Su­per Mac’s back

Sammy’s ready for a friendly grilling in the suite that bears his name

Macclesfield Express - - BUSINESS -

ONE of the Silk­men’s favourites sons is re­turn­ing to the club next month, and he’s promis­ing an evening of fond mem­o­ries, frank speak­ing and forth­right views.

Sammy McIlroy earned leg­endary sta­trus at the Moss Rose dur­ing Mac­cles­field’s golden era, with two Con­fer­ence ti­tles and an FA Trophy suc­cess in less than seven sea­sons.

The for­mer Manch­ester United star will be back in the spot­light for the club’s ‘McIlroy in the McIlroy’ event on Novem­ber 6, in the suite that still bears his name, fol­low­ing a brief name change that he ad­mits hurt a lit­tle.

“I’m look­ing for­ward to the night, I re­ally am,” he told the Ex­press. “It’s a place I re­ally en­joyed work­ing and I had some great times there.

“With Gil (Prescott), Peter (Daven­port) and Mark (Lil­lis) we got the club into the league for the first time, it was a fan­tas­tic achieve­ment and one I’m re­ally proud of.

“After a few years of miss­ing out it was won­der­ful to fi­nally make it.

“We had a great set of play­ers, char­ac­ters with a never-say-die at­ti­tude. It wasn’t easy for some of

I rarely get back th­ese days but it’s a spe­cial place to me.

them to give up their nineto-five jobs when we went up but they were re­warded, and de­servedly so, when we got that sec­ond pro­mo­tion.

“It was with­out a doubt one of my hap­pi­est times in man­age­ment. Arthur Jones (then-chair­man) put so much into it and he sup­ported me all the way, I had a great rap­port with him.

“When we got there in the end it was fan­tas­tic, es­pe­cially after we’d suf­fered in the pre­vi­ous years.

“That made it more spe­cial when we did it.”

The ge­nial North­ern Ir­ish­man, who left Macc to take over as coach of his coun­try’s na­tional team, will be joined by MC Al­lan Sher­ratt, co­me­dian John Stiles – the son of World Cup win­ner Nobby – Phil Power, who’s now go­ing great guns as Sal­ford City boss, and Macc’s cur­rent man­age­ment team, John Askey and Efe Sodje.

And of the job his for­mer charges are do­ing at the Moss Rose, McIlroy ad­mits he’s been pleas­antly sur­prised as well as hugely im­pressed.

“What they’re do­ing on a shoestring bud­get is fan­tas­tic, with­out a doubt, they’re do­ing a great job,” he con­tin­ued.

“Ob­vi­ously they don’t have a lot to work with so loan deals are the best they can do but they’ve made a great start, I hope they can carry that on.

“I hon­estly couldn’t see John go­ing into man­age­ment when I was there, he’s very laid-back, but then he’s a great com­peti­tor – and he’s Macc through and through.

“And I signed Efe, he’s another that the club means so much to. It’s so good to see them tak­ing charge and mak­ing a good fist of it

“I al­ways look for their re­sults, that’ll never change. The Con­fer­ence is a tough league to get out of and I just hope they can stay free of in­juries and keep the pace. I haven’t seen that much of them, I rarely get back th­ese days but it’s a spe­cial place to me.”

As for the bar­rage of ques­tions he’s ex­pect­ing to be fac­ing on the night, McIlroy is promis­ing open­ness on any topic he’s pressed on. “I’m not that fussy, what­ever peo­ple want to ask me is fine,” he added. “I’ll an­swer any­thing that’s put to me.

“It should be a nice evening, it’s al­ways good to see the fans who sup­ported us at that time and see what they’ve got to say too. It should be en­ter­tain­ing any­way.”

TICK­ETS for ‘McIlroy in the McIlroy’ are still avail­able (priced at £50 per head), and can be booked in­di­vid­u­ally or as a ta­ble. Ques­tions for Sammy Mac should be sub­mit­ted in ad­vance. Visit mtfc.co.uk for de­tails.

Howard Walker

●● Sammy McIlroy cel­e­brates pro­mo­tion to the Sec­ond Di­vi­sion with Macc (above) and made a re­turn as a player in a Leg­ends match (be­low)

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