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Nostalgia

Silkmen Legends: Steve Wood

27 March 2019

Later on today, we will be publishing an exclusive interview with former Macclesfield Town midfielder Steve Wood and before we do, we take a look back at the career of one of our most iconic players -

Steve was born on 23rd June 1963 in Oldham and spent most of his early footballing career in and around the Manchester area.

Starting out with Chadderton, Steve then had spells at Mossley, Droylsden, Stalybridge Celtic and Ashton United, as he learnt his trade as a magical midfielder who put his heart and soul into every game.

It was this that undoubtedly attracted Sammy McIlroy to him in the summer of 1993, as the former Manchester United midfielder secured one of his most iconic signings.

Steve went straight into the starting eleven for the first game of the 1993/94 season and although suffering a 5 - 1 opening day reversal at the hands of Bath City, he embarked on a glorious eight year spell which would see him become engraved within all our hearts forevermore.

By his own admission, Steve was not the most technically gifted player - yet what he lacked in ability, he more than made up for with passion and desire. As a result, it was not long before Woody became a firm fans favourite - as he majestically spearheaded a monumental revival in club fortunes which was beyond all our wildest dreams.

At the end of his debut season at the Moss Rose, Steve secured a Conference League Cup winners medal as well as a respectable seventh place finish in the Vauxhall Conference.

With McIlroy intent on building a squad which could challenge for the league title, Steve's place was assured as the Northern Irishman kept faith in his trusty midfield wizard for what proved to be an historic campaign.

Steve would make fifty-one glorious appearances during the 1994/95 season, scoring thirteen times as Macc lifted the Vauxhall Conference title against all the odds.

With our rightful elevation to the Football League cruelly denied to us as a result of ground regulations, Steve and his merry band of blue and white clad heroes set their sights on overturning the injustice by winning the Conference for a second time.

Yet Steve was to suffer a significant foot injury in the summer of 1995 within his job as a JCB driver and this ruled him out until the following February - just in time to play a pivotal role in our FA Trophy winning success.

Back to full fitness for the start of the 1996/97 campaign, Steve once again set the Moss Rose alight with his creativity and unparalleled will to win which mesmerised the Silkmen faithful.

Woody scored eighteen crucial goals during that momentus campaign - the pick of which was undoubtedly against this afternoon's visitors.

McIlroy's side were embroiled in a gargantuan tussle with Stevenage when we headed down to Broadhall Way back in March 1997 and despite the fact that we were two goals down and reduced to ten men, our odds-defying quest to ascend to the big time was about to get infinitely closer.

Wood gave Macc a glimmer of hope early in the second half with a close-range strike and when Carwyn Williams restored parity by converting from the penalty spot on 75 minutes the unthinkable became a distinct possibility.

With the clock showing that the ninety minutes had been played, Macc were awarded an injury-time free kick twenty yards from goal.

Up stepped our revered number eight, who confidently put the ball down and took a few steps back to assess his options.

Everyone held their breaths, the tension was tangible and as Woody connected with the ball, time stood still.

After clearing the Stevenage wall, the ball seemed to take an eternity to drop - but when it nestled into the bottom left hand corner of the net, a state of pure delirium ensued.

The images of the team celebrating that phenomenal strike act as an everlastingly poignant and emotional part of our history.

They symbolise belief, unity and passion - but most of all, they symbolise the proud defiance which characterises our Football Club when the odds are stacked firmly against us.

Steve went on to claim Vauxhall Conference glory for the second time in three campaigns, as well as securing the club's Player of the Year award at the end of the most dramatic of seasons.

Woody would go on to top the goalscoring charts the following season too, as he struck thirteen times during our Football League debut campaign.

During the early part of that season, Steve suffered a fractured cheekbone and was forced into wearing a Zorro-type mask which exemplified so much about his character and commitment.

Steve secured the Player of the Year award for the second season running, as The Silkmen were promoted to the third tier courtesy of an inspirational second-placed finish where they remained unbeaten at the Moss Rose throughout the entire campaign.

Although Macc would suffer relegation in 1999, we did so safe in the knowledge that our Silkmen heroes had given everything they possibly could to fight against it. Steve undoubtedly was a fundamental part of that and it was fitting that he should score in our first win of that season - away at his hometown of Oldham.

Despite being in the twilight of his career, Steve remained at the Moss Rose as he gallantly fought to emulate his past achievements. Yet with an array of youthful midfielders coming through the ranks, our much-loved warrior began to find First Team appearances harder to come by.

In January 2000, Steve became joint-coach with John Askey following the appointment of Peter Davenport and this was a move which was embraced by all Silkmen fans far and wide.

However Steve's distinguished eight year spell with the club was to end in the summer of 2001, when he returned to Stalybridge to bring the curtain down on a playing career which elicits an immense amount of fondness to this day.

Ole Ole, Ole Ole, Stevie WoodWoodWood!


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