Sammy McIlroy says that Macclesfield Town’s denied promotion to the Football League after being crowned Conference Champions back in 1995 still hurts today.
Speaking before slipping on the infamous number 7 Manchester United shirt ahead of the Legends game at Buxton this afternoon, the Legendary Macc gaffer still finds it mind boggling how promotion was not secured two years before that memorable day in Kettering.
I just don’t understand how they got away with that. We had one hell of a team and Chester played on our ground only a few years before so I still think that we should have been promoted back in 1995. It was an absolute joke that we weren’t”
The FA denied Macc promotion after the Moss Rose failed Football League criteria on 31st December 1994. Despite the fact that Chester had hosted League football on the Moss a few years prior and pressure from the Minister for Sport, the FA stuck to their guns and denied Macc the prize which was rightfully theirs.
Chairman Arthur Jones stated at the time that it was nothing more than the Football League protecting their membership – and it is difficult to argue against this when ground developments were already well underway which would bring the Moss up to standard over six months before the 1995/6 season was due to start.
The FA’s inflexibility gave Exeter City a reprieve as they would ultimately finish bottom of the Football League, but escaped relegation due to these archaic Football League regulations which were not administered with any degree of flexibility or common sense.
As it was, The Silkmen remained in the Conference for another two seasons – winning the FA Trophy at Wembley in 1996 and finally securing promotion on 3rd May 1997 with a 4-1 victory at Kettering Town.
Sammy remains Macclesfield Town’s most successful Manager ever – and by some distance after he took The Silkmen to the dizzy heights of the Nationwide League Division Two (now League One), where we shared the League with illustrious names such as Manchester City, Fulham and Stoke.
He had no such luck this afternoon however after his United Legends side went down 6-4 in an entertaining match at Silverlands.
Just spending a few moments with Sammy showed me that he still loves Macc and is so proud of the journey he took us all on. If there is one man that this club should have as an ambassador then nobody else comes close – his passion for the club is self evident, even after so many years since he turned so many men in to Legends.
We will be looking more closely at the 1994/5 season in the weeks to come so keep checking back for more Silkmen Nostalgia!