A major talking point after Carlisle’s draw with Cambridge was Steven Pressley’s post-match radio appearance. The way he handled his interview with BBC Radio Cumbria’s James Phillips certainly came in for plenty of comment from supporters.

I’ve been on both sides of the fence as a player and now with the media and as much as some have criticised Pressley for what he said, to me it was simply two people who are very passionate about their jobs.

Pressley first; I heard a manager who is very committed and believes in his players. He wouldn’t be the first to want to build them up and it’s understandable that he’d want to say encouraging things about the likes of Nathan Thomas, who produced a bit of magic on Saturday, and Callum O’Hare, who was unplayable in the first half.

He wanted those players to know that he had seen that. I know, as a player driving away from the ground, you do turn your radio on and listen to those things. Hearing your name mentioned like that can be massive for your confidence.

We are also at the time of the season where there is no point in going in on people and dissecting everything. It is about keeping things ticking over and trying to get these wins that will get the team over the line.

On the other hand, though, I would also defend fully the way James Phillips goes about his job in that environment.

There may be people in the club who don’t like the way he goes above and beyond in this way, but believe me, it is a far better approach than the one I see in a number of other post-match radio interviews.

We go up and down the country following Carlisle United and I often take myself out of our own commentary position after a game to study how others go about it.

Too often I don’t hear journalists asking real questions. Instead they will ask an easy question and then let the manager just talk. It makes for a very comfortable interview but listeners must come away feeling short-changed.

It is not the job of a club’s media team to put their own manager and colleague on the spot in this way, but those reporting on a club independently have to approach it differently. Carlisle supporters can get annoyed when they don’t hear a manager get pushed but I do feel James appreciates this part of his job more than many.

We can all remember some of the skirmishes he had on air with Greg Abbott, for instance, and whatever you think of those exchanges, isn’t it better to have someone who pushes the boundaries and is willing to put across what supporters are saying, rather than ignore what comes into the radio via texts and tweets?

At times he might hold back on some of those views, if they are felt to be abusive or too personal, for example. Elements of the United board might not believe this to be the case but if they listened to the whole package they would hear that he is very fair.

As James pointed out to Pressley on Saturday, it can work both ways; in our coverage of the draw at Forest Green we were disagreeing with some supporters who were critical. We felt it was a better performance and result than the majority seemed to be arguing that day.

Frustration was a more understandable emotion after the Cambridge draw because, when Carlisle clicked, it was hard for the opposition to live with them. To come away with a 2-2 result in spite of that does lead to heightened emotions, but all in all, what we heard on the radio was two people who desperately want Carlisle to get to those play-offs.

Was it also pressure on Pressley’s part regarding the manager’s job? I’m not sure. We don’t want the same situation as last year, when the Keith Curle situation dragged on and on and players’ contracts were unresolved, and you’d like to think things are already clearer this time, in-house at least.

Another summer of limbo would be no good for anyone.

Pressley, in his career, has always been a winner, and I feel sorry for him in the fact that the heart of his team was ripped out in the January window with the loss of the loan players.

It wasn’t just three players playing well, it was a different way of playing which had become so effective – with power and pace.

He has had to fit new people in and also change the style of play. Any other manager would have had to do the same. I also think players have to take more responsibility – Carlisle have to defend better, make better choices, finish better.

I wouldn’t point the blame on anyone in particular; not Pressley, the players, the board, the press, whoever. It is just a culmination of everything over recent months and all that matters now is how they manage what is now a seven-game season.

The fixtures United are facing aren’t kind, but at times Carlisle are a better team when up against it. You wouldn’t bet on them winning a number of these games against promotion-chasing teams.

Pressley will probably have to keep his side on the offensive, because of the need for wins. Good runs, like the one Tranmere are on, always come to an end and you can bet there will be more twists and turns yet.

Carlisle have to hang in there, stick at it and, as frustrating as it has been recently, we still shouldn’t write them off.


May 8, 1999 came at a time when I was part of the Sunderland squad coasting to the Division One title. The following day we were due to play our final game, against Birmingham, with the championship long sewn up.

On the Saturday there was plenty of interest in events in other divisions and I can remember Peter Reid running in to tell us that Scarborough had survived in the Third Division.

A couple of players Sunderland had released, Chris Tate and Steve Brodie, had ended up there so it was something everyone kept an eye on. There was a good link between the clubs with other players, friendlies and so on.

There were also a couple of people at Sunderland who had links with Carlisle, such as Pop Robson, and it was Pop who then burst into the dressing room and said, ‘You’ll never guess what’s happened – the keeper’s scored for Carlisle.'

We put the telly on and couldn’t believe what we were seeing – first, footage of Scarborough fans celebrating, then the news filtering through, and finally, pictures of Jimmy Glass scoring at Brunton Park.

It was sheer madness.

Carlisle staying up that year was beneficial to several lads at Sunderland, some of whom went on to play there in the following seasons; the likes of Matthew Pitts, Luke Weaver and Brendan McGill.

It helped get their careers going and that might not have been the case had the Blues fallen into non-league.

It obviously meant more to Carlisle supporters themselves, and I hope they enjoy the chance to relive it all when Glass appears at a 20th anniversary event at Foxy’s Restaurant tonight.

It doesn’t matter where you were or what you were doing that day, or whether or not you had any connection to Carlisle United whatsoever: you always remember the time Jimmy Glass scored, and that’s why it’s one of those football moments that will never lose its magic.