Altrincham FC has spent 28 seasons at the national level of non-League football and has therefore enjoyed more years at that level than any other current club in the National League. But, at the end of the 2015-16 season, Altrincham Football Club suffered its fourth relegation from the national level since 1997 and now plays in the National League North.
The Club continues to operate with a part-time first-team.
Historically, Altrincham had been founder members of the Alliance (forerunner of the Football Conference) from its inception in 1979 till relegated in 1997. In fact they won the Alliance in its first two seasons, only being denied elevation to the Football League by the vagaries of the re-election system in place at that time (1980 and 1981).
Prior to their 2014 promotion, Altrincham's other two promotions had come in differing ways. In 1999 they were promoted as champions of the Northern Premier League and in 2005 they won the one and only Conference North v Conference South play-off against Eastbourne Borough. The second spell at national level lasted just one season (1999-2000) when they were relegated on the last day of the season despite having had a 14-game unbeaten run in mid-season and finishing the campaign with just 14 defeats, one fewer than fifth-placed Kingstonian!
After narrowly qualifying for the nascent Conference North in 2004, Altrincham's third spell at national level comprised a highly eventful six seasons (2005/6-2010/11) in which Altrincham finished in the relegation places four times but were only demoted once. Despite being one of only a handful of part-time clubs, Altrincham finished a very creditable 18th in the Conference National in 2005-06, only to be deprived of any satisfaction at their achievement when they were deducted 18 points for playing James Robinson, who had joined Alty from Accrington Stanley but had not got international clearance from a previous spell in Iceland. The deduction meant Altrincham were placed bottom of the league and set to be relegated.
But the demise of Canvey Island and then the demotion of Scarborough gave Altrincham a late reprieve at the Conference AGM in June 2006 and they played again in the national division in 2006-07. This time, despite amassing 51 points, they finished fourth-bottom and again looked to be set for relegation. But, once more, financial shortcomings at another club saved them when Boston United were forcibly demoted to Conference North from League Two. In 2007-08 Altrincham finished 21st so faced relegation for a third season in succession before, yet again, they were reprieved, as Halifax Town's financial problems saw the Shaymen slide into liquidation.
Nicknamed "The Robins", the Club holds the FA Cup giantkilling record, being the current non-League club with most Football League "scalps" (seventeen) in the competition. (For details see below). The Club has also been a founder member of several leagues, including the Cheshire County League, Northern Premier League and the Alliance/Football Conference leagues as well as the Football Conference (Nationwide) North division.
Current Management of the Club:
The current team manager of Altrincham FC is Matt Doughty with Robbie Lawton as his assistant. They took over their roles in the December 2016. Full details are to be found on the management page of this website.
Recent Management of the Club:
After Bernard Taylor had guided Altrincham back into the Conference national division in 1999, he was replaced in October 2002 by Graham Heathcote. Graham kept the club in the top flight on minimal resources for six seasons. The high points were 2008-09 when they finished 15th in the division and then improved on this by one place in 2009-10, both of which were excellent performances given the club's part-time status and limited budget. But a poor start to 2010-11, saw manager Graham Heathcote agree to the ending of his contract after eight winless games in September 2010. His departure came just 24 hours after chairman Geoff Goodwin had announced his own departure. Both men had spent eight years in their positions and had overseen the club's achievement of financial stability whilst also regaining its place in the top flight of non-League football.
Assistant manager Ken McKenna, with his assistant Stuart Bimson, almost pulled off a remarkable escape from relegation in 2010-11 but Alty's home defeat by already relegated Eastbourne Borough on the final day of the season sent them into the Conference North for 2011-12. The duo left the club that summer and were replaced by Lee Sinnott and Neil Tolson, who remain in charge (2014/15) having secured eight, fourth and third-place finishes in the preceding three seasons. They qualified for the promotion play-offs in 2013 and won promotion by that route in 2014.
Off the field, during his chairmanship Geoff Goodwin and his board steered Altrincham FC from the brink of financial ruin in recent years, through hard work and keeping to strict budgetary limits, to economic stability. During their eight-year tenure, not a single player cost a transfer fee and none has since then either. The current chairman, Grahame Rowley, and his Board continue to operate a similarily prudent financial policy.
The Club is keenly building its community links and in addition to running boys and girls' teams at every level of its Junior ranks, it also operates a successful under-18s' youth team and open-age Ladies' team. Off the field, an impressive new Community Sports Hall has been built at the club's Moss Lane ground, which is now known as the J. Davidson Stadium, after a local firm of scrap metal merchants, who have been excellent sponsors of the Club.
Altrincham Football Club was so named in 1903, as a continuation of Broadheath FC, which was founded around 1891. (Broadheath is a southern area of Altrincham). The club has played in the following leagues:
For Alty's historical league record, click the links below:
For Altrincham's full historical league and cup records, click as follows
Altrincham were founders of the Alliance Premier League (later the Football Conference) in 1979/80 and were its winners in the first two seasons of the competition, at a time when automatic promotion to the Football League was not in place. They failed to gain election to the League by one vote in 1980- see here. In 1997 the Club suffered its first ever relegation and for two seasons were in the Unibond Premier League (Northern Premier League). These years are chronicled in detail in Grahame and Terry Rowley's Altrincham Football Club: the Unibond Years, published in 1999. The turbulent mid-1990s are covered in Mark Harris's informative Altrincham FC: Kingdom come, published in 1995. See the full Alty league record, 1907- here.
Seventeen FA Cup victories against Football League clubs have been recorded by Altrincham, as follows:
See this site's FA Cup page for Alty's full record.
Tranmere Rovers were the first League victims of Alty, beaten 4-2 in 1921/22 in a FA Cup Qualifier.
Apart from the above victories, the club's most famous FA Cup results include:
For 27 years, until Luton Town's 1-0 win against a second-string Norwich City at Carrow Road in January 2013, Alty's win at St Andrew's was the last defeat of any First (Premier) Division team at their own ground by a non-League club in the FA Cup. David Seaman was City's keeper.
10,275 for Altrincham Boys v Sunderland Boys, 28 February 1925. For average annual attendances at Moss Lane since 1987, please click here.
Altrincham beat Sale Holmfield 14-2 in the 3rd Round of the Cheshire Amateur Cup on the 5th December 1903. They also won 10-0 away at Earlestown in the FA Cup 1Q in 1963-64. Their record league win was 9-2 at home to Merthyr Tydfil in the Conference in February, 1991. Alty's 7-4 win over Nuneaton Borough on 11 November 1985 also matched this aggregate, which remains a Conference record - albeit equalled by Burton Albion 4 Telford U. 7 in 2003. Another Conference record is Altrincham's 23 games without defeat in 1990-91. Alty's best UniBond League score was 7-1 v Emley in 1997/98.
The highest away score at Moss Lane was in the 3-7 defeat by Slough Town in October 1991. Away from home, Alty have conceded seven on 27 occasions, the last being at Morecambe on 17.2.1996. The worst home defeats in the Alliance/Conference were 0-5 by Dagenham & Redbridge in 2005/06 and 2006/07.
Runs without a win in recent times include 15 (1996-97) and 11 (1999-2000) in the Conference, and 12 consecutive defeats at the end of 1960-61 in the Cheshire County League. After the 2000 relegation, Alty did not return to the Conference till 2005, when they lost their first two games to extend their run to 13 games without a win.
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