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.”