May 2020

31 May, 2020


On this day, 31 May, in previous years, the following stories appear on the website...

31 May 2015: DAVID PARTON JOINS KYLE PERRY AT HEDNESFORD. The Express & Star reports that "Hednesford Town have signed goalkeeper Dave Parton (right) from Conference Premier Altrincham, with a view to him taking the number one shirt left by Dan Crane...

Parton, 22, was signed from Newcastle Town by Alty last season following their promotion into the top tier of non-league football. He played 15 times for the Robins, finishing the season as their number one.

31 May 2014: ALTY'S COMPETITORS. As Altrincham get to grips once more with the Conference National it may be helpful to remind ourselves of what we are up against. Last July, the NL Paper said that, for the 2013-14 season, "There will be 14 fully professional sides, training every day, usually with a Wednesday off, in non-League's top flight.

They are Aldershot, Barnet, Cambridge United, Forest Green, Gateshead, Grimsby, Hereford, Kidderminster, Lincoln City, Luton, Macclesfield, Salisbury, Tamworth and Wrexham. Eight sides are two-nights a week semi-professional outfits; Alfreton, Braintree, Chester, Dartford, FC Halifax, Hyde, Nuneaton, and Woking. The other two teams are the "Inbetweeners" doing three sessions a week, Southport... and Welling".

And last August, the NLP added that the then Skrill Premier "budget table" was as follows...

  • £1 million plus: Forest Green Rovers and Luton
  • £750,000 to £1 million: None
  • £500,000 to £750,000: Barnet, Wrexham, Grimsby Town, Kidderminster Harriers, Cambridge Utd, Gateshead
  • £250,000 to £500,000: Aldershot Town, Lincoln City, Hereford Utd, Salisbury City, Dartford, Chester, Woking, FC Halifax Town, Southport
  • Below £250,000: Macclesfield Town, Tamworth, Alfreton Town, Braintree Town, Nuneaton Town, Welling, Hyde.

31 May 2013: DANNY HELPED JAMES TO DECIDE ON ALTY. The Yorkshire Evening Post reports that "James Walshaw [right]has revealed his disappointment after leaving Guiseley to join Altrincham,claiming that the club's failure to contact him about a new deal forced him to go.

The 29-year-old will link up again with ex-Farsley Celtic chief Lee Sinnott and Villagers' striker Damian Reeves at Alty after his second spell at Nethermoor ended in unfortunate fashion.

Ex-Ossett Town, Bradford Park Avenue and Farsley frontman Walshaw insists he was ready to talk the Lions about staying but says that boss Steve Kittrick, who first brought him to Guiseley towards the end of the 2008-09 season, didn't call him and say he was in his plans.

Kittrick has countered by saying he was waiting for clarification on the club's playing budget for next term before speaking to players and says Walshaw's decision was premature.

Walshaw said, 'It was a very tough decision and I don't think it was one made by myself. I hadn't heard from the manager since the last game and kind of thought that he didn't want me. There were a few clubs interested and I didn't want to be waiting around, so I took the decision to sign for Altrincham. It would have been nice to have had the choice. I am disappointed. I have got a lot of friends at Guiseley and a close bond with supporters and it has not ended on a good note for me.

I had interest from Stockport and Altrincham and a few others including Ferriby. But I decided to join Altrincham and I am looking forward to linking up with Damian Reeves and Lee Sinnott."


Darlington provide "the latest status of the playing squad:

Players who have accepted new terms for season 2020-21:

  • Will Hatfield
  • Joe Wheatley
  • Justin Donawa
  • Jarrett Rivers
  • Jamie Holmes
  • Ben Hedley
  • Alex Storey
  • Adam Campbell
  • Louis Laing
  • Michael Liddle
  • Sean Reid
  • Jordan Watson
  • David Atkinson

Players whose options have not been exercised by the club:

  • Chris Elliott

Players who turned down new terms and have left the club:

  • Stephen Thompson
  • Luke Trotman

Players who have yet to accept new terms:

  • Omar Holness
  • Terry Galbraith

Southport "confirm the signing of defender Matt Challoner, who returns to the Pure Stadium after four seasons.

Matt made 90 appearances for the Port between 2013 and 2016 before moving to Chorley, where he won promotion to the Vanarama National League North through the play-offs twelve months ago.

Now 26, the right-back was a regular in the Southport side for three seasons at the top level of Non-League football during his previous time with the club. He becomes our second signing of the week after the addition of fellow former Chorley team-mate Marcus Carver.

Born in Blackburn, Matt progressed through the youth set-up at Blackpool, earning a Player of the Season award and featuring for the reserves before joining the Port. He played a total of 180 times for Chorley... He played in the National League last season before finishing the campaign at Boston United.

Manager Liam Watson said 'It’s great to have Matt on board for next season. He has got valuable experience in this division and at the level above and has really developed as a player during the last few years. We want to be solid all over the pitch, have a competitive squad and Matt will be an important player in achieving that. I’m very pleased to have two players on board who have won promotion from this level and we’re making good progress with our plans to ensure we’re as strong as possible for when football returns.'”

From King's Lynn Town comes a "squad retained list. We are able to provide and updated squad retained list after some names were inadvertently missed from the original post last evening...

  • Alex Street, Alex Brown, Ross Barrows, Michael Clunan, Michael Gash, Chris Henderson, Sam Kelly, Rory McAuley, Tom Ward, Dayle Southwell, Luke Johnson, Sonny Carey, Ryan Hawkins, Aaron Jones, Jordan Richards, Chris Smith
  • Offers have been made to both Ryan Jarvis and Adam Marriott.
  • To date the following players have been released: Ryan Fryatt and Nathan Fox"
Farsley Celtic "announce that Chris Atkinson has signed a contract extension for the 2020-21 season.

Atkinson has been an integral part of the Farsley squad since initially joining on loan from Salford City in 2017, making 167 appearances. The former Huddersfield Town and Crewe Alexandra man has been involved in two promotions and two County Cup wins in his time in west Leeds, and was a regular last season in the club's first campaign back at step two.

The 28-year-old midfielder is looking forward to spending a fifth season at Farsley, as he said... 'It’s always going to be hard for me to leave with the memories I have here. The changing room we have is the best I’ve ever been in, along with the management staff. Hopefully, we can keep everyone together for next season!

'Last season I think we did really well, to be a few points outside the play-offs with that amount of games to go, we would have definitely taken that at the start of the season. We beat a lot of the bigger clubs in the league so that just shows what we are capable of as a team on our day!

'Obviously it’s been frustrating not knowing when you’re going to be kicking a ball again but, in the grand scheme of things, football has been irrelevant... I’ve been running three or four times a week, just ticking over really...

'As a team, I think we need to be aiming for the playoffs, I don’t see why we can’t if we can improve a little on last season. I know [new signing] Jake (Charles) from my time at Huddersfield, he played with my brother in his age group. He likes to play on the shoulder and run in behind with his pace, which is something we haven’t really had here. He’s got a great left foot as well so hopefully, he will be a good signing for us'...

Farsley Manager Adam Lakeland... commented, 'Chris has been an ever-present in the team in my time at Farsley and is a very important player for us. He’s one of those players who doesn’t always get the credit he deserves, but the role he plays within our team is one of great importance'".

Brackley Town provide "an update from the continuing saga of how the National League season will be concluded.

While it seems highly unlikely that National League North and South play-off games can be played due to the level of testing required and the costs of playing behind closed doors for clubs with zero income, we are tied to the National League which is in turn waiting on EFL decisions around promotion and relegation. The case for and against the various options for settling final league placings has been extensively aired and nobody would dispute that these decisions are difficult and cannot please everybody. But for most clubs at our level we need to draw a line under the season and look ahead. There are sufficient challenges facing us all in the future without the continued added conjecture and uncertainty around the conclusion of the 2019-20 season.

As a club, disappointed as we are not to conclude our games, cement a play-off place and look forward to competing for promotion for a third successive season, we are looking ahead to the next campaign...

[Manager] Kevin [Wilkin] has been discussing options with current players and talking with players who may become the new faces in next season’s squad...

'I am pleased that we have secured the services for another season of many of the players who have been the foundations of our recent side'... Kevin says. 'Jimmy, Gaz, Lee and Matt were signed up some time ago and in recent days Ellis, Glenn, Danny, Connor, Shep and Shane have or are about to put pen to paper and will form the back-bone of another strong squad that we hope will be competitive again next season. Conversations with other players from last season continue and undoubtedly as well, one or two will move on because that’s the way of these things at this level.'

'The club treats players well, this is a good club to play for and I know that players appreciate this... The club is ambitious as well as realistic and prudent. Across the country players will find that they have to be realistic in terms of their expectations because the situation is fluid. I think some players may have a rude awakening as the hard reality of the difficult financial situation hits home at lots of clubs at our level but also above'...

The latest news on the ground development is that we have moved the media tower and all being well a further new seated stand will be in place on the far side of the ground by this time next week adding to the seated capacity of the ground and further enclosing the pitch on all sides. We hope to bring you further news on progress with the re-build of the clubhouse next time as the Football Foundation meets next week and hopefully this will confirm funding allowing us to set a start date for the works to demolish and start re-building. Again, this is all evidence of the exciting future at the club despite the difficult times we have to get through at the moment'".

At Boston United "Significant progress has been made on... [the] brand-new Community Stadium but it is not too late to play your part.

The Pilgrims' new home alongside the A16 is taking shape and you could help out by purchasing a seat dedication, a Fans' Wall or Memorial Wall brick or a pitch sponsorship opportunity. among a host of pledging options... With United's exit from York Street looming large, all funds will be used towards completion and fit out of the Community Stadium, ahead of the 2020-2021 football season".

"Three AFC Telford United players have agreed new contracts with the club, ready for the 2020/21 season.

Adam Walker, Brendon Daniels and Zak Lilly have all signed new contracts which will see them remain at the New Buck's Head for another year.

Boss Gavin Cowan... [said] 'Brendon and Adam were stand out players last season and Zak made huge strides in his development, this I feel will bode well for the coming season. All three are a joy to work with and are highly motivated to put our plans into action for the 2020/21 season!'

AFC Telford United can also confirm we have offered Henry Cowans the opportunity to join to prove his fitness during pre-season having spent the majority of last season out injured from a recurring ankle injury. Cowan added 'After an injury hit season, myself and Henry agreed that coming in to prove his fitness was the best way forward. We know what he is capable of and so a fit Henry Cowans could be very positive for the club.'

Adam Walker, Brendon Daniels and Zak Lilly all join Shane Sutton, Ross White and Aaron Williams who have already committed to the 2020/21 campaign".

The Shropshire Star adds that "The Bucks' boss is making his final decisions on which of the squad from last season... will be at the club for the next campaign and admits the decision have been ‘tough’.

Cowan is aiming to strike a balance between maintaining familiarity in his ranks and adding fresh impetus, having kept the majority of his 2018/19 troops on board 12 months previous.

'I’m really happy. It’s a tough time because it’s the hardest part for a manager, to have to make some of these really cut-throat decisions,' Cowan said. 'I suppose for the most part last year I didn’t really need to do, we retained most of the players. We’re still in talks with some to make final decisions. We’re very busy talking to a lot of players, lots of decisions are being made.

'I think of the players that were here last year, given the option, [all?] would’ve stayed. I think that speaks volumes of the environment we’ve created. We’ve been outlining some of the plans to the players who are staying and they’re very excited and eager to get going again.'".

30 May 2011


Wales's Leader Live reports that "Elliott Durrell lifted the lid on how another former Wrexham favourite played a key part in his move to Altrincham. Durrell was on the lookout for a new club earlier this year after a brief spell at National League North title favourites York City came to an end.

And the 30-year-old revealed how Lee Fowler helped convince him that a move to Moss Lane was the right one.

'Lee told me to watch Altrincham,' said Durrell. 'He told me they were a proper football team before the move came about. I know Fowls from my time at Tamworth and I’ve learned a lot from him. I went to watch a game at Alty and sat with Fowls. We had a good chat and it was clear to see that they were right for me football-wise.'

Above: Elliott Durrell scores for Altrincham at Hereford, just before half-time on 29 February. It was Alty's last away game of the curtailed season and they won it 2-0, with a late goal from Simon Richman being added to Durrell's opener.

Altrincham have a reputation for playing some of the best football in the entire National League, something that Durrell was keen to be a part of.

'Altrincham’s style of play is frightening for the level,' said Durrell. 'I didn’t want to sign for another National League North team to be honest. But when I was at York we played them twice in the cup and they battered us. The result was only 1-0 on both occasions, but they were superb and probably had 80 per cent possession, which stuck in my mind.

'I went to watch them to make sure that they were as good against someone other than York and the style of football caught my eye again. The goalkeeper, Tony Thompson (right), rarely kicks it long and, if he does, it’s a 30-yard clip to the full-back. They want to play out from the back and it was something I wanted to experience.'

The chance to work under Phil Parkinson was another reason behind Durrell’s decision to sign for Altrincham. 'He [Parkinson] says "As long as you work hard I don’t mind what you do, just do what you do best”', said Durrell. 'The whole team has a licence to play and it’s great. I’ve been told things like that by managers before and then, inside 10 minutes, when you’ve lost the ball you are on the end of a rollicking.

'But the manager here doesn’t stop encouraging you. If you lose the ball he just says "win it back and go again". I was close to signing somewhere when I got the call from the manager, who suggested I could be the missing piece in a promotion push and it was great to hear.'

Prior to the season being suspended indefinitely due to the coronavirus pandemic, Altrincham and Durrell were in fine form, the former Wrexham and Chester playmaker scoring in his first four games for the club. Durrell was showing the form that helped him forget a 'mad old year', which saw him leave Macclesfield in disappointing circumstances and endure a frustrating stint with York City.

'It was very strange at Macc,' said Durrell, one of six players who petitioned for the club’s winding-up due to unpaid wages. 'I was offered a new contract and accepted it initially, but they weren’t able to make assurances going forward, so I opted to leave... I spoke to quite a few Football League clubs and National League clubs, but they’d done their budgets,' said Durrell. 'I went into York at a difficult time as they were flying and the manager was rightly loyal to the players that were doing well.

'The travelling didn’t help. It’s a long old jaunt from Shrewsbury to York and when you aren’t happy it doesn’t help you play your football. I’m lucky that I’ve not had to move in my career, but that commute on a daily basis was tough. There’s no bad feelings and I moved on to Altrincham, where I was starting to show what I am capable of. It was only a matter of time before I got back to the levels I know I’m capable of.'"


Farsley Celtic reports that they "have agreed a deal to sign Stafford Rangers forward Jake Charles.

The ex-Wales Under-21 international, who is the grandson of the late Leeds United legend John Charles, scored 27 goals in 71 games for Stafford, who have said the following about his move up to the National League North:

'With the club being a few miles from Jake’s Leeds home and being a division higher, the decision was quite a draw, especially in the current climate. Although Jake’s contract with Rangers had expired, Farsley had the decency to approach us for permission to speak with Jake, so we thank them for their conduct over the matter and we wish Jake the very best for the future and thank him for his service'".

From the Sunderland Echo we learn that "Former Newcastle United duo Greg Olley and Alex Nicholson have committed to Gateshead for the 2020-21 season.

The former Magpies academy duo joined team-mates Jordan Preston and Sam Guthrie in confirming that they will extend their time at the International Stadium into next season.

Olley joined Gateshead in the summer of 2018 after being released by Hull City and has gone on to establish himself as a real fans favourite during his two years with the Tynesiders. The classy midfielder also won international recognition for his on-field performances after being handed an England C call-up in March 2019...

Nicholson moved to Gateshead last summer after a spell with National League North rivals Blyth Spartans. The former Wales youth international put in a solid first season at the International Stadium... Forward Preston returned to Gateshead for a second spell last summer and went on to score eight goals and provide six assists...

Goalkeeper Guthrie also joined the Heed last summer after impressing during a trial period and made three appearances as he provided able back-up for on-loan Middlesbrough stopper Brad James throughout the season."

NL Daily adds that "Greg Olley, Alex Nicholson, Jordan Preston and Sam Guthrie... were part of the Heed squad that were within two points of the National League North play-off places, with games in hand on the seven sides above them prior to the season suspension in March.".

"Alex Prosser is the latest player to re-sign for Russ Penn’s Kidderminster Harriers after agreeing a new contract at the club.

The 21-year-old midfielder joined Harriers last summer after leaving Aston Villa.

He made 30 appearances in total, scoring three goals...

'Alex is another great character who is desperate to do well for the club. He really came into his own in the second half of last season but I’ve told him I need that version of Alex Prosser every week now. He’s got great ability and an eye for goal'".

According to Lynn News, "King's Lynn Town Football Club face a further wait to find out if they will be promoted following the latest announcement by the English Football League (EFL).

EFL officials have now called a meeting on Monday, June 8, to consider and possibly approve the framework for curtailing the season.

The National League's decision remains predicated on the situation in the EFL and, in particular, league Two, who expressed a desire to end the season with promotion but not relegation."

29 May 2020


Altrincham FC announce that "The deadline is looming for voting in the various end-of-season awards categories, and it is fast turning into one of the closest-run contests we can remember to be crowned best Altrincham player in what was a highly-successful if sadly truncated campaign.

Every vote counts, as election campaigners constantly remind us, and that has seldom been more applicable than in the race to win this year's two fans' player-of-the-season accolades, as well as best goal from a long list of exceptional entries...

You won't have to wait long for the results, either. A YouTube Premiere covering all the awards, and more besides, will be screened this Sunday, May 31st, starting at 7pm and with an estimated running time of 45 minutes.

A link to enable viewing of the event will be posted on the official club website and social media channels on Sunday.

There's plenty to look forward to, with the running order already in place and including a special announcement relating to one of the players, a brief review of the season by manager Phil Parkinson and an outline of some plans for next season from directors Bill Waterson and Lawrence Looney, as well as the awards.

As a reminder, the categories are: Goal of the Season, Young Player of the Season, Fans’ Player of the Season, Players’ Player of the Season, Manager’s Player of the Season and Club Person of the Season."


Above: How many of Alty's pre-match huddle (pictured before their most recent game, at home to Spennymoor Town on 7 March), will be involved when football resumes?

The Sale & Altrincham Messenger reports that "New Altrincham director Rob Esteva has highlighted the role played by generous Robins fans in helping keep alive manager Phil Parkinson’s promotion dream... Alty are clinging to the hope there may yet be a positive end to a truncated season, as they continue to wait for word on whether promotion play-offs could still be staged...

Alty are ready to hit the ground running, thanks to careful planning and financial backing from supporters. A GoFundMe page raised around £30,000, and now the club’s Patrons' Scheme for 2020-21 has generated a further £7,000 within a month of being launched.

'Whatever the future holds, we want to keep as many of the squad together as we can,' said Esteva... 'That is a priority, and there’s absolutely no question the generosity of our fans has helped enormously in that respect...

'All the donations that have come in through various means have given us a really good chance of riding out the storm and keeping the squad intact, which is going to make us all the more competitive when football resumes. We have seen this squad is capable of earning promotion.

'We know we are close, and if we can restart and have the play-offs, keeping the squad together is going to be a priority.'"


Former Altrincham midfielder Josh O'Keefe [left], now aged 31 and playing in 2020 at Chorley, is subject of a tweet from The Magipies which states that "Our best wishes go to midfielder Josh O'Keefe who's [sic] decided to hang up his boots to concentrate on his career in physiotherapy. In four years at Victory Park, Josh played 162 games & scored 21 goals".

Signed by Altrincham in mid-May 2015, a former Midderminster Harriers midfielder, Josh O'Keefe made 20(+11) appearances for Altrincham, scoring once. Earlier in his career, Josh was at Walsall before he moved to Lincoln City. A loan spell with Southport followed before he joined Hereford United and then Kidderminster. Loan spells at AFC Telford United and Chester FC also added to his experience.

His start to 2015-16 was a mixture of starts and sub appearances and he was not helped by an injury on 5 September which sidelined him for a spell. Having then re-established himself in the side he was suspended for three games after a sending off at Forest Green.

His appearances continued to be limited till the end of the campaign, at which point he was released. Josh joined Chorley for 2016-17.


A brief reminder of some news which featured on the website on this day, several years ago...

29 May 2016

"News of a second ex-Altrincham player to join Guiseley comes with the Yorkshire club's signing of versatile winger Nicky Clee.. Clee, 32, follows Michael Rankine to Nethermoor from Altrincham where he spent seven successful years and became a fans’ favourite during his time at Moss Lane...

Lions' boss Mark Bower said, "Nicky has come to us on an appearance based deal and turned down more security elsewhere for the chance to prove himself with us at National League level. He’s a very gifted footballer with a great left foot and can play in numerous positions. We’re pleased Nicky has decided to join us and we feel he will be a real asset to the team for the coming season".

29 May 2015

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


Kidderminster Harriers report that "Russ Penn’s 2020/21 squad has grown further with the news that Tom Palmer and Jaiden White have signed new contracts. The pair were handed new terms by the Manager at the end of last season.

Both are products of the club’s Academy system, with the duo each enjoying spells of first-team football, as well as further games out on loan; White, in particular, spending much of the term getting vital experience with Stafford Rangers.

Penn... said, 'These two are at a vital stage in there [sic] career now and I was really keen for them to stay with us and push on.

'Tom has played enough first-team games in goal now and knows what it takes to hold that position, it’s about taking that further.

'Jaiden had three managers in his first full season as a professional here, so he needs stability. I can give him that, but he knows what we need in return. He’s a real talent and we need to see that.'”

According to the Northants Telegraph, Paul Cox "believes Michael McGrath’s experience and versatility will be important to Kettering Town next season.

Experienced McGrath, who joined the club during the last campaign, became the latest member of the squad to agree fresh terms for the next National League North season. McGrath proved to be a key player at the heart of the Poppies defence after Cox arrived at Latimer Park.

But the Kettering manager hasn’t ruled out the possibility of using McGrath in his more natural position in the middle of midfield during next season.

'I can only judge people on their performances since I have been at the club and Michael was very consistent,' Cox said. 'I have had a few positive chats with him and he’s not ruling out the fact that he feels he’s an out-and-out midfielder but hasn’t played there for Kettering since we have been in charge.

'We have been talking about his close season training programme and he is aiming to come back, not just very fit, but strong as well. So I wouldn’t rule out the possibility of seeing him in a central midfield role as well as defence and I think that’s a big thing with him, he’s very versatile and can play in a number of different positions.

'He also has very good experience. He’s good with the less experienced players and, with the likes of Luke Graham, it will be so valuable having them in and around the squad next season... Having experience on the pitch and being able to calm people down is a good attribute to have.'

Cox, meanwhile, remains hopeful of completing some early business in the transfer market...

'It’s been a bit strange because I don’t think there’s a lot of business being finalised,' the Poppies boss added. 'There’s a lot of clubs talking to a lot of players and we are in that category... Hopefully we should have some moves in the coming week or so but I think a lot of clubs and players are being non-committal at the minute because no-one really knows when we are going to start...

'But the PFA list of players won’t be coming out until the mid stages of June so I think patience is key to make sure we get the right player, with the right mindset for the right price.'"

Darlington "announce that midfielder/defender David Atkinson has agreed new terms to stay at the club for season 2020-21.

David joined us last summer from Blyth, but his season was restricted because of injury and he made seven appearances.

However, he was back to full fitness by the end of the curtailed season".

28 May 2020


Voting is open till 10pm (28th May) for Altrincham FC's Player of the Season, Young Player of the Season (aged 25 and under) and Goal of the Season awards. Details are on the official Altrincham FC website.


Place North West reports that "Josh Hancock, midfielder for Altrincham FC and head of commercial in Manchester for Bruntwood Works, explains how he juggles the two professions and how the Covid-19 lockdown is affecting day-to-day life.

'Right now, I should be celebrating Altrincham FC’s promotion to the National League, the fifth tier of English football. Instead, I’m debating where I should go for my exercise today while social distancing. Due to the current crisis, the season has ended early, with us sitting in the play-off places after 33 games played. The league has cast votes to see which teams would like to continue but the future is uncertain, and the club is not alone in facing question marks over promotion.

Above: Josh is congratulated after netting Alty's fifth goal against Leamington in September 2019

'I’m still training regularly and having to run 25km a week. It doesn’t sound like much, but sometimes it’s difficult to motivate yourself to turn out every day, especially when we don’t know for certain when the lockdown will end. Our WhatsApp group is now called the ‘Altrincham Running Club’ because, without being able to kick a ball together, it’s pretty much all we can do for the moment.

'Yet despite the current disruption, some things remain the same, and this includes juggling semi-professional football with my full-time role at Bruntwood Works. I joined straight out of university nearly eight years ago, starting in the commercial team, before working my way up to head of commercial for Manchester'.

The team at Bruntwood Works has been outstanding in the way that they’ve supported me over the years in balancing my role with my commitment to part-time football. Flexible working and a balanced lifestyle are two of our team’s core values, and that’s made it easy to fit in training or away games on the other side of the country that would ordinarily need me to leave work in the early afternoon to travel...

'In terms of football, not knowing whether we’ll play again this season is also beginning to take its toll. Maintaining high fitness levels, let alone being match fit, is challenging at the best of times, and the routine of training every Tuesday and Thursday, with a game every Saturday and sometimes mid-week, is sorely missed... It would be a shame if 29 weeks of hard graft wasn’t carried through to the end, but we’re still hopeful of resuming the play-offs when it’s safe for everyone to do so'".


According to York Press "The Football Association (FA) have granted the National League an extension to the 2019/20 season.

The extension will allow the National League to hold play-off matches in its three divisions beyond the original deadline that was set for the end of May. FA Council members had been asked to vote on the National League's proposal following a meeting by the former last week... The FA's decision does not guarantee that play-off matches will happen.

However, it does mean that the option remains on the table as the league looks to decide the sporting outcomes for the current campaign.

Clubs have not yet been offered a vote by the National League on how they would like to resolve the season, whether by a points-per-game system, play-off matches or declaring the season null and void.

The news may come as a boost to promotion-chasing York City who, at the point in which the regular season was ended, sat at the top of the Vanarama National League North table, two points in front of second-placed King's Lynn Town, who had played two games less than the Minstermen.

Last month, the National League to end its regular season of matches after deciding that it would not be able to complete the programme of games still left to play due to the coronavirus pandemic. However the National League's decision remains predicated on the situation in the English Football League (EFL) and, in particular, League Two, who expressed a desire to end the season with promotion but not relegation.

Earlier this month though, the EFL recommended that promotion and relegation take place throughout its three divisions, with its 71 clubs still to be asked to vote on this is achieved".

NL Daily confirms that "Former Birmingham City midfielder Koby Arthur has earned a deal with Kidderminster Harriers for next season.

The 24-year-old left Macclesfield Town last year and later spent a number of months training with Kidderminster.

Manager Russ Penn told the club’s website 'Koby has shown his commitment to the club, having trained with us for several months last year, purely because he wanted the opportunity. It’s one he’s really grateful for.

'He knows he has lost his way in the game a little over the last year, and I want to be the manager that finds the player I know is still in there somewhere. He’s still capable of being one hell of a talent'".

The unofficial Harriers Online adds that "Koby Arthur... has been around the club for a while now having been training with us since January following his release from Macclesfield Town back in July last year.

He was supposed to take part in the Worcester Senior Cup tie against Bewdley Town etc but flooding put paid to that so he actually made his ‘debut’ for us at Alvechurch in the following round but couldn’t save us from making the expected exit anyway.

Ghana-born Koby started his career off with Birmingham City... He’ll be with us for the eventual coming season whenever that may be.

Leaving the club, somewhat expectedly, yesterday was Ashley Chambers who decided not to renew his contract with us following two years of banging the goals in. Twenty-six in seventy-four games to be exact. It was well known that he was possibly one of the higher paid players with the club and with the uncertainty surrounding football at the moment it was agreed that he would seek out a new club to play for. Finding a club that could improve on his salary here could prove to be difficult and one wonders why he left if that was the case."

Confirmation comes from NL Daily that "Full back Michael Liddle has agreed terms to stay at Darlington for the new season.

Having joined from manager Alun Armstrong’s old club Blyth Spartans last summer, Liddle made 29 appearances in 2019/20, scoring once."

The National League adds that "Alun Armstrong’s first job after signing a new three-year deal at Darlington was to convince six of their club’s star players to stay too...

Top scorer Adam Campbell, who bagged 16 goals last season, has also agree to stay on, with defender Jordan Watson putting pen to paper on Wednesday morning.

Louis Laing, Joe Wheatley, Michael Liddle and Will Hatfield have all signed on for next season.

The deals were aided by the club’s fans with the Boost the Budget campaign now passing £100,000...

'I would sum up the season as satisfying before the coronavirus hit,' he said. 'We haven’t scored enough goals, I think that’s the one area we are looking to address; the question is can we go out and get that 25-goal a season striker?

'Sometimes you have to ask yourself if a club can go up too soon. Would we be financially ready if we were to win promotion this season? I’m not sure we would, but in the years ahead we would give ourselves a better chance. I always knew this would be a two or three year plan.'"

Southport "are delighted to confirm the signing of former Chorley and Accrington Stanley striker Marcus Carver.

The 26 year-old, who scored 47 goals in four seasons for Chorley including 17 in their Vanarama National League North promotion-winning-season, becomes the Port’s first signing of the summer.

Born in Blackburn, Marcus began his career at Accrington Stanley, progressing through the youth-set up and into the first team during a five-year period, making 38 senior appearances. Whilst at Stanley, he spent time on loan at clubs including Halifax Town, AFC Fylde and Barrow, before making his move to Chorley permanent in 2016...

Marcus played a total of 203 times for the Magpies before leaving at the end of last season.

Manager Liam Watson said 'Being able to bring Marcus in as our first summer signing is really exciting for the club. He’s a striker with a record and pedigree which speaks for itself at this level...

'At 26, he’s about to come into his own and is exactly the right age to fit into the squad. He is a striker with many different elements to his game and he has shown he can score different types of goals. He’s someone who has has proven himself over a good period of time but is still relatively young'".


Cymru Football reports that "Connah’s Quay Nomads, Prestatyn Town, Swansea University and Swansea City Ladies have been crowned champions of their respective divisions following the decision made by the Football Association of Wales (FAW) Board of Directors to curtail the remainder of the 2019/20 season for Tiers 1 to 4.

The decision, which was ratified by the Board of Directors following a recommendation from the National League Board was approved on Tuesday 19th May 2020...

Nomads have been crowned champions, ending The New Saints’ eight-year run in the competition en route to securing their maiden title... And in the first year of the JD Cymru South and North, Swansea University won the title after a battle with Haverfordwest County, despite it being the Students’ first year in the second tier, whilst Prestatyn were named champions after a relentless season in which they led the race from very early on.

As a result... European competition nominations were determined as follows:

The FAW Board are yet to decide on promotion and relegation between leagues".

27 May 2020


Sunday's Non-League Paper had pieces on two former Alty players.

Alex Meechan made 11(+17) appearances for Altrincham in 2008-09; he scored three times in that spell.

Born in Plymouth, Alex started his professional career at Swindon Town in 1997. He moved to Bristol City for 1998-99 season but City loaned him to Forest Green Rovers in August 2000. He later signed for FGR (1 January 2001) following a month's loan at Yeovil Town. Dagenham & Redbridge bought him in 2003 and later loaned him to FGR whom he joined permanently in February 2004. He had three months with Leigh RMI at the start of 2004-05 and then went to Halifax Town in November 2004, until the end of July 2005 when he returned to FGR. In January 2007 he started a six-month stay at Chester City before spending three months with York City (July-October 2007). He made 191 league appearances for FGR and netted 46 times.

Alex made his Alty league debut, scoring at Woking on 9 August 2008 and, when selected for Altrincham, he figured mostly on the right-wing. After a period on the sidelines, Alex went on a month's loan to Stalybridge Celtic at the end of January 2009. He returned from loan and was a used sub in the Cheshire Senior Cup Final win on 23 March but had his contract cancelled by mutual consent and joined Stalybridge Celtic.

The NLP records that "He turned out for no fewer than 19 different clubs as a player, now ambitious Alex Meechan is ready to hit the road again, plotting his next move on the managerial ladder.

Playmaker Meechan made his name in an 18-year playing career which started at Swindon Town and took him up and down the country...

Last summer Meechan was handed the permnanent job at Stafford Rangers... However, a misfiring and injury-hit campaign saw the famous club rooted to the foot of the table when football was abruptly halted in March and, a matter of weeks later, the managerial axe fell".

Meechan said, "Football has only ever been my life and I guess you could say I have always been frantically chasing a dream. I have always travelled. When I was a young boy I'd make the draining journey from my home on the south-west coast to Norwich to play every single wekend...

"A huge advanatage is that I played under so many managers and learned so much... I have crossed paths with some superb managers and some horrendous ones and have used those experiences to refine my own coaching methods".

Elsewhere, the NLP has a feature on North Ferriby United which includes the views of their captain Liam King [right] who spent time at Altrincham on loan from Rotherham United with effect from 1 January 2008. He had made four league starts and two substitute appearances for Rotherham the previous season and he made his Alty debut in central midfield at Northwich on New Year's Day, 2008.

His initial one-month loan was subsequently lengthed to a second month after making a good impression for the Robins for whom he made seventten appearances, all of them in the first eleven.

Liam tells the NLP about Ferriby's run to Wembley where they lifted the FA Trophy against Wrexham. In an earlier round King, as captain, had to take a penalty as no one else would and he scored. He says "What nobody knew, including manager Billy Heath, was that I'd only ever taken two penalties before and missed them both!... From that day onwards I couldn't miss a penalty".


According to the BetVictor NPL, "Morpeth Town have signed attacking midfielder Andrew Johnson from Spennymoor.

Johnson, 32, was formerly captain at Northern League Ashington and helped Spennymoor gain promotion from the Northern Premier League in his first season.

He told the club’s official website 'I had a brilliant four seasons at Spennymoor but felt I needed a new challenge.

'There are a lot of similarities between Spennymoor and Morpeth as both are trying to progress through the leagues and that’s something I want to be part of. On a personal note, I live local and the move will be of benefit to my family life. I see Morpeth as a very similar club to when I first joined Spennymoor; a club on the up. It’s a great time to join'...

The Highwaymen enjoyed a fine first season in the Premier Division, and though [they] weren’t in the play-off places due to having a number of games in hand, they did have the third-best points average in the division when the season was brought to a premature end".

Elsewhere in the North-East, Darlington "announce that midfielder Joe Wheatley has accepted terms for the new season.

Joe, who will be starting his fourth full season with us, gained a huge amount of exposure for himself and the club when he scored that memorable equaliser at Walsall in the FA Cup first round in November last year.

In total, Joe has made 89 appearances for us, scoring three goals".

The NL Paper reports that "Gateshead chairman Neil Pinkerton has been 'overwhelmed' by a new fundraising initiative launched by the club’s supporters over the weekend... The Heed Army sprung in to action with a new funding page to help boost next season’s playing budget for their management team of Mike Williamson and Ian Watson.

The ‘Gateshead FC Budget Booster’ officially went live on Sunday evening with an initial target of raising £10,000 while offering several rewards for anyone willing to donate to the fund. By 9am on Monday, more than £3,500 had already been raised.

Heed chairman Pinkerton hailed the initiative as 'essential' in a statement on Tuesday as they look to move into the next chapter under the ownership of a supporter-led consortium.

He said 'The football club has been overwhelmed and the support that has come in through this fans initiative is fantastic.. The impact the supporters are having on morale and the finances is going to directly benefit Mike (Williamson)and Ian (Watson).

'We have come a long way since March and the income that we budgeted for was significant in the latter part of the season, so we have had to adjust our forecasting and budgeting accordingly. That overlaps into pre-season, so this initiative set up by the supporters is essential. Everyone at the club, Mike (Williamson) and Ian (Watson), myself and the board are so appreciative of their hard work.

'The fans will get to see directly how they have impacted the club by what is produced on the pitch next season. This perfectly highlights the strong bond between supporters and the football club'".

At King's Lynn Town, "Striker Michael Gash has become the latest member of last season's squad to agree a Walks return for next season.

The 33 year-old forward has played a big part of the success achieved over the past few season's and will be forever remembered for his extra time winner at Warrington in the 'super play off final' just over a year ago. Gash joined The Walks set up in July 2017 following a career that has seen action at clubs such as York City, Kidderminster, Cambridge United and Barnet and has found the back of the net 36 times in his three season's with Lynn...

The club's director of football Rob Back said ' With Michael it's not only about the goals he bring's to the team it's all the other aspects like the hold up play, the tracking back and the general nuisance he causes to the opposition. He must be a real pain to play against not only with his size but the skill and know how he has. The football management were all keen to get him back to King's Lynn for next season and to say we are all very pleased Michael has agreed to come back would be an understatement'".

26 May 2020



On 26 May 2019, it was reported that "Shaun Densmore and midfielder Max Harrop have both signed up for next season at the J. Davidson Stadium.

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 (left) 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".


Altrincham FC announced that "Neil Young has added width to his new-look Altrincham squad by signing two highly-rated young wingers in Billy Hasler-Cregg and Jamie Menagh.

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

Hasler-Cregg was one of only three Academy graduates to be offered 12-month professional contracts at Rochdale last summer, after benefitting from training with the first team throughout the 2014-15 season. During that campaign, he was among the substitutes for the FA Cup first-round replay at home to Northampton and League One fixture against Doncaster... Hasler-Cregg marked his first seven games on loan to Droylsden last season with three goals, five assists and two man-of-the-match awards and became a top target for Young once the recently-appointed Alty manager heard of his availability.

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

He started out in central midfield but switched to the right flank and was described in the Chester Chronicle's sports pages as being a 'direct and energetic' winger. He left Chester in January, 2015 and joined forces with Young again at Stockport nearly 12 months later...

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

26 May 2010: GREG'S FAREWELL

"Altrincham supporters were very sorry to hear that Greg Young (right) had joined Chris Senior in leaving Altrincham this summer as he,too, was offered full-time football and much nearer to his Doncaster home, too. Greg has sent an open letter to the website which we are pleased to reproduce below...

'I know Chrissy [Senior] has set the trend, however it was always my intention, should I have left the club, to publicly thank everyone associated with it. I think the fact that we have both felt the need to write demonstrates the feelings we hold for Alty.

The last few weeks have been very difficult for me because I have had much to consider. On the one hand is my genuine affection for Alty and everyone associated with the club, on the other is a desire to return to full time football whilst I still have some good years of my career left.

Also from a practical point of view York is much nearer to my home in Doncaster, which is an advantage.

Altrincham Football Club will always hold a place in my heart, as I know it will for my parents who have become big fans. This is no doubt down to the welcoming and friendly atmosphere, which pervades the club at all levels, and the fantastic way it is run. I’ve enjoyed being part of the best part-time club in the country for which I have the utmost respect'"

26 May 2003: ROBINS' REVIEW

"The Altrincham FC matchday programme, The Robins' Review, has won the UniBond Premier section of the prestigious Wirral Programme Club's Non-League Programme Survey for 2002-03. This is its third successive win in the UniBond Premier section of this competition. The Alty programme is jointly edited by Grahame Rowley, a Director of the Club, and his brother Terry, who spends most of the year working in the Middle East or North Africa but nevertheless shares the editorial role from afar. The overall UniBond winners were First Division champions Alfreton Town (160pts), just one point ahead of Altrincham. In a North-West clean-sweep, the runners-up in the Premier were Vauxhall Motors, followed by Stalybridge Celtic".


Kidderminster Harriers "confirm that Ashley Chambers is to leave the club at the end of his current contract.

The 30-year-old has spent the last two seasons at Aggborough Stadium, and has scored 27 goals in a little under 80 appearances.

Manager Russ Penn has continued discussions with the striker this week and confirmed that the club will not be offering a new contract.

Russ explained 'Chambo has been a great servant for the club over the past two seasons. I’ve only got good things to say about him. However, having weighed up all the factors, I feel it suits all parties for him to have a fresh start, and for us to move in another direction.

'He’s a model professional and everyone at the club wishes him nothing but the best for the future.'”

However, at Darlington "Defender Louis Laing has agreed to new terms at the club.

Louis, who signed during the summer after leaving Blyth Spartans, established himself in the middle of defence last season, and made 38 appearances"

And Darlington add that "Last season's top scorer, Adam Campbell, has committed his future to the club by agreeing new terms!

Former Newcastle striker Adam, who signed for us last summer, scored 16 goals last season in league and cup, and had scored in three successive games before the season was prematurely ended. He also scored in the FA Cup win at Trafford".

According to the Telegraph & Argus, "Defender Mitch Lund has become Bradford (Park Avenue)'s third player to sign on for the 2020/21 season.

The 23-year-old, who can play across the back four, has put pen-to-paper to a one-year deal with an option for a second. He follows in the footsteps of forward Lewis Knight and new goalkeeper Dan Atkinson as Mark Bower begins to put his squad together.

Lund was a regular last season, featuring 30 times, especially excelling when Liam Hughes' departure left a void in the centre of defence. The former Doncaster Rovers and Morecambe Town player... told the club's website 'I am looking forward to stepping out on the pitch for this great club... It is a credit to the club that at this uncertain time they are in such a positive position off the field, securing a strong playing squad for next season as well as signing the gaffa (Bower) and Bosh for another 3 years..

. 'It will give me immense pride to represent this club once more'".

The Shropshire Star reports that "Midfielder Adam Walker has asked AFC Telford United fans to 'stick with us' throughout the uncertainty caused by the coronavirus pandemic...

Experienced midfielder Walker, who was a big hit in his first season at the New Buck's Head, taking home two end of season awards, admits the lack of football has been a 'big gap' in everybody's lives... 'In non-league we haven't got the powers of the TV rights and sponsorships,' Walker told BBC Radio 1. 'Non-league does rely on people coming through the gates and watching us play. We want the supporters to stick with us and hopefully start the new season with a football club there'.

He added... 'On the Saturday, as you usually do, you would say bye to your team-mates and that you'd see them on Tuesday and then this happened. It's been a big gap in everyone's lives really'...

Chairman Andy Pryce admitted that it has been a financial 'struggle' for the club, who are in the awkward position of trying to assemble a first-team squad without knowledge of when next season will take place. Pryce added negotiations with sponsors has been 'difficult, though the Bucks have sealed a new one-year deal with North Stand sponsor Hamer Leisure Ltd, a Telford-based static caravan business".

25 May 2020


Exactly a year ago today, 25 May 2019, it was reported here that striker Tom Peers [right] had returned to Altrincham whilst goalkeeper Elliot Wynne had been released in what Altrincham manager Phil Parkinson described as "the toughest of decisions".

Tom Peers (d.o.b. 23 October, 1995) first 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!

At that point he had made 30 starts and 29 further appearances from the bench, scoring 14 goals.

He netted five times for FCUM but the club was relegated from the National League North. Nevertheless, Tom ended the season at FCUM but rejoined Altrincham in late May 2019.

Tom scored a number of important goals in 2019-20 season and added 16(+17) appearances to his record, netting eight goals. Twice he netted the only goal of the match at Bootham Crescent to dismiss York City from both the FA Cup and FA Trophy. Overall he has now made 46 starts and 46 substitute appearances and scored 22 goals for the club.

Born in Warrington, Tom initially came through the Chester FC youth system (2013-16), at which club he made 3(+21) first-team appearances under manager Neil Young. He then went on loan to 1874 Northwich FC and, in January 2015, he started a month's loan at Marine.

In December 2015 he went on a month's loan to Salford City, with a similar loan stay at Hednesford Town following that. In 2016 he briefly joined Hednesford before a summer 2016 move to AFC Telford United. However, he soon moved on to Warrington Town (Sept. 2016) and then Droylsden (Dec. 2016 to Feb. 2017). At that point he joined Nantwich Town before following manager Phil Parkinson to Altrincham in summer 2017.

Goalkeeper Elliot Wynne (21), [left], 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.

He subsequently faced Altrincham for Farsley Celtic.


Histon FC have held a Q & A with their manager and former Alty loanee goalkeeper, Lance Key.

"Lance [right, seen at Rushden before playing for Alty at Nene Park in 2000] started his career at Histon before signing for Sheffield Wednesday in 1990 for a fee of £10,000. Six years with the Owls were followed by spells at Oldham Athletic, Oxford United, Lincoln City, Hartlepool United, Rochdale, Dundee United, Sheffield United, Northwich Victoria, Altrincham and Kingstonian before returning to Histon in September 2004. That is some road trip!

For those too young to remember, Lance was a member of the Histon team that won the Southern League and Conference South championships in 2005 and 2007 respectively. He has since been employed at Rushden and Diamonds and Royston Town as goalkeeping coach and is currently the proprietor of the Hop Bind in Cottenham (directly opposite the Curry Palace) where they serve a lovely pint of ale".

The article goes on to report "Lance’s verdict on the class of 2019/20" at Histon.

Lance Key was drafted into Altrincham in 1999-2000 season following injuries to Stuart Coburn and his replacement Dean Greygoose. He was unable to halt Alty's end of season collapse which saw them relegated from the Football Conference to the UniBond Northern Premier League. He made 15 Conference appearances for Altrincham.


Our neighbours, Trafford FC write that "On behalf of everyone at the club, a heartfelt 'thank you' goes out to our amazing friends who have so generously donated to our Just Giving fundraiser. We’re genuinely overwhelmed to have already smashed our original target of £5k which we only dared to dream we’d achieve.

Every single penny will help our little club to survive this current crisis; that’s why we’re keeping the page open for those who would still like to donate. Please keep sharing our page, the more we can raise, the better our chances of being here for our 30th anniversary!"

Meanwhile, NL Daily confirms that "Seven out-of-contract Stockport County players will be leaving the club.

Dan Cowan, Frank Mulhern, Ian Ormson, Connor Dimaio. Szymon Czubik, Tyler Garrett and Liam McAlinden will not be offered new deals. County say they have taken up the option to extend the contracts for a further year of youngsters Festus Arthur and Jordan Downing.

‘Constructive and ongoing talks’ have been had with Ash Palmer, Ben Hinchliffe and Adam Thomas regarding new contracts and ‘It has been agreed to extend the current contractual terms of the players on a rolling basis, until such time as there is clarity on next season.’ County have decided to continue the contracts on a similar extension basis of Sam Minihan, Paul Turnbull, Nyal Bell, Sam Walker and Elliot Osborne, while Darren Stephenson’s contract will be contined until he has returned to full fitness following his serious injury last pre-season which required surgery in the spring of this year'".


According to NL Daily, "Darlington manager Alun Armstrong has agreed to extend his contract at the club for a further three years.

The former Darlo striker returned to the club this time last year after a three-year spell in charge at Blyth Spartans. The club reached the first round of the FA Cup for the first time since 2010 and were six points outside the play-offs in the National League North at the time of the season suspension.

Armstrong... told the club website 'The deal gives me the stability and the opportunity to plan properly as a group to try and get this club back where it belongs, in the Football League'".

Also, Darlington "announce that central defender Alex Storey has agreed new terms for the 2020-21 season! Former Sunderland youngster Alex joined us from Sunderland RCA in September... Since then, he has made 26 appearances, scoring once and became a valuable member of our squad.

Darlington "Sean Reid has signed for us for another season. Sean signed for us from Morpeth in December, and made his debut in the 1-0 away win at York just before Christmas.

He has made a total of 13 appearances for us, scoring twice, and has proved that he can play in different positions."

According to the Northern Premier League "Witton Albion have signed full-back Isaac Baldwin from Farsley Celtic.

Baldwin, 23, made 21 appearances for Witton last season on loan, having previously helped Farsley to promotion to National League North".

The Telegraph & Argus reports that "Life as a goalkeeper can often be a struggle. The pressure that comes with the position is unlike any other, with you knowing that one slip up can cost you a place in the team for months on end.

New Bradford (Park Avenue) stopper Dan Atkinson has found it hard to stamp down a regular spot at the clubs he has represented.

'You have always got to be on it and you can’t afford to make mistakes,' he said. 'As you get older, you get used to that pressure and you don’t think about it as much.'

The 24-year-old’s experience is second to none. He worked his way through the ranks at Leeds United for over 10 years, and even earned himself a spot at Under-16 and Under-17 level for England... 'I loved it being at Leeds,' Atkinson said. 'I had some good times... If I had my time again, I would have gone out on loan and gained some experience early... I always look back and have very fond memories of my England days... One game we came up against Timo Werner. He is in the news at the moment being linked with Liverpool.'

But who stood out to him the most?

'Ruben Loftus Cheek. He dominated at every age, even on the international stage, so it was a pleasure playing with him. He had the size, stature and football skills. He was the whole package.'

When Leeds let Atkinson go in 2015, current Avenue managerial pair Mark Bower and Danny Boshell quickly snapped him up for then-National League side Guiseley... Atkinson got his first team bow when a future Bradford keeper fell ill.

He said 'It was a blessing in disguise (getting released by Leeds). I was excited to get out there and play some professional football in a proper league and get that experience. I got a bit of luck. (Steve) Drench [now at Alty] went down with tonsillitis and that gave me a game. I played well and kept the shirt for a couple of months'...

'The season after was a bit of a struggle. I was going to be Bower’s number one for that season. He got the sack after five matches and a new manager came in and brought his own goalkeeper and that was me done for the season. It is difficult at times when things change so quickly.'

A couple of years out of the game followed, but now Atkinson is back... He said 'I have been coaching the academy keepers at Leeds, which has been a brilliant experience. I joined in with a few sessions there to keep sharp with their group of young players and I can’t wait to get back to it... I think I stepped down from Guiseley before I should have. It gave me the hunger back, which is good... I sent Bower a good luck message when he signed back up at Avenue. I absolutely loved playing under him at Guiseley.

'There are not many people I would have come back to play for but Bows was definitely one. It was a big part of me coming to play again'".


The Leader Live says that "Wrexham haven’t been involved in discussions regarding a potential restructuring of the National League.

Reports emerged last week that some chairmen at League Two and National League level have held preliminary discussions regarding a ‘radical restructuring’ of the divisions. The plans, which are reportedly at a tentative stage, would see League Two and the National League merge on a regional basis, turning them into League Two North and League Two South.

That would mean having five divisions in English football’s Premier League and EFL pyramid for the first time, helping save money on travelling costs, while boosting attendances through an increased number of derby matches.

Wrexham insist they have not been involved in any of the rumoured discussions...

'We have not been a party to any of these discussions, if any have actually taken place. For this idea to come to fruition it would require League Two clubs to accept a reduced share of TV money and this seems unlikely at this point.'"

24 May, 2020


Altrincham FC has announced how to vote for the prizewinners in the End of Season awards.

The award categories are Player of the Season, Young Player of the Season (aged 25 and under), Goal of the Season, Players' Player of the Season and Clubman of the Season.


Recently returned Altrincham FC director, Rob Esteva, has been interviewed by the Club's press and media officer, Brian Flynn, and the fourteen-minute videod discussion can be found on the official Altrincham FC website.


Following our recent piece on previous Alty games which have been played deep into the month of May, I am grateful to Terry Rowley who confirms that actually "The latest competitive match played was on May 21 in 1947, a 2-0 defeat against Chester Reserves in the Cheshire County League". For the record, Chester Reserves had lost 4-0 at league leaders Wellington, 48 hours before playing Altrincham.

The adjacent match report from 1947 was found in the Cheshire Observer, confirming this not only as the latest date in a season on which Alty have played a league match but also as the latest date in a season on which they have lost a competitive match! Altrincham finished tenth that season, which was the first to be completed in the Cheshire County League after World War Two.

By coincidence it was a match against Chester FC which was the first of Altrincham's home fixtures in 2020 to be postponed because of Corona virus.


Darlington "announce that winger Jarrett Rivers has agreed a new contract.

Jarrett joined the club last summer from Blyth following the appointment of manager Alun Armstrong, and last season was a real handful on the wing.

Jarrett made 41 appearances for us last season, scoring three times."

And Darlington also "announce that striker Jamie Holmes has agreed new terms.

Jamie, who started his career at Newcastle, joined us from Blyth last summer after Alun was appointed as manager, and looked set to be a regular starter.

However, he injured his anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in the second game of the season, and was ruled out for the rest of the season. Happily, he is now well on the road to recovery, so hopefully we'll see Jamie at his best next season!"

At Gateshead the "Chairman looks forward to a brighter future.

It was on this day last year that a supporter-led consortium officially completed their takeover of Gateshead Football Club. The days and weeks running up to the conclusion of the deal were fraught with worry and concern that the club could go out of business.

But now, twelve months on, Gateshead chairman Neil Pinkerton wants to look to a brighter future... The club’s first season under supporter-led ownership may well have been curtailed by the coronavirus epidemic, but that can’t take the shine off a season of progress at the International Stadium.

Under new manager Mike Williamson, and with a squad that has developed throughout the campaign, the Heed were well-placed to challenge for a National League North play-off place in the closing weeks of the season.

Progress has been made off the pitch too as the club continues to work hard in the local community, the academy is showing signs of producing talented local players and the commercial side of the club continues to evolve.

As he assessed his first year as chairman of the club he has supported throughout his life, Pinkerton insisted that... 'It’s now a case of having a vision of what we can achieve with the resources we have. We have great staff at the club, a loyal fanbase and it’s now about how we make the club sustainable for the future'...

He continued 'We have the International Stadium, which is a great facility, and we have the college, so we have a good foundation to build on. We have had lots of feedback from people that have come back and said what a different feel there is at the club.

'That’s the volunteers that run the matchday, the people that experience hospitality, the businesses that are getting involved once again and other potential sponsors. We are in a decent position, but obviously without any income in the near future, you have to start looking and thinking we need decisions from the authorities... but as a club, we are also moving on together.'”

23 May 2011


The BetVictor Northern Premier League reports that "Stafford Rangers have announced Jody Banim as the club’s new first team manager.

Banim, 42, [pictured in his Alty days, right] left Ashton United last November after three years in charge having previously helped them to promotion to National League North.

He said 'Stafford Rangers are a massive football club and our objective is clear. We want, and will bring back, the glory days and we are proud to be part of the Boro. We have seen, during lockdown, the passion and the enthusiasm that fans have shown in supporting so magnificently the "Stand Together" campaign and we want to be part of it.'

Banim has extensive experience at this level and beyond, playing for the likes of Altrincham, Accrington Stanley and Burton Albion during his playing days.

He will be joined by Boro favourite Matt Hill, who takes the role as assistant manager.

Stafford Director of Football, Andy Fearn, said 'Jody just impressed us from the start with his enthusiasm and knowledge of the game, at our level and above. We believe he is the right man at the right time. He has demonstrated in his management career an ability to rise to challenges and we welcome him on our journey.'”

Altrincham signed striker Jody Banim on a month's loan from Burton Albion on 27 January 2009. He was already well known at Moss Lane, having been based for several years in the North West and even having a brief spell as a trialist at Altrincham in 1997. He started out as a youngster with Manchester United and was a trainee at Old Trafford in 1995/96 season before being released and joining Trafford FC. A brief trial at Altrincham in 1997 followed but he moved on to Flixton in 1998. In 2001 he joined Radcliffe Borough where he made 125 appearances and scored a phenomenal 97 goals, netting in 14 successive matches in one spell.

In December 2003, his performances prompted a move for £20,000 to Shrewsbury Town who were in the Conference at that time. After 9+(8) games for the Shrews in their promotion season, he joined Accrington Stanley and Droylsden before arriving at Stalybridge Celtic in 2005. He rejoined Radcliffe in March 2006 on loan before rejoining Stalybridge and then Droylsden, again, in August 2007 for their promotion into the Conference. From February to April 2004 he was on loan at Torquay United where he made 3(+5) appearances without scoring. In May 2008 he joined Burton Albion. Jody made his Alty debut as a sub against York on 27 January, 2009. At the end of his loan spell he returned to Burton who soon released him. Jody then rejoined Droylsden. Career appearances for Altrincham: 2+1, 1 goal.


Alfreton Town "are delighted to confirm that the club raised a wonderful figure of £1068.20 in memory of Sinbad [Jordan Sinnott], with the proceeds going to his family.

Jordan tragically passed away on the evening of the 25th January following an incident which saw the former Reds midfielder suffer life threatening injuries, which he was unable to recover from, in the early hours in Retford Town centre.

With a global viral campaign which saw thousands of shirts donated in Jordan’s memory from non-league, the Premier League and abroad, Sinbad’s funeral at Bradford City’s Valley Parade on the 4th March, saw all of these shirts displayed, including one sent by the Reds.

In addition to this, ATFC raised the figure above through collections at fixtures in the aftermath of Jordan’s death including games against Gloucester and Gateshead. The many donations the club also received were massively appreciated, including the donations obtained from Gateshead supporters and ATFC Social Club.

The Reds are extremely proud to have raised £1068.20 and we thank all who contributed to make this fantastic sum. Jordan will always be in our hearts and we send all of our love to his family."

The Lynn News confirms that "Two more of King's Lynn Town's playing squad have signed new deals.

Right-sided midfielder Ryan Hawkins and goalkeeper Alex Street have both agreed terms for another season.

The news comes hot on the heels earlier in the week that defender Aaron Jones is also West Norfolk bound for another spell after agreeing a fresh deal."

Kidderminster Harriers "announce that Keith Lowe has signed a new contract with the club.

The influential and popular defender returned to Aggborough to start a third spell back in January.

In total, he’s amassed more than 130 starts as a Harrier, and has now penned terms to remain here for next season.

Manager Russ Penn said 'Our fans know that Keith’s professionalism and experience speaks for itself, so this is great news for us. He’ll again be a massive player for us this season and will be a leader on the pitch, but we’ve also agreed that he’ll take on an extra role as a club ambassador as well...

' 'He’s the ideal person to try and keep all of that knitted together, whether it be with player appearances, interviews or input on social media.

'We’re proud of what we’re building as a team and a club and want Keith to be a massive part of all of it.'”

22 May 2020


Altrincham's FA Trophy win, chronicled here on its anniversary on 17 May, was probably the latest competitive game to be played by an Altrincham team in the month of May.

However, I am grateful to Alty supporter Barry Pikesley for informing me that his records suggest that the latest date in a season on which Altrincham have played a meaningful game appears to have been in 1982. On 19 May 1982 Alty played Wigan Athletic and the teamsheet is shown (right),courtesy of Barry.

It is believed that this game was one of a couple of testimonial matches played on behalf of John Davison, Jeff Johnson and Graham Heathcote. It followed an Alty v 'All Star XI' match played at Moss Lane just two days previously.

According to a Wigan Athletic statistical website, the outcome was a 3-2 win to The Latics with former Alty man Graham Barrow one of the Wigan scorers. The Altrincham scorers are not recorded.

If that is the latest game in any season played by Altrincham, perhaps the latest goal scored by Altrincham in a regular ninety-minute match was the "floodlit-failure game" at Grays Athletic on Tuesday, 6 December 2005. Altrincham secured a draw thanks to a Kieran Lugsden goal in added time as the clock approached 10.30pm.

There have been later goals in cup matches in which extra time and penalties have been required. Perhaps the record-holder in that respect was the FA Cup replay at Moss Lane against Luton Town in 2008 which The Hatters won 4-2 on penalties after both the original tie at Kenilworth Road and the replay had ended goalless.

That FA Cup 1st Round replay played on Tuesday, 18 November 2008, was also delayed by a floodlight failure. Kick off was delayed by more than 35 minutes, so the game did not finally end till after 11pm.

Altrincham paid a heavy price for three penalty misses; one in normal time and two in a shoot-out, against a Luton side which played for 52 minutes with ten men. The Hatters could count themselves very fortunate to have progressed in a game dominated by the defences.

The defining moment arrived in the 68th minute when Chris Senior was bundled over in the box and Luton's substitute Davis was sent off as he was the last man. However, Warren Peyton underhit his penalty and former Stockport keeper Conrad Logan saved the effort. Alty dominated the rest of the game but laboured to break down the 10-men of Luton and the game went to a penalty shoot out. Matt Doughty and Alex Meechan converted for the Robins but both Marc McGregor and Robbie Lawton saw their spot-kicks saved by Logan to hand Luton a 4-2 win on penalties.

The financial loss to Altrincham of the £20,000 prize money was compounded by Luton's refusal to play this match on a Thursday when £37,000 would have been paid to each club in television fees for a live transmission.


The recent interview by NL Daily's Chris Brookes with Altrincham FC director, Lawrence Looney, has now appeared in FC Business magazine's latest issue, (on page 42).


The BBC reports that "Clubs will still be promoted and relegated from the three divisions of the English Football League if seasons are ended amid the coronavirus crisis. Play-offs will also be played, but with no more than four teams.

The EFL has confirmed that 51% of Championship, League One and League Two clubs need to agree for the campaign in each division to be curtailed. This could pave the way for the League One season to be cancelled, with teams currently split over a resolution. Talks last week stalled after at least six clubs in the third tier, including Sunderland, Portsmouth and Ipswich Town, said they wanted to continue the season.

With only 23 teams now in that division, following Bury's expulsion by the EFL, any vote is certain to be decisive either way. If the season is brought to an early conclusion, using the unweighted points-per-game system proposed by the EFL eighth-placed Wycombe Wanderers would move into the play-offs at the expense of Peterborough United - another of the sides determined to carry on playing.

The new regulations still have to be voted on by all 71 EFL clubs before they can be implemented.

While League One could follow League Two in being curtailed, the Championship is hoping to resume in June alongside the Premier League.... Clubs voted to end the League Two campaign immediately on 15 May, also proposing that no team should be relegated to the National League.

However, with the EFL including relegation in its framework for curtailing a season early, Stevenage would go down from League Two as it stands. Swindon, Crewe and Plymouth would be automatically promoted to League One.

'In the event a divisional decision is made to curtail the 2019-20 season, the EFL board is recommending that the League adopts the original framework with the amendments as identified, as there is a strong desire to remain as faithful as possible to the regulations and ensure there is consistency in the approach adopted across the EFL in all divisions,' EFL chairman Rick Parry said.

'The board has always acknowledged that a single solution to satisfy all clubs would always be hard to find, but we are at the point now where strong, definitive action is need for the good of the League and its members.'"


The Eastern Daily Press says that "King’s Lynn Town have received a promotion boost today after the Football League published its draft plans to end the season.

The EFL says if the leagues are unfinished it wants placings to be determined on unweighted points per game, promotion and relegation to be retained and the play-offs to be played, but only to include four teams... It looks like a boost for Lynn, who are second in National League North, two points behind York with two games in hand. League two last week proposed no relegation, which would have meant one less space for the National League promotion hopefuls and, by extension, from the North and South divisions.

That promotion door now looks to be back open, as long as clubs agree on the EFL proposals. The EFL... recommended framework [includes]... Final divisional placings should be determined on unweighted points per game (if required). Promotion and relegation should be retained. Play-Offs should be played in all circumstances but should not be extended (beyond four teams). If a scenario arises whereby the Play-Offs cannot be played, the EFL Board will determine the appropriate course of action.

The Board considers that the majority required to curtail the 2019/20 season in any division should be 51%. Determining whether or not to curtail the season is a decision for each division to take".

Nuneaton Borough report that "Club Secretary Mark Grimes has spoken in depth with Chairman Jimmy Ginnelly...

We can confirm Jack Byrne has left the club as a number of National League clubs have already spoken to him about next season. We believe that Telford are one of the clubs interested and that Jack wants to make the step up and play at National League level"...

And former Alty defender, "Right-back Curtis Obeng has this week also left the club after his two-year contract ended. Curtis played most of last season out on loan at Ashton United and Grantham Town and we would like to thank him for the last two seasons with the club.

It is expected that Curtis will find a new club closer to his Manchester base."

Gloucester City "announce that versatile player Alex Hainault has committed to the club for the 2020-21 season.

On signing for another season Alex Hainault had the following to say. 'I’m really happy to be staying with Gloucester City! Can’t say how excited and motivated I am for another year at this club'...

Club Co-Chairman Alex Petheram went on to add, 'Like I said to the fans last week, if players from last season want to sign for next season on the same terms, with the agreement of a season start date that yet can’t be confirmed, then we’re delighted to have them at the Club. Alex is someone that’s very liked around the club, he has a great attitude and we’re delighted he’s staying!

“I know fans are keen for more signings, but currently I can’t see anymore happening any time soon. Before James was placed on furlough he gave me a list of names he was keen to get in. Steve and I are now speaking to these players and we’ll be ready to hopefully put pen to paper on a number once the season start date is known, or at least once we’re comfortable to do so.'.

However, "After a number of discussions this afternoon we can confirm that forward Zack Kotwica will be leaving the club... On leaving the club Zack Kotwica had the following message, 'I have really enjoyed my time at the club and want to say thank you to the loyal supporters that have stuck with me during the good times and the bad times'...

And also, "defender Spencer Hamilton will be leaving the club. Hamilton made his debut for the club in 2014 and has since gone on to make over 140 appearances for the club across a number of positions in the back line.... On leaving the club Hamilton had the following to say 'It has been an honor and a privilege playing for my home town for 6 and a half years and I have enjoyed every minute of it. I am gutted to be leaving and this has been a very tough decision for me, but I unfortunately do not see my immediate future at the club'".

In the Hartlepool Mail we learn that "Hartlepool United legend Michael Nelson... has twice come close to landing the manager’s job at Victoria Park.

The current Blyth Spartans boss, who made over 300 appearances for Pools between 2003 and 2009, revealed he’s been interviewed three times in total for the manager’s position at his former club... After retiring from playing at the turn of the year, Nelson had a brief spell as assistant manager at League Two side Stevenage before being appointed as caretaker at National League North outfit Blyth Spartans. Earlier this month, he was handed his first permanent manager’s position at Croft Park".

In the Bermudan Royal Gazette we read that "Bermuda goalkeeper Dale Eve has been signed on a permanent deal by Spennymoor Town.

The 25-year-old, who starred during Bermuda’s run in the Concacaf Gold Cup and Nations League last year, made a lasting impression, despite playing in only one league match, a convincing 4-0 defeat of Hereford. He also impressed in the Durham Challenge Cup.

'I’m pleased to re-sign with the Moors,' Eve, whose terms were undisclosed, told the club’s official website. 'For me, playing football isn’t just a job. I look at all the time and energy I’m going to put in at a club and I want to feel comfortable about where I sign. The Spennymoor family did that for me. I felt like it was an environment that I could really grow and showcase my potential.'

Eve began the 2019-20 season at Robin Hood before returning to England to relaunch a professional career that had previous stops at Derby County, Stoke City and Forest Green Rovers.

He added 'The manager [Jason Ainsley] as well as the team have welcomed me and made me feel like a part of the family. I’m looking forward to what next season will bring for us.'

Ainsley said 'Dale was exceptional when he came into training and had to be patient to get his first league start. He is a very big presence in and around his 18-yard box and showed in the Hereford game that he has all the attributes and qualities to play a lot higher. We are delighted that he has signed for us despite competition from other clubs.'".

With Darlington having two Bermudan players last season, the North-East is proving a recurrent attraction to players from the island.

21 May 2020


Altrincham FC have reported that "During the week, Altrincham Football Club will announce details of the '2019/20 Season Awards' including the following:-

Right: Joint top-scorer Jordan Hulme and Elliot Durrell, with four goals in four appearances, are likely to figure in the Goal of the Season awards, mentioned below.

To get the ball rolling, the nominations for 'Goal of the Season' have been selected and Alty TV's video compilation of the 22 nominations, which has been expertly put together by Mark Bennett, can be viewed here. The standard is very high, with Robins' fans being treated to many magnificent goals.


Altrincham FC Press and Media Officer, John Edwards, reports that "Altrincham’s footballing fortunes have been on the up and up over the last few seasons, and it is a trend that is very much mirrored by the club’s community section.

While Phil Parkinson’s team regularly attracts healthy gates of well over 1,000 through the turnstiles at The J.Davidson Stadium, the numbers benefitting from our community set-up’s sterling efforts are also well into four figures on a weekly basis.

It has been one of the success stories of recent times, since the Community Sports Hall was opened five years ago, but, like any enterprise, it has not been immune from the effects of Covid-19.

The community section’s wide variety of services and activities ranges from hosting adult participants to visiting local schools and attracts a customer base that embraces all ages, from toddlers to grown-ups, as well as parents and carers young and old.

Naturally enough, in this prolonged period of uncertainty, both the club and the community section have received requests for information about current and future community activities.

It was felt, therefore, that this would be an opportune moment to provide an update, firstly to give everyone an idea of what the community side of the club does under normal circumstances, but also how the coronavirus pandemic is affecting the business.

We caught up with one of the Community Co Directors to find out a bit more….

AFC Community Company Q&A

What is the scope of activities supported by the Community Company?

Prior to the current difficulties everyone is experiencing, we were very busy, although the number of activities varies with school term times. When schools are open, we coach around 800 children each week. We also coach children in non-school related sessions, approximately 200 each week.

Left: The Community Sports Hall under construction in 2014.

Add on around 150 attendees for various classes in the Community Sports Hall, and 30 who enjoy activities for people with disabilities, and we are quite busy. We also hold a variety of ‘events’ in the CSH, including birthday parties for children and adults, dinners, business gatherings, etc.

How is the lockdown affecting the Community Company?

We have effectively paused trading for the time being. We have, however, been able to provide free use of the CSH to the NHS (with assistance from volunteers).

What is the impact on staff?

All of the Community Company’s staff are furloughed, although we do hope to be able to start some planning work shortly, when some staff may restart work

What is the effect on the Community Company’s finances?

At present, we have no regular income, as there are no classes in the CSH, no coaching in schools and no other events taking place. The loss of events is damaging to the finances of the Community Company, but it clearly affects the Football Club to a much greater degree.

We do, however, still have ongoing financial commitments that we have to fulfill.

The Community Company does have cash reserves, but some of these are classed as reserved funding, because the money has been received from grants and conditional payments, so has to be used for specific activities.

We have applied for a Covid-19-related grant that will hopefully help. We are also hoping to launch a fundraiser, supported by Barclays Bank, that should raise some funds to further reduce our income drop.

Of course, as a charity, we are always grateful for any donations but particularly so at times such as these. Equally, we would be happy to chat to anyone who would like to sponsor one of our activities, or one of our coaches. Please get in touch by e-mail if you would like to discuss options.

What funding do the Community Company normally receive to support community activities?

We receive funding from the Premier League to enable us to provide support for schools via the Premier League Primary Stars scheme. We are very proud to be one of only five clubs at our level that are allowed to participate in the scheme.

Right: The Community Sports Hall at the J. Davidson Stadium.

We also receive funding annually via the National League Trust (supported by the Premier League and the Professional Footballers Association) for a range of projects that we wish to support locally. In the year ending 28th February 2020, we were supported by them in efforts to increase participation in football at all ages, irrespective of gender, race, religion, including:

We are extremely grateful to the football authorities for this support. The funding is invaluable as it enables us to establish these sporting activities, and, when they are sustainable, we can focus on new projects.

So, presumably, funding has ceased at present?

No, we actually received funding for the six months from March 1st, just before we went into lockdown. This is the ‘reserved funding’ mentioned earlier.

The activities covered by this funding are scheduled for the next 12 months and will relate to girls and women, these are mainly but not exclusively football-related, including:

Hopefully these will be able to restart in the not-too-distant future.

So what is the future for the Community Company?

We feel that the long-term future is extremely positive. The relationship between the Community Company and the Football Club Board is excellent, and we believe that we will work together to improve the prospects for both organisations as well as overcoming the present difficulties presented by the lockdown.

The short-term future, however, is totally dependent on the Government instructions we receive regarding the lockdown. We will continually review each of our projects to assess when it is totally safe to restart them, and, as necessary, adapt each of the activities in the most appropriate way at the time.

Some activities will clearly be possible earlier than others. For example, we may be able to provide some activities for children over the next 2-3 months, but events in the CSH may not be possible this year.

As with all businesses, we will ensure that we adapt to the circumstances, and we will endeavour to publicise developments as and when they happen.


At King's Lynn Town "Following on from last week's news that both Chris Smith and Sonny Carey had agreed deals to remain at the club we are pleased to announce today that defender Aaron Jones has now also agreed terms for the 2020/21 season.

The Yarmouth born former Ipswich Town youth player joined the Linnets in 2018 after returning from playing in the United States, signing a two year contract. The popular 26 year-old has been a regular for Town ever since, playing mostly in a full-back position, making 71 appearances and scoring twice.

Speaking on the announcement the club's director of football Rob Back said 'It goes without saying that Ian (Culverhouse), Paul (Bastock) and myself are delighted that Aaron has agreed to return to the football club. He is a great asset for us and we are all looking forward to working with him again when we can... We are all of the opinion that we have to make plans for next season and that is why we felt it important that we got Aaron on board and ready to go when the time arrives'".

At Spennymoor Town, the Moors "have swooped to land their first new signing of the summer, securing the services of goalscorer Stephen Thompson from Darlington.

The 31 year-old attacker can operate across the front line and has been a thorn in the side of Jason Ainsley’s men for many years during contests with The Quakers. Thompson’s sublime technique and eye for goal saw him achieve the all-time scoring record at Darlington, equalling Alan Walsh’s 30 year-old record with a winning penalty against The Moors on Boxing Day 2019...

Having started his career in the youth set-up at Middlesbrough, Thompson made the move to Football League side Port Vale for the 2008/09 season. Just over one year later he had short spells with Conference North side Telford and Northern Premier League Division One club Durham City.

Thompson joined Darlington in 2012 and has never looked back... Moors' boss Jason Ainsley... said 'Stephen is a player I have admired for a long period of time... He can not only create chances for others, but can win a game on his own. He can play in a number of positions at the top end of the pitch, which is beneficial to us and, after speaking to him, he is really energised'...

Thompson... said, 'This club is looking to go in one direction. All you have to do is take a look around the place and see what has been done here over the last few years by the Chief Executive and the Manager. I know there has been interest in the past and Spennymoor is a club I have admired. After speaking to the Manager and the Chief Exec, I immediately felt wanted, which helped me make my decision.

'There was also a very similar offer on the table from Darlington, but I felt that the time was right to move to on. It was a footballing decision and I want to see what I can accomplish with Spennymoor'".

20 May 2020


On 20 May 1986, thirty-four years ago today, Alty were shocked by the resignation of [manager] John King, just 72 hours after guiding his team to an FA Trophy win at Wembley over Runcorn.

King had succeeded the successful managership of Tony Sanders (1976-84) but the following eight years saw no manager establish himself at Moss Lane, with John himself being the longest serving (1989-91) before his third coming in 1994.

The managerial sequence was as follows...


According to NL Daily "Spennymoor Town striker Gavin Cogdon has announced his retirement.

Cogdon, who was on target when Moors won the 2013 FA Vase final at Wembley, returned to the club last summer after winning two promotions and scoring 132 goals in his previous spell...

Cogdon, 37, has now brought the curtain down on his playing days, and he tweeted 'It’s Over. Just a message to thank everyone who has been part of the memories. You can’t do nothing well in life without good people around you'".

And Spennymoor Town add that "Two of Spennymoor Town’s greatest figures will bring their playing days with the club to a close this summer, but it is not the end of their story in Spennymoor.

Defender Chris Mason will not be signing a new playing contract with the club, whilst striker Gavin Cogdon has decided to retire from competitive football. But both players are prominent figures in the North East’s fitness and wellbeing industry and will now be using their expertise to benefit the club in new ways.

The duo are two of the club’s most successful players of the last 11 years... Brad Groves, Chief Executive, said... 'Such has been their influence, we are creating new roles within the club for each of them. These will involve work with the first team as well as the ladies’ team and our flourishing academy set up at Spennymoor Town Youth FC.

'The superb condition they have both kept themselves in throughout their careers is testament to the knowledge and dedication they possess. This, combined with their leadership skills and influence within the squad, meant we did not want to lose them from our set-up'...

Jason Ainsley, First Team Manager, has expressed his admiration for both players, [saying]... 'With a very heavy heart we have decided not offer Chris Mason a new deal. Mase has been with this football club for 11 years and has been instrumental in where we are today. He has been a model professional and always a leader amongst the players and beyond across the entire club...

'He had the strength and character to come back stronger and more determined after a year out with a cruciate injury, which shows just what type of lad he is... Mr Groves has agreed for Chris to have a testimonial game at The Brewery Field to honour his long-standing service'...

'Gavin has announced his retirement and it is only fitting after what he has done for this football club that he is remembered... Despite a few years away from the club, Brad and I brought him back at the start of last season as we knew he would be an asset both on and off the field. I am the first to admit that Gavin didn’t get the game time he wished for'". The Chester Standard reports that "Anthony Johnson insists it’s 'vitally important' that Chester are able to keep a hybrid model in some shape or form next season...

Stuart Murphy’s attempted takeover bid has come and gone for the Blues, who are sticking with the fans-owned model that has been in operation since they reformed since 2010. The Blues, like most if not all, clubs in the country, will have to cut their cloth accordingly going forward... Johnson and Bernard Morley helped install a hybrid for the 2019/20 campaign, which means an increased number of contact hours with players at the club...

Johnson said 'Going back to the hybrid model, it’s vitally important we try to find a way of maintaining that in some guise. If you’ve got talented young quality players coming out of a full-time academy, which is what we’ve got, into a part-time model, it’s a totally different world.

'That full-time training and development they’ve been exposed to is taken away from them. They are training two or three hours a week as opposed to the eight to 10 hours they are going to need. That’s absolutely vital from 17 to 21. If you go to Premier League, Championship, League One or League Two they have under-23 football. They have five or six years...

'Because we don’t have an under-23 system at our level, or at our club, these players are being judged on what they do either in training, in matches or out on-loan. It’s not fair on players because some end up slipping through the net. We are absolutely desperate to find a way of ensuring we can keep the quality of players coming through the academy, and players like Jamie Morgan, Brad Jackson, Joel Taylor, Anthony Dudley, George Glendon, etc that are coming to the club, can see there is a real professional output from us'...

Johnson is pleased the fans are able to have an input on shaping the future of the club, but he’s also keen to point out that he and Morley have been ticking a lot of boxes during their two seasons at Chester. He continued 'From a football perspective, I hope it doesn’t get lost that the stuff in there is the stuff we’ve been doing for the last 18 months.

'I think this is a massively, massively important thing.... The hybrid model that we put in place last season allowed us to have a higher portion of players coming through out of the academy and training with the first team four days a week, being exposed to first team training and then first team football, whether out on-loan. Those things we’ve been talking about, we’ve already done.

'Planning for the longer term future, seven or eight players are contracted for next season and the average age is 23. Alright we’ve had Danny Livesey, Simon Grand, Gary Stopforth, Gary Roberts, but you need that core of experience around younger players, that’s how they get better... For us to have a group of players whose average age is 23 and the oldest is Kevin Roberts at 30, is brilliant and one we want to work with.'”

Also from Chester FC we learn that "Work is now well underway on the annual pitch renovations at the Deva Stadium, thanks to the generous support from our incredible fans at this difficult time.

Almost £4,000 was raised from the E-Matchdays last month and these funds have enabled the Club and groundsman Mike Barrow to ensure our pitch remains in top condition for when football returns.... Work on the playing surface has been able to start earlier than normal with the expert assistance of our friends at Duncan Ross Ltd, one of the UK’s leading contractors working in sportsturf, land drainage, fine turf, landscaping, agriculture and greenspace.

Mike and his team of volunteers scarified the pitch last week in three directions to rip out any of the weaker grass in preparation for the work.

On Monday the pitch was spread with 70 tonnes of sand which was drag-matted to level out the surface and then seeded four ways with the Club grateful to our friends at Dandy’s for providing a fantastic deal on the grass seed.

It is expected that, with the forecasted [sic] good weather and temperatures set to remain, along with some natural rain or sprinklers, signs of growth will be seen in 7-10 days. Then, in around 5-6 weeks, the pitch will be cut regularly and returned to its usual excellent condition ready for whenever football resumes.

Jeff Banks, director of Fan Engagement [said]... 'We have always been proud of the surface at the Deva Stadium'".

In the Shropshire Star we learn that "Gavin Cowan has been encouraged by early signs as he goes about assembling his AFC Telford United squad for the 2020/21 season. The Bucks' chief has spent the past few weeks in talks with existing players and transfer targets...

And, with the club set to reveal its retain list in the coming days, Cowan is confident in the way talks are heading... 'The early signs are very positive,' Cowan said. 'I’m a winner, I’m not entering this to finish a point above the relegation zone, or mid-table. I’m not in it to finish a goal outside of the play-offs like we did in my first year.

'It’s great that people see that as success, but my success is in achieving the ultimate goal.' Telford have three players under contract for next season – defensive duo Shane Sutton and Ross White and striker Aaron Williams."

At Gateshead, "Captain Scott Barrow believes that the club can be proud of what has been achieved this season.

There were contrasting emotions at the International Stadium last summer as the joy and relief that met the supporter-led takeover of the club was tempered by the sadness that the Heed’s eleven-year stay in non-league’s top tier was brought to an end. The rebuilding process was quickly set in motion as Mike Williamson was named as player-manager...

Barrow was one of a number of players to commit to remaining with the club, despite the demotion into the National League North. But there were a host of new faces as Williamson ventured into the transfer market to add the likes of Alex Nicholson, Liam Agnew and Connor Oliver to his squad. A new look Heed side lost just one of the first ten league fixtures and progressed into the first round of the FA Cup... An impressive run of form after Christmas took Gateshead into contention for a play-off position before the coronavirus epidemic...

He said 'I am very proud of what we have done this year... This year was very different because we didn’t even know if we would have a club this time last year... There’s people like myself, JJ O’Donnell and Elliott Forbes that would do anything for the club and we have all stuck together as a strong unit on and off the pitch.

'The signings that have come in last summer and throughout the season have bought into what we have and that’s very special... We are a positive bunch and although we had a slow start to the season where we couldn’t win a game, we got into our stride and we could have been five points behind York if we had won our games in hand... I still think it’s been a positive year for the club as a whole.'”

19 May 2020


Sunday's NL Paper has a piece on Altrincham's lockdown fundraising which, it reports, has raised £30,000. The income has come from supporters "paying entry fees to watch re-runs of glory games, former star Duncan Watmore dipping into his own pocket and online auctions".

The article states that "Ian Senior [right], whose company SKkits supplies Alty's shirts... also got in on the act. Running daily auctions of pieces of kit, Senior, the club's former goalkeeping coach, [had] collected through the years, it all added up to £1,500 to throw into the pot".

Ian said "Duncan Watmore put £750 in. I've got lots of odd pieces of kits, samples, shorts, shirts, rain jackets, so I thought I'd do an auction.

"It started in the first week of April. I run it every day until 10pm on twitter, Facebook and the club's forum...

"We had a Peter Band shirt, a well-known figure at the club from when he was playing a few years ago. There were six or seven bidders chasing that, including Pete! Lo and behold, he won it at the death with less than a minute to go.

"Grahame Rowley, the chairman, donated some bits, Neil Faulkner, one of the directors, and legendary goalkeeper Stuart Coburn [did too]...

"We've thrown it all in the pot. It's been great fun and kept me busy!"


In the first of a new series entitled "My Favourite Non-League Picture" in the Non-League Paper, Eastbourne Borough supporter and photographer David Bauckham chose an image of Alty supporters in the Golf Road end during the home match against the Sussex team in 2011. Eastbourne had already been relegated that season but, as re-lived on this website on its recent ninth anniversary, the game was the final fixture of the 2010-11 season and a win for Alty would have kept them in the national division of the Conference.

Right: Marc Joseph makes a fine tackle on Eastbourne's Pacquette in the game described below.

But Alty went 3-0 down by half-time, only to recover to 3-3 and then lose in the dying minutes, 3-4.

David, who has published several books of photographs with non-League themes, explained that the photo that he chose and which the NLP reproduces, came about when "With so much at stake, I guessed Altrincham would come out with all guns blazing...

With that in mind, rather than go pitchside, I decided to position myself in amongst the home fans behind the goal Alty were attacking and focus my camera on them. Sure enough, in the opening minutes, they went close from a corner and I captured the fans' reaction. "What I especially like about this image is not only the contrasting emotions of the two fans in the foreground but also that the image as a whole is remarkably well-composed. There is also a random inflatable banana in the background!"

It was ironic that it should be Eastbourne who applied the coup de grace to Altrincham that day as it had been Alty who had deprived the Sussex club promotion to the Conference's National division in 2005 when the Robins beat Eastbourne 2-1 at Stoke in the North v South promotion play-off.


According to the Manchester Evening News, "Marcus Rashford trained with a member of Manchester United staff at Altrincham's Moss Lane ground on Sunday ahead of his return to Carrington next week.

Rashford took part in ball work at the non-league ground before heading to Carrington to check-in to United's training facility and undergo a COVID-19 test, with the squad set to return to training there early next week in small groups. Rashford's friend and former teammate Ro-Shaun Williams, now at League One Shrewsbury Town, was also training at Moss Lane.

The forward hasn't played since January 15 after suffering a double stress fracture to his back, but he has stepped up his return to fitness in recent weeks and is set to play a part if the Premier League season resumes. Rashford has been at Carrington twice a week over the last fortnight to undergo additional treatment on his back".


"Seven Spennymoor Town players have agreed new contracts with the club, ready for the 2020/21 season.

Jason Ainsley, the Management Team, the Chief Executive and the Managing Director met recently to agree the direction for the playing squad for next season and have now set about implementing their strategy.

That began with seven of last season’s squad agreeing new deals over the course of the last week, with further work ongoing. The squad eventually finished last season sixth in the National League North, which would have been enough to clinch a spot in the play-offs had the global coronavirus pandemic not stepped in to bring an early end to the campaign.

New deals agreed: Robert Ramshaw, Carl Magnay Mark Anderson James Curtis Jamie Chandler Nathan Buddle Ben Mckenna.

Top scorer Glen Taylor and winger Ryan Hall are under contract with the club for at least another 12 months until May 2021 and will automatically be part of the squad for 2020/21.

Jason Ainsley was quick to praise the players’ decision making and look forward to the next campaign. He said 'We’ve got a great group of lads at this football club and a special atmosphere in the changing room. The players signing new contracts so quickly shows how enjoyable the environment is for a footballer to be here.

'Whenever the new season starts, we have individuals who possess the quality, the commitment and the application to achieve something already within this group of players. We will be ready and I can’t wait to see what we can accomplish. There is a lot more work to be done on the squad over the coming days and weeks to build a team that will thrill the supporters and deliver an enjoyable and competitive season.'”

Elsewhere, Bradford (Park Avenue) who seemed to have been reprieved from virtually certain relegation "announce that we have secured the signing of Dan Atkinson for the 20/21 season. The 24 year old goalkeeper began his development at the Leeds United Academy, where he made appearances for England U16s and England U17s, before moving to Guiseley. At Guiseley Dan played under our current management duo of Mark and Danny and made 18 appearances for Guiseley in the National League, challenging Steven Drench for the number 1 jersey during his 2 seasons with the club.

Dan Atkinson said, 'I am really excited to be joining BPA and joining back up and playing under Mark and Danny. I really enjoyed my time playing under them and I am looking forward to the brand of football that they want to play here'...

Mark Bower stated, 'He is a modern, young goalkeeper with bags of potential, but also good experience having played a number of games at National league level. Having worked with him in the past, I know Dan will compliment the team well with his goalkeeping qualities and confidence with the ball at his feet'".

18 May 2020


According to the Manchester Evening News, "Marcus Rashford trained with a member of Manchester United staff at Altrincham's Moss Lane ground on Sunday ahead of his return to Carrington next week.

Rashford took part in ball work at the non-league ground before heading to Carrington to check-in to United's training facility and undergo a COVID-19 test, with the squad set to return to training there early next week in small groups. Rashford's friend and former teammate Ro-Shaun Williams, now at League One Shrewsbury Town, was also training at Moss Lane.

The forward hasn't played since January 15 after suffering a double stress fracture to his back, but he has stepped up his return to fitness in recent weeks and is set to play a part if the Premier League season resumes. Rashford has been at Carrington twice a week over the last fortnight to undergo additional treatment on his back".


Below is a selection of news items which appeared on this website on today's date, 18 May, in previous years:


Norfolk's Pink'un reports that "Young midfielder Alfie Payne has revealed he will be leaving Norwich City when his contract expires this summer, having spent the season on loan in non-league at King’s Lynn Town.

The 20-year-old is a Canaries fan, born in Norwich, who used to be a season ticket holder at Carrow Road... He subsequently signed a professional deal... but didn’t make a senior appearance.

'After 12 years with the club this chapter of my life has come to an end,' Payne wrote on Instagram...

Payne scored three goals in 25 games as Lynn chased promotion from National League North although 11 of those appearances were from the bench, with the Linnets still waiting to hear how the final table will be settled".

At Farsley Celtic "After three seasons at Farsley, Nathan Cartman is set to leave the club this summer.

The ex-Harrogate Railway man initially joined the Celt Army on loan from Darlington in 2017, before making the move permanent in the same year.

Cartman was an integral part of the squad in each of the last three seasons, scoring 45 goals in 128 appearances, including 18 goals in our 2018/19 title winning campaign. The forward was a favourite with the Farsley supporters and in the dressing room, and alongside his goalscoring exploits was known for his creative play and outstanding work rate.

In our first season back at step two, Cartman made 37 appearances in total, 14 of which were from the bench, scoring eight goals...

Farsley Celtic Manager Adam Lakeland commented 'It’s always a sad day to see such a popular player leave your football club. Carts has been superb for us, particularly in his first two seasons. He scored on his ‘loan’ debut against Coalville in my first game at the club and then when we sold [ex-Alty striker] James Walshaw to Scarborough we brought Carts back permanently and he scored again on his ‘official’ debut away at Stafford, which is still one of my favourite goals so far as Farsley Celtic manager.

'The biggest compliment I can give him is that when he came in, he improved us as a team. We had to change the way we played when he came in permanently, but we improved as a team, made the playoffs, and the following season he was equally superb when we won promotion. Above all he is a great person, honest, humble and hardworking... He will have clubs lining up for his services I’m sure.'

Nathan Cartman also gave his thoughts on his departure, saying... 'I’ve had three unbelievable seasons, reaching the playoffs in the first year, going one better by winning the league in the second season, and then consolidating our status in the National League North this season...

'I have decided to move on for a new challenge, the people who know me will know I just want to play football week in, week out. I want to earn the contract given to me by playing games regularly, so that means it’s time move on'".

17 May, 2020


34 years ago today, 17 May 1986 was the date of Altrincham's third FA Trophy Final at Wembley, when they defeated Cheshire rivals Runcorn 1-0, thanks to Mike Farrelly's goal.

Below is a report on the game...

The Road to the Final

  • Round 1: Ryhope Community Association 1 ALTRINCHAM 3
  • Round 2: ALTRINCHAM 6 Bangor City 1
  • Round 3: ALTRINCHAM 1 Bishop Auckland 0
  • QF: Cheltenham Town 0 ALTRINCHAM 2
  • SF1: Enfield 1 ALTRINCHAM 1
  • SF2: ALTRINCHAM 2 Enfield 0

    Pen Pictures

    The following pen pictures of Altrincham's squad are from the Trophy Final match programme for 1986.

    • WEALANDS, Jeff: 34 year-old goalkeeper who made a total of 391 Football League appearances beginning with his home town club, Darlington. After lengthy spells at Hull City and Birmingham City, he moved to Manchester United before joining Altrincham last August and has been first choice ever since. An insurance consultant, he has been beaten only twice in five Trophy outings.
    • GARDNER, Phil: Liverpool-born full-back who joined 'Alty’ from Everton in October 1981 having played in the Youth and A teams. He scored the winner in that season’s Cheshire Cup Final victory over Runcorn but was not in the side beaten by Enfield at Wembley. 25 years of age, a technical officer, he has now played more than 200 first team games.
    • DENSMORE, Peter: A former Liverpool junior who was signed last October from the North West Counties League side Ford Motors. He made his debut soon after and has retained the left-back spot with some impressive displays. One of four ever-presents in this season’s Trophy run, he is a scaffoider aged 26.
    • CUDDY, Paul: 27 year-old defender who joined the Robins from Chorley in October 1981 and appeared at Wembley against Enfield in his first season. He is now approaching his 200th game but has been sidelined with a leg injury since the end of January. His previous experience includes Rochdale, Huddersfield and Bolton.
    • FARRELLY, Mike: 23 years of age, he signed for Altrincham at the start of the season from Preston North End for whom he made 82 Football League appearances, having joined them from school. A midfielder who has moved back into defence recently, he played for England Schoolboys. Currently unemployed.
    • JOHNSON, Jeff: Since he came to Altrincham from Hyde United he has made close to 500 first team appearances in virtually every position. Having scored nearly 150 goals, he is now in the middle of the defence. 35 years old, he was in both the Trophy Final sides, scoring in 1978, and has 16 Semi-Pro caps. An engineering manager.
    • DAVISON, John: Club captain and also skipper of the England Semi-Pro team for whom he has a record 21 caps. He holds Aitrincham’s individual appearance record having passed 650 in February, and was a member of the previous two Wembley sides. He came to the club in 1972 from Burnley and had a short spell with Bangor City four years later. Aged 33, with a cultured left foot, he is a schoolteacher.
    • CONNING, Peter: 21 year-old midfielder who is in his second full season with the Robins and is approaching 100 first-team games. Former England schoolboy international, he played in Liverpool’s junior teams before moving to Wigan Athletic. A student, he is sitting his Finals at Liverpool University next month.
    • NEWTON, Doug: Midfield man who joined Altrincham last October from Burton Albion having started his career at Chesterfield and then moving on to Eastwood, Alfreton and Belper. Starred in Burton’s F.A. Cup run and won three England Semi-Pro caps last year. Aged 27. He converted two Semi-Final penalties against Enfield.
    • ANDERSON, Gary: Now in his second spell with the Robins, following manager King back from South Liverpool, he operates on the left side of midfield. He has played in all this season’s Trophy matches, scoring twice at Ryhope. Aged 26, with over 100 first team appearances, he is a builder.
    • REID, Paul: 30 year-old striker who was transferred to Aitrincham last August from Northwich Victoria, for whom he appeared in the 1983 and 1984 Trophy Finals. Came to prominence with Nantwich Town and now tops Aity’s goalscoring charts including a Second Round hat-trick. A vehicle builder.
    • ELLIS, Ronnie: 28 years of age, he is a former Runcorn player who has now played over 100 first team games for Altrincham in the past three years. He also played for Burscough and Winsford United, and scored in the famous FA Cup victory over Birmingham City as well as in the Trophy semi-final against Enfield. An electrician.
    • BUXTON, Steve: Midfielder who joined Wrexham as a junior and made over 100 Football League appearances. Joined Altrincham from Stockport County in the close season and also played for Witton Albion. His only Trophy appearance was at Cheltenham. Unemployed.
    • McMAHON, John: Midfield player who came to Altrincham in October from South Liverpool. He played regularly for Everton’s reserves before moving to Southport and is a brother of Liverpool’s Steve. 21 year old leisure centre officer, he is ineligible for today’s game.
    • JACKSON, Phil:. Second-choice goalkeeper who has made his mark with the North West Counties League side Cheadle Town and proved an able deputy for Wealands. A gas board clerk, he made his debut in the Trophy defeat of Bangor City.


    Darlington report that their "striker Stephen Thompson has informed us that he is leaving the club.

    The club offered him new terms and a guaranteed testimonial in recognition of his great service, but he's decided that he wants to play elsewhere. He spoke to manager Alun Armstrong on Saturday morning and told him that he was moving to another club.

    Thommo joined us from Durham City early in the Northern League season in 2012, and became our joint record top scorer last season when he scored his 100th Darlington goal, against Spennymoor.

    He helped us to win three promotions into National League North, and scored some memorable goals along the way, perhaps the most memorable of the lot being the opening goal at Whitby in the EvoStik League season on the night we clinched the title."

    At Chester FC "City Fans United has produced a draft strategic plan setting out a five-year vision for Chester FC and is now asking members and supporters for their views to help shape the final plan...

    The consultation, which runs until Monday 1st June, includes an online survey and a series of interactive virtual workshops.

    Developed in collaboration with Chester FC Community Trust, the draft plan aims to provide a blueprint for the future and establish the Club as a successful, sustainable force for the long-term.

    It is based upon six strategic pillars which will enable the Club to achieve its ambitions: Football Excellence; Membership & Fan Engagement; Better Facilities; People & Culture; Finance & Governance; and Community.

    Andrew Morris, City Fans United Chairman, said 'The final strategic plan will reflect our shared vision and ambitions for the Club so the contribution of members and supporters is of vital importance... All clubs are having to respond to overcome new challenges, but we believe our ownership model is an asset and means we are better placed than many to do this.

    Given the uncertainty about when football will resume, what it will look like when it does and whether crowds will be permitted, the Board has adopted a flexible business plan model which is an ongoing process. The strategic plan is a high level summary that will guide the Club for the next five years and enable us to move to the next level... We are asking every supporter to take part in the consultation and tell us what is important to them.”

    The Shropshire Star reports that "AFC Telford United manager Gavin Cowan has revealed the club are set to announce their retained list next week...

    Chairman Andy Pryce previously said that the majority of the squad were out of contract at the beginning of May... and Cowan says they have been working on who to keep, after previously admitting they will have to cut their budget due to the coronavirus pandemic.

    'We’re keeping in touch with them (the players) on a regular basis and we’re talking about which lads will be with us next year,' he said.. 'We’re going to prepare as normal and it’s time to start conversations with players. We’ll be speaking to our players and making announcements next week on who we will have retained. I’m speaking to other players who are out of contract because I want to have a really good year next year.

    'We’re progressing and trying to be proactive.'

    Issues are still circling higher up the football pyramid with players out of contract on June 30... Cowan believes that may provide an opportunity for the Bucks to pick up free agents in the summer.

    'Some players probably don’t know about the business element of football clubs and will try and demand higher wage, but I think they’ll be found wanting and there will be a lot who don’t get contracts this year,' he added. 'There will be plenty spread around and I endeavour to get the best players. If I was a player in this moment in time I’d want to get myself fixed up pretty quickly.'"

    The Sunderland Echo announces that "Durham City have confirmed that former Blyth Spartans manager Tom Wade has joined Didier Agathe’s managerial team... The 60-year-old has worked across the North East non-league scene for a number of years and has undertaken scouting duties for England C manager Paul Fairclough.

    But it was with Spartans where he hit a career high after he led his hometown club to the third round of the FA Cup in 2015. The famous FA Cup giant-killers saw off the likes of Darlington, Altrincham and Hartlepool United before exiting the competition with a brave 3-2 defeat against Championship club Birmingham City.

    Wade left Croft Park in September 2016 and had spells with Northern League clubs Ashington and Newcastle Benfield. He has been out of the game since his departure from Benfield was confirmed in February 2019".

    16 May 2011


    On the Altrincham FC website, press and media officer John Edwards writes that "Altrincham FC are delighted to welcome back Rob Esteva [right] to the board of directors... Rob resumes as an Alty director 16 months after stepping down due to family and work constraints on his time...

    As founder and managing director of sports data specialists TSZ Data Services and TSZ Content, his knowledge and input has always been highly valued by manager Phil Parkinson and assistant Neil Sorvel, and the pair are as delighted as the rest of the board at having his particular brand of expertise at their disposal on a regular basis once more.

    Rob’s scouting network and analysis team provide Phil and Neil with a constant flow of up-to-date, relevant information on players and opponents that is unmatched in non-League football and helps keep Alty’s management duo one step ahead of their rivals...

    Reflecting on his title as Director of Football, and his excitement at rejoining the board, Rob said ‘There’s no real change from last time to be honest, because I’ve always worked closely with Phil and Neil, and my role will be to continue supporting them to take our team and club on to the next level'".


    With no definitive decision yet about how the National League North season will be wound up, the Eastern Daily Press reports that "King’s Lynn Town’s hopes of promotion took another twist this afternoon [Friday] after League Two clubs agreed to bring their season to an end, with no relegation.

    It means bottom club Stevenage are set to stay in the fourth tier next season. Three teams will go up [to League One] plus a fourth via a play-off, but the situation is slightly complicated by the fact that League One is one club short following the demise of Bury.

    That could mean that the National League could still promote into League Two but the question Lynn will want answering is whether the National League decide to relegate its bottom side [Chorley]. If they do, then there are two vacancies which would be filled by the winners of National League North and South.

    The Linnets are currently second in National League North, two points behind leaders York with two games in hand, while Wealdstone top the south division. League Two are using a points per game calculation to settle its final positions so the hope would be that the National League do as well, in which case Lynn would finish top of the North and would expect to join Wealdstone in going up.

    However, if the National League opt not to relegate and there is only one vacancy, that might mean either a play-off or, if points per game was used, Wealdstone would go up as theirs is better than Lynn’s.

    That scenario would be strongly opposed by Lynn; the South division is generally regarded as the less difficult of the two regional divisions, and using statistics from two different divisions to decide superiority would be regarded as unfair. The League Two decision still needs to be ratified by the EFL and Football Association."

    The Yorkshire Post adds that "English football's fourth tier has decided how to resolve the final placings, setting a precedent for the divisions above and below still to reach a decision.

    A weighted points-per-game formula will see Swindon Town crowned as champions, with Crewe Alexandra and Plymouth Argyle finishing in the other automatic promotion places. The division still plans to hold play-offs, but until League One votes to have relegation, it remains to be seen if they will be needed...

    The National League has been waiting on the Football League to reach decisions before making their own... In a weighted points-per-game table... Conference North leaders York City would drop to second, meaning they too would have to play off for promotion. But if League Two is successfully in saving Stevenage, play-offs might not be needed. One extra team was already needed to return the Football League to its normal 72 clubs next season, although it is far from inconceivable others could go bust.

    Rather than use a straight points-per-game formula, League Two's solution takes into account how many home and away matches each team has to play. Early on Friday afternoon, a meeting between the bottom two divisions ended without agreement. The situation was outlined to the clubs, who were asked to consider them over the weekend ahead of a vote at another meeting on Monday.

    Six League One clubs (Peterborough United, Oxford United, Sunderland, Fleetwood, Portsmouth and Ipswich Town) released a joint statement saying they had 'no desire for voiding the season, points-per-game scenarios or letting a computer decide our footballing fate'. But League Two clubs then held an independent meeting where they decided they cannot complete the 2019-20 campaign."


    Clitheroe FC have "appointed the new management team of David Lynch as player manager, Chris Holland as assistant manager and Carl Garner as director of football.

    David brings a wealth of playing experience from NPL level to Conference level and, when interviewed, showed complete passion and desire to drive the club forward and continue the great work already started by Phil Brown. David brings with him former Premier League, Championship and England U21'S player Chris Holland as his assistant manager...

    Chairman Lee Sharples had this to say 'David has been a true professional since first making contacted about the manager's role. David's desire and passion to not only work for the club but to help the club grow and succeed both on field and off field working in line with the clubs new recruitment process was a delight to hear'.

    David is keen to get going in his first managerial role and has already outlined how he and Chris would like the team to play...

    David said on his appointment 'This is a fantastic opportunity for me and I am looking forward to the challenge ahead. As previous club captain I understand the passion the fans have for the club and the level of expectation demanded from every player that pulls on the blue shirt. I have some fantastic memories of playing for Clitheroe Football Club and I look forward to making many more as manager'".

    27 year-old David was a left-sided central midfielder at Altrincham, having joined under Neil Young on 23 May 2016. A former Burnley player, he was Burnley's young Player of the Year for the 2010/11 season. In 2013/14 David played for Workington and has also played for Burscough. He joined Clitheroe in summer 2014 and became captain there. He made his Altrincham debut on 6 August 2016 at home to Darlington and was aregular starter before the arrival of Jim Harvey as manager. On leaving Altrincham, David signed for FC Halifax Town. For Altrincham, he made 9(+1) appearances.


    Leamington chairman Jim Scott reports that "The months ahead and probably the next year or two are certainly going to be challenging for our club. Whilst the National League announcement of two weeks ago that ended the 2019/20 season gave some welcome clarity, there are still many unknowns on the football front... Nevertheless we have to plan ahead as best we can...

    Whilst we are still awaiting an announcement from the National League on how the season ended will be determined, in the short term, Leamington FC will be unaffected as we sit outside both the promotion and relegation positions. Moving forward to next season is a total unknown. Will there be promotion or relegation for the season ended? What will the EFL do? Will clubs go out of business in the interim? How many clubs will there be in the National League North? Quite simply, at this moment in time we have no answers and no idea when football could potentially return.

    As stated in our previous club update on Covid-19, the Board of Directors made the decision not to approach fans for any financial support at this early stage of the pandemic as we were of the view that you all had other priorities with regard to your health, safety, well-being, work and financial situation.

    The club’s financial team have efficiently minimised outgoings where possible, but there are still some considerable expenses we need to pay regularly. A few staff have been furloughed, whilst all activity across the club has ceased with the exception of our groundsman Idris Elms who is currently carrying out pitch reparation supported by former director Nigel Hodgkins.

    You will be pleased to hear that the players and management have played their part in accepting wage reductions for the last seven weeks of the season for which the Board of Directors offer our sincere thanks for their co-operation and understanding.

    You fans have been very supportive too with not one request thus far from any individual for any refunds on season tickets, plus numerous enquiries asking what could be done to help the club financially and with offers of donations. Our current thoughts are that we will address issues of potential refunds, season tickets for Season 20/21 and what financial support you can give, once we have greater clarity from the National League on processes and timelines for the league. We anticipate that we will be able to come back to you with a more meaningful update in the next few weeks.

    One great piece of news this week is that our Programme Editor, Sally Ellis and her team of contributors won the Soccer Club Swap Shop 'The Catalogue' Programme Award Season 2019/20 for the National League North and finished joint second with Chelmsford City behind winners Stockport County in the national competition that comprises clubs within the entire Non League Pyramid.

    This is a truly wonderful achievement on the part of Sally and her team who are all volunteers. They continually strive for excellence and produce a match programme that is envied by many clubs".,

    Gateshead report that "Trevor Clark is to step down as Vice Chairman of Gateshead Football Club with immediate effect.

    Trevor took up the role in May 2019 during a period of change on Tyneside, playing a significant part in securing the club’s future.

    Despite relinquishing his role as Vice Chairman, he will remain an active shareholder in addition to retaining his involvement with Gateshead Football Club Foundation".

    In the Northants Telegraph, Poppies' manager "Paul Cox believes it will be a 'club’s market' once the hunt for new players gets fully under way this summer.

    The Kettering Town boss got his preparations for next season under way this week with eight of last season’s squad being offered new deals.

    The Poppies confirmed both Aaron O’Connor and Dan Nti have been released while Connor Kennedy, Tre Mitford and Michael Richens remain under contract. The Poppies manager confirmed he has targets in mind but insists he will be working to the 'wage structure' the club’s board has put in place. 'We have made players offers and what I have said to them is to have a really good think about it,' Cox said".

    The Northants Telegraph elaborates on the above, saying that "The Kettering Town boss got his preparations for next season under way this week with eight of last season’s squad being offered new deals.

    The Poppies confirmed both Aaron O’Connor and Dan Nti have been released while Connor Kennedy, Tre Mitford and Michael Richens remain under contract.

    The likes of Michael McGrath, Lindon Meikle, Ben Milnes, Brett Solkhon, Gary Stohrer, Paul White, Luke Graham and Marcus Kelly have all been offered fresh terms after playing key roles in the club’s battle for survival in the National League North.

    Cox revealed he hopes to have answers, one way or the other, from those players at the start of next week before he begins the task of adding new faces to his squad...

    'We have made players offers', Cox said. 'I usually give players a week to digest what is on offer. I have been a player myself so I understand they might want to look elsewhere and do the figures and everything else. I want players to be here for the right reasons and not because they can earn £25 more here or there...

    'I will be expecting an answer from them by early next week and that way, I can plan accordingly in terms of what needs to be added to the squad... At this present time, there’s not a lot of movement in the system but I do feel that because of the economic climate out there that there will be a lot of players available this summer... 'I don’t want to be down where we were this season... However, I think it will be a club’s market and not a player’s market from now on. Hopefully we can get some good players in and maybe some lads who are learning their trade and can be assets to the club'".

    NL Daily says that "King’s Lynn Town have confirmed the departure of defenders Ryan Fryatt and Nathan Fox from the The Walks.

    It follows the news yesterday that defender Chris Smith and midfielder Sonny Carey had agreed new deals with the National League North promotion challengers.

    Fox joined the club last summer from Hednesford Town, while long-serving Fryatt had made 349 appearances for the Linnets."

    We learn from the Shropshire Star that "AFC Telford United manager Gavin Cowan has revealed the club’s transfer and wage budget will be cut due to the impact of the coronavirus...

    Despite having to re-evaluate the costs, Cowan insists he is not using it as an excuse...'We’ll have to cut accordingly,' he said. 'The only reason I mention it is that I want people to understand the reality that we’re in. There’s masses of pressure on the board and myself, which I completely understand and, to be honest, I completely thrive (under) and relish [it].

    'There has to be a reality, that’s why I mention it; it’s certainly not an excuse. We will have to slash accordingly and, if we start to have a good season, the board might see it fit to increase that'...

    'At the moment, I believe in the current climate with what I have and the footballing philosophy,' he added. 'The environment that we’ve created, I believe that players will thrive in that. If we can attract good players, we can get them to buy into what we’re trying to do and then have a good year. I don’t see anything holding us back next season.

    'On the face of it, we have a phenomenal ground with a brilliant history but it doesn’t give you a god-given right to attract the best, unfortunately money talks. When I signed as a player I certainly didn’t sign for money. I signed because I wanted to play at that ground every week and I want to get it bouncing again.

    'A lot of the players I’m speaking to at the moment are very keen to do so. They have better offers elsewhere, but they’re very keen to come and play for us. It comes full circle with how we treat players and look after people, that gets out and we forge a reputation. We do the right things and act with honesty, integrity; being loyal and trustworthy. Players want to play for those clubs for security and to go out and focus on football.

    'I’ve been at football clubs where every day is like an episode of Eastenders and we don’t want that.'”

    15 May 2020

    ON THIS DAY: 15 May

    It is fifteen years today, on 15 May 2005, that Altrincham regained their Conference status with a 2-1 win over Eastbourne Borough in the only ever North v South promotion play-off final, played at Stoke City's Britannia Stadium.

    Both sides had reached the Promotion Play Off by finishing fifth in Nationwide North and South respectively and by winning their two away play-off matches. Alty and Borough had never met before, with the Sussex side having progressed to Nationwide South from the Sussex County League in less than five years.

    Unfortunately this match was segregated, so there was little chance to mix with the Eastbourne supporters. However, Stoke City hosted the game well with none of the petty officiousness that is sometimes encountered at new stadia, such as at Rushden and Diamonds' Nene Park. The Borough fans were allocated the top tier of the John Smith's Stand whilst Alty had the lower level and with their drum, the Sussex supporters gave as good as they got from the vocal Altrincham supporters.

    Above: The scenes after the award of the medals and play-off trophy.

    Steve Aspinall returned to Alty's starting line-up after injury, with George Melling dropping to the bench. Mark Maddox had recovered from his head injury but played with his head bandaged over the stitches he had inserted at Kettering last Saturday.

    Despite Altrincham having the better of the first half, the score remained goalless at the interval. But two goals in three minutes early in the second half settled the match. Rod Thornley got the first when he drove home a loose ball from 12 yards after Steve Aspinall's well-hit shot had been deflected to him, following a Colin Potts corner (52 mins). The second goal came when Val Owen headed home from Colin Little's chip (55 mins).

    Eccentric refereeing saw four Alty men booked and none from Eastbourne and Mr Scarr further upset the Alty fans when he awarded a penalty against Mark Maddox when Yemi Odubade went down easily, not for the first time, inside the box (90 mins). Ramsay converted the spot-kick for the Sussex side but Alty rode out added time to spark delirious scenes amongst the Alty players and supporters. Val Owen was named Man of the Match. A crowd of 2,839 watched the game, with both sets of fans giving great support to their sides.

    Alty found only Northwich Victoria, Scarborough, Morecambe, Hereford United, Stevenage Borough and Woking remaining in the Conference National division since they had last played at that level in 2000 but Southport and Kidderminster Harriers were also making a return to that level, along with Alty in 2005-06.

    ALTRINCHAM: 1. Stuart COBURN, 2. Steve ASPINALL, 3. Chris ADAMS, 4. Mark MADDOX, 5. Gary TALBOT, 6. Eddie HUSSIN (capt), 7. Colin POTTS, 8. Val OWEN, 9. Colin LITTLE, 10. Rod THORNLEY, 11. Gary SCOTT. Subs: 12. Lewis CHALMERS, 13. Richard ACTON, 14. George MELLING, 15. Kieran LUGSDEN, 16, Jonathan MITTEN.

    In less happy news, on the same date, 15 May 2000 "According to the Sunday Telegraph, former Alty manager (2000-01) and 'former Everton midfielder Mark Ward appeared in court yesterday after a raid on his Merseyside home, where detectives found cocaine and crack cocaine with an estimated value of about £2.5 million'".


    The Shropshire Star reports that "Telford United manager Gavin Cowan has revealed he has taken a 50 per cent cut in his wages as he insists he will 'never hold the club to ransom'...

    Clubs are trying to stay afloat financially and Cowan, who has also confirmed he was not paid for his first season at the club, says it is about football and not money for him.

    'In times like this I believe the manager needs to make a statement and he has to act accordingly if you're going to ask players and staff to do the same,' he told the Shropshire Star. 'I have taken a 50 per cent pay cut in my contract and that was something I wanted to do not for a pat on the back. That's where I get on really well with the chairman and the board, they know that I would never hold the club to ransom.

    'I absorbed my wage in the first year into the player budget because I wanted to attract better players. This isn't about money for me, this is about legacy and success. I want to do the best job possible for Telford and I'm fortunate because I earn a living, so I'm able to make that decision.

    'It's very nice to be rewarded with a contract and I have that security but the security is with the football club, it isn't about any individual. I'm very passionate about the football club because I live locally and I want to lead by example. I want the football club to be alive and successful.'

    Meanwhile, Cowan insists he is using his time wisely during lockdown by preparing for next season and looking at the squad of players at his disposal... 'It's a case now of trying to regroup,' he added. 'We're trying to make sure that we're preparing for the next season, a lot of conversations are happening in regards to when next season will commence. We're focused on that.'"

    According to the Eastern Daily Press, "King’s Lynn Town defender Chris Smith and midfielder Sonny Carey have agreed new deals with the club.

    Director of Football, Robbie Back, said 'Both Sonny and Chris had really good seasons and we’re delighted that they are staying with us. Sonny had a particularly pleasing first season at the level, coming off the bench to influence several games, and Smudger was really solid, even after he suffered a really bad injury earlier in the season.

    'They are young lads who have good futures in the game. They fit the mould of player we want at this football club.'

    Smith and Carey join the trio of Ross Barrows, Rory McAuley and Chris Henderson who penned new contracts before the current campaign was cut short...

    Back said,'We’re not rushing into doing anything until we know what league we will be playing in. It’s very difficult for everyone at the club with us now knowing that, but I can assure you that the chairman is doing everything in his power to make sure the club are promoted.

    'Saying that, although football has stopped, the management team haven’t and we are planning for both scenarios, if we get promoted and if we stay in the National League North. We are still in negotiations with players who are out of contract and, unfortunately, there might be a couple of them who leave the club in the next week'".

    14 May 2020


    Above: Alty's first goal of 2019-20 was James Jones's against York on the opening day of the season. James is just off the picture, to the left, as his header beats keeper Jameson to put Altrincham 1-0 up against York City, who recovered to win 3-1.

    Below: Alty's last game of the season was Jordan Hulme's against Spennymoor Town at the J. Davidson Stadium, the fourth in a 4-1 win.


    On 10 May this website quoted from Altrincham FC director Lawrence Looney's recent informative interview with Non-League Daily about the club's ambitions. The full interview is now available on the NL Daily website.


    Gloucester City co-chairman Alex Petheram says that "Things at the club remain tough going! But, we are in a safe position. This position has caused a number of sleepless nights, personal stress and no end of sacrifice. Why? That question is easy, as the future cannot be any harder than right here right now.

    Why do I say we’re in a good position now, simply put, we have managed to clear our financial issues and woes. We have paid in full our PAYE and VAT bills, we have paid all our suppliers from the season gone, from Aston Villa to KB Coaches and all players are paid up to date, with no one ever going unpaid. This has been a personally difficult experience for me, spending 12 hours of the day working on the football club and the other 12 working on Soldi, I can truly now say there aren’t enough hours in the day.

    I was brought up facing some pretty difficult situations, I’ll never forget the day I opened the door aged 12 to bailiffs after my Mum lost her business, ended up in bankruptcy. This single experience has shaped me for who I am today. In times like we are in, you can even take flight or take fight. I always seem to pick the latter; yes that means things are met head on, but it also means we’re in a stable position as a club in mid-May...

    I fully accept that our fans want positive news around players and stories in the club right now, but they are few and far between… The shining light is the new ground, that is progressing and progressing well... When players leave the club, especially fans favourites, I’m as disappointed as you all, that I promise you!

    I’ve been dealing with everyone head on money wise, even speaking to players that have been signed for next season to take pay cuts. This then makes it very hard for me to give others improved deals. In fact, the complete truth is, I have refused, I point blank refuse to sign any player today on more money then we paid them last season. If that means we cannot then agree terms with some, all, who knows, then as sad as that is, we move forward.

    Some clubs will be signing players now, yes, they might get first pick, but I will not put this club at any debt nor write cheques I cannot afford to be banked. The club and only the club come’s first... The only income into the club since the Farsley game until the 9th May has been from Easty’s Garden Marathon or my personal account. OK we have had next season’s league payment, but that will get spent next season, whenever that may be! Thank you to everyone that has purchased a season ticket this week, so far, we’ve sold 22 and sent out a lot of packs... would I expose myself anymore than the seven (that’s millions) figure sum I’m already in for. Like I said a minute ago, why would I jeopardise all the hard work put in clearing the debt to then labour the club with a bigger wage bill?...

    What does the future hold…? I have no idea. Oddly, we are now lean and in good shape. With zero money worries hanging around our neck. Yes, other than six players which are already signed for next season, we’ve a number of free agents or players that can/ have left and sadly I’m sure others will follow. As I will be doing, they all need to do what is best for them, as I need to do what’s best for the club.

    I’ve seen some comments criticising our media team of volunteers, please stop... If players then leave, blame me… as I’m the one that won’t authorise the extra budget... I cannot just keep pouring in cash...

    To finish on a high... The ground is happening and going well. I might not like what has been done and what I’ve needed to do to achieve the current results. But unlike so many others, we’re safe, stable and ready to act and act we will... I’ll sign players now and announce them this afternoon if they want the same terms as last season. If they want more, sadly you’ll need to wait or move on, as if others are prepared to pay bigger wages, then fair play to them.".

    According to the Boston Standard, "Craig Elliott wants unplayed Pilgrims Matt Challoner and Jordan Nicholson to return to Boston United.

    The duo were signed by the club in early March as United looked to bolster their play-off chances. But neither player has pulled on a Boston shirt.

    After completing just one training session with the Pilgrims, matches against Chester and Darlington were postponed before football was halted altogether due to the coronavirus pandemic. However, manager Elliott is keen for the pair to be part of his future plans.

    'I definitely want to keep them, they’re two outstanding players,' he said. 'When they came in I thought we’d made two big signings that could prove a difference as we went for the play-offs. They only had that one training session but they both looked sharp and I was delighted we’d got them.

    'It’s a big frustration for me that they haven’t played for the club as I was looking forward to seeing what they could bring. There’s no doubt I want to try to keep them. They’re two good players.'

    Elliott thought he had finally landed his man after ‘two or three’ previous attempts to bring playmaking midfielder Nicholson to York Street. The player arrived on loan from Hereford. That loan has now expired. Right back Challoner joined the club after being released by National League Chorley, who he helped to promotion last season via the play-offs".


    From NL Daily comes news that "Stafford Rangers say they have received over 50 applications for the managerial role at the club.

    At the Northern Premier Division club last month, joint-managers Andy Fearn and [ex-Alty winger] Alex Meechan vacated their roles, with Fearn named director of football.

    The club say that they have compiled a shortlist for the role, having initially whittled down the applicants to a dozen. 'It is now hoped to complete interviews within the next week or so, after which, if an offer is ultimately accepted, an announcement will be made'".

    Elsewhere, the NL Paper confirms that "BetVictor has opted not to extend the sponsorship of non-league football in the UK and this has opened doors to other potential sponsors in the country. The bookmaker, which has been in control of the sponsorship of the non-league in the country made activation of the break clause in their contrast [sic]. The deal has been active in the Isthmian League, Northern Premier League as well as the Southern League...

    There was a league statement that was availed [sic] to different relevant clubs which stated that the bookmaker had reached the decision of terminating their sponsorship due to several laid down reasons. The biggest reason that spearheaded their termination was due to increased compliance conditions and a number of challenges the bookmaker underwent in their fast [sic] quarter of the year deal sponsorship. The bookmaker claimed that the challenges surpassed their returns and due to the demanding compliance conditions that were set and the hefty challenges they faced, they thought it was inevitable for them [?not] to continue with the sponsorship.

    The statement from BetVictor added that there was continued negativity that was escalating against football betting which was not of any great help for the bookmaker provider. There was [sic] also compliance breaches that were spearheaded by most of the clubs that are within and without the Isthmian League. This statement was served to three relevant football leagues during early March which included Isthmian League, the Northern Premier League as well as the Southern League. The deal was to go through until 9th July 2020 and according to Isthmian Football league, the pandemic did not spearhead the fallout of BetVictor and the leagues.

    This has, however, prompted to [sic] the search of a new sponsorship but there is the pandemic that has hit the entire world... This means that it is a bit tricky for the leagues to reach out for a possible potential replacement for the 2020/21 league season.

    The league chairman of Isthmian Nick Robinson revealed his disappointment in the termination of the sponsorship by BetVictor at such a time. He stated that it was quite cumbersome to engage any potential suitors. Although they are actively in search of a new sponsor, Nick Robinson had a swipe on [sic] the overall economic downturn as a result of the Convid-19 [sic]. As it stands, the teams that operate at the 3rd and 4th steps in the league don’t have the 2020/21 season sponsorship.

    Before there were total lockdowns in various countries after the outbreak, there was a greater grassroots fan attendance of the non-league football in England... After the immediate cancellation of the EFL and the Premier League, there was great attendance in the local side [sic]. Due to the crisis, all the leagues that are between steps 3 and 6 in the non-league were all cancelled and there was no winner nor were there any promotions and relegations too. The decision by the FA however was met with a lot of criticism from different clubs with more than 100 clubs opposing the decision.

    As a result of BetVictor activating the break clause that was within the sponsorship deal, it means that the deal will officially end on 9th July 2020. There is a lot that the Isthmian, Northern and Southern Premier leagues will face before they come up with another non-league sponsor...

    However, some clubs have welcomed the departure of BetVictor... include [sic] Scholing FC... The club claimed that there they didn’t benefit anything from the sponsorship held by BetVictor and that it was beyond their ethos as a club that has a youthful and community focus. A Whitehawk fan that is from Isthmian South East welcomed the breakup and wished that the league gets a new sponsorship that is not related to betting...

    The sponsorship BetVictor has been estimated to be in with the two leagues is said to be up to £30,000... Without such a sponsorship in the coming days means that the league is going to have some struggles especially the 2020/21 league season... What many are waiting to see is the type of company that will be sponsoring the three leagues and what kind of deal shall be laid on the table."

    13 May 2020


    Altrincham FC has announced that its "Monthly Draw for April 2020 has taken place and the results are as follows. Owing to difficulties in collecting subscriptions during the current pandemic, the top prize is currently £250". Shirts, etc. may have to be distributed only when the club is reopened following 'lockdown'.
    • £250 cash | #64 | Ian Roosendaal
    • £75 cash | #41 | David Mardon
    • £25 cash | #126 | Alan Ford
    • Match Hospitality for 2 | #197| John Laidlar
    • Home Replica Shirt | #163 | Darren Richardson
    • Alty FC Polo Shirt | #461 | Andy Holt

    "Congratulations to all six winners, who will be contacted regarding their prize."

    ON THIS DAY: 13 May

    Three years ago today, 13 May 2017, it was reported that manager Phil Parkinson had made his first signing, John Johnston. JJ told John Edwards that "He took little persuading to link up again with Parkinson soon after Salford's season finished in dramatic fashion, with a penalty-shoot-out defeat in last Sunday's Vanarama National League North play-off semi-final against FC Halifax Town at The Shay.

    Right: John Johnston, with Alty manager Phil Parkinson, signs for next season.

    Speaking to Alty's club website, Johnston said, 'That was a tough one to take at Halifax but, to be honest, it probably wouldn't have made any difference if we had got through and gone on to win promotion. Once I got the call from Phil, I really didn't need much persuading at all to become an Alty player... I want to be part of it and play a role in getting Altrincham back where they belong.

    'On top of that, playing for Parky is a big factor, probably the biggest influence of all. I played for him on loan at Nantwich earlier this year, and he was class. He got the best out of me and really got me going, just as he did with all the lads there. His man-management skills are second to none. You want to play for him, and the time I spent at Nantwich was one of the most enjoyable I've had in football.'"

    Johnston went on to make 122(+7) appearances for Altrincham and netted 39 goals before moving on to Chester FC on 24 January 2020.


    At Chester FC "The Board of City Fans United can confirm we received notification from Stuart Murphy, on behalf of Exacta plc, on Sunday 10th May, advising his intention to end his association with the Club forthwith".

    The Chester Standard adds that "Businessman Stuart Murphy has spoken for the first time since it was revealed his plans to take over Chester FC were called off just one week after being announced.

    The City Fans United board confirmed the takeover had been withdrawn in a statement issued earlier (Tuesday, May 12)... It means Chester FC will continue to be run as a fan-owned club for the future, as has been the case since 2010 following the collapse of Chester City FC.

    Now Stuart Murphy has issued a statement, in which he expressed surprise some of the details of the takeover discussion had been shared publicly, and said he was 'not prepared to invest the significant sums required without having control to ensure that the funds are used wisely'.

    He said, 'Following developments over the weekend, I have reluctantly taken the decision to withdraw my offer to take over Chester FC. It is almost two years since I agreed to support the club with a commitment to provide the board with a cash injection of £1m, to assist with infrastructure projects to ensure medium-term financial stability of the club. My donation has gone mainly towards buying new players for the first team to help the club to remain competitive and get us closer to a Football League return, where I believe we rightfully belong.

    'It has become clear to me since I became involved with the club that the current model is unsustainable, which is why I have invested a great deal of time and money devising the 1885 Sporting Village. This ambitious project, which includes redevelopment of the stadium and a host of attractions and leisure facilities, will benefit the wider community of Chester and will provide a steady and vital stream of revenue for the club beyond matchdays.

    'Clearly the Covid-19 pandemic has changed the landscape for football clubs large and small and it is a fair assumption that we are operating on the sharpest of knife edges. With that in mind, I opened confidential talks with the Board just over a month ago to discuss the possibility of taking over Chester FC, and I fear that without my continued involvement, the club faces an uncertain future.

    'I was surprised to see that some of the details of our discussions have been shared with the media without prior warning and while talks are ongoing. I was also surprised to have read comments from Chris Matheson MP this week suggesting that I have his support for a takeover. Our previous meetings regarding the 1885 proposal have been positive and supportive but at no time have I ever suggested that he backs my proposed takeover, which has only arisen over recent weeks.

    'In these unprecedented times, it is impossible to devise a cast-iron business plan for the club but I have an experienced team supporting me and I believe we can overcome the challenges that the virus has caused. However, I am not prepared to invest the significant sums required without having control to ensure that the funds are used wisely.

    'My priority is to ensure the future prosperity and competitiveness of the club and I believe I have the wherewithal to ensure this. I would be delighted to hear the Board’s plans for ensuring the funding is in place to sustain and grow our playing budget for next season and beyond. I have shown my passion for our great club over the years and have additionally commemorated fine players such as Gary Talbot [NOT the ex-Alty defender of that name] by additionally donating to name a stand after him.

    'In relation to the terms of the small outstanding invoice and contributions for some players, I am seeking clarification that the government’s CJRS (Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme) has already paid the players since March 24. I want Chester FC to prosper, to remain competitive and to establish the club as a permanent fixture in the Football League. I am not interested in short-term quick fixes that will in any way endanger the club’s future.

    'Without my backing, I am not confident that the club can remain competitive and ensure no repeat of the calamitous problems it has encountered in the recent past. If the Board expresses its willingness to revisit discussions about my proposals, I would be happy to discuss them in an open forum. I believe that our supporters should have the right to decide for themselves whether my long-term commitment is right for the club.'"

    And Cheshire Live quotes the Club as saying that “Chester FC would like to place on record its appreciation to Stuart for his financial support and donations received since his association with the Club commenced in 2018 and we wish him well for the future. The board will provide further updates to members over the coming days and weeks, and is committed to fully engaging with the membership in developing a revised strategy to ensure we can overcome the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic, continue to function sustainably and remain competitive when football returns as a 100% supporter-owned football club.”

    According to NL Daily "Gloucester City have announced six players who have committed to the club for next season.

    Having ended the 2019/20 campaign (prior to the season cancellation) in 19th place in the National League North, ten points clear of relegation with games in hand, the club have agreed extensions for the following players: Liam Daly, Jack James, Josh Thomas, Fabien Robert, Bernard Mensah, Matt McClure".

    Meanwhile Gloucester City themselves report that "Joe Hanks Leave City". Hanks and joint chairman, Alex Petheram, wrote "We wish to confirm that Hanksy will be leaving Gloucester City. Due to the current times we find ourselves in we had to put the club and our friendship first.

    With the club looking to change their model into hybrid football, and with Joe starting to work up his own career with the Gloucestershire Police, we just couldn’t find a fit that suited both parties. Alex went on to say 'I’m personally gutted to see Hanksy leave the club. He’s been a great friend to me and his goals this season will be missed, but more importantly, his personality and nature within the club will be missed the most. We currently are not in a position to sign players at the club and my advice to Hanksy was you need to do what’s right for you.

    'He only wanted to do what was best for the club, this made a very difficult conversation become very easy, as this is the right thing for us both at the present time. I am sure he will stay at this level somewhere and hopefully he will be able to find the best work/ life balance that suits him and his family.'

    In a personal message from Joe to the fans, [the player wrote] 'With the plans for the club pushing towards a full-time model, I sadly am unable to commit to this. It has been a tough decision, however I have to put my work and home life first'".

    Gloucestershire Live observes that "Midfielder Joe Hanks has left Gloucester City after making nearly 200 appearances... The 25-year-old former Cheltenham Town trainee, who made 35 League appearances for the Robins, scoring two goals, joined City on loan in 2014 and again in 2016 before making the move permanent".

    At Bradford (Park Avenue), "After an initial six-week review of the Academy, its current state and defining what we aspire it to deliver from an academic and sporting experience, the club have decided to part ways with Des Hazel.

    Martin Knight, the recently appointed Director of Football Operations at BPA and former CEO of Ebbsfleet United said, 'We would like to thank Des for all of his hard work'... An exhaustive search will now start for our new Academy Manager. We hope to appoint the right person whom can drive us towards achieving our long term aims for the Academy, in the very near future."

    The Telegraph & Argus adds that "Bradford (Park Avenue) have decided to part company with academy head coach Des Hazel. Bradford-born Hazel, who has coached at Premier League champions Manchester City in the past, joined Avenue last October and was tasked to build a successful academy.

    The 52-year-old has a wealth of experience after amassing 274 professional appearances as a player for the likes of Rotherham United, Sheffield Wednesday, Grimsby Town and Chesterfield. Before lockdown, the former Bradford City and Leeds United coach was hosting trials to find players suitable for Mark Bower's first team plans".

    12 May 2020


    Altrincham FC announces an update from directors, Bill Waterson "on fundraising and efforts to attract new investment to the club...

    'The fans have been magnificent and helped us raise £30,000 with their generosity over the last two months,' said director Bill Waterson. 'However, we know times are tight for everyone at this time, and we don't want to overdo the requests for money from our fanbase.

    'We will continue to seek ways to entertain the fans in the coming weeks, including an end-of-season awards show, but our fundraising will be focused elsewhere.'

    Director Lawrence Looney takes up the story, explaining: 'We are now turning our minds to seeking investment in the club. We do not want our ambition for the club to be dampened by the impact of Covid-19. So, we are actively looking for investment now to enable us to begin to realise that ambition.

    'Over the coming weeks we will be announcing investment packages to bring additional funding into the club, and some of our directors will be at the front of the queue to buy shares. We will also be seeking funding for a first wave of ground works over the summer, as part of the 10-year plan for the stadium.'

    This revised approach has already borne fruit, with Mornflake renewing their 'back of shirt' sponsorship for the 2020-21 season. 'We are grateful to Mornflake for having taken this step at this time,' added Bill. 'It is a major commitment from them and helps reduce the uncertainty surrounding the club for next season.'

    And the good news does not end there. The club heard last week that a grant application to Trafford Council made by chairman Grahame Rowley has been successful, and this has netted an additional £25,000. It goes without saying that the club are absolutely delighted with this additional revenue and extremely grateful to Trafford MBC for their support.

    In addition, we can disclose that negotiations are well advanced for Manchester United to continue using our facilities at The J.Davidson Stadium next season."


    Cheshire Live reports that "City MP Chris Matheson has rejected a businessman’s proposed takeover of Chester FC arguing the current fan-owned model is in the club’s best interests...

    Mr Murphy, founder of city-based Exacta Plc, first became involved with the Blues in 2018 when he pledged a £1m donation to give the club a new lease of life. Last November he unveiled ambitious plans for a multi-million pound sports village on land at the Deva Stadium and surrounding areas that he hoped would propel Chester FC to League One.

    But Mr Matheson... said in a statement 'I have seen the news that Stuart Murphy has tabled a bid to buy Chester FC, but I was unaware he was including me in his statement. As a supporter, I have been very grateful to Stuart for his generous financial support of Chester FC, initially at a time when we faced difficult financial circumstances.

    'When I first met Stuart I asked him about his intentions, and at the time he told me he was simply interested in giving something back to the club and the city. He also outlined some of his ideas as to how we could make the club more business-like, and improve the matchday experience to increase club revenues. Stuart is entitled to change his position of course, as the situation changes, but I was not expecting him to bring forward a formal bid to buy the club.'”

    For the first time Mr Matheson has publicly revealed his doubts about the proposed sports village that would involve redeveloping the Deva Stadium but also includes a hotel, theatre space, two indoor 3G pitches and a music venue that would double up as a conference centre.

    Mr Matheson continued 'Since our first meeting, Stuart has also outlined his plans to redevelop the whole area around the ground at the bottom of Bumper’s Lane. I have expressed some doubts about aspects of this scheme but have never publicly expressed a view either way, as the final proposal has not yet been arrived at... I remain of the view that our fan-owned model is the one I support. ‘Our City, Our Community, Our Club’ resonates because it is true, because we have that sense of belonging and a shared ownership that we can all be proud of.

    'But if we are to progress as a fan-owned club we all have to play our part to make that work. My CFU membership is up to date, and I have just renewed for this coming year. I don’t get to as many games as I would like because I work on Saturdays and I am away in London for most Tuesday night home games, but I have to start making time to them. I haven’t bought into any of the lotteries or attended any fundraisers for a while. I need to do that more too.

    'Fan ownership means responsibility. We each need to ask, "Are we doing enough?". It may be that in the future the supporters will want to depart from the fan owned model, but for now it is my view we stick with it. I am grateful to Stuart Murphy for his support, but I do not think we should agree to the takeover.@"

    Hereford FC's chairman, Andrew Graham, advises supporters that "Your Board has met several times a week since the lockdown with a clear objective to ensure that the Club... was able to give full consideration to the well-being of all Staff and Supporters, secure the Club infrastructure and assets and furthermore, ensure the financial stability of the Club.

    I am pleased to say that irrespective of the eventuality that football did not return at all next season, Hereford FC is stable enough to continue...

    I note that some clubs at our level, and a few above, have announced signings and management teams for the future. We are not in that position yet. Our position is not as clear. It would be negligent of us to commence this until such time as we are aware of what the horizon looks like. Will our future lie in the North, the South, elsewhere? We will not ‘follow the crowd’ we will do what is right for HFC, our fans and our future!...

    No matter how large a part this national sport of ours plays in our lives, it seems slightly self-indulgent, delusional and tactless to pretend for one minute that we should be able to apply pressure on a Government to disregard the science and allow football to return in any guise at this moment... Difficult decisions will be taken, and we will have to see what our 'new normal' looks like in respect of the football environment within which we are placed.

    One significant factor... will be how we all pull together, how we all contribute and how we collectively rebuild this Club, with shared and common objectives to determine our own future. We know that those genuine, loyal Hereford fans among us, with our incredible commercial support and sponsorship, together with our tireless, committed volunteers, will always be there, and, as fans ourselves, the Board cannot thank you all enough for that".

    According to the Shropshire Star, "AFC Telford United boss Gavin Cowan is ready to ‘really go for it’ when the 2020/21 season gets under way... with Cowan insisting he had seen ‘improvement’ from his team, despite them being five places lower in the table than the previous season’s eighth-placed finish..

    'I know some negative people will want to pick the bones out of what we’ve done, but finishing mid-table with the budget we’ve got is an improvement,' he said. 'I’ve had two years now and I feel like this year I want to really go for it and stick my neck out and give it that big push to try to achieve something that, if everyone can get on board like my first year, I think is a recipe for success.

    'With some of the players we’ve got and some of the players I’ve been talking to, I believe everything is there to go and have a brilliant season. It’s just about people’s belief, about getting on board and supporting the football club, everybody has to play their part.

    'I’m happy to be the captain of the ship but the captain needs people to tell them [him] when there’s a leak at the back of the boat. I’m all about community, I believe at a club like ours everybody needs to be on board and not trying to be negative at every opportunity. Unfortunately I do see that from time to time, people need to get a level of realism about where we’re at.

    'There’s a lot of impulsive comments, although I’m fortunate not to go on social media and see that sort of stuff.'”

    At Kettering Town yesterday it was reported that "Manager Paul Cox is having a busy morning, as striker Dan Nti is the latest player from the 2019-20 squad to be released by the club. Dan made 33 appearances for the Poppies scoring 6 goals (1 on his debut against AFC Telford United)".

    Earlier, Kettering Town reported that "Manager Paul Cox has announced that striker Aaron O’Connor has been released by the club. Azza made 137 appearances for the Poppies scoring 67 goals including 2 hat-trick (4 goals against Hitchin Town), since his debut in September 2016".

    From the Telegraph & Argus we read, "'You will get promoted this year and the guys who beat you on Saturday won’t. Let them have their bit of glory, but I guarantee if you maintain this attitude we will get promoted.'

    Those were the words of former boss, John Deacey, after his Bradford (Park Avenue) side responded in style to the club’s biggest ever FA Cup defeat with a convincing West Riding County Cup win. Avenue fans will not want to be reminded of that disastrous day in November 2011, when their team were embarrassed 8-1 in the first round of the competition by Southern Premier Division side AFC Totton.

    Deacey decided to use the result as a method of inspiration, helping Avenue gain promotion to the Conference North that season, thanks to a memorable last-minute Tom Greaves strike against FC United of Manchester in the play-off final. Meanwhile, Totton fell at the last hurdle, losing out to Oxford City in their play-off final.

    It is a mantra Deacey has used throughout his career, to keep a level head even when things are going well. 'I never used to let the players prematurely celebrate,' he said. 'A lot of teams used to come down and be banging on the doors when they beat us but I would never let that happen. We will do our celebrations when we win something. I always had that levelness.'

    The former Farsley Celtic boss spent a total of six years at Horsfall, taking the managerial hotseat on three separate occasions, and became a fans' favourite. His warmth towards the Bradford faithful still remains strong.... 'They are solid people who understood the game. Despite going through hard times, they stuck by the club and that was what stood out for me. Every time you went in the clubhouse they made you feel welcome.

    'They understood what I was about. I am a pretty reserved guy. I don’t drink and socialise that much. They understood I wanted to do the football and give them a good afternoon'...

    The Harrogate-born manager was last in the dugout when he took charge of Scarborough Athletic last April. Despite his spell only lasting eight months, Deacey... added 'It is the first job that you could ever say I failed in... When I was there we had injuries and it didn’t quite go for me. You sometimes have unlucky seasons'...

    When football is safe enough to resume properly.... 'I think it is going to be more of a level playing field because I don’t think clubs are going to have the money. I don’t think clubs are going to get sponsorship from businesses.'

    He added:... 'When I took over, they didn’t have the money that they had previously. The budget went right down but that did not bother me. I wanted to attract a side that could play decent football. To me it isn’t all about winning, you have got to have that entertainment factor. The crowd will be more forgiving with you if you play the game the right way.'

    Deacey’s time in Bradford came to an end in 2015, and outlining why he decided to leave, the 60-year-old said 'They didn’t want me to step down, they wanted me to oversee all the football. I didn’t agree with who they wanted to do it because I knew Martin (Drury) and Pricey (Jamie Price) weren’t good enough to manage at that level. I like them both but they didn’t last there long. You have to do an apprenticeship first. To come into the Conference North without that is a very tough task.'

    Asked whether he could see himself returning to Park Avenue one day, Deacey enthused 'Without a doubt, it is a great club. I just think Mark (Bower) is doing a great job.'".

    11 May 2020


    Wuhan, a twin city of Manchester, has been in the news for all the wrong reasons in 2020 but back in April 2007, the Chinese city's youth team met Altrincham FC Youth in the shadow of the Etihad Stadium, as shown below...

    On a sunny Thursday evening at the Manchester Regional Athletics Arena adjacent to Manchester City's stadium, Altrincham FC Youth team had been honoured to be invited to play the visiting Wuhan FC under-18s team from Manchester's twin city in China. The game was organised under the umbrella of the Manchester/Thai Sports and Cultural Festival, being held at the impressive Sport City complex adjacent to Manchester City's stadium in east Manchester.

    ALTRINCHAM FC YOUTH: 1. Stefan FIELDING, 2.Tom BARCLAY (capt), 3. Rick COLULO, 4. Alex MURPHY, 5. Kieran RAYNES, 6. Michael SIMCOCK, 7. Danny BROWNE, 8. Marcus BAXBY, 9. Tom BAILEY, 10. Kyle JOHNSON, 11. Anthony DAVIES. Subs: 12. Reza ZAREH-OURANG, 14. Paul BARRY, 15. TBC.

    Above: Before the game, the players shook hands.

    Watched by a crowd approaching 200 people, including a sizeable Chinese and Thai contingent, Wuhan kicked off in bright sunshine. As at all athletic stadia where football is played there were inevitable delays throughout the game when the ball went out of play, given the distance between the playing area and the perimeter fencing.

    Wuhan continued to look the more likely to score as their ability to hold possession was matched by some direct running at goal. However, the Chinese were not to be delayed for long in taking the lead when a well worked move, finished off by the no.15, made it 1-0 (26 mins).

    The interval arrived with Alty just a goal behind.

    Above: Manchester City's stadium forms the backdrop as Alty take on Wuhan.

    Alty boss George Heslop took advantage of the game being a friendly to rotate his players and at the break Kieran Raynes was rested, allowing Reza Zareh-Ourang to replace him at centre-back. Alrincham started to look more threatening in the opening stages of the second period but had no clear chances in the first ten minutes of the half.

    But the Wuhan side doubled its lead soon afterwards when a surge up the middle from their no.14 saw him advance into the box and score well, before he came across the running track to his supporters to indulge in a good natured celebration (68 mins). Wuhan went three up from the penalty spot. The penalty came when Colulo brought down an advancing Chinese player in the box. The Chinese no.10 cheekily used a stuttering run up to commit Fielding to his dive and then dinked the ball into the unguarded corner of the net, to the delight of the Chinese supporters (80 mins).

    Later, there was the bizarre scene of an Anglo-Chinese football match being played out to the strains of swirling Scottish bagpipes which were drifting into the ground from the adjecent City of Manchester Stadium where, presumably, they were part of an event in the function rooms; unless they were part of a new training regime devised by Stuart Pearce for his Manchester City players.


    Former Altrincham defender, Paul Ellender, has been appointed assistant manager of Bottesford Town, near Scunthorpe. Paul was formerly a player at two Lincolnshire clubs (Scunthorpe United and Boston United) after leaving Altrincham, who had signed him from Gainsborough Trinity in the same county.

    Bottesford ply their trade in the Northern Counties East Premier division.

    Former Alty forward Oluwatomisin ("Tomi") Adeloye [left] has just been released by Ebbsfleet United. The 24 year-old signed for Altrincham on 12 January 2017. Although born in Sidcup, Kent, he was on the books of Stoke City as a youth player but, before moving to the Potteries team, he had been with London clubs Charlton Athletic and then, from December 2013, Millwall.

    He joined Stoke City in summer 2014 and, whilst there, Tomi had a loan spell with Macclesfield Town, returning to Stoke in February 2015 after making one appearance in the CSC in which he scored twice. He spent almost four months with Dover Athletic from November, 2015 before joining Welling United in February 2016.

    He then played for Leatherhead at the start of 2016-17 before he went training with Chester FC. Tomi made a promising debut at home to Gainsborough on 14 January 2017 but was released on 2 February 2017, after three more appearances from the bench. Altrincham appearances: 1(+3) 0 goals.


    According to the Chester Standard, "Stuart Murphy insists any potential takeover of Chester will allow him the opportunity to 'leave an indelible impression' on a club he truly cares about. The board of City Fans United revealed on Thursday that they had received an approach from Murphy to take over the running of Chester.

    A statement noted that 'this marks a sudden and radical change to the previously negotiated relationship between Stuart and the Club. If agreed, the approach would end supporter ownership'.

    Murphy has since issue an open letter to Chester fans in order to reassure supporters that he wants to take charge of the club, whom he donated £1m to in June 2018, with the best of intentions.

    The letter confirmed 'I would like to make it clear that things would be different if I took the reins. I believe that I have already demonstrated I have a deep affinity with the club. It is NOT a business opportunity for me, it is a unique opportunity for me to leave an indelible impression on something I care so much about... It is almost two years since the announcement that I had agreed to support the club...

    'The objective was to utilise this money to proceed with projects that could develop the infrastructure of the club and its facilities to ensure financial stability in the longer term... It was made clear to me and my representatives that we could have no control over the club beyond assisting with decision making...

    'So far, the £625,000 of my donation has been used. Rather than cash-generating projects, it has been use primarily to improve the quality and stability of the first team by attracting new players and to ensure longer-term contractual commitment from both managers and players. Progress has certainly been made on this front, but the core infrastructure and ground improvements remain outstanding.

    'Before the coronavirus crisis, the remainder of the money was earmarked for this purpose, £375,000. But this virus has totally changed the dynamics for non-league clubs such as ours... We need to draw upon as many revenue streams as we can to give our managers the best chance of producing winning football. The 1885 Sporting Village will allow us to do that... It will absolutely transform the area... with the football club right at the heart...

    'I do not want us to "settle" for being a National League side. I do not even want us to settle for being a League Two side... I am willing to invest more time and money into “The 1885 Sporting Village”... I do not want to end my financial commitment. In fact, my hunger grows stronger... I am willing to help financially, not just next season but on an ongoing basis. But this is not a ‘one-off’ donation anymore, this is an ongoing commitment to Chester FC and for me to be able to drive things forward at a pace I need to take control of the club.'”


    The Norther Premier League "chairman Mark Harris has hailed the league’s clubs for their response to the current difficult and uncertain times.

    Right: Mark Harris, here pictured with Steve Finney, when Mark was chairman of Altrincham in 2001

    A range of initiatives have been launched by NPL clubs over the past two months to help raise funds, not just for themselves but for their local communities too.

    Harris said 'I am inspired by the innovative way in which Northern Premier League clubs are reacting to the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic. From share sales, to simple Just Giving pages and community work being undertaken by clubs like Bamber Bridge, Matlock Town and City of Liverpool to name but three, these are just some of many fantastic initiatives being rolled out by our clubs and their incredible volunteers...

    'No one knows how long it will be before we can get back to playing and watching non-league football, so it’s more important than ever that we all stand together.'

    Stafford Rangers have raised more than £50,000 via a share sale while Matlock Town’s crowdfunding efforts captured the attention of Hollywood film director Rob Molloy, who has now taken up an invitation to become a Vice President of the club. Clubs have been hosting virtual matches, which has seen the likes of Hyde United, Scarborough Athletic and Runcorn Linnets raise thousands of pounds to support their campaigns.

    Ashton United recently launched the Robins' Relief Fund to help support people in their local community, and City of Liverpool have been raising funds and donations for local foodbanks since the outbreak of coronavirus...

    Harris added 'The Northern Premier League is acutely aware that our clubs need financial support during these difficult times... We are lobbying hard for that financial support but we have to acknowledge that we are one of many sporting bodies doing precisely the same thing. It was heartening to see Gary Neville make a generous donation to Brighouse Town, for which he is rightly applauded. If only there were 61 others like Gary... There’s no sign of the cavalry coming over the hill yet, but we will carry on asking.'"

    10 May, 2020


    NL Daily has a lengthy interview with Altrincham FC director Lawrence Looney.

    "You will have noticed Altrincham emerging as one of the most upwardly-mobile outfits outside the EFL... It is all in stark contrast from where they were this time three years ago.

    With a clear grasp of what constitutes a progressive ethos, from playing style to finely-tuned club communication, the arrival of manager Phil Parkinson has seen Alty storm right back from successive relegations in 2016 and 2017. For the second season in a row, the Robins have been knocking on the door of the National League, and though a saddening halt has been put on the game, their ambitions continue to burn brightly.

    Alongside fellow board member Bill Waterson, Lawrence Looney [right] will step up to replace current chairman Grahame Rowley when next season finally comes around. Just over two years since his arrival, he speaks here about the club’s progression...

    'I think the focus at the moment is nearly 100 percent on protecting the club and ensuring that we do get through this difficult time. Where we have an advantage is some of the work we’ve done over the last couple of years; we’ve nearly built up a ‘war chest’ for situations like this. Therefore, when this has arisen, which no one could foresee, we haven’t had the panic, because we know that we’ve got some funding available to support us through this crisis or any other that may have hit us. So, for the foreseeable future, we’re actually in a good position.

    'Some of the funding that we’ve received from the very generous donations from our fans I think is one of the biggest at our level... we’re probably on around £28,000. That’s certainly made a huge difference in terms of getting through this difficult period, as well as some of the funding that we’ve been able to get from the government scheme, and a grant that we’ve been able to secure has put us in the best position we could possibly be in at this time...

    'Our ambition is to get initially into the National League, and hopefully into the EFL. In order to do so, we need to go full-time at some point. When you look at the income that we bring in today, and the income that we would need to bring in to go full-time, there’s still quite a significant gap. So one of the areas we feel we need, from a long-term point of view, is to build a stadium which becomes a stadium for the community, and brings us in a number of different revenue streams...

    'The focus really is to start and build where we can see some clear revenue opportunities. Once they start delivering, that money will then be put back into the next part of the build. There are also a number of grants available to us over the next few years, so we’ll be using those as well...

    'We’ve still got ambition to do the first part of the build this summer, depending on the lockdown, and that’s going to come from investment in extra shares being purchased by the board, and we’ve got a couple of new investors coming on board. The first part of it will be the sponsors’ lounge, so we’re going to take that to a high-level function room...

    When I left Lancaster City, I came and spent some time at Altrincham... We’ve got a very strong board, and my role on the board has very much been around the strategy and vision, and giving us something to build towards, as well as bringing our fans with us on that journey as well...

    'I’ve spent a lot of time with the fans the last couple of years and they’ve been exceptionally good to me...

    'Getting into the National League brings a little bit more central funding, but what comes with it is a lot more travel, and our gates wouldn’t go up too much from away fans, potentially. So the driver has to be to hit the revenue target. We kind of understand the number we feel we need to be bringing in on an annual basis to go full-time...

    Phil [Parkinson] is eager to go full-time, and I absolutely love his ambition. I think that we’ve got the best management team in the league, but he also is aware that we need to do it in the right way, and he’s fully behind that...

    'My plan was always for the first 6-9 months to kind of learn and listen, get to know the club, get to know the people. So that’s gone extremely well. The second part was very much building a strategy and an exciting one for the future of the club. If you’ve seen the reaction to the recent stadium plans, people think it’s very ambitious, and so do we, but we’re giving the club a vision.

    'Our aim now is to go after that vision and achieve it'"

    ON THIS DAY: 10 May

    Yesterday, Alty TV screened in full the Altrincham v Guiseley Skrill North Promotion play-off final. That match actually took place six years ago today, 10 May, with Alty securing a dramatic 2-1 win.

    With virtually the last kick at the end of extra time, substitute Greg Wilkinson, who had just joined the game, secured Alty's place back in the top level of non-League football. The ball fell to him after Kyle Perry had battled well with goalkeeper Steven Drench, now at Alty, to get onto a ball up the middle from Tom Marshall.

    Above: Lee Sinnott holds up the trophy for the photographers.

    In a close encounter, Alty started the first half the better but the visitors had the better of things as the half wore on. However, Altrincham started the second half well and took a 51st minute lead when James Lawrie converted with a low shot after Nicky Clee had got the ball to Walshaw, who laid it off for the Northern Ireland international.

    Guiseley equalized after 70 minutes when Lawlor rose well to head a corner but it was former Halifax man Danny Forrest who was credited with the goal. Neither side could add to the score so extra time was played in which Altrincham had more of the forward momentum. But it looked as if penalties were looming when Damian Reeves was replaced by Wilkinson in the 120th minute. However, with his first touch, the young midfielder earned a place in Alty folklore when he scored just moments later.

    In front of Altrincham's biggest crowd for years, 4,632, there were delirious scenes at the end. Guiseley's management duo did their club immense credit in applauding the award of the trophy to Altrincham and their supporters, too, did their club proud. The Yorkshire club had now lost four successive play-offs but were to get promotion the following season.

    ALTRINCHAM: 1. Stuart Coburn, 2. Shaun Densmore (capt), 3. Adam Griffin, 4. Jake Moult, 5. Gianluca Havern, 6. Scott Leather, 7. James Lawrie, 8. Simon Richman, 9. James Walshaw, 10. Damian Reeves, 11. Nicky Clee. Subs. 12. Tom Marshall, 14. Matt Doughty, 15. Greg Wilkinson, 16. Kyle Perry, 18. Russ Saunders.


    The Yorkshire Post reports that "After 16 years of waiting, York City finally have a new stadium to move into, but cannot get it up and running until the Government allows mass gatherings again.

    Even with their season over, the Minstermen do not know if they have played their last game at Bootham Crescent, their home since 1932.

    Even with the regular Conference North season over, the authorities have yet to rule out the possibility of promotion play-offs taking place. If the final standings are those as of today, York will go up as champions regardless, but with second-placed King Lynn Town having two games in hand, a points-per-game solution would have them in the play-offs if there were any...

    'I always thought Brighton’s was a long enough saga moving into a new stadium, but I think ours has surpassed that now,' said vice-president Richard Adams. 'We’ve been looking to move into a new stadium since 2004. There’s still work being done even now but the problem we have is it cannot be tested because to do that you need a crowd.

    'You need at least 200 people sat down to a meal to test the hospitality areas, and then you have to test the evacuation procedures. You’ve also got to test the stadium itself, and for an 8,500-seater stadium you need at least 3,000 people in. With social distancing, you can’t do that. It’s costing the club every day.

    'We took out a loan to buy back Bootham Crescent and we’re paying interest on it, so every day before we can move into the new stadium is costing us money which we will have to take off what we get for selling Bootham... We could have tried to move into the new stadium for the last two games of the season but did we want to adjust to new surroundings when we were going for promotion? We decided no'"

    Gloucester City have an interview with Liam Daly who says "I joined Gloucester midway through the season, in between leaving Solihull and joining Gloucester I had a month of not playing football so I found that my fitness levels were not where I would have wanted them to be. Having said that I thought we hit a bit of form towards the end of the season and on a personal note I was getting closer to where I wanted to be performing...

    'It is exciting times, I have been seeing.... the new ground take shape, I think it will be a massive boost for everyone involved next season. With no disrespect to Evesham as they helped us out by letting us use their ground it wasn’t the best surface to play on and I am looking forward to getting on our new artificial pitch and hopefully seeing an increase in the number of fans coming to their new home....

    'I already knew the gaffer as we had played together and with the club’s ambition of going full time next season and building the new stadium it was something I could not turn down. The club is in a good position, we have a young and talented manager... When I signed I signed with one eye on the season coming it was a case of making sure we stayed in the league this season...

    'With the lads we have already got signed on for next season it is a group of players that in my opinion could and should be playing at a higher level'"

    From the Shropshire Star we learn that "AFC Telford United manager Gavin Cowan has urged for ‘togetherness’ at the club as he prepares for his third season in charge... Having signed a new contract until 2021, Cowan is now looking ahead to his third season at the helm... and is aiming for an open and positive dialogue with fans.

    'I’m always available in the bar for at least an hour every game,' he said. 'I’ve even suggested to the chairman that if anyone wants to discuss where the club is at we do one-to-one sessions where people can come and direct their thoughts at me.

    'I think that’s the way to do it, I think that’s what people deserve. If the times of this pandemic has taught us anything it’s that togetherness is the way forward. When I had success as a player was when everyone was together on the same page, nobody wanted to play for their own agenda or be negative...

    'I believe that next year we could have a big year and I say that with logic and reason. Everybody will have to be on board, supporters involved and businesses continue to back the club. They’ve got to see what I see and trust it. It’s a leap of fate [faith?], if they want to come and back the club then brilliant.'”

    And, according to the Shropshire Star, "'Safety has to be the one and only priority'. That is the view of West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner David Jamieson, who today warned that restarting football during the Covid-19 crisis would pose a serious risk to public safety. He is the country’s first senior police official to speak out against what has been dubbed ‘Project Restart’, which clubs are expected to vote on this month.

    It is understood that police have been liaising with the region’s clubs about the safety of their grounds during the crisis.

    Mr Jamieson's comments came as John Campion, the West Mercia Police and Crime Commissioner said... 'Football, along with most aspects of what was previously normal life will need careful management as it is reintroduced'...

    However, Mr Jamieson said even if games were played at neutral venues there was a strong possibility that fans would travel long distances to gather in large numbers outside stadiums. This would result in a public health risk as social distancing rules were flouted, he added. He also said games taking place during the pandemic would stretch police resources to their limits, with officers required to be on hand even if supporters did not turn up".


    The BBC confirms that "Macclesfield have been given a seven-point deduction for failing to play December's match against Plymouth and for non-payment of player wages.

    It is their second deduction this season, having been docked 10 points with four suspended in December for non-payment of salaries and failure to fulfil their fixture with Crewe. That was later reduced to seven points with three suspended after an appeal. But those three points have now been applied to the latest punishment.

    The deduction means Macclesfield slip a place to 23rd in League Two and three points above bottom side Stevenage.

    Tuesday's Independent Disciplinary Commission hearing also gave them another two-point deduction, but this is suspended on the condition they do not breach any further regulations this season. The financially-troubled club have been blighted by off-the-field issues for much of the 2019-20 season and the latest non-payment of wages applies to February.

    That was the fourth time this season that they have paid players' salaries late".

    9 May 2020


    For the third Saturday in succession, Altrincham FC is reprising a match from a previous year. This time it is giving an "Alty TV YouTube Premiere to the Altrincham v Guiseley match which was the 2014 National League North Promotion Final"

    It will be shown, in full, at 3pm.

    Tickets may be purchased here.

    ON THIS DAY: 9 May

    Back on 9 May 2011, it was announced that "Altrincham FC manager Ken McKenna, (left), had decided to leave Moss Lane. Ken had taken over the reins in September 2010, with the club at the bottom of the BSBP but despite his best efforts and those of his assistant, Stuart Bimson, (right), the club was relegated to the BSB North for 2011-12.

    Stuart, who had been commuting to Altrincham from south of Cambridge, was also leaving.

    And on 9 May 2002, the website reported that " A recent chance encounter with an August, 1961 Altrincham FC matchday programme (v Oswestry Town), revealed that, in some respects, little changes in Altrincham's footballing history.

    Forty-one years ago, just as today, the national football transfer market was being flooded with players released by League clubs. In 1961, this was due to the abolition of the maximum wage following the George Eastham case in the High Court; today it is due to the ITV Digital collapse.

    Also then, as now, according to the 1961 Programme Notes by Wilf Dowding, Altrincham F.C. had recently been "threatened with extinction or alternatively, all amateur action" because of financial problems. But the outcome of the 1961 crisis may not be repeated in 2002-03. The 1961 programme recorded that as a consequence of the flooded transfer market no fewer than "a dozen [ex-professionals] have settled at Altrincham". These included Paddy Fagan, the first player-manager at Moss Lane for more than 25 years, who had been an FA Cup winner with Manchester City and who had played for the Republic of Ireland's national team only three months earlier.

    Other arrivals at Moss Lane were two FA Cup Finalists from 1958, Tommy Banks (ex-Bolton) and Ernie Taylor (ex-Manchester United). The prospect of 12 ex-professionals arriving at Moss Lane in the 2002 close season is unlikely as is a repetition of the 1961 practice of listing the Alty playing squad in the programme in two distinct groups of "professionals" and "amateurs".

    On the field, having conceded 125 goals and finished 21st out of 22 in the Cheshire County League in 1960-61, the Club would rise to 11th in 1961-62 and win the title just four seasons after that. Off the field, the Club's finances were beginning to be turned round by the arrival of local record-shop owners Noel White and Peter Swales who, in 1961-62, were Vice-Chairman and Chairman of the Club respectively".


    Darlington report that the "Scorer of last minute Trophy winner chats to the official website

    Our build up to the FA Trophy final replay continues today, and who better to interview than the scorer of that dramatic last minute goal, Chris Senior!

    Here, Chris chats about the injury that almost ruled him out, his delight at being chosen as a sub, and of course, the goal and celebrations.

    Don't forget that the game will be re-played on Saturday afternoon at 3pm."

    Right: Chris Senior.

    Now 38, Chris signed for Altrincham in July 2007, having previously spent the latter part of 2006-07 season on loan at Moss Lane from Halifax Town, an arrangement which started on 19 January 2007. Halifax released Chris in the summer of 2007.

    He started his career at Huddersfield Town as a midfielder but, after being released in early 2003 as part of cost-cutting measures, he played briefly for Wakefield-Emley. After a trial with Halifax Town, in summer of 2003 Senior joined Scarborough, where he stayed till summer 2005. In 2003-04 he set a Conference record by coming off the bench 36 times.

    Chris made his Alty debut, at Woking, on 20 January 2007. In 2008-09 he again varied between starting games and being on the bench but, having secured a regular run of starts.

    He qualified as a masseur whilst playing for Altrincham and worked in that capacity for Sheffield United. Chris left to join Darlington in May 2010.

    Altrincham career appearances: 114 (+31), 42 goals.


    In the Shropshire Star we learn that "Boss Gavin Cowan is ready to ‘stick his neck out’ and aim high as he begins preparing for a third season at the helm of AFC Telford United...

    Cowan insists he is not settled with mid-table finishes... 'I’m not one of those people to sit comfortable in a job and be mid-table for 10 years and keep my job,' Bucks' boss Cowan said. 'I’ll stick my neck out because I’m a winner and I want to go and win every game.

    'I want to win every tackle, hit the target every shot, complete every pass. That’s why I work around the clock. I’m more excited and optimistic about this third season.'

    The Telford manager has said he is aiming to find the perfect balance between continuity and a fresh impetus in his squad this summer... 'I have to utilise our strengths and one thing I’m good at is trying to paint a picture of what the football club are trying to do and where we’re trying to go,' Cowan continued. 'Players won’t sign if they don’t think you’re going to be successful and they have to believe that you believe it. I have a lot of belief in our game strategy and philosophy.'


    The BBC reports that "Solihull Moors have released 15 players following the early end to the National League season because of the coronavirus outbreak.

    Nathan Blissett, George Carline, Callum Coyle, Harry Flowers, Terry Hawkridge, Luke Maxwell, Jordan Murphy, Ryan Nesbitt, Jamie Reckord, Shaun Rowley, Matt Stenson, Dan Sweeney, Lee Vaughan, Danny Wright and Andy Wycherley are all being let go at the end of their contracts.

    Club captain and academy manager Darren Carter is also out of contract, but the Moors hope that the former Birmingham, Preston and West Brom midfielder will stay at Damson Park."

    8 May, 2020


    For the third Saturday in succession, Altrincham FC is reprising a match from a previous year. This time it is giving an "Alty TV YouTube Premiere to the Altrincham v Guiseley match which was the 2014 National League North Promotion Final"

    It will be shown, in full, at 3pm.

    Above: Taking part in the post-match celebrations are, left to right, Shaun Densmore, Adam Griffin, Matt Doughty, Simon Richman, Mike Williams, Damian Reeves, Carl Rodgers, Russ Saunders, Luke Pickering (kitman) and Stuart Coburn.

    Altrincham FC explains that "A £5 ticket entitles you to an entry in the prize draw, whilst a £10 ticket gives you 2 prize draw entries... With total donations to Altrincham FC reaching an astonishing £29,000 during the Covid-19 pandemic, let's see if we can break the £30,000 threshold by Saturday.

    This was the final Altrincham match played in front of the old 'Flaggers' terrace, which had a capacity of about 300 people, so wouldn't it be great if we can sell 300 tickets for Saturday's televisual extravaganza!"

    Tickets may be purchased here.

    ON THIS DAY: 8 May

    8 May 1995: Altrincham lost 2-1 at Witton Albion in a Cheshire Senior Cup semi-final, with Andy Green the Altrincham scorer.

    The following news was reported on the Altrincham FC website on 8 May in other years...

    8 May, 2002: QUAYLE MOVES ON

    Mark Quayle [pictured, right foreground], who made a big impact in a short stay at Moss Lane in 2000, has now signed for Nuneaton Borough, from Telford United. Nuneaton, beaten by Alty in this season's FA Cup, have released five players including well-known strikers Lee Charles and Marc McGregor. McGregor missed a penalty in the FA Cup match at Moss Lane.

    8 May 2003: FAIR PLAY

    The UniBond League Fair Play chart for 2002-03 has Altrincham in 20th place of the 23 teams in the Premier Division. Frickley, Blyth and Colwyn Bay were the only teams below us.

    8 May 2004: FINAL PLACE

    Subject to ratification tomorrow by the Conference, the make-up of Conference North was resolved today when Redditch United won 3-0 at Merthyr Tydfil to secure the last place in the division. Dorchester Town won the other play off, 3-1 at Tiverton, and will enter Conference South. Redditch were champions of the Dr Martens West (equivalent to UniBond One). Redditch were founder members of the Alliance in 1979 alongside Altrincham but the two clubs' paths diverged at the end of that season when the Midlands side was relegated. In the Ryman play-offs, where there had been a farcical switch and then re-switch of the final ties this week, one place went to a team from outside the Ryman Premier when Sussex side Lewes beat Kingstonian at the Dripping Pan ground. St Albans City won the other Ryman "final", 5-4, at Bedford to clinch a place in Conference South.

    Conference North should comprise: Alfreton Town, Altrincham, Barrow, Bradford PA, Droylsden, Gainsborough Trinity, Harrogate Town, Hinckley United, Hucknall Town, Kettering Town, Lancaster City, Leigh RMI, Moor Green, Northwich Victoria, Nuneaton Borough, Redditch United, Runcorn FC Halton, Stafford Rangers, Stalybridge Celtic, Southport, Vauxhall Motors, Worksop Town.

    Of those clubs only Alfreton Town, Altrincham, Bradford (PA), Kettering Town and Southport remain in the division in 2020, whilst only Barrow and Harrogate Town operate at a higher level.

    8 May 2011: NEW CLUB SPONSORS

    Following the end of Go Goodwins' sponsorship of Altrincham FC, the Club is pleased to announce that its new sponsors will be the well-established local company of J. Davidson, scrap metal merchants. Based in Broadheath, the area of Altrincham from which Altrincham FC emerged at the turn of the last century, Davidsons' strikingly painted vehicles are a common sight on the local roads. And there are also echoes of the 1960s when the successful Altrincham FC boss was Fred Pye, owner of the Pollitt and Pye scrap metal business.

    Davidsons have signed up for a three-year sponsorship of Altrincham and the Club looks forward to a productive relationship with them

    8 May 2016: NEIL'S FIRST SIGNING

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

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

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

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


    Kidderminster Harriers "announce the appointment of club legend Richard Forsyth to a new role as Director of Football at Aggborough.

    Forsyth will need no introduction to Harriers' fans as one of the most popular players in its history, with over 300 appearances under his belt in the 1980s and 1990s.

    The 49-year old, who later went on to play for Birmingham City, Stoke City and Blackpool, has returned to assume an integral role at the club after discussions with Interim CEO Neil Male.

    As Director of Football, Richard will be acting as the link between the first team and its Academy and Junior football operations. This will include ensuring all areas of the club support one another and that the Academy and Junior Foundation have a clear presence within the local community.

    In addition, he’ll provide support to the first team management in regards to scouting and recruitment moving forward, analysing opposition and maintaining a network of contacts at all levels that can benefit the team and club as a whole...

    'I spoke to Neil on a number of occasions over the past couple of months and his determination to bring me here made this an offer I could not refuse.... I will be overseeing the entire Academy and Junior sections of the club, assessing and developing the talent within those age groups. I’ll also be setting up a scouting team that will support recruitment at the club...

    First Team Manager Russ Penn said 'We need to surround ourselves with people who are passionate about the club, and Richard fits that bill perfectly. Like me, he’s played hundreds of times here and knows what the fans and the town expect. The link between the first team and the Academy is a vital one, and Jimmy and I are looking forward to working with him on that front. He’ll be a big help to us in regards to scouting@".

    According to the Chester Standard, "The Board of City Fans United have today revealed that it has received an approach to take over the running and control of Chester Football Club.

    This marks a sudden and radical change to the previously negotiated relationship between Stuart Murphy (Exacta Plc) and the club. If agreed, the approach would mark the end of supporter ownership at Chester FC... Any decision to change the ownership model can only be taken by the membership at an Extraordinary General Meeting...

    The board has therefore asked Mr Murphy to provide:

    • A detailed three-year business plan which can be shared with members.
    • Full settlement of outstanding financial commitments which remain outstanding for the 2019/20 season by Monday 11th May and an undertaking that future commitments for 2020/21 will be maintained as per agreements already in place.

    A statement released by the club read 'This approach has been received during a time of unprecedented uncertainty for the game and the economy. We believe the absolute priority for the Board and everyone involved in the Club should be to focus on ensuring that we can navigate through these immediate challenges together... We have asked Stuart to respect the wishes of the board on this matter and work with us as we plan our forward strategy'...

    The board has also thanked Mr Murphy for the support that he has given the club but note that the timing of the takeover approach presents the board with real challenges. The statement added 'Given the current lockdown restriction it is impossible to engage meaningfully with our membership in face-to-face discussion and deliberation about a potential change in ownership and the implications (positive and negative) that any change in the model would bring to the club while social distancing measures remain in place'".

    The Eastern Daily Press reports that "King’s Lynn Town owner Stephen Cleeve has questioned why National League teams with no direct interest in possible play-offs were asked for their views on them as a way to end the current campaign.

    The National League board admitted they have yet to decide how the cancelled season pans out and heard the views of 65 of the 68 clubs that make up its three divisions when they met on Tuesday.

    A number of clubs, including the Linnets, want to retain the play-off places which could see them earn promotion to the National League... But the National League say it cannot take the next step until the Football League announces its own procedure...

    Cleeve advocates settling final positions using a points per game method, which leaves Lynn top and automatically promoted. 'I believe the play-offs should be played but, if they can’t be played, I believe the second team, which would be York City, should be promoted as runners-up,' he said...

    Cleeve questions why those without direct interest have had an input. 'I thought that was odd', he said, speaking on his I Bought a Football Club podcast. 'The National League asked every club what their view was on the play-offs and I don’t understand why they did that. I think that every club that could be involved in a play-off, either on points per game basis or on a basis of where we are now, who is in play-off positions and who could be entering the play-offs with points per game, should have been asked the question and I understand that.

    'But what on earth is the relevancy of a club that finished rock bottom of the league, no disrespect to Bradford, but why would they ask them whether there should be play-offs or not? Why ask them? It is of no consequence to them and it is pointless.

    'We voted there should be play-offs if it was humanely possible. It could be used as a pre-season opener, I don’t think people should be able to sign extra players, we disagree with that, we felt people should have to go with the same teams they started off with and there should be contract extensions if necessary, where the FA accept those players can’t move on until they have played those games. Nevertheless I accept that could be fraught with legal difficulties. But it is not right someone can boost their team for one game, it makes it all lopsided.'"

    According to the Shropshire Star, "AFC Telford United have taken the first steps to completing crucial off-season work on their New Buck's Head playing surface.

    The club have scheduled the important renovation work for this summer after rainy spells caused havoc... Telford yesterday tweeted an aerial image of a tractor at work digging up the playing surface, with work to remove ‘collapsed’ drainage and replace it with a fresh system expected to follow over several weeks."

    7 May 2020

    ON THIS DAY: 7 May

    Fifteen years ago today, 7 May 2005, Altrincham beat Kettering Town at Rockingham Road in the Nationwide North play-off final. They went on to beat the Southern play-off winners, Eastbourne Borough, to earn promotion back to the Conference.

    Altrincham overcame Kettering 3-2 thanks to an own goal in the 113th minute, the match having ended 1-1 after 90 minutes. Both teams had overcome higher-placed opposition away from home to reach this stage, in Kettering's case this was Droylsden and in Alty's it was second-placed Nuneaton Borough.

    Above: The Altrincham team celebrates after the match, as director Graham Rowley and kitman Dave Mitten look on.

    After their hard-fought game at Nuneaton on the previous Tuesday, Alty were without Steve Aspinall but centre-back Gary Talbot was back after missing that game. On the bench, Richard Norris stood down as Alty brought in Richard Acton as sub goalkeeper. So, George Melling moved to right back to replace Steve Aspinall and Gary Talbot returned to partner Mark Maddox in central defence.

    Having overcome Nuneaton Borough to get to this Northern play-off final after extra time and penalties, Altrincham now reached the national promotion play-off final with another pulsating extra-time win against Kettering.

    Watched by 2,285 spectators, Altrincham were second-best in the first half. In contrast, Kettering started the game well and deservedly took the lead after 15 minutes during a period of 10 minutes when Alty were reduced to ten men, Mark Maddox having had to leave the field for six stitches to be inserted in a head injury.

    Whilst Maddox was missing, Jamie Patterson fired his side ahead with a left-footed shot from outside the box. But Patterson himself had been patched up to play and was unable to carry on and was substituted after 19 minutes.

    For Alty Lewis Chalmers replaced the injured Maddox at the interval and Alty were much brighter in the second half. The Robins levelled through Val Owen's 20-yard shot following the clearance by Brown of a long throw from Chalmers (53 mins). No further goals meant that the game went into extra time.

    Eleven minutes into added time, Val Owen put Alty 2-1 up, again following the half clearance of a Chalmers long-throw (101 mins), but Kettering then hit the post. However, from a well-contrived cross by Danks, Burgess equalised for the Poppies in the second half of extra time (109 mins) before, seven minutes from the end, Matthews put through his own goal with a diving header from a Potts corner from the left, a sad end to his testimonial year.

    Alty were the better side in extra-time and deservedly ran out 3-2 winners.

    For this match, Alty brought three coachloads of supporters and many others made their own way. In all, probably 400 fans travelled in support of The Robins. Kettering too had very strong support.

    ALTRINCHAM: 1. Stuart COBURN, 2. George MELLING, 3. Chris ADAMS, 4. Mark MADDOX, 5. Gary TALBOT, 6. Eddie HUSSIN (capt), 7. Colin POTTS, 8. Val OWEN, 9. Colin LITTLE, 10. Rod THORNLEY, 11. Gary SCOTT. Subs: 12. Lewis CHALMERS, 13. Richard ACTON, 14. Kieran LUGSDEN, 15. Jonathan MITTEN, 16. Kirk HILTON .


    In the Sale & Altrincham Messenger press officer John Edwards writes that "Phil Parkinson has marked three years as Altrincham manager by saluting supporters...

    He was quick to give credit to supporters for the Robins' latest success story, after an appeal for funds reached £29,000 earlier this week and looked set to top £30,000 with the screening of one of the greatest days in the club’s recent history this weekend.

    The National League North promotion final against Guiseley in 2014 was certainly one of the most dramatic, and a rerun of the entire game will be shown at at 3pm on Saturday.

    'I don’t regret a single moment of my time at Altrincham,' said Parkinson. 'There have been so many great moments, from being history-makers as the first club to go down and bounce straight back up to the promotion challenges in the National League North and FA Cup second round at Portsmouth.

    'But special mention has to go to the fans, who have been incredible. For the Alty community to raise nearly £30,000 is fantastic and just shows what the club means to them and what they are willing to do to keep it afloat. Make no mistake, without them, we would have been in financial trouble. They always step up to the plate as and when needed.

    'Alty fans know the history behind the club and have a pride in the place, and the way they have responded to the current crisis makes me want to do better than ever for them. They are magical and make the club what it is.'"


    In the Boston Standard "Tom Platt says that being named Boston United's Players' Player of the Year is a welcome boost.

    The Pilgrims' midfielder topped the dressing room poll, with captain Luke Shiels second and Brad Abbott taking third place. While Platt would normally have collected the Barbara Singleton Memorial trophy in front of supporters after the final home game of the season, he had to make do with an announcement via the club's Twitter account...

    'It's a lot different to how it would normally be. But in these times it's a boost to be honest,' Platt said. 'There's not a lot of positive news at the moment. It would have been great to collect it in person in front of the fans, but things are different at the moment. It's nice when your teammates vote for you, it makes you feel like you've done your job well. But this season's been a big team effort this year.'

    Platt, who signed from Alfreton Town in the summer scored twice in 40 appearances with the Pilgrims this season...

    'It was a nice surprise. We've had a brilliant squad and a lot of good players, so to get the award was nice,' Platt added... 'Probably seven or eight of the lads have been mainstays in the side. Once we got to know each other and gelled it worked really well'".

    Shildon report that "Michael Sweet has signed for Shildon after being released by Blyth Spartans. Sweet joins on a two-year contract.

    He signed for Blyth in the summer after scoring 128 goals in four seasons at Consett AFC. Leading the Spartans attack regularly last term, he registered 30 appearances and had a goal return of five.

    Shildon say they are delighted to secure him ahead of the new season ‘to help with our promotion push, as he is a proven goalscorer at this level.’


    The NL Paper tells us that "Mystified chairman Ken Wright has scotched speculation that Chorley are contemplating voluntary relegation from the National League.

    Several sources had suggested to The NLP that the part-time Magpies, who were cut adrift at the foot of the top-flight when the season came to an early halt, preferred to head back to National League North. There was also talk that ground grading issues could be a factor for the Lancashire club...

    But Wright has insisted... 'I don’t know where that talk has come from. “It’s certainly not come from anybody in a senior position at the football club. If it’s ultimately decided that there will be promotion and relegation and we were to go down, we would have to accept that and get on with it.

    'But if the season is declared null and void, we would like to stay at this level. We worked hard to get to that level again and we’ve enjoyed the experience'...

    As for their Victory Park home... he said 'We have an issue with one part of our stadium which we had to close down and affected our covered accommodation. The reality is that there are some things that still need to be done, but haven’t been completed because of the lockdown. What we need to do can be done very quickly once we have access to labour, it’s as simple as that.'

    Stalwart Wright had two spells as Chorley manager and led them to promotion to Non-League’s top tier in the late 1980s. He became chairman in 2003 and part-owner alongside Graham Watkinson three years ago.

    'We’re pursuing one or two different avenues,' explained the 76-year-old.. 'We have no benefactors, myself and Graham aren’t wealthy people. But I’m proud to say in my time at the club since I’ve been chairman, we have always been able to pay our way. We have found it a struggle sometimes but we’ve achieved it... As for football, in the long-term, it [lockdown] might be good for the game, with the wages that are being paid. It’s a reality check for ourselves irrespective of what league we are going to be playing in.'"

    6 May 2020

    ON THIS DAY: 6 May

    Twenty years ago today, on the final day of the season (6 May 2000), Altrincham suffered relegation from the Nationwide Conference, to which they had only returned that season. Facing the uncrowned championship-winners, Kidderminster Harriers, at Moss Lane, Altrincham faced a difficult task.

    Right: Before kick-off, Alty saluted the champions-elect as they came onto the pitch.

    When the reverse fixture had been played at Aggborough, just eight weeks previously, Altrincham had gone into that match in the top half of the table, lying tenth. Indeed, they lost only eight times in the first 34 league matches of the campaign.

    Despite an excellent draw in March at the champions elect's ground, Alty were not to win another game all season, going on to complete their slide with defeats in six of their final eight fixtures. Indeed their final eleven fixtures earned them just five points, all from drawn games.

    The final whistle on that final day of the season saw Alty in the relegation zone for the first time since the opening month of the season, when they had spent just nine days in that predicament.

    Manager Bernard Taylor played Andy Lovelock and Keith Russell up front, with Dickie Landon reduced to the role of substitute, where Leroy Chambers joined him on the bench, along with the dropped Mark Maddox. Mick Morrell and Ian Senior were the other deputies. Chris Timons was restored to central defence after his previous outing at right-back and was captain, as Simeon Hodson resumed in that position after injury.

    The match was refereed by Mark Clattenberg, who at 25, had recently become one of the youngest referees to be promoted to the Nationwide League's list.

    ALTRINCHAM: 1. Lance Key, 2. Simeon Hodson, 3. Danny Adams, 4. Chris Timons (capt) 5. Gary Talbot, 6. Steve Hawes, 7. Jason Gallagher, 8. Phil Power, 9. Andy Lovelock, 10. Keith Russell, 11. Kevin Ellison. SUBS: 12. Richard Landon, 13.Ian Senior, 14. Mark Maddox, 15. Leroy Chambers, 16. Mick Morrell

    Altrincham needed to win this match to ensure their Conference survival and came within one goal of doing just that in what ended as a goalless draw. The nearest they came to a goal was to hit the post but, after failing to win any of their last eleven games, their fate was really sealed before today. In this match they played quite well but, as so often, rarely threatened to score. So, the first goalless draw at home this season meant that Altrincham would start the 2000-01 season in the Unibond Northern Premier League.


    Altrincham FC announce that "This Saturday at 3pm, Alty TV is proud and delighted to bring you the YouTube Premiere of the full match broadcast of the 2014 National League Promotion Final between Altrincham and Guiseley.

    Above: 10 May 2014: Alty celebrate promotion.

    It offers supporters the chance to relive one of the great days in Altrincham Football Club's history and it has the added attraction of prizes for anyone buying a ticket as a donation towards the club's current fundraising effort.

    A £5 tickets entitles you to an entry in the prize draw, whilst a £10 ticket gives you 2 prize draw entries. For details follow the above link to Altrincham FC...

    With total donations to Altrincham FC reaching an astonishing £29,000 during the Covid-19 pandemic, let's see if we can break the £30,000 threshold by Saturday.

    This was the final Altrincham match played in front of the old 'Flaggers' terrace, which had a capacity of about 300 people, so wouldn't it be great if we can sell 300 tickets for Saturday's televisual extravaganza?

    You can get your ticket by donating here".


    Bottom of the league Bradford (Park Avenue) were twelve points from safety when the 2019-20 season was halted by Covid-19. However, they are now "delighted to be able to announce that the incredibly talented management duo of Mark Bower and Danny Boshell have agreed to commit to the club in the long term. Fundamental to the new strategy for the club, was having great management of the first team, and the ability to nurture and develop young talent. Then blending these younger talents with more experienced and seasoned players. Mark and Danny have proven that, when given the right kind of platform, they are capable of producing exciting, competitive teams that are great to watch. The new 3 year deals will give them the time, confidence and stability to build something special here at the Horsfall".

    Owner Gareth Roberts said 'We are lucky to have local lads with great coaching ability and whom [sic] understand and know the club. After a tumultuous season we wanted to steady the ship and have some strong foundations to build on’

    Mark Bower added, ‘I’m pleased to get this deal agreed. After what has been a difficult last 18 months, I’m positive that we now have a structure in place that can build a long and sustainable future both on and off the pitch. The proposed ground developments are exciting and it feels like we are entering a new beginning with a real focus and professional approach behind the scenes. I’m looking forward to the challenge... in the knowledge that there is a solid plan and commitment in place to grow the club over the next few years’

    Ex-Alty midfielder, assistant manager Danny Boshell said, 'It shows the commitment of the club long term and their trust in our ability. It will allow us to further test those abilities at a club that is close to our hearts as two Bradford-born lads growing up a stone's through [sic] from the ground. Its not going to be easy, but we [are] up for the challenge in these new and testing times’"

    The Telegraph & Argus adds that "Bower, who rejoined Avenue last September in an attempt to save them from the drop, will now remain at the club until 2023. Assistant Danny Boshell has also signed on for the same duration...

    Bower initially joined the club in 2016, achieving two playoff finishes, before departing last summer. He was unable to reverse Bradford's fortunes when he was re-appointed though, winning only four out of 20 league matches, as his side remained rock-bottom of the Vanarama National League North... With relegation looking unlikely due to there being no promotion from the league below, the club believe the 40 year-old is the right man to lead them forward."

    We learn from the Boston Standard that the "Pilgrims' boss says play-offs [are the] fair way to resolve promotions, if National League clubs vote to settle tables via points per game..

    Boston United manager Craig Elliott... believes his squad feel they have unfinished business to attend to... United were fourth in the National League North table but intent on closing the gap on leaders York City and early pacesetters King’s Lynn when the coronavirus forced all action to be stopped...

    'We had a really good season and I felt we were moving in the right direction,' he said. 'We wanted to win promotion and I think a lot of the lads will definitely be eager to prove they can do it when they get another chance. That will definitely be a huge motivation for the players'...

    Elliott’s gut feeling was to expunge all results, as has been the case in steps three to seven of the National League System. However, if the clubs in the three National League divisions agree to go with points per game then the United boss believes his team should be given their chance via a play-off system.

    He added 'I wouldn’t like to second guess what will happen. I’ve heard all sorts of rumours. Personally, I thought the season should have been made null and void. But, If they do decide to settle the season on points per game with teams getting promoted then I definitely think there should be play-offs involved. We’d finish the season third (via PPG) and we deserve a chance of winning promotion that way'".

    The Shropshire Star reports that "The Bucks' chief feels that Telford’s ‘strange’ location can prove a difficult factor in negotiations.

    Cowan said his side punched above their financial weight to finish 13th in National North before the season was cancelled last month due to the coronavirus and that it was likely his budget will drop for next season. The ambitious boss has lofty targets for the Bucks but maintains that... 'Location-wise, we’re in a bit of strange place, geographically,' Cowan said.

    'When you look at our level, it’s quite difficult to recruit just because of where we are, that’s another thing people need to take into account. The further people are travelling, the more they are having to pay.'

    One of Cowan’s priorities this summer is to recruit a permanent goalkeeper rather than the money-saving loan route Telford have taken in recent years. He said 'It will be difficult and it is a position I do feel the need to get someone as a permanent. The purpose previously was about saving money. I was very lucky to play in front of very good goalkeepers and it was a big part of the belief in what you do.

    'Unfortunately sometimes you have to play the cards you’re dealt. There are a lot of good goalkeepers out there and I felt we could get someone good enough. And I feel like we did. Joe Bursik is playing in League One and will be going back to Stoke now and be challenging for a place. Max (Bramley) did well as did Yatesy (Matt Yates) as well. But I do feel that continuity needs to be there.

    'It’s a difficult one, there are a couple of positions we really have to get our heads down on.'"


    The Lytham St Anne's Express tells us that "Owner David Haythornthwaite reveals big plans for AFC Fylde after buying rest of Mill Farm site.

    The Coasters owner’s plans include the development of their youth academy, gym, extra parking spaces and the North Stand... Chairman Haythornthwaite revealed he has completed the purchase of the remaining 11 acres of the original farm site, adding to the 30 he had previously bought.

    He said: “It’s always been my ambition since the development got going to eventually try to get the rest of that land, which will enable us to tidy up the whole site and a number of opportunities go with it.' The development of the football academy would enable Fylde to 'bring in students from all over the country and put them in digs', Haythornthwaite added...

    'We now have a temporary gym in the away concourse and it isn’t very professional when you want to be a professional club. We’ve earmarked one of the buildings on there to become a permanent gym for the club... We have a three-sided ground at the moment. We wanted to wait to see what happened and we’re pretty clear now on what we want to do. It’s not the time to build it now. We haven’t got the money but, in the future, when we come through this, hopefully the next phase we start on will be finishing the ground.

    'It is Football League standard now, so should we be fortunate enough to be promoted in the next couple of years we’ll be fine but obviously we want to complete the ground... We need to have a little bit more permanent parking than we’ve got. This allows us to develop that... At the moment we have to conserve every piece of cash but once we see some light at the end of the tunnel we’ll begin to see some developments down there'".

    5 May 2020

    ON THIS DAY: 5 May

    Today is a year to the day since Altrincham lost a memorable National League North promotion play-off semi-final, at Chorley. Less than four days after Altrincham had exerted plenty of energy in beating Blyth Spartans, after extra time and following a 14-kick penalty shoot-out, they arrived to face second-placed Chorley who had had a week's rest. The Magpies had won the encounter at Victory Park in the regular season, 4-1 but Alty had won 5-3 at Moss Lane. At stake was a place in the promotion play-off final against either Brackley Town or Spennymoor Town on 12 May.

    Having beaten Blyth Spartans the previous Wednesday by netting seven successive penalties in the shoot-out, as well as one in normal play, ironically it was to be spot-kicks which proved to be 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 Josh 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 in a challenge on Carver in midfield. The referee, Mr Swallow, had also been the man who sent off Jordan Hulme against Stockport County earlier in the season.

    So Alty's two top scorers were now out of the game for differing reasons. The ten men valiantly 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 from the right.

    Above: Tony Thompson gathers the ball in a crowded first-half goalmouth at Chorley.

    Altrincham's ten men played very well in the half hour of added time to reach a second penalty shoot-out of the week.

    First up in the shoot-out, 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, Alex Newby made it 2-0 for Chorley before substitute Max Harrop converted his kick to make it 2-1. When Wilson beat Thompson to make it 3-1, it was all over in anti-climactic fashion for Altrincham.

    ALTRINCHAM: 1. Tony Thompson, 2. Shaun Densmore, 3. Connor Hampson, 4. James Jones, 5. Tom Hannigan, 6. Jake Moult (c), 7. John Johnston, 8. Sean Williams, 9. Jordan Hulme, 10. Josh Hancock, 11. Yusufi Ceesay. Subs: 12. Max Harrop, 14. James Poole, 15. Simon Richman, 16. Ben Harrison, 20. Elliot Wynne.


    Blyth Spartans "announce Scott Fenwick, Michael Sweet, Lewis Horner and Jordan Summerly have left the club. The following players were not offered new terms for next season and therefore have been released.

    Fenwick moved to Croft Park last summer having returned to the North East following a spell at National League South side Chelmsford City. However, the former Hartlepool United striker was restricted to just 12 appearances in a campaign sadly dominated by injuries.

    Sweet, who joined from Northern League Division One side Consett around the same time, was a regular in [his] solitary season at Blyth. The 25-year-old featured 30 times for Blyth and scored five goals before being loaned out to Shildon in February.

    Summerly arrived from North Shields in January but his only outing in green and white followed as a substitute against King’s Lynn Town.

    Meanwhile, Horner’s second spell with Spartans comes to an end. He departs the club having made 81 appearances in total... The rest of the remaining squad is currently under assessment, where further announcements will be communicated in due course."

    In the Shropshire Star we learn that "Gavin Cowan believes AFC Telford were seeing improvements in top scorer Marcus Dinanga before the coronavirus brought the season to a close. Dinanga, in his second spell at the New Bucks Head, finished as leading marksman with 13 goals having played parts of the season as second or third fiddle after, at times, being ‘not good enough’, according to the boss.

    The 22-year-old finished the campaign in good form, netting six goals in six games. 'He finished really well but on the whole not good enough, I think Marcus would be the first to admit that,' said Cowan.

    'There was a reason he wasn’t in the team for such large periods, but he got his chance and finally decided to do what we were asking of him. That’s more your out of possession stuff. Marcus comes alive when we have possession of the ball, out of possession it can be really difficult to get him to engage. But you saw what rewards came to him when he decided to start doing that...

    Cowan said of the work ahead of him this summer 'I have in my head exactly where I want to go and do... I’ve formed my own opinion and I’ll include my staff on that. Over the coming weeks we’ll be speaking to the players and making some decisions.'”

    Also at AfC Telford United, "Darren Acton is going back to where it all began, again. When AFC Telford United manager Gavin Cowan and interim chairman Andy Pryce held a fans' forum on Twitter recently, one of the responses that had fans hitting the ‘like’ button was the news that Acton was re-joining the club’s coaching staff as goalkeeping coach, following his departure from Solihull Moors.

    For Acton, it will be a third spell at Telford, the place where he began his career, making his debut as a 17-years old YTS trainee some thirty years ago, and his return means the Bucks once again have a goalkeeping coach on the coaching staff, for the first time since Darren left the club in October 2018...

    'I spoke to Gav (Cowan) about it; when I was here before he said that he’d never really had a goalkeeping coach, but to me, a goalkeeping coach and a physio are the most important things you can have at a football club, but especially a goalkeeping coach. Going back to my day, I never had one, so I know how important a role it is in helping keepers to develop.'

    My impression was that coaching the last line of defence isn’t simply about the technical and physical aspects, it’s also about the psychology of the position, something on which Darren readily agreed.

    'It’s about making them believe that they’re a good keeper... It’s about having that mentality, of wanting to win games. For me, it’s about clean sheets; that’s something I stress to not just my players, but to defenders as well... There’s also the side of it where you can drop a clanger and be the one to cost your side games, so you have to try and get that mentality over to keepers as well...

    Darren also feels that Gavin possesses the qualities to succeed... 'I think he’s got that mentality to go higher, whether that’s with Telford or elsewhere, but hopefully with Telford. I believe in him. Wherever he and I have been, we’ve achieved something, as coaches or as players, whether it’s been an FA Cup run or winning the league, we’ve always had that mentality of winning, and I think that’s why we connect'".

    At Chester FC, Cheshire Live reports that "Uncertainty surrounds the club but its board has paid tribute to the tremendous reaction from supporters. Chester FC is facing financial losses of around £100,000 as a result of the coronavirus crisis...

    Many fans have already made it clear they will not be taking up an offer of refunds on their current season tickets which in itself would have left a £40,000 hole in Chester FC’s finances. However... the club has made it clear they continue to face an uncertain future during ‘extreme and unprecedented times’...

    The club statement said, 'While it is not possible to put an exact figure on the cost of the pandemic to the club, the cancellation of five home matches and several fundraising events mean a potential £100,000 worth of revenue has been lost. We have placed the majority of club staff on furlough leave and accessed the government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS). The board decided to continue to pay all staff, including those furloughed, 100% of their salaries up until May 2.

    'At present the CJRS is due to run until June 30. We are in continuing dialogue with HMRC regarding the scheme; however, given the uncertainty around when football will resume there may well be more difficult conversations to take place as time goes on. The club has a number of ongoing running costs and annual outgoings to consider over the coming weeks and months including insurances, utilities and VAT. Where possible, we have taken steps to defer or postpone these payments, including the negotiation of payment holidays which means the club does not have to pick up the cost later in the year.

    'The club has applied for a Coronavirus Business Support Grant (£25,000) and club has received business rates relief for this tax year (£11,700)... In April we supported a resolution asking member clubs to end the season and cancel remaining matches. The league has since asked member clubs whether the play-offs should be cancelled or postponed; the outcome of this vote has not yet been confirmed.

    'We are due to receive circa £13,000 which is the advanced annual solidarity payment from the Premier League for the 2020/21 season. The virtual matchday initiatives have raised £4,000 which will cover of the costs of improving the pitch over the summer. We have contacted sponsors and supporters who had booked hospitality packages for cancelled matches and we are extremely thankful to those who have generously advised the club to retain these funds'...

    Chester FC has taken the decision not to start season ticket sales for next season due to the ongoing uncertainty... The next few months will be extremely challenging and we have to continue to fundraise to ensure the future of Chester FC. We would welcome fundraising suggestions and ideas. We know we ask again and again, however this is your club and the more we can raise, the stronger we are... However we are confident that together we can emerge from these unprecedented times and look forward to a positive future'".

    4 May 2020


    Altrincham FC chairman, Graham Rowley told the NL Paper, "If you can tell me that it's 100% safe to play a game of football then, yes of course, I'd like to play the play-offs. The manager and the players were very keen.

    "It would be wrong of us to say they should be cancelled. That's what we've told the league... It's down to the government, the scientists and, ultimately, the EFL. If they decide they can't finish the season... any votes we cast will mean nothing.

    Hand on heart I just can't see it [play-offs] happening"...

    He added, "We have to protect our clubs. I was talking to a guy from Trafford.. He put out an appeal for help, saying they might not even be here next year.That's what we should be concentrating on, making sure that next season the National League still has 68 clubs...

    "It's not important that everyone finishes this season; it's that everyone starts next season... The FA or the government need to have some balls and say 'It's not going to happen, end of story, let's start planning for next season'"


    The NL Paper has a full-page article on Graham Heathcote.

    Both ex-Alty keeper Stuart Coburn and current defender, Shaun Densmore, recall their days playing under Graham's managership, whilst John King praises his former team-mate's ability.

    Stu said, "Sometimes.. he'd completely blank you... He always kept you guessing. It meant that every time you did something, you did it to your maximum because you never knew what was going on in his head...

    "Put Graham in front of an audience, he was hilarious... But if we got beat or played badly, he'd sit at the front of the bus, put his head down and sulk...

    Playing Luton away... Twenty minutes before kick off he was walking round the changing room doing this shopping trolley dance... Everyone was laughing and joking... Then at 3pm it was 'Right, stop messing about'... We got beat and he came in at the end going 'You lot don't f***ing care, you don't take it seriously...

    "A top bloke, a good friend, but you could never gauge him".

    Shaun Densmore added that "Whenever I told my dad, [Peter, who played with Graham for Alty], that Graham had accused us of not getting stuck in, he'd laugh and say 'That bugger never made a tackle in his life!'"

    John King, a former team-mate and Alty manager, who had Graham as his assistant, added "Technically Graham was brilliant. He had vision, pace, he could see a pass and his dead balls were as good as anything in non-League".

    Another team-mate, former Manchester United keeper Alex Stepney said that Graham could have played "for many a League side and at a good level".

    Shaun Densmore recalled that "We were underdogs every game but he'd have us so well drilled... We went out to frustrate. I think Graham loved that". Stuart added that "We'd go to these big full-time clubs and they'd moan about us being boring. But Graham would say 'We're not here to entertain you'"

    Stuart concluded, "Publicly, he always said 'We're part-time, we're doing well'. But behind closed doors he wanted the club to show more ambition... He's a legend at Alty though and I'll always think of him as a friend not a manager".


    Altrincham FC announce that "At Altrincham's recent Level Playing Field match against Spennymoor Town, we launched our first-ever disabled supporters‘ survey, backed by Paralympics gold medallists and world champion cyclists Neil Fachie MBE and Lora Fachie MBE.

    Following the recent announcement by the Board about the redevelopment of The J.Davidson Stadium, and our ongoing commitment to ensuring the club is inclusive and accessible to all, it’s important that we get as many views from our loyal supporters as possible. Your views could really make a difference to the future plans.

    Everyone who completes the survey and leaves their contact details will be entered into a free prize draw to win a pair of Altrincham FC season tickets for next season, whenever that may be. The survey will now remain open for the rest of this month, until May 31st.

    You can access the survey here".


    As reported here recently, ALtrincham FC's neighbours Trafford FC launched an urgent appeal for £5,000 to save the club. Now they report that "A heartfelt “thank you” goes out to our amazing friends who have so generously donated to our Just Giving fundraiser. We’re genuinely overwhelmed to have already smashed our original target of £5k which we only dared to dream we’d achieve.

    Every single penny will help our little club to survive this current crisis; that’s why we’re keeping the page open for those who would still like to donate. Please keep sharing our page - the more we can raise, the better our chances of being here for our". The club has now lifted its target to £7,500.

    The NL Paper reports that "Witton Albion and Northwich Victoria have extended their ground-share agreement to the end of the 2025-26 season but flatly deny any suggestions of a merger....

    It is solely a business decision asscording to Witton chairman John Salmon....

    'We receive much needed income and asistance with the maintenance of the ground whilst they have a stable home. Our fierce football rivalry will remain; there is no question of a merger'" he said.


    In the Non-League Paper, Brackley Town have "asked the National League to decide the northern half of Step 2 with an eight-team play-off...

    {Manager] Kevin Wilkin said,'"It would be totally unfair to promote anybody by a vote or a mathematical formula... Any one of the top eight could feasibly win the league... You either run an eight-team play off or you null and void the season... That's what we've told the league...

    'Contracts are running out. Players want to know where they are going... Are they going to play a play-off? At the minute, I can't tell them'".

    We learn from the Boston Standard that "Craig Elliott wants to keep the majority of his Boston United squad together next season.

    The Pilgrims' boss finds himself in a bizarre situation of possibly having to prepare his squad for a play-off push, while also attempting to strengthen his squad for a new campaign when football can resume. The National League clubs have voted not to play this season’s outstanding fixtures, halted due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

    However, it is yet to be decided whether the campaign will be declared null and void or settled on a points per game basis. If the outcome is the latter then Boston look likely to be moved up to third spot in the National League North and could be involved in some form of play-offs for promotion.

    Either way, Elliott is adamant he doesn’t want to break up his team and start afresh. 'That’s the priority first and foremost', he said. 'We don’t want to let a lot of players leave. Naturally, 20-25 per cent of the squad will move on, but really we want to keep 75 per cent of the squad. The league table showed how good the lads are. We’d like to keep the core of the squad together'...

    Due to United possibly seeing further action, the playing squad’s contracts have been extended. However, most league rivals have seen their players’ contracts come to an end this week, leaving a number of free agents.

    Elliott and chairman David Newton have identified potential targets... 'I’ve spoken to some players about coming in,' Elliott continued. 'But it’s difficult as we could still be involved in the play-offs'".

    Darlington "manager Alun Armstrong says that Darlington fans have responded magnificently to the club’s Boost the Budget campaign.

    Generous fans have dug deep and invested £50,000 in Boost The Budget, reaching the halfway mark in less than three days, a phenomenal effort.

    Alun said 'It’s a fantastic effort in these difficult times. It’s amazing that our generous fans are buying into what we’re trying to achieve. They have responded magnificently.'

    The scheme opened on Friday morning, with the intention of raising at least £100,000 for the playing budget by the end of May."

    3 May, 2020

    ON THIS DAY: 3 May

    It was six years ago today that Altrincham overcame Hednesford Town in a play-off semi-final to set up an even more memorable showdown with Guiseley, a week later.

    The Skrill North Play-Off Semi-Final Second Leg match against The Pitmen came after a 2-2 draw at Keys Park in the preceding midweek, in which Damian Reeves had put Alty ahead before James Walshaw levelled the scores after Alty had conceded two goals.

    Right: Tom Marshall hoists Greg Wilkinson aloft at the end of the play-off game against Hednesford, as Neil Tolson looks on.

    The second leg, at Moss Lane, featured the league's two highest-scoring teams but they remained locked at 0-0 with just twelve minutes remaining. But, with extra-time looming, a crazy seven minutes saw the Pitmen take the lead through Tom Thorley's 78th minute header, before two goals in little more than a minute, from Damian Reeves and James Lawrie (84 and 85 mins), transformed the outcome. It was harsh on Hednesford who had probably shaded the second half after Altrincham had had slightly the better of the first 45 minutes.

    Town's goal came after James Lawrie had lost possession near halfway; Hednesford worked the ball up the left and a cross found Thorley, unmarked, as he headed home from close range. Alty levelled in similar fashion after 84 minutes, when James Walshaw's cross from the left was nodded home by Damian Reeves. The winner came a minute later, from another ball from the left, which Reeves headed back across the box, from where it was half-cleared to James Lawrie, who fired home confidently, from the edge of the box, with the aid of a slight deflection.

    ALTRINCHAM: 1. Stuart Coburn, 2. Shaun Densmore (capt), 3. Adam Griffin, 4. Jake Moult, 5. Gianluca Havern, 6. Scott Leather, 7.James Lawrie, 8. Simon Richman, 9. James Walshaw, 10. Damian Reeves, 11. Nicky Clee. Subs: 12. Tom Marshall, 14. Matt Doughty, 15. Greg Wilkinson, 16. Kyle Perry, 18. Russ Saunders.

    2019-20 STATISTICAL REVIEW, Part Two


    In 2019-20, for the second season running, Altrincham did not play a goalless draw in the league.
    • Goalless draws in league: 0
    • Other league draws: 9 in league (4 home, 5 away). Seven of the draws were 1-1, the other two were 2-2.

    In 2018-19 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


    In 2019-20 the biggest cup wins were 2-0 at Halesowen and 3-1 at Southport, both in the FA Cup.

    In 2018-19:

    • 5-0 at home to Whitley Bay (FA Cup)
    • 4-0 at home to Bradford (PA) in FA Trophy


    In 2019-20:
    • 7: Altrincham 5 AFC Telford United 2
    • 5: Boston United 5 Altrincham 0
    • 5: Altrincham 5 Hereford FC 0
    • 5: Spennymoor Town 3 Altrincham 2
    • 5: Altrincham 4 Spennymoor Town 1

    In 2018-19:

    • 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


    As the season was not completed, the figures are necessarily lower than last season:
    • 42 Jordan HULME (all starts, 32+1 league, 8+1 cup)
    • 37 Tom HANNIGAN (28 league, 9 cup)
    • 36 Josh HANCOCK (26+1 league, 9 cup)
    • 36 James JONES (27+2 league, 7 cup)
    • 36 Anthony THOMPSON (27 league, 9 cup)
    • 35 Jake MOULT (25+1 league, 9 cup)

    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)


    In 2019-20:
    • Named in a league squad: 31 players
    • Loanees named in league squad: 4 (who are included in total above; they were Yusifu Ceesay, Ashley Hemmings, Josh Lundstram, Ethan Walker)
    • Never got on pitch in league game: 2 (Lewis Archer, Joel Torrance)
    • Used as a sub but did not start a league game: 2 (Curtis Miller, Ethan Walker)

    In 2018-19

    • 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:

    • 38 of whom 9 did not figure in a league squad (Liam Blackburn, Dontai Gabidon, Callum Graham, George Howarth, Billy Matthews, James Matthews, Raheem Mercurius, Jack Ryan, Dre Taylor)


    • 44 of whom six did not figure in a league squad (Louie Barratt, Reece Coley, Matt Cook, Callum Jones, Pat Savage, Ross Woodcock)


    In 2019-20:
    • Red: 4, all in the league
    • Yellow: 42 in league, 8 in cups.

      In 2018-19:

    • 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


    In 2019-20 individuals receiving red cards were:

    • 1: Tom Hannigan, Max Harrop, Simon Richman, Sean Williams

    In 2018-19:
    • 2 Jordan Hulme
    • 1 Andy White, Josh Hancock


    In 2019-20:
    • 7 Jordan Hulme in 40+2 appearances
    • 5 Andy White in 31+1
    • 4 Max Harrop in 9+17
    • 4 James Jones in 34+2
    • 4 Jake Moult in 34+1
    • 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


    2019-20 League gates: the curtailed season saw the home and away highest gates and the lowest away away attendance all occurring in a one week spell in which were played the first three fixtures of the season! HOME
    • Highest: 1,879 v York City, 3 August 2019
    • Lowest: 614 v Blyth Spartans, 7 Jan 2020


    • Highest: 2,153 at Chester FC 6 August 2019
    • Lowest: 305 at Gloucester City, 10 August 2019

    2018-19 League gates:


    • 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


    In 2019-20, of course, attendances were hit by the incompleted fixture list but home gates stood up well despite several big games not being played.

    • Home avge: 1139
    • Away avge: 938

    In 2018-19, excluding play-offs:

    • Home avge: 1137
    • Away avge: 1198


    Blyth Spartans "is very pleased to announce Rhys Evans has committed his future to the club for the upcoming season.

    The 23-year-old joined from Newcastle Benfield last summer having previously spent time in Scotland with Queen of the South and St Johnstone. Evans stepped up from the Northern League to become a regular name in the Blyth starting XI. He, alongside Robbie Dale, made the highest number of appearances (37) for 2019/20.

    And after signing up for the 2020/21 campaign under new manager Michael Nelson, Evans expressed his delight 'I am delighted to be here for another year and I can’t wait until football resumes. Last season didn’t go as well as any of us wanted, however I enjoyed playing week in week out during my first season at the club.

    'I am very excited for the new season under the new gaffer and hopefully it’s more successful than the last... I can’t speak highly enough of the fans. They were superb last year'...

    The right-back can look ahead to another campaign at Croft Park. He added 'I can now concentrate on getting as fit as possible and ready for next season without worrying where I am going to be playing. It’s a great group of lads in the changing room too. Obviously football is always a revolving door and I am sure the gaffer will be working on bringing new lads in'".

    The Shropshire Star says that "Gavin Cowan believes that learning to be ruthless is the biggest lesson AFC Telford United can take from the 2019/20 season...

    Telford finished 13th in the standings, 12 points from a play-off positions, but Cowan says he cannot remember a season where such dominant spells have not resulted in points...

    'In the last month we were in winning positions until the last kick of the game. Ultimately, that can defy [?define] your season,' Cowan said of the late setbacks. 'I know it’s ifs and buts, but if you see the last kick of the game out, which is all about mentality and having a strong underbelly and experience, we’re three points off the play-offs.

    'It’s fine margins and all about turning performances into results. I’d use the word ‘schooled’. I think we schooled other teams without getting results. But there’s no point at putting all that work in when you don’t get to bring home the three points.'

    Cowan continued 'I suppose you want to make your home ground a fortress. Other than the Leamington game at home, Nantwich and Chester games, it’s about turning the performances into results. It’s all about us being ruthless'".

    2 May 2020


    Altrincham FC has announced that "On Saturday at 3pm. Alty TV brings you the YouTube Premiere of Altrincham's epic 2014 National League North Play-Off Semi Final against Hednesford Town...

    Above: 3 May 2014, Damian Reeves receives his team-mates' and the crowd's acclaim.

    We are not asking for donations for this broadcast, we just want you to watch and enjoy this exclusive, never previously broadcast footage, with commentary, of one of the most memorable days in Altrincham Football Club's proud 117 year history".

    2019-20 STATISTICAL REVIEW, Part One

    Part One of the annual season review is obviously a little different this year, given the truncation of the league in March 2020.


    • 2019-20: Conference North P33 W16 D9 L8 F62 A40 PTS57 POSN 5th*
    • 2018-19: Conference North P42 W20 D11 L11 F85 A56 PTS71 POSN 5th plus playoffs, in which: P2 W1 D0 L1 F3 A3

    With the season not completed, had Altrincham acquired points on the simplistic points per game basis they were on course for 72 points in 2019-20 season. Below is the league table as it stands and with the PPG positions also shown.


    In 2019-20 Altrincham scored 62 league goals in 33 matches, an average of 1.88 per match. They conceded 40 league goals in 33 outings. In 2018-19 the 85 league goals arrived at a rate of 2.02 per game. The individual goal scorers in 2019-20 were led by...
    • 19 in all competitions: Jordan HULME (14 league and 5 in cups) in 40(+2) appearances.
    • 16 Josh HANCOCK (14 league and 2 in cups) in 35(+1) appearances.
    • 8 Tom PEERS (4 league and 4 in cups) in 16(+17) appearances.

    Right: Jordan Hulme headed the league goalscoring charts. He is seen here with Elliott Durrell.

    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

    GOAL TIMES (LEAGUE exc play-offs)

    Goal times this season were almost identical, overall, to the position last season...

    In 2019-20:

    • First half: 24 (38.7%)
    • Second half: 38 (61.3%)

    In 2018-19:

    • First half: 33 (38.8%)
    • Second half: 52 (61.2%)

    Right: Josh Hancock


    Nine clean sheets were kept in 33 league games in 2019-20, a better rate than the ten clean sheets which were kept in 42 league matches last season. Four clean sheets came at home but five were earned on the road.


    In 2019-20:
    • Wins: Five, games 18 to 22
    • Unbeaten: Seven, games 17 to 23
    • Draws: Two (games 12-13)
    • Losses: One (eight occasions)
    In 2018-19:
    • 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)


    In 2019-20:
    • Games 1-21: 33 points
    • Games 22-33: 24 points
    In 2018-19:
    • Games 1-21: 35 points
    • Games 22-42: 36 points

    Right: Jake Moult


    In 2019-20: None

    In 2018-19:

    • 1: Joe Piggott at Curzon Ashton


    In 2019-20: None

    • 5-0 at home to Leamington
    • 5-1 at home to Hereford FC
    In 2018-19:
    • 7-0 at Alfreton Town
    • 6-0 at Curzon Ashton
    • 4-0 at home to Nuneaton Borough and at home to Chester FC


    In 2019-20:
    • 0-5 at Boston United
    • 1-3 at home to York City
    • 0-2 at Kidderminster, Bradford, Gateshead
    In 2018-19:
    • 1-4 at Chorley
    • 0-3 at Leamington


    Altrincham FC has an interview by Aiden Beswick with manager Phil Parkinson (pictured, right).


    Altrincham FC reports that "At Altrincham, we are fortunate to have some extremely loyal, generous and supportive partners, who play a crucial role in the ongoing financial well-being of the club.

    We would never underestimate the importance of our financial backers, and, with that in mind... The Board would like to place on record our sincere thank you to everyone who plays a part in our great football club

    • Smart Storage
    • J.Davidson
    • Marc Darcy
    • Principal Energy Supplies (PES)
    • Mornflake
    • Manchester Glass
    • SK Kits


    Blyth Spartans report that "Michael Nelson says he is 'proud and honoured' at becoming the new manager of Blyth Spartans.

    The former Hartlepool United defender was appointed on a permanent basis... having originally stepped in until the end of the 2019/20 season back in March. Nelson initially joined Blyth as a player but was soon placed in charge of the first-team, [and] oversaw just one game after the coronavirus brought the campaign to a premature end.

    Indeed, it has been a surreal start for the 40-year-old at Croft Park... Nelson said, 'It was a pretty crazy start, a whirlwind. I remember first coming in as a player, the first game I was meant to play in was called off. I was then asked to manage the Brackley game before being asked to take it until the end of the season and just see what materialised.

    'Unfortunately, we couldn’t play any games because of the coronavirus, so I saw very little of the lads. It was three or four training sessions and one game, that was it. I must say, the people at the club have been brilliant. All the backroom staff have helped me enormously'...

    Preparations are underway for next season, despite Blyth still unaware of when it will begin or what division they will be in.

    He added 'We’re still waiting to find out more information from the National League on our league status and start dates for next season. The club have been quite proactive in making this appointment in such uncertain times. That is a credit to them for looking to the future and trying to move forward'".

    NL Daily adds that "Michael Nelson is aware of the ‘significantly lower’ budget he will have to work with, says chairman Tony Platten.

    Platten explained 'What compounded the financial situation for us was that the last home game at which income was generated was against Altrincham on February 15. This meant that wages were continued to be paid despite there being no income, putting severe pressure on funding...

    'The Executive Committee is under severe pressure to keep the club afloat but is determined to ensure that we continue to fly the flag for the town of Blyth and Northumberland.'

    Michael Nelson was confirmed today as the club’s manager... Platten added 'Micky has a wealth of experience at all levels of football. He has already started work on the squad he would like for next season. He is aware that the budget he has to work with is significantly lower than previous seasons because of the severe financial situation that exists.'".

    And the Eastern Daily Press also reports that "Former Norwich City favourite Michael Nelson has been named as the new manager of Blyth Spartans... He had taken over following the departure of former Canaries assistant manager Lee Clark.

    Nelson said 'I’m just pleased to get it done, especially with all the uncertainty'...

    This will be Nelson’s first managerial role following a long and successful career in professional football. He has since completed his UEFA A Licence... He moved to Careow Road in the summer of 2009... and made 35 league starts, scoring five goals... Prior to moving to Croft Park, Nelson was a player-coach at North East rivals Gateshead before becoming assistant manager at League Two side Stevenage."

    We learn from the Northern Echo that "Almost one year ago, over 500 other dedicated fans played a part in increasing the playing budget for a local football club, now the team are asking for further donations through pledges.

    Darlington FC's appointment of manager Alun Armstrong coincided with over £100,000 in pledges from loyal football fans, which smashed the original target of £80,000 required to boost the playing budget of the squad.

    After the initial success of the Boost The Budget project, which allowed the Club to compete at National League North level by supplementing the playing budget to the tune of around a third of the total budget, the club are asking for a further cash injection from fans to ensure players can continue to compete at this level...

    Mr Armstrong has promised donators [sic] that he will use the funding to 'fine tune an already talented squad of players with a clear remit to play an exciting brand of football', calculate a playing budget and tie down the contracts of current key squad members and new arrivals...

    A spokesperson for the club said 'If you are fortunate enough to be in a position to invest this season it would help the Club massively if you could make or continue your pledge'...

    Last season the club delivered a series of popular rewards to those who pledged, such as photo opportunities with the first team squad and manager in pre-season, unique memorabilia and gave some pledgers the opportunity to be kit man for the day.

    Mr Armstrong said 'To the fans, I’ll make sure I’ll bring players in that are value for money, players that want to play for Darlington Football Club, and who want to progress and move up the league and show the fans that passion'".

    Meanwhile, "Darlington have released Chris Elliott and Simon Ainge. Keeper Elliott joined the club last summer and made 29 appearances before the lockdown occurred.

    Ainge was signed in the summer of 2018 from Harrogate Town, making 35 appearances and scoring four times. He played in two positions for the club, starting the 2018-19 season up front but later switching to the back because of injuries. He spent last season on loan at Boston United"

    The Shropshire Star reports that "Award-winner Adam Walker has won praise for being a model of consistency in his first season with AFC Telford United...

    The midfielder was a regular in Gavin Cowan’s side after arriving from league rivals Brackley and last weekend was voted players’ and supporters’ player of the season. The 29-year-old played in 32 of the Bucks’ 34 National North fixtures before the season was cancelled due to the coronavirus. Cowan picked out Walker, alongside fellow prize-winner Brendon Daniels, for their consistent performances.

    'He’s a fantastic pro, someone who I knew wouldn’t drop his standards,' Cowan said of his former Nuneaton team-mate. 'Although at times I feel like the team may have done so, it was a very strange season, one I’ve never really encountered. There were some fantastic highs, some really strange lows, but to have some fantastic performances not matched by results has proven to be really difficult.

    'If you talk about consistency, him and Brendon really epitomise that and they deserve to be rewarded, because they were both so consistent. They’ve demanded standards from themselves and each other as well'.

    Walker is one out-of-contract player set for talks with Cowan over his future.".

    According to the Northants Telegraph, "Paul Cox insists keeping Kettering Town in the National League North ranks as his best achievement as a manager.

    Kettering Town manager Paul Cox completed the task of keeping the club in the National League North despite the season ending early. The former Poppies centre-half was appointed as the club’s new boss at the end of October after Nicky Eaden was sacked following a poor start to the campaign that left the team entrenched in the bottom two.

    Cox’s impact was immediate and while the season was cut short by the Covid-19 outbreak, the Poppies looked to be right on course to securing safety...

    'I am over the moon to be honest,' the Poppies' boss said. 'I said earlier in the season that I thought this would be my toughest test since I have been in management. I have had an immense sense of pride in what we have achieved because it has been really, really tough. It ranks up there as my best achievement. People will look at that and look at a championship, a promotion or big FA Cup games and stuff like but this has been different.

    'When I came in, the owner (Ritchie Jeune), the chairman (David Mahoney) and Neil (vice-chairman and secretary Griffin) all said "Just keep us up this year". I looked at it when I first came in and I probably felt like it was something we could do without too many worries. But once I was in the scenario, it was always going to be harder than I imagined and that’s why it ranks so highly.

    'It would have been nice to finish the season and to have caught up with a couple of games in hand to see if we could have finished a bit higher. But.... we have done what we set out to do. Even if they use the points per game ratio, I don’t think there’s any way we could be relegated.. The next phase which is getting the club back to where I, at least, feel it should be.'

    Cox looks set to remain at Kettering for the next season... Indeed, the Poppies boss admitted that as far as plans for next season are concerned, everything remains 'on hold' for the time being. 'I have spoken to a lot of managers and clubs from top to bottom and no one actually knows when things will restart,' he added. 'There have been rumours that nothing will start until September and there’s even been rumours that it won’t be until Christmas time.

    'So, in terms of planning and talking to our players and others, everything is on hold at the moment... We had planned out our pre-season in terms of training sessions and start-back dates but we don’t know if we can implement that now'".


    We learn from the Chorley Guardian that "The Magpies looked destined for the drop after a tough season in the top flight of non-league football, following last year’s stunning promotion succes... There is the possibility that clubs will opt to have final placings decided on a points-per-game ratio which could mean Chorley are relegated back to the NL North...

    It could well be that no team is relegated from League Two which would affect how many teams win promotion from the National League. All is set to be revealed early next week once the league’s Board have digested the clubs’ wishes.

    'Obviously from a selfish point of view, we want to play in the best league we can and so we want to stay in this league,' said Vermiglio. 'If we are going to null and void and start again, it’s going to benefit our club. But if I was on top of the league then I would be telling you something different, of course. When you look at it with a common sense head on it, I just don’t think you can relegate anybody.

    'I think it is near impossible to be able to do that because even we could have gone on a run and avoided relegation but, especially, more the clubs who are two or three points off it. If you were going off points per game, you would be basically predicting a fifth of the season.

    'If you look at teams like Barrow, Harrogate and York who are going for promotion, you would be distraught if the season was null and void. If this was to have happened to us this time last year, I would be thinking,"Arrggh, we have done so well this season and worked so hard".

    'But with my common sense head on, I would look at the bigger picture and see what this virus is doing... It’s easy for me to say that with us being rock bottom of the league, but it just feels like the most common sense thing to do.'”

    1 May, 2020

    ON THIS DAY: 1 May

    When Alty defeated Blyth Spartans, a year ago today, on 1 May 2019, to qualify for the play-off semi-final against Chorley, it had been 19 years since the Robins had played a match on the first day of May.

    Back in 2000, Altrincham travelled to Southport in the Nationwide Conference but lost 2-0.

    Although it did not seem so at the final whistle, things really could have been far worse. Altrincham only lost 0-2 when a margin of four goals could easily have been achieved by Southport but for some woeful finishing by their forwards in the first half. Rarely can so many one-on-one situations between attackers and goalkeeper have gone unconverted.

    Also, in matches elsewhere, although Kidderminster let slip a three-goal lead in the last 20 minutes of their game against Alty's relegation rivals Forest Green Rovers, Welling United lost and Altrincham's fate this season therefore remained in their own hands. One win from the last two games would have ensured survival and two draws would have been enough unless Welling or Forest Green were to their last game by a large margin. But, after nine games without a win, Altrincham's optimism was muted. And so it proved as Alty gained just a single point before their relegation was confirmed on the last day of the campaign

    Altrincham fans had feared the worst before kick-off when it was discovered that Keith Russell was out injured with a calf strain, Kevin Ellison was only fit enough to be on the bench and Jason Gallagher took to the pitch with a large bandage round his left knee. The Altrincham bench must have broken the club's old-age record, with Senior, Power, Carmody and Goodwin all keeping a paternal eye on young Kevin Ellison.

    The team's plight was underlined when a sorry crocodile of crocked players, comprising Coburn, Crowe, Russell, Greygoose and Morrell, walked past the main stand to take their places on the terrace. On the contrary Southport were in celebratory mood as their Player of the Season Awards were made before kick-off. As if to rub in the difference between the two sides, the two winners of the Sandgrounders' trophies were both ex-Altrincham players, Tim Ryan and Phil Bolland.

    ALTRINCHAM: 1. Lance Key; 2. Simeon Hodson, 3. Danny Adams, 4. Mark Maddox 5. Gary Talbot, 6. Steve Hawes, 7. Jason Gallagher, 8. Chris Timons, 9. Leroy Chambers, 10. Richard Landon, 11. Andy Lovelock. Subs: 12. Phil Power, 13. Ian Senior, 14. Shaun Goodwin, 15. Mick Carmody, 16. Kevin Ellison

    Right: Ellison tries to get in a cross during the second half.

    In the match itself, after a scrappy opening few minutes of a game played in warm sunshine, Southport began to dominate after the first quarter of an hour. But Alty got to half time with the score 0-0 thanks to repeated good fortune as the Port missed chance after chance. Indeed, half-time came came as a blessed relief for the visitors who could not have complained had they been two or three goals behind.

    In the second half, Southport's Arnold began to shine and after Timons had given the ball away on the half-way line, after some good work by Landon, Arnold scored a softish goal from close-in following Stuart's cross from the left which evaded Key (59 mins).

    Immediately Bernard Taylor sent on Goodwin for Hodson, who had been having a torrid time. Hawes moved to full-back on Hodson's departure as Goodwin slotted into midfield.... Phil Power then came on for Gallagher (65 mins) and the player-coach helped his team make more of a fight of a very unequal contest...

    A disastrous two minutes followed as Maddox clattered Arnold but with the crowd calling for a dismissal, he received a yellow card. Landon was also booked for his protests (80 mins). A minute later, Elam's fierce shot was well saved by Key, but he could only knock it out to the left-back, Stuart, who crowned a fine display by sweeping the ball home (81 mins).


    Altrincham FC's neighbours, Trafford FC, announce that they "in conjunction with the Supporters' Club, are raising money to help the club survive.

    Weʼre raising £5,000 to save the club so it will still be here next season as like many non-league clubs, Trafford FC is struggling to survive.

    Yes it really is that serious. The Coronavirus has caused massive issues for Non-league and community football clubs. Income has dropped to zero yet bills must still be paid. The Government’s business loan schemes are simply not designed for non-league football clubs, and handouts from the FA don’t filter down as far as the Northern Premier League. Trafford FC was formed in 1990 and has a proud 30-year history, but 2020 could easily be the year of its demise…

    The Club and its supporters' organisation have been working together since the season was abandoned on 26th March to raise money during these dark times. We’ve run some 'Virtual Match Days' that have raised about £1,000 but it’s vital that we raise more. We want to reach out to our local community, businesses and the greater football family for help and assistance. Anything you can spare will all go into the pot to keep our wonderful, local, friendly, family club going. Thank you!"

    The club has set up a Just Giving page".

    And Trafford FC earlier announced that "When football returns to Shawe View there will be some changes. Following a communication from the League stating that grass embankments at football grounds are NOT to be used as spectator viewing areas and should be fenced off and marshalled, the grass bankings at Shawe View have now been fenced off and we are issuing this notice to comply.

    Spectators are hereby advised that the viewing of matches from the grass bankings is NOT PERMITTED, as this would be a breach of our FA Ground Grading criteria. Failure to abide by this instruction may lead to ejection from the ground.

    Please do not watch the game from the grassed areas, do not try to cross the fences that have been put up, and please help our volunteer stewards to ensure that we keep our ground certification... Despite the obvious disappointment that this decision brings, the good news is that this summer, the Trafford FC Supporters Club plans to build a stand at the open end of the ground (Pennybridge Lane End) are coming to fruition. Following a grant from Manchester FA plus money raised by the SC, the first phase (concrete terracing) will go ahead this summer".


    The Shropshire Star tells us that "Gavin Cowan has praised the maturity shown by star AFC Telford attacker Brendon Daniels [right] – and revealed talks on a future deal are imminent.

    Former Port Vale man Daniels, 26, claimed two awards at the club’s virtual end-of-season presentation last weekend after some inspired performances and spectacular goals from the wings.

    But Cowan, who initially took the Stoke-born flyer on loan before making the deal permanent in January 2019, says Daniels has made great strides in losing his ‘ego’ after the duo initially endured a ‘rocky’ relationship... Cowan will conduct talks with Daniels and the rest of his Bucks squad regarding their futures in the next two weeks.

    'Brendon would argue with this but as a person, for where he’s at, he’s starting to match his ability now,' said Cowan. 'He had his year as a pro and thought he could just turn it on when he wanted... We had a rocky start when he first came on loan from Port Vale. To say he’s matured as a person over his time with us is an understatement.

    'He’s a fantastic human being. If we can take how good he really is and then get him as a person to match that ability then you’ve got someone to speak very highly of, because everyone knows his undoubted ability. He’s got to match the two now. He’s lost that ego and has decided he’s going to work for himself and the team.'”

    The Hereford Times says that "Hereford FC chairman Andrew Graham says that everybody's requirements have to be met when appointing the next permanent manager of the football club.

    Josh Gowling finished the season as the Bulls' caretaker boss with his side winning two, drawing four and losing three of his nine league matches at the helm.

    'There are a lot of discussions with the board across a number of topics', said Graham. 'We need to make sure that we have the right people in to take us forward. Josh (Gowling) has been brilliant for the club and continues to be brilliant building up a relationship with the fans... His requirements, our requirements and the budget all has to meet'...

    'There is a lot of talk in football about when the league and our level will start again', added Graham. 'To be honest the question is bandied around quite a lot and I understand the passion football fans who want normality, but I find it a bit crass... Talking about a return feels insensitive for me. We have to ensure there is football to return to and there is a football club for supporters.

    'I have seen other clubs put plans out of what they are doing but some need to get a sense of perspective and reality. Our club will survive and we are working hard to maintain the club. We have a lot more overheads than other clubs at this level but we will make sure the club will be there. We can't be pushed by other people or their timetables. We have to do what is right for Hereford...

    'We can't play football without a team so we have to look after the footballing side'".

    In NL Daily, "Bradford (Park Avenue)’s director of football operations Martin Knight has spoken of the satisfaction the club feel over the National League’s decision to cancel the remaining fixtures for 2019/20.

    Avenue were 12 points adrift of safety in the National League North... Knight said 'I think as a club, we’re pleased. Obviously 90 percent of the response was to postpone the season, or the rest of the fixtures; technically, the season’s not over, because they still haven’t resolved any promotion or relegation issues, but there’ll be no more matches.

    'The reason that I say we’re pleased about it is first and foremost, we’ve got to make sure that, in these very trying times, our fans and our staff and our players, and everybody else involved in the club is as safe as we possibly can. Clearly, a football stadium is a prime potential area for transmission of this virus.

    'From a business point of view, what it enables us to do is plan.'".

    Darlington are recalling events in their club's past and the latest episode from Paul Hodgson's book "When push comes to shove" recalls a meeting up with Altrincham supporters at Bishop Auckland in 1998/99 season.

    It says "we decided on the spur of the moment to order a taxi to Bishop Auckland to see them play Altrincham. On arrival at Kingsway (Bishops’ former ground) we went to their Social Club, where I spoke to several Altrincham fans who seemed pleasant enough to talk to. One recalled the FA Cup tie against Darlo in season 1983-84 when we won 2-0 at their ground after drawing 0-0 at Feethams. The Altrincham fan said that Darlo were lucky on that night all those years ago. However, I held a different opinion, so we agreed to disagree!"

    The match in question was presumably the one on 14 November 1998 when Alty fell to a 2-1 defeat at Bishop Auckland but, neverthless, went on to clinch the league title and promotion back to the Football Conference.