News & Star column 14.01.21

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Blues skipper Nick Anderton and vice-captain Aaron Hayden are there. Club legends Hughie McIlmoyle and Dean Walling are also there – and you can be too.

The joint ‘Face in the Crowd’ initiative at Brunton Park between the club and CUOSC has proved very popular.

So far more than 250 ‘faces’ are on display in the Pioneer Stand with orders coming from as far away as America and New Zealand.

With fans unlikely to be allowed back at games in the foreseeable future it is a great way to show your support for the club.

There’s still a chance to put yourself, loved one, pet or even favourite player in the stands before the next home game against Forest Green on Saturday week. But to be there in spirit you must order by Wednesday, January 20.

The cost is £25 and the profits will go to the club as part of CUOSC’s ‘Carlisle REUnited’ fund-raising efforts. So far £12,972 has been raised.

When fans are allowed back, or the season completed, the cut-outs can be collected or donated to the club. It may be possible to have them signed by a player or to have your photo taken with a player and the cut-out.

To find out more or to place your order go to: www.faceinthecrowd.store

At the same time, it is great to hear bigger and bigger numbers are following the Blues on iFollow – and providing the club with a vital source of revenue.

Pirate streaming remains a problem and, with football facing a very uncertain future, we would appeal to fans to help the Blues and use the official iFollow service only. It cost £10 per game with £8 going to the club.

Supporters will be eagerly awaiting Saturday match at Mansfield having seen our last two fixtures against Leyton Orient and Harrogate postponed.

The floodlight failure at Harrogate was frustrating for everyone leading to the game being called off yet again after United had travelled for the second time in a fortnight.

However, it turned out that was the least of head coach Chris Beech’s problems as it was revealed three of United’s players have tested positive for coronavirus. Defending our position at the top of League Two was always going to be tough but life has just got more difficult.