RAMBLE | Carlisle 0-0 Wednesday

RAMBLE | Carlisle 0-0 Wednesday

After dismantling Christmas on Friday, the day of Cup Magic started with an exciting trip to the tip.

What a wondrous sort of place this is. You queue patiently to be the next one to dispose of your crap, remembering all the time that it’s poor tip etiquette to make eye contact with a fellow tipper.

You must not judge another man’s crap… unless of course he’s about to put a dodgy mattress in the clearly marked garden section I was getting rid of my tree in.

“Whoa mate – garden stuff, this” I cried like a tired Yoda.

The luminous jacketed tip worker gives me a thanking knowing nod and the mattress man is led away to – maybe a crusher – but probably just a mattress bin.

With the elation of the tip out of the way, I was round at Dad’s, equipped with my long johns (don’t knock them till you try) for the 11am departure time and we were on our way up to sunny Carlisle.

And what a lovely drive up it was once we got out on to the M6, flanked by sprawling hills and sunshine.

I was sporting my 95-96 season dark green away top complete with a green and white badge.

“Jos Luhukay’s green and white army…”

Can you imagine the social media uproar if we were to have a green and white badge today? They’d be polls and petitions all over the place. Yawn.

Conversation quickly turned to our new appointment at S6, Mr Jos Luhukay.

I was sad to see Carlos go but agreed with the majority that something had to change.

A new way of thinking is required with someone who can get at the players and strive to get the best out of them. In Luhukay, we hopefully have that man and I take heart by what German football expert Cristoph had to say about him in the brilliant Owls Alive article by Joe.



Jos’ appointment also glossed over the worrying appointment of Katrien Meire – the ex-Charlton tyrant.

It’s difficult to close your ears to the barrage of worry from genuine Addicks fans threating over us. I guess time will tell.

Back to the mountains, we decided to bob-in to Tebay services, which promised the allure of a farm shop.

After a quick scan of the menu and nothing under a tenner, we opted for a bloody good steak pie and chips from the cafe while we took in our surroundings of Tebay Gorge. Marvellous.

We arrived in good time and parked up.

Charlton fans have raised valid concerns over Meire’s ability

Dad got out and set about work to become the next abominable snowman with more padding than a 0-0 Owls Alive ramble.

It was cold, but a nice cold. Blue skies, winter sun and 3rd Round day – what’s not to love?

We made our way to the stands and was gutted to realise we weren’t stood behind the goal as first thought.

We were in fact in the side stand, which provided an awkward view of the pitch off to the side where we’d be side-on throughout the game. We didn’t really mind, as it was a belting little stadium with the ground sandwiched between a dramatic view of Helvellyn to the left and less-dramatic DSD Construction to the right.

There wasn’t much of a buzz about the ground as I’m sure Carlisle fans were as enthused as us about this tie.

Though the Blues fans seemed to appreciate a stuffed fox being brought onto the pitch and placed in the centre spot. They also had a fox mascot despite seemingly having no link to foxes.

However, because I’m really cool, I did a bit of research after the game and it turns out the link to the fox stems from a Colonel donating a live fox to the club in the early 1900’s.

Olga the Fox

The fox was paraded round the pitch on a lead before the game and when it died, they had it stuffed and placed on the centre spot before a game.

The tradition has continued on and off ever since. Hence stuffed fox and Olga the Fox mascot. You’re welcome fact fans.

We needed a reaction after that Burton debacle.

That game has to go in my top 5 worst Wednesday games of all time but we needed to put that behind us today.




There was a new manager in the stands and the prospect of a cup run to distract from the potential horror of Friday.

Well we certainly started ok.

Within minutes Atdhe hit the bar as he connected well with a header from a Palmer cross.

We continued to shape a few openings with Boyd looking sharp early on and Atdhe again forcing Bonham into a good save with a nice curling effort.

The half developed into one of those we know all too well.

It was slow and we weren’t really getting anywhere. Carlisle were solid and were well marshalled by veteran Clint Hill.

Frustration was growing in the stand with a shouty man next to Dad giving him earache about everything – but mainly David Jones.

Shouty man #2 was more emotional in his shouting.

He actually sounded like he was going to cry if Reach didn’t “just cut inside”. We were kind of hoping he might try and beat his man and get to the by-line but didn’t dare tell him.

Boyd challenges for the ball

I still can’t work Fox out.

The guy just goes through the motions. Puts in half a tackle, can’t be bothered to overlap, ducks out of 50-50’s – he’s so frustrating and is a squad player at best. We definitely need a better option here.

As half time approached, I was just looking forward to a good sit down such was the slow monotony of our play. The whistle was met with boos from our two stands and cheers of encouragement from Carlisle.

They knew they were very much in this game and we weren’t very good. We agreed.




The second half started similarly to the first with a bit of huff and puff and a sprinkling of threat here and there.

Palmer continued to work hard on the right side with mixed results.

Every good cross was followed by a misplaced pass or a bobble off his shin pad. Joao went close with a header from a Jones free-kick that hit the post and that was followed by a Wallace thunder-git that looked in from where we were but just slipped wide.

Carlisle actually gave it a bit more of a go this half much to the delight of their fans, as they went close with a long range effort and actually had a goal disallowed for a clear offside after Palmer had (I hope) purposely let Cosgrove drift away from him.

Nuhiu came closest for Wednesday

Boyd continued to work well and just looked really pleased to be out on a football pitch again.

I think Bullen would’ve ideally left him on if he wasn’t just back from injury. He surely has to start on Friday.

Big Atty was unrelenting in his search for a goal and to be fair to the lad other than a few ‘Nuhuisms’ he did alright.

The emotional shouty man disagreed of course – cheering when he was subbed. His third attempt, a downward header, forced a great one-handed save from the Carlisle keeper to his left.

That was to be the last real chance of the game as the clock ticked down and we secured our ball in the bag for Monday.





I’d love to know what Jos thought of all that.

A complete outsider who’s almost certainly never seen us play ‘in the flesh’ before.

I naively pondered that maybe, as an outsider, he could clearly see what our main problem. As fans, we get so bogged down and fixated with, for example, passing sideways that maybe we’re missing a much larger but hopefully obvious problem that Jos can pinpoint.

There were moments where he must’ve thought he should’ve applied for a different job.

Much to ponder for the new manager

I didn’t see enough players out there that were looking to impress the new manager.

They were simply going through the motions, confident that their lack of competition will see them right for a place. Yes, Morgan Fox, I’m talking about you again.

The lack of movement up top is there for anyone to see.

Are they not fit enough? Surely not.

Jones got called out by our fans countless times for not creating anything but to be fair to him, creativity is not what he’s about. I mean, I’m still trying to fathom what he’s about at all to be honest but the point is, Lee and Bannan can play those through balls and pick a pass and we miss them. A lot.

But there were times yesterday that we were so static up top and not arsed that not even Lee or Bannan would’ve been able to find a pass.

As good a player as the veteran Clint Hill is, the guy’s 39 years old for god sake surely he has to be lacking a turn of pace that we could’ve exploited?

Too many of our players are so low on confidence that at times I swear you can actually see them hiding behind opposition players.

Nothing happens with any kind of conviction. The fear of failure to do the right thing in that team is bookended by a bobbly first touch and an under-hit pass.

Can Jos inspire a reaction at the Lane?

Friday will be different – it has to be.

Derbies are different – they do strange things to players and fans alike. They also see people make stupid decisions – for instance, moving the fixture to a Friday night.

Injuries aside, the 11 men that Jos puts out for his first game in charge should be good enough to stand up to a team that were playing in League One last season and at least hold them to a draw or spirited low-scoring defeat.

Those 11 men don’t want to be going down in derby history as the ones that provoked a song to finally rival the massacre. See you all next week, from behind the sofa…

Owls Alive
E-MAIL: owlsalive@gmail.com
Twitter: @OwlsAlive and @tjchitt86

One Comment

  1. Good ramble Tom .We got more out of the steak and ale pie than we did out of the game .Friday’s a write off for me – just hope we keep it down to single figures .

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