'I may have to move if we lose to St Albans' says Carlisle chairman
PUBLISHED: 06:30 05 November 2016 | UPDATED: 08:29 05 November 2016
For one Carlisle fan this weekend's FA Cup tie at St Albans City could be the best thing ever - or it could force him to look for accommodation elsewhere.
Ian Jardine is the chairman of the Carlisle United Supporters London Branch and for the last 30 years he has called St Albans his home.
But for the man who says he “must have knocked on every door in St Albans” when working for Mori, the game provides the ultimate in mixed emotions.
He said: “It’s starting to get to me now. I can’t wait for it to be over. I’m telling people I’ll have to move if we lose because the abuse will be endless as everyone knows me.”
And he won’t be the only one. St Albans is also home to a number of ex-pat Cumbrians from the London branch.
Jardine continued: “I’m the chairman but the treasurer lives up by the King William and Nick Crowther, who works with St Albans, used to edit our magazine. We’ve got another family who live up towards Sandpit Lane. And my son, who works in St Albans, the boss of his firm is a Carlisle fan.
“I’ve always argued there’s loads of us all over the country. It’s like rats; you’re never more than six feet from a Carlisle fan.
“We’ve got people in Hatfield and in Stevenage as well, all part of the Hertfordshire twig of the Carlisle branch. We had about a dozen people living in the county.”
His reaction at the draw was a bit delayed as he wasn’t actually watching it.
“I was cooking,” he admitted. “It was my son who came galloping down the stairs, shouting ‘guess who we’ve got’.
“What astonishes me was when they were drawn against Mansfield [in 2013], we were the ball before them [away to Boreham Wood]. We were thinking that was as close as we’d get so to be drawn with them a few years later is great.”
Jardine, who is also heavily involved with St Albans City Youth, says the branch has around 300 members and the game has generated a lot of interest from all of them.
He said: “Shifting it to the Sunday wasn’t the best; it was a head-in-hands job because we knew people can’t travel by train any more.
“But we have already got 60 from the branch asking for a ticket and that number will grow. That’s a large turnout from us.
“That’s the nature of Cumberland. Lack of jobs make people move.
“Even though we’re called the London branch, we’ve were basically set-up as a communication organisation for people outside of Cumbria. That’s obviously not as important now because of social media but we’ve still got members in places like Cornwall, France and Germany.”
Carlisle have been in sensational form this year, and are still undefeated in the league with eight wins and seven draws so far.
Jardine places that form squarely on the shoulders of manager Keith Curle but is still wary of the outcome.
He said: “We started with a lot of draws so it’s been very low key. We had a good team in the early 90s who went unbeaten at the start of the season, scoring lots of goals. That was exciting but this is still building.
“What we’re worried of is if you get to the top of the table too early, sometimes the nerves get to you. But this is better as we don’t think we’ve seen the best of people yet.
“[Curle] had to salvage a mess when he first came in three seasons ago. He managed to save us that season and had a bit or a rebuild last year. We were going ok until the flood. It seemed to disrupt everything and we just fell apart and finished mid-table.
“That was disappointing but he’s strengthened again with key players coming in. During the summer we were watching and thinking this is a good side coming in. They were players we’ve seen at this level.
“But anything can happen [on Sunday]. When we played Boreham Wood we were awful and hopefully, having St Albans City, who are a much-better team who like to play football, it will be better.”