Brackley Town will travel to Macclesfield for their first ever appearance in the second round of the FA Cup this Saturday.
Saints made it to this stage thanks a memorable victory over League One Gillingham at St James Park and Jon Brady’s side will fancy their chances against a Macclesfield side who are a mere 12 league places above Brackley in the football ladder. Here are ten things you need to know ahead of the tie:
1. Izak Reid made 146 football league appearances for Macclesfield Town between 2006 and 2011 before switching to Morecambe and now Brackley Town. This places Reid in Macclesfield’s top ten all-time list for appearances in the football league.
2. In the 19th century Macclesfield was world-renowned for its silk production and hence the Town’s nickname, The Silkmen. While The Blues, The Reds and The Magpies lamely describe their team’s strip, others to match The Silkmen’s more interesting link to local industrial heritage include The Hatters (Luton Town and Stockport County), The Blades, The Cobblers, The Chairboys, The Glovers (Yeovil), The Saddlers (Walsall) and The Shrimpers (Southend United).
3. The Manchester United connection with Macclesfield is strong. Old Trafford legend Sammy McIlroy was manager in the ‘90s for over six seasons lifting the club into the conference and then the football league. Succeeded by Forest and United striker Peter Davenport, McIlroy later managed Morecambe under whom Izak Reid made his debut. Man United and England’s Captain Marvel, Brian Robson, has recently urged supporters to get behind the team in a drive to raise funds to secure the club’s financial future. Robbo’s connection comes from his son’s former association with the club as a youth team player.
4. The Silkmen have played at the Moss Rose in the south of the town since 1891. The official capacity is currently 6,355 with the conference side regularly attracting an average 1400 home gate.
5. Currently in his second spell as manager, John Askey made over 700 appearances for the club as a player over 18 seasons including 171 in the football league. There are many well known names among the ranks of Macclesfield’s former managers. These include Paul Ince (left to join MK Dons), Steve King (Farnborough, Lewes, Northwich Victoria), David Moss (over 200 games as a player with each of Swindon Town and Luton), Ian Brightwell (321 appearances for Man City) and Brian Horton. Asa Hartford had a spell as assistant manager.
6. In 2011 the magazine FourFourTwo voted The Silkmen fans as the best League Two away supporters of the year. What this means nobody quite knows but never turn down a trophy.
7. Reflecting Macclesfield’s North-East Cheshire location, the Silkmen’s local rivals are variously deemed to be Altrincham and more recently Stockport County.
8. Mel Pejic is club physio and played for Stoke City, Wrexham and Hereford. Mel’s older brother Mike made his name as an uncompromising left back at Stoke City, Everton and Aston Villa making 4 appearances for England. Mike currently works on matchdays at the Britannia Stadium with Signal FM and has represented his country in the over 60 category for taekwondo!
9. The FA Cup road may have been long and winding for Saints but it’s been a home romp so far for Macclesfield, who aim to make it three seasons on the trot into the third round. While Saints have contested seven FA Cup ties to reach this point, The Silkmen have disposed comfortably of Vauxhall Motors 7-0 and impressively of Swindon Town 4-0 both at the Moss Rose in front of 956 and 1,835 fans respectively.
10. Saints’ tiny squad has played six fixtures in October and eight in November. In comparison, The Silkmen’s 27-man first team squad turned out five times in October and six times in November in all competitions. Saints also travel to Solihull Moors for a midweek fixture prior to the FA Cup round two tie while Askey’s side rest up for their big day. Could that play a part?