Askey reign has parallels with McIlroy
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