Sunday, 11 December 2011

Macclesfield Town - Moss Rose

Macclesfield Town FC
Moss Rose
London Road
SK11 7SP

01625 264686

Ground Number: 101
Tuesday 28th December 2004
Macclesfield Town 2-1 Wycombe Wanderers
Coca Cola League 2


The club was established in 1875 as Macclesfield FC initially playing in leagues such as The Combination, the Lancashire Combination and the Manchester League. They joined the Cheshire League (fore-runner to the modern-day North West Counties League) in 1919, leaving in 1968 as they won six titles during their time here. In 1966, they changed their name to Macclesfield Town and two years later would join the Northern Premier League as founder members. They'd win the title in the first season, at that point this was the joint highest-ranked league in non-league football. A second title was won in 1987 and this time, Macclesfield would win promotion to the Conference. They'd generally do well here, only twice finishing in the bottom half and would win the title in 1995 only to miss out on promotion to the Football League due to ground grading. Two years later with the improvements in place, they won the title again and were allowed to take promotion this time. Macclesfield would finish as runners-up to Notts County in their first season to earn promotion to the third tier but would finish bottom of the league during 1998/99 to suffer the first relegation in the club's history. They'd remain in the bottom tier until 2012 when they again finished bottom and were relegated to the Conference. Macclesfield would earn promotion back in 2018 but it's been tough going for the Silkmen since returning, on the field as well as off with them battling financial issues.

The best ever run in the FA Cup came in 2012/13 when the club reached the 4th Round. Marine, Swindon Town, Barrow & Cardiff City were beaten prior to a narrow 1-0 defeat at home to Wigan Athletic. There were no notable runs in the League Cup but Macclesfield Town twice won the FA Trophy, firstly in 1970 beating Telford United 2-1 at Stoke and in 1996 beating Northwich Victoria 3-1 at Wembley.  They also reached the Northern area final of the Football League Trophy, losing over two legs to Carlisle United.  Local cup wins include the NPL Challenge Cup and NPL Presidents Cup (both in 1987), the Cheshire Senior Cup (on 21 occasions) and the Staffordshire Senior Cup (1993 and 1996). The market town of Macclesfield has a population of just under 52,000 and is famous for the silk industry. Famous people from the town include TV's Nick Robinson. Joy Division's Ian Curtis and footballer Peter Crouch.


My first visit to The Moss Rose came at the end of 2004. I travelled up on the official supporters and my only real memory is that we'd recently signed Drewe Broughton on a short-term deal and he took his place in the starting lineup. Looking back at the reports, we didn't appear to play that badly, at least in the second half. Danny Whitaker opened the scoring early on, although Roger Johnson looked to have rescued a point in injury time with a header from a corner but there was a sting in the tail when Alex Navarro popped up with an even later winner to send the Macc fans home happy.

Tragic events would precede Wycombe's next visit to Macclesfield in April 2006. What had initially started as a brilliant season, with Wycombe remaining unbeaten up until a few days before Christmas, would turn sour. A couple of tragic incidents would see the wheels fall off our season. Firstly young player Mark Philo was killed in a car crash in mid-January and then manager John Gorman's wife lost her battle with cancer. As a result, form went to pot and we carried on a poor run of form with a 2-1 defeat, Russell Martin getting our goal near the end. I'd finally see Wycombe win at the Moss Rose later that year, Tommy Mooney and Jermaine Easter getting our goals in a 2-0 win with us now managed by Paul Lambert.

The next couple of paragraphs originally appeared on my now-defunct blog 'Chairboys Forever' which ran for the duration of the 2007-08 season, albeit slightly edited from the original version.

And so to Macclesfield. Home of the best chippy in the world believe me. Absolutely awesome, spot-on, magic whatever you want to call it. Steak Pudding, Chips and gravy done to complete perfection for the utterly reasonable price of £2.60 (10p up on last year!) Beanhead certainly filled his boots. And not just with a generous portion of Scampi and Chips neither. On the journey, he consumed (this is not an exhaustive list) 6 rolls, 4 iced buns, crisps, prawn crackers, other cakes, plums and apples. Plus a big meal waiting for him when he got in. Where that boy puts it all I don't know but it doesn't show on his fairly slim body - it must be the 4 pints soaking it up! A fair few football grounds were visited on the way up too, so I could get pictures

After a pleasant pre-match pint we entered the Moss Rose. What we saw was scrappy at first but eventually, we got control of the game. Scott McGleish scored the first but ended up injuring himself in the process. He has a much better game than his starting strike partner Jermaine Easter who again was quiet. Perhaps we should have had Macclesfield's physio who's healing hands brought Macclesfield's players back to life after they looked like they had been shot down by a sniper in an attempt to win a free-kick. Our second was scored by Reuben Reid who had looked excellent in the reserves in midweek. Again he was lively and looked like he could tear League 2 defences apart. Start him upfront with McGleish please Mr Lambert. I think Sergio changed the game when he came on for the injured Bloomfield. He was his usual creative self and helped put the Macc defence to the sword. That couldn't be said for John Sutton who came on earlier than Reid, despite not looking that good in the reserves. I'm not writing him off just yet, but to use him in front of other, better strikers is madness when he is not on form.

My final visit was in February 2011. I got cheap tickets, thanks to the Sun 'newspaper' which I read then, but know better now and won't touch with a barge pole. The 1-0 win saw a goal by current manager Gareth Ainsworth give us a win, but it was a memorable and hilarious fracas near the end that grabbed the nation's attention


THE MOSS ROSE is a pleasant little venue to watch football at. Away supporters are given an open terrace, although the steps are quite deep, so you should get a good view. Visitors also get part of the stand along the side, which holds 2000 and has good views and a roof. If a small number of away fans come, as in Wycombe's case, the terrace is often closed. The other end is covered, with a terrace at the back and seats at the front. Finally, my favourite stand, a big bold blue stand holding around 650, with open terracing at either side. 

Drink wise, there are a couple of pubs within walking distance of the ground, the Park Tavern being a 20-minute walk away is slightly further, but worth it. The town centre is not too much further than that. There's an excellent chippy - The Mill Lane Chippy on the edge of town which offers great food at reasonable prices.

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