Taking the Mick - July

Last updated : 18 July 2004 By Mick Mitchell
Mick Mitchell
Mick is working on a new book and wants your help
Nothing against Fred Story and I really do wish the bloke well - but I'm so sad to see the departure of John Courtenay. I think the bloke did a great job at Carlisle United - well I don't think - I know - and without his efforts there would be no CUFC. FACT! Go well John! You'll always be welcome in these parts by true fans of Carlisle United Football Club.

Seems a lot of fans are looking forward to the new season – with good reason – but seeing the name Canvey Island as that first fixture was a bit of a downer wasn’t it.

Make no mistake it will be tough in the Conference and no way will CUFC walk it. Most sides in that league have a mix of players with experience of performing at a higher level, combined with younger lads who have talent – but didn’t have enough of it to make it in the League. And, of course, because we are favourites to win the title – every team we play will up their game and want to beat us.

But of course manager Paul Simpson is well aware of this and will be making plans to deal with whatever the Conference can throw at the Blues.

And the experience of players like Kevin Gray and Andy Preece will be a real boost to United. Preece may be coming towards the end of his playing days but during a long career will have come up against every trick in the book. I wouldn’t fancy marking him next season! Anyway isn’t it bloody brilliant we’ve got Morecambe on Boxing Day!

And it’s great news that most of the fans seem intent on sticking with the club! Even though we did go down in the end last season the support at away games was staggering. Did anyone else feel like me after the Doncaster match. Sad of course, going on bloody heartbroken, but also still with a sense of pride to be a Carlisle United fan. Our supporters at Doncaster on that last day of the season were superb – making more noise than the Division Three champions and their home supporters for the whole 90 minutes. Aye – I was proud to be among you!

But will someone please tell the Evening News that Melvyn Bragg and Hunter Davies are not bothered about CUFC. That last game of the season before Donny the paper once again featured Hunter saying “how sad it would be if United went down” He added he couldn’t make the match due to work already arranged in London! “

You were not alone on that front Mr Davies but let me ask you this? Doncaster apart – how many Carlisle games did you go and watch last season? Cant have been too many with having season tickets for both Arsenal and Spurs. Why do Dalston Road always ask the bloke for a quote? Anyway the paper make themselves look more than daft as every true United fan knows he’s not a true Carlisle fan. But Hunter has a new book out and Im sure it’s a great read but err Paul Gasgoigne (as far as I know) didn’t play for CUFC. I can’t believe the Evening News keep quoting him. But I’m willing to admit I could be wrong - so Hunter if I've got the situation "confused" then I’ll meet you in the Beehive before the Canvey Island game and buy you a pint. Fair enough!

On a different subject I’m now working on a new book on the club. The “Legends” one sold out and there were many kind and moving comments about it. Some of the younger fans did say they would have liked more of our modern players featured in the publication.

So that’s what this one will be about “Modern Day Legends of Carlisle United”. And I’d like your help as to who should be in it. As before the plan is to go for quality rather than quantity (though you’ll be the judge of that) but the idea is to feature one individual who has played in each position for the club. I know only too well you can never please everyone when it comes to who gets to be included so if folks wanna e-mail or write to me, or make their suggestion on the message board then hopefully those players who have proved the most popular can be included. And if you have a question you’d like to ask any player – if it goes in the book then your name will too.

The only two who will deffo feature at the moment are David Reeves and Paul Proudlock so that leaves another nine. Hope to hear from you Blues fans and your help will be appreciated.

Finally I’d like to mention a worthwhile effort - and one which a growing number of folks - feel is very important concerning the City of Carlisle.

We all know the reputation Raffles has had over time but there are a dedicated group of people who are working hard to improve the area, especially as far as the younger residents are concerned.

On Saturday 31st at 7pm the Play Raffles group are putting together an evening of entertainment to raise funds for a new project which is being set up in the Annex building on Raffles Avenue. But there are much bigger and better plans which are hoped to be achieved for the area.

The project will be offering a drop in youth group for 11-18 year-olds and football training plus tennis and basketball. The football coaching will be organised by former Carlisle United goalkeeper Tony Elliott.

Play Raffles staff will run the project with Tony’s help and support, advice and funding from Carlisle City Council and backing from several other local groups. Funding for the project’s staff salaries has been received from the Francis Scott trust.

The problem is the sporting facilities are simply not up to scratch. Some funding has been offered but much, much more is needed to repair the main building. As regards outside facilities the project would like to have an all weather multi-sport surface and a full sized Astroturf pitch.

It won’t be easy – but it CAN be done. There have already been many generous offers of help from local people and firms. So get yourself along on July 31 and along with many activities to enjoy – you will also get the chance to win two signed Premiership shirts and keepers gloves. A signed Lennox Lewis/Frank Bruno t-shirt – some Sky TV goodies. Signed shirts and footballs from Gretna – gift vouchers from the Sands and much more!

It’s a worthwhile cause so try and be there. And if we raise £50 then Tony Elliott has even promised not to sing. Cheap at the price I'd say!

Respect to Blues fans everywhere