A second club have had withdraw from their league as their landlords speak out on the saga which has left many supporters saddened.
Just hours after Whyteleafe announced that they regrettably leave the Isthmian South Central League, Abingdon Town of the Hellenic League said the same (just a few years after plotting a plan to reach the National League).
Abingdon say that they’ve been unable to negotiate a new lease with Singapore based developers Irama, who also own Brighouse Town’s ground.
It is with deep regret and sadness that we have informed the Hellenic League that Abingdon Town FC will not be playing in next seasons Hellenic League.
The club has been forced to give up its Step 6 status after new owners of Culham Road were unable to negotiate a new lease.
Culham Rd was purchased by Irama at the end of last year after the previous owners wanted to sell. Despite attempts by the Management Committee to discuss a way forward, Singapore Property Development company Irama, made it impossible to move forward, with ridiculous demands.
Despite the lack of income during COVID, Town looked to be progressing over the last year on and of the pitch by correcting the wrongdoing of the last few years. With no funds coming in due to COVID, and unable to negotiate with Irama we had to make the devastating decision.
We would like to thank everyone involved with the club, including the fans, players and wider football family for your support over the years at Abingdon Town.
“We at Irama have the vision to create a safe environment for people of all ages to come and play football.
“Our vision and values are and will continually remain centred around football. We had taken over as the owners of 15 Church Road with the view to have a First Team playing at our ground, which we wanted, and still want to be the Whyteleafe First Team. Upon purchasing the ground, the lease was terminated not by ourselves, but by the trustees of the Football Club.
“We have Vied and have still been actively trying to accommodate the Whyteleafe First Team as we know how much the club means to the fans and the players and we want to ensure that the community that has been built all these years continues to thrive. It is very unfortunate that we are being used as the scapegoat for a club that has in fact been poorly run the last couple of years and exploited by some of the individuals in charge.
“We have taken over the facilities and have spent thousands of pounds on repairing and replacing structures of the club that have been left unfit for use and unsafe for a number of years and we will continue to do so in order to create a safe environment for those using our facilities.
“To corroborate the fact that our vision has remained football and upkeeping a thriving community, everyone else who has been playing at the ground can confirm how accommodating we have been in order to ensure that no one has to change the location as to where they play football. Kinetic Foundation and the numerous Whyteleafe Youth teams in particular, who use the grounds regularly can testify how amenable we have been to ensure that they can continue to play at our grounds currently and going forward into future seasons.
“Our plans are to continually build the community feel at Church Road, host charity related football events and continue to ensure that it is a safe and friendly environment. We guarantee that all grounds that we have purchased will remain 100% recreational, helping communities to have a safe place to go to ayail at all of our facilities.”
Fans reacted with a second club having to withdraw from their league as their landlords speak out…
@AdrianVanAalst: 2 clubs in a day @theabbotts_1870 & @WhyteleafeFC !! Way to go @OfficialIanRush & @iramasports is this your idea of helping grass roots? Might need a re-think?
@leenichols76: Such a shame. Abingdon Town is one of the oldest clubs in the country. Whilst the desire to support youth football is admirable, what is the point if youth players have nowhere to play once they become adults. Really disappointing and a real loss for the town.
@DonnyNo6: @Ian_Rush9 @iramasports WTF! Well done all involved in wiping out more local level footballing history @theabbotts_1870 @WhyteleafeFC
@72jamesk: Awful news how many other grounds do @iramasports own..? @theabbotts_1870 &@WhyteleafeFC are both established non league clubs. What a tragedy for the communites & people involved in the clubs.
@goringunited: Very sorry to hear this and you’ve been a great partner and supporter over the years
@paul__douglass: Very sad news indeed 😥
@LiamDHFC: This is something that @tracey_crouch needs to investigate as part of her report. I have every faith she will make recommendations that will prevent this situation in the future.
@MinihaneTim: Sorry to hear this 💔
@12Kez12: Incredible! Real shame guys
@Cymrugroundhop1: Another Club Gone..How Many MORE ??
@1mikelterry: Has anyone applied to have the ground listed as a community asset? That’d strengthen your bargaining power…
@MattDesay: So sorry to hear this gents such a well run club when we visited with AFC Aldermaston. Two good clubs gone today in the pyramid owned by the same company. Absolute joke and needs looking into!
@neilhamshaw: @FA this is what is happening at grass roots football. I’m sure you’ll make a statement. “Sorry for all associated with these clubs…” Shambles.
@roryobroin: Sad news and sorry to hear. Can’t imagine the club not being there.
@chris_burbidge: Absolutely dreadful news. Such a massive blow to the players, supporters and officials at the club. An appalling act by such a callous landlord. The same landlord has also forced the closure of Whyteleafe FC.
@TrevB58: Well well @WhyteleafeFC there’s a pattern emerging here @iramasports once again if you love grass roots sport, why evict grass roots clubs from the grounds you buy? Anyone with any good press connections like to call out @OfficialIanRush on his hypocrisy? #IanRush #assetstripping
@LancasterIsHome: Interesting that @iramasports buys up land that Abingdon Town, @WhyteleafeFC and @brighousetownfc, with the backing of stars like Ian Rush to ‘develop community sports’, then promptly kicks these clubs off their historic sites. @david_conn
@rosscrosby3: Been around since 1870 and one of the oldest clubs in the country… @FAspokesperson should be ashamed
@richardaoxley: Greed greed greed. What a world. No values anymore
@emmacrellin1: Gutted to read this, used to go to a few games at this ground and my work used to sponsor them. Sad times.
@SH20CPFC: That’s Abingdon and Whyteleafe pulled out of their leagues in the last 24 hours. More must be done to protect clubs and their grounds.
@superwayneday: Big loss for local football
@TPButler10: This is incredibly sad to hear. Enjoyed brilliant times there throughout my childhood and then they gave me a start in men’s football. If anyone is opposing this then let me know, will certainly add my support.
@adamcove06: Shocked and saddened to hear this. I can’t believe this has happened. Grassroots clubs need support more than ever.
@katejonesy: Stuff like this kills football for me
@MatthewDBruce: This is a travesty. Oxfordshire’s oldest club being booted from its home by property speculators
@AshbyCharles: Another 1. Disgrace
@PWK_PTFC: Just had it up to here with reading tweets like this on a weekly basis, come on people SUPPORT YOUR LOCAL TEAM!! #nonleague
@nonleaguenext: Ian Rush always was prolific. Now he’s more prolific at destroying non-league clubs than scoring goals though. Two in a day.
@MarkHeelis: A very sad day for football in Abingdon. Communities need their clubs now more than ever. Hopefully a solution can be found for next season and football can return to Culham Road – a fantastic little ground on the banks of the Thames
@bornatotter: Two non league clubs in one day have now been destroyed by the same bunch of asset stripping bastards. Both in areas of high development value. Both proper grass roots community clubs. That greedy toerag Rush has got some nerve fronting up for these spivs. YNWA indeed.
@theorienthour: Dreadful news. Who could have known a property company buying a football club would be a recipe for disaster.
@Gandermonium: Well, this Irama lot seem to be a right set of cunts. Two clubs in one day hoofed out of their grounds. Fucking parasites.
@HatScarfShirt: Another team losing their home due to faceless property developers. Well, not quite faceless…@Ian_Rush9 fronts them I believe. The destruction of grassroots football by property developers, and people who should know better, is criminal.