Where Are They Now? Carlisle United 1981-82

Where Are They Now? Carlisle United 1981-82: Division Three Runners Up

GORDON STANIFORTH admits Carlisle United almost cracked under the pressure of chasing promotion from Division Three.

Twelve months earlier the Cumbrian side had only escaped relegation by a single point but under Bob Stokoe they made a serious charge for the top.

And for most of the season it looked as if they were going to gallop away with the title until they were held up by a six week spell of bad weather.

With the finishing line in sight United lost three of the last five games including a 1-0 defeat to rivals Burnley who would pip them to the title by goal difference.

They needed the experience of Pop Robson to fire his 18th goal of the season on the final day at Ian Rush’s Chester City, who were bottom, to secure promotion.

Staniforth, who scored 11 goals, says they were disappointed not to have won the title despite enjoying their successful.

“We were disappointed in the end not to have won it because we were just watching results as we went along. If the previous season was tough with relegation battles, it was nice to have the pressure of being successful the next season,” said Staniforth.

“Burnley were a decent team and it was one of those where it was always close and I think that the best two teams went up definitely. But I think the pressure got to us. We were trying too hard because the previous season we had struggled,” he added.

“You can have the best players on the pitch but you have got to be able to deliver on a regular basis.

“And sometimes when the going gets tough as you come into that finish line, sometimes your legs go and you start to doubt yourself. You miss a sitter or somebody else makes a mistake and pressure does creep in, the psychology aspect is massive.

“I remember going to Chester on the last day. They had Ian Rush playing for them, it was a very hot day and Pop Robson scored a screamer. That was typical of Pop – what a player to play with. He was always a player that I looked up to and it was fitting that he scored the winner.”

WATN Carlisle United


1. Gary Watson: Still living in the Carlisle area. He became a police officer in the Cumbria Force, and is working for Carlisle CID.

2. Bobby Parker: Lives in Carlisle, where he was a health and safety manager in Cavrays food processing factory.

3. Paul Haigh: Now based on Tyneside and has been working as an independent financial adviser since giving up football at the age of 30.

4. Andy Collins: Went into the media, training as a journalist. Became a sub-editor on the Nottingham Evening Post. Now works for Boots.

5. Tony Larkin: Lives in Hereford and is leisure co-ordinator for RNIB. Also managed the England blind team.

6. John Crabbe: Managed Weymouth and now lives in Kent, working as a furniture maker.


7. Dick Young: He joined the coaching staff in 1955 and briefly managed the team after Alan Ashman’s resignation. He retired in 1982 and died in January 1989 aged 80.

8. Keith Houghton:  An England semi-professional quit as a policeman to turn full-time and now works for civil engineers EM Contracting.

9. Paul Bannon: Went home to Ireland and has run the successful FÁS Soccer Academy in Cork.

10. Trevor Swinburne: He was in Lincoln, and joined the prison service after they lost their league status. Now a Governor.

11. John Pickering: Coached Lincoln City, Newcastle and Middlesbrough. He died in May 2001 after a long illness.

12. Tony Harrison: He returned to work in the north east. Was manager of Prudhoe Town and is currently assistant manager of Dunston UTS.

13. Bob Lee: He returned to his native Melton Mowbray and has run a number of pubs there.

14. Jack Ashurst: Was a partner in an electrical firm, and then worked for a frozen food company. Now lives in Wetherby, West Yorkshire.

15. Herbert Nicholson: Worked for more than 30 years as a handyman. Died in 1982.


16. Mick Coady: Became a maintenance technician and is living in Durham.

17. Russell Coughlin: He returned to Cumbria and works as a postman near Carlisle.

18. Bryan Robson: Pop has managed Sunderland and Carlisle. He has been a Hexham newsagent and was Sunder-land’s chief scout until April.

19. Bob Stokoe: He came back to manage Carlisle for a third time and his last job in the game was caretaker manager of Sunderland. He died in February 2004 aged 74.

20. Gordon Staniforth: He is now in charge of the Football Development Centre at York College and is the manager of Doncaster Rovers Belles.

21. Alan Campbell: He went into Non-League management and now works in Solihull as an audit engineer for Land Rover.

22. Jimmy Hamilton: He ran the Old Bank restaurant in Dumfries for 15 years and is now Superintendant at Roucan Loch Crematorium.


23. Hugh McGrogan: His father Felix played for Blackburn and Brighton. Died in a car crash at Bichester in September 1998

24. Cliff Thompson: Now works in Newcastle Upon Tyne.


Peter Beardsley: Has been coaching at Newcastle since 2001 and is reserve manager.

Dave Rushbury: Was physio and then manager at Chester-field and now teaches Sports Science in Chesterfield College

Tommy Craig: Went into coaching with clubs including Celtic and Newcastle United, managed Charleroi and is now St Mirren’s first team coach.

Tom Ritchie: He lives in Cleveden, Bristol and is working as a postman.

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