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VIDEO: We must fight to preserve precious Football League status – chairman Paul Baker

24 March 2015

Chairman Paul Baker says Cheltenham Town must fight to avoid what he regards as the ‘most stressful’ relegation in football.

With eight matches left to play this season, the 23rd placed Robins face a battle to preserve the Football League status it took them 112 years to achieve.

They won promotion from the Conference in 1999 under Steve Cotterill’s management and have since spent 12 seasons in League Two and four in League One.

“Of all the relegations, the one from this division is probably the most stressful and has the most impact,” Baker said.

“The amount of money you get for being a Football League club is significant and if we were to go down we would have to reassess the entire way the club is run.

“Hopefully we won’t be in that situation and it’s still very much in our hands, so we have to do our best and fight to make sure we pull ourselves out of it.”

Baker admitted mistakes have been made, which the club is now paying the price for, having had three different managers during a turbulent campaign.

“As a board we are doing all we can, but we are picking up the pieces for some poor decisions over the past 18 months,” Baker said.

“The recruitment last summer was poor, it could be argued, and there has obviously been a lot of change since then, but we have a good, positive camp here now.

“In Russell Milton, we have a manager who is popular with fans, players and staff and there are 24 points still to play for.

“We need wins, but we’ve been to the final game of the season before and survived (in League One) and it’s not enjoyable, but we have to deal with it.

“We’ve had plenty of success here and at one stage we were chuffed just to win promotion to the Conference and it can’t always be success after success, so we have to dig in and get the points we need.”

Baker said keeping Cheltenham among the elite 92 clubs in the country has always been challenging and should never be taken for granted.

“We have worked so hard to maintain League football for 16 years and it has been a real battle,” he said.

“Significantly bigger clubs than us have been relegated and we certainly don’t want to be in that category.

“It’s up to the people of the town now if they want a Football League club and if they do they have to come and support us.

“The fans were great on Saturday and they really are in it with us. We just need more to come along and swell the numbers.

“It’s an achievement just to stay in the League and the first target is always 50 points to stay up. 

“Consistently we have punched above our weight and we’ve been incredibly successful, having four seasons in League One and reaching the League Two play-offs twice recently. 

“We just need to get across the line and then there will be an in-depth review.”

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