We were delighted to welcome former player Bob Harrison to our team photoshoot day last week, with the 93-year-old getting to take his place beside the manager as he lined up with the current squad during his visit.
Bob, 93, lives locally and is believed to be our oldest living former Blue, and his trip to Brunton Park (accompanied by son Steve) brought the memories flooding back for an outside right who had graced the hallowed turf with Alan Ashman, Jimmy Whitehouse, Bill Hogan and Geoff Twentyman, to name but a few, back in his playing days.
A nippy and creative wide man, he was spotted by Bill Shankly playing for an army team during his period of National Service, and was recruited to do his bit in Division Three North.
He scored on his debut - a 1-1 home draw with Chester on 4 October 1952 – and went on to bag 10 goals that season, which included a run of three goals in three games over the festive period.
He scored 15 goals in 70 appearances overall, with a particular highlight a brace in the 2-2 away draw at Workington on 9 January 1954.
His last appearance was in the 3-1 away defeat at Barnsley in a packed month of April in 1955 where, due to bad weather and a raft of winter postponements, the club had to play a whopping 11 fixtures just to catch things up.
Bob became best friends with Alan Ashman who, incidentally, was the best man at his wedding, and he jokingly describes the United hero as ‘lazy, and a player who lived and scored off a good supply of crosses from me!’
He left United in the summer of 1955 and went on to play in the Manchester area, and was still playing at a good level at the age of 42.
Bob’s Brunton Park visit included a tour of the stadium, during which he met the players in the dressing room, before joining them on the pitch for the team photograph.
Manager Paul Simpson had met Bob on a number of previous occasions and was able to talk all things Carlisle United as they sat together on the front row.
"It was lovely to see Bob, I don't think he stopped smiling!" Simmo said. "He played with some great players, under an unbelievable manager, and it's good that he got to bring some of those memories back as well as see what the tunnel and dressing rooms are like now, before taking pride of place in the team photo."
Son Steve said: “Dad came down to the club in June to look at the League Two play-off final trophy and he had his photo taken with it.
“That was a great day as well because a lot of the younger fans chatted to him about his playing days and he ended up signing quite a lot of autographs.
“This has been fantastic, thank you to the SLO Simon Clarkson and to everyone at the club for making this a special day.”