KENDAL’s iconic Mintcakes Football Club have suffered a fourteen-match losing streak since the beginning of 2022 and found themselves relegated in March this year.

The club chairman has spoken about the financial troubles behind the scenes as Kendal Town’s Football club fought to stave on, but unfortunately being unable to secure a win over sixteen matches led to them being relegated.

Chairman Mike O’Neill reflected on the financial situation of the club, compared with rivals, had placed them at a disadvantage.

He said: “Off the pitch we inherited the club and a few difficulties.  

“But we’re really happy to report we have got some great volunteers on the committee who have tided the stadium up, had the grounds upgraded and our finances are improving.

“On the pitch it’s a real struggle. There is no getting away that we were bottom of the table.

“When we inherited the club, we were told there was no debt, but three weeks on we found there to be substantial debt.

“The club was in substantial debt at the time. At the same time our competitors increased their budgets so we had a real battle on our hands.

“We couldn’t owe thousands of pounds and not pay it, while increasing our spending on the team. That would have been really inappropriate at a time where we want to build bridges.”

At the end of the season Kendal Town FC’s most recent game saw them reach 0-0 draw against Widnes. This stood as their sixteenth match in a row that they did not find a win.

Workington AFC’s 2-0 win over Kendal in the Northern Premier League’s West Division, marked the fourteenth loss in a row for the squad, plus their two draws.

Due to several bad defeats, misfortune and the lasting effects of the nearly two-year lockdown, the Kendal football club has seen a downturn in results on the pitch and were hit by relegation on March 20, 2022.

Before the sport was brought to an unexpected end due to the lockdown, Kendal Town had been finding much success on the pitch, with three wins and one draw in their final five matches.

This included a 1-0 victory over Brighouse in the second qualifying round of the FA trophy.

Upon their return on July 21, 2021, the Mintcakes suffered a hard knock after a 6-0 defeat against Carlisle.

From that point the Mintcakes would win only four of their next 32 matches. This included an eleven-game losing streak between August 21 to September 7.

On January 1, Kendal broke a five-game defeat streak with a 1-0 win over Colne. However, their next game against Runcorn Linnets saw them lose by 7-0.

The Westmorland Gazette: GOALS: Average GoalsGOALS: Average Goals

Statistics for the club show they have conceded 75 goals while they are the second lowest scorers in the division with 25.

In the Division One league 2021/22, Kendal Town have played 28 games, winning just three and losing 23. Scoring 25 goals but conceding 75.

In eleven of their games, they were unable to score, six being at home and five being away.

The Westmorland Gazette: DATA: Goals scored againstDATA: Goals scored against

They were able to achieve an average goal scored ratio of 0.89 in their away games, and a 0.93 in their home games.

However, for average goals conceded per match their ratio rose to 2.68 overall, 2.57 at home and 2.79 away.

The Westmorland Gazette: CLUB: Goals scored CLUB: Goals scored

With a long defeat streak and their recent relegation, many questions have been raised as to why the former 2005 best FA cup performers have fallen onto such hard times.

Fans of the club remain hopeful that the fortunes of the team will pass, however a failure to retain players has been a key observation.

Mike Tudor, a fan of Kendal since 1975, has seen the team change and develop over the years and is confident the squad will bounce back, but insists the club should retain its key individuals.

He said: “There have been too many managers and too many good players come and go. They slip through the net instead of keeping them. I’ve certainly seen a lot of good players come through here.

“I say let the team enjoy their football, no matter what else just let them enjoy it. We’re relegated anyway so there’s nothing to worry about in that sense.

“Not scoring has been our downfall, and I think it started when we lost Hugo Rodriquez. He was injured and we never really recovered since he left.

“I do thing the 4-3-2-1 formation should also change. There’s no defence there I don’t think.

“As different players kept coming in, we didn’t see those results coming our way anymore. It needs to be a settled side and we need to rebuild that backbone squad they had.”

Unwavering support from the club’s fans has been a motivational factor for the club, and this has been reflected in their attendance numbers.

The club saw a crowd of 1325 people attend their previous fixture against Workington AFC, and one of their biggest attendances on New Year’s Day of 700 against Colne.

This game was also their first and only win of the season thus far.

Chris Wrigley, a fan of the club for 22 years, had hoped for more from the team but remains positive that in good hands the club can revive its fortunes.

He said: “I’m surprised it has gone this way this year, I was expecting a relative mid table finish after seeing the way we’ve played for the last few years.

“But it’s all gone wrong.

“Everybody has done their best and you can’t fault the players. You can see it in their faces after a defeat, the disappointment. It’s a sign when they come off that you gave it your best but it just doesn’t work out sometimes.

“I’ve lost count of the number of managers coming and going. We were very excited about Warren Beattie taking over but of course he had to step away due to family reasons. Very sad to see him go.

“I go to most matches home and away, and I’m personally positive about the club. It’s in good hands, people are doing the work, they’ve got local initiatives and a committee we’re fully behind.

“We just need to fight back a bit.”

Aside from the rotation of managers and players, the club has suffered like most sports from the after effects of lockdown.

After nearly 750 days of lockdown and most football teams being unable to train effectively during the pandemic, performances have suffered for Kendal Town.

Football leagues across the country have analysed the performance of teams since coming out of lockdown and have overall seen the standard of football remain high.

Mike Snowdon, secretary of the Northern Football League, the second oldest league in the UK, said: "Even at the end of a long, hard season, the standard of football is still excellent.  

“It's the first full season we've had for three years.

"For example, Carlisle City are on a great run of five straight wins and are still in contention for promotion to our first division and could win the second division title - it's down to them and Heaton Stannington as to who wins the division.

"And Penrith picked up some much-needed points in the last couple of weeks.

"Overall, we haven't noticed any particular drop-off in performances or fitness levels in the context of lockdown being lifted.

"Our average attendances - particularly in the first division - are also up compared to last year.

“People are just glad to be able to get to the matches."

Concerns of the lasting effects of lockdown has been echoed by those in the sporting community.

Susie Anton, a well-known personal trainer, and sport coach in the Lake District, believes the restrains placed on individuals hampered their progression in sport.

She said: “A lack of social support, and limited access to workout equipment and space made it difficult to get motivated to exercise during the pandemic and people’s mental health became worse or much worse.

“The biggest declines in physical activity came during COVID-19 pandemic despite people having time on their hands, they were struggling with psychological discomfort due to negative thoughts from the media which sapped away motivation and energy to engage in activities let alone exercise.

“There were many reasons why people exercised less during the lockdowns Lack of motivation was a barrier.

“Another major factor was the closure of gyms and other fitness facilities. lack of access to gyms kept them from working out during the pandemic and a lack of equipment became a barrier for people.

“Beyond practical barriers, there were also emotional hurdles that impacted exercise motivation for people during the pandemic, increased anxiety was an obstacle to physical activity, and lack of support as an exercise barrier.

“As much as we know about the positive side of physical activity and exercise, a person dealing with depression and anxiety can struggle to engage in activities because of low energy and lack of motivation,

“They are fairly common symptoms.

“People tend to give up on things that are not absolutely necessary for living, and, unfortunately, exercise is one of those things. It soon becomes a vicious cycle because less activity further decreases your energy level which in turn makes you even less likely to be physically active.”

Rebecca Shuttleworth, a trainer from Barrow who specialises in a variety of sporting activities, said: “When it comes to team sports lockdown has taken its toll.

“Re-learning to work together and in close contact after a time when we were forced to stay apart is difficult.

“Whilst exercise was still possible during lockdown, it was very much on an individual level so it’s not surprising that teams might struggle to fit together after such a long time apart.”

Returning to the fortunes of Kendal Town FC’s past five games have seen them defeated by Market Drayton Town by 2-1, Ramsbottom United by 2-0, a draw against 1874 Northwich with 0-0, another loss to Workington AFC 2-0 and a second draw against Widnes 0-0.

Despite the situation around the club at the end of the 2022/21 season the team is seeking a new first team manager and making steps to repair their financial ahead of the 22/23 season.