We are the London Branch of the Carlisle United Supporters’ Club
We have co-ordinated the needs of exiled Blues since 1974, making us the oldest established Carlisle United Supporters’ Club. Our Branch was formed in and is run from London, and we have expanded over the years to cover exiled Blues all over the UK, France, Eire, Netherlands, Korea, Australia, Japan and even in Carlisle! - making up a total membership of over 300, including students and Junior Blues section.
Our Mission is to......
- Provide exiled supporters with a sense of belonging to Carlisle United in a way that makes them feel included in the club.
- Help members get tickets to all-ticket matches.
- Assist members with travel to important games.
- Provide members with regular information.
- Socialise with fellow supporters and have fun.
- Demonstrate our support for Carlisle United financially and vocally.
The Carlisle United Supporters’ Club London Branch was founded on 16th November 1974 on the evening following our game against QPR when Carlisle were in the First Division of the Football League. Its birthplace was the Finborough Arms in Earls Court, now a trendy bar with a theatre in the room where we first met. The founder was Mike Houghton, a Whitehaven lad, who was sharing a flat with three Geordies in Finborough Road. The three Geordies were all members of the Newcastle United Supporters’ Club London Branch and Mike thought to himself, “If they can do it, so can we!” He placed an advert in the Tottenham v Carlisle Programme and got an overwhelming response. Around 55 people attended that first meeting at the Finborough Arms.
It was at this inaugural meeting that the first committee was formed – Mike Houghton as Chairman, Chris Wilkinson from Barrow as Secretary, Dave Steele (who now has a page in the Carlisle United programme) as Travel Secretary and Malcolm Fawcett as Treasurer. Dave Leigh, a Xerox salesman, joined the committee subsequently in the dual role of Newsletter Editor and Promotions Secretary.
Unfortunately, Dave Steele had to move job to another part of the country and never took up his role and thus began the curse of the Travel Secretary. It seemed as if we had created our own version of the Bermuda Triangle as those appointed to the role seemed to disappear into thin air never to be seen again.
Meetings in the early days were lively and chaotic. They were held every Thursday night with the Newcastle London Branch and this practice continued for several years until the Geordies moved to a pub a little way away from the action of Central London and we decided to break out on our own and meet in Tottenham Court Road. The meetings always ended with a curry, usually at the Sardar, a restaurant that has sadly disappeared. As the club’s fortunes took a turn for the worse the numbers attending the meetings declined and we eventually took the decision to hold meetings only on the third Thursday of each month, a tradition that has survived to the present day.
In 1977 we started another tradition, that of the Summer Trip. We started cautiously with a trip to Brighton that involved a game of soccer on the beach and a lot of beer. The letter B loomed large in the organisation of summer trips – Brighton was followed by Bognor, Bournemouth, Brighton again and then Boulogne – and they all involved Beaches and Beer! The trip to Boulogne in 1983 was our first foray onto foreign soil and has been replicated many times now. Brussels and Barcelona opened up new vistas and new Bs to be visited.
The first Player of the Year Award was presented to Ray Train in 1975 on the eve of United’s Second Division game at Chelsea. The presentation took place at the Hendon Hall Hotel (which England used prior to Wembley matches) and London Branch members mingled with players and the club management. This again started a tradition which now sees a presentation prior to the final game of each season at Brunton Park to the London Branch player of the Year.