MACCLESFIELD Football Club’s rebirth is being spearheaded by two footballers with local connections.
Danny Whittaker, who once starred for Oldham Athletic, has been appointed manager of the club where he was a playing legend.
And Whittaker’s assistant is former Mossley manager Peter Band who was one of Hyde United’s most popular players.
The two have combined to steer the Silkmen to top spot in the premier division of the North West Counties League.
It is the start of a what is hoped will be an exciting journey for the club which, as Macclesfield Town, was kicked out of the EFL in 2020 after being wound up in the high court.
Local businessman Rob Smethurst purchased the assets and has rebranded it as Macclesfield FC with ex-international Robbie Savage installed as director of football.
Smethurst has installed a 4G artificial pitch to enable community use 24/7 and given the ground a massive facelift with reports that £4 million has been spent.
Band, who with Lloyd Morrison managed Mossley between 2013-18, and Whittaker are charged with taking the Silkmen back up the football pyramid.
And the club is close to their hearts as they are both from Macclesfield with Whittaker making 441 appearances for the club over two spells between 2001-19 and scoring 73 goals from midfield.
Band, 47, said: “I could have stayed at Glossop, but I am a Macc lad and live only live six or seven minutes away from the ground.
“When I was asked to become Danny’s assistant, it was something I could not turn down.
“It would be great to win the league this season and be part of the journey, however long it lasts.
“My dad lives near the ground, and he is proud that I am at his club as would have been my mum had she been alive.”
Band added it is a challenge as they are the Goliaths of the NWCL taking on Davids each week.
He said: “It is tough given the size of the club and it is everyone’s cup final when they play us, but enjoyable.
“The facilities at Macclesfield are such that opposing players raise their game when they come to Moss Rose.
“It is similar to when Salford City were in the same league as Mossley, and opponents used to say ‘let show them’.
“There is also an extra bit of pressure on our players as they are playing for Macc, and some are having to get used to playing in front of big crowds for the first time.”
Macclesfield have, however, managed to recently sign two vastly experienced players, Neil Danns and Alex Bruce who has retired from the pro football.
Band, whose previous managerial experience has been in the Northern Premier League, has been impressed by the standard in the NWCL.
He added it is a fallacy that Macc are spending big as he explained: “Because of the surroundings, people are saying we are paying a lot of money which is no true.
“Our budget will be more than the one I had at Mossley or Glossop, but it is not a stupid amount.
“The appeal when it comes to attracting players, is not money but the facilities and fan base.”
Macclesfield had a gate of 3,500 for the derby against Congleton Town and they are attracting attendances larger than when they were playing five divisions high in the pyramid as many fans were boycotting the club in protest at the way it was being run by the previous owner.
Band, who lost his job with a Denton wholesaler after 20 years during Covid-19 and has set up his own business Van Wagon to move furniture and other bulky items for customers, said: “When Macc were in the EFL, I used to look and sometimes the crowds were between 1,200 and 1,500.
“Supporters feel they have got their club back and we are getting more than 2,000 and I saw that one week we have either the eighth or ninth highest attendance in the whole of non-league football.”
Band believes the infrastructure is in place for Macclesfield to rise up the pyramid.
He said: “The 4G pitch is great in bringing in revenue and is also where our Under-21, 18 and 16 teams play as well as Robbie’s Foundation is based.
“You only have to look at Sutton United and Harrogate Town in the EFL and their successes were built on having artificial pitches which could be used by the community.”
Whittaker, 40, appeared for Macclesfield in pre-season games including against Stalybridge Celtic but has retired to concentrate on management.
While he has a wealth of EFL experience, non-league is new to him which is why Band became his assistant.
Band said: “I never played the pro game but appeared as high as the National League.
“Dan and I speak almost every day and we bounce ideas off one another to stay one step ahead.
“Maybe we are not as bonkers and crackers as Lloyd and I were when managing together, but it works well.”
He also enjoys working with Savage, continuing: “Robbie is passionate like me and wants to win every game.
“The great thing is that when Robbie is doing his punditry on BT on or the radio, he is always promoting Macclesfield.
“He has raised the profile of the club as shown with the BBC making a documentary which is being screened at the end of October.”