Report by John Edwards
Picture by Jonathan Moore
Jordan Hulme has brought the curtain down on a stellar Altrincham career after accepting the chance to reunite with Anthony Johnson and Bernard Morley at Radcliffe.
One of the most iconic figures of the Phil Parkinson era, the irrepressible Alty forward was all set to continue as skipper next season until the call came from his old Salford City managerial duo to join them at Radcliffe and spearhead their attack in the Pitching In Northern Premier League Premier Division.
Colourful and charismatic to the last, when asked to put his thoughts into words for the club's website, he responded by penning the following heartfelt message of thanks to Alty supporters.
"This is a tough one to write - sadly my time at Altrincham Football Club has come to an end. It has been a privilege to represent this great club over the past six years, and to bow out as captain with the club now full time in the National League is an absolute honour 👑
To all the fans, I hope you can understand my decision, and I can’t thank you enough for the support you have shown me and the lads along the way to getting this club back where it belongs. If it wasn’t for that (fans) forum, we would be in the League by now, but let’s not get into that!! I’ll be down to see you all at every opportunity I get, so we will have a drink for Regan Linney soon🍺
To all the players, staff and board members who have had to put up with me, thanks for everything you’ve done for me on and off the field. A very special club and I’ll miss you all.
Lots of love,
J Hulme x"
After installing him as his on-field talisman during the striker's first spell at The J.Davidson Stadium and skipper during his second stint last season, manager Phil Parkinson was effusive in his appreciation of Jordan's contribution to the Alty cause.
Reflecting on the decision, Phil said:
"It’s with a heavy heart I inform you that Jordan will be leaving us this summer to take his next step in life back to part-time football, which will give him more long-term security.
At his age and point in his life, I agree with him this is the right thing to do with the deal that has been put in front of him.
Jord is a club legend in every sense of the word - helped me and Neil in our pursuit to get Altrincham back to the National League, breaking all kinds records and winning every award you could win in the first two seasons.
He’s been, for me, one of the best non-League strikers over the last seven years. But more than that, one of the very best people you could wish to meet and work with. He’s my skipper, and he led from the front every time he took to the pitch.
Thanks for everything skip, you’ll be massively missed.
I wish you nothing but success and best in your next chapter."
After initially needing a little while to reconcile himself to the disappointment of being released by Salford in the summer of 2017, Jordan quickly endeared himself to Alty fans with his brilliant hold-up play, ability to turn past defenders in the tightest of spots and unerring eye for goal.
He was unstoppable in his first season, racking up over 30 goals in an unforgettable title-winning campaign and deservedly being named NPL player-of-the-season.
Despite the unwanted disruption of injuries and suspension the following year, he still finished Alty's first season back in the Vanarama National League North as joint-top scorer with 20 goals.
He was lured away by the offer of full-time football at AFC Fylde in the summer of 2020 but was back with the Robins in January last year after the Coasters agreed to let him join Alty on loan for the remainder of the 2021-22 season.
The temporary arrangement became a permanent one last summer, and Jordan responded to the honour of being named captain by increasingly making his mark as the season wore on and finishing it looking as strong and influential as ever.
But, after being included in Alty's retained list for 2023-24, the chance to link up again with Jonno and Bernard held sway after the recently-installed Radcliffe bosses turned to him as their next building block after already recruiting vastly-experienced pair Scott Duxbury and Lois Maynard.
Everyone at Alty is sorry to see you go, Jordan, but thanks for everything and all the best with your new challenge of inspiring a club looking to climb out of the Northern Premier League. You've done it once - we're all backing you to do it again.
Footnote: Jordan made 146 league appearances for Alty, plus 13 as substitute, scoring 64 goals and 29 cup appearances, plus five as substitute, scoring 18 goals.