Tom Piatak believes Carlisle United can forge “powerful links” in the USA.

The Blues’ owner plans to establish close connections between the club and his home city of Jacksonville, Florida.

And that could be the start of further growth of the United “brand” Stateside.

Piatak has also been consulting fellow American club owners both at home and in England for advice and feedback early into their own regime at Brunton Park.

Piatak said the prospect of a trip by United to Jacksonville in the future could be “significant”.

He added: “It’s a question of how do we continue to expand the Carlisle brand?

“We now have groups in Indiana, New Jersey, Arizona, and of course a large group in Jacksonville. We’re asking them to continue to spread the word.

“Magellan [the Piataks’ transport logistics firm] are big sponsors of the Noel Soccer Foundation, a big Philadelphia organisation that tries to get availability and access to soccer for inner city youth.

“We’re title sponsors, Carlisle are going to be a title sponsor with us – it’s going to be huge.

“We really do think there’s a lot we can do to take this brand into the States.

“A sister city linkage [between Carlisle and Jacksonville] can be very powerful. Jacksonville is the best kept secret in Florida – we call it a small large city, that has everything you could possibly want, and it’s great to visit, as is Carlisle and Cumbria.”

Discussions have already been held between the Piataks and tourism organisation Visit Jacksonville about the prospect of a United visit, though Piatak said plenty of work would still be needed before making that a reality.

News and Star: The Piataks have links with Jacksonville Jaguars - and believe United can develop close ties with the Florida cityThe Piataks have links with Jacksonville Jaguars - and believe United can develop close ties with the Florida city (Image: PA)

On taking advice from fellow American sports owners, meanwhile, Piatak said he has reached out to NFL side the Jacksonville Jaguars, with whom Magellan are partners.

“I spoke to them specifically on sponsorships, understanding how they do it, and they’ve come back extremely positively, sending us information, scheduling calls.

“We’ve spoken with other football clubs in England who have been receptive. The idea is, ‘Don’t make the same mistakes we did, let us help and guide you’.

“That willingness to help makes sense, makes the entire pyramid stronger. I also reached out to a chat group of American owners and they welcomed me – the wealth of information, ideas and feedback is tremendous.”

Debt and finances

On the financial side, meanwhile, Piatak said the family have engaged a British tax firm to advise on the best way to “dispose” of the £2.6m United debt they bought from previous lenders Purepay Retail Limited.

He said a recommendation was expected shortly on the best way forward, adding that it would not have any negative impact on the club.

Piatak added that Carlisle’s recent transfer spending would be “sustainable” even in the event of relegation.

He added that, while everyone was focused on League One survival, “if we do drop down, we would ask fans to continue supporting us – they know what we’re trying to do, you have responsible owners who are going to invest.

“It’s certainly financially sustainable.”

Other major plans involve improvements to Brunton Park, with plans already submitted for the Warwick Road End and East Stand.

Piatak said the club were assessing potential contractors who would partner with the Blues on the projects and agree the most cost-effective terms as well as carry out the work to the highest standard.

“As soon that’s approved, we can start working on the East stand without really affecting on-field or matchday operations,” he said.

“We plan to move as fast as possible.”

Piatak said the club already had a list of interested parties regarding the new executive boxes planned for the East Stand, while there would be further announcements soon regarding sponsorship at the club.

* This is an extract from an exclusive News & Star interview with Tom Piatak – to listen to part three in full, click HERE.

FLASH SALE: Subscribe to our in-depth Carlisle United coverage for £5 for the next 5 months - click HERE