Carlisle United Football Club

Carlisle United Football ClubIntroductionEarly Day

A Football Report
Carlisle United Football Club

Carlisle United Football Club


Carlisle United has had a chequered history since it came into being in 1903, including topping the old Division One in 1974 before tumbling back down to Division Four by 1987. The club has been on a roller coaster ride but currently things are looking up for them.

Early Days

Carlisle United was formed in 1903 when two Carlisle-based teams merged, these being Shaddongate United and Carlisle Red Rose. They initially played at Millholm Bank before moving to Devonshire Park and finally settling at their current home, Brunton Park. In 1928, the club was elected to the Football League Third Division North, replacing Durham City, where they won their first game 3-2 against Accrington Stanley. Carlisle United’s proudest moment came as they shocked the footballing world by gaining promotion to the old First Division.

In the 1974-75 season, Alan Ashman’s Carlisle won their first three league fixtures in the old Division One, storming to the top of the league. However, this level of success could not be sustained and they finished the season bottom of the table and were relegated. Over the next 13 years they fell down and down, reaching the Fourth Division in 1987. Even a spell under the management of the great Bill Shankly could not bring success to Carlisle.

The Ups

As already mentioned, a great moment in Carlisle United history was when they topped the First Division in the 1974-75 season, although they did not stay there for very long. It is the highest the club has ever been in English football.

In the 1993-94 season, Carlisle reached the play-offs for promotion to the Second Division after many years of trying, and failing. This was a major achievement for them but unfortunately the end result was not good as they lost out to Wycombe in the semi-finals.

The following season was a massive high for the club as they ended 13 years of hurt by lifting the Division Three title. They also reached the Autoglass Windscreens Trophy final but were beaten with an extra time goal by Birmingham City.

In 1996-97, after relegation back to Division Three, Carlisle’s young players launched a resurgence which not only saw them promoted back to Division Two but also saw them beat Colchester United in the Auto Windscreens Trophy Final.

Not as glamorous as some other highs in the Carlisle United timeline but still an achievement none the less – they were promoted from the Conference via the play-offs at the first time of asking in 2005. Their good form continued and success was to follow again as manager Paul Simpson took them to glory in League Two, also earning promotion to League One (Division Two).

The world of football has not been too kind to Carlisle United and they have not seen much joy when it comes to the football league. However, one moment that will always stick in the mind of every loyal blue is May 8 1999. It was the final game of the season against Plymouth Argyle and Carlisle needed a win to remain in the football league and avoid a slippery descent into Conference football. With ten seconds remaining and the score at 1-1, Carlisle won a corner. Jimmy Glass, the Carlisle ‘keeper on loan from Swindon charged up the field and into the box. When the Argyle ‘keeper parried the ball, Glass was there to belt it home and secure the win United needed. Unfortunately for Carlisle, they would later see Conference football anyway.

The Downs

Carlisle have been down in the lower depths of the football league pyramid for some time, having suffered more than their fair share of bad patches.

In 1987 where they finished second from bottom of the old Fourth Division, being saved from relegation only by another team’s exceptionally poor form. In the 1990-91 season Carlisle’s future looked promising as they climbed the Fourth Division, but an appalling second half of the season led to a finishing place of 20th, costing manager Clive Middlemass his job.

The following season was one of the worst in their history as they finished rock bottom of the Fourth Division, only being saved from relegation by the fact that Aldershot ceased to be a team any longer and no relegation was made that year.

The 1995-96 season was not so kind and Carlisle found themselves relegated from the new Division Two on goal difference just one season after winning promotion to the league.

After a resurgence from Carlisle’s young players in 1996-97, the 1998-99 season could not have gone worse for the club as they finished 23rd and were relegated yet again to Division Three.

In the 2003-04 season, Carlisle had a terrible start to the season and were left with a mountain to climb in the second half. Manager Paul Simpson did manage to get something from his players and claimed 40 points from a possible 75. However, this was not enough and saw Carlisle back out of the Football League.

Player Records

  • Most league goals in a season – 42 Jimmy McConnell (1928-1929)
  • Most league goals in total – 126 Jimmy McConnell (1928-1932)
  • Most league appearances – 466 Alan Ross b. ‘Allan Ross’ (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)

Club History & Stats in brief

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

1939-40 Football League programme abandoned due to outbreak of war

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 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

1989-90 Missed play-off spot on goal difference

1992-93 Division Four re-designated Division Three on formation of F.A. Premier League

1993-94 Not promoted after play-offs

1994-95 Football League Division Three Champions, promoted to Division Two

1996 Relegated to Division Three

1996-97 Promoted to Division Two

1998 Relegated to Division Three

2002-03 Football League Trophy runner-up

2004 Relegated to Conference

2004-05 Promoted to Football League after play-offs

2005-06 Football League Two Champions, promoted to League One. Football League Trophy runner-up

Contact, Ticket and Travel Information

Carlisle United
Brunton Park
Warwick Road

Tel: – 01228 526237
Ticket Office: – 01228 526237
Fax: – 01228 554141
Club Shop: – 01228 554138
Email: –

Getting to the stadium

By road

From the M6, leave the motorway at Junction 43 and take the first exit, follow Warwick Road (A69) until you reach the third set of traffic lights. Here you can turn right and go through the gates behind the CBS stand to enter the car park.

By Rail

Carlisle Citadel Station is served by the West Coast Mainline. The train station is situated in the centre of Carlisle. From the station go straight ahead, cross Botchergate and follow the Crescent until you see the entrance to Warwick Road, next to Bar Suede. The stadium is approximately 15 minutes walk up Warwick Road.