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Feature

Silkmen A - Z: Carl Alford

21 May 2019

In a new feature which was first published in Moss Rose Review, we take a look back at Silkmen stars of yesteryear and begin by featuring a popular striker, who came to the club as one of Sammy McIlroy's first signings back in the summer of 1993.

Carl Alford was a powerful, tenacious forward who possessed a natural talent in front of goal.

He made his Football League debut for Rochdale at the tender age of 16 and enjoyed spells at Burnley, Stockport County and Morecambe during the formative years of his career.

Carl then made the move to Witton Albion and it was during his time at Wincham Park that his predatory instincts began to shine through.

In 1992, Carl played a crucial role in sending Witton to the hallowed twin towers, as they reached the FA Trophy Final at Wembley Stadium.

Our Cheshire neighbours would ultimately suffer a 3 - 1 defeat at the hands of Colchester United (who had knocked Peter Wragg's Silkmen side out in the semi-finals), yet for Alford, it was another massive step on the way to an illustrious career.

When Sammy McIlroy arrived at the Moss Rose twelve months later, he knew that he had to rebuild a Silkmen side who had avoided relegation from the Vauxhall Conference by the slightest of margins.

Sammy also knew that he wanted to assemble a team full of characters, who were talented and charismatic at he same time.

Alford fitted the bill perfectly and made the move to the Moss Rose for a transfer fee of £1700.

Carl quickly became a fans favourite and it was not long before his goal scoring exploits had elicited the nickname of "King Carl" from within the terraces.

A brace on his home debut against Bromsgrove Rovers helped secure a dramatic 4 - 3 win and from there, Carl never really looked back.

Goals flew in on a regular basis and his infectious personality helped to inject a newly found optimism amongst the Silkmen faithful - especially amongst the ladies it has to be said!

A pulsating hat-trick against Southport in the FA Cup Fourth Qualifying Round helped secure a 5 - 3 victory and this set up the visit of Hartlepool United in the First Round Proper of the competition.

In a match which is etched into the hearts of all loyal Silkmen present, Macc defied the odds once again as Neil Sorvel's opener was added to by a strike from debutant Martin McDonald just before the half-time interval to give McIlroy's men an inspiring 2 - 0 victory against Football League opposition.

In many ways, that victory over Hartlepool acted as a catalyst for the glorious years which were to follow.

Carl went on to play an integral part in our Drinkwise Cup triumph later that season and struck an emphatic second goal in the first leg of the Final against Yeovil Town.

The Silkmen registered an unassailable 4 - 1 lead that night and lifted the Conference League Cup at Huish Park after a second leg stalemate.

Carl finished the 1993-94 season as the club's top goalscorer, with twenty six majestic strikes - his impressive tally was the highest number of goals in a season since Steve Burr hit twenty seven during the 1988-89 campaign.

Sadly, Carl was to move to Kettering Town in the summer of 1994 for a fee of £25,000 and two years later he would join local rivals Rushden & Diamonds for £85,000.

Despite big money money, Carl never really settled anywhere to the extent that he did at the Moss Rose and spells at the likes of Stevenage Borough, Doncaster Rovers and Yeovil Town ensued.

Carl completed his playing career at New Mills in 2007 and after securing his UEFA B coaching licence, became part of the youth setup at Manchester City.

Despite only being at the Moss Rose for twelve months, Carl proved to be a phenomenal signing, who helped to change the whole mindset of the club in a lasting manner.

Carl remains a much loved figure amongst the fans and the memories which he helped to create remain as vibrant as ever.

Long live King Carl!

 


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