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Last Updated: Monday, 6 February 2006, 06:22 GMT
Zola to rescue
By Mandeep Sanghera

Gianfranco Zola
Zola is one of the Premiership most popoular foreign imports
Macclesfield is hardly the venue of football's great and famous but for one night on Tuesday it will undergo a Stars in Their Eyes style makeover with Gianfranco Zola heading the cast list.

Zola will make his return to English football when he turns out in support of the lowly League Two club in a fund-raising match.

The Italian became one of English football's iconic figures during his time at Chelsea and will turn out in Macclesfield's hour of need.

He will be joined by ex-Chelsea team-mate Gustavo Poyet, former French international Christian Karembeu and Middlesbrough's former defender Gianluca Festa.

Blackburn boss Mark Hughes and West Brom manager Bryan Robson will also rekindle their days playing for Manchester United as part of the all-star team.

Macclesfield hope to put out the side which led them to promotion into the Football League in 1997.

The reason behind the match is that the club are desperately trying to raise nearly 300,000 to pay a fine imposed by the Football Association for alleged irregularities when their McAlpine Stand was built.

It would be the equivalent of fining Manchester United 50m and asking them to pay it in six weeks
Macclesfield development manager Dave Hancox

"The problem that we've had is the timescale we were given to pay the fine," the club's development manager Dave Hancox told BBC Sport.

"We were virtually given six weeks and it was just an impossible task, although we are pulling out all the stops.

"In terms of turnover per year it would be the equivalent of fining Manchester United 50m and asking them to pay it in six weeks.

"It's a staggering amount of money and we are the smallest supported club in the Football League and it's just an impossibility."

Hancox added: "However, we now have an extended deadline so to speak because we have a chance to appeal - not against the fine but the length of time they have given us to pay it.

"The original deadline was 31 January but when the appeal begins that deadline is extended indefinitely until such time as the FA and Football Foundation come back to us and give us the new deadline."

If we stuck Zola in the centre circle we would probably fill the ground up for people just to have a look at him juggle the ball around
Macclesfield's Dave Hancox

Hancox and the staff at the club have been working tirelessly to try and raise as much money as possible, including bucket collections at the likes of Everton, Manchester United and Manchester City.

The club have raised about 50,000 so far and hope to double that with the money from Tuesday's game with Hancox saying the contribution of the Macclesfield's Italian sportswear firm sponsors A-Line has epitomised the support offered to the Silkmen.

"If you use the example of the all-star game, a massive company like A-line are bringing into the football club a team of international superstars coming to support the smallest club in the Football League.

"It's absolutely incredible. That's the measure of the support we've been given.

"In terms of Macclesfield Town as a football club then we will survive. I am pretty certain about that.

"I don't think we are in any imminent danger of folding up. We've just got to put ourselves in the hands of the FA and hope that they are sympathetic to the cause."

Interview: Gianfranco Zola

Silkmen will battle to save club
22 Dec 05 |  Macclesfield Town
Macclesfield out to raise funds
16 Jan 06 |  Macclesfield Town


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