Accrington Stanley director Peter Shaw is relieved that the club’s financial woes are now a thing of the past – but knows there is still work to do to replace the generation of fans lost because of the events of 1962.
Shaw was a Stanley supporter 50 years ago when they were forced to resign from the Football League because of spiralling debts and felt compelled to help the club when they suffered further cash problems in 2009.
The 76-year-old spearheaded the Accrington Stanley Supporters’ Fund and joined the board shortly before Ilyas Khan completed his takeover of Stanley last year.
Increasing attendances, through his role as chairman of the club’s community trust, remains a priority.
The Reds’ average gate this season is only 1,685, comfortably the lowest in the Football League.
Recalling Stanley’s demise in 1962, when the community only found out the extent of the club’s debt shortly before they quit the league, Shaw said: “It was devastating for the town.
“In those times, I don’t think football was as open as it is now. We go on the various websites now and everyone knows what everybody is doing.
“That situation didn’t happen 50 years ago. Directors of any football club tended to be a bit like a Masonic Lodge, a closed enclave and you never got into it to find out what was happening.
“Times have changed and I think, certainly as far as this club is concerned, we’re a lot more open.
“The biggest problem we are currently finding is that we lost a generation of support.
“People at the club are working very hard taking players into schools, raising the profile of the club in the community and hopefully eventually getting more bums on seats.”
Shaw, though, believes the future is positive for Stanley.
“We’re fortunate, we’re a small club but in the last two to three years we’ve turned things round enormously,” he said.
“We are on a stable footing.
“The new manager has got some great ideas, they might not all come to fruition until next season but we’re patient.”