COUNCIL bosses pledged to support Accrington Stanley however they could in the wake of social media criticism.

Club owner Andy Holt responded on Twitter to criticism of the town and council and called on people to support ambitions to grow the borough and the football club.

Speaking at a local authority cabinet meeting, council leader Cllr Miles Parkinson pledged to continue to back the club despite negative comments.

He said: "The council will work with Accrington Stanley Football Club to try and give the club what it needs within the borough.

"I know just what an important part the club plays within the community here.

"It has been taken forward and it is helping to lift the area.

"We will do whatever we can to try and facilitate what the club needs to continue to grow."

In December 2017, the council gave planning permission for a controversial sports hub on Higham Playing Fields planning permission but now it requires approval by the Fields in Trust, formerly the National Playing Fields Association, which ensures public sites for sports and recreation are preserved for local communities. It has powers to block or amend schemes.

Readstone Construction has been appointed by Accrington Stanley Community Trust to carry out the project, with enabling works set to begin at the end of March.

Full construction is scheduled to begin in mid April and is expected to take 32 weeks to complete.

The scheme would feature a new multi-use community building, fencing and lighting, a 75 space car park, and the creation of 3G pitches.

Stanley owner Andy Holt said: The council are working hard to give the town a lift. They’re aware that currently when an option presents, people leave town.

"Population falls, retailers, pubs, clubs lose footfall and follow them.

"If folk opened their eyes and minds a for a minute [they could see] the council want to improve the town centre, improve the housing stock, improve the manufacturing base, improve quality of their offer, improve footfall.

"Cafes, bars and quality shops will follow. #AmazingAccrington running many events, food festivals, chocolate festivals, beer festivals, soapbox racing, car rallies, on and on it goes.

"Yet they’re constantly criticised.

"Accusations of back handers by small minded people when there is any progress.

"Some would like to see the place rot.

"I know for a fact Hyndburn Council, Graham Jones and Miles Parkinson are pushing for improvements and upgrades.

"A bit of support wouldn’t do them any harm.

"[We] won the Sky Bet League Two title and are in Sky Bet League One now, playing big clubs like Sunderland and Barnsley in the league.

"Thousands are visiting the town spending money that will help keep your shops, pubs, clubs and chippies in good health. Keeping your community town alive.

"A thriving little market town can emerge after years of under investment. At a time of massive cuts by government, Accy is getting investment."