TT TALKING POINTS – Altrincham FC (A) by Matt Orton


Matt Orton

Matt discusses the draw at Alty


The National League top away attendances from Saturday read Notts (781), Chesterfield (614), Oldham (480), Southend (396), Torquay (354),  Aldershot (340). And that isn’t far off what the bookmakers (excluding Wrexham) expected the top half of the table to (sort of) look like back in August. Wrexham, Notts and Chesterfield were all placed correctly, followed by Solihull, Dagenham and then Torquay United, at 16/1, to win the league outright.

Nobody would have checked the odds for relegation, and why should they? 12 months on from a playoff final, a team that had lost some quality the season before, but had finished 8 points from the playoffs on the final day. A bit of a rebuild and another go wasn’t seemingly out of the question. Any suggestion of relegation and another slide into regional football and you would have been scoffed at and labelled a madman, who, if you were a madman, would now be collecting a tidy sum of winnings.

Going back to the point, losing ‘some’ quality and a ‘bit’ of a rebuild is what most, if not all fans had not given a second thought, because that’s what was going to happen, right? Wrong.

So wrong, in-fact, that for the second time in not only our recent, but entire history, we will be playing regional level football.  A fate that was all but sealed with a late penalty in South Manchester.


There are too many reasons, too many things that have gone wrong on too many levels, too many individuals that could be held accountable, that it could be all reasonably summed up in one attempt, so the easiest thing to do is (to try) to keep things brief.

HMS Piss the League is about to set sail as the mighty Yellow Army is back to do the rounds in the NLS, and seemingly take the piss out of the tin-pot grounds and clubs, leaving a trail of destruction as we go punching and throwing our weight around on our way to winning the title – because that’s what happened last time. Beware of any assumptions that it will be the same again.

Until we hear something, anything from the invisible and aloof ownership of what the plans are moving forward, how the club will look or operate next season, before any contracts are dished out, or any players signed, then we have to tread carefully, with caution and vigilance. Very simply, if you haven’t already done so, then join the TUST.


Let them have it, they’ve gone, and we probably won’t be seeing them again for a very long time. There’s no doubt they’ve skewered the integrity of the league this season, with astronomical amounts of spending for this level, worldwide media coverage and high profile supporters joining the wagon. But if anything, the raised profile of Wrexham and Notts County knocking seven bells out of each other has brought its positives.

The need for another promotion place has never been considered as seriously as it has been this season, and it looks as if that is going to be the case as talks between the National League and the EFL have continued to appear successful. League clubs are now recognising the merits.

Although an additional relegation place will increase the pressure on those in League 2, it opens what has been a seemingly closed door for a chance to get back to Football League. That surely has to be the next logical step and if anything, it gives hope to those clubs who have been exiled in non league oblivion for what has felt like an eternity.

It’s typical though, if that is the case for next season, then we have to first dig ourselves out of the hole we are in before we can even start thinking about the benefits of what it could possibly bring.

Another club who would presumably welcome that news is Hartlepool. It just shows how quickly the face of football can change, less than two years after the playoff final both clubs have succumbed to relegation and are distinctly back where they started.


It was on wasn’t it, for a brief week or so it appeared we were going to pull it off with a monumental run that, in the end, saw us return 16 points from a possible 20. But as the wins kept coming we looked on in a state disbelief as those teams around us just kept finding results. It was a stunning effort from a side that was unrecognisable to the one that started the season, a side that was finally fit for purpose in this division, which sadly arrived too late in the day.

The run itself shot us up the form table and found us top of the tree for a couple of weeks. Sadly, what it also highlighted was how calamitous the season had been, that not even a historic run of games could finally pull us out the mire. Bad decisions, late points lost, soft goals capitulated, players who just weren’t up to the standard of this league over the course of 46 games.

As this horrendous season disappears into the mists of time there are very few shining lights that can actually hold their heads high and say they went down fighting until the end.


One of those shining lights, as has been the case for as many seasons as I now care to remember, has been Captain Asa. A player who has dug us out of the proverbial shit so many times it is actually embarrassing. But there he was again to grab this team by the scruff of the neck. Yes, he conceded the penalty, but without him you’d have felt the game would have already been lost. No blame should be laid at his door, we weren’t relegated at Altrincham, we were relegated over the course of…you know the rest.

But you have to feel his time in a Torquay United shirt is now coming near to a close, or at least in the capacity of the player we have come to know during the Johnson era. His name has already found its place Torquay United folklore and this catastrophic season would have been as difficult to take for him as it has been us.







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