NEWS ARCHIVE
July 2018


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.