Accrington Stanley Football Club is an English football club from Accrington in Lancashire, in the north-west of England, formed in 1968. The town regained a club with league status after 44 years, when they were promoted as champions of the Nationwide Conference on 15 April 2006. One of the clubs relegated from League Two was Oxford United, ironically, the team that was elected to replace the former Accrington Stanley as members of the Football League in 1962. The club has been owned by Chairman Eric Whalley since the mid 1990s and employs Robert Heys, who joined the club in 2002, as Chief Executive.
The club's recent rise to the Conference level, and eventually to the League, is attributed in part to the windfall of hundreds of thousands of pounds reaped by the sell-on clause in the December 2001 transfer of former Stanley star Brett Ormerod to Southampton, who paid Blackpool over a million pounds for his contract. Stanley had taken £50,000 from Blackpool in 1997 with the agreement that Blackpool would pay Accrington a quarter of what they might have received if they in turn transferred Ormerod to another team. The 2002-03 championship of the Northern Premier League followed quickly on Accrington's getting the cash. Further funds were raised with the sale of J.Gray to Stirling Albion.
On 21 August 2006, Accrington Stanley won their first ever Football League Cup match, beating Nottingham Forest 1–0. Their first appearance in the second round resulted in a loss on penalties against Premiership team Watford at Vicarage Road.
The club also has a women's team playing in the Lancashire FA Women's County League Division One.
Stanley were pushing for fans in the Asian, mainly Chinese market (similar to Manchester United) for revenue, calling themselves "the world's most famous little club". However this never really took off.
The club published on their website, as an April Fools Joke, the suggestion that they were considering a name change to Lancashire Stanley United, in order to broaden their fan base. However, because of the positive reaction, the club decided to seriously consider the change.
Boy 1 enters shot, puts ball on top of fridge, and opens it
Former playersIn a survey published by the Professional Footballers' Association in December 2007, Chris Grimshaw was listed as the all-time favourite player amongst Accrington Stanley fans.