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You Only Live Twice: How Accrington Stanley Almost Died, Survived, And Thrived

The Sportsman's Grandad ventured over to Accrington to talk to Stanley owner and chairman Andy Holt
The Sportsman's Grandad ventured over to Accrington to talk to Stanley owner and chairman Andy Holt

It’s safe to say that League One side Accrington Stanley enjoys a level of notoriety and recognition that teams higher placed in the Football League would strive for.

Immortalised through that television advert from the ‘80s, no doubt to the ire of many of a supporter, Stanley have had an impressive rise from wallowing in the non-league conference in the mid-2000s, and now residing in the third tier, albeit currently with a challenging relegation battle on their hands.

Promoted in 2017/18 from League Two as champions, of course under the stead of manager John Coleman now in his accumulated 18th year as gaffer (across two spells), The Sportsman’s favourite pensioner Grandad travelled up further into Lancashire to interview Accrington Stanley owner Andy Holt to talk about the success and stability that has been introduced to the club in recent years. This being a far cry from the turmoil that engulfed the club in the mid-20th Century and of which Stanley has had a long-standing stigma.

The current set-up was established over half a century ago, in 1968, though its history has been in existence from being a founder member of the Football League, all 130 years ago.

50 years ago the club, having folded due to dire financial straits in 1962, was reborn out of the flames. There was a new club, a new ground - The Crown Ground - and new faces. Promotion to the Football League eventually came in 2006/07, again as champions, of the Conference National, with Accrington avoiding submerging back into non-league since.

Holt took over the club in 2015, as he describes with the incentive of continuing to pursue a maintenance of ethics, responsibility, and integrity in the precarious, unforgiving world of running an association football club.

“I don’t want to produce a Starbucks club, I want to produce a decent, well-run, good quality club for Accrington that can afford to pay its way and keep itself straight.”

They’re now playing alongside the likes of Sunderland, Portsmouth, Luton, and Coventry City.

You can watch the video of The Sportsman’s Grandad chatting to Andy Holt below - at what’s currently known as The Wham Stadium - with more flat-caps then you can shake a stick at, with all of us wishing the club success for the future.

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