Askey reign has par­al­lels with McIl­roy

Macclesfield Express - - WILDLIFE -

MAC­CLES­FIELD Town have a long and proud history which, above all else, is char­ac­terised by an un­shake­able de­fi­ance of the odds.

There can be no bet­ter ex­am­ple of this than to cast our minds back 20 years, to a match even the most diehard of fans thought they would never see.

As Neil Howarth led the team out for the club’s first game in the Foot­ball League, it not only rep­re­sented the short term suc­cesses of for­mer Man­ager Sammy McIl­roy, but also the cul­mi­na­tion of a col­lec­tive ef­fort which had been started decades be­fore.

There are many par­al­lels be­tween those glory years un­der McIl­roy and how the club has de­vel­oped over the last few sea­sons un­der John Askey – both were ham­pered by strin­gent fi­nan­cial con­straints, both tried to play en­ter­tain­ing foot­ball, and fun­da­men­tally, both achieved suc­cess against all the odds.

Just a few short weeks ago, Mac­cles­field Town’s squad list for the new sea­son con­tained one soli­tary mem­ber, Mitch Han­cox. Yet, the way in which Askey has re­built his team is not only tes­ta­ment to his own phi­los­o­phy and be­liefs, but also to those of the club in general. Para­mount to the re­struc­tur­ing has been the no­tion that a player’s char­ac­ter is of in­fin­itely more im­por­tance than his abil­ity – some­thing which was no doubt drilled in to him by McIl­roy two decades ago.

With the new sea­son now im­mi­nently upon us, Askey’s squad list not only looks health­ier in num­ber but also elic­its a sig­nif­i­cant amount of op­ti­mism amongst the Moss Rose faith­ful.

The reac­qui­si­tion of Sh­wan Jalal from Wrex­ham could well reap div­i­dends come the end of April, while the de­fence is also bol­stered with the ex­pe­ri­enced Keith Lowe and Jared Hodgkiss - both of whom look class acts at Na­tional League level.

In ad­di­tion to this, Askey’s new look mid­field has the po­ten­tial to be the envy of all our ri­vals with the tena­cious Court­ney Richards and Danny Whit­taker per­fectly com­pli­mented by the speed and cre­ativ­ity of Ryan Lloyd and El­liott Dur­rell.

Lead­ing the line will be the ex­cit­ing Scott Wil­son and Ty­rone Marsh, to­gether with some wel­come French flair in the shape of Gime Toure, who has the po­ten­tial to put any de­fence to the sword.

Al­though we must re­mem­ber and pay trib­ute to the he­roes of twenty years ago, now is the per­fect time for new he­roes to emerge.

It is time for a new Ryan Price, Neil Howarth, Steve Wood and Phil Power to etch their names in to the history books, and there is no rea­son why this can’t hap­pen over the next nine en­cap­su­lat­ing months.

Com­men­ta­tors reg­u­larly as­sert that Macc are ‘punch­ing above their weight’, yet what they fail to un­der­stand is that we al­ways have done, and have done so due to the fact that what we lack in funds we more than make up for in de­ter­mi­na­tion. There is a grow­ing feel­ing that a new dawn is break­ing at the Moss Rose, and a new epic fairy tale is about to be writ­ten.

We all have our part to play in how that story un­folds and whether you are a player, of­fi­cial or sup­porter we are all in this to­gether – just like we were 20 years ago.

Sammy McIl­roy cel­e­brates pro­mo­tion

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