Macclesfield Town FC: The club With A New Heart
Macclesfield Town FC was a club destroyed by mismanagement and selfish individuals. The football world can be a cruel place for fans yet the supporters of this unique club are proving that fans are forever the heart and driving force of the sport we love.
A Brief History
Macclesfield is a small market town in Cheshire, 16 miles south of Manchester known for its Silk Industry. In 1874, Macclesfield Town FC was born with home games being played at the still-used Moss Rose (Leasing.com Stadium) from 1891.
Known as the Silkmen, they played in the Manchester League and the Cheshire County League before the Second World War. Macclesfield became a founding member of the Northern Premier League in 1968 and they won the league within their first two years along with the FA Trophy in 1970.
The Cheshire-based club eventually gained promotion to the Conference League in 1986/87, and despite winning the league in 1993/94, the club was only allowed to be promoted to the Football League in 1996/97.
The club managed to stay in the Football League between 1997 and 2012 with a short stint in the Second Division in 1998/99. Relegation in 2012 left the club in the National League, however, the Silkmen returned as Champions after winning the league in the 2017/18 season.
Despite the odds being stacked against them, Macclesfield managed to survive relegation on the pitch for the next two seasons but were officially relegated for the 2020/21 season after a points deduction pushed them into the relegation zone.
Where Did It Go Wrong?
The Silkmen found themselves riddled with financial issues throughout the reign of Amar Alkhadi who is an Iraqi entrepreneur who began involvement with the club during the mid-2000s.
During his tenure, finances had always been tight, however, during the 2019/20 season, the club was sent over the brink. The club failed to pay players and staff on multiple occasions throughout the season and Arsenal legend and former Macclesfield Town manager Sol Campbell left the club claiming £180,000 in unpaid wages.
Whilst playing staff had to take action and strike, two games in December 2019 against Plymouth Argyle and Crewe Alexandra had to be postponed.
Eventually, this led to the EFL allowing three players to terminate their contracts after not receiving pay which saw the club charged with misconduct and receiving a seven-point deduction.
Despite the supporter’s trust raising £11,000 for the players and staff, the club received further misconduct charges for failing to pay staff which saw Macclesfield Town handed a further point deduction and saw them relegated by the end of the season.
In September 2020, the High Court had issued a winding-up order as Owner Amar Alkahdi supposedly owed HMRC £188,000 and £592,000 to eight other creditors.
This led the East Cheshire-based club into liquidation after he failed to sell the club or repay the debts in time, leaving the community without a football club to love and support.
A New Beginning
However, in October 2020, the Silkmen faithful received a welcoming helping hand when local businessman Robert Smethurst bought the assets and stadium allowing him to build a Phoenix club in the form of Macclesfield FC. Along with this, pundit and former professional footballer Robbie Savage joined the project.
Following this, the stadium saw mass upgrades. The ground saw an implementation of a new pitch, the old concourse turned into a gym and the overall infrastructure saw a massive improvement.
Macclesfield FC swiftly announced they would join the NWCFL Premier Division for the 2021/22 season and they have gone from strength to strength, achieving two back-to-back promotions leaving them in the Northern Premier League, only one step away from the National League North.
Of course, a brand-new club has had its teething problems, but overall, the new start for Macclesfield is a positive one as they look to regain their professional and EFL status.
The Silkmen currently occupy third place in the Northern Premier League after three wins from four games to begin the season as they push for a third promotion in a row.
The Importance Of Macclesfield FC
In 2020, the heart of a community was ripped away due to selfish and intolerable acts and simply no fans deserve to wake up without a club to support.
This was a brief but unnecessary reality for the Silkmen faithful, and in retrospect, the withering away of the heart of the community had already begun long before its collapse.
As shown by the latest attendance figures, Macclesfield FC averaged 3,674 in 2022/23 which is in comparison to Macclesfield Town’s last average attendance of 1,998 in the 2019/20 season, despite the Phoenix club being a whole four tiers lower in the pyramid.
Clubs like Macclesfield provide the community they’re situated in a hub. A hub for socialising and bringing together friends and family. It’s a hub for grassroots football both in the stands and on the pitch.
Local clubs like Macclesfield ensure everyone has access to football away from the distance heights of the Premier League.
A heritage all football fans should look to preserve and support whenever possible.
To stay up to date with all things football and sports, follow @DubSports and @_GeorgeBancroft.