A FOOTBALL club is hoping for a Christmas miracle after its new chairman revealed it needs £20,000 in the next two months to survive.

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."

Donate via gofundme.com/abingdon-town-football or to the ladies team at uk.gofundme.com/save-abingdon-town-ladies