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Page last updated at 18:03 GMT, Tuesday, 3 November 2009

Accrington win fight for survival

Accrington Stanley

Accrington have avoided the threat of closure after paying outstanding debts owed to HM Revenue and Customs.

Stanley had been given until Wednesday to pay off a tax bill of £308,000 or risk going out of business.

"It's a tremendous relief for myself and the fans," managing director David O'Neill told BBC Radio Lancashire.

"It's been an absolute nightmare over the last eight weeks. With all the twists and turns along the way there's not a strong enough word for it."

O'Neill has become managing director, relinquishing his role as chairman, with chief executive Rob Heys continuing in his current position.

Ilyas (Khan) and Peter (Marsden) have been fundamental in helping us reach the total

Managing director David O'Neill

Local businessman Ilyas Khan also becomes non-executive chairman, with former vice-chair Peter Marsden returning as president.

"Ilyas and Peter have been fundamental in helping us reach the total," O'Neill continued.

"Without their help it is now clear that we wouldn't have made it and they've been tremendous.

"We'd had various options open to us and without naming names certain people never came to the fore to help us.

"We all realised we needed to speak to each other and the conversations we've had have been excellent.

O'Neill became chairman after replacing previous incumbent Eric Whalley during the summer, and he admitted it is not a role he relished.

"To be honest, everybody who knows me will know I'm not a pretentious guy," said O'Neill.

"I drive up to the club in an old beat-up pickup and when I have to, I'll do anything to help the club.

"The title of chairman is not something I wanted in the first place. It was just handed on a plate from Eric.

"We needed somebody to step into that role but titles aren't me."

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