EX-ACCRINGTON and England batsman David Lloyd has pledged to rescue his cash-strapped hometown club.
The Lancashire League strugglers were threatened with liquidation by the end of June due to a £10,000 cash shortfall, but the club's short-term future was secured at this week's extraordinary general meeting.
Lloyd, the best known of four generations of one family to be closely connected with Accrington cricket, has stumped up a sizeable donation - and is now leading the hunt for new investors.
The TV pundit, known as Bumble, has offered to use his profile to help drum up interest from the media and promote the Thorneyholme Road outfit to local businesses.
Most of the club's shortfall was wiped out at Monday's EGM thanks to donations and pledges, the lion's share provided by two major backers, including Lloyd.
Up to 80 people attended, including former Accrington Stanley and Blackburn Rovers footballer David Hargreaves.
And the former England coach has admitted he was shocked when he was told that the playing future of the famous old club, formed in 1846, was in jeopardy.
He told the Observer: "As a founder member of the Lancashire League, they have to play in it. I've helped them out, and I know someone else did substantially.
"It's very significant for the whole area that they survive. They do a fabulous job in the community with the young people.
"My objective would be to talk to the businesses of the area. There must be a benefactor or somebody with a great deal of generosity who can understand what this club does for the community."
Accrington's cash crisis has been attributed by trustees to a combination of factors, including a failure to boost social club revenues despite an extensive refurbishment of the clubhouse 18 months ago, brewery loan repayments and a spate of vandalism.
There has also been a steady decline in the side's on-pitch fortunes over the past two decades, with the side currently rooted to the foot of the Lancashire League.
Their recent local derby with Rishton raised a lowly £71 in gate receipts.
And Lloyd, widely regarded as an innovator within the sport, claims the club must diversify and become more of a sports and social club in order to survive.
He said: "I live miles away now and it came as a shock to me, but quite rightly they picked the phone up and said: 'We're in trouble here - what can you do?'
"In my opinion the club is fine, but very 'tired'. It's not sustainable purely on cricket. You need to have a winter interest to generate your bar profits and takings and put a better basic structure in place.
"The playing facilities are brilliant, but in my opinion it's far too big and needs to diversify as a sports complex.
"It needs to have either rugby on it or soccer to be more of a sports club. They really need to reinvent themselves to make sure of a steady cash flow throughout the business."
Club president Peter Barratt said he was "delighted" with the outcome of the meeting.
He said: "We have had two sizeable donations and two or three others.
"I think it was a tremendous effort by the people of the club and congratulations to them for coming.
"David is suggesting that he fronts the media for Accrington Cricket Club. We feel now that we can get through to the end of the season, which was the main reason for the meeting. If we didn't do anything it would have got desperate."
Mr Barratt added that inquiries were made for the club's facilities to be used for sports such as football, rugby and netball, while Accrington Stanley and the borough council have been contacted about fund-raising opportunities.
For offers of help contact Mr Peter Barratt on 234666.