CLUB: United mourn the passing of a dear friend

Carlisle United are deeply saddened to learn of the passing of a man who really can be classed as a club legend – Peter McConnell.

McConnell, 82, passed away at his Leeds home surrounded by his family and loved ones on Sunday.

An old fashioned but very effective wing half, McConnell started his career as a teenager with Leeds United where he roomed with the likes of Jack Charlton and Terry Caldwell, before making his way into the first team set-up.

He often joked that he was the reason Billy Bremner came to the fore as the pair battled for the right to wear the number 4 shirt under managers Jack Taylor and Don Revie.

The all-action playmaker was courted by United boss Ivor Powell through the early 1960’s and he eventually made his move to Cumbria in 1962, where a legend was born.

Immediately installed as club captain, he led the team under Alan Ashman to its first ever league title when the club topped Division Three at the end of the 1964/65 campaign – a second consecutive promotion with the club having finished second in Division Four the season before.

Seven seasons with the Blues saw him make just under 300 appearances in all competitions, and he moved back to Yorkshire to join Bradford ahead of the 1969/70 campaign.

Chairman Andrew Jenkins said: “I know people use the word legend a lot, but there is no doubt in my mind that Peter was a genuine and true Carlisle United legend.

“He was one of a kind, a fantastic character, and it was an honour to have known him. On and off the pitch he was a leader, and he combined a quick sense of humour with a calm and approachable manner which brought respect from everybody he worked and played with.

“He absolutely loved Carlisle, as we’ve seen from the number of times he has come back to visit us over the years, and I know he looked back at his time here as the most enjoyable period of his playing career.

“There is so much you could say about Peter, because he lived and breathed the club and he was such a likeable man. I can’t put into words how highly I thought of him.

"I remember once, when we played Reading, that he was on the receiving end of an awful tackle. It left him with a huge gash on his shin, which was bleeding heavily, but he got into the dressing room at half time, stuck a bandage on it and carried on. He really shouldn’t have done that, because it was a bad injury, but that typified his approach to the game.

“He was a real competitor, and he would play through all kinds of injuries and ailments, because he felt he was best served helping the team out on the pitch.

“Everyone knew him as ‘Skip’ and I know he was proud of that. He is a huge loss and my thoughts, and those of everyone at the club, are with his wife Mary, his family and friends at this extremely sad time.”

Peter McConnell (right) is shown with Billy Bremner and Terry Caldwell from their Leeds United youth team days in the picture above.

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