A TRIP to Accrington Stanley evokes memories of our distant past, but also brings the present into sharp focus.

We first faced Stanley in our first season in the Football League, back in 1921, and they remained regular opponents until they dropped out of the Football League in 1966.

The mere mention of their name brings images of the early days of the Football League to the fore, when Lancastrian teams formed the backbone of the competition.

Their collapse would eventually heap humiliation on the pain, as the iconic 1980s milk advert selected them as the apotheosis of old-fashioned failure. We might be used to seeing all and sundry being roasted on social media these days, but back in the day those two Scouse kids necking milk and dispensing barbs was particularly brutal, and has stuck as an unwanted stereotype: “Accrington Stanley, ‘oo are dey?”


In 2023, they find themselves in an anachronistic situation, and their owner Andy Holt has become the flag bearer of the smaller professional teams’ cause.

The clash between our unique ownership model and Holt’s enlightened approach to making the most of a club’s resources is fascinating. Where we have turned celebrity into cash, Holt has battled to ensure money is fairly distributed across the divisions and their member clubs. These approaches might seem at odds with each other, but in fact the values of Rob McElhenney and Ryan Reynolds are very similar to those of Holt.

McElhenney and Reynolds’ celebration of community and working class culture comes from the same place as Holt’s battle to establish his club as the heart of his town.

The difference is one of circumstance: Wrexham’s owners have come from the outside and have been able to draw international attention to our city and our club. Holt can only work with local interest.

It’s tempting to suspect that Holt might view a club like us threatening to leapfrog past Stanley in the pecking order as galling, but instead I’m sure he recognises us as kindred spirits, at least in terms of our intentions.

Holt has announced that he wants to sell his stake in Accrington. If he does, it’ll be a sad day for football. We should relish this opportunity to cross swords with this forthright, brave, sometimes cantankerous, but always noble knight of the game.

Our last match at Accrington, in October 2007, was a rare beam of light in a gloomy season.

We won 2-0 thanks to a brace from Neil Roberts (pictured celebrating above) but such away performances were few and far between that season, as we only won four matches away from The Racecourse, one of which was the dead rubber at Lincoln on the last day of the campaign.

Indeed, it would also prove to be the last win as Wrexham manager for Brian Carey. He’d suffered an horrendous September as we lost six games in a row, our sixth longest run of defeats, and although the success at Accrington looked like it might be the beginning of a recovery, as it was the second Saturday in a row that Wrexham had won, it would be a false dawn.

We lost five of our next six games, and a 4-1 thrashing at Peterborough in which we slumped to embarrassing depths led to Carey’s dismissal.

That win at Accrington at least went some way to making up for the humiliation of our match there the previous season. It was our first clash since they dropped out of the league, and was a complete disaster!

Accrington matched their biggest ever victory over us, on Christmas Day 1931, triumphing 5-0 as Wrexham’s defence crumbled horrendously and an unbeaten start to the season evaporated. Indeed, our season never really recovered from that beating.

In the 1931-2 season we were offered a swift opportunity to gain revenge for that 5-0 drubbing, as we played them at The Racecourse the next day! Somehow we recovered and beat them 2-1!

Having only played Stanley four times since they dropped out of the Football League in 1966, the list of top scorers against them has a vintage feel to it.

Unsurprisingly it’s Tommy Bamford who has scored most past them with 11, followed by Archie Longmuir on nine, Ron Hewitt and Tommy Bannan on six and Ted Regan on four.

Bamford and Longmuir have evenly shared the four hat-tricks we’ve scored past them, Bamford hitting four past Stanley in October 1925 as we thrashed them 6-1.

Bamford’s other hat-trick was the only time a Wrexham player has managed the feat in Accrington, in December 1932, but we still lost out 5-3!