Ten Points about Saturday & Sunday of the Bank Holiday weekend!!

  1. Yours truly was in a real quandary before Saturday’s game because one of the most important games in our history coincided with an invitation to the wedding of the  lovely daughter of wonderful close friends of the better half and I. The wedding was scheduled for 2p.m. in Congleton and it took an inordinate amount of schmoozing with my better half (including agreement to be the designated driver) to allow me a ‘pass out’ immediately after the wedding on the proviso that I return as soon as our fate was decided. As a consequence I arrived at the Moss Rose in a smart suit, shirt and tie with several jokers questioning with huge grins on their faces if I had just appeared in court. The gentleman that is Steve Mundy was kindly standing in on my behalf so it allowed me to join in with the more vocal elements of a healthily populated Star Lane End to help cheer us on to what we all hoped and prayed would be a day of celebration as opposed to one of heartache.
  2.  Many of us were both surprised and dismayed to see that Reece Cole, who had almost single handedly changed the game in our favour (following his arrival on the pitch as a substitute) with a sensational cameo performance last week against Port Vale, was on the substitutes bench again as was club legend Danny Whitaker who many of us feel has been unfairly starved of game time under the stewardship of Sol Campbell.
  3. The vociferous support at the onset of the game soon started to lessen in terms of intensity and frequency as the game shaped into an altogether scrappy affair.  Although the Silkmen had several early half chances in the shape of Ben Stephens and Harry Smith, the universal groans of the Moss Rose crowd could probably have been heard by the better half and assembled guests at the wedding venue in Congleton as Ben Stephens (who has looked a shadow of the player he was before his injury) somehow contrived to drag a weak left footed shot wide of the goal with only the ‘keeper to beat when it really did seem much easier to score.
  4. Cambridge had been no great shakes but it was to be them who took the lead on the stroke of half-time when Paul Lewis scored with a deflected shot that gave Silkmen custodian Kieran O’Hara (the hugely deserving Player of the Year) no chance whatsoever. Paul showed admirable class in NOT celebrating the goal against his former employers, but it certainly proved to be a very tense half-time period for many of the Silkmen faithful who knew that we were literally hanging on to our precious League status by the skin of our teeth as Notts County were drawing 0-0 at Swindon. As the second half beckoned, we were safe by just one point but in the words of legendary manager Brian Clough ‘it only takes a second to score a goal’.
  5. Those words seemed so apt when news sifted through the Star Lane End that Notts County had taken the lead against Swindon in the 53rd minute with a penalty from Kane Hemmings; son of FA Trophy hero from 1996, Tony Hemmings. As things stood, it would be us descending into the abyss of non-league football only just over a year after achieving a fairy tale ending at Eastleigh. The idiom ‘cometh the hour, cometh the man’ moved into Silkmen folklore when huge fans favourite Elliott Durrell latched onto an excellent through ball by the much improved Brice Ntambwe in the 66th minute to steer the ball past the ‘U’s’ keeper Dimitar Mitov and send the Moss Rose into scenes of unbridled joy.     
  6. Joy turned to ecstasy as news filtered through that Swindon had taken the lead in the 74th minute and then even relative strangers hugged each when Swindon scored a third in stoppage time to ensure that the six minutes of added on time were ones of celebration as opposed to tension. The efforts of Steve (Mundy) on the microphone that encouraged fans to keep off the pitch understandably went unheeded as swathes of Silkmen fans poured onto the pitch at the final whistle to celebrate with their heroes. Yours truly then enjoyed an all too brief opportunity for hugs with PBJ, Deano (Holmes) Grimmy (aka Marie Grundy) and Falkirk’s finest Robert Stirling before shooting back to the wedding in a fantastic mood and only having missed the starter of the wedding breakfast. This season has seen so many tumultuous ups and downs and I could not say it has been enjoyable, but we remain within the elite 92 clubs of English football and MUST learn from the mistakes made on and off the field for next season!
  7.  It was probably a blessing in disguise that yours truly and PBJ could not drink (PBJ was DJing at the wedding with Deano Holmes and yours truly was designated driver) because PBJ and I wearily arrived at the Moss Rose at a little after 9a.m. on Sunday morning to help the amazing backroom staff we have at the Moss Rose to get the ground looking as good as it could for Danny’s testimonial game against a Hollyoaks Celebrity XI.
  8. The endearing popularity of our legendary 23 was epitomised by the number of incredible volunteers who had willingly given up their time to act as stewards, programme and 50/50 sellers, match officials, ticket office staff and turnstile operators; catering and bar staff all with the clear objective of helping to make the day as good as it could be for one of the nicest guys you could hope to meet. Enormous praise must also go to current Silkmen including Elliott Durrell and David Fitzpatrick and former Silkmen stars including John Askey, Stevie Burr, Phil Power, Rickie Lambert, Darren Tinson, Michael Welch, Karl Munroe, Danny Adams, George Abbey, Jack Mackreth and Sam Ramsbottom who helped to support Danny on his special day in such a positive and enjoyable way.
  9. Watching the 20 odd mascots walking hand in hand onto the pitch with the players just before the introduction of Danny who then walked onto the hallowed Moss Rose pitch with his two lovely children Sophie & Spencer to a huge ovation from the 721 people in attendance brought a lump to the throat of yours truly. Danny would of course be the star of the show with four goals in the 5-1 thrashing of the celebrity team, and the game was played in such a fantastic spirit and the heartfelt speech of Danny to the assembled fans at the end of the game was truly heartwarming.
  10. The only downside of what was a fantastic and enjoyable afternoon was the absence of the current manager and senior Silkmen hierarchy to pay homage to a consummate professional who has represented the Silkmen so skilfully and graciously both on and off the pitch. If they had taken the opportunity to attend, they would have seen why Danny is so adored by the Silkmen faithful and what an amazing group of backroom staff and volunteers that they have at this wonderful little club of ours. DANNY WHITAKER: YOU ARE INDEED A SILKMEN LEGEND AND ALWAYS WILL BE!     

Featured Image courtesy of Chelsie Wilson.

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