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League Two

Back in the EFL: Macclesfield Town

Ahead of the new season, we’re looking at each of the five clubs back in the EFL for 2018/19

26 July 2018

After six years in the Conference, Macclesfield Town returned to the EFL in style as National League champions.

The Silkmen won 11 and lost just once in their final 15 games of the season to help them repeat the feat of the 1996/97 season – their first promotion to the EFL.

The manager

Mark Yates was confirmed as the Macclesfield Town manager in June, penning a three-year deal following the departure of John Askey to Shrewsbury Town in League One.

Yates, who has had managerial spells at Kidderminster Harriers, Cheltenham Town and Crawley Town, joined from National League side Solihull Moors, where he masterminded their great escape from relegation last campaign.

The Moors were rooted to the bottom of the table with 11 points when Yates was recruited in November, and under his guidance, the club were unbeaten at home for the rest of the season and rocked up a remarkable 43 points in 26 matches.

Yates has taken the reins at Moss Rose with excitement surrounding the club following their trophy-winning campaign. Adding to the feel-good factor, the 48-year-old has hired two Moss Rose legends to his backroom staff in Neil Howarth and Danny Whitaker, who both became assistant managers.

Howarth made over 250 appearances for Macclesfield and captained the Silkmen to two promotions in the 90’s, as well as the FA Trophy. Whitaker, who will continue to play for the Silkmen alongside his coaching duties, is one of Macclesfield’s own, making 400 appearances over two spells and being an influential figure in their EFL return.

The players

Macclesfield Town have had a busy summer of recruitment to help make their mark in England’s fourth tier.

Prior to his departure, Askey signed promising left-back Miles Welch-Hayes from Bath City. Yates’ first signing was 6ft 4in centre-back Jamie Grimes. He was followed by highly rated young talents Ben Stephens, who netted 25 times for Stratford Town last season, Oxford United loanee Fiacre Kelleher and forward Harry Smith.

Defender James Pearson, son of former Leicester City manager Nigel Pearson, has penned a one-year-deal to add further reassurance to the back-line, before goalkeeper Rhys Taylor returned and experienced midfielder Michael Rose signed.

Many of last season’s stars have also renewed contracts at Moss Rose. David Fitzpatrick, Keith Lowe, Tyrone Marsh, Koby Arthur and top scorer Scott Wilson have all agreed new deals, with Callum Evans and Nathan Blissett signing on after successful loan spells since January.

The history

Macclesfield FC, who eventually became known as Macclesfield Town, were formed in 1874 and moved to their current ground – Moss Rose – 17 years later.

However, Macclesfield spent the following 100-plus years in the depths of non-league, eventually making their EFL debut in 1997 after winning the Conference against the odds.

Their time in the Conference began in the 1987, where they expressed their credentials taking scalps of EFL clubs in the FA Cup, including Carlisle United, Rotherham United, Chesterfield and Hartlepool United.

Under the guidance of Sammy McIlroy and skipper Howarth, Macclesfield won the Conference twice and achieved EFL status on the second successful attempt after failing to meet ground criteria on the first.

This became the start of Macclesfield’s 15-year fling in the EFL and, in their first season up, finished runners-up to secure a second successive promotion. That's a feat that the Cheshire outfit will be dreaming of repeating on their EFL return.

The club

Macclesfield Town
Nickname: The Silkmen
Founded: 1874
Ground: Moss Rose
Shirt colours: Blue and navy blue
Last season: 1st – Vanarama National League

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