Two Carlisle supporters have their say ahead of their club’s clash with Port Vale this weekend…
The one coup of a signing has been the veteran Clint Hill. He’s made a huge difference to us defensively…
Thanks to REP for asking the questions.
We’ve been contacted by the Walkabout pub in Carlisle which would welcome visiting Vale fans. If you want a map to the pub please click on the link | Map to pub
About the fans
SIMON CLARKSON: I’m a season ticket holder and the Chair of the Carlisle United Supporters Groups. I lived in Surrey for a long time and got heavily involved in the London Supporters Branch. In my time I’ve seen many highs and lows ranging from a last kick goal from a goalkeeper to avoid relegation to actual relegation to the Conference.
JON MCCLOUGHLIN: I’m a long term member of the Carlisle United Supporters Club London Branch. I live in Essex and regularly follow Carlisle United at away matches in the south, east/west and Midlands area, occasionally getting to a few home games per season. As a fan I’ve seen my team relegated a number of times, miss out on promotions to League One and the Championship and witnessed two winning matches at Wembley and a golden goal loss! And actual relegation to the Conference.
How will Carlisle do this season?
SIMON CLARKSON: In contrast to last season, I think we will get stronger as the season goes on with a lot hinging on the outcome of our FA cup run which will boost the budget. Play-offs must be the target but I fear that we may come up just short.
JON MCCLOUGHLIN: I think the season will be very opposite to the previous one where we will build momentum into the second-half of the year and look to put a believable ‘promotion push’ together. Will we do it? I think the play-offs is a reasonable target but the old Carlisle hoodoo of the ‘very nearly men’ may strike again.
What are your thoughts on the manager and his signings?
SIMON CLARKSON: The manager likes to analyse the opposition and nullify their threats. This is sometimes at the cost of being able to play our more attractive side. We’ve been more effective away from home which probably suggests that we have not been as progressive in our play at home as we need to be. We probably lack a genuine danger man. Goals are scored by lots of players. The one coup of a signing has been the veteran Clint Hill. He’s made a huge difference to us defensively.
JON MCCLOUGHLIN: Keith Curle is a thinker – some would say too much thinking at times. We’ve failed to replace Charlie Wyke and we don’t have the young talented back-up support for midfield that we had a few seasons ago with Brad Potts and Kyle Dempsey. Nicky Adams has been a revelation but is now injured and Ritchie Bennett is still making the switch from Conference level to full time League football. Clint Hill has very much galvanised our back four and Danny Grainger is still trying to get back the good form of last season. We have an attacking play – we don’t seem to use it often enough and we don’t kill sides off in winning positions. Miss the play offs and KC will have a lot of explaining to do. We don’t want to continue to be his unfinished business.
Thoughts on the board?
SIMON CLARKSON: As I write this, we as fans have received some in depth communications from the Chief Executive about finances. There’s £2m debt on the books and the current model relies on loans to help out the cash flow. We have an old stadium that requires continual expenditure on repairs. Most fans I speak to would be reluctant to move to a new stadium but increasing numbers are becoming amenable to hearing options.
JON MCCLOUGHLIN: As I go around the grounds I hear many more fans describing their club with no or little money. We are in a cleft stick position – legacy debt and lack of investment through the years has left an aging ground, disgruntled fan base (too many staying away) and expectations of getting into League One as being our ‘Everest’. We need a new board, new investor/owner and the old board and debt paid off and settled.
Can you recommend any blogs or forums?
SIMON CLARKSON: Our messageboard is quite lively at https://www.thecumbrians.net/index.php/cufc-forum
JON MCCLOUGHLIN: Our message board is https://www.thecumbrians.net/index.php/cufc-forum
Any advice for visiting Vale fans?
SIMON CLARKSON: If you’re in the town centre before kick off I’d suggest the Howard Arms for real ale and good value bar meals. On the approach to the ground from town there is the Rugby Club who only do sandwiches and the Bee Hive where you can get bar meals. If approaching from the M6 there are the Toby Cavery and Lakeland Gate which are family orientated and great if you have children. The main free parking is on Warwick Road itself on the approach from the M6. Most of the residential street have parking restrictions.
JON MCCLOUGHLIN: Getting off the train at Carlisle then head straight for the 301 Bar on the station. The Howard Arms is good for real ale and bar meals. Towards the ground from town there is the Rugby Club who only do sandwiches and the nearest to the ground pub is the Bee Hive where real ale & bar meals are served. Other bars include the Kings Head or the Sportsman and two big Weatherspoons on Botchergate near railway station.
A score prediction and attendance?
SIMON CLARKSON: 2-0 to Carlisle with goals from Grainger and Lambe. It’s traditionally a low attendance fixture being before Xmas so it will be around 4000.
JON MCCLOUGHLIN: 1-1 score with James Devitt scoring for CUFC. Just over 4,000 on the attendance.