A fond farewell to Russell Coughlin
Russell Coughlin, who died yesterday in a road accident at the age of 56, will be remembered by Carlisle fans as one of the most skilful midfield players of his era.
Born in Swansea in 1960, he arrived at Brunton Park in October 1980 in a £20,000 deal from Blackburn Rovers. Bob Stokoe had recently returned to Brunton Park as manager and Russell was his first signing.
He made his United debut at Portsmouth on 1 Nov 1980, scoring his first goal for the Blues against Huddersfield a few days later. Carlisle just avoided relegation that season but Russell was an integral member of the side that gained promotion twelve months later as runners up in Division Three.
He spent two more years at Brunton Park as the club consolidated their place in the Second Division. An exceptional passer of the ball, he also contributed a number of goals with his powerful long range shooting. In all, he made 130 league appearances for United, scoring 13 goals in the process.
In the summer of 1984 he was on the move down to Plymouth Argyle where he would spend the next three years. In 1985/86 he was again in a promotion winning side as Argyle also finished as Third Division runners up. In December 1987 Blackpool paid £75,000, the biggest fee of his career, to secure his services.
After three years at Bloomfield Road, further moves took him first to his hometown club Swansea City, then to Exeter City and finally Torquay United.
He played for non league Dorchester Town for a while before returning to the Carlisle area, ending his playing career with Gretna. He settled in Carlisle where he worked for Royal Mail.
Chairman Andrew Jenkins said: "I was here when we signed Russell and he became a very important part of our midfield.
"I think it's fair to say his career blossomed with us and he was a great passer of the ball, as well as a really hard worker.
"I know from talking to him that he loved Carlisle and it was no surprise that he came back here when his football career was over.
"We were deeply saddened to hear of the news and our thoughts are with his friends and family at this very sad time."