It’s 30 minutes on Manchester’s Metrolink from Victoria Station to Altrincham, an affluent market town eight miles south of the city centre which is home to a 24-hour Tesco and one of the most famous names in English non-league football. Founder members of the Conference in 1979, Altrincham were the Liverpool of the amateur game, winning back-to-back titles at the start of the 1980s, two FA Trophies in a decade and famously defeating Birmingham City (and a young David Seaman) 2-1 in the 1986 FA Cup third round, the last time a top-flight side lost to non-league opposition.
With sixteen FA Cup wins over Football League sides Altrincham are a well-renowned nuisance to higher ranked teams. Helped along by some lackadaisical defending from Courtney Meppen-Walter, they take the lead two minutes into the game. City concede a penalty with virtually the first touch an Altrincham player has on the ball and Damian Reeves smacks his kick through the goalkeeper’s arms. “Someone YouTube that one later,” says an Altrincham fan from the top of the stand as Meppen-Walker looks apologetically at the ground.
Football is back. Long may it continue.
Date: July 16th 2011