BARRY PIKESLEY - JOY DIVISION
The following article is reproduced from "The Robins' Review" of 5 March 2016
Whilst I accept that there is still a remote possibility that it might just contain one or two unknown pleasures which have so far eluded my scrutiny, to my mind, the only good things to have come out of Macclesfield comprise Ian Curtis (via Stretford), Stephen Morris, the insightful David Shrigley, Jonathan Agnew, Nigel Shaw and my dear wife.
I hasten to clarify that my other half merely happened to have the misfortune to be an inhabitant of Macc when our relationship commenced. She actually hails from Shropshire and her allegiance lies heart and soul with Shrewsbury Town.
Since our 3-0 Vanarama National League defeat against the Silkmen at the Moss Rose back on Tuesday, 10th November 2015, Alty have played the sum of 13 league games which have yielded the following record: won: three; drawn: five; lost: five; goals scored: 14; goals conceded: 21 and points gained: 14 (out of a possible total of 39).
I suspect that during the 13 remaining league fixtures of the 2015/16 season, the Robins may well be obliged to accumulate a higher tally of points than the figure outlined in the aforementioned statistics in order to stave off the harrowing prospect of relegation into the relative wilderness of the Vanarama National League North.
To a degree, our fate these days resides in our own hands in that we face matches versus all four of the teams who currently languish in the positions beneath us in the league table, namely FC Halifax Town, Torquay United, Welling United and Kidderminster Harriers.
However, in light of our unfortunate propensity for fluffing our lines in rather spectacular fashion during such fixtures, many Alty devotees may not take a great deal of solace from these elements of our impending schedule!
I deem it best to be compassionate and pass over the atrocity exhibition that was our recent capitulation against Chester, preferring to concentrate instead on both an improved performance and atmosphere in the ensuing 1-1 home draw with Guiseley. On a quagmire of a pitch which resembled a throwback to the 1970s, an inevitably attritional war saw the slinging of almost as much mud as a Donald Trump press conference.
Sitting near to me in the main stand, the assembled Macc Town snoopers of John Askey and Steve Watson et al. were duly treated to a strike of monumental substance from Michael Rankine. Alas, for the fourth occasion in our last five league fixtures, the Robins didn't capitalise on being ahead and were unable to convert a winning position into three precious points and thereby edge us closer to potential safety in this division.
Meanwhile, I note that the recent election of Gianni Infantino as president of the new order of FIFA proceeded without that rumoured eleventh-hour challenge from that rising star of UEFA in the shape of our very own Altrincham FC Vice-Chairman Andrew Shaw Esq. He must be keeping his powder dry for a campaign as a candidate to succeed Greg Dyke at the FA in the summer.
Dylan Mottley-Henry, our recent loan signing from Bradford City, may not have had the opportunity to make too much of a permanent impression on the pitch but he has at least made his mark in the esoteric archives of Altrincham FC relating to the last five decades.
Alongside such Moss Lane luminaries as Barry Shuttleworth, both Paul & Danny Higginbotham, that local leagues legend Brian LeBoutillier and the equally impressively-hyphenated Nathan Comley-Excell, he is the joint record holder for the category of 'Alty player with the longest surname', in which 12 letters remains the target to beat.
On the subject of the Manchester derby, Sir Alex Ferguson once observed that: “You would have to be a confirmed masochist to enjoy it." As regards this afternoon's encounter between Alty and Macc, I think it's fair to say that there's little chance that love will tear us apart.
John Askey's team arrive here on the back of a miserable sequence of seven consecutive games in all competitions without a victory, so let's hope that disorder promptly prevails amongst the Silkmen's defenders, any lingering notion of a new dawn fades for them and, ultimately, it is the colony of Macc fans who walk away, in silence.