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Silkmen A-Z: Steve Farrelly

1 June 2019

As we continue our look at the Silkmen stars of yesteryear, we feature a popular goalkeeper who made the number one shirt his own during the early 1990s

Born in Manchester in 1965, Steve started his career with Knowsley United but quickly gained the attention of the scouts at Chester City, who were in the Football League at the time. After signing for our Cheshire neighbours, Steve found First Team outings hard to come by and he subsequently headed back to Knowsley before joining Southport.

Steve wasn’t at Haig Avenue long before he caught Peter Wragg's eye and the Macclesfield Town manager had no hesitation in bringing him over to the Moss Rose in early 1991, for the start of what proved to be a memorable five years with The Silkmen.

Steve made his Silkmen debut in a Cheshire Senior Cup Quarter Final tie at Warrington Town on 12th February 1991. A hard fought victory ensued on a freezing cold night, with Steve keeping his first clean sheet of many in a 1-0 win for Wraggy’s Silkmen - setting up a double legged semi-final against old foes Altrincham.

Pretty much an ever-present in the team for the next five years, Steve soon became our first choice 'keeper and gained a formidable reputation as a commanding and agile stopper. 

Perhaps his most memorable appearance came 2 seasons later in a FA Cup First Round replay against Chesterfield on 25 November 1992. Following a scoreless draw against The Spireites at the Moss, Wragg’s Silkmen made the short trip over to Derbyshire for the replay. Full time ended level at two goals a piece and so the fixture was to be decided by the dreaded penalty shoot-out in front of the travelling Macc fans. .

Anyone reading this who was there in 1992 will have what happened next planted firmly in their memory bank!

Steve made three incredible saves in a row to hand the victory to non-league Macclesfield and with it, progression to face local rivals Stockport County in the next round. The result is etched in the history books as the Silkmen became the first non-league side to beat a Football League side on penalties.

Steve made a total of 169 league and 76 cup appearances in goal for the Silkmen after taking the mantle from Alan Zelem. He also has one goal to his name from all those matches and it is a strike that many Macc fans remember fondly twenty-six years on.

The Silkmen were away at Merthyr Tydfil in the GM Vauxhall Conference on 18th December 1993. Stood in his own six yard box, Steve thumped the ball down the pitch. It sailed right over both teams and landed in the back of the net - stunning the 400 or so fans in attendance. The strikers playing on the day perhaps weren’t as impressed - commenting that it was a long way to run back to congratulate him!   

Unfortunately Farrelly's goal wasn’t enough to overturn the two scored by Merthyr, but it certainly gave the Macc fans something to talk about on their drive home across the Welsh border!

Steve helped the Silkmen to two Cheshire Senior Cup titles in 1991 and 1992, with other honours including Conference League Cup and Staffordshire Senior Cup medals in 1994 as well as being a member of the 1995 Conference title-winning side.

In the summer of 1995 Steve made the move to Rotherham who were in League One at the time. Commanding a handsome fee of £40,000, Steve stayed with the Millers for eighteen months but struggled to hold a regular place and moved to Barrow on a free in January 1997. A year with Scunthorpe followed on non contract terms before Steve made his way south to join Kingstonian.

Staying at King George's Field for two and a half years, Steve was their first choice 'keeper until late 2000 when a life-saving operation sidelined him. Initially complaining of some discomfort before an FA Cup game in the November, he had an operation to remove a spinal abscess at the base of his neck.

Leaving Kingstonian in August 2001, Steve spent a year with Farnborough before joining Woking the following summer. Steve only made a handful of appearances for The Cards - one of which was a substitute for another 'keeper who has worn the gloves for Macc in more recent years, Shwan Jalal.

Retiring from football in his late thirties, Steve now lives in the Milton Keynes area and is a Process and Resource Manager. Often cited in fan's all-time favourite squads, Steve made a lasting impression on many a Macc fan with his stunning saves and that one wonder goal on a cold December night in mid Wales.

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