Founded in 1891 as Stanley Villa (after the Stanley Arms in Accrington), they took the name Accrington Stanley after the collapse of Accrington FC, one of the founding Football League clubs. After playing their first several seasons in the non-League Lancashire Combination, they were eventually elected to the League's Division Three (North) in 1921. They challenged for promotion on several occasions, including two second-place finishes in 1955 and 1958.
When they finally switched divisions, it was in the other direction. Placed in Division Three upon the league's re-organization in 1958, they were relegated to Division Four the following season. That's where they were in February 1962 when club chairman Edwin Slinger disclosed that Stanley were deeply in debt to the tune of £8,000. A subsequent creditors' meeting revealed that the situation was actually much worse, as they owed an additional £40,000.
Seeing no way clear of the financial crisis, Stanley played their last League match on 2 March--a 4-0 loss to Crewe Alexandra--then submitted their letter of resignation to the League office four days later.
The club tried to persevere, returning to the Lancashire Combination, but closed their doors for good in 1966. In 1968, supporters founded a new club under the name Accrington Stanley, who have since risen through the pyramid to their current position in League Two.
(The photograph, credited to Rex Features, shows Ms. Sarah Dewhirst removing the club's washing machine from their Peel Park ground.)