May 2019

31 May 2019


In its "Bosses' Lounge" series, NL Daily has a long feature on Altrincham manager Phil Parkinson.

It includes, "Altrincham’s 85-goal haul to finish top scorers in last season’s National League North was characteristic of a Phil Parkinson and (assistant) Neil Sorvel team. It was also quite some going for a newly-promoted side, but far from being content just to compete, Parkinson is urging the play-off semi-finalists to think big...

Just over three weeks on from that semi-final showdown, the Robins gaffer shares how he has been processing the conclusion to their 2018/19.

'Immediate emotions were "really tough to take", seeing how well we’d done all season, but playing a Chorley team who’d been top of the league for so long and narrowly missing out on the title, there was no disgrace in terms of losing to them, the eventual winners of the play-offs as well. As tough as it was to take, and it will stick in my throat probably until we manage to get promotion, because that’s the type of person I am, we’ll really work hard this year to close the gap on all the things we need to improve on.

'I think reflection’s been the biggest thing I’ve been doing since that defeat until now really.'

Alongside a man who was a midfield fixture for second-tier Crewe Alexandra during the 2000s, Neil Sorvel, the Altrincham boss and former Crewe, Reading and Port Vale youngster has built a reputation as one of non-league’s most promising managers. Alty’s standing as a club should speak for itself, but they were tumbling down the stairs of non-league football when the pair arrived... With the club on such a slide, what was the first course of action after arriving?

'We were weighing up the squad and obviously looking at what they had, because all those players had been playing Conference or Conference North, pretty much all their careers. We were trying to weigh up whether it was worth keeping hold of them, or letting them go... We looked at certain things in the management structure in terms of physios, sports therapist, all the things that you need in the modern-day game, even at this level of football...

'So we had to change everything really from the football point of view, and make sure everyone was on the same page... I spent a lot of time with the media team in terms of making sure that the messages they were putting out were the right messages, because we had been through a tough time as a football club, and the first port of call is the media. I think we were getting that wrong but, after lots of conversations and meetings and, unfortunately, some people having to leave, we got it right.

'I think our media’s one of the best, in terms of promoting what we do, in non-league, that I’ve seen anyway. I think all them things, as well as getting it right with recruitment, the training, the analysis, the performance side of things and obviously embedding the style of football that we play, giving us that identity back, was massive. We’ve got an identity now, but one that’s a winning identity and playing a brand of football that people want to pay to come and watch. We score goals; I think we’ve pretty much always been the highest scorers at every club myself and Neil have been at, so it shows that philosophy does work...

'I think fanbase, the facilities that we’ve got; everything’s in place. The only thing would obviously be not having the kind of financial backing that some of the other clubs have. We are self-sustainable, so we heavily rely on fans and the income they bring. The other thing if we’d have gone up is I don’t think we’d have been able to go full-time, which I think is a must if you’re going to have any chance at that level...

'The only reason I signed three years is because I believe the club can progress and it can fulfil my ambitions, and that is certainly to go full-time. I’ve never hidden that fact and I’ll keep driving the club in that direction until people say we can’t do it, but at the moment, they’re saying all the right things. It’s just a matter of we’ve got to do it in a certain order, at a certain pace; what we won’t want to do is put the club in jeopardy... I think there’s only so long you would survive at that level, being part-time'".


Two Alty "old boys" have moved from Bradford (Park Avenue) to make returns to Ashton United as the EvoStik League reports that "Ashton United have confirmed eight new signings, including some familiar faces, ahead of their return to the EVO-STIK League Premier Division.

A trio of signings arrive from near neighbours Curzon Ashton in winger Connor Hughes, Chris Rowney and Jonathan Hunt.

Returning to the club is midfielder John Pritchard, who spent time on loan at Buxton from Chester last season having also helped the Robins gain promotion to National League North the previous year.

Goalkeeper Jon Worsnop is in from Guiseley, while defender Gianluca Havern has also returned to the club.

Former Bradford Park Avenue winger Nicky Clee [right], Chorley forward Josh Wilson and right-back Kyle Harrison from Radcliffe have also joined Jody Banim’s squad."


According to Cheshire Live "Bernard Morley admits that he and Anthony Johnson will have to be patient in aiming to complete their summer recruitment at Chester FC. The Blues bosses have tied 15 players down so far for the forthcoming National League North campaign, adding Kidderminster Harriers left back Joel Taylor and right back Kevin Roberts, released by Wrexham in early May, in the past 10 days.

With Gary Roberts and Matty Hughes both tasked with proving their fitness to win deals, Morley and Johnson are seeking to add another four or five to the ranks in time for the new season.

Anthony Dudley, who spent the 2018/19 season on loan from Salford City, is one player who the Blues managers are keen to sign on a permanent basis but they are also in the market for another central midfielder who can play in an advanced role, while a goalkeeper, winger and younger central defender are all being sought.

'We’re delighted we managed to get Joel and Kevin in but now we are working hard to try and get our business done,' said Morley. 'You have to be a bit patient with some as some lads are on holiday and players weigh up their options at this time of year. But we have an advantage on last year as we were able to plan ahead, which we couldn’t do last summer. We had a target list, lads who were right at the top and some who we felt were always going to be a bit of a long shot, and we are working through that now and trying to get some things done.'

FC Halifax Town midfielder Matty Kosylo was one who spoke to the Blues' managers but he opted to remain in the National League, with play-off finalists AFC Fylde one club linked with a move for the former Nantwich Town man.

The Chronicle understands that Chester also had advanced discussions with Spennymoor Town winger Ryan Hall, who has opted to pen a new deal with the Moors, while highly-rated Colne attacker Alex Curran, who netted 22 goals in the season just finished, chose to make the switch to newly-promoted Stockport County on a two-year deal. The Blues had been close with both deals.

One area that does need addressing is the goalkeeping department, with Theo Roberts attracting interest from clubs in the Evo-Stik Premier League and out-of-contract Grant Shenton’s future as yet unresolved.

Goalkeeper Roberts had another year triggered by the Blues after his impressive loan spell at Buxton but, with the 20-year-old unable to commit to the hybrid model next season, the Blues will listen to offers, with two clubs from the league below having made contact. Chester had looked at bringing a goalkeeper from a Football League side on loan, but that target has now been brought into the first-team set-up, which could scupper any plans the Blues had.

'It’s no secret we need to resolve the keeper situation and we are looking at the best way we can move forward with that,' said Morley. 'We also want to bring in another centre back, a younger one, to push Danny Livesey and Simon Grand as we need that competition for places across the pitch. Hopefully we can get something resolved in the coming days as we want to be in a good position by the time we come back for pre-season training at the end of June.'

Chester were yesterday continuing to work on getting a deal over the line for a defender. The club had agreed terms with the player but have to resolve a matter with his club in order to facilitate the move."

One club which has solved its goalkeeping issues is the subject of a report from the a href="">Hereford Times which tells us that "Hereford FC have signed former Kidderminster Harriers goalkeeper Brandon Hall. The 26-year-old has four England C caps to his name and has signed for the Bulls after leaving Aggborough after two seasons, making 88 appearances for Harriers.

The stopper has also had spells at Ebbsfleet, Hayes & Yeading and Woking... Hall told the club's official website... 'I played at Edgar Street last year for Kidderminster and it was the atmosphere that stood out. To have so many fans behind you is unusual at this level and I'm looking forward to having them on my side instead. I've got good experience at this level, and in the National League, and I'm sure that will help the other lads. I'm a modern keeper who likes to use his feet to get involved in starting attacks and hopefully that will benefit the team too.'

Head Coach Marc Richards said signing a talented goalkeeper has been high on his list of priorities. 'Brandon has all the attributes we have been looking for, including the need for him to be confident with the ball at his feet. Signing a talented goalkeeper has been one of our priorities since the end of last season and to have secured Brandon's services is something everyone should be really excited about. He was much in demand after leaving Kidderminster, so it's a real coup that he's chosen us as his preferred option...

'I'm really excited by the squad that is starting to come together.'"

And Hereford FC add that "The Bulls are delighted to announce that experienced defender, Martin Riley, has agreed a deal to join the club for the 2019/20 season. The 6ft 2inch defender, who has racked up more than 300 appearances for clubs including Kidderminster Harriers, Cheltenham Town, Mansfield Town, Wrexham and Tranmere Rovers, arrives at Edgar Street having most recently played for Alfreton Town in the National League North last season.

32-year-old Riley said, 'I’ve played here on several occasions over the years and have always found it a tough place to come and get a result. I’ll bring a great deal of experience with me, mostly in the National League and League Two,and I’m looking forward to getting to know the other lads. Obviously, I already know Reece Styche and Josh Gowling which should certainly help me settle in'...

Hereford FC’s Head Coach, Marc Richards, said 'He’s been a solid, reliable defender for a number of years and we’re delighted to have been able to bring him in. Much like Josh Gowling, Martin brings know-how from higher levels than we’re currently playing at and we all know the impact Josh has had since he arrived here... With him, Josh and Jordan Cullinane-Liburd all now signed up, I think we’re already in a good place with the central defensive options we have.”

The Telegraph & Argus informs us that "Marcus Bignot says opportunity will knock for any player who signs for Guiseley this summer. The Lions joint-manager adds he is willing to take gambles in the transfer market to compete [in the] Motorama National League North next season after releasing 10 players earlier this month.

Aaron Martin became Guiseley's first signing for next season after the striker joined from Brighouse Town... The 6ft Sheffield-born player, 27, joined Staveley MW at the age of 17 before spells with Worksop Parramore and Goole AFC. He then enjoyed five years with Sheffield FC before he joined Brighouse.

Bignot says it is a 'calculated gamble' to recruit Martin from a lower level and, due to Guiseley's financial restrictions, he is looking for a mix of youth and experience during the pre-season as he looks to shape his squad. He adds he is looking at players willing to drop down the divisions during the twilight of their careers, as well as academy products.

Bignot says he is delighted to give Martin a platform at a higher level and says... 'We have got to find tomorrow's best players, rather than today's best players. It's a financially sound one for us as a football club. There is a player there. I hope he hits it off straight away... If it doesn't work out, he's not been a burden on our budget. We will be looking to sign senior players as well as young players. It is capturing these players in that transition.

'We want to work off a group of 18 players. We will be bringing them in from my academy and from Guiseley's academy. This time of year is massive, recruitment is massive. We inherited a squad last year and that has transitioned in year two and in year three you get your own squad together. Year two is a mixture of inheritance and getting your own squad. It takes time, if you get the time to do it.'"

30 May 2019


Altrincham FC has now announced more pre-season games bringing the total to seven. They are as follows...
  • Tue. 9 July AWAY Whitchurch Alport 7.45pm
  • Sat. 13 July HOME Crewe Alexandra 3pm
  • Tue. 16 July AWAY Atherton Collieries 7.45pm
  • Sat. 20 July HOME Blackpool XI 3pm
  • Tue. 23 July HOME Stockport County 7.45pm
  • Sat. 27 July HOME AFC Fylde 3pm
  • Tue. 30 July AWAY Trafford 7.45pm

As usual, entry to the home friendlies is free to holders of valid Altrincham season tickets.


"The Times" for last Tuesday published the death notice for former Altrincham chairman John Maunders, whose passing was recorded here a few days ago. It says, "After an extraordinary life, John will be greatly missed... A private commital service will be held on Thursday, 13th June... followed by a service of remembrance at St Wilfrid's Church, Mobberley at 2pm.... Donations, if desired, for RSPCA or Genesis may be sent care of Arthur Gresty Funeral Homes".


Altrincham FC has announced that three more of last season's squad have signed on for a further season at the club. They are midfielders Sean Williams and Simon Richman and centre-back James Jones.

Above, left to right: Sean Williams, Simon Richman, James Jones.

Williams (27) is in his second spell at Moss Lane, having rejoined in May 2018 after an earlier spell for 2014-15 season. To date Sean has made 55(+19) appearances for Altrincham, scoring 1 goal.

Richman (29) arrived at Moss Lane as a wide midfielder in summer 2011, but nowadays is a central midfielder who is also a capable right-back. Simon's total of 252(+69) appearances makes him currently the club's third most experienced player, behind only Shaun Densmore and Jake Moult in terms of games played. He has netted 23 goals.

James Jones (22) made his Altrincham debut on 23 August 2017 and throughout 2018-19 he was Tom Hannigan's regular partner at centre-back. He has amassed 74(+5) appearances and scored 7 goals in his two seasons at the club.


Altrincham entertain Stockport County in a pre-season friendly on 23 July and NL Daily tells us that "Stockport County boss Jim Gannon has made his first new signing of the summer, paying an undisclosed fee to bring in attacking midfielder Alex Curran from Colne.

The exciting attacker joins the Hatters on a full-time two-year deal with an option for a further year. Curran was top scorer at Colne last season with 21 goals in 44 appearances, having previously scored 22 goals in 46 appearances in 2017/2018. The 20 year-old has been a permanent fixture in Steven Cunningham’s team since he was released by Blackburn Rovers two years ago.

He has won the Evo-Stik West Young Player of the Year for the last two years, was named in the Evo-Stik West Team of the Season and was the only player from that level to be named in the overall Evo-Stik team of the year for all divisions including the Premier League for 2018/2019. He also won the Colne FC Player of the Year award last season.

Colne had a fantastic season in 2018/19, finishing fourth in the Evo-Stik West before narrowly losing out in the Play Offs against Leek Town. Colne also reached the Lancashire FA Challenge Trophy final where the Reds lost 3-1 to National North side Southport at the University of Bolton Stadium.

Jim Gannon told County’s official website 'I think it is significant that Alex is my first signing of this pre-season. He is the type of player that encourages me with both his personal and professional qualities. He came out of a top League club and must have felt lost, but he never gave up on himself or the game and got back in at Colne FC. That appetite for football and commitment to be part of the game is a great quality I’ve always admired. It was in Ashley Williams, Liam Dickinson and Anthony Pilkington after they had to find their way through lower non-league to have that second chance.'"


The National League reports that "Reece Styche has completed a fantastic few days after winning a place in the Gibraltar squad. He is in contention to play for his country against Georgia and the Republic of Ireland next month. After winning a place ahead of the Euro 2020 qualifiers, he tweeted 'The weeks just get better and better!'

Styche will be fighting fit for pre-season after signing for Hereford last Friday... after Alfreton Town accepted an offer for the powerful forward.

'It’s a massive club with a massive fan base, it’s one of the things I’m most looking forward to,' he told the club’s website. 'With two and a half thousand fans here every week it’s a Football League club in everything but its standing'".

Curzon Ashton "announce that Matt Regan will be returning to The Nash for the 2019/20 season. Having spent last term with neighbours, Ashton United, Regan can't wait to get going under Mark Bradshaw and with what will be a new look squad.

The lure of playing regularly back on the Tameside Stadium pitch, which started its annual renovations yesterday, and training on the new 4G facility, featured heavily in Matt's decision. Matt, who can play in a number of positions, is looking to make a defensive berth his own."

According to Pulse 1 "Bradford Park Avenue could soon be taking on a 35-year lease on its Horsfall Stadium home. Bradford Council owns the site, off Halifax Road, but has recently issued a public notice to say it is planning to dispose of the land. It has confirmed this will include transferring it to the club on a 35-year lease.

The idea of transferring the site to the club’s ownership on a long-term lease has been discussed by Bradford (Park Avenue) and Council representatives for some time... The legally required public notice allows people to view the proposals and comment on them before the public asset is transferred...

The Council has also confirmed that once the transfer goes ahead it will retain public access to the community use on the site, including athletics facilities. In recent years there had been rumours that the club may move from the site, including a potential move to groundshare with Bradford Bulls at Odsal.

But last year the club’s major benefactor Gareth Roberts revealed that not only would Avenue remain at their Horsfall base, but that it was also working with the Council to have the site transferred over to the club. It would give the club more control over the stadium’s future, as well as make it easier to invest in the site. Last year the club was granted permission to build classrooms at the site as part of a football academy that would offer BTEC sports diplomas.

The plans also included a new club shop, new perimeter security fencing and a new spectator barrier. It was part of the club’s grand plans for the site [?to] secure the future of the club and in the application the club said 'Our facilities are vastly under-used and, by developing Horsfall, we believe we can provide Bradford with a valuable community asset'".

According to the National League, "Guiseley are backing Aaron Martin to step up to the National League North as they secured their first summer signing. The forward scored 30 times in 42 games last season for Brighouse in the Evo-Stik Division One East. The 27-year-old arrives at the club hoping to continue that scoring form.

The Lions didn’t find the net enough goals for the liking of join managers Russ O’Neill and Marcus Bignot last season. They think the big forward has the quality needed to produce two leagues higher".

As previously reported, one of the players to leave Blyth Spartans this summer was Sean Reid. The EvoStik League now adds that "Newly promoted Morpeth Town have signed midfielder Sean Reid from Blyth Spartans. Reid, 27, will link up with the Highwaymen for their debut season in the EVO-STIK League Premier Division.

He said, 'I feel like this club has ambition and a drive for success. Being a part of that sounds exciting.' Reid scored 66 times for Blyth in 187 appearances, playing for them in National League North last season.

Morpeth chairman Ken Beattie said 'This is a real statement of intent on our part and we are delighted Sean has joined us. We’ve moved quickly to bring in a top-quality player who can add goals to a side which already has a fantastic scoring record'...

Assistant manager Jon McDonald said... 'As soon as we learned Sean might be available, we didn’t hesitate'".

The National League informs us that "Nathan Arnold says he has unfinished business and a point to prove after declaring he’s ready to return to football. The former Grimsby Town and Lincoln City winger left the dressing room behind last year aged only 30 but there was more to it than meets the eye after walking away due to personal reasons.

But now he wants to lace up his boots next season and has sent a come and get me plea to managers after alerting them of his availability. A three-time National League promotion winner, he also won the National League North title with Alfreton back in 2011...

'I am looking to make a return to football and I'm exactly where I'm supposed to be,' he said. 'Things happen in life and it is no secret that I had a difficult period in my career off the pitch. There is always more than what meets the eye and my situation was no different. Now is the perfect time to resurrect my career. Time away from football has given me the opportunity to recharge, rejuvenate and adopt a new fresh perspective. I'm 31 with a huge amount of experience, knowledge and wisdom and I'm very grateful for the lessons life's taught me.

'Behind the athlete is hours and hours of hard work, practice and a CV that I'm very proud of. I have missed being apart of something meaningful that football gives you and I'm glad to be back. The biggest challenge for me now is to find a new home where a manager believes in me again. Someone who is willing to give me an opportunity. I have never been more determined to prove a point than I am right now. It isn't surprising to me that there's question marks surrounding me coming back and, maybe, surrounding my motivation levels but this only motivates me even more to get back to the levels I know I'm capable of.

'People have doubted me my whole life. It isn't unfamiliar territory. It takes courage for a manager to believe in a player that has been there and done it. I'm not desperate for any club, it has to be something that inspires me and challenges me. I want the right fit. I'm a winner and highly ambitious. It wasn't an easy decision to come back to football as I've been involved in a great deal of giving service to others'".

28 May 2019


Over the past four seasons (2015/16 to 2018/19) Altrincham have operated in a different division in each of the four league campaigns. 2015/16 found them at Step One in the National League, 2016/17 had them at National League North Level (Step 2). Relegation meant a season at Step 3 (2017/18) followed by regained Step 2 status for 2018/19.

In those four campaigns they have met 68 different teams in league fixtures. Below, those 68 opponents are arranged according to their status in 2019/20. (The status of Gateshead and, consequently, of Aldershot Town is uncertain. As things stand Gateshead have been expelled from the National League (Steps 1 and 2) but a potential reprieve for relegated Aldershot Town at Step 1 remains unconfirmed.)


NL Daily reports that "Club legend Gavin Cogdon has re-joined Spennymoor Town following his release from South Shields. Cogdon, 36, scored 132 goals in 289 appearances for the club during a trophy-laden stint from 2009 to 2016. As well as scoring an iconic goal in Moors’ FA Vase success in 2013, he also won the Northern League First Division, JR Cleator Cup, Durham Challenge Cup and Northern League Cup.

Cogdon also struck the opener as Spennymoor beat Northwich Victoria 2-0 in the 2016 Evo-Stik North Division One Play-Off Final. The striker left Moors and joined South Shields in the summer of 2016, helping the club to five trophies, including the Vase in 2017. He scored 56 goals in 107 games for the South Tyneside club, averaging just under a goal every two games.

After signing a deal to return to The Brewery Field, Cogdon said 'It’s a massive move. As soon as I spoke to Jason I knew it was a club I instantly wanted to come back to. I’ve looked at Spennymoor while I’ve been away and I have seen the massive strides the club has been taking. I can’t wait to get started. My first spell here was great but it’s about looking at the here and now. Spennymoor are in a different position than when I was previously here, and I want to help take them to another level.'

Following Cogdon’s return, Jason Ainsley said 'Gavin has been a massive part of the growth of the club. We talk about the journey of Spennymoor Town, and he has been a major part of that. He is probably fitter now than he ever has been, so to sign him on a one-year deal was a no-brainer... I just think he will frighten the life out of defenders, either from the bench or from the start. Gavin has an opportunity here and he knows that. It’s a big step up and he wants to play in the Conference North and show people what he’s got.'"

Still in the north-east, the Northern Echo tells us that "Having made Michael Liddle their first summer arrival on Monday, three of Darlington’s next signings will come from Blyth Spartans too.

David Atkinson, Louis Laing and Jarrett Rivers are all wanted by Alun Armstrong, the former Blyth boss who officially became Quakers’ manager at the beginning of this week. He wasted little time in recruiting left-back Liddle, and now wants three more Spartans, all of whom played a part in Blyth reaching the play-offs this season and their arrivals will be announced soon.

Atkinson, 26, came through the ranks at Middlesbrough but did not make a senior appearance for Boro and, after leaving three years ago, spent time playing for Carlisle United and in the Icelandic top-flight. In an interview last year, while playing for IBV, he said 'I have a lot of respect for the manager at Blyth [Alun Armstrong] and also I think he will have a great career as a manager'...

He had spells with Blyth either side of two spells in Iceland, but now moves to Blackwell Meadows as will Laing and Rivers.

Speedy winger Rivers, 25, made his mark by scoring Blyth’s winner in an FA Cup game away to Hartlepool United televised live by the BBC in 2014, and then spent the 2015-16 season with Blackpool before returning to Croft Park after a year. Laing, 26, began his career at Sunderland and moved to Scotland in 2015 for spells with Motherwell and then Inverness before signing for Hartlepool two years ago and Armstrong took him to Blyth in October 2018."

At Leamington, "Paul Holleran has announced an exciting first new arrival of the close season, with the signing of Josh March from Alvechurch.

Comfortable in wide midfield or as a striker, Josh made his debut for the Worcestershire club as an 18 year-old in 2015 with the club in the Midland League and has enjoyed four successful seasons as Alvechurch regained their place in the upper echelons of the Non League pyramid after a gap of 25 years, winning back to back promotions into the Southern League Premier Division, where they reached the play off positions once more before defeat to King's Lynn Town in the final.

Josh scored 81 goals in 184 games for the 'Church, regularly topping the club's scoring charts, and the Brakes boss feels that the 22 year-old will fit in well at his new club. 'He's come through the leagues with Alvechurch and has developed as a player... He's made it quite clear that he wants the opportunity to step up to the National League North and myself and Josh both feel that Leamington is the perfect step up for him. I think the way he plays and the way we play will be a good fit'". The Yorkshire Post reports that "Guiseley's directors and management have issued an open letter to supporters and has stressed that next season will be another challenging one for the club.

The 2018-19 campaign saw the Lions secure their National League North status, with the joint-management team of Marcus Bignot and Russ O’Neill achieving their brief of ensuring that the club did not suffer a second successive relegation. Off the pitch, it was a year that posed issues, but the Nethermoor hierarchy have revealed that it will be on a stable footing from the start of July onwards when the club will be ‘debt free’...

The open letter read... 'Clarity is perhaps needed as to the extent of the issues faced by the managers. Their remit coming in, quite frankly, was to keep the club alive and safe from relegation. Anything else would’ve been a bonus. As it turned out, we had a tremendous FA Cup run and reached the final of the West Riding County Cup. The club as of 1st July will be completely debt free which is something which we can be proud of.

'Recruitment is well underway for next season. As per the previous squad update 11 players have already left the club with our best wishes, and we have offered reengagement to the remaining members of the squad, other than Scott Garner, Aleks Starcenko and Kennedy Digie who are under contract.

'The managers have been working day and night to also secure new signings and we’re pleased to say agreements have been made with four players so far. We cannot however, announce these immediately for a variety of reasons...

'The pre-season schedule has been finalised, but as with the signings these cannot be announced until the opposition are ready. Next season will again be a challenging one, although the ownership remains generous in their contributions, we cannot compete on finances or resources with the likes of Hereford, Southport and York. What we can do however is recruit a hungry ambitious squad who will give everything for the cause.

'We’re confident that the players recruited, along with Dave Currie’s academy prospects, will come together to form a team on the pitch which you can be proud of and enjoy watching. hat we’re asking from the supporters once again this season, is your continued support... We averaged an attendance of over 750 last season, can we push this to 900 or even 1000 this year?'".

28 May 2019


The National League reports that "Alun Armstrong is already making the most of the money Darlington fans have raised. The new Quakers boss has returned to his old club Blyth Spartans to sign Michael Liddle. The left-back was outstanding last season and he follows his former boss across the North East.

It is sure to be a busy summer, especially thanks to the £80,000 already raised. The club’s Boost the Budget Campaign ha[s] days to run... Chief Executive Officer David Johnston says that he is 'flabbergasted' by the sum raised so far. 'The generosity and loyalty of Darlington fans never cease to amaze me,' he told the club’s website. 'To reach £80,000 within weeks says so much of them. There is no need to stop at £80,000, fans are quite welcome to continue pledging towards the budget. It all helps Alun to build a team that is able to compete well with other clubs in this division.'”

Explaining why he had now moved to Darlington after previously turning down such a move, Armstrong told the NL Paper, "The club wasn't as stable as it is now... This is a Football League club in waiting... It won't happen overnight...

"I want to play on the front-foot... That's no secret to anyone that has seen the way Spartans played during my time there. There will be changes... I won't be scared to bring in players that want to do things my way.

"At Spartans, because of the budget, we always felt like underdogs and there was always a target of just surviving in the league. Darlington isn't like that".

From the other side, Blyth Spartans "must announce the departure of defender Michael Liddle who has signed with Darlington. ‘Lidz’ made 112 appearances for Blyth, netting on four occasions and picked up numerous end of year awards for his exploits. The club would like to like to thank Michael for all his efforts over the past four seasons at Croft Park,".

Also at Blyth Spartans "Blyth Spartans are accepting applications for the role of first team manager at the club... Since returning to the second step of the English non-league pyramid Spartans have secured the highest finish in the club’s history last season, entering the National League North play-offs for the first time.

And the club is now looking for a manager with the integrity, quality and passion to work to make Blyth Spartans a pillar of the community and continue the club’s recent success on the field.

Applicants must have/show:

  • A passion and desire to build a squad capable of competing at the National League North level.
  • An ability to manage, motivate and coach a first team squad whilst also maintaining the club’s sustainability off the field.
  • An ability to build an effective coaching/support team along with experience in the recruitment, development and coaching of young players through the club’s youth development pathway.
  • An interest in working with the reserve team and youth setup to develop our upcoming youth development pathway.
  • The ability to manage within an agreed budget and work with the board on financial business matters.
  • A strong connection with fans and excellent PR skills; able to commit time to work with the local community.
  • A role model for code of conduct behaviours in the game and highly supportive of standards for Equality, Diversity and Inclusion in line with FA guidelines.

We are actively seeking applications now with a closing date of midnight, Monday 27th May".

Earlier, manager Jason Ainsley had told the NL Paper, "We negotiated contracts last December and had 99% of the players on options. It means we will only have two or three players leaving... and hopefully we can bring in three or four quality signings...

We had over 1,300 supporters at Chorley. It used to take us a month to get that... we are averaging around 900 for home games...

This summer the pitch is getting dug up and an undersoil sprinkler system put in... There was no drainage and that's been a real Achilles heel for us".

Meanwhile, Alfreton Town "confirm the signing of defender and former Bradford (Park Avenue) captain Shane Killock. Shane, 30, is the Reds third addition of the summer after Ryan Qualter and Dom Smith.

Experienced centre-back Shane joined Bradford PA in July 2016 from Scarborough Athletic after starting his career at Huddersfield Town, leaving briefly to play in the Northern Premier League for Ossett Albion at the tender age of 15. Killock has played the majority of his minutes in a spell at AFC Telford United, where he made 132 appearances. He went on to spend three years at Harrogate Town, a time which included a short loan stint at Guiseley. In the 2015-16 campaign he started at Hyde before joining Scarborough in January 2016.

A loan spell from Avenue to Boston came in September 2017 where he made six appearances, before Shane was a huge staple in the Avenue side that missed out on promotion last season losing to Spennymoor Town in the play offs.

Billy Heath [said], 'Shane is another cracking signing for us, he knows what this league is about and was captain at Bradford last season. He is a left-footed player which is always a plus for us within the back-line. He's played a lot of games at this level and has bags of experience. He will bring great balance to the back line and he is a player who enjoys defending. We know what were getting with Shane and its another strong addition to the squad'".

Spennymoor Town "is now in a position to provide supporters with an update on player contracts ahead of the 2019/20 season.

The following players remain under contract with the Club for the 2019/20 campaign:

  • Jake Hibbs, Adam Boyes, Glen Taylor

The Club has taken up the option on the contracts of the following players:

  • Matthew Gould, Callum Williams, James Curtis, Stephen Brogan, Shane Henry, Rob Ramshaw, Jamie Chandler, Andrew Johnson, Mark Anderson, Shaun Tuton

Out of contract:

  • Ryan Hall, Scott Harrison

Option not taken by the club:

  • Lewis King, Cieran Jackson, Kris Thackray, Rob Atkinson

Free agent:

  • Chris Elliott

Club captain Christopher Mason will return to training on July 1st and the club are delighted to see how he progresses through pre-season. Mason still has another year to run with the club.

Manager Jason Ainsley said... 'Kris and Rob have both been an integral part of a successful campaign but, as we could not guarantee them first team football, we felt it was in their best interests to move onto pastures new. Both Lewis and Cieran have acquired valuable Northern League experience and, for their development, we believe that playing regular first-team football will enhance their careers. Although he hasn’t played much football, Chris has been hugely important in his contribution to the goalkeeper department".

27 May 2019


Altrincham FC has Brian Flynn's interview with Shaun Densmore (right), following the extension of his stay at the club.


The Northwich Guardian provides the composition of the "Cheshire League Premier Division, Provisional line-up for 2019-2020 season".

This comprises, Altrincham Reserves, Billinge, Blacon Youth Club (promoted from League One), Broadheath Central (promoted from League One), Congleton Vale Rovers, Crewe, Daten, Eagle Sports, Egerton, FC St Helens, Greenalls Padgate St Oswalds, Knutsford, Lostock Gralam (promoted from League One), Middlewich Town, Poynton, Whaley Bridge Athletic".


Altrincham FC Youth ended the 2018-19 season in the North West Youth Alliance Premier Division in third place, three points behind Chester FC and Curzon Ashton, who were separated only by goal difference.


Altrincham players Duncan Watmore and Kevin Ellison are rare exceptions to the rule that the transition from performing on the pitch at non-League level to appearing regularly in English football's Premiership is an impossible achievement. But there is a much more assured way of making that transition from non-League to the highest level and that is by becoming a match official. Indeed, without looking very hard, it is easy to compile a directory of more than fifteen current or recent Premier League or EFL referees who have previously graced Altrincham fixtures.

Whilst local resident Anthony Taylor is well known for being both an Altrincham FC supporter as well as an accomplished Premiership referee, he is far from being the only nationally known referee to have progressed from Moss Lane and other non-League venues to the top of his profession. And it was not always easy to spot the future high-flyers' potential. This fact was brought home to many Alty fans this week when the referee for Saturday's League Two Play Off at Wembley was seen to be David Coote, who is obviously highly though of, as he had also overseen another major match at Wembley a few days' earlier, the FA Vase Final.

Right: Mr Joyce lays down the law to Graham Heathcote at half-time (2008). At the time the man in black was the Referee Development Officer at the North Riding County FA as well as a Football League assistant referee.

His dual appearance at Wembley reminded us that Mr Coote is, for ever, associated in Alty minds with a match on 29 November 2008 when Alty lost 0-4 at home to Rushden & Diamonds. He sent off Shaun Densmore in the 21st minute for a mis-timed challenge but failed to send off Rushden's Yannick Bolasie for a worse challenge than Densmore's. Bolassie's foul left Lawton needing lengthy treatment and led to the Alty midfielder's substitution at half-time. The tough Alty man was, in fact, rendered unfit to start any of the next six league matches, courtesy of Bolasie's foul. Then, to make matters worse, the referee allowed Rushden to open the scoring on the half-hour through Burgess after Alty goalkeeper Andy Ralph had been clearly fouled by Michael Rankine in the build-up.

Coincidentally, Bolasie himself progressed to play in the Premier League, his latest club being Everton who loaned him out last season to what is now Vincent Kompany's Anderlecht, in Belgium.

Amongst the other referees who have officiated at Altrincham games before moving to higher things is Mark Clattenburg who, for example, reffed Altrincham v Welling United on 12 February 2000. Amongst his later honours were refereeing the 2016 UEFA Champions League Final and the Euro 2016 Final but that was all down to his experience at Moss Lane, as he witnessed Alty slip towards relegation with a 0-1 defeat!

Amongst current or past Premiership referees who have overseen Altrincham matches is the following random list of officials. Most of these names oversaw more than one Alty game so the specific match listed below is an arbitrary one but, curiously, Alty seem to have lost most of the matches in question!

  • Michael Oliver: He oversaw Tamworth 1 Altrincham 0 in the Conference National, 21 April, 2007.
  • Graham Scott: Reffed Crawley Town 2 Altrincham 0, a Nationwide Conference game on 18 February 2006.
  • Robert Madley: He was in charge of Mansfield Town 1 Altrincham 0, a Blue Square Premier match, on Tuesday, 21 April 2009.
  • Andy Madley: On Saturday, 22 August, 2009 he refereed Altrincham 0 AFC Wimbledon 1, 22 August, 2009. Last weekend he reffed the FA Trophy Final.
  • Neil Swarbrick: He refereed a pre-season friendly on 30 July 2010 in which Altrincham defeated a Tranmere Rovers XI 3-1.
  • Steve Bennett and Mike Riley: In April 2007, the match officials for the Independent Schools international at Moss Lane, in which England beat Scotland 7-1, included Steve Bennett and Mike Riley.
  • Oliver Langford: He was in charge on 1 January 2008 in a Blue Square Premier league match, which ended Northwich Victoria 1 Altrincham 2. He had been involved in controversy with Altrincham in previous games having allowed a handball-assisted goal at Burton to defeat Alty in October 2005 and having awarded a controversial penalty against Karl Munroe which cost Alty the game at home to Exeter City in March 2007.
  • Geoff Eltringham: He was in charge at Bootham Crescent on December 28th, 2008 when Alty won 2-1.
  • Chris Sarginson: He oversaw the 3-0 win for Rushden and Diamonds over Alty at Nene Park on 9 September 2006, in which he dismissed Val Owen (right).
  • Simon Bennett: On 4 November 2014 he was the man in charge as Alty won 2-1 at Lincoln City.
  • John Brooks: He ran the rule over a goalless draw at Moss Lane against FC Halifax Town on 21 March, 2015.
  • Martin Coy: In a Vanarama National League match on August Bank Holiday Monday, 2015, Alty lost 3-0 at Southport with Mr Coy in charge. He had overseen the Alty v Barnet game the previous season and sent off Alty's Tom Marshall in that match but failed to dismiss Barnet's already booked defender, N'Gala, after he had clattered Jake Moult.
  • Brett Huxtable: 21 February, 2015 saw him oversee Alty's 1-0 defeat at Bristol Rovers.
  • Carl Boyeson: He was the referee for a midweek FA Cup First Round Replay at Moss Lane on 15 November 2012, when Alty lost 0-2 to Burton Albion.
  • Tony Harrington: In an FA Trophy 1st Round Proper match played on 13 December 2008, he saw Alty trounced 1-4 at home by Southport.
  • Darren England: On 13 September 2014 in a Vanarama Conference match he officiated in a 3-3 draw at Moss Lane against Eastleigh.

And, to round off this survey of links between Altrincham and the top of the match officials' tree, in today's EFL Play Off between Aston Villa and Derby County, one of the linesmen is Merseysider Ian Hussin, brother of Alty's popular former captain and midfielder, Eddie Hussin. Ian has previously officiated in many Premier League and Champions' League fixtures across Europe.


According to the Telegraph & Argus "Forward Oli Johnson has left Bradford (Park Avenue). The popular player joined the Horsfall club permanently in January 2017 from Guiseley after an initial spell on loan.

The Wakefield-born former Norwich City ace made 28 starts and scored 10 goals last season in National League North, passing 100 appearances for Avenue...

Johnson's exit follows the departures of [two ex-Alty players] Nicky Clee and Ryan Toulson from Avenue, who last week saw a change of managers as Garry Thompson replaced Mark Bower."

The Northern Echo reports that "A former Hartlepool United defender is due to be among the first signings of the summer that Darlington complete.

A move for Louis Laing, who has been with Blyth Spartans since last year, is understood to be close to completion and one of several transfers Quakers have been working on after new manager Alun Armstrong drew up a list of targets.

The 26-year-old came through the youth ranks at Sunderland and after a handful of loan spells moved to Scotland in 2015 for spells with Motherwell and then Inverness before returning to the North-East when he signed for Hartlepool two years ago.

Armstrong took him to Blyth in October 2018, and is now set to sign him again. Laing is not the only Blyth player on Quakers’ wanted list, though Spennymoor Town are understood to share an interest in some of the same players at Croft Park.

Two other Spartans players heading for Blackwell Meadows are David Atkinson and Jarrett Rivers...

Meanwhile, the Boost the Budget scheme smashed through the £80,000 target on Saturday, six days ahead of the deadline. By Sunday morning it had reached £82,301, meaning around £23,000 has been pledged by supporters who own the fan-owned club since Armstrong’s appointment was announced last Tuesday. It is an initiative of the Darlington FC Supporters Group."

Boston United "have completed the signing of Hyde United goalkeeper Peter Crook. The 25-year-old, who has considerable Step 2 experience during his time at Harrogate Town, has linked up with the Pilgrims following an impressive campaign with the Evo-Stik Northern Premier Division Tigers.

Crook has put pen-to-paper on an initial one-year deal at The Jakemans Stadium.

'He is somebody I have been keeping an eye on for a number of years,' commented manager Craig Elliott... 'I had him at Ossett when he was a youngster at Scunthorpe and he has since been in the play-offs with Harrogate and the Evo-Stik team of the year with Hyde,' added Elliott. 'He is hungry and ready to step back up to this level.'"


Hyde United report that their "Board of Directors has approved plans for a new structure of the Football Management & Coaching Staff at the Club. This will provide more effective direction and communication on all footballing matters across our different departments.

The new structure will include;-

    Sporting Director – Darren Kelly – responsible for overseeing all off-pitch football matters, working in conjunction with the First Team Manager regarding strategic direction and the General Manager regarding administration;, would promote recruitment of players and links with Professional Clubs; lead development of pathway for International students to join our Foundation Degree course; engage with commercial partners to increase revenue base.
  • First Team Manager – Dave McGurk (UEFA A Licence) – responsible for all First Team and on-pitch football matters. Would also take a prominent role in seeking commercial/sponsorship opportunities.
  • Assistant Manager/Player – John McCombe (UEFA A Licence) – assisting First Team Manager and working with Academy re development of players. Would continue the good work already commenced on the commercial side
  • First Team Coach – Gaz Prendergast (UEFA A Licence) – continuing in role with coaching & training First Team players. Also, as Senior Manager with Academy, will aim to forge closer links with the Football Club for benefit of all involved."

26 May 2019


The Altrincham FC official site confirms that defender Shaun Densmore and midfielder Max Harrop have both signed up for next season at the J. Davidson Stadium.

Above: Shaun celebrates after scoring against Chorley in April 2019.

For Shaun, now aged 30, another thirteen appearances will take him to 400 games in the Altrincham shirt since he joined, initially on a month's contract on 12 September 2008. At that time, Shaun, a former Everton Academy Player of the Year, had just been released by the Toffees. He made his Alty debut on 16th September 2008 and on 13 October 2008 he signed on for the rest of 2008-09 season. In his 387 appearances to date, Shaun has netted 28 goals.

26 year-old Max Harrop joined Alty on the eve of the opening game of the 2017-18 season. His career had begun with Liverpool FC's Academy, before he moved to Bury, where he made his Football League debut in March 2011. At the end of that year he went on loan to Blyth Spartans. After returning to Gigg Lane, another loan followed, at Hinckley United. After he had been released by Bury, he joined Nantwich Town in the summer of 2013. However, he left for Ashton United in March 2015 but, at the start of the following campaign, he was at Ramsbottom United. However, he then rejoined Nantwich in 2016.

To date he has made 54(+26) appearances for Altrincham and has scored 12 times.


Following his return from FC United of Manchester, striker Tom Peers [right] was interviewed by press and media officer, Brian Flynn, for the Altrincham FC website. In the interview he explains his reasons for returning to the J. Davidson Stadium.


The fourth club in the series on renewing acquaintances with former opponents is Kettering Town. The other clubs already profiled here have been Oxford City, Farsley Celtic and Gloucester City. As with Farsley Celtic, since Alty last met them, Kettering Town have "gone under" only to be reborn and regain their status in the pyramid.

And, like Gloucester City they now play at a different venue from when we last met. Altrincham's previous away matches with Kettering were at Rockingham Road, their home from 1897. But that venue was sold in 2011 and subsequently built upon. Since then, Kettering have been nomadic; they played at Nene Park (formerly the home of Rushden & Diamonds), then at Steel Park in Corby in 2012. They moved again, a year later, to Burton Park Wanderers' stadium at Latimer Park in Burton Latimer, to the south of Kettering. That remains their home for 2019-20.

The original Poppies were an older club than Altrincham as it was as early as 1872 that a Kettering Football Club was set up. As Altrincham were to do later, they attempted to gain Football League status in the 1950s and 1960s but were unsuccessful and they remained in the Southern League.

Various applications to the Football League also took place in the 1970s but, again, without success. In 1979 both Altrincham and Kettering Town once more failed to win Football League status through the re-election process and both became founder members of the Alliance Premier League. In the second season of that competition they finished second to champions Altrincham.

Above: Alty (in yellow) at Rockingham Road in 1999 season.

Kettering were to be Alliance/Conference runners-up three times more, in 1987-88, 1993–94 and 1998–99. Indeed, they lasted longer than Alty in the Conference. Whereas Alty were first relegated in 1997, Kettering did not drop down until 2001 but won promotion back to the national level the next season. They became a yo-yo club as, in 2002–03, they were relegated again.

Like Alty they were founder members of Conference North in 2004. As Alty fans will recall, they lost at home to Altrincham in the play-offs, which led to the Robins regaining Conference status.

In 2007 Kettering again lost out in the Conference North play-offs but they won the league below the next season and so rejoined the national level.

After the Rockingham Road ground had been sold in 2011, the club went went into administration. Having finished bottom of the Conference in 2012 they were demoted down to the Southern League Premier, in which they again finished bottom. So, like Alty they know all about double relegations!

For 2018-19 they were moved into the newly created Southern Premier Central Division and won the league to regain Step Two status. They were allocated to the North Division for 2019-20 and hence they renew their acquaintance with Altrincham for the first time since 2010-11 season.

In that campaign the league results were

  • Tue.28.9.10 away 3-3 in front of 1,194 spectators. Alty scorers were Denham 19, Reeves 30, Hewson 81
  • Sat.19.2.11 home, Alty won 3-2 in front of 752 spectators. The home scorers were Reeves (pen) 22, Baynes 64, Young 88


Curzon Ashton report that "Club stalwarts leave. At the weekend Chris Rowney confirmed that he will be looking for a new challenge elsewhere next season. A key member of the successful promotion winning side, Chris signed for the Club in 2013 in a transfer from Mossley...

This week also sees striker-midfielder-defender, Ryan Brooke, leave for pastures new...

The club can also confirm that Captain, Jonathan Hunt, will also be leaving after 7 years. Hunt declined an offer to renew his deal with Curzon and has accepted an offer from neighbours, Ashton United, to help them get back to the National League North at the first attempt. He will join up with former team-mates [ex-Alty man] Simon Woodward, [ex-Alty loanee] Liam Tomsett and recent signing, Connor Hughes, at Hurst Cross."

Farsley Celtic "announce that Luke Parkin will be remaining with the club for the 2019/20 season. Parkin becomes the ninth player to renew his contract...

[Also], we are delighted to announce that Paul Walker will be remaining with the club for a fifth season... [and] we are extremely pleased to announce that Will Hayhurst has agreed to extend his stay with the club."


Mossleyweb reports that "Mossley manager Dave Wild is excited to have landed his first transfer target of the closed season, Curzon Ashton [and ex-Alty] striker Ryan Brooke.

Brooke (age 28) began his playing career with Oldham Athletic and on 2nd May 2009 was handed his league debut against Walsall in Oldham's final game of the 2008–09 season... He came on and scored the winning goal with his first touch of the ball.

In the 2011/12 season he had loan spells with Barrow and AFC Telford United. He went on to make a total of 29 appearances for the Latics scoring 2 goals before his release... He joined Altrincham in May 2012 scoring 6 goals in 22 appearances for the Robins in the 2012/13 season.

Brooke joined Curzon for the first time in 2013... In August 2016, after 121 appearances and 41 goals, Brooke departed the Tameside Stadium for Nantwich Town and scored on his debut for the club the following day.

He returned to Curzon for a second spell in November 2017 and made 37 appearances, mostly in midfield, but still managed 9 goals last season".

25 May 2019


Altrincham FC announce that "Tom Peers [right] has made a welcome return to The J.Davidson Stadium, but Elliot Wynne has been released in what Altrincham manager Phil Parkinson described as 'the toughest of decisions'"

Peers (d.o.b. 23 October, 1995) joined Altrincham in summer 2017 and went on to make 30(+29) Altrincham appearances, in which he scored 14 goals. Although his Altrincham appearances in 2017/18 were more often from the bench than from kick-off, by mid-November 2017 he had participated in more Altrincham games than any other member of the squad and had weighed in with some important goals. 2018-19 also saw him primarily deployed as a substitute and on 1 November it was announced that he had opted to move to FC United in the hope of more consistent game time. Ironically he left Moss Lane whilst top of the chart for goals scored per minutes played in 2018/19 season!

He netted five times for FCUM but was unable to help them stay in the National League North.

Goalkeeper Elliot Wynne (21) impressed boss Phil Parkinson in a pre-season friendly when playing for Abbey Hey and he joined Alty in late July 2018. Elliot won his place as first-choice keeper in late August 2018 but gave way to Tony Thompson in October. On 4 January 2019, it was announced that Elliot had gone on a month's loan to Trafford FC and this was extended before he returned to Moss Lane in early March 2019. He made ten Altrincham appearances.


The AltyFiles website has been contacted recently by Mark Grey, son of former Altrincham FC player Rex Grey. Mark writes that "My dad Rex played for Altrincham after he had to retire from playing professionally for Manchester City in the 1950s. Doctors told him he could never play football pro or amateur again but he always was very headstrong and called his own shots. He played in the same squad as Bert Trautmann, who I had the awestruck pleasure to meet. I think my dad played for Alty in the early to mid 60s.

I attach a picture (left) from his playing days and I am told that the squad photo which he is in is still in the club. It’s still online here.

He retired, as he had the cartilages taken out of his knees, and his mobility now is very limited. He had two total knee replacements around 19 years ago. All that said, he is still doing OK in his mid-80s. He was a pretty deadly forward in his day!"

As an article from the match programme, of 26 December 1962 for the Altrincham v Wigan Athletic fixture revealed, in February 1962, "Rex Grey signed from Macclesfield for a substantial fee". The same article's entry for March 1962 says "A great game against Buxton, 4-2 victory. Rex Grey netted two... Last match of March against Tranmere. Altrincham came away with a 4-3 victory. Scorers, Green 2, Grey and Goodwin.

In April "A great game at Wigan... Grey nets 2. 500 fans travelled to Wigan to see this game.

August, 1962 "A match against an All Star XI opened the season which we won 2-1. All Star team included FIELDlNG, MEADOWS, BATTY, BOOT, OWEN, COCKBURN, CLARK, REVIE, ASTON, PEARSON, ROGERS. A great 2-1 victory at Chester. Perry and Grey scored.

October, 1962 "Altrincham still top of the league. Four points clear. A fantastic game against Congleton, Rex Grey netted four... St. Helens defeated 3-1 In the F.A. Cup. Grey nets two again.... 6,000 witness Altrincham's F.A. Cup defeat by Rhyl. Dickenson and Grey score again. What a combination these two are".


The third in our four-part series on clubs against whom Altrincham have played in the past but who did not play the Robins last season in 2019-20, features Gloucester City.

2019-20 will be the fifth season in which our clubs have found themselves in the same division. However, Gloucester City is arguably the only club that Alty have met in away fixtures on numerous occasions yet they never played in their opponents' home city. On previous occasions, City were playing at Cheltenham Town. In 2019-20 Gloucester will be playing at Evesham.

Unlike other clubs playing away from their historical origins, in Gloucester's case this is due to circumstances beyond their control. Major floods in 2007 made their stadium venue unplayabale though they hope to return there in the near future following completion of anti-flooding measures.

Gloucester entered the northern realm of non-League football when they were assigned to Conference North for 2009-10 season. At that time, Altrincham were in the national division. So their first encounter with each other came in 2011-12 and the two subsequent campaigns in Conference North. Altrincham were then promoted leaving City in the North until the end of 2016-17, the season in which they renewed acquaintance with the then relegated Alty.

However, the following season, 2018-18, saw Gloucester reassigned to Conference South. They have thus spent ten seasons in Step Two, eight in the north (2009-17) and two in the South (2017-19). In those ten seasons they have never finished higher than tenth (2017) and never lower than 18th (2010).

Above: David Lynch, Jake Moult and Craig Hobson in action in the 5-0 defeat at Whaddon Road against Gloucester City in 2016.

The meetings with Altrincham in Conference North were as follows. By a quirk of the fixture list, Alty played The Gladiators four times in league matches in the calendar year 2013.

  • Sat.3.9.11 Away 1-1 att.360
  • Sat.19.11.11 Home 1-2 att.773
  • Sat.2.2.13 Home 2-0 att.762
  • Tue.26.2.13 Away 0-0 att.205
  • Tue.24.9.13 Home 2-0 att.626
  • Tue.10.12.13 Away 0-2 att.269
  • Sat.10.9.16 Away 0-5 att.406
  • Sat.7.1.17 Home 0-1 att.915


Longstanding Altrincham supporters will recognize the symptoms of being a fan of the Robins which are revealed by Alan Goodacre in his message to the AltyFiles website. And younger fans are warned that they, too, will fall under the spell of Alty which will oblige them, too, in later years, to make sacrifices to follow their chosen club.

Alan writes that "My dad [Arthur Goodacre] was a long-standing (and suffering) fan of Alty throughout his life until he died in 1986. My mum [Iris Goodacre] worked in one of the Alty refreshment kiosks for several years. I started coming to Moss Lane when I was about three years of age with my dad and loved all of the excitement, including many trips away.

However, I left Altrincham in 1970 (when 18) so have only been a long-distance fan since.

Childhood (and later) highlights for me were:

  • Trips on the Easter special train hired (in the good old days) to take all the Alty fans to Bangor City!
  • Goalkeeper (George Smith [right] I think) scoring from his own penalty area down the slope at Congleton! [Clearance bounced over their goalkeeper’s head!]
  • The 1966 trip to Molineux when the Robins first made it into the Third Round round of the FA Cup [even though we lost 5-0] – 1966 was a very good year!
  • Jackie Swindells (ably aided by the centre forward Connolly, I think) scoring seven in the away match against Chester Reserves
  • A huge crowd (more than 13,000?) in Moss Lane to see an all-stars charity match on a glorious sunny day – heaving!

When my dad died, Alty very kindly let me fulfil his wish that his ashes be scattered on the pitch at Moss Lane; he has had a great view of every home match since. Did you ever wonder why the grass grows well near the penalty spot at the Golf Road end?".

Alan added that he was "coming back to Moss Lane to 'catch up with my dad' and to see the playoff match against Blyth Spartans – only a 500 mile round trip from Stirling (Scotland) where I have lived for almost 40 years... I have really enjoyed watching the Alty TV and other videos of them this season; very impressive football. Huge thanks to all who do the videos and run the web pages; it's great to be able to continue to follow the team, even at a distance".


Southport "confirm the following players have been retained for the 2019-20 season:
  • Ryan Astles, Brad Bauress, Dion Charles, Jason Gilchrist, Devarn Green, Dan Hanford, Morgan Homson-Smith, [ex-Alty] Patrick Lacey, David Morgan, [ex-Alty loanee] Andy Parry, Jack Sampson and Dean Winnard.

The following players will not have their contracts renewed and the club say they would like to thank all of them for their time and efforts at the club and wish them all well in the future:

  • Liam Davies, Josh Tibbetts, Jordan Richards, Billy Priestley and Josh Langley. [Langley, who was on loan at Alty for part of last season, ended the campaign at Ashton United].

Alfreton Town "have signed centre-back Ryan Qualter from Boston United. Qualter, 28, has a wealth of experience at National League North level, having played previously at Bradford (Park Avenue) and spending the last season and a half at the Pilgrims.

He is the first addition to the Impact Arena ahead of the 2019/20 campaign. Former Shaw Lane captain Qualter joined the Pilgrims in January 2018, making 18 appearances during the 2017/18 season before featuring 44 times last season... Qualter found the net once last season.

Billy Heath said, 'Ryan has a wealth of experience at this level, he’s played and was captain at Shaw Lane, Ryan has been at Bradford PA before spending the last season and a half at Boston.

'He has played a lot of games and is a very solid strong defender, he definitely stood out to us in both games last season and we are delighted to have him at the Reds and we are excited to have him part of what we hope will be a more solid defensive unit.'"

According to Lynn News, "King’s Lynn Town defender Frazer Blake-Tracy has finally completed his move to Peterborough United.

Lynn confirmed the departure of the highly-rated left-back... The Linnets are said to be delighted with the compensation package that has been agreed for the 23-year-old."

At Leamington "Brakes' fans will be delighted to hear that Tony Breeden has agreed to remain with the club for the 2019/2020 campaign.

The experienced shot stopper, adored by the Leamington support and taunted by opposing fans who wish he was in their team, is in his third spell at the club, and has amassed well over half of his total of 341 appearances for us since returning in the summer 2015 from Solihull Moors.

Well known and respected as one of the best goalkeepers in the National League North, manager Paul Holleran was delighted to announce his retention, saying 'Tony has been a mainstay of our successes over the last few years as part of an experienced and settled defensive unit, and it is fantastic that he will be remaining with us for the new season.'"

Chester FC "announce the signing of Kevin Roberts following his release from Wrexham. The move comes 12 years on from Roberts making his senior debut at Chester, back in 2007.

The versatile defender and midfielder is a product of the Chester City Academy, and made his debut at the Deva in 2007. From Liverpool, Roberts went on to make 81 appearances for City, scoring seven goals.

The 29-year-old then moved on to make over 100 appearances at Cambridge United and also at FC Halifax Town before joining Wrexham for an undisclosed fee in 2017. Kevin made over 70 appearances at the Welsh club, and has now signed an initial one-year deal at the Swansway Chester Stadium.

Bernard Morley said, 'We are delighted to have signed a player who has already won this division and it was a very strong league when FC Halifax were promoted. He adds massive experience and can play in a number of positions. Kevin is a winner. He played a big part in Wrexham’s promotion push last year and we’re very happy to have him on board'".

The Telegraph & Argus claims that "Garry Thompson knows better than most that anything is possible is football.

Having forged his reputation in Bradford as a member of the history-making City squad under Phil Parkinson, he is now looking to make his own mark with Park Avenue. His appointment as the new boss at Horsfall Stadium has certainly caused a stir and his previous achievements at Valley Parade will naturally set a high bar...

'I think pressure is a good thing because it doesn’t allow you to rest on your laurels,' he said... 'When you’ve had a career as long as mine, you’re going to have pressure... I’m a really positive guy and all I want is my players to show no fear and go out and express themselves. I want them to enjoy what they are doing'...

Thompson’s arrival to succeed Mark Bower has created massive public interest in a club that have not been used to the spotlight...

He added, 'I aim to leave the club on a better footing than when I found it. They’ve been in the play-offs the last two seasons so there is pressure straight away from that point of view. One thing I’ve accumulated over my career is a lot of really good contacts and experienced people who have made the same jump. I’ll be calling on all of them to advise and guide...

Thompson admits he has almost drifted into his management during a career that has spanned more than 700 senior games...

'I naturally fell into that category of being a leader... It’s going to be difficult obviously dipping my toe into management for the first time...

'I’ve come from a non-league background myself. I played in the Conference until I was 26 and know what it’s about. There are no passengers. Everybody has got to work, graft and scrap for every single point.. This is a big opportunity at a proper club'".

News of an Alty loanee from last season comes from the Shropshire Star. It says that "AFC Telford United boss Gavin Cowan admits the challenge for newly re-signed attacker Brendon Daniels is to find consistency.

The 25-year-old yesterday put pen to paper on a new one-year deal at the New Buck's Head after initially joining in January. Left-footed Daniels, who can play on either flank, possesses exciting natural ability and has a rocket of a shot and free-kick.

And boss Cowan wants to help the former Port Vale flyer channel his talent... 'He’s someone who, on his day, is unbelievable with the quality he brings when he’s on it,' said Cowan. 'He has a wand of a left foot and it’s about getting that consistency because he’s unplayable on his day.

'He’s had big offers to go elsewhere but he wanted to stay. He feels at home and comfortable here. We will challenge him and man to man I’ve put lots of incentives to him to get him to the next level but he has to earn it.'"

In the Northern Echo we read that "With a raft of new signings imminently lined up to replace the players who left at the end of the season, Darlington are in the midst of a substantial summer of change but one player unaffected by the comings and goings will be Stephen Thompson.

Now a certified club legend having made 301 appearances and scored 94 goals, the Peterlee-born forward is a crowd favourite and will be central to Quakers’ team, says Alun Armstrong.

The new manager says that the 30-year-old is assured of his place in the side next season, as is fellow long-serving team-mate Terry Galbraith... Armstrong said, 'I’ve always wanted to work with Thommo. I noticed he played right-back once and that was when I thought I would have to see if I could get him to Blyth!

'I didn’t make an approach in the end, I knew how long he had left on his contract and I couldn’t afford him, but I would’ve loved him at Blyth because he would’ve gone into that team like a duck to water. He’s my type of player and can win a game by himself...

Armstrong officially begins his Darlington tenure on Monday, and it will not be long before new signings are made, with up to five deals understood to be close to completion.

While Jonny Maddison, Alex Henshall and Ben O’Hanlon left Darlington at the end of the season, plus the loanees, there is a possibility that some of those that remain under contract could yet leave Quakers too".

At Hednesford Town, the Pitmen "extend a warm welcome to Louis Ezewele who has signed from Hereford FC. Louis is a highly rated centre back who has represented Bristol Rovers, Tamworth and Redditch after coming through the academy at Wolverhampton Wanderers".


The BBC has a less than crystal clear report that "Gateshead have been suspended from the National League and refused a licence for next season.

The fifth-tier club has breached the league's rules on financial reporting and permitted loans, as well as defaulting on football creditors. At a disciplinary hearing The Heed were found guilty of failing to obtain security of tenure over its ground.

The club has also been fined £3,500 and docked nine points from this season meaning they drop from ninth to 17th.

It is not yet clear how the league will be re-organised, although Gateshead can appeal to the Football Association over the suspension. If the club appeal and are unsuccessful, they face the prospect of a drop of at least two divisions, with the sanction also applying to the National League North, the tier below.

BBC Newcastle reports that a takeover of the club by supporters from owner Dr Ranjan Varghese had been agreed this week, but is not yet complete...

They were also evicted from the International Stadium, which they lease from Gateshead Council, although they were allowed to play out the season at their ground. The Heed currently have one player left contracted, Scott Barrow, but he will leave when his deal expires next month...

Fans' group Gateshead Soul, who helped pay for food and transport for unpaid players, still hope they can rescue the club and run it on a fan-owned model."

24 May 2019


Altrincham FC has confirmed that goalkeeper Steven Drench, right-back Andy White and left-back Connor Hampson will remain at the club for 2019-20. "We now have nine players signed up for the 2019-20 season and we hope to be able to announce further signings in the coming days", the official website says.

Already announced as staying at the J. Davidson Stadium are Jordan Hulme, John Johnston, Tom Hannigan, Jake Moult and Josh Hancock with the signing of centre-back Toby Mullarkey from Nantwich making up the total of nine players in question.


As seen above, the annual renovation of the pitch at the J. Davidson Stadium is in progress, under the guidance of groundsman Neil Brown and his assistant Bryan Ford.


Five clubs will compete with Altrincham next season who did not face them last season. Of these five, four have played against Altrincham in some guise in the past. We looked at the first of these, Oxford City, yesterday. Today we look at Farsley Celtic.

Alty and Farsley Celtic last met in 2017-18 in the EvoStik Northern Premier League. That season, Altrincham completed a double over Celtic, winning 6-0 at Moss Lane on 19 September 2017 and 1-0 in the away fixture on 6 January 2018. Those were the first matches against the re-formed Farsley club which had gone out of business after failing to complete its fixtures in Conference North in 2009. It was only in 2015 that the new Farsley club was allowed to restore its historic Celtic appendage to its club name.

Prior to the encounters in 2017-18, Altrincham had met the earlier Farsley Celtic on four occasions, three of which were at Moss Lane and only one at Throstle Nest.

The original club had joined the Yorkshire League Division Two in 1949 before becoming founder members of the Northern Counties East League in 1982. When the Northern Premier League created a Division One, Celtic joined that division in 1987.

For 2003-04 season they had reached the Premier Division of the NPL and, two years later, they were promoted to the Conference North via the play-offs. From 2006-08 they were in the National division before relegation back to Conference North for 2008-09 season. They failed to complete the following season for financial reasons and their season's record was deleted.

A phoenix Farsley club, shorn of the Celtic name, competed in 2010-11 in the Northern Counties East League Premier Division and, from there, they were promoted to the Northern Premier League Division One North in 2011. Play-off victory brought them promotion back to the Premier division and the following season (2017-18) they reached the play-offs for National League North but were beaten by Ashton United. However, they earned automatic promotion in 2018-19 as champions of the EvoStik Premier.

Farsley's most notable connections with Alty are that Damian Reeves established his goalscoring reputation there before joining Altrincham and manager Lee Sinnott managed at Farsley from 2003-07 before a spell with Port Vale. Lee firstly took the West Yorkshire club from the Northern Premier League First Division to the Northern Premier League.

There was then a bizarre situation as Wikipedia explains, "Sinnott would have achieved another promotion in his second season at Throstle Nest as Farsley topped the Northern Premier League at the end of the season. However this was only on the FA's decision that Spennymoor United's records were expunged after they folded. The other clubs in the promotion mix appealed and the FA reversed their decision to expunge the results, leaving Farsley in third place and having to compete in the play-offs. Despite a 1–0 semi final win over Whitby Town, they lost in the final to Workington on penalties".

Undeterred, Lee won promotion in 2005–06 and, in 2006–07, he earned Celtic their third promotion in four seasons as they rached the Conference's national division for the first time in their history.

Above, we see Alty's first visit to Farsley in November 2007. Pictured is Farsley's Ryan Serrant preparing to take a first-half throw-in as Alty's Robbie Lawton and Gary Scott kept an eye on Celtic's Stamer and Darren Tinson marshalled the Robins' defence.

The first league encounter with Altrincham was in a 1-1 draw at Throstle Nest in the Blue Square Premier League on Tuesday, 20 November, 2007. This was Alty's first encounter with Damian Reeves, who was first booked and then sent off after giving his side an early lead. Colin Little equalised for Alty. The return fixture on Tuesday, 12 February 2008, was a goalless draw.

The other two clashes between the clubs were in cup matches. In 2004-05 in the FA Cup 2Q, Alty won 4-1 at Moss Lane. And, on 14 October 2008, Alty and Farsley drew 1-1 after extra-time in a Setanta Shield Round Two match. Altrincham won 4-2 on penalties.


In the Sale & Altrincham Messenger, Altrincham FC press and media officer, John Edwards writes that "Phil Parkinson's promotion plans have been given a major boost after three of his most influential Altrincham players signed deals to remain at The J.Davidson Stadium next season.

Leading marksman Jordan Hulme was first to put pen to paper, and his show of commitment was quickly matched by double player-of-the-year Tom Hannigan and fellow-award-winner John Johnston. Alty boss Parkinson hopes to tie up more of last season's squad".

Also as previously reported, Altrincham have signed centre-back Toby Mullarkey from Nantwich Town. The Altrincham FC website has an interview with him, conducted by press and media officer, Brian Flynn.


The Telegraph & Argus reports that "veteran Nicky Clee has bid a fond farewell to Bradford (Park Avenue). The experienced winger, who often filled in at left-back on occasion, came out on Twitter to say goodbye after two years at the club.

Clee said 'Had an amazing two years at Bradford (Park Avenue), but now it’s time to move on... Thanks to Mark Bower and Bosh for bringing me to the club and the lads I shared a dressing room with. What a group.'

The 35-year-old leaves Avenue having made 40 appearances in the Vanarama National League North last season, scoring a single goal. Clee joined the Bradford side in 2017 from Altrincham and brought leadership and experience to the squad having played for a number of clubs throughout his career. This included spells at Ossett Albion, Ashton United, Hyde, Guiseley and Harrogate Town.

Avenue only have three players currently signed on for the next campaign. Lewis Knight, Alex Hurst and Conor Branson all have deals that run until the end of next season."

News of a former Alty loanee comes from NL Daily which says that "AFC Telford United have announced that midfielder Brendon Daniels has signed a one-year deal at the club.

The talented midfielder missed the final month of the season through injury but played a key role in the success of last season [after] his arrival from Port Vale. With Daniels’s addition, Gavin Cowan now has 16 players signed ahead of the new campaign: Andy Wycherley, Ross White, Shane Sutton, Theo Streete, Zak Lilly, Steph Morley, Brendon Daniels, Jon Royle, James McQuilkin, Chris Lait, Henry Cowans, Ellis Deeney, Darryl Knights, Adam Walker, Andre Brown and Marcus Dinanga".

The Shropshire Star adds that "AFC Telford United winger Brendon Daniels has signed a new deal, meaning the futures of only two of last season's squad are uncertain... Last term's top scorer Daniel Udoh and strike partner Amari Morgan-Smith are the pair the club have not yet announced are staying or going".

The National League reports that "Reece Styche says he wants to play a part in helping Hereford back to the Football League. The striker has signed for the Bulls after Alfreton Town accepted an offer for the powerful forward...

'It’s a massive club with a massive fan base, it’s one of the things I’m most looking forward to,' he told the club’s website. 'With two and a half thousand fans here every week it’s a Football League club in everything but it’s standing'...

Head coach Marc Richards worked hard to get the deal done and he think it is time well spent. 'It’s a really exciting signing,' said Richards. 'There was quite a bit of interest around him, as you can imagine for a player of his calibre. I think it shows our intent for next season and I’m really looking forward to unleashing him here and seeing him score some goals!... He is someone who always gives 100 per cent, who wears his heart on his sleeve and I am really looking forward to seeing his partnership with Rowan develop.'"

From York Press comes news that "York City boss Steve Watson is close to conceding defeat in the quest for Scott Burgess’s signature. The 21-year-old midfielder finished last season on loan with the Minstermen from newly-promoted League One outfit Bury, netting once in 16 outings for Watson’s team. He was subsequently offered a permanent deal by the National League North outfit, but Watson admitted that the chances of him wearing City colours next term are diminishing.

'The contract was offered to Scott at the end of the season and we’d also been talking about it two or three weeks before then, so I’m getting to the point where I’d be surprised if it happened now,' the City chief declared. 'Time also runs out and you have to move forward.'

Watson added that out-of-contract midfielder Simon Heslop has accepted an invitation to return to the club for pre-season training, having never featured under the former Gateshead boss following his January appointment due to mid-campaign knee surgery. The City boss also suggested that he is probably now targeting five new additions but has no intention of rushing into completing all of his recruitment plans and running the risk of missing out on potential transfer-market opportunities later in the summer.

'I’ve spoken to three or four players this week who we’d like to bring in and they will probably make their decisions over the weekend,' Watson revealed. 'They’ve also got options higher up, so I’m trying to sell the club, our ambitions and the new stadium. Equally, I think we’d be foolish to rush into putting a full squad together when you don’t fully know who might become available. I see on Sky Sports every day that players are leaving clubs due to mutual consent and, whilst I know people can get impatient for signings, I don’t think it’s a good idea to get all your business done by the end of May.

'That doesn’t make sense for me. We’ve got a core of 15 players signed on and will, maybe, look to add another five. Players will also come in on trial and we’ve still got Simon Heslop, who is coming back from injury and has agreed to join us in pre-season, so we’ll be seeing where he’s at in games, along with people like Josh Watson, Nathan Dyer, Reiss Harrison and Tom Allan, because it’s a good chance for me to assess them and everybody else in that situation.

'There might be some that decide to move on as the season begins as well if they’re not figuring, which can change things.'”


The EvoStik League reports that "Warrington Town have made their first new signing for next season with the capture of Gainsborough midfielder Alex Byrne. Byrne, 26, was previously with Shaw Lane and played against the Yellows twice last season... Byrne’s signing follows the news that Tony McMillan, David Raven, Josh Amis [right] and Jack Dunn had agreed deals to stay. Manager Paul Carden has also signed a one-year contract extension."

Across the border, the BBC reports that "Bangor City are facing relegation to Wales' third tier after what their chairman has described as a 'humiliating' 42-point deduction by the FAW. The three-time Welsh champions were issued with multiple charges for alleged breaches of FAW Rules. They include a failure 'to comply with financial obligations towards six of their current and/or former players' as well as fielding ineligible players.

The club have also been placed under a transfer embargo until 31 December. Bangor have said they will appeal and have until Wednesday, 29 May to lodge an appeal.

City chairman Stephen Vaughan Jr... said, 'I think it is a harsh decision, and the appeal will be going in today. As far as we are concerned we haven't done anything wrong as regards these two players.'

Regarding the club's financial difficulties he says that the issue is 'no secret' but he maintained that they are 'no different to any other club'.

The deduction of 42 points, the total the club amassed during the 2018-19 Cymru Alliance campaign, would see them relegated to the Welsh Alliance and would be the latest setback to befall the club. The Citizens were demoted from the Welsh Premier League at the end of the 2017-18 season after being refused a domestic licence. They have since avoided a second winding-up order over unpaid tax and further off field problems saw the club request assistance in January 2019 after having its electrical and water supplies turned off by creditors.

In April, the Bangor City FC Supporters Association (BCFCSA) voted in favour of forming a new club as an 'insurance policy'. The Association is forming a Supporters Trust and a formal application has been made to the FAW over entering a new club into the system... Vaughan said the 'door is still open' if the Supporters' Club wanted to discuss a deal to buy the club."

23 May 2019


The official Altrincham FC website reports on the signing of a young centre-back from Nantwich Town, Toby Mullarkey (22).

He has played at Moss Lane before; he was part of a Crewe Alexandra team which trounced Alty 6-0 in the Cheshire Senior Cup First Round match, on 3 February, 2016. And, the previous year, he also played for Alex in a pre-season friendly match at Altrincham on 24 July, 2015, which the hosts lost 0-3. After leaving Alex in 2016, he had a season at Leek Town, before joining Nantwich.

Toby also played against Alty in 2017-18 when his Nantwich side lost 5-1 at Moss Lane. He scored The Dabbers' goal. He also featured on the J. Davidson Stadium's pitch in April this year as Nantwich lifted the Cheshire Senior Cup against Canmmell Laird.


2019-20 sees Altrincham renew their acquaintance with four clubs against whom they have previously played, whether in an earlier incarnation, or as the same club that they remain today. One of the unchanged clubs is Oxford City, who have been transferred from the National League South to the North. They have been at Step Two since 2012 but have had a challenging time as the authorities have now moved them twice - from North to South and back again! They have also endured a difficult spell off the pitch under a previous, controversial American owner, but they have come through those problems in good shape.

Above: Alty line up at Oxford City, September 2012.

Unlike the three other "old acquaintances" who will face Altrincham next season (Farsley Celtic, Kettering Town and Gloucester City), Oxford City is the only club in the group which has neither had to re-emerge from financial meltdown nor move ground since we last met them. They still play at Marsh Lane, just north of the city, some 149 miles from Altrincham. The club describe the ground as being a "purpose-built stadium which has a capacity of 3,000 across two seated stands and two safe-standing areas. The clubhouse, refurbished in 2017, has a fully stocked bar, three TV screens with Sky Sports and BT Sport. The modern kitchen serves a range of hot and cold food before, during and after games".

City were founded in 1883 and were the premier club in the city before what is now EFL club Oxford United (formerly Headington United) eclipsed them in the football standings.

Things reached a low ebb when their ground was sold off in 1988 and the club did not return to action till 1990. In 1993 they moved to their current stadium, with their fortunes improving to the extent that they reached the FA Vase Final in 1995.

After success in the Southern League they won promotion to Step Two through that league's play-offs in 2012. They were assigned to the North division of the Conference. Folowing a mid-table finish in their first season, they finished in a relegation place in 2014 but were reprieved thanks to the voluntary demotion of Vauxhall Motors. Their third campaign was successful as they finished in sixth place.

After three campaigns in the North, City were moved to the South division where over the past three seasons they have finished 14th, 16th and 12th.

The clashes with Altrincham have been limited as Alty were promoted after the second season in which the clubs shared the same division and then Oxford had been transferred to the South when Alty returned to Step Two.

  • Sat.8.9.12 Away 2-2, gate 257, Alty scorers Reeves 41(pen), 57(pen)
  • Sat.2.3.13 Home 3-1, gate 740, Alty scorers Reeves 40,80, Watmore 81
  • Sat.14.9.13 Home 2-2, gate 820, Alty scorers Walshaw 17, Richman 22
  • Tue.15.4.14 Away 2-1, gate 283, Alty scorers Walshaw 16, Moult 83


The BBC reports that "Former Southport player Mike Phenix has been banned from all football and football-related activity for four years after a failed drugs test. The 30-year-old was sacked by Southport in October after failing an out-of-competition test on 17 September.

Phenix admitted the presence of Oxandrolone, an anabolic steroid, and Benzoylecgonine, which is a metabolite of cocaine, in his sample. His suspension from football will run until 16 September 2022. As well as being banned from playing, he is also barred from working in any capacity within the game including coaching, officiating or other off-field activities.

Phenix joined then-National League side AFC Telford United in 2013 before moving to League One side Barnsley for £25,000, but he made just two substitute appearances for the Tykes. He moved to Macclesfield Town and Southport on loan before agreeing a permanent deal to join Salford City in 2016. He left Salford last summer after they were promoted to the National League and joined Southport in National League North."

Alfreton Town "can now confirm its Released and Retained List following the conclusion of the 2018/19 campaign. The Reds finished in 15th place in the National League North after an inconsistent league campaign which saw better results away from home than at the Impact Arena. Billy Heath did see success however with another FA Cup first round appearance and winning a tenth Derbyshire Senior Cup.

Players retained for the 2019/20 season:

  • Reece Styche – ATFC can confirm that Styche has been made available for transfer; the club are deep into concluding negotiations for his fee.
  • David Lynch [ex-Altrincham midfielder, pictured right]
  • Morgan Brough
  • Kieron Hinchley
  • Harvey Grice

Players who have signed new deals for 2019/20:

  • Bobby Johnson
  • Declan Bacon
  • Josh Wilde
  • Danny Clarke

Players who were offered terms but rejected [them]:

  • Luke Shiels
  • Tom Platt
  • Nathan Hotte
  • Martin Riley
  • Richard Peniket

Players that have been offered terms:

  • Josh Clackstone
  • Jordan Sinnott [ex-Altrincham midfielder, pictured right]
  • Danny O’Brien
  • Tom Nicholson

Players released by the club:

  • James Clifton
  • Callum Chettle
  • Sam Ramsbottom
  • Craig Disley

Loan players who have returned to parent clubs:

  • Tom Allan
  • Adam Curry

The club can also confirm that we have already agreed with and signed five new players ahead of the 2019/20 season and their identity and pedigree will be announced in the forthcoming days.".

At Leamington "Brakes' boss Paul Holleran has revealed that, after discussions with top scorer Colby Bishop, the young striker has agreed to extend his current contract to the end of the forthcoming season.

'Due to mounting speculation over his position at the club I wanted to clarify our position as there has understandably been interest in Colby', said the manager. 'After having a couple of meetings, at this moment in time Colby Bishop feels that the best thing for him is to continue his football at Leamington Football Club. Colby has had a difficult couple of seasons which were exacerbated by the ACL injury he sustained, but he has shown tremendous character to come back in the manner that he has, and has had a fantastic five months.

'Colby and the club feel that if he continues in the same vein that he has been then the opportunity to return to full time football will surely arise, which is obviously an ambition of his, but for the forseeable future Colby feels that the best place for him to continue his football development and education is here with us at Leamington.'"

According to >Lincolnshire Live, "Boston United have appointed vastly-experienced former Grimsby Town player John McDermott as their new assistant manager. The former Harrogate Town number two has been confirmed as manager Craig Elliott’s right-hand man...

McDermott, who spent the whole of his playing career with the Mariners, has also managed Alfreton Town. Elliott says the 50-year-old is the experienced number two he has been looking for... 'John certainly fits the bill,' said Elliott. 'He has vast knowledge of the non-league scene and is an excellent coach'... Elsewhere in Elliott’s backroom team, Lee Stratford will assume the role of first-team coach, while Rich Lawrence and Richard Boryszczuk will retain their respective goalkeeping coach and chief scout duties."

Chester FC"caught up with Blues Joint Boss Bernard Morley, following the signing of Joel Taylor. The 23-year-old former Kidderminster man was Bern and Jonno’s first new signing of the close season...

He said 'Joel gives us the platform. That’s the type of profile of player we are looking for. He’s 23 years-old, plenty of energy and there will be competition for places with Matty Waters also with us at left-back. We’re very close to signing a right-back and an experienced, versatile player who can play in a few different positions...

'Hopefully we have a few more through the door by the end of the week and then defensively that would be us sorted. We’d then be looking to move up the pitch to midfield and attack. Obviously in midfield we’ve already got Gary Stopforth signed, Scott Burton still under contract and Gary Roberts who is keeping himself fit over the summer to come back in good shape and earn himself his deal.

'We’re looking to add another five or six players. We want every single one to be better than what we had here last season.'

Bernard was speaking... as Joel Taylor checked in to sign a one-year deal with the club... The Joint Boss said 'Joel is somebody we’ve admired for the last couple of seasons. His energy levels are unbelievable and attacking wise we think he is one of the best about. Defensively we spoke about Joel maybe tweaking one or two things'".

From the Northern Echo we learn that "Darlington are unconcerned by the threat of potential legal action after Blyth Spartans announced they are taking advice from their lawyers following Alun Armstrong’s decision to switch clubs.

Armstrong was appointed as Quakers’ manager, moving from the fellow National League North club where he had been in position for almost three full seasons and enjoyed success... Despite his efforts for Spartans, or perhaps because of them, his departure to Darlington has not been popular at Croft Park.

Darlington made Armstrong’s appointment official at 8am, and at 3pm Blyth released a statement saying... 'The club is currently considering its position, taking legal advice'...

The Northern Echo understands that Blyth had told Darlington they wanted compensation before Armstrong would be permitted to leave Croft Park, where he signed a two-year contract 12 months ago. Armstrong then tendered his resignation on Monday, leading to Quakers announcing that he is their choice to replace Tommy Wright, but also saying he will not officially begin his employment until next week.

'We have announced he is our new manager because he has resigned, but he will not start work until Monday,' Darlington chief executive David Johnston said. 'Darlington have acted impeccably throughout this process'...

Quakers... say they were granted permission by Blyth chairman Tony Platten to speak to Armstrong after he applied for the post three weeks ago. Armstrong was one of 72 applicants, and once he starts work on Monday will waste little time in bringing in players to Darlington, with some expected to be from Blyth, who have already lost two key players since the end of last season.

'He’s got a lot of North-East contacts from his time in the professional game, and he’s a well-known name in North-East football so I’m sure there will be a lot of players looking to play for him', added Johnston, who revealed that former England manager Steve McClaren assisted in the process... John Vickerman, a Darlington supporter and human resources director with Fujitsu by trade, was tasked with leading the process to appoint a manager, with McClaren and Johnston also involved, while supporters were consulted for their view too.

Johnston explained 'John comes from a recruitment background... The first round of interviews was a mixture of board directors and Supporters' Group directors. The final interview stage were done by myself, Steve McClaren and John.

'It is always a difficult process, a stressful time for everybody. We went through a detailed process, we had 72 applicants, we then had a shortlist and Steve helped with the final stages of the interview. We went through a detailed analysis, looking at each candidate’s experience, their characteristics, their coaching style, how they gel a team together, the importance of dressing room spirit, their philosophy on football, all kinds of areas we looked at.'

After coaching for five years in the youth system at Middlesbrough, the Blyth job was Armstrong’s first as a manager, one that saw him become only the third Spartans boss to record a promotion.

Johnston added 'He has a proven track record at this level, he did very well at Blyth on a very tight budget and knows how to manage in this league. Last year [at Darlington] the player recruitment didn’t work out. Tommy did a great job for the club, he established the academy, so he’s got a legacy there. It didn’t quite work on the field, but we need better value for money from the playing squad and there’ll be changes in the summer to reflect that.

'We’re not going to be the biggest spenders in the league and he did very well to get a promotion and then get his team into a play-off position. He plays an attacking style of football, scores lots of goals and the form Blyth were in at the end of last season, they were as good as anybody in the division. With him being an ex-forward his emphasis is on attack and attacking teams, having a go, so I think that will go down well with the fans.'"

Oxford City report that "Ben Jefford has become the second player in as many days to commit to the club for the 2019/20 campaign. The defender, who really proved his worth at both left-back and centre-half, endured a difficult opening season with the Hoops, which was blighted by a serious injury picked up against Maidstone United. However, with this now behind him, he’ll be a key member of Mark Jones’s plans in the National League North, particularly with his flexibility to play across the back-line.

He made 28 appearances in the 2018/19 campaign, including a particularly impressive four game spell at centre-half covering for the suspended Joe Oastler early in the year. City boss Mark Jones is once again delighted, 'I like the balance he gives the side, he can play left-side, left-back, centre-half and I felt that he was a good influence around the changing room, a good character, and I felt that having him with us next season would be a positive'...

Jefford joins Zac McEachran, Craig King and Reece Fleet in the retained list".

This followed an earlier report that Oxford City "can confirm that Ryan Case, Bobson Bawling, Tom Carter, and John O’Donoghue have departed the club, following the end of the 2018/19 campaign... We can also confirm that all other players who were contracted at the end of the season have been offered deals for the coming season, while Craig King and Reece Fleet are already under contract for the new season".

22 May 2019


There is more good news for Robins' supporters, following the confirmation that Jordan Hulme, Tom Hannigan and John Johnston had renewed their contracts at the club, as Altrincham FC confirms that both captain Jake Moult and leading league goal-scorer, Josh Hancock, have also signed up to extend their stay at the J.Davidson Stadium.

To date, Jake has made 309 starts and 27 appearances from the bench for the club, which he joined in . He has scored 34 goals for the Robins. Meanwhile, Josh's two seasons at Moss Lane have seen him score at an impressive rate, with 41 goals from 88 starts and 10 sub appearances.

Right: Josh Hancock is congratulated by Ben Harrison on his goal at Nuneaton last season.


Altrincham were indebted to Blackpool last season for the Seasiders' loan of Yusifu Ceesay. And now, Blackpool announce that "A pre-season friendly has been confirmed for Saturday 20 July, with The Seasiders to face Altrincham. A split squad will head to Moss Lane for the match, while the rest of the players come up against Barrow AFC at Holker Street.

The decision to arrange two games on the same day, just two weeks before the new season begins, allows every player to get additional game-time on the pitch".

On the previous Saturday, 13 July, Blackpool take on Alty's league rivals Spennymoor Town at Shildon AFC.

Mike Garnett advises that Altrincham and Blackpool have had one previous pre-season meeting. That was 45 years ago on 10th August 1974 at Moss Lane. Altrincham, thanks to goals by Pritchard, Morris and Windsor, won that encounter 3-0.

The Altrincham side that day comprised Eales, Brooke, Davison, R. Hughes. Peel, Windsor, Broadhead, G. Heathcote, Owens, J. Hughes, Pritchard. The substitutes were A. Heathcote, Lyon, and Morris.

Mike adds that "This match concluded a quartet of home pre-season games; the other three started with a match against Rochdale (won 3-0) on August 3rd. Just two days later, Sheffield United were defeated 3-1 and another two days after that Port Vale were the victims as Alty won 2-0 on August 7th. These games were precursors to a season which saw the memorable FA Cup clashes with Everton.

Altrincham's competitive record v Blackpool is, of course, played 2, won 2, scored 3 and conceded 1."

Those two competitive matches were in consecutive seasons in the FA Cup:

  • 1984-85, Round 1, at Blackpool, Alty won 1-0 (scorer Fagan)
  • 1985-86, Round 2, at Blackpool, Alty won 2-1 in front of 5,037 spectators, who witnessed goals by Reid, and Anderson.


Although they reached the play-offs for two seasons running, Bradford (Park Avenue) "have agreed by mutual consent that Mark Bower will leave his role as First-Team Manager with immediate effect. The club would like to place on record its gratitude to Mark, for his hard work and dedication in his management of the team during three exciting seasons.

Mark Bower said of his departure 'I have thoroughly enjoyed my time at Bradford (Park Avenue) over the past three seasons and I’m proud of what we have achieved together as a club in that time'... Assistant-manager [and former Alty midfielder] Danny Boshell also departs his role".

Shortly after this announcement, Bradford (Park Avenue) added that they were "delighted to welcome Garry Thompson to his first managerial position as he arrives at Horsfall Stadium to take the reigns as Player/Manager ahead of the 2019/2020 season.

Thompson is no stranger to the city of Bradford and is remembered fondly for his committed heroics across town at Bradford City during the 2012 League Cup run, scoring against Arsenal before featuring in The Bantams successful promotion push later that season. Successful spells at Morecambe, Scunthorpe United, Notts County and Wycombe Wanderers saw Thompson earn over 650 appearances at league level, finishing with his home club of Morecambe last December.

The experienced attacker will bring experience, excitement and quality alongside exciting prospects Lewis Knight and Alex Hurst who, along with last season’s Player of the Year, Conor Branson, will form the core of Thompson's new squad. Thompson’s appointment comes after Bradford (Park Avenue) announced a new major partnership with the University of Bradford last week in an exciting period of new impetus for the historic club.

Of his new role, Garry Thompson said 'I’ve been working on coaching and looking towards my career after I finish playing. This is such a great opportunity at a fantastic club. I was attracted to the values and positivity of the Directors and we agree on what a strong club requires in terms of attitude and culture'...

Damian Irvine, CEO of Bradford (Park Avenue) said 'It’s been an extremely busy 2019 for the club as we’ve focused on taking a fresh perspective and approach to every facet of our operation and structure. We have plenty of experience in seeing what successful and sustainable clubs look and feel like and it’s genuinely exciting to deliver positive change and a culture of progress to Horsfall Stadium....

'If we keep doing what we have always done hoping for a vast improvement in performance on, or off the pitch, we wouldn’t be doing the right thing by our supporters and our owners.'

Striker Shaun Gardner joins Thompson at Horsfall as Playing Assistant Manager. Gardner has earned over 300 starts at clubs such as AFC Liverpool, Kendal Town, and most recently Penrith AFC... Bradford (Park Avenue) will be releasing their pre-season schedule later this week along with further major sponsorship news.

On the back of a week [of] landmark announcements, the club's push for a record number of season tickets continues with their campaign providing incredibly affordable football for families and supporters of all ages."

Related news comes from this side of the Pennines where the Tameside Reporter says that "Ashton United manager Jody Banim has started to re-build his squad following relegation to the Evo-Stik Premier Division.

Winger Connor Hughes joins the club with a wealth of experience, having played in the National League with Halifax Town... Experienced goalkeeper Jon Worsnop has also put pen to paper, along with [ex-Alty and BPA] defender Gianluca Havern, who returns to the club having previously played for the Robins.

A number of key players from last season have also committed to next season. Liam Tomsett, who made 30 appearances and scored five goals, will be donning the red and white jersey next season, along with midfielder Sam Sheridan, who made 33 appearances and scored four goals. Other recruits include Aaron Chalmers."

Ashton United have an interview with Luca Havern.

Across the town, the Tameside Reporter adds that "Curzon Ashton have confirmed the departure of two key players.

Midfielder Chris Rowney, who has been with the club for six seasons, has decided the time is right to pursue a new challenge... He tweeted 'This is tough one but, after 6 years at club, I feel now is probably the right time that I took on a new challenge'...

Meanwhile, [former Alty] striker Ryan Brooke, who re-joined the club last season for a second spell, has also left. He said 'I love the club, the players, the fans and the staff. But due to the huge increase in travel in the National League North and my ever-increasing[!!] family, I have decided to sign elsewhere'".

The Liverpool Echo makes debatable use of the adjective "new" as it reports that "Southport FC's new £1.2m stadium [is] to undergo refurbishment from this week. The Yellows will benefit from even more improvements in the 2019/20 season

Southport FC's new stadium is moving ever closer to being finished, with works for the pitch to begin tomorrow (Wednesday). The works follow a complete Main Stand refurbishment project... Following a multi-million pound investment from majority shareholders Phil Hodgkinson and Ian Kyle, the Main Stand was fitted with new yellow and black seats and a fully repaired roof and there has been a major renovation of the Grandstand bar, club shop and other internal areas.

The pitch renovation was initially planned to take place last year. However, due to slight delays involving safety concerns, the pitch would not have had time to recover ahead of this season.

Southport director Ian Kyle said...'There has been much unexpected legal red tape to deal with'...

On Monday, Sefton Council approved the decision to surrender the club's current lease and grant a new 'modernised' lease, which will 'protect its interest going forward'. There will also be an increase in ground rent from £350 per annum to £3,250 per annum, backdated to January 2016, meaning the club is to pay the council £9,908.35".

Bulls' News comments that "Alun Armstrong has left Blyth Spartans for Gateshead. However, Blyth aren't happy as a club statement has revealed.

'Alun Armstrong informed Blyth Spartans Association Football Club on Sunday 19 May that he intended to leave the Club while under contract. The Club is currently considering its position, taking legal advice, and will make no comment about Alun’s departure, at this stage.

'The search for a new manager now starts and the board will continue to work in the best interests of the Club to ensure that its objectives for next season are protected."

Ironically, nine months' ago, the NL Paper was reporting Armstrong as saying "I delayed in signing a new contract because I wanted to see if we [the club] were genuine about moving on [i.e. forward]... We try to sell the club as a progressive club but.. at the moment, I don't believe we are".

Meanwhile, the Northern Echo says of Armstrong that "Twelve months ago he signed a new two-year deal at Blyth, and the Northumberland club have indicated they wanted compensation to release the 44-year-old from his contract...

Armstrong, 44, was in the running to become Darlington’s manager 18 months ago before deciding to stay with Blyth but, this time, has accepted the position at a club he represented in his playing days... Armstrong had two seasons with Darlington, in 2004-05 and ’06-07...

The search for [ex-Darlo boss, Tommy] Wright’s replacement concludes after what was a three-week selection process... Interviews took place last week, with Bradford PA boss Mark Bower and former Darlington defender David McGurk, who is currently Hyde assistant manager, understood to have been among those interviewed for the post.

Quakers whittled down the candidates to a choice of three before a second round of interviews later in the week, leading to Armstrong being offered the post... Armstrong hit out at the Blyth board last month after being told the finances available would be reduced.

'The budget is being cut. I’ve been told to get cheaper players from the Northern League, something I’m not willing to do,' Armstrong told The Non-League Paper...

The last week has seen Blyth lose two key players, Sean Reid joining Morpeth Town on Sunday, and last week Kieran Green moved to York City, with more of their squad set to leave Croft Park, with some heading to Blackwell Meadows. Armstrong will move quickly to bolster what is now a small Darlington squad after a number of players left at the end of the season, although Jordan Nicholson and Luke Trotman have signed new one-year contracts.

Armstrong’s appointment, revealed online yesterday by The Northern Echo, was met positively by Quakers supporters and the club hope their reaction will be reflected in the Darlington FC Supporters Group Boost the Budget scheme. It currently stands at £59,000, with the target being £80,000".

Chester FC "are delighted to announce the signing of left back Joel Taylor from Kidderminster Harriers. The 23-year-old joins on a one-year deal from the fellow National League North club.

Joel, from West Bromwich, has made over 50 appearances for Kidderminster, with two goals to his name. Taylor arrived at Aggborough in the summer of 2017 following his release from Stoke City, despite just being named their Under-21 Player of the Season...

Joint Boss Bernard Morley... said 'Joel is somebody we’ve admired for the last couple of seasons. His energy levels are unbelievable and attacking wise we think he is one of the best about. We’re delighted to get him on board.'”


The EvoStik League reports that "Marine have transfer listed striker Danny Mitchley [left]. Mitchley, 29, scored seven goals in 39 appearances last season as Marine were relegated from the Premier Division".

And a more recent player to don the Alty shirt, albeit as a loanee, is the subject of a report from Cumbria's News & Star which reports that "Nathan Waterston is set to wear Workington Reds colours once more next season. The striker/winger became new boss Danny Grainger’s first signing when he was unveiled at Borough Park’s Legends Day on Saturday.

Waterston, who was released by Barrow recently and also played for Penrith AFC, was highly thought of in his previous spell with Reds and chairman John Mackay is hoping he will have a similar impact next term.

'It is an excellent signing,' said Mackay. 'He has been away for a little while with Barrow but that didn’t work out and, now, he is coming back to a club he loved playing for... He is a great lad from a great family and he will be a fantastic asset to the club.'

Mackay said this was the first of the summer signings for the club but he hopes there will be more to come as Grainger builds his squad to compete in the Evo-Stik West next season... He added 'Nathan is a young lad and he is hungry and wants to succeed. He wants to be more involved in both his football and cricket [where he plays for Furness Cricket Club], which he couldn’t do as a full-time player, and he wants to enjoy life to the full.'

The 21-year-old only made seven appearances in the season just finished for Barrow with injury striking. He had to have shoulder surgery and he suffered cruciate ligament damage while on loan at Altrincham in February".

21 May 2019


Altrincham FC will play what has become an almost annual pre-season fixture when they travel across the Borough to Shawe View to take on our friends and neighbours, Trafford FC. The game is on Tuesday, 30 July at 7.45pm.


Altrincham FC "are looking for a new Reserve Team Manager to join the club on a voluntary basis. The team play in the Cheshire League Premier Division where they were pipped to the title by Pilkington FC on goal difference in the 2018/19 season.

The reserve team is considered to be a vital part of the player pathway at the club between our 50+ youth teams and the First Team".


Altrincham FC have announced that "The first fundraiser of the season is a Q & A evening with Premiership referee Anthony Taylor on Friday, 14th June 2019 starting at 7.30pm. Tickets are priced at £25 each and include a 2 course dinner. Comedy, if not provided by Anthony, will be via Bill Wooland".


The Northern Echo confirms the widespread rumours that "Alun Armstrong is Darlington’s choice to be their next manager. The Northern Echo understands that the Blyth Spartans boss is set to take charge at Quakers, replacing Tommy Wright at the helm.

Armstrong, 44, was in the running to become Darlington’s manager 18 months ago before deciding to stay with Blyth but, this time, has accepted the position at a club he represented in his playing days. A striker with Stockport County, Middlesbrough and Ipswich Town, Armstrong had two seasons with Darlington, in 2004-05 and ’06-07. After struggling with injury he was deemed surplus to requirements by then manager Dave Penney, who had brought in a handful of new signings among them being Wright, who was a young striker at the time.

Twelve years later the roles are reversed only this time in the dugout as Armstrong returns, this time to replace Wright, who left Darlington after the final game of the season last month. The search for Wright’s replacement concludes after what was a three-week process at the beginning of which Darlington stated preferred candidate would be someone with the UEFA A coaching Licence.

Wolsingham-based Armstrong, originally from Blaydon, has for several years been in possession of the UEFA Pro Licence, the highest coaching accreditation available, and at Blackwell Meadows will hope to replicate the success he had with Blyth where he was in position for almost three full seasons.

He replaced Tom Wade as boss at Croft Park early in 2016-17 and made an immediate impact by leading Blyth to the Evo-Stik Northern Premier League title, 12 months after Darlington had achieved the same feat by pipping Spartans to the post. During ’17-18, Blyth’s first season after promotion, Armstrong turned down the opportunity to replace Martin Gray as Quakers' manager in October 2017, and went on to guide Blyth to a tenth-placed position, four points outside the play-offs.

He bettered that this time around by achieving a place in the play-offs where, without talismanic Robbie Dale, Blyth lost to Altrincham on penalties. Nonetheless, their sixth place represented the club’s highest ever finish, but Armstrong hit out at the Blyth board last month after being told the finances available would be reduced.

The last week has seen Blyth lose two key players, Sean Reid joining Morpeth Town yesterday, and last week Kieran Green moved to York City, with more of their squad set to leave Croft Park."

According to York Press, "The make-up of next season's National League North looks on paper as though it may be easier than this term but York City's assistant-manager Micky Cummins is taking nothing for granted.

City will dodge all four of the relegated sides from Step 1 this term as they will each be going into National League South, while the most northerly sides of that section who have been transferred into City's division, (Oxford City and Gloucester City), both finished in the bottom half of their table.

National League North's two best teams in champions Stockport County, once of the Championship, and Chorley have also both gone up to the National League, the latter via the play-offs, and they will be replaced by Evo-Stik League premier division table-toppers Farsley Celtic and 'super play-off' victors King's Lynn.

Cummins, though, refused to write off the division as a lesser challenge.

'It'll be tough', he said. 'We had a taste for it over the four or months here and it's very competitive. There was jostling for position, the top one and the play-offs. Travelling is not an issue for us, we're just going to prepare them with a good pre-season, five or six weeks against top opposition, hopefully hit the ground running and get off to a good start.'"

From Bradford's Telegraph & Argus we learn that "Ten players will not be with Guiseley AFC at the start of next season. Joint managers Marcus Bignot and Russ O’Neill have been working hard over the last few weeks speaking to the players.

Following Sunday's news that goalkeeper Jon Worsnop has left the club, nine more players have departed on Monday. Defenders Andy Halls and Niall Heaton, as well as midfielders Curtis Morrison and Kingsley James, have left Nethermoor Park. Academy graduates Fletcher Paley, Jack Lazenby and Luke Hogg have all been released, with Akeel Francis and Kwame Boateng also leaving the club... A full retained list will be announced once negotiations with the rest of the playing squad are complete."

More on this comes from Cheshire Live, which says that "Former Chester FC manager Marcus Bignot has bid farewell to three former Blues players as part of his and co-manager Russ O'Neil's Guiseley rebuild ahead of next season. The Lions released their retained list on Monday (May 20) and it revealed that ex- Chester trio Andy Halls, Kingsley James and Jon Worsnop would all be leaving Nethermoor.

Halls, 27, made 37 appearances for the Lions last season, joining Bignot once more after his release from Chester at the end of the 17/18 National League season...

Joining him in leaving the Yorkshire side is central midfielder Kingsley James. James, also 27, made 37 appearances for Guiseley after he joined Halls in linking up with Bignot once more after Chester had reached an agreement with the former Port Vale and FC Halifax Town man, who had two spells with the Blues, to terminate his deal halfway through as Chester looked to cut costs to make best use of a limited budget last summer.

Also leaving Guiseley is goalkeeper Worsnop, who made over 70 appearances in two years for Chester in all competitions between 2014 and 2016. He also played one game for Chester City at the beginning of his career in 2002. Worsnop, 36, has already fixed himself up with a new club and will play for recently relegated Ashton United next season."

AFC Telford United "are delighted to announce the signing of Adam Walker from Brackley Town. The 28 year old midfielder joins the club on a one-year deal... Walker made his professional debut for Coventry City on 28 December 2008...

Walker joined Nuneaton Town on loan in October 2009, before joining them on a permanent deal on 1 April 2010 after being released by Coventry City. Walker remained at Nuneaton for several seasons making over 250 appearances and was part of the promotion winning side to the National League during the 2011/2012 season.

The midfielder joined Gavin Cowan at Solihull Moors during the 2015/16 season and was part of the title-winning season that won the league by 10 points. Adam joined Brackley Town in the summer of 2015 and has remained at the club for the last two seasons during that period he made over 70 appearances, winning the FA Trophy.

Gavin Cowan spoke to the club website, 'Adam is someone who I have known for a long time and is a top player at this level. He is a winner and will bring not only ability but a real steel to what we do. To be attracting players of his calibre shows we are moving in the right direction'".

Gloucestershire Live reports that "The FA has confirmed that Gloucester City will be transferred from the National League South to the North for the start of the 2019/20 season.

The Tigers have spent the last two seasons in the South, finishing 14th and 17th respectively. Before that, they had eight seasons in the National League North with their best ever finish coming in the final season there in 2017, ending up 10th... Manager Mike Cook was cautious about any transfer. 'It’s arguably a tougher league with well supported former league sides like Darlington, Chester and Hereford in there. The North tends to be more physical with 'bigger' sides so that is something we’ll need to compete with.'

With four Southern placed sides relegated from the National League, Oxford City have been moved to the North again with Braintree Town confirmed in the National League South.

The has been widespread speculation that Tigers would return North after two seasons in the South since it was confirmed that Aldershot Town, Braintree Town, Havant & Waterlooville and Maidstone United are coming down from the National League's top division to the regional sections and will all be placed in the South.

Now City will face lucrative local derby games with Kidderminster and Hereford at their Evesham base next season, which is expected to be their last season in exile before they return to Meadow Park.

Former Football League clubs Boston United, Chester, Southport and York City are also opponents along with traditional non-League giants like Altrincham, Telford and Blyth Spartans and former League clubs Bradford Park Avenue and Darlington".

News of another newcomer to the National League North this season comes from the Eastern Daily Press which relates that "Portugal has been blessed by the presence of King's Lynn Town players for their promotion celebrations in recent days but for some of, er, more mature (in years) people at the club, it's been a week of planning for the new season.

Ian Culverhouse will have to decide who stays and who goes; the players won't find that out until they return because who needs to spoil a holiday?

At the same time, they will need to work out which positions need strengthening and where to look for replacements. Culverhouse will call director of football Robbie Back into the room for that one... There might well be a reluctance to look south for players... Culverhouse will know the weak spots, he will know who wants out because they're not getting game time...

Because Lynn have gone up a league it will cost more, which is where owner Stephen Cleeve needs to do his sums. I spoke to him a couple of days ago and it's clear that there is a very delicate balancing act to perform... Cleeve was eager not to push his luck with supporters.

The general range of North clubs is £15-£17, give or take a quid or two. Lynn's average home attendance last season was 712 but they would probably need to double that to cover the increased costs. Assuming more fans will come because of the higher standard of football and visiting clubs bringing a few hundred, he might not be far away. Clearly some clubs will bring more visiting fans than others; Lynn ought to hit the 2,000 mark when Boston United come to town, but other clubs are rather less well supported. It's the nature of the beast and all that.

So crowd figures will be extremely important and that depends on what happens on the pitch, and to make Lynn competitive and attractive to watch costs money, which is where the attendance income comes in... vicious little circle isn't it?

As Cleeve admitted 'It is really hard to work it all out to ensure everyone is happy. If I put the admission prices up to £20 it would solve a lot of the financial problems, but it would create difficulties for our supporters and the attendances would drop off, so it is a fine line and you have to charge what is reasonable and fair. I am happy to put a certain level of money in, but there is a level.'

There are also a few extra ground improvements that need doing; two new turnstiles will be installed, two new seats in each dug-out and more press seats and, on a personal level, it needs to be said that the press facility at Lynn is pretty much as good as you will get at this level and above in some cases. I had worse covering Norwich City in League One.

Cleeve has also to solve the question of segregation; when Boston come to town it will be needed, we know that".

And the Eastern Dail Press adds that "King's Lynn Town are looking to piggy back on the success of Norwich City as they prepare for life in the National League set-up.

The Linnets are keen to take young Canaries players on loan in what owner Stephen Cleeve believes will be an arrangement that suits both clubs. Lynn were promoted a fortnight after the Canaries clinched their place in the Premier League and have begun the process of strengthening ahead of their return to Step Two and they hope that will involve a relationship between the county's top two clubs.

There is a link between the teams in the form of Lynn boss Ian Culverhouse, who was at Carrow Road for almost a decade as a player and later returned as assistant manager under Paul Lambert.

Culverhouse's team was promoted from the Southern Premier Central on the back of a cultured passing game, something which allies itself with Daniel Farke's philosophy that runs throughout the Canaries footballing set-up".


On Tyneside, the Chronicle Live tells us that "Gateshead supporters association, Gateshead Soul, have made a last-ditch appeal to save the club. Gateshead FC owner Dr Ranjan Varghese and financial adviser Joe Cala have been summoned by the National League for a crunch meeting will in London on Wednesday, one that will determine the future of the club.

The odds are stacked against the Heed surviving unless a successful 11th-hour takeover bid is launched. That, or millionaire Varghese suddenly splashes the cash to pay off all creditors as well as securing a ground to play on. Gateshead Council are owed a substantial five-figure sum and want proof of funds that next season's rent will be honoured. That will be a commitment of £80,000-£100,000 to the council alone, to satisfy the rent arrears and next season's rent.

If so, Gateshead will remain at the International Stadium.

The National League will also demand all creditors are settled as well as a budget and business plan for 2019/20. Gateshead could be kicked out of the National League, or at best demoted to the league below, National League North. The FA, who have been investigating Gateshead, could force the club to play further down the pyramid.

Would-be saviour Chris Dunphy pulled out on Friday pushing the Tynesiders closer to the precipice. The Lancastrian had hoped to be given more time to put a rescue package together, but fan group Gateshead Soul have now released the following statement. 'After the understandable withdrawal of Chris Dunphy's offer the club is in a perilous position and are on a life support machine... Despite our best efforts the unrealistic time frames forced upon us cannot be met.

'This relates to servicing the current creditors to the tune of £95K by Wednesday, May 23, a deadline which was set by the National League. The obvious solution would be for the National League to waive this requirement up until the purchase was completed. They could then release the remaining bond (£100K) to allow the new owners to operate with a blank canvas.

'However, the National League did not see this as an option. Unless a buyer is sought by Wednesday the Club will cease to exist within a matter of weeks, if not days. For the past few weeks we've been putting the foundations in place for a potential phoenix club should the worst happen. However, we've suddenly been presented with an urgent opportunity to get our club back. This is something we hadn't anticipated.

'Since the end of last week, Gateshead Soul, in conjunction with other stakeholders and generous fans, have managed to raise £45,000 towards the payment of creditors. All payments have been pledged as gifts or loans and will be repaid on the return of the Bond, which cannot be accessed by the previous regime. This is our last throw of the dice before we face the prospect of the worst case scenario of starting again at Step seven... Talks elsewhere, meanwhile, are ongoing with Cala and Varghese to save the club. The pair have been asking for £100,000 to sell the stricken fifth-tier club."

20 May 2019


In addition to Jordan Hulme, Altrincham FC announce that both John Johnston and Tom Hannigan will be staying at the J. Davidson Stadium next season.

To date, Johnston has made 94(+5) appearances and scored 35 times in his two seasons at the club. Centre-back Hannigan, the club's player of the season, has amassed 96(+5) appearances and netted seven times in his three seasons at Moss Lane.


The FA has released its list of allocations of clubs to the various levels of the non-League pyramid for 2019-20 season. The list confirms that the five new clubs in the National League North, (two transferred sideways and three promoted), will be Farsley Celtic (57 miles from Altrincham), King's Lynn Town (152 miles), Kettering Town (132 miles), Gloucester City (112 miles) and Oxford City (149 miles).

Oxford City have been in the North division previously; here we see Alty defend an Oxford freekick at Moss Lane in 2013

These five replace the promoted duo from 2018-19, namely Stockport County (10 miles from Altrincham) and Chorley (35 miles), and the relegated trio of Ashton United (19 miles), FC United of Manchester (21 miles) and Nuneaton Borough (90 miles).

So, Altrincham will have many additional miles to travel next season. This is because Altrincham have lost five return trips from 2018-19, which totalled 350 miles, and acquired five new return journeys totalling 1,204 miles, an increase of 854 miles.

With York City expected to move to a new stadium during 2019-20, there will be at least four new grounds to visit next season, as King's Lynn Town, Burton Latimer (Kettering Town) and Evesham (Gloucester City) are also locations where Alty have not previously played.


Sunday's FA Trophy Final was won by AFC Fylde, 1-0, against Leyton Orient. In addition to manager Dave Challinor's connection with Altrincham, chronicled here recently, The Coasters' physio is former Alty physio, Sean Riley.

Less happily, former Alty goalkeeping coach Ian Senior provided the kit for Vase finalists Cray Valley, through his company SKkits, who also provide Altrincham's kit. However, the Kent side lost 1-3 to Chertsey Town in Sunday's final.


As chronicled above, Altrincham will have five opponents in 2019-20 who were not in their league last season.

However, our neighbours, Trafford FC will face ten new opponents next season thanks to a redrawing of the boundaries in the former EvoStik First Division West. This division has been rebranded as the First Division North West, with seven clubs leaving the former West division to join the South East division. These are all Yorkshire clubs, with only the three most southerly Yorkshire teams remaining in the newly named South East division (Sheffield, Stocksbridge Park Steels and Frickley Athletic).

So next season Trafford will now have to navigate to new members of their division; Brighouse Town, City of Liverpool, Dunston UTS, Marine, Marske United, Ossett United, Pickering Town, Pontefract Collieries, Tadcaster Albion and Workington.

The EvoStik League explains that "The EVO-STIK Northern Premier League can confirm a tweak to the boundary line in its step four divisions, as revealed at the recent chairman’s meeting. The East/West Division split has been adjusted to North/West and South/East ahead of the 2019/20 season.

As a board, we have a responsibility to all 40 of our step four member clubs and something had to be done to address the balance to make the competition fair. In the season just gone, teams in the East Division had to travel 20,000 more miles to complete their fixtures in comparison to their West Division counterparts. The average journey in the East was 127 miles, compared to 84 in the West.

With the changes, the difference is reduced to around 7,000 miles, with an average of 126 in the South/East division and 110 in the North/West division. This has resulted in a number of lateral movements in the FA’s club allocations for steps one to four, announced on Sunday morning.

Brighouse Town, Marske United, Ossett United, Pickering Town, Pontefract Collieries and Tadcaster Albion move across to the North/West division.

Chasetown, Glossop North End, Kidsgrove Athletic, Leek Town, Market Drayton Town, Newcastle Town and Sutton Coldfield Town move across to the South/East division.

Worksop Town and Ilkeston Town, both promoted from step five, join the South/East division, with City of Liverpool and Dunston going in to North/West.

Carlton Town are reprieved and stay in the Southeast division, with Kendal Town reprieved from relegation in North/West. The two clubs relegated from the Premier Division, Marine and Workington, go in to the North/West division.

Departing the NPL are Hednesford Town, who have moved across to the Southern League Central. Coming down from National League North to the Premier Division are FC United and Ashton United".


According to the Telegraph & Argus, "Bradford (Park Avenue), Guiseley and Farsley have had two long trips added to their fixture schedule following adjustments made to National League North for next season.

Gloucester City and Oxford City have been moved across from the South division... Gloucester stayed up in their second season in the South section in the campaign just ended after eight years in step two’s Northern section. Oxford had three years in the North between 2012 and 2015, including a sixth-place finish, but have spent the last four campaigns in the South.

Their lateral movement is because Maidstone United, Havant & Waterlooville, Aldershot Town and Braintree Town have been relegated from the National League top flight".

Chester FC report that "At last night's Chester FC Awards, Craig Mahon put pen to paper and signed a new one-year deal. This deal takes the Irishman into his seventh season at the Swansway Chester Stadium and, during 2018/19, he eclipsed the 200 appearances mark for Chester FC. The first and only to do so since reformation.

The 29-year-old joined from Vauxhall Motors in the summer of 2013, and has gone on to make 229 appearances and scored 18 goals. Last season he was a regular once again, making 40 appearances and scoring four goals."

And NL Daily tells us that "AFC Telford United vice skipper Ellis Deeney has signed a new deal which keeps him with the club until May of next year. The 27-year-old younger brother of Watford star Troy has been a vital member of the Bucks squad over the last couple of seasons.

He joined in January 2018 and helped Rob Edwards’s side seal National League North survival... Combative midfielder Deeney made 45 appearances in all competitions for Telford last campaign, scoring four goals."

Blyth Spartans "must announce the departure of midfielder Sean Reid, who has signed with Evo-Stik Northern Premier League side Morpeth Town. The tireless midfielder joined the club in the summer of 2015 from Northern League outfit West Allotment Celtic, making himself a household name at Croft Park.

‘Reidy’ made 186 appearance for Blyth notching an impressive 66 goals in all competitions. He has filled in a makeshift centre-back and centre-forward on a number of occasions".

Meanwhile, Bulls' News reports that "The football budget for next season at Edgar Street looks as though it will be around £700K. That's nearly double the budget former manager Peter Beadle had in his last full season.

In the accounts for the year ending May 31st 2018,the football budget was £331K which was up from £256K the previous season. In an interview last Saturday, director Mick Merrick confirmed that the budget would rise. '50% was the increase in budget from going into last season and this year we are looking at a 40% increase in the football budget and that is significent,' he said.

So, assuming the figure of £331K was correct, an increase of 50% gave a budget for last season of £496K. A further increase of 40% this coming season would lift the budget to circa £694K. For the record, team and management wages (the budget) is understood to include manager and all background staff and all playing staff."

19 May 2019


As previously announced, Altrincham FC's Patrons' scheme has been relaunched ahead of the 2019/20 campaign after just failing to gain promotion for the second season in a row.

Altrincham FC's Board "agreed that any funds raised via the Patrons' Club would go directly to boosting the playing budget. We’ve worked hard on retaining the management team and now the squad for next season as well as scouting potential new signings, and supporting the team via the Patrons' Scheme will only enhance our chances further."

For the cost of £50 each Patron's name will appear throughout the coming season in the matchday programme and on the official club website as a Patron of Altrincham Football Club. At the start of the 2019-20 season, every member will be entered into a prize draw, with 10 winners being given four hospitality places in the Manchester Glass Sponsors' Lounge for an alloted game at the start of the 2019-20 season.

If you are interested in becoming a Patron for next season, please forward a cheque, payable to Altrincham Football Club, for £50. Alternatively, you can pay by card by phoning the office (0161 928-1045). If you require any further information please do not hesitate to enquire by e-mail.


Hyde United report "a second of last season's players remaining. Left back, Kyle Brownhill, has been secured for the 2019/20 season... This is another player who had spent a number of seasons at Hyde United going all the way back to the 2014/15 season. In total Kyle has chalked up 125 appearances but, sadly, no goals, but not for want to trying".

Altrincham signed local player Kyle Brownhill from Hyde United on 15 December 2016. Though signed initially as a left-back, Kyle was later deployed in central midfield. He was released by Phil Parkinson in summer 2017 after he had made 17(+1) appearances for Altrincham.


According to the Hereford Times "Hereford FC have increased their ‘football budget’ by 40 percent as they aim for at least a play-off place next season.

Speaking to the club’s website Hereford United Supporters’ Trust nominated director Mick Merrick said, despite the increase, the club would not blow the club’s reserves on ‘big ticket’ players.

'We are really ambitious but we’re not going to let the club go bust trying to do it,' said Merrick. 'We’re not going blow our reserves and our budget on bringing in big ticket managers or players. We’ve seen that doesn’t really work and we have to grow into the Football League and sustainably. That means living within our means and sustainably.

'Frankly we are well off because of our fantastic supporters which [who] provide the funding to attract players and, hopefully, make our way towards the Football League in the not so distant future. I wouldn’t put a time on it but we need to be playing challenging football. Fifty per cent was the increase in budget from going into last season and this season we are looking at a 40 percent increase going into the football budget, that is significant.'

Merrick said that the management team are currently working towards [signing?] players that will ‘get people excited’ next season. He added '“Everybody works hard around this club and they (the management) are working particularly hard to make sure they put in place the sort of plan and bring in the players that are going to get people excited next year. We want to be in the play-offs and challenging for promotion. This will be the first season that it will be their (the management's) players and our team collectively and hopefully challenging.

'There has been quite a lot of activity going on to try and recruit the right type of players. Everybody wants to get into the Football League there is no doubt that is what everybody here wants to do.'"

Southport have published some interesting statistics.

The Facts And Figures From 2018-19 include:

  • The total home and away was 47880 our best in CN by 3493, this gave an average of 1140 which is up 84 on the previous season.
  • Interestingly in the second season we got promoted (2009/10) the home average was just 924. The best ever home average of 1423 came in 1999-2000.
  • We went 24 games without a draw from 2017-18 into 2018-19 which is a NL Club Record
  • We also went 12 games without a home win from 2017-18 into 2018-19 which is also a NL Club Record
  • The 13 wins is a CN low but way off the record of 8 set back in 1979-80

Chester Football Club "are pleased to confirm that defender Danny Livesey will join the Blues on a permanent deal from Salford City on July 1st."

AFC Telford United "announce that goalkeeper Andy Wycherley has had his contract option exercised, keeping him at the club for the 2019-20 season.

Wycherley joined the Bucks back in August 2018 from Welsh Premier League Champions TNS before going on to make 20 appearances for his boyhood club.... AFC Telford United have also completed the signing of Andre Brown for the 2019-20 campaign.

Boss Cowan said, 'I’m really pleased to confirm Andre will be staying with us next season. I believe his undoubted ability will be seen this year as we evolve to his style of play. His patience and understanding of the team needs have set him up to have his best season yet going into next year.

AFC Telford United are also delighted to announce the signing of Jon Royle for the 2019-20 campaign".


The National League states that "It was the most gripping of seasons which went down to the final day. Now BT Sport are offering you the opportunity to kick back and re-live it all again. The broadcaster have put together a special season review covering all the important action from a campaign to remember.

The one-hour highlights show will be sure to bring back plenty of good memories. The review is scheduled to start at 6.45pm on Sunday; right after the FA Trophy final.

Should Leyton Orient’s match with AFC Fylde overrun, it will [be] following the final after extra time and possibly penalties.

The Trophy final is part two of a fantastic Non-League finals day which will be broadcast live on BT. It starts early with Chertsey Town’s FA Vase final with Cray Valley PM from midday".

18 May 2019


The death has been announced of former Altrincham FC chairman, John Maunders, aged 74. A Hale resident, on leaving Altrincham FC, his resignation statement in summer 1995 explained that, "Mr Maunders rescued Altrincham FC from bankruptcy in October 1993 by injecting £231,000 and his building company has sponsored the club for the last six seasons". He replaced Bill King as the club's chairman for the 1994/95 season.

His surprise withdrawal announcement, at the end of the 1994-95 season, explained that it had been "an agonising decision to sell my shares in the club. This season, the £175,000 I have personally invested has been eaten up twice over, together with the £100,000 we received from the Tottenham Hotspur FA Cup tie, on running costs including payers' and officials' wages".

John Maunders concluded that "On average home gates of around 700, despite the team challenging for the Conference title, it has become clear to me thst the additional expenditure needed to promote the improvement of Moss Lane to achieve Grade A status would not be supported by the town".


A former Altrincham centre-back, Robbie Williams (right), has enjoyed promotion this summer as part of the back-room staff at Salford City. As the Ammies' website explains, "Robbie re-joined the club in 2017 as Sport Scientist. The former central defender made four appearances on loan at The Ammies in 2014-15, and returned as club staff when the club went professional in 2017.".

Now 31, 6ft 5ins Robbie signed for Altrincham on 28 July 2009 after a successful pre-season. Robbie made his Conference debut as a sub on the opening day of the 2009-10 season against Ebbsfleet United and soon established himself as a regular starter. He won the first of his 3 Wales U23 semi-pro caps in March 2010 when he scored against Portugal and he has also played against England and Poland. Outside football, whilst at Altrincham Robbie worked for a printing firm based in Bolton.

After leaving Moss Lane, he rejoined Altrincham, initially on a one-month loan, from AFC Telford on 6 September, 2011. The loan developed into a 93-day period at Alty, expiring in December 2011. He had left Moss Lane in summer 2011 after two seasons as a virtual ever-present in the Altrincham team. His move to Telford was marred by a pre-season injury which prevented him starting a Conference game for them before his return to Moss Lane. He made 106(+8) appearances for Altrincham and scored 9 goals.


After hitting the financial buffers, North Ferriby United has risen from the ashes as North Ferriby FC. The EvoStik League reports that "New Matlock Town boss Steve Kittrick has been hit... Recently appointed assistant [manager] Chris Bolder has departed the club after just a week. Bolder has taken up the post as manager of the newly formed North Ferriby FC.

He was previously manager of North Ferriby United before linking up with [Matlock boss Steve] Kittrick at Scarborough".


According to the National League, "Chorley’s historic promotion has seen then rewarded with a special gala dinner as their local council confirmed official plans are being made to celebrate their success...

Manager Jamie Vermiglio says he can’t wait to cut his teeth at the next level after their 4-3 penalty shoot-out win over Spennymoor last Sunday... A council spokesman told the Lancashire Post that the achievement will be officially recognised soon. They said 'We’re in discussions with the club as to how best to mark the promotion'...

l Manager Vermiglio said, 'This is a massive, massive, massive thing for this town- make no mistake about that. This club were being watched by a few hundred people ten or so years ago. Now we’re playing to 3,500. It’s wonderful... We’re not just going into the National League to enjoy the experience. We want to go as far as we can and make these fans even more proud of their club'".

NL Daily tells us that "AFC Telford United have signed Chris Lait from Tamworth. The former Stourbridge and Solihull winger enjoyed an impressive season for the Lambs, netting 21 goals and picking up three awards at the club’s presentation night last weekend. Lait first came to prominence as a Solihull Moors academy player, before departing in search of senior football. He experienced spells at Rushall Olympic and Stourbridge, where he ended his spell scoring 22 goals from 90 starts.

Boss Gavin Cowan was thrilled... 'He has pace, power and can play in numerous attacking positions that will give us plenty of options in the attacking phase of our play. He’s hungry and ready to achieve at this level after a brilliant return last season'" reported AFC Telford United.

News from the Shropshire Star is that "AFC Telford United vice skipper Ellis Deeney has signed a new deal which keeps him with the club until May of next year. The 27-year-old younger brother of Watford star Troy has been a vital member of the Bucks squad over the last couple of seasons.

He joined in January 2018... Combative midfielder Deeney made 45 appearances in all competitions for Telford last campaign, scoring four goals. His commitment is another boost for Cowan, who has already had many of last season's squad agree fresh terms. Skipper Shane Sutton, young goalkeeper Andy Wycherley, defender Ross White, midfielder James McQuilkin and striker Andre Brown are just some of those who are staying with the club. The future of 26-goal top scorer Daniel Udoh remains uncertain though."

NL Daily has news of a promoted rival to Altrincham next season as "Adam Clayton and Jack Higgins have extended their stays at Farsley Celtic ahead of the 2019/20 season. Clayton and Higgins join fellow defender Danny Ellis in committing to the club, ensuring the back three who formed part of the second-best defence in the Evo-Stik Premier will be kept together for next season.

Clayton was happy to extend his time into a fifth season and said 'I’m delighted to have signed again for another season, it was never in any doubt really! Loyalty goes a long way in life, and that’s what the club have showed me, so it’s only right in my eyes that I do the same. Last year was unbelievable, it was the best season I’ve had as a footballer. We were under pressure all the way to the end and we needed everyone involved to get us through some tough periods and ultimately over the line.

'This will be my fifth year with the club and I’ve probably enjoyed my best years here, it’s a pleasure to play here and a really enjoyable place to be, with brilliant people from the board room to the fans... We aren’t going into that league to just enjoy it and make the numbers up, we want to achieve things and the squad we have is good enough to do that'...

Jack Higgins has started every league game since joining the Celts from Warrington Town last summer, making 54 appearances in total in his first season at the club... On penning a new deal, the ex-York City man commented: “As soon as the gaffer (Adam Lakeland) got in touch about signing up for next season it was an easy decision and it went really smoothly. We’ll be presented with different challenges next season but it’s something I think we’ll relish...

'Our squad has been the smallest I think I’ve ever played in and we’ve had some real testing times, especially over the festive period when the same 11 lads played all four games and took 12 points, but it only made us stronger as a group and took us to where we wanted to be... I can’t wait to test myself against teams in the National League North... I love playing with this group, it’s not often you play with a full team where there are no egos or hidden agendas, but we’ve a team of top lads who’ll do well'"

Curzon Ashton "are delighted to announce the signing of Nicky Wroe for the 2019/2020 season. The vastly experienced midfielder, Wroe, joins us from fellow National League North side, Boston United, where he finished last season. The Sheffield born player had spent the previous three years with Yorkshire side, Bradford Park Avenue.

During his career, Nicky has made over 300 appearances in the Football League.

On his signing, First Team Manager, Mark Bradshaw said 'Nicky will bring us that bit of experience in the centre of the park, similar to that of former captain, Alex Brown'".

And, also, "Curzon Ashton say that Harry Twamley BEM has decided to step down from his role as chairman, one of two roles he currently fulfils.

Commenting on the change, he said 'I’ve held the positions of chairman and finance director for a number of years now and, as we prepare for another season in the National League North, I’ve decided that the time is right to make the change... I now feel that the good work should continue under a younger leadership team. I am pleased to say the board accepted my proposal for Wayne Salkeld to become chairman, with Jimmy Newall as vice-chairman. I will continue in my role as finance director...

Additionally, Syd White has agreed to join the board. White has previously held the roles of commercial manager, CEO & COO during a 15-year spell with Tameside neighbours Stalybridge Celtic".

The Northern Echo reports that "Darlington are on the verge of appointing their next manager having whittled down their choice to a shortlist to a handful of candidates. The process to replace Tommy Wright as boss has been ongoing since the end [of] Quakers’ season three weeks ago, with the position having attracted 71 applicants.

Interviews have taken place this week, with two bosses of National League North clubs understood to be among those in the frame. Darlington say they were delighted with the quality of applicants for the job, with everyone shortlisted being in possession of the UEFA A or UEFA Pro level coaching badge, a criteria that Quakers stipulated was necessary.

The process has been led by advisor to the board John Vickerman, who is a human resources director with Fujitsu, while a handful of supporters have been consulted for their opinion on replacing Wright. The Northern Echo understands that names are in contention at this stage [who] have previously played for Darlington and an appointment will be made early next week. Although Jordan Nicholson and Luke Trotman have signed new one-year contracts, Quakers’ squad is small, having seen a number of players leave since the end of the season, and it is understood the new manager will waste little time in making new additions."

According to York Press "York City's newest signing, Kieran Green, is optimistic about the Minstermen's firepower next season and says he wants to 'join in a promotion party'. The 21-year-old arrived this week from Blyth Spartans and has found plenty of familiar faces from his time at Gateshead, including manager Steve Watson.

Forwards Jordan Burrow, Macauley Langstaff, Jake Wright and Wes York, as well as fellow midfielder Paddy McLaughlin, are all former Heed players.

'I look forward to playing with them all again,' said Green... Green scored eight goals in 58 appearances for Blyth, initially on loan prior to a permanent switch from Gateshead last summer.

'I'm hoping for 10-plus goals; that's a good target from midfield,' he reasoned... 'I want to join in a promotion party, to kick on and finish as high as possible in the league and get the club back to where it belongs.'...

Green had the option to stay at Blyth, but cites boss Watson and the club's aspirations in his decision to come to Bootham Crescent. 'I've known him for a couple of seasons and he's done a lot for my career,' Green said... 'I like (Watson's) philosophy and ambition. The way he likes to play, I feel I fit well with. When my season finished with Blyth, he contacted me straight away and explained his plans for the season'...

Assistant-manager Micky Cummins said of Green... 'He's quite physical in the air, fantastic with either foot and he's really good around the changing room. He's got that winning attitude and mentality. He's a leader, he won't shy away from a challenge and he gets on the end of crosses'".

Meanwhile, at Gloucester City the club is "delighted to announce the appointment of Eamonn McGurk and Alex Petheram as joint Chairman with effect from the 17 May 2019, with Jody Gooding taking up the role as Vice-Chairman. Eamonn enters his 25th season at the club from his role as shareholder and director. Alex joined the club as a Director in 2018 with Jody joining the board in 2018.

In a joint statement from the three, [it stated] 'We all need to come together to get this club over the line and playing in the city again. Our drive and vision is for the children of Gloucester to have the opportunities we had in our younger days, being able to go and watch the team in their City, creating a strong club culture throughout all sectors...

'Our goal for next season remains the same, to stabilise both on and off the pitch as we continue our long journey back to Meadow Park. Now we have planning granted and our funding application is in, we’re currently working with the FSIF in the due diligence stage, which due to the nature of our detailed application will be concluded we hope at the end of September 2019'".


The National League reports that "As they prepare to return to the place where their problems all started, Justin Edinburgh says completing a National League and FA Trophy double would be reward for the club’s fans who have suffered that fateful 2014 afternoon. Leyton Orient have sold 23,300 tickets for Wembley’s final on Sunday already but the manager is determined to make sure the party doesn’t go flat.

The National League champions are looking to sign off in style against AFC Fylde this weekend on Non-League Finals Day.

But Orient haven’t played a competitive game since the last-day draw with Braintree clinched the title while Fylde were at the National Stadium just last weekend. If anyone thinks the Coasters have bad memories of Wembley in what will be eight days after losing to Salford, then they should check in with Orient’s near 25,000. The last time they were there they lost to Rotherham United in the League One play-off final. Less than four years later, they found themselves in the National League’s relegation zone.

Then Edinburgh arrived and now they want to banish bad memories once and for all".


Welsh Premier reports "Here we go! It’s JD Welsh Premier League European Playoff Final time. The home team? Bala Town, the European heavyweights. The visitors to Maes Tegid on Sunday evening will be Cardiff Met, contesting their third straight Playoff Final and hoping to take that final step into the Europa League.

We caught up with Will Evans, who has been one of the stars for Cardiff Met in midfield this season... 'Over the last two years we’ve had those experiences of being in these finals and unfortunately not been successful'...

With one of the league’s strongest sides set to miss out on Europe this weekend there is a fair amount of pressure on the result for both sides to say the least."

17 May 2019


The National League reports that "Altrincham fans have received another boost days after manager Phil Parkinson agreed to extend his deal. Their talismanic striker Jordan Hulme is staying put after a contract was signed for next season.

Hulme scored 20 goals [17 in the league] as the team reached the play-offs and Alty have announced the forward has now committed. It comes after Parkinson and assistant Neil Sorvel confirmed they are staying until 2022.

Parkinson said, 'We came so close to a second successive promotion in this our first season back in the Vanarama National League North, and we are hungry to go one better this time round. But we want to go one step further and establish ourselves in the National League over the course of this contract.

'The board has shown their ambition and we will work together on and off the field to keep moving this club forward.'

Chairman Grahame Rowley said, 'The next 12 months are perhaps the most important in the club’s history. We have shown that we can be a big team at this level, and we have major plans to deliver changes that will ensure we are ready for the National Division when the time comes'".

For more see the Altrincham FC official site.


Altrincham's matches will probably be watched by fewer people next season as three of the top six clubs as regards attendances have left the National League North this season.

The National League reports that "The crowds came out in force this season...

A lot like the title race, Stockport County topped the table but, unlike the battle for the championship, it wasn’t a close run thing! The Hatters attracted more than 1,500 more than anyone else last term, with over 6,000 watching on two occasions at Edgeley Park.

Second were York City, with newcomers Hereford just behind... It was a record breaking season for crowds across the three divisions. Here is who came where as we tally up the gates and put them into table form. [Presumably these figures include the play-offs].

National League North Attendance Table:

  • 1. Stockport County 4,002
  • 2. York City 2,500
  • 3. Hereford 2,367
  • 4. FC United of Manchester 1,943
  • 5. Chester 1,838
  • 6. Chorley 1,650
  • 7. Kidderminster Harriers 1,602
  • 8. Darlington 1,391
  • 9. AFC Telford United 1,352
  • 10. Altrincham 1,244
  • 11. Boston United 1,105
  • 12. Southport 1,071
  • 13. Spennymoor Town 859
  • 14. Blyth Spartans 801
  • 15: Nuneaton Borough 799
  • 16. Guiseley 794
  • 17. Leamington 666
  • 18. Brackley Town 645
  • 19. Alfreton Town 534
  • 20. Bradford (Park Avenue) 525
  • 21. Curzon Ashton 449
  • 22. Ashton United 362


The National League reports that "Curzon Ashton’s young star Joel Senior has joined Premier League Burnley.

The 19-year-old will link up initially with the Clarets’ U23 side after securing a fantastic move. Senior impressed in the National League North and his displays have been rewarded.

'I’m delighted. It’s been a long time coming. I’ve been working hard for it for the last three or four years and it’s finally happened,' said Senior on Burnley’s official website. 'Burnley have put their trust in me, and I’m delighted to be here. A lot of people’s routes have been different and mine has been to come up through men’s football with some good clubs'".

16 May 2019


Chorley "are absolutely delighted to announce we’ve named as best away day experience in step two of non-league football by the Football Supporters' Federation. The award is an extension of the organisation’s annual ‘Away Fans Matter Campaign’, which encourages clubs to make travelling supporters more welcome.

Away fans are vital to the health of the game and we want the award to encourage clubs to create a warm welcome for visiting supporters. Chorley were the winners at step two and in a tight contest visiting supporters praised the club and home fans for the welcome they received...

The FSF recognises facilities and resources vary at the different levels of the game and considers nominations at each of the top four levels of the National League System. The nominations are assessed across a number of categories with a judging panel deciding the winning club at each level. The full list of 2019 winners is"..

  • Step 1 – Harrogate Town (overall winner)
  • Step 2 – Chorley
  • Step 3 – Lewes
  • Step 4 – Ossett United

AFC Telford United report that they "are delighted to unveil the new Joma Home kit for the 2019/2020 season...

Our new home kit made by Joma features our traditional colours of black and white following a successful vote by supporters. The new home kit takes us back to black on the shorts and socks too, with an option of white shorts and white socks in particular fixtures.

AFC Telford United are also delighted to reveal an all red away kit and our brand new third kit which will be all purple."

Likewise Guiseley report that "The Lions will line up in the Yellow and Navy kit when away from Nethermoor next season. The shirt compliments the home kit with its chequered pattern and uses softlock fabric which is custom-made for each kit, lightweight, tear-resistant and quick drying".

Boston United "have added another player with vast National League North experience to their ranks in the guise of midfielder Tom Platt.

The 25-year-old, who began his career at hometown club York City, has since played extensively for Harrogate Town and Alfreton Town during recent seasons...

He was part of the Harrogate squad which, like the Pilgrims, reached the play-offs in 2015-2016... Manager Craig Elliott was delighted with his latest signing.

'Tom is another experienced player who has played in this league for five seasons', Elliott told 'He can play a couple of roles in midfield and he knows what Boston United is all about from playing against us for other clubs. He is hungry to be successful.

Curzon Ashton report that "Luke Merrill has signed a contract with us for the 2019/2020 season. Luke, after being released from Blackburn Rovers at 16, came to Curzon and has worked hard to develop his game last season in the U17 and this season being a driving force in the success of the U18 Youth Team.

Luke made first team appearances against Salford, Kidderminster, Southport, Stockport and Spennymoor as well as being in the squad and on the bench several times".

Southport "confirm that the contracts of Andy Hollins and Dan Cockerline have now ended. Dan made seven league starts for the club after making his debut at Stockport County in 2017 and has been out on loan this season. Andy made one cup start at Holker Old Boys in 2018-19 and was on the score sheet twice in the game. The club thank both players for their time at the club and wish them well in the future.

Darlington report that defender Terry Galbraith picked up his Manager's Player of the Year and Away Supporters' Player of the Year awards from Pete Graves of Sky Sports at our dinner last Friday night".

Stockport County "have won the NLP Fair Play Award for the second season in a row.

The National North champions received the accolade for having a clean record for dissent and foul and abusive language across Steps 1-4 and the overall best disciplinary record amongst the 296 clubs. The annual award is decided by the FA’s disciplinary panel.

Manager Jim Gannon collected a similar award for the whole of the Football league when he managed County in the 2008/2009 season and also won the Fair Play trophy from his first full year in management at Dundalk in 2005.

He said, 'This award means a lot to me and is great recognition to our staff and players for the manner in which we play the game. For the second year in a row we have had no cautions for dissent or foul and abusive language, which shows our respect for the referees and officials of the game.

'But our respect extends beyond just them and to the opposition players and their staff. We play the game in the right spirit and hope to set an example to all managers and players at every level, that you can be successful whilst never compromising your principles.'”

15 May 2019


York Press confirms that "York City have signed midfielder Kieran Green from National League North rivals Blyth Spartans. The 21-year-old - who came through the youth ranks at Hartlepool made 58 appearances in total for Blyth, scoring eight goals and helping them reach the play-offs this season...

After two loan spells at Croft Park, manager Alun Armstrong secured fan-favourite Green on a permanent deal at the beginning of the 2018/19 season. Blyth finished term sixth but were knocked out of the play-off eliminators on penalties by Altrincham".

The Chester Standard reports that "Veteran defender Simon Grand has signed a new one-year deal at the Swansway Chester Stadium as Chester FC continue to build their squad for next season.

The 35-year-old centre back joined the Blues from AFC Fylde in July 2018 and was a regular in Anthony Johnson and Bernard Morley’s starting 11 ending the season with 41 appearances in all competitions, and scoring four goals.

The Chorley-born defender notably played in the Football League for Rochdale, Carlisle United, Grimsby Town, Morecambe and Aldershot Town. He has also previously played for Northwich Victoria, Fleetwood Town, Southport, Mansfield Town, A.F.C. Telford United and Barrow.

Grand struck up an effective partnership with Danny Livesey in the centre of defence throughout the season as well as filling in as left-back for a number of games...

Grand joins Matty Waters, Brad Jackson, Gary Stopforth, Iwan Murray, Matty Thomson, Theo Roberts and George Waring in extending their stays at the Swansay Chester Stadium, with Gary Roberts expected to also re-sign should he complete a summer fitness programme put in place by the management team".

Tha National League says that "Gloucester City have announced Mike Cook will continue to lead the club forward next season. Cook, Vanarama National League South Manager of the Month for April, helped insure their survival. Having gone 17 games without victory when he took over in January, the club were to face a huge fight to stay up.

But he turned things around and, winning four of their last five games, convinced the board he was the man to club needed in charge next season. Clearance came through from the Professional Footballers’ Association on Monday and he has been given the green light to remain at the helm...

A club statement confirmed, 'Cook took charge of City in January and ensured our status at this level was retained following an impressive end to the season; with the club finishing 17th in the National League South with 47 points'"

14 May 2019

2019-20 PRICES

Details of the 2019-20 season's prices for Altrincham FC season tickets and turnstile admission at the J. Davidson Stadium (right) are available on the club's official site.


The North West Youth Alliance confirms that Altrincham FC Youth still have two fixtures to play. Sadly, Alty's 3-2 defeat by Curzon Ashton last week handed the league title initiative to the Nash. Curzon are now five points ahead of Alty with one game to play, whilst Alty have two matches left.

  • 16/05/19 18:30 Chester FC Youth v Altrincham, at Boughton Hall Cricket Club CH3 5EL
  • 19/05/19 14:30 Chorley FC v Altrincham at Bishop's High School

Curzon do not complete their campaign till 26 May.


According to the Northern Echo "There are those who might argue that being a lifelong fan of Darlington Football Club is enough to turn anyone to drink. But for Paul Colman, a member of the Darlington FC Supporters’ Group, alcohol and the town’s Quaker traditions are proving to be an unlikely winning formula.

Darlington owes much to the pioneering Quaker families of the 18th and 19th centuries and, as well as their notable influence on the railways, wool, linen and banking, they are also known for their moderation when it comes to alcohol. It is, therefore, a surprising twist that Paul, along with his wife Leanne, should now be forging a new business under the brand 'The Little Quaker Distillery'.

Enterprisingly launched in an old washhouse in his parents’ back garden last October, a bid is now being lodged for it to be registered as the UK’s smallest gin distillery... They spotted a gap in the market; that Darlington didn’t have a gin to call its own ... but they needed a name. Darlington Gin was rejected on the grounds that it was too obvious, and Paul’s footballing affiliations gave them the idea for a quirky alternative that also touched on the town’s history.

'Quaker Gin just seemed to fit perfectly,' says Paul. Leanne drew the line at letting him have Darlington FC’s black and white hoops as the label, and an historic picture of the town centre was chosen instead... Within months of the launch, Quaker Gin is already supplied to just about every bar in the locality".

The Shropshire Star reports that "Interim AFC Telford United chairman Andy Pryce is thrilled Gavin Cowan’s ‘infectious spirit’ has proved the doubters wrong. Some questioned Cowan’s lack of any prior managerial experience when he was appointed Bucks' chief last summer, in the wake of three successive seasons battling against relegation in National League North.

But hiring the man who served as a coach under both Rob Edwards and Rob Smith has certainly paid off.

'When we interviewed for the manager’s job we wanted continuity,' added Pryce. 'Gav’s experience with the squad from the 18 months he was with them beforehand was invaluable. His spirit is infectious, so we are delighted that his hard work is paying off.'

Cowan oversaw a sublime run to the FA Trophy semi-finals... He also nearly got them into the National North play-offs, with them finishing eighth and missing out on goal difference.

Now, Cowan aiming is to keep hold of the majority of his squad as he looks to build next campaign. He has been boosted in that respect by defenders Shane Sutton, Ross White and Zak Lilly agreeing new deals. Dom Smith, though, has left in what the club claim was a U-turn on new and improved terms".

Cheshire Live informs us that "It might be a regionalised league that Chester FC play in but it might not feel like that next season for Blues fans. The past weekend saw the play-offs done and dusted, with promotion from the National League North sorted as well as who will come up from the Evo-Stik 'super' play-offs.

Chorley and Spennymoor Town did battle in the North final while, at Cantilever Park, former Chester City midfielder Paul Carden's Warrington Town were entertaining King's Lynn Town. Chorley... claimed a dramatic penalty shoot-out win over Spennymoor... Chorley, an hour from Chester, heading to the National League at the expense of Spennymoor, a mere two hours and 50 minutes from Chester.

Then there is Warrington. Carden's Yellows side, in front of a crowd of 2,200, were leading 2-1 with five minutes to go before King's Lynn snatched a late leveller to force extra time where ex-Cambridge United striker Michael Gash pounced six minutes from the end to break Warrington hearts. Chester fans would have no doubt been keen for a trip to Warrington, the first side to take on the Blues in a competitive league fixture after reformation in 2010. Just over 30 minutes and 22 miles away.

But it wasn't to be and instead of that local jaunt next season it will be a trek to Norfolk to face King's Lynn. Just the eight-hour round trip for hardy Blues fans.

The make up of the National League North won't be ratified until the National League AGM on June 8 at Celtic Manor, Newport. With all four sides relegated from the National League in 2018/19 very southerly indeed, it appears likely that one or two sides from the National League South, possibly Oxford City or Gloucester City, may face the prospect of being switched across.

Chester lost two local-ish games next season with FC United of Manchester and Ashton United both relegated to the Evo-Stik Northern Premier. With Kettering Town and Farsley Celtic both coming up as champions of the Evo-Stik Premier Central and the Northern Premier League, respectively, sides in Northamptonshire and West Yorkshire, the travelling will be mammoth next season for what is a regionalised league".

In the NL Paper we learn that "York City boss Steve Watson has received a boost as he starts preparations for the new campaign with the news that striker Macaulay Langstaff has signed a new contract with Minstermen.

The 22-year-old netted 10 goals for City last season after moving from Vanarama National League side Gateshead and been the subject of reported interest from other clubs during the campaign’s run in. He also scored two goals during a month’s loan stay with Bradford (Park Avenue).

Langstaff, who scored five goals in seven games following his return from the loan spell, said 'I am really happy to be staying and I know the manager is building a squad that will be up there challenging for promotion next season. I enjoyed my first season with the club but the loan move was also good for my confidence. When I came back, I got into double figures and it felt like the season finished at just the wrong time for me! Now I am aiming to score 20 goals next season and just hope I can start pre-season in the way I finished off the last.'"


NL Daily reports that "Gateshead’s players and staff are still awaiting receipt of their wages for the month of April. With the wages now a fortnight overdue, the club’s former sports therapist Annie Davis is continuing to help out with player treatment. Despite being sacked, along with the rest of the Heed’s staff, Davis has been treating teenage midfielder Elliot Forbes, who has a significant hamstring injury.

She has now been treating Under-19 players after they picked up injuries last week. The treatment has been taking place at nearby Hebburn Town, who allowed Gateshead to use their training and other facilities after the club was no longer permitted to use the International Stadium due to unpaid council bills."

13 May 2019


Altrincham will have to wait until the National League AGM in the summer before they can be certain of the make-up of the National League North for 2019-20.

With five teams having departed the division this summer, (namely the promoted duo of Stockport County and Chorley and the relegated trio of Ashton United, FC United of Manchester and Nuneaton Borough), five new members will be incorporated into National League North for 2019-20. With the National League at Step One having lost four decidedly southern teams at the end of 2018-19, no one will be dropping down to National North from that quartet.

Right: Seen here being congratulated by Robbie Lawton, Greg Young (no.22) netted Alty's late winner when they beat Kettering Town 3-2 at Moss Lane in 2011.

In the opposite direction, arriving in the North division from lower divisions are likely to be Farsley Celtic, Kettering Town and King's Lynn Town. All three have hit the financial buffers in recent years and, in a sense, can be viewed to varying degrees as new opponents for Altrincham. Since our last encounter with Farsley Celtic, the Yorkshire club has been defunct and re-formed, whilst Kettering Town have rebuilt after enforced demotion and administration and now play at a different venue, whilst King's Lynn Town are new opponents altogether.

Farsley Celtic were unable to complete their fixtures in season 2009-10 and were expelled by the Conference. They reformed as Farsley and were later allowed to reuse the Celtic appendage to their name.

As for Kettering Town, Wikipedia reminds us that "After losing their Rockingham Road ground in 2011, the club went into administration during the 2011–12 season, finishing bottom of the Conference National and were demoted two divisions to the Premier Division of the Southern League. They finished bottom of the Southern League Premier Division the following season and were relegated to Division One Central". They have now climbed back to Step Two and currently play at Burton Park Wanderers' Latimer Park ground in Burton Latimer, just south of Kettering.

The bookies' money is on the other two places in the National League North being taken by two clubs transferring from southern climes, namely Gloucester City and Oxford City. Again we have played both clubs previously but, this time around, Gloucester have a different adopted home, at Evesham, whereas they played at Cheltenham Town when we last encountered them. They hope to return to their original site in Gloucester in the near future following remedial work to prevent a recurrence of the river flooding which caused them to vacate that location.

On 9 May Gloucester City announced that "Chairman Rod Jenner has departed the Club. In a statement to the fans and Club volunteers, Rod had this to say... 'I came to the role, reluctantly, under very difficult circumstances and perhaps during one of the most critical points in the Club’s history. During a massive period of upheaval and change for the Club, both myself and now former Vice Chairman Chris Gage, provided a stability and leadership which saw us retain National League status and with the team we built around us, provided resilience across multiple club roles and delivered progress on the Stadium.

I spoke some months back about my intentions to step aside at the end of the season, with my family and my rapidly expanding business now demanding more of my time; and we had agreed that this announcement would come once both planning was secured and the funding application submitted... I’ve no doubt that the Club will, with the financial backing it now has at board level and the new Supporters Trust Board now working in tandem with the Club, return home to Meadow Park in the very near future".

Although Altrincham have not met King's Lynn Town before, they like Farsley are a phoenix club. As King's Lynn, founded in 1879, they were wound up in 2009 and re-formed as King's Lynn Town in 2010. The earlier club had a season in the Conference North in 2008-09, when Altrincham were in the National division.

And Lynn News tells us that "King's Lynn Town manager Ian Culverhouse has compared his side's promotion to the National League to that of a fairytale. The Linnets came from behind to defeat Warrington 3-2 after extra-time in the Super Play-Off at Cantilever Park to secure their place back in the National League for the first time since 2008.

Having come so close last campaign, only to miss out in heart-breaking fashion against Slough in the final, the former Norwich City assistant boss, who returned to the club mid-season, has successfully completed the job he was brought in to do. Culverhouse said 'This is a massive achievement for the football club, to do what we've done and to come from where we were'...

Culverhouse believes that Lynn's 3-0 victory at high-flying Alvechurch, his first game back in the Walks' dugout, last November, was the catalyst for their promotion push.

'I sat there because Baz (Paul Bastock) came in with me. I was with him at Grantham and I tried to play the way we have here over there but it just didn't work,' he said. 'I said to him at the time "You watch these boys play" and he sat on the side and said "Oh my god, this is just a different level"...

We came up [for Warrington] on Friday night and our preparation was spot on. It doesn't guarantee you anything and it costs money to do what we did, but [the chairman] backed us massively and he's got his rewards.'

Although Culverhouse won a UEFA Cup winner's medal as a player and helped the Canaries to back-to-back promotions as a number two, he admitted that guiding Lynn to promotion towers above all his previous achievements in the game... 'The promotions were magnificent and I will never, ever forget them as long as I live, but my head was below the parapet then... Now I'm giving the orders out and the buck stops with me'".


The National League reported that "The second-placed sides won the day as Chorley and Woking earned promotion into the National League. Both runners-up edged through as the home sides got the job done on an afternoon of drama.

The National League South Promotion Final went the way of Woking as Alan Dowson kept his promotion promise to the fans. The Cards go back up at the first time of asking after suffering the heartbreak of relegation just 12 months ago. Armani Little’s stunning free-kick was enough to put Welling United to the sword, a third play-off final defeat for their unlucky manager Steve King.

It was just as nerve-wracking at Victory Park and it went all the way. The game ended 1-1 after an exciting 90 minutes. It was to be decided on penalty kicks and despite missing their first two, the Magpies took the glory. Spennymoor’s Johnson’s spot kick was saved and it’s Jamie Vermiglio’s team who go up after an incredible season."

Just as against Altrincham a week earlier, the Magpies won a shoot-out despite missing their first two spot-kicks!

Chorley report that "The Magpies were promoted to the National League after outlasting Spennymoor in a penalty shootout following 120 tense minutes at Victory Park. Both teams were unchanged from their respective semi-final victories on the first Sunday of May...

The first half came and went with few clear-cut chances for either side. The visitors started the better, but struggled to create a clear opening... At the other end Chorley worked their way into the match and bossed the final 15 minutes...

The second [half] saw Chorley go on the offensive with Moors’ happy to sit and hit on the break... Chorley had numerous set piece opportunities from free kicks, corners and long Blakeman throws,... The first half of extra time saw The Magpies again on the front foot and when Blakeman swung a corner over for Scott Leather to head home unmarked it looked as though the home side had done enough. Only the visitors went right down the other end to equalise through Glen Taylor, who beat Andy Teague’s dive to finish past Matt Urwin.

There were few further chances during the extra minutes, so to penalties we went once again and ONCE AGAIN Matt Urwin was the hero, stopping three of Spennymoor’s six kicks, around four completions by Meppen-Walter, Josh O’Keefe, Marcus Carver and Elliot Newby, to send Chorley back to the non-league top table for the first time since 1990".

  • Att. 3594: Chorley 1-1 Spennymoor Town (Chorley win 4-3 on penalties).
  • Att. 4865: Woking 1-0 Welling United

Chorley return to Step One of the Non-League Pyramid, 29 years after their previous stay at that level, which lasted just two seasons (1988-90).


The Hartlepool Mail reports that "Hartlepool United have missed out on a potential National League derby with Spennymoor Town, after the Moors suffered defeat in their play-off final. Jason Ainsley's side suffered a heartbreaking defeat on penalties after they had pegged back much-fancied Chorley in extra-time.

A Scott Leather header in the first-half of extra time looked to have handed the North West side victory, only for the prolific Glen Taylor to level only moments later and send the game to penalties.

And after the shootout went to sudden death, Andrew Johnson missed the decisive spot kick to ensure it would be Chorley who gained promotion to the National League... In the dugout, both boss Jason Ainsley and assistant manager Tommy Miller have turned out for Hartlepool...

In a tense and nervy first-half, it was Chorley who dictated the possession without ever seriously threatening visiting stopper Matthew Gould.... Spennymoor began to have chances of their own after the break but again failed to trouble Matt Unwin between the sticks. That meant the tie progressed to extra time and, when Leather rose highest to nod home from a corner, it looked to be over for the Moors.

But Taylor wasn't quite done yet, with the frontman prodding past Unwin to set up a nervy finale, which ultimately ended in penalties.

After both teams missed two spot-kicks apiece, the tie progressed to sudden death. And it was Chorley who held their nerve to join Pools in the National League next season after Unwin saved Johnson's penalty".


At Darlington "Chief Executive Officer David Johnston addressed the annual awards dinner on Friday night.

He said, 'This was a season of great expectation; we came out of the 17-18 season with a run of form over the last 15 games that placed us 3rd in the form table. We then were backed superbly by the fans... and strengthened the squad with a competitive budget. Sadly, we have had a disappointing season, finishing 16th and with no cup runs yet again. Poor results led to lower crowds and reduced revenue forcing me to cut the budget to maintain good financial diligence and this meant selling players mid season.

I just want to mention here the financial plight of many clubs in a perilous condition; look at Gateshead, Nuneaton, FC United of Manchester, and even the likes of Bolton, Notts County; I could go on and on. Clubs are spending beyond their means. FFP does not exist in the lower leagues, just take a look at Salford’s accounts, £2m loss last year!! Crazy, but in existence whilst they have rich benefactors who remain interested; god forbid what happens if that interest and investment wanes. We will not risk this happening to DFC again, hence our actions.

Our performance as a club has not come up to the standards we had hoped. We have to take COLLECTIVE RESPONSIBILTY for this; Myself as Chairman, The Board, Management and the players. Quite simply we have not performed well enough. We therefore need to restore the fans’ confidence in us and we must improve in the new season...

Where will we be playing Blackwell Meadows or the Sporting Village? This is still under discussion but we are making good progress... The location discussions are nearing a conclusion so we will update you when we have a preferred option.

To our players; some of you will stay some will leave but can I say thank you for your efforts this season. For those who will remain we must improve collectively and as individuals. I expect and will demand more. The model we have been running with will become more prominent next season with a blend of contracted and loan players. We have and will develop closer relationships with League clubs and the north east clubs in particular...

It’s obvious to say [our manager] Tommy has gone... We discussed next season and agreed it was in the best interests of the club that he moved on... We have started a process to look for a new manager and as expected we have had over 60 applications for the role. There are some very interesting candidates in there and we have been interviewing all day today to produce a short list for the final selection. It is going to be a difficult choice!

We will hopefully be making a quick appointment but trust me this will be done diligently and we will follow a detailed process...

The club is supporter-owned and we have done a great job to get back to debt free, well run and this is a massive achievement... We may not have celebrity owners, but we will be here next month and the month after!... So let’s remain positive. I fully believe DFC will get back to the Football League it’s just a question of when".

A player leaving the National League North is the subject of a report from Gainsborough Trinity who say that former Alty loanee "Liam King and Ross Hannah have swooped to secure the signature of a striker with in excess of 330 career goals. A prolific centre forward, boasting 127 strikes for Frickley Athletic and in excess of 50 goals for Shaw Lane and Goole, thirty-three year old Gavin Allott joins, following his departure from National League North side Boston United...

His goal scoring ability has made him one of non-league football's most feared centre forwards. In a short spell last season, Allott struck eleven times at the higher level, finishing second top scorer for the Pilgrims, doing enough to be offered a new deal, choosing instead to sign for the ambitious Holy Blues...

'Joining Gainsborough was an easy decision. I had spoken to a few clubs, but after I had spoken to Liam and Ross and heard what they have planned for next season, it was a no brainer. I have known Ross (from our time together at Belper) and Liam through football over the years. A big draw for me, as a player, is that the management have a great knowledge of the players at this level and higher and they seem determined to put together a competitive side. I want to do the best that I can as a player and that’s winning things'" he explained".


The BBC reports that "A football club narrowly avoided going bust after an accountant stole thousands of pounds to spend on cocaine and a 'live sex-cam model'. Andrew Barnbrook, from Bispham, Lancashire took £240,000 from AFC Fylde to also fund online gambling, luxury gifts and a champagne lifestyle.

The National League club only survived by borrowing money to stay afloat, Preston Crown Court was told. Barnbrook, 38, who admitted theft, was jailed for 32 months.

Judge Andrew Jeffries QC told him 'You stuck the money up your nose, drank in champagne bars, befriended a live sex-cam model, bought lavish gifts for her and paid for her time'... But she insisted their relationship was purely business, after admitting Barnbrook had blown between £50,000 and £70,000 on luxury goods for her... Barnbrook was working as a finance director for semi-professional side AFC Fylde when he transferred £239,900 to his personal bank account.

But his financial wrongdoings came to light on 5 January 2018 and he was suspended from the club. In a victim impact statement, Stuart King, the chief operations officer for Tangerine Holdings, which owns the National League side, said the club was only able to survive because it was part of a larger group and could borrow money".

12 May 2019


In Sunday's Vanarama National League North Play-Off Final, Chorley won their place in the National League, but only just.

Scott Leather broke the deadlock in the 101st minute, before the Moors levelled three minutes later, through Taylor. Exactly as in last Sunday's penalty shoot-out win over Altrincham, the Magpies missed their first two shoot-out efforts from the spot before securing victory, 4-3.

  • Chorley 1-1 Spennymoor Town 0-0 after 90 mins, 1-1 after 120 mins. Chorley won 4-3 on penalties.


Manager Phil Parkinson and assistant, Neil Sorvel, have committed themselves to a further three years at The J Davidson Stadium, as is reported by Altrincham FC. That would take their tenure to five years since their arrival in summer 2017.


Saturday's National League play-off final featured two men who have worn the Alty shirt but who enjoyed contrasting fortunes this weekend as Salford City cruised to a 3-0 win over a poorly performing AFC Fylde at Wembley. One of Salford's goals this Saturday came from the head of centre-back Carl Piergianni, whilst the AFC Fylde manager Dave Challinor had played as a trialist for the Robins in a friendly match.

When he came to Altrincham, Carl Piergianni, left, (d.o.b. 3 May 1992) was a Peterborough United defender who arrived under an open-ended work experience arrangement on 31 December 2010. He made an impressive debut on New Year's Day 2011 against Wrexham. A local lad to Peterborough, he had previously made one substitute appearance for The Posh in League One in 2010-11 but had been a regular in their reserves in 2010-11. The previous season he had made six appearances for Spalding United when on loan there. He was also Peterborough's under-18 Player of the Year in 2008-09 and had been named in several first team squads for Boro' in the Championship in 2009-10.

Carl got injured during that Altrincham debut against Wrexham and had to go back to Peterborough for treatment but he returned to action before being sent off in his fourth league start at Kidderminster. After those setbacks, he established himself as a regular starter at Altrincham, mostly on the left side of the back-line.

He went on to make 21 appearances, all starts, before the end of a season which saw Alty relegated after throwing away potential survival in a ridiculous 4-3 home defeat to already relegated Eastbourne Borough. A win for Alty in that match would have relegated Forest Green Rovers and potentially deprived the footballing world of the village team's subsequent fairytale rise to league football.

Dave Challinor's appearance for Altrincham (shown, right) came at Moss Lane against Stockport County on 19 August 2008. That friendly game was a curious fixture as it was not a pre-season game; it came after three league fixtures had already been played that season. The match ended goalless, and was an evenly-matched game between an Altrincham squad comprising eight first-team squad members and five trialists. The Stockport side featured numerous players with first-team experience. Former Tranmere and Bury defender Dave had been weighing up Alty as a spectator at most of the club's home games that summer but, subsequently, he did not join the Robins.

As for the play-off itself, the Manchester Evening News reports that "Salford City have been promoted to the English Football League for the first time in their history after defeating Fylde 3-0 in the National League final at Wembley. They rode their luck at times in the first-half as Fylde missed several great chances but Mani Dieseruvwe made no mistake with his and capitalised on a defensive mishap to calmly slot in the opener.

The Ammies then came out of the traps flying in the second-half and scored two goals in two minutes through a powerful Carl Piergianni header and a fortunate cross-cum-shot that lofted [sic] the keeper and sneaked in at the back post from Ibou Touray. It's Salford's fourth promotion in five years and a massive step forward for joint-owners Gary Neville, David Beckham, Ryan Giggs, Nicky Butt and Phil Neville, who were watching on at Wembley. The result is the biggest National League Play-off win ever."


Warrington Town report that their "season ended in the cruelest fashion as Kings Lynn struck late in the second half of extra time to claim victory and secure promotion to the Vanarama Conference North.

The visitors took the lead in the first half through Jordan Richards, only for Ben Garrity to equalise three minutes later. Garrity emphatically headed home his second midway through the second period but, with time running out, Adam Marriott [ex-Lincoln City] scored from the penalty spot to take the game to extra time.

Both sides pushed for an elusive winner, and with 115 minutes gone, Michael Gash drilled beyond [ex-Alty keeper] Tony McMillan to secure victory for the East Anglian side.

Paul Carden was forced into one change ahead of the contest. After Jack Dunn failed a fitness test prior to kick-off, Dylan Vassallo started on the left, with Connor McCarthy taking the remaining spot on the bench...

Right: Michael Gash (no.40) playing for Barnet against Alty in 2015. The Alty players seen are Tom Marshall, Nicky Clee, Jake Moult and Stuart Coburn.

The game looked destined to be heading for penalties, but Kings Lynn managed to find a winner in the cruelest fashion with five minutes of the game left. After seeing his first shot blocked, Michael Gash cut back onto his right foot and curled a shot into the bottom corner. With both sides out on their feet, Warrington pushed for an equaliser, but they couldn’t muster a clear chance to work Street, meaning that Kings Lynn booked their spot in the Vanarama Conference North.

Warrington Town: McMillan, Beeley, Raven, Roberts, Whittle, Garrity, Evans, Mackreth (Cusani 94), Dixon (Amis 53), Vassallo, Gray (Benjamin 82). Subs not used: Duggan, McCarthy

King's Lynn Town: Street, Barrows (Jones 39), Blake-Tracy, Jarvis (Limb 79), Fryatt, McAuley, Clunan, Richards, Gash, Marriott, Henderson (Hawkins 65). Subs not used: Parker, Mellors-Blair

Attendance: 2,200".

Michael Gash, who netted the winning King's Lynn goal, had the distinction of scoring against Altrincham for three different clubs in 2014-15, when playing for Kidderminster Harriers, Nuneaton Town and Barnet! In fact Gash is also a contender for the record for playing against Alty for the most clubs as he has also been named against the Robins for at least four other clubs, namely Cambridge United, Rushden & Diamonds, Ebbsfleet United and York City!

Meanwhile, the Eastern Daily Press adds that "Ian Culverhouse's side clinched a dramatic 3-2 win after extra-time at Warrington to secure their place in the National North Division next season...

Lynn had come through the Southern Premier Central campaign to finish second, got through the semi-finals and the final and then faced this long trip to face the Northern Premier League winners in a 'super' final... Extra-time was a tense affair until Gash struck that glorious winner."

Assuming that King's Lynn Town's place in the National League North is ratified at the summer AGM of the League, the trip from Altrincham to King's Lynn, at around 160 miles, will be the second furthest league trip for the club next season, exceeded only by the 176 miles to Blyth Spartans.


Nathan Waterston's loan spell from Barrow at Alty was curtailed by an ACL injury at FC United (seen, right). Now, the NW Evening Mail reports that "Barrow AFC manager Ian Evatt has addressed the debate surrounding the nature of striker Nathan Waterston’s departure from the club last week.

The Bluebirds announced their retained list on Sunday evening and Waterston, who had been with them for 14 months, was listed as one of the three players who would be leaving the club at the end of their contracts. Waterston disputes that he was released by them, however, as he initially approached Evatt to say that he didn’t want to sign a new deal after a season that was unfortunately wrecked by serious shoulder and knee injuries.

The 21-year-old Performance Centre graduate is free to look for a new club during a summer where he is already able to keep himself busy playing for Furness Cricket Club in the Cumbria League.

Evatt said, 'Nathan, after the Gateshead game, informed the club that if, that’s the key word there, we did choose to give him a contract, he didn’t want to stay, through personal reasons of his own. From our point of view and from the football club’s point of view, unfortunately, Nathan wasn’t going to be kept on anyway. He wasn’t going to be offered a contract.

'This club has come a hell of a long way in a short space of time and we are looking to recruit to get us into the Football League and, for me, Nathan was not going to be a part of that, so we would have sent him on his way with our blessings. It didn’t really work out for him last year and I hope he goes and finds a club, which he needs to do, but that’s where we stand.

'He did inform me that he wanted to leave but, from our point of view, our meetings were on the Tuesday after that game anyway and then he was getting released anyway.'

Waterston could only make seven appearances in the season just finished before having shoulder surgery and he suffered cruciate ligament damage while on loan at Altrincham in February.

Evatt said, 'We do wish him all the best because there is a player in there. We want the best players to get this club the best chance of getting into the Football League; that's what I want as manager and Nathan, at the moment, is not up to that required standard, but that's my opinion. I hope he can go somewhere and go on to have a decent career in the game.'"


Chorley report that "The final game of the season is upon us. Competitive match number 51 for The Magpies (top seed), who welcome Spennymoor Town (3rd seed) to Victory Park on Sunday for the Vanarama National League North playoff final (3pm).

Pretty simple really; the winner is promoted to the National League, via extra time & penalties if needs be.

Since reforming in 2005 following the demise of Spennymoor United, the County Durham side consolidated in the Northern League before moving through the non-league pyramid and into a tier six promotion battle after just two seasons in the National League North. Jason Ainsley has been in charge of the progression since 2007 and had his side in a title battle this season until defeat at Stockport in March saw the beginning of a mini-slump. Fourth place was eventually secured, followed by playoff victories over Bradford (Park Avenue) & Brackley Town. Moors possess in their ranks the league’s leading scorer (and player of the year) Glen Taylor.

Chorley boss Jamie Vermiglio said 'We held our nerve last Sunday [v. Altrincham] and got what we deserved [really?]. We weren’t always at our best but we kept going, like we have done all season, and showed plenty of spirit to get ourselves back in the game and then through to the final. It didn’t matter who we faced in the final, both Brackley and Spennymoor are very good sides and, as it is, Spennymoor will prove a tough test. But we will once again back ourselves to get the result we want and with the backing of another large and loud home crowd we are confident in our abilities to finish the season on a high'.

Finishing second in the National League North has been advantageous for six teams in the post-season, including two (North Ferriby & Harrogate) in the last three years. In the 14 seasons since the National League North formed no team finishing fourth in the regular season has gone on to win promotion via the playoffs". Gainsborough Trinity report that "The ink is now dry, ratification from the FA complete and Gainsborough Trinity can officially confirm the arrival of the first new signing ahead of the 2019/20 season. Please join us in welcoming Nathan Hotte to the Martin & Co Arena.

An experienced centre back, or central midfielder 31 year old powerhouse, Hotte, joins following the expiry of his deal at National League North side, Alfreton Town. Previous experience includes spells at Halifax, North Ferriby United, Farsley & Scarborough. Standing 6' 3", Hotte offers a powerful frame that bolsters the Trinity spine and gives the management duo of Liam King and Ross Hannah options with the boss enthusing, "We are delighted to get Nathan on board, he is a proven winner who I’ve had the pleasure of playing with for a couple of years. He can play both centre midfield and centre half so gives us more options in those areas and is a great lad in the dressing room and team."

11 May 2019


EvoStik League Super Play-Off

Saturday 11 May

  • Warrington Town 2-3 King's Lynn Town aet

Vanarama National League Play-Off

Saturday 11 May

  • Salford City 3-0 AFC Fylde at Wembley


Altrincham supporters have been privileged to watch some fine attacking football over the past two seasons under Phil Parkinson's management. Indeed, in the 50+ years since 1968, Altrincham have only exceeded the two-year league goals tally of Altrincham in 2017-19 under one other manager, Lee Sinnott. Lee actually had two overlapping two-year sequences in which more goals were netted over two league campaigns than in the past two seasons.

Phil Parkinson & Neil Sorvel's League Matches

  • 2017-18 Step 3: Played 46 Scored 101 Points 95
  • 2018-19 Step 2: Played 42 Scored 85 Points 61 (excl. playoffs)
  • TOTALS: Played 86, Goals scored 186, Points accrued 156 (excl. playoffs)

Above: Alty's last league goal of the season, before the play-offs, was Jake Moult's header at Ashton United.

Lee Sinnott & Neil Tolson League Matches

Lee Sinnott, like Phil Parkinson, transformed Altrincham from a relegated club into a promoted one, albeit from Step 2 to Step 1, to which Alty returned in 2014. His record was:

  • 2011-12 Step 2: Played 42 Scored 90 Points 61
  • 2012-13 Step 2: Played 42 Scored 100 Points 80 (excl. playoffs)
  • 2013-14 Step 2: Played 42 Scored 95 Points 81 (excl. playoffs)
  • TOTALS: 2011-13 Played 84, Goals scored 190, Points accrued 141 (excl. playoffs)
  • TOTALS: 2012-14 Played 84, Goals scored 195, Points accrued 161 (excl. playoffs)


Vanarama National League North Play-Off

Sunday 12 May

  • Chorley v Spennymoor Town


Altrincham FC winger, John Johnston, has been named in the National League North team of the season. John made 40(+1) league appearances in 2018-19 scoring 14 goals. In addition he made 4(+1) cup appearances, scoring once.

The National League says that "After eight months’ worth of toil, we can now confirm the National League North Team of the Season. Voted for by the clubs...

  • Goalkeeper: Ben Hinchliffe (Stockport County)
  • Defenders: Ashley Palmer (Stockport County), Gareth Dean (Brackley Town), Andy Teague (Chorley)
  • Winger: John Johnston (Altrincham) Phil Parkinson’s first ever signing at Altrincham continues to endear himself to the Moss Lane faithful and has more than chipped in this campaign
  • Central midfield: Shane Byrne (Brackley Town), James Armson (Brackley Town)
  • Winger: Alex Newby (Chorley)
  • Attacking midfield: Matthew Warburton (Stockport County)
  • Striker: Glen Taylor (Spennymoor Town), Daniel Udoh (AFC Telford United)


Boston United "have completed their first new signing of the summer with the acquisition of experienced centre-half Luke Shiels. The 29-year-old has linked up with the Pilgrims from National League North rivals Alfreton Town, having spent the last two seasons at the Impact Arena.

Shiels also has considerable Step 2 experience to his name with Harrogate Town... United manager Craig Elliott... told, 'He is the leader we have been after for a while. Luke is strong and aggressive and attacks the ball in both boxes. He has vast experience at this level'".

At Hereford FC "The Bulls’ community work is set to benefit from a National League Trust grant that will see a full-time Community Engagement Manager employed by the club...

Graham, the Hereford Director with responsibility for the Community said... 'This is an exciting project, an opportunity to further promote health and well-being, inclusiveness and to increase our community engagement through the brand of Hereford Football Club'. Salary for the post is £25k plus commission.

Spennymoor Town report that "When the whistle blows on Sunday it will signal Moors’ 50th game and, arguably, biggest in the club’s 115-year existence [including its time as Spennymoor United], [and] of a 281-day season of drama, passion and excitement...

One game separates Spennymoor, with a population of just 20,000 who were playing the likes of Team Northumbria, Crook Town and Newton Aycliffe just five years ago, from the National League. The top tier of the non-league scene. Only Chorley stand in their way, with The Magpies reaching the final after a 3-1 penalty shootout victory over Altrincham following a 1-1 draw after 120 minutes. Goalkeeper Matt Urwin was the hero, saving three Alty spot kicks, and it means The Magpies have an opportunity to take revenge on Moors after Glen Taylor’s 90th minute goal last month derailed their automatic title hopes.

Chorley’s penalty win was mirrored at St James Park, where Moors triumphed 5-4 after a nail-biting battle from 12-yards, concluding with Lewis Hawkins sparking a pitch invasion from the travelling Moors fans. With 719 supporters travelling on official club coaches, as well as the hundreds making their own way to Lancashire, The Pilling End is set to be near full as Jason Ainsley aims to take his team to a level which seemed light years away in the days of the Northern League.

Moors have won both meetings between the sides this season... Chorley finished five points ahead of Moors in the regular National League North season, winning two more games. Moors were one of only three teams to win at Victory Park in 2018/19; Blyth Spartans and Ashton United were the others. Spennymoor have won their last six games and seven of their previous eight. Moors have won on their previous two play-off appearances, defeating Northwich Victoria in 2016 and Stourbridge in 2017, keeping clean sheets in both games."

York City's "Manager Steve Watson says it is 'vital' to have a crop of good young players in his squad next season. Watson was speaking after goalkeeper Ryan Whitley, 19, and striker Macaulay Langstaff, 22, both agreed to sign new deals with the Minstermen.

'If this club is going to move forward the way I want it to go, it is vital that we have a crop of good young players who compliment [sic] the more experienced group,' said Watson. York-born Whitley made his senior debut only last month and played the final five games of the season. Langstaff scored 12 goals last season including five in seven games following a loan spell at Bradford (Park Avenue).

'Ryan is a York lad with a bright future. He has great attributes; height, calmness, presence, and he is not afraid to come for crosses,' said Watson. 'For a big lad, he also makes good saves around his feet. He has still got a lot of work to do but he could turn into a very good goalkeeper. It is important at any club to have players who come through the ranks and do well,' he added... 'I am looking for other players from in-and-around the area who fit the bill because I know our supporters would love to cheer them on.

On Langstaff committing to the club again next season, Watson said 'I am pleased that Macaulay has decided to stay and I think he has made the right decision. He is an intelligent striker who makes greats runs. He came back from a loan spell at Bradford and scored five goals in seven games. He was also involved in most of our other goals creatively. He wasn't happy sitting on the sidelines last season and wanted to go out on loan,' he added. 'But I only wanted him to go out for a month to get his confidence and his sharpness back and it worked perfectly. Hopefully next season can be a big one for both him and the club.'"

10 May 2019


Altrincham made heavier use of the loan system in 2018-19 than in previous years with nine players arriving at the club for various periods. The loanees contribution included more than 11% of the total appearances (starts plus substitution appearances) and some 12% of the goals scored.

Sadly, three of the loanees' stays were truncated by injury...

  • Yusifu CEESAY (d.o.b 21 March, 1995) Altrincham became pacey forward Yusifu's fourth National North club this season when he arrived on loan from Blackpool on 6 February 2019. This immediately followed a month's loan at Nuneaton, whilst earlier in the campaign he had also spent loan spells at Boston United and AFC Telford United. Altrincham appearances: 13(+2), 3 goals.
  • Owen DALE (d.o.b. 1 November, 1998) Owen joined Altrincham on a month's loan in time to make his debut at Darlington on 25 August 2018. Owen proved to be a good addition to the Altrincham side and his loan was renewed for a further period in September 2018. Sadly, Crewe took him back at the end of November 2018. Altrincham appearances: 13(+3), 3 goals.
  • Brendon DANIELS (d.o.b. 24 September 1993) Brendon's signing, on a one-month loan from Port Vale, was announced on 28 July 2018. He is a left-winger who had joined AFC Fylde (May 2016) but made a summer move to Alfreton Town for 2017-18 season. In May 2018 he joined Port Vale, initially on a six-month contract. Altrincham appearances: 4(+3) 0 goals
  • Ashley HEMMINGS (d.o.b. 3 March 1991) On 4 December 2018, Altrincham signed AFC Fylde's 27 year-old winger Ashley Hemmings on a one-month loan, which was cut short on 31 December when he was recalled. Ashley made an impressive debut as a substitute against Telford on 8 December 2018 and despite his curtailed stay, he made a positive impression. Altrincham appearances: 4(+1), 2 goals.

    Above: Yusifu Ceesay, Owen Dale, Brendon Daniels, Ashley Hemmings, Josh Langley

  • Josh LANGLEY (d.o.b. 13 August, 1992) Josh arrived on loan from Southport on the eve of Alty's home game with York City on 17 November 2018, for which he was an unused substitute. In July 2018 he joined Southport on a one-year contract and again played against Alty, at Haig Avenue, in August 2018. However, he had lost his place in the first-team at Southport before his loan to Alty. In his month at Altrincham he did not start a league game, his only game being a start in the FA Trophy against Stockport County. On completion of his stay at Alty, Southport loaned him straight out to Guiseley. Altrincham appearances: 1.
  • Joe PIGGOTT (d.o.b. 23 June 1999) On 29 January 2019, Altrincham announced the loan signing of Joe Piggott from Wigan Athletic. He had just completed a loan spell at Morecambe and he was set to spend the rest of the 2018-19 campaign on a youth loan with Altrincham. Joe soon made his mark with a hat-trick at Curzon Ashton but a back injury ended his season in late March. Altrincham appearances: 6 (4 goals).

    Above: Joe Piggott, Chris Sang, Billy Sass-Davies, Nathan Waterston

  • Chris SANG (d.o.b. 29 June 1999) Chris was signed on loan from Bury on the eve of Alty's fixture on 22 December 2018, for which he was an unused substitute. Before joining Alty he had made two appearances for Bury and nine apiece for both Southport and Marine, scoring once at each of those two clubs. After just one start and barely another hour of action spread over four substitute appearances, Chris returned to Bury in late January 2019. Altrincham appearances: 1(+4), 0 goals.
  • Billy SASS-DAVIES (d.o.b. 17 February 2000) Wales under-19 centre-back Billy was signed on the eve of Alty's trip to York on 8 March 2019 on a season-long loan. He made his debut in that match as a substitute. Prior to joining Altrincham, Billy had just completed a loan spell at FC United of Manchester having previously had spells on loan at Colwyn Bay and Leek Town. However, a three-week gap in Altrincham fixtures, an injury, as well as an early recall by Crewe on 13 April 2019, limited Billy to just two substitute appearances for Altrincham. Altrincham appearances: 0(+2), 0 goals)
  • Nathan WATERSTON (d.o.b. 13 May, 1997) On 22 January 2019 Altrincham confirmed the one-month loan signing from Barrow of striker Nathan Waterston. He had been sidelined by a shoulder injury since September 2018, although he had originally picked up the injury several months' earlier. He made his debut as a substitute at Leamington on 26 January 2019. In his second appearance, again from the bench, at FC United of Manchester on 9 February 2019, Nathan was fouled in the closing minutes and suffered an ACL injury which terminated his season. Appearances to June 2018: 0(+2), 0 goals.


The Sale & Altrincham Messenger carries John Edwards's piece on Alty's defeat at Chorley which quotes Alty boss Parkinson as saying "Speaking to the lads about the sending off, it seems Josh [Hancock] has gone over the ball, but he slipped, so you would hope a bit of common sense might be shown in a game of this magnitude. That cost us the game, because we were comfortable at the time.

"But I am bursting with pride to be wearing this top, with the Alty badge on it and hearing fans singing your name and knowing they are coming along because they want to see the football your team are playing. It's astronomical the way this club has come on over the past two years and it is a joy to be around the place.

"It's very hard to stomach what happened at Chorley, but the character the players showed in both play-off games, and all season, fills me with pride, as does the backing we had yet again from our supporters. When you consider we finished fifth on a middle-of-the-table budget, there's no doubt we punched above our weight and we can take a lot of confidence from that moving forward."


For the past fourteen summers, a Patrons' Scheme has operated at Altrincham FC. And this summer, Press & Media Officer, John Edwards, writes that the club is "inviting supporters to play a part in shaping the manager's strategy by making their own contribution directly into his playing budget... [through] the club's Patrons' Scheme. It really is that simple. Join the Patrons' Scheme, and the club will ensure every last penny of the £50 it costs will go into the playing budget.

There are plenty of benefits for signing up, not least a name check in every Robins Review match programme and free entry into a draw for hospitality packages, but the real reward has to be the knowledge you have personally improved the chances of Phil and his assistant Neil Sorvel bringing the players they want to the club... It has been decided all proceeds from the Patrons Scheme will go directly on the squad to boost the playing budget for Phil and Neil".

For details of the scheme, please follow the above link.


Nuneaton Borough "have announced that they have paid the outstanding bill to HMRC that had led to the recent winding up petition. The bill, which stood at almost £32,000, was paid last month after the Club successfully had the winding up petition adjourned and subsequently won a request for a validation order to access their bank account...

'It’s taken a lot of hard work', said Chairman Jimmy Ginnelly, continuing 'We need to make sure that this isn’t for nothing, that we safe-guard the future of the Club and don’t let this happen again. We’ve had donations from far and wide but the bulk has been from the generosity of local businessmen who love this Club. We’ve also asked far too much of our supporters, constantly looking for them to put their hands in their pockets and bail us out for mismanagement in the past, that’s not a sustainable model and I apologise that we’ve had to lean on them so much, it’s now our turn to stand up and be counted for them, to deliver a football team that the town can get behind.

'Although we were relegated at the weekend I think we’ve shown enough fighting spirit to give a taste of what we’re about and how we’re going to tackle our campaign next season. Off the pitch we’re also working hard to put structures in place to ensure that we’re a viable proposition. I’d like to say thank you to the fans that have stuck with us this season, they’ve been a credit to the Club and have seen us through this incredibly difficult period. Together we’re strong, we will bounce back, up the Boro.'

Further to this, the Club can confirm that the winding order has been dismissed."

According to York Press, "York City manager Steve Watson is interested in signing out-of-contract Harrogate Town midfielder Michael Woods but admits salary expectations could be a stumbling block.

The York-born 29-year-old, whose granddad Alan and uncle Neil are both former Minstermen players, is a free agent, having joined Harrogate from fellow National League club Hartlepool last November. Watson believes Woods would enhance City’s firepower from the engine room of the pitch with three-goal pair Adriano Moke and Paddy McLaughlin topping the tally from midfield last season.

It is understood that the former England under-19 international is weighing up his options, though, with Watson saying 'We’ve definitely spoken about him and one thing we like about him is he has a very good goal ratio, but he’s played in the National League for Hartlepool and Harrogate and been on good money. In our position, you put a wish list together, but persuading players to drop their pay and a division can be difficult. I’m speaking to players who I know would make a difference to us but, at the moment, we have to accept that we are a National League North club who have just finished in mid-table and people look at that'.

Woods scored three goals last season, but only started half of the 28 appearances he was handed by Hartlepool and Harrogate... Woods was signed from Leeds by Chelsea at the age of 16 and went on to become the Stamford Bridge giants’ fourth-youngest ever player, making two appearances in the FA Cup. Spells with Football League outfits Notts County, Yeovil and Doncaster [followed], prior to a stint in National League North with Harrogate, where he returned after more than four seasons at Hartlepool.

Watson... has also warned potential close-season signings that the days of the Minstermen being perceived as a sixth-tier gravy train are over.

'I think York has become the go-to place to get a good contract, but I want to bring in players who want to play for the club, myself and (assistant-manager) Micky (Cummins),' Watson insisted. 'They can’t just come here because they want a good deal. The contracts we are offering are fair, but not outrageous. Some of those staying with us have been bumped up a bit to get them in and around everybody else and some players have taken a cut, even though they could have got more elsewhere, because I have taken phone calls from managers wanting them.'

The former Gateshead chief added that he would not be issuing appearance-related contracts whereby new deals are triggered after players reach an agreed number of outings".

Spennymoor Town report that "As the club embark on arguably the biggest game in its 115 year history [as Spennymoor United for the most part], we would like to remind fans about their conduct ahead of Sunday’s final.

We believe our fans should be proud of their exemplary record of behaviour over the course of the season. However, there was an incident with a smoke bomb at York on Friday 19th April which we have had to respond to the FA about. The investigation is currently ongoing. The use of pyrotechnics could affect the club more than just on a financial level, as any instances of pyrotechnics use means innocent parties may be at risk of serious injury as a result".

Cheshire Live informs us that "He may be turning 33 later this year but Gary Stopforth is still keen to make improvements to his game. Stopforth signed a new one-year deal with Chester FC earlier this week, news which was greeted warmly by Blues fans who held the former Salford City and Stockport County midfielder in high regard during the 2018/19 season owing to his all-action displays in the centre of midfield.

A knee injury that required surgery saw him miss the second half of the National League North campaign... But Stopforth will be back for more next season...

'I was always leaning towards staying as I’ve loved it at Chester and the fans and volunteers have been spot on,' said Stopforth. 'For me, and I know I’m 32, I’m buzzing to be part of the hybrid thing, to train a bit more and work on a few more things than you do when you are part time. I’m interested to see if I can get any better, if I can make improvements myself. It can only be a good thing for us and I think it will help us kick on a bit next season.

'If anything, I thought we overachieved last season. We were winning some games 1-0 when we should have been smashing them off the park. I think that next season we’ll be better for the experience and we’ve got a good core of lads to build on. And with some new lads, a bit of magic dust sprinkled, then I think we’ll give it a right good go. I wouldn’t have signed again if I didn’t think we could'...

With the players returning for pre-season training in June, Stopforth is focused on being at his peak for when it all kicks off again... Said Stopforth...'I think that we’re going to have a good one next season, I honestly mean that'".

The Shropshire Star confirms that "Long-serving midfielder Jon Royle is the latest player to agree to stay at AFC Telford United for next season. It will be Royle's fourth campaign with the Bucks, having signed from Southport in September 2016...

The 24-year-old Welshman played 32 times in National League North... Cowan stated his intention to keep hold of the vast majority of his stars and Royle joins Andre Brown, Andy Wycherley, James McQuilkin, Zak Lilly, Ross White and skipper Shane Sutton in penning fresh terms."


As usual the squad for England C includes a number of unlikely names. The NL Paper tells us that "England C will head to Tallinn to play Estonia’s U23s on Wednesday, June 5. The Non-League Three Lions' boss Paul Fairclough has named a 16-man squad for the trip, made up of U23 players who represent clubs from outside the top four divisions in England...

There are some new names among the group as Fairclough examines his options ahead of next term following their draw with Wales C in March. The match takes place at the Kadrioru Stadium in Tallinn, kicking-off at 7pm local time.

The squad:

  • Goalkeepers: Ryan Huddart (Boreham Wood), Ben Killip (Braintree Town)
  • Defenders: Alex Brown (Buxton), Mitchell Dickenson (Hythe Town), Jon Mellish (Gateshead), Connor Stevens (Wealdstone), Luke Trotman (Darlington)
  • Midfielders: Ryan Croasdale (AFC Fylde), Wesley Fonguck (Barnet), James Hardy (AFC Fylde), Matthew Lowe (Brackley Town), Ephron Mason-Clark (Barnet), Joe Rowley (Chesterfield), Thomas White (Gateshead)
  • Forwards: Isaac Galliford (Hitchin Town), Kurt Willoughby (FC United of Manchester)"


News of potential members of the National League Morth next season comes from the Warrington Guardian which tells us that "A completely new opponent stands between Warrington Town and a place in the National League North.

[On Saturday] King’s Lynn Town make the 165-mile journey to Cantilever Park having triumphed in the Southern Premier Central’s play-offs.

Here’s a little more about Town’s super play-off rivals.

King's Lynn Town: Founded: 2010. 2018/19 season: 2nd in Evo-Stik Southern Premier Central

Play-off route:

Semi-final: Beat Stratford Town 3-1, Final: Beat Alvechurch 3-0

The Linnets finished second in their division, pipping Stourbridge to the runners-up honour. Notoriously hard to beat, they lost only eight of 42 games in the regular season and their tally of 80 goals is bettered only by runaway league champions Kettering Town.

King’s Lynn are managed by former Premier League footballer Ian Culverhouse, who spent much of his playing career at Norwich City... He led the club to a play-off final defeat last season before leaving for Grantham Town. His spell at the Gingerbreads was brief and he rejoined King’s Lynn last November.

Dangerman: Adam Marriot...and a man bang in goal-scoring form. Having finished as the Southern Premier Central’s leading marksman with 24 regular-season goals, Marriot made the key difference in their play-off final win over Alvechurch by netting twice. He can count Cambridge United, Stevenage and Lincoln City among his former clubs".

9 May 2019


"Football, bl**dy hell!", the words uttered by Sir Alex Ferguson after his team, Manchester United, had won The Treble in 1999, have been much quoted in the media this week, following, first, Liverpool's and then Spurs' remarkable comebacks in the Champions' League competition.

But the words of the man who, coincidentally, also performed the opening ceremony at Altrincham's Community Sports Hall in 2015 (pictured, right), had even greater resonance for Altrincham fans this week, compared with the impact on most other supporters not involved with either of the Premiership clubs.

That was not just because both 'Pool and Spurs are part of Alty folklore after memorable FA Cup ties against those football giants in the past, but because the Alty supporters' had experienced two of their very own emotional rollercoasters during the past week.

Before they shared in the world-wide amazement at the feats of Liverpool and Spurs, Alty staged their own late comeback on Wednesday week against Blyth Spartans. Trailing 2-0 they came back to level the promotion play-off game in the 95th minute. A remarkable shootout followed, in which they netted all seven of their penalties whilst Spartans converted six on the run, too.

Then, last Sunday, Alty met Chorley in the play-off semi-final and, midway through the second half, led 1-0 only to have their leading scorer sent off after also losing their second-leading scorer to injury in the game. Chorley levelled seven minutes from time before Alty's ten men came through Extra-Time and another penalty shoot-out ensued. This was gut-wrenching as Chorley missed their first two spotkicks only for Alty to go one better and see all of their first three pens saved!

The Magpies went on to win the shoot out 3-1 and end Altrincham's season.

As if all of the above were not enough, many Alty fans were also put through the wringer this week by their "second teams". It took a late bolt from the blue from Vincent Kompany for their favoured local Premiership club, Manchester City, to secure a nerve-wracking but vital win over Leicester City, whilst those of their fellow Moss Laners who follow the Red team in Manchester suffered the trauma of Manchester United's lamentable draw at relegated Huddersfield and failure to qualify for the Champions' League.

So, for more than most, it's been an amazing week for Altrincham supporters. In fact, there's only one way to sum it up, "Football, bl**dy hell!"


TASC Travel Coordinator, Mark Eckersall, writes:

"As another season ends, it's time to say thanks to all who supported the coaches this season once again. Whichever way you travelled to games in the last 9 months, you've played your part in supporting the team to achieve some great results on the road. The management and players have shown their appreciation on numerous occasions and we've had some great trips.

Whilst we may have fallen a little short at Chorley, the players could not have given us any more and this has been reflected in one of the most positive reactions to an Alty defeat I have seen in my time watching.

To take 1,200 fans to Chorley was an incredible scene. I've always been in awe of how the ex football league clubs like Stockport County and Wrexham produce huge numbers of travelling fans. When you work on percentage of home supporters then, on Sunday, we matched them.

My thanks go to John Laidlar and Simon Ellis for their help on the day with the 100 passengers on the coaches. There was a great family atmosphere on both coaches which was our aim. We hope that some of you will join us again next year for more of the same. The more regular travellers we have then the lower the prices will be as our only aim is to break even across the season. We go again in August.

Enjoy your summer".

And everyone who used the travel service during the scene is greatly appreciative of Mark's hard work to ensure that reliable and comfortable travel was arranged to away games at an economic price.


Promoted Stockport County report an "update surrounding the First Team Squad. The manager, James Gannon, has confirmed that written offers have been made to the following players:
  • Sam Minihan
  • Dan Cowan
  • Scott Duxbury
  • Ash Palmer
  • Paul Turnbull [ex-Alty loanee]
  • Jordan Keane
  • Matty Warburton
  • Nyal Bell [ex-Alty loanee]
There is also an intention to have positive talks regarding re-engagement of the young, developing players Jordan Downing, Festus Arthur and Szymon Czubik.

The club can confirm that the following players have already signed for next season:

  • Ben Hinchliffe
  • Ian Ormson
  • Sam Walker
  • Elliot Osborne
  • Connor Dimaio
  • Jake Kirby
  • Adam Thomas
  • Frank Mulhern
The position of Darren Stephenson has still to be considered fully and discussed, and the manager is set to speak to the player when he returns from a family holiday. The manager has confirmed that the only player that hasn’t been offered further terms for the 2019/2020 season is Adam Etches, who will be allowed to leave at the expiration of his contract.

We know that a number of our out-of-contract players will attract interest and we may not be able to retain all of last season’s successful team, but the number of offers to the players within the group highlights both the progress of the players and the manager’s belief in them, as individuals and as a team, to represent the club very well again next season...

At this stage last season it was announced publicly that the manager felt that the emerging (and now well-established) training model at the club was the most cost-effective and efficient model for us to progress with. It can be argued effectively that this was proven over the course of last season. The pressures to go full-time are greater within the National League and the aspirations of the club is to continue our progress and become increasingly competitive.

However, following discussions throughout the season, and after the progress of the team and an evaluation of the training structures, a decision was made by the manager, in consultation with the board, staff and players that the club would be best-served in the coming season by seeking a stability, consistency and momentum from the current structures and retaining the majority of this year’s successful team.

The staff have reviewed a number of areas where improvements can be made and advances in training and preparation can be developed further, especially amongst our contracted full-time players. So the movement towards the provision of full-time football continues but will again this season retain a respectful balance with those players that are retaining full or part-time employment outside of football".


The Kidderminster Shuttle reports that a "Former Kidderminster Harriers boss is hoping to take a quirky Bewdley coffee lounge to the 'next level' as its new owner. Ex-footballer Mark Yates, aged 49, has taken the over the reigns of the Piccolo's coffee shop on Load Street, which was previously run by his sister-in-law Rachael Willets, for the past 13 years.

The manager, who took the reins on May 1, is excited about the new venture and hopes to carry on the success of the previous owner, introducing new live music events to delight customers.

Mark said 'It's a quirky little coffee shop with a lot of character, and we want to take it to the next level. It's all about keeping the customers happy... We want to keep working hard and improve the shop, and put our own stamp on it'".


York Press report that "Departing goalkeeper Adam Bartlett believes York City’s future will be bright with Ryan Whitley between the sticks and Steve Watson at the helm.

Bartlett has decided to move on from Bootham Crescent to pursue a career in sales and play part-time football in the Northern League. But, after turning down a new deal with the Minstermen, the 33-year-old net-minder is convinced his long-time teenage understudy can shine for his home-town club if he agrees to a new contract extension.

Bartlett ended an ever-present first-team run of 70 games since his November 2017 arrival from Darlington when he made way for 19-year-old Whitley during the final five fixtures of last season.

And, having worked closely with the ex-Manchester City trialist throughout the whole of last term, Bartlett believes the former Archbishop Holgate pupil will go on to play in the Football League, declaring 'Ryan will be brilliant if he’s in goal next season. He is very assured, composed and level-headed and has all the attributes to be a top keeper. I was lucky enough to play in the Football League during my career and Ryan is destined to head that way'...

Whitley endured a difficult second senior outing for the Minstermen when he misjudged a free kick, which led to the hosts’ first goal during a 2-2 draw at Chester. He also suffered a few nervy moments following dead-ball deliveries into his penalty box during the subsequent fixtures, but Bartlett was quick to dispel any talk of such situations exposing a flaw in his game...

'He’s 6ft 7in and I’ve seen him come for everything in training... But, as a young keeper, you’ll always make wrong decisions and everybody just has to be accepting of that, as a club, because Ryan will be a top, top keeper'" added Bartlett.

Earlier, Bartlett told York Press, 'I was made an offer and I’ve met with (City assistant-manager) Micky Cummins twice since the end of the season but, at my age, I felt that I don’t want to be in the position every April where I’m chasing a full-time deal in football. I’ve had an offer to take on a job with a friend’s business, which I started last week, and, I think, me moving on will represent the best for both parties...

'I’m now looking at playing at a part-time level on my doorstep. I’ve got family commitments and it has come to the point where I don’t want to be travelling across the north region to play at weekends on top of training during the week.' Bartlett’s decision leaves the Minstermen currently without a keeper on their books for 2019/20, although 19-year-old, ex-Manchester City trialist Whitley has been offered new terms for next season.

The Minstermen are waiting on answers from Whitley and fellow out-of-contract duo Scott Burgess and striker Macaulay Langstaff, who were also included on manager Steve Watson’s end-of-season retained list".

And the York City "retained list has now been announced... Five out-of-contract players have been told they will not be offered new deals - Hamza Bencherif, Josh Law, Alex Harris, Jon Parkin, and Josh Rogerson."

Meanwhile, NL Daily states that "Boston United manager Craig Elliott has delivered an end-of-season squad update, with defender Ben Middleton putting pen-to-paper on a new contract. Middleton sealed the deal on Tuesday evening and joins six other United players under contract for the 2019-2020 season.

Midfielder Nicky Wroe, meanwhile, has terminated his contract by mutual consent due to travelling issues and work commitments.

CONTRACTED FOR 2019-2020 are Brad Abbott, Ashley Jackson, Ben Middleton, Jay Rollins, Andi Thanoj, Nicky Walker, George Willis

TERMS AGREED FOR 2019-2020 Jonathan Wafula

INVITED BACK FOR PRE-SEASON 2019-2020 Ryan Cresswell, Ben Davies

REJECTED TERMS Gavin Allott, Ryan Qualter

RELEASED WITHOUT OFFER Andre Johnson, Jonny Margetts, Dylan Parkin, Jordan Slew".

According to NL Daily "Chester left back Matty Waters and midfielder Gary Stopforth have signed one-year contract extensions at the club. 21-year-old Waters signed his first senior deal in 2016 at the Swansway Chester Stadium. He ended this season strongly, tying down his spot as the first choice left-back and putting in a string of impressive displays since the turn of the year.

Joint-boss Anthony Johnson told 'Matthew’s improved in every facet of his game and his willingness to want to get better all the time is one of the main reasons we look forward to working with him next season.' Popular midfielder Stopforth joined from Colne last summer and has... made 25 appearances, scoring one goal... His box-to-box energy was a real highlight for the Blues during the first half of the season. However, a meniscus tear in December forced him to have knee surgery and ruled him out of the remainder of the season.

Nevertheless, the 32-year-old has been working hard on his recovery... Anthony Johnson said 'Gary is 32 going on 19 in every single way of his life! His engine is better than any other player we’ve ever seen at non-league level, which helps him lead by example in every game. The fact he’s not played since last December will be a massive help for him too meaning by the time he starts pre-season his body has had six months complete rest.'"

Another Chester player is leaving as Cheshire Live reports that "Theo Roberts may not be sticking around at Chester FC next season despite the club having taking up the option on his deal this week. The 20-year-old was signed by Blues bosses Anthony Johnson and Bernard Morley from Wigan Athletic last summer but was immediately sent out on loan to Buxton.

While at the Bucks he flourished and nailed down the number one position... On Monday it was announced that the Blues would be taking up the option on Roberts for the 2019/20 season, but it appears that he may not be sticking around for the campaign. With Chester moving to the hybrid model for next season, moving away from part-time football, Roberts is unable to commit to the new structure and could yet depart the club.

One of the driving factors behind the club taking the option on the goalkeeper was to ensure that their interests were protected should he move on. Roberts will likely have suitors given his performances for Buxton last season and it is understood that they are keen to tie him down permanently. Should they wish to do so then Chester will be entitled to a fee".

News from NL Daily is that "AFC Telford United’s James McQuilkin has signed a contract extension to stay with the club for the 2019/20 campaign. The midfielder played an integral role for the Bucks during the 2018/19 campaign, making 33 starts in the National League North and scoring twice.

Speaking to the club website, manager Gavin Cowan said 'He’s been not only a huge part of our on-field work but he is also a brilliant character to have around the place. He will bring even more to what we are hoping to evolve to as we enter the new season'".

But less happily for The Bucks, the Shropshire Star claims that "Shrewsbury Town are considering a swoop for highly-rated AFC Telford United top scorer Daniel Udoh. The 22-year-old hot-shot has caught the eye for the New Bucks Head side after netting 26 goals in all competitions, a record for the Bucks since reforming.

Udoh, who was born in Nigeria but lives in Telford, has impressed with his all-round game as well as superb finishing ability... His super goal haul came in 46 appearances this term, a better strike rate than one in two. But Town will do battle with a number of other Football League clubs for the hot-shot’s signature.

The Lagos-born frontman is out of contract at the New Buck's Head and Telford would receive compensation if he moves on. Udoh, who has played for a number of non-league teams including Chester and Leamington, was part of the renowned academy at Crewe Alexandra but was released last summer. The striker does have experience of the Football League, making 15 appearances for Crewe in League One and Two.

The path directly between neighbours Telford and Shrewsbury is not a well-trodden one".

At Guiseley "Various awards were presented to the First Team, Academy and Volunteers. Following short speeches from Academy Manager Dave Currie and Joint First Team Manager Russ O’Neill, trophies were presented by the management teams.

Club Chairman Gary Douglas also spoke thanking the management team for steering the club through a difficult season... First Team players sat alongside the supporters, a touch which is much appreciated...

Will Thornton received the first ever first team Young Player of the Season Award and he thanked his teammates, the management team, the supporters and everyone at the club who has played a part in his breakthrough season. Other awards presented were:

  • Craig Shearstone Guiseley AFC Supporters’ Club Player of the Season – Cliff Moyo
  • Sponsors’ Player of the Season – Kaine Felix
  • Players’ Player of the Season – Andy Halls
  • Eric Waite Memorial Award, Manager’s Player of the Season – Cliff Moyo"

8 May 2019


Following the shoot-out defeat at Chorley, manager Phil Parkinson [right] and assistant, Neil Sorvel, were interviewed by Brian Flynn for Alty TV.



Stability was a key factor in 2018-19. 12 players made 37 or more starts:
  • 49 Jake MOULT (all starts, 44 league, 5 cups)
  • 46 John JOHNSTON (44+2, comprising 40+1 in league, 4+1 in cups)
  • 46 Josh HANCOCK (39+7, comprising 36+5 in league, 3+2 in cups)
  • 44 Tom HANNIGAN (all starts, 40 league, 4 cups)
  • 44 James JONES (43+1, comprising 39+1 league, 4 in cups)
  • 41 Connor HAMPSON (38+3, comprising 35+2 league, 3+1 in cups)
  • 41 Max HARROP (28+13, comprising 25+12 league, 3+1 in cups)
  • 40 Simon RICHMAN (20+20, comprising 16+20 league, 4 in cups)
  • 39 Jordan HULME (36+3, comprising 31+3 league, 5 in cups)
  • 37 Anthony THOMPSON (all starts, comprising 34 league, 3 in cups)
  • 37 Andy WHITE (all starts, comprising 33 league, 4 in cups)
  • 37 Sean WILLIAMS (30+7, comprising 26+7 league, 4 in cups)


  • Named in a league squad: 37 players
  • Loanees named in league squad: 9 (who are included in total above; they were Yusifu Ceesay, Owen Dale, Brendon Daniels, Ashley Hemmings, Josh Langley, Joe Piggott, Chris Sang, Billy Sass-Davies, Nathan Waterston)
  • Never got on pitch in league game: 3 (Ben Elliott, Josh Langley, Charlie Scott)
  • Used as a sub but did not start a league game: 5 (Bay Downing, Dontai Gabidon, Callum Harris, Billy Sass-Davies, Nathan Waterston)


Players named in any matchday squad, league or cup:
  • 44 of whom six did not figure in a league squad (Louie Barratt, Reece Coley, Matt Cook, Callum Jones, Pat Savage, Ross Woodcock)


  • Red: 4 of which 3 in league (inc. 1 in play-offs) (Jordan Hulme away at Leamington, Andy White away at Telford, Josh Hancock away at Chorley in play-off). 1 red in cups: Jordan Hulme, home to Stockport County)
  • Yellow: 61 in league, 6 in cups


  • 2 Jordan Hulme
  • 1 Andy White, Josh Hancock


  • 11 Max Harrop in 28+13 appearances
  • 8 Jordan Hulme in 36+3
  • 7 John Johnston in 44+2
  • 6 Andy White in 37+3
  • 5 Sean Williams in 30+7
  • 5 Simon Richman in 20+20


League gates: HOME
  • Highest: 3,383 v Stockport County, 26 December 2018
  • Lowest: 695 v Nuneaton Borough, 30 October 2018


  • Highest: 4,549 v Stockport County, 1 January 2019 and 3,446 v Chorley in play-off semi final, 5 May 2019
  • Lowest: 454 at Bradford (PA), 15 September 2018

ATTENDANCES Excluding play-offs:

  • Home avge: 1137
  • Away avge: 1198


The Shropshire Star reports that "Interim chairman Andy Pryce has shared his pride over the growth AFC Telford United have experienced on and off the pitch over the past year.

The Bucks, led by Gavin Cowan, finished the season having had a run to the FA Trophy semi-finals while just missing out on the National League North play-offs.

At the same time, Pryce and the board have managed to get the club on a much steadier financial footing; the increase in New Bucks Head attendances helping in that regard.

And Pryce said, 'We are proud that we have had a very good season this year, after a few difficult ones before it... We have got an amazing group of staff that work so hard behind the scenes too'...

Pryce has vowed not to spend sums of money which would risk such financial struggles experienced a couple of years ago when buckets were being taken around the ground asking supporters for any change to help pay the bills.

'The aim for myself and the board is to always run the club within its means unless we get more investment,' said Pryce. 'We are more than open to have people knocking on the door and investing into the club. If they are better placed to take the football club forward then that’s how it is.'

Chester FC "announce that goalkeeper Theo Roberts has had his contract option exercised, keeping him at the club for the 2019-20 season.

Roberts has been on-loan at Evo-Stik Premier side Buxton for the entirety of the 2018-19 campaign... and being named in the Evo-Stik NPL Show ‘Team of the Season’ as the Bucks reached the Play-Offs".

Also at Chester FC the club is "delighted to confirm that midfielder Gary Stopforth has signed a new one-year deal at the Swansway Chester Stadium.... Chester FC are pleased to announce that left back Matty Waters has put pen to paper – and signed a one-year contract extension at the club."

Blyth Spartans report that their "Official Supporters’ Club have launched the Alun’s Green and White Army budget boosting campaign to help prepare Alun Armstrong and his coaching staff for the 2019/20 National League North season.

After the club’s highest ever finish, and a play-off berth, we are inviting fans to pledge what they can to not only keep the current squad together, but further improve it.

We understand that the club has invested a large amount of money in the last two years... However, now there is a necessity for external investment as the club continues to progress whilst maintaining its commitment to running a financially sustainable operation.

This is why we, and Alun, are asking for your help to make sure the good work that is happening on the field continues. The Alun’s Green and White Army budget boost will go directly into the club’s playing budget".

According to the National League, "Jason Ainsley is well aware Chorley will have a score to settle against Spennymoor in the National League North Promotion Final.

Moors are through after holding their nerve against Brackley Town on Sunday. The penalty kick win was one of long-serving Ainsley’s most cherished moments at the club but he knows there’s a revenge mission in store. Spennymoor’s late win over Chorley three weeks ago swung the title race firmly in Stockport County’s favour...

'It was right up there,' Ainsley told the club’s video service. 'Brackley are a top, top side - they have some outstanding footballers. People thought we would be cannon fodder but we stood up to it. Both sides had chances and it seemed like both sides didn’t want to win it!

'We had to put a real shift in. We’re running on empty, the injuries we have got have caused us problems but we did it... Chorley have a job to settle with us after our goal took them off the top of the table a few weeks ago. But we’re in it to win it, we want to go up'".

Meanwhile, Brackley Town report on the defeat by the Moors.

"For the second season Brackley were knocked out in the play-offs as Spennymoor progressed to the final having ridden their luck and held their nerve in a dramatic penalty shoot-out. 120 minutes of tense but pulsating action did not produce a goal despite chances for both sides, Saints enjoying the better of them, before the visitors edged through 5-4 on penalties in a dramatic finale.

“We carved out the better openings but sticking the ball in the back of the net is where we’ve fallen short again,” Kevin Wilkin said. “To have only scored one goal in the closing three games of the season and an extra time is where we’d expect to do better. We had some great chances and good moments today but we’ve come up short and not finished the job. It’s difficult to lose on penalties but you have to work the target. If you stick it on target you give yourself a chance.

But Spennymoor have come here and been competitive and done fantastically well. They got the rub of the green and we wish them well in the final. We are obviously disappointed but we have to dust ourselves down and pick everybody up and be ready to go again.”

A revamped Kettering could be back on Alty's itinerary once more next season and the Northants Telegraph reports that "Marcus Law piled the praise on his 'fantastic' Kettering Town squad after they were confirmed as Evo-Stik League South Premier Division Central champions.

Top scorer Rhys Hoenes grabbed the only goal of the game as the Poppies secured a 1-0 success at Halesowen Town to finally wrap up the title while, in the process, condemning the hosts to relegation.

Backed by a huge travelling army of fans, Kettering turned in a workmanlike display to seal the deal and ensure they can now look forward to what is set to be a return to the Vanarama National League North next season.

And the success left Law reflecting on what has been a highly impressive campaign with the Poppies currently 12 points clear of the rest with three games to spare.

'It’s been four years, it’s been turbulent and emotional but credit where it’s due, this squad has been fantastic all year,' the Kettering manager said...

'I think the biggest thing is that we haven’t lost two league games on the bounce to this point. That shows good character... But the real quality we have brought in were the last-minute goals, they have really put us where we are now. And again, that comes down to the character and the strength of the squad.'

Law paid tribute to the club’s board for sticking by him after three seasons of being unable to clinch promotion to the next level".

7 May 2019


At the end of the season for Altrincham, it is appropriate to look at some of the team's statistics for 2018-19. Part One is below, with Part Two following, tomorrow. All of the following figures are subject to confirmation!


With Altrincham yo-yoing between divisions in the last three campaign, the nearest comparator to Altrincham's final league position and performance in recent years is with 2011-12:
  • 2011-12: Conference North P42 W17 D10 L15 F90 A71 PTS61 POSN 8th
  • 2018-19: Conference North P42 W20 D11 L11 F85 A56 PTS61 POSN 5th plus playoffs, in which: P2 W1 D0 L1 F3 A3


In 2018-19 Altrincham scored 85 league goals plus 3 in the play-offs and conceded 56, plus 3 in the play-offs. The individual goal scorers were led by...
  • 20 in all competitions: Josh HANCOCK (19 league) and Jordan HULME (17 league)
  • 15 John JOHNSTON (14 league)
  • 7 Max HARROP

Right: Jordan Hulme is congratulated by Matt Chadwick.

GOAL TIMES (LEAGUE exc play-offs)

  • First half: 33
  • Second half: 52


Ten clean sheets were kept in league matches this season. Five at home (to Ashton United, Nuneaton Borough, York City, Southport and Chester FC) and five away (at Darlington, Curzon Ashton, York, Alfreton and Nuneaton).


  • Wins: Four, games 16 to 19
  • Unbeaten: Eight, twice. Games 12 to 19 and games 31 to 38
  • Draws: Two in main season (games 41,42) or 4 if the two play-offs are added.
  • Losses: Two, twice (games 4,5 and 8,9)


  • Games 1-21: 35 points
  • Games 22-42: 36 points


  • 1: Joe Piggott at Curzon Ashton


  • 7-0 at Alfreton Town
  • 6-0 at Curzon Ashton
  • 4-0 at home to Nuneaton Borough and at home to Chester FC


  • 1-4 at Chorley
  • 0-3 at Leamington


Altrincham had eleven draws in the league proper plus two more in play-offs which were settled by penalty shoot-outs. Until the end of the season Alty had never drawn two successive league matches under Phil Parkinson but they finished the campaign with a run of four draws if the play-offs are included!

  • Goalless draws in league: 0
  • Other league draws: 11 in league (6 home, 5 away), 2 more in play-offs


  • 5-0 at home to Whitley Bay (FA Cup)
  • 4-0 at home to Bradford (PA) in FA Trophy


  • 8: Spennymoor 4 Altrincham 4
  • 8: Altrincham 5 Chorley 3
  • 7: Alfreton Town 0 Altrincham 7
  • 6: Curzon Ashton 0 Altrincham 6
  • 6: Altrincham 3 Darlington 3


Imgur has freeze-frame sequences of the incident which saw Josh Hancock red-carded by referee Elliot Swallow at Chorley, a decision which turned the game in the home side's favour.


The Lancashire Evening Post reports that "Chorley FC boss Jamie Vermiglio dedicated his side's National League North play-off semi-final victory over Altrincham to club legend Danny Mills' wife Claire.

The mother of two died last week at the age of 43 following a battle with cancer. Claire was a senior staff nurse at Bolton Hospice and was a regular at Victory Park to watch her husband play for the Magpies in the early 2000s with daughters Ellie, 17, and Jessica, 16. Danny Mills played for Chorley from 2000 to 2004... The Magpies paid tribute to Claire before Sunday's play-off game by holding a minute's applause.

Vermiglio's players also wore black armbands and the Mills family watched on as the Magpies clinched a spot in the play-off final.

Josh Wilson's equaliser took the game to extra-time, with Chorley eventually winning 3-1 on penalties. A hat-trick of saves from goalkeeper Matt Urwin gave Wilson the platform to slot home the winning spot-kick...

Vermiglio dedicated the win, that leaves Chorley n one game away from ending a 29-year absence from the top tier of non-league, to the Mills family.... Vermiglio said... 'I came to Victory Park and in effect I was coming in to perhaps take his position. He made it really well known that he was here. He stood on my toes and made it really physical... We'd love to dedicate that win to Danny and his family'".


As previously reported, Warriington Town won the Northern Premier League play-off but unlike in past years that does not confer automatic promotion. A consequence of the reorganizaton of the Non-League Pyramid is that Warrington must now play the winners of the ... League.

Warrington Town report that they "are the EVO-STIK League Premier Division play-off champions after beating South Shields 2-1 on Saturday.

The Yellows secured their third win over Shields this season, as they repeated their 2-1 win at Mariners Park back in February which was the north east side’s only home league defeat of the campaign. In front of a 2,337 crowd, Shields took the lead on the half-hour mark through a stunning Josh Gillies strike and they were favourites to secure the win.

But just as they had done against Nantwich Town in the semi-final, Warrington would overturn a 1-0 half-time deficit to win. Dylan Vassallo, a first half substitute for the injured Jack Dunn, fired home a half-volley after [ex-Alty striker] Josh Amis had flicked on Jack Mackreth’s cross and then, three minutes from the end, Amis swivelled to shoot across the ‘keeper and find the winner.

Warrington will now host King’s Lynn Town or Alvechurch at Cantilever Park on Saturday to win promotion to National League North.

In the East Division, Brighouse Town stunned Pontefract Collieries with a 3-0 win away from home... though Brighouse unfortunately will not earn promotion, save for any clubs withdrawing from leagues above, due to having an inferior points per game.

That means the only play-off final winner guaranteed promotion is Radcliffe, who secured their place in the Premier Division next season with a 2-1 win over Leek Town. They made hard work of it and had to come from a goal down to secure the win, and it was actually Brighouse’s win over Pontefract that enabled Radcliffe to quality for promotion on points per game."


Cumbria's NW Evening Mail reports that "Barrow AFC have released their retained list following the conclusion of the 2018/19 season, with three of their squad set to depart after the expiration of their contracts.

Striker Nathan Waterston, defender Jack Barthram and utility player Lee Molyneux will all be leaving the Holker Street outfit, who are still in the process of negotiating new deals with other players in the squad.

Barrovian Waterston had his season wrecked by injury. After surgery on a shoulder injury that had been dogging him since pre-season kept him out for four months, he suffered cruciate ligament damage while on loan at Altrincham in February. The 21-year-old Performance Centre graduate departs having made 16 appearances after signing from Workington in March 2018, scoring one goal".

Nathan joined Altrincham on a one-month loan signing from Barrow in late January 2019. He had previously been sidelined at his parent club by a shoulder injury, since September 2018. However, he had originally picked up the injury several months' earlier. A big but mobile front man, he made his Alty debut as a substitute at Leamington on 26 January 2019...

In his second appearance, again from the bench, at FC United of Manchester on 9 February 2019, Nathan was fouled in the closing minutes and suffered an ACL injury which terminated his season".


Cheshire Live has an interesting piece on the contratsting play-off fortunes this week of their ex-players.

Southport "confirm that the contracts of Andy Hollins and Dan Cockerline have now ended. Dan made seven league starts for the club after making his debut at Stockport County in 2017 and has been out on loan this season.

Andy made one cup start at Holker Old Boys in 2018-19 and was on the score sheet twice in the game".

Meanwhile, Chester FC "announce that striker George Waring has had his option triggered to remain with the Blues for the 2019-20 season. The 24-year-old joined the Blues in January following his release from Tranmere Rovers...

Waring ended the campaign with an impressive return of five goals from just nine starts. He also made six appearances from the bench"...

Also, "Chester Football Club are pleased to confirm that Iwan Murray has agreed a new one-year deal... The 18-year-old attacker signed his first senior deal last summer after graduating from the ever-successful Chester FC Youth Academy. Murray, from Bodelwyddan, scored three goals during 2018/19...

Iwan made his debut as a late replacement for Scott Burton, who was injured in the warm up prior to our game against Kidderminster in September. It was a chance Murray grabbed with both hands and [he] has become a firm member of the first team setup... Joint Boss Anthony Johnson said 'Iwan is another player we felt would benefit from staying around the first team squad to aid his development. His intelligence, clever movement and eye for a goal are some of the reasons he has the potential to go far in the game'".

In the Shropshire Star we read that "Gavin Cowan is delighted to have played a part in creating a ‘special’ sense of togetherness at AFC Telford United. Pride has been restored among fans thanks to the efforts of Cowan and his coaches, the players, and those behind the scenes.

And Cowan insists a lot of his squad... have even more love for the game now. 'We’ve got something pretty special here at the football club,' he said. 'With the playing staff and coaching staff, there’s a real togetherness, a real tight-knit group. I think a lot of lads have just enjoyed their football this year, really enjoyed it. It’s been refreshing, that’s the word that they keep using...

'I want to keep the team together and build on it next year'...

'I wanted to enjoy going into training but sometimes it’s hard when you have a job with long hours too, or kids to look after. They want to have a release and sometimes I’ve come away from training as I’m quite an intense character. It’s good for them to have that rest sometimes from me. We get that balance right, and the lads enjoy it.'"


One of Alty's opponents last season were Stourbridge and the ML Paper reports that "Gary Hackett has stepped down as manager of Stourbridge after 16 years at the helm, believing he has taken the club as far as he can. Hackett became manager of the Glassboys in May 2003, initially with Jon Ford, and has seen an unprecedented period of success.

He guided the club to two promotions, five runs to the FA Cup first round or further, including victories over Plymouth Argyle and Northampton Town, three wins of the Worcestershire Senior Cup and the Birmingham Senior Cup for the first time in 50 years in 2018.

Stour were beaten 2-1 by Alvechurch in the Southern League Premier Central play-off semi-finals on Saturday.

In an emotional statement, Hackett confirmed his departure. 'The timing is right for me to move on... to stay now would be for selfish reasons. In my heart I have probably taken the club as far as I can in the circumstances, and I can leave now on my own terms. This isn’t a knee-jerk reaction to one result, but a considered decision in view of the events of the last week or so and in truth I need a fresh challenge. I’ll take a break from the game, but hopefully come back into it in the future with renewed energy'".

6 May 2019

CHORLEY 2-2 ALTRINCHAM, a.e.t. Chorley win 3-1 on pens

Above: Tony Thompson gathers the ball in a crowded first-half goalmouth at Chorley.

Having beaten Blyth Spartans last Wednesday by netting seven successive penalties in the shoot-out, as well as one in normal play, spot-kicks proved Altrincham's undoing at Chorley.

Altrincham had already lost talismanic striker Jordan Hulme to injury early in the second half only to take a 68th minute lead when Hancock scored impressively after a good move on the right. But, just five minutes later, Hancock, Alty's leading goalscorer in the league, was sent off for a tackle on Carver in midfield. Referee Swallow had also been the man who sent off Jordan Hulme against Stockport earlier this season.

So Alty's two top scorers were now out of the game. The ten men held their lead till the 83rd minute when Wilson tapped home at the back post after Meppen-Walter had nodded on Blakeman's long throw.

Altrincham's ten men played very well in the half hour of added time to reach a second penalty shoot-out of the week.

Above: It looked very promising for Alty when Tony Thompson saved the first Chorley spot-kick in front of more than 1,500 Altrincham fans in the crowd of 3,446. In the crowd, behind the "n" of the Vanarama advert stands Alty's injured left-back Andy White.

First up, Alex Newby saw his effort saved by Thompson before Moult likewise saw Urwin stop his penalty. Next, Blakeman blasted his penalty over the bar before Densmore also failed to beat Urwin. After four misses in total, Meppen-Walter at last was successful for the hosts from the spot. James Poole then incredibly made it three missed Alty spot-kicks in succession as Urwin again saved the ball.

Next, former Alty loanee Alex Newby made it 2-0 before substitute Max Harrop converted his kick to make it 2-1 to Chorley. When Wilson beat Thompson to make it 3-1, it was all over in anti-climactic fashion for Altrincham.

Nevertheless newly promoted Altrincham had done superbly to get so close to the final and, had they retained eleven men on the pitch, they might well have done so.

More on the match, here.


In his post-match video interview, Altrincham being reduced "to ten men changed the game" in Chorley's favour, admitted the Magpies' manager Jamie Vermiglio after the play-off tie on Sunday at Victory Park. Altrincham were leading 1-0 when Josh HAncock was shown a straight red card by referee Elliot Swallow. Earlier this season the same referee had sent off Jordan Hulme against Stockport County.


If you thought Altrincham's penalty shoot out was a disappointment, with three successive missed spot kicks, allowing Chorley to win through, spare a thought for Brackley Town in the other semi-final yesterday. They actually led their penalty shoot-out 4-2 so were one kick from winning, only to miss their remaining two spot-kicks whilst Spennymoor netted all three of their remaining efforts to win 5-4!


Last Wednesday against Blyth Spartans, Tom Hannigan made his 100th appearance for Altrincham (95+5). He has scored seven goals in those games..

Defeat in the shoot-out yesterday left John Johnston is marooned on 99 appearances for Altrincham as the 2018-19 season came to end. To date John has made 94 starts plus five substitute appearances and he has scored 35 goals. This season he has netted fifteen times to finish as third top-scorer with 14 in the league and one in cups. Four of his goals this season have been penalties.


In the other Vanarama National League North play-off, third-placed Brackley Town lost to fourth-placed Spennymoor Town in Northamptonshire. The Moors now meet the Magpies at Victory Park next Sunday to detrmine who accompanies Stockport County into the National League for 2019-20.

Spennymoor Town reported that they "sealed a place in the play-off final after a dramatic penalty shoot-out victory over Brackley Town, setting up a showdown with Chorley at Victory Park.

In a game filled with remarkable misses, goal-line clearances and moments of disbelief, the game ended goalless after an enthralling 120 minutes of action.

After Rob Ramshaw saw his spot kick saved by Danny Lewis, Lee Ndolvu spurned the chance to send Brackley through after he blazed his penalty, allowing Lewis Hawkins to seal an iconic and memorable victory.

Jason Ainsley made one change to the side which beat Bradford (Park Avenue) on Wednesday, opting to replace Kris Thackray with Jake Hibbs in midfield. With the stakes so high and the sheer nature of the occasion so big, the first half was understandably a tense and tight affair with few chances for both sides... The Saints were the brighter side in the opening exchanges [with] their creative midfielder Carl Baker...

The second half, at times, defied logic, as both sides spurned glorious chances in a hectic affair... A huge turning point in the contest came 25 minutes from full time when Moors somehow survived an onslaught in the penalty area. Gould made several saves before Brackley saw another effort cleared off the line... A common theme of missing chances would eventually come back to haunt the 2018 FA Trophy winners.

A now incredible contest swayed once again when Brogan’s corner hit the bar, then Ryan Hall saw a shot from a tight angle squirm marginally wide of the post.

The game entered a tense first half period of extra time period in which both sides struggled to create chances... With three minutes remaining of extra time, Ndlovu missed the game's clearest chance, somehow putting a shot wide after a mix up from Gould and Brogan.

That miss saw the end of a breathless 120 minutes of action, signalling a tense and nail biting penalty shoot out. Ramshaw was the first player to miss after a host of superb spot kicks, giving Ndlovu the chance to send The Saints through to the final, but the striker skied his effort high over the bar.

Boyes kept his cool, heaping the pressure on Luke Fairlamb. The Brackley man sent his spot kick wide of Gould’s left-hand post, allowing Hawkins the opportunity to seal a famous win. Hawkins, who scored the goal that put Moors in the semi-final, found the bottom corner to spark a pitch invasion and wild celebrations in the away end"


The National League adds that "In the National League South there was an incredible afternoon served up with ten goals in the two ties.

Woking came from 2-0 down with 17 minutes to go to beat Wealdstone 3-2... They looked down and out before the stunning comeback. They will meet Welling next Sunday as Steve King’s side survived a real scare.

Going 2-0 at half-time, it seemed all over. But Chelmsford’s spirit left the Wings in a flap as they got back on terms but there was another twist to come. Brendan Kiernan scored, just, with a late penalty to send them through to next week’s final"

And in Sunday's National League Play-Offs Semi-Final, wtched by a mere 2,963 (there were almost 500 more at Chorley v Altrincham), Salford City beat Eastleigh 4-3 on penalties, following a 1-1 draw in the game itself. Ex-Alty loanee Carl Piergianni scored for Salford.

5 May 2019

CHORLEY 2-2 ALTRINCHAM aet, Chorley win 3-1 on penalties

Above: Josh Hancock runs to celebrate his goal as the Alty bench shows its delight.

5 May 2019


Altrincham expended plenty of energy on Wednesday night during 120 minutes of football, followed by a lengthy penalty shoot-out, so Robins' supporters will be hoping that everyone has recovered in time to face Chorley on Sunday afternoon.

Above: The pre-match huddle on Wednesday night, against Blyth Spartans.

In contrast, Chorley have had eight days' rest since their last match of the season on 27 April.

In the Non-League Paper's preview of today's match, Phil Parkinson said of Wednesday's win over Blyth Spartans, "After the shootout I felt like I had run a marathon and revised for my GCSEs. I was mentally and physically knackered.

"We will maybe look at practising penalties again because, I'll be honest, we were not ready for them (on Wednesday night). The lads were outstanding though; it was like watching the Germans!

"Chorley are an extremely physical team and there is a reason why they were up there near the top of the table for most of the season.

"There is such a small turnaround between games in the play-offs and it doesn't give you any time to reflect on a victory.

"It was crazy! People were bringing beers into the changing rooms and I was trying to put them back before the players could pick them up! We still have a job to do and I can't wait for kick off on Sunday".

Chorley boss Jamie Vermiglio said, "I gave the players a bit of time off this week because I think that, from an emotional perspective, the last few weeks have been quite testing".

Also before the match today, Chorley announced "confirmation of match arrangements for the Vanarama National League North playoff semi-final against Altrincham on Sunday, May 5 at Victory Park (3pm).

The match is NOT all-ticket. Altrincham fans should use the Pilling Lane turnstiles.

There is a slight rise in admission due to the cost of staging the game and the following prices are for ALL FANS...

  • Adults: £15 seated/£13 standing
  • Concessions: £12 seated/£10 standing – (over-60s/NHS/first responders/armed services)
  • Students: £10 seated/£8 standing
  • 12-16s: £5 (seated or standing)
  • Accompanied under-12s: £5 seated/FREE standing".

Chorley have informed Altrincham FC that they have allocated 1050 standing places and 160 seats to Altrincham supporters and that the game is being segregated.


National League North Play-Offs Semi-Finals:
  • Brackley Town 0-0 Spennymoor Town, aet Spennymoor Town win 5 - 4 on penalties.
  • Chorley 1-1 Altrincham, art Chorley won 3-1 on penalties.

The winners of these ties meet in the final on Sunday, 12 May, at 3pm.

National League Play-Offs Semi-Final:

  • Salford City 1-1 Eastleigh, Salford won 4-3 on penalties.

National League South Play-Offs Semi-Finals:

  • Welling United 3-2 Chelmsford City
  • Woking 3-2 Wealdstone


Altrincham's record against Chorley is recorded by Mike Garnett, below:

  • At home: P16-W11-D3-L2-F50-A21
  • Away: P17-W3-D5-L9-F17-A25
  • All: P33-W14-D8-L11-F67-A46

The clubs last met at Victory Park on Saturday, 12 January 2019 when the hosts ran out 4-1 victors.

It was Altrincham's heaviest defeat of the season, despite their having led at the interval. The Robins had taken a deserved 23rd minute lead when Max Harrop arrived at the back post to slot the ball home, after a John Johnston shot had been parried by keeper Urwin.

Right: Alty celebrate Max Harrop's goal at Chorley.

Chorley came out on the front foot for the second half and, after winning five corners inside the opening five minutes, levelled in the 55th minute. The Alty defence parted too easily to allow Chorley to advance up the inside left channel with Alex Newby scoring from a Carver pass.

Ten minutes later, Chorley went ahead when Carver's speculative, lofted ball to the right of the box was dispatched into the roof of the net by Alex Newby.

Chorley's third goal arrived in the 84th minute and was a disaster for the Alty defence. A miscued "up and under" from Chorley dropped on the front edge of the Alty box and two defenders failed to get either of their heads onto it. Instead, it fell for Alex Newby to score with a well-struck low shot into the bottom corner to Thompson's right.

And the final nail in the coffin arrived deep into added time when Meppen-Walter scored with a free header from a right-wing corner. After this January encounter, Chorley went six points clear at the top whilst Alty remained seventh.

Former Altrincham players Scott Leather and Josh O'Keefe were in the Magpies' line-up, as well as former loanee Elliot Newby.

CHORLEY: 1. Matt Urwin, 2. Matt Challoner, 3. Adam Blakeman, 4. Andrew Teague (c), 5. Scott Leather, 6. Courtney Meppen-Walter, 7. Alex Newby, 8. Josh O'Keefe, 9. Marcus Carver, 10. Josh Wilson, 11. Elliot Newby. Subs: 12. Jake Cottrell, 14. James Hooper, 15. Lewis Baines, 16. Dale Whitham, 21. Dan Eccles

ALTRINCHAM: 1. Tony Thompson, 2. Andy White, 3. Connor Hampson, 4. James Jones, 5. Tom Hannigan, 6. Jake Moult (c), 7. John Johnston, 8. Simon Richman, 9. Jordan Hulme, 10. Josh Hancock, 11. Max Harrop. Subs: 12. Kallum Mantack, 14. Sean Williams, 15. Chris Sang, 16. Shaun Densmore, 17. Ben Harrison".


At Brackley Town "For a second successive season St James Park hosts a play-off semi-final on Sunday (kick-off 3pm). Saints take on Spennymoor Town who finished 4th and who beat Bradford (PA) in the eliminator game on Wednesday with a goal 15 minutes from time.

Spennymoor finished 8th last season missing out on a play-off spot to (ironically) Bradford (PA) on goal difference only. Of course, Brackley then beat Park Avenue in the semi-final to go on to meet Harrogate in the final. Moors turned the tables on their visitors on Wednesday and will now contest their first play-off semi-final.

Kevin Wilkin’s side secured a play-off place some games ago and sealed 3rd place on Saturday beating FC United with a late Daniel Nti goal.

'The play-offs are one-off games now, no longer two legs home and away as they once were,' Wilkin said. 'They are all on the day. We were there last season and, hopefully, learnt a little bit from the experience. We know it won’t be easy. They are all closely matched sides and we will need to be at our very best. But, if we are, then at home we will have a great chance.”

The two sides met in October at SJP, Brackley winning with goals from Jimmy Armson (2), Connor Hall and Daniel Nti... The return fixture came less than three weeks ago with Spennymoor winning 1-0".

And the Banbury Guardian adds that "Once again, Brackley Town are just two wins away from a place with the Vanarama National League elite...

It was touch and go against relegated FC United of Manchester in Saturday’s final game of the regular season before substitute Daniel Nti grabbed the only goal to earn Saints third place and a home semi-final tie. Wilkin said, 'We did enough at Chester to have got the three points before Saturday’s game. It was a bit tense on Saturday and emphasises the importance of taking your chances when they come. We’ve got the experience of getting through last season which should help a few of the players but we need to find our cutting edge again in front of goal again if we are to be successful in the play-offs'.

If Saints get through on Sunday, they will meet Chorley or Altrincham in the play-off final".

From Spennymoor Town we learn that "Following Lewis Hawkins’s winner against Bradford (Park Avenue) on Wednesday, Spennymoor embark on a long trip to Brackley Town looking to take a giant leap towards the National League.

An iconic evening at The Brewery Field, which saw over 1500 supporters create a unique atmosphere, was settled by Hawkins’s curling effort fifteen minutes from time. It was a goal unbefitting of a scrappy and uneventful game, but one which continues Moors’ remarkable campaign...

With around 250 Spennymoor fans set to descend upon the small Northamptonshire town, there is guaranteed to be a red-hot atmosphere in a game which will see one side face either Chorley or Altrincham in the final on Sunday 12th May.

Moors were buoyed by the returning Callum Williams, James Curtis and Stephen Brogan against Avenue on Wednesday, while the sight of Mark Anderson’s name on the substitutes' bench may also point to the midfielder playing some part on Sunday".


Southport have issued a club statement, headed "Boardroom Changes".

It includes, "Southport Football Club can confirm that Director Phil Hodgkinson will be leaving the Club, both as a Director and shareholder, with a view to his taking over as Chairman and Majority shareholder at Huddersfield Town Football Club, once the necessary approvals have been received.

Director Ian Kyle said 'It is with a very heavy heart that everyone at Southport Football Club says goodbye to Phil... When I first met Phil it was by way of a meeting between him and the then Board to try and unite everyone who had the best interests of the Club at heart after a summer of turmoil. I was in no doubt, from the first minute of that meeting, that Phil wanted nothing but the very best for the Club. Since then, he has played a huge part in turning the Club around, both in respect of stability on the pitch, and of course by planning and carrying through the rebuild of the main stand.

Our intention on day one was to stabilise a playing staff which was very much like a revolving door, improve performances on the pitch, and give the Club the opportunity to become self-sufficient. Phil has never waivered from this , even when the opportunity of Huddersfield became a reality.

We are now preparing for the new season having won both local cups and, for the first time since my arrival, having a core of good players contracted for next season. Off the pitch, the hospitality has had great reviews all season... We are clearly much closer to the self-sufficiency target.

Clearly all of this has taken much investment, a large proportion of which has come from Phil. Indeed, Phil has, very much in keeping with his character, further agreed that upon leaving he will be responsible for any outstanding creditors, ensuring that the Club moves into next season debt-free... I am in no doubt that Phil will be considered one of the biggest assets that this Club has ever had...

Phil will, prior to the transaction being completed, be selling his shares to myself , Liam Watson, and Steven Porter. I welcome Liam and Steve on to the Board. Both Liam and Steve are Southport FC through and through, and I feel extremely confident moving forward with the two of them as part of a new Board, and excited at the opportunities now lying in front of us."


Saturday, 4 May: Play-Offs Semi-Final.
  • Solihull Moors 0-1 AFC Fylde


Saturday 4 May
  • Premier Division: South Shields 1-2 Warrington Town, winners play Alvechurch or King's Lynn in "super" play-off for place in National League North
  • East Division: Pontefract Collieries 0-3 Brighouse Town
  • West Division: Radcliffe 2-1 Leek Town


The Hallmark Security League reports that "An 87th minute goal from Aaron Smith clinched a 1-0 victory for 1874 Northwich over City of Liverpool in the Macron Challenge Cup Final at the J. Davidson Stadium in Altrincham.

On a sunny afternoon, a close and keenly contested game looked for a long time like it would end goalless. But as the second half wore on, 1874 began to enjoy the bulk of the possession, and came close several times before Smith, who joined the club in March after a spell at Hamilton Academical in the Scottish Premiership, struck the decisive goal from close range.

The Greens still had some nervy moments to overcome though, as Paul Williams hit the bar and Danny Dalton was denied by a fine save from 1874 keeper Tony Aghayere as City of Liverpool piled on late and last gasp pressure...

With 17 minutes remaining, the increasingly impressive Aaron Smith was fouled on the edge of the box, and taking the free kick himself, he curled a delightful shot over the wall that was heading for the top corner of the net before Ascroft tipped the ball over the bar at full stretch. But Ascroft was finally beaten three minutes from time, and it was Smith who broke the deadlock.

Initially it seemed the chance had gone, when Smith failed to connect with a cross driven low into the box but, when the loose ball was gathered by Kennerley, his cut-back found Smith in the six-yard box and the midfielder reacted quickly to tuck the ball under Ascroft from close range...

A good sporting game was rounded off nicely moments after the final whistle, when the 1874 Northwich players went down to acknowledge the City of Liverpool fans at the far end of the ground, and the Purps supporters responded by warmly applauding the winners, and 1874 supporters did likewise at the other end.

1874 Northwich joint-manager Wayne Goodison praised the team's performance afterwards. 'I thought we were the better side throughout. I thought from minute one we settled into our game, and it's credit to us that they changed their shape two or three times to get into the game... I think we deserved to win and they agree with us... We've beaten a good side today, they are the champions and they are not champions for nothing'...

1874 Northwich: Tony Aghayere, Sam Hind, Matt Russell, Jack Pritchard, Lee Jackson, Aaron Smith, Mike Koral (Callum Gardner 82), Matt Woolley (Captain), Scott McGowan, Sam Hare, Taylor Kennerley. Subs not used: James Ormrod, Jack Lever, Paul Connor, Kyle Phipps.

City of Liverpool: Ben Ascroft, Luke Denson (Captain), Francis Foy, Kevin McEllin, Paul Williams, Anthony Brown, Joe Holt, Jack Hazlehurst (Danny Dalton 89), Craig Cairns, Tom Peterson (Jamie McDonald 74), John McGrath (Karl Clair 60). Sub not used: David Forbes".

4 May 2019


Former Alty striker Josh Amis netted a late winner for Warrington Town at South Shields to secure a 2-1 pay-off win in the NPL. They now must play the super play-off against the winners of the Southern League Central play-off which will now be between Alvechurch and King's Lynn, who today beat Stourbridge and Stamford respectively.


Despite finishing the league season 35 points and nine league places behind their opponents, the champions City of Liverpool, 1874 Northwich deservedly won this afternoon's Macron Challenge Cup Final at the J. Davidson Stadium. However, it needed an 86th minute goal to separate the teams before a late onslaught from the Merseysiders saw them strike the woodwork in added time. The winning goal came from Northwich's impressive midfielder Aaron Smith.

Above: Smith (no.6) celebrates his winning goal.

An impressive 1,051 supporters attended the match.


TASC Travel Coordinator, Mark Eckersall, writes that "After the heroics of Wednesday evening, we roll on to Chorley on Sunday 5th May.

TASC will be providing our usual family-friendly coach travel to the game. As with all trips, alcohol is not permitted on our vehicles without exception. Many fans will go by other means and enjoy a drink on the train etc which is great but please do not put our volunteers in an awkward situation by attempting to bring alcohol on the coach.

We reserve the right to refuse a return journey to anyone ignoring this rule or engaging in any anti-social behaviour. If that doesn't sound like you at all then come and join us! We are proud of our atmosphere on the coaches and the reputation of our football club.

Coach times and fares are on the Away Travel page.

On Saturday morning, Mark added the following update... "Thanks for all who have booked to come on the coach so far with us. If you have called the club and left a message then we will get you added on when the messages are collected shortly. As the office will not be staffed today, now due to volunteers doing other duties, please email me directly to check availability. I am out today but will reply as soon as possible on the go.

An update has also been received via Peter Hughes that there are now no trains running to Chorley on Sunday from Manchester Victoria, only one an hour from Piccadily or Oxford Road. Please check before travelling (with National Rail). Whichever way you choose to travel, bring your voices; let's pack together and roar the lads on. Have a great day!"


On Sunday (3pm) Altrincham take on second-placed Chorley in a semi-final play-off to earn the right to meet either Brackley Town or Spennymoor Town in the promotion final on 12 May.

Whilst Chorley finished ten points ahead of Altrincham in the regular season of 42 games, Altrincham can go into the match with confidence. The Robins have enjoyed the better form recently, having taken 25 points from the last twelve games of the season whilst Chorley earned 21 points from the same number of fixtures. In the clubs' respective sequences, Alty have won seven, drawn four and lost just once, whereas the Magpies have won six, drawn three and lost three.

More encouragement for the visitors comes from the respective goal tallies, with Chorley netting 20 and conceding 11 in that sequence whilst Alty scored 32 times and conceded 10 goals in their last dozen fixtures of the regular season.

Chorley report that "The Magpies (top seed) take on Altrincham (4th seed) in the Vanarama National League North Playoff semi-final at Victory Park on Sunday (3pm) looking to qualify for their third final in the last five seasons.

Chorley have home advantage following their second placed finish during the regular season. A win against Altrincham would give The Magpies a Victory Park final against either Brackley Town or Spennymoor Town on Sunday, May 12.

Phil Parkinson’s side produced a stirring fightback to take Blyth Spartans to extra time and penalties on Wednesday night after falling 2-0 down in the first half of their eliminator clash at Moss Lane. After overcoming the North East side 7-6 from the spot the Robins will no doubt head to Victory Park in determined mood, if not a little leggy after 120+ minutes. Promoted as champions of the Northern Premier League this time last year, a second promotion in as many years, following two successive relegations, would count as an unbelievable turnaround.

Chorley boss Jamie Vermiglio said, 'We produced a very good display last Saturday when we knew other results would have to go in our favour, and I was delighted we stayed focused and won the game against Bradford. We’ve now got another stern test ahead of us against an Altrincham side that showed us just how good they are, especially going forward, less than a month ago. We’ll need everyone on top of their games, including all the home fans, to see us through to the final'.

We’ve met before; a win apiece during the regular season. Chorley triumphed 4-1 at Victory Park in January while just three weeks ago Altrincham bagged all three points after an exhilarating 5-3 win at Moss Lane.

Prolific: Since the new era of Chorley FC began in 2010, The Magpies have featured in six post-seasons, including four out of five since promotion to the National League North".

Chorley add that "A shortened version of Magpie Review will be available this Sunday due to the quick turnaround between eliminator and semi-final. We’ve got Vermo’s thoughts on the game, columnists Roving Mike & Stan Miguel weigh in as the end of the season draws near PLUS we’ve got the lowdown on Altrincham and all the stats from 2018/19 campaign. All yours for just £1.50...

Everyone has done a bang-up job this season to produce what I believe is the best match day programme in the National League North".


In addition to the first-team play-off on Sunday, another vital fixture between Chorley and Altrincham is set for 19 May. As Chorley report, their "under-18s have one game remaining on the season, a North West Youth Alliance tussle with Altrincham on May 19".

At the moment Altrincham lie second, two points behind Curzon Ashton with a game in hand. On 5 May Alty are away to Hyde United before travelling to Chorley.


Details of events at the Altrincham FC Beer Festival, which got under way on Friday, are on the Altrincham FC website.


Twenty-eight minutes of high-quality extended higlights of Wednesday's game against Blyth are now available courtesy of Alty TV.

Above: John Johnston nets the first-half penalty which got Alty back into the match against Blyth last Wednesday.

Before last Wednesday's tremendous penalty shoot out when 13 of the 14 penalties taken by Alty and Blyth Spartans were scored, Altrincham's only previous shoot-out in a play-off situation had been in 2004 at Nuneaton Borough, where Alty won 4-2 on penalties, with the score having been 1-1 after extra time. On that occasion the Alty regular penalty taker Steve Aspinall was off the pitch so the the five takers were Colin Little, Josh Mitten, Gary Scott, Chris Adams and Mark Maddox, i.e. three defenders and two forwards).

As last Wednesday, the kicks were taken at the host supporters' end. Alty keeper Stuart Coburn had already saved three in the previous month. The Alty keeper did not disappoint again, making a superb diving save, to his right, from the first penalty, taken by Reeves. Colin Little soon despatched Alty's first spot-kick, putting the ball to the keeper's right (0-1). Murphy then scored for Nuneaton (1-1) before Gary Scott beat the keeper to his right (1-2). Coburn moved to his left for Whittaker's penalty but the substitute lifted his shot, very high, over the bar (1-2). Josh Mitten did not hit the best of penalties, more or less down the middle, but Acton had committed himself and it was now 3-1 to Alty. Nuneaton's Oddy converted the next kick (2-3) before Chris Adams strode up to blast the ball past Acton for the winning goal (2-4) and so deprive Mark Maddox of a moment of glory as the sides' fifth penalties were now not needed.

Right: Alty legend Mark Maddox leaves the field after the game, with Josh Mitten ahead of him.

On the related subject of draws after ninety minutes, under Phil Parkinson Altrincham had never drawn two league matches on the trot but his side has now drawn three league games in a row, if the Blyth match last Wednesday is included.


Left: Jordan Hulme seen during the match against Blyth last Wednesday.

On Sunday at Chorley, Jordan will be looking to retake the lead in the Altrincham FC league goalscoring charts after Josh Hancock went ahead in the race with his goal on Wednesday against Blyth. Josh now has 18 league goals to Jordan's 17, though Jordan has 20 overall compared with Josh's 18 in all competitions.

The National League confirms that the Vanarama National League North Player of the Month is "Jordan Hulme (Altrincham). If you’re looking for a consistent performer, look no further than Altrincham’s Jordan Hulme. His four-goal haul last month ensured Alty finished in a play-off place while taking his own personal tally for the season to 16.

Alfreton Town were first up and were given a hiding by Phil Parkinson’s men, Hulme weighing in with a goal in their 7-0 win. That result was always going to be a benchmark. It proved to be the case as he scored against AFC Telford United three days later and then against Chorley and Hereford. Three points against Nuneaton Borough and a point on the final day against Ashton United kept the Club’s National League ambitions bubbling over for a little while longer.

Whatever path their season takes from here, you can bet your bottom dollar Hulme will have a big say in proceedings.

His Manager says he’s a 'class act' and he’s not wrong".

The Division's Manager of the Month is Alun Armstrong (Blyth Spartans). "Blyth Spartans fans can no doubt do with some good news after an agonising Vanarama Eliminator defeat on Wednesday night. They were heartbroken as they lost on penalty kicks as Altrincham edged through. If only the calendar was kinder; if the game was [had been] 24 hours earlier they may be [have been] in the semi-final on Sunday. That’s because April was a sensational month where they didn’t put a foot wrong.

There really is no doubt about the Manager of the Month award as Alun Armstrong oversaw seven straight wins. Spartans saw off Curzon Ashton, Boston United, Nuneaton Borough, Guiseley, FC United of Manchester and Southport. They also won at Stockport County, the eventual champions. But despite their incredible month, they won’t be going up with them.

Though one thing is for sure, the ex-Middlesbrough striker has done a wonderful job and they can be rightly proud of a fantastic season after their late surge".

And the Division's Volunteer of the Month is Jack Salkeld (Curzon Ashton). "On Tuesdays and Thursdays, he assists with the first-team coaching sessions and also helps out on matchdays; a ‘massive character’ in the changing room. He also coaches the Club’s under-9s Junior Team on Wednesdays and Fridays and with their matchdays on Sundays. When he does get a spare moment, he represents the Club by delivering coaching sessions at local schools. At Christmas, Jack delivered the presents to the children at Tameside Hospital too."


Today (Saturday) at 1pm the Macron Cup Final of the Hallmark Security (NW Counties) League takes place at the J. Davidson Stadium. The match features the HSL Premier Division champions, City of Liverpool FC against 1874 Northwich. City of Liverpool are the champions of the Premier Division whilst 1874 finished tenth, 35 points behind.

In their league encounters CoL won 6-3 away and drew 1-1 at home to Northwich so must go into the Final as the favourites.

However, 1874 Northwich's say "If we can beat the league champions in a cup final, then it can give us the confidence and belief that we can to go on and be successful next season”.

Their captain Matt Woolley spoke to Club Media Officer Matt Waters, "Woolley said before the Final, 'We’ve got 2 training sessions in the week where we’ll go through shape and set pieces, but also looking at how they play. We’ve just come off the back of a 3-0 win over a good side in the league so hopefully that’ll take us into next week on a bit of a high.'

After beating Runcorn last Saturday, 1874 secured 10th place in the league, 3 places below last season’s 7th and Woolley believed this season’s inconsistencies weren’t down to one specific reason... 'Last year we didn’t get silverware so this is an opportunity to do so.'

With the club playing its best football in various cup competitions over the last 2 years, Captain Woolley felt it’s vital that they use all the experience from last season’s FA Vase and FA Cup runs in order to win on Saturday. 'The majority of the squad is still the same as last season and they were big games, which were a one off and yet you’ve got to win those games. It’s that experience and knowledge of these types of games that we’ll carry through to try and win. Whether it be not giving away any silly goals or fouls and if the ball has to go out then ground then so be it'...

Matt Woolley said... 'The main thing which has been disappointing this season is the consistency. Looking back on the amount of games we played towards the back end of last season, meant that when we came back this season it was almost like a hangover period and some players weren’t mentally ready to come back and go again. It also proved difficult with people not being as available or committed as they should be, so really the overhang of last year had a major effect'".

The Hallmark Security League says that "An exciting Saturday afternoon showdown is in prospect as 1874 Northwich take on City of Liverpool in the final of the Macron Challenge Cup tomorrow. For the first time, the J. Davidson Stadium in Altrincham is the venue for the final of the League's Premier competition, and Premier Division champions City of Liverpool will be looking to round off a memorable season with a league and cup double.

Standing in their way are an 1874 Northwich side that are appearing in their first ever league cup final, and the view from both camps is that an exciting and close fought final is in prospect.

1874 Northwich joint-manager Paul Bowyer: 'We know all about them and we know what their strengths are, and they are a good side going forward. The league went right to the last game of the season and not many teams win a league and cup double at the end of a season, there are not that many trophies to play for. So we can be sure they will be well motivated going into the game'...

City of Liverpool manager Craig Robinson: 'They have been in good form at the back end of the season and we have got to give them respect and make sure that we turn up. They have Scott McGowan up front who has been their leading scorer for a while and have other good players as well. I am expecting an exciting final...

'We have done our main job, in getting promotion and winning the league, and the cup final is something everyone is looking forward to, our fans and everyone involved at the club'.

Admission to the game for non-ticket holders will be £10 adult, £5 concessions, £3 Children (Children under 16 will be admitted free of charge with a paying adult). Turnstiles will be open from 11.45am. There is on street parking for general spectators. The match programme will be priced at £1.50 and will be on sale at the ground."


Whilst 1874 Northwich contest the Macron Cup Final at Moss Lane, the Hallmark Security League reports that "Northwich Victoria rounded off the season by lifting the Mid-Cheshire Cup, after a penalty shoot out win over Winsford United at Wincham Park. A keenly contested game ended with the sides tied at 1-1 after 90 minutes, and penalties were therefore needed to settle the destination of the trophy.

The shoot out went to sudden death, but Kieron Kenny struck the winning spot kick to ensure that Vics lifted the trophy for the first time since 2012....

Vics' manager Steve Wilkes said... 'After getting beaten on penalties in the Vase semi-final against Chertsey, the lads showed character and stood up to the test again. We had nine people put their hands up to take penalties, which is good. When we practised penalties before the Chertsey game, Kieron Kenny was brilliant and he wwas going to be one of the penalty takers in teh shoot out at Chertsey. But he got cramp towards the end of the game and we had to change it. I'm not saying that made a difference on the day (at Chertsey) but it was good to see him score tonight. The club is a good place to be at the minute'".


According to NL Daily "AFC Telford United’s Shane Sutton and Ross White have both signed new contracts with the club until the summer of 2021. The club also confirm Zak Lilly has agreed a further one-year deal to keep him at the New Buck's Head for the 2019/20 season.

Bucks skipper Sutton has committed to the club for a third season following another impressive season for the Bucks, where he made 49 appearances, scoring 5 times. Boss Gavin Cowan has also moved quickly to tie down 22-year-old White. The utility man has played a huge role in the team’s success this season, having played in all 51 fixtures, starting in 50 games".

The Telegraph & Argus reports that "The future is bright for Bradford (Park Avenue) despite dropping out of the play-offs, according to manager Mark Bower. He spoke of his pride for the squad's efforts, describing them as being 'top drawer' throughout the season.

Bower said 'We've got to congratulate the players on a fantastic season. When you're in a play-off, whether you finish fourth or seventh, it doesn't matter, you're in there. It goes to a one-off game and in a one-off game you can be the better team but lose to a moment of quality like they [Spennymoor] had and a few things not going your way. The lads will learn from that experience. Hopefully they'll take that sort of pain and almost injustice that they're probably feeling now and use that as fuel for doing well in the future, whether it be here or somewhere else'...

Youngsters, such as Jamie Spencer, Lewis Knight and Jake Beesley, put in assured performances, alongside solid showings from others like Conor Branson and Danny East... but... top scorer Beesley will return to his parent club Salford City.

Bower has spoke[n] of his desire to bring the prolific forward back next season... He said... 'In the summer there'll be changes and people will come and people will go. But, you look at the teams that have done well this season, Stockport, Chorley, Brackley, Spennymoor, the top four, they retain a large core of their players that have got them into good positions and I hope we're in a position to be able to do that and obviously add some quality around it. We'll probably be a little bit more youthful next year.

'There have been plans in place for that for a little while, but they're on the backburner a little bit when you finish off the season like we have been doing. That comes to the forefront now...

'There's a lot of good things going on... The initiative next year with the season ticket offer is fantastic and hopefully we'll have a fence going round the pitch, get people close to the action'".

York Press says that "With City having fallen well off the top-seven pace and looking nervously over their shoulders, Steve Watson was persuaded to leave the north-east National League promotion hopefuls to see if he could muster an unlikely late sprint across the finishing line from the under-performing Minstermen.

During his first two games – meetings with top-two Stockport and Chorley – it was always going to be a case of learning to walk before he could run as Watson familiarised himself with the strengths and weaknesses of his inherited squad. But his record over the remaining 15 fixtures, had it been matched over the course of the season, would have been worthy of a position on the winners’ podium.

During that period, from the beginning of February, City averaged 1.87 points a game which, over the course of a 42-game campaign, equates to 78.55 points, a tally sufficient to secure third place in the table and just over one win short of champions Stockport. Indeed, Watson’s side accumulated just four fewer points than Stockport over that three-month period and four more than runners-up Chorley, who were in pole position for the title until conceding a last-minute goal in their penultimate fixture.

Having gone 14 months since claiming their last back-to-back league victories, only Reading and Weston-Super-Mare had endured longer sequences from English football’s top-seven divisions at the time,the Minstermen rattled off four straight successes as Watson won the National League North Manager of the Month award for February.

That momentum was subsequently lost as the unlikeliest of play-off charges was halted following four draws in five contests, three of which witnessed the spoils being shared from winning positions. The Minstermen would ultimately conclude the campaign in the club’s lowest-ever position in the football pyramid, one place below their 11th-placed finish 12 months earlier, but Watson cannot be held culpable for another underwhelming, mid-table berth.

City kicked off the season with then manager Martin Gray targeting the title, a bold ambition for a side that had ended the previous season in such a dispiriting fashion and still had nine members of that squad on duty in the 16-strong party for the 1-0 opening-day loss at Chorley. Gray’s comments quickly looked unfounded and the Minstermen swiftly found themselves in the familiar position of playing catch-up... Even so, the ex-Darlington chief was genuinely shocked when he was relieved of his duties just three August weekends into 2018/19 and, with Gary Mills having been fired the previous September and Jackie McNamara moved upstairs the October before, Watson might celebrate getting through pre-season in a couple of months’ time.

There was little evidence, however, of improvement under Gray in the 11 months since his replacement of Mills and, suddenly, newly-appointed youth-team coach Sam Collins was promoted to the senior role, initially in a caretaker capacity. Collins started well... But, following a run of just one defeat in nine matches... the wheels fell off.

Unforgivably, the Minstermen lost all of the former Hartlepool defender’s last seven away league matches in charge; Collins’ home record was actually significantly better than Watson’s...

In the midst of such chaos, the calm, but determined, manner of Watson proved a strong appointment. Perhaps for the first time since Martin Foyle and Andy Porter, the Minstermen also appear to have a genuine management team in place... Given the disappointment of the last two seasons, some observers have expressed dismay at the number of players whose services are still wanted next season... Those individuals Watson has placed faith in must reward the manager with a full season of consistency to win over City’s wary supporters."

Chester FC "announce that defender Matty Thomson has agreed a contract extension to stay with the club for the 2019-20 campaign. The 19-year-old is a product of the Chester FC Youth setup, and made his senior debut in April 2018... Thomson, from the Wirral, signed a deal in the summer and made 15 appearances during the 2018/19 season...

Joint Manager Anthony Johnson said 'Matty has had a fantastic first season and probably been involved with the squad more than we all anticipated!... We look forward to working with him with the extra contact hours the new hybrid model provides.'”

Meanwhile, from the Northern Echo we learn that "Darlington have enlisted the assistance of what they describe as a 'prominent North-East manager' to assist in their search for a successor to Tommy Wright. The deadline for applications is midnight on Monday, with the first of two rounds of interviews to be conducted by Darlington directors to take place next week.

By last night 60 interested parties had lodged their interest in the role... Quakers will whittle down their selection to a shortlist, with the process to replace Wright led by John Vickerman, a lifelong Darlington supporter whose official title is Advisor to the Board. His background as a human resources director with Fujitsu means he is well used to being involved in the hiring of specialist employees...

'We’re highly impressed with the quality of the applicants. We’ve been inundated, over 60 applicants,' said Vickerman. 'I think there are 15 or 20 really good candidates and we will have a problem narrowing it down to seven or eight to interview. There are 14 who have the UEFA Pro licence, around 75 per cent have the UEFA A, others are currently studying for it and already have the UEFA B... There will be an initial round of, say, eight to ten applicants, and we will ask if they are prepared to be regionally based, can we afford them, can they bring the right players to Darlington either permanently or on loan, do they have the network to pull those strings?

'We’re bringing in a prominent football person with the interviews... I know how to run a process and select candidates, but we also need someone with a football background to make sure we’re covered.'

Vickerman revealed that opinion will be taken from a handful of fans, saying 'We will ask three or four supporters to look at the shortlist. They don’t know who each other are and it will be interesting to see if they want who we want'...

Darlington are in receipt of one application from a female and he understands there could be another before the deadline. 'It is not just a headline, we are actually doing something,' he said. 'We have had a number of BAME candidates apply and we have had one female contact us. There is another who I know is interested and may also apply... We’re applying corporate standards to football and it is done with intent.'"

According to the Hartlepool Mail, "The future of Hartlepool United keeper Scott Loach remains in the balance, with finance and budgets set to determine whether he will remain at the Super 6 Stadium.... with former Watford keeper Loach believed to be one of the higher earners in the Pools squad...

While Pools will have a competitive budget for next season, finances are under the microscope ahead of a third year at non-league level... Rumours that Pools were set to move for Blyth Spartans keeper Pete Jameson this summer are understood to be wide of the mark".

At Spennymoor Town "Lewis Hawkins’s finessed goal sealed a hard-fought victory for the Moors to send them into a National League North play-off semi-final away at Brackley Town on Sunday.

Bradford (Park Avenue) started the game stronger with chances presenting themselves to Lewis Knight and Jake Beesley, with Matthew Gould being on his usual top shot stopping form to keep it 0-0 at half time.

Moors came out revived in the second half with subs Adam Boyes and Jake Hibbs helping to change the game in Spennymoor’s favour. Hawkins won the knockout game for the Moors inside the final fifteen minutes, curling an exquisite effort into top right corner past Charlie Andrew".


And finally... Bulls' News says that "Stourbridge and Alvechurch were set to play their Southern League play-off semi-final last Wednesday. However it was postponed first to Friday, then Thursday, then to Monday and the latest is that it is set to be played on Sunday. Perhaps. Black Country Radio's Alex Totney explains 'The shambles of Stourbridge's play-off semi-final has taken another unbelievable twist after the Football Association stepped in and moved the match to this Sunday. The decision is likely to be met with sheer amazement by fans who have been battling through a spate of contradictory information, mixed messages and changing dates so far this week...

The latest development overrules the decision of the Southern League to play Stourbridge's match against Alvechurch on Monday, which was supposedly 'confirmed' last night (Wednesday)...

The Super Final will be contested between the winners of the Southern League and Northern [Premier] League play-off finals. But the Northern League play-off winners, which will be either South Shields or Warrington, will have had a full week's rest between their final and the Super Final, whereas the Southern League play-off winners will end up playing three matches in six days.

This led to the Southern League requesting the postponement of the Super Final... but the FA Alliance Committee reached the decision that 'The Southern Football League are instructed to play the Evo-Stik League South Premier Division Central Play Off Semi-Finals on Sunday 5th May 2019, and the Final on Wednesday 8th May 2019. The Super Play-Off Final will be played on Saturday 11th May 2019'...

It means that, since Tuesday morning, the fixture has been moved postponed on Wednesday, then not postponed, then confirmed as postponed, rescheduled to Friday, moved to Thursday, moved to Monday and then moved to Sunday... The fixture has since been moved four times. It remains to be seen whether the two clubs will agree to fulfil the fixture on Sunday...

The saga began earlier this week when Stratford Town, who were due to play Kings Lynn in the other Southern League play-off semi final, were accused of fielding an ineligible player."

3 May 2019


Howard Watts and Mike Garnett's Through the Years record previous Altrincham matches on the date of Alty's visit to Chorley, 5 May.

Altrincham's record against Chorley is recorded by Mike Garnett, below:

  • At home: P16-W11-D3-L2-F50-A21
  • Away: P17-W3-D5-L9-F17-A25
  • All: P33-W14-D8-L11-F67-A46


Altrincham FC hosts the Macron Cup Final on Saturday (4th) at 1pm at the J. Davidson Stadium. The teams involved are Northwich 1874 and City of Liverpool. After the match the annual Altrincham FC Beer Festival will get under way.


Whilst Altrincham were securing a play-off win on Wednesday, a former player was on the wrong end of a play-off result elsewhere as the Salisbury Journal reports...

"Salisbury's season is over after an away defeat in the play-off semi final... The Whites travelled to Imber Court to face Metropolitan Police, where they lost 3-2.

The home side took the lead after just nine minutes through Jack Mazzone... [Bay] Downing equalised for the visitors just three minutes later, before a penalty just before half time restored the lead for Met Police... Their lead was extended to 3-1 just after the hour mark through Blackmore.

Benson reduced the deficit with a direct free kick on 68 minutes, but Met Police held on for the win, and will face Poole Town in the final on Monday, May 6".


Before Sunday's clash at Victory Park, the Lancashire Evening Post reports that "Chorley are two games away from a place at the top table of non-league football. The first is Sunday’s National League North play-off semi-final against Altrincham at Victory Park (3pm), with the winners playing in the final the following Sunday...

Jamie Vermiglio’s Magpies side will face a team with a rich pedigree, including in knockout football. Altrincham won the equivalent of the National League in its first two seasons but were denied a Football League place by the voting system, failing by a single vote in 1980".

And Altrincham FC adds that Chorley report that "We’ve a snack bar in the away end and programmes will also be available priced £1.50.

Parking is available at Morrison’s (five minute walk) and also in Chorley town centre car parks (FREE on Sundays), which, depending on the car park, is between 5-10 minutes walk from the ground. Street parking is not available around the ground and traffic wardens will be on duty."


John Edwards writes in the Sale & Altrncham Messenger that "Tom Hannigan has completed a remarkable transformation in his Altrincham fortunes by being voted player of the season by his team-mates and the club's supporters.

The double accolade was the highlight of an awards evening at The J.Davidson Stadium on Saturday evening...

Right: Tom Hannigan in action against Bluth Spartans on Wednesday.

Signed by Neil Young from AFC Fylde in May, 2016, he damaged knee ligaments in only his second competitive appearance for Alty, and after finally fighting his way back to fitness, another injury setback promptly brought his debut season at The J.Davidson Stadium to an abrupt end.

The 30-year old's injury curse struck once more a couple of months into last season, but he again battled his way back to become the defensive lynchpin of Alty's surge towards the Evo-Stik Premier League title.

He has not looked back since and has been a virtual ever-present this season, making 38 league starts in Alty's march towards the play-offs and, in the words of manager Phil Parkinson, being 'rock solid throughout'...

Parkinson made several changes to his line-up at Ashton [last weekend] and explained his thinking by saying, 'I was going to go full strength, but I just thought it would be too risky...

"Having to do without Andy White because of his ankle injury is a massive blow to us. I wouldn't have forgiven myself if we had ended up losing another player for whatever reason. I thought Sean Williams was outstanding and Callum Dolan was a shining light'".


According to the Telegraph & Argus "Marcus Bignot says Guiseley need a reality check as they look to move forward after surviving a relegation scare.

The former Queens Park Rangers defender says he and fellow joint-manager Russ O'Neill will sit down with Guiseley's board this weekend as they look to shape its future. Bignot says he and O'Neill have helped get Guiseley back on an even keel and debt free. They have also steered Guiseley to fourth-from-bottom in the Vanarama National League North with two successive wins, culminating in a 2-1 final-day victory over Kidderminster Harriers.

He says this conclusion to the campaign has buoyed the part-time club, but they will not now be able to compete financially for players with full-time clubs in an ever-competitive division next season. Bignot added the board are equally as realistic about the club's financial standing against other clubs.

He said 'It's been a huge job to now be in this position financially... This club is debt free. It's not been in this position for quite a long time...

'There has got to be a realism now. This league is getting more and more difficult. We will still be a part-time football club. There are still clubs that are full-time in this league. Some clubs are doing a hybrid version of training; two evenings and two mornings a week.

'We can't compete with that and we've got to find a way to be competitive in this league. It's about us working smartly. We have to find other ways to bridge the gap. "We on't be able to pay well. We've got to act smartly without paying well. We've got to find other ways...

'The second half of the season was really positive. We got to unite the football club. There were 44 players at the club at the start of the season... We’re a small club in terms of fanbase and infrastructure. But we came to Kidderminster against a full-time club with an infrastructure that’s frightening and this is what we’re competing with...

'We want to be able to compete like in seasons gone by. We've been able to attract good players and able to pay well in seasons gone by. We won't be able to pay well now... We've got to establish ourselves in the Vanarama North. We have consolidated, now how do we become established in the Vanarama North?'"

From the Football Mancave comes news that at Curzon Ashton, "It has been a somewhat dramatic season with some remarkable moments but, plenty of games fans would be keen to forget.

The season started promisingly enough... A strong October, then results started to dip with the temperatures and there wasn’t a league win for the Nash in November.

There was the surprise and slightly tempestuous dismissal of manager John Flanagan, who had been at the club since 2011. It was not a smooth start for Mark Bradshaw either, with the Nash losing three of four games in December, including to league strugglers Ashton United and FC United. This left Curzon Ashton with the very real possibility of being in a battle to stay up.

New year, new Nash, as Curzon entered the new year with a bang and totted up four wins on the bounce... before there was a bit of a bump down to earth with an away loss to Brackley and a thumping at home to Altrincham...

All was not lost, however, as Curzon flew through to the final round of the Manchester Premier Cup and saw off Mossley comfortably in the final. This really gave fans something to cheer in a difficult season.

This is a tough league to get out of but on their day, The Nash are a good enough side to make them something to really be feared... They are good up front but concede far too many goals. Sharpen this up, draw a line under a difficult end of season and hopefully come into the next season fully wound up and ready to go and make an impact."

At Spennymoor Town "loanee Jack Diamond has returned to his parent club Sunderland following an injury he picked up at Curzon Ashton on the final day of the league season. Diamond made seven starts for Moors and one substitute appearance after joining the club on loan in March.

And we also learn from Spennymoor Town that "The dust hadn’t settled on the last night’s brilliant victory over Bradford Park Avenue in the Vanarama National League North play-off eliminators before the Spennymoor Town Board were on the pitch.

Keen to get the message out as widely and quickly as possible, Board Member Ian Walker took to the Brewery Field’s PA system to announce free bus travel for every fan wanting to make the trip to Brackley on Sunday for the semi-final.

It’s a regular occurrence for the Moors to put on free buses, but rarely have the supporters they’ll transport been so vital to the team when they get there.

Jason Ainsley again praised the heated atmosphere that more than 1,500 Spennymoor fans generated on Wednesday night; and was clear they played a significant part in the victory.

He said, 'It wasn’t a great spectacle tonight, but the crowd got us over the line. They were brilliant and it was wonderful to see the scenes after the goal and at full time.'"

Hereford FC tell us that "With the 2018/19 season having come to a close, Hereford FC’s Head of Football, Tim Harris, has confirmed that contract talks with current and potential new players will be taking place over the coming weeks...

Preliminary talks with a number of the current squad have already begun... We can also confirm that five players from the current squad are already contracted to stay at Edgar Street for another season. They are Player of the Season, Tom Owen-Evans, Players’ Player of the Season, Keiran Thomas, and Goal of the Season winner, Josh Gowling, as well as former Coventry City man, Kyle Finn, and late season signing, striker Rowan Liburd.

We are pleased to report that talks with potential new recruits are already in progress... Tim Harris said 'It’s going to be a busy summer at Edgar Street as we look to put together a squad that can push for promotion next season. We are all acutely aware of the expectation a club of our size creates and our ambitions are the same as the committed supporters...

'After three successive promotions we completely understand why many fans were disappointed with the way things went on the pitch during the 2018/19 season, but the positive we can all take is that in the end we stayed in the National League North comfortably...

'Marc and I are determined to build a squad this summer that will not only win matches, but that will also play the type of football that fans want to see'".

Chester FC "is offering primary and secondary schools in Chester and the surrounding area a free family season ticket for the 2019/20 campaign... allowing two children and two adults from each participating school to watch the Blues in action next season.

Schools will be able use to the season ticket to reward and incentivise deserving pupils for each home league fixture at the Swansway Chester Stadium.

The club is aiming to deliver a whole new matchday experience for the families visiting with the season ticket and is seeking volunteer matchday hosts who would like to be involved with this initiative".


Wednesday 1st May 2019 Eliminator
  • Match A – AFC Fylde 3-1 Harrogate Town (kick-off: 7pm)

Thursday 2nd May 2019 Eliminator

  • Match B – Wrexham 0-1 Eastleigh (kick-off: 7pm)

Saturday 4th May 2019 Semi Final

  • Solihull Moors v AFC Fylde (kick-off: 12.30pm)

Sunday 5th May 2019 Semi Final

  • Salford City v Eastleigh (kick-off: 3.30pm)


The EvoStik League reports that "The six play-off finalists in the EVO-STIK League have been confirmed.

EVO-STIK PREMIER DIVISION: South Shields v Warrington Town

EVO-STIK EAST DIVISION: Pontefract Collieries v Brighouse Town

EVO-STIK WEST DIVISION: Radcliffe v Leek Town

All of the winners in the play-off semi-finals were the home team. Leek Town completed the line-up with a 2-1 win over Colne, in a game put back to Wednesday due to Colne's involvement in the Lancashire Challenge Trophy final on Monday. Tim Grice's goal one minute from the end of extra time gave Leek the victory...

On Tuesday night, South Shields and Warrington Town both overturned 1-0 half-time deficits to hit four. Shields were given a fright by Buxton, who led 1-0 and also equalised at 2-2 despite being down to 10 men. Carl Finnigan finished with a brace and Josh Gillies made sure late on.

Two second half headers from Ben Garrity helped Warrington bounce back from Callum Saunders' acrobatic opener for Nantwich at Cantilever Park. A Jack Dunn free-kick crashed against the crossbar and in off the unfortunate Lloyd Allinson before Tony Gray's injury-time volley added gloss to the scoreline and set up a second v third clash on Saturday for a place in the super play-off final.

Facing Leek on Saturday are Radcliffe, who eased past Ramsbottom United 3-0. Radcliffe had pushed leaders Atherton Collieries until the final few weeks of the season, and won thanks to goals from [ex-Alty reserve] Scott Metcalfe, Tunde Owolabi and Ben Wharton.

In the East Division, Pontefract Collieries needed extra time to eventually see off Ossett United 3-1, having trailed through Tom Greaves. Colls will face Brighouse Town in the final, after they came from a goal down to beat Sheffield 3-1...

All the games take place on Saturday May 4, 3pm kick-off."

Also from the EvoStik League we learn that "Relegated Marine have confirmed manager Neil Young will stay at the club to spearhead their push for an immediate return to the EVO-STIK League Premier Division.

The Mariners suffered final day heartbreak as defeat at Farsley, coupled with wins for Mickleover and Stalybridge, consigned them to the drop for the first time in the club’s history.

Young said 'We must quickly ensure that we are fully prepared to push for promotion. There can be no excuses, the team and squad that start the season will be my team and a lot of work will be put in to make us more professional on and off the field, to build on the changes we have already made.

'I have been promoted from this level three times with three different clubs and I will use that experience to take us forward'...

Chairman Paul Leary said 'We are all devastated by what happened on Saturday especially as we approach our 125th anniversary. However when we appointed Neil last September he was by far the most experienced and successful applicant of many and we believe that he is the person to take us back to where we want to be and beyond.

'Neil has accepted the single objective of securing promotion from Division 1 next season and will have the benefit this time of having the summer and the pre-season build up to properly plan, prepare and recruit for a successful campaign ahead.'”

Should Alty remain in the National League North they will renew acquaintance with "EVO-STIK League Premier Division champions Farsley Celtic [who] have moved to secure the future of the league’s Player of the Year, Jimmy Spencer.

Spencer, 27, will take on a dual role at the club in National League North, becoming the first ever club ambassador, which will include assisting the club in its new academy development and helping to support the local community as the focal point of activities at schools, charities and with fans. Chairman Paul Barthorpe said... 'He was the Evo-Stik Premier League player of the year this season scoring 20 league goals and he puts in 110% in every match. We at the club also get the privilege of seeing another side to Jimmy, he is the massively popular in the changing rooms'...

Spencer joined the club in the summer from Mansfield Town and previously played for Huddersfield, Notts County, Cambridge and Plymouth in the Football League."

2 May 2019


Above: Josh Hancock nets the winning penalty.

After Blyth had deservedly taken a two-goal lead inside the first half-hour, Altrincham gained a lifeline when Johnston converted a penalty awarded for handball, seven minutes later. The visitors' lead remained intact until the third of four added minutes at the end of the regulation ninety minutes.

Right: Jake Moult battles for an aerial ball against Blyth.

Alty's 93rd minute leveller took the game to extra time and, with no further goals being scored, penalties followed. Twelve perfect penalties made it 6-6 from the spot until substitute Wrightson saw his effort saved by Tony Thompson. Josh Hancock then converted Alty's seventh kick to put the seal on a victory which had seemed highly unlikely earlier in the evening.

Alty had started the evening poorly, showing little invention and frequently mispassing and miscontrolling the ball in the opening stages. In the 11th minute Jarrett Rivers put Blyth deservedly ahead when he drifted across the box from the right, played a one-two, and then smartly netted. A superbly struck 25 yarder from full-back Nicholson made it 2-0 to the Spartans in the 28th minute.

Seven minutes later, when a Williams shot struck a Blyth man's arm, Alty were awarded a penalty which Johnston converted to make it 1-2.

Alty had the better of the second half but time seemed to have run out as they sought an equalizer. However, in the third added minute, Hancock got free and scored from about 12 yards to send the match into extra-time. Alty had the better of the first period of extra-time, before Blyth finished the second period strongly. What turned into the 14 kicks of a penalty shoot-out followed, with Alty emerging the winners 7-6 and so earning a trip to Chorley on Sunday for the semi-final.

More on the match here.


Wednesday, 1 May:
  • Altrincham 2-2 Blyth Spartans a.e.t., Alty win 7-6 on penalties. Alty are now away at Chorley on Sunday, 5 May.
  • Spennymoor Town 1-0 Bradford (PA), The Moors are now away at Brackley Town, on Sunday, 5 May


Also involved in a play-off last night were Bradford (Park Avenue) who met Chorley last Saturday. "Despite it being a dreary day at Victory Park the game was far from it with a 3-2 thriller which saw both sides confirm their spots in the playoff places.

Mark Bower made one change from Monday’s starting eleven following on from a 1-3 defeat against York City with Danny East dropping to the bench in place of Jamie Spencer. Chorley on the other hand made a couple of changes to their starting eleven with both Teague and Challoner both dropping out for Jordan and Anson respectively as they aimed for the National League North title...

After weathering an early storm Bradford then grew into the game... In the 34th minute Knight was brought down in the box by ‘keeper Matt Urwin after being played in behind by Jake Beesley. It was of course Beesley who took the resultant penalty, giving Bradford the lead and taking Beesley’s tally to twenty for the season...

For the rest of the half Chorley regained control having a couple of chances which again were easily dealt with by Andrew, up until the 43rd minute when a good ball in from Bradford’s left hand side was superbly held up by Almond who thumped it into the roof of the net to level up the game...

After the break, both sides came racing out the blocks with Andrew again being forced into making a couple of saves... In the 54th minute a long ball down field from a Chorley goal kick was misjudged by Andrew, allowing Louis Almond through again and seeing him put the ball into the back of the empty net, giving him his second of the match. A minute later however, Bradford immediately fired back when a cross in by Knight was bundled home by Oli Johnson at the back post...

The game appeared to be fizzling out with neither side really being able to create any clear-cut chances as they had done earlier in the half. This continued until the 87th minute when yet another long ball by Urwin wasn’t dealt with by Bradford’s defence allowing Almond to slot away, in off the post, rounding off his hat-trick. For the remainder of the match, Bradford struggled for possession however Chorley rarely did enough to truly threaten scoring again.

Despite the 3-2 defeat, Bradford qualified for the playoffs on goal difference".

According to York Press, "York City have announced their retained list...

Five out-of-contract players have been told they will not be offered new deals; Hamza Bencherif, Josh Law, Alex Harris, Jon Parkin, and Josh Rogerson.

New deals have been offered to four players; Macaulay Langstaff, Adriano Moke, Joe Tait, and Ryan Whitley.

The club is still in negotiations with goalkeeper Adam Bartlett, whose contract is due to expire this summer. Defender Daniel Parslow and midfielder Simon Heslop, who are also out-of-contract,were both invited to return for pre-season training this summer following lengthy injury absences. Parslow has rejected that opportunity...

Defenders Tom Bradbury, David Mirfin, and Jasper Moon, who finished the season on loan at Bootham Crescent, have returned to their parent clubs. Midfielder Scott Burgess has been offered a permanent deal after spending the final months of the season on loan with the club from Bury...

The players already under contract for the 2019-20 season are Tom Allan, Jordan Burrow, Nathan Dyer, David Ferguson, Kallum Griffiths, Alex Kempster, Sean Newton, Reiss Harrison, Jake Watson, Jake Wright, Wes York, and Paddy McLaughlin, whose new deal was announced yesterday".

From Cheshire Live comes confirmation that "Chester FC have released 11 players as managers Anthony Johnson and Bernard Morley look to start rebuilding...

Heading the list of departures from the Swansway Chester Stadium are George Green, Steve Howson [and] Ben McKenna... while also leaving are [ex-Alty loanee] Jon Moran, Jamal Crawford, Alex Downes, Rhain Hellawell, Connor King, Sean McAllister, John Pritchard and Dominic Smalley.

Matty Hughes, who has been recovering from an ACL injury sustained back in October, has been invited back for pre-season to win a deal while midfielder Gary Roberts, a mainstay of the Blues' midfield during the past season, has been offered the chance to win a deal provided he commits to a fitness regime ahead of the new season.

Discussions are ongoing with other members of the first team squad including Gary Stopforth, Craig Mahon, Brad Jackson, Simon Grand, Matty Waters, Iwan Murray, George Waring, Matthew Thomson and goalkeepers Theo Roberts and Grant Shenton.

Chester have only Akwasi Asante and Scott Burton under contract for next season while Danny Livesey and Anthony Dudley have returned to parent club Salford City following the completion of their loan deals.

Academy graduates Cain Noble and Lloyd Marsh-Hughes both penned their first senior deals with the Blues on Tuesday and are expected to be joined by others from the Academy in the coming weeks. Cheshire Live understands that some, not all, of those players not featured in the retained list have already been offered terms with Johnson and Morley assessing options and working through details with others owing to the change in circumstance with the club moving to a hybrid model [i.e. between part- and full-time], which was announced on Tuesday".


Clubs aiming to be in the Vanarama National League North for 2019-20 were competing in the semi-finals of the NPL play-offs on Tuesday. One of them, South Shields "kept their promotion hopes alive on a dramatic night at Mariners' Park as they came from behind with an inspired second-half performance to beat Buxton on Tuesday.

The Mariners went in at half-time a goal down after an impressive first half performance by the Bucks, but responded instantly to turn the tie on its head. Jon Shaw and Carl Finnigan netted within a minute of each other to put Shields in front, before defender Tom Dean was sent off for the visitors after two quickfire yellow cards.

Buxton did get back on level terms but Finnigan restored Shields’ advantage and Josh Gillies made the game safe late on as the hosts marched on in front of a jubilant crowd.

They will host Warrington Town in the Evo-Stik Premier Division play-off final on Saturday, and the winners will progress to the super play-off final where they will battle for a promotion place.

Shields made two changes to the team which beat Gainsborough Trinity in the final league game of the season three days earlier, with Nathan Lowe and Finnigan introduced to the starting line-up in place of Phil Turnbull and Gavin Cogdon...

Shields must now win two further games at Mariners Park to clinch promotion. Before that, they face Shildon in the Durham Challenge Cup final at the Stadium of Light on Friday".

In the other NPL play-off, the Warrington Guardian reports that "Warrington Town certainly got off on the right foot. It was perhaps fitting that Ben Garrity, plucked from local league football in Liverpool this season, who made the difference with two almost carbon-copy goals to see off Nantwich Town.

They must now travel to South Shields for the play-off final, but it is a trip that should hold no fear on this evidence.

An own-goal from Nantwich keeper Lloyd Allinson and Tony Gray’s injury-time clincher, either side of Louis Barnes’s red card, put some deserved gloss on the scoreline in front of almost 1,500 people at Cantilever Park. Despite dominating the first half, they went into half time behind... as Callum Saunders’s wonderful strike separated the sides at the break.

Nantwich sensed a shock, but they did not bank on a resurgent home side. Paul Carden surprised a few with his team selection with a change of shape to a three-man midfield of Shaun Beeley alongside Ben Garrity and Robbie Evans. They aimed to utilise the pace of Jack Mackreth and Jack Dunn out wide and together with Tony Gray, they hassled and harried the visiting defence from the get-go.

Mass panic reigned in the Nantwich ranks, but they weathered the early storm and as soon as they got a foothold, they struck... Saunders lashed a stunning scissor kick beyond [ex-Alty keeper] Tony McMillan.... The visitors held on until the break.

Carden ruled [rolled?] the dice at the break, sacrificing Duggan in order to bring the enigmatic Bohan Dixon off the bench... Nine minutes after the restart... Dunn floated a teasing corner into the box and what Garrity’s header lacked in power, it more than made up for in precision as it nestled into the bottom corner...

Then, after Dunn had again tested Allinson from a set piece, déjà vu struck. The left winger floated in the set piece and Garrity sent another header goalwards that took an age to drop into the top corner and sent Cantilever Park delirious.

Nantwich threw men forward, but it was Yellows who continued to have the better of the chances before Dunn made his presence felt again. His wicked free kick bounced off the bar, hit a luckless Allinson and bounced into the bottom corner...

Already on a yellow card, the left-back [Barnes] barged down a charging Dunn to leave the referee with little option. With spaces now wide open, Yellows took the chance to add a deserved coup de grace. Dixon, so influential off the bench, stormed down the right and produced the perfect cross for Gray to volley home and spark wild scenes of celebration".

1 May 2019


Altrincham go into tonight's play-off qualifier at home to Blyth Spartans with what is believed to be a full squad except for injured left-back Andy White. With only two wins from their final six league fixtures, Altrincham face the top-form team in the division in Blyth Spartans, who have won seven on the trot. However, the Northumberland club's captain, Robert Dale, has gone on a pre-planned holiday according to the local press.

The winners of the tie will travel to second-placed Chorley on Sunday (3pm). Should the scores by level after ninety minutes, thirty minutes of extra time will be played, followed if necessary by a penalty shoot-out.

As previously confirmed, admission is by payment at the turnstiles; season tickets do not cover any additional play-off matches such as this.

Right: Jake Moult in action at Ashton last Saturday. The Alty captain will be looking to lead his team to play-off success tonight.

Elsewhere, Bradford (Park Avenue) play at Spennymoor Town tonight to decide which team travels to third-placed Brackley Town on Sunday afternoon. The winners of those two semi-finals will play the promotion final on Sunday, 12 May.


Before Wednesday's match, Blyth Spartans reported that "After securing their highest ever league finish on Saturday, Spartans now travel to Moss Lane to take on Altrincham... Spartans have now won seven games in a row and the 2-1 win over Southport saw them secure sixth place in the league. They face an Altrincham side who finished two points above Spartans in fifth.

Spartans are currently unbeaten against Altrincham this season, drawing 1-1 away from home in their last encounter which marked the start of Spartans’ current 10 game unbeaten run. The first meeting between the sides this term was back in September, and resulted in a 2-1 win for the hosts at Croft Park, with Jarrett Rivers and Sean Reid getting on the scoresheet.

Altrincham go into the game on a good run of form themselves, with only one defeat in their last 12 league games, a 2-1 reverse at home to third place Brackley Town. Their form during April has seen them register an impressive 5-3 win over league runner’s up Chorley, and a 7-0 thrashing away to Alfreton Town.

Despite their form however, Altrincham could only muster a 1-1 draw away at relegated Ashton United last Saturday...

There have been 21 meetings between the sides in total, with Spartans only getting the better of Altrincham on 5 occasions with 8 draws...

Altrincham have been the National League North’s most prolific side this season with 85 goals scored, so it is perhaps no surprise that they have two players amongst the division’s leading scorers. Josh Hancock has scored an impressive total of 17 goals from midfield this season, with striker Jordan Hulme helping himself to 15 [actually 17 in the league]. The numbers are all the more impressive considering neither player is Altrincham’s spot-kick taker.

Spartans’ end of season form of seven straight wins is their best run-in for 32 years, when Jim Pearson’s side helped themselves to eight successive victories to claim the Northern League title. Spartans are unbeaten away from home against other members of the top seven this season."


Tuesday, 30 April

Premier Division Promotion Play Offs

  • South Shields 4-2 Buxton
  • Warrington Town 4-1 Nantwich Town

East Division Promotion Play Offs

  • Brighouse Town 3-1 Sheffield FC
  • Pontefract Collieries 3-1 Ossett United (aet, 1-1 at 90 mins)

West Division Promotion Play Offs

  • Radcliffe FC 3-0 Ramsbottom United

Wednesday, 1 May 2019

West Division Promotion Play Offs

  • Leek Town v Colne

Elsewhere, Hereford'sBulls' News informs us that "The Southern League Premier Central Play-offs have been delayed because of allegations that one of the clubs involved has used an ineligible player this season. Kings Lynn were set to play Stratford and Alvechurch were to meet Stourbridge.

It's understood that, if found guilty by the FA, Stratford will be deducted the points they gained from the fixtures which the ineligible player featured in.


According to the York Press "York City stalwart Dan Parslow has confirmed he won’t be receiving a new deal from the club. The out-of-contract 33-year-old defender, who will leave Bootham Crescent sitting ninth on the Minstermen’s all-time appearances list with 383 outings, has been welcomed back for pre-season training but been told that his services will not be retained for the 2019/20 campaign.

Parslow is the only City player to have won the Billy Fenton Memorial Trophy Clubman of the Year three times in 2009, 2011 and 2013, but he has been unable to train or play since suffering severe concussion during his only game under Steve Watson... on February 5. Commenting on his departure, the ex-Wales under-21 international said, 'The gaffer has said I will always be welcome to go back to the club and use the facilities to make sure I can get fit if needed in pre-season, which I am grateful for, but he has told me there will be no contract offer and that’s football.

'Injuries happen and mine wasn’t the manager’s fault or my fault. It just came at a time when I was hoping to earn the manager’s trust by staying in the team and, hopefully, doing enough to merit a new contract, but time has run out for me. The gaffer has had a very honest chat with me. He’s got his targets and managers always look to recruit players they can trust.

'We’ve seen that with him bringing Paddy McLaughlin back to the club and getting Scott Burgess in. The same also applied to me when Gary Mills brought me back to York'".

And another departing veteran is the subject of another report from York Press which tells us that "Out-of-contract striker Jon Parkin has announced that he will be leaving York City.

The 37-year-old striker was the Minstermen's top scorer with 25 goals in 2017/18, but found his opportunities limited to five starts and 19 substitute outings last term, hitting the target just three times".

Meanwhile, Lincolnshire Live reports that "Boston United wrapped up their National League North season with victory at Hereford FC on Saturday and manager Craig Elliott is already working on his plans for the 2019-2020 campaign.

United are set to leave York Street at the end of next season, with a move to The Quadrant looming on the horizon, and Elliott is determined to sign off in style at The Jakemans Stadium.

The Pilgrims triumphed 2-0 at Edgar Street on Saturday... and Elliott felt United’s first clean sheet since December 8 underlined their inconsistencies this season. United have been in the top half after 41 of the 42 matchdays this season and they secured an 11th place finish following their win at Hereford.

'That tells its own story,' said Elliott... 'We have not had enough clean sheets. At the start of the season, I wanted 20 wins and we ended a bit closer to that so next year, the aim will be to get over 20 wins. It is a massive deal because I do regard us as a consistent top half team and we have been that all season. We have been in and around the play-offs and for all the doom and gloom, we have not been a poor team fighting relegation like some people would have you believe.

'It’s a building block and I have always said it’s about building step-by-step. I know that we need to go to the next level but it gives us a platform to build on.'

With seven players already contracted and four others returning to their parent clubs over recent days, Elliott will soon address the futures of his other players. 'Everything will be tied up in the next seven days,' added Elliott. 'There is no resting in this job and as the season finishes, you are straight into the next season; looking and planning and making sure we can be better...

'I firmly know how we need to improve and where we need to improve and I just hope we get a bit of luck in the transfer market and manage to get the right players in.'

The new National League North campaign, which will include the likes of promoted sides Farsley Celtic and Kettering Town, will get under way on Saturday August 3."

We learn from the Shropshire Star that "Boss Gavin Cowan has urged his AFC Telford United stars to stick around and continue their thrilling journey next season...

They fell just short of extending the term in the end, but only on goal difference, so Cowan wants to retain the base and strengthen with a few new faces, not rip things up and start again as Telford have done in the last few summers.

'It’s not to make any excuses for not achieving the play-offs this year, but it wasn’t really our goal at the start of the season,' he said... 'We’ve had a solid base, and that plays a part. Maybe this is the start of a journey for us now'...

'Ultimately, you have to look at the core, and I think a lot of these lads deserve another crack at it,' added Cowan".

Kidderminster Harriers "confirm that top scorer Joe Ironside is among the players to be offered a new contract with the club. Ironside bagged 19 goals for the Reds in the term just ended... He has been offered terms to remain at the club which would extend a stay that began in March 2017.

The club will also offer new terms to Sam Austin, Tom Palmer, Fraser Horsfall.

With the club exercising an option in his contract, Ed Williams will remain with Harriers for a second season. He joins Ashley Chambers, Milan Butterfield, Harry Higginson, Russ Penn, Ryan Johnson, Declan Weeks and Jimmy O’Connor in being part of the squad.

Billy Daniels and Joel Taylor have been invited to return to the club ahead of pre-season training later in the summer.

Kane Richards, Brandon Hall and Liam Truslove will leave Aggborough once their current contracts expire shortly and we wish each of them well for the future; so, too, Nick Clayton-Phillips, Josh Heaton and Liam McAlinden who will return to their parent clubs after loan spells here."

Chester FC "confirm that First Team Coach Derek Egan and Goalkeeper Coach James Longdin have departed the club. The announcement comes following the restructure to a hybrid model for the 2019-2020 campaign".

Also, Chester FC "announce that exciting prospects Lloyd Marsh-Hughes and Cain Noble have signed senior terms with the club. Cain and Lloyd featured in the first team during the 2018-2019 campaign and have signed their terms with both turning 18 years of age this year.

Noble, a central midfielder from Lache, scored on his senior debut last April in a home defeat to Maidstone in the National League. He went on to make seven National League North appearances this term...

Welsh teenager Marsh-Hughes... is a powerful and pacy striker. Lloyd went on to make his first senior start in the home game against Curzon Ashton in January in the National League North, and also 12 substitute appearances across the season".

The Northern Echo advises that "Saturday’s game against Leamington turned out to be a mini-highlights package of the season. Good football in patches, a decent goal, an inability to kill off the game and then the opposition cutting through our defence like a hot knife through butter. If it wasn’t for it being the last game of the season, the draw would have been as frustrating as the season as a whole, but ultimately, much like most of the season, it simply didn’t matter.

The pre-game announcement of [manager] Tommy’s departure will hopefully go some way to appease those who have opted to spend their Saturday afternoons doing something else. It will also hopefully persuade those who opted not to renew their season tickets to rethink their decision.

As much as we all like Tommy the former player and Tommy the decent guy who is great to talk to, Tommy the manager was a bit more of a stretch. Poor recruitment, little real tactical direction and a lack of resilience among his charges took its toll as the season wore on. Yes, there were some good performances but they were almost always followed by poor performances. Whether it was a majority of fans who wanted the change or not, the feeling was we couldn’t face another summer of poor signings...

As for his replacement, it feels like the pressure is on the board to find a perfect solution. I don’t begrudge them the task in hand. Back when Tommy was appointed, it was public knowledge the directors had been really challenged in finding Martin Gray’s successor...

We could really do with finding a manager who knows how to put together a National League North side. As technically-gifted some of our current players are, this division is about physicality and organisation. We don’t need to try and play like Barcelona, we need to be playing more like Stockport County. Less football purist and more football pragmatist...

Finally, in a season that has been turgid at best, picking a player of the season could be seen as a tough job... A winger of mythological quality, a striker who’s really a defender, a defender who couldn’t jump, a midfielder who didn’t have legs and a keeper who couldn’t read the game... My player of the season is Stephen Thompson... Hopefully, next season will see him get over the line and become the club’s record scorer, a feat that would be so richly deserved."


The latest club in the extensive list of former opponents of Altrincham who have hit the financial buffers, only to re-form, is the subject of a report from the NL Paper. It says "A North Ferriby United phoenix club has been approved by the FA and will start next season in the Northern Counties East League structure.

The club was liquidated in March, bringing to an end 85 years of history over an unpaid debt of £7,645.25 which had been incurred since February 2017.

The new club, named North Ferriby Football Club, will be led by former United chairman Les Hare and shall continue to play at Grange Lane. The board, made up of high-profile local residents and business, will find out on May 14 at a meeting with the league which NCEL division they will be placed in. Hare spent 22 years as chairman of North Ferriby before he stepped down in 2015."

News of another old foe who is on the way back after relegation comes from Devon Live which reports that "Torquay United manager Gary Johnson preferred to talk about Plainmoor matters than comment on speculation that he might be a candidate for the newly-vacant job at Westcountry neighbours Plymouth Argyle.

Johnson refused to be drawn on speculation linking him with the Home Park vacancy with some bookmakers making him a leading candidate for the role.

Instead, Johnson wanted to talk about the Gulls and the news that star striker Jamie Reid had been crowned as the National League South's player of the season after bagging 29 goals in United's title-winning campaign... In the wake of relegation-haunted Argyle's sacking of Derek Adams at the weekend, former Yeovil Town, Bristol City and Cheltenham Town boss Johnson was one of the first names to be touted as a possible replacement."

And at the other end of the country, NL Daily states that at Gateshead "The Tynesiders last Friday confirmed the addition of Nigel Harrop and Trevor Clark to the board of directors, with the official line that the club would remain up for sale. Over the weekend, general manager Alisha Henry was sacked by owner/chairman Dr Ranjan Varghese by text.

Assistant manager Ian Watson, midfielder/kit manager JJ O’Donnell and club therapist Annie Davis have now also been told their services are no longer required. It leaves the Heed, who finished just outside the Vanarama National League play-offs this season despite a transfer embargo for much of it, with just three employees; manager Ben Clark, defender Scott Barrow and press officer Dominic Scurr.

Left-back Barrow’s contract runs until the end of June and it is expected that the remaining employees will also be let go in the near future. The concern for the future of the club rumbles on, with former Rochdale chairman Chris Dunphy’s attempts at a takeover so far unsuccessful". The Heed had been recently taken in by neighbours Hebburn Town and allowed to train at the club and use their facilities, after unpaid council bills left them not permitted to use the Gateshead International Stadium."