GRAHAME Rowley has underlined his hands-on approach to running Altrincham by leading a hardy group of volunteers in a snow-clearing exercise that gave manager Lee Sinnott valuable preparation time for Saturday’s trip to promotion-chasing Guiseley.

After supervising a pitch inspection that led to Tuesday’s home game with Boston United being postponed, the Alty chairman drove to Wythenshawe to head up a task force charged with removing several inches of snow and ice from the team’s all-weather training pitch at Newall Green school.

"I had a very able group of willing helpers, but it was hard going," he said.

"The snow was a few inches thick, but it was the ice that made it such a difficult job. To give you an idea, it took 17 of us three hours just to clear one half of the pitch.

"We stuck at it, though, and the volunteers’ hard work was really appreciated. After losing three games to the weather in the past week or so, Lee Sinnott was really keen to get the players together, ahead of Saturday. With that in mind, it was well worth the effort.

"It was unfortunate the Boston game had to be called off, but the referee felt he had little option. Though it was sunny during the day, those clear skies meant the temperature was going to drop below zero later on. A 3pm kick-off might have given us a chance, but not 7.45. We wanted the game on as much as anyone else, and did our utmost to get the pitch ready, but once the referee was told it was going to freeze during the evening, he had no choice."

A few tickets, at £40 each, are still available for an evening with former Arsenal and England striker Paul Merson, at the Cresta Court Hotel on Thursday, February 21.

"Paul has promised lots of anecdotes and a no-holds-barred insight into all the ups and downs of his life," added Rowley. "It should be riveting to listen to, because he will be very open and frank about the problems he has had and everything that has happened to him.

"It has already proved popular, with upwards of 19 tables already filled and just a couple still available. It is a sportsman’s dinner, with lounge suits the dress code, but women are welcome as well. There will be a four-course meal, with an auction and raffle, and Luca Havern’s dad John has agreed to be master of ceremonies. It promises to be a really good night."

Tickets can be bought by phoning the club on 0161 928 1045 or by emailing