LET'S all pull together to turn things round.

That was the message from Kendal Town chairman George Gudgeon as the relegation threatened club battle to emerge from a crisis which has seen a mass exodus of players.

Speaking exclusively to The Westmorland Gazette, Mr Gudgeon said he was absolutely committed to doing everything in his power to prevent the club slipping into the North West Counties League.

"I can tell you now that I am 100 per cent committed to keeping this club in the Evo-Stik League as is every single person here at Kendal Town," he said.

"Nobody here wants the club to be relegated because everyone in football knows how hard it is to get back up if you go down."

Mr Gudgeon said in no uncertain terms that now was the time to pull together to haul the club out of its current predicament.

And he made a direct appeal for volunteers to help on match days and local businesses to come to the club's aid with sponsorship offers, adding that said skilled tradesmen who could help with ground maintenance would also be welcome.

The Mintcakes have had a torrid time in the Evo-Stik League Division One West this term, and they currently lie second from bottom, four points from safety.

But the crisis deepened last week after the departure of 11 players left them effectively without a first team squad.

Mr Gudgeon told The Gazette that when he took over the club three years ago, Town were in crisis and he said strenuous efforts were made to keep the club financially stable while maintaining their Evo-Stik League status.

He said the playing budget had been maintained up until this season when the club suffered a hammer blow with the cancellation of lucrative pre-season friendlies against Morecambe and Carlisle United due to the drought conditions making the pitch unfit, and this was followed by a further blow with the loss of major sponsorship deals.

As a result, Mr Gudgeon said there was no option but to cut back the playing budget and this was explained to the players and first team manager Dave Foster and his coaching staff at a meeting in November.

However, the club's problems worsened last week with that player exodus, and Foster also left the club after discussing the situation with Mr Gudgeon in a meeting the chairman described as "amicable."

He has now been replaced by former boss Steve Edmondson, and Mr Gudgeon said he would have the full support of everyone at the club as he begins the daunting task of trying to steer the club away from the relegation zone.

The club's recent travails have been played out against the background of a renewed takeover bid by a consortium, which had made two previous attempts to take over the Mintcakes.

The consortium have promised a substantial cash injection and their bid received a boost this week when it was backed by MP Tim Farron.

“The current board work really hard and I cannot criticise their dedication," said the Westmorland and Lonsdale MP, who added that he had met with Mr Gudgeon this week to discuss the situation at the club.

"The consortium’s bid is ambitious and forward looking. And with Kendal facing relegation and humiliation and with just 15 games of the season left, time is of the essence."

However, Mr Gudgeon said he and fellow club officials had studied the proposal in detail and found it "unworkable," and said he was not at present prepared to consider the bid further, though he stressed the club remained open to proposals which could take the club forward.

Despite that, consortium spokesman Michael O'Neill told the club he was meeting fellow consortium members today, Thursday, and was working on a revised proposal.

A spokesman for the Kendal Town Independent Supporters' Club, who have long been a voice for change, said while they appreciated Mr Gudgeon's hard work, they felt it was time for him to step down.

It is understood a protest march set for the club's next home game a week on Saturday, February 16, is still due to go ahead, though prior to this, an open meeting at the stadium with club officials in attendance will take place this Monday, February 11 at 7pm.