Accrington Stanley’s unpaid £300,000 tax bill, and the threat of the club being shut down if they fail to pay it, is a sad wake up call for Clarets fans.

Only this summer it was revealed that Burnley had to renegotiate transfer payments throughout last season as we simply couldn’t afford to pay otherwise. Promotion did more than grant us a season in the spotlight, it secured our club’s future for many years to come.

Stanley haven’t been so lucky. But of course it’s nothing new. The current incarnation of the club is its third, and unless the way the club is run is changed in future, and the people of the town get behind the failing team, it too will go under.

There’s no doubt mistakes have been made by those previously in charge. Promotion back to the Football League in 2006 was lauded, and rightly so, as the club dreamed of future success. But their corner of East Lancashire is small, and the town is stuck between Blackburn and Burnley, who of course now both host Premier League teams. In all honesty, it seems unlikely that the town’s people can sustain a Football League club, and in desperation to hold on to their status, they have spent beyond their means.

It used to be no surprise to see Clarets and Rovers fans mixing at Stanley on weekends when their own teams were not playing at home. But the credit crunch, coupled with Stanley asking for £15 admission these days, has meant that this is much less common, thus depriving the club of crucial walk-up fans.

The town has simply not managed to get behind its club in times of need. Stanley have regularly played matches on Friday nights to try and tempt Rovers and Clarets fans back to the Crown Ground, but the efforts have not paid off.

Burnley boss Owen Coyle’s gesture to put out a Burnley team to play Stanley in a friendly at Turf Moor with all proceeds going to the stricken club was admirable, but you can’t help but wonder what happens the next time Stanley are short of a few bob. They cannot keep relying on the fans of other clubs to bail them out of trouble. Stanley host Darlington on Friday night, and it’s crucial that the people of Accrington go along to support their club.

The match itself was a good run-out for our squad players. Young striker Jay Rodriguez reminded Coyle of his talents with a well taken brace, and on-loan winger Fernando Guerrero also scored a good goal from a fine move. Chris Eagles, Richard Eckersley, Brian Easton and Kevin McDonald staked their claims for places in the first XI with solid performances but David Nugent, as expected, looked rusty, missing a handful of chances.

This article was written for Fanzone TimesOnline.

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