News & Star column 27.08.20

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Blues boss Chris Beech’s message to fans last week was: ‘We are all in it together.’

He was echoing what CUOSC have been saying throughout the summer as football tries to come to grips with coronavirus.

Beech said: “I don’t think the players were connected to the supporters; the supporters weren’t connected to the press who weren’t connected to the players, and that makes things difficult.

“We’ve all got to reconnect and unite. We’re Carlisle United, I’ve been saying that from the day I walked through the door, and I try to do my best with my staff to encourage that growth in them.”

CUOSC launched our own ‘Carlisle REUnited’ campaign in May. It has never been just about raising funds – although we are delighted with the nearly £8000 in the coffers so far.

Part of our aim was to re-focus, re-connect and re-energise fans in these difficult times.

The campaign was backed by a host of former players and we have had fun as well with fans engaging with us in quizzes – with Beech acting as quizmaster in one – and in other online competitions.

 We sense goodwill towards the club and they deserve credit for the way they conducted themselves during the pandemic. The feeling is they are trying to listen and connect with fans.

Chief Executive Nigel Clibbens has earned respect for speaking openly about the club’s predicament and explaining the reasons for decisions in detail. We know he is keen to continue in the same vein.

The fact the club received reservations for nearly 1200 season tickets in the first 48 hours of them being made available speaks volumes and shows just how important the club is to fans.

Obviously, 11 new signings have got supporters buzzing. But it’s more than that. It’s our club and in times of trouble we come together.

 Many fans still want change in the boardroom… and it will happen. The problem of succession of ownership hasn’t gone away. But it’s a problem that should be faced another day – when Covid 19 is behind us.

Beech backed chairman Andrew Jenkins enthusiastically.

He said: “Andrew is a family man and he’s made sure the club has continued through difficult times.

 “To be in the position we’re in when we know supporters aren’t going to be allowed into the stadium, and to see nobody leave or get made redundant, or be asked to take pay cuts and things like that, and to see everybody support each other and dig in together at that point was fantastic.

“A lot of clubs didn’t do that, but we did, and that makes me feel very proud.

“It was actually something I was able to talk to players about when I met them, because it shows them what type of club we are and what we’re trying to become. It all comes from original, simple fundamentals and a sense of family values.”

These are values CUOSC wholeheartedly support. We want a club the community can be proud of.

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