Sport

Accrington Stanley owner Andy Holt accuses Gary Neville of trying to 'steal' EFL spot

Holt got into a heated Twitter exchange with the Salford City co-owner

Accrington Stanley owner Andy Holt has accused Gary Neville of trying to ‘steal’ an English Football League place in a heated row on social media.

The Twitter exchange came after Salford City, who are co-owned by former Manchester United stars including Neville and will play for the first time in the National League this season after securing promotion, signed striker Adam Rooney from Scottish top flight side Aberdeen.

The 30-year-old will reportedly earn £4,000 a week after moving to the non-league club this week for an undisclosed fee.

Holt revealed that Stanley’s entire operating budget for their upcoming League One campaign following their own promotion is just £1.1 million, and called for an ‘absolute cap on squad spending’.

Neville hit back saying the Reds boss wants ‘franchise football’.

He replied: “Steal! I hope it’s yours now! 5 ex players have matched all investment with our co-owner to build a stadium, build a successful team in a city we love and invest in football. We’ve invested millions. You seem to want a franchise league where the established can’t be challenged!”

Holt challenged Neville to reveal Salford’s operating budget.

He said: “What’s you budget Gary? You’re buying your way in, that’s the word on the street. Let’s publish them.”

Neville responded: “We put a lot of money in and aren’t embarrassed about it but you think I’m going to disclose my wages on here? He wants Franchise Football.”

It's not the first time that Holt has caused a stir on Twitter.

Earlier this year he revealed on social media that he occasionally bought his squad bonus burgers at McDonald's after victories.

After questioning the incentive scheme, the EFL told him he was free to continue to treat his players to post-match meals - but only if he does so when they lose as well.

And last year he aimed his ire at Premier League 'largesse' by allowing huge amounts of wealth to accumulate at its top end, following reports that Swedish striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic was paid £350,000 a week by Manchester United.

Holt has been hailed as Stanley's 'saviour' with a belief that football is about community.

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David Lloyd and chairman Andy Holt

In an interview with the Observer in May, David Lloyd said: “He’s like a saint, he’s a flaming saviour! He loves the club.

“He’s a local chap and he’s got a bob or two, and he’s helping out and he is massive on community."