RESIDENTS have been left confused after pictures of Darwen's new football ground were published - showing a 30,000-seater stadium in the United States.

The image, described as an "artist's impression of the planned stadium", showed the University of Tulsa American football stadium in Oklahoma.

Darwen FC chairman Ted Ward wants to build a 5,000 capacity stadium, with shops and a hotel, on land at Robin Bank in Darwen.

Bosses at Blackburn with Darwen Council, which owns the site, say they were approached yesterday to buy the land but there were no "firm proposals " at this stage.

For Darwen party leader Tony Melia, who has been involved in the plans, said the image showed "the sort of stadium" the club wanted to build.

And Peter Holland, the editor of newspaper The Darrener, which unveiled the plans, and is based at Darwen FC's Anchor Ground, said the picture would be used on leaflets publicising the stadium plans.

But the decision to use the home of the Tulsa Golden Hurricane team, 4,000 miles from Darwen, to publicise the plans has been criticised.

Labour's shadow regeneration member Andy Kay said: "I would hesitate to say they were lying, but they are certainly being economical with their images.

"There's no chance something like that would fit on Robin Bank.

"An artist's impression should be what is possible on that site.

"I am stumped for words - it's totally misleading."

Tory Alan Cottam, executive member for regeneration, said: "When I saw the picture I thought it was a bit over the top.

"It's a speculative approach and we are considering other plans for the land.

"At this time of year, coming up to elections, you have to take everything with a pinch of salt."

The American stadium, on the famous Route 66, was first built in 1930 when it was known as the Skelly Field stadium.

It was renovated in 2007, with a new press box and 22 executive suites added.

Coun Melia said: "I have been involved from the point of view of asking the questions of the council and suggesting a site.

"The picture is an image of a stadium, and it's the type of design they want to put in Darwen."

Mr Ward refused to speak to the Lancashire Telegraph.

Mr Holland said: "I am not sure where the artist's impressions came from.

"All I can say is that image is going to be used in leaflets and one or two presentations over the coming weeks.

"It will be used until the formal images are ready."

Andrew Lightfoot, deputy chief executive of Blackburn with Darwen council said: "We have today received an expression of interest in land at Robin Bank and await firm proposals.

"Once we have received more information the council will consider its position."