The current club was formed in 1968, two years after the collapse of the original Accrington Stanley founded in 1891. They were promoted to the Football League in 2006, after winning the 2005–06 Football Conference.
Accrington had been without a football team following the collapse of the original Accrington Stanley in 1966. The original team had been formed in 1891 and played in the Football League from 1921 to March 1962, but had spent its final four seasons in the Lancashire Combination. At a meeting at Bold Street Working Men's Club in 1968 the revival was initiated, and in August 1970 the new club played at a new ground, the Crown Ground.Eric Whalley, a local businessman, took control of the club in 1995 and began the development of the club's ground. After the club was relegated in 1999, Whalley appointed John Coleman as manager.
The club's rise to the Football League is attributed in part to the windfall of hundreds of thousands of pounds reaped by the sell-on clause in the December 2001 transfer of former Stanley star Brett Ormerod to Southampton, which paid Blackpool over a million pounds for his contract. Stanley had taken £50,000 from Blackpool in 1997, with the agreement that Blackpool would pay Accrington a quarter of what it might have received if it in turn transferred Ormerod to another team. The 2002–03 championship of the Northern Premier League followed quickly on Accrington's getting the cash.