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Silkmen A-Z: Darren Tinson

24 June 2019

We continue our look back at the Silkmen stars of yesteryear, by featuring an iconic defender who played a crucial role in the most successful period of our history.

Darren started his footballing career quite late in comparison to many other professionals, joining Colwyn Bay at the age of 21. Travelling thirty miles down the road from his hometown of Connah’s Quay, he joined The Seagulls back in 1990 and remained in North Wales for a total of three years.

At which point, the commanding defender was picked up by Northwick Victoria who were well-respected members of the Vauxhall Conference at the time. Darren notched up almost one hundred appearances for The Vics, before his authoritative performances caught the eye of Sammy McIlroy.

Sammy saw something magical in the 27 year old and secured his services for a fee of £10,000 - which would undeniably prove to be an incredibly shrewd acquisition.

Darren made his Silkmen debut on 17th February 1996, although the match was sadly nothing to write home about as we suffered a 1 - 0 loss against Bromsgrove Rovers.

Yet, what it did elicit was the start of a love affair between the Silkmen faithful and a player affectionately known as "Tarzan".

Quickly winning over the fans with his tough tackling and unquestionable tenacity, Darren played a crucial role in the glorious Silkmen side who defied all the odds to secure consecutive promotions in the late 1990s.

During our historic championship winning season of 1996-97, Darren prominently led the defensive line alongside the likes of Cec Edey, Steve Payne, Neil Howarth and Mark Bradshaw - with each one of these being Silkmen legends in their own right.

As well as offering a solid presence in the heart our defence, Darren was also employed at right-back on occasion and forged an effective partnership with John Askey as a result.

Scoring his first goal for the club in the 1-0 away win at Staybridge Celtic, there is no doubt that Darren richly deserved his championship winners medal as he became an iconic figure within our history in the process.

Darren acclimatised to life in the Football League with ease, helping the Silkmen march on to a second successful promotion in our inaugural season. As part of this he played a crucial part in Sammy McIlroy's side going the entire season undefeated at the Moss Rose and boasting one of the meanest defences in the land.

The 1998/99 season saw the club compete against the likes of Fulham, Stoke City, Wigan Athletic and of course, Manchester City. Despite coming up against some of the biggest names in English football, Darren's commanding performances never wavered and although our ascension into the third tier was ultimately to prove too much for Sammy's heroes, he continued to lead the backline with conviction and defiance.

It was to be a step too far however and alongside us all, Darren suffered heartbreaking relegation back to Division Three in 1999. He subsequently took over the captaincy from Gregor Rioch in the season that followed, registering his hundredth Football League appearance for the club - which was a first for any Macclesfield Town player at the time. The club marked this huge achievement with a special presentation and Darren capped off another fine season with his first-ever league goal at Halifax Town.

Moving back to his preferred position of centre-half for the 2000-01 season, Darren continued to have a domineering effect on the defence and was rightly voted as the club's Player of the Year at the end of the campaign.

In total Darren made over two hundred and fifty appearances for The Silkmen. Impressively, he still holds the record for the most appearances for the club in the Football League and what’s more, every one of those appearances was from a starting position - demonstrating how valuable he was to the team for so many years.

After seven years of mesmerising service to the Silkmen, Darren was released by David Moss in the summer of 2003 - signing for Shrewsbury Town shortly after on a free transfer. Slotting effortlessly into the team, he helped The Shrews win promotion to the third tier during his two year stay at Gay Meadow.

Darren then joined Burton Albion in August 2005 at the age of 36. Whereas most players would be well into retirement by that stage, Darren had one more footballing fairytale up his sleeve.

Having battled through to the Third Round of the FA Cup, Burton were handed a dream draw as they faced Manchester United at the Pirelli Stadium. Fighting for every ball, The Brewers earned themselves an historic replay after holding the eleven times FA Cup winners to a goalless draw. Darren was crucial in earning the return fixture, forming a formidable partnership with Ryan Austin repelled each and every attack that Sir Alex Ferguson's side could muster.

The replay did not yield the ending that many hoped for however, with Burton bowing out of the cup after a 5 - 0 defeat at the Theatre of Dreams. However, Darren later mused that despite the result, he had fulfilled a boyhood dream to play at Old Trafford - something which most professionals never get the chance to experience.

Darren left Burton the following season and headed to our Cheshire rivals Altrincham. Captaining the Robins in his single season at Moss Lane, he then elected to join former Northwich defender Steve Davis over at near neighbours Nantwich Town who were then competing in the Northern Premier League. Accumulating almost fifty appearances at the Weaver Stadium, Darren then became Joint-Manager in 2010.

Following a glittering career, Darren officially retired from the game in 2012 - at the impressive age of 43. He had already thinking about his post-football career however, having started a degree in Physiotherapy at Salford University back in 2006. After hanging up his boots, Darren began to work his way up in the NHS as a qualified Physiotherapist.

Chalking up over seven hundred games in total, Darren will be remembered at a number of clubs for his commitment and professionalism. But it was here at Macclesfield Town that he truly made his mark and for that reason, every single Silkmen fan will remember his outstanding contribution within a side who took on the greatest of odds and beat them so spectacularly.

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