Accrington Stanley (1891)

Now this is where it all gets confusing. Accrington FC were founder members of the Football League, way back in the mists of time. They shone briefly, being in existence from 1878 until 1896.

Towards the end of that period, in 1891, another club was formed in the town. By no means as illustrious as their neighbours,  Accrington Stanley scratched an existence playing locally. They eventually joined the Lancashire Combination in season, finishing ninth in  1900-01 with a record of  Pl34  W17  D2  L15  F55  A51  Pts36.

A year later, their 34 games yielded 47 points, including 21 wins. Then, in 1902-03, Stanley were crowned champions. scoring over 100 goals in their 34 games. The seemingly colossal total of 54 points was actually only a point ahead of Manchester City's reserve string.

Further strong seasons were produced, including another championship win in 1905-06 - with another total of 54 points from 38 games, this time 7 clear of the runners up, Darwen.

There were no more championship winning seasons but the club managed to keep going through the Great War and were admitted to the Football League, as founder members of the Third Division North in season 1921-22. The club were ever present in this new division - hardly surprising since there was only ever one promotion place up for grabs and there was no realistic chance of being relegated during this period.

After finishing second in Third Division North, in its final season (1957-58), Stanley were seemingly well placed to push on in the new national Third Division. However, they finished a disappointing 19th in season 1958-59. Then disaster, as the club finished rock bottom to find themselves relegated to Division Four.

As the sixties dawned, Stanley were seemingly on a one way ticket to mediocrity or worse. This seemed to be confirmed when they sank to 18th place in Division Four in 1960-61. Worse was to come as by February the following season, the club could no longer pay its way, with £8,000 owed on transfer fees and to the tax man. Their last league match was a 4-0 reversal at Gresty Road, Crewe on 2nd March before their resignation from the Football League was accepted on 11th March 1962.

The club did manage to keep going for another four seasons, back in the Lancashire Combination, even winning promotion from division 2 in 1963-64. However, this success was short lived and relegation followed immediately before the club was dissolved in England's most glorious football season of all.

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