We know it’s been a goal-shy beginning to the season by Carlisle United.

And now it can be revealed where their low-scoring start ranks in Blues history.

United have scored just 11 goals from their first 14 league games in the 2021/22 season.

Only THREE times in all the Blues’ decades in professional football have they found the net on fewer occasions after 14 outings at the start of a campaign.

The lowest-scoring United teams after that number of league fixtures were the vintages of 2003/4 and 1984/5.

The most recent of those managed just nine goals in 14 league games as they floundered at the foot of the fourth tier.

That was the campaign which started with Roddy Collins in charge before the Irishman was sacked, paving the way for Paul Simpson to take control.

News and Star: United, under Roddy Collins who was duly replaced by Paul Simpson, started 2003/4 with just nine goals from 14 games (photo: Stewart Blair)United, under Roddy Collins who was duly replaced by Paul Simpson, started 2003/4 with just nine goals from 14 games (photo: Stewart Blair)

In 1984/5 they also mustered just nine from 14, in a Second Division campaign under Bob Stokoe.

That season was the start of the Blues’ steady decline from their last second-tier era, United managing to stay up that campaign but going down in both the following two terms.

The only other season to start with a more paltry goals return than this one was back in 1932/3, when United mustered 10 from their first 14 fixtures in only their fifth season as a Football League club.

Two other Blues teams have started, like this one, with 11 goals from their opening 14 games.

They were the 1975/6 side, as the Blues struggled after relegation from the top flight, and in 1983/4, when Stokoe’s team made a slow start before a mid-season improvement which took them into the second-tier promotion race.

The latter, though, was the exception when Carlisle have begun a season as goal-shy as this one. In general, a pattern like this one means only one thing: season-long struggle.

News and Star: Goals were scarce for United at the start of the 1984/5 seasonGoals were scarce for United at the start of the 1984/5 season

2003/4 resulted in relegation to the Conference. 1984/5 saw them come 16th in a 22-team table. 1932/3 brought a fourth-bottom finish. 1975/6 also took them fourth bottom.

United’s points tally this far in to the campaign also does not bode well for a dramatic turnaround.

The managerless Blues have 12 points from a possible 42 following their latest game, Saturday's 0-0 draw with Oldham.

It is their worst opening total for seven years.

They took a similar tally, 12 points, from their first 14 games of the 2014/15 season, which started badly under Graham Kavanagh before Keith Curle was hired to achieve survival.

We are not, thankfully, at the historical low point of five points after 14, which was all that was mustered by the Collins team that was handed over to Simpson in 2003/4.

Still – it is stark to think United have accrued fewer points at this stage than in other bad periods such as, for instance, the Steven Pressley team of 2019/20 or Greg Abbott’s last hurrah of 2013/14.

Others who’ve performed worse over the years at the start of a season, points-wise, include Ian Atkins’ low-budget battlers of 2000/1, the 1997/8 side that saw Mervyn Day replaced by John Halpin, David Wilkes and Michael Knighton, the team that made an anti-climactic start to 1995/6, Aidan McCaffery’s bottom-dwellers of 1991/2 and Stokoe’s strugglers of 1985/6. None of those sides did anything other than struggle; in two cases they were relegated.

Before three points for a win, others who performed worse with an equivalent points total after 14 games included United’s teams in 1980/1, 1975/6 and 1968/9, 1962/3.

These are, sadly, the grim historical comparisons facing the current struggling United team - and the seriousness of the task facing a new manager at Brunton Park.