Macclesfield play Scrooge to Prescots Tiny Tim.

Walking through Prescot Town Centre you come to the hill that is Hope Street. Walking down it you see Prescot Cables Football Club. You wonder how many fans of all teams have walked down this street full of hope for a victory.

Football has been played in Prescot since 1884 under the name of Prescot and Prescot Town before they adopted the Cables name. The ‘Cables’ came from the largest employer, British Insulated Cables that had been set up in 1890 and which traded locally for 100 years under various names until its closure in 1991 with the loss of 230 jobs.

The club had a successful run in the Lancashire Combination from the late 1920’s until a slump in form saw them drop into the Mid Cheshire League in 1975 where after continued high finishes they became founder members of the Cheshire County League. More success was to follow when in 1982 they were again founder members of a League, this time the North West Counties League where they progressed to the highest division. When they finished runners up in 2002 they were promoted to The Northern Premier League Division One and attained a spot in the Premier Division in 2004 with one of the many Non-League re-organisations.

2005 was a pivotal year in that a group from the Supporters Club took control but the club fell into administration in 2008 caught up in the financial crash. Relegation followed a year later to Division one where they have stayed and this year are having one of their most successful recent seasons. They have now become a Community Club that is run by volunteers who have a long lease from the local authority who now own the freehold of the John Russell Stadium.

Macclesfield Football club by contrast have only been in existence since Macclesfield Town FC went into liquidation in 2020. The club were bought by Robert Smethhurst with the intention of quickly getting back into the National League and from there the EFL. Macclesfield Town FC had risen as high as the 3rd tier of English football over their nearly 150 year life and throughout their history were known as a strong Non-League club. Robert Smethurst has invested heavily in the club and has brought high profile Robbie Savage on board as Director of Football. His status in football and his celebrity profile has enabled the club to get outstanding media coverage.

Up the hill just off the Town Centre is the Shakespeare North Playhouse a beautiful new theatre built of wood by traditional methods, in the round, a cockpit theatre fashioned in the style of ‘The Globe’ in London. The theatre was opened this year and you would be right to ask why Prescot. Well the area of Prescot was very influential and prosperous in the first Elizabethan era and had a theatre there in those days rivalling London. The play that was being presented at a rival matinee performance to the football was ‘A Christmas Carol’. Scrooge v Tiny Tim came to mind in the football with the team with money v the Community Club.

It was a dull grey day with some slight drizzle in the air and although the Met Office App was saying it was 11 degrees I think they must have been measuring it indoors. The pitch looked flat but the grass was beginning to wear after the rain of the last month. What hits you first is the high, large, seated stand that runs down most of one side under which are the changing rooms, snack bar and club house. The other three sides were terraced with a small covered standing area over half of one end.

The snack bar beckoned but there were no chips, however unexpectedly there were Hot Pot pies! This turned out to be a mushy meat and potato pie that with peas and gravy was delicious. The club house was well furnished, warm and friendly which belied the recent club statement against anti social behavior that had been issued for a second time this season and had meant that two policemen were standing within the crowd which was a great 948. As I moved to the exit I saw one of the policemen yawning which didn’t reflect the game but their lack of work. The crowd of nearly a thousand was good considering Christmas Shopping, the miserable weather and the World Cup matches of Poland v Saudi Arabia and France v Denmark on the television.

What struck me was that I was in Prescot where Lancashire or Liverpudlian accents prevail but the announcer had a very strong American accent!

Prescot Cables 1 Macclesfield 2

Saturday 26th November 2022: 15.00pm kick off.

Northern Premier League Division One West.

9th v 1st Cables (Also known as the Pesky Bulls) v The Silkmen

Prescot: Yellow shirts with black sleeves Macclesfield: Pale Mint Green shirts with white shorts

Macclesfield started the game the strongest both physically and skillfully and had two attacks cleared off the line. Despite this Prescot hung in there and were still very much in the game but on 30 minutes a second yellow card for James Hamill looked likely to open the floodgate for the away team but some profligate finishing and great saves from Mitchell Allen in the Prescott goal kept it all square at half time.

Just after another Macclesfield attack Prescot were awarded a free kick out on the right touchline, some 35 yards plus out. James Edgar hit the ball into the centre and it sailed over everyone into the top left hand corner of the goal for a home team lead, could this be real! The euphoria of the home crowd only lasted a minute as James Berry through on goal chipped Allen but the ball hit the cross bar and dropped down for Berry to run through and tap it in for the equaliser. The game was now getting more competitive and you couldn’t tell that it was Prescot who had the ten men. It could have been ten each when a bad foul in midfield ended in a scrum of players with the Prescot centre back being booked for some jostling with the perpetrator of the foul slinking off early and avoiding a second yellow. Macclesfield substituted the player immediately afterwards.

With 15 minutes left the referee awarded a freekick for a foul inches from awarding a penalty with the crowd baying for a different response. The freekick came to nothing and eight minutes later Macclesfield dowsed all of the Christmas cheer when a ball was hooked into the goal mouth from the right in what looked like an off side position for Dan Cowan to tap in for the lead 1-2.

Prescot just didn’t give up and had a penalty shout for hand ball and a deflected shot just go wide in the last minutes. I usually don’t get partisan in the matches I watch but I was so upset for Prescot who gave their all and ran their socks off with super human effort. Certainly Macclesfield were Scrooge in this performance and Prescot were Tiny Tim. Tiny Tim in the story recovers and with this spirit Prescot will come back stronger.

P.S. After the match the Shakespeare Theatre North was amazing and the production of A Christmas Carol was more like a pantomime. The four actors kept everyone entertained and if this is what they are going to offer to the public I’m sure it will be full as it was on Saturday night.

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