Carlisle United receive early Christmas present
Carlisle United Football Club received an early Christmas present this week when local businessman Fred Story agreed to write off the existing £1.1 million loan made from Story Homes during his time as owner of the club.
Mr Story was initially invited onto the board of directors at Brunton Park in May 2003, and subsequently bought the club from John Courtenay in the summer of 2004 as he took over to mastermind the return from Football League exile at the first attempt.
He left his role as club owner in July 2008, having overseen the rise to League One, when local businessmen David Allen, Andrew Jenkins, John Nixon and Steven Pattison took control of the helm.
Mr Story said: “I have obviously watched how the club has performed since I moved on and I can see they have hit a rough patch recently, with the relegation from League One and the run of results through the first part of this season.
“I have always said the football club is at the heart of our community and my intention, from the moment I walked into the building in 2003, was to help as much as I could to make it a success.
“At this moment in time I feel the best way I can achieve that is to waive the loan, with no strings attached, and hope that it provides the lift needed in all areas to allow the club to push on and get back to where we all want it to be.”
Chairman Andrew Jenkins said: “Fred has been a big supporter of this club for as long as I have known him and this, once again, shows how much he wants us to do well.
“It’s worth noting he has never charged interest on this loan and that has been of a massive benefit to this football club. We have been able to make important decisions about the running of this club knowing that, although the debt has been there, it has never and would never be demanded. We are extremely grateful for that.”
Managing director John Nixon said: “Fred took over at a difficult time and left the club in a fantastic position in 2008. The writing off of this loan will certainly help the financial position of the business and will, of course, take over £1.1 million off the balance sheet with immediate effect.
“We will be eternally grateful to Fred for his tenure, during which he turned the club round and took it to the brink of the Championship, and also ridded us of the interest high debt to Bristol & West. We also want to acknowledge the work he put in to stabilise matters on and off the field at what was a precarious time in our history.
“We are currently working on bringing new investors into the club and, again, this will help us with that task. It is a fantastic Christmas present for the club and we would like to go on record with our thanks to Story Homes, and to Fred Story in particular.”
The loan from Story Homes was declared at £1,100,250 at the AGM held at Brunton Park in December 2014.