Leam Richardson has certainly tasted the highs and lows of life as a professional footballer.
The 31-year-old has turned out for big North West clubs like Blackburn, Bolton and Blackpool and played at Championship level – with one appearance at Premiership level – as well as being part of the Stanley side that won the Conference five years ago.
But the last two years have been tough for the 31-year-old.
Chronic injury problems led to the versatile Richardson contemplating a future without the game.
"I came very close to quitting a number of times,"¿he said. "You wonder if you can carry on as you see specialist after specialist but I love playing football and I just wanted to make sure that, when I gave up, it was when I decided, not other factors."
Richardson saw numerous specialists as they looked to establish why he kept breaking down.
Eventually he went under the knife for the final time, with surgeon Ernest Schilders performing a complicated operation on his hip cartilage.
That was far from the end of the road though, and Richardson credits all at Stanley with helping him through the rehab.
"I have been at some good clubs and I have also been with some good managers and some lads but here the gaffer and the lads kept me believing," he said.
"When you’re injured, you’re a footballer and you want to play so it’s one of the hardest things to deal with.
"You have a lot of dark days and you’ve got to keep your own self-belief going.
"They just had a big influence on me coming in and still enjoying being here even though I wasn’t playing, wasn’t featuring and I was so far apart from the first-team squad."
The end of last season saw Richardson make a return to the team, though by his own admission he was not what he once was.
However he kept training over the summer and perseverance paid off back in October when he started for the first time this season against Hereford, and then last week netted only his third ever career goal to win the game at Cheltenham.
"I don’t score many, but if you look back they’re only really good ones!" he laughed.
"Some people dare to say my goal against Brentford (in 2008) was a cross, but it wasn’t. I chipped the keeper from the touchline. And the other one (for Blackpool) was different class!"
Injury problems now hopefully behind him, Richardson is just enjoying being involved in football on a day to day level.
Once his time in the game is over he hopes to be a social worker, but he’s counting on having a part to play on the pitch before that happens.
"I just enjoy it now," he said. "I don’t take it for granted any more whereas I’ve played for a few clubs for a few years now and you do take it for granted. I’m trying to give that to the young lads as well and hopefully it’s paying off a bit.
"They come for advice and everything else, so anything I do is a massive bonus really. It’s like being a social worker with this lot most of the time!
"I like to think that I get on with everybody and have got a good relationship with everybody."
Richardson signed for Stanley in 2005 and is now one of the longest servants at the club.
He went on to become a key figure in the club’s successful Conference campaign and still has fond memories of that season.
"When we went up into the Football League it was one of the biggest things ever to happen to Accrington Stanley," he recalled.
"But to stay in the league every year should give you that feeling back.
"And for them (John Coleman and Jimmy Bell) to improve on that every year is massive, with maybe less than they had in the Conference. The gaffer can spot a player, he knows who’ll fit in and who won’t, not just in the changing room but on the pitch as well."
Now Stanley are aiming for the League Two play-offs, but as one of the longest-standing players in the side what is the formula for success at the Crown?
"Since I’ve been here the gaffer and Jimmy have kept a core team running," explained Richardson. "There’s me, Proccy and Phil (Edwards) who are the longest serving and that keeps the camaraderie and the team spirit filtering through to the other lads.
"If we could just get to the stage of filling the ground every week that would help.
"The fans who come every week are great, but if we had a few more it would just push the club on."
And a refreshed Richardson wants to do just that.