Carlisle United are going to need a revival in their form in order to lift themselves out of relegation trouble in League One.

So, can the Blues take inspiration from any past resurgences in their history? Here are a few…

2021/22 – Ok, this isn’t a hard one to remember...and the manager should have a reasonable recollection of it. The Blues were flat, losing, in the relegation zone and increasingly desperate come February 2022. Non-league’s jaws were opening wide. Enter Simmo, and a recovery for the ages, Carlisle surviving in League Two with weeks to spare and the platform laid for more remarkable improvement the following season. So if it could happen then…

1979/80 – Carlisle, in Division Three, were a mixed bag in terms of results for much of this season, but the caretaker manager Martin Harvey, stepping up after Bob Moncur’s departure, led the Blues on an impressive run and a sixth-placed finish which seemed unlikely for much of the campaign.

1993/94 – United’s first-ever play-off season did not look like being that for the first half of it. Mick Wadsworth’s side took time to find their feet in Division Three and by winter their position was nondescript. Their finish, though, was stunning: brilliant spring form, and a dramatic late dash into the top seven.

News and Star: Carlisle started 1993/94 modestly - but finished it at a canterCarlisle started 1993/94 modestly - but finished it at a canter (Image: News & Star)

2003/4 – A qualified resurgence, this, given it still resulted in relegation from the Football League. But there was still something fundamental in how a young player-manager called Paul Simpson reversed United’s miserable fortunes. The team left behind by Roddy Collins took weeks and months to overhaul – and even win a game – but when Simpson was able to do it, and recruit better players, Carlisle hit promotion form. It couldn’t quite save them, but the foundations were there for the glories that followed.

2000/1 – Ian Atkins’ dogs of war survived by the skin of their teeth, but that doesn’t tell the story of the battle they had to wage. Carlisle, in the grip of Knighton-era crisis, had to put a team together on the eve of the season and by the new year they were adrift with just three wins from August to January. Atkins’ side, though, then somehow cobbled together eight victories over the run-in as Carl Heggs’ volley at Lincoln sealed an unlikely and characterful survival.

1988/89 – United’s decline looked to be continuing despite Clive Middlemass’ arrival; midway through 1988/89 and the Blues were in their familiar home of the bottom reaches of the Fourth Division. Enlivened by a January FA Cup tie against Liverpool, the return to fitness of John Halpin and signings such as Paul Proudlock, the Blues suddenly rebounded after the turn of the year and reached a creditable mid-table finish.

News and Star: United - and their blue inflatable bananas - were a tastier prospect in the 1988/89 run-inUnited - and their blue inflatable bananas - were a tastier prospect in the 1988/89 run-in (Image: News & Star)

1980/81 – Carlisle, in the third tier, were looking shaky until the signing of the ageless Bryan ‘Pop’ Robson in the spring. An immediate glut of goals from the veteran kept United honest and saw them safely to a sixth-bottom finish.

1964/65 – United started their first season in the Third Division modestly, with three wins from 11. They finished it, though, sensationally, with eight victories from 11, the last of which – against Mansfield Town – saw them crowned champions.

1998/99 – OK, maybe not a resurgence. But if you’re capable of avoiding relegation thanks to your goalkeeper scoring a goal, then aren’t you a club where just about anything should be deemed possible?