Tom Piatak said this weekend promises to be “electric” at Carlisle United as a new Blues era gets under way.

The Piatak family’s first game as owners sees United take on Charlton Athletic in front of a bumper Brunton Park crowd on Saturday.

Piatak snr, who flew into the UK on Friday with his family, said the “buzz” around the occasion is undeniable.

And the Florida businessman intends it to be the first day of an exciting future.

“It’s the start of something very, very bright. We are thoroughly excited,” he said.

“I think it’s going to be electric, it’s going to be a buzz.

“It’s going to be a special day – a big change after nearly 16 years [under the previous owners] – but we want to see it play out moving forward as well.

“And we’re committed to making the improvements to make that happen.”

Piatak said it felt “surreal” to have got their takeover across the line but said he and his family never wavered in their determination to seal the deal.

They have pledged to bolster the Blues on and off the pitch and say they are in it for the long term at Brunton Park.

The family – Tom snr, Patty, Jenna, Nick, Tom II and Alice – arrived at Brunton Park on Friday afternoon and all members of the family spoke to the local media, including the News & Star.

Their arrival came ahead of a major occasion at United’s ground on Saturday, with the Piataks planning to be in the fan zone and the club’s bars from 12.30pm before being presented to the crowd on the pitch 20 minutes before the game.

Piatak said they intended to run the club for the benefit of the fanbase and community.

“They deserve a football club to be proud of and we’re committed to making that happen,” he said.

“I want to see that we can create a squad that can perform, perform well and we can capture what we’re going to see [on Saturday].

News and Star: Tom Piatak, second left, and his family chat to Paul Simpson, left, on Friday afternoon at Brunton ParkTom Piatak, second left, and his family chat to Paul Simpson, left, on Friday afternoon at Brunton Park (Image: Barbara Abbott)

“I would love to see Cumbria say, ‘Hey, the place to be on Saturday is at Brunton Park – we own the north, teams aren’t going to want to come here and play us, it’s going to be a hard atmosphere’.”

Piatak spoke about the moment on Wednesday when several months of discussions finally came to fruition, as his family’s Castle Sports Group secured 90 per cent of CUFC Holdings and became the club’s owners.

They learned that the deal was finally over the line when in their home town of Jacksonville, Florida at their Magellan Transport Logistics business.

“It was almost like two celebrations,” he said. “We had a bunch of our employees in our offices watching it with us, as it unfolded, as the way [the club] unrolled it [the announcement], which was fun to watch.

“And we also knew we’d get to celebrate when we came over here.

“I would say I’m excited. It feels a little bit surreal…I’m thrilled. We knew we were going to get it done.

“I knew after the Bradford home and away matches [in May’s play-offs, matches the Piataks attended] that Carlisle was it, and we were going to get it done come hell or high water.

“It was a little bit of a struggle but we’re excited to be here the night before the game, and just seeing some of the changes they’ve already done to make tomorrow a special’s fantastic.

“We never doubted. Our whole family was committed to it – we did our analysis, we knew Carlisle is what we wanted. And as we spend more time here, we just loved the community, the people, the working-class mentality here. They deserve a football club to be proud of and we’re committed to make that happen.”

News and Star: Tom Piatak helps decorate a Christmas tree at Brunton ParkTom Piatak helps decorate a Christmas tree at Brunton Park (Image: Barbara Abbott)

Piatak said that, while they have big ambitions for United on and off the pitch, they are also keenly aware of their role as custodians of the club for the long-term.

“We take that responsibility seriously,” he said.

“The best way to look at it is to look at our history. [My wife] Patty and I have run multiple businesses, and we generally go to work for the employees, for their families – we want to make it something they’re proud of and proud they’re part of.

“We see us being here as being able to move it forward, we want to move it forward. But at the end of the day, this is a community club, we understand that.

“We want to make it a better experience. If we can do that, and make £1, we’ll invest it back in. We take it very seriously.”

As the Piataks spoke to the media, Brunton Park was taking shape for Saturday’s big game with additions inside and outside of the ground.

Flags featuring the slogan ‘Own the North’ have been placed next to every seat with foam hands and clappers also set to be given to fans.

The fan zone on the west side of the ground is also being improved with covered marquee areas, while a huge big screen has been installed.

Further ‘Own the North’ branding is in place while portable lavatories will be available for fans in the Warwick Road End – where the basic toilet facilities have long carried infamous status among supporters.

Piatak said they plan to continue improving the club’s infrastructure at the same time as helping Paul Simpson improve the team.

“We worked with the management team here to say on day one, we want to see quick wins,” said the logistics businessman.

“We took fans’ input, our own, and we now see some of those changes. But moving forward we’ve a lot of work to do.

“First and foremost, it’s safety in League One. We’ve spoken to Paul and we’re on the same sheet of music – we know what we want to do and we’re going to do everything we can to make that happen.

“While we’re doing that there are other things we can be doing in parallel. That’s what I’ve been telling the management team – we want to hit the ground running.

“We can do things on the pitch with the squad, and off the pitch in the facilities here that can happen at the exact same time.

“We have to be cognisant while matches are going on, how much construction can you do, how many changes you can do. But we have rather big plans.

“This East Stand is beautiful. That structure under there is untapped. The Warwick…it’s historic, and [we want to] keep the history, but it needs changes.

“One thing is how do you get more sound coming out of there? That’s something we’ve been talking about. The fans are rabid but you don’t hear it coming out from an acoustic standpoint.

“These things aren’t going to happen immediately, and the training facilities is a huge endeavour. We’re going to need local businesses, the council, to find the land, but we’re committed to doing that because we believe you have to start with the infrastructure, get the academy going, get the home-grown talent going.

“That’s going to cost money on the front end but on the back end it’s going to be a much more powerful squad and a more stable club.”

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