FORMER Accrington Stanley chairman Eric Whalley has died, aged 74.

The non-league legend, who was also well known on the local cricket circuit, represented the club as an A team player, then manager before taking over the running of the club in 1995.

He set about guiding the club through the non-league pyramid and into the Football League as well as developing the former Crown Ground, now Store First Stadium.

He was also a fine cricketer with Rishton in the Lancashire League and was the club's president until earlier this year.

Current Stanley chairman Peter Marsden led the tributes.

“Eric was Accrington Stanley,” he said.

“His tireless efforts made the club what it is today and we will forever be grateful to him. Our Football League status is a continuing reminder of everything he did for the club.”

All Lancashire League clubs will hold a minute's silence before Sunday's games.