IT’S the end of an era as Eric Whalley, who took Accrington Stanley into the Football League, finishes at the Reds today and moves to become Director of Football at Chester City.
Eric’s association with Stanley stretches back to the 1950s and he took over the chairman’s role at the club in 1995, reportedly pumping around £2m into the club to fund the climb from non-league.
But the 67-year-old sold his 52 per cent shares in the Reds to businessman Dave O’Neill in July and now moves on.
"There is a little bit of sadness as I have put a lot of time and money into Accrington but you have to move on," he said.
"Football has been my life and I don’t think I could stand seven days at home with my missus!
"I’ve got to find something else to do and, knowing Stephen Vaughan (Chester owner) like I do, I think it’s the ideal place to come to help get Chester back into the Football League.
"That’s the idea and I’ll certainly put some cash in.
"It’s just liaising with the manager, with the team and making sure everybody’s happy. It’s a big challenge. I’ve been at Accrington as chairman for 15 years and you think it’s going to be difficult, but I’m sure there’s a big future at Chester."
There is already controversy at the Deva Stadium as they start the Blue Square Premier season with a 10 point deduction after going into administration.
And they have no FA membership as yet as, after Vaughan took over again recently, the FA have said the club haven’t met the necessary regulations, and cannot play any games until it is sorted out.