Nobody can be sure where the Stanley name first came from, but the best evidence suggests that patrons of the Stanley Arms on Stanley Street in Accrington formed a club called Stanley Villa in the early 1891. At this time, Football League founder members Accrington FC were struggling and ultimately resigned from the league in August 1893. Stanley Villa took up the town name and Accrington Stanley was born.
Accrington were one of the clubs involved in the expansion of the Football League and accepted an invitation to take a place in the new Third Division North.
The original Accrington Stanley then played in the Football League from 1921 to March 1962 but had spent its final four seasons in the Lancashire Combination before its collapse in 1966.
Accrington had been without a football team since 1966. At a meeting at Bold Street Working Men’s Club in 1968 the revival was initiated, and in August 1970 the new club played at a new stadium, the Crown Ground. Eric Whalley, a local businessman, took control of the club in 1995 and began the development of the club’s ground. After the club was relegated in 1999, Whalley appointed John Coleman as manager.
In 2005/06 Stanley win The Nationwide Conference Championship by eleven points and with it earn promotion to The Football League after a gap of 44 years.
In 2011/12 John Coleman leaves Accrington to manage Rochdale but returns in 2014/15.
In 2015, the board of Accrington Stanley voted to approve local businessman Andy Holt’s takeover of the club. Holt, who owns What More UK, attained a majority share of 75% in Accrington Stanley, in return for clearing the club’s £1.2m debt.
2017/18 – A historic season for Stanley as they won promotion to League One for the first time.