For some reason only they can explain, our relationship with Carlisle United became a wee bit fiery during the 2022-3 season. Something to do with attendances? And our temerity to go to their place and get a draw that, in the long run, helped our promotion bid. Get off the pitch lads, you got what you came for. Anyway, all is not lost judging by the fact they just had to come up with us to League One. Maybe it’s like that scenario from the schoolyard when you throw rocks at the beau you have a crush on.
It had taken Boro’ six years – and two promotions – for us to get back on par with Carlisle United after playoff heartbreak in 2005. After recording a league double over the Cumbrians, their revenge was a dish served at its coldest; winning the 2004-5 Nationwide Conference playoff final. It meant they had come down and gone straight back up to the Football League. In a bizarre twist of fate, our first game back at Brunton Park once we had caught them up ended in the same score… with the same scorer.
The Cumbrians stuck with us too as we both lost the battle for survival at the end of the 2013-4 campaign.
Long before they were standing in the way of our long-held ambition, Carlisle United Football Club were technically formed in 1896 as Shaddongate United. But they decided to change the name to what we know it as now in 1904. For some, that’s where the actual story starts. You’ll have to make up your own mind. Into the Lancashire Combination league they went, enjoying some success in their formative years. Then, in 1910, to the North Eastern League they went.
The Blues’ North Eastern League title success in 1921 was probably their biggest success since forming. But their big break came a few years later; the Football League coming knocking with the offer of a place in Division Three North. There isn’t a huge amount to report after that for a fair while to be honest. In 1958, the reorganisation of the League structure saw them placed in Division Four. Any irritation, though, was short-lived with promotion to Division Three in 1962.
After spending the next few years yo-yoing between Divisions Three and Four, they bucked up their ideas and won the Division Three title in 1965; earning promotion to the second tier. Five years later, they made an appearance in the League Cup semi-finals – if you can believe it. And then, four years later, they gained promotion to the top flight of English football. Yep, up they went to rub shoulders with the big boys.
Why do we know the Blues?
The top flight was a step too far. They came straight back down and, two years later, plunged down again; this time into Division Three. While they did get another appearance back in the second tier in 1982, two successive relegations saw them back in Division Four for the 1987-8 season. In modern times, that campaign would see them out of the League altogether too. If Newport County hadn’t have been so naff, they could have made it three straight relegations.
The early 1990s were kind to the Blues, to be fair. After twice missing out on promotion (goal difference in 1990 and then playoff defeat in 1994), they were back in the third tier in 1995. It kicked off another bit of yo-yoing between the lower two divisions of the League. This ended with relegation in 1998 (having been promoted in 1997). And things were about to get worse.
The Blues really struggled over the next six seasons. With the exception of the 2001-2 season, where they finished a lofty 17th(!), they were always haunted by relegation to the Conference. Let’s face it: it needed a last-minute goal from on loan keeper Jimmy Glass to save them from non-league purgatory in 1999. The great escapes couldn’t continue, however.
How to get to Carlisle United – Travel Information – Distance: 272 miles
It won’t be lost on anyone making this trip that you and your car will become best buds. For Carlisle, we’re taking the shortest route with this guide. For this, head north on the A1(M) and A1 and keep going north until we tell you to stop. Are you at Scotch Corner yet? Right, well, now you can stop. Safely, obvs.
Once at Scotch Corner, leave the A1 after this 200-mile leg and take the A66 towards Penrith. This is the third exit from the roundabout. Bear in mind the Holiday Inn is the second, however, so don’t confuse yourself. From here, it’s a 50-mile straight drive to the M6 on the other side.
Take the M6 north. For the football ground, you need Junction 43. Here, use the first exit at the roundabout for the city centre; following the road through two sets of lights. Carlisle United’s ground will eventually be off to the right of the road.
Home and away fans can use the main car park, which you can access from behind the Pioneer Stand. It costs £3 to use this facility. If the weather is iffy, however, the car park may not be available. The club also says cars can only leave the car park once all fans are clear of the area and any coaches have left too.
Services to: LONDON EUSTON
As you come out of the station, head left until you are on Court Square. From here, head right and cross English Street/Botchergate running perpendicular to the A6 in front of you. Follow the A6 round to the left and then turn right when you reach Nando’s.
Now you’re on Warwick Road. It’s more or less a straight line from here, if you count the kink right after the Catholic church; a 0.8-mile straight line if you’re counting too.
Strictly Necessary Cookies
Strictly Necessary Cookie should be enabled at all times so that we can save your preferences for cookie settings.
If you disable this cookie, we will not be able to save your preferences. This means that every time you visit this website you will need to enable or disable cookies again.