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View from the Dugout: Disappointed to lose JJ to a rival but I’m delighted with the “legend” we’ve brought in

Manager Phil Parkinson with his latest column for Altrincham Today…

Craig Mahon signs for the Robins from Chester

Manager Phil Parkinson with his latest column for Altrincham Today…

A week can certainly be a long time in football at times and this week has proven that saying.

Our seven-match unbeaten run came to an end at Gateshead last Saturday. We played very well in the first half but didn’t really turn up after the interval and went down 2-0 to a strong full-time Gateshead side that have a very good home record at the International Stadium.

During the week, we received a substantial bid from Chester for our winger, John Johnston. The bid triggered a clause in JJ’s contract that enabled Chester to speak to him and once he was aware of the very attractive financial package that was being offered, his head wasn’t at Altrincham any more and the transfer went through on Thursday evening.

Highlights from the defeat at Gateshead:

I’m very disappointed that we have lost JJ at this stage of the season to one of our rivals for a play-off place, but that’s football and on the positive side, as part of the deal, we were able to sign a player that I have tried to sign previously. Craig Mahon is a legend at Chester, having been there for seven seasons, and he is a winger who will suit us very well.

The money received from Chester represents one of the highest transfer fees ever received by Altrincham Football Club and that money is available to strengthen the squad further.

John Johnston was offered a very attractive financial package to move to Chester this week

Last night, we had a really positive and very well attended ‘Meet the Board and Manager’ meeting, where the Board presented a number of exciting and forward thinking plans, ranging from the introduction of an Altrincham FC Academy in September to a long term strategic plan to create pretty well a new stadium over the next 10 years… very exciting stuff.

Today, it’s back to football and a home game against Bradford (Park Avenue) who are bottom of the table but beat us 2-0 at the Horsfall Stadium last month, which is evidence that anyone can beat anyone in this league.

Goalmouth action at Gateshead last Saturday Pic: Charlie Waugh

Three points could make a big difference as it’s very tight in our section of the table. We are in 10th place but there are only two points covering Guiseley in 7th and Southport in 12th, so it’s a very important afternoon for us.

Max Harrop completes his three-match suspension today, so will be available for the trip to Kettering on Tuesday and Simon Richman is still some way from a return with his hamstring injury but Tom Peers will be available to play some part and Sean Williams is also fairly close to a return.