Robert Smethurst, a local businessman, has today confirmed his recent purchase of the assets of Macclesfield Town Football Club ltd.
Born and bred in Macclesfield and a former pupil of Fallibroome High School, Mr Smethurst has extensive football and commercial experience, running his own successful businesses for the last 20 years.
Rob states "This is an extremely exciting opportunity to rebuild a historic Football Club for Macclesfield and the surrounding areas and Iwant to ensure that we bring the footballing heartbeat back into the local community; combined with a firm financial business plan and with consideration for the fans. My vision over the coming months and years is to rebuild the Club, pitch & stadium facilities and re-invest the income generated from that back into creating a first team and into the Club overall. If we can move a new team into the North West Counties Football League next season, we'll have achieved one of our main goals. Over the coming years, our main aim is to move up through the leagues. I am passionate about building a secure business model and strong commercial foundation so the past issues the Club has experienced will not happen again.
He continues "My plans include changing the current pitch to 4G to ensure it is utilised as much as possible by local teams, schools and community sports events; adding a gym, creating classrooms for BTEC and other college courses and re-vamping the bars and hospitality/conference suites, but the key focus is and will always continue to be football, the fans and the community.Without the support of the fans, the associated ticket sales and hospitality; the Club will find it hard to progress through any leagues despite any financial backing it receives.
I'm very much aware of the deep feelings towards the Club and I will work closely with the Silkmen Supporters Trust and other interested parties to ensure they understand my commitment to the Club and its long-term future. The Club will maintain the historic brand and logo albeit under the new name of Macclesfield FC.
Building a strong first team is also paramount and I'mvery happy to announce that Danny Whitaker has agreed to join us as first team Manager. Danny has a wealth of experience and says ''I'm absolutely thrilled to be given this opportunity at Macclesfield FC. It is one of the proudest moments in my career to date and it is an absolute privilege.
I'd like to thank the new owner and the Board for putting their faith in me. Iwas so enthused by their vision for the Club, and their commitment to building a strong first team.It is a Club that is so close to my and my family's heart, and Ican't wait to get started in this exciting new era for the Club"
Rob continues "I'll ensure Ihave the right calibre of staff throughout the organisation and I've created a new Executive Board to ensure the right levels of planning & budgets are achieved and sustainable for the club and players. The new Board consists of myself, Carlos Roca - founder of Pro Football Academy, Robbie Savage - ex-footballer and TV/Radio pundit, Andy Scott - ex Vice Chairman, Jon Smart - Former Silkmen Supporters Trust Chairman & current SST Board member and Lindsay Brown an experienced Commercial Operations Manager.
I will also be creating Club Ambassador positions for individuals who have a passion,knowledge and understanding of both the Club and the Town, and am delighted that Nick Bianchi, Director at Arighi Bianchi, has agreed to be a Club Ambassador for the new Macclesfield FC".
Carlos Roca adds "Following the request to come on board as Director of Football for the Macclesfield Football Club revival, I'm absolutely delighted to step up to the challenge alongside my business partner, Rob Smethurst.
I have a wealth of experience in first team football having come through the professional academy system myself, playing as a professional and semi- professional footballer for many years. Ieven made an appearance at the Moss Rose! After my career concluded, I pursued my coaching badges and subsequently founded a very successful Football Academy, to bridge the gap between grass roots and professional football and to develop young aspiring players.
I'm extremely excited to get to work and start rebuilding the new football structure for Macclesfield Football Club; creating a special football identity and philosophy to bring back attractive and exciting football to Macclesfield. My priority will be assembling the football management team for the rebirth of Macclesfield as a Club, which will quickly follow with preparations for building the first team playing squad for the 2021/2022 Season.
I've worked with a great network of contacts who will aid me in building a great team and Iplan to implement a full development pathway and create opportunities to produce home grown players from the local area. I'm determined to lay down the appropriate foundations to revive football for Macclesfield".
Robbie Savage commented "I was devastated to see what happened here at Macclesfield. A Club steeped in history and worth more than any value in money to locals. Iam privileged to be asked by the new owner to take up a role as Head of Football from the first team to grassroots and was genuinely surprised to get a call as Ihad no idea that Rob was looking to purchase the Club until we spoke and he asked if Iwas interested to bring an extra dimension to his ambitions.
I live within a stone's throw from the ground and have integral links to the Club as a local grassroots coach, a father who brings his sons here to spectate and a foot balling professional who campaigns and lobbies for lower tier Football Clubs, who are the foundation of the game. In my retirement from playing, Ihave found a love for seeing kids develop and the satisfaction Iget from that cannot be rivalled
- so the role I have been asked to take up seems to be a perfect fit for me.
This is a Football Club that collapsed and has been resuscitated. But its more than that, it's about being something at the centre of a community that can create local jobs, bring social interaction and providing renewed hope for a local economy of associated local businesses who will benefit as a result - the suppliers of food, drinks, kit etc. And extremely important - the provision of a first-class sporting facility for local schools to use for sports development. If this was about money - rest assured, Iwouldn't have become involved".
Andy Scott, the Ex Macclesfield Town Vice Chairman agrees, "Here we are at a new dawn for our Football Club. Only two weeks ago Igenuinely feared for the Clubs future, we were in a perilous position. Iwould like to thank Rob Smethurst for inviting me on board to be part of the restructure and rebuild of our Football Club, and to establish the SILKMEN once again as a major player in non-league football and beyond.
We have no divine right to waltz our way up the non-league pyramid, we need to be patient, supportive and stick together, we "will" rediscover the true SILKMEN family spirit and enjoy the journey together. My father took me to my first game at the Moss Rose in 1964 and Iwas hooked. Ihave been privileged to wear the royal blue shirt back in the 70's and served on the Board.
We owe it to future generations to provide a legacy and rebuild the Macclesfield Town institution for people to enjoy and cherish for years to come". Our Football Club has given us all so many special memories, laughter and tears over the years. We must support Mr Smethurst and help take our wonderful Football Club forward for the community to embrace and enjoy".
"As someone who's worked with Rob in several of his businesses, I'mdelighted to be a part ofthe Board & the new Club says Lindsay Brown, Rob's commercial acumen and drive is second to none".
Jon Smart from the Silkmen Supporters Trust sums up with "I started watching Macclesfield Town Football Club in the mid-1980s and it has been a massive part of my life for the past 30 years Ibecame the regular reporter on local radio in the mid to late 2000s and have continued to report every week during the football season since then,priding myself on attending games whenever Ipossibly can.
Like you all Iwas devastated by the recent relegation from League 2 and the subsequent liquidation of 'Our Club'. But now is about the future, and whilst we should always celebrate our past and our illustrious history, which for a small town team we have had some incredible 'Against All Odds' successes, we must now look to our future and how we can work our way back to where we feel we should be.
Iam privileged and honoured to have been asked by our new owner, Rob, to become involved in the renaissance of our Football Club and will do alii can to help us on our journey.
We have some fantastic people who love our Club and my goal is to make everyone feel welcome, included and have the desire to join us on the voyage back to where we should be. Iwill always be approachable and welcome your input, involvement and help in achieving our goal.
The journey may not be starting where we would like it to but let's have some fun, and let's enjoy it .... together!"
If you would like more information about this release, please call Lindsay Brown on
07970 411960, or email email@example.com
Further Updates and Reports
An Further Update on the Present Situation
11th May 2020
I write to you as Chairperson of the Silkmen Supporters Trust (SST) to provide you with a brief update that I sincerely hope that you find helpful.
Like many of you Silkmen brethren, my colleagues and I on the SST board were so disappointed and dismayed by the recent seven points deduction that we received following the outcome of the decision by an Independent Disciplinary Commission following further breaches of English Football League (EFL) regulations.
We were extremely concerned by the rather damning evidence of negligence regarding health and safety testing, and that ‘MTFC appears to have demonstrated that it does not have the finance or the sound financial management to meet its most basic obligations.’
Over the course of the last few months, the SST board have demonstrated consummate professionalism in their dealings with the EFL, both in face to face discussions and written correspondence. We have consistently highlighted our concerns not only about the way in which Mr. AlKadhi has been managing the finances of our beloved club; but his blatant disregard towards the fantastic playing and non-playing staff of Macclesfield Town Football Club (MTFC) who have had to endure extraordinary stressors on their health and wellbeing.
Most recently the following correspondence was sent to Mark Rowan and Andy Pomfret from the EFL on the 9th April 2020:
From: Andy Worth
Sent: Thursday, April 9, 2020 5:25 PM
To: Mark Rowan
Subject: Response from the Silkmen Supporters Trust
I write to you on behalf of the Silkmen Supporters Trust (SST) board, and would firstly like to take this opportunity to thank you for your response on April 2nd 2020 to our email dated March 20th 2020, whilst recognising that there are so many challenges faced by the English Football League (EFL) and their members including Macclesfield Town Football Club (MTFC) during these unparalleled and very difficult times.
We the SST board have now been approached by a number of the employees at the club who are naturally very anxious about their financial and emotional plight during these exceptional times. They were already very concerned about their futures prior to the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, and have advised us that they have NOT had any recent communication from the majority shareholder of MTFC Amar AlKadhi that could help to allay their fears.
Our concern is that Mr. AlKadhi is providing NO leadership whilst appearing to blame creditors (and the EFL rules) for the lack of payments, and our attempts to gain further information from Mr. AlKadhi have thus far elicited vague and unhelpful responses.
We genuinely believe that the decision by the EFL to provide an advance of the basic award when the fixtures were suspended would be of enormous assistance to the wellbeing of the employees of MTFC and indeed the very future of MTFC. In view of recent press reports and a lack of clarity and depth of information from the club, we would be most grateful for your answers to the following questions:
1. Has the basic advance award (which we understand to be in the region of £164000) been paid to the club? If this is not the case what was the rationale for NOT providing the advance to MTFC? If the advance award has been already been provided, we would be grateful if you could ensure that the aforementioned monies are utilised to support MTFC employees in addition to paying for basic health and safety issues relating to MTFC. We are sure that you can appreciate that such an approach would resonate far more soundly with supporters as opposed to paying multi-millionaire creditors during these difficult times.
2. Could you please let us know if the EFL have provided guidance surrounding Her Majesty’s Government ‘Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme’ (in particular surrounding the furlough scheme) to the 71 clubs within the framework of your organisation? It would also be most helpful for us in any future discussions with Mr. AlKadhi to know how many of your members have taken advantage of the scheme. At the time of this email to you, we have NOT received clarification from Mr. AlKadhi as to whether he has even applied to the UK Government regarding aforementioned scheme; an approach which we fervently believe would be of tremendous benefit to many employees of MTFC during this period.
3. Could you please provide us with an indication as to when the EFL last reviewed the accounts of MTFC, and if you have seen the managerial accounts / cash flows over the course of the past two years?
We are sure that you can appreciate the angst of a significant number of Silkmen supporters regarding the future of our club that is driven by two major factors. The first of these relates to the ongoing concerns of supporters regarding Mr. AlKadhi’s stewardship of our club; someone who we believe appears hellbent on holding onto his majority shareholding whilst lacking the financial resources, acumen, integrity and motivation to effectively steer the club towards the stable and healthy future that it could so easily have with sensible and prudent management.
The second factor relates to the perceived lack of leadership and pragmatic support from the EFL that has led many Silkmen supporters to feel as if we have been abandoned, or at best treated with indifference by the EFL. We recognise that we are currently living in an unprecedented period in history, but it must NOT be forgotten that the stewardship of our club has been causing significant concern for at least two years now.
The possibility of a phoenix club rising from the ashes has been on the lips of many Silkmen supporters in recent weeks. This is something that we believe could easily be avoided if the EFL demonstrate the sort of leadership that would prevent the very real possibility of not only our beloved Silkmen, but many of other clubs within the umbrella of your organisation heading into oblivion.
I look forward to your prompt and detailed response.
Chairperson of the Silkmen Supporters Trust
As a consequence of this email, we did initially receive acknowledgment of our email and that we would be receiving a response to our questions in the near future. On the 7th May 2020 at 12.02 p.m. (which was around one hour AFTER we had received information regarding the seven points deduction), I did receive an email from Mark Rowan and the context of his response was as follows:
I subsequently shared the email from Mark Rowan with my SST board colleagues and I am sure that you will NOT be surprised to learn that their response to this email was a mixture of indignation and dismay.
Concerns were expressed that whilst the independent disciplinary commission appeared to recognise that the actions of majority shareholder Mr. AlKadhi were bringing MTFC into disrepute again and again, this does not appear to have been as clearly recognised and articulated by the EFL.
The SST board will be holding a Zoom meeting on the evening of Monday 11th May 2020 to discuss the context of the report and a more detailed response to the EFL, and then facilitate the development of an action plan that we hope to safeguard the future of our beloved club.
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 FC by working in partnership with the Club, the fans and the community to the mutual benefit of all.
Silkmen Supporters' Trust
c/o SST Secretary
3 Lincoln Place
If you have ideas about fundraising for SST, projects that SST could get involved in or suggestions for the website please contact SST via our Contact page
Member of the Football Supporters Association