Carlisle United F.C.

Carlisle United F.C.

Football club infobox
clubname = Carlisle United

fullname = Carlisle United Football Club
nickname = "The Cumbrians,
Blue Army,
The Blues"
founded = 1904
ground = Brunton Park Stadium
Warwick Road
Carlisle CA1 1LL
capacity = 16,981
chairman = flagicon|England Andrew Jenkins
mgrtitle = Manager
manager = flagicon|England John Ward
league = League One
season = 2007-08
position = League One, 4th (playoffs)

Carlisle United F.C. are an English football team based in Carlisle, Cumbria, play in the Football League One this season, after gaining promotion from the Football League Two at the end of the 2005-06 season, as champions.


Carlisle United is born

The club was formed on 17th May 1904 at Shaddongate United's Annual General Meeting [] when the club's members voted to change the club's name to Carlisle United. The newly formed club initially played at Milhome Bank and later at Devonshire Park, finally settling at their current home Brunton Park situated on Warwick Road.

There is a myth that still persists to this day that the club was formed from the amalgamation of Shaddongate United and Carlisle Red Rose. Carlisle United actually defeated Carlisle Red Rose 3-0 in the 1905/06 FA Cup. [] .

Rollercoaster ride through the league

Carlisle were elected to the Football League Third Division North in 1928 replacing Durham City. They won their first game in the league, the side of Prout, Coulthard, Cook, Harrison, Ross, Pigg, Agar, Hutchison, McConnell, Ward and Watson beating Accrington Stanley 3-2.

Carlisle were members of the Third Division (North) until 1958, and Fourth Division until they won their first promotion in 1962. They won consecutive promotions in 1964 and 1965, and established themselves as a Second Division side. They were promoted to the First Division for the 1974-75 season. They won their first three fixtures of the campaign to top the table, but finished the season in bottom place and were relegated.

Another relegation followed in 1977 before returning to the Second Division in 1982 under Bob Stokoe. With players like Malcolm Poskett and Tommy Craig, they mounted a promotion challenge in the 1983-84 season but finished 7th after a late slump, and consecutive relegations followed in 1986 and 1987.

ince 1987

1987-88: With Carlisle in the Fourth Division for the first time in nearly a quarter of a century, their form continued to slump. They finished second from bottom in the league, but at least they were never in any real danger of relegation because of Newport County's exceptionally awful form - which saw 19 points separate the two teams.

1988-89: Carlisle's league form took a major boost after three awful seasons and they finished a respectable 12th in the Fourth Division. They reached the FA Cup Third Round, where their run was ended by defending league champions and eventual FA Cup winners Liverpool. 17-year-old defender Steve Harkness was sold to Liverpool at the end of the season. His place in the team was filled by Middlesbrough's Paul Proudlock.

1989-90: Carlisle's good progress continued into the new decade, but their playoff hopes were ended on the final day of the season by a 5-2 demolition at the hands of Maidstone United. This was a disappoining end to an encouraging season during which the Cumbrians had topped the Fourth Division on Christmas day and for a while in January as well, but in the end they only missed out on the playoffs due to inferior goal difference.

1990-91: A promising start to the season suggested that the Cumbrians were finally on their way out of the Fourth Division, but a disastrous second half of the campaign saw them slump to 20th in the final table and cost manager Clive Middlemass his job in March. He was succeeded by Aidan McCaffrey, who was left needing a substantial overhaul to get Carlisle's fortunes back on track.

1991-92: Carlisle endured one of the worst seasons in their history as they finished bottom of the Fourth Division, but were lucky because the demise of Aldershot resulted in no relegation to the Conference taking place that year.

1992-93: Michael Knighton took Carlisle over just before the start of the season, and within weeks had sacked manager Aidan McCaffrey following a terrible start to the new Division Three campaign. David McCreery, 35, was appointed player-manager and steered Carlisle to safety as they finished 18th in the final table.

1993-94: Before the season began, Michael Knighton announced his intention to deliver Premiership football to Carlisle by 2003. He re-organised the management team to appoint Mick Wadsworth as Director of Coaching, while David McCreery was given the role of head coach and 38-year-old goalkeeper Mervyn Day was named as assistant coach. This season was Carlisle's best in years, as the £121,000 record signing of striker David Reeves in October saw them acquire a much-needed prolific goalscorer. They won 10 of their final 14 league games to secure the final playoff place in Division Three, though their promotion dream was ended by Wycombe in the semi-finals.

1994-95: Carlisle finally achieved their first major success in 13 years by lifting the Division Three title. David Reeves scored 25 league goals to help Carlisle achieve their long-awaited success which ended their eight-year ordeal in the league's basement division. They also reached the Autoglass Windscreens Trophy Final but missed out on the trophy after conceding a sudden death extra time goal against Birmingham City.

1995-96: Mick Wadsworth's resignation as manager in December was a major blow to Carlisle, as was the mid-season sale of key players Paul Murray and Tony Gallimore. They finished the season clear of the relegation zone with more goals than 21st-placed York City, who had to replay a game against Brighton which had been cancelled due to crowd trouble. But a 3-1 victory for York sent Carlisle down, just one season after they had won promotion to Division Two.

1996-97: Young players like Rory Delap, Matt Jansen and Lee Peacock were crucial as Carlisle bounced back from relegation to achieve promotion back to Division Two at the first time of asking. The promotion joy was accompanied by a penalty shoot-out triumph over Colchester United in the Auto Windscreens Trophy Final, in which Tony Caig pulled off some impressive goalkeeping heroics.

1997-98: Mervyn Day was sacked just six games into Carlisle's Division Two campaign, and chairman Michael Knighton promptly installed himself as manager. They were still in the relegation zone come Christmas, they did manage to climb clear. But nine defeats from their final 10 games condemned Carlisle to relegation in 23rd place, with 17 goals from striker Ian Stevens not being quite enough to attain survival.

1998-99: Carlisle entered the final game of the season needing to beat Plymouth Argyle at Brunton Park to avoid relegation and possibly extinction, and the score was still 1-1 with 90 minutes showing on the clock. The referee allowed four minutes of stoppage time, and during the final minute Carlisle were awarded a corner. Goalkeeper Jimmy Glass, signed in an emergency loan deal after the transfer deadline, drove home a last-gasp winner which preserved Carlisle's Football League status and sent down Scarborough.

1999-00: Once again, Carlisle narrowly avoided relegation in second from bottom place in Division Three. They lost their final game of the season 1-0 to Brighton, but were kept up by Chester City's defeat at the hands of Peterborough United.

2000-01: Ian Atkins, one of the most successful managers in the lower leagues, was appointed at the Carlisle helm and there was much hope that he could be the man to achieve promotion. But things didn't work out, and they finished 22nd - just one place higher than in the previous two campaigns. Atkins quit at the end of the season and was succeeded by Roddy Collins.

2001-02: After three seasons of close shaves with relegation, Carlisle enjoyed the relative luxury of attaining a safe final position of 17th - which saw them finish 16 points clear of the relegation zone.

2002-03: For the fourth time in five seasons, Carlisle narrowly avoided relegation. This time 22nd place was just one place above the drop zone, as this was the first season in which two clubs were relegated to the Conference instead of just one.

2003-04: The writing was on the wall for Carlisle after they lost 18 of their first 21 Division Three games. Manager Paul Simpson did all he could to salvage something from the next 25 fixtures, but couldn't quite achieve safety - 40 points from a possible 75 were effectively rendered meaningless due to Carlisle's appalling first half of the season. Had they performed as well during the first half of the campaign as they did during the second, then they would have featured in the push for a playoff place.

2004-05: Carlisle returned to the Football League at the first time of asking by winning the Conference National promotion playoffs.

2005-06: Carlisle's excellent form under Paul Simpson continued as they returned to the Football League with a bang, clinching the League Two title. Simpson then departed for local rivals Preston North End, and was succeeded by Neil McDonald.

2006-07: Carlisle become the first visiting team to win a League One match at the Keepmoat Stadium, the new home of Doncaster Rovers after a 2-1 win on February 3. The win was part of a sequence of games in which the club - mired in mid-table - staged a late run for a play-off place, they finally finished the season 8th, their highest league place for 20 years with the added bonus of returning their highest average league crowds for 30 years.

2007-08: Carlisle started the season with a 1-1 draw at newly promoted Walsall, but manager Neil McDonald was sacked on the Monday after the match, this move came as a shock to the Carlisle fans,cite news|title=Carlisle dismiss manager McDonald |url=|publisher=BBC Sport|date=2007-08-13|accessdate=2007-08-13] Greg Abbott took over as caretaker manager with Cheltenham Town manager John Ward taking over on a permanent basis in October 2007, with both clubs agreeing a six figure compensation package and Ward's contract will run for four years. cite news|title=Ward handed Carlisle manager post|url=|publisher=BBC Sport|date=2007-10-03|accessdate=2007-10-03]

Ward took Carlisle to the top of League One on 28 October, and they were still looking likely for automatic promotion at the beginning of April as they occupied second place, but could only manage a draw on the final day of the season and finished fourth. They played against Leeds United in the semi-finals. On 12 May 2007, Carlisle United played Leeds United in the League One Playoff first leg at Elland Road. Carlislie won that match 2-1 with Graham's posterior and Bridge Wilkinson scoring the goals. Dougie Freedman scored a controversial injury time goal (in the 96th minute; only 4 minutes were shown on the fourth official's board) for Leeds to set up an enthralling second leg.

In the corresponding fixture at Brunton, Leeds took an early first half lead through a Jonny Howson goal, and then Howson scored his second with only seconds to spare to put the match at 3-2 on aggregate to Leeds, meaning Carlisle would spend another season in the Third Tier of English football.

2008-09:The season began with the sale of 2 key players for a combined total of £1.5 million. On June 18th, Kieren Westwood left for Coventry City F.C., for an initial £500'000cite news|title=Coventry complete Westwood deal |url=|publisher=BBC Sport|date=2008-06-18|accessdate=2008-09-22] , while Joe Garner left for Nottingham Forest F.C. for £1.14 million, triggering a clause that made Carlisle sell himcite news|title=Forest sign Garner from Carlisle |url=|publisher=BBC Sport|date=2008-07-25|accessdate=2008-09-22] . Fans favourite Michael Bridges returned on a season long loan from Hull. Meanwhile, there was action off the field, as, on the 3rd July, a consortium of local businessmen, led by director and accountant David Allen completed a takeover of the club from Fred Storycite news|title=Carlisle United sold...|url=|publisher=News and Star|date=2008-07-03|accessdate=2008-09-22] . Carlisle's start to the season was one of their best, maintaining an unbeaten run in the league throughout August. However, this was followed by one of the poorest runs in form of recent Carlisle United history. With only one win since August, and a current 6-game losing streak, Carlisle United currently languish mid-table in League One.


Current squad

:"As of 30 August, 2008." cite news
title = 2008/09 SQUAD NUMBERS
url =,,10361~1349909,00.html
publisher = Carlisle United FC
date = 2008-07-23
accessdate = 2008-07-28

Out on loan

Notable former players

"For a complete list of former Carlisle United players with a Wikipedia article, see ."

*flagicon|England Alan Ashman
*flagicon|England Chris Balderstone
*flagicon|England Peter Beardsley
*flagicon|England Paul Boertien
*flagicon|England Stan Bowles
*flagicon|ENGflagicon|USA Gordon Bradley
*flagicon|England Michael Bridges
*flagicon|England Ivor Broadis
*flagicon|England Tony Caig
*flagicon|England Kevin Gray
*flagicon|England Jimmy Glass
*flagicon|England Steve Harkness
*flagicon|England Bob Hatton
*flagicon|England Karl Hawley
*flagicon|England Billy Hogan
*flagicon|England Matt Jansen
*flagicon|England Ian Stevens
*flagicon|England Paul Reid
*flagicon|England Bryan 'Pop' Robson

;Northern Ireland
*flagicon|Northern Ireland Eric Welsh

;Republic of Ireland
*flagicon|Republic of Ireland Rory Delap
*flagicon|Republic of Ireland Alan O'Brien

*flagicon|Scotland John Gorman
*flagicon|Scotland Hughie McIlmoyle
*flagicon|Scotland Alan Ross
*flagicon|Scotland Bill Shankly

*flagicon|Spain Zigor Aranalde

Managerial history


*1905-06 - Joined Lancashire Combination Division Two
*1906-07 - Lancashire Combination Division Two Champions; promoted to Division One
*1907-08 - Lancashire Combination runner-up
*1910-11 - Joined North Eastern League, replacing their reserve XI
*1921-22 - North Eastern League Champions
*1927-28 - North Eastern League runner-up
*1928-29 - Joined Football League Division Three North
*1958-59 - Placed in Division Four on League reorganisation
*1961-62 - Promoted to Division Three
*1963 - Relegated to Division Four
*1963-64 - Football League Division Four runner-up (missed title on goal average); promoted to Division Three
*1964-65 - Football League Division Three Champions; promoted to Division Two
*1969-70 - Football League Cup semi-finalists
*1973-74 - Promoted to Division One
*1975 - FA Cup quarter-finalists
*1975 - Relegated to Division Two
*1977 - Relegated to Division Three (on goal average x2)
*1981-82 - Football League Division Three runner-up (missed title on goal difference); promoted to Division Two
*1986 - Relegated to Division Three
*1987 - Relegated to Division Four
*1992-93 - Division Four re-designated Division Three on formation of F.A. Premiership
*1994-95 - Football League Division Three Champions; promoted to Division Two; Auto Windscreens Shield (renamed The Football League Trophy as of 2002/2003 season) Runner-Up (0-1 against Birmingham City in the first professional competition to be decided by Golden goal).
*1995-96 - Relegated to Division Three
*1996-97 - Promoted to Division Two after finishing in the 3rd automatic promotion position; Auto Windscreens Shield winners (4-3 on penalties after 0-0 draw against Colchester United)
*1998 - Relegated to Division Three
*2002-03 - Football League Trophy runner-up
*2004 - Relegated to Conference
*2005 - Promoted to Football League Two via play-offs- 1-0 against stevenage
*2006 - Promoted to Football League One as League Two Champions; Football League Trophy runner-up
*2006-2007 - Finished in 8th position, in Carlisle United's first appearance in League One since 1997.
*2007-2008 - Finished in 4th position. Lost in the Play-off semi-finals to afc|Leeds United 3-2 on aggregate.
*Best League position: 22nd (bottom) in 1st Division (then level 1) 1974-75
*Best FA Cup performance: quarter-finals, 1974-75
*Best Football League Cup performance: semi-final 1969-70
*Best Football League Trophy performance: Winners 1996-97
*Best FA Trophy performance: 5th round, 2004-05

Source: fchd|id=CARLISLU|name=Carlisle United

Player Records

*Most league goals in a season: Jimmy McConnell, 42, 1928-1929
*Most league goals in total: Jimmy McConnell, 126, 1928-1932
*Most league appearances: Alan Ross b. 'Allan Ross', 466, (1963-1979)
*Most capped player: Eric Welsh, 4 caps, Northern Ireland (1966–1967)
*Record transfer fee: Joe Garner - £140,000 from Blackburn Rovers (August 2007)
*Record sale: Matt Jansen - £2.5 million to Crystal Palace (February 1998)


External links

succession box
before=Rotherham United
title=Football League Trophy Winners
after=Grimsby Town

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