RIP Dennis Hassall, great goalscorer for Alty in the '50s

Words John Edwards | Pictures courtesy of Dennis' family

Everyone at The J.Davidson Stadium is greatly saddened to learn that Dennis Hassall, one of Altrincham's most prolific goalscorers from the 1950s, has died at the age of 91.

A free-scoring inside-forward, Dennis had two spells with the Robins and was at the peak of his powers towards the end of the first one in 1956-57.

Despite Alty having a relatively undistinguished Cheshire League campaign, finishing above Port Vale Reserves and Mossley only on goal average in 16th place, Dennis was a handful for opposing defences as he topped the scoring charts with 25 goals.

It earned him a move to Buxton, where he continued to be the scourge of Cheshire League defences for another couple of seasons, and Alty were glad to welcome him back to Moss Lane at the beginning of the 1960s for another successful stint in Robins colours.

A notable career as one of the North-West non-League scene's most accomplished forwards also included spells with Macclesfield, Congleton, Hyde United and Lancaster City in the Lancashire Combination, but it is his scoring exploits for Altrincham, along with Stalybridge Celtic and Buxton, that Dennis will be particularly remembered for.

"Dad was always telling us about his Alty days," said his daughters Karen Jackson and Rachael Holtzer. "He was proud to have played for the Robins, just as we were proud of his achievements for them.

"He also represented the British Army and played a few games for a Polish team after an Altrincham team-mate called Conrad Kepler seconded him and goalkeeper Bill Marshall to become Polish for a few games!

"He certainly packed plenty into his career. He had four years with Alty first time around and, from what we can tell from programmes and newspaper cuttings, his second spell there lasted at least another four years in the early 60s.

"He always told us he was headhunted by Peter Swales and Freddie Pye to play for Alty, and it was obvious to us all how much he loved playing for the club. There are loads of press cuttings from those days and a few Cheshire Senior Cup medals as well - they are special memories of a special dad."

Dennis, who lived in Stockport, passed away peacefully in Stepping Hill Hospital on Saturday, leaving two daughters, three grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. Our thoughts are with Dennis' family and friends, to whom we send our sincere condolences.

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