Starting his career at Birmingham City, the forward managed to play 16 games for the Championship side. He moved on loan to Lincoln City in 2013 and made six league appearances. The next season Koby took in a loan spell at League Two side Cheltenham Town... before making a permanent move to Macclesfield Town last season".

News of Brackley Town comes from the NL Paper. "The man who struck the winning [FA Trophy] penalty back in May, Andy Brown, has moved on. A stalwart of Wilkin’s Nuneaton Town side, his demanding job as a deputy head teacher means it’s time for change. Striker Aaron Williams has moved onto their play-off conquerors Harrogate, while Alex Gudger is also moving to Step 1 with Solihull Moors. A disappointed Brackley had thought the highly-rated defender was staying put.

But largely the squad from last season that finished third and had the best defensive record in the division is still together. Striker Greg Smith has arrived from Boston United while Wilkin has looked further down the Pyramid to bring in Connor Hall from Biggleswade and Luke Fairlamb, fresh from promotion with AFC Rushden & Diamonds...

'We want players to buy into what that changing room is,' Wilkin says... 'Ideally, the boys you take fit in and the more seamless that is the better chance you have to hit the ground running. It takes a bit of work, speaking to the players to make sure they fit with our ideas. For me, profiling players is a big part of it and trying to get in the right characters as well as players. It’s part of the challenge that players are able to deal with the expectancy. Not every player can do it but you have to be able to cope with that, no two ways about it'".

At Kidderminster Harriers, "Versatile former Coventry City man Billy Daniels has become Harriers’ second signing in as many days. The 24-year-old has signed a one-year deal with the club having worked with boss Neil MacFarlane while the pair were with the Sky Blues. He came through the ranks there to make a professional debut in 2012, going on to appear more than 30 times in Leagues 1 and 2.

Capable of playing in midfield, out wide or up front, Billy has spent the last three seasons with Nuneaton where he has gained key National League North experience. Daniels joins fellow new signings Ashley Chambers, James Baxendale, Ryan Johnson and Ed Williams in the squad for Saturday’s friendly against Aston Villa".

From Bradford Park Avenue we learn that "Mansfield Town condemned Bradford to their first defeat of pre-season at the Horsfall Stadium. Mark Bower fielded an experimental side once again, opting to take a further look at numerous trialists and handing first-team opportunities to scholars Lewis Johnson and Matthew Rowntree. American trialist Aaron Onion also appeared as a second-half substitute after joining on a temporary basis from Bugeaters F.C in Nebraska. Both sides made eleven changes during the game but whereas Bradford’s changes were staggered, Mansfield made eleven substitutions during the half-time break.

Bradford (PA): Drench, Trialist, Lowe, Trialist, Killock, Trialist, McKenna, Boshell, Trialist, Trialist, Clee. Substitutes (all featured): Toulson, Trialist, Wroe, Havern, Spencer, Nowakowski, Johnson, Trialist, Onion, Johnson, Rowntree".


13 July 2018

PHIL PLEASED WITH JORDAN

The Sale & Altrincham Messenger reports that "Jordan Hulme sent an ominous warning to National League North defences with a swift return to goalscoring form as Altrincham launched their preparations for the new season with two wins in quick succession.

Last season’s 31-goal leading marksman may have been off the pace in Saturday’s 3-0 victory at Rhyl, but there was no containing him at Kidsgrove three days later, as Alty followed up with a 4-2 success.

An opening goal after only two minutes and another assured finish in the second half crowned a lively show of frontrunning and suggested the Alty crowd favourite is ready to hit the ground running when Leamington visit The J.Davidson Stadium for the start of another league campaign three weeks on Saturday.

'You could tell on Saturday that Jordan (right) had been away on holiday, but I thought he was superb tonight,' said manager Phil Parkinson after the win at Kidsgrove. 'To be fair to him, he’d just stepped off the plane when we played Rhyl but tonight he showed his real quality and gave us something to take heart from, in terms of our front line. Some of his touches and interplay were top drawer, and he was a real threat. He looked very sharp, and that’s a great sign for us. We are making steady progress in each game, and that’s something we need to continue doing.'

As Alty head for a ground-breaking friendly against the Isle of Man in Douglas on Saturday, Parkinson admitted he faces a dilemma choosing between trialist keepers Matthew Johnson and Callum Roberts, who both impressed at Rhyl and Kidsgrove. 'Both have done well and made my life very difficult,' he said.

'They have shown different attributes, and I’ve got a tough decision to make at the end of the week, because I promised them I would decide by then. They have given me a bit of a headache, which is good. The Isle of Man trip should be a great experience for everyone at the club. It’s a first for me as a manager, and I’m looking forward to it.'"

VANARAMA NATIONAL LEAGUE NORTH NEWS

The Shropshire Star reports that "AFC Telford United boss Gavin Cowan is set to hold crunch talks with chairman Andy Pryce to determine the fate of the club's trialists.

Winger Joe Cuff, goalkeeper Jono Brown and full-back Tyler Lyttle all featured in Tuesday's 4-0 victory at Market Drayton Town. Two mystery men were also involved, after several others had been training with the Bucks.

'I'm meeting with the chairman to have a discussion on a few of them,' said Cowan. 'It's football, so some of them will fall by the wayside unfortunately. A few of them fell away before Tuesday night. Listen, we don't keep them around just for our own benefit. We make sure they're here if we're interested, and we're interested at this moment in time. I need to sit down with the chairman and look at what we might be able to do, and what we might not be able to do.'

Cuff has been given an opportunity to impress after a stellar season at Drayton, being named players’ player of the year. Brown was recently let go by rivals Kidderminster Harriers, having had loan spells at Rushall Olympic and Sutton Coldfield Town over the past couple of years. Lyttle, the son of former Nottingham Forest and West Brom star Des Lyttle, ended last season at Sutton Coldfield. He was on the books of Bristol Rovers a couple of years ago and went to Thomas Telford.

Cuff got the most time on the pitch of the on-trial players at Greenfields... Brown replaced Sheridan Martinez between the sticks on the hour mark, while Lyttle started and was taken off in the second period. The other two trialists were a right-back and a left-back.

'They've got aspirations to play higher, and that's what they're doing here,' added Cowan...

Jack Rea and Matthew Barnes-Homer, who started last season with Telford, have also been training and featured in friendlies. Cowan 'wouldn't call them trialists', insisting he has been helping the pair boost their fitness as they search for clubs."

According to the Stoke Sentinel, "Port Vale owner Norman Smurthwaite has at times reflected on the aggravation of being involved in one football club, but may have his plate full after deciding to take on two.

Smurthwaite became landlord of Nuneaton Borough in June after agreeing to buy their ground in a deal which allowed the National League North club through financial problems. He is Nuneaton's landlord rather than owner, but was still faced with a headache this week after the local rugby team blocked the entrance to the football club with skips. That was the latest step in a long-running dispute between the football and rugby clubs who share the Liberty Way ground.

This was the last thing the football club needed before Saturday's friendly at home to Coventry City, although Borough tweeted to suggest the game is going ahead. Port Vale are also visiting Liberty Way, playing a friendly at the ground next Wednesday (7pm).

Smurthwaite spoke to CoventryLive on Tuesday, saying, 'The skips were placed blocking the access yesterday. I will be starting litigation against Nuneaton Rugby Football Club to resolve the access issue once and for all, but this legal process could take up to a year'"

OLD BOYS

Whilst Altrincham now employ a number of ex-Nantwich Town players, the Dabbers likewise have several ex-Altrincham men in their squad as their most recent line-up shows...

Nantwich Town Andy Wycherley (James Hawkins), Troy Bourne (Sam Wakefield), Damien Skolorzynski (Clayton McDonald [pictured left]), Joel Stair, Toby Mullarkey (Declan O’Riordan), Caspar Hughes (c) (Ryan Allcock), Joe Mwasile (Nathan Cotterell), Matt Bell, Danny Glover (Jack Higginbotham), James Lawrie (Harry Cain), Jordan Davies (Joe Malkin).

On 24 July, Alty travel to Shawe View for a pre-season game against our neighbours, Trafford FC. Last Tuesday, Trafford won 4-0 at Irlam FC in a friendly and they featured a number of ex-Robins in their squad as the following lists show...

TRAFFORD FIRST HALF TEAM: James Coates, Sean Yeldrem, Darius Palma, Sam Egerton, Anthony Brown, Kiel O’Brien, Tom Schofield [ex-Alty loanee], Paul Williams, Matthew Bryan, Matthew Crothers, Ashley Woods.

SECOND HALF: Mason Mostyn, Chris Palmer, Zac Cooper, Ross Davidson, Anthony Brown, Lee Wilshaw, Nico Collins, Andy Langford, Aaron Burns, Mark Derbyshire, Jack Dorney, George Farreley".


12 July 2018

KIDSGROVE ATHLETIC 2 ALTRINCHAM 4

Altrincham FC has a match report.

ISLE OF MAN FRIENDLY

There is an Isle of Man TV video interview with Altrincham FC director, Lawrence Looney (right), and the Isle of Man manager, Paul Jones, recorded in advance of the Isle of Man XI v Altrincham pre-season game which takes place on the artificial pitch at The Bowl, Douglas, k.o. 5pm. on Saturday.

It's eighteen years since Alty last set sail on the Irish Sea for a pre-season game, when the Robins played St Francis in Dublin and drew 3-3, thanks to goals by Kevin Ellison, Stuart Scheuber and Richard Landon.

VANARAMA NATIONAL LEAGUE NORTH NEWS

The Sunderland Echo tells us that "Jack Ross admits there is a lot of room for improvement from his players before the League One campaign kicks off after losing their opening pre-season friendly. Sunderland were beaten 1-0 by Darlington at Blackwell Meadows, Jordan Nicholson capitalising on a mistake by new signing Alim Ozturk in the ninth minute...

Sunderland, who named four new signings in the starting line-up plus triallist Anton Forrester, couldn't find an equaliser though...

'We played it like it was a friendly and they played it like it was a competitive game... Darlington were always going to make the game competitive, that’s why we take these kind of games on'" said Ross

Still in the north-east, Blyth Spartans "have added former Middlesbrough, York City and Spennymoor Town striker Bradley Fewster to the squad... The 22-year-old is Alun Armstrong’s fourth summer signing, and has already shown a killer instinct in pre-season by notching braces against both Blyth Spartans Reserves and Dunston UTS, also creating goals for his team-mates.

Fewster is a former England U19 International, coming through the Middlesbrough Academy in the same age group as former Spartan Luke Armstrong, and that’s where he got to know the Blyth boss... And the 43-year-old former Middlesbrough and Ipswich Town striker has been a huge influence on Fewster’s decision to sign for Blyth Spartans. 'He’s a massive influence, he wanted me to sign last season but I decided to stay closer to home. It says a lot about Alun that when I rang him this season he was exactly the same. He didn’t hold a grudge about me not signing last year and that’s a testament to the man he is.

'With him being a prolific top level striker I’m hoping he can help me become even better, help me add things to my game and produce for the this famous club'.

The Spartans’ boss was delighted with his new addition, and expects big things from his new centre-forward... 'He has the ability to score goals at any level, and he’ll score for Blyth, we create so many chances that he’ll get... He’s a proper striker, he plays within the 18-yard box and getting in between defenders. We didn’t have anyone to replace Dan Maguire when he got injured last season, so it was important to bring in an out and out striker this summer.'

During his time with Middlesbrough Fewster had loan spells at Preston North End, York City and Hartlepool United. He scored eight times at then League Two York City... At International level Fewster scored 12 goals in 18 games between U16 and U19 levels, scoring a hat-trick against Belgium U18 in a side that included Tottenham Hotspur’s Harry Winks and Leicester City’s Demarai Gray...

'I’ve got more to my game then just goals... I’ve shown so far in pre-season I can create chances for others'".

In the game against Dunston, Blyth Spartans add that "Spartans gave new signings Alex Nicholson, Kieran Green and Jamie Holmes, as well as Fewster, places in the starting line-up, with Sean Reid partnering Nathan Buddle in central defence...

Alun Armstrong was pleased with the performance from his side but insisted he’s not the biggest fan of pre-season.... Stated the 43-year-old, 'It was a difficult game in difficult conditions after the heat we’ve had over the last month or so, and it was red hot out there today. I’m not a big fan of pre-season, you can’t replicate the realism and toughness of league football, but it does it’s job in getting the fitness levels up... We need to be patient with Jack, he’s a huge talent but has a lot to learn, it’s going to be a big year for him but we can’t expect the world...

'It’s going to take Nicca [Nicholson] a few weeks to get his fitness levels up, we all know how good he is going forward but we’ll have to work on the defensive side of his game. I thought Jamie Holmes was bright and linked up well with Bradley, and everyone knows what a talent Greeny is, he’s going to be huge for us this season'...

Spartans Starting XI | Jameson; Nicholson, Buddle, Reid, Liddle; Mullen, Green; Wrightson, Holmes, Dale; Fewster. Substitutes Used | Horner, Hooks, Butler, Chimbonda, Trialist. Substitutes Unused | J Watson, Rivers"

At the other end of the country, Devon Live reports that "Hereford captain Jimmy Oates is currently on trial with Exeter City. The defender featured in the Grecians’ 3-1 win at Bideford on Tuesday night... Oates, 26, was listed as a trialist during the win, and was included in the starting XI that saw Matt Taylor’s youthful side record a comfortable victory in north Devon.

Born in Australia, Oates joined Hereford in August 2015, and was voted the club’s Player of the Year during the 2016/17 season. Bulls manager Pete Beadle is hopeful Oates will return to the club for Saturday’s friendly against AFC Wulfrunians, but is already looking for a replacement."

Closer to home, Alty's first away trip of the new season will be to Haig Avenue from where Southport report on a 1-1 draw at newly renamed Radcliffe where "Southport began their friendly schedule... After a fortnight’s training for his players, manager Liam Watson gave 45 minutes each to two different line-ups against the team from Evo-Stik Division One North, managed by the one-time Manchester City striker Jon Macken and former Chelsea defender Frank Sinclair.

The Sandgrounders’ first-half team featured new signings Bradley Bauress, the former Barrow midfielder who joined the previous day, Mike Phenix, goalkeeper Dan Hanford and two trialists, one of whom opened the scoring three minutes before half-time with a free-kick from deep which floated over Radcliffe’s trialist goalkeeper... Hanford was the only Southport player to remain on the pitch for the duration of the game and on 76 minutes Rick Smith drilled a low free-kick against a post, only for the ball to ricochet in off the visiting goalkeeper.

The second-half line-up also included defenders Zac Corbett and Ryan Astles, while Andy Parry played in central midfield and Devarn Green joined Dan Cockerline in attack...

Southport first half: Dan Hanford, Jordan Richards, Trialist, Trialist, Billy Priestley, Elliot Osborne, Mike Phenix, David Lynch, Jack Sampson, Jason Gilchrist, Bradley Bauress.

Southport second half: Dan Hanford, Dean Winnard, Zac Corbett, Andy Hollins, Ryan Astles, Nathan Lowe, Billy Whittle, Andy Parry, Dan Cockerline, Devarn Green, Liam Davies."

According to The 72 "Nuneaton Borough have signed former Oldham Athletic, Peterborough and Leicester City midfielder James Wesolowski. The midfielder is vastly experienced...

Wesolowski started his career at Australian side Northern Spirit before signing for Leicester City in 2002... making his debut at home to Cardiff City in January 2006... Despite playing a total of 22 league games, Wesolowski could not prevent Leicester from being relegated at the end of the 2007-08 season. He had loan spells with Cheltenham Town, Dundee United and Hamilton Academical.

In June 2010, Wesolowski signed a two-year deal at Peterborough United for an undisclosed fee. In his one year spell at Peterborough he made 32 appearances and scored twice. Following his spell with Peterborough, the midfielder signed a one-year deal Oldham Athletic... James Wesolowski had his best season for Oldham in the 2013–14 season, he played nearly every game for the club and netted 5 goals, his best ever goal goalscoring season. The great season resulted in him scooping up five awards at the end of season awards, including Player of the Year.

Despite a contract offer from Oldham, Wesolowski moved to Shrewsbury Town on a free transfer."

Meanwhile, York Press tells us that "York City striker Jon Parkin has admitted the team must rectify the manner in which they 'crumbled' during the 7-1 friendly defeat to Barnsley. Parkin helped City take the lead when he crossed for Jake Wright to open the scoring in [the] Bootham Crescent contest, but the Tykes hit back before half-time with three goals in four minutes and went on to run riot during the second period.

The visitors, who fielded 19 players from last season’s relegated Championship squad, ended up with seven different marksmen on the scoresheet... [including ex-Alty loanee] Dylan Mottley-Henry [left].

Barnsley also hit the frame of Adam Bartlett’s goal four times and Hamza Bencherif cleared a further Thiam chance off the line, with 36-year-old forward Parkin saying 'When we concede a goal, we seem to crumble a little bit. We need to rectify that and rectify it quickly because, no matter who you are playing, if you make basic mistakes, you will get punished...

'Obviously, the result wasn’t what we were looking for and everybody knows you don’t want to get beaten as heavily as that but, for 35 minutes, I thought we were in control of the game,' Parkin argued... 'We then had a mad few minutes and they got a couple more to put us on the back foot, but it was still only our second pre-season game and it’s all about fitness at this point. We got some minutes under our belt and, hopefully, we’ll get some more on Saturday. We’ll just need to look to improve against Bradford and do what we did for 35 minutes against Barnsley for longer periods of the game.'

Wright’s goal did mean that three of City’s strikers have already scored during the Minstermen’s opening two warm-up matches, with Parkin and Macaulay Langstaff both on target during the 2-1 win at Shildon over the weekend. The side were over-reliant on 25-goal Parkin to deliver the goods last season...

'As long as we’re winning games, I’m not too bothered who scores but, hopefully, we can all get goals now and hit the ground running' [added Parkin]. 'The gaffer has fetched a few strikers in so that might take a bit of pressure off me, but I don’t really feel pressure at my age anyway'. Parkin went on to suggest that it would be premature to comment on which of City’s three new centre-forwards, Wright, Langstaff or Jordan Burrow, would be most suited to a role as his striking partner.

'I’ve only played a half with Macca and a half with Wrighty, so it’s too early to tell,' the Barnsley-born behemoth reasoned. Wright will be monitored ahead of Saturday’s game after taking a knock against Barnsley when he joined fellow forwards Burrow (calf) and Langstaff in the treatment room. First-year pro striker Flynn McNaughton also limped out of the action... while Kallum Griffiths (ankle) and Tom Allan (knee) will be assessed before the Bradford match too, having sat out last night’s game. Clovis Kamdjo and midfielder Lee Hulme remain at the club as trialists."


11 July 2018

KIDSGROVE ATHLETIC 2-4 ALTRINCHAM

Phil Parkinson started this pre-season friendly game with ten present or past first-teamers, including Sean Miller who ended last season on loan at Trafford as he recovered fitness. On the bench the manager again gave youth its head with five youngsters, who all played for part of the game.

Altrincham went ahead after three minutes, through Hulme from a Hampson ball, before Rokka made it 2-0 as the game went into the 24th minute. However, Kidsgrove pulled back a goal through Cropper twelve minutes later.

Alty's lead was extended by a penalty, conceded by Morris early in the second half, when Hulme was brought down (51 mins). Hancock netted from the spot but the score became 4-1 after 66 minutes when Hulme finished off a Savage ball. However, Kidsgrove scored a fine goal through Chris Baker to make it 4-2, twenty minutes from time. See the official site for further details.

Altrincham's line up comprised 1. Matthew JOHNSON, 2. Andy WHITE, 3. Connor HAMPSON, 4. Tom HANNIGAN, 5. Liam GOULDING, 6. Jake MOULT (c), 7. Elliot ROKKA, 8. Max HARROP, 9. Jordan HULME, 10. Josh HANCOCK, 11. Sean MILLER. Subs. 12. Sean WILLIAMS, 14. Dontai GABIDON, 15. Ben ELLIOTT, 16. Cayde PRESTON, 17. Simon RICHMAN, 18. Pat SAVAGE, 19. Sam HARDING, 20. Harry SHERIDAN, GK. Callum ROBERTS.

Next up for Alty is a trip to the Isle of Man to take on an Isle of Man XI in Douglas on Saturday, 14 July.

PHIL'S VIEWS ON RHYL GAME

After Saturday's game at Rhyl, manager Phil Parkinson was interviewed by Brian Flynn and you can here that interview on the official site.

OLD BOYS

From NL Daily we learn that "Coalville Town have announced the signing of striker Tolani Omotola (left), previously of Altrincham. Omotola, 20, is a young striker from Liverpool but currently studies at Loughborough University. He started his career as a pro at Tranmere Rovers, coming through the youth ranks before having a loan spell at Witton Albion. Omotola actually played against Adam Stevens's Grantham side, impressing the now Coalville gaffer.

He then signed for Altrincham but, due to moving south, went on loan to Loughborough Dynamo at the end of last season".

Tolani made just one appearance for Alty as a substitute in an Integro Cup First Round match against Ashton United. But he made quite an impact as Alty won the tie on penalties, with Tolani netting the winning spot-kick.

A player leaving a National League North club and joining former Alty boss Lee Sinnott is the subject of a report from the National League which reports that "Ross Hannah, the prolific striker, has decided to play his football at Step 3 next season. He has signed for Gainsborough Trinity, relegated from the National League North last April. Trinity hope they are only away for one season - they are confident of a promotion charge in the Evo-Stik NPL Premier. Hannah came to an arrangement with Chester to part ways last week...

The 32-year-old’s arrival has Gainsborough excited and he joins former Altrincham striker Damian Reeves at Northolme.

'We can announce a massive statement of intent with the capture of Ross Hannah to complete an already potent attacking quartet which boasts last season's top scorer Ashley Worsfold, Alex Simmons and fellow new recruit Damian Reeves,” they said on Twitter."

VANARAMA NATIONAL LEAGUE NORTH NEWS

According to the Coventry Telegraph "Coventry City's friendly match with Nuneaton Borough could be in doubt this weekend, because of strategically placed skips. The Sky Blues are due to face Boro on Saturday but a groundshare row between the Nuneaton outfit and Nuneaton Rugby Club could see fans shut out from the game.

Bosses of the rugby club blocked Borough's access to part of the Liberty Way ground yesterday with large industrial skips. They have been dumped at the entrances to Nuneaton Borough Football Club ground as part of the on-going feud between the town's two biggest sporting clubs. The large blue and yellow skips appeared yesterday afternoon, in a reprise of the ground-sharing saga which hit the town last January.

Norman Smurthwaite, the new owner of the Liberty Way ground, insists he is working to keep the match on schedule and had threatened legal against against the Nuns... He said, 'The skips were placed blocking the access yesterday. I will be starting litigation against Nuneaton Rugby Football Club to resolve the access issue once and for all, but this legal process could take up to a year... We know, for health and safety reasons, we will not be given a licence for the game if the skips are still blocking access. So we will either have to play the game behind closed doors or find another venue for it.'

A Nuns spokesman said that they had been forced to take action again as pleas to arrange a new ground-sharing agreement have fallen on deaf ears. They said,' We wish the football club and its supporters well and hope an agreement for a groundshare can be reached for this season. Unfortunately the football club haven’t been in a position to sit down with us at this point and haven’t replied to some correspondence. The right to access Nuns land is always part of the groundshare agreement and so clearly in the absence of an agreement Nuns have to protect that right. So the skips are simply performing the role of a fence protecting Nuns’ land rights.

Let’s hope this can all be sorted quickly to benefit both clubs and sport in Nuneaton'...

The groundshare between the town's two premier sporting clubs was first revealed back in October 2006, and came into force in 2008".

Middlesbrough report that "Tony Pulis's Boro squad will be given more game time during Tuesday’s pre-season friendly at Spennymoor Town. Boro will head for Brewery Field with the boss expected to utilise his first team squad to the full once again in what is the club’s first UK friendly of the summer. The Boro players had an outing against Sturm Graz in Austria late last week in a game that proved to be the conclusion of a demanding training camp in Central Europe.

The three-times Austrian champions scored the only goal of a game where the emphasis was more on continuing players banking some game time. Moors finished eight in National League North last season and are managed by Boro-supporting former Hartlepool United man Jason Ainsley."

The Derbyshire Times reports that "Alfreton Town boss Billy Heath believes he has a squad 'full of quality'... Heath has been busy in the market this summer...

Defender Josh Clackstone is the latest player through the door at the Impact Arena, signing after his release from Hull City on a one-year deal. Clackstone is a product of the Tiger academy and has been on the fringes of the first team for the past two seasons, making the subs' bench on several occasions. He has Football League experience after making eight appearances for Notts County during a loan move for the second half of the 2016/17 campaign.

And, after captaining Hull’s under-23s side, he was again allowed to go out on loan, this time gaining valuable minutes at Halifax Town in November 2017. It was here where Heath, now Reds manager, got to see Clackstone up close and was impressed with what he saw from the versatile 21-year-old defender...

Said Heath, 'I had him on loan when I was at Halifax and he did impress... He plays mostly at right-back but can go centre-half and can slot in as a right-sided centre-half.. We won’t have the biggest squad in this league, but we have a squad full of quality'...

Heath’s side got their first run out of pre-season on Saturday when Doncaster Rovers visited the Impact Arena for a friendly fixture, which saw the visitors win 1-0. 'It was difficult conditions for both sides. It was really horrendous out there,' said Heath. 'I’m disappointed with the goal. I think it was the only time we switched off in the game... We made a lot of changes in the second half, which is never great, and it took is 10-15 minutes to settle in to the game again. But overall I’m pleased with today’s work and what we’ve done.'

Alfreton host Scunthorpe United on Friday 13th July (7.45pm KO) and Buxton on Tuesday 17th July (7.45pm KO) in games two and three of their six-match pre-season schedule...

'We’ve only had a short space of time (for pre-season) because the season starts so early. The pre-season games are coming earlier and earlier each season so we have had limited time... We looked organised and we have experience at the back... We defended the penalty box nice and narrow. The wide players did well as well'", said the manager.


10 July 2018

RADIO ROBINS AT KIDSGROVE

Altrincham FC confirms that "Radio Robins is providing full live commentary of Tuesday night's game at Kidsgrove (7.45pm). The commentary team is Brian Flynn and Mark Eckersall. Coverage starts at 7.40pm".

VANARAMA NATIONAL LEAGUE NORTH NEWS

According to the Chester Chronicle, "Chester FC striker Jordan Archer could be heading for the exit door The Chronicle understands that the 24-year-old has been the subject of a bid from a National League side, with the offer believed to be close to what the Blues were looking for.

No deal has yet been agreed but Archer has made no secret of his desire to return to full time football following Chester's relegation to the National League and the subsequent decision of the club to revert to a part-time structure in the National League North this season. Archer, who is attracting interest from Southport and Chesterfield, among others, played in Chester's 7-0 pre-season friendly defeat at home to a star-studded Liverpool side on Saturday in front of over 4,300 fans at the Deva.

And after the match Blues joint-manager Anthony Johnson hinted... 'Up front we have one centre forward at the club in Jordan Archer. We don't know how long he is going to be at the club for, in the sense of there is interest. Even if Jordan stays, we will be looking at bringing in a couple of forwards, minimum. From the top of League One to non-league everybody is looking for the same thing, that forward that promises you an amount of goals. That is the reason your Andy Cooks have taken a two-league jump.

'We're looking for them but we are looking more that fits the profile rather than "He scored 30 goals, can we sign him?" We need someone we can mould into what we want.'

Archer, who arrived in October from Stourbridge, has another year to run on his deal and netted four times in 19 games for the Blues last season, struggling with injuries during the campaign. Chester are hopeful of landing a forward later this week, with talks ongoing."

From York Press we learn that "Veteran striker Jon Parkin will line up against hometown club Barnsley tomorrow night when York City play their first home friendly of pre-season. Barnsley-born Parkin, City's leading marksman last season with 25 goals, will also be presented with The Press Player of the Year award before the game. Now 36, the much-travelled hitman started his career with the Tykes and made his first-team debut aged 17 in 1998.

He first joined City in 2002 and stayed for two years before spells with Macclesfield Town, Hull City, Stoke City, Preston North End, Cardiff City, Doncaster Rovers, Huddersfield Town, Scunthorpe United, Fleetwood Town, Forest Green Rovers and Newport County. Parkin returned to City in November 2016 and signed a new deal with the club last season...

City manager Martin Gray will be without defender Tom Allan, who suffered a minor knee injury in Saturday's 2-1 victory at Shildon AFC. New signings Jordan Burrow, Jake Wright, Macaulay Langstaff, Russ Penn and Wes York are all likely to be involved but full-back Kallum Griffith is doubtful with an ankle injury".

NL Today reports that "Zimbabwean international defender Cliff Moyo has joined Guiseley AFC. The 25-year-old departed FC Halifax Town at the end of last season after a two-year spell. He had joined FC Halifax from Trafford at the beginning of the 2016/17 season.

Moyo has enjoyed an unorthodox route to football, having not properly started playing until the age of 16 when he combined his studies at university with part-time stints at local clubs. At the Manchester Metropolitan University, where he studied Sports Science, Moyo was coached by Manchester United legends Paul Scholes, Ryan Giggs and Andy Cole as part of their badges, with the latter inspiring his shift from a left-winger to a full-back.

In his first season at The Shay he helped the club win promotion to the National League and played 47 games in total for the Shaymen. Moyo, who also numbers Barrow AFC, Northwich Victoria, Nantwich Town and Alfreton Town amongst his former clubs, earned his first call-up to the Zimbabwe national in March 2018, making his debut in the semi-final of the 2018 Four Nations Tournament. In May he was called up to the Matabeleland football team for the 2018 ConIFA World Football Cup".

According to Lincolnshire Live "Boston United’s pre-season campaign will move up a gear this week. A Pilgrims team littered with trialists kicked off their summer friendlies last week with a 3-2 defeat at Basford.

Manager Craig Elliott plans to field much stronger sides when the Pilgrims visit Tadcaster Albion on Thursday, host Chesterfield on Saturday and travel to Lincoln United in the County Cup on Wednesday, July 18.

'There were a lot of trialists and a lot of them didn’t do themselves any good to be honest,' said Elliott of the game at Basford. 'But that is why you have those sorts of games. In every friendly from now on we’ll be taking it more seriously. We’ll be picking strong teams with just the odd trialist. We should be a lot more competitive and show more consistency in our play.'

Having swooped for former Lincoln City and Gainsborough Trinity striker Jonny Margetts, Elliott is closing in on two more forwards... Said Elliott, 'I’m talking to two or three and I need to get at least one in this week because we are short in that area. I’m looking for a proven striker to play with Jonny and perhaps a younger one as well. I would also like to get a right-sided defender in if possible, but it’s not critical that we get someone in straightaway. We’ve got a couple of trialists training with us, so we’ll have a look at them.'

Elliott is also looking to broaden his squad tactically, as well as numerically, over the coming days... 'We’re now moving into how we want to play, having a plan A and a plan B, and how we adapt in certain match situations. That’s what we’ll be working on over the next couple of weeks.'

Midfielder Jonathan Wafula, one of the scorers against Basford, has signed a new deal with the Pilgrims. He was joined in the side by Grant Roberts, who made his first appearance for the club in almost two years. Roberts, a key man the last time Boston reached the National League North play-offs in 2016, is hoping to earn a deal after recovering from a serious knee injury."

The Telegraph & Argus tells us that "Jon Worsnop has returned to Guiseley for a third time. The 35-year-old former Bradford City trainee is back at Nethermoor to provide experienced goalkeeping cover as well as do some coaching. Worsnop, who left Valley Parade in 2002, has also played for Park Avenue, Chester in two spells, York and Southport."

From NL Daily comes a report that "AFC Telford United boss Gavin Cowan is ready for ‘decision time’ on up to 10 trialists who have impressed with the Bucks during pre-season. Cowan’s men strolled to a 6-0 friendly victory at Ellesmere Rangers, their first public outing of the summer, in north Shropshire on Saturday.

A number of players vying to earn a move, including a goalkeeper and one of the Bucks’ second-half goalscorers, were involved in the run-out. Cowan said, 'They’re giving us a problem at the moment. We’ve got them in for a reason and I had a good conversation with my chairman yesterday morning. Though we’ve got to be realistic. They’ll play against Drayton and then it’s decision time for me. But I’m not just looking at them on match day, I’m looking at their characters at all time'".


9 July 2018

NEXT UP: KIDSGROVE ATHLETIC

Altrincham are on the road again on Tuesday when they travel to Kidsgrove Athletic for their second pre-season game of the summer.

Above: Josh Hancock (centre) and Ben Harrison (far right) show their delight after combining to score Alty's third goal. Also seen are Josh Amis (left) and Tom Peers.

In the corresponding game last July, Altrincham ran out 4-1 winners in front of 176 spectators. Hancock, Densmore, Amis and Omotola were the Alty scorers in a good performance which was produced despite the making of nine second-half substitutions.

Previously, Altrincham had played pre-season games at Kidsgrove in 2006 and 2007.

A third away trip of the month follows as Altrincham take on an Isle of Man XI in Douglas on Saturday, 14 July.

RHYL 0 ALTRINCHAM 3

According to the Rhyl Journal "Rhyl's new-look squad began their busy pre-season schedule with a 3-0 home loss to Altrincham Town [sic].

The Huws Gray Alliance side had plenty of positives to take from the friendly clash against a quality National League North side...

Home custodian Rory Crowther was at his brilliant best to deny with visitors with a sensational stop early on as they began the game the stronger of the two sides, but they found chances hard to come by thanks to a resolute rearguard led by a superb central defensive partnership of Reece Fairhurst and Max Peate. At the other end Kristian Pierce and Mike Pritchard were looking lively, with recent signing from Prestatyn Town James Stead also full of running in the middle of the park.

The deadlock was finally broken after the interval when substitute Max Harrop finally found a way past the impressive Crowther with a 20-yard effort that found the corner following a neat passage of build-up play on 57 minutes.

Full-back Tom Hartley went close to levelling matters with a well-struck effort from a dead ball situation soon after, and Oli Buckley nearly marked his return to the Lilies set-up with a goal but was unable to convert his chance after good work from Aaron Pomeyie.

They were made to pay for their inefficiency in front of goal soon after as the visitors doubled their advantage after 62 minutes when Ben Elliot made an instant impact from the bench with a well-taken effort from inside the area.

The lively Mike Pritchard was one of the better home performers on the day and almost got the hosts back into the contest but his strike from 18 yards was saved, and the away side broke quickly and sealed their victory on 78 minutes when Elliot burst clear and slotted past Crowther for his second of the afternoon."

Rhyl themselves added that "Rhyl got their pre-season preparations underway on Saturday at a warm Belle Vue as they welcomed Altrincham. With a large recruitment of players over the summer the starting XI included a number of familiar faces with Crowther, Hartley and Carroll all starting with Jefferies and Pomeyie also in the line up seeking to secure a return to the Lilywhites for the season ahead.

The game got off to a lively start with Jordan Hulme hitting the post for the visitors and after 18 minutes James Stead found some space on the edge of the box but his shot was deflected wide. The warm weather naturally had an impact on the tempo of the game and the referee signalled for a drinks break on the half hour to give the players some respite.

The best chance of the half came to John Johnston for the visitors but his shot went wide... The breakthrough came in the 57th minute from Altrincham substitute Max Harrop whose low shot from outside the box on the left went in past Crowther to give the visitors the lead.

The second came after a break in play and a number of substitutes for both sides and Altrincham sub Ben Elliott was able to finish from inside the box with his shot going in via the post in the 62nd minute to double their advantage...

A good run by Dontai Gabidon by the visitors saw Elliott in space down the Altrincham right and he finished calmly past Crowther. Overall the afternoon saw plenty of positives for the new look Lilywhites against strong opposition".

FA CUP MONEY

The Chester Chronicle reminds us ""How much prize money will be paid in the FA Cup for the 2018/19 season. Money handed out to sides has doubled, with Chester FC entering at the Second Qualifying round... meaning the financial rewards for Chester FC will be all the more significant if the Blues can progress...

Winners of the extra preliminary round of the world’s oldest club cup competition will now pick up £2,250, with £750 for the losers. Those teams which triumph in the preliminary round will collect £2,890, while those sides which leave the competition at this stage will receive £960. For the first qualifying round, winners of these games will now pick up £6,000, double the £3,000 given at the same stage last season.

Chester FC will enter the competition this season at the second qualifying round, with a tie due to take place on Saturday, September 22. And the financial incentive for winning that game and progressing to the next stage will now be £9,000.

Winning the third qualifying round will earn clubs £15,000, with the prize for those which win the following stage, where the Blues exited the competition last season with an abysmal 2-0 away loss against Kidderminster, and make it into the first round proper now standing at £25,000... with a reward of £36,000 prize money on offer if they triumph.

A total of £54,000 will be paid from the prize fund to those clubs which come through the second round unscathed... The reward for victory in this round now stands at £135,000. Making it through the fourth round proper now offers an incentive of £180,000 for winning teams, while those which triumph in the fifth will pick up a cool £360,000".

NORTH-WEST NEWS

Above, as Alty take the field at Rivacre Park in August 2013, Scott Leather follows the smiling Shaun Densmore, Matt Doughty and Stuart Coburn. Behind them come Junior Smikle and James Lawrie. This was to be Alty's first ever league win at Vauxhall Motors.

The Hallmark Security (NW Counties) League tells us that "Vauxhall Motors are one of three clubs who are re-joining our league this season, in their case after an 18-year absence. Along with Ashton Town and Stone Dominoes, the Cheshire side will be adding to their existing playing record... having played 380 NWCFL league games during two separate spells in the 80s and 90s.

Founded in 1963, shortly after the opening of the new Vauxhall car plant in Ellesmere Port, they initially joined our league in 1987-88 in Division Two as Vauxhall GM, and were promoted as champions in 1988-89. However, in 1992 the club took the decision to move back down to the West Cheshire League for three years, before they rejoined the North West Counties League Division Two in 1995...

In 1999 [they] changed their name to Vauxhall FC and had their most successful season up to that point, winning the 1999-2000 NWCFL Division One and reaching the FA Vase semi-final. After promotion to the Northern Premier League Division One, they enjoyed immediate success, being promoted to the Premier Division and also capturing the national headlines in 2002-03 when they defeated Queens Park Rangers in their first appearance in the FA Cup first round... winning the replay on penalties at Loftus Road after a 1-1 draw.

They then joined the Conference in 2004-05 in the newly formed Northern Division, but in season 2014-15 they resigned from the Conference North and re-joined the West Cheshire League. Since then, they have been slowly rebuilding with an eye towards moving into our league and, after finishing as runners-up in the West Cheshire League last season, they are now gearing up for the new season.

The appointment of former Cammell Laird 1907 manager Mick McGraa, who steered Lairds to the Division One play off final and the First Division Cup final last season, signalled the club’s intentions to be competitive and Vice-Chairman Alan Bartlam says... 'It will be just marvellous to be back in the league', said Alan... 'We had to stabilise the club before we could make this decisive move... There has been an awful lot of work going on around the complex, with a second floodlit all-weather pitch installed, the old one refurbished and a brand new clubhouse being built. All are now in place'".

VANARAMA NATIONAL LEAGUE NORTH NEWS

Bulls' News reports that "Hereford manager Pete Beadle says he's not looking at bringing in another striker, despite some fans questioning if there's a prolific striker in his side... Beadle said, 'You look at the front four that played the first half, then you've got the other two that have come on second half, do we really need another forward? Unless this lad comes to us from an agent and it's like 70 games in the Premier League, we're probably not going to take a look at him, we're probably okay.

'Normally, if it's someone we've been and watched and someone we're trying to bring into the club, we wouldn't necessarily bring them in on a trial, we'd sign them. But this comes through people ringing up, sending in CVs or agents getting in touch and things like that.

'We have hundreds through the summer, we do a lot of homework on their backgrounds, where they've been and what type of player they are. A lot of it comes down to what they might want financially as well because we need to keep an eye on that. We try to be as helpful as we can to players to give them a chance, but it's difficult when you have so many come through all the time.

'We have to try and sift through as many as we can as quickly as we can, and we've got to do our homework on them through the summer and try and find out a little bit more about them, speak to people that maybe know them, look at their records as in how many games have they played in the last two or three seasons because some come to us where they've had a long-term injury and they've been out for a while, so we go through things like that before bringing them in.'

Beadle's not looking for any more trialists, but one of the four who played a part in the game at Pegasus yesterday was Australian-born Serbian keeper Marko Radovanovic. He's been around the Australian A-League but is now looking for a club in the UK... 'He's had a spell at Torquay, training at Torquay just trying to find himself a club,' Beadle added. 'Basically we knew, after Will [Puddy] leaving, we knew Martin [Horsell] was going to be away, we needed a keeper. An agent got in touch and said look, I've got this lad, so he's come in, he's trained and done particularly well. Obviously [he] wasn't hugely tested, but he'll have another 45 minutes on Tuesday.

'I don't think anymore will be coming in now, we've got to give these boys a chance. If people are asking what we're looking for, we're probably looking for another goalkeeper and a centre-half so that's where we're looking at. The two boys who played in midfield second half did it very well, obviously we'll give those another chance on Tuesday and have another look at them.'

Another trialist, 26-year-old Lee Lucas, spent 15 years at Swansea City... After being released in 2016, he signed a short-term contract with Motherwell in the Scottish Premiership".

The Chester Standard tells us that "Anthony Johnson felt Chester’s pre-season defeat against Liverpool had provided the sternest of examinations for the Blues new-look squad. Chester, with nine debutants in their ranks, acquitted themselves well during the first-half, and were set to go into the break goalless against the Premier League giants prior to Harry Wilson’s brace on the stroke of half-time.

The Reds ran riot in the second-half as a team including James Milner, Daniel Sturridge, Andy Robertson and debutant Naby Keita bossed proceedings to claim a 7-0 win...

'It’s only the sixth time we’re playing together, against a Liverpool first-team,' said Johnson, who confirmed Liverpool stars including Milner and Robertson had stayed behind to swap shirts with the Blues’ players post-match. 'We knew it was about the supporters more than anything. Mainly it was going to be an extension of the physical work we’ve been doing and for large periods we didn’t touch the ball.

'But I thought in the first half, how we looked out of possession and on the counter attack a couple of times, we looked really decent... but really upset that we conceded two sloppy goals at the back end, because they were both avoidable... In the first half the two goals that we conceded were rubbish.

'Second half is a different kettle of fish, we had lads playing out of position. But what we wanted to do was try and reward the younger lads from last season who had had such a good season winning everything they had been involved in, playing against James Milner, Daniel Sturridge, Keita; that’s what we wanted... We could’ve tried to keep it to 2-0, to sit on the edge of our box and defend, but we don’t want to do that...

'[Ex-Alty loanee] Jon Moran impressed me with his one-on-one defending against Origi and then Sturridge. We’ve just been absolutely hammered by Liverpool’s first-team squad, in a heat wave, but we’ve all loved it!...

Johnson confirmed midfielder Scott Burton, a summer arrival from Salford City, will captain the side this season...'But with characters like Gary Roberts, characters like Steve Howson, characters like Grant Shenton and Gary Stopforth, he would be the same player if he didn't have the captain's armband on... One of the reasons he wanted to come to the club was the fact he was going to be captain of this football club'".

PRE-SEASON FRIENDLIES

NL Today reports on Saturday's friendlies, telling us that "Chester FC came up against a strong Liverpool side at the Swansway Chester Stadium on Saturday. And the Reds began their pre-season schedule with an emphatic 7-0 win. Big-name signings Naby Keita and Fabinho both made their debuts for the Reds, but it was 21-year-old winger Harry Wilson who shone brightest with two goals. Daniel Sturridge also netted twice, with Ryan Kent and Danny Ings also on target and James Milner converting a penalty for Jurgen Klopp's side...

National League North newcomers Hereford FC started their pre-season campaign with a 5-0 win at West Midland (Regional) Leaguers Pegasus Juniors. Jamie Bird scored twice in the first half, with new signing Harry White's goal giving the Bulls a 3-0 lead going into the break. Mike Symons and Lance Smith both grabbed second half goals to complete the scoring at Old School Lane.

Hereford's new league rivals York City won 2-1 at Northern Leaguers Shildon. First half goals by strikers Jon Parkin and Macaulay Langstaff saw York home. Danny Earl had earlier given the hosts an early lead.

Another National League North team in action were new-look Alfreton Town, who were beaten 1-0 at the Impact Arena by League One Doncaster Rovers. Joe Wright's goal gave Rovers victory in their opening game of pre-season...

Another National League North side in action were AFC Telford United, who ran out emphatic 6-0 winners at Hallmark Security Division One South side Ellesmere Rangers. Daniel Udoh with two, Adam Dawson, Amari Morgan-Smith, Matthew Barnes-Homer and that popular player, A Triallist, scored the Bucks' goals.

Another National League North outfit, Spennymoor Town, ran out 5-1 winners at Northern League Guisborough Town. Shane Henry, David Foley, Andrew Johnson, Rob Ranshaw and a triallist on target for Moors, Steve Roberts for Guisborough...

Evo-Stik Northern Premier League new boys Bamber Bridge were beaten 7-0 at Irongate by a strong side from Championship Preston North End. Sean Maguire scored a hat-trick as Preston cruised to victory... Brig`s new league rivals, relegated Gainsborough Trinity [managed by Lee Sinnott], were beaten 2-0 at The Northolme by League One Barnsley. Tom Bradshaw grabbed a double as the Tykes began pre-season with a win in Daniel Stendel’s first match in charge.

Another NPL Premier outfit, Nantwich Town, were beaten 1-0 at the Weaver Stadium by League Two neighbours Crewe Alexandra. Crewe won the game, thanks to a well-worked goal between forwards Shaun Miller and Jordan Bowery in the first half."


8 July 2018

RHYL 0 ALTRINCHAM 3

Altrincham kicked off their pre-season with a comfortable 3-0 win at Rhyl on Saturday. There is a report on the official website. The next pre-season match is at Kidsgrove Athletic on Tuesday, 10 July, 7.45pm
7 July 2018

SATURDAY AT RHYL

Altrincham kick off their pre-season at Rhyl on Saturday, wih a 1pm kick off. Radio Robins will be covering the match live.

AWAY DRAWS FOR ALTY IN FA YOUTH CUP

The FA announces the Youth Cup Preliminary Round ties to be played in week commencing Monday, 3 September.
  • Ashton Town v Altrincham

And in the First Round Qualifying (w/c 17 September)...

  • Lancaster City v Ashton Town or Altrincham

Subsequent Round dates include...

  • Second Round Qualifying w/c Monday 1 October 2018
  • Third Round Qualifying w/c Monday 15 October 2018
Competition Proper, ties to be played by the closing date stated, include
  • First Round Saturday 3 November 2018
  • Second Round Saturday 17 November 2018
  • Third Round Saturday 15 December 2018
  • Fourth Round Saturday 19 January 2019

MEET THE SQUAD

On Sunday, 29 July, there will be "open time" at the J. Davidson Stadium during which supporters can meet the Altrincham FC squad after they have their official team photo taken for the forthcoming season. The event runs from 12.30pm to 3pm with the squad photo-shoot expected to be at around 12.45pm.

DWYER DEPARTS

The new Altrincham FC official site confirms that "Anthony Dwyer, [right], and the club have mutually agreed to cancel the contract of the former Telford and Hednesford forward. The decision was made by both parties due to personal circumstances and the club wish Anthony all the best in the future.

Manager Phil Parkinson will look to replace Dwyer in the near future".

21 year-old Dwyer was manager Phil Parkinson's first new signing of summer 2018 when he joined Altrincham on 17 May 2018. Ironically, his last game of the 2017-18 season had been against Altrincham for Hednesford Town, a club he had joined in March 2018 from AFC Telford United. He had joined Telford in the summer of 2017 before his move to the Pitmen in March 2018.

PICK UP YOUR SEASON TICKETS

The new Altrincham FC official site reports that "Season tickets for the 2018/19 season are ready for collection from the office at J Davidson Stadium. Opening hours are Monday-Friday 9am-5pm. Those individuals who sent a stamped addressed envelope when they bought their season ticket should have received theirs in the post already. Please contact the office if that is not the case.

Season tickets remain on sale and are priced as follows":

  • Adults £220
  • Concessions (65+) £170
  • Juniors (12-16) £50
  • Under 12s £20

PRE-SEASON ADMISSION PRICES

As supporters will be aware, possession of a 2018-19 Altrincham FC season ticket conveys free admission to the pre-season friendlies played at the J. Davidson Stadium. Those games will see us entertaining Macclesfield Town, Crewe Alexandra and Salford City. For those supporters who prefer to pay for individual games at the turnstiles, the admission prices will be as follows.
  • Adults: £8
  • Concessionaries: £5
  • Under-16s: £2
  • Under-12s: Free

By way of a reminder, the full list of pre-season games, home and away is...

  1. Sat. 7.7.18 NB 1pm A Rhyl
  2. Tue. 10.7.18 7.45pm A Kidsgrove Athletic
  3. Sat. 14.7.18 5pm A Isle of Man XI
  4. Tue. 17.7.18 7.45pm H MACCLESFIELD TOWN XI
  5. Fri. 20.7.18 7.45pm H CREWE ALEXANDRA XI
  6. Tue. 24.7.18 7.45pm A Trafford
  7. Sat. 28.7.18 3pm H SALFORD CITY

VANARAMA NATIONAL LEAGUE NORTH NEWS

According to the Chester Standard, "Chester are looking to add further numbers to their playing squad following the exit of senior duo Kingsley James and Ross Hannah.

The pair... had been occupying a significant chunk of the first-team budget available to joint-managers Anthony Johnson and Bernard Morley, with interested clubs unwilling to match the wages paid by the Blues, while both players still had a year to run on their current deals. However, after all parties agreed on a compensation package, Johnson confirmed Chester can now work towards bringing in more competition... with defensive reinforcements and more firepower at the top of the wish list.

'We’ve got a squad of 17, but it looks like we’ve lost Matty Waters in the long-term, so we’re effectively working with 16,' Johnson explained, with left-sided full-back Waters ruled out of pre-season with a stress fracture to the shin. 'We’ve got good options in midfield, but we could do with strengthening throughout the squad. We’ve got a right-back, a left-back, two centre-backs, so these are areas [where] we need more competition.

'There’s now some scope to do that with Kingsley and Ross off the wage bill, but there’s no rush in bringing in extra bodies. If we start the season with that current squad of 16, plus lads from the scholars, then we’re quite happy with that'...

Johnson... wished to place on record the ‘first class’ conduct of both Hannah and James during what he admitted was a difficult situation for both the club and the duo. 'From minute one, we knew the situation and we immediately explained to both players the situation the club were in,' he added. 'It was never once about them as people or footballers, but it was about money and the football club comes first... I can’t say a bad word about either of them. They’ve been first class, a credit to themselves for the way they’ve come back, trained with the team, been willing to listen to our ideas and plans'".

The National League reports that "Boston United had their first friendly of their schedule last night as they fell to a 3-2 defeat to Basford United of the Evo-Stik Northern Premier...

Also playing was Bradford Park Avenue who played out to a 1-1 draw, both goals coming in the second half with Silsden... after an unnamed trialist had put Bradford PA in front ten minutes into the second period".

Boston United add that "Jonathan Wafula marked signing a new Boston United deal by playing a leading role in the Pilgrims’ opening pre-season fixture... Craig Elliott’s side were beaten 3-2 at Basford United but Wafula won the visitors a penalty, which was converted by a trialist, before scoring the Pilgrims’ second goal after the break...

Boston (4-4-2): Dylan Parkin (George Willis 46); Trialist, Ryan Qualter (John McCombe 46), Ben Middleton, Jordan Gough (Nathan Arnold 46); Jonathan Wafula (Trialist 70), Grant Roberts (Brad Abbott 46), Spencer Harris (Andi Thanoj 46), Ashley Jackson; Trialist (Trialist 60), Trialist (Trialist 70)."

Darlington, on Sunday, have "a home friendly against Motherwell... and it will see a return of two Darlington old boys!

Darlington manager Tommy Wright will include all of his summer signings, so that means a first game in Darlington colours for Simon Ainge, Jonny Burn, Jonny Maddison, Liam Hughes, Jordan Nicholson and Alex Henshall.

The Steelmen, who are fan-owned like Quakers... finished seventh in the SPL... Darlington fans will immediately recognise two players in the Motherwell squad: Curtis Main and Ryan Bowman."

NW NEWS

The Sale & Altrincham Messenger reports that "United legend Gary Neville has secured a deal for his Salford City Football Club to train on playing fields at a Partington school next season.

The football club, run by Neville and the Class of ‘92, have formed a partnership with Broadoak School in Warburton Lane, to use its playing fields as a training venue. Neville led a controversial bid to turn green belt land at Turn Moss into football training pitches for the club, with the backing of the former Conservative-run council.

But these plans were scrapped immediately after Labour took control of the Town Hall following the local elections in May... It is not known whether the Broadoak partnership is temporary or long-term.

Broadoak headteacher Lee McConaghie said... 'We will have access to some great opportunities for our pupils and the community, beginning with an ‘open training’ session on July 14. There will be a number of coaching and mentoring sessions for our pupils and guest appearances from the players and management team. We have invited the new manager Grahame Alexander to be our guest at our upcoming Celebration Evening on July 19, to mark the start of the partnership'".


6 July 2018

PATRONS NEAR 200 MARK

With a 178 Patrons at the latest count, Altrincham FC is striving to reach the 200-mark as quickly as possible. This important fundraising scheme is open to all supporters for just £50 and full details of the scheme are here.

VANARAMA NATIONAL LEAGUE NORTH NEWS

News of Altrincham's first opponents of the coming season comes from Leamington where "The number of new players at the Phillips 66 Community Stadium ahead of the new season has risen to four with the arrival of James Bowen. The 22 year-old can operate on the left side of defence or midfield, and finished last season with Hereford FC. Having started the season with the Bulls... James was snapped up by Solihull Moors in October but a managerial change eventually saw him return to Edgar Street...

James began his career at Cheltenham Town, where he made several appearances for the Robins' first team before loan spells at Bishops Cleeve, Evesham United, Gloucester City and Hereford. After his release from Cheltenham he spent a season at Stafford Rangers...

Paul Holleran had this to say...'Being able to get another left footed player in the squad was important. He is a versatile, energetic player who like the majority of our squad is still at a young age with plenty of potential. His delivery is good'".

The Liverpool Echo reports that "The impact of Liverpool's first trip to the Swansway Chester Stadium for 16 years will extend far beyond Saturday's opening friendly of the summer. Chester FC have been through the wringer in recent years and securing a prestigious fixture with Jurgen Klopp's star-studded side has created a buzz at the fan-owned club.

Their army of volunteers have been out in force this week, washing the seats and plucking the weeds to ensure the place is looking its best for Liverpool's visit. All 4,500 tickets have been sold and with the Reds giving up their share of the gate receipts, Chester FC are expected to pocket around £30,000, small change in the Premier League but a proper windfall when you are about to start life in the National League North.

'It's a cracking gesture,' Chester FC chairman David Harrington-Wright told the ECHO. 'Liverpool were aware of the situation we've been in financially and their generosity is really appreciated by everyone involved with the club. That money isn't a large sum to a club the size of Liverpool but for us it will make a big difference. It gets our season off to a cracking start. It will have an impact on our playing budget. We've hosted their under-23s and ladies' teams before so Liverpool know all about the facilities here and the quality of the playing surface. When they were looking around for suitable friendlies I believe that counted in our favour.

'The pitch has been reseeded and is brand new. Liverpool will be the first ones to christen it. For a Premier League club to want to come and play their first friendly against a local non-league club, it's just brilliant'...

Chester FC were relegated in May but local businessman Stuart Murphy helped transform the mood by vowing to plough £1million into the club's infrastructure... There's been a real change in the atmosphere around the club,' Harrington-Wright said. 'The next couple of years are going to be very exciting for Chester. The donation from Mr Murphy means we can put infrastructure in place to generate the income needed to help the team on the field going forward. Saturday will be our first game under new managers. Anthony and Bernard have put a new squad together virtually from scratch...

'Our annual budget is about the equivalent of one star player's weekly wage at Liverpool; that puts the gulf between the two clubs in perspective.'

Chester FC held talks with Liverpool about potentially moving the 3pm kick-off to avoid a clash with England's World Cup quarter-final against Sweden. But Klopp wasn't keen to change the Reds' schedule and it will go ahead as planned. Harrington-Wright knows that some who bought tickets will stay away but the prospect of watching Naby Keita and Fabinho make their Liverpool debuts should still ensure a decent turnout.

'A lunchtime kick-off was suggested a few weeks ago but Liverpool wanted to stick with 3pm and we fully accepted that,' he added. 'There were more discussions this week but moving it from 3pm wasn't really feasible. Apart from Liverpool's plans, there's stewarding and catering here to consider. We've sold just under 4,500 tickets. We fully expect that attendance on the day will be quite a bit less because of the England game'".

According to the NL Paper "Darlington boss Tommy Wright says the Quakers can challenge for promotion after 'erasing' all traces of the Martin Gray regime. Gray, 46, took charge in 2012 and won three promotions in five years before leaving to join National League North rivals York last October.

Wright was then lured from Nuneaton, only to be told that Gray’s expensively assembled squad was blowing the budget. That left the 33-year-old in the invidious position of dismantling a tight-knit group whilst fighting for a berth in the top seven and the play-offs. 'Martin did a brilliant job for this club,' says Wright, below, whose side eventually finished 12th. 'Nobody can take away what he achieved. But it did come at a cost. He left us over budget and it then became my job to balance the books. It’s the kind of thing that happens all the time in football, especially at this level. Managers sign players, managers move on. Then, all of a sudden, things change.

'But Darlington was unique in that Martin and his lads were together for such a long period of time. It became a tougher situation than it really should have been. I tried to be fair and just with everyone. But the reality was, those players had to go, and they knew it. I always felt they were looking over their shoulders thinking "Right, am I the next one out of the door?"

'When you get a situation like that, it isn’t nice for either party. You’re looking at players and you’re trying to win their trust. But they’re looking straight back thinking "Why should I trust you when you’ve just released three of my mates?" It wasn’t easy but the business is done now. We sold Mark Beck to Harrogate, Josh Heaton to St Mirren. We’ve put ourselves in a good financial position. Now, this is very much my squad; a Tommy Wright dressing room rather than a Martin Gray dressing room.

'There’ve been a lot of changes off the pitch to almost erase the old regime. There’s a much better feeling and there’s no reason at all why we shouldn’t think about promotion'.

Helping to turn those thoughts into reality are a sextet of summer signings. Striker Simon Ainge has arrived from National League North play-off winners Harrogate, where he scored 36 goals in 57 games. Playmakers Jordan Nicholson and Liam Hughes are joined in midfield by winger Alex Henshall, who played under Wright at Nuneaton. Heaton’s departure, meanwhile, has been mitigated by the arrival of defender Jonny Burn from Bristol Rovers.

And representing the conclusion of Darlo’s transfer business for the year is keeper Jonny Maddison, who turned his back on a contract with Yeovil to become the Quakers’ No.1. 'Jonny is a north-east lad,' said Wright. 'He lives in Chester-le-Street and he wanted to come back home. Even so, he’s shown some guts. He’s 23 now and he’s recognised it’s about his own development now; that being a number two doesn’t do him any good. Not a lot of players would be willing to do that. Sometimes you have to take a little bit of a gamble, drop a couple of leagues and establish yourself. I think we’ll be a great platform for him'".

Following yesterday's news that former Alty loanee Elliot Newby had joined his twin brother at Chorley, NL Daily adds that ""AFC Telford United are keen to swiftly snap up a winger after selling star man Elliot Newby... with the Bucks receiving an undisclosed fee. Telford also inserted a sell-on clause into the deal, and a deal for a fellow wideman is expected be announced in the next 24 hours".

At York City, "Summer signing Wes York believes City will be the club everyone wants to beat again this season...

'Every game is going to be a challenge, everyone is going to try beat us,' he said. 'We are going to be the club to beat this year, just like last year, and I think we have got to take that challenge and go from there.'

One of four summer signings from Gateshead, York, 25, says pre-season training has been... 'Really tough but I have really enjoyed it so far. He is putting us through our paces but we are enjoying working hard, which you don't get very often in pre-season!... The main thing is we are gelling very quickly'".

Further north, Spennymoor Town "are pleased to announce the signing of six new players, [five of whom have been previouisly recorded here]. Jason Ainsley has brought in goalkeeper Matthew Gould from Stourbridge, as well as defenders Rob Atkinson, Kris Thackray, Callum Williams and Stephen Brogan. Midfielder Jake Hibbs, 22, has swapped National League side Halifax Town for The Brewery Field.

Moors boss Ainsley spoke of his delight after securing the service of Gould, 'Matt has a great attitude and work ethic... When we knew he was moving up to live with his parents it made things much easier to secure his signature.'

Atkinson, 31, who plays at the centre of defence, joins from recently relegated Guiseley... 'There is no doubt he will be a pivotal player for us this season. It was no coincidence that when he went on loan to Bradford Park Avenue from Guiseley last season their form was excellent'" added Ainsley.

"Thackray, 30, a defender who can also play in midfield, is originally from the North-East, and joins Moors having spent time in Italy, Malta and Germany with nine different clubs. 'Kris has a wealth of experience abroad where he led a team to qualifying for the Europa League. He has great technical abilities and is a very sought-after player, so after returning to Newcastle to live, we acted quickly to secure his services.'

Williams, 21, has been brought in from Newcastle United where he featured heavily for their Under 23 squad... 'Callum is a fantastic signing for us with lots of other clubs chasing his signature... He was a regular for the Newcastle United Under 23 squad last term, playing 33 games for Peter Beardsley’s side before enjoying a very successful loan spell in the National League with Gateshead.'

Brogan, 30, played against Moors last season for Boston United having spent the early stages of his career at his hometown club, Rotherham. 'Stephen played against us for Boston last season and has previously played over 60 games for Rotherham, as well as representing England C'" opined the manager.

Brackley Town provide a "Squad update as of 2 July 2018. The first team is back in training ahead of the new season with a full schedule of pre-season games to follow starting with the visit of Northampton Town to SJP on Tuesday 10 July and MK Dons on Friday 13 July.

Kevin has been busy putting together his squad for the new campaign...

Captain Gaz Dean, Shane Byrne, Lee Ndlovu, ‘keeper Danny Lewis, Ellis Myles, Matt Lowe, Luke Graham, Connor Franklin, James Armson, Glenn Walker and Adam Walker have all signed new terms for the season to retain the core of the squad from the club’s remarkable campaign last season. Theo Streete has joined AFC Telford United, Aaron Williams has left for full-time football at promoted Harrogate Town, Steve Diggin has joined near neighbours Banbury Town while Alex Gudger has moved to Solihull Moors and Jamie Lucas to Weston-super-Mare...

Shep Murombedzi joined in February and has agreed a new contract for the coming season. Shep, 24, had a pro contract at Reading, played at Torquay United under Kevin Nicholson before spending two successful seasons at Solihull Moors...

Connor Hall, 25, plays in midfield or in defence and spent the last two seasons at Biggleswade Town in the Southern League Premier Division... Before that Connor had spells at Bury Town and St Neots.

Greg Smith is well known to Saints supporters having played against Brackley for Boston United. Greg, 28, is a striker who has also played at centre back... Greg enjoyed two seasons at Boston having been one of Dennis Greene’s first signings in July 2016 but suffered a serious ankle injury that kept him out for six months. Previously he had spells at Spalding United, King’s Lynn Town, Grantham Town and Stamford AFC."

At Alfreton Town "The Club are pleased to confirm the signing of defender Josh Clackstone from Hull City [where]... Josh was on the fringes of the first team in both the 2016/17 season and the 2017/18 season... Josh was loaned to Notts County in January 2017 until the end of the 2016/17 season where he made eight appearances. A regular for Hull’s Under 23 side including captaining the team on numerous occasions, another loan move followed, to Halifax Town in November 2017...

Manager Billy Heath [said] 'I had him on loan when I was at Halifax and he did impress... He’s had experience in the football league with Notts County and the Conference. He is another good player, he plays mostly at right back but can go centre half and can slot in as a right sided centre half. He is a valuable member of the squad and we won’t have the biggest squad in this league but we have a squad full of quality'".

Meanwhile, Blyth Spartans "must announce the departure of midfielder Dale Hopson to Whitby Town for an undisclosed fee. The midfielder joined Spartans last summer, breaking the club’s transfer record in the process when he joined from the Seasiders. The 25-year-old made 39 appearances during the last campaign, scoring on 12 occasions, especially potent from the penalty spot.

Spartans manager Alun Armstrong commented... 'Obviously we didn’t want to lose a player of Hopson’s quality, but with extra work commitments and the travelling up to training twice a week and for matches it’s proved just too much for him. It’s his decision and we have to respect that, and the deal has opened up a portion of the playing budget to help get other deals we’ve done already over the line. Hopson follows former Spartan David McTiernan back to the Turnbull Ground, everyone at Spartans’ wishes Dale all the best in the future."

NW NEWS

On 4 July the NW Evening Mail reported that "Barrow AFC face the prospect of playing their pre-season home games in front of empty stands. Cumbria County Council's safety advisory group (SAG) has come down hard on the club following their annual inspection at Holker Street.

Issues with a lack of certification for various electrical systems, combined with safety concerns over weeds on the terraces and boarding around a floodlight pylon have seen them impose a zero S-factor safety rating, reducing capacity of the Brian Arrowsmith Stand and the Wilkie Terrace to nothing.

AFC managing director Andrew Casson admits various paperwork, some of which will be out of date by a year, others by a matter of days when pre-season matches start, was not completed but points to recent power supply problems which have prevented new electrical surveys being carried out.

The Bluebirds have been left shocked and hugely disappointed by the decision, which Casson says jeopardises the club's future".

In response Barrow stated "Following the article in the Evening Mail this morning, we would like to emphasize our position on where the club stands in relation to these issues, and the work being done to resolve them. Having received notice of the audit, the club worked quickly to schedule all of the required certification inspections with local companies.

Unfortunately, due to the well documented power failure at The Furness Building Society Stadium, these certification inspections could not be completed and had to be postponed until the power was restored. We are glad to report that the work to restore power has now been completed ahead of our pre-season fixtures, and the necessary certification inspections have been either completed or re-scheduled as a matter of urgency.

The assessments on electrics, lifts, emergency lighting & PA systems will be complete by tomorrow (6th July), with repairs on any significant issues complete before the 10th July. The structural survey will be complete on Monday the 9th, following an unforeseen delay from the surveyor.

I was unable to attend the SAG meeting on the 22nd of June due to being called down to the National League offices in Birmingham that day. These issues were communicated to the council well in advance of the meeting and they communicated no issues about it to me. They proceeded to hold the meeting and in my absence, our Head Safety Officer Mike Forsyth and Deputy Safety Officer Tracy Clarke were present, both of whom have in depth knowledge of the safety features in and around the ground.

Following the meeting, the safety group set the capacity of the covered stands to 0 as a result of the delayed paperwork, weeds, two loose boards around the Wilkie floodlights and the determination that ‘management were unable to demonstrate a positive attitude to spectator safety.’

The club has been transparent, forthcoming and apologetic throughout this process regarding the documentation and the extenuating circumstances that meant everything could not be completed by the 22nd, and remain steadfast in our commitment to ensuring the process is completed as soon as possible.

However, we decided to make this issue public for two reasons:

  • The first is to reassure our supporters that the ground is safe and that the Board consider your safety to be of the utmost importance whilst watching football at The Furness Building Society Stadium.
  • The second is to highlight what we believe to be unfair treatment of the club by a group that has given no flexibility in a process that last year took place in mid-July, well after our pre-season games.
We will continue to update you over the next couple of days and hope that you will enjoy the match against Carlisle on Tuesday in the Brian Arrowsmith Stand or on the Popular Side.

Andrew Casson, Managing Director".

NATIONAL LEAGUE ON TV

The National League reports that "BT Sport, which will be covering all 24 clubs in the National League live this season, opens its coverage of the league this season...

  • Saturday 4th August 2018 - 12.30pm: SALFORD CITY v LEYTON ORIENT
  • Saturday 11th August 2018 - 12.30pm WREXHAM v BOREHAM WOOD
  • Saturday 25th August 2018 - 12.30pm MAIDENHEAD UNITED v MAIDSTONE UNITED

5 July 2018

2018-19 FIXTURES

Last season Altrincham ended up playing seventeen EvoStik Premier league matches with evening (7.45pm) kick-offs. The 2018-19 Vanarama National League North fixtures have just three planned 7.45pm kick-offs, though of course others will arise due to clashes with cup competitions and weather-related postponements. As things stand, however, Alty have just one away match with a 7.45pm kick off, at Southport in the first week of the season. Their two evening home matches are against FC United of Manchester and Nuneaton Borough.

It could be argued, too, that the fixtures have been kind in giving Alty their two longest journeys, to Blyth and Spennymoor, inside the first month of the campaign before the potentially bad winter weather starts. But by way of a counter-argument, Alty face three successive lengthy away trips to the north-east early in the season as Darlington are the Robins' hosts between the trips to the Spartans and the Moors.

The Warwick Courier reports on our opening-day opponents, saying that "Leamington will kick off their 2018/19 National League North campaign with a trip to newly promoted Altrincham on August 4. It is one of seven games in a busy first month for Paul Holleran’s side, with Boston United the first visitors to the Phillips 66 Community Stadium the following Tuesday.

The trip to York City, scene of last season’s survival celebration, comes on November 10".

Altrincham's Christmas double-header is with Stockport County; Alty are at home on New Year's Day and away at Edgeley Park on Boxing Day. Both the August and Easter bank holiday Mondays see Altrincham at home to clubs, like us, new to the division this season; in the first case to relegated Guiseley and the second, to promoted Hereford FC.

So far as clashes of date between league and cup competitions are concerned, the Vanarama National league North has set aside Saturdays 22 September and 6 October for the Emirates FA Cup (2Q and 3Q respectively). But from then on the involvement of Alty or their potential league opponents in that competition would necessitate a rearranged league fixture. The dates for the Emirates FA Cup rounds 1 to 4 are:

  • Saturday, October 20: 4th Qualifying
  • Saturday, November 10: Round 1
  • Saturday, December 1: Round 2
  • Saturday, January 5: Round 3
  • Saturday, January 26: Round 4

As for the Buildbase FA Trophy, Alty enter at the 3rd Qualifying Round on November 24, a date without any league fixtures, as is December 15, the date for the first round. Thereafter the round dates clash with league fixtures on the following dates:

  • Saturday, January 12, 2019: Round 2
  • Saturday, February 2, 2019: Round 3
  • Saturday, February 23, 2019: Round 4
  • Saturday, March 16, 2019: Semi Final first leg
  • Saturday, March 23, 2019: Semi Final second leg
  • Sunday, May 19, 2019: Final.

VANARAMA NATIONAL LEAGUE NORTH NEWS

According to York Press, "York City boss Martin Gray has admitted his side face a 'tough' start to the season at last term’s National League North play-off semi-finalists Chorley... The Minstermen will travel to Victory Park on Saturday, August 4 in one of three fixtures against top-seven sides during the opening month of the 2018/19 campaign...

On the challenge the opening-days hosts will pose, Gray said 'It’s a tough start. Chorley have finished in the play-offs for the last two years and have stability in the club with a settled group of players, so I expect them to be up there challenging at the end of the season again'... Gray is also desperate for the final league game of the season to provide an unforgettable tribute to the club’s 86-year-old stadium prior to relocation, adding 'I hope it’s a really special occasion because I want it to be a day we’ll never forget for all the right reasons. It would be fantastic to sign off in the way we want to do. It’s a competitive league and, without disrespect, I don’t expect there to be any North Ferribys this season, but we’ve got to set our stall out from the start and achieve what we aim to'".

Meanwhile, the Chorley Citizen reports that "The Magpies are looking to reach the play-offs for the third year in a row and will bid to go one better this term and win promotion...

New boss Jamie Vermiglio has made [ex-Alty loanee] Elliot Newby (right) his fifth signing of the summer. The 22-year-old joins for an undisclosed fee from AFC Telford. Newby joins twin brother Alex in the Chorley ranks.

'It was very difficult for me to leave Telford as I was really enjoying my time there,' he said. 'But the travelling was difficult and, after talking to Vermo and listening to what was being planned at Chorley, I felt that, combined with the reduced travel, [it] would help my game progress. Alex has told me how good a club Chorley is to play for, and it’ll be nice to be playing alongside him again too. It might be a bit weird at first but I’m sure in time it will be really enjoyable.'

Vermiglio has also strengthened his backroom team with the addition of former Bury manager Andy Preece. The 51-year-old was most recently manager at Southport after a four-and-a-half year spell as director of football at Welsh Premier League side Airbus UK Broughton. Preece was Vermiglio's manager when he was playing at Northwich Victoria, and he said, 'When I played for Andy at Northwich I really liked the way he worked. He’s a manager really, so we weren’t sure he’d be interested but, when he said he was, we couldn’t wait to get him on board.... We felt having at least three people in the team was a minimum requirement so, with Andy coming in to help Smudge and myself, I feel we’ve got a lot of experience to draw from going forward'".

And AFC Telford United "confirm we have reluctantly accepted an undisclosed fee and sell on clause for the sale of Elliot Newby to Chorley FC. Elliott has proved to be a popular figure at the football club so it’s hugely disappointing that we announce he will be leaving us. The management team and club went above and beyond in order to convince him to stay to no avail as Elliott wishes to ply his trade closer to home".

According to York Press, "York City summer signing Wes York has revealed that he dropped down a division to join a club that matches his ambitions. York has spent the last six seasons at National League level, taking in two campaigns apiece at Nuneaton, Wrexham and Gateshead.

The 25-year-old attacker could still be plying his trade in the top-tier of non-League football but feels his latest transfer can be a case of taking one step backwards to take two forward. Having been released by former City boss Gary Mills at Wrexham two years ago and fallen out of favour under Gateshead boss Steve Watson last term, York was also given a boost by Bootham Crescent boss Martin Gray’s pursuit of his services.

'The gaffer said he wanted me and, while stepping down a league is not really what you want, this is such a big club, so it’s really good to be here,' York pointed out. 'I could have floated around in the Conference with clubs in mid-table but that doesn’t really get you anywhere. You don’t want to be playing somewhere in front of 500 fans. This is a proper club with proper die-hard supporters. As a result, expectations are high, but we have to take that on the chin, because everything is done right here, so there really are no excuses. We have a group of lads who can shoot the club up and, then, everything is set up to have a good chance of going up again in the new stadium so, hopefully, something special will happen this season.'

York is one of four players to have arrived from troubled Gateshead since the end of last season, along with Russell Penn, Jordan Burrow and Macaulay Langstaff. He admits that has helped his bedding-in process... 'I know how they all play and that helps so much in terms of gelling with everybody, because the communication is already there,' York reasoned. 'Russ is a cool, experienced head... He’s a leader in the dressing room too and you always need one or two of them. With Jordan, you know what you’re getting and that’s goals and good work-rate. No defender has ever come off the pitch saying they’ve had an easy game against him.

'He’s a nightmare for them because he will throw himself about, move players around, put his elbows up and get stuck in. Macauley is young and just needs a bit more experience, but his quality on the ball and finishing is unbelievable'...

York has also played alongside City quartet Simon Heslop, Adriano Moke, Sean Newton and Jake Wright and added, 'They have the quality to play a bit higher than this division but have obviously seen what I have,– the potential of such a big club.'

As a teenager, York was a member of the Nuneaton squad that gained promotion to the Conference, via the play-offs in 2012...

'There are no easy rides or way out of the division,' he declared. 'But, if you put the effort in, you get your rewards at the end'...

Despite not always making the first XI [at Gateshead] under Watson, he still managed six goals from 18 starts, a one-in-three return that was only beaten by striker Danny Johnson, who has since signed for Scottish Premiership outfit Motherwell.

'I did all right last season goal wise even though I didn’t always play and started a lot of games at right-wing back,' York explained. 'One of my main aims now is to beat my ratio from last season, but I don’t care if I don’t score a single goal and we get promoted.'

With Gray having suggested he would like to employ 4-4-2 tactics this term, York looks poised for a wide role on the right, but the new arrival stressed his strengths lie in the final third of the pitch. 'I prefer to play up top keeping defenders busy and I don’t stop moving,' he said. 'I like to play as high up the pitch as possible to break the lines and get in behind, so I prefer to play in a three up front. But, if we play 4-4-2, I will do a job because I’ve got the work-rate to get up and down. If I go too far, I’ll just need my mates to cover me!'"

We read in the NL Paper that "Blyth AFC have completed the signing of defender Curtis Coppen from Morpeth Town. The 23-year-old, who came through the academy structure at Newcastle, joined Morpeth last summer after taking part in Jamie Vardy’s V9 Academy.

Coppen went on to become a regular feature in Morpeth’s back line last season, making 33 appearances as the Highwaymen raced to promotion from the Northern League Division One. The defender has previously worked with Blyth’s joint manager Jon McDonald when the pair were at North Shields during the 2016-17 season.

McDonald said 'The addition of Curtis is another significant signing for the club. In my opinion, he’s the best young centre-half in the Northern League.... Curtis reads the game well, is excellent in the air and also technically very good. He can also operate in midfield whenever he’s called upon. He’s a good age and we hope he can develop further at Blyth AFC... Overall, we are very pleased with our recruitment over the summer and we aim to be very competitive in all competitions next season'".


4 July 2018

NEW ALTRINCHAM FC OFFICIAL WEBSITE LAUNCHED
www.altrinchamfc.com

Altrincham FC is proud to announce a new official website which replaces the current site that you are viewing.

From 4 July 2018, the Altrincham FC official website will be found at altrinchamfc.com. That site will now be the authoritative source of the Club's communications.

On the new official site, we read that "Altrincham Football Club are delighted to announce the launch of our brand new club website.

Hot on the heels of our promotion back to the National League North, this is the first stage of our new website with plenty more content and features to be added in the coming weeks and months.

Director Rob Esteva said, 'We’re delighted to be able to roll out the new website in time for the fixture release and ahead of the new season.

'The website will allow us to develop our commercial strategy further, create new revenue streams through our digital platforms, and further showcase the superb content our media team produces.

'It offers a user-friendly experience on desktop and mobile, and brings Radio Robins, Alty TV, along with our social feeds all under one roof.'

A special thank you must go to ghostwhite – a tech company in Newcastle who specialise in eSports – who have done a tremendous job in building our bespoke site and creating a slick design. A mention goes to the team at The Stats Zone who have project managed the development in the last six months. And last but not least, thanks to John Laidlar once again for making the transition as smooth as it could possibly be.

We welcome any of your feedback and thoughts on it, and keep visiting the website in the coming weeks for more features and new content"

NEW SEASON'S FIXTURES

The 2018-19 Vanarama National League North fixtures have been released and are available on the new Altrincham FC official site. They are also be found in the league fixtures section of this site.

Altrincham kick off the season with a home match against Leamington on Saturday, 4 August, 3pm.

ALTY FILES UNOFFICIAL WEBSITE LAUNCHED
www.altrinchamfc.co.uk

The archived content of the previous official website at www.altrinchamfc.co.uk will remain available at the same address but is now in the process of being re-branded as The Alty Files, an unofficial website relating to Altrincham FC.

The Alty Files will be updated on a regular (though not necessarily daily) basis with news from around the non-League world in which Altrincham FC operates, which will of course include The Robins.

For a fuller description of the aims of The Alty Files, please click here.

THANK YOU

Background

Early in the 2017/18 season, after some eighteen seasons of running the Altrincham FC Offical Website (plus an additional year before that operating an unofficial "Alty Pages" website), I confirmed to the Football Club my intention to retire from operating the existing website at the end of that league campaign.

So, from now, a new Altrincham FC official website, under club management, but with its address remaining as altrinchamfc.com will be the authoritative source for news of the Club's activities both on and off the pitch and this new site will be integrated fully with the wide range of social media associated with Altrincham F.C.

Right: In the early days... Alty as they were seen in pre season 2000-01. Back row, L to R, O'Connor, Quinn, Hawes, Ellison, Talbot, Coburn, Turkington, Furlong, Maddox, Chambers, Gallagher, Landon, Walsham. Front L to R: Porter, Adams, Power, Crowe, Goodwin, Scheuber.

The launch of the new official website follows several months of preparation. In late 2017, an Altrincham FC Marketing and Communications group was set up and chaired by Roger Goodwin, with Bill Waterson as its Board representative. The establishment of that group stemmed from the Club's strategic review.

The creation, content and operation of the new official site have been organised under the guidance of Rob Esteva, director of the Football Club, who has been both very helpful and efficient in the handover process.

Thanks

I should like to thank all those who have contributed to the content of the existing website, especially those who have been regular and reliable website contacts over many years. In addition, I am also most grateful to those supporters, both of Altrincham FC and other clubs, who have kindly expressed their appreciation of the website over the years.

Firstly, I must express my thanks to the Club's chairman, Grahame Rowley, to the Altrincham FC Board (especially Club Secretary, Derek Wilshaw) and, also latterly, to the Community Sports board and staff for their cooperation and provision of information for the website. Over the past two decades, the management, players, coaches and voluntary staff, too numerous to mention individually, have also provided invaluable assistance.

I am also, of course, extremely appreciative of the assistance from the Club's Press Officers, Brian Flynn and John Edwards, who have furnished the website with numerous press releases, interviews and other information over many years.

Alty supporter Paul Johnson has kindly allowed me and the Club to use the altrinchamfc.com URL for the past 18 years, as well as previously permitting its use under the late Alan Johnson's website stewardship.

The club's volunteer photographers, Gavin Rathbone and Michael Ripley have generously made their excellent images available to the website, whilst supporters Howard Watts and Mike Garnett have provided a wealth of historical data on the Club over many years. Mark Bennett's Alty TV has also been an excellent resource.

Thanks are also due to Terry Rowley for his provision of the extensive Legends section of the website and for his fielding of many enquiries from users of the website, despite his being based, almost permanently, overseas. Closer to home, Terry Surridge has likewise been a mine of historical information.

In addition, Mark Eckersall has not only been a most efficient Supporters' Travel Coordinator, supplying the website with timely details of supporters' coach travel, but I have also valued his advice in other areas of the website's content.

Right: More recent times... Alty at Rushall Olympic, 31 March 2018. Jake Moult leads out Tony Thompson, James Jones, Tom Peers, Shaun Densmore, Sam Heathcote, Tom Hannigan, Josh Hancock, Simon Richman, Jordan Hulme and John Johnston.

Likewise, club caterer Richie Bentley's unfailingly amusing e-mails and his many innovative fundraising schemes, not to mention his excellent cooking, have been much appreciated, as have Barry Pond's (and latterly Noel Shield's) regular sponsorship and commercial updates.

Ian Senior's regular submissions to the website have kept supporters abreast of the availability of Club merchandise from his SKkits company, not to mention his many charitable fundraising initiatives.

As well as covering the first team, the website has always tried to keep abreast of the Club's under-18s youth and the Ladies' teams and, in those areas, I have been particularly grateful over the years for regular information from George Heslop, Paul Fay, Keith Edleston and Phil Taylor.

My apologies go to the many others who have assisted but who are not specifically mentioned here. For obvious reasons, the list here cannot be exhaustive but I am nonetheless appreciative of help from many other people.

This is also an appropriate point at which to acknowledge the major contribution of the late Dr Alan Johnson who curated the original official Altrincham FC website back in 1997 when football websites at our level were in their infancy.

In more recent years, I have been greatly indebted to Dan Jones's technological help and I can recommend his techknowledgeyltd.co.uk company for getting me out of several IT 'black holes'.

The Future

As for the existing website, this will continue in existence but now under the name The Alty Files. It will be primarily, but not exclusively, an archival resource available at www.altrinchamfc.co.uk.

However, it is also intended to continue to update the site regularly with match results, line-ups, statistics and selected items of news both relating to AFC and to the other clubs against which the club plays its fixtures. Detailed match reports and live match updates will now be the preserve of the new official site, Radio Robins and social media.

All of the pages of the existing official site will remain accessible at the same website addresses that they currently have, but their page-header banner will be changed to indicate that they no longer form part of the Club's official site. However, it is intended to discontinue the current mobile-specific site at mobi.altrinchamfc.net in the near future. The new official site will, of course, be mobile-friendly and the Alty Files will be vieweable on mobile devices.

It is my intention to bring the existing webpages, which have been created since 1999/2000, into a uniform appearance, to reload various images and amend links whose URLs have changed over the years, and to continue to make everything available to all supporters and persons interested in Altrincham FC, albeit not as the official Club site. The pages of this newly unofficial site are, of course, readily available for the new official site to make use of, or otherwise, as the new website's managers see fit.

Finally, but most importantly, I should like to thank my wife Dana for the many hours that she has spent over the years in trawling the internet for non-league news and proof-reading, without which the site would have been far less informative and accurate. Hopefully, her release from those tasks will not encourage her to find me more domestic chores!

I wish all concerned with the new website good luck over the coming years and thank everyone who has used the previously existing site for their loyalty, suggestions and assistance over the past two decades.

Above all, I look forward to watching Altrincham in future without having the distraction of trying to type match updates in dark stadium stands on cold winter nights, wearing fingerless gloves to ward off frostbite and cursing when faulty internet connections and unheralded, but all too frequent, Microsoft updates let me down!

John Laidlar

RHYL CHANGE TO KICK-OFF

Rhyl have announced that "The kick off time for Saturday's pre-season game against Altrincham has been been brought forward to 1pm. The Legends Bar will be open before and after the game to enable supporters to keep up with the World Cup action".

On Saturday (7 July) the World Cup quarter-final between Sweden and England kicks off at 3pm.

OLD BOY

A former Alty player and assistant manager is the subject of a report in the Chester Chronicle as it tells us that "Graham Barrow, a legend in the blue and white stripes of Chester thanks to his spell as a player and then manager, has taken on the assistant manager role at cross-border rivals Wrexham. Barrow, 64, has linked up with new Dragons boss Sam Ricketts at the National League side having most recently held the role of Head of Football Development at AFC Fylde.

The former Wigan Athletic, Bury and Rochdale boss had been heavily linked with the Blues job after the sacking of Jon McCarthy and, more recently, when the Blues were searching for a successor for Marcus Bignot, speaking to the club before Anthony Johnson and Bernard Morley finally got the nod...

When it comes to club greats, they don't come much greater than Barrow at Chester... Barrow made almost 250 appearances in an eight-year spell... and took on the manager's role when McNally left the club in 1992. The Blues were relegated to Division Three at the end of the 1992/93 season but bounced back in style the following season, earning automatic promotion to Division Tw... A disagreement with the owners of the club during the summer of 1994 saw him leave the Blues for Wigan, but he returned as manager in 2000 when hired by former Chester City owner Terry Smith following the club's relegation from the Football League.

The Blues had a successful campaign in 2000/2001, when despite off-field problems relating to Smith's ownership, Barrow managed to steer the club to eighth in the Conference, a trip to the FA Cup third round, an FA Trophy semi-final and victory in the Variety Club Trophy... He was controversially dismissed by Smith at the end of that season but did return to Chester once more in 2006 as assistant to manager Mark Wright, but the duo were sacked in April 2007.

Since his last spell at Chester, Barrow has had a successful stint on the coaching staff at Wigan and was part of then Latics boss Roberto Martinez's staff that helped the side to their famous FA Cup win in 2013. Barrow left Wigan in 2017 and worked for a spell as assistant to Gary Caldwell at Chesterfield last season before taking the role at AFC Fylde in January of this year....

Said Wrexham boss Ricketts, 'He is exactly the kind of person you need around the place. He was with Wigan for 10 years working in the top flight with Roberto Martinez but has also escaped the National League with the same club prior to that which is incredible'".

ISLE OF MAN DRAW

Possibly of some relevance given Alty's trip to play the Manxmen on Saturday 14 July, we learn that ex-Alty men John Disney and Andy Owens featured for Connah's Quay as the Isle of Man drew 0-0 with Connah's Quay Nomads in the Intertoto Cup.

VANARAMA NATIONAL LEAGUE NORTH NEWS

The Chester Chronicle reports that "Ross Hannah and Kingsley James have left Chester FC after coming to a mutual agreement to cancel their existing contracts. The pair had a year left on their contracts with the Blues but, being the two highest earners, the club needed to move them on in order to provide a competitive budget to joint-managers Anthony Johnson and Bernard Morley for the coming season.

James spent time on loan at Barrow towards the end of last season while Hannah joined Southport for a brief spell... Their names were circulated to clubs during the summer but no offers were forthcoming for either despite there being interest from Barrow and Alfreton Town in James...

While the destination of Hannah, 32, is unknown, James, 26, is understood to be courting the attention of Guiseley, co-managed by former Chester boss Marcus Bignot and who have also added another member of last season's squad, Andy Halls, to their National League North squad".

And related news comes from Guiseley who confirm that they "have added former Chester defender Andy Halls, 26, to their squad for the coming season. Born in Urmston, Greater Manchester, Halls made his first team debut for Stockport County in April 2009... In August 2013 Halls signed for Conference National side Macclesfield Town after being released by Stockport at the end of the previous season.

Whilst at Macclesfield, where he made 152 appearances, Halls played four times for England C. He joined Chester last season playing a total of 17 games for them. Halls is equally adept at right-back or in midfield".

Fleetwood Town "began their preparations for the new season with a 3-1 victory over Southport in a training match at Poolfoot Farm on Tuesday afternoon. Joey Barton took charge of his first match in charge of the Cod Army, and named two different team against the National League North side...

Fleetwood went into the half time interval 2-1 up after controlling the game for most of the first half... Southport rarely threatened in the first 45 minutes aside from a five minute spell in which they grabbed the opening goal of the game...

The start of the second half saw Barton’s second XI enter the pitch alongside a new Southport XI who opted to change their kit for the second half... Throughout the second half, the game became more one-sided with Fleetwood retaining possession of the ball and Southport sitting back".

Also, the Chester Chronicle tells us that "Chester FC bosses Anthony Johnson and Bernard Morley have made central midfielder Gary Stopforth their eighth signing of the summer.

The 31-year old central midfielder Stopforth, 31, is no stranger to Johnson and Morley having played for the duo at both Ramsbottom United and Salford City before making a switch to National League North side Stockport County in 2016. The all-action midfielder, who began his career as a junior at Burnley and then Blackburn Rovers before taking in spells at Clitheroe, Kendal Town, AFC Fylde and a stint in the USA, finished the season at Colne where he played 11 times towards the end of the campaign and arrives at the Blues on a one-year deal...

Stopforth's arrival continues what has turned into a busy summer of recruitment for Johnson and Morley... Salford City midfielder Scott Burton arrived on last Tuesday while centre back Jon Moran and versatile full-back/midfielder John Pritchard put pen to paper a day before having been at Forest Green Rovers and Ashton United respectively. Also joining the Blues this summer [are] Dominic Smalley, Grant Shenton, Matty Hughes and Steve Howson".

Bradford Park Avenue confirm that "Young midfielder Jamie Spencer has signed a new contract ahead of the 2018/19 season. The dynamic midfielder initially joined on loan from Huddersfield Town in March 2017, impressing enough to earn a permanent move in the summer. He made 45 appearances in all competitions last season, establishing himself as a key player with his combative style and energy...

The 20-year-old becomes the fourteenth player to commit to Avenue for the 2018/19 season".

From the Hereford Times we learn that "After rejecting a move to Edgar Street last season Danny Greenslade is finally a Hereford FC player after agreeing terms ahead of the club's pre-season campaign.

The 22-year-old left back didn't want to step down a level last season from National League South side Weston-Super-Mare but 'jumped' at a the chance of pulling on a Bulls shirt for this season's campaign after Hereford agreed a fee with his former club.

'I actually came here to meet (Pete) Beadle and (Steve) Jenkins last summer so I know the stadium and I can't wait to get started,' said Greenslade. 'I have got ambitions to play at the highest level so as soon as Hereford were playing at this level I jumped at the chance to come. I was hoping they would get promoted really as it's a big club and fan base and so it's a good opportunity for me. I've played in both (National League North and South) and I think they are pretty similar but in the North there are bigger clubs and teams which will hopefully mean bigger occasions for the club so I can't wait.

'There are more full-time clubs in the North so they have that extra five per cent fitness levels but I think, all in all, it's much the same. There are some big physical teams but at the same time there are a variation of teams who can get the ball down and play...

When ask[ed] what style of full-back Greenslade is, he responded, 'I like to get forward but [I am] also a good tackler. I like to bomb on and get crosses into the box, that's my game. I got a few goals last season so if I can chip in I will'.

Hereford manager Pete Beadle is delighted to have finally got his target this time around.'We wanted someone more permanent... Cameron (Pring) was fantastic last year on loan and I know they would have been happy for us to have him back this year. When he's not your player you always wonder if they are going to come and take him back at anytime so we're really pleased to get Danny this time around. He had concerns last year which was why in the end he pulled out a little bit.. The board have been great and managed to get a small fee paid for him to get this over the line'".


3 July 2018

"AHEAD OF THE NEW SEASON" BY PHIL PARKINSON

Altrincham FC manager Phil Parkinson (left) has penned the following message...

Ahead of the new season

To everyone involved at the football club:

"Now that the euphoria of winning the title has calmed down and everything has sunk in, I thought this would be a good opportunity now the dust has settled to address everyone on last season and how we are planning on moving forward as a team and together as a football club.

From gaining top spot as early as October and not letting go of that over a seven-month period is nothing short of superb, and then winning the league so comprehensively in the end is full testimony and credit to everyone involved at the club. It can only be described as a fantastic season and you have to get a lot of things right both on and off the pitch during the course of the season to do that. We obviously pulled together and recognised what we had to do to achieve that goal and together we executed really well, hitting all of the targets set at the start of the season.

The players have been one of the most united groups I have worked with. They all have different attributes and complement one and another extremely well but the acid test for me is how the players react when they are on the bench on not in the squad. We don’t want players who are happy watching games, but we do expect professionalism and team spirit from our squad. The attitude of the lads who haven’t been involved for whatever reason – form, injuries, performance and results of the team etc was first class last season. My management team keep a keen eye on this; are players attending, leaving early, celebrating a goal and victories, and are they doing their running before and/or after games? All these little behaviours are closely monitored and reported back if there is anything I need to address. I can honestly say I didn’t need to look into this at all last season – obviously the standards we set each other at the start of the season were adhered to. I think everyone will agree the players were outstanding last season and a pleasure to watch, not only this the interaction with the fans on and off the pitch is a reflection of that affinity for the football club as well.

When I say you have to get a lot of things right, the staff I work with have been the best I’ve been around. Like the lads on the pitch, there is a real ambition in the group to succeed and everyone is on the same page which is vital to achieve anything. Neil [Sorvel] (right) is obviously my ‘rock’ - someone I respect, rely on and trust without question. His league experience complements mine in non-league, and he’s without a shadow of a doubt the most talented coach I’ve seen since Steve Holland (Crewe/Chelsea/England), which speaks volumes about him. Chris Parkes is an enthusiastic, ambitious, innovative keeper coach and will pick up the reins from the outstanding work Ian Senior has done up until this point – they are big shoes to fill but I know he is up to the task. Tommy [Uda] and Ryan [Murray] have revolutionised the medical and sport performance side of things at the football club - they too are looking to progress in the game and you can see this as they like everyone else put in the extra hours to ensure the machine moves forward. The team moved on block from Nantwich Town FC as that is where we all came together and also consolidates my beliefs and values in rewarding loyalty and success whilst maintaining continuity.

Steve [Foster] and John [Skelhorn] ensure all the day-to-day resources we all need as staff and players are facilitated to the highest levels. They are both Altrincham through and through and really gave me a grounding on history of the football club and the feeling amongst the supporters which is always needed and vital for me to keep my finger on the pulse. There is also Mark [Bushell] who deals with the data analysis side of things which gives the lads another point of contact when they need things explaining and translating into terminologies the lads understand. He gathers all the data from the testing and formulates the key performance indicators that we constantly monitor, which is something a lot of people again won’t see.

Left: Chris Parkes

The brilliant coverage the media team give us must also be mentioned. I obviously work closely with Brian and John but there are so many others behind the scenes without their hard work. Their due diligence means the information coming out of the club does not get distorted and we work hard together to make sure we communicate as much as possible so the fans know what is going on. I have to thank Neil Brown and Bryan Ford, under difficult circumstances, for maintaining the pitch in the best possible condition. I could go on and on...the groundsman, the volunteers, community staff, reserve/youth team coaches and managers, tea ladies everyone played their part last season.

The board were immense last season in the support and belief they have given me and in all the decisions we have made as a management team. Perhaps more importantly to me, the style of play we choose to implement was backed from the very beginning and never questioned even in the first week when I knew everyone was probably doubting what we were trying to do. At this point I have to single out Grahame and Bill who could have panicked but they did the opposite sending me inspirational, supportive messages which is what I needed. I knew the pressure was on after the last two seasons and especially after the opening day defeat – a bad start. However I like to think we as group we changed the perception fairly quickly and repaid that belief from the board and the fans who stuck with us.

I must at this juncture address the only issue that affects all of us around the club and that’s the ill feeling towards the chairman. I had it brought to my attention fairly early that what I am about to say is not what I should get involved in but I feel the time is right to speak up and show the belief he has shown in me. Grahame [Rowley] (right) is the heartbeat of the club and even with the season we have had and the historical turnaround the club has made by stopping the rot and bouncing back up at the first time of asking, he is still receiving criticism. The management team, players and staff all hurt when one of us is attacked. If the team isn’t performing I know as a manager it falls on my head - the fall from grace cannot be put solely at the chairman’s door. He obviously accepted a certain amount of the responsibility but he can’t surely be to blame for performances and results... That’s the manager’s job. People will say we had this resource we had that at our disposal and we should have gone up. I couldn’t agree more, that’s why I took the job, but executing it is something else and without everyone getting it right from top to bottom this would not have been achieved. Just look at the other teams who have tried and failed before us. All I ask is we draw a line in the sand now and move forward as one.

I look at the board at present and it certainly reflects the management team, with the introduction of Rob [Esteva] and Lawrence [Looney] it is certainly not sitting back on the achievements of last season and is challenging and exciting to see such young, ambitious directors pushing the norm and challenging myself and the rest of the football club. That, accompanied with what is already in place, only bodes well for the future. I have worked heavily with Rob this season and I know the drive he has matches mine and I’m sure Lawrence will come with that same mentality. From the few times I have heard him speak he certainly wants to progress himself and, like Rob and the rest of the board, they are are experts in their fields and this can only move us in the right direction.

Left: Mark Bushell

I would lastly like to finish with how brilliant the support was last season and one of the reasons I feel I can speak so candidly is the relationship I feel has developed between us all. There is a really good feeling around the club at the moment and you are all part of that. The away support in particular has really stood out to me as something extremely special and I hope you can see our appreciation of that after every game. It’s a huge reason we have been so successful last season.

The history of the club is in black and white on paper and immersed all around the club on every wall, but it runs through the veins of every fan who walks through the gate. The fans who generationally started following because of the fantastic FA Cup runs that our club are famous for, the fans who stood on the flags where the CSH now stands (Flaggers), the London and Yorkshire ultras who travel so far to still come every game they can and support their team and the youngsters who experienced this last season and will have new heroes to come and support now. I love the fact our fan base has so many different levels and I always try to educate my players on this. I discover something new about you all every time I arrive at this church of non-league football grounds. Unfortunately I am just a tourist who has found somewhere he loves and wants to stay as long as possible but I know you are the residents and will always have the final say on your club. I just hope we can keep you smiling and enjoying your football as I know you all deserve that as a minimum when you pay your hard-earned money to come support your team.

I look forward to seeing and hearing you all singing your hearts out through thick and thin this season coming which will certainly be a different animal to last season. We will be underdogs in a lot of games, but I truly believe in this group and this football club, and we won’t be there to make the numbers up. A lot of the lads have points to prove at this level as do I and my management team. I know the fans will rise to the occasion of outsinging the teams that will come and try and make our ground theirs. I know we will all raise our games and come to the fight of every game fully prepared and taking nothing for granted.

Bring it on.

Phil Parkinson"

FIXTURES

It is expected that the 2018-19 season fixtures in the Vanarama National League North will be released on Wednesday, 4 July, at around 10am although this is not a confirmed time; the National League website simply gives the date. More on this in Tuesday evening's update of the website...

HELP THE PATRONS REACH 200

The number of supporters who have signed up for the 2018 Altrincham FC Patrons' Scheme is now heading towards the 200 mark. Why not help to reach that landmark by signing up for the scheme. The Club thanks all who have joined the scheme so far. Details of the scheme and the updated membership list is here.

VANARAMA NATIONAL LEAGUE NORTH NEWS

The Northern Echo reports that "Spennymoor Town have ramped up their preparations for the new season by announcing a host of new signings.

Defender Kris Thackray has joined Moors after helping Maltese club Gzira United qualify for the Europa League last season, while FA Trophy Jake Hibbs has moved from Halifax Town.

Former Football League centre-half Rob Atkinson has signed terms at Brewery Field having previously represented Barnsley, Fleetwood and Accrington Stanley, with full-back Stephen Brogan switching from fellow National League North side Boston United.

Goalkeeper Matthew Gould, who is the son of former Scotland and Celtic shot-stopper Jonathan and the grandson of FA Cup-winning manager Bobby, has joined Moors from Stourbridge".

And at Alfreton Town the club announces the "signing of defender Martin Riley from Halifax Town. Martin signs a one year deal at the Impact Arena. The 31 year old defender has been well travelled, with his last club being Halifax last season before Riley was released at the end of the 2017/18 campaign.

Martin joined Halifax from Wrexham in May 2017 and was the Shaymen’s first signing after winning promotion to the National League. Martin came through the youth ranks at Wolverhampton Wanderers and then left for Shrewsbury Town where he failed to make a league appearance.

A move to Kidderminster Harriers followed in 2008 and, after two years with Kiddy, Riley joined Cheltenham Town in 2010. Riley would then join Mansfield Town in 2011, making 33 appearances before joining Wrexham in 2012; winning the F.A. Trophy in the 2012/13 season.

A return to the Stags then came in 2013, before a move to Tranmere and a second spell at Wrexham in May 2016 followed, before signing for Halifax.

Manager Billy Heath [said], 'Martin is an absolutely brilliant signing for us, he has played for some really good clubs and is vastly experienced. His experience both at football league level as well as Conference Premier level is huge for us and it will add some know-how to our back line. He is a good player, a leader and very vocal which is always important at the back. We knew we needed to bring another centre half in and we wanted to make sure we brought the right one in'".

Brief announcements from Brackley Town tell us "New signing. Welcome to Brackley Town, Gregg Smith" and "Welcome to Brackley Town, Connor Hall. Connor is a 25 year old defender / midfielder who has spent the last two seasons at Biggleswade Town. He has previously spent time at Bury Town in the Ryman League and St Neots in the Southern League".

Closer to home, the Chester Chronicle reports that "It won’t be long now until Chester FC fans have their first glimpses of a new look Blues side.

With a flurry of new signings coming through the door of the Swansway Chester Stadium since the appointment of joint bosses Bernard Morley and Anthony Johnson, the first chance to see how the squad in action is this Saturday... with Jurgen Klopp bringing Liverpool FC to take on the Blues.

With the likes of new Reds signings Naby Keita and Fabinho, as well as those players who are not on World Cup duty, the Premier League outfit will be a firm test for the new Blues squad which will include last week’s new signings Jon Moran, John Pritchard, and Scott Burton.

They have joined other new faces at the club which include goalkeeper Grant Shenton, defender Steve Howson, full-back Dominic Smalley, and attacker Matty Hughes. As well as those players already under contract at the club, youngster Nathan Brown and experienced midfielder Gary Roberts also penned new deals. Though the new Chester managers have been busy since coming into the club, more signings could be in the offing over the coming weeks".

According to the Warwick Courier "Warwickshire College Group and Leamington Football Club have announced an exciting new partnership and football academy to be based at the group’s Moreton Morrell College from September with the team playing at Leamington FC’s Phillips 66 Community Stadium.

The association will see academy students study full-time for two years to gain a BTEC qualification (Level 3) in Sport while getting additional coaching and exposure to semi-professional football. The course offers ten hours a week of professional coaching, fitness training, nutritional advice, strength and conditioning and the opportunity to play competitive games in the National League Under-19 Alliance.

This provides a potential pathway for students to progress their football career at Brakes. The coaching staff are led by former Coventry City and Wales international and UEFA A licensed coach David Phillips, who has worked for the college for 15 years. The academy is also supported by Hednesford Town centre-back Samuel Oji...

Leamington FC chairman Jim Scott, added. 'It has been our aim for some time to partner with a first-class education provider and with the college being local to us and within the local community it is an ideal fit.'"

York Press tells us that "York City manager Martin Gray has insisted his players must win more games in the last 20 minutes next season as he aims to field the fittest team in National League North. During 2017/18, the Minstermen dropped 12 points from the 71st-minute onwards in games, surrendering four winning positions for draws and tossing away a share of the spoils on as many occasions going into those final throes.

Had City managed to hold on to what they had in all eight of those games, the Bootham Crescent outfit would have finished firmly in the play-offs in fifth place instead of their final standing of 11th. In fact, only protecting half of those points would have secured a top-seven berth.

Throughout the season, the Minstermen only managed to convert two matches that were level at the 71st-minute point into victories, against Brackley and Boston, with the latter game finishing 10 v 9 [players] in favour of Gray’s team.

The City boss’ semi-professional Darlington side flew out of the traps last term with three consecutive victories... Gray now insisted that City must make their full-time status count in 2018/19 by getting off to a similar start.

He said... 'I want to be winning games in the last 15 or 20 minutes next season because of our fitness levels. I pride myself on having the fittest team in the league and being the most energetic over 90 minutes. I’ve always got off to a good start as a manager and that’s down to the work you put in during pre-season. You’re only as good as what you do with them, whether that be ball work, fitness circuits or team-building exercises.

'We’ll be at the training ground morning and afternoon and we’ll also have a day at the beach working on the sand dunes, which will be tough. I feel really privileged to be working with the players full-time and that makes a hell of a difference, so we’ve got to maximize it. We’ve had a smashing start to pre-season and I’ve told the players it will be the hardest they’ve ever experienced.'

Gray added that he is 'delighted' with the physical condition in which all of his squad reported back for pre-season training this week, none more so than with heavyweight veteran Jon Parkin. 'Big Jon has come back in great shape, which is a credit to him at 36 in probably his 20th pre-season,' the City chief enthused. 'He’s not sitting out anything and is a great example to the young lads...

'The players from last season are recharged and refreshed and I can see a different mentality straight away. The new players that we’ve brought in have a real hunger, desire and appetite and that was needed...

'We’re lucky to have such fantastic ground-staff, because our training pitch is green and lush,' he pointed out. 'It’s not like running on concrete, which could be the case in this weather. We’ve just got to make sure we take lots of water breaks. I don’t want to get caught out by cramp, fatigue injuries or muscle strains because people have not got enough fluid and nutrition in their bodies.'

Gray went on to reveal he had a small amount of his 2018/19 wage budget left although, other than the possibility of offering the out-of-contract Clovis Kamdjo a deal following his comeback from knee ligament damage, he does not currently envisage adding to his roster before the first game of the season on August 4.

'There’s a little bit of wiggle room, but I think we have signed wisely and we’re not planning to do anything at this moment in time, unless something different comes out of the bag,' the ex-Sunderland midfielder reasoned. 'There’s a chance for Clovis... He’ll be with us for the first few weeks of pre-season, then we’ll sit down and discuss where we’re going after that. We’ve also got one or two trialists in and we’ll assess them after next Saturday’s game but, if the season started tomorrow, we would be ready to go with what we have brought in and retained.'"


2 July 2018

"A SEASON OF TRANSITION" SAYS PHIL

In today's Non-League Paper, manager Phil Parkinson says "Last season I knew it was all about promotion but this season will be a completely different animal. We are going to play against some huge clubs, ex-Football League clubs.

We are still a big club with the history we have but the previous two seasons showed we have had a difficult time at those levels but we aren't just there to make the numbers up.

'We have ambition to play in the top half of the table and hopefully continue the momentum we have as champions. We have retained 15 of the lads and we could be a surprise package but I'm not going to say we're going to win it or get into the play-offs.

'That would be wrong, because there are a lot of full-time sides and we are not full-time. It's a season of transition to see where we fit in and it would be ridiculous to give our fans false hope but it wouldn't be unheard of, either, with the momentum we have.

'The following season we have to decide what type of club we want to be; full-time or part-time. That's something the club is talking about.

'I've certainly got aspirations of that and I think the club want to do that with me and my management team. A lot of my players will want that as well.

'A club like Altrincham should be in the National League and that's what we have to aim for but it's up to the club to decide if it's right to go full-time. We need to do it correctly, if we want to do it, and see if it's sustainable for Altrincham'.

As for the squad Phil added that we currently have 17 players "and I would probably like to bring [in] a keeper to add a bit of competition. That's going to be key for us. I like to reward success and maintain continuity. Others who win leagues sometimes shed eight or nine players but I believe the lads deserve the opportunity to prove themselves and it's up to them to deliver... I signed them with one eye on promotion and playing in the league above.

'I believe in myself and the management team around me... Unless there were things under the surface which I wasn't aware of, I really believed we would do well and win the league... I didn't hide my ambition last year... I got a bit of criticism from other managers. They said you should under-sell and over-deliver but I don't believe in smokescreens.'"

GET YOUR SEASON TICKET!

As previously announced the following admission prices at the J Davidson Stadium will apply for next season:
  • Adults £13
  • Concessions £10
  • Juniors (12-16) £5
  • Under 12s £1

Season tickets will be priced as follows:

  • Adults £220
  • Concessions £170
  • Juniors (12-16) £50
  • Under 12s £20

VANARAMA NATIONAL LEAGUE NORTH NEWS

The Shropshire Star reports that "Boss Gavin Cowan says his AFC Telford United players will put in plenty of hard yards during pre-season but the days of hill running are long gone.

The Bucks began their preparations for the National League North campaign on Tuesday... In years gone by, the squad has run up The Wrekin. This time around, Cowan is taking a ‘football specific’ approach.

'I’ve addressed the players and they’re bound to have butterflies in their tummy, but you have to feel the fear and do it anyway,' he said. 'Pre-season is tough, but you have to make it relevant and enjoyable, football specific, and then you’re on to a winner. You’ve got to work hard, get that fitness, but the days of running up hills are long gone... It is more about team building than anything, those things show you about people.

'We’re relatively part-time so we haven’t got a massive amount of time; the footballs come out a bit earlier as we need to get messages across.'

Telford have had more than 20 players at the sessions so far; 15 are already contracted for next season. Former fan favourite Dwayne Samuels and out-of-contract [ex-Alty loanee] winger Elliot Newby have been training, while Market Drayton Town duo Judd Ellis and Joe Cuff have been given a chance to impress.

A couple of players have missed the first few sessions, though, due to being away on holiday. On those, without giving names, Cowan added... 'It’s unacceptable for a player to be on holiday. It’s not like we’re two weeks to go until July. We’re in the last week of June and players shouldn’t be booking holidays at that time. We’ve got a couple that aren’t here and they know my feelings on that anyway'".

Boston United "boss Craig Elliott has made another eye-catching summer signing with the acquisition of striker Jonathon Margetts, [an ex-Alty loanee]. The 24-year-old, who lists Lincoln City and Scunthorpe United as his most recent clubs, has penned an initial one-year deal at The Jakemans Stadium.

Margetts, whose availability is subject to final FA ratification, began his career at Hull City and has had productive spells at a clutch of non-league clubs, predominantly on loan".

The Boston Standard adds that manager "Craig Elliott has told the Boston United fans to get ready for a new and improved Nicky Walker. The Boston United boss has persuaded the winger to return to the Jakemans Stadium for a third spell, bolstering his attack in the process. Walker turned out for United in both the 2014-15 and 2015-16 campaigns fresh from leaving the pro game with Rotherham United. But Elliott believes the 23-year-old has grown both on and off the field in that time.

'I saw a couple of pictures of him from when he was at Boston before,' Elliott told The Standard, 'I didn’t recognise him then. He was a boy back then and now he’s a man'...

Walker has stated that he felt he wanted to show the United crowd the player he has become, and Elliott, who previously managed him at Shaw Lane, has plenty of confidence in his recruit.

'He did really well for me at Shaw Lane,' he added. 'I thought about bringing him to Boston when I moved, but it was more about getting the team out of trouble at that point and I didn’t want to just change things for the sake of it. But since then I saw him a few times at Gainsborough Trinity and he was their best player. We’ve always had a good relationship and I’m happy to be working with him again.

'I think he’s good enough to be playing in the National League, he’s good with both feet and he scores goals. He’s not afraid to run at people, which can cause a lot of problems.'”

From Bulls' News we learn hat "Hereford's head groundsman has been invited to the FA's St. George's Park National Football Centre for the Groundsman of the Year awards in August.

Ben Bowen will attend the awards where Hereford have been dominated for the Southern League Premier and Step 3 categories. It's not the first award Bowen has been nominated for, having also been nominated with Hereford in 2017...

'I won Herefordshire Groundsman of the Year in 2016 for Leominster Town's pitch and I was nominated for Groundsman of the Year... in the country for Leominster's pitch in 2015.

The team from Highground Maintenance have never failed to get a game on and it has to be 110% for manager Pete Beadle. Most remarkably, Bowen and a small army of fans, managed to get the pitch ready for the FA Cup Second Round replay against Fleetwood despite it being under several feet of snow just days before.

'Groundsman at Hereford, how can I explain it, the pressure getting the surface right for Beads! Because it has to be 110% right, there is no 'that will do' in my eyes, it has to be the best I can get it, it has to be prefect in presentation for the fans'.

Bowen is well-known for the designs he puts onto the pitch and says... 'The designs I put on the pitch are mostly from Leicester City's pitch. They are the best at designs, so I thought let's set the bar, let's do something different where people will ask questions like "How did you do that?"

'It gets people talking about Hereford's pitch... It was the hardest of seasons last year due to the weather, but we got every league game on and have done since Hereford F.C. was born. That's our job, that's our love for the old girl, so from mowing the pitch in close season to mowing the pitch for games, it has to be at the highest level. It's got to be the best...

'I spend as much time as I can there. It can be five hours a week up to 25 hours a week, it just depends on how the pitch is after a game. Normally I will spend most of Sunday divoting, brushing or just repairing on the old girl, if I could spend 50 hours a week there I would'".


1 July 2018

VANARAMA NATIONAL LEAGUE NORTH NEWS

At Hereford "Bulls boss Peter Beadle has revealed his latest summer signing, bringing in 22-year-old Danny Greenslade from Weston-Super-Mare. The former Bristol Rovers youngster, who trained with The Bulls last night, was a regular in the National League South last season where he was a key member of the Weston-Super-Mare side. The left sided-defender is the nineteenth player to sign up for the new season.

Greenslade has long been on The Bulls’ radar, with Hereford having had a bid accepted by Weston last season. 'We had an offer accepted for Danny last season' said Beadle, 'but because we were in the Southern League, he just didn’t want to drop down. His ambitions are to return to full-time football, and I think he felt that moving to the level we were at last season was perhaps too big a risk for him'.

Greenslade, who was under contract at Weston last term, turned down the offer of a new deal with the Seagulls for the coming season and as he is currently under twenty-four, the move required both clubs to come to an agreement regarding compensation, with the fee set to remain undisclosed.

'With us now promoted and playing in the National League he sees this as a fantastic opportunity to progress his career, he’s got drive and ambition and we’re a good fit for each other', continued Beadle. 'It is great that the board have made the funds available for us to bring Danny in, he is a player who has got a lot of quality about him, he’ll get up and down the pitch and has a lovely left-foot on him, he has a great character'".

Also at Edgar Street Hereford "Season ticket sales have hit the 1,400 mark".

Meanwhile at another ex-Football League club, Kidderminster Harriers "Joe Ironside knows putting in the hard yards will bring benefits later down the line as Harriers players wrestle with the start of pre-season training. The Reds endured a testing day at Birmingham City University on Monday before a day at COSE on Tuesday, much of the rest of the week being spent at Lilleshall.

Neil MacFarlane is putting his players through their paces, but it’s hard work that’s well worth it according to Ironside... He commented, 'It’s tough when you do the runs and stuff, but you have to do it to get it in the bank. So, the harder your work in the season, the easier the season, hopefully, is... It has been a good few days so far so hopefully we can keep improving on our fitness levels.

'It’s good to get back and see the lads as you don’t really see them over the off season, so the group is back together. Obviously we’ve been able to meet the new manager and all the staff so that’s good'".

And also at Aggbrough, Kidderminster Harriers report that "Jimmy O’Connor is delighted to be back at it in pre-season... The 33-year-old... admitted to the official website that even with his experience, the nerves you get early in pre-season remain ever-present!

He explained... 'It has that whole first day at school sort of feeling and you never get tired of it, which is a good thing. There’s a bit of excitement and a bit of nerves but that’s healthy to have at this stage... That competitive edge comes out as well a little bit,' O’Connor added...

'You can see that most players nowadays come back in [for training] in decent condition. Players are a lot more aware of not going away and putting on a couple of stone over the summer because you set yourself back so much.'"

The National League which tells us that "Liverpool have told Chester that they are going to waive their right to a share of the gate receipts for their up-coming friendly. The Premier League Reds visit the Deva Stadium in a week's time. Jurgen Klopp is expected to play all the Champions League finalists’ stars who haven’t been at the World Cup.

A 4,500 sell out is expected and Liverpool have done away with the tradition of taking home half the takings from their pre-season schedule. It’s a further boost to the Blues after a £1m donation over three years was rubber stamped a fortnight ago.

'It is a great gesture from Liverpool and we will receive 100 per cent of the gate receipts,' Chester chairman David Harrington-Wright said. 'We have hosted their under-23s and women’s team and have a great relationship with them and they have been absolutely first class. Liverpool also know they will be playing on a superb surface and that has been a major plus in them wanting to use us time and again, and we are grateful for the support we have received from them over this'...

Chester’s new joint management team of Antony Johnson and Bernard Morley are piecing together a side who they hope can challenge for a return to the National League".

But there is less good news for another club about pre-season as the National League also reports that "York City’s friendly match with Grimsby Town has been cancelled... In a statement, York said it was 'due to circumstances beyond the control of both clubs'".

It’s a blow to manager Martin Gray who is now expected to have to fill the spare weekend with another match. City play Barnsley, Bradford City and Leeds United at home this summer as they look to put together a push for promotion.