Stanley legend Jamie Speare had a choice on Saturday – painting the house or turning out for the Reds.
"It took me about a millisecond to make the decision once I knew Jimmy Bell (assistant manager) was serious," said Speare, who turned 35 last week.
The keeper, who played more than 300 games for the Reds between 1998 and 2004 as they climbed from the UniBond First Division to the Conference, got a shock phone call to join the Stanley squad seven years after he stopped playing for them regularly.
"Jimmy rung me and I was in Newcastle working at the time," said the fans’ favourite.
"He asked me what I was doing at the weekend and I said I was painting the children’s bedrooms.
"He asked if I could do them a favour and I thought he was going to ask me to play for their over-the-hill mob.
"Then he said ‘will you come to Notts County as cover as Bavo (Ian Dunbavin) is injured.’ It was a no brainer – painting or having the chance to play professional football."
Speare was on the bench for the Notts County FA Cup defeat but he admitted he enjoyed being around the football banter again.
"The last time I played I think was as a centre-half for Cammell Laird in a pre-season friendly.
"The last time I played a competitive match as a goalkeeper was probably over a year ago for Marine or Formby. Jimmy asked me if I thought I could still do it. I said ‘it’s like riding a bike’ and was made up.
"I think my two sisters were more nervous than me but my dad was delighted I was getting another chance."
Speare, who left the Reds after his first spell when they went full-time in June 2004, warmed up with current number one Sean Murdoch and got a warm reception at Meadow Lane.
"No matter where I am, if I am anywhere connected with Accrington Stanley, Accy fan ‘big Steve’ will find me and give me a bear hug and a sloppy kiss and it was the same at Meadow Lane.
"Then I heard the fans singing my name and obviously that’s nice. There were a few familiar faces among them."
But he admitted he didn’t know many of the current Stanley squad. "I obviously know Proc (Andy Procter) and Leam (Richardson) and I have known Bryan Hughes since I was about 11 so it was good to catch up with him.
"John and Jimmy are just the same – nothing changes with them – and so it was the same old atmosphere."
Speare, who came back to the Crown Ground as goalkeeping coach from 2008-9 and was on the bench a few times until he became the victim of cutbacks, is now registered on a non-contract basis at Stanley.
He said: "I said when I left before that if John and Jimmy ever needed my help then they can just ring me and the same goes again in the future.
"My only disappointment is that they didn’t have time to put my name on the back of a shirt as I would definitely have swiped it!"