Macclesfield Town Football Club
The Macclesfield Town FC that we know today came into existence in 1946, and a year later they adopted the blue and white strip that they still use to this day. However, by this time the club had already enjoyed a career spanning back at least 100 years.
Foundations of success and failure
It was in the mid-1800s that a certain Colonel JWH Thorpe established the club, playing under Rugby rules at Bowfield Lane. It was only in 1874 that they adopted the different set of Association Rules and moved grounds to Rostrons Field for a short stay, before heading back to Bowfield Lane once again.
At this time, leagues did not exist, and so fixtures were made against various local teams from Stoke and the surrounding areas. As the game was strictly amateur, the players would be expected to provide their own kits.
1889/90 was the first defining season in the club’s history, as they won their first Cheshire Senior Cup trophy. The players must have enjoyed all of the attention that they received, as they went on to take it again the following year. This was also the year that they found a home in the Moss Rose stadium, which remains their ground to this day.
Before the decade was out, Macclesfield had won the Cheshire Senior Cup two more times, cementing the players’ reputations as local heroes. Unfortunately it was to be a short-lived success, as in 1897 things turned sour at the club. Terrible results on the pitch led to financial difficulties, and the club was soon declared bankrupt.
The new tenants
Before long, some new tenants were ushered into the Moss Rose in the form of Hallifield FC, who later changed their name to Macclesfield FC to continue the brief history of their predecessors. They joined the Manchester League in 1900, and soon established success for themselves by winning it in 1910/11.
The First World War came and went, and its end signalled a new era at the club. They were renamed The Macclesfield Football Club in 1919 – the year they joined the Cheshire League – but they enjoyed little success throughout the 1920s, with the exception of 1930, when they beat Nantwich Town in the final of the Cheshire Senior Cup, and came near to taking the title of the League, narrowly losing out to Port Vale.
Things got even better the following season as they went on to win the League in style, taking 58 points from 40 games, and winning the Challenge Cup along the way. Amazingly, they went on to win the League again the next season, but success on the pitch was overshadowed by troubled times off it, where things were looking decidedly grim.
In 1936, financial woes led to a serious threat to the very existence of the club, and they had to rely on the good nature and deep pockets of the Macclesfield public to get them out of danger. But a far greater obstacle came in their way with the arrival of World War Two, when everything was essentially put on hold, although they did manage to find time to take on a team from the US Air Force in a friendly.
The club is reborn
In 1946 the club was reborn as Macclesfield Town FC, when it joined the Cheshire Country League. The early 1950s saw a good run of form, winning four trophies, including their first League title in 20 years in 1954, as well as another three Cheshire Senior Cups.
But it was not until 1960 that things became really exciting, when they got into the first round of the FA Cup for the very first time, a triumph which thankfully overshadowed the score on the day, as they went on to lose spectacularly to Southport 7-2.
Slightly more successful was the 1963/4 season, when they went on to take the Cheshire League Championship in style by going for 27 games without defeat, one of their finest League campaigns to date. More FA Cup success was enjoyed in 1968 they reached the third round, beating Stockport County and Spennymore United along the way, the second of which achieved the record amount of spectators at the club – 7,002.
The third-round fixture was against Fulham at Craven Cottage on 27th January, 1968. Dreams looked as if they might come true at half time as they led 2-1. However, an unfortunate penalty decision led to an equaliser from Fulham, who eventually took the game 4-2.
In 1967/68, Macclesfield won their fifth and final Cheshire League, as the following year they would go on to become founder members of the Northern Premier League (NPL).
Things started off well in the NPL, as they amazingly won their first two seasons. However, the 1969/70 season was dominated by a trip to Wembley, which remains to this day one of the finest achievements in the club’s history.
The FA Trophy had just been introduced as a competition for non-league clubs, and Macclesfield were the first ever team to triumph in it, thanks to a 2-0 win against Telford United at Wembley Stadium in front of 28,000 spectators.
It seemed that things were certainly on the up for the club, but unfortunately it was the peak of their triumphs. They soon began a downward spiral that, by 1979, would see them finish bottom of the NPL.
The 1980s saw a period of rebuilding at the club, leading to their first trophy in ten years in April 1983 that came in the form of another Cheshire Senior Cup. This seemed to give them a lift, and they ended up runners-up in the NPL in 1985.
The historic season
After a few years of unrest the club reached aother defining period in their history, the 1986/87 season. Before the season had even kicked off, things were going badly off the pitch. Four members of the team were involved in a horrific car crash and, although they all miraculously survived, the team were suddenly short of a third of their key players.
A team was hastily put together and they refused to accept that their season was all but over before it had even begun, going seven games without defeat at the start of the season, leading them to second place behind Bangor City.
But it wasn’t only in the League that things were going well. Before that title could be decided, they also reached the League Challenge Cup, where John Askey proved his credentials by firing two goals past Burton Albion to take home the trophy. And as if this wasn’t enough, they also got to the final of the President’s Cup, which they memorably won in the dying seconds of extra time, courtesy of another John Askey goal.
But the League was the big one, and in the end it required a win against Hyde United, or otherwise Bangor City would claim the title. Tension was high, but they performed under pressure to win 3-1, propelling them into the Vauxhall Conference and the big time.
More FA Cup success
Macclesfield’s first season in the Conference ended in 11th place which, although far from exciting, was at least respectable. However, it was the FA Cup that propelled the team onto the back pages, as they took part in their most memorable campaign to date.
Qualifying for a first-round match against Carlisle United, they came back from 2-0 down at half time to win 3-2, setting up a second-round tie with Rotherham. This has gone down in Macclesfield folklore as one of their finest hours, as the Third Division team were roundly thrashed 4-0. The third-round trip to Port Vale was full of expectation, but a late goal by Kevin Finney secured the end of the road for Macclesfield.
Two Conference triumphs
The following years were not greatly successful. However, in 1993, Macclesfield were joined by Sammy McIlroy, the former Manchester United player, as manager of the club, and the following season saw one of their most successful campaigns ever.
McIlroy breathed new life into the club, and some great results ensured that on 5th November 1994, they reached the top spot in the table and never looked back. They set a new Conference record of 10 consecutive victories, and McIlroy took four Manager of the Month awards along the way to winning the Vauxhall Conference Trophy.
Unfortunately for Macclesfield, they were denied promotion to the Nationwide Football League because of ground criteria (they lacked a 6,000 capacity with 1,000 seats). Not to be dismayed, however, they came back three years later to take it again, and this time nothing would get in their way to becoming a League side.
All Macclesfield hoped for from their first season in the League was to keep their dignity. However, as they found themselves on top of the table on the third Saturday of the season, hopes began to grow and this only increased as the season progressed.
Macclesfield achieved the incredible. By the end of the season, they had an unbeaten home record of P23 W19 D4 L0, which remains one of the greatest home records from any team in any league. This propelled them to the runners-up spot, and an amazing second consecutive promotion to the heady heights of Division Two.
Up and down
From amazing highs came the inevitable lows, as Macclesfield were relegated the following season for the first time in their illustrious career. Despite a third-round FA Cup tie against Premiership Coventry City, the season was overshadowed by their failure to stay up.
In 1999 McIlroy left to manage Northern Ireland, leaving the team de-motivated. The next five seasons saw a slew of managers come and leave, but they never reached the same heights as under McIlroy. Nevertheless, for the past few years they have cemented their position in the newly-named League Two, awaiting the next success in their long history.
- FA Challenge Trophy Champions: 1969/70, 1995/96
- GM Vauxhall Conference Champions: 1994/95, 1996/97
- Northern Premier League Champions: 1968/69, 1969/70
- Bob Lord Trophy Champions: 1993/94
- NPL Challenge Cup Champions: 1986/87
- Cheshire County League Champions: 1931/32, 1932/33, 1953/54, 1960/61, 1963/64, 1967/68
- CLC Challenge Cup Champions: 1924/25, 1931/32, 1947/48, 1966/67
- Manchester League Champions: 1908/09, 1910/11
- Combination Champions: 1890/91
- Cheshire Senior Cup Champions: 1889/90, 1890/91, 1893/94, 1895/96, 1910/11, 1929/30, 1934/35, 1950/51, 1951/52 (pic), 1953/54, 1959/60, 1963/64, 1968/69, 1970/71, 1972/73, 1982/83, 1990/91, 1991/92, 1997/98, 1999/2000
- Staffordshire Senior Cup Champions: 1993/94, 1996/97
Ticket prices for 2007/08 season
- Adult: £13 / £10 (seated / terrace)
- Under 16s: £5 / £5
- Concessions: £10 / £7
- Adult: £284 / £220
- Under 16s: £50 / £50
- Concessions: £220 / £140
Under 12s are allowed free admittance to all games.
For general information about matches or the club, you can visit the Club Website. Alternatively, you can contact the club through the following methods:
- Macclesfield Town FC
- Moss Road Stadium
- London Road
- SK11 7SP
- Tel: 01625 264686
- Fax: 01625 264692
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
From the North, exit the M6 at Junction 19, then follow the A537 to Macclesfield. The ground can be found about a mile outside of the town on the A523. From the South, exit the M6 at junction 17, follow the A534 and then the A536 to Macclesfield. The Moss Rose is signposted throughout Macclesfield.
From Macclesfield Station, go up Sunderland Street and turn left at the war memorial, carrying up the road for about a mile.