John Askey was appointed as the new full-time manager at Macclesfield Town on December 16th 2003 having been in caretaker charge since the sacking of David Moss on October 27th.
Signed from non-league Oxfordshire outfit Milton United, Askey has proved something of a talisman for the Silkmen, having made over 700 appearances across four divisions – helping the club into the Football League and to promotion to Division Two under Sammy McIlroy in 1996/97 and 1997/98.
The striker, who played for England at semi-pro level, made 11 appearances for Macclesfield in 2002-03 but had not figured in any first team games prior to his temporary appointment following Moss's departure.
The assistant manager was handed the reins following a lengthy discussion with chairman Rob Bickerton, who recognised his efforts as reserve team coach at the club after he had produced some impressive results with the Silkmen second-string in the previous couple of seasons.
Commenting on his appointment, John told the club's official website Silkmen Online: "Its a big honour for me to get a chance to manage the first team at Moss Rose. Its something I've always wanted to do and, though I would have preferred to have been given the chance under different circumstances, I will do it to the very best of my ability."
His first task was to prepare his team for a trip to top of the table Hull City, where he was delighted to get a draw, despite his side being reduced to ten men.
"I am keen to get it [the manager's job]. If the players perform like that every week I'll have a good chance of getting it," he said afterwards.
A 3-0 FA Cup win over Third Division rivals Boston United helped his cause, as did Macclesfield's 2-2 draw with promotion chasers Scunthorpe, which saw them move a point further from trouble at the bottom end of the table.
After that result, chief executive Colin Garlick revealed the club were in no hurry to appoint a permanent manager: "The club's position is unchanged," Garlick said. "John is the caretaker manager and will remain so until further notice."
Askey added: "I'll just wait and see about the manager's job, but I can't have done my chances any harm."
A 3-1 defeat away at leaders Oxford in the next match was perhaps to be expected but two wins at home - 1-0 against Bury and 4-0 against Huddersfield - helped Macclesfield climb to 18th and convinced the board to offer Askey the job on a permanent basis shortly afterwards.
A statement on the Silkmen's official website said: 'Macclesfield Town FC are pleased to announce that John Askey has been appointed manager with immediate effect.
'Following the announcement, after Saturday's victory over Huddersfield Town that stated that the club had offered John a deal, which he had declined, speedy negotiations have been conducted in an amicable manner.'
Colin Garlick said: "The performance and result on Saturday (against Huddersfield) was fantastic but, unfortunately overshadowed by off-field issues. I am not a person to dwell on the past and only want to look forward. John Askey was our only choice as manager and we are very pleased that we have been able to reach a compromise agreement.
"John has now accepted the manager's position. The Board of Directors wish John all the best and look forward to continuing to work with him in the future."
John himself added: "I am very pleased to accept the manager's position at Macclesfield Town, which is a dream come true for me. I am Macclesfield through and through, and would like to thank the Board for giving me this fantastic opportunity.
"My focus since Saturday has been the FA Cup Replay at Cambridge, and after that my focus will be on winning three vital points at Darlington on Saturday as I have not ruled out achieving a playoff position this season."
Askey guided the club into the third round of the FA Cup after beating Cambridge on penalties in the replay, despite playing the majority of the game with ten men, and Macclesfield were rewarded with a tie against Third Divison rivals Swansea.