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Sunday, 23 November 2014

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Carlisle boss won't be rushed into signings

Graham Kavanagh today urged Carlisle United fans not to panic at the lack of transfer activity as it was revealed that season ticket sales are massively down at the relegated club.

Graham Kavanagh photo
Graham Kavanagh

The Blues boss faces a huge rebuilding job this summer for life in League Two, but is yet to bring in any early close-season recruits at Brunton Park.

Kavanagh has spent the last few weeks meeting several targets as he chases as many as a dozen new faces following a mass end-of-season clear-out of players, including striker Lee Miller and midfielder Liam Noble.

But he insists he won’t rush into the transfer market because he is determined to hold out for the right players.

The appeal to fans comes after it emerged that the club has so far sold 1,189 season tickets – 250 down on the same period last year – and a club spokesman admitted fans are hedging their bets until they see some summer signings.

Kavanagh said: “You look across the leagues and a similar amount of business is being done. The majority of business is done in the first two or three weeks of pre-season training.

“We’ve been in contact with lots of players. I’ve had a few answers and I’m waiting for a few answers before trying to get players over the line, and it will take as long as it takes.

“The club has been as good as gold with me and I know what the budget is and the players I want. There’s no rush to do business but if the right players come along then I will. There is one player I’m particularly chasing and there is more and more interest in him. The clubs after him are bigger than ourselves.

“There is a big turnaround of players, but I know that. I want to put my own stamp on the squad. I want physical players and players who can handle the ball and I want them to be accountable to me.”

A club spokesman admitted fans were holding back buying season tickets until they saw the calibre of new signings. He said: “The response from existing and new season ticket holders has been very uplifting. Everyone has spoken about the disappointment of relegation but there is a real determination to get behind the club again as we look to put things right next season.

“The numbers are down slightly but we expected that as people wait to see where we go in terms of recruitment. Off the field we are engaging in as many ways as we can with our fan base over the summer months and we’re hoping that will lay the foundations for a successful League Two season.”

The slump in season ticket sales comes as a campaign is set to be launched by lifelong fan John McGee to encourage supporters to rally around the club and to generate a 6,000-minimum crowd for the opening game. Goalkeeper Mark Gillespie has agreed to become an ambassador for the #cufc6000 campaign being launched on Twitter and Facebook with the blessing of the club.

McGee said: “It is a call to arms to encourage fans to go to the first game and also to offer their skills like helping with ground maintenance or marketing skills in a voluntary capacity to help the club.

“There has been a lot of introspection, moaning and grumbling about the club since the end of the season and the idea behind the campaign is to use all that energy to do something positive and create a buzz around the club.”

Carlisle United have scotched rumours sweeping the internet of a failed takeover bid for the club. A club spokesman said the takeover talk was untrue, adding: “It is nothing but rumour and speculation.”

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