A message from United Chairman Andrew JenkinsTravelling back from Exeter on Thursday night with the players and staff, and then getting up after that very long journey back home to Carlisle, has left me with probably the same feelings as many of our supporters.
To lose the game at Exeter with almost the last kick, after yet another fantastic fight back, was absolutely sickening. As fans, staff and players we all rode an emotional rollercoaster and now the feelings are probably like nothing else you get to feel in the football world.
The differences between the outcomes are so small in this game and things change so quickly. After nearly eleven months of competing it was a cruel way to lose a play-off semi-final. I congratulate Exeter City and wish them every success in the final. I'm sure they understand that seeing them celebrate was very tough for us to take.
It goes without saying that I love this Club. It is a big part of my life - and has been for over 50 years. Like you I have had the highs and the lows through that time, but it doesn’t make this any easier to take. As Carlisle fans, and as our team showed on Thursday and during the season, if we are down we never give up and we fight back, which is what we will continue to do.
As Club Chairman I am particularly sorry that despite your fantastic support, week in and week out, which sees you come to Brunton Park and cover many thousands of miles, that we could not quite get the promotion we all wanted. It was a goal the manager, the team and everyone else was working so hard to achieve. My hope was that we would see the job through as a thank you for the support you give us, but it wasn’t to be. I wish it could have ended differently - but thank you for being with us every step of the way and please accept my heartfelt apology.
With the football season now done, it’s important to pay tribute to the players and staff. They worked tirelessly right to the end, with a never-say-die approach, and that makes me feel extremely proud. I hope you feel the same. You can’t buy the feeling and emotions we experienced after seeing Nicky Adams cross and John O'Sullivan head the equaliser into the back of the net. Moments like that are why we love this game of ours so much.
Having enjoyed the season, and dug deep through the tough periods to stay together, we have to make sure that we take the way it ended and help it to make us all the more strong-minded and determined to remain united as we look to do even better next season. We are all in it together and the Club comes first.
Football is so full of surprises and we are always faced with the unexpected. There is absolutely no time at all to feel sorry for ourselves. It’s a tough and relentless game but the board and I will continue to do all we can to support the Club and manager so that we we can continue to push towards success - starting right now with the work the football staff has to do to prepare for the 2017/18 campaign.
It’s been a truly memorable season. We have a lot to look forward to in the coming weeks with non-stop off-the-field activity coming to the fore as we look to recruitment and preparations for pre-season, which will come round very quickly indeed. I hope as many fans as possible can come and join us again next season - the football has been exciting and, at times, breathtaking and we expect more of the same as we continue to work hard to achieve improvement in every department and area at the club.