ACCRINGTON Stanley have renamed the Crown Ground as the Store First Stadium after agreeing a six-figure stadium and shirt sponsorship deal.
Storage company Store First, who have bases in Blackburn and Burnley, have finalised a three-year deal with Stanley.
The Reds also unveiled a new third kit, in Store First blue and yellow colours, and have received permission to wear the shirt for the first time when they host AFC Wimbledon in League Two on Saturday.
“It’s one of the biggest deals in Accrington Stanley’s history,” said Stanley chief executive Rob Heys.
“To bring in that kind of money is fantastic.”
Stanley have been seeking a stadium sponsor since Fraser Eagle went into administration in 2009.
The Crown Ground had previously been known as the Fraser Eagle Stadium and the Interlink Express Stadium.
In December 2011 Stanley agreed an 18-month stadium sponsorship with Oswaldtwistle company Colane Tropical Mineral Water UK Ltd, but the deal fell through before the ground was officially renamed.
The Reds’ current shirt sponsor, Cleverboxes, is now in discussions to sign a sponsorship deal with the club’s youth academy.
Stanley currently sit 19th in League Two after a run of only one win in 12 games, but Heys believes the deal shows the Reds want to do more than just survive in the Football League.
“The money not only helps us to survive but we want to push on,” he said.
“We don’t want to carry on being the smallest club in the Football League so attracting a large sponsor makes people sit up and hopefully attracts interest from others as well.
“People write us off at the start of every season. We’re always the bookies’ favourite to go down but these kind of deals send out a message that we mean business and we intend to stay in the Football League.”
Heys admits that the money from the deal will not have any immediate impact on the club’s playing budget, which is around £500,000 a year.
“It’s the same as with any income into the football club,” he said.
“It’s not that money is wasted on players, because it’s not wasted money, but as well as the playing budget there are pressures to spend money elsewhere.
“We still want to improve the facilities and make the Store First Stadium a great place for people to come.”
And the Stanley chief says the club are not spending time fretting about the possibility of relegation and insists boss Leam Richardson is not under any pressure over the Reds’ recent run of results.
“Relegation is not a banned word but it’s not something we’re really contemplating at the moment,” Heys said.
“People aren’t particularly down, we know we’ve got to pick ourselves up and win a few more games but we’ve got the squad capable of doing that.
“Leam’s not under pressure from us as a football club or from the majority of the fans, he puts pressure on himself.
“A few more wins, which we’re more than capable of delivering, will ease that pressure.”
Stanley have reduced ticket prices for Saturday’s game with AFC Wimbledon, with tickets cost £5 for adults and £1 for under 12s.
For each £5 ticket purchased, 50p will be donated to the appeal to raise £20,000 for local therapy centre Holly House in support of youngster Finley Rosbotham.