The Silkmen welcomed a new coaching team to the Moss Rose yesterday and in his first interview as Macc Head Coach, Mark Kennedy appeared in positive spirits as he spoke to Silkmen TV about his appointment.
“I’m very grateful to have been given the opportunity into the club, so I am really pleased about that,” he said.
“Just from my perspective I am just really, really keen to get out there on the grass and get some minutes and some hours and some good work in with the players; but I am very grateful to be here and to work at the club with the players and the current staff, whilst I have also brought Danny Butterfield in with me as a big plus, and I am just looking forward to coaching.”
Mark was part of the coaching set up at Macc for a brief period last season, and he says the relationships he built during his first spell at the club helped him land the top job this time around.
“I was very fortunate in the respect that I was here over a year ago, I wasn’t here for long for various reasons, but I really enjoyed the club and when I left the club I explained to the chairman at the time my reasons for leaving, but I said that hopefully one day my path and journey with Macclesfield will meet again, and I have followed things closely from there on in.
“Obviously a couple of things have happened in between so that opportunity presented itself, so I was obviously fortunate to have some inside experience previously and I loved it here, it was really good, I thoroughly enjoyed it and was really grateful for it so it was always something that was on my radar or in the back of my mind if the opportunity arose, I wouldn’t hesitate.”
On top of his previous coaching experience at the club, Mark lives in the neighbouring area and he says this has helped him appreciate what the club means to the local communities.
“I live in Alderley and I have lived there since 1999 so that as well, with it being a local club, I’m not someone who is always blindsided by watching the Premier League and all of that, so I had an interest in what was going on with the local community, so its something that we are very familiar with.”
When asked about the process behind his appointment, Mark went into detail on the process as a whole and what made him stand out from other potential candidates.
“I left the club some time ago but I kept in contact with people and staff on a generic basis, and when Daryl had resigned and moved on for whatever reason, the club contacted me and asked if I would have a chat and I didn’t hesitate.
“From there on in, things progressed, I didn’t get involved in anything else, my only interest was in myself and the club and everything was very smooth and very good, and I am very pleased with it and if they had chosen to go with someone else I would have shaken their hand and thanked them for the opportunity to speak; but thankfully they have seen something positive in myself, which is good, because I have seen that within the club, and that led to me standing here.”
As well as his time at the Moss last season, Mark has been involved with the academies at Wolverhampton Wanderers and Manchester City, and hopes these experiences will help in his new role.
He was also quick to highlight the appeal of a position in the Football League and admits the scenario is unusual, with the club towards the bottom of the table despite playing well and picking up some impressive results.
“I have been very fortunate to work in two outstanding academies with three fantastic Director of Football’s with Mark Allan, Jason Wilcox and Scott Sellers, so I have had some good experience and some unique experience.
“But one thing you can’t get away from is the opportunity to work in a Football League, one that I’m familiar with and one that I’m aware of and a very good team as well.
“I wouldn’t like to say it would be impossible to turn down, but it would be pretty foolish not to give myself that opportunity to test myself, and without throwing cliché’s around, the opportunity to progress yourself and to move forward and develop yourself you have to be comfortable in uncomfortable situations.
“So I want to test myself and continue on my journey, but there are only 92 clubs in the leagues and that means there are only 92 jobs, so they are not opportunities that present themselves everyday of the week, so it was an absolute no-brainer for me.
“As I said it is something I’m really grateful for and I hope to be really successful in with the football club.”
In his playing career, Mark worked with a number of different coaches, and hopes to draw from his experiences as a player in his new role as Head Coach.
“I have been really fortunate to work with some really good coaches and I have been very fortunate to work with some very good guys that I didn’t really gel with, so I learned a lot from those as well.
“I think you take a little bit of everything from everybody, which is a little but cliché, but what I want to do is have my own identity, my own philosophy, my own ideas in football and how it should be played and what I will do is be honest and stick with that and progress with that going forward.
“I am quite clear in my head with what I want to do and how I see the game, and I am not foolish; I know we all want to play out from the back and play sexy football, but sometimes that’s not always possible.
“Ultimately, we have to win games of football, but I hope that we can do that in the right style of play as well.”
Mark was quick to highlight that he wants Macc to be adaptable to different scenarios and hopes to instil a fluid style of play within the side.
“Ultimately we want to play football and have a clear idea of the shape I want to play and the alternative shape and the way I want to play.
“I am very passionate about that and I am very strong with how I see the game playing and I believe I am adaptable, so we are certainly not going to be a rigid team that only plays one way, but to have a very clear idea and philosophy in my head but ultimately we want to play football.
“But I am not an idiot, we are a League Two team, we have good players; very good players, but if you look at the style of the league there will be times to play and the right times to play.
“If you look at the areas of the pitch, if you think we are going to come in and fan out and play out from the back and be expansive, we will do it at the right times, but there will be times where that won’t be right and we’ll do what’s right for the team in how we play.
“When play is open and fluid, we want to play football and we want to get players who can play football. There are plenty of ways to skin a cat, and I’d like to think we will be very adaptable as well.”
When discussing his immediate aims for the club, he didn’t shy away from the fact that preserving our league status once again was his primary target in the short term.
“I think if you’re a manager, coach, director of football, chairman, owner, you have to have a plan and sometimes it doesn’t always go to plan, but there is no getting away from the fact that the short term plan this year is to stay in the league.
“If and when we stay in the league, that will be a successful year to us.
“If you look at the team, it’s a very good team and I don’t think it’s one which should be fighting relegation, which we know they have not been doing anyway, but with the obvious thing to happen the fact of the matter is that’s where we are.
“We are in the lower half of the table and that’s where we are and that’s what we have got to live with. I don’t want to finish second from bottom, I want to finish as high up the league as I can, but ultimately staying up will be the goal and in the short term that is absolutely a must.”
We have enjoyed string of strong performances in recent weeks and Mark concedes that a team is not usually performing as well as we currently are when a new manager comes in.
“It’s a very unique situation, most managers that get jobs get them because something is not right on the pitch, predominantly results or whatever it may be, but in this situation the performances have been good, the performances have been strong.
“The results have been very strong although we have not won as many games as we would, but we are not getting beat every week and if you look at the table in terms of goals conceded and games lost, we are a very strong team.
“I am very fortunate that from a footballing perspective we are coming into a very healthy environment.
We are a little light on numbers at the moment and every club will have an injury here and there, so we have to strengthen and improve that, but in terms of where the team is at and what I believe I can do going forward, I believe we are in a strong position.”
Our magic man Danny Whitaker has overseen recent matches and Mark was keen to keep him around the coaching team as he feels Danny’s unique knowledge and passion for the club will be invaluable going forward.
“Danny Whits has done an absolutely magnificent job when he has come in previously and recently. I know Danny really well from my long conversations with Tobias and what kind of group it is, but that’s pretty clear to see on the pitch.
“It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see that you have got a group of lads that are together and stick together and will fight for each other. But the environment from a football perspective and what you see is absolutely fantastic and I think the players and staff deserve a lot of credit for that.
“He is a great guy and incredibly loyal. He has done an outstanding job and I apologised to him for the circumstances because I am sure one day Whits will manage the club and he will be a huge success.
“So, I apologised that I was coming in under those circumstances, but equally I said that I am just as excited to be continuing the journey on with him because he is a valuable member of the team.
“He is a Macclesfield legend and he will be a huge plus to the group and his role hasn’t changed in any way, shape or form – he will continue to be first team coach and I’m sure he will play a huge part in what we’re looking to do here.”
Danny Whitaker will join Danny Butterfield in Mark’s backroom team and Mark spoke highly of his new coach.
“Danny is a great guy, I worked with Danny back at Palace around 2006-08, but if you look at his career he is a very knowledgeable guy, great detail in his coaching, Paul Tisdale who has been an outstanding manager, identified Danny as a player and brought him onto the coaching staff.
“His knowledge of the league is very good, he has played in it, coached in it, and has been very successful; that will be absolutely priceless but ultimately he is a good coach and a strong character who won’t be afraid to challenge if he has an opinion and he will do it in the right way.
“He has played almost 600 games all through the leagues and I get a bit frustrated when people say you don’t have enough experience because Danny and I have over 1000 games and 40 years’ experience in the game which you can’t buy, not that it necessarily makes you a good coach.
“He is a good progressive young coach and if it wasn’t here it would have been somewhere else, so I am really pleased that he happened to be available and I am chuffed to bits for him.”
Mark had a message for the Silkmen faithful; and hopes to see you all support the team with the same passion and commitment that we have become so accustomed to in recent times.
“I know it’s been a frustrating time, I get that, it’s pretty obvious what they have been through from the outside, but they are clearly a very vocal group; when you come to games the atmosphere is outstanding, they turn up in numbers and follow us home and away and we hope they will continue to give us the support we need and ultimately we are all in it together and we are here to progress the club and make them happy.
“What we want to do is for fans to be going home every week with points on the board and a smile on their face from us doing it the right way.
“We look forward to hopefully giving them that, and we look forward to working together as a team.
Mark’s first game is a tough away trip to Colchester United, but our new Head Coach isn’t fazed by who we play and is looking forward to getting started.
“At the end of the day, everyone has got to play each other twice, we have got a tough run of games coming up but things like that don’t bother me.
“Obviously, we will have a game plan to play against every team we play but my focus going forward is on what we do.
“I know John really well, he is a good friend of mine, and we lived together in Ipswich on the same road and it is a great club.
"I think Robbie has done a really good job as the chairman there, they have got good players and play a really good brand of football, invested heavily in what they want to do and have a great identity, so it should be a really enjoyable game of football.”