ACCRINGTON Stanley are in a race against time for a new sponsor after Fraser Eagle ended their two-year shirt deal with the club.
The original six -figure deal with the coach company two years ago was the biggest deal in the club’s history.
Fraser Eagle will still hold the naming rights for the stadium as that is a five-year deal but the club learnt this week that Fraser Eagle will no longer have their name on the front of the Reds’ shirts next season.
It means Stanley are desperately looking for a new sponsor before the new season starts - especially to bring much needed revenue into the club to finance new players after boss John Coleman had a clear-out in May.
The club was under the impression that the initial two- year deal for the front of shirt sponsorship was set to continue on a rolling basis.
"It is a massive blow for us," said chief executive Rob Heys. "It is hard to put a price on it as the deal was linked in with the stadium, coach travel and sponsoring the Academy.
"It means we have to find another sponsor quickly as it is only six weeks to pre-season and we need to get the new shirts printed and sorted out."
Chairman Eric Whalley said: "It has come as a massive shock and leaves a significant hole in our budget for next season.
"It means the search for a new shirt sponsor starts now and we just have to hope that we can find a company to come in and help to make up the shortfall - whether that is one of the larger local businesses or even a national organisation.
"We have enjoyed a great relationship with Fraser Eagle over the last three years and we would like to thank them for everything they have done for us.
"But it has to be said that we are very disappointed that we have only just found out that they do not wish to continue as our main sponsor for the forthcoming season. It now leaves us with only a matter of weeks to find a replacement."
Fraser Eagle’s Group Managing Director Kevin Dean, said: "Fraser Eagle has enjoyed a great three year relationship with Accrington Stanley and participated in the success of the club with promotion from the Conference to the Football League.
"This relationship will continue for another three years with naming rights of the stadium, which will still keep Fraser Eagle as the main sponsor of the club.
"All sponsorship arrangements have a shelf life and the agreement for the front of shirt sponsorship was a two-year commitment, which will come to an end before the new season.
"Over the duration of the relationship, Fraser Eagle has provided over £300,000 to the club and we now need to review our allocation of budget across other initiatives."
This is the latest in a series of blows to hit the club since they returned to the Football League in 2006.
The Football Association are currently investigating Stanley’s final game of the season with Bury following the unusually high amounts of bets placed on a Bury win.
And the season before, Stanley were under the threat of a points deduction after the FA charged them with fielding two ineligible players - instead they were fined.
And the club also need to find at least £500,000 to finance another 1000 seats at the ground by May 2009 to comply with Football League rules.