by Terry Rowley
These pages chronicle the playing legends of Altrincham Football Club. The texts have been kindly supplied by Terry Rowley, joint editor of the Robins' Review matchday programme. The profiles have previously appeared in the Robins' Review.
(Dedicated to Chris Rowley and Andy Coop and all burgeoning future Alty Keepers)
When Kurt Edginton went between the sticks against Woodley Sports in the Cheshire Senior cup, he became the 90th goalkeeper Altrincham have used since the Second World War. The first post-War custodian, in 1946-47, being a gentleman called Albert Dixon. Of the 90 keepers used 18 have played only one game (including Dale Newbrook and Kurt Edginton who will hope to add to their solitary appearance apiece). Oddly enough only 13 keepers have made over 100 appearances for Altrincham with only two (Jeff Wealands and Bobby Allan) registering over 200 appearances. Current first choice keeper, Stuart Coburn is already in sixth place with every chance of moving into the top 5 by the season's end.
Only six keepers have been 'ever present' through out a season (Willie Mailey performed this feat twice and in successive seasons!) The six to be ever present throughout a season are, Frank Hart (52-53), Bobby Allan (58-59), Willie Mailey (70-71 &71-72), Trevor Dance (84-85), Paul Collings (94-95) and Matt Dickins (96-97). There have been a couple of seasons where injuries have caused the use of more than the usual two or three keepers to be used. The most keepers used in a season (that we can find), post war is six, this happened in 1960-61 and more recently in 1992-93.
The longest period of time between playing two games for Altrincham has to have been Ian Senior who played in 1983-84 and then reappeared in 1999-2000 season, (he also probably holds the record for the number of senior clubs he's played for as well!!) The longest run of clean sheets that we can find belongs to Pete Eales who kept 9 consecutive clean sheets during season 73-74. Eales also has the highest proportion of clean sheets to games played of any keeper (40%), of those who have played 100 games or more. As far as we can ascertain only three Alty keepers have scored goals for Altrincham since the war, Nigel Shaw, Billy Marshall and more recently Stuart Coburn (with his goal kick at Runcorn). Nigel Shaw, was really an outfield player who only played in goal twice to help out during injury crisis. But Billy Marshall was the regular first choice keeper who actually played up front in a couple of games in 1954-55 and scored in Alty's 3-2 win away at Bangor City!
Mick started his career, like Paul France at his hometown club Huddersfield Town (8 games) before moving to Emley. This was followed by a short spell at Tranmere Rovers (2 games) before again returning to Emley. Gerry Quinn, who had been his manager at Emley, was appointed Altrincham manager in the 1992 close season and persuaded Mick (and a number of other Emley players) to join him at Moss Lane. Mick was a whole-hearted, aggressive, ball-winning midfield player with a never-say-die attitude that epitomised his game. He soon became captain and led by example. 'Carmo' only scored 6 goals (3 of them in his first season!) but each of them was special such as his 30 yard strike at Telford in the Bob Lord Trophy or his 'blockbuster' against Barrow on the opening day of the 97/98 UniBond campaign. His first three seasons were probably his best, as from that point on he was dogged by a string of niggling injuries and suspensions. His commitment to the club was 100% as was his effort on the field. His Altrincham career tailed off during the 99/00 Conference season and Mick was sent on extended loan to Ashton United before being recalled to appear as a non playing substitute in the last game of the season against Kidderminster. In the close season he joined UniBond 1st Division side, Ashton United permanently, where again he teamed up with former team-mate Paul France and manager Gerry Quinn.
Mick Carmody's Altrincham Career
Paul started his career at his hometown club Huddersfield Town (11 games) and after spells at Bristol City (0 games) and Burnley (8 games) arrived at Moss Lane. Gerry Quinn brought him to the club early in the 1992-93 season and he made his Altrincham debut at Witton Albion on Bank Holiday Monday, as a right back. He went on to become an outstanding, cultured centre back who served the 'Robins' well for next seven seasons. He was voted the supporter's 'player of the year' in that, his first season and went on to play many impressive games for the club.
Paul also had an uncanny knack of scoring important goals at crucial moments and his goal scoring record was quite exceptional for a centre half. The highlight of his 'Alty' career must have been his performance alongside Andy Reid playing at Tottenham in the FA Cup. At the end of the game they swapped shirts with Teddy Sheringham and Jürgen Klinsmann. The UniBond League cup winner's medal that he won when playing against Gainsborough, in his last full season, was probably a fitting reward to his 'Alty' career. The following season 'Franny' found it hard to break into the side with the new centre back pairing of Paul Ellender and Chris Timons, who were signed from Gainsborough in the close season. He eventually signed for Stalybridge Celtic, after notching over 300 games for the 'Robins' before later joined up with his former manager, Gerry Quinn at Ashton United. As this piece is completed it is reported that Paul France has now (November 2001) left Ashton.Altrincham Career: