League One Lowdown: Accrington Stanley

Vital Statistics

Founded: 1968

Chairman: Peter Marsden

Last Season: League Two - 1st

Nickname: Stanley

Rivals: Southport, Barrow

Major Honours

None

Scheduled Matches

Portsmouth vs Accrington Stanley: Saturday, May 4th (3pm)

Accrington Stanley vs Portsmouth: Saturday, October 27th (3pm)

Accrington Stanley: A brief history

The current guise of Accrington Stanley is actually their second form after the original Accrington Stanley went bust in 1962 because of crippling debts.

Stanley also have no association to the original Accrington FC who were one of the founder members of the Football League in 1888. The current club got their name after the original club was named Stanley Villa FC due to some of their players living in Stanley Street in town. In 1894 it was decided to change the name to Accrington Stanley.

The newest Accrington Stanley became a member of the Football League in 2006 after they won the Conference and have stayed there since. Previously, their existence has mainly consisted of climbing the non-league pyramid and winning many Lancashire trophies in the 70's.

Stanley have their own group of "Ultras" but until the club achieves some significant success on the pitch they will always be most famous for this.

The Manager: John Coleman

Coleman is seen as a legend in Accrington having become their manager in 1999 and taken them from the Northern Premier League First Division to a respectable League Two club before leaving for Rochdale in 2012.

He couldn't repeat the success at Dale and was sacked after a year and then short spells at Southport and Sligo Rovers were followed by a return to Accrington after James Beattie left the club in September 2014 where he continues to keep the Lancashire club punching above its weight as he guided them to the League Two title last season.

The Stadium: The Crown Ground (Capacity: 5,050 -  Away: 1,800)

Sponsorship has seen Accy's home ground been given the official name of the Store First Stadium. The Crown Inn is the closest pub to the ground but fills quickly so you could always take a short walk up Whalley Road to the Grey Horse instead which is a nice little pre-match pub.

Upon reaching the ground's away entrance, you'll see the sign below. Whilst the statement about Accrington being one of the founder members is true, it doesn't relate to Stanley whose current guise wasn't founded until 1958.

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The end opposite the away stand behind the goal is the Sophia Khan stand which houses the "Stanley Ultras" group. Whilst you may laugh, they do generate an atmosphere which is missing in some of the larger sterile bowl grounds around the country.

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To the right of the away stand is the Whinney Hill terrace which seats away supporters although looking at its age and its structure it seems like it could collapse at any time! This stand will be replaced with a new modern single-tiered stand by the end of the year.

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To the left is the Main Stand and the Thwaites Stand, kind of like two stands combined into one as part of the seating further down looks like it forms a second tier.

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The away stand is known as the Coppice Terrace and is uncovered. When Pompey were there back in 2013 there was a small gantry attached to it although I suspect that was for the TV cameras to cover the live game.

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Given that this was Pompey's first away game in the fourth division for many years back in 2013, this was the ultimate "welcome to League Two" football ground with its old structure and portaloos behind the uncovered open terrace truly showing it's "lower league" status.

Whilst it might have been a culture shock for some, the Crown Ground isn't all that bad. It can be hard to create an atmosphere on the open terrace but the home support does contribute and the view from the terrace is good although League One fans will certainly be in for a culture shock if they haven't visited before.