Tag: Accrington Stanley

What’s Bad For Accrington May Be Good For Oxford

The tangled paths that various football clubs weave across each other don’t come much stranger than the ongoing saga of Accrington Stanley and Oxford United. When Accrington resigned their place in the Football League in controversial circumstances in 1962, Oxford were elected in their place. When Oxford surprisingly fell through the trap door and into the Blue Square Premier in 2006, Accrington were promoted in their place. Now, three years later, Oxford United are top of the Blue Square Premier after an outstanding start to the season and Accrington are staring the financial abyss square in the eye again. The club’s most recent difficulties started with the resignation of former chairman Eric Whalley, who took up a position at Chester City just a few weeks after quitting the club at the end of last season. The club was then landed with a winding up order from the Inland Revenue over an unpaid tax bill of £308,000. The club believed that it had reached an arrangement with their creditor to pay the debt back over twelve months, but this week they found themselves back up in court, with the petition having been represented. This time, the In land Revenue have given the club just eight weeks to find the money or be wound up. The question of how and why the club believed itself to have a twelve month arrangement...

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Accrington & The Tax Man

The news that Accrington Stanley have been issued with a winding up order should come as no great surprise to those that watch lower league football that closely. As the cold wind of economic reality blows through the lower divisions, Accrington were always going to be amongst the favourites to struggle to keep their heads above water. With crowds having fallen by about one-third since their first season back in the Football League to an average of around just 1,400 and one of their main sponsors, Fraser Eagle, having run into financial difficulties and been unable to pay the remaining £100,000 on a stadium sponsorship deal, that the club managed to retain anything like full-time status was pretty much remarkable. Of course, maintaining this status becomes easier if you can cut corners elsewhere, and Accrington have been doing this by not paying their tax bill. The debt – £300,000 – is not a completely insurmountable one, but the fact that it has not been paid would seem to indicate that other bills were taking preference. Such is the moral vaccuum at the heart of professional football. Had they wished to, Accrington could have looked elsewhere for examples of HMRC behaving as if they were sick to the back teeth of football clubs wasting money on players and evading their responsibilities to their creditors through entering into CVAs and paying...

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Accrington, Bury & The Spectre Of Match-Fixing

Sometimes, what happens in football matches seems so bizarre that one can only assume that either a higher force or the sleight of hand of match-fixing has been involved. How did both Liverpool and Manchester United score last minute winning goals on the same weekend? The truth, of course, is that they both simply wore down their opposition. There were no dark arts at work. For scandals concerning match-fixing, we have to look further down the divisions, where less people are likely to notice. In this respect, the news that the FA have suspended five players for betting on the result of a League Two match between Accrington Stanley and Bury last May should come as little surprise. If anything, we should be surprised that it doesn’t happen more than it does. It was common knowledge in the north-west of England that something wasn’t “right” about this match. An end of season match between two sides with very little to play for was reporting extremely high levels of betting, leading to a bookmakers reporting it to the FA and suspending betting on the match. Bury won the match 2-0, following the pattern of the betting, and the fact that it has taken until now for the charges to be brought and the fact that the five players charged have all been named (they are Jay Harris, David Mannix, Robert...

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Accrington Stanley & Ground Grading

One of the more welcome surprises of the last ten years or so was the return to the Football League of Accrington Stanley. The original club bearing that name famously resigned from the league in 1962 and, in doing so, became one of those great rarities – a Football League club that doesn’t even complete the season. A new club was founded in 1968 bearing the same name (although it didn’t begin league football until 1970), and fought their way back to promotion back into the League in 2006. For many Stanley supporters, who felt that the club has resigned its place in the League in haste and that the League accepted it too readily, this was vindication in itself. Now, however, there are concerns amongst the clubs supporters that they may be in danger of losing a piece of their identity. The problem is that old thorn in the side of promotion between the Blue Square Premier and League Two – ground-grading. During the 1990s, there was a major problem with the Conference champions. A lot of the time, their grounds weren’t up to the exacting standards required by the Football League and three clubs missed out on automatic promotion – Macclesfield Town, Kidderminster Harriers and Stevenage Borough. Kidderminster and Macclesfield eventually made their way into the league, but Stevenage have yet to make it that far again....

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Who Are They?

Was there ever a more ridiculous advert than the Milk Council’s “Accrington Stanley” one of the mid-1980s? “Accrington Stanley?”, bellowed a dreadful little Scouse kid, apparently spurred on By Ian Rush, “Who are they?”. “Exactly!”, spat his equally obnoxious little friend. I know that it was all just a joke, made partly because of Stanley’s hilarious name, but as a supporter of a club as small as theirs at the time, I was indignant about it. As you may have noted, I still am. It was, I guess, the inherent snobbery of the top of the English game. The smaller clubs don’t don’t matter. They’re an irrelevance. It would be better not to play football at all than to play for them. It’s a large part of the reason why I cheer every time a small club dumps one of these supposed “giants” on their arse in the FA Cup. So… a quick re-cap: Accrington Stanley were Football League members from 1922 to 1962. They became the first club in the history of the League to resign in mid-season, after a financial implosion (two more have followed – Aldershot & Maidstone United, in quick succession in the early 1990s). After limping on gamely for three years, they folded, and their ground fell to ruin. You can read more about them here. A new club, with the same name, were...

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