|Nickname(s) The Silkmen|
Chairman Mark Blower
Website Club home page
League National League
|Ground Capacity 6,355 (2,599 seated)|
2015–16 National League, 10th
Manager John Askey
Arena/Stadium Moss Rose
|Full name Macclesfield Town Football Club|
Location Macclesfield, United Kingdom
Training ground Sandbach Community Football Centre
Macclesfield Town Football Club is a professional association football club based in Macclesfield, Cheshire, England. The club currently plays in the National League, the fifth tier of English football.
- McIlroy era
- Recent years
- Return to the Football Conference
- Colours and crest
- Current squad
- Out on loan
- Retired numbers
- Club Records
- Record Football League appearances
- Record Football League goalscorers
The club was formed in 1874 and play home games at the 6,355 capacity Moss Rose stadium. They were members of the Football League from 1997 until 2012, playing in the Second Division (now League One) in the 1998–99 season.
A football club was first formed in Macclesfield in the mid-19th century, but played rugby union rules. In 1874, the club adopted the rules of the Football Association. Between 1874 and 1940 the club was known by a succession of names, including Macclesfield Football and Athletic Club, Hallifield F.C. and Macclesfield F.C. When competitive football resumed after World War II, Macclesfield Town Football Club Ltd. was formed and the club gained their current name. The club joined the Cheshire County League in 1946–47, playing their first game after reformation on 31 August, 1946, a 2–0 defeat to Buxton. The club's form in the remainder of the 1940s was largely indifferent, with the exception of a Cheshire League Challenge Cup win in 1948. The 1950s proved more successful, with four trophies in as many years from 1951–1954, including the club's first Cheshire League title in 20 years in 1953, though the team's fortunes faded in the latter half of the decade.
Macclesfield Town progressed through four qualifying rounds to make their first appearance in the FA Cup first round in 1960 under manager Frank Bowyer, but lost 7–2 to Southport. At the end of that season the club won the Cheshire League, beginning a nine-year period in which they won three league titles and finished no lower than fifth, and in 1964 won the Cheshire League by a record equalling thirteen point margin. The club reached the FA Cup third round for the first time in 1968, meeting First Division Fulham at Craven Cottage. Macclesfield Town lost 4–2, but the performance resulted in Macclesfield Town's Keith Goalen becoming the first ever non-league player to be named Footballer of the Month by the London Evening Standard.
The club were founder members of the Northern Premier League, one of three leagues at the fifth tier of English football, upon its creation in 1968. Macclesfield Town were champions in each of the first two seasons of the competition, finishing twelve points clear in 1968–69, and by goal average in 1969–70. The 1969–70 season also resulted in a trip to Wembley for the inaugural final of the FA Trophy, a knockout competition for non-league clubs. Macclesfield Town defeated Telford United 2–0 in front of more than 28,000 spectators to win the competition. A period of decline then followed, despite the performances of Willie Mailey in goal, and the side's fortunes reached a nadir when the club finished bottom of the Northern Premier League in 1979, a year when the stronger teams from the division formed the national Alliance Premier League (now known as the Conference). The 1980s saw steady rebuilding. The club finished as Northern Premier League runners-up in the 1984–85 season, and two years later Macclesfield Town's third Northern Premier League title resulted in promotion to the Conference.
Macclesfield Town finished in mid-table in their first Conference season, and eliminated two League teams, Carlisle and Rotherham from the FA Cup. The club reached the FA Trophy final for the second time in 1989, facing Telford United, the same opponents as Macclesfield Town's first final nineteen years earlier. However, the team did not match the achievement of their predecessors, losing 1–0. From a high of a fourth place league finish in 1989–90, Macclesfield Town's final standing diminished each season, and following a struggle against relegation in 1992–93, manager Peter Wragg was sacked, and replaced with former Manchester United midfielder Sammy McIlroy.
McIlroy took charge at the start of the 1993–94 season, and guided the club to the Football Conference championship in his second season as manager. However. the club was denied promotion to the Football League because the Moss Rose did not meet league requirements of having a 6,000 total capacity including at least 1,000 seats by the League's deadline of 31 December 1994. Macclesfield Town won the Conference title again two seasons later in 1996–97, by which time the stadium had been upgraded and they were promoted to Division Three of the Football League in place of Hereford United.
Upon gaining League status, the club turned fully professional. Macclesfield Town's first League match was a 2–1 win at home to Torquay United. The momentum of the Conference success continued, and in their first League season, Macclesfield Town finished runners-up in Division Three and were promoted for the second consecutive season, this time to Division Two. It was a memorable year for the club, who were unbeaten at home for the entire season. However, the higher level proved a step too far for the club, who finished the 1998–99 season bottom of Division Two and were relegated. McIlroy soon left to become the Northern Ireland national coach and was replaced by former Manchester United colleague Peter Davenport. A dismal start to the following season cost Davenport his job though, and Gil Prescott took over for the remainder of the season, keeping Macclesfield Town clear of relegation. David Moss in turn succeeded Prescott as manager and delivered two decent mid-table finishes, but a bad start to the 2003–04 season resulted in his sacking. Club stalwart John Askey succeeded Moss initially on a temporary basis, and earned the job permanently with some promising early results. However, a terrible run of one win in three months meant that Askey's term as manager was short-lived.
In March 2004, with relegation to the Conference threatening, Macclesfield Town turned to the experienced 55-year-old Brian Horton to take charge. Horton reinvigorated Macclesfield Town and achieved a finish of fifth for the 2004–05 season, resulting in a playoff place, but the team were eliminated in the semi-finals by Lincoln City. However, 2005–06 proved disappointing with the team failing to build on the previous season's progress, finishing an undistinguished 17th. Horton was sacked by the club in late September 2006, following a dismal start to the season in which Horton failed to secure a win in the twelve games prior to his dismissal, leaving the club bottom of the Football League.
On 23 October 2006, Paul Ince was confirmed as Macclesfield Town's new player-manager. He lost his first match in charge 3–2 to Mansfield Town, and it took Macclesfield Town until twenty games into the season to record their first league win under Ince on 5 December 2006. The team then went on a nine match unbeaten run, which not only gave Ince his first manager of the month award when he was League Two Manager of the Month for December 2006, but also earned the Silkmen an FA Cup tie against then English champions Chelsea away in the 3rd round of the FA Cup, which Town lost 6–1. They were then just able to survive after drawing 1–1 with Notts County on the final day of the 2006–07 season, after a poor run of results landed the team back in the relegation zone; this game also saw the last appearance (and booking) of Paul Ince as a professional footballer. On 24 June 2006, it was announced that Ince had resigned from Macclesfield town to become MK Dons manager.
On 29 June 2007, Ian Brightwell was announced as the new manager, with Asa Hartford as his assistant. Macclesfield Town started the 2007–08 season away with a 1–1 draw to former Premier League club Bradford City and narrowly lost 1–0 to another former Premier League team Leeds United in the first round of the Football League Cup. Away from the pitch, in January 2008, Chairman Rob Bickerton left the club after 7 years to join Shrewsbury Town. He was replaced by club supporter Mike Rance, with ex-player Andy Scott, founder of Bank Fashion Retail stores, as Vice-Chairman.
Following a poor run of results and with the club again flirting with the relegation zone to the Football Conference, on 27 February 2008, Ian Brightwell and Asa Hartford left the club with immediate effect. Keith Alexander was named as manager until the end of the season. Alexander kept the Silkmen in League 2 following a run of four wins and three draws in nine games and was awarded a new two-year contract.
On 3 March 2010, Macclesfield Town announced that manager Keith Alexander had died at the age of 53. Alexander, who suffered a brain aneurysm in November 2003, died after arriving home from the League Two match at Notts County. Subsequently, on 13 April 2010, Macclesfield Town announced Gary Simpson, previously Keith Alexander's Assistant, as manager on a two-year contract in May 2011., which was subsequently extended by a further year.
On 10 January 2011, it was announced that midfield player Richard Butcher had died aged 29. The club retired the number 21 shirt in his honour.
Macclesfield Town failed to win a League (or any other) match from the start of January 2012 through until the match away versus Dagenham & Redbridge on Saturday 17 March, a winless streak of 14 League matches (16 counting the FA Cup Third Round & Third Round Replay). Due to this, Simpson was asked to step down as manager by Chairman Mike Rance on Sunday 18 March 2012. He was replaced by Brian Horton, but Horton was unable to turn around Town's poor run of form and the team were relegated to the Conference Premier on 28 April 2012 following home defeat to Burton Albion. Following the relegation Horton left the club and Glyn Chamberlain took charge of the team for the remaining game of the season. Macclesfield failed to win any games from January 2012 until the end of the season in May 2012, a total of 25 games without a victory (23 League, 2 FA Cup; 15 defeats, 7 draws).
Return to the Football Conference
Following relegation, Glyn Chamberlain left the Silkmen and Macclesfield Town then appointed Steve King as manager on Monday 21 May 2012. At the same time, it was announced that Andy Scott would stand down as deputy chairman with immediate effect, and that three other directors, including the chairman Mike Rance, would stand down in due course.
On 5 January 2013, Macclesfield Town beat Championship Leaders Cardiff City in the FA Cup 3rd round 2–1. This gave them a place in the 4th round of the tournament for the first time in their 139-year history. Macclesfield Town were generally in or around the Conference National play-off places for much of the season, but a failure to secure a play-off spot resulted in the sacking of Steve King just before the season ended, with the club reappointing former manager John Askey as King's replacement.
Macclesfield Town play their home games at the Moss Rose stadium in the south of the town, and have done so since 1891. The first game at the Moss Rose (on the ground adjoining the then named, Moss Rose Inn) took place on 12 September 1891 and therefore 2011 was the ground's 120th anniversary. Before moving to the Moss Rose, three other grounds were used: Macclesfield Grammar School, Rostron's Field (near Coare Street) and Victoria Road (then known as Bowfield Lane).
The current capacity of the Moss Rose is 6,335, of which 2,599 is seated. The Silk FM Stand (traditionally known as the London Road or Main Stand) runs along one side of the pitch and consists of a seated grandstand with open air terracing to either side, and the opposite side is the seated Alfred McAlpine Stand. The clubs most vociferous supporters congregate in the Star Lane End, which is a mixture of terracing and seating. Visiting supporters are housed in the open air Silkman End (named after a public house which formerly adjoined the terrace) and part of the McAlpine Stand.
The record attendance for Macclesfield Town at the Moss Rose is sometimes given as 7,002 for an FA Cup tie against Spennymoor United in 1968. Saga of the Silkmen (p. 85) and the News of the World Football Annual both give the record attendance of Moss Rose games involving Macclesfield Town as 9,003, in the Cheshire Cup tie vs. Winsford United, 14 February 1948. The Macclesfield Times (19 February 1948) reported that 80 coachloads of supporters had arrived from Winsford.
Euro 96 winners Germany used the Moss Rose as a training base during the championships.
In September 2007, the Club released a statement for the possibility of relocating to a new Stadium, approximately 1 mile south from the Moss Rose to the proposed 'South Macclesfield Development Area'. However, due to the club being a permanent fixture in the lower part of League Two and coupled with the fact that England lost the bid to host the 2018 World Cup (which would have helped the cause for a new stadium), it seems more than likely that Moss Rose will exist as the club's ground for the foreseeable future.
Colours and crest
Macclesfield Town's colours are blue and white; the club have used combinations of these colours since 1947, with the exception of the 1975–76 season, when the team wore tangerine and black as part of a sponsorship deal. Earlier incarnations of the club wore several different colours. The first Macclesfield kit was amber and black stripes, but between 1882 and 1947 the club also used red and white, red, yellow and blue, blue and white, and black and white.
The club crest is based upon the coat of arms of Macclesfield, and features a blue Lion Rampant holding a wheatsheaf.
A new club crest was planned for the start of the 2007–08 season. However, many loyal supporters were not happy with the modern design so the plans were delayed and a re-designed badge was introduced in early 2008, which has won the approval of the majority of fans.
During their spell as a Football League club, Macclesfield Town had a low level of support in comparison with other teams playing at the same level. The club's average attendance of 1,832 in the 2010–11 season was the lowest in Football League Two and the Football League. Reasons for this include the proximity of Macclesfield to cities with large football clubs such as Manchester and Liverpool, and a lack of historical success, as Macclesfield Town had only been a Football League club since 1997. The bulk of supporters are from Macclesfield and its environs with small pockets of fans from Norway, Japan, Port Talbot South Wales and Fleet Hampshire (The Southern Silkmen Lads – SSL). In the April 2011 issue of the football magazine FourFourTwo, Macclesfield Town supporters were voted "League Two Best Away Fans".
Macclesfield Town's traditional rivals are Altrincham, a rivalry dating back to when both clubs were in the Cheshire League, and later the Northern Premier League and Football Conference. As far back as 1911 the Macclesfield and Altrincham teams were engaged in a close tussle for the Manchester League title – won narrowly by the Silkmen. However, the clubs have not shared the same division since the 1996–97 season when Macclesfield Town were promoted and Altrincham were relegated from the Football Conference. Their closest rival in the Football League years has been Stockport County, however as Stockport County were relegated at the end of the 2010–11 season this derby did not take place in the 2011–12 season. Following relegation for the Silkmen, this local derby was briefly off the footballing calendar once again, until Stockport's relegation to the Conference North at the end of the 2012–13 season. Altrincham were promoted to the National League in the 2013/14 season, however two years later they were relegated back into the National League North.
Current squadAs of 12 February 2016.
Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.
Out on loan
Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.
21 – Richard Butcher. Midfielder (2010–11) – posthumous honour.
These are 11 recent Macclesfield seasons, for a full history, see List of Macclesfield F.C. seasons
Club RecordsAll records correct as at 15 August 2011.
Record Football League appearances
Record Football League goalscorers
In Macclesfield Town's 14 seasons in the Football League (1997–98 to 2010–11 season) they have played 644 games, winning 204, drawing 181 and losing 259 games. They have scored 750 and conceded 883 goals. They have used 215 different players.
Macclesfield Town made history when Chris Priest, a Macclesfield Town player, scored the final goal of the last millennium.