The James Beattie effect has swiftly taken hold at the Store First Stadium with three more players committing themselves to Stanley.
Beattie was named the Reds’ new manager last week and within days Laurence Wilson, Dean Winnard and James Gray had all signed new one-year deals.
They followed George Miller and Ian Dunbavin, Stanley’s longest-serving player, in agreeing to extend their stay with the Reds.
After Leam Richardson’s departure for Chesterfield, the Stanley board made offers to all the players they wished to retain for the new campaign – before the identity of Richardson’s successor had been confirmed.
And within 24 hours of Beattie being unveiled as the new Stanley boss, he was contacted by over 10 players both inside and outside the club wanting to sign on.
“That includes people I thought the club might lose this summer,” he said. “It includes players that wouldn’t normally play for Accrington Stanley. Now they potentially will do.
“That’s something we spoke about – raising the profile of the club and getting people in that wouldn’t necessarily come and play, because they’ll be in the right environment and be surrounded by people who want to win things and be successful, to be able to compete in the league we’re in – whatever league that may be.”
The deadline for some of those offers has now passed, meaning the ball is now in Beattie’s court. He’s made no secret of his desire to keep captain Luke Joyce and although the club accept the likes of Lee Molyneux and Rommy Boco may well receive better offers from elsewhere, they hope the Beattie effect is enough to convince them to stay too.
“It was explained when the contracts were offered that when the new manager came in, whoever it is, he might not want you, so it was up to them,” said Beattie.
“A high percentage of the phonecalls are from lads who were here last year saying they want it done. But I’ve had to say ‘well, it’s elapsed, but if I want to revisit it that’s going to be our choice’.
“I want to keep the core of the squad, I’ve talked to the players I want to keep and a number of other targets that I think would make us infinitely better.”
Wilson became Beattie’s first signing after impressing towards the end of last season. After a brief stint with Rotherham, the former Morecambe man joined the Reds in January and played 19 games during Stanley’s survival push, playing at left-back and left midfield.
“I had a good chat with the gaffer and Paul Stephenson and I’m delighted to sign up for them,” said the 26-year-old. “We had a great end to last season and I’m really excited about what we can do next year.”
Winnard soon followed, much to the delight of Beattie’s assistant manager Stephenson.
“We are delighted to have Dean on board for 2013/14,” he said. “He is one of the longest serving players here and has a great attitude to his football. He will be a big part of what we do next year.”
Winnard joined Stanley in the summer of 2009 and the former Blackburn trainee, 23, has played 184 games for the Reds.
“It was an easy decision for me,” added the 23-year-old centre-back. “Accrington is a great club and the way that James and Paul are preparing for next season is getting a lot of people here excited.”
Beattie joined Stanley as player-coach in November and had a big impact on fellow striker Gray, who signed his new deal on Monday.
The 20-year-old scored on his debut for Stanley last August and finished the season with two goals from 19 games, although just eight of those were league starts.
“It’s been difficult with Leam leaving and then a couple of weeks of having no manager but when James Beattie got the job he rang me and said he’d like to offer me a new contract,” said Gray. “I was really pleased.
“He spent hours with me on the training ground last season, trying to improve me, so I was delighted to hear he wanted to sign me for next season. It was a no-brainer for me.
“I was pleased with my first season,” added the Northern Ireland U21 international. “Next year I won’t be an unknown player in the Football League because I’ll have that little bit of experience behind me.”