He was there when Accrington Stanley folded and reformed in the 1960s and for their triumphant return to the Football League a decade ago.
Now Eric Bolton, possibly the Reds’ oldest and most loyal fan aged 95, cannot wait to cheer his boyhood club on to their promotion dream.
After a resounding 3-0 win against York City last weekend, manager John Coleman’s men lie in second place in League and could seal automatic promotion with a win against Wycombe Wanderers on Saturday. Eric went to his first match at Peel Park in 1929 when he was just eight years old and has stood by the club through thick and thin ever since.
The former Howard and Bulloughs worker has plenty of memories of the Reds over the years, however he admits none will be quite as sweet as seeing the club get into League One next season.
Eric said: “I think they are playing really good. Obviously we are hoping to get straight through with automatic promotion.
“I think Coleman has done marvellous. With a little bit of finance and backing he knows the players and knows the division better than anybody. It would be really nice to celebrate 10 years back in the league by getting promotion.”
Eric, of Avenue Parade, Accrington, started watching Stanley with his uncle and after serving in the RAF Spitfire Squadron during the Second World War he returned to the terraces.
He has seen FA Cup games against Manchester United and Liverpool and a memorable Cup replay against Blackburn Rovers in 1937 where they won 3-1.
Eric also remembers the day that Stanley’s fate was decided in March 1962 and their first match in the Lancashire Combination League after they were reformed in 1968.
And nothing will keep him away from the Reds’ last game of the season against Stevenage.
Eric said: “Eighty-odd years is a very long time but I have really enjoyed it.
“I wouldn’t miss the last game of the season for the world. If they got automatic promotion the only disappointment would be not going to Wembley for the play-offs.
“It’s in the lap of the gods how well they would do next season.
“You are playing better teams, you’d hope we would get better gates and that’s one thing we must hope for. Getting 2,500 to 3,000 every week at home would be all right.”
Stanley will be promoted with three points at ninth placed Wycombe this Saturday should Bristol Rovers fail to win at York City or should Oxford United lose at Carlisle. If they don’t win, they could still go up on the final day of the regular season at home to Stevenage Borough on May 7.
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