IT will be a special moment for 11-year-old Clitheroe schoolgirl Hannah Holland as she watches her favourite football team play its “game of the season”.
Two years ago the football-mad youngster donated the contents of her piggy bank to Accrington Stanley’s survival fund as the club was facing severe financial problems.
But in a twist of fate, the Reds are now preparing to take on Stevenage in the League Two play-off semi-finals this weekend and Hannah will be proudly supporting them all the way.
Hannah, a pupil at Pendle Primary School, went to watch her first game at Accrington when Eric Whalley opened the games for free.
Mum Katie Blezard explains: “When the tax bill hit, the club was in danger of closing and Hannah was really upset and wanted to help. She donated £8 from her piggy bank and throughout the fund-raising campaign she donated her sweets money and helped in a car boot sale and a walk from Accrington to Rochdale to save the club from closure. She even wrote a letter to the tax man appealing for help.”
In September 2009, at Accrington Stanley’s home game against Darlington, the club showed its appreciation for Hannah’s donation by inviting her and her parents along as VIP guests.
Hannah said: “I support Accrington Stanley because everyone at the club is nice and friendly. We are like a huge family. I love the singing and cheering the Stanley Ultras (fans’ team) do. I really like the boss John Coleman and his assistant, Jimmy Bell, who remained loyal to the club even when it was poor. My favourite player is Andy Procter and I hope he scores on Sunday!”
Stanley will take on Stevenage for a place in the final at Old Trafford, with the first leg away on Sunday before the Crown Ground plays host to the second leg on Friday, May 20th. The winners will face Shrewsbury or Torquay.