Altrincham FC, a rainbow story and the best non-league club in FA Cup history

Recently Altrincham FC took the headlines turning out in a rainbow kit in support for the gay community. They usually play in a red and white striped kit, but this time lightened up the game v. Bradford Park Avenue, it all ended in a 1-1 draw.

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The club is often used as a pre-season friendly opponent by some of the top teams and Manchester United have travelled south to play their neighbors occasionly. Altrincham FC have also hosted a number of academy games for Manchester United.

For those who are a bit older and remembers football from a few years back this club got attention not only from the English press but far out in Europe, often playing far into the rounds of the FA Cup and coming up against some of the better teams in the top tiers.

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The FA Cup is known for their “David’s against Goliats” and a few fairy stories over the years seeing a non-league club fighting for their lives against some of those famous opponents. Lincoln City, Luton Town and recently Sutton United are those we just recently remember as FA Cup giant killers, but in real Altrincham FC is the ultimate non-league outfit coming to heroic FA Cup acts.

They are today playing in the 6th tier of English football and described as a semi-professional club, but back in the earlier days they were the real amateurs, even if they played a level higher and for a number of seasons knocked on the door for EFL status.

Their home arena, Moss Lane has a capacity of more than 6000 attendances, but these days seldom more than 1000 are inside the gates on a home game. Back in the 70’s and 80’s they were known as the Manchester United of the non-league.

They did go to Wembley three times in this period, played at Goodison Park v. Everton in a 5th round FA Cup adventure. Altrincham FC played in front of more than 35 000 at Old Trafford. Over a four year period between 1978 and 1982 the Robins boasted a better FA Cup record than any side in the old divisions three and four. “Alty”, based in the Chesire town that has long been incorperated into Greater Manchester as a middle class suburb eight miles of the south of the city centre.

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They played Liverpool at Anfield in 1981, defeated Birmingham City at home in 1986, knocking The Blues out of the FA Cup, becoming the only second non-league team to beat a top-flight outfit at their own ground.

They can boast other big scalps, knocking Sheffield United out of the cup too. When they took on Tottenham at White Hart Lane, players flew into Osvaldo Ardiles and Riccardo Villa as they surprised every single spectator getting away from the clash with a 1-1 draw, the game being described as the best performance by a non-league team in the history of the game.

Altrincham FC became champions of what is know known as the National League back in 1979/80 and 1980/81, but was stopped and not promoted due to the old election system that was in place back then and not a obvious promotion as we know see between the leagues from the 5th and 4th tier.

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Among Altrincham FC managers former Manchester United, Chelsea and Scotland manager Tommy Docherty might be the most famous as he retired from the trade of management being in charge of “Alty” from 1987 to 1988.

The club that had a rise to so many occasions back in those days might never return to those fantastic adventures, but you never know as they might fly again with or without their special rainbow color kits.

 

 

 

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