By Harry Bradbury, last seasons Under 18s Captain and County Cup winner
Newcastle Town’s captain, James Askey, is full of optimism ahead of their second league tie against league leaders, Macclesfield FC.
Macclesfield are to travel to The Red Industries Stadium on Saturday 21st January and their first meeting back in October was watched by over 3000 supporters.
Following Newcastle’s 3-1 away win at Widnes FC last weekend, paired with Macclesfield’s 3-0 win over them in October, Newcastle’s captain remains confident against first place.
He said, “You always must believe. I have no doubt that we will be giving our all to try and get a result on the day. To be honest, we gave a decent account of ourselves in the away fixture and so hopefully we can pick up a result this time.”
The match will bring back memories for Askey, as he is a former scholar at Macclesfield, and he even made their first team squad in The Football League on two occasions.
Askey was also quick to praise the club’s transformation under the ownership of Robert Smethurst as well as former Premier League midfielder, Robbie Savage, as director of football.
He said, “Macclesfield are attracting bigger crowds than they ever have. Also, their excellent facilities are worlds apart from when I was there 13 years ago.They have gone through some tough times under previous ownership. I think them going out of business and starting again is probably the best thing that could have happened to them.I expect them to climb the leagues very quickly.”
Askey also enjoyed watching them play as a child to help support his uncle, John Askey, who made 679 appearances for Macclesfield. He has followed in the footsteps of his uncle John, in terms of remaining loyal to a club, as he currently sits on 420 appearances for Newcastle.
He said, “I have always felt at home at Newcastle Town ever since I signed. To be selected consistently over 11 seasons by five different managers, the majority of them as captain, does make me proud. The club have inspired me to represent them the best way I can and I would like to think I have played my part in its fantastic growth to become the great club it is today.”
The Newcastle skipper, who is now very well respected by non-league football fans, admitted he also uses his grandad, Colin Askey, as a source of inspiration. Colin Askey is, to this day, considered a legend by all Port Vale supporters, after making 217 appearances for the club from 1949-1958.
James said, “Of course, my grandad was successful in the game, such as achieving promotions with Port Vale, Walsall and Mansfield. His greatest achievement was representing the Vale in the FA Cup Semi-Final at Villa Park, where there were 70,000 fans. Obviously to me he is just my grandad. However, when I consider that event and compare it to some of the great players you see in today’s game who have played in a fixture like that, I then realise what a fantastic achievement it was.”
Askey, who is now aged 30, acknowledged the fact that he will not get any younger, but he remains eager to continue representing his beloved club.
He said, “Throughout my career, I have never really looked too far ahead. I like to take each game as it comes and if I am still enjoying it as well as feeling good enough to play my part, then I will continue. Playing in big non-league games with lots of neutral fans watching, such as our game against Macclesfield on the 21st of January, is also a reason why I still want to play this great sport.”