AN ABINGDON football club on the brink of collapse two months ago has been saved but organisers are calling on the community to help it thrive again.

Joe Bailey, who took over as chairman of Abingdon Town Football Club at the end of October, warned before Christmas that if the 148-year-old club did not find the money to refurbish its Culham Road kitchens and bar it would be forced to shut by the end of February.

Now, new facilities are being installed at the club and secretary Brian Kirk, who jointly runs Abingdon Town with Mr Bailey and vice chairman Dee Wilkins, revealed the immediate danger of closure had been averted.

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He said: "We are absolutely in a better position now but we really need volunteers to help us rebuild again and move forward."

Mr Kirk, who used to play for the Abbotts in the 1970s, said a fundraising drive had failed to generate the £20,000 needed to refit the kitchens and cover other costs but the club had 'got lucky' and found a good deal on equipment and he had invested his own money to buy the kitchen facilities.

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He said: "There is still a lot of misunderstanding about what has happened with the club that I think impacted the fundraising, but we are trying to make sure people know we are entirely separate from previous issues."

Financial problems at the club reached a critical point following the resignation of previous chairman Jayson Lyon on October 12.

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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'.

When Mr Lyon first took the reins at the club, he had pledged to invest £250,000 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, but no visible changes were ever made to the land.

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Mr Bailey, however, has previously said the new management inherited a litany of problems that had left the historic organisation in danger of folding.

Without Mr Lyon's funding to cover the salary of first team manager Julian McCalmon and top players, the club also lost its first team and had to put together a new side.

A new manager, Gareth Tucker, however, has now been found and Mr Kirk said success by the newly-formed Abingdon Town ladies team, who are currently second in their league and on track to win by the end of the season, as well as the U12s and U13s sides, had helped boost morale in recent weeks.

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He said: "We're on track to have six cup finals at the club this season which, considering what has happened, is a lot better than it could have been.

"Once we have the kitchen and bar open that will really help put us on a sound financial footing again.

"The plan is to spend the next year quietly rebuilding but our ambition is still there, it will just take a bit longer."

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In a Facebook statement on the club's page in November Mr Bailey said the Abbots 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 last year.

Mr Kirk said: "Money would of course still be welcome but what we really need now are volunteers for match days and the backing of the community."

Roles particularly needed include a match physio, social media manager, programme editor, ticket officer, match photographer and match reporter.

Anyone who is interested in helping can get in touch with Mr Kirk by emailing