Macclesfield Town F.C.

Macclesfield Town F.C.

Football club infobox
clubname = Macclesfield Town

fullname = Macclesfield Town Football Club
nickname = The Silkmen
founded = 1874 (as Macclesfield)
ground = Moss Rose
capacity = 6,335
chairman = flagicon|England Mike Rance
mgrtitle = Manager
manager = flagicon|Saint Lucia Keith Alexander
league = League Two
season = 2007–08
position = League Two, 20th

Macclesfield Town Football Club are an English football team. The club were formed in 1874 and are based in the small town of Macclesfield in Cheshire. The team play their home games at the 6,355-capacity Moss Rose stadium. Macclesfield made history when Chris Priest, a Macclesfield player, scored the final goal of the last millennium.

Nicknamed The Silkmen, they are contesting the 2008-09 season in Football League Two .


A football club was first formed in Macclesfield in the mid-1800s, 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.cite web | title=The Early Years| work=Macclesfield Town official website | url=,,10393~68775,00.html| accessmonthday=August 19 | accessyear=2006 ] When competitive football resumed after World War II, "Macclesfield Town Football Club Ltd." was formed and the club gained their current name. [Macclesfield Express April 24th 1946] 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. [cite book |last=Phythian |first=Graham |title=Saga of the Silkmen: The History of Macclesfield Town FC |publisher=Carnegie |date=2001 |location=Lancaster |id=ISBN 1-85936-087-4, p84] The club's from 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 progressed through four qualifying rounds to make their first appearance in the FA Cup first round in 1960, but lost 7-2 to Southport. [Saga of the Silkmen, p107] The following season the club won the Cheshire League, beginning an eight 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. [Saga of the Silkmen, p207-208] The club reached the FA Cup third round for the first time in 1968, meeting First Division Fulham at Craven Cottage. Macclesfield lost 4-2, but the performance resulted in Macclesfield's Keith Goalen becoming the first ever non-league player to be named "Footballer of the Month" by the London Evening Standard. [Saga of the Silkmen, p121]

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 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 defeated Telford United 2-0 in front of more than 28,000 spectators to win the competition.cite web | title=Northern Premier League| work=Macclesfield Town official website | url=,,10393~69075,00.html| accessmonthday=February 11 | accessyear=2007 ] A period of decline then followed, despite heroic performances by the great 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's third Northern Premier League title resulted in promotion to the Conference.

Macclesfield 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'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'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 era

McIlroy took charge at the start of the 1993-94 season, and guided the club to the GM Vauxhall 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. [Saga of the Silkmen, p165] Macclesfield 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. [Saga of the Silkmen, p176] Macclesfield'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 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 over the next five seasons a succession of managers including Gil Prescott, David Moss and club stalwart John Askey all took charge of the club without reaching the heights of the McIlroy era.

Recent years

In March 2004, with relegation to the Conference threatening, Macclesfield turned to the experienced 55-year-old Brian Horton to take charge. Horton, whose previous manager's jobs were with Oxford United, Brighton and Hove Albion, Manchester City, Huddersfield Town and Port Vale, reinvigorated Macclesfield. A finish of fifth for the 2004/05 season resulted 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 October 23 2006, former Manchester United, Inter and England player Paul Ince was confirmed as Macclesfield's new player-manager. He lost his first match in charge 3-2 to Mansfield Town, and it took Macclesfield until twenty games into the season to record their first league win under Ince on December 5 2006. The team then went on a nine match unbeaten run, which earned a cup tie against champions Chelsea F.C. away in the 3rd round of the FA Cup, though, despite their fantastic away support and performance on the day, lost 6-1. Most of this was attributed to the decision to send off Macclesfield goalkeeper Tommy Lee, which replays have shown since to be inconclusive to merit a red card, with many believing that, in the spirit of the FA Cup, a red card was unwarranted.

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.

On 29th June 2007 Ian Brightwell was announced as their new manager with Asa Hartford as his assistant for the 2007/08 season as a replacement for former boss Paul Ince who left to become MK Dons manager earlier in the month. Macclesfield 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 League Cup. In January, Chairman Rob Bickerton left the club after 7 years of services to join Shrewsbury and was replaced with Club Supporter Mike Rance and ex-player Andy Scott, founder of Bank Fashion Retail stores as Vice-Chairman.

On 27th February 2008 Keith Alexander was named manager, replacing Ian Brightwell who left the club immediately with his assistant Asa Hartford. The change was due to a poor run of results, which left the club 1 place and two points above the relegation places.

They have started the 2008-09 season in disappointing form in which they have not scored a single league goal in there opening four games. They have done rather well in the league cup in which they landed a money spinning tie against West Ham United after successfully beating Coca-Cola Championship side Blackpool 2-1 in the first round. They lost this match 4-1 in extra time.


Macclesfield Town play their home games at the Moss Rose in the south of the town, and have done so since 1891. Before moving to the Moss Rose, two other grounds were used: Rostrons Field and Victoria Road. The current capacity of the Moss Rose is 6,335, of which 2,599 is seated. [cite web | title=The Moss Rose| work=Macclesfield Town official website | url=,,10393,00.html| accessmonthday=August 19 | accessyear=2006 ] One side of the ground 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 at the Moss Rose is 7,002 for an FA Cup tie against Spennymoor United in 1968. [cite web | title=The Early Years| work=Macclesfield Town official website | url=,,10393~68775,00.html|]

Saga of the Silkmen (p. 85) and the News of the World Football Annual both give the record attendance of Moss Rose games involving Macc. Town as 9,003, in the Cheshire Cup tie vs. Winsford United, 14th Feb 1948, but this was an away match.

Euro 96 winners Germany used the Moss Rose as a training base during the championships.

Since the building of the McAlpine Stand, a number of projects to improve the ground have been put forward including a new 'Silkman End' with Fitness Facilities and capacity for 2,500 fans. These plans were dropped due to lack of financial backing. A smaller project to incorporate a roof onto the stand was proposed but no plans have been firmly set.

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'. [cite web | title=Club Statement| work=Macclesfield Town official website | url=,,10393~1110638,00.html ]

Colours and crest

Macclesfield'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.Saga of the Silkmen, p6] 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 appraisal of the majority of fans.


Macclesfield Town have a low level of support in comparison with other teams playing at the same level. The club's average attendance has been the lowest in the Football League for every season since 2002-03. [cite web | title=English League Two Attendance| work=ESPN Soccernet | url=| accessmonthday=August 20 | accessyear=2006 ] Reasons for this include the proximity of Macclesfield to cities with large football clubs such as Liverpool and Manchester, and a lack of historical success, as Macclesfield have only been a League club since 1997. There is however a small following in Port Talbot South Wales

Macclesfield'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 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 1996.

Their closest rivals in the Football League years have included Stockport County and Chester City.

Famous fans include Stephen Morris of the band New Order, actor Marshall Lancaster and also FiveLive commentator Alan Green. The Rock is also a Macclesfield Town fan after choosing it out of a hat on Soccer AM.


*Football League Third Division:
**Runners Up (1): 1998
*FA Trophy:
**Winners (2): 1970, 1996
*Football Conference
**Champions (2): 1995, 1997
*Northern Premier League
**Champions (3): 1969, 1970, 1987
**Runners Up (1): 1985
*Northern Premier League Challenge Cup
**Winners (1): 1987
*Cheshire League
**Champions (6): 1932, 1933, 1953, 1961, 1964, 1968
**Runners Up (3): 1934, 1962, 1965
*Cheshire Senior Cup
**Winners (20): 1890, 1891, 1894, 1896, 1911, 1930, 1935, 1951, 1952, 1954, 1960, 1964, 1969, 1971, 1973, 1983, 1991, 1992, 1998, 2000
**Runners Up (11): 1895, 1907, 1910, 1936, 1950, 1974, 1977, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1997
*Manchester League
**Champions (2): 1909, 1911
**Runners Up (1): 1907
*The Combination:
**Runners Up (2): 1891, 1896
*Staffordshire Senior Cup
**Winners (1): 1993

Current squad

:"As of 27 September 2008."cite web
title = 1st Team
url =,,10393,00.html
publisher = Macclesfield Town FC
accessdate = 2008-07-23
] cite news
title = Squad Numbers Allocated
url =,,10393~1349873,00.html
publisher = Macclesfield Town FC
date = 2008-07-23
accessdate = 2008-07-23

Famous Players

*flagicon|Nigeria George Abbey - in February 2004, George played for Nigeria in the African Nations Cup.
*flagicon|England Jon Parkin - on 12 January 2006 "Big Jon" signed for Championship side Hull City for an undisclosed fee. Parkin currently plays for Stoke City
*flagicon|Nigeria Efe Sodje - Went on to play for Crewe Alexandra, Yeovil Town, Southend United and currently player-coach for Bury, he has also played international football for Nigeria.
*flagicon|England Paul Ince - Finished his playing career at Moss Rose, playing one solitary game before concentrating on a managerial career. Paul came on as a substitute in the game against Notts County and helped ensure Maccelesfield Town stayed in the football league for another season. This was his only appearance in a Macclesfield Town team.

In a survey published by the Professional Footballers' Association in December 2007, John Askey was listed as the all-time favourite player amongst Macclesfield Town fans.


Darren Tinson holds the record for Macclesfield League appearances, with 263 between 1997 and 2003. [cite book |title=Sky Sports Football Yearbook |publisher=Headline |location=London |date=2006] .

John Askey holds the overall appearance record for the club in all competitions. His 20 year playing career taking in more than 700 games. John remains at the club and has also managed the Reserves to a League title and currently manages the Youth Team. John was manager of the first team for six months before the arrival of Brian Horton. Steve Wood played for Macclesfield and became a real hero for them during his time played at Macclesfield Town F.C

The most goals scored by a Macclesfield player in a single season is 83, achieved by Albert Valentine in the 1933-34 season.

The record transfer fee paid by the club is the £40,000 paid to Bury for Danny Swailes in 2005, and the record fee received is £300,000 from the sale of Rickie Lambert to Stockport County in 2002. [cite web | title=Macclesfield Town all time records| work=Soccerbase | url=| accessmonthday=February 10 | accessyear=2007 ]

In Popular Culture

Macclesfield Town are referenced in the song "Don't fear the sweeper" by Macclesfield band The Macc Lads on the album The Beer Necessities.


*fchd|id=MACCLEST|name=Macclesfield Town
*"Saga of the Silkmen - A History of Macclesfield Town FC"(Carnegie Publishing 2001)


External links

* [ Macclesfield Town Official Website]
* [ The Silkmen Supporters Trust website]
* []

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