CLUB GUIDE: Macclesfield
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. Town play their home games at the 6,355 capacity Moss Rose stadium. Macclesfield made history when a Macclesfield Town player Chris Priest scored the final goal of the last millennium.
Nicknamed The Silkmen, they will contest the 2006/07 season in Coca-Cola League 2 .
A football club was first formed in Macclesfield in the mid-1800s, but played rugby 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.
Macclesfield made their first appearance in the FA Cup first round in 1960, but lost 7-2 to Southport.
The club were founder members of the Northern Premier League upon its foundation in 1968, and were champions in each of the first two seasons of the competition. Following Macclesfield's third Northern Premier Leagur title in 1987, the club were promoted to the Conference.
Macclesfield were Conference champions in 1995 but were denied promotion to the Football League because Moss Rose was not deemed to meet Football League standards. The necessary improvements were made and the Silkmen were promoted to the league two years later.
In recent years the club has had a number of managers, including David Moss and club stalwart John Askey, but few have come close to the achievements of Macclesfield's most successful manager, Sammy McIlroy. He brought the club to its highest league position ever, having taken them to Division Two. The club were relegated within a season of Division Two football, but there is optimism amongst fans that one day soon the club will return.
McIlroy, who took charge at the start of the 1993-94 season guided the club to the GM Vauxhall Conference Championship in his second season as manager. However. the club was denied a place in the Football League because their stadium did not meet league requirements of having a 6,000 total capacity including at least 1,000 seats. By the time Macclesfield won the Conference title two seasons later in 1996-97, their stadium had been upgraded and they were promoted to Division Three of the Football League in place of Hereford United.
In 1997-98, Macclesfield finished runners-up in Division Three and were promoted for the second season running, this time to Division Two. But the club failed to sustain in Division Two and slipped down again the following season. McIlroy soon left for the job of Northern Ireland national coach (although he had since quit the job to take charge at Stockport County) and over the next five seasons, Gil Prescott, David Moss and supporter's favourite John Askey were unsuccessful in trying to get Macclesfield anywhere near the top of Division Three.
In March 2004, 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, had 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 Septemer 2006, following a dismal start to the season. Horton failed to secure a win during his 12 games in the 2006/07 season and left the club at the 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. It took Macclesfield until December 5, 2006 to record their first league win under Ince.
On November 25 2006
Macclesfield played Stockport County at Edgeley Park. In the first half of the game, striker Simon Wiles was stretchered off with a cruciate ligament injury. Also, in the second half, with Macclesfield leading 1-0, in a defensive mix-up, goalkeeper Jonny Brain collided with defender Andrew Teague, which allowed Stockport striker Adam Proudlock to equalise. Both Macclesfield players were stretchered off the field, and taken directly to hospital. Teague suffered a fracture of the fibula, whilst Brain suffered a compound fracture of both the tibia and fibula. In a bizarre run of events, on November 28, in a freak training ground accident, fullback James McNulty also suffered a broken leg. All four players are expected to miss the remainder of the season.
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