Accrington Stanley - Who Are They?

Classic TV Advert from 1989

By Mark Nobes

"Accrington Stanley - who are they?" I'm pretty sure that most of you will remember this classic advert by the Milk Marketing Board from 1989. Yes, it really was that long ago, but I can still remember it quite vividly.

The advert was created to encourage children to drink milk. It's not for any particular brand, just milk in general. It features references to the Welsh footballer Ian Rush, who was a famous striker for Liverpool F.C. at the time, and also the football team nobody had heard of, Accrington Stanley F.C. Of course, after the advert aired, they became the club that everyone had heard of! 

So a young Liverpool fan goes to the fridge for a drink, and his friend asks him if he's got any lemonade. It's true to say that milk was probably losing it's popularity as a cold drink, in favour of the more trendy, sugar-laden fizzy pop brands which were also regularly advertised on British TV. The lad's friend seems horrified by the fact that milk is being poured into a glass! "Milk? Ugh!". Personally, I've always preferred a glass of cold milk to fizzy drinks, but I did have friends who wouldn't touch the stuff, so the advert pretty much reflected the attitude of some youngsters back then.

In answer to his friend's disgust, the lad replies "It's what Ian Rush drinks. He said, if I didn't drink lots of milk, when I grow up I'll only be good enough to play for Accrington Stanley". And then comes the classic line, "Accrington Stanley? Who are they?". "Exactly!", replies the lad. Of course, now the lad's friend wants to drink milk, too - "Give me some!".

It's such a classic advert, simple but effective, and they just don't make realistic ads like this anymore. It's so down to earth, and both youngsters and adults could really could truly relate to it. It brings back fond memories of playing football with my mates at the local recreation ground and then inviting them back home for a cold drink to quench our thirst, although I would have been doing this in the 1970s. But even though I was 21 when the ad first aired, it definitely reminded my of my childhood, and it still does, so it is very relevant. 

If only they had continued to make ads like these! Instead, most ads these days are just annoying, out of touch, and try to force their woke agenda on us, and that's a great shame.

This is Ian Rush in 1988. It's a public domain (CC0) image, which means you are free to reuse it.

Accrington Stanley are most definitely a more professional team than they were back in 1989, when they were a non-league club. In 2003, they were promoted to the Football Conference. More recently, the team were in the EFL League One from 2018 to 2022. They are currently in EFL League Two. Their home is the Crown Ground, which has a capacity of 5,450.