Macclesfield Town supporters fear the club will not survive dropping out of the league after an EFL appeal enforced a further points deduction on Tuesday, and believe their perennially cash-strapped operation has been the victim of a witch-hunt by the football authorities.
The Silkmen finished next to bottom of League Two after fixtures were suspended and a points per game ratio worked out, with Stevenage at that point heading for the National League. The EFL, however, was dissatisfied with a 13-point deduction over a Macclesfield season blighted by winding-up petitions, non-payment of wages, player strikes and unfulfilled fixtures, and when an independent appeal ruled this week that a further suspended deduction of four points should be invoked Stevenage were reprieved as Macclesfield’s new points per game figure left them bottom.
This is the latest twist in a long-running saga of ineffective ownership – even the club chairman, Amar Alkadhi, admitted a while ago that Macclesfield deserved to be sanctioned because “paying wages late is not right” – though at that time it was not thought relegation would be the ultimate sanction. One Macclesfield supporter whose worst fears have just come to pass, Andy Worth, who chairs the Silkmen Supporters’ Trust, wrote to the Football League last month expressing his concerns over what was about to happen.
“The last few weeks have seen a publicly orchestrated campaign by the EFL to get Macclesfield relegated, and action the EFL well knows will obliterate the club,” Worth said. “It is the SST view that the EFL are inconsistent in their decisions, to say the least. Stevenage escaped a points deduction regarding the postponement of a game against Oldham, and Bolton missed two games without any points deduction. We feel that miscreant owners should be punished, rather than clubs, and it is also our view that the EFL decision to appeal amounted to a witch-hunt towards Macclesfield Town.”
Following confirmation of Macclesfield’s relegation the head coach, Mark Kennedy, and his assistant, Danny Butterfield, effectively resigned, indicating they did not wish to sign new contracts for next season, although many supporters were of the opinion they should have gone by now due to poor results. In theory the club’s finances should be boosted by EFL parachute payments next season, which should permit a degree of stability, and some fans are even looking forward to meeting old rivals Stockport and Altrincham in the National League.
Most are sceptical that Alkadhi has the ability or the desire to turn the club around, however, and imagine Macclesfield’s well-publicised financial difficulties will continue in any division under present ownership. Alkadhi stepped down from his position as chairman earlier this month but remains Macclesfield’s majority shareholder until he can sell his stake in the club.