Speaking shortly after his appointment as First Team Manager, Tim Flowers spoke of the mindset he is looking for from his players as he looks to step up recruitment efforts ahead of the new campaign.
Just as importantly, he spoke of the impact the Silkmen faithful can have in this regard by making Moss Rose a daunting prospect for opposition sides.
“The siege mentality, or the attitude where you think you have been wronged to a certain extent, can take you to different lengths.
“If you feel you have a point to prove and maybe people haven’t done right by you then not just as a group of players, but a community, a stadium full of supporters.
“This place next season we want to be a fortress, it has got to be hostile.
“I am going to try and put together an in your face group of lads who are going to roll their sleeves up and win, lose or draw – you will have to peel them off that pitch out there.”
Using the side he and assistant Gary Whild assembled at Solihull Moors as an example, Tim outlined his hopes for a new look Silkmen side, whilst acknowledging the shortened timeframe he has to fulfil this vision.
He also discussed the potential challenges that COVID-19 safety measures may pose when it comes to forming a cohesive side from scratch.
“That is what I got at Solihull, I got a group of lads that would run through a brick wall and that is what I want, men who will go to the well week in, week out and prove their worth for this Football Club.
“Although we have got a short period of time and a very short window to do our business because for obvious reasons, we are a month away from kick-off and we haven’t done anything.
“We have got the COVID laws and group training to factor into that.
“I have still got to be a little bit patient and make sure I don’t jump too quickly because there are loads of players out there who need a job and are unemployed and the season is coming quickly and they have got families to look after and mouths to feed.
“So hopefully we can, not take out time, but make sure we do our due diligence, get the right sorts in and hopefully move forward.
“Then we have got to get cohesive, work on every aspect of being in and out of possession and be as organised as we can be for kick off in October.”
Tim faced the opposite challenge upon joining former side Solihull Moors in 2017, having to cull an inflated squad alongside former Silkmen Manager Mark Yates.
“When I went in at Solihull with Mark Yates, I know everyone knows Mark around here, we went in there with 30 pros at the club.
“A lot of those were on loan from different clubs around the Midlands, and it was a huge group all of the same ability.
“You would bring two out of the team and bring two in, but they were no better than the two you were taking out. So, in the end, you want to cut that right down, and bring in less of a slightly higher quality.”
Speaking about the prospect of playing in the National League next season, Tim shed some light onto the inner workings of Clubs at that level to demonstrate the stringent level of competition potentially facing the Club next season.
“The National League is an unforgiving division, everyone is professional, everyone works all week.
“Everyone has got reconnaissance scouts; everyone has got sports science. Everyone know what you are doing and have everything that I had in the professional game and a lot of them have got training grounds.
“That is what we are up against.
“We have got to get ourselves organised and up and running asap and that is the key factor for us as a staff now and for us as a group at the Football Club.
“We have got to get out together and get the right types through the door here. Convince them that Macclesfield is the place to come, we mean business.
“We might take a few punches on the nose this year, we might get beat, but we have got to come out swinging with a few back. That’s what we want and that’s the type I want in through the door.”
Despite playing at the top level of English Football during his playing career, Tim was quick to dismiss the importance of that, instead focussing on his years of studying the lower leagues of the English pyramid and the potential benefits of that.
Assistant Gary Whild also has a wealth of experience at this level and hopes to use his extensive contacts to forge a competitive Silkmen side for the new campaign.
“My playing career was a long time ago, the level I played at and all that means nothing because I very quickly realised when I retired, was that I have always studied National League and non-league football.
“On a free Tuesday or a free Saturday if I went to a game it was always Kidderminster, Tamworth, Nuneaton, Brackley.
“I always went to non-league football and was always looking at players’ levels.
“Gary Whild has also got masses of contacts, so names are not a problem, it is getting a blend and a cohesion and a group and a mentality that understand this level.
Demonstrating some of his National League knowledge, Tim spoke about how he analysed Macc’s historic title winning side of 2018 during his time at Solihull.
“The Macc fans will know the level as they have bounced up and down the last few years, winning the league with John and a really functional 4-4-1-1 with the two lads Wilson and Marsh up top scoring goals – I can remember the team vividly.
“So, they understand what it takes, I understand what it takes because I have studied it; but the key now is to get some players under the door and get cracking.”
Tim also discussed when he is hoping to start training with potential new recruits at our training base in Alsager.
“I am hoping to get the start of a group and get some sessions on by no later than Tuesday or Wednesday next week at Alsager, which is a fantastic facility.
“Then we need players coming in on a constant basis so we can get a squad and a team to play a friendly.
“That is another key factor now, we need to try, now that everyone else has sorted theirs, to beg, borrow and steal a couple of matches somewhere and get some sort of structure to our team.
“We need to look at some shapes, maybe a three at the back, at Solihull I was 4-3-3 but we also then morphed into a three because of personnel, and we had a lot of success with both shapes but there might be a time in a game where we need to switch to match a three at the back so we will be looking at different systems as well.”
Tim was also quick to address the recent concerns of the Silkmen faithful and was keen to try and instil a level of optimism in the wake of a host of players leaving the Club in recent times.
“I want to try and galvanise the Football Club,” he said.
“I guess from the supporters’ point of view as a Macc fan, you have been sat at home and there has not been a lot of news, because there has been no news to give.
“We have obviously lost the players on the roster; I have followed it and been looking at it.
“Fiacre Kelleher, who we had at Solihull, who I loved, and then players like Tollitt were still hanging around and I thought the first job is to try and talk to them - but they didn’t want to stay so we are where we are.
“I think they have probably been battered and bruised to the point where they want a clean break, okay fine, we have moved on now and we have to look elsewhere.
“There will be a lot of people that will want to come and play here, and my job is to get the right ones.”
Tim insists he and his coaching staff will be working tirelessly to ensure the Club is in the best possible position for the start of the season, but is realistic in terms of the Silkmen playing catchup to the other sides in the division.
“The supporters now will have an idea as to who will be sitting in the hot seat and who the technical staff are like Gaz and Danny and will be safe in the knowledge that we will try to move heaven and earth to first of all stabilise the Football Club, be competitive in a very competitive division, and then build into the season.
“We are way behind the A-ball in regard to reporting back, Solihull have been back over two weeks and have six friendlies lined up – that is how far behind we are.”
Finally, Tim had a message for the Silkmen supporters, who he hopes will get behind his new side come the start of the new season, should safety regulations allow.
“Hopefully Covid will allow our supporters in for the first home game and they will get right behind us, understand what we are up against, but as I said if they get right in behind us win, lose or draw – stick with us, stick with the lads because no one will be running out of that tunnel not trying 100% - I will guarantee that.
“It is very surprising what you can do if you have an entire community pulling together and if we can build into the season and bed ourselves in, who knows?
“Right now, I know where we are, I know the line in the sand. It is going to be desperately difficult, but we are all up for the scrap, that’s why we are here, and bring it on.”