Tony Cascarino praises ‘miracle’ worker Sol Campbell following exit from Macclesfield Town

17 Aug

Tony Cascarino has praised Sol Campbell following his Macclesfield Town exit.

The Arsenal legend left the League Two club by mutual consent after eight months in charge on Thursday.

Campbell will not struggle to get a new managerial job, believes Cascarino
Getty Images - Getty

Campbell, who won two Premier League titles with the Gunners, saved Macclesfield from relegation last season after taking over with the strugglers bottom of the fourth tier.

Despite his on-field success, Macclesfield players have been fighting against unpaid wages over the summer.

Ex-Chelsea ace Cascarino told talkSPORT’s Weekend Sports Breakfast: “Sol could probably do a book on what’s happened in the last year as being manager and going to Macclesfield Town.

“Going down to that level, I’ve always said if you go to that level, be prepared to know as much as you can and employ people around you that know that level brilliantly – that gives you a chance.

“Sol, he was never onto a winner going to Macclesfield Town, especially with their circumstances off the field.

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“To keep them up was pretty much a minor miracle. I’ve lauded Phil Parkinson at Bolton when he got promoted when he was under a [transfer] embargo.

“He went down and he’s still their manager. He’s in a similar situation [to Campbell], imagine coming in here and none of us have been paid and we’re having to do a show.”

A run of just two defeats from Macclesfield’s final 10 games saw the club avoid relegation under Campbell’s guidance.

And his departure could once again threaten the Silkmen’s Football League status.

Cascarino added: “Sol had only lost two of his last 10 games. So when I heard the news midweek, and it was apparently by both parties mutual consent, I was stunned with the circumstances that Sol had thrown himself into.

“He’s a wealthy boy, he would have made a lot of money, he’s given himself a chance to be a manager.

“I can’t imagine going into training every day, keeping the team, trying to bring in new people in the summer, not getting paid and having players at that level, because I’ve been there, players that can’t afford to pay their mortgages, having to deal with no wages.

“Okay, the PFA [Professional Footballers’ Association] will step in, [but] I was thinking how tough Sol’s job would have been off the field.”

Sol Campbell EXCLUSIVE: Macclesfield Town boss on crying after League Two survival, emotional torture, and going unpaid for two months

24 May

Macclesfield Town were dead and buried before Sol Campbell took over the reins last November. It would be hard to provide an argument to counter that statement.

It’s safe to say the former England and Arsenal defender is one of football’s most misunderstood characters.

That’s probably one of the reasons why he had to wait so long to get his first break in management – something he has grasped with both hands.

Campbell’s passion for the game is immense, and after many unsuccessful attempts to land a job in the Football League, his luck turned when he landed the Macclesfield gig in late 2018.

Campbell worked wonders to keep Macclesfield in the Football League when they seemed destined for relegation
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That is of course, if you class a position with the EFL’s basement club – as they were then – a ‘lucky’ break. They were seven points adrift of safety in League Two after all.

On May 5, the final day of the regular season, it was mission accomplished for Campbell – Macclesfield had completed a miraculous survival.

A run of just two defeats in their last ten games proved critical as the Silkmen successfully fought off relegation, finishing three points clear of second-bottom Notts County.

So after that rollercoaster season you’d probably be expected Campbell to be rewarded with a new and improved contract or even just handed sufficient funds in a bid to try and take the club forward?

Think again.

Campbell has been to hell and back during his six-month tenure to date at Moss Rose; player revolts, unpaid wages, a lack of communication with the board – you name it.

Speaking exclusively to talkSPORT, Campbell – who we can reveal hasn’t been paid by the club in over two months – underlined just how ‘difficult’ his spell at Macclesfield has been to date.

“The early days in particular were very, very difficult. Coming into this environment I had to deal with a lot of things,” he explained. “There was no structure and cohesion and absolutely no foundations in place.

The games that secured Macclesfield's survival

Campbell's side lost just two of their final 10 League Two matches to finish three points clear of the drop and stay in the Football League

  • Yeovil 0-2 MACCLESFIELD
  • MACCLESFIELD 2-2 Stevenage
  • Lincoln City 1-1 MACCLESFIELD
  • MACCLESFIELD 1-1 Morecambe
  • MACCLESFIELD 3-2 Exeter
  • Forest Green 2-0 MACCLESFIELD
  • Northampton 3-1 MACCLESFIELD
  • MACCLESFIELD 0-0 Newport
  • Port Vale 0-1 MACCLESFIELD
  • MACCLESFIELD 1-1 Cambridge

“When I rocked up I was fighting so many fires – behind the scenes it was non-stop drama.”

Despite suggestions otherwise, Campbell was up for the fight. He lives and breathes football after all.

He added: “People were thinking to themselves that this was too lowly a position for me… so can he roll his sleeves up? Does he know the league?

“Does he really want to be here as he’s used to the plush conditions that he was accustomed to as a professional footballer? The answer to that was, yes.

“What these people don’t realise is my upbringing was quite rough already. I was prepared to look past those things and roll my sleeves up, as it’s all about football for me.

The 44-year-old has been pushed to his absolute limits in this job.

“I had to start putting the foundations in place – and win football matches at the same time,” he explained.

“That is as well as closing the gap behind us and the other sides fighting relegation.

“I started crying after we stayed up. This job has taken so much out of me, emotionally and physically. I was crying with relief, really.

“I’ve almost been like a psychologist, as well as a football manager. I’ve had to guide these players and inspire them, but get inside their brains as well. It was my responsibility – I had to do all that by myself.

“Almost every single player at the club needed to be rebuilt – mentally, emotionally and football wise.

“I had to give these lads the belief that they could be somebody. And then you have the fans, they don’t really know me so draw their own conclusions – I’m new in management after all.

“We had to be well prepared, because if we hadn’t of done that we wouldn’t be in the league now – it’s as simple as that.”

So how did Campbell deal with issues like unpaid wages at the club? Did it have a big impact on his job?

“The whole situation completely stripped me down to be quite honest,” he admitted.

Campbell had to solve things on the pitch while fighting against numerous issues off it
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“I just had to be honest with the guys – all that was left was football.

“We all needed each other and I understood the players’ grievances and anger. At the same time I had to remind them that their reputations were on the line: ‘Do you want to get relegated? Who wants that on their CV?’

“People don’t realise how much it takes to pick these players up, players who aren’t getting paid and because of it are more than likely getting a hard time at home.

“You can’t do that to human beings – it’s emotional torture. If they are struggling at home with it all, that’s obviously going to affect the player as well.”

He continued: “It doesn’t matter if it’s one pound or a thousand pounds. In the end it comes down to principle and respect. Forget the amount… it’s how you’ve been treated.

“If you treat people the right way then they’ll show you that same respect back. I don’t know if respect is being fed through the club at the moment – I really don’t.”

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Campbell, who revealed the Macclesfield squad were a ‘whisker’ away from boycotting games due to the financial crisis, said he still has a relationship with the club’s owner.

“I need to have a real conversation with him,” Campbell continued.

“What is the playing budget for next season? Are we going to sort the pitch out? Where are we going to train next season? What’s going on with staff wages?

“The players need answers, so do the fans and so do I. Only then you can start planning for the future and getting your structure in place.

“I don’t know when I’ll get these answers though. I’m very flexible. If we can stay up with no budget last season then surely we could do something different next season? But don’t make it hard for the sake of being hard.

“It’s hard enough playing against other opposition – it’s almost like we’re self-harming ourselves. Let’s build for a bright future – that’s what’s it’s all about.

“Who knows what the future holds but all I do know is I want to leave this club in the best possible position I can when I do eventually move on.”

Despite all the hurdles Campbell has faced in his short managerial spell to date, he has no regrets and says he’d still join Macclesfield if he went back in time and had to make the choice again.

And he has no plan to quit, either.

“It’s so hard to get a job in football, so why would I just throw it away like that,” he declared.

“I’ve worked damn hard to get into this position and I don’t want to just give it away. That isn’t me – I’m not that type of person.

“I’m not giving up on Macclesfield. I’ll make it work, whatever way I have to.

“But don’t take loyalty for weakness. Some people in this world work for free for the love of the game. And that isn’t right.”

And moving forward?

“There’s tons of work to do at this football club, we need to make improvements all over the place.

Campbell’s work at Moss Rose has been lauded – and he has no intention of quitting on the club
getty

“We can’t have a smoking mirrors situation again. I need to get things organised at the end of the day.

“I don’t want to embarrass my contacts saying I’m doing this and that, but then it never happens.

“I want to do a proper job with Macclesfield, but I need to know what is going on.”

Sol Campbell: FA investigating claims Macclesfield manager was subjected to homophobic abuse by Cheltenham fans

30 Jan

The FA is investigating claims that Sol Campbell was subjected to homophobic abuse during Macclesfield’s trip to Cheltenham on Saturday.

Several Cheltenham fans wrote on social media about the chants directed towards the Macclesfield manager and director Dave Beesley confirmed to Gloucestershire Live he had received “a few emails from fans” complaining of homophobia at the game.

Sol Campbell was reportedly subjected to homophobic abuse

Campbell has spoken out about the alleged abuse that was directed to him during the match.

He told the BBC he was surprised by a “really sad underbelly of abuse in football that has been left for far too long.

“I’m not even playing anymore. I’m a manager. It’s not like I’ve got anything against whoever I’m playing.

“I don’t understand why there is animosity towards a manager who has got nothing to do with their club other than being the opposition.

“I’ve just been a manager and I want to do my job.”

Sol Campbell is manager of Macclesfield Town

Cheltenham Town released a statement on their website following the match to remind supporters that abuse at the club will not be tolerated.

However, it did not reference the specific incident relating to Campbell.

The statement said: “Cheltenham Town Football Club would like to remind all supporters visiting the Jonny-Rocks Stadium that it is against the law to shout or chant abuse on the grounds of ability or disability; age; gender; gender reassignment; marital status or civil partnership; pregnancy and maternity; race, nationality or ethnicity; religion or belief; or sexual orientation.

“Under the Equality Act 2010 it is an offence to make reference to the above protected characteristics in abusive terms and doing so could lead to arrest and prosecution.

“The club is currently undertaking a thorough review of matchday operations in line with its Equality Policy and supporters are urged to report any such abuse to the nearest steward as quickly as possible.

“Stewards will then be required to relay any complaint that involves discriminatory behaviour to the control room immediately for a response to be provided.”

Sol Campbell gets first win as Macclesfield Town boss with 2-0 win over Crawley Town

15 Dec

Sol Campbell got his first win as Macclesfield Town boss courtesy of a 2-0 victory against Crawley Town.

Former England international Campbell was appointed at the end of November and has been forced to wait to get his first three points in charge of the struggling League Two side.

Campbell got his first win as Macclesfield Town boss

The Silkmen ensured victory as Elliott Durrell and Harry Smith proved to be the difference as they grabbed their third win out of their last four league games.

Durrell grabbed his second goal of the season with a right-footed drive inside the box in the 31st minute.

Smith doubled the lead and secured the win late in with just five minutes of normal time remaining with a great header.

Macclesfield still remain rooted to the bottom of the League Two table, but they now trail 22nd placed Cambridge by just four points.

They will face Port Vale at home next weekend, hoping to make it back-to-back wins.

Sol Campbell: New Macclesfield Town boss says they have someone who was one of the best footballers in the world

29 Nov

Sol Campbell has described himself as someone who has been “one of the best footballers in the world” in his first press conference as Macclesfield Town boss.

The ex-England defender, 44, was appointed manager of League Two’s bottom club on Tuesday, replacing Mark Yates.

Campbell had a glittering playing career

He watched from the stands as Macclesfield beat Exeter later that day which was only their third league win this season.

When asked if he felt his appointment was a gamble, Campbell said: “Macclesfield fans will probably say ‘what’s going on here?'”

“You’ve got an international footballer who has been one of the best footballers in the world coming to your club, I think there’s a nice mutual balance there.”

Campbell had a glittering playing career – winning two Premier League titles and two FA Cups with Arsenal as well as being named in the 2002 World Cup’s all-star team after helping England reach the quater-finals of the tournament.

Campbell in action for England during the 2002 World Cup

This is Campbell’s first managerial job four years after describing the lack of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) managers in English football as a “sad indictment” of the game.

He is now the eighth BAME manager in England’s top four divisions after spending time helping Aidy Boothroyd’s England Under-21 side earlier this month as part of a Football Association initiative to address the issue of under-representation of BAME coaches.

However, ex-England team-mate Paul Ince believes Campbell deserves a better job than the one he has got.

Asked if he could see improvements being made, he said: “I’m not going to go down that road and state the obvious.

“I’ve got the opportunity and I’ve got to take it with both hands, work my socks off and see how far I can go.

“That’s the thing for me. You want the situation to become normal, so you don’t see black or white, you just see a football manager.

“I took my first training session today [Thursday] after half a game against Exeter which was quite nice, watching from the stands, and I took some notes to take into the dressing room at half-time,” he added.

“The guys are good. They’ve got skill and tenacity. Not having a manager for such a long time has hampered them a little bit as well.

Campbell has vowed to work his socks off at Macclesfield

“For me we’ve got to get basics right, score right, cross right. The difference between the Premier League and League Two is just margins, decision-making and things like that.”

‘Sol Campbell will be a great manager’, ex-Arsenal team-mate tells talkSPORT

Sol Campbell deserves better than the Macclesfield Town job, says former England team-mate Paul Ince

28 Nov

Paul Ince believes former England team-mate Sol Campbell deserves better than the Macclesfield Town job, following his appointment as manager of the League Two side.

Ex-Arsenal and Tottenham defender Campbell has taken on his first managerial role with the team who are currently rooted to the bottom of the English Football League.

But Ince has questioned why a player of Campbell’s quality has been forced to take a job in the fourth tier, while more recent stars are in charge of clubs at a much higher level.

Sol Campbell has taken on his first managerial job

Speaking on Wednesday’s Alan Brazil Sports Breakfast, Ince said: “I mean no disrespect to Macclesfield, but it’s sad that the only way someone of Sol’s calibre, who was a legend of the game and was a great player, can get his foot in the door is go to a team at bottom of League Two.


MORE: Paul Ince tips Sol Campbell to take charge of TOTTENHAM one day


“When people like Stevie G are going to Rangers and Frank Lampard are going to Derby, and yet Sol has got to go to the lowest club in the Football League, it doesn’t sit right with me. It doesn’t sit right with me at all.

“But he’s got his foot in the door and I wish him all the best.”

Ince began his managerial career with Macclesfield in 2006

Ince also got his first shot at management with Macclesfield when they were again at the foot of League Two in 2006.

He spent one season as player-manager of the Silkmen and successfully avoided relegation on the final day of the campaign.


EXCLUSIVE: David Seaman warns Sol Campbell Macclesfield job a ‘big gamble’


And he believes Campbell will ‘put his name on the map’ as a coach if he achieves the same feat this season, with the side currently five points from safety.

“Hopefully if he does a good job there, like I did, and he might get closer to the top of the ladder.

Ince and Campbell in the England team at the 1998 World Cup

“If he can keep Macclesfield up, and it’s going to be a tough job, then it puts his name on the map as a manager.

“That’s why I took the Macclesfield job. I didn’t want to be known as ‘Paul Ince: the player’, I wanted to be ‘Paul Ince: the manager’, but I had to go to Macclesfield and keep them up to do that.”

Listen back to Paul Ince on the Alan Brazil Sports Breakfast IN FULL above!

David Seaman predicts former Arsenal teammate Sol Campbell will be a ‘great manager’ but warns Macclesfield job a ‘big gamble’

28 Nov

Arsenal legend David Seaman is confident Sol Campbell will prove to be a great manager following his first appointment in charge of Macclesfield Town.

The former Gunners, Tottenham and England defender was handed the reins of the League Two side on Tuesday.

Sol Campbell is manager of Macclesfield Town

He takes over a team which currently sits at the very bottom of the Football League pyramid – the Silkmen are 24th in the table having won just three of their 20 league games so far this season.

Seaman says Campbell ‘suits management down to the ground’ and has what it takes to revitalise the faltering side.

However, he admits – after a long wait for his first managerial job – his friend risks tainting his reputation as a manager before it really starts if he can’t make a success of his time with the League Two club.

Speaking on Wednesday’s Alan Brazil Sports Breakfast, the former England goalkeeper said: “It’s a big gamble for Sol.

“People will think of Teddy [Sheringham] when he went at Stevenage, that didn’t work out and it didn’t work out for Tony [Adams] at Wycombe either.

“But with Sol, being a manager suits him down to the ground.

Sol Campbell recently spent time coaching England’s Under-21s

“He’s so articulate, he’s so focused, he knows exactly what he wants.

“He was very vocal in the dressing room, he can really get the lads going.”

Seaman also admitted he was surprised his former team-mate has chosen to start his coaching career at the very bottom of the Football League, especially seeing the likes of Frank Lampard at Derby County and Steven Gerrard at Rangers.

“That’s the sort of level I thought Sol would go into, I don’t know what’s happened,” the legendary former goalkeeper said.

“He’s always wanted to be in the management game but has never had the opportunity. He’s gone for a lot of interviews as well.

“I know his focus changed a little bit when he wanted to become mayor of London, but now his focus is on getting back into management.

Seaman wishes his former Arsenal team-mate well as Campbell takes his first steps into management

“I just pray it goes well for him.

“He’s a good guy, I like Sol and I really want him to do well.

“The most important thing, I think, is that he gets somebody in as his number two who has worked in that league before, or worked at that level – it’s going to be hard for Sol with the standards he played at.”

Sol Campbell a future TOTTENHAM manager? Arsenal legend tipped to take charge of Spurs one day

28 Nov

Sol Campbell has amazingly been backed to become Tottenham Hotspur boss one day by former England teammate Paul Ince.

The former England defender has taken on his first managerial role in League Two, having being appointed as Macclesfield Town boss on an 18-month contract.

Campbell captained Spurs before his move to Arsenal

Campbell began his career at Tottenham, before infamously joining fierce rivals Arsenal on a free transfer in 2001.

As a result, the defender was subjected to torrents of abuse from Spurs fans over the years whenever he returned to White Hart Lane.

However, former Liverpool and Manchester United midfielder Paul Ince – Campbell’s ex-England teammate – believes the 44-year-old will get a crack at managing his former side in the future.

“Who knows, in years to come he might be managing Tottenham, fingers crossed,” he said on Sky Sports.

“But I wish him all the best.”

The former England international was helping out with coaching the Under-21 team recently

The Silkmen are currently bottom of League Two, meaning relegation will send them crashing out of the Football League and into the National League.

But Ince believes the struggling side will get a boost from being managed by the Premier League winner.

“The lads will be buzzing, once they see Sol is in there, they’ll be buzzing,” he added.

“The training will probably go up 20 per cent and hopefully that goes into the performances on Saturday afternoons.

Spurs fans turned on the 44-year-old for leaving White Hart Lane

“Just be yourself, don’t try and be someone that you’re not. Just be yourself. Sol will be fine, he’s got a good football brain.

“It’s unfortunate he’s had to go to the bottom team in League Two to do that.

“But he’ll be fine, he’s good his foot in the door. Hopefully he will be successful.”

Sol Campbell: Former Arsenal and Tottenham defender appointed Macclesfield Town manager

27 Nov

Sol Campbell has been appointed manager of Macclesfield Town, the League Two club have confirmed.

Campbell, the former Tottenham and Arsenal defender, succeeds Mark Yates, who was dismissed from his position last month, just four months after being named boss.

Campbell will be tasked with keeping the Moss Rose club in the Football League, with Macclesfield currently five points adrift at the bottom of the English pyramid system.

He has signed an 18-month deal with the club.

Campbell, 44, also played for Portsmouth, Notts County and Newcastle throughout a 19-year professional career, during which time he won 73 caps for his country.

His previous coaching experience is minimal, with short spells at Trinidad and Tobago and QPR, as well as a temporary spell working in the England set-up earlier this month.

Campbell has been an outspoken critic on the lack of BAME coaches in the English game, whilst he also unsuccessfully ran to be nominated as Conservative candidate for Mayor of London in the 2016 election.

He recently praised a scheme introduced by the FA to increase the number of BAME coaches.

“It’s hard to call it a scheme,” Campbell told the official FA website, “because it’s more a door-opening or an opportunity.

“You shouldn’t label it a scheme because football should be the winner, so talent or opportunity is what it’s bringing to England and they are addressing it because it’s been a long time.”

Macclesfield have won just two of their 19 league games this season, losing 13 and conceding 37 goals in the process.

They did secure a victory in the most recent matchday, however, defeating Yeovil courtesy of a Michael Rose penalty.

Sol Campbell: Former Arsenal and Tottenham man in contention to become manager of League Two strugglers Macclesfield Town

23 Nov

Sol Campbell is in talks with League Two side Macclesfield Town about their vacant managerial position.

The former Arsenal and England defender has never managed but helped out England U21 boss Aidy Boothroyd during this month’s international break.

Campbell with England U21 star and Manchester City’s Phil Foden

Macclesfield are bottom of the English Football League – winning just one of their opening 18 league games and are seven points off safety.

Campbell has been linked with Grimsby Town and Oxford United in the past but was not given either job.

After being rejected by Oxford earlier in 2018, the 44-year-old described himself as “one of the greatest minds in football.”

He has also described how a lack of Black, Asian, and Minority Ethnic (BAME) managers in English football is a “sad indictment” of the game and also claimed he would have been England captain “for more than ten years” had he been white.

Campbell has been very critical of the FA in the past