Tom Storer caught up with Accrington Stanley fan David ‘Bumble’ Lloyd after a season to cherish at the Wham Stadium
Despite being one of the best known personalities in cricket, David ‘Bumble’ Lloyd’s favorite sport is football and Accrington Stanley his greatest love affair – after wife Diana, of course!
Bumble has been going to Stanley games since he was a boy, and next season will see the club play in the third tier for the first time since its rebirth in 1968.
John Coleman’s men were imperious at home on their way to clinching the League Two title, winning 15 of their 21 league games at the Wham Stadium and Bumble has regularly been in attendance.
“Football has always been my number one sport,” Lloyd explains. “Cricket is my business, it’s what I do for a living but my number one sport has always been football.
“I’m not a great watcher of a cricket match unless I’m working, but at football I’ll stand behind the goals and just join in.”
Lloyd’s first memories of football are of being placed on the edge of the pitch at Peel Park by his father where he would have a front row seat to watch Stanley play in Third Division North during the 1950s – despite the ball frequently rocketing in his direction.
One of his most vivid memories of that era is an FA Cup tie with Preston North End that attracted 15,000 fans but unfortunately ended in a 4-0 defeat.
“I used to live in Water Street so I would watch the players come up Water Street to get to the ground and they used to practice on the cinder car park outside of the stadium which is now the Peel Park Primary School car park.
“That was also where we played as children. It was our rec where we played football and cricket, and there were two air raid shelters on the car park.”
As a youngster Lloyd tried to get close to his heroes through his aunt who was the housekeeper at club owned accomodation in Avenue Parade where many of the players lived.
Bumble can name the entire team that played under Scottish manager Walter Galbraith in the 50s, but remembers the players who stayed in the town after they retired with particular fondness.
“Bert Scott became a window cleaner in town. Another goalkeeper was Willie McGuiness who had a chip shop in town. Joe Devlin was a winger and he still lives in town and he used to repair hoovers and carpet cleaners.
“The best header of a ball was a centre forward called George Stuart. He was a brilliant header of a ball and this was when the ball was like a brick!
“And of course the left half, number six, was Charlie Sneddon who finished up as a dental technician in town and his grandson plays for Accrington Cricket Club now, Graeme Sneddon.
“We used to play an annual game of cricket against them (Stanley).
“It was just fun, a
knock-about game, but there’d be plenty watching. They had a bat made that was as wide as the stumps.”
Bumble recalls that local football was taken very seriously, with Stanley at the forefront, until the club dropped out of the Football League in 1962.
“When we went out of the league we weren’t getting 1,000 people and the bottom really fell out of it. The club was in so much debt, so debt brings poor performances on the field. So the club was wound up.”
It was in 1966 that Accrington Stanley eventually folded, but was revived just two years later by a group of locals.
That enabled Lloyd’s journey with the club to continue, but his love of the game is not limited to Accrington.
He travels to all sorts of lower league venues, and has a ritual to always pick up one thing wherever he goes.
“I can’t go to a football match without a pie. I have to have a pie,” he says bluntly. “And I watch my diet, I’m one of these salad fiends, but if I go to a football match I’m having a pie.
“My wife is a season ticket holder at York CIty and they’re in National League North. I’ve got a house up in North Yorkshire and if we’re up there we will go and watch York City, and stand behind the goals.
“This year I’ve been to Harrogate Town, I’ve been to Stockport, I’ve been to Macclesfield.
“And at home I’ve got a bloody big telly and when the Premier League is on I’ll watch that.”
Bumble’s love of the game was not always as a spectator. He used to play left midfield in the Accrington Combination League throughout the winter, even when he was playing for Lancashire and England.
His status as a professional cricketer made him a target for some heavy tackles, but Bumble says he made sure he stayed well away from danger, especially when his cricket career was at its height.
He recalls a conversation at Stanley’s home game against Exeter towards the end of the season: “I was stood leaning on the barrier next to this bloke and he says, ‘It’s David isn’t it?’
“I said ‘Aye.’ And he said, ‘Christ, I’ve kicked you a few times.’
“I asked him where was that, and he said up on King George’s and Bullough Park.”
It turned out Lloyd used to play against the fellow Stanley fan for Cambridge Street in his playing days.
Unsurprisingly, Bumble’s Lancashire captains were not encouraging of his football career and he eventually had to play under the false name of Ramsbottom.
Lloyd ended up watching Stanley play in the combination league, and football in Accrington has never been able to shake off financial difficulties.
Accrington FC was one of the founding members of the football league but was dissolved in 1896 due to a lack of cash. Even now Stanley have one of the smallest budgets in League Two.
Bumble lauds the impact that Andy Holt has had on the club
“He’s like a saint, he’s a flaming saviour! He loves the club.
“He’s a local chap and he’s got a bob or two, and he’s helping out and he is massive on community.
“He’s doing this for the people of Accrington and the children to come and enjoy the day, come and enjoy the team.
“We’re never going to be playing Paris Saint Germain or Juventus but just come and have a great time.
“There’s a fan zone, there’s live music, there’s kids playing on the field.
“Andy and I are exactly the same. If you’ve got sport in the community, you’re giving people a directive. Sport for boys and girls is a magnificent outlet. It’s a magnificent outlet for life.”
Lloyd, who has supported Stanley through its darkest days, is looking forward to the team and the stadium developing further.
His adventure with the club has been more undulated than most football fans could imagine, but he says this year’s promotion is the start of a new journey.