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‘Our aim is to take the club back to the Football League’

STANLEY'S present-day chairman Eric Whalley harbours the worst-kept secret ambition in Lancashire.

STANLEY’S present-day chairman Eric Whalley
STANLEY’S present-day chairman Eric Whalley

STANLEY'S present-day chairman Eric Whalley harbours the worst-kept secret ambition in Lancashire.

Anyone who has spent 10 minutes with Eric will know that it is his burning desire to see the club, which was re-formed in 1968, emulate its predecessor and regain Football League status.

Stanley currently stand just an outstanding season followed by a magnificent one away from that goal - a Unibond League Championship followed by a Nationwide Conference triumph. And it's no secret either that Mr Whalley is prepared to back that dream with the requisite pound notes.

In John Coleman and Jimmy Bell he's found a management duo who are well capable of taking the club to the next level and the Crown Ground is improving yearly as it nudges towards the standard which would be required.

As a local lad who was on the club's books for a while as a junior, the Reds' chief has his own memories of the unfortunate events of 40 years ago which are still recalled wherever in the world Accrington is pronounced.

He said: "I left Stanley in 1959 but even if I was not involved today I would still have fond memories of what was my only full-time professional club. It was one of those things where everybody knew the club was in trouble but no-one actually thought it would fold.

"If the people of Accrington today want a league club again, they know where the ground is. We are no different to anyone else. If the club grows as we hope it will need the support to survive.

"Our aim is to take this club into the Football League and we are perhaps not as far away from realising that ambition as people think."


Stuart Pike
Deputy editor specialising in politics
Alex Bell
Bethany English
District reporter
Beth Abbit
Court reporter
Jon Macpherson
Kate Watkins
Reporter specialising in communities
Garth Dawson
Photographer and columnist