Recently, we asked all our loyal fans to get in touch with us and let us know what their favourite memory involving The Silkmen is. In the latest instalment of our new feature, long-standing fan Peter de Courcy takes us back to his first Macclesfield Town game which was at Reading back in 1999.
“Hey up – are you Silkmen supporters?” came the shout from the back corner of the Madejski Stadium where fifty odd (some of them odder than others) Macc Town travelling diehards were gathered a long way from home on a fairly miserable Tuesday night back in March 1999.
I’d acquired two freebie tickets as my company provided Park & Ride facilities to Reading’s spanking new stadium. I’d followed Macc from afar since leaving Poynton for the gold-paved streets of the South many years before, having fallen out of love with the new-fangled Premiership – and certainly with the London teams where I’d first migrated.
I’d tried to become a Royalist since starting work in Reading, but I never felt I belonged - so it was the away end that beckoned for me in what was my first-ever match as a "traveling" Silkmen fan.
Me and my lad had dutifully sat in our numbered seat in a somewhat sparse away end before we answered the cry with a thumbs up. “Well get up here then and make some noise” came the response.
Who could resist?
The stadium was about a third full (8085 I wrote on the back of my programme – also a freebie!) and for the first half The Royals fans were about as apathetic as their team and the Silkmen faithful had hardly anyone to out-sing – but that didn’t stop them.
That evening I learnt many of the chants I still enjoy today (well – when the season restarts, whenever that’ll be). We had plenty to cheer with a succession of corners and some good attempts on goal – I remember the side netting bulging and from our vantage point it looked like it was from the inside – but no.
We couldn’t convert our chances (not a lot changes) and the half ground to a close with Reading opting for hoofball to stifle our game. They did add to the entertainment with some very dodgy back passes that kept their 'keeper on his toes - but often on his elbows.
Reading trouped off at the half-time whistle to their fan’s silence – apart from one section of the crowd who booed them down the tunnel. We were unlucky not to be ahead and my new-found friends assured me it would have been different if someone called John Askey had been able to play. Apparently he had scored the winner in the reverse fixture back at the Moss. I wonder what became of him?
Unfortunately, the second half was rather different. Reading had made a couple of subs, changed their game plan and after another slow start, began to look more of a threat. They had a couple of half-chances before, admittedly a rather good shot hit the back of the net around the hour mark.
It seemed to inspire the Macc fans and players more that the still quiet Royals and I remember we nearly levelled the score with a great cross which was headed just over the bar. My faded brain cell thinks it was Pedro Mathias but I can’t be sure – I was a real rookie and only really remember Efe Sodje, Ryan Price ... and Sammy McIlroy of course!
The game thereafter rather petered out. Reading had a couple of half-chances but after our initial fightback, they shut up shop, packed their half and just hoofed clearances to more boos from both sets of supporters.
So my first game was over to lots of hand shaking. Even then our supporters were realists and knew they wouldn’t be seeing me back at the Madejski the following season - rooted at the foot of the table as we were and we went our separate ways.
It was a while until my next game (at Oxford), but I’d got the bug. Before long I was hitting the trail from Hampshire whenever Macc came within a couple of hours drive. I found a couple of other local Silkmen fans and formed the SSL (Southern Silkmen Lads) and began the long love-affair – but that’s another story which holds many, many more great memories.
Thanks to all who made me so welcome. If you were there, do let me know.
Macclesfield Town: Price, Tinson, Hitchen, Payne, Sedgemore (Davies 69), Sodje, Durkan, Sorvel, Landon, Matias (Tomlinson 69), Wood.
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