28 Sep 2022 | Latest News

Here’s Club Owner and Director Robert Smethurst’s programme notes from last night’s league game against Kidsgrove Athletic.

Good evening and a warm welcome back to the Stadium as we prepare to face Kidsgrove Athletic in our latest Northern Premier League West Division fixture.

It seems like an eternity since I penned my last programme notes – in fact you have to go back to August Bank Holiday Monday since we last enjoyed a home league game!

That is remarkable in many respects and has proved to be problematic for us on so many different levels.

Progression in the cup competitions is clearly advantageous and I was so disappointed to be eliminated from the Emirates FA Cup, but at the same time it does create a bit of a mockery of our fixture list.

So many games have been cancelled and subsequently rearranged – it really does need looking at by the powers that be as it can’t be good for any Club at this level.

On the one hand, this has proven to be a logistical nightmare in terms of ticketing and issuing refunds to those who can’t make the new dates, whilst also representing a real challenge in terms of cash flow projections.

If you think about it, we budget so much income per home league game and although this will even itself out over the course of the season, the fact that so many games are changed at short notice is far from ideal.

Again, this is not taking away from the fact that we want to progress in every competition that we play in – but you can see how difficult it can be for Clubs like ours to create meaningful and accurate cashflow forecasts, especially at a time when these are becoming more and more important.

This is magnified by the fact that attendances for cup games have been markedly lower than those for league games.

If I am being honest, I don’t really understand why that would be as everyone loves a cup run and broadly speaking it is the same team that plays in the league.

Saturday’s crowd of 655 really was disappointing and I would be interested to know your thoughts on why this was.

These are all part of the trials and tribulations of being the Owner of a Football Club I guess and sometimes I will need your help in understanding why certain things are as they are!

Talking of which, I would like to say a few words about rumours that have been posted on social media over the course of the last few weeks.

I read everything that is posted as I like to keep my finger on the pulse of fan opinion – but some of the stuff that I have read has been misguided and actually harmful to the Club.

The first rumour that I would like to quash surrounds Stealth Gymanasium and the belief that it is about to close.

Nothing could be further from the truth in this regard and we are actually about to unveil a well-known brand that will be running the day-to-day aspects of the gym in the very near future.

This is a very exciting development that will see the gym go from strength to strength, – so far from closing, the gym is actually about to embark on a new era that will see it evolve in a very positive manner.

Secondly, I have read assertions stating that Bar Twenty Seven will be closing in the near future.

Again this is total nonsense and the reality of the situation is the complete opposite.

We are in the process of outsourcing the Kitchen area to a well-known and prestigious local company and in addition to this, we will be hiring a full-time Chef in order to make sure that our food offering is the best in the local area.

This will take a period of time – but we will get there!

In addition to these, I am currently looking at plans that will see our Club Reception area extended and transformed into an elegant Coffee Shop that will serve the local community throughout the week.

I will bring you an update on this as soon as I can, but this is another project that I am really excited by.

I know some of you have been disgruntled with the pies recently and this will be sorted, but sometimes I do think that people are just looking for things to have a moan about!

If we had fifty different flavours, someone would moan that we didn’t have 51!

That’s just how it is though I guess!

Plans for a Fireworks Night will be unveiled very soon, as well as our Christmas offerings – so do look out for them across all our channels.

Moving on and I was interested to read that our BTEC programme is about to be withdrawn!

I don’t know where these rumours come from I really don’t, but to address this one head-on we have just welcomed around 120 students to this year’s programme – which is the most that we have ever had.

In actual fact, the numbers that we enjoy mean that the course is actually at its capacity!

Our programme is bigger and better than ever – so much so that we have one of the most prestigious BTEC Academy’s in the country and I would like to thank all the incredible staff who have made this happen.

The final rumour that I would like to quash surrounds our Academy here at the Stadium.

Apparently, this is being whittled down to the bare minimum – with players being turned away!

This is probably the most surprising rumour of the lot and is so off the mark it is untrue.

We have invested significantly in our Junior Academy provision over the course of the summer – so much so that we are able to grow it to levels that have not previously been attained.

The number of youngsters enjoying their football with us continues to rise exponentially and this is a fundamental part of Macclesfield FC being a truly Community Club.

I don’t know if it’s jealousy or frustration in not been able to offer the same level of facilities and coaching as we do, but there are people out there who clearly want us to fail.

In addition to all of this, we still facilitate free football to over three hundred youngsters via The Savage Foundation and welcome almost forty teams to the Stadium every Sunday as part of the Junior Premier League without charge.

Next year, we hope to extend our JPL provision into Manchester and offer even more teams the opportunity to play for free as our way of helping grassroots teams and families from across the area deal with the cost of living crisis.

So as you can see, I have been scratching my head a bit recently and this is just the tip of the iceberg!

Maybe I shouldn’t read social media at all – my life would certainly be easier if I didn’t!

But I do so for the sole reason that I care what all our fans think – largely because I am a fan myself.

It would be naive to think that everyone who comes here will enjoy a perfect experience – despite our best efforts.

Yet at the same time, the number of erroneous rumours that are surfacing about our Club literally makes me so mad because there is no need for them.

What is their purpose?

They have no purpose and so I need your help in protecting all that we have fought so hard to build.

If you see any of these harmful rumours and those who are stirring untruths about us, then please do put them right as they will never be allowed to steer us off-track.

We are all in this together and need each other to be on the same side if we are to succeed.

Enjoy the game.


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