Existing players under contract:
Ian Dunbavin - new 2 year contract signed
Andrew Dawber - 2 year deal signed Feb '13
Peter Murphy - one year remaining on current deal
Tom Aldred - out of contract summer 2013
Dean Winnard - new 1 year contract signed
Laurence Wilson - new 1 year contract signed
Michael Liddle - out of contract summer 2013
Romuald Boco - out of contract summer 2013
Amine Linganzi - out of contract summer 2013
Luke Joyce - out of contract summer 2013
Lee Molyneux - out of contract summer 2013
Craig Lindfield - out of contract summer 2013
George Miller - new 1 year contract signed
Will Hatfield - out of contract summer 2013
Luke Clark - one year remaining on current deal
Francis Jeffers - out of contract summer 2013
James Beattie - stepped up to first team manager - registered as player for next season
James Gray - new 1 year contract signed
Padraig Amond - out of contract summer 2013
Marcus Carver - one year remaining on current deal
In a short statement on the official club website late on Monday evening, James Beattie was announced as the new Accrington Stanley manager. The former England striker spoke of his delight at being chosen for the role, revealing how he had been bitten by the Stanley bug after seven months in Accrington as player and coach.
The club had been without a first team manager for just shy of a fortnight after Leam Richardson departed for Chesterfield – a period in which some players were released, others signed new contracts and a great deal of speculation took place over who should take Accrington forward.
The past eighteen months have been times of great upheaval at the club. After stalwarts John Coleman and Jimmy Bell left after over a decade in charge, few could have predicted that at the end of the following season Stanley would be appointing a new man at the helm for a third time.
Many fans called for Coleman and Bell to be re-appointed in a bid to regain stability as well as a resurgence of the most successful times in the club’s history. In truth, this wish was born out of a degree of opportunism due to the availability of the pair and unavoidable nostalgia. At the core of the clamour was the aim to avoid becoming a club that changes its leader with frightening frequency.
James Beattie is a breath of fresh air and offers something which no other can. A likeable and knowledgeable character with well documented pedigree, he knows what it takes to succeed as a professional at the top level – yet understands how a club like Accrington works best.
In interviews following his appointment, Beattie spoke of his desire to meet the challenge he faces and succeed at it. He believes that he is the right person for the job and that his influence and connections will only help the club. The new manager also speaks of gaining an inexplicable infatuation with the club and it is this that truly earns him credibility with Stanley fans.
Beattie brings with him an infectious belief. In his career he led the forward line – a scorer of important goals rather than a prolific poacher. If he can instil a team spirit that reflects his own sense of drive and shoot-for-the-stars mentality, he has every chance of emulating the great duo’s tale of impossible success.
Departing manager Richardson’s backroom team of Paul Stephenson and Paul Lodge will be there to aid Beattie on the touchline and training field. The experience of the pair will go a long way to back up the young hopeful in a job that has the potential to become very lonely. Beattie also has great support from the chairman and board which he will need to take advantage of as he looks to build a competitive side for next term.
His first task is to keep together the members of the existing squad that ensured league football for Accrington, most of whom are out of contract very soon.
Best of luck to you James, the fans are right behind you.
On, Stanley, On.
This piece was supposed to be a nice objective summary of the season and a short note on the meaningless excuse for a game that was the last home match against Oxford. That was until news broke on Tuesday that Leam Richardson had chosen to leave his post as Accrington Stanley manager in order to become assistant manager to Paul Cook at Chesterfield.
It is difficult to understand the reasons which lead to Leam’s departure. He had triumphed against great adversity by leading Accrington to safety amidst the most competitive fourth tier relegation battle in recent memory. He had done all that was necessary to earn the gravitas and respect that would see him carve out his own managerial career, yet he chose to join the backroom staff of another of Stanley’s ex gaffers.
Whether his reasons were with his professional future in mind and born out of a need to learn more about the game or indeed purely financial, the shock and confusion should not take anything away from the respect Leam Richardson deserves from our club. As a player he brought professionalism and experience to a team joining the Football League; as a manager he brought the tools and belief we needed to remain in the 92. All at Accrington wish the best of luck to him.
This is now a critical time for our club. The choice must be made with great thought and consideration, but swiftly enough for the new man at the helm to work with a squad that is mostly out of contract in the near future.
The message to the board must be to do all that is possible to avoid Accrington becoming a one-season bouncing board for coaches and players. The first few seasons of our Football League tenure were about establishing ourselves, since then we have become competitive and this has resulted in losing our best assets to teams with realistic ambition. For Accrington to move forward and become a team with realistic ambition, we must bring stability to these times and use our incomparable spirit to move into a new era.
It has been reported that John Coleman and Jimmy Bell have made themselves open to return to Accrington. Some quarters have said that this would be a step backwards. If that step is towards the play-off campaign of 2011, then so be it.
On, Stanley, On.
Going into the game against Bristol Rovers, Stanley had conjured a fantastic run of form which culminated in the impressive home win against Morecambe. This expertly timed collection of positive results had done wonders for morale both on and off the pitch but could not calm the nerves ahead of kick-off in the South West.
Once the whistle had blown, Stanley fans only had to endure 2 minutes of tension as the wand that is Lee Molyneux’s left foot cast another spell – firing a mighty free kick into the net from miles out. Jubilant, the traveling contingent of Red men screamed while the home fans fell silent.
Such is the nature of our beloved team to refuse to make anything easy for the small band of besotted supporters that 92 further minutes went by without another goal seen. A colossal team performance ensured the victory but it was built upon the efforts of the individuals which truly turned our season.
The aforementioned Molyneux’s move into midfield proved fruitful in goals and assists while the strong work from Tom Aldred at the back improved our goal difference no end. Amine Linganzi has been a class apart, shaming his peers in the opposition on technical ability while displaying commendable character.
However it is the manager, Leam Richardson, who deserves all the credit for ensuring league survival for Accrington’s team. To be tasked with reassembling a poorly equipped team low in spirit mid-season with the smallest budget in the Football League was almost too massive for words. To succeed is the greatest achievement in our recent history.
The wish of all fans is for the season to start again immediately, allowing our form and spirit to pour into an undoubtedly successful campaign. There is only one chance though to show our appreciation for the efforts of the players and staff at the club and it comes this Saturday.
The game against Oxford was set up to be an eerie end-of-season encounter against the team that replaced the extinct Stanley fifty years ago. The game is now free of history-laden hoodoo and can be enjoyed as such. A win can see us finish above Morecambe in the league - that would be the proverbial cherry on top of a great big cake.
On, Stanley, On.
Everyone at Accrington Stanley is a fan of Friday night football; having a game at the very start of the weekend gives the evening a potential party atmosphere. When the game in question is a Lancashire derby in the midst of a fight against relegation, the jelly & ice cream is out in force.
The build-up to the game against Morecambe had a new element atypical of usual derbies. Some believed that because the Shrimps effectively had nothing to play for, our old foes would do us a favour and offer little contest. This notion was silenced soon after kick-off as all could see that the visitors had arrived to give us a game.
The feeling from Stanley fans around the ground was somewhat nervous due to what was at stake. A win would all-but ensure survival while a loss would see us deep in the doldrums.
A frantic start from Stanley saw Morecambe take early control of the game with more assured passing. The now seasoned Stanley back four of Murphy, Winnard, Aldred and Wilson played with solidarity which prevented any clear chances coming from the away side’s superior play.
A clumsy foul on Lee Molyneux gave the sharpshooting left-pegger the kind of chance from a dead ball which now strikes fear into the hearts of the opposition. A failed offside trap from Morecambe coupled with Peter Murphy making the right run at the right time meant that the courageous defender, fresh from a battering at York, toe-poked Stanley ahead.
The nerves began to settle and Stanley began to play like the impressive attacking team we have become accustomed to seeing over the past couple of months. Shortly after half time, Rommy Boco pounced onto a loose ball deep in midfield and meandered his way through a sea of opposition defenders. A last ditch tackle was the only thing that could stop the King of Benin finishing the move but Padraig Amond was there to pick up the pieces and double our lead. The Store First Stadium was rocking; we could breathe again.
The win proved crucial as we were left with less space above our peers as hoped, but things are looking good for the Reds. Two more gallant efforts before the final whistle of the season and we will be safe.
On, Stanley, On.
We absolutely, completely, undoubtedly deserved nothing from the game against York, yet took away an equal share of the points. However at this stage of the season, with the position that we are in, we’ll take anything we can lay our grubby mits on.
York played the game almost perfectly. They began with a high tempo and attacked for the entire game, holding us to the slimmest of chances. The stats will show how much York dominated, yet with typical Accrington cheek we nicked a point at the death.
The home side were invigorated by their fans who demanded a win to move above Stanley in the league table. Wave after wave of traditional up-and-under attacks came and if not for Paul Rachubka having one of his better days, Stanley could’ve been out of the game well before half time.
York were one goal to the good and comfortable going into the break. Leam Richardson saw that changes had to be made in order to get into the game at all. Without the class of Amine Linganzi in midfield, Stanley had found it hard to create any chances.
George Miller, a talented young player who featured heavily early on in the season - perhaps more than was good for him – was introduced to get things moving. Richardson switched things around and Stanley found more of a footing in the game, but still behind.
The Accrington fans had travelled well and offered a strong response to the home contingent. The game was as physical as the fans were animated, culminating in a broken nose for the ever committed Peter Murphy. Murphy played on in spite of the blood and gore and it’s a good job he did.
Stanley kept plugging away, determined that the elusive chance would come. When a set-piece resulted in a goal-mouth scramble deep into the dying minutes of the game, Peter Murphy stepped up and made sure the ball hit the back of the net.
Fans and players celebrated together as the great escape had been achieved once more. It is this determination to fight to the death that gives us all confidence in Stanley’s survival campaign. The home game to Morecambe will be the biggest derby in recent memory; a win here could all-but secure our safety.
On, Stanley, On.
A return of 4 points from a possible 6 over the Easter weekend could well be enough to save the Football League status of Accrington Stanley. A late goal in each game earned the points, delighting Stanley fans. However the achievements on the field this weekend will be tinged with sadness after losing a great friend of the club.
Jack Barrett, the Accrington man whose rousing speech at a public meeting inspired the reformation of Accrington Stanley as we know it, passed away in his sleep at the weekend. Everyone connected with our club knew who Jack was and held him in high regard.
Rarely found is a man in this day and age with simple but honourable values yet Jack was that. He saw our football club become extinct in 1962 and watched as the “fun”, as he put it, disappear from the town. He knew that the football club was woven in the fabric of Accrington and though many in the town had undervalued it – much like today – the club was worth saving.
He lived to see the club return to the Football League in 2006 and was handed the Freedom of the Borough of Hyndburn. The flag flew at half-mast outside the town hall after his passing - Accrington had lost one of its last great men but remembered him fondly.
We fans and the people of the town must never forget the efforts and the spirit of Jack Barrett. He fought for what he believed in for the greater good of a merry few. The players must take Jack’s attitude into the remaining games and keep the league status that he so longed to see return.
Victory against Wycombe wanderers on Good Friday helped our fight for survival no end and was earned through resolute defending throughout and a moment of magic at the end. Lee Molyneux popped up yet again with his wand of a left peg and gave us breathing space above our peers.
Easter Monday saw Burton Albion visit Accrington and it was Stanley who dominated play all afternoon. However through sloppy mistakes we found ourselves squandering a 1-0 lead. A last minute equaliser won us a point and though the score-sheet will say James Beattie got the final touch, it was another JB who urged that ball in the net.
Rest in peace, Jack – cheers for the nudge.
On, Stanley, On.