It may have been set up as part of a season of celebrations some five years ago, but the impact of the Carlisle United Supporters’ Club London Branch’s innovative 40 Club continues to be felt to this day with money-can’t-buy experiences for some of the lucky winners and a series of projects supported in and around Brunton Park.
Established during the 2014/15 season, the 40 Club was part of the London Branch’s 40th anniversary celebrations. Members of the club pay just £5 a month to be a part of it with monthly draws providing regular prizes as well as special one-off bonus prizes which can range from Carlisle United scarves all the way up to exclusive behind the scenes experiences.
Profits from the 40 Club are ring-fenced to be put towards specific projects benefitting Carlisle United’s fans and teams. Over recent seasons proceeds from the scheme have contributed to the improvement of disabled facilities around Brunton Park and Academy teams attending the New Balance Manchester International Cup, whilst this season the youth setup has again felt the benefit of the 40 Club. New goalposts have been provided for all the club’s teams using the facility at Creighton Rugby Club whilst a technical analysis camera has allowed these teams to gain better insight into their training and matches.
Countless members of the 40 Club have also benefited from being a part of the scheme, in addition to the contribution they are making to these worthwhile projects. One such supporter recently enjoyed a unique “Media Day Experience”, getting a behind the scenes insight into the match day workings of the club’s media team.
Life-long United fan, Gareth Hayes, quickly learned just how much goes into delivering a match day for Andy Hall and Amy Nixon. He picks up the story from the moment he arrived at Brunton Park as United prepared to take on Morecambe a couple of weeks ago.
"Preconceptions of media low effort high reward were quickly dispelled as I learned that it’s not a one-day-a-week lazy life of luxury for Carlisle United’s Andy and Amy. I arrived at Brunton Park just after one o’clock to be met by a twitchy Andy who was twirling around the inner sanctum of corridors beneath the Main Stand. Not only had the recent storms killed off the scoreboard but the tannoy system had also failed.
“Andy multi-tasked as he took me to the referee’s room to witness the two captains hand in their team sheets, and the subsequent photocopying and distribution. After a quick tour and a photoshoot on the pitch we were in the Media Room in the East Stand. Chums from radio and press mingled and chewed the fat over pies and strong coffee; then complimented me on the special biscuits I’d brought from Appleby’s Bakery.
As the game got underway, “throughout all of the wind-blown action, Andy and Amy focused on wordsmithing the action on their numerous laptops, whilst still hollering partisan calls for Cumbrian commitment and cheer. A great day out."
The London Branch are incredibly grateful for the support of Carlisle United in ensuring the 40 Club can provided unique prizes such as the experience Gareth enjoyed recently. Over the years members of the scheme have enjoyed Boardroom Experiences both at Brunton Park and away matches, first class travel with former sponsor Virgin Trains, signed shirts and footballs plus Blues Store vouchers.
These prizes are in addition to the two regular monthly prizes where a meal for two in Foxy’s and match tickets are up for grabs for the first number drawn whilst £30 is the prize for second out of the bag each month. The 40 Club costs just £5 a month to be a member of and is open to all Carlisle United fans to get involved with. For more information please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Carlisle United Supporters’ Club London Branch is the organisation for exiled Cumbrians in the capital, across the south-east and indeed across the globe. Its members enjoy a weekly email newsletter, free copies of the Hit The Bar! fanzine, organised away days including group travel, a Ticket Deposit Scheme and designated meeting pubs, regular social events and much more including regular donations and sponsorship of Carlisle United. You don’t have to be based in London to benefit from membership of the London Branch - for more information and to join the Branch visit membermojo.co.uk/cusclb.