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STAND RENAMED: He deserves this

Pioneer Stand now known as the Andrew Jenkins Stand

3 August 2023

Club News

STAND RENAMED: He deserves this

Pioneer Stand now known as the Andrew Jenkins Stand

3 August 2023

Carlisle United are delighted to confirm that the East Stand at Brunton Park will now be named after chairman Andrew Jenkins in recognition of his service to the club over the last 63 years.

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Andrew joined the board of directors in 1959 before becoming chairman during the 90’s, and after last season’s promotion to League One has now watched the club gain ten promotions in his time at Brunton Park.

Chief executive Nigel Clibbens said: “We have seen the naming of stands at other grounds, but it’s a very rare honour for a club to do this, reserved for special individuals who have made a life-long contribution to their club.

“This is a tribute from the club to honour a lifetime of service by Andrew to his hometown team. It ensures his memory and legacy remains in the fabric of the club. Having secured promotion, and as Andrew starts his 65th season at the club, the timing seemed right to do this now.”

Speaking about the renaming of the Pioneer Stand today, the chairman said: “The first thing I have to say is thank you to everyone because I can’t actually believe that it’s been done.

“I feel very proud. 64 years is a long time but this is a very special place and a wonderful club. Some people are in it for the glory, I’ve never thought of it like that. I just love Carlisle United.

“It came as a lovely surprise because my sons [Graham and David] told me that we needed to come to the ground to look at the placement of groundboards.

“I walked down the tunnel and out to the side of the pitch, and I never even thought to look up at the roof opposite. It was Nigel [Clibbens] who asked me what I thought about the new sign, and it was a shock to see it.

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“I’m not really one for the limelight, I prefer just to work away in the background, but yes, I do feel very proud.

“I’m getting on in years now, and all I want is for somebody to come in who will feel the same, and who wants to look after it in the same way.

“We’ve had some tough times, and some very good times, and through it all I’ve only ever tried to do the best thing for the club. It’s been a huge part of my life and this is a very nice gesture – thank you.”

There will be a formal unveiling at the Fleetwood Town game on Saturday.

Manager Paul Simpson said: “It’s an incredible achievement and he thoroughly deserves it, I really do think that. I know everybody has opinions as football supporters, and they all believe that when things are going badly that directors should throw more money at it.

“I think our chairman has thrown a lot of money at this football club. He’s lived his life through this football club, he’s passionate about it, and that’s why I think this is a fantastic gesture.

“I think his sons have been the ones working away in the background to get this sanctioned and I think it’s a very fitting tribute to somebody who has dedicated his life to Pioneer and the business, but also so many hours and so much of his own money to this football club.

“Who knows where this club would have been without his support. Hopefully he can come and enjoy looking at that stand for many years to come.”

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David Lord Clark of Windermere said: “This is a great idea and a worthy tribute to the man who has given his all to Carlisle United.”

Co-owner John Nixon said: “This is a great tribute to a man who’s served longer than anyone else in the Football League.

“He is a model Carlisle United supporter and has given well over 60 years to the club. Well done Andrew!"

Andrew’s love affair with the club started when he was just eight, back in 1944, when a man who was plucking chickens at the family butcher business suggested that he took himself off down Warwick Road to watch the match.

“I didn’t have any other plans so off I went, and that was me hooked,” he admitted. “My father actually supplied the food for Brunton Park for many years, and you find that once you start watching your team it just gets into your blood.

“After I watched my first few games I went to boarding school so I couldn’t go to see them as much. I remember once biking home to watch a reserve match and I had to take the back roads to not get seen as I wasn’t supposed to leave the school!”

By 1959 he was a true fan, and was proud to be appointed as a director at the tender age of just 23.

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“With my father doing the catering there was some talk of him being invited onto the board,” he explained. “When someone retired the club approached him asking if he’d be interested. He actually said no, but put me forward instead.

“That had never been discussed, but I was quite proud of being able to get involved at that level. The first I really knew about was when I got a call of George Sheffield, the chairman at the time. After talking to him I was more than happy to give it a go.

“It wasn’t always easy, but I got myself settled and everyone had their own specialities, so we set up a number of small committees to help with the running of the club. Gradually we started to make positive changes.”

Fast forward to the 90’s and his appointment as club chairman, punctuated by the arrival of some different and flamboyant owners along the way, and he can look back at seven appearances at the national stadium one of which, most recently, led to a fantastic and exciting promotion into League One.

The club’s first trip to Wembley in 1995 – 36 years after he joined the Board – proved to be an emotional experience as the Blues lost out to Birmingham City to the Golden Goal rule in front of more than 76,000 fans.

“I remember having tears in my eyes when the teams came out,” he told us. “To see your club walk out at Wembley makes you so proud, and that’s something that you never forget.

“We’ve had a lot of ups and downs over the years, a lot of disappointments, but some great times to remember as well. Being here when the club was in the First Division – which is now the Premier League – has got to be one of my proudest moments.

“Leyton Orient were playing Aston Villa, we had to wait for that result to find out if we were promoted or not. We were up at the local newspaper offices listening to the game! That was a great moment, we certainly celebrated!

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“I remember winning our first three games, we were top and couldn’t believe it, but we soon found out how difficult it was. Yes, we were relegated, but we competed quite well to say we never had a penny throughout the entire season. Signing players for big money wasn’t our philosophy and still isn’t now.

“The biggest challenge for people in my position is certainly the financial side of the game. I’ve given the club my personal money but that’s just part of the job when you’re running a football club. Most clubs our size, without a good cup run, it can be hard.

“People always want more, of course they do, but it’s really important that you live within your means. We just try to break even every year, whilst making gradual changes to improve the club.

“I’m an incredibly loyal person. I’m loyal to my staff at the business, the staff at the club. I think that’s important. I work hard and just get on with it. I still really enjoy being involved with the club even at my age; I still go away with the team because that’s how it should be.

“It’s just a great club to be involved with.”

Interview extracts taken from recent chats with the EFL and with the club's media team.

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