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Carlisle Utd is 'old boys' club that is letting down the fans' - David Allen

Carlisle United’s chief executive David Allen has dramatically quit the club after claiming he can no longer work with his fellow owners at Brunton Park.

David Allen photo
David Allen

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Related: David Allen quits Carlisle United with blast at board

Allen has resigned as a director and will no longer be a co-owner after handing over his shares to the Blues’ other individual owners Andrew Jenkins, Steven Pattison and John Nixon.

The accountant, who took control of United along with his three fellow businessmen in July last year, revealed his shock decision at a hastily-convened meeting at Brunton Park yesterday afternoon.

It follows an “irretrievable” rift between Allen and his co-owners, who he has accused of operating an “old boys’ club” which is letting down the club and its supporters.

In a stinging attack on his former boardroom colleagues, Allen, speaking exclusively to Cumberland News writr Jon Colman,  also claimed the club needed a change of ownership from the current “stale” regime if it was to move forward.

The news will plunge the club into turmoil on the eve of the Blues’ League One match against former Premier League team Charlton Athletic at Brunton Park tomorrow.

Allen said his decision had not been taken lightly but said he was left with no choice but to quit.

“I have decided to resign as a director and hand over my shares because there has been an irretrievable breakdown in the working relationship between the four of us as co-owners,” Allen said.

“I have become increasingly frustrated by the rest of the board’s lack of vision, direction and drive. A board of directors should direct and be inspirational, and the board of directors at Carlisle United is not that.

“This board is letting down the club and is letting down the fans. I want to be part of something better than that. I have my own views and commitment to the club but as a member of this board, I can’t deliver it. In fact, I can’t see how the club can move forward until we have a complete change at the top. New ownership needs to come in with power, vision and direction.”

It is understood Allen has been disillusioned for several months by the board’s apparent reluctance to increase supporters’ involvement with the club, the lack of promotion of the club’s bars and Foxy’s Restaurant, and its unwillingness to embrace other commercial ideas. The Cumberland News understands the Dalston-based accountant plans to attend tomorrow’s match as normal.

“I am also deeply disappointed about the culture within the club and the lack of a proper basic working structure,” continued Allen, who has quit both Carlisle United Football Club (1921) Ltd and its holding company CUFC Holdings.

“When I become involved in any organisation, I want to help provide inspiration and I want to make a positive difference, but the current regime at Brunton Park is stale.

“Unfortunately, a lot of people perceive elements within Brunton Park’s hierarchy as an old boys’ club that is not receptive of change. I am unhappy being associated with that as it is not my style either personally or professionally.

“Carlisle United is still sincerely in my heart and I will do whatever I can to help it, including my ctommitment to the club in respect of ongoing sponsorship and support. But I am stepping down at Carlisle United as of now and I will concentrate on my firm, David Allen and Co Chartered Accountants. However, I would like to formally acknowledge the contribution made by the staff at the club.

“There are a lot of good people there who are totally committed, hard-working, honest and selfless. They too are being let down.”

The takeover from former United owner Fred Story in July last year saw Allen assume 25 of CUFC Holdings’ total of 134 shares, with the same amount going to each of his fellow owners, Pioneer Foodservice chairman Jenkins, Longhorn MD Pattison and former Pirelli MD Nixon, with the remaining 34 being held by the United Trust.

In a club statement, United confirmed they had accepted Allen’s resignation with immediate effect. It said: “We would like to put on record our thanks to David for all his hard work

Have your say

I fail to see how David Allen cannot be considered part of the "old boys network" that he claims not to be a part of.

Yet again, Carlisle United has proved to be nothing but a (rather expensive) hobby for businessmen. There is no investment, yet results are expected week in week out. There are debts that cause biannual rumours of Carlisle United being on the brink of collapse. There is waning support as fans realise that Carlisle is in need of much help.

Only through investment and commerical nouse can a team be established which can progress. Passion is one thing, and I am all for fans leading the team forward, be it on the terraces or at board-room level. Passion, however, can only take you so far...

Posted by Jack on 31 October 2009 at 14:09

As CEO of the club, it is David Allen's job to inspire the drive and ambition that he feel's the club needs.

Whilst true that management by committee wouldn't work in the long run,resigning at this crucial moment is incredibly divisive within the club. And quite shameful on his part.

It is his reponsibility to turn the club around. Not walk away from it.

I call on all his local businessman customers to show a similar lack of loyalty and show him the red card.

Posted by Mark on 31 October 2009 at 13:09

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