Carlisle United directors have paid tribute to fans’ trust CUOSC for their fundamental role in the Piatak takeover.

The trust, who are holding their annual general meeting today, played a key part in courting the American family who are now the club’s owners.

And United’s chief executive Nigel Clibbens says the supporter organisation deserve credit for playing their part – and standing firm in other, previous scenarios at Brunton Park.

“There should be a word given to CUOSC – their role in this often gets overlooked,” said Clibbens.

“They’ve played their part as a shareholder in some pretty tough decisions.

“Especially in latter years, [that includes] the decision that they didn’t want to pursue the Eden Valley Sport option [the proposed takeover involving a firm set up by Philip Day, boss of United’s former backers Edinburgh Woollen Mill].

“They were adamant that wasn’t the right move for the club, and they need to take credit for that.

“Billy Atkinson [CUOSC’s representative on the CUFC Holdings board] was very firm – and it was tough at the time, him withstanding that, not just from within the club.

“That was really important. And they deserve credit for that.

“They said all along that for the right people they would secure a dilution, if it was in the interests of the club.

“Although there was talk for a long time about CUOSC being a potential blocker of deals [with their previous 25.4 per cent voting share in CUFC Holdings], a barrier to things going forward, throughout they weren’t.

News and Star: CUOSC believe the Piataks are the right people to take United forwardCUOSC believe the Piataks are the right people to take United forward (Image: Barbara Abbott)

“They were a safeguard. It could have been negative if used in the wrong way but they showed, from my point of view, good judgment.

“They stood firm at the right time and did the right thing at the right time.”

CUOSC members voted overwhelmingly in September to reduce their voting stake to ten per cent to enable the Piataks to take 90 per cent control of United’s holding company.

The trust were involved in discussions with the Florida family from the outset and have welcomed the Piataks’ takeover, which was completed last week.

CUOSC’s membership has also grown in recent months, with the trust announcing they have now passed the 1,200 mark.

At their AGM, four trust board positions are up for grabs, with eight supporters hoping to be voted in.

They are existing board members Nigel Davidson and Carol Wilson, who are seeking a fresh three-year term, and Claire Winder, Mike Denovellis, Gerard Gornall, Ross Parkinson, Richard Mullen and Martin Robson also on the ballot.

Clibbens said CUOSC figures past and present deserve credit at what is hopefully the start of a new era at United.

“Fair play to Billy and in my time, Jim Mitchell, who’s sadly not here to see all this come to pass. He would have been drinking many a pint to this. I’m sure he’ll be looking down on us giving a toast.

“And latterly Nigel Davidson who has also played the part in the time he’s been here in getting this deal across the line as well.

“There’s a lot of credit to be handed out to get to this point. Hopefully it’s the start of something great for the football club.”