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Accrington Stanley was a football club from Accrington in Lancashire, in the north-west of England, formed in 1891. The team played in The Football League from 1921 until 1962, when the club became only the second ever to resign from the Football League in mid-season. The club went into liquidation into 1966.

History

The club was formed in 1891 as Stanley Villa and adopted the Accrington name in 1893. The club re-formed after World War I and entered the League in 1921 with the formation of the old Third Division North, along with the other top Northern non-League clubs.

In four decades of league football they never achieved promotion from the Third Division. The driving force was Sam Pilkington who helped to secure Peel Park, their original ground. Their best-ever league position was 2nd in that division, in the 1954-55 season and again in 1957-58. As only the top club was promoted at the time, they never had the chance to compete in Division Two.

In 1960, amid persistent financial difficulties mainly relating to the speculative purchase of the new Burnley Road stand, The 'Owd Reds were relegated to the recently formed Division Four. However, they only managed to complete one full season in this division: bankruptcy followed shortly afterwards. On 12 February 1962 Edwin Slinger, the chairman, resigned and revealed that Stanley owed up to £4,000 in unpaid transfer fees and a similar sum to the Inland Revenue. Pilkington, as life vice president, brought in Bob Lord, who persuaded the rest of the board to resign by promising to buy shares, despite his chairmanship of nearby Burnley F.C. Stanley lost their last League match 4-0 away at Crewe on 2 March 1962 and, at a creditors' meeting shortly afterwards, a further £40,000 of unsecured creditors was revealed. A further amount of £458 owed for National Insurance was enough for Lord and Pilkington to decide to draw the line. The club sent a letter of resignation to the Football League even though none of the creditors was threatening to "pull the plug". The resignation was accepted by Alan Hardaker, the League Secretary on 11 March, mid-way through the 1961/62 season.

During their fourth season in the Lancashire Combination the club now playing as plain Accrington F.C. went into liquidation in January 1966 following their game with another ex-league side Glossop.Accrington won 3-2 at Peel Park on 8 January 1966 in front of a sparse crowd and the club slipped quietly away.

Origin of the name

The original town team, Accrington, were amongst the twelve founder members of the Football League in 1888, before resigning from the league after just five years. A team called Stanley Villa already existed at the time, named as such because they were based at the Stanley Arms on Stanley Street in Accrington. With the demise of Accrington, Stanley Villa took the town name to become Accrington Stanley. There was also a team originally based in West London called Stanley, who played against the likes of Fulham and Queens Park Rangers in the late 19th Century before folding.

League history

Season Division Position Significant Events (original club)
Joined the Lancashire Combination
1900-1901 Lancashire Combination 9
1901-1902 Lancashire Combination 3
1902-1903 Lancashire Combination 1 Champions
Lancashire Combination becomes Lancashire Combination Division One
1903-1904 Lancashire Combination Division One 2 Runners Up
1904-1905 Lancashire Combination Division One 7
1905-1906 Lancashire Combination Division One 1 Champions
1906-1907 Lancashire Combination Division One 5
1907-1908 Lancashire Combination Division One 7
1908-1909 Lancashire Combination Division One 12
1909-1910 Lancashire Combination Division One 3
1910-1911 Lancashire Combination Division One 7
1911-1912 Lancashire Combination Division One 9
1912-1913 Lancashire Combination Division One 2 Runners Up
1913-1914 Lancashire Combination Division One 7
1914-1915 Lancashire Combination Division One 6
English football is postponed due to World War I
Lancashire Combination Division One becomes Lancashire Combination
1919-1920 Lancashire Combination 7
1920-1921 Lancashire Combination 6
Elected into Division Three - North upon The Football League expansion
1921-1922 Division Three - North 5
1922-1923 Division Three - North 8
1923-1924 Division Three - North 13
1924-1925 Division Three - North 17
1925-1926 Division Three - North 18
1926-1927 Division Three - North 21
1927-1928 Division Three - North 9
1928-1929 Division Three - North 18
1929-1930 Division Three - North 16
1930-1931 Division Three - North 13
1931-1932 Division Three - North 14
1932-1933 Division Three - North 13
1933-1934 Division Three - North 20
1934-1935 Division Three - North 18
1935-1936 Division Three - North 9
1936-1937 Division Three - North 13
1937-1938 Division Three - North 22
1938-1939 Division Three - North 22
English football is postponed due to World War II
1946-1947 Division Three - North 20
1947-1948 Division Three - North 6
1948-1949 Division Three - North 20
1949-1950 Division Three - North 13
1950-1951 Division Three - North 23
1951-1952 Division Three - North 22
1952-1953 Division Three - North 24
1953-1954 Division Three - North 15
1954-1955 Division Three - North 2 Runners Up
1955-1956 Division Three - North 3
1956-1957 Division Three - North 3
1957-1958 Division Three - North 2 Runners Up
Placed into Division Three upon The Football League re-organisation
1958-1959 Division Three 19
1959-1960 Division Three 24 Relegated
1960-1961 Division Four 18
1961-1962 Division Four Resigned
Accrington Stanley resigned from The Football League and joined Lancashire Combination Division Two
1962-1963 Lancashire Combination Division Two 8
1963-1964 Lancashire Combination Division Two 1 Champions
1964-1965 Lancashire Combination Division One 21 Relegated
1965-1966 Lancashire Combination Division Two Resigned
Accrington Stanley resigned from Lancashire Combination Division Two and folded
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