Owner's threat to take Carlisle out of League

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The Carlisle United owner Michael Knighton has threatened to withdraw the club from the Football League, according to a local politician.

Knighton has been involved in protracted negotiations to sell the Third Division club for some time and his frustration with some United fans has seen him threaten to resign from the League.

A fans' pressure group, Carlisle and Cumbria Independent Supporters' Trust, has been involved in efforts to arrange the transfer of the club from Knighton and his family. Its chairman, Lord Clarke of Windermere, claims Knighton made the threat in a telephone conversation.

Lord Clarke told a local newspaper: "He said that he'd had enough and that the people of Carlisle didn't deserve a Football League team, and he'd decided he was going to take the team out of the League."

The club were required to resign before 1 April if they did not want to take part next season, but Clarke claimed that Knighton would field a team of youngsters if forced to fulfil that obligation. He added: "He might have to run [the club] next season and he would do so with youngsters. He was going to board up the ground and put up bills saying CCUIST killed this club by insulting the Knighton family once too often.

"He said the fans could march around the ground as often as they liked but all they would see would be weeds growing. He was also going to be in touch with the Football League to see if another team could come up from the Conference to take Carlisle's place."