United fans are invited to pay tribute to former club captain Nigel Saddington, who sadly passed away a fortnight ago, aged just 53, as we hold a minute of silence ahead of Saturday’s home game against Exeter City.
Originally scheduled as a minute of applause through the 4th minute of the game, this has been changed this afternoon to a minute of silence following the confirmation that the body recovered from a small plane crash site is that of Cardiff City striker Emiliano Sala.
Carlisle United joins the rest of the football family in passing our deepest condolences to both families of the men involved in that tragic incident, and felt it would be fitting to remember their loss alongside the sad news of the passing of club legend Nigel Saddington.
Fans are welcome to hold a minute of applause in remembrance of Nigel, and his service to the club, should they wish to do so during the 4th minute of the game.
Players from both teams will be wearing black armbands for the game, again as a sign of respect to all three men.
Saddington, a huge favourite both on and off the pitch with Carlisle fans, wore shirt number 4 throughout his time with the club as his steady and assured approach to football quickly endeared him to the Brunton Park faithful.
Media officer Andy Hall said: “Having spoken to the EFL, we felt it would be nice to combine an act of remembrance for both players and the pilot in this way.
"Nigel's loss came as a huge shock, and he was a big favourite here at Brunton Park. You knew every week that his name would be beside the number 4 on the team sheet because he was arguably the most consistent performer in the team at that time.
"I'm sure people will understand the decision to now hold a minute of silence, and I expect we will also still see fans applauding Nigel's memory at 3.04pm.”
The central defender played for the club between 1988 and 1991 and made over 100 appearances at the heart of the back line.
Chairman Andrew Jenkins said: “He was a fantastic footballer for the club and was made club captain by Clive Middlemass because he was a real leader on and off the pitch, and the players all looked up to him.
“He was a regular goalscorer and one who would drive the lads on, even when it looked like the game was out of reach. We were all extremely shocked to learn of the news that he had passed at such a young age.
“It will be nice to say farewell in this way to a man who made so many friends through his time with the club."
Saddington left the Blues in 1991, having been diagnosed with Myalgic Encephalomyelitis, and went on to play for Gateshead having settled in his native north east.
Nigel’s funeral takes place at Sunderland Crematorium at 1pm on Tuesday 12 February.