Malcolm Fawcett reports on match sponsorship of the Cambridge game and preparations for Cardiff.

Big Ben
The London Branch planned a big day out in Cardiff
Following dour and disappointing displays against Boston, Macclesfield and Cambridge, I’m writing this after what was probably United’s best forty-five minutes of football since the first half at Bournemouth several months ago. Unfortunately at Oxford, just as at Bournemouth we didn’t manage to get that vital goal that might have opened up the floodgates. Despite a couple of open goals and Foran hitting the bar we just couldn’t do enough to punish a typical Ian Atkins side, well-drilled and physical but for all that - mediocre.

The enduring reminder of this game will be birthday boy, Iain Davidson, telling the linesman (referee’s assistant, sorry) to change his watch to British Summer Time, so late were his decisions.

Still, it was a great match for the London Branch, those of us lucky enough to miss the Exeter match had to remember back to last year to find the last game that United lost in the South. You have to remember that Oxford is one of our closest games and a large and noisy contingent turned out to cheer on the Blues.

This follows on after our sponsorship of the Cambridge home game. Over forty London Branch members travelled up to Carlisle to show their support for United. Carlisle United did us proud by laying on a ground tour at short notice, providing an excellent buffet lunch and allowing Ken Hullock’s son to have the day of his life by leading the team onto the pitch as club mascot for the day. Unfortunately the result was not the best, but this is fast becoming par for the course for our sponsored matches. Perhaps we’ll have to think of something else next season….

Should I point out that United have just played Cambridge last week, followed by Oxford this week and that it is the boat race next week? No, I though not…

John Courtenay visited us after the game and stayed to answer questions and chat with members and this was greatly appreciated by all those who had made the long journey. After the match we were then entertained at Dempsey’s in Warwick Road where the London Branch took over the top floor of the restaurant along with friends and family and had a brilliant time before hitting the nightspots. There were a few sore heads and fragile looking faces in the morning.

Thoughts now turn to Cardiff. The London Branch has negotiated an excellent package for its members with coach travel, match tickets together with lunch and celebratory drinks at an exclusive venue. It has been a difficult couple of weeks for the committee coping with problem of getting three hundred people from all over the South of England to Cardiff and back successfully but everything appears to have been settled at last. ‘Hit the Bar!’ and general fanzine printer Paul Hollingshead (who used to play for Cardiff City and still lives in the area) is our guest of honour for the day.

April will be another busy month for us as we clock up the miles until Carlisle reach mathematical safety. Trips to Bury, Torquay (where we hope to be presenting our Player of the Year Award) and Shrewsbury have already been planned. Many members have already made plans to be at the last home game of the season as well… just in case…..

Malcolm Fawcett

Press and Publicity

Carlisle United Supporters’ Club London Branch

Malcolm_Fawcett@bigfoot.com

www.carlislelondonbranch.org