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Accrington's high hopes

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With the smallest playing budget in League Two at about £450,000, Accrington Stanley missed out on automatic promotion last season on goal difference.  They then lost in the play off semi-finals to AFC Wimbledon.

Since then a number of star players have left, two to Rangers for just £125,000.   The club reckons that domestic transfers in England would have yielded around £2 million.  It just shows how the odds are stacked against small clubs.

Local businessman Andy Holt took over last year and provided about £2m to sustain the club and £1m for much needed ground and infrastructure improvements.

Long-term manager John Coleman told The Times, 'The takeover has left the club on a really stable financial footing.  In the past there's always been a question of whether you're going to get paid at Accrington.   That's been eradicated now.

Attendances are always a challenge for a club.  The town has a population of 46,000 and my rule of thumb is you need at least 100,000 to sustain a club at the top of the non-league pyramid.   What is more Blackburn is only four miles away and Burnley six miles away.   Admittedly, some Burnley fans have treated Accrington as a second club.

Accrington won their opening home fixture against Doncaster Rovers 3-2 with a stoppage time winner.