01 December 2015
The sight of snow in the hills around Macclesfield and the torrential rain at Wrexham reminds us of the struggle it can be for small Clubs to fulfil their winter fixtures. It also took me back to Christmas of 2009 when heavy snow and freezing temperatures threatened to postpone the visit of Crewe Alexandra. With a bumper crowd expected and all the hospitality packages sold out, the Club were facing a substantial loss of income. So an SOS went out from calling for volunteers to help get the ground ready. This is the story of some of those volunteers…
Dario Gradi – Our part in his downfall
(or how 12 hours of hard labour was worth it in the end)
27/12/2009 Match Day -1
It’s 10-00am at the Moss Rose and a mixture of fans, directors and Club staff, wrapped up as best they can against the cold and rain, are squelching their way around the pitch dragging sodden, smelly pitch covers to the sides of the ground, while several more are shovelling off the snow from the covers at the Star Lane end. What lies underneath the covers is not promising. The snow has melted through and the pitch is waterlogged. Surface water is present in lots of places and the corner of the McAlpine and the Silkmen terrace could comfortably home fish. The Chairman seems confident that a bit of forking should sort the problem but we are not so sure. Still, no time for worries as it’s complimentary bacon butty time, during which we discover that there aren’t any forks to do the forking with, other than those in the kitchen which are a bit small.
So it’s off to Homebase. The lady behind the counter raises an eyebrow when we purchase nine garden forks and the other eyebrow when we return two minutes later and buy another five but she’s too British to ask why two blokes might need fourteen garden forks.
Back to the Moss and let the forking begin. At which point it starts pouring down. The forking doesn’t produce miraculous results. Think prodding a sodden bath sponge with a cocktail stick – in a running shower. Still, there’s two water bowsers – rollers covered in sponge which soak up surface water. Except there’s only one because the other one tears up the pitch as it rolls – can’t think offhand of an occasion when that might come in handy. My boots, socks and trousers are also proving excellent at absorbing water but there’s no noticeable improvement on the pitch.
We are expecting to be finished by 1-00pm but the Chairman drops into conversation that some super-duper pitch covers are arriving at 2 o’clock and it would be handy if people were around to help set them out. So after a quick Maccy Ds and a change of socks, it’s back to the Moss Rose.
It’s actually closer to 4 o’clock before the lorry containing the super-duper covers arrives, which gives us a chance to have a good go at the surface water using the bowsers. The corner by the McAlpine however is still a mess. As the lorry reverses into the ground we squelch over to get our instructions.
“Hoo hey hoo hoo hey hoohey” says the man in charge of the covers, Big Davey. We do not understand. Big Davey is from Glasgow and has an accent you could cut with a knife. No-one wants to tell Big Davey that they can’t understand a word he says because Big Davey is really big. So the pitch covering gets underway – the ignorant led by the incomprehensible. The first two covers are unrolled using a large inflatable sausage. As can be expected when people are rolling a large heavy object, at speed, in the dark, on a slippery surface, mishaps occur. People fall flat on their faces, people fly head first over the sausage but no-one is (seriously) hurt.
Meanwhile a small group of people are trying to wrestle the remaining rolled up pitch covers from the lorry. The covers (fresh from the New Meadow, Shrewsbury) are wet, slippery, very heavy and not keen on leaving the lorry. In addition, the floor of the lorry is wet, which means there is no grip. Watching five people on top of a rolled up cover, legs thrashing furiously but going nowhere is like watching a beetle on its back. Eventually brute force and ignorance prevail and the pitch (still waterlogged in places) is protected against the forecast overnight sub-zero temperatures. It is 7.30pm. We are tired, we are frozen, we are soaked, we are going home. 9-00am would be good for tomorrow says the Chairman. We can’t believe the game will be going ahead but the Chairman is quietly confident. Or confidently quiet, it’s hard to tell.
28/12/2009 Match Day 9-30pm…
and everything aches. Still, there are twenty fans waiting expectantly for instructions, and waiting, and still waiting. Eventually we are told to “grit over there”. People set off with a new sense of purpose and some grit. Not only do the terraces have to be made ice free but outside the ground as well - can’t have people coming a cropper before they’ve had a chance to hand over their hard-earned. Before long, it’s time to remove the super-duper covers.
“HOO HEY HOO HOO HEY HOOHEY”. Someone has given Big Davey the PA microphone. Everyone is still confused but now they are deafened as well. The microphone is tactfully returned to the Stadium Control. The covers are just as heavy as yesterday but now they are spread over a huge area as well but under the guidance of Big Davey and his team they are gradually dragged to the side of the pitch. To our relief, the covers have done their job and the pitch seems soft, if a still a bit soggy. Midway through the unveiling, the Referee arrives for a pitch inspection. He seems happy enough but is that because he knows he’s going to get the afternoon off?
If this were Hollywood then the news that the game was on would have been made over the PA by an emotional Chairman, while the workers cheered, threw their sodden gloves in the air and hugged each other. However, this is Macclesfield so the news filtered slowly by word of mouth and, to be frank, was a bit of an anti-climax. After all, we’d spent 12 hours working our nuts off in order for what? To see a Macc Town match. Hell, some of the ones we’d seen this season hadn’t been worth crossing the road for. There was just time for the washed out pitch lines to be re-painted and a little more forking to be done before it was back to base for a sandwich and some more dry socks.
28/12/2009 Match Day 16.55pm
As mentioned, this is Macclesfield not Hollywood but there was a Hollywood ending. Macc won 4-1 with Colin Daniel scoring a 25 yard screamer against his former Club. As we supped a celebratory pint in the McAlpine we gave thanks not just for a great win but, more importantly, that it was the youth team who had to put the covers back on after the game and not us.
24 November 2015
Only a few short months ago a small group of Silkmen fans including PB and PBJ joined forces with the larger than life Andy Scott; local radio legend Nick Wright and the incomparable ‘Sir’ John Askey and Bill Gorton to Support Our Silkmen (SOS for short) at the very friendly and welcoming Pack Horse Bowling Club (a big thumbs up to Barry Street) in looking at ways to make a difference to the club that is such a part of their lives. At this meeting PB was able to speak of his pleasure at having seen his ‘Poole of Silke’ article on Wraggs to Riches encourage an amazing overseas supporter (who wishes to remain anonymous) to provide a fabulous £15,000 donation towards the first team budget and then raise the bar even higher by pledging pound for pound (to a maximum of £10,000) for whatever could be raised by the SOS appeal.
The challenge was there for all to see and Tony Brown, Andy Scott, Nick Wright & PB agreed to become the basis of a working party (led by Tony) that would look at maximising the opportunity that had been afforded to the Silkmen because of the incredible generosity of this fabulous overseas supporter. An ambitious target date of 10th of November 2015 was set (the date of our home game against fierce local rivals Altrincham) and the aptly titled ‘10k dash’ was chosen as the strapline by which we would race to achieve our intended goal.
There was significant representation from the board of the Silkmen Supporters Trust (SST) at the meeting. They generously agreed to continue to provide the absolute essentials of an active bank account / fiscal transparency in order for us to move forward with this venture,; having already agreed to hold the initial £15,000 at very short notice. The SST (via the incomparable Myra Clark; the SST treasurer) also allowed the opportunities for supporters to make their donations by cheque / cash (many thanks to Daniels Solicitors for their support in this) and this helped to supplement the income provided by the Crowdfunder. On behalf of Tony (Brown) and yours truly, PB would like to offer a sincere vote of thanks for the wonderful support of the SST over the past several months.
The next few weeks were a blur as Tony (Brown) helped to set up a Crowdfunder account, promoted the initiative in the local press and on the official and unofficial websites (Wraggs of course!!) and there was also significant support on the website of the SST as well. PB helped in his own way through supportive threads/messages on Wraggs and used the opportunities afforded to him by the PA system to urge the Silkmen faithful during several home games to donate via a number of bucket collections, and they did not let him down. At this time PB offers a mahoosive vote of thanks to the fabulous Claire Morgan, the legend Andy Mellor, and not forgetting Deano Holmes; his significantly better half Bethan Happer and of course Julian (aka Duke) Bramhall for their sterling efforts in encouraging supporters to part with their hard earned cash in the amazingly generous way that they did. PB must also say a big thank you to PBJ and the Silkmen’s very own Victor Meldrew; Mike Clark in helping to count up the monies donated into the buckets, and let me tell those 5p’s are a real pain in the posterior to count I can tell you!!
Other fund raising initiatives have included a raffle and auction to win a VIP meal of four (including the best seats in the house) at a forthcoming game courtesy of Andy Scott & Andy Thomas, another of our fantastic overseas supporters who PB has many good memories of getting behind the lads with at far flung away destinations of yesteryear! PB also thanks Richard Swallow for his awesome support in these initiatives, and could not forget Bernie Rickman (currently deputising for the legendary Moose of Moose Tours) for helping to raise a few quid towards the SOS appeal on the long journey to Portsmouth last week. If PB has forgotten anybody he humbly apologises, but above all he would like to thank you, the fabulous fans of our beloved Silkmen for helping us to reach our intended goal by the end of that magnificent victory against Alty last Tuesday with that ‘against all odds’ mentality that so epitomises everything that is about our beloved Silkmen. This will now ensure that our brilliant anonymous benefactor will provide a further significant financial boost to the first team budget, and help John in his quest towards a return to the elite 92 clubs of the Football League. This is not the end of the SOS appeal, so please keep your eyes peeled for other fundraising initiatives in the weeks & months to come
SILKMEN FANS I SALUTE YOU!!!!
12 October 2015
My name is Molly and my grandparents arranged for me to be a mascot for the game against Kidderminster. Elaine was the person who took me round with two other mascot Oscar and Jim.
Firstly we went to the home dressing room to meet all of the players & get their autographs. I met my two favourites Kristian Dennis & Shwan Jalal. We went to the manager’s office & met John, Efe and Byron. See the picture with Efe.
Then we went to get changed into our Silkmen kit and had a kick about on the pitch. We all went in the tunnel and led the teams out onto the field. After we shook hands with both of the teams, the referee and the referee’s assistants, we went to the centre and had a little bit of a kick around with Paul Turnbull, the team captain.
After all the excitement we got dressed and rushed to see the Silkmen win. After the game I went to Granny’s and was thrilled to see myself on TV having a kick around and leading the teams out.
Many thanks to the lovely Elaine who was very kind and everyone at the Moss for a great time.
18 September 2015
We were really delighted to receive the following articles from Lars-Erik Pederson and Haavard Gulbrandsen and hope we can see them at the Moss Rose next January
It Started With Punk Rock and Beer
Back in 1994 I was bored, this was before the age of internet and just crappy football on the telly and the Norwegian beer was like making love in a canoe, ****ing close to water!
I put on my Joy Division and Macc Lads LPs and found they had their roots in Macclesfield. I wondered if the town had a decent football team as well or at least a football team.
Sammy Mcllroy as manager and Peter Davenport as striker at the age of 75 (judging by the colour of his hair)!
My first letters to Mr. Garlick asking if we could start a Norwegian supporter’s branch was unanswered. By that time I had promoted Macclesfield Town in Norway and we had the amazing amount of 40 members, including a Swede! We sent Mr. Garlick the list of supporters and then we got a reply (he’s still claiming the first two letters was never received).
After our first visit to Macc in 1997 we were hooked for life. One of our members Lars Erik Pedersen even moved to Macclesfield for four years. We have arranged for Norwegian footballers to have trials at Macc (they weren’t good enough). We have been present as club representatives to sign a player. We have trained with first team, organized a pre season tour in Norway and been invited for a free whisky during a board meeting by then Chairman Alan Cash. You wouldn’t get that at a Premiership club!
The Macclesfield Town supporters Scandinavian Branch now has about 30 members from all over Norway and a few in Sweden and Denmark as well. We have a supporter’s club team who compete in the annual supporter’s club tournament in Oslo. A few years back we finished 2nd out of 46 clubs, losing 2-1 to Arsenal in the final. We try to travel to Macc as often as we can. Since most of us now got families and shit, we travel maybe 2-3 times a year.
Three years ago I started the band The Møkk Lads (two Norwegians, one from Macc and one from Otley) as a tribute band to the Macc Lads because of my love for Macclesfield Town. For the last two years we have brought 20+ Norwegians to Macc in January, to watch both Macc Town at The Moss Rose Ground and watch The Møkk Lads play at The Swan With Two Necks. The date for 2016 is Saturday January 23rd.
We have made some fantastic friends in Macc over the last two decades and we continue coming here and visit your fantastic pubs as well! Punk rock, beer, great people, beer, football and more beer - thats why I I I love Macclesfield!
On behalf of the Macclesfield Town Supporters, Scandinavian Branch
20 August 2015
07 August 2015
The S.S.T. would not exist without your support. Please join us and help to make a difference to your football club. You can find the forms that you need to join here.
The Silkmen Supporters’ Trust is committed to the improvement and development of Macclesfield Town FC by working in partnership with the Club, the fans and the community to the mutual benefit of all.
Silkmen Supporters' Trust
c/o Macclesfield Town FC, London Road, SK11 7SP
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