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Christmas Miracle Hoped For - 13 December

Abingdon Town football club is hoping for a Christmas miracle after its new chairman revealed it needs £20,000 in the next two months to survive. Writes Erin Lyons in the Abingdon Herald.

Joe Bailey, who took charge of Abingdon Town Football Club at the end of October, said if the 148-year-old club does not find the money to refurbish its Culham Road kitchens and bar it will be shut by February.

He said: "At the moment I am paying for water, electricity and the general upkeep of the club house and grounds, which really adds up each month.If we cannot put the club on a sustainable footing by February then I'm not going to be able to keep funding it."

A fundraising page has now been set up to ask the community for help saving the historic club. The Abbots' ladies team, which was created this year along with a men's reserve side, has also set up its own gofundme web page and so far raised just over £700.

Financial issues at the club reached a critical point following the resignation of previous chairman Jayson Lyon on October 12.The Herald has not been able to contact Mr Lyon but writing in a Facebook post on the club's page he said he was stepping down after 16 months due to 'personal circumstances' and that the Abbots were being left in a 'very strong position'.

There had been substantial investment under Mr Lyon, with £250,000 spent on refurbishing and cleaning the ground as well as replacing one of the walls which runs adjacent to the pitch. Additional land had also been leased for six new pitches to aid Mr Lyon's ambition to see the club climb to the non-league’s top tier.

Mr Bailey, however, said that he – along with club secretary Brian Kirk and vice chairman Dee Wilkins – inherited a litany of issues that have left the club on the brink of collapse. Without Mr Lyon's funding to cover the salary of first team manager Julian McCalmon and top players, the club lost its first team and has had to put together a new side in recent weeks.

He added the club had 'negligible financial resources' with cash 'desperately needed' for referees fees, training, ground care, and for improvements to facilities – which were given a one-star rating by the district council's food hygiene team earlier this year. Abingdon Town, which currently plays in the Uhlsport Hellenic League Division 1 East, also has to pay off FA fines due to unplayed games and existing fouls from before the current management team took over.

The additional pitches have also been out of use due to non-payment of rent. Speaking about the importance of revamping the kitchens and bar, Mr Bailey said: "This is one of the club's single biggest earners. Proceeds enable the club to open its doors; it also complements player subscriptions so we can increase team numbers, lower costs to players, and improve facilities."

The chairman said the Culham Road club also needed new toilets throughout the building, and a new coat of paint through the bar areas, saying: "Ideally it needs £40,000 but with £20,000 we can make it work."

He added: "We have been blessed with the free help of carpenters, plumbers, electricians, builders, tilers, players and parents. While we have been pledged free toilets, paint, and wood, ultimately we need money."

Mr Bailey, who owns his own building business, said: "Once we get our club house and kitchen open, we will be able to re-rent our back training pitches."

 

Abingdon Town Chairman - 23 November

The person who has taken on the chairmanship of Abingdon Town has introduced himself on Twitter, an explains the club's current financial predicament.

Good Evening.

I would like to take this opportunity to introduce myself as the New Chairman of Abingdon Town Football Club.

You may have heard of many things happening at the club recently. My apologies for not issuing this statement sooner but urgent priorities both personal and club related have delayed it.

We know many people are eagerly awaiting this statement. Some who, like myself, my amazing team, and our players, are genuinely interested in the club, its future, and what we want to do to get it back on its feet. Some, sadly, who just want to know exactly what has happened and have zero interest in the club. We will not be delving into any rumors, or hearsay because of the latter.

On the 12th October 2018, our previous chairman resigned to focus on his personal life.

As of 29th October 2018, myself and 2 other have taken the club over from the Landlords.

As a consequence, we lost our first team and many other players. Thankfully, we now rebuilt the team and, considering they have only been playing together for 3 weeks, they are doing a great job. I am sure we can finish off this season higher than we ever expected. Our new managers are doing an amazing job and share the same vision as the whole club. We are aiming to get our club up to Conference Level in the next 6 years. Before we can begin this journey, we have a few issues to sort out, which will be explained later.

Our Ladies team are doing phenomenally, currently unbeaten and have not conceded! These ladies all have focus, determination, and drive. My goal for next season is to have more than 1 Ladies/Girls team and to help then as far up the football ladder as possible.

All of our youth teams are doing well. We really have some talented young girls and boys, who, if they keep going as they are, will help us achieve our goal of Conference and beyond.

Sadly, with all the good, there is some bad. Due to the current position of the club, we have negligible financial resources. Funds are desperately needed for referees fees, training, ground care, and for desperate improvements to our facility. We have encountered a lot of FA fines due to unplayed games and some existing fouls from before we took over the club. The reality is, unless we can clear this debt we won't have a club come February 2019.

The club desperately needs a new kitchen as the current one has been deemed unsafe. We have ripped the old one out but need to find £7000 for the lease hire of a new one. This is one of the club's single biggest earners. Proceeds enable the club to open its doors; it also compliments player subscriptions so we can increase team numbers, lower costs to players, and improve facilities. We need new toilets throughout the building, and a new coat of paint through the bar areas.

We have been blessed with the free help of carpenters, plumbers, electricians, builders, tilers, players, and parents! All coming out in huge numbers to help us. But we are struggling, to afford the gear we need. While we have been pledged free toilets, paint, and wood, ultimately we need money.

On the weekend of the 8th and 9th of December, we hope to have a "Clean up Party". If you have driven past our grounds, you will see that they are in a bit of a state and, in places, unsafe for the public. We have already had offers of help but more will be required. Bacon and sausage sandwiches and unlimited tea and coffee are on offer for any helpers!

Our clubhouse is in desperate need of some TLC. Currently, it is not a place you want to go for a drink, let alone eat. We want to renovate and make it more inviting. We want to be able to take party bookings, have live music nights, games nights, and much more. We want the bar to be somewhere you can just come for a coffee and a bite to eat. Where you will feel welcome. With affordable prices on all our drinks, and food, you will be happy to come here for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Our whole club, including our club house, will not only belong to me, the secretary, the players and the parents. It will be everyone's. The whole community is invited to come for drinks and games alike.

Once we open our new kitchen, it will be open 7 days a week, cooking fresh, healthy and good food for everyone. On our match days, we will offer healthy alternatives to players and spectators alike. We will offer breakfast 7 days a week, roasts every Sunday, and seasonal specials.

Every Christmas we will be feeding the elderly and homeless for free. If we could get our kitchen set up in time this year we would do it this Christmas. Again, this club is a community club. So why not open it for everyone?!

Once we get our club house and kitchen open, we will be able to re-rent our back training pitches. Due to non-payment, the landlord of this field has not allowed us use of it these past weeks, except for a single 1 off youth event. We soon hope to be back on these fields. These will be also used for tournaments for all teams, car boot sales, corporate use, and more.

We have a host of sponsorship packages and booking packages where you can hire a DJ, Bubble Football, training boot camp sessions, and much more. We can host corporate days for up to 150 people! We have some amazing banner and team sponsorship packages. There will be something for everyone at Abingdon Town FC.

To achieve our goals and to help us get back on track to where we should be, the club needs to raise the minimum of £20,000 as soon as possible. The allocation of this money will be transparent to everyone. No single person will control any of the money. With our new open doors policy, everything will be open to suggestions and viewings.

In the comments of this post there will be a link to a crowd funding website. We are grateful to anyone who can help us out.

https://www.gofundme.com/abingdon-town-football-club

I would like to thank you for your future help and support for the next year.

If anyone would ever like to talk, please don't hesitate to come into the club or send us a message on Facebook. Everyone here will be happy to answer any questions you have.

With thanks on behalf of all of our teams, players, managers, volunteers, and myself. Thank you for reading.

Joe Bailey 
Chairman of Abingdon Town Football Club

 

Abingdon Town Withdraw Second Team - 20 November

Abingdon Town FC have advised the Uhlsport Hellenic League the club are unable to continue to field two teams.

Following discussion between League executive committee officers and recently appointed officers of Abingdon Town, the club has advised that the club are unable to continue to field two teams. And as a consequence have withdrawn their second team from Division Two West with immediate effect.

 

brian kirk hellenic leagueHolding Back The Years - 1 November

This morning the webmaster recieved an email from a player who had recently signed Uhlsport Hellenic League registrations forms . . . asking if he knew who the oldest active player was.

Barry Hayles is one of the more mature players on Hellenic forms, but it transpires that Barry is a mere infant in comparison to the person who raised the question.

The person raising the question is one Brian Kirk, referee, club secretary and one time Hellenic committee member. Brian turned out for his club Abingdon Town against Wallingford on Tuesday night. Date of birth on registration form January 26 1955 . . . three months off his 64th birthday.

As you can determine from the image, 'Blonde Bombshell' Brian is obviously a keen on football . . . and of course Oil of Olay's anti-aging skin care products, including face treatments, cleansers & moisturisers!

 

 

julian mccalmon hellenic footballMcCalmon Returns To Kidlington - 17 October

Julian McCalmon is back at the helm at Evo-Stik Southern League Kidlington after resigning his post at Abingdon Town.

On Monday Kidlington FC accepted the resignation of 1st Team Manager Ady Fuller after a frustrating start to the season. The team recorded just one victory in their opening eight league games and defeat in both opening games in the FA Cup and FA Trophy.

Fullers appointment was never allowed to flourish and an early set back saw newly appointed Director of Football Andy Sinnott resign before a ball was kicked. Faced with a mass exodus of last years squad, only goalkeeper Sam Warrell (this seasons captain) and a couple of others remained, results never materialised for him and it was always an up hill task.

The situation demanded instant action and announce they have agreed terms with previous manager McCalmon (pictured) who will take over first team affairs with immediate effect. Elliott Osborne-Rickets has also left Uhlsport Hellenic League One East Abingdon and rejoins Kidlington as his assistant.

Simon Dickens commented. “Jules returns having achieved mid table finishes in the Southern League with "The Greens" in the previous two seasons and reaching the Oxfordshire Senior Cup Final last season.”

 

Chairman To Step Down - 12 October

Jayson Lyon, chairman of Uhlsport Hellenic League One East Abingdon Town has announced he will be stepping down.

In a written statement Jason said. "With deep regret that I, Jayson Lyon, will be stepping down as Chairman of Abingdon Town Football Club, unfortunately my personal circumstances have changed and I can no longer put the time or energy into the club that I originally wanted to and what it requires to help it progress.

In the last 16 months, we have made huge steps towards something great at the club and I hope that whoever takes over the role can come in and continue to fulfil the dreams I have envisioned for the club.

The club is in a very strong position at all levels and has a good foundation to move forward, both financially and the support it needs.

First Team, Development Teams, Ladies Teams and 8 Youth teams are all successful and going well, lots more room for further development. No matter what; the teams will be able to finish out the season and all provisions will be in place to do so.

I need to spend some more time concentrating on my family and my own career.

We welcome anyone who wishes to step forward to take over the club as chairman and further investment will be needed to take the club to the next level. I will remain available and committed until such time they do not require my assistance."

 

Players & Volunteers Sought - 15 August

Abingdon Town looking for goal keepers at various age groups including the Uhlsport Hellenic League First and Development teams. 

We are also looking for match day volunteers. If you are interested to became involved in the club contact Jason Lyon -Tel: 01235 390028 Email: info@abingdonfc.co.uk

 

Key Signing Before Opening Game - 3 August

tom franklin hellenic football abingdon townAbingdon Town have added more experience to their squad a head of tomorrow’s Uhlsport Hellenic League Division One game against Woodley United we had to squeeze one more last-minute signing, with Oxford United playing away and most clubs not having a fixture for another week or so The AbbottT’s expect a good crowd to its opening game.

Thomas Franklin (pictured) spent pre-season with his former club Evo-Stik Southern League Kidlington and decided that it was time to move on to a new challenge, which came as a shock to The Abbott’s.

Tom is a strong force in defence for any team he has played for, dominating the game and making his presence known, an inspirational player and great motivator on and off the pitch.

Chairman Jayson Lyon said: “Last minute signings like this, just go to show how far the club has come and the influence that Julian has in local football. Former players respect for him is second to none, good footballing players who know how he works will follow him wherever he goes. This signing really does solidify our squad and especially our back line. Tomorrow we face one of our toughest opponents for this season and this signing could not have come at a better time for us.”

Julian McCalmon adds: “After Franks contact us to say he was unattached to a club, I acted very quickly to find out the reasons why, leaders and defenders like Franks don’t become available very often, with work commitments and changes at previous club Franks was after a new challenge one that didn't involve so much time away from family. I am delighted he can see the potential and vision for this club and has come on board”

To commemorate Abingdon’s new era in Division One tomorrow’s game is pay what you wish game, all entry payment’s received will go toward junior football at the club. The café and bar are both open and any sports on TV will be in the bar area.

The first 20 fans get a FREE drink at the bar also, got to be here prior to 14:30pm.

 

Abbot's Setting Out Stall For Season - 2 August

More first team signings, “and we’re not finished yet” say Abingdon Town. With a big announcement being made ahead of Saturdays game, watch this space!

Julian McCalmon is not easing off and continues to put pressure on signing some great players, the team is starting to take shape and in pre-season we have put some tough oppositions through their paces and more than held our own.

Today we have managed to secure Adam Doyle who has previously played for Didcot Town until injury last season.

Julian McCalmon said. “Doyley is a player I've chased as soon as I got the job. He's a player who can control games, he has an amazing range of passing and a work rate which can only help us win games! I'm delighted with all these signings and we are now starting to look a real strong squad”

"We have also added Connor Harris formerly of Wantage Town and Tristan Lawrence of AFC Hinksey, both are talented individuals which add huge value to our squad. Bolstered with some extra youth and development players we are taking good shape."

Jule’s focus ahead of Saturday's first league game against Woodley United, is deciding on who is going to be between the posts, having tried out numerous goalies across the pre-season we are yet to have decided on who our main goalie will be, it is such a tough and important position to fill. With experience from the likes of Milan Barisic, Kieran Beesley and Kane Slaymaker to choose from, no wonder it is a hard decision to make.

So far the squad is:
Elliott Osborne-Ricketts 
Ryan Brooks 
James Organ 
Nick Thorne 
James Keeble 
Callum Tighe 
Jack Lewis 
Josh Tooke
Ross McMahon
Adam Doyle
Connor Harris
Tristan Lawrence

 

nick thorne hellenic football abingdon townThorne In The Abbot's Side - 18 June

Abingdon Town announce Oxford-based winger Nick Thorne will be adding more attacking strength up top to the Division One East club in the coming season.

Thorne (pictured) formerly played in the Evo-Stik Southern League for Didcot Town and Wantage Town. In the Hellenic League he has spent time at Ardley United, Woodstock Town, Carterton, North Leigh. Where he made an impact every time. 

Secretary Brian Kirk commented. "We are hoping to see him make a long-term home and a name for himself at Abingdon Town this season. "

Abbot's chairman Jayson Lyon said. “The management team are getting excited about the talent we have playing together and still due to announce, we are quietly optimistic that this team will be a very successful one. The buzz around the club from parents, supporters and co-workers is amazing and every day is exciting. It makes it all worthwhile seeing people get excited about the same things as you”.

With only nine days until pre-season training starts, Julian McCalmon does not have much time to get his final squad in and preparing them for the first friendly of the season at home to Flackwell Heath on the 7th July.

 

Abingdon Town Target National League With Ambitious Project - 5 June

Abingdon Town are laying the foundations for a bid to climb the football pyramid – and have non-league’s top tier on their radar. The Abbots are eager to bring back the successful days of their past to Culham Road.

Town are building six new pitches at a cost of £112,000 for juniors and will also be running a reserve team next season. They have already sent out a strong message to their Uhlsport Hellenic League Division 1 East rivals by attracting midfielder Elliott Osborne-Ricketts and manager Julian McCalmon from Evo-Stik South League outfit Kidlington.And McCalmon’s coaching staff has been bolstered by two former professional players – ex-Oxford United midfielder Jamie Brooks and Jermaine McSporran, whose long career included six years at Wycombe Wanderers.

It comes two months after the club hit the headlines for the wrong reasons when they lost 17-0 against Abingdon United Development, with just seven of their players left on the pitch at the final whistle. But Town believe they have turned a corner and are ambitiously aiming to be a Vanarama National League side in the future.

Chairman Jayson Lyon, who took over the Abbots last summer, said: "The signings show we mean to put the club back on the map and take Abingdon Town as far as we can. It’s a project and we’re potentially five promotions away from the Conference. With the right foundation and development, we can aspire to be at that level. Why not aim high?”

In 1990, the Abbots were the top non-league team in the county. They held that position until 1995/96, when Oxford City secured back-to-back promotions to climb above them and into the top-flight of the Isthmian League. In their prime, Town were two levels away from the Conference.

There has already been substantial financial investment in the club, with £250,000 spent on refurbishing and cleaning the ground as well as replacing one of the walls which runs adjacent to the pitch.Lyon said: "The money is from myself and my business. Some of it was work done by my company, providing labour and materials.”

The club have secured a lease for the field next to their ground to build six pitches to cater for youth and junior football. Town are confident of them being ready for the new season in September and will also be building extra changing rooms.

It looks a dramatic turnaround from the nature of their heavy defeat in March, but Lyon insists that was not a turning point for the club. He said: "I don’t think it was. The management could see things deteriorating after Christmas. We tried to make changes, we had a three-man management team and dropped it to one. A lot of the changes we made were already in process before Christmas. They were all moving forward, but the 17-0 loss was an eye-opener.”

Jack Johnson @OxMailJackJ

 

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