Mike McCartney, who has passed away at the age of 63, spent over a decade at Brunton Park in two separate spells between 1973 and 1987.
He featured in a total of 287 league games for the club, mostly at left back, scoring 24 goals in the process.
Born in September 1954 in Musselburgh, near Edinburgh, Mike was a Scottish schoolboy international. His professional football career began at West Bromwich Albion before Alan Ashman brought him to Brunton Park in the summer of 1973.
He made his United debut in December 1973 and made a couple of appearances the following season when United were in Division One.
Many of his early games were in midfield, before he finally made the left back position his own early in 1977. From then until his departure to Southampton, during the 1980 close season, he was an automatic choice and also became the club’s penalty taker. His total of 17 successful penalties in league games is a club record to this day.
He joined First Division Southampton for a reported £80,000 fee, making his debut there on the same day as Kevin Keegan. After a year at the Dell, he moved along the south coast to Plymouth where his former boss, Bobby Moncur, was now the manager.
After nearly two years at Home Park he returned to Carlisle, in March 1993, in an exchange deal involving United’s then record signing Gordon Staniforth. Once again he became a stalwart member of the United defence, making his final appearance on 27 December 1986. By this time he was the last playing survivor of the First Division era at Brunton Park.
Mike moved to Gretna as player-manager and in later years he combined his duties as manager with that of groundsman, until leaving before the dramatic rise and subsequent fall of the Scottish club. He continued to live locally and was a regular at Brunton Park, featuring in many former players games for the Blues.
Chairman Andrew Jenkins said: “Mike was a local lad in every sense of the word, even though his roots were in Scotland. He loved Carlisle United and he loved the city, and it was no surprise to any of us when he chose to settle here.
“The news came as a real shock to all of us because many of us had seen him recently, and we had a good chat about all things Carlisle United as we looked back on some very fond memories.
“I remember Mike as a quiet lad and a real professional. There is nothing but nice things to say about him because he was liked by everyone who knew him. He was a really good player and he made his place in defence his own once he got into the team.
“A very loyal servant, he will be missed. Our thoughts are with his friends and family at this sad time.”