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MANAGER: From where we were it is an achievement

More from Paul Simpson on hitting the 50-point mark

21 April 2022

United have spent the last few weeks edging their way towards survival, following what had been a significant upturn in fortunes when Paul Simpson took over at the end of February, and the Carlisle boss admitted that the overriding feeling at full time on Monday was one of relief, with the job he’d set out to do finally done.

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“I think it is relief,” he agreed. “I knew what was at stake, I knew where we were at, and I got told at half time that Oldham were losing as well.

“Someone asked if we should tell the players and I said no, don’t say anything, just keep it to us. I probably knew it was there and I have to say when the final whistle went I forgot what had been achieved.

“It was only when I looked at Gav Skelton and saw the relief on his face that I remembered what it actually meant. It’s huge relief, but we’re at a point now where we can say, right, we’ve got three games to go, we need to do it properly.

“Also, let’s seriously start looking to see whether this is right for me, whether I’m right for the football club and whether we can start to take steps to take it forward and be better.”

“I’ve said this a few times now, survival probably wasn’t what we all set out to do at the start of the season,” he added.

“Everybody starts a season with all these rose tinted glasses on that you’re going to do this and that, but not everybody can.

“In this league three go up automatic, four in the play-offs, and the first thing you have to make sure of is that you get to that 50-point mark.

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“In the past, particularly in the season we were champions, we got to 50 very early and you can celebrate that, because that’s always the first target. From there you take whatever comes.

“It is an achievement, particularly from the situation we were in, and now we’ve got to finish as well and as high as we can.”

His recent treatment for cancer is a matter of public record, but he once again played down the significance with that having being a battle he never felt he was going to shy away from.

“A lot of people have asked me if I’m now thankful for every day - nah, I was thankful anyway,” he insisted. “At no point did I ever think oh bugger, I’ve got a life and death situation here, it never came into my mind.

“I was always thinking that this is going to be a positive cancer story. That hasn’t changed my whole philosophy on it.

“I think I’ve realised as I’ve got older, everything you achieve in football you have to really enjoy, because there’s probably going to be a kick up the backside further down the line.

“That’s why I’ve made sure that I’ve really enjoyed it. Before I took the Carlisle job the first time, my boys gave me a real wake up call.

“They told me that I needed to change the way I was doing it, because they didn’t like what it did to me when I was at Rochdale. They said it affected my life. I was oh, wow, ok.

“I’ve certainly learned how to balance my football and my life, how to balance that much better. Although this has taken over, the boys are all away doing their own, but it’s took over mine and Jacqui’s life a little bit.

“I still think I’ve had a better balance on it. Hopefully I can do that carrying on, if that’s staying in management, hopefully I’ve got a better balance taking it forward.”

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