Carlisle United say they are determined to make Brunton Park a more "welcoming and hospitable" place for fans - before, during and after games.

The Blues have faced criticism from supporters for the standard of their offerings in bars and other hospitality areas.

Some fans told the club this week that other nearby venues like the Beehive pub and Carlisle Rugby Club have long offered a better experience for matchgoing supporters than the Blues' own ground.

United, asked to respond to this at a recent fans' forum, admit they "recognise" such criticisms.

And they said it is one of the key motivations for bringing their catering in-house for the new campaign, with the intention of making their stadium a more appealing place.

Finance director Suzanne Kidd said: "This was one of the biggest reasons that we started looking at bringing the catering in-house – to have more control, to have more ability to dictate what happens at those times.

“We’ve heard repeated concerns from fans – the offering’s not great, the variety’s not great, the pricing’s not great, the environment’s not great.

“We’ve been in positions where we’ve been bound to the services of others.

"Covid provided a little bit of an opportunity to have a bit of time to look at things and [look at] how we can do it properly and change it, and [ask] is it the right thing to do to bring it in-house?

“It's a huge challenge but we're fortunate we've got a good partner coming on board that’s very forward-thinking and practical, and keen to get going."

United have said they will have support from Carlisle-based John Watt & Son as they relaunch their new catering operations in the 2021/22 campaign.

Some of the club's bars are also being revamped after fundraising from supporters' groups.

Kidd said the Blues aim to "step into next season with a different look, environment, something more welcoming and hospitable for fans, and also new offerings – competitive pricing, better standard of products.

"We are looking at what can we do on matchdays, getting older players involved [for example], people connected to the club to be around here on matchday to give fans more reason to come and be part of something at the club that’s not just grabbing a quick pint before going to a game

“Hopefully, with the change and it coming in-house and us having more control, the benefits will all to be to the fans which will then in turn [have] financial benefit to the club."

United have sent out questionnaires to fans to gauge views on their possible new catering and hospitality offerings.

They are also setting up a fans' feedback panel.

"We recognise all the criticisms," added chief executive Nigel Clibbens.

"We need to improve and do better."

He added: "We want to get more local with the produce, we want better value for money, we want lower prices, wherever possible.

"And we are looking at this as a long-term [initiative]. Not to squeeze the pennies out of a shrinking and poor experience. We are looking to make this better."