Michael Knighton’s first public appearance in Carlisle for 18 years has been shelved because of the coronavirus.

But the controversial ex-United chairman is keen to return later in the year should the Covid-19 situation allow.

Knighton, 68, had been due to speak to an audience of supporters at an event in the city’s Old Fire Station next month.

He was set to discuss his eventful 10-year reign at Brunton Park, which saw dramatic promotions and cup final success before a bitter decline.

The venue, though, has had to postpone all its shows until the end of May and will attempt to rearrange performances.

Paul Musgrave, who organised the Knighton event and was set to host it on stage, said its postponement was inevitable in the current circumstances.

But he said the intention was to rearrange it in a few months’ time, with anyone who has bought tickets advised to hold onto them for the reorganised show.

Paul, who was a member of So What!, the Carlisle band who released United-themed songs in the 1990s, said: “The Old Fire Station has closed as a venue at the moment and this means the show has had to be deferred.

“But Michael is still very keen to come and do it and the aim will be to do it in a few months’ time if we can.

“In the meantime, if anyone wants a refund they can contact me, but so far people have been saying no to that. Tickets will be valid when the show was rearranged and we will hope to see everybody there when the time is right.”

The event was due to be held on Friday, April 24, to coincide with the 25th anniversary weekend of United’s first Wembley appearance, in the Auto-Windscreens Shield final of 1995 against Birmingham City.

That was one of the high points of Knighton’s tenure, with the national stadium packed as Mick Wadsworth’s Division Three champions going down to a narrow “golden goal” extra-time defeat.

The soundtrack to that memorable weekend was the song “Blue Army” by So What! Which featured Knighton rapping the words: “The buzz is back, we’re all excited, I’ll prove there’s only one United. The world is watching this football team, ‘cos I don’t say what I don’t mean.”

As well as those glory days, Knighton was set to give his perspective on the more controversial side of his reign, which saw the team decline and the businessman embroiled in bitter fall-outs with fans and the local media, and controversial aborted takeovers before he eventually sold to John Courtenay in 2002.

Paul added: “I had along chat with Michael a couple of weeks before this virus situation really kicked off.

“We were talking about the photographs and footage we were pulling together for the night. There was going to be some real reminiscences about the Wembley final and he was absolutely up for it all.

“It is disappointing that it’s been postponed but absolutely the right thing to do.”

Knighton has returned to the public eye recently to coincide with a new book by Phillip Vine about his time at Manchester United. He has said he is writing a further book himself about his decade at Carlisle.