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Non League Football Under The Microscope

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Eastbourne Borough fans celebrate - August Bank Holiday Monday 2003                                Photograph by Sam Hicks

Altrincham AFC

Moss Lane, Altrincham, Cheshire WA15 8AP
Telephone: 0161 928 1045
Nickname: The Robins; Alty
Conference National

Note   The origins of Altrincham AFC can be traced back to around 1891 when they were known as the Rigby Memorial Club, formed from a local Sunday school. They went on to merge with another local club known as the "Grapplers" to form Broadheath FC and become founder members of the Manchester League in 1893. Today, they are the only founder members of that League still in existence.

Prior to 1903 the club played on a variety of fields in Broadheath, West Timperley and Altrincham before acquiring a new home at Pollitt's Field and, at the same time, changing their name to Altrincham AFC following a meeting on 26 June 1903 in the now demolished Forrester's Arms pub. For the start of the 1910-11 season Altrincham were installed at Moss Lane, not far from Pollitt’s Field after agreement with The Urban District Council.

Moss Lane was originally part of a 60 acre area of common land called Hale Moss, and was officially opened on 3 September 1910 with the visitors being Macclesfield, who won 3-1. However, in the early days there was nowhere to change so the players had to use the local pub, The Woolpack, and then run to the pitch. Eventually a small changing hut was erected at the Chequers (Hale) End, which is now uncovered terracing, opened in 1979, and used by visiting supporters.

The ground was originally known as the Athletic Grounds, and had a small stand on the Moss Lane side where the impressive mid-1960s main (Carole Nash) stand is now situated. The ‘dugouts’ (which aren’t dugouts at all) are incorporated beneath the stand’s large roof, which over the years has had a number of names on its expansive fascia.

Adjacent to the main stand is a lower seated area – the Goodwin Family Stand - with offices and hospitality facilities behind. On the opposite side of the pitch, known as the ‘Popular Side’ is a further area of covered standing, with provision for television cameras.

The remaining Golf End of the ground has covered terracing and is reserved for home fans when segregation is in force. Between this end of the ground and the main stand is the club shop, and a further small area of open terrace.

Moss Lane is a personal favourite and is very much a traditional football ground, as befits a club with such iconic Non League status as Altrincham, and worthy of a pilgrimage by anyone with an interest in football stadia and Non League football in general. DB

NB. Part of the above is adapted from Terry Rowley’s extensive club history on the offical Altrincham website, which is essential reading for anyone interested in this most famous of Non League clubs