1940s Although Kendal United were not formerly founded until July 1945 it’s founder member was active in football prior to this. In 1943 whilst on a night out with friends home on leave from the armed forces, Maurice Braithwaite and his friends started talking about football and one of the group posed the question of where could they get a game of football whilst on leave. The interest level was so high that Maurice decided to follow this up and formed a team for service men to play friendly fixtures whilst home on leave. As the team would involve servicemen from the Army, Navy and Air Force any name should unite them. It was unanimously agreed that the team would be called the ‘United Services Team’.
The team used the changing facilities at the Kendal Lads Club and played their home matches at Jubilee Playing Fields. The venture was highly appreciated by those taking part but ceased in 1945 as the service men returned home from the war and were looking to play for local clubs. Maurice was approached about starting a club of his own in the same year and therefore placed an advert in the Westmoreland Gazette in June of 1945 asking for players and administrators. A meeting was held in the YMCA the very same month which received massive interest. From this meeting a committee was formed. The team was named Kendal United with the United being a tribute to Maurice and his efforts in running the United Services Team from 1943 – 1945.
In August 1945 Kendal United applied and were admitted to the Milnthorpe & District Football League. Along with Holme Athletic, Corinthians “A”, Staveley, IBIS reserves, Langdale, and Grisedale Hall. In their first season they finished a respectful mid table position. They also did very well by reaching the final of the Dallam Cup, unfortunately only to be beaten by a last minute goal by Langdale.
In 1946 the Milnthorpe and District league ceased to be a senior league and restarted the season as a junior league for under 18’s and 15’s only. At Kendal United annual general meeting it was agreed to apply to join the Westmorland Football League which restarted in September 1946. They were accepted along with twelve other clubs. In their first game in the league on September 14th they were beaten by Burneside 17-0. Reports show that only nine players showed up that day. They had to wait until the 5th October to record their first win, 8-1 against Satterthwaite. Once again they finished a respectable mid table.
By this time the club were fortunate to have a strong leadership in Reg Reminington (Chairman) and Maurice Braithwaite (secretary). Also a resolute committee which included Arnold Birkett, Doc Watson, Alan Remington to name but a few. The club were very fortune to have Maurice Braithwaite who became known locally as ‘Mr Football’. Maurice served Kendal United for over forty years and was league secretary for 30 of those.
In the 1980s, the late Alan (Truck) Troughton was involved with the club, providing the after match hospitality and sponsorship, and he played a vital role in many ways helping the club sustain its position. The nineties saw the high point and low point of Kendal United to date. 1994 saw the most successful season ever on the field. In fact the team did a clean sweep of trophies gaining the, Senior Cup, Benevolent Cup, Invitation Trophy and the Junior Cup. All four of the county FA trophies, the only club in the history of the Westmorland County FA to do so. A truly magnificent feat. But sadly by about 1997 the club was struggling, with many of the great side retiring around the same time. There were few players and no feeder system, the dressing rooms were starting to deteriorate and things looked bleak.
Barry Knowles contacted a Tim Pryor who was then manager of a local pub side called IDOLS. Tim agreed to take over the running of Kendal United and bring with him the players from IDOLS. However, in 1999 realising that getting players to commit long term was a major problem due to the nomadic style of players in the area at that time, Tim decided to move away from senior football to create Kendal United Juniors in order to feed the senior side.
2000s Unfortunately those left to run the senior side either found it too difficult or wanted to run things differently, so a number left to form Kendal Celtic and by 2000 Kendal United Senior team folded. However, Kendal United did enter an under 10s mini soccer team into the Kent Valley Junior Football League. It was a very difficult season and a limited start due to foot and mouth disease in the area as well as petrol strikes, which meant petrol shortages and as a result of these two issues, the season was cut short.
By 2001, Tim was joined by Sue and Ian Postlethwaite and shortly after Sean Cafferty, all like-minded people and the momentum was building with regard to the junior club. Kendal United were reborn and the club colours of yellow, Blue and white were used to brand the new look Kendal United.
They set out initial aims and objectives as well as a Development Plan. From this moment the Club went from strength to strength. In 2001 the club patched up the dressing rooms, wrote its constitution, and replaced its rusty goals with new modern ones. They entered two eleven a side youth teams and two mini soccer teams into the KVJFL. In 2003 with junior membership growing all the time the club still managed to create a mini soccer pitch, replace the perimeter fence, buy safe mini soccer goals and enter four mini soccer and two youth teams into the KVJFL
In 2004 the club started working towards gaining the FA Charter Standard Status. A new Development Plan was written as well as the clubs policies, processes and procedures. Membership continued to grow. 2005 was a significant year as the club was awarded the FA Charter Standard Development Club award. Senior football returned to Kendal United and signs that the club’s ethos of promoting ‘Health, Team Working, Respect and Loyalty, within the young through Football’ was starting to pay off.
2009 was a big year for the club with the opening of the new £370K clubhouse and the awarding of the FA Charter Standard Development Club of the year. The new purpose-built changing facilities replaced a dilapidated shed first built in the 1960s, which was demolished. In 2010 The Club were again awarded the Development Club of the year and status was upgraded to an FA Charter Standard Community Football Club.
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