Macclesfield Town: Supporters of financially-troubled club fear 'extinction'

General view of Moss Rose, home of Macclesfield Town
Macclesfield Town are in their second season back in the English Football League, after winning promotion to League Two in the 2017-18 season

Macclesfield Town fans fear the club's "extinction" and have set up a "hardship fund" to help players and staff through its financial crisis.

The English Football League has suspended Saturday's League Two game with Crewe after the Silkmen said they would be unable to fulfil the fixture.

Macclesfield's players had said earlier this week they would not play in protest over unpaid wages and that their emotional and mental wellbeing was at "rock bottom".

"We are on the brink of extinction, and likely to suffer the same drastic fate as our near neighbours Bury," the Silkmen Supporters' Trust said in a statement given to BBC Sport before Friday's announcement by the EFL.

On Wednesday, ex-manager Sol Campbell backed a bid from HM Revenue & Customs to wind up the League Two club.

It was revealed in court that former England centre-back Campbell, who now manages Southend in League One, is owed £180,000 by Macclesfield.

Wage issues at Moss Rose prompted Silkmen Supporters' Trust board members Andy Worth and John Abbott to start a hardship fund to "provide short-term financial emergency support" for players and non-playing staff.

More than £11,000 has been raised with a "number of staff" already being assisted.

"As Christmas comes and with no apparent end to this nightmare at our beloved club, we believe that we may well be helping significantly more staff in the near future. As a consequence, we urge as many people as can possibly do so, to continue help with providing funds," the Trust statement added.

"The human financial cost of this tragic situation is being borne by the amazing playing and non-playing staff of our beloved club, who have repeatedly encountered late payment of wages over the past year, and are obviously facing considerable hardship."

The Trust says an "overwhelming majority" of fans support strike action by the players. An inexperienced side was fielded in a 4-0 FA Cup defeat by Kingstonian after first-team players refused to play.

'A shambolic state'

The Silkmen Supporters' Trust said "the blame for this heartbreaking situation for so many Silkmen fans, is laid squarely at the feet" of owner Amar Alkhadi.

Alkadhi, who first got involved with Macclesfield in 2003 and went on to become majority shareholder, was recently discussions about selling the club to local businessman Joe Sealey, only for talks to stall.

Fans said the club "appears rudderless and professionally unsustainable" after a number of key personnel, including its chairman, chief executive and commercial manager, left without being replaced.

The Trust also question if Alkadhi "really cares about sorting out" the situation at the 145-year-old club.

"Many fail to comprehend how a club who only 18 months ago managed a footballing fairy tale achievement (promotion from the National League) could possibly have deteriorated into such a shambolic state and in such a short space of time," the statement added.

BBC Sport has contacted Alkadhi for comment.

'EFL share frustrations'

The Silkmen Supporters' Trust said they feel let down by the EFL in their handling of the situation at Moss Rose.

"We don't understand their apparent impotence when facing a similar scenario to that that has stricken other north-west football clubs including Blackpool, Bolton and Bury and still they do not appear to want to or be able to act against seemingly irresponsible owners of football clubs in a timely or efficient manner," the statement said.

The EFL, who met with players and representatives from the Professional Footballers' Association on Friday, say they have "considerable sympathy with the difficulties faced by all those affected at the club" and have helped support Macclesfield players and staff financially.

In response to the Trust statement, a spokesperson for the EFL said: "Clearly, this remains a challenging situation for all those involved with Macclesfield Town and we completely understand and share the frustrations of the club's supporters.

"The League has been working with the club, ensuring players and staff were paid utilising centralised payments, while also taking the appropriate action in accordance with its regulations.

"The club is set to appear before a disciplinary hearing later this month to answer charges of failing to pay its players when required and we will continue to operate this dual approach as we seek to find a long-term sustainable solution for Macclesfield Town."