JUST two weeks after the collapse of the 128-year-old Andover FC a new club has been given FA approval and will be competing in the new campaign, beginning on 3 September.

Andover Lions FC emerged out of the extinguished remains of the famous old club which resigned from the Southern League last month and have been accepted into the Hampshire League 2004, four divisions below where the old club were competing. They will play their home games at the Charlton Leisure Centre with their eyes firmly on the Wessex League first division as a top priority.

While it is a humble start, playing the likes of Broughton, Mottisfont and Michelmersh and Timsbury, it does mean there is continuity as the new version will be in red and black stripes and will be known as the Lions.

With the original club not having been officially wound up it could be argued that the Lions are the same club but on a different pitch and with a different name, something which has occurred many times around the non-League world in recent years.

However, one of the criteria by which the new club were given the green light was that no persons associated with Andover FC when they went under were to be connected in any way to Andover Lions.

Club secretary Chris Paris is naturally delighted at the speed things have progressed. He said: “From an initial meeting a couple of weeks ago, we have pulled together a squad of local players, secured FA approval, been accepted into a league and found a new home.

“We are determined to keep the town club going and know we will have to work hard from now on as our first league game is three weeks away.”

Andover Lions are hoping that the new start will bring a healthy crowd to Charlton for the first game, against Southampton-based Infinity FC and they are planning to produce a match day programme and are inviting any former Lions and current town dignitaries to what they hope will be the start of a whole new era in Andover football.

More from Andover Lions in the sports section.