It's always a pleasure to visit Moss Lane, the home of Altrincham FC, and it's friendly folk. You take the Metrolink light rail from Manchester city centre past Old Trafford and another 10 minute you are at the end of the line and a short walk. www.altrinchamfc.co.uk
Many of the Old Trafford faithful on my 'tram' were wearing yellow and green scarves and there were demonstrations against the Glazers inside and outside The Theatre of Dreams. The colours are those of Newton Heath, from which the present day League Champions grew. Anyway, there were about 75,000 less at Altrincham v Hayes and Yeading for the Blue Star Premier match, but the family club offered a warm welcome. A bit too welcoming in fact, as they allowed the visitors from London to score two early goals.
By the way, both clubs are part timers and all the directors, security officials and committee are volunteers. It has been a difficult few weeks for most clubs, with no gate income for a month or six weeks due to the ice and snow.
The visitors played some attractive football and goals from Tony Little after 24 minutes and Adam Green 7 minutes later stunned the fans in chilly Cheshire. It didn't take the Robins long to fight back and 3 minutes later Chris Senior scored and Colin Little levelled before the break. Alty resorted to 'triple bypass' emergency surgery, subbing 3 players at one time to get control of the match.
I think that at half time the home team manager Graham Heathcote should have had a talking to, such was his 'colourful' language' at a family club. I guess that's what happens when he used to hang about with Gary Neville in the school yard! He needs to wash his mouth out with carbolic soap-before he is handed his win bonus!
Half time and some splendid catering in the Director's Lounge. We had the choice of Shepherds Pie, or two other dishes and I had a little of each to warm me up. When I go to Bundesliga matches in the winter I usually have gluwein, mulled,which is hot and goes down like a treat. Hayes threw the match away by conceeding the winning goal to a long ball that reached Sami El-Abd who put goalie Overland under pressure and and the stage was set for Chris Senior to get the winner.
At the other end Robins goalie Stuart Coburn was simply brilliant as he made a string of unbelievable saves. It was a nail biting finish if your hands weren't in your woolly gloves or pockets. After the match and a glass of red wine handed out by director Andrew Shaw, I went to the club bar to watch Spurs v Leeds United in the F.A.Cup. I was joined by my friend, Press Officer Brian Flynn and his 18 year old son Niall, who is a travelling fan of both Alty and Leichtenstein in particular. A quick word about referee T. Harrington. He was superb .
In his 'gap year' before he goes to Newcastle University, Niall has plans to go camping in The Principality once again for both their domestic cup semi-finals, plus another trip to S.W. Germany, and a trip to South America before joining dad in South Africa this June for the World Cup.
Brian knew what I liked and I had a Bulmer's pear cider on my table in no time. Spurs started out like a 4th place Premier side, but Casper Ankergren saved a penalty from Defoe and Leeds United showed no fear or respect for the surroundings or stars of White Hart Lane. Although Crouch opened the score, Beckford equalised. As millions saw on TV, Pavlyuchenko scored what looked like the winner until 6 minutes of 'Fergie time'. Then the dramatic conclusion! Michael Dawson brought down Jermaine Beckford, who calmly took the resulting penalty and shot into the top corner of Heurelho Gomes' net.
We are at Elland Road next Tuesday with a full house to welcome Harry's boys in the replay. It might be The Crying Game for the soft southerners, so I hope their physio brings plenty of Kleenex, and maybe a portaloo next to their dug out, in case fear takes over. Wear those dark navy shorts in case of 'accidents' ! West Yorkshire will be no place for the timid.