Skip to main content Skip to site footer

Famous Fans: David Lloyd

20 September 2012

If Sky Sports' cricket commentator David Lloyd had his own way, his beloved Accrington Stanley would be entering the market for an attacking player with bags of pace.

"Usain Bolt says he wants a trial with Manchester United. It's very easy to say that - wouldn't we all! So why doesn't he come and have a trial here instead?"

We interrupt Lloyd packing his bags as he prepares for Sri Lanka, where he's hoping to watch England win in the T20 World Cup.

And while Lloyd's tongue is firmly in his cheek when it comes to casting an eye over Olympic gold medallists, the 65-year-old - who has followed his hometown club since the 50s, represented them as a player in the 60s and now owns shares - is keen to try anything to get more people to watch the npower League 2 promotion-chasers.

"We're buffeted by Burnley and Blackburn Rovers and we're down the road from Manchester City and [Manchester] United. Plus you can go to Liverpool, Everton, Bolton [Wanderers] and Wigan [Athletic] if you want. That's why it's difficult," he explains.

"It's easy for me because Accrington is where I'm from and it's who I support. I don't go to many matches any more because of my job, but if we could just get 2,500 of the 35,000 people in Accrington to come to games we would double our gate.

"We're trying to persuade supporters of other clubs to come and watch us when their own team is away from home, too. If you want to watch a game, come and watch us, we'd love to have you.

"As a shareholder, I have an obligation not only to sponsor matches but to come up with ideas to get more people in. One idea is the 'Stanley Taster', where we give local people the chance to come and watch the team for the first time. The side is well worth watching and we try to promote community."

Community is very much part of the reason why Lloyd has such close ties with the club in the first place. As a youngster, he grew up a stone's throw from the stadium and he took to watching the club at the first opportunity, which at first meant taking a brick to enable him to see over the wall.

"I grew up right next to the ground," he explains. "In fact I went to Peel Park School, generations of my family did, which is right next door. That's why Stanley are my team. And there is no question of ever changing allegiances despite now having moved to Manchester.

"Going back to the 50s, the football and cricket teams were a huge part of the community, a huge part of my life. The players would walk past my house to get to the ground. We'd play right by the ground as well.

"The club always used to produce good players in the 50s and early 60s, lads who lived in the area. Charlie Sneddon played for Stanley and his son now plays for the cricket club. It's all a bit incestuous. But we had George Stewart, Mike Ferguson, who went on to play for Blackburn Rovers, George Hudson, Harvey McCreadie, Ian Gibson - some great players.

"And now, there's a real honesty to Accrington Stanley. You see the lads turning up for training in their Corsas prepared to work hard.

"I remember watching one recent match where our centre-back got absolutely clattered. He didn't complain, he just got up and went back to his position. He didn't need a physio or trainer, no drink, just got on with it... no moaning."

Lloyd is immensely proud of his side, perhaps even more now they're back in The Football League. No surprise then, despite having watched the club for more than 50 years, there is one event that stands alone as highlight.

"Coming back into The League was incredible," he enthuses. "No-one thought it would happen. The previous chairman, Eric Whalley, did a fantastic job - alongside John Coleman - getting the club back into The League.

"The people running the club have always been Stanley through and through and they continue to work their socks off to keep us financially safe and sound."

Manager Coleman has now gone, of course, but Lloyd says new manager Paul Cook and the class of 2012 are doing the club proud.

"I've just been reading through the minutes from the last board meeting and everyone is extremely enthusiastic about what they feel is a classic counter-attacking side. The manager has stamped his way fantastically well.

"We survive with a lot of loan players and Paul has gone for young, hungry players.

"Coleman was fabulous for the club. He challenged himself by going to Rochdale and so you're always looking to see how the new guy will come in, but Paul's been terrific. Everyone at the club is thrilled with him."

Cook has guided his side to a successful start and, at the time of writing, Stanley are in the top seven after three wins and two draws from their first seven games.

Lloyd remains realistic with his expectations, though.

"We always say our aim is to stay in The League. Of course when you have a good start to the season you begin to wonder how far you can go.

"It would be fantastic if we could get a Play-Off place, a marvellous story considering the size of the town and the catchment we've got."

These days Lloyd goes to as many games as his work permits, the commentator dividing his time between watching football and cricket.

This week he flies to Sri Lanka, but he'll be keeping his ear to the ground when it comes to all things Stanley.

"No matter where we are [covering the cricket] we always have wall-to-wall football. I love it. I don't support any of the big clubs but I love watching all the Lancashire sides.

"My team is Accrington, though, and I follow the club website and Twitter. There are always people at the games and they'll soon let you know what the score is via Twitter. There are so many options you can tap into electronically, it's never too far away no matter where you are."

It promises to be a busy winter for Lloyd, who will not only be keeping tabs on Stanley as they enter the festive period, he'll be adding more stamps to his passport as he follows England's cricketers.

After a stay in Sri Lanka, he's off to India until Christmas Eve and then New Zealand in the new year - which is part and parcel of the job.

So, away from football, can England win the T20 World Cup?

"England have a chance," says Lloyd.

"I think there are eight teams with a chance of winning it. India were overwhelming favourites but they've just been beaten by New Zealand, so T20 is all about who performs on the day. Form goes out of the window.

"So many teams have match-winning players; West Indies have Chris Gale, New Zealand have Brendan McCullum, Australia David Border, Virender Sehwag for India while England have Josh Butler, Johnny Bairstow and Craig Kieswetter. They can all give it a good whack."

He may be gallivanting around the globe following cricket, but Lloyd will be hoping his beloved Stanley will be giving npower League 2 a good whack in his absence.

For all the latest news on Accrington Stanley please click here

Advertisement block