Huish Hugh

Yeovil Town head to Hemel Hempstead Town FC this weekend for the National League South season opener. If you’re travelling to the match, it’s the first time (as far as we can tell) that Yeovil have ever visited Vauxhall Road.

As always, Huish Hugh has provided us with a Ciderspace Away Travel Guide for those making the trip, with everything you need to know about Saturday’s opponents.

Read the Hemel Hempstead Ciderspace Away Travel Guide here.

This would have been the Good Friday (02/04) game; but the passing of our captain Lee Collins earlier that week put anything so trivial as playing a football match into perspective.

Saturday’s (22/05) rearrangement will be our first trip to Moss Lane in twenty-one years, since 29th April 2000 to be exact, when a 2-2 draw helped Alty on their way to relegation out of what was then called the Nationwide Conference into the Northern Premier League. Kick-off is 3.00 p.m.

From that time the two clubs veered along different paths, until now. With the formation of Conference North and South in 2004 Alty found their natural football niche: a yo-yo club between the North and the National divisions. They might have yo-yoed even more but for an unlikely sequence of good fortune. Between 2005-06 and 2007-08 Altrincham finished in the relegation zone all three seasons, only to be reprieved each time. In 2005-06 they were saved when Canvey Island resigned and Scarborough were demoted; saved again in 2006-07 when Boston United were demoted; and yet again in 2007-08 with the liquidation of Halifax. A couple of seasons later they were again back in the relegation zone, but this time had run out of clubs to be demoted in their stead.

Since then Altrincham has been up and down several times, the most recent move being upwards from North to National last season when PPG had them finishing sixth and they then beat Chester, York City and Boston United in the belated play-offs.

Back at Easter when the match was originally scheduled both clubs could still just about claim to have vague aspirations of unlikely bids for the play-offs. These are now long gone. Altrincham, 11th on 27th March after a 0-1 win away to Maidenhead, have not won a game since. Having only picked up a single point in the meantime – a 1-1 draw at home to Notts County – it’s been a steady drift down the table, to a current 17th.

This should be Altrincham’s first match with some fans back at Moss Lane (J. Davidson Stadium). The club is hoping to be allowed 1,200 spectators though there appears to have been some delay in getting the required confirmation from Trafford Borough Council. However, any hiccups are irrelevant to us as whenever it does get sorted it’ll be home fans only.

Yeovil Town has Alex Bradley and Luke Wilkinson serving suspensions. Billy Sass-Davies should know the Moss Lane pitch well having had two loan spells with Altrincham, the second earlier this season when he made seven appearances.

The Alty TV LIVE streaming service costs £9.99 and can be found via: Streaming on Alty TV LIVE | Altrincham Football Club (  . At the time of writing purchase for the Yeovil fixture has not gone live.

The usual radio commentary from BBC Somerset Radio Somerset – Listen Live – BBC Sounds and Three Valleys Three Valleys Radio – Yeovil’s Sports Radio Station will be available.

Not that we’re going to have more than neutral spectator interest, but the play-off schedule for the National League has been released this afternoon (Friday 14/05).
As was to be expected, Wembley has other fish to fry so the almost equivalent glamour of Ashton Gate awaits the finalists.
Saturday 5th June, 4.00 p.m.
Elimination Round – Match A – 5th place v 6th place
Sunday 6th June, 4.00 p.m.
Elimination Round – Match B – 4th place v 7th place
Saturday 12th June, 12 noon
Semi Final – 2nd place v winner of Match A
Sunday 13th June, 12 noon
Semi Final- 3rd place v winner of Match B
Sunday 20th June, 2.00 p.m.
Final – Ashton Gate
All fixtures will be broadcast live by BT Sport.

The history of The Glovers v The Red Dragons is very short indeed. We managed to miss each other in the EFL, with Wrexham relegated from League One to League Two just as we were promoted the other way.

The Welsh club then fell out of the Football League in 2008 after a continual EFL presence since becoming one of the founder members of Third Division North back in 1921.

This was the culmination of off the field problems that had seen open civil war between chairman/owner Alex Hamilton and the fanbase, with Hamilton attempting to evict the club from the Racecourse Ground to build on the site.

His mismanagement saw Wrexham AFC plunge into administration in December 2004 with debts of £2.6 million including £800,000 in unpaid taxes owed to HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC).

Legal battles continued in the courts throughout 2005 and into 2006, with Hamilton’s acquisition of the Racecourse Ground freehold eventually ruled to have been improper.

The club finally emerged from administration at the end of May 2006 as Wrexham Football Club (2006) Ltd with four days to spare before it would have been expelled from the EFL.

After the massive efforts needed to save its very existence fans were optimistic a corner had been turned, but the damage in the fight had been severe and the club was soon relegated out of the EFL after an 87 year stay.

By 2011 it was facing a winding up order over £200,000 in unpaid taxes owed to HMRC as the Wrexham Supporters’ Trust (WST) and several other bidders battled for control of the club.

WST and one of those bidders, Stephanie Booth, eventually reached an accommodation and became the new owners.

Meanwhile on the field Wrexham were knocked out in the play-offs three seasons in a row between 2010-11 and 2012-13, after which they became a very mid-table National League side for the following five campaigns before failing once again in the 2018-19 play-offs.

Last season, truncated and settled by points per pame, saw their lowest ever National League finish, 19th.

This season has been dominated, at least as far as the media has been concerned, by a rather slow motion takeover of the club by trans-Atlantic actors Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney that took some months to complete.

On the pitch the team appears to have ignored such distractions and Wrexham have consistently been there or there about in the play-off picture.

After a little wobble around Easter when they lost three matches in a row Wrexham’s form has returned, with three wins and two draws since.

With Yeovil Town’s record against clubs in the top ten an awful W2 D2 L14, and little to shout about on the road generally, the Glovers will be doing well come back with anything from the Racecourse on Saturday, kick-off 3.00 p.m.

Streaming can be signed up for here MATCH CENTRE | Wrexham v Yeovil Town | Wrexham AFC at a cost of £10. The usual matchday radio commentaries can be found on BBC Radio Somerset and Three Valleys Radio.

For team news and the thoughts of Wrexham manager Dean Keates ahead of our game – see our matchday preview here.