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Club News

📝 New Season, New Team: Carlisle United

6 June 2023

Club News

📝 New Season, New Team: Carlisle United

6 June 2023

Ahead of the new League One season, which kicks off in August, we're taking a look at the seven new teams who feature in the third tier next season.

Today we're finding out more about Carlisle United, who are back in League One after ten years in the fourth tier following their play-off final win over Stockport County at Wembley. 

A Football League outpost, there is only one other EFL club within 90 minutes travel (Preston North End) - Barrow is 33 miles closer but Cumbria's landscape means it takes nearly two hours between the two. It is by far the Grecians longest journey of the season, and no doubt City fans will be praying for a summer or spring fixture at Brunton Park.

A Short History

Carlisle United were born from Shaddongate United in May 1904, when the club's members voted to change the name. The club were elected into the Football League in 1928 at the expense of Durham City, and in 1948 became the first club to appoint the famous Bill Shankly as their manager following his retirement from Preston North End.

Football before the Blues: new book sheds light on Shaddongate United |  News and Star

1962 saw their promotion from the fourth division and they continued on an upward trajectory through the 1960s, establishing themselves as a second division side by 1965. United reached their zenith in thr 70s when they were promoted to the first division for the first time in their history, and also beat AS Roma 3-2 at the Stadio Olimpico in the Anglo-Italian Cup.

Their debut - and only - top tier season ended in relegation, but highlights included a win over Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on the opening day, victories over Arsenal, Spurs and eventual champions Derby. The Cumbrians were relegated again in 1977, but returned to the second tier in 1982. Carlisl achieved their first honour in 13 years with the Division Three title while also reaching the EFL Trophy final. 

GLASS BAR: Official renaming ceremony on Saturday - News - Carlisle United

They fell on hard times in the late 1990s and were languishing perilously close to the drop to non-league for much of the years either side of the new Millenium. Their troubles did allow for one of the most famous final day goals ever however, when goalkeeper Jimmy Glass scored a stoppage time equaliser over Plymouth to keep them in the Football League at the expense of Scarborough.

Relegation to the Conference still looked inevitable for many seasons however and they succumbed in 2004, losing 18 of their first 21 matches to become the first side in English Football league history to play in all five top tiers. It was an instant return to the EFL however with a play-off victory and the side built on the momentum as they steamrollered their way to the top of League Two, clinching the league title and taking them into League One. 


United spent eight years in the third tier before being relegated, before spending a further nine in League Two. They reached the EFL Trophy final twice in 2010, and 2011 - becoming the first team to reach the final of the competition five times. They were beaten by Soythampton under the arch first time round, but lifted the silverware the following year with a 1-0 win over Brentford.

2022/23 saw Carlisle reach the play-offs after a strong season, beating Bradford City over two legs before another Wembley victory against Stockport County.

The Manager

Paul Simpson is in his second spell at Brunton Park, having been in a player-manager role between 2003 and 2006. Despite amassing 40 points from a possible 75 when he took over during the season, he was unable to prevent their relegation to non-league, though he did mastermind their instant return and double promotion to League One.


He left for Preston in 2006, but would return to the side in February 2022, with the side in the relegation zone. He'd turn the clubs fortunes around, leading them to a 20th place finish and the following season would lead them to promotion.

Head to Head

Exeter: 28 wins

Draws: 17

Carlisle: 20 wins

Previous Meeting

0-1 | 09/04/22 | Sky Bet League Two

Padraig Amond's 90th minute winner had us all believing as City took a HUGE step closer to promotion.

Random Fact

Carlisle were the first ever team to lose a major final via the Golden Goal rule. In the Autoglass Windscreens Shield Final (now EFL Trophy) of 1995, Paul Tait scored for Birmingham City in the 103rd minute. The rule was abandoned in 2004.

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