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Worlds apart

As part of's League Two Spotlight, James Pearson looks at Accrington's battle against extinction with star striker Michael Symes

League Two Spotlight - James Pearson Posted 11th November 2009 view comments

After taking in the glitz and glamour of the Premier League at the weekend when Manchester City entertained Burnley, my attention now turns to the other end of the spectrum in Accrington Stanley.

While money is way down the priority list in and around the confines of the City of Manchester Stadium, the picture at the Crown Ground paints a completely different picture.

The League Two outfit, who were once famed for being unknown in the 1980s after being name-checked in a milk advert, have enjoyed success on the pitch of late - winning promotion to the Football League in 2006.

Symes: Always confident on survival

Symes: Always confident on survival

Promotion does not guarantee security and this season the Lancashire outfit faced a being wound-up after being required to pay a £308,000 bill to HM Revenue and Customs.

Although the club were facing a far from certain future, striker Michael Symes has revealed the mood among the squad was always confident due to the positive messages from their hierarchy.

The Liverpudlian, who started his career at Everton before moving down the leagues, only joined Stanley on a one-year deal in the summer and always believed the club would survive.

When asked what his thoughts were on the club's possible extinction, he told "No-one really said anything like that to us.


"We just got told it would all be sorted. So we never really panicked or anything like that. We were assured that it was going to be sorted.

"The players got on with the football. No-one really believed that we were going to go under. We always had a positive outlook.

"We were a little bit nervous ourselves because we thought maybe they were saying that to us so we didn't panic."

While some Premier League stars' pay-packets are scrutinised, with players believed to be earning around the £140,000-a-week mark, your average League Two salary is a world apart.

However, the club's players were so dedicated to the cause that they still donated appearance fees on two occasions to help enable the club to boost their survival prospects.

"There were a couple of times where we donated our appearance money and things like that," Symes continued.

"I think there were two occasions where our appearance money went towards the fund.

"There were fun days and going to school, things like that helped.

"None of the players wanted the club to go under, so whatever we were asked to do we just did."

Debts settled

The best news the club and fans could have heard arrived last week when they settled their debts.

Following a restructuring scheme coinciding with the appointment of local businessman Ilyas Khan as non-executive chairman and Peter Marsden as president, the club's future was secure.

Symes admits there was a sense of relief among the squad, however, he was always confident a resolution would be found.

"It was last Wednesday that we found out everything was going to be okay. Everyone was made up.

"It wasn't until that day when we came in that we were told everything was going to be fine.

"We expected that the club wasn't going to go under. There weren't any crazy celebrations as we believed all along."

If you wish to own a part of Accrington, the club have released five per cent of their existing shares for general sale. All shares on sale are part of limited edition packages that includes 500 unique commemoration Stanley strips as produced by the new official kit Supplier. For more details click here or contact Martin Edmundson at or telephone 0871 434 1968.

Comments (1)

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Roger Mills says...

Don't let this club sink, it is part of football history. Those who are able please help them to pull out of this situation and go forward.

Posted 19:22 11th November 2009

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