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Club News

New to Two - Carlisle United

22 June 2014

The first in a series of articles looking at the six “new” sides we’ll be facing again in the 2014/15 season, by Dale Hurman.

Carlisle United returned to the Football League’s basement after eight years in the third tier. They were relegated from League 1 on the final day of last season after being beaten 3-0 by champions Wolverhampton Wanderers at Molineux, finishing in 22nd place in the table.

Battles have played a significant role in the history of the City of Carlisle. The Carvetti tribe of Brythonic Celts were the first recorded inhabitants of the area and it soon became one of the strongest British towns with castles being built before the arrival of the Romans in 73AD. They built a fort where the current Carlisle Castle now stands, which is where the River Caldew meets the Eden.

When Emperor Hadrian arrived in 122AD he built his famous wall with the Scottish border just ten miles north of the city. It is the largest settlement in the county of Cumbria and due to its location has been an important military stronghold. Mary, Queen of Scots was imprisoned in the Castle and it was captured during the Jacobite rising of 1745 by Bonnie Prince Charlie and his army.

It became a centre for textile manufacture during the Industrial Revolution and an important railway town following the arrival of the railways in the 1840s. Today it still plays a significant role with Border TV, BBC Radio Cumbria and the University of Cumbria all based in the City.

Author Hunter Davies was brought up in the city whilst Richard Madeley of Richard and Judy fame spent time working there. Emmerdale actress Roxanne Pallett was born there as was England cricketer Paul Nixon and current Wigan Athletic striker Grant Holt.

Carlisle United was formed in May 1904 during the Annual General Meeting of Shaddongate United F.C. The members voted to change their name and joined the Lancashire Combination the following year before moving to their current ground, Brunton Park, in 1909.

The Cumbrians were elected to the Football League (Division Three North) in 1928, replacing Durham City. They won the old Division Three in 1965 but one of their most memorable achievements was in 1999 when they pulled off a great escape to avoid relegation from the Football League. They needed to beat Plymouth Argyle at home but were drawing 1-1 when loan goalkeeper Jimmy Glass scored the winner following a corner deep into injury-time.

They did eventually lose their Football League status in 2004 but made an immediate return a year later after midfielder Peter Murphy’s header earned them a 1-0 win over Stevenage Borough in the Conference play-off final at the Britannia Stadium, Stoke. They won the League 2 title in 2006 and remained in League 1 until suffering relegation last season.

The first ever meeting between the two sides was an historic and emotional occasion as Wycombe Wanderers played their first ever Football League match back on Saturday 14th August 1993. The excitement that preceded that game is difficult to put into words but close to 2,000 Chairboys and girls made the trip up the M6 to see their heroes in action.

The pace of the game in the opening twenty minutes was certainly an eye-opener and the hosts were soon in front. Three minutes before the break however defender Chris Curran kindly headed into his own net to give the Wanderers their first ever League goal.

Steve Guppy sent the away fans into ecstasy when he bundled the ball home at the far post to put the visitors in front. Sadly there was to be no fairytale with Curran equalising six minutes later to make up for his earlier indiscretion and the game ended all-square at 2-2.

The last meeting between the sides came at Adams Park in April 2012 as Gary Waddock’s side battled against relegation from League 1. Defender Grant Basey put through his own net just past the hour mark before midfielder Stuart Lewis stepped up to smash a right-footed shot past visiting goalkeeper Adam Collin and into the top left-hand corner in injury-time to salvage a 1-1 draw.

Graham Kavanagh was appointed as caretaker manager in September last year, following the sacking of Greg Abbott, and signed a permanent two-year deal following three successive victories. Sadly a spate of injuries to key players meant he had to rely on loanees and youngsters and the side won just one of their last 15 games and his first managerial role ended in an inevitable relegation.

The 40-year-old former Republic of Ireland international enjoyed a successful playing career which has seen him come up against the Wanderers many times, scoring in each of his first three visits to Adams Park with Stoke City before moving to Cardiff City for £1m and scoring the winner again on his return to the Chair Metropolis.

There has been a mass exodus from Brunton Park following relegation, with 18 players having departed so far, including defenders Danny Livesey and Pascal Chimbonda, midfielder Liam Noble and strikers Lee Miller, Nacho Novo and Danny Cadamateri, with the latter having announced his retirement from football.

Kavanagh faces a battle to keep the influential midfield duo of James Berrett and Paul Thirlwell at the club. Both have been offered new deals but are yet to sign on the dotted line. There is some good news with goalkeeper Mark Gillespie having recovered from surgery after damaging a muscle behind his knee back last November.

Winger David Amoo was the club's outstanding performer last time around, finishing as leading goalscorer with 11 goals and he will be important again this season. Defender Danny Grainger and former Hartlepool United midfielder Antony Sweeney are the first of what could be a whole host of new arrivals this summer.

We host the Cumbrians at Adams Park on Saturday 16th August 2014.

We will travel to Brunton Park on Saturday 21st February 2015.

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