Carlisle United received a series of very special deliveries this week courtesy of club friend and sponsor Eddie Stobart as a fleet of 22 trucks transported pristine new turf, free of charge, to replace the flood-stricken playing surface at Brunton Park.
The Cumbrians, currently chasing a play-off place in League Two, played their last game on their own pitch at the end of November and have since staged ‘home’ fixtures at Deepdale, Ewood Park and Bloomfield Road as they continue to recover from the devastating effects of Storm Desmond.
Carlisle United’s Sales and Marketing Director Phil King said: “We have targeted a return to football in Carlisle for our home game against York City on Saturday 23 January. Key to achieving that target was being able to move a significant amount of turf across the country, from Scunthorpe to Carlisle, within a very tight timescale.
“Eddie Stobart have been absolutely magnificent and have led the way for us, including the handling of the logistics for a complicated haulage task like this to making sure it was dropped off exactly when and where it was needed. For us it has been another example of the generosity and desire to help which has come out of the adversity so many people have faced with the recent flooding events around the country.”
Eddie Stobart Chief Operating Officer, David Pickering, said: “It has been a very tough few weeks for many Cumbrians, and as the county’s only professional football team, Carlisle United is something of a symbol for the region. As a business with its roots in Carlisle, we felt we needed to do something to get the team’s home ground back in action, and to give Cumbrians something to cheer about – hopefully at the next home game.”
About Carlisle United Football Club
In 1905, they joined the Lancashire Combination and four years later moved to Brunton Park. From 1910 they competed in the North Eastern League, winning the title in 1922. In 1928, Carlisle United replaced Durham City in the Football League.
In 1962, Carlisle clinched promotion for the first time in their history. This proved to be a false dawn and twelve months later United returned to Division Four. Early in 1963, Alan Ashman was appointed manager and the following year Carlisle were promoted again. A record 113 goals were scored and with 39, Hugh McIlmoyle became the country’s top scorer.
United were promoted to the First Division (now the Premier League) for the 1974/75 season and this remains as their only ever appearance in the top flight. In the words of Bill Shankly, it was ‘the greatest feat in the history of the game’.
A club steeped in history and drama – none less so than with one of football’s iconic moments when keeper Jimmy Glass scored with the last kick of the season in May 1999 – it spent one season out of the Football League, but won promotion back from the Conference at the first attempt in season 2004/05.