Carlisle United’s Unbeaten Run Soldiers On
By Niall Spence
Images by Mark Fuller
I wanna play 3-5-2.”
This Peter Andre inspired ode to Carlisle’s prophetic manager Keith Curle perfectly sums up the atmosphere around the city’s football contingent this season. 2016 is indeed a strange time to be a Carlisle United fan.
Following the doldrums of last season, it must feel slightly alien to be celebrating record breaking achievements only a few months down the line. But this is exactly what the Brunton Park faithful are doing as Carlisle United manager Keith Curle has turned the clubs fortunes on their head. Despite it still being early doors United are cementing themselves as a force to be reckoned with and blatant potential promotion contenders.
The club are going from strength to strength; they are 16 games unbeaten in all competitions, have just beaten their League 2 record for most consecutive games unbeaten and are chasing the club record unbeaten streak.
Currently, United are one of only two remaining clubs in England that are unbeaten this season after Tottenham Hotspur dismantled the tactical might of Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City just before October’s international break and Yorkshire’s Bradford City were felled by Oxford City at the weekend. It is now a battle of North versus South between The Cumbrian’s and London’s esteemed Premier League title contenders Tottenham Hotspur to be the only remaining unbeaten team left in English football.
Welcome to Curlisle… circa 2016.
The Guide spoke to Carlisle United gaffer Keith Curle to find out what has changed?
“We’ve got better players; it makes it easier”
What have you done differently this season?
“We’ve got better players; it makes it easier, we did a lot of our recruitment through the summer. At the end of last season, we identified areas on the pitch and the changing room, within the squad that needed improvement and that we thought would give us a better opportunity. By the early stages of this season we had nearly finalised our squad selection this gave us an early foundation, which gave us the opportunity to get the players in and get them settled earlier than some of the other teams, getting a smaller settled squad very early on gave us a better opportunity.”
“I respect every single opposition we come up against”
Are there any upcoming fixtures that worry you in particular?
“Every game worries you, I wouldn’t say worry and I wouldn’t say fear, but I respect every single opposition we come up against and they all get the same level of attention whether we’re playing Portsmouth, Morecambe or Liverpool, Everton in the cup they all get the same amount of detail in every single game that we go to and that’s out of respect for not only my job but the job of the players and the staff that they do we need to give ourselves the best opportunity in every one of our football matches.”
“We need to score more goals than the opposition”
So how do you go about maintaining your current run of form?
“We need to score more goals than the opposition, no, there’s an enjoyment level about the squad at the minute that does come from hard work. Every day when the players come in they have all the normal football club banter but there’s a work ethic where we’re striving to adhere to whereby the players come out and everyday we’re working on improvement because there’s areas that we can improve on both individually and collectively areas within the game that we know we can sort out and still improve upon.”
Video by Facebook user Chris Wooly Wardle