Sheffielder Simpson shows he’s a budget-beater

Football traumas: Macclesfield boss Gary Simpson is all too aware of them, reflected in the sudden death of Richard Butcher.
Football traumas: Macclesfield boss Gary Simpson is all too aware of them, reflected in the sudden death of Richard Butcher.
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SUCCESS or doing a good job isn’t necessarily being in the top three or the top seven and few would argue that Sheffielder Gary Simpson is doing anything other than a good job at Macclesfield where a mid-table finish this time would certainly represent success.

Rotherham United are at the Moss Rose this afternoon with Simpson, aged 50, making a good job of striving to establish Macclesfield as more than a side who will be scrambling to stay out of trouble.

Last season, his first full one in charge, Simpson took Macclesfield to 15th, their highest finish in six seasons.

This on one of the lowest budgets in the division, and not much will have changed this time as he looks enviously at the spending of others - including the Millers - but can only wonder.

“We are trying to build a club here not just a team and we don’t want to be scrapping at the bottom every season, we want to push on,” says Simpson whose side will be 15th place when they run out against Rotherham.

As football paid its respects and tributes to Gary Speed, Simpson certainly knew all about the trauma of death at a football club - he’s had to deal with two in the past 20 months.

Manager Keith Alexander died in March 2010 with Simpson - who had been assistant to him at several clubs - taking over.

Then, last January, midfielder Richard Butcher died suddenly, aged only 29, and Simpson had all the implications of that to deal with as well.

His capacity for unearthing players and also bringing players successfully through the youth system have seen Macclesfield improve their standing in recent years.

Central defender Shaun Brisley, 21, has come through the ranks and is attracting strong attention from clubs as was 17-year-old right back Tyrone Hewitt who was watched by Premier League clubs when he was in the side earlier this season.

South Yorkshire connections include Rotherham-born ex-Owls winger Matt Hamshaw, former Doncaster Rovers striker Waide Fairhurst and ex-Blades youngster Sam Wedgbury.

Rotherham got one of their severest tests last season at Macclesfield when they were subjected to an ordeal by long throw. Johnny Mullins and Nick Fenton were absolutely outstanding that day.

They got their head on everything with Fenton also scoring in the 2-0 win.

Macc have proved a hard side to beat or break down. In their last eight games they have conceded one goal or less in seven of them.

Millers boss Andy Scott said he wanted his side to go into the holiday spell having got back within touching distance of the play-offs. But he acknowledges that the Macclesfield game and the one at Cheltenham on Friday are difficult games.