STANLEY chief executive Rob Heys admits mistakes have been made – but says now there is a bright new future for the club.
Heys has come under fire after fans felt they were misinformed by him and chairman Dave O’Neill about their ability to pay off the £308,000 tax bill.
They had eight weeks to do it and kept reassuring fans the club was safe – but it needed the intervention of Ilyas Khan to stop the club being wound up for the second time in its history on Wednesday.
The chief executive admitted that both he and Dave could have handled the situation better.
"The last eight weeks have been the darkest in the club’s history since 1962," said Heys, who tried to remortgage his house to help the club pay off the debt.
"We have got a lot of flak but I do think a lot of it was justified. We have taken the plaudits when things have gone right so you have to take the less favourable comments when things don’t go right.
"But we didn’t try to mislead fans. We did think, up until the Saturday before the High Court case last Wednesday, that we could pay the debt.
"We were waiting on money from the Professional Footballers Association and there was a local businessman who had offered to help and me and Dave were doing our best to get some money together.
"But by the Monday it became clear that we couldn’t get the money quick enough.
"We were hoping, when we walked into the High Court last Wednesday, that we would be given a stay of execution but we did also have to face the fact that the club would be wound up and that was so hard.
"We would have had seven days to appeal but, for that to happen, it wouldn’t have done anyone connected with the club any good.
"It was a really dark day and something I never want to experience again. I am an Accrington fan and I am from Accrington so I know how much the club means and I was the one who was going to have to go to the supermarket and know that I was part of the club folding and that would have been difficult to live with."
Instead Khan came in and, despite some calls for Heys to go from fans, he is part of the new era at the club in his role as chief executive with chairman Khan, President Peter Marsden and O’Neill making up the new board.
"What Ilyas has done is superb," continued Heys. "We all owe him a lot. I didn’t know if I would have a job but he has given everyone a clean slate and now we want to take the club forward.
"It is a bright new dawn for the club – I think it is on a par with the club reforming in 1968 and the club returning to the Football League. It is a huge time.
"The fact me and Dave are still there means the club can continue to run as before on day-to-day matters and we did have big ideas for the club, before the tax situation dominated, so now we hope to put them into practise and we will have time to do so instead of fighting fires all the time.
"There are no wholesale changes behind the scenes, initially, so that’s a good way forward.
"Hopefully now the club will have some stability and we can go on to bigger and better things and I am happy to be a part of that."