Alan Davies scored the winning goal in Accrington Stanley’s first game following their reformation – and he says it was the highlight of his sporting career.
Stanley famously resigned from the Football League in 1962 due to debts but re-formed in 1968 – 50 years ago.
It took two years of hard work to get the club back up-and-running again and they entered the Lancashire Combination Second Division in the 1970-71 season with six semi-professional players and five amateurs.
The first game at their new ground, the Crown Ground, was against Formby and Alan scored the winner in a historical 2-1 victory on 15th August 1970.
“It was a great day,” said Alan, who now lives in Shropshire. “I was from Clitheroe and attended trials, I worked at Lucas at Burnley at the time.
“I must have done ok as I was selected to play the first game under Jimmy Hinksman. There was a lot of build-up to it and the Mayor was there (Alan Benson, pictured shaking Alan’s hand).
“There were over 600 fans at the Crown Ground on the day. I remember John Nuttall scored the first goal, Formby equalised and then I got the winner midway through the second half.
“I got the ball a long way from goal, I ran, beat a couple of defenders and hit it beyond the goalkeeper. It wasn’t just a tap in!
“At the time it was a winning goal but when you look back it was an important goal. Playing for Accrington Stanley was the highlight of my sporting career.
“I got married in 1971 and my wife was from Accrington so we lived there.
“I played 301 times and scored 146 goals according to the statistics. I was a right winger and was Accrington’s Number Seven for eight seasons, I am proud of that.
“We picked up some Combination trophies and later won the league and I was Player of the Year one or two times. It was a great time.
“I remember everything was on a shoestring budget but you didn’t really get involved in that as a player. I moved onto Darwen and Colne Dynamoes but Accrington will always be special to me.”
Alan came back to East Lancashire last season and watched Stanley draw with Exeter on their way to being crowned League Two champions.
“I watched Accrington lose the play-offs to Stevenage quite a few seasons ago (2010/11) and I came back this season. The ground has developed so much and the supporters were really behind the team. It was great.
“Looking back, I am proud of the part I played in Accrington Stanley’s history. I never imagined, all those years ago, that I would see them in League One. It’s superb.”