Fourth, First & Fulham




Fourth, First & Fulham book cover re Carlisle United

Over a twelve-year period during the 1960s and 1970s, Carlisle United rose through the Football League, winning promotions and titles, performing heroic giant-killing acts, and taking part in its one and only European competition. This book tells that story.

It is part conventional history, part commentary on the period, and part personal memoir, as told through the eyes of a small boy going to live football matches for the first time and experiencing some unusual goings-on in a strange adult world. Forty years on, Martin's footballing heroes of the time, including players like John Gorman, George McVitie and Tot Winstanley have shared their recollections of the great adventures. Supporters and journalists from the period, as well as the current chairman Andrew Jenkins, who was a director at the time, have also contributed. It all give the book an authenticity that will allow the reader to experience the mood in the dressing room, the rational in the boardroom, the excitement on the pitch, and the agony and ecstasy of the terraces. With anecdotes and humour throughout , the book will not only interest Carlisle United fans as they re-live the halcyon days, all fans should find something that they can also relate to.


Publisher: DB Publishing 

Publication Date: 25 July 2012 

Format: Paperback & E-Copy 

Category: Sport & History 

Illustrations: B&W Photographs 

ISBN: 978-1-78091-032-1


Buy the book

Price: £12.99 / $25 (including p&p). Available to buy directly from Martin via paypal or cheque. Contact to arrange.


The Missing Photo!

The photo below never made the book as it was lost shortly before publication. As much of the book is written from first-hand experience, the publisher asked if there were any pictures of me around the time in question. Whereas a picture of me with the school team does appear towards the end of the book, the one below sadly didn't make it. It shows Les O'Neill presenting us with our winners' medals in the 1975 schools' competition. Les was at the height of his playing career in the First Division. As it turned out, so was I (far left, standing). It was all downhill from there!

 Les Wright presentation 1975 schools competition


Having spent my working life interview people, it was unusual to find the boot on the other foot about a year ago after I received a phone call from Cumbrian writer Martin Daley, a chap more versed in penning detective stories than writing about football.

We met up at Martin's home in the north of the county for a 'brief' chat that lasted for several hours. He wanted to hear some of my memories of following Carlisle United during their 'glory' seasons, when they went from the Fourth Division to the First and played several notable cup ties. The thing is, when it comes to recalling games from that era, just wind me up and I go on like a Duracell bunny.

Martin was also interviewing some of United's famous players and officials, the likes of Hugh McIlmoyle, John Gorman, Bill Green, George McVitie, Bobby Parker, long-serving director Andrew Jenkins, historian David Steele and fan Geoff Thomlinson.

The book is out now. Fourth, First & Fulham is largely bookended by two cup ties, both which ironically ended in 0-1 defeats for Carlisle - Gravesend and Fulham, 12 years apart, and what an adventure during the time in between.

The 60s and 70s were Carlisle's greatest period and Daley says that, given the financial constraints of today's game, it is one that will never be repeated.

There has been a lot of books about Carlisle United, some good, some pretty dire. Daley's contribution - he must have spent a lot of time poring through old newspaper files and talking to those of us who were there at the time - really does cover the period splendidly.

For several of those memorable seasons I travelled the length and breadth of the country with Carlisle United, reporting on their ups and downs. I also went to Italy with them the year they won a place in the Anglo-Italian Cup. Martin was particularly fascinated by my story of lunch with men in dark glasses and white suits in Mafia country.

This the era that will bring nods of approval, perhaps the odd happy tear, to United supporters of a certain age - and hopefully educate a few younger fans about a period in the club's history that was so good we didn't fully realise it at the time. We thought that there would always be a Balderstone, a McIlmoyle, a Gorman and an Allan Ross, but of course, it couldn't last forever.

Martin Daley has captured it well with his analysis of the circumstances that came together to make this wonderful team, the managers and the different styles, the comments of the players and a well-merited appreciation of E.G. Sheffield's time as chairman - not a chairman to be heard ranting on TV or being quoted in the newspapers, but a man who played a significant part in creating the club that enjoyed those glorious seasons.

Part history, part commentary, part memoir is how the author describes the book. For United fans then and now, it's a cracking read.

Ross Brewster

Cumberland & Westmorland Herald 


...Martin Daley retells these great tales tales of United's yesteryear with all the breathless excitement of a football commentary on the wireless. It is a book that will warm the hearts of all true United fans.

The Cumberland News 

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