Accrington Stanley Football Club
The precise history of Accrington Stanley F.C. is somewhat contentious, since its name in relation to the world of football is over one hundred years old, but the club was only officially formed in 1968. The old version of Accrington Stanley F.C. resigned from the Football League in 1962 and eventually ceased to exist. Furthermore, Accrington F.C. were one of the founder members of the Football League but there is no official connection between that team and the team found in Accrington, Lancashire, today.
Following the demise of the old Accrington Stanley, a meeting was held in the Bold Street Working Men’s Club in October 1968 and the club, as we know it today, was officially formed. Two years later, the new team acquired a new home ground, The Crown Ground (now called The Interlink Express Stadium).
Accrington Stanley joined the Lancashire Combination and Jimmy Hinksman was given the tough task of building a successful football team from scratch. Their first game came at the start of the 1970/1971 season and ended in victory, in front of 620 loyal fans.
Remarkably, Accrington Stanley started to establish themselves as a footballing force to be reckoned with, during their second season in the league. They finished runners-up in the League and beat Ashton Town to secure the League Cup. Furthermore, the team was victorious in the Combination Cup, following a thrilling victory over Nelson. The 1973/1974 season brought even more success, as they won the Combination Cup once more and finished as League Champions.
A New League
Accrington Stanley’s last season in the Combination was the 1977/1978 season. They finished as Champions once more and, when the North West Counties League was set up in 1982, the club were impressively elected to Division One. Their first season saw the team play on a greatly improved playing surface and floodlights were installed in the Crown Ground in 1985.
That same season, Accrington Stanley played in the ATS Challenge Trophy Final for the first time, although they were defeated by South Liverpool. The club were soon preparing themselves for a move into the NPL First Division.
Ironically, South Liverpool’s resignation from this league in 1991, led to promotion for Accrington Stanley. The team were beginning to attract big crowds – over 2,000 fans at several times during this period. Indeed, 11,000 people turned out to watch the team’s FA Cup match against Gateshead. Limited FA Cup success was seen during the 1993/1994 season, as the team beat Altrincham away and were only narrowly beaten by Scunthorpe United.
In the league, though, Accrington Stanley fared less well and were lucky to escape relegation. Eric Whalley was responsible for turning around the club’s fortunes during that tough season and he also led them to the semi-finals of the League Challenge Cup and the President Cup.
Changes in the Club
The following season, Eric Whalley was appointed Chairman of the club and he immediately began improvements, in order to get Accrington Stanley to Conference standard. In 1995, they visited Barbados and played two games against teams from the country. They won both these matches and won the Anglo Barbados Cup. By the start of the next season, the Crown Ground was home to a new medical room and boardroom, as well as £50,000 worth of new terracing. Whalley continued to make improvements to the ground over the following years, installing a new toilet block, a new stand, new offices, a shop, and a sponsors’ lounge.
Tony Greenwood was appointed manager in 1996 and he led the team to the County Cup Final. Despite losing this match to Southport, the team’s first Cup Final in 13 years provided happy memories for the fans. At the beginning of the 1998/1999 season, Billy Rodaway became manager but left after four months, following a string of poor results.
Wayne Harrison took over from Rodaway but unfortunately could not steer the club away from relegation. Harrison resigned in the summer and John Coleman was appointed manager. After just one season in the lower flight, the club were promoted back to the Premier Division.
Accrington Stanley’s first season back in the Premier Division saw them finish in a solid ninth place and reach the semi-final of the Presidents Cup. However, it was not until the 2002/2003 season that the club’s fortunes really started to improve. They won the Unibond Premier League Championship with a margin of 16 points and also won the Unibond Challenge Shield, following an impressive victory over Marine.
At the end of this season, they were promoted to the Nationwide Conference and their first season in this new league ended in a creditable tenth place finish. The club’s second season in the Conference saw them narrowly miss out on a play-off place but they did qualify for the LDV Trophy and also won the County Cup.
On the 15th of April, 2006, Accrington Stanley beat Woking by 1 goal to 0 at The Kingfield Stadium. This victory handed the team The Nationwide Championship and promotion to the Football League. The team’s attacking style of football turned heads in this new league and they easily managed to achieve their aim of not being relegated. Indeed, only two teams scored more goals than Accrington Stanley during that season.
2006 also saw the club’s first ever Carling Cup victory. Nottingham Forest were beaten by a goal from Paul Mullin, and Accrington Stanley were desperately unlucky not to win their next match, against Watford.
David Hargreaves scored an impressive total of 56 goals in 44 games during just one season in the 1970s. He remains the club’s top goal scorer, with an overall total of 318 goals.
Ormerod was a rising star at Accrington Stanley but the cash received from Southampton, via Blackpool, following his sale, was instrumental in turning around the club’s fortunes.
To contact the club by post, use the following address:
Fraser Eagle Stadium
- Telephone number: 01254 356950
- Fax number: 01254 356951
- E-mail: email@example.com
- Seated tickets cost £15 for adults and concessions are £10
- Standing in the Terraces will cost £13 for an adult and concessions are £8
- You can purchase tickets here
Travel information to the Stadium
- By Road (from the M65): Exit at Junction 7, taking the Clitheroe turn-off at the roundabout. Turn right at the first set of lights opposite Clayton Business Park and follow the road over the canal bridge to the next set of traffic lights. Turn right again towards Accrington on the A680. Carry on at the next set of lights and follow the road as it bends to the right. Take the first left after the Crown pub into Livingstone Road.
- By Road (from the M66): at the end of the M66, follow the A56 until you reach the Rising Bridge roundabout. Follow the A680 towards Accrington for 3 miles and follow the ring road dual carriageway around the town centre and across three sets of lights. When you are opposite the Castle Pub, turn right to rejoin the A680. Follow this road for 1 mile and turn right into Livingstone Road.
- By Rail: The nearest Railway Station is Accrington and is a 20 minute walk from the ground.
- By Bus: The nearest stop is the Crown Pub and is reached by the Hyndburn Circular Bus.