THE owner of Rossendale United’s Dark Lane stadium, which was gutted by a blaze on Sunday night, said he was “sickened” by the fire.

Andrew Connolly, who owned the club before it went bust in June last year, still owns the site.

He said he would now ‘take stock’ before deciding what to do with the rest of the stadium and land, which is in Newchurch.

Police and fire crews are continuing to investigate the blaze and were at the scene yesterday.

Mr Connolly, who owned the club for 14 years, said: “I visited the ground on Monday morning and the stand is completely destroyed.

“I am sickened by what has happened.

“It is incredibly sad and mindless.

“The police and fire service are treating it as a crime scene, so we can’t get access to the ground at the moment.

“I am going to take stock while the investigation is carried out before deciding what to do next.

“I am devastated by it to be honest.

“There are so many great memories of the ground and to see it all come down is just very, very sad.”

Fans of Rossendale United had put the wheels in motion to start a new club, Rossendale FC, and it was hoped that they would begin in August 2012.

A source close to the new club said it was unlikely that it would have returned to the Dark Lane ground any way due to the cost of purchasing the ground, and vandalism that had taken place.

Fire crews were called to the scene just before 5.15pm on Sunday, and found the main stand well alight.

Around 30 firefighters battled the blaze.