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Who are they?

As part of's League Two spotlight, Chris Burton catches up with Accrington Stanley frontman Terry Gornell.

League Two Spotlight - League Two Spotlight Posted 22nd September 2010 view comments

There was a time, not all that long ago, when the mere mention of Accrington Stanley drew a childish grin from football supporters.

The power of advertising should never be underestimated and those of us who watched far too much television in the 80s will forever associate Accrington with a certain advert for milk.

"Accrington Stanley, who are they?" was a slogan which rolled off the tongue, with most viewers left as bemused as the young hopeful in the advert as to who this now infamous side were.

Gornell: Optimistic

Gornell: Optimistic

We could be forgiven for our lack of insight as Stanley, one of the founder members of the Football League, had slipped a long way off the radar since the heady days of the late 19th Century.

Accrington, who have existed in various guises over the years, tumbled out of the League in 1962, when they became only the second club in history to forfeit their status mid-season.

It took 44 long years for the club to work their way back up the ladder, before they eventually secured promotion back into the big time in 2006.

They have plied their trade in League Two ever since and are now firmly established back on the Football League fixture list and in the hearts and minds of football followers everywhere.

Unfortunately for Stanley, having finally completed the long trek back, they have spent much of the last four years fending off financial upheaval.

They were, however, saved from possible extinction by Ilyas Khan in 2009 and appear to be heading in the right direction once more.

Results on the pitch certainly suggest as much, with the much sought-after stability off the field helping to bring about a reversal in fortune on it.


It is fair to say that Stanley have not pulled up too many trees since clambering back into the fourth tier, but 2010/11 could be the season they start to make a real noise in the Football League forest.

Seven games into the campaign and they are one of only five teams outside of the Premier League to remain unbeaten - alongside Queens Park Rangers, Carlisle, Colchester and Chesterfield.

Few expected Stanley to be part of such a select group when the action got underway back in August, but there they are.

Expectations have suddenly risen around the Crown Ground, with whisperings of a play-off push now doing the rounds.'s Chris Burton recently caught up with Stanley new boy Terry Gornell to find out if such talk is merited, and found the 20-year-old striker to be in confident mood.

"I don't think anybody could have expected the start we've had," he admitted.

"I think everyone's over the moon with the start and it is breeding confidence. Everyone is looking forward to the season now, with the squad we've got.

"It has surprised me, but I think it will surprise everyone in the league and around the country. But John (Coleman) has been working wonders here for years and we should be looking at, hopefully, the play-offs.

"With the start we have had, we deserve to have people take note of us. We have to carry it on now and keep going."


While confidence is high around the Accrington camp at the moment, Gornell accepts that it would be foolish to start getting ideas above their station just yet.

He added: "You need a good start and then hopefully carry that on. The Christmas period will be massive for us.

"We are going to pick up injuries and suspensions, so any team that performs well over the Christmas period has got a decent chance of being successful this year. Hopefully we can do that, with the start we've had."

Gornell linked up with Stanley at the end of August, completing a switch from Tranmere, and, having previously taken in a loan spell at the Crown Ground back in 2008, insists he always believed the club were capable of going places.

"I knew the set-up before I came in and that was one of the reasons why I joined," he said.

"Some of the lads are still here from the last time I was here and I knew John and Jimmy (Bell). It suits me down to the ground here.

"I knew there was a buzz, because I had been in touch with Charlie Barnett. I spoke to him about it and I knew before I came in that they were doing well.

"I watched the Newcastle game (in the Carling Cup) on Sky and I was really impressed with them. Since I have been here, I have been impressed even more. The lads have started well and hopefully it will continue.

"It's a club with massive potential, these are exciting times. From when I was here last until now there have been considerable changes. There are new owners and people behind the scenes looking to come in and invest. It's an exciting time to be here."


As mentioned by Gornell, with the monetary troubles now seemingly a thing of the past, there is a real opportunity for the club to push on over the next few years.

He said: "It has had a lot of trouble and a lot of bad press over the years, but hopefully the club can go in a new direction now, now we have got new people in.

"I don't know too much about what goes on upstairs, but you hear rumours. There have been reports in the papers this week about a new stadium, possibly in the next three years. Everything coming out of the club at the moment is positive and it's exciting to be involved with."

Gornell is hoping he can play a leading role in Stanley's immediate future, having broken his scoring duck for the club by bagging a brace in Friday's impressive 3-0 victory over Lincoln City.

He beamed: "I was made up with it on Friday. I think the goals have been coming. In the three games I have played in before that the lads have played really well.

"I still think there are more goals in us and we will give someone a hiding soon. We have been playing really well but not putting chances away. Then on Friday we did and we got a great result."

Having only penned a one-year deal upon his arrival, Gornell is aware that he is playing for his future.

He is, however, keen to put that to one side for now and give his full attention to helping Stanley upset the form book and make a real impact in the fourth tier this season.

"I am just taking each game as it comes at the moment," he said.

"I am really enjoying it, and that's the main thing. I'm not looking too far ahead and I am concentrating on a game at the weekend against Port Vale. If we can take points off them, that puts us in an even better position. We will just take each game as it comes."

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