Carlisle United fans have taken up the chant ‘Simmo’s at the wheel’ in recent weeks - and we’re delighted to announce that he is indeed staying!

We can confirm that Paul Simpson has committed, this evening, to a three-year deal.

Paul came back to the club for a second spell at the helm (sorry, at the wheel) at the end of February, with the Blues in a perilous position, and his impact was immediate.

His first game in charge, at Leyton Orient, brought an end to an eight-game winless streak, and the subsequent run into March saw a haul of 18 points from a possible 21 catapult the Cumbrians away from the relegation zone.

Thoughts immediately turned to the future beyond the end of the campaign, with talks on his position progressing at pace once league safety had been assured on Easter Monday.

Chairman Andrew Jenkins said: “I think everybody has known that we wanted Paul to stay beyond the Bradford game, and that he wanted to stay, and that has been reflected in the swift manner in which we have concluded this agreement.

“The length of the contract reflects the fact that we all feel this is a project for the longer-term, and not just a quick fix, and we feel Paul is the right person to take that on.

“Paul has stated quite clearly that he wants to improve aspects of the club on and off the field, and we share that vision.

“He spoke about the fact that he needed things to be right, and we always knew that we had to seize this moment, and not let it slip by.

“We’re delighted that we’ve been able to do that and it’s now time to give him our backing as he sets off on what we hope will be an exciting journey.”

Simpson, 55, became a local hero when he took over a struggling club during the 2003/04 season.

He galvanised the Blues, almost saving them from an impossible situation, but led the charge back into the ranks of the Football League with back-to-back promotions from the Conference and up to League One through 2004/05 and 2005/06.

A man with a wealth of football and management experience - he won the World Cup as boss of the England U20 squad in 2017 - he commits with a real sense of purpose and with time to implement the changes he feels he needs to make.

We’ll have more reaction to this news when we host his first press conference as permanent manager on Thursday.

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