FARNBOROUGH Town Football Club's failure to settle its business rates bill has left former Rushmoor Mayor David Clifford red faced with embarrassment.

He agreed to support the club's plea for council taxpayers' cash to help improve its Cherrywood Road ground - only to discover that a portion of its rates was still outstanding.

Coun Clifford was given the news after he had been arguing the club's case during a secret session of the council's cabinet.

"I kept my word that I would put their case," he said. "Unfortunately they didn't keep their word by settling the rates bill.

"I was most embarrassed when the news was given to me. They completely undermined my efforts."

Coun Clifford added: "It's frustrating when you try to help people and they don't help themselves."

The cabinet agreed the club would have to meet six conditions before it could receive financial assistance.

These include settlement of the rates bill, production of a full set of accounts and proof that the club has a secure financial future.

If the club satisfies these requirements, then the cabinet will consider giving it £70,000 towards its ground development plans.

This would still leave the club with a shortfall of about £80,000 according to the cabinet report.

The total cost of the work to upgrade the ground to Football League standards, which includes the construction of a new stand, is £680,000.

Farnborough Town anticipates that most of the funding will be provided by the Football Foundation.

The club is at present languishing in the lower reaches of the Conference League, but says it wants to complete the scheme by next April in time for the play-offs.

Peter Gardner, council director of resources, said last Friday that the club owed in the region of £2000 and had agreed to settle the bill by a specified date.

Club director Matthew Mills declined to comment on Monday.