The devoted custodian of a vital sporting community asset has launched a desperate appeal in a bid to bring it back to what he believes it should be.

Michael O'Neill, Chairman of Kendal Town Football Club, has launched an appeal in an effort to raise £10,000 for crucial upgrades to the club's Parkside Road Stadium.

Mr O'Neill is one of a group of volunteers that took over the running of the football club 8 weeks ago, and found that drastic action needed to be taken to preserve not only the use of the stadium, but of the club itself:

"Before we arrived, the stadium failed the league's ground grading, and there are 13 points that need to be addressed to even be allowed to compete in this league, and those 13 points are going to cost money.

"We found the club in significant debt, for the most part the debt is to local people - our treasurer has worked tirelessly to set up payment plans with our debtors, and we are chipping away at that debt, which I think is really good.

"The aim is for the club to be eventually debt-free, but that is swallowing up a lot of our income, and a lot of our income is made on matchdays - tickets, food and beverage.

"We're also in a relegation battle, and we can't cut the playing budget again, or we'll have no chance of staying up."

Mr O'Neill stressed that this means that without help to upgrade the stadium, which the club lease through South Lakeland District Council, the club also won't be able to host a number of cup finals in April and May for local children:

"Last year, the Westmorland FA had to make the difficult decision to move the children's cup finals away from Parkside Road, as the stadium wasn't safe - they've been wonderful and given us a deadline to get the stadium ship-shape.

"We're really keen to do this, as I want more community engagement, more people through the door, as ultimately that brings more revenue for the club.

"Basically we've got 3 areas of concern - the debt, the first-team budget and the stadium, and our cashflow only allows us to address two.

"The stadium has major plumbing issues, some of the toilets have been condemned - it's just not in great shape

"We need the community's help, whether it be cash or time - to share this asset with more people from the community, to host more events, and in the long-run to grow this football club."

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