Carlisle United Football Club is deeply saddened to learn of the passing of dear friend and colleague Jim Mitchell following a short battle against MND.
Jim, who was the first ever Trustee of the club’s Community Sports Trust, and its first and only chairperson, also represented CUOSC on the 1921 board of directors for just under six years, between October 2016 and June 2022.
Calm, measured and extremely personable, he was quick to challenge and debate on behalf of the fans as he combined his passion for the club with a ‘can do’ approach.
“I’ve known Jim for many years and he will be greatly missed,” chairman Andrew Jenkins said. “As a director of the club I can say beyond doubt that he represented the fans and the Trust in a strong and forthright way, but also in the right way, and his input has been invaluable.
“He was prepared to listen and debate, always looking for workable solutions rather than causing problems. His presence at meetings was a positive one, and was of real benefit to us all.
“As a friend, he was just always there and, again, always in a positive frame of mind. People will remember him on the local football scene as a strong player who really enjoyed winning back in the day.
“When we moved our business to Rosehill he took over our team, and a lot of very good local players benefitted from his advice and from the spirit he created in the dressing room.
“He loved Carlisle United. He started coming to watch as a boy and I know he felt it was a great honour to be involved behind the scenes in later years.
“Our thoughts are with his friends, family and loved ones at this very sad time.”
“The first thing I have to say is that Jim’s contribution to Carlisle United has been immense,” club director John Nixon said. “He was there all the way through the difficult periods, always determined to do his bit to try to make things better.
“That involvement through tougher times gave him a real understanding of the club and the way it operates and that, along with his background in admin, made him invaluable when he joined the board of directors.
“As a link between the boardroom and the fans he, along with Billy Atkinson, has been fantastic. A man with a positive outlook, and with a determination to find a way forward whatever the circumstance, he brought a new dimension to the way clubs and fan groups should and can work together.
“I think supporters will acknowledge that, having seen it for themselves. He knew there was always more to be done in terms of strengthening that connection, but he has certainly been a huge factor in laying down the foundations.
“We’ll all really miss him and we send our love and thoughts to his loved ones.”
“I worked closely with Jim as a Trustee with the Community Sports Trust and I know I speak on behalf of all of the Trustees, and the community staff, when I say that he was a fantastic chairman and an extremely well-liked and respected man,” director Steven Pattison said.
“He was full of knowledge and his calm approach meant that he was able to give really sound and timely advice. He was open to ideas and to being challenged, and the thing he would always say was that whatever the problem was, it was important that we all found the right solution.
“Even if discussions were passionate, I never saw him ever use anything other than a calming influence, and if he disagreed with anyone he let them know that without causing a shouting match and in a way that allowed the discussion to continue. That's a great skill.
“You hear it said about people, but he really was just a genuine and good person who loved everything about Carlisle United.
“I know he was immensely proud to be involved with the Trust, the Community Sports Trust and the club, particularly as a director, with his desire to make things better. This is a very sad loss.”
“This is terrible news and a real shock coming so soon after his diagnosis,” chief executive Nigel Clibbens said.
“Jim loved the club so much and put his heart and soul into trying to make the club better, and stand up for fans.
“We had many hours together over the years. He was a great bloke and I will really miss him.”
“Jim has been there for me for so many years, I was so shocked when I heard the news,” former CST manager John Halpin said. “His logical approach to everything - a product of his working life away from the club – has helped me and my staff to get so many different projects up and running and off the ground.
“Without him the community side of our business wouldn’t be where it is today. He was the first ever CST chair and, to date, he’s the only person to have held that position.
“He guided the Sports Trust and the Trustees with a measured hand, and I know we all saw him as a friend as well as our chairman. That’s possibly one of the best tributes I can pay him, because that’s the type of man he was.
“A really good person, he will be deeply missed.”