CUFC visit Feb 2024

United and university leaders pledge collaboration to support Carlisle and Cumbria’s communities.

Vice Chancellor Professor Julie Mennell DL has welcomed new Carlisle United owners Tom and Patty Piatak to University of Cumbria’s Fusehill Street campus, which is situated less than a mile from the League One club’s Brunton Park ground.

They were joined by club chief executive Nigel Clibbens, finance director Suzanne Kidd, and CUFC board member Matt Spooner, for the meeting that took place on the football winter transfer Deadline Day (1 February).

Together they discussed how the university and club can work together (with others), to engage local communities, promote Carlisle as a city, and contribute to place vibrancy and vitality.

Professor Julie Mennell DL, Vice Chancellor, said: “It was great to meet with Tom and Patty and the wider team to hear their vision for the club and to discuss how our two organisations can deliver even greater benefit to Carlisle and our communities. It’s an exciting time to be working with them. I look forward to developing our partnership further and to what will follow from this important city-based collaboration.”

Carlisle United’s chief executive Nigel Clibbens said: “We’ve talked about ways that we can all work together and how fantastic the university’s doing, and how it is going to develop in the future. We want to show our support for the students, staff and the institution as it grows.”

Club chairman Tom Piatak said: “The future of this city is very bright. It takes a village and everyone working together, and we look forward to working with the University of Cumbria, the city and Carlisle United to be the best that we can be.”

It was announced this week that Film and TV students from the university’s Institute of Education, Arts and Society will be working with CUFC and other partners on ‘Be Just and Fear Not’, a new lottery-funded project to preserve the football club’s legacy as it prepares to mark 50 years since achieving promotion to the First Division in the 1974-75 season.

Offering access to elite performance testing facilities within its Institute of Health, University of Cumbria co-creates academic programmes to address higher-level skills needs with employers and partners. In this area and serving athletic and patient health and wellbeing, programmes include physiotherapy, sport rehabilitation, occupational therapy as well as sport, coaching and performance analysis.

Through its Towards 2030 strategy, the university is transforming its presence in Carlisle and Barrow with new campuses planned. And the Pears Cumbria School of Medicine, a graduate-entry medical school to train new doctors for the region, is being developed in partnership with Imperial College London.

  • Open days and virtual events for those seeking to study sport and exercise rehabilitation are among those being hosted by the University of Cumbria. Further details can be found at

VIDEO: Carlisle United chairman Tom Piatak at the University of Cumbria


Notes to editors

Picture caption:

Carlisle United board member Matt Spooner, finance director Suzanne Kidd, chief executive Nigel Clibbens, and owners Patty Piatak and Tom Piatak with Professor Julie Mennell DL, University of Cumbria Vice Chancellor at the university’s Fusehill Street campus in Carlisle. 1 February 2024.