‘Meeting the opposition’ – Carlisle United F.C
On Tuesday night, Tranmere travel to Cumbria to face Carlisle United. This league encounter will see two promotion hopefuls come head to head, thus it may prove pivotal when looking at the table at the end of the season. With that in mind, I placed questions towards a supporter of the hosts @Ben_Pitkeathly2 to find out about the Brunton Park club’s on and off pitch positions going into the game whilst also getting his pre-match predictions and thoughts.
How long have you been a Carlisle United supporter? How did you first come across the club?
I moved from Aberdeen, Scotland, to Carlisle in 2007 and was taken to my first game not long after by my dad and his friend. At that moment in time, we were pushing for promotion to the Championship.
Football’s full of ups and downs, what are some of your highlights as a fan of the Cumbrians?
Beating Brentford 1-0 in the 2011 Johnstone’s Paint Trophy final has to be the proudest, we were thrashed by Southampton at the same stage the year before. Also, we held Liverpool to a 1-1 draw at Anfield in the League Cup .. we were soon knocked out on penalties. Regardless, that was a proud moment.
Random fact about the club?
Our East Stand runs longer than the actual pitch on one side as we were looking to shift the ground a few yards north, but it was never completed so a section of the stand overlooks the WaterWorks End rather than the pitch. Try not to buy tickets there!
What are your thoughts on the campaign so far? What were your expectations going into the season and what are they now?
Our good form and league position has been a fantastic surprise especially after the disastrous campaign we had last season. Before our long COVID break I probably would’ve said that we’d run away with the league as we looked unstoppable. However, we’ve now lost our intensity so I expect us to reach the play-offs minimum even though we’ll have to play catch up which will pose a question in itself.
Chris Beech has been gaffer since 2019, thoughts on him?
He’s a brilliant manager who speaks with honesty and passion which we’ve not seen for a long time. He has really brought the club and the fans together, everyone is now working in the same direction. His transfer nous and ability to improve players stand out amongst other traits.
What are your thoughts on the owners of the club, who are they?
The three custodians Andrew Jenkins, Steve Pattison and John Nixon with Jenkins as the major shareholder. The United Trust, hold a percentage of the ownership as well, they’re a supporters group. Despite facing a lot of criticism over the years, they’ve been fantastic during the pandemic mainly due to our director of football David Holsworth who has had a very good influence on the club. However, we do owe Phillip Day a considerable fund as he helped us get through a financially difficult spell recently. We are mainly financed by the contractual clauses on Jarrard Branthwaite (on loan at Blackburn from Everton), Dean Henderson (Manchester United) and Sam Cosgrove’s (Birmingham City) moves and performances.
Carlisle will certainly pose a few questions to Tranmere’s back line on Tuesday night, what players should we be looking out for?
Omari Patrick for his searing pace and ability, Josh Kayode’s long throws and physiciallity and Jon Mellish hasn’t scored recently so he’s due to put the ball in the back of the net sooner rather than later.
Although we need to get back on a winning run, we aren’t quite on our best level yet going into this one.
What are your thoughts on Tranmere?
They’re a good club standing against the bigger clubs across the River Mersey. The fans travel in their numbers and make a fantastic atmosphere, it’s admirable really as it would probably be much easier to support a Liverpool or Everton. The Palios’ seem clever and diplomatic, that’s always good for the long term.
There’s normally a boost for a side searching for promotion after they have recruited well in the January transfer window, what are your thoughts on the winter recruitment?
We normally lose our best players during a promotion push so it was nice, this time round, that this didn’t happen. We kept our squad together as well as making three solid additions: Offrande Zanzala, the returning Ethan Walker and Morgan Feeney. Unfortunately, we’ve not been enamoured with the signings as they’ve struggled to make an impact so far. Also, Feeney has a major injury thus he hasn’t been able to play.
- ‘Omari Patrick will be one to watch for his searing pace and great ability’
I would like to thank Ben for his time answering the questions that I placed towards him. This game is one in which both sets of supporters and neutrals should be excited for. I hope that readers enjoyed this Q+A.
Thank you very much for reading,