Carlisle United say they are bringing their catering in-house next season - with the help of a local firm.

The Blues have announced they will be "supported" by city-based John Watt & Son in 2021/22.

But the club say that day-to-day hospitality and catering at Brunton Park will be provided by the club itself.

It is a change from recent seasons when United's catering has been provided by outside firms, most recently ABM.

Carlisle say having "full control" of their own catering, as of June 1, will help improve their offerings to fans.

Chief executive Nigel Clibbens, in a statement on the club website, said: “This is a break with the recent tradition which has seen our catering services fully contracted out to a third-party provider for many years now.

“As far as supporters are concerned going forward, and for visitors or for people who hire and use our facilities on non-match days, it will now be a club catering operation.

"This is a major change for the club. 

“We must, of course, adopt a realistic approach and recognise the issues we may face in taking over this operation at this time. We know that the provision of good quality catering is important to our fans, and it is an area that has been a challenge even for specialist operators.

“For that reason we acknowledge that to take this step on our own is not practical - the risk would be too great.”

“Therefore we have teamed up with highly respected local business John Watt & Son who will work with us behind the scenes to provide essential catering and hospitality expertise and support.

“We will operate a partnership approach with them, but catering will be run on a day-to-day basis as a new Carlisle United catering operation, and a fresh start."

Clibbens said United had considered "many options" and listened to "a lot of people" who had shown interest in working with the club.

He added: “We believe the time is right to move in a different, new direction.

“We believe that having full control of catering will allow us to improve all aspects of the experience.

"It will be a journey, and it may be a bumpy road, but we want to take the first step and get moving as soon as we can.

“This is a really important move for the club given the need to recover from the impact of coronavirus and the return of fans after such a long time.

"We are delighted to have been able to make this move, with such key support behind us.

"The club will be in control, but in the background we will have support and expertise on hand at all times."

Clibbens said he hoped fans would welcome the move, having said in last week's fans' forum that the club wanted to improve its catering operations as one of the ways it can grow its income.

He said further announcements on this and other initiatives will be announced soon.