Macclesfield order in special beer to toast Campbell’s home debut
The Silkmen are currently bottom of League Two.
Macclesfield are laying on special beer at the Moss Rose for Sol Campbell’s first home game on Saturday, but could use a win before they raise a toast.
Campbell’s long wait for a first job in management has taken him to the very foot of the Football League, with the Silkmen bottom of League Two.
His former England team-mates Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard might have landed big first jobs at Rangers and Derby respectively.
But Campbell – who said he had to apply for a dozen jobs to get his chance and complained about a lack of opportunities for black managers in the game – is in at the deep end.
This weekend he will be introduced to the Moss Rose crowd for the first time when his side take on Crawley, and the ground’s McIlroy Suite has loaded up with a Mexican beer bearing his name specially for the occasion.
How many bottles they shift could depend on the result, with Macclesfield still three points behind second-bottom Notts County, despite two wins from their last three matches.
Campbell was officially in charge for neither of those games, even if his appointment coincided with a 1-0 win away to Exeter.
Instead, his life as a manager began on familiar territory but an unfamiliar competition.
On December 4, Campbell took his side to St James’ Park, where he spent one season as a player, but saw them lose on a penalty shoot-out to Newcastle’s under-21s in the Checkatrade Trophy.
They followed that up with a 1-0 away loss to Colchester in the league last weekend, but Campbell has seen encouraging signs.
He praised their performance at Colchester, and reckoned that but for some more clinical shooting the result could have been different.
“You could see it was a hard game for Colchester and that’s what we have to do between now and the end of the season,” he said after the match.
“We have to make it difficult for teams and then get our chances and then hopefully get a little bit of luck in front of goal.
“The effort was there and the lads really worked their socks off.
“That really gave me the heart to say as long as you’re working to get in the right positions and give the front line opportunities, that’s good.”
Macclesfield have still only won twice at home in the league this season, but could find Crawley the ideal opponents given their away form is equally as bad, even if they do sit in mid-table.
There has been good news for Campbell in the week with young forward Jordan Ponticelli, on loan from Coventry, recovering from injury and scoring a fine strike in a Central League Cup win over Fleetwood in midweek.
Jared Hodgkiss also played in that game, boosting Campbell’s options as he nears a clean bill of health.
Last week Campbell brought in former Manchester City and Wolves winger Mark Kennedy as his first team coach, and he believes the pieces are now in place for Macclesfield to start moving up the table.
“I’ve only been here (a short time) with even less sessions, so for me it’s been really good to see the guys respond to what we’re trying to do, our philosophy and to roll our sleeves up and keep going,” he said earlier this week.
“It’s cup finals for us all the way.”