THE former owner of Darwen Football Club is backing a new independent supermarket chain.

Ted Ward, who was forced out of the club in 2008 following a court battle, is reported to be behind the Warrington launch of Asco Stores Ltd.

The company said it hoped to open another 11 stores across the North West by next summer.

Mr Ward was taken to court by previous Darwen FC owner Kevin Henry, who won an order banning him from the Anchor Ground.

The club subsequently went out of business after a winding-up order, and now play under the name AFC Darwen.