Bill Holden admitted it brought back bad memories when he heard of the fire which destroyed Rossendale United’s stand on Sunday night – and effectively ended a club which dated back to 1898.
Bill was involved with Great Harwood Town for 20 years, becoming chairman for 11 years before their demise in 2006.
His club suffered a similar fate to Rossendale United as part of their ground was destroyed in 2005 – sparking the end of the the North West Counties Division Two club.
"It was devastating at the time," said Bill. "A car crashed into Monroes nightclub at the ground and ruined all the changing rooms, the referees room and the toilet blocks which meant we couldn’t use the Showground.
"The North West Counties did sanction the use of cabins but it would have cost money and also we didn’t have long to run on our lease.
"We did play on at Accrington Stanley for a couple of years but, once they got into the Football League, we couldn’t do that and we resigned from the league in 2006."
Bill was desperate to keep the club alive but, in the end, events conspired to force the club out of business.
He explained: "We rented the Showground off Ian Jackson who also owned Monroes on a 25-year lease and, to be fair, he was really good with us.
"But when the crash happened, he was waiting for the finances to be sorted out and that took a while so we, as a club, were in limbo
"He didn’t make too many stipulations but he is a businessman and, if we did want to be in charge of our own destiny, our only option was to buy the ground once the lease was up and that would cost millions. We didn’t have that.
"So when the lease ran out around 18 months ago, that was the end of Great Harwood Town and it was a sad day – as Rossendale fans will be feeling now."
The Showground will now be converted into houses and what happens to Rossendale United’s Dark Lane ground will now come into question.
Rossendale had already resigned from the NWCL at the end of last season due to the finances but there was a group, like there was for Great Harwood, looking at trying to reform the club.
However with both grounds destroyed, the task is harder for anyone wanting to resurrect a non-league club.
"We looked around when the initial incident happened for a different home apart from Stanley," continued Bill.
"But playing on a park pitch somewhere, you wouldn’t get the crowd, make the money from the bar or pay the players a lot so it was a no-go really. You need your own ground."
And, with Haslingden before them and Nelson since going out of business, Bill admits it is a hard time for non-league clubs – as Darlington have also shown this week.
"It was always a struggle but I enjoyed every minute of being at Great Harwood," said Bill, with Harwood dating back to the 1960s.
"You could never keep hold of your best players – we had Jonathan Smith, Andy Procter, James Dean and Matty Derbyshire who went on to play league football – but that was just the way it was.
"And also, with all the football on television, it’s hard to get people to watch, especially when the team aren’t doing as well so it was always a battle but one which had its rewards."
Harwood, like Rossendale, had a rich history including the likes of former England greats Ronnie Clayton and Bryan Douglas playing for them when they were in the Northern Premier League – attracting crowds of more than 2,000 – before they folded in 1978.
The club was reformed and became founder memories of the North West Counties League with the likes of Procter, now captain of Accrington Stanley, and Derbyshire, who moved to Blackburn Rovers and is now at Nottingham Forest, turning out at the Showground and the club yo-yoed up and down the NWCL leagues.
"It is, though, a sign of the times what is happening," added Bill. "Rossendale United were one of the biggest non-league clubs in the area for the last 40 or 50 years.
"There is a lot of history there which has now gone up in smoke and that’s sad.
"If things had gone our way, I would still be at Great Harwood now. It’s such a shame these things are happening to clubs."
And the North West Counties League feel there may be more non-league teams which go the way of Harwood, Rossendale, Nelson and Haslingden.
A NWCL spokesperson said: "It has never been easy to generate funds to keep football clubs at our level in existence, and in the current economic climate it’s even more difficult than before.
"Clubs at our level rely heavily on volunteers to keep them running effectively and these days it seems that people are less willing to give up the time that is needed to take on the responsibilities involved in running a club.
"It’s a real shame because given the opportunity non-league clubs in small towns can make a really positive contribution to the local community.
"They can make their facilities available for use, and give youngsters the opportunity to play football for their local team.
"But as the situation at Rossendale United has proved, unless the locals are prepared to rally round and support the club, a valuable community resource can be lost."