WHEN Carl Rice utters the word "exactly", the irony isn't lost on him.

"That wasn't intended to be a pun," he grinned, following his automatic response to a question.

But it's a word that is inextricably linked to the actor turned writer, turned stand-up comedian, and Accrington Stanley.

Anyone in their mid-twenties onwards remembers THAT milk advert.

You know the one? Two young, would-be footballers are standing near a fridge in a kitchen after playing football.

For those too young to remember, or anyone who has forgotten, here's the transcript: Kid 1: Got any lemonade?

Kid 2 (Rice): If you want. (passing him the lemonade) Kid 1: (spotting kid 2 pouring a glass of milk) Milk?

Kid 2: Yeah Kid 1: Urggh!

Kid 2: It's what Ian Rush drinks?

Kid 1: Ian Rush?

Kid 2: Yeah, and he says if I don't drink lots of milk, when I grow up I'll only be good enough to play for Accrington Stanley.

Kid 1: Accrington Stanley? Who are they?

Kid 2: Exactly!

Kid 1: Give us some!

Kid 2: Get off!

(A battle over the milk ensues. The scene then cuts to a bottle of milk being placed on the doorstep with the slogan: Milk. Are you getting enough).

It was Rice's - then a muddy-faced eight-year-old - first forage in the acting world, and for that he will be eternally grateful to the club he has adopted as his second' team behind, of course, Liverpool.

Stanley benefited as well, as it reignited the affection that football fans all over the country had for the debt-ridden club that got kicked out of the Football League in 1962 and got people talking about them again.

Eighteen or so years on from that advert's first airing, Accrington Stanley are back on the nation's lips by their own doing as they stand on the cusp of promotion back to the Football League as Conference champions.

Rice, now 25, will make a poignant return to the club on Saturday as guest of honour for their home match with Stevenage. And he can't wait.

"I haven't seen them play since I was about 13 when I was last invited to a game, but I've always looked out for their results ever since I made the advert, so it will be great to go back," he said.

"I'm made up with how things are going for the team at the minute. I'm confident they can go all the way and it's really good to see them on the up."

He added: "It's quite bizarre that people are talking about the advert.

"I didn't know much about Accrington Stanley when I made it. I'd probably heard of the name but knew nothing about the club.

"Since then, though, they've been my second team and it will be good to meet people involved with the club on Saturday."