RUSHMOOR Council has hit back in a war of words with former Farnborough Football Club boss Graham Westley.

When he quit the club last month, Westley blamed his departure mainly on the council's alleged failure to support his ambitious plans for the club.

But this week Coun. David Clifford, cabinet member for leisure, said: "Nothing could be further from the truth."

He said that during Westley's three years in charge of Farnborough, the council had been extremely supportive.

Rushmoor had allowed the club 50 per cent rates' relief, provided free security and safety advice, resurfaced the club's car park, and agreed in principle to help with work to bring the Cherrywood Road ground up to league standard.

It had also gone out of its way to include a possible new stadium in its development blueprint for surplus army land.

Coun Clifford added that the club paid only "limited rent" on its council-owned ground as most of it is met from a mobile phone mast rental.

"That deal was brokered by the council," he said.

Describing the council's dealings with the club as "constant and reliable", he said their aim was to make sure it was soundly run with benefits for the community.

During 34-year-old Westley's reign as owner and manager, Coun. Clifford said there had been no consistency in his plans for the club.

"There were a lot of dreams and promises on his part, but little of substance," said Coun. Clifford. "We found it very difficult to do business with him."

He hoped that Westley's departure would herald a new and successful era for the Conference club, founded 35 years ago.

In the meantime the council is seeking urgent talks with the club to establish its current financial position.

Westley's company, the Aimita Corporation, is scheduled to sponsor Farnborough until the end of the season.

But there are fears that he may pull the plug now that he has left to manage Conference strugglers Stevenage.

Such a move would deprive the club, which attracts average home gates of less than 1,000, of a vital financial lifeline.