Accrington Stanley’s new stand will be called the Eric Whalley Stand – dedicated to the Reds former chairman and owner – and will be sponsored by studio.co.uk.

Eric died in June 2014, aged 73, and today would have been his 78th birthday so it’s a fitting tribute to announce the naming of the new stand today.

Eric managed Stanley for a spell before taking over as chairman in 1995 and guiding the Reds from non-league football into the promised land of the Football League in 2006, fulfilling his dream.

The new 1,141 seater stand is expected to be finished in the next month.

“Without Eric Whalley, Accrington Stanley wouldn’t be where it is today so it’s a fitting tribute,” said manager John Coleman.

“Obviously Eric brought me to the club in 1999 and he was Accrington Stanley through and through, he epitomised what the club was about.

“The fact he led the club back into the Football League was a fantastic achievement and he has been sadly missed – he would have loved to have seen us in League One. I don’t know whether he would have believed it!”

The Whalley family said: “We are really proud and honoured to hear the news that the new stand will be named in memory of our dad.

“It is great to hear it will be a lasting legacy dedicated in his name. It will be a great tribute to all the hard work and dedication he gave to Accrington Stanley.

“His children, grand children and great grand children will look forward to sitting in the new stand, watching Accrington Stanley for many years to come.”

Stanley’s Managing Director David Burgess added: “Eric deserved the recognition for everything he did for Accrington Stanley. When he took over, the club were in non-league football and semi-professional and he oversaw the climb up the pyramid.

“We wanted to do something in Eric’s memory and it’s perfect that the new stand will be in his name.”