Tony Elliott and John Cunningham are both understood to have quit the club today as Michael Knighton made his return to Brunton Park in the wake of the controversial sacking of Roddy Collins on Saturday. Billy Barr has been put in charge of the squad for the trip to York tomorrow.

Billy Barr
Youth team coach Barr has been put in temporary charge
The fallout from the shock sacking of Roddy Collins on Saturday was still being felt today as coaches Tony Elliott and John Cunningham quit the club in protest at the controversial Irishman's dismissal.

Youth team coach Billy Barr will take charge of the team for the trip to York City tomorrow night. He becomes the SIXTH man to manage United in the last four seasons after Michael Knighton himself, Nigel Pearson, Martin Wilkinson, Ian Atkins and Collins. A seventh manager, Keith Mincher, quit after just a week in charge of the squad during the 1999 pre-season.

Elliott, who was United's assistant coach and had been at the club since last season, was a player with the Cumbrians between 1993 and 96. Cunningham was Collins's first important signing when he arrived the week after the former Bohs man was appointed boss at the end of July last year. He was formerly coach at Eircom league club Derry City.

Meanwhile, Carlisle United FC tonight issued a joint statement with lawyers acting for Michael Knighton about the state of the stalled takeover by John Courtenay that precipitated Collins's weekend departure. It said:

DESPITE RECENT MISLEADING STATEMENTS TO THE MEDIA ON BEHALF OF JOHN COURTENAY BOTH MICHAEL KNIGHTON AND THE BOARD OF THE FOOTBALL CLUB ARE STILL HOPEFUL OF AN EARLY CONCLUSION TO THE NEGOTIATIONS RELATING TO THE SALE OF THE CLUB TO JOHN COURTENAY. A RESPONSE HAS BEEN AWAITED FROM COURTENAY’S LAWYERS THROUGHOUT THE DAY AS TO WHEN AND WHETHER HE INTENDS TO PROCEED. A MORE DETAILED STATEMENT WILL BE ISSUED AT A PRESS CONFERENCE TO BE CALLED AT 12:30PM TOMORROW AT BRUNTON PARK.

DATED 8TH APRIL 2002

Fans will read into that what they will, but it appears hopes of a swift end to the takoever fiasco are fading. It is not known if Courtenay will attend United's game at York but Michael Knighton was seen at Brunton Park today. Knighton's involvement in the day-to-day running of the club was curtailed in September 2000 when he was banned by the DTI from acting as a director in the UK for five and a half years. His wife Rosemary was also banned, but for a period of just two years.

Courtenay does not appear to be any further forward in his attempts to get a final agreement with Knighton and his lawyers than he was last week. He was flying back from Portugal today after admitting he was "shocked" to hear of Roddy Collins's sacking and vowed to reinstate him if and when he successfully replaces Knighton as the owner.

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