AN IRANIAN international, a German and a Nigerian star - just three of the players who are keen to make history with Accrington Stanley when the club makes its live television debut.
The Reds' opening fixture at Aldershot has been switched from Saturday 9 to Sunday 10 August with a 5pm kick-off for the Sky cameras - the first time they have been live on TV. And, as the team started pre-season training this week, there were a number of trialists fighting to sign up for Stanley's first season in the Nationwide Conference.
"We had at least 10 trialists, all potential first team players and of a good calibre," admitted chairman Eric Whalley. "The Iranian is an international goalkeeper and the German has played in the Bundesliga."
The Nigerian, midfielder Abel Ighofose, is at the Crown Ground for a month's trial. "It shows the appeal we have now," continued Whalley. "And the fact the club are on Sky is a big boost - especially for Accrington pubs! The away side got £2,000 last year from Sky for being on television but they have increased the number of Conference games from six to 12 so we can expect more than that. It is the first time in the history of the club that Accrington Stanley will be live on television and it shows how far we have come."
Each club last year got around £23,000 at the end of the season from Sky but the satellite company is now ploughing more money into the Conference. However, the knock-on effect from the Sunday game could mean that Stanley's first home clash against Leigh RMI, scheduled for Tuesday 12 August, could be put back a day.
"I am going to get in touch with the Conference about it," said the chairman. "There are only eight part-time clubs in the division and it will be hard for the lads to get back early on Monday morning, go to work and then play on Tuesday night.
"It will be difficult being a part-time club but, if things go well, we might go full-time sooner that expected. We will have to see how it goes."
Another player at Stanley's session was former Reds defender Martin Clark, who left the club to join Crewe after the epic FA Cup encounter between the two clubs in 1991. Stanley will be taking a look at Clark among others during their friendly games. A home clash with Tranmere Rovers has been added to the fixtures. This will be played on Saturday 26 July The game at Marine has been switched to 24 July.
Stanley's first match is a trip to Radcliffe Borough a week on Sunday (13 July, ko 2pm). Then there are home matches against Blackpool, 15 July, Rochdale, 19 July, Burnley, 30 July, and Preston, 31 July.
- STANLEY'S celebration dinner is next Friday 11 July at Accrington Town Hall for men and women. A three-course meal will be followed by an after-dinner speech by Preston manager Craig Brown. Tickets cost £25, ring Rob on 356950.