Macclesfield Town offer first-team appearance for £20,000

 

Macclesfield Town have confirmed to BBC Radio Manchester they hope to raise £20,000 by offering one person the chance to play for the club.

The successful applicant will feature for 10 minutes of a Conference Premier or cup fixture for the Silkmen.

The club will only consider fit males between the ages of 18 and 35, but have not said how they will choose a winner.

Macclesfield are in a perilous financial position and need £100,000 by the end of August to survive.

Pay and play for Macclesfield

  • One person can pay £20,000 to play for the Silkmen
  • Only "fit males between 18 and 35" are able to apply
  • They do not have to be a Macclesfield fan
  • Club inviting interest from keen amateurs and ex-professional players
  • Winning applicant will be given a squad number and a set of home, away and training kit
  • Will train with the first team for a week and get a place in the club photo
  • Play for 10 minutes of a Conference Premier or cup game at some point during the season

Earlier this month, Cheshire East Council gave the club £285,000 for the freehold of their Moss Rose ground.

Without those funds, associate director Andy Scott said Macclesfield would have been close to being handed a winding-up order, having ended last season £500,000 in debt.

They recently became a 'Community Interest Company' following a restructure of the club.

Macclesfield have stressed that the appearance would happen at a convenient time during a match and would not significantly affect the team.

"We haven't got Manchester United's bank balance. We've got Macclesfield Town's bank balance, which is pretty desperate to say the least at the moment," Scott told BBC Radio Manchester. "If the club was in a strong financial position, perhaps we wouldn't even consider it.

"I think it's a wonderful opportunity for somebody to step forward and go down in the history of English football.

"If it's 1-1 with 10 minutes to go in a big cup game, we wouldn't even risk it. If we're 3-0 up with 10 minutes to go and [manager] John [Askey] feels as though he can put this guy on, he'll give it a go. It will be a wonderful experience for somebody."

Speaking to the Macclesfield Express,  Askey added: "What we don't want is for it to become farcical, but I don't think it will hinder or restrict the team - far from it. We wouldn't be doing it if there was any danger of that.

"For me, pulling the Macc shirt on for the first time was an extremely proud day and massive achievement."

Town were relegated from League Two in 2012, ending their 15-year stay in the Football League, and finished 11th in the Conference last season, although they earned significant funds from a run to the fourth round of the FA Cup - their best-ever performance in the competition.

It is thought to be the first time an English club have offered such an opportunity, although non-playing supporters featuring for their club is not a unique occurrence.

In 2003, Doncaster owner John Ryan appeared as a substitute in the final minute of Rovers' final league game of the Conference season at Hereford, and at the age of 52 years and 11 months became the oldest man to turn out for a professional club in England.

The Football Conference said they had not received any official notification of Macclesfield's plan at this stage and were unwilling to comment further.