For Altrincham supporters this weekend’s final National League game of the season is a historic one for many reasons.
Firstly, it will be the last the club plays as a part-time team with the club confirming it will be full-time next season, but – even in defeat – they have already achieved their 55 points is the highest they have managed since 1996.
And, victory could see them claim as high as 12th place in the table – leap-frogging Yeovil in the process – which would be the highest they have managed in more than two decades.
However, as Yeovil fans with long enough memories to recall the club’s own transition from part-time to full-time football will recall, the change comes at a price with seven players confirming that this weekend will be their final one as Altrincham players.
Goalkeeper Tony Thompson, captain Shaun Densmore, full-back Connor Hampson, defender Andy White and midfielders Jake Moult, Josh Hancock and Tom Hannigan will all leave to remain part-time.
The transition to professional football began last summer when manager Phil Parkinson was installed in a full-time capacity and now the club has decided the time is right to bring the playing squad alongside.
It is the Robins’ performances at Moss Lane which has been their strength this season and they haven’t lost on home soil since the defeat to Torquay United at the end of January.
Over the past six matches, their home form – won four, drawn two, lost zero – puts them sixth in the National League form table, behind only Wrexham, Solihull Moors, Notts County, Stockport County and Torquay.
FROM THE MANAGER
Altrincham manager Phil Parkinson admitted he had an eye on Sunday’s final day game when picking his starting XI for Tuesday night’s draw at Bromley.
He brought a number of the players who will be leaving the club as it transitions to full-time football back in to the line-up.
He said: “This game was to be them ready for Sunday and there’s other boys who could not make it due to injury.
”The biggest thing I want to do is give them that send off, they have dedicated a big chunk of their footballing careers to this club and they deserve that opportunity to say goodbye to the fans.
”One thing is for sure, they will not let themselves down knowing we’ve got a landmark moment because we have not finished higher than 14th in this division for 20 years and I’m sure they want to finish on a high.”
But for Parkinson, who has been a full-time employee all season, next season is about the start of a new era for the club – and he is setting the bar high.
He added: “I don’t think I will have ever truly left my mark on this club unless we get promoted out of this league.
”This is the toughest it has been with ex-League clubs in the division, but when this club has been at its best we have pushed for League football and that is certainly something we want to do.
”But, that is a long way off, but we are making giant strides to get us where we want to be to be that club again.”
Altrincham boss Phil Parkinson fielded “a makeshift team” in the midweek draw at Bromley.
Goalkeeper Matthew Gould came in between the posts in place of Tony Thompson, the first choice stopper who will be one of seven players leaving the club to remain part-time next season.
Defender Toby Mullarkey, a regular feature in the side this season, also missed out and has been linked with a move to EFL side Portsmouth this week.
Up front, top scorer, Ryan Colclough, who has 11 goals to his name this season, has been missing since Easter Monday.
There were returns for captain Shaun Densmore, Tom Hannigan and Jake Moult, three of the seven departing this summer, against Bromley.
Academy graduate Ryan Morton came off the bench in midweek.
A FOOT IN BOTH CAMPS
AJ Leitch-Smith was the inevitable scorer of Altrincham’s goal when they drew 1-1 at Huish Park back in October.
The 32-year-old forward spent the 2014-15 season at Huish Park before departing back to his native Cheshire to join Port Vale, and arrived at Moss Road from Morecambe in the summer.
He has only made 19 appearances this season, scoring four times, and has not featured since the end of March.
Last season, central defender and now Wales under-21 international Billy Sass-Davies turned out for both sides whilst on loan from Crewe Alexandra and was in the patched-up Glovers’ side which went down 4-3 at Alty at the end of last season.
Full-back Mark Lynch, who played 31 times in green-and-white between 2006 and 2008, finished his career at Alty in 2012, but other than that we’re struggling a bit.
How about inside forward Albert Foulds, who started his career in the youth team at Alty before playing a season at Yeovil in the 1949-50 season?