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Macclesfield criticised for ‘splashing the cash’ after announcing new signings

Macclesfield have been criticised for ‘splashing the cash’ after announcing their recent new signings ahead of the 2022/23 season.

The Silkmen will be played in the Northern Premier League Division One West, but again they will no doubt be plotting a second successive promotion as their rise back to the EFL is in full swing.

They are a phoenix club of the former Macclesfield Town, which was wound-up after a High Court ruling on the 16th of September 2020. The club began their first competitive season in the North West Counties Premier Division, the fifth step of the National League system, in August 2021.

Town was liquidated and expelled from the National League in 2020 because of debts of over £500,000 with assets were put up for sale, including the Moss Rose stadium on the Rightmove property website.

In October 2020, the stadium and all available assets were purchased by Robert Smethurst, the owner of Stockport Town, with the aim of returning professional football to Macclesfield by creating the phoenix club as Macclesfield, with Smethurst then appointing Robbie Savage as a member of the board for the new phoenix club with Danny Whitaker as manager.

He also invested in upgrading the stadium to improve the commercial viability of the new club.

In May 2021, it was announced that Macclesfield would be placed in the NWCFL Premier Division for their first season. Savage announced that the club would be joining with his foundation to offer free tickets to foundation participants to encourage youth attendance at the club’s matches. Macclesfield entered the FA Vase for the first time in 2021–22.

On the 31st of July 2021 Macclesfield played their first competitive match, a 1–0 victory at home against Burscough in the NWCFL Premier Division played in front of a restricted capacity sell-out crowd of 2,018; Leon Arnasalam scored the only goal.

The club’s first away game was on the 3rd August, a 4–4 draw at Winsford United, also in the NWCFL Premier Division, with Tom Clare scoring all four Macclesfield goals. Then on the 7th of August Macclesfield played their first FA Cup match, beating Burscough 4–0 in the Extra Preliminary Round, but were subsequently knocked out of the FA Cup in the Preliminary Round losing 6–4 at Squires Gate.

On the 30th of August, Macclesfield defeated local rivals Congleton Town 1–0 in the NWCFL Premier Division in front of a record crowd of 3,502, James Berry-McNally scoring the only goal. The match was suspended for several minutes late in the second half due to crowd trouble. It was the first time the neighbouring towns had met in a league match since the 1964–65 season.

On the 11th of September, Macclesfield played in the FA Vase for the first time, losing 3–2 at Northern Counties East League Premier Division side Winterton Rangers in the First Qualifying Round.

Despite a relatively poor run of form at the start of the new year (L2, D1, W2 in January), a run of ten consecutive wins followed, in which 37 goals were scored and only four conceded. On the 12th of March 2022, Macclesfield won the North West Counties Premier Division title and promotion to the NPL Division One West after a 4–0 win against Ashton Athletic, becoming the first club in England’s top nine tiers in 2022 to guarantee promotion. Macclesfield finished their league campaign on the 2nd of April, 15 points clear of second-placed Skelmersdale United.

The summer of 2022 has seen them boost their squad with many new signings and contract renewals, including the likes of Zeki Fryers, Neil Kengni, Harry Bower, Nathan Pennington, Brandon Newell and latest new boy Alex Curran, with another new player expected to come in on loan with EFL experience later.

On Alex Curran, Macclesfield said via their website: “Macclesfield FC are delighted to announce the signing of attacking midfielder Alex Curran, who joins the Club from Vanarama National League North side Curzon Ashton for an undisclosed fee.

“The 23-year-old signed a two-year contract with the Club earlier today and this will keep him at the Leasing.com Stadium until the end of the 2023/24 campaign.

“Alex began his career at Blackburn Rovers and after progressing through the youth ranks, moved to Colne where he scored 18 goals and provided 13 assists during the 2018/19 season.

“After a two-year spell at Stockport County that included a loan move to FC United of Manchester, Alex made the move to Curzon Ashton last summer where he made 44 appearances for The Nash – scoring 13 goals.

“Alex is a powerful, pacey midfielder who provides a potent attacking threat – both in terms of goals and assists.

“We would like to welcome Alex to the Club and will be sitting down with him to discuss the move shortly.

“In addition, we would like to thank Kiko Rodriguez from DRN Sports Management for his help in securing this transfer.”

Interviewer: Well, it’s welcome to Macclesfield, because it’s been a bit of mad 24, 48 hours for you.

Curran: Yeah, it has. I think I first initially had the interest on, I think, Friday, Saturday, and as soon as I heard it, I wanted to come and speak to, obviously the last year Sav, Jimmy and Whits and then come look down today and everything about it is brilliant.

Interviewer: Was it a difficult decision for you to move from Curzon? Because you’re certainly well respected, aren’t you?

Curran: Yeah, well, I enjoyed every minute of cursing. I got on with everyone there really well. I had a good season at that level, so a lot of people have said it’s a risky move, but for me I don’t think it is. I think if I come in and play well and then hopefully climb the leagues with Macclesfield.

Interviewer: What attracted you most?

Curran: I think it was just well, I think when I spoke to Robbie and Jimmy over the phone, they tried to sell the club to me, but I’ve watched the documentary beforehand and everything about it was just brilliant.

Interviewer: And what do you think you can bring to the squad here in Macclesfield?

Curran: I think the type of player I am, I like to pickup the ball in good pockets of space, getting the ball and a half turn, slide plays in, pick up some goals.

Interviewer: We know that you’re a confidence based player, but to what extent is moving to Macclesfield allow you to take the next step in your own career?

Curran: I just think it allows me to come, hopefully play games, enjoy my football again, play in front of three, 4000 or whatever it is, a week, which I can’t wait for.

Interviewer: So for your career, can you give us a brief rundown on what you think for the maximum?

Curran: Yes. I was at Blackburn, I did my scholarship at Blackburn. From there I got released and then I just fell out of love with all of it, so I signed for Colne, my brilliant two years there, got bought by Stockport, did two years there, FC United on loan and then just done two years at Curzon.

Interviewer: The preseason just seven days away, of course, because it’s perfect timing.Time here at Mac.

Curran: Yes, a week away. I like to think I’ve worked quite hard in the off season this year, so hopefully it pays off and we’re back in next week.

Interviewer: And just finally, what do you hope to achieve here, both on individual and a collective panel?

Curran: Individually, I’ve set myself a target. I want 20 goals this season and hopefully we’ll win the league.

Interviewer: I can honestly say, mate, whenever we ask about targets, you’re the first person put a number, so fair play, no pressing out.

Curran: I know that’s it that’s my target and I’ve been offered, honestly don’t know about that. And I’ve played in this league before and I managed to do that twice before, so hopefully this season is no difference that’s a lot.


Elliot Cooper
Nathan Pennington

Brandon Lee
Jacob Hanson
Lewis Fensome
Oliver Ryan
Zeki Fryers

Abdul Djalo
Alex Curran
Alex Kiwomya
Brandon Newell
Danny Whitaker
Harry Bowers
Laurent Mendy
Mark Duffy
Max Bardsley-Rowe
Mosopefoluwa Aderinto
Neil Danns
Sam Grimshaw

Andy Owens
Bobbie McDonnell
Harry Freedman
James Berry
Neil Kengni
Tom Clare
Tre Pemberton
Tyler James

Twitter users reacted with Macclesfield criticised for ‘splashing the cash’ after announcing new signings while others were thrilled with the incoming player…

@Stef1885: Jesus h Christ, how are the fans of a club that went bang not questioning where the finances are coming from to sign players of this calibre, they aren’t moving to macc for the project, there moving there for one thing and one thing only 💰, wake up and start asking questions.

@UpTheSilkmen: We’re making profit.

@Stef1885: You won’t be for much longer with the salaries your paying out to these players.

@UpTheSilkmen: 4k attendances, £40 a month gym with 300 members, a bar/restaurant that is busy most nights, pitch rented out every night. What you want us to do with the money ????

@walmsley_steven: That’s ridiculous… budget must be huge … wonder which person/persons is bankrolling this

@ScottyWalden: There’s no wonder, there was a documentary about the club last year. They spent a lot just getting the club going, including a 3G pitch. They are being bankrolled back up the system, but they also get large crowds…

@jakedeepee: Unreal signing for the level.

@CSLarkin1990: Very good signing for the Silkmen that, no doubt he’d have been a solid part of the County squad had he not suffered that horrific injury whilst out on loan, seems to be some controversy over the price but if the owners are willing to pay it and can afford it, fair play to them.

@JackJeffries18: Salford esc

@daniel14f1: A lot of jealous people on here

@rh0de5: Jesus, good luck to him. Should really be pissing that league. Pressure is on!

@JoshMcCluskey8: Splashing the 💸💸💸 again, must be hard having the 5th biggest budget-

@xclaireninax: Must be harder being bitter and jealous

@Dan_1160: An undisclosed fee rumoured to be 70k at there level 🥴🥴 going the same way again

@ecfc32: £70,000 in the 8th tier… it’s like they want it to happen again 😂😭

@RbKeepers: Don’t see the issue me if they have got the money spend it and try get up the leagues as quick as possible. Money doesn’t always buy success but it helps 🤷🏾‍♂️

@AndrewSlaughte1: Seeing some of the comments on this about money make me laugh, if any of our teams had money to spend on players fee’s or wages we wouldn’t turn our noses up! Good luck to Alex and @thesilkmen. I am sure the owners of the club know what they are doing

@silkmenarmy: Clearly miles too good for this level. A real contender for Player of the Season. Bolster the defence now and we’re sound.👌🔵⚪️

@12knellj: I really like Macclesfield but they are taking the piss now. I know they are going full time but they are a step lower than brig. It’s like Bolton going for Zaha. Alex will smash it there but he deserves to go a league 2/national league team and not northern Premier west division

@PeterTaylorSI: Alarm bells ringing.

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