Macclesfield FC: I’m our Z-lister, says Robbie Savage

Robbie Savage
Last season, Robbie Savage played for 10th-tier Stockport Town, eight years after his initial retirement

Robbie Savage says he couldn’t let his boyhood club Wrexham hog the attention with A-lister Ryan Reynolds – calling himself Macclesfield’s new “Z-lister”.

Savage joined newly-formed Macclesfield FC’s board on Tuesday, as Hollywood star Reynolds considers investing in National League club Wrexham.

Macclesfield Town were expelled from the National League in September after they were wound up in the High Court.

But the new club hope to enter the North West Counties League next season.

“I couldn’t let Wrexham have all the limelight with Ryan Reynolds,” Savage told BBC Sport. “They have an A-lister. We have a Z-lister.”

Macclesfield-born businessman Robert Smethurst has installed former Silkmen midfielder Danny Whitaker as manager of the phoenix club, with Savage assuming the role of head of football operations.

The 45-year-old former Leicester, Birmingham, Blackburn and Derby midfielder, who has forged a post-playing career as a football pundit, was only alerted to the plans for Macclesfield by his good friend Smethurst 10 days ago.

An advocate of grassroots football, Wrexham-born Savage has embraced the project and will combine his other work with his role at Macclesfield.

“I was fortunate to play in the Premier League but I am also a grassroots volunteer,” said Savage. “I am out there on a Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday in the wet and cold to facilitate youngsters playing football.

“This club has to be self-sufficient. We want to facilitate the dreams of local boys and girls to play for Macclesfield. At the moment we don’t even have an academy but Rob sold me the dream. I know lots of managers and hopefully we can provide opportunities for young players.”

Macclesfield will apply to enter the North West Counties League next season, although Smethurst has not ruled out the chances of starting at a higher level if the opportunity arose.

His initial tasks include replacing the grass pitch at Moss Rose with a 4G surface that will allow more community use in an effort to generate funds.

Discussions are ongoing with the local council about buying the freehold for the land the stadium is built on. In addition, Smethurst must also complete the sale of Stockport Town, the NWCFL club he already owns, and who Savage played for last year.

Savage said the past 10 days had been “a whirlwind”. However, the welcome he has already received has left him in no doubt he is doing the right thing.

He says, though, that Macclesfield are looking to build in a different way to Salford City. Salford – part-owned by former Manchester United stars Gary and Phil Neville, Paul Scholes, Nicky Butt, Ryan Giggs and David Beckham – climbed four divisions in five seasons to reach the English Football League following the club’s high-profile takeover in 2014.

“Paul Scholes was one of the first people on the phone to wish us good luck,” said Savage.

“But this is a different model to Salford. They have lots of millionaires. Here there is one owner. We are starting at the bottom. We can’t pay £1,000 a week for a player.

“This club was for sale on Rightmove. At one stage it looked as though there wasn’t even going to be a club.

“I am sure when we eventually start playing matches there will be tears.

“Football has given me so much. If I have helped save this club, I will feel as if I have given something back.”

BBC News