ON 12 March 1962 the directors of Fourth Division Accrington Stanley Football Club received a letter from the Football League informing them that their resignation - tendered days earlier in panic - had been accepted.
The small-town Lancashire club's proud 41-year history was over. Memories of a thrilling team of the mid-50s which went close to taking Stanley into the old Second Division counted for nothing.
Stanley's demise has been a double-edged sword. Practically everyone now knows the name of the town's football club, happily kept alive and thriving in top-class non-league soccer today. But many equate it with doom and the then unprecedented failure to even complete a season.
Stanley fan and author PHIL WHALLEY has taken a detailed look at the background and the sad events of early 1962.
Observer Sports Editor JIM WILKINSON, who follows the fortunes of the current ambitious Stanley, speaks to some of the personalities who remember the crisis in detail.
And the story is illustrated by vintage photographs taken by former Observer photographer GARTH DAWSON.