Report by John Edwards
Picture by Jonathan Moore
James Jones will lead Altrincham into the 2023-24 season after being named as the Robins' new club captain.
After carefully considering the credentials of several candidates, manager Phil Parkinson has chosen his new on-field leadership duo, with the armband going to James and midfielder Isaac Marriott handed the role of vice-captain.
Phil and his assistant Neil Sorvel are confident they will prove popular appointments, with both players integral to the Robins' prospects of another successful campaign and both possessing the attributes needed to get the best out of those around them.
The announcement comes on the day of Alty's historic first venture into Europe, with what is sure to be a strong line-up taking on Eredivisie side NEC Nijmegen in the Netherlands this afternoon, and it underlines the faith and trust the boss has in two key members of his squad.
James is in his second spell at The J.Davidson Stadium after initially joining the Robins in August 2017, at the outset of the highly-successful Parkinson/Sorvel era, and becoming part of a formidable central defensive partnership with Tom Hannigan that proved the cornerstone of Alty's rise through the divisions.
His form in the 2019-20 season alerted several EFL clubs and he was snapped up by Barrow for their return to League Two as Vanarama National League champions in July 2020.
It was seen as a coup for Alty when he chose to return to The J.Davidson Stadium almost exactly a year ago, and, during the course of last season, he underlined not only his defensive acumen and organisational skills but a keen eye for goal that was most memorably apparent at York City's LNER Community Stadium just over four months ago.
On Saturday March 11th, an unstoppable 62nd-minute header by James doubled Alty's lead and proved the winner as the Robins marched through to the Isuzu FA Trophy semi-finals with a 2-1 victory.
Remarkably, just three days later at the same venue, not only was there a repeat performance from the Robins in the National League but it was again James' contribution that proved decisive as his towering 83rd minute header delivered the points for Alty in another 2-1 triumph.
Isaac's appointment as vice-captain is just as deserving after his emergence as a firm fans' favourite since his arrival from Bradford (Park Avenue) in December 2021.
There can be few more fiercely competitive or effective central midfielders anywhere in the National League than Alty's terrier-like 23-year old, whose constant snapping at heels and winning the ball back is supplemented by a composure in possession and surprisingly sharp acceleration that often takes him clear of markers.
Congratulations to both players and all the best from everyone at the club for every success in your new roles as captain and vice-captain.