By Malcolm Nugent

Two Carlisle shirts posted to America by CUOSC helped pave the way for the proposed takeover of the club.

CUOSC chairman Matt Spooner sent the shirts to Florida-based logistics businessman Tom Piatak and his son, Tom II, after being contacted by email.

He said: “I bought them in the club shop and had their names printed on the back. They were delighted. When I spoke to them again on Zoom the shirts were displayed on a wall behind them.

“I realised then just how enthusiastic they were and that they were seriously interested in the Blues.

“They had also made contact with the club and we tried to emphasise the importance of them continuing to talk.”

As well as speaking to the club hierarchy about a possible takeover the family stayed in touch with the CUOSC board.

Spooner added: “Their first message to us in February landed in our ‘junk’ email. We were not sure if it was genuine. But we dug it out and replied and everything took off from there.

“It was obvious they had done a lot of homework and were keen to get involved in football in England. We were the first to get back to them.

“They had watched loads of games on TV and we sent them an iFollow link so they could watch Carlisle matches. It didn’t take them long to become big fans.

“We have continued to speak to them over the last few months and have built a good relationship.”

Tom senior, his son and their wives, Patty and Alice, travelled to England in May for initial talks with the Blues owners. After watching the play-off games against Bradford City they decided to extend their stay to watch the final at Wembley.

While they were here the two Toms met the CUOSC board and outlined their vision for the club.

The family were also represented at the Blues’ pre-season friendly at Annan – before their interest in United became public - when Tom II, Alice, his sister Jenna and her fiancé Nick DeMasi stopped off on the way back from an overseas trip.

Billy Atkinson, CUOSC’s representative on the club’s Holdings Board said: “We are excited by their hopes and ambitions for the club. They have made it clear they want to build an infrastructure that will make us financially sustainable and viable in the long term.

“They are keen to involve the whole community and we believe that can only be good for the club, the supporters and the city.”

CUOSC members voted in favour of smoothing the way for the takeover but there are other important parts of the deal still to be finalised.