John Askey: Macclesfield Town boss says promotion to League Two is his 'biggest achievement'
Macclesfield Town boss John Askey says guiding the club to promotion back into the English Football League is the greatest achievement of his long association with the club.
Askey first joined The Silkmen as a player in 1984 and the 53-year-old is in his second spell as manager.
As a player he helped Macc twice win the Conference title, as well as promotion to what is now League One.
"This is probably the biggest achievement," he told BBC Manchester.
As well as winning the Conference title in 1995 and 1997, Askey helped the Silkmen win the Northern Premier League in 1987 and was also a member of the squad which won the 1996 FA Trophy, although he missed the final at Wembley due to injury.
"It was fantastic as a player to get into League Two and then League One, but for the club to come out of league football and then to be able to get them back into league football now means so much," he said.
"I've felt every emotion this season, which you don't always feel as a player because you just go out there and play, but when you're taking the team it has a big effect on you."
Macclesfield, who lost their Football League place in 2012, were among the favourites for relegation from the National League at the start of the season.
They have one of the smallest budgets in the fifth tier and their title win with a much-changed squad has surprised many.
One of only a handful of players to stay at the Moss Rose last summer was veteran midfielder Danny Whittaker.
The 37-year-old is five years into his second spell at the club, having made a goalscoring debut in February 2002 after moving to the club from Manchester United.
"The club's been through some tough times in the five years since I've been back," said Whittaker.
"It's an incredible achievement to finally get back into the Football League where the club belongs.
"We shouldn't have dropped out of the league in the first place, but we've done it and we can enjoy it now.
"We only had four players signed up from the previous season, so it's a completely new squad and you're just guessing whiter it's going to gel and then hoping if you put in a few results and see where it takes us - we've put a shift in all season and done well."