It's always pleasant to visit THE SHAY, home of FC Halifax Town, a 10 minute walk from the station past the Three Pigeons Pub on a sunny Saturday afternoon.
A generation ago the many factory chimneys in this historic wool town would have been spewing out smoke and any robins would have died an early death after breathing in the foul air. Altrincham FC, known as THE ROBINS, were having a hard time scoring never mind breathing recently. SEVENTEEN GOALS AGAINST in a two week period before three points and a 1-0 win at home to Cheshire arch rivals Macclesfield Town in midweek.
THE SHAYMEN had been living dangerously in recent years and about six years ago were near death. I visited for a match with an unfinished main stand and weeds abounding on the terraces. Forced into liquidation they came back like the Phoenix thanks to the Calderdale Council tarting up the stadium for last year's Rugby League World Cup, and its a great place to watch football with the newly named club. They also share it with Halifax Rugby League club and with bright,shiny elevators, restaurant and a splendid bar its a great asset to the town.
I was early so I dropped into the bar to watch Leeds United v Sheffield Wednesday, a noon kick-off on the big screen. I was about to pay £3.75 for a bottle of cider when I was offered a pint of Strongbow on the £2.00 special by the friendly barmaid. We were soon invaded by jolly Jack Jolly and a band of Alty fans who arrived by the busload for only £7.00 a head ride.
The Shaymen were on a roll under coach Neil Aspin, second in the table of The Conference Premier, now called THE VANERAMA CONFERENCE after their new sponsors. I usually bring good luck to my friends at the Robins with lots of goals and points. 3-1 to the visitors who showed grit and self belief and a six point week of satisfaction and rise up the table.
Both clubs are in fact part timers in the 5th tier of English football but hold their own and Town look as if they and their stadium might grace the Football League before long. The SHAYMAN SHOUT is a splendid 52 page programme. THE SHAY has been honoured with an international fixture on 18th November when England C host Estonia, helped with the support of Alty V.P. Andrew Shaw, an F.A, councilor.
Nick Clee opened the scoring for Lee Sinnott's Robins with an exocet missile of a shot from 25 yards out. Halifax seemed as if they would equalize but they were close and unlucky. After 77 minutes James Lawrie made it 2-0 followed by Kyle Perry 4 minutes later, all described on Radio Robins by the golden throat of Niall Flynn. Scott Bodin's header 3 minutes from time for The Shaymen, but by then it was too little and too late,