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Stanley get spectacular support on the streets

THE smiles say it all! For Accrington Stanley fans are simply delighted after their team has been promoted into the Vauxhall Conference.

THE smiles say it all!

For Accrington Stanley fans are simply delighted after their team has been promoted into the Vauxhall Conference.

The Observer took to the streets of Accrington to speak to shoppers and Stanley fans about their team and their prospects for next season.

Daniel Nixon, 28, of St James Street, Accrington, has been a Stanley fan for seven years.

He said: "The players and the manager have done brilliantly this season. It's great they have got promotion as it's going to raise the profile of the town."

Former player Bob Haworth, who was a sweeper for Stanley in the 1970s, said: "It's great news. I used to play for them about 20 years ago.

"I would like to see more local lads in the team. They've got lads like Proctor and Smith. As long as they keep winning and keep the crowds coming in they will be all right. I'm sure Eric Whalley will bring in the players he needs for that league.

"The games are always well attended and the finances will be there for them. The sale of Brett Ormerod did wonders for the club's finances."

Greg Jopson, 39, of Whalley Road, runs a cut meat stall on Accrington market. He said: "We had a bit of a dodgy patch around Christmas time but managed to turn it around.

"There was no looking back then. A few fans didn't think we were going to do it but I always knew we would.

"Now we have gone up, we need to get the crowds in and really get behind the lads so we can get back into the League."

Justine Curry, Jade Higgins and Michaela Hadfield, all 14, who attend Hollins Technology College, are looking forward to next season.

Justine said: "They're a really good team and I think all the players are dead fit."

And Michaela added: "Manchester United had better watch out!"

Brian Feather, of Downham Avenue, Great Harwood, said: "I am chuffed to bits for them. I want to wish them all the best for the next campaign."

FORMER Bullseye presenter Jim Bowen, who attended Accrington Grammar School and was a teacher at Hyndburn Park School in Accrington for 10 years, said: "It's wonderful news."

"I'm the president at Morecambe Football Club so I'm delighted to welcome them to the Conference.

"It would be wonderful if Morecambe and Accrington Stanley played each other next season as it would be a cracking game.

"But we're in the play-offs so I'm keeping my fingers crossed that we go up this time.

"I always look out for the Accrington Stanley score on match day as well as the Blackburn and Burnley scores.

"I have been a Rovers fan since I was nine. I was a Burnley fan when we lived in Padiham but then we moved to Blackburn and I guess my dad said Blackburn was the team to support.

"I remember the old Stanley when they played in the old Third Division. There were North and South divisions so teams didn't have to travel up and down the country.

"I remember their last match against Preston.

"There were some cracking games in those days and I used to go up to the old ground at Peel Park and we'd play inter-house matches with the pupils."

HYNDBURN'S MP Greg Pope, who is a Blackburn Rovers fan and an Accrington Stanley fan, said: "I am absolutely chuffed to bits for Stanley.

"Wherever I go, people ask me where I'm from. Not many people have heard of Hyndburn but people have heard of Accrington Stanley. The club is extremely popular and it's most people's second-choice football club.

"I'm looking forward to supporting them next season in the Conference and I'm also going to table a Commons motion congratulating the team when I get back to the House of Commons."

MAYOR of Hyndburn, Councillor Mrs Sandra Hayes, described the club's achievement as "magnificent". She said: "They've done us all very proud and I'm really pleased for Eric, the manager, the players and all the fans.

"The club has been through some rough old times over the years but the lads have been dedicated and worked really hard to get where they are.

"Myself and Doug were lucky enough to have a civic reception for them when they did the treble last season and we both go to as many games as we can.

"When I met Prince Philip, he looked at the chain of office and I mentioned Hyndburn and said it's where Accrington Stanley come from and he said "Oh yes I know all about them'' so no matter where you go, people have heard of the team."


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