John Nixon's 21-year spell as a Carlisle United director is over.

The former co-owner has stepped down from United's 1921 operational board today, the club have confirmed.

It ends the former Pirelli businessman's long association with the Blues at a director level.

Nixon's tenure comes to an end after an eight-month period as "transitional director" following the Piatak takeover, which saw the American business family take control of the club from Nixon and his fellow owners Andrew Jenkins and Steven Pattison.

In recent years he was the club's 'director of external affairs' and previously served as managing director for a decade.

His departure from the board is effective from today, the Blues confirmed.

Nixon described his time on the United boards as a "rollercoaster", saying his involvement since 2003 fulfilled a long-held ambition.

He said the experience has been "fuelled by adrenaline, excitement, disappointment and raw emotions and I wouldn’t have missed it for the world."

He also said: “Throughout my time at the club I’ve received incredible support from all of the staff helping to get through good and difficult times and I’ll always be eternally grateful for that.

"I hope I can return some of that sentiment in the future.”

Nixon's spell at the club saw him on the receiving end of criticism from some fans during certain periods.

Yet senior figures at Brunton Park have paid tribute to him in a statement today.

Owner and chairman Tom Piatak said: "John has been an integral part of Carlisle United for over 20 years, and his dedication as both owner and transitional board member has been nothing short of exemplary. 

“His unwavering support and commitment have significantly contributed to the club's growth and success. 

“John continues to be a staunch supporter, and we are deeply grateful for his tireless efforts and passion for Carlisle United. His legacy will always be a cornerstone of our club's history."

Chief executive Nigel Clibbens added that Nixon had given United "great service for over two decades."

Clibbens added: "He loves the club with all his heart and has always wanted nothing but for it to succeed.

"He guided the club through some difficult and challenging periods, with resilience and perseverance and provided unwavering support throughout, doing the very best he could for the club. 

“He also recognised when it was in the interest of the club for him to step back [as MD] in 2016 and then to pass the club on [last year], putting the club first. 

“He has continued to support the club and staff in every way he possibly could throughout my time here. That support behind the scenes was very important for the club in the face of outside interests. 

“In recent times, John led the shareholders in dealing with the difficult EWM situation and finally played a key part in bringing the sale to completion. Again, John recognised the need to change and the importance to the club of taking the opportunity the Piatak family would bring. 

“John now fully deserves to enjoy his love of the club by supporting from the stands, alongside his fellow supporters, with all best wishes from everyone at the club.”

Nixon's involvement at United also saw him take on a series of roles with the EFL and Football Association.