ACCRINGTON may have lost its Football League town status in 1962 but many of the footballing imports who were brought here by virtue of their sporting gifts made the small Lancashire town their lifelong home.
Stanley's legendary 1950s team of Scotsmen, managed by matinee-idol-looks Walter Galbraith, thrice came close to gaining promotion to the old Second Division.
One of the stars of that side, Joe Devlin, even made a brief return to Peel Park in those harrowing final days in 1962, playing at number 7 in Stanley's final home game, a 2-0 reverse at the hands of neighbours Rochdale watched by a Peel Park crowd of 2,727, almost a thousand up on the previous home gate as the townsfolk finally rallied round the doomed club.
Devlin had left for Rochdale six years earlier as Galbraith's side fragmented and although his career took the Lanarkshire-born player to Bradford and Carlisle United before he dropped into non-league soccer, he never moved his home from Accrington.
Joe, who ran an electrical repair business in the town for many years, admits that the club were perhaps a little optimistic in re-hiring him as a likely saviour.
He says: They must have been desperate the state my knees were in, I could hardly walk."
But as a resident as well as a player, he well understood the anguish of the people.
"They were very, very sad days," he recalls wistfully. "People knew we were in a crisis but no-one really thought we would go to the wall.
"The Football League didn't do much to help and if we had been able to sell the likes of Ian Gibson and Mike Ferguson for what they were worth it would have gone some way to saving the club."
But Stanley's number was up and Joe's return an even shorter one than he envisaged. Now 70, and living on Manchester Road, Joe keeps in touch with a number of his old team-mates like Willie McInnes and Tommy Henderson and looks out to see how the present-day Stanley are getting on.
"You never know what can happen in football," he says, "Bradford were another team struggling with us in Division Four back then and it's not long since they were a Premiership team so anything's possible."