Spiral is a proud Macclesfield company, and at the moment we’re feeling especially proud to be Print Partners of our local football club. Here’s their amazing story. For the full effect, you’ll need to have Phil Collins on in the background singing Against All Odds.
From relegation favourites to champions
Imagine a club that has one of the lowest budgets in its league and starts the new season with just four players. Imagine a club so skint that it fails to pay its players’ wages for a key mid-season month, and has paid no bonuses at any stage.
You’d expect that club to be struggling and the bookies agreed, making Macclesfield Town strong favourites for relegation in August 2017. Instead The Silkmen ended up as National League Champions and will be back in the Football League for the 2018-19 season.
Manager of the year
John Askey is a club (and town) legend, having joined Macc as a player in 1984. He was appointed manager in 2013 as the low cost, readily available option. Years of gradual improvement under his leadership culminated in this season’s triumph, clinched with a televised 2-0 away win at Eastleigh.
Unwanted, unpaid, unbeatable
How did he do it? As John tells it, there was no master plan, just tons of talent and dedication from a bunch of people with points to prove. The players were basically those no other club wanted. And the manager’s assistants were unpaid volunteers, including Irish international goalkeeping legend Shay Given who lives locally.
“There’s just no money there. Off the pitch this is probably the worst it’s been for a long time” says John Askey. “What we have to do every year is wait until players have not been offered contracts elsewhere, because we simply cannot compete financially with other teams. As late as July we only had five players signed. It was just a case of waiting to see what was left… so it’s a completely new squad and you’re just guessing whether it’s going to gel and then hoping to put in a few results and see where it takes us.” This year it took us the title and an open-top bus tour of Macclesfield parading the trophy.
OK, Phil, you can stop singing now.