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From Bangor to Soest via Peel Park

The life and times of a globetrotting life-long Stanley supporter

Mike Hay, Stanley supporter
The Den, Millwall, 1960

I’m Michael (Mike) Hay, I have been an Accy Stanley fan since 1957, I now live in in Soest, Germany. Here are some of my fond Stanley memories: First of all, we did not have much money and if I wanted to watch Stanley play, I gained admission to Peel Park via the Peel Park school playground and through a hole in the fence! It was always unforgettable standing on the Coppice End terrace.

Second, in August 1960 we (my mother, my brother John and sister Pat) went for the first time to Greenwich, London to visit our grandmother also for the very first time. Just by chance Stanley were playing against Millwall on Monday, August 22nd, 1960, kick-off 7.30 pm and I went to the match. This was a Football League, Division 4 match and the second match of the 1960/61 season. Stanley had just been relegated! The score was 2 – 2.  I have the official original and interesting programme thank eBay, purchased June 2004. Those days the programme only cost 6d (pence).

The return match in Accrington was on August 29th score 3-3.

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Here is some interesting information taken from the Millwall programme:

Accrington Stanley team:
Willie McInnes (goalkeeper) from Scottish junior club Lesmanagow;
George Forester (right-back);
Terry Tighe (right-half joined in 1957 from Dunfermline);
Ian McCrae (centre-half) another  A team product;
Charles Sneddon (left-half) another long-service Red;
Sam Logue (newcomer inside-forward) newcomer;
Bill Smith (player-coach from Blackburn Rovers);
Lawson Bennett (outside-right) second season as a full-time professional;
George Hudson (centre-forward) close-season from neighbours Blackburn Rovers; 
Jack Swindells (inside or centre-forward – signed from Blackburn Rovers was joint top scorer with Terry Tighe);
Jimmy Harrower (left-back);
Willie Devine (outside-left), a new signing from Patrick Thistle. Was previously with Watford who paid a £6,000 fee for him to St. Mirren.
No substitutes!

Third, I can remember playing on the Peel Park pitch for the Accrington junior school football team. 

Fourth, even when Stanley left the Football league, I followed them and I can remember being in Peel Park when in 1964 Captain Jimmy Hinksman was presented with the Lancashire Combination Second Division trophy for winning their league.

Even though I have been living in Germany since 1975, I try to and see at least one match per season, this is a list of matches that I came back to watch:

  • FA Cup Third Round match on 3rd January 2004 against Colchester.
  • National Conference match 1st April 2006 against Gray Athletic
  • Last National Conference match 22ndt April 2006 against Tamworth
  • League Football Returns to Accrington Tuesday 8th August 2006 7:45 pm, Fraser Eagle Stadium

Fifth memory,  Graham Lord broke his leg playing for Stanley on 24th December 1960 in an away match against Bradford Park Avenue (lost 2 -1). My brother John and I visited him in hospital. I visited Graham in August 2006 when I came back to Accrington for the first game in Football League since 1962. The game was on 8th August 2006 against Darlington, Stanley lost 2-0!

More matches:

  • Saturday 17th December 2011 against Torquay
  • Monday 2nd January 2012 against Macclesfield Town
  • Saturday 15th September 2012 away match against Dagenham & Redbridge
  • Saturday 2 May 2014 against AFC Wimbledon
  • Saturday 25th April 2015 against 
  • Saturday 7th May 2016 against Stevenage
  • Saturday 24th September 2016 away match in Colchester
  • Saturday 4th August against Gillingham

Warning:  I MUST come this year (2021)!

I joined the official Accrington Stanley supporters club in 2012 and I am now a “Life Member”. 

I was born in June 1951 in Bangor, Northern Ireland. In 1957 my family moved to England and we finished up in Accrington as my biographical maker worked for the Accrington Observer, sport, I was therefore involved with Accrington Stanley from he age of six.

My mother – Jean Hay, supply teacher in Accrington, also got involved with the club, as well socializing with the “boys” and she sometimes also wrote reports. She says that Stanley’s financial problems way back in 1962 were due to the building of the Burnley Road new stand and the influx of many players from Scotland. 

I left Rhyddings Technical School in August 1967 to join the Army. First, I attended the RAPC (Royal Army Pay Corps) apprentice college in Winchester until August 1969 and I learnt my trade (pay clerk), had more education and stacks of activities to keep us occupied. “Join the Army and see the world” was the slogan when I joined and after leaving the college, I started to see the world. My first posting was to the 1st Battalion Irish Guards in Windsor. We moved to Caterham and then were posted to Hong Kong for 2 years in November 1970. Twelve weeks after I arrived in Hong Kong, I was lucky to go on exercise to New Zealand for seven weeks. I was only 18 years and 8 months old, but I was responsible for 180 officers and soldier’s financial matters in New Zealand. After leaving Hong Kong, via England for a few months the next stop was British Honduras (name changed to Belize when I was there June 1973) for six months. Whilst there, I twice went on holiday to Mexico, first to Merida and the one week in Mexico City.

My next stop or posting was in August 1973 to Soest in Germany and this is where and when I met a German “Fraulein”. In 1974 I was in Londonderry for 4 months. In March 1975 I went to Cyprus for two weeks. Then in April 1975, I got married. In 1976 the next move was to Calgary, Canada for six weeks. Then in September 1976 I was posted to Bielefeld and unfortunately, there were no more moves.

I left the Army in June 1978 and have been living in Soest, Germany since then. Soest many centuries ago used to be the capital of the county of Nordrhein-Westfalen and the one of the Dam Buster’s dams (Moehne sea reservoir) is only 15 minutes from here.

On 1st March 1979 I started office work for a German the Mensing Art Gallery and I still work for them even though I am now retired.

Since my childhood I have been an Accrington Stanley fan. When asked who I support, I always proudly answer, “Accrington Stanley” no matter which country or town that I am in. 

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