OPPOSITION FOCUS: STAFFORD RANGERS

18 Mar 2024 | Latest News

The Silkmen are back in league action once again as we make the journey to take on Stafford Rangers.

Michael Clegg’s side will be looking to bounce back following Saturday’s defeat away at Worksop Town.

We take a closer look at our opponents in Stafford Rangers.

HISTORY 

Despite extensive research, no one has been able to prove conclusively when Stafford Rangers was actually formed, as early minute books were destroyed during the First World War. Rangers’ formation year is recognised as 1876 because of articles in the local Advertiser newspaper, but an alternative theory on Rangers’ formation date, printed in the Sentinel newspaper during 1891, suggests that the club was founded by a Bible class in 1877.

Rangers’ early matches were cup games and friendlies, with the club reaching the FA Cup First Round in both 1884–85 and 1885–86. The club then had spells in the Shropshire League, Birmingham League and North Staffordshire League up to the turn of the century, and moved to their present Marston Road home in 1896. In 1900–01 Stafford rejoined the Birmingham League and in 1904–05 had an FA Cup run to the last Qualifying Round bowing out in a replay at Second Division Blackpool. They were demoted to the Birmingham Combination in 1912 but won the championship at the first attempt (1912–13) and then finished runners-up in two of the next four seasons either side of the First World War. Rangers won the Birmingham League title in 1926–27, twice finished runners-up (1928–29 and 1929–30) and were twice third in five memorable seasons. During this period a total of 542 league goals were scored with striker Eddie Cameron regularly scoring goals. Due to financial troubles the team spent the mid to late 1930s struggling to avoid re-election and in one game were so short of players that the club secretary R.P. Brown had to play and actually scored a goal. During April 1935 a successful appeal for £100 to pay creditors enabled the club to survive. When war broke out in 1939, Rangers participated in an emergency Birmingham League during the 1939–40 season, finishing as runners-up, and then disbanded.

Rangers became founder members of the Alliance Premier League but this coincided with the club finishing low in the league, as various managers found it difficult to follow the success of the seventies. After four seasons Rangers were relegated to the Northern Premier League. This form continued, but with the appointment of Ron Reid as manager during the 1983–84 season as manager the club soon began to rebuild its reputation and won the 1984–85 League title. Back in the Alliance, the Bob Lord Trophy, Jim Thompson Shield and Staffordshire Senior Cup were all won within two seasons. During the late eighties and early nineties, Rangers struggled in the Conference, with six managers in seven seasons following Reid’s departure in May 1988. The sale of striker Stan Collymore to Crystal Palace in December 1990 for a substantial six-figure fee stands out in this period. Under the management of Dennis Booth, Rangers enjoyed a tremendous 1992–93 campaign. In the league they finished 6th and reached the FA Cup Second Round, defeating Lincoln City in a First Round replay at Marston Road.

After Booth departed for Bristol Rovers, Rangers found success difficult to achieve and were relegated from the Conference to the Southern League Premier Division at the end of the 1994–95 season. The slide continued at the start of the 1995–96 campaign and when Kevan Bowen took over in October 1995 Rangers had not gained a point. Bowen made an immediate impact and achieved good results in the second half of the season but the damage had already been done at the start and the club was relegated for the second successive season. With an ambition to take Stafford Rangers back to their former heights in non-league football, the Board appointed Kevin Bond as manager towards the end of 1997. Despite some good performances Rangers ended the season in a mid-table position and Bond moved on to Portsmouth.

Stafford Rangers achieved promotion back to the fifth tier of English football after a play-off win on penalties over Droylsden in May 2006 at rivals Burton Albion’s new Pirelli Stadium. This came at the end of a successful 2005–06 league campaign which resulted in a second-place finish.

In the 2006–07 season the club reached the second round of the FA Cup where they lost to Brighton & Hove Albion. A match against Dagenham & Redbridge was featured live on Sky Sports. Goalkeeper Danny Alcock was selected for the England Non-League squad in January 2007 and a month later Cameroonian Guy Madjo was selected by his nation for international duty. The club managed to avoid relegation on the final day of the season, and finished 20th in the Conference.

2007 saw Stafford struggle to compete in an increasingly difficult league with many ex-league and professional sides. Phil Robinson left the club after five-and-a-half years in charge and many Stafford fans were unhappy to see him leave. Players Neil Grayson and Kevin Street were placed in temporary charge of the county town club as joint caretaker managers.

On 21 February 2008, Steve Bull was appointed as head coach. Bull was unable to save the club and on 7 April 2008, Rangers were relegated to the Conference North following a 4–0 defeat at home to York City. He left the club on 12 December, being replaced by Chris Brindley, who was assistant manager under Bull.

At the end of the 2009 season, Stafford Rangers’ future was uncertain as they needed to pay Slick Seating £50,000 by 7 July. The club came up with the idea of selling 250 tickets at £200, that would be repaid in weekly draws, this worked and the club was saved from going into administration.

On 14 April 2010, news was leaked that chairman Jon Downing had resigned from his position, after 17 years on the club’s board. In September 2010, Brindley resigned as manager of Stafford Rangers. The following month, the club appointed Tim Flowers as manager, but he resigned as manager on 11 January 2011 after just nine games in charge and his assistant Matt Elliott took over the job. Despite some improved performances Elliott could not prevent relegation to the Northern Premier League for the 2011–12 season. Their fate was not confirmed until the final game of the season, a 3–2 defeat at Stalybridge Celtic. Elliott initially accepted the offer to become manager for the next season but then had a change of heart and resigned. On 31 May 2011 Greg Clowes was appointed manager, but on 8 September 2013, following defeat in all of their opening seven league games, Clowes, Garner and coach Mick Hathaway were relieved of their management duties. The club appointed Andy Mutch as interim manager until Graham Heathcote was announced as manager on 3 January 2014. Following a further relegation, this time to the NPL Division One South, Heathcote felt he could not continue as manager on a limited playing budget, and on 28 May 2014 former Rushall Olympic boss Neil Kitching was appointed as the new manager of Stafford Rangers.

CURRENT FORM

Rangers have been in mixed form over their last five games. In their last five, they have faced a number of the league’s top six.

Last time out, Rangers were beaten at the Stan Robinson Stadium by league leaders Radcliffe thanks to three goals before half time seeing Boro cement their place at the top of the table. In a relegation battle, Rangers were defeated by Bradford Park Avenue thanks to a Jordan Preston penalty.

Rangers picked up an impressive victory at home to Guiseley with a 93rd minute winner from Kaiman Anderson securing a 2-1 winner. Anderson was also on the scoresheet again as Rangers picked up a point away at Hyde United. A second half brace from Tom Cursons started their run of five with a defeat as Ilkeston Town came away from Marston Road with three points.

ONE TO WATCH

KAIMAN ANDERSON 

Kaiman Anderson is one to watch for Stafford Rangers tomorrow night.

Anderson is Rangers’ top scorer so far this season with 15 goals in all competitions so far.

PREVIOUS MEETING 

Last time the sides met was back in September as The Silkmen secured victory at the Leasing.com Stadium. Second half goals from Tom Peers and Alex Curran saw Macclesfield secure a 2-0 victory over Rangers.

 

 

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